Archive for davao del norte

OPINION: Forget Sto. Tomas and Nabunturan cityhood

Posted in bayugan agusan del sur, cabadbaran agusan del norte, comval, davao del norte, mati davao oriental, nabunturan, nabunturan cityhood, sto tomas davao del norte cityhoo, sto. tomas, tandag surigao del sur. requirements of cityhood with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2008 by cha monforte

By Cha Monforte

nov 20

There was that buzz last week that the cityhoood in Nabunturan is forthcoming. Was it another diversionary stuff for the P90-million bond flotation that the town’s administration pushes to be implemented? (The bond float pushers are now respondents to an injunction case filed by representatives of people initiative petitioners in town. We’ll not touch this for now at the risk of being held in contempt of court). But sadly, for Nabunturan, the cityhood isn’t really coming (so with Sto. Tomas in Davao del Norte) since the Supreme Court the other day struck out the 16 new cities including the near Mati in Davao Oriental, Bayugan, Agusan del Sur, Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte and Tandag, Surigao del Sur. They’re now back as municipalities!

Forget the costly hoopla and celebrations when these towns became cities via Congress and not via the requirements of the New Local Government Code. What now magistrates, when the “city” officials have been already called as city mayores, city vice mayores and city konsehales? Throw into the garbage cans their calling cards, stationeries, and discard the new  “city” logo and seal, or put white-outs to the word “city” in the birth and marriage certificates of those who were born and who married during the time when Mati, Bayugan, Cabadbaran and Tandag were still called as “cities”?

In declaring the 16 cityhoood laws unconstitutional, the High Couirt pointed out: “The Constitution is clear. The creation of local government units must follow the criteria established in the Local Government Code and not in any other law. There is only one Local Government Code. The Constitution requires Congress to stipulate in the Local Government Code all the criteria necessary for the creation of a city, including the conversion of a municipality into a city. Congress cannot write such criteria in any other law, like the Cityhood Laws.” It’s really a big sorry for our four neighboring towns.

The trouble with their city conversion was that they had their congressmen sponsored their respective cityhood bills when their annual income had not yet hit the P100-million mark. They asked for exemption for it and the Congress granted. That’s via legislative fiat.

Really, forget the congressmen unless they sponsor for the further revision of the New Local Government Code (LGC) and not file bill through the short-cut, backdoor route. You see there’s that ultra-resistence from the cities as the SC’s nullification came from the court case filed by the the league of cities. They, like Tagum City, just don’t want more towns to become cities to eat with them the big IRA allocation for the cities.

But now the real route to cityhood is the New Local Government Code, as amended. Through this, the 3 requirements are needed: 100 square kilometer land area, 150,000 population based on the latest 2007 census and P100 million annual income. Nabunturan has 245.26 sq. kms land area, check. In 2007 census, it has only 67,365 population, fail. By next month, the town’s real income is still less than P100 million as the P40-50 million is still a planned borrowing for the bond float. I said it before, at the very least, the town could only hit the 150,000 population mark in 15 years.

Monkayo is more dejado since it already has the land and income requirements. If Mayor Manuel Brillantes is wise enough, he’ll have to lobby for the correction of the wrong boundary line of Comval’s north and Monkayo gets big chunks of population of Laak, and the Agusan del Sur towns of Santa Josefa and Veruela, and presto, it immediately qualifies to become a city. In 2007 census, Monkayo has 90,971 population.

What’s in a name? Nabunturan town can still function like a city without a city tag if has all the amenities, facilites and services well in place for its residents to live in comfort and convenience. Unfortunately, the town administration of Mayor Macario Humol has apparently been lacking of efforts in delivering good, potable water for the poblacion residents. This, for one gauge alone. (For online edition, visit my blog at:, for comments and reactions, e-mail:, or

OPINION: Nowhere to go

Posted in congressman arrel olano, davao del norte politics news, lakas-cdm davao del norte, senator chiz escudero davao, tagum internet cafe, tagum sex scandal new update with tags , , , , , on October 21, 2008 by cha monforte

oct 20


By Cha Monforte

Congressman Arrel Olano of Davao del Norte’s 1st District might have already chickened out from taking another political career path gauging his latest tough talk with the local media. I got him right after Senator Chiz Escudero ended his friendly banter last Friday at Mankilam’s Tahanan with Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario, Tagum City Mayor Rey Chiong Uy, him- Olano, Vice Mayor Victorio “Baby” Suaybaguio and several other officials.

The info man of Sen. Chiz told me while covering their table talk that the good opposition senator was on a side trip in the province just to meet with provincial officials who are his friends and possibly know problems and suggestions from his constituents in this part of the country. (He was the guest speaker of the Philippine Judges Association conference in Davao City in the evening) . Naturally, being an elected senator of the Republic the governor, city mayor and Cong.Olano had to meet and accommodate Sen, Chiz regardless that he is one great oppositionist. Maybe Cong. Anton of the 2nd District was not home yet last Friday, that is if the hatchet has already been buried between RDR and the Floirendos. Had that been the case, the Lakas-Kampi family in the province would have been complete in meeting the youthful Chiz, a presidential timber.

Sino ba kaya sa kanila ang tunay na oposisyon? Si Manny Villar? Si Mar Roxas? Si Ping Lacson? Si Erap? Sen. Chiz threw a puzzle to his listening pack of provincial and city officials. Each one of today’s presidential timbers, sans him and Sen. Loren, were unmasked of their flip-flopping records in terms of legislations pursued and positions to Pres. GMA’s policies and actuations. Sen. Chiz would seem to say that all of these presidential wannabes in the opposition picked up both carrots and sticks in dealing with GMA, and hence imply that all of them were not true-blue oppositionists. I wouldn’t enumerate here such flop-flops for lack of space.

They were all listening perhaps dumbfounded to the usual razzle-dazzle of Tagalog enunciation of the senator on the matter except quite visibly Cong. Olano who was so busy in his cellphone- texting. Had it not been a friendly banter, he could have been called as out of protocol before a talking senator. Maybe those were urgent messages. I wouldn’t imply that the congressman wasn’t interested to the topic of Sen. Chiz. He has nowhere to go except the opposition.

If Cong. Olano meant it true, during an ambush interview made by some local mediamen, that he didn’t want to be intrigued by the question posed of whether his earlier plan of running for city mayor or governor and others when the present reelectionists are all his partymates, then he is indeed nowhere to go. He said that “the mayor is with Lakas, the governor is with Lakas and I am with Lakas” “Don’t intrigued me with that question,” Olano threw a pique on us.

If we voluntarily take a ride over Gov. RDR’s hint that there seems to be no Floirendo running against him for his reelection, then all’s well is bound to end well with Lakas in Davnor. With the principle of the equity of incumbent, Olano couldn’t be the administration’s standard–bearer for mayorship, governorship, and even to vice governorship and vice mayorship that rightly belong to reelectionist Suaybaguio and Allan Rellon, respectively. He has no incumbent son or daughter to bargain for the open post that he’s finishing to serve, unlike Comval District 1 Cong. Manuel “Way Kurat” Zamora, who has his daughter Boardmember Maricar Zamora-Apsay long gunning for the post in stiff competition with Vice Gov. Ramil Gentugaya (don’t disturb, just married).

But sadly, what remains to Olano for an easy admin crack is a lowly boardmember’s seat, for remaining up to this day to be porkless unlike their Comval counterparts. Such is a real contrast to a congressman’s position that has lots of pork barrel funds that a white paper of Speaker Nograles wanted so much to be demystified of its negative and irregular connotations. But he has lots of top posts for a picking at his pleasure and luxury. Only that he’ll have to jump ship to the opposition where Sen. Chiz truly belongs.

BLOGBUZZ: I felt the academe’s free spirit again. That was last Tuesday when I gave journalism crash course for the UMTC English Guild. Thanks for the invitation to the Rural Urban News, my outfit, for Felimonne Em-em Monteros, the guild’s prexy, Ma’am Armela Gertos, the amiable adviser…. Kodus to NBI Tagum for pinpointing the establishment where the known UM Tagum sex scandal occurred- the Aroma Café and Computer along Sobrecarey St.. Ironically, the suspect establishment is owned by Edgardo Silagan, the president of ICAT- Internet Café Association of Tagum City. The NBI agents armed with warrant seized Thursday 23 computer units from the alleged culprit establishment. Now justice for Baby and her family is near. (Tomorrow: Olano’s fret on purok. For online edition, visit my blog at:, email:

NEWS: No increases in MOOE, capital outlay in P624 M PG budget for 2009

Posted in davao del norte 2009 budget, RDR on Wheels with tags , , , on October 17, 2008 by cha monforte
Due to RDR on Wheels for the “political year”
oct 15
All departments of the Davao del Norte provincial government will be having no increase in their maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) and capital outlay to scrimp more funds for a bigger budget for the priority projects under the overall RDR on Wheels program of Governor Rodolfo del Rosario.
In a phone interview yesterday, provincial budget officer Norma Lumain squelched reports that provincial departments would be suffering decreases in their MOOEs and zero capital outlay for next year, which observers considered to be already the “start of political year”.
“It’s not true. We’re only maintaining the 2008 budget level for the MOOE while the capital outlay proposals from departments are just deferred,”  Lumain said.
She said that the maintaining of budget is being made to give way to del Rosario’s priority programs such as the universal Philhealth coverage for all province-identified poor and indigents, which needs P28 million, and his commitment to give P1 million per barangay in the province.
She added that if the provincial government could share an increment from the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) from the national government and would have savings, the capital outlay for the purchase of equipment and vehicles of departments “would be prioritized in the first supplemental budget next year.”
In the annual executive budget that Lumain expected to forward to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan yesterday, it proposed for the 2009 budget of P624,540,612, of which P568,311,612 is the IRA. The budget grew by 14.7 percent from last year’s P544,583,000.
But sources close to the provincial Local Finance Committee considered that budget proposals from all departments were cut and slashed by 20 to 30 percent or about P2 million to P3 million down, “gikaltasan tanan”.
“They need to raise about P153 million to meet the essential ones, about P121 million for the statutory obligations,” sources said.
They also said that departments badly need MOOE increases next year considering the spiralling prices in the market to render public services effectively.
Budget cuts and slashes though have been made in order to meet increases in salaries and wages and for new positions and jobs under the reorganization that would take effect by the coming December, they said.
Political observers who refused to be named told Sidlak that next year is a “political year” and naturally any incumbent reelectionist would need to have populist projects and services such as the giving of thousands of Philhealth cards aside positioning to create jobs especially the political ones.
Earlier, the governor’s son and provincial sports coordinator, Anthony del Rosario, said that the RDR on Wheels, a numenclature representing the governor’s priorities and thrusts in his administration, is accomplishing only 20% rate, short of its three-year target. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

NEWS: Supreme Court Chief Justice Puno in Tagum City today

Posted in chief justice puno in tagum with tags , , , on September 9, 2008 by cha monforte

sept 5

Welcome CJ to the Palm City!
Justice on Wheels to dispose cases of aged, overstaying inmates of Davnor, Comval

Chief Justice Reynato Puno will arrive in Tagum City today bringing in the Supreme Court’s Justice on Wheels (JoW) mobile court program to Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley.

The JoW mobile court will hear, mediate and decide cases especially involving those inmates who are above 70 years old and detainees whose cases had dragged for longer periods than prescribed by law or those who have finished serving their sentence or were overstaying.

Puno re-launched the “Justice on Wheels” program last July to increase the access to justice by the poor, declog courts of unnecessary and unimportant cases and decongest jails nationwide.
Chief Justice Puno will bring along with him the especially-designed Justice on Wheels bus which has two court chambers inside it where hearings will be made, and in matter of hours, these would lead for the release of inmates.

In a phone interview with Sidlak yesterday, Atty. Gilbert Torrijos, Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court in Tagum Atty. informed that aside from the two hearings inside the JoW vehicle, which will park inside the compound of the Davao del Norte Provincial Rehabilitation Center,  two other hearings will be made in designated rooms inside the provincial jails of the two provinces.

The provincial jails of Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley are all located at Mankilam, Tagum City.

Atty. Torrijos also said that other hearings for JoW will simultaneously occur at the Hall of Justice in the Capitol complex at Mankilam.

He informed that Chief Justice Puno in the morning will be the keynote speaker of a forum with the indigenous people, farmers and firsherfolks to be held at the Bulwagan ng Panlalawigan.

Aside from hearing cases, JOW mobile court activities also include jail inspection and medical checkup for detainees.

Chief Justice Puno has been personally spearheading in the deployment of mobile court room nationwide to look at the plight of the inmates and fast track their cases.

Reports said that so far it led to the releasing of at least 60 inmates in the places they have visited.

The JOW has already visited city jails in Manila, Quezon City, Caloocan City, Kalibo, Aklan, Cebu and will have the provinces of Davao del Sur and Sarangani as the next stops in this current Southern Mindanao sortie, reports added.

Thus, all roads will lead today to Mankilam for the 16 judges in the two provinces as well as for lawyers in the cases selected for JoW hearings.

At present, Davao del Norte has a total of 9 courts which are the 4 Regional Trial Courts (RTC) and 1 Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) in Tagum City, 2 RTCs and 1 MTCC in Panabo City, and 1 Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) in Carmen town.

Compostela Valley, on the other hand, has 1 RTC and 1 MCTC in Nabunturan capital town, 1 MCTC each for Mabini, Monkayo and Compostela, and 1 each for Laac and Maco.

Recently, the Supreme Court reported that court-annexed mediations like the JoW program had settled at least 28,563 or 70 percent of the total 40,729 cases that underwent mediation in the last six years that declogged courts.

Wikipedia reported that JoW, borrowed from Guatemala justice system, was first launched in the Philippines on 2004 with World Bank and Asian Development Bank funds. 4 buses were converted into mobile courtrooms, to have served Manila and other regions. The Manila City Jail was built for only 1,000 inmates but is now crammed with 4,602.(Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

NEWS: Olaño: “I’m alive and kicking”

Posted in olaño with tags , on August 12, 2008 by cha monforte

aug 12

No heart attack
Trains sight on mayor, VG, BM post

Davao del Norte 1st District Cong. Arrel Olaño has denied reports that he has lately suffered a heart attack in Manila saying that far from it he is physically fit and healthy even as he said that he is training his sight to run either as a city mayor or vice governor or boardmember in 2010 polls.

Cong. Olaño bared this range of options in his political career as he is finishing his present third term during last Thurday’s edition of Kapihan sa Kapitolyo press conference at Bulwagan ng Lalawigan at Mankilam provincial government complex.

The congressman admitted that he called up the press conference with Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley mediamen through the Philippine Information Agency to squelch reports that he suffered a heart attack or that he was brought to as hospital in Manila due to a heart ailment.

He was accordingly mum on where the report or rumor came from. Neither did he attribute it as possibly coming from his political detractors, said mediamen who attended the press conference.

Olaño however said that one constituents of him who had earlier got wind of the rumor cried upon seeing him “alive and kicking”.

On the issue of the Value Added Tax, the congressman believed that it is vital to the government’s revenue generation should not be removed by the Arroyo administration.
He also opined there is a need for consultations as to the creation of the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity which in the recent peace agreement has expanded the territory of the present Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).(Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

Standing on fragile sand

Posted in dti davao norte, tagum business with tags , , , on July 31, 2008 by cha monforte

aug 1

The Department of Trade and Industry provincial office Wednesday gave a not so rosy picture of Tagum City’s economy as its chief specialist Vedastito Galvez bared of a low 30-percent yearly renewal rate of businesses after the five-year period of effectivity of business name registrations. That even while there was 74-percent increase of the business name registrations from 2006 to 2007.

Since while the city seems to have already an economy and a business configuration that can already feed its own growth and urbanization since it became a gold boomtown towards the mid 80s, DTI’s statistics on lowest 30-percent renewal rate of business registrations would either imply that these microenterprises, with capitalization of less than P3 million, on where the city’s formal economy has been dependent of, there is unsustainability of micro livelihood and businesses, or this backbone of the city’s economy has just always been beaten black and blue by the uncontrollable macroeconomic blues causing the collapse and bankruptcy of microenterprises. Or a combination of both of these.

The DTI’s renewal rate needs to be treated seriously as each business registration is virtually a business in place and operational, while the DTI provincial office said that it cancels out businesses registered that it catches to be non-operational within six months after the release of business names. Indeed, DTI statistics don’t lie.

If this is so, then Tagum’s economy might be already standing on loose, fragile sand of its economic fundamentals, and its continued sustainability might have only been propped up by continuous streams of microenterprises which put up their chips, while the bad effects of losing microenterprises are only offset by the informal sector of the vast slippered folks and lowly vendors in the underground economy. Unfortunately, those in underground economy have been shut out from the official DTI statistics, and we could not further postulate and assess.

Even then, it has always been the informal sector of the underground economy that has been the savior whenever the country’s economy suffers a crunch like the one that is pinching us ad infinitum nowadays. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)

Wish from DavNor and Comval for today’s SONA

Posted in comval, tagum with tags , , , , on July 29, 2008 by cha monforte


july 28

Today President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will deliver her State of the Nation Address. It was the concept of “super regions” that spinned so much among her last year’s themes after her other hit on bankang papel on her SONA seven years ago. Now we are guessing what’s cooking up in the minds of her speechwriters and propagadandists for today’s menu.

They might have risen early today and throng around the President in making last-hour revision of her SONA considering the collapse of the peace talks between the government and the Moro National Liberation Front. Missing this theme in today’s SONA can portray the President like she’s building a castle for the Republic out of the sand.

Malacanang sounded off yesterday that there was nothing to expect for her speech today. What when the Batasang Pambansa has just been refurbished by millions-worth facelift in giving her a red carpet treatment. Maybe the speechwriters and propagandists just wanted to douse cooler water to a pent-up situation generated by giving much hoopla about the President’s eighth SONA that will be delivered amidst rising fuel prices, a rice crisis and persistent allegations of corruption. It also follows a week when the President gained the infamous distinction of being the most unpopular leader since the Marcos dictatorship was dismantled in 1986.

We expect a highlight of her “Katas ng VAT” program that smells political goodies for her allies that controlled the Lower House and  a roaring applause or a standing ovation for that theme is a good possibility for the salivating congressmen used up with the pork barrel. “Katas ng VAT” has a national touch that even Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley can partake via Daneco’s P500 credit memo by next month which could benefit a half of its poor member-consumers.

For our province and Mindanao, we wish the President to go straight to her specific prescription to lower the prices of rice, perhaps order for the arrest of hoarders and smugglers in the rice cartel as specific, doable solution rather than drumbeating of the long-range and tiresome solutions like agricultural modernization, hybrid seeds, irrigation etc. Such specific action can contribute to the bigger problem of the rice shortage and insufficiency in Mindanao as well as give her a good glimpse for her audience which include the ever-lambasting militants.

We could not wish the President to call for a particular solution on how to stop increases of oil prices like a contra statement to oil deregulation since she has lately been dangling her patronage via this “Katas ng VAT”. But for the Mindanaoans concerned on peace, we expect her a categorical directive for the government negotiators to go back to negotiating table and leave those already settled issues relating the Moro ancestral homeland,  or better still, ask the Congress before her to immediately pass a law for the holding of the plebiscite for the inclusion of 700 other barangays to the Moroland aside from the ARMM.

After all the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity could be created without resorting to a Charter Change (Cha-cha). Lest, we forget she should never utter a word about Cha-Cha in her SONA today at the risk of getting more foes than friends. For such could further sink her popularity to a bottomless pit. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News)