Tuesday, September 30, 2008

PhilHealth Corruption in Ubay, Bohol?

By Wenny Reyes
Bohol Chronicle

A conflict between the executive and legislative departments surfaced following exchanges of denials on legislative concern among top officials here.

Mayor Eutiquio Bernales barred Marlin Amodia from appearing the SB session last Tuesday, when the latter was invited for legislative inquiry.

In denying the local lawmakers, Bernales said, "upon careful consideration of the said resolution, it is clear that it did not state the specific documents, date and information which the body would like to elucidate from the Office of the Municipal Accountant."

On September 1, 2008 Bernales issued an Unnumbered Memorandum directing all executive officials and employees not to appear in any SB session or hearing without his written approval.

Sources said Media was supposed to be interrogated on the status of the Php700,000 allocation intended for the more than 2,000 indigents enrolled by the LGU for PhilHealth membership . But the said amount was not yet paid to said agency, as reported by Kag. Clarita Alesna to the council. However, unconfirmed reports reaching the SB revealed that the same amount was used in another project even without the realignment or augmentation ordinance, the source added.

The invitation of Media would have been the opening salvo for more legislative inquiries in SB's quest for transparency. Accordingly, there are at least four more dubious implementation of projects before the approval of the corresponding budgets necessitating SB probe, too.

On the other hand, vice mayor Galicano Atup set aside Mayor Bernales' reconsideration of Supplemental Budget No. 4 saying, "the SB cannot act on the request of the executive department to reconsider his proposed items since the said SB No. 4 was already approved Sept. 9." Unless, the mayor will issue a veto message tapping its grounds as ultra vires and prejudicial to the public welfare - the items on the approved SB No. 4, he added.

Atup said, the executive's version bear with adjustments made accordingly thru the intercession of kagawad Maximo Boyles Jr, vice chair on appropriations committee, via a win-win solution. But such allegations from the mayor's office was denied by kag. Boyles, Atup said.

The vice mayor noted "the most critical is the insistence of the specific items for the MPDC such as Php50,000 for traveling expenses and another Php50,000 for supplies. Also, under the Mayor's Office, the amount of Php15,000 for electrical supplies for reinstallation of which the budget for milk feeding was reduced to Php100,000."

Atup added that there is already as approved Augmentation Ordinance in the amount of Php177,155 for electrical supplies, the source of which was augmented from the Aid to Cultural Activities. 

Jail Management Transferred to Prison Bureau

Bohol Gov. Erico Aumentado and Jail Director Rosendo Dial, chief of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) Friday signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) transferring the management, supervision and control of the provincial jail to the bureau.

Aumentado said the move relieves the provincial government of the responsibilities of jail management, transferring it to the government agency that has the mandate to exercise direct supervision and control over all municipal, district and city jails and therefore has the technical capability and expertise to do so.

"Time has come for the jail to be handled by men and women trained for the purpose and dedicated to this task as part of the justice system," the governor said in his turnover speech at the Governor's Mansion Friday.

In stressing the bureau's task, he said the Bohol Detention and Rehabilitation Center (BDRC) - to be called the Bohol District Jail under the MOA - should not only be the home for those penalized by law, but for those to be rehabilitated.

Three bills all seeking the transfer of the management of provincial and sub-provincial jails are now pending in Congress. For purposes of the MOA, the period from the actual turnover until such a law is passed, or until the BJMP shall have an approved budget for the operation of the proposed district jail will be called the transition period.

Under the MOA, the province shall allow the use of the existing facilities and equipments used in its operations and give all the rights to use the same to the BJMP by way of usufruct, free from liens and encumbrances.

For the transition period, the provincial government will still provide the manpower complement, and assign or detail personnel to augment those of the BJMP.

These personnel will be under the full operational control of the BJMP, under the joint administrative disciplinary action of both, with the BJMP recommending appropriate actions to the local government unit (LGU).

The province will also provide the BJMP with the amount it is currently

appropriating for the maintenance and operation of the jail for the subsistence allowance of the inmates and the maintenance and improvement of the jail facility, as well as continue to pay for the power and water bills even after the lapse of the transition period.

On the other hand, on top of accommodating all detainees currently under the custody of the BDRC, it will also keep convicted prisoners in designated provincial jail cells.

Subject to the Republic Act 9263 or the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and BJMP Professionalization Act of 2004 and the availability of equivalent rank items, BDRC personnel can transfer to the bureau. Assigned provincial jail personnel not qualified for absorption or appointment may be utilized in other offices of the LGU.

Acting Warden Lt. Col. Raul Mendez and J/Chief Supt. Doris Remedios-Dorigo, BJMP Region 7 director also signed the MOA as witnesses. Mendez will continue as Aumentado's consultant on peace and order, and executive officer for the Provincial Peace and Order Council and Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council but has specific instructions to provide guidance to BJMP-assigned incoming warden Felixberto Jagorin.

In his acceptance message, Dial said Bohol is the third province to turnover its jail to the BJMP, and expects more provinces to follow suit on the strength of a MOA in the absence of an approved law,

He assured the governor that in the safekeeping of inmates, BJMP's utmost responsibility is to treat them humanely. He also vowed "to improve the management always."

He thanked the governor and the LGU for their trust and confidence in the BJMP in assuming responsibility over BDRC.

For her part, Dorigo said she will see to it that BJMP will live up to the governor's expectations. 

Mining Monopoly in Bohol By Domingo Chua?

By Kit Bagaipo, the Bohol Chronicle

After having been accused of cornering all claims of mining sites in the province,

Cebu-based businessman Domingo Chua finally breaks his silence to belie allegations of monopoly.

In a press conference last Thursday, Chua showed proof that he obtained mining rights lawfully and that there is no truth to reports that he owns two-thirds of mineral extraction claims in the province.

In fact, Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) regional director Roger de Dios backed Chua's statement during the monthly "Alarma", a radio forum of the Bohol Tri-Media Association (BTMA) on Thursday.

De Dios said that the total area of Chua's mineral exploration permits covers just 22.03 percent, or a land area of 25,971 hectares.

"It is not true that Chua has dominated mining claims here and that Boholano small-scale miners are being deprived in their applications for mining permits," De Dios disclosed.

Some provincial officials have complained the way mining applications are being handled by MGB which supposedly give preference to the Cebu businessman.

This even caught the attention of Sec. Jose Atienza of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) during his visit here last week, vowing to scrutinize the alleged mining monopoly.

De Dios revealed that small-scale mining permits in the province comprise 77.33 percent, or a total land area of 91,153 hectares.

"All mineral lands is free to all whoever wants to apply," he said.

The MGB official explained that Chua's claimed mineral-rich sites have become a hot issue as some local officials also want to venture into mining the areas.

"We issued the permit to Chua because he applied for it first and there is no hindrance for his claims as long as requirements under the law are complied with," De Dios added.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan is crafting the Bohol Mining Code for the regulation of small-scale mineral extraction in the province with the provincial government issuing permits to applicants. 

Panglao Island Man Accused of Rape

By the Bohol Chronicle

The accuser-turned accused of the celebrated rape and murder of a teenage girl in Bolod, Panglao is formally charged with the crime that happened more than four years ago.

An Information for Rape with Homicide was filed Friday by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor at the Regional Trial Court against Alex Dasco, the self-confessed witness to the gruesome killing of Vivian Dumaluan.

Dasco, whose whereabouts remain unknown months after he surfaced to disclose his knowledge of the crime, was declared by a panel of three prosecutors as a "coached and paid" witness who should be made to answer for his participation in the rape-slay case excluding those whom he accused as the real perpetrators.

The Information on Criminal Case No. 13972 was signed by Provincial Prosecutors Ponciano Uy, Margie Tan Alvaro, Tito Apura and Macario Delusa.

Based on his own testimony, Dasco said he was the one who held the hands of Vivian while she was repeatedly raped sometime in April 2004.

He identified former Panglao mayor Dr. Doloreich Dumaluan as the one who ordered the rape and slaying of Vivian. The former mayor's brother Teofredo (the victim's employer), Romeo Lapinig and Narciso Maghamil were also charged with the former mayor.

The complaint was dismissed but the prosecutors instead found probable cause against Dasco.

Maghamil is detained at the Bohol Detention and Rehabilitation Center after he was originally charged in court for the same crime.

The prosecutors said that Dasco conspired with Maghamil to rape Vivian, only 18 years old at that time, and later inflicting serious physical injuries that caused her death.

The respondents were assisted by lawyers Ruben Jay Medina, Esther Gertrude Biliran, Aleck Francis Lim and Roland Inting. 

China Will Help Bohol Island?

By the Bohol Chronicle

China has committed more support for Bohol's tourism and agriculture - and even in the inclusion of its top tourist destination, the Chocolate Hills, in the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

Ambassador Song Tao of the People's Republic of China gave this assurance during his recent courtesy call on Bohol Gov. Erico Aumentado at the latter's office at the Capitol.

Song told Aumentado that China is ready to give technical assistance to local agriculturists especially in the areas of hybrid rice and hybrid corn production.

The ambassador expressed elation on learning that the governor had been to Jilin province in China four years ago where he saw foot-long ears of hybrid corn.

At the sane time, he invited Aumentado and his agriculture men and women to visit Hunan province some time. Hunan, he said, is China's top hybrid rice producer.

Aumentado accepted the invitation, saying that he wanted to push even more rice and corn production in Bohol.

"Bohol is now the top rice producer in Central Visayas , but it still is only 82.5 percent self-sufficient,' he told Song.

The province can expand its area planted to rice by only so much. To achieve self- sufficiency, he said, the key is to increase production through irrigation, better-yielding seeds and good fertilization techniques, he said of one of Bohol's two economic drivers.

The other, he said, is tourism.

Song said he observed that the resort where his delegation was staying was full of Chinese tourists.

Aumentado said it will even be easier to come to Bohol in the next few years because the Panglao Bohol International Airport will be completed by then.

Simultaneous onstruction of the runway and the terminal building and their appurtenances will start in December or January, with the inauguration indicatively slated on April 5, 2010 - coinciding with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's birthday.

The ambassador also vowed to campaign among his provincemates and other places in China the voting for the inclusion of the Chocolate Hills in the N7W of Nature.

Song comes from Fujian province.

He was elated on knowing that former chair Meng Jianzhu of the party standing committee of the People's Provincial Government of Jiangxi and now Minister of Public Security of the People's Republic of China also visited Aumentado in the same office two years back.

"He has been promoted!" Song said of Meng.

With Song were his wife Guo Jianli; Economic and Commercial Counselor Wu Zhengping; First Secretaries Liu Lujun and Qiu Zhongyi; Third Secretaries Xu Hangtian and Zhou Xiang all from the Embassy Office in Makati City; as well as Consul General He Shijing and Consular Attache Jiang Jun from the Consular Office in Cebu City. They were shepherded by Dr. Simplicio Yap who heads the local Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCCI) and other members.

Song also hosted dinner for Aumentado and other provincial and city officials that evening.

The ambassador also expressed excitement over his visit to the Chocolate Hills the following day. Their tour was capped with dinner al fresco at one of the floating restaurants on the Loboc River courtesy of Mayor Leon Calipusan - with the added attraction of a performance by the Loboc Youth Band.

The proposed Bohol Mining Code seeks to regulate small-scale mineral extraction in the province with the provincial government issuing permits to applicants.

Even Vice Gov. Julius Caesar Herrera has criticized the approval of mining applications in Bohol. 

Hospital Patients Can Leave Without Paying Bills?

Die now, pay later?

Not an insurance company gimmick. Not a scam either.

It is but a reminder from Bohol Gov . Erico Aumentado for public and private hospitals and medical clinics operating in the province not to detain patients and cadavers on the grounds of non-payment of hospital bills or medical expenses.

In a memo-advisory, Aumentado said it has come to his attention that there are still instances where hospitals refuse to release patients who have fully or partially recovered, or cadavers, because they have not paid their bills.

He reminded the administrations of all hospitals and medical clinics that such practice is prohibited under Republic Act 9439.

Section 1 of Ra 9439 states that it shall be unlawful for any hospital or medical clinic in the country to detain or to otherwise cause, directly or indirectly, the detention of patients who have fully or partially recovered or have been adequately attended to, or who may have died, for reasons of non-payment in part or in full of hospital bills and medical expenses.

The memo-advisory said patients shall be allowed to leave the hospital or medical clinic, or the bodies of deceased patients shall be released, with the issuance of the corresponding medical or death certificate upon the execution of a promissory note secured either by a mortgage or by a guarantee of a co-maker.

Aumentado warned hospital or clinic officers or employees responsible for releasing patients or cadavers who violate the law shall be fined from P20,000 to P50,000 or imprisoned for one to six months, or penalized with both fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court.

The governor issued the advisory after receiving several requests from such patients or relatives of those who died, including a British national who wanted to bury his Filipina wife in her home province in Mindanao but whose cadaver the hospital would not release, asking for his intercession. 

Erap Estrada Will Run President in 2010

By the Bohol Chronicle

Deposed Pres. Joseph Estrada arrived here Thursday to get the pulse of the Boholanos : "Will he still be winnable in a presidential race in 2010?"

"I'm moving around the country to personally get the sentiments of the Filipinos against the present graft-ridden regime," he told the Chronicle during an ambush interview upon arrival at the city port.

He strongly criticized the Arroyo government for placing the nation as one of the most corrupt governments in the world today.

"The mandate is for the opposition to win in the 2010 polls," he stressed even as he categorically said nothing is sure yet on his candidacy.

Lawyer Koko Pimentel, counsel of the former President said Estrada can still run for the presidency. However, this legal contention has still to be decided by the High Tribunal.

Estrada was met at the city port by City mayor Dan Lim and former Gov. Rene Relampagos, recognized figurehead of the local opposition.

Mr. Estrada, during his 24-hour visit, met with the youth sector of the community visiting the campuses of the University of Bohol and Holy Name University. He likewise met with the members of the media during a press conference Friday noon at Miravilla Resort.

The former president paid courtesy call to Bishop Leonardo Medroso at the Bishop's Place shortly before he left for Manila.

He privately met with local opposition quarter during a dinner fellowship at The Peacock Resort & Spa in Baclayon town.

Meanwhile, former Gov. Relampagos said everything remains fluid in the political arena. He could not even say if what position he will run once the opposition will anoint him to lead the local opposition for the 2010 elections. 

Secret Fund of Gloria Arroyo Government

By the Bohol Chronicle

An organization spearheaded by Boholanos seeking to promote reforms in the country's budget drops a bombshell uncovering billions worth of government funds hidden under a "secret fund" that is within the sole discretion of the President.

In a briefing conducted by the Center for National Budget Legislation (CNBL) last Friday at the Prawn Farm, CNBL President Joseph Ranola and Chronicle Editor Zoilo "Bingo" Dejaresco III dissected the intimidating and voluminous General Appropriations Act (GAA) to make it comprehensible by the layman.

The so-called secret fund is the Special Purpose Funds (SPF) incorporated in the yearly GAA which are "budgetary items that are non-permanent in nature, appropriated to augment obligations of line agencies, governed by special provisions and subject to the President's approval."

In the GAA, there are standard line budget items, which represent the allocations for line agencies.

In the 2008 GAA (also referred to as the national budget), the allocation for line agencies is P503 billion.

But this year's SPF totaled P562 billion which is even bigger that the budget for line agencies.

Ranola explained that due to the thick books on General Appropriations that are given to congressmen to study, they tend to concentrate on the line budget.

"Because of legislators' limited time, items under SPF are neither tackled nor extensively scrutinized during budget deliberations," he said.

Ranola likewise exposed that a big chunk of the national budget goes to the payment of interest on our country's foreign debt which has ballooned to P3.81 trillion.


There are 19 specific items under the SPF, Ranola disclosed, "but examining the descriptions of each item would only tell you that the budget reflected for line agencies is a deception."

A breakdown provided by CNBL showed some of the items in the SPF which includes: 1) Budget support for government corporations (P12 billion); Agricultural and Fisheries Modernization Act or AFMA (P23 billion); Allocation to local government units (P21 billion): Calamity fund (P2 billion); Contingency Fund (P800 million); Dep Ed School building program (P2 billion); E-Government Fund (1 billion); International Commitment Fund (P1.9 billion); Miscellaneous Personal Benefits Fund (P41 billion); National Unification Fund (P50 million); Priority Development Assistance Fund o commonly known as "pork barrel" (P7.8 billion); and Pension and gratuity Fund (P59.9 billion).

But the biggest item in the SPF however is the "Unprogrammed Fund" which amounted to P114.5 billion this year.

Ranola clarified further that the "Unprogrammed Fund" is a budgetary item referring to appropriations that are not yet supported by corresponding resources. These are standby appropriations which authorize additional agency expenditures for priority programs and projects in excess of the original budget.

Last year's "Unprogrammed Fund" was P61.1 billion. It jumped to P114.5 billion this year or an increase of 87 percent.

Since it is under SPF, President Arroyo has control over it because the release is subject to her approval.

"Unprogrammed Fund" is supposed to be implemented only when revenue collections exceed the resource targets assumed in the budget, or when additional foreign project loan proceeds are realized. But Ranola said even as many of the opposition lawmakers have not received their PDAF allegedly due to lack of funds, unprogrammed funds are known to have been released.

The CNBL presentation proved that billions of pesos are stolen by our government officials.

The group's call was for ordinary people to understand the budget so they could start inquiring from their congressmen on how much they know of the GAA and whether he has done something to get a share for his congressional district.

CNBL also discussed the interrelation of deficits and debts to our budget. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

1st International Conference and Exhibition on Business and Information and Communication Technology

By Roberto Cabardo

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo congratulated the organizers of the 1st International Conference and Exhibition on Business and Information and Communication Technology held in the Mediterranean Room of the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel yesterday.

The President, who declared June as ICT Month, considered the ICT Congress as the centerpiece of the celebration. She also cited that for Filipinos, ICT means "jobs for our young people, a tool for mass education, and an instrument for good governance."

Likewise, she also reported that in the last four years of her administration, the ICT industry has created thousands of jobs. "In the first six months this year, the industry had already created 40 thousand jobs," she said.

Speaking to a thousand delegates from here and abroad, the President reiterated her goal of making the Philippines as global center for outsourcing and have quality citizens who are software developers, medical transcriptionists, call center agents and other ICT related workers.

To achieve this, according to her, means facing the second phase of her economic reform program that includes dealing with the shocking effect of the latest oil price hike, political bickerings, and graft and corruption. To recall, the passage of tax legislations in congress and other revenue generating initiatives are part of the first phase of PGMA's economic reforms.

Although she paid the political price of all the economic reforms she has done, the President appealed to the public to help the government's fight against corruption, prosecution of tax cases, investigation and dismissal of government workers who failed in the lifestyle check, and customs reforms.

Before ending her twenty-minute speech, Arroyo stressed the need for Filipinos to unite in facing the "daunting challenges of the second phase" of her economic reforms. 

New PNP Chief Jesus Versoza

 By committing to continuing what his predecessor has started, incoming police chief Jesus Versoza is now "bound" to push for the review and repeal of the controversial law on youthful offenders. 

  Versoza, who was police deputy director for administration before being appointed to replace Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Avelino Razon, has been quoted in previous interviews as saying he would continue what the general [Razon] has started. 

  General Versoza replaces General Razon, who retires at the mandatory age of 56, September 27.  

  Earlier, Razon, when interviewed by Bohol media openly admitted the PNP and the National police Commission is into a continuing advocacy for review or repeal of the juvenile justice law, "so we could address on the rise of youthful offenders. 

  He admitted that the police leadership has already made representations in Congress about the law. 

  "Ginagawa na po," Razon reminded the media during a press conference in Bohol last week. 

  As to the integrated police transformation program, which Razon implemented, cops believe it would be no big deal for Versoza who has been an exemplary police administrator. 

  He is one of the key personnel directly supervising the program that has elevated the sagging image of the country's police into number 6 best performing government agency, PCSupt Ronaldo Roderos said last week.  

  Versoza would be installed in simple ceremonies at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo herself officiating the rites, revealed Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita.   

  "The President is precisely coming (back on the 27th) to officiate the turnover (ceremonies)," Ermita stressed. 

  Versoza will be the 15th chief of the PNP since its conversion on Jan. 29, 1991 from the now defunct Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police (PC-INP) under the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to its present status as a civilian police organization. 

  Versoza, whose three-star rank is equivalent to lieutenant general in the AFP, is currently the deputy PNP chief for administration. 

  A member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1976, he formerly headed the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) after serving as director of PNP-Region IV. - PIA Chiu

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Our workshop panelist is JAY ALONZO -- one of the country's leading Photography instructors. This FREE workshop by Cebu Photography Club is scheduled on September 28, 2008 Sunday, 9:30am to 12.00 noon. 

Monday, September 22, 2008

7th Asian Youth Girls’ 16-under Volleyball Championship

The Philippines will host the forthcoming 7th Asian Youth Girls' 16-under Volleyball Championship on October 11 to 18 at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.

A total of 12 countries have already confirmed their participation in this week-long event under the auspices of the Philippine Volleyball Federation and the FIVB (Federation Internationale De Volleyball).

The 12 countries are last year's defending champion, Japan, China, Chinese Taipei, Korea, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, Australia, Thailand, India, Singapore, Iran and the Philippines.

The top three finishers in the 7th Asian Youth Girls' (16-under) Volleyball Championship will represent Asia in the 2009 World Youth Girls' (18-under) Volleyball Championship in Mexico.

Supported by Shakey's, the RP team is composed mostly of Shakey's Girls' Volleyball League (GVL) standouts like Alyssa Valdez of University of Santo Tomas, Patty Orendein of La Carlota Bacolod and Janine Marciano of Assumption College.

PVF president Pedro Mendoza appointed Prospero "Butch" Pichay Jr., as chairman of the executive committee, Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan as the honorary chairman and Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan as chairman of VIP reception committee.

Pichay, who is the newest Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) chief, is also the president of the BAP-SBP and the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP).

For inquiries, call the Philippine Volleyball Federation secretariat office at Tel. No. (02) 526-8438 for complete details.

PBA Sta Lucia Realty Can Be the Champion

"Why fix something that's not broken?"

This is the basically what Sta. Lucia coach Boyet Fernandez is harping on at the moment after keeping his Realtors intact for their defense of the PBA Philippine Cup starting Oct. 4 at the Araneta Coliseum.

"I think, on paper, we are still in the top four," said Fernandez, who sounded woozy over the phone because of jetlag from a long flight from the United States where the Realtors went through a conditioning and team bonding tour.
He said that he did not ask management to look at the free agent market in the off-season because he feels that he still has a complete team that was made better by the US trip.

"All the players are looking forward to defend (the Philippine Cup)," Fernandez said. By hook or by crook, as they say.
"It (repeating as champion) would be hard to do, but if you don't aspire for it, it's going to be impossible to do."

Fernandez puts Talk 'N Text on top of the list of the teams to beat, with San Miguel, after acquiring Mick Pennisi from Red Bull and Jay Washington from the Phone Pals, coming in a close second.

Surprisingly, the young Sta. Lucia coach sees Rain or Shine as a serious threat starting this year after the arrival of Gabe Norwood and Solomon Mercado from the rookie pool.

Purefoods, which the Realtors defeated for the crown last season, is also one of the teams to beat, having gone bigger with the acquisition of Paolo Bugia and rookie Beau Belga. The Tender Juicy Giants also added some smarts on the backcourt by tabbing Topex Robinson from Red Bull.

Fernandez said his team is about 70 percent in sharpness going into the last two weeks before the season opens and that he would be working to get his Sta. Lucia crew to 80 percent ready before opening day. (PDI)

Manny Pacquiao vs Ricky Hatton?

Looks like Manny Pacquiao has figured out how his March towards becoming a full-time promoter will run: Oscar De La Hoya first, Ricky Hatton next and then, if he's up to it, Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Pacquiao, arguably the world's best fighter across weight classes , rattled off his choice of opponents in what is seen as a retirement parade, one that will kick off with the Dec. 6 bout against De La Hoya at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

In an interview with boxingherald.com during lulls in his training at Wild Card Gym n Hollywood, Pacquiao said he might take on British junior welterweight champion Ricky Hatton next and then lure Floyd Mayweather Jr. out of retirement.

"That (a fight with Hatton) is a possibility," Pacquiao said. "If I win this fight (against De La Hoya), maybe Floyd Mayweather will come out of retirement looking for a big fight."

Hatton, who is preparing for his Nov. 22 fight against Paulie Malignaggi at Madison Square Garden in New York, told doghouseboxing.com that he is setting his sights on fighting whoever wins between De La Hoya and Pacquiao .

Hatton earlier told the Manchester Evening News that if Pacquiao pulls an upset, he is willing to face the Filipino superstar at light welterweight (140lbs), But if the American legend takes it, he will fight De La Hoya at welterweighter.

After the three matches, Pacquiao , who will turn 30 on Dec. 17, said he will move on to promoting boxing, just like the 35-year-old De la Hoya, who owns Golden Boy Promotions.

"It's my plan that after my boxing career, I want to be a promoter," Pacquiao told boxingherald.com. "I have a promotion coming up on Sept. 26 in San Diego."

Pacquiao's pronouncement practically slammed the door on the completion of a Pacquiao-Marquez trilogy, though the WBC lightweight champ earlier said he is willing to give Juan Manuel Marquez a crack as long as he is the promoter of the fight.

Meanwhile, a ringsidereport.com feature article said Pacquiao's only chance of winning against De La Hoya is scoring a decision and that not even his vaunted power punching "can hurt De La Hoya."

"The 'Pacman' must use his head movement to make De La Hoya miss with the jab, and then he can step inside.  When he gets inside, he cannot settle for one or two punches.  He has got to throw five, six, and seven punch combinations before he backs away," said the article.

"Pacquiao has got to throw a lot of punches when he has the chance to do so .  He has no choice but to outwork De La Hoya in this fight.  It is not likely that he will be able to score a knockout."

The article added that "trying to impress the judges will not be good enough, he (Pacquiao) has to leave them with no choice."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

De La Hoya vs. Pacquiao Pay-per-view Telecast

Tickets to "The Dream Match" – the 12-round welterweight super fight between six-division world champion Oscar De La Hoya and boxing's No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter Manny Pacquiao – will go on sale this Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 1 p.m. ET/ 10 a.m. PT. 

Presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank, De La Hoya vs. Pacquiao will take place Saturday, Dec. 6 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View.

Tickets are priced at $1,500; P$1,000; $750; $500; $250; $150, not including applicable taxes and service charges. Ticket sales are limited to two per person at each price level with a total ticket limit of four per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (702) 474-4000. Tickets also are available for purchase atwww.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets will be sold via Ticketmaster phones and website only. There will be no sales at MGM Grand or any Ticketmaster outlets.

The De La Hoya vs. Pacquiao pay-per-view telecast, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. TP, will be produced and distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View and will be available to more than 71 million pay-per-view homes. The telecast will be available in HD-TV for those viewers who can receive HD. HBO Pay-Per-View is the leading supplier of event programming to the pay-per-view industry. For De La Hoya vs. Pacquiao fight week updates, log on to www.hbo.com.

Proclaiming the Gospel by Roy Cimagala

By Roy Cimagala

If we have to get down to it, proclaiming the gospel is one central duty of every follower of Christ. After all, our Lord told his disciples just before ascending into heaven: "Go into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mk 16,15)
Though addressed directly to his disciples, we have to understand that these words are meant also, in varying degrees and ways, to all of us, members of Christ's mystical body, his Church. 

We just have to feel the unfading urgency of this command, and overcome whatever prejudice or obstacle still keeping us from undertaking this important work.

We should echo St. Paul's sentiments: "Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel." (1 Cor 9,16) Like St. Paul, we need to relish the full weight with which Christ commissioned him to fulfill this task.

As in, nothing less than the plenitude of Christ's redemptive work should be made to bear on our sense of duty and mission. We are not just doing some simple job. It's the whole work of human salvation that is involved.

Thus, ever since Christ's command, the apostles started to preach the gospel. And from then on, the task has never ceased even up to now. Of course, the process is not just a human effort. The Holy Spirit, in a mysterious way, always oversees it.

Still, this indication needs to be understood better. Several reasons come to mind. For one, our human condition tends to easily fall to routine, to oversimplify and reduce, and to miss many essential parts of this mission.

Like, we have to understand that this business of proclaiming the gospel is not just some mechanical work of spreading God's word, in itself already a very important task, given our increasingly secularized culture. It goes much more than that.
The gospel is not just a body of conceptual truths that need to be given out in lectures or classes. It is presenting the mystery of the living Christ as he grapples with every human situation that we can find ourselves in. 

Proclaiming it is not just an intellectual affair. It involves our whole being, and it requires nothing less than our conversion, and not just our attaining knowledge and familiarization of Christ's words.

In other words, proclaiming the gospel requires our living it, that is, living the very life of Christ who said: "For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting." (Jn 3,16)

Proclaiming the gospel requires assimilating it, identifying ourselves with it, making it the flesh of our flesh. It should not just be a possession, a property that we can have and then dispose. It has to be our very own life.

We have to understand that it is Christ's gospel that brings us to eternal life, not our human knowledge alone, or our sciences, no matter how developed and useful they are to us. Christ's gospel has the full resources to bring us to our supernatural goal of communion with God and with everybody else.

The challenge we have in this regard is, indeed, enormous! Proclaiming the gospel demands everything from us. Unless we understand this well, I don't think we can go far in carrying out Christ's command for us to preach the gospel to every creature.

The consoling part is that Christ himself is eternally patient with us. He can wait until we slowly and hopefully effectively realize what is involved in this business.

At the moment, the big task to do is to relate the gospel to our growing body of human knowledge that seems to develop independently of the gospel, that is, of any relation to God.

Ideally, the gospel should inspire our pursuit of knowledge. Our sciences, for example, should also affirm the gospel. The big problem now is that while the gospel and our knowledge go in different levels, any relationship between them appears to be vanishing.

To effectively proclaim the gospel, there's need to show how it is relevant and crucial in every human situation and knowledge we may have, including the very mundane realities of our life.

It may transcend our human condition, but it has to immerse itself in our life and grapple with every aspect of that life. Otherwise, it's as if Christ himself failed in his redemptive work.

Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano

The CVSCAFT Bilar Main Campus tendered a welcome program for Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano, chairman of the Senate committee on education, culture and arts, and his party at the Farmer's Training Center last Sept. 13.

School administrators together with the faculty and employees gathered and warmly welcome visitors and guests.
In her welcome address, Professor Virgilia D. Tejada, CVSCAFT-MC, college director, pointed out that the senator is "a person whose heart is close to the education sector." She expressed high hopes that the senator's visit will pave way for further developments – the ultimate aim of which is for the approval in the senate of CVSCAFT's application for a university status.

Dr. Elpidio T. Magante, SUC President II introduced the honored guest and stated the purpose of the Senator's visit which was to conduct an ocular inspection of the college in line with the school application for elevation to university status.

Sen. Cayetano in his message shared the good news that CVSCAFT's application has passed scrutiny and approval by the House of Representatives and it is now forwarded for final action to the senate.

He vowed to work for the favorable endorsement of the application to Senate President Manny Villar and Cynthia A. Villar, chairman of House committee on higher and technical education.

CVSCAFT has pinned its hopes on the good senator's efforts for the birth of "Bohol Island State University " soon. 

Tropical storm "Nina" Iinternational codename: Hagupit

Tropical storm "Nina" (international codename: Hagupit) intensified as it moved toward the eastern coast of central Philippines last night, the state weather bureau said.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) placed nine provinces under public storm signal number 1 as Nina's center was located about 490 kilometers east of Virac, Catanduanes at 10 p.m.

About 200 people were reported stranded in the ports of Virac and Tabaco City in Albay as of noon Saturday after the Philippine Coast Guard halted sea voyage there.

In its 11 p.m. bulletin, PAGASA said Nina was moving west-northwest at about 15 kilometers per hour, with maximum sustained winds of about 105 kilometers per hour near the center and gusts of up to 135 kilometers per hour.

Nina was expected to be 195 kilometers northeast of Virac by Sunday evening and 80 kilometers northeast of Casiguran, Aurora by Monday evening. It was forecast to be 90 kilometers north-northwest of Laoag City by Tuesday evening.

Public storm signal number 1 has been hoisted over the provinces of Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Albay, Legaspi, Sorsogon, Northern Samar, Western Samar and Eastern Samar.

The storm was expected to enhance the southwest monsoon and bring rains over Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Are Philippine Banks Safe?

Wall Street and the global financial system reeled to the ropes last week in one of the worst financial crisis to hit in decades.
Aristocratic giants like the Lehman Brothers, one of the world's largest investment banks, filed for bankruptcy.  AIG, the insurance behemoth had to be aided by billions of state funds to stay afloat.  The venerable Merrill Lynch had to be bought by Bank of America for a third of its value to keep it alive.

Since financial papers are sold at premiums and discount globally, some of the Lehman papers were in the asset portfolio of some Philippine banks , namely, the BDO-PCIBank (Henry Sy), Metrobank, Development Bank of the Philippines, RCBC, Bank of Commerce and the UCPB.

But the P13 billion to P17 billion  estimated loss for these Filipino banks is not even 1% of the entire banking system and is an insignificant percentage of the assets of the individual banks - many of who had "provided" for the losses. Each of the banks mentioned is solid and the Philippine banking system is sound. Don't believe rumor-mongers, don't panic - keep your deposits where they are.

Mayor Dan Lim vs Congressman Edgar Chatto

City Mayor Dan Lim yesterday called for an  "open line" with Rep. Edgar Chatto whose political paths always comes opposing at each other because of the former's allegations that the last-termer solon has positioned his brother-in-law, City Vice Mayor Jose Antonio Veloso to run against him in the 2010 elections.

However, the vocal mayor sounded "friendly" yesterday when he appreciated the call of Rep. Chatto in his top-rated "Mayor's Report" over dyRD where the solon explained his side regarding the raging issue on the drainage problem in the city.

For his part, Chatto said the communication line to the city mayor remains open as far as he is concerned especially that the city belongs to the 1st congressional district.

Lim and Chatto who call each other as "chief" sounded so calm and friendly over the airlane yesterday.
The mayor told the solon "it's better if we always communicate personally and not send messages through Bohol Board Member Ae Damalerio or Vice Mayor Veloso."

For Lim, he considers both Damalerio and Veloso as political allies of the solon.
It maybe recalled that Lim reacted sharply when Damalerio who is the chair of the committee on environment of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan commented on the drainage issue. 

The city mayor is always quoted as saying that both the provincial board member and the vice mayor are speaking like "spokesmen" of Rep. Chatto.

For their part, Damalerio and Veloso always defend themselves saying that if they tackle public issues, they are acting on their individual capacities as duly elected officials and not as speakers of the solon. - The Bohol Chronicle

Indian National Complains Against Filipino Mayor

By Bohol Sunday Post

This old American saying that says "good fences make good neighbors"  made an Indian national wondered aloud why in heaven's name is he  not  a beneficiary to this time-tested dictum. 

The predicament of Satish Nair, an Indian national who is still euphoric of the opening of the family-owned Grand Luis Lodge in Dauis, Bohol broke into the open after he can't take it anymore the

threats and harassment of his neighbor, Dr. Doloreich Dumaluan.

Seeking the help of Mayor Benedicto Alcala he asked the town executive "what is the way forward" to solve his problem.

Nair said his problem with Dr. Dumaluan started when he fenced his property located beside the Dumaluan Beach Resort .

On two occasions Friday , a Post reporter was sent to the area to get the side of the former mayor only to be told that he was in Manila.

Just as he thought that by fencing the property he will end up to be a good neighbor, Nair woke up one morning seeing the fenced beach-front lot tied with three man-biting dogs.

According to his recollection, it was Dumaluan's men  who allegedly constructed a shed inside  his property to shelter the dogs which the  Indian national described as ferocious. 

The property which his wife Jacinta has inherited from his father, the late Luis Lorejo, was claimed by Dumaluan as his explaining his behavior towards the lot. The former mayor has expressed interest to buy the property or swap to another lot he owns but the lady Lorejo was adamant. 

The Nairs who are out of the country this time was planning to develop the beach front area into a budget hotel but the plan went kaput when Dumaluan put a shed in it along with the three dogs as if guarding against "intruders." 

In his SOS  to Mayor Alcala, Nair said his ordeal with his neighbor started when the former mayor started the construction of his beach resort. 

Even if he hanged a "No Trespassing" sign on the property, still his neighbor used the property as dumping ground of construction materials. The sign was tore to pieces. 

Philippine Banks Has Investments in Lehman Brothers

The history of Lehman Brothers parallels the growth of the United States and its energetic drive toward prosperity and international prominence. What would evolve into a global financial entity began as a general store in the American South. Henry Lehman, an immigrant from Germany, opened his small shop in the city of Montgomery, Alabama in 1844. Six years later, he was joined by brothers Emanuel and Mayer, and they named the business Lehman Brothers.

 Just a few days ago, Lehman Brothers filed Chapter 11 bankruptchy proceedings to protect itself  against debtors. It means as simply stated that if  one has any vestments or receivables from Lehman Brothers Inc., its clients cannot collect money from the company. At the latest, :Lehman Brothers Inc., is in negotiations with Barclays Bank from UK to sell its assest for about $3 billion.

 Never has it happened before that a major investment bank as Lehman Brothers Inc has collapsed. This let USA legislators  to examine closely the fiscal policies and regulations of the US governments. Some say the collapse of the bank was due to the greendiness of some Wall Street investors.

 The local financial firms face potential risks if they invested in these troubled Wall Street firms, whether directly by buying Lehman's or AIG's shares, or their other permutations, which in industry parlance is referred to as financial derivatives.

 Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) governor Amando Tetangco, Jr. said that a survey among the Philippine banks showed that derivative investments in Lehman Brothers aggregate to about P15 billion, roughly 0.3 percent of the banking sectors' total assets. 

 Three of the top universal banks—Metrobank, Banco de Oro, and Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation—have come forward to disclose that they have exposures in Lehman but downplayed the amounts as not material enough to cause a major dent on their finances. 

 Metrobank, the country's largest lender, earlier reported that it has $20.4 million bond investments in Lehman Brothers Holdings, and has set aside $14 million to cover it. 

 Banco de Oro also earlier announced that it has provided P3.8 billion, the peso equivalent of its $80.7 million exposure in Lehman, as buffer funds. They were joined later on by RCBC, which said it had prepared P980 million to cover potential losses in Lehman. 

 Tetangco said these disclosures should be considered positively. "It shows these banks have the resources to absorb a drop in the price of their investments in Lehman Brothers." 

 Tetangco stressed that Philippine banks could survive this kind of disruption because they are adequately capitalized. Banks were required to set aside funds appropriate for risks being taken in line with the implementation of the Basel 2 framework, an international benchmarking system. Basel 2 sets certain thresholds for available capital which determines how much the banks could lend. 

Remembering Martial Law of 1972

            How time flies. How fickle is our memory.

            Save for a few who have resolved not to forget, most Filipinos have relegated Proclamation 1081 to oblivion. Exactly 36 years ago today, Pres. Ferdinand Marcos placed the entire country under Martial Law.

            In one fell swoop, he would forever change the course of history.

            Few people who were there would deny that. The thousands who were killed, tortured, arrested and subjected to inhumanity by the Marcos regime will swear that their lives would never be the same again.

            Time however has a way of allowing people to recover. For every life that clings to the bitterness that was bred by the hurt inflicted on them during those tumultuous years, there are several who have preferred to make it a closed book.

            Those who remember continue to harbor the horrors of Martial Law . To thousands of youths whose idealism led them to actively oppose the dictator, not only their innocence but their very future were taken away from them.

            For all its faults, Martial Law taught most people the value of freedom. While many took it for granted prior to 1972, those who were there when history was written in those dark years knew how it was to be without them.

            In most cases, experience is the best teacher. In this case, it came with a heavy price. It was a very costly lesson.

            The problem about learning from experience is that we never learn.

            One of the tools that Marcos used to stifle dissent was to muzzle the media. In those days, only the media organizations that sang paeans to the dictator were allowed to operate.

            The rational for this is obvious: for as long as people are kept in the dark about the real score, they will be obedient and cooperative. Or so they thought.

            People eventually caught up with the trick. While the controlled media painted only rosy pictures of the regime, there were those who managed to leak unsavory details through every conceivable medium.

            The lesson here is that no matter how hard the media tries to distort the news, people will eventually know the real score. No matter how you sweep the dirt under the rug, it will show up when you least expected it.

            Today, the temptation to take the route that Marcos took in 1972 seems more and more appealing. Suddenly, 1081 looks like an attractive proposition again.

             It is timely to issue a reminder – if not a warning: nobody can fool all of the people all of the time. If Martial Law worked then, it won't this time. - Editorial, Bohol Sunday Post Newspaper

Request for Police Wehicles and Diagnostic Equipment

  The Bohol Provincial Development Council (PDC), Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC), League of Municipalities of the Philippines Bohol chapter (LMP-Bohol), Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP), Provincial Tourism Council and representatives of the church and private sector, in a recent joint meeting passed four resolutions endorsing the request for police vehicles and diagnostic equipment.

  Gov. Erico Aumentado presided over the meeting at the Bohol Tropics Resort in Tagbilaran City that had Police Director General Avelino Razon Jr., chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), as guest of honor and speaker.

  Razon right there and then indorsed the LMP-Bohol resolution to PDir. Charlemagne Alejandrino, director for logistics.

  Anticipating that he will be handed resolutions requesting for vehicles, firearms and equipment, Razon said he brought Alejandrino along on his two-day Bohol visit, as well as PDir. German Doria, director for human resource and doctrines development. Doria had declared open the 45-day training for the prospective members of the Bohol Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat) team the following day.

  Aumentado earlier prepared to indorse a similar request, but for 13 towns only based on an inventory prepared by P/Sr. Supt. Edgardo Ingking, provincial director. He waived his request in favor of the LMP's that asked for 22 vehicles, and even added a request for one more vehicle for the use of Ubay town.

  Ubay is next to Tagbilaran City in terms in terms of population and voting population, and the biggest town where land area is concerned. One barangay, he justified, is even 42 kilometers from the town proper.

  The governor noted that the local government units, rather than the PNP, are tasked to maintain the police vehicles in running condition. As such, the mayors would know the condition of these vehicles, especially if these are already beyond economic repair.

  The councils also passed separate resolutions for the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) through its chair Ephraim Genuino and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) through its chair Sergio Valencia requesting that the government income-generating entities provide an MRI machine and a hyperbaric equipment, respectively, for the Bohol Diagnostic Center.

  Now undergoing construction, the center aims to provide diagnostic services to indigent patients in Bohol. As such, they will no longer need to go to Cebu and therefore cut down on expenses for fare, among others.

SWAT Police Force in Bohol

Director General Avelino Razon Jr., chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Friday activated the Bohol Tourist Police Unit (BTPU) and opened the training of the Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat) team in rites held at the Community Police Action Center (Compac) in Brgy. Bolod of the tourist town of Panglao.

  Gov. Erico Aumentado invited Razon to the twin ceremony, especially after the latter committed P580,000 in the form of training and equippage to the Bohol Swat Team. Razon's Bohol visit is among his last official acts as he is set to relinquish the command in rites to be officiated by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo slated on Oct. 3.

  In his message, Razon said establishing the tourist police in Bohol is a good decision because the province has lots to offer. He said he has gone as far as Bali (Indonesia), Casablanca and Maraquez in Morocco but these pale in comparison to the diverse attractions of Bohol.

  As such, tourists troop to Bohol, and it is but fitting and proper to train the police to secure the lives and property of local and foreign tourists alike – on top of their regular duties, he emphasized.

  However, he sees Bohol as still "too shy" in the promotion of its attractions, among them the dive sites, beaches, rivers and the tarsier – rattling off the other tourism towns where tourist police action centers will also be set up.

  With aggressive promotion, even more tourists will come, hence, Bohol's police must be world class – not do mere backwoods policing – and come up to the tourists' standards and expectations, he said.

  On the other hand, on top of their regular training, the additional training on special police operations make the Swat team members perform better. Their enhanced tactical capabilities can transform them into a formidable unit in answering "police situations."

  The special training gives the Swat team the tactical edge in the performance of their duties, he said.

  He also encouraged Chief Supt. Ronald Roderos, Region 7 director, to include foreign languages in their future trainings. Even simple greetings said in a tourist's native tongue can already generate lots of goodwill, he said.

  Tourist police and Swat teams are also trained in basic life support, search and rescue operations, among others.

  For his part, Aumentado expressed elation over the training, saying that better performance of the police go a long way in building confidence among visitors and investors alike.

  He said the police have also been a strong force and one of the key factors in the jump of Bohol from Club 20 – the country's 20 poorest provinces – to its 52nd position among 80 provinces today, according to the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB).

Science Fair in Jagna

By Gregorio Tavera

     The 19 towns of the Third Congressional District of Bohol composing  the Educational Service Area (ESA) III of the Department of Education (DepEd) Division of Bohol held its yearly science fair here last September 12.

      Some officials of the division office led by Assistant Schools Division Superintendent Maria Linda Namocatcat graced the occasion.

      Among the provincial DepEd officials who came to attend the districtwide event were Engr. Hermenilda Gracio, ES-1 Science secondary; and Tarcisia Quilatan, ESA III director.

      The activities in the contest proper that highlighted the whole-day Science fair were Science quiz, Science dama that included the teachers and parents in the contest, investigatory project contest and the strategic intervention materials (SIM).

      The elementary division activities were held at the Jagna Central Elementary School multi-purpose building, while the secondary contests at the Jagna gymnasium.

      According to DepEd officials, the salient features of the competition was the promotion of the working knowledge and skills of the students, mentors and also the parents in the field of science and technology.

      In the opening program Vice-Mayor Teopisto Pagar gave the welcome message instead of the mayor who was out of town for an official business.

      "We are both blessed and proud to have hosted this kind of activity as it would enhance the know-how of our people in science to cope up with the increasing global necessity of science outputs for mankind's use," Pagar said.

      In the SIM competition-high school level, Sierra-Bullones National High School topped in the first year to fourth year categories.

      In the science quiz that followed, Guinacot and Mayuga schools- -both of Guindulman- -were at the peak in the first year and third year tests, while Candijay High School and Loboc High School were at the peak in the second year and fourth year levels, respectively.

      For the Science investigatory project individual category, La Hacienda high school was first placer. For the team category, Valencia High School romped away with the first place, while Lonoy Heroes Memorial High school (LHMHS) of Jagna won the teachers category.

      In the Science dama for students, Dusita High School led in the first, and third year selection for the best performance. Dimiao High School and Policronio Dano High School of Carmen bested won in the first and fourth year levels, respectively.

      In the parents category, the first prize went to Pilar High School; and the all-year level category was won by Dusita High School for the second year with Candabong High School of Anda on top in the third year level, and Pilar High School for the fourth year.

      In the fifth-row teacher category, LHMHS topped the first year and S-Bullones High School, won in the same competition.

      The following emerged first prize winners in the elementary level of the science quiz: Jagna Central for Grade III, Mayuga Elementary School of Guindulman for Grade IV, B-Suerte Elementary School of Pilar for Grade V, and Matin-ao Elementary School of Carmen for Grade VI level.

How Corrupt the Philippine Judiciary System

By Bingo P Dejaresco

The recent decision of the Supreme Court on the Court of Appeals (court) involvement in the takeover bid of the GSIS over the Meralco was a face-saving event meant for damage control.

For the seeming "obscene haste" that the CA had ruled that the SEC had no jurisdiction over Meralco - and allowing the Lopezes, de jure and de facto, to maintain control the power firm's management - and staving off the corporate pirates led by GSIS Head Winston Garcia, the SC ruled strongly.

CA Justice Vicente Roxas was sacked brutally while the apparent whistle-blower got a slap in the wrist (CA Justice Jose Sabio) and reprimands went to Justice Bienvenido Reyes and Presiding Justice Conrado Vasquez Jr.

The Roxas sacking was a mere illusionary show of strength but the suspension of Sabio, despite the propaganda blitz to canonize him a semi-saint was neither here nor there.

Justice Sabio's attempt to meet alleged pro-Meralco bribe-giver Francis de Borja in the Ateneo Law School grounds (where the former teaches) was clearly unethical - regardless if the true bribe money was P10 million or P50 million. His immediate silence over the try of his brother PCGG Chairman Camilo for Jose to load the dice in the Meralco-GSIS Case is, at best, an act of ineptitude and lack of balls.

Saying "I will vote according to my conscience, anyway" cannot justify his silence.

The act of Camilo Sabio, on the other hand, to unduly influence his brother's judicial decision undermines his post as top Stolen Goods Pursuer as PCGG Chairman, a post that demands the utmost transparency and unsullied integrity. He was last seen on the front pages, dancing the reggae with Imeldific Marcos during her birthday bash, the Shoe Queen being one of the principals the PCGG is training its guns on.

Is not Dancing with the Enemy totally without taste and at worst - dangerous liaison hatched at the ballroom?

Is that lack of decorum any better than the Executive Department's release of its bulldogs from the pit – a.k.a. the GSIS to terrorize the Lopez and power-drive the latter to the mat and thus submit to a "reverse privatization?" - ceding the private Lopez ownership to government hands? Can that be better?

A question can be asked if Francis de Borja, the cock-breeder and industrialist of Quezon, been a regular wheeler dealer whose expertise may have ended with the Meralco-GSIS imbroglio? Will he not be brought to court for bribery of persons in authority, magistrates at that?

If Meralco used money and influence to combat the predatory State, wasn't that a mere act of defense to survive the corporate assault on the ownership of the utility firm it had for decades possessed?

Were the spectacles we witnessed in this case really represent of how the wheels of justice in this country are really turned - for better, mostly for worse?

What ails the Justice system in this country? For one, as co-equal of three branches of  Government (alongside the Executive and the Legislative) the Judiciary has a pittance of a budget - a mere P9.6 billion, a fiddling 6% of the entire Philippine Budget of P1.6 trillion in 2008.

Do we want Lady Justice to walk in crutches due to a tiny budget?

The Department of Justice already has a P5.6 billion Budget added to the Ombudsman's own Budget of close to a billion and another P250 million for the Commission on Human Rights. Are we treating the Judiciary - the arbiter of law and justice - with respect and fairness?

Does that small budget be the cause why words like fixcal and cashunduan ni Judge had become a permanent phraseology when referring to our Justice System?

Aside from budget hikes, shouldn't judicial reforms include lifestyle checks and evaluation of the quantity and quality of cases where a decision has been rendered by such judges - be started now rather than later?

Be that as it may, the Philippine Justice system seems to be (at least) just in the middle of rankings made (no. 6 among 12) by an independent survey team among over a thousand executives as to its efficacy - even though the Philippine Judiciary has been known not to enforce contracts, is susceptible to Executive interference and known to manufacture "obscene and inappropriate" court decisions.

With a ranking of 6.10 (0 Best and 10 worst), RP was behind (in order) Hongkong, Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan but ahead (in order) of Malaysia, India, Thailand, China, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Notice that those ahead of the Philippines are nations with relatively good, progressive economies. Is there a correlation existing between economic prosperity and efficacy of the Justice System?

Let's aim higher then, if that is the case.

Pampanga Governor Agrees Recall Election

By Perseus Echeminada
Philippine Star

Beleaguered Pampanga Gov. Ed Panlilio declared today that he is prepared to face the recall proceedings initiated by his political rivals with high hopes that the people will support him.

"Yes I will run in the recall election," Panlilio said when he was asked during the Weekly Kapihan sa Sulo hotel news forum if he will run as candidate in case the recall petition will be approved by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

The governor however said that this early his supporters have been conducting a counter signature campaign against the recall initiatives.

Panlilio said he is expecting that the civil society groups, which played a major role in his victory in the last election, will again rally behind him. "I have offered the best services for Pampanga," he said.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Funny Chat With A Taxi Driver

By Roy Cimagala

I just had an interesting if funny chat with a taxi driver the other day. He was young, clearly from the province, what with the accent and the fresh, simple manners he had, and excited to have a priest as a passenger.

He was not listening to the radio nor did he have an Ipod or MP3 stuck into his ears. So I felt lucky, since we had a chance to talk, something rarely done nowadays between drivers and passengers. You know, gadgets tend both to undermine personal dealings and to harden self-absorption.

Perhaps to make me happy, he told me he was glad that Cardinal Vidal launched a signature campaign against the Reproductive Health Bill. I thought, how nice to have a taxi driver having more sense than many of our congressmen and congresswomen!
I soon discovered that he was still single and that he was planning to get married soon. I asked him how many children he would like to have. He said, just about 2 or 3. He gave the usual reasons.

When I asked him how he was going to do it, he said, "Simple, Father, after 2 or 3, I will have a vasectomy." You could imagine how I reacted at that instant. But I managed to control myself, look at the bigger picture and talk to him calmly without scaring him.
Until we reached my destination, I talked to him about the nature and dynamics of responsible parenthood and conjugal chastity. The nice thing about it was at the end, I really felt that he was sincere when he thanked me and told me he would follow my advice.
 "I actually know already what you've said, Father," he said. "Except that these days I don't hear anything about them, while the wrong view has become the popular position."

I immediately realized how sadly true his observation was, and how enormous the challenge is of conveying the truth about responsible parenthood and the faith, piety and chastity that accompany it.

I always believe that no matter how wounded and dirtied, the human heart can never forget the natural moral law that is written in it by God. It's still capable of recognizing what is true and false, what is good and evil.

All this, in spite of the fact that the media is not helping. It seems to go where the money is. Plus, many civic and political leaders, who are supposed to know better, actually give the wrong doctrine often matched by errant behavior.

In the US, for example, we recently heard of how two national political leaders, Catholics both, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic vice-presidential candidate Senator Joe Biden, committed grave mistakes in public.

The woman said that in her long study of the Church position on abortion, she found out that the Church fathers and doctors (theological not medical) did not know when human life actually started.

She was immediately corrected by American bishops who found her misrepresenting the Church teaching on this matter.
The man, more wily, said that while he admitted what the Church teaches on when life begins, he considers such doctrine as a personal affair and religious in nature, and therefore, not to be imposed on others.

Again, the bishops corrected him saying that the claim that life begins at conception is a scientific truth and not just a religious doctrine, and that it has a universal application and not just a personal affair of some individuals.

I was happy to learn about these immediate corrections and direct interventions of the American bishops, and I hope that the same action can be expected of our bishops here in our country.

The impression of many is that our bishops are slow and remiss in correcting our Catholic politicians who deviate in their public pronouncements from Church teachings on faith and morals. They seem to be trigger-happy instead in purely political issues that are open to different valid opinions.

The question is asked: if a taxi driver can be corrected by a priest, and a politician by a bishop, who can correct priests and bishops when they are wrong or at least remiss in their duties especially of proclaiming and defending Church doctrines relevant to public issues?
Actually, the answer is known. But is it followed, is it applied to concrete cases of clear imprudence and neglect? No one seems to hear anything about any such instance.

State of Emergency

Former defense secretary Avelino Cruz Jr. has called on Filipinos to be "vigilant and fight any attempt" of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to impose emergency rule if hostilities in the Central Mindanao region escalate and ignite terrorist attacks in other parts of the country.

In an interview on the television news channel ANC Thursday night, Cruz said: "There is always temptation... We should be vigilant, we should fight against any attempt to impose any kind of emergency rule because that's the last thing we need... It will exacerbate the situation."

He said that Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Alexander Yano would most likely not allow this to happen.
"Yano, I think, is a very professional soldier who exhibits responsibility and restraint. He knows how to [balance] these operations in order to achieve the correct objectives," Cruz said.

He added that the officers and men of the AFP would not "go along just in case somebody has the insane idea of trying to do that."
"I don't think the AFP will go along with it," he said.

In the same interview, Cruz expressed pity for the military that was tasked to defend the territory nearly given away by the government in the controversial Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) with the Muslim separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
He also said the Filipino people should be vigilant against any attempt to change the Constitution before the May 2010 presidential elections.

"Any amendment to the Constitution should be done after 2010 in an environment devoid of any suspicion or [without] people in government with a hidden agenda of some sort," Cruz said. "If you have a new president in 2010 to shepherd these amendments, it will be a transparent, non-suspicious and more auspicious situation than what we have now."

Cruz is currently a partner in the country's most influential law firm, CVC Law (Villaraza, Cruz, Marcelo & Angangco), more popularly known as The Firm, which used to be President Arroyo's private legal counsel.

The Firm is now the legal consultant to opposition Sen. Manuel "Mar" Roxas, who filed a motion before the Supreme Court, questioning the constitutionality of the MOA-AD as it would supposedly dismember Mindanao from the rest of the country.

7 New Wonders of the World

Of four natural wonders the Philippines is gunning for inclusion in the New 7 Wonders (N7W) of Nature, only one remains in the top seven now.

This prompted the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) to pass a resolution enjoining all governors and all other local government unit (LGU) administrations in the country to support the Tubbataha Reef of Palawan, the Chocolate Hills of Bohol , the underground river of Puerto Princesa City and the Mayon Volcano of Albay in the N7W of Nature global competition.

Govs. Erico Aumentado of Bohol and Mario Joel Reyes of Palawan introduced Resolution No. 2000-018 during the LPP General Assembly on Sept. 12 at the Marco Polo Plaza, a hotel and convention center in this city.

Selection of the 77 semi-finalists – and ultimately the 21 finalists and the New 7 Wonders of Nature – is by internet voting. Voters can log on to www.new7wonders.com, click on N7W and go to the live ranking to view the top 77. As soon as votes are in, the live ranking is updated twice a day, so that the league is seeking support for the country's nominees.

Of the Philippines' nominees – all with Official Supporting Committees (OSC) already – Puerto Princesa Subterranean River in Palawan is No. 6. Mayon Volcano is at No. 9 while the Chocolate Hills is at No. 11 although it used to be No. 3. The Tubbataha Reef is at No. 18.
The LPP is taking the cudgels for the nominees in securing votes in order that their inclusion among the 21 finalists, and ultimately their selection in the N7W of Nature can be realized, the resolution stated.

The assembly unanimously adopted the resolution that was certified true and correct by Gov. Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar, secretary general, and attested by Govs. Mario Joel Reyes of Palawan, executive vice president, and Loreto Leo Ocampos of Misamis Occidental, national president.

A check last night of the N7W website however showed changes in the contest mechanics. 
It said voting for nominees will continue through July 7, 2009. Then the New7Wonders of Nature Panel of Experts, under the leadership of Prof. Federico Mayor, former Director-General of UNESCO, will review the top 77 nominees and choose the 21 finalists, to be announced on 21 July 2009. The 21 finalists will then be put to popular vote. 

But on Jan. 1, 2009, only one national nominee per country will be allowed to proceed: the highest ranked in the voting on Dec. 31, 2008. Therefore until the end of 2008, countries with more than one national nominee will be racing to choose the national representative that is allowed to continue into 2009.

Nominees shared by more than one country will remain and continue into 2009.
The New 7 Wonders of Nature is a spin-off of the New 7 Wonders of the World campaign that was a resounding success. The latter had more than 100 million votes cast, taking democracy to a new global level. 

Now, the second campaign organized still by the non-profit New7Wonders Foundation, to choose the New7Wonders of Nature, is off to a promising start: Some 200 nominations were submitted by some half a million people within the first few months of the campaign, the website said. - Bohol Chronicle

Salvage Zone for Beach Resorts

By Ric Obedencio

Beach resorts in Panglao are still hard put against the mandated 20-meter public access zone.
For years now, officials are fighting tooth and nail to get rid of the permanent structures that hinder the 20-meter salvage zone along almost all shorelines on this island as sanctioned by national law to provide public access.

But for Panglao Mayor Benedicto Alcala it's about time to eject those eyesore-structures along the prohibited 20-meter zone no matter who gets hurt. But in so doing he got the ire of the resort owners/operators and now is facing several cases filed against him for his action.

What makes him worry is that it's burdening him due to legal battles that cost him a lot. That's why he called on generous souls to support him in his fight during the forum on Bohol Marine Triangle (BMT) held last week at the top of Bohol Plaza Resort in this town.
The issue (of 20-m zone) worsened when some Panglao officials are they themselves the lawbreakers apparently because they have their own structures within the prescribed zone. 

Stakeholders including resort owners/operators, non-government organizations (NGOs) public officials led by Gov. Erico B. Aumentado and Cong. Edgar M. Chatto and representatives of various national government agencies and law enforcers who attended the two-day forum did not finger-point who to blame in the proliferation of the permanent structures even as this occurred during the reign of Alcala as mayor for more than ten years.

Officer-in-charge Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Nestro Canda confirmed several resorts remained stubborn to give way for the 20-meter zone but some started to realize it is needed.

For his part, Dauis municipal councilor Pedro Honculada told the forum that Dauis still facing the same dilemma. He cited as an example the man-made islet of plush resort allegedly constructed without the benefit of consultation with the local officials, wondering how come it secured an Environmental Clearance Certificate from Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). 

He said that despite the fact that the municipal council has resolved to call the attention of the DENR to dismantle the man-made islet of the said resort reportedly where Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recently visited. 

Canda said in an interview he will make an update and determine those who still breach with the 20-m salvage zone law for possible publication.

Tagbilaran Headache Over Drainage Issue

City officials led by Mayor Dan Neri Lim is set to persuade Sec. Lito Atienza of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to open the outfall of the new city drainage along San Jose street to solve the flooding along CPG north avenue during downpour, said city councilor Atty. Danilo A. Bantugan.

He said Sec. Atienza, who is personal friend of the mayor, is coming to town sometime this week for an important engagement. 
The tug-of-war between government agencies concerned over the newly installed city drainage system with illegal taps of private establishments following the completion of the Bohol circumferential road improvement of national highway here is far from over.  
DENR and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) are at odds resulting to buck-passing on what to do with the illegal taps by both residential and commercial establishments for months now.

Residents along CPG avenue north are suffering from overflow during heavy rains, flooding their homes and business establishments.
Prior to the commencement of the project, Mayor Lim took the cudgels in initiating the plan to construct drainage system aside from concreting the Pres. Carlos P. Garcia avenue. 

After the completion of the project, DENR stood firm on its decision not to open the outfall of the drainage system until such time that some 40 illegal taps are cut off from the system. 

This prompted DPWH first district Engr. Celestino Adlaon to refuse the turnover of the highway project from project contractor Hanjin Heavy Industries Corporation. The project has not been turned over to DPWH, he said. 

But Vice-Gov. Julius Caesar Herrera put the blame on DPWH for being "remiss" of its supervisory job while the highway and drainage construction was still in progress months back. His comments came after the city council passed a Resolution urging DPWH national office not to accept the project unless the illegal drainage connections are removed. 

Appearing to be washing his hands on the mess, Adlaon retorted that his office has no direct supervision over the project because it was the DPWH national office that called the shots in the actual road construction, including the drainage system.

The DENR also strongly recommended the following measures: not to allow outfalls if no water treatment facilities and the opening of San Jose street outfall unless illegal connections are disconnected. - Ric V Obedencio

Minors Should Not Be Exempted from Criminal Liability?

By Kit Bagaipo

Law enforcers themselves are unhappy of a national law exempting minors who come into conflict with the law of criminal liability.
P/CSupt. Yolanda Tanigue, the country's first female police officer to attain a star rank (general) asserts that RA 9344, the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, ushered in criminality committed by youngsters.

The law, authored by Sen. Francis Pangilinan, needs amendments particularly the provision which prevents the detention and interrogation of minors involved in a crime, according to Tanigue.

Tanigue, who is the PNP's chief of the Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC), led some 600 women who are in police service from across the country during its 5th National Biennial Summit on Women in Policing at the Bohol Plaza Resort . In Dauis.

WCPC has an all-women personnel and handles all cases of violence committed against women and children including trafficking, exploitation and abuse.

One of the summit's guest speakers, Bulacan Rep. Lorna Silverio, also backed efforts to amend the law on minors.
Bohol Provincial Police Director SSupt. Edgardo Ingking himself conveyed recommendations for amendments of the law saying that relatives of a juvenile offender must also assume legal liabilities.

The Juvenile Justice Act of 2006 was given an exhaustive discussion during the biennial summit of women police officers which was attended by Police Director Deputy Director General Jesus Verzosa, the incoming PNP chief who will soon replace Director General Avelino Razon.

Corruption in Carlos P Garcia Avenue Project?

Written By Bingo P. Dejaresco
Editor In Chief, Bohol Chronicle

Senator Panfilo Lacson will explode a bombshell tomorrow afternoon on the billions of questionable "insertions" and "lump sums" in the P1.2-trillion 2008 National Budget within the halls of Congress. 

This is indeed timely as Congress is on budget deliberation these weeks for the all-time high P1.4 trillion 2009 Budget proposal.

But the greater interest of Boholanos these days is perhaps the "aperitif" bombshell that the maverick senator (Lacson) detonated last week that showed a blatant "double entry" of P200 million on the on-going extension of the Carlos P Garcia Avenue (popularly known as C-5), the longest stretch of highway in the Philippines .

Lacson indicated that in one page of the General Appropriations Acts (2008) of the National Budget (as approved into law) a P200-million budget was allocated for "construction of the C-5 Road Extention from the South Luzon Expressway to the Sucat Road including the Road ROW (right of Way).

Yet on another page was another P200-million allocation for "construction of the Cralos P. Garcia Avenue from the South LUzon Expressway to the Sucal Road including the Road ROW (right of way)."

This is clearly a case of "double entry" which people are viewing with suspicious eyes.
First, the second "insertion" occurred away from the eyes of Congress through the so-called Bi-Cameral Committee who makes a second pass on the original Budget proposal of Congress. Why the other non-BICAM members took this long a time (September of the Budget year of 2008) to notice this discrepancy is itself a story of benign neglect.

Second, why the DBM (through its flamboyant and sometimes arrogant Secretary Rolando Andaya) who claims to scrutinize the GAA line by line had to be told last week by a senator (Lacson is not even with the Appropriations Committee) of the "double entry" represents either incompetence or malice.

Admitting DBM's lack of scrutiny, Secretary Andaya merely charmed his way out that having confirmed the "double entry" by saying that DBM will then not release the funds.

Skeptics have joined the barbershop discussion as to what would have happened if Senator Lacson did not blow the whistle on the P200 million.

Since the approved Budget (GAA) had technically already provided funding for it, would the "extra" P200 million - which would represent a technical "savings" - not have been re-aligned by the DPWH to their favorite congressmen, senators and their favored contractors?
Undersecretary Bonoan of the DPWH declared yesterday that the "extra" P200 million will still be used for the C-5 since the "total" project is still a long way to go.

Beleaguered senate president Manuel Villar and El Shaddai head Mike Velarde's names have been dragged into the controversy, which injected a new political dimension to the discussion. Villar is a self-declared 2010 presidentiable though his survey ratings are still in the mid-range.

It is unfortunate that the venerable name of Boholano president Carlos Garcia had been used by knowing hands or incompetent bureaucrats to make this huge P200-million "double entry." We are not talking P20,000 here. To use our Bohol's Favorite Son's name for ill profit or be subjected to incompetent bureaucracy is a form of a desecration, indeed.


What is a little known is that much of the confirmation and some of the sources of the Lacson exposes come from a non-government entity called the (Philippine) Center for National Budget Legislation, founded by self-made Manila-based Boholano businessman - consultant Joseph Ranola.

The CNBL, as it is called for short with a slogan based on "Bantay Budget" had been regularly doing instructionals, briefings and giving guideposts on the nuances of the Philippine Budget to legislators and their staff (senators and congressmen), media, LGUs and the academe. Among the senators who made use of the Center's presentation was Senator Lacson, days before the C-5 Expose.

The center has produced a first publication of a best-selling book sold at the National Bookstore nationwide entitled "Your Guidebook to Effective and Transparent National Budget Legislation" and several manuals on specific current issues on the Philippine Budget. The book is set for its second revised re-printing.

Ranola will be interviewed by Father Francis Lucas, president of Catholic Network Broadcasters (CNB) over a nation-wide radio hook-up tomorrow morning even before the much-awaited Lacson privilege speech in the afternoon.

Ranola acquired the technology in dissecting the budget preparation, process and implementation in his 16 years hands-on experience working with congressmen and a senator.

The (Philippine) Center for National Budget Legislation is now partnering with the Makati Business Club, the La Salle Institute of Good Governance, the Asia Foundation and the Philippine Futuristic Society.

The Editor of the Bohol Chronicle is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Center.