Saturday, July 30, 2011

Guindulman Fisherman Turned-World Class Painter

Guindulman Fisherman Turned-World Class Painter
Staged Homecoming Art Exhibition

by Atty Julius Gregory Delgadao

    Samuel Penaso, a fisherman from Sawang Guindulman, Bohol, left Bohol to try his luck in the big city. Working as assistant of his uncle's silkscreen printing business in Manila, Penaso funded his education and took up Fine Arts in Technological Institute of the Philippines. Penaso's paintings catched the eyes of Gallery owners in Manila and he started to win in national art competitions. Penaso has done numerous solo and group exhibitions local and abroad notably in the countries like Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Germany, Luxembourg, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Austria. Penaso has also done art exhibitions side-by-side Philippine greats and National Artists like Imao, Bencab (Ben Cabrera) and Orlina.

    But Penaso's greatest dream was to stage an art exhibition in his own province. It was realized last week when the Association of Young Boholanos in Metro Manila, Inc. ("AYBM") in partnership with the Bohol Provincial Government, Bohol Chronicle, DYRD-Kiss FM, sponsored "Sam Penaso: The Homecoming – An Art Exhibition for a Cause from 22-24 July 2011 at the Island City Mall.

    The art exhibition was opened with formal cocktails at the Prawn Farm Restaurant attended by politicians, businessmen, lawyers, media, artists and civil society to honor one of Bohol's finest painters ever produced. The ribbon-cutting was led by Atty. Doy Nunag, Provincial Tourism Council Chairman, Hon. Fe Añana-Piezas and Hon. Eden Hohman, Mayor and Vice-Mayor of Guindulman, respectively. During the program proper, Ms. Mary Catherine Biliran of Sycip Gorres Velayo, Chairman of the AYBM, welcomed the guests. Atty. Julius Gregory Delgado of Villaraza Cruz Marcelo Angangco (The Firm), President of the AYBM, formally introduced the artist to the Boholano community. Penaso, a man of few words, thanked those who attended the event and encouraged young Boholano artists to follow their dreams.

    Professor JPaul Manzanilla of the University of the Philippines, Art Critique and Curator of the Exhibit, gave his critique and deconstruction of the artist and his works. The crowd was then serenaded by balladeer Alexander Delgado of the Holy Name University who sang the classic song "Vincent" in a Josh Groban version. The song with opening lines which goes "Starry Starry Night" is about the French painter Vincent Van Gogh who during his lifetime only was able to sell one painting. Van Gogh's paintings now are priceless and in top museums in the United States and Europe. The emcee, Ms. Ethel Mae Manlupig of Sycip Gorres Velayo, Finance Committee Head of the AYBM, urged the community to support budding Boholano artists and let not Sam Penaso be another Van Gogh.

    Guindulman Mayor, Hon. Fe Añana-Piezas, gave an inspiring speech and told the crowd how proud they are of the artist who hails from their town. The Mayor gladly told the crowd that their Sangguniang Bayan has passed a resolution commending Penaso and told the audience that Penaso will be feted and honoured during the fiesta of the town in September. To serve as icing of the cake, the Mayor announced to the crowd that she will be buying one of Penaso's obra maestras.
    The crowd was further entertained by a violin performance, a piece from Johann Sebastian Bach, by Boholano violinist Architect Nigell Cabrera Abarquez who performed during the 2007 Asean Summit in Cebu. The art exhibit opening program ended with a raffle with the following persons winning paintings from the artists: famous Boholano journalist Leo Udtohan, General Leo Olegario (Ret.) of Valencia, IBP-Bohol Director Atty. Ted Lagang. It was a lucky night also for Atty. Menedio Thaddeus Bernido, also a member of IBP Bohol, and his beautiful wife Vanessa Mae, winning a painting each.

    The art exhibition went on for two days for the public viewing beside the National Bookstore with one professor from the Fine Arts Department of the University of Bohol requiring the students to take a look and the paintings and submit a reaction paper and critique. With the successful staging of his homecoming exhibit, Penaso promised to stage another one next year during the Tigum Bol-anon Tibu-ok Kalibutan (TBTK) festivities.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Environmental Issue in Davao City, Philippines


Approvals or applications for subdivision development assume a certain level and frequency of rainfall and a certain "acceptable" level of risk to those nearby. Those assumptions, in light of experience and accelerating Climate Change are no longer valid.  Anything can happen and likely will.
When huge rains are no longer absorbed by trees and ground cover, they will still find their way to the sea - drowning cars, homes, roads and people.  Similarly, Nacilla village in Ma-a experienced large landslides in June and is reported in great danger.  Nacilla is a harbinger, a bringer of warning, of the future of Shrine Hills.
Worse, flood and earth movements are often caused by human activities which have weakened hills above or their support below.  If we look at past landslide disasters anywhere in the world, we see much the same thing.
Even an apparently harmless application by a prominent developer for its proposed subdivision and nine-golf course between Quimpo Boulevard and Time Beach / Matina Aplaya Road near Queensland appears not to have fully taken into account what will happen when its outflows are added to run-offs from other older prior developments and heavy rains concurrent with high tides and rising ocean levels.  It may mimic the overflows of Ma-a Creek when heavy rains meet high tide and storm driven river levels.  Certain Councilors seem quite concerned by this very issue.  Don't let loose of it!
How will the 13.6 hectare property on grass and wetlands  drain rapidly enough to prevent flooding, even if surrounded by canals when the tides are high? It seems that concentrated on-rushing outflows will hit high tides, slow down, back up and spread out laterally above.
Will the proposed subdivision's Street sewage, motor oils, trash and other contaminated outflows rush out to further dirty our beaches and pollute our Gulf waters, area outflows that are now filtered by grass and wetlands?  What are the solutions that must be implemented?
Similarly, should unauthorized subdivisions or unauthorized buildings be approved after-the-fact for "Humanitarian Reasons" or should they be denied for Humanitarian Reasons?  In the case of erring Developers, humanitarian reasons must be translated as financial reasons, important but hardly as important as human lives
Should the lives, livelihoods and amenities of neighboring communities be traded for the financial reasons of erring Developers?  Not in our backyard, not without a fight and, hopefully, not in yours. .  Turn-downs will discourage Ignorance as tool of obtaining approvals at the expense of the greater good.

I am very glad to see the recent actions and comments by Mr. Roberto Alabado, CPDO, as well several councilors that Subdivision approvals must become much more rigorous and strict.  I would also advocate the following:

1) Significant increase in car or motorcycle transport provided to Engineering and Inspection Staff at the City Engineer office and City Planning office so that the limited staff can do more and with greater energy.

2) The City should require multi-million Peso Performance Bonds from Subdivision Developers so that Developer promises can be enforced more quickly and without Lawsuit.  Requiring performance bonds is available to the City through HLURB and DENR rules.  Find out how existing Bonding Requirements might be adapted for City use.

3) The City, as a matter of law, Banks and Local Home Insurers should require detailed (but uncomplicated) Flood Hazard / Flood Plain and Landslide Hazard Disclosure Statements, as determined by the DENR, MGB, Environmental Management Bureau and HLURB and signed by Buyers, well in advance of actual purchase.  Such signed disclosures should be part of any Cash or Time Payment arrangement Closing and paperwork.

The purchase would be rescindable (cancellable) at any time by the Buyer, even years later, for failure to disclose required facts.  No more of the "As is, Where is, At Buyers Risk, Buyer Beware" disclaimers in such contracts.  The Seller is in a much stronger more knowledgeable position compared to the Buyer.  There is simply too much at stake for the prospective buyer, community and "downstream" disaster and other costs to the City, not to require such written disclosures, acknowledged by buyers.

Otherwise, it is the CITY itself that is guaranteeing the subdivision safety by virtue of its approval processes.  Let the Seller (the one with the most to gain) be the Guarantor by virtue of Open Disclosure and Performance Bonds.   The Philippine precedent for this are the Cancer and other Health Warnings required on simple packages of cigarettes.  What less should be done for subdivisions that might kill whole families and cost taxpayers billions in Disaster Recovery costs?

In addition, such requirements would likely cause Developers themselves to be more self aware and needful of detailed geohazard studies before they themselves purchase property for development.  It would help them stay out of the same type of corner they currently push on to buyers.

Would this discourage the real estate and Subdivision Development process?  Only the bad kind.  And after the details are worked out, these protections would become a matter-of-course protections and expectations of Buyers.  Savings on Disaster recovery could go to upgrading schools and infrastructure, including repair of old existing drainage problems.  Let's find a way out of the hole, not dig it deeper.

Sincerely with best regards,

Stacey Baird
Ten year resident
Spring Village, Ma-a

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

CIDA Projects in the Philippines


Question 1:   May a firm bid on individual CIDA projects, including this one?
Response:   Yes, the call for proposals is open to individuals or firms.

Question 2:   May a firm nominate 2 consultants and divide the man months between them, in order to enhance service?
Response:   Yes, the firm may nominate 2 or more consultants to undertake the activity


Question 1:  As a strategy, we are planning to work as a team of three consultants to better focus on our respective fields of expertise while at the same time drawing on our synergy. I will be taking the lead and would naturally fill out all the forms necessary. My question is, do the two partner consultants need to fill up Forms A and B too?
Response:   No, because we are only looking for a SINGLE/INDIVIDUAL CONSULTANT. Please refer to clarification made per Addendum 1 which was posted in this PCCO Website on 26 April 2011

Question 2:  If yes, how will the technical proposal be rated with three consultants? If no, how would the experiences of the other consultants be integrated in the proposal?
Response:   Does not apply.

Question 3:   Is the cost of the FGDs in the field part of the reimbursable or would it be part of the overhead of the Consultant?

Response:   Please refer to Section 3. 2 Reimbursable Expenses of the RFSP.

"3.2    Reimbursable expenses
The Consultant must provide a list of the estimated reimbursable expenses that are normally incurred during, and directly related to the performance of his/her services, e.g, transportation, travel allowances, printing, communications, non-professional personnel, etc. Reimbursable expenses shall not be part of the Financial Component as these costs, if applicable, will be negotiated with the Embassy of Canada.

Expenses could include the following:
•   Cost of travel while on travel status within Philippines, or elsewhere, and the cost of other transportation, in accordance with  the Treasury Board Travel Directive of the Government of Canada. Note that these expenses are subject to CIDA's prior     approval.
•   Accommodation, meals and incidentals in accordance with the Canadian Treasury Board Travel Directive while on travel status.
•   All other reasonable reimbursable expenses arising from the performance of the services (suchas local non-professional personnel, communications, printing and other related reasonable reimbursable expenses as approved by CIDA)."

Question 4:  If an entity will submit a proposal instead of an individual or team of consultants, what are the additional requirements to be submitted?
Response:    Not applicable. Please see response to Addendum 1: Question no.1 which was posted in this PCCO website on 26 April 2011.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Davao City Flood - Result of Government Neglect?

A slightly shortened Open Letter of concern to Sangguniang Panglungsod was read to the SP in a Privileged Speech by Councilor Pilar C. Braga on Tuesday July 5, 2011 at about 4pm.  It seemed to be well-received and a couple of councilors made oblique references to it later in the Session.

It also appeared in full text entitled Open letter of concern to the Davao City Council on the Matina Pangi June 28, 2011 flashfloods in the Mindanao Times on pages 11 and 38.  It was likely published in other media as well.

"A confluence of factors" was the Mindanao Times editorial for Wednesday June 11, (copy attached)  Patrick Guasa a licensed environment planner was quoted as saying "that surely the flash flood was not a freak incident as many would claim.  It was, in his words, 'the result of the failure to harness and harmonize the synergy of land form, natural phenomena and human activity' ."

For me, one of his hardest hitting and most interesting opinions was

The seemingly unrelated, inconsequential decisions that created the catastrophic flood along the Matina river last week requires decision makers in Davao City and specific bureaucrats in government line agencies to be level upon the table, plumb straight line straight, with corners squared, whose compass bears straight and true towards the long term gain and well-being of everyone in the communities within the Matina river watershed.  Which should include all areas of Davao City where land use has to harmonize the confluence of land form, natural phenomena and human activity.

An excellent summary of what has gone before and direction for the future. 

Do the DENR, MGB, City Engineers Office have a very limited number of vehicles with which to travel and spend time in a given area? 

I have also attached below some sharp pointed editorial cartoons and pictures from years past that have all pointed to what happened in the Matina area and what will happen also to Shrine Hill.  I don't know about you, but they make me extremely angry.

Stacey Baird

Davao City's Growing Quality of Life

Proposed Guest Editorial Submittal
Barangay Ma-a Federation of Homeowner Associations, Inc.
Davao City's Growing Quality of Life

A vast blue ocean gulf borders it . . . A river runs through it . . .  Farm lands and verdant jungle surround it.  The Philippines highest and most eye-catching climbable peak towers above it . .  Lands for open park and garden space remain available  . . . beautiful, green, tree-filled hills with magnificent views populate and refresh it . . . resorts, hotels, exotic trips and destinations abound and Davao is blessed by a blessed typhoon free climate.
Gulf Boat Trips and Island Hoping, Jungle Canopy Walks and Zip Line Thrill Rides, crocodile parks and zoo's, tropical bird farms are within easy driving distance and clean drinking water and electric power are available.  A modern airport serves passengers from around the world.  Great food of all kinds from the seas, farms and plantations are close by.

White collar, middle and upper class jobs grow by leaps and bounds in Call Centers, Computer Software Engineering, Hotel and Restaurant Management.  New, modern competitive shopping malls offer magnetic and amazing opportunities for employment and higher wages as well as wonderful shopping to local and tourist buyers.

More than twenty colleges and universities educate its citizens and provide technological medical and other expertise to local industry and the world.

More than 50 local and international news papers, television and radio stations tell residents about the world and the world about Davao.

Peaceful Davao is a safe-haven for its residents and tourists alike.

Davao can only grow.  How it grows depends upon it's pride in the future, individual voter watchfulness, local industry and the Political Will and courage of our local government to promote the general welfare through responsible development and professional city planning that does not bow to limited special interests groups. We think there has been a good start.
We hope we won't have to say to business, residents and future tourists, "Sorry, Davao is closed for flood drainage, dengue and landslide.  Come back tomorrow."

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Davao Banana Plantation Issue

Republic of the Philippines
New Executive Building
Malacañang Palace Compound J. P. Laurel St,
San Miguel, Manila                                        
Executive Secretary
Office of the President
  Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Re: REPEAL EXECUTIVE ORDER  807! – Lifting Limits to Hectarage on
Banana Plantation Expansions
Dear Mr. President,
We, the undersigned representatives from environmental NGOs, POs, LGUs, sectors and concerned individuals in Davao region, are writing to you in reference to EO 807 issued by your predecessor, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo last 08 June 2009. EO 807 lifted the limit of hectarage for export banana plantations allowing these to expand without any restriction. The  said EO amended the Letter of Instruction (LOI) 790  issued by former President Ferdinand Marcos in January 6, 1979 which mandated that agricultural areas planted to export banana crops should only be limited to 26,250 hectares.
After careful study and discussion conducted with legal consultants, we found out that EO 807 clearly violates the Rule set by the 1987 Constitution. To recall, the Letters of Instruction which were issued by virtue of the Martial Law powers of the late President Ferdinand are considered as legislation. Thus, it cannot be repealed by a mere Executive Order under the 1987 Constitution. It must also be pointed out that during President Arroyo's administration; she had no legislative power to amend the LOI because that power belongs to the Philippine Congress which has already been operative since the time of the ratification of the 1987 Constitution.
Furthermore, an Executive Order under the 1987 Constitution is not a law;  the President was not given the power to deal with how lands of the public domain are to be utilized, except perhaps when the President may enter into agreements with foreign-owned corporations involving either technical or financial assistance for large-scale exploration, development and utilization of minerals, petroleum and other mineral oils according to the general terms and conditions provided by law, which is in sec. 2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution. The matter of determining how natural resources, which necessarily include lands, will be explored, developed and utilized rests with the State, and not with the President.
We recognize the fact that, at present, agricultural areas being planted with export bananas exceed the limit set by LOI 58. However, we cannot just sit down and allow banana plantations to continuously plague watersheds and areas planted for local food production. EO 807 repealing LOI 58 is tantamount to further opening up the lands of the public domain for banana plantations.
Consequently, we firmly believe that there is an urgent need for the national government to act on this. We urge for the repeal of EO 807 due to its unconstitutionality. We further call for setting the limit on export banana plantation expansion in the country and prioritize development of areas for local food production to ensure food security for the majority of the Filipinos.
We do hope for your positive response on this matter.

For inquiries, please contact Lia Jasmin M. Esquillo of Interface Development Interventions (IDIS) at 082 299 4552.

Lia Jasmin M. Esquillo            Interface Development Interventions (IDIS)
263 Circle A, Ecoland Phase 1, Davao City
Dominador Lopez                   Watershed Management Coordinating Council (WMCC)
Community Relations Office, DCWD Building
Lanang, Davao City
Dagohoy Magaway                 Mamamayan Ayaw sa Aerial Spray
c/o 263 Circle A, Ecoland Phase 1, Davao City

Job Opportunity in the Philippines - Legal and Policy Advisor

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is looking for a Legal & Policy Advisor to support its Investment Climate Program.
Those qualified and interested in applying should submit their:
1.      CV (no more than 5 pages) that addresses the qualifications indicated in the attached TOR and contains the following information: 
        •   complete name and current contact info (e-mail address, telephone and mobile numbers);
        •   related formal education and special training;
        •   work experience;
        •   specific skills and know-how that will be useful in this job; and
        •   at least three references (professional).

2.   One-page Expression of Interest (EOI) indicating why s/he is suitable for the job.

Please send by courier or mail your EOI and CV (Subject: EOI-Legal & Policy Advisor) before 5pm Monday, 30 May 2011 to the IFC, 11th Floor, Ayala Tower, Ayala Triangle, Makati City or fax it at fax no. 848-7339 (we will not consider EOIs sent via e-mail).

All applications will be treated in strict confidence. Please note that only short-listed candidates will be contacted. Short-listed candidates will be required to write a test and come for an interview.
We thank you in advance for your interest and look forward to receiving your EOI & CV on or before the specified deadline.

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