Zamboanga News Online

Fearless News; Unbiased Views and As They Say and Why, Zamboanga News, News from zamboanga

HEADLINES


No place for small traveling merchants

in Zambo’s “El Celebracion en Grande”

 

Abortionists arrested in entrapment

operation, crime going on for years

 

Zamcelco compelled to resume power cut

As Agus plants in Pulangi rivers bog down

 

Councilors block move to recall Blanket

Authority resolution on projects’ award

Lim compares City Hall and City Council as of one family

 

No applications from traveling merchants,

or possible competitors at Plaza Pilar stalls

 

Despalo : No final recommendation

re P5 Million roof deck replacement

 

Sadain seeks ways to cause Manila

to check on Zambo Ecozone works

 

COA checking on ‘defective’ City Council

Building, will come out with results soon

 

VM waits for confirmation on repair

of defective-leaking SP’s roof deck

 

Police awaits warrant of arrest

for Airport Bomb masterminds   

 

Availability of Platelets still

the problem to stop dengue

CEO starts work on plans/ estimates in

repair of roof deck in P62 M Building

 

Edding : investigate first before fixing

the Sangguniang Panlungsod Building   

 

 

 

 

No place for small traveling merchants

in Zambo’s “El Celebracion en Grande”

 Mayor Celso L. Lobregat said that  there is no more place for the traveling merchants in the forthcoming Fiesta Pilar Festivities  dubbed as “ Zamboanga Hermosa Festival “ -  ‘” El celebrasyon en grande-adelante Zamboanga .”

Lobregat said that  the areas along the Central Bank Property and  the soon to be inaugurated  Plaza del Pilar  are no longer available for the merchants.

Traditionally for the past several years and decades, merchants from different parts of the country visit the city during the month of October and sell their goods, mostly handicrafts, to fiesta goers.

They usually sell goods that are not available in Zamboanga - mostly handicraft indigenous to their particular places of origins.

Pundits say that the merchants would be competing with favored local merchants who will be occupying the soon to be inaugurated Plaza del Pilar shopping complex in front of Fort Pilar and Paseo del Mar.

The Plaza del Pilar is scheduled to have its “soft opening on October 01 or Friday.

 “There is no sites, “ for them,  Lobregat said .

Meantime, Lobregat said that  he does not know about  alleged collections  made from the traveling merchants  who are starting to arrive  in this city last week.

According to Lobregat, if there were collections made or none at all  it is their problem .

Lobregat added that  if there was an early  collections made they have to return back  the  money   to the traveling merchants.

“Si nuay kobra , si ya kobra , siguro debolbe yalan, “ Lobregat said referring to those barangay officials concerned who allegedly started to collect payment from the traveling merchants.

Lobregat also said that is as far as native delicacies coming from  other cities of Baguio, Cebu , Davao and other places  , then they have to look for another place maybe  in a private property that can  accommodate them for so long it will not cause traffic 

Lobregat further said that if the traveling merchants can find a place then , they have to inform the City Administrator  to check it

 

 

Abortionists arrested in entrapment

operation, crime going on for years

 Five  persons were arrested for intentional abortion in an entrapment operation  conducted last September 18,2010 at about 5 o’clock in the afternoon by the  WCPD led by Chief SII Gemma Luna in coordination with the personnel of the  General Investigation section  this city .

 In an interview , Luna identified  the arrested suspects as Josephine  Utoh, 30 years old,  married of Sta. Catalina,Suraina Mohammad Ynakee,30 years old , married of  Sta. Catalina ,   Jimmy  Laurente  Yankee Sanglad , 53 years old of  Sta. Catalina , Neneng  Laurente Utoh, 46 years old of Sta. Catalina  and one minor  indentified as  Jordan Luarente  Yankee  Utoh of Sta. Catalina.

 Luna said that  the entraptment operation was made after the complain of  man who accompanied his daughter for an abortion.

The complainant  narrated that the incident  for intentional abortion occurred or happened  at Sta. Catalina .

Luna  said that the arrested suspects are  now detained at the ZCPO detention cell pending an inquest  case to be filed at the Prosecutors Office Under  I.S. No. IX-06-INQ-101-00291 where in the suspects  availed the rights  under preliminary  investigation  assisted  by their  counsel  Atty. Ruby joy Saidona .

 As this developed,  Luna said that the operatives are still looking another suspect who fled.

Luna said that there has been persistent reports about intentional abortion in this city for the past several year.

 No complaint have been filed against the suspects until the recent case which led to the arrest of the suspect.

 

Zamcelco compelled to resume power cut

As Agus plants in Pulangi rivers bog down

 The Zamboanga City Electric Coop., Inc.(ZAMCELCO) is constrained to resume its rotational power curtailment-- starting Saturday (Sept. 16,2010), citywide,  per advisory of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines(NGCP) through its Mindanao Regional Control Center(MRCC) based in Iligan City.

 ZAMCELCO General Manager Reinerio Ramos, in a press interview, said the resumed power blackout/s/brownout/s, Mindanao-wide, stemmed from the drastically reduced load capacity of the Agus plants in the Pulangi rivers( Bukidnon) coupled with the non-operation of its so-called APTM1 & APT2, each having a 96MW capacity-load, and its supposed affected transmission lines-- hence, the constraint.

These bogged down (Agus) plants are Pulangi 4HEP U1 (85MW) & Agus6 U1(20MW), and the caused power deficiencies of Agu 1HEP(30MW), Agus6HEP(125MW), Agus7HEP(32MW) & Pulanga4 HEP(130MW).

The overall power deficiency as a result totals to 250MW across the Mindanao region, it was gathered from NGCP.

 The allocation power load for Zamcelco coming from NGCP is 68.9MW— compared the former’s required total energy demand of 72MW.

 “This is where we now can very well identify our power deficiency of about 3 to 5MW that compels us to go on a rotational power curtailment once again,” GM Ramos rued.

 ‘’Expect, therefore, our unannounced power curtailment, and we appeal to all our affected member-consumers to please bear with us for the time being,” implored GM Ramos.

 The supposed rotational power interruptions start from 10am to 10pm( 12-hour energy curtailment), until power supply will be fully normalized/restored.

 Early on last February (2010), the projected power crisis gripped the whole country, and Zamboanga City wasn’t spared.

 Zamcelco, at its utmost best, resorted to all available alternative and remedial steps to address the worsening power woes in the city, both for a so-called short & long term basis. To ease its power burdens on its member-consumers, Zamcelco had to eventually adapt rotationally its (Citywide) blackouts/brownouts scheduling.

 With pending thorough power transactions through signed MOAs ( yet for preparatory/exploratory study) with interested private energy firms such as Conal Holdings Corp.(CHC) for its coal-fired power station with a potential 100 MW capacity(long-term) & its impending 10 to 20 MW load offer( on short-term) to resolve its immediate recurring power crisis), and Enfinity Solar( renewable) source of energy with a 10 to 20MW load, Zamcelco is currently stepping up its aggressive ready contingency measures to ably address the looming woeful recurring power crisis in the city. (PR)

 

Councilors block move to recall Blanket

Authority resolution on projects’ award

 

Lim compares City Hall and City Council as of one family

 

Majority of the  city councilors allied with incumbent Mayor Celso L. Lobregat have voted down a proposal to recall the “blanket authority” resolutions in the implementation of projects early granted to the mayor by the previous set of city councilors in this city.

 

City Councilor Cesar “Jawo” Jimenez proposed the recall of these “blanket authority” resolution in the light of recent Supreme Court and Commission on Audit decision/ruling that such blanket authority resolutions negates the check and balance principle in the office of the mayor and the councilors.

 

The administration councilors argued that the Supreme Court Decision could still be subject to appeal.

 

City Councilor Rudy Lim even compared the city government and the city council, to that of a family with Mayor Lobregat as the father and the councilors as his children. He said that if the children asked their father to build a house for them, no other people (the Supreme Court or the Coa?) can stop the father from constructing the house.

 

It is no wonder then that administration allied councilors are quick to defend and side with the mayor in any issue brought to the city council based on the analogy made on record by Lim.

 

(Incidentally, the city government does not operate on a father-children relationship. The councilors were never born at city hall but were elected by the people to represent their interests in the city.)

 

The Jimenez proposal sought to recall Sangguniang Panlungsod resolution no. 734, dated October 1, 2009 and SP Resolution no. 324, dated June 16, 2010, both resolutions granting  the mayor, the authority to enter into contracts and to sign for and in behalf of the city of Zamboanga in the execution or implementation of projects and programs, and for the purposes mentioned in the resolutions, otherwise known as the “blanket authority” resolutions.

 Jimenz based his proposed resolution on a

Commission on Audit Memorandum No. 2010-014 signed by COA  Chairman Reynaldo A. Villar on April 22, 2010, that  quoted the decision of the Supreme Court in the Case of Hon. Gabriel Luis Quisumbing, et. al., vs. Hon. Gwendolyn F. Garcia, et. al., G.R. No. 175527, promulgated on December 8, 2008;

 The COA Memorandum cited above provides that “the decision of the Supreme Court in the above case clearly indicates the instances when prior approval or authorization by the Sanggunian is necessary and not necessary in incurring expense of entering into a contract by the local chief executive officer on behalf of the local government unit.”;

That memorandum also said  “Accordingly and pursuant to this Commission’s exclusive authority to promulgate accounting and auditing rules and regulations, including for the prevention and disallowance of irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant, and or unconscionable expenditure or uses of public funds and property (Section 2(2), Article IX-D, 1987 Philippine Constitution), the incurrence of expenses or entering into contract by the local chief executive on behalf of the local government unit, which are not in accordance with the framework laid out in the ruling of the Supreme in the above case, shall be disallowed in audit

 Because of these COA and Supreme Court decisions, Jimenez said the  Blanket Authority resolutions early approved by the city council “runs contrary to the provisions of the Local Government Code and the Government Procurement Reform Act, the decision of the Supreme Court in the Case of Hon. Gabriel Luis Quisumbing, et. al., vs. Hon. Gwendolyn F. Garcia, et. al., G.R. No. 175527, promulgated on December 8, 2008, and the COA Memorandum Circular No. 2010-014 that has the full force and effect of a law.” (ZPJ)

 

No applications from traveling merchants,

or possible competitors at Plaza Pilar stalls

 There is no pending application for any business license from  traveling merchants , who traditionally, sell cheaper goods and handicraft at the vicinity of Fort Pilar or Pettit Barracks for the duration of the Zamboanga Hermosa Festival culminating with the celebration of the Oct. 12 Fiesta Pilar.

 In an interview, Ms. Cora Cairo of the City Permit and Licensing Division said based on records there is no business permit application from the traveling merchants .

 In previous years, traveling merchants start arriving for the fiesta in the  month of September.

 The city government has already announced that there is no place for them in the city for the festival.

 The city government is set to inaugurate or open up its Plaza Pilar next month to cater to the shopping needs of fiesta goers.

 It is talked about that the traveling merchants with their goods from the provinces will compete with occupants of Plaza Pilar who will be selling mostly goods already available downtown in department stores or in barter trade centers.

 There are also loose talks that the city government wants to get even with Zone Four officials who did not support the LDP and the Adelante Zamboanga candidates who won in the May 10 elections.

 Zone 4 Barangay officials still  hope that the city government will eventually allow the traveling merchants to do business in the city as this is a tradition during the celebration of fiesta Pilar.

 

The traveling merchant and the carnival provide entertainment and new things to see other than the commodities already available in town.

 Last year, the city government allowed only a few traveling merchant to do business at Pettit Barracks.

 Earlier, City Administrator Antonio Orendain  Jr. said that there is no more place for the traveling merchants in line with the Fiesta Pilar Festivities .

 

 

Despalo : No final recommendation

re P5 Million roof deck replacement

 

City Engineer Luis Vicente Despalo of the City Engineer’s Office (CEO)  can not yet make any final recommendation concerning the roof deck of the Sangguniang Panglungsod in this city.

 Earlier ,Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde said that he is also waiting for the technical reports and recommendation coming from Engr. Despalo  of the CEO’s.       

 In an interview, Despalo said that  the office is still waiting for the reports of  the Commission on Audit (COA) .

 Despalo said that  he can only make an initial recommendation based on the recommendation of the Philippine Institute of  Civil  Engineer (PICE) which is  to correct if ever there is a mistake .

  “I agree with their findings,” Despalo said referring to the PICE recommendation and reports .   The PICE has already submitted the recommendation to the Office of the City Mayor, Despalo said to include his office .

 The  PICE recommendation was  to put an ordinary roof  to replace of the roof deck.

 This will lessen the weight at the fourth floor which has to do with the cracking of the supporting walls and the seeping of rainwater to other parts of the building. 

  

 

Sadain seeks ways to cause Manila

to check on Zambo Ecozone works

 City Councilor Mel Sadain will try to find ways to check out activities in the multimillion peso 14 year old Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority (Zambo Ecozone), otherwise known by its corporate name as Zamboanga Freeport Authority (ZFA).

 Maybe the new administration in Manila should know what is happening to the Ecozone in Zamboanga, he said.

 Last week, the majority administration councilors voted against inviting Zambo Ecozone officials and its management for the dialogue for a proposed re-study of Republic Act (RA) 7903, otherwise known as the Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Act of 1995.

 In effect, majority in the city council do not want the people to know what is happening in the Ecozone. “Why they are shielding Ecozone officials from public scrutiny and the avowed policy of the government on transparency, “a councilor said.

 Sadain efforts to questioned Ecozone officials failed because no Ecozone officials visited the city council last week, on the ground that these officials must first seek the approval of the Board of Directors of the Ecozone before they could attend the council session.

 

The Ecozone Board of Directors includes the City Mayor, the two congressmen and councilor Nonong Guingona all allied with the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipno and Adelante Zamboanga.

 

The majority in the City Council won as LDP and AZ candidates in May.

 

Sadain emphasized that since the law took effect 15 years ago, the national government has already poured hundreds of millions or over a billion pesos to the facility located at barangay Ayala, beside the centuries old San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm, some 25 kilometers west of the city proper.

 

The dialogue that did not materialized Wednesday was also to focus on the effect that the Ecozone has made on the economy of Zamboanga.

 Contrary to claims posted in its website  www.zambofreeport.com.ph, Ecozone insiders say that only a few of these companies are still operating in the Zone.

These companies listed in the Ecozone Website include:

-Multi-Products Distribution System Inc (Trading/warehousing/facilities operator;

-Peninsula Duty Free Corporation (Duty Free Shop)

-Mabuhay Satellite Corporation (Back-up tracking, telemetry and control station for Aguila 2 satellite)

-Bendimil International Corp. (Facilities Operator)

-Nihon International Trading Corp.( Trading)

-IPDI of USA (Seaport Developer, Power distributor)

-OMED  (Software development)

-Seachamp (Manufacturing and export of microwavable marine products)

-DEMAK  (Assembly and manufacturing of motorcycle, tricycle and urban vehicles)

-Southgate Ace Marine Inc.( Manufacturing of pasteurized canned crabmeat)

-Alfranz Trading  (Small scale mining of Gypsum)

-Globe Telecom (Utilities Enterprise (in-building coverage enhancement project)

-Fenix Group of Companies (Trading and reconditioning of imported used motor

-Southern Auctioneer Int’l (Production of high value crops, vegetables and fighting cock breeding)

-Wellstar Recycling Corporation (Recycling of used motor vehicles, scraps, engines and parts), and

BMCO R & E Inc. (Rubber processing)

Incidentally, the Information Technology (IT) Company OMED , still listed in its website, has pulled out of Ecozone some three years ago and have established operations in Laguna.

Demak Motors, a Malaysian Company that assembles cheap motorcycles at the Ecozone, also pulled out its assembly plant in the zone and transferred operations to Luzon two years ago. The company is also still listed in its website.

In 2007, the city council called on the Zambo Ecozone to explain a project that it was undertaking in the watershed area in upper Curuan, some 55 kilometers west of the city proper.

It turned out that the Ecozone was constructing a multi million prison facility in the forested area of Curuan, Bunguao and Quiniput some 50 kilometers east of the city proper. The proposed site measures some 1,225 hectares in the gold-ore rich logged-over hills of the three barangays in the east coast of the city.

Sadain has hinted that the multi million prison facility has become a “white elephant in the city.” (ZPJ)

  

 

COA checking on ‘defective’ City Council

Building, will come out with results soon

 The Commission on Audit (COA) is conducting its own investigation of the so called “defective”  P92 million City Council Building located along R. T. Lim Boulevard this city.

 This investigation is in compliance with an Ombudsman order to check the structure.

 The COA has not also formally approved the P5 million that City Mayor Celso Lobregat has earlier approved and announced as available to spend for the replacement of the fourth floor-roof deck with a galvanized iron (GI) roof.

 

Reliable reports said the COA did not interpose any objection “to the immediate repairs to be made on the defective SP building especially if it involves the safety of the building occupant.”

 “Providing funds for the repair. renovation of the building is purely a management function. We did not approve the allocation of funds for the said purpose as there is nothing to approve in the first place and it is not within our jurisdiction,” the COA reportedly said.

 The COA will also have the opportunity to check on the quality of materials, such as concrete and steel bars, used in the structure in the event that workers will remove the fourth floor roof deck and replace it with GI sheets.

As of last week, the city’s vice mayor was still waiting for official confirmation that the city government will repair the defective roof deck of the P62 million defective City Council Building along R.T. Lim boulevard.

 Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde of the Sangguniang Panglungsod said that the office is still waiting on the final recommendation on the technical aspect of the plan to change the roof deck into an ordinary roof from the City Engineer’s Office (CEO) in this city

 Iturralde said that there is no official information yet in as far as the repairs particularly on the roof deck.

 At City Hall, City Engineer Luis Despalo has confirmed that his office has started drawing up the plans and specifications for the roof deck.

 It was not known if the roofing project of the city council will be done by the city administration or it will be negotiated out to contractors or be bided out to qualified contractors in the city. (ZPJ)

 

 

City gov’t to avail of HSI-

India’s dog control program

The city government has been offered to be a recipient of an animal protection and control program that is intended to control dog population in the city.  

City Veterinarian Dr. Mario Arriola said the city is now preparing a proposal to avail of the program offered by the Humane Society International with 3 barangays—San Roque, Tetuan and Sta. Maria as pilot areas.  

HSI-India Director Dr. Rahul Segahl, who was in the city for an orientation and hands-on demonstration on quick spay and neuter procedure recently, has committed to shoulder the necessary drugs for the surgery that will remove an animal’s reproductive organ. Veterinary drops for 5,000 dogs have been committed initially.  

Arriola said the HSI program is a procedure on surgery or sterilization that will take less than 10 minutes per animal.  

The swift procedure, he stressed will lessen expenses for anesthetics being used for hysterectomy (for female animals) and neuter (for male animals).  

“This will help in the program to control dog population”, the city veterinarian said adding that the procedure will eventually lead dogs to lose sex drive because of lack of hormones.  

The orientation and hands-on demonstration on quick spay and neuter procedure, held August 29 at the City Pound in San Roque was participated by at least 18 government veterinarians from Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Norte and graced by no less than Mayor Celso Lobregat.  

Dr. Segahl’s visit to Zamboanga was a side trip from Cebu City where he attended a similar orientation and hands-on demonstration organized by the Department of Agriculture and the Philippine Veterinarian Medical Association of the Philippines.  

His visit to Zamboanga was based on an invitation from Dr. Miriam Lopez-Vito of the DA-Regional Office.  

DR. Ariolla said his office is now expediting the preparation of the proposal for submission to the HSI.  

Mayor Lobregat is supportive of the idea, he added.  

HSI works around the globe to extend the philosophy of humane animal control. A variety of capture and control methods can be used, but the animal's welfare is the first priority, according to the HSI website. 

 

  

VM waits for confirmation on repair

of defective-leaking SP’s roof deck

 The city’s vice mayor is still waiting for official confirmation that the city government will repair the defective roof deck of the P62 million defective City Council Building along R.T. Lim boulevard.

Presiding Officer Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde  of the Sangguniang Panglungsod yesterday said that the office is still waiting  on the final recommendation  on the technical aspect of the plan to change the rooof deck into an ordinary roof from the City Engineer’s Office (CEO) in this city .

 Iturralde said that there is no official information yet in as far as the repairs particularly on the rooof deck.

 “We are still waiting for the recommendation  on the technical aspect of  the roof deck, “ Iturralde said.

 According to Iturralde,  that if and when the roof deck will be removed and change into an ordinary roof, the area particularly along the 3rd floor has to be vacated temporarily.

 Iturralde said that the office is already preparing some plans and preparings for that matter as to where will the rooms  or office of the City Councilors be temporary located.

 Iturralde said that among those areas to be temporary used include his  committee room which has already be reserved  for three Councilors .

 The Councilors are Councilor Nonong Guingona, Councilor Abdurahman Nuno and Councilor Lilia Nuno while the rest will occupy the areas in the 2nd  and ground.

 And, if there are no more space  for the other councilors part of the City Library Office will be used as temporary office for the rest of the City Councilor, Iturralde said .

 As this developed, Iturralde also disclosed that during the conference with stakeholders , the Commission on Audit or COA is part  and will be a part particularly  on activity concerning   the repairs of the  SP roof deck.

 “They are part of the activity, “ Iturralde said .

 Iturralde said that there is no need to bring the matter for investigation to COA because COA will be part together with the other stakeholder  for the repairs of the roof deck.

 Meantime , Iturralde said that  there is no final information yet  when will the SP roof deck be repaired.)

 


Police awaits warrant of arrest

for Airport Bomb masterminds   

  The Regional Director of the Police Regional Office 9 Police Chief Superintendent Edwin Corvera is just waiting for the issuance of the warrant of arrest for the three identified masterminds of the Zamboanga International Airport bombing of  August 5 which killed two and wounded 24 others.

 Corvera said that “We are just waiting for the issuance of the warrant of arrest then we can do the manhunt operations.”

 The police identified the three masterminds as a former Congressman and two former municipal mayors of the province of Sulu.

 He said that that these three masterminds were involved in the planning of the airport bombing to hit their target-  Governor Sakur Tan.

 The basis for the police to call these three as the masterminds are the testimonies of four witnesses that they are now holding.

 Aside form these three masterminds, other names came out to be involved in the bombing like Haj. Maulana Omar, Jojo Adam, Musimar Alih and Munir Hadjirul.

 The case was already filed with the City Prosecutor Office thru City Prosecutor Ricardo Cabaron Jr.. The charges are for murder and multiple frustrated murder that were filled by the CIDG against the first five suspects Reynaldo Apilado, Hatimin Haron Yacob who both died, Addong Salahuddin, Allan Sabuddin, and one unidentified suspect.

 The CIDG only made a supplemental complaint naming these  three alleged masterminds as new suspects.

 Corvera said that the fiscal just did not accept the supplemental complaint easily as the fiscal personally talked to the witnesses. 

  

Availability of Platelets still

the problem to stop dengue

Red Cross Administrator Victor “Vic” Liozo  said that the availability of platelets is still the problem  in combating dengue fever cases in the city.

 Liozo said that the office is in need of more platelets  for dengue  patients.

 However, since it (platelets) can only be stored from three to five days , the  problems on platelets will only be solved if there is sufficient supply of blood donors .

 Last week the Red Cross  a blood letting program at the  Wesmincon and there will be more program for that matter, Mr. Liozo  said .

 According to Liozo,  there is the whole blood and fresh  frozen blood for dengue  patients  where in the fresh frozen blood is intended for those dengue patients who are already  in severe situation to stop  the bleeding .

 On the other hand, the whole blood  can be used as it is or as a whole or it can be used into three components such as  a component for platelets , pack for Red Blood   Cell (RBC) and others , Liozo said.

 It takes an average of three to four hours to extract  platelets from whole blood at a cost of  P15,000 per person .

 However,  PRC-ZCC is only charging at P 12,000  for the kit for the 8-12 units of platelets. 

 

CEO starts work on plans/ estimates in

"repair" of roof deck in P62 M Building

 The City Engineer’s Office (CEO)  has started to  prepare the plans and estimates for the repairs of the Sangunniang Panglungsod from Roof Deck into a simple roof.

In an interview, City Engineer Luis Vicente Despalo said  that Mayor Celso L. Lobregat has already given the go signal to prepare the plans and estimates with an appropriated budget amounting to five million pesos (P5 million) .

Despalo said that the plans and estimate is expected to be submitted  one of these months –“uno de este mee”  to the Office of the City Mayor .

Some in the city council are still in the mood to conduct an investigation  on the repairs of SP roof deck and change it into a simple roof.

The Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE) has recommended to change the roof deck into a simple roof to lesses the weight of the building .

As such, if and when repairs will be made,  those occupying  the 3rd flloor  will have to  vacate the area temporarily .

As this developed, Congresswoman Maria Isabelle C. Climaco told newsmen that before any repairs will be made to the SP buildings and any funds appropriated for that matter the defects should be investigated  first .

Mayor Celso L. Lobregat who gave the directive to the Engr. Despalo to prepare for the plans and estimate has already appropriated the funds amounting to P 5million .

 


Edding : investigate first before fixing

the Sangguniang Panlungsod Building   

    District 2 Councilor Jihan Edding said that before repairing the Sangguniang Panglungsod building, investigators must first investigate and find out who is at  fault  for the defects in the structure.

.She stressed that “Before ase el repair investiga para sabe quien el culpable.”

 The building was already found out to have some defects years ago and the cracks on the building were patched.

 This year, P5 Million is set to be used just for the repair of the building to include the roof deck.

 Edding stressed that what has to be done is to check what is really the problem of the building.

 According to Edding in case it is the fault of the contractor they must be liable and spend for the  repair of the building.  

 Meanwhile Edding also said that they also wanted a copy of reports regarding the Sangguniang Panglungsod building which Mayor Celso Lobregat now has for their reference at present according to Edding they do not have a copy of the investigation report coming from the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers. 

 

 One vote, 7 abstentions kill  proposal

for 3rd congressional district in Zambo

The city council failed to pass a resolution  that would urge Congresswoman Maria Isabele Climaco and Congressman Erico Basilio Fabian to file a bill in Congress that will create a 3rd congressional district for Zamboanga.

Such a bill will create the position of a congressman and additional councilors to represent the people in the city’s Sangguniang Panglungod or city council.

While there is no need for such a proposal because any of the two congressmen can file that bill in the House of Representative, such a proposal sponsored by Councilor Juan Kim Elago would have provided the congressmen with the moral support to sponsor such a law.

And if neither Climaco or Fabian will not sponsor that bill, any other congressman can sponsor such a bill in the House of Representatives although this is unlikely because the two congressmen are supposed to look after the interests of their constituents in Zamboanga.

There are perceptions in Zamboanga that unseen hands are agitating to maintain the status quo of only two congressmen for Zamboanga and the present number of councilors at the city council.

Those who voted in favor of the proposal to urge the creation of a third congressional district were Councilor Juan Kim Elago, Jawo Jimenez, Charlie Mariano, Abdurahman Nuno, Mel Sadain, Gerky Valesco and Elong Natividad.

Those who abstained from the voting were councilors Luis Biel, Jaime Cabato, Joefel dela Penas, Cesar Ituralde, Rudy Lim, Lilia Nuno and Eddie Saavedra.

The single vote that was cast  against the proposal was by appointed councilor Eddie Rodriquez.

Rodriguez said that he would prefer that the  council should proposed the creation of four or five congressional districts in anticipation of the increase in population of Zamboanga in years to come.

Meantime, the city council decided to invite  officials of the Commission on Elections to find out from them how they proposed to divide the city’s 98 barangays and its population to comprise a third district for Zamboanga.

Councilor Abdurahman Nuno proposed that the city council meet with Mayor Celso Lobregat on the matter.

Nuno said that it Is possible that some of the councilors abstained from voting or voted against the Elago proposal because they do not want to displease the mayor.

Vice Mayor Mannix Dalipe wanted that this will be the last chance for the city to have another seat in congress because a few months from now, other congressmen will be able to file their own bills for additional congressional seat and the quota on congressmen for the House of Representatives will be already filled up.

 

 

Climaco to sponsor bill creating

3rd congressional District for city

Zamboanga City First District Congresswoman Maria Isabelle Climaco would like to have the honor of sponsoring the 3rd legislative district for Zamboanga City  after thorough study and consultation to the people of Zamboanga.

Climaco said that “I would like to have the honor of sponsoring the 3rd district for Zamboanga City .”

However, she explained that she would not  like to sponsor a bill in Congress without proper study and consultation.

Her legal consultant  Atty. John Ittoh  is studying the matter on the creation of the third district. Climaco explained that creating a third district for Zamboanga is not easy since there will be redistricting of the 98 barangays.

The matter about the 3rd district was raised because the National Statistics Office Region (NSO) 9 already furnished the result of the August 2007 population survey which states that Zamboanga City is now 774,407 and can now apply for a third district.

 

Mariano challenges Fabian, Climaco:

over creation of 3rd legislative district

Councilor Charlie Mariano has challenged Congresswomen Maria Isabelle  “Beng” Climaco and Congressman Erico B. Fabian as to their progress, if any, on the move to create a 3rd congressional district for Zamboanga.

Mariano said these two representatives in congress should also answer the query of Councilor Juan Kim Elago if there is already a bill in congress to create this additional legislative district for the city.

Last Thursday, eight councilors blocked the approval of a resolution to urge Fabian and Climaco to move for the creation of this district for the city.

The block was effected by seven elected councilors who abstained from voting on the matter while appointed councilor Edmundo Rodriguez voted against the resolution.

 “Congresswoman Climaco and Congressman Fabian should answer the query of Councilor Elago if there is now a  bill filed in congress, “ Mariano said adding that is   “if they  have any intention to file it .”

Some  months ago, the City Council approved a resolution that called on the  two congressmen to conduct consultations for the creation of the third districts.

Councilor Cesar Ituralde confirmed this resolution by saying “Yes, asking the two congressmen to conduct a consultation  for the proposed 3rd district and determine the sentiments of the people.”

Mariano  recounted  that while there was a resolution passed for the two congressmen to conduct  consultations , Congresswomen Climaco also said some months ago that she will a file a bill to that effect.

The city council is blind on the activities of the two congressmen relative to the proposal, Mariano said.

 

SP wants explanations

on excess guns for cops

City  Councilor Edmundo Rodriguez has sponsored a resolution to invite Police Regional Director Jaime Caringal and City Director Sr Supt Lurimer Detran  to clarify the exact number of guns sent by police national headquarters are Camp Crame , Quezon City  for the use of some 1,015 local policemen.

Rodrigeuz said this call for an explanation is in relation to  Resolution No.  893 ,  series 2008  requesting PNP headquarter in Camp Crame, Quezon City to provide the necessary guns for the local police force.

Rodriguez said that the logistic Division Officer  Sharlemagne Alejandrino in Camp Crame confirmed in a letter that some 1,395 short and long firearms were shipped for the local police force, although there are only only 1,015  policemen in this city. This could mean an  excess of some 380 firearms.

 “There was an excess  of firearms , “ Rodrigeuz said .

“Now, we want to know  for purposes of  clarification  for the RD and CD officials why we have an excess of firearms, “ Rodriguez said .  

 

DepEd probes 6 in misuse of  

P15M educational/loan funds

The Department of Education (DepEd) has suspended at least six top regional officials on suspicion that they misused or appropriated for their own use some P15 million in foreign and local donor funds intended for the department.

One official has been suspended for 120 days while the others are facing administrative and criminal charges in court and the Ombudsman for similar violations and misuse of the funds.

Zamboanga Peninsula Region Acting Assistant Regional Director Dr. Walter O. Albos said some of these officials were found to be living beyond their means, with their children provided with cars and studying in exclusive schools.

Albos who is also in charge of the Dep Ed regional office said one official was suspended for 90 days and was slapped another suspension for 90 days after more cases were filled against him.

Further investigation showed that five other officials, referred to later as the “Voltes Five”  were found to be also involved in the misuse of the funds and were suspended for a number of months and are facing at least 46 cases in the courts

Dr. Albos also revealed that the funds involved are not those of the department but came from Belgium and from private lending firms.

Albos broked down the amount as P6 million from Belgium and P19 million from private lending institutions.

“The P 6 million was not properly liquidated and P 9 million was supposed to be with the Dep Ed coffers, “ Dr. Albos said.

He declined to name these officials since their cases have been brought to court and the Ombudsman is handling some of their cases.

 

 

 

 

LTO readies implementation

of helmets/backriders rules

The Land Transportation Office –IX  will strictly implement the use of helmets and other guidelines set forth for single motorcycles in this city anytime in the next few days.

LTO Operations Divison Chief Rodolfo Ricablanca said that while the implementation of the helmet/backrider rules was held in abeyance because of a City Council Resolution addressed to its head office in Manila,  the DOTC-LTO  will still implement the law on use of helmets and other provisions and or guidelines in due time.

Ricablanca said that other cities and provinces in the country, including Metro Manila are now striclty implementing these rules.

The rule on the use of helmets is  mandatory although there are still no guidelines on the types of helmets to be used as well as the rules on backriders and the ban on the  carrying of heavy baggage like sack of rice and the like.

 As this developed, Mr. Ricablanca advised  single motorcycle drivers to just be prepared for the implementation of these rules after the usual information drive to be conducted by the office.

 

Dalipe dares: Sing Chavacano

Anthem during flag ceremony

Vice Mayor Manuel “Mannix” Dalipe , Jr. has challenged City  Mayor Celso L. Lobregat to sing the so-called Chavacano version of the  Philippine  National Anthem  “Bayang Magiliw”  every Monday during the flag raising ceremony in this city.

Dalipe has stressed that everybody  should sing and respect  the “Pambansang  Awit- Bayang Magiliw “  irregardless  of tribe and religion or region .

“Todo debe  respeta  na ley, “ Dalipe said .

“I challenge them to sing their so  called version  every Monday morning in front of City Hall during flag  raising ceremonies, “ Dalipe said .

The vice mayor said that there are many ways to promote the “Chavacano”  but singing the Chavacano version of the anthem is against the law.

In a privilege speech at the City Council last Thursday, the vice mayor said Congress , the Armed Forces of the Philippines and even Malacanang should take note of this violation of the law.

Earlier, Vice Mayor Dalipe has described the singing of the National Anthem in Chavacano during the Zamboanga Hermosa Festival culminating program in front of city hall last Saturday, as “a violation of the Philippine laws”

The anthem in Chavacano was sung by the Zamboanga Hermosa Choral during the opening program where the city government conferred the title of ‘Hijo de la Ciudad de Zamboanga” on Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Alexander B. Yano.

The honoree and Guest Speaker during the program, who was on stage at that time, did not salute the flag while the chorale was singing the song. Other police and military officers on stage merely stood at attention, while the song was being sung.

None in the audience sang along because it was only the members of the Chorale who memorized the song.

Dalipe has warned that Section 36 of Republic Act NO 8491 provides that “The National Anthem shall always be sung in the national language within or without the country.”

The same section provides the authorized version of the Bayang Magiliw and bars the use of any other version of the anthem.

On penalties, SECTION 50 of the same Law provides that “Any person or juridical entity which violates any of the provisions of this Act shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not less than Five thousand pesos (P5,000) nor more than Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000), or by imprisonment for not more than one (1) year, or both such fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court: Provided, That for any second and additional offenses, both fine and imprisonment shall always be imposed: Provided, further, That in case the violation is committed by a juridical person, its President or Chief Executive Officer thereof shall be liable.

Sometime in 1992 then Mayor Vitaliano Agan conducted a contest to translate the National Anthem from Tagalog to Chavacano. A winner was selected, but the city council did not enact an ordinance to enforce its singing because the Constitution provides for only the Tagalog or Filipino Version.

 

City fails to develop 3 new cemeteries

The city government has failed to develop three lots purchased for use as cemeteries to alleviate the conduction of crowded cemeteries in the city.

City Councilor Juan Km Elago said the city council has already approved the ordinance that governs the operation of public cemeteries and has provided about P20 million for its development.

Elago has lamented that  none of the three lot purchased for  public  cemeteries were developed by the office of the City Engineer headed by City Engr.  Luis Vicente Despalo.

 In an exclusive interview, Elago revealed that the City Council already passed an ordinance for the implementation of new public cemeteries.

However, Elago was dismayed that not even one of the purchased lots were developed. These lots are  located in Talabaan, Talisayan and Mampang.

The lot in  Talabaan was purchased during the time of former Mayor Vitaliano Agan. The place was used as mass graves for unclaimed bodies from a local funeral parlor.

Another lot in Talisayan with an area of five (5) hectares was  purchased by the city government during the time of the late Mayor Maria Clara L. Lobregat at a cost of two million pesos.

The latest purchase at barangay Mampang  was considered expensive because it cost some P15  million , Elago said.

Elago added that the city has an initial fund of P20 million to develop public cemeteries plus an additional fund for that matter in the  2005-2006  budgets.

He said the city government should establish these  public cemeteries since old public cemeteries are already congested .

“Debe  ase ya , “ Elago said  saying that “ there were several resolutions passed every observance  of  the All Soul’s and All Saints Day every November  1 for the city government to implement , fast track and construction of public cemeteries .

Elago also said that the ordinance even provide for the Implementing Rules and Regulations  (IRR)  where in the costs of buying a lot in the public cemeteries will depend since plans for the said new public cemetery to make it like a park and there is a road right of way  particularly the lot in Mampang.

 

 

 

AFP braces for more attacks

as MOA-AD "unconstitutional"

 

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is bracing for more attacks from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) was declared “unconstitutional” by the Supreme Court (SC).

Colonel Julieto Ando of the 6th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, in an interview in Davao city  said the government troops are ready for any eventuality that may arise due to the High Court’s latest decision.

In August, several civilians were killed in Lanao del Sur, Saranggani Province and North Cotabato when the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order, (TRO) stopping the Government of the Philippines from signing the MOA-AD.

The MOA-AD contained the areas to be included in the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) which residents in the Province of Cotabato and Lanao del Sur strongly opposed.

“We are ready anytime (to defend the community) and we are capable of facing any threats (from the MILF) against the security of the area,” Ando said.

In a 90-page decision handed down October 7, the High Court, voting 8-7, junked the MOA-AD and ruled that retired General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. who served as President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s adviser on the peace process “committed grave abuse of discretion” when he failed to hold consultations with the people on the ancestral domain component the peace talks with the MILF.

The Supreme Court still ruled on the constitutionality of the MOA-AD despite the government’s pronouncement that President Arroyo will not anymore sign the document.

The High Court said the MOA-AD runs “contrary to and excess of the legal authority and amounts to a whimsical, capricious, oppressive, arbitrary, and despotic exercise thereof.”

The case stemmed from the petition file residents of North Cotabato led by vice-governor Manny Piñol asserting that the MOA-AD was framed without consulting the people and tantamount to the creation of a separate state.

The bungled MOA-AD was the cause of the recent continuous fighting between military and MILF groups which already displaced hundreds of thousands of residents in Central Mindanao. (PNA)

 

High Court:MoA unconstitutional,

Gov’t enjoined vs ancestral deal

 

<!--[if !vml]-->spacer<!--[endif]-->

 



By REY G. PANALIGAN

"The Memorandum of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain (MoA-AD) of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP)-Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Tripoli Agreement on Peace of 2001 is declared contrary to law and the Constitution."

This was the ruling handed down by the Supreme Court (SC) yesterday in an 8-7 vote that denied the motion of the government, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), to dismiss five petitions challenging the constitutionality of the MoA-AD for being moot after the Executive Department has scrapped the agreement.

In an 89-page decision written by Justice Conchita Carpio Morales, the SC, instead, granted the five petitions and enjoined the government from signing and executing the MoA-AD or similar agreements.

It ordered the government to conduct public consultations in any peace negotiations with the MILF.

Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno and Justices Consuelo Ynares Santiago, Antonio T. Carpio, Adolfo S. Azcuna and Ruben T. Reyes – who all wrote separate opinions – and Senior Justice Leonardo A. Quisumbing and Justice Ma. Alicia Austria Martinez concurred in the decision.

Those who dissented and voted to dismiss the five petitions were Justices Dante O. Tinga, Minita V. Chico-Nazario, Presbitero J. Velasco Jr., Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura, Teresita J. Leonardo-de Castro and Arturo D. Brion – who all wrote separate dissenting opinions. Justice Renato C. Corona joined in Justice Tinga’s dissent.

The MoA-AD with MILF would set up the Bangsamoro Homeland with the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) as its governing body in the expanded Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Under the agreement, the BJE would have the power to set up its own security, trade, education, elections, and the right to explore and develop natural resources in the expanded ARMM.

The SC – in a unanimous vote of 15 justices after a full court session last Aug. 4 – stopped the signing of the agreement set on Aug. 5 in Malaysia. Thereafter, the SC conducted oral arguments on the petitions starting on Aug. 22.

The TRO was issued on petitions filed by the province of North Cotabato and the City of Zamboanga. Thereafter, the City of Iligan, the province of Zamboanga del Norte, and the group of Ernesto Maceda and Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay filed separate petitions. The groups of former Senate President Franklin M. Drilon and Senators Manuel Roxas II and Aquilino Pimentel Jr. filed interventions in the cases.

With the TRO and the announcement of the Executive Department that it has junked the agreement and has decided to conduct another peace process, the OSG asked the SC to dismiss the five petitions for being moot and academic.

The SC said that the nonsigning of the MoA-AD did not moot the petitions filed against it. "It bears emphasis that the signing of the MoA-AD did not push through due to the court’s issuance of a temporary restraining order," it said.

In resolving the petitions and the motion filed by the OSG, the SC said:

"In sum, the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process committed grave abuse of discretion when he failed to carry out the pertinent consultation process, as mandated by EO No. 3, RA 7160, and RA 8371. The furtive process by which the MoA-AD was designed and crafted runs contrary to and in excess of the legal authority, and amounts to a whimsical, capricious, oppressive, arbitrary and despotic exercise thereof. It illustrates a gross evasion of positive duty and a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined.

"The MoA-AD cannot be reconciled with the present Constitution and laws. Not only its specific provisions but the very concept underlying them, namely, the associative relationship envisioned between the GRP and the BJE, are unconstitutional, for the concept presupposes that the associated entity is a state and implies that the same is on its way to independence.

"While there is a clause in the MoA-AD stating that the provisions thereof inconsistent with the present legal framework will not be effective until that framework is amended, the same does not cure its defect. The inclusion of provisions in the MoA-AD establishing an associative relationship between the BJE and the Central Government is, itself, a violation of the Memorandum of Instructions from the President dated March 1, 2001.

"Moreover, as the clause is worded, it virtually guarantees that the necessary amendments to the Constitution and the law will eventually be put in place. Neither the GRP panel nor the President herself is authorized to make such guarantee.

"Upholding such an act would amount to authorizing a usurpation of the constituent powers vested only in Congress, a Constitutional Convention, or the people themselves through the process of initiative, for the only way that the Executive can ensure the outcome of the amendment process is through an undue influence or interference with the process.

"While the MoA-AD would not amount to an international agreement or unilateral declaration binding on the Philippines under international law, respondents act of guaranteeing amendments is, by itself, already a constitutional violation that renders the MoA-AD fatally defective."

The SC pointed out that the contents of the MoA-AD are matters of public concern involving public interest in the highest order.

It said the people’s right to information on matters of public concern under Section 7, Article III of the Constitution "is in splendid symmetry with the state policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest under Section 28, Article II of the Constitution."

"The complete and effective exercise of the right to information necessitates that its complementary provision on public disclosure derive the same self-executory nature, subject only to reasonable safeguards or limitations as may be provided by law," it added.

It cited at least three laws that justify the exercise of the people’s right to be consulted on relevant matters relating to the peace agenda, these are:

EO No. 3 that created the panel in 2001 is replete with mechanics for continuing consultations on both national and local levels and for a principal forum for consensus-building.

Republic Act No. 7160 (Local Government Code of 1991) requires all national offices to conduct consultations before any project or program critical to the environment and human ecology including those that may call for the eviction of a particular group of people residing in such locality, is implemented therein. The MOA-AD is one peculiar program that unequivocally and unilaterally vests ownership of a vast territory to the Bangsamoro people, which could pervasively and drastically result to the diaspora or displacement of a great number of inhabitants from their total environment.

Republic Act No. 8371 (Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997) provides for clear-cut procedure for the recognition and delineation of ancestral domain, which entails, among other things, the observance of the free and prior informed consent of the Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples.

In his opinion, Chief Justice Puno said that "the President as Chief Executive can negotiate peace with the MILF but it is peace that will insure that our laws are faithfully executed. The President can seek peace with the MILF but without crossing the parameters of powers marked in the Constitution to separate the other branches of government to preserve our democracy. For even in times of war, our system of checks and balances cannot be infringed. More so in times where the only danger that faces the State is the lesser danger of rebellion…Needless to stress, the power of the President to negotiate with the MILF is not plenary. While a considerable degree of flexibility and breadth is accorded to the peace negotiating panel, the latitude has its limits – the Constitution. The Constitution was ordained by the sovereign people and its postulates may not be employed as bargaining chips without their prior consent."

Puno observed that "during the whole process, the government peace negotiators conducted themselves free from the strictures of the Constitution." He added that "respondents’ thesis of violate now, validate later makes a burlesque of the Constitution."

Justice Santiago said, among others, that the MoA-AD "contains provisions which are repugnant to the Constitution and which will result in the virtual surrender of part of the Philippines’ territorial sovereignty."

She further said that had the MoA-AD been signed by parties, "would have bound the government to the creation of a separate Bangsamoro state having its own territory, government, civil institutions, and armed forces…The sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Philippines would have been compromised."

Justice Carpio said that "any peace agreement that calls for amendments to the Constitution, – whatever the amendments may be, including the creation of the BJE – must be subject to the constitutional and legal processes of the Philippines. The constitutional power of Congress to propose amendments to the Constitution, and the constitutional power of the people to approve or disapprove such amendments, can never be disregarded. The Executive branch cannot usurp such discretionary sovereign powers of Congress and the people, as the Executive branch did when it committed to amend the Constitution to conform to the MoA-AD."

Justice Azcuna agreed with the ponencia but held that had the MoA-AD been signed it would have provided a basis for a claim in an international court that the Philippines was bound by its terms at the very least as a unilateral declaration made before representatives of the international community with the vital interests in the region.

Citing Martin Dixon and Robert McCorquodale, Justice Azcuna stated that unilateral acts, concerning legal or factual situations, may have the effect of creating legal obligations. Declarations of this kind may be very specific. When it is the intention of the State making the declaration that it should become bound according to its terms, that intention confers on the declaration the character of a legal undertaking. Such undertaking, if given publicly, and with an intent to be bound is binding upon the parties.

Justice Reyes said that the MoA-AD was unconstitutional stressing that the negotiating panel of the Philippine Government (GRP) "went beyond their marching orders from the President" as the commitment of the GRP to the MILF to change the Constitution in order to conform to the MoA-AD violated the doctrine of separation of powers. Justice Reyes, citing the defects of the MoA-AD, stated that respondents appear to have committed grave abuse of discretion in negotiating and initialing the MoA-AD.

Justice Tinga, who voted to dismiss the petitions on the ground of mootness, said that the fact that the Philippine government has not yet consented to be bound by the MoA-AD, as asserted by the MILF because its draft agreement had been "initialed" by the representatives of the Philippine and Malaysian governments and the MILF, is indubitable, as "the successful outcome of negotiation of international agreements is the adoption and authentication of the agreed text… The initialing of the agreement reflects only the affirmation by the negotiating agents that the text of the prospective agreement is authentic."

Tinga also said that the MoA-AD was incongruous to the Philippine Constitution. "Nothing prevents Congress from amending or reenacting an Organic Act providing for an autonomous region for Muslim Mindanao …Nonetheless, the paramount requirement remains that any organic act providing for autonomy in Mindanao must be in alignment with the Constitution."

He cited provisions of the MoA-AD which were extra-constitutional and diminish national sovereignty as they allocate to the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity powers and prerogatives reserved under the Constitution to the State.

Justice Nazario deemed it beyond the power of the court to stop the Executive Department from entering into agreements similar to the MoA in the future.

"Upon the Executive Department falls the indisputably difficult responsibility of diffusing the highly volatile situation in Mindanao resulting from the continued clashes between the Philippine military and Muslim rebel groups. In negotiating for peace, the Executive Department should be given enough leeway and should not be prevented from offering solutions which may be beyond what the present Constitution allows, as long as such solutions are agreed upon subject to the amendment of the Constitution by completely legal means," he said.

Justice Velasco said that "favorably accommodating the petitioners under the premises cannot but be viewed as an indirect attempt on the part of the Court to control and dictate on the peace prerogatives of the executive branch, and in the process unduly impairing that branch in the performance of its constitutional duties. It will distort the delicate balance of governance which the separation of powers seeks to safeguard."

Justice Nachura said that "with an abandoned and unsigned MoA-AD and a dissolved peace Panel, any purported controversy has virtually disappeared. Judicial review cannot be exercised where the incipient actual controversy does not remain extant until the termination of the case; this Court cannot provide reliefs for controversies that are no longer there."

He added that "the Court cannot review an inexistent agreement, an unborn contract that does not purport to create rights or impose duties that are legally demandable. Neither will the remedy of prohibition lie against a GRP Peace Panel that no longer exists. To do so would be to flog a dead horse."

Justice Leonardo-De Castro opined that the detailed analysis of each the stipulations contained in the MoA-AD was rendered unnecessary due to the Memorandum filed by the Office of the Solicitor General repeatedly and categorically stating that the agreement "will not be signed in its present form or in any form." Such development has rendered the case moot and academic.

Justice Brion stated that the application of the exceptions to the mootness principle should be subjected to "a strict test because it is a deviation from the general rule."

He stressed that after the respondents declared that the MOA-AD would not be signed there was nothing left to prohibit and no rights on the part of the petitioners continued to be at risk of violation by the agreement.

He concluded that the circumstances negated the existence of grave abuse of discretion that justifies the grant of a writ of prohibition, and voted to dismiss the consolidated petitions. (MBT101508)

 

 

Fabian, Climaco oppose new

Arroyo impeachment moves

The two representatives in Congress from this city will oppose the new move to impeach President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo following the filing of a case against the President in Congress early this week.

Congresswoman Maria Isabelle Climaco for District I and Congressman Erico Basilio A. Fabian for District II said  congress should pay more attention to the economic crisis sweeping the world than wastes time in attending to the impeachment process.

Fabian supported the first Impeachment Case against the President but stayed away from the second impeachment filed last year.

For this year, Fabian said the people, including congressmen in the House of Representatives “should focus their attention on resolving possible adverse effect on the local economy brought about the sweeping crisis in the world.”

Fabian said lawmakers have “more things to attend to , more so, with the current financial crisis.”

“We will not allow them (impeach supporters) to deviate our attention from attending to what is best for the country, “ he said.

As for the tenure of the President, Fabian said “Let her continue in office until 2010.”

On the other hand, Congresswoman Climaco who is serving her first term in the House of Representatives said that the lawmaking body should attend to more pressing needs of the country.

“Now is the time for us to rally behind our leader, who is duty bound to lead us out of this crisis,” she said.

Climaco added that impeaching the president or changing the leader of the country at this time of the crisis would place the country “in jeopardy.”

 


High Court:MoA unconstitutional,

Gov�t enjoined vs ancestral deal

 

<!--[if !vml]-->spacer<!--[endif]-->

 



 

 

Fabian, Climaco oppose new

Arroyo impeachment moves

The two representatives in Congress from this city will oppose the new move to impeach President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo following the filing of a case against the President in Congress early this week.

Congresswoman Maria Isabelle Climaco for District I and Congressman Erico Basilio A. Fabian for District II said  congress should pay more attention to the economic crisis sweeping the world than wastes time in attending to the impeachment process.

Fabian supported the first Impeachment Case against the President but stayed away from the second impeachment filed last year.

For this year, Fabian said the people, including congressmen in the House of Representatives �should focus their attention on resolving possible adverse effect on the local economy brought about the sweeping crisis in the world.�

Fabian said lawmakers have �more things to attend to , more so, with the current financial crisis.�

�We will not allow them (impeach supporters) to deviate our attention from attending to what is best for the country, � he said.

As for the tenure of the President, Fabian said �Let her continue in office until 2010.�

On the other hand, Congresswoman Climaco who is serving her first term in the House of Representatives said that the lawmaking body should attend to more pressing needs of the country.

�Now is the time for us to rally behind our leader, who is duty bound to lead us out of this crisis,� she said.

Climaco added that impeaching the president or changing the leader of the country at this time of the crisis would place the country �in jeopardy.�

 


 

Not 8, but 48 Zamboanga

City Barrios for Moroland

Category B barangay plebiscite after 25 years

 

Although the initial report is that eight barangays, six in the Sacol island group and Zone III and Zone IV will be included in the proposed Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) as listed in Category A of the proposed areas included as part of the Bangsamoro  the ancestral domain, the total number is actually more than that, according to unofficial documents secured on the matter..

A Category   B list include 40 other barangays from out of the city�s 98 barangays that will  be included in the BJE.

Unofficial documents say that Under Category A where a plebiscite will be held within a year are :, Barangay Zone III, Barangay Zone IV,  Busay, Landang Gua, Landang Laum,  Manalipa, Pasilmanta and  Tigtabon

Category B where the plebiscite will  be held after  25 years the barangays are (in alphabetical order) Ayala,  Baluno,  Bolong,  Buenavista,  Calabasa,  Campo Islam,  Cawit,  Curuan,  Dita,  Dulian (Upper Bunguaio),  La Paz,  Labuan,  Latuan (Curuan),  LImaong,  Limpapa,  Maasin,  Malagutay,  Mangusu,  Manicahan,  Mariki,  Muti,  Pamucutan,  Panubigan,  Patalon,  Quiniput,  Recodo,  Sibulao (Caruan), Sinubung,  Sinunuc,  Tagasilay,  Taguiti,  Talisayan,  TalonTalon,  Tictapul,  Tigbalabag,  Tulungatung, Tumitus,  Victoria and  Vitali

Incidentally, the  city of Zamboanga  is listed among the municipalities or as part of the Province of Zamboanga del Sur.

Congresswoman Maria Isabel Climaco said the Category A and B lists brings to a total of 48 barangays that will be included in the BJE as agreed upon by negotiators of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front or MILF.

Climaco managed to secure the listing for Category B and provided copies of this list to media Thursday evening.

An Executive Summary of the proposed Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain whose signing was aborted last Tuesday by a Temporary Restraining Order of  the Supreme Court said that barangays listed under Category A will be the subject of a plebiscite within 12 months from the signing of the agreement.

Barangays listed under Category B will be the subject of a plebiscite 25 years after the signing of a Comprehensive Compact  or final peace agreement between the government and the MILF.

Barangays listed in Category B refers to conflict affected areas  outside the BJE.

For the Zamboanga Peninsula under Category B , the list include, all the barangays in the municipality of Baliguian, Godod,Calawit, Labason, Salug, Sibuco,Siocn,  Sirawai, all in the province of Zambaonga del Norte.

For Zamboanga Sibugay province, the Category B lists include all of Alicia, Buug, Ipil, 13 barangays in Mabuhay,   all the barangays in Malangas, Olutanga, Siay, Tungawan, Talusan, Payao, Imelda, Diplajan, Titay, Roseller Lim, Naga, Kabasalan.

For Zamboanga del Sur, the areas proposed to be included in the BJE under Category B are , all of Aurora, Dimataling, Dinas, Dumalinao, Kumalarang, Labangan, Lapuyan, margosatubig, San Pablo, Tabina, Tukuran, Pitogo, Vincenzo Sagun, Guipos and all of the barangays in Pagadian City.  

 

Mayor alarmed over listing

of more barangays for BJE

Mayor Celso L Lobregat  is getting to be alarmed over changes being made in the proposed  Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain to be  entered by and between  the GRP-MILF Peace Panel that will become part of the territory of the  Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE )is already causing alarming .

�Nakaka �alarma na ang pagbabago, �Lobregat said referring to the lists of barangays. 

The mayor issued this alarm after he found out that out of the initial eight barangays listed for Sacol, the names of Zone III and IV was found in that list.

The two zones that include the commercial, governmental and educational as well as religious structures were included in the Sacol Island Group.

There were some unconfirmed reports that the two zones were removed that that list of eight barangays.

However, the mayor also found out that 40 other city barangays were listed in the Category B barangays for inclusion in the BJE, such inclusion to occur after a plebiscite that will be conducted after 25 years.

Meantime, , Peace Panel Member General Mohammad Nur Escalani said that it is only  the Sacol Islands with the barangays of Busay, Landang Gua, Landang Laum, Manalipa, Pasil Manta and Tigtabun that were included .

Escalani insisted that it was only the above mentioned barangays included based on the documents given and distributed to them (GRP-MILF Peace Panel) last August 05, 2008 in Kuala Lumpur by the Secretariat on the supposed scheduled of the   signing of the MOA that was hold upon the issuance of Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court following the protest submitted by several affected cities in Mindanao to include the city of Zamboanga.

However, Lobregat said that it is an alarming situation because from to time-to-time, the listed barangays keep on changing.

In a local   radio interviews, Lobregat together with General Escalani, the mayor said that the City Government of Zamboanga aims for any type of peace but had spoken for twice in plebiscites conducted that the city does not want to be part of the Expanded ARMM nor for the BJE in Mindanao .

Lobregat also denounced that the Manila government has also failed to provide concerned local officials with copies of the MOA although they managed to secure copies from unidentified sources in government.

 ï¿½We are in agony asking for the copies, �: Lobregat told General Escalani.

On the other hand, General Escalani explained that he is not responsible for the listing of the barangays as his task was to establish anti-terrorism measures and not to give names of the barangays.

�I�m not responsible for giving names, �General Escalani said referring to the more than 700 barangays in the entire Mindanao for the BJE.

According to Escalani, the MOA to be entered by and between the GRP �MILF Peace Panel actually is dynamic, in changes and in progress.

�It�s dynamic, it�s changing and in progress, �General Escalani said.

 

 


SP declares Esperon, Garcia,, Jacinto

as personae non grata in Zamboanga

 

The City Council has declared as  ï¿½persona non-grata�  Peace Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr, Retired General  Rodolfo  Garcia , Chief of the government negotiating panel  and freelance joprnalist Al Jacinto.

The gripe against the two retired generals was for their sponsorship of the proposed Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral domain that included a total of 48 barangays that will become part of the BangsaMoro Juridical Entity or BJI.

The  declaration against Jacinta was for his published news item entitled �3K Catholics hold rally vs Moro Homeland deal in Zambo.�

In a privilege speech , Councilor Charlie Mariano  said that the City Council  has passed and approved the resolution declaring these three personalies as  ï¿½persona Non-grata� in this city.

In his tirade against Jacinto , Mariano singled out a news item posted  in  a website at www.gma news.tv/story  that he said  destroyed the images of the city of Zamboanga.           

 ï¿½It really  destroyed the images of Zamboanga City, � Mariano said.

 Mariano said that  city officials  headed by Mayor Celso L. Lobregat has  already   referred the matter to the editorial staff   of GMA, 

 ï¿½As City Officials we work what�s good  for Zamboanga City,� Mariano said.

According to Mariano the persona non grata resolution are for acts committed that will destroy the images of  the city .

Mariano further said that  �Zamboanga City is not dangerous and not divided between Christian and Muslim .�

Mariano said that while  city officials are doing all efforts  for the good of the city, the news items that can be read not only local and national but in the entire world has derail the efforts of the city government  to promote the good welfare of the city.

He said that that while there is the press freedom the media should know that they �cannot violate Zambaonga.�

 

 

Constitution allows ARMM, not BJE � Solis

 

 

Atty. Vic R. Solis said Monday (Aug 11) yesterday that the Philippine Constitution authorizes the creation of  an autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao, and not a �virtual state�, like the proposed Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE), which is provided in the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) between the government�s peace panel (GRP) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MILF).

 

The Zamboangueno lawyer, who topped the national Bar in 1974, opposes the inclusion of Zamboanga City and its barangays within the BJE as provided in the MOA-AD, whose signing was temporarily stopped by the Supreme Court last Monday following two cases questioning the MOA-AD filed by the Province of North Cotabato and Zamboanga City.

 

Oral argument is scheduled at 9 o�clock in the morning on Friday, August 15, 2008, at the Supreme Court in Manila.

 

According to Solis, Article X, Sec. 15 of the Constitution states that,  �There shall be created Autonomous Regions in Muslim Mindanao and in the Cordilleras consisting of provinces, cities, municipalities, and geographic areas sharing common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and social structures and other relevant characteristics within the framework of this Constitution and the national sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines.�

 

This provision, he continued, �has already been implemented with the enactment of Republic Act 6734 in 1989, as amended by Republic Act 9054 in 2001, which paved the way for the creation and operation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or ARMM.  As a matter of fact, the Peace Agreement entered into by the national government on September 2, 1996, which provided the foundation for the enactment of the amendatory RA 9054, expressly provides that the pact constitutes the final and full implementation of the 1976 Tripoli Agreement.�

\

Any agreement to be executed by the national government with the MILF must contend with this constitutional provision, which specifically authorizes the creation of only an autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao, and not a state within a state, like the BJE, the lawyer stressed.

 

Atty. Solis recalled that Zamboanga City had already voted twice, by overwhelming mandate, to stay out of the autonomous region in the first plebiscite on November 19, 1989 and the second plebiscite on August 14, 2001. (pr)

 

         

Plebiscites must be citywide not

only in affected barangays -CLL    

 

City Mayor Celso Lobregat wants that if plebiscites will be held, these must be done in all the city�s 98 barangays and not just in the barangays listed in the proposed territory of the Bangsa Moro Juridical Entity or BJE.

 

Lobregat explained that �If there will be another plebiscite it must be the whole Zamboanga City.�

 

There are actually two sets of barangays for inclusion in the BJE listed under Category A and Category B.

 

Unofficial documents say that Under Category A where a plebiscite will be held within a year are :, Barangay Zone III, Barangay Zone IV,  Busay, Landang Gua, Landang Laum,  Manalipa, Pasilmanta and  Tigtabon

Category B where the plebiscite will  be held after  25 years the barangays are (in alphabetical order) Ayala,  Baluno,  Bolong,  Buenavista,  Calabasa,  Campo Islam,  Cawit,  Curuan,  Dita,  Dulian (Upper Bunguaio),  La Paz,  Labuan,  Latuan (Curuan),  LImaong,  Limpapa,  Maasin,  Malagutay,  Mangusu,  Manicahan,  Mariki,  Muti,  Pamucutan,  Panubigan,  Patalon,  Quiniput,  Recodo,  Sibulao (Caruan), Sinubung,  Sinunuc,  Tagasilay,  Taguiti,  Talisayan,  TalonTalon,  Tictapul,  Tigbalabag,  Tulungatung, Tumitus,  Victoria and  Vitali

The mayor has stressed that the people in Zamboanga has already voted twice in previous ways against inclusion in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or ARMM.

 

At present Congressman Erbie Fabian, Beng Climaco and Mayor Celso Lobregat ask for the Supreme Court for a temporary restraining order that was given.

 

These officials are also demanding for copies of the proposed memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain drafted by negotiators of the government and the MILF.

 

In case, there will be another plebiscite Lobregat said that the national government would spend for it.

 

 

 

Engineers allay fears of structure beside Zambo port

The  City Engineers Office has allayed fears on the stability of a  P100 million Multi-Level Commercial Parking Building,  that will be erected behind City Hall adjacent to the local port and the local public market , that was once swampland or mangrove area.

City Engineer Luis Despalo said that the  five storey  Commercial Parking Buildings that will accommodate hundreds�  of vehicles will be properly designed to compensate for the soft grounds that is common in the city proper and areas near the shorelines.

Engineer Despalo said that even if  the area where the Multi-Level Commercial Parking Building, will be constructed with a lump sum initial appropriation of over P 100 million, it is will  be a safe structure.

This will all depend on the structural design of the buildings to be constructed, Despalo said.

Despalo cited the case of the   20 year old  Zamboanga City High School West building along  R.T. Lim Boulevard which was constructed  on  soft ground area or just few meters away from the seashores .

The multi-million City Council Building is also constructed on a former mangrove area near the high school.

�As long as the foundation  is good, there�s  is no problem,� Despalo said.

Despalo also said that  most, if not all, of the commercial buildings in the city proper  are located on soft ground areas  and for the past  several years those buildings are all okay.

On the other hand, the City Engineers Office will check on those buildings with possible cracking  and other defective  markings in this city .

NFA stops sale of rice by sacks  to Zambo gov�t employees    

The National Food Authority (NFA) has stopped its sale of cheap imported rice, a sack each to  government employees on a monthly basis, after the agency found out that the cereal are resold to other people at higher prices than that sold by the food office.

NFA Assistant Regional Director and Provincial Manager Rolando Maravilla said that they learned that they (employees) resell their NFA rice as commercial rice.

Earlier, the heads of an office can submits the names of government employees to the NFA who can then buy the NFA rice at  P912.50 per bag at the NFA bodega just about five kilometers from the city proper.

This practice was allowed by the NFA to help these government employees avail of the cheaper priced NFA rice. 

Government entities like police, military, local government unit and other government employees enjoyed this privileges but this was stopped weeks ago when they discovered the problem.   

Maravilla said there are some 1,000 government employees were affected by the cancellation of  this privilege.

Ordinary people cannot just go to the NFA and buy a sack since only these government employees, retailers and barangay officials who are selling NFA rice were given the privilege.

He also explained that ordinary people cannot buy one sack of NFA rice a month because the office will be crowded and the retailers will serve no purpose anymore.

Some residents want to buy one sack of rice a month so that they can budget the cereal and avoid lining up at the markets for the cheap government cereal.

Meantime, City Mayor Celso L. Lobregat has denied allegations that there is an anomaly among city government employees over the subsidy or the buying of rice from the National Food Authority in this city.

Lobregat told newsmen that NFA has temporary suspended the sale of government rice, by sacks, directly to government employees following the agency�s re-assessment of its supplies.

The suspension has nothing to do with the allegation that some employees are allegedly   selling their share at a higher price than the selling price of P 912.50 per bag but on the re-assessment of NFA rice, according to the mayor.

More go for technical education than degree courses�TESDA 9    

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority 9 (TESDA) said that more students are taking or acquiring skills education training than degree courses because of availability of jobs here and abroad.

TESDA 9 Regional Director Zeus Ampuyas said that ï¿½Sa ngayon baliktad na marami ng nageenroll sa Technical Education kesa sa Degree Courses.�

Last year, the TESDA graduated 2,303 graduates from January to December while there were 150 graduates for January to April 2008.  

�At TESDA, skills will be developed and after graduation six months lang to one year may trabaho na sila.� Ampuyas said 

These students take the course at the TESDA Regional Training Center located at TESDA 9 office in San Roque.

The TESDA Regional Training Center offers skills training like welding automotive, electrical, computer, air-conditioning and refrigeration, food processing and English language proficiency training. 

Most of these courses are short terms and last for only six months. A majority of the students learn automotive repair and welding.

The training fee for welding ranging P4,000 to P7,000, automotive P5,000, electrical P4,800, computer P5,000, air-conditioning and refrigeration P2,800 to P4,000, food processing P1,000 while there is no charge for English language proficiency training no training fee.

Ampuyas said for those who like to enroll at the Regional Training Center just bring 1x1 pictures, fill up some forms and prepare the Training fee for payment at the TESDA office.


Pro-contractors Revenue Ordinance in �limbo� at council, unimplemented

Unlike some other ordinances approved by the city council and concurred by city hall, the amended Revenue Ordinance that would allow contractors to deduct cost of materials and salaries from the gross sales as basis for tax payments � is still in limbo.

The city council has not published the ordinance in local newspapers , a requirement, for its implementation, because of uncertainties as to the legality of the said ordinance.

The ordinance was initially approved by the city council last week of March, but  City Mayor  Celso L. Lobregat vetoed the ordinance that same month.

The city councilors said that the city mayor failed to write the word �veto� on the printed copy of  Ordinance 1008-147. Instead the mayor explained his veto in a separate letter attached to the original printed copy of the ordinance.

Lobregat said he also clarified with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)  on the manner of his veto of Revenue Ordinance amending section 24 of the City Ordinance No. 92-008 as amended by ordinance No 98-079 entitled Revenue Ordinance of the Zamboanga City and providing penalty thereof.

The mayor insisted that  it was clear that he vetoed the ordinance in a letter sent last March 18,2008 after the  office received  of the City Council  Ordinance last March 14,2008.

Lobregat said that there is no provision of the law or in the Local Government Code that the Mayor has to write the words � veto� when he vetoes a particular ordinance of the city council.

Because of the controversy surrounding the �veto� the ordinance was simply �noted and filed� in the archives of the city council.

City Council Secretary Zenaida Jaime told Zamboanga Peninsula Journal that she  has already personally wrote to the DILG  to inquire over the status of the said ordinance citing that this is a very unique situation  since some councilors claimed that the ordinance lapsed into law .

It was learned that in lay man�s interpretation, the enforcement unit comes form the Local Chief Executive  and any ordinance for that matter passed and approved for the 3rd and final reading shall be published  in the local newspapers for three issues before the ordinance can be implemented .

US hands over new building, equipment to Zampen PDEA

The United States of America Drug Enforcement Agency (US DEA) has turned over a reconditioned $250,000 office plus new equipment to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in the region, based in this city last Wednesday, May 7.

 US DEA Country Attach� Timothy Teel said the US government also provides training to the PDEA agents and sends them abroad to acquire new technology in combating illegal and prohibited drugs.

 The US government rehabilitated the office of the PDEA and gave equipments like computers.

 Now the office of the PDEA 9 has more or less five computers and new air conditioning units.

 Aside from the Zamboanga PDEA regional office the US government will help rehabilitate other PDEA offices in the country, Teal said. 

City starts work for parking project near city hall, market

The City Government will start the site development of the Zambagora area at the  back of City Hall for the construction of a � City Multi-level Commercial  Parking Building.

The area that was occupied by the Zambagora Barter Traders was demolished by the City Administrator Office last April 30.

The City Government was able to secure an order from the Supreme court to take over and demolish the Zambagora area which was occupied by some 288 Barter Traders  for 14 years.

The Zambagora Traders have  filed a case against the City Government but this was denied by the Lower Court as well as by the Supreme Court.

City Administrator Elias Enriquez  said that the initial plan of the City Government is for the construction of a City Multi �Level Commercial Parking Building  and site development of the area.

There is no fix date yet as to when the city government will start to  construct the City Multi �Level Commercial Parking Building  but plans and preparation are  at hand for that matter.

 
3 kilos of rice/family in Zamboanga

 The  National Food Authority �IX  (NFA-IX) can only  sell from one to  three kilos of government per households on a daily basis in this city.

NFA  Provincial Manager and Assistant Director Rolando Maravilla said that NFA-IX in this city can only sell NFA rice up to three kilos  per family because of a directive coming from their head office in Manila.

The NFA sells  a maximum of five kilos per family per day in other cities of the country � not in Zamboanga.

People have been lining up to buy government rice  at  NFA Accredited  Retailers in the Main and Sta. Cruz Public Market. However, people can buy only from one to three  kilos of rice in some of these outlets.

Maravilla admitted that NFA Accredited Retailers are limiting their sale to only one kilo  per person, more so if there are many people lining up to buy the cereal.

This is to ensure that everyone in the line will be able to buy cheap government rice.

Maravilla said that his office will check with Manila to see if the rice dealers here can sell up to three kilos per buyer.

People have been complaining that they have to line up for hours just to buy a kilo of rice and that they will not have time to do other things , like working, just so they can line up and buy rice from the NFA>

 Creating 3rd district not easy - Celso

 City Mayor Celso Lobregat has explained that creating another district for Zamboanga City is not easy and cannot be done immediately.

 Lobregat said that �It took three (congressional) terms so that the city will have the second legislative district.�

 He explained that the bill for a second district  was first filled by former Mayor and Congressman Maria Clara Lobregat last 1995 but congress did not act on its that time.

 In turn Congressman Celso Lobregat refilled the bill in 1998, and again refilled until it was approved in 2001.                     

 Incidentally, for one reason or the other, no election for a congressman for the second district was held in May 2004, although there was already a law to support such an election.

 The election for a second congressman to represent District 1 in the west coast of the city was held only one year.

 No one has explained why the city was without a representative from 2004 to last year.

 The City now has two legislative districts; district one for the west coast of the city and district 2 for the east coast barangays.

 Lobregat said that the matter about the third legislative must be studied carefully first.  

 Result of the National Statistics Office Region (NSO) survey held last year

showed a population of 774,407 inhabitants.

 The local government code requires a population of only 250,000 for the creation of a congressional district.

 Under the local government code, this population of 774,407 can also qualify for the retention of Zamboanga City with a population of 200,000 as a highly urbanized city and the creation of about 22 municipalities whose population requirement is only 25,000 inhabitants.

 The same population will also support the retention of Zamboanga as a highly urbanized city and the creation of two other provinces or three new component cities from the remaining population of over 574,407 excess population beyond the population requirement of a highly urbanized city.

 Incidentally, the Lobregat administration is against the creation of other government units from the existing city of Zamboanga.

 Political observers in this city say that Zamboanga is that lagging behind in development and effective governance as it is overpopulated and beyond the 200,000 population requirement for a highly urbanized city as stipulated in the local government code. 

 

City workers get midyear bonus

 
City Government employees have reasons to be happy these days.

 City Treasurer Soledad Li said that the distribution of  mid-year bonus to city government employees started yesterday by department whose payrolls were already submitted to her office for the release of said bonuses.

 Those who are entitled for the mid-year bonus are officials and staff personnel who are regular  in service as well as those under the casual category while those who are just new employees will receive the mid-year bonus on flow rate basis.

Excluded from the grant of this midyear bonus are workers under contracts and those working under the job order category.

 The release of mid-year bonus to all city government will also depend on those who want to receive the amount this time or just get the entire amount by  December this year.

 She  said that the release of the midyear bonus is timely because June will be the beginning of classes for the school year 2008-2009.

 
DepEd  reiterates �no collection� of fees during enrollment period  

 Department of Education (DepEd) Regional Director Jesus Nieves has  reiterated to school heads the ban against the collection of  fees during enrollment since its almost enrollment time.

 Nieves said that �May bagong DepEd Order 19 si Secretary Jesli Lapus na no collection of fees from grade one to grade four in the elementary level. Magagalit si secretary pag nalaman niya may nangolekta.�

 Copies of this DepEd Order 19 were furnished  the regional directors, school superintendents and school heads.

 The ban against the collection of fees for those enrolling in pre school up to grade four during the enrollment period and during the first month of the  school year will  include contribution such as Boy Scout, Girl Scout, Red Cross, Anti Tuberculosis and PTCA contribution.

 These contributions are considered to be voluntary and cannot be enforced on parents, particularly if they are poor.

 This ban is part of the program to  provide free education at the elementary and secondary level and to meet the 2015 millennium development goal in which by the year 2015 there will be no more illiterates. 

 They may start collection only after reporting what they did with the previous years collection money in the general PTA assembly.

 Pupils who were promoted to the next grade or year level are considered automatically enrolled for the coming school year. Only pupils entering first year or first grade or transferees will need to enroll during the enrollment period.

 The secretary also directed schools division superintendents to release the maintenance and other operating expenses funds to schools without fiscal autonomy in form of cash advances to ensure operating funds are available at the start of the school year.

 The secretary warned those who will not follow the mentioned Dep Ed order will be sanctioned administratively.

 Still no plans for P200M IBT

 The  City Engineers Office has not approved any final plan to be used in the implementation  of  P200 i-million  Integrated BusTerminal along the highway at Divisoria Barnagay in  this city .

 City Engineer Luis Vicente Despalo said that the office is still accepting Build and Design plans and proposals from both  local and national contractors for the project.

 Initially, the City Government already appropriated some P 200 million for the implementation of a IBT which will be patterned after similar terminals in  other cities .

 Members of the City Council together with officials from the City Engineer�s Office  and other city government officials  have already visited several out of town Bus Terminals for ideas on designs and how to operate such a facility.

 However, as off press time, Despalo  said that there is no final plan yet since only few of  contractors submitted plans to his office .

 The  City Council has earlier enrosed a proposal from a nationally basied contractor to the  City Mayor.

 As this developed,  Despalo said that it is up to the Local Chief Executive where in  all those who submitted the  Build and Design Plans will be studied for the implementation of  a IBT.

In other development, Despalo said that there is no plan  yet for the implementation of Multi-level commercial Parking Building in Zambagora.

 
No one to blame for killings, robberies, crimes in Zambo


The Chairman of the City Council Committee on Peace and Order is not inclined to blame anybody for the rise in the number of shooting incidents, murders, motorcycle thievery and other crimes in Zambaonga.

 

However, City Councilor Cesar Ituralde said that one way to stop these crimes is to increase police visibility in the city.

 

Several people have been shot and killed in this city the last few weeks and the criminals are still at large.

 

Motorcycle thieves are also having a field day,  grabbing motorcycles in public view. The recent theft of a motorcycle was in front of a restaurant fronting city hall.

 

Notwithstanding these incidents, the local police authority has reported to the city council that its crime solution of cases has already reached at 93 % compared to the other cities in the country.

 

Ituralde said that as far as crimes in Zamboanga he is not blaming anybody but that one way to prevent against thieves or lawless elements from conducting crimes in the city is the police visibility in the streets.

 

�I�m not blaming anybody. One way to prevent perpetrator is the police visibility, � Ituralde reiterated.

 

NFA to check and penalize erring rice dealers in the city

The National Food Authority-IX  (NFA-9) will  investigate and penalize erring rice dealers in the local market in this city.

City Director Rolando Acuna of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) disclosed that NFA Regional Director Ernesto Macasinag  has promised to take moves against these dealers who were found to be selling NFA rice labeled as commercial rice.

It will be recalled that Acuna wrote a letter to Macasinag last March 28 following an inspection and monitoring conducted together with the Community Action Police Center or COMPAC under the City Administrator Office headed by Ely Enriquez following several complains to rice dealers particularly  NFA Accredited Dealers  who are allegedly  selling NFA but was labeled as  commercial rice.

Acuna said that NFA replied  last April 02 ,2008 that that office (NFA-9) will immediately conduct  an investigation of some erring rice dealers in the local market.

However, as off  press time, Acuna said that there was no result  or reports on the identity of these  erring rice dealers in the local market .

Acuna added that RD Macasinag also assured that they will  institute measures to avoid  hoarding  of NFA rice and the like in the local market

 

City Hall cannot suspend Guardian, collection of P700 Fees unresolved

City Hall will not suspend Tricycle Adjudication Board (TAB) member Alejandro Guardian as recommended by the city council, on the ground that due process must be followed before such a suspension can be made

The City Council  Committee on Franchises led by Councilor Roel Natividad has recommended the preventive suspension of Guardian following complaints by some tricycle operators and drivers that they are being charged P700 for membership and subscription fees to a tricycle cooperative before they can be issued their franchises for this year.

The decision to disregard the recommendation of the city council was made by the City Legal Office headed by Atty. Norberto Patriarca and the City Administrator Office under former Councilor Elias Enriquez.

In an interview, City Administrator Ely Enriquez said that City Hall can not just suspend Mr. Guardian on based a council resolution because  there is a due process to be followed.

Enriquez added that City Council has no jurisdiction to suspend Mr. Guardian  on the matter.

The City Administrator Office was directed by City  Mayor Celso L. Lobregat  to investigate the  complaints filed  by the Tricycle Drivers  and Operators Associations.

Enriquez said that some of the complainants did not appear anymore after the first conduct of investigation.

According to Enriquez  the complainants have to submit more evidences particularly   receipt that Mr. Guardian is collecting from them .

On the other hand, Councilor Elong Natividad  was disappointed  because he said it cannot be denied that this fees were being collected from Tricycle Drivers and Operators in this city before their franchises can be released.

Discreet inquiries  confirmed these accusation with some drivers showing Identification Cards issued by this cooperative that bears the signature of Guardian and another top official in this city.

Natividad added that it is now very clear that City Hall can  do anything they want .

 


Celso will answer �point by point�councilors� Blanket Authority recall

Mayor Celso L. Lobregat is ready to answer point by point the recall resolution of his Blanket Authority that the city councilor approved last week.

The mayor said that for the past years , the City Councilors have given his Blanket Authority for him to undertake projects approved in the executive budget without need of concurrence by the city council.

The mayor said that the grant of Blank Authority started during the time of former Mayor and Congressman Erbie Fabian to fast truck several infrastructure projects in this city .

However, majority of the  City Council had voted in favor to recall the blanket authority already given to the Local Chief Executive for the current year 2008.

While it is true that the mayor can veto any ordinance that the councilors forward him for approval, it is not known if he can veto a resolution that is only reiterating the function of the city council to countercheck and concur with projects undertaken by the city government.

The city engineers office has lined up some P400 worth of projects to tbe undertaken this year.

With the recall of this Blanket Authority by the city council, all of these projects and their contracts will have to be reviewed by the city council, a duty inherent in the Sangguniang Panglungsod as defined un the local government code.

Lobregat though he does not want to give reaction or comment or to answer the resolution since he has not yet received the resolution that recalled the blanket authority given  to him.

According to Lobregat , this recall of Blanket Authority has something to do with his Veto of an ordinance that favor the local contractors in the city.

 

DOH : In case of rice shortage -eat oatmeal, camote, cassava   

 The Department of Health (DOH) 9 has advised the public that in case there is a scarce supply in their communities, they should look for alternatives to fill up their stomachs.

DOH Regional Director Dr. Aristides Tan said that �Rice is full of carbohydrates so we can substitute it with camote, cassava or oatmeal.�

Tan explained that the body needs five essentials: carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals.

Carbohydrates is the source of energy, proteins repair and builds tissues, fats helps the carbohydrates or store energy, while vitamins and minerals provides nourishment to the body.

Tan said that it is just a matter or adjustment because Filipinos are used to eating rice three time a day.

He explained that  the mentioned substitutes to rice also provides  the same nutrients, as  carbohydrates,  to the body.

Dr. Tan also said that camote and cassava can be planted easily and these root crops were eaten by our parents during the war years.

 


NFA assures good rice supply

The National  Food Authority �IX (NFA-IX)  has assured anew that there are no shortages of rice supplies in the entire Zamboanga Peninsula region .

Assistant Regional Director and Acting Provincial Manager Rolando  Maravilla said  that there are no  shortages of rice supplies in the region amid  the nationwide rice political crisis .

The government through the NFA is billions  of pesos  annually in the importation of rice form Vietnam and Thailand,  to subsidize  the staple  rice supplies and sold it at P 18.25 per kilo.

However, as off  press , even NFA Accredited Rice Retailer  President Mr. Alex Go of the Zamboanga Grains retailers told newsmen that  the allocation of ten (10) sacks of NFA rice  per day is not enough for the consumers where in  NFA rice sold at the local market ran out of supplies .

Maravilla said that the office is  re-packing  rice sold to retailers to assure that NFA rice will reach at the local market  and avoid  diversion  and mixing of  NFA rice.

He admitted that the office does not have any laboratory to check and examine if there commercial rice is  adulterated with NFA rice.

NFA rice cannot easily be distinguished from commercial rice because the grains look the same and the difference can only be detected if these will be examined in laboratories.

.As off now, Maravilla said that the country is  still relying  on the importation of rice from the two producing countries of  Vietnam and Thailand. 

 

 

Cardiovascular disease tops cause of death in Zambopen

The Department of Health (DOH) 9 has disclosed  that cardiovascular diseases are top killer diseases in the Zamboanga Peninsula Region.

To reduce this incidence of mortality, DOH Regional Director Dr. Aristides Tan has advised  that �to prevent cardiovascular diseases exercise, follow a healthy life style, low fat and salt diet, do not smoke, drink and avoid stress.�

Records at the health regional office said says that there were 2,763 deaths  caused by cardiovascular diseases like stroke and the so called hypertensive crisis for the year  2006.

The other causes of death include  injuries with 1,060, cancer- 933, pneumonia- 880, tuberculosis- 560 and diseases of the kidney with 444.

 Tan suggested that to reduce stress which may lead to heart disease one must practice  meditation, engage in sports and to take time out for  relaxation and recreation. 

 He also  reminded those who are taking medicines for hypertension or high blood pressure to take their medicines  as prescribed by their doctors.

 

No rice shortage in region � DA

The Department of Agriculture (DA) assures the public that Region 9 will not have any rice shortage as  announced in Metro Manila.

 DA Regional Director Oscar Parawan said that  the actual rice production in the region will be  over  two percent this year  compared to last year.

 ï¿½We will not have any rice shortage sa region with regards to production of rice we are over by 2% percent,� he said.

 For the first quarter of this year, the regional office forecasts  a production of  136, 451 metric tons of rice or two percent more that last year�s  production of 134, 921 metric tons.

�We have enough rice supply for the region.� Parawan said. He also added that DA Secretary Arthur Yap ordered them to produce more food. 

 

TAB resolves spurious trike units re duplicated, questionable franchises

The  Tricycle Adjudication Board or  TAB has so far accounted for most of the  4,250 tricycle units that were initially found to be operating with spurious franchises issued by a still unidentified syndicate that sold these franchises to tricycle owners  at  a rumored P10 to 15,000 fee per franchise.

The TAB has initially issued the yellow colored Temporary Permit  or Pass so these units can continue to operate and ferry passengers in this city.

In an interview, TAB Member Edmundo   Rodriguez said that initially it was found out that about 1,900 of these  the 4,250 tricycle units were those issued at a time when the TAB was barred by a city ordinance to issue new franchises.These 1,900 franchises were issued during the period 1999-2002.

The TAB has so far accounted for most of these �problematic franchises� and segregated  771 franchises whose authenticity are still to be determined by the board.

Of this 771 �franchises, some 200 franchises have been forwarded to the city prosecutors office for possible filing of the proper charges against those involved in the anomaly.

Rodriguez  also said that aside from the duplication, there are other problems encountered like the non �registration of  units during the year 1999 to 2002 . �The last issuance of franchises  is 2002 . After it no more issuance of franchises,� Rodriguez said .

Rodriguez said that in as far as the resolutions of the problems in the TAB is concerned, the TAB can not  give a period of time to solve it  since some of the owners can not  be located anymore in the city.

 

Climaco calls for project listings in 37 barangays

Congresswomen Maria Isabelle Climaco of District  I  has called on officials of the 37  barangays  in her district to continue to submit their respective  priority plans with the costs and estimate for  possible allocation of funds for this year.

Climaco has already lined up several projects in  coordination with the city government  to include   P 35 million for several community  projects and services.

These projects include medical  outreach projects, medicine for the indigent patients confined at the Zamboanga City Medical Center  and those medical  outreach program under the  Philippine National  Red Cross and  City Social Development Office (CSWDO).

She also has some  scholarship grants   for the deserving indigent students aside from the  millions of pesos  appropriated  for the implementation of infrastructure projects in District I.

Climaco said that the 37 barangays under District I has to submit their respective priority projects  for her to report and include it  to the  national government for the appropriation of funds .

She has already conferred  with  District Engr. Merham Acas  about some projects that will be funded by foreign donor countries.

 

Lobregat not worried about �Recall�of his blanket authority for projects

City Mayor Celso Lobregat is not worried that  the city council will recall an earlier resolution that gave him blanket authority to undertake projects approved in the city budget without further scrutiny or revalidation by the city council.

 ï¿½Si kere sila, esta kanila ,� (If they like, that is already with them,�Lobregat said . Lobregat also said �mira kita (let�s see)� regarding the plan.

Political observers noted that the plan to recall the �blanket authority� resolution stemmed from the announced decision of the city mayor to Veto a city ordinance that amended the local revenue code.

Last week, the city council approved an ordinance that will exempt local contractors from computing their taxes based on gross sales. Instead the contractors will be allowed to deduct their expenses for materials and payroll for workers from the gross sales and that it will only be the remaining amount that will be subject to tax.

This ordinance will reduce the income of the city government as the some 30 contractors will be paying reduced taxes to the city government based on the recent ordinance approved by the Sangguniang Panglungsod.

Last week, news report said that some city councilors were toying with the idea of recalling the �Blanket Authority� that the city council extended to City Mayor Celso Lobregat in the implementation of projects in the city months ago.

Earlier , City Councilor Charlie Mariano  said that  the city council as a whole was very supportive of the mayor for the last ten (10 ) months as  far as implementation of infrastructure projects is  involved.

However, if the Local Chief Executive will veto or  will not consider  Proposed Ordinance  No. 2007-09,  it might change the mind  or feelings of the councilors  and make them think of  recalling the blanket authority given to the Chief Executive on the implementation of projects, he intimated.

The City Council must have the 2/3 votes to override  the veto of the Mayor.

 

Ely : nothing to question about Intelligence Fund

City Administrator Ely Enriquez  has stressed  that there is nothing to question about the use of the mayor of the city�s Peace and Order Funds amounting to some P 42 million .

�Why question about it,� Enriquez said who was the former City Police Director in Zamboanga .

Enriquez said that the Peace and Order Fund which some councilors want to  question is made up of  various accounts that are already  programmed.

The funds cannot be reverted for other purpose unless properly requested.

Nobody except the Commission on Audit in Manila can audit this fund, he said.  ï¿½It�s an executive funds grant to the local chief,� Enriquez added .

According to Enriquez,  part of the intelligence funds is being used  to get or buy information from the people. He  said that the community as a whole should  cooperate and support  local authorities like the police and should report anything unusual in the community.

He said there is need to buy intelligence since the local police authority cannot know all  that  is going in the community as what had happened in barangay Lamisahan .

Last week, City Councilor Charlie Mariano  called for an accounting of the some P42 million in various Peace and Order Funds in the wake of the discovery of shabu factories in this city late last month.

Mariano said that the with  latest discovery of the  shabu laboratories in this city as well as the arrest of the suspected masterminds and their workers the expenditure for the amount should be properly explained and presented to the public.

 

Jail heightens alert re six high risk prisoners

 The Zamboanga City Reformatory Center (ZCRC) has heightened its alert level because six high risk prisoners are detained at the City Jail along with one suspected Abu Sayaff.    

Jail  Officer In Charge Supt. Ester Pepito said that �We are on heightened alert because of the high risk prisoners detained here� although she said that her men are on alert even in the absence of these risk prisoners.

The six high risk detainees are Lucky Ong, Andy Yang, Edgar Rico Lugiz, Israel Dancel, Rudyguard Payton held in connection with the raid on suspected shabu laboratories in Lamisahan, Tetuan and Talon-Talon while the suspected Abu Sayaff member Ronnie Tillang is from Isabela City arrested in this city days ago.

Visitors for these high risk prisoners are screened and properly checked to prevent the entry of contrabands like drugs, guns or materials for escape.  

Jail guards conduct daily cell to cell checks to make sure the inmates are not hiding any contraband.

 These high risks detainees are separated from each other to prevent them from talking to each other or plan things out.

Pepito also said that �Their privileges like joining sports activities and mingling from cell to cell are canceled for security reasons.�  

There are 1,073 male inmates, 140 female and 30 minors who are detained at the city jail at present. 

 

CLL asks  to lower endowment fund from P10M to P5M �Dalipe 

The city mayor has asked that a proposed  grant of P10 million for the use of indigent patients availing of services at the Zamboanga City Medical Center be reduced to only P5 million.

This proposed ordinance by City Councilor Lilia Nuno was for the  purchase of medicines and other needs of indigents who avail of services at the Center  It can also be used to subsidize chemotherapy and dialysis treatments of the poor at the center.

Vice Mayor Mannix Dalipe revealed that Mayor Celso Lobregat has requested that this planned endowment fund for the hospital be reduced.

Dalipe said that �How we wish endowment fund for P10 Million pesos but unfortunately the Mayor requested it to be reduced to P5 Million.�

Councilor  Nu�o has proposed an ordinance that will provide  this grant in aid to address the needs of the indigents for hospitalization. 

The amount could have been used to subsidize medicines for the poor who undergo chemotherapy or dialysis treatment at the hospital.

Nu�o thought of the ordinance because people go daily to city hall and to the councilors to ask for help when they need medicines.

She explained that with this grant, there will be funds readily available especially for those who need big amounts for treatments like chemotherapy and those undergoing dialysis..

Chemotherapy cost some P5,000 per session or more while dialysis cost P3,000 per session.

Chemotherapy is for  cancer patients while dialysis is prescribed for  patients with defective or malfunctioning  kidneys.

 

SP oks amended ordinance to reduce taxes on contractors

The City Council has approved for 3rd and final reading an amendment to the revenue ordinance of the city that will allow  the reduction of taxes that are being imposed on contractors in the city.

Councilor Asbi Edding who authored the proposed Ordinance said it will favor local contractors who will be allowed to include some deductions in the businesses and thus result to reduce fees to be paid the city government.

The Amended Ordinance will be forwarded to the Office of City Mayor for   approval  although earlier Mayor Celso L. Lobregat considers this move to be illegal.

The mayor said the proposed amendment is a form of class legislation since this will allow exemptions to the rule.

It was also feared that this amendment will open the floodgates for other contractors to seek their similar exemptions from the payment of local taxes.

The City Treasurer Office (CTO) agrees with the mayor  in opposing this move to reduce the amount of tax due from contractors to the city government.

 

City to have 103 barangays,five areas need plebiscites

If plans will not miscarry and requirements are complied with Zamboanga City will soon has 103 barangays for both District I and II.

The City Council has already approved the creation of five (5) new  barangays years ago but these new barangays have not been activated for lack of  certain requirements .

The five (5) proposed barangays in addition to the existing 98 barangays both in District I and II are Talon-Talon Loop, Tagpangi, Sibutad, Susana Hill and Kampung Landang .

The creation of the five barangays are covered by ordinances namely:  Talon-Talon Loop C.O.  No 115, enacted June 19,1991 and approved June 24,1991 ; Tagpangi - C.O. No. 118 enacted August 24,1991 and approved August 28,1991 ;  Sibutad -C.O. 120 enacted September 25, 1991 and approved October 04,1991; Susana Hill �C.O. No. 127 enacted November 26,1991 and approved December 05,1991  and Kampung Landang- C.o. No.131  enacted December 13,1 991 and         Approved : Dec. 20, 1991.

An employee of the  City Council record section disclosed that the five barangays have  not complied with  the necessary requirements they  are still considered to be part of  their respective mother barangays .

In 1987 there were only 36 barangays in this city while there were  62 barangays in the year 1991.

The requirements needed to activate these barangays include a plebiscite to be conducted by the Commission on  Election and land area requirement.

The local government code requires a population of at least 2,000 inhabitants for the creation of an ordinary barangay and a population of at least 5,000 for a barangay in a highly urbanized city as in Zamboanga.

As off now, the city has 98 barangays where some 37 barangays are located or under the District I and 62 barangays in District II.

 

Natividad hits �close door� hearing on tricycle complaints  at city hall

City Councilor Roel Natividad has questioned the hearing of the complaints filed by tricycle drivers and operators against an official of the Tricycle Adjudication Board, a hearing that was held behind �closed doors� at city hall last Monday.

Natividad said there is �something wrong� in the conduct of the meeting at the city hall conference room where there was supposed to be an open discussion of the complaints filed by tricycle operators and drivers in this city.

The meeting last Monday behind closed door was the offshoot of complaints filed with the Office of the City Mayor by the drivers and operators from different organizations in the city by way of a letter dated January 28.

The city council under Natividad who heads the franchise committee has conducted its own hearing on the complaints and have even invited officers from the TAB to air their sides to the controversy.

Those in the tricycle industry claim that a certain Alexandro Guardian at the TAB has been demanding the payment of certain fees before the TAB will release the franchise papers of the tricycle units.

The fees allegedly intended for a newly created Tricycle Cooperative include P200 as registration /membership fee and a P500 subscription or shares of stock in the cooperative.

TAB officials have refused to attend the council hearing on the ground that City Hall will conduct its own investigation on the matter.

 

LTO loses P5-7.65M in fees from 4,250 unregistered trikes

The Land Transportation Office has failed to collect from P5.1 to P7.65  million  in registration fees from the  4,250 motorized tricycles that cannot be registered because the Tricycle Adjudication Board (TAB) has failed to resolve the problem of  spurious, duplicated  or triplicated franchises issued for these units allegedly by a syndicate in this city since over five years ago.

          The city government and the TAB have entered into a verbal agreement not to register these 4,250 units pending the verification of their franchises which stay unresolved for the last four years or so.

          Owners of motorized tricycles are supposed to pay an annual  registration fee of P300 per unit or P450 to include penalties for late registration.

          Passengers on board these unregistered tricycle units  are not covered by any insurance at all.

          At this rate for four years, the 4,250 unregistered motorized tricycles could have earned the LTO at P300 per unit, least P1,275,000 per year or if penalties were included about P1,912,500 a year.

          These figures multiplied for a four year period yield the estimate of P5.10 to P7.65 million in uncollected revenues from the tricycle industry in this city.

          The TAB has issued a Temporary Yellow Card  for those trike units whose franchise are under investigation for duplication of plate numbers and franchises as well.

          As such,  the units  are exempted from complying with registration laws  although it is not known if the LTO cannot be faulted for not implementing registration laws in this city.

 

Another linked to shabu lab operation

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has indicted for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 a Chinese national after finding out that he is involved in the operations of a shabu laboratory recently discovered here.

          Indicted on march 7 was  a friend of  another Chinese national, the alleged owner of the shabu laboratory that was discovered last February 22 in the village of Lamisahan, east of this city.

          The main accused and three of his Filipino workers  were earlier indicted and have been placed under the custody of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

          However, City Prosecutor Ricardo Cabaron on Friday has ordered the release of  the wife of Yang, since there was no sufficient evidence linking her to the shabu laboratory operations.

          It was at the rented apartment  in Tetuan where the police and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) personnel has recovered last February 24 a delivery van  that contains chemicals believed to be used in the manufacture of shabu.

          The operation of the shabu laboratory was discovered last February 22 in Lamisahan following complaints of the residents about air and water pollution in their place.

          Janet was arrested in a rented apartment cum office of Yang along Tomas Claudio Street in downtown Zamboanga last February 23.

 

PDEA: watch for more shabu factories in Zambo

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 9 (PDEA) has alerted the public to the possibility that there could be other shabu laboratories operating in Zamboanga after the discovery of two such shabu factories one each in Lamisahan and in Tetuan.

 

          For this year, the PDEA will focus on neutralizing drug personalities while the arrest of minor drug pushers and users will be left to the local police force.

          PDEA Regional Director Supt. Adzhar Albani said that �We should be vigilant as there might be other shabu laboratories�   in the city. 

          Albani believed that the two areas Lamisahan and the Alfaro Street Tetuan are really shabu laboratories.

          He said estimates that there are about  100 big time drug personalities in the region.

                    Albani also admitted that Zamboanga City has become a transshipment point for illegal drugs , along with Zamboanga del Sur and Labangan.�      

 

Lobregat thumbs down Council �s call to suspend Guardian at TAB

  Mayor Celso L. Lobregat  has disregarded a resolution of the city council that called for the Preventive Suspension of  Alejandro Guardian who sits as member of the Tricycle Adjudication  Board (TAB) representing the Tricycle Drivers and Operators Association in this city .

          The mayor said that he has not received any copy of the resolution and is also waiting for the City Administrators Office to complete its own investigation of the complaints aired by motorized tricycle drivers and operators against Guardian.

          The City Council has approved a resolution last week that recommended the suspension of Guardian after a series of public hearings at the Sanggunian and listening to testimonies of complainants.

           Mayor Lobregat said that  the complaints aired  by the different Tricycle Drivers and Operators  Association in a letter dates January 28, 2008  were  referred to  City Administrator Elias Enriquez who is conducting his own  investigation on the complaints.

          The complainants alleged that the payment of a P200  membership for a tricycle cooperative is required before their franchises can be released by the TAB.

          Lobregat has not allowed any TAB official to answer the complaints at the city council since he consider this as premature as an investigation is now being conducted by the City Administrator Office.

          �I�ll wait for the recommendation coming from the City Administrator Office,� Lobregat said  .

 

Council to mayor:  suspend  Guardian from TAB,  release �withheld� franchises

 

The City Council  has recommended  the Preventive Suspension  from office of Alejandro Guardian who is a member of the Tricycle Adjudication Board  (TAB) representing the Tricycle Drivers and Operators Association in this city .

          The recommendation for the  preventive suspension of Guardian for thirty (30) days was included in the  Committee Reports presented by Chairman Councilor Roel �Elong� Natividad on Committee on Franchise to the city council the other day.

          The recommendation came after the committee received the sworn statements of several tricycle drivers, operators and officials of tricycle associations and related groups on the alleged imposition of P 150 to P200 membership fees by the Three Wheel Cooperative in return for the release of franchises of their units.

          The Resolution which was sponsored by Councilor Natividad and Chairman Councilor  Juan �Kim� Elago on Committee on Ordinance and Resolution was unanimously approved by the city councilors.

          Elago said that the council decided to support the recommendation to suspend Guardian after witnesses spoke and testified  before the committee meeting held recently in the City Council Session Hall.

          The Committee invited  members of the TAB  but none  of them appeared  for one reasons or the other and also on the claim that Mayor Celso L. Lobregat has also directed  City Administrator Ely Enriquez to conduct a similar investigation of the complaints.

          In addition to suspending Guardian, the city council also asked the TAB to release   the registration papers of the some 4,250 tricycle operators whose franchises are still under investigation since withholding the franchises prevents the registration of the units with the LTO.

          The riding public will be in jeopardy since as unregistered units, the passengers are not covered by insurance, a requirement in the registration of motorized tricycles with the LTO.

          The city council also asked the TAB to release the list of the 3,720 duly authenticated and verified tricycle operators for the issuance and passage of a franchise ordinance by the city council.

 

VM, councilors plan moves against charges re cockpit

 

Vice Mayor Mannix Dalipe, Jr and the 16 City Councilors  met  last  March 4 to plan their moves against charges filed against them with the Ombudsman.

          The owners of the Gallera de Zamboanga has filed a case with the Ombudsman regarding the refusal of the city council to grant the outfit a franchise to do business in the city.

          Elago said that the members of the Councils both in District I and II and  all other lawyers in the council came up with the additional explanations or answers to the complaint  aside from those submitted by the City Legal Officer.

          Councilor Asbi Edding  presented  arguments on the procedural  aspect used by the complaint in filling the  case against them.

          Elago said that there was no hearing set for the complaint, but that it was better to prepare the answer to the complaint.

          The city government has been questioned over its grant of franchises to 12 cockpits in the city when a Presidential Decree allows the operation of no more than two cockpits per municipality or city in the country.

          The Supreme Court has also upheld  the two-cockpit per city / municipality rule  when it decided in favor of  cockpit operator who filed a case  against  municipal officials in Daanbantayan,  Cebu who approved the operation of a third cockpit in their municipality.

 

LTO clearances needed for assembling motor vehicles

The  Land Transportation Office (LTO) has warned the public and machine shops against assembling, fabricating or remodeling motor vehicles in the city without prior clearances from the office.

          LTO  Regional Director Aminola Abaton said clearances are required before one can modify existing or old frames or bodies of motor vehicles to prevent the use of stolen parts and engines in these reassembled units.

          There are reports  that some motorists are changing the colors, design and modifying models of these units.

          Abaton warned that the  LTO-IX   Operation Division will apprehend and confiscate any motorcycles with out the proper documents or clearances /certification coming from the concerned agencies of PNP Crime Laboratory  Inspection Office.

          He  said that the warning also serve for those imported vehicles  to secure the Certification of Tariff payments and Clearances from the Bureau of Custom for proper evaluation .

          Abaton said that any re-modeling of vehicles like the changing of colors , designs and among others should pass the PNP Crime Laboratory 

 

No final designs available for integrated bus terminal

The city government has not approved any final plan or design for the proposed multi million peso  Integrated Bus Terminal to be constructed at  Divisoria  in the  East Coast this city.

          Only few of the local contractors submitted their respective Build and Design plans to the City Engineer�s Office,  Engineer Luis Vicente Despalo said.

          Some of the local contractors who are qualified with the triple A category refuse or do not want to participate because the project  is too costly.

          Meantime , the city engineers office is drawing up its own plans for the bus terminal, since it was noted that plans submitted focused more on the commercial aspect and not the bus terminal portion of the project.

          On the other hand, Despalo said that his office  will  continue to receive Build and Design Plans from any of the 30 local contractors although only a few of them are qualified  for the said project.

          It was also learned that only one  contractor,  the Stonerich Corp. based in Manila submitted the intention for the implementation of the IBT which the city council referred to the City Engineers Office.

          The City Government  actually had allocated some P 200 million since last year 2007 for the implementation of the IBT aside from the amount in millions allocated  for the purchase of the lot .

 

No funds for Senior Citizens bonus

The City Government does not have enough money to comply with the request for a Christmas bonus by  the some 70,000 senior citizen in this city .

          News reports say that the City  of Makati provided  Christmas bonuses to the senior citizens  in that city.

          Mayor Celso L. Lobregat said that there is not enough revenues collection from which the city can  appropriate as Christmas bonuses for these  senior citizens.

          Lobregat  said that compared to the City of Makati, the City Government  of Zamboanga   has ten times (10 times) less revenues collection than Makati City.

          Lobregat said that if the city has just enough revenues  then the office can give  what the senior citizens are asking for.

 

Lot owners block road opening projects of the city government

The city government cannot open up new roads, even if funding is available for these projects, because its negotiators cannot convince landowners to donate right of ways for these projects.

          City Mayor Celso L. Lobregat is appealing to lot owners in this city to allow the government   passage of roads through their lots and help ease traffic congestions in the city proper.

          The city government under the City Engineer�s Office (CEO) �Right of Way Agents is finding  it hard to negotiate or convince lot owners to donate their respective properties  for the opening of new roads.

          There are several plans for the opening of new roads and these include  the  Nunez-Veterans  Road, Camins-Govenor Ramos Road, Ayala  -La Paz road, Campaner-Sta. Catalina going to Talon-Talon Road and  others .

          Lobregat said that while some lot owners allowed or donated rights of way for these roads, the government is still negotiating with the other road lot owners.

          According to Lobregat,  some lot owners along the propose road from Camins- Governor Ramos , including  the religious  sector actually are willing to donate but the others do not.

          Lobregat further explained that the problem is aggravated if the true lot owners are out of town or are abroad.

          There are available funds for the opening of new roads in the city, except for the problem of right of way.

  

Look out: 3,200 unregistered tricycles doing business in Zamboanga

There are over 3,200 motorized tricycles that are doing business or plying city streets that are not properly registered with the Land Transportation Office or LTO and whose passengers may not be able to collect damages in case of accidents.

            Of this number, some 200 are considered �colorums� while the registration of the remaining 3,000  are on hold pending the confirmation of their questionable franchises that could have been duplicated or triplicated by a syndicate that issued their fake franchises at the Tricycle Adjudication Board.

            LTO Regulation Office Romeo Jallorina said that the TAB has a listing of 3,700 motorized tricycles that were recently issued franchises and that were supposed to be registered with the LTO.

            However, he said that for 2007  his office has on record the registration of only about 3,500 or an unaccounted 200 whose owners did not register their units with the office.

            In the case of the 3,000 unregistered units, these are units whose franchises are under question or suspicion to have originated from an unauthorized source or whose franchises bore numbers that were previously issued to original tricycle units.

            Pending the resolution of the status of the 3,000 units by the TAB, the TAB has issued yellow colored certifications that pasted on the windshields of these units to indicate the status.

            The TAB has negotiated with the LTO to exempt these units from confiscation of their papers because the TAB has still to decide on the status of their questionable franchises.

            The over 3,000 plus trike units have been  delinquent for three to four years.

 

Fabian wants something concrete in Shabu  busts

Congressman Erico Basilio Fabian has called on authorities concerned to come out with positive results from out of the discovery of three shabu manufacturing facilities and the arrest of some of the alleged suspects involved in the crime.

            Fabian challenged the authorities to come out with a strong case against the suspects so that they could be �jailed and penalized� for producing the chemical that will destroy the minds of the young.

            While the police and other law enforcement units have raided and confiscated the chemicals, Fabian said it would be another matter to bring the case to court and convict the suspects involved in the production of the illegal drug.

            The general conclusion is that the chemicals found in the scenes or vicinity of the three alleged factories are for the production of shabu but Fabian said there will be technicalities that will come to play in the actual hearing of the case in court.

            He admitted that there were some loopholes in the whole process of raiding the suspected shabu factories , in the arrest of the suspects and even in the filing of the cases in court as there are �technicalities� that can be availed off by the suspects or the accuse to escape liability for the alleged crime.

            Fabian said that it is possible that what the people and the authorities see in the case or what happened since the case surfaced last Feb 22, may just be the �tip� of the iceberg, as the arms of the syndicate or the drug ring could reach far out of the city or even to as far as Manila and abroad.

 

No special treatment for shabu suspect kept in jail

The City Jail warden has assured that the Bureau  of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) will not provide any special treatment to the suspected drug factory owner who was committed to the reformatory center last Friday.

          City Jail Warden Ester Pepito of the Bureau of Jail and  Management (BJMP)  in this city told newsmen that  there will be no special treatment to be given  Yang in the BJMP detention cell.

          Pepito said that Yang is kept at Cell Number 1 separate from the three other suspects who were arrested and charged in court  in connection with the operation of shabu factories in this city. These other suspects are kept in different cells at the compound.

          She  said that  Yang should abide or follow the policy of the jail  with no special treatment although the BJMP will allow relatives to bring in food, clothing and the like for the comfort of the suspect while under detention.

          The BJMP has also banned the use of any cellular telephone by the suspect while in jail. The suspect can use the telephone line inside the jail if he wants to call his relatives.

          Only relatives and lawyer of  Yang will be allowed to pay visits inside the cell. He is temporary detained at the BJMP pending the hearing of the cases filed against him for allegedly operating an illegal drug factory at barangay Lamisahan that were raided by the authorities last February.

City to grant permit for anti GMA rally

Mayor Celso L. Lobregat will approve the holding of any anti government rally in this city although he said he is not in favor to conduct any rally  in this city.

          An Anti �Administration Group will conduct a rally in  this city following the rallies held in Manila last Friday.

          According to Lobregat, he has not joined any rally-  particularly during the Edsa I and II  since he was against the ouster of  President Joseph  Estrada  years ago.

          Lobregat further said that the  ouster of  President Estrada was wrong.

          The mayor said that in this city anybody can request for a permit to  conduct rallies provided that these will be peaceful and orderly .

          It has been observed , that many if not most of the citizenry in this city  do not engage  in any rallies compared in other cities like in Manila where in for every  event people are resorted to conduct rallies .

 

Religious schools in Zambo peninsula �stay� neutral

 

All private religious schools, colleges and universities in the Zamboanga Peninsula region will �stay neutral� although their counterparts in the Manila Metropolis are agitating for the resignation of the President amidst alleged scandals in the government.

          Few in Zamboanga or nearby cities and provinces conducted rallies in support of the Anti-government rallies in Manila.

          Ateneo de Zamboanga University President Jesuit Priest Antonio Moreno said �we will not allow politicians to use our schools and students to further their political interests.�

          Moreno who is also president of the Catholic Education Association of the Philippines (CEAP)  and the Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu Tawi Tawi Private Schools (ZAMBASULTAPS) in the region said �we will stay neutral.�

          Top private school leaders, priests and nuns gathered at the Ateneo de Zamboanga University Open Court Friday to concentrate on praying for the peace in the country while agitators, militants, politicians and civil society groups gathered in Makati Friday afternoon.

          Close to 1,500 students from the different private and religious schools in the Zamboanga Peninsula, Basilan Sulu and Tawi Tawi converged  at the Ateneo for the prayer.

          Officials of the CEAP  and the ZAMBASULTAPS Association were also present during the prayer.

          They said that it is �important� to discuss the issues raised by some sectors in Manila, including the Senate but said taking rush and militant actions is out of the question.

 

CA also investigating plaints vs TAB

The office of City Administrator is conducting its own  investigation into allegations that an official or officials at the  Tricycle Adjudication Board (TAB) members are collecting some P700 pesos per tricycle owner before the TAB will reissue the units franchise.

          The amount is broken to P200 as registration fee and P500 as share subscriptions to a newly organized cooperative said to be under an official of the TAB.

          City Administrator Ely Enriquez said that he has asked the City Council,   particularly  the Committee on Franchise with chairman councilor Roel �Elong� Natividad, to provide his office with results or transcripts of the recent Committee Public Hearing in Aid of Legislation conducted by the Sanggunian.

          Enriquez said that there was  a letter addressed to the Office of the City Mayor dated January 28 ,2008 by the different Tricycle Drivers and Operators Association �Federation delos Chufer y Operador de Zamboanga against TAB members.

          The letter claimed that tricycle drivers and operators  are being coerced  to become  members  of a newly created tricycle cooperative  by the TAB officials and pay the amount.

          However, Enriquez said that the City Council should have not take action  on the matter since the letter was addressed to the City Mayor and was only copy furnished  the Council.

          Enriquez also said that TAB member Alejandro Guardian representing the Tricycle Drivers and Operators Association denied such allegations.

          Guardia was asked to explained about  the complaints hurled against him but he denied the accusations.

 

City eyes padlocks for Bagsakan cooperative

The City Government will either eject the members or  padlock the stalls occupied by the Farmers Cooperatives that sits on about one fourth of the Bagsakan Sta. Cruz Public Market for non-payment of outstanding Tax payment amounting to P 600,000 in  this city.

          Earlier, Market Superintendent Antonio delos Reyes said that he was against the  granting tax amnesty to members of Farmers Cooperative in  Bagsakan  Sta. Cruz Public Market.

          City Administrator Elias Enriquez said that the Farmers Cooperative can not be granted tax amnesty since the outstanding balance of P 600,000 taxes payment accrued for over two years is now due at the City Treasurer Office .

          Enriquez said that the city government is trying to collect from the cooperative but the members of the  cooperative want to occupy the space for free.

          �Antes pa ta kobra kanila, hende sila ta ase kaso paga na treasurer office,�Enriquez said.

          According to Enriquez , if the office will give them amnesty  if will not stop other stall vendors to also form a cooperative and also ask for exemptions.

          Mayor Celso L. Lobregat only gave  for free the space where  farmers cooperative office is located but not on the space the members are occupying .

 

City nears dengue �epidemic � level with 280 sick, 2 deaths

Dengue fever cases have reached an alarming level in this city with at least two deaths and over 280 cases reported as of Feb. 20

On record,  14 people died of dengue fever in 2007 and with two deaths last month , the health office has  placed the city at an  alarming level  or that of a near  epidemic.

Records showed that  the number of dengue hemorrhagic fever cases in the country stood at  43,938 cases from January  to December last year.

Health Regional Director Dr. Aristides C. Tan told newsmen that dengue in this city is now at an  alarming level considering the cases reported by health authorities.

Dr. Tan said that based on record the number of  dengue cases in Zamboanga City has reached  172  for the month of January 2008 compared to January 2007 only 55 cases registered .

And for the month of February 110 cases  were reported as of middle of this week, while  only 88 cases were reported for  February last year.

In his press conference held last Thursday during the launching of the Regional Ant-Dengue Campaign dubbed as �ToDOH Laban sa Dengue,� Dr Tan said though the cases  is already alarming  Zamboanga City is still not beyond the epidemic  threshold.

He said that an epidemic can be classified  according to two main sources such as human activity and the weather.

In the human factor, the disease  can spread because of the �ningas  kogon� mentality of the people to take steps against the disease.

The second cause for the spread of the diseases is the erratic weather where there is no clear dry and wet season in the country anymore because of global weather conditions.

The health regional director said the people should  cooperate, support and help them fight  dengue in the city following the �formula  4-S laban sa dengue�  because dengue cases or problem is worsening everyday.

The formula 4�s are search and destroy, self protection measures, seek early consultation and say no to indiscriminate  fogging.

Dr. Tan said that among those main factors that contributed to the increasing cases of dengue problem is the environmental issues which in the problems related  to the disposal of waste materials and  unplanned and uncontrolled urbanization .

Dr. Tan said that the program for this year 2008 will be a year round activity  and the main goals are to reduce morbidity and mortality from dengue infection by preventing the transmission of the virus from the mosquito vector to human.

He said that there are no available vaccines to prevent the spread of the disease and that all defends on detecting the disease  early and by preventing mosquito dengue virus carries from biting humans.

 

SP proceeds with probe on P700 fee required for franchise issuance

 

The city council will pursue its investigation of allegations that the Tricycle Adjudication Board or TAB is requiring motorized tricycle owners to pay a total of P700 in membership fee and share subscription contribution to a newly organized motorized tricycle cooperative before the TAB will issue the franchise to the tricycle owner.

 Chairman Councilor Roel �Elong� Natividad on Committee  on Franchise has invited members  of the TAB under the Office of the City Mayor to shed light  over the complaints of several tricycle drivers and operators in the city .

However no TAB official appeared in a public hearing scheduled for early this week, and none have signified their intention to attend to the hearing scheduled for yesterday.

In addition to this P700 payment, tricycle owners and drivers are also supposed to pay a monthly fee of P150 each or P5 a day to this cooperative.

Natividad said that he has formally addressed a letter to the City Mayor Celso L. Lobregat  dated February 19 ,2008 which was given  last February 20,2008 for members of the TAB to shed light, explain and answer the complains of tricycle drivers and operators particularly those under oath who  made their complains.

�The show must go on,� Natividad said that referring to the public hearing and whether or not members of the TAB did not appear.

It was also learned that TAB officials have declined to attend the council hearing because City Hall is also conducting a similar investigation on the complaint.

Earlier.  Mayor  Lobregat told newsmen that  that there was an order to encourage tricycle drivers and operators to be a member of the cooperative but not compulsory

 

Zambo readies massive drive  vs rabies with 8 deaths in �07

 

The city government will launch its celebration of Rabies Control Month by the first week of next month to curb the spread of the disease and increase awareness of local residents to the dangers of this incurable disease spread by dog and other animal bites.

Theme for the celebration will be : �Aso ay alagaan at pakakunahan�

The City Veterinary office reported that there were eight human mortalities from dog bites last year while 33 dogs out of 55 suspected infected canines were also found to be positive of the disease and died .

Dr.  Arnedo Agbayani, Chief of the Animal Services Division of the City Veterinary Office  said the city government spent about P750, 000 for vaccines that were used to immunize some 15,000 dogs in this city last year.

A 10-dose vial will cost some 500 pesos each with each dose good for one dogs for one year protection from the disease.

At the ratio of one dog per 10 persons and since there are about 700,000 people in Zamboanga,  Dr Agbayani estimated that there are about 70,000 dogs in the city today.

Dr Agbayani  said plans for the celebration were finalized in a meeting with concerned officials at City Hall last Wednesday.

The celebration will start with a  motorcade from the city proper to the Ayala Central School, some 30 kilometers towards the west coast of the city.

The launching of the anti-rabies information campaign will be done at Ayala where there are �recent reported cases of the disease and a high incidence of dog bites.�

The city government is also planning to host a Rabies Summit for barangay officials on March 11.

Agbayani said that the summit to be held at the City Health Conference Room at the city proper will explore activities that can be undertaken by the government and barangay officials to help control the disease.

A Memorandum of Agreement is being finalized where the roles of the city government, the city veterinary office and barangay officials will be outlined to ensure success of the campaign.

While the city may not have the money to immunize all 70,000 dogs in the city, Dr. Agbayani said proper care of the animals and understanding of the disease will help prevent needless deaths of dogs and humans  from the disease.

 

PDAP official calls for full seaweed production effort

 

An official of the Philippine Assistance Development Program (PDAP) urged the concerned sectors to undertake joint efforts in upgrading and increasing the production of quality seaweeds of the Philippines.

The call was made by PDAP Executive Director Jerry Pacturan as he expressed apprehension that the Philippines might be overtaken by one of its neighbors, Indonesia, in the top slot in supplying quality seaweeds in the world market.

Pacturan noted that Indonesia was way far below the country's seaweed production level several years ago but its seaweeds yields continue to increase catching up with that of the Philippines' production.

Last year, Indonesia's seaweeds harvests reached 82,000 metric tons, which is only 15,000 metric tons lower than that of the Philippines last year's of 97,000 metric tons, according to Pacturan.

The official presented a seaweed master development plan for Sitangkai, Tawi-Tawi, dubbed as the seaweed capital of the Philippines, during a donor's forum in this city.

The master plan aims to significantly increase Sitangkai's seaweed production from 3,000 metric tons a month to 27,000 metric tons and increase in average farm income from P60,000 to 300,000 a year.

Sitangkai Mayor Serbin Ahaja expressed full support to the implementation of the seaweed master plan, citing it will help boost the town's seaweed production.

The master plan calls for the increase of seaweed production area in Sitangkai from 2,500 hectares to as much as 10,000 hectares by 2010. (PNA)

 

It�s P14M, not P20M, for medicines

 

The City Government has a P20 million budget for the purchase of medicines and other medical needs in this  city for distribution to the 102 health centers in this city and to the out patients at  the City Health Office .

 

City Health Officer Dr. Rodel Agbulos clarified that this P20 million budget is not limited to medicines alone.

 

According to Dr. Agbulos, the P20 million budget will be allocated as follows: P 3  million as reserve  funds for  use in emergency  situations;  P3 million  for the purchase of vaccines  for anti-rabbis; while the  remaining P14 million or thereabouts  will be used for the purchase of medicines for the 102 Barangay Health Centers to include  for the Out Patient Department (OPD)   of the CHO.

 

He also said expenditures for the amount are properly supported with documents.

 

Earlier. the City Council particularly the Committee on Health chaired by Councilor Lilia Nuno has scheduled  a committee hearing so the city health office can shed light on the matter particularly on the alleged selling of medicines as well as its distribution to the 102 Barangay Health Centers .

 

Some member of the council are asking for an inventory of medicines and how these are distributed in the city.

 

Dr. Agbulos said that he is ready to present himself on the matter  though he declined and will not accept  allegations that BHCs are selling the medicines  .

 

The distribution of medicines at the BHCs is done  four times in a year or on a quarterly basis. Dr. Agbulos  said .

  

 

Business permits down by 50%; only half of 7,756 OK

 

Only  50 percent out of the owners of the   7,756 Business Permit issued for the year 2007 were able to beat the deadline for the  renewal of Business Permit deadline last January 20,2008

The City Government went on overtime work from its regular working hours last month just  to process applications.

Last year the  City Permit and Licensing Division was able to approve some 7,OOO before the Jan 20, 2007 deadline  although over 3,000 applications were not approved for lack of the necessary requirements particularly compliance with the zoning ordinance and the absence of a Zoning Clearance from the  City Planning  Office.

The City Government has imposed strict compliance of this zoning clearance requirement to all business licensee applicants.

The Building  Code requires a  five (5) meter set back from the edge of the street for commercial building and this requirement was the common problem that affected  most of those 3,000 applicants.

In an interview, Chief Dangin Jacinto of the City Permit and Licensing Division disclosed that it was only about 50 percent of the applicants  who were able to meet the deadline set forth under City Ordinance.

Jacinto said that some business permit applicants encountered problems that prevented them from renewing their licenses.

Among those reasons is that the applicant does not have enough money to pay the business permit and taxes or that they have to wait for money from their relatives abroad so they can pay the tax and so forth.

Jacinto clarified that those who failed to beat the deadline can still process their papers but will have to pay for the surcharges and other related fees for late payment .

As with last year, there were some who failed to process their papers for lack of papers or non �compliance of the requirements particularly on the Zoning Clearance from the City Planning Office .

Jacinto said that among those problems usually incur is the five (5) meters setback which many establishments particularly those small time business retailers failed to comply.

 

Agbulos denies sale of gov�t drugs at brg�y health centers

City Health Officer Dr. Rodelin �Rodel� Agbulos has denied the allege sale of government medicines, supposed to be given free, to indigent patients in  Barangay Health Centers in this city.

Agbulos gave this clarification after the  Committee on Health headed by  Councilor Lilia Nuno is scheduled to  conduct a committee hearing over the alleged selling of medicines, the  lack or absence of  medicines at some  barangay Health Centers.

The city has about 102 health center with 102 midwives , 16 district nurses and 16 medical officers.

Dr. Agbulos said he has not received any  reports that some of the 102 health centers are selling medicines to the barangay constituents  because the people might had misinterpret  the charging of P 50 as family membership  based on City Ordinance  as payment for these medicines.

Barangay residents are required to pay for a  membership fees card amounting to P50 based on a City Ordinance so they can be properly attended to in these centers.

Thus, Dr. Agbulos said that  the alleged selling of medicines intended for the indigent patients in the barangays  is not true .

 ï¿½I�ll not accept  the  idea  that Barangay Health Center are selling medicines, Dr Agbulos said.

He also said that the  distribution of medicines to the 102 Barangay Health Centers every quarter of the year are properly done  and there is a directive that all  anti-biotics  medicines should only be given with the proper  doctors prescription.

 ï¿½ I will have my presentation (at the city council) on how the department runs and in the distribution of medicines , � Dr. Agbulos said .


xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

Council  finds more evidences on TAB-required franchise fees

 

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Feb 14 (PNA) � The City Council has accumulated several  sworn statements from tricycle operators and drivers who are reportedly being forced by somebody at the Tricycle Adjudication Board (TAB) to pay a total of P700 each before the  DOH warns public against  taking �food supplements�

  

 

The Department of Health 9 (DOH) has warned the public against taking alleged food supplements without prior consultations with their doctors.

 

Health   Regional Director Dr. Aristides Tan said that �If the food supplement is registered with the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) it is safe although the product may not have any scientific therapeutic value.�  

 

There are hundreds of food supplements  in the market these days.

 

Some advertisers and marketing agents of  these  food supplements claim that their products can help  lower blood pressure,  blood sugar level or as  immune system boosters.  


However he said the  packages of these supplements are printed with  �No Therapeutic Claims,� for the product contrary to that advertised by promoters.

 

Tan explained that �food supplements do not control diseases and that anything that is not part of the human body is considered as foreign or alien and can cause side or ill effects when taken in by the person.�


Some are also taking these food supplements while taking other medications like medicines for high blood pressure or diabetes.

  

 

 

 

 

Zambo readies massive drive  vs rabies with 8 deaths in ‘07

 

The city government will launch its celebration of Rabies Control Month by the first week of next month to curb the spread of the disease and increase awareness of local residents to the dangers of this incurable disease spread by dog and other animal bites.

Theme for the celebration will be : “Aso ay alagaan at pakakunahan”

The City Veterinary office reported that there were eight human mortalities from dog bites last year while 33 dogs out of 55 suspected infected canines were also found to be positive of the disease and died .

Dr.  Arnedo Agbayani, Chief of the Animal Services Division of the City Veterinary Office  said the city government spent about P750, 000 for vaccines that were used to immunize some 15,000 dogs in this city last year.

A 10-dose vial will cost some 500 pesos each with each dose good for one dogs for one year protection from the disease.

At the ratio of one dog per 10 persons and since there are about 700,000 people in Zamboanga,  Dr Agbayani estimated that there are about 70,000 dogs in the city today.

Dr Agbayani  said plans for the celebration were finalized in a meeting with concerned officials at City Hall last Wednesday.

The celebration will start with a  motorcade from the city proper to the Ayala Central School, some 30 kilometers towards the west coast of the city.

The launching of the anti-rabies information campaign will be done at Ayala where there are “recent reported cases of the disease and a high incidence of dog bites.”

The city government is also planning to host a Rabies Summit for barangay officials on March 11.

Agbayani said that the summit to be held at the City Health Conference Room at the city proper will explore activities that can be undertaken by the government and barangay officials to help control the disease.

A Memorandum of Agreement is being finalized where the roles of the city government, the city veterinary office and barangay officials will be outlined to ensure success of the campaign.

While the city may not have the money to immunize all 70,000 dogs in the city, Dr. Agbayani said proper care of the animals and understanding of the disease will help prevent needless deaths of dogs and humans  from the disease.

 

PDAP official calls for full seaweed production effort

 

An official of the Philippine Assistance Development Program (PDAP) urged the concerned sectors to undertake joint efforts in upgrading and increasing the production of quality seaweeds of the Philippines.

The call was made by PDAP Executive Director Jerry Pacturan as he expressed apprehension that the Philippines might be overtaken by one of its neighbors, Indonesia, in the top slot in supplying quality seaweeds in the world market.

Pacturan noted that Indonesia was way far below the country's seaweed production level several years ago but its seaweeds yields continue to increase catching up with that of the Philippines' production.

Last year, Indonesia's seaweeds harvests reached 82,000 metric tons, which is only 15,000 metric tons lower than that of the Philippines last year's of 97,000 metric tons, according to Pacturan.

The official presented a seaweed master development plan for Sitangkai, Tawi-Tawi, dubbed as the seaweed capital of the Philippines, during a donor's forum in this city.

The master plan aims to significantly increase Sitangkai's seaweed production from 3,000 metric tons a month to 27,000 metric tons and increase in average farm income from P60,000 to 300,000 a year.

Sitangkai Mayor Serbin Ahaja expressed full support to the implementation of the seaweed master plan, citing it will help boost the town's seaweed production.

The master plan calls for the increase of seaweed production area in Sitangkai from 2,500 hectares to as much as 10,000 hectares by 2010. (PNA)

 

It’s P14M, not P20M, for medicines

 

The City Government has a P20 million budget for the purchase of medicines and other medical needs in this  city for distribution to the 102 health centers in this city and to the out patients at  the City Health Office .

 

City Health Officer Dr. Rodel Agbulos clarified that this P20 million budget is not limited to medicines alone.

 

According to Dr. Agbulos, the P20 million budget will be allocated as follows: P 3  million as reserve  funds for  use in emergency  situations;  P3 million  for the purchase of vaccines  for anti-rabbis; while the  remaining P14 million or thereabouts  will be used for the purchase of medicines for the 102 Barangay Health Centers to include  for the Out Patient Department (OPD)   of the CHO.

 

He also said expenditures for the amount are properly supported with documents.

 

Earlier. the City Council particularly the Committee on Health chaired by Councilor Lilia Nuno has scheduled  a committee hearing so the city health office can shed light on the matter particularly on the alleged selling of medicines as well as its distribution to the 102 Barangay Health Centers .

 

Some member of the council are asking for an inventory of medicines and how these are distributed in the city.

 

Dr. Agbulos said that he is ready to present himself on the matter  though he declined and will not accept  allegations that BHCs are selling the medicines  .

 

The distribution of medicines at the BHCs is done  four times in a year or on a quarterly basis. Dr. Agbulos  said .

 

 

 

 

Business permits down by 50%; only half of 7,756 OK

 

Only  50 percent out of the owners of the   7,756 Business Permit issued for the year 2007 were able to beat the deadline for the  renewal of Business Permit deadline last January 20,2008

The City Government went on overtime work from its regular working hours last month just  to process applications.

Last year the  City Permit and Licensing Division was able to approve some 7,OOO before the Jan 20, 2007 deadline  although over 3,000 applications were not approved for lack of the necessary requirements particularly compliance with the zoning ordinance and the absence of a Zoning Clearance from the  City Planning  Office.

The City Government has imposed strict compliance of this zoning clearance requirement to all business licensee applicants.

The Building  Code requires a  five (5) meter set back from the edge of the street for commercial building and this requirement was the common problem that affected  most of those 3,000 applicants.

In an interview, Chief Dangin Jacinto of the City Permit and Licensing Division disclosed that it was only about 50 percent of the applicants  who were able to meet the deadline set forth under City Ordinance.

Jacinto said that some business permit applicants encountered problems that prevented them from renewing their licenses.

Among those reasons is that the applicant does not have enough money to pay the business permit and taxes or that they have to wait for money from their relatives abroad so they can pay the tax and so forth.

Jacinto clarified that those who failed to beat the deadline can still process their papers but will have to pay for the surcharges and other related fees for late payment .

As with last year, there were some who failed to process their papers for lack of papers or non –compliance of the requirements particularly on the Zoning Clearance from the City Planning Office .

Jacinto said that among those problems usually incur is the five (5) meters setback which many establishments particularly those small time business retailers failed to comply.

“Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Agbulos denies sale of gov’t drugs at brg’y health centers

City Health Officer Dr. Rodelin “Rodel” Agbulos has denied the allege sale of government medicines, supposed to be given free, to indigent patients in  Barangay Health Centers in this city.

Agbulos gave this clarification after the  Committee on Health headed by  Councilor Lilia Nuno is scheduled to  conduct a committee hearing over the alleged selling of medicines, the  lack or absence of  medicines at some  barangay Health Centers.

The city has about 102 health center with 102 midwives , 16 district nurses and 16 medical officers.

Dr. Agbulos said he has not received any  reports that some of the 102 health centers are selling medicines to the barangay constituents  because the people might had misinterpret  the charging of P 50 as family membership  based on City Ordinance  as payment for these medicines.

Barangay residents are required to pay for a  membership fees card amounting to P50 based on a City Ordinance so they can be properly attended to in these centers.

Thus, Dr. Agbulos said that  the alleged selling of medicines intended for the indigent patients in the barangays  is not true .

 “I’ll not accept  the  idea  that Barangay Health Center are selling medicines, Dr Agbulos said.

He also said that the  distribution of medicines to the 102 Barangay Health Centers every quarter of the year are properly done  and there is a directive that all  anti-biotics  medicines should only be given with the proper  doctors prescription.

 “ I will have my presentation (at the city council) on how the department runs and in the distribution of medicines , “ Dr. Agbulos said .

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

Council  finds more evidences on TAB-required franchise fees

 

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Feb 14 (PNA) – The City Council has accumulated several  sworn statements from tricycle operators and drivers who are reportedly being forced by somebody at the Tricycle Adjudication Board (TAB) to pay a total of P700 each before the TAB will approve or released their franchises for this year.

 

City Councilor Rhoel Natividad said he is meeting with these drivers and tricycle owners to get to the truth about the alleged collection being made from them as they process their papers with the TAB at city hall.

 

He took note of complaints that the so called P700 is broken down as P200 as membership fee for the newly created 3-Wheel Cooperatives while the P500 is as subscription to shares to the stock of the cooperative.

 

None of these collections are mandated in the tricycle ordinance enacted in 1996 or in succeeding amendments to the 1996 trike law.

 

Natividad who started the probe a few weeks ago also noted that contrary to request for explanations from the TAB , no TAB official attended a public hearing at the City Council to shed light or explain the complaints of tricycle players in the city.

 

He said that if there is truth to the matter that the fees are mandated or obligatory on the part of tricycles owners, then the fee should be paid to some officers of the cooperative at its office at Tetuan.

 

Instead, Natividad said initial reports say that the P700 membership and share subscription fee is being collected right at the TAB office at City Hall.

 

The TAB is just supposed to process the franchise application of the tricycle owners /operators but not to serve as the collection agent of the cooperative.

 

The councilor also hinted about a “conflict of interest” in the whole exercise because a member of the TAB is said to be an officer of this cooperative.

 

Other city councilors and Vice Mayor Manuel “Mannix” Dalipe are supporting Natividad to get to the bottom of the alleged irregularity in the TAB.

xxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

Mindanao block hopes to benefit on Nograles leadership

 

 

Zamboanga City 1st District Congresswoman Maria Isabelle Climaco is hopeful that  Mindanao block congressmen will benefit with the installation of Rep. Prospero Nograles of Davao as the  new Speaker of the House of Representatives.

 

Climaco said that  “for the first time we have a speaker from Mindanao and we hope we benefit from his leadership.”  

 

She  said that she has not spoken yet to  Speaker Nograles and added that Nograles “never made promises which he could not deliver.”

 

Nograles replaced former speaker of the house Jose de Venecia after the position of the speakers were declared vacant by the Congressmen.  

 

A total of  174 congressman who voted “yes” to declare the position vacant while  35 congressman voted “no”. Those who abstained from voting numbered 16.

 

Zamboanga City Congressman Erico Basilio Fabian and Congresswoman Maria Isabelle Climaco voted yes on the motion.

 

Mayor OKs Agbulos presence in city council probe on gov’t drugs

 

City Mayor Celso L. Lobregat has agreed that City Health Officer Dr. Rodel Agbulos accept the invitation of the city council to appear and answer questions on allegations that some medicines purchased by the government for the poor are being sold out by unscrupulous health personnel or workers in the city.

The Mayor said Dr. Agbulos can attend the public hearing or probe so he can explain the intricacies or circumstances surrounding the dispensation of drugs by the city health office.

Last week City Councilor Lilia M. Nuno announced that she will conduct a Committee Hearing in Aid of Legislation concerning the alleged selling of government procured medicines in the barangays in this city.

Reports reaching her  office claim that some unscrupulous workers in  some health centers are selling medicines to indigent patients in the community.

“The committee hearing is not only dialogue but in aide of legislation since  some changes or amendments will be made to improve  the policies on health ,” Nuno said .

Some council member also said they received similar reports that medicines to be given out for free  do not reach the indigent patients  while some councilors  received complains about the selling of medicines. (zpj)

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

DOH warns public against  taking “food supplements”

  

 

The Department of Health 9 (DOH) has warned the public against taking alleged food supplements without prior consultations with their doctors.

 

Health   Regional Director Dr. Aristides Tan said that “If the food supplement is registered with the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) it is safe although the product may not have any scientific therapeutic value.”  

 

There are hundreds of food supplements  in the market these days.

 

Some advertisers and marketing agents of  these  food supplements claim that their products can help  lower blood pressure,  blood sugar level or as  immune system boosters.  


However he said the  packages of these supplements are printed with  “No Therapeutic Claims,” for the product contrary to that advertised by promoters.

 

Tan explained that “food supplements do not control diseases and that anything that is not part of the human body is considered as foreign or alien and can cause side or ill effects when taken in by the person.”


Some are also taking these food supplements while taking other medications like medicines for high blood pressure or diabetes.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

 

CHO dismayed on council probe, inventory submitted to city mayor

 

City Health Officer Dr. Rodel Agbulos has submitted an inventory of medicines purchased with millions of pesos for indigents in the city to the office of the city mayor in answer to a request for such a list by the city council.

Thus, Agbulos  is dismayed that the City Council is still questioning the whereabouts  of  the Budget for Medicines in this city.

Earlier, city councilors  questioned the disposition  of medicines at the City Health after reports said that some medicines do not reach the health centers or the indigents intended to be provided these drugs.

The city councilors then asked Agbulos to prepare an inventory of medicines purchased from the millions of pesos allocated for the items.

Dr. Agbulos said that  the office has already submitted  the inventory reports to the city mayor and that it is now  the discretion of the Chief if he will forward the inventory to the city council or not.

“We already submitted our inventory,” Dr. Agbulos  said adding  that we  prepared  and submitted  the reports two to three months ago  .

“It’s the local  chief executive who has the discretion as to  whether  he forwards the reports to the council ,” Dr. Agbulos said.

“I just don’t like what’s happening, some member of the council already accused or make it publicly.” It’s very unfair,” Dr. Agbulos said.

According to Dr, Agbulos , the council should have first conducted an investigation before questioning in public the distribution of the medicines.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

 

SP to pursue probe against TAB rule on releases of trike franchise

 

Vice Mayor Manuel Dalipe Jr., and Councilor Jaime Cabato are supporting a move of City Councilor Roel Elong Natividad to conduct public hearings and to investigate claims that the Tricycle Adjudication Board (TAB) forces drivers and owners of motorized tricycles to be a member of a newly organized cooperative before their franchises can be released to the applicants.

 

Natividad called for a public hearing the other day to  take up  complaints  by local motorized tricycle operators and drivers that they are being forced to join a cooperative prior to the release of franchises due to them but no one from the TAB attended the hearing.

 

City Councilor Roel Elong Natividad discussed the problem with scores of tricycle owners and drivers during a public hearing held at the Sangguniang last Tuesday.

 

The complaining owners and drivers claim that they are being forced or intimidated into joining the newly organized 3-Wheel Cooperative in addition to their membership in their own respective associations or cooperatives.

 

Dalipe also said that reports say that someone at the TAB is forcing drivers and owners to join the cooperative or else their franchises will not be released by the tricycle board.

 

“They are forced to pay”, he said.

 

No one at the TAB has also come out openly to day that the drivers and owners are mandated to join and pay the fees, because the joining and the payment is supposed to be voluntary.

 

On the other hand, non payment will cause the franchises papers to sleep at the TAB for one flimsy reason or the other.

 

Although no one has surfaced in the open as behind this new tricycle  cooperative, the word around is that owners and drivers of tricycle units must pay a registration or initial membership due of P200 pesos.

 

They are also required to subscribe  P500 as   shares in the cooperative or a total expenditure of P700 before the TAB will release their franchises.

 

Councilor Cabato said that investigation to be conducted by the city council will not only be in Aid of Legislation.

 

He said the result of the investigation can be used to file a case in court against those involved in the irregularity.

 

The TAB is supposed to be the regulatory agency of the city government in the management of the motorized tricycle industry and not to be the indirect collection agency for the 3-Wheel Cooperative in this city, one councilor added.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dalipe, Elago unaware of city’s PBillions  in time deposits at bank

Amount a tightly guarded secret? No mention in SOCA

Top officials at the City Council are not aware of the exact amount that the city government has in time deposits at a local bank – money intended for projects but are not being spent for one reason or the other.

Last week, Vice Mayor Manuel “Mannix” Dalipe Jr.  called for the use of the hundreds of millions of pesos intended for projects that are just being kept in deposits at a local bank.

The vice mayor said there is  “so much money in the Bank,” although he did not mention any figures.

 

However, when asked about the exact amount being kept in the bank, Dalipe said he does not know but said it is less than a billion pesos.

 

City Councilor Juan Kim Elago volunteered to say that the amount could be about P500 million or half a billion pesos.

 

Last year , efforts to find out the amount from a bank official proved futile when the official said that such figures are considered “Confidential in Nature.”

 

A local pundit commented that there is nothing confidential in the amount that the city has deposited in the bank, because the account is not a personal account or that it belongs to a private person but is money of the city government – a public entity supposed to be covered by the policy of transparency.

 

It will be recalled that years ago, then City Mayor Vitaliano Agan used to announce that the city has millions of pesos in time deposits in the bank.

 

The former mayor used to show to media the exact amount in time deposits and how much the city is earning in interests for these time deposits.

 

Mayor Agan was the last mayor, to our knowledge, who talked openly about the time deposits of city government funds in the bank.

 

Incidentally, nothing was said about time deposits in the bank in the State of the City Address (SOCA) delivered during the city councils maiden session for the year 2008 last Jan. 17.

 

Talks moving around in the city say the city government has on deposits hundreds of millions in a bank although some say that the amount is more than P1.7 billion.

 

This amount is not for the current operating expenses of the city based on the executive budget but for projects approved in previous years that are unimplemented to this day. Operational funds for the city’s budget are kept in current accounts because withdrawals are made regularly for salaries and other expenditures of the city government.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

 

Demolition spree goes on

 

The city government is continuing its demolition of structure in unauthorized areas in the city, particularly in lots that belong to the government.

 

City Administrator Elias Enriquez has scheduled to demolish  the homes of  37 families who have constructed temporary homes or structures inside Pasonanca Park and who have been warned to vacate the place.

 

Enriquez said he will initially discuss with these families the early removal of their structures on a voluntary basis or by force, if need be, if the families defy the order to move out.

 

These occupants of areas at the Pasonanca Park have reportedly asked for an extension of their stay in the area for six months.

 

Last Feb 06 a demolition team from the city engineers office was also scheduled to demolish three structures inside the Edwin Andres Air Base at barangay Sta. Maria this city.

 

The Presidential Commission on Urban Poor has reportedly approved the demolition of these structures inside the air base.

 

Other than these two demolition projects, the city government is also set to demolished homes and other structures that are being put up by victims of the November Storm Surge along the shorelines of Sinunuc.

 

The former occupants of the place have been warned against rebuilding their homes along the shorelines lest they be victimized again by storm surges and strong waves.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

SP to take up trike woes

 

The City Council is expected to take up soon a complaint by local motorized tricycle operators and drivers that they are being forced to join a cooperative prior to the release of franchises due to them.

 

City Councilor Roel Elong Natividad discussed the problem with scores of tricycle owners and drivers during a public hearing held at the Sangguniang last Tuesday.

 

Unfortunately for Natividad, no one from the Tricycle Adjudication Board or TAB attended the public hearing.

 

The complaining owners and drivers claim that they are being forced or intimidated into joining the newly organized 3-Wheel Cooperative in addition to their membership in their own respective associations or cooperatives.

 

Although no one has surfaced in the open as behind this new tricycle  cooperative, the word around is that owners and drivers of tricycle units must pay a registration or initial membership due of P200 pesos.

 

They are also required to subscribe with P500 to  shares in the cooperative or a total expenditure of P700 before the TAB will release their franchises.

 

Natividad will finalize his committee report for submission to the city council for further deliberation of the matters.

 

Several councilors have already sided with the complaining tricycle operators and drivers saying that the TAB has no business imposing the added financial requirement on drivers and operators.

 

The TAB is supposed to be the regulatory agency of the city government in the management of the motorized tricycle industry and not to be the indirect collection agency for the 3-Wheel Cooperative in this city, one councilor added.

Xxxxxxxxxxxx

 

US fields 600 soldiers for Balikatan ‘08

Some American  600 soldiers will participate in Balikatan 2008, the annual Republic of the Philippines-U.S. bilateral military humanitarian assistance and training activity that will take place in the Philippines  from February 18 through March 3, 2008.   

In Central and Western Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago, Philippine and U.S. members of the armed forces will conduct approximately 23 humanitarian assistance projects.

US Ambassador Kristie A. Kenny said “There will be no military exercises or war games conducted in Mindanao or Sulu.”

In a press statement she said these “600 U.S. troops will work with civilian authorities and the AFP in these regions on humanitarian projects.”

“The AFP/U.S. teams will offer free medical, dental, and veterinary care. They will also construct and repair schools and other community infrastructures in areas of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago that are in great need of assistance.

The majority of U.S. personnel are construction engineers and medical specialists.  They will be working side-by-side with their AFP counterparts who will be in charge of all projects.

“These humanitarian assistance and training activities enable our soldiers to get to know each other, train together, and provide assistance in communities where the need is greatest,” said  Kenney. 

“True to the meaning of the word balikatan, Americans and Filipinos are shouldering the load together to help the greatest possible number of people in need.” 

Balikatan 2008 will be the 24th annual event of its kind held under the auspices of the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) and Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). 

In Zamboanga, Retired General Edilberto Adan met with officials of the Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) last Monday to discuss the participation of Filipino soldiers in the Balikatan.

Gen Adan who is also the undersecretary for the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) briefed military officials in Wesmincom on the finer points of the VFA.

His visit coincided with the Monday Command Conference conducted by Wesmincom Commander Lt. Gen. Nelson Allaga at the headquarters in this city.

Mannix calls for use of millions  deposited in banks for projects

 

Vice Mayor Manuel “Mannix” Dalipe Jr. has called for the use of the hundreds of millions of pesos intended for projects that are just being kept in deposits at a local bank.

The vice mayor said there is  “so much money in the Bank,” although he did not mention any figures.

 

Talks moving around in the city say the city government has on deposits hundreds of millions in a bank although some say that the amount is more than P1.7 billion.

 

This amount is not for the current operating expenses of the city based on the executive budget but for projects approved in previous years that are unimplemented to this day for one reason or the other.

 

The money is intended for projects that have been held in abeyance for the last several years and no one has  revealed to the public the exact amount of money deposited in banks or how much in interest it earns and for  whom.

 

Last year, City Councilor Cesar Ituralde questioned the continued deposit of millions of pesos in city funds in a local bank but the questions died  away and no one has come out with reasons as to why the money stayed in that bank.

 

Dalipe, said that Zamboanga City is number three among the cities with the highest Internal Revenue Allotment or IRA.

 

He , however lamented that although  “We have so much money,” the people, in general don’t see any major implementation of infrastructures in the city.

 

Most of the projects are common projects that are being undertaken regularly like the construction of schools, barangay halls, drainage and the like but no major development project that will stimulate investments in the city.

 

He said the city cannot claim improvement of economic activity in this city as its accomplishments because the major commercial centers being put up in the city are by private investors such as food chains and department stores.

 

Major department store chains that have established themselves in other parts of the country, like SM Mall, Robinson, and Gaisano have not put up outlets in the city possibly because of poor economic climate or of unstable peace and order conditions.

 

Dalipe said that this big amount of money is just being kept in the bank to earn interest while the people are given excuses as to why the projects intended with the use of the fund .. remain unimplemented.

 

He said big cities like Davao and Cagayan de Oro invest their money in project and do not allow the fund to sleep in banks.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

Dalipe: Fly flag with red side up, not at half mast

 

The city government should fly the Philippine flag with the red side up, instead of the blue, rather than fly the flag at half mast, according to Vice Mayor Manuel Dalipe.

Dalipe, who is a top Boy Scout Official supposed to be an expert in the Flag Code of the country, said the half mast flying of the flag is a sign of mourning.

Republic Act No. 8491 that prescribes the Code of the National Flag provides that the flag can only be flown at half mast as a sign of mourning following the death of the following: (a) The President or a former President, for ten (10) days; (b) The Vice-President, the Chief Justice, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, for seven (7) days; and   (c)  Other persons to be determined by the (National Historical) Institute, for any period less than seven (7) days.

The flag code does not say that local government units can arbitrarily fly the flag at half-mast just because  officials do not agree to laws created in congress  that are also include representatives from local government units.

”It should be red up,” Dalipe said. “Half mast is mourning,” he added

 

It is standard practice world wide that flying an inverted flag is a sign that the country is at war or in great peril from outside forces or threats.

 

Dalipe said that the City Government should have studied the matter before taking any action (in this case against the flag) for the loss in Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) funds.

 

City Mayor Celso Lobregat who led in the hoisting of the in front of City Hall last Jan 21, protested against the creation of new cities whose budget or IRA will be taken from existing cities nationwide.

 

The creation of these new cities has resulted to the reduction in the intended IRA for this year. . The IRA for Davao was reduced by  P194 M ,  Palawan by P144 M and Zamboanga City by P115 million

 

The old IRAs of these cities, which in Zamboanga  is from P700 to P800 million, were not affected by the creation of the new cities.

 

For his part, Dalipe said that though he favors the conversion of several municipalities into cities he is said over the reduction of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).

 

Dalipe said that  the creation of other cities from municipalities would help the government reduce internal migration and unemployment in urban areas.

 

Municipalities converted into cities will have the opportunity to improve  and to progress both in economic and livelihood of its constituents.

 

Meantime, Dalipe said that it is up to the Supreme Court to decide on the fate of cities created that  did not comply with the requirements for conversion to cityhood.

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

Ombudsman case vs. Council over cock derby unreceived

 

The City Council has yet to  receive any copy of the complaint reportedly filed against the vice mayor and city councilors with the ombudsman by the Gallera de Zamboanga in this city .

 

City Councilor Juan “Kim” Elago said that the council has  not received the document of the case filed with ombudsman . The case has to do with the failure of the city council to approve a derby for Gallera.

 

Elago explained that  the City Council did not act on the Gallera application for a derby because the body has already approved another derby of similar day .

 

On the other hand, Vice Mayor Mannix Dalipe said that in as far as the case filed with the Ombudsman is concerned, he is just the presiding officer  and he  can not present  any option for that matter  than to approve.

 

“My defense – as the presiding officer,” Dalipe said adding that he did not received any letter about the case filed with the Ombudsman.

Xxxxxxxxxx

 

 

 

 

 

Zambo City Jail congested, inmates hearings not set–PAO Chief        

 

ZAMBOANGA CITY , Feb 05 (PNA) - The Chief of the Public Attorneys Office (PAO) in Manila has found out that the main reason why the Zamboanga City Reformatory Center (ZCRC) is congested is because the hearing of cases for inmates locked in the jail is not on a regular basis.

 

PAO Chief Persida Rueda-Acosta said that the failure to set the hearing of its inmates all facing charges in court has failed to decongest the jail now with 1,086 male inmates, 138 female inmates and 36 minors detained inside the City Jail.

 

All convicted inmates could be transferred to the San Ramon National Penitentiary, the second oldest penitentiary in the country that is just about 20 kilometers west of the city proper.

 

She also explained that congestion is also caused by backlog of cases in court.

 

The courts and the judges also have loads of job and some of the hearing of the inmates is set only once a month, six months or a year.

 

Acosta has already directed PAO Regional Director Atty. Edgardo Gonzaga to expedite the cases of the inmates and that those cases without prosecution witnesses should be moved for dismissal.

 

The PAO Chief asked the lawyers to check on the case of the inmates and file for motion to set for hearing.

 

There are only five PAO lawyers here in the city so Acosta want to add two more to hasten the hearing and resolution of cases.

 

She explained that there are 2,261 courts nationwide and that there are only 1,048 PAO lawyers to attend to cases referred to the office. The ratio should have been one PAO later to a court.

 

She also said that the PAO lawyers must be given incentives like allowance She said that in Zamboanga the PAO lawyers are not receiving allowance from the city government.

 

Acosta said that PAO lawyers in Manila, Calookan, Pasay Quezon City and others receive regular allowances from these local government units.


She already talked to Mayor Celso Lobregat to give allowances to the PAO lawyers serving in the city however she said this allowance will be available possibly only by next year.

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

Elago to Guardian:  resign from TAB for ill advices to the mayor

 

City  Councilor  Juan “Kim” Elago who is the chairman of the  Committee on Ordinance and Resolution will advise Mr. Alejandro Guardian of the Tricycle Adjudication Board (TAB) representing the  Operators and Drivers Association to resign from its present post.

Several operator and driver associations are complaining over the imposition mandated reportedly  by   Guardian for them to become a member of the Cooperative before he will sign  the Certificate of Public Convenience for these operators .

Mr. Guardian is one of the signatories to a document  before the TAB headed by Atty. Patriarca will approve  the COPCTO.

Elago also that Mr. Guardian is giving the wrong advise and bad name  to the Local Chief Executive, but failed to elaborate.

Last week in a confrontation over the alleged requirement imposed by Guardian at the TAB, Guardian claimed that the membership requirement is not compulsory.

In that same meeting at City Hall and on television, City Mayor Celso Lobregat supported Guardian saying that he supports cooperatives and that it is his policy to encourage people to join cooperatives.

According to Elago , Mr. Guardian can not make a requirement  for the tricycle operator and driver to join a tricycle cooperative in this city  using the Presidential Order.

Furthermore,  Elago claimed  that Mr. Guardian is not even a member or a tricycle operator or driver for that matter.

A Presidential Order urges the conversion of tricycle operator groups and  drivers into service coops.

Records showed that there are about four million tricycles belonging to the 62,700 associations  operating nationwide.

The President has directed  the Department of Transportation  and Communications (DOTC) to help transport cooperatives put up  their own gasoline stations and go into  bulk importation of oil to ease the pressure on  them to hike fares.

As this developed, Elago said that the Memorandum Order No. 116 , date September 2003 coming  from the President  extending her support  for the conversion of TODAS  into service cooperative can not be made as a requirement  by Mr. Guardian

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Trike drivers, operators appeal for mercy from Lobregat

 

Some 12 leaders of the various tricycle drivers and operators associations have asked  and passed  a collective plea to Mayor Celso L. Lobregat to stop what they said is the  continuous coercion , intimidation and collections  acts by a member of the Tricycle Adjudication  Board  in this city.

The 12 leaders, in a letter dated January  28, 2008 addressed  to Mayor Celso L. Lobregat , disclosed that  they have been  keeping their silence and never asked for help on the matter.

However this  time they are appealing and asking the intervention of the Local Chief Executive  to stop the misinterpretation  of the said Presidential pronouncement  for the organization of tricycle cooperatives.

The TAB is now requiring tricycle owners and drivers to pay a membership dues at P200 each and to subcribribe to shares in the cooperative at P500 each.

The letter  revealed that as of August  last year,  the 12 leaders already wrote a letter  to the Vice Mayor  to request for a public hearing into inquiring into “acts committed by some members of the TAB  that coerce  tricycle drivers and operators  to be a member of a cooperative created by TAB officials.”

The 12 leaders  said that  it is their honest belief that TAB now straddles both functions of  tricycle franchise  regulation and cooperative development.”

“Such erroneous assumption has bred a more oppressive kind of bureaucratic arrogance bordering on abuse of authority,” the 12 leaders said .

The 12 leaders are Mr. Edgar Araojo-chairperson AKBAYAN Z.C.; Mr. Venusto   Anova –President FEDCOZ; Mr. Romeo Castanda-GTODA INC.; M.r Allan Suan-ZTADO MPC;  Mr. Gilbert Vergara-ZHETODA Inc.; Mr. Mario de Guzman-ZAVTODA Inc.; Mr. Willam Alburo-CATODA Inc.; Mr. Hernan Tangcalagan- ZATODA Inc.; Mr. Ernesto Dela Rosa-NWTA Inc.; Mr. Junnie C. Carredo –PASADOZ Inc. ;  Mr. Hermogenes P. Awid-PASADOZ Inc.; Mr. Leoncio Copino –PASADOZ Inc. Mr. Isabelo Rubio –PASADOZ Inc. Mr. Godofredo G. Sabordo,Sr. PASADOZ Inc.  and Mr. Richard Villanueva-Two Way TODA .

Xxxxxxxxxxx

 

LGUs vow to support ZAMPEN Trade Expo

By: Manny Santos

 

Some local executives had vowed to support the forthcoming Zamboanga Hermosa Regional Trade Exposition to be held in Manila this coming May 23-25, 2008 at the Megatrade Hall, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City, Dir. Nazrullah B. Manzur said.

 

They manifested their support based on the financial pledges made during the Regional Development Council meeting in Pagadian City last September 18, 2007, for instance, City Mayor Celso L. Lobregat committed to sponsor P150,000, while others made their assurance on their recent pronouncement through official communications, this is in order to drum up the said event.

 

This exposition is actually a joint undertaking of ZAMPEN SME Core composed of the different concerned national government agencies being spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry, Manzur pointed out.

 

He added, that this is being done also in partnership with the private sector like the Philexport Zamboanga City Chapter, Zamboanga City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc.(ZCCCIFI) and other stakeholders.

 

Manzur cited that this Trade Exposition is set in Manila to provide the exhibitors an excellent opportunity to showcase their latest and best MSME products/services that are now thriving in the different nooks and corners of the region.

 

Moreover, Manzur disclosed, that this affair will likewise be participated by the different local government units of the entire peninsula to showcase and promote their One-Town-One-Product (OTOP) and other micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) products as well as their investment priority areas, culture, and tourism.

 

It will also highlight the special participation of the sardines canning sector to promote the city of Zamboanga as the Sardines Capital of the Philippines, he added.

 

Manzur is also appealing the tri-media to extend their full support to get enough public exposure, so that the people may know, especially the residents of Zamboanga Peninsula, what we (referring to the different government agencies and private organizations) are doing for the economic development of the region.  

 

DILG:  citizens can question display of RP flag at half mast

 

The city office of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Jan 30  that any citizen can question the display of the Philippine Flag in front of city hall at half mast last Monday.

 

City DILG assistant Director Siorello Elizaga said that anybody can question the propriety of displaying the flag at half mast, because a national law specifies rules on how, when and why a flag can be flown at half mast.

The city government and its officials could be violating laws that govern the display of the flag at half-mast Monday in protest to the reduction of the city’s share of its Internal Revenue Allocation (IRA) due to the creation of new cities in the country last year.

Republic Act No. 8491 that prescribes the Code of the National Flag provides that the flag can only be flown at half mast as a sign of mourning following the death of the following:

a)   The President or a former President, for ten (10) days;

b)    The Vice-President, the Chief Justice, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, for seven (7) days; and  

c)    Other persons to be determined by the (National Historical) Institute, for any period less than seven (7) days.

The flag code does not say that local government units can arbitrarily fly the flag at half-mast just because  officials do not agree to laws created in congress  that are also include representatives from local government units.

Elizaga said his comments on the question is “hindi official” although he said that “personally, baka meron.”

 

The city DILG office can only coordinate with the city government or supervise all its functions, but it is the regional DILG office that can take action on complaints relative to violations of laws.

 

He said that as citizens, any Filipino can question the supposed violation of the flag code because he is a taxpayer.

 

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

 

Retired pensioners complain vs GSIS

 

Government pensioners mostly retired public school teachers have complained of not being able to withdraw their monthly pensions through the use of GSIS eCard despite bringing to the attention of local GSIS office here their problem.

 

Complaint of many retired pensioners from as far as Tawi-Tawi province have been brought to the attention of media through Zamboanga Peninsula Journal columnist and Secretary General of Independent Press of Zamboanga Peninsula, Inc. Nung Ajihil, who accompanied an auntie to the GSIS office last Monday afternoon and sought audience with the Assistant Manager to air the complaint on behalf of Mrs. Emilia Maih, retired teacher and pensioner who did not receive her monthly pension for four months since September of 2007.

 

During the audience with Assistant Manager Dominador Lim in the absence of Area Manager Aurelia B. Dalugdug, who was on official travel, columnist Nung Ajihil presented the problem faced by his auntie who has to suffer and endure coming all the way from Bongao, Tawi-Tawi despite her old age four times to follow her monthly pension with the GSIS office to no avail.

 

“Every time I go to GSIS office to ask them why there is no money deposited in my eCard representing my monthly pension, I am always told that its because of ‘ID error’ and its been four months nothing has been done to remedy the problem so I cannot withdraw my money” Mrs. Maih related to nephew Ajihil her disappointment with the much vaunted GSIS so-called high tech computerized use of the eCard.

 

Because of the difficulty encountered not only by her auntie, Mrs. Maih but also numerous other pensioners experiencing the same problem, Ajihil had to bring the matter to the attention of the GSIS Zamboanga and requested the Assistant Manager to inform GSIS president Winston Garcia about the problem faced by many retired pensioners in this part of the country caused by what seemingly is failure of the so-called eCard computerized system of dispensing benefits in cash to government retirees and pensioners and that something must be done to correct whatever defects with the use of eCard.

 

Meanwhile Ajihil told Lim that he had already forwarded a complaint on behalf of his auntie via text to the Malacanang Complaints Office, Office of the President asking the President GMA to look into this problem encountered by retirees and pensioners with the GSIS. “Unless this matter is given immediate solution by GSIS Central Office under Mr. Winston Garcia, it will render useless the use of the eCard as solution or mechanism introduced under his leadership and administration to attain efficiency and stop any form of graft or anomaly in the GSIS system” Ajihil said. (PR)

   XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

RP flag flies at half mast only on Mondays till further notice

 

 

The city government will fly the Philippine Flag in front of City Hall only every Monday during the flag ceremony until further notice due to the conversion of 16 Municipalities into Cities.

 

Last Jan 28 political leaders Zamboanga City joined the other cities in the protest against the conversion of 16 Municipalities into Cities without passing the income requirement and the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) deducted from cities --by raising the flag in half mast and the wearing black arm bands by city government employees.

 

City Hall Public Information Officer Sheila Covarrubias said that “Every Monday till further notice.” referring to the half mast of the Philippine flag at the City Hall.

 

City Mayor Celso Lobregat explained that the city will fly the flag at half mast because “We are mourning and when you mourn you also wear a black arm band.”  

 

Lobregat also said that along with the action with the flag, the League of City Mayors will also file a case in the Supreme Court against the law that authorized the creation of these new cities.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

 

Fabian against exemption to city hood requirements

 

District II Congressman Erico Basilio Fabian is against the  granting of  exemptions to  several municipalities that desired to be converted into cities  without following the requirements  provided by law.

 

Congress has approved the conversion of some 16 municipalities into cities that will now eat into the share of Internal Revenue Allocations (IRAs) already apportioned to existing cities.

 

The laws provide that municipalities to be converted into cities must meet the requirements such as the population, area and the income.

 

Fabian said that aside from the several municipalities already converted into cities there are also several other municipalities in the country whose officials are also working to be converted into cities.

 

He said that congressmen tried to block the creation of new cities in the committee level but the majority in congress overruled those who opposed the move.

 

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

 

Elong opposes imposition of Trike TAB membership rule

 

Chairman Councilor Roel “Elong” Natividad on Committee on Franchise has opposed a move of the city government that encourages all tricycle operators and drivers association to be a member of the Tricycle Cooperative in this city before the Tricycle Adjudication Board (TAB) will approve their franchises for this year.


In an interview, Natividad said that while the City Government is encouraging individuals to be a member in a cooperative this does not mean that the city should compel these individuals to join the cooperative.


Natividad has lamented that the city mayor  extended support to Mr. Alejandro Guardian who sits as a member of TAB.  Tricycle drivers and operators claim that Guardian insists membership and payment before he signs the franchises of their units.


Guardian has earlier denied that he is collecting the P200 membership dues and additional P500 pesos as shares for the cooperatives fund.


Natividad said that the Ordinance that created the TAB said nothing about membership in any cooperative or subscription in shares to such group.


He explained that the membership requirement is “coercion and insinuating, “

Natividad further revealed that aside from the P 200 membership fees and subscription of Capital Stock at P 500 from the total P 2,000, there is also the monthly dues to be paid by operators and drivers at P 5 per day or P 150 per month.

 

Ely rues change of Bagsakan concept-idea to retail center

 

City Administrator Elias Enriquez is dismayed over the gradual change or distortion of the initial concept for the operation of the Bagsakan Center fronting the Santa Cruz Market at Tetuan.

 

The primary idea for a Bagsakan is for the facility to serve as a trading center where farmers can bring their products and sell these wholesale to traders or middlemen for  their respecting trading outlets, but not at the Bagsakan itself.

 

However, instead of serving as the trading center for farmers, the construction of stalls at the market has converted the center into a center for retail outlets where even non-farm products are being sold.

 

The area is supposed to be for farmer wholesalers and not for retailers, he said.

 

Several traders located at the Bagsakan center have complained of their low income, but this is because the Bagsakan was intended for wholesale trade and not for retail as is being done in the other markets managed by the city government.

 

IN an interview, Enriquez said that the concept of the Bagsakan is for the farmers to drop their farm produce by the volume and not by retail and for the market to close after the farm produce are sold.

 

However, most if not all of the stall holders in the Bagsakan are selling the farm produce or products in retail.

 

Enriquez further that being the first chairman on Committee on Market before, he was against the idea of putting up of stalls since the concept of the Bagsakan is for the farmers drop their farm produce and after their wholesale trading they can go home or keep their product in storage.

 

xxxxxxxxxxxx

Schools Superintendent aims to increase NAT performance 60%  

 

 

The Division of City Schools aims to increase the performance of grade six students in the National Achievement Test (NAT) to 60% percent or higher this school year.

Division Officer in Charge Dolores Alcantara said that "The performance of the grade 6 during last school year 2006 - 2007 NAT was 58.13% percent."

 
The NAT is required of grade six pupils  to test their capabilities in subject areas like Science, Math, English, Heograpiya Kasaysayan sa Sibika and Filipino.

For the last school years result showed that the pupils in this city garnered the scores of 52.58%  for Science, 58.66% for Math, 58.24%  for English, 58.62% for Heograpiya Kasaysayan sa Sibika and 62.53%  for Filipino.

To increase the performance of the children teachers are  giving additional lessons especially to the grade six pupils.

The poor showing in Science was attributed to the lack of school laboratory equipment.

Alcantara   said that schools must use their MOOE or Maintenance Operations and Other Expenses to buy science laboratory equipment to address the problem.

The office is also sending teachers to seminars in other places  to enrich the teacher’s knowledge when it comes to teaching. 

 

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 
Transco partially energizes P600 M Pitogo Sub- Station

 The National Transmission Corporation (TRANSCO) is set to partially energize their new TRANSCO Pitogo Sub Station costing P600 Million next month.

 

The switching on is tentatively scheduled on February 18 at the substation at sitio Pitogo, some 18 kilometers along the shorelines west of the city proper. 

 

TRANSCO Zamboanga City Division Manager Engr. Marlon Parot said that the project is now 95% percent completed.

 


Parot said that the TRANSCO borrowed  the money needed for the construction of the Sub Station from the MIYASAWA a Japanese agency.

 

The Sub Station will only be energized inside or partially because according to Parot the lines are not yet available as this part of the project is still being bided out.

The bidding for the line was done last September 2007 however the bidding failed.  Parot expects that the line will be bided out by June this year and the construction for the line alone will take 300 working days.

The sub station will be fully operational next year by April or May if the bidding pushes through June this year.

When the sub station is done  the TRANSCO will lessen the load of the TRANSCO Sangali Sub Station the feed electricity to the city of Zamboanga.

 

It is at Sangali, 30 kilometers east of the city proper, where the local electric cooperative taps into the TRANSCO Mindanao power grid.

 

There is also the privately owned Western Mindanao Power Corporation in Sangali that can provide standby power to Zamboanga in case something untowards happens to the TRANSCO line.

 

With the completion of the project at west coast ,  areas like Baliwasan, Cabatangan, Recodo, Ayala will no longer draw power from Sangali but from the  TRANSCO Pitogo Sub Station

 

 

Council strikes out Arroyo “Persona Non Grata” move by colleague

 

The city council  has struck out of official records t a proposal of Councilor Charlie Mariano to declare anew President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as Persona Non Grata in Zamboanga over the continued implementation of an Aquino Executive Order that transferred the Regional Government Center from Zamboanga City to Pagadian signed in October 12, 1990 or nearly 18 years ago.

The term persona non grata is usually used only to label diplomats or citizens from foreign lands who displeased the country or its people and is to be deported from the country that declares him or her as such.

In non-diplomatic usage, calling someone persona non grata is to say that he or she is ostracized from a person or group, so as to be figuratively nonexistent. (Wikipedia encyclopedia)

Incidentally, sometime in 2004 the city council has actually reportedly approved a persona non grata resolution against President Arroyo, a resolution that reportedly also reached the ears of Malacanang. There was also a proposal for such a persona non-grata resolution made last year. Records of these utterances were reportedly stricken out of the records of the city council.

Mariano aired the proposal that was recorded on television and broadcast  Thursday night on local TV, although his statement and proposal was reportedly struck out of the council records on motion of another councilor.

There was nearly two hours of heated discussion over the transfer issue after Councilor Gerky Valesco delivered a Privilege Speech where he questioned the failure of local government officials to stop the exodus.

Instead of the persona non grata resolution, the City Council passed another resolution expressing displeasure and disgust over the Executive Order that ordered the transfer of several Regional Offices particularly the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) from this city to Pagadian.

 

The City Council had actually passed more than 20’s resolution requesting or appealing to the President to retain the regional offices in this city.

 

The DENR is among the biggest regional offices that were ordered by the President for the current year 2008 to transfer its regional office from Zamboanga City to Pagadian City.

 

The resolution of “displeasure” was passed and approved unanimously by members of the City Council.

 

The resolution cited and reiterated the several reasons such as the dislocation of the employees families, disruption of studies or schooling of the children, foods and shelter requirements to include the availability of personal needs like water, electricity, houses and others.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

ZCWD to raise rates by 60 %

 

The Zamboanga City Water District (ZCWD) is expected to increase its water rate up to 60 percent maximum in this city.

 

In a dialogue held last Thursday at the city council’s  regular session, Water District General Manager Engr. Juanita Bucoy said that the water rate increase can go as high as 60 percent maximum anytime during the current year 2008.

 

Bucoy told the City Councilors that her office is still in the process of computing as to how would be the increase on water both for the residential and commercial use.

 

She said that there are no definite rate schedules as of press time

.

“There was no definite water rate increases,” She said adding that  they can make an increases “up to 60 percent maximum.”

 

According to Bucoy, the LUWA guidelines provided that the ZCWD can make an increase on water rates after a period of five (5).

 

The last water rate increase was implemented starting year 1999.

 

Bucoy said that for that matter the increases should had been done during the year 2003, but the water rate of ZCWD remain at its minimum rate.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

 

Bank denies P210 loan sought by Water district

 

The Security Bank has reportedly denied a loan amounting to P 210 million that was applied for by the Zamboanga City Water District last year.

 

General Manager Engr. Juanita Bucoy told the city council said that the loan applied for P 210 million was denied  by Security Bank after a third party conducted an audit of the status of the facility to pay the loan.

 

The ZCWD last applied with the Security Bank for the loan to be used to expand the facility, replace half a century old water lines and to improve   the operation, maintenance and purchase of equipment for the district.

 

However, the loan was denied following the hiring of an “Independent Auditing Firm - a third party who conducted an audit over the status of ZCWD the capacity to pay.

 

The Independent Auditing Firm reported to the Security Bank that ZCWD has no capacity to pay the said loan of P 210 million.

 

As this developed, Bucoy said that the ZCWD is again in the process of applying for a similar loan with other banks in this city.

 

It was earlier reported that aside from the Security Bank, three other banks operating in the city has offered to lend the amount to the ZCWD, except that the facility tried to pursue its application with the Security Bank, the first bank approached for the loan.

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Lobregat opposes Cityhood for LGUs without  the requirements

   

The City government is expected to join the League of Cities that will conduct a nationwide protest rally against the grant of cityhood status to   provinces and municipalities that cannot meet the requirements of being a city. 

 

But although City Mayor Celso Lobregat will join the protest, the city council although supporting the stand of the mayor and the League of Cities – will not officially join the protests.

 

Vice Mayor Manuel Dalipe said it is up to some councilors if they want to join the protest by wearing black arm bands and flying the flag at half mast.

 

City Mayor Celso Lobregat has opposed the grant of city hood status to   provinces and municipalities that cannot meet the requirements of being a city. 

 

The Mayor was referring to 16 province and municipalities that he claimed did not meet the requirements of being a city. A total of 18 applied for city hood but only two passed the needed requirements.

 

The 16 that did not pass are needed requirements are Batac Ilocos Norte, Tayabas Quezon, Car Car Cebu, Bogo Cebu, Naga Cebu, Borogan Eastern Samar, Bay Bay Leyte, Catbalogan, Eastern Samar, Lamitan Basilan, El Salvador Misamis, Mati Davao, Bayugan Agusan del Sur, Tadag Surigao Sur, Giljoya Negros Oriental and Tabuc Calinga however they were still given the city hood.

 

Nevertheless Congress approved the conversion of these provinces and municipalities into cities.

 

The requirements for being a city are population, land area and a local income of P100 Million.

The two that passed the needed requirements are Navotas and San Juan in the National Capital Region Area.

   

Lobregat explained that with the city hood of this 18 they will now share the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) taken from regular cities in the country.

The city will loss P115 Million from its regular Internal Revenue Allocation or IRA because this amount will be deducted for distribution to the newly created cities.

Xxxxxxxxxxxx

Zamcelco’s system loss down to 16.76%

The systems loss of the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (ZAMCELCO) has dropped to 16.76 percent for the year 2007 compared to year 2006 where the loss was pegged at 18.49 percent.

Zamcelco Distribution and Systems Lost Engineer Ruben Macansantos explained that “One of the reasons why this happened was because of the engineering concepts." Implemented by the cooperative.


The Zamcelco has five engineering areas which are Putik, San Jose Gusu, Sangali, Ayala and Cabatangan.

He said that these engineering areas allow workers to immediately respond to the complaints of the consumers and fix the problems reported to them.

The changing of electro mechanical meters to electronic meters also reduced the loss because the cooperative can now collect accurate light bills with the use of these modern devices.


The difference from the systems loss from 2006 to 2007 amounted to 1.73 percent which amounts to P35.28 Million.

The office is also checking on lines to make sure that there are no pilferages – another one factor that contributes to systems loses.

 

 



 

 

 

Assistant administrators eyed to help

manage abattoir, bus terminal, marts

 

There is a proposal to create an assistant City Administrator in this city of Zamboanga to handle the workload at city hall.

 

City Administrator Ely Enriquez disclosed that the city contemplate the appointment of  two Assistant City Administrator to help manned City Hall particularly at the CA office in preparation for the management of  economic enterprises in this city.

 

One Assistant City Administrator for handle Administration while the other officer will be in charge of operation.

 

Enriquez said that the proposal for the creation of offices for the two assistant because of voluminous work at city hall.

 

The assistant administrator for operations will have to streamline the operations of  the Sta. Cruz, the Main Public Market, the Bagsakan center, Abattoir, Paseo de Mar and Integrated Bus Terminal in Divisoria.

 

He said that the creation of the positions of assistant city administratros is in preparation for the expansion of economic enterprises to be managed by the city government.

 

The appointment of the two Assistant City administrations who will work hand-in-hand under his supervision will be anytime during the first quarter of the year 2008.

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Councilor urges trike owners to charge group for imposing fees

 

 

City Councilor Roel “Elong” Natividad has advised motorized tricycle owners and drivers to accuse the president of a tricycle association in this city for trying to impose membership  before the Tricycle Adjudication Board (TAB) will renew the franchises of tricycle units in the city.

 

Association President Alejandro Guardian has announced that he will ask the TAB, where he sits a a member, to require tricycle owners and drivers to pay a membership due  at P200 each before the TAB will renew any franchise.

 

In addition to this P200 membership fee, Guardian also said he has required, as president of the association, that tricycle owners and drivers should also subscribe stocks in the association at at least P500 each.

 

The stock subscription at 500 each and the membership dues will serve as the operating capital of the tricycle association in this city headed by Guardian.

 

Natividad who is the chairman on City Council Committee on Franchise said that  the SP will still re-issue the franchises to operators although the  TAB not yet completed its investigation of duplicated or triplicated franchises and plates number of some tricycle units.

 

The TAB is also supposed to come up with a final listings of tricycle units legally operating in this city since a year ago

 

“The TAB investigation not yet done. We will still wait for the final listing ,” Natividad said.

 

“Yes, they should file a complain against Mr. Guardian, “  Natividad said .

 

Natividad added that the membership fee for the tricycle operator cooperative is not mandatory or compulsory because the mere purpose of the cooperative is to provide loans to cooperative members.

 

xxxxxxxxxxx

Zamcelco to construct P105 M, 41 MBA load center sub station

 

 

The Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco) will  construct a 69 Kilo Volt (KV) line and a 41 Mega Volt Ampere (MVA) load center sub station costing P105 Million along Camanchili Road to solve the power overloading problem at the heart of the city.

Zamcelco Distribution and Systems Loss Engineer Ruben Macansantos said that "Tan overload ya mga wires na sub station na Putik donde el pueblo ta saka coriente."


Macansantos explained that  the  69 Kilo Bolt line and (KB) 41 Mega Bolt Ampere (MBA) load center sub station will provide the power needed by the downtown area of the city.


The line to Camanchile  will come from National Transmission Corporation station  in Tumaga , to Cabato Road, Don Alfaro Tetuan, Veterans Avenue and Camanchile Drive.

Macansantos explained that  big establishments in the city like Shoppers Central uses 3 MBA, Shoppers Plaza- 3 MBA, Southway- 2 MBA, Everlast Hotel -1 MBA and the bazaar to open Plaza Fair 1 will all need about  10 MBA.

The  Zamcelco is taking a  P105 Million from  the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to implement the project. The release of the amount is expected  soon.

The project is set to be completed by before the end of the year. (R.G. Go)

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

Council works on 4 urgent ordinances

The City Council is working double time for  the enactment of at least four urgent legislative measures for the first quarter of the current year 2008.

 

City Mayor Celso Lobregat has asked the city council to enact the four proposed ordinances during his State of the City Address (SOVA) last week.

 

These measures are ::  an ordinance for the operation  and use of the Integrated Bus Terminal  (IBT); Amendment for  Ordinance No 92-013- an ordinance prescribing the guidelines to regulate the mode and fess of the City Garbage Collection ; an ordinance for the operation and maintenance of the Zamboanga Park Walk  Complex in Pasonanca  and an Ordinance for the operation and Maintenance of the Paseo de Mar Complex at Pettit Barracks this city.

 

City Secretary Zenaida Jaime said that  all of the four urgent legislative measures are now with the  Committee on Ordinance and Resolution headed  by Councilor Juan “Kim” Elago.

 

Jaime said that for the ordinance  for the operation and use of IBT, the city council  is still awaiting from the city mayors office   the proposed fees and other related matters concerning the IBT.

 

Jaime said that fees for the operation and maintenance of IBT will be prepared by the Office of the City Mayor under the City Administrator Office.

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

Police solves 978 of 1,070 crimes

 

The Zamboanga City Police Office  (ZCPO) was able to solve 976 out of the total 1,070 crimes incidents  in this city of Zamboanga recorded  last year.

 

City Police Director Superintendent  Manuel Barcena  said that  the crime solution efficiency (CSE) was increased by 91.21 percent higher than the previous  CSE  89.83 percent of the year 2006 .

 

The CSE was  increased as a result and  implementation of  the gun ban policy wherein 19 assorted fire arms were confiscated and 14 violators were charged in the Regional Trial Courts.

 

Likewise, other Local Government unit  like Jolo and Basilan also adopted the gun ban policy in their respective  areas of jurisdiction .

 

The local police authority with about  1,050 personnel is  in close coordination with other enforcement  units like the City Jail- 63 personnel; City Fire Station – 177 personnel and Aviation Security –30 personnel together  with the Task Force Zamboanga headed by Colonel  Darwin  Guerra   who all work hand –in hand in the maintenance of peace and order  and crime prevention in the city.

 

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

SP wants cockpit operators exempted from permit penalties, fines

 

The Sangguniang Panglungsod has asked the city mayor to exempt ten cockpit operators from paying fines because they will have to apply for business permits after the Jan 20 deadline, extended to yesterday.

 

The City Council has approved only last week its Franchise Ordinance that authorized the  operation of ten (10 ) from out of the 12 cockpits  already in operations in this city as of last year.

 

The approval of the franchise ordinance was done last Thursday during the maiden session at the city council.

 

The cockpit franchise excluded two other cockpits; the Gallera de Zamboanga and the one in Ayala whose owners did not apply for any franchise to continue operating their facilities this year.

 

Mayor Celso L. Lobregat will not issue any Business Permit for those cockpits not listed in the ordinance.

 

City Secretary Zenaida Jaime said that the city council also approved a resolution sponsored by Councilor Elong Natividad chairman of the Committee on Games and Amusement that requested the City Mayor to exempt the ten cockpits who applied for the Franchise Ordinance from paying charges, interests and other penalties.

 

The deadline for business permit and  taxes payment was last January 20, 2008 which was extended yesterday, Monday, January  21,2008 .

 

The SP gave the deadline for all cockpits operators to apply for franchises on or before December 31, 2007. But, only ten out of the 12 cockpits applied and were

 

Meantime, two from among 12 cockpits that operated in this city last year, will not be in business this year because their cockpit owner failed to secure a any franchise to operate their facilities.

 

Chairman Councilor Juan “Kim” Elago on Committee on Ordinance and Resolution said that these franchises are the foundation for cockpit operators to operate with a business permit from the city government .

 

“They can’t operate now, “ Elago said . referring to the Gallera de Zamboanga at Guiwan and the cockpit in Ayala.

 

Elago said that the two cockpits did not apply for any franchise at all.

 

Without the franchises, the owners cannot apply for a business permit to operate and do business in their respective establishments.

 

 

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

City gov’t to demolish  illegal structures, drive out squatters

 

The City government will soon  conduct massive clearing operation  against squatters  occupying  government properties in this city.

 

 All illegal structures will be completely demolished by the demolition of the City Engineer’s Office .

 

City Administrator Elias Enriquez has  already warned the occupants to vacate the area or place that they are  squatting and  that belong to the City Government.

 

Among those areas is the  street along the St. Joseph School in Governor Camins Avenue, the whole stretch of barangay Sta. Catalina road up to barangay Talon-Talon Loop.

 

Other areas include , the barangay Sinunuc danger zone and from one barangay to the other barangays.

 

Enriquez said that the clearing operations are all  scheduled and will  also include other areas such as  streets, sidewalks , bridges and government properties occupied by squatters.

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

ZCMC Pediatrics Department  to conduct forum on Pediatric Nursing 

The Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC) will conduct a forum on Pediatric Nursing to educate nurses more about pediatric nursing on February 8 and 9 at the Garden Orchid Hotel Convention Center.

ZCMC Pediatric Department Chief Dr. Vincent Robinson Balido said that the forum will enable nurses to look at their work from the perspective of a doctor as far as taking care of children is concerned.

 

The topics for the forum will include: nurses redefined, spirituality in medicine, health consumer management, legal rights of nurses, caring of family, good grooming for nurses, handling doctor, role of nurses in the Emergency Room (ER), sixth vital sign and the Filipino nurse practitioners.

The speakers for the forum are Dr. Fortunato Cristobal, Dr. Bernadette Macrohon, Milabel Ho, Atty. Giovanni Luistro, Dr. Nadah Abutazil, Dr. Cesar Jeffrey Masilungan and Dr. Crispin Dalisay.

Balido said that they are expecting some 300 nurses from the city and the region to participate in the forum.

He explained that the activity is not for pediatric nurses alone since all nurses are welcomed to join the forum.

 

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

Int'l Students Advisor 4 U Inc. looking for student workers 

   

 

The International Students Advisor 4 U Incorporated is looking for nurses who want to study while working in the United Kingdom. 

 

International Students Advisor 4 U Incorporated chairman Philip Leonard said that "They can work full time while getting their degrees." 

 

The program is open for caregivers, registered nurses, midwives, under board nurses and allied medical courses.

 

After graduation from British Schools like Anglia University the students will get a British degree and be given a working permit. The company is  looking particularly for Filipino nurses because "Filipino nurses are the best nurses."
   

To qualify for the training one must be a caregiver graduate, registered nurse, midwife, under board nurse or graduate of allied medical courses and must have authenticated transcript of records to prove such prior education.

The company is looking for some 1,000 applicants who can leave within a month of so if they can satisfy the requirement.

 

The group already went to Manila, Baguio, La Union, Cebu, Davao and Zamboanga City.

 

 

 

 

Lobregat seeks SP, solons help to retain Army soldiers in city

 

Mayor Celso L. Lobregat has sought the help of the Sangguniang Panglungsod to pass a resolution for the retention of Task Force Zamboanga in this city.

 

At the same time, the mayor also called on Congresswoman Maria Isabelle Climaco and Congressman Erico Basilio Fabian to seek congressional intervention against the pullout of the Task Force.

 

The mayor has received reliable reports that the national government plans to dissolve Task Force Zamboanga.

 

Lobregat said something should be done to stop this removal of this military unit tasked to secure the city against terrorist threats that have been there since decades ago.

 

He said the Task Force plays a very vital and important role in as far as the maintenance of   peace and order is concerned and had contributed a lot particularly in securing four major events held in this city last year.

 

The city council must pass a resolution for the retention of TFZ in this city anticipating any future transfer to some other parts of the country, he said.

 

The urgent appeal of Mayor Lobregat to retain the TFZ is in addition to the retention of four line enforcement units – local police , BJMP, ,fire station and Aviation security in the city.

 

Local officials must act to prevent the transfer or pullout of these units only after the order for the transfer has already been issued out. (Lhesy Monroy)

 

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

TFZ:  no comment

   

 

The  commander of Task Force Zamboanga Commander  has declined to  comment  on the proposed deactivation of the  unit tasked to help secure the city.

Col. Darwin Z. Guerra said "No comment muna ako diyan." when asked by the media about the deactivation of TFZ. 

 

City Council Mayor Celso Lobregat mentioned about the proposed deactivation of the TFZ. during his State Of the City Address delivered at the city council Thursday morning.   

 

The Mayor has called on sectors to pass position papers proposing the retention of TFZ in the city.

 

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is proposing the deactivation of the TFZ.

 

 The TFZ has also has a major role in securing the city because it works in tandem with the Zamboanga City Police Office.

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

Malaysia mulls IMT pullout if no GRP-MILF peace treaty is forged this year


Malaysia is contemplating on pulling out members of the Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team in (IMT) by August this year if no peace treaty is forged between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

In a fellowship dinner hosted by the city government of Cotabato City last Tuesday, IMT Head of Mission Maj. Gen. Datuk Mat Yassin bin Mat Daud said they may stay in Mindanao only until August if no peace treaty is signed between the Philippine government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front this year.

On December 15 last year, the GRP-MILF peace overture hit another snag in Malaysia after government negotiators inserted into their proposed Memorandum of Agreement on ancestral domain the phrase "Constitutional process" as the mode for implementation of the agreement.

Government and MILF negotiators were supposed to finalize the agreement on the territorial composition of the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE), the MILF's proposed homeland.

The government wants the juridical entity to be subjected to a plebiscite, a proposal the MILF rejects.

"I doubt if the IMT would still stay in Mindanao if no agreement is signed then,” Yassin said even as he ruled out the possibility of another IMT batch coming in after August this year.

Yassin said the IMT-4, which came in September 2007, was originally slated for a three-month stay but "positive developments" on the talks led to the IMT extension until August this year upon his recommendation.

So far, a 98-percent decline in military and MILF clashes were noted in 2007 due to the IMT intervention.

At least only seven clashes were recorded by the IMT between government security forces and MILF last year compared to 33 cases in 2006.

Yassin then called on government and rebel negotiators to be more sincere, saying that the four-year stay of the IMT is ample time for the demonstration of truthfulness in the talks.

The MILF, a breakaway faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), is engaging the national government in low-level talks the past several years.

The MNLF, on the other hand, sealed a final truce with the government on Sept. 2, 1996.

Earlier, the MILF accused the government of using it in pushing its constitutional change campaign in shifting from republic to federal form of government to accommodate the group's proposed Bangsamoro homeland in Mindanao.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza denied the accusation, citing the government proposal seeks only one amendment in the Philippine Charter in a bid to accommodate the MILF Bangsamoro homeland in Mindanao. (PNA)

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

ARMM officials, MNLF- MILF leaders condemn priest's slay


Leaders of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) separately condemned Tuesday's brutal slaying of a Catholic priest in Tawi-Tawi, an island-province component of the ARMM, by suspected Abu Sayyaf terror militants.

Catholic missionary Fr. Jesus Reynaldo Roda, of the Cotabato-based Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) congregation, was praying inside the Tabawan chapel in Tawi-Tawi around 8:00 p.m. Tuesday when forced by some 10 bandits to go with them.

The priest resisted, alarming the armed men and deciding to shoot him dead.

“Such is a sad fate for a man of peace like Fr. Roda in the hands of Satanic people,” ARMM Gov. Datu Zaldy Ampatuan said in Kidapawan City.

The governor said he has directed Tawi-Tawi Governor Sadikul Sahali to exert his authority in helping lawmen bring the perpetrators before the bar of justice.

For his part, Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema, concurrent MNLF secretary-general, described the killing as a “total disregard of life.”

On the other hand, the MILF depicted the killing as a clear signal on the deterioration of peace and security across the country.

"We strongly condemn the priest killing and the perpetrators deserve hell for the barbaric act,” MILF spokesman EID Kabalu said in a clandestine interview.

Roda’s colleagues share the same sentiment expressed by various sectors in the ARMM area.

“We will surely miss a dear colleague who died performing his priestly vow,” OMI clergyman Fr. Bert Layson, who is parish priest of Pikit, North Cotabato, lamented. The victim joined the OMI mission in 1980. (PNA)

 

 

 

 

Motorcycle assembly plant closes

shop at  Zambo Special  Ecozone

 

The Demak Motor Manufacturing Philippines Inc., the only motorcycle assembly company in Mindanao , has stopped its operations at the Zamboanga Freeport and Economic Zone Authority in San Ramon, this city effective last December 31, and moved its assembly plant  operations  to its Luzon factory at the Sterling Industrial Park in Maycauyan, Bulacan.

 

Company officials have  complained last year and warned of its pullout to Luzon if the Ecozone  fails to improve its water facilities, power supply and communication lines.

 

The Malaysian motorcycle firm that has discovered a profitable market in  Southern Philippines (Visayas and Mindanao) will now expand its operation to Luzon with its multimillion peso assembly plant in Bulacan to assemble motorcycles and scooters for sale in  Northern Philippines.

 

Work on the construction of the Bulacan assembly plant started in August 2006 and was completed middle of 2007.

 

The Luzon project is an expansion of Demak Motor Manufacturing Phil., Inc that operated its assembly plant at the  Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone and Free Port Authority (ZamboEcozone) since October 2005.

 

Company officials hope to replicate in Luzon what Demak  has accomplished in the Mindanao and Visayas areas in just two year of operations and business.

 

Meantime, Ms Maricor Cipriano, Demak general manager for marketing, said Demak will just maintain a liaison office and service center at the Rajah Building along Gov. Camins Avenue , Zamboanga City .

 

Cipriano said Demak’s local distributors will continue to market Demak motorcycles in Zamboanga City . They are Emcor, Unique Motor Center , Janus Cycle Parts and Zamboanga Easy Marketing.

 

She said the over 30 Zamboangueno employees of Demak have been absorbed and they sent to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia for further training while 16 will be destined in Bulacan with free board and lodging and fare for vacation every two months.

 

Demak first established its assembly plant at Ecozone on August 15, 2005, and was able to open up markets in various cities and municipalities in Visayas and Mindanao .

 

Cipriano said the demand of Demak motorcycles in Luzon has increased, hence it is one reason for its transfer to its Luzon factory.

 

She has  declined to further elaborate as to other reasons why Demak decided to leave Ecozone.

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

 

Cabato brands forced membership

of  trike operators in group –“wrong”

 

City Council Jaime Cabato has branded as “wrong” the move of the Tricycle Adjudication Board (TAB) to require all motorized tricycle owners and drivers to join a tricycle association, pay membership fees at P200 each.

 

In addition to this membership fee, Tricycle Association President Alejandro Guardian has ruled that these prospective association members should also contribute at least P500 each as shares of stock for the association.

 

In this manner the association is assured of money coming from subscription fees and membership dues from tricycle drivers who have to sometimes overcharge their passengers for their daily bread.

 

Otherwise, Guardian who also sits as member of the TAB, the tricycle owner will not be issued a franchise or a Certificate of Public Convenience to do business in the city.

 

Mr. Guardian said that there is a Memorandum Order coming from the President that trike  operators and drivers  shall  be  members of the cooperative and pay the membership fees of P 200  and subscribe at least 20 percent of the  capital stock.

 

However, Councilor Cabato said that this is wrong  because it is not a requirement and only an invitation.

 

Cabato further said that membership in a cooperative is only voluntary and there is no such law that mandated an individual to be a member.

 

 

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

 

License division OKs 948 permits

 

The City Permit and Licensing Division has approved the renewal of 948  Business  Permit for the year 2008 within a period on 12 days or two weeks

 

The last day for the filling of applications for renewal of business permits is on January 20 or Sunday.

 

IN an interview, Licensing Chief Jacinto Dangin said that his office is in close coordination with the other department or division  at city hall  in the processing of business permits this year compared to the previous year.

 

City Hall has extended its regular working hours from 8.am.  until 8 p.m.  in the evening to accommodate applications for business permits.

 

 

In addition to the renewal of business permits, the city licensing office is also processing new business applications coming from big firm or investors .

 

Dangin said that there are about hundred new business applications applied for at the  office , thus City Hall is expected to increase its the number of its Business Permit issued last year at 7,800.

 


City suspends contractors;

for failure to collect payments 

 

Contractors disinterested in balance of  5% project cost 

The city government has suspended four (4) local contractors on a temporary basis and banned them from participating in the bidding for millions worth of projects to be implemented by the city government this year. 

These contractors, from among 40 others in this city, were not suspended for failure to implement their projects like the contractor tasked to construct a school in Vitali barangay, or for using substandard materials or constructing still questionable structures. 

These four contractors did not complete papers or documents so they can collect the remaining 5 % contract fees for projects implemented and already completed in the city. 

City Engineer Luis Vicente Despalo said that the four contractors were asked to complete the contract - to collect from the city government the remaining 5 % payments to complete the projects. 

However, it was learned that these contractors did not anymore want to collect the 5 % remaining payments for the project due to many requirement or papers they have to accomplish or comply before the city government will release the remaining amount for their projects. 

According to  Despalo, the contractor only collected 95 % worth of the project from the city government and did not anymore collect the remaining 5 % payment which they should collect. 

The projects implemented by the contractors included drainage system, farm-to-market road, school buildings  and slope protection.. 

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

SP okays 10 cockpit franchises, will close 2 without permits

Zamboanga stays as cockfighting center in the country

 The city government will order the closure of two cockpits operating in this city following the Dec. 31 deadline for cockpit operators to apply for franchises in this city.

City Councilor Juan Kim Elago said that the city government will consider the application of only ten cockpits whose owners applied for franchises last year.

The city council has approved the franchises applied for by these ten cockpit operators in the city and subsequently can now apply for business permits with the city licensing office.

Earlier, the City Council advised the 12 cockpit operators to apply for their respective franchise at City Council on or before December 31, 2007, the deadline set for the purpose.

The two cockpits whose owners did not apply for franchises are those whose facilities are in Ayala and Putik this city, Elago said.

As this developed, Elago said that in as far as the status of the two cockpits is concerned; a closure order will be issued directly by the office of the City Mayor.

Elago added that the two cockpits have no franchises and thus cannot apply for any business permit.

It will be recalled that the operators of the two cockpits filed a case at the Regional Trial Court that questioned the validity of the ordinances in creating 12 cockpits.

The case was  “muto-propio” dismissed because the complainant failed to include the  solicitor general ( lawyer of the state) in the complaints.

 Elago also said  that the city government is relying on a  DILG resolution which upheld  the City Ordinances authorizing the operations of  multiple cockpits in the city.

The DILG recent opinion was based on an opinion of a DILG secretary in 1987.

Incidentally, three years ago the Supreme Court has overruled all DILG resolutions or opinions regarding the operations of more than two cockpits per municipality or city as provided for in a Presidential Decree.

In 1993, the municipality of Daanbantayan , Cebu Province, enacted an ordinance that allowed the operation of three cockpits in that town. A cockpit owner questioned the ordinance. The complaint was dismissed by a   trial court and also ruled out on appeal. In desperation the cockpit owner went to the Supreme Court.

In an EN BANC Decision[G.R. No. 149743, February 18, 2005] the Supreme Court said:

“while the Local Government Code expressly repealed several laws, the Cockfighting Law was not among them.  Section 534(f) of the Local Government Code declares that all general and special laws or decrees inconsistent with the Code are hereby repealed or modified accordingly, but such clause is not an express repealing clause because it fails to identify or designate the acts that are intended to be repealed. It is a cardinal rule in statutory construction that implied repeals are disfavored and will not be so declared unless the intent of the legislators is manifest…

“Is the one-cockpit-per-municipality rule under the Cockfighting Law clearly and convincingly irreconcilable with Section 447(a)(3)(v) of the Local Government Code?”

The Supreme Court answered its own question by ruling by saying that “A municipal ordinance must not contravene the Constitution or any statute, otherwise it is void…”

Thus the Supreme Court ruled that the Cebu ordinance enacted in 1993 “unmistakably contravenes the Cockfighting Law”.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Trike players blackmailed to pay for franchise OK

The Tricycle Adjudication Board (AB) has set up another hurdle before motorized tricycle owners can register with the board and renew their franchises before they can register their units with the Land Transportation Office and do business in the city.

Representative of the Operators and  Drivers Alejandro Guardian of the Tricycle Adjudication Board (TAB) said the TAB will not register or issued the Certificate of Public Convenience to Tricycle  Operators unless they register membership in the association, pay their membership dues and subscribe to the capital stock of the association. The minimum stock requirement in the association is least 20 percent or about P500 per operator.

.Guardian disclosed that the TAB will impose his  Memorandum Order No. 116  dated September 15, 2003  for all tricycle operators and or drivers to register the membership fees and to subscribe at least 20 percent of capital stocks or equivalent to  P 500. 

“So far only about 1,765 tricycle operators have paid their membership fees  amounting to P 200 and subscribed P 500 or 20 percent capital stock during several seminars conduced last August , September and October 2007. 

Guardian said that  those who will not register for the membership and pay the corresponding fees amounting to P 200 will not be issued any certification since it is one of the requirements the office will implement. 

Mr. Guardian further said that there is a Republic Act No 6938 - on Cooperative Act and  R.A. No. 7160 of the Local Government Code (LGC)  Section No. 458  that stated DOTC will register the operation of tricycle upon the approval of the Sangguniang Panglungsod  to regulate tricycle unit  where in those member of the cooperative will be given  the preference in as far as issuance of franchise  is concern. 

R.A. 7160 also states that  tricycle units must register their membership into the service cooperative .

Under the cooperative,   each operator will be entitled to  benefits like loans from the cooperative and from the banks  and the members will also be protected such as  the exemption to pay taxes . 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

20 human trafficking cases,  await decision at trial courts

     

The City Prosecutors Office has registered 20 cases of human trafficking in the city for the year 2007.

Data from the City Prosecutors Office showed a total of 20 human trafficking cases.  Nine of these cases are pending in court, four pending for preliminary investigation, four cases were dismissed, one was submitted for decision and two cases resulted to conviction.   

 Four of the nine cases are pending in Regional Trial Court Branch 12, two are pending at Regional Trial Court Branch 14, one is pending at  Regional Trial Court Branch 15, one is pending in Regional Trial Court Branch 16 and also one is pending in Regional Trial Court Branch 17. 
 
The most common victims of trafficking are woman and children. They are being sent through the backdoor to Malaysia.

Some of them ended up as sex slaves or sold to clubs in other nearby countries. 
 
Two were convicted in a celebrated case in Zamboanga for trafficking last 2005. They were convicted for human trafficking and sentenced to life imprisonment by Judge Jesus Carbon Jr.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Sabah prods RP to speed up documentation of illegals 

The chief minister of Sabah has asked the Philippine government to expedite the documentation of illegal Filipino immigrants there for their immediate deportation.  

Reports said Sunday that Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman made the call during a courtesy call of Philippine lawmakers.  

“This has been a long-standing issue that we in Sabah have been dealing with. I once again request the Philippine authorities to expedite the documentation of their nationals so that they can be repatriated to their country of origin,” he said.  

Musa told the Philippine congressional delegation led by Rep. Nur Jaafar that they do not want the social problems surrounding illegal immigrants.  

Jaafar's group made the courtesy call to Musa at his official residence last Monday.  

Musa, who chairs the State Security Council, said the three temporary detention centers could not house the increasing numbers of illegal immigrants arrested in Kota Kinabalu.  

The chief minister said problems such as the overcrowding of temporary detention centers and the slow documentation of illegal immigrants impede their deportation.  

“As such, we have requested for more detention centers to be built and thankfully the Federal Government has granted that request,” he said.  

He also said authorities have increased security surveillance on Sabah waters but he sought further cooperation from the Philippines.  

For his part, Jaafar assured the Chief Minister that he would convey his concern on the issue of illegal immigrants to relevant authorities in the Philippines.  

He said members of the delegation would seek concrete measures with relevant authorities to help resolve the issue.  

Also present during the occasion were Reps. Yusop Jikiri (1st district Sulu), Munir Arbison (2nd district Sulu) and Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Victoriano Lecaros. (PNA) 

 

Police nabs 2 illegal recruiters

 

 

Operatives of the Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO) have arrested two people believed to be illegal recruiters operating in this city.

ZCPO's Women and Children's Desk chief Senior Inspector Esperanza Santiago reported to ZCPO director Sr. Supt. Manuel Barcena that the suspects were arrested last Wednesday in Barangay Ayala, west of this city.

The arrested suspects were identified as Junar Pradel and Evelyn Navarro, both residents of Zone 7, Barangay Ayala.

They were arrested in a follow-up operation after two of the suspects' victims, who are residents of Barangay Quiniput, 35 kilometers east of this city, reported to the police about their activities.

Two young ladies, aged 19 and 14 years old, were allegedly recruited to work as domestic helpers in Malaysia but were forced to work as guest relations officers in one of the nightclubs there.

Zamboanga City is accessible by sea transport to Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia with two locally-owned and operated ferry ply the Zamboanga-Sandakan route twice a week.

In most cases, victims of illegal recruitment are transported to Sabah, via Tawi-Tawi by small boats to avoid detection from authorities especially the immigration.

The suspects are detained at the local police headquarters.

Formal complaint has been forwarded to the City Prosecutor's Office for the eventual filing of illegal recruitment case in court against them.

Navarro has denied that they illegally recruited the two young ladies citing their parents know what kind of job awaits the victims in Sabah.