Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Calimlim dared to identify coddlers

REP. Prospero Pichay (Lakas, Surigao del Sur) has challenged Subic anti-illegal smuggling task force chief Lt. Gen. (ret.) Jose Calimlim to identify the lawmakers and government officials who he said are coddling smugglers.

"We will not take this matter sitting down. Gen. Calimlim has a lot of explaining to do when he is summoned to appear before our inquiry," he said.

"By just mentioning his accusations in a very general manner, he has made high-ranking officials of the Arroyo administration as suspects in this alleged protection racket," Pichay said.

"If he has the evidence then he should file the appropriate charges in court and not in newspapers," Pichay said.

Pichay has sponsored an investigation into allegations that Calimlim spirited out P2 million worth of smuggled "MaLing" luncheon meat from the Subic freeport in December even if the goods were still subject to litigation.

Calimlim had explained that the goods were distributed to typhoon victims in Southern Mindanao.

He said a three-page deed of donation would prove that Customs commissioner George Jereos authorized the donation to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Pichay said he will make sure that the House investigation will ferret out the truth on the incident and on Calimlim's multiple positions.

Aside from being anti-smuggling chief, Calimlim is director Subic Freeport Services and senior deputy administrator for operations of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Administration.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said Calimlim continues to enjoy the trust and confidence of President Arroyo.

"Alam ni Presidente ang kakayahan ni General Joey Calimlim kaya nalalaman niya na kung sakali man na merong nasasabi ang ibang tao ay maaring siya ay sinisiraan nga pagka't epektibo siya," he said in a radio interview.

Ermita added that Calimlim should be given a chance to prove himself. -
Wendell Vigilia and Jocelyn Montemayor

Friday, January 28, 2005

Palace backs Calimlim

AS solons pressed for his ouster, Malacañang yesterday came to the defense of Subic Anti-Smuggling Task Force chief Jose Calimlim, saying it is solidly behind his efforts to crack down on smugglers.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye issued the statement after Calimlim said some government officials, including some lawmakers, are being investigated for protecting smuggling syndicates.

Calimlim had said that some of these officials intercede on smugglers' behalf when illegal shipments are intercepted or seized. However, he refused to identify the officials concerned.

"We are confident that General Calimlim is prepared to back up his statements with proof and he must be given a chance to perform given the fact that he has just started in his post," Bunye said.

Bunye added that the President's marching orders is to "spare no sacred cows in the anti-smuggling campaign and General Calimlim is assured of whole backing in this score."

President Macapagal-Arroyo appointed Calimlim as "anti-smuggling czar" in Subic last year at the height of the government's renewed campaign against smuggling syndicates. Resolved to go out hammer and tongs against smuggling syndicates, the President also reactivated the Presidential Task Force on Anti-Smuggling to curb smuggling which deprives the government of hundreds of millions of pesos in customs duties and other taxes annually.

Malacañang, meanwhile, was silent on a resolution filed in the House of Representatives calling for an investigation of Calimlim after he allegedly diverted P2 million worth of smuggled luncheon meat seized in the freeport last December.
Tess Bedico, Bella Cariaso
People's Journal

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Palace confident Calimlim can back up smuggling allegations

By Marichu Villanueva
The Philippine Star

President Arroyo has asked Subic Bay Freeport Task Force chief retired general Jose Calimlim to "take his gloves off" and spare no one in the campaign against big-time smugglers, including those supposedly protected by high government officials.

"The President’s order is to spare no sacred cows in the anti-smuggling campaign and General Calimlim is assured of full backing on this score," Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said.

The presidential directive was issued a day after Calimlim disclosed that some government officials, including lawmakers, are protecting certain businessmen who were recently apprehended by the Task Force.

Calimlim particularly mentioned the recent seizure of P26 million worth of jewels which were misdeclared as computer parts.

"We are confident that General Calimlim is prepared to back up his statements with proof and he must be given a chance to perform given the fact that he has just started in his post," Bunye said.

"We must not allow a single centavo intended for the national treasury to end up in the pockets of smugglers and their cohorts in the government," he said.

Bunye made public the official Palace position over Calimlim’s claims amid calls by lawmakers seeking an inquiry over his alleged diversion of some P2 million worth of Chinese luncheon meat.

Calimlim said he is ready to answer the allegations but exhorted the lawmakers against being misled by a disinformation campaign waged by suspected smugglers.

"I would not be distracted by this smear drive against me and I thank the President for her all out support to this campaign," he said.

Congressmen led by Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay had filed a resolution calling for an investigation over the alleged diversion made by Calimlim.

Other lawmakers including Zamboanga del Sur Rep. Antonio Cerilles and Davao del Sur Rep. Douglas Cagas called on Calimlim to identify the government officials supposedly coddling big-time smugglers.

Cerilles said Calimlim should quit for using Malacañang as "a scapegoat" for his wrongdoing.

"Delicadeza dictates that former General Calimlim should resign for putting Malacañang in a bad light after admitting he diverted the seized goods to Malacañang on the excuse that these will be used for the typhoon victims," he said.

Cerilles warned Calimlim against muddling the issue by dragging lawmakers and other government officials in the alleged smuggling activities in Subic.

"Why has he not filed cases against them if they are indeed liable for coddling smugglers?" Cerilles asked.

Cerilles said Calimlim should explain why smuggling prevails in Subic under his watch. "He should answer all these issues rather than muddle them and blame others for his failure to stop smuggling."

Cagas, for his part, said the allegations made by Calimlim against members of Congress are a serious issue he must answer.

"He should be willing enough to answer the issue directly instead of questioning the efforts to probe him," Cagas said.

On the other hand, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) issued a statement expressing support for Calimlim.

"We (the SBMA board) are in full support of Gen. Calimlim’s effort to clean up the Freeport’s image as a haven for smugglers. Our administration shall never tolerate any illegal or nefarious activities in the Freeport," SBMA administrator Alfredo Antonio said.

Antonio said the SBMA board has unanimously resolved to express "its strong and full support to all legal actions and measures being undertaken and implemented" by the task force headed by Calimlim.

SBMA director Mario Garcia said "the fight of General Calimlim is the fight of the whole (SBMA) board."

Antonio added that since the inception of Calimlim’s anti-smuggling campaign last November, some P50 million worth of smuggled goods were seized.

Antonio said the Freeport has remitted a total of P2.9 billion to the national treasury.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

NTC orders cable operators to close chat rooms

By Clarissa Batino Inquirer News Service

THE NATIONAL Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has ordered cable operators to shut down all chat rooms in reaction to complaints that some of these had become sex channels.

The NTC order, dated Jan. 20, immediately called for the suspension of all chat rooms until a new set of guidelines is approved. Recently, police detained a businessman for allegedly operating a cybersex facility in Las Pinas City.

NTC chair Ronald Solis said he would meet this week with operators such as the Philippine Cable Television Association and the Federation of International Cable TV Associations of the Philippines to draft guidelines aimed at preventing abuses on cable chat channels.

Cable operators turn idle channels into chat rooms or community billboards.Solis said some chat room operators were not regulating the use of profane language or explicit messages in their facilities. Some messages openly solicit sex, he added.

Police Monday also said it discovered what could be indications of money laundering based on confiscated evidence from the office of Aloysious M. Galvez, owner of Orgasmic Studios in Pilar Village, Las Pi¤as City, which was raided Friday.

Supt. Michel Filar, of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-National Capital Region (CIDG-NCR), said transaction records between Orgasmic Studios Inc. and several local and foreign banks were discovered after the raid by the CIDG-NCR and local police.

Filart, however, refused to give details. "We are now coordinating with members of the Anti-Money Laundering Act Council (AMLAC) in connection with our investigation of Galvez's activities," he said.

The Amlac also promised to help if violations of the electronic commerce law are included in the "predicate offenses," Filart added.

Police also said Galvez's outfit reportedly maintained links with several web page networks based in the United States. "The internal protocol address was found to be linked to several US web pages featuring internet photography," Filart said.

He added that a big telecommunications company gave the police full support by providing them information needed in carrying out the raid at Orgasmic Studios located at Daisy and Lead Streets, Pilar Village. The outfit allegedly had 14 studios providing Internet sex.

Galvez, now detained at the Las Pi¤as City jail, is facing charges of violating Republic Act No. 9028, also known as the Anti-Trafficking of Persons Act.Filart said that Galvez's lucrative business had been operating for more than a year.

The women, allegedly hired for cybersex, earned as high as P200,000 a month, police said.

Monday, January 24, 2005


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A public hearing organized by Olongapo Telecom Board was held at Olongapo SP session hall to discuss implementation of One Telephone Rate One Province MC of NTC. Councilor Ed Piano, the head of Olongapo Telecom Board and Chairman of the Sangguniang Panlungson Committee on Telecommunications in above photo presided over the hearing.
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Present were city and barangay officials of Olongapo City as well as representatives of SubicTel, Philtel, SBMA Telecom, Smart, Globe and various NGOs
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Zambales Vice Governor Ramon Lacbain II explains the advantages of immediate implementation of the scheme. With the "Zero-NDD," telephone consumers will not be charged long distance if calling within the province of Zambales including Subic Bay Freeport and Olongapo City.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Former Mayor James L. Gordon's Birthday Celebrated

Jimmy Gordon was born January 17, 1917
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A wreath-laying ceremony in honor of former mayor and father of now mayor bong gordon was held in the lobby of city hall yesterday morning. City Government Officials joined the mayor and first lady Anne Gordon
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The morning activity included a mass celebrated at FMA Hall which was attended by Ma'am Amelia Gordon

Monday, January 17, 2005

Southeast Asian Games in Subic

THE CENTERPIECE event of athletics is not moving out of Manila's decades-battered Rizal Memorial Track and Field Stadium after all, but boxing and some medal-rich sports will be held elsewhere as the Philippine Olympic Committee on Monday announced the venues for the 2005 Southeast Asian Games.

In essence, venues for the 23rd biennial Games will be spread out. Subic in Zambales, Bacolod and Cebu have been tapped to host at least two sports each.

Security and accessibility concerns, however, ruled out sites in Mindanao, particularly Tubod, Lanao del Norte, North Cotabato and General Santos City.

The battlegrounds were announced by the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Philsoc), which expectedly left out the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies.

"More or less, this is the final arrangement," said Red Dumuk, triathlon association secretary general and chair of Philsoc's venues management and operations. "The venues are in top condition and hassle-free."

Dumuk said that as well as athletics, the 70-year-old Rizal Memorial Sports Complex--the hub of the 1981 and 1991 SEAG-will be the venue of the swimming competitions, gymnastics (Ninoy Aquino Stadium), sepak takraw and arnis (Rizal Coliseum) and baseball (Rizal Memorial Ballpark).

Dumuk said SEAG Federation members were worried about the peace and order situation in Mindanao, forcing the Philsoc to skip the region despite strong lobbying by local government leaders.

Bacolod will stage football, weightlifting, and possibly boxing, although Cebu is also trying to stage the latter.

Cebu got some events in cycling, dancesports and, tentatively, chess and billiards. Baguio, however, is also trying to host the chess events, while billiards officials are inclined to hold competitions in Metro Manila.

Sailing, triathlon, and the cycling road race will be held in Subic.

Tennis, in case it makes the final roster of events, will also be held in Subic, according to Dumuk.

Fencing and wushu will be played at the GSIS Hall in Pasay City, taekwondo at the Folk Arts Theater, basketball at the Philsports, and rowing, canoeing and traditional boat races at the La Mesa Dam in Quezon City.

Other venues tapped are Merville, Parañaque (petanque), Fort Bonifacio (shooting), Cavite, (Southwoods for archery, Carmona for equestrian and Riviera for golf), Cuneta Astrodome (karatedo), Rosario, Pasig (softball) and Makati Coliseum (table tennis).

The venue issue earlier spurred controversies between the POC on one hand and the Philippine Sports Commission and the City of Manila on the other, which complained of the Olympic body's belated announcement of the sites

Telecom Board Sworn-in

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Mayor bong Gordon officiated the formal swearing-in of Olongapo Telecommunication and Information Technology Board at Rizal Multi-Purpose Complex
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Danny Piano, an IT specialist being congratulated by Mayor Gordon Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Immediately after being formally sworn-in, the board started their work, present were Engr. German Ebue and Nards Perez (Telecom Specialist), Danny Piano (IT), councilor Edwin J. Piano (Chairman of the Board) and Mark Anthony Orpiano (Board Secretariat)

James L. Gordon

The Millenium Hero, Born this day January 17

Maunlad. Malinis. Payapa. Ito ang Olongapo ngayon. Isang modelong lungsod na tinutularan ng ibang bayan sa Pilipinas.

Ang kasaysayan ng Olongapo ay inukit ng mga ginintuang pangarap at adhikain. Kaalinsabay nito’y mga hamon at balakid, luha at pagsisikap, upang sa bandang huli ay makamit ang bantayog ng tagumpay.

Kung anuman ang Olongapo ngayon ay siyang bunga ng mga binhing itinanim ng isang tao na buong giting na sinuong ang mga panganib, nagbuhis ng buhay upang maisakatuparan ang kanyang mithiin; nagbigay ng isang maganda at matatag na bukas sa sinilangang bayan ng kangyang minahal at pinaglingkuran ng buong katapatan.

Ito ay ang ama ng lungsod ng Olongapo: si James Leonard Gordon

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Pista ng Sto. Nino

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Viva Senior Sto. Nino!!

BCDA vows to assume tax, duties of Subic-Clark road

By Alena Mae S. Flores

State-owned Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) yesterday assured Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC) that the P2.3 billion worth of value added tax (VAT) and import duties on the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway Project (SCTEP) “will not be levied on them.”

BCDA, in a statement said, it would “assume the responsibility of the taxes and duties” and “grant tax subsidy” to the Japanese contractors in the SCTEP project.

BCDA issued the statement amid a threat from JBIC to withhold funding for the P26 billion SCTEP project because the government takes a long time in refunding VAT payments to Japanese contractors.

Japanese contractors have been demanding VAT refunds from the government on infrastructure projects funded under the overseas development assistance (ODA) loans of Japan.

BCDA said it had applied for tax subsidy from the national government through the Department of Budget and Management and the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB).

It said the Department of Finance had “favorably endorsed” the application for tax subsidy. The application has been included under the 2005 General Appropriations Act, which automatically appropriates “tax expenditure subsidies granted by the Fiscal Incentives Review Board to GOCCs... “
The 2005 GAA is pending with the Senate after the House of Representatives passed it.

“As soon as the GAA is approved, the BCDA will automatically be granted tax subsidy for the toll road project,” BCDA said.

The construction of the 94.5-kilometer superhighway, connecting the Subic Port in Zambales to the Clark Special Economic Zone in Pampanga and stretching all the way to Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, is expected to commence within the first quarter of the year.

Of the total project cost of P26.154 billion, JBIC will finance 85 percent or roughly P21 billion to cover construction cost.

The balance will be raised by BCDA as counterpart fund. BCDA clarified that its 15 percent counterpart fund would finance, among others, right-of-way acquisition, administration cost, physical contingency, and taxes and duties

Saturday, January 15, 2005

P125 daily-wage hike OK’d by House panel


The House Committee on Labor and Employment has approved for plenary debates the long-pending proposal granting daily wage earners in the private sector a P125-across-the-board salary increase.

Majority Leader Prospero Nograles said Friday the measure is included in the urgent reform measures that would be given priority by the House of Representatives.

“It’s not only tax measures we are passing here. We also take into account the plight of our workers, hence this proposal,” Nograles said.

The salary increase bill is principally authored by Nationalist People’s Coalition Rep. Roseller Barinaga of Zamboanga del Norte and cosponsored by Aksiyon Demokratiko Rep. Edcel Lagman of Albay, Liberal Party Rep. Eduardo Gullas of Cebu and Party-list Reps. Renato Magtubo of Partido ng Manggagawa, Liza Maza and Teodoro Casiño, both of Bayan Muna, and Crispin Beltran of Anakpawis.

Barinaga said minimum wages have remained grossly inadequate to support decent living standards after more than a decade of wage rationalization.

“This highlights the government’s failure to provide economic relief to the workers toward securing a living wage as mandated by the Constitution,” Barinaga said.

He noted that the real value or purchasing power of the current P250 minimum wage in Metro Manila has already fallen to less than P74, using 1989 as base year. This translates to a difference of around P125 between the current nominal wage and its corresponding real value in 1989 prices.

“The gap between the minimum wage and cost of living, which is estimated at over P460—as of June 1999—for a family of six in Metro Manila, ranges from a low of P260 to a high of P297,” Barinaga said.

He said what is more disheartening is the fact that the situation is similar or even worse for the other regions in the country, where the prevailing minimum wage represents only 37 percent to 41 percent of the average cost of living.

Lagman, a veteran advocate of legislated wage hike, said a P125 across-the-board salary increase for private-sector workers would partially restore the lost purchasing power of the working man’s peso.

The proposed increase would bring minimum wages to within 64 percent to 68 percent of cost-of-living estimates. “Although P125 per day is insufficient, it is substantial enough to raise the quality of life of 16 million workers and their dependents,” Lagman said.

RP to shoulder P2.3-B vat in Subic-Clark-Tarlac Road


The Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) on Friday assured the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) that the Philippine government would shoulder the value-added tax (VAT) and import duties of the contractors of the proposed P26-billion Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway.

BCDA said in a statement that the VAT and import duties amounting to about P2.3 billion would not be levied on the Japanese contractors of the proposed 94-kilometer (km) expressway that is being funded by the Japanese government through JBIC.
The BCDA said it has already applied for tax subsidy from the national government through the Department of Budget and Management and the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB). Its application has favorably been endorsed by the Department of Finance and has been included in the 2005 General Appropriations Act.

The provision under the law automatically appropriates “tax expenditure subsidies granted by the [FIRB] to government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs), including those for tax obligations assumed by GOCCs pursuant to a valid agreement.”

As soon as the Senate ratifies the 2005 GAA, the BCDA said that it would automatically be granted tax subsidy for the project.

Of the total project cost, JBIC would finance 85 percent, or P21 billion, while BCDA would shoulder the counterpart fund of 15 percent, or P5.15 billion, for the right-of-way acquisition, administration cost, physical contingency, as well as taxes and duties.
JBIC provides the 40-year loan with an interest rate of 0.95 percent and 10-year grace period on principal.

The BCDA said the construction of the Subic-Clark Tarlac Expressway project would start within the first quarter of the year.

The Japanese consortia of Kajima Corp., Obayashi Corp., JFE Engineering Corp. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. agreed to the contract amount of P12.7 billion for package 1 (50.5 km from Subic to Clark) and Hazama Corp., Taisei Corp., and Nippon Steel Corp. agreed to P8.2 billion for Package 2 (44 km from Clark to Tarlac).

JBIC has expressed concern over the delay in the reimbursement of the VAT and duties paid by Japanese contractors of major projects funded by the Japanese government.

By virtue of the agreement between the Japanese and the Philippine governments, the Japanese contractors of projects funded under Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) fund could not assume the VAT and other taxes.

To date, the outstanding VAT claims of Japanese contractors amounted to P344 million because the government, through the Bureau of Internal Revenue, continued to collect the 10-percent VAT on the contractors.

As of 2003, the outstanding debt obligation of the Philippine government to JBIC has reached P475 billion. The bank has approved 263 ODA projects worth P1 trillion since it began operation in the Philippines in 1971.

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Friday, January 14, 2005

Command Visit

The new Police Regional Office 3 Director, PCSUPT ROWLAND A. ALBANO will have a command visit at Camp Lt General Manuel F Cabal (164), Olongapo City Police Office early this morning according to Police Senior Superintendent DSC ORLANDO MALANA MADDELA JR, City Director of Olongapo City.

After the inspection, the police officers will have a dialogue with the city's leaders to discuss the peace and security of the city.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


Through a motion by Councilor Edwin J. Piano, the City Council of Olongapo City unanimously passed Resolution Number 2005-R-05 Commending Ret General Jose Calimlim for his efforts against smuggling in the Subic Bay Freeport.

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The council recognizes that it is timely that a gesture of support and appreciation be given to Gen Calimlim specially since during the past week, his person had been unfairly maligned by media personnel whom some residents suspects had been paid by the smuggling syndicate.

Copy of the resolution will be given to President Arroyo and all media outfit in order for the Filipino people to correct the wrong impression given by some unscrupulous reporters.

Resident of the city also signify their intention to volunteer (for the second time) in order to assist Calimlim in his efforts to cleanse Subic of criminal elements.

Monday, January 10, 2005


General Jose Calimlim, head of Subic Freeport Anti-Smuggling Task force further gained respect of the Filipino people when he was interviewed by Cito Beltran in ANC Channel 31.

Calimlim revealed that the Subic Smuggling Syndicate sent more than 3 million pesos to silence him but he refused to sell-out his countrymen.

Even the intervention of Presidential Son, Congressman Mikey Arroyo, did not change his mind in going after the economic saboteurs.

Intelligence report further revealed that the money Calimlim refused was diverted to media practicetioners, which explains why massive attack is being launch against him in the past weeks.

Death threats in various forms also intensified.

To show support to the general, City Councilor Edwin Piano will sponsor a resolution titled: "A Resolution Commending General (Ret) Jose P CALIMLIM, SBMA’s Senior Deputy Administrator for Port Operations and Head of Anti-Smuggling Task Force of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) for outstanding work which effectively blocked smuggling attempts and confiscation of Luxury vehicles worth P4M and highly dutiable electronics equipment worth millions of pesos which had been misdeclared as two used Delica vans last December 2004, and seizure of contrabands like expensive brand watches and fine jewelries studded with diamonds and other gemstones valued at P25M last 5 January 2005.'

This was in addition to a resolution the city council earlier pass expressing full support to the new Chairman, Administrator and the Senior Deputy Administrator.

Integrating Forest Conservation with Local Governance

Haribon Foundation and BirdLife International have urged local government units to preserve forests during a three-day conference at the Subic Bay freeport zone.

“Ecotourism isn’t the only reason why we pursue the preservation of our natural resources and wildlife. To us at SBMA, environmental protection is a task we take seriously…we value the kind of development that is in harmony with the environment,” Alfredo C. Antonio, SBMA Administrator said in his speech welcoming 250 delegates.

Dubbed as “Integrating Forest Conservation with Local Governance,” the conference which started on November 9 and until the 12th at the Legenda Suites is also a project of the DENR and DILG.

Among the objectives of the conference are to learn about and engage in discussions about the state of the Philippines’ forests, as well as policies affecting forest management; identify emerging trends, directions and options in forest management in decentralized systems and approaches; and determine opportunities and challenges in integrating forest conservation with local governance, along with other mechanisms for forest management, especially in Important Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) in the country.

To date there are 117 IBAs and key conservation sites in the country that await immediate attention from different sectors to ensure proper conservation and management.

Antonio added that Subic Bay is “a most fitting venue for your conference on integrating forest conservation with local governance. Noted for its high biodiversity, Subic Bay is one of the ten priority sites of the National Integrated Protected Areas System.”

According to Antonio the primary results of the Subic Bay biodiversity survey show that it serves as habitat for some 745 plant species, as well as ecologically and economically important tree species such as white lauan, apitong and guijo. A rattan palm species previously found in Mt. Arayat was also discovered.

Environment Secretary Mike Defensor said “local governance and community participation play key roles in improving the state of our country’s forests. Our local governments are now combining forest protection with livelihood opportunities. With these actions we can only expect efficient mechanisms for managing this natural resource as well as sustained partnerships with local stakeholders.“

The DENR is imposing a provision of the local government code that would transfer certain forest management functions from the DENR to the LGUs. The LGC is an attempt to decentralize forest management and ensure the participation of LGUs and other local stakeholders in addressing environmental degradation and natural resource depletion in the country.

The National Conference on Integrating Forest Conservation with Local Governance held last November in the Subic Bay Metropolitan Area drew more than 250 delegates--governors, mayors, councilors, DENR officials, as well as national policy-makers and lawmakers.

Haribon wishes to thank its partners in the DENR, DILG, SBMA, and other organizations and institutions that helped make the conference a success.

The Conference highlighted the need for local government units to assume a greater role in forest conservation. Local government officials also got to exchange lessons learned from their experiences in managing forests.

The National Conference on Integrating Forest Conservation with Local Governance held last November in the Subic Bay Metropolitan Area drew more than 250 delegates--governors, mayors, councilors, DENR officials, as well as national policy-makers and lawmakers.
Haribon wishes to thank its partners in the DENR, DILG, SBMA, and other organizations and institutions that helped make the conference a success.

The Conference highlighted the need for local government units to assume a greater role in forest conservation. Local government officials also got to exchange lessons learned from their experiences in managing forests.

Among the recommendations generated by the conferenceare:

Mandatory hiring of Environment and Natural Resources officer in all LGUs;
Enactment or codification of Local Environmental Code in all LGUs;
Adoption of co-management agreements or strategies (i.e. involvement and participation of all concerned sectors) in local forest management;
Strengthening of education and capacity-building among the LGUs, particularly of the Local Chief Executives, in law enforcement and forest management;
Adoption of multi-sectoral community-based approaches in all phases of forest conservation;
Engagement of the youth sector in forest conservation:
Institutionalization of incentive system for stakeholders' participation in forest conservation and management;
Amendment of some provisions in the 1991 Local Government Code by granting full devolution of powers and authority in forest conservation and management to the LGU; Mandating DENR to share power with the LGU;
DENR to exercise prudence in issuing Mineral Permit Sharing Agreement (MPSA) and other tenurial instruments; Important
Biodiversity Areas must he spared from mining;
Integration of ecotourism program in the LGU development plan;
Possible adoption of Rainforestation (planting native/ indigenous tree species) to support farmers and bring back biodiversity;
Establishment of guidelines that can help integrate plans and programs in the LGUs;
Capacity-building to develop capital markets and proper valuation of forest resources;
Clarification by the government of its national and local environmental policy directions and roles;
Replication and documentation of best practices in local forest management and governance; and
Provision of incentives to implement forest management.
At the end of the conference, DENR and DILG committed to seriously follow through with the recommendations from the conference for proper action. DILG, in particular, promised to discuss some of the issues on the Local Government Code with Senator Aquilino Pimentel. DENR, on the other hand, requested that all cases of corrupt practices by its staff and/or officials be reported to Secretary Mike Defensor. The civil society committed to raise this discourse on forest conservation in local governance to a higher level, and to develop a more creative and continuing campaign for real, sustainable forest management

Saturday, January 08, 2005

SBMA vowed to stop all forms of illegal importation


The new administration of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has vowed to stop all forms of illegal importation in the Subic Freeport as the Board pledged to run Subic like an efficient business.

This commitment was forged during the first SBMA Board meeting.
During the meeting, the SBMA Board “unanimously agreed that the new SBMA administration would run an efficient business and to place the Freeport at the forefront of the President’s ten–point agenda for progress.

SBMA director (ret) Gen. Jose Calimlim, who heads the government’s Anti-Smuggling task force has vowed to curb illegal importation to plug the drain to government revenues.

“We will be enforcing the full force of the law in dealing with those who are engaged in smuggling activities here in Subic. We are trying to remove the perception that Subic is a smugglers haven,” said Calimlim in a statement.
Calimlim also holds concurrent positions of SBMA deputy administration and president of the Freeport Services Corp., a subsidiary of SBMA.

As this developed, SBMA chairman Francisco H. Licuanan III has announced that four new Taiwanese manufacturing firms are expanding their operations at the Subic Bay Industrial Park with a combined investments of P1.6 billion.
Licuanan said these new investment are expected to come in the early part of this year.

These firms include Taiwan Pao An Industrial ($20 million), Coin Chemical Industrial ($2 million), Hua Fuh Plastic ($3.12 million) and Wood Center of Asia ($3.8 million).

“The SBMA Board is optimistic of strong economic growth this year,” Licuanan said.

SBMA Administration Alfredo C. Antonio also revealed that some Japanese firms are expanding their Subic operations this year.

These are computer micro motor maker Nidec and automated teller manufacturer Top Mechatronic Corp., which are both located at the Subic Techno Park.

Antonio also noted that the opening of new factories are well as the expansion programs of investors will create more jobs benefiting the nearby towns of Subic

Jueteng anyone?

Here's a website with in-depth study of Jueteng Operation in the Philippines
Its interesting to see who's who in our area.

Also includes name of operators, financiers and their (politico/pulis) protectors.
With daily gross income ranging from 1M to 6M

Friday, January 07, 2005

Traders sue SBMA

By Allan Macatuno, PDI Central Luzon

Calling the recent suspension of the issuance of import permits as unconstitutional, several vehicle importers inside this freeport filed a writ of mandamus on Tuesday against officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority before a regional trial court in Olongapo City.

In a seven-page petition, officials and members of the Motor Vehicle Importers Association of Subic Bay Freeport Inc. (MVIA) asked the Olongapo Court to compel SBMA officials to desist from violating the legal rights of investors here.

"SBMA and its officials have violated our clear legal rights as legitimate investors by their continued, unreasonable and unlawful refusal to act on our request to be issued import permits," MVIA president Eduardo Barretto said.
Barretto said their move was aimed at "helping us resolve the ongoing situation."

"Our businesses have been jeopardized, to say the least and the employment and livelihood of thousands of people remain in peril," he said.

But SBMA Administrator Alfredo Antonio, the main respondent, said he has yet to receive a copy of the class suit.
"We are not aware of nor have we received any mandamus from the court. Should we receive one, we shall weigh the matter of the situation and do what is best for the interest of the SBMA and follow legal procedures," Antonio said in a statement.
Other vehicle importers claimed SBMA officials' inaction over their plea had "violated the very nature of a freeport," including the implementing rules and policies of Republic Act 7227 which created the SBMA.

"We have been treated unfairly, at worse, like criminals here. There's no other recourse but for us to seek legal action against the newly appointed officials of SBMA," Barretto said.

In a statement, MVIA officials said the suspension order may eventually force them to close down their shops and lay off thousands of their employees.

"The effects (of the suspension order) on our otherwise legitimate conduct of business are unprecedented. We are on the verge of closing down our respective business enterprises," the statement said.

They said it has been four months now since the SBMA stopped issuing import permits.

"SBMA's latest move is not only unconstitutional but is an affront to free trade policy in the Philippines," the investors said.

"We hope that this situation will be resolved at the soonest time possible. Our industry has suffered gravely over the past years. Our operations are not only legitimate but have been upheld by law for a number of instances and we remain steadfast in our quest for justice and equal opportunity," they said

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Task Force Subic intercepts P15-M jewelry shipment

By Malou Dungog, MT Central Luzon Bureau

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT: The antismuggling Task Force Subic and agents of the Bureau of Customs here scored another victory after they seized on Wednesday some P15-million worth of imported jewelry and wristwatches which were shipped through an international courier service.

The Task Force Subic chief, retired general Jose Calimlim, said about 22 kilos of expensive assorted diamond-studded jewelry were placed in two boxes that arrived at the Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) from Hong Kong onboard a Federal Express cargo plane two days ago.

The shipment consigned to Intex Marketing Corp., a Subic free-port locator, was declared as computer parts for transshipment from Subic to Manila.
The Hong Kong shipper was International Logistics Gateway (HK) Ltd at the Wealth Commercial Center at 48 Kwong Wa so in Mongkok, Hong Kong.
Customs District Collector Marietta Zamoramos said the discovery of the shipment was based on intelligence reports that several shipments destined for offloading at the Manila Port Container Yard at the Port Area in Manila were diverted to the Subic free port.

“There were reports that some baggage entering Subic are not reaching the Port of Manila or Manila International Airport, so in coordination with the Customs Manila, Collector Zamo­ramos made an arrangement that we are going to conduct random check on baggage transshipped from Subic to Manila which resulted to this one,” Calimlim said.
“We looked into Intex Marketing Corp. and it so happened that the two cartons declared as computer parts actually contained expensive jewelry and wristwatches,” he added.
Appraisers and gemologists estimated the value of the contraband shipment at P15 million, a very conservative estimate which will likely increase, he explained.
Calimlim said around 70 agents from Task Forcve Subic and the Customs were assigned to conduct an inventory of the smuggled items.
“The inventory of the jewelry alone lasted more than five hours because of its volume,” he added. “This should serve as a warning to smugglers in Subic or any part of the country, that the government is serious in its drive against all forms of smuggling.

Calimlim said the task force is checking on the activity of Intex. “We don’t have proof yet that they are doing it regularly but based on our random check Intex Marketing misdeclared the shipment and this a very clear case of technical smuggling.

Smuggled cargo misdeclared as computer parts


SUBIC FREEPORT — During a random check by Subic operatives led by Task Force chief Gen. (ret.) Jose Calimlim, hundreds of pieces of jewelry worth some R15 million were seized here yesterday noon.

The "hot cargo," confiscated by operatives of the Subic Bay Anti-Smuggling Task Force, was shipped from Hong Kong. A syndicate was suspected to be behind the smuggling.

The expensive cargo, weighing 22 kilos, was misdeclared as computer parts.
It was contained in two unmarked boxes consigned to Intex Marketing and Sales Corp. and shipped from Hong Kong purportedly by the International Logistics Gateway Ltd. located at the Wealth Commercial Center in Mongkok district, Hong Kong.

Customs Collector Marietta Zamoranos told General Calimlim that gold is sold at an average of R500 per gram.
"The R15-million estimated value is very conservative, considering that these are very expensive brand watches and a lot of the fine jewelry are studded with diamonds and other gemstones," Zamoranos said.

"The two packages caught the attention of the agents because they did not contain the usual markings or descriptions such as country of origin, net or gross weight or even the supplier or shipper," Calimlim said.
Zamoranos told Calimlim that it would take her examiners about five hours to inventory the jewelry haul which consisted mostly of Fendi and Bulgari brand ladies watches, bracelets, diamond-studded earrings and rings and expensive watch accessories and parts.

The examiners, led by Rene Aguilar, were assisted by Lt. Lauro Gregorio, a jewelry expert whom Zamoranos brought here from the Customs office in Manila.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


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Scouts from Olongapo's James L. Gordon Council are back from one week BSP National Jamboree held at Mt. Makiling, Los Banos, Laguna

Sunday, January 02, 2005

President congratulated BIR Commissioner Parayno

The President congratulated Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Guillermo Parayno for having issued warrants of garnishment on the bank accounts of top four auctioneers of imported cars at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

This was after Parayno reported to Mrs. Arroyo that P944 million in "foregone revenues" were accounted for by three of the four auctioneers who were caught violating BIR circulars on the taxation of motor vehicles that enter through the freeport zone and are sold at public auctions.

Saturday, January 01, 2005


By Bebot Sison Jr.

Authorities seized P4 million worth of imported vehicles yesterday as part of the government’s campaign to stop the smuggling of highly taxable goods.
Retired general Jose Calimlim, who heads the anti-smuggling task force at Subic, said some vehicle importers here have been abusing their importation privileges.

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) jointly inspected a 40-foot container van consigned to Bayshore General Merchandise, which declared the contents as a used passenger van and two used utility vehicles.

However, the investigators found that the van’s actual contents were a Mitsubishi Delica passenger van, a 1991 Mercedes-Benz sports coupe, and a Toyota Prado. The shipment originated from Yokohama, Japan.

Calimlim, concurrently the SBMA’s senior deputy administrator for operations, said the manifest declared the value of the Mercedes-Benz and the Toyota Prado at $550 or roughly P31,000 each, while the Delica’s value was declared at $450 or P26,000. The whole shipment’s declared value amounted to a mere $1,550 or P88,000.

He said that through importers engaged in technical smuggling, "the government is losing millions of pesos of much-needed revenues... and the SBMA is determined to stop these illegal activities."

Citing President Arroyo’s earlier directives to curb smuggling, Calimlim said he has ordered the seaport and adjacent warehousing areas — such as the naval supply depot and the ship repair facility — under tight security in anticipation of more attempts to smuggle luxury cars into the country.

He told The STAR that they received information that aside from Benzes, BMWs and Ferraris will be "transshipped from Europe via Hong Kong."
Subic district collector Marietta Zamoranus said the BOC is now readying smuggling charges against Bayshore president Repoldo Nadar.

Zamoranus, a lawyer, said the confiscated luxury vehicles have been listed in a warrant of seizure and detention and will be auctioned off in favor of the government after the BOC conducts hearings.

Calimlim, a former chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, was among three officials appointed to carry out Mrs. Arroyo’s plan to spur economic growth in Central Luzon.

The Subic task force, created through Executive Order 384 issued by Malacañang last Nov. 8, was tasked to eliminate the smuggling, not just of imported vehicles, but also liquor, petroleum, agricultural products and other commodities.
"We have sufficient information on the smuggling syndicate and their links with corrupt Customs personnel and other government officials. The task force is moving closely into this operational phase to pin down its protectors and cohorts," Calimlim said.

In early September, Mrs. Arroyo promised to revive the National Anti-Smuggling Task Force (NASTF) if newly appointed Customs Commissioner George Jereos will not be able to effectively clamp down on economic saboteurs in the next two months.
The President made this commitment before the program held last night at the Manila Hotel for the 50th anniversary of the Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce Inc. (FCCCI).

"Let’s zero in once again on smuggling. I am giving the new Customs commissioner two months to do his thing against smuggling," she told her audience.

"If after two months, you, the business community, are not satisfied, then we will revive the inter-agency anti-smuggling task force," Mrs. Arroyo promised.
The task force was previously headed by now Local Government Secretary Angelo Reyes. Mrs. Arroyo had directed Reyes earlier this year to abolish the NASTF after he assumed office so he could concentrate on his new job as anti-crime czar.

The President’s promise drew long and loud applause from her audience, who included taipans such as FCCCI chairman emeritus Lucio Tan, FCCCI president Robin Sy, SM mall chain owner Henry Sy, and also government officials led by Senate President Franklin Drilon.

She called upon FCCCI members to serve as "role models to the people" by paying the right amount of taxes, helping fight corruption, reporting fixers and grafters in government, and identifying drug lords, kidnappers and smugglers "that threaten the nation’s safety and well-being."


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