Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, July 29, 2005

Olongapo orphanage wins case on land ownership

Olongapo City—Scores of orphans and displaced children stand to gain from the recent victory of an orphanage and rehabilitation center here in a four-year court battle over land ownership

Regional Trial Court Branch 72 has affirmed the August 15, 2003 judgment of Olongapo City MTC Branch 5 recognizing the rights of Boys Town and Girls Home, a non-government organization, to a 20-hectare lot at Purok Maliwakat, New Cabalan, and this City. Its lawyer, Oscar Karaan, represents the NGO.

Boys Town and Girls Home was established in 1964 for orphaned and displaced children, mainly for abandoned Amerasians but has been accommodating all children in need of a place to stay in recent years.

“This is a welcome development says Milagros M. Venegas, a member of the Board of Directors of Boys Town and Girls Home.” Now, the children will have enough space conductive for their mental, physical, spiritual growth.”

Some 35 families who built houses and structures in the disputed area were offered relocation sites but refused on several occasions and opted to go to court.

“Most of the structures are permanent materials and the occupants even own cars. Evidently, the occupants are well off and are not homeless poor as they portray themsel

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Bail for governor's nephew in drug bust hit

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga--Officials of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the provincial prosecutor in Zambales clashed over the prosecutor’s order on Monday to release a nephew of Governor Vicente Magsaysay and his two companions over a drug offense.

Supt. Jerome Baxinela, PDEA acting regional director, said he found it “irregular” for Prosecutor Nini Cruz to allow the temporary release of Enrique Magsaysay Jr., Christopher Dilag and Noel Tonel.

PDEA operatives arrested the three men while they were allegedly in a shabu session inside the compound of Segundo Cervantes in Calapacuan village in Subic, Zambales, on July 22, according to a PDEA report.

A small plastic bag of "shabu" (methamphetamine hydrochloride), a strip of aluminum foil and a lighter were seized from the three men, the report added.

Baxinela has appealed to Cruz to allow the agency to regain custody of the suspects.
At the center of the dispute is whether it was correct to give temporary

freedom to supposed violators of Section 13, Article 2 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 (Republic Act 9165).

Section 13, according to Baxinela, does not provide bail or even temporary liberty for three persons found using illegal drugs during parties and other gatherings.

Cruz, in her July 15 order, allowed the release of Magsaysay and his companions since the PDEA failed to submit the result of the drug test within the prescribed period of 36 hours.
However, Cruz ordered a preliminary investigation.

In a phone interview, Cruz said the release was in order because the pieces of evidence presented by the law enforcers were “incomplete.” She said the law allowed the men their right to temporary freedom. “This is part of the regular preliminary investigation,” she said.
Cruz said Cervantes, the house owner, was detained for alleged drug pushing.

As of Wednesday, Baxinela said his agency has not yet received the results of the tests done by the Philippine National Police’s crime laboratory in Zambales.

Operatives found the delay “unusual” because it normally takes 24 hours to get the results of a test.

When Baxinela inquired about the delay, he was told that the confirmation process on the urine samples they submitted was taking time.

Governor Magsaysay, in a telephone interview, said he had “not interfered ever in the case.” “Wala akong pakialam diyan, maski kamag-anak ko pa (I don’t have any interest in the case even if he was my relative),” he said.

The younger Magsaysay, 37, a businessman, is the governor’s nephew by his cousin Enrique Sr., the former mayor of Castillejos town.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

MALARIA CAUTION

Upang maiwasan ang maling paniniwala at haka-haka tungkol sa malaria sa lungsod, agarang nagpalabas si Olongapo City Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. ng kautusan kay City Health Officer Dr. Pacita Alcantara na mgasagawa ng mga programa upang labanan ang malaria sa lungsod.

Kabilang rito ang pagpapakalap ng malawakang information dissemination para sa kabatiran ng lahat sa Lungsod ng Olongapo.

ANO ANG MALARYA?

Ang malarya ay isang uri ng sakit na sanhi ng parasitikong dala ng lamok.

PAANO NAKAKASAGABAL SA KAUNLARAN NG KABUHAYAN ANG MALARYA?

Karamihan sa mga nagiging biktima ng Malarya ay yaong mga nasa pagitan ng mga edad na pinakikinabangan at inaasahan ng bayan

ANU-ANO ANG MGA PALATANDAAN/SINTOMAS NG MALARYA?

?Giniginaw at nanginginig
?Mataas at paulit ulit na lagnat
?Matinding pananakit ng ulo
?Lanbis na pagpapawis
?Panghihina / pamumutla

BAKIT DAPAT KATAKUTAN ANG MALARYA?

? Ito may maaring mailipat ng lamok sa tao sa pamamagitan ng kagat
nito ay naililipat sa napakaikling panahon lamang;
? Pinipinsala nito ang utk, atay at pali.
? Ang malaria ay nakamamatay kapag hindi agad naagapang magamot.

MAHALAGANG KAALAMAN TUNGKOL SA LAMOK NA NAGDADALA NG MALARYA:

? Ang lamok na may dala ng Malarya ay nangangagat sa pagitan ng alas
6:00 ng gabi hanngang sa alas 6:00 ng umaga;
? Ang lamok ay dumadapo sa dingding bago mangagat sa tubig na malinaw at
mabagal ang daloy tulad ng batis at sapa.

PAANO MAIIWASAN AT MAPIGIL ANG PAGLAGANAP NG MALARYA?

A. Iwasan ang lamok

? Gumamit ng kulambo sa pagtulog;
? Magsuot ng damit na may mahabang manggas;
?Itali ang malalaking hayop (kalabaw, baka atbp) sa bakuran ng bahay
para sila ang kagatin ng lamok
B. Puksain ang lamok

? Tuwirin at paagusin an gang tubig sa gilid ng sapa at batis.
? Magpunla sa mga sapa, ilog at batis ng mga isdang kumakain ng
kitikiting lamok(tulad ng tilapia)
?Linisin ang mga halaman at masukal na lugar sa gilid ng sapa at ilog at
? Magspray ng insecticide sa bahay.

Magpaeksamen ng inyong dugosa mga lumilibot na malaria canvassers ng DOH, health centers at district hospitals at kumpletuhin ang paginom ng gamut sang ayon sa payo ng doctor o health workers.

CEREBRAL MALARIA SA GAPO, PINABULAANAN


Maaring pinabulaan ni Dra. Pacita Alcantara, City health Officer ng OLONGAPO CITY ang napabalita sa pahayagang Philippine Daily Inquirer ukol sa paghagupit ng sakit na cerebral malaria sa lungsod.

Sinabi ni Alcantara na hindi ikinakaila na may mga kaso ng malaria sa lungsod, ngunit katotohanan lamang na wala pang naitatalang kaso ng cerebral malaria.
Ang cerebral malaria ay kumplikasyon na dala ng malaria kung ito ay hindi naagapan kung saan kumalat na ang impeksyon sa utak na maaring matuloy sa kamatayan.

Bukod pa dito, ipinaliwanag niya na ang mga malaria cases sa lungsod ay karamihan imported at relapse cases.
Imported ito kung ang nagkasakit ay nakuha ang malaria virus sa ibang lugar at naidala lamang sa lungsod. Relapse cases naman kung muling nanumbalik ang sakit malaria ng mga datingnagkaroon na ito. Karaniwan ito sa mga aetang lumikas mula sa Zambales matapos ang pagputok ng Mt. Pinatubo at nanirahan sa lungsod.
Ang mga indigenous cases, o yung kaso ng malaria na ditto mismo nag-ugat sa lungsod, ay iilang lamang na kaso. Ang mga nagkasakit ay mula sa ibat ibang lugar na kasamaang mga outskirts ng lungsod tulad ng Bataan at Zambales.

Dagdag pa ni Dra. Alcantara, ang dahilan ng malaking bilang ng malaria cases sa report na ipinasa nila sa Rergional Health Office III, ay bunsod ng isinagawang massive blood testing kung saan nakapagtala sila ng positive cases ng malaria na nasa early stages of incubation pa lamang.
Isinagawa ito ng local na health office upang maagapan ang ano mang sakit na sumasapit sa panahon ng tag ulan tulad ng malaria, dengue at iba pa.

Ayon kay Vic Vizcocho, Public Affairs Officerng lunsod, “hindi magandang imahe ang ipinalabas ng baliltang ito at nakakasira sa kabuhayan ng mga taga Olongapo. Maaring makapekto sa mga turistang bumibisita dito kung hindi maiklaklaro ang balitang ito”.



The big Subic loot

By Ansbert JoaquinInquirer News Service
WHAT'S in a shipwreck? A lot, if it's found in Subic Bay.

A seabed of sunken national treasures, Subic Bay has 25 shipwrecks (some accounts estimate 30) that tell a lot about history and the significant role it played in World Wars I and II and during the Spanish occupation.

San Quentin, the oldest known wreck, is a wooden gunboat scuttled by Spaniards in 1898 in a futile attempt to block the channel between Grande and Chiquita islands from the invading Americans.

Oryoku Maru, a Japanese outboard passenger ship, lies 60 feet deep at 300 meters off the Alava pier. It was carrying families and 1,600 American war prisoners when it was attacked by a US aircraft.

The wreck posed navigational risks to arriving US Navy ships, including aircraft carriers, when the port was still used as a US military facility. To remedy the problem, base officials flattened the wreck by blasting it.

One of its cannons is displayed in a restaurant, aptly called "The American Legion,"

on Magsaysay Drive in Olongapo City, just outside the Subic Bay Freeport.

Sean Maru is a 30,000-ton Japanese cargo vessel found between the Alava pier and the northern end of the Subic International Airport runway. It was sunk by the US Navy during World War II.

The USS New York, once the pride of the US fleet in Asia, is the "star" attraction because of its historical value. When the Japanese swept the US Marines out of the Philippines during the war, the Americans had no choice but to scuttle their ship as they left Subic in early 1942 to avoid its capture.

Near the shore

Apart from their historical value, the sunken shipwrecks also serve as recreational dive sites for local and foreign tourists.

"Their attraction can be attributed to their closeness to the shoreline," said dive instructor Butch Horario.

Anilao (in Batangas) has its well-preserved corals, but Subic has its one-of-a-kind historical value, "where you can find plenty of shipwrecks in one area," he said.

The Subic shipwrecks also provide artificial habitat for more than 200 species of fish, replacing the corals that have been destroyed by poaching over the years. The marine abundance, in turn, sustains communities surrounding the bay.

For all their material and environmental value and beauty, the least that mankind can do is protect them. Yet, lately, the wrecks have been the targets of looters who threaten to destroy their historical value. Looting is also threatening the Subic communities' livelihood, recreational diving, and fish habitat.

Looting, according to divers, has been going on for years. And while looting cases have been on the rise lately, the treasures always end up in souvenir shops and junkyards.

While visiting the USS New York during a recreational dive on June 13, Horario said he saw a hacksaw and a hookah hose, and immediately suspected that looting was taking place. He later discovered that the vessel's pipes, cables and portholes were missing.

He immediately reported the incident to the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) harbor patrol, but so far, nothing has come out of it.

A month later, on July 11, the SBMA tourism department and the Philippine Coast Guard station in Subic town foiled another attempt to loot a sunken vessel off Baloy Beach in Barangay Barretto, Olongapo City.

An SBMA official said a small ship that looked like a Japanese landing craft, or what was left of it after previous lootings, was recently unearthed 15 meters inland in Sitio Minanga in Morong, Bataan.

Remnants of the ship were found on a beach-front property owned by an official of the Bataan Techno Park. The "scrap," which was found by workers clearing the area for a casino project, was cut to pieces to be sold to junk shops, the SBMA official said.

Another shipwreck

In another account three years ago, according to an SBMA document, Brian Homan, an Australian dive shop and restaurant owner at the freeport, brought several witnesses to an SBMA office to testify on a shipwreck looting incident. After an investigation, the SBMA cancelled the accreditation of the suspect, Belgian Johan Desadeleir, who owns a dive shop called Johan Adventure Diving in Barretto.

Desadeleir sued Homan for libel. Three months later, the SBMA brokered an agreement between the two foreigners: Desadeleir was to withdraw the case against Homan in exchange for the renewal of his accreditation. The suspect's accreditation was eventually renewed, but the libel suit was not dropped.

The Inquirer visited Desadeleir's shop on July 18 and 26, but failed to reach him for comment.
Another diving enthusiast has accused the SBMA and Homan, who also operates a museum, of looting the USS Lanikai of its artifacts when the ship was found in 2003. The century-old wooden ship sank in the Nabasan Bay 59 years ago.

Dive shop owner Jim Robertson defended Homan, saying the latter "had [the] permission of the National Museum."

"They have been taking artifacts from the Lanikai, but apparently, they have the go ahead from the SBMA and the National Museum. They brought up some artifacts but those are supposed to be displayed at his (Homan's) place," Robertson said.

"I think whatever they recovered, Homan was allowed to keep a portion or whatever [of the find]."

Collection

Dive master Earnest Elduayan agreed. "If you go to the National Museum, you will see his collection of jars-1500s, 1600s, Ming Dynasty, Tang Dynasty-everything is there. Homan donated those to the Philippines after he found them in Mindoro," Elduayan said.

Homan declined to be interviewed by the Inquirer at length. But he said he felt abandoned by the SBMA when it renewed Desadeleir's accreditation.

"And this you can quote me-ankle weights, crowbars, hammer and chisels are not the ordinary tools of fun divers," he said.

"Right or wrong, that is between Brian and Johan," Robertson said.

"I don't think they are even suspects. If Brian is going to take something, he is going to take it whole. Whatever he has now was acquired through legal means," he added.

Despite their differences, rivalries and bickering, the dive shop owners agreed on two things: a large part of the loot goes to the junk shops, and the solution to the problem is simply law enforcement.

"Souvenir lovers are not going to take a piece of anything. They want something whole, an artifact that they can make use of," Robertson said.

By their own estimate, divers said tons of metals were lost to small-time looters every year. If a kilogram of copper was sold at local junk shops at P100, a ton of it a year would cost only P100,000. Brass could fetch a higher price, Horario said.

"They might not be aware of it, but looters do not only threaten to destroy the shipwrecks' historical value and Subic's marine life and tourism potential. They also risk even their own lives when they are not experienced in the proper way of diving and ascending in deep waters," Horario said.

Monday, July 25, 2005

BCDA fast-tracks Subic-Clark expressway

THE BASES Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) said the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway Project would be finished on time and "within budget." The expressway is expected to be completed by the end of 2007 at a cost of 21 billion pesos.

The four-lane toll road network will connect the industrial, transport and business hubs of Subic, Clark, and Tarlac.

BCDA president and CEO Narciso Abaya said the project was a major component of the Global Gateways Initiative. Abaya said the timely completion of the project was crucial in boosting growth in Luzon.

BCDA vice president for operations Antonio Rex Chan said that despite the recent depreciation of the peso, the cost of the project was unaffected since it was yen-based.

Chan said foreign exchange rate fluctuations have been taken into account in determining the project cost.

Chan said the planned expressway would pass through Angeles City, Mabalacat, Porac and Floridablanca in Pampanga; Tarlac City, Bamban, and Concepcion in Tarlac, and Dinalupihan and Hermosa in Bataan.

Funding for the project will come from a Y41.931-million soft loan from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). The counterpart funding of 6.2 billion pesos was secured by the BCDA through loans from Banco de Oro and the Development Bank of the Philippines.

FedEx loss blow to RP ability to attract foreign investment

THE ABILITY of the Philippines to attract foreign investment has been dealt a series of body blows in recent weeks in the wake of the political crisis facing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Global credit agencies have downgraded ratings on the country while the Supreme Court has frozen the implementation of a key tax measure amid calls for the president's impeachment over allegations she cheated in last year's election.

The Philippines was dealt another blow recently when US logistics giant FedEx said it was moving its Asian hub from the former US military base at Subic Bay to China.

"The decision saddens and pains me," Senator Richard Gordon told Agence France-Presse. "The loss of FedEx's investment and presence in the Philippines is another blow to our efforts to attract and keep investments in the country."

FedEx announced the shift to Guangzhou's Baiyun International Airport on earlier this month, playing down the damage costs to the Subic Bay economy and the overall Philippine investment climate.

The decision comes as a personal blow to Gordon who, as the first head of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, convinced FedEx to establish its hub in the Philippines in 1995.

Although about 700 local jobs will be directly affected by FedEx's move, Gordon believes it casts a shadow over the future of the entire Subic Bay area which currently employs about 70,000 people.

The US company says, however, it will be business as usual for its Subic Bay hub until the new base in China opens in three and a half years.

Even after the FedEx hub in Subic closes, "the company is expanding its airport operations in Manila and back-office functions [in the Philippines] as part of a regional strategy," it said in a statement.

The Philippine government's decision not to renew the controversial US Bases Agreement in 1991 led to the closure of Subic Bay and the nearby Clark airfield, the biggest military establishments outside the US, throwing tens of thousands of Filipinos out of work.

Gordon was one of the prime movers in transforming Subic Bay, one of the region's biggest deepwater ports just 120 kilometers (74 miles) west of Manila, into an economic and tourist zone.

It was Gordon who flew to Memphis, Tennessee in the early '70s, to visit FedEx' founding president Frederick Smith and convince him to visit Subic Bay where he had been a shore patrol officer during the Vietnam War.

At the time Gordon said: "Subic was a repair and logistics base of the US Navy for 94 years. I figured it would be ideal for cargo hub operations."

Aside from a strategic location, he offered FedEx a tax-free haven, customs-free operations, cheap first-class housing for as many as 50 pilots and executives, schools for their children, and English-speaking, skilled workers.

The government spent 40 million dollars on new radar coverage, an instrument landing system and a concrete runway for wide-bodied jets.

"Having FedEx in Subic helped in the subsequent investment drives," Gordon said.

"FedEx was delighted because the more locators I was able to bring into the zone, the more business for FedEx.
Thus, zone management and FedEx had a mutually beneficial relationship that was good for FedEx, good for the locators and, more important, good for the country not so much in terms of investments but in terms of employment and income generation.

"Barely two years after FedEx set [up] shop, Subic had a total employment of 70,000, even more than during the time of the US bases," Gordon said.

In 1991 Subic Bay had employed about 46,000 people, generating 350 million pesos annually in taxes with a high pass-on effect to businesses in the region.

Peter Wallace, a business and political consultant said: "Business goes to where it can get the best deal. In this case China offered FedEx a much better deal than it was getting here ... it is as simple as that."

Gordon said one of the contributing factors for the loss of FedEx was the lack of continuity after his departure as administrator.

"There was no active promotion in bringing in more investments. More importantly, during the Asian financial crisis no one cared for the investors. Buildings and basic infrastructure was not maintained."

"As a result companies like French telephone maker Thompson Audio, BICC Cables and a lot more left and half of Acer went to China," he said.

Gordon said from a business perspective, the loss of FedEx reduces the country's promotional clout while resulting in a loss of rental income and landing fees.

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority declined to be interviewed by Agence France-Presse but in a brief one-page statement said it was "regrettable" FedEx had opted to transfer to China.

It said the shift "will have little impact" on the flow of goods and services in and out of Subic Bay Freeport.

The statement pointed out that the 215 million-dollar port redevelopment is scheduled to be completed by 2007 the same time as the Subic-Clark Expressway is expected to be opened.

"All these are in line with our growth plans for the Freeport as a business gateway and are consistent with the needs of our present and future investors," the statement said.

The statement added, "It is business as usual in Subic."

Friday, July 22, 2005

Subic Bay ends indebted freeport locator’s contract

THE Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has terminated a management contract with the Cu-Unjieng-owned Financial Building Corp. (FBC) for its failure to settle millions of pesos in unpaid arrears.

Some 132 FBC-managed residential units are situated at the Forest Hills Housing Complex inside the Subic Bay Freeport.

A report released by the SBMA on Thursday confirmed the termination of the management contract with FBC, with the notice served by lawyer Rizalino Katalbas Jr., the agency’s legal department head.

The SBMA said it terminated its management contract with FBC after the company failed to comply with several provisions, including the payment of arrears.

As of 2003, the FBC had the highest financial obligation to the SBMA with P550 million in unpaid arrears followed by the Malaysian firm LIRL with P485 million.

Even after it mortgaged the properties located at Triboa Bay—Apec villas and Edgewater condominiums and Times Square at the Central Business District, FBC still failed to pay or reduce its outstanding accounts with the SBMA.

“We have exercised prudence in observing due process. Appropriate notices and collection letters have been sent. But we are mandated to protect the interest of SBMA and implement the board decision,” Katalbas said.

The lawyer likewise stressed that SBMA’s takeover of the property is justified since the government has to make good use of its assets.

“We are merely protecting and exercising our right and taking over what is rightfully ours. Under our management contract, the FB (Subic Bay) Corporation is merely managing the Subic property,” he added.

The Forest Hills Housing Complex was originally leased in 1996 to Investment Building Corp. and FBC. The contract was amended in 1997 and 1998, and was assigned in December 1997 to FBC, which assumed all the obligations of the two original lessors.

Closure call brings more visitors to marine park


INSTEAD of causing closure, the death of a false killer whale in a marine park in Subic has sparked curiosity and brought in more guests at the Ocean Adventure park.

Ocean Adventure president John Corcoran said the controversy generated by the call of animal rights activists to close down the facility has encouraged people to check out the park on Cawayan Bay in Subic.

"It's not the first time this has happened. We were greeted here by activists; it's an issue we've had to deal with and will continue to deal with," Corcoran said.

"We've seen people coming to the park out of curiosity because some controversy was brought up," he said.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has said Ocean Adventure would remain open. It has also not required the park to secure an environmental compliance certificate from the agency as the DENR row with Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority over the issuance of permits has not yet been resolved.
Corcoran invited the animal rights activists calling for the park's closure to see the facilities and check the care given to animals.

Ocean Adventure, the only open water marine park in Southeast Asia, spends 35-40 percent of its annual expenditure for animal care.

"I would encourage activist groups to follow our lead... It's going to take a lot more people, animal activist groups, school groups, conservation groups and government all joining hands... for conservation education... Let's set aside the hatred," he said.

'Doomed animals'

Ocean Adventure chief executive officer Timothy Desmond belied claims by Earth Island Institute-Philippines and Philippine Animal Welfare Society that the park was harvesting cetaceans for human amusement.

Desmond said the park's animals were "doomed animals" because they were either wounded or recovered from people who would have killed the animals for food.

Hook, the 13-year-old female false killer whale who died on July 8, was wounded by a harpoon when it was brought to the park.
Hook was the third killer whale to die in the park in four years, possibly of gastro-intestinal illness.

"When we got them here, these animals had a fixed life span. They had one day, but Hook, for example, lived for another seven years because of the care she got here," Desmond said.

Desmond expressed confidence that the Philippine public is "smart enough to know something of value when they see it and to know over time which claims are accurate or not."

A total of 869,441 visitors have been to Ocean Adventure since 2002, of which 28,508 were foreigners. Some 16,000 came from as far as Mindanao and 20,000 from Visayas.

Corcoran said he was expecting the biggest number of guests this year. The company's June 30 report showed 132,176 people have visited the park this year, already more than half last year's total 248,420.

"I think our ethics is what will protect us," Desmond said.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Cerebral malaria strikes Olongapo

Editor's Note: Published on Page A8 of the July 21, 2205 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO-At least 276 people at the outskirts of Olongapo City were stricken with malaria, most of them infected with the deadly cerebral strain, the Department of Health (DOH) said on Wednesday after two weeks of blood smear tests in that city.

The number of cases, especially of cerebral malaria (248 cases), in the city's five upland villages was "unusually high" but no victim died in recent days, Dr. Juvencio Ordoña, DOH director in Central Luzon told the Inquirer.

"We are surprised by the big number, but this is no outbreak. We learned of the cases through an extensive check with the city health office which reported the incidents [on July 7]. As we suspected, this went on for some time. The residents have developed strong resistance against the disease," he said.

The parasite species Plasmodium falciparum, which causes cerebral malaria, was confirmed positive in 90 percent of the cases, according to a report from the DOH's malaria prevention and control center.

Barangay New Cabalan recorded the highest number of malaria cases at 236, the report showed. There were 21 cases in Gordon Heights, nine in Old Cabalan, eight in Banaelto and two in Mabayuan.

Most of the victims live near the Bangad River and its creeks, and in forested areas.

People with malaria suffer chills, fever and extensive sweating. At its worst stage, patients experience anemia and enlargement of the spleen.

The situation, Ordoña said, was "already under control," citing the provision of anti-malaria treatment and insecticide-treated mosquito nets to victims.

The DOH team also sprayed the houses with insecticides. The river and creeks were treated with larvicide to eliminate breeding sites.

The team recommended malaria control measures and the creation of surveillance units.

The malaria cases in Olongapo City this month surpassed the 244 cases recorded in six Central Luzon provinces from January to March this year, DOH records showed.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

DENR to validate Ocean Adventure’s environment certificate

By Katherine Adraneda The Philippine Star

Environment Secretary Michael Defensor is set to order the validation of the Environment Compliance Certificate (ECC) issued by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) to Ocean Adventure, following the death of the third marine animal in the facility last week.

Defensor said the DENR would have to validate the ECC in order to ensure the living condition and welfare of the animals in the marine park that offers dolphin shows and interaction with false killer whales.

"From the start, I have always raised the issue of competence of the ecology center of the SBMA, which issues the ECCs," Defensor told The Star. "(But) the SBMA has always (taken) the position that they have competence."

Defensor said they will ask a report from SBMA’s ecology center on the death of false killer whales in the marine facility.

Last July 8, a 13-year-old female false killer whale named Hook died after days of illness. Initially, Hook was believed to have suffered from gastro-intestinal illness. But the Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium (SBME) is still conducting tests to determine the actual cause of death.

In July 2001, a juvenile male false killer whale named Deuce died in the park. This was followed by the death of a female killer whale named Coral in January 2004.

Advocates for the protection of animals, Earth Island Institute-Philippines (EII-Phils) and the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), have asked the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) to conduct an investigation on the deaths of the animals.

The groups also urged the BAI, DENR and Department of Health to create a team that would check the facilities in the marine park and its use of marine mammals for amusement.

Trixie Concepcion, coordinator of the EII-Phils, explained that environmentalists have claimed that these animals die prematurely while in captivity since the animals are inherently not suited for confinement.

She said that in the wilds, dolphins and whales roam the sea for hundreds of kilometers in a day.

The abrupt change in their systems brought about by captivity disrupts the animal’s overall behavior and can affect its immune systems.

This, she pointed out, may explain why dolphins and whales in captivity are more susceptible to infections, and consequently live shorter lives.

Concepcion further noted that false killer whales live up to 62 year, but confinement in an animal park like Ocean Adventure will not allow them to reach maturity.

Ocean Adventure is a dolphin park operated by the SBME

Marine park in Subic to stay open, says DENR

By Tonette Orejas
Inquirer News Service

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT-Environment Secretary Michael Defensor has ruled out the immediate closure of a marine park here where three false killer whales had died in the last four years, a Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) official said.

PAWB Director Theresa Mundita Lim, head of an investigating team from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), which visited the park Tuesday, said the closure of Ocean Adventure would only be enforced if there was a strong basis for it. The closure of the marine park is being sought by animal welfare groups.

"Instead of being antagonistic about it, we are giving the project proponent a chance to explain how it addressed animal welfare and environmental protection issues," Lim said.

The Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium Inc. (SBMEI) has operated the park, located at the Camayan Wharf, since February 2001.

Earlier, Gregorio Magdaraog, Ocean Adventure vice president for corporate affairs, said closing the park would endanger the lives of the marine animals and deprive Filipinos of the opportunity to appreciate the value of marine animals.

The Earth Island Institute (EII)-Philippines, which has opposed the venture, said the deaths of three whales-Hook on July 8 this year, Coral in January 2004, and Deuce in July 2001-were enough reasons to stop keeping animals in captivity for entertainment.


The SBMEI, through the Subic Management Associates, imported at least six false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) and eight South American sea lions (Otaria byronia) from China in 2000. A fisheries special permit covered the importation, documents from the Department of Agriculture showed.

EII said the park operator did not consult with the committee on animal welfare, an entity created by the Philippine Animal Welfare Act or Republic Act 8485.

Lim said PAWB would review the environmental impact study of the SBMEI and the environmental clearance certificate issued to it by the ecology center of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

ONE RATE- ONE PROVINCE POLICY SIMULA NA !

Aprubado na ng Sangguniang Panlungsod ang Resolusyon No. 11 (Series of 2005) na may titulong A Resolution Requiring Imlementation and Enforcement of One Rate, One Province Policy as Mandated by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Memorandum Circular No. 14-7-2000 to Public Telecommunication Entities Concerned.

Sa pangunguna ni Kagawad Edwin Piano ang may panukala nito, at sinang-ayunan ng buong Sangguniang Panlungsod na sinuportahan ni Olongapo City Mayor James ‘’Bong’’ Gordon, Jr. dahil sa magandang layunin na agarang sinimulan ang implementasyon matapos aprubahan at lumabas ang resolusyon.

Ang resolusyon ay alinsunod sa probisyon na itinatadhana ng NTC Memorandum Circular No. 14-7-2000 na may titulong Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the inter-connection of Authorized Public Telecommunications Entities (PTE).’’

Nakasaad dito na walang pataw na karagdagang bayarin o long distance charges ang mga subscribers ng PLDT sa Zambales, SubicTel sa loob ng Freeport Zone at Piltel sa Lungsod ng Olongapo at Subic. Ang mga lugar na ito ay sakop sa tinatawag na Zero National Direct Dialing (NDD).

Nakasaad na ang mga lugar na ito, ay kabilang sa Local Calling Service Area na nakasaad sa NTC Memorandum Circular na bahagi sa bumubuo sa numbering plan, ang ‘’047” ay sinasabing kasama sa Local Calling Service Area.

Mabe-benipisyuhan ang mahigit apatnapung libong (40,000) gumagamit ng telepono sa implementasyon ng Zero NDD sa mga lugar na ito na positibo ang epekto partikular na sa larangan ng pag-nenegosyo dahil sa mabilis at mababang halaga ng tele-komunikasyon.

‘’ Pangangasiwaan ni Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology Board Chairman Kgd. Piano ang implementasyon at sisiguraduhing ito ay napapa-tupad samantalang malawakang information dessimination ay kailangang isagawa para sa kaalaman ng lahat,’’ ayon kay Mayor Bong Gordon.

Marine park exec says closure will kill marine animals


By Ansbert Joaquin
Inquirer News Service

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT-An official of Ocean Adventure said calls by environmentalists to close the marine park would mean "certain death" for the marine animals under the park's care.

"Closing Ocean Adventure will not only sentence the marine mammals to certain death, but will also deprive hundreds of thousands of Filipinos of the opportunity to truly appreciate the value of marine mammals as partners of humanity in saving our oceans," Gregorio Magdaraog, vice president for corporate affairs of Ocean Adventure said in a statement.

Earlier, the Earth Island Institute-Philippines (EII) and the Philippine Animal Welfare Society sought the closure of the marine park in Subic Bay and called on environment and health officials to save the two false killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) still in captivity.

The whales and some sea lions, are used in amusement shows at the park.

The groups issued the call following the death of a female false killer whale in the park on July 8.

Ocean Adventure is operated by the Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium (SBME), an investor inside the freeport.

Magdaraog said the death of the whale, named "Hook," was "indeed a sad occasion."

"(But) it is ironic that the two organizations that proclaim their love and care for animals now want to close down a world-class facility that provides one of the best care for cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) and other marine mammals," he said.

"With what and how will they save two whales that are living quite well in the loving care of animal care experts?" Magdaraog asked. "What whales have these groups saved already?"

Environmentalists said Hook was the third whale to die in captivity at the Ocean Adventure Park since it opened in 2001.

Coral (11 years old) died in January last year while Deuce (9 years old) died in July 2001. The whales died of gastrointestinal illnesses.

Trixie Concepcion, EII coordinator, said false killer whales live up to 62 years in the wild, "but confinement in Ocean Adventure will make sure that none of these animals will live to reach maturity."

But Magdaraog said the park helped save Hook.

He said Hook got her name because when she was rescued from the wild, a large fishing hook was lodged in her body. Marine park personnel surgically removed the metal and saved Hook from death, said Magdaraog.

Monday, July 18, 2005

FEDEX MUST STAY

Official Statement of Senator Richard Gordon

It PERSONALLY saddens AND PAINS me no end to have learned DIRECTLY from Federal Express officials that when their contract in Subic expires in 2007, they will move their operations to China. The loss of FedEx’s investment and presence in the Philippines is another blow to our efforts to attract and keep investments in the country.

Why the personal sadness and pain? As everybody is aware of (perhaps not so much the younger generation), Subic was a major source of employment and business for Central Luzon. In 1991 the U.S. Naval Base had an employment force of 46,000 people, generating Php 350 Mil annually in taxes with a very high pass on effect on business enterprises in the region.

All this was lost when 12 senators decided not to renew the U.S. Bases agreement without really giving any alternative to the people in terms of employment and income – a case of an air force with all air. The U.S. armed forces left the country – the U.S. Navy from Subic and the U.S. Air Force from Clark. Clark was not protected and was shamefully looted for which I will not go into details.

However, in the case of Subic, I immediately asked for volunteers to protect and maintain the facilities. Despite the problems of the Pinatubo eruption, the spirit of volunteerism and honor among the Filipino people came to the fore – the facilities in Subic were protected and the assets were maintained.

My next problem was how to use the facility in a proper, employment and income-generating manner? Clearly, the infrastructure was there – particularly, the hangars, the port and the storage facilities. It just needed investors. Thus, with the support at the time of former president Fidel V. Ramos, I promoted Subic as an ideal investment/export zone that also required air and sea capability to support locator factories in delivering their products to markets in a just in time basis.

Thus, one of the first groups I met was FedEx and Fred Smith, its President/CEO and major shareholder. I convinced Fred that the Philippines, in general, and Subic, in particular, was a good place to invest due to its strategic location, the infrastructure, but most importantly, Fred realized that there was a government (both at the national and local levels) that was supportive of his investment. Fred also had good memories of his stay in Subic as a young U.S. marine during the Vietnam war. Even at the time, Fred was aware of China and I recall his asking me if China had expansionary ambitions. I told him that China always thought of itself as being the center of the universe. When you look at its history, it does not invade or conquer but only expects recognition and respect for its culture, traditions and territory.

I was delighted when Fred advised me that FedEx would locate its Asian hub in Subic. Together with my young lawyers, we faced the grizzled veterans of the New York law firms and, in less than 8 months (even shorter than the gestation period for a baby), President Ramos and I signed FedEx’s investment license. Having FedEx in Subic helped in the subsequent investment drives – Subic became interesting to locators like Acer since FedEx was present to allow them to deliver their products to clients on an immediate basis. Fred was also delighted because the more locators I was able to bring into the zone, the more business for FedEx. Thus, zone management and FedEx had mutually beneficial relationship that was good for FedEx, good for the locators and, more important, good for the country not so much in terms of investments but in terms of employment and income generation. Thus, barely two years after FedEx set shop, Subic had a total employment of 70,000, even more than during the time of the US Bases. This success was a continuous inspiration to my young volunteers.

I believe that the contributory cause to the loss of FedEx was the lack of continuity after my forced departure as administrator – my successor did not provide the continuity in supporting the locators. There was no active promotion in bringing in more investments. Even of more importance, while the Asian crisis was ongoing, there was no caring for the investors such as maintaining basic infrastructure (ex., simple painting and maintaining of buildings) including peace and order – a visit to Subic would prove my case. Thus, Thompson, BICC Cables and a lot more left and half of Acer went to China. In the meantime, my successor looked inward and focused on domestic concerns which many people are aware of.

From a business perspective, the loss of FedEx reduces the country’s promotional clout while also resulting a loss of rental income and landing fees.

Again, it pains me and slices my hear to the core to remember all the efforts of the volunteers, the people who watched the houses, maintained and protected the grounds and facilities, who negotiated with veteran investors and financial wizards and protected the interests of the country while also being supportive of the investors. All this is slowly trickling away with FedEx being the best example.

However, we must move on – as senator, I shall continue to promote our country and attract other investments in place of FedEx (if we cannot convince it to stay). Even more importantly, we must continue to support the current locators – one approach I suggest is that Philippine Airlines and the government work together to provide the current locators with a capability similar to that being provided by FedEx and UPS.

While I recognize the significantly larger market of China and her vast potentials, we could have exerted extra efforts to convince FedEx to stay in the Philippines with our inherent strategic location and hardworking highly-skilled English speaking work force --- at the very least move to the Clark Special Economic Zone --- after their lease contract expired in Subic and in consideration of the larger airfield facilities that Clark utilized by the U. S. Air Force has over Subic to accommodate and handle FedEx’s growing requirements.

In summary, we have two (2) years to convince FedEx to stay. I was told by my source that it’s almost impossible to reverse their decision. But we must remain hopeful and the challenge is now on the SBMA. The administration thereat must entail the similar vigor, spirit and dynamism of the volunteers and pioneers in attracting foreign investors. Freeport incentives, infrastructure enhancement and maintenance, strict enforcement of rules and procedures that we laid out and established in the beginning must be maintained. Furthermore, corruption, smuggling and the constant changing of the rules over the past 6 years must be stopped.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

More Asian airlines set to mount flights from Clark airport to Hong Kong, Macau

Two more Asian airlines will soon mount regular flights to and from Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) here, while another one is set to open new route to serve passengers in Central and Northern Luzon.

This was announced by Clark Development Corp. (CDC) Executive Vice President and COO Victor Jose I. Luciano who said that Hong Kong Express Airways Ltd. (HK Express) and Far Eastern Transport Corp. (FETCo) are the latest additions to the growing number of airlines that fly to DMIA.

HK Express is a feeder airline to China from the former Crown Colony, while FETCo is one of Taiwan’s oldest airlines.

Likewise, Tiger Airways of Singapore — one of the best low-cost carriers in Asia — will be opening a Macau-Clark-Macau flights. The airline currently has five-a week flights to and from Clark.

Luciano said that HK Express will fly to Clark twice weekly from the former British colony starting on Aug. 7. HK Express is Hong Kong’s newest airline.

From its base at Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok airport, HK Express Airways intends to operate services between Hong Kong and popular cities in Mainland China, using the new EMBRAER 170.

With the new flights, the number of tourists to Hong Kong is expected to double, Luciano said.

The new airline will be the second airline to fly the HK-Clark-HK route. Earlier, China Rich Airways launched a thrice-weekly flights to Clark from the Special Administrative Region of China.

Likewise, Luciano said FETCo, Taiwan-based airline with 48 years in the service, will fly to Clark three times a week starting at the end of the month.

FETCo was a recipient of Best Airline awards from the Civil Aeronautics Administration, especially in the area of maintenance quality in 2000. The airline will use either Boeing 757s or MD 80s aircraft in the Taipei-Clark-Taipei route starting July 31.

FETCo was founded in 1957 as the first privately owned airline in Taiwan. It now operates 11 domestic routes and four international routes, served by a fleet of 16 jet aircraft.

Luciano said the decision of FETCo to make DMIA a regular destination came after some Taiwan’s key officials saw the potential of Clark airport as a viable destination for the growing tourism industry in Chinese-Taipei.

In October, Tiger Airways will launch its daily Macau-Clark-Macau flights after the airline was able to secure approval for the route from Macau authorities.

Singapore’s budget carrier increased its flights to the Philippines to five a week from the present three flights

8 suspects arrested for illegal fishing in Subic

A team from the 3rd Police Regional Maritime Office arrested eight fishermen for illegal fishing off the coast of Sitio Nagyantok, Barangay Cawag, Subic, Zambales, the other day.

Chief Inspector Jesus F. Fernandez, head of the unit, identified the arrested fishermen as Rene Bautista, 55, captain of fishing boat; Bogoy Arong, 35, boat engineer; Jake Makinaya, Vicente Royal, Rodolfo Camacho, Richard Megarcos, Dodong de Dosen, and Lando de los Santos, all residents of Sitio Nagyantok, Ba­rangay Cawag, Subic.

According to the report, a team headed by Senior Police Officer 3 Albert Hong was on sea patrol when they spotted the fishermen.

Hong alleged that the fishermen hastily threw away three improvised explosive devices into the water when they saw the police patrol approach their boat.

When the police boarded the boat, they found three more bottles containing home-made explosives inside the fishing vessel.

The fishermen’s catch also showed signs of dynamite fishing, such as blasted bellies.

Further investigation showed that the fishermen and the boat’s skipper and engineer did not have the proper licenses.

Police brought the fishermen’s catch to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources office, where it was found that the fish were caught through the use of explosives.

The suspects were charged with illegal possession of explosives and illegal fishing before the Municipal Trial Court of Subic, Zambales.

Olongapo Quarry Ordinance on its 3rd and final reading

Readers are encouraged to submit their comments
by sending eMail to: sangunian@subicbay.ph

To view the full text of the proposed ordinance in PDF format, please follow link:
http://subicbay.ph/Olongapo/Quarry_Ordinance.pdf

or this link if you prefer to read the text using your explorer:
quarrying_ord_of_ejp_Rev3.doc

Saturday, July 16, 2005

DENR, Zambales sign MOA on forest

By Mark Louie Roxas, MT Central Luzon Bureau

SAN FERNANDO CITY, Pampanga: Environment authorities here and local officials of Zambales on Friday signed a memorandum of agreement to strengthen community-based forestry as a strategy to address the twin problems of poverty and forest degradation and achieve sustainable development in Zambales.

Regidor de Leon, DENR-Central Luzon executive director, said the agreement sets forth the form of cooperation between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the local government in sustainable forest management by empowering communities and local people.

He said the memorandum would strengthen the five-year enhancement of the community-based forest management project, expected to be completed by 2009.

“The task of reversing the trend of forest destruction requires the department to forge creative partnerships with local governments to protect and manage our dwindling forest resources,” de Leon said during a regular session of the Sangguniang Bayan in Botolan.

Under the Local Government Code, local governments are mandated to share with the national government the responsibility in the management and maintenance of ecological balance within their jurisdiction.

Mayor Rogelio Yap of Botolan vowed to provide environment and legislative support to the project to show the support and gratitude of the Zambaleño to the Japanese government and the environment office for selecting the Loob-Bunga.

The 174-hectare Loob-Bunga project site is managed by the Loob-Bunga Settlers Association Inc., a federation of nine people’s organizations of about 1,000 members, mostly Aetas displaced by the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991.

Hideki Miyakawa, chief adviser of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, disclosed that only five out of the 22 proposed model sites in Central Luzon met the criteria set by the Japanese government, which include peace and order, political will of the local government to support the project, and the commitment of local communities to the project.

In 2004 the environment department launched the five-year program, which received technical assistance of P250 million from the Japanese government through JICA.

Ricardo Calderon, DENR deputy director for forestry, said the project covers five model sites in Magalang and Sapangbato, Pampanga; General Tinio, Nueva Ecija; and Botolan, Zambales.

This is the second major forestry project of the Japanese government in the Philippines since 1976, the first being the RP-Japan forest development project in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Third Whale Dies at Subic Dolphinarium

Time and again, environmentalists and animal welfare organizations are being proven correct in advocating against the captivity of dolphins and whales for human amusement.

Last 8 July 2005, a third false killer whale died at Ocean Adventure, a dolphin park operated by the Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium (SBME). According to SBME, the animal, a 13-year old female false killer whale named 'Hook', was suffering from a 'gastro-intestinal illness'. SBME is still conducting tests to determine actual cause of the death.

It should be recalled that Deuce, a juvenile male false killer whale, was the first one to die in the park on July 2001. This was followed by the death of Coral, also a juvenile female false killer whale on January 2004. The death of the third whale brings down to two the number of surviving false killer whales in the facility.

For years, environmental and animal welfare groups have been educating the public with regards to the true nature of dolphins and whales. Environmentalists claim that these animals die prematurely while in captivity since they are inherently unsuited for confinement. In the wild, dolphins and whales evolved as free swimming animals that roam the sea for hundreds of kilometers in a day. Abrupt change in their systems such as captivity disrupts their overall behavior and can affect their immune systems. This may explain why dolphins and whales in captivity are more susceptible to infections, and consequently, to shorter lives.

According to Trixie Concepcion, Coordinator for Earth Island Institute-Philippines, "The height of animal cruelty is to deprive an animal of its life. In the wild, false killer whales live up to 62 years of age, but confinement in Ocean Adventure will make sure that none of these animals live to reach maturity."

Earth Island Institute-Philippines (EII-Phils) and the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) are urging the government, through the Bureau of Animal Industries (BAI) to conduct an investigation on the continuing deaths of animals in the facility.

For years, both EII and PAWS had been advocating the closure of the facility for the violation of the Animal Welfare Act (RA 8485) and the Environmental Impact Statement System (PD 1586). The SBME is currently facing charges in court for the violation of these laws. Since its operation in 2001, it has failed to secure an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) in violation of PD 1586, and it has also failed to register with the BAI, in violation of the Animal Welfare Act (RA 8485).

Reference: Trixie Concepcion - 9263139; 0927-5254951

Thursday, July 14, 2005

FedEx to Close Its Hub in the Philippines

From The Washinton Post

HONG KONG -- In a move to exploit China's fast-growing market, FedEx Corp. said Wednesday it will close its Asian hub in the Philippines and replace it with a new $150 million facility in Guangzhou, southern China.

The new cargo-handling center at Guangzhou's Baiyun International Airport, scheduled to open in December 2008, will better serve clients doing business in China, the company said in a statement.


FedEx predicts air freight from China to the United States will grow an average of 9.6 percent a year over the next 20 years.

FedEx's announcement comes after rival United Parcel Service Inc. said last week it will open an air cargo hub in Shanghai as part of efforts to launch a domestic Chinese express-delivery service this year. FedEx said it has no such plans.

The Subic Bay, Philippines, facility, located at a former U.S. naval base, will close by the end of 2008, by which time the Guangzhou operation will be in service, according to FedEx, the world's largest cargo airline.

"We do not need two Asia-Pacific hubs," FedEx Chief Executive Frederick Smith said at a news conference in Guangzhou. "As markets change, growth patterns change, you have to go where your customers go."

Smith said the runway at Subic Bay cannot accommodate the Airbus A380-800 freighter and cannot be expanded. FedEx has placed an order for 10 of the aircraft.

Last year, FedEx extended its Subic Bay lease to 2010 and took an option to use nearby land at the former U.S. military base at Clark Field.

The Philippine government transformed Subic Bay _ a deep water port located 50 miles west of Manila _ into an economic and tourism zone after its lease to the U.S. expired in 1992.

Philippines Sen. Richard Gordon, who negotiated the establishment of the hub in 1995 as the first head of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, said he was saddened by FedEx's decision.

"Personally, I am devastated," he said. "I wanted them to be very happy in Subic."

It wasn't immediately clear how many jobs will be eliminated.

FedEx said it will keep as many of its more than 750 employees at Subic Bay as possible. Fired workers will receive severance double that required by Philippine law, the company said in a statement.

FedEx said it will also offer re-employment counseling and training.

The 155-acre Guangzhou facility will have floor space of 882,000 square feet and be able to handle 24,000 packages an hour, the company said. It will hire 1,200 people initially.

Shares of FedEx rose 79 cents to close at $83.49 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

KEEPING FOCUS ON THE ECONOMY

Statement of Senator Richard Gordon

The last few weeks we have been busy and continue to be so in seeking the truth no matter how painful the process may be. However, in doing so, we must not forget the fundamentals, namely, that the country does not depend on the results of these hearings or on the investigations in both houses of Congress on jueteng and the tapes, etc. - these are exercises in aid of legislation and the positive effects will not be immediately apparent to the public and to our people.

Thus, I was pleased to note today that the Department of Finance has assured that economic reforms that have been established and shall continue under the current interim leadership. I am also pleased to note the nomination of former Congressman Margarito Teves as the new Secretary of Finance - I am sure that he will continue to provide effective leadership based on his experience in both the private and public sectors.

Specifically, we must worry and address - as soon as possible - the issue of the downgrading by the international credit agencies of the Philippines sovereign ratings due to two key factors:

1. the perception of political instability due to sometimes wild and unsubstantiated accusations; and

2. the suspension of the E-VAT implementation. I will say nothing further on this second point as the Supreme Court is currently reviewing its position on this matter.

However, the above makes it more difficult for us to compete in the international arena, not only for tourism and investments, but also to be considered as reliable suppliers. Such will negatively impact on our job creation capability with negative consequences on employment and poverty alleviation - not only in the cities but also in the rural areas around the country.

As a legislator, I shall continue to support the institutionalization of reforms in our economic and financial sectors so that institutions can be created to help us address the issues of globalization and competition

FedEx closes hub in Subic

HONG KONG: FedEx said Wednesday it will close its Asian hub in Subic Bay, Philippines, replacing it with a new $150-million hub in Guangzhou, southern China.

The Subic Bay facility will close by the end of 2008, by which time the Guangzhou operation will be in service, according to FedEx Corp., the world’s largest cargo airline.

The new hub at Guangzhou’s Bai­yun International Airport will better serve clients doing business in China’s fast-growing market, FedEx said in a statement.

FedEx Chief Executive Frederick Smith said the runway at Subic Bay, a former US naval base, cannot be expanded and cannot accommodate new cargo jets. Last year FedEx had extended its Subic Bay lease to 2010.

Meanwhile, insufficient capacity to support its intra-Asia market development in the next 30 years prompted FedEx to transfer its main hub from the Philippines to China.

FedEx Philippines gave assurances that it will give generous severance packages to employees who will be disenfranchised by the hub transfer. The company also denied unverified reports that incompetence and political noise prompted the company to leave the Philippines.--AP with Niel V. Mugas

Execs foil looting of sunken ship

OLONGAPO CITY-The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) foiled another attempt to loot a sunken vessel at the Subic Bay.

Felipe Macababbad, PCG station commander, said the loot, a ship's bow estimated to weigh a ton, was already on the shore of Barrio Barretto when PCG personnel and the SBMA tourism department went there on Monday.

Macababbad said the loot was taken from a Japanese vessel submerged in Baloy Beach.
He said they have identified five suspects in the alleged illegal salvage operation of a national treasure. They were Renyl Varela, Rosito Elicano, Jess Marcia, Renato Olicia and Willy David, the alleged financier.

On Wednesday, Macababbad said the PCG and the suspects reached an agreement for the voluntary return of the loot.

It was the second reported looting of sunken vessels in two months.

On June 13, a dive instructor at the Subic Freeport said a sunken American vessel, which has become one of the popular diving sites in Subic, was looted. Diver Butch Horacio said while he and some tourists were on a recreational dive last month, he noticed that some of the USS New York's pipes, cables and port holes were missing.
The looting prompted Kenneth Peralta, SBMA tourism department head, to call for a consultancy meeting on Tuesday among Subic Bay investors, dive shop owners and police officials. Subic dive shop owners said that only 27 of the 30 sunken vessels are still in Subic.

During the meeting, dive shop owners also assailed PCG personnel and the SBMA harbor patrol for their alleged inability to prevent not only the rampant looting of sunken vessels, but also cyanide and dynamite fishing in Subic Bay.

Peralta said the SBMA law enforcement and tourism departments, and some investors, monitored areas in Subic Bay in May this year and discovered that at least 10 unregistered boats were involved in cyanide fishing. Ansbert Joaquin, PDI Central Luzon Desk

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Chavez, Gordon clash over Cam

By Efren L. Danao, MT Senior Reporter and Patricia Esteves, Reporter

Emotions ran high Tuesday at the Senate inquiry into the proliferation of jueteng after former Solicitor General Frank Chavez protested the way Sen. Richard Gordon was questioning his client Sandra Cam, and Gordon asked that Chavez be cited for contempt.

“If they want to declare me in contempt of the Senate, then so be it. But I’d rather be declared in contempt of the Senate than be in contempt of justice,” Chavez told reporters after the hearing.

Sen. Manuel Villar, cochair of the hearing with Sen. Lito Lapid, did not act on Gordon’s motion to cite Chavez for contempt before adjourning the hearing.

Villar said the motion has to be acted upon by the Senate Committee on Public Order and Illegal Drugs, which he heads, and the Committee on Games, Amusement and Sports, headed by Lapid. The two committees will meet Thursday to discuss and other issues related to the hearing.

Ironically, the flare-up took place after Gordon had complained that the hearings had been droning on and with some witnesses even being insulted. He had wanted an immediate end to the hearings because he believed the committee had gathered enough materials to recommend prosecution by the Ombudsman and to come out with a recommended legislation.

Gordon was asking Cam if she knew some persons and if she had been charged with violations of the bouncing checks law and forcible entry. Chavez protested that Gordon was “derogating” Cam.

“His pattern of questioning was meant to create distrust in my client. He was already arguing with my client, who is a resource person. When a senator argues with a resource person, then the resource person is at a disadvantage,” Chavez explained later.

Gordon shrugged off Cha­vez’s flare-up, saying it was a lawyer’s technique whenever a client gets caught.

“I am a lawyer. Am I supposed to accept all her words?” he asked.

Cam was the only one among the witnesses presented by Archbishop Oscar Cruz of Lingayen-Dagupan to testify that she had personally delivered jueteng payoffs to Rep. Mikey Arroyo of Pampanga and Rep. Ignacio Arroyo of Negros Occidental.

She was crying when Villar suspended the hearing. She said later she would court being cited for contempt by the Senate should Gordon do the same thing again to her in the next hearing.

Cruz announced he would present two witnesses who will testify that jueteng payoffs funded attempts to rig last year’s presidential election.

Cruz said their disclosure would be more damaging than the supposed wiretaps of the President talking to an election official while the ballots were still being counted.

Cruz vouched for the credibility of the witnesses, who he said are former politicians.

He said they had attended group meetings before the elections and witnessed the exchange of money to fund election returns that would be used in rigging the poll results.

Asked if the witnesses would implicate Mrs. Arroyo in their testimony, Cruz replied, “I can’t say right now but I just know that they’re telling the truth.”

Sunday, July 10, 2005

28 kompanya sa SBMA nagsara na

Ang Pilipino STAR Ngayon 07/10/2005

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – Kabaligtaran ang isinusulong ni Pangulong Arroyo na makapagbigay ng trabaho sa mga naghihikahos na mamamayan dahil libong manggagawa ang tuluyang nawalan ng trabaho dahil sa pagsasara ng mga kumpanya dito sa ginawang pagpigil ni Anti-Smuggling Task Force (ASTF) chief ret. Lt. Gen. Jose Calimlim na mag-isyu ng import permit. Aabot sa 10,000 manggagawa mula sa 28-kumpanyang nakabase sa Subic Bay Freeport na may kinalaman sa negosyong importasyon ng sasakyan ang nawalan ng trabaho na karamihan ay pawang mekaniko, painter at electrician.

Ang pagsasara ng ilang kumpanya ay bumaba rin ang koleksyon ng Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority at maging ang Bureau of Customs (BoC) dahil sa walang nagbabayad ng karagdagang buwis na magmumula sa mga importers ng mga sasakyan ng P50-milyon kada buwan. Sa kabila nito, patuloy pa rin ang talamak na smuggling ng mga kontrabando na ipinupuslit sa gate ng Tipo kung saan ilang tauhan ng Law Enforcement Dept. at SWAT ng SBMA ang kasapakat. (Ulat ni Jeff Tombado)

============================


This blogger believes in the number of companies that closed shop BUT does not believe that up to 10,000 workers lost their jobs. At the most, it would be less than 2,000 but these workers does not necessarily lost their jobs because they remain on their jobs - subcontracting projects. Its just that they now have less contracts. By the way, yesterday I saw Lito Soriano walking by Sta Rita Road, I stopped-by to give him a ride, he told me that the van they bought from Subic Auctioneers have a sub-standard steering mechanism after it was converted from right-hand drive to left-hand drive. He and his family were lucky that they were not in a hi-speed road when the steering mechanism failed, otherwise, it would have been a tragic accident.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Olongapo Kid Brings Home the Bacon

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Olongapo Kid Brings Home the Bacon. Kheith Lynne Cruz of Olongapo City won a silver medal at the 11th Southeast Asia Junior Table Tennis Championships 2005 held in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam. Cruz, together with six other young athletes from the Filipino Chinese Amateur Athletic Federation (FCAAF), represented the Philippines at the annual competition which was held last 25-29 June. FCAAF adviser Senator Richard Gordon presents Cruz, who hails from his hometown, to the press. Also in photo are FCAAF officials.

Jo Anne T. Papa
Media Relations Officer
Office of Sen. Richard J. Gordon
www.wowgordon.com

NOW IS NOT THE TIME FOR CHA-CHA

Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Laws, pronounced today that a Charter Change will not address the current political crisis that the country is facing.

“Now is not the right time for Cha-cha. The President must face the music. She cannot dance her way out of this crisis,” Gordon stressed.

According to Gordon, who was the youngest delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention, “there is a need to change how the Philippine government works. But if we do so right in the middle of this crisis, how can we properly discuss all the complex issues in a few months? If we do so, we will only have another half-baked constitution that does not truly address what our country wants and needs.”

He added, “The 1987 Constitution was rushed in a few months, and because it was written in a time of crisis, many of its provisions were just reactions to the abuses of the Marcos regime.”

Among the provisions that should be reviewed in the 1987 Constitution is the term of office of local government executives. Gordon said, “we gave our local officials just three year terms because we were afraid of Marcos’ twenty-year rule. Now do you wonder why many of our local officials have no long-term vision for developing their towns or provinces, and all they can manage are a few waiting sheds? Hindi pa mainit ang upuan, tinitira na sila dahil mag-eeleksyon na.”

Gordon said the real and immediate cause of PGMA’s crisis now is not the Constitution, but the schemes of some sectors in society trying to seize power through unconstitutional means.

“Our constitution needs change, but it cannot be changed when people are trying to capitalize on partisan political hysteria to promote themselves in the public eye. This is a period of political opportunism. Already people have gone back on their word, changing positions on the issues, to capitalize on opportunities and make backroom deals when the facts have not changed. The public must be critical in determining what the real issues are and what their politicians are trying to achieve,” Gordon said.

Gordon reiterated his call to the nation to resolve the current political predicament through the mechanisms provided in the present Constitution and urged the President to call a special session of Congress within 10 days to give the opposition the opportunity to prepare and file the complaint that they want, and begin impeachment proceedings.

“Only by going through the correct processes can we as a people resolve this crisis once and for all. Otherwise, if PGMA is forced to resign, we will now have both Arroyo and Estrada claiming to be President, when another person is sitting in Malacañang. Ultimately, this will only increase the instability of our country, and bring it further to collapse,” Gordon said.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Govt appeals decision lifting ban on imports of used vehicles


The government plans to elevate to the Supreme Court a recent ruling of the Court of Appeals that reversed a 2002 ban on the importation of used vehicles.

“We intend to elevate the case to the Supreme Court after losing before the appellate court,” a government source said.

He added Malacañang would file a motion for reconsideration and ask the High Court to review the Court of Appeal’s decision. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2002 imposed a ban on the importation of used vehicles.

In a three-page resolution penned by Justice Perlita Tria-Tirona, the CA’s fourth division ruled that government failed to present new evidence or arguments in its appeal that would warrant a reversal of the appellate court’s earlier decision.

“Evaluation of matters advanced by petitioners in their motion shows that except for one argument — that is, that there is a law that authorizes the President to prohibit and/or ban the importation of used motor vehicles — all other issues were squarely passed upon and exhaustively discussed in the decision sought to be reconsidered,” the CA said in its ruling.
Tria-Tirona of the CA’s fourth division upheld the appellate court’s Feb. 14 decision to declare EO 156, which bans second-hand imports, as unconstitutional.

EO 156 provides that the importation of all types of used motor vehicles is prohibited, except under certain conditions, like vehicle ownership by a returning resident or immigrant.

The importation ban is in line with government’s comprehensive industrial policy and local motor vehicle development program.

The Motor Vehicle Importers Association of Subic Bay Freeport Inc. opposed the order. The group had secured a temporary restraining order from the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court in January 2003, saying the EO was “arbitrary, unfair, unjust, unreasonable and offensive to substantive due process.”

But Malacañang insisted that Republic Act 7227, which created the Subic Special Economic Zone, should not be construed as “an open floodgate that would sanction the entry of all kinds of goods without any restrictions.”

It also argued that EO 226, or the Omnibus Investment Code of 1987, authorizes the President to prohibit the importation of used motor vehicles

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Fake phonecards in Subic

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The Task Force Subic (TFS) and the Bureau of Customs (BoC) at the Subic Bay Freeport foiled recently an attempt to smuggle fake Smart Buddy prepaid cellular phonecards valued at R30 million from abroad.

The feat was reported in a conference between Jose M. Calimlim, TFS chief, and Subic Freeport Customs District Collector Andres Salvacion.

Salvacion said the joint team led by Erlinda Pasco intercepted the shipment of 100,000 pieces of prepaid phonecards at the Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA).

The shipment — in four packages weighing 60 kilos each — arrived on board a Federal Express cargo plane from Hong Kong and was declared as plastic labels by the consignee identified only as a certain "Roy" of 10 Happy Valley Homes, Dinalupihan, Bataan.

Probers said the multimillion peso fake phonecard shipment was declared at US$25 (R1,400) only.

A subsequent inventory showed that the fake phonecards were in R300 denomination and valued at R30 million.

Calimlim told a radio interview that the shipment was the second interception the team made in the past two months.

He said the first was 200,000 pieces of Smart Buddy prepaid phonecards which were declared as chemicals to avoid detection.

Salvacion has issued a Warrant of Seizure and Detention against the shipment while Calimlim has invited Roy to shed light in the investigation. (Sel A. Baysa)

Former FPJ Leader, Vice Gov Lacbain Joins Calls For Rule Of Law

Subic, Zambales. Zambales Vice Governor Ramon G. Lacbain II who run under the opposition Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) and gave Fernando Poe Jr. and Loren Legarda more than 70,000 lead each over President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Vice President Noli de Castro during the last elections has joined the calls for the rule of law.

“I symphatize with Ms. Susan Roces and the other opposition leaders for what they feel after hearing the wiretapped conversations between the president and a COMELEC official but I believe it is best for this nation’s interest as well as the Filipino people’s that we follow the rule of law.

If indeed violations of existing laws have been committed during the last elections as can be suspected from the wiretapped conversations, then let both Houses of Congress of the Philippines do their duties as provided for by law and go through the legal process to determine all violations and to impose appropriate penalties.”

Lacbain, who is also the executive vice president of the League of Vice Governors’ of the Philippines (LVGP) has had his sad experiences for the past two (2) people power revolutions.

When former president Ferdinand Marcos was removed by EDSA revolution in 1986 Lacbain was also removed as president of the Kabataang Barangay of Zambales and as member of the provincial board representing the youth sector.

When former president Erap Estrada was removed by another people power in 2001, he was also removed as spokesman and media relations officer of former executive secretary Edgardo Angara.

“What have we gained for the past people power revolutions? We were able to change leaders and the government system but as far as the attitudes of the people are concerned, we have remained the same.

Poverty has remained our greatest problem as a nation. Although we were able to show to the whole world that we can change leaders through bloodless revolutions but still we remained underdeveloped. We have now institutionalized people power as the shortest and easiest way of removing the president and then all the other leaders in government.

We have existing laws that must govern our way of life. After all so much of government’s money from taxes paid by the people have been spent to make these laws. Why don’t we follow and respect these laws? Let the rule of law prevail and make those who violated them answer for them”, quipped Lacbain who was given a zero budget for the vice governor’s office for this year by Zambales governor Vic Magsaysay.

PROCESS OF THE CONSTITUTION MUST BE FOLLOWED

Transcript of Senator Gordon Interview with Senate Media

1. On the Fist Gentleman taking a leave.

SEN. GORDON: I thought the decision was on the part of Mike for what I saw on television before I left. It was on the part of the First Gentlemen to volunteer to leave. You will recall that this representation was the first to ask Mikey and Iggy to resign or to take a leave of absence and face the music with the ombudsman and now the decision on the part of the First Gentleman to offer himself or volunteer, to me I think is a difficult one because he is leaving at the time when his wife, the President, is in crisis. That is a tremendous sacrifice first and foremost which I appreciate. But the point that I want to raise is every President has always had a tar-baby in his or her family. Meaning to say, the public, the media and all of us at times attack certain members of the family of the President whether it is President Estrada, President Ramos or anybody else in the past. They always attack the family but nothing seems to have ever been resolved. You know the process was never tested. Nobody has really gone to jail on the part of any member of any first family. So it is all part of the political noise as far as I am concerned.

By this action it clears the air for the President when they leave or in the case of Mike Arroyo or Mikey Arroyo when he takes a leave of absence, it clears the air for the President to be able to focus on governance and to focus on the case that maybe filed against her and this is crucial.


2. On the President accepting that it was her voice on tape.

The other night the President decided to go on television on her own and she said, she was sorry. She made an indiscretion but I think it was wrong to say "lapses of judgment", just an indiscretion to speak to a member of the Comelec while the process is going on. But on the other hand, from this representation's point of view, the President in effect was saying "let us remove it from the speculative, from the political, from the partisan hysteria that have been going on". And she has now put it into a legal framework. In other words, "I am ready to face what ever charges you may put up in accordance with the statement that I made". "So, file your case and I am ready". She did not say that but to me that is how I took it. Pwede na akong humarap. I did not do any illegality although I created an act of indiscretion. So now it is in the legal process.

Now the process will go to impeachment or a case in court if that is needed, if that is to be done. Now we can really lessen the political noise and focus on the process that should come out as to whether one is legal or illegal.


3. On calls for a Snap Election.

All these calls about snap election I think are ludicrous. We have a process. President Ramos is correct when he says he does not believe in a snap election. Why? Kung matanggal si Gloria, mayroon pang vice-president. Ang sinasabi ba natin ay isasa-isangtabi natin palagi ang proseso just because nagkakagulo tayo at hindi tayo nagkakaintindihan. We all know that President Arroyo entered at the time when the country was divided. Pinalitan niya si Erap. Hati ang bayan. Nag-eleksiyon at close yun eleksiyon. Nanalo siya over a million votes pero hati pa rin ang perception ng bayan and since that time bakbakan nang bakbakan on the issue ng dayaan except for Sen. Lacson who said na si President Arroyo won. He does not see any kalokohan. I remember it came out, I think in the Inquirer right after the election and that we should now proceed to the task of governance.

But the point was in spite of that, ang bayan ay hati at sinasabing may dayaan. Since when do they have an election na sinasabing walang dayaan? And to me, that is where the problem lies. This country apparently cannot close and cannot accept a process of closure upon anything. We cannot close the debate on whether Aguinaldo or Bonifacio was a hero. We cannot close the debate on Collaborators and people who are real heroes in World War II. We cannot close the debate on Marcos and Aquino. We cannot close the debate on Erap. We cannot close the debate on coup plotters and now another case which we cannot close.

But the process was there created by way of a plebiscite. When we chose a Constitution, we chose a process. In the same manner that when somebody shoots somebody in front of you even if the judge saw it, even if you saw it and the whole world saw it has to go to a process of a trial. He has to be tried and he is entitled to defense, he is entitled to lawyers and he is entitled to confront the witnesses on his behalf. That is the process. That is why to me the remarks of the President the other day was a very, very difficult one. No doubt, yet as it is very difficult for Susan Roces-Poe to appear without emotion on national TV today. She has to be emotional. Galit siya because hindi nga natin ginagamit yun proseso. Now, when the president appeared before the television the other day and said Ako yun kumausap then she is saying now stop all this speculation, stop the political noise and let us go to the legal and that is where we must proceed. The process of the Constitution must be followed.


REPORTER: Sir, going back doon sa desisyon ng First Gentleman to leave the country, do you think Mikey and Iggy Arroyo should do the same?

GORDON: He has already taken a leave of absence. He is out of the picture unless they call into the jueteng hearing kaya lang may nakababad nga na jueteng hearing and I understand Sandra Cam filed a case against them. She is following the process then they must appeal in the process of the Sandiganbayan or the Ombudsman as the case maybe. That is what I mean when I say that there is a process. That is where you should try them. Just like Michael Jackson, everybody said Michael Jackson is a pedophile but when the process came in everybody accepted the verdict. That's the way it is.


REPORTER: Has the First Gentleman become a liability?

GORDON: You know that they have always made the First Gentleman a liability. You know that and everybody knows that. Yung kalaban ng president kung hindi siya matamaan ang babarilin palagi ay yung kamag-anak. This is the case of Erap. Tinitira noong araw sina Jude and Jinggoy. This is the case of Ramos, tinitira yung certain Arenas. This is the case of Cory Aquino, Kamag-anak Incorporated. Don't you remember that? They will always hit the kamag-anak. Marcos, Carlos Polistico Garcia and Ramon Magsaysay had the same thing.

So importanteng malaman natin to differentiate the political noise, the political hysteria from the legal process. That is what we must remember. What is the end game here? Who suffers the most by this controversy. Kung magresign si President, assuming for the sake of argument, who takes over? The Vice-President. Kung guguluhin na naman yan, suffer na naman ang bayan. Kung mag snap election suffer na naman ang bayan. Why? Because the whole world is looking at a country without a process. They settling it in grossly debate in the Media that means loss of confidence no longer upon our leaders but upon our people and upon our country. So who is going to invest? Even among our people, who is going to invest right now in our own country kung hindi natin ma-settle ang proseso?

Right now, kung galit ka kay Gloria, talagang galit ka kay Gloria, yun ang labanan eh. Kung pabor ka sa kabila, pabor ka sa kabila. Kung ikaw ay gusto makapasok ngayon sa eleksiyon, nakikita naman natin kung sino ng lahat ang pumuporma ngayon, lahat tumakbo di ba? Even in the Congress nakikita natin may mga tumatalon. This is the time for opportunism. Personal opportunism is the rule of the game now. Not what is needed and what is best for our country.

I don't want to comment on whether Gloria is guilty or not because I could be a Judge in an impeachment trial. I am not going to touch on that but I can still say that what I am seeing is purely political-partisan hysteria on both sides. Each one is name-calling, each one saying bakbakan tayo but nobody speaking for Mang Juan dela Cruz. Nobody is thinking of what is the next problem. Tumaas na ang gasoline at $60.55 a barrel. It is bound to increase some more. What is our game plan? May VAT pa ngayon. How are we going to do that? When the VAT is collected how are we going to spend it so that ma-alleviate yung problems on education? These are problems that we have to face.

Natatakot ako sa mga statement na "ninakaw na ang eleksiyon" because I don't think there was any. So far, hindi pa klaro kung nagdayaan. At kung nagdayaan dapat talagang dapat managot ang Presidente kung nagdayaan. Dapat managot ang Comelec kung nagdayaan. Pero may proseso iyan.


REPORTER: Sir, pwede pakiulit yung sinabi ninyo na opportunisn is the name of the game now?

GORDON: Right now, it seems that political opportunism is the name of the game. All the people that have lost are trying to join the debate. All the people who want to become President are trying to come in. All the people who want to run for the Senate, nagpapakitasaTV, todo-todo. Now, walang masama doon pero dapat ipakita nila tung tunay na pagmamahal niya sa bayan and debate in accordance with the interest of the nation not just sumasakay sila sa isyu na may problema kaya kanain natin ng kanain at medyo popular iyan pero pag pumihit iba na naman. Palaging pumipihit kapag iba na ang tugtog di ba? Alam niyo naman yan. Biglang lumalabas yung mga dating natalo. Actually hindi ako nagtataka, I expected that and that is part of democracy and that is part of their political rights.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Fil-Am Friendship Month

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The Philippines and the United States: An enduring alliance

Filipino and Americans have been friends for more than a century. Americans have enjoyed longer, closer and more cordial relations with Filipinos than with any other people in Asia. These ties are firmly based on shared historical experiences, on a common commitment to democracy, and on the heritage of free and open societies.

Follow link to read in full the speech of Dr. Alberto G. Romulo, Secretary of Foreign Affairs , at The Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Aboitiz Group pays P101.6M for Transco’s Subic substation

By Rocel C. Felix
National Transmission Corp. (Transco) sealed yesterday a P101.6-million deal with the Abotiz Group for the disposal of its substation at the economic zone of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority in Zambales. The acquisition of the substation by Subic Enerzone Corp. (SEZC), a subsidiary of Aboitiz Equity Ventures, marked the first sale of a Transco substation. Signing the sales contract yesterday were Transco president Alan T. Ortiz and SEZC president Jaime Jose Y. Aboitiz.
Ortiz said the 181-hectare central business district along Subic Bay, in particular, will benefit from the service improvements to be undertaken by the new owners of the assets. "As what we have been saying all along, the divestment of Transco’s sub-transmission assets to qualified distribution utilities would lead to increased reliability, security and affordability of electricity," Ortiz said. The sale completes the acquisition of Transco’s sub-transmission assets by the Aboitiz Group in the said economic zone.
On April 28 this year, SEZC purchased 7.24 circuit-kilometers of sub-transmission lines comprising the Olongapo-SBMA Lines 1, 2 & 3, and the Subic-SBMA Line 4, and the disconnection switches at the Kalaklan metering point. Earlier contracts signed with the Aboitiz Group, through its various subsidiaries, include the sale of 11.99 circuit kilometers of 69kv lines in San Fernando, Pampanga to SFELAPCO; 14.89 circuit kilometers of 69 kilovolt (kv) line in Davao to DLPC; and 5.93 circuit kilometers of 69kv lines in Cebu to VECO. Subic Bay hosts various industries ranging from electronic communications technology companies to world-class hotels, housing units and convention complexes on prime waterfront sites to shopping malls and high rise-buildings.


 

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