Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Monday, May 29, 2006

Ex-SBMA chief, investor slammed for land lease deal

By Patrick Roxas

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT— Former Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority chairman and administrator Felicito Payumo and one of the investors here are now facing corruption charges for allegedly entering into a contract that deprived the government of millions of pesos in revenues each month.

In a complaint filed before the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon, Roberto Pineda of Subic, Zambales and Jimmy Mendoza of Olongapo City claimed the lease agreement Payumo signed with Marianito Fernandez of the Subic Coastal Development Corp. on 16.5 hectares of prime beachfront property inside the freeport in July 2002 was grossly undervalued in favor of the investor.

Pineda and Mendoza claimed the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, through Payumo, leased the property to Subic Coastal Development for a “miserable pittance of P2.75 per square meters and an escalation rate of merely 6 percent once every five years.”

The complainants claimed the terms and condition of the contract show a clear and manifest bias in favor of Subic Coastal Development.

“In comparing the said contract between SBMA and SCDC with other lease contracts involving adjoining lots with exactly the same qualities, it is the honest belief of the undersigned complainants that a clear act of corruption was committed by Mr. Payumo and Mr. Fernandez,” the complaint said.

It cited the contract of Subic Aqua Sports Inc. with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, which was entered into in July 1998, which leased its area at $2.62 per sq m or P146.66 per sq m.
The complaint alleged Subic Aqua Sports is located just beside the 16.5 hectares leased by Fernandez. Eight other companies, according to the complaint, which leased properties in the same area has lease rates ranging from one dollar, or about P56 at current prices, to $2.29, or P128, each.

The complaint added that the property leased by Subic Coastal Development was then subleased by Subic Coastal Development to other companies at dramatically higher terms, a scheme that the two claimed defrauded the government of P1 million income monthly.

The sublease rates of 11 other companies to Subic Coastal Development range from P30 to P85 each.

“The property in question is now the heart of one of the nation’s summer capitals… where land is sold in tens of thousands of pesos per square meter and yet the Subic beachfront is leased off for a measly (P2.75) per square meter,” the complaint read.

“The atrocity committed here by Payumo and Fernandez is that in valuing the contract in pesos for a property that could have been competitively priced in dollars, they have deprived the government of foreign exchange revenue and further debased the value of our nation’s land, one of its fundamental natural resources,” the complaint said.

They also criticized the agreement as it said the waterfront properties of Subic were to be developed in accordance with a master plan envisioning large hotels and resorts that would be established on the other side of the beachfront so that the beach itself would remain open for public use.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

1,500 to lose jobs in Subic casino closure

OLONGAPO CITY - Some 1,500 employees of the Legenda Casino and Hotel inside the Subic Bay Freeport now feared losing their jobs after the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) closed down the establishment two weeks ago.

In a letter to President Arroyo, the employees appealed for the speedy resolution of the case between Pagcor and Legenda.

"As the legal battle between Pagcor and Legenda lingers, we find ourselves on the verge of losing our means of livelihood," the letter said.

The employees have been informed by the Legenda management that it will soon be forced to let them go because about 90 percent of its finances comes from the operation of its casino that has been closed.

Pagcor revoked the gaming license of Legenda for allegedly holding an illegal cockfight inside the casino and for its failure to pay the government more than P365 million in license fees. Anthony Bayarong

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Arroyo calls on councilors to support national gov't programs

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo today urged Luzon’s councilors

to support the Charter Change, lead an energy conservation program, initiate livelihood project and cooperate with policemen in the promotion of peace and order.

She asked the Philippine Councilors League (PCL) members who attended the 3-day and 6th Luzon Island Congress held at this freeport on May 24-26, 2006.

The President said that through municipal legislation they (councilors) could initiate livelihood projects and while attending to such projects they campaign for a change of the Charter which is already outmoded.

The councilors are the conduit of government in drawing out people’s cooperation in the development efforts and leading people’s access to the benefits from reforms. Their support to the Charter Change is indispensable since the present political system hinders the speedy implementation of government services.

To solidify the country’s independence from oil, she enjoined the councilors to promote the use of oil substitutes such as ethanol, cocodiesel and biofuel. She suggested that they cause for the planting of Jethropa in vacant areas in their respective municipalities because when processed this can be diesel substitute.

Arroyo also reminded the delegates not to forget cooperating with police officers assigned in their area of jurisdiction and keep a watchful eye over government projects to safeguard them from corruption.

After her speaking engagement with the members of Sanguniang Bayan all over Luzon, the President inspected the fourteen (14) luxury vehicles and other types from Korea, Japan and other countries which were seized by the customs and SBMA operatives after discovering that supporting document were spurious.

These smuggled cars worth P20 M are now impounded at the Naval Supply Depot Container Yard inside Subic Bay Freeport. (PIA Zambales)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Barangay Sta Rita Fiesta 2006

Queen Buenavista III, representing the Sta Rita Computer Learning Cernter was crowned Mutya ng Sta Rita 2006 in the Coronation Rites held during the Fiesta Celebration

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Iba, Zambales. The provincial board of Zambales using its power of the purse during its session yesterday presided over by board member Renato Collado unanimously enacted for the second time an ordinance transferring the amount of P855,364.75 from the vice governor’s office to the governor’s office.

Zambales vice governor Ramon G. Lacbain II is left with P100,903.65 budget for the remaining 8 months of the year which is only .05% of the total budget under the control of governor Vic Magsaysay for 2006 at P191,478,984.75.

According to board member Jose Gutierrez Sr., chairman of the appropriations committee, “I have already lost my trust and confidence to vice governor Lacbain”. But he did not give further explanation what made him lost his trust and confidence.

“You do not have any problem, we just transferred your fund to the governor’s office and you can still get it by asking from governor Magsaysay” further said board member Gutierrez,

In 2005, the provincial board gave vice governor Lacbain a zero budget and this year after approving a budget of P3.5 for the vice governor’s office, the provincial board is transferring little by little the budget of the vice governor to the governor’s office every time the vice governor Lacbain had a conflict with the governor and the provincial board.

Last February 13, 2006 during its regular session presided by board member Jay Khonghun, the provincial board enacted ordinance no. 2006-09 transferring P7,824,000.00 from its own office and another P1,067,500.00 from the vice governor’s office to the governor’s office through ordinance no. 2006-10 despite very strong objections and legal issues raised by vice governor Lacbain who was outvoted by all members of the provincial board.

Not contented with the first transfer of funds, the provincial board again on March 13, 2006 during its regular session presided by board member Jefferson Khonghun enacted ordinance no. 2006-14 transferring P295,000.00 from the provincial board budget and another P750,000.00 from the vice governor’s office to the governor’ office.

“While the local government code of 1991 provides for a separate budget for the provincial board so it can maintain its independence as a co-equal body of the executive, I regret that in Zambales the provincial board chose to surrender its budget to the governor’s office and what is worse is they also want me to follow them”, laments vice governor Lacbain who was a former board member for 13 straight years.

Because of the transfer of funds to the governor’s office, every board member has to get the signature of governor Magsaysay for their vouchers and checks for travel, training, mobile phone bills, representation expenses, standing committee fund, among many others.

Aside from their vouchers and checks being signed by the governor, every board members gets P20,000.00 from the indigency fund of the governor and another P30,000.00 for their committee hearings from the governor’s office.

“Its’ been more than two years now since I had my conflict with governor Magsaysay just because I am strongly advocating to solve the problem of poverty in Zambales by promoting agriculture, fisheries, livelihood and tourism. More and more people in Zambales are becoming poor and poorer despite the fact that the provincial government is spending so much money for big school buildings, road asphalting, beautification of hospitals, gymnasium and capitol”, according to Lacbain who was a former spokesman in the Department of Agriculture under then secretary Edgardo Angara.

Lacbain further said, “if governor Magsaysay can afford to spend P20 million for each new school building why can’t the provincial government also afford to spend P20 million for irrigation systems? If governor Magsaysay can afford to spend P5 – 30 million for road asphalting, why can’t the provincial government also afford to spend the same amount of money for agri-credit facilities, for water pumps, for fertilizers, for marketing support, for year-round tourism promotions, for livelihood opportunities and for massive investments promotions to generate employment within Zambales?”

While giving vice governor Lacbain with a budget of P100,903.65 for the remaining months of the year, governor Magsaysay enjoys a budget for maintenance and other operating expenses including non-office expenses of P191,478,984.75 which is 42% of the entire budget of the provincial government of Zambales for 2006 amounting to P459,301,327.36. This excludes the budget for personal services under the governor’s office.

Governor Magsaysay has one of the biggest fund at his disposal for this year when compared with other provinces all over the Philippines which include scholarship – P15 million, representation – P3.5 million, donations – P2.5 million, confidential – P5 million, intelligence – P5.5 million, other MOE – P400,000, discretionary expenses – P180,227, youth & sports development – P2 million, women’s welfare – P500,000, indigency – P15 million, cooperative devt. – P200,000, provincial nutrition – P240,000, office of senior citizens – P240,000, disabled persons – P200,000, productivity skills for capability building – P300,000, SME devt. – P1.3 million, capital outlay for infrastructure projects – P40 million, 20% devt. fund – P70,490,951, 5% calamity fund – P21,332,493, aid to local govt. units – P7,834,400 and aid to barangays – P460,000.

Vice governor Lacbain is yet to receive the respective reply from the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Commission on Audit after filing his formal complaints last February 20, 2006 and February 15, 2006 respectively.

“You can go to the proper forum to fight for your legal rights”, according to board member Renato Collado and Jury Deloso as their challenge to vice governor Lacbain.

SBMA opens first phase of retirement community

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority reported the opening of the first phase of a four-hectare retirement development facility located at Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

The SBMA said Starland Properties Inc. (SPI), the developer of the Subic Holiday Villas, has allocated P200 million for the initial phase of the project, which covers five condominiums that house 300 units.

The units have been developed as a retirement condominium with a state-of-the-art facilities and services catering to foreign and local customers.

Feliciano Salonga, chairman of SBMA, said, "Foreigners from Japan, South Korea and even the US are looking at Subic as a place where they can stay when they retire. Safety and security in addition to very good weather condition throughout the year are prime considerations."

The SPI said it has finished the initial phase of its five-year development plan to build villas designed especially for retirees.

Henry Olonan, SPI’s vice president for administration, said 95 percent of its clients are Filipinos living abroad who want to come home once they retire. "We foresee Subic as a top real-state location in the future."

Olonan said that in the next 15 years, Subic is expected to become part of the business hub in Luzon, which is envisioned to become equally important as Makati and Ortigas business centers.

"This will translate to a significant appreciation in the value of real-state investments in the area," he said. Angelo S. Samonte

Hotel sues over closure; Pagcor welcomes rap

By Allan Macatuno - Inquirer

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—Legend International Resorts Ltd. (LIRL), a hotel and casino operator, has filed criminal charges against officials of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. following the closure of its casinos here.

“The Pagcor men were very rude and they forcibly entered the [Legenda] casino, and harassed our security staff and hotel guests,” said Khoo Boo Boon, LIRL chief executive officer.

Lawyer Angeline Ifurung, LIRL vice president and legal head, filed cases of harassment and contempt against officials of the state gaming agency at the regional trial court in Olongapo City.

Ifurung questioned the order issued by Pagcor, saying a proper court should have served the closure order instead of Pagcor.

Pagcor revoked the LIRL’s provisional authority to operate casinos inside the freeport after the firm refused to remit to Pagcor the guaranteed minimum amount of P5 million a month as provided for by a 2000 amendment to the company’s license to operate.

Pagcor granted the provisional authority to LIRL on March 17, 2003.

Carlos Bautista Jr., Pagcor senior managing head, said the company’s debt to Pagcor since March 2001 had reached more than P365 million, including interests.

SBMA police escorted Pagcor officials in Legenda casino and padlocked the building’s main door. They also served the closure order against Grand Seasons Casino.

Bautista said Pagcor welcomed any charges that the LIRL would file against Pagcor and its employees.

“We are duty-bound to revoke the company’s provisional authority and immediately stop all its casino operations,” he said.

BCDA official wants Japanese executive recalled

By Allan Macatuno - Inquirer

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—An official of the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) is pushing for the immediate recall of a Japanese contractor of the P21-billion Subic-Clark-Tarlac expressway project.

Antonio Rex Chan, BCDA vice president for operations, said he is set to ask the Obayashi Corp. headquarters in Japan to recall Kazuhico Chabayashi, the project manager in charge of the Bataan segment of the expressway project.

The provincial government of Bataan had declared Chabayashi persona non grata for his alleged refusal to comply with instructions of the provincial government leading to the collection of local taxes on the hauling of filling materials extracted from several quarry sites there.

Chan said the move to recall Chabayashi would “ease the ongoing tensions” between the Japanese contractor and provincial officials of Bataan.

He said the Japanese Embassy in Manila was “agitated and disturbed” by the misunderstanding between Bataan government officials and the Japanese executive.

The embassy requested the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) to help resolve the issue among Philippine government agencies in charge of the project, particularly the BCDA and the Bataan provincial government.

The Neda has asked BCDA to address the embassy’s concern with regard to the issue and has asked its officials led by retired Gen. Narciso Abaya to immediately act on the matter.

In their letter to the Neda, embassy officials raised their concerns about the Bataan officials’ drastic move against Chabayashi, Chan said.

He quoted the embassy officials as saying that “Chabayashi did not commit a criminal act nor acted prejudicial to warrant such a declaration” of persona non grata.

In a letter to the Bataan provincial government, Chabayashi denied all the accusations against him.

Chan, however, noted that Chabayashi’s recall would not in any way hamper the work schedules of the road project. “No one is indispensable as far as the project is concerned,” Chan said.

Bataan officials were divided on the issue as the municipal mayors of Dinalupihan and Hermosa expressed misgivings over the resolution against Chabayashi.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Gordon: Govt to save P4B in automated polls

Sen. Richard Gordon said over the weekend that the automation of elections would give the government a saving of from P3 to P4 billion.

At a briefing, Gordon said, the government will spend only P5 billion to acquire automated machines, while the expenses for holding the election manually will cost from P8 billion to P9 billion.

"These computers can also be used by students for their education. It’s really an investment aside from the fact that it will address cheating," Gordon said.

He is hopeful that Senate Bill 2231 he authored, seeking for the automated electoral system, will be passed before Congress adjourns next month, considering that it is one of the seven bills Malacañan has certified as urgent.

There are about 250,000 polling precincts nationwide, each of them will have at least two computers for the AES which will be used for voting, counting, consolidating, canvassing, transmission of election results and other processes in the conduct of electoral exercises.

Gordon, chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments, Revision of Codes and Laws, said half of the total number of precincts will be having automated machines for the 2007 election and by 2010, there would be a full computerization of the election.

At the committee hearing Friday Mega Data Corp. and Smarmatic USA made a presentation on how their automated machines would work. The machines will also be presented during plenary discussions on Wednesday.

Gordon said an advisory council to be created under the Senate bill would have the last say in choosing which automated machine will be used for the election The advisory council comprises representatives from the Departments of Education and of Science and Technology, Commission on Elections and the private sector.

"Like in the manual election, teachers will still supervise the automated election," Gordon said. Ronnie E. Calumpita - abs cbn news

National jetski series on at Waterfront beach, Darlene Carbunco favorite in Women's div

SUBIC — Filipino jet skiers will show their stuff today against two equally exciting international riders when they vie for top honors in the second leg of the 2006 Petron National Jetski Series at the Waterfront Beach here.

Alex del Mundo and Ron Guyos, both jetski champs in Guam and veterans of the annual World Jet Ski Finals in Arizona, arrived last night and are expected to provide further excitement in the Expert division that includes 1991 champion John Dee of Intex Marketing and Dev’t Corporation, Thailand King’s Cup veteran BJ Ang and World Jet Ski runner-up Paul del Rosario.

Despite the presence of two riders, Del Rosario still remains as the skier to watch following his impressive win in the first leg.

Also expected to attract attention are up and coming riders led by Dax Figueroa, Rommel Pineda, Butch Casido, Robbie David and Myk Mangio who will dispute the titles in the Novice division of this event presented by Petron and sponsored by SBMA, Networx Jetsports, Gerry’s Grill, Courtyard Inn, Premiere Ready Mix, WOW! Jet Ski-Puerto Galera, Cars and Cycles Autocenter, Ford Global City, Dexterton, Atoy Body Kits, Alex Car Restoration Service, Subic Homes, Petron Lakeshore Toll Service Facility, HSD Iced Products and Hizon Laboratories.

Participants of this event will be vying for the titles in the premier Expert Open Unlimited, Expert 800 Open, Women’s Runabout Open, Stand-Up Open, Sports Open, Novice 4-Strokes Stock, Novice 2-Strokes Stock and the Women’s Stand-Up Open.

Other favorites are Peter Cruz, BJ Ang, Excel Torres, Harley David, Mike Mangio and Jeremy Chua in the Expert Unlimited 1200 and 800 divisions, and Mutya Ng Pilipinas titlist Darlene Carbungco in the Women’s division.

Manila Bulletin

Tough love from Dick

Sen. Richard Gordon

Tough love from Dick

By Rome Jorge - Sunday Times

“THERE’s a lot of talk about service. That’s only lip service. You have to lead. And to lead means you have to tell people what they need to do even if it’s tough to do. Because I believe people will follow when a vision is presented to them. A leader is not afraid to share his vision and exact the sacrifices because he believes it will work for the benefit of the people,” declares Sen. Richard Gordon, a toughie who’s so passionate about the things he fights for, he comes close to tears.

As mayor of Subic City, he outlawed bums and idiots, quite literally. “Bawal ang tamad sa Subic [Lazy people are not allowed in Subic],” and “Bawal ang tanga sa Subic [Stupid people are not allowed in Subic],” were his famously brutal slogans to inculcate the values of work ethic and education in a city that was nothing more than sleazy honky-tonks and was once populated by hustlers and panhandlers. Today, the city as well as the former military base that once made Subic the vice capital of Asia are now discipline zones that keep transients on their toes and make locals proud.

As head of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), he asked big things of small people. He rallied volunteers to safeguard the former American military base from looters after the US Navy’s departure. “More than 8,000 volunteers initially showed up. And then it rose to 23,000. They worked without pay,” recalls Gordon. They spruced up Subic’s spartan facilities into a world-class industrial zone and tourism hub.

As tourism secretary, he galvanized the hospitality industry during the toughest of times. When the spate of Abu Sayyaf kidnappings and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic had scared away many foreign tourists, Gordon redefined the world’s vision of the country with his unforgettable WOW Philippines campaign that boosted industry revenues. He even kick-started local tourism by informing Filipinos of the peerless beauty of their own country.

As chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross, he gets going when the going gets tough, most notably during the quake that devastated Cabanatuan, Baguio, La Union and Pangasinan; the eruption that smothered Mount Pinatubo; and typhoons that flooded Ormoc, Cebu, Negros and Central Luzon. It was he who asked the US military to lend their heavy lifting equipment and air transport to rescue and recover victims of the recent mudslide in Leyte.

And should he become the president one day, he’ll ask for tough, highly unpopular sacrifices from you and me.

He cites an example: “I’ve filed a bill here that isn’t popular. Tax text (mobile-phone messages). Tax every phone call one peso. Let me implement it just for five years. If the text messaging is 300 million and it falls to 200 million (after taxes) a day, you still have P70 billion in one year. Imagine what you could do with that, how many schools you could build? You could pump-prime the economy by building schools and creating jobs in the countryside. You could also close the gap in teacher education. After you’ve built the schools and bought the computers, there’s much less to spend on. Five years is all I ask.”

Gordon asserts, “A leader must enable and ennoble his people. He mustn’t make them dependent. Make them dependent and you disable them. They have been disabled enough by the colonial past. Don’t you notice that in my time in Olongapo and Subic, I made people work?”

His plan: “Give them a vision. Draw out their values. Tell them they can help by being a volunteer. And you will have victory.”

Is Gordon exactly what we need? One thing is clear: with such toughness, you can’t keep a man like Gordon down.

The comeback kid

Born August 5, 1945, in Castillejos, Zambales, Gordon has both Filipino and American military heritage. His great-grandfather is Jose Tagle, the first Philippine revolutionary general to defeat Spanish colonial forces on the battlefield. His grandfather is John Jacob Gordon, a soldier who landed along with Admiral George Dewey’s invasion fleet. It’s in his blood not to stand down.

Assassins killed his father, James Gordon, the first mayor of Olongapo City, on February 20, 1967. The injustice led Gordon, then a marketing man for Procter & Gamble, to shift careers. “I was beginning to be embittered. I became a lawyer because I wanted to find out why these people get away with crime and how people were being brought out to jail to kill my father. There were three attempts on his life—all by escaped prisoners. My father was a crusader and a visionary. Very honest. Very hard-working. So was my mother. They inculcated the work ethic in us. When my father was being buried I thought of running for the constitutional convention,” he recalls.

The former dictator President Ferdinand E. Marcos booted him out along with the rest of the delegates of the 1971 Constitutional Convention. A 24-year-old law student then, he was its youngest member. Even then, he had big designs for Subic, proposing a free port patterned after Hong Kong and Singapore as the alternative to the US naval base.

President Corazon Aquino, upon taking office after the fall of Marcos, replaced serving local officials affiliated with the dictatorship with officers in charge, Gordon included. “Cory took out all the mayors, irrespective if you were doing a good job or not,” he recalls.

Deposed President Estrada, soon after his landslide election victory, replaced Gordon with his own appointee despite protests and blockades of SBMA employees. Some contend it was Gordon’s alleged refusal to let Estrada’s entourage campaign inside SBMA before the elections that incurred the President’s ire. Gordon denies such an event took place and instead remembers inadvertently embarrassing the President when he picked a cigarette butt Estrada had thrown to the ground and noted in his speech that they keep Olongapo clean.

Today, President Arroyo’s administration is on a collision course with Gordon after his committee decided to scrap the constituent assembly as a method of rewriting the Constitution. Charter change to effect a parliamentary government, one similar to Marcos’s scheme, is one of the President’s most urgent priorities.

Gordon has made a career out of political resurrections. His secret: “Get the job done. Keep your integrity intact. Enable and ennoble people. That’s been my fighting faith.”

A tough act to follow

Even with love, Gordon has not had it easy. He reminisces about the early days between his wife Katherine Esteban Howell and he. Like Gordon, she was also an Amerasian. But there were also differences that initially set the two apart. “We were neighbors, like Romeo and Juliet. They (our families) weren’t at war; they just felt we weren’t a good fit. Kate at the time wasn’t a Catholic, though she was raised in a Catholic school. Politically, they supported somebody else for governor. And my mom didn’t want me to get married early.” But as with everything, Gordon overcame. He married at 25.

Even with his children, he gets tough. “I’m a disciplinarian. I have no problems with them. You never see my children abuse my position. You’ll never see them riding in an official car, even when I’m in the car.” Except for his youngest son, Brian, who at 28 serves as councilor in Olongapo City, Gordon’s other children—Marnie, 35; Ali, 32; and LJ, 31—are not into politics.

Sen. Richard Gordon now loves spending his free time with his grandchildren. He often takes them along while he goes fishing for talakitok and barracuda at, where else, Subic. “We live simply. Nothing fancy.” Tough love it is, love it is nonetheless.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

35 witnesses poised vs Subic ‘rapists’

The lawyers in the prosecution in the so-called Subic rape case yesterday said it is preparing to present 35 witnesses that would corroborate the allegation of the alleged victim and pin down the American suspects on the charges of having raped a young Filipino woman inside the former US naval base in Olongapo City, Zambales province late last year.

During the preliminary conference at the sala of Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 139 Judge Benjamin Pozon, Evalyn Ursua, lead private prosecutor in the case, said the prosecution is set to present some 35 witnesses who are composed of doctors, forensic experts, police investigators, eye witnesses and “others who may have direct or indirect knowledge of the rape incident.”

Ursua also said the prosecution is prepared to present the alleged rape victim in court, if they felt there was a need for the court to hear her personal testimony of the alleged incident.

The lead prosecutor in the case moreover said her camp also intends to use the testimony of Timoteo Soriano, the driver of the van which the accused US Marines soldiers had hired and where the crime was allegedly committed the night of Nov. 1 last year.

Ursua said she thought it was necessary to present all the available witnesses in the case as her camp was well aware of the legal principle that the burden of proof on an any criminal allegation lies with the prosecution.

“It is just normal for the prosecution to have as much witnesses as possible to prove their (suspects’) guilt beyond reasonable doubt. We know for a fact that the defense’s job is relatively easier than the prosecution,” Ursua said.

But while the prosecution said it is presenting a battery of witnesses in the case, the defense camp said it was not.

Lawyer Jose Justiniano, the legal counsel of Lance Corporal Keith Silkwood, one of the accused in the case, said he and other defense lawyers are planning to present before the court merely the counter-affidavits of the four suspects.

Justiniano said with the prospect of having no one to corroborate the statements of the four US Marines, he was optimistic that they would get no less than an acquittal in the case.

He further said he is not a bit worried over the number of witnesses the prosecution was planning to present in the trial.

“This is not a contest on the number of witnesses you can present in court. This is about the importance of the evidence that you will present (before it),” the defense lawyer said.

Both the prosecution and the defense said they are awaiting Pozon’s issuance of his decision over the motion that was filed before the court seeking clarification as to the highly essential issue of when the case had officially started.

The clarification was being sought so that it would be determined to the parties involved in the case when the one-year deadline for such a local case involving American military personnel to be resolved, as stated under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

Under the VFA, a pact which was forged by the Philippine government with the US government in 1998 when the US still maintained military bases in Subic and Clark in Pampanga province, the case must be tried and resolved within a year.

The prosecution maintained that the one-year period should start from the date the accused were arraigned.

If the court decides that the one-year period had started during the filing of information in the case, the court shall at present have only less than seven months to come out with a resolution over it.

The case stemmed from allegations made by a 22-year-old woman, who hails from Zamboanga in the South, that she was raped aboard a van by six American soldiers during a nightout in Subic Nov. 1 last year.

US Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith is being charged with raping the woman while his companions that night, Silkwood and Lance Corporal Dominic Duplantis and Staff Sergeant Chad Carpentier were accused of being accessories to the crime since they allegedly watched and cheered Smith while he sexually abused the girl.

Two other American servicemen who were earlier included in the charge sheet were let off after they were cleared of any participation in the alleged rape.

The incident has sparked controversy as it revived the issue of the fairness of the VFA, which some local sectors have branded as too favorable toward the US and its military personnel in the country.

The case also initially caused a row between Manila and Washington over the rights to have custody over the American suspects.

The US government had turned down a formal request by the Philippine government and has insisted custody over the four US Marines, whom has been kept in detention at the US Embassy in Manila. Ben Gines Jr. - Daily Tribune

Friday, May 19, 2006

Preliminary conference sa Subic rape case isinagawa sa Makati RTC

Ng Journal Online

ISINAGAWA ngayong hapon sa Makati City Regional Trial Court ang preliminary conference sa Subic rape case.

Sa report ng dzBB, bahagi ng prosesong ito ang paglalagay ng pananda o marka sa lahat ng ebidensya at affidavit na isinumite sa korte.

Maging ang medico legal certificate na magpapatunay na ginahasa ang 22-anyos na Pinay victim ay kasama rin sa mga minarkahan.

Habang isinasagawa ito sa sala ni Judge Benjamin Pozon, ng Makati RTC Branch 139, ay nakasaksi naman ang mga abugado ng prosekusyon at depensa.

Sa darating na Mayo 22 ay magkakaroon daw ng konsultasyon sa kaso, ayon pa sa ulat.

Pagbabalik ng ex-collector sa Subic Customs Port, nilinaw

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – Nilinaw ni Subic Customs Collector Atty. Grace Caringal, ang lumalabas na ulat kaugnay sa kontrobersiya na kasalukuyang bumabalot sa Bureau of Customs (BoC) na dalawa ang collector ng naturang ahensiya.

Ito ang iginiit ni Caringal sa panayam ng PSN matapos sumingaw ang balitang si Atty. Andres Salvacion pa rin ang humahawak sa puwesto sa Subic Customs Port.

Base sa nakalap na impormasyon, si Salvacion, na dating Customs collector ng Port of Subic ay nakatakdang bumalik upang palitan si Caringal matapos ilipat sa Office of the Commissioner may isang buwan na ang nakalipas.

Subalit sinabi ni Caringal na ang pagkakalipat nito bilang kolektor ng ahensiya sa Subic mula sa Manila International Container Port (MICP) ay base sa memorandum order ni Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morales sa isinagawang malawakang balasahan sa noong Marso 2006.

Nag-ugat ang usapin tungkol sa pagbabalik ni Salvacion sa Port of Subic nang kanselahin ang lahat ng transfer order sa bawat ahensiya ni Morales matapos magmatigas ang dalawang Port collector ng Cebu at MICP na lisanin ang kanilang puwesto.

"It is clear that I am the legitimate and official collector of this Port, nothing more and no one else," pahayag ni Caringal.

Nagbalik naman sa normal ang operasyon sa loob at labas ng naturang ahensiya dahil sa natapos ang agam-agam at kalituhan ng mga kawani hinggil sa nasabing usapin na tumagal ng ilang araw. (Jeff Tombado - Ang Pilipino STAR Ngayon )

27 job applicants from Olongapo-Zambales lose P6.5 M


Some 27 prospective overseas workers have lodged a complaint with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) against a recruitment agency which gypped them of some P6.5 million after promising to employ them as factory workers in Sweden, labor officials said yesterday.

The victims, mostly residents of Olongapo City, Zambales, told the POEA that the Cebu Manpower Corp. collected from them "placement fees" ranging from P75,000 to P393,000 but failed to deploy them.

The POEA said the agency was able to pocket P6.5 million from the 27 victims and the amount is projected to rise as a big number of victims are expected to file their complaints against the agency.

The POEA said cases of large scale/syndicated illegal recruitment and estafa have been filed before the Prosecution Office in Makati City against the officials of the Cebu Manpower Corporation located at Unit B, 2/F, 1760 Avenue Center, Dian St., Palanan, Makati City.

Administrator Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said that although the agency was licensed by the POEA to recruit workers abroad, it has no right to recruit applicants for factory workers for Sweden because there were no job orders from that country.

She said the license of an agency may be cancelled if proven that they committed recruitment violations.

The POEA chief said other victims of the recruitment agency may proceed to the POEA Anti-Illegal Recruitment Branch at 4/F Blas Ople Building, Ortigas corner EDSA, Mandaluyong City for proper assistance in filing cases against the recruitment agency.

= = = = = = = =

No job vacancies for Pinoys in Sweden, Iceland: agency

* Announcement made following recruitment of several Filipino jobseekers for non-existent work in two European countries

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said Thursday that there are no jobs as factory workers available in Sweden and Iceland.

POEA administrator Rosalinda Baldoz issued the statement after 27 persons sued Cebu Manpower Corporation for alleged large-scale estafa and illegal recruitment. Named respondents in the case filed before the Makati City Prosecutor's Office were Elizabeth Papag, president of Cebu Manpower and Charo I. Santos, secretary of the agency.

Also charged were Noel Papag, Dennis Acosta, Erwin Tisoya Papag, and a certain Bobot, all employees of the Cebu Manpower.

The victims, Baldoz said, were asked P75,000 as placement fee each for non-existing jobs in Sweden while the other victims paid as much as P393,000 so that the processing of their applications and documents would be done faster.

So far, the agency collected about P6.5 million from the 27 victims, mostly residents of Olongapo City and Zambales, according to Baldoz.

She said while Cebu Manpower is a licensed agency, its license may be cancelled for allegedly recruiting workers for non-existent jobs in Sweden and Iceland.

Baldoz warned the public against transacting business with 11 unlicensed recruitment firms. She identified the companies as A-M Philippines Professional Services Corp., Big Circle International Manpower Agency, Emmeri International Inc., Jang International Promotions and Management Corp., Mecprego International Inc., Maritima de Manila MGM Systems, Inc., Princess Talent Productions Inc., Rising Sun International Human Resources Center, Starlink International Promotions Inc., Studio 85 Promotions and Vitamin and Cebu Artists International Inc. (MSN/Sunnex)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Customs tug-of-war erupts at Subic port

By WILLIAM DEPASUPIL, The Manila Times Reporter

But not, it seems, at the Port of Subic in Zambales, where two customs bureau officials claim to be the district collector, creating confusion among employees and persons transacting business at the port.

Contesting the same post are collectors Andres Salvacion and Grace Caringal, the sister of State Prosecutor Jovencito Zuño.

Caringal holds office at the main Customs building, while Salvacion resides at Building 303 inside the port.

In an interview, acting Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morales said that Caringal is the official Subic port collector since Salvacion has agreed to yield the position.

"Caringal is the collector there. Andy [Salvacion] has already returned to Manila. I talked to him," Morales told The Times.

In a telephone interview, Salvacion belied Morales’s statement, saying, "There is only one collector in Subic and that is me.

"I am in Subic now," Salvacion said, adding that he had no bone to pick with Caringal.

The Times had also learned that Salvacion petitioned an Olongapo Regional Trial Court to stop Caringal from "usurping the power and authority of the collector of the Port of Subic."

Salvacion confirmed the motion but declined to comment further "since it is with the courts."

Records show that Salvacion, a presidential appointee, is deemed the "legal collector" after Finance Secretary Margarito Teves ordered Morales to stop the revamp of customs personnel that includes 24 major posts in 13 collection districts, including Subic.

When asked about the Teves memo, Morales said that Caringal’s takeover of the Subic port was the exception "since Salvacion has agreed to my request to yield his post to Caringal."

Morales issued a directive on March 20, to reshuffle five major positions. changed. The order included the reassignment of Collector Carlos So of the Manila International Container Port and Salvacion of the Port of Subic to the office of the commissioner.

Assignment to the commissioner’s office is like "limbo" for officers without assignments.

Morales issued his second order on March 31 that had 31 officials in 11 collection districts moved around.

Inter-Agency Committee to look into Agusuhin issue


Subic Bay Freeport Zone. The Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) is now heading an inter-agency committee composed of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) represented by Ameth dela Llana and Sonny Pomarada, office of the Subic mayor represented by Dick Otero, Agusuhin Neighborhood Association (ANA) represented by its president Lapacita Nebres, Samahan ng Malaya at Nagkakaisang Residente ng Agusuhin (SAMANRA) represented by its president Reynaldo Samonte, and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) represented by Valente Rigor.

The first meeting of this inter-agency committee was held last May 9, 2006 at the boardroom of SBMA which was presided over by PCUP chairman undersecretary Percival C. Chavez and attended by Zambales vice governor Ramon G. Lacbain II, SBMA chairman Feliciano Salonga, SBMA senior deputy administrator for special operations Atty. Ramon Agregado, SBMA Ecology Center Manager Ameth dela Llana, Sonny Pomarada, Dick Otero representing the mayor of Subic, other staff from PCUP and CHR as well as leaders and members of SAMANRA and ANA.

The meeting was called by PCUP in reaction to the formal complaint of Zambales vice governor Ramon Lacbain II on the series of demolition of houses and other improvements of affected residents in sitio Agusuhin, brgy. Cawag, Subic, Zambales to give way to a Korean shipyard project.

“We have brought to the attention of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo the different issues and concerns of the affected residents and she has given the go signal to proceed with the creation of the inter-agency committee so that the necessary social preparations can be undertaken in accordance with executive order 152 of the president”, according to undersecretary Chavez.

Now on its fourth meeting today 18 May 2006 since the committee was created, it is expected to settle the issues and concerns of affected residents on the just compensation for their houses and other improvements, acceptable relocation site and livelihood opportunities during construction and actual operations of the shipyard by Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Co. Ltd.

Vice governor Lacbain extends his appreciation to the PCUP and the CHR for immediately acting on his complaints in behalf of the residents of sitio Agusuhin regarding the demolition of their houses and other improvements.

“I strongly believe that the residents of sitio Agusuhin must be the first to benefit form the project through just compensation, acceptable relocation and livelihood opportunities. They have never been against the Korean shipyard project so I call on my fellow local officials not to confuse the public. It is the inaction and abuses of my fellow local officials that the people are resisting”, according to vice governor Lacbain.

PCUP chairman Chavez sent a letter to SBMA chairman Salonga dated May 15, 2006 requesting for a temporary suspension of the dismantling of houses of poor families in the interest of just and humane demolition and eviction. He cited section 28 of RA7279 (Urban Development Housing Act of 1992) that provides that execution of eviction or demolition orders shall be done during office hours from Mondays to Fridays and during good weather condition upon the consent of affected families.

There are still more than 100 families who are still staying in sitio Agusuhin who are now leaving in shanties after their houses were demolished without just compensation while another 60 families are now staying in the municipal gymnasium at Subic, Zambales.

With report from: Zambales Vice Gov Ramon Lacbain

SBCC speaks on casino dispute

SUBIC BAY - The Subic Bay Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday broke its silence regarding the dispute between Legenda Hotel Casino and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

In a press statement signed by chamber president John Corcoran, the group said, "It is concerned over the welfare of its member Legenda Casino and its employees."

PAGCOR said that the Legenda Casino failed to pay the government more than P356 million in gaming licenses fees, and allegedly held an illegal cockfight in May 2003, in violation of its gaming license.

The government-owned gaming company revoked the hotel’s license and closed down its casino on May 12.

The statement said the chamber was hopeful that the issue would be dealt with "appropriately, respectfully and fairly in all matters including those involving agents of the government.

"We support a speedy resolution of this matter so that the perception of fair play and impartial treatment and investor confidence is maintained," it added.

The chamber also challenged the court to move the issue forward to sustain the economic viability of the locators, the welfare of Legenda employees and tourism in the free port.

Khoo Boo Boon, Legenda chief executive officer, told The Times that "it is clear that the chamber supports us and our position that the issue should be resolved according to the principles of law, due process, fairness and justice."

In an earlier press statement, Boon said PAGCOR official failed to justify the "illegal revocation" of the hotel’s gaming license and the closure of its casino. Anthony Bayarong ABS CBN NEWS

SBMA rescues 6 Infanta fishermen

By ANTHONY BAYARONG, The Manila Times Central Luzon Bureau

SUBIC, Zambales - Six fishermen where rescued here Monday by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority after they were reported missing on Friday. Their boat capsized when the province reeled from tropical storm "Caloy."

SBMA identified the fishermen as Benjamin Rendon, 49; Julius Meru, 24; Ben Bualido, 43; Isagani Lucero, 46; Richie Marcha, 24; and Edwin Monios, 16, all from Barangay Kados, Infanta, Pangasinan.

According to the authority port operation office, it picked up a distress signal reporting that six fishermen were adrift off the Redondo Peninsula.

SBMA immediately dispatch MV Kalayaan, a newly acquired rescue boat, to save the fishermen.

The fishermen were given medical attention and brought to shore, the office said.

"We were on our way back when the storm hit and capsized our banca. We could not radio for help because all our equipment was damage by the rain," Rendon said.

Rendon disclosed they managed to survive by eating floating water lilies, small crabs and drinking rainwater.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

36th Road Safety confab set in Subic

The 36th National Road Safety Convention will be held at the Subic International Hotel on May 18 to 19 in perhaps one of the biggest gatherings of road safety experts from the academe, and public and private sectors.

The Safety Organiza-tion of the Philippines, Inc. (SOPI) is organizing the two-day convention in cooperation with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the various transport group.

SOPI President Eroz Zuniga said road safety experts would evaluate the gains so far achieved on road safety. He also said the latest trends and technologies on road safety would be discussed and whether it could be adopted in the Philippine setting.

Senator Ramon Revilla, Jr., chairman of the Senate committee on public works, has been invited to deliver the keynote address.

DPWH Undersecretary Salvador A. Pleto, convention chairman, will deliver the welcome remarks on the opening day of the convention, to be followed by Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) administrator and CEO Armand C. Arreza, Olongapo Mayor James Gordon, Jr., and Aladin A. Simundac, president, Laguna Metro Bus Operators Association and division chairman, SOPI Road Safety Division.

Blackwater USA plans westward expansion

The Associated Press

MOYOCK, N.C. -- Military contractor Blackwater USA, which provides security and training for military and law enforcement, plans to expand westward into California and the Philippines, company executives said.

The eight-year-old private company intends to open a compound at an undisclosed site in southern California and start a 25-acre jungle survival skills training center on the site of the former Subic Bay naval base in the Philippines.

Neither project will eclipse Blackwater's 7,000-acre compound in Camden and Currituck counties, officials said.

Blackwater employs 1,300 contractors with a database of 4,700 more and trains 500 military and law enforcement personnel a week, according to Fast Company magazine, which has selected Blackwater as one of its top 50 innovative business leaders.

The company also hopes to build a 6,000-foot airstrip, a 2,550-foot airstrip, a 5,000-square-foot pilot building and a 20,000-square-foot hangar in Camden County to accommodate 22 rotary and fixed-wing aircraft.

Blackwater has federal contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars to provide security and training in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

The company, which mostly hires former military or law enforcement personnel for its security teams, also is interested in creating a brigade-size force. The small army could be contracted for peacekeeping and stability operations in troubled regions of the world, Blackwater Vice Chairman Cofer Black recently said.

CHA CHA Dialogue

Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments, Revision of Codes and Laws, and his counterpart at the House, Rep. Constantino Jaraula of Cagayan de Oro, agreed to discuss provisions of the Constitution that could stand revisions.

Emerging from a meeting of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council in Malacañan, Gordon told reporters that although the Senate has agreed to discuss the provisions, it has not changed its stand on Charter change and its bid to sustain the Senate as an institution.

"We want people to support [Charter change] because they understand it not because it's for the good of the mayors, senators or the President alone. We are ready to talk with the House so negative things can be set aside," Gordon said.

Gordon said whether the Congress will adopt a constituent assembly, constitutional convention or people's initiative as a mode of rewriting the Charter will depend on their dialogue.

Senate President Franklin Drilon said the position of 22 of the 23 senators is that the Senate and House vote separately on any constitutional amendment. Drilon said he will leave the issue of a constituent assembly to Gordon's committee.

Gordon said it was better to dialogue with congressmen on Charter change instead of airing their views in the media.

"For the first time, both the Senate and the House have agreed to talk. Diplomatic relations were established. I respect my counterparts in the House and I think now we can start talking about what we want," Gordon said.

He said it was Rep. Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. who proposed the dialogue, although Angara said it was a joint proposal

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Support for Subic casino’s reopening snowballs

By Bebot Sison Jr. - The Philippine Star

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — Stakeholders of the Subic Freeport have expressed support for Subic Legenda Casino which the state-owned Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corp. (Pagcor) padlocked last Friday.

"Pagcor is scaring away foreign investors," said Legenda Casino chief executive officer Khoo Boo Boon in a press conference which was attended by several Subic investors, particularly those engaged in tourism-related businesses.

Among those that have expressed support for Legenda Casino are the Olongapo City government and the communities around the Freeport, including Aetas who have benefited from several outreach programs of the casino.

Khoo deplored what he described as the "mobster-like" takeover of the casino facilities, saying that Pagcor used "strong arm measures to get rid of uncooperative foreign investors."

Khoo said Pagcor men, together with law enforcers brandishing high-powered firearms, barged into the casino and served the Pagcor board’s order canceling Legenda’s casino license.

"The Pagcor men were very rude and they forcibly entered the casino, and harassed our security staff, casino personnel and hotel guests," Khoo said in a press statement distributed during the conference.

"The manner by which these Pagcor men enforced the closure order was barbaric and without due regard to Philippine laws and the court of justice," he added.

He cited a court decision issued on Dec. 28, 2004 enjoining Pagcor from taking any adverse action that would suspend, limit or modify Subic Legenda Casino’s operations in the Freeport.

Khoo also showed a copy of another court order issued on Nov. 29, 2004 which directed a "stay" in the enforcement of any claims against Subic Legenda "whether for money or otherwise and whether such enforcement is by court action or otherwise."

Pagcor spokesman Dodie King, however, said in a statement that Pagcor revoked the provisional grant of authority issued to Legenda International Resorts Ltd. to operate a casino at Legenda Hotel.

"Pagcor, by virtue of Presidential Decree 1869 (or the Pagcor charter), is the only regulatory body with the authority to issue or revoke grants of authority to operate casinos in the country," King said.

He said the Subic Legenda Casino was closed because it conducted illegal cockfights in its premises and failed to pay the government more than P365 million in gaming license fees.

Aetas demand consultation on projects

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—The Aeta tribe in the Botolan, Zambales side of Mt. Pinatubo warned of war if tourism projects and other developments in the vicinity of the volcano were not consulted with them.

“Developers are going to have a taste of our fury if they will insist on their plans without consulting us,” Carlito Dumulot, chair of the Lubos na Alyansa ng mga Katutubong Ayta ng Sambales (Lakas), told the Inquirer from Barangay Mambog in the uplands of Botolan on Tuesday.

Dumulot was reacting to the road carved by the Korean-owned PDC Development Corp. (PDCDC) and the Capas government toward the crater via Sta. Juliana route in Capas, Tarlac.

Opened to tourists on April 29, the 7-km road skips the regular route along the lahar-choked O’ Donnell River and shortens the trek to the 3-km wide crater-lake to an hour.

The road, he said, gives greater access to mainly South Korean visitors.

The PDCDC also maintains a stable for horses at Sitio Magkupya and a fleet of boats at the crater.

No Aeta tribes, not even those from Sta. Juliana, gave the project a free and prior informed consent certificate, according to Dumulot.

Salong Sunggod, Central Luzon director of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, and Chito Balintay, officer of the NCIP in Zambales, confirmed this in separate interviews.

Dumulot said the Aeta tribes of Botolan are asserting their rights to determine the projects and administer the activities in and around the crater because it belonged to the territory of the town.

He said other Aeta tribes and clans in Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales recognized even before the 1991 eruptions that the summit straddled the Botolan side.

The tribe, Dumulot said, also wanted to protect the volcano from desecration amid the rising numbers of tourists. Tonette Orejas, PDI Central Luzon Desk

Monday, May 15, 2006


The Legend International Resorts Limited (LIRL), a hotel and casino operator in Subic, has deplored the mobster-like take-over of its facility, charging that the Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corporation (Pagcor) had used these strong-arm measures to get rid of “uncooperative” foreign investors in the free port.

“They are again scaring away investors who have seen the potential of the Philippine as tourist haven in Asia, ”Khoo Boo Boon, LIRL chief executive officer, said.

Khoo said Pagcor men, together with some policemen brandishing high- powered firearms, barged into the casino facility and served a supposed order that canceled the casino’s license. The order came from the Pagcor board.

“The Pagcor men were very rude and they forcibly entered the casino, and harassed our security staff, casino personnel and other hotel guests, “Khoo said.

“The manner with which these Pagcor men enforced the closure order was barbaric and without due regard to Philippine laws and its court of justice,”Khoo added.

Khoo said the order revoking LIRL casino license had no legal basis and was highly irregular. He said the order violated two court orders issued by the Olongapo Regional Trial Court.

One decision, issued December 28, 2004, enjoyed Pagcor from taking any adverse action that will suspend, limit or modify LIRL’s license to operate a casino in the Subic free port. In effect, Pagcor cannot cancel LIRL’s license without violating this order.

The second decision, issued November 9,2004, ordered a stay in the enforcement of any claims against LIRL,’’whether for money or otherwise and whether such enforcement is by court action or otherwise.’’

It should be noted that Pagcor used threat and intimidation to amend the Original contract and force LIRL to cough out an additional P5 million a month on top of the 15% of sales in the agreement. Obviously, the Pagcor board order to revoke LIRL license and close its casino is illegal. Pagcor completely ignored these two court orders which were immediately executory, Khoo said.

Since LIRL hasn’t done anything wrong, much less breach any agreement or contract with Pagcor, we can only surmise that the state gaming agency wants us out of Subic to make way for another casino operator, Khoo said.

Subic insiders disclosed that some Pagcor officials have been discretely moving to get a second casino operator in the free port. This is already violative of the Pagcor agreement with LIRL which enjoys exclusive rights to operate the casino in Subic.

Khoo said LIRL lawyers are now preparing criminal charges against the erring Pagcor officials.


Pribadong lupain, ginawang minahan

NAHAHARAP sa kasong land grabbing ang gobernador ng Zambales makaraang ireklamo ng tunay na may-ari ng isang lupaing illegal na pinasok ng mga tauhan ng nasabing opisyal sa pangunguna ng kapatid nitong lalaki.

Sa reklamong ipinarating sa GRABE SA BALITA, nabatid na walang pakundangang pinasok ng mga tauhan ni Zambales Governor Vic Magsaysay and lupang pag-aari ng mag-asawang Cesario at Dolores Ancheta sa barangay Lawis, Sta Cruz, nasabing lalawigan na may kabuuang sukat na 324, 000 hectares at ginawang minahan.

Ayon sa naging pahayag ng anak ng mag-asawang Ancheta na si Paz Ancheta Gatchalian, sinabi nito na labis ang kanyang pagdaramdam kay Governor Vic Magsaysay nang hindi man lamang humingi ng permiso ang itinuturing na ama ng lalawigan sa kanya nang pasukin ng mga tauhan nito sa pangunguna ng kapatid ng nasabing provincial official ang kanyang lupain at tanuran ng mga pribadong security guards.

Wala rin umanong permiso mula sa kanya ang ginagawang pagmimina ng mga tauhan ni Magsaysay gayong masasabing kaibigan naman ng kanyang pamilya ang pamilya ng gobernador.

Layon lamang umano ng nasabing ginang ng respectuhin ng gobernador ang kanyang legal na karapatan at huwag daanin sa puwersahan and pagkubkob sa kanyang lupa na minana pa nito sa kanyang nasirang mga magulang.

Clearing operations in Subic peaceful

Editor's Note: Published on page A16 of the May 15, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer
THIS REFERS TO THE NEWS REPORT headlined “Violence mars demolition at Subic Shipyard Project” by Allan Macatuno of the PDI Central Luzon Desk. (PDI, 5/1/06)

Contrary to reports of violence, residents of Sitio Agusuhin, the future site of the Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction (HHIC) shipbuilding facility, accepted the check payments for their relocation, and the clearing of the area was hassle-free. Top SBMA (Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority) officials even took turns in visiting the place to ensure that the clearing operations would proceed smoothly. Also, the residents have expressed satisfaction over the additional 100 checks that have been released as part of the second wave of payments.

Two residents of Sitio Agusuhin—Armida Salceda, 65, and Mary Joy Fernandez, 8—were sick during the relocation. They were immediately brought by medics to the SBMA dispensary. Reports about people having been hurt during the clearing operations are baseless rumors meant to sow trouble and disrupt the Hanjin groundbreaking ceremonies.

Of the 370 families affected by the project, a total of 297 families have received compensation. They are now going through the relocation phase. The affected families have been offered the choice of two possible relocation sites: the Bataan Techno Park or Subic town. Both sites are within three kilometers of Agusuhin and are strategically close enough to the Hanjin site should they be employed there.

Government representatives have been working closely with the residents to ensure a smooth transfer to their new homes. In fact, their relocation was rescheduled for this summer for the sake of the schoolchildren. A new schoolhouse is now being built at the relocation site and should be finished in time for the opening of schools this coming June. Other public facilities, including a church, will also be built. For these, Hanjin has handed a donation of P2.7 million to officials of the SBMA and the town of Subic.

According to Pat Nebres, president of the Agusuhin Neighborhood Association, most of the families are pleased with the way the relocation is being conducted by Hanjin and government authorities. She said if there are problems, these are minor ones, and they will properly be resolved in due time.

The construction of the Hanjin facility has already started on a 230-hectare lot inside the Subic port. The establishment of this facility alone would create at least 30,000 direct and indirect job opportunities. It is a pity that there is little appreciation of the concerted efforts of the government and the private sector to improve the economy and living conditions of the people, and opportunists would rather put obstacles to progress.

—ARMIE C. LLAMAS, MPA, manager, Public/Media Relations Office,
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, Subic Bay Freeport Zone

"I witnessed the actual clearing operation in Sitio Agusuhin and it was not peaceful at all. It was attended by soldiers who stirred fear among the residents who told me that aside from the two people whom I reported to have been hurt, there were others who were injured during the forced demolition. They also told me they never intended to disrupt the construction of the shipyard. They were fighting for just compensation and a proper relocation site. "

—ALLAN MACATUNO, correspondent, PDI Central Luzon Desk
= = = =
Naroon po ako mismo nang maganap ang demolisyon, nakita ko kung paanong sinakal at kinaladkad ng mga SWAT palabas ng bahay ang mga residente. Si Ginang Salcedo ay nasa loob pa ng bahay ng gibain ito ng mga goons ni Magsaysay kaya po siya inatake sa puso at naging dahilan ng trauma sa kanyang apong si Mary Joy. Alam po ito ni Vice Gov Lacbain na naroroon nang maganap ang demolisyon.
Reynaldo Samonte
President, SAMANRA Samahan ng Malaya at Nagkakaisang Residente ng Agusuhin

US$408 MLN Subic-Clark-Tarlac Tollway To Be Completed By 2007

DINALUPIHAN, Bataan, Construction of the Philippines' 90 kilometre Subic-Clark-Tarlac tollway budgeted for about P21 billion (US$408.4 million) is more than 15 per cent completed and will be finished on 2007 as scheduled, the Bases Conversion Development Authority said Saturday.

Engr. Mel Doroteo, BCDA consultant for Phase I of the project, said the whole length of the project measuring about 50 kilometres from Pampanga to Bataan, Subic and Clark in Angeles is almost clear with little pockets remaining unpassable.

The project that started construction on July 2005 was divided into two phases.

Phase I, funded for P11 billion, is targetted for completion by November 2007.

On the other hand, Phase II has a total length of 40 kilometres that stretches from Clark to Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac.

This phase which costs P10 billion and was targeted for completion on August 2007.

Doroteo said the project construction has minor problems which had been addressed immediately by BCDA and its contractors.

The BCDA consultant was in Dinalupihan and conducted on the spot dialogue with farmers and residents affected by the four-lane road crossing hundreds of hectares of ricelands in the flood-prone Bataan town.

He was accompanied by Dinalupihan Mayor Joel Payumo and former Chairman Felicito Payumo of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

The Payumos helped explained to the farmers the economic benefits the expressway will be bringing in the area.

They urged the landowners and farmers to air their concerns so proper measures can be instituted by BCDA and the Japanese contractor in the area, the Obayashi Construction under Project Engr. Raymond Tanglao.

Mayor Payumo said the multi-billion peso highway passes through 16 out of 34 barangays (community villages) in Dinalupihan connected to Floridablanca in Pampanga.

The Dinalupihan portion of the road has a length of 17 kilometres.

Tenant farmers and landowners in the affected area expressed worries that the expressway will cause more floodings and destroy their crops.

Former SBMA chair Payumo convinced BCDA consultant Doroteo and construction Engr. Tanglao to heed the request of farmers who, he said, know best the movement of flood waters in their ricefields. The elder Payumo acted as go-between with the farmers and the BCDA.

Some concrete pipe culverts were changed into box culverts that will serve as passage of farm equipments in and out of the farm and the installation of three box culverts in addition to those specified in the plans were agreed upon by the farmers and the BCDA and Tanglao.

The BCDA consultant said the road from Luakan to Pita in Dinalupihan alone will have 40 water openings in addition to a 25 metre viaduct and four bridges.

"We have designed the project based on the worst floods that happened in the area for the last 50 years," Doroteo said.

The Obayashi engineer made the assurance that water openings will be in place before La Nina strikes.

Tanglao said they are even willing to cut or excavate on strategic points of the road should floods occur and threaten the crops.


Music and environmental awareness top ‘Earth Day Jam’

BOARDWALK, SUBIC BAY – Dimitri Productions, the group behind the annual Earth Day festivities, has combined once more live music and environmental issues to the forefront to reach a wider and younger market. Knowing that people may find it plain and boring to see crusaders preach about what causing nature to deteriorate, Dimitri’s "Earth Day Jam 2006" made the whole affair audio-visually entertaining.

Several environmental video clips were inserted in the opening and almost in between band sets for both "Earth Day Jam" activities held on April 21 in Cubao and on April 29 in Subic Bay. There were alterations in the artist line up and guests from the government sector who basically spoke about the simple ways of caring for mother nature. Radioactive Sago Project, Akafellas, Lou Bonnevie, Pinikpikan, Paolo Santos, Session Road, 6Cyclemind, and Brownman Revival comprised the April 29 set.

Radioactive Sago Poject made a stirring opening, that one man from the audience couldn’t help himself that he scaled the high stage and danced! Vocalist Lourd de Veyra just named the guy "Mang George" and ignored him most of the time. A younger guy also went on stage at the latter part and Lourd called him "Anak ni Mang George." The crowd, maybe thinking it was all part of the show, just had a good time with the strange showmen. Lourd announced that his band is set to release its new album in two months.

Right after Radioactive, hosts Shannen Torres and Lou Bonnevie called a local DENR representative who talked about proper waste segregation. The young crowd looked interested and was absorbing all the details. Basically, the Subic Bay area and Olongapo are already aware of the importance of cleanliness and preserving nature. They are disciplined as opposed to the urban city dwellers.

The all-voice, no-instrument group Akafellas followed as the second set. Video snippets were again flashed on giant white screens, this time it’s the celebrities who were giving words of wisdom and greeting people "happy earth day." The global celebration actually falls on April 22, with 168 countries participating, according to Lou, who is also part of Dimitri.

Other coinciding activities in the Subic Bay event were the skateboard exhibition and the body painting contest prior to the concert. Three Ms. Philippines Earth young ladies gamely jammed on stage with Lou and co-host Karel Marquez of MYX in the middle of the show. They were also shown in one footage assisting in some environmental chores with the local folks.

More residents and visitors flocked the free concert at the Boardwalk close to midnight at the height of the set of Pinikpikan, soloist Paolo Santos, Session Road, and 6Cyclemind.

Brownman Revival, the closing act, left the troopers wide awake even it was then almost 2 a.m. All helplessly swayed in the sand to the reggae beat, which was perfect for the shore setting. Lou jammed with the boys at the finalè song, Bob Marley’s "Jammin,’" with some members of Pinikpikan and Session Road doing the percussions.

The two "Earth Day Jam 2006" events were made possible in cooperation with local government units, Quezon City and Subic Bay, and the Department of Tourism. The Subic concert was sponsored by SBMA administrator Armand Arreza in association with Earthday Network.

By JHI D. GOPEZ, Manila Bulletin

Sunday, May 14, 2006


Senator Richard Gordon yesterday urged his colleagues in Congress for the immediate passage of Senate Bill 1710 also known as the “Food Donation Act” to address the increasing hunger rate in the country and help out the sixteen million less fortunate Filipinos who cannot provide for their basic food requirements.

“This type of donation is nothing new. Countries like the United States, Britain, and Canada carry out similar programs to help out the poor and forgotten people of their society. We are faced by an almost similar problem, why not do the same?” Gordon said.

The National Statistics Coordination Board (NSCB) estimates that more than sixteen million Filipinos are below the food or subsistence threshold in the year 2000.

“These are the people whose incomes fail to provide them with basic food requirements. The figure are very alarming and we cannot deny the country’s food shortage dilemma, however, what we should do is not to fix the blame but to fix the problem,” Gordon emphasized.

Gordon added that large amounts of excess food are wasted everyday by fast food chains, restaurants, hotels, grocery stores and even parties like wedding, birthdays and fiestas. These food surpluses meet all quality and labeling standards as imposed by current laws and regulations but are already non-marketable due to quality purposes.

“On the one hand, we have a problem with hunger caused by poverty, and on the other hand, a problem with food wastage. These can be tackled simultaneously via a food donation scheme. It starts with surplus food being donated, collected, and then distributed to our needy citizens,” Gordon stressed.

He also disclosed that there will be no legal liability on the donor or volunteer’s part except if gross negligence and/or intentional misconduct are made during food donation and its related activities.

Gordon, added that collection and distribution can be done by charity or volunteer groups like the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC).
Gordon, who is also Chairman of the PNRC further explained that collected food can also be distributed and stored in various frequently typhoon stricken provinces and become ready for dissemination during disasters. He added that relief operations during calamities have been a long time problem of the country but “we still have not addressed it accordingly.”

“It is expected that the people will counter by saying that food donation will only cause the beneficiaries to be dependent on their donors and will no longer strive to work. The opposite is quite true. A food donation drive will create new linkages between the beneficiaries and the donors may create job opportunities to the latter, they will be able to acquire new skills as well as a sustainable source of income which they can use to maintain their nutrition and other basic day-to-day needs,” said Gordon.

For the donor, food donation is a form of Corporate Social Responsibility that may positively contribute to their reputation and image. Studies show that CSR is one of the factors that consumers consider when purchasing products or services.

“Helping the needy children now may mean securing a customer base support in the future for the donor companies or groups,” he noted.

Legenda Casino in Subic closed

SUBIC BAY FREE PORT - The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. on Friday closed down Legenda Casino, a pioneering entertainment and gambling institution here, for failing to pay its outstanding debt of P365,730,165, accumulated from March 2001 to April 2006.

According to Carlos Bautista, senior managing head for corporate and legal affairs of Pagcor, the agency had given Legenda Casino enough time to settle its debt in vain.

"We sent the casino so many demand letters and notices to pay its obligation to Pagcor, but it insisted that it had no obligation to us, so we had no choice but to close it down," Bautista told The Manila Times.

Khoo Boo Boon, chief executive officer of Legenda Casino, however, disputed Bautista’s claim.

Boon explained that Legenda Casino has no money obligation to Pagcor.In fact, he said, Pagcor owes Legenda Casino P200,000 in nominal damages and P100,000 in attorney’s fee in a decision dated December 28, 2004, by Judge Eliodoro Obiadas of Branch 72 of the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court.

Boon added that Legenda will file appropriate charges against all Pagcor officials and employees who barged into the casino to enforce the corporation’s closure order.

"We are a reputable company that is transparent to everybody.We are promoting tourism in Subic," Boon said.

He also questioned the orders. It should be a proper court that should serve a closure order not Pagcor, he said.

But Bautista claims that aside from not paying its outstanding obligation, Legenda Casino also allegedly held illegal cockfights on May 8 to 10, 2003. This, Bautista said, violates Presidential Decree 449, the Cockfighting Law of 1974.

"That alone can be a basis or their closure," Bautista told The Times.

Bautista and Pagcor legal personnel, escorted by Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority police officers, served the closure order to the Legenda chief executive officer at around 1:30 p.m. Friday but Boon refused to accept the order.

Pagcor officials then pasted the closure notice in front of the main entrance of the Casino but Boon allegedly tore it done.

It was around 8:30 p.m. when Pagcor official and SBMA police succeeded in closing the main door of the casino.

Bautista insists that the closure order by Pagcor officials is valid and can be implemented.

He further explained that the Provisional Authority granted to Legenda Casino in 2001 is now revoked.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Car smuggling rampant in Subic

CUSTOMS Commissioner Napoleon “Boy” Morales has been urged to do a major revamp at the Port of Subic particularly in the intelligence enforcement over the alleged protection racket on car smugglers at the said economic zone.

People’s Tonight gathered that a certain “Ric Tubig” -- a well known car importer at Port of Subic in Olongapo City -- has been shortchanging the government of needed taxes and duties in connivance with some Customs personnel particularly those at the Customs Intelligence Unit.

Due to poor intelligence gathering a volume of motor vehicle importations have been spirited out from the said economic zone without paying correct taxes and duties such as through undervaluation, misclassification and misdeclaration.

The group’s modus operandi is to fix all the importation documents of several locators who were engaged in motor importation by filing the entry manually, meaning, that the documents will no longer be encoded in the computer system of the said port to avoid being detected or by different Customs assessment and law enforcement unit.

People’s Tonight gathered that Tubig and his gang intentionally will not accredited their importation permits to avoid their being filed in the computer system by means of the so-called “first and last” importations.

According to the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP), any individual has an authority to import from the country origin even without the accreditation to import provided that their supposed shipments would be their first and last importation.

Through this scheme, hundreds of right-hand-drive sports utility vehicles (SUVs), luxury cars and other motor vehicles are being released depriving the government of collecting correct taxes and duties.

Alex T. Silva
People's Tonight

Friday, May 12, 2006

2 men injured in ship blast

LIMAY, Bataan—Two persons were seriously injured following an explosion that resulted in a fire in an inter-island oil tanker off Barangay Lamao here yesterday morning, the Coast Guard reported.

Supt. Ernesto Flores, Limay town police chief, identified the victims as welder Jimmy Rebosa, 43, of Zambales, and pipe fitter Pedrito Parayday, 46, of Navotas City, who both suffered third-degree burns and were confined at the Isaac and Catalina Medical Center in Balanga City.

Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Coyme, Coast Guard spokesperson, said the incident happened around 8:05 a.m. while the two victims were conducting repairs on m/t Daniela Natividad when the explosion occured that triggered the fire.

“Initial findings showed that the explosion started from the empty tank no. 5 of the said tanker. The victims are both welders,” Coyme said, adding that the ship was owned by Shogun Shipping Inc. and had just arrived from Dapitan City.

The oil tanker, with gross tonnage of 2800.14 and 22 crewmembers, had just delivered diesel fuel from the Bataan refinery of Petron. The workers were about to weld the railings of the empty compartment near the ship engine when it expoloded.

Initial findings showed that the concentration of fuel residues triggered the explosion when the worker ignited the welding rod.

Coast Guard rescue team from Lamao Detachment immediately proceeded to the area after receiving information on the matter while crewmen of motor tugboats “Capela” and “Balintawak” helped the rescue team in putting out the fire.

Coyme said the rescue team put out the fire after three hours. He added the motor tanker suffered minimal damage and no other property in the area was destroyed.
By Butch Gunio and Joel E. Zurbano

Gov’t to slash customs and other fees in Subic

By Elaine Ruzul S. Ramos, Manila Standard Today

THE Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority is looking at the possibility of slashing its customs, immigration and quarantine fees to encourage more carries to fly to the Freeport.

SBMA administrator Armand Arreza told reporters the Freeport imposes $700 for customs, immigration and quarantine fees for each airline, compared to $300 that the Clark special economic zone charged.

He said the SBMA earlier cut its aeronautical fess by 80 percent on weekdays and 60 percent on weekdays to lure more cargo and passenger airlines to land at Subic.

Aeronautical fees cover the cost of landing and takeoff, parking, lighting and other operational charges such as use of navigation al equipment, radar and the likes.

Arreza said several low cost carriers were looking at flying in and out of the Freeport.

“Two budget airlines from Hong Kong and Macau are planning to add Subic to their destinations. Two chartered flights from China as well as one flight from Gulf Air to service the Middle East market is also on the pipeline.

SBMA acquires 2 gantry cranes

TWO gantry cranes will be delivered to the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority(SBMA) by the third quarter of the year, in an effort to boost the handling capacity of the port.

SBMA chairman Feliciano Salonga recently returned from Japan where he finalized the acquisition of the two goose-neck type quay gantry cranes, each with a capacity of 40.6-tons rated load.

The cranes will be installed in container terminals 1 and 2. Two more will arrive by mid-2007, in time for the completion of the Subic- Clark- Tarlac Toll Road.

‘’With the installation of the four new quay gantry cranes, the annual port capacity of the of the container terminals will leap to 600,000 TEUs from the present 100,000 TEUs,”Salonga said.

SBMA obtained the cranes through a joint-venture arrangement with Penta-Ocean Construction Co., a consortium of TOA Corp and Shimitzu Corp of Japan, under a loan package funded by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

The cranes are part of the $215-million Subic Bay Port Development Project that includes sub-projects such as the construction of modern container terminals, and two berths measuring 280 meters long and 13 meters deep.

In addition to container ports, the port modernization project includes construction of a grains terminal. Subic strategically located for this purpose as it near the agricultural base of the Philippines..

Teenager drowns in Ocean View

OLONGAPO CITY --- A 13 year- old boy drowned while swimming at Ocean View Beach Resort in Barangay Kalaklan this city last Tuesday.

Rescuers retrieved the body of Gerald Montenegro, of 356 Marulas-A Caloocan City, at the seashore.

Kerwin Cergo said he saw the victim shouting for help but he ignored him thinking he was only joking.

Reports said that Montenegro was the third victim of drowning at the beach resort at this year.
By: Johnny Reblando, People's Journal

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Lawyer wants gag order vs Gonzalez on Subic rape case

THE PRIVATE prosecutor in the Subic rape case will ask the Makati City Regional Trial Court Judge Benjamin Pozon to bar Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez from issuing public statements on the politically sensitive case.

Lawyer Evalyn Ursua, alleging that Gonzalez’s one sided" pronouncements could prejudice the case, said was preparing a motion to inhibit against the Department of Justice chief.

She said that Gonzalez’s statements give the public the impression that the government is favoring the four US Marines accused of raping a Filipina in November last year.

In a move that drew public criticism, Gonzalez downgraded in April the charges against Lance Corporals Keith Silkwood and Dominic Duplantis and Staff Sergeant Chad Carpentier from being perpetrators to accessories, saying: "There is no evidence of conspiracy."

But Pozon rejected this, and made the three Marines as principal accused together Lance Corporal Daniel Smith.

Meanwhile, Ursua’s colleague, lawyer Rene Saguisag said that the government prosecutors should explain why they failed to attend the trial.

"They are making a mockery of the proceedings," Saguisag said.

By Tetch Torres - Manila Times


Iba, Zambales. The annual budget for 2006 of Zambales vice governor Ramon G. Lacbain II was down to zero for the remaining 8 months of the year after governor Vicente Magsaysay and the members of the Provincial Board approved a series of appropriation ordinances transferring funds from the vice governor’s office to the governor’s office.

The provincial board and governor Magsaysay in an executive session at the governor’s office last May 8, 2006 after the regular session was already adjourned on that day and while vice governor Lacbain was absent adopted resolution number 2006-117 enacting ordinance number 2006-40 authorizing the transfer funds in the budget of the vice governor’s office in the amount of P855,364.75 to the governor’s office.

This amount is the remaining budget in the vice governor’s office after governor Maysaysay and the provincial also adopted resolution number 2006-41 enacting ordinance number 2006-10 authorizing the transfer of P1,067,500.00 from the vice governor’s office to the governor’s office last February 13, 2006 and another resolution number 2006-59 enacting ordinance number 2006-14 authorizing the transfer of P750,000.00 from the vice governor’s office to the governor’s office last March 13, 2006.

The annual budget for 2006 of vice governor Lacbain before the series of transfers is P3,505,000.00 which is only 1.7% of the annual budget of governor Magsaysay which is P201,032,365.00 for maintenance and other operating expenses including non-office expenses. But with the transfer of funds from the provincial board office and the vice governor’s office the budget of governor Magsaysay was even increased by P10,791.864.75.

The total budget of the provincial government of Zambales for 2006 is P459,301,327.36. The governor’s office has the biggest budget among all offices while the vice governor’s office now has the smallest with zero budget.

It will be recalled that in September of 2004 governor Magsaysay froze all the vouchers of the vice governor’s office which left the office with forced savings of P1,300,000.00 by the end of 2004. Governor Magsaysay also asked an authority from the provincial board to transfer less than P2,000,000.00 fund of the provincial board to his office.

The conflict between governor Magsaysay and vice governor Lacbain started when vice governor Lacbain sponsored a resolution duly adopted by the provincial board urging President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to appoint a qualified Zambaleno as replacement for then outgoing SBMA Chairman Felicito Payumo.

Governor Magsaysay became terribly mad at vice governor Lacbain upon knowing this resolution for fear that his political opponents former Zambales governor Amor Deloso, former governor-candidate Philip Camara or former congressman-candidate Edwin Mendaros might get the appointment.

Another resolution was also sponsored by vice governor Lacbain that was adopted by the majority of the provincial board suspending the implementation of the reorganization of the provincial government pending the submission of a detailed management study by the governor Magsaysay.

Vice governor Lacbain strongly opposed the termination of 200 regular employees of the provincial government without any assurance of payment of their termination as required by the Civil Service Commission.

As a consequence of these incidents, governor Magsaysay started to harass vice governor Lacbain by recalling the official service vehicle of the vice governor, by terminating all casual employees in the vice governor’s office, by freezing all the vouchers for reimbursements and expenses of the vice governor and by threatening to kill the vice governor which was reported in September 21, 2004 to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police.

The annual budget for 2005 of the provincial government of Zambales was again used by governor Magsaysay to harass vice governor Lacbain by not allocating any single centavo in the vice governor’s office. This is the first time that vice governor Lacbain was given a zero budget.

Instead of the vice governor preparing and submitting the budget for the provincial board and the vice governor’s office, governor Magsaysay issued executive order number 8 on September 17, 2004 granting authority to the board secretary to prepare and submit the budget of the provincial board only which left the ice governor with zero budget and bypassing his authority as vice governor and regular presiding officer of the provincial board.

All the members of the provincial board who are getting P20,000.00 each from the indigency fund of the governor and another P30,000.00 from the committee hearing fund of the governor are supporting governor Magsaysay for all his actions against vice governor Lacbain.

The members of the provincial board even agreed to the transfer of P8,000,000.00 funds from the budget of the provincial board office to the governor’s office. All the vouchers and checks of provincial board members are now being signed by governor Magsaysay instead of the vice governor as regular presiding officer.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Japanese contractor of P21-B tollway is ‘persona non grata’

By Ernie B. Esconde, Correspondent Manila Times Central Luzon Bureau

BALANGA City, Bataan: The Bataan Provincial Board has declared the Japanese project manager of a construction firm involved in the P21-billion Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway project persona non grata because he allegedly refused to comply with requirements imposed by the provincial government.

In a resolution the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Bataan declared project manager Kazuchico Chabayashi of Obayashi Corp. persona non grata in Bataan for “committing acts inimical to the interests of the province.”

Gov. Enrique Garcia and most of the members of the Sanggunian urged the Bases Conversion Development Authority to make necessary corrective measures to resolve the problem. The BCDA is the lead government agency in charge of the continuing construction of the 90-kilometer tollway targeted for completion in November 2007.

The resolution signed by 10 of the 13 members, the Bataan Sanggunian charged the Japanese project manager with “open defiance of legitimate, lawful and reasonable requests of the provincial government of Bataan.”

The provincial board also said that “William Tan Construction, an alleged dummy of Obayashi, reportedly refused to honor its obligations to local subcontractors in the payment of rental of equipment, salaries and wages and refund of cash bonds without valid explanations.”

The provincial government, through its treasurer Emerlinda Talento, has requested Chabayashi to submit reports on the volume and source of filling materials taken from Bataan rivers and used in the Bataan side of the SCTEP.

Talento has also required Obayashi to ask its subcontractors to obtain certifications of payment of sand and gravel taxes before payment of their contracts. Instead of complying with the request, Chabayashi allegedly directed Talento to course her letter to the BCDA.

Talento said the provincial government stands to collect millions of pesos in taxes from the project but only a minimal amount has been collected so far. A certain subcontractor has complained that he has collectibles from the William Tan Construction in the amount of P4.3 million.

Chabayashi has denied all the charges leveled against him and claimed that the provincial government was being fed with misleading information. He said in a letter to BCDA president, retired general Narciso Abaya, that his company was cooperating with the provincial government of Bataan to resolve the issue at the soonest time.

The tollway passes through 16 barangays in Dinalupihan and other villages in Hermosa, towns in Bataan. Filling materials for the tollway in the Bataan side came from the rivers of the two townsBoy Scouts from James L. Gordon Council John Patrick, Michael and Kenny walk past the on-going Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway Project in Bataan during their four kilometer trail-hike last Sunday.


This is a joint private blog of volunteers from Subic Bay. It is being maintained primarily to collate articles that may be of importance to decision making related to the future of Subic Bay and as a source of reference material to construct the history of Subic Bay.

The articles herein posted remains the sole property of original authors and publications which has full credits to the articles.

Disclaimer: Readers should conduct their own research and due diligence before using any article herein posted for whatever intended purpose it may be. This private web log will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by a reader's reliance on information obtained from volunteers of this private blog.

www.subicbay.ph, http://olongapo-subic.com, http://sangunian.com, http://olongapo-ph.com, http://oictv.com, http://brgy-ph.com, http://subicbay-news.com, http://batanggapo.com 16 January 2012