Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Olongapo-Subic Job Opportunities


‘Paeng’ weakens, exits RP

NDCC: 14 dead but damage minimal

By Norman Bordadora, Inquirer Southern Luzon, Inquirer Northern Luzon -- Inquirer
AFTER PACKING WINDS of nearly 200 kilometers per hour, Supertyphoon “Paeng” (international code name: Cimaron) considerably weakened yesterday as it crossed two mountain ranges in northern Luzon. But it left at least 14 people dead and a trail of destruction.

Before roaring out to the South China Sea, Paeng blew away houses, uprooted trees, toppled electric posts and caused landslides and flooding.

Disaster officials marvelled at initial reports pointing out the “minimal” damage caused by Paeng compared to the destruction wrought last month by Typhoon “Milenyo” that left 231 dead or missing and tens of thousands homeless.

“The casualty and damage report is minimal,” Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz Jr. reported to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is in China, in a teleconference from the headquarters of the National Disaster Coordinating Council in Camp Aguinaldo yesterday.

Nathaniel Cruz, weather branch chief of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said Paeng was quite strong.

“When it crossed the Sierra Madre, it weakened but only just a little bit. When it ran into the Cordillera, that’s when it weakened considerably,” he said.

The supertyphoon slammed into northern Luzon as a maximum category 5 storm --technically the same strength as Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans in 2005.

Cruz said Paeng made landfall over Aurora province at 9 p.m. on Sunday with sustained winds of 195 kph. It weakened to 175 kph by 4 a.m. yesterday.

When it exited Luzon through La Union province at 11 a.m. yesterday, its wind velocity had further weakened to 120 kph and its gusts to 150 kph, according to the weather bureau.

In the upland town of Kasibu in Nueva Vizcaya province, residents woke up Monday to the sight of families in Barangay Poblacion desperately scouring the swollen Magat River for lost livestock, house parts and appliances.

Many of the families, however, were just thankful that they got out of their houses in time before the fast-moving waters of the river eroded the banks and their houses.

Residents traveling to and from the town had to walk through several meters of mud after a portion of the mountain road in Barangay Antutot was cut off due to strong water flow.

In Bagabag town, it was déjà vu for two families who were trapped on river islets along the swollen Magat River, barely a year after they were rescued from the same area.

But there was no available boat for the two families on Monday morning. The only rubber boat in the province was dispatched to Barangay Lamo in Dupax del Norte town, where residents waded through chest-deep floodwaters.

Swept away

Four people in Barangay Macalong in Kasibu were swept away by the current while they were asleep.

Of the 14 people reported killed as the typhoon slammed the northern and central areas of Luzon, nine were from Nueva Vizcaya and Isabela.

Five people were killed in Dinapigue town in Isabela province while 15 others were injured as the water level in the Magat Dam in Ramon town rose to 191.50 meters, way beyond its normal level of 174 meters.

In Angadanan town, also in Isabela, Ryan Calaoagan, 17, drowned when his boat capsized in the Magat River on Sunday. His body was found in nearby Cauayan City.

In Benguet province, Judy Ann Andiso, 4, and her mother Julie were sleeping when their house on a mountain slope in Buguias town collapsed. Julie was rushed to the Lepanto Mines Hospital in Mankayan town for treatment.

Buried in landslide

Agpawan Alyong, 53, was buried in a landslide in Lubuagan town in Kalinga province.

A 28-year-old mother and her 6-year-old daughter drowned on Sunday night after strong waves whipped by Paeng’s winds washed away their hut on the coast of Dilasag town in northern Aurora. They were identified as Jocelyn and Iza Viares of Barangay Dimaseset in Dilasag.


Aurora took the brunt of the typhoon. Floods rose waist-deep as of 4 a.m. yesterday in the towns of Dilasag, Casiguran and Dinalungan.

A province-wide blackout began at 11 p.m. on Sunday. Electricity had not been restored as of 3 p.m. yesterday.

More than 300 families in Casiguran and 65 others from Dinalungan evacuated to the town centers to escape rising floodwaters. They began returning to their villages before lunch time.

Ramon Aquino, public works regional director, said Paeng’s winds blew the roofs off seven school buildings, a health center and barangay hall in Pangitahan, also in Dilasag.

The Baler-Casiguran and Baler-Bongabon roads in Aurora were not passable due to landslides, Aquino said. The only access route to Aurora was the Pantabangan-Canili Road via Nueva Ecija province.


In Cagayan province, continuous rains since Sunday swelled the Cagayan River and its tributaries. Gov. Edgar Lara advised residents of Enrile, Alcala, Amulung and Iguig towns to take precautions as the Cagayan River continued to rise.

Tuguegarao City Mayor Randolph Ting readied schools to accommodate displaced residents from villages living along the Cagayan and Pinacanauan rivers.

The Capatan bridge and the Tawi bridge were under water, isolating most eastern villages of Tuguegarao and Peñablanca town.

Agriculture officials said the floods added to the misery of farmers whose crops were destroyed by previous typhoons.

On Malacañang’s instructions to ban travel to provinces under Storm Signal Nos. 3 and 4, police stopped motorists in Tarlac and in San Jose City in Nueva Ecija on their way to the Ilocos and Cagayan Valley regions. Many of them either turned back or waited for the typhoon to pass.


Quirino may have to live without electricity for at least two more days due to the damage caused by the typhoon to power lines in the province, said Nelson Macato, general manager of Quirino Electric Cooperative Inc.

Residents of Maddela and Nagtipunan towns were isolated from the rest of the province after a five-meter portion of the national highway was destroyed by the raging waters of the Tungcab River in Barangay Villa Sur in Maddela, according to Board Member Eleazar Balderas.

Balderas said the strong winds destroyed hundreds of hectares of banana plants.


In Baguio City, three people were hurt when their shanty on Ambuklao Road in Barangay Tiptop collapsed because of the continuous rains. They were Mylene Medina, 29, and her daughters Angelica, 9, and Danica, 5.

Presidential Chief of Staff Michael Defensor, who met with members of the Cordillera Regional Disaster Coordinating Council, said the major concern for the region was the loss of power since Sunday in Kalinga and Ifugao and parts of Apayao, Abra, Benguet and Mountain Province.

Kalinga was hardest hit when about 50 houses were damaged by the rains. More than 200 families evacuated to two elementary schools there.

Landslides closed to traffic the Cabugao Bridge and Claveria-Calanasan roads in Apayao, Balbalan-Pinukpuk Road in Kalinga, and the Mt. Province-Cagayan Road in Ifugao.

In La Trinidad town, the vegetable trading post went into full gear as 19 trucks hauled vegetables for Metro Manila, said Augusta Balanoy, Benguet Traders and Truckers Association executive secretary.

“Rain or no rain, the truckers must bring vegetables to Metro Manila to meet the huge demand as All Saints’ Day is fast approaching,” she said.

Ilocos Norte

Paeng’s strong winds spared Laoag City, Ilocos Norte’s capital, as no damage or casualties were reported in the province.

The City Disaster Coordinating Council kept vigil at City Hall beginning Sunday night to provide relief and assistance to typhoon victims.

Roads connecting Ilocos Norte and Cagayan Valley to Ilocos Sur were all passable.

In Pangasinan province, disaster officials said Dagupan City and the Sta. Barbara-Urdaneta City Highway were flooded. Business was slow as residents opted to stay home.

Officials said 394 people were evacuated from the island Barangay of Mindoro in Bangar, La Union. Three families in San Fernando City were also moved to safer ground.


In Bulacan province, the water elevation in Angat Dam rose due to the rains brought by Paeng. As of Monday morning, the water level was 193.16 meters, up from 192 meters on Friday.

Rodolfo Santos, head of the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council, said continuous rains in the last two days might further raise the dam’s water level.

In Olongapo City, winds damaged some electric posts, cutting power to Barangays Gordon Heights, Kalaklan and Old Cabalan.

Three Asian Spirit flights bound for northern Luzon were cancelled early Monday.

Manila International Airport Authority officials said Asian Spirit’s morning flights to Basco in Batanes, Baguio and San Fernando in La Union were grounded. With reports from Cristina Arzadon, Estanislao Caldez, Delmar Cariño, Frank Cimatu, Yolanda Sotelo-Fuertes, Melvin Gascon and Villamor Visaya Jr., Inquirer Northern Luzon; Russell Arador, Allan Macatuno, Carmela Reyes and Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon, and Dona Pazzibugan and Riza T. Olchondra in Manila

Troops in Philippines brace for Super Typhoon Cimaron

Stars and Stripes -- Pacific edition

PHILIPPINES — Marines, sailors and equipment from Okinawa and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan — in the Philippines for military maneuvers — took shelter Sunday evening in advance of Super Typhoon Cimaron, which was to batter central Luzon island early Monday morning about 100 miles north of Clark Air Base.

Cimaron blasted roofs off homes as it made landfall late Sunday in the northern Philippines, with officials saying it may be one of the most powerful storms to ever hit the country. With winds gusting up to 143 mph, Cimaron roared across an impoverished mountainous area home to some 1.7 million people.

“This is probably one of the strongest typhoons ever to hit the country,” Health Secretary Francisco Duqueso said at a news conference aired on Manila radio stations.

The 22nd storm of the northwest Pacific’s tropical cyclone season slammed into Luzon’s central-east coast just before midnight Sunday, packing sustained 161-mph winds and 196-mph gusts — equal to a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

Some 5,700 Marines and sailors were on Luzon participating in Talon Vision and Amphibious Landing Exercise FY ’07, due to wrap up Tuesday, exercise spokesman Capt. Burrell Parmer said.

They were training at Clark, Subic Bay and other facilities around southern Luzon — along with three Navy ships, the USS Essex, Juneau and Harper’s Ferry; and aircraft including KC-130 tankers, F/A-18 Hornet fighter-attack craft and AV-8B Harriers.

“All Marines and sailors have been transported from field environments and placed into buildings,” said Maj. Dan Yaroslaski, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade operations officer.

CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters were hangared and KC-130s and F/A-18s were returned to their home stations in Japan, while elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard the Essex, Harper’s Ferry and Juneau “have pushed out to sea to safer waters in preparation,” Yaroslaski said.

At midnight Sunday, Cimaron churned 167 miles northeast of Manila, rumbling west-northwest at 11½ mph. It weakened slightly as it interacted with land and made its closest point of approach, 150 miles north of Manila and 100 north of Clark and Subic.

“We expect around 35-knot (40-mph) winds” at Fort Ramon Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija province and Clark Air Base in Pampanga province in southern Luzon, Yaroslaski said.

Cimaron, a Tagalog word for Filipino wild ox, is forecast to churn back over open water, the South China Sea, and regain strength before gradually diminishing as it tracks toward Vietnam.

The Associated Press

Monday, October 30, 2006

UPS eyes Clark for intra-Asia warehousing hub

By Riza T. Olchondra - Inquirer

CLARK, PAMPANGA -- United Parcel Service (UPS), a $42.6-billion package delivery and supply chain solutions provider, is considering putting up a warehousing hub in the Philippines to serve the growing demand for supply chain solutions in Asia-Pacific.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, UPS serves more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.

UPS country manager for supply chain solutions Mark B. Khambatta said in an interview that management was very much interested in expanding in the Philippines. He declined to reveal how much investment was being considered, but said “a substantial amount” would be needed to put up a warehousing hub at the Clark Special Economic Zone.

Khambatta said the warehousing hub would complement the company’s existing sorting and distribution center in Clark.

The 5,900-square-meter facility is currently focused on coordinating package deliveries to and from Asia-Pacific, accommodating up to 11 cargo planes during peak hours from 12 midnight to 4 a.m. daily.

On a weekly basis, Philippines deliveries account for only 10 percent of the hub’s massive sorting and distribution tasks from 120 cargo flights.
UPS’ move is in stark contrast with that of Federal Express (FedEx), another global delivery and logistics company, which is closing its regional transshipment hub at the Subic Freeport Zone in December 2008.

Khambatta said UPS believed the Philippines’ strategic location, the highly developed language skills of the people and government support would make further investments bring positive results for both the country and the company.

Its location, alone, makes the Philippines very attractive as it enables UPS to deliver a package to any Asian country from anywhere in the world within 24 hours of receipt in Clark.

Feed That Tiger!

Feeding time at the Zoobic Safari isn't for the squeamish. Rather than keeping it out of sight and out of mind, visitors to this Filipino wildlife attraction are allowed in close--very close--to watch.

For most of the animals it's no big deal. The lush 25-ha park in Subic Bay, a few hours northwest of Manila, houses dozens of Asian, African and North American animal species in its various walk-through and drive-through enclosures.

There are ostriches, albino buffalo, potbelly pigs and wild boars, deer, guinea fowl and miniature horses, as well as a serpentarium, rodent house and honeybee farm.

Interesting if you've never seen them before, but not particularly exciting.

The main attraction, what gets people there in the first place, is the animals that can't be fed at the petting zoo--a dozen full-grown Bengalese and Siberian tigers.

Visitors ride through their habitat in a specially designed safari jeep encased in a steel-mesh cage, which means you're safe even when the tigers get right up alongside.

But once you've seen one up close, witnessed their sheer size and obvious strength, the cage doesn't feel like much protection.

This isn't a zoo after all--you're inside with the animals all around you.

As the jeep drives the 15-minute circuit around the enclosure, tigers prowl through grass-covered hills, laze in the shade or sit neck-deep in a pool. By nature tigers are fairly sedate, sleeping most of the day and moving at their leisure.

Except when they're hungry and food is about. And this is where the Zoobic Safari makes its mark.

For the equivalent of about US$4, visitors can buy a live chicken to be served to the beasts. A guide dangles the chicken, tied by its feet, through a small gate in the jeep's cage. The result is predictable enough, although the experience of how it happens can vary pretty dramatically.

Sometimes the guide can entice a tiger to climb right up onto the side of the jeep, close enough for you to smell its breath and stare into its eyes.

At other times the tiger, used to this little teasing ritual, goes for the quick strike. While anticipated, it still happens fast enough to be surprising. A flash of orange and black fur and the chicken is gone. Hopefully it's a clean take, but often it's messy. That part is definitely not for the squeamish.

Certainly more pleasant is the chance, if there have been any recent births at the onsite breeding facility, for a close encounter with a tiger cub.

Under the watchful supervision of a handler, visitors are allowed to cradle and bottle-feed some of the new arrivals.

Even at a few months old, these cubs have a wiry strength, sharp teeth and claws. Playful yet demanding, they are not afraid to use both if they want your attention. Holding onto the friskier cubs and the bottle at the same time can be a bit of a challenge.

Playing with a tiger cub is pretty much at the top of the list in terms of memorable holiday experiences. There aren't too many places in the world that will let you do this, and fewer that charge only a pittance for the privilege.

Visitors can also have their picture taken with one of the tigers as it stretches out across a bench to be petted or bottle-fed.

Admission costs $6 on weekdays and $8 on weekends, and the ride through the tiger enclosure is an additional $1.

Subic Bay offers many other adventure and wildlife attractions, as well as duty-free shopping opportunities. (By Chris Vedelago, The Nation/ANN)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

P3.27-B buwis naiambag ng Subic Bay Freeport

Ang Pilipino STAR Ngayon

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – Nananatili ang Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBFZ) bilang isa sa revenue-earning economic zone ng bansa matapos makapag-ambag sa National Treasury ng P3.27 bilyon sa unang siyam na buwan ng 2006 kumpara sa P2.65 bilyon noong 2005.

Ayon kay Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator/CEO Armand C. Arreza, ang Subic Freeport Zone ay nakapamahagi ng revenue share sa pondo ng gobyerno sa pamamagitan ng Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) at Bureau of Customs (BoC).

Ayon kay Revenue District Officer Edgar Tolentino, nakakolekta ang ahensya ng P836-milyon mula sa 5% ng corporate tax sa mga rehistradong enterprises, withholding taxes mula sa 60,000 manggagawa at mga tax receipts.

Idinagdag pa ni Tolentino na ang unang siyam na buwan ng kanilang revenue collections ay tumaas ng 20% kumpara sa P692-milyon noong 2005.

Aabot naman sa P54-milyon ang naipalabas ng Department of Budget and Management (DBM) sa ilang munisipalidad sa palibot ng Subic Freeport at Clark Special Economic Zone bilang bahagi ng kanilang pagbibigay ng 5% gross income taxes na ibinayad ng mga imbestor sa loob ng dalawang economic zone.

Sa ulat naman na isinumite ni Customs Deputy Collector Atty. Priscilla Cordova kay Port of Subic Collector Atty. Andy Salvacion, nakakolekta naman ang kanilang ahensya ng P2.43-bilyon sa unang siyam na buwan ng 2006 mula sa payments of tariffs and duties kumpara sa P1.96-bilyon koleksyon noong 2005.

Samantala, inatasan naman ni ESS-CPD District Commander Capt. Ramon Policarpio, ang kanyang mga tauhan na higpitan ang pagbabantay sa paligid ng Customs building partikular ang pag-iimplementa sa "No ID, No Entry pass" bunga na rin ng kautusan ni Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morale. (Jeff Tombado)

200 crocs newest Subic attraction

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—The release of 200 crocodiles here on Oct. 24 signaled the launching of the latest offering of one of the country’s premiere Safari spots.

Zoobic Safari has adopted the saltwater crocodiles from Palawan as part of its tourist attraction and wildlife conservation program in its two-hectare facility inside this freeport.

“This project is a joint effort between the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority to help save and preserve these crocodiles which are now considered to be endangered species,” Robert Yupangco, Zoobic Safari president, said during the first public viewing of the crocodiles.

SBMA Chair Feliciano Salonga said Zoobic Safari’s latest attractions are expected to boost tourist arrivals here.

“This is a very good program for kids and adults alike who come here to enjoy and be entertained, yet at the end of the day, they leave with the notion that they have also learned something new,” Salonga said. Allan Macatuno, Inquirer Central Luzon

Philippine Women's National Day of Protest


Twenty-two years ago today, thousands of women in the Philippines took to the streets to protest against the dictator Marcos, his anti-people policies and record of human rights violations. This year, women in the Philippines will once again take to the streets to protest against another anti-women, anti-people dictator—de facto president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. And for the 17th year, GABRIELA Network USA (GABNet USA) join hands with the women of the Philippines. We do so with the knowledge that much of Philippine women’s dire conditions are rooted in the ruthless meddling of the United States.

The US introduced large scale systematic prostitution to the archipelago, creating red light districts in and around its military bases that entertained 10,000 soldiers daily during the height of the Vietnam War. With the arrival of close to 12,000 US troops in early 2002, when the Philippines was declared the Second Front in the US-led “war on terror,” sex trafficking of Filipino women and children increased to 600%. The US remains the largest importer of mail-order brides from the Philippines. The US is the biggest supporter of Macapagal Arroyo, giving her administration the fourth largest US foreign military aid package in the world, at over US$400 million. Around 5,500 US troops are in the islands.

This state of militarization has had detrimental effects especially on the women. Almost a year ago, 22-year old “Nicole” was allegedly raped and tossed aside by six US Marines outside of a club in Subic Bay, Olongapo City (former US naval base site). The verdict of the case, which will be decided next month, looks grim. According to Nicole’s defense team, the best they can hope for is one conviction and, at worst, all marines will be freed. Nicole’s case is further example of the way women in the Philippines have been and are being treated by US-backed Macapagal Arroyo: easily disposable cheap commodities. Last year alone, over 700,000 women were exported to other countries to work as overseas contract and migrant workers. Everyday, an average of 10 body bags arrive in the Philippines carrying the remains of Filipinas.

With such cheapening of human lives, it is not surprising that Macapagal Arroyo’s record of human rights violations matches, or even surpasses, that of former dictator Marcos. Since she came to power in 2001 there have been 4,300 cases of human rights violations, affecting 235,000 individuals. Over 100,000 of those affected were children under the age of 16; 761 activists have been assassinated, 80 of whom were women, most were members or affiliates of GABRIELA national women’s alliance and Gabriela Women’s Party; 46 journalists have been killed.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who cheated to get her presidency, is now looking to change the Philippine constitution. If this “charter change” passes it will not only give way for Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to maintain her seat of power until 2010, it will do away with the existence of Partylists. These Partylists are mostly affiliated with popular people’s organizations, representing marginalized sectors of Philippine society. Their removal from the political process will eradicate the only semblance of democracy in the Philippine government. Macapagal Arroyo’s arrogance in attempting these political machinations is indeed shored up by the support of the US, much in the same way that Marcos’ regime was supported.

On this year’s commemoration of the Philippine Women’s National Day of Protest, we in GABRIELA Network call on the people of the US to acknowledge our collective historical connection with the women in the Philippines, to demand accountability from our elected officials who claim to serve our interest, to stand in solidarity with those who have been wronged by our own government. This is not a call for charity. It is a call to action with the recognition that true democracy, our individual freedoms and rights, can only exist when all are equal, with no single nation bullying others into submission. ###

What you can do: 1) join and volunteer for GABRIELA Network; 2) find out more about GABNet and our campaigns. Visit http://www.gabnet.org or call 1.212.592.3507; 3) help us spread the word. Distribute this statement to your contacts. Bring it to the attention of both mainstream and alternative media; 4) Join Philippine Women’s National Day of Protest. In major US cities, GABNet will present visual protests: 60 foot long banners over the freeways of San Francisco; marches of women in black in Chicago; a women’s political puppet theater in New York; and 20 foot projections of human rights violations on the buildings of Hollywood . by Dorotea Mendoza - campaigns@gabnet.org

Subic tax collection up 23 percent

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — A total revenue collection of P3.3 billion have been turned over by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) to the national treasury from January to September this year.

The combined cash collection of the two collection agencies in the Subic Bay Freeport — the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BoC) — increased by 23 percent compared to last year’s R2.7 billion.

"This year has been a bountiful one for the Subic Bay Freeport. In just nine months, we have already generated duties and tax revenues worth P3.3 billion for the national treasury," SBMA Chairman Feliciano G. Salonga said.

According to the revenue collection report submitted by Internal Revenue District Officer Edgar B. Tolentino to the SBMA’s top executives, the BIR posted a total of P837 million during the nine-month collection period.

Tolentino, in his report, stated that the overall increase in its revenue collection was pegged at 21 percent compared to P692 million from January to September last year.

Currently, registered enterprises in the Freeport during the same period totaled to 719 as of September 2006. Tolentino projected a higher increase rate when new projects start to operate.

Meanwhile, the BOC reported an increase of cash collection from January to September, which was pegged at 24 percent to P2.4 billion from last year’s P2 billion.

Priscilla Cordova, Deputy Collector for Assessment of the BOC, added that the revenue derived from payments of tariffs and duties in cash and non-cash collection transactions of the Port of Subic amounted to P4.6 billion
By JONAS REYES - Manila Bulletin

Trusting the poor pays in lending

REFLECTIONS -- By Fr. Shay Cullen

The Nobel Peace Prize, the most prestigious of awards, has been given this year to the banker who trusted the poor. Muhammad Yunus, a man of vision, was a professor of rural economics at the Chittagong University, Bangladesh.

In 1976 this son of a rich goldsmith was motivated to help the poor by his mother’s kindness and compassion for impoverished people. He created an ingenious and simple way to change the lives of millions of destitute people around the world.

It is today a banking system for the poor based on the trust and belief that most poor women can be trusted to repay small loans. An estimated 98.5 percent of them do and loans are given without any collateral or any security whatsoever. This concept is anathema to traditional bankers everywhere but it has paid off in Yunus’ Grameen bank that has spread throughout the world helping millions who would otherwise never be eligible for a loan because they had no property to use as collateral to secure a loan.

Yunus trusted the impoverished women to make good business with the small loans and repay within the specified time.

The idea was revolutionary and microcredit has become one of the most effective and empowering financial systems to help the poor overcome crushing and devastating poverty. The bank succeeds because the loaning and repayment system is operated as much as a social development project as it is a capitalist enterprise. There are 6.61 million borrowers and 97 percent of them are women. Yunus believed that women are more reliable and could be trusted to work together in small groups to help each other to succeed in their projects and not to default on a loan.

At the village level, the social workers and staff of the bank organize the villagers or urban dwellers into groups of five and each has to help the other to succeed. Only two of the five get the loans first. When they are successful the other three get theirs. So the other three have a great interest to see that the first two would succeed. The two in turn have a strong motivation to return the favor by helping the three succeed, too. Then they could all get new loans to expand their small enterprises. If one fails to repay, the other members of her group will not get their loan approved or renewed. This power of the peer group to ensure repayment is a guarantee of no default. All help each other. Five of these groups are joined to form a bigger support group and they help each other, too.

Years ago at the Preda Human Development center in the Philippines, I turned to the Grameen bank system to help the villagers around Subic Bay and throughout Zambales. The Grameen in the Philippines was largely founded and operated by an Irish Columban confrere of mine, Father Sean Con­naughton. He came to Zam­bales and established a well managed and disciplined Grameen micro-finance loan project that has helped thousands escape poverty. I saw first hand how this system works.

The remote villages had no stores and families had to cross the bay in their flimsy boats or traverse the mountain to get salt, cooking oil, garlic and other basic needs to repair their fishing boats or get other necessary items. Mostly, they had to borrow from loan sharks at usurious rates that crippled them and drove them into even greater poverty and despair.

When Father Connaughton brought in the Grameen loan system most of the women set up a small business that served the community. One woman became the supplier of salt and oil, another brought a sewing machine and made clothes for the village and another became the maker of brooms. Another set up a fishing supply business. All of these were based in their own homes.

Preda’s social workers gave them seminars on family values and children’s rights. When a mobile phone signal was detected in the area, a woman got a small loan to buy a cell phone and set up a village phone business connecting her neighbors to the world.

No one dared to default; they would earn the ire and complaints of their neighbors. It brought peace, prosperity and cooperation to the villages. The women achieved a higher status in the community and were treated with greater respect. It shows that capitalism based on compassion and justice, devoid of greed and exploitation can work to reduce and even eliminate poverty. All this because of one man, Muhammad Yunus who trusted the poor, a trust that is being repaid a million times every day

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Bilang paghahanda sa inaantabayanang City Fiesta Celebration ng lungsod sa ika-30 ng Disyembre 2006 ay sama-samang sinangayunan ng konseho ang dalawang (2) resolusyon sa City Fiesta Celebration.

Una ang Resolution No. 177 (Series of 2006) na may titulong “A Resolution Authorizing the 2006 Olongapo City Executive Fiesta Committee to use the East Tapinac Oval Track as part of their Fund Raising Activity.”

Pangalawa ang Resolution No. 179 (Series of 2006) na may titulong “A Resolution Authorizing the City Mayor to Enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the 2006 City Fiesta Executive Committee for the Carnival Operation in the East Tapinac Oval Track as part of the Fund Raising Campaign.”

Sa bisa ng dalawang (2) resolusyon ay binibigyang karapatan ang 2006 City Fiesta Executive Committee na magamit ang ETOT sa ibat-ibang aktibidad na may kaugnayan sa nalalapit na City Fiesta celebration kasama na ang mga palaro at mga fund raising projects.

Tinaguriang Pasiklab sa ‘Gapo 2006 na bubuksan sa ika-3 ng Nobyembre 2006 ay kapapalooban ng iba’t-ibang rides, fanfare activities at night bazaar na siguradong magbibigay ng isanglibong saya para sa mga residente ng lungsod.

Ang 2006 City Fiesta ay nasa ilalim ng pamumuno ni First Lady Anne Marie Gordon at Kgd. Cynthia Cajudo bilang co-chairman. Ngayon pa lamang ay abala ng naghahanda para sa mga naka-linya nang malalaki, makukulay at gradyosong palabas para sa mamamayan ng Olongapo.


Nagtipon ang mahigit tatlongdaang (300) kabataan ng lungsod nitong ika-26 at 27 ng Oktubre 2006 sa Olongapo City Convention Center, Function Room.

Ang forum na pinangunahan ng People’s Recovery Empowerment and Development Assistance Foundation (PREDA) na may temang Youth Forum on the Social Teachings of the Church ay tumalakay sa partisipasyon ng mga kabataan sa promosyon ng karapatang pantao o Human Rights at ang pagtuturo ng simbahan kaugnay rito.

Higit na mabunga ang ginanap na pulong ng dumating si City Mayor James ‘’Bong’’ Gordon, Jr. na nagbigay mensaheng, ‘’Dapat ninyong pahalagahan ang values na itinuturo ng inyong magulang, paaralan at simbahan’’

‘’Nakikita ko ang inyong concern sa ating lungsod sana ang adhikain na ito ay hindi mawawala sa inyo dahil ang kabataang-Olongapeño ay angat saan mang larangan,’’ dagdag pa ni Mayor Bong Gordon.

Sa dalawang (2) araw na forum ay tatalakayin rin ang ibat-ibang aspeto ng karapatang-pantao at ang inaantabayanang Lakad-kabataan Tungo sa Karapatan na lalahukan ng mga kabataan sa pangunguna ni PREDA Co-founder at Program Director Alex Corpus Hermoso. Sa pamamagitan ng isang token ay nagpa-abot ng pasasalamat ang foundation na pinamumunuan ni PREDA Executive Director Father Shay Cullen

Friday, October 27, 2006

Overspending execs of Zambales power co-op sacked

CASTILLEJOS, ZAMBALES—The National Electrification Administration on Friday removed the seven-member board of directors of the Zambales Electric Cooperative II (Zameco II) for lavish spending.

Paulino Lopez, the newly appointed project supervisor who will oversee the operations of the cooperative, said Zameco II’s general manager and its rank and file employees were not covered by the reorganization.

“Only the members of the board, including its president, were removed from office,” Lopez said.

In a resolution in December 2004, the NEA ordered Jose Dominguez, Zameco II president, removed from office for lavish spending.

NEA audit reports in 1998 and 2003 found that Dominguez’s mobile phone bills averaged more than P74,000 a month from 1998 to 2002, despite having a company-issued cellular phone whose billings were charged to the cooperative.

The audit reports also showed Dominguez spent more than P500,000 for plane tickets in his various trips.

Dummy firm

The NEA also found that Dominguez awarded a P20-million systems loss reduction project to his dummy company.

Also ordered removed from office were members of the cooperative’s board of directors who received P3.6 million in benefits, allowances and bonuses, which the NEA found to be illegal.

The NEA, however, failed to implement its resolution two years ago after the Zameco II board filed two petitions with the Court of Appeals—one for review and another for certiorari and prohibition.

But the CA, on Oct. 4 this year, denied both petitions for lack of merit, paving the way for the removal of Dominguez and the board members.

The CA also upheld the appointment of Lopez as project supervisor.

Dominguez said the CA decision was not yet final and executory. He said he has 15 days from receipt of the order to file a motion for reconsideration.

In his motion filed on Oct. 18, Dominguez said the NEA has no jurisdiction over the case.

He said the NEA’s “umbilical cord” to the cooperatives “has already been severed by law.” He also said he was denied due process.

Fidel Correa, Zameco II general manager, assured their consumers that there would be no disruption in the delivery of services as a result of the takeover.

Other perks

In its June 25, 1998 audit report, NEA said the Zameco II directors illegally collected 13th month pay, anniversary bonus, midyear and yearend bonuses, medical and clothing allowance, prompt payment discount bonus and separation payments from January 1989 to September 1997. The amount totaled P3.6 million.

The July 24, 2003 audit report, on the other hand, showed that Zameco II had receivables amounting to P23.5 million from the Central Luzon Power Transmission Development Corp. (CLPTDC) and Zambales Power Corp. which, the report said, were dummy corporations of Dominguez.
By Ansbert Joaquin -- Inquirer

Retirement villages next tourism hot spot

Retired general Edgar Aglipay may be relatively new in his post as chairman of the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) but the former chief of the Philippine National Police now knows the critical role of his agency in the tourism business. Retirement villages are the next tourism hotspot and a major potential source of steady dollar inflows.

Many foreigners, among them Japanese, Americans and Europeans and balikbayans are dying to spend the rest of their life in the Philippines, scouting for investment opportunities that could well serve as their retirement home. At an exchange rate of P50:$1, these retirees with a monthly pension of $2,000 or more could live a luxurious life here. They could spend the same amount in Japan or the US but they would not live a life of comfort because of the higher cost of living in their native land.

A Dutch friend of mine, Adrie, an employee of Philips Semiconductors who often troubleshoots for his company’s factory in Cabuyao, Laguna province, has come to love the Philippines and decided to invest in Timberland Heights, a 677-hectare agroforest farm estate and residential resort community project of Filinvest Land Inc. in San Mateo, Rizal. Adrie is still in his early 30s but he saw the wisdom of investing in an upscale Philippine retirement village.

“I will forever be an ordinary citizen in The Netherlands and cannot enjoy the comforts and luxuries offered by a modern residential community with a complete country club despite my salary. But here in the Philippines, I can live the life of a king,” says Adrie.

Aglipay’s challenge

Offering retirement villages to foreigners is not an easy task. Like tourists, retirees look for amenities that they have grown accustomed to in developed countries. Retirees are concerned about healthcare, security and sub-standard public utilities [in the Philippines]. The Philippines, for one, still lacks medical equipment to address the health concerns of these potential residents, who will likely be in the late 50s or early 60s.

Aglipay, in a rare press briefing with trade reporters, disclosed that executives of US-based hotel operators Hyatt Group and Hilton Group would visit the Philippines by yearend or early next year to look for possible investment opportunities in the retirement sector. “They will look at our facilities and the properties that we are offering [as possible locations]. Their intention is to put up retirement villages in the country,” he said.

Hyatt and Hilton, which are among the biggest hotel chain operators in the world, have ventured into retirement homes. “Old buildings in the US are being taken over by Hilton and Hyatt to be converted to retirement villages. They have expanded from just catering to tourists, who only stay for a limited time, [unlike} retirees [who] stay for the remainder of their lives,” says Aglipay.

The PRA has identified Baguio City, Clark, Subic, Tagaytay, Cebu and Davao as key locations for retirement communities. Basic healthcare facilities within these communities, however, will be the decisive factor in luring this new breed of tourists.

Private sector response

The private sector, ultimately, will be at the forefront of this new tourism hotspot. The Ayala group and Filinvest Land Inc. of property tycoon Andrew Gotianun have set up marketing offices in the US to convince balikbayans and Americans to make their home here when they retire from their jobs.

Gina Aguilar, senior sales manager of Timberland Heights and her boss, Jake Colmenares, have received many inquiries about retirement communities from foreigners and balikbayans alike. The two busy marketing executives have offered Timberland Heights, which they promote as an eco-sanctuary and mountain retreat nestled amid San Mateo’s rolling hills and forested valleys.

Over 13,000 foreign retirees, meanwhile, are officially registered with the PRA. Around 500 retirees come over here each year, a far cry from the 10,000 that go to Thailand. The Philippines, thus, has every reason to promote retirement villages before these tourists are lured away to Vietnam or Cambodia. -- Manila Standard Today

Economic, security gains from RP-China ties assured

The Philippines can reap economic and security benefits from maintaining friendly relations with China, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo assured Thursday.

"There are many advantages if this continues," she said, noting People's Republic of China President Hu Jintao earlier described Sino-Philippine relations as entering its golden age.

She cited gains in trade, tourism, infrastructure and security protection which the world's former 'Sleeping Giant' can offer as one of Asia's major powerhouses today.

"China is a big market of about 1.3 billion people and also a source of accessible loans," she noted.

Among upcoming Philippine-based Chinese investments Mrs. Arroyo cited are USD1 million for a nickel mining project in Nonoc, Surigao del Norte province and USD300 for a glass factory in Subic, Zambales province.

"The Chinese also buy more from us than we from them so many jobs are created from this trade and such can help us address poverty," she continued.

She said China accounts for about half of total Philippine electronics exports to Southeast Asia and is also the country's top buyer of locally produced bananas and pineapple.

Due to its expanding economy, President Arroyo likewise said more and more Chinese are traveling abroad.

She said this development signals additional revenue-generating opportunities for government since the Philippines can capture this emerging market of Chinese tourists.

China is also funding the Metro Manila-Malolos City leg of government's Northrail rail transportation project aimed at boosting economy in northern Luzon by helping facilitate movement of people and goods.

The Chief Executive noted, however, China will likewise help government build the Southrail project which will link Metro Manila to Laguna province in southern Luzon.

Aside from such economic gains, she also said China can help maintain world peace.

"If China continues being a good big brother and good neighbor to countries in our region, peace is possible," she said.

President Arroyo is scheduled to embark Friday on a five-day official trip to Nanning, China where she will attend the commemorative summit celebrating 15 years of economic, political and cultural collaboration and partnership between that country and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

This event is particularly significant for the Philippines as the country is chairing this year's ASEAN summit to be held in Cebu province.

Aside from attending the summit, Malacanang announced the Chief Executive and her delegation will visit Xiamen, Jin Jiang, Nanchang, Guilin to meet with Filipinos and prominent Chinese businessmen there. (PNA)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Zambales comes up with new mango variety

Iba, Zambales -- A new mango variety is now being propagated in Zambales.

Already known for its very sweet mangoes, the province has come up with the Sweet Elena strain, a bigger and sweeter variety, to add to the existing carabao, piko and Indian mangoes it produces.

The Sweet Elena Farm Corporation in Sabang, Sta Cruz, maintains a nursery for Elena seedlings which will be sold later to mango growers. Farm Corporation Manager Nida Malabed said that her company will advocate for the planting of this variety in the whole province as its contribution to the mango development program of Zambales.

Meanwhile, Zambales produced 13,298 metric tons of carabao mangoes last year. This harvest came from 270,099 trees planted in 7,153 hectares in the different towns.

Biggest producer was Iba which harvested 4,454 metric tons of mangoes in the 2,309 hectares it planted with the carabao variety. This was followed by Palauig with 3,486 metric tons and Sta Cruz with 1,213 metric tons.

Provincial Agriculturist Reny Mendoza added that the provincial nursery has already produced 25,000 grafted seedlings of the carabao strain till June of this year. Zambales has also provided the other provinces in the region with these seedlings. (PIA Zambales) by Rebecca Grace S. David

Zambales protects fish sanctuaries

Iba, Zambales -- There are seven fish sanctuaries in Zambales which are closely monitored by the Provincial Fishery Office because they teem with corals and a variety of fish species. Fishing is also prohibited in these sanctuaries.

The sanctuaries have a total area of 887 hectares. They can be found in San Isidro, Cabangan; Binuclutan, Botolan; the Calanga Reef in San Agustin, Iba; the Locban Macalog Reef in Garret, Palauig; San Salvador, Masinloc; Hermana Menor in Sta Cruz and Sinabacan- Mamalinga Reef in Candelaria.

Provincial Fishery Officer Reynaldo Reoligio also said that the provincial fish hatchery now produces the X-CEL tilapia variety intended for dispersal. The hatchery is now seeded with 87,000 fingerlings. To date, 73 small backyard raisers have received their supply of fingerlings.

There are 22 hectares in Palauig, San Marcelino, San Narciso, Castillejos and Subic which contain tilapia fishponds. Some 36 tilapia growers from Cabangan were also given training in tilapia raising. (PIA)

Freeport collections up 23% to P3.27b in first 3 quarters

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—This premier Freeport zone has remained one of the country’s top revenue-earning economic zones in the country as collections in the first nine months of the year rose to P3.27 billion, up 23 percent from P2.65 billion year-on-year.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority chairman Feliciano Salonga said the Freeport zone had consistently delivered its revenue share to the national treasury through the collection efforts of the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Revenue district officer Ed Tolentino reported collections of P836 million from the 5 percent corporate tax on registered Freeport enterprises, withholding taxes of 60,000 workers and other tax receipts.

Nine-month revenue collections were 20 percent higher than the tax take of P692 million on year.

Tolentino also reported that the Department of Budget and Management had released P54 million to several municipalities surrounding Subic Freeport and Clark Special Economic Zone as part of its share to the 5 percent gross income taxes remitted by investors inside the two economic zones last year.

Bureau of Customs collector Andy Salvacion reported cash collections of P2.43 billion in the nine-month period from payments of tariffs and duties.

Salvacion said the figure was about 24 percent more than P1.96-billion revenues registered during the period last year.

Port of Subic deputy collector Priscilla Cordova, meanwhile, reported that the agency posted a 70 percent increase in combined actual cash and non-cash collections to P4.64 billion against the target of P2.73-billion goal. By Cecille Garcia - Manila Standard Today


Isang pagkikilala ang iginawad ng Bureau of Fire sa pamamagitan ni Bureau of Fire Chief Director Rogelio Asignado kay City Mayor James ‘’Bong’’ Gordon, Jr. nitong ika-23 ng Oktubre 2006 sa Rizal Triangle Covered Court.

Ang Certificate of Appreciation na iniabot ni Olongapo City Bureau of Fire Chief Gary Alto ay pasasalamat ng mga opisyales at kawani ng bureau sa patuloy na suportang ibinibigay ng pamahalaang lokal. Ito ay kaugnay sa completed construction ng dalawang (2) palapag na gusali ng ahensiya na pinasinayanan taong 2005.

‘’Kabilang ang Bureau of Fire building sa aking priority projects kaya hindi ko binigo ang mga bombero at mamamayan ng lungsod,’’ wika ni Mayor Bong Gordon sa harap ng mga opisyales at kawani ng City Hall sa Flag Raising Ceremony.

‘’Upang mabilis silang makatugon sa mga responde kailangan ay meron silang maayos na gusali. Marami pa tayong isasaayos na mga tanggapan ng pamahalaan iisa-isahin natin lahat yan,’’dagdag pa ng punonglungsod.

Maliban sa gusali ay halos lahat ng mga pangangailangan ng bureau ay agaran ring natutugunan. ‘’Kaya inspirado kaming magtrabaho dahil lahat ng aming pangangailangan ay natutugunan ng pamahalaang lokal sa ilalim ni Mayor Gordon,’’ wika ni Fire Chief Alto.

Aetas air complaint about Hanjin Subic golf course project

Say they weren’t informed of request for survey of tribal land


SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — Members of the Aeta tribe in Bataan bewailed the lack of consultation on a proposed 36-hole golf course in their ancestral land at Pastolan Village.

In a resolution passed by Pastolan Village officials and sent to the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP), members of the Aeta group complained that they were not informed of a request for land survey by the Hanjin Heavy Industries Co. (HHIC) in their ancestral domain in Barangay Tipo, Hermosa, Bataan.

They learned about the survey of the area after Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Feliciano G. Salonga and Administrator Armand C. Arreza signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with HHIC- Phils. President Jeong Sup Shim and HHIC-Phils. Managing Director Myung Goo Kwon.

However, Arreza assured that all considerations in connection with the golf course project are being evaluated and reviewed, and precautions are being taken.

"We want to make sure that the Pastolan Aetas will not be left empty-handed, in fact we want them to benefit the most from this endeavor. The construction of the golf course would certainly provide jobs, while preserving the natural beauty of the land," Arreza also said.

He added that an alternative area of 480 hectares in the Hermosa economic zone is ready to accommodate the golf course project if the first area be determined unsuitable.

Pastolan Village is in Mt. Sta. Rita, which is a part of a territory covered by the certificate of ancestral domain Title (CADT) that was granted to the Pastolan Aetas in June 2001.

CADT gave them ownership of the over 4,000 hectares of land a few kilometers from the Tipo toll road exit.

The award of a three-hectare parcel of land to each of the 160 Aeta families is part of the government’s program to protect and preserve the rights of the indigenous people. The remaining area will be preserved and developed with seedlings of narra, mahogany and mango had already been planted to a portion of the land.

SBMA Ecology Department Manager Amethya Dela Llana said any development project to be undertaken in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone has to undergo an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). This determines the possible environmental and social impacts of the project as well as the corresponding mitigating measure.

Once the environmental impact statement (EIS) is issued, the process of consultation commences. The pros and cons of a proposed project are presented during the consultation.

"In the case of the Pastolan Village, which is covered by a CADT, any project that would be located in the CADT area is likewise required to secure a free prior and informed consent (FPIC) from the tribal community," Dela Llana said.

Customs to ban next month entry of used motor vehicles

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) will finally implement by November the ban on the importation of used motor vehicles following the issuance of Customs Memorandum Circular No. 241-2006 dated Oct. 17, 2006 and which is supposed to be disseminated in the next 15 days.

All obstacles to the implementation of the ban have been cleared by the Supreme Court (SC) which initially ruled on Feb. 20, 2006 that the Presidential ban on the importation of second-hand vehicles is valid.

A subsequent ruling on Aug. 22, 2006 reaffirmed the SC’s Feb. 20 decision after denying the motions to clarify and reconsider was filed by Southwing Heavy Industries, Inc. and Ventures Corp.

The Aug. 22, 2006 en banc resolution of the SC clarified that even with the issuance of Executive Order No. 418 which imposed a P500,000 specific tax on the importation of used motor vehicles, Executive Order No. 156 supersedes EO 418.

EO 156 bans the importation of used motor vehicles into other parts of the Philippines and limits such importation, storage, use and trading of such vehicles only within the presently fenced-in former Subic Naval Base or exported to other countries.

The BOC issued its own circular following a memorandum from the Department of Finance dated Oct. 16, 2006 ordering the BOC to implement the SC ruling on the prohibition on the importation of used motor vehicles.

The implementation of the ban has been eagerly awaited by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines (CAMPI) which is hoping that with the ban, sales of locally assembled motor vehicles will finally improve.

Malacañan had issued EO 418 to stop the entry into the local market of second-hand used vehicles which pose both an environmental and safety hazard.

The Arroyo administration imposed the specific tax on used car imports after failing to stop the importation of second hand vehicles through the freeports which questioned the legality of a government imposed ban through EO 156 on such vehicle importations.

Imported second-hand vehicles are supposedly environmentally hazardous because in their country of origin they are normally at the end of their life span and their assemblers no longer produce replacement parts.

Such vehicles are exported as scrap and end up in the Philippines. The P500,000 specific tax would be on top of the 30-percent most favored nation (MFN) rate, an excise tax ranging from two per cent to 60 percent depending on the price, and the 10 percent value- added tax imposed on the landed cost.

Most of the second-hand vehicles also being imported are right-hand drive vehicles which are then converted to left-hand drive.

Unfortunately, the conversion poses a safety hazard to both the driver and the public in general since the vehicles no longer comply with vehicle safety standards.

The local auto industry has been complaining that used cars stunt the growth of the industry.

Auto makers said more than half of the vehicles registered with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) last year were imported used cars. By MARIANNE V. GO -- The Philippine Star

Monday, October 23, 2006

Job Opportunities in Subic Bay Olongapo





Cambodia intercepts $30-M Taiwan projects

The Philippines lost to Cambodia $30 million in business projects from Taiwan which already had definite plans to locate at the Subic Bay Freeport & Special Economic Zone (SBFSEZ) but reconsidered after Cambodia came up with more attractive incentives.

Among the projects that moved to Cambodia were a bicycle manufacturng firm and a footwear maker.

Manila Economic and Cultural Office (Meco) deputy resident representative to Taiwan Romulo Manlapig said in an interview over the weekend the main reason for the Taiwanese firms to choose Cambodia was the countries lack of competitive incentives.

When these companies proposed to locate in Subic through its proposed clustering program under the planned “super economic corridor” among Subic, Clark and Kaohsiung in Taiwan, Cambodia offered a more attractive set of incentives which the Philippines do not have, Manlapig said.

“We need to enhance our competitiveness, we are not as competitive as our neighboring countries in the region,” he added.

The Taiwanese companies were among a group of firms that earlier committed to invest in the either in Subic or Clark under the economic corridor scheme.

The country is shifting from attracting major companies to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) operating in Taiwan to spur additional employment and at the same time, attract high technology products.

The government announced last January that a new wave of Taiwanese investors who are small and medium enterprise owners are considering to put up major facilities for the manufacture of bicycle for exports inside the Freeport area.

Manlapig even made a confirmation that about $30 million in fresh investments from at least 10 Taiwanese bicycle makers were locating in Subic.

Manlapig said the Taiwanese companies are the focus of government for locators in the country’s economic zones because of their big labor requirements. “The metal working industry has a very strong support industry that is why we are very keen to get them in.”

“Hopefully, when the whole cluster is here already, it would be using 100 percent local content unlike in the automotive assembly where some parts are still being imported,” he added.

Manlapig even expressed confidence then that the Philippines is offering the Taiwanese a “good deal. We have a competitive locator environment for them.”

Another factor which the government hoped would bring in more Taiwanese investors is a newly-signed agreement between the Philippines and Taiwan linking Subic Bay, Clark and Kaohsiung under a so-called “Super Economic Corridor.”

He added components of the proposed project have already been developed in the last four to five months of negotiations. “The corridor’s arrangement is propelling the movement of certain industrial clusters into Subic and Clark,” he said.

“Within the next two quarters, we will witness accelerated movement of investments into the country from Taiwan and vice versa,” he said.

A top Subic Bay official also confirmed earlier that the Taiwanese bicycle makers want to locate in a 20-hectare property where parts to be manufactured include Shimano transmission for whole bicycle production.
By Ayen Infante - Daily Tribune

GMA acts to prevent return of blackouts

THE business community has urged President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to create a committee to remove the threat of a power shortage and the rolling blackouts that could result from it.

Business leaders told the President in a position paper that a crisis committee must be created to monitor the energy situation and assure domestic and foreign investors of enough electricity to power their businesses.

“The crisis committee must come up with a report or pronouncement of assurance every six months so that businesses will not become jittery over the threat of power shortages,” the paper says, adding the group must be formed within the year.

They also suggested that the crisis committee be composed of representatives from the Department of Energy, Philippine Electricity Market Corp., which runs the wholesale electricity spot market, and National Power Corp.

Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said his department was seriously considering the suggestion. He said the government was intensifying its efforts to privatize Napocor’s assets to raise funds to build power plants over the next four years.

“That was the sentiment of our business leaders, and this government has always been open to hearing their suggestions. We are doing everything to make sure we have sufficient energy,” Lotilla said.

A department study shows that the Philippines will be energy sufficient only until 2010, and Mindanao will be the first to live in the dark followed by Luzon and the Visayas if nothing is done to produce more electricity.

“Given the present dependable capacity and committed projects, power supply will become critical in Luzon in 2010, in the Visayas in 2011, and in Mindanao in 2009,” he Lotilla said.

“Contingency plans have to be set in place immediately considering that it takes at least four years to construct major power plants.”

Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said Mrs. Arroyo was confident there would be blackouts.

“We have enough energy supply and we assure the public that this will be maintained in the coming years,” he said, adding the power supply would be enough despite the coming repair work on Malampaya’s natural gas platform in Palawan.

Malampaya supplies natural gas to the gas-fired 1,200-MW Ilijan plant and the 1,500-MW Sta. Rita/San Lorenzo plant in Batangas, and its closure for 25 days in November will deprive Luzon of 2,700 megawatts of electricity from those plants.

The 1,200-MW Sual power plant in Pangasinan has been operating at half capacity and will continue to do so until March 2007.

The business leaders also asked the government to consider lowering the expanded value added tax on energy and oil and petroleum products to 5 percent from 12.

According to Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Donald Dee, lowering the tax will reduce power costs by as much as 60 centavos a killowatt hour, but the energy department has been lukewarm to his suggestion.

“From the standpoint of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, it would be very difficult to administer a multi-tiered VAT system, so I don’t think we can do that,” Lotilla said.

He said his department had signed an agreement with the Lopez-owned Manila Electric Co. for an “open access program” that would make electricity cheaper.

“This Customer Choice Program of Napocor and Meralco will result in the immediate reduction in energy costs for some 500 industrial firms with at least 1 megawatt consumption,” he said.

“The time-of-use rates given to these firms will be lower since they will shift their power intensive consumption time to the off-peak period.”

Lotilla said industrial firms could save at least 44 centavos per kilowatt-hour and as much 77 centavos per kWh under the off-peak rate program.

He also announced that guidelines were now being prepared for the special power rates to be implemented in the economic zones and free ports such as Subic and Clark. By Joyce Pangco Pañares - Manila Standard Today

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Inspirasyon at pag-asa ang iniwang mensahe ni City Mayor James ‘’Bong’’ Gordon, Jr. sa siyamnaput-tatlong (93) nagsipagtapos na mag-aaral ng Sta Rita Computer Learning Center.

‘’Matapos ang inyong computer training sa inyong barangay sana ay magamit ninyo ito upang makatulong sa inyong pamilya,’’ wika ni Mayor Bong Gordon.

‘’Maraming ibinibigay na libreng training ang ating pamahalaan kabilang na ang welding dahil maraming naglalakihang proyekto ngayon ang dumadating sa Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBFZ) at Olongapo na ang prayoridad ay mga Olongapeño,’’ dagdag pa ni Mayor Gordon.

Ang graduation na isinagawa nitong ika-20 ng Oktubre 2006 sa Sta Rita Covered Court ay ang mga residente ng Brgy. Sta Rita na sumailalim sa walong (8) buwan na libreng computer training.

Sa mga nagsipagtapos si Lanny Villanueva, 73 years old ang naitalang pinaka-matanda na tumayong inspirasyon sa mga kapwa mag-aaral nito na nagpapakita na hindi hadlang ang edad sa taong may ambisyon.

Samantala, dumalo rin sa programa si Kgd. Bella Asunsion at Sta Rita Brgy. Capt. Gomer Sundiam kasama ang mga opisyales nito na nagwikang, ‘’Ang Computer Learning Center ay para sa mga residente ng Brgy. Sta Rita na nais mag-aral at matuto. Tumungo lamang kayo sa ating barangay hall at maging bahagi ng training’’

Saturday, October 21, 2006


‘’Bantayan natin ang kapakanan at kaligtasan ng mga kababayan natin na tutungo sa mga sementeryo,’’ yan ang pag-aalalang sinabi ni City Mayor James ‘’Bong’’ Gordon, Jr. nitong ika-17 ng Oktubre 2006 sa FMA Hall.

Sa pulong kasama ang mga department heads ay binigyang-atas ni Mayor Bong Gordon ang ibat-ibang departamento partikular na ang Disaster Management Office (DMO) sa pangunguna ni DMO Head Angie Layug na syang mangunguna sa binuong ‘’Task Force Oplan Kaluluwa 2006’’.

Maging ang PNP-Olongapo na syang mangangalaga sa peace and order ay anatasan rin ni Mayor Gordon ng full police visibility sa Olongapo City Public Cemetery, Olongapo City Memorial Park at Heritage Garden

Kabilang rin sa composite teams ay ang City Health Office (CHO), Environmental Sanitation and Management Office (ESMO), City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWD), Public Utilities Department (PUD), City Planning and Development Office (CPDO), City Engineering Office (CEO), Public Affairs Office (PAO), Radio Communication Groups at NGOs.

Magpapakalat rin ng mga kinatawan ng barangay na iikot sa mga residential areas. ‘’Bagamat marami sa atin ang tutungo sa sementeryo kailangan ay ligtas pa rin nating iiwanang tahanan laban sa mga magnanakaw,’’ wika ni Mayor Bong Gordon.

Nabuksan rin sa isinagawang pulong ang pangangailangan ng pagdaragdag ng mangangalaga sa pampublikong sementeryo. ‘’Kailangan ay mapangalagaan natin ang kalinisan at kaligtasan ng Public Cemetery at inatasan ko na rin ang City Health Office na magtalaga pa ng caretaker sa lugar,’’ dagdag pa ni Mayor Bong Gordon.

Ang Olongapo ay mayaman sa turismo kaya nais ni Mayor Gordon na ang Olongapo City Public Cemetery ay maging isang tourist destination na hindi lamang pinapasyalan isang beses isang taon.

cops nabbed for extorting cash from drug peddlers

Nine policemen, including four officers, and a civilian were arrested by anti-narcotics operatives from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency for supposedly extorting cash from six suspected drug peddlers whom they earlier "arrested" in Pampanga.

PDEA Director General Dionisio Santiago identified the suspects as Senior Inspectors Nathaniel Capitanea, formerly assigned with PDEA; Beienvenido Reydado and Gilbert Farinas and Inspector Marco Polo Estrera, detailed with the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (AIDSOTF.

Santiago said the other suspects were former PDEA operatives PO3 Dan Firmalino, PO2 Jose Garcia and PO1 Nelson Mariano; and AIDSOTF operatives PO2 Alexander Alvarez and PO2 Junjun Mataverde, and civilian Richard Villanueva.

Chief Inspector Dionisio Bartolome, officer in charge of the PDEA intelligence and investigation service, said the 10 suspects were nabbed at around 11:55 p.m. Wednesday at the Jollibee fast food chain branch at the corner of Banawe and Maria Clara streets in Quezon City.

Before the operation, Bartolome said a team from PDEA was tasked by the PDEA leadership to conduct surveillance operation against Capitanea who is subject of a warrant of arrest for a pending kidnapping for ransom case.

An informant later tipped off to PDEA officials that Capitanea is at the fast food chain in the company of undetermined number of people who are carrying firearms. Capitanea and his companions used six vehicles.

After almost two hours of monitoring, PDEA director general Dionisio Santiago and Metro Manila police chief Director Reynaldo Varilla arrived at the area to supervise the service of the warrant against Capitanea.

"To ensure that no untoward incident would occur, his companions were also neutralized," said Bartolome, referring to the nine companions of Capitanea. The group of Santiago later conducted a search on the policemen's vehicles.

The search resulted into the discovery of six people, who were found tied and blindfolded, inside a Toyota Town Ace van (XGK-562). "The said persons were allegedly arrested by the group in anti-drug operation in Pampanga," said Bartolome.

Bartolome identified the six "arrested" civilians as Edgar Parce, 28, Mario David, and Danilo Gabriel, all of Olongapo City; Trivor Woodard, 28, and Roberto Antonio, 28, both of Mandaluyong City; and Joel David, 24, of Mexico, Pampanga.

The van also yielded four transparent plastic sachets containing undetermined quantity of suspected shabu. Bartolome said the suspected shabu was the policemen's evidence against the six alleged drug peddlers.

"The above named persons (six civilians), in an initial interview, revealed that they were arrested in the morning of Oct. 18, 2006 in San Fernando, Pampanga and they further alleged that the police officers demanded from them P100,000 each for their release," said Bartolome.

Seized from the possession of the policemen and Villanueva were six 9 mm pistol, a cal. 45 pistol, a cal. 357 revolver, a baby armalite, a Toyota Town ace van, a Toyota Hi-ace van, an Isuzu sportivo sports utility vehicle, two Honda City cars and Toyota Corolla cars.

"The suspects and the confiscated evidence were brought to PDEA for investigation and proper disposition," said Bartolome, adding that pertinent documents are being prepared for the filing of charges against 10 suspects.(PNA)

Friday, October 20, 2006


Muling pinag-tuunan ng pansin ni City Mayor James ‘’Bong’’ Gordon, Jr. ang mga vandals na walang pakundangang ginagawang papel ang mga pribado at pampublikong pader at bakod sa lungsod.

Ang mga naglalakihang mga letra ay malimit na nakikita ni Mayor Bong Gordon sa tuwing magsasagawa ng jogging ang buong tropa ng jog-inspection team sa ibat-ibang lansangan sa Olongapo.

‘’Walang mangyayari sa ating ginagawang pagsasa-ayos at paglilinis sa ating lungsod kung patuloy itong sisirain ng iilan. Walang ibang magmamalasakit sa Olongapo kundi Olongapeños kaya magtulungan tayo,’’ wika ni Mayor Bong Gordon.

Maaalala na nag-alok si Mayor Gordon ng limang libong pisong (P 5,000) pabuya sa mga makakapag-turo sa mga vandals. Magugunita rin na may ordinansa ang pamahalaang lungsod, bilang City Ordinance # 7 (Series of 1967) na nagbabawal sa vandalism o grafitti.

Sa mga makakapag-turo sa gumagawa ng maling gawi na ito ay maaaring tumawag sa telepono bilang 222 – 2565/ 222-2206/222-2232 o tumungo sa Mayor’s Office upang magbigay ng detalye at kung mahuhuli ang vandal, maaaring ma-claim ang limang libong pisong (P 5, 000.oo) pabuya.

Outstanding Women group slams chief prosecutor in Subic case

Justice chief stands by gov’t lawyers

By Tetch Torres -- INQ7.net
THE Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS), which has been assisting the complainant in the Subic rape case, has written Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez to complain about senior state prosecutor Emilie Fe Delos Santos, head of the government prosecution team.

However, Gonzalez, who met with former senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani, chair of the TOWNS’ task force Nicole, the name by which the complainant is known publicly, stood by the government lawyers, saying he believed they had followed the rules.

Gonzalez also said that, since the accusations made by Nicole and her supporters are already being investigated by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), “let's wait for the result if the NBI investigation before we act."

"We attest to the unprofessional and irrational treatment accorded by Senior State Prosecutor Emilie Fe Delos Santos to Nicole, her family and the private prosecutors," the letter from Shahani and TOWNS president Imelda Villar said.

They also said they believed there was a “deliberate effort to sabotage” Nicole’s case against four US Marines accused of raping her inside the Subic Freeport late last year.

"What clinched our suspicion that there was a deliberate attempt to sabotage the case was the fact that it was state prosecutor Nolibien Quiambao, the most junior, least experience(d), (and who) least attended the hearings who was assigned the most crucial cross examination" of principal accused, Lance Corporal Daniel Smith, the letter said.

The group claimed to have verified that Delos Santos tried to pressure Nicole's mother into negotiating with the accused or risk having the case used as a "trade off" for that faced by former Agriculture undersecretary Jocelyn "Jocjoc" Bolante in the US.

They also asked Gonzalez not to assign Delos Santos to “sensitive task forces” organized by the Department of Justice.

They letter also encouraged Gonzalez to reexamine Nicole's case and not be influenced "by the power and might of the superpower represented by the defense."

During his meeting with Shahani, Gonzalez said he also clarified that state prosecutor Hazel Valdez, who protested the prosecution team’s failure to present rebuttal evidence after the defense presentation, was not booted out of the panel.

"She removed herself from the panel," Gonzalez said.

The Justice Chief accepted the TOWNS letter and said he would study it.


Olongapo City - Nakatakdang ilunsad ang kauna-unahang "Scooturista Fest" sa Olongapo City maging sa Subic Bay Freeport Zone sa Oktobre 27-28,2006. Inorganisa ni Olongapo City Vice Mayor Rolen Paulino ang nasabing proyekto ng Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) na lalahukan ng daan-daang nagmamay-ari ng scooter sa buong bansa.
Layunin ng programa na maipalapit at maipamalas sa mga scooturista ang kagandahan ng Olongapo at maging ng Subic Bay Freeport Zone partikular ang mga beaches at tourists destinations sa naturang lugar. Ayon kay Paulino, magkakaroon din ng live concerts para sa mga scooturista, gayun din ang driving seminars at drag racing na may kaakibat na malaking premyo at murang bilihin.
Sinabi naman ni SBMA Administration Armand C. Arreza, isa sa mga proyekto ang nasabing programa para maakit, hindi lamang ang mga foreign tourists, kundi maging ng mga lokal turista na hindi pa nakakarating sa Subic Bay Freeport Zone. (Jeff Tombado)

Subic Bay News Archive for October 2006

MOA inked between BFAR, Ocean Adventure
P10-M worth of US-bound garments from China seized
DBM releases P54.3 M as shares of LGUs contiguous to Clark, Subic ecozones
Gordon to Abalos: ‘Computerize or resign’
Essex ARG, 31st MEU arrival provides Filipino-American service members a grand opportunity ‘No specific restrictions on GIs’ R&R’ -- US officer
New roads lined up, to cost P32M per km
3,500 US soldiers arrive in Subic for joint military exercises
Local airlines protest open skies over CL
Online office suite
Texas Instruments confirms Asian expansion plans
2 million jobs available at Subic, Clark till 2010
Magsaysay is not my guy
Cebu Pacific now on regular flight from Cebu to Clark
Olongapo Ring Overpass
SBMA gets highest rating for energy conservation efforts
Chavit files plunder complaint vs BCDA execs
Senate OKs bill on poll automation test in 12 areas in 2007
US to spend P3M for new war games in Zambales
Group starts signature drive online for ‘Nicole’
There's no such thing as Perfection. 5 'bus robbers' nabbed
Subic rape complainant says it’s up to the judge now
Subic-based auto conversion firm enters export market
US Marines brings benefits to local community
RP safer than LA—Retirement authority chief
Radio announcer sues Olongapo vice mayor
Philippines eyeing Texas Instruments' new 1-bln usd plant
‘Open skies’ policy looms over Subic, Clark
Top Subic exec says settlement stopped filing of rape raps
Paraplegic radio man sues olongapo city vice mayor
Prosecutor protests no rebuttal in rape case
Texas Instruments eyes expansion in Subic
Government presents comprehensive super region
Gordon blames Arroyo flip-flopping on poor legal advice
Another rape in Subic, by Korean on Filipina cook
Subic rape trial ends; verdict set on Nov. 27

Subic rape prosecutor disputes colleagues' decision
Clark access road approved
Pinay ni-rape ng Koreano
Subic Bay: Rising Star on Eco-Tourism
US Marines join bilateral training in Subic
Alleged Rape Victim In U.S. Marine Case Insists On Replacing Prosecutors
Nicole's mom insists prosecutor offered 'new life in US' for them
Good and bad news in the shipbuilding industry!
SBMA leads in FDI inflows with P68.1B in first half
3 Jumbo Jet na puno ng mga Koreano, dumarating sa Pinas araw-araw
Hanjin eyes early expansion of Subic facility
Hanjin to lease 100 hectares more
5,700 US troops to join military drills in RP, officials say
Neda hikes tariff on used motor vehicles, parts
New Clark firm prexy begins stint
Mercado: Lopez and CDC's landmines
US planners see Magapagal airport as RP gateway
Innove ends local telco’s 10-year-old hold on Subic
Central Luzon mission to woo US investors
Bolante claim ‘a snow job’ -- Magsaysay
Subic Bay offers variety of choices
Bolante: US using me as pawn to free 4 US Marines
Arroyo Inspects Asia's Biggest Shipbuilding Facility in Subic
Defense rests case
The new owner of the high-end membership store cha...
Gordon relieved hearings on PCGG suspended
Law groups back Nicole in fight vs Americans
'Hanggang Subic pier'

Statement on SC Decision Denying PCGG Immunity

Senator Richard J. Gordon, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises, yesterday lauded the Supreme Court's unanimous decision (15-0) denying the claim of immunity by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) under Executive Order No. 1.

"Just like God, the Supreme Court always answers prayers. Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes it is no. I am glad that the Supreme Court has now answered PCGG's prayer for immunity and the answer is no," said Gordon.

According to Gordon, the PCGG Commissioners have no more excuse to hide from the scrutiny of the people through their elected representatives in the Senate. "No one is above the law," said Gordon.

"Furthermore, public officers, like the PCGG Commissioners, must at all times be accountable to the people as public office is a public trust," he added.

Gordon has yet to obtain a copy of the Supreme Court decision, but he is very happy with the Supreme Court's judgment on this case which "vindicates the Senate's lawful exercise of its legislative powers, particularly the essential power to conduct inquiries in aid of legislation."


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