Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Monday, October 02, 2006

Mercado: Lopez and CDC's landmines

By Ram Mercado
First Person - Sun Star

CDC's Front Desk. Visitors to and customers of CarWorld in San Fernando are impressed with the sleek and spic-and-span offices of this famous automotive center. Its president, Levy Laus, has an obsession of a sense of order, a taste for beauty, and a penchant for fine ambience at work.

Crying for immediate attention in matters of space, interior décor, and good furniture is the public affairs and information office of the Clark Development Corporation. Here converge various public officials, from barangay to high government people, including municipal mayors, leaders from the sectoral groups, even the Aetas, media workers, and people seeking CDC assistance. It is CDC's front desk staff, as it were, providing the first public impression of CDC and reflective of the other offices and the quality and effectiveness of CDC's first line in service delivery.

Public Affairs Chief Angelo "Sonny" Lopez should fight for a better office for this organization, one that should have a larger space for its specialized units, a reception area for scores of visitors daily, and a respectable area fit for high quality public relations services.

Sonny's new boss, CDC top man Levy Laus, knows the impact of a presentable office in effective performance, whether it is in sales, marketing or promoting goals and programs.

Incidentally, with Laus's low key entry as new CDC president, CDC personnel already know the person, Lopez reported, and his acceptance already in their mindset long before his assumption to office. Lopez has the difficult job of clearing the way for the high profile achiever in Laus whose march towards his aspirations and goals for CDC, like all his predecessors, will inevitably encounter landmines from individuals and sectors that Lopez is familiar with. Sonny knows their tactics quite well.

Disgruntled barangay chairmen. At least five barangay chairmen, the core group of Porac village leaders, are up in arms against the Bases Conversion and Development Authority for failing to deliver its long-time promises to the Porac leaders. Not only did BCDA fail and refuse to implement an agreed livelihood program for villages traversed by the Subic Clark Expressway, the BCDA project officials based at Clark are not protecting local residents by implementing a priority preference in job hiring for the unemployed in the road building. It appeared that the Japanese contractor, Kajima et al consortium, in charge of the Expressway project in Porac, had allowed a syndicate of labor agents from Metro Manila to supply road workers and construction crewmembers for the company. This is in disregard of BCDA commitment to promote local economic activities and alleviate unemployment by job preference for local workers.

A Manila-based jobber, with a squadron of out-of-town workers had displaced the Porac residents at the Kajima contract area, according to Barangay Hacienda Dolores Chairman Nestor Tolentino. Barangay Chairman Carlos Sese of Planas foresees trouble between local residents and the outsiders who took the jobs from the natives, even as Barangay Pio Chairman Eduardo dela Cruz assailed government credibility in the grassroot area. "Bakit ganyan naman po ang BCDA, pinatalo ang karapatan naming magtrabaho sa Espressway project?" asked Chairman Silvestre David of Babo Pañgulo.

A certain Japanese official of Kajima identified as Turiano, through the machinations of an employee Jimmy Lorenzo, were pinpointed as bringing the jobbers in Porac for a profit through wage cutting, the Porac leaders suspected.

Unless BCDA attends to its promised livelihood projects for adversely affected residents, and throw out the syndicate if jobbers which deprived local residents of their agreed privilege, the bases agency is not helping the peace and order situation in rebel infested Porac town and will aggravate the unemployment situation in the said depressed communities, according to Barangay Jalung Chairman Fernando Santos.

Bank in trouble. A top ranking commercial bank, one of the biggest three nationwide, is facing a possible civil damage suit by Pampanga political leader and businessman Willy Katigbak. Willy, whose one great obsession is to be elected mayor of Mexico, Pampanga, has tried to achieve his ambition but failed, twice. A highly motivated man, determined, an untiringly campaigning for a comeback, Willy seems to be getting farther than nearer his goal. He accused Mayor Teddy Tumang of circulating a published bank's notice of foreclosure to delinquent borrowers including the name of Katigbak, and verbally spreading the rumor of his alleged property foreclosure. In effect, with the news of his misfortune with the bank, Willy has experienced decreased esteem from his town mates, felt embarrassed by the false information, with severe damage to his reputation and credibility among business associates.

It is public knowledge in Mexico that Katigbak has been busy organizing leaders in regular meetings and tactical planning. The report of his foreclosed land by the bank has adversely affected his good reputation as a fine businessman and good debtor.

The truth is, Willy said, "I have settled my loan with the bank, having showed evidence of payment to bank officer including land titles of the property in the foreclosure. Instead of stopping the publication, and or removing my name from the list of foreclosed property, the bank failed to do so; again, after a week, complaining of the same negligence, and showing the same documents and proofs of payment and full settlement, the publication came out again, completing the three successive issues of publication despite my complaints and protestations.

Man in waiting. Whatever happens with the political development in the country, Charter change or status quo, Board Mmber Aurelio "Dong" Gonzales will be s staunch supporter of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. "I have always been her supporter and I will stick to her," Dong has repeatedly stressed the fact that a fellow cabalen deserves Kapampangan unity out of diversity." The man predicted to be next representative of the Pampanga's third district said "regardless of friendship with any Opposition figure, party affiliation, or past business association, the President is a cabalen, a fellow Kapampangan who deserves our total affection. She brings honor and great fame to our people."

We are holding you on your promise, Dong!


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