Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

US woman admiral to GIs in RP: Behave

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—Behave! A woman admiral, commander of the powerful Task Force 76, also known as the Seventh Fleet, has given this advice to US servicemen involved in the Balikatan 2007.

Rear Admiral Carol Pottenger, the first woman to command an expeditionary strike group in the United States Navy, led 600 sailors and Marines in humanitarian missions and military training that resumed over the weekend, three months after a court convicted a US serviceman for raping a Filipina here.

They hosted a reception for local leaders in Olongapo City where soldiers held medical and dental clinics and are set to do community service projects in an Aeta village as part of the activities of Balikatan 2007.

Aboard the USS Juneau for Friday night’s reception, Pottenger was also seen mingling with sailors, asking them about their health and their work.

She kept her hair in a tight bun and, garbed in a white uniform, walked with feminine grace.

As it turned out, this Purdue University graduate isn’t all beauty.

Her military career is packed with accomplishments, including the Admiral Arleigh Burke Leadership Award early on in her years in the service, according to a profile provided by the US Embassy.

Pottenger has allowed troops with the USS Juneau, commanded by Capt. John Alexander, to take liberty or rest and recreation but within the premises of the freeport, formerly the home of the Seventh Fleet.

The rape of a Filipina, called “Nicole” in media reports, happened shortly after US Marine Lance Corporal Daniel Smith met her at the Neptune Bar on Nov. 1, 2005.

“We know we are guests here. We very much want to enjoy the hospitality of the Filipino people but we need to behave in a manner that is appropriate and representative of the fact that we are here working and trying to build relationship with the people. So all of the sailors and Marines have been advised of that,” Pottenger said.

She said she expects “a high standard of conduct and they know what they are supposed to do.”

Asked if her instruction would make a difference since she is a woman, she said: “Oh, heavens, no. I’m wearing the uniform. I’m wearing the stripes and star and that is all that matters.”

The Balikatan exercises, which were briefly suspended, resumed after the Philippine government turned over custody of Smith to the US government.

Philippine officials took Smith out of the Makati City jail and returned him to the US Embassy in December last year.

This year’s Balikatan has been scaled down to 600 troops from the usual 5,000 and to humanitarian missions and exercises focused on situations at sea instead of a series of mostly field war games.

McClenny said the modification was not the result of the controversy over Smith’s custody.

Aside from other difficult missions, Pottenger also commanded the USS Bridge that supported Operation Enduring Freedom, resupplying 10 battle groups, amphibious groups and dozens of coalition ships. For that, she earned the Battle “E” and the 2002 Arleigh Burke Fleet trophy, the embassy said.
By Tonette Orejas - Inquirer

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NEWS ARCHIVE February 2007

US woman admiral to GIs in RP: Behave
Pinoys at USS Juneau glad to serve kababayans in O...
ICTSI unit eyes new Subic facility
US Merchant Marine Academy post-graduate school to...
Olongapo residents grateful for US humanitarian mi...
US ship with sailors and Marines arrives in RP for...
Lawmaker seeks probe of Korean-owned bars in Makat...
Clark to rebid DMIA contract
TV station starts test broadcast
PNP Patriots tops lst Dragon Boat Regatta
P20-B new investments to flow into Clark ecozone
Aboitiz Equity unit in joint venture for power pro...
Clark Development to adopt Subic plan
BCDA tells SCTEx contractors to buy new equipment
Hanjin-backed Coal Plant in Subic Bay Opposed
GE eyes Subic for global call center operations
TESDA Zambales reports accomplishments
Japanese stalling on P21-b expressway
Gordon kinondena ang Comelec sa poll automation
P1.5-B road widening project set
In Subic, a science facility to train athletes
Keppel Philippines appoints Nelson Yeo as Chairman...
Developer lures retirees to make Subic their home
Roxas: Clark conversion to freeport would aggravat...
6 dead, 10 injured in Bataan road accidents
Stakeholders told to help for speedy Subic-Clark r...
US firm eyes Clark investment of $400m
Full dev’t of Clark airport into int’l gateway app...
Barking up the wrong tree - "Payumo is being menta...
Unity Masonic Lodge 285 Installation
Ex-Zambales treasurer gets 10 years for fund misus...
Rover Peace Baton turned-over to James L. Gordon C...
Agency to settle Subic-Clark road right-of-way cla...
Aviation school now operates in Subic
Gordon wants Abalos impeached for P2.8-B waste
Guam honors Olongapeňo
BCDA, bank squabble delaying land payment
Automated Elections is a chance to restore people'...
Vietnamese boat rescues 9 Filipino fishermen off S...
Business does it better
SBMA to become a key engine in nationbuilding
SBMA eyeing huge target for Year 2010
SBMA to push implementation of Biofuel law
Delays hound Subic-Clark road project
Congress lauded over return of tax incentives in C...


Monday, February 26, 2007

Pinoys at USS Juneau glad to serve kababayans in Olongapo

OLONGAPO CITY - It was a busy day Saturday for the joint contingent of US Navy hospital corpsmen and their counterparts from the AFP Medical Corps as patients lined up for a free medical and dental clinic in Barangay Barretto Community Center.

But the happiest to serve the people were two US Navy corpsmen from USS Juneau – Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Ronald Eusebio, from Imus, Cavite, and Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Arnold dela Peña, from San Manuel, Tarlac.

"We’re really glad to be here and make a difference in the lives of our fellow Filipinos," said Eusebio, who worked as a banker before joining the US Navy 10 years ago.

"We’ve been to a lot of countries doing this kind of work, but this is my dream to come home to the Philippines and help our countrymen," he told The STAR in Filipino.

Dela Peña, who immigrated to the United States before joining the US Navy, echoed Eusebio’s delight in being able to serve fellow Filipinos.

"But I hope this project could be extended even for a few days - or even a month - because some of the patients we’ve examined need follow-up treatment," Dela Peña said, noting that there were cases of acute bronchitis that required prolonged medical attention.

Eusebio and Dela Peña were members of the US Navy Hospital Corps whose members serve as enlisted medical personnel and serve in various capacities and locations, either in naval hospitals and clinics, or aboard ships, or with Marine Corpsmen in battlefields.

It was their first time to be in a medical mission to their native country since joining the US Navy.

The two disembarked last Friday from the USS Juneau , which belongs to the US Navy’s Task Force 76 based in Okinawa, Japan.

Here for a goodwill mission until today (Sunday), the 460-man crew of USS Juneau were scheduled to do civic projects like medical and dental clinics, as well as deliver some donations from US Marine and Navy family members in Japan.
BY BEBOT SISON JR. - The Philippine Star

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ICTSI unit eyes new Subic facility

Subic Bay International Terminal Corp. (SBITC), a majority-owned unit of International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), has proposed to operate container handling operations at the new facility to be put up by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, ICTSI said the SBMA board has approved the revised terms and conditions of SBITC’s proposal for the management of the New Container Terminal-1 at Cubi Point in Subic.

The SBMA will now invite by publication comparative or competitive proposals for the management and operation of NCT-1. The invitation will be published for three consecutive weeks in at least two newspapers of general and international circulation. If no other proposal is received for a period of 60 working days after the last publication, SBMA will enter into a contract with SBITC on the basis of SBITC’s revised proposal.

In the event another proponent submits a proposal more favorable or more advantageous to the SBMA, SBITC shall have the right to match or better the terms and conditions of such proposal within 30 days of being notified of those terms.

If SBITC matches or betters the proposal, SBMA will enter into a contract with SBITC based on such matching proposal. If SBITC is unable to match the better proposal, SBMA will enter into a contract with the proponent who submits the better proposal. SBITC will then lose its rights to operate the container handling services at Subic.

SBITC is a joint venture company owned 15 percent by SBMA and 85 percent by Subic Bay International Terminal Holdings Inc., which in turn is 83.33 percent owned by ICTSI and 16.67 percent by Royal Port Services Inc. (RPSI).

SBITC is the current exclusive container cargo operator in Subic Bay Freeport under the concession agreement granted by SBMA on Feb. 2000.

ICTSI reported a 37 percent jump in its net profit last year to P1.845 billion from P1.35 billion in 2005, mainly driven by higher sales from overseas operations.

The company is widely acknowledged to be a leading global developer, manager and operator of container terminals in the 50,000 to 1.5 million TEU/year range. It has an experience record that spans six continents and continues to pursue container terminal opportunities around the world.
BY ZINNIA B. DELA PEÑA - The Philippine Star

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US Merchant Marine Academy post-graduate school to rise in Subic Freeport

The United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) through its continuing education program provider, Global Maritime and Transportation School (GMATS) has expressed interest to set up an international maritime school in this premier freeport zone.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Feliciano G. Salonga announced the USMMA proposal after receiving a letter from Captain John E. Hanus of the US Maritime Service for the establishment of an education center for graduate studies.

In his letter, Hanus said that, “as a global leader in this field (maritime education), we are very much interested in assisting SBMA in this endeavor provided that our role is mutually agreeable and politically acceptable to all concerned.” Hanus added that USMS would not want to duplicate existing capacity for maritime training in the Philippines or the Asian region to its plan to set up a maritime school in Subic Freeport.

Salonga, who himself is a graduate of USMMA, added that Subic Freeport is on the verge of the biggest maritime industry boom in the country.

The US Merchant Marine Academy was established in 1943 on the North Shore of Long Island, consolidating several maritime training facilities that were set up around the US during WWII.
By Jacqueline L. Ong - Expat Philippines

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Olongapo residents grateful for US humanitarian mission

Villagers in Olongapo City who numbered to more than 5,000 were ecstatic upon benefiting from a free medical and dental mission carried out by United States servicemen who arrived in the country last Friday aboard a US Navy ship, ABS-CBN Regional Network Group reported.

Residents of Barangay Baretto, the village chosen for the US humanitarian mission, lined up for free medical and dental consultations provided by US military doctors.

Some of the patients, diagnosed with cysts, were given free removal operations. Free medicines were also provided.

Free tooth-extraction operations were also given to residents.

Residents expressed their gratitude and said that it didn’t matter to them if there are issues concerning US troops coming in to the country. They stressed that what’s important is that the American soldiers recognize their needs.

The US Navy ship, USS Juneau, docked at the Subic pier in Olongapo City on Friday for a three-day humanitarian mission.

The ship’s visit is part of "Project Friendship," a humanitarian program of the 7th Fleet of the US Navy. The program comprises community relations projects for and with schools, orphanages and villages.

Capt. John Alexander, a US military officer, said the ship's presence in the country is part of the US government project to conduct medical and dental missions and strengthen community relations with at least two villages in the city.

The crew of the US Navy ship and Marines from the 31st US Marine Expeditionary Unit will participate in community refurbishment programs that include painting and cleaning a local school, donating goods to charity organizations and hosting a basketball clinic with children.

The US servicemen will be donating goods from San Diego-based charity Project Handclasp and from families of American servicemen in Japan.

The ship is described on the Web site www.juneau.navy.mil as a Forward Deployed Amphibious Transport Dock with crew of 370 sailors and 40 Navy officers and can carry 400 US Marines with their full combat gear. The ship's home port is in Sasebo, Japan.

Alexander added that he has reminded US troops to take extra precautionary measures during their "rest and recreation period" around the town, mindful of the Subic rape case involving US marine Daniel Smith.

Other American servicemen and units are also in the country as participants in the Balikatan ‘07 RP-US joint military exercises.

Balikatan '07, which started February 19 and will end on March 4, involves "tabletop" drills and the conduct of humanitarian missions.

A tabletop drill is a military exercise held in a classroom setting, similar to the role-playing and strategy computer game that involves planning and mapping out military tactics and strategies - except they are drawn out on the table. On the agenda of the drills are simulated threats of terrorism and other forms of transnational crimes involving maritime security matters.

About 1,500 Filipino and US troops will carry out humanitarian activities in 13 Muslim communities across Mindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi areas as part of this year’s joint military exercise. With a report from Philippine Star

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Sunday, February 25, 2007


Ginunita ng lungsod ang ika-40 anibersaryo ng kamatayan ni James “Jimmy” L. Gordon, Sr. nitong ika-20 ng Pebrero 2007. Ang komemorasyon sa ‘’Ama ng Olongapo’’ ay sinimulam sa pamamagitan ng isang Eucharistic Celebration sa Gordon Park sa pangunguna ng bunsong anak na si City Mayor James ‘’Bong’’ Gordon, Jr.
Bagamat simple ay puno ng emosyon na ginunita ng mga nakiisang ka-pamilya, kaibigan, barangay officials, department heads & employees ang mga kabayanihang ginawa ng ‘’Olongapo City Founder’’ para sa lungsod.

Dito ibinahagi ni City Mayor James ‘’Bong’’ Gordon, Jr. ang magandang relasyon sa ama kabilang na ang mga aral na kaniyang natutuhan katulad ng kasipagan, katapatan at kababaang-loob.

’Bilang ama ngayon ng lungsod ay ibinabahagi ko sa inyo ang mga magagandang katangian na iniwan sa akin ng aking ama na si Jimmy Gordon,’’ wika ni Mayor Bong Gordon.

Si Jimmy Gordon ang unang elected mayor at nagsulong upang maging ganap na lungsod ang Olongapo. Ang kanyang administrasyon ay lumaban sa kurapsyon at isinulong ang kapakanan ng mga mamamayan.

Kilalang matapang bagamat may pusong mamon sa mga nangangailangan, para kay Jimmy Gordon ang “Pag-gogobyerno ay bigay buhay, hindi hanapbuhay,’’ isang linya na patuloy na tumatatak sa kaisipan ng bawat Olongapeño.

Matatandaan na noong ika-20 ng Pebrero 1967 ay pinaslang si Jimmy Gordon sa unang palapag ng dating Olongapo City Hall mahigit apatnapung (40) taon na ang nakakalipas.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

US ship with sailors and Marines arrives in RP for goodwill visit

MANILA -- A US amphibious transport ship carrying more than 600 sailors and Marines arrived at a port west of the Philippine capital on Friday for a goodwill visit that includes free medical services and a ship tour for children, an official said.

The USS Juneau docked at Subic Bay Free Port, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Manila, for a four-day visit, US Marine Capt. Burrell Parmer said.

The sailors and Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit based in Okinawa, Japan, will offer free medical and dental services to local communities and deliver items donated by families of US Marine and Navy personnel, he said.

Local school children will also be given a tour of the ship, Parmer said.

The goodwill visit is separate from ongoing military exercises between US and Philippine troops aimed at isolating al-Qaida-linked militants in the southern Philippines.

A 400-strong US military contingent is taking part in the Feb. 18-March 4 annual exercises dubbed "Balikatan," which means "shouldering the load together," with Filipino troops. (AP)

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Friday, February 23, 2007


All Systems Go!! yan ang sambit ng mga kababaihang bumubuo ng Olongapo City Women’s Council sa pulong na isinagawa nitong ika-21 ng Pebrero 2007 sa Conference Hall, Annex Building ng City Hall kaugnay ng ‘’Women’s Month’’ nitong Marso.

Pinangunahan ni Olongapo City Women’s Council Chair at First Lady Anne Marie Gordon kasama si City Social Welfare & Development Office (CSWDO) Head at Council Co-chair Gene Eclarino ang pulong na dinaluhan ng mga kinatawan ng ibat-ibang ahensiya at departamento ng pamahalaan sa lungsod.

Isa-isang binalangkas ng mga kababaihan ang mga isasagawang aktibidad ng lungsod kaugnay sa nalalapit na buwan ng Marso bilang selebrasyon sa ‘’Buwan ng Kababaihan’’.

Ang month-long celebration na sisimulan sa pagsabit ng streamers sa mga strategic areas at mga business establishments ay isasagawa sa unang pasok pa lamang ng buwan ng Marso

Ang council rin ang inatasan ni City Mayor James ‘’Bong’’ Gordon, Jr. na manguna sa Flag Raising Ceremony ng mga opisyales at kawani ng pamahalaang lokal sa ika-5 ng Marso 2007 sa Rizal Triangle Multi-Purpose Center bilang opisyal na hudyat ng pagbubukas ng ‘Women’s Month’’.

Samantala, sa ika-8 ng Marso 2007 ay mag-mamarcha ang mahigit tatlong-libong (3,000) kababaihan ng lungsod bilang pakiki-isa sa ‘’Women’s Day Celebration’’ sa buong mundo, na sisimulan sa Olongapo City Mall hanggang Rizal Triange Multi-Purpose Center ganap na alas-8 ng umaga.

Planchado na rin ang mga naka-linyang aktibidad kabilang na ang libreng gupit, trade exhibit, job fair, medical at dental mission, pap smear screening, bone density test, free legal assistance, mobile birth certificate registration at awarding ng livelihood assistance ni Mayor Bong Gordon.

Upang higit na mabigyan ng kaalaman ang council, dalawang (2) seminar ang nakatakdang isagawa kabilang na ang RA Act 9344 o ang Juvenile Justice & Welfare Act of 2006 sa ika-7 hanggang 9 ng Marso samantalang sa ika-14 at 15 ng Marso ay ukol naman sa Human Trafficking ang tututukang talakayin.

Bilang kulminasyon ng buwan ng kababaihan ay isang ‘’Women’s Summit’’ na sponsored ng Olongapo City Government ang inihanda sa ika-28 ng Marso 2007.

Target ng summit ang mahigit limangdaang (500) kababaihang buhat pa sa ibat-ibang panig ng bansa ang dadalo. Dito nakatakdang balangkasin ang estado ng mga kababaihan ng bansa at bumuo ng mga katanungan at kasagutan sa mga suliraning makikita.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Lawmaker seeks probe of Korean-owned bars in Makati

Rep. Benasing Macarambon of Lanao del Sur said there were indications that a group of Koreans, possibly a syndicate, has been engaged in the recruitment of Filipino women to work as prostitutes in Korea.

Macarambon first raised the issue at a public hearing of the House committee on overseas workers affairs wherein he shared his observations in a KTV-videoke bar in Makati recently where the women working as guest relations officers (GROs) were on “training" for jobs in Korea as “entertainers."

The lawmaker did not mention the name of the nightclub that is located in a row of girlie joints in the area. He said he went there upon the invitation of a friend.

“Ginagawang training center ng mga Korean ‘yun mga club para doon sila mag-practice magsalita ng Korea. The NBI should look into it baka may human trafficking na nangyayari rito (The Koreans make use of the club as a training ground for learning the Korean language. The NBI should look into it (because) they may be human trafficking involved)," Macarambon told his colleagues in the committee Tuesday.

“Bago sila ma-deploy they have to become slaves in that Korean club. Some of them (can) become prostitutes before they leave for Korea (They become slaves even before they are deployed to Korea. Some of them already turn into prostitutes before they leave)," he said.

Macarambon said he could not recall the name of the street where the videoke bar is located. All he could remember, he said, was that it was in a row of KTV bars with Korean characters written outside.

“I have notice that for the past years dumadami ang mga Korean national dito, yun pala karamihan sa kanila own karaoke bar (I have noticed in the past years that the number of Koreans in the country has been increasing. It turns out many of them own karaoke bars)," the lawmaker said.

During the public hearing, a representative from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) informed the committee that the government has been handling only job orders for factory workers in Korea, and not for entertainers.

Gary Martinez, a representative from the militant Migrante International said the issue about illegal recruitment of Filipinos to Korea is not new.

Based on cases referred to Migrante, the representative said many of the Filipino women bound for Korea to work as entertainers managed to leave the country with the help of unscrupulous immigration employees involved in an “escort service" racket at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport or through the airports in Davao and Subic.

Committee chairman Lagman directed Martinez to submit documentations of cases of human trafficking to Korea and promised to endorse those to the concerned authorities for appropriate action.

“This is serious issue. We will write the Justice department to order the NBI to conduct the investigation," he said. - Fidel Jimenez, GMANews.TV


IPINAGDIWANG sa Rizal Triangle Covered Court ang ika-32 Anibersaryo ng Day Care Centers nitong ika-22 ng Pebrero 2007.

Ipinamalas ng mga batang mag-aaral ng Day Care Centers sa bawat barangay ang kanilang mga talento sa cheering, pagkanta at pagsayaw.

Nakiisa naman ang mga magulang ng mga estudyante sa pamamagitan ng paglahok sa Revival Dance Contest na inilunsad sa pagtutulungan ng mga Day Care Workers ng 17 baranggay.

“Mahalaga ang pundasyon na naibibigay ng Day Care Centers sa kinabukasan ng bawat bata,”wika ni Mayor Bong Gordon. “ Kumpara sa mga pribadong pre-schools hindi pahuhuli ang mga Day Care Centers sa Olongapo dahil ang ating mga guro o Day Care Workers ay talagang nagsanay upang pangalagaan at turuan ang ating mga anak.

‘’Ang ating mga day care students ay pambato ng lungsod sa mga patimpalak sa Rehiyon III at national competitions, pagpapatunay lamang na maganda at epektibo ang pagtuturo na ginagawa ng kanilang mga guro,” pagmamalaking wika pa ni Mayor Gordon.

Ang mga day care centers sa bawat baranggay ay pinagtutulungang itaguyod ng mga day care workers, mga magulang at ng pamahalaang lokal sa pangangasiwa ng City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO).

Samantala, kasama rin sa naturang pagdiriwang ang mga mag-aaral ng Early Childhood Care and Development Center (ECCDC) ng Olongapo City Hall.

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DINUMOG ng mga Olongapeñong nais na makabenepisyo sa Free Bone Density Screening ang Olongapo City Health Office ngayong ika-22 ng Pebrero 2007.

Sa inisyatiba ni Mayor Bong Gordon ay regular nang ilulunsad ng pamahalaang lokal ang Free Bone Density Screening upang matulungan ang mamamayan na malaman nang maaga ang mga karamdamang tulad ng osteoporosis at osteopenia.

Ang osteopenia ay pagkakaraon ng low bone mass at ang osteoporosis naman ay isang karamdaman kung saan ang mga buto ay nagiging porous at fragile at madaling nagkakaroon ng fractures. Ang pagkakaroon ng ganitong sakit ay kaugnay ng pag-edad at postmenopausal. Ayon sa pag-aaral, 1 sa 4 na babae at 1 sa 8 lalake lampas sa edad na 50 ang may sintomas ng osteoporosis.

“Ang maaga at regular na pangangalaga sa ating mga buto ay mahalaga upang tayo ay makaiwas sa mga karamdaman,” wika ni Mayor Gordon. “Kaya nararapat lamang na samantalahin ng ating mga ka-lungsod ang ganitong mga libreng examinations na ibinibigay ng pamahalaan,”dagdag pa ni Mayor Gordon.

Bukod sa regular na pagpapa-check-up, pinapayuhan din ng City Health Office ang mga mamamayan na kumain ng wasto, uminom ng angkop na bitamina at mag-ehersisyo upang mapangalagaan ang kalusugan.

Samantala, libre ding ibinibigay ang consultation sa Out-Patient Department ng James Gordon Memorial Hospital kung saan maari magpatingin sa Pediatrics Section para sa sakit ng mga bata, Surgery para sa mga bukol at operasyon, Internal Medicine o para sa sakit ng matatanda katulad ng TB, kidney disease at iba pa at ang OB-Gyne section para sa naman sa mga buntis at kababaihan.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Clark to rebid DMIA contract

The Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) hopes to rebid by the end of the month a P68-million contract for the expansion of the existing terminal for the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA).

In an interview with The STAR, Clark Development Corp. (CDC) president and chief executive officer Levy P. Laus and CIAC president and CEO Victor I. Luciano said construction of the new terminal has been delayed following the failed bidding conducted last month. CDC owns CIAC.

The result of the bidding, Luciano explained, was nullified after it was discovered that the winning bidder was not qualified.

A new bidding, Laus and Luciano said, may hopefully be held by month’s end.

The two officials expressed optimism that construction could be completed by October this year.

With an expanded terminal, Luciano said the DMIA would be able to accommodate up to two million passengers from its current maximum capacity of one million passengers.

Last year, the DMIA accommodated close to half a million passengers. The bulk consisted of international passengers totaling 470,867, while domestic passengers numbered 17,889.

Aside from an expected increase in air travel, Luciano said the CDC/CIAC foresees a major demand for aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services in the next few years.

Luciano pointed out that a lot of countries in the region, particularly India and China, are on an acquisition binge.

By 2008, Luciano said, those aircraft would need to undergo major maintenance work known as a D check which is conducted every five years.

TV station starts test broadcast

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Central Luzon Broadcasting Corporation (CLBC) will conduct its test broadcast for its CLTV 36, the first-ever free-television station covering the entire Central Luzon region.

Vernon Lusung, one of the programming triumvirates of CLTV, said the test broadcasts are in preparation for Channel 36’s soft opening on March 6.

Arroyo Watch: Sun.Star blog on President Arroyo

Channel 36, the first major independent broadcast station in Central Luzon, can be accessed through local antenna under ultra high frequency (UHF).

An affiliate of the Laus Group of Companies (LGC), CLTV 36 boasts of its 10-kilowatt Harris Analog Transmitter boosted by a 240-foot antenna installed at the roof deck of the CGIC building along the Gapan-San Fernando-Olongapo Highway here.

The frequency expects to clearly broadcast to the region’s seven provinces, namely: Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Zambales and Aurora, and spill-over to some points of Metro Manila.

Starting March 6, CLTV will go on air from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. with programs ranging from light magazine types to more serious political shows.

Station-produced program like “Simpleng Usapan”, “Issues & Platforms” and CLTV Balita --- a news and public affairs program --- will be regular attractions of CLTV 36.

Lusung said CLTV 36 is now accepting advertising efforts as the newest television channel promises a “magic bullet” solution to advertisers.

“Since we are broadcasting on a regional level, our advertising rates are much affordable and the messages of our advertisers reach directly to the desired market,” Lusung said.
By Albert B. Lacanlale - SunStar

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PNP Patriots tops lst Dragon Boat Regatta

The formidable team of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Patriots was overall winner in the mixed, men and women's 500-meter categories in the recently-concluded 1st Dragon Boat Regatta held in the pristine water of Palm Tree Beach, this city, over the weekend.

The 22-member Patriots finished first in the mixed category in the neck-to-neck race with a time clocked at 2:07:29; the PDRT Fire Blades finished second 2:08:39; 3rd was Manila Dragon Boat Rowing team with 2:11:92 and Aqua Fortis who finished 4th with a time of 2:16:36.

In the men's category, the PNP dislodged other teams with a time clocked at 2:04:07; 2nd was PRDT Fire Blades with 2:07:72, the Philippine Navy with 2:08:43; and 4th place was the Manila Dragon with 2:09:06.

The PNP women's power paddled their victory with a cumulative time (semi-final and final results) of 4:33:98; the Aqua Faltis Dragon Boat team placed second with a time of 4:50:04; third placer is De La Salle PDRT with 4:50:48; and 4th the Manila Dragon with a time of 4:51:10.

Eleven dragon boat teams joined the event. Other teams who saw action in the boat races were the Pyros, 1925 Paddlers Club, A&A Paddlers, UP Dragon Boat team, and the Manila Blazing Paddlers. About 80 percent of the Manila-based paddlers joined this event.

The winners were awarded medals and cash prizes handed over by John Corbin, Chairman of the 15th Annual Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Barrio Beach Bash; Andrea Muehlhan, owner of Mayo Production and event coordinator and co-organizer, Josephine Siwa-Landrey.

"The Dragon Boat race is a jive from the Sibit-Sibit festival, a banca race held in Olongapo City, into a more exciting, more powerful and spectacular race for local and foreign tourists' delights ," Muehlhan said.

The 1st Dragon Boat Regatta was the culminating activity of the 15th VFW Barrio Beach Bash, an annual event made possible through the coordinated efforts of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 11447, Mayo Production, Palm Tree Resort, Mangoes, The Lagoon Resort, Blue Rock Beach,

Muehlhan said, the dragon boat regatta is a big success so Mayo Production will make the race the annual highlight of the Barrio Beach Bash in the province. "More awards and prizes will be at stake in the next Dragon Boat Regatta here," she added.

The Barrio Beach Bash is intended to generate funds for the scholarship programs, medical and dental missions and various community projects of the VFW Post 11447, an organization of retired United States Navy and Marines who opted to reside in this city, with full participation of the US veterans' immediate families. (PNA)

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007


IPINAKILALA ni Mayor James “Bong” Gordon Jr. sa isinagawang flag ceremony noong ika-12 ng Pebrero sa Rizal Triangle Covered Court si Megan Marie Escalona Shinew, ang pambato ng Pilipinas sa Miss Teen World 2007 pageant.

Mula sa Brgy. East Tapinac, si Megan ang opisyal na kinatawan ng bansa sa nasabing beauty contest na gaganapin sa Queensland, Australia sa ika-20 hanggang 29 ng Pebrero, 2007.

“Ngayon pa lamang ay binabati na kita at ipakita mo sa mundo ang ganda at talento ng isang Olongapeña at ng isang Pilipina,” wika ni Mayor Gordon.

Ang Miss Teen World pageant ay sinasalihan ng mga naggagandahang contestants mula sa mahigit 50 bansa sa buong mundo.

Bukod sa titulo, korona at trophy, tatanggap rin ang tatanghaling Ms. Teen World nang umaabot sa 20,000 USD, trip tickets sa Trinidad and Tobago, alahas, gift baskets, make-up, designer outfits at isang taong kontrata sa mga international magazines.

Maggugunitang hawak ngayon ni Elrize Albert ng South Africa ang Miss Teen World (2006) title na inaasahang masusungkit ni Escalona para sa taong 2007.

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Muli na namang kinilala ang galing ng Olongapo City Police Office (OCPO) dahil sa hindi mapantayang serbisyo ng mga opisyales at kawani nito sa pagpapanatili ng Peace & Order sa Lungsod ng Olongapo.

Sa Flag Raising Ceremony na isinagawa nitong Pebrero 2007 sa Rizal Triangle Covered Court ay inialay ni PNP City Director Gil Pacia kasama ang bumubuo ng OCPO kay City Mayor James ‘’Bong’’ Gordon, Jr. ang Plaque of Recognition bilang ‘’City Police Office of the Year’’.

‘’Ang buong OCPO ay higit na nagpapasalamat kay Mayor Gordon dahil sa patuloy na suportang natatanggap namin. Inspirasyon ito para sa amin na ipagpatuloy ang aming paglilingkod sa Olongapo,’’ wika ni Col. Pacia.

Napili ng Philippine National Police-Region 3 ang OCPO sa kompetisyong kaalinsabay ng paggunita ng ika-16 na anibersaryo ng tanggapan na nilahukan ng ibat-ibang Police Stations sa Gitnang Luzon.

Ang mga hurado ay pinangunahan ni PNP Regional Director Ismael Rafanan batay sa kalidad ng serbisyong ipinakita ng mga nakibahaging estasyon.

Maging ang National Police Commission sa pangunguna ni NAPOLCOM Regional Director Isidro D. Siriban ay kinilala ang galing ng OCPO sa pamamagitan ng komendasyon dahil sa natanggap na award ng lungsod.

Samantala, isang (1) bagong patrol car ang tinanggap na insentibo ng OCPO buhat sa PNP-Region 3 na kanilang magagamit sa pag-papatrolya sa mga lansangan ng Olongapo.

‘’Kailangan ang pagtutulungan ng pamahalaan at residente ng lungsod upang makamit natin ang mas tahimik na Olongapo,’’ wika ni Mayor Gordon.

BEST OF THE BEST: Buong pagmamalaking hawak ni Mayor Bong Gordon ang Plaque of Recognition ng OCPO nang mapili ito bilang ‘’City Police Office of the Year’’. Tangan rin ni PNP City Dir. Gil Pacia ang commendation ng NAPOLCOM bunga ng award. Kasama rin sa larawan ang mga kagawad ng lungsod at mga hepe police precincts ng OCPO.

P20-B new investments to flow into Clark ecozone

Some P20 billion worth of new investments is expected to flow into the Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) this year following the expected signing into law by President Arroyo, possibly in the next two weeks, of the recently passed bicameral approved bill restoring the incentives of the CSEZ and elevating the zone into a Freeport, according to Clark Development Corp. (CDC) president and chief executive officer Levy Laus.

In an interview with The STAR, Laus expressed his relief and jubilation over the approval and passage by the legislative Bicameral Committee of a bill that finally restores the incentives of CSEZ and elevates the status of the ecozone into a Freeport at par with the Subic Freeport.

"I am extremely jubilant with the bill which will restore the incentives of the CSEZ and elevate the status of Clark to a Freeport at par with Subic," Laus said.

The CDC head admitted that last year "it was difficult to bring in investors because of the uncertainty caused by the Supreme Court decision."

The SC had ruled that the CSEZ was not entitled to grant incentives, effectively stripping CSEZ locators of their tax and duty free incentives.

Laus said that with the expected signing into law, possibly in the next two weeks of the Bicameral approved bill, the CDC is expecting the entry of some "big ticket" investors.

Laus admitted that the CDC is already talking with at least nine interested parties.

However, Laus refused to give details on the potential investors as the negotiations are still quite early.

He admitted though that among the interested investors are Korean and Filipinos with some foreign partners.

Up for development, Laus said, are big tracts of land suitable for golf courses, retirement villages, hotel and casinos and entertainment centers.

For tourism and leisure development, Laus said, the CDC has some 320 hectares available out of the total 800 hectares earmarked for that purpose and part of which is already developed.
By MARIANNE GO - The Philippine Star

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Aboitiz Equity unit in joint venture for power project

MANILA, Philippines -- Aboitiz Power Corp., a wholly owned unit of Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. (AEV), signed a memorandum of agreement with Taiwan Cogeneration International Corp. to jointly build and operate a coal-fired power plant in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone located north of the capital Manila.

AEV said Aboitiz Power and Taiwan Cogeneration would form a joint venture
company that would manage the proposed power plant. There were no details on plant capacity or when the facility would be built.

The power plant is expected to supply electricity to locators in the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and other economic zones across the country.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Clark Development to adopt Subic plan

SUBIC BAY Freeport: Officials of the Clark Development Authority has expressed its intention to copy Subic Bay Freeport Zone following the recent ratification of both Senate and Congress in its bicameral conference committee report converting Clark into a free-port status.

Officials of Clark Development Corp. headed by president Levy P. Laus on Friday met with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority administrator, Armand Arreza, who presented him with a comprehensive orientation on the structure of Subic Freeport.

Arreza, along with deputy administrator Ferdinand Hernan­dez, presented the SBMA organizational structure, business procedures, visa processing, import and export procedures, and environmental regulations, among others, being implemented within the free-port zone.

Arreza also discussed the master plan for land use and management, manpower pooling and other labor concerns, seaport and airport operations, and the ongoing Subic Port Modernization project that is scheduled for completion this year.

Ed Tolentino, Bureau of Internal Revenue district officer, conducted a briefing on tax incentives; privileges and actual revenue collection while Bureau of Customs Port of Subic officials gave the detailed customs procedures, taxes and tariff regulations.

Laus clarified that Clark is still awaiting approval of Malacañang to fully implement the free-port status of Clark, which practically restored the tax incentives and privileges slashed away by the Supreme Court decision last year.

Laus said that as soon as President Arroyo signed the Clark bill into law, the CDC will continue to be the administrator of the sprawling 4,400-hectare industrial and commercial estate.

Laus cited the pending entry of several new inventors particularly those engaged in information and communication technology services, manufacturing and tourism awaiting the Clark bill to become a new law.

The ratification of the bills would restore the tax incentives and duty-free privileges of the more than 350 locators in Clark after the Supreme Court’s decision in July 2005, declaring Clark and other former US military facilities-turned-economic zones, not covered by Republic Act 7227, or the Bases Conversion Law.
--Anthony Bayarong - Manila Times

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BCDA tells SCTEx contractors to buy new equipment

THE BASES Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) has called on the contractors of the P21-billion Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) to invest in modern equipment and additional resources to complete the project on schedule.

In a statement, Robert Gervacio, BCDA vice president and spokesperson, said that as of Feb. 7, work on the project had been delayed by 8.31 percent for Package 1 (Subic to Clark segment) and Package 2 (Clark to Tarlac segment) of the SCTEx.

The Kajima-Obayashi-JFE Engineering-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. (KOJM) consortium is working on Package 1, while the Hazama-Taisei-Nippon Steel (HTN) joint venture is building Package 2.

The SCTEx is one of the government’s key projects in the Arroyo administration’s Luzon Urban Beltway super region.

The BCDA also warned the contractors that their contracts could be rescinded if the project incurs a negative slippage of 15 percent or more.

In the same statement, BCDA president Narciso Abaya said the agency was hopeful to complete the 93.7-km SCTEx by yearend despite the delay.

“There is still time to speed up the pace of project construction work,” he said.

Abaya, according to the statement, raised the problem on equipment lack and other operational concerns to Tokyo-based Kajima president Mitsuyo Nakamura through a letter sent in February last year.

The BCDA said similar letters were also sent to HTN officials, advising them to adhere to the provisions of their contract and implement catch-up plans so work on the SCTEx could be finished according to target dates.

Inspite of these, the Japanese contractors reportedly failed to upgrade their equipment, representing noncompliance with a contract provision mandating that 50 percent of the equipment to be used in the project should be new.

BCDA field engineers said most of the machines, owned by local sub-contractors, were old and inefficient, and often stalled.

Earlier, an engineer involved in the project told the Inquirer that the SCTEx might not be completed by November as construction firms failed to get complete control of right-of-way (ROW) sites due to protests arising from unresolved expropriation cases and unpaid land claims.

But BCDA officials shrugged off allegations that ROW issues were delaying work on the SCTEx. “These are minor problems that cannot derail the project,” they said. Inquirer Central Luzon

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Hanjin-backed Coal Plant in Subic Bay Opposed

SUBIC BAY — Opposition is growing to the construction of a 300 megawatt coal power plant on the pristine beaches of Subic Bay, one of the Philippines' top tourist destinations.

The power plant, being built by Taiwan Cogen, a subsidiary of Taiwan Power Corp., primarily to serve the needs of Korean shipbuilder Hanjin, will bring the controversial form of power generation to one of the country's most diverse environments.

Subic Bay is home to more than 70 species of fish, including important varieties of reef fish. The world's rare and endangered Olive Ridley turtle and Hawksbill dwell still survive in Subic Bay . The area is also blanketed by a 9,000 hectare virgin triple-canopy rainforest that provides the area with some of the highest air quality in the region.

President Park Jung-Won of hanjin Shipping Co. Courtesy of Hankyung

Under the current proposal, this spectacular natural setting will be host to one of the most polluting types of energy production available. According to the environmental group, Greenpeace, coal is a form of energy that pollutes comprehensively, from the time the coal is extracted, to its transportation across the sea or land, to the pollutants it pumps into the atmosphere.

"Fly ash samples taken from coal fired power plants in the Philippines and Thailand over the course of the last three years have shown the presence of hazardous substances such as mercury and arsenic," the group said in a statement. "Laboratory and technical analysis indicate that a far greater amount of these toxins is likely being released to the environment and thus pose huge risks to population centers."

"Mercury is capable of causing severe brain damage in developing fatueses, tremors, mental disorders and death," the group continued. "It is so toxic that it takes only 1/70th of a teaspoon to contaminate a 10.11 hectare lake to the point that fish caught in the lake are considered unfit for human consumption."

Business groups and resort owners in the area have reacted with outrage to the proposal to bring such a facility into an area that counts tourism as its lifeblood.

The Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce, the Subic Bay Resorts Association, as well as other groups have said that the plant's operation would cause irreversible damage to the area.

"It will pollute the air, the land and the water, removing the key ingredients in Subic Bay 's prime assets — clean air, clean water and the proximity to nature," the groups said in a statement.

The above story was provided from Save Subic

Friday, February 16, 2007

GE eyes Subic for global call center operations

SUBIC FREEPORT – Global industrial giant General Electric through GE Money Servicing Co. is eyeing the Subic Freeport zone as the site for a possible expansion of its global call center operations and other business process outsourcing ventures.

GE Philippines country manager Renato Romero and GE Consumer Finance Servicing head Sanjeev Jain along with local partner Genpact vice-president Cecilia Ampeloquio visited the freeport recently and expressed strong likelihood in the setting up of its call center operations for the US market.

The GE executives looked at several facilities as possible sites of its call center operations such as the 2,300 square meter building of Yi-Phone Manufacturing, GVC Industry, Medtecs Garments and Pacific Ace building, all located inside the sprawling Subic Bay Industrial park .

During the briefing, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator Armand Arreza cited the area’s advantages such as strategic location, world-class infrastructure, highly qualified workers, competitive incentives, security and peaceful community which made Subic Freeport attractive to both foreign and local investors.

For instance, Subic Telecommunications Co. is offering services such as full digital switch, 100,000 telephone lines capacity, up to 270 Mbps Internet bandwidth capacity and the so-called Internet redundant link with 24/7 field and help desk support and uninterruptible power supply.

Subic Telecom is also expanding its capabilities to have full-fiber optic connectivity, Internet bandwidth of up 620 Mbps and full next-generation network (NGN).

The proposed GE call centers can also avail the services of Globe’s Innove Communications Inc. offering the latest information and communication technology with network architecture facilities such as fiber, copper and broadband wireless access.

Recently, Subic Freeport received an excellent rating with a scorecard of nine out of 10 cumulative points conducted by the ICT Commission and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Arreza pointed out that SBMA received a perfect score in areas such as workforce development, community support, transport infrastructure, incentives and more importantly, the quality of life being offered to investors and workers.

He added that Subic Freeport also got high ratings on vendor support, power and telecoms infrastructure.

Arreza, meanwhile, said that as part of its pro-active marketing campaign, the SBMA will be showcasing its ICT capabilities during the 7th Global Sourcing Conference and Exhibition dubbed as e-Services Philippines to be held at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel this week.

SBMA investment processing department head Ronnie Yambao said the SBMA is banking on the available supply of workforce on the ICT industry with the presence of several educational institutions in surrounding communities offering graduates of computer science and engineering, information technology, electronics and communications engineering, information management, among others.
By Ric Sapnu - The Philippine Star

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TESDA Zambales reports accomplishments

Iba, Zambales -- The Provincial Office of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) recently reported the completion of trainings on two levels such as the community based–implemented by the local government units, and non-government organizations from Olongapo City until Santa Cruz.

During the fiscal year ended 2006, there were 2,667 individuals are trained along this level on skills like: Reflexology, Housekeeping, Butchering, Welding, Lathe Machine Operation, Computer Operation, Basic Electricity, Basic Electronics, Bar tendering and Herbal Soap Making.

Along the enterprise based level training – industries with programs under the “Kasanayan at Hanapbuhay” Program or the Apprenticeship/ Learnership program are on-going accepting trainees for Industrial Electrician, Plastic Molder, Shop Tailor, Fitter, Welder, Circuit Breaker Maker, Core Assembler, General Clerk, Maintenance Mechanic, Maintenance Electrician, Cashier, Stock Clerk, Cook and Painter.

During the fiscal year ended 2006, there were 847 persons trained. And 50% of the graduates were absorbed by the implementing industry. (by Recto Mangosing Adamos - PIA Zambales)

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Japanese stalling on P21-b expressway

The Bases Conversion and Development Authority yesterday called on the Japanese contractors of the P21-billion Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway to step up their work to be able to meet the deadline for completion of the project.

The bases agency urged the contractors to bring in modern equipment and deploy additional resources as stipulated in their contract. It directed the contractors to improve their performance to make up for lost time. The agency warned them the contracts could be rescinded if they incur a negative slippage of 15 percent or more.

Project spokesman Robert Gervacio, program manager for operational support services, pointed out that as of last Feb. 7, the contractors have had a combined negative slippage of 8.31 percent for both Package 1 (Subic to Clark) and Package 2 (Clark to Tarlac) of the project.

Earlier, BCDA president and chief executive Narciso Abaya assured the public of the project’s completion by year-end, although work on the 93.7-km project was somewhat delayed. “There is still time to catch up with project construction works.”

“We want our people to enjoy the traveling comfort and safety provided by the expressway which is expected to speed up the economic strides of Central Luzon, provide the strategic linkage between the region’s two freeports and realize our vision of hosting the no. 1 logistics hub in Asia,” Abaya said, referring to both Subic and Clark freeports.

The Kajima-Obayashi-JFE Engineering-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. consortium is working on Package 1, while the Hazama-Taisei-Nippon Steel joint venture is building Package 2 of the proposed expressway.

The lack of equipment and other operational concerns were contained in a letter sent as early as February last year where Abaya apprised Tokyo-based Kajima president Mitsuyo Nakamura about the disturbing situation at the project site.

Similar letters were also sent to Hazama president Junichi Shimmyo, advising the contractor to strictly adhere to the provisions of their contract and faithfully implement catch-up plans so that work on the expressway could be finished according to target dates.

In spite of these repeated admonitions, the Japanese contractors failed to upgrade their heavy equipment, representing non-compliance to a contract provision, mandating that 50 percent of the equipment to be used should be Japan-made and brand- new. BCDA field engineers reported that most of the machines, owned by local sub-contactors, were antiquated and inefficient, and often stalled.

The BCDA officials shrugged off allegations that right-of-way issues are delaying work on the expressway, saying it’s a minor problem that cannot derail the project.

Major problems cited by BCDA engineers that have caused the slippage were delayed start and slow progress of major civil works such as bridge installation, drainage and underpass structures; inability to mobilize required resources and equipment; lack of coordination among and poor supervision of sub-contractors. Manila Standard Today

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Gordon kinondena ang Comelec sa poll automation

KINONDENA ni Senador Richard Gordon ang rekomendasyon ng advisory council ng Commission on Elections (Comelec) na huwag nang ipatupad ang poll automation sa May 2007 elections.

Sa panayam ng dzBB, sinabi ni Gordon na dapat gumawa ng paraan si Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos para maipatupad ang nilalaman ng Automated Election System Law.

“Iyon ang sinumpaan niyang tungkulin kaya dapat gumawa siya ng paraan. Sinabi niya kasi na hindi na puwede ang poll automation kaya iyong advisory council ganoon na rin ang findings,” ani Gordon.

Ayon sa batas, kailangang ipatupad ang poll automation kahit man lang sa anim na lungsod at anim na probinsya sa bansa ngunit ayon sa advisory council, wala nang sapat na panahon ang Comelec para masunod ito.

Ani Gordon, na siya ring chairman ng Senate committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes and laws, iimbestigahan ng kanyang komite sa susunod na linggo ang naging pagtugon ng Comelec sa AES law.

“Panloloko ang ginagawa ng Comelec sa ating bayan (kaya dapat maimbestigahan ito),” giit pa ng senador.

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P1.5-B road widening project set

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga: The widening to four-lanes of the 18-kilometer portion of the Gapan-San Fernando-Olongapo (GSO) between here and Lubao will soon be started with a P1.5-billion appropriation.

Sec. Manuel Bonoan of the Department of Public Works and Highways (PHWH) was briefed the other at the DPWH regional office on the widening project by assistant Sec. Ramon P. Aquino, former DPWH regional director. The road-widening project with funding assistance from the Korean government will include the rechanneling of the Porac-Gumain River in Guagua.

Public works regional director Alfredo Tolentino said that the next phase of the GSO widening project would be extended up to the Pampanga-Bataan boundary in Layac.

Bonoan also announced that the P4.2-billion widening of the Macarthur Highway between Caloocan City and Apalit, Pampanga is being fast-tracked. The highway is being prepared as toll-free alternate and parallel road to the North Luzon Expressway.

He also said that big commercial buildings encroaching and blocking the road-right-of-way of the Macarthur Highway would also be “chopped” to give way for its widening.

DPWH authorities said that renovation of the major Sulipan Bridge of the Macarthur Highway in Apalit, Pampanga, has been completed and would soon be opened to traffic. It was rebuilt for P380 million coming from the Japan Bank International Cooperation (JBIC).

Bonoan said that DPWH has been rushing the completion of several major infrastructure projects with the department getting the biggest share of this year’s annual budget amounting to P102 billion, including P38 billion from the Motor Vehicle Users Charge and P4 billion from the trust fund of the Land Transportation Office.
--Mark Louie P. Roxas - Manila Times

In Subic, a science facility to train athletes

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT ZONE -- Subic Bay Sports Management Inc. (SBSMI) and a group of foreign investors from Korea, Hong Kong and the United States have finalized plans to establish the High Performance Athletes Institute at the Remy Field Sports Complex here.

The Institute will include a modern sports hotel, sports dormitory and training facilities, including science laboratories and a fitness center.

SBSMI president Virgilio Sison, a former Davis Cup and ATP tennis tour player during the early 80s, said the group was ready to spend $1 million for the first phase of the project, which was designed to boost the sports and tourism programs of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority under Chief Executive Officer and administrator Armand Arreza and chair Feliciano Salonga.

“Due to increasing demands and changing needs of athletes, coaches and fitness buffs, the new facilities will be built to maximize the needed synergy in promoting a wholesome sports training village,” Sison said.

“These [facilities] will be for the all ages, including elite athletes and those in the recreational and developmental levels,” Sison added.

He added that he had initial talks with Hermenegildo J. Atienza III of the SBMA Business Development.

“If things go as planned, the investors are ready to spend P80,000,000 for Phase II,” he said.

The planned sports hotel and dormitories for the first phase will have 60 to 80 rooms located on a 3,000 square-meter area. An indoor training swimming pool will also be built.

Based on statistics from the Department of Tourism, tourist arrivals in Subic in 2004 numbered 133,000, but the Freeport areas only have a combined 1,816 rooms.

“Clearly, more rooms and packaging promotions will be a priority, and this project through sports marketing can help SBMA bring in more investors into the tourism portfolio,” said Sison.

Sison, the first Filipino tennis player to see action in four Grand Slams (French Open, Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open), said the Institute would also complement the planned medical tourism facility at the nearby Moonbay Marina.

“The new facilities will boost Subic Bay’s bid to become the ‘Sports Camp Capital’ and ‘Wellness Center’ of the country,” Sison said.
By Dennis U. Eroa - Inquirer

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Keppel Philippines appoints Nelson Yeo as Chairman

Keppel Philippines Marine Inc (KPMI), a company listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange and a subsidiary of Keppel Corporation Limited, has appointed Mr Nelson Yeo as Chairman. He has also been appointed Chairman of Subic Shipyard & Engineering Inc (SSEI), an associate of Keppel Corporation Limited.

Mr Yeo takes over the chairmanship of KPMI and SSEI from Mr Charles Foo, Managing Director (Special Projects) of Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M), who has also resigned as Director of both companies.

Mr Foo, 65, who is currently Chairman of Keppel Singmarine Pte Ltd of Singapore and Keppel Nantong Shipyard, China, was appointed Chairman of KPMI and SSEI in November 1999.

Mr Choo Chiau Beng, Chairman of Keppel O&M, says, "Under Mr Foo's stewardship, Keppel Philippines has grown in strength. He guided KPMI to re-start its shipbuilding business and supported the Philippine yards in entering the offshore rig construction business to collaborate with Keppel FELS in its activities."

The Keppel Philippine yards have in recent years been enhanced with added facilities to support offshore activities, particularly, in the construction of semisubmersibles.

Amongst his many contributions, Mr Foo has been credited for raising the safety standard of the yards, encouraging the upgrading and development of safety personnel including sending them to Singapore for further training.

Mr Choo said, "Looking ahead, demand for offshore floating production units and offshore support vessels will be sustained. Keppel Philippine yards are poised to take on more offshore support work in the form of repair and upgrading services, in addition to what it currently is already doing. However in view of increased competition from existing and new yards in China and Vietnam, Keppel Philippines have to remain highly competitive.

"I am confident that Mr Yeo, with the support of Mr Toh Ko Lin, the President of Keppel Philippines Marine and the rest of the team, will take the Keppel Philippines yards to new heights."

Mr Yeo, 50, is the Executive Director of Keppel Shipyard Limited. He began his career with Keppel Shipyard in 1982 when he was a Shiprepair Management Trainee. He rose through the ranks to become Shiprepair Manager, Business Development Manager of Keppel (UK) Ltd, General Manager of Wing Yong Engineering, Yard Manager/Pioneer Yard and in 1994, became President/General Manager of Subic Shipyard and Engineering Inc. In March 1996, Mr Yeo returned to Singapore and was appointed Executive Director of Keppel Shipyard.

Mr Yeo received various commendations during his tenure in the Philippines. He was conferred both The Adopted Son of Municipality of Castillejos and the Municipality of Subic, Province of Zambales, Republic of the Philippines, for his invaluable and relentless support as a partner in the socio-economic development of the municipalities.

Mr Yeo holds a First Class Honors Degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Birmingham and a Master of Engineering in Energy Technology from The Asian Institute of Technology, under the Shell International Petroleum Company Scholarship.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

RP eyes $1-B Japanese loan to develop maritime industry
The great dream vacation challenge
Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES), muling ilulunsad!

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Developer lures retirees to make Subic their home

SUBIC IN Zambales province could be an attractive real estate investment for migrating retirees, both former Filipino nationals as well as foreigners.

Located 110 kilometers northwest of Metro Manila, Subic has unique features that for developer Quantum Hotels and Resorts are more than enough to attract retirees from abroad.

Subic is nestled between the Zambales mountain range in the east and the Subic Bay in the west, both contributing in providing Subic year-round cool climate as well as picturesque views.

Such topography also makes Subic a destination for those who enjoy the sea (having plenty of beach resorts and dive spots) or commune with nature (several establishments now offer land-based eco-tour, outdoor sports and other nature adventure activities).

“Subic is also fast developing industrial and tourism destination. This is why a number of developers have come here and took the opportunity to set up projects in and around Subic that targets retirees, a growing market here in the Philippines,” said Joey Bernardino, VP for sales and marketing of Subic Holiday Villas.

Viable market

Bernardino explained the company fully recognizes the retirees as a viable market and that the Philippines can easily capture this if its retirement infrastructure are fully developed.

Citing Philippine Retirement Authority projections, he reported that a fully developed retirement industry could create four million jobs and generate a potential revenue of P464 billion a month or P27 trillion per annum if these retirees’ $1,500 monthly expense are spent here.

The PRA reported that the country can support around one million to three million retirees.

Retirement package

“But for retirees to come here, any place needs a developed retirement package that would include health care and retirement village. In the case of Subic, there are now a number of hospitals existing around the area and with the opening of Subic Holiday Villas, retirees now have another reason to settle in Subic,” Bernardino said.

Early this year, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, which manages the freeport, announced the construction of the P200-million Bay Pointe Hospital and Medical Center Inc., a state-of-the-art health establishment that will initially set up 100 beds.

“This development will assure retirees Subic is addressing their concerns. Additionally, our project is an accredited facility of the PRA so Subic Holiday Villas has its own medical clinic aside from having the usual facilities including a business center, library, a sauna/health spa, walking and jogging path.

Masterplanned community

Located inside the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Subic Holiday Villas is a masterplanned four-hectare leisure and retirement development.

“The project adopted a Mediterranean design with each unit featuring high pitched tile roofing, well-appointed living, dining and kitchen areas. We also designed Subic Holiday Villas with business travelers in mind, so we equipped each unit with work desk and we intend to provide wireless Internet connections,” described Bernardino.

Units are available in four types: studio (36 sq m), the one-bedroom (48 sq m and 68 sq m) and two-bedroom unit (72 sq.m).

Ideal, cost-wise

Bernardino said living in Subic is ideal, cost-wise considering that an American retiree for example (who would likely prefer Subic because of its history -- once the site of the United States’ largest naval base in Asia), may receive around $9,000 a year.

“This amount will not be enough if that person will spend it in the United States. However, this will go a long way here in the Philippines or in Subic in particular, especially with its duty-free shops and supermarkets,” he said.

Indeed, Subic Holiday Villas is perfect destination for retirees wanting a clean environment, beautiful surroundings and fully equipped facilities.

Developer Quantum Hotels and Resorts is also known for its other projects that now include the BSA Tower, BSA Suites and Perla Mansion, all fully furnished apartments located in the Makati central business district.

Roxas: Clark conversion to freeport would aggravate smuggling?

CLARK authorities have vowed to enforce strictly the campaign against smuggling in the economic zone following strong opposition by domestic industries to convert it into a freeport zone. The vow was aired Thursday by president and chief executive officer (CEO) Levy P. Laus of Clark Development Corp. during an interview after his speech before the joint meeting of 15 Rotary Clubs in Pampanga held at Rib-Eye Restaurant in Angeles City.

The Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI), headed by Jess Arranza, has prepared a position paper it submitted to Senator Ralph Recto and Representative Herminio Teves, chairmen of the Ways and Means Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives, respectively, stating that “we could not in conscience stop registering our vehement opposition to Clark’s becoming a Freeport.”

Earlier, the Congressional bicameral conference committee approved in principle the reconciled House Bill and Senate Bills returning tax incentives and duty-free privileges to special economic zones in the country, similar to those being enjoyed by locators/investors at Subic Bay Freeport as provided for under RA Act or the Bases Conversion law. It will be recalled that the Clark Investors and Locators Association (Cila) passed a resolution recently “expressing its lost (sic) of confidence to immediate CDC past president Tony Ng” for alleged lax of security measures inside the zone.

This column learned later that some duty-free shop operators lost their confidence to Ng and even worked for his replacement because of his strict campaign against smuggling.

In its position paper, FPI stated that intelligence reports submitted to the Cabinet Oversight Committee on Anti-Smuggling have exposed “countless untaxed goods that passed through Clark.”

The same paper further stated that CDC “could not even explain the non-liquidation of imports and the so-called constructive exports where goods are categorized and brought out of Clark without payment of duties and taxes.”

According to Arranza, many Clark investors/locators have not liquidated for three to four years but still continued to import tax-free goods despite this violation.

FPI explained in its position paper that Clark zone should not be converted as a free port because Clark investors are already enjoying incentives for having been located in a special economic zone. It was also pointed out that the volume of goods, being shipped in Clark only by plane is minimal because it has no seaport, “hence converting Clark as a free port is unjustified.”

The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) has lauded Congress for resolving the tax perks issue which spelled doom to Clark and other economic zone locators as a result of the Supreme Court decision on Oct. 24, 2003 declaring null and void the tax-free privileges which were granted temporarily through an executive order issued by former President Fidel Ramos.

The approval in principle by the bicameral conference committee of Congress on the reconciled Senate and Lower House Bills granting tax-free privileges in special economic zones will be effective and implemented only upon signing it into law by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, according to some Clark locators/investors and CDC officials.

If not signed into law, economic zone locators/investors will be required to pay back taxes and duties as feared by many locators. However, Central Luzon senators and congressmen expressed hope that President Arroyo would sign the tax incentive bills for the protection of more than 40,000 persons employed in various duty-free shops and locators in Clark zone alone.

Furthermore, big-time foreign and local investors will not be forced to transfer their operations in other tax-friendly nations. When the high cribunal removed the tax privileges in special economic zone, many locators/investors have threatened to leave Clark zone.

Officials of Cila and the Metro Clark Advisory Council have appealed to President Arroyo to sign into law the reconciled tax incentive bills, saying that the efforts and sacrifices of the “silent heroes” composed of CDC officials and employees in lobbying for the approval of the Senate and Lower tax perks bills save them from being “put to naught.”
By Fred Roxas - Countryside Pulse, Sun Star

Friday, February 09, 2007

6 dead, 10 injured in Bataan road accidents

BALANGA CITY – Six people, including an 11-month-old boy, were killed while 10 others were seriously injured in separate accidents along the MacArthur Highway in Dinalupihan, Bataan Wednesday night.

Senior Inspector Rogelio Rillon, Dinalupihan police chief, identified the fatalities as tricycle driver Mark de Jesus, 25; Francis Robert Susi, 11 months old; Majahmae Novero, 25; and Aubrey Jane Novero, 19, all of Barangay Mabuco, Hermosa town; and Joan Paule and her husband, Norvin, both night-shift factory workers at the Subic Bay Freeport. All of them died on the spot.

In the first accident, a dump truck smashed into the tricycle driven by De Jesus as it overtook a passenger jeepney at about 6:10 p.m.

Truck driver Jimmy Castro told police he was about to overtake the jeep when the steering wheel stuck and the brakes malfunctioned, sending the truck crashing into the tricycle.

Three hours later and eight kilometers away from the first incident, a Mitsubishi Fuso XLT bearing Subic Freeport workers was rammed by an onrushing Victory Liner bus while it was traversing a curve in Barangay San Pablo.

Due to the strong impact, the left portion of the service jeep was wrecked, killing the newlywed Paule couple on the spot – With Ric Sapnu, By Raffy Viray - The Philippine Star

Stakeholders told to help for speedy Subic-Clark road works

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Businessmen in Pampanga and Bataan, led by the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (PamCham), have called on government and private stakeholders of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) project to work together for the immediate completion of the much-vaunted modern toll road.

A resolution signed by officers of PamCham, Advocates for the Development of Central Luzon (ADCL), Metro Angeles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Maccii), Bataan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Bacci) and Clark Investors and Locators Association (Cila) reiterated the groups' support to the SCTEx project.

The businessmen's resolution came amid reports that the construction of the 94-kilometer toll road that would connect Tarlac to Clark and Subic has been hampered by right-of-way (ROW) issues.

The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), the government firm that oversees the SCTEx project, has already paid -- as its counterpart fund for the foreign-funded project -- P500 million for ROW.

However, several ROW cases, which have yet to be settled now cause delay to the construction.

"Despite the vigorous effort of BCDA to resolve issues regarding ROW acquisition, these have significantly hampered construction works in some segments. Any delay in the construction schedule could translate to millions worth of delay cost coupled by lost opportunities," the businessmen said.

The traders believed that that delays related to ROW acquisition could have been prevented if all concerned agencies specifically the Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank), the Department of Agrarian Reform (DRA), and the respective local government units cooperate to expedite acquisition, "with due respect to the rights of the legitimate property owners."

On Wednesday, the business leaders met with several officials of BCDA, LandBank and the Department of Land Reform (DLR) at the DLR regional office in this city to discuss the reported "squabble" between the government bank and BCDA that resulted in the delay in ROW case settlement.

In the meeting, however, both Gen. Robert Gervacio of the BCDA ROW department and LandBank head for agrarian operations Carlota Manalo denied that there is a dispute between the two government agencies.

"In fact, the BCDA and LandBank have been working together to settle the ROW issues that hound the SCTEx project," said Manalo.

Gervacio said the BCDA has resorted to expropriation on properties whose owners did not agree on the land values that LandBank has set for the affected parcels of land.

With the expropriation cases filed, the bases agency said the property owners would be assured to receive just compensation on their lands even as the government agency proceeds with the project.

At least 300 pending land cases and ROW claims have yet to be resolved, hindering LandBank from releasing certificates of full payment (CFP) of farmer-beneficiaries.

The BCDA, in buying the affected lands, need the CFP as a prerequisite in the transfer of titles in favor of the government.

PamCham president Rene Romero has called on all concerned to give way for the speedy completion of SCTEx, which is expected to provide a major boost in the economy of the region and the country.

"We should not look at the short term profits in the issue of ROW. The affected parties should eye the long-term benefits the project would bring when it is completed," Romero said.
By Albert B. Lacanlale - SunStar

Thursday, February 08, 2007

US firm eyes Clark investment of $400m

An American engineering firm has expressed interest in investing about $400 million, approximately P20 billion, for the development of the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport at Clark Special Economic Zone and an additional amount for the preparation of a master plan for the Subic-Clark Corridor.

Subic-Clark Alliance for Development chairman Edgardo Pamintuan, in a statement, said LPA Group Inc. of South Carolina, reputedly one of the 20 best airport design services firms in the United States, wanted to help develop the Subic-Clark Corridor into world-class logistics hub.

Pamintuan said Dennis Wiehl, vice president for international operations of the LPA Group, sent two letters to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo informing her of the company’s investment plan for the country.

He said LPA Group offered to prepare the master plan and environment study for the airport, as well as the areas traversed by the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway in Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales.

The US firm, he said, was on the final stages of arranging a $400-million loan agreement with US Eximbank to finance the airport project.

Separate financing was also being arranged for the master plan of the corridor, Pamintuan said.

“Right now, we are expanding the current terminal building of the DMIA initially to accommodate the dramatic growth of passenger traffic since the airport became a hub for domestic and international budget airlines,” he said.

Pamintuan said the plan was to develop airport as the premier international gateway of the Philippines for human traffic and flow of goods and services to and from other Asia-Pacific countries.

He said President Arroyo wanted to develop Clark and Subic, former American military bases, into a world-class logistics hub.

The offer of the US group, he said, was a welcome development since Clark and Subic used to be very important security facilities for the Americans.

In 1991, American troops from Clark and Subic abandoned the two bases following the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in Zambales and the termination of the RP-US military bases agreement.

“Now that the two facilities have been completely converted to civilian and economic uses, perhaps the US can also help boost our efforts. Indeed, we welcome the return of the Americans in Clark and Subic, specifically American companies involved in logistics, communications and information technology,” he said.

The government plans to expand and develop the airport at a cost of up to P56.5 billion, which would enable it to accommodate more than 10 million passengers annually, up from 500,000 passengers in 2006.

Development of the facility will start this year and to be completed until 2010.

Full dev’t of Clark airport into int’l gateway approved

President Arroyo has approved plans of the Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) to start working on the full development of Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) here as the country’s future premier international gateway and the best logistics hub in the Asia Pacific Region.

CIAC President Victor Jose I. Luciano said the approval of the Chief Executive came after the development plans of the government-owned corporation on the full utilization of DMIA before 2010 were presented during the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) meeting in Malacanang last Jan. 23.

He and new CIAC chairman Nestor Mangio attended the meeting.

During the NEDA meeting, which was presided over by the President, Luciano reported that arrangements are being finalized with theKorean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) for the financing of the -million feasibility study of the Clark airport.

The President was told that the airport development plan would cover the construction of two passenger terminals and general freight terminal facilities, including maintenance, repair and overhaul of other airport facilities, and extension of navigation and runway facilities.

The top CIAC executive said that if the proposed plan is approved, some P56.5 billion would be needed for the first phase development of the airport project.

The full modernization of DMIA complex will be started immediately and will be finished by 2010.

Luciano said that the development is necessary because of the growing number of passengers at DMIA every year.

At present, DMIA terminal has a capacity of 500,000 air passengers a year.

After the completion of terminal 2, its capacity is expected to increase to five million, and then to nine million after construction of terminal 3.

Luciano said that DMIA is at present undertaking the expansion of the passenger terminal to accommodate the continuing increase in the number of air passengers at the Clark airport. The expansion project will cost R160 million.

CIAC is also finalizing arrangements with Gate Gourmet for the establishment of in-flight catering service at a cost of R1 billion.

Luciano said that President Arroyo’s order to modernize the DMIA complex resulted in the continuing increase of domestic and international flights using Clark airport.

A record high of 470,867 passengers was posted at DMIA last year. It was a 110 percent increase in passenger volume from that of the previous year.

DMIA, which plays host to a coterie of budget airlines, recorded 50,607 passengers last month alone due to the influx of balikbayans or returning residents mostly from the US.

By FRED ROXAS - Manila Bulletin

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Barking up the wrong tree - "Payumo is being mentally dishonest"

Former Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Chairman Felicito “Tong” Payumo is barking up the wrong tree in his media campaign to blame the Bases Conversion Development Authority for the inability of three farmers in Dinalupihan, Bataan, to get paid for the land affected by the construction of the multi-billion peso Subic Clark Expressway project.

Payumo is saying that the three farmer families are not being paid because of the squabble between the BCDA and the Land Bank of the Philippines.

Sad to say, Payumo is being mentally dishonest. The more accurate assessment of the situation—and Payumo knows well that this is the case—is that BCDA is ready to pay the farmers as soon as they can produce the title to the land.

The problem is that LandBank, the agent of the Department of Agrarian Reform, refuses to release the title because there is a pending court case for the property. The former owner of the “land reformed” properties is disputing the agrarian reform department’s acquisition price and wants to be paid more.

Payumo says LandBank should already release the title since the farmers has already paid in full what they are supposed to pay for the land placed under land reform, but that LandBank is adamant in not releasing the title until the court case is finished.

If Payumo is honest about the whole thing, he would say that the squabble is between LandBank and the three farmers. BCDA is just being dragged into the case.

BCDA president Narciso Abaya has made clear BCDA’s position when he wrote Philippine Daily Inquirer reporter Tonette Orejas in reaction to Payumos tirade. “We have the cash and are ready to pay the three farmers as soon as they can produce the two documents that should emanate from the LandBank of the Philippines.” Abaya says the two documents are the certificate of full payment and the release of real estate mortgage. “We have been waiting for these documents to be released so that the farmers can be paid immediately.”

Abaya further explains: “We have now a manager’s check amounting to 100 percent of the value of the three parcels of land. You must understand that we cannot just release the payment because we are bound by the rules governing certificate of land ownership award, which the farmers presumably have in their possession.

As a former government official, Payumo should be sympathetic to BCDA’s dilemma. Paying the farmers without the title is a sure way to be charged by the Ombudsman.

Payumo knows this very well. When I visited him once, when he was still SBMA chairman, he told me that even if you follow the rules you might end up having a case at the Ombudsman. He cited the case where he allowed the sale of some trees that had been uprooted because of a typhoon. The logs from the uprooted trees were confiscated by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and he was charged before the Ombudsman.

If he can be charged even if he followed procedures, then he should understand if BCDA is unable to follow his demand that the farmers be paid in spite of the farmers’ inability to produce the documents needed to make the payment legal.

Unfairly blaming BCDA for the inability of the farmers to get paid is bad enough. What’s worse is when Payumo instigated the supposed “caretakers” of the farmers to put up a barricade to stop construction activities of highway in the area.

Payumo is holding the project hostage. He knows very well that if he delays it, the BCDA would lose millions. This is really an irresponsible act for a former SBMA chairman and a congressman wannabe.

Questions have been raised on who really now owns the three parcels of land that should belong to the three farmer land reform beneficiaries. There are talks that the certificates of the farmers have been bought for a measly sum and whoever holds it stands to earn a windfall.

The farmers paid P1 per sq m for the land under the agrarian reform department’s valuation. If their land is purchased for P150 per sq m, which was the purchase price for the adjacent Payumo family property acquired by BCDA, then the new owner stands to make more than a million for the three parcels measuring 1.4 hectares even if only P10 or P20 per sq m was paid to the farmers.

I am sure that it is not Payumo who now holds the farmers’ certificates. He knows very well that buying these certificates is not allowed by law.
Alvin Capino - Counterpoint, Manila Standard Today

Monday, February 05, 2007

Unity Masonic Lodge 285 Installation

Guest of Honor & Speaker si Olongapo City Mayor Bong Gordon sa installation ng mga bagong opisyales ng Unity Masonic Lodge 285 sa pangunguna ni Worshiful Master Vic V. Vizcocho, Jr. (nasa kanang bahagi ni Mayor Gordon) nitong ika- 31 ng Enero 2007 sa Unity Masonic Temple, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Olongapo City. Kasama rin sa larawan sina Installing Officer Ricardo Otero (nasa kaliwang bahagi ni Mayor Gordon) at R3-C District Deputy Grandmaster Opiniano Jaime.


Isang malaking katanungan ngayon ang nag-aantay ng kasagutan-”Sino ang mga tatanghaling karapat-dapat sa titulong Outstanding Olongapeňos 2006?.”

Ang Barangay Councilors League of the Philppines (BCLP)-Olongapo City Chapter sa pakikipag-tulungan ng Olongapo City Government sa pangunguna ni City Mayor James “Bong”Gordon, Jr. ang naglunsad ng Search for Outstanding Olongapeňos.

Nagpahayag naman ng extension of filing of nominees si BCLP-OC Pres. Cesar Santiago hanggang sa ika-10 ng Marso 2007 upang higit na mabigyan ang mga kwalipikadong indibidwal at organisasyon na mapabilang sa kompetisyon.

Ang Search for Outstanding Olongapeňos ay hinati sa anim (6) na kategorya kabilang na ang Legal, Medicine, Doctor of Medical Dentistry, Non-Government Organization (NGO), Entrepreneurship at Education. Sa ilalim ng kategorya ng edukasyon ay apat (4) ang pararangalan, dalawang (2) punong-guro at dalawang (2) guro na manggagaling sa elementary at secondary level ng pribado at pampublikong paaralan sa lungsod.
Gagawaran rin ng Special Awards ang mga Olongapeños na sina Abner Mercado ng programang “The Correspondence”ng Abs-Cbn Channel 2 para sa Journalism at Glady's Guevarra ng GMA Channel 7 para sa Entertainment na parehong nakilala sa kanilang field of expertise.

Ibabase ang puntos sa mga isinumiting dokumento ng mga nominado na batay sa kanilang Community Service (50%), Professionalism (15%), Personality & Social Background (15%), Previous awards given by NGO/GO/Church & Religious Organization (15%) at Entry Presentation (5%).

Maliban sa prestiyosong titulo ay makakatanggap rin ang mga magwawagi sa bawat kategorya ng cash at “Ulo ng Apo”trophy at citation and medal of merit naman ang lahat ng mga finalists. Ang awarding ay gaganapin sa ika-15 ng Marso 2007 sa Olongapo City Convention Center.
Samantala, sa mga nais mag-sumite ng kanilang nominasyon ay maaaring tumungo sa Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Office na matatagpuan sa 3rd Floor, City Hall Building o tumawag sa 222-3353

Ex-Zambales treasurer gets 10 years for fund misuse

A former municipal treasurer of San Antonio, Zambales was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division last January 30 for failure to account for public funds entrusted to her care, the anti-graft court said Sunday.

The Sandiganbayan has ordered Cecilia U. Legrama to pay a P1.13 million fine.

Legrama’s co-accused, former Municipal Mayor Romeo D. Lonzanida, was acquitted after the prosecution failed to establish its allegation of conspiracy between the two defendants.

In a 44-page decision, the anti-graft court held Legrama guilty of malversation of public funds and reprimanded her for attempting to deceive the court with outdated documents and records of expenditures presented in her defense.

“Accused Legrama failed to properly explain or justify the shortage in her accountability. By her failure to offer competent and credible evidence, she utterly failed to rebut the prima facie presumption of malversation, hence, her presumed innocence must yield to the finding that her conviction for malversation is warranted in the case at bar," the court said.

Case records showed government auditors conducted an inquiry into the municipal government’s finances covering the period from June to September 1996. The auditors said that Legrama’s account was found to be short by P1,152,900.75.

Testifying in her defense, Legrama tried to shift the blame on Lonzanida, claiming a large part of the missing sum was released to him and his representatives as cash advances that were never liquidated.

She asserted that she released P681,000 in cash to the mayor “during the height of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption."

Lonzanida, testifying in his turn, said he requested Legrama to facilitate the release of funds only for urgent purposes like medical expenses and scholarship grants.

In handing the verdict, the Sandiganbayan noted Legrama’s admission that she did not follow the required procedures in disbursing the funds to Lonzanida and his representatives.

Likewise, the court noted a discrepancy in the time frame cited by Legrama in her testimony


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