Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Subic Bay Sailors Are a ‘Dying Breed’

Filipinos have been serving in the U.S. Navy since 1901 when President William McKinley’s executive order allowed 500 Filipinos to enlist. Their specific recruitment, however, wasn’t formalized until 1947 at Subic Bay, Philippines, under the U.S.-Philippine Military Bases Agreement. The agreement allowed Filipinos to enlist through the U.S. Navy Philippine Enlistment Program (PEP) as foreign nationals without the requirement of U.S. immigrant credentials.

“I actually knew about that (PEP) since I was young,” said Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30 Command Master Chief (AW/SW) Eduardo Castro, who enlisted Oct. 5, 1981. “I sent two applications. The first one was after I graduated from high school, but I was not lucky enough to be accepted. I submitted the second one during college. There were 150 applicants; four people passed the test, but only three of us passed the interview.”Castro said Filipinos tried to join the Navy because there were few good job opportunities in the Philippines, and getting accepted changed his life. Chief Storekeeper (SW/AW) Geoffrey Ventura, also assigned to VRC-30 and a native of Baguio City, Philippines, said the Navy sent out calling cards for recruiting, and receiving one was like having a winning lottery ticket. Like Castro, Ventura took the test along with 300 other applicants, but only Ventura was accepted.“I came from a family with a military background, so that’s what motivated me to join, and I knew it would be good for me as well,” said Ventura, who joined Aug. 22, 1989. “Actually I didn’t come from a rich family in the Philippines. You may have a good profession (in the Philippines), but the money to provide for a family was not enough.”After they were notified of their acceptance, Castro and Ventura left the Philippines for Recruit Training Center San Diego with their uniforms, a recruit haircut and $20. “Coming from a tropical country, arriving in the U.S. during December was really cold; it was a shock for me," said Castro. "The environment, the people and the food are so different.

Adjusting was a challenge, but I was able to do it."As VRC-30 CMC, Castro contributes to the command’s diversity, showing them a different perspective on how to handle day-to-day business.“Coming from Philippines, a third world country, poor people and low income, it gave us (Filipinos] the insight to appreciate the things that the Navy has to offer, which are usually being taken for granted by local born U.S. citizens,” said Castro. “We are good at budgeting our resources and good at academics which we used as a tool to help the command and our Sailors. We have provided the necessary enlisted leadership that is needed. We have outstanding work ethic which resulted in command success in their operations and mission completion.”According to the Military Personnel Center, more than 19,000 Filipinos signed up in 1989, but when the U.S.-Philippine Military Bases Agreement expired in 1992, the recruitment program also ended. Most Subic Bay Sailors are now retired or serving as senior leaders like Castro and Ventura.

“I really feel sad sometimes because we are a dying breed,” said Ventura. “Subic Bay has been the golden melting pot, and I’m proud to say that, because they did not just recruit high school graduates but they recruited Sailors with degrees or with college backgrounds.”"The Navy is a diverse community," said Castro, native of San Quintin Pangasinan, Philippines. "Filipinos make up one aspect of the Navy’s many cultures and being in a position of leadership gives a better picture of how Filipinos contribute to the success of the mission."Castro added that his biggest life accomplishment was joining the Navy.“I believe in the saying, ‘the United States of America is the land of opportunity,’" said Castro. "The Navy gave me everything that I have. I have more than 27 years of service. Two-and–a-half more years to go, and then I will retire at 30 (years), hopefully with God's help."Ventura said he’s thankful of the opportunities the Navy provided him, but he never took it for granted."To be successful in the Navy, everything is hard work," said Ventura. "It depends on the person, whether they accept this responsibility. If you can learn to value hard work, then you will be successful in life.
Written by MC3 Rialyn Rodrigo, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, West

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Friday, February 27, 2009

Subik Clicks: Photo contest Promotes Subic Bay tourism

Subic Bay and the surrounding area are a nature and photography lovers haven and now the Greater Subic Bay Tourism Bureau wants your help in showing the world. GSBTB announces “Subik Clicks” a photography contest that highlights the four areas

Subik Click Photography Contest Opens.

Subic Bay and the surrounding area are a nature and photography lovers haven and now the Greater Subic Bay Tourism Bureau http://www.greatersubicbay.com wants your help in showing the world. GSBTB is proud to announce “Subik Clicks” a photography contest that highlights the four areas that make up the Greater Subic Bay area. Referred to as the “BOSZ” are the Province of Bataan, Olongapo city, Subic Bay Freeport, and the province of Zambales.( also referred to as Subik). The contest will accept photographs taken in any part of the four areas between January 1, 2009 and April 24,2009 the deadline for submissions.

Subic Bay itself is becoming well know as a tourist destination and the area has seen a growth in hotel rooms. Visitors from Manila and Cebu are increasing as they see it as a great alternative to other locations. The global economic crisis has caused many of them to look for lower cost alternative for vacations and they have discovered that not only does Subic Bay offer a great value, it also offers great vacations. The beaches along the Zambales coast are some of the best in Asia. Being less than a two hour drive from Manila, it is also great for a short getaway. Tourist from neighboring countries are also exploring the area. The DMIA at Clark Freeport Zone is a great gateway. The facilities are much better than the Manila airport giving visitors a much better arrival experience. A number of airlines are now flying into DMIA instead of Manila. The Subic Bay Freeport, the hub of Subik, is directly connected to the DMIA airport by the Subic-Clark-Tarlac expressway. Forty-five minutes after stepping out of the terminal at Clark you can be stepping onto a beach. Subic bay offers much more than great beaches and water sports. the Aetas, the nomadic tribe that has lived in the mountains for centuries allow tourist a glimpse into the jungles and their traditional lifestyles with hikes into the jungles and survival skill demonstrations. There are a number of theme parks also, such as Ocean Adventure, Zoobic Safari, Jungle Joe's and Tree Top Adventure.

The photography contest is open to everyone. The theme is simple show off what the Subic Bay area's tourism is all about. Photos submitted should be 8x10 in size unmounted. Entries will be entered into categories which are based on the location the photographs were taken. Each category will have a top prize of 20,000 pesos. There will be over 200,000 in cash prizes. The top 100 entries in each category will be displayed at the Subic Bay Exhibition and convention Center from 2 May to 14 May 2009. winners will be announced on 8 May, 20009. See the web site http://www.greatersubicbay.com for more details and entry form.

The GSBTB is also proud to be part of the "Explore and Discover" Sta Cruz Zambales contest.

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PLS. Watch A.N.C. 8 - 9PM tonight
Topic: U.S. VETERANS Payment Update and analysis

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Aboitiz Power defers Subic power project

THE construction of the 300-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant of Aboitiz Power Corp. (AP) at the Redondo Peninsula in Subic has been deferred indefinitely as a result of reduced demand in the Luzon grid.

AP chief financial officer Iker Aboitiz said, “We are basically taking a closer look at the project and looking at what’s going to happen in the Luzon grid this year because of the slowdown. The need for more capacity is not as clean-cut as in the Visayas grid.” However, Aboitiz said they are not abandoning the plan to put up the $450-million power plant, a joint project of AP and Taiwan Cogeneration Corp. that was originally slated for completion in 2011.

“It is just a matter of when to build it. We will need it and the capacity, for sure. We are just looking at our options in terms of timing.”

Aside from its Redondo Peninsula project, AP is pushing for other brand-new generation projects: the 460-MW coal-fired plant in Toledo in partnership with Metrobank and Formosa Heavy Industries of Taiwan, and the hydroelectric plant in Sibulan in Davao Oriental by AP subsidiary Hedcor. At the same time, AP is preparing to create a special purpose vehicle to bid for the Sual and Pagbilao power plants expected to be up for bidding by the middle of the year. Sual-Pagbilao produces about 1,700 MW. “We can bid for two [facilities], but the government does not want one company to control that much power so that we are only bidding for one,” said Aboitiz. He did not identify which facilities AP is considering. Written by Wilfredo Rodolfo III / Business Mirror

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Subic hotel-casino proponent now looking for alternate site

SUBIC BAY FREE PORT­—Despite the raging controversy stirred by allegations of tree cutting to make way for the Ocean 9 hotel-casino project here, the Korean proponent has not given up on its $120-million project and is now scouting for another location.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) administrator Armand Arreza said in a media briefing that Grand Utopia Inc. asked Subic authorities for help in finding another site for its hotel-casino complex.

“We have, in fact, found a suitable new location, but it’s not yet final,” Arreza said.

He identified a block of waterfront property where the decade-old steel skeleton of an aborted hotel project still stands as a possible site.

“Understandably, Grand Utopia is already impatient because of the delay resulting from the controversy,” Arreza said, referring to allegations by noted Filipino architect Felino Palafox Jr. that the project would destroy about 300 trees at the proposed site.

The purported tree cutting has caused uproar among environment, religious and civic groups, although not a single tree has yet been cut, as some independent groups had verified, including Environment Secretary Lito Atienza, who inspected the site last month.

Arreza said what happened was really unfair to Grand Utopia, “because this locator has, since the beginning, indicated its willingness to abide by Philippine laws.”

He added if the Ocean 9 proposal would indeed destroy trees, the plan could always be altered or rejected by authorities.

“That’s why we have laws to guide us in making decisions,” he said.

Arreza also called on critics of the project to stop “sensationalizing” the issue for the truth to emerge and the matter resolved rationally.

He said the issue is “already moot” since no trees have actually been cut at the project site, and the SBMA and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have categorically stated they will not allow any tree to be cut.

“This is already a closed case as far as we’re concerned, but the problem is somebody continues to muddle the issue,” Arreza said, referring to Palafox.

“Palafox fancies himself as a crusader for the environment and a fighter of corruption, but so far he has been making unsubstantiated allegations,” Arreza said.

“He owes a lot of people explanation for what he’s done,” he added.

Arreza said Palafox began “exposing” internal documents about the Ocean 9 hotel-casino project even before Grand Utopia could formally present its plan to the SBMA.

The initial environmental examination (IEE) report for the project was received by the SBMA only in the first week of January this year, but Palafox has been talking about its details since late November, Arreza said.

“That was grossly unethical because he [Palafox], technically, did not own the plans since he was just hired as a project designer,” Arreza said.

Palafox claimed last year that he backed out of the project after learning that Grand Utopia intended to cut trees.

Arreza said documents from Grand Utopia indicated that Palafox was precisely hired because he promised the Korean firm to facilitate the granting of an environmental compliance certificate for the project.

SBMA documents also show that an environmental assessment group hired by Palafox for the project’s IEE had said in its initial report “tree-balling is highly recommended.”

A manifesto from the Council for Built and Natural Environments (CBNE), composed of nine professional organizations, meanwhile, urged “a second look” at the Ocean 9 controversy to “come up with a more objective and intelligent appreciation of the situation.”

The CBNE said a fact-finding mission it conducted on February 5 validated that the proposed project site is in Subic’s commercial district, there is no natural forest in the proposed project site and that no tree has been cut or felled.

Based on its findings, the group concluded that vegetation in the project site can neither be considered virgin forest, or a natural old-growth forest, and that there are no century-old trees in the area.

The CBNE is composed of the United Architects of the Philippines, Philippine Institute of Environmental Planners, Philippine Association of Landscape Architects, Geological Society of the Philippines, Integrated Chemists of the Philippines, National Master Plumbers Association of the Philippines, Philippine Association of Agriculturists, Philippine Institute of Interior Designers, and the Society of Filipino Foresters. Written by Henry Empeño / Business Mirror

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009


The City Government of Olongapo through the City Cooperative Development Council (CCDC) will host the first-ever Cooperative Congress in Central Luzon slated on March 9 to 11, 2009 at the Olongapo City Convention Center.

The city’s preparation for this event is on-going and Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. is expected to welcome the guests and participants of the said congress. This event was conceptualized to harmonize and complement the efforts of all stakeholders towards more strengthened, independent and dynamic cooperatives.

Cooperative leaders will convene to tackle the challenges affecting the country’s economy brought about by the global financial crisis. Their main objective is to develop and strengthen cooperative development councils (CDCs) by identifying and organizing the CDCs in provinces and municipalities. The council also intends to come up with unified plans, programs, projects and activities. Through this congress, the cooperative sector targets an intensified partnership with the government sector, private groups and civil society.

With the theme “Partnership for Globally Competitive Cooperatives,” resource speakers include Senators Manny S. Villar, Juan Miguel Zubiri and Richard J. Gordon. Other speakers are CDA Chairperson Lecira V. Juarez, Butil Partylist Representative Leonila V. Chavez, CDA-Region III Director Manuel A. Mar and Zambales Vice Governor Anne Marie C. Gordon.

Each topic and the choice of resource speakers were chosen based on the needs of the cooperators. Topics vary from the present national state of the cooperative sector, the global economic crisis and its effects a cooperatives, updates on legislative measures affecting coop movement, regional coop situation, sharing of best practices and economic forecast for 2009 and beyond.

Awards will also be given to honor an exemplary primary cooperative, a coop-friendly LGU, a cooperative development officer, a cooperative development council and an outstanding CDA employee.

The three-day affair is a joint project of the Central Luzon Development Cooperative Council (CLDCC) and the Cooperative Development Authority – Region III (CDA-RIII).

Three thousand delegates from Central Luzon and other regions in the country, together with local chief executives, coop advocates and supporters are expected to participate in this maiden event.

Olongapo City Convention Center will be the venue of the 1st Central Luzon Cooperative Congress on March 9-11, 2009 where 3,000 delegates are expected.


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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

We did best to comply with safety laws - Hanjin president

The president of Korean firm Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction on Tuesday said that they did their best to comply with the Philippine’s safety laws, rules and regulations and even promised to “go the extra mile" to protect the lives of their workers.

"[Hanjin] feels that it has done in its two years of existence its best to comply with all safety laws, rules and regulations and if necessary would go the extra mile of providing what is lacking in this laws to completely protect the lives of our workers," Hanjin president Jeong Sup Shim told the Senate panel investigating the fatal accidents in the shipyard and construction site.

He added that Hanjin would continue to contribute to the economic development of the Philippines.

Based on the records of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, there were 19 work-related deaths at Hanjin.

Jeong Sup Shim thanked the Senate and other parties for the concern to the safety of their shipyard but he asked the panel to be objective in releasing its findings.

"The Senate and other parties will gather enough information to come up with a fair finding taking into account both sides of legislation with all objectivity and impartiality," Jeong said.

"We believe that the purpose of the inquiry is in aid of legislation and to further improve the safety of the workplace and not really to find fault in our company which could easily hinder operations," he added.

Jeong said the firm will recognize the findings of the panel.

"We are one with the Senate and other concerned parties that it is vital to implement health and safety programs in our shipyard," Jeong said.

Upon the questioning of Senator Pilar Juliana Cayetano, Jeong said that being the company’s president, his primary job is to concentrate in marketing and getting ship orders.

He said he is just relying on the report of his men on the ground particularly about labor matters.

Mr. Jeong assumed his position only in February 2008.

Also present at the hearing were Hanjin general manager Myung Goo Kwon and deputy managing director Pyeong Jong Yu; Feliciano Salonga, chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and representatives from the Department of Labor and Employment and Department of Health. - AMITA LEGASPI, GMANews.TV

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4 US solons as honorary Filipinos

The American lawmakers who pushed for the recognition and compensation that Filipino war veterans are now receiving from the United States deserve to be considered honorary citizens of the Philippines, according to several bills filed by Zambales Rep. Antonio Diaz.

Diaz' bills, filed February 18, seek want to confer the status on US Senators Theodore Stevens, Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka, and Representative Bob Filner for being instrumental for the benefits finally being accorded the Filipino soldiers after a very long battle.

Bills pushed by the American lawmakers paved the way for the incorporation of a provision granting lump sum compensation for the veterans in the stimulus package bill approved by the US congress, Diaz said in his resolutions. By Leila Salaverria - Philippine Daily Inquirer

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Palafox on a witch hunt

Gordon, others linked to alleged Subic anomaly
An architect on Tuesday implicated five former and incumbent government officials, including Senator Richard Gordon, in alleged bribery and protectionism in the construction of a $120-million hotel-casino project in Subic.

During the hearing of the House Committee on Bases Conversion, architect Felino "Jun" Palafox Jr. named Gordon, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Board of Directors member Ricardo Coscolluela and his daughter Buhay party-list Rep. Ma. Carissa Coscolluela, Pagcor Chairman Ephraim Genuino, and former Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay as the "backers" of SBMA Administrator Armando Arreza in supporting the project.

He said he initially did not want to disclose the names of the officials allegedly involved in the corruption but was compelled to do so because of death and legal threats he has been receiving and the "black propaganda" being hurled against him.

"I'm doing this for God, for country and for planet earth," Palafox said.

Palafox however admitted that he did not have direct knowledge of the alleged corruption. He also refused to disclose his sources during the House hearing, saying he had a "personal and professional commitment" to them.

The younger Coscolluela denied the allegation and challenged Palafox to substantiate his claims during the next hearing. "You had better be able to substantiate your claims against me or I will see you in court," she said, adding that all the accusers and accused must likewise appear in the next hearing.

Earlier in the hearing, Palafox alleged that there was bribery and protectionism in the process of the approval of the $120-million project.

Palafox said he backed out from the deal with Korean Firm Gran Utopia Inc. because the project's design entailed the cutting of 366 trees in the supposed construction site in Subic's Central Business District.

He however said that despite the SBMA's stance that it does not want trees cut for the project, the SBMA signed a contract with the Korean firm allowing the construction.

But Arreza said during the hearing that there was a provision in the contract that says its execution was subject to laws and to the issuance of an environmental compliance certificate by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

"We don't know why we are being subjected when there are no trees cut," said Arreza.

He also maintained that the SBMA's stance "has always been to preserve the trees."

Even as he said that the area where the hotel-casino was supposed to be built was not a protected area, Arreza said the SBMA is now helping Gran Utopia Inc. find another site for the project.

For his part, Oscar Cabayanan of the DENR said they would not likely issue an ECC to Gran Utopia if the construction of the project entails the cutting of trees. "No trees should be cut," he said. - JOHANNA CAMILLE SISANTE, GMANews.TV

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Filipinos divided on territorial claims in South China Sea

in July 1997, Judge Eliodoro C. Ubiadas of the regional trial court of Olongapo city in Zambales province in a verdict dismissed, for lack of legal basis, the illegal entry charges filed against 21 Chinese fishermen caught in Scarborough Shoal
Legal and academic documents and official maps in the Philippines show that its controversial territorial claims in the South China Sea has been disputable even inside the country over the past three decades.

Last week, the Philippine Congress passed the 2009 baseline bill that extends the archipelago's territory to include China's Huangyan Island and part of Nansha Islands in the South China Sea. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has lodged a stern protest, denouncing Manila's claim as "illegal and invalid."

But back in July 1997, Judge Eliodoro C. Ubiadas of the regional trial court of Olongapo city in Zambales province in a verdict dismissed, for lack of legal basis, the illegal entry charges filed against 21 Chinese fishermen detained seven nauticalmiles southeast of Huangyan Island, or Scarborough Shoal known by Filipinos.

The Philippines claimed the area is its territory or belongs to its exclusive economic zone. But Judge Ubiadas invoked a provision in the Presidential Decree 1599 stating that even though the exclusive economic zone extends to a distance of 200 nautical miles from the baselines, in cases where the outer limits of Philippines' exclusive economic zone overlap that of an adjacent or neighboring state, the common boundaries shall be determined byan agreement with the state concerned. Source: Xinhua

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First Filipino cruiseliner chooses Subic Bay as homeport

SUBIC BAY FREE PORT—For want of a spectacular view each time its ship sails, the first Filipino cruise ship company has decided to make its homeport here.

The 7107 Islands Cruise ship will now raise anchor from this free port and take its passengers to island destinations like Puerto Galera, Boracay and Coron, said the firm’s chairman Esteban Tajanlangit.

Tajanlangit, who joined the ship’s recent Valentine’s Day cruise to Subic, was swept off his feet by the panoramic vista of mountains and seas here—a far cry from Manila’s harbor where stacks of container cargo block the view, he said.

“This is the Philippines’ first cruise ship and Subic Bay is the ideal homeport for it,” Tajanlangit said during his visit here.

“The 7107 Islands Cruise is committed to make Subic a takeoff point to our country’s 7,107 spectacular islands, and today is just the beginning,” he added.

Tajanlangit said the next 7107 Islands Cruise ship tour sails from Subic to Manila, pick up more passengers and sail on to Puerto Galera, Boracay and Coron.

The firm’s web site also advertised other destinations like the islands of Ditaytayan, Malcapuya and Culion, as well as the Calauit game preserve in Palawan and the Apo Reef in Mindanao.

For the regular cruise schedule, the ship will dock one or two days in each destination before sailing back to Subic Bay, Tajanlangit said.

The 110-meter long 7107 Islands Cruise ship has “five-star hotel comfort” with 137 cabins that could accommodate up to 370 guests.

It also has a swimming pool, sauna and spa, poolside bar, and an entertainment lounge that re-gularly features professional bands and guest artists.

Tajanlangit said the cruise line has partnered with destination resorts for diving, snorkeling, boating and other water sports activity.

On its maiden cruise to Subic on February 14, the 7107 Islands brought close to 300 tourists who spent a day exploring some of the top attractions in this free port.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Feliciano Salonga said the passenger cruise industry could energize Subic’s tourism sector and “provide some steam to port and maritime-related businesses here in the face of the global recession.”

But Salonga noted this development also brings tourists away to other destinations.

Residents of Central and Northern Luzon now have the opportunity to join the ship’s island tours in the Visayas area, he said.

“Remember that the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway [SCTEx] now makes it easy for residents of Luzon to be in Subic in no time at all,” Salonga said.

The SBMA official also said Subic had long been ready for cruise liners, with various tour packages now available for various markets.

To support this marketing initiative, the SBMA has developed berthing facilities for cruise liners at the Alava pier and the former ship repair facility, while a private firm builds a passenger terminal, tourist complex and a Bali-type resort along Subic’s waterfront.

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7th Fleet top sailor is a Pinoy

US navy Master Chief Marcos Sibal stood proudly before the crowd that watched the US Navy’s 7th Fleet Band during their concert last Sunday at SM North EDSA. When he addressed the audience in Filipino, the crowd roared in approval.

Angeles City-born Sibal is no ordinary sailor in the US navy. He is the top sailor in the Western Pacific area, being the US 7th Fleet’s master chief.

Sibal, the first Filipino to hold such a position, said in an interview following the concert attended by US Ambassador Kristie Kenney that his present position is equivalent to a sergeant major in the army.

“I am the eyes and ears of the admiral in matters concerning morale and welfare of all enlisted personnel in the 7th Fleet,” he said.

As the command’s master chief since July 2007, Sibal is in charge of all issues and concerns of some 27,000 US Navy sailors at any given time.

Despite his position, this father of two has remained humble, saying that he never lets his present stature get into his head.

“I am proud that I am a Filipino, but you should not be bigger than your position. I am just like you, performing your job, especially when I have a very good boss, Admiral John Bird,” he said.

Sibal is with the USS Blue Ridge, the flagship of the 7th Fleet, that just concluded its four-day port call and goodwill visit to the country. The visit was highlighted by a concert of the world-renowned 7th Fleet Band that had the audience applauding and some, such as Kenney, dancing.

According to information from the US 7th Fleet, Sibal entered the US Navy in 1983, as part of the US and RP navy recruitment program in Subic, Zambales.

He attended basic training at the Recruit Training Command in San Diego, California.

His military education includes Seaman Apprenticeship training at the Naval Training Center in San Diego in November 1983 and Electrician’s Mate’s School at Naval Technical Training Center in Great Lakes, Illinois, where he graduated at the top of his class in July 1987.

He graduated from the Navy’s Senior Enlisted Academy in Newport, Rhode Island in March 2002.

He has served on a variety of shipboard platforms, including tours aboard guided-missile destroyers, aircraft carriers and guided-missile cruisers, such as the USS Barney, USS Towers, USS Independence, where he qualified as a CV 62 Class Engineering Officer of the Watch (EOOW), USS Chancellorsville, again qualifying as an EOOW, and as Command Master Chief of the Black Knights of Strike Fighter Squadron 154 based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, where he deployed and completed a world combat deployment aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.

He detached there in October 2005 and reported to the commander of Fleet Activities in Sasebo, Japan, where he assumed duties as the installation Command Master Chief.

Sibal’s shore duties included Fleet Training Group Western Pacific as a steam and diesel propulsion plant engineering evaluator, Maintenance and Material Management Coordinator at US Naval Air Facility in Atsugi, Japan, along with his tour at Fleet Activities Sasebo, Japan.

He is qualified to wear both the Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist and the Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist insignias. By James Mananghaya - PhilStar

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Subic Customs vows to scan all container cargoes

SUBIC BAY FREE PORT—With a little help from the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), the Bureau of Customs (BOC) expects the full implementation of a government policy to scan all container cargoes that pass through this free port.

Port of Subic customs collector Marietta Zamoranos vowed to use an x-ray scanner on 100 percent of container cargoes here after her office admitted before the Congressional Oversight Committee on Thursday that it lost at least P500 million in uncollected container-security fees (CSF) from locator firms and port users.

The committee chaired by Tarlac Rep. Jeci Lapus held last week’s hearing at the SBMA boardroom to investigate reports that the x-ray machine installed here by the Department of Finance in late 2007 hasn’t been used.

In the hearing, Zamoranos said the collection of CSF “can be done properly now” after SBMA administrator Armand Arreza proposed to install boom gates at the access points of Subic’s New Container Terminals (NCT-1 and NCT-2) to facilitate x-ray inspection.

She also assured the Lapus committee her office would ensure the proper use of the x-ray machine at the container terminal to plug any revenue leak and prevent the entry of antisocial goods.

X-ray scan for all container cargoes in Subic was made mandatory to enforce Executive Order 660, which imposed taxes on excess capital goods imported by business locators here.

According to the SBMA seaport department, 29,370 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of container cargo passed through here in 2008.

Of these, 14,888 TEUs were imports and 6,047 TEUs were exports and 250 TEUs were transshipments. Only 14,060 TEUs are forecast for 2009, however, due to a “downward trend in the global economy.”

During the hearing, the committee learned from Kurais Jusman, BOC field officer for the x-ray ins-pection project in Subic, that only 20 percent of all container cargoes recorded here from October 2008 to January 2009 were scanned.

Jusman said many container truck drivers refused to stop for x-ray scanning even after customs agents flagged them down.

Thus, only 433 of 2,125 container trucks that entered the Port of Subic since October were scanned.

Jusman also said only 1,267 container trucks have paid the CSF. The money is supposed to help defray the $150 million for the 10 x-ray machines installed in various ports throughout the country.

He added that in the same period, 834 container vans assessed for the CSF were not scanned, and 361 that did not pay the CSF also bypassed the scanning requirement.

SBMA’s Arreza said if the problem consisted mainly of drivers that refused to stop and have their cargo scanned, then boom gates could be set up at the cargo terminal’s access points.

Had the BOC informed the SBMA of this problem earlier, “we could have gone after [Subic] business locators who refused to have their cargo scanned,” he added.

Lapus asked Jusman if the x-ray scans could be done once the boom gates are complete.

Jusman said yes, and vowed, “I will resign from my position if we fail to scan 100 percent of the containers.” Written by Henry Empeño / Business Mirror

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Fire Prevention Month is observed every year as per Presidential Proclamation No. 115-A, aimed at raising the level of awareness of the public of the ways to prevent fires and save lives and properties.

The Bureau of Fire Protection in cooperation with the Disaster Management Office and the Olongapo City government are now preparing for the implementation of fire prevention measures in the city.

As early as February, the Bureau of Fire has been conducting fire drills and seminars in various schools and selected barangays respectively.

Every year, the celebration of fire prevention is opened with a motorcade led by Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. with the Bureau Of Fire Protection, City Disaster Coordinating Council (CDCC), Disaster Management Office (DMO), SBMA Fire Department, radio groups and representatives of each barangay, private and public sectors.

Olongapo residents are enjoined to get involved and be informed in the implementation of various activities in connection with the Fire Prevention Month.


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Monday, February 23, 2009

Hanjin delays expansion of Shipyard

With no new ship orders, Hanjin Heavy Industries Corp., Philippines (HHIC-Phil) is slowing down its shipyard expansion.

Hanjin received 34 ship orders in the early part of 2008 in its shipyard but the number of orders has not increased to date.

Ship owners have put off new orders as they watch the manufacturing industry grapple with slackening consumer demand.

Armand Arreza, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) administrator, said Hanjin was supposed to go on with the construction of dry dock number 7, but has not started the expansion because of the changed business environment.

The present shipyard is handling the construction of 34 vessels scheduled for deliveries from 2008 to 2013.

This year, Arreza said 14 vessels are scheduled for delivery. Vessel sales are estimated to be between $840 million to $900 million, as ships vary in sizes.

Last year, Hanjin launched four 4,300 TEU container ships that cost around $0 million each.

Hanjin’s dry-dock numbers 1, 2 and 3 are all in its shipyard in Korea. Dry-dock number and are in Subic and another one will be constructed to accommodate future vessel constructions.

The dock no. , a 480-meter long 13 meter-wide and 13. meters deep was completed last year. It has a bigger assembly line, and 1.7 kilometer quay wall and installation of two more units of ultra huge gantry crane.

“The dry-docks and which are included in the first phase of development is worth $1.6 billion. The second phase of the project development which involve the construction of dry-dock 7 is supposed to deliver another $1 billion investment,” Arreza said.

“They shipyard currently employs 20,000 workers. Their commitment to employ about 40,000 employees would happen if the phase 2 of the project would be in place.

Hanjin’s use state of the art technology to ensure being at par with competitors and be able to maintain value for customers.

Hanjin’s shipyard expansion will allow the company to compete well with other major shipbuilders in Korea, such as Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering.

The firm plans to increase the shipbuilding capacity in Subic equipped with facilities that can generate annual sales of about $3.1 billion, the company said.

“We will promote the shipyard as a global shipbuilding base,” Hanjin said.

--By: Genivi Factao

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Red Cross Dinagsa ng Volunteers

BONGABON, Nueva Ecija – Nagsagawa ng panunumpa bilang mga bagong volunteers ng Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) ang may 1,118 na resident ng bayan noong nakaraang Huwebes.

Naging bahagi ito ng ‘1-4-3’ o ‘Red Cross I love You’ program sa pangunguna nina PNRC Chairman Sen. Richard Gordon at dating Nueva Ecija Chairman Tomas N. Joson III.

Ayon kay Gordon, bilang mga volunteers ay magiging aktibo ang mga bagong kasapi sa panahon ng kalamidad bukod sa binigyan ng mga 1st aid kit bag, sasailalim din sa pagsasanay ang mga volunteers na binubuo ng 44 na kasapi sa bawat barangay ng Bongabon, Nueva Ecija.

Idinagdag ni Gordon na simula ito upang matulungan ang mga nagiging biktima ng kalamidad particular ang malalayong lugar na malalapit sa paanan ng bundok at mga baybaying dagat na hindi kaagad naaabot ng mga “relief at rescue team”.

--By: Jojo de Guzman - Abante

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With the theme “Pambansang Pulisya: Kaagapay ng Mamamayan sa Kapayapaan at Kaunlaran” the Olongapo City Police Office (OCPO) will be celebrating the 18th Anniversary of the Philippine National Police (PNP) with a simple program at Camp Cabal in Brgy. Barretto on February 27, 2009 with Olongapo First Lady and Vice Governor Anne Marie Gordon as the guest speaker.

A blood letting ceremony will open the day’s activity, followed by a short program where certificates of recognition will be given to outstanding uniformed and non-uniformed personnel of the OCPO.

Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. will also receive a recognition to be presented by City Director PSSupt. Abelardo P. Villacorta and Deputy City Director for Operations PSupt. Jeric P. Villanueva to be assisted by Chief, Admin. Unit PSI Lolito J. Tejada.

One of the highlights of the event will be the groundbreaking ceremony for the renovation of the Olongapo City Mobile Group(OCMG) Quarters.

The OCPO and the city government are working together to lessen if not eliminate incidences of crimes in the city.


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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Zambales: Gearing up, cashing in

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Administrator Armand Arreza announced that SBMA has maintained its status as the country's leading investment agency after posting US$1.1 billion in committed investment employing nearly 70,000 workers this year.

"Our new challenge today is to bring investments to the nearby towns of Zambales and Bataan and Olongapo City. This will be easier now after the President issued Executive Order 675," Arreza said.

With the EO 675, according to Arreza, new investors who are looking for bigger land area will be allowed to put up investment to other places near the Subic Bay Freeport and Clark areas.

"We are also preparing a plan for the construction of access roads going to some tourist and investment sites in Zambales. There are also new power plants to be built inside the Freeport zone that will provide lower power rates," he said.

In a similar move, Zambales Governor Amor Deloso has announced that Zambales is gearing towards development as it vows to open major road networks that will connect the province to other economic zones in Northern and Central Luzon.

"There is a need to open new roads to expand the development opportunities of the provinces and maximize its potentials as a new investment site in the region," said Gov. Amor Deloso.

He identified the new economic doors as the Santa Cruz-Mangatarem Road that will connect the northern town of Santa Cruz with the town of Mangatarem in Pangasinan and the Iba-Tarlac Road which will connect the province to Tarlac.

The roads are necessary to open new space for possible economic zones and to shorten travel going in and out of the province to and from Central Luzon, Northern Luzon and Western Luzon areas. 

"The roads will also maximize the use of our Masinloc Port as a major seaport in the area benefiting investors, particularly exporters and importers, from Zambales and Pangasinan," Deloso said.

The governor noted that the Tarlac-Iba Road, which would span to about 60 kilometers when finished, has already a plan that was approved during the administration of former president Ramos.

"The road will boost the potentials of the Masinloc Port which will be constructed under a built-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme by a Canadian business group to the amount of US$5 billion. When finished, Masinloc Port will become a major transshipment port in the region," he said.

Meanwhile, the official said that the Mangatarem-Santa Cruz Road Project is about 82 kilometers and could be finished at the cost of P200 million. The road will shorten travel time going to Pangasinan from Iba, Zambales from six hours to about two hours.

Deloso has also announced that discussions have already been started to study the possibility of putting a 500-hectare industrial estate in the former San Miguel Naval Air Stations in San Antonio Zambales.

The proposed industrial zone will fast tract the many development programs of the province to turn the province into a tourism and light industry destination in the region.

"Roads will bind our resources- land, people and infrastructures. Due to the completion of the SCTEX, space for investment in Bulacan and Tarlac is getting scarce. Subic Freeport soon could not accommodate more factories. But Zambales has vast land space to offer and we have pier, ship repair facilities and a small airport for tourism," Gov. Deloso said. (AMV/PIA-Zambales)

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New incentives for Subic-Clark investors

RP-Taiwan meet inks four accords, launches incentives for Clark, Subic investors — Meco

Antonio Basilio, Manila Economic and Cultural Office (Meco) managing director and resident representative, said among the highlights of the 16th RP-Taiwan Joint Economic Conference (JEC) last week was the signing of four major trade and investment agreements between the Philippines and Taiwan namely: an memorandum of understanding on Philippine-Taiwan Cooperation on Industrial Technology Development; an MoU on Small and Medium Enterprise Food Development; an MoU on Intellectual Property Cooperation; and an MoU on Standardization and Conformity Assessment for Electronic Products.

At the luncheon meeting hosted by the Philippine delegation headed by Trade Secretary Peter Favila on Feb. 12, an entirely new set of investment incentives uniquely packaged and formulated to meet the evolving requirements of Taiwan’s high-technology companies was launched.

“The package includes unprecedented incentives for Taiwanese companies, and presented various development opportunities within the Clark and Subic Bay economic corridor. The package is designed to compete with current offerings by the Vietnam government to Taiwanese players.

“This set of incentives, never before offered to any foreign locator in the Clark-Subic economic corridor, is also designed to fill existing gaps in the Philippines’ electronics and information and communications technology (ICT) value chain,” said Basilio.

Basilio said another highlight of the JEC was the holding of the 21st Joint Meeting of the Chinese-Philippines and the Philippine-Chinese Business Council, while the Philippine Investment Seminar was held on Feb. 11, organized by the Chinese International Economic Cooperation Association, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and the Meco.

Clement Yang, chairman of the Chinese-Philippine Business Council, delivered the opening remarks while Valentin Khoe of the Philippine-Chinese Business Council provided the response during the event. Chairman Tomas Alcantara of Meco and PCCI chairman Miguel Varela also delivered their remarks during the affair.

Basilio said the plenary session and seminar proper focused on a number of investment opportunities including high-yield tourism, investing in the Philippine economic corridor, the RP-Taiwan ICT industry collaborative ventures, sectoral investment opportunities, and renewable energy.

Tourism Undersecretary Phineas Alburo gave his presentation on investment opportunities in the Philippine tourism development together with Philip Chao, deputy director of the International Affairs of the Tourism Bureau of Taiwan ’s Ministry of Transportation.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator Armand Arreza presented the Master Plan of Development in the Subic Bay Free Port while Benigno Ricafort, president of Clark Development Corp. (CDC), delved on the Master Plan of Development in the Clark Free Port.

Meanwhile, on the topic of RP-Taiwan ICT Industry Collaborative Ventures, Arthur Young, chairman of the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines gave an overview of the Philippine electronics and semiconductor industry while Dr. Gwo-Jiunn Huang, fellow of Taiwan’s Institute for Information Industry, focused his presentation on the ICT industry.

Discussions on Exploring Sectoral Investment Opportunities particularly on aqualculture and agriculture were spearheaded by Philip Ong, president of Santeh Feeds Corp., and Dr. Cheng-Wei Chen, associate professor of the Department of Agriculture Economics, College of Bio-Resources and Agriculture, National Taiwan University.

For renewable energy, Felix Velasquez, president of Bataan Manufacturing Co. Inc. and Phillip Cheng, president of Cosmo Electronics Corp., spoke about investment prospects in the country.

An open forum followed the presentations after which Vice Minister Sheng-Chung Lin of Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Secretary Favila gave their closing remarks. PNA

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Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. is encouraging all departments and local government offices in Olongapo City to nominate deserving employees in line with the announcement of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), for the Nationwide Search for Outstanding Public Servants of 2009.

The said program applies to all officials and employees in the career and non-career service of the government. This also includes appointive barangay officials and employees recognized as government employees pursuant to CSC Resolution No. 01-1352 dated August 10, 2001.

According to the memorandum, “The conferment of honor awards aims to motivate or inspire government employees to improve the quality of their performance and instill deeper involvement in public service.”

There are three categories at stake such as the Presidential Lingkod Bayan and CSC Pag-asa Awards for Outstanding Work Performance and Dangal ng Bayan Award for Outstanding Public Officials and Employees.

Since last year, the City Government of Olongapo has been actively searching for candidates for the Employee of the Month award who later will vie for the Employee of the Year plum. “It is important that the city government acknowledges the hard work and contributions of its employees,” said Gordon. The mayor believes that Olongapo has a pool of deserving individuals who can be nominated for the CSC awards.

Deadline for the submission of nominations is on or before March 31, 2009.
The annual search is part of the Honor Awards Program (HAP) which is an annual undertaking of the CSC that recognizes government officials and employees who have displayed outstanding work performance.

The search will culminate with the recognition and conferment of awards to deserving public servants during the celebration of the anniversary of the Philippine Civil Service in September.


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City Mayor James ‘’Bong’’ Gordon, Jr. is reminding residents of Olongapo to aggressively participate in the city’s campaign against Dengue.

‘’Ang bawat Olongapeño ay may responsibilidad sa kapwa Olongapeño at sa kanyang komunidad. Pagtulungan natin na wakasan ang Dengue,’’ Mayor Bong Gordon said.

‘’Panatilihin nating malinis ang ating kapaligiran gayundin ang ating sarili. Tandaan natin na ang may malusog na mamamayan ay may malinis na kapaligiran,’’ Mayor Gordon added in calling for cooperation among residents.

The City Health Office (CHO) headed by Dr. Arnildo Tamayo, is continuously intensifying its year-round campaign against Dengue.

In line with this, the city government is pushing for the implementation of the “4S” or the four (4) ways to stay away from the dangers brought about by the Dengue disease.

The ‘’4S’’ includes, (1)Search and Destroy all Breeding Sites through regular cleaning of places where mosquitoes hatch eggs such as tires, bottles, flower vases, etc.; (2)Self-Protection through the use of mosquito nets and repellants; (3)Seek early treatment or medical attention immediately if fever persists for two days; and (4)Say “No” to indiscriminate fogging or defogging and ensure it is done only at appropriate times (1-2 hours after sunrise or 1-2 hours after sunset).

According to the Department of Health and City Health Office, to achieve a Dengue-free environment, these “Puksain ang kitikiti, Sugpuin ang Dengue” tips can help:

1. Perforate or cut open old tires to avoid collection of water and mosquito breeding.
2. Cover drums, basins and other water collecting materials to avoid mosquito breeding.
3. Replace water on flower vases at least once a week.
4. Clean and regularly remove water in the cupboard.
5. Regularly clean rain pipe or spout to avoid water collection and mosquito breeding.
6. Remove other prone materials that can collect water and mosquito breeding such as cans, bottles and bottle caps.

For more information about ‘iwas-dengue’ tips, coordinate with the City Health Office at telephone numbers 224-8390 local 4147/4134.


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Saturday, February 21, 2009

SCTEX extend development in Freeport, Zambales

Iba, Zambales - Less than a year into its opening, the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) is fast gaining prominence among tourists and businessmen, and a great number of investors within the Subic Freeport Zone gave nothing but praise to the tollway project.

John Corcoran, president of the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (SBFCCI), said that the SCTEX will provide local and foreign visitors with better and faster access to Subic's recreational facilities as well as commercial and industrial establishments.

"This is going to have such a positive impact all over the Subic Bay Freeport because the new highway has significantly cut travel time to Subic from Clark and from as far as Tarlac," said Corcoran.

"I am sure that we will see more development along the Subic-Clark growth corridor," added Corcoran, who is also president of Ocean Adventure, a popular marine theme park here.

Another Subic investor, Yvett Ocampo-Desiongco, CEO of the newly-opened Subic park Jungle Joe's World, also expressed confidence that the SCTEX would bring in more business here.

"Subic can now count on more visitors not only from Metro Manila and South Luzon areas, but also those from North Luzon."

"And the highway is awesome and world-class," she added, saying the SCTEX reminds her of the highway going from San Francisco to Idaho in the United States.

The SCTEX, which covers a total distance of 93.77 kilometers and touted to be the longest four-lane expressway in the Philippines today, is also expected to open up more investment opportunities along the Subic-Clark growth corridor.

SCTEX: Luzon Urban Beltway's priority component

A flagship project of Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the SCTEX was funded with a loan from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), and is composed of two packages: the 50.5-km Subic-Clark connection, and the 43.27-km span that connects Clark to Tarlac.

The tollway project is the backbone of the Subic-Clark Mega Logistics Hub and a part of the priority infrastructure projects designed for the Luzon Urban Beltway (LUB). 

LUB is one of the regions included in the super regions concept eyed to usher development towards the countryside.

"Our resolve to provide the necessary infrastructure for growth and prosperity has heightened investors' confidence in our ability to slug it out in the global arena…we have billion dollar investments coming in because they have seen us putting money, our own money, our own investment in infrastructure. "

These words, delivered by PGMA during the Luzon Urban Beltway (LUB) Infrastructure Conference at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone in Zambales almost two years ago, sum up the government's determination to usher development all over the country through the super region concept.

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Gordon joins firemen in fighting in Dagupan

DAGUPAN CITY- Senador Richard Gordon stole the show during a P15 million fire that destroyed last week an Indian department store here.

Gordon joined City Administrator Alvin Fernandez in leading firefighters contain the fire.

Gordon, concurrently chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), was here as guest of honor of the Regional ICT Congress when a fire raged for 13 hours and destroyed the Maya Emporium on A.B. Fernandez Ave., the city’s main thoroughfare.

The senator ran to fire scene together with the personnel of the PNPC’s Pangasinan chapter and joined Fernandez in leading the firefighters from the different parts of the province in putting out the fire.

Seen at the fire scene was an SBMA firetruck and a Red Cross Disaster-Response Team assisting the personnel of the local Bureau of Fire Protection.

Earlier, he together with Mayor Alipio Fernande Jr. and ICT Commisioner Monchito Ibrahim wasguest at a forum hosted by the Pangasinan Press and Radio Club.

Ging Magalong, Red Cross chapter administrator, said “the chairman upon learning about the fire from Red Cross volunteers immediately proceeded to the scene to assess the situation and see how the Red Cross could help.”

--By: Jun Velasco - Manila Bulletin

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City Mayor James ‘’Bong’’ Gordon, Jr. has intensified the campaign to protect the city’s visible and viable resources such as river banks and beaches.

‘’Isa sa ipinag-mamalaki ng Olongapo ay ang mga beaches partikular na ang Subic Bay. Maliban pa sa tourism value, napapakinabangan rin ito sa pamamagitan ng pagbibigay ng livelihood sa mga mangingisda ng lungsod,’’ Mayor Gordon said.

According to Mayor Gordon the installation of and proper maintenance of septic tanks in households and business establishments are essential in protecting the city's resources.

‘’Pinapa-alalahanan ko ang mga homeowners, business owners, administrators at managers nito na mag-lagay at magpanatili ng septic tank,’’ according to the mayor.

‘’When septic systems are properly designed, constructed and maintained, they effectively reduce or eliminate most environmental and human health threats posed by pollutants from households and commercial waste-water,’’ he added.

Mayor Gordon has also instructed the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) through a Resolution passed by the City Council to conduct an inventory of septic tanks in all households and establishments along rivers and beaches in the city.

In compliance to Resolution No. 161, series of 2006, entitled, ‘’A Resolution urging all barangays concerned to support the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) in conducting an inventory and mapping of Septic Tanks in all establishments along rivers and tributaries of Olongapo as an initial step for the river rehabilitation plan of the city government,’’ the CPDO has already surveyed ten (10) barangays maintaining river banks and beaches. Three hundred fifty one (351) or 55.80% of the surveyed lots has septic tanks.

Also based on the said inventory, 74 or 11.765% of the lots surveyed are without septic tanks while 204 or 32.43% are for verification. The survey was conducted for the City Government’s river rehabilitation plan.


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ex-gapo radio announcer arrested

Bogus 'Tulfo' brother collared in Tarlac

A man who passed himself off as one of the tough-talking Tulfo brothers has been arrested in Tarlac for allegedly swindling several barangay officials and businessmen in various towns.

Superintendent Salvador Destura, Gerona town police chief, identified the suspect as Nelson Marmeto, 44, aka Nelson Tulfo.

Police said Marmeto tried to pass himself off as a younger brother of journalist Erwin Tulfo and even bragged about working in the Olongapo-based radio station DWGO.

Gerona Vice-Mayor Rongie Daquigan said Marmeto visited his office last Wednesday where he bragged about his media connections. The vice-mayor said he ordered Marmeto's arrest upon learning that he was not a journalist.

Destura said the suspect was arrested at his residence in Barangay Panampunan, Tarlac City. He said several barangay officials and businessmen have come forward to press charges against Marmeto.

Those who filed charges against Marmeto include Barangay New Salem chairman Prudencio Corpuz of Tarlac City; Barangay Brilliante chairman Wesley Cesario of Paniqui, Tarlac; businessman Jeric Lacson and Fermina Quirante, manager of Siesta Bus Terminal.

The suspect is now detained at the Gerona Police station. -Jess Malabanan - abs-cbnNEWS.com


Pekeng newsman nasakote sa Tarlac

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga – Inaresto ng Tarlac police ang isang pekeng media man matapos umanong magpakilalang newsman at nanghihingi ng pera sa mga barangay chairman ng Barangays Gerona at Paniqui sa Tarlac.

Sa kanyang ulat kay PRO 3 director chief Supt. Leon Nilo dela Cruz, TPPO director Sr. Supt. Rudy Lacadin, kinilala ang suspect na si Nelson Marmeto, 44, high school graduate, ng Barangay Panampunan, Tarlac City.

Ayon kay Supt. Salvador Destura, Gerona police chief at Vice Mayor Ronjie Daquigan, nakatanggap sila ng tawag na humihiling sa mga awtoridad na dakpin ang papatakas nang suspect na lulan ng pampasaherong jeep sa Tarlac City.

Agad namang rumesponde ang pulisya ng Gerona at nagtungo sa Barangay Panampunan kung saan nakipag-ugnayan ang mga ito sa mga opisyal ng barangay upang masakote ang suspect.

Bago ang pag-aresto, nagpakilala umano si Marmeto sa pangalang Nelson Tulfo, broadcaster ng Radio DWGO sa Olongapo City at kapatid umano ni Erwin Tulfo ng RPN Channel 9.

Base sa mga reklamo, binabantaan umano ng suspect ang kanyang mga biktima na babanatan ang mga ito sa radio kapag hindi ibinigay ang kanyang mga hinihingi. George Hubierna - Journal online

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Used car exports from Subic OK - Solgen

The re-exportation of used vehicles from Subic Bay Freeport is allowed by the country’s laws, the Office of the Solicitor General said in an advice to the Bureau of Customs.

Acting Subic Customs Collector Errol Albano released a copy of Solicitor General Agnes Devanadera’s Aug. 8, 2008 letter on the issue as the BoC came in conflict with the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group (PASG) over the PASG’s refusal to release 325 used cars that are supposedly destined for Hong Kong.

“It is our considered view that there would be no legal impediment to the re-exportation of subject used motor vehicles to a third country,” Devanadera said in a reply to Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morales’ query last year.

Morales sought guidance on the fate of more than 3,000 used vehicles ordered held by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority after November 2007 in compliance with a Supreme Court decision that banned the importation and sale of used vehicles outside the Subic freeport.

The ruling was issued in relation to Executive Order 156 through which the government outlined the policies in the development of a motor vehicle industry.

In giving legal views on the re-export, Devanadera cited the same Supreme Court ruling that stated that “used motor vehicles that come into the Philippine territory via the secured fenced-in former Subic Naval Base may be stored, used or traded therein, or exported out of the Philippine territory.”

Devanadera also said Republic Act 7227, or the bases conversion law, “laid down a minimum interference policy of the government” on investors and allowed them to “import and export freely all types of goods into and out of the Subic Bay Freeport.”

That jurisdiction, she said, lies with the SBMA.

PASG chief, Antonio Villar Jr., said he has no quarrel with Devanadera’s views.

“The point [in the case of the 325 cars] is, ‘Are trading companies doing the exportation properly?’ The lack of documents showed otherwise,” Villar said in a telephone interview.

The rush in the loading, discrepancies in the number of exporters and cars, as well as the non-submission of proof of purchase, “makes this very suspicious,” he said. By Tonette Orejas - Philippine Daily Inquirer

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Indian rescued from kidnappers in Zambales

Police rescued an Indian moneylender just hours after he was kidnapped by suspected members of the "Rigor" kidnap-for-ransom group in Barangay Siminublan, San Narciso, Zambales Thursday.

Three of the suspects were arrested and are now undergoing tactical interrogation at the Zambales police headquarters, said Senior Supt. Rolando Felix, director of the Zambales Provincial Police Office.

Felix declined to name the suspects but said the trio are members of the dreaded "Rigor" KFR gang, which has been linked to the kidnapping of a Pakistani national in Bataan.

Felix said Kurdip Singh, 33, a resident of Barangay Sta. Rita, Cabangan, Zambales, was reunited with his wife shortly after being rescued by policemen.

Singh was on board his motorcycle (HM-2063) while making rounds of his clients when he was snatched at gunpoint by a group believed to be preying on Indian nationals in Central Luzon.

The suspects forced the victim to board the vehicle and then drove off towards San Narciso town.

A motorist who witnessed the incident immediately called the police station and informed them about the kidnapping.

Felix said the victim's motorcycle was found abandoned by pursuing lawmen few meters from the place where he was abducted along the National Highway in Barangay Sindol, San Felipe town.

Nory Ann de la Cruz, wife of the victim, told police investigators she received a telephone call from an unidentified man informing her about the kidnapping. She said the person on the other end was asking a huge amount of cash as ransom in exchange for her husband's release.

Nory further said the caller warned her not to report the incident to the police.

Felix said residents informed pursuing cops of the presence of suspicious-looking armed men in the area. He said his men raided the suspects' hideout and safely rescued the victim.

Three of the suspects were able to escape while three others surrendered peacefully.

Late last month, suspected members of a KFR syndicate were arrested in Bataan including an Indian national believed to be the mastermind of the group.-Jess Malabanan - abs-cbnNEWS.com

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PASG holds on to suspected smuggled cars

The Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group (PASG) has held for four days now the shipment of 325 second-hand vehicles at the Subic Bay Freeport because the supposed buyer in Hong Kong has not yet shown a proof of purchase for those units estimated to be worth P97.5 million.

The Starwin Trading in Hong Kong has not furnished the PASG a letter of credit or receipts for payments through wire transfer, check or cash, PASG chief, Antonio Villar Jr., said on Wednesday.

“And who would buy those kinds of cars in Hong Kong? Old cars are junked there,” Villar told the Inquirer by phone.

The ship Handlord, a Korean vessel owned by the BB Shipping Co., has been at the Subic Bay Freeport in Zambales since Sunday.

The trading companies that were reportedly exporting the used vehicles had already loaded at least 134 units as of Saturday night until the PASG stopped them for lack of documents and amid reports that the cars were destined for either Cebu City or Port Irene in Cagayan, Villar said.

Armand Arreza, administrator of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, said the SBMA had approved the export because Executive Order 156 allows that.

President Macapagal-Arroyo issued the EO to support the development of the motor vehicle industry in the country. The automotive industry, however, questioned the provisions on the importation and sale of second-hand vehicles as widespread smuggling reportedly occurred in Subic.

A Supreme Court decision in 2007 upheld the EO’s provisions banning the importation of second-hand vehicles and the sale of these outside customs territory.

Arreza said the questioned shipment belongs to the more than 3,000 vehicles held by the SBMA in compliance with the order of the high court.

Villar’s executive assistant, David Tan, said operatives of the PASG and Task Force Subic had doubted the transshipment because the trading companies appeared to be in a rush.

“Their request to PASG was dated Feb. 11. It reached us Feb. 12 and they began loading on Feb. 13. When we did a spot check, they could not show proper documents,” Tan said. By Tonette Orejas - Inquirer Central Luzon Desk

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City Mayor James ‘’Bong’’ Gordon, Jr. is reminding residents of Olongapo to aggressively participate in the city’s campaign against Dengue.

‘’Ang bawat Olongapeño ay may responsibilidad sa kapwa Olongapeño at sa kanyang komunidad. Pagtulungan natin na wakasan ang Dengue,’’ Mayor Bong Gordon said.

‘’Panatilihin nating malinis ang ating kapaligiran gayundin ang ating sarili. Tandaan natin na ang may malusog na mamamayan ay may malinis na kapaligiran,’’ Mayor Gordon added in calling for cooperation among residents.

The City Health Office (CHO) headed by Dr. Arnildo Tamayo, is continuously intensifying its year-round campaign against Dengue.

In line with this, the city government is pushing for the implementation of the “4S” or the four (4) ways to stay away from the dangers brought about by the Dengue disease.

The ‘’4S’’ includes, (1)Search and Destroy all Breeding Sites through regular cleaning of places where mosquitoes hatch eggs such as tires, bottles, flower vases, etc.; (2)Self-Protection through the use of mosquito nets and repellants; (3)Seek early treatment or medical attention immediately if fever persists for two days; and (4)Say “No” to indiscriminate fogging or defogging and ensure it is done only at appropriate times (1-2 hours after sunrise or 1-2 hours after sunset).

According to the Department of Health and City Health Office, to achieve a Dengue-free environment, these “Puksain ang kitikiti, Sugpuin ang Dengue” tips can help:

1. Perforate or cut open old tires to avoid collection of water and mosquito breeding.
2. Cover drums, basins and other water collecting materials to avoid mosquito breeding.
3. Replace water on flower vases at least once a week.
4. Clean and regularly remove water in the cupboard.
5. Regularly clean rain pipe or spout to avoid water collection and mosquito breeding.
6. Remove other prone materials that can collect water and mosquito breeding such as cans, bottles and bottle caps.

For more information about ‘iwas-dengue’ tips, coordinate with the City Health Office at telephone numbers 224-8390 local 4147/4134.


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Thursday, February 19, 2009

30,000-strong group campaigns nationwide for voter education, automated polls, and ‘honest, peaceful, and credible elections’

More than a year ahead of the 2010 elections, a group that campaigned for the passage of the Automated Election System (AES) law has engaged in a nationwide campaign for voter education, automated polls, and "honest, peaceful, and credible elections".

Leon M. Herrera, president of Bagumbayan – Volunteers for a New Philippines (BAGUMBAYAN), made this announcement in the midst of apparent early campaigning by some potential presidential candidates. He said that BAGUMBAYAN has started its campaign with its 30,000 members all over the country and, thereafter, its members will bring the campaign to the public at large.

Herrera asserted that voter education should teach people how to evaluate candidates and choose better leaders.

"Our people are demanding for better leadership. We will show our people that if we want better leadership, we must learn how to choose candidates with proven leadership. This candidate must have a clear vision on where to take the country, experience in leading people to surmount great challenges, and a track record for radically improving the performance of government agencies or civic organizations," said Herrera.

He further said that the implementation of the AES law in 2010 will ensure more credible election results. Candidates will be less likely to file protests, claiming that they did not lose because they were cheated. Government can return its focus on delivering its services much sooner and not suffer from disruptions due to unresolved electoral disputes.

However, Herrera said that there are organized moves that seek to seriously impair the Automated Elections in 2010.

"We have to remain vigilant and vigorously assert our right to honest, peaceful, and credible elections. We must keep pressuring Malacanang and Comelec to push through with automated polls. This is the only way our people can realize true empowerment," said Herrera.

BAGUMBAYAN has long campaigned for credible elections through poll automation. It lobbied for the enactment and implementation of what is now known as RA 9369 or the Amended Automated Election Law. After the enactment of the law in December 2006, they demanded former Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos to implement the pilot testing of automated polls during the 2007 elections.

When Abalos refused to implement the pilot testing phase of the Automated Elections System, BAGUMBAYAN convened with several other groups at the historic Club Filipino in January 2007. They signed a manifesto demanding the pilot testing of the automated polling system and they mounted a massive rally at the Head Office of the Comelec in Intramuros.

In the succeeding days just before the 2007 elections, BAGUMBAYAN conducted a nationwide automated mock election to refute the claim that pilot testing in 6 provinces and 6 cities was not possible.

BAGUMBAYAN successfully conducted automated mock polls, bringing automated polling machines to 6 provinces and 6 cities in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Around 1,800 students participated in the automated mock elections which were held at the Don Mariano Marcos University, Northern La Union Campus; Don Mariano Marcos University, Mid La Union Campus; University of Makati; Negros Maritime College in Dumaguete City; University of the Philippine Los Banos, Laguna; and Ateneo de Davao University, Davao City.

Herrera pointed out that although the Comelec is mandated to conduct honest and credible elections, the people must keep a close watch on the polling body to make sure that it fulfills its functions.

"If we want hope, we must find it ourselves. If we want change, we must be the change that we want to be. Our members are dedicated volunteers who are willing to sacrifice time and what little resources they have for a better future. This is our calling – to build a new country, a New Philippines starting with ensuring that the vote of every Filipino is counted in 2010 regardless of social status, belief or persuasion", Herrera said.

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“Deep Inside My Mind” by BONGGO remains as he No. 1 Album in the Odyssey Top 20 Albums for the month of February. “Giling-Giling” by Willie Revillame came in second, followed by “Low Key” by Regine Velasquez. Other contenders were “OPM” by Sarah Geronimo who is at No. 4 and “Eraserheads The Reunion Concert” by the Eraserheads at the fifth spot.

The Top 10 Countdown is based on total album sales of all Odyssey branches nationwide and regularly compiled on a bi-monthly basis. The countdown is courtesy of Odyssey, the #1 Music Store. This result was also published in the section Latest in the Metro of Buy & Sell Magazine which shows the Top 5 Albums of the Week.

“Bonggo: Deep Inside My Mind” is the second album released by Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. Other songs included are “Bayan Kong Olongapo,” “Subik,” “Give Me Feedback,” “Yesterday Don’t Matter,” the carrier single “You Say,” and the Christmas bonus track, “Para sa Iyo ang Pasko.”

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Subic investors hit PASG’s action of halting their exports

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – Some investors here are questioning the action by the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group (PASG) of stopping the exportation of some 325 used vehicles bound for Hong Kong.

"Any way you look at it, this is harassment on the part of the PASG because they have no reason to stop the shipment. Our exports are legal, and we have documents to prove it," said Peter Geroue, director of DCB Trading Inc., one of the eight companies that own the shipment.

Meanwhile, Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morales ordered an investigation on the alleged smuggling of 325 used cars from Subic, but he hastened to add that if the shipment is intended for re-export, there is no violation of Customs law.

Geroue said, "if PASG has additional requirements, then why don’t they tell us? PASG has not informed us of anything wrong about our shipment."

"If PASG has proof that we are smuggling the vehicles, as they said earlier, then we dare them to file charges against us. But so far, we have not received any formal charge," Geroue said.

Subic Shonan International Inc. Chairman Mohamed Ihsan also said that his company has been doing legitimate business in Subic and complying with Philippine laws.

"Now, we are losing a lot of money because of the delay in shipping, but we still don’t know why our shipment is being held by PASG," Ihsan complained.

Some officers of the Subic Bay Press Corps, together with Geroue and Ihsan, condemned the Gestapo-like tactics of the PASG after some of its operatives interrupted a press conference called by Geroue to explain why they were shipping the vehicles to Hong Kong.

The operatives, led by Col. Manuel Obrera, chief of staff of the Subic PASG team, barged in the media briefing and told Geroue he is being invited to the PASG office in Subic for a talk with the PASG chief, Undersecretary Antonio Bebot Villar Jr.

Geroue later agreed, but when he stopped his car to talk with his lawyer, the PASG operatives forcibly pushed him back into his car.

The incident was witnessed by several members of the local media, including this correspondent. Geroue said the PASG stopped last Friday the loading of vehicles even as DCB and the other shippers presented export documents processed by both the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and the Bureau of Customs (BoC) office here.

The following day, the shippers complained in a letter to PASG, expressing their surprise over the withholding of their shipment. The shippers said they have yet to receive a formal reply from PASG regarding their inquiry.

Meanwhile, PASG operatives, who asked not to be identified, told media people last Sunday that they stopped the loading of the vehicles because of intelligence reports that the shipment is intended to be brought to Port Irene in the Cagayan Economic Zone.

Last Tuesday, PASG chief Antonio Villar was quoted in media reports as saying that he has ordered the cargo held because the supposed consignee based in Hong Kong has denied claim that he is expecting the shipment.
Geroue said, however, the PASG allegation that the shippers intend to bring the vehicles to Port Irene is 'pure speculation.'
"If indeed we bring the vehicles to Port Irene, then maybe that’s the time to arrest and interrogate us, not now," he said. By JONAS REYES - Manila Bulletin

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Interconnection of phone lines in Subic, Clark backed

CLARK FREEPORT -- The Angeles City council has endorsed a proposal for the interconnection of phone lines along the Subic-Clark growth corridor in a resolution unanimously approved by its members last Tuesday.

In the resolution sponsored by Councilors Jesus "Jay" Sangil and Ruben Maniago, the members of the city council stated they are "endorsing the move of the Metro Clark Advisory Council (MCAC) to press for the immediate interconnection of telecommunications facilities in Clark Freeport Zone with those in Tarlac and Zambales."

"It would definitely fast-track business undertakings and greatly minimize costs to local residents," Sangil said, referring to the MCAC-initiated project which was earlier lauded by President Arroyo. Sangil likewise called on other officials of local government units (LGUs) situated along the Subic-Clark corridor to support the move, saying this will attract investors and provide jobs for the people.

"I am urging our counterparts in government in the cities, towns along the SCTEx to follow suit and support the same as it will invite investors and eventually create employment for our constituents," Sangil said.

In the resolution, the city council stated that the "Clark Freeport and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Growth Corridor are foreseen as one of the world’s major economic hubs and catalysts for development, hence a major employment generator in North Philippines."

Also, "the development and improvement of infrastructure facilities, including the establishment of state-of-the art telecommunications facilities in the Metro Clark Area (Clark FZ, Pampanga and Tarlac) enhance the viability of the Metro Clark area as a choice investment destination."

The city council noted the importance of providing interconnected telephone exchanges, saying it "is vital in minimizing costs to investors and their clientele that includes government offices."

"Interconnecting telephone exchanges in Metro Clark Area is in keeping with the integration policy of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in which long distance and other toll charges are waived," the resolution also said.

"The general welfare clause of the Local Government Code, among other provisions, obliges us to support moves of major employment generators," it further stated.

In December 2008, President Arroyo bestowed an award on Clark officials led by Clark Development Corp. (CDC) President Benigno N. Ricafort for the telecommunications interconnection project that was one of the top 10 winners in the 1st Gawad Pampublikong Korporasyon (1st GPK).

Ricafort said CDC’s winning entry, which was conceived in 2001, aims to interconnect Clark’s telephone lines to Angeles City and the City of San Fernando, as well as other areas in Pampanga.

He said that the interconnection project was an initiative of the MCAC, "an influential partnership group between the CDC and contingent LGUs within Metro Clark." By FRED ROXAS - Manila Bulletin

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businessmen deny attempt to smuggle cars out of Subic

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, Philippines – Agents of the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group barged into a press conference here yesterday and took a businessman to explain to their chief, Undersecretary Antonio Villar Jr., why he was accusing the PASG of harassment for stopping the exportation of 325 used vehicles to Hong Kong.

When Peter Geroue tried to talk to his lawyer, the PASG agents led by one Col. Manuel Obrera pushed him into his car for the trip to Villar’s office.

Geroue, director of DCB Trading Inc., and Mohamed Ihsan, chairman of Subic Shonan International Inc., called the press conference to explain their side on allegations that they intended to smuggle the vehicles out of the Subic Freeport instead of shipping them to Hong Kong.

DCB Trading and Subic-Shonan are among eight companies that own the shipment of used vehicles.

Geroue told The STAR the PASG had not informed them of anything wrong about the shipment.

“If PASG has proof that we are smuggling the vehicles, as they said earlier, then we dare them to charge us. But so far, we have not received any formal charges,” he said.

“Any way you look at it, this is harassment on the part of the PASG because they have no reason to stop the shipment. Our exports are legal and we have documents to prove it. If the PASG has additional requirements, then why don’t they tell us?” he added.

For his part, Ihsan said they have been doing “legitimate business” at the Subic Freeport and complying with Philippine laws.

Geroue said the PASG stopped the loading of the vehicles last Friday even after DCB and the other shippers produced export documents endorsed by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and the Bureau of Customs. – Bebot Sison Jr., Evelyn Macairan - PhilStar

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Gordon wants 9th ray in RP flag

SENATOR Richard Gordon wanted to add a “ninth” ray to the sun in the Philippine flag to acknowledge the heroism of Muslim Filipinos who also fought for the nation’s independence.

He has urged the National Historical Institute (NHI) to support his proposal of adding a ninth ray to recognize the “historic” contribution of Filipino Muslims in the nation’s fight for independence against the Spanish colonizers.

The eight rays in the sun of the national symbol, made in Hong Kong by Marcela de Agoncillo, represent the eight provinces which first took up arms against the Spaniards. The Philippine flag was first hoisted at Kawit, Cavite, on June 12, 1898, in connection with the proclamation of Philippine independence.

“It is time we put a ninth ray in the sun especially during this time when we still have conflicts among our brethren who are Muslims. This is a way of recognizing all their great traits such as courage, bravery, integrity and sense of pride,” he said.

Gordon aired his views during a public hearing conducted by the Senate committee on constitutional amendments, revision of codes and laws on Senate Bill (SB) 2590 which he authored. By: Bernadette E. Tamayo - Journal online

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Solons air questions over approval of RP Baselines bill

Citing technicalities, lawmakers on Wednesday contested the ratification of the Baselines bill at the House of Representatives and said they are ready to lend their support should the measure's constitutionality be questioned before the Supreme Court.

At the weekly forum in Quezon City, Nueva Ecija Rep. Eduardo Nonato Joson said it is still uncertain whether the objection of Zambales Rep. Antonio Diaz to the approval of the bicameral conference committee report on the measure was "timely" and whether it was properly acted upon by the House leadership.

"Hindi malinaw kung naaksyunan ng House yung objection ni Congressman Diaz [It is not clear whether the House acted upon the objection of Congressman Diaz]," Joson said.

The bicameral conference committee report on the bill was approved Tuesday evening after there appeared to be no objections to the measure's ratification.

In the same press conference, however, Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño said there should have been voting - either through viva voce or nominal voting - on the ratification of the Baselines bill since it concerned the country's sovereignty, which he said is a matter of extreme importance.

"I think this is a matter of debates later [at the] plenary," said Casiño, saying he expects a motion for reconsideration to be raised in Wednesday's plenary.

Casiño also described the approval of the measure as an insult to the sovereignty of the country, particularly since it followed the Supreme Court's upholding of the constitutionality of the Visiting Forces Agreement through its ruling over the custody case of convicted rapist Lance Corporal Daniel Smith.

"Kaliwa't kanang sampal sa soberenya ng Pilipinas ang nangyari [This is a slap on the country's sovereignty]," said the party-list lawmaker, describing the bill as a "sellout to China" because of the exclusion of the Kalayaan Group of Islands and the Scarborough Shoal in the Philippines' baselines and their classification instead as a "regime of islands."

"I think this is something bordering on treason already," Casiño said, adding that, off-hand, he thinks the bill is unconstitutional.

Joson said he is ready to sign any petition that would question the constitutionality of the measure.

"Kung pipirma ang Presidente talagang kukwestyunin natin itong Baselines bill na ito sa Supreme Court [If the President signs this we will really question this Baselines bill before the Supreme Court]," Joson said.

The Senate and House panels in the bicameral conference committee approved the Baselines bill on Monday morning after less than an hour of deliberations. The two chambers of Congress then ratified the measure Tuesday afternoon. - JOHANNA CAMILLE SISANTE, GMANews.TV

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The Disaster Management Office (DMO) is coordinating with all the schools in the city, all the departments and offices under the City Government in preparation for the Simultaneous Nationwide Earthquake Drill on Friday, February 27, 2008 at 8:30 in the morning.

A memorandum from the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council 3 (RDCC3), in reference to the memorandum from the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) that this is pursuant to the pronouncement and instruction of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo after the 1st Nationwide Earthquake Drill in 2006. “Earthquake drills should be conducted on a quarterly basis and further expand the participation to government and private offices and establishments,” the memo quoted the President.

The coordination meeting was attended by key representatives from all the departments and offices inside the City Hall Complex. DMO Research and Planning Chief Irvin Paras discussed the stages in conducting an earthquake drill, while Engr. Frances Eduarte from the City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) laid out the updated evacuation plan for the whole building. Exit points were designated and open space areas were identified to ensure a safe and orderly evacuation.

DMO Chief Angelito Layug also reiterated that exercises such as this will be more effective if done regularly, if possible on a quarterly basis. “Mahirap mag-panic pag may emergency situations,” Layug said. “Mas maraming nasasaktan pag naunahan tayo ng panic,” he added.

Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. will lead the employees in the said drill. “Preventive measures such as an earthquake or a fire drill should be conducted not only in schools but also in other public buildings,” the Mayor said.

The neighboring establishments and the public surrounding the City Hall Complex are forewarned not to panic and be alarmed once they hear the sound of the bell and witness a commotion in the building premises.

WARNING: This is just a drill.


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Subic - Kuwait flight inked

RP, Kuwait agree on more flights
LOCAL CARRIERS can now mount more flights to Kuwait with the conclusion of air talks between the Philippines and the oil-rich Arab emirate.

From only six, the Philippines is now entitled to 29 weekly flights to Kuwait.

The additional 23 entitlements were approved yesterday afternoon, said Porvenir P. Porciuncula, deputy executive director of the Civil Aeronautics Board.

The 29 flights are divided as follows: Manila, eight flights; Subic, 14; and Cebu, Davao and other airports, seven.

A fifth freedom right was also given to flights from Clark, allowing carriers to pick up a passenger from Kuwait before flying to another destination in a third country.

The Philippine negotiating panel was headed by the acting board chairman, Doroteo A. Reyes.

The Civil Aeronautics Board is scheduled to start air talks with Bahrain, Brunei, and Australia this year. The government has been going after flight entitlements to several countries to address an expected increase in air travel.

Mr. Porciuncula downplayed any potential hesitation local carriers may have in competing with Middle Eastern airlines — which have access to cheaper fuel — noting that fuel costs have dipped.

Lance Y. Gokongwei, president of Cebu Pacific, said the low-cost carrier is considering flights to Kuwait.

"We are always looking at possible route network expansion and we are studying the possibility of mounting flights to Kuwait," Mr. Gokongwei said.

Officials of Philippine Airlines were not available for comment.
BY JOSE BIMBO F. SANTOS - Business Online

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Subic Centennial to defend title in President's Cup

President's Cup preview
Boracay is a fantastic tropical island getaway surrounded by crystal clear blue water with a breath-taking stretch of powdery white sandy beach to enjoy all forms of water sports, including the President’s Cup which gets underway, Thursday February 19.

Race headquarters is at the spacious Sea Wind Resort which has a bar and pool fronting onto the main beach and caters for exquisite groups of people.

Two days ago a wedding was conducted on the beach, with the reception held in a marquee specially erected for the occasion. Anything can be organised here, as resort staff seem to take pleasing everyone in their stride.

Favourites racing for the 17th President's Cup include Neil Pryde's Welbourn 52 Hi Fi. The crew has been in devastating form lately and is joining the racing class in Borocay, further bolstering the 50ft plus racers. They will set the precedent for others to gauge themselves by.

After disruptions to the usually strong weather pattern, things are starting to return to normal. This will also become a determining factor in the results – will it suit the big boats or will it become a small boat regatta?

Courses are a mixture of passage races around neighboring islands, and windward/leeward races that will be chosen each day, according to wind conditions.

After winning the Boracay Race, Bill Bremner and Andy Cocks’ TP52 Foxy Lady IV are riding on cloud nine and hope to carry on their success into the President's Cup.

Frank Pong's R/P75 Jelik won here last time quite convincingly, when the breeze consistently stayed around the 20 knot mark. If light conditions prevail, Ray Ordoveza expects his Excel 53 Karakoa to be in the thick of things, and defending President's Cup champion, Ernesto Echauz's Sydney 46 Subic Centennial, cannot be discounted.

The Cruiser/Racer class has Peter Killip's chartered BH36 Sandaway, Alan Burrell's Farr 1104 Rags and after missing the Boracay Race, Roland Buser's Sydney 38 Stella joining in, to make it a solid 12 entrants competing this year.

George Hackett's J-35 Team Windshear Rudy Project is the defending champion from Subic Bay. Hackett will have to adopt a new strategy to hold onto his title if the wind picks up.

After being left at the cab rank during the Boracay race, Jun Avecilla with his Beneteau First 36.7, Selma Star, are looking to rebound over the short courses where performance takes precedent over luck.

Some boats chose to join the racing class during the Boracay race, but as they drop down to the racer/cruiser class for the Cup, they have ruled themselves out of the combined class trophy.

Having the benefit of racing here last time Jonathan Mahony's Mumm 30 Happy Endings from Singapore is back by popular demand and will be one to watch. Most boats in this class fall within the 35 to 40 foot range and exceptionally close racing is expected with several past President's Cup and Boracay Race champions amongst the entry list.

At 45ft, Martin Tranco's X 452 Challenge is the exception, and after winning the Boracay race is on a roll. Second placed Paul Bankowski's Kerr 11.3, Jaywalker, is down from Hong Kong and capable of a big performance.

The PY class is losing Slalom Blade, but gaining David Wheeler's Freewheeler from the UK, and Jelle Mann's Saipin into the fold. They will have to get up to speed quickly, as David Mc Kenna's Sun Odyssey 42, Raparee XXX, and Capt Rainer Blum's Celestial 49, China Rose, have had the benefit of racing in light winds for the last sixty four hours.

Further information: http://asianyachting.com/news/BoracayPC09/4.htm

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South Koreans have 61 projects in Subic

Korean Trade Chief Leads Mission To RP
A delegation of top-level South Koreans is expected to arrive in Manila today for a business forum which is hoped to boost economic ties between their country and the Philippines, an envoy said Tuesday.

In an exclusive roundtable with The Manila Times, South Korean Ambassador to Manila Choi Joong-Kyung said about 100 business leaders, to be led by South Korean Trade Minister Kim Jong Hoon, would meet with local economic managers to discuss the investment climate and opportunities in the Philippines. Joining the minister are the heads of the Korean Chamber of Commerce, Korea Investment Corp. and Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, South Korean local government officials and potential investors.

Choi said this is the biggest delegation of South Korean business leaders to come to the Philippines.

He added that local government officials, such as the head of the Trade department’s Board of Investments (BOI), and the secretaries of Agriculture, Environment and Tourism departments are expected to familiarize this group of South Korean businessmen on how to do business here.

This business forum is the first of a series of events that would kickoff the celebration this year of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the Philippines and South Korea, Choi said.

“The business forum is intended to further enhance economic cooperation between the two nations, especially amid the global economic crisis,” he explained.

Crisis only temporary

The envoy said he was excited about the business forum, even as he hinted that the influx of South Korean investments to the Philippines would be affected by the global financial crisis. He explained that many South Korean companies are also getting badly hit by the financial crunch, so during these times, South Korean businesses might hold back from investing outside their shores.

But Choi said this global meltdown remains a “good period for South Korean firms to conduct feasibility studies so that they are more prepared to take action when the crisis is over.”

Filipinos would also benefit from the business forum, the ambassador said, as he deems that this is “a good preparation for a surge in foreign direct investments from South Korea when things are better.”

Choi said many South Korean businessmen are still very interested to invest in the country’s agribusiness and tourism sectors.

South Koreans were among the top foreign investors in the country last year, various government data show.

Preliminary data from the Trade department showed that South Korean investments in the Philippines which were registered with Board of Investments (BOI) and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) in 2008, when combined, reached P24.023 billion, up 482.73 percent compared with the total BOI and PEZA-approved South Korean investments of P4.122 billion in 2007. The data also showed that South Korea was the third-largest source of foreign direct investments registered with BOI and PEZA last year, only behind The Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority earlier reported that 61 projects amounting to a total of $201.8 million (about P9.48 billion) were pledged by South Korean investors to the free-port zone last year. By Ben Arnold O. De Vera, Manila Times

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

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

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

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