Sunday, August 5, 2012

Casiño seeks probe of power firm Protest leaders owe PAMES huge amount

PANTABANGAN, Nueva Ecija - Rep. Teddy Casiño pressed for a full dress investigation on the condition of the Pantabangan  Municipal Electric System  (PAMES) even as power has not been restored in the municipality as of press time.

But Casiño, who chairs the House committee on energy said he motored to the town to personally hear the sentiments of townsfolk  regarding the issue that the local government is facing with the power producer First Gen.

“Alam naman natin nagkaroon ng mukhang mismangement sa power distribution company,” he said. 

“Gayunpaman ang importante para sa atin ngayon, maibalik kaagad yung kuryente.,”

He said the provincial government and the National Electrification Administration can come up with a measure to immediately reconnect the electricity for the benefit of the residents while an audit of PAMES transactions is being conducted.

He also said that the PAMES franchise is already up for renewal and this could be the best time for a probe. 

He said he will make sure the franchise would not be renewed unless its finances are properly audited and accountable people are made to pay.

“Managot ang dapat managot,” he said.

Tension rose when Vice Mayor Romeo Borja, Jr., decided to face the crowd, which police estimated at about 120 people, and started enumerating the names of those people and entities who owed PAMES, including the leaders who spoke prior to his attendance.

He said naming them gave him a heavy heart but had to do it to prove that it was his father’s fight for his constituents that resulted to the power cut-off. 

He first mentioned villages such as Malbang whose head, Danilo Padilla, also belonged to the picket speakers. 

Malbang, he said, had P1.4 million debt. Villarica, which host the power plant, owed P2.3 million.

While doing it, however, someone from the crowd shouted “bulaan” apparently referring to the vice mayor.

Among those he named who supposedly failed to settle bills with PAMES  were the protest group La Solidad leader Bienvenido Reyes who allegedly has 10 months unpaid bills amounting to about P25,000; a resort owned by another protest leader Dr. Bernardo dela Merced with some P268,000 debts for 18 months; Padilla has 31 months, P41,000; former Mayor Ruben Huerta, five months, P11,000; Coun. Teodora Agustin, 47 months, P119,000, among others.

The vice mayor admitted he himself has an outstanding bill for eight months. 

In reaction, Reyes said he will castigate his wife as soon as he went home for no -paying the bills.

But Borja said they did not blame the people for failing  to pay their bills and instead run after FGHPC with allegedly undervalued equipment declaration.

“What we are saying is that it’s the billionaire company that should pay properly,” he said, adding that FGHPC enjoys a five-month tax moratorium that would amount to roughly P100 million.

Search is on for GMA challenger

LUBAO, Pampanga, August 5, 2012-Confirmation that former President, now Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo would seek reelection next year in this province’s second district has fueled anew a search for her opponent.

Architect Adonis Simpao, who was the official candidate of the Liberal Party (LP) against Arroyo in the 2010 congressional race in the district, said he would not run again, but stressed he would help search for a worthy opponent to Arroyo.

Kapampangan journalist Randy David, who initially announced he would challenge Arroyo in the 2010 polls but backed out later, said in a text message to Punto that “I have no plan to run in Pampanga in the next elections or to embark on a political career. Politics is not my vocation.”

David, a native of Barangay Betis in Guagua in the second district, explained that “I thought of opposing GMA (Arroyo’s initials) in order to send her a strong message: that it was not right or fair for a sitting president to seek a lower office at the end of her term so she could continue political power.”

But even now that Arroyo is no longer president, David indicated she should already “step aside.”

“Pampanga deserves and needs the infusion of new and young blood. Mrs. Arroyo should step aside now, graciously retire and let the younger generation have a chance at public service,” he said.

Former governor Eddie Panlilio, whose request to be reinstated as a full time priest has remained pending after his suspension when he run and become Pampanga governor in the 2007 elections, could not be reached, but his brother Gerry said he was not anymore interested in running for political office. 

Panlilio was named LP chairman in Pampanga when he ran but lost in the 2010 gubernatorial race against Gov. Lilia Pineda.

Despite his shying away from politics, Simpao said he would remain active in “civil society” concerns of the group Kapampangan Manalakaran, Inc. (KMI) which he helped found with Panlilio.

KMI, which advocates good governance and responsible citizenship in Pampanga, backed charges against Arroyo who recently posted a P1-million bail on charges of electrical sabotage before a court in Pasig City.

“We are still looking for somebody who can challenge GMA. We are not short of qualified Kapampangans, although as of the moment, there is no one person we can yet name,” Simpao said.

In the 2010 elections when she was still president while campaigning for the congressional post, Arroyo was accused of using the resources of her administration to woo voters in the second district.

Political observers in her district noted that while she no longer has access to the same powers in 2010, Arroyo still has enough resources to win the support of her constituents in the 2013 polls.

They noted that Arroyo is the biggest recipient of pork barrel in Congress, with a P2.2-billion lump sum pork barrel from the Department of Public Works and Highways budget, on top of her P70-million PDAF pork, the P50-million extra infrastructure pork, another P28 million on top of that, and the P25-million windfall from the Road User’s Tax.

This was uncovered last year when Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello revealed that Arroyo had used her influence when she was president to make sure that her district would get a lot of projects funded by “multilateral lending agencies” from Japan and South Korea.

Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson later said that the huge funds secured by Arroyo were committed by foreign aid agencies like the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Korea Development and Cooperation Fund, and that the government could violate these commitments. (Ding Cervantes)

Bishops to ‘influence’ Catholic voters to elect only pro-life solons in 2013

MANILA, August 5, 2012—Catholic voters may not be dictated on who to vote but the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) will be more aggressive in “influencing” them to vote only for pro-life candidates in the midterm elections next year.
Aside from issuing a catechesis on elections to serve as a checklist for voters in assessing the moral ascendancy of candidates to handle government posts, the members of the CBCP will issue separate pastoral letters endorsing pro-life candidates who runs for public office, most especially those seeking Congressional seats.
CBCP secretary general Msgr. Joselito Asis said the public turnout during yesterday’s prayer power rally against the Reproductive Health Bill has highlighted the influence of the Church in the public’s conviction against the controversial RH Bill.
Asis admitted that in the past, the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life only issue guidelines on who to vote for.
“But now, we will already identify the pro-life candidates and convince voters against electing the anti-life ones,” he said.
“For the bishops’ part, they can separately issue pastoral letters, reiterating the Church’s call not to vote supporters of RH bill, especially in Congress,” he added.
The Catholic faithful may not vote as a bloc unlike other Christian churches but Asis said there is no need to have a solid Catholic vote.
“What’s important is that Church has influence over its faithful. Whether or not the voters heed the Church’s advice, its up to them. All we’re asking is for them to stand firm in their pro-life convictions in choosing who to vote in the elections,” he said.
The CBCP official particularly urged the Catholic youth to carefully scrutinize candidates for public office, especially after a pro-RH bill and anti-God person was elected as representative of the youth in Congress.
“Considering that the youth constitutes the majority of the voting population, we appeal to them to listen to us their elders because in order to make a right decision on who to vote, they should take it from the elders’ wisdom and maturity,” he added.
Meanwhile, youth leaders are also planning on campaigning for extensive voters education to help young voters cast their vote on pro-life and worthy candidates.
Jectoffer So of the Filipino-Chinese Catholic Youth said they will gather the profiles of congressional and senatorial candidates and discuss the position of each candidate for every issue that affects the youth and their morality.
“We will conduct voters’ education of our own in our respective organizations. We will not dictate who they are going to vote for in the coming elections but we will educate them of the consequences if they elect candidates who do not respect life,” he said.
For his part, Gailbert Bosea of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting urged first time voters to register ahead of the deadline and not waste their right to vote.
“Let us scrutinize the politicians and be involved in the election. Let’s register and vote since we, the youth, are going to inherit the fruit of the problems from the seed we sow when we vote for unworthy candidates,” he said.
Meanwhile, Guillermo Geronimo of the Focolare Movement said the candidates’ respect for life and dignity of the human person will be his utmost consideration for voting.
“Development starts with the human person and at home. Whoever gives importance to life and the family is worthy to vote for,” Geronimo added. (YouthPinoy)

Phl Philharmonic Orchestra to hold concert in San Fernando

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Aug 5, 2012-The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra (PPO) will hold a concert in the City of San Fernando on August 14. 

The concert is in line with the city’s twin celebration, the 258th founding anniversary of San Fernando and the 108th anniversary of the transfer of the provincial capital from Bacolor to San Fernando this August. 

“One of the proposed activities for the twin celebration is this concert,” said Mayor Oscar Rodriguez, who is also president of the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP). 

He said, “Preserving the heritage and culture of the people of San Fernando is one of the priority projects of the city government. The City Tourism Division undertakes several efforts to sustain the city’s Heritage Preservation Program. One of its projects is this celebration.” 

The concert will be held at the Mini Convention, Heroes Hall in San Fernando City on August 14 at 2 p.m. 

Other activities lined up for the twin celebration include Heritage Photo Contest 2012 and “War of Our Fathers” exhibit, launch of the E-Heritage tours, search for the “Talentadong Kutsero” 2012 and dress-up your “Kalesa” Contest 2012, which is considered first Kalesa Festival of the City. 

The PPO was established on May 15, 1973 as the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ (CCP) Philharmonic Orchestra and was initially intended to accompany performing artists at the CCP Theater. 

The group has already performed with many of the world’s renowned conductors that include Mendi Rodan, Piero Gamba, Enrique Batis, Sebastian Bereau and Nicholas Koch and with the best foreign and Filipino artists such as Van Cliburn, Renata Tebaldi, Judith Engel, Anthony Camden, David Benoit, Cecile Licad, Raul Sunico and Lea Salonga. (Joelyn G. Baluyut)

Tarlac Governor calls all-out investigation on the death of a law student

TARLAC CITY, Tarlac, August 5, 2012–Tarlac Governor Victor Yap had called out for an all-out investigation in the death of Marc Andrei Marcos.
Yap instructed the authorities to “dig deeper” into the case on the 21-year old victim, which is a native from Ramos town who is taking up law at the San Beda College and is currently on his first year.
Police said that the victim was succumbed to injuries sustained from fraternity hazing.
The young Governor had also called for the abolition of hazing.
“I condemn this senseless hazing, this should stop. And I sympathize with the family of Andrei Marcos and my condolences to them,” the Governor said.
Moreover, he said that “violence must not be tolerated by any school and the Congress should put more teeth on the anti-hazing law to finally put an end to these senseless killings.”

Marcos’ family members believed that he was undergoing initiation rites by the Lex Leonum Fraterintas which is considered as an unrecognized fraternity composed of San Beda law students.

Meanwhile, Kabataan Partylist Central Luzon spokesperson Guiller Martin Cadano said “our partylist respects the traditional initiation rites of fraternities and sororities in the Philippines. These rites are being used by frats and soros to gauge who want to join these organizations”

“Moreover, rites are used by progressive frats and soros in times of Martial Law to know who are the government’s intelligence persons joining these orgs. But, as the time goes by, we forget what is the essence of these rites. Our organization condemns the inhumane acts which lead to paralyses, disabilities, and even death. Stop the inhumane acts in initiation rites!,” Cadano added.

Marcos is the latest fatality in hazing this year. The first one was Marvin Reglos, 25, also a law student from San Beda.

The latter was allegedly killed from a violent hazing ritual of the Lambda Rho Beta fraternity in February. (Joelyn G. Baluyut)


MANILA, August 5, 2012-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan, says that it would be in the best interest of the government to focus on farmers and fisherfolk as the country pushes for food security. Pangilinan made the statement as the national budget nears deliberation.

"There is an urgent need to include in the national budget crop insurance for our farmers, and also insurance for our fisherfolk. Every year we are ravaged by typhoons and the subsequent floods and destruction that go with them. It is high time we come up with a comprehensive insurance coverage plan for our crops, and even for our farmers and fishermen themselves. The government will save more in the long run as it secures the livelihood of our agricultural communities."

Pangilinan adds that it would be nearly impossible to achieve food security and food self-sufficiency if the country's farmers and fisherfolk remain impoverished.

"We should work hard toward giving our farmers and fisherfolk the same prosperity that farmers in countries like Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, and China are now starting to enjoy," he points out. 

"We need to break away from the status quo as it has taken us nowhere in the past several decades. We must come up with radical solutions to address and eventually resolve those issues that ail the country's agriculture and fisheries sector," Pangilinan emphasizes.

Angara ‘sure to run’ for Aurora gov in 2013– sources

BALER, Aurora, August 4, 2012–Sen. Edgardo Angara – the longest-serving senator in the post-Edsa Senate – is 100% sure of running for governor in next year’s mid-term elections.
Highly reliable sources, who sought anonymity, told newsmen that Angara has finalized his decision to seek the governorship and has in fact informed his close friends and allies of his bid, including deposed former President Joseph Estrada.
Angara served as agriculture secretary during Estrada’s abbreviated presidency.
“He is running for governor 100%, that’s for sure,” the source said.
Angara has not made public his gubernatorial bid although speculations are rife he would make the declaration shortly before the deadline for the filing of the certificate of candidacy for local and national officials in October.
His potential rival, Vice Gov. Gerardo Noveras, has declared he is running for governor in July last year.
No one among the Angaras have so far confirmed the plan. But the senator’s younger sister, outgoing three-term Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo acknowledged that there is a strong clamor among the Angaras’ political leaders for the senator to run for governor.
She said the possibility of the senator running for governor is to enable the provincial government to finish all the projects which she started when she first ruled the Capitol following a landslide victory in 2004.
“Based on what they (leaders) have seen, it will take somebody like Senator Angara to expedite all the development projects in Aurora,” she said.
“If you ask me, I prefer somebody like him taking into account the interest of the province and the people of Aurora,” she added.
The possibility of the senator running for the Capitol surfaced sometime last year after his brother, outgoing three-term Baler Mayor Arthur Angara who declared he is interested in seeking the Capitol, reportedly would have his hands full against Noveras.
A number of times, the senator denied he would seek the governorship, pointing out that he was a national figure and won’t settle for a local position. He said if Arthur does not stand a chance, then the Angaras would shop for somebody else.
In spite of his denial, indications point to the senator running for  governorship, proof of which is his visibility in the province.
Since last year, he has been inspecting his pet projects and meeting ward leaders of the Angaras, particularly local chief executives.
A Capitol official said the senator can run for governor even without physically campaigning. “He is very well-known, he has extensive connections and he has the solid support of leaders who can do the campaigning for him while he is attending to the senatorial campaign of his son Sonny,” the official said, referring to the senator’s son who is eyeing to succeed him. (Manny Galvez)  


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