Wednesday, March 12, 2014

ERC decision covers Luzon coops - Recto

MANILA-The ERC decision reads in part that “it voids Luzon Wholesale Electricity Spot Market prices and declares the imposition of regulated prices in lieu thereof.”
This means that customers outside the Meralco franchise area stands to benefit as well from the implementation of the ERC order.
The ERC decision orders the Philippine Electricity Market Corp to calculate and implement the regulated prices in the revised WESM bills of the affected distribution utilities in Luzon.
Coops and distribution utilities in the cities and provinces of Luzon which bought power using the disallowed October December WESM prices will have to refund their customers.
So it is not just Meralco customers who stand to gain relief, but customers of other electric coops which sourced power from generation companies at prices and terms the ERC has ruled as onerous.

Recto : Let private cars keep their license plates

MANILA-Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto today urged the government to allow motor vehicles to keep their license plates and limit the installation of new car plates to brand new vehicles up for registration.
Recto said there is no logic to the plan of the Department of Transportation and Communications to replace all existing car license plates with a new design which will be introduced next month.
“It will be a waste of a car owner’s money, not to mention his  time, if his car plate, which is  still in perfect  condition, and which still functions  as a vehicle identification mark, will be replaced,” Recto said.  
“In the first place, the new plate will still include the old numbers, so why subject the car owner to all the hassles of queuing in an LTO office just to have his car plate replaced with a new design?” he said.
“Why order the mass cancellation of nine million motor vehicle plates just because a new version will be introduced?” Recto said.  
“Bakit idadamay ang mga lumang plaka na  hindi naman sira?  Bakit hindi na lamang sa mga bagong kotse ilagay ang bagong plaka?” Recto said.
He said both the DOTC and the manufacturer of the new plates “will be making a killing by creating a captive market for a product, in so far as existing cars are concerned, that is not needed.”
Under the DOTC plan, car owners will cough up P450 for a pair of new plates. Of this amount, P380 will be the manufacturer’s share while P70 will be the DOTC’s  “administration fee.”
Recto said DOTC’s justification that the new plates will improve vehicle security does not hold water.
“A car plate can never be an anti-carnapping device. Kahit na nga ‘8’ ang plaka, nananakaw pa.   A plate can never be a talisman against theft,” Recto said, referring to the protocol plate number assigned to congressmen.
He said more police patrols, well-lighted streets, the dismantling of carjacking syndicates, the arrest of their leaders are the best deterrents against car theft and “not some tamper-resistant locks on a plate.”
In the case of the reported practice of buses, for-hire and public utility vehicles of switching and duplicating license plates, “these can also be addressed by serious law enforcement,” Recto said.  
Recto, however, conceded that there is merit in replacing PUV license plates with a new version that will include their routes.
“I fully agree that this can weed out colorum vehicles and prevent the cloning of car plates,” Recto said.  
Recto said he cannot see how new car plates will improve the flow of traffic in Metro Manila.
Recto said the “general problem” with car plates is not their design but their short supply and non-availability.
“So the solution is to make them readily available and not to make their installation mandatory to all vehicles,” he said.
"If it ain't broke, why fix it?” he added.
Recto lamented that while it takes a Japanese company an average of two days to assemble a three-ton vehicle, it takes us almost a year to provide a car with a license plate weighing a few hundred grams. 


 CAMP OLIVAS, CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, PAMPANGA- Police Regional Office 3 Regional Director PCSUPT RAUL D PETRASANTA announced that on March 11, 2014  a case for Violation of Sec 27 of Article II of RA 9165 has been filed before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor, City of San Fernando, Pampanga against PSUPT RODNEY RAYMUND LOUIE BALOYO IV former chief of Pampanga Provincial Intelligence Branch(PIB), PSINSP JOVEN B DE GUZMAN JR, former Pampanga Anti-illegal Drugs Operations Special Operations Task Group (PAIDSOTG) and eleven of their personnel, who were first subjected to preventive suspension on March 3, 2014 to pave way on the conduct of summary hearing proceedings on their administrative case which all stemmed from an alleged  irregularities in the conduct of anti-illegal drugs operation on November 29, 2013 in Narra St., Woodbriged Subd., Lakeshore, Mexico, Pampanga.
            PCSUPT RAUL D PETRASANTA, had already approved the recommendation of the investigating body after careful and thorough evaluation of evidence and accounts of witnesses and respondents on the alleged buy bust for the relief of PSSUPT OSCAR D ALBAYALDE, Acting Provincial Director of Pampanga Provincial Office under The Doctrine of Command Responsibility due to his failure to take corrective action at his level despite the chance given to him to do so. Relatedly the request for clearance on PSSUPT ALBAYALDE’S relief as a matter of standard operating procedure of the PNP on the relief and reassignment of unit commanders and key officers was already submitted to the Office of the Chief, PNP following an in-depth probe being conducted by PRO3 on the case. Said clearance is necessary to effect the said relief as the Regional Director has no blanket authority to implement outright the relief of an officer of such level
. As of press time, the Relief Order is still pending awaiting the approval of the said clearance from the Office of the C, PNP.
             PCSUPT PETRASANTA said that the move of dismissing and disciplining erring police personnel shows efforts of the police in removing bad eggs in the police force, and that the rule of law does not distinguish rank, position or popularity whether victim or respondent  in the PNP organization.
            “This is a manifestation of the keen determination of the PNP to remove misfits among the ranks of the PNP”, he further remarked.

Legarda Calls for Enforcement of LGUs’ Land Use Plans

MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda called on concerned government agencies to ensure that the comprehensive land use plans (CLUPs) of local government units (LGUs) are being enforced.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, issued the statement during the committee hearing for the proposed National Land Use Act (NaLUA) and the Final Forest Limits Act.

She said, it is not enough that 1,500 LGUs have their respective CLUPs. “We have to make sure that these approved CLUPs are carried out effectively, which means that hazard-prone areas, forestlands, and protected areas remain uninhabited and are preserved as no building zones.”

The Senator added that national government agencies, particularly the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), must ensure that CLUPs are faithfully implemented.

Legarda also highlighted the need to approve the proposed National Land Use Act because the government is currently using an antiquated land classification method formed in the 1920s.

“We have been experiencing stronger storms, earthquakes and other natural hazards. A national land use measure is crucial in the government’s current disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation efforts,” she stressed.

“Furthermore, LGUs play a critical role in the crafting of risk-sensitive and participatory land use planning and management. LGUs are considered to be the first line of defense against disasters so there is an urgent need for them to be capacitated, enabling them to prepare, update and implement their respective CLUPs based on policy guidelines to be set under the proposed NaLUA,” she added.

Meanwhile, Legarda also said that through the Final Forest Limits Act, “we aim to conserve, protect, and develop our forest resources to attain ecological balance and promote sustainable development.”

“With demarcated and properly identified forestlands, the national government can better plan the utilization of the natural resources of the country, and LGUs would be better equipped to initiate and implement development projects and programs with due regard to the preservation and protection of the integrity of the demarcated forest lands,” Legarda concluded.

Drilon: Iloilo’s progress possible for whole country

MANILA-Progress amid problems can be done with political will and effective partnerships, Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said, stressing that the significant developments made by Iloilo within a short period of time is proof that economic recovery and the achievement of developmental goals is indeed possible for the country.

The Senate leader, an Ilonggo native and a staunch supporter of the province, lauded the many signs of Iloilo’s growth as he spoke before various business leaders who attended the Iloilo Business Forum held at the Hotel Intercontinental, Makati on Wednesday, March 12, 2014.

The event showcases massive infrastructure developments and projects which represent a highly-energized and proactive economic policy that Iloilo City, along with the entire province, has undertaken in the past seven years.  

In his speech, Drilon noted Iloilo’s rise from being a one of the provinces of the Visayan region with a gloomy economy to its current status as an economic dynamo poised to retake its spot as the premiere province on the entire southern part of the country. 

“lloilo’s decline came to a point where its seaport was once described as the “armpit” of the Visayas, where it severely lost its economic luster. It was plagued by pitiful public services, haphazard economic ploys and poor infrastructure. In fact, the title, ‘Queen City of the South’, which once belonged to Iloilo, was transferred to Cebu more than a hundred years ago because of this,” he said.   
However, the senator said that the combination of a “united and result-oriented political leadership, and a highly cooperative and effective partnership with members of the private sector in Iloilo has led to monumental reforms and policy improvements, thereby transforming its economic fortune.

“We knew our strengths: our strategic location; our vast pool of talent; our abundant natural resources; and, a growing consumer market. Thus to reduce poverty and make our economy grow, Iloilo’s leaders turned to strategic infrastructure development as a means to more investments, which means more jobs,” he explained.

According to Drilon, the immense political resolve and thorough cooperation with the business partners like the Iloilo Economic Development Foundation has paid off, in the form of greatly perceivable leaps in infrastructure and economic developments in the province.

“Once-decrepit structures like the Iloilo International Airport and major roads like the Senator Benigno Aquino Avenue have been vastly revamped, while fishing wharfs and shipping ports are being updated to globally-competitive standards. The Iloilo River Esplanade and the Iloilo Convention Center are set to bring in unprecedented levels of local and international tourism revenues for the province,” he said.    

He added: “Meanwhile, Iloilo’s woes regarding its power supply has been resolved, and is now one of the information and communications technology (ICT) hotspots in the country, while its rapid urbanization is attracting the full line-up of the country’s biggest real estate firms and consumer brands – such as the Ayala Group and the SM group of companies.” 

The Senate Chief also pointed to several big-ticket projects in Iloilo including the P11.2-billion Jalaur River Project, an infrastructure project expected to benefit 783,000 farmers in 25 of Iloilo's 42 municipalities, provide 17,000 jobs, and will eventually lead to the doubling of Iloilo’s rice production, from 142,000 to 300,000 tons annually.

The construction of a state-of-the-art convention center is part of a major campaign to improve the province’s capacity to host and accommodate international occasions such as 2015 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation ministerial meetings, and important domestic events.

There are also various ongoing road infrastructure projects which include the 14-kilometer, 4-lane Iloilo circumferential road, the 150-km Iloilo-Capiz-Aklan highway, and the widening of a 3-lined, 10-lane avenue. The projects are meant not only to relieve Iloilo of its traffic problems, but more importantly, to open hundreds of new areas for development.

“We will not stop pursuing our development goals because we want to show to the whole country that if it can be done in Iloilo, it can be done anywhere,” stressed Drilon.
“In Iloilo, we have proven that we can create change when we put our collective interests before our individual wants. In Iloilo, we are nurturing big dreams and are working hard to realize these dreams,” he emphasized.

Drilon said the developments in Iloilo can be applied in other parts of the country: “The story of Iloilo is not just the story of the Ilonggos. It is the story of Filipinos. This is the story of people who are determined to scale new heights of economic and social success.”

Lastly, Drilon expressed elation at the developments, which have “made Iloilo the 2nd most competitive city in the whole Philippines, and the number one in governance, as stated by the National Governance Council.”

In the 2013 SWS Survey of Enterprises on Corruption, Iloilo managers posted a satisfaction rating of 83 percent, the second highest, in terms of the city government’s efforts to promote a good business climate. Likewise, of the seven (7) areas outside of NCR that were surveyed, Iloilo businessmen are the most positive at 86 percent  calling their business prospects either good or excellent, ahead of Angeles City, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Cebu and Davao. 


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