Wednesday, 13th December 2017
3:46:45pm

By Ralph John Mijares and Edalyn Acta

 

ROXAS CITY— Hours before President Benigno Aquino III’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 28, The Capiz Times went out to the community and asked what “his bosses” had to say.


Rey Villegas, a lumpia vendor of Brgy. Culajao here said that Aquino should work on making the grassroots feel the effects of the country’s growing economy because prices of commodities continue to rise.


He is “okay” with Aquino’s leadership, but suggested that Aquino should work on making prices affordable.


“Wala pa gid nabatyagan sang pumuluyo ang pagasenso (The people could not yet feel the economic progress),” he said.


Jonard Francisco, public information officer of Kadamay, a group representing the poor from Brgy. Culasi, also wants prices of commodities be reduced.


Some families are unable to send their kids to school; neither could they eat three full meals daily, according to Francisco.


“Maayo na nga makakaon sila isa ka beses sa isa ka adlaw (Some would be fortunate enough if they can eat once a day),” he said.

 

More job opportunities with higher pay should also be offered, Francisco said.


Further, Jobert Carandang of Hukbong Transport Capiz, wants the oil deregulation law and value-added tax from petroleum be removed.


Carandang, a native of Manila married to a Capiceña, gave Aquino a rating of “two out of ten” because he “did not do his job well.”


“Sabi niya na tayo ang boss niya, pero parang nalimutan na niya (Aquino said that we are his bosses, but it seems he had forgotten about it),” he said.


Aquino should prioritize programs alleviating poverty, Carandang said.


Meanwhile, some 10,000 people joined the protest of the Bayan Capiz, marking the president’s SONA, because of rain and lack of vehicles to accommodate the number of participants, according to its spokesperson Kashmer Diestro.


Senior Supt. Ulysses Caton, Capiz provincial police chief said that only 2,000 people joined. Protesters from different municipalities and parts of the city assembled in different convergence points through the province before heading to the bandstand at the Roxas City plaza.

 

Meanwhile, to show their silent protest to the administration, local court employees also wore black during the SONA.


Capiz capitol employees were very happy when the national TV camera panned to Capiz Gov. Victor Tanco.


After Aquino’s one and half hour speech, Capiz was not at all mentioned despite the fact that the province was also devastated by Supertyphoon Yolanda.


In a radio interview, Tanco said that until now they are still collecting the recovery plans from the different municipalities.


Among others, Sangguniang Panlalawigan Secretary Zoe Herrera said that this year’s teary-eyed SONA of PNoy only indicates that he is just human.


Giving Aquino 7 out of 10, Herrera said that even though there are promises in the 2013 SONA that he was not able to fulfill, Filipinos could not rely all things onto the government.

Published in July 28 - August 3
Monday, 28 July 2014 00:00

Terminal fee reduction uncertain

FOR NOW, the Roxas City government remains ‘uncertain’ about lowering the terminal fees at the Roxas City Integrated Transport Terminal, its economic affairs consultant said.


Carmen Andrade said that the city government’s P51- million loan with the United Coconut Planters Bank for the construction of the terminal is a ‘big’ reason why.


Three-fourths of the net income and revenues shall be used to pay off the loan whereas the remaining will be used for operational expenses, Andrade said.


As per Section XI of said ordinance establishing the terminal, the following fees are set: Public Utility Buses, Php100; Public Utility Vans, Php40 (for routes with a distance less than 45 kilometers) and Php 80 (for routes more than 80 kilometers); Public Utility Jeepneys, Php25; and Public Mini-buses, Php 90.


Terminal fees are collected from public utility vehicles prior to their dispatch.


The different petitions of operators/owners of Acacia Group, Rodulfo Abella and Santiago Buyco, Jr., and Hugpong Transport for the review and reduction of terminal fees were rejected by the city council in a regular session on July 22.


In a July 8 letter addressed to the council, Acacia owners said that there is a “discrepancy” of Php20 between fees charged for public utility vans and the Ceres Bus Liner, which has more seating capacity, thus asking to reduce fees for vans to Php40.


Hugpong Transport wants fees to be fixed at Php15 (public utility jeepneys), Php25 (L300 vans), and Php40 (municipal buses).


According to Councilor Jose Agdalipe, chairman of the committee on public utilities, it is too early to file such petitions because of the terminal opening around a month ago.


Consultations with the transport sector were also held prior to the terminal’s construction in 2013, Agdalipe added.


According to Agdalipe, the terminal’s oversight committee might evaluate the need to reduce the fees if it finds the charges burdensome for the operators in the long run.

Published in July 28 - August 3

By Ralph John Mijares

 

ROXAS CITY— A representative for the transport sector said that terminal fees at the integrated terminal here should be reduced because he claims they are shouldering the loan incurred to build the terminal.


“Ang transport sector ang nagbabayad ng inutang ng siyudad,” Jobert Carandang of Hugpong Transport Capiz said.


Carandang said that City Councilor Jose Agdalipe should know that the integrated terminal is an ongoing concern; it will continue earning income in the future.


Thus, he is asking the councilor to reconsider.


Agdalipe’s committee on public utilities rejected the transport group’s request because it was filed prematurely due to the new terminal operating about a month and consultations held with the transport sector.

 

According to Carandang, drivers have no other choice to dispatch despite having a few passengers onboard because of a time limit imposed by the respective associations.


Despite operators participating in the city government’s consultations prior to the terminal’s construction, their concerns were unheard, he added.


“Sila pa rin ang nasusunod,” Carandang said.


Some public utility vehicle drivers revealed that those who are going to ply their routes must either be raffled or change turns everyday (those who get the first trip today will start second tomorrow and so forth).


Alfredo Villa, 47, a jeepney driver-operator plying Jamindan–Roxas City route and vice versa, said that he only gets to make one to two trips a day and has “inconsistent” income.


City Economic Affairs Consultant Carmen Andrade said that there is no guarantee that terminal fees will be decreased soon because the city has to pay off the loan.


“The next administrations might be the ones who will decide on that,” she said.

Published in July 28 - August 3
Monday, 21 July 2014 00:00

‘Glenda’ spares Capiz

Special for The Capiz Times

 

ROXAS CITY—Tropical storm Glenda brought light to moderate rains for days but left the province unscathed.


This was disclosed by Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) Action Officer Esperedion Pelaez as bright and sunny morning of July 17 welcomed Capiceños across the province.

 

“We have no recorded flash floods and areas under floodwater based on our latest monitoring in the field,” he added.


No damage to lives, properties, infrastructures and agriculture have also been reported to the PDRRMO by all Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.


However, a waterspout or buhawi in Brgy. Cogon here was recorded by the Roxas City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office July 15 when the storm was within the Philippine Area of Responsibility.


Under the Project NOAH (Nationwide O perational Assessment of Hazards), PDRRMO has been monitoring the rainfall and water level in various municipalities through the water level sensors and automatic rain gauges installedby the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The generated data from the Project NOAH-installed gadgets are then disseminated to various media outlets, concerned government agencies, local officials and other sectors of the community for reference and public awareness.


Gov. Victor A. Tanco also early directed all local Disaster Risk Reduction and management Offices to stand by for monitoring and possible deployment if needed.


The directive also covered the responding units like the Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine National Police, Phil. Army, Philippine Coast Guard, Phil. Red Cross and Capiz Emergency Response Team, among others.

 

Glenda watch in the province was also done during the National Disaster Consciousness Month celebration this July.


The last major mobilization of the local disaster councils was when tropical depression Agaton brought flood water to some parts of Capiz in January 2014. (PIA 6 Capiz)

Published in July 21 - 27

REACTING to claims made by Interior Sec. Mar Roxas that 10 billion pesos from the recently declared unconstitutional Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) were spent to relocate waterways communities, an urban poor federation leader says it is the exact opposite.


Roxas was reported to have said that, “the money was used for the welfare of the people. The interest of the people always prevails” during the unveiling of the Zero-ISF Water Easement in Barangay Salapan in San Juan City recently.


“Roxas is trying his hardest but obviously failing to paint himself as to looking after the interests of the informal settlers when in fact, the relocation program of the government with or without DAP funds is not beneficial but also consequentially detrimental to the poor,” said Anthony Barnedo of Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod (KPML).


Barnedo branded the socialized housing program of the government as “Rated: PG,” or Rated: Pure Gimmickry—for all the housing officials want is to bulldoze them to far-flung areas for us to rot.


According to Barnedo, it is not for the betterment of the poor when the government “saves” us from a danger zone; what it does is only “to condemn us to a death zone.”


Further, “It is categorically untrue that the usage of DAP funds were beneficial to the informal settlers along the waterways because the government’s housing units are not for free, poor families will still have to pay monthly mortgages out of their contractual jobs. The government will even profit out of our miseries through interests”.


“The DAP’s true beneficiaries are the real estate developers who cornered billions worth of government low-cost housing contracts.


The DAP is the milking cow of the likes of Noynoy Aquino’s former classmate, Chito Cruz of the National Housing Authority and Gerry Acuzar, owner of New San Jose Builders, Inc. and brother-in-law of Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa,” Barnedo stressed.


The KPML condemned Roxas for using the miseries of the poor to shield himself and Aquino from public accountability by justifying their usage of illegally juggled public funds.


“If there are available public funds and if both Aquino and Roxas truly stand for the welfare of the marginalized as they claim, then (they should) provide free socialized housing and abandon their plans privatize public hospitals for indigents among others”, he said.


The militants believe that the government is heartless because it unjustly and forcibly uproots the informal settlers from their communities, work and school, only to be dumped to areas without even basic necessities and infrastructure such as schools, markets, day URBAN /1 care centers, potable water, and steady supply of electricity and drainage pipes.


The most damaging, they say, “is the lack of jobs or opportunities to eke a living and pay their mortgages”.


The KPML together with ally Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino recently announced that they are now calling for the ouster of Aquino and the establishment of a government of the masses and not the constitutional succession of the vice-president.


The group vowed to mobilize thousands of its members and affiliates during Aquino’s 5th State of the Nation Address on July 28.

Published in July 21 - 27
Monday, 21 July 2014 00:00

Army condemns NPA’s HR violations

CAMP PERALTA, JAMINDAN, CAPIZ — The New People’s Army (NPA) in Panay continue to violate the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) when it fired upon soldiers in a populated area of Brgy. Mayang in Tubungan, Iloilo recently.


Lieutenant Col. Aldwine Almase, commanding officer of 82nd Infantry Battalion said that his troops were securing the convoy of medical team from the 301st Brigade and civilian volunteers from Operation Blessing (an international humanitarian organization) who came from a medical and dental mission in Leon, Iloilo when they encountered some five armed elements believed to be members of the Southern Front, Komiteng Rehiyonal-Panay.

 

A ten minute fire fight ensued which resulted in the recovery of a dead body believed to be that of an NPA rebel and a 12-gauge shotgun with live ammunition.


They also saw blood stains along the NPA’s withdrawal route believed to be those of the wounded NPA members.


No casualty from the government troops was reported.


Members of the Philippine National Police Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) conducted investigation in the scene of encounter to identify further casualties.


“We join the local government officials, civil society organizations, and the peace-loving people of Panay in strongly condemning this treacherous act.


We regret that despite our efforts to bring the necessary assistance to the people, the NPA answered it in a senseless way. This is a brazen disregard of the CARHIHL of which the communist group is a signatory,” said Major Gen. Aurelio Baladad, commander of the Army’s 3rd infantry division.


The Army personnel and the Operation Blessing conducted a four-day medical and dental civic action programs (MEDCAP and DENCAP) in Tigmarabo in Miag-ao, Mantangon; Igbaras, Igdampog Sur in Tubungan; and Paga in Leon, all of Iloilo. Said mission benefited over 1,500 residents.


The group came from Brgy. Paga, Leon which was the last phase of the MEDCAP and DENCAP prior to the incident.


Earlier, CPP-NPA also violated CARHRIHL when it set off an improvised explosive device (IED) along the highway in the boundary of Guimbal and Miag-ao, Iloilo on July 1, 2014, wounding two soldiers and two civilians.


It also violated Republic Act No. 9851 or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity, NPA /1 specifically Chapter III, Section 4 c.5., for launching an attack in the knowledge that such attack will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians.


According to Baladad, the Army in Panay and all over the region remains steadfast in protecting the civilian and will work even more in providing the necessary assistance to the people.


“We call on the CPP-NPA to lay down their arms peacefully, abandon the armed struggle and go back to the peace negotiating table to put an end to this conflict,” Baladad added.

Published in July 21 - 27

By Ralph John Mijares & Edalyn Acta

 

ROXAS CITY—The Metro Roxas Water District (MRWD) management wants to add P 184-million to its planned P847-million loan takeout which increases the amount to P1.031-billion.


In a meeting with MRWD’s interim board of trustees on July 11, General Manager Gonzalo Glen Delgado said that the management has proposed to add P 184-million more to their proposed loan takeout with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP). However, the entire proposed loan takeout has yet to be approved.


If Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) rejects the entire proposed takeout, the MRWD has to implement a 29% water rate hike because of its poor financial condition, Delgado said.


In a previous interview with The Capiz Times, Delgado claimed that MRWD is mired in some P1-billion worth of debt and is currently operating on loss.


Once the P1.031-billion loan takeout is approved, the water rate increase could only reach 10%. And there might be no rate hike within the next five to 10 years, he added.


Then in a recent city council session, Delgado said that MRWD needs to increase its water rates to pay off its loan with LWUA, lessen operation and maintenance expenses and add to their cash reserves. The same will also be used to fund its planned capital expenditures for projected service expansion, provision of additional water supply capacity in 2017 and further nonrevenue water reduction.


He said that the loan takeout with the DBP is for MRWD’s loan from LWUA used to finance its expansion and improvement projects.


With the additional loan takeout, MRWD wants to further reduce the proposed interest rate from 5.3% to 5%, Delgado said. The current interest rate of the two different loan accounts is 8.5% (P184M and P847M are two different loan accounts).


Delgado said that MRWD proposed to LWUA for a water rate increase supposed to take effect on January 2014 and cited three scenarios regarding this proposal:


1. If there would be no water increase by 2014, and the P25-million loan takeout with DBP was approved, there would be negative projected net cash flows from 2014 to 2018 and negative projected total ending cash balances from 2016 onwards;

 

2. If the 29-percent water rate increase is approved in 2014, with P25-million loan takeout with DBP, there is positive projected net cash flow and total ending cash balances from 2014 onwards; and


3. With a 10-percent water rate increase in 2014, a P25-million take-out loan with DBP, and a P827-million 15-year takeout loan with DBP, this would contribute to a negative projected net cash flow in 2014, but with positive cash flow amounts from 2015 onwards and positive total ending cash balances from 2014 onwards.


According to Delgado, the P 25-million takeout with the DBP was approved by LWUA’s Board of Trustees on March 20, but has reduced to P19,142,831.16 because the water district has been paying off the part of the amount for more than a year now.


A takeout is done with a bank that is willing to pay off the loan’s principal amount in behalf of the payee and would only charge the latter at an interest rate lower than its previous lender.

Published in July 14 - 20

WHILE THE WORLD’S attention has been focused on Samar and Leyte after Yolanda ravaged the Visayas with rain and destructive winds with the velocity of up to 350 kilometers per hour, Ateneo Grupo 58 was on road three days after, delivering packages of relief canned goods, soap, rice and corn grit to Northern Cebu up to Daan Bantayan and the whole of Capiz up to coastal town of Pan-ay.


It was in Pan-ay, in the barangay of Butacal, the last stop of the group’s relief effort, that Danny Olivares, the group leader, saw the devastating havoc that Yolanda wrought on the hapless barangay.


The storm surges 20 feet high swept 2 kilometers inland, destroying houses, flattening coconut, mango, and banana trees and polluting the farm lands with salty sea water where no rice would grow.


Right there and then Olivares decided to focus and adopt the barangay, concentrating the funds and resources of the group and their other sponsors like the Salt and the Light for Christ Catholic Charismatic Community in Manila, the Radiowealth Finance Corporation in Roxas City, and the Prince of Peace Parish in Albuquerque, New Mexico in the United States to rehabilitate the livelihood of Butacal’s fisherman whose fishing boats were totally destroyed by Yolanda.


Using the wooden hulls saved by the fisherman, Olivares and classmate Timmy Nivera, with the help of Pan-ay’s Mayor Bermejo and his entire staff and Butacal Barangay Captain Bebot Belviz, started manufacturing wooden boats twenty four and thirty feet long.

 

Eight wooden boats fully equipped with 7 and 10 horsepower engines, outrigger, rudder, propeller and fishing nets, were rewarded to deserving fishermen by the end of January 2014. Eight more fully equipped fishing boats were awarded by the end of April.


The group produced ten more wooden pump boats from the remaining salvaged wooden hulls and then resorted to fiberglass river boats, producing twelve also fully equipped riverboats which were awarded to fishermen from sitios Blas, Limon, and Bagong Barrio, all of Barangay Butacal Friday on July 11 by the beach in front of San Antonio Resort in Baybay, Roxas City.


Olivares reasoned that helping the Yolanda victims with relief goods would not help them get back on their feet to be productive again. The best way to help rehabilitate them would be to give them back their means of livelihood, which is fishing.


Also, giving the boats would not be enough. The boats must be fully equipped with engines and bets so they could go to the deep to fish.


Ateneo Grupo 58 has also taught them to be legitimate fishermen by registering their boats with the municipality and paying their license fees. Further, while the boats were given free, the group taught them to “pay forward” and help their fellow fishermen by donating a sum like ₱500 monthly to a fund which would be used to finance more boats for those who had not yet received their boats.

Published in July 14 - 20

ROXAS CITY—A public hearing was held July 3 on the proposed city ordinance requiring would-be couples to plant one tree as additional condition for the issuance of a marriage license.


Led by Councilor Powell Del Rosario, presiding chair, together with Honorable Sanggunian members, namely: Trina Almalbis, Cesar Yap and Cora Balgos Tiangco.


Key players of the ordinance attended the public hearing, including City Registrar Ali-Salvio Limbaña, Department of Environment & Natural Resources Dennis Villa, Mt. Carmel Parish Church, Mr. Fernando Billones, City Population Office (Virgie Azarcon), and other representatives from the Association of Barangay Chairmen (ABC) office, the Capiz Provincial Press Bureau, The Capiz Times, IBC-DYJJ, Radio Bombo and the Roxas City Press Bureau.


The highlights of the hearing were summarized by Dr. Yap, to include, 1) the supply and availability of tree seedlings, 2) the problem of space or site, 3) and possible infringement on the couples’ rights to contract marriage.


Almalbis was worried that there might not be enough or accessible site for tree planting within the urban proper, “basi sa gwa na, ang iban sa kabukiran.” The City Agricultural Office (CAO) must be tasked to identify or designate this site, in coordination with the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council. So far, there are 3 land areas in 3 barangays that can be made as site, she added.


Tiangco saw the importance of information dissemination, particularly formulating an information, education and communication (IEC) campaign plan or strategy. The mass media must come in and take more active roles. She stressed that in any project, “it’s not easy in the beginning, but if methods or systems are put in place to address the implementation problematics,” the process will be manageable. There are always “birthing problems,” the system will take care of these. On the available supply of seed trees, she said that a mechanism must be designed in which the CAO can accept the same, in say “pots” in case no site has been designated yet. On this point, Almalbis suggested that the Department of Education (DepEd) be tapped as project partner to encourage public school pupils to not only grow vegetables in gardening activities but at the very least “plant” one tree as a matter of curriculum requirement, and perhaps deposit it to the CAO for use of marrying couples.


Almalbis clarified: In certain cases couples can ask seed trees for free from their neighbors. Should the barangay units take the lead in “seed trees bank,” in great number the latter can be a community-based incomegenerating project.


President of Parish Pastoral Council Billones of Mt. Carmel Parish recommended that tree planting activities must be give priority to areas “nga gina-agyan” or “alagyan sang baha.” He also expressed his commitment to help in the IEC aspect during pre-marriage counseling.


On the whole, Del Rosario considered to make certain amendments on the draft TREE /1 ordinance, like a provision on an oversight committee or task force.


After listening to the opinions and/or suggestions of the attendees, Del Rosario suggested that the date of implementation of the proposed ordinance will be set on August 1, next month. Hearing no objections, he assured that the effectivity date can be done because there are no penal provisions. Thus there is no need for publication, just posting copies of the ordinance in three (3) conspicuous places as required by the 1991 Local Government Code will do.


The tree planting requirement prior to issuance of marriage license translates the policy of the city government “to promote and encourage community involvement in the attainment of a clean and green environment and development that is sustainable to ensure that future generations will have a better place to live in.” (Charl Boie)

Published in July 14 - 20

By Ralph John Mijares

 

ROXAS CITY—Some 434 pupils and students from Grades 3 to 8 of the Inzo Arnaldo Village IntegratedSchool (IAVIS) plus their 22 teachers joined the first-ever disaster consciousness camp for kids recently here.


A collaboration between the Capiz Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management council and the IAVIS, the camp taught children varied skills in activities such as fire extinguishing target game; jack-up game (wherein they have to use a hydraulic jack to remove a fake human foot from debris); picture story show on the origins and the safety measures before, during, and after an earthquake and tsunami; emergency shelter workshop; and evacuation of the differently-abled.


They were also taught on emergency kit quiz; water bucket brigade; blanket stretcher medley; caterpillar crawl medley (which can be used in escaping fires); origami tableware (folding paper cups out of newspapers and putting a plastic bag inside it to place food); tire-towering game (used in saving people in floods); and first-aid workshop.


There is a 15-20 minute time limit per activity and all pupils and students go through all the activities.


Resource persons from the Philippine Coast Guard, Bureau of Fire Protection, Capiz Emergency Response Team and the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) shared their expertise in the different activities.


PDRRMO Action Officer Esperedion Pelaez said that kids learn well through storytelling and games and are fond of it, thus making a custom-fitted disaster preparedness camp effective.


Notebooks, ballpoint pens, and certificates were given to the participants.


A “budol-budol” fight was also help during the camp wherein participants using their bare hands ate different kinds of food placed on banana leaves.


If the assessment on the activity is not that good, Pelaez said that revisions will be made before the future disaster consciousness camps in other schools.


Rosie Jean Apawan, a 14-year-old Grade 8 student said that she had fun especially when she played the fire extinguishing target game; while Maricar Delista, also the same age and grade level, said that the activities will enable her to help others.

Published in July 7 - 13