justifies no-show, no-quorum and change of venue of scheduled SP’s
regular sessions in Calbayog City
By EMY C. BONIFACIO,
CATBALOGAN CITY –
The internal rules of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the Province of
Samar provide that its regular sessions will be held every Thursday of
the week at exactly 10:00 in the morning at the Provincial Capitol
Building, Catbalogan City.
However, for almost a
year now, the usual scene on Thursdays at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan
Session Hall could either be a no-show, a no-quorum or a change of
venue for these scheduled sessions.
“These Board Members
have been remiss of their duties and responsibilities. It’s quite
disappointing that they are getting paid regularly, yet they do not
deliver what is expected of them”, are just a few of the adverse
reactions that is being heard from Samar constituents who hope that
these Board Members would stop politicking, forget their own interests
and start working for the people who have given them the mandate to
For quite a time, the
majority bloc who are mostly coming from the 1st District of Samar,
were blamed, but they remained silent. However, in a regular session
held recently, the legislators from the opposition have broke their
silence calling for the Samarnons to listen to what they consider are
the real circumstances.
Hon. Jasper Sumagang,
in a formal motion, manifested for the holding of the succeeding
August 4 regular session in
He cited as its legal basis, the Internal Rules of the Legislative
Council that allows the transfer of venue of the next session for as
long as it is agreed upon by the Body and it will be within the
jurisdictional area of any of the two Legislative Districts in Samar.
On the other hand,
Hon. Eunice Babalcon’s defense dwells on the practicality issue when
Hon. Juan Latorre demanded for the citing of a factual reason for the
transfer of the session’s venue and jokingly manifested that the next
session after Calbayog City be held in Daram.
“We know that there is
a legal basis, but, what about practicality? That should be what is
supposed to be raised by Hon. Latorre, the practicality of going to
Calbayog City considering that it has distance, a relative distance
from Catbalogan City. But, nonetheless, Mr. Chair, may I just tell you
that notwithstanding that this representation has been deprived of
their fuel allowance, gasoline allowances and other members are being
given their fuel allocations, their casual allocations and all other
perks of the Sagguniang Panlalawigan, I will go there to Calbayog City
to support that proposed resolution because we know for a fact that it
is our duty to bring the government closer to our people” explains
Hon. Conejos revealed
that since the assumption of the Tans, they have been deprived of
their fuel allowances, cellphone cards, office supplies and traveling
allowances. Conejos explained that such funds are provided in the
Miscellaneous and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) for every department
and the office of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan is not exempted from
“Even if the budget is
reenacted, there is that MOOE where our privileges can be sourced out,
but they are the ones who control the signing and they are doing it
purposely to satisfy their whims and caprices,” affirms Conejos.
“May I ask you, what
makes Hon Latorre or Soza or Nacario distinct from any of the members
in the council? They get brand new vehicles, di ba? Why are they so
privileged? Tama gad liwat hiya nga you should not feed your enemies,
but they are the ones who declared that we are enemies. We never
declared that we are enemies. Mayda la kami mga differences because
that’s part of democracy.” was Hon. Babalcon’s adverse reaction to
Hon. Latorre’s quick statement in one of the media ambush interviews,
saying “Why feed the enemies?”
Hon. Sermense even
commented to Hon. Latorre’s note as uncalled for and an uncivilized
one. “That is political cannibalism”, says Sermense.
An inquiry into the
budget allocations for the Sanggunaing Panlalawigan would show that
even under a reenacted budget, items were provided for fuel, cell
card, travel and salaries/wages for the staff of each and every Board
Member. However, the majority claims that they have not been receiving
any of those privileges since July 2010. The wages of their staff are
likewise provided in the 2010 budget. All other pro-administration
Board members continue to receive checks for their supplies and
travels. A total amount of P2.8 million for traveling allowances was
Once and for all, the
majority Board members reminded the Tans that the Provincial Budget is
not only for the administration allies.
“The Provincial Budget
contains public money. Public Office is a public trust and all these
offices emanate from the people. All these money are sourced from
people’s taxes. Thus, all government authority emanates from the
people. If you will check on the budget allocations, it is intended
for the Office of the Governor, Office of the Vice Governor, Office of
the Sangguniang Panlalawigan., etc. It is intended for the offices
concerned and not just for one person” justifies Conejos.
Samarnons who are mostly affected by the growing feud between these
two factions are expecting that both camps would finally discuss and
settle these indifferences soon, for the interest of the constituents
whom they have vowed to serve.
New 19IB chief vows to
sustain peace, development efforts in Leyte
By 19th Infantry Battalion, 8ID PA
KANANGA, Leyte – The
newly installed commanding officer of the 19th Infantry (Commando)
Battalion here vowed Sunday, July 31, 2011 to push further efforts in
order to sustain peace and development in Northern Leyte.
Lt. Col. Francis B. Cabugon who assumed as the new commanding officer of 19IB believes
that cooperation or “bayanihan” with stakeholders particularly the
local government will address insurgency problems in this part of the
As peace advocate, Lt.
Col. Cabugon stated that he will look into facilitating government
projects for the communities within its area of operation. He is
confident that community development will compel the rebels to abandon
armed struggle against the government.
“We will be battling
not only insurgency but also poverty. Let us take part on the delivery
of the government’s basic services in order to uplift the lives of the
people, the subject of our profession”, Cabugon deliberately stressed.
Lt. Col. Cabugon
earned admiration from the local government and civil society groups
for successfully implementing several programs under “Oplan Bayanihan”
during his eight months stint as battalion commander of 46IB, the
Mindanao based unit of the 8th Infantry Division.
Among his astounding
accomplishment were the recoveries of crew served weapons and
ammunitions, improvised explosive devise (IED) neutralization of
members of Private Armed Group (PAG) and apprehension of a bomber
expert, local contact of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).
implemented the “Oplan Bayanihan” which resulted to the creation of
Task Force “Isulan” that restores the peace and stability and uplift
the economy of the capital town of Sultan Kudarat province. Likewise,
he established informal peace dialogues with local MILF and MNLF
leaders in the provinces of Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat that
creates a peaceful environment that attracts investors such as Del
Monte Philippines banana plantation in Datu Abdullah Sangki,
conceptualized “Oplan Karunungan” which handed over 14,750 text books
to the pupils students in MILF registered communities.
will focus on training and maintaining standard of discipline of 19IB
soldiers. Further he ordered his troops to always and strictly observe
human rights in order to enhance the people’s trust and confidence
towards the AFP.
“Insurgency is a war
of masses. Whoever wins the masses, wins the war. In order to ‘win the
peace’, we need credible soldiers that is loved by the people and a
responsive Army that will track down the remnants of CPP-NPA-NDF“, the
good Lt. Col. Cabugon concluded.
PPUR Vote Campaign
By PURIFICACION S. DALOOS
TACLOBAN CITY – The
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Region 8
together with other concerned government agencies intensifies the
promotion campaign for the Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) as
one of the world’s seven wonders of nature.
President Benigno S.
Aquino III issued Presidential Proclamation No. 182 on June 3, 2011,
declaring a national and international promotion campaign for the PPUR
as one of the new seven wonders of nature.
The said proclamation
designates the Secretary of Department of Interior and Local
Government (DILG) as Chairperson, the Secretary of Tourism as Vice
Chairperson, as well as the DENR and other line agencies and private
sector as members of the Campaign Task Force to vigorously promote and
push for the proclamation of the PPUR among the new seven wonders of
As member agency, DENR
Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje has directed all the employees and clientele
in the regional and field offices of the DENR throughout the country
to vote for PPUR through text or email.
DENR 8 Regional
Executive Director Rogelio T. Trinidad exhorts all internet users and
mobile phone subscribers in region 8 and even abroad to vote by
texting PPUR15 and send to 2861 for all globe, smart and sun cellular
subscribers. Voting by phone can be made every day until November 10
this year. Internet users can log on to www.new7wonders.com to vote
“As a matter of
national pride and patriotism we should all support the campaign to
ensure that PPUR is proclaimed as one of the new seven wonders of
nature” RED Trinidad stressed.
The 8.2 kilometer long
PPUR formed 30 million years ago, is considered the longest
underground river in the world, with unique and outstanding
scientific, biological and geological features that merited its being
recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in December 1999 and being
declared as National Geological Monument in December 2003.
From an initial list
of over 400 locations around the world, the PPUR is the lone finalist
from the Philippines and now counts among the top 14 of the 28
official finalist candidates, selected by a panel of international
experts from a list of 77 contenders via the first round of global
voting from 2007 to 2010.
Inclusion of the PPUR
in the list of 28 official finalist candidates has made PPUR
world-renowned and is starting to attract international interest that
will benefit the Philippine tourism industry as a whole with its
So, vote PPUR as the
world’s new seven wonders now! Visit
DILG mobilizes its
RIOs to heighten PPUR N7WN campaign among LGUs
By DILG Office of Public Affairs
PUERTO PRINCESA –
The Department of the Interior and Local Government has mobilized its
16 Regional Information Officers (RIOs) to enjoin and heighten the
various local government units’ awareness in the government’s campaign
to vote for the Puerto Princesa Underground River as one of the New
Seven Wonders of Nature (PPUR N7WN).
DILG Secretary Jesse
Robredo said the DILG RIOs and other public information officers under
the agency will be responsible in coordinating with the governors,
city and municipal mayors, and the barangay chairmen in their areas of
jurisdiction to prop up the campaign.
“We have to intensify
and bring to the various LGU levels the PPUR N7WN campaign which will
boost the country’s tourism industry and national pride. To achieve
this, I need the help of all local chief executives, including the
DILG RIOs and PIOs by bringing the campaign down to the masses,” the
DILG Secretary said.
At least 20 DILG RIOs
and PIOs under the guidance of Assistant Secretary Bob Gutierrez and
DILG Office of Public Affairs chief Feliciano Regis recently underwent
a three-day seminar workshop and visit to the Puerto Princesa
Underground River in Palawan aimed to craft new strategies and
approaches on how to improve further the campaign and rally the local
chief executives and their constituents to support it.
Initially, the RIOs
and PIOs agreed to do the rounds in various local radio stations and
community papers to promote the PPUR N7WN campaign; make efforts to
provide official campaign tarpaulins in every LGUs in their respective
regions; encourage local chief executives to launch the text campaign
“PPUR send to 2861” during their flag-raising ceremonies; and actively
participate and promote the campaign among barangay officials during
their national assembly to be held on the third Saturday of October
The N7WN is an
international polling campaign which was started in 2007 by an
independent Swiss-based government-controlled foundation in an effort
to identify new seven new wonders of the world – a new marketing
program that would provide huge economic, social and tourism-related
benefits to the winning bidder country.
The Puerto Princesa
Underground River in Palawan is 8.2 kilometers long and was formed by
nature more than 20 million years ago. Initially, the PPUR is one of
the 400 locations chosen to become one of the N7WN. Being a
world-renowned tourist destination, it has now reached the 7th place
from among 28 other qualified candidates vying for the N7WN.
Filipinos living in
the Philippines and abroad are being encouraged to support and join
the country’s bid to include PPUR as one of the N7WN by voting via
text message “PPUR send to 2861” or thru the Internet by logging on to
The campaign is being
spearheaded by the DILG with Robredo as Task Force chairman and is
being supported by the Departments of Tourism, Environment and Natural
Resources, Education, Budget and Management, Transportation and
Communication, Labor and Employment, Foreign Affairs, Commission on
Higher Education, Philippine Information Agency and six other private
sector representatives led by Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn.
In Eastern Visayas,
DILG's PPUR campaign kicked off with a simultaneous text voting and
showing of an audio-visual presentation for participants of the
Tapatan Roadshow on the Full Disclosure Policy last July 14. The
Association of Government Information Officers (AGIO-8) under the
auspices of the Philippine Information Agency in their meeting last
July 25 conducted the same activity in support of the campaign.
Many LGUs in the
region have responded to a regional memorandum of DILG Director
Francisco C. Jose enjoining the display of tarpaulins and streamers,
enactment of resolutions of support from local sanggunians, as well as
integration of the campaign in various LGU activities. DILG seeks to
ramp up activities to mobilize popular support across the nation for
PPUR's bid as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.
AO mandates all gov’t
agencies to use e-procurement system
President Benigno S. Aquino III has issued an administrative order
mandating all government agencies to use the Philippine Government
Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) in all their procurement
activities, including the publication of all bid opportunities,
notices, awards and contracts, in accordance with the country’s
By virtue of
Administrative Order (AO) No. 17, signed by the President on July 28,
government offices are directed to source all their common-use
supplies directly from the Procurement Service (PS) of the Department
of Budget and Management (DBM) or from its regional depots throughout
the country, Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. said on Monday.
reiterates the policy that procurement of government supplies,
materials, and equipment shall be done in the most and transparent and
competitive manner” Ochoa said.
and competition, Ochoa stressed, are keys to protecting the
procurement system from graft, as these two elements discourage
attempts to rig the bidding and awarding process to favor particular
refer to office supplies like bond paper, ballpens, pencils, and ink,
which eat up about P19.5 billion of the government’s annual spending
“With a centralized
supply purchasing system, the budget department has estimated that the
government stands to save as much as P6 billion a year,” Ochoa said.
According to Ochoa,
PhilGEPS, which can be accessed online at www.philgeps.net, provides
relevant information on all procurement activities, and will help
accelerate and further facilitate the entire procurement process in
all government agencies. At present, the system already has 53,382
The AO applies to all
national government agencies, including military and police Units;
government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs); government
financial institutions (GFIs); state universities and colleges (SUCs);
and local government units (LGUs), Ochoa said.
In the past, only the
national government agencies, including SUCs, GOCCs and their
subsidiaries, were mandated to use the PS system. However, upon the
enactment of RA 9184, LGUs are now required to use PS or PhilGEPS.
issuance also calls for a periodic evaluation of all procuring
entities, and this includes the regular holding of procurement
training programs and distribution of procurement operations manual
for all offices and agencies of the government.
SP disapproves Samar’s
Annual Investment Plan for CY 2011 due to procedural lapses
By EMY C. BONIFACIO,
CATBALOGAN CITY –
The majority bloc of the Sangguninag Panlalawigan in the province of
Samar remains firm in its stand to safeguard people’s money by
carefully scrutinizing the budget items of the Annual Budget of the
province for CY 2011 which was submitted to the Office of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan for review and by ensuring that the budget
preparatory phase and procedures are strictly complied with in
consonance with the provisions of the Local Government Code of 1991.
In a regular session
held at the Provincial Capitol Building last July 28, 2011, the Body
unanimously passed a resolution calling for the disapproval of the
Annual Investment Plan (AIP) of the Province of Samar for CY 2011.
The decision came
after the adverse findings and recommendations on the AIP by the Joint
Committee on Laws and Legal Matters and Finance and Appropriations
were presented by Hon. Eunice Babalcon to the plenary.
Babalcon, who chairs
the Committee on Laws and Legal Matters, explains that based on a
series of deliberations on the AIP at the committee level, the said
document suffers from legal infirmity for three specific valid
First, the Provincial
Development Council Meetings held on several occasions were not duly
constituted for it lacked the required quorum, says the report. The
PDC that is supposed to be convened by the Governor is composed of 24
municipalities and 2 cities and 2 legislative districts and other
government organizations and NGOs/POs in the province, which are
supposed to be accredited by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
Secondly, neither of
the records of the proceedings of the said PDC meetings revealed that
the AIP of Samar for CY 2011 was thoroughly deliberated upon nor
approved by the majority of the entire membership of the Provincial
Development Council. On the approval date of the said AIP, there were
only ten (10) out of the twenty (26) mayors who were in attendance.
However, it was learned that six of these mayor-attendees are mere
representatives and has no legal personality to become signatories of
the AIP. The failure to constitute a quorum affects the legitimacy or
validity in constituting the PDC and approving the AIP.
Third, the question on
the proper accreditation of the members of the Non-Government
Organizations (NGOs) and People’s Organizations (POs) was also raised.
Babalcon said that both Committees have requested from the PDC
Secretariat for a complete List of Accredited NGOs and POs in
Samar as well as its corresponding accreditation documents, but
nothing has been heard of the said list as of this date.
“So, how can we say
that it was legitimately convened when the membership and quorum are
questionable? Allegedly, an already prepared AIP is presented during
the PDC meetings and attendees were just made to affix their
signatures for conformity. So, we feel that it did not really emanate
from the Local Government Units and are not reflective of the priority
programs desired by their respective constituents. These are the items
submitted to the Province for possible funding for the current year.
Most often, favored municipalities get more projects and bigger fund
allocations. We want that there should be participation. Without the
rightful members present, apparently this factor is lacking”, Babalcon
mentioned that NGO/PO representatives are not duly accredited, so the
legitimacy of their affixed signatures is dubious. The Committee Chair
on Laws and Legal Matters suspects that for purposes of filling-up the
PDC membership, they would just invite NGOs/POs representatives whose
legal personality as members are not clear and those who would
willingly concur with what has been prepared.
“We’re talking here of
the Annual Investment Plan alone which is a vital requirement in the
approval of the Annual Budget. We have to ensure that the AIP is in
order because these are the specific projects which will be funded by
the 20% development fund. So, we suggested that the same AIP be
returned to the LCE for them to reconvene the Provincial Development
Council and see to it that it will be participated by the supposed to
be legitimate members of the Council. These are the reasons that the
AIP fell short of the three grounds that we discovered”, adds Hon.
Noel Sermense, Chairman of the Committee on Finance and
Charlito Coñejos said they would monitor the PDC’s compliance with the
procedures. “The AIP has been amended for three times by the
Secretariat. For several times, they made changes on the AIP despite a
questionable quorum. If this has been agreed upon by the PDC during a
meeting, the amendments should be made there. I feel the propriety of
returning this AIP to the LCE and ensure that the Mayors, not just
representatives, are physically present so that the priorities are
properly and effectively identified. We would like to prevent wastage
of funds and ghost projects thru proper accounting to be able to check
at the end of the year what has been accomplished. Accredited NGOs and
POs should likewise be invited as members” was Coñejos concurrence to
the Committee findings.
Initial findings on
the entries/items in the AIP include double funding, unspecific
details of the programs, entries on social services are blank and not
specified with no expected outputs. The AIP appears to be a mere list
of projects with no specific details as to the amounts and exact
locations of project implementation. A few of the items in the AIP
were deleted because records would show that the same projects have
already been funded by the LGUs.