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Cebu City News November 2011

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Proposed P10B Mactan reclamation project still waiting for investors

By (PNA)

DCT/FFC/EB/bh


CEBU CITY, Nov. 30 (PNA) -– The proposed P10.29-billion Mactan North Reclamation and Development Project (MNRDP) is still awaiting investors to fund its construction.

The proposed 400-hectare MNRDP, which was earlier opposed by the Regional Development Council (RDC), was revived when the administration of President Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino III included it in its list of priority public-private partnership (PPP) projects.

Lawyer Michael Dignos, executive secretary of Lapu-Lapu City Rep. Arturo Radaza, said that with the backing of the Aquino administration, the MNRDP could be possibly put up within the terms of Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza, if she seeks and wins reelection twice.

Dignos said that as of now, they are finalizing the documentation of the project and preparing their materials for investors.

He said the Lapu-Lapu City Government will sign a joint venture agreement with a private partner, should an investor be interested to fund it.

While the budget for the project was earlier pegged at P10.29 billion, Dignos said that due to inflation, the cost is subject to change.

The project will be a mixed land use development and its layout will be divided into four zones.

The reclamation project will be set aside for a port and port-related facilities, a golf course, warehouse areas, town and commercial centers, an economic zone, and a tourism belt.

Dignos said the project will involve the three barangays of Ibo, Buaya and Mactan and will reclaim parts of the Magellan Bay.




==More PDAF to aid individuals in crisis==

By Hazel Gloria and JB Binghay


CEBU CITY, November 29 (PIA) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Fourth District Rep. Benhur Salimbangon, recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the use of the latter’s three million Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocation to aid individuals and families from Cebu’s northern towns. Indigent individuals and families from the 4th district can now start availing the funds, which will cover expenses for medical treatment, medicine, laboratories, diagnostic procedures and other health requirements pertaining to their presented problems. Salimbangon said this concern has been conceived to help alleviate the laboratory and diagnostic expenses incurred by his constituents, especially those who cannot afford to cope with the high cost of medical treatment. Further, the representative, clarified that maximum assistance given is P25,000 and confinement in private hospitals are not allowed unless there’s a certification from government hospitals that they are full and could not anymore accept the patient. Laboratory examinations in private hospitals and/or testing centers are not allowed too unless government hospitals and clinics will certify that such procedure is not available. Salimbangon also added challenges the DSWD are facing in helping the poor is no doubt a demonstration of the government’s move to make a difference. Health has repeatedly been identified by survey as one of the top concerns of Filipinos at all levels. (PIA-7/hfg & DSWD)

GSO won't get fuel allocation

By Rene U. Borromeo


CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu City Council has prevented the General Service Office from using supplemental budgets in purchasing fuel and other petroleum products. This because legislators found out GSO has not yet fully consumed the P130-million budget allocation for fuel and other similar expenses for this year.

GSO head Rolly Ardoza earlier requested for a P14-million additional budget for fuel and other petroleum products for inclusion in the Supplemental Budget No. 2 that was already approved by the City Council, although the proposed budget has been slashed to P10 million.

Ardoza’s letter dated October 27, 2011 said the GSO is already out of fuel supplies.

“Due to insufficiency of appropriated funds under the Annual Budget 2011 for the purchase of gasoline, diesel and due to exigency of such item, all funds were utilized for its purpose,” he said.

But Councilor Margarita “Margot” Osmeña who heads the City Council’s Committee on Budget and Finance, recalled that Ardoza admitted before the City Council when he was called to defend his budget that GSO has not fully consumed its P130 million allocation for fuel and other petroleum products.

“Nganong mohatag pa man ta og dugang budget nga wala pa man gani nila mahurot ang ilang P130 million nga annual budget,” Osmeña said.

Osmeña successfully convinced her fellow city legislators to recall the resolution they approved allowing the GSO to charge the P10 million worth of fuel against the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses of the Supplemental Budget No. 2.

She said the Committee on Budget and Finance, will also review the inventory of the supplies that were purchased by the GSO, which Ardoza was requested to submit to the City Council.

For 2012, Ardoza proposed that the existing P130 million budget for fuel and other lubricants be increased to P288.3 million in preparation for the purchase of 200 additional assorted vehicles for the various City Hall departments, city officials, police and garbage trucks.

The city is giving fuel to the vehicles that are assigned to the police and barangays, aside from the ones being used by the City Hall offices. Ardoza said there are currently 1,304 assorted vehicles that are being maintained by the city.

During the series of budget hearings that started last November 4, several City Hall department heads announced that they are requesting the purchase of various types of vehicles.

The officials of the Parks and Playground Commission said they want a 4x4 vehicle that can climb up to the mountain barangays, although there are reportedly no parks under their care in the mountains.

With several requests for the purchase of vehicles, Osmeña reacted by saying “Daghan g’yud tingali sila’g kwarta kay mamalit man og daghang sakyanan.” — /BRP (FREEMAN)

Flyover critics offer options

By JGA/BAP of Sun.Star Cebu


CEBU CITY -- Kept out of two “crucial” meetings on Monday on the proposed flyovers for Cebu City, a citizens’ movement offered alternatives, warned of the damage the flyovers will cause a charitable organization, and turned to prayer.

If the Gorordo Ave. flyover project pushes through, said Sister Leticia Derilo, the Asilo dela Milagrosa church’s newly painted wall, crisis intervention room, two guardhouses, a portion of a garden, parking lot and extension of the main door would be destroyed.

“Our services will be affected by the damage that will be done,” said Derilo, in the letter she sent last month to Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Regional Director Pedro Herrera Jr.

Derilo works with the Daughters of Charity, administrators of the Asilo dela Milagrosa Church.

Flaring intersections are more cost-efficient solutions to the traffic problem than building flyovers, said an engineer who studied the traffic situation, especially in the two Cebu City intersections where flyovers are being proposed.

“Net right-of-way requirement is minimal. Its benefit is greater than a flyover since it improves flow on all 16 directions, compared to only one in the flyover,” read Engineer Fortunato Sanchez’s recommendation.

A perfect example of a flared intersection, Sanchez reported, is in the Cebu Business Park, particularly the Keppel-Mariott intersection.

Sanchez conducted a traffic study to support his and the rest of the Movement for a Livable Cebu’s (MLC) stand that flyovers are not the answer to the traffic problems in Cebu City.

A ninth and final Aurora or dawn procession was held Saturday, attended by about 50 Gorordo Ave. residents, business establishment owners, nuns and sympathizers.

“The sisters will continue to pray over the weekend, in the run-up to the crucial meetings on Monday,” said businesswoman and church heritage worker Louella Alix, a member of the MLC.

Alix referred to the Daughters of Charity, which manages the Asilo dela Milagrosa church and compound that would be affected by the construction of a flyover along Gorordo Ave.

The “crucial” meetings are of the Regional Development Council’s (RDC) full council meeting in Bohol and Mayor Rama’s and Representative Rachel del Mar’s audience with President Benigno Aquino III. (Congresswoman del Mar, like her father former representative Raul del Mar, is the flyovers’ proponent.)

The MLC would have wanted to meet with the President too, but none of them got an invitation.

Prayer

However, Rama was willing to hand-carry Sanchez’s report on the alternative solutions.

One of the prayers recited inside the Asilo dela Milagrosa church Saturday after the procession was “ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened.”

The congregation began their special prayers in the first week of October after they were informed of the construction of two flyovers in Metro Cebu last August.

The “anti-flyover movement” gained ground after a meeting with Secretary Singson of DPWH, who ordered the construction of the flyovers deferred.

But the infrastructure development committee (IDC) of the RDC did not endorse a Technical Working Group (TWG) report, which stated that flyovers were not among the traffic solutions identified in previous studies.

The TWG report will be included in the agenda for the RDC meeting on Monday.

Support

The MLC, a civil society group that was recently registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, first met in August and opposed the flyover construction projects on M.J. Cuenco and Gorordo Aves.

The group pointed to the heritage value of the decades-old Asilo dela Milagrosa church, which sits along Gorordo.

Since then, the group has gained the support of several organizations, including the Road Revolution Movement, University of San Carlos-College of Architecture and Fine Arts, the Seventh Day Adventists’ Central Philippine Mission Union Conference, National Committee on Monuments and Sites, and Cebu Association of Tour Operators.

Catholic groups supporting the MLC include the Visayan Clergy Discernment Group, Daughters of St. Teresa nuns of Carcar City, Catechists and Parishioners of Sacred Heart Parish, St. Theresa’s College student leaders and the Colegio de la Inmaculada Concepcion.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma also issued a statement that most of the priests favor creating a master plan over the construction of flyovers.

In his study, Sanchez observed that about 509 vehicles pass through Gorordo Ave. going to Lahug, while only about 340 vehicles pass the other way at a given hour in a day.

Traffic count

The Gorordo intersection accommodated 2,660 vehicles around 5 and 6 p.m., on the average.

There are more cars in the area of the second planned flyover project on M.J. Cuenco Ave. as the road is also much bigger there.

Going to Mabolo, the area is used by 1,187 vehicles in an hour, with 1,304 going the other way. A total of 7,557 vehicles cross the intersection in the same hour.

Sanchez conducted a third study on the already existing flyover along Ayala. He recorded 866 vehicles going the Banilad area and 737 going to Gorordo, also in an hour, with a total of 4,404 plying the intersection.

Based on this traffic study, Sanchez has offered different solutions to Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson, who has put a moratorium on the flyover projects until issues are threshed out.

Another option Sanchez recommended was opening a contiguous road along Asiatown IT Park, combined with the flaring of intersections. This scored high in Sanchez’s list of solutions, in terms of cost-benefit ratio, second only to the flaring of intersections.

Sanchez also recommended widening Hernan Cortes Ave. in Mandaue City. Solutions

“The cost is huge but the benefit is correspondingly huge as well,” he said.

Both Mayor Rama and the City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) have also raised this idea but it has to be done in coordination with Mandaue City.

Also in Sanchez’s list are pocket lanes, T-intersections, sidewalks, sheds, vehicle stops, rails, pedestrian crossings and U-turn slots, among others.

Not all the arguments against flyovers were presented as technical reports.

Cebuano musician Budoy pitched in his support by composing a song and uploading a music video online last September. It tells listeners to reflect on the disadvantages of flyovers.

The objective of the composition was “to summarize the issues and concerns of the group opposing the construction of five flyovers in Cebu, to the tune of P1.3 billion.”

As of Saturday morning, the video has been viewed by 2,062 people.

Citom recommends repeal of existing transport ordinances, PUJ ban

By Princess Dawn H. Felicitas


AFTER finding “many inconsistencies,” the Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) wants all public transportation ordinances of the city repealed.

Citom board chairman Sylvan “Jack” Jakosalem said a new ordinance on public transportation should be crafted to avoid confusion.

Jakosalem said in an interview that conflicting provisions exist in City Ordinances (CO) 1837 and 2000.

CO 1837, as amended by City Ordinances 2071 and 2214, was passed in 2000. It prohibits inter-city public utility jeepneys (PUJs), particularly those from Mandaue City, from plying major thoroughfares in Cebu City.

It also requires PUJs from other cities to load or unload passengers only in designated terminals.

But CO 2000, which was passed in 2004, established routes for PUJs.

Jakosalem said that while CO 1837 banned the Ibabao-Mandaue-Jones (21B) and the Ouano-Mandaue-Osmeña Blvd. (22B) PUJs from entering and using Cebu City’s major thoroughfares, their routes were not changed under CO 2000.

The same goes for Mandaue jeepneys plying Manalili St., such as 21A, 21D, and 21G, as well as 22A, 22D and 22G

“So technically, Mandaue jeepneys can still use the city’s streets but they cannot load and unload,” Jakosalem said.

“To solve these inconsistencies and to avoid confusion, the public transportation ordinances of the city should be repealed,” he said.

Last year, Citom banned the entry of 21B and 22B jeepneys in the city. The ban came after a 21B jeepney collided with a taxi and hit another jeepney (21D), injuring several passengers.

Last October, Citom started banning Mandaue-Manalili St. jeepneys from entering the city due to complaints. But City Hall decided later to lift the ban.

Jakosalem said Citom will recommend to Mayor Michael Rama and the City Council to amend CO 1837 and 2000 and other related ordinances.

He said Citom is ready to help in crafting a new public transportation ordinance for the city.

Pag-IBIG Fund celebrates Shelter Month

By Hazel Gloria


CEBU CITY, November 25 (PIA) -- In celebration of the "Shelter Month," Pag–IBIG Fund Cebu North and South Branches participated in the Housing Fair with other shelter agencies at the SM City Cebu Rotonda recently. The Housing Fair is an annual activity spearheaded by the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) with the cooperation of various shelter agencies like Pag–IBIG Fund, National Housing Authority (NHA), Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), National Home Mortgage Financing Corporation (NHMFC) and the various developers of the Subdivision and Housing Developers Association (SHDA). During the week long activity, Pag–IBIG Fund exhibited their acquired properties for sale and the housing units of the various developers in their different housing projects located around Cebu Province. In his speech during the opening on October 21, the SHDA President Paolo Quisumbing of ABQ Properties said the housing stakeholders have always maintained a cordial and reciprocal relationship between the government shelter agencies especially Pag–IBIG Fund and the private sector represented by the developers. "We should see to it that this relationship continues to flourish in the years to come," Quisumbiing said. Pag–IBIG Fund for Visayas Group Vice President Victoria de la Peña, who was the keynote speaker said that the relationship among developers, key shelter agencies particularly Pag–IBIG Fund and various stakeholders has come a long way since then. It has grown as a dynamic relationship addressing in its own capacity the nation’s housing backlog.(PIA-7/HFG/PAG-IBIG)

Mining stakeholders to meet for geo-hazards assessment

By Hazel Gloria


CEBU CITY, November 24 (PIA) -- Nearly 200 participants from the local government units, non-government organizations and other stakeholders are expected to attend the Stakeholders’ Forum on Small Scale Mining and Quarrying and Results of Geohazards Assessment on November 24 at the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC) organized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB)-7 in partnership with the Provincial Government of Cebu. The activity is an information, education and communication campaign on geohazards; provide an assessment and review on the salient features or results of the study conducted; and discuss the environmental, social, health and safety components of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995. MGB-7 regional director Loreto Albuso said the forum also aims to present existing practices in small-scale mining/quarrying; point out and explain complementary roles of local government units in small scale mining/quarrying operations; and discuss the functions and responsibilities of Provincial/City Mining Regulatory Boards (P/CMRBs) and Mine Rehabilitation Fund Committees (MRFCs). PAGASA Regional Services Division-Visayas Chief Oscar Tabada will talk about “Rainfall Data and Hydrological Forecasts” and Office of the Civil Defense-7 Regional Director Minda Morante will present “Early Warning Systems and Response”. “This will also be an opportunity to hear from our stakeholders particularly the local government units on how we would be able to assist them in terms of policies related to small scale mining or quarrying,” Alburo added. Topics for discussion and presentation include Functions and Responsibilities of Mine Rehabilitation Fund Committees and Provincial and City Mining Regulatory Boards; Community Development and Management Program and Potential Environmental Impact Report; Complementary Roles of Local Government Units; Dynamics of Mineral Reservations; and Apprehension, Confiscation and Seizure of Illegally Transported Minerals and Mineral Products. DENR-7 Regional Executive Director Maximo Dichoso emphasizes the need to consult and solicit issues and concerns from all partner agencies and other stakeholders for better implementation of environmental programs and projects. “This is a very significant activity as we try to address climate change concerns as it has caused every imaginable changes in our environment,” Dichoso said.(PIA-7/mbcn/HFG & DENR-7)

To replace Camarillo: Mayor names 3 for treasurer

By Jessica Ann R. Pareja


CEBU, Philippines - Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama has submitted three names to the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) as his choices to replace Acting City Treasurer Tessie Camarillo.

In his letter dated November 21 addressed to BLGF-7 OIC Director Carmelane Tugas, he recommended former Cebu City Treasurer Ofelia Oliva, Acting Assistant City Treasurer Emma Villarete and Tax Mapping of Business Establishment Division Chief Juanita Monina Paires for the position.

From the three names, BLGF shall pick the Acting City Treasurer pursuant to Section 470 of Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code.

Rama said that the city government would appreciate a prompt response from the bureau since the city government, currently, has no Acting City Treasurer.

Rama has stopped acknowledging Camarillo, who is a BLGF-appointee, as the In-Charge of Office of the Local Treasury.

Rama wants Camarillo replaced, because he has lost trust and confidence on her.

The mayor was unhappy after Camarillo issued statements that the city cannot raise enough funds for the proposed P11.8 billion 2012 Annual Budget.

The letter dated November 21 is a follow-up to the first one he sent earlier requesting for Camarillo’s replacement.

The BLGF, however, said last week that Rama’s request was forwarded to the central office for guidance and instruction, because they have to determine first the propriety or validity of replacing the City Treasurer based on the grounds of lost of trust and confidence.

BLGF also advised Camarillo to stay put and not relinquish her post until the bureau can appoint another City Treasurer.

Camarillo, last November 11, wrote the BLGF and told the office that she is willing to relinquish her post because Rama already designated another In-Charge of Office in the person of Villarete.

BLGF said that Villarete is not qualified because her designation as Acting Assistant City Treasurer has last April 2010.

BLGF however told Rama in a separate letter to submit first a formal endorsement to designate Villarete as Acting Assistant City Treasurer.

Preference

Rama said that he prefers that the BLGF appoint Oliva, who is now his financial adviser.

“I don’t know if pwede ba basta I included her name because I want her to be the City Treasurer. Bahala na ang BLGF ana. They ought to be helping the city,” Rama said.

Oliva was recalled by the DOF after former Mayor, now Cebu City South District Representative Tomas Osmeña complained to the Department of Finance about Oliva overstaying as treasurer of the city.

Oliva’s designation as Acting Treasurer of Cebu City supposedly expired in January 2010 but she was extended thrice already while only two extensions are allowed by the DOF rules on reassignments and designations of officers-in-charge and by the DOF Personnel Order 335-2003.

Rama tried to appeal to DOF for Oliva’s extension, but his request was denied.

Oliva left the city the middle of this year, but she stayed as Rama’s financial adviser.

Next in his list is Villarete who he earlier designated as In-Charge-Office, but was not recognized by the City Council because of the absence of a formal designation by the BLGF.

His third option is Paires, who was recommended by her co-workers and some department heads.

Paires heads the tax mapping division and has been in the CTO for many years.

Rama said Paires should have known the CTO too well having stayed and worked there for a long time. — /NLQ (FREEMAN)

Comelec to proceed with recall petition against Cebu town vice mayor

By (PNA)

LAP/FFC/EB/gb


CEBU CITY, Nov. 22 (PNA) – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) Manila has found sufficient basis to proceed with the recall petition against the vice mayor and first councilor of the town of Samboan in southern Cebu.

With the ruling, Comelec Cebu will now verify the 5,129 signatures of the petitioners, who must be registered voters of the municipality.

”Considering the findings of the Office of the Deputy Executive Director for Operations to be in order, the commission resolves, as it hereby resolves, to approve the foregoing recommendation of Deputy Executive Director for Operations Bartolome Sino Cruz Jr., to certify that the petitions for the recall of Vice Mayor Rogelio Capa and SB Member Jeffrey Catipay, both of municipality of Samboan, Cebu are sufficient,” the Comelec en banc said.

The recall of an elected official can be initiated by 25 percent of the total number of registered voters of a particular local unit, according to the Local Government Code of 1991.

Samboan, a fifth-class municipality, has 18,140 residents, based on the 2007 records.

Recent figures indicate the municipality now has more than 10,000 qualified voters, although the National Statistics Office (NSO) showed it has only 8,000 qualified voters.

The number of signatures would pass the requirement, should these be found authentic.

Lawyer Ferdinand Gujilde, Provincial Election Officer IV detailed in Cebu Province, said his office will soon be verifying the petitioners’ signature.

The petitioners are led by Association of Barangay Councils president Emerito Calderon, the former congressman, together with town councilors.

They cited loss of confidence in Catipay and Capa as the basis for the recall.

Catipay is the son-in law of Capa.

Gujilde said that after verifying signatures, Comelec Cebu will then report to Comelec Manila that the signatures and their total number are in order.

The Comelec main office will again order and schedule the recall election.

”But it will depend on the budget,” said Gujilde.

John Cane, one of the counsels of the petitioners, said the election for the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao was postponed, so Comelec can allocate the funds for the recall elections.

Samboan’s other elected officials are Mayor Raymond Durano Calderon and town councilors Carolina Gamillo, Remedios Tano, Teodoro Limpahan Jr., Virgincito Ferrolino, Elmer Tocao, Nador Omale and Franco Gorion.

News Briefs

By Cebu Daily News


MONITOR ESTABLISHMENTS THE Cebu City Council called on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to monitor the compliance of public institutions and private business entities of the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2003 in relation to their treatment of senior customers. Councilor Edgar Labella, who authored a resolution for this purpose, said some commercial establishments including drug stores in the city still lag behind in giving discounts to senior citizens. He called on the agency to remind the commercial establishments to comply with the Senior Citizens Act especially in light of the holiday season, where the prices of basic and prime commodities usually rise due to peak consumer demand. Correspondent Edison delos Angeles RAPS FOR CUTTING TREES THREE persons were charged with attempted theft for allegedly cutting down a couple of trees at the back of the legislative building in Barili town, Cebu. Edwin Orosco, Hector Celis, and Leo Estrada were charged before the Cebu Provincial Prosecutors’ Office following a complaint filed by Barili Mayor Teresito Mariñas. In his complaint, Mariñas said the municipal librarian called to inform him of the theft. The mayor’s personnel confirmed the finding but the suspects were long gone. Mariñas said the respondents didn’t seek permission from him to cut down the trees. Reporter Ador Vincent Mayol

Cebu City requires P800M to reach revenue target

By JGA of Sun.Star Cebu


CEBU CITY -- In ten-and-a-half months, the Cebu City Government collected P3.8 billion in revenues.

According to the statement of monthly revenue collections covering January to Nov. 12, collection has reached P3,804,440,861.52.

This leaves the City about P800 million short of reaching its target of P4.6 billion for 2011.

This is good news for the City because it means the earlier projected shortfall of close to P900 million as revealed by Acting City Treasurer Tessie Camarillo during an executive session last month will be less.

But it may still be hard to convince the City Council to approve its originally crafted budget proposed for 2012 that amounted to P11.8 billion.

Some department heads earlier admitted that the actual amount of the proposed budget for 2012 is just between P10.5 and P10.775 billion, and not P11.8 billion. In the uncertified revised revenue estimates, the total projection amounts to just P10.427 billion.

Councilor Noel Wenceslao, a certified public accountant, has reminded the members of the local finance committee to be “realistic” in projecting revenues for next year, which will be made as basis in crafting the proposed budget.

Wenceslao told members Camarillo, Budget Officer Nelfa Briones and City Planning and Development Coordinator Alipio Bacalso to look back at the historical data of the City’s revenue collection.

This was also the basis for Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young’s statement that the 2012 budget may just be a bit bigger than this year’s budget of about P4.6 billion.

The highest revenue came from the total business and other receipts, with P1.269 billion already collected.

Real property tax collection was only P609 million.

According to the revised revenue estimates of the executive department, the City plans to collect P3.356 billion in taxes to fund its budget next year, which is more than double this year’s amount.

The second biggest revenue source for the City is the regular Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) from the National Government, at P1.023 billion so far or a monthly release of about P93 million.

Because of the new cities, Cebu City is expected to receive less than a billion in IRA next year.

From the South Road Properties (SRP) the City was able to collect P676.775 million from both SM Prime Holdings Inc. and Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI).

For next year, though, part of the revenue estimate of the City, as proposed by the executive department, is the sale of SRP lots worth P1.248 billion.

This was not included in the proposed 2012 budget submitted to the council as approved by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.

The executive also expects to start earning from its joint venture with FLI, projecting P600 million in proceeds in 2012.

FLI expects to be able to turn over some of its condominium units from Amalfi Oasis by March. This is part of the joint venture between the City and the private developer, called Citta Di Mare at the SRP.

SRP receipts along with collections from the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor, Slum Improvement and Resettlement program, and City Resources Management and Development Center, among others, amount to P701 million and are labeled as extraordinary receipts.

The City also collected almost P124 million from seven economic enterprises and P77 million in regulatory fees.

Basis for judge’s inhibition ‘flimsy,’ ‘sets precedent’

By Gerome M. Dalipe, Jujemay G. Awit and Karlon N. Rama


CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama frowned at the decision of a Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge to inhibit himself from the Rallos case.

Rama described the basis for Judge James Stewart Himalaloan’s inhibition as “flimsy.”

Himalaloan cited the allowance that City Hall gives to judges and prosecutors as basis for his decision to step out of the case involving the Rallos family’s claim of compensation for a lot in Barangay Sambag 1 that the City Government developed into a road.

“That's not a good reason. I never visited him and I never threatened him,” Rama told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday.

Auction

Rama said Himalaloan’s decision might set a precedent for other judges who are handling City Hall cases.

In a related development, court sheriff Eugenio Fuentes Jr. said he intends to proceed with the auction of a parcel of land at the South Road Properties (SRP) on Dec. 20, to fulfill the P133.4 million award in favor of the Ralloses.

Himalaloan had ruled earlier that City Hall should pay the Ralloses about P133.4 million for the property that is being used as a road.

The order led to a garnishment order against Cebu City’s funds in different banks.

Fuentes told reporters that he will continue to exercise his mandated task to implement the notice of levy and the auction sale, unless ordered to inhibit himself.

Liabilities

But City Hall lawyer Jade Ponce said insisting on the auction brings legal liabilities to those facilitating it. He added that Fuentes can be charged for grave abuse of discretion.

“Under whose authority will the auction supposedly proceed? Surely not from the court because even the judge said follow COA (Commission on Audit),” said Atty. Ponce.

“Nevertheless, the enforcing officer is ordered by this court to exercise utmost prudence and caution strictly observing the procedure and mandates of Sec. 305 (a) of RA 7160; Section 9 (c), Rule 39 of the Rules of Court; and Administrative Circular No. 10-2000 of the Supreme Court,” he quoted the Oct. 26 ruling of Judge Himalaloan.

AO 10-2000 was adopted by COA as Circular 2000-2001.

Redeem

Fuentes, in an earlier interview, said the COA circular only referred to money claims.

Besides, he added, the City could still redeem the property by paying off the auction winner.

COA said government funds and properties cannot be held in garnishment.

Ponce said City Hall, under Mayor Rama, is determined to protect the City’s treasury.

He said the case is still under litigation, citing the City Government’s petition that is pending at the Court of Appeals.

With Himalaloan’s inhibition, the Rallos case will be re-raffled to another court.

‘City can only raise P601 M from projected P4-B revenues’

By Doris C. Bongcac

Cebu Daily News


Finance committee fails to convince dads of enough funds for budget

The Cebu City government may have to accept a “skin-and-bones” budget next year after executives failed to convince the City Council there would be enough funds to support Mayor Michael Rama’s proposed budget of P11.8 billion. “Most of our income sources have been going down during the last four years. How will you justify an increase in the city’s expenses?” Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young asked. City Treasurer Tessie Camarillo told the council yesterday that the city would only be able to raise P601 million of the P4-billion revenues projected from economic enterprises, which the Local Finance Committee identified as the biggest source of revenue. Camarillo also admitted that the P2-billion credit line proposed as a fund source could not be considered a legitimate source of revenue unless it is used before the budget’s approval. Two other LFC members—budget officer Nelfa Briones and planning officer Alipio Bacalso— agreed. “I am with the observation that we may have to adopt a skin-and-bones budget next year. Our next budget may just be a little over this year’s P4.5-billion budget. There is no way to fit all the expenses to fit the budget (proposed by the mayor) with a declining income,” he said. Young said that unless more funds are available, the council would have to pass a smaller budget enough to address the city’s basic needs for salaries,, electricity and water among others. The council convened for their fifth budget hearing yesterday. Before the discussion started, Camarillo presented a revised income receipt. But Young said he did not want the council to discuss the new figures because it was unsigned by the LFC members.

2-day Reg’l Conference on Violence Against Women, Child Abuse slated in Cebu City on Nov. 25-26

By Fayette C. Riñen


CEBU CITY, November 17 (PIA) -- A two-day Regional Conference on Violence Against Women (VAW) and Child Abuse is slated next week, November 25 and 26 in Cebu City under the theme “Empowering Women: Changing Communities.” This is an initiative of various VAW-and-Child-Abuse advocates coming from the different non-government organizations here. The “Communities Learning to Stop Abuse and Nurture Social Empowerment (CLEANSE)” Project aims to strengthen awareness on the said social issues to help reduce the incidence of domestic violence against women, as well as, child abuse in the region. The gravity of the domestic violence and child abuse incidences in the country will be tackled during the conference, including the importance of collaboration among stakeholders to respond to the said issues. The regional conference is also an opportunity for coordination and collaboration among national government agencies, NGOs, policymakers and the communities in addressing cases of VAW and child abuse in the region. CLEANSE is a joint project of the Share-A-Child Movement (SACMI), Kaabag sa Sugbo Foundation, Inc., Stop Abuse of Minors Association (SAMA), Inc., and Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation (CCEF), Inc. and assisted by the European Commission. The two-day activity is also made possible in coordination with the Cebu Provincial Women’s Commission, Coalition on the War Against Human Trafficking and the Department of Social Welfare and Development 7. (PIA-Cebu)

DTI to conduct 2-day media learning session on ‘Doing Reports on Free Trade Areas’

By Fayette C. Riñen


CEBU CITY, November 16 (PIA) -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will conduct a two-day media learning session on “Doing Reports on Free Trade Areas: A DBFTA Learning Session for Media” on November 23 and 24 in Cebu City. Business reporters from Manila, Cebu and Mindanao have been invited to the said event. The activity aims to further enrich media practitioners’ understanding on the background, dynamics and important issues related to international trade. Topics to be discussed include international trade engagements, trade policy consultations, negotiations and related updates. On the first day, there will also be a familiarization tour and onsite interview in selected exporting companies. The DTI-International Trade Group through the Office of Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal Jr. will conduct the workshop for media representatives. With the activity, the DTI stated that by working closely with the media and providing a venue for discussion and clarifications of the details on the country’s international trade engagements, the government can better explain its information drive to the business community, other stakeholders and the general public. (PIA-Cebu)

Reg'l dev't council endorses P230-M farm-to-market road projects

By Fayette C. Riñen


CEBU CITY, November 15 (PIA) -- The Economic Development Council (EDC) of the Central Visayas Regional Development Council (RDC) approved the resolution to endorse to the RDC-7 the request for funding assistance of the P230 million proposed farm-to-market road projects in Negros Oriental. During the 4th EDC quarterly meeting held recently, EDC Chairperson Robert Go said the request for funding assistance will be submitted and tackled during the RDC-7 Full Council Meeting scheduled later this month, and will be included in Central Visayas Regional Development Investment Program 2011-2016. The said amount covers three farm-to-market road projects broken down as follows: P50 million rehabilitation and improvement of farm-to-market roads in Tanjay City; P90 million for the concreting of Bais-Cambagyo-Mansangaban-Mamburao-Mangganay Farm-to-Market Road; P90 million for the concreting of the Bais-Cambagahan Farm-to-Market Road in Bais City, Negros Oriental. The proposed farm-to-market road projects will serve as support infrastructure facilities to the agricultural and economic development of the two major cities of the province and contribute to the creation of employment opportunities in the said localities. As contained in the resolution, the improvement and rehabilitation of these farm-to-market roads will also support the development strategy of the region’s medium-term plan of “improving existing road network leading to agricultural areas and market centers” thereby increasing productivity and rural family income. The endorsement to the RDC-7 through the EDC the funding assistance by the DA for the proposed projects per request by the Negros Oriental Provincial Government will be (PIA-Cebu)

PNP seizes P35-M worth of illegal drugs in C. Visayas

By Fayette C. Riñen


CEBU CITY, November 14 (PIA) -- Illegal drugs worth P35 million were seized by the Central Visayas police in the past 10 months in Central Visayas, with over 1,300 persons arrested either as pushers or users. “From January to October, this year, the police have conducted 986 anti-drug operations and arrested 1,329 individuals involved in selling illegal drugs or as plain users,” P/Supt. Melvin Sanchez, chief of the Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group (Raidsotg-7) declared. Of the total number of persons arrested, 466 were categorized as pushers and 863 were users. Sanchez reported that drugs confiscated included Marijuana, with 18,963 fully-grown plants, nubain ampules, 11,244 and cocaine with 3,947 grams, and lastly, shabu with 882.38 grams. “We have now filed 1,210 cases and they are now in the courts,” Sanchez bared. Meanwhile, Police Regional Office (PRO) -7 Regional Director C/Supt. Marcelo Garbo Jr. said that the illegal drug problem needs a holistic approach and that in conducting anti-drug operations. He said that one must not only consider law enforcement but also satisfy law requirements regarding proper arrest and gathering of evidence so that the cases filed will stand in court. Garbo expressed that he has noticed that some of the anti-drug operations conducted by the police violated PDEA rules and guidelines. “We do not want cases filed to be dismissed on mere technicality. There is a need to strengthen anti-drug operations based on the manual of operations by both the police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in order to professionalize the conduct of anti-drug operations,” Garbo pointed out. Likewise, police should always make a report or a summary information on the status of illegal drugs confiscated. Garbo said the police and PDEA should have a united effort in fighting illegal drugs. (PIA-Cebu)

City Hall asked: Pay P1.6M bill for burial assistance

By Jujemay G. Awit


A FUNERAL parlor is asking the Cebu City Government for payment of the almost P1.6 million in burial expenses for this year.

Zigfried Diaz, vice president for operations of St. Francis Funeral Homes, wrote a letter to Councilor Margarita Osmeña saying that the company has been following up the City’s balance covering three barangays.

Barangay San Nicolas owes the funeral homes P984,000; Barangay Tisa owes P360,000; and Barangay Guadalupe has a payable of P224,000.

The City Government has a burial assistance program wherein city constituents can avail of an P8,000 burial package for every dead person and a cash assistance of P10,000.

The City partnered with funeral homes for this program.

Osmeña and Councilor Jose Daluz III also sponsored a resolution that will allow the continuation of financial assistance to the Cebu Investment Promotion Center (CIPC), formerly known as the Cebu Economic and Business Foundation Inc., worth P480,000 per month.

The two councilors also filed a separate resolution for the release of financial assistance to the Barangay Councilors’ League of the Philippines in the amount of P3 million.

These two resolutions will authorize Mayor Michael Rama to sign a memorandum of agreement with the two organizations. These still need endorsement from the City Legal Office, though.

The CIPC, which is also the marketing arm of the South Road Properties (SRP), used to get financial aid from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).

Pagcor, however, has since stopped that so all aid will be coursed through the City Treasurer’s Office for proper monitoring.

On the burial assistance, this is not the first time St. Francis Funeral Homes complained of late payment from the Cebu City Government.

Last year, Diaz and representatives from three other funeral parlors that are program partners of the City wrote then mayor now Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district) on the delay of payment.

Diaz, in his letter to Councilor Osmeña, said the last payment they received was late last year yet.

Whenever they follow up payment, Diaz said, the City Hall staff would tell them to submit their papers. But, proper documentation was submitted early this year yet.

“If this is the case, there seems to be internal miscommunication from City Hall’s end because according to the barangays, they have also already submitted the papers necessary for payments since early this year,” the letter read.

The letter will be reviewed by the Cebu City Council’s committee on budget and finance.

Mandaue fire leaves 200 families homeless

By (PNA)

scs/EB/gb


CEBU CITY, Nov. 12 (PNA) – At least 200 families were left homeless in an hour-long fire that hit the riverside Sitio Pulangbato, Barangay Alang-alang, Mandaue City, Friday afternoon.

Chief Insp. Rogelio Bongabong, Mandaue City Fire marshal, said the fire destroyed at least P400,000 worth of property.

Bongabong said the fire, which broke out at 1:40 p.m., spread quickly, prompting them to declare a Task Force Bravo, summoning all fire units in the surrounding towns and cities to create a perimeter around the flames.

A combined force from the fire departments of Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu City and Consolacion town responded along with the volunteer fire brigade and the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation.

Residents tried to stop the growing flames but were hampered by narrow pathways that kept their closely-packed houses almost inaccessible.

Bongabong said the fire was believed to have started in one house whose power connection short-circuited.

Firefighters, he said, successfully kept the flames from reaching a gasoline station in the vicinity.

Bongabong said that aside from the inaccessibility, the firefighters also encountered other problems like lack of water, a surging wind that fanned the flames, and the dry conditions.

Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, who visited the area, directed all concerned city departments to help meet the basic needs of those affected.

He also instructed the city government to put up tents and portable toilets within a private lot near the area that would serve as a temporary evacuation site for the fire victims.

Man, fresh out of jail, gunned down

By Davinci S. Maru and Jill B. Tatoy


A MAN who just got out of the Cebu City Jail for drug charges was gunned down at the Carbon Public Market yesterday dawn, while an ex-convict was also stabbed and shot dead in Dalaguete town.

Eduardo Concha, 35, was shot in the head by unidentified men at 1:30 a.m. in Barangay Ermita, Cebu City.

He was the third man who was shot dead at the Carbon Public Market this week.

Although the assailants in both crimes were not identified, top police officials in Cebu dispelled insinuations that vigilantes are behind the killings.

In Ermita, witnesses said they saw Concha lying dead in an alley with a gunshot wound in the head.

George Alegado, a market vendor, said he was sleeping on a bench in his stall when he heard three bursts of gunfire from behind his stall.

Seconds later, he saw Concha dead. An empty shell of caliber .45 was also found near Concha’s body.

Homicide policeman SPO1 Victor Ruel Ayuman said Concha’s death could be drug-related.

Last Tuesday, Carlo Montemar, 17, and Daryl Juezan, 22, were shot in the head at 10:30 p.m. inside the Carbon Public Market.

The victims were seen selling used cell phones. Minutes later, they were both shot by four unidentified men.

Cebu City Police Chief Melvin Ramon Buenafe dismissed insinuations that the vigilantes are again eliminating criminals through summary executions.

“There are no vigilantes in Cebu City,” Buenafe said.

He said there may be different motives for the recent killings in Cebu City, but these were not plotted by vigilantes.

He said the series of killings at the Carbon Public Market will have to be investigated.

He said he will not tolerate vigilantes, who may also be considered criminals themselves considering that they are putting justice into their own hands.

In the southern town of Dalaguete, a man previously convicted of murder was stabbed and shot dead yesterday morning.

Arsenio Belandres Jr., 52, was discovered lying near the edge of a cliff in Barangay Mantalongon, with multiple stab and gunshot wounds.

Police considered Belandres’s previous murder charge and his involvement in a land dispute as possible motives for his death.

Belandres was released from the National Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City and has since lived as an ordinary farmer.

Dalaguete Police Station Chief Dexter Basirgo told Sun.Star Cebu that Belandres was about to go to the farm when he was ambushed by unidentified assailants at around 7 a.m.

Police asked some residents if they saw the assailants, but they said they only heard a series of gunfire. No evidence was recovered from the crime scene.

Gerald Calvo, a farmer, saw the victim’s body near a sack of fertilizers and a basket.

He immediately called for help.

Belandres reportedly had killed someone from another barangay, which led to his arrest and detention.

Meanwhile, Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) Director Patrocinio Comendador said there were no reports of vigilante-style killings in his area of responsibility.

DOH to hire 11,000 health workers this month

By (PNA)

LAP/FFC/EB/re


CEBU CITY, Nov. 10 (PNA) – The Philippine Government has a program aimed at employing more than 11,000 people this month as a means to support those seeking employment overseas, a Department of Health (DOH) official said.

Dr. Nemesio Gako, DOH assistant secretary, made the announcement during the sixth Asia-Pacific Action Alliance on Human Resource for Health (AAAH) annual conference which started Wednesday at the Marco Polo Hotel in Cebu City and ends on Friday.

Gako said nurses who want to work abroad could work for the Registered Nurses for Health Enhancement and Local Services program to gain work experience.

The nurses’ one-year stay with the program is considered as work experience, a requirement for employment abroad.

He said the health department has so far hired 10,000 for one year.

The second batch, which will be deployed this month, will include 11,500 nurses and 1,000 midwives.

The nurses will be deployed for one year to communities identified with families enrolled under the conditional cash transfer program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Gako said the nurses would have a stipend of P8,000 per month for one year with free health insurance.

Gako’s announcement came amid reports of shortage of health workers and unbalanced distribution of skilled workers in the Asia-Pacific region.

Dr. Fely Marilyn Lorenzo of the University of the Philippines (UP) in Manila said that at the AAAAH conference many Asia-Pacific countries reported that they suffer from severe shortages, inadequate distribution, or unbalanced mix of skills of health workers that hamper the delivery of health services.

”This also makes it difficult for countries to attain their health millennium development goals,” she added.

It was also reported at the AAAH conference that only Thailand has achieved universal health coverage.

Vietnam and Indonesia have set 2014 as target for achieving universal health coverage, while Cambodia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines are eyeing 2016 to reach the goal.

In a press conference, Dr. Akiko Maeda of the Global Health Workforce said there is a global crisis of health workers.

Maeda said the group prefers hiring “dedicated and motivated workers” than merely filling out job vacancies.

The Philippines, which is the third in the Asia-Pacific region in terms of number of nurses employed overseas, could take the challenge on the lack of health workers.

AAAH founder Dr. Suwit Wilbulpolprasert compared the oversupply of nurses in the Philippines to a patient with a diabetic condition.

”There are lots of sugar in your blood, but the body cannot use all the sugar in the system,” he said.

”You produce a huge amount of nurses but you can’t absorb them,” he said.

Wilbulpolprasert said exporting health workers is not a problem, but the government should be able to use the revenue from these workers.

”The revenue should be used in the health system to deliver basic health services to the people,” he said.

DepEd 7 checking accreditation of colleges, universities in Central Visayas

By (PNA)

LAP/EB/re


CEBU CITY, Nov. 9 (PNA) – The Department of Education in Central Visayas (DepEd) 7 is checking the accreditation of colleges and universities in Central Visayas, a senior education official said.

DepEd 7 Director Recaredo Borgonia said the move is based on DepEd Order 78, series of 2011, issued by Education Secretary Armin Luistro as part of the education department’s efforts to assist the Commission on Education (Ched) in instituting proper reforms.

Borgonia said Luistro has directed all basic education personnel to refrain from enrolling in master’s and doctoral degree programs not recognized by the Ched.

”Unaccredited institutions are not authorized to issue accredited learning programs,” Borgonia said.

”The scope of the order is nationwide. We are trying to check if there are DepEd personnel enrolled in unaccredited schools,” he said.

Luistro also warned DepEd personnel who are involved in unauthorized transactions with colleges and universities that have not met Ched’s requirements.

”The DepEd official and personnel shall not assist those who are involved in illegal operation of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) by allowing them to use any public schools facilities as venues for holding unauthorized classes and other activities,” he said.

Based on Ched 7’s May 2011 data, there are 159 HEIs in the region and nine accredited colleges supported by local government units.

Ched also directed a moratorium on five courses—nursing, business administration, teacher education and hotel and restaurant management—because these are “oversubscribed.”

A three-year moratorium on law schools is already in place.

Police arrest 4 ‘drug pushers’ in separate operations in City

By Kevin A. Lagunda


FOUR alleged drug pushers were arrested in separate buy-bust operations by different police units in Cebu City and Tabogon, Cebu.

Last Saturday, at 7:30 p.m., Isabelo Fernandez Jr. was arrested by the operatives of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7-Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group (Raidsotg) 7 in Barangay Pasil, Cebu City.

The team led by Senior Insp. Henrix Bancoleta seized two packs of what they believe was shabu from the suspect. The packs are worth P50,000.

Fernandez allegedly tried to bribe the police with P280,000, GMA 7 Balitang Bisdak reported. The money was delivered to the Raidsotg 7 office by the suspect’s cousin Christy Ramos, 31, and Ana Torniado, 29. But the police arrested them.

Fernandez, according to the police, is a level 2 drug pusher because he disposed of 200 grams of shabu, worth P1 million, every week.

The suspect, who is now inside the detention cell of PRO 7, refused to be interviewed. He said he operates computers in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental.

Over an hour later, Lorielyn Daro, 43, and her live-in partner Michael Villanueva, 44, were arrested by a team from the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO)-City Intelligence Branch (CIB) led by PO3 Edward Abatayo.

Bullets

Twenty-three sachets of shabu and a .357 revolver still loaded with six bullets were confiscated from the suspects outside their residence in Barangay San Nicolas, Cebu City.

Chief Insp. Romeo Santander, the CIB head, said San Nicolas Barangay Captain George Rama and their informants from the Multi-Agency Anti Drug Task Force informed him about the suspects’ alleged illegal activities.

Villanueva, according to the police official, is on bail after he was charged in court as an accessory to the crime committed by a police official.

Santander said they put the couple under surveillance for one week. The suspects, who are new in the business, will be charged today.

For their part, a team from the Cebu Provincial Police Office-Provincial Intelligence Branch, which was led by PO3 Reynaldo Solante, caught Reynaldo Arcenal, 40, in Tabogon yesterday morning.

A large stash of shabu, estimated to worth P15,000 to P20,000, was allegedly seized from Arcenal’s possession, said Senior Insp. Mark Gifter Sucalit.

Sucalit, the deputy PIB chief, said Arcenal is a level 2 drug pusher for the latter can allegedly dispose of P300,000 worth of shabu every week. He said the suspect was arrested before in Cebu City because of drug charges.

Rep. Osmena opposes converting entire Cebu into ecozone

By (PNA)

LAP/FFC/EB/gb


CEBU CITY, Nov. 7 (PNA) – Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district) has opposed the plan to convert the entire province of Cebu into a Cebu Economic Development Zone (CEDZ).

Osmeña said there will be a conflict of interest if the people tending the economic zone are businessmen.

The proposed CEDZ will have its own authority that will be composed of members of the private sector.

Talk on the proposal was revived during the Philippine Economic Forum last Friday after a businessman asked for an update of House Bill 1319, which was submitted during the 14th Congress but was not acted on.

Former congressman Raul del Mar (Cebu City, north district) was the principal author of House Bill 1319.

The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) conducted a pre-investment study on the proposal then.

CCCI past president Geronimo Sta. Ana said Reps. Eduardo Gullas (Cebu, 1st district) and Ramon “Red” Durano VI (Cebu, 5th district) are inclined to revive the bill in Congress.

But Osmeña questioned the proposed CEDZ Authority when it supervises the entire Cebu Province as an ecozone.

”They are not answerable to the people. We will be relying on the chamber of commerce that is made up of businessmen who only care about lowering taxes and to build, build, build,” Osmena said.

”These are the same people who oppose the flyover because it affects their property,” Osmeña said.

Osmena was talking about the two flyover projects in Cebu City that were suspended by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) because of opposition from the private sector.

DPWH 7 will review the flyover projects on Gorordo and M.J. Cuenco Avenues which cost some P600 million.

DPWH 7 Project Management Office Director Rebecca Garsuta said they will also look at how the flyovers will complement the proposed Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system envisioned in Cebu City in a couple of years.

Osmeña, though, said he has already studied this and the flyover projects will not be a problem for the BRT.

He came up with the BRT project when he was mayor of Cebu City, and it was during his stint as Regional Development Council 7 chairman that the flyover projects were approved.

”The vast majority is not against the flyovers, only property owners and the high-end people affected by the projects are against it,” he said.

The Cebu City Traffic Operations Management also opposes the flyover projects, stating that the proposals are not technically sound.

Arrest warrant vs Rep. Ruben Ecleo Jr. remains unenforced

By (PNA)

scs/EB/bh


CEBU CITY, Nov. 6 (PNA) – The warrant of arrest issued by a Cebu City court against cult leader and Dinagat Island Rep. Ruben Ecleo Jr., who is facing a parricide charge for the death of his wife Alona Bacolod-Ecleo in January 2002, has remained unenforced.

Reports said the supreme master of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA) no longer resides in San Jose, Dinagat Island.

Lawyer Kit Enriquez, one of the private prosecutors in the case against Ecleo, said Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) operatives in the Caraga Region returned the arrest warrant for Ecleo to the court after a barangay captain in the town issued a certification to CIDG operatives that Ecleo has not lived there for a year.

”There’s a doubt in our mind that law enforcers might be afraid to implement the warrant of arrest against Ecleo,” Enriquez said.

Ecleo went into hiding after Regional Trial Court Branch 10 Presiding Judge Soliver Peras issued an arrest warrant against him last April for ignoring the hearings for his case in Cebu.

Peras canceled Ecleo’s P1-million bail for snubbing the hearings.

Ecleo’s failure to show up at his trial in Cebu came after the Sandiganbayan First Division issued a warrant for his arrest on Jan. 28.

The Supreme Court affirmed his conviction and that of two co-accused for their involvement in three anomalous construction projects while Ecleo was mayor of San Jose, Dinagat Island from 1991 to 1994.

Defense lawyers sought a review of the judge’s order, but Peras affirmed his April 6 order cancelling Ecleo’s P1-million bail.

Enriquez said he is not convinced Ecleo is no longer in San Jose, Dinagat Island.

”Probably the law enforcers did not verify the certification issued by the barangay captain,” he said.

Twenty-three people died when CIDG Caraga operatives, assisted by provincial policemen and soldiers from the Philippine Army’s 20th Infantry Battalion, arrested Ecleo in his Dinagat Island mansion on June 18, 2002.

Enriquez said this is probably the reason law enforcers are afraid to serve the latest warrant.

He said they have asked the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation to implement the warrant.

Another prosecution lawyer, Alfredo Sipalay, said the prosecution has also been working to expel Ecleo from the House of Representatives.

”The Congress itself should act on it. We reiterate to the Congress to drop Ecleo from the House because the decision of the Sandiganbayan was final,” Sipalay said.

Cebu Capitol awards cash incentives to 49 successful prov’l scholars

By Amor Saludar


CEBU CITY, November 5 (PIA) -- Forty-nine fresh graduate-beneficiaries of the Cebu Tertiary Education Assistance Program (CTEAP) of the Cebu Provincial Capitol recently received cash incentives as “reward” for their exemplary courage and determination to pursue their studies despite poverty. During the recognition day at the Capitol Social Hall yesterday, CTEAP new graduate scholars expressed their gratitude to Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia for including them as beneficiaries of the program and for realizing their dream to become professionals. Garcia, in her speech, also thanked the graduates for not wasting the opportunity that was given to them by the province. “Inyo gayud nga gipakita ang inyong kinasing-kasing nga paningkamot ( You really showed your whole heart endeavor) and once again affirmed our conviction that if you would be given an opportunity to rise above the challenges that you face, especially the difficulties of poverty, then surely you will be up to the opportunity,” Garcia said. Each CTEAP scholar who graduated magna cum laude received P 25, 000 cash incentive and for those who graduated cum laude received P 15, 000 each and the rest of the scholars were given P 5, 000 each. Meanwhile, newly-licensed Engineer Armando Saraum, a CTEAP graduate scholar from the University of Cebu, reaped a total of P 40,000 in cash reward of which the P 30, 000 given was for placing third in the 2010 ECE board examinations. The CTEATP was implemented in 1993 with the basic goal to provide financial assistance to poor but deserving high school graduates who are very eager to proceed to college. Under the program, four students are chosen from each of the 44 municipalities in the province to be a CTEAP scholar in which each student can avail of free tuition fees and miscellaneous expenses on top of the P 2, 000 monthly allowance provided by the Cebu Provincial Government. Garcia said that by next year, the number of CTEAP scholars will be increased and the municipalities will be responsible in choosing the poor high school graduates who deserve to become CTEAP scholars. Also present during the recognition were undergraduate CTEAP scholars, parents, Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale and some provincial members. (FCR/AS/PIA-CEBU)

Cebu Capitol gives cash to scholars who topped board exams, graduated

By Oscar C. Pineda


THE Cebu Provincial Government has given cash awards to Capitol scholars who graduated, with or without honors, and to former scholars who passed the board.

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia also announced that next year, she plans to add more scholarship grants.

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In its Cebu tertiary education assistance program (CTEAP), the province provides monthly allowances plus payment of tuition and miscellaneous fees to each of the poor but deserving scholars.

The governor gave P5,000 of Capitol funds to each scholar who graduated, and P15,000 to P35,000 to each scholar who graduated with honors.

Capitol also granted yesterday P10,000 to former scholars who passed the board.

“I am thankful that we are given the opportunity na mahimong instrumento aron inyong mga damgo matagaan og katumanan (to become instruments in making your dreams come true),” the governor, in behalf of Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale and Provincial Board members, told the scholars at the Capitol yesterday.

One of those given recognition is Engr. Armando Saraum, who placed third in the electronics and communications engineering (ECE) board examination in 2010. A son of a rattan chair maker in Consolacion town, Sarauim said being bright is not enough to become successful, as this requires more effort.

For being a board placer, Saraum, now a field engineer of Makati Development Corp., received a P30,000 reward from Capitol yesterday.

Also, siblings Geraldine, 21, and Gerome Ubas, 19, from Pinamungajan said relying on their father’s meager earnings from selling chairs is not enough to send them to college.

Room rental in a boarding house in the city costs around P1,200 monthly each for Geraldine, a fourth year education major, and Gerome, a second year electronics and communications engineering student.

At present, Capitol reserves four scholar slots for each of the 44 towns. But instead of getting 176 scholars, only 144 qualified.

Next year, the governor promised to increase scholarship grants to five slots for each local government unit, including Cebu’s seven cities.

“Kadakong sala sa kalibutan nga sa ilang kakabus di sila matagaan og kahigayunan (It’s a grave injustice if they cannot get opportunities because of poverty),” Garcia told the more than 144 scholars who were with their parents.

2 burglaries happen in Cebu City; police say it’s peaceful in Mandaue

By Jill B. Tatoy and Justin K. Vestil


BURGLARS took the opportunity to break into houses in Cebu City as most of the household owners were out to visit their departed loved ones in cemeteries in observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

The Theft and Robbery Section (TRS) of the Cebu City Police Office recorded two incidents last Nov. 1.

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The first incident was discovered at 7:30 p.m. when the family of Eduardo Culla Esquibel in Barangay Kamputhaw came back home from a visit in Tuburan town, Cebu.

The family lost about P60,000 worth of assorted valuables.

Esquibel and his family went to Tuburan last Oct. 30 for a vacation and came back to the city last Tuesday.

Missing

When they arrived home, they noticed that some of their valuables were missing.

Their neighbor, Marichou Perez, 30, told Esquibel that she saw Michael Angelo Ortega, nephew of Esquibel’s wife, go inside their house while the family was out.

Perez said she saw Ortega arrive in Esquibel’s house and later leave bringing different items with him.

Ortega was arrested and the missing items were recovered from his possession.

The items such as a mountain bike worth P35,000, three DVD players worth P6,000, seven wristwatches worth P7,000, cable digital box worth P10,000, a pair of shoes worth P3,000 and a cellular phone worth P2,000 were recovered.

At 9:50 p.m., another house was victimized by unknown burglars on Gorordo Ave. in the same barangay.

A mountain bike worth P10,000 owned by Karl Andrew Sanoy was stolen by unidentified perpetrators.

TRS investigators said the perpetrators managed to open the gate of Sanoy’s house and took the bicycle.

The perpetrators also attempted to get inside the house by opening the window, but failed to do so.

Peaceful

Meanwhile, despite two reported incidents of theft inside one of his city’s public cemeteries, Senior Supt. Noel Gillamac, chief of the Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO), said the observance of the All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day was generally peaceful.

For Gillamac, the MCPO’s peace and security campaign was effective, particularly in the information dissemination to public on what to do during the two-day holiday.

He said that their effort in distributing leaflets inside the eight cemeteries in Mandaue, and at the North Bus Terminal proved useful as most cemetery-goers heeded the police’s advisory on how to prevent getting victimized by criminal elements.

Two petty crime incidents, however, happened inside the Roman Catholic Cemetery in Barangay Guizo.

Last Nov. 1, a 35-year-old woman reported to the public safety desk put up inside that her shoulder bag was slashed by a thief. She lost her cellular phone.

Chapel

Leonora Tamano, 35, of Barangay Ibabao-Estancia, said she was attending a mass inside the public cemetery’s chapel when an unidentified person slashed her shoulder bag and stole her cellular phone worth P3,500.

It was only after the mass that Tamano realized her phone was gone.

In a separate incident, Felicidad Monalin, 63, a resident of Barangay Banilad, lost her wallet when an unidentified pickpocket took it from her.

The wallet contained P800 cash and her identification cards.

Gillamac said efforts are being made to identify the culprits in both incidents.

PCG tightens security in Cebu City port terminals

By Fayette C. Riñen


CEBU CITY, November 2 (PIA) -- The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) - Cebu tightens the security in Cebu City port terminals with the expected volume of inbound and outbound passengers in the city's four piers. Commander Rolando Punzalan said his men were ordered to be on alert due to the 5.5 percent hike of seafaring passengers from October 30 to November 1 compared to last year’s October 30 until November 3. For outbound passengers alone, the PCG-Cebu recorded 102,157 passengers from October 30 until November 1 compared to last year’s 96,689 outbound passengers from October 30 to November 3 or an increase of 5.5 percent in passenger volume, said Punzalan. After the observance of All Souls Day today, Punzalan said seafaring passengers are expected to increase tomorrow. Though Nov. 2 has not been declared a holiday, most people who went to their home provinces may opt to take a leave in order to spend All Souls Day with their departed loved ones, he said. Punzalan said that by tomorrow, they will focus on outbound passengers and in the coming days, the PCG-Cebu said it expects more inbound passengers as schools are due to open next week. The PCG-Central Eastern Visayas previously called on shipping vessels to prepare their passenger manifest early to avoid delays in trip schedules. Punzalan said he did not receive any reports of untoward incidents during the trips. Punzalan said they are continuously conducting inspection of the vessels in some ports to check and monitor any unauthorized sailing of motor bancas. (PIA-Cebu)

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