Wednesday, August 31, 2005


By: Boy Ryan B. Zabal

Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan – The Boracay Special Protection Unit (BSPU) bared a total of 27 cases reported involving children from January to July 2005. This is 170 percent higher than last year’s 10 cases covering the same period.
According to PO2 Fe Rebanio of BSPU-WCCD, out of the total 25 cases recorded last year, there were two cases of abduction of minor, 10 cases of physical assault and four cases of alleged rape and physical child abuse.
It has zero case for the months of January, February and May last year, she added.
Rebanio said, “cases of verbal harassment, attempted rape, physical injuries, vehicular accident, alleged theft, sexual abuse and physical harassment were also reported during off peak season in the island.”
The report also surpassed the total 25 cases involving children last year as compared to 27 cases this year from the months of January to July only.
“There were two child cases filed in court last year, but some cases involving children did not prosper in court after the complainants failed to pursue the cases,” Rebanio added.
This year, the tourists peak months of January and March to May have 21 cases reported involving children. The month of January registered 6 cases, April and May with 6 cases each involving child abandonment, abduction of minor, alleged rape, threats and attempted rape, mauling, physical abuse and threats/verbal harassment.
A single court case of alleged rape was filed against a German national in April 2005 after he was arrested by BSPU in Brgy. Manoc-Manoc together with an alleged commercial sex worker from Negros Occidental for acts of lasciviousness, Rebanio revealed.
Chief Insp. Jack Wanky, BSPU police chief, meanwhile, denied syndicated child traffickers are operating in the island, saying, “there were no cases of cybersex and sex tourism in the island during their monitoring of Internet café and resort spa.”
The End Child Prostitution Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT) also denied picturing this world-renowned resort island as a haven of child prostitution and cybersex.
ECPAT is pushing for “child-friendly” tourism in Boracay to address the sexual exploitation of children in travel and other tourism industries./MP

Aklan SP Enacts Rivers Development

By: Odon B. Bandiola

The provincial legislative body of Aklan (Sangguniang Panlalawigan) enacted on its August 24, 2005 31st Regular Session the Aklan Rivers Development Council provincial ordinance which shall be tasked with the rehabilitation, preservation and development of the rivers system of Aklan.
Earlier, Aklan Governor Carlito S. Marquez in close consultation with Vice Governor and SP presiding officer Ronquillo C. Tolentino, through an urgent request, decided to forward to the provincial legislative body the draft ordinance establishing the Aklan Rivers Development Council, defining its powers and functions, appropriating funds therefore and for other purposes.
During the 1999 11th Congress of the Philippines, former Aklan congressman Allen Salas Quimpo filed a bill similar to the provincial ordinance. While the bill passed the House of Representatives, the bill got stalled in the Senate on third reading when the 11th Congress adjourned consigning the bill to the congressional archives.
Marquez and Tolentino, after a careful study, considered its adoption as a provincial ordinance. The explanatory note to the Quimpo congressional bill was reiterated by Governor Marquez and Vice Governor Tolentino when Quimpo emphasized that “for Aklanons, the Aklan Rivers System are not just major tributary but lifeblood of the province’s agriculture and economic growth and the source of thousands of hectares of farmlands and water for everyday use and its being used by residents upriver to the market centers. Marquez also stressed that his provincial administration owes the youth and children of Aklan the protection and development of the province’s rivers system.
Aklan Congressman Florencio T. Miraflores had categorically manifested full support to the Aklan rivers system ordinance. During his provincial administration as Aklan Governor, he issued Executive Order No. 2000-06 on the creation of Aklan river integrated area development.
The Aklan Rivers Development Council shall be composed of the Governor as chair, the Vice Governor as vice chair with the membership composed of the 17 municipal mayors of the municipalities of Aklan, the heads of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Aklan (PENRO and CENRO), the Provincial Director of Aklan Philippine National Police, the District Engineer of the Department of Public works and Highways, the Provincial Head of the National Irrigation Administration and three non – government organizations representatives with ecology as their principal purpose, and the SP chairman on environment, agriculture and cooperatives.
The Aklan Rivers System includes the rivers that run from the upland areas of Libacao and Madalag down to Balete, Altavas, Malinao, Tangalan, Ibajay, Nabas, Buruanga, Malay and Kalibo until the Sibuyan Sea where all tributaries drain.
The biggest and the longest in the system is the Aklan river and its tributaries, the Dumalaylay and Timbaban, followed by the Ibajay river in the west.
With the creation of the ARSC, is also the setting up of the Aklan Rivers Conservation Secretariat which shall be headed by the Executive Director.
The council shall be tasked, among others, to adopt rules, policies, guidelines, recommendations to the concerned agencies on the conservation of the rivers system; formulate a comprehensive, short, medium and long – term plans for the development and rehabilitation of the rivers system; conduct survey, incentives, state and status of the system, review all existing ordinances, policies, rules and regulations issued by the local government units concerned related to the development of the Aklan rivers, as the highest consultative body; and direct the implementation of the projects that maybe approved pursuant to the development plan of the Aklan rivers. /MP

Optical Media Board Strikes in Kalibo

Some 18 big sacks were filled up with pirated cassette tapes, VCD and CDs confiscated by the representatives of Optical Media Board and the police officers from the Aklan Provincial Police Office Kalibo, Aklan.
The raid was completed in 15 minutes conducted in the Shopping Center Area, Poblacion, Kalibo, Aklan in the afternoon of Monday, August 22, 2005. The salesmen owners of said pirated intellectual properties just stood by helpless while the Aklan police and representatives from the Optical Media Board were doing their jobs.


Nueva Ecija-wide Group of Ex-OFWs
To Rise On Savings Need
By: Jeremaiah Opiniano

Some 15 self-help groups made up former overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Nueva Ecija will formalize this year a province-wide federation to encourage savings and build capital.
The Nueva Ecija OFW Federation (NEOFED) will have member – groups coming from the towns of Talavera, Aliaga, Laur, and Bongabon, and the cities of Cabanatuan, Palayan, and San Jose, the provincial capital, said Fernando Cara, president of NEOFED.
According to Cara, the OFW groups in Nueva Ecija have agreed to form NEOFED so that OFWs from their home towns wouldn’t suffer current financial difficulties.
Cara is also president of the Sto. Domingo OFW Association, a six-year-old group that hands out small-scale livelihood loans to some of its 75 members who run micro-retail stores in the town of Sto. Domingo, 30 kilometers northwest of Cabanatuan City.
Cara said, “NEOFED hopes to jumpstart money-earners’ and remittance receivers’ moves to save money for reinvestment or new investments and the provincial capitol in Palayan City will serve as the federation’s headquarter.
According to documents from the Cabanatuan City-based NGO Action for Social Progress, Inc. (ASPI), the 15 member-groups of NEOFED have an estimated total of 1,244 members. Meanwhile, the number of OFWs in three Novo Ecijano cities and 14 provinces showed that there are some 6,204 former OFWs according to data from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) office in Nueva Ecija.
Information, however, of OFW presence in 12 other Novo Ecijano towns are not available because of the absence of organized groups, OWWA information revealed.
Nueva Ecija, based on 1998 to 2002 data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) on the provincial origins of OFWs deployed, is the ninth topmost source of contract workers among provinces with 44,947. Ilocos Norte is the top province in terms of OFWs deployed with 109,007.
ASPI and the Manila-based nonprofit Economic Resource Center for Overseas Filipinos (ERCOF) will provide technical assistance to NEOFED especially on building up capital, instituting forced savings, and accessing to savings and credit instruments from financial institutions, according to ERCOF president Ildefonso Bagasao.

The Asian Development Bank’s 2004 study titled Enhancing the Efficiency of Overseas Workers Remittances bared that 90 percent of OFW-respondents of a nationwide market research said “they are able to save”. Majority of these respondents said they save from $51 to $200 monthly in banks in their countries of work and residence.
The ADB also did that market study to 300 OFW households nationwide, and it found that remittances contributed about 80 percent of households’ total income. These households also allocate their income from abroad for food consumed at home, utilities and other household operations, personal care and effects and communications and transportation.
Some 68 percent of the respondent-OFW households said they are able to save – with more than half of these saving between P1,000 to P3,000 monthly (or some five to 30 percent of the remittance-allocations going to savings.)
Some 2.7 million households of overseas workers, according to a study by University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) economist Dr. Roberto de Vera, spent P459.9 million – based on data from the government’s 2000 Family Income and Expenditures Survey (FIES).
While province-wide data on spending are not available in de Vera’s study, regional data are available and OFW households from Central Luzon which spent P52.8 billion (or 11.5 percent of the national total ).
How about in Aklan? is there any move to organize Aklan’s OFWs with the view to save income for future investment? /MP


By Recto I. Vidal

Aklan’s endangered marine species like dolphins should be protected as these play a vital component in the sea's biodiversity.

This was the appeal raised by Sonia Seville, regional director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to fisherfolks in this province who resort to illegal marine poaching thus depleting Aklan's endangered marine species.

"Dolphins, for instance, are considered protected species, thus these should not be made part of the day's catch and later slaughtered in the public markets in some parts of the province," Seville told local reporters during an interview outside the governor's office.

The BFAR regional director stressed that dolphins are part of the marine biodiversity and that the "depletion of its numbers will definitely affect the marine life's food chain," she warned.

Seville described the province's perennial problem on the illegal fishing as a "sad story" and said that she will bring up the problem with Aklan Gov. Carlito Marquez.

"BFAR will ask the assistance of the governor and other local government officials in the province and try to convince them that the problem should be addressed in order to remedy it as early as possible," she told local newsmen.

She said that some fishermen still lack the technical information regarding the 15 kilometer radius of the municipal waters wherein they can fish legally without violating any fishery laws of the land.

After her brief meeting with the Aklan governor, she told reporters that Marquez expressed interest in providing alternative livelihood to fisherfolks who engage in illegal fishing.

"The governor suggested that these people be provided with alternative source of income like fish deboning instead of engaging in illegal activities and we at the BFAR will be more than willing to provide technical assistance to various local government units in Aklan. Seville confided.

Seville stressed that the BFAR is wooing fisherfolks to engage in growing high value fish crops like the sea bass which commands a P250 per kilo price when sold in the market.

"Thats why the BFAR will be giving at least 10,000 fingerlings aside from the free technical assistance we will be giving," disclosed the BFAR regional director.

She also spelled out various success stories regarding the establishment of a number of fish sanctuaries in the province like those in Batan and Tangalan wherein it has already been declared as "protected areas" and is now teeming with rich marine life.

BaSOC Needs SEAG Volunteers

The Bacolod Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (BaSOC) is looking for about 4000 youth volunteers needed to assist them in Bacolod City during the Southeast Asian Games (SEAG). The Philippines will play host to the games from November 27 to December 5, 2005. Bacolod City will be the venue for events in soccer football, indoor volleyball, beach volleyball, boxing and weightlifting.
The National Youth Commission initiates the Volunteers Recruitment Program and about 15,000 SEAG volunteers are needed nationwide.
The BaSOC prefers volunteers who are from Neg. Occidental, Iloilo and other Panay provinces who have relatives in Bacolod City and nearby cities who can make their own accommodation, arrangements during the period of volunteer and the games.
Volunteers should indicate the availability of their schedule by indicating specific dates and times for volunteer engagement from July to December 2005.
Volunteers will be entitled to food arrangements, uniforms and transportation to and from the venues while serving during the games.
Those who intend to volunteer can choose to be assigned to the sports operation, program and ceremonies, support and services, security marketing and merchandising liaison/protocol and secretariat.
Volunteers must be at least fifteen years of age, physically and mentally fit, can work under pressure, have excellent work attitude, with pleasant disposition, willing to assume multiple tasks and roles, flexible to shifting work hours and must pass the screening and interview of the Committee on Volunteers. They should submit two copies of the completed volunteer application forms with two pictures, comprehensive resume/curriculum vitae (maximum of three pages), photocopy of police or NBI clearance and a certificate of good moral character from their school/organization/employer.
Forms are available at the Office of the National Youth Commission or from the Philippine Information Agency in Region 6, Iloilo City.
Accomplished forms may be submitted through mail, hand carried or emailed to the SEA Games Volunteers Program Secretariat, National Youth Commission, 4th Floor Bookman Building, 373 Luzon Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines.
It may also be submitted through the Philippine Information Agency, Quezon Delgado St. Iloilo City. Deadline for application is August 30, 2005. /MP

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Why Do Yakuza Cut Off Their Fingers?
By Alex P. Vidal

Yakuza cut off the top joint of their little finger when they make a serious mistake, something that embarrasses the gang, costs the gang money, or causes dissent within the ranks.
It is also a way to apologize when one can’t pay a debt, to end a feud or to settle a dispute. The practice is called yubizume and is actually an old samurai tradition. When a Japanese sword is held properly, most of the grippes strength is applied by the little finger, so a person who had cut his fingers off could not hold his sword properly.
Samurai who could not hold their swords properly were far less effective in battle, and thus, more dependent on their lord. The yakuza adapted the practice, because many of them consider themselves to be following the old samurai traditions.
Should you like to hear the gory detail of how yubizume is performed, continue reading here. A common misconception about yakuza, especially among the Filipinos, is that someone else cuts their finger off but this is not true, and the process is designed to be as unpleasant as possible, helping the yakuza show how sorry they are. They always do it themselves. First, they take a string and wrap it tightly around their finger so that it cuts off the blood circulation. This both numbs the finger and lessens the amount of blood with a knife but now it is usually done with a square-shaped, very sharp chisel called a nomi.
They put the chisel above the first joint, and give it a whack with a heavy hammer. The finger usually flies 20 or 30 centimeters, which gives rise to the expression, yobi o tobasu (to make your finger fly).
What do you do with your finger when you cut it off? You present it to the person you offended or to the kumicho (gang leader). In his book, Uyoku, yakuza, sokaiya: honto no sugata, former police officer Ishigumi Takao relates the story of how he visited a yakuza headquarters and went to get a drink. One of the yakuza told him, “Please don’t look in the fidge. “When he asked, “Are everyone’s fingers in there?” The man gave him an embarrassed nod.
The stupidest finger-cutting story you will ever hear was told by Inagawa-kai president Kakuji Inagawa. He related how he tried to stop the practice of yubizume but some of his lieutenants just didn’t get the message.
When one of them demanded that one of his low-ranking gang members cut off his finger for some serious infraction, the oyabun got angry and berated the boss.
The boss, comprehending, but yet not comprehending, cut off his finger and sent it to Inagawa by way of apology.
The practice of yubizume is gradually dying out, both because yakuza does not want to be easily recognizable and because the samurai values that were once so important to them are fading.
Nowadays, a yakuza is as likely to offer money to end a dispute as he is his finger. Some Filipinos in the red light districts here said they are not afraid of the yakuza anymore. “We kicked and punched them if they got drunk and created trouble,” a certain Master Erik of the Guardians-Japan, a group composed of former military men, told this writer. ”Some yakuza respect us because we mean business and we show them that we are not afraid of them,” he added.
Can we Filipinos emulate the yakuza? In case of serious mistake, can we do self imposed penalty?
It is not enough, not really, to commit “lapse in judgment’ and merely say: “I’m sorry”.
“To whom more is given more is expected from.” For the sins of Gloria, her renouncement of the power and glory of the Presidency of the Philippines are just enough payment for the scandals now rocking the Philippines and the Filipino people. /MP

Entrepreneurial Farmer

Ambrosio R. Villorente

The Travails of Palay Farmers

During palay harvest season, the farmers producers sell their produce at P9.00 – P10.00 per kilogram. The palay must be according to the desired standard specification.
The farmers sell the palay to raise money for their immediate needs like to pay loans, school expenses, hospitalization, house repair, tax payment and others. They cannot store it because of their immediate and pressing needs.
Like today, after about three months from harvest, they have no more rice. Farmers now visit their public market to buy their rice needs at a cost from P23.00 to P25.00 per kilogram.
If the rice businessmen purchased their palay at P10.00 per kilogram and spent 20 percent more for storage, wastage, transportation and handling and interest of money, the businessmen must have realized a net income of 25 percent. This is happiness for a palay businessman.
Let us say a palay businessman bought 10 metric tons of palay at harvest season at P10.00 per kilogram or P100,000.00 He milled this 10,000 kilograms of palay in July or August of at least 65 percent milling recovery. He gets 6.5 metric tons clean rice or 6,500 kilograms. After selling the rice at P24.00 per kilogram, the price today, he gets P156,000. If 20 percent was spent for post harvest handling and processing, this will cost P31,200.00. When this amount is subtracted from P156,000.00, it will be P24,800.00 which will be the net gain of the rice businessman. This is 24.8 percent more of his P100,000 used in the purchase of 10 metric tons of palay. This amount gives him additional wealth. Moreover, the businessman will have his “Darak” for the swine feed, an additional gain.
On the other hand, a farmer who farms a one hectare paddy field could hardly realize P20,000.00 from his field. Here is why.
If that farmer, produced 8,000 kilograms per hectare or 8 metric tons which is more or less the average production per hectare in Aklan, what will remain with him is just about two metric tons or P20,000.00. Some 2 M.T. or 25 percent will be paid to the land lease. The four metric tons or about P30,000 to P40,000 will be spent for land preparation, seeds, irrigation, fertilizer and pesticide, crop management like weeding, harvesting and threshing, sacks, hauling, drying and other expenses. This P20,000.00 the farmer retains is just his labor income from his palay crop from land preparation to handling of produce after harvest.
Considering the 50 kilograms per person nutritional requirement of grains per annum, the 2 tons net produce of the farmer is not even enough for his family of six (6) during a year. This explains why the “backbone” of the Filipino farmer is fast becoming “boneless”. For the farmer to continue producing rice crops, attractive motivation must be given him. The rice businessmen must purchase palay at a most reasonable price. The government may provide the farmer a free interest supervised credit, subsidized production in – puts and guaranteed fair palay market price.
If the present atmosphere in palay farming will continue, it will not take long for the Filipino palay farmers to fade away from the paddy fields. Our Filipino palay farmers will be unable to continue working with their feet buried in the mud and their bodies exposed to the rain, the sun and the wind if after harvest what remains with them and their families are merely rice hulls. /MP

‘GALING MASON Training In Balete

HOLCIM ‘Galing Mason is the main subject of a seven (7) day training program to develop competent, skillful and knowledgeable masons out of the best carpenters of Balete, Aklan.
The training is a cooperative program among Holcim, the local governent of Balete, TESDA Aklan, the private sector represented by former Congresswoman Gabrielle V. Calizo and the DepEd, District of Balete. The training starts at 8:00 o’clock in the morning and ends at 5:00 or 6:00 o’clock in the afternoon. The first three days will be theoretical and the last four (4) days will be practical.
The training is being held in Balete Elementary School (BES), Poblacion, Balete. The practical training will be done by constructing the P300,000.00 stage of the BES. The steel bars, wire, sand and gravel came from former congresswoman Gabrielle V. Calizo. The snacks of the training participants and other miscellaneous expenses are provided by LGU Balete. Holcim provides the set of tools which will be given to the trainees after the training. Holcim will also give P180.00 allowance per day per trainee and 200 bags of cements used for the training and construction of the stage. The stage is situated just in front of the P2 million, 2 storey building of BES constructed out of CDAF of Ms. Calizo.
The training program is TESDA approved which will evaluate each participant according to his knowledge, attitude and skills. TESDA will also issue the appropriate certificate recognized not only in the Philippines but also abroad.
The training on ‘GALING MASON is the first of its kind in Aklan, according to Dir. Lorena T. Yunge, Provincial Director of TESDA, Aklan. There are 41 participants to this training who all came from the different barangays of Balete.
“The participants must come on time and must be willing to stay late if necessary” emphasized Engr. Valeriano D. Mag – usara of Holcim. “All participants must wear rubber shoes and T- shirt, long sleeve is good for safety.” Mag – usara added.
Since four days are not enough time to finish the construction of the stage, Balete LGU with the assistance of the private sector through former Congresswoman Billie V. Calizo will continue the construction of the stage.
Holcim is a Swiss business firm engaged in the production and distribution of cement in the Philippines. It has four (4) production projects: two in Mindanao and two in Luzon. It has acquired Union Cement plants.
Hol came from the name of a City in Switzerland: HOLBANK while CIM came from the French word: ciment (cement), hence, HOLCIM.
According to Engr, Mag – usara, the training will deal not only of plastering cement but will cover cement technology, important practices in cement handling and eliminate mason mal – practices. The training ends on August 24, 2005. /MP

BFI, Aklan Diocese: Stop AKELCO-Mirant Power Project

By Recto I. Vidal The Boracay Foundation Inc. (BFI) and the Diocese of Kalibo has asked the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to stop the Aklan Electric Cooperative (Akelco) and the Mirant Philippines from constructing a 13.8 KV sub transmission line to Boracay Island.Jose Antonio Morillo, BFI vice president for external affairs and representative of the Diocese of Kalibo, expressed his alarm over what he described as a very disturbing development wherein the Akelco, financed by Mirant through a P35 million loan, began constructing a submarine cable 13.8 KV towards the island of Boracay.""If true, this is an affront to the authority of the ERC which has jurisdiction over this issue as the construction of this dedicated line will impact on the rates which the people of Boracay and even Aklan will be saddled with," Morillo opined.In a letter dated July 22, 2005, Morillo reminded the ERC chairman regarding a public hearing held in Boracay last March 4, 2005, wherein the Akelco-Mirant Energy Power Purchase Agreement and the installation of the submarine sub transmission cable to Boracay.In the said public hearing and as the record would show, Morillo said that a decision was arrived at and was welcomed by both Boracaynons and Aklanons to "allow TRANSCO to build a bigger line capacity of 69 KV sub transmission line to Boracay. Thus making it a commercial decision to do so in lieu of the proposed smaller 13.8 KV line of the Akelco-Mirant's." Morillo said that this is one of the issues pending before the ERC. "We plead with utmost urgency for the ERC to intervene on the matter. Has Akelco-Mirant totally no respect and regard to the authority of its body? We, the BFI and the Diocese of Kalibo, plead that the Akelco-Mirant cease and desist from further constructing this submarine cable," Morillo appealed in the letter.Previously, a series of public hearings have been held in various part of this province and in Boracay. In the same letter, Morillo also asked that a ruling on the 10 percent late payment charge imposed by Akelco on all its consumers."For the time being, Akelco, through a memorandum circular dated March 8, 2005 has suspended the collection of the 10 percent late payment surcharges."We humbly ask that the ERC present a permanent solution on the matter to scrap this prohibitive and exorbitant charges," Morillo appealed. In an interview with Erico Bucoy, executive officer of Akelco, he clarified that the ERC has ruled that the proposed 69KV submarine cable of Transco as a "commercial agreement between the former and Akelco and not as a commercial decision of Transco as misleading publicized by Morillo."Up to this time, Transco has not made any price offer. The latest document on the project is a memorandum of understanding signed prior to the ERC ruling. If the agreement is pushed through, the 69 KV Nabas-Caticlan line will be used by Transco to supply its submarine cable. Akelco has to look for funds to finance a 69 KV line and substation inside Boracay and the total cost would be much higher for Boracay," Bucoy admitted.Meanwhile, Mr. Rodson Mayor accused Mr. Erico Bucoy of making AKELCO his “milking cow”. According to Mayor, Mr. Bucoy is receiving since April 2002 more than P300,000 monthly from AKELCO, P1,000 a day food allowance, unlimited travel expenses, and water and housing allowance among others. Because of the “money Mr. Bucoy is receiving from AKELCO, he is now reconstructing his house and was able to purchase a Ford Expedition vehicle” Mr. Mayor pointed out.“These are not true,” Mr. Bucoy retorted. “The money being used to finance my house repair comes from the bank loan”, Mr. Bucoy said. “I will file the 12th suit against Mr. Mayor,” Mr. Bucoy said further.The following day, it was announced over the radio in Aklan, “Mr. Erico Bucoy resigned his post at AKELCO.” The AKELCO Board of Directors has accepted the resignation. /MP http://madyaas_pen

Aklan To Hold Alay Lakad Sept. 5

Aklan will hold its yearly Alay Lakad on a Monday, September 5, 2005. Alay Lakad theme this year is “Kabataan Isulong Ang Kinabukasan.”
The Alay Lakad is used to be held on the first Sunday of September every year in consonance with Presidential Proclamation 289.
However, the organizers decided to hold it on a Monday so that majority of the people could participate. Last year, it was held on a Monday so that many national, provincial and municipal employees joined and got on with their jobs later. Hence, it will be held on a Monday again this September.
Alay Lakad aims to strengthen the capabilities of the youth and empower them for an improved quality of life. The Walk for a cause is undertaken yearly to generate funds to support socio – economic projects of out – of – school youths.
As agreed in previous meetings held by the Alay Lakad Provincial Executive Committee at the GRQG Memorial Building Conference Room, minimum donations are the following: Heads/Chiefs of Office – P200.00; Assistant Heads/Chiefs of Office – P100.00; rank and file – P2.00 and civic clubs – P1,500.00.
Provincial Government employees who fail to join the activity will pay twice the amount specified for them.
As a special feature, raffle will be held at P5.00 each ticket. Winners, according to the organizers, are assured of going home with wonderful prizes.
Based on the financial report submitted by the Kalibo Alay Lakad Incorporated, the Ati – Atihan town’s total net income from last year’s Alay Lakad is P75,228.29 while total cash in bank as of July 5, 2005 is P78,390.95. Twenty percent (20%) of this amount was given as educational assistance to four scholars.
Aklan Province’ share, on the other hand, as reported by Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Elma Malbas reached a total of P108,405.51 as of July 15, 2005.
The mass hike out will have three starting points – Camp Pastor Martelino, with Governor Carlito S. Marquez, Lt. Col. Mariano Antonio S. Perez of 47th IB and Mr. Jessie Nicolas, President of Kiwanis Club of Kalibo Inc., overall Chairperson, Alay Lakad 2005 as group leaders; Tigayon Elementary School – with Congressman Florencio T. Miraflores, Dr. Victorina Larroza, OIC Division Superintendent, DepEd Aklan and P/Supt. William Macavinta, Aklan Police Provincial Office as group leaders; and Pook Airport Crossing – with Kalibo Mayor Raymar A. Rebaldo, Sr. Insp. Arnold P. Ardiente of Kalibo PNP and Lt. Col. Eulalio M. Orbase (OS) PA as group leaders.
Some 235 groups/organizations are expected to join this years’ Alay Lakad activity. /MP

Suba It Akean Parte It Pag Uswag

Magapasaka si Governor Carlito S. Marquez sa Sangguniang Panlalawigan it Aklan “Provincial ordinance” sa pagforma it “Aklan Rivers Development Council.”

Sa anang sueat sa Sangguniang Panlalawigan, gunhambae ni Governor Marquez nga sa anang dialogo kay Vice Governor Ronquillo C. Tolentino, guinhambaean nanda ro “congressional bill” ni former Congressman Allen Salas Quimpo ag ro importansya it mag suba it Aklan sa pangabuhi – an it Aklanon halin pa kato.

Gin hambae ni Governor Marquez nga ro mga suba it Aklan hay naguing mapinuslanon kon taw – an it husto ag nagaka – ayon nga pagtaeopangod sa irigasyon, turismo, “flood control”, “environmental protection”, elektrisidad ag tubi nga ma – inom.

Ro suba it Aklan hay naguing “magazine cover” it Discovery Philippines” sa anang bag – ong isyu, eakip ro “tourism potentials” it tanan nga munisipyo sa Aklan.

Gin hambae pa ni Governor Marquez nga utang ko gobyerno probinsyal it Aklan sa mga kabataan ag mga inunga sa Aklan ro pagpreservar ag pag – uswag it mga suba it Aklan. Ro mga suba it Aklan hay naguing parte it pag – uswag it Aklan ag “historical landmarks” hambae ni Gov. Marquez. /MP

Aklan Celebrates International Humanitarian Law

The International Humanitarian Law Day was commemorated with a press conference on August 12 last week. The celebration was led by the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) Aklan Chapter led by Atty. Ronquillo C. Tolentino – chairman of the Board and Ms. Araceli Pelayo – PNRC Provincial Administrator.
The presscon was held at the PNRC Headquarter, Poblacion, Kalibo, Aklan.
This year’s celebration theme is “Protecting Human Dignity”. Representatives from Aklan Media outlets like Bombo Radyo, RMN – DYKR, RGMA, Kalibo Cable TV, Aklan Cable TV, Panay News and Madyaas Pen actively participated in the press conference.
Vice Governor Ronquillo C. Tolentino gave the rationale of the International Humanitarian Law and its importance to the people of the world especially among Filipinos.
Mr. Ernesto Melgarejo – secretary, PNRC Aklan chapter discussed the “Extract of International Humanitarian Law Regarding Conflicts Not of an International Character” while Mr. Pete Ruiz – member of the board of directors discussed the use of red cross emblem, its imitation, identification and protection.
Dr. Ambrosio R. Villorente, expounded on the theme, “Protecting Human Dignity.” He said, “human dignity refers to the quality of a person that justifies his worth to be respected or honored. The human dignity of a person is the sum total of his personality, attitude, education and training, talent or ability, wealth and power or authority.”
To recall, the Philippines was a Contracting Party to the Four Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949. These four are (I) For the amelioration of the condition of the wounded, sick in the armed forces in the field; (II) Amelioration of the condition of the wounded, sick and shipwrecked members of the armed forces at sea; (III) Relative to the treatment of prisoners of war.; and (IV) Relative to the protection of civilian persons in time of war. /MP

Aklan SP Tackles Aklan Rivers Dev't Council Ordinance

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Aklan is set to consider passage of a provincial ordinance which will institutionalize the Aklan Rivers Development Council to be tasked of rehabilitating, preserving and developing the rivers systems of the province. In close consultation with Vice-Governor Ronquillo C. Tolentino, presiding officer of the Aklan SP, Gov. Carlito S. Marquez, through an urgent request, has decided to forward to the provincial legislative body the draft ordinance "Establishing The Aklan Rivers Development Council, (ARDC) Defining Its Powers and Functions, Appropriating Funds Therefore and For Other Purposes." Actually, the proposed provincial ordinance was the proposed bill of former Aklan Rep. Allen Quimpo filed in 1999 in the lower House of Congress during the 11th Congress. Said legislation was passed by the Lower Chamber but it got stalled in the Senate on third reading when the 11th Congress adjourned and said enactment was relegated to the congressional archives. Marquez and Tolentino, after browsing over the bill are one in believing that it can be adopted as a provincial ordinance, hence, found its way to the session hall of the Aklan SP. In his explanatory note to the bill which was reiterated by the incumbent governor and vice governor, Quimpo then stressed that for "Aklanons, the Aklan Rivers System is not just major tributary but the lifeblood of the province's agriculture and economic growth and the source of irrigation of thousands of hectares of farmlands and water for everyday use and is being used by the residents upriver to go to the market centers." The Aklan Rivers Development Council, as proposed, shall be composed of the Governor himself as chair, the vice-governor as vice-chair with the membership composed of the 17 municipal mayors of the province, the heads of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Aklan (PENRO and CENRO), the provincial director of the Aklan PNP, the district engineer of the Department of Public Works and Highways, the provincial head of the National Irrigation Administration and three non-government organizations representatives with ecology as their principal purpose. By the Aklan Rivers System includes the rivers that run from the upland areas of Libacao and Madalag down to Balete, Altavas, Malinao, Banga, Lezo, Numancia, Batan, News Washington, Makato, Tangalan, Ibajay, Nabas, Buruanga, Malay and Kalibo until the Sibuyan Sea where all tributaries drain. The biggest and the longest in the system is the Aklan River and its tributaries, the Dumalaylay and Timbaban, followed by the Ibajay River in the west. With the creation of the ARDC, is also the setting up of the Aklan Rivers Conservation Secretaries which shall be headed by the Executive Director. The Council shall be tasked among others, to adopt rules, policies, guidelines, recommendations to the concerned agencies on the conservation of the rivers system, formulate a comprehensive, short, medium and long term plans for the development and rehabilitation of the rivers system; conduct survey, incentives, state and status of the system, review all existing ordinances, policies, rules and regulations issued by the local government units concerned related to the development of the Aklan Rivers, as the highest consultative body, and direct the implementation of the projects that maybe approved pursuant to the development plan of the Aklan rivers. /MP

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Iloilo’s First Milk Processing Plant

The first ever Milk Processing Plant in the province of Iloilo had its ground breaking in ceremonies held at the Tigbauan National High School Grounds last week.
The proposed site is part of the eight hectares lot occupied by the high school, lent by the Sayco Family, for use as long as the processing plant needs it.
Tigbauan National High School Principal Mrs. Lira T. Casenas said “that more or less 300 pre – school 3rd degree malnourished children including those in the Grade I will benefit from it.”
Mrs. Lira added, “with the construction of the plant, processing of fresh milk will be a lot easier.” The temporary processing plant is housed in a classroom in Brgy. Cordova, Tigbauan through a cooperative.
The milking cows were imported from Switzerland more than a year ago, and distributed to dairy farmer – beneficiaries in Iloilo.
According to the National Dairy Authority (NDA) Administrator Salvacion Bulatao, despite their slow entrance in introducing milk processing in Iloilo province, she is pleased to note that the initial 9 cows distributed has increased to 216 animals tended by 65 dairy farmers.
The actual beginning of Iloilo Milk Processing started in a residence in Brgy. Amurang, Leon, Iloilo, on borrowed facilities. The Iloilo Provincial Government gave financial assistance to the project, until a simple processing plant was set up in Tigbauan in February 2004.
The Iloilo Federation of Cooperatives (IFEDCO), through their chairperson, Mr. Profetiso Cambronero reported that the plant is serving the needs of about 1,460 malnourished children in Iloilo and Guimaras, and has provided sources of income for the dairy farmers themselves.
The ground breaking for the Milk Processing Plant is a big leap towards the development of the dairy industry in the province, Cambronero pointed out. He thanked Iloilo Governor Neil Tupas for the P2 million assistance in the construction of the building and initial facilities. He also acknowledged the training assistance of the National Dairy Authority, as he pledged in behalf of the members of the cooperatives to keep working hard for a malnourished – free community.
The Memorandum of Agreement which was signed during the ground breaking ceremony includes provisions that the P2 million assistance for the construction of the building is a loan payable in 25 years without interest. Further, the Department of Public Highways will provide engineering assistance and the Cooperative Development Division will help install organizational and financial structure.
Iloilo Governor Neil Tupas, Provincial Agriculturists Inocencio Parian, Tigbauan OIC Mayor Agaton Tumabotabo, the Provincial Health Office led by Dr. Patricia Trabado and the Provincial planning and Development Office, with Mr. Nillos graced the ground breaking ceremony. /MP http://madyaas_pen

Shuttle Van Group Welcomes Fare Hike

By: Boy Ryan B. Zabal

A shuttle van group serving tourists in the famed resort island of Boracay welcomed the approval for a fare increase of air-conditioned public-utility vehicles (PUV) throughout Western Visayas by the Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
Effective this week, passengers of L300 vans have to pay P6 for the first five-kilometers and
additional P1.35 for every succeeding kilometer. Jesus Jingco Jr., marketing/business manager of Caticlan Boracay Transport Multi-purpose Cooperative said, “the fare hike, the first since the one granted by the government to bus and air-conditioned unit operators in 2002, is a welcome development in consonance with the rising fuel cost. “The petition is long overdue in so far as the fare adjustment is concerned. We welcome such positive response from LTFRB for those L300 vans plying the Kalibo-Caticlan route,” he added.
The shuttle van group, with 34 units and 31 members, is the accredited transport arm of CBTMPC, according to Jingco, the increase is roughly 10 percent or P8.35 higher than the usual L300 van fare for the 66-kilometer Kalibo-Caticlan route. Local transport groups plying the Kalibo-Caticlan route are charging P80 for passengers from Caticlan to Kalibo while some groups collect P70 from their Kalibo L300 van terminal to Caticlan. Those affected by the fare hike are L300 vans, filcabs and buses with air-conditioning units.
However, LTFRB regional director Porferio Clavel warned PUVs that do not have air cons of having their franchises cancelled if they collect the new fare rates. LTFRB also advised operators of PUVs to first secure a fare matrix before adopting the fare hike as approved. They would also be penalized if they fail to get a fare matrix from the local office for each of their units. /MPhttp://madyaas_pen @

Aklan Medical Society Inducts New Officers

By: Alma I. Dela Cruz, M.D., FPCP

The Aklan Medical Society (AMS) held its induction of the new set of officers for 2005 – 2006 on August 5, 2005 at the Gov. Corazon L. Cabagnot Training Center in Old Buswang, Kalibo, Aklan.
This year’s set of officers represent colleagues in different and diverse fields of practice. They are: President – Dr. Cynthia C. dela Cruz (Pediatrician), 1st Vice – President – Dr. Eileen Mae B. Debuque (Internist), 2nd Vice – President – Dr. Felma R. dela Cruz (Family Physician and Pediatrician), Secretary – Dr. Christine Lane T. Yanguas – Yu (Pediatrician), Asst. Secretary – Dr. Allyn P. Ricafuente (Family Physician), Treasurer – Dr. Gerby R. Besana (Anesthesiologist), Asst. Treasurer – Dr. Merlita C. Bautista (Pediatrician), Auditor – Dr. Mary Grace B. Villaruel (OB – Gyne), Liaison Officer – Dr. Mercedes D. Imperial (Rural Health Physician), and CME Coordinator – Dr. Alma I. dela Cruz (Internist).
The Board of Directors is led by Immediate Past President of the AMS and present PMA Governor for Western Visayas, Dr. Emmett L. Custodio, Dr. Juliet L. Macahilas (Pulmonologist), Dr. Thelma P. Pador (Family Physician), Dr. Jerry Reyes (Ophthalmologist), Dr. Nilda B. Tambong (Family Physician), Dr. Landelino B. Meñez (Provincial Health Officer I), Dr. Myrtle M. Pelayo (Internist, DOH representative), Dr. Agnes R. Tabañar (Pediatrician), and Dr. Leonardo M. Tayco, Jr. (Internist).
There are five new members of the AMS, namely Dr. Aileen Claudette P. Jimenez, Dr. Jackson Coloma, Dr. Jhonbard A. Maypa, Dr. Floyd T. Tapuz, and Dr. Antonio V. Viray. Two transferees from other medical societies, Dr. Beatriz T. Yasa-Diel and Dr. Joy S. Villanueva. Doctors who are residents of the United States, Dr. Marty Rago, Dr. Marlon dela Cruz and Dr. Carol dela Cruz were also installed.
Guest of Honor during the affair were Dr. Jose Asa Sabili, PMA Vice – President, Hon. Carlito S. Marquez, Governor of the Province of Aklan and Hon. Raymar A. Rebaldo, Municipal Mayor of Kalibo. The induction of the Auxiliary to the Aklan Medical Society was also held during the said affair.
Dr. Jose Asa Sabili, Vice – President of the PMA administered the oath of office to the new officers of the AMS. In his speech, Dr. Sabili emphasized his experiences in the House of Representatives and the Senate in lobbying legislations that are positive to the medical profession, and blocking those that are anti – doctors.
Dr. Sabili gave recognition to the sacrifices and services the physicians of the Philippines give to improve the health condition of the Filipinos.
Also inducted were officers of the Auxiliary to the Aklan Medical Society who are Guidon I. dela Cruz – President, Roger D. Debuque – Vice President, Methuselah T. Santamaria – Secretary, Romeo N. Ricaforte – Asst. Secretary, Ramon K. Re

spicio, Jr. – Treasurer, Boanerjes I. Bautista – Asst. Treasurer and Jonie T. Meñez – Auditor.
Dr. Ramona S. Magayanes introduced the guest speaker, Dr. Jose Asa Sabili. /MP http://madyaas_pen

Boracay Police Bares Accomplishments

By: Boy Ryan B. Zabal

A total of 204 apprehensions were recorded by the Boracay Special Protection Unit (BSPU) from June 10 to July 30 of this year as part of its intensified campaign in the implementation of municipal ordinances in the island.
PO1 Larry John Vidal said the “apprehensions ranged from violations of illegal parking of paraw boats and motorized pump boats, stray dogs, littering, proliferation of tricycles that contributed to air pollution and traffic congestion, sexual solicitation in the beach by alleged commercial sex workers and proliferation of ambulant/sidewalk vendors.” Of the 31 stray dogs captured by BSPU operatives, 10 dogs were returned to the owners. Some 28 alleged commercial sex workers were also apprehended for “sexual solicitation” in the beach, Vidal said.
“The statistics for alleged ‘sexual solicitation’ could go higher during peak season or summer months where they are suspected to be offering sex for a fee to staying tourists,” Vidal added. Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Arturo Lomibao, earlier directed the local police to submit a comprehensive report on the non-index crime in the island starting June 10 of this year. Chief Insp. Jack Wanky, BSPU police chief said “the policemen assigned here are all-out in their campaign to curb petty crimes and implement the municipal ordinances in the island with the support of barangay officials and non-government organizations.” According to BSPU, some 53 ambulant/sidewalk vendors were apprehended for vending without permit; 19 motorized boats and paraw boats for illegal parking or violations of Municipal Ordinance No. 189; 10 motorbikes without permit to transport; four motorbikes with sidecars for violations of Municipal Ordinance No. 202 series of 2003; 20 motorbike drivers for driving without permit or violation of Municipal Ordinance No. 169 series of 2003; 20 motorbike drivers were arrested for violation of no-plate no-driving policy and two persons for littering. Aside from these non-index crime reported by BSPU, the police is closely coordinating with local officials of Malay to install more streetlights, widening of roads for vehicles and implementing curfew hours for minors.

Boracay Foundation Inc. (BFI), through Malay Mayor Ceciron Cawaling, has initiated a six-month project to curb the perennial concerns on stray dogs, minors roaming on unholy hours, illegal parking of paraws, trucks and pump boats, violations on peace and order and cases of theft on fighting cocks. Brgy. Balabag was identified as the pilot project area after barangay captain Glenn Sacapano agreed to support the community-based project of BFI, an umbrella organization of over 100 resorts, hotels, establishments, diving shops, telecommunications, airlines, restaurants and individuals on the island. In its first month of implementation, BFI recorded 127 apprehensions on violations of peddlers and ambulant vendors. Sacapano also organized a 24-hour watch composed of three barangay tanod groups to monitor and ensure peace and order in Brgy. Balabag. The project, which started in June 2005 and will run through November 2005, provides incentives to barangay tanods on duty through voluntary contributions of individuals and BFI member-establishments. /MPhttp://madyaas_pen

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Four Dreams of Dr. Cynthia*

Inaugural Address of Dr. Cynthia C. Dela Cruz, President Aklan Medical Society during her induction as President on August 5, 2005 at Governor Corazon L. Cabagnot Tourism and Training Center, Old Buswang, Kalibo, Aklan.


Today, there are about 40,000 medical doctors in our country, serving more than 80 million Filipinos…That means, each and every one of us doctor, is responsible for the health, of every two thousand Filipinos. Despite this big responsibility, we are blessed and honored…blessed, because we were given by the Most High, the power to save lives, and we are honored, for we belong to a very big and dynamic organization, the PMA.
Guests and friends, PMA stands for Philippine Medical Association, not Philippine Military Academy, but somehow, related to P–Prutas, M–Manok and A–Alimango which are the common gifts given to doctors in exchange for their free, and or good services, rendered to their patients.
Aklan Medical Society, our local society, is one of the 116 component organizations of PMA. We are composed of 140 private and government doctors serving half a million population of this Aklan province.
At this point, please allow me to thank this big group of beloved doctors, from all towns of Aklan who elected, rather appointed me, as their president. “Thank you colleagues for your trust, and confidence in me.” It is both an honor, and a sacrifice to be in this high position.
Thanks also to my family: my parents, my children, especially to my husband, for supporting me, in this commitment. He not only allows me to fly, but encourages me to soar up higher. He is the wind beneath my wings.
Likewise, please allow me to recognize my predecessor, Dr. Emmett Custodio, who had done a lot to this organization. Doc Emmett said, “Although I have short fingers, my fingers had done a long list of work, both surgical and otherwise.” For most of us, Doc Emmett, our past president and now our regional governor, is a doctor with lots of guts and talents, someone with shoes so big for me, or for any president of Aklan Medicaal Society to fit into.
Someone once said “to attain great things we must dream, plan, act and believe in our dreams.” I, your president, together with officers of AMS have four dreams for our local society, basing on PMA mission.
First: We dream to make AMS more cohesive by developing good physicians’ relationship, activating our committee on ethics, doing frequent dialogues, and by having more socialization.
Second: We dream to make AMS stronger. This is by activating our membership committee to reach out to our inactive members, facilitating the transfer of other doctors to our local society which covers their area of practice, and encouraging Filipino overseas doctors, to renew their membership. We will be making linkages with our government officials and allied professionals.
Third: We dream to make AMS more authoritative. This is by empowering us doctors, with the latest medical knowledge, providing us access to the latest in medical technologies, and providing us linkages with medical experts. All these, through our continuing medical education activities.
And Fourth: We dream to make AMS relevant to the people it serves and to us its members – the doctors.

To the people: we will be providing medical education to them, using tri media, focusing on healthy life style, and safe environment. We will try to practice as we always, dedication and passion in our work, and compassion to our needy brothers. We will work hand in hand with our Red Cross, and local government, so we will have very soon, an adequate supply of blood for emergency purposes.
To our member – doctors: Aside from signing your letters of good standing for Philhealth, and PRC license renewal, together with PMA, we will be working for your rights and benefits, we will be extending to you moral, legal and to some extent, financial support in times of need.
To serve our doctors efficiently, we will try our best to have an office with a secretary. For many years, we have been transferring from one place, to another meeting place. Since we have no place of our own, our two door aparador of old records are in doctor’s quarter, of our provincial hospital, and some records are in any past president’s house. For this reason, we are asking our local government through our provincial health officer, Dr. Landelino Meñez, a temporary room in our provincial hospital, once the new building is done, which maybe next year. Medical societies in Iloilo and Capiz were provided by their local government, a small lot for them to have their office building constructed. In the coming days, we will be asking the same favor from our local government, as represented here by our beloved governor and our mayor. In the near future, we dream to have our own building also. This sounds so ambitious for the moment, but it is not impossible in the coming years, especially with the coming of new sets of equally competent officers and members.
Those are our big dreams and many plans for our local society to follow. I will be very happy, if only we can do some of them, before I end my two year – term, or just even start some of them, before some doctors could impeach me, or ask me to resign.
One author said “Whatever you dream and plan, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it”. My dear doctors, be courageous, don’t just be bench sitters. Do not wait what your society can do for you, but get involved, suggest, plan, take action. This is your society, our society; this is what we make it. Colleagues, to put it simply what I am asking now, is not only your support, but your commitment, not only your commitment, but your actions.
They say that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. As your new president, I, together with your other officers, would like to make that initial step with you, walking beside us. As we walk, let us hold hands together, not to sing “if we hold on” but to work together, for the realization of our dreams. Together doctors, we will do it, together, we must do it. This is our legacy to the medical profession, and to you all, the people of our nation. /MP

Entrepreneurial Farmer

By: Ambrosio R. Villorente

The Responses of Mr. Erico Bucoy

Mr. Isagani Decena of San Jose, Antique rendered a song number in a program on Saturday, August 6, 2005 held at ASU, Banga. He sang “O Ilaw” with English translation. Here is a line he sang: “O Ilaw” translation: AKELCO. “Sa gabing madilim,” translation: FLASHLIGHT.
Mr. Erico Bucoy, Chief Executive Officer, AKELCO held presscon on Thursday, August 11 to respond to some criticism thrown to AKELCO on the matter of submarine cable by Mr. Pocholo Murillo of Boracay Foundation, Inc., on the contract between AKELCO and Mirant as jointly opposed by Hon. Ramon Gelito, Atty. Romeo Inocencio and Mr. Rudson Mayor and the dismissal of an AKELCO personnel relative to the withholding of disconnection notices for non payment of electric power consumption for nine (9) months of Mr. Chito Peralta – chairman of the AKELCO Board of Directors.
To the listeners, Mr. Bucoy sounded hurt and highly irritated by the issues hurled against the actions like the signing of AKELCO with Mirant of the Second contract on power purchase agreement and the putting up of submarine cable between Caticlan and Boracay despite the previously approved plan of Transco.
In the presscon, Mr. Bucoy sounded as if all the actions done at AKELCO were his alone. He never mentioned the AKELCO Board of Directors approving the policies, programs and projects which the Chief Executive officer implemented. He sounded as if all the actions made were his and no others. Is AKELCO his own and the actions criticized were his? It is remembered that AKELCO is consumers owned.
In the course of his presentation, Mr. Bucoy branded Mr. Murillo “mayabang, sinungaling, dishonest and hypocrite”. Mr. Bucoy advised Hon. Ramon Gelito to be “very careful because Gelito is a public official of Aklan”.
On the matter of rate computation, Mr. Bucoy said, “Hon. Ramon Gelito is the brother – in – law of a dismissed AKELCO official, Atty. Leovigildo Mationg” that probably prompted him to oppose the second contract signed by AKELCO and Mirant. Mr. Bucoy also asked what good has Atty. Romeo Inocencio done for the good of the Aklanons? This is indirectly saying that Mr. Bucoy has done many good things for the Aklanons and Atty. Inocencio has none. The consumer members are expecting from Mr. Bucoy what are the advantages for AKELCO for signing the second power purchase agreement and not his personal impression of Atty. Inocencio and Hon. Gelito.
I admire Mr. Bucoy for what he has done to the lot and facilities in Kalibo and Lezo.
He has transformed it into habitable and conducive place to work in. Mr. Bucoy as CEO has improved the dignity and personnel morale of AKELCO.
On the other hand, we request additional tact and diplomatic finesse in his response to public reactions to some of AKELCO actions and on matters which necessitate explanation to the public.
On Monday evening, August 8, Ms. Marietta Saraspi was held up at Poblacion, Kalibo, Aklan. A bag containing cash was taken from her. In the course of his escape, the hold upper hided inside the Cruztelco compound in Poblacion, Kalibo. The two (2) security guards of Cruztelco saw the hold up man, captured and recovered the bag. The police was informed of the incident and they came.
The hold upper was turned over to the Kalibo police. The bag containing cash was turned over too. After Ms. Saraspi got back her bag and counted the content, she declared all the content are in, all are recovered. Her son also announced all cash are recovered.
But not too long after, the Kalibo police went to the living quarters of the two security guards who caught and turned over the hold up man to the police. They went there to search for the alleged missing cash from the bag of Ms. Saraspi. As a result of the search, no cash was recovered, but the security guard claimed his gun was missing after the search.
This incident is a case where concerned persons caught a hold upper in behalf of the police but who were later subjected to search of their living quarters for alleged missing cash in a bag they recovered. If this is the case, who will help the police in their jobs next time? /MP http://madyaas_pen


Making Philippine Environment Physician Friendly *

* Induction Message of Dr. Jose Asa Sabili Vice Pres. Philippine Medical Assoc. (PMA) delivered on the Induction program of the Aklan Medical Society on August 5, 2005, Kalibo, Aklan.


Colleague, friends, a pleasant evening to all of you.
It is indeed my great honor and pleasure to represent the office of the PMA President and at the same time be with you beloved and progressive doctors of this vibrant medical society, the Aklan Medical Society. Though, we cannot get together as much as we want, few hours with you, may not be enough to convey our program of governance for our beloved association, rest assure that we will value your support in the attainment of our goal.
With the increasing number of problems in our country, we in the medical community have a share like the others sectors in the society. Future shortage of doctors in our country is among them, aggravated by rapidly rising costs of medical education, low compensation and benefits especially those in the government sector and exodus of our beloved brothers and sisters into other profession like the nursing profession.
We also have special friends in the house of Congress and Senate who always sponsor “honorable bills” like the Medical Malpractice Bills, Patient Right Bills con Penalty and Value Added Too Much Taxation Bills.
When we represented our association in both houses, we told them, Mr. Honorable Senators and Congressmen, “You want us to stay in our beloved country, please make the environment here more friendly to our beloved Filipino doctors, please reject and abolish these Anti Doctors – Anti Patient Malpractice Bills and Bills on Patient Right with Penalty. Please increase the salary of government doctors at par or more than their counterpart in the judiciary, please pass the medical act of 2004, please provide ample security to our beloved health workers deployed in the high risk areas of the country, and please give due importance to the contribution and sense of patriotism of our Filipino doctors in the delivery of the basic health services in our country.
Although we have internal conflict and problems within our association, please be assured my dear beloved members, that with our collective efforts for unity and progress we will attain our goal.
The Philippine Medical Association under our leadership will continue to strengthen our program on Continuing Medical Education, Legislation, Ethics, Mutual Aid & Benefits and Membership Program in order to attain our goal, to make PMA more vibrant, more relevant, more united and more progressive.
Please allow me to quote from the message of our PMA President Dr. Modesto Llamas, some very important things he wanted to impart to you.
PMA has to be reformed and reform is underway. The winds of change have started blowing across the PMA. Full speed ahead for all our programs to transform PMA to a stronger, more authoritative and a more relevant organization. This reform has to start here at the component society level the basic unit of the PMA, the real strength of the PMA.
We can only say that we have accomplished our goal, by the end of our terms:
1. When Congress consults us before filing Health Bills;
2. When people start looking up to PMA, for answer on health issues;
3. When we regain dignity of the profession; and
4. When we feel proud to be members of the PMA.
Allow me to thank God for the so many blessings we got from Him, our PMA is more than 100 years now, we do hope and pray that the best is yet to come for Filipino doctors.
Mabuhay and PMA. /MP http://madyaas_pen

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Allen – Sally Nuptial

“It is sweeter the second time around.” Miss Sally Sabino became Mrs. Allen Alcedo after their happy marriage solemnized at Saint John the Baptist Cathedral, Kalibo, Aklan at six thirty in the evening, Monday, August 1.
The marriage ceremony was officiated by Rev. Msgr. Jose D. Dollete and Rev. Fr. Joebert Villasis. After the marriage ceremony, their guests, friends and relatives attended the reception held at Sampaguita Garden, New Washington, Aklan.
The bridal entourage included the principal sponsors who are Ms. Amor Carandang and Dr. Celso Carandang; Signora Nadia Moguro Sabelli and Signor Rocco Sabelli; Ms. Victoria Boland and Mr. Nicolas Rebesencio; Dr. Elenita M. Balbastro and Dr. Potenciano G. Rodriguez; Ms. Milagros Berglund and Mr. Knut Arne Berglund; Ms. Norma A. De Venecia and Captain Divino T. Sabino and Ms. Elma C. Gajo and Dr. Ambrosio R. Villorente.
Other members of the entourage are Glenn Paul M. Alcedo – best man and Johanna Gillian S. Alba – maid of honor. The groomsmen are Frederick Lloyd P. Sabino and Norberto Kennie S. Yap, IV with Faye Lorraine P. Sabino and Jana Gayle S. Alba – bridesmaid. Juan Alba and Gilda S. Alba – lighted their path; Felix Sabino and Leny P. Sabino bound them together and Dr. John Andrew M. Alcedo and Dr. Ma. Louisa M. Alcedo clothed them as one.
Ramon Paulo B. Debuque carried the ring; Khersly Kane Yap the cord and veil and Jose Kyle Y. Saucelo – coin.
Jasmine Vonne Y. Saucelo, Ara Paula C. Sabino, Keanna Vonne C. Yap, Maribet Eloisa C. Sabino and Marie Lee C. Sabino showered the aisle of the newly wed with flowers.
Sally is residing in Rome but a native of Tangalan, Aklan. Allen is popularly known among the practicing journalist of Aklan as “Double Alpha”. He is from Kalibo. /MP

Editorial - Mabuhay – Aklan Medical Society

Congratulations to the Aklan Medical Association officials and members who held its Induction and Ball last night, August 5. Indeed, congratulations to Dr. Cynthia dela Cruz who was inducted president. Congratulations as well to the other officers of the club. A special congratulation is also given to Dr. Emmett L. Custodio for having been elected and installed as board member of the Philippine Medical Association representing the Visayas.

The Aklan Medical Society led by Dr. Cynthia dela Cruz with other officers will be busy not only in their clinics and hospitals but also in their offices. The medical field has never had any dull moments especially now that the health of our people is deteriorating everyday. Our capacity to provide the basic needs are equally diminishing.

The presence of thousands of patients availing in every medical mission which provides free consultation, treatment and medicines are highly indicative of their low level capacity to go to private clinic/hospitals and medical doctors. The invitation of our local leaders to conduct medical missions to include Aklan in their programs is also some indications of their need to improve local health services and save money to finance other basic services for the people.

How can the Aklan Medical Society persuade the now practicing physicians to stay put in the Philippines and serve their people? This is especially true in Aklan where some physicians left for other places in search for more income. According to report, some 6,000 medical doctors are now enrolled in the college of nursing to finish courses in nursing to enhance their chances to go abroad.

How can medical societies like Aklan reduce the cost of drugs at most reasonable prices? Statistics show, the Philippines has the most expensive drugs in the world. Why? Perhaps, the Medical Society can do something on this – reduced drug prices at reasonable rates comparable with that of other countries like Indonesia and Malaysia.

If the Philippines cannot hold on to her medical doctors and the prices of medicines continuously escalate, the more people will patronize quack doctors and herbal medicine. Prospective mothers will just engage the services of a “hilot” and instead of paracetamol patients will just use “Pao de Arko”.

Truly, Aklan medical Society can make a difference in the medical services and in the health of the Aklanons. “Mabuhay ang Aklan Medical Society.” /MP

Energy Conservation Pushed

In view of the never-ending increase in the cost of fuel, the government is strongly advocating for the adoption of energy conservation measures.
According to Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye, the increasing cost of gasoline and petroleum products is a result of the increasing price of these products in the world market which not only affects the Philippines, but all countries who use these products.
Bunye said the only beneficiaries of the never-ending increase in the price of oil are only the oil producers. However, for oil importing countries, like the Philippines, we are subject to market forces. To cushion the impact of the high cost of fuel products, there is a need to seriously embark on an energy conservation campaign so that we could reduce our fuel consumption.
Although savings for individual households may not be much if we all pool our efforts, we can save a lot on fuel products, and eventually, our country can save as well, according to Bunye.
On the part of government, Bunye revealed that conservation is being implemented in terms of the use of electricity and other ways be which we could save fuel. Likewise, agencies are now urged to plan trips and regular checking of vehicles so that it would not consume too much fuel.
Last year alone, the country saved 1.2 billion pesos from best energy efficiencies in households, government and industry. Twenty government agencies are currently using coco diesel for fuel. The use of coco diesel is expected to be fully implemented across the transport sector together with CNG in August. The government also hopes to have Ethanol rolling out within a year and a half. With the use of the alternative energy sources, a potential savings of 177 million is expected in a year by government.
It will be recalled, last summer the Government implemented the four day week to save on fuel, and likewise to enable employees to save on fare as well as have more time with families. The government saved P144 million from the implementation of 4-day workweek. Likewise, the Napocor is expected to reduce fuel utilization to the extent of P5.9 billion as a result of systematic improvements in power generation and delivery. /MP

Celebrating IHL Day In Aklan

“Protecting Human Dignity” is this year’s theme of the celebration of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) month of August.
The office of the President of the Philippines issued executive Order 134 in 1999 which declared August 12 as IHL Day to commemorate the signing of the 1949 Geneva Convention declaring the whole month of August as IHL Month.
To highlight the IHL Day, all Philippine National Red Cross chapters are urged to undertake the following:
1. Organize an inter-agency forum on August 12 focusing on the theme, “Protecting Human Dignity;
2. Conduct IHL sessions for barangay leaders, military and police personnel;
3. Hold IHL symposia on educational institutions to be organized by RCY Councils;
4. Continue with the campaign on the proper use of Red Cross emblem; and
5. Prepare press releases and streamers, show IHL videos in cable TV stations, arrange media interviews as necessary.
Government agencies like the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Departments of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) are also involved in the commemoration.
In Aklan , the PNRC chapter headed by Vice Governor Ronquillo C. Tolentino will hold a press conference on Friday, August 12 regarding the observance of the 2005 International Humanitarian Law Day. /MP

International Humanitarian Law Forum Pagahiwatun

Sandig sa Executive Order (EO) 134 ko dag-ong 1999, guin declarar ro Agosto 12 nga “International Humanitarian Law Day”. Raya hay sa pag comemorar it pag pirma it 1948 Geneva Conventions.
Ro “Philippine National Red Cross” hay nag obra it tikang nga ro kabug-osan nga buean it Agosto hay “International Humanitarian Law Month.”
Ro mga ahencias it gobyerno mana ko “Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)”, ro “Philippine National Police (PNP)”, ro “Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)” and Interior of Local Governments (DILG)” ag “Commission on Human Rights” hay maga participar man sa “International Humanitarian Law” nga pag celebrar.
Gin hambae ni Vice Governor Ronquillo C. Tolentino nga imaw man ro chairman it “Philippine National Red Cross-Aklan Chapter” nga ro tema it pag celebrar it “International Humanitarian Law Day” hay ro pag proteher it dignidad it tawo o “Protecting Human Dignity.” Raya man ro tema ko Mayo 8, 2005 ko pag celebrar it “World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day.”
May “forum” nga pagahiwaton sa Agosto 12, 2005 it alas 9:00 it agahon sa “Philippine National Red Cross Aklan Chapter” nga opisina hanungdan sa “International Humanitarian Law Day.” /MP


by: Megs S. Lunn
Governor Carlito S. Marquez of Aklan spearheaded the opening of the Hugod Aklan Producers Association, Inc. with the cooperation of the Department of Trade and Industry – Aklan on July 28, 2005. The shop is a permanent Hugod Home Lifestyle Shoppe located at the Ground and 2nd Floors of Royal Supermart, Kalibo, Aklan.
With the governor were DTI-Aklan head-Ms. Ermelinda Pollentes, Ms. Luz Templonuevo – Trade and Industry Development Specialist and Mr. Bebot Lao – owner of Royal Supermart, producers and representatives from the tri – media who covered the program. The Hugod Home Lifestyle Shoppe is a showcase of different Aklan made products such as fashion accessories, housewares, paper arts, furniture and furnishings, processed food and ornamental plants. It also features the best and wide range of fiber-based products, woven fabrics, hand-painted bags, clay-based products and novelty items.
According to Mrs. Amelia S. Rentillo, president of the Hugod Aklanon Producers Association, Inc., “the difference of our products here in Aklan from the other products and places are that, first, Aklan is known as the “queen of piña fabrics”, second, as producers, we are required to do a yearly product development and a trade exhibition like the fiber festival exhibit for innovations. We have to make three (3) new designed bags, and third, to avoid imitations of our products, the association hires a designer in the person of PJ Aranador who designs for each product of every manufacturers.”
The carefully and beautifully crafted products are for export quality. In fact, some of the suppliers and manufacturers are indirect exporters of these Aklan made products that include small items from coin purse, hand made paper wallet and picture frames, abaca slipper, raffia bags, nito made products, piña cloth barong, bamboo made furniture, and even an amazing magic wallet which is some of the give-aways.
The Hugod Aklanon Producers Association, Inc. is composed of 30 manufacturers. It serves as marketing organization of Aklan made products with outlets in Boracay and in Kalibo. The organization is led by President – Mrs. Amelia S. Rentillo {Rentillo Enterprises}, Vice – President – Mr. Benedict Goboy {Kaledeisfora}, Secretary – Ms. Crispina Lachica {Paperous}, Treasurer – Ms. Rose Sauza {Rosa Foods. The board members are the following: Mr. Ed Constantino {CAN Alternative – Furniture Designs}, Mr. Alan Tumbokon {La Hermania Piña} and Ms. Sumra dela Cruz-Rojo {Prism}. The board meets once a month and have a general assembly quarterly.
Moreover, the Hugod Producers is one of the suppliers of “MARKET, MARKET”. The Aklan’s best native products stall is now serving year round at Home Market Section of Bonifacio Global City {formerly Fort Bonifacio} near C5, Taguig, Metro Manila. The stall has three sections which are the Food Store that sells best tasting pasalubong of Rosa Foods and Aklan’s Boneless Bangus, and even fresh Talaba; Tamago’s and Alcedo. The Hugod Aklan Products which according to Mrs. Rentillo is “banig, the most saleable of all the displayed products.” Market, Market is the Aklan’s dealer of the best native products owned by Mrs. Sandy and Butchie Romero.
The opening of the Hugod outlet in Kalibo shows the ingenuity and the best of fellow Aklanons with the untiring support from the Aklan Provincial Government and the DTI – Aklan. /MP

New Municipal Hall

On August 8, it will be the birthday of Hon. Edmund Peralta, the municipal mayor of New Washington, Aklan. He will celebrate his birthday with the blessing of the new municipal hall, see picture above.
This new municipal building is constructed at a cost of about (P8M) eight million pesos. The money spent in the construction came from New Washington LGU and P1 million from former congresswoman Billie V. Calizo.
The new building is located along Magsaysay Street, Poblacion, New Washington which is so designed well fitted to the local weather condition and climate. It does not need air conditioning units as the windows are wall sizes to allow free entrance of fresh air and exit of foul air.
Since the windows are so wide that allow more entry of sunlight, the use of artificial light is minimized. Sunlight also enhances sterilization of the room. /MP

Rotary Club of Kalibo Holds Induction

By: Ambrosio R. Villorente

The Rotary Club of Kalibo and the Rotary Spouses held their 39th Induction Ceremonies last week with Mr. Rolando Rebuelta as guest speaker. The occasion was held at Gov. Corazon Legaspi Cabagnot Livelihood and Tourist Center, Old Buswang, Kalibo, Aklan in the evening of July 23, 2005.
The officers were inducted by Hon. Dean Telan, Vice Executive Judge of Regional Trial Court, Kalibo, Aklan. The officers of the Rotary Spouses were installed by Governor Carlito S. Marquez. In his short message, Governor Marquez reviewed the close, cordial, productive and mutual cooperation between the Rotary Club of Kalibo on one hand and the local government of Aklan. He specifically mentioned the joined projects on health, education and livelihood.
Marquez also disclosed to the guests and Rotary Club members what his administration is doing to alleviate poverty in Aklan. He cited his program on agriculture, tourism, education and environment protection and conservation. Marquez is an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Kalibo.
Ms. Melrose S. Lunn was inducted as new member of the Rotary Club of Kalibo by Pres. Panski Rebuelta. “AG Raphy Tayco delivered the charge.” Megs is a former member of the Rotary Club of Metro Kalibo.
Mr. Rolando Rebuelta, a successful businessman in the United States and brother of Pres. Panski was the guest of honor and speaker. Rolly, as he is fondly called by relatives and friends, spoke on his business activities in the US. In his power point presentation, he congratulated his brother for being the president of the prestigious club – the Rotary. He disclosed some possible occurrences that will favorably affect the people of the world in the future. He pointed out to the possibility of mobile cars traveling with less gas at far distance.
In his inaugural address, Pres. Panski Rebuelta talked of his vision and mission to help the less privileged people specially in the acquisition of knowledge, family development and poverty alleviation.
Rtn. Emmett Custodio and Rtn. Megs Lunn were the deans of ceremonies.
Immediate Past President Vic Santamaria turned over the gavel which is the symbol of power and authority to President Panski Rebuelta in a solemn ceremony. /MP

Entrepreneurial Farmer

By Ambrosio R. Villorente

The Ways Lezo Prune Trees

Some acquaintances had asked me “what is my view of Kalibo as a city?” My answer was always: “why not? Let Kalibo become a city, by all means.” And the second question asked was “What will be the difference between the Ati Atihan Town of Kalibo and the Ati Atihan City of Kalibo?”
There will be a great difference. First, streets and sidewalks will be spick-and-span. The sidewalks will be of uniform level, free of sidewalk vendors, no more goods displayed for sale and free of appliance being repaired along the city streets. The vehicles that will circulate on the streets are flashy with no smoke, if not less being emitted to pollute the environment. The tricycles will diminish and therefore less accidents, noise and smoke. The drivers will be courteous and respectful especially to the pedestrians.
I will see no more “budol-budol” gang to sweet talk the gullible and to divest them of their hard earned cash and jewelry because the police are more visible as they conduct frequent foot patrols in the various areas of Kalibo.
Second, Kalibo will increase its own income as it will not share anymore with its taxes earned with the Province of Aklan. Therefore, Kalibo will be able to invest more on waste management and solve not only its garbage problem but road repairs and other infrastructure.
Third, I can see a more harmonious and pleasant economic cooperation between the City Hall of Kalibo on one hand and the small businessmen especially those doing business in the Kalibo Public Market and the Shopping Center on the other. The small businessmen will pay their just rental fee for doing businesses inside the city property. Therefore, the city government will have enough money to improve the infrastructure like city streets.
On the whole, the Ati Atihan City of Kalibo will be capable to provide the governance that Kalibonhons and other Aklanons deserve.
Last Week, I passed by the Numancia – Lezo road where Mahogany trees are growing luxuriant by the road side. But farmers are pruning its branches to prevent the leaves from shading the palay crop. Farmers know that where there is more sunshine, there are more grains.
However, the way they pruned the trees makes it vulnerable to the attack of pest and diseases that may cause ultimate death to the trees. The one who pruned trees may have used dull bolo as shown by the rugged tree wounds.
They could have used pruning saw, cut the branches as close as possible to the trunk. After cutting, paint the wounds with any paint. This will prevent both the rotting of the trunk and the attack of either pest and disease in the incision. The way tree pruning done along the Numancia – Lezo road is just a simple indication that our municipal agricultural technicians have not taught them the “arts and science” of easy orchard management particularly tree pruning
This week, I sold a few kilograms of Rambutan at P15.00 per kilo. This is the same price my rambutan sold last year. There is no price difference after one year.
On the other hand, this week I also bought bags of fertilizer at P900.00 per bag of Urea. This kind of fertilizer is one I used to buy last year at P450.00 per bag. Fertilizer is only one of the production in – puts in agricultural production. Others are labor, water, land rental, interest of money, seeds and after post harvest processing which all increased in price.
Just imagine how the farmers are being sacrificed. Their products sell at low standstill price while their cost of production increases higher and higher. How can we help our farmers? Buy their products at higher price to encourage them to continue producing. The government may give them production subsidies like fertilizer, interest free loans. Give premium price for a high quality agricultural products. This is appreciating their efforts and will encourage them to produce some more. /MP

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Aklan To Hold Alay Lakad Sept. 5

Aklan will hold its yearly Alay Lakad on a Monday, September 5, 2005. Alay Lakad theme this year is “Kabataan Isulong Ang Kinabukasan.”
The Alay Lakad is used to be held on the first Sunday of September every year in consonance with Presidential Proclamation 289.
However, the organizers decided to hold it on a Monday so that majority of the people could participate. Last year, it was held on a Monday so that many national, provincial and municipal employees joined and got on with their jobs later. Hence, it will be held on a Monday again this September.
Alay Lakad aims to strengthen the capabilities of the youth and empower them for an improved quality of life. The Walk for a cause is undertaken yearly to generate funds to support socio – economic projects of out – of – school youths.
As agreed in previous meetings held by the Alay Lakad Provincial Executive Committee at the GRQG Memorial Building Conference Room, minimum donations are the following: Heads/Chiefs of Office – P200.00; Assistant Heads/Chiefs of Office – P100.00; rank and file – P20.00 and civic clubs – P1,500.00.
Provincial Government employees who fail to join the activity will pay twice the amount specified for them.
As a special feature, raffle will be held at P5.00 each ticket. Winners, according to the organizers, are assured of going home with wonderful prizes.
Based on the financial report submitted by the Kalibo Alay Lakad Incorporated, the Ati – Atihan town’s total net income from last year’s Alay Lakad is P75,228.29 while total cash in bank as of July 5, 2005 is P78,390.95. Twenty percent (20%) of this amount was given as educational assistance to four scholars.
Aklan Province’ share, on the other hand, as reported by Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Elma Malbas reached a total of P108,405.51 as of July 15, 2005.
The mass hike out will have three starting points – Camp Pastor Martelino, with Governor Carlito S. Marquez, Lt. Col. Mariano Antonio S. Perez of 47th IB and Ms. Jessie Nicolas, President of Kiwanis Club of Kalibo Inc., overall Chairperson, Alay Lakad 2005 as group leaders; Tigayon Elementary School – with Congressman Florencio T. Miraflores, Dr. Victorina Larroza, OIC Division Superintendent, DepEd Aklan and P/Supt. William Macavinta, Aklan Police Provincial Office as group leaders; and Pook Airport Crossing – with Kalibo Mayor Raymar A. Rebaldo, Sr. Insp. Arnold P. Ardiente of Kalibo PNP and Lt. Col. Eulalio M. Orbase (OS) PA as group leaders.
Some 235 groups/organizations are expected to join this years’ Alay Lakad activity. /MP http://madyaas_pen @

Monday, August 01, 2005


Drilon: Not My Job To Clap My Hands
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, whose legitimacy of her presidency, delivered her State of the Nation Address during the joint session of the House of Representatives and the Senate held at Batasan Pambansa, Quezon City in the afternoon of Monday, July 25. But she made no mention of the political crisis that has gripped the Philippines for two months now.
Instead of informing the nation of the truth of the “Hello Garci” tape, the Jueteng Payola for which the First Gentleman, her son and brother in law are allegedly involved, Ms. Arroyo sounded the call for constitutional amendment and pledged to her audience to push ahead with her economic and fiscal reforms at whatever “political cost”.
Ms. Arroyo urged action on the constitutional change espoused by former President Fidel V. Ramos and Speaker Jose de Venecia. “It should be done, the sooner the better,” Arroyo declared. She did not give the time frame.
Ms. Arroyo also expressed her preference for a constituent assembly in the constitutional amendment as well as to shift from presidential unitary form of government to a parliamentary – federal form. She urged, “its time to start the great debate on charter change.”
Ms. Arroyo described the Philippines as “two countries”. One whose economy is now poised for take off and the other one is “whose political system after equally long years of degeneration has become a hindrance to progress.” The political system has degenerated to an extent that it is difficult for anyone to make any headway yet keep his hands clean,” Arroyo pointed out.
“Our political system has betrayed its promise to each new generation of Filipino, not a few of whom are voting with their feet, going abroad and leaving that system behind,” Arroyo stressed. Therefore, “it is time to turn to the people, bring them into government and change the way government is done”, Arroyo said.
The SONA was done in 23 minutes, applauded for 33 times, 5 times of which were of standing ovation.
Arroyo critics said, those in the audience inside the Batasan are of Arroyo supporters. They were specifically invited for the occasion, therefore, they are expected to give applause. “They were “hakat” audience.
Senate President Franklin Drilon met President and opened the joint session in behalf of the Senate to fulfill his duties as Senate President. However, he was shown forlorn on stage while President Arroyo was delivering her SONA. Amidst the thunderous applauses of Speaker de Venecia and the audience, Senate President Drilon remained on his seat unperturbed. “It is not in my job description to clap my hands when the President is delivering a speech,” he said after the SONA.
President Arroyo must face the issue of the legitimacy of her presidency. She must tell her people the truth. Did she really call Com. Virgilio Garcillano and ask him to increase her votes by cheating? She must allow Garcillano to appear in public and permit him to tell the truth.
She must also disclose the truth on the Jueteng Payola the closest members of her family to have allegedly been receiving. Should these be true, she must have restored her credibility and respect of the people whom she vowed to serve honestly and well. If she did these, then step down. What profits a woman to weld power through a dishonest means and destroy her country? /MP

Aklan Youth Holds Parliament

The Aklan Youth Council, Inc., SK Alumni and SK Provincial Federation will hold their “First Aklan Provincial Youth Parliament” on August 5 – 7, 2005, Casa Pilar, Boracay, Malay, Aklan. This was announced by Hon. Kaizan Victor R. Fernandez of the SK Provincial Federation.
Some of the very important highlights of the Aklan Provincial Youth Parliament are the messages of Cong. Florencio T. Miraflores and Governor Carlito S. Marquez. Vice Governor Ronquillo C. Tolentino will give a lecture on “Parliamentary Procedures”.
Hon. Gerick M. Templonuevo, SP member will preside in the election of parliament president and officers and in their oath taking. Hon. Jose S. Yap, SP member will also preside in the presentation and approval of agenda and in the holding of committee meetings.
The activities on the last day are committee sessions with resource speaks, and plenary discussion. The closing ceremonies and fellowship will be on Saturday evening.
According to the parliament organizers, the attire will be semi formal or convention shirt. There will be no sandals and shorts during session time. All mobile phones must either be switched off or put to silent mode during the parliament. /MP

BARRIA: “Reduce Guides ‘Commission For EF”

By: Boy Ryan B. Zabal

The Boracay Association of Resorts, Restaurants and Independent Allies, Inc. (BARRIA) is taking a clear stand on the proposed environmental fee (EF) of the local government of Malay. It stressed, “there could be negative feelings from the local and foreign tourists visiting the island-resort of Boracay.”
Max Zurbito, consultant of BARRIA, cited the proprietary authority of the local government of Malay to impose and collect taxes, tolls, licenses, fees and charges, but the proposed environmental fee has a negative effect on the promotion and marketing of Boracay Island as major and prime tourists destination.”
“We are not opposing to any collection of charges by the local government. The terminologies must be changed based on the Local Government Code because we believed this is the first time in the world that an island charges an environmental fee. We don’t want to be criticized by other sectors,” said Zurbito.
BARRIA claimed that “the environmental fee, in all its intent, purpose and meaning could either be regulatory fees and or by its nature a toll or admission/entrance fee.”
“The ordinance is excessive and prohibitory in character, for the visitors and tourists are clearly paying for their use of the facilities and services that the resorts, hotels and other service providers provide them. They (tourists) are paying the environmental maintenance/preservation fees in the form of sanitation fees for garbage disposal, liquid waste treatment or sewerage services,” Zurbito stressed.
The Sangguniang Bayan of Malay, however, agreed to reduce the P50 environmental fee to P30 during a consultation recently with Aklan Vice Governor Ronquillo Tolentino at Caticlan Jetty Port.
“I think the proposed environmental fee is justifiable to maintain the enjoyment of tourists in the island. We have to clean the beach everyday for garbage,” Vice Mayor Floribar Bautista said.
“The intent of the local government to raise funds for the general welfare is very much. However, the proposed ordinance on environmental fee would not be feasible, as it could invite critical opinions,” Zurbito pointed out.
BARRIA, instead, recommended to local legislators to amend the ordinance by requiring all hotels, resorts to set aside at least 5 percent out of the room accommodation charges collected from visitors and guests.
“It is of public knowledge that coordinators/guides collectively earn as high as 20 percent commission in room accommodations, but the sad truth is none of them declare any income tax from the commissions received from hotels,” Zurbito lamented. “They only pay mayor’s permit fee that is very minimal to exercise their profession,” he added.
BARRIA’s proposal requires the hotels and resorts to reduce the amount of commission granted to coordinators/guides and religiously submits to a special body with multi-sectoral representation the sales reports on room accommodations.
“The special body shall be created to manage the collection, safekeeping and disbursement of the funds exclusively for the environmental protection, preservation and maintenance aimed at promoting the island,” Zurbito said. /mp

BFI’s Community-based Project Gains Support

By: Boy Ryan B. Zabal

The Boracay Special Protection Unit (BSPU) lauded the joint efforts of the Boracay Foundation, Inc. (BFI) and the Balabag barangay officials in the implementation of municipal ordinances in Boracay, Malay. “BFI’s community-based project is gaining support from local officials and residents. The active involvement of barangay captain (Glenn) Sacapano and barangays tanods is laudable,” said BSPU head, Chief Insp. Jack Wanky.
BFI, through Malay Mayor Ceciron Cawaling, initiated the six-month project to curb perennial concerns on stray dogs, minors roaming during unholy hours, illegal parking of paraws, trucks and pump boats, violations of peace and order and cases of theft on fighting cocks. Brgy. Balabag was identified as pilot project area after barangay captain Sacapano agreed to support the community-based project of BFI, an umbrella organization of over 100 resorts, hotels, establishments, diving shops, telecommunications, airlines, restaurants and individuals in Boracay. In its first month of its implementation, BFI recorded 127 apprehensions on violations of peddlers and ambulant vendors. Sacapano also organized a 24-hour watch composed of three barangay tanod groups to monitor and ensure peace and order in Brgy. Balabag. “Our police in the island could now further complement the operations of barangay officials and BFI to solve petty crimes and secure the island from threats,” Wanky added. The project, which runs from June 2005 to November 2005, provides incentives to barangay tanods on duty through voluntary contributions of individuals and BFI member-establishments. “We hope this project would be implemented in Brgy. Yapak and Manoc-Manoc, too as part of the concerted actions to minimize occurrence of crimes in our area of responsibility,” Wanky said.
He added that BSPU will install command posts or police action assistance centers in strategic areas of the island, such as, in Station 3 and Station 1, Bulabog area, Yapak area and Cagban jetty port to provide added security to tourists and residents and complement the on-going BFI’s community project.

New Patrol Multicabs For Boracay Cops

Meanwhile, Jack Wanky, chief of the Boracay Special Protection Unit (BSPU), said the police station will soon have new service vehicles courtesy of the Philippine National Police (PNP). The new patrol multicabs will be turned over to PNP Director General Arturo Lomibao on July 30.“The five new multicabs would augment our police operations in the island for maximum police visibility. The multicabs would help closely monitor transients in the island and provide reliable and efficient service vehicles to our cops,” Wanky added.
At present, BSPU has one patrol multicab and an all-terrain service vehicle for its daily operations. The new patrol multicabs are part of Lomibao’s program to enhance the image of the PNP in tourist destinations in the country, like Boracay Island, Palawan and Baguio, including renovation of existing police stations. According to Wanky, the P10-million three-storey BSPU office, construction of which started in May 2005 through the efforts of Lomibao, will be ready for occupancy in August.
Lomibao, along with PNP regional director Chief Supt. Doroteo Reyes II, will inspect the on-going expansion and renovation of BSPU office. The office will be fully-airconditioned, conference room, lock up cells, parking area, mess hall and sleeping quarters for policemen. “This off peak season, we have at least 30 policemen on duty. We hope we could detail additional cops in the island to safeguard our local and foreign tourists, including residents staying here,” Wanky stressed. /MP