P450 Million Tagbilaran City Loan Approved

By Kit Bagaipo, Bohol Chronicle
City lawmakers on Friday granted an authority for Mayor Dan Lim to proceed with negotiations for a P450 million loan to finance three major infrastructure projects.

The approval came not without objections as Vice Mayor Jose Antonio Veloso and three councilors in the minority bloc maintain reservations on such loan application.

Majority of the lawmakers however pushed for the granting of the authorization together with two other measures requested by the mayor to be taken up during the SP regular session on Friday as special order of the day.

The approval of the authorization, under Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) Resolution No. 65-08, was opposed by Veloso and Kagawads Anne Mariquit Oppus, Zenaido Rama and Bebiano Inting.

The vice mayor and three councilors wanted the loan authorization be deferred for further deliberations of the SP constituted as a committee of the whole, together with the two other measures.

In his letter to the SP last Wednesday, Lim modified his previous request for authority to negotiate a loan with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) in the amount of P500 million to P1 billion. The loan to be entered into by the city government will now be P450 million instead.

The mayor earlier retracted the prior request citing that it was used for grandstanding by his political opponents in the guise of scrutinizing the loan.

The P450 million will be used to finance the planned Centralized Water Treatment Facility, Integrated Solid Waste Management Facility and road concreting projects.

In the same letter of the mayor, the SP was likewise requested to approve Supplemental Budget No. 3 in the amount of P22.2 million and the ratification of an P8 million loan with DBP for the re-fleeting of city government vehicles.

No amount of objections coming from the SP's minority bloc could stop the majority of councilors allied with Lim from approving the three requests of the mayor.

Kagawads Oscar Glovasa and Danilo Bantugan argued during the session that there was no time to waste in deferring the approval of the loan authorization, the supplemental budget and the ratification of the P8 million loan terms and conditions.

Kagawads Oppus, Rama, Inting and Lucio Balbin manifested their intent to refer the mayor's requests to the SP committee as a whole but were out-voted.

There were objections raised on the supplemental fund and the details of its utilization.

When the three measures were presented for approval, Balbin voted with the majority.

Bantugan explained that the three measures had already been deliberated upon during meetings with majority lawmakers.

He said this was done in consultation with the mayor who is only asking for an authority in connection with the loan application.

"We have a working alliance of city councilors who want to reach a consensus through consultations and discussions together with the mayor," Bantugan said.

The 450 million loan is still subject for negotiation and the review of the bank.

Meanwhile, Glovasa pointed out that the supplemental fund requested was to be used largely for rice subsidy of city government employees.

He said the rice subsidy is authorized by a presidential order as long as this is sourced out of savings from maintenance and operating expenses of a local government unit.

Glovasa cited savings coming from the different offices of the city government which justifies the subsidy coming from the supplemental budget.

"We are now in the implementation phase of the integrated solid waste management facility, the waste water treatment plant and the road concreting project," Glovasa added since the projects were already approved by the SP and the City Development Council.

Bohol Mining Ordinance of 2008

The members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan 'locked horns' on a sensitive provision of the proposed Bohol Mining Ordinance of 2008, deliberated during the second reading last week.

The bone of contention was the provision in one of the "preambles" of the said Ordinance that an applicant must secure first an approved Ordinance from the SP prior to securing a permit to mine or extract quarry.

It is perceived as an added burden on the part of a would-be permittee aside from securing permit and other documents such as Environmental Clearance Certifi-cate (ECC) to be issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The SP deliberated the proposed measure on a piece-meal basis, debating only articles I and II after a "hiatus" when it was calendared for second reading two months ago. The board decided to give ample time to study the measure.

Board Member Alfonso Damalerio II, main sponsor of the measure, insisted on said provision while his colleagues seemed to cast doubts whether it is proper that the issuing official (governor) would be issuing permit only when there is an approved Ordinance for every applicant.

Artcile I delves title and definition of terms contained in the ordinance while article II is about extraction and disposal of materials.

Also tackled during the deliberation was the so-called 20-meter salvage zone, which has been breached by resort owners/ operators particularly in Panglao island.

For her part, Board Member Aster Piollo, a lawyer, wanted the 20-m zone protected.

She proposed as an amendment that the proposed 10-meter zone in said measure be extended to 20-m as provided by national law.

By extending another 10 meters in the proposed measure, resort owners/operators would not be given an opportunity to make use of the area within 20 meters, lawmakers agreed. - Ric Obedencio, the Bohol Chronicle

Bureau of Alternative Learning System

The Bureau of Alternative Learning System (ALS) which is considered as the third bureau of the Department of Education held its joint thanksgiving and induction program last Wednesday, at the People's Empowerment Training Center, Old City Hall Bldg., Tagbilaran City.

A thanksgiving mass officiated by Msgr. Jeffrey Malanog preceded the affair followed by the distribution of certificate of recognition to the 22 ALS A and E passers for their exemplary performance having passed the National A and E Test conducted last Feb. 10. These secondary passers are qualified to enroll in any course in college depending on the choice of the learner.

Moreover, one of the highlights of the program is the oath taking of the newly elected officials of the ALS District I Society of Barangay Officials (ALSSBO) and ALS Learner's Organization.

The ALSSBO and ALSLO Officials were inducted into office by Atty. Danilo Bantugan representing the City Mayor, Atty. Dan Neri Lim as inducting officer.

Newly inducted officials are Mansasa Brgy. Capt. Manolo Blanco, president; Pob.3 Brgy. Capt. Dionisio Remolador, vice-president; Mansasa Kag. Rapunzel Mante, secretary; Pob. 3 Kagawad Salome Vitorillo, treasurer ; Pob.2 Kag. Virgilio Balon, auditor; Brgy. Capt. Atoy Cosap and Cabawan Kag. Linda Alfarero, PROs; Pob1. Kag. George Dohig and Dao Kag. Eddie Apat , peace officers.

The Board of Directors is composed of Brgy. Capt. Nestor Mendez, Brgy. Capt. Sergio Bangalao, Brgy. Capt. Fredison Ingles, Brgy. Capt. Glorivic de la Serna, Brgy. Capt. Nino Racho, and Brgy. Capt. Gildardo Bustamante.

ALSSBO is the first of its kind ever created here in the City of Tagbilaran with the main goal of creating a strong partnership between the LGU and ALS working hand in hand for the benefit of the less fortunate, the out- of- school youth and adults in the barangays of District I.

The memorable event was attended by City Kag. Danilo Bantugan; ALS Regional Supervisor Sinfronio Thelmo; Dr. Erlinda B. Mahinay, representing the City Schools Division Superintendent Norma S. Varquez; City Kagawad Ann Mariquit Oppus; ALS Supervisor Dr. Crestianita V. Caga; Mahito from Japan; Brgy. Officials and around 160 learners from District I.

Meanwhile, the success of the program would not be made possible without the cooperation and support of the LGU, NAPC through Nemesio Monton and more importantly, the dedication and unified bonding force of District I ALS implementers, the mobile teachers - Almira Mumar, Versilita Olandre, Emilie Penaso with the District ALS Coordinator - Rizalina G. Peligro. - The Bohol Chronicle

Death Anniversary of Benigno Ninoy Aquino Jr

The Boholanos led by the Justice and Peace Movement (JPM), the Bohol Alliance for Justice, Freedom and Democracy (BAJFD), and the Coalition of Concerned Tagbilaranons (CCT) will commemorate the 25th death anniversary of former Sen. Benigno S. Aquino Jr. tomorrow which has been declared as a public holiday.

A commemorative mass in memory of Sen. Aquino will be officiated at 6 o'clock in the morning at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Church (K of C), Gallares Street, this city.

After the mass, the joint 25th general assembly of the JPM, 7th general assembly of the BAJFD, and the 4th general assembly of the Coalition of Concerned Tagbilaranons will follow at 7 a.m. at Door 1, Seaside, JJ's Seafood Village, K of C Drive, this city.

Lawyer Raul Barbarona, executive director of the Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC) will be the guest speaker. He will talk on the topic, "The Prospects for Peace in Southern Philippines." He will also discuss the implications of the proposed Bangsa Moro Juridical Entity.

He will be introduced by Faustino Arias, chairman of the education, research and information committee of the Justice and Peace Movement.

It will be recalled that Sen. Aquino was one of the leading figures against the Marcos martial rule.

Despite his being behind bars, Sen. Aquino led protests against martial Law. Later on, Sen. Aquino was allowed to go to the United States for medical treatment.

Upon his return to the Philippines in 1983, Sen. Aquino popularly known as Ninoy was assassinated. He was one of the victims of extrajudicial killings.

The matyrdon of Sen. Aquino sparked nationwide protests which culminated in the People Power revolution in 1986, restoring Philippine democracy and ending martial rule in the Philippines. (Kag. Charles T. Cabalit)

Squatter Demolition in Tagbilaran City

Despite the repeated call made by the provincial government for the squatters to relocate outside their illegally occupied government lot in Purok 6, New Capitol Site Cogon District, this city, the settlers have made no action. Still they continue to occupy the said place undermining the memorandum of agreement which they have signed during previous administrations to evacuate the place whenever it is used for government purposes.

In relation with this, DepEd Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Elpidio Jala vowed to now go ahead with the construction of the new DepEd building on the site.

The demolition of houses owned by the squatters will start tomorrow.

Jala said that the governor has already instructed him to pursue the demolition so he will act on this immediately due to the urgency of the project.

"The project must be started now. The P5-million pesos funds coming from the coffer in Congress will go back to general funds (GAA) if it will not be utilized. Before the year ends," Jala added.

Earlier, the province has allocated funds, amounting to P5,000 to be given per household as a financial assistance for them to evacuate but still they refused to evacuate.

Duero Bohol DepEd Officials Under Fire

Ric V Obedencio - Bohol Standard - The row over the prize money of the Duero Central Elementary School (DCES) drum and bugle corps widens as the complainants, who are mostly parents, are still awaiting for the Ombudsman to investigate the mess.

Some 52 parents, whose children composed the DCES Drum and Bugle Corp (DBC) who won in 2007 showdown, signed a petition for the Ombudsman to look into the "mismanagement done by the DCES principal Dr. Lourdes Castillo and organizer Cora Escobal and coach Gina E. Jano."

It will be recalled that DCES DBC won the Alturas sponsored showdown last year pocketing the prize of P51,000 and another P35,000 prize.

DBC organizers agreed that the prizes won't be divided among the 115-strong DBC children-members but instead children will be treated to a tour. The balance will be used to acquire instruments for the DBC, said Castillo in a phone interview Friday.

In their petition, the accuser-parents alleged that DBC organizers including the school principal "failed to present to the parents of the participants an accurate and reasonable financial statement."

They (petitioners) said that the principal presented the financial statement during the Dec. 13, 2007 meeting but this cast "doubts" among the parents.

"The financial statement revealed only P16,000 as the Local Government Unit (of Duero) aid to the DBC for their participation in the Alturas showdown held at Tagbilaran City on Nov. 22, 2007." But the voucher showed P22,000 with PNB check No. 022921 issued on Nov. 22, 2007. And the said financial statement "never included" the total amount collected from the parents of non-participants (children in the DBC), who contributed P50 each parent, the petition claimed.

Castillo denied the allegations, saying that all the money were accounted for and supported by receipts.

Asked as to the Ombudsman case filed against her and other teachers and organizers, she said that the matter has already been addressed. She told this writer to refer the matter to the Department of Education through Ma. Linda Namocatcat.

Jeffrey Torralba, whose son was barred from participating in the DBC tour as their prize, said in an interview yesterday he will make a follow up of the petition at child and women desk of Ombudsman in Manila.

Earlier, Castillo and other teachers were accused of child abuse rap filed before the Bohol Provincial Prosecutors Office (BPPO). Eventually the said case was dismissed.

But complainants Arcadio Aguiman and Jefferson Torralba filed a joint motion for reconsideration, arguing that BPPO relied on the ground that there was a deadline set for the children to submit parents consent to be able to participate in the tour here in Tagbilaran City.