Fertilizer Scam Denial

Bohol Governor Erico Aumentado immediately cleared his name and Boholanos also expect their representatives to follow suit after being implicated in the 728-million fertilizer fund scam. 

  Over the denial, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Bohol dared, "Governor Aumentado, Congressmen Chatto, Jala and Cajes should come out and tell their piece of whatever information they have regarding the issue.  

  The statement, signed by secretary general John Ruiz III said their statement would give justice to the farmers that were used.  

  This as Department of Agriculture executives, 105 congressmen, 53 governors and 23 mayors are implicated on their alleged involvement in the scam, according to reports from the Ombudsman.  

  Taking the singular opportunity to deny his involvement during his recent weekly The Governor Reports, Aumentado belied allegations by saying "he did not ask, he did not get and the provincial government has not received any amount relative to the subject scam".  

  The Aumentado statement also came on the same day when Bohol radio news items dared the governor to respond to the allegations.  

  The governor said he knew later that the fertilizer, not the funds were coursed through the Regional Field Office of the DA and was downloaded directly to the local agriculture office with the explicit instructions to give them to farmer beneficiaries in Bohol towns. 

  Aumentado's denial would necessarily negate the allegations that the reported P5 M fertilizer for Bohol was used to bankroll his and the president's candidacy in the past election. 

  BAYAN has posited that the governor, like the three congressmen here are GMA allies and got the fertilizers. The group however said their farmer affiliates did not see any of these fertilizers that the governor talked about.   

  But the alleged fund scam architect Bolante has also cleared President Gloria Macapagal arroyo of culpability in the fund mess, Senate investigations revealed.  

  The Senate rules committee has decided to re-open multi-million fertilizer fund scam investigation. 

  "The consensus of the committee is to continue with the investigation of the Bolante case. The Blue Ribbon took cognizance of the issue and proceeded with the investigation," Sen. Francis Pangilinan said in reports. 

  He also noted that the probe on the fertilizer scam will not end until Bolante, the alleged brains and chief implementor of the scam, "reveals the truth behind the fertilizer scam." 

  At this, Malacanang has also reiterated its usual stand of distancing itself from the investigations. 

  Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said the Palace is leaving the alleged fertilizer fund scam issue to the Senate "where it properly belongs." 

  The Palace has always made it very clear that we want truth to come out, we will not intervene at all," Dureza said, as he stressed that Malacanang is not involved in any of these irregularities. 

  "Let us leave this matter to the Senate to resolve," he said, adding that it is necessary for the Filipino people and the nation to know where the government funds went and if it was not really properly used. 

  But, he said, the proper forum is still the Ombudsman wherein the evidence will be looked closely and the basis will have to be established. - Rey Chiu, PIA

Jagna Bohol Radio Station

Lest they start on the wrong foot, Jagna local officials equipped their local broadcasters with the proper skills to run their community radio in a two-day workshop held November 8-9. 

  This as the town attempts to start a new breed of broadcasters who would be oriented with the issues confronting media and with the knowledge on issues of responsible broadcasters. 

  Speaking for Mayor Exuperio Lloren, DyJP FM manager Nimfa Lloren said the move is held while the community radio's clearances have been held, pending compliance of the country's broadcasting requirements.  

  The station, to be operated by the local government would advocate on health issues and concerns but does not limit itself to issues that concerns the community, the wife of the mayor claimed. 

  Made operational by virtue of a provisional permit granted for a day-long airing during its inauguration a month ago, Jagna hopes by putting in the right skills, it would be easy for them to operate the government radio station. 

  Using help from the Philippine Broadcasting System (PBS) and the Philippine Information Agency for the workshops, Jagna sent in more than 10 broadcasters and technicians. 

  "They were screened by the local Community Radio Council (CRC) to participate in the training that hopes to bolster foundations on radio broadcasting, writing news for broadcast, interviewing skills, orientation of the Philippine broadcasting code, journalism ethics and orientation of the Philippine radio," information officer Catalino Berro shared.   

  PBS and DyMR's Jane Antiporta as well as PIA's Yvette Bede Matabalan and Rey Anthony Chiu took turns in handling specific workshops to equip the broadcasters on the proper skills in the sectoral issues they would soon tackle.  

  Berro, station assistant manager also added, "the training is aptly set to allow the community broadcasters the right orientation on the immense responsibility of media in today's society." (PIA/rachiu)