City told: Prepare P5.3M for dry spell

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Sunday, April 6, 2014


TWO Cebu City Hall offices have asked for a P5.28-million fund to help farmers prepare for the dry spell.

The bulk of the amount, about P4.786 million, was requested by the City Agriculture Office, while the remaining P500,000 was requested by the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries (DVMF).

The amounts they requested are also in preparation for a long drought, after reports that El Niño may hit the country in the middle of the year.

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In a letter to Mayor Michael Rama, City Agriculturist Joelito Baclayon said the P4,786,400 will be divided among the 31 mountain barangays of the city, with each barangay getting at least P154,400.

The amount, Baclayon said, will be used to help support the irrigation system of the mountain villages and buy equipment that would minimize the effects of the heat, such as hoses and water tanks.

It will also pay for fertilizers and different seeds that can withstand high temperature, he said. These include eggplants, pepper, tomatoes, cucumber and water spinach (kangkong).

Baclayon said there is a need for the City to help the farmers in the upland barangays, because dry spells usually eat into their profits.

As for the P500,000 requested by DVMF, City Veterenarian Dr. Pilar Romero, in a separate letter, said it will be used to buy veterinary medicine and equipment for their daily surveillance and management of livestock in the mountain barangays.

These include dewormers, multivitamins and drenching guns, among many others.

During the City Council’s April 2 regular session, Councilor Dave Tumulak filed a resolution to charge the P5.28 million requested to the City Government’s Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) funds.

For allowing Pagcor to operate in the city, the state-run gaming firm gives at least P4 million to the City every month as its share of the revenues.

The council has referred Tumulak’s resolution to the committee on budget and finance headed by Councilor Margarita Osmeña, for a report and recommendation.

In January this year, the mountain villages had already been affected by an unusually cold weather, which has damaged plants and killed livestock that were valued at P11.5 million. PDF

3.

Families build houses in new lot after demolition in Bry. Apas, lose house again

THE Cebu Provincial Government demolished about 20 skeletal structures of houses in a Province-owned lot in Barangay Apas, Cebu City last week.

Capitol Chief Security Officer Loy Madrigal said the houses were owned by the families who were left homeless after a demolition in Sitio San Miguel, Barangay Apas.

Last month, the houses of 157 families were demolished after the court denied the motions for a temporary restraining order, which aimed to suspend the demolition in a lot owned by Aletha Suico-Magat.

Madrigal said some of the families tried to move in a Province-owned lot in the same barangay, particularly the area behind the GMA 7 building.

He said the illegal settlers installed galvanized iron roofs on the structures.

Apprehended

Madrigal said they apprehended the families to stop the construction of their houses.

“Amo silang hatagan og chance nga i-keep ilang (We gave them a chance to keep their housing) materials,” Madrigal said.

However, the families did not heed the Capitol’s advice and continued to build their houses.

Madrigal said the Province hired a team composed of outsourced personnel to demolish the structures.

Just like any other demolition activity, the illegal settlers got angry and mentioned bad words, according to the chief security officer.

Successful

Despite the tension, Madrigal said they were able to tear down all the structures.

He said they are keeping the construction materials in the Capitol as proof of illegal squatting.

Currently, Madrigal said there are 20 security guards who are securing the area for 24 hours on shifts.

Signs were placed in the lot, saying the area is a Province-owned lot and no one is
allowed to trespass.

Madrigal said they also apprehended those residents who keep on extending their houses, especially those who already entered the Province-owned lot.

He said they already informed Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III about what happened. FMG

4.

LET passer’s fate rests on court’s decision

Justin K. Vestil
Sun.Star Staff Rep orter

DESPITE passing the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) three years ago, former radio reporter Russel Martin Fullozos has yet to receive his license from the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC).

Fullozos, who took his Diploma in Professional Education (DPE) at the Mandaue City College of school president Paulus Cañete, blames the ongoing court battle between his school and that of PRC.

Aside from him, the licenses of six other LET passers from Cañete’s MCC are also in limbo.

Fullozos told Sun.Star Cebu that the preliminary injunction case that they filed against PRC back in 2011 remains unresolved. The case is still being tackled before the sala of Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Soliver Peras.

The case came after PRC Chairman Teresita Manzala issued an order not to allow education graduates from Cañete’s MCC to take the LET.

Manzala’s order was in support of a similar directive issued by the Commission on Higher Education (Ched), who declared that Cañete’s MCC is not authorized to teach board courses.

But while Fullozos and his fellow LET takers from MCC were able to secure a temporary restraining order (TRO) from Peras, their problem didn’t stop there.

Outside Cebu

Canete, in a separate interview, revealed that majority of his graduates had to take the LET exams outside of Cebu due to the ongoing case against the PRC.

He said that for DPE graduates like Fullozos, passing the exams and getting their licenses is never a problem as they can always use the name of their original schools once they applied for it at the PRC.

But for graduates of Elementary and Secondary Education courses in his college, PRC remains adamant not to allow them to take the LET.

Due to this, Canete continued to file cases against the PRC and Ched for disallowing his students from taking the LET and allowing them to become professional teachers.

Cases

Lawyer Dan Malayang, PRC 7 acting regional director, said their agency’s woes against Cañete and MCC had reached places outside of Cebu.

Malayang said that just before Typhoon Yolanda hit the country last year, Cañete filed a case against the PRC office in Tacloban City after 17 of his graduates were prevented from taking the LET there.

Like what happened in Cebu, Cañete was able to secure a TRO for the 17 graduates. But once they passed the LET, they will never get their licenses, Malayang said.

Every year, the PRC watches out for students from schools who are not accredited by Ched such as MCC.

“Whenever we encounter a graduate from MCC or from non-accredited schools that will apply for the LET, we actually explain to him or her of the situation and even return his or her examination fee,” he said.

But Malayang said that even though graduates from Cañete’s MCC are not allowed to take the LET, it doesn’t mean that they are truly banned from taking it.

Malayang said that for MCC graduates who want to take the LET, they must enroll in Ched-accredited schools and take a Teacher Certificate Program, which is equivalent to 18 units.

But for Fullozos, he still continues to be loyal to Cañete and to MCC despite the legal troubles that hound them over the years.

While he is the only one left of the seven LET passers from MCC that continue to represent the case, Fullozos remains confident that justice will eventually swing its way to them. JKV

5.

Top officials bring aid to islands

SENATOR Cynthia Villar and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala will visit Camotes Island today to distribute assistance to farmers and fisherfolks affected by typhoon Yolanda on Nov. 8 last year.

About 500 farmers and fisherfolks are expected to receive assistance in the four towns
of Camotes Island, namely, San Francisco, Poro, Tudela and Pilar. They were all badly
hit by the super-typhoon.

From the Mactan Cebu International Airport, Villar and Alcala will travel on a private chopper to San Francisco, Camotes.

Roughly 100 farmers and fisherfolks will gather in Barangay Sunog, San Francisco and will be given materials for livelihood.

The next stop will be in Poro, Camotes, where an estimated 300 beneficiaries will be waiting.

A forum with Villar and Alcala will be held at the covered court.

From Poro, they will proceed to Tudela.

In an interview, Tudela Mayor Erwin Yu said that officials from the Department of Agriculture (DA) will give cows and goats through a raffle.

Yu said the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources will distribute additional 25 motorized bancas today.

The town was initially given 17 motor bancas.

The Philippine Coconut Authority will also give 200 bags of fertilizer for the coconuts.

The mayor said the DA will distribute vegetable seedlings.

Tudela Municipal Agriculturist Vicky Nocellas said the crops damage reached P43 million and bancas at P800,000.

On the way to Pilar, a separate islet town of Camotes, Villar and Alcala will travel once again via chopper.

The officials will be in Barangay Biasong.

Capitol’s Task Force Paglig-on has submitted the updated rehabilitation and
reconstruction program to the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery and to the Office of the President.

The Province will need P10.5 billion for the rehabilitation of the 16 LGU’s hit by typhoon Yolanda. FMG

6.

Man shares mud idea for homeless

Rebelander S. Basilan
Sun.Star Staff Reporter

BUILD a mud house.

That’s the advice of a French-Hungarian national living in Lapu-Lapu City to homeless survivors of super typhoon Yolanda.

Lehel Racz, 75, who has built 20 mud houses in Europe, erected one beside his house in Fisherman’s Village, Barangay Punta Engaño to promote mud houses among typhoon survivors.

“Mud is everywhere,” he said yesterday, as he showed Sun.Star Cebu the interior of his 35-sq.-m. mud house, which he called “House of Hope.”

Racz built the sample shelter, which sits by the beach, with the help of two laborers for two months. He spent only P35,000 for the house, which has a nipa roof supported by bamboo poles.

But typhoon victims in Leyte, Samar, northern Cebu and other provinces may even spend less as they can just haul mud from their backyard.

“The government and international organizations cannot raise enough money to provide shelter for all 1.2 million families who lost their homes,” said Racz, who manufactures herbal medicines in Europe for a living.

He said he is willing to teach interested individuals who can share the skills to the typhoon victims. His sample mud house, he said, is open for those who are interested to learn.

Aside from being cheaper and easier to build, mud houses can withstand strong typhoons and earthquake, Racz said.

The walls, which are made of mud held together by buri fiber, become even stronger with time, he said. If properly covered, he said, the walls can last up to a thousand years.

Another advantage of a mud house, he said, is that it’s cooler, with an inside temperature lower by five to 10 degrees Celsius than outside. His mud house even has an improvised fridge.

“You don’t need an air-conditioner,” he said. “A mud house is cooler, safer and healthier.”

His sample mud house, which he described as “rustic,” has a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom and two bed rooms.

Before Tacloban was hit by the typhoon, Racz said he got invited by a teacher there to demonstrate to students how to build a mud house and prepare survival food, another skill he has.

He went to Tacloban a month after the typhoon and was brought by the teacher to
Eastern Samar, where he taught survivors how to build a mud house.

Racz said he is willing to go to more typhoon-wrecked areas to teach the locals. “I would like to teach people everywhere,” he said.

“I like the Philippines and its people,” he added, “and I’m happy to bring something that may be of help to this country.” RSB

7.

‘DOTC failed to address conflict issues’

ONE of the losing bidders of the P17.5-billion Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) development and management project claimed that the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) failed to address the issues of conflict of interest raised against the winning bidder.

In a statement, Joseph Yap of the Filinvest Development Corp. and Changi Airport Inc. (CAI) consortium said they were disappointed that the DOTC pre-qualification, bids and awards committee (PBAC) dismissed the issues they have raised during the pre-qualification review of the MCIA project.

In a letter to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) dated Jan. 2, the Filinvest-Changi consortium questioned the participation of winning bidder GMR-Megawide Consortium and another bidder, First Philippine Airports Consortium.

Conflict of interest

The GMR-Megawide Consortium is composed of India’s GMR Infrastructure Ltd. and locally listed Megawide Construction Corp, while First Philippine Airports Consortium includes Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB).

GMR and Malaysia Airports are partners in an airport project outside the Philippines.

Filinvest-Changi consortium claims that GMR and MAHB have been partners in all of the Indian company’s airport affiliates, which constitutes a violation of conflict of interest as provided in Article 5.6 of the DOTC bidding rules.

The managing director of MAHB sits as a director in all four GMR airports, namely, Delhi International Airport Private Ltd, GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd., Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport Group and GMR Male International Airport in Maldives.

“We believe that the conflict of interest issue and the other matters raised are valid, relevant and substantive to the bidding process and rules,” Yap said.
“Our primary concern is raising these issues has always been to ensure adherence to the bidding process and rules in order to produce the right outcome for the Philippines. This helps guarantee that the Mactan Cebu International Airport will truly become a world-class airport,” he adds.

Disagreement

Sun.Star Cebu tried to get the comment of MCIA General Manager Nigel Paul Villarete but he has declined to take calls since Friday.

Just a day before the bidding last Friday, Sen.Serge Osmeña III had asked the Supreme Court to stop DOTC and MCIAA from issuing a notice of award and a concession agreement to GMR-Megawide.

Like the Filinvest-Changi consortium, Osmeña disagreed with DOTC’s decision to consider GMR-Megawide as a qualified bidder. JKV

8.

Council to CCMC: shed light on bills

ALMOST six months after the 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit Cebu, the Cebu City Government is yet to pay the P2.2 million it owes five hospitals in the city where
more than 30 patients from the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) were transferred.

The patients were transferred after the CCMC was heavily damaged by the earthquake and was declared unfit for occupancy.

Of the P2.2 million, P54,081.35 is supposed to be paid by the City Government to Cebu Velez General Hospital; P1,152,079.18 to Chong Hua Hospital; P142,843.69 to Adventist Hospital Cebu; P436,617.11 to Cebu Doctors’ University Hospital; and P419,986.19 to Perpetual Succour Hospital.

During the City Council’s April 2 regular session, Councilor Dave Tumulak has reintroduced his resolution that seeks to charge the P2.2 million to the City’s Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) fund.

But the resolution was not yet approved as the council wants to hold an executive session with CCMC Chief, Dr. Gloria Duterte, so she can answer questions on the hospital bills of the concerned patients. The council also wants the officials of the City Hospitalization and Medicine Program (Champ) to appear in the executive session.
The council scheduled the executive session with Duterte and Champ on May 28.

Tumulak’s resolution was first filed to the legislative body in January this year but
it was deferred because of some questions on the billings of some patients.

To recall, the council questioned the items covered under the P2.2-million billing statement of the five hospitals as some of the patients’ billing have reached almost P100,000.

Under Champ, the City only extends P25,000 hospital aid to indigent patients.

Tumulak, though, reiterated that the City can shoulder the whole amount of the patients’ bill since it will be charged to Pagcor and not to the P100 million fund of Champ.

Based on the Pagcor guidelines, he said funds may be used to provide emergency assistance to victims and people affected by disasters, among others.

The City receives at least P4 million from Pagcor for allowing it to operate casinos in the city.

Meanwhile, the council approved an ordinance creating the Cebu City Sister-City Commission.

The ordinance, authored by Councilor James Cuenco, is seen to shape a mutually beneficial relationship between Cebu City and its foreign and domestic sister-cities.

Cuenco said the creation of the commission would also be useful when tapping the sister-cities’ help, particularly in raising more funds for the construction of the new CCMC.

At present, the City has 15 international partners under the sister-city covenants, but only five are active and are extending assistance and other exchange programs with the City.

The commission shall be under the Office of the Mayor and it will serve as the City’s principal liaison in the establishment and maintenance of the local and international relations and cooperation.

It should also actively campaign, attract and invite tourists to visit Cebu City.

Aside from the international partners, the City also has ties with 13 local cities, which is also covered by the commission.

The Cebu City Sister-City Commission will be composed of the mayor, who will serve as a chairman or his duly authorized representative; the head of the committee on tourism, who will sit as the vice chairman; a representative from the Department of Foreign Affairs; one member of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry; the city protocol officer; and three members of the private sector appointed by the mayor and concurred by the council.

According to the ordinance, the City should set aside P8 million annually for the
commission.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 07, 2014.

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