Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Calm as the Shore

It is early morning in Iba, Zambales and these young men are getting ready for a day of fishing along the calm shore. The man in the foreground is tying the rope to his waist as he would be one of those to pull it later, while the others prepare to throw it into the water. They seem calm as they set out to go through a day of hard work. It is probably the thought that because of their efforts others will be having food on their tables that sustains them in this endeavor however hard it may be, and so they can face the day as calmly as the shore.

Photo by Eric Sales / Bulatlat

Arroyo witnesses signing of Subic shipyard land lease with South Korean group

Although being embattled by continuous coup attempts against her government, Philippine President Arroyo witnessed on Tuesday the signing of a land lease agreement between South Korean Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Co., Ltd. and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority for the South Korean company to construct and operate a 1 billion U.S. dollar shipyard at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone in Zambales.

Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Container Ships

The lease agreement covers a 230-hectare land and Hanjin will invest 1 billion U.S. dollars over the next 10 years for a steel structure fabrication yard. The shipyard is expected to be finished by 2016.

Once operational, the shipyard will build liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers and very large container carriers (VLCC) for customers around the world. The investment is also expected to boost economic activity at the country premiere freeport zone and generate 30,000 to 40,000 jobs.

After the signing ceremony at the Malacanang presidential palace, Philippine Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila said the South Korean investment shows that foreign investors' confidence in the country remains despite the destabilization plots against the government.

He said investors were impressed by President Arroyo's handling of attempts by the political opposition and other critics of the administration to destabilize the government. Favila also said the country's growth would have been faster and sustained if the political distractions would be lessened.

Hanjin said its investment in Subic was part of its global strategy for competitiveness in shipbuilding industry by expanding its operations overseas.

Hanjin cargo ship cruises along the Huang Pu River
Source: Xinhua

Iraqi cash worth P1.7M smuggled into Subic with ‘ukay-ukay’ shipment

A used jacket from seized “ukay-ukay” shipment yielded 425,000 Iraqi dinar, or the equivalent of P1.7 million in Philippine currency, at the Port of Subic in Zambales, the other day.

In an exclusive telephone interview with Port of Subic Customs collector Andres Salvacion, the money was wrapped in carbon paper which was neatly placed inside the right pocket of the jacket.

The shipment which arrived on Feb. 17 from Taiwan but originated from a middle east country, was ordered sized after examination revealed a discrepancy on its import manifest to its actual content.

"We will conduct a deeper probe on the seized shipment, and probably file a case against the consignee because bringing of foreign money through mail or personal effect is illegal under our law," Salvacion said.

The customs official hinted that the seized foreign currency was intended to provide financial support to a rebel or terrorist group in the southern part of the country.

He has ordered Capt. Jimmy Policarpio, ESS district port of Subic, to lead the investigation of the seized shipment which was consigned to a certain Armando Habito of E. Aguinaldo Hi-Way, Dasmarinas, Cavite.

Deputy Collector for operation Atty. Reynaldo Avelino is preparing to file criminal charges against Habito for attempted smuggling of foreign currency and for misdeclaration of shipment in violation of Section 2503 and 2503 of the Tariff and Customs code.

The contraband was contained in several balikbayan boxes which was brought through FedEx air/sea freight 2100.

Acting customs commissioner Napoleon Morales said the confiscated money was turned over to the Bangki Sentral ng Pilipinas for safekeeping and proper disposition.

He likewise commended Subic Port customs officials for their vigilance and immediate action against smuggling and other illegal activities at the Port of Subic. (Bong Karno Rodriguez - Tempo)

Warrants against rape accused US Marines soon

Gulf News Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge:
Arrest warrants against four US Marines accused of raping a 22-year-old Filipina are expected to be issued soon, the government said on Monday.

"Both the Philippines and the United States are determined to pursue justice under due process of law. Philippine sovereignty is firm as we anticipate the issuance of the warrant of arrest against the suspects, which will mark the inception of trial," said Ignacio Bunye, spokesman for President Gloria Arroyo.

Bunye said Philippine sovereignty and criminal justice shall be upheld in all stages amid reports that the US government would formally request Manila to have custody of its accused nationals.

"This is an isolated incident and while the case may indeed be a test on some provisions of the Visiting Forces Agreement [VFA], it should not be a test of our time-honoured friendship with the United States," Bunye said as he referred to provisions of an agreement signed by Manila and Washington in 1998 concerning the trial of nationals of either country accused of committing a crime.

On December 27, the office of the prosecutor in northern Olongapo City charged four Americans, Staff Sergeant Chad Carpentier and Lance Corporals Dominic Duplantis, Daniel Smith and Keith Silkwood of raping a Filipina inside a van in Subic, a former American naval base.

Prosecutors had also charged the Filipino driver of the van, Timoteo Soriano for complicity in the crime.

A crucial question hounding both Filipino and American officials now is who will get custody of the four Marines while judicial proceedings are underway.

Presently, the four accused Americans are under the custody of the US Embassy in Manila while Soriano had been missing right since he was charged by prosecutors last week.

Manila has been walking the tightrope by trying not to damage its ties with a very important ally and trying to appease nationalist groups in the capital.

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said the Philippines must first negotiate with the United States to "return to us the custody of the accused" before the arrest warrants against the American soldiers could be served.

"We cannot arrest them and break the treaty unilaterally. That can become an unfriendly act with a country that is aligned with us," Gonzalez said.

Subic Eyed as Retirement Haven for Japanese

THE Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) is eyeing the Subic freeport zone as a possible site for a Japanese retirement village.

Ret. Gen. Edgardo Aglipay, the current chairman of the PRA said he is in talks with a number of private companies who are interested in marketing and operating a retirement village in Subic under the supervision of the PRA.

The PRA is looking at the greyback area in Binictican, the Kalayaan housing area and an area beside the former George Dewey High School.

The PRA is the lead government agency mandated to attract foreign nationals and former Filipino citizens to retire in the Philippines.

Through the PRA, foreign retirees could avail of Philippine Special Permanent Resident Visa Program and the Special Resident Retirees’ Visa (SRRVisa).

The SRRVisa is a special non-immigrant resident visa that provides its holders with multiple-entry and indefinite stay status in the Philippines.

It grants tax-free incentives and privileges as well as value-added services and benefits from partner establishments.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) administrator Armand Arreza said he welcomes the PRA proposal.

"We are really selling the Subic Bay Freeport to retirees who want to have an ocean view or a forest view without the hassles of urban living," Arreza said.

Arreza said there are three existing Japanese retirement communities in Subic. However, he added that there are still untapped space that can be utilized for residential development.
Asian Journal

Mga Punong Barangay ng Gapo, kinondena si Mitos

Isang resolusyon ang ipinasa ng mga Barangay Captain laban kay Cong. Mitos Magsaysay dahil sa diumano ay mga di katanggap-tanggap na gawain ni Mitos sa naturang Lungsod. Narito ang nilalaman ng resolusyon:


YAYAMANG, sa pamamagitan ng makakatugmang mga pangarap, adhikain at pakikibaka ng lider at mga mamamayan ay nagawa naming baguhin at gawing “Model City of Urban Redevelopment” ang lunggsod ng Olongapo, mula sa dating imahen nitong “Sin City of the 80’s”;

YAYAMANG, sa pamamagitan pa rin ng pagkakaisang ito ng lider at mga mamamayan sa adhikain, at pananaw na sa gitna ng pakikibaka laban sa kahirapan ay mahalagang mapanatili ang dignidad ng bawat isa, at bunsod ng diwa ng bolunterismo, ay matagumpay naming naitayo ang kauna-unahang Freeport sa bansa mula sa dating base military ng mga Amerikano, na nakalikha ng maraming trabaho at pagkakataong mag-negosyo;

YAYAMANG, sa buong panahon ng aming panunungkulan bilang lider ng aming mga Barangay ay masugid naming isinulong at pinanindigan ang prinsipyo ng “transformational leadership” o pamumuno sa makabuluhang pagbabago, sa halip ng “decadent transactional leadership” o bulok na pamumuno sa kompropmiso at bentahan ng prinsipyo;

YAYAMANG, nitong nakaraang Martes, ika-10 ng Enero 2006, ay pinulong kami ni Rep. Mitos Magsaysay ng unang distrito ng Zambales at doon ay tinangkang suhulan kami ng tig P10,000 na pera ng pamahalaan, upang makuha ang aming suportang pampulitika;

YAYAMANG, nitong nakaraang Linggo, ika-8 ng Enero 2006, sa pamamagitan ng lihim na pakikipag-sabwatan kay City Schools Superintendent Ligaya Monato ng DECS at Olongapo City National High School (OCNHS) Principal Helen Aggabao, si Rep. Mitos Magsaysay ay ginamit ang campus, mga pasilidad at mga kalsada sa paligid ng OCNHS upang mamudbod ng mga de latang sardinas, bigas, instant noodles at mga damit na galing sa ukay-ukay, kapalit ng sedula ng mga tao;

YAYAMANG, maraming mamamayan ang nagalit at umangal nang matuklasang ang ipinamigay na de lata’t damit ni Rep. Magsaysay ay hindi katumbas ng pagod ng mga tao sa pagkuha ng kinakailangang sedula at matagal na pagpila sa init ng araw;

YAYAMANG, dahil sa walang kaukulang koordinasyon sa pamahalaang lokal ng Olongapo ang ginawang paggamit sa OCNHS at mga kalsada sa paligid nito, nagkalat ang dumi at basura sa loob at labas ng eskuwela at kinailangang ipilinis ito kinabukasan sa mga estudyante, na nasayang ang kanilang panahon na dapat ginugol sa pag-aaral;

YAYAMANG, ang mga ganitong gawain ni Rep. Mitos Magsaysay ay nagpapakita ng kanyang mababang pagtingin at pagturing sa mga mamamayan ng Olongapo bilang mga patay-gutom, bayaran at mga walang dignidad na tao, taliwas sa matagal naming pinagtiyagahang iangat na dignidad at dangal ng mga mamamayan ng Olongapo;

YAYAMANG ang mga gawaing ito ni Rep. Mitos Magsaysay ay itinuturing namin na malaking insulto sa amin sa mga mamamayan ng Olongapo;

NGAYON, KUNG GAYON, kaming mga Kapitan ng mga Barangay na bumubuo ng Liga ng mga Barangay sa Lungsod ng Olongapo, na ngayon ay sa pulong nakatipon, ay

PINAGTITIBAY, na ihayag ang aming mariing pagkondena sa mga ginawang pag-insulto at pagyurak ni Rep. Mitos Magsaysay sa dignidad ng mga mamamayan ng Olongapo;

PINAGTITIBAY DIN, na ihayag ang aming pagkondena kay City Schools Superintendent Ligaya Monato at OCNHS Principal Helen Aggabao sa pagpapagamit nila sa mga pasilidad ng isang sagradong institusyon ng edukasyon, na gaya ng OCNHS, par asa pinakamababang uri ng pamumulitika: panloloko at panunuhol sa mga mamamayan;

PINAGTITIBAY SA PANG HULI, na ang Resolusyong ito ay hahayaang kumalat at ipaalam sa mga mamamayan sa pamamagitan ng media at iba pang paraan.

Nilagdaan ng mga Punong Barangay ng Olongapo

Clipper Update on keel repairs in Subic

Tim Hedges:

As work progresses on the Clipper fleet out in Subic Bay, the following is an update from the technical team working on the yachts: "Over the last four days work has really got a move on, with the local workforce gleaning the knowledge of our composite specialist from Green Marine in the UK, David Monks. With a few methods taught to make the work faster we have all been impressed with the rate of progress.

The current state of the fleet is that we have six boats out of the water with the 7th coming out this evening. This morning we have five keels off, and the sixth comes off in the next hour. Four of the keels have already had their bolts removed ready for the new longer ones.

Prepping work is nearly finished on Liverpool, Qingdao, Glasgow and Durban. On these four we have removed the outer skin and core of the sandwich construction to leave a recess area extending outboard to underneath the entire keel bracing structure. In this area the repair will be a solid monothlic structure, this means solid composite, no core. The method that we use to do this will be vacuum bagging, a more advanced method of construction than in the initial build. A reassuring factor with this process is that it will either work and be 100 percent, or if the vacuum fails for some reason, we are able to see it visually and we will be able to take off the dry fibres and re set up the infusion, a reassuring fact for the crews. Work internally is already complete with the failed materials removed and the skin surface prepared for the tray laminate.

Victoria and New York are being marked up and their outer skin being removed in what looks likes drastic surgery. All of the work inside in removing engines, tanks, battery trays and batteries has been done. Also, as on all of the boats, all the open areas have been sealed off, so only a walkway and the working area is subject to dust."

Meanwhile, Clipper Ventures CEO William Ward arrived in Subic Bay on Monday to see the work underway first hand. Having worked in the Philippines in the past, William is familiar with working practices in the country and is determined to get the fleet fixed as soon as possible. Clipper Ventures' in house lamination expert Adam Wheeler is also now on site in Subic helping to coordinate the repair.

We are expecting to get the materials for the lamination on site on Wednesday, at which point it will be possible to estimate the time frame for completing the repair. It is hoped to make an announcement before the end of the week on the scheduled restart date.


Taiwan-RP export corridor deal to boost Subic-Clark investments

By EDU H. LOPEZ, Manila Bulletin

The expected signing by Taiwan and the Philippines of a super export corridor agreement between the special economic zones of Clark and Subic in the Philippines and Kaoshiung in Taiwan next month is seen to trigger off bigger Taiwanese investments in Luzon.

And to deepen the practical viability of the partnership, the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PHILEXPORT) is taking the cudgels of resolving policy kinks that may get in the way of the super export corridor.

PHILEXPORT president Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis, Jr. noted that in the absence of formal government to government relations between Taiwan and the Philippines, his federation took the initiative of starting talks with the Philippine Chinese Business Council and exchanged trade missions with Taiwan since the year 2003.

Consultations with Taiwanese customs officials, the Taiwan Institute for Economic Research and other institutions were made.

The private initiatives led to the signing in Manila last December 5-6 of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to start rolling off the establishment of the economic corridor.

PHILEXPORT will be closely working with the DTI, the Bases Conversion Development Authority, the Clark Development Corporation and the Subic Bay Development Corporation and other institutions in actualizing the corridor.

Taiwanese investments, mostly in Subic, had been pegged at USD1.5 billion by the end of last year. This is expected to accelerate soon after the corridor is formally in operation.

Among other things, Ortiz-Luis said, Taiwan is expected to transfer its manufacturing technology on the manufacture of liquid crystal displays, polymers and semiconductors.

The issues on the movement of workers between the envisioned corridor, and the setting up of financial services to Taiwanese locators in Subic and Clark, will have to be settled.

The Philippines is also looking at Subic and Clark as viable offshore platforms for Taiwan’s cluster industries in electronics and heavy industries.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Angie Matias, Boy Scouts of the Philippines

Mr. Angel D. Matias, or Angie as fondly called by many, passed away on February 22, 2006. Necrological services are scheduled on Tuesday 28 February 2006. Four o'clock in the afternoon at FMA Hall, Olongapo City Hall Complex and at six in the evening in the United Methodist Church.

The people of Olongapo, close associates, scouting community, especially his family were saddened upon knowing the death of a well-loved scouter and volunteer. His contribution to the youth of the City by serving in the Boy Scouts of the Philippines since 1957 up to 2006 has given so much inspiration to the local scouting community and has put Olongapo in the national and international scouting map.

Angie has been instrumental in the development of leaders both from Olongapo and from different councils. His training programs has became a model for succeeding scouting programs for scouts, scouters, and non-scouts. His expertise in the field of training, administration, operation and managerial aspect of scouting has been recognized nationally and even in the Asia Pacific Region.

Angie, at the time of his death has held several national scouting positions such as Internal Auditor, Director for Program & Training and Leader Development, Operations Director, and Regional Director for National Capital Regions and Central Luzon Region. He has also represented the country in numerous international scouting activities and has been appointed as Camp Director, and Administration Director for the annual Operation Smile International/Philippines Emergency Medical Training from 1994-2005. Mr. Matias has also served as Life Corporate Member of the YMCA of Olongapo from 1975-2006 and has served as President for the term 1986-87. He has also served as Regional Manager of Central Luzon Clavecilla Radio System, Philippines from 1970-1985 and Director of Zambales Press Club for the year 1965

Tokushukai still keen on RP medical facility

By Elaine Ruzul S. Ramos - Manila Standard

Tokushukai Medical Corp. remains interested in investing in the country’s healthcare sector despite earlier problems relating to the lack of an appropriate site for its proposed facility.

Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila said Tokushukai chairman Torao Tokuda sought his assistance in finding a suitable location for the proposed medical facility and retirement village during a meeting with major Japanese companies in a roadshow earlier this month.

He said Tokushukai was still keen to put up the facility here as part of the group’s overseas expansion binge.

Tokushukai, which has over 170 hospitals in Japan, had planned to put up a facility at the reclamation land owned by the Public Estates Authority (PEA) along Roxas Boulevard.

“We’ll find out what’s the problem with PEA. I’d like to know what happened why the deal did not push through,” said Favila.

He said the group needs about three hectares for the facility.

“They (Tokushukai) came here because they want to expand overseas. They’re still keen on the Philippines since there a lot of Japanese nationals in the country,” Favila said.

He said because the investment did not push through at that time, Tokushukai has set its sights on other countries such as Bulgaria and Gabon.

“Construction is ongoing for a 1,000-bed facility in Bulgaria and a 500-bed facility in Gabon. Had the investment pushed through at that time, Tokushukai would already have a facility here,” Favila said.

Tokushukai first signified its intention to invest here during the time of former DTI secretary Cesar Purisima.

Apparently, problems relating to the fact that the PEA property is a reclaimed land impeded the deal from pushing through.

The government has offered other locations in the country, such as Alabang in Muntinlupa City, and the Subic Freeport or Clark Special Economic Zone in Central Luzon.

Favila said Tokushukai wanted to put up facility in the capital city initially before putting up additional facilities in other parts of the country when they expand overseas.

Customs to issue memo on used-vehicles import ban

Michelle V. Remo

THE BUREAU OF CUSTOMS IS SET TO ISSUE a memorandum banning the entry of imported used motor vehicles into the country, a move that will favor domestic car manufacturers who have complained of stiff competition brought by cheap second-hand and imported cars.

The issuance of the Customs memorandum order, to be addressed to customs officials at the various ports nationwide, will be in observance of a recent Supreme Court decision upholding the power of the government to control the entry of imports into the country.

The Supreme Court last week said in a decision that it was not unconstitutional for Malacañang to have issued in December 2002 EO 156, which banned the importation of used vehicles.

The executive order was placed on injunction following an earlier Court of Appeals' decision that said it was unconstitutional.

Gaudencio Mendoza Jr., undersecretary of the Department of Finance, which has oversight functions over the BOC, said Finance and Customs officials would meet today to discuss the details of the memorandum order.

"That should put the judicial ruling in correct perspective," he told reporters in an interview.

A memorandum order addressed to concerned government officials was necessary to implement executive orders and court decisions.

Mendoza said the memorandum order would clarify to customs officials that the ban on the importation of used vehicles, as also stated by the Supreme Court, would not cover Subic and other freeports because these are considered outside the Philippines' customs territory.

However, he explained that used vehicle imports may be brought to freeports, but they could not be sold domestically and that they could only be re-exported.

Freeports, especially the one in Subic, was used as a point of entry of used second-hand vehicles, many of which were right-hand drives converted to left-hand and then sold locally.

The entry of cheap, second-hand vehicles into the country had been cited as one of the major problems adversely affecting the competitiveness of vehicle manufacturers operating here.

Land Grabbing in Pampanga?

The huge machines groaned as they scraped and removed soil from the face of a hill. Soon, a swath of the Zambales mountain range in Barangay (village) Hacienda Dolores, Porac, Pampanga (90 kms. north of Manila) will vanish to make way for the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway Project (SCTEP).

Posted by Bulatlat

PORAC, Pampanga — The huge machines groaned as they scraped and removed soil from the face of a hill. Soon, a swath of the Zambales mountain range in Barangay (village) Hacienda Dolores, Porac, Pampanga (90 kms. north of Manila) will vanish to make way for the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway Project (SCTEP).

Along the newly-built road leading from the Porac river to the project site, mango and guava trees were uprooted and vegetable crops destroyed.

For the upland farmers in this village, (pop. 7,000) not only their crops and the fruit-bearing trees that have sustained them for generations will be taken away from them.

LLL Holdings, a corporation partly owned by former Pampanga governor and incumbent senator Lito Lapid, now claims ownership of the 761 has. forest land, which includes the village’s residential areas.

Destroyed crops

“We don’t want their money. What we know is that our forebears have worked on the land and nobody lays claim to it in the past except us, by virtue of our actual possession. Suddenly, somebody says he owns it and will take it away from us,” Petron Pineda, 68, told GLNS.

Pineda has just received P3,000 as payment by employees of KAJIMA Corp., a Japanese firm contracted by the Base Conversion Development Authority to construct this part of the SCTEP.

The money is compensation for his crop of camote (sweet potatoes) destroyed in the road construction, but he was not paid for a portion of his farm that was used for the project.

He and the KAJIMA employees were still in his hut beside the river when GLNS arrived for an interview.

The employees who asked not to be identified explained that the BCDA have paid all the landowners affected by the project.

The money paid to Pineda, they said, is not for the land but for crops destroyed outside of the defined road area and was paid “as a consideration and goodwill” on the part of KAJIMA, and not as a legal obligation..

Officers of the Aguman Memalen Ating Malasakit King Hacienda Dolores (Association of Concerned Citizens of Hacienda Dolores or AGUMAN), an organization of village residents, say that BCDA has recognized the ownership of LLL Holdings on the land and have, indeed, paid the company millions of pesos in right-of-way fees.

Land owners?

“We have not seen the so-called owners. They have not come to us. The people who are implementing the project did not conduct a single meeting to consult us about their plans. This came as a shock to everybody,” Teresita Ignacio, AGUMAN treasurer, said in a meeting with affected farmers and residents held in the village chapel last February 15.

Ignacio said their woes began when it was announced that the SCTEP will be constructed and will traverse their village.

In October last year, they were told that by government officials that LLL Holdings owns almost all of the land in the village and has been paid right-of-way fees by the BCDA.

Residents, however, believe that LLL Holdings is owned by powerful individuals in the province one of which is Sen. Lito Lapid.

A 60-year old farmer who also works in a government office in Pampanga told GNLS that he personally went to see Sen. Lapid in his residence in Porac sometime in January to inquire about the matter.

“Matagal nyo nang pinakinabangan ang lupa. Nagbabayad ako ng amilyar dyan kaya bigyan nyo naman ng pagkakataon ang iba,” (You have benefited from the land for a long time. I am paying the real estate tax on the land, it’s about time you give others a chance [to benefit from the land]), the farmer who asked not to be named, quoted Lapid as saying.

The farmer also said that he was given an assurance by Lapid that he will be compensated.

“Mag-uusap na lang daw kami,” [We will just talk things over], the farmer said, referring to Lapid’s promise of compensation.


The AGUMAN is questioning the process through which LLL Holdings came to own the land.

Last year, they submitted an administrative complaint to the Porac municipal council against barangay officials for allegedly faking a document that may eventually serve as the basis for the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to exempt the land from being covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

In the complaint, the farmers and residents charged Hacienda Dolores barangay chair Nestor Tolentino, two barangay council members and barangay secretary Eligio Dimal for producing a document that was “forged and approved by themselves without any knowledge and…and acceptance of their constituents.”

The complaint was signed by three barangay council members and 65 farmers and residents.

The alleged forged document dated September 9, 2005 was supposedly signed by 19 farmers and was submitted to the DAR regional office.

DAR is expected to issue a decision on whether there are tenants on the land and whether it is covered by CARP.

A DAR decision that the land is not tenanted and is exempt from CARP will bolster the ownership claim of LLL Holdings.

Part of the document read: “King ikami ekami kumontra king kaburian ning mikibandi king gabun nanu man ing buri nang gawan kaniti pauli na nitang alang bibye buwis king pupol ming produkto.” (That we will not oppose the landowner in whatever he wishes to do because we did not give his share in the harvests).

In the document, the signatories disclaim any tenant-landlord relations with Leonardo L. Leonio, the land’s registered owner.

The document was made part of LLL Holdings’ application for CARP exemption.

On January 3, 2006, all the 19 signatories in the alleged forged document executed a sworn statement saying they did not sign it and disavowed its contents.

They said what they signed is only an acknowledgement of the payment they received for their crops damaged by the road construction and not a waiver to their claim on the land.

Gerry Alvarado, AGUMAN chair say they are also in a search of a copy of the land’s original certificate of title (OCT) through which they hope to prove that the land was titled illegally.

A certification issued by barangay chair Nestor Tolentino show that LLL Holdings own land in the village covered by TCT Nos. 575228-R, 575229-R, 575230-R, 575231-R and 575528-R while FL Enterprises and Management Corp. own land covered by TCT No. 534721-R.

The titles cover almost 800 has, or practically the entire village, AGUMAN leaders say. The certification further says that the lands in question are “cogonal, hilly to rolling and untenanted.”

Growth corridor

The SCTEP is a flagship project of the Arroyo administration that will link the Subic Bay Freeport in Olongapo City, the Clark Special Economic Zone in Pampanga and Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac.

Called Central Luzon’s “growth corridor,” the road will be 60 meters wide and will cover some 94 kilometers cutting across the Zambales mountain range into Pampanga and Tarlac.

Construction began October last year.

In Hacienda Luisita, farm workers and residents have opposed the project saying they have been deprived of their rights as claimants to the 6,000-hectare sugar plantation.

The BCDA has paid P90 million to the Cojuangco family for right-of-way fees for about 66 has. inside the hacienda that will be used for the road project.

“These so-called development projects bring nothing but misery to the people. Because of the [SCTEP], thousands of farmers in Pampanga are in danger of being dislocated. This may be another case of land-grabbing,” Joseph Canlas, chair of the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (Central Luzon Peasant Alliance) told GLNS.

He said his organization will support the farmers who are protesting against the project and their possible eviction from their farms and homes.


A 47-year old farmer who asked not to be identified said he personally went to the BCDA office to complain. He owns a two-hectare parcel planted to fruit bearing trees, bananas and watermelons.

Portions of his crops have been destroyed. He said he was told by a certain military officer who is also a BCDA official that all claims regarding the land has been settled and the project will push through as planned.

“Hindi kami nakapag-aral pero naiintindihan namin na inaaagaw nila sa amin ang aming lupa. Mangyari na ang mangyari pero hindi kami aalis,” (We may be uneducated but we understand that our land is being taken away from us. Come what may, we will not leave), he said.

He said he stands to lose at least P20,000 worth of watermelon harvest and the income from some 900 bananas and other fruit-bearing trees on his land.

He has not been paid a single peso and has decided, after his frustration with BCDA, that he will not demand payment anymore.

Soldiers, accompanied by government officials, allegedly visited him on his farm and he now fears for his safety.

He claims he is being accused of issuing threats against people connected with the project, a charge which he denies. He said he is being harassed because of his opposition to the project. GLNS/Posted by Bulatlat

South Korea's Hanjin to build Philippine shipyard

SEOUL, Feb 27 (Reuters) - South Korea's Hanjin Heavy Industries Co. said on Monday it would invest $720 million constructing a shipyard in the Philippines as it looks to escape domestic constraints on capacity. Like bigger rivals, Hanjin is trying to secure more expensive ship orders as vessel prices look set to weaken in coming quarters amid expectations global trading volumes will slow.

The Philippines is a familiar overseas market for the South Korean shipbuilder, which has been involved in building harbours, airports, highways and railways there in the past three decades.

"The new shipyard in the Philippines is based on our strategy to overcome growth limits because of the limited site in our local ship yard and increase competitiveness in new shipbuilding orders," the company said in a statement.

Hanjin said it had already won an order from French-based global container shipping company, CMA CGM, to build 4 container ships of 4,300 TEU (twenty foot equivalent units), worth a combined $250 million, for the new shipyard.

A Hanjin spokesman said by telephone CMA CGM had expressed its intention to help finance construction and to participate in other overseas projects. He did not elaborate. ADVERTISEMENT

Hanjin's domestic rivals, including the world's top shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. and number two player, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering , have been building overseas shipyards mainly in China and Vietnam.

The first overseas shipyard for Hanjin will be located in Subic Bay, two hours drive from the capital Manila and will cover about 700,000 pyong (2.3 million square metres).

Subic Bay was home to a U.S. navy base for half a century.

The shipyard will build LNG (liquefied natural gas) and VLCC (very large crude carrier) vessels as well as marine plant.

The investment would span about 10 years from March this year, the company said in a filing to the stock exchange, adding it aimed to make the first vessel delivery from the shipyard in June, 2008.

Hanjin would lease the shipyard site for 50 years which would be exempt from corporate taxes for eight years.

The company said recent political uncertainties in the Philippines were unlikely to affect the deal.

Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who survived an impeachment attempt last year over allegations of election cheating and corruption, invoked a state of emergency on Friday to confront what she said was a conspiracy by political enemies, communists and "military adventurists".

Hanjin shares rose 0.61 percent to close at 24,600 won, in line with the firmer broader market .

SBMA, PMMA sign $215-M joint venture to modernize Zambales port

by Recto Mangosing Adamos

The authorities of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy, (PMMA) in San Narciso, Zambales recently forged joint venture to modernize port at the rate of $215 million.

Thirty cadet midshipmen of PMMA have been operating modern vessels to protect the ecology and attained sustainable growth within the zone, according to SBMA Chairman Feliciano G. Salonga.

On the other hand PMMA president RAdm Fidel Dinoso, provided comprehensive training and technical assistance to SBMA personnel to qualify as ship crews.

"Maritime industry contribute in our economy", Salonga said. He noted that Subic will provide opportunities to upgrade standards among Filipino seafarers.

PMMA has joined Japanese ship operation experts to teach SBMA personnel as part of techno transfer being sourced from Japanese Bank of International Cooperation (JICA).

Freeport residents, investors, as well as neighboring communities were assured by the SBMA that the operations of new port facilities will even be safer and friendlier to the environ. (PIA Zambales)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Mangrove Park, Subic Bay

Shared by jrdeveraturda


Senator Richard J. Gordon declared today that the alleged situation calling for a state of emergency or the seeming threat of a coup d’etat has long been over yesterday early morning when the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) apprehended the suspected coup plotters and announced that they are in full control of the situation and remain loyal to the chain of command. There was, therefore, no need for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to issue Proclamation No. 1017 subsequently.

“There is, however, a real emergency that needs to be addressed. This emergency is in Southern Leyte, where a massive landslide buried over a thousand people who have yet to be recovered and where people continue to face the imminent danger of being swallowed by the mountain in the muddy morass,” said Gordon. Gordon spent the whole day yesterday at Southern Leyte to inspect the evacuation centers and possible resettlement areas for the victims of the Leyte landslide as Chairman of the Philippine National Red Cross.

Proclamation No. 1017 only breeds fear and anxiety among the people: ordinary citizens, businessmen, and the media, according to Gordon. It is ominous, almost threatening. Most law enforcers and majority of the general public have, in fact, taken its implementation to mean a carte blanche, equivalent to martial law.

“At this point in time, it is imperative to calm the fears of the people. But instead of assuring the public, Proclamation No. 1017 divides the people and hardens the positions of pro and anti-Administration groups,” said Gordon. He thus pleaded for national unity.

“We need to focus our efforts to unite the nation, especially on this special occasion of the 20th Anniversary of People Power 1. This historic event was once a proud experience for the nation that truly uplifted the Filipinos and inspired the whole world. Let us take this opportunity to unite the people for the sake of democracy and the common good,” declared Gordon.

“To preserve democracy, it is important for the AFP to stay away from partisan political activity,” added Gordon. “Civilian authority must also be supreme over the military at all times.”

Meanwhile, Gordon advised that if the people want the President out of office and she refuses to resign, then she should be removed from office by impeachment according to the Constitution, emphasizing the importance of the rule of law


Boy Scouts from Olongapo City James L. Gordon Council conducted a tree planting activity yesterday at Old Cabalan, this city.

One Hundred Mahogany and fifty mango trees were planted by volunteer scouts from Olongapo Wesley School, St Joseph’s College and Olongapo City Elementary School. The seedling were provided by vehicle owners and drivers who are required to present ten seedlings of fruit trees upon renewal of their registration as embodied in the City Ordinance number 59 series of 2005. Follow link for the full text
This is to promote good source of natural oxygen which are depleted due to vehicle emissions.

14-anyos ninakawan, pinatay

OLONGAPO CITY – Isang 14-anyos ang pinagnakawan at pagkatapos ay brutal na pinaslang sa pamamagitan ng pagpalo ng bato sa kanyang ulo ng apat na kabataan na hinihinalang bangag sa ipinagbabawal na droga habang ang una ay papauwi na sa kanyang tirahan sa Barangay East Bajac-Bajac sa lungsod na ito kamakalawa ng madaling-araw.

Sa nakarating na ulat kay Police Station B precinct commander P/Sr. Insp. Lolito "TJ" Tejada, nakilala ang biktima na si John Arthur C. Miclat, second year student ng Little Angel High School at residente ng No. 84 Hansen St., Barangay East Bajac-Bajac

Kaagad namang nadakip sa isinagawang follow-up operation ng mga tauhan ng Police Station B ng Olongapo City Police Office (OCPO) ang tatlong suspek na kapwa menor-de-edad habang tinutugis pa ang kanilang isang kasama.

Ayon sa ulat ng pulisya, dakong alas-12 ng hatinggabi nang maganap ang krimen ilang metro lamang ang layo mula sa bahay ng biktima. Naglalakad umano ang binatilyo patungo sa kanyang bahay nang bigla na lamang siyang harangin ng mga suspek at agad na pinagtulungang gulpihin hanggang sa lumugmok ang biktima sa lupa.

Matapos umanong kunin ang suot na sumbrero at kuwintas ng biktima ay isa sa apat na suspek ang dumampot ng isang tipak ng bato at pagkatapos ay inihampas ito sa ulo ng biktima.

Ilang sandali makaraan ang insidente ay mabilis na isinugod ang 14-anyos na mag-aaral sa James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital (JLGMH) subalit matapos ang mahigit apat na oras ay binawian din ito ng buhay dahil sa pagkabasag ng bungo at namuong dugo nito sa utak.

Kinondena naman ng ina ng biktima na si Gng. Arcelli ang naging kapalpakan at kapabayaan ng naturang ospital dahil sa kawalan umano ng pag-aasikaso sa kanyang anak na umanoy naghintay ng mahigit apat na oras sa ospital upang magpatingin sa doktor.

Nakatakdang sampahan ng pulisya bukas ang mga menor-de-edad na suspek ng kasong Robbery with Violence and Intimidation resulting to homicide sa tanggapan ng Prosecutor’s Office. (Jeff Tombado = Pilipino Star)

Car importers warned to scrutinize SC decision

After the Supreme Court gave the green light for the continued import of second-hand vehicles, Senator Richard Gordon on Friday warned that car importers cannot import vehicles outside of the secured fence in former Subic Naval base area.

Gordon, former chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), made the comment after the High Tribunal, through Associate Justice Consuelo Ynares-Santiago ruled that Executive Order No.156, which prohibits the importation of used cars, should not apply to Subic because of the latter's designation as a Freeport and special economic zone.

"Before the car importers rejoice, they should read the fine print. But look closely to what the decision states: used motor vehicles that come into the Philippine territory via the secured fenced-in former Subic Naval Base area may be stored, used or traded therein [referring to the base area] or exported out of the Philippine territory, but they cannot be imported into the Philippine territory outside of the secured fence in former Subic Naval base area. This means that even if used cars can come into Subic, they cannot be sold to the domestic market. Every single used car has to be re-exported," he explained.

The politician emphasized that the EO 156 may be void inside Subic but since it was held valid for the rest of the country, the used cars cannot leave the Freeport and cross the border into Olongapo, Zambales or Bataan, or any other place in the country.

"These smugglers will finally be unable to sell their cars here, and we've been able to use the law to stop them from laughing all the way to the bank. SBMA must stop these cars from leaving the freeport. SBMA must do its duty to make sure that when the cars are converted or reconditioned, the oil and fluids do not spill and pollute the environment of Subic," he said. Sun Star

APEC villas’ developer, SBMA urged to explore amicable settlement

"Big and small issues may divide us, but common goals bind us — to build and operate facilities, generate employment and promote tourism in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone."

This may well sum up the sentiments of both property developer Financial Building (Subic) Corporation (FBSC) and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) in solving their problems for their own good and for the public good by improving zone services for visitors and tourists.

FBSC and SBMA must be hoping that both will understand each other’s financial predicament. Both sorely needs funds. So both sides will do their best to amicably settle their differences to keep things going.

FBSC is a 100 percent Filipino-owned company. Way back in 1996, the firm had the guts to venture in the newly established Subic Bay Freeport Zone and to develop the AsianPacific Cooperation (APEC) Villas and Triboa Bay Country Club in record time for the AsianPafific Economic Cooperation conference that year. The company wasn’t paid by SBMA for these projects. It was allowed to lease out villas on a long-term basis to recover investments and pay off the loans.

In 1997, the Asean financial crisis hit the Philippines and FBC’s projects in Subic were not spared from the region’s economic downturn. The company defaulted in its loan obligations and the Home Guaranty Corporation called on its guarantees. The FBC and HGC entered into a compromise agreement which was reviewed and endorsed by the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel and approved by the courts of Makati RTC Branch 59 and Olongapo RTC Branch 72.

Since 1999, the company has been meeting and discussing with SBMA on how to restructure its obligations to the latter. In the latest meeting in December, both agreed on having the obligations settled on a per-project basis.

But the major issue: What really is the outstanding obligations? SBMA claims FBC’s outstanding obligations is P1.8 billion to P800 million representing the principal and P1 billion as interest. FBC says the obligations should exclude those not really the company’s burdens, thus reducing the figure to P157,246,472.82.

The disputed obligations:

1) SBMA’s billing for the Upper Cubi Condominium project for P588 million..FBSB says it has no existing debt for this project. It had already assigned the condominium project to another company before the rent started. Under contract with SBMA, the base rent for the property would start August 6, 1997. But FBC had assigned the condominium project to Subic Bay Resort Ltd. on April 26, 1997 or five months before the rent schedule started. The assignment of the project was even approved by SBMA on May 22, 1997.

2) The base rent of Times Square amounting to P795 million: P499 million in principal and P346 million in interest. The firm conveyed the Times Square properties on March 20, 1998 to Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corp., as Trustee of the Tahanan Asset Pool. SBMA consented to his assignment on April 1, 1998. The bank’s official financial statements always show the Times Square properties as assets of the Tahanan Asset Pool. For legal and accounting purposes, FBSC maintains, all these base rents on the land and buildings in Times Square starting on April, 1998 should have been billed to the bank. While SBMA’s legal department recognized the conveyance of the property, its accounting department continued to bill FBC for the base rents on the property.

3) SBMA’s base rent of US{{MB:DR(ARTICLE:CONTENT):MB}}.50 per square meter yearly for the 14.6 square meter-land of the El Kabayo Riding Stable. The outstanding balance is P165 million. FBC is mandated to develop the property into an integrated residential, commercial, recreation and tourism center. But when the company submitted its proposed development plan to convert the riding stable into a residential retirement area, SBMA refused to approve the proposal. The resuilt: the area has remained undeveloped, the base rent arrearages have piled up and the fees collected by FBC from horse rides are not enough to pay the base rent of the entire 14.6 hectares of the riding stable.

4) Service charges being billed by SBMA for housekeeping, maintenance and security at the rate of US,242/square meter/month of the land leased. FBC contends that since it is employing its own housekeeping, ground and building maintenance, and security personnel on the premises, SBMA should not bill them anymore for services never rendered on the leased premises. SBMA had earlier waived the service fees from other locators in the Subic Freeport Zone. FBSC is just asking for an equal treatment. Manila Bulletin

Subic importers laud SC decision on used vehicles

By JONAS REYES, Manila Bulletin

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — Importers of second-hand vehicles welcomed a Supreme Court decision voiding Executive Order (EO) No. 156 which bans the importation of used motor vehicles through this Freeport.

Peter Geroue, president of the Motor Vehicles Importers Association (MVIA) in Subic Freeport, said that the decision recognized the Subic Freeport as a separate Customs territory.

"The Supreme Court was right in its decision as it cited Republic Act No. 7227, otherwise known as the Bases Conversion and Development (BCDA) Act of 1992, that allows the free flow of goods and capital," Geroue said.

He noted the High Court’s ruling that "used-motor vehicles that come into the Philippine territory via the secured fenced-in Subic may be stored, used or traded therein, or exported out of the Philippine territory."

"I am happy about the decision that also favors car manufacturers when the Supreme Court disallowed importation to all ports in the country, except Subic Freeport," Geroue said.

Geroue also said that the government can control and monitor the importation of second-hand vehicles because the Subic Freeport will be the only entry point.

As this developed, the legal department of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) announced its stand on the decision of the High Court.

"The decision is Solomonic and wellcrafted and favors the Freeport-registered companies to keep importing and trading of used-motor vehicles," said lawyer Carlitos R Cruz, SBMA deputy administrator for legal affairs.

Cruz lauded that SC’s decision written by Justice Consuelo Ynares-Santiago, saying the High Court ruled with the "balancing of interest" between the petitioners and the respondents.

"This is good for everyone. The court also recognized the authority of the SBMA in so far as the protection of micro and medium entrepreneurs inside the Freeport are concerned," Cruz said.

The SBMA is expecting more revenues arising from the SC ruling. It has been collecting a 0 processing fee for every car imported through the Freeport.

Geroue said that thousands of skilled workers here, particularly those engaged in automotive rebuilding, also hailed the SC decision which, they said, has saved them from losing their jobs. The affected workers included mechanics, auto-electricians, and car painters.

Data at the Labor Center of SBMA show that thousands of direct-hire employees of motor vehicle-related businesses would have faced dislocation had it not been for the SC ruling.

"The government should not protect and give undue favors to wealthy companies which can afford to buy brand new vehicles for their operations," Geroue said.

Friday, February 24, 2006


“Before the car importers rejoice, they should read the fine print,” Senator Richard J. Gordon said.

Gordon, former Chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, made the statement after the Supreme Court through Associate Justice Consuelo Ynares-Santiago gave the green light for the continued importation of second hand vehicles into the special economic zone. The Supreme Court ruled that Executive Order No. 156, which prohibits the importation of used cars, should not apply to Subic because of the latter’s designation as a freeport and special economic zone.

“But look closely to what the decision states: ‘used motor vehicles that come into the Philippine territory via the secured fenced-in former Subic Naval Base area may be stored, used or traded therein [referring to the base area] or exported out of the Philippine territory, but they cannot be imported into the Philippine territory outside of the secured fenced in former Subic Naval base area.’ This means that even if used cars can come into Subic, they cannot be sold to the domestic market. Every single used car has to be re-exported,” he said.

Gordon emphasized, “The EO may be void inside Subic, but because it was held valid for the rest of the country, those used cars cannot leave the Freeport and cross the border into Olongapo, Zambales or Bataan, or any other place in the country.”

“These smugglers will finally be unable to sell their cars here, and we’ve been able to use the law to stop them from laughing all the way to the bank. SBMA must stop these cars from leaving the freeport. SBMA must do its duty to make sure that when the cars are converted or reconditioned, the oil and fluids do not spill and pollute the environment of Subic. Customs must account for each and every car that comes in, and makes sure that every single one is properly re-exported. Only then will the roads will be safer, our air and water cleaner, and our car industry will have a better chance at growing, generating jobs and opportunities for everyone,” Gordon said.

“But remember,” Gordon pointed out, “this decision focused only on used cars and did not even go into the issue of right hand drives. The decision itself said that “articles absolutely prohibited by law cannot be imported into the Freeport”. Right hand drive cars are absolutely prohibited under Republic Act No. 8506. As such, they have no place in the Freeport.”

“I would have preferred that the Supreme Court uphold the ban within Subic. Such a low value industry like car importation, reconditioning and conversion has no place in a freeport that should be bringing in Fortune 500 corporations, positioning itself as the next Hong Kong or Singapore. But ultimately, by enforcing the ban on importation for the rest of the Philippines, the decision will still have that effect. In the meantime, I will do what I can as Senator to amend Republic Act No. 7227, the Charter of the Subic Freeport Zone, to define precisely what a freeport should be,” said the Senator.

Taiwan ship makes maiden Subic call

Wan Hai Lines, one of Taiwan’s biggest shipping lines, has made its maiden port call at the Subic Bay with a full container shipping vessel signalling the operation of the Subic-Clark-Kaohsiung economic corridor.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority senior deputy administrator for operations Gen. Jose Calimlim welcome the Wan Hai’s maiden port call at the inauguration of the Formal Hall in the Freeport.

"This is a great opportunity for our locators to exploit Wan Hai’s capability of shipping containerized goods. They would not have to ship their goods to Manila then haul it by land, they just have to ship it directly to Subic," Calimlim said.

Wan Hai executive vice president Alex Lim cited Subic’s fast rising businesses.

"We saw a lot of business opportunities in this flourishing Freeport that can be capitalized on," Lim said.

Wan Hai has an initial staff of five to operate and run their Subic office. They provide a weekly service every Wednesday.

Founded in 1965, Wan Hai’s business was mainly on the log transport in Taiwan, Japan and the Southeast Asia.

In 1976, the company responded to the rapid development of international trade in the Asia Pacific area by transforming into a full container vessel operation.

Wan Hai has more than 30 years of experience in shipping, comprehensive hardware and software equipment, making it a carrier with the most intensive voyages and complete service network in Asia. (BCM)

Its shipping routes include Taiwan, Kanton, Kasai areas of Japan, Korea, mainland China, Hong Kong, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Burma, Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Middle East.

Offering complete network services, Wan Hai has 66 full container vessels with a capacity of over 90,000 TEUs. (BCM)

8 ‘hot’ vehicles seized in Bulacan

By Dino Balabo, The Philippine Star

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan — The Bulacan Criminal Investigation and Detection Team (CIDT) seized on Tuesday eight ‘hot’ vehicles in Pulilan town.

Based on the report of Superintendent Nolasco Bathan to Bulacan provincial police director Senior Superintendent Benedict Michael Fokno, the eight vehicles were confiscated after a police team raided the place of a certain John David Huayta in Barangay Sto. Cristo, Pulilan.

Armed with a search warrant issued by Judge Ismael Casabar of Regional Trial Court Branch 33 in Guimba, Nueva Ecija, the raiding team led by Chief Inspectors Alfredo Empaynado and Fernando Ferrer conducted the search together with barangay officials.

Police seized one Nissan Skyline in running condition, a defective Toyota Hi-Ace Wagon Super Custom, a Toyota Calsior, and a defective Nissan 300ZX-RHD, all right-hand drive cars.

Other vehicles seized include a Suzuki Motorcycle, a GT Cruise Van, both without license plates and in running condition, a Toyota Surf, with license plate UEF-455 and a Nissan Avenir, with license plate TET-915.

The vehicles were seized for violation of Section 3601 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines.

Police also said that Huayta was out of the country during the raid.

Kidnapped Taiwanese couple rescued by ‘people power’

By Tonette Orejas, Inquirer

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga -- Liu Kuo-shi bowed his head and placed his right hand on his chest in a gesture of gratitude, which he and his wife Hoduan Chin were unable to do in their rush to safety after 300 residents of a Zambales coastal village rescued them from kidnappers two days ago.

“At first they mistook us for thieves or for running away from our bills because we jumped out of the window of our cottage,” the 56-year-old Taipei-based trader told police through an interpreter. “When they understood that we were kidnapped, they came to our rescue. They encircled us, protected us from our pursuing kidnappers. That’s how we managed to escape.”

Senior Superintendent Arrazad Subong, deputy chief of the Zambales police, confirmed the rescue of the Taiwanese couple by villagers of Felmida Diaz in the municipality of Cabangan around 7 a.m. last Wednesday.

Liu and his wife were turned over to representatives of the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office here on Wednesday night.

Police said the two were abducted immediately after their arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on the night of Feb. 19 and were subsequently hidden in a cottage rented by the kidnappers at the Galinato Beach Resort in Zambales province.

“The couple managed to get the attention of the residents when they screamed and did sign language that they were in trouble. Others understood simply from the panic in the faces of the Lius,” Subong told the Inquirer.

The residents swarmed around the Taiwanese couple, making it impossible for three of the alleged kidnap suspects to get near them, Subong said, recalling the scene when he arrived at the village. He said the police were at the scene five minutes after Barangay captain Genardo Ofunda and Mayor Jesse Mendigorin called for help.

Although unable to speak a word of English, the couple were profuse in their gratitude to the villagers.

“We are thankful to them,” Liu said through an interpreter.

“I feel relaxed now,” Liu’s 59-year-old wife said, forcing a smile.

Two of the alleged kidnappers, identified as Bert Tupaz and a certain Darwin, escaped by boarding a Victory Liner bus, police said. Another suspect, Dante Perdigon, drove away in a van but was intercepted later at a checkpoint in Botolan town, also in Zambales.

Police are looking for the two escaped suspects and the alleged mastermind, a Taiwanese identified as Din Cheng Hsiang, also known as Andy Din.

Chief Superintendent Alejandro Lapinid, Central Luzon police director, told reporters that Din has links to a syndicate based in Taiwan but operates in the Philippines.

Din was negotiating an P80-million ransom through a contact in Taiwan but no payment had been made prior to the Lius’ escape. According to Subong, the police were at the scene five minutes after Ofunda and Mayor Mendigorin called for help, Lapinid said.

The Lius told police they first met Din at the NAIA where he fetched them. Handcuffed right after boarding a van, the Lius were taken to a safe house in Iba town, the Zambales capital.

The Lius lost US$15,000, NT$20,000 and their passports to the suspects, police said.

Subic eyes big share of 5 million tourists this year

The Department of Tourism (DOT) and local tourism establishments here are confident that the Subic Bay area will get a big share of five million tourists expected to arrive in country this year following concerted efforts to promote Subic as a tourist haven.

Tourism Undersecretary Oscar Palabyab, who graced the launching of the three-day Subic Travel Exchange and the "Subik!Subik! Festival" here, said concerted efforts by tourism businesses and stakeholders from Bataan, Zambales, the Subic Bay Freeport and this city would improve the record of tourist arrivals in the Subic Bay area.

"Because of the concerted programs to promote and further develop the facilities into more competitive tourists destinations in the country, we are confident that the Subic Bay area will corner a big share of the five million tourists that we expect", Palabyab said.

The event organized by the Greater Subic Bay Tourism Bureau (GSBTB), featured a myriad of attractions that included adventure and ecotourism activities like a hike to Mt. Pinatubo, rave parties at the Subic Boardwalk, tourism convention and exhibition and the "Subik, So Big", grand parade participated in by tourism establishments in the Subic Bay Freeport, Olongapo City, Bataan and Zambales.

The festival introduced tourists to the best destinations in the Subic Bay area including those in the province of Bataan which has unspoiled coastlines for swimming and water sports, camping and adventure trekking; Zambales which has beaches for surfing and adventure hike for Mt. Pinatubo, which combines rock climbing, rapelling and trekking.

The tourism project also highlighted Olongapo City as an entertainment and convention venue, as well as Subic Bay Freeport, which has shopping centers, racetracks, golf and tennis facilities and offers eco-tourism activities like jungle survival training, single track biking, horse riding, boat sailing and wreck diving.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator and Chief Operating Officer Armand Arreza said that the tourism industry in the Subic Bay area " has the capacity to surpass other places in the country in terms of tourist attractions, activities and facilities." PIA

Sacobia nominated top tourist destination

By Rendy Isip - Manila Standard

CLARK FIELD, Pampanga— Sacobia Valley in Bamban, Tarlac has been voted as one of the top new destinations in the country during the “Search for New Destinations, Hiyas ng Turismo” launched last year by Women in Travel, the Department of Tourism said.

DoT Regional Director Ronaldo Tiotuico also said that Sacobia Valley is the premier gateway to the Clark Special Economic Zone.

He said nine finalists were nominated but four entries will be chosen grand winner, best undiscovered, best rural or natural and most unique destinations. Final judging is set for March 17 while the awarding ceremonies will be on March 28 at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Pasay City.

Tiotuico said they entered Sacobia Valley in the search because of its potential as a holiday camping destination for thousands of foreign tourists making their way thru Clark.

It is home to a variety of wildlife species, flora and fauna as well as hundreds of Aetas. The presence of crystal clear waters, cool mountain springs and cascading waterfalls make it a veritable haven for would-be campers, hikers and ecotourists.

Its remaining virgin forests and vast greenery set amidst a pastoral environment make it most ideal for corporate activities like team-building and other outdoor living exercises.

The national judging committee, led by Tourism Undersecretary Oscar Palabyab, is composed of Felix Cruz of Philippine Airlines, former Olongapo Mayor Kate Gordon, journalist Doreen Yu, Susan Calo-Medina, Cory Quirino and Edward King of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

The public may vote for their favorite destination by texting HIYAS VOTE SACOBIA and send to 2951 (Smart), 2308 (Globe), and 2801 (Sun). Text voting has been set for Feb. 16 up to March 16.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Govt moves to settle Japanese VAT claims

Manila Standard Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge
The government has vowed to hasten the payment of the value added tax claims of Japanese contractors and consultants amounting to P1.16 billion.

Finance Secretary Margarito Teves told reporters yesterday that the Department of Finance is coordinating with the Department of Public Works and Highways, Philippine Ports Authority and the National Irrigation Authority to validate the unpaid VAT claims worth P736 million of Japanese contractors and consultants for yen loan projects.

"We are doing some validation work right now with the DPWH, NIA and PPA. We should be able to come up with a reconciled figure and start paying the amount based on the reconciled figure," Teves said.

He added that the government has already settled 82 percent of the P423 million VAT claims of Japanese contractors for grant aid projects.

Teves said the balance of 18 percent or P74.5 million would be paid within 2006.

Under the exchange of notes between the governments of the Philippines and Japan, Manila or its implementing agencies would assume all fiscal levies and taxes imposed on the Japanese companies operating as suppliers, contractors and consultants on the income accruing from the supply of products and services.

However, the Bureau of Internal Revenue continues to collect the 10 percent VAT from Japanese contractors as the National Internal Revenue Code does not exempt contractors and consultants of projects funded by overseas development assistance (ODA) funds although loan agreements stipulate that VAT collected should be refunded.

The finance chief met with Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) director general for development assistance department Takeo Matsuzawa and director general for international finance department Kazunori Nishida during a road show in Tokyo last week.

"They are pleased with the direction that there is an honest effort to settle this (VAT claims)," he said.

JBIC is the major source of Official Assistance Development (ODA) funds for the Philippines. Loans and grants extended by JBIC carry low interest rates ranging from 0.4 percent to 1.5 percent payable in 30 years to 40 years plus a 10-year grace period.

Since 1971, JBIC has funded 263 ODA projects in the Philippine valued at P1 trillion. The outstanding obligations of the Philippines to JBIC amounted to P475 billion as of 2004.

Projects funded by JBIC include the P21 billion Subic-Clark-Tarlac expressway, the P20 billion Calaca two coal-fired thermal power plant, the Subic Bay and the Batangas City ports, and the Mindanao Container Terminal.

The Japanese bank also has interests in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport-2, the Mactan International Airport, and the new Iloilo Airport.

Taiwanese couple escapes from lair of kidnappers


A Taiwanese couple, abducted upon arrival in Manila last Sunday, escaped from their kidnappers yesterday morning in a beach resort in Cabangan, Zambales.

The news of the escape of couple Liu Kiuo-Shi and Liu Hoduan Chin scared the hell out of suspect Dante Perdigon, prompting him to surrender to the Botolon Municipal Police Station a few hours later.

It was Perdigon who squealed to the local authorities the names of his other cohorts-Bert Tupaz and a certain Darwin-as well as a certain Andy Din, a Taiwanese who allegedly masterminded the abduction.

Perdigon told the investigators that it was Din and Darwin who fetched the couple upon their arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Sunday night.

The couple were then taken to the suspects' safehouse in Iba, Zambales where they were kept for two days while Din was negotiating for an P80 million ransom from the victim's family.

It was not clear how the couple slipped past their guards but Senior Superintendent Edgardo Ladao, Zambales Police Provincial Office (PPO) director, said the escape happened at 6:30 a.m. or a few hours after they were transferred to the Galinato Beach in Falmida-Diaz village in Iba town.

"The three kidnappers (Tupaz, Darwin and Perdigon) immediately left the place aboard a van, afterwhich Tupaz and Darwin boarded a Victory Liner Bus towards Manila," said Ladao.

High Court rules used auto importation in Subic legal

By REY G. PANALIGAN, Manila Bulletin

The Supreme Court has ruled that businessmen within the Subic Bay Freeport in Zambales can continue importing and trading used motor vehicles as they are not covered by the importation ban under Executive Order No. 156.

In a unanimous full court decision written by Justice Consuelo Ynares Santiago, the High Court said that the ban in EO 156 applies only to customs territory outside the presently secured fenced-in former Subic Naval Base area, known as the Subic Bay Freeport.

Section 3.1 of Article 2 of EO 156 prohibits the importation of used motor vehicles into the country. EO 156 was challenged by several businessmen before the trial court which ruled that it was unconstitutional. The trial court’s ruling was upheld by the Court of Appeals. Malacañang, through the Office of the Executive Secretary, elevated the issue before the Supreme Court.

Ruling on the issue, the Supreme Court said that "said provision (Section 3.1, Article 2 of EO 156) is declared valid insofar as it applies to the Philippine territory outside the presently fenced-in former Subic Naval Base area and void with respect to its application to the secured fenced-in former Subic Naval Base area," the High Court said.

It pointed out that used motor vehicles that come into the Philippine territory through the secured fenced-in former Subic Naval Base area may be stored, used, or traded therein, or exported out of the Philippine territory, but they cannot be imported into the Philippine territory outside of the secured fenced-in former Subic Naval Base area.

In voiding the provision of EO 156 as far as it applies to the Subic Bay Freeport, the High Court said that such provision runs afoul of two of the requisites of a valid administrative order – that it is issued within the scope of authority given by the legislature and that it is reasonable.

"The proscription on the importation of used motor vehicles should be operative only outside the Freeport and the inclusion of said zone within the ambit of the prohibition is an invalid modification of RA 7227 (Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992)," it said.

"Indeed, when the application of an administrative issuance modifies existing laws or exceeds the intended scope, the issuance becomes void, not only for being ultra vires, but also for being unreasonable," the Court said. It found no logic in the all encompassing application of the assailed provision to the Freeport which is outside the customs territory," it added.

At the same time, the High Court said that the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 7227 define the territory comprising the Subic Bay Freeport as "a separate customs territory consisting of the City of Olongapo and the Municipality of Subic, Province of Zambales, the lands occupied by the Subic Naval Base and its contiguous extensions, among others."

RA 7227 allows the free flow of goods and capital within the Freeport in order to attract investors to invest their capital in a business climate with the least government intervention, it said.

But the High Court said that EO 156 satisfied the first requisite of a valid administrative order, thus it has constitutional and statutory bases, and delegation of legislative powers to the President is permitted in Section 28(2) of Article VI of the Constitution.

It said that the second requisite that the order must be issued or promulgated in accordance with the prescribed procedure was also satisfied, noting that EO 156 is obviously a legislative rule as it seeks to implement or execute primary legislative enactments intended to protect the domestic industry by imposing a ban on the importation of a specified product not previously subject to such provision.

In the present case, the High Court said that the respondents neither questioned before any court the procedure that paved the way for the issuance of EO 156.

"Considering the settled principle that in the absence of strong evidence to the contrary, acts of the other branches of the government are presumed to be valid, and there being no objection from the respondents as to the procedure in the promulgation of EO 156, the presumption is that said executive issuance duly complied with the procedures and limitations imposed by law," it said.

DoTC bares tourism infrastructure program

By DANNY Q. JUNCO, Manila Bulletin

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) has thrown its all-out support behind the move of the government to boost the country’s tourism industry in the coming years.

DoTC Undersecretary Thompson Lantion revealed this during the induction of officers of Skal International Makati at the New World Renaissance Hotel in Makati City recently.

Lantion, the proxy of the supposed honor and guest speaker DoTC Secretary Leandro Mendoza, quoted the prepared speech of Mendoza saying DoTC has embarked its thrust on connecting the country’s islands by providing efficient linkages between land, water, rail and air transportation systems in support of tourism development.

"Pursuant to the recent directive of the President concerning air transportation, DoTC has intensified its thrust towards development efforts that will provide access to international markets, link economic centers and key growth areas, and support tourism development," he said.

He cited the development of airport infrastructure including the Laoag International Airport, Diosdado Macapagal International Airport Development, Subic International Airport, proposed New Zamboanga International Airport Development, Manila International Airport, Mactan-Cebu International Airport, Davao International Airport, and General Santos International Airport.

Lantion also said that several airports that will be upgraded are the Panglao Airport and the existing Busuanga Airport to serve as links to the Panglao Island and Northern Palawan as tourist destinations.

Included are the Western, Central and Eastern Nautical Highways, the western seaboard trunk route from Manila to Dipolog and northwestern Mindanao that connects to the central trunk route at Cebu City in Central Visayas.

The central trunk route connecting Pilar, Sorsogon to Balingoan, Misamis Oriental, passing through Central Visayas and connects to the East-West trunk routes at Catalingan, Masbate and San Carlos City.

The Eastern Nautical Highway is the eastern sea link, which connects Biliran, Leyte to Surigao City or the northwestern tip of Mindanao that connects to the central trunk route at Catalingan, Masbate.

Along with this is the building of rail lines to complete the rail-based transport network in Metro Manila and extend existing rail facilities to nearby provinces to decongest Metro Manila and alleviate its worsening traffic condition.

The implementation of the Northrail project from Caloocan City to Malolos, Bulacan for its phase 1 section and for its section from Malolos to the Clark Special Economic Zone at the four-kilometer extension of LRT Line 2 from Santolan, Pasig to Masinag, Antipolo, and the 12-kilometer extension of LRT Line 1 from Baclaran to Bacoor, Cavite.

The implementation of MRT 7, which involves a combined 38-kilometer road and rail transportation project from Marilao exit in North Luzon Expressway to MRT 3 at the North Avenue in EDSA, including the 17 kilometer, 8 land asphalt road will connect NLEX to the major transportation hub development in Tala, San Jose del Monte while the 21-kilometer elevated MRT shall start from Tala and end at the integrated MRT 3 and MRT 7 station at EDSA.

These are in broad stroke, the policies, plans, programs and projects of DoTC in support of tourism and in general to the President’s thrust to sustain economic growth and development of the country.

Malig: Clark as Peza zone

By Jun A. Malig, Sun Star

BARELY two weeks ago, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo disclosed her intention to convert the Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) into a zone under the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza).

In a roundtable interaction with Manila and Pampanga-based journalists at the Holiday Inn Resort Clark Field last February 10, Mrs. Arroyo said subjecting CSEZ under the Peza law (Republic Act 7916) would enable hundreds of foreign and local business locators in the former United States military base to enjoy the same tax and duty privileges given to locators in Subic Freeport Zone in Zambales.

However, the President said placing CSEZ under the Peza would be resorted to only if the Supreme Court decided with finality that business locators at Clark are indeed not covered by tax and duty privileges as provided for by Republic Act (RA) 7227, the Bases Conversion and Development Act.

The tax incentives at Clark were authorized by Presidential Proclamation 420 of former President Fidel Ramos, pursuant to RA7227. It may be recalled that on Oct. 23, 2003 the Supreme Court nullified the second sentence of Section 3 of Presidential Proclamation 420 that granted tax incentives to business locators in Clark, John Hay, and in Poro Point. The high court clarified that the tax exemptions is lawful only in Subic Bay Freeport Zone, which is the only existing special economic zone when RA7227 was passed in 1992.

On Mar. 29, 2005, the high court confirmed with finality its Oct. 23, 2003 ruling through an en banc resolution (John Hay People's Alternative Coalition vs. Victor Lim, et al.) with GR No. 119775. The case was filed by the coalition on Apr. 25, 1995 when Lim was still the head of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.

In response, the Clark Development Corp. (CDC) and the BCDA filed a motion for reconsideration before the high court. However, the Supreme Court junked the two agencies' petition in its ruling last December 13. The CDC got a copy of the high court resolution only last February 3.

CDC president Antonio Ng told this columnist last February 10 that the state-owned corporation had already re-filed another motion for reconsideration before the Supreme Court. He also disclosed that the CDC had formally applied before Peza last February 3, the same day it received its copy of the high court's unfavorable resolution. "The board of directors of Peza is set to meet and decide on our application on February 15," Ng added. (Perhaps Ng or the other high ranking officials of the CDC would like to enlighten the public on the outcome of Peza board meeting.)

In the interaction, Mrs. Arroyo said she would like to make Clark and Subic as her legacy. She said once Clark embraced the Peza law, all business locators at Clark, except the duty-free stores, would enjoy the privileges given to locators of Peza zones.

But duty-free stores would be given "transitory opportunity" to adjust to the shifting of policies, Ng disclosed to this columnist. Would this mean allowing duty-free stores like Puregold, Parkson and Oriental to continue selling their merchandise to anybody who happens to be at Clark? Well, I guess we have to wait for the texts of the "transitory" regulation to know the extent of such "opportunity".

During the interview, Ng reiterated his optimism that House Bills 4900 and 4901 sponsored by Tarlac Representative Jesli Lapus would soon provide reprieve to some 350 business locators at Clark. He said even if Clark becomes a Peza zone, it could again be reverted back to operate under the Bases Conversion and Development law (RA7227) once the bills of Lapus become laws.

After the media interaction, Mrs. Arroyo addressed the Fifth Conference on Philippine Rotary Concern also in Holiday Inn where she urged the Rotary governors to "use their moral influence" to help convince others in helping the government in its "poverty alleviation" program.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Taiwanese couple rescued from kidnappers

By Tonette Orejas, Inquirer

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga -- Police rescued in Cabangan town, Zambales province on Wednesday a Taiwanese couple who was kidnapped upon their arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on February 19, an official said.

Members of the Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response (PACER) unit and Zambales policemen found Liu Kuoh-shi, 56, and Liu Hoduan Chin, 59, at the Galinato beach resort in Cabangan at 7 a.m., said Central Luzon Police Director Alejandro Lapinid.

The kidnappers, who posed as drivers and who had contacts in Taiwan, demanded 80 million pesos from the Lius and their relatives, said Lapinid.

One alleged kidnapper was arrested, he added.

Lapinid said a Taiwanese was the main suspect in the kidnapping.
INQUIRER Central Luzon Desk

SC voids used-car importation ban in Subic

Tetch Torres, INQ7.net

THE administration usurped the functions of the legislature when it issued an executive order that prohibits the importation of all types of used motor vehicles, except under certain conditions, the Supreme Court has said.

"To be valid, an administrative issuance must not be beyond the limits of the authority conferred. It must not supplant or modify the Constitution, its enabling statute and other existing laws, for such is the sole function of the legislature which the other branches of the government cannot usurp," the high court, through Associate Justice Consuelo Ynares-Santiago, said in its 26-page ruling.

The high court en banc said Executive Order 156 made an "invalid modification" of Republic Act 7227 or the Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992 allowing the free flow of goods and capital within the Subic Bay Freeport.

But the high court also noted that EO 156 can still be implemented in any part of the country except the Freeport.

"The provision is declared valid insofar as it applies to the Philippine territory outside the presently fenced-in former Subic Naval Base area and void with respect to its application to the secured fenced-in former Subic Naval Base area," the high court said.

It pointed out that prohibiting the importation ban in the Freeport through the EO rendered useless the purpose of RA 7227, which is to draw investors into the country.

On February 14 last year, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court declaring as unconstitutional EO 156, signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Dec.12, 2004.

Specifically, the ban was contained in Section 3 of EO 156 which provides that the importation of all types of used motor vehicles is prohibited, except under certain conditions.

The government has justified the imposition of the ban on used motor vehicle importation as part of the government's comprehensive industrial policy to fully develop the local motor vehicle industry.

The order was questioned by the Motor Vehicle Importers Association (MVIA) of Subic Bay Freeport Inc., (MVIA) and several other companies within the Freeport and got a favorable ruling from the lower court.

The government appealed before the Appeals Court which noted that the EO tended to give the President legislative powers.

It also noted that aside from EO 226 or the Omnibus Investment Code of 1987, which was used as basis for the issuance of EO 156, there was no other basis for banning the importation of used vehicles.

EO 226 is a law of general application while RA 7227 is a special law. Under the rules, a general law may not prevail over a law enacted to apply to a specific situation, the Appeals Court said.


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SBMA mulls partnership with Japan port
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BSP Induction of Officers
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Zambales students get educational assistance
Legaspi ranked 12th in Singapore Chess Competition
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SBMA signs deal with Taiwanese firm for $300-M power plant
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Congressman, sinapak ng governor
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Sanyo Denki to hire 600 workers
Overloaded trucks banned on MNR, too
Zambales Magsaysay techno university inaugurated
Hot Air Ballon Festival Soars
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Judge: Driver out of Subic rape case
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Visit to US Embassy softens up VFA committee
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VFA termination on hold as US softens on custody
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Solons meet US Marines accused of rape; press for custody
Hot-air balloon fiesta soars over Angeles
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Zambales beaches await entrepreneurs
US’ sense of justice on trial in Subic rape case
NGO: Ignoring bases toxic waste issue is trade risk
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Subik! Subik! Festival! It’s Subic’s turn to show off
Freeport employee abducted, raped, slain
News blackout sa SBMA oil spill
CDC chief vows to push for tax break bills
Congress told to speed up on Clark tax perks law
On Target : ABS-CBN to blame for the tragedy
Gov’t drafts measures to keep incentives enjoyed by EPZ locators
Subic Telecommunications Co. Inc.
New Clark incentives eyed
Favila wants Clark declared as customs bonded warehouse
‘Subic Freeport to play major role in RP-China partnership’
PNRC responded to ULTRA tragedy
Pamintuan is new Subic-Clark chief
Daang toneladang langis, tumapon sa Subic Bay
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BCDA denies liability in SCTEX workers’ pay
VFA official says he's a scapegoat
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Irate workers rap contractors, BCDA over delayed wages
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Prosecutors ask court to arraign 4 US marines
DFA takes control of VFA commish — Ermita
Former Acer to invest additional P43.4M in Subic
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RP’s only high school with ICT curriculum gets ‘smart’
RP gov't mum over 4 U.S. Marines
Judge junks plea to inhibit self from Subic rape case
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Judge withdraws arrest warrants for 4 US Marines
Judge kowtows to VFA
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Paredes: VFA next to go
NLEX collisions blamed on ‘driver’s error’
Court takes back arrest orders v. 4 US Marines
Angeles folk worry about low-flying US military planes
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Mrs. Konghun at 2 pa nasawi, 16 sugatan sa mga banggaan sa NLEX
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Gonzalez says focus on rape case is wrong
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City Gov't Coop
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Japanese police take custody of US sailor
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Sultan Bolkiah of Brunei
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Gov't custody sa 4 na US Marines sa Subic rape, iginiit
Business As Usual
Arrest warrants to be issued soon against US Marines: Philippines
Happy New Year!

Last Updated:
22 February 2006

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