Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, February 29, 2008

Smuggling in free ports probed

By Lawrence Agcaoli - Manila Standard Today

THE government yesterday vowed to curb rampant smuggling in the country’s free ports to plug tax leakages that could endanger the country’s fiscal consolidation program.

Finance Secretary Margarito Teves said in a statement that the Department of Finance would oversees several administrative measures being implemented by the Bureau of Customs to eliminate smuggling in major free ports such as Subic bay Freeport and clark Special Economic Zone.

“We are currently implementing several administrative measures to curb smuggling through the country’s free port’s,” Teves said

He said the government was set to pilot test next month the much delayed fuel marking technology at Subic, Clark and the Batangas port to ensure that proper taxes and duties were paid on oil imports.

The finance department mandated the marking of imported kerosene and fuel oils on Aug.15 in the three ports.

The marking of all kerosene and all diesel oil subject to zero exercise tax will be implemented in other ports through a nationwide roll-our to properly identify and track fuel oils shipped into the Philippines.

Teves said the department also issued an order tightening the monitoring o importations and grant of tax privileges to enterprises through the sharing of information between Customs and administrators of free ports as well as other special economic zones.

He added that Customs signed a memorandum of agreement with Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority for closer coordination of importations made by locators inside the former US military naval base.

The finance chief said Customs had started conducting post-entry audit on imported cigarettes, alcohol products and motor vehicles.

He said Customs had imposed a morotarium on the accreditation of customs bonded warehouse due to reports that they were being used as conduits to smuggling activities.

Customs aims to collect P254.5 billion this year, or 21 percent higher than last year’s P210.5 billion. The agency missed its P228.2-billion after collections grew old by 6.2 percent from P198.2 billion in 2006.

The administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is at the tail-end of a fiscal consolidation program aimed at achieving a balanced budget this year, or two years earlier than the original 2010 schedule under the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan.

Buoyed by the recode p90.6-billion proceeds from privatization the government trimmed the budget deficit to a record P9.4 billion, or 0.1 percent of gross domestic product, from 64.8 billion or 1.1 percent of the GDP.

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Olongapo City Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr., Subic Bay Metropolitan Area (SBMA) Administrator and CEO Armand Arreza and Vice Mayor Cynthia Cajudo tuned-up in full force to welcome the US Naval Forces to Japan Commander, Rear Admiral James D. Kelly recently.

City Councilors Edwin Piano, Rodel Cerezo, Elmo Aquino and Ellen Dabu, City Administrator Ferdie Maggrata, and Olongapo City Police Office (OCPO) Director PSSupt. Col. Abelardo Villacorta were also present at the arrival of Kelly.

The visit to City Hall of Rear Admiral Kelly with officials of the US Naval Forces to Japan this February 27 is a form of courtesy to Mayor Gordon and the people of Olongapo.

In the said friendly-visit, Mayor Gordon refreshed the visitors on the evolution of Olongapo from the initiatives of his father, James L. Gordon, Sr., to the present recognitions and awards received by the city. The visitors expressed admiration of Mayor Gordon’s administration, particularly on the peace and order aspect.

Meanwhile, Mayor Gordon gave a miniature yellow jeepney as a souvenir to Kelly while the latter gave a memorabilia gift in return.

Rear Admiral Kelly has been the commander of the US Naval Forces to Japan since 2005. He has personal decorations including Defense Superior Service Award, the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the individual Air Medal with Combat “V”, and some more unit and campaign awards. He was also assigned with “Operations Desert Storm” at the “Southern Watch.”

Mayor James ‘’Bong’’ Gordon, Jr. while giving Rear Admiral James D. Kelley a tour inside Olongapo City Hall during the admiral’s courtesy call with the mayor last February 27, 2008.

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Olongapeños are elated by the comfort and quality of services being rendered by the Taxpayers’ Lounge.

Most of the clients interviewed recently expressed their satisfaction to the huge improvement of the system in paying their tax obligations. Mayor Gordon’s initiative to put up a lounge is very convenient, taxpayers told “Balitang Ozisero,” a local news weekly.

Aside from the comfort of the air-conditioned lounge, the TV set and free coffee are a real hit to the taxpayers..

Meanwhile, the positive response of Olongapeños on the Taxpayers’ Lounge has delighted Mayor Gordon.

The Taxpayers’ Lounge was opened last February 5 aiming to make the Olongapeño taxpayers feel that they are indeed highly valued by the city government, they being the partners of the government in funding the delivery of services and projects that include health, livelihood, peace and order, education and infrastructure like school classrooms, roads, bridges and drainages.

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The City Social Welfare Development Office (CSWDO) received a brand Mitsubishi L-300 van from Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr.

In the recent flag raising ceremony at the Rizal Triangle Multi-Purpose Covered Court, Mayor Gordon and Government Services Office (GSO) Head Engr. Victor Bernabe turned-over the vehicle’s key to CSWDO Head Gene Eclarino.

“Olongapo City has always been recognized as the Most Child-Friendly City in Region III because of the efforts of our CSWDO personnel. Thus, it is reasonable enough that we give them a vehicle for use in their extensive services to the community,” Mayor Gordon stated.

Meanwhile, Eclarino expressed appreciation for the vehicle saying that it will be useful in the delivery of social services and goods to the far-flung areas of the city. “The children we care for today will care for the nation tomorrow,” said Eclarino.

It could be remembered that Olongapo City has been perennially recognized as the Most Child-Friendly City in Region III for several times since the search was initiated in 1999.

Mayor James ‘’Bong’’ Gordon, Jr. hands over to CSWDO head Gene Eclarino the key of the Mitsubishi L-300 van in the presence of First Lady and Zambales Vice Governor Anne Marie Gordon and PNP City Director Col. Abelardo Villacorta.

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The Olongapo City Government received digital and manual rain gauges from the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

The said instruments were given to the city during the Community Based Flood Early Warning System Conference held last February 27 at the FMA Hall of the City Hall.

Through the initiative of Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. in coordination with PAGASA, the conference focused on the condition of Olongapo as regards to potential flooding and ways to gear up for the rainy season.

The conference was facilitated by the City Coordinating Council and was attended by Civil Defense Region III Director Neri Amparo, Senior Weather Specialist Dr. Susan Espinueva of the PAGASA Flood Forecasting Branch as guest speakers.

In the conference, PAGASA presented four (4) digital and one (1) manual rain gauges that measures the volume of rainfall from which, early warning for possible extreme weather condition may be issued, particularly on the risk of flooding.

Mayor Gordon expressed gratitude to PAGASA for supporting the city government in its efforts to control the floodings in the city. It can be recalled that Olongapo used to be a swampland, thus, it is vulnerable to flooding despite the gallant efforts of the city government to address the problem.

Meanwhile, Disaster Management Office (DMO) Head Angie Layug, City Administrator Ferdie Magrata, City Councilor Edwin Piano, City Health Officer Dr. Arnildo Tamayo, James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital (JLGMH) Director Dr. Arturo Mendoza, city department heads and representatives from the 17 barangays of the city also attended the said conference

The city government under Mayor Bong Gordon’s administration has been carrying out measures to control floodings in the city. Recently, Michael Cooke and Stanley Taylor, flood control experts from Windsor, Ontario, Canada, visited Olongapo City for the fourth time to continue their series of studies regarding Land Use and Watershed Management in the city.

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The Olongapo City Government received digital and manual rain gauges from the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

The said instruments were given to the city during the Community Based Flood Early Warning System Conference held last February 27 at the FMA Hall of the City Hall.

Through the initiative of Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. in coordination with PAGASA, the conference focused on the condition of Olongapo and some ways to gear up the city during the rainy season.

The conference was facilitated by the City Coordinating Council and was attended by Civil Defense Region III Director Neri Amparo, Senior Weather Specialist Dr. Susan Espinueva of the PAGASA Flood Forecasting Branch as guest speakers.

In the conference, PAGASA presented the four (4) digital and one (1) manual rain gauge they have given to the city. These rain gauges will be used to measure the volume of rainfall from which, early warning for possible extreme weather condition may be derived.

Mayor Gordon expressed gratitude to PAGASA for supporting the city government in its goal to control the floodings in the city. Olongapo back in its early days was a swampland thus it is vulnerable to flooding despite the efforts of the city government to address the problem.

Meanwhile, Disaster Management Office (DMO) Head Angie Layug, City Administrator Ferdie Magrata, City Councilor Edwin Piano, City Health Officer Dr. Arnildo Tamayo, James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital (JLGMH) Director Dr. Arturo Mendoza, city department heads and representatives from the 17 barangays of the city also attended the said conference

The city government under Mayor Bong Gordon’s administration has been carrying out measures to control floodings in the city. Recently, Michael Cooke and Stanley Taylor, flood control experts from Windsor, Ontario, Canada, visited Olongapo City for the fourth time to continue their series of studies regarding Land Use and Watershed Management in the city.

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The delegation of Olongapo City reaped victory in the recently held CLRAA Meet in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija.

Team Olongapo gathered thirty one (31) golds, twenty (20) silvers and sixteen (16) bronze medals in the said regional athletic meet, which makes it qualified for the Palarong Pambansa 2008 to be held in Palawan on April 20-26

Meanwhile, in the recently held flag raising ceremony of the city officials and employees at the Rizal Triangle Multi-Purpose Covered Court, Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. expressed his admiration to the city athletes. Coaches who trained the triumphant athletes were also commended.

“I congratulate our young athletes who proved themselves fighters for excellence!” declared Mayor Gordon.

Bulacan place first in the overall ranking, followed by Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Malolos and Olongapo in the 5th place.

It can be recalled that the officials of the Olongapo City Government led Mayor Gordon, First Lady and Vice Governor Anne Maries Gordon, and the City Councilors joined the opening of the CLRAA Meet 2008 in February 17 to manifest their support for the young athletes of the city.

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Courtesy Call

Olongapo Mayor James Gordon Jr (center) and SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza welcomes Rear Adm. James Kelly, commander of the US Naval Forces in Japan, as he arrives in Olongapo City hall for a courtesy call, Kelly took time out from the joint RP-US military exercises at Subic to visit Olongapo which used to host the largest American military installation overseas.

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Clark’s union concerned about CBA deadlock, not Laus ouster

CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga: Officials of the Clark Development Corp. (CDC) labor union clarified allegations that they were calling for the ouster of Liberato P. Laus as CDC President during two mass actions held on Wednesday here.

Association of Concerned CDC Employees (ACCES) President Carlos Cabrera said that its members’ demonstrations here was intended just to show disappointment for CDC management after the review on the economic provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the union and management was declared a “deadlock.”

Cabrera said “no public statement was made during the mass actions calling for the removal of Mr. Laus as CDC President.”

He added that the rally was just to call the attention of the management for salary adjustment of P4,000 and salary increase of P3,000 per rank and file employee. All in all, the union is asking for a P7,000 salary increase.

Ed Cabug, an ACCES member, also said during their general assembly Thursday that no ouster call against Mr. Laus was publicly announced during the two mass actions that were held.

“The rally was not to call for Mr. Laus’ removal, but just to inform the management of our disappointment on the CBA deadlock,” Tabug said.

The protest actions was to air disappointments over CDC’s expansion of its table of organization, hiring of additional employees, procurement of additional vehicles, benefits given to Job Level 10 and above and expansion of health care benefits of the CDC Board of Directors, while the union’s request was not given attention.

But the CDC vice-president for Operations and Technical Services, Frank Madlangbayan, said that the state-owned firm “may not be able to sustain its operations in the long run if it takes into consideration the labor panel’s proposal considering the potential loss of income from the Mimosa Leisure Estate privatization, the separation of Clark International Airport Corp. from CDC and capital expenditures requirement of Texas Instruments.”

He said that the financial implication of the management proposal is approximately P8.6 million per year while the implication of the proposal to the workers’ union is P66.75 million annually.

Madlangbayan, who is the chairman of the CDC Management Negotiating Panel, said that among the proposals of the management is to give an additional cash gift of P5,000, increase of the P310 on rice allowance and P1,000 salary increase effective January 2008 subject to the approval of the CDC Board.

The CDC management also said that it has been emphasizing their sensitivity to the needs of its employees that’s why CDC has been considered as one of the high-paying state-owned firms in Central Luzon.

Madlangbayan also said that other benefits given every year to the employees are clothing allowance of P8,000 for 2008 with an increase amounting to P500 every year up to 2010; P5,000 cash gift and other bonuses such as 13th and 14th month pay; and hazard pay of P500 to P750 a month depending on the degree of exposure to hazard.

The CDC vice-president added that other privileges being given by CDC to their employees also include health care program coverage for rank and file amounting to P80,000 to the principal and their dependents and life insurance of P650,000 per year on regular employees.
-- Mark Louie P. Roxas - Manila Times

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Arroyo adviser denies link to oil smuggling

An influential policy adviser of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Thursday denied that he is involved in oil smuggling activities as alleged during the Senate investigation into the $329-million National Broadband Network deal.

In a press statement, Tomas I. Alcantara -- who is also the chair of the Alcantara Group of Companies -- took exception to the testimony of opposition figure Angelito Banayo.

During the Senate hearing, Banayo said he remembered then National Economic and Development Authority Director General Romulo Neri mention in a meeting that “Tommy Alcantara” was the person behind the initials “TA” which Neri had included in his presentation as those involved in oil smuggling.

The meeting was held in a restaurant at the AIM Conference Center in Makati City in December 2007 with Senator Panfilo Lacson, Senator Maria Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal, Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada, Banayo, and staff members of the senators present.

“Ridiculous!” Alacantara said in his statement. “I have absolutely no involvement in any form of illegal activity, much less oil smuggling.”

“If Secretary Neri or anyone, including Mr. Lozada or Mr. Banayo, have any proof to the contrary, I demand that they come out with it in the open, instead of resorting to hearsay, innuendo and trial by publicity, so that I could defend myself in the proper forum, the media included,” he said. By Daxim Lucas - Philippine Daily Inquirer


Smuggling losses bigger than ZTE scam

AGAP: Smuggling losses bigger than ZTE scam
AMIDST the national uproar over the NBN-ZTE deal, greater vigi-lance on technical smuggling is imperative because it causes bigger revenue losses suffered yearly by the Filipino people compared to the overpriced broadband deal, according to Agricultural Sector Alliance of the Philippines party list representative, Nicanor Briones.

“The Senate probe and the change of leadership in the House of Repre-sentatives have only made AGAP more aggressive in its desire to curb smuggling,” said Briones.

Briones called for the creation of a joint committee on agriculture and food and trade to investigate rampant outright and technical smuggling. AGAP claims that untaxed products imported through technical smuggling have flooded the country thus depriving the government billions of pesos in income yearly through misdec-laration or undervaluation of imported goods in order to evade payment of correct customs duties and taxes. A very obvious evidence of which is the big disparity in the value of exported goods shipped to the country and the value of the imported goods subjected to customs duties and taxes. According to a recent World Trade Organization report, the disparity totaled $10-billion or P450-billion diffe-rence between the values declared by exporting countries and the value of goods subjected to taxes by the Bureau of Customs, the congressman added.

According to the records of AGAP members, the continued decline in feed mill production resulted in the drop in number of livestock raised by backyard farmers. The drop in backyard livestock production is reflected in the P10 rise in the cost of meat.

“This is another bad effect of uncontrolled smuggling,” said Briones, “it forces local businesses to close shop, as they can no longer make profit out of the widespread importation of agricultural products.”

He also claimed that unaccounted and unchecked imported items only expose Filipinos to heath hazards, including Bird Flu, Swine Influenza, Foot/Hoof-and-Mouth Disease, Mad Cow Disease and other emerging diseases.

AGAP pushed for the immediate convening of the Congressional Oversight Committee for Customs which has been mandated under RA 7650 in order to monitor its implementation on physical examination of imported cargoes.

The COCC has not been convened since 1993. Further, AGAP supports the passage of House Bill No. 15 by Rep. Lorenzo R. Tañada III, entitled the Anti-Smuggling Bill of 2007 and the AGAP- sponsored House Bill 3110 or the Tariff and Customs Enforcement Act of 2007. House Bill 15 has been pending since July last year with the Committee on Ways and Means, headed by Rep. Exequiel Javier.

These urgent two bills, should be prioritized by the House of Representatives if newly-installed House Speaker Prospero Nograles wants to lead the changes envisioned for the lower house, said Briones.


Sin City Diary (Women's Month)

This film explores the lives of women who work as prostitutes around the US Navy base at Subic Bay in the Philippines. The program takes the form of a diary to incorporate Rachel Rivera's own experience as a Filipina American. The decision to shut down the base marks the end of nearly a century of American presence in that country. Sin City raises important questions about America's responsibility to its former colony, while celebrating the humanity and resilience of a community living out the legacy of its country's colonial past.

This film series is co-sponsored by: the Women and Gender Studies Institute, the Philippine Women's Centre, the Southeast Asia Studies Group at the Asia Institute, the Chu Community Network at the Asia Institute, The Department for Sociology and Equity Studies in Education at OISE, and the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies.
By: Rachel Rivera, United States -- events.utoronto.ca

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

NFA urged to hold distribution of rice recently shipped from US

Subic Bay, Philippines - Environmental activist group Greenpeace is urging Philippine authorities to hold the distribution to the public of the rice shipped recently from the US until the grains are proven uncontaminated with genetically modified rice.

Greenpeace on Thursday said that the rice shipment, now being offloaded at a Subic Bay port, might be contaminated with genetically modified grains not yet proven to be safe for human consumption.

"The National Food Authority (NFA) must quarantine this shipment and run stringent tests based on European Union protocols before the rice is distributed to the public," said Daniel M. Ocampo, genetic engineering campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

He said that the US and Philippine genetically modified organism testing procedures are unreliable as they require only a GMO test sample of 100 grams from 50,000 tons - one grain out of every 500 million grains.

In contrast, the EU procedure requires a minimum of 2.5-kilogram sample for testing, making it easier to detect the presence of GMO grains, Ocampo said.

Greenpeace said that from 2007 to 2008, 23 rice shipments from the US, obviously cleared by American authorities, were barred in the EU for GMO contamination.

In 2006, the group also revealed the presence of GMO-contaminated rice (Bayer’s herbicide resistant LL601) from the US in supermarkets in Manila.

According to Ocampo, the finding even prompted the NFA to issue an order requiring imported rice to be free from GMOs. It also stopped the importation of the staple from the US since late 2006.

Ocampo also cited that Purefeeds, the distributor of American GMO-contaminated rice, had to recall the remaining stocks from store shelves and replaced it with rice from Thailand.

Bayer, the developer of GMO rice varieties that contaminated the US rice supply, is facing lawsuits from farmers and US rice traders whose combined losses are estimated to hit US$ 1.2 billion.

“Importing rice from the US exposes Filipinos to the inherent risks of GMOs on human health and threatens our staple food with genetic contamination," Ocampo said. - GMANews.TV

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Boracay Race record

In the 204-mile Manila to Boracay Race, Frank Pong's Jelik won the Standard Insurance Trophy for line honours and the Kellet Island Trophy for the overall title in a record time of 19h 6s beating his own record on Boracay of 19h 48m. Subic Centennial was second and Karakoa third. In IRC B, Jun Avecilla's Selma Star was victorious, finishing the ordeal in 32h 38m, winning over Challenge and Sandoway.

It was a rough and tumble, wet, wild and cold overnight race with rains and winds over 27 knots and 6ft swells that caused the dismasting of Doni Altura’s J35 Vivaldi and the withdrawal of a couple of yachts that got pounded in the treacherous Verde Passage. Defending Manila-Boracay IRC B winner, Irresistible, was supposed to join the race but was dismasted off Fortune Island on the way to Manila from her base in Coron.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

OCPO Receives Car Units From Mayor Bong

The Olongapo City Police Office (OCPO) led by PSSupt. Col. Abelardo Villacorta received two brand new vehicles from Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. recently.

In the recent flag raising ceremony of city officials and employees at Rizal Triangle Multi-Purpose Center, Col. Villacorta received on behalf of OCPO one unit of Mitsubishi L-300 van and one unit of Hyundai automobile from Mayor Gordon.

“We should support OCPO and give them items necessary for the effective and efficient discharge of their duties and responsibilities as safeguards of peace and order in our city,” Mayor Gordon said.

Meanwhile, Col. Villacorta expressed gratitude to Mayor Gordon for his incessant support for the police force. According to Villacorta, the new car units will be of great help in the performance of their duties effectively and efficiently. “Mas lalo naming papagandahin ang serbisyo para sa inyong lahat,” Villacorta stressed.

In the past few months, the partnership of the city and OCPO reached new heights with different programs and activities of OCPO such as repair projects in their camp, acquisition of additional communication units and trainings and seminars for the uniformed personnel receiving the full support of Mayor Gordon.

Sina Olongapo City Mayor James ‘’Bong’’ Gordon, Jr. (kanan) at First Lady at Zambales Vice Governor Anne Marie Gordon (gitna) habang iniaabot kay PSSUPT. Col. Abelardo Villacorta (kaliwa) ang mga susi ng mga sasakyang ipinagkaloob sa Olongapo City Police Office (OCPO).

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Gordon College in SAITE 2008

Gordon College students won awards in the 5th Student Assembly on Information Technology Education (SAITE 2008) held at Cinema 1, SM City, San Fernando, Pampanga last January 24 – 25, 2008.

In connection with the awards achieved by Gordon College in SAITE 2008, Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. commended the winning IT students of the college in the flag raising ceremony of city officials and employees at Rizal Triangle Multi-Purpose Center this Monday.

“I congratulate Gordon College for proving once again that they are really fighting for excellence,” Mayor Gordon said.

In the said SAITE 2008, Gordon College was recognized in the fields of Desktop Publishing and Techno Dance Competition.

Mark Jhason Bautista, Apple Ofonda and Ryan Manikad grabbed second place in Desktop Publishing. The Dance Team of Gordon College also won second place in the Techno Dance Competition. Team members are Victoria Khouri Elias, Christalyn Elduayan, Mary Dominique Dhel Atad, Andrew Williams Roldan, Iluminada delos Reyes, Hyannah Gianelli Jimenez and Jonalyn Dimalanta. The students received certificates of recognition.

Aside from the aforementioned categories, Gordon College also joined in the different events of SAITE 2008 such as Project Development and Quiz Bee.

SAITE 2008 was joined in by college students of different schools in Region 3.

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Anti-Dengue Campaign

The Olongapo City Government under the administration of Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. has intensified its year-round campaign against Dengue.

In the flag ceremony of city officials and employees on Monday, Mayor Bong Gordon urged every Olongapeño to cooperate with the city government’s campaign against Dengue by keeping a clean environment.

“Magtulungan tayo upang mapanatiling malinis ang ating kapaligiran nang sa gayon ay makaiwas tayo sa sakit na Dengue,” Mayor Gordon said.

Through City Health Officer Dr. Arnildo Tamayo, the city government is pushing for the implementation of the “4S” or the four ways to stay away from the dangers brought about by the Dengue disease.

The 4S include (1)Search and Destroy all Breeding Sites through regular cleaning of places where mosquitoes hatch eggs such as tires, bottles, flower vases, etc.; (2)Self-Protection through the use of mosquito nets and repellants; (3)Seek early treatment or medical attention immediately if fever persists for two days; and (4)Say “No” to indiscriminate fogging or defogging and ensure it is done only at appropriate times (1-2 hours after sunrise or 1-2 hours after sunset).

“Kung araw-araw nating lilinisin ang ating kapaligiran, mawawala ang mga lamok na sanhi ng Dengue. Kung walang lamok, walang Dengue,” Dr. Tamayo said.

Meanwhile, to achieve a Dengue-free environment, here are some “Puksain ang kitikiti, Sugpuin ang Dengue” tips from the Department of Health and City Health Office:
1. Butasan o biyakin ang mga lumang gulong upang hindi pag-ipunan ng tubig at pangitlugan ng lamok.
2. Takpan ang mga drum, timba at iba pang ipunan ng tubig upang hindi pamahayan ng kitikiti.
3. Palitan ang tubig ng plorera o flower vase minsan isang linggo.
4. Linisin at alisin ang tubig sa paminggalan.
5. Linisin ang alulod ng bahay upang hindi maipunan ng tubig at pamahayan ng kitikiti.
6. Alisin ang iba pang bagay na maaaring pag-ipunan ng tubig at pangitlugan ng lamok tulad ng lata, bote, at tansan.

For more information about ‘iwas-dengue’ tips, coordinate with the City Health Office at telephone numbers 224-8390 local 4147/4134.

Sina Mayor James ‘’Bong’’ Gordon, Jr. (kanan) at City Health Officer Dr. Arnildo Tamayo (kaliwa) habang ipinahahayag ang pinaigting na kampanya ng lungsod laban sa sakit na Dengue.

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Women’s Month Celebration

The Olongapo City Women’s Council chaired by First Lady and Zambales Vice Governor Anne Marie Gordon has already laid out its plans and activities for the celebration of the International Women’s Month this March.

In a meeting held recently at the Conference Hall of the City Hall, the council announced that activities for the women of Olongapo are now “All Systems Go.”

As a sign of the commencement of the Women’s Month, Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. tasked the council to be in charged with the Flag Raising Ceremony of city officials and employees on March 3 at Rizal Triangle Multi-Purpose Center. Relevant streamers will also be placed in different strategic areas of the city.

More than three thousand (3,000) women will also join a “show of force” parade on March 3, 2008. The parade will start from Olongapo City Mall thru Ramon Magsaysay Drive and Rizal Avenue to Rizal Triangle Multi-Purpose Center.

Still part of the celebration are activities such as medical and dental mission, pap-smear, ligation, breast examination, mobile birth certificate registration, job fair, buntis party and awarding of Mayor Bong Gordon’s livelihood assistance.

Seminars on Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act and Human Trafficking will likewise be conducted before the culmination of the month-long celebration.


City Scholars’ General Assembly

Olongapo City Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. and First Lady and Zambales Vice Governor Anne Marie Gordon met with more than one thousand (1,000) city scholars at Olongapo City Convention Center (OCCC) last February 23, 2008.

“Nais kong malaman nyo na ipinagmamalaki ko kayo, dahil kayo ay simbulo ng tunay na ‘Fighting for Excellence’. Ang City Government ay nakahandang umalalay sa inyong pag-aaral upang makamit ang magandang buhay para sa inyo at sa inyong pamilya,” Mayor Gordon told the city’s “Scholars ng Bayan.”

“Kinakailangan ninyong mag-aral ng mabuti, maging modelo, inspirasyon at angat sa inyong mga kamag-aral dahil kayo ay pa-aral ng lungsod. Hinihiling ko rin sa inyo na manguna sa mga community activities tulad ng clean-up drive at peace and order campaigns,” the mayor added.

As of this year, the city scholars include 335 elementary students, 255 high school students and 523 college students who receive full scholarship for different two-year or four-year courses in Gordon College.

The City Government continuously assists the city scholars even after college. Most of the former scholars are now employed with the national and local government and even with James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital (JLGMH).

“Bukas rin ang gobyerno na i-absorb ang mga city scholars. Lumapit lamang sa Mayor’s Office para sa evaluation ng inyong credentials. Kailangan natin ng mga fresh ideas sa pamahalaan,” Mayor Gordon said.

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Subic-Clark road to open end of April

The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) clarified that the opening of Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) will be by the end of April and not on April 5 as earlier reported.

The bases agency, which implemented the construction of the 93.77-kilometer toll road, said the final touches are still being done for the project and it will be completely operational by the end of April.

SCTEX has 34 bridges, four of them "major" spans (300 meters or more), which are now undergoing final inspection.

The four major bridges are the Sacobia-Bamban Bridge, which is the longest with at 1.16 kilometers; the 318-meter Gumain Bridge; the 720-meter Pasig-Potrero River Bridge; and the 400-meter Porac River Bridge.

SCTEX has eight interchanges. These are the Tipo Junction, Dinalupihan Interchange, Clark Logistics Interchange, Spur/North Luzon Expressway Interchange, Clark North Interchange, Conception Interchange, and San Miguel Interchange.

On orders of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, three more interchanges will be constructed, bringing the total to 11 interchanges.

The additional interchanges are the Clark South Interchange, the Porac Interchange in Dolores, and the Basa Interchange in Floridablanca. By Albert B. Lacanlale - SunStar

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Lim resets own record

While it took Lim three years and six months to erase Ken Kepner’s Fastest Car record of 9.957 seconds record set in Dec. 20, 2003 at the Omni Aviation Raceway in Subic, he erased his own mark in only seven months.

CEBUANO racing ace David G. Lim rewrote the fastest car record he just established last June with another record-breaking run last Sunday during the Castrol Edge-Mayor Tommy Osmeña Cup 6 National Drag Race competition at the South Reclamation Properties.

Lim bested his 9.820-second mark in June 2007 with a 9.817-second run, using the same car, a chopped top Honda Civic EG with the same engine.

And while it took Lim three years and six months to erase Ken Kepner’s Fastest Car record of 9.957 seconds record set in Dec. 20, 2003 at the Omni Aviation Raceway in Subic, he erased his own mark in only seven months.

Aside from this, Lim again took the Quick 8 Open title after beating Ed Pujol of Team Vanitech of Manila.

Aside from the fastest car record, the race last Saturday and Sunday also produced the Fastest All-Motor record set by Jon Jon Sarmiento of Team Blaunch of Manila with a 10.2-second run.

The previous record was set by Pepi Santos of H3 Autoworks at 11.027 seconds, established at the PRA Promenade Strip in Pasay City.

And Ed Pujol of Team Vanitech of Manila also erased his own record for the new Fastest SOHC Honda at 11.3 seconds.

In the Quick 8 All-Motor, Sarmiento of Team Blaunch defeated the car owned by Johnvick Gullas and driven by Ednel Heshan of Team DGL/ERE.

With the previous drag racing records reset, race organizer Neil Labrador of Peak Summit is hopeful of a tougher and more exciting competition which will be held either in June or October this year. (RCM)

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Red Cross reunites family

The Red Cross 143 (one leader plus 43 volunteers per barangay) was instrumental in all this networking and finally the meeting took place with Sen. Richard J. Gordon, Chair of the PNRC uniting the father and daughter.

After 21 years, a father and a daughter meet for the first time at Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) National Headquarters in Manila. Mang Leonardo (not his real name) was separated from his family because of personal differences with his wife, the girl’s mother.

She was just a little girl then. In 2006, the wife was struck with cancer and racing for time, she had one wish to see Mang Leonardo before she dies worried to leave her children orphaned.

Efforts to look for him failed then the wife died but the girl and her siblings pursued the search.

Through concerned relatives, they sought the help of the PNRC through the Tracing Services of the Social Services Department. Through the coordination of the Camarines Norte Chapter, to the Masbate Chapter, to the Cavite Chapter and all the way to the Quezon City Chapter, Mang Leonardo was found. The Red Cross 143 (one leader plus 43 volunteers per barangay) was instrumental in all this networking and finally the meeting took place with Sen. Richard J. Gordon, Chair of the PNRC uniting the father and daughter.

The father and daughter have requested to keep their identity hidden due to the sensitivity of their personal circumstances. Thus, their faces are not shown in the photo.

The Tracing Services of the Philippine National Red Cross is among its many humanitarian services for any missing person situation when all normal channels of communication have been exhausted to no avail.

During disasters, a Tracing Desk is always set-up to serve people who have lost their loved one on the scene. For more information about the service, especially for those in need, please call the PNRC National Headquarters by dialing 143 or 527-0000.

The Philippine National Red Cross, alleviating human suffering. Journal online

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Subic groups vote for balanced ecosystem

By. George Lorenzana - Philippine Daily Inquirer

We, the Multipartite Monitoring Team (MMT) for Subic Bay, would like to air our concerns about the 300-megawatt coal-fired power plant that a Taiwanese corporation is planning to put up in partnership with Subic Enerzone.

1. Although the Taiwanese proponents claim that air emissions from the plant will comply with Philippine standards, are we assured that the air quality in Subic will be maintained with the plant’s operation? Subic’s air quality is precisely the reason why Subic has such a big potential, not just as a tourist destination but also as a global community envisioned to attract investments from all over the world. The coal-fired power plant is an “environmentally critical project” in an environmentally critical area.

2. Since coal will be shipped from Indonesia in big volumes (several ships per day), what protection will the community have from coal dust coming from these ships, i.e., while the coal is still in transit, being unloaded and on its way to the coal plant? The pollution of the air might be significant especially with the strong winds coming from the open sea. Several questions thus come to mind: How will fly ash be handled? Will it be shipped out to cement plants? Will it be deposited in open pit or landfill? What will be the dust emission level? Will the coal storage facilities be covered, or exposed to winds or subjected to spontaneous combustion suppression?

3. How is the ecosystem and the fishing industry going to be protected from the daily high-volume, high-temperature water emissions into Subic Bay?

The above concerns have been aired by members of our organization in two separate meetings. The proponents while promising to reply to these concerns have not found the time to do so, much less present a final design based on existing data.

The MMT is composed of the federation of fisherfolk organizations in the area, the Barrio Baretto Businessman’s Association, tourism organizations in the Bay Area, the Rotary Club of Subic, some barangays around Subic Bay, the Environmental Safety Management Office of Olongapo City, City Health Office of Olongapo, Homeowners Associations, the Maritime Command, the Coast Guard, FARM-C, Diver’s Association of Subic and concerned individuals.

At the second meeting, the proponents, including Enerzone officials, gave a presentation of the project, after which a city councilor of Olongapo asked the assembly whether they were in favor of the coal power plant. Not one answered in the affirmative.

We are not against progress, but a delicate balance of the ecosystem in Subic must be maintained. A power plant (using other sources of energy like the one in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte) and a tourism community are not mutually exclusive.

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Central Luzon eyed as retirement haven

Central Luzon is fast becoming a retirement destination as increasing number of retirees abroad seek alternative and affordable place of retreat. Renato Romero, chairman of the Central Luzon Retirement Industry Enhancement Team (CLRIET) said that Subic and Clark have been chosen by the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) as one of the six retirement cluster areas in the country.

The other chosen retirement cluster areas are the National Capital Region, Baguio in North Luzon, Tagaytay in Southern Luzon, Cebu in the Visayas and Davao in Min­danao.

The said retirement cluster areas were chosen due to their proximity to international airports and have tertiary hospitals, tourist spots, and other facilities that are fit for retirees.

Romero said at least 355 retirees of the 4,450 have already been staying in Central Luzon as of December 2007.

Choosing Central Luzon as a retirement place for international retirees, Romero said is simple.

He said that lower cost of living in Central Luzon compared with Metro Manila and other countries along with nearby accredited retirement villages and support facilities make it easier for international retirees to decide to stay in the region. By DINO BALABO - The Philippine Star

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teens find ways to deal with waste

Soraya Facudo, head teacher of the Cordillera Regional Science High School in Barangay Wangal here, said Mayor Tomas Galwan asked the children to send him copies of their studies on Solution to urban waste, which were also entries to the 4th National Science Mathematics Congress held recently in Olongapo City.

By Vincent Cabreza - Northern Luzon Bureau

LA TRINIDAD, BENGUET – Fifteen-year-old science students of this town have come up with new ways to deal with wastes, and the local government has taken notice.

Kherrylo Baludda and Beverlyn Backian stumbled on bacteria that consume plastic bags and investigated how these could be used to clean up their neighborhood.

Jordan Luther Basawil tinkered with milk cans to discover how to produce liquid fuel from trash, while Marriane Walsien and Ronnel Christian Gulmayo built a biogas digester using their piggery’s waste.

Irish Aquisan focused on a slightly off-grid problem and discovered a cheap source for chemicals that schools could use for laboratory lessons.

Two of these gadgets are now being used in their villages and could easily be replicated.

Solution to urban waste

Soraya Facudo, head teacher of the Cordillera Regional Science High School in Barangay Wangal here, said Mayor Tomas Galwan asked the children to send him copies of their studies, which were also entries to the 4th National Science Mathematics Congress held recently in Olongapo City.

Basawil, of Besao, Mt. Province, said a constant barrage of news broadcasts about neighboring Baguio City’s garbage crisis had convinced him to find a solution to urban wastes.

Garbage, indeed, has come to this vegetable trading town. It has become cosmopolitan in both population and lifestyle, with an increase in migrants from Manila and Central Luzon. It has hosted an expanded business district along the Halsema Highway, the main road to interior Cordillera.

Some of these businesses used to operate in Baguio. But as early as 2001, the local government had been vigilant about the dangers of urban decay now plaguing the city.

Gov. Nestor Fongwan had initiated the construction of a sanitary landfill for the town when he was mayor to address La Trinidad’s growth.

The town also enforced a zoning ordinance that prevents organic fertilizer dealers from setting up warehouses and processing plants.

Last week, Peter Fianza, Baguio administrator, had explored a possible tieup with the La Trinidad government for the city’s trash now that it has shut down its only dump.

Basawil said he paid attention to reports on Baguio’s garbage woes and to the lectures of Fongwan on the value of recycling. His study on waste disposal was a product of these lectures.

Reliance on LPG

Using recycled materials, such as milk cans, a washed mayonnaise receptacle and old pipes, Basawil and his father Emilio constructed a burning chamber that condenses and distills the methane emitted by burned solid waste.

Basawil said he discovered that burning and distilling 3 kilograms of solid garbage for 10 minutes earned him 11.4 milliliters of fuel.

“It is not combustible fuel,” he said. A full can of this waste byproduct could eventually reduce a family’s reliance on liquefied petroleum gas or firewood.

Most of the teenagers approached science as medium to solve economic issues that their households have had to confront, said Ethielyn Taqued, their science teacher.

Baludda and Backian borrowed samples of bacteria from the local office of the Department of Science and Technology and discovered that a substantial volume of bacteria consumes 60 percent of a plastic strip.

They said their study inspired them to build a neighborhood community pit to be filled with a cultivated volume of bacteria so the residents could have a final “burial ground” for unrecycled plastic bags.

Biogas processor

Walsien and Gumayo fused together used plastic pipes so they could feed hog waste to a “digester,” an improvised biogas processor, which fuels the stove that cooks the hogs’ daily meals.

Their only frustration? They have yet to find a fancier way to call their high density polyethylene digester.

Aquisan tested the mulberry tree in her yard and discovered that its juice extract could replace iodine and other chemicals used to help students identify plant cells during laboratory class.

Importing these chemicals has been costing the school too much, she said.

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Monday, February 25, 2008


Philippine National Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon, 2006 Gawad Panday Awardee – the highest honor and recognition award given by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP), receives on behalf of the PNRC the Anvil Awards of Merit for the “Fruits of Hope Program” that highlighted the peace dividend of development in Sulu, Basilan and North Cotabato during the 43rd Anvil Awards at the Hotel Intercontinental Makati.

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Batas vs smuggling dapat ipatupad -- solon

SA gitna ng mga turuan sa pagiging padrino umano ng smugglers nina Unang Ginoo Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo at dating Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr., isinisi naman ng mga kongresista ang talamak na suliraninm ng smuggling sa kabiguan ng kinauukulan na ipatupad ang mga umiiral na batas sa pagsugpo ng problema.

Kahit 100 Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group (PASG) pa na pinamumunuan ni Antonio “Bebot” Villar ang likhain, sinabi ni Nueva Ecija Rep. Edno Joson na mananatili ang suliranin hanggang takot ang kinauukulan na ipatupad ang batas kontra sa smuggling.

“Smuggling remains because there is no honest to goodness enforcement of laws so one hundred task forces won’t be able to do anything,” ani Joson sa alegasyon ni Villar na si De Venecia umano ang padrino ng hinihinalang oil smuggler na si Paul Co para makalibre sa pagbabayad ng P4- bilyong buwis noong 2007 sa pamamagitan ng paglalaglag ng kasong tax evasion, smuggling at fraud sa kompanya nitong Oil Link International Corp.

Mariing itinanggi naman ni Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo ang buwelta ni De Venecia na siya at kanyang ama umano ang nasa likod ng smuggling.

Naalarma naman si Citizens Battle Against Corruption Rep. Joel Villanueva sa lumulutang na malalaking pangalan sa isyu ng smuggling na siyang nagiging sentro ng mga balita sa halip na masolusyunan ang suliranin.

“Sana ang solusyon sa problema ang nagiging sentro ng atensiyon ng kinauukulan. Kung talagang may mga basehan, dalhin nila ang usapin sa korte sa halip na lituhin ang publiko” ani Villanueva.

Kaugnay nito, naniniwala naman si Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Carlos Padilla na ang pagiging incompetence umano ng kinauukulan katulad ng PASG sa paghuli ng smugglers ang problema ng bansa.

“What exists is overlap of incompetence,” ani Padilla kaugnay sa bangayan ng PASG at Bureau of Customs (BoC).

Iginiit ni Joson ang kahalagahan na kumilos ang kinauukulan para lunasan ang problema sa smuggling.

“Nakakapanghinayang na nagkakaroon ng task forces na ginagastusan ng gobyerno ng pera katulad ng PASG tapos hindi naman nareresolba ang problema,” ani Joson. By: Ryan Ponce Pacpaco - Journal online

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Subic-Clark-Tarlac tollway opens in April

CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga – The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) has finally set the inauguration of the 93.7-kilometer Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTex) – considered the country’s longest – by the end of April.

"Preparations are underway for the forthcoming formal opening of the SCTex as workers are about to wind up the construction," the BCDA, which oversees the project, said in a statement.

"Work is already in the ‘punch listing’ or final stage," it added. "The project will be completed in time for (its) scheduled inauguration in end-April this year."

SCTex project manager Robert Gervacio said only about six percent of the total project, consisting of miscellaneous structures such as guardrails and fences as well as rectification works, "remains to be done."

"We are definitely on track for the April opening," Gervacio said.

Initially, the project, largely funded by a loan from the Japan Bank of International Cooperation, was announced for completion in 2007. Last December, BCDA officials, however, said the project would be finished by mid-March this year.

"On orders of President Arroyo, three more interchanges were constructed, bringing the total to 11 interchanges. The additional interchanges are the Clark South Interchange, the Porac Interchange in Dolores and the Basa Interchange in Floridablanca," the BCDA said.

According to the BCDA, the four-lane divided tollway not only connects two of the country’s most important economic zones in Central Luzon – the Subic Bay Freeport in Zambales and the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga – but also provides "a very convenient access to the emerging economic centers further north in Tarlac and up to La Union province."

No one from the BCDA could immediately be reached to clarify how much the project actually costs now although it was earlier said to be P376.7 million.

This, as the Hazama-Taisei-Nippon Steel Joint Venture (HTN), the contractor for the 43.27-kilometer Phase 2 of the project stretching from Clark to Tarlac, last year demanded an additional P200 million from the BCDA for "acceleration cost" and another P100 million for "variations and changes" in the project.

SCTex’s Phase 1, stretching 50.5 kilometers from Clark to Subic Freeport, is being completed by Kajima-Obayashi-JFE Engineering and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.

The President gave the two companies in July last year a four-month extension to finish the project up to March this year at no cost to the Philippine government.

The SCTex has 34 bridges, four of them "major" spans (300 meters or more), which are now undergoing final inspection.

The four major bridges are the Sacobia-Bamban Bridge, the longest at 1.16 kilometers; the 318-meter Gumain Bridge, the 720-meter Pasig-Potrero River Bridge, and the 400-meter Porac River Bridge.

The BCDA said the SCTex is expected to dramatically cut travel time between Clark and Subic to only 40 minutes, and between Clark and Tarlac to 30 minutes.

"At more than 93 kilometers, the SCTex will be the country’s longest tollway," it said.

Earlier, the BCDA said a toll rate of P2.49 per kilometer is likely to be adopted at the SCTex once it is approved by the Toll Regulatory Board.

The bidding for the management and operations of SCTex is expected to start by the middle of this year.

For a six-month interim period, however, the consortium of the First Philippine Tollways, Tollways Management and Aegis will run the SCTex. By DING CERVANTES - The Philippine Star

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Joey de Venecia to bare more about Palace's cash advances

Jose "Joey" de Venecia III, the first to blow the whistle on the bribes and overpricing in the National Broadband Network-ZTE deal, has promised to bare more details of the cash advances received by former Commission on Election chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. from the ZTE in the Senate hearing on Tuesday.

"I know for a fact that the President and FG (First Gentleman), Abalos and the whole Malacañang cabal have already received significant advances for this project," De Venecia told reporters during a press conference organized by local youth organizations here Saturday at Capitol University.

"Jun Lozada has given me a number on these advances and I would say it in the Senate, although Jun told me he might not be able to corroborate the exact number. What I know is that for each milestone in the deal, an advance was given. For example, when I went to Shinjian, China, Abalos was given $2 million by ZTE. When I go to the Senate on Tuesday, I will mention the numbers on these advances," De Venecia continued. (The firm founded by De Venecia, Amsterdam Holdings Inc. presented a build-operate-transfer proposal for the NBN deal and the trip to Shinjian, China, was an attempt to reconcile the proposals of AHI and the ZTE. Eventually, however, the AHI was elbowed out of the project, allegedly on the intervention of First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo.)

De Venecia was reacting to the statement made by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Wednesday that she knew of the NBN mess prior to her trip to China to witness the signing of the agreement.

"Yes, I agree that President Macapagal-Arroyo knew about the mess in the NBN deal prior to going to China. Secretary Neri, in a number of conversations that we had prior to the signing of the supply contract, talked about how he told her about the bribe but that she replied that 'you refuse the bribe but approve the project'," said De Venecia.

De Venecia was in the city to keynote a forum on good governance where he exhorted Mindanao youth to join the calls for the resignation of President Macapagal-Arroyo. In his speech, De Venecia recounted how he struggled with himself before exposing the truth behind the NBN project.

"I knew that telling the truth and exposing this to the public could cost me my life and will put my family in jeopardy. But I had to stand up for truth," he told the forum audience, composed mostly of student leaders and representatives of youth organizations in Mindanao.

De Venecia also led the signing of a youth manifesto, which affirmed the participation of major schools and universities in Mindanao in efforts to oust Arroyo.

Asked for his reaction to the supposed involvement of his father, former House Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. in oil smuggling, the younger De Venecia replied, "I know my father, he wouldn't dabble in oil smuggling. If you ask around, you would know who the real smugglers in Subic are, and that is Mikey Arroyo … My father is never linked to any kind of smuggling." By Maria Cecilia Rodriguez - Inquirer Mindanao Bureau

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PASG bungling its way to extinction

HARDLY anybody (except maybe in some remote corner of Pangasinan were he was a local government functionary) knew who Antonio “Bebot” Villar was until he happened to be plucked from provincial obscurity and thrust on the national arena as chief of the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group (PASG).

Sure, he has made a reputation of sorts in the local cock-fighting world as a breeder of prize-winning fighting cocks—and is even up this year for the title of “Cocker of the Year.”

But once given the mandate to go after smugglers, Villar—rather than showcasing himself by displaying firm resolve in the fight against economic saboteurs—has instead been exhibiting an insatiable appetite for publicity. Not to mention also a penchant for concocting cock-and-bull stories about the group’s achievements.

Under Villar, the PASG has been all shadow and hardly any substance—his preferred mode of operation being to run the unit with a flurry of press releases and photo opportunities (remember the meaningless smashing up of luxury cars in Subic) with him taking center stage, of course!

This was best exemplified a week ago when Villar—in his usual unquenchable thirst for media mileage that must surely even get the Palace exasperated at times—put it about in the media that the PASG was going after a luxury retailer for technical smuggling and a “politician close to Malacañang whose name I don’t even want to mention” for a lot worse.

A day or two after his media statements it became patently clear why Villar had a pressing need to gasp for the oxygen of publicity to put himself and his unit in favorable light.

He was due to face a hostile hearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Good Government (filled with diligent pro-Palace lawmakers, we might add) where the main business on the agenda was the gross incompetence of the PASG. And, even more alarmingly, several lawmakers accused PASG operatives of themselves being protectors of big time smugglers—throwing up the distressing implication that if a business entity was not willing to pay up millions to be “protected” it would be prosecuted.

There was also concern raised by the lawmakers that the PASG was merely overlapping the functions of the Bureau of Customs. As Zambales Rep. Milagros Magsaysay pointed out: “The PASG’s existence has sown confusion because its functions are now being carried out by the Custom’s bureau.”

Rep. Magsaysay would know what she is talking about since her constituency Zambales neighbors Subic where the PASG has a roving (and all-encompassing) brief that its detractors allege has caused the group to run out of control.

As for the allegations that the PASG is piggybacking on the BOC’s achievements on the antismuggling front—all we can say is that the somewhat bemused look on the face of highly regarded Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morales when faced with that question says it all!

The PASG was created by Malacañang by virtue of Executive Order 624 with the good, and commendable, intention of assisting in the government’s fight against smugglers. But we guess even the Palace must sometimes wearily wonder what Villar and his merry band at the PASG are really up to.

And leaking tales to the media about a supposed politician close to Malacañang being a smuggling kingpin was a perfect example of the bungling manner in which Villar is doing his job.

As informed café society contended on that one, the proper and reasonable thing for Villar to do was to go direct to the Palace with his sensitive information—if it did exist, to begin with—rather than try to skewer the guy on the barbecue of innuendo.

From what we are gathering from our sources at both the House and the Senate, it would seem the PASG has squandered its mandate and its days may be numbered.

Certainly, the House Committee on Good Government would like the PASG to be disbanded and relegated to history as soon as possible. And the dustbin of history is never short of space.
OPEN NOTEBOOK By Random Jottings - Manila Times

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US inaction on Clark, Subic toxic wastes scored

MABALACAT, Pampanga —Members of the US-based Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) have expressed outrage over the American government's continued use of the Philippines as a site for military exercises even as it failed to clean up contaminated areas in its two former bases in the country.

CPT delegates saw what they called "continuing military contamination" as they visited the former Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base on the first week of the Balikatan (Shoulder-to-Shoulder) in Mindanao, the biggest of 30 or so exercises that resumed in 1999 under the Philippines-US Visiting Forces Agreement.

Clark in Pampanga and Tarlac, and Subic in Bataan and Zambales have since been converted by the Philippine government into economic free ports after the Philippine Senate ordered the closure of the military facilities in 1991.

"Clearly, US military contamination of the Philippines continues today, in spite of the base closings. We humbly oppose the continued use of the Philippines for the misguided US-led war on terror," the CPT said in a solidarity message at the close of a two-day interaction with toxic waste victims in communities around Clark on Friday.

The visit came a year after Gene Stoltfus, founder of the CPT, stayed around Clark and Subic for a month.

"US President George W. Bush has said that the US military must be ready to strike at a moment's notice in any dark corner of the world. We, Christian peacemakers, believe the Philippines is not a 'dark corner' but a beacon of light, of hope, of love and of peace," it said.

The CPT is involved in programs seeking to reduce violence through peacemaking based on the teachings of the Bible, non-violent direct action and joining local peacemakers. Its members work in Palestine, Colombia, Iraq and indigenous communities around the world.

Dr. Richard Williams, a socio-economist who assisted then Sen. Wigberto Tañada in proposing a base conversion program, said the American government "ought to be required to do a cleanup job before it is allowed to use the bases again."

"It is too bad that the military exercises are allowed. Our government will back off when there's pressure from the people and the eyes of the world are upon it," said Williams, who was involved in the closure and redevelopment of the Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado.

Rev. Steve Ramer said the CPT would help press for a cleanup and demand for a stop to the war games.

"The reason for Clark was maybe Vietnam [War]. The reason for Subic Bay was the Cold War. Those wars for America are over but the killings and violence continue and we are realizing that we need to be responsible and react to that kind of violence as well," he said.

"One of the things that we find that we are doing here is letting people know that the story will not stay silent, the voices of the people will be heard."

In replies to Philippine senators, the US government refused to do environmental remediation that was not in accordance with defunct 1947 Military Bases Agreement.

Myrla Baldonado, executive director of the People's Task Force for Bases Cleanup, said a "huge body of evidence of contamination" was found at Clark and Subic.

The US General Accounting Office (GAO, the investigative arm of the US Congress), US Department of Defense and the Weston International environmental study confirmed that, she said.

The Department of Health confirmed the high levels of lead and arsenic in the blood of several Mt. Pinatubo evacuees who were sheltered at the Clark Air Base Command, a former motor pool of the US Air Force.

The Weston study found at least one pollutant exceeding drinking water standards in 21 of 24 locations in Clark. Twelve of 14 sites had pollutants beyond normal standards.
By Tonette Orejas - Central Luzon Desk

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

De Venecia no coddler, says lawyer

Pangasinan Rep. Jose De Venecia on Saturday denied allegations by an administration official that he had intervened for an alleged oil smuggler when he was Speaker.

De Venecia’s lawyer, Raul Lambino, said it was “unfair” of the administration to accuse Oilink, the company owned by Paul Co, of smuggling, and then link it to De Venecia.

“This is another malicious accusation that is part of a continuing attack on the person of former Speaker De Venecia,” Lambino said.

Undersecretary Antonio Villar Jr., head of the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group, told a press conference the other day that De Venecia had interceded for Co, a suspected smuggler, to help the latter evade payment of some P4 billion in taxes in 2007.

Lambino said Villar must have been ordered to link De Venecia to oil smuggling.

“They are scraping the bottom of the barrel. I don’t believe that [Villar] could issue such a statement without the Palace ordering him so,” he said.

Lambino released a copy of a one-page letter written to De Venecia by Co in which the Oilink chair had complained that his company’s oil storage and supply operations in Mariveles, Bataan, “might have been mistaken for the tax-free operations in Subic of other oil companies.”

In the letter, Co said his firm “pays taxes even before [the] entrance of oil” to its oil storage facility in Mariveles.

Co said he had informed President Macapagal-Arroyo that Oilink had paid P27 million in taxes “under protest” as of Aug. 10, 2007, so that his oil firm could immediately resume operations.

The tax payment was 270 percent more the alleged tax deficiency being claimed by the Bureau of Customs, Co said.

“We do not wish to be involved in illegal operations,” Co said in his letter.

He asked De Venecia to help Oilink “establish the truth” because of harassment by the PASG and the shutdown of the company’s operations for two weeks.

Lambino said Co was also close to people in Malacañang.

“We understand that Mr. Paul Co and his son-in-law’s family are close friends of the Palace. It is most unfair to [say] that their company is into oil smuggling and then insinuate that it was the former Speaker who had intervened for Oilink,” Lambino said. By Norman Bordadora - Philippine Daily Inquirer

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Irish tourists buy into the sex trade overseas

It is all too chillingly telling that bars in Olongapo in the northern Philippines are the haunts of anyone who seeks the sexual services of children. We didn't encounter huge numbers of Europeans that summer, but the majority of those we did were middle-aged men who spoke freely amongst one another about the best places to go and what you could get where.

Chilling truth as Irish tourists buy into the sex trade overseas

The O Searcaigh controversy raises questions about exploitation for us, says Diane Duggan

Fairytale of Kathmandu has yet to be aired on RTE. Perhaps when it is shown, the public can make up their own minds as to whether or not there is something suspect about poet Cathal O Searcaigh's encounters with younger men in Nepal. The journalistic jury is still out on whether he is a victim or a villain.

When the controversy surrounding the documentary first emerged some weeks ago, it raised the question as to how many Irish people felt disturbed and uncomfortable by it. Not because it appalled people for its connotations of abuse, but because many Irish people felt a little unnerved as to how it resembled activities they have engaged in themselves overseas.

Sex tourism is one of the world's booming trades, and children form a huge part of this industry in developing countries to which thousands of Irish people travel to every year. At a time when there is an outcry in relation to children's rights in Ireland, and a referendum in the offing, our apparent lack of regard towards how Irish people are exploiting children abroad is astonishing.

Of course, there is acute concern as to what may have happened in Nepal, and regardless of whether the boys in question were above the age of consent, the disparity of power in these relationships raises numerous issues. Nonetheless, there are children throughout Asia and Latin America who are quite clearly below the age of 17 and are being subjected to sexual abuse and deprived of any childhood -- and some of this is at the hands of Irish citizens.

To quantify its extent is an impossible task, but a brief look at groups working with these children puts the estimate into millions worldwide. But to go to the countries and see the problem for yourself exposes the horrible reality better than any figures could.

SERVE is an Irish development initiative that sends volunteers to work in developing countries. Working with SERVE in the Philippines in 2003, I experienced first-hand the immensity of the problem. Millions of children live on the streets, many of whom have only their bodies from which to make a living. I saw a mother sell her 12-year-old daughter on a nightly basis, one of thousands of girls and boys whose innocence and childhood are short-lived.

I sat and chatted with these children who opened my eyes to a world no child should ever have to imagine. Filipinos are generally friendly and affectionate people. The girls would rub my arm and tell me they wanted skin the same colour as mine, say how they loved Westlife and that everything about the white world was better and beautiful.

The girls without pimps said the boys living on the streets -- and forced to work the same way -- helped protect them. Yet there was something in all their eyes saying they had seen and done things that nothing on the streets could protect them from, and they had no other options.

Some children are as young as four when they are sold into prostitution, where their innocence can be bought for less than €1. It is Western tourists who fuel this industry, and prostitution is the fourth largest source of GNP in the Philippines, where up to 100,000 children are involved.

It is all too chillingly telling that bars in Olongapo in the northern Philippines are the haunts of anyone who seeks the sexual services of children. We didn't encounter huge numbers of Europeans that summer, but the majority of those we did were middle-aged men who spoke freely amongst one another about the best places to go and what you could get where.

Such tales of human depravity have been well-documented by the media. It is easy for sex tourists to legitimise what they do. When they travel to Pattaya, or Olongapo or Phnom Penh, they are surrounded by others there for the same reason -- if it's provided so readily and appears to be cultural practice, it's OK. Studies profiling situational sex offenders prove this. Out of Ireland, away from home, its easier to make the mental leap needed to legitimise these heinous acts.

There is nothing culturally acceptable about child abuse. There is never a time when it can be rationalised. When an impressionable 11-year-old Filipina approaches an Irish tourist, she does so as a girl whose innocence has been taken and is all too aware that the promise of food and shelter and any hope of a future, lie in this man's wallet, for which she does as he wishes. She aspires to the same level of dignity as any Irish girl, her only fault is that she was born in the wrong country. -- independent.ie

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SBMA eyes $2.5-B investments in 3 yrs

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – After breaching its $5-billion investment target last year, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has increased its goal to $7.5 billion, or $2.5 billion more in fresh investments within the next three years.

SBMA administrator and chief executive officer Armand Arreza made this announcement the Friday as he revealed a $250-million investment commitment in Subic by Jafza International FZE, the global economic zone operations arm of Economic Zones World, which is owned by the government of Dubai.

"Now that we have exceeded our original target of $5 billion when Subic investments reached $5.4 billion in 2007, we have adjusted our 2010 goal to $7.5 billion," he said.

At the same time, Arreza expressed confidence the SBMA would be able to corner the additional $2.5 billion investments within three years due to the investor-friendly policies the agency has put in place over the past two years.

He said these include streamlining investment processing by standardizing terms and reducing processing period; organizing the SBMA business group into industry-focused units; facilitating the automatic renewal of certificates of registration and tax exemption for locators; and streamlining port processing procedures.

Moreover, the SBMA has reduced power rates, stabilized water charges, re-established fiber optic link to Subic, reaffirmed value-added tax exemption of locators and cracked down on smuggling.

"With all these measures, the SBMA has succeeded in re-establishing Subic as a viable and attractive investment destination in the last two years," Arreza said.

The SBMA official also said the scheduled opening of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) in March and President Arroyo’s Executive Order 675, which extends Subic’s tax and duty-free regime to surrounding communities, "will bring in bigger investment opportunities for Subic and the rest of Central Luzon."

"These will be our two enablers – the tools that would facilitate the entry of more investments," Arreza said.

The SCTEX project, he explained, will hasten the flow of goods and manpower within the Subic-Clark growth corridor, while EO 675 will build a strong economic base in areas around the two free ports.

The entry of Jafza International, Arreza also said, is proof that Subic is on its way to realizing its potential as a logistics and service hub in Southeast Asia.

Under a memorandum of agreement signed with Jafza CEO Salma Hareb, the Dubai-based company will invest in the development of the Subic airport, Boton wharf, Subic Techno Park and the Crown Peak hotel complex at Cubi Point.

The Jafza project will involve the master-planning and development of mixed-use properties, including port operations, logistics, and industrial and commercial components.

Thereafter, the company will also be responsible for operations, sales, leasing, marketing, and property and asset management for the areas covered by the project.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Airline Flights from Clark

With opening of Subic-Clark Hiway, travel to DMIA will be faster leading us to avail of Clark's low-cost flights to Korea, Malaysia, Macau, Singapore, Boracay and Cebu.

Below is a chart detailing the flights out of Clark. It is organized by Airline, Day, Flight No., Route, and Flight Times.

AIR ASIA Saturday AK502/AK503 Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) - Clark - Clark - Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) 1620 1645

AIR ASIA Sunday AK502/AK503 Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) - Clark - Clark - Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) 1620 1645

AIR ASIA Sunday AK032/AK033 Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) - Clark - Clark - Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) 1115 1145

AIR ASIA Friday AK502/AK503 Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) - Clark - Clark - Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) 1620 1645

AIR ASIA Saturday AK032/AK033 Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) - Clark - Clark - Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) 1115 1145

AIR ASIA Friday AK032/AK033 Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) - Clark - Clark - Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) 1115 1145

AIR ASIA Thursday AK032/AK033 Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) - Clark - Clark - Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) 1115 1145

AIR ASIA Thursday AK502/AK503 Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) - Clark - Clark - Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) 1620 1645

AIR ASIA Wednesday AK032/AK033 Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) - Clark - Clark - Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) 1115 1145

AIR ASIA Wednesday AK502/AK503 Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) - Clark - Clark - Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) 1620 1645

AIR ASIA Monday AK032/AK033 Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) - Clark - Clark - Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) 1115 1145

AIR ASIA Tuesday AK502/AK503 Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) - Clark - Clark - Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) 1620 1645

AIR ASIA Monday AK502/AK503 Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) - Clark - Clark - Kota Kinabalu (Malaysia) 1620 1645

AIR ASIA Tuesday AK032/AK033 Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) - Clark - Clark - Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) 1115 1145

ASIANA Friday OZ7075/OZ7085 Incheon Korea - Clark - Clark - Incheon Korea 2340 0100

ASIANA Wednesday OZ7075/OZ7085 Incheon Korea - Clark - Clark - Incheon Korea 2340 0100

ASIANA Saturday OZ7075/OZ7085 Incheon Korea - Clark - Clark - Incheon Korea 2340 0100

ASIANA Sunday OZ7075/OZ7085 Incheon Korea - Clark - Clark - Incheon Korea 2340 0100

ASIANA Tuesday OZ7075/OZ7085 Incheon Korea - Clark - Clark - Incheon Korea 2340 0100

SEAIR Tuesday DG122 Caticlan - Clark 1410

SEAIR Tuesday DG123 Clark - Caticlan 1330

SEAIR Monday DG219 Clark - Caticlan 1330

SEAIR Wednesday DG115 Clark - Caticlan 0900

SEAIR Sunday DG122 Caticlan - Clark 1410

SEAIR Sunday DG219 Clark - Caticlan 1330

SEAIR Sunday DG116 Caticlan - Clark 1230

SEAIR Sunday DG115 Clark - Caticlan 0900

SEAIR Saturday DG122 Caticlan - Clark 1410

SEAIR Saturday DG123 Clark - Caticlan 1330

SEAIR Friday DG123 Clark - Caticlan 1330

SEAIR Thursday DG219 Clark - Caticlan 1330

SEAIR Thursday DG121 Caticlan - Clark 1230

SEAIR Thursday DG116 Caticlan - Clark 1230

SEAIR Thursday DG115 Clark - Caticlan 0900

SEAIR Wednesday DG122 Caticlan - Clark 1410

SEAIR Wednesday DG219 Clark - Caticlan 1330

SEAIR Wednesday DG116 Caticlan - Clark 1230

SEAIR Monday DG121 Caticlan - Clark 1230

SEAIR Monday DG116 Caticlan - Clark 1230

SEAIR Monday DG115 Clark - Caticlan 0900

SEAIR Friday DG121 Caticlan - Clark 1230

TIGER AIRWAYS Saturday TR902/TR507 Macau - Clark - Clark - Singapore 1700 1730

TIGER AIRWAYS Monday TR506/TR903 Singapore - Clark - Clark - Macau 1245 1315

TIGER AIRWAYS Monday TR902/TR507 Macau - Clark - Clark - Singapore 1700 1730

TIGER AIRWAYS Wednesday TR506/TR903 Singapore - Clark - Clark - Macau 1245 1315

TIGER AIRWAYS Tuesday TR902/TR507 Macau - Clark - Clark - Singapore 1700 1730

TIGER AIRWAYS Tuesday TR506/TR903 Singapore - Clark - Clark - Macau 1245 1315

TIGER AIRWAYS Friday TR506/TR903 Singapore - Clark - Clark - Macau 1245 1315

TIGER AIRWAYS Saturday TR508/TR509 Singapore - Clark - Clark - Singapore 1905 1950

TIGER AIRWAYS Saturday TR506/TR903 Singapore - Clark - Clark - Macau 1245 1315

TIGER AIRWAYS Friday TR902/TR507 Macau - Clark - Clark - Singapore 1700 1730

TIGER AIRWAYS Sunday TR506/TR903 Singapore - Clark - Clark - Macau 1245 1315

TIGER AIRWAYS Sunday TR902/TR507 Macau - Clark - Clark - Singapore 1700 1730

TIGER AIRWAYS Sunday TR508/TR509 Singapore - Clark - Clark - Singapore 1905 1950

TIGER AIRWAYS Thursday TR506/TR903 Singapore - Clark - Clark - Macau 1245 1315

CEBU PACIFIC Sunday 5J-588/5J-589 Cebu - Clark - Clark - Cebu 1135 1205

CEBU PACIFIC Wednesday 5J-588/5J-589 Cebu - Clark - Clark - Cebu 1135 1205

CEBU PACIFIC Friday 5J-588/5J-589 Cebu - Clark - Clark - Cebu 1135 1205

CEBU PACIFIC Monday 5J-588/5J-589 Cebu - Clark - Clark - Cebu 1135 1205

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Dubai investors start survey for Subic project

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT - Dubai investors on Tuesday conducted a two-day survey here in preparation for the implementation of a $250-million development project at the Freeport.
Dubai investors start survey for $250-M project in Subic

Armand Arreza, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) administrator, said officials of Jafza International, the company managing the Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai headed by Noel Gulliver Willam, on Tuesday and Wednesday made a round of the Boton logistics and industrial areas, the Subic airport, and the residential and leisure district in Cubi that the firm has targeted for development within the next three years.

"They're now laying down the foundation for the project, “ said Arreza.

"They collected pertinent information about the area and other market data that they will use in preparing the master plan and in financial modeling," he said.

The project, which was agreed upon during the official visit of President Arroyo to the United Arab Emirates on Jan. 27, will involve the planning, development and management of mixed-use properties here.

Arreza, who signed the agreement for the Subic project with Salma Hareb, CEO of Jafza and Economic Zones World, said the project would adhere to world-class standards set by Jafza, a pioneer in the development and operation of large commercially-operated free zones around the world.

Under the agreement, Jafza will serve as the primary developer, manage the development process, supervise project design and capital raising, and oversee construction and operation. It will also be responsible for operation, sales, leasing and marketing of the developed property. SBMA, on the other hand, will assist in project documentation and take charge of all necessary approvals and permits. - Ric Sapnu - PhilipphineStar

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PNP Entrance and Promotional Examinations

Olongapo City Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. encourages Olongapeños, male or female, who want to be police officers and policemen who want to get promoted to take the Philippine National Police (PNP) Entrance and Promotional Examinations, respectively.

The PNP Entrance and Promotional Examinations will be held on April 27, 2008 in designated PNP Examinations Centers.

The following are the requirements for those interested to avail of the examinations:

1. Three (3) recent and identical 1x1 colored pictures with white background and with complete nametag.

2. Two (2) legal size window envelopes with nine pesos (Php9.00) worth of mailing stamps

3. Transcript of Records or Diploma from CHED-accredited schools

4. For civilian applicants for PNP Entrance Exam-Birth Certificate (NSO or LCR)

5. For PNP uniformed members applying for PNP Entrance Examination:
· Attested appointment as PO1 and Special Order
· Three (3) recent and identical colored pictures with white background and with complete name tag.

6. For PNP uniformed members applying for PNP Promotional Examinations:
· Attested Appointment, Absorption Order or General Order
· Certificate of completion of Training
· Service Record
· Report of Rating/Certification of Eligibility

7. For BSPS and BSPMA graduates-General Order and certificate of completion of training

8. Police Examination Fees:
· PNP Entrance - Php400.00
· Police Officer - Php400.00
· Senior Police Officer - Php450.00
· Police Inspector - Php500.00
· Police Superintendent - Php600.00

National Police Commission Regional Office 3, Camp Olivas, San Fernando City, Pampanga will be accepting applications until March 17, 2008.

For more information, contact NAPOLCOM Regional Office 3 through telephone numbers (045) 961-2084/860-2980 or e-mail address napolcom_3@yahoo.com or visit http://www.napolcom.gov.ph/.

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5 More Hold-uppers, Arrested!

Olongapo City Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. commended the Olongapo City Police Office (OCPO) headed by PSSupt. Abelardo Villacorta for apprehending five (5) alleged members of the Legaspi Highway Robbery Gang.

Giovanni Anthony Dagame of Purok-3 C Sitio Tahimik, Calapandayan, Subic, Zambales, Lito Legaspi of Barangay Mabayuan and three (3) more minors has been identified to be responsible in several hold-up incidents in Barangay Kalaklan.

According to the police force, the suspects were arrested after Police Station 1 received a complaint from the latest victims last February 15, 2008. The hold-uppers, armed with .45 pistol and knives, posed as ordinary passengers of a blue jeep. They declared “hold-up” as the jeep reached the Public Cemetery in Brgy. Kalaklan.

Several cell phone units, bags, knives, .45 pistol and gun magazine with 7 live bullets were recovered from Dagame, Legaspi and the 3 minors.

The three minors involved were turned over to the Olongapo Center for Assistance, Rehabilitation and Empowerment (OCARE) while Dagame and Legaspi are detained at OCPO Station 1 while criminal charges are being readied against them.
Bob Palmer Comments:
There are group of four snatchers/pickpocketing who ply the blue jeepney route from Olongapo to Barrio Barretto and back. They had been out of the area for the past year or so but have returned within the last three weeks. They are well dressed. Wear nice shoes. Carry back packs in their front. Target most foreigners. They are of middle age 30-40.

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Melchor, Espiritu Outstanding Demo-Teachers

Marciano Melchor, Jr. of Kalalake National High Schol and Edwina Espiritu of Olongapo City National High School has been awarded Most Outstanding Demo-Teachers last February 20, 2008 at the Olongapo City Convention Center (OCCC).

City Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr., Senator Richard Gordon and Department of Education (DepEd) Superintendent Dr. Ligaya Monato personally handed to Melchor and Espiritu a plaque of recognition and P2,000.00 worth of cash prize for being the Most Outstanding Demo-Teachers.

In their Demo-Teaching, the two (2) teachers featured the life story of James L. Gordon, Sr. as a tribute in the 41st death anniversary and martyrdom of the latter.

Melchor and Espiritu participated in the commemorative program held last February 20 by demonstrating their winning teaching strategies, role-playing for Espiritu and video presentation for Melchor. Earlier, Espiritu and Melchor already performed their demo-teaching last February 6 and 8 respectively.

DepEd annually takes part in commemorative activities for the death anniversary of James L Gordon, Sr. in recognition of his contributions paving the way to what is Olongapo today.
Senator Richard Gordon (left) and Mayor James ‘’Bong’’ Gordon, Jr. (right) while awarding the plaque of recognition to Edwina Espiritu, one of the Most Outstanding Demo-Teachers.

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Gapo Remembers Gordon, Sr.

Olongapo City commemorated the 41st death anniversary of James L. Gordon, Sr., the acknowledged Father of Olongapo, last February 20, 2008 at the City Convention Center (OCCC).

Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr., Senator Richard Gordon and relatives led the commemorative program in honor of James L. Gordon, Sr. who died 41 years ago at the hands of an assassin.

City Councilor John Carlos Gordon delos Reyes opened the program, followed by a special presentation entitled “Olongapo Transformation” staged by the James L. Gordon, Sr. Foundation. Eddie Mesa, a popular singer, rendered his version of “The Impossible Dream.”

In his message, Mayor Gordon declared his aspirations to continue his father’s advocacy to advance the welfare of the Olongapeños. “I know I’ll pale in comparison to him but I’m trying to accomplish and do the things he would have wanted me to do as steward of the community for which he died for,” Mayor Gordon said.

Senator Richard Gordon also expressed emotional memories about their late father. Senator Gordon also served as mayor of Olongapo. He led some 8, 000 volunteers in 1992 to build the former US Naval Base into what is known today as the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBFZ).

Olongapo City First Lady and Zambales Vice Governor Anne Marie Gordon, Vice Mayor Cynthia Cajudo, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator Armand Arreza, Barbara Gordon delos Reyes, city councilors, city department heads and some other personalities graced the program.

Meanwhile, the program also highlighted the presentation of the winning entries in the contests spearheaded by the Department Education (DepEd) vis-à-vis James L. Gordon, Sr.’s 41st Death Anniversary and Martyrdom. The contests held were poetry, declamation and Madulang Sabayang Pagbigkas.

Marjorie de Leon of Kalalake Elementary School recited a poem entitled “Olongapo: Fighting for Excellence” while Gerald Jay Derain of Olongapo City National High School performed a declamation entitled “Gordon: A Hero’s Legacy, A Fight for Excellence.” Students of Kalalake High School also presented their winning piece in the Madulang Sabayang Pagbigkas contest.

James L. Gordon, Sr. is considered as the Father of Olongapo because of his valuable contributions to the city. He worked hard for the cityhood of Olongapo, which was realized on June 1, 1966.

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Day Care Centers Mark 33rd Founding Anniversary

Students of Day Care Centers in Olongapo displayed their talents as they celebrated the 33rd Founding Anniversary of the Day Care Center Service Program last February 19, 2008 at the Rizal Triangle Multi Purpose Center.

City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) Head Gene Eclarino spearheaded a program which showcased cheering, singing and dancing abilities of some selected day care students.

City Mayor James “Bong” Gordon, Jr. said in his inspirational message that Day Care Centers all over the seventeen (17) barangays of the city are the foundation for quality education.

“Kumpara sa mga pribadong pre-schools hindi pahuhuli ang ating mga Day Care Centers sa lungsod dahil ang ating mga guro o Day Care Workers ay talagang nasanay upang pangalagaan at turuan ang inyong mga anak. Ang ating mga day care students ay pambato ng lungsod sa mga patimpalak sa Region-3 at national competitions. Pagpapatunay lamang na maganda at epektibo ang pagtuturo na ginagawa ng kanilang mga guro. Keep it up,” Mayor Gordon added.

Meanwhile, Mayor Gordon received a plaque and cheque worth fifty thousand pesos (P50, 000.00) from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Assistant Regional Director Adelina Apostol as a prize for being the 2007 Child-friendly City-Highly Urbanized City Category in Central Luzon.

“Ang halagang natanggap ay gagamiting karagdagang pondo sa ginagawang Youth Center sa Mayumi St., Sta. Rita,” Eclarino said.

Olongapo City has fifty four (54) Day Care Centers, the latest to be constructed is located at the mountainous part of Purok 4, Barangay Barretto.

Mayor Bong Gordon received from Asst. DSWD Regional Director Adelina Apostol the plaque and cheque worth fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) as the cities incentives to the 2007 Child-friendly City-Highly Urbanized City Category.

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USS ESSEX in Subic Bay

SUBIC BAY, Republic of the Philippines. The amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) arrives in Subic Bay for Balikatan (BK 08), the annual Republic of the Philippines and the United States bilateral exercise. During BK-08, the Essex Expeditionary Strike group will conduct humanitarian assistance and training activities with service members from the Republic of the Philippines to improve maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mark R. Alvarez - strategypage.com

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Retrenchment at FSC

The newly installed president of a subsidiary of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority has announced the retrenchment of more than half of its 721 employees.

Rex Antonio Chan, president of Freeport Service Corp., said financial difficulties and excessive number of employees are the main reasons for the workforce reduction.

Freeport Service has an outstanding obligations of more than 70 million pesos, or $1.75 million.

Chan said they will investigate and prosecute personnel involved in any irregularities, including those who have contributed to the mismanagement of the firm.

He said they are already “collecting evidence and preparing to file charges of graft and fraud against some officers and employees.” by Marianas Variety

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On Target

The Presidential Anti-Smuggling Task Force (PASG), one of the few remaining trustworthy agencies in the Arroyo administration, is under fire from a presidential ally.

GMA’s political ally wants the agency disbanded for going after smugglers at the Subic Freeport.

Not that Undersecretary Antonio Villar, PASG chief, minds. He even taunts the President’s ally to have him removed.

It’s only Villar who can reportedly turn down requests from Mike Arroyo, the President’s husband, who allegedly wanted the PASG chief to go “easy” on some smuggler-friends.

“I didn’t seek this job in the first place,” Villar said. Attaboy!
By Ramon Tulfo - Philippine Daily Inquirer

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This is a joint private blog of volunteers from Subic Bay. It is being maintained primarily to collate articles that may be of importance to decision making related to the future of Subic Bay and as a source of reference material to construct the history of Subic Bay.

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