Wednesday, December 12, 2012

RTC grants protection order to ‘doomed’ trees

ANGELES CITY – Score one for the trees!

A 72-hour Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) was signed on Monday afternoon by Regional Trial Court (RTC) Executive Judge Omar Viola after it was filed hours earlier for the protection of some 486 decades-old trees that are mostly acacias lining the MacArthur Highway from Barangay Pulungbulu in this city all the way to Mabalacat City.

The trees have been “doomed” to be cut by the Department of Public Works and Highways to make way for the widening of the Manila North Road.

Early Monday morning, the petition was filed by the Save The Trees Coalition (STC) headed by Cecille S. Yumul, Eugene T. Orejas, Louie T. Reyes, Dino Jose C. Doliente and Nole C. Acervo assisted by their legal counsel Atty. Francisco Yabut at the RTC versus Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr., Environment Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje, Public Works Secretary Rogelio L. Singson and Regional Director Lormelyn E. Claudio of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) III.

The petitioners said the trees along the MacArthur Highway have been “in existence since the early days of the colonial period or for more than 50 years now and have become part of our nation’s heritage.

Aside from the scenic view and clean air that these full-grown trees supply, they also act as natural canopies from the heat of the sun for motorists and the public.”

According to Yabut, a hearing was held at 3 p.m. Monday by Viola on the petition for TEPO. After the hearing at around 5 p.m., Yabut said Viola signed the TEPO which has a validity of 72 hours.

However, the TEPO was only served yesterday, Yabut added. The case will then be heard in the sala of RTC Branch 59 Judge Angelique Quiambao.

The petitioners are seeking a permanent injunction of the cutting of trees on the said stretch along the MacArthur Highway.

In 2009, the DPWH cut down more than 100 trees along the MacArthur Highway in the City of San Fernando in what environmentalist called the “MacArthur Highway Massacre.” The following year, 30 more decades-old trees were felled by the DPWH.

On August 6 this year, the DPWH issued a memorandum to its regional directors informing them that the permit for tree-cutting along the MacArthur Highway from this city to Mabalacat City for various infrastructure projects has been approved by the Office of the Executive Secretary.

However, under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order 2003-30, an environmentally critical project regardless of its location is subject to the conduct of a mandatory public hearing as part of the Environmental Impact Statement review.

Considering the huge number of trees that will be “killed” in the process, the road improvement project poses a major threat to the environmental rights of those directly and indirectly affected, the petitioners said.

No consultation or public hearing was ever made contrary to the claims of the DPWH, the petitioners said.

Angeles City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan said he has not given any permit for the cutting of the trees and that he “is not inclined to give any.” The city’s environmental office along with the STC has put notices to this effect on each of the trees marked by the DPWH for cutting.

Mabalacat Mayor Marino Morales has likewise vowed not to allow the cutting of trees along MacArthur Highway within his area of jurisdiction.

Some two weeks ago, Morales joined the STC and former Gov. Eddie T. Panlilio in painting human figures on the X marks on the trees targeted for cutting as a sign of protest against the DPWH action. (By Ashley Manabat)

(Note:  First published by Punto Central Luzon on December 12. 2012,

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ex-Gov. Panlilio slams PNP claim that CL is jueteng free

Former Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio slammed police claim that Central Luzon is jueteng free.

He stressed that increased collection on Small Town Lottery (STL) operations in the region is not a guarantee that the illegal numbers game is dead.

“Isang insulto ang sabihin ng PNP na jueteng free ang Central Luzon,” Panlilio told journalists in an interview on Friday night.

He added, “mukhang ang mga men and uniform na lang natin ang hindi nakakaalam na may jueteng pa lalo sa Pampanga.”

The former governor also showed journalists two pieces of paper showing proof that he himself was able to place bet on jueteng last October 23.

Panlilio’s disclosure and show of evidence strengthen suspicions by many that he is the alleged ‘mystery shopper’ cited by Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas in an earlier meeting at Clark Freeport.

In the same meeting, Roxas asked police officials in Central Luzon led by Chief Superintendent Edgardo Ladao to immediatel;y submit report on  alleged jueteng operations in the region.

Last Wednesday, Ladao called a press conference at Camp Olivas in San Fernando City and announced that Central Luzon is jueteng free.

He was joined by Lawyer Ferdinand Rojas of the Philippine Charity Sweepestakes Office (PCSO), and STL franchisees in Central Luzon.

Ladao even told journalists that STL collections in the region has increase and noted that it is a sign that there is no more jueteng operations in the region.

But he admitted that there are pocket operations of bookies in the region which local police offices in seven provinces are addressing to eradicate.

For his part, Panlilio said that increased collection in STL operations is not a guarantee that jueteng is dead.

Citing earlier information he received, the priest-turned-politician explained that introduction of STL which was meant to replace jueteng, the illegal numbers game remain and was operated parallel to the STL or legal numbers game.

Panlilio said that he is not in favor of replacing STL with Loterya ng Bayan, instead, he suggested that government acquire operation of jueteng and make it legal.

Earlier on Friday, Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda declined to comment on journalists questions with regards to alleged jueteng operation in her province. (Dino Balabo)

Pampanga to host 2012 Southern Luzon Cluster Science and Technology Fair

Department of Science and Technolgy (DOST) Region 3 chief Victor Mariano said the November 22-24 affair will showcase the recent scientific breakthroughs and advanced technologies developed by
government and private research institutions in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA and Bicol.

Guided by the theme “Science, Technology and Innovation: Working Together for Growth and Development”, people from all walks of life will be able to see the latest products and services on information and communication technology, electronics, and renewable energy among others.

Apart from exhibits, an academic contest, research colloquium, and seminar on Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards otherwise known as Project NOAH will also be featured.

“Project NOAH is a responsive program for disaster prevention and mitigation, specifically for the Philippines’ warning agencies, that is primarily intended to reduce casualties and property loss from
extreme hazard events” Mariano explained.

Its mission is to undertake disaster science research and development, advance the use of cutting edge technologies, and recommend innovative information services in government's disaster prevention and
mitigation efforts wherein its immediate task is to integrate current disaster science research and development projects and initiate new efforts within the DOST.

Project NOAH presently has eight components namely: Hydrometeorological Devices in hard-hit areas of the Philippines (Hydromet), Disaster Risk Exposure Assessment for Mitigation – Light  Detection and Ranging (DREAM-LIDAR), Enhancing Geohazards Mapping through LIDAR, Coastal Hazards and Storm Surge Assessment and Mitigation (CHASSAM), Flood Information Network (FloodNET), Local
Development of Doppler Radar Systems (LaDDeRS), Landslide Sensors Development, and Weather Hazard Information Project (WHIP). (CLJD/JGB-PIA 3)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pampanga now accepting nominations for the 2012 MOKA

by: Carlo Lorenzo J. Datu

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga October 10 (PIA) -- The provincial government of Pampanga continues to accept nominations for the 2012 Most Outstanding Kapampangan Awards (MOKA).

According to the Arts, Culture and Tourism Office of Pampanga (ACTOP), MOKA aims to give due recognition to individuals who have excelled in their respective endeavors or professions and have brought pride to the Kapampangan race.

Nominees must be a Kapampangan either by blood (at least one of the parents is Kapampangan) or birth (born in any of the towns or cities of Pampanga).

Categories at stake for this year’s MOKA include law enforcement, education, parenthood, sports, government service, business and entrepreneurship, religion, arts, culture, agriculture, science, technology, mass media, youth service, judicial service and social services.

Moreover, the provincial government is also accepting nominations for the Outstanding Honorary Kapampangan Award which is bestowed to non-Kapampangans who rendered exemplary service to the province of Pampanga.

Nominators are advised to download the nomination form in the provincial government’s official website- .

For more details, please call the ACTOP in the following numbers: (045) 961-4528, 961-0538 or 963-0107.

Deadline for the submission of nominations is on November 10.

Awardees will be announced and honored this December, in time for the celebration of the 441st Aldo Ning Kapampangan (Pampanga Day). (WLB/CLJD-PIA 3)

Bacolor celebrates 250th anniversary with unveiling of statue of Spanish official

By Joelyn G. Baluyut

BACOLOR, Pampanga, Oct 10 (PIA) -- Bacolor celebrated on Monday its 250th founding anniversary with the unveiling of a monument dedicated in memory of a Spanish official that transferred the nation's capital to the town.

"Simon de Anda y Salazar was the Lieutenant Governor of the Spanish colony who moved the seat of government from Manila to Bacolor on October 1762," Holy Angel University-Center for Kapampangan Studies Director Robby Tantingco said.

Anda was likewise instrumental in rallying Kapampangans to form a resistance movement against the British when it attempted to overthrow the Spaniards.

“This undertaking is for us to take a view from our past and actually learn from it. He noted that one needed to discover and even study our history and origin, for this is where we came from,” Mayor Jose Maria
Hizon said in a statement.

“Kapampangans have their right to commemorate their share during the resistance to the British Invasion of 1762. This is not a diplomatic observance but a sort of reminiscing their glorious past, though colonial in nature,” historian Ian Alfonso said.

“In the end, this is for public awareness. We should emphasize the Kapampangans’ role in defending the archipelago against another foreign opportunist and invader in the 18th century, the British,” Alfonso added. (CLJD/JGB-PIA3)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Public urged to maintain healthy lifestyle, avoid dialysis

By Joelyn G. Baluyut

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, July 3 (PIA) -- A doctor from Central Luzon has advised the public to maintain a healthy lifestyle as a way of avoiding dialysis.

“To avoid dialysis, one must maintain a healthy lifestyle, regularly do check-ups, proper diet and exercise,” said Central Luzon Organ Sharing Effort (CLOSE) Head Dr. Joy Mallari who is also the visiting
consultant of JBL Hospital, V.L. Makabali and Angeles University Foundation Medical Center (AUFMC) during a press conference held at the Philippine Information Agency Regional Office in line with the
celebration of National Kidney Month last June.

“We all know that having a dialysis is costly, it usually ranges from P30,000 to 50,000 a month, and to prevent this, one should do physical activities,” Mallari explained.

Mallari added that “when we say dialysis, this would be our last resource for us to be alive. In our part, we are labeling or branding the patient that their kidneys only have 10 to 15 percent that is working, so in able to replace the kidney which is not working, dialysis is being done.”

Mallari said a person who undergoes such treatment has an approximate of two to three years that he will be alive.

“Another way to take care of our kidney is one must look into nutrition facts or caloric index when buying processed foods in a store, stop smoking, maintain a healthy diet, exercise and lessen the
intake of alcohol,” Mallari concluded.

According to the Philippine Renal Disease Registry, there are 9,769 dialysis patients in the country, 1,212 of which are from Central Luzon. (CLJD/JGB-PIA3)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Clark council, CDC gear for 2012 ConEx

CLARK FREEPORT – The Metro Clark ICT Council and the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) are preparing for the 2012 Clark ConEx International ICT Conference and Expo, a gathering of the country’s top leaders and major stakeholders in the Information Technology (IT) and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry to be held here on Oct. 10-11.

Spearheaded by the Metro Clark ICT Council, the 2012 ConEx aims to replicate last year’s feat that brought together close to 4,000 participants. The council also “Promises to reach out to an even larger global audience by actively supporting and presenting in the International Outsourcing Summit…”

Metro Clark ICT President Frankie Villanueva said this year’s event would feature a business networking conference, ICT (Information and Communications Technology) stakeholders’ exhibit, ICT council’s capability exhibit, investment site tours, DOST-convergence technology roadshow, talent development conference, academic competitions, and leisure and tourism packages.

Villanueva said the annual holding of the ConEx is one of the council’s flagship projects geared to make the Clark Freeport as the country’s foremost IT and BPO destination.

With the regular hosting of the event, Villanueva said ConEx may also help encourage other IT and BPO companies to bring their businesses to the provinces, particularly those in the Central Luzon region, to decongest employment seekers jostling for job openings in Metro Manila.

For inquiries, sponsorships and promotional opportunities email

PSHS-CLC scholars win int’l awards


CLARK, PAMPANGA – The Philippine Science High School – Central Luzon Campus (PSHS-CLC) bagged a back-to-back victory in two international competitions as six scholars excelled in essay writing, science and technology.

Joshua Miguel C. Danac landed as Finalist while Samantha Beatrice A. De Guzman and Stephanie Kate A. Agor won Honorable Mention Awards in the “Dear Mr. UN Secretary-General International Schools Essay Writing Contest”, Secondary Schools Category with 576 entries worldwide, organized by The Living Rainforest, an indoor greenhouse tropical rainforest located in Hampstead Norreys in Berkshire, England last May 16.

The contest organizers wanted to hear what children think governments and world leaders should be doing to build a more sustainable future on planet Earth.
Quantum Chronicles school paper adviser Aries N. Oliveros served as trainer of Danac, De Guzman and Agor.

Likewise, Mikhael Edrich S. Eubanas, Angel Gabriel D. Pineda and Gabrielle Sophia S. Seva brought home three silver medals for chemistry and physics lab skills and one silver and one bronze medals for biology field study competitions, respectively, during the Asean Plus Three Junior Science Odyssey (AJTPS3O) 2012 held in Negara, Brunei Darussalam last June 10-17.

The 2012 AJTPS3O aimed to encourage and challenge gifted science students to excel in the field of science and technology, stimulate students’ intellectual curiosity through various experiences and experiments, provide the students with the opportunity to foster friendship and networking in the APT region and motivate the students to pursue careers in science and technology.

PSHS-CLC science teachers Arnold D. Pitpitunge, Ivy Razel B. Ventura, Ralph S. Hipolito and Joseph Ednie F. Soriano, Rex S. Forteza, Jed Aries C. Castro, Mark Xavier E. Bailon and John Paolo C. Daupang trained the Pisay delegates.
The PSHS – Western Visayas Campus emerged as grand winner after pocketing seven gold medals in all science categories.

With the combined medals of the two PSHS campuses, the Philippines became the over-all champion.

Teams from China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia and Thailand also participated in the 2012 AJTPS3O.

PSHS-CLC Campus Director Lilia T. Habacon congratulated the students and their trainers for a job well done and challenged the rest of the Pisay scholars and faculty to uphold academic excellence and bring honor to the country.

Clark cited anew as ‘Global Free Zones of the Future’

CLARK FREEPORT – The Clark Freeport has again landed on the pages of Foreign Direct Investment (fDi) Magazine as one of the top Global Free Zones of the future for 2012/13.

In 2010, fDi Magazine, published by the prestigious London-based The Financial Times Business Group, has also cited Clark and its potentials as a world-class economic haven.

Clark Development Corporation (CDC) Chairman and Officer-In-Charge Eduardo Oban, Jr. said this Freeport ranked number eight in the magazine’s list of global Freeport zones in the world. Dubai Airport Free Zone (Dafza) topped this year’s list followed by UAE-based Dubai International Financial Centre in second place and Shanghai Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone in China for the third spot.

The other companies in the top 10 list are Iskandar in Malaysia, DuBiotech in UAE, Tanger Free Zone in Morocco, Freeport of Ventspils in Latvia, Chittagong Export Processing Zone in Bangladesh, and UAE-based Dubai Media City.

The Clark Freeport also ranked third in fDi Magazine’s top five best airport zones in the world. First on the list is Dubai Airport Free Zone followed by Tanger Free Zone in Morocco.

The fourth spot was awarded to Mauritius Freeport in Mauritius while tied in fifth place are Salalah Free Zone in Oman and Bahrain International Airport in Bahrain.

The magazine said at least 600 free zones across 120 countries were invited by fDi to complete a survey requesting both qualitative and quantitative data regarding their free zones.

The information collected was set under five categories: incentives, facilities, cost-effectiveness, transportation and best FDI promotion.–CDC-PRD

Monday, June 18, 2012

CDC endurance race athlete to compete in the US, gets support

Lawyer Jonnifer M. Lacanlale of the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) Legal Department (right) receives a P50,000 cheque from Pampanga Vice Governor Joseller “Yeng” Guiao after the Provincial Board passed and approved a resolution extending their support for the CDC legal officer’s bid to compete in the 160-meter Western States Endurance Run 100 Miles (WS100) held in the United States from June 23 to 24. The 30-hour race is considered as the oldest and most historical trail race in the America. Photo by CDC Public Relations Office

CLARK FREEPORT – The Sangguniang Panlalawigan has recently passed and approved a resolution that supports a senior legal officer of the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) in his bid to compete in a grueling endurance race in the United States this June 23 to 24.

Sponsored by Board Members Crisostomo Garbo and Raul Macalino, the SP approved Resolution 2627 or “A resolution authorizing Governor Lilia G. Pineda to grant Mr. Jonnifer M. Lacanlale financial assistance in the amount of fifty thousand pesos chargeable against the current appropriations allotted for youth/sports development programs under the non-office account of the office of the governor.”

Lacanlale will be flying to the United States to represent the Philippines in the grueling 160-kilometer Western States Endurance Run 100 Miles (WS100) from June 23 to 24. His participation in this endurance competition would make him the first Filipino to qualify and, hopefully, finish the prestigious 30-hour race, dubbed as the “granddaddy” or the oldest, most historical trail race in the America.

One of the senior lawyers of the CDC Legal Department, Lacanlale has competed in a number of international and local endurance races, which include the 160-kilometer trail race “Ultra-Trail Du Mont Blanc (UTMB) where he was the first of two Filipinos to ever finish the race held from August 26 to 27, 2011. The UTMB was widely regarded as “the most difficult foot race in Europe.”

He was also the only Filipino in November 2010 to have competed and finished the Great North Walks (GNW 100) – regarded as the toughest trail race in Australia. Among the recent local races he competed in was during the 102-kilometer Bataan Death March ultramarathon (BDM 102K) held this year where was declared champion and course record holder.

In 2011, Lacanlale ran the BDM 160K and BDM 102K, which were only one week apart but was still able to bag the “Grand Slam Award” back-to-back for both races that traversed the actual route of the World War II Bataan Death March.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

PhilRice exec urges farmers to think green, smart rice farming

by Ramon Efren R. Lazaro

Farmers are being urged by Dr. Eufemio Rasco Jr., executive director of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) to consider green and smart initiatives to attain food security and sufficiency.

He emphasized energy in rice farming, mechanization, biotechnology, use of information and communication technologies, and upcoming Philippine Rice Academy as some green and smart initiatives that could help the country achieve rice self-sufficiency.

During the recent 2012 National Rice Summit held in Clark, Pampanga, Rasco said green initiatives aim to reduce external input, particularly energy, while smart initiatives are knowledge-intensive and hard labor-reducing technologies.

Currently, PhilRice has the Energy in Rice Farming Program as key green initiative in helping the agriculture sector reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere.

Rasco noted the need to lessen dependence on fossil fuel on various stages of rice production, from land preparation to marketing the produce and explained that they are embarking on the “Energy in Rice Farming Program” that features ways to reduce energy in rice farming.

To labor shortage, Rasco said that they have already developed farm machines designed to address location-specific concerns such as rice combine, transplanter and drumseeder among others to help reduce significant yield losses attributed to manual farming.

PhilRice researchers have also optimize biotechnology tools on developing heat- and submergence-tolerant varieties to help farmers adapt to climate change. The Institute’s genebank houses more than 12,000 accessions that serve as materials for breeding work.

With the ‘e-everything’ phenomenon in the Philippines , PhilRice also harnesses benefits from information technologies.

“Space technology and meteorology can be used to determine status of rice farms, forecast disasters, and organize disaster response”, said Rasco and stressed the use of IT applications for precision farming and supply chain management.

Rasco added that PhilRice is working on a Philippine Rice Academy, an advanced research and training academy focused on promoting 21st century farm techniques. These modern techniques are anchored on precision agriculture principles and practices and entail the use of machines, information technologies, and biotechnology.

In a previous press conference in PhilRice, Rasco noted that farming is not attractive anymore to the children of farmers because of the dwindling income farming families have been getting from their farm lands.
 “In fact, the average age of farmers are now pegged at 57 years old,” Rasco said and added that they are now collaborating with the Departments of Agrarian Reform, Agriculture and Environment and Natural Resources to come out with a program that will encourage the youth to get back into farming with a bigger income and at the same time help achieve the rice self-sufficiency program of the Aquino administration.

The collaboration effort, Rasco explained has led to the Agrarian Reform Community Connectivity and Economic Support Services (ARCCESS) program that will benefit agrarian reform beneficiaries in the country with its pilot project to begin in Central Luzon .

It was found out that despite the efforts of government agencies and other stakeholders to help improve the yields and incomes of agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs), gaps still remain.

ARBs farm activities are noted to be mostly fragmented and there are limited consolidations of produce that exacerbate rural poverty and endanger the gains of land reform including the beneficiaries’ desire to maintain ownership and production of awarded lands.

Through ARCCESS, the program aims to improve farm and off-farm net incomes of ARBs through enhanced agri-productivity.

ARCCESS intends to achieve economies of scale in agricultural production not by reconsolidating lands but by organizing the important facets of land preparation, planting, harvesting, logistics and marketing in order to reduce the cost of inputs, improve production efficiencies and increase productivity and incomes of ARBs.

In organizing the supply chain, ARCCESS, focuses mainly on the production, post-production and post-harvest requirements of the ARB organizations that will be a model public-private partnership (PPP), wherein the government steps and taps professional service providers to build the capacity of ARB organizations and connect them with the commodity buyers or the private sector.

Professional service providers will incubate the agri-enterprises of ARB organizations until the organization can already manage their activities by themselves.

A Memorandum of Understanding for the program was recently signed by Rasco for PhilRice, Agrarian Reform Sec. Virgilio de los Reyes and the Department of Agriculture represented by Asec. Dante de Lima.

De los Reyes said the collaboration of DA-DAR and DENR hopes to improve the ARB organizations so that agricultural assistances to the farmers can easily be facilitated.

This way, farmer beneficiaries will be prevented from selling their landholdings and encourages them to be more productive in their agricultural practices.
On the other hand, de Lima said the collaboration effort between the agriculture, agrarian reform and environment departments is a milestone for the farmers to finally make their farm lands more productive.

He noted that the country is seven to 10 years behind development services in the agriculture sector and the project is seen to eventually improve the lives of the farmers and help attain the rice self-sufficiency program of the government by next year.

De Lima also explained that the country’s rice importation in the last three years has drastically decreased and could be rice self sufficient by next year.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Roxas resign! DOTC chief hit for ‘abject failure’ at NAIA, CIA

By Punto I-team (

ANGELES CITY – A Central Luzon-based advocacy group has called for the resignation of Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas, who was chided for his alleged “abject failure” to deal with problems facing major airports in the country.

Pinoy Gumising Ka Movement (PGKM) Chair Ruperto Cruz called for Roxas’s resignation after the DOTC chief announced in various media reports that the government may force airlines to reduce their flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to ease congestion that has caused delays in air travel.

“You don’t need a rocket scientist to see the solution to these problems,” Cruz said. The PGKM chair stressed that Clark is the obvious solution to the compounded issues hounding NAIA “but it is obvious that Roxas is utterly blind to Clark and its airport facilities.”

Media reports quoted Roxas as saying the government is still convincing airline executives to “cut their flights voluntarily, before we bring the heavy hand of government down on them…If they don’t do it voluntarily, government will force them to stop excess flights.”

“If that is the case,” Cruz noted “then the DOTC is the one to be blamed for the deliberate sabotage of the economy and death of the country’s tourism industry.”

Cruz pointed out that Roxas proposal to reduce flights ran against the “express goal of the government, as articulated by the Department of Tourism to bring in as much as 10 million tourists by 2016.”

“What leader is this who would rather prefer the stunted growth or worse, even kill the country’s economy and tourism industry than develop the Clark International Airport, which is the best alternative to the now-congested NAIA,” asked Cruz of Roxas.

“If Mr. Roxas cannot find a solution to a simple problem, then what more can we expect from him at the helm of the transportation department,” Cruz said.

“If he is not fit to run the DOTC then he is, likewise, unqualified to run as senator moreso as president of the Philippines,” he added, referring to rumors that Roxas is eyeing either a seat in the Senate or the presidency in the 2016 polls.

Cruz said that the PGKM “refuses to believe rumors that Roxas is priming up for his bid for either the presidency or even the senate but his inconsistent statements tells us otherwise.”

He added: “He is even being criticized for seemingly serving the interests of influential personalities in Imperial Manila to pursue his political ambitions.”

More inconsistencies

Earlier, Roxas announced that the government will develop the international airport inside the Clark Freeport.

However, media reports quoted Roxas last week saying that the development of Clark will still face further delays since the government has yet to thresh out “anomalies” in the deal between the administration of former Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Chinese engineers on the NorthRail Project.

But Cruz criticized Roxas for using the NorthRail issue as an excuse to backtrack from his previous pronouncements. The PGKM chair reiterated his support to the railway project and airport development bid proposed by businessman Manny Pangilinan.

“Manny Pangilinan’s proposal is by far the best solution to NAIA’s problems and yet Secretary Roxas refuses to acknowledge this,” said Cruz.

Good money down the drain

“It seems there really is an effort to quash any bid that could develop Clark as an international gateway to the world. All these inconsistent statements of Mr. Roxas only add more fuel to suspicions of a conspiracy to seal the fate of the Clark airport.”

Cruz noted that the government will only pour “good money down the drain” if it pursues its bid to develop NAIA instead of the international airport at Clark.

“For one, there’s no way  for any expansion of NAIA’ single runway, with the whole  600 hectares already constricted, bounded as it is by the South Luzon Expressway and the housing areas like the Multi-national Village,” Cruz said.

“Then, there is Metro Manila is in clear and present danger of the worst effects of global warming? Floodings, as they are now, have many times paralyzed all traffic in the metropolis, catching NAIA in a gridlock.”

“On the other side, there is Clark with its 2,500-hectare aviation area, some 70 degrees above sea level. But Roxas refuses to see this. So, what interest is he in pursuit of? Definitely not the people’s,” Cruz charged.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

CDC to remit dividends to BCDA

CLARK FREEPORT – The Clark Development Corporation (CDC) is set to remit more than P300 million worth of dividends to its mother company, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), state-owned officials said.

CDC Chair and officer-in-charge Eduardo Oban, Jr. said the state-run corporation is now capable of paying its 2009 to 2011 remittances to the BCDA after the CDC management decided to forego construction work of the proposed CDC Corporate building, which aims to consolidate all CDC offices and Moral and Welfare Recreational (MWR) facilities.

“In fact, we have requested the BCDA to extend the deadline for our remittances since we are expecting more capital expenditures in the future. But since we will forego construction work of the proposed CDC corporate headquarters, we can now use the funds to pay our obligations to our mother company,” Oban said.

CDC Public Relations Department Manager Angelo C. Lopez, Jr. said that in February 2012, the CDC has turned-over dividends amounting to P100 million to the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) of the Department of Finance.

The remittance of dividends is in compliance with Republic Act 7656, which requires government-owned or controlled corporation to declare dividends under certain conditions to the national government and for other purposes.

The law requires state-owned firms to declare and remit at least 50 percent of their annual net income to the national treasury. In January 27, 2012, the CDC Board approved the remittance of 50 percent of the expected P200-million profit made in 2011.

“One of the ways the CDC strives to help the administration of President Benigno C. Aquino III is by complying with its financial obligations to the government and by making substantial contributions to Philippine coffers,” Lopez said.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

3 dead, 17 hurt in NLEX mishap

The Philippine Star Updated March 30, 2012 12:00 AM (

MANILA, Philippines - Three persons were killed while 17 others were injured when a Toyota Hi-Ace van they were riding turned over and hit a tree on the southbound lane of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) in Mexico, Pampanga Wednesday night.

PO3 Jessie Lopez identified the fatalities as Nelia Bacugan, Fidela Robinson and Diosdado Basuel.

Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz Jr., spokesman for the Philippine National Police (PNP), said the accident occurred at around 11:35 p.m.

Cruz said the victims had just visited the Manaoag Church when their vehicle hit the slope of a culvert at the vicinity of Barangay Suclaban.

 The injured passengers were brought to the Angeles University Foundation Hospital in Angeles City, Mexico Community Hospital in Mexico town and Jose Lingad Memorial Hospital. – Ric Sapnu, Cecille Suerte Felipe

Appeal to help Aeta fire victims in Porac

29 March 2012
Dear Fellow Advocates for Environmental Protection ,

We urgently request your much needed support in order to serve the basic emergency needs of 22 indigenous Aeta families affected by dreadful fire brought by accident in Sitio Patal-Pasbul, in Camias, Porac, Pampanga on November 28, 2012 at around 10:30 in the morning.

Houses and other properties (including livestocks) were totally devastated by a fire accidentally caused by the open flame due to unattended stove of one of the residents. Twenty-two families with 53 children aged 2 months-12 years (34 pax) and 13-30 years (19 pax) were affected.

Majority of the victims are poor Aetas with meager source of income from farming. Currently, they are temporarily staying in the designated evacuation center in their community. They all need immediate assistance (i.e. food, blanket, sleeping mats, clothes, cooking utensils, housing materials like nail, etc.) to tide them over as it will take some time before they may be able to recover from this disastrous event.

The CEDS and its local partner organizations in IPAMINGWA! are currently monitoring the situation and intend to share emergency food rations and non-food relief assistance to the affected families through a Relief Delivery Operations tentatively set on Monday (April 2, 2012) next week.

In this light, we appeal to you for any contribution you can extend for us to be able to deliver immediate and very much needed services to our unfortunate Aeta fellowmen. Any form of support (financial or material) will be highly appreciated.

For the environment and people,

Executive Director
Center for Environmental & Development Studies (CEDS), Inc.

Agri chief urges farmers, students to impart agri info

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala urges about 1,000 farmers and students to help the country in its bid for rice self-sufficiency by sharing the practices and technologies they learned from the Science and Technology Based Farm (STBF) and Gulayan sa Barangay projects.

During the farmers’ field day and graduation of the STBF farmer-beneficiaries and Gulayan sa Barangay student-participants in Calintaan, Occidental Mindoro last March 20, Alcala said that the graduates should share the knowledge they gained from their season-long training to their fellow farmers and students to help them augment their yield and income.

Celia G. Abadilla, focal person of the STBF on varietal trials, reported that the 4.5 tons/ha yield of Calintaan and Rizal was increased to 5.6 tons/ha during the last cropping season after its two-year implementation.

Irrigated lowland rice varieties such as NSIC Rc212 (Tubigan 15), Rc160 (Tubigan 14), Rc226 (Tubigan 20), Rc222 (Tubigan 18), and Rc224 (Tubigan 19) were tested for adaptability.

The success of the STBF project has paved way for its expansion in three barangays of Calintaan. Abadilla also said that farmers requested for another field trial showcasing different technological interventions.

The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development implements the STBF Project, under the Techno Gabay Program, which aimed at showing the effectiveness of S&T interventions in improving the productivity and income of the Magsasaka Siyentista and other beneficiaries in the locality through the Farmers’ Information and Technology Services Center.

The Department of Agriculture, on the other hand, implements the Gulayan sa Barangay project to provide families and their children nutritious vegetables for home consumption and additional source of income.

The STBF and Gulayan sa Barangay projects are implemented in partnership with PhilRice and the local government unit.

Heads of various agencies and regional field units of the Department of Agriculture, Occidental Mindoro Governor Josephine R. Sato and Vice Governor Mario Gene J. Mendiola, Calintaan Mayor Lily R. Estoya, Rizal Mayor Jesus Valdez, and provincial  board members also joined in the field day and graduation.

Hand tractors, hybrid carabaos and goats, 150 cavans of certified seeds, and registered seeds were also given to the farmers and students.

DA-PhilRice is a government-owned and –controlled corporation that aims at developing high-yielding, cost-reducing, and environment-friendly technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos. For more information, please visit or contact DA-PhilRice at Maligaya, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija with telephone number (044) 456-0285 loc 511/512 or any PhilRice station near you. You may also text your questions to 0920-911-1398.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Veteran scribes to hold Visita Iglesia photo exhibit

CLARK FREEPORT – Select century-old churches in  Pampanga will take center stage in a three-man photo exhibit dubbed “VISITA IGLESIA: Edifices of the Kapampangan Faith Revisited” to be launched on March 21 and will run until April 4, Holy Wednesday, at the SM City Clark.

Featuring the works of veteran journalists Bong Z. Lacson, Deng Pangilinan, and Peter C. Alagos, “VISITA IGLESIA: Edifices of the Kapampangan Faith Revisited” will highlight in graphic form 11 select parishes, some of which are Centuries-old, found in Pampanga’s four districts.

The exhibit will be graced by the following guests of honor, who will lead the ribbon cutting rites: San Fernando Archbishop Most Rev. Paciano B. Aniceto, Pampanga Gov. Lilia Pineda, Department of Tourism Regional Director Ronnie Tiotuico, SM Supermalls Vice President for Operations Bien Mateo and AssistantVice President for North Luzon 2 Operations Juancho S. Sibal, and officials from Canon Marketing (Philippines), Inc. led by Regional Operations Manager – Central Luzon Dennis Amores and OIC, BIS Sales and Marketing – Central Luzon Jeremiah Quiwa.

The churches featured in the exhibit are (1st District) Holy Rosary Parish in Angeles City; (2nd District) Sta. Lucia Parish, Sasmuan; St. James the Apostle Parish, Betis, Guagua; St. Augustine Parish, Lubao;and Sta. Rita Parish, Sta. Rita; (3rd District) San Guillermo Parish, Bacolor; and Metropolitan Cathedral, City of San Fernando; (4th District) Sta. Monica Parish, Minalin; San Luis Gonzaga Parish, San Luis; St. Peter the Apostle Parish, Apalit; and the Sto. Nino Chapel in Sto. Tomas town.

According to Lacson, “The exhibit is as much as a celebration of faith – in time for the Holy Week – as a promotion of tourism in the Province of Pampanga, with the magnificent Centuries-old churches found in various parts of the Kapampangan landscape comprising attractions unto themselves.”

He added that tour agencies like the Alliance of Travel and Tour Agencies of Pampanga (ATTAP), led by the group’s president Gilda Padua, have expressed their support to the exhibit, which, according to Padua, “is a timely event that will help promote local tourism.”

“As a matter of fact, tour agencies have coordinated with our group for the development of package tours centered on the churches, which they said will definitely draw local and foreign tourists alike to Pampanga,” Lacson said.

He added: “This is most especially significant with the increase in domestic and international flights at the Clark International Airport starting at the end of this month.”

Lacson, Pangilinan, and Alagos are members of the Pampanga Press Club. They are also members of the seven-man troop TFP or “Traveloggers Features&Photos,” a travel group dedicated to promoting tourist destinations utilizing the Clark airport as the country’s premier gateway to the world.(Peter Alagos)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

CDC, Christian group to host Kuh Ledesma's Clark concert

CLARK FREEPORT – A Clark-based Christian fellowship group has collaborated with the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) to bring international songstress Kuh Ledesma here for a free one-night concert on April 3, 6 to 8 p.m. at the Clark Expo.

Organized by the Clark Christian Workers’ Fellowship (CCWF), in collaboration with the CDC, the CCWF will be staging a timely Lent Evangelistic Concert entitled “The Gift.”

The CCWF said Ledesma will be joined by other top caliber performers like Christian Bautista, Kitchie Nadal, Isabella, Nanette Inventor, and local band Pescadores.

“This free concert has been envisioned to be a Clark Freeport Zone activity for Lent and as part of the spiritual renewal of CFZ employees,” concert organizers said.

They added that complimentary tickets will be issued to monitor crowd capacity. For complimentary tickets call +63928-983-3851 and +63927-612-4716.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

P67.1-B modernization project: Smart-PLDT completes upgrade in 2 provinces

By Joey Pavia & Ding Cervantes (

CLARK FREEPORT – Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) and its wireless subsidiary, Smarts Communications, announced on Tuesday the completion of its modernization project in Pampanga and Bulacan.

In press conference here on Tuesday, Smart Public Affairs Department Manager Jose “Wo” Rosete said the project in the two provinces is part of its nationwide plan that would cost P67.1 billion. It is expected to benefit close to 50 million Smart subscribers.

He said the network transformation program, which started in 2011, will also “further enhance the reliability and quality of its wireless services, including SMS, call and data services, and internet access to even the most remote barrios (villages).”

Rosete added that Smart had “not just improved its network capability but also the physical aspect of its offices dubbed as Smart Stores.”

They recently opened branches in the City of San Fernando and Clark in Pampanga and Marilao and Baliwag in Bulacan.

Orlando Vea, co-founder and chief wireless advisor of Smart, said “we have given priority to the provinces of Pampanga and Bulacan since we are the leading telecommunications provider in these provinces.”

“There is a lot of potential to grow our business in Pampanga and Bulacan both in the individual and corporate market segments,” he said in a statement. 

Vea also cited Clark International Airport as an example of “the growing importance in terms of both domestic and international tourism.”  

He said that the completion of the program will run for three years but they had completed it in three Region III provinces in a span of one year and a half after its launch.

“While our closest competitor is just about to lay the groundwork, we have already passed the hallway mark of this landmark network undertaking,” Vea said.

Smart subscribers have enjoyed the fruits of the program, including superior voice connection and quality, quicker SMS delivery, enhanced data connection speeds, nationwide coverage and zero downtime, especially in times of disasters, Rosete said.

“To date, PLDT and Smart have modernized and optimized the network covering the entire Visayas and Mindanao areas, and Bicol in Luzon, with the rest of the country to follow soon.

Aside from Huawei, PLDT and Smart are also working with Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Network on the program,” he said.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Clark 2011 exports breach $2B mark

CLARK FREEPORT – The Clark Development Corporation (CDC) announced that the value of exports inside this world-class Freeport for 2011have breached the $2-billion mark three years earlier than the target date set by state-owned firm.

CDC President Felipe Antonio B. Remollo said despite an apparent decline in Philippine exports due to a worldwide economic slump last year, Clark-based enterprises were able to ship at least $2.258 billion exports between January and December 2011.

Comparatively, Remollo said the amount is a remarkable 55-percent increase from the $1.453 billion exports recorded in 2010.

According to Remollo, the $1.573 billion exports from Clark’s electronic sector had helped propel this record surge. This was followed by tire exports at $298 million and garments at $226 million. Manufacturing firms contributed $131 million while aviation-related companies completed the top five exporting sectors with $13 million.

“The country’s export performance may not be altogether bleak as exports of the Clark Freeport Zone exceeded the 2 billion mark a good three years earlier than the target date set by the CDC,” Remollo revealed.

The 2011 record export volume puts CDC on track in attaining the three major performance targets dubbed “3-2-1 Development Roadmap” for Clark where $3 billion is in investments, $2 billion in exports, and 100,000 jobs, which must be achieved by the state-run corporation by the year 2014.

“With these developments in the exports sector, the present trends show that these targets are attainable much earlier than planned,” Remollo said.

Clark’s perennial top exporter, Nanox Philippines, Inc., remains at the top of the CDC’s list with exports of more than $791 million in custom-designed products such as Liquid Crystal Display panels, LCD modules, Monochrome LCDs, and other related electronic parts.

Trailing behind is Phoenix Semiconductor Philippines Corp. (PSPC), a company established only in January 2010 by one of Korea’s leading provider of semiconductor packaging. PSPC exported more than $566 million in electronic parts with DDR3, NAND, Flash Cards and SSD, as well as memory modules for PCs and notebooks.

Last year’s second top exporter, Yokohama Tires Philippines, Inc., is this year’s third largest Clark exporter with over $298 million in tires exports. Notwithstanding the slight drop in ranking, Yokohama’s export value is still 31% higher compared to that of last year.

Two more firms L&T International and SMK Electronic complete the list of top five Clark exporters with $145 million and $98 million in garments and electronics exports, respectively.

Moving on to other top performing firms here, HLD Clark Steel Pipe has exported more than $71 million to place sixth on the list of top exporters is a tipoff to the growing significance of the “other Manufacturing” sector of Clark. HLD Pipes is a Chinese metal pipe manufacturer which specializes in customized thread end pipes, scaffolding tubes, various weld pipes, and square tubes.

In terms of year-to-year growth, Clark’s “other manufacturing” sector generated the highest rate of increase of 195 percent by exporting $131 million in 2011 compared to only $44 million in the previous year.

Two other firms under this bullish sector, Multi-Tek Fasteners Inc., a Taiwanese firm that is into manufacturing, rethreading, quality checking, repairing, surface treatment, repacking, exporting different types of screws, plugs, sockets, pipes, hubs, fasteners, and other related products, and Aderans Philippines, Inc., a manufacturer of high quality, customized wigs also made strong export contributions.

Other sectors which registered double to triple digit growth rates are Services, Tourism, Aviation-related, Electronics, Tires and Furniture. (CDC-PRD)