In His Homefront, Speaker Alvarez Has Opponent in 2019 Polls, He’s Cuntapay of PDP Orig

For sure, Speaker and Davao del Norte 1st District Congressman Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez will have an opponent in the midterm 2019 polls and he is Tagum businessman Cesar Cuntapay, Mindanao leader of PDP-Laban original yet now minority group.

In an interview with mediamen Thursday evening, Cuntapay announced he would be running for Congress in 2019 election to oppose Alvarez in his reelection bid.

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Cuntapay is chairman of Southern Mindanao area council of PDP-Laban group composed of originals and ideologues who are at war with Alvarez who has been making blitzkreig moves in the making of his PDP-Laban group as now the ruling party nationwide.

Cuntapay charged Alvarez as no longer fit to be the congressman of the first district, alleging he has no more moral ascendancy for making monopoly for vested interests.

“I have all the support of many sectors in the district,” he said.

He particularly criticized Alvarez birthday party as “lavish” and questioned where did he get “millions” to fund it.

Alvarez media defenders however justified that the Speaker is moneyed having legitimate businesses before he became Speaker, and therefore he could afford to spend millions for his 60th birthday celebration last Jan. 12 at the New Tagum City Hall.

It was attended by House members, prominent persons regaled by lots of artists and celebrities.

Cuntapay is rage and fury against Alvarez after the prosecutor recently dismissed the libel case he filed against the Speaker who called him “ugok” in a national TV interview. (mindanaosunchronicle.com/Cha Monforte)

Buzz Heard in Samal Island: AGR for District 2 Cong, RDR for Gub|And Surprise: Dawn Zulueta for Congw in Comval

If politics is like a poker game, then somebody’s behind a player has squelled the cards to the other player by cues, and by conspiracy he lays down cards already known by the sure victor.

It’s still so early but the political teapot in Davao del Norte percolates hot in a season of rumors on transfer of residency of leading politicians.

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First there was that buzz on Comval senior Board Member Chiongkee Uy planning to transfer his residency in Tagum City, so he can run first for city mayor and then for governor or for any post.

Then on Tuesday a buzz came from IGACOS city head employee saying: a political officer of Gov. Anthony del Rosario uttered that Gov. AGR will instead run for District 2 congressman as Cong. Tony Boy Floirendo was also buzzed to be no longer running for reelection in the 2019 midterm election- if there is still election- due to intense external and internal pressures while Tadeco, with its publicly known resource backing to its political kingpin, would scout for a good alternative candidate to back for.

The political officer also said that at Gov. AGR’s stead his father former Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario, now 82, would make a comeback for governor, the source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said.

But then there is also a separate buzz about actress Dawn Zulueta planning to run for Congress in Comval as Tadeco has already established a vast plantation in the coastal part there.

Wildcard pocker game buzzes with a farfetched Dawn Z. strain in sister provinces are cracking up week by week.

If politicians in political poker game wish to transfer their residency, they have until April 2018 to do it, if there is still election under the Duterte administration which wants Cha-Cha to have a federal government. (mindanaosunchronicle.com/Cha Monforte)

Mawab Mayor Rupet Gonzaga To Rent House Near Regional Hospital in Tagum for Mawab Patients’ Relatives

Mawab Mayor Ruperto “Rupet” Gonzaga III will be launching on Feb. 1 a unique program where the municipal government would rent a house near and just walkable to the Davao Regional Medical Center (DRMC) in Apokon, Tagum City where relatives of confined patient from Mawab would temporarily stay- free board and lodging, with kasambahays and with aircon.

“The municipal personnel doing houseworks such as cooking, cleaning of the rented house would double as follow-up personnel for the needs, medicines and referrals for the patients confined in the hospital,” informed the mayor.

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GONZAGA BROTHERS of Mawab, Compostela Valley: Cong. Ruwel Peter Gonzaga (left) and Mayor Rupet Gonzaga

It has been observed that kins and relatives and concerned persons of confined patients especially those poor and those faraway places have hard, inconvenient and difficult situation sleeping outside in congested, open staying area at the corner of the compound of the hospital which has a policy of allowing only one watcher for one patient in wards.

Mayor Gonzaga said that the program would be actively supported by his brother Congressman Ruwel Peter Gonzaga, who has medical and hospital assistance program.

The mayor said there would be rice, noodles, canned goods in the airconditioned rented house for consumption of the temporary boarders.

The unit would have six (6) double-deck beds and those taking temporary refuge on it are encouraged to also do their share in cooking, cleaning just like in the family, he said.

The program is still work-in-progress for finalization at press time, with the mayor soliciting for a fitting name of it but the good concept is already there and the timetable of launching it on the first day of the Love month of February.

It’ is a Valentine’s treat of the Gonzaga brothers for the Mawab constituents. (mindanaosunchronicle.com/Cha Monforte)

Rappler’s Pia Ranada: The Newshen Who Has Balls

By Al Rosero

Rappler’s ace reporter Pia Ranada will surely land in the history of journalism in the country a good niche for standing firm, calm and professional, unshrinking and unpanicky before an enraged President Duterte spewing thunderous, scathing expletives against Rappler.

In a video obviously taken by a government camera whose footage was first shared to a DDS troll sites, Duterte was surrounded by more than a dozen of PSG bodyguards and staffers. He spewed out high-pitched verbal tirades against Rappler about its foreign ownership issue, that resulted to the cancellation of its license by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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But Pia maintained her poise and grace as an articulate and assertive reporter under so intense pressure no less than made by the country’s most powerful man, who is earning a lot of despotic descriptions in his attempts to suppress Rappler, which has been equated by media organizations and foreign press as press freedom.

But instead of caving in, Pia confronted Duterte, rolled the video camera of her cellphone even as she was throwing follow up questions and motioning resistance and opposition to the scoldings and reasonings of Duterte.

Pia seems to be alone as other reporters distanced from her position while the burly persons surrounding the PDuterte stood in standstill listening, casting a collective machismo on guard, whose sight is enough for any faint-hearted woman to fall to her knees.

If there is apt description that can be given to Pia Ranada for her class act in a so hellish situation right inside Malacanang Palace, it is that she is a brave newshen who has balls to assert and find truth, to be true and loyal to her craft.

IGACOS City Hall Girding to Condone Penalties of Beach Resort Owners Having Illegal Jetties

The Island Garden City of Samal officials are girding to condone the penalties imposed to beach resort owners who have built and have not demolished their illegal jetties since an anti-jetty ordinance was enacted in 2009.

“I was the vice mayor at that time when the City Ordinance (Number 150-2009) was enacted, and beach resort owners were paying their penalties during the first three years of implementation, but they stopped on the fourth year,” recalled Vice Mayor Orly Amit, who is on his first term on his comeback second-round term.

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(photo credit- via Google searches- various sites)

A jetty is “a structure that projects from the land out into water. Often, ‘jetty’ refers to a walkway accessing the centre of an enclosed waterbody,”Wikipedia defines.

The ordinance is against the construction of jetties and other prohibited structures within the easement, foreshore areas and shorelines of Samal Island.

Amit explained that it is the Water Code that outlaws jetties along the seashore and the ordinance just provided penalties until the beach resort owners demolished their jetties.

The country’s first Water Code was made in 1974, he said, adding that some beach owners then were reasoning out they constructed before that year, and so they asserted they were not covered by the law.

On Tuesday session of the City Council, the vice mayor told councilors “we have to face this issue head-on… and beach owners should know” following endorsement of Mayor Al David Uy “to condone’ the penalties of beach resort owners, which needs a legislation by the City Council.

Many beach resort owners accordingly have accumulated penalties of more than P50,000 in a year while they did not demolish their jetties. The penalty is computed by cubic meters of the jetty built.

Councilor Charles Ligan said that the condonation is in order citing that the law says penalties should be “just and not excessive.”

He said that penalties of some beach resort owners are greater than the real property taxes of same beach resorts, advancing that the imposition of penalties should be based on the City Tax Code.

Councilor Guillermo Olden, on the other hand, said that a measure of giving condonation needs first a modification on the existing City Land Use Plan, for which there is need for thorough discussions and a technical team.

Vice Mayor Amit however warned of making legislation running on ex post facto law, a law that makes illegal an act that was legal when committed. The Constitution prohibits the making of ex post facto law.

He also said giving condonation might be “beyond our power” to legislate.

Councilor Jan Albert Ortiz, on the other hand, said that jetties make the shorelines like private resorts. “If they can make expensive jetties, how much more can they afford to pay for security of the jetty?”

He however said that in Barangay Tagpopongan, where he was once the barangay captain,  is free of jetty as they have a barangay ordinance prohibiting it.

Councilor Ruel Bantillo recalled that the issue of jetty has long been an old issue and it gets tiresome already each time the discussion on the issue is repeated.

He called for final resolution on the issue even as he dragged private jetties and floated a possibility in question that: “what about one among these would be used by terrorists to enter the island via private pump boat or chartered seacraft?”

Pending the measure on condonation, meanwhile beach resort owners would be given probationary permit to operate.

Meanwhile, Jojo Tejano of the Samal Watch and Philippine Children’s Ministries Network, said that if there is condonation, “in exchange they should therefore demolish their illegal jetties, and that would be dream come true for the Samalenyos.”

In an interview, Tejano said that it should not “only jetties that should be torn down but most importantly the fences that deprive people free access to the shores especially the marginal fisherfolks.”

He added “there should only be designated ports around the island for security purposes and to boost local transport industry.”

A lot of islanders have been complaining for years that due to fencing and jetty-making activities in the island’s shoreline they have been denied of the free use of the public shorelines.

Fisherfolks, too, have been complaining that the island has been staked on, squatted and enclosed by private interests almost all over that they no longer have landing areas in the seashore.

Samal Island is considered as the top beach resort destination in Davao Region. (mindanaosunchronicle.com/Cha Monforte)

Samal Island Dads Want Coast Guard To Coordinate with City Before Stopping Seacrafts During Typhoons

Due to the recent two experiences of many people getting stranded in wharfs as the Philippine Coast Guard ordered stoppage of seacraft travel between Samal Island and Davao City due to typhoons Vinta and Agaton last December, several members of the City Council of the Island Garden City of Samal asked on Tuesday the agency to coordinate with the City Government before issuing no-travel orders to seacrafts during typhoons.

During the City Council’s session, Councilor Charles Ligan said that more than 2,000 people including himself going to the island were immediately stranded in wharfs in Davao City side on December 21, 2017 when the Coast Guard cancelled in the afternoon all travel of ferry boats and lanchas sailing between the mainland Samal Island and nearby Talicud Island as PAGASA declared Signal No. 1 of the Tropical Depression Agaton covering the islands.

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(main photo credit- via Facebook- Councilor Richard Guindolman)

He said that the City Local Government Unit needs to help during emergency situation as many people were stranded and complaining while some of them got sick, and when the order was the lifted they raced elbowing each other to get in first in the ferry boat, thus endanger themselves.

Ligan added that the Samal LGU could help, say in providing food packs to the stranded.

The councilor also said they need to be informed of the standard operating procedure of the Coast Guard in declaring suspension of boat travels due to typhoons, even as he batted on the need for Coast Guard to coordinate specifically with the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC).

Councilor Guillermo Olden asked why the ferry boats were prevented from sailing when there were no big waves battering between Samal and Sasa, Davao City observed in late afternoon that day.

Coast Guard Lt. George Maganto, who was invited by the City Council to shed light on the matter, reasoned out that they are guided by their agency’s guidelines which have specific conditions to be met before they declared no-sail zone and time.

He said that the Coast Guard made no-travel directives effecting at 3:30 p.m . of Dec. 21, 2017 and 6:00 a.m. of  Jan. 1, 2018 based on the Signal No. 1 advisory of PAG-ASA.

He said that the Coast Guard though is “flexible”, agreeing on the proposition of Vice Mayor Orly Amit that even if it is Signal No. 2 and depending on the situation like there are no big waves they would still allow travel provided that it is day time, “from sunrise to sunset.”

He said that in Signal No. 1, one of the conditions is that the boat must arrive “30 minutes before sunset.”

Councilor Ruel Bantillo, on the other hand, asked if the Coast Guard could allow to stretch its deadline until sunset to 6:00 or 6:30 p.m. as Samal residents who are working in Davao City usually arrive at the wharf at that time given the travel time from their workplaces from 5:00 as hindered by traffic.

He said that Samal Island by geography is especially located as it is protected by the terrains of Mati, Davao Oriental.

Maganto responded that the Coast Guard is considering the Samal-Sasa sea as “special area” but he sticks with their guidelines though he added they are amenable to the suggestion of having to closely coordinate with the City Government.

There is a need to have an agreed SOP of the City Government and the Coast Guard on this matter, Councilor Ligan further proposed.

Vice Mayor Amit then called for a meeting with the City Council, Coast Guard, CDRMMC, and PAGASA to recommend measures to Mayor Al David Uy.

Meanwhile, in an interview, a German expat married to a Filipina residing in Samal Island said on condition of anonymity that he and three of his companions were caught stranded in Mae Wess wharf at Km. 11, Sasa, and for 13 hours they had to endure staying on their vehicle without sleep until the next day when boat travel resumed.

“It was a terrible experience, with many of us left alone under heavy rains at night, while the boat personnel left for home, and the guards were soundly sleeping,” he recalled.

He added they could not leave either as their car was trapped in the long line while the wharf’s gate was closed. “Really a terrible experience!”

 

Samal Island has four entry wharfs, which are the  Sta. Ana Wharf  for Talicud Island, which takes an hour of travel to it, and the Maewess ferry wharf, DavSam ferry wharf, and the Sasa Onse (Km 11) wharf of the lanchas, which only take about 15 minutes of travel to the main island.  (mindanaosunchronicle.com/Cha Monforte)

“We Can’t Sleep ‘Til Now Hearing the Cries of NCCC Fire Victims”- Tagum Fire Chief

Tagum City Fire Marshal Chief Inspector Alex Pamaybay admitted that until now almost a week after a big fire ate up the NCCC Mall in Maa, Davao City firemen including him could not yet sleep much for the thought that they failed to rescue the 38 fire victims.

“We were already at the third floor, and we heard the voices of call center agents calling their loved ones shouting they’re still alive, their cries for help, but we could not go up farther due to intense heat… about 500 degree centigrade and above,” Pamaybay said.

nccc maa fire

“We used the fire exits at the back of the mall going up from first, second to third floors,” he said.

Pending the result of the Bureau of Fire and Protection (BFP) investigation, Pamaybay said they thought the fire started at the textile section, which might explain the quick spread of fire and the fast billowing of heavy gray smoke.

He added senior fire officers including him were directed to concentrate on rescue operation while fire personnel busied on firing out a “so really big fire.”

Pamaybay also admitted that they particularly lack firefighting cranes for heights, which he said the government should now study to procure.

Firemen who went for the failed rescue need “debriefing” to recover from their anguish causing little or no sleep, he said.

BFP firemen and good firetrucks in Region XI including six firemen and one firetruck from Tagum City were mobilized to help put off the NCCC fire.

Pamaybay said they were directed by their regional office to go to Davao City around 9:00 A.M. of Dec. 23 just as the fire started and in just 30 minutes by so fast firetruck travel they were already at the fire scene.

Meanwhile, BFP investigators are not discounting the possibility that the cause of fire is arson. (mindanaosunchronicle.com/Cha Monforte)


Tagum City Fire Marshal Chief Ins. Alex Pamaybay being interviewed by Tagum mediamen via on-location Saging Republik Media Forum.