Pilar town gets P55 million for flood control projects

PILAR, Bataan – After years of patiently making follow ups, Mayor Alice Pizarro revealed yesterday that a total of P55 million had been approved for implementation for various flood-control projects in this strategic and booming municipality.

The lady mayor told this writer that the said fund will be coming from the national government and is now being implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways in the province.
“Actually, the fund had long been requested during the time of former Mayor Charlie Pizarro (her husband) and it was just okayed on my term now; a lot of follow ups had been made before it was achieved,” said the lady mayor whose town was just recently awarded with cash for having attained a “Seal of Good Housekeeping,” an award being given by the Department of Interior and Local Government to the competent and effective local government units.
Pizarro told local newsmen that the funds will be used for the construction of waterways, dikes and other flood-related projects which have already been started last month.

Charlie Pizarro who was not lost for three consecutive terms as mayor here, and during which he was able to put up the Government Center, now the major source of income of the town; constructed various farms to market roads; put up the Mt. Samat zip line, and revitalized the once dying economic condition of this town.
Among the priority barangays that will be given attention, are Nagwaling, Panilao, Alauli, and portions of Poblacion and Del Rosario, which she described as flood-prone during rainy season.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 2nd Engineering District headed by its head District engr. Reynaldo Venturina, is the implementing agency of the project, together with dredging and the rechanneling of the huge Talisay River, sprawling along the towns of Pilar and Balanga City.
A big amount of fund for the Talisay river flood control project was also sought by Rep. Tet Garcia, Gov. Abet S Garcia and Mayor Joet Garcia of Balanga city.-Mar T Supnad

Crying for justice

ABUCAY, Bataan-Grieving but irked relatives of the brutally killed engineer here sought yesterday the help of Vice President Jejomar Binay and the Senators to look into the mysterious killing of the victim whose body , sealed in a coffin, was sent home two nights ago in this town.
Board member Dexter Bautista “Teri Onor” Dominguez, a close relative and neighbour of the victim, said that he will personally go up to Vice President Binay and several senators to seek their intervention and assist the family of the victim Engr. Albert Bautista, 29, to seek the truth behind the unbelievable demise of the victim who was killed in Saudi Arabia last June 4 in a supposed car accident.
Dominguez said that he received raw information that the victim was still alive for four hours when he was brought to a hospital in Arabia “but for unknown reason, the victim’s body had been chopped into pieces and crushed beyond recognition when it arrived in a sealed coffin here .”
The board member wanted also to bring this matter into the attention of his friend Senators Antonio Trillanes, Allan Cayetano and others in Senate to call the attentions of the Philippines and Saudia Arabian embassies in the Middle East why such incidents occurred in a now civilized and rich country.
Dominguez said that he also learned that the contract of the victim had been lapsed prior to the incident and that he (engineer) was supposed to home to the country but for unknown reason his contract was reportedly extended for another 10 days. During that time, Dominguez learned, the incident happened.
“We will also look into the information that Engr. Bautista, who holds a sensitive position in his work in Saudi, has discovered an anomaly in the company, and this could probably the reason behind his murder,” said Dominguez.
Newsmen learned that the victim stands 5’8, but his remains were just sealed into a two-feet long coffin when it arrived in the posh village of Santana, in Capitangan, this town.
Alfredo Bautista, father of the victim, refused to give more details to the local media based here, except to confirm his body was totally crushed and chopped into pieces.
The victim left three small children.
The engineer was reportedly killed way back in June 4, in Jeddah but his remains arrived here only before dawn Tuesday, to the surprise of his neighbours and relatives .
Hundreds if not thousands from Bataan are working in Saudi Arabia for quite long time.

Mar T Supnad

GMCP continues paying its obligation in Bataan


MARIVELES, Bataan- A top official of the GN Power Mariveles Coal Plant (GMCP) assured yesterday local officials here to continue paying their obligation to this host town and in the province of Bataan.
Bobet Racelis, Jr., Community Relations Manager of GMCP, told this writer that the company will continue paying its Real Property Taxes (RPT) to the coffers of Mariveles town, contrary to reports that the power firm company will not pay anymore its RPT here and will pay instead to the Authority of Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB).
“The GMCP will continue to pay whatever obligations it is paying to Mariveles since the start of the operation of the company, like RPT, and there is no truth to reports that we will by paying our taxes to AFAB,” pointed out Racelis, who is the most visible GMCP top official to the community.
Racelis said, however that the company plans to register as one of the investors in AFAB, but assured that they continue to pay their obligation to Mariveles.
Racelis action came in the wake of reports that Mayor Jesse I. Concepcion and the Sangguniang Bayan (town council) headed by Vice Mayor Turing Isip, will look into the reported transferring of RPT payment being arranged to AFAB by GMCP.
“The pollution, wastes and others will make our people suffer, but in terms of benefits, it will go to other agency; we will not allow this,” Mayor Concepcion told this writer.
But Racelis answer is a “big no,” saying this is not true.
GMCP now has back to its normal operations, producing 600 megawatts.
Its RPT, amounting to tens if not millions of pesos, is one of the major sources of income both by this town and the provincial government, contributing to the development of Bataan.
One of the benefits of the province for hosting the GMCP is the cheap electricity rates, free thousands of bags of cement, aside from millions of pesos in realty and income taxes.
These (benefits) were requested from the GMCP management by then Governor now congressman Enrique “Tet” Garcia and then congressman Abet S. Garcia, now the governor of Bataan, enabling consumers to save millions of pesos in electricity bills alone.

Engr. Loreto Marcelino, General Manager of Peninsula electric Cooperative (PENELCO), distributor of electricity, said that with the normal operations of two turbines of GMCP, the bills for the last two billing periods of electricity had been lowered to a total of 1.2458 per kilowatt hour, making Bataan one of the lowest in electricity rates in the country.
The lowering of the electricity rates came when the two turbines of GMCP had back to its normal operations after its new turbine underwent months of commissioning, said Bobet Racelis, Jr., Public Relations head of GMCP.
Mar T Supnad

Aklan, Bataan top in revenue generation

The provinces of Aklan and Bataan landed first and Second out of 80 provinces nationwide in the Department of Finance’ [DoF] local revenue generation for year 2013.

According to DOF, the province of Aklan garnered 45.3 percent making it the top province in terms of share of (Locally sourced income) LSI to (Annual regular income) ARI.

Bataan, landed Second with percentage of 31.0, while Southern Leyte and Rizal, third and fourth respectively, with percentages of 28.0 and 26.6.

The troubled Sulu province was the lowest in terms of LSI with just a mere 0.1 percent.

According to the DoF, seven in every 10 provinces have not fully developed their local revenue base therefore depending much on the national government allocations as bulk of their regular income.
The DoF added that after more than 20 years of fiscal decentralization, locally sourced income still share very little to the annual regular income of provinces. The rest of the regular incomes are mandatory shares from the Internal Revenue Allotment [IRA] and other government revenues.
Based on DOF report, Bataan has an estimated ARI of a total of P946,748,938 and national government allocation of P653,589,783 and was able to achieve an LSI amounting to P293,159,155, gaining 31.0 percentage points share of LSI to ARI.
Placed fifth, the province of Tarlac, has an Estimated Annual Regular Income [ARI] of P1,342,811,189 and a national government allocation of P1,000,582,953 was able to achieve a Locally Sourced Income [LSI] of P342,228,236 therefore gaining 25.5 percentage points share of LSI to ARI.
Incumbent governor Abet S. Garcia, was saying, however, that when he assumed the governorship of Bataan, he had no difficulty in running the financial affairs of the province due to competent and effective management of his predecessor former governor Enrique “Tet” Garcia, now congressman of Bataan’s Second district.
The two Garcias are said to be financial management expert due to their track records for several years as local chief executives.
Tarlac achieved the feat despite not raising any taxes for the past 10 years.
Bataan edged Tarlac by 5.5 percentage points in the Central Luzon ranking.
“We have achieved such a feat without raising any taxes for the past 10 years,” Yap said adding that “Governor Victor Yap, upon learning that the province of Tarlac landed fifth best said that he is elated with the result and that his administration’s effort of local fiscal autonomy had paid dividends. Maybe Tarlac province will perform again but with great handicap.”

The Finance Department further stated that when Local Government Units [LGUs] collect low revenues, they fail to maximize their own revenue generation capacity to spend on basic services for their people. Local autonomy can be better served if LGUs become self-reliant communities.-Mar T Supnad

PTT rallies Filipinos for Mother Earth’s protection


BALANGA CITY, Bataan- Believe it or not but it is a foreigner himself who is rallying the Filipinos to preserve the country’s environment.

Speaking during the Environmental summit which the PTT organized and sponsored  inside the jampacked Bataan People’s Center here Wednesday, Thailand national Wisarn Chawalitanon, President of the PTT Philippines, rallied the public to promote environmental protection  and preserve the Mother Earth, saying this is not only the PTT’s advocacy but also as a form of their company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

            “Some of you maybe asking why the PTT has to take the lead in an event like this. And our answer is ‘Why not’?  I am speaking here in behalf of PTT in the Philippines or in general, to promote environmental protection and preservation not only through advocacy but as a form of CSR to protect  the environment which is the core of our program,” said Chawalitanon.

Citing Thailand, Chawalitanon pointed out that “PTT has always been on the forefront of many environmental activities  which we do in partnership with the national government. This is the same thing we are trying to duplicate in the Philippines.”

            Saying that PTT investment in the country is just small, Chawalitanon expressed optimism, however, that their company becomes eventually bigger and will create a greater impact here, adding “their vision is to promote the general welfare of the environment and the people.”

For his part, Gov. Garcia said in a speech read for him by Dr. Alberto Venturina, expressed gratitude to PTT, the men and women behind the summit, saying Bataan is honored to have chosen as the venue of the laudable undertaking.

            Garcia was not able to attend the summit for attending an earlier commitment,  but Dennis Cuarto, PTT consultant, said that the governor has provided all the necessary support leading to the success of the event.

            The governor said that we cannot stop climate change, prevent typhoons, detect earthquakes, “but we cannot just wait situations like these to get out of hand before we act, simply because these are acts of nature.”

            He said they converted the Sunrise Paper mills compound into Disaster command post for quick response during calamities and emergencies, as he cited the three-day Basic Incident Command system training course in nearby Subic for continues development and systematic approach to reduce risks and casualties

            Recently, Chawalitanon led his staff, together with Gov.  Garcia, in planting trees along the SCTEx in Hermosa and Morong town, the first ever foreign investor to initiate such activities here.

            Among the speakers were Undersecretary Neric Acosta, Presidential Adviser for Environmental protection; Yeb Sano, Climate Change commissioner; Egay Maranan, Biotechnology expert; former SBMA chairman Felicito Payumo, Jiose Ma. Lorenzo Tan, Wildlife fun, among others.-Mar T Supnad



MAAP continues to produce Wrold Class seafarers

CAPITOL, Bataan- Since its establishment 16 years ago, the Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP) in the town of Mariveles has been consistently producing world class seafarers, making the prestigious school as “Seamen’s capital” in Asia.
And no less than DepEd secretary Armin Luistro and Governor Abet S. Garcia are pushing for the “Adopt a school program of MAAP” to increase the number of its students.

Owing to its major role in the Maritime Industry not only locally but also globally being the number one suppliers of maritime personnel, provincial officials led by Gov. Garcia gave recognition to the MAAP leadership headed by its president Vice Admiral Eduardo Ma. R Santos, (retired) during Monday’s flag raising ceremony in front of the Capitol building here.

Gov. Garcia for his part, awarded each graduate a souvenir item, as a token of the Province’s appreciation and recognition of their achievement in maritime industry.

In his message, the bachelor governor acknowledged the contribution of the seafarers to the Province, saying that every recognition a MAAP graduate gets, is also a recognition for Bataan, not to mention the fact that these seafarers contribute immensely a lot to the economy not only to their respective families but also to the Province.

He also acknowledged the role being played by MAAP in shaping the youth towards a bright future, giving more motivation to the graduates .
He added that in his recent meeting with DepEd Sec. Luistro, one of the developmental topics discussed is the adopt a school program of MAAP, aimed at increasing the number of students from Bataan who qualify to enter MAA.

The Governor also reminded the new world class seafarers on financial literacy and correct management of savings. He encouraged them not only to continue learning but also to save a part of their earnings so as to protect their future and their family.

Engr. Enrico Yuzon, Prov’l. Engineer’s Office Head and President of BAAP@MAAP, delivered the welcome remarks, saying the recognition the province is going to give to MAAP is the first time ever happened.

Citing proverbial word, Yuzon told the graduates that “Ang sinumang taong hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggaligan ay hindi makakarating sa paroroonan.”

For his part, Santos motivated them to move up, work hard, adding it is not enough for them to just finish their degree.
This first ever recognition program for MAAP graduates was made possible through the joint efforts of the Provincial Government of Bataan and MAAP; Engr. Enrico Yuzon; PRO Estelita Alim, MAAP Acting Administrator; CDR Gerlo L. Elchico; and External Relations Office Director, Dr. Angelica M. Baylon, among others.
Vice Governor Efren Pascual Jr., BM Reynaldo T. Ibe Jr, Mr. Antonio Samaniego (HR head), Engr. Butch Baluyot (PPDO Head) and other provincial government officials also graced the occasion.-Mar T Supnad

Bataan bags Red Orchid award

BAGUIO CITY – Governor Abet S. Garcia of Bataan was beaming with pride and happiness as he, together with Dr. Rosanna Buccahan  of the Provincial Health Office received Wednesday the much- coveted Red Orchid Award that was held here. 

The Red Orchid Award is the Search for 100% tobacco-free provinces, municipalities, cities, government offices, and government hospitals launched by the Department of Health in its bid to encourage local government units to have their municipalities and provinces smoke-free .


Gov. Garcia and Dr. Glory Baltazar, chief of the Bataan General Hospital,Dr. Rosanna Buccahan, head of the Bataan provincial hospital,  P/Supt Joshua F. Alejandro, chief of police of Balanga City, motored all the way here  to receive with pride the prestigious awards.


 Gov. Garcia also received the Red Orchid Hall of Fame Award for the Mariveles Mental Hospital for consistently maintaining the award for three (3) consecutive times.


Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona said that the Red Orchid Awards is the first of its kind in the world in giving out such recognition.


The DOH Red Orchid Awards winners are judged based on the strength of comprehensive efforts to implement a 100% Tobacco-Free Environment using the World Health Organization  MPOWER initiative.


MPOWER is an acronym that denotes the six proven tobacco control policies, namely: Monitor tobacco use and prevention policies; Protect people from tobacco smoke; Offer help to quit tobacco use;  Warn against the dangers of tobacco;  Enforce bans on tobacco advertising; and Raise taxes on tobacco.-Mar T Supnad