Friday, December 7, 2012

Bidding for Malolos' new city hall sparks controversy

Old Malolos City Hall

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, – The publication of the public notice for the construction of the P350 million new city hall building has sparked more controversy than helping clear the issue surrounding its bidding process which was recalled by.Mayor Christian D. Natividad last Monday.

This after the City Government of Malolos Employes Association (CGMEA) president Danilo Valenzuela stated that  the controversial project--to be financed by a P350-Million loan from the Land Bank of the Philippines using the city’s Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) as collateral-- was published yesterday (Dec.5) in another daily paper.

Valenzuela said it is obvious that the original public bidding set last Dec. 3 was flawed for failing to comply with essential requirements of posting under Republic Act 9184 or the Government Electronic Procurement System (PhilGEPS) and publication in a daily newspaper of general circulation.

He alleged that Atty.Carlo Jollette Fajardo and Atty. Zaldy Mendoza, chairman and member of  the Bids and Awards Committee, respectively,  are publishing the revised ‘Notice of Bidding’, in bad faith because his petition for an ‘Injunction’ to stop the bidding for the P350-Million deal is not yet decided by Malolos Regional Trial Court Judge Grace Victoria-Ruiz.

He said the Dec. 3 decision of Judge Ruiz declaring as “moot and academic the request for a TRO” to stop the public bidding also set last Monday (Dec. 3/12noon) was due to the pre-emptive move of Mayor Natividad to recall the bidding process after succumbing to allegations of deliberately concealing the project from legitimate bidders.

Mayor Natividad, who is also a lawyer,  issued a Memorandum to the BAC early Monday morning directing the BAC to issue a 'Bulletin' to all bidders and "to repeat the bidding process."   The memorandum according to Valenzuela was a tactical maneuver that pre-empted the RTC judge from issuing a TRO.

The mayor said that he made the move to erase any doubts on the matter.

Mark Lester Santos, the BAC Secretariat head and chief of the City Personnel department, went missing the entire week prior to the scheduled bidding. Prospective bidders complained that inspite of their pleadings, staff of Santos at his department only gave out Bid Documents and Plans before the close of office hours last Thursday, Nov.29. The next three days prior to bidding were holidays.

The CGMEA president said he has also filed last Nov. 29 a criminal complaint against the three lawyers, all the BAC members, including the Land Bank before the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the alleged anomalous deal.—EMIL G. GAMOS

Gov. Alvarado called for donations

Let us help Mindanao.

This was the message of Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Alvarado on Friday night, December 7 before he led the ceremonial lighting of giant Christmas tree at the capitol compound.

The governor said they will send out letters to local government units and different organizations in the province to gather donations that can be sent to victims of typhoon Pablo in Mindanao.

He also ordered a simple celebration of Christmas party in all government offices in the provinces in order to save fund that can be saved and send to typhoon victims.

This developed, Mayors James De Jesus of Calumpit and Arnel Mendoza expressed full support to the governor's call.

They said they will gather donations and contribution for the relief effort of Bulacan to Mindanao.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Prosecutors oppose appointment of an "outsider"

Samonte with Lawyer and former Governor Tomas Martin.

MALOLOS CITY—Ranking prosecutors in Bulacan are opposing the appointment of a private lawyer as provincial prosecutor citing lack of experience.

They also stressed that appointing an outsider would demoralized members of the national prosecution service of the Department of Justice (DOJ), many of whom has been serving the government for 20 years or more.

In a one page manifesto, Bulacan prosecutors asked the President Aquino to give priority to members of the national prosecution service in the province.

The manifesto was signed by Rita Gammad, senior deputy provincial prosecutor, Eduardo Dela Cruz, 2nd assistant provincial prosecutor, Antonio Buan, and Eufracio Marquez, city prosecutors of the Cities of San Jose Del Monte and Meycauayan.

All four ranking prosecutors are applicant to post vacated by former Provincial Prosecutor Alfredo Geronimo who had reached his compulsory retirement last June 7.

The prosecutors insisted in their manifesto that they have been in the service under the DOJ for more than 20 years and have devoted their lives to serve the people.

“Our qualifications, competency, hardwork and dedication cannot be ignored compared to an applicant/outsider who has no experience whatsoever as a government prosecutors,” the manifesto said to which they refer to Lawyer Renato Samonte as an “outsider.”

In an interview, Buan said that Samonte is a good lawyer, but he expressed doubts over his capability to handle and lead the national prosecution service in Bulacan.

 “He is a very good private practitioner but he was never a prosecutor,” Buan said noting that that Samonte’s appointment will cause demoralization among members of the prosecution service.

He said that for years, many of them are hoping to be promoted to higher position, along with other lower ranking prosecutors noting that “they too are looking forward for promotion, but it won’t happen if someone from the outside will be appointed as out chief.”

Buan also clarified Samonte’s earlier statements claiming that he has been appointed to the post vacated by Geronimo’s retirement.

“As far as we are concerned, he is just a candidate, because we have not seen any formal appointment,” he said.

Buan added that the President can stop demoralization among members of the Bulacan prosecution service by appointing candidates who are experienced.

He insisted that Samonte has no experience and not a member of the government prosecution service.

A long time lawyer, Samonte came from Bulakan town and has an extensive law practice in  Metro  Manila and Central Luzon spanning three decades.

He  finished A.B. Political Science at the Ateneo de Manila University and graduated from the San Beda College of Law in 1980.       

His adept skills as a trial lawyer was honed and polished during his more than 10 years practice at the Law office of Dakila F. Castro where he litigated high-profile criminal cases, one of these was the libel case filed by then President Corazon C. Aquino.

Samonte is well-remembered for the brilliancy he displayed during Day 34th and 35th of the impeachment trial of SC Chief Justice Renato C. Corona where he crossed-examined former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza.

Then lead counsel for the defense, Justice Serafin Cuevas, was blanked and rebuffed not once but thrice by Prosecutor Samonte while grilling ex-Mayor Atienze in connection with the irregularity in the sale of the Basa-Guidote property in  Legarda, Manila.  (Dino Balabo)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cemeteries as tourist attractions

BALIWAG, Bulacan—Cemeteries must be preserved and developed into tourist destination, a heritage conservation group based in Bulacan urged.

Jaime Corpuz, chair of the Bulacan chapter of the Heritage Conservation Society (HCS) said cemeteries are not just home to dead loved ones.

He said that it is a repository of images and artifacts with cultural and historical, and resting place of people of importance.

“We have so much to learn about cemeteries, but not too many government unit or agency have seen its significance,” Corpuz said.

He said that monuments like mausoleum and sculpture in cemeteries are good basis for cultural and historical studies.

“Those are historical time pieces that will tell us how our ancestors lived in the past, and what are the influences of other countries to our culture by studying architecture and sculptures,” said Corpuz.

He stressed that cemeteries, especially those that are owned by the Church and by local government be protected and preserved.

Corpuz also proposed tourism programs like Lakbay Kaluluwa study tours be developed by local government units.

The same was echoed by Isagani Giron, the president emeritus of the Samahang Pangkasaysayan ng Bulacan (Sampaka).
He said that before a tourism program is developed, local government units must join hands with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and the Catholic church in conducting inventory of materials with cultural and historical significance.

“We only go to cemeteries during All Saints day, but it is good subject for cultural and historical studies,” he said.

He cited the Malolos Catholic Cemetery which was built in 1680 as one of the oldest in the country and is the resting place of some of the remains of the members of the famous women of Malolos.

He also agreed with Corpuz that cemeteries are considered as second home to Filipinos, thus, the construction of house like mausoleums.

“Mausoleums are clear example of Spanish influence in our culture because native Filipinos do not have cemeteries, instead, our ancestors used to bury their dead by the river,” Giron explained.

For his part, Father Ruel Arcega of the St. Augustine parish here said that going to cemetery on All Saints day have deeper religious meaning.

““Ito ay pagkilala natin sa muling pagkabuhay, at sa huling araw ng paghuhukom, ang muling pagsasama ng kaluluwa at katawan katulad ng ipinakita ni Panginoong Hesus at Birheng Maria,” said Arcega

With regards to cultural dimension of mausoleums in cemeteries, the priest explained that it’s a testament of the difference betweenthe rich and poor.

On Saturday, the STAR took photos of the mausoleums inside the Sto. Cristo Catholic Cemetery here.

Some of the mausoleums even have a roof top and others were designed like a house complete with power and water supply and comfort room.  (Dino Balabo)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Samonte is new Bulacan chief prosecutor

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan--Veteran trial lawyer Renato C. Samonte, Jr., is now the new Chief Provincial Prosecutor of Bulacan.

Samonte assumed the post vacated by Alfredo ‘Gerry’ Geronimo who retired from the government service last year.

Samonte is the eldest son of the late-Renato ‘Rening’ Samonte and Lucia dela Cruz of Taliptip, Bulakan, Bulacan and became the president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (Gat. Marcelo H. Del Pilar – Bulacan chapter) from 2009 to 2011.
Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado welcomed the appointment of Samonte by President Aquino as a fitting tribute to the qualification and capability of a true-blue Bulakenyo at the helm of the prosecution service, an indispensable pillar in the administration of justice in the province.
Samonte, who has an extensive law practice all over Metro Manila and Central Luzon spanning three decades, finished A.B. Political Science at the Ateneo de Manila University and graduated from the San Beda College of Law in 1980.       

His adept skills as a trial lawyer was honed and polished during his more than 10 years practice at the Law office of Dakila F. Castro where he litigated high-profile criminal cases, one of these was the libel case filed by then President Corazon C. Aquino.

Chief Prosecutor Samonte is well-remembered for the brilliancy he displayed during Day 34 and Day 35 of the impeachment trial of SC Chief Justice Renato C. Corona where he crossed-examined former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza.

Then lead counsel for the defense, justice Serafin Cuevas, was blanked and rebuffed not once but thrice by Prosecutor Samonte while grilling ex-Mayor Atienza in connection with the irregularity in the sale of the Basa-Guidote property in  Legarda, Manila.

Aside from playing golf, ‘Attorney Jun’ is also an avid gun-enthusiast like former IBP president Jose ‘Peng’ dela Rama and incumbent Bulacan IBP-chapter president Ted Villanueva.

He is also a boat-racing aficionado and once a member of the Philippine delegate to the RP-Japan boat-racing competition. Aside from being an all-around sports enthusiast,

Samonte is also a collector of vintage and fancy cars and a former president of the Mini-Cooper Club of Bulacan.—EMIL G. GAMOS

Complete list of candidates for provincial elective positions

Almera, Jaime Apuli, Ind
Balite, Ernesto Dayao, Ind
Sy-Alvarado, Wilhelmino Manucdoc, NUP

Cundangan, BM District 1
Fernando, Daniel Ramirez, NUP
Lopez, Josephine Cagiwa, Ind
Ocampo, Jayson Olarte, Ind

BOARD MEMBER (District 1)
Cundangan, Jose Santos, Ind
Fermin, Michael Cristobal, NUP
Ople, Felix Vasquez, NUP
Ople, Therese Cheryll Baun, NUP
Uy, Grossman Dax, UNA

BOARD MEMBER (District 2)
Dela Cruz, Enrique, Jr., Villanueva, NUP
Posadas, Ramon Rivera, NUP
Trinidad, Reynaldo Mocorro, Ind

BOARD MEMBER (District 3)
Bernabe, Carlito Legazpi, Ind
Castro, Rino Valero, NUP
Sulit, Ernesto Salvador, LP
Viceo, Emelita Isidro, UNA
Violago, Peter Alvin Averia, Ind
Uy, BM District 1

BOARD MEMBER (District 4)
Alejo, Rodolfo Martinez, Ind
Almario, Romeo Espiritu, Ind
Baluyut, Allan Ray Agbayani, NP
Dela Merced, Hilario Jr., Antonio, Ind
Delos Santos, Enrique Jr., Angkiangko, NUP
Santos, Enry Laan, LP
Sarmiento, Eulogio III Cordova, NUP
Salim, Congressman District 1
Bernabe, BM District 3

CONGRESSMAN (District 1)
Salim, Sahiron Dulan, Ind
Sy-Alvarado, Ma. Victoria Reyes, NUP

CONGRESSMAN (District 2)
Cristobal, Joseph Jose, Ind
Deborja, Antonio Eugenio, PDP-Laban
Mendoza, Pedrito Canisio Roxas, LP
Ordanes, Pancho Pagsuguiron, Ind
Mendoza brother.  Joselito (L) Congressman District 3,
Doc Pete (R) Congressman District 2
Pancho, Gavini Cruz, NUP
Villafuerte, Jaime Espiritu, Ind

CONGRESSMAN (District 3)
Cabochan, Jose De Leon, UNA
Mendoza, Joselito Roxas, LP
Silverio, Ricardo Jr., Sison, PMP
Viudez, Enrique II Violago, Ind

CONGRESSMAN (District 4)
Lopez, Jovel Evangelista, Ind
Villarica, Linabelle Ruth Ramos, LP

CONGRESSMAN (Lone District, SJDM City)
Miso, Garret Ian Baulos, Ind
Montinola, Rogelio Filiu, Ind
Papin, Imelda Arcilla, Lakas CMD
Rejante, Albert Ginez, KBL
Robes, Arthur Bardillon, LP
Robes, Oscar De Vera, Ind

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Loren to keynote 1st Bulacan Buildex 2012

MALOLOS CITY—Senator Loren Legarda is set to keynote the three day first Bulacan Builders Exposition (Buildex 2012) here starting Monday, October 15.

Organized by the Bulacan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) in coordination with the provincial government, Buildex 2012 is expected to draw more than  a thousand businessmen here and from nearby province including Metro Manila.

The three day exposition will also showcase at least 80 participating exhibitors, including property developers, contractors, architects, interior decorators, furniture and furnishings, construction supplies, home financing, landscaping and all the things needed to build a house.

Nani Mallari, the executive director of the BCCI said that Legarda is expected to speak on her green advocacies in relation to sustainable property development and designs.

“She is one of the most vocal official on utilization of green technologies for development,” Mallari said noting that the senator’s office confirmed participation as early as last week.

Aside from Legarda, Governor Wilhelmino Alvarado and Mayor Lorna Silverio of San Rafael town were also tapped to speak at the opening of the three day exposition.

Alvarado will speak on the initiatives of the provincial government based on the provincial physical framework plan, while Silverio will present accomplishments for the successful development of her town drew over P500-Million in investments last year.

The first of its kind in the province, Buildex 2012 was organized to put Bulacan in the map in terms of property development.

Violeta Luna, president of the BCCI said that the province’s strategic location made it one of the premier areas north in Manila for investors.

However, she said that for many years, Bulacan was only seen as a place to invest in manufacturing and warehousing.

 “Buildex 2012 not only hopes to support the property and construction industry sectors in the province of Bulacan, ultimately, it wants to promote Bulacan as the ideal place to live in,”Luna said.

Aside from exhibitions, Luna said that there will also be free consultations on design, financing, and property documentation and processing for prospective property owners.

“To those who’ll come and visit they will be able to witness the original art pieces of Bulacan artists, who will conduct free sketching on the exhibit site. Raffle prizes also await patrons and visitors during the 3-day fair, they can also learn from the masters in property development trends and product standards in the speakership series,” she added.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Holcim to launch sustainable construction advocacy

MALOLOS CITY—Holcim Cement, one of the largest cement producer in the
country is set to launch a sustainable construction program in

This came as the province suffered from flooding last month  that left
more than P500-Million in damages and led the provincial government to
place Bulacan under the state of calamity.

Gillian Cortez, a public relations specialist of Holcim Cement based
in Norzagaray town said that while their company is not involved in
construction, they felt the moral responsibility in introducing

“Sustainable construction is everybody’s concern because we need
resources in the future,” she said noting that the program will be
formally launched in the province next month.

She admitted that “cement production will never be green, but we can
make it responsible,” and stressed that concrete can be recycled.

Cortez noted that since commercial production of cement started in the
Bulacan more than 70 years, demand for cement, a primary ingredient
for concrete continue to grow.

Records showed that materials used in constructing houses before the
1940’s were primarily wood.

But it has changed since the discovery of limestone in Norzagaray town
and the commercial operations of Republic Cement, the first commercial
cement plant in the country which is now under the La Farge

Cortez said that Augustinian friars and local businessmen started the
commercial production of cement in Norzagaray after the second World

Since then, she said that culture of construction has shifted to
cement and concrete.

At present, there ar least five giant cement plants in Norzagaray town.

“As our economy grows, there will always be demand for cement because
its discovery has changed the culture in construction of structures,”
she said .

Like Holcim Cement, Republic Cement’s production facilities is located
at Nrozagaray, a town in eastern Bulacan which is home to three other
giant cement plants.

Cortez also noted that based on 2010 data, the country has a backlog
of 3.75-M in low coast housing, and 1.2-M in single detach houses.

“If we will not implement sustainable construction, we will not be
able to address black logs in housing,” she said and explained that
sustainable construction involves utilization of available raw
materials, and not just cement and concrete. 

Bulacan bats for green technology

MALOLOS CITY—The provincial government of Bulacan bats for green
technology and demanded that told subdivision developers in the
province to implement the same in housing projects.

Arlene Pascual, head of the Provincial Planning and Development Office
(PPDO) told businessmen who participated in a recent forum that
developers must study and implement how to use green technologies
being utilized in the United States and Europe.

She said that utilization of green technologies can be as simple as
deigning the house based on there the wind blows.

“We have to understand that there is climate change and all we can do
is adapt to make our communities resilient,” Pascual said.

She said that adaptation to climate change along with disaster risk
reduction are two of the major policies crafted and being implemented
by the provincial government.
Pascual cited technologies being implemented in Venice, a city which
usually submerge during high tide.

She said that Venicians found way to construct houses that follows the
sea water rise.

“They have houses that literally floats,” she said.

Other examples of green technologies for building constructions is the
design of the house.

Pascual said that simple architectural design wherein houses are built
with large windows facing normal wind patterns.

She said that following wind pattern in constructing houses will allow
more air to make the house cooler and reduce energy consumption.

The same is true when houses are built with large windows which allows
more natural light and reduce use of energy.

Other possible green technology includes rainwater harvesting.

The said technology allows catching of rainwater and impounding it on
drums for latwer utilization.

Harvested rainwater can be used for cleaning the houses or washing
equipment, vehicles and other others.  It can also be used to water

Pascual said that utilization of rain water not only saves water but
help prevents flooding.

Earlier, former Environment Secretary Bebet Gozun said that using
light colored paint in houses and other structures can help reduce
impacts of climate change.

She said that light colored roofs can reflect heat back to atmosphere,
while dark colored paint used on roofs attracts more heat.

Austerity to mark Bulacan’s annual Singkaban Fiesta

MALOLOS CITY—This year’s Singkaban Fiesta in Bulacan will be marked by austerity as the province still reels from calamity brought by floods spawned by the southwest monsoon and typhoons Helen and Igme.

The celebrations will start on Saturday and will end on September 15, which will be highlighted by the annual observance of the opening of the Malolos Congress.

The opening on Saturday will be cover the awarding of recognition to outstanding barangays and village workers in the province.

Governor Wilhelmino Alvarado said they slashed the budget for the annual Singkaban Fiesta to P2 million from last year’s P10 million.

He said the reduction of the festival’s budget is partly dictated by the fact that the province is still trying to get on its feet after the provincial government placed it under a state of calamity last month.

“The state of calamity remains and we are still assisting our fellow Bulakenyos to get back on their feet,” Alvarado said.

He explained that the province cannot afford a grand celebration this year as it will look like an insult to Bulakenyos hit by calamities.

As the biggest festival in the province, Singkaban Fiesta from September 8 to 15 used to be celebrated with pomp and grandeur showcasing the colorful culture and history of the province.

It is usually marked with street parades coupled with street dancing and other cultural presentations.

But this year, the provincial government decided to reduce the cultural presentations and give more importance to trade fairs.

Meanwhile, the opening of the annual festival will be highlighted by the Gawad Galing Barangay(GGB) awarding ceremony.

The Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO) the secretariat of the GGB said five outstanding barangays will be feted along with barangay chairs, and councilmen.

Also to be awarded are outstanding barangay health workers, tanods, mother leaders, Lingkod Lingap sa Nayon, and Barangay Training and Employment Coordinators.

“This is one way of showing our sincere gratitude to the people who in times of needs will always be willing to assist our fellow Bulakenyos.

Sila ‘yung mga taong umulan, umaraw, kahit disoras ng gabi, na kakatok ng kapitbahay para magbigay ng tulong. Sila ‘yung mga taong madalas hindi nabibigyan ng tamang pagkilala kaya ngayon gusto nating ibigay sa kanila kung ano ‘yung nararapat para sa kanila at maipadama na para sa atin, mahalaga sila,” said Alvarado.

He added that recognizing outstanding barangays in the province will contribute to better public service as they will serve as inspiration and models to other barangay officials.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Fire razed Malolos public market to the ground

nO ONE WAS INJURED IN THE FIRE THAT CONSUMED the Malolos City public market last night.  Mayor Christian Natividad said the fire started around 9:30PM at the dry goods section of the public market.  The fire reached fifth Alarm.  This photo was taken by Mika Motegi, a BA Journalism student from the Bulacan State University.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

FutBulakenyos wins CLFL inaugural championship

MALOLOS CITY—It is now final, FutBulakenyos Football Club is the inaugural season champion of the Central Luzon Football League (CLFL).

During a brief awarding ceremony at Trader’s Hotel in Subic Bay Freeport on Saturday night, the Bulakenyos was handed the Sinukuan perpetual trophy which will be at stake again in the season.

This came after FutBulakenyos prevailed in a Saturday’s double header against Pampanga FC 9-1 at the Remy Field  in Subic Bay Freeport and kept its unblemished 6-0 win-loss record.

The Bulakenyo’s relentless charge was led by Larry Ramos who scored six goals, the highest individual score in a any game during the CLFL inaugural season that started last May 20.

A Bachelor of Science in Sports student at the Bulacan State University (BulSU), Ramos received the Golden Boot Award during the awarding ceremonies.  He scored a total of 12 goals in six games.

FutBulakenyos’ coach Emmanuel Robles said the game has no bearing in the championship as they clinched it as early as July 1 when they scored a come from behind 3-2 victory against  Lighthouse Amihan FC, also at Remy Field.

“We already made history as the inaugural champion of the CLFL, but we want to show everybody every game, whether it is non-bearing game, we still have to play our best,” Robles said.

The said game went on despite heavy rainfall, leaving some player sliding on the rain drench field.

In the second game, the much younger Lighthouse Amihan FC of Olongapo City defeated Tarlac FC 7-3.

Like in the previous games, Lighthouse Amihan stack up goals and Tarlac FC tried to answer them but was successfully deflected.

Lighthouse Amihan’ Edriel Tagaan was chosen as the Best Goal Keeper of the inaugural season of the CLFL.

For the next season of the CLFL, a Futsal competition is being organized.

John Bayarong of the Lighthouse Amihan said at least 10 teams are expected to join in the Futsal competition.

He said the Futsal or indoor football fits well into rainy season of the CLFL.

The CLFL was conceive in January when Bayarong, Robles and Christian De Ocampo of Tarlac FC in Olongapo City.

They said there is a need to organize a local football league in order to further popularize the sports to discover and develop new athletes.  (Dino Balabo)

Radyo Bulacan now online

LISTEN.  Now, you can watch and listen to you favorite programs aired over Radyo Bulacan by going online.  Just log on to www, and search for RTV Bulacan. or simply type on the URL field:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bulacan looking for effective flood control and waste management

by Ramon Efren R. Lazaro

CITY OF MALOLOS – Floods and the mounting problems on garbage disposals have made the provincial government of Bulacan to focus on the proper technologies that could minimize the bad effect of climate change in the province.

A technical presentation on the environmental protection and dike (EPAD) system for flood control and waste management was made on Tuesday to Gov. Wilhelmino Sy Alvarado and some provincial officials and environment and risk reduction management personnel by Nelson Huerva of Starke Industries Corp. at the official residence of the governor inside the capitol compound in Malolos.

It has been noted that floodwater has been inundating many parts of the province particularly during the rainy season because the river system in the province have been clogged by enormous volumes of garbage and water lilies.

Huerva presented their suction dredger-amphibious excavator-EPAD system that can be used to clear the river system of its garbage and sedimentation.

The Bulacan officials were updated on the technologies being applied in the EPAD system that could make dikes stronger and at least 80 percent cheaper compared on concrete dikes usually being used in coastal areas and river embankment.

EPAD-constructed dikes, Huerva explained are much stronger and versatile compared to concrete dikes that are susceptible to scouring and at the same time entails less cost for its construction.

With this announcement, Alvarado said that it is recommendable that the technology be introduced to fishpond operators so that their dikes could withstand the scouring of seawater particularly in the coastal villages of Tibagin and Pugad in Hagonoy town, but first the technologies must pass the standard of the country’s research center.         

Huerva also explained that the said technologies are being applied on the construction of dikes for coastal landfills in other countries like the one that they have done to the waste transfer station in Penang , Malaysia , their EPAD supply to Singapore and to the 45 waste transfer stations in Shanghai , China .

Obando Mayor Orencio Gabriel explained that these are precisely what his town need, where a sanitary landfill is being constructed by Eco Shield Development Corp.

Raffy Tecson of Eco Shield explained that they are using the same technology in their landfill.

Alvarado said that Eco Shield should go on a massive information dissemination to inform the public of what modern technology can provide to make its project safe adding that “naunahan ng masamang haka-haka ang paggawa ng sanitary landfill sa coastal area ng Obando. Dapat malaman ng mga tao na may tamang technolohiya para masiguradong ligtas ang nasabing proyekto.”

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Despite rains, Angat water remains low, nears critical level

MALOLOS CITY—Water elevation at the Angat Dam has remained low and nearing critical level despite rains brought by successive typhoons that hit the country.

This developed as the Pampanga River Flood Forecasting and Warning Center (PRFFWC) advised Bulacan and Pampanga residents living in low-lying areas to be on alert for possible flooding as typhoon Dindo is expected to bring more rains.

Records obtained by Punto from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) showed that water elevation at the Angat Dam dropped to 186.51 meters above sea level (masl) yesterday morning from 186.84 masl recorded on Wednesday.

The said water elevation is just six meters above the 180 masl critical level.

Liz Mungcal, head of the Bulacan PDRRMO said typhoons Butchoy and Dindo brought minimal rainfall in the eastern part of the province were the dam is located.

She said that despite the low water elevation there is nothing to worry about as more rains are expected in the coming days.

“Typhoon season na, kaya anytime ay madadagdagan ang tubig sa dam dahil madalas na ang pag-ulan,” she said.

Located on the hills of Sierra Madre in Norzagaray town, Angat Dam supplies 97 percent of Metro Manila’s potable water requirement.

As this developed, the PRFFWC warned residents living on low lying areas and river banks in Bulacan and Pampanga to be on alert for possible flood.

Based on PRFFWC forecast issued at 9 a.m. yesterday, they expect 40 to 60 millimetres of rainfall in the next 24 hours.

In the previous 24 hours before the forecast, the PRFFWC recorded a 30 millimetres of rainfall from their rain gauge stations.

Watercourses likely to be affected by the possible rainfall are the tributaries of the Rio Chico River, the Candaba Swamp, the lower main of the Pampanga River and the tributaries of the Angat River in Bulacan.

The PRFFWC also warned residents living in high-tide-affected areas.

Repair aging dams in Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY—Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Alvarado called for immediate repair of ageing dams in Bulacan as the government prepare to opening bidding for the rehabilitation of the giant Angat Dam next month.

As this developed, the National Power Corporation (Napocor) reiterated that Angat Dam is strong and can withstand magnitude 7.2 earthquake.

In his weekly program aired over DWSS Radio, Alvarado said that rubber gates at Bustos Dam are old and needs to be replaced.

“I will raise that concern in our next RDC meeting,” he said referring to the Central Luzon Regional Development Council (RDC) chaired by Mayor Oscar Rodriguez of the City of San Fernando in Pampanga.

Alvarado said that they will ask officials of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to present current status of the dam located along the Angat River in between the towns of Bustos and San Rafael, Bulacan.

NIA operates and manages Bustos Dam to distribute water for irrigation needs of Bulacan and Pampanga farmers.

Earlier, Engineer Felix Robles said that fishing, dipping and swimming on the  apron of Bustos Dam is no longer allowed.

The warning came after he disclosed that rubber gates of the dam is nearing the end of its lifespan.

As an officer in charge of NIA’s Water Control and Coordinating Unit (WCCU), Robles recounted that a similar rubber gate of a dam in Florida in the United States burst recently leading to rapid outflow of water from the reservoir.

“The lifespan of a rubber gate is 14 to 15 years, and it could be shorter like the one in Florida defending on the weather condition,” he said noting that rubber gates installed at Bustos Dam is as old as the one that burst in Florida.

Since rubber gates of Bustos Dam are nearing the end of its lifespan, Robles said they cannot ascertain its safety, and must be replaced immediately.

He advised local residents to stop fishing on the dam’s apron, while warning local tourists from dipping and swimming at the downstream of the dam.

“Its can burst anytime, and when deflated, water will rush downstream to the apron,” he said and added that every year they conduct repair on the cracks on the rubber gate by vulcanizing it.

Meanwhile, Engineer Rodolfo German of the Angat River Hydro Electric Power Plant of the Napocor said that bidding to rehabilitate Angat Dam is set to proceed next month.

But he also commented on news reports that Angat Dam have cracks.

“That’s impossible, Angat dam dykes are not concrete. They are rock and earth-filled with earthen core,” said German.

He reiterated that there is no crack on the dam structures noting that as a rock and earth-filled dam, it naturally heals in case of earth movement caused by earthquakes.

German added that dam structures were built to stand a magnitude 7.2 earthquake.

With regards to siltation on dam’s reservoir, he said that Angat Dam will last for another 60 years.

At present the dam is already 43 years old and another 60 years means that it will last for 100 years.

According to German, the power tunnel of the dam is 50 meter above the bedrock of the dam.

“It will take another 60 years before it will be covered by silt,” he said.

German said that silt on the dam’s bedrock accumulates at an average of half meter every year.

At present, he estimated that there is about 20 meters deep silt on top of the dam’s reservoir bedrock.  (Dino Balabo)

Unsolicited advice for JBC in choosing next CJ

MALOLOS CITY—A 91-year old lawyer here laid out three characteristics for the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

This came as nomination for the said position started to pile up at the Judicial Bar Council (JBC).

Former Bulacan Governor Tomas Martin, a practicing lawyer in the last 63 years said the next Chief Justice must not be beholden to politicians, must be close to the people, and must be know the law.

Speaking on the sidelines of the annual Gawad Bunying Abogadong Bulakenyo of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)-Bulacan Chapter, Martin said the highest magistrate of the country must be independent.

“He cannot be dictated by politicians, at hindi dapat dumikit sa mga pulitiko,” the former governor said.

He also advised magistrares including the next Chief Justice to be always in touch with the people.

“They must know the pulse of the people, hindi dapat mysterious ang dating nila para di paghinalaan ng taumbayan,” he said noting that many lawyers who were promoted to position of judges appear to have withdraw themselves from the people.

With regards to knowledge of the law, Martin said that as a lawyer, a candidate for the position of the Chief Justice knows the law, but he said the chief magistrate must be well rounded and well versed.

“We cannot have an specialist, dapat ay all angle ng batas ay alam niya,” said Martin who served as governor of the Bulacan in the late 50s to early 60s.

A practicing lawyer in the last 63 years, Martin was awarded by IBP-Bulacan on Thursday night along with 34 other lawyers who has been practicing law in the last 50 years.

Other notable “golden lawyers” awarded by IBP-Bulacan are retired Court of Appeals Justice Jose Dela Rama Sr.(1953), Lawyers Rachel Fidelino who started practicing law in 1947, Arturo Marin (1949), Sixto Antonio (1954), Marcelo Aure, Dolores Dela Rama, Jesus Santos,  and Mario Santos who are all started practicing law in 1955.

IBP-Bulacan also gave recognition to Supreme Court Associate Justice Estela Perlas, Bernabe, and newly appointed Court of Appeals Justice Renato Francisco.
Newly appointed Regional Trial Court (RTC) judges were also given recognition, namely Judges Sita Jose-Clemente (Branch 16), Grave V. Ruiz (Branch 22), Lisa Marie Piacrdal-Tecson of Makati-RTC Branch 144, and Andres B. Soriano of Malolos RTC who was transferred to Makati-RTC.

IBP-Bulacan also inducted 35 new members led by Rauol Angelo Atadero and Eireene Xena Acosta who placed first and seventh in the recent bar examinations.

Atadero hailed from Meycauayan City, while Acosta came from the City of San Jose Del Monte.  (Dino Balabo)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Independence Day medical mission

 Inaasahang aabot sa 1,000 Bulakenyo ang mabibigyang ng serbisyong medikal sa pagsasagawa ng isang medical mission sa bakuran ng Simbahan ng Barasoain sa Hunyo 12 kaugnay ng pagdiriwang ng ika-114 na guning taon ng Araw ng Kalayaan.

PNoy to attend Independence Day celebration at Barasoain Church

CITY OF MALOLOS- President Benigno S. Aquino III will grace the commemoration of the 114th anniversary of Philippine Independence at the historic Barasoain Church here on June 12.

Dr. Maria Serena I. Diokno, chairman of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, said that the Chief Executive will lead the simultaneous raising of the Philippine flag at the patio of the Barasoain Church which will be followed by a wreath laying ceremony at the statue of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, president of the First Philippine Republic.

She said that the program will be simple but dignified, starting with the arrival honors for President Aquino at 8:00am.

Diokno made the announcement during the Talakayang Bulakenyo jointly conducted by the Philippine Information Agency and the Provincial Public Affairs Office  at the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center.

She said that this year’s theme “Kalayaan: Pananagutan ng Bayan para sa Tuwid na Daan” is in line with the administration’s program on good governance and eradication of corrupt practices in government.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that this is the first time that the highest official of the Republic will attend the Independence Day celebration at the historic Barasoain church.

“It’s about time that the historic events and significance of Barasoain church will be recognized. Kung wala ang Barasoain Church ay hindi magkakaroon ng ratification and declaration ng independence sa Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898. Sa simbahang ito nilikaha ang unang Saligang Batas na siyang nagsilang sa demokrasya sa rehiyon ng Asia at Africa,” the chief executive said.

Alvarado explained that Barasoain Church is among the three historic sites where the simultaneous raising of the national flag is being held during Independence Day.

The governor praised Malacanang for giving total recognition and importance to the historic events  that took place in Malolos at the threshold of Philippine freedom from foreign rule.

Alvarado also said that they are pushing that January 23 –the anniversary of the First Philippine Republic—be made into a national holiday. He added that Philippine Flags are now displayed all year long in all parts of the province.

“Kung ang Baguio ay kilala sa Bulaklak ng Panagbenga at ang Pampanga ay tanyag naman sa kanilang makukulay na parol, ang dakilang lalawigan ng Bulakan ay maitatanghal naman na lalawigan ng mga bayani,” Alvarado said.

There will also be a job fair, medical mission and cultural performances that will be held around the compound of Barasoain Church, according to PPAO chief Maricel Santos-Cruz and Provincial Tourism Officer Sonny Cristobal.

Some 450 police personnel, 100 army troops and around 200 members of the Presidential Security Group will also be deployed around the historic Barasoain Church to secure public safety

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Bulacan journalist, 9 others win fellowship

 In its inaugural reporting program in the Philippines, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) will partner with news organizations to transform coverage of environmental issues.

Myriad environmental problems – such as pollution, deforestation, and climate change – directly threaten quality of life in the Philippines, yet these issues receive inadequate news media coverage.  In addition, much of the reporting being done lacks depth and excludes the voices of those most affected by environmental degradation, especially women.

To address this critical coverage gap, the IWMF will offer its first-ever Environmental Investigative Reporting Fellowship.  The IWMF announces the new program today (June 6) on World Environment Day.

During the year-long fellowship, 10 journalists will receive advanced training and coaching to produce innovative reports about environmental problems and solutions, incorporating women’s role in and perspectives on environmental issues.  Each will complete 3-4 investigations for their news organizations.  Through the IWMF fellowship, these journalists will become environmental reporting specialists.

Selected fellows include: Bernardino Balabo, news editor for Mabuhay, host of Puntong Bulacan program on 90.3 FM Radyo Bulacan and correspondent for Central Luzon Business Week, Punto Central Luzon, the Philippine Star and Pilipino Star Ngayon; Rouchelle Dinglasan, a producer for GMA News; Lira Dalangin-Fernandez, a journalist for; Keith Bacongco, a journalist for MindaNews;  Rhodina Villanueva, reporter the Philippine Star; Anna Valmero,assistant producer with, an online magazine; Marilou Guieb, correspondent for the BusinessMirror; Kristine L. Alave,  reporter for the Philippine Daily Inquirer;; Riziel Ann Cabreros, producer for “PIPOL on ANC,” a news magazine program on ABS-CBN News Channel;; and Purple Romero, reporter for Rappler, a social news network.

Funded by Dole Food Company Inc., the environmental reporting program will draw on the IWMF’s proven training model, which features long-term, transformative training, empowerment of women journalists and a commitment of institutional support from top management of local media companies.

Founded in 1990, the IWMF is the only nonprofit organization working exclusively to strengthen the role of women in the news media worldwide.  The IWMF has conducted programs in 25 countries, and its network includes women and men in the media in more than 130 countries worldwide.

For more information, visit