Saturday, February 23, 2013

BFP tags school kids in Guiguinto fire

MALOLOS CITY—Young students who played with fire on school grounds caused a fire that razed three classrooms in Guiguinto Central School 10 days ago.

In a belated report, Fire Chief Inspector Christopher Lumiwes, fire marshal of Guiguinto,  said their investigation points to school children.

He said that the still unidentified school children of Guiguinto Central School played with fire at the back of the building after school hours on February 9.

The fire later gutter a Marcos-type building in the said school compound and razed classrooms for first and second grade classes.

“Initially, we thought it was another case of faulty wiring, but investigation showed there were no problem with the electrical wires,” Lumiwes said.

He said that some students saw another group of students setting on fire dried leaves and flammable garbage at the back of the school building before the incident.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) said the fire that reached first alarm left at least P300,000 in damages. No one was injured.

After the fire, the BFP-Guiguinto drew stinging comments on social media after a video of the said incident was posted on

Some of the comments focused on the late response, waterless fire truck and the inability of the local firemen to put out the fire.

Lumiwes explained that their fire truck had water in its tank, but the water pump failed during the incident, thus the waterless fire truck.

He also called on the local government unit to support the local firemen through procurement of additional equipment and regular repair of their existing fire truck and equipment.

Lumiwes admitted that it was their duty to prevent and put out fire, but they don’t have enough tools and their equipment needed regular repairs.

He also appealed to bickering local politicians to avoid blaming each other, and instead help improve the local BFP. Dino Balabo & Rommel Ramos

Bulacan to replicate Shenzhen model for development

MALOLOS CITY– Despite strained diplomatic relations between China and the Philippines, Bulacan is looking to replicate the industrial development of Shenzhen province in southern China.

As this developed, the provincial government of Bulacan is preparing the Provincial Physical Framework Plan (PPFP) for presentation on March 1 to Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., who hails from Pulilan town.

Ochoa, according to Gov. Wilhelmino Alvarado is one of the brains behind the plan to replicate the Shenzhen model, a brainchild of the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping.

“We will meet with investors in Bulacan so that we can coordinate development projects and update our Physical Framework Plan,” said Alvarado.

Initially, the governor said that the PPFP has identified growth areas in the province which can be developed into business districts.

These include growth areas in the cities of Malolos, Meycauayan and San Jose Del Monte, along with those in the towns of Pulilan, Plaridel, Baliwag, and San Rafael.

Alvarado said that agriculture areas of San Miguel, San Ildefonso, San Rafael and the mountain town of Donya Remedios Trinidad will be impacted by past paced development in the province.

However, he noted that development will be inclusive of all other towns.

He said that they are now conducting inventory of local industries in Bulacan like the pyrotechnics industry in Bocaue, Sta. Maria, Baliwag and San Rafael along with jewelry-making in the City of Meycauayan and aquaculture in the coastal towns of Hagonoy, Paombong, Malolos, Bulakan and Obando.

“This will be an inclusive growth, hindi lang pagpapaganda ng kalsada at mga polisiya, kasama rin sa direct promotion ang production component ng mga industriyang nagbibigay ng development sa Bulacan,” Alvarado said.

With regards to the Shenzhen model, he said that it has not been finalized yet, but they are looking forward to replicating its industrialization and modernization experience.

Based on documents obtained by Punto, Shenzhen is one of the most successful economic zones in the world and the only city which developed at an unprecedented rate.

Records showed that Shenzhen is just a small fishing village with hilly and fertile agrarian land, and with population of only 30,000 when it was established as an special economic zone in 1979.

Today, Shenzhen is a sprawling and high technology manufacturing and service city with over 14.5 million population as of 2012.

Located north of Hongkong, Shenzhen’s gross domestic product (GDP) per capita was $14,615 in 2010 and is expected to rank 11th in the world in terms of GDP per capita by 2025.

Records also showed that Shenzhen now has more than 6,000 design companies with more than 60,000 employees.

According to Alvarado, Bulacan shares a lot of similarities with Shenzhen as far as location and topography is concerned.

Like Shenzhen, Alvarado said Bulacan also has a hilly and fertile agrarian area, coastal area and it is located just north of Metro Manila.

He said that fast paced development in Bulacan must be carefully planned to ensure balance and protection of ecology.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Gov. Alvarado now officially unopposed

Alvarado (2nd from left) with Stephen Lillie, British Ambassador to the Philippines.

MALOLOS CITY—It is now official, incumbent Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Alvarado will be unopposed in his first re-election bid.

This came as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) En Banc disqualified two independent gubernatorial candidates in the province for the May 13 polls.

Lawyer Elmo Duque, the provincial election supervisor in Bulacan told PromdiNews that Comelec’s decision is based on his recommendation after he met apparent nuisance candidates last October.

“We just want to ensure that this year’s elections in Bulacan will be meaningful and will not be mockery of democracy,” Duque said in a telephone interview.

He said that last October, he had a conference with at least seven independence candidates in the province including two gubernatorial candidates, namely Jaime Almera and Ernesto Balite.

Duque explained that the conference was meant to measure the capability of candidates to launch a province-wide campaign, especially for the gubernatorial position.

It was followed by his recommendation to the Comelec Law Department which ruled on the case.

On January 17, the Comelec issued a ruling disqualifying Almera and Balite.

This decision is reflected on the Comelec website which showed that Governor Alvarado as the lone candidate for the said post in Bulacan.

“That is the final list and certified list of candidates for the 2013 elections,” Duque said referring to information posted on the Comelec website.

He added that the said list posted on the website will be the same to printed on official ballots for the May 13 polls.

Printing of ballots will start today, February 4.

However, Duque said that the Comelec will still have to decide on the disqualification case filed incumbent Representative Marivic Alvarado of the first congressional district against retired police officer Sahiron Dulah Salim.

An independent l candidate, Salim filed his Certificate of Candidacy (CoC) last October to challenge the governor’s wife in the first congressional district.

However, Rep. Alvarado filed a disqualification against Salim noting that the retired police general ran for governor of Sulu in the 2010 automated election and miserably lost.

As this developed, political old hands here said that if Salim is disqualified, the Alvarado’s will be the first husband and team candidates in a provincial elective position in the province to run unopposed in the same election.

Jose Rey Munsayac, a former board member said no governor of Bulacan has ran unopposed since the 1980s.

He said that even former governors like Roberto Pagdanganan and Josefina Dela Cruz had to face an opposition candidates during their separate reelection bids.  (Dino Balabo)