Baguio first city councilor assumes Baguio vice mayoralty functions to avoid disruption of city governmental functions



Created on Tuesday, 06 May 2014

Baguio city first councillor Edison Bilog Tuesday assumed the functions of the late City Vice Mayor Daniel Farinas to avoid disruption of city governmental functions but has yet to defer any public appearances in keeping with the Filipino tradition for the respect of the dead.

Bilog after the close-door oath taking before City Mayor Mauricio Domogan started to review documents which require the urgent signature of the vice mayor like the release of funds needed for the salaries of city contractual employees.

As described by Domogan, the sudden loss of the late vice mayor came as a big blow to the vibrancy of work at the city where the late office now lies in state with the Philippine flag hang at half mast to signify the city’s last salute to the fallen leader.

The late vice mayor succumbed to ailment at the Notre Dame Hospital here Sunday morning with his wife Lila by his side.

Bilog said he will only transfer to the office of the late vice mayor after sometime. The burial rites of the late Farinas was tentatively set on Saturday.

It is interesting to note that in this city which was built by the Americans in the early 1900’s, the democratic traditions like suffrage as well as in succession are done smoothly.

According to the Local Government Code of the Philippines, when the incumbent vice mayor dies, the first city councillor assumes the vacant post.

This was followed Monday afternoon after due consultations with legal luminaries in this mountain resort 250 kilometers north of Manila. (PNA)

Panelco III assures refund to consumers



Created on Tuesday, 06 May 2014

The Pangasinan III Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Panelco III) vowed that it will refund consumers the amounts it collected from them when it effected rate increase in December 2013 and January 2014.

Allan Casem, Panelco III officer-in-charge general manager, made the assurance during a Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) inquiry on May 5.

The power rate hike amounting to Php 5.63 per kilowatt hour (KWH) or from Php 9.80 per KWH to Php 15.40 per KWH was implemented in December 2013 and continued up to January. This was considered as the second highest power rate increase in the country yet.

The refund, according to Casem, is in compliance with the order of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) last March ordering the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) for a re-computation of their wholesale electricity spot market (WESM) prices.

"In the matter of the prices in the wholesale electricity spot market (WESM) for the supply of November and December 2013 and the exercise by the commission of its regulatory powers to intervene and direct the imposition of regulated prices therein without prejudice to the ongoing investigation on the allegation of anti-competitive behavior and possible abuse if market power committed by some WESM participants," the order reads.

Casem explained that a re-computation of the WESM prices would mean re-computation of their rates, as well. Hence, the refund.

He said the refund for the December power rate increase will be made this coming month of June while that for the January will be made in July.

"About one-half will be returned to our consumers," remarked Casem.

He added that based on their computation, consumers can expect around 40-50% slash in their June electric bills and 30-40% in their July bills.

"The order to refund from PEMC to distribution utilities is given until May 12, so we have to wait for that amount so we can refund as well," he said explaining why the refund will be made in June and July yet.

Panelco III serves about 150,000 consumers in Urdaneta City and 18 municipalities in eastern Pangasinan.

Other parts of the province are served by Dagupan Electric Corporation and Central Pangasinan Electric Cooperative.

Last February 3, sixth district board member Ranjit Shahani, Former Senator Letecia Ramos Shahani and Rogelio Arciosa, a consumer, filed a petition for injunction with prayer for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and/or preliminary injunction against Panelco III and ERC.

The petition cited that, "Panelco III is patently negligent and the rate increase was the result of its wrong and bad commercial decision and the consequential electricity rate hike caused by its negligence must not be passed on to the consumers."

Panelco III chairman of the board of directors Atty. Julius Cesar Peralta earlier reiterated that the increase was not their decision but was a result of price hike in WESM. (PNA)

3,348 more beneficiaries to benefit from BFAR’s Ahon project



Created on Tuesday, 06 May 2014

An additional 3,348 fisherfolk are slated to soon receive boat materials from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Ahon project in Western Visayas.

Shiela Aguhob, BFAR regional office 6 technical staff for Ahon project, said the materials are intended for the repair and upgrading of boats destroyed by typhoon Yolanda, and will b e distributed to 3,348 fisherfolk.

Earlier, 2,941 fisherfolk received boat materials from the government through BFAR's Ahon project are now undertaking repair of their boats in the region Aguhob said.

There are also now 693 boats whose repairs have already been completed, she said.

She added that the materials given to the beneficiaries include plywood, nails, and paints, among others. These come from donations raised by BFAR from the different sectors to help fisherfolk return back to their old livelihood.

Aguhod said that the distribution of boat materials was jumpstarted in Banate, Iloilo province, which is a fishing village, last Feb. 10, 2014. And since then the distribution has been going on until today.

She added that Western Visayas, according to their survey, has 6,892 fisherfolk with damaged boats who would be recipients of the BFAR Ahon project. (PNA)

Mactan airport authority to pay taxes to Lapu-Lapu City, exec says



Created on Tuesday, 06 May 2014

The Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) will pay the taxes it owes the Lapu-Lapu City Government, an official said.

MCIAA General Manager Nigel Paul Villarete said the MCIAA is willing to pay whatever taxes due to the local government.

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Mayor Paz Radaza has been demanding the MCIAA to pay real property taxes and penalties amounting to P1.79 billion.

She said the amount, if collected, will go a long way in addressing the city’s shortage of classrooms.

The city government and the MCIAA came up with a memorandum of agreement (MOA) establishing a payment scheme for the latter’s overdue taxes.

But the two parties have yet to sign the deal after the Lapu-Lapu City Council withdrew the authority it gave Radaza to enter into the agreement, citing the need to review the MOA more thoroughly.

The MOA provides that a joint committee be formed to resurvey MCIAA’s real property and determine the tax amount it owes the city.

The MCIAA would then pay the computed taxes, but it is given the option not to pay the surcharges or penalties, provided it gives the city financial assistance in the amount not less than the total penalties.

Under the proposed MOA, the MCIAA will pay P37.2 million for the real properties used wholly for commercial purposes. The amount includes the P12.2 million tax penalty.

But the penalty will be waived once the MCIAA donates P15 million to the City for infrastructure projects.

Both parties will await the Supreme Court’s decision on whether or not MCIAA has tax liabilities for the properties used as runways and taxiways. (PNA)

De Lima to ask Senate to give her more time before revealing Napoles list



Created on Tuesday, 06 May 2014

While the Senate can compel her to reveal the list of Janet Lim Napoles allegedly containing the names of lawmakers implicated in the pork barrel fund scam, Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima on Monday said that she would appeal to the senators to wait for the right time and give her sufficient time to do her job.

This was the reaction of De Lima on the possibility that she may be cited in contempt.

De Lima earlier said that she will not yet disclose the names in Napoles' list because they still have to make a thorough and extensive verification on the same.

Napoles is the alleged "brains" behind the P10-billion pork barrel and the P900-million Malampaya Fund scams. (PNA)

Water level at Angat Dam just 2 meters away from critical level of 180 meters



Created on Monday, 05 May 2014

By: Emil G. Gamos

 

Authorities will conduct cloud seeding operations over the watershed areas of Angat Dam sooner or later as the water elevation there continues to drop closer to its critical level of 180 meters.

 

As of 8 a.m. Monday, the water elevation at Angat Dam was at 182.17 meters or just two meters away before plunging to it critical level.

 

Rodolfo German, general manager of the Angat River Hydro Electric Power Plant (ARHEPP), said arrangements are being made with contractors for cloud seeding to generate rain over Angat Dam.

 

He said that when the water level reaches the critical level, one of the options is to conduct cloud seeding operations to increase the water supply of Angat dam which supplies 97 percent of the potable water needs of Metro Manila.

 

Local mediamen also learned that the government would spend at least Php 2.6 million for 60 flight hours of cloud seeding operations.

 

In the meantime, officials of the National Power Corporation (Napocor) and Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) are urging residents in Metro Manila to conserve water.

 

Early last month, the ARHEPP announced that they will decrease the supply of water to Metro Manila because water level at the Angat Dam reservoir is fast drying up.

 

ARHEPP made that announcement when the water level was still at 189 meters, but now it is just two meters away of its critical level.

 

ARHEPP said that the water reserve at the dam is drying at least 20 meters a day and because it is already summer, the water elevation could go down fast to the critical level of 180 meters.

 

Based on ARHEPP data, the lowest water level at Angat Dam reservoir was recorded at 157.57 meters in June 2010. (PNA)

Number of hostages held by NPAs in Compostela Valley down to 3



Created on Monday, 05 May 2014

The Eastern Mindanao Command on Monday announced that the number of hostages held by New People's Army (NPA) fighters in Sitios Tabon and Dasuran, Barangay Panamin, Mabini town, Compostela Valley is now down to three.

Last Saturday, rebel forces took hostage around 39 residents.

"For info, there are only three civilians (all male) remaining (in) NPA hands as human shields. Out of 39, some 26 persons were released (Sunday) 4 a.m. and another 10 at 4 p.m., " Eastern Mindanao Command spokesperson Capt. Alberto Caber said.

Military and police units along with civilian authorities are now negotiating for the release of the remaining three," he added.

These individuals were made captives by the NPAs around 10:20 a.m. Saturday.

Rebels from the NPA's "Front 2" and "PBC 6" were reportedly behind this act. (PNA)

Some parts of Nueva Ecija to experience 9-hour power interruption on Tuesday



Created on Monday, 05 May 2014

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has advised electric consumers of a nine-hour power interruption on Tuesday in some parts of the province.

The brownout, scheduled from 8 a.m. to 5p.m. will affect parts being serviced by Nueva Ecija Electric Cooperative, Incorporated I (NEECO I).

The affected areas are the towns of San Isidro , San Antonio, Jaen, Cabiao and Gapan City.

Ernest Lorenz B. Vidal, Central Luzon corporate communications and public affairs officer, said the temporary shut off will be due to the conduct of periodic maintenance of NEECO I-San Isidro Substation revenue instrument transformers and corroded conduits in compliance to Philippine Grid Code and Whole Electricity Spot Market (WESM) requirement.

Vidal said normal operations will immediately resume after work completion.

NGCP’s customers and the general public are advised to take the necessary preparations and precautions for the power interruption, he added. (PNA)

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