Archive | August 2006


Why shouldn’t local government units tax firms that claim of operating warehouses only? The question from tax collectors is, are they running away or are not willing to pay? 

A pesticides and fertilizer distributor in Bunawan district sued the city government of Davao in this story.  

The reason: they paid the city some P4.38 million for business tax, but claimed the city is not entitled to tax them. Agro-tech Agricultural Products, Inc. is demanding a refund. The firm said they have no sales in the city and they pay taxes in Manila where their head office is.

The strike came from City Treasurer Rodrigo Riola: What if there is fire or if thieves will take the firm as prey? Will the firm ran and ask Manila to put off the fire or catch the thieves?  There’s the rub.



Does the split of the military’s Southern command (SouthCom) really mean better security? Some local government leaders say it is here.

But if indeed the Western Mindanao Command and the Eastern Mindanao Command are poised to confront the Abu Sayyaf/other terrorist groups and the New Peoples Army respectively, then that means the all-out war in action.

Is war better security? Yes, better security means good business, as businessman Toto Paglas said. 

But if we pitch a mentality of war, the two commands still do not mean peace and business. I believe the root cause of ‘poor economy’ in Mindanao is not war; it is only the tip of the iceberg— the dermal cover.

Approaching the roots of war is the best and direct way to approach poor security and bad business, in my opinion. But then, it’s a chicken and egg thing, they say.

Reminds me of what a junior police officer told me in the Ecoland terminal. “Their mere presence in the terminal is already a major crime prevention move”. Does the police formula apply also in dealing with terrorist groups and the Maoist rebels? That is only one question.

The military re-established ties with the police is reminiscent of the Philippine Constabulary days in this all-out war. That is quite an important thing to note, too.


In Sarangani, officials raised howl when the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) released a vessel full of logs allegedly from Baganga (in Davao Oriental?) today.

Why did the DENR release the vessel hastily when the police have questioned the papers of the cargo? Local officials in the town of Glan, Sarangani howled at the release of the
earlier seized by Maritime police, according to the Sarangani provincial information office (PIO).

The ocean-going vessel M/V Edago Expedition left the port in Glan at 1
a.m. this morning after the DENR issued papers clearing the ship to
sail, according to the PIO. At 1a.m.? They must have hurried indeed to run away from something.

Isn’t the DENR supposed to be at the forefront of watching out for these shipments? There is “legal logging” in Davao Oriental and in the Caraga provinces, I think that is public knowledge.

But is it also true that Mindanao ports, like that in Glan, are made as transhipment ports for logs cut from Papua New Guinea? The list of questions goes on … its a long one. Watch out for updates on this post.    


There was a sudden splurge of posts in Amul-amul Bukidnon (Bukidnon gathering), the e-group my friends from Bukidnon and I put up last year. One of the members of the group, Oona Barreto, was included among the “scholars” of the Pinoy Dream Academy aired over ABS-CBN.

Naturally, many sent congratulatory notes and waxed affinities to Oona. I learned that Oona is very talented and beautiful (sorry I still have to figure out how to post photos here). She is also the younger sister of my good friend Chico Barreto. Chico is the Bukidnon-based visual artist who critiqued the Kaamulan festival in 2003 in his works mounted with the Bansagen art exhibit opened during the festival. But he is now working in Cebu.

News of Oona’s inclusion and Chico’s hearty confirmation sent steam.  It was a big celebration in the loop. Of course, its not everyday that the youth of Bukidnon get a chance to be in the limelight of national television to show talent. Earlier this year, another young lady from Bukidnon, Clair, was among the final housemates of Pinoy Big Brother.

If this should mean anything, I think the countryside is a potent source of talents. Congratulations Oona and the Barreto family of Fortich Street Malaybalay City!  


I can connect with the reactions of the students from the University of the Philippines against Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales’ recent bark at the state university. He lashed at UP for its supposed reputation as breeding ground for “destabilizers” and also of “running naked men”. The heavens may have mercy on this hawk official.

I think the man is one of RP’s most scornful, derisive or disdainful destabilizers.

This is not intending to malign further the (in)justice secretary, with due respect to the office he is holding, and the people for whom that office works (supposedly, again).  

In 1996, ten years ago, I met then Iloilo City Rep. Gonzales in a function in Iloilo City. Then he got the ire of the academic community in UP Visayas. He has campaigned that UP Visayas return the lot of the university’s Iloilo City campus to the city government, which the latter donated to UP since 1947 (If I’m not mistaken.) UP has two campuses in Iloilo, in Iloilo City and in seaside Miagao town (where I studied).

Back then, he was already controversial and ferocious especially with the media who hit him left and right.

If individuals who articulate peoples’ rights and censure the government for its omissions are “destabilizers”, then what kind of citizens does he envision for the country? UP students do not like him. I say a lot of prayers for Mr. Gonzales who choose to spew firee verytime he speaks. The man, I suppose, has a good side to shed. This critic is meant for his acts as an official of the Arroyo administration, not a direct attack on his person. But as MindaNews reporter Froilan G. said: here is one man you love to hate because he will increase the number of Anti-GMA recruits.

As for members of the Alpha Phi Omega running in campus in their birthday suit to scorn Gonzeles: Good idea! Keep it up and live up to the UP tradition of fiery and meaningful activism.  


Found this on the PCIJ website. The Guimaras oil tragedy now got a monicker of familiar reference (maybe because of the extent of its damage.) M/V Solar 1 sunk on August 11 off the coast of Guimaras – now it can be known as 8/11. Such a coincidence and also not a much tasteful poke, but why not, if only to illustrate how urgent and pressing is this taste of another maritime tragedy?


Indeed, where is that pesticide advisory committee?

Why are we taking so much risk in allowing the use of pesticides that are harmful to people and to the environment?

Well, say I’m just a bum pretending to be a journalist.So why the heck I’m asking? Funny, as I was composing this, I’ve thought of all the beautiful things to do outside. To have fun or a good night rest. I will leave it to the city councilors to fix the proposed ban on aerial spraying.

But I just really want to ask anyone who knows why they stopped convening the PPTAC. It might not earn for me my next dinner, but is it because money changed hands? Quite a lousy question in a country where corruption prevails here, there, and everywhere. Oh well.