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Gen-Y lawmakers told: Stamp out mediocrity, abuse

Sun.Star Cebu <> Friday, February 29, 2008

BY NANCY R. CUDIS, Sun.Star Staff Reporter

AMID widespread allegations of corruption in the national government, two public officials called on young legislators yesterday to advocate for “a new brand of politics.”

Sen. Francis Pangilinan also asked them to become part of the “new breed of political leaders and citizens” needed to turn around the political system.

Political leaders, not church leaders, should take the lead in implementing political reforms, he said in an ambush interview with reporters, on the sidelines of the 16th National Congress of the National Movement of Young Legislators (NMYL).

“Otherwise, it’s like telling me as a national leader that I cannot lead. If that would be the case, mag resign na lang ako,” said Pangilinan, the Senate majority floor leader.

During the second day of the congress at the Waterfront Hotel, Pangilinan, also the NYML’s founding chairman, gave a speech on “Generation Y: Defining the Future through Alternative Leadership.”

After him, Sens. Manuel Villar, Mar Roxas, Richard Gordon, and Loren Legarda were scheduled to give 15-minute speeches in the afternoon before more than 2,500 legislators.

Change

However, only Muntinlupa City Rep. Rozzano Rufino Biazon, representing Liberal Party leader Roxas, arrived to deliver his piece on youths being agents of change.

Roxas did not make it due to a scheduling conflict. As for the rest of the senators, the NYML secretariat did not issue any clear reasons for their absence.

Pangilinan also said that while he welcomes the support of the church in helping shape political reforms, he said taking the lead in the reformation is already beyond the church’s expertise and role in the society.

For his part, Biazon said that the youth can advance this “new principled politics” because they have the energy to overcome challenges that include temptations, bad habits and the influences of traditional politics.

In a separate interview, he urged young politicians not to compromise what they believe in.

Biazon also said that passive youths lead to a passive society, which could become “a breeding ground for mediocrity, corruption, incompetence and abuse.” He said he hoped that the youth will not fall into a trap where values such as utang na loob, pakikisama and pagpatawad (gratitude, camaraderie and forgiveness) are used as negative tools to perpetuate corruption.

He then asked NYML leaders to continue the vision of a united youth who will espouse sincere service and true nationalism.

Filed under: Cebu City Politics

Mayor orders demolition after peddlers get blamed for aggravating traffic

Sun.Star Cebu <> Thursday, January 17, 2008

BY LINETTE C. RAMOS & NANCY R. CUDIS, Sun.Star Staff Reporters

FIVE days before the feast of the Sto. Niño, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña gave orders to confiscate the wares of erring vendors at the back of the basilica, using “the full force” of the police.

Osmeña got upset after learning that the vendors went beyond the pedestrian railings and sold their Holy Child images on the road, aggravating the heavy traffic in the Basilica del Sto. Niño area.

Worse, when the Squatters Prevention, Elimination and Encroachment Division (Speed) personnel asked them to return to their stalls, the vendors reportedly lashed out at the team.

Some irate vendors also allegedly threw garbage and buckets of water reeking of urine at the Speed personnel when they were apprehended last Tuesday afternoon.

When he learned about the incident yesterday noon, Osmeña immediately called police officials and ordered them to confiscate the goods sold by vendors who are not in their designated vending sites.

“Use the full force of the police. Confiscate all their materials and don’t return these to them. Tell the police it’s my order,” he told a City Hall official over the phone.

The mayor declined to say who received the instructions.

2 hours

He also called Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Deputy Chief for Operations Pablo Labra II and gave instructions for the clearing operations.

“Use the riot police if you have to. Keep all their materials in the police headquarters and don’t return them. Teach them a lesson once and for all,” the mayor said.

At least 13 owners of stalls illegally put up beside the basilica, on the D. Jakosalem St. side, were surprised by the arrival of the Speed team, this time backed up by the police yesterday afternoon.

Contrary to what happened Tuesday afternoon when stall owners ignored and resisted Speed’s instructions to clear their area to give way to pedestrians and traffic, the owners found themselves transporting their Sto. Niño statues to their service jeepneys, while Speed workers helped them tear down their stalls.

The demolition, which started at 1:30 p.m., lasted for more than two hours.

Warnings

During that time, the whole block was barricaded and motorists prevented from passing by the demolition area.

At least 20 Speed workers were at the site, with at least 10 members of the City Traffic Operations Management, 15 from the Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Bureau (CIIB), and 27 from the Special Weapons and Tactics (Swat).

The Speed and the police were particularly concerned about stalls that extended beyond the railings or the covered spaces built for them.

The first 13 stalls beside the basilica use makeshift materials, mostly wood and tarpaulin. They are members of the Sto. Niño Sidewalk Vendors’ Association (SNSVA) led by Amora Basan.

They have occupied their lots since 2004.

After the City Government built some 60 concrete stalls to be rented out, owners of these 13 stalls were warned to vacate the lots to pave way for pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

“They’ve been warned a hundred times already. Mga gahi man og mga ulo og mga badlongon. (They’re stubborn.) Last Tuesday, they pushed away our security,” said Speed chief Vicente Mercado.

This prompted them to seek the assistance of the Cebu City Police Office.

No barrier

City Hall consultant on urban poor Gerry Marquez said that the “illegal” stalls have long been tolerated and the owners seemed to have taken advantage of the government’s tolerance.

When Speed workers started tearing down the stalls, Carlito Oberez, Jr., son of SNSVA’s vice president Carlito Oberez Sr., started a commotion when he tried to block a Speed worker.

With the possibility that Oberez Jr. might be armed, Labra took control of the situation by asking him to stay calm.

While the son hysterically shouted for his mother, members of CIIB and Swat escorted him to a police car and to the CCPO.

Labra said they have to arrest him because he tried to resist the government’s efforts to neutralize the area.

“Dili mi gusto mo-babag sa gobyerno. Hangyo lang mo og tarong kay panginabuhi ra ni amo (We don’t mean to stand in government’s way. But please just ask us,
because this is our livelihood you’re dealing with),” said Oberez Sr.

Another unidentified man also started a commotion by breaking glasses. The police began to enclose him, and his family and friends quickly guided him away from the scene.

Fenced in

At least three stall owners, members of the Basilica United Vendors and Photography Association (BUVPA), were also reprimanded for creating an extension to their government-approved area.

“Kinsa man pud motan-aw sa sulod nga mora man mi og prisohan sa railings (We look like prisoners behind these railings),” commented Remedios Capuyan, 35, a BUVPA member, along with 24 other stall owners.

With owners pleading to handle their things carefully, Speed workers confiscated materials and several Sto. Niño statues, which they lugged into their trucks. These will be transported to the CCPO headquarters, where stall owners can reclaim them.

Joy Amora, one of the 13 stall owners, said they have not been warned nor given notice of the demolition. Crying, she said she does not know what to do with the statues she bought with borrowed money.

“Ambot asa mi ani ron. Wa man gyud mi taga-i og relocation site sa Mayor. Sa-on na lang kaha ni nako og bayad sa among utang sa among kapitan sa barangay (I don’t know where we’ll end up. The mayor didn’t provide us with a relocation site. I don’t know how I can pay back our barangay captain),” she said.

While an onlooker said she felt sorry for Amora and her fellow owners, she also observed that the police kept the demolition peaceful and commented that the move will ease pedestrian traffic.

Filed under: Cebu City Politics

Cops watching narco-politics people

Sun.Star Cebu <> Thursday, November 01, 2007

BY NANCY R. CUDIS, Sun.Star Staff Reporter

WITH JOVY S. TAGHOY

AFTER incumbent Carreta Barangay Captain Marciano Ando filed a complaint against his winning rival for allegedly using drug money in Monday’s election, more barangay officials claimed that vote-buying with drug money happened in their areas.

Lorega-San Miguel Barangay Captain Fortunato Parawan even considered narco-politics and the voters who were “under threat by a drug lord” as some of the factors for his defeat.

“Nagbaha ang kwarta pag election og gihulga ang mga botante (Money was given out and voters were harassed during the election),” he told Sun.Star Cebu in a phone interview.

His rival Lorenzo Monsanto won by more than 100 votes.

Parawan said he received a lot of reports from individuals who got money from a drug lord living in their barangay.

They were reportedly given yellow cards as sample ballots containing the drug lord’s list of his chosen candidates, along with a threat that if they won’t vote for the candidates, they will be forced out of the barangay.

After casting their ballots, they were instructed to go to the house of the drug lord to get their money for their votes.

“Unfortunately, they are afraid to stand up to what they have seen and experienced. I am willing to help them if they seek my aid. But I can’t fight narco-politics by myself,” Parawan said.

Cebu City Police Office Director Patrocinio Comendador also said it is not a remote possibility that some barangay candidates were supported by illegal drug traders.

“We cannot name names but we received reports,” he said in an interview over radio dyLA.

Comendador, however, said that only a few of these candidates in the city were supported by drug traders.

Reelected Carreta councilor Antonio Conahap, Luz Barangay Captain-elect Nida Cabrera and Cheryl Robles, who ran but lost as councilor in Barangay Sambag 2, admitted the presence of narco-politics in their respective areas but for them, it is hard to prove.

Kamatuoran Inc., a church-based movement against narco-politics, said it received similar reports on vote-buying using drug money even before the elections.

Fr. Carmelo Diola, convenor of Dilaab, which is the mother organization of Kamatuoran, said narco-politics is an easy way of controlling an area.

“It’s hard to prove narco-politics because it (transactions) has no (official) receipts. The best thing to do is have a lifestyle check. But gathering of evidence should be done before reporting them to the Office of the Ombudsman,” he said.

The lifestyle check includes evaluating unexplained wealth of the person and knowing the kind of supporters backing him.

“We are part of the problem. We are also to be blamed. We know that vote-buying is wrong but we are silent about it,” Diola said.

Although there is no tangible evidence yet, Parawan said vote-buying was “clearly seen” even before last Monday’s elections.

“A lot of people flocked to a house in Lower Lorega last Sunday, during the election, and after the election. Last Sunday, we called the police but no one was apprehended,” Parawan said.

Sun.Star Cebu tried but failed to reach Mon-santo to get his reaction Ando, meanwhile, filed a complaint Tuesday against winning rival Eduardo “Boloy” Lauron Sr. for allegedly giving out drug money enclosed in sample ballots last Monday.

He presented six of these sample ballots.

Lauron denied the allegations, saying that he will not stop Ando from filing a case against him.

Mayor Tomas Osmeña earlier said that Ando’s case is something he cannot ignore. He will have lawyers evaluate all requests for legal assistance for Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) allies.

Dilaab volunteer Roger Paller said the barangay is a critical base for narco-politics, even as the group continues its information dissemination against narco-politics in parishes.

For media worker Rene Borromeo, who ran and lost as councilor of Barangay Lorega-San Miguel, poverty forced residents to allow vote-buying.

“They are also not politically mature and wise. They were threatened,” he said in Cebuano.

Borromeo said he was not surprised that he was excluded in the sample ballots of the alleged drug lord because he considers himself a crusader against drugs.

Filed under: Cebu City Politics

Tomas ‘to put brys. in order’

Sun.Star Cebu <> Friday, November 09, 2007

BY NANCY R. CUDIS, Sun.Star Staff Reporter

CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña is proposing a shift in the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) from policy formation to management system, which will focus on ensuring that basic services reach the barangays as fast, efficient, and as cheap as possible.

He will suggest the reorganization to barangay officials in a public discussion so that the City Government will be able to work closely with ABC in giving “direct service” to their constituents.

One sample set-up of this management system is the selection of not just one vice president for the ABC but six to eight vice presidents to help lead the organization.

This way, the mayor said, there is a focused and fast delivery of services compared with a legislative set-up with so many committees.

“We could have one vice president for the north for peace and order and another one for the south. We could have another president for the north for environmental sanitation and another one for the south,” Osmeña said.

Other sectors he mentioned are agriculture, water supply, and health.

But he clarified that these vice presidents are not assigned to any committees, rather they are given tasks that they will act and decide on.

Even the words “committee” and “coordination” did not sit well with the mayor. He described committees as “political accommodations, which do not function well because it takes too long to make a decision.”

For him, it is better to put one man in charge so that when things go wrong, he will “know who to shoot.”

“If it’s a legislative set-up with so many committees, I won’t be satisfied because there is a delay in things. There are so many meetings and expenses like snacks. And we have to get so many data in order to satisfy everyone in the body. It sounds diplomatic but decisions take too long to be made,” the mayor told reporters yesterday.

Not just PR

“Let them think who is best qualified for the position, and not best because of their public relations. I am trying to reduce the impact of irrationalities in the selection process. We are willing to spend more on agriculture but we want to make sure that our barangay captains know who is getting what and what it is being used for. That’s why I suggest there should be a north and south representative,” he further said.

The ABC is preparing for a three-day seminar on parliamentary procedures and government processes, such as the new procurement law, to help new barangay chiefs.
About half of those elected last Oct. 29 in Cebu City are new in their posts.

Guadalupe Barangay Captain Eugenio Faelnar, who is resigning as ABC president, said the seminar is intended to minimize as much friction as possible between the barangay council and the village chief, and for them to avoid constantly going to the ombudsman’s office because of administrative offenses committed out of ignorance.

After Faelnar made his announcement to resign, names of possible successors were put forward.

For Osmeña, Talamban Barangay Captain Alvin Arcilla is “capable” because he has the required experience, having helped organized the G8 of 8, a coalition of Cebu City north barangays under Police Station 8.

Filed under: Cebu City Politics

WELCOME!

This is a personal site that contains my news articles on Cebu, local tourism, investments, real estate, small and medium enterprises, and many more! Some entries tackle personal thoughts and experiences as a business writer covering the Cebu business community. Enjoy your time here. And I hope to hear from you! -NANCY R. CUDIS

NRC: a Cebuano scribe


NANCY R. CUDIS writes for herself (a pastime), for her family (a source of income), and for the Cebu community (a sense of duty). For inquiries or invitations to cover events related to Cebu, you may contact her through her e-mail: nrcudis@gmail.com.

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