Eid’l Fitr

The City Council will not hold its regular session today to prepare for the Eid’l Fitr celebration ending the holy month of Ramadan. The national government has declared October 1 as a non-working holiday to join Filipino Muslims in marking the end of fasting.

We greet our Muslim brothers and sisters a happy Hari Raya!

On Thursday when work resumes, it would signal a busy week with the Consumer Week celebration with the consumer fair, seminars and other activities at G Mall. My office partly funded (P100,000) the activities spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry. This year’s theme is “on the healthy and safe side of living.”

I am also holding a 2-day seminar-workshop for our Barangay Business Enterprise Development Program on Thursday and Friday at the City Council.

On Saturday, the Davao City Bowling Association will kick off its high school bowling tournament at Dover Lanes. Big thanks to Petronas for sponsoring the event.

Next week, the Dancesports Team Davao will hold the following activities:

October 6 – 4 p.m. 2008 Davao Open Latin Competition; 8 p.m. Champions & Stars Dancesport Showcase (Recreo Ballroom Center)

October 7-8 – 10 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Dancesport Congress and Workshop (G Mall)

Dancesport is the latest addition to the roster of the Davao City Sports Council, Inc. which I chair. Its representative is Jeannette S. Ortiz.


The city government will honor today in two fitting ceremonies 40-odd employees who are retiring this year. The first event is during this Monday’s flag-raising rites, and the other in a salo-salo at the Grand Men Seng Hotel.

The city government through its PRAISE (Program on Awards and Incentives for Service Excellence) has been giving due recognition to its employees for outstanding service, including these long years of dedicated work by this year’s retirees. Rosalinda Calanog holds the distinction of serving the longest at 44 years followed by Daisy Ranon at 42 and Erlida Sanchez, Mayor Rody Duterte’s secretary during his early years, serving 41 years. One of those who has abbreviated his service is Mayor Duterte’s trusted lieutenant Leoncio Evasco, Jr. at 18 years. He ran and won as mayor in his hometown in Bohol in last year’s election.

Here are the rest – Elena Alconaba, 15 years; Ruth Amerkhan, 19; Hernany Ariola, 18; Loretta Bascon, 28; Renato Belen, 31; Ediltrudes Bernado, 33; Noli Blanco, 36; Jorge Bucao, 35; Luisita Castro, 36; Ma. Eva Flor Cid, 17; Bona Clamar, 34; Henrietta Coronales, 38; Freya Crusit, 40; Thelma dela Cruz, 40; Rosario Denzon, 21; Jaime Dubluis, 31; Elvy Guibelondo, 17; Victoria Ismael, 30;

Agustin Israel, 18; Julieta Lastimosa, 35; Angelita Longino, 16; Montano Malaki, 31; Sonia Mangune, 39; Charlita Minoza, 36; Rodolfo Nagac, 35; Lucia Odo, 38; Erlinda Orbeta, 15; Elizabeth Paragoso, 35; Trifona Paranial, 34; Maximiano Ponteras, 15; Angelina Robles, 31; Alejandro Saja, 14; Julita Sy, 33; Eugenia Tambis, 15; Florendo Tanji, 26; Arnel Villalba, 22.

Off with flu


From my inbox are two interesting proposals:

Elmer Soriano, my mentor in wikislation, is now at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge. He is attending a course on Leadership for a Networked World. He is cooking up new ways to promote e-governance and e-citizenship and he wants me to collaborate with him. I said OK.

And from La Trobe University in Melbourne, I received a request from Skilty Labastilla, from Agusan del Sur, who plans to do research work in Davao.

He wrote: “I am interested in examining the lives of low-income young men in Davao City, specifically their experiences as they transition to adulthood. What are their aspirations and how do they go about achieving them? As we know, men in the Philippines are expected by society to provide for their families. But with the difficulties that they are facing, how do they manage to do that? These are just some of the important questions that I intend to find out as I will live inside (or near) a low-income community in the city.”

I am writing his university to support his research study here.

6:02 a.m.

School games

The University of Mindanao commenced with its annual Intramural Games yesterday. Before the opening parade, the faculty club at the College of Arts & Sciences held the induction of its new set of officers. I administered their oath.

Kudos to Prof. Randy Ponteras for the very active faculty club. Best wishes to all the competing teams. I am not sure which side to root. You see, I got involved with three departments at the university – Commerce, Engineering and Arts & Sciences.

Just after graduating from the Davao City High School in 1974, I joined the then Junior Executive Training (JET) program of UM for working scholars. I was assigned as an assistant to the Dean of the College of Commerce. When I finally enrolled for my course, I took up Mechanical Engineering. But after being active in campus politics, I shifted to Political Science at the College of Arts & Sciences.

I did enjoy my life in college where I met friends who are still very much in touch with today. In fact, I just read the emails of my college buddies Rafael “Nikki” Gomez and Henrylito Tacio, two of our best campus writers back then. Both pursued careers in writing. And both are accomplished in the game.

At lunch today, I am attending a conference called by Philippine Sports Commission chair Butch Ramirez regarding the proposed Children’s Games in November. Part of the grassroots sports program of the PSC, the national games for children in elementary schools is planned to be held in Davao City.

We’re hoping to scout our future Olympians in this proposed Children’s Games. Wish us luck.

6:41 a.m.

Roads and bridges to nowhere

The Philippines is catching up fast in aping the presidential derby in the US.

The “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska is a hot topic pitting Democrats against Republicans.

Here, there’s a rumble by several presidential wannabes on the “road to nowhere” in Metro Manila.

Senator Ping Lacson exposed the double funding of the controversial road in the 2008 and 2009 budgets. Korina Sanchez, gf of Senator Mar Roxas, thrash it in her popular radio program. There were insinuations it was a pet project of Senate President Manny Villar to benefit his housing projects. A Senate Resolution to probe the anomaly was signed by a number of senators, including Senator Roxas, Senator Chiz Escudero and Senator Dick Gordon.

I am sure this gang fight would not be amongst just these five “presidentiables.” Soon, others would join the fray.

But would probing this issue lead the nation to somewhere? I doubt very much.

Have you not heard the joke dating back from the old days of martial law about the road around Lake Lanao? Well, it has been paved several times over! But nowhere can one see it or set foot on it.

Oh, nothing new really in Pinoy politics when trapos can promise bridges even where there are no rivers.

5:37 a.m.

Admirable airline

Here’s another reason why Singapore Airlines is a class above the rest.

Starting today, it would reduce fuel surcharges on certain flights. Just when other major airlines are starting to squeeze passengers pocket dry with luggage fees, Singapore Airlines is rolling back on fuel levy as the price of crude oil plummets from its $147 per barrel highs last July.

Local carriers PAL and Cebu Pacific should follow this lead to be fair with their passengers.

4:55 a.m.

Searching for relatives of Augusto T. Garcia

Six days ago, I received an email from the St. Faustina Divine Mercy Parish in Paniqui, Tarlac seeking help to locate the relatives of the late Augusto T. Garcia.

A son by the name of Joshua was known to be in Davao with Rivera Village in Bajada as the last known address. I sent my driver to the subdivision and his sleuthing turned up negative. One Garcia family residing there has no relations with Joshua.

The elder Garcia owns the property where the church is located and they need to find his family.

Please help.

3:57 a.m.

Sept 9 City Council Agenda

Invocation – Hon. Jose Louie P. Villafuerte (3rd District);

National Anthem; City March;

Roll Call;

Reading of the Minutes of the September 2 session;

Privilege Hour;

First Reading – Items No. 1380 to 1395 (16 Items) e.g. Item No. 1380 – Proposed Ordinance on energy-efficiency and energy conservation program for the City of Davao; Item No. 1389 – Proposed Code of General Ordinances of Davao City; Item No. 1392 – Application for Development Permit of Villa Azalea located at Barangay Maa containing an area of 3.1 hectares; Item No. 1395 – Proposed construction of slaughterhouses in strategic areas of the city;

Third & Final Reading – Item No. 942, Item No. 1057, both reclassification of agricultural lands to residential zones located in Barangay Catalunan Grande and Bunawan, respectively;

Unfinished Business (Committee Report) – Item No. 1018 reclassification of agricultural land to residential zone at Barangay Catalunan Grande;

Second Reading (Deferred Items) – 7 Items; e.g. Item No. 271 – Proposed Ordinance on iron-fortification of rice; Item No. 791 – Request by the Confederation of Grains Retailers Association for a moratorium in the implementation of the rice-fortification program;

Second Reading (New Items) – 12 Items, e.g. Item No. 1313 – Application for Preliminary Approval of Location Clearance for Victors’ Executive Homes located at Barangay Cabantian containing an area of 2.4 hectares; Item No. 1314 – Application for PALC for Victors’ Heights Subdivision at Barangay Magtuod containing an area of 1.2 hectares;

Obama-Palin Dream Team

I guess the only way for basketball stars to grab more gold medals in the Olympics is to introduce more variety to the sports in the future summer games. For instance, one-on-one, two-on-two, three-on-three, and mixed doubles and triples. Maybe, there should also be a slam dunk, free throw line and three-point shootout.

Adidas has popularized, for example, the three-on-three basketabll genre. The NBA has its legend+male+female basketball exhibit during the All-Star week.

If this comes to fruition, I believe USA would have its real “dream team” in the mixed doubles. I refer to a blockbuster, hard-to-beat Obama-Palin tandem.

Yeah, Barry and the Barracuda could easily lick any competition … on and off the court!

6:54 a.m.


12.5 Percent – August inflation rate, the highest in 17 years.

1.415 Trillion Pesos – proposed budget for next year, described by the government as a “crisis budget.” I say its an “election budget.”

3 Billion Pesos – estimated budget for a presidential candidate in 2010. This would make the winner and loser/s law violators. Election laws allow candidates and their political parties to spend only P3 per voter or a total of P6. If there are 45 million voters, that would amount only to less than 10 percent of this war chest.

25 – number of sub-standard nursing schools still operating in the country.

36.7 Billion Dollars – gross international reserves of the Philippines at end of August, down by $200 million from the previous month.

8 – votes needed in the Senate to reject the JPEPA. Very likely the following – Joker Arroyo, Pia Cayetano, Chiz Escudero, Greg Honasan, Jamby Madrigal, Kiko Pangilinan, Nene Pimentel, Antonio Trillanes, and hopefully, Noynoy Aquino.

16,000 – number of seedlings planted in Santiago City, Isabela in its bid to become the “malunggay capital” of the country.

We could be disqualified in London 2012

I am leaving this morning for a two-day seminar at the Pearl Farm Resort off Samal Island. I would not be able to post tomorrow morning.

As chair of the City Council Committee on Trade, Commerce & Industry, I am leading a four-member City Council group to meet with officials of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the seminar supported by the Philippine-Australia Human Resource Development Fund on strengthening partnership and advocacy.

With me are Councilors Susabel Reta, chair of our Committee on Tourism, Tess Mata-Maranon, Committee on ICT, and Conrado Baluran, Committee on Agriculture and Food Security. These are the three priority focus areas of the Chamber.

In addition, I will also stand for Vice Mayor Sara Duterte in the opening rites.

Before leaving, I am worried about this developing news.

Remember the International Olympic Committee stripping Iraq of its membership just before the start of the Beijing Olympics? Well, the Philippines could go the same way.

Iraq was punished by the OIC because its US-coached government interfered in the affairs of its national Olympic body. The Philippines is doing the same.

This could lead to disastrous consequences given our expectation that losing candidates could cry foul and raise the issue of government meddling in the Philippine Olympic Committee elections.

The Philippines is already being likened to Iraq in terms of being home to tyrants – Marcos and Saddam, of being the 51st US State, of being world capitals of violence especially killings of journalists, etc. And soon, of being stripped of OIC membership!

The Malacanang Palace occupant is kissing our participation in the London Olympics goodbye!

5:36 a.m.


My apologies to those sending in their comments. I will reply to their many insights when I come back Friday night.

Meet the new TF Davao head

The recent disturbances in Mindanao has forced the assignment of Task Force Davao chief Col. Renier Cruz to Saranggani last week.

Meet his replacement – Col. Oscar Lactao. He was at the City Council at yesterday’s session to announce his new posting. TFDavao, part of the 10th Infantry Division, is the military contingent responsible for Davao City and neighboring towns. It was created in 2003 after the city became the target of terrorists with the deadly bombings outside the Davao airport and seaport.

If not for his rank and uniform, one would easily mistaken him as a politician. He shakes hands quite naturally, has charming disposition, and talks well and with sense.

Last night at the reception for the Malaysia’s 51st National Day at the Waterfront Insular Hotel, Col. Lactao blended well with the crowd of consular officials, city officials, business persons and civic leaders. It’s not surprising actually. He has, in addition to military trainings here and in the US, a masters degree in international studies at UP.

Col. Lactao, who hails from Metro Manila, started his military career in Davao. After finishing at the Philippine Military Academy in 1984, he enlisted in the Philippine Army and was assigned as a young lieutenant in the Davao Region, where he rose from the officer corps. From leading platoons and companies, he matured into heading infantry battalions in the Visayas and Basilan. He was in the news in 2003 during his assignment in Leyte where his unit was implicated in the alleged massacre of civilians.

He has earned many military medals and awards in his 24 years in the service. Prior to his return to this new Davao assignment, he was Secretary of the Army General Staff at the Philippine Army HQ at Fort Bonifacio in Makati.

He sees his new post as a challenge to make Davao City a model in implementing what he termed as a “wholistic approach to counter insurgency and anti terrorism” – a combination of civic and military strategies and tactics. He closed his short remark at the City Council by promising to do his best for he said he “may not pass this way again.”

Good luck!

5:43 a.m.


Happy Independence Day to Malaysia. Merdeka!

Inquirer not precise, specific, accurate

Headline: Davao bus blast kills 6

Is it not better to be precise and specific? Digos bus blast kills 6

Davao and Digos have the same five letters and would surely fit in the front of the Inquirer. But why did the Inquirer editors use Davao instead of the more accurate Digos as the site of the bus blast?

Your guess is as good as mine. Using Digos would not be as dramatic, would not be as sensational, and, of course, would not sell as much.

Oh well.

For those not familiar, Digos City is 54 kilometers or one-and-a-half-hour bus ride south of Davao City. It is the capital of the provice of Davao del Sur.

Yet, these vital facts were not mentioned in the story. It would have helped readers better understand. For instance, it was mentioned that “Many of those in critical condition were rushed to the government-run Davao Medical Center in Davao City.

This would have been the opportunity to picture to the readers that Davao City was so much kilometers away from the blast site. Both the reporters and editors missed this chance.

Oh well.

5:45 a.m.