My house as rebel camp?

Press Statement

October 3, 2008

I have received reports this morning that one radio station in Davao City reported that NPA rebels “were being housed” at the “residence” of one Peter Lavina in Tamayong.

I do not know of any other Peter Lavina in Davao City. So, the alleged report must be referring to me as the only Peter Lavina in our city.

I called up Bombo Radyo at about 8:00 a.m. and confirmed from Bombo Brix that indeed their report was based on “police intelligence report” that the house of Peter Lavina is being used as a “camp” of the NPA.

I vehemently deny that I, Councilor Peter Lavina, owns a house or has a “residence” in Tamayong or in any part of the 3rd District.

In fact, I am not familiar with the place. The only time that I was in Tamayong was in 2007 to join members of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s party to greet Pastor Apollo Quiboloy on his birthday at his Prayer Mountain.

I have not been to Tamayong before or after that. Moreover, I have not been to the 3rd District for a long time given that I stay and serve in the 1st District.

The news report based on so-called “police intelligence report” is, therefore, totally baseless and false.

It maligns my good name and standing in the Davao community and pictures me, an elected public official, as harboring rebels.

I have requested the radio station to help correct this mistake. Now, I ask police and military authorities to re-verify its sources of information. It is truly lamentable that certain members of the police to fall for such elementary error. Had they checked the story first with me, I could have there and then confirmed the falsity of the report.

Damage, unfortunately, has been done now. Not only to me personally and officially, but more importantly, to the truth of the story and to the reputation and integrity of our intelligence community for such a grossly erroneous report.

Councilor Peter T. Laviña

1:32 p.m.

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Milestones

IID

Warm greetings to the Initiative for International Dialogue (IID) for 20 years in promoting people-to-people internationalism. IID, a baby of my kumpare Gus Miclat, is one of the few NGOs based in Davao involved in advocacies on the international level. Its campaigns include promoting democracy, peace, human rights and self-determination in Timor Leste, Nepal, Burma and other Asian countries.

Among the guests I met at the anniversary party last night were Rep. Luz Ilagan of Gabriela, IID Chair and Department of Health Usec Alex Padilla, recently hostaged Mindanao State University professor Octavio Dinampo, Palanca-awardee Mac Tiu, Malaysian Consul-General Nik Mustafa Kamal Nik Ahmad, Mahmod Adilao of the Bishop-Ulama Conference and Iligan Institute of Technology professor Geoffrey Salgado.

Club 888

Welcome to our friend Antonio Ajero, veteran newsman, as the new host of our Club 888 Tourism and Business media forum at Marco Polo Hotel. His appointment after the demise of Gil Abarico last March was just in time for the start of the club’s tenth year.

Tony Ajero, PTV host Ethel Cantor and me (Mo Billacura)

Tony Ajero, PTV host Ethel Cantor and me (Mo Billacura)

Birthday

Happy 100 years to Lola Luding, Lourdes Bantolinao. I believe she’s one of the oldest living persons in the city. She is my wife’s grandmother. The family threw out a big lunch party yesterday for her centennial birthday. She’s still alert and travels downtown by herself.

Her grandchildren played a trick on her by having 101 candles on her cake.

My pay slip

Ever wonder how much elected city councilors make?

These are the entries in my pay slip for this month:

Earnings – Monthly Salary P25,764.00; Personal Emergency Relief Allowance (PERA) P0.00; Additional Compensation P1,500 – Total P27,264

Deductions – GSIS Life & Retirement Insurance P2,318.76; Home Development Mutual Fund Premium P100.00; Medicare P312.50; Withholding Tax P3,836.60; PAG-IBIG Loan P617.46 – Total P7,185.32

Net Pay – 1st Week P5,019.00; 2nd Week P5,019.00; 3rd Week P5,019; 4th Week P5,021.68 – Total P20,078.68

Not much huh? This should belie popular perception that politicians make a killing such that many poor people line up at our offices and homes for financial aid.

Ha, ha, ha. At P20,000 a month, councilors are in fact receiving lower than the ideal living wage of at least P1,000 per day for a family of six.

This pay slip was released last July 1 or prior to the effectivity of the new law exempting minimum wage earners from income taxes and increasing the personal exemptions and additional deductions on those earning higher income.

So, employers need to adjust their computations on all their employees to comply with this new law on withheld taxes. Mine is P3,836.60 a month. I am a public servant and yet the government takes away from me this much per month.

It is estimated that this non-wage benefit would add at least P34 per day to the take home pay of minimum wage earners. Unfortunately, the galloping inflation rate has eroded the same before workers could enjoy this benefit. Inflation in June was recorded at 11.4 percent, the highest since 1994.

6:15 a.m.

Lent break

I’m going on a Lent break.

Let’s heed the call of Archbishop Fernando Capalla last Palm Sunday to read and reflect on the bible this week.

Happy Easter to all!

(7:17 a.m.)

People power fatigue?

Protest actions are in fashion again these days with renewed calls for the Malacanang Palace occupant to quit over rampant corruption scandals in government.

For the first time since I became an activist since high school, I am not taking an active part in these recent mass actions.

I fully concur with Akbayan that this fresh crisis calls for system, rather than just personality, change. What our nation need, and very badly, is a thoroughgoing system reform. Changing leaders at the top would not have a dent at all as shown by our experiences since Edsa 1 and 2. We had new leaders in Cory instead of Marcos, and Gloria instead of Erap but nothing changed because the system that breeds corruption remained.

Am I one of those afflicted with “people power fatigue?”

Well, I am actually busy building rooms for my children, and I strongly feel that this work is much more important that raising my fist again.

(7:12 a.m.)

Erratic signal

I am having erratic internet signal in my house which explains my erratic postings. I cannot access my mails too because of this problem. I apologize to those who are expecting me to reply to their emails.

In fact, I wrote the previous post on Ambassador Kenney’s visit to a MILF camp last Tuesday yet but I can only post it today due to the same weak signal.

My wife is mulling to cut this PLDT DSL connection. We are paying for a broadband service and gets slower than dial up if, luckily, there is one at all.

Hohum.

(5:02 a.m.)

Hurts the pocket

My wife Evelyn and or four children are in my heart today, Valentine’s Day. They are my Kapuso and Kapamilya.

Yet in the case of the heated TV ratings war between the two giant networks, ABS-CBN (Kapamilya) and GMA (Kapuso) my heart bleeds.

I have plenty of friends on both networks, and my wife even provides plant decors to the two studios.

I am saddened that in their recent ratings rivalry both are hurting on their pockets. Due Diligencer reports that from Jan 2, 2008 highs of P34.50 and P7.80, ABS stocks has plunged to P25; GMA went skidding to P5.90, respectively. Both suffering more than 24 percent down. This means that my friends on both side who owns stocks lost quite a sum of money.

This clearly shows that the market reacted negatively on the noise of their ratings war.

(6:35 a.m.)