Consumer fair

We opened the Consumer Fair yesterday at the Gaisano Mall Of Davao to usher in our consumer welfare and protection month celebration.

With the theme “on the healthy and safe side of living,” the exhibitors are categorized into the “healthy” and “safe” products and services.

Activities for the next three days at the Atrium of the Mall include the annual poster-making contest, lectures on consumer rights and responsibilities and organic farming, cooking demos, seminars on utilization of kitchen waste, and healthy exercises.

The activities are spearheaded by the DTI and the Consumer Net, composed of government and non-government consumer groups.

At the ribbon-cutting yesterday, I got the commitment from fellow city councilor Pilar Braga to help fund this annual consumer fair after my term ends in 2010. I have been assisting the DTI mount this activity with P100,000 contribution from my Annual Development Fund.

Councilor Braga, who once served as executive director of Konsumo Dabaw, promised to continue the funding assistance starting 2011.

5:48 a.m.

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Troubles

The trouble with exposing graft and corruption in this country is that the whistle blower gets into trouble.

There is a long list of journalists and activists who are now six feet under, for instance, because of exposing and opposing graft and corruption.

For the lucky ones who are still living, tables are turned against them. The Court of Appeals justice who exposed a P10 million bribe over the Meralco-GSIS court battle is now the reverse target of finger-pointing. He is now being accused of actually demanding P50 million! Tsk tsk!

I believe this is a ploy to destroy his credibility as the Supreme Court steps into the matter. This anomaly is a big blow to the judiciary.

This is truly not a good week for wheeler dealers.

At the Senate hearing on the swine scam, a huge “arranger’s fee” was exposed in the loan by the Land Bank to Quedan Corp to fund the government’s swine program. The two incidentally are both government owned so why was there a need for a “loan arranger?”

Senator Jamby Madrigal named Davaoeno Jose Nograles, brother of the Speaker, as the alleged wheeler dealer. Jose Nograles was a senior VP at the bank before his appointment recently as president of the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation.

The Speaker has denied any wrongdoing by his brother. But just the same this is major headache for the government.

Another trouble in my list today is Cebu Pacific flying into turbulent skies.

Last June the low-cost carrier announced plans for direct Davao-Hong Kong and Davao-Singapore flights. It was featured in newspapers and its website. In gratitude for this service, the City Council passed a Resolution, which I authored, commending the airline.

Last Wednesday, I learned from Baby Montemayor, who runs a travel agency and chairs the Southern Philippines Tourism Council, that Cebu Pacific has canceled these direct flights. I told her I did not read any notice in the papers or in the airlines’ website.

I believe Cebu Pacific invited trouble in not informing its passengers about these cancellations.

Last night, I received one such complaint via email from a Davaoeno who booked a flight for 18 persons for a group vacation to Singapore. To their dismay, their Davao-Singapore flight was re-routed to Davao-Manila-Singapore and then later to Davao-Cebu-Singapore without officially notifying them.

My advise to those aggrieved is to consult their lawyers. We can bring this matter too to the attention of the Department of Trade & Industry, the agency implementing the Consumers Act, and the Civil Aviation Board, which supervises the airline industry.

A simple public notice of the flight suspension would have forewarned the public. Now, Cebu Pacific is in trouble. Not only to those who have canceled flights but to many of us who were mis-informed.

I pray I will not get into trouble for writing this. Amen.

5:42 a.m.

Back online 4

I’m up early this morning to prepare for another busy day.

I will speak at the Davao Christian Leadership Breakfast Forum at 7 a.m. at the Grand Men Seng Hotel. This would be my sixth appearance at this fellowship attended by priests, pastors, laypeople and their guests.

I will discuss current issues confronting our consumers from food shortages, high prices, product standards and consumer rights.

After this forum, I will be off to Felis Beach Resort for the Mindanao Island Consultation for the upcoming Global Forum on Migration and Development which will be held in Manila in October. This regional consultation will be attended by civil society groups, while the global forum would be attended by UN member countries.

I would be wearing two hats in this meeting. First, to represent Mayor Rody Duterte during the opening rites, and Second, to participate as the official representative of Unlad Kabayan Migrant Services Foundation where I currently sit as Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Results of this island-wide consultation will be presented during the Manila global forum.

Yesterday, the City Council held a special session to discuss the monetization of part of the city’s Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) in 2001 and 2003. Due to the reenacted budgets of the national government during these two years, the city has a differential amounting to P142 million.

I presided the debates of the City Council on how best to get this sum. The national government is offering us two ways:

Option 1 is to get this money by seven installments starting May 2009 to May 2015; or

Option 2 is to get the P142 million now at a discounted rate of just 70 percent.

But during the discussion, we looked at another option – borrow money from Land Bank against this unreleased IRA share. That way, we get the whole amount and pay the interests from our regular IRA.

For lack of time, we decided in postponing the decision until the July 1 Regular Session. But, offhand, many of our colleagues are favoring the third option.

What do you think?

3:43 a.m.

Update – I added an online poll on my right sidebar – A P142 Million Question. Please vote!

5:49 a.m.