Miyerkules, Setyembre 4, 2019

Minuses of Putting Ex Soldier, Cop to Gov't Posts

 By Mortz C. Ortigoza

The downsides of President Rodrigo Duterte appointing to civilian posts retired military and police officials: They looked dumb when asked about their functions.
Look how these retirees fared on the latest senate hearing on the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) that cause an uproar for the bungled prison released of rapist and murderer mayor Antonio Sanchez and other prisoners convicted with heinous crimes.

When Senator FrancisTolentino, a lawyer, asked Bureau of Correction Chief Nicanor Faeldon, a former Marine officer, about his knowledge on the “illegal release of prisoners before and after election” as provided by the Omnibus Election Code and Resolution 10429 of the Commission on Election, the Bucor Chief answered in the negative.

BELEAGUERED Bureau of Correction Director Nicanor Faeldon (left photo) and Bureau of Immigration & Deportation Commissioner Jaime Morente.  Faeldon used to be a Marine Captain while Morente, an alumnus of the Philippine Military Academy, was a retired police general.

I don’t know about it,” he referred to the law that he did not understand that could make him criminally and administratively liable because he allowed to release in that period some convicts.
I could only shake my head.

Piñol Brings Good Economics at MinDA

 By Mortz C. Ortigoza

No, I’m not going to expound on the cheap succulent fruits of The First Minda Fruit Festival in Baguio City brought yesterday and today by Secretary Manny Piñol who is also the chief of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).
I’m going to cite here the good economic sense he brought to MinDA when he assumed office last August 20 after President Rodrigo Duterte appointed him as his point man not only of MinDA but with the nascent Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). 
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FRUITS - Mindanao Development Authority Chairman and Secretary Manny Piñol (second from left) gives a free taste to a resident of Baguio City of the succulent marang fruit in the First Minda Fruit Festival in Baguio City held yesterday and today at the Pines City. With Piñol at the Burnham Park is the city’s mayor Benjamin Magalong (extreme left).

Before I delve on that hundreds of billions of pesos’ ambitious projects Piñol’s refuted at his Davao City’s speech, I was then awed in March 2018 about the proposals of then MinDA Chairman Datu Abul Khayr Alonto in Zamboanga City for the creations of these linchpin projects that could leapfrogged Mindanao from its debilitating penury.

Alonto, who died by the way in May 9, 2019, explained how much the budget needed “to catch up with the Dutertenomics target of boosting the island-region’s economy”.
In the PhP 3.757 trillion national budget for 2019, Mindanao was appropriated by PhP 585.851 billion or 4.7% lower than the 2018 share of PhP 615 billion.
Included in the proposed budget of Alonto were monumental projects that MinDA marked as priority programs which include the following:
  • Mindanao-wide land transport connectivity
  • Mindanao gateways
  • Trans-Mindanao high-speed railway system
The three projects comprise the Mindanao Development Corridors, which also includes the Bangsamoro Development Corridor.

Also included in the proposal were the following “catalytic” projects for Mindanao:
  • Tawi-Tawi Freeport and Economic Zone
  • Picong (Lanao del Sur) Freeport, Airport and Industrial Estate
  • Next segments of the Trans-Mindanao HighSpeed Railway Project
  • Establishment of Agri-Economic Cooperative Zones in the Bangsamoro area
Here comes Piñol in his August 20 speech held at the office of MinDA in the Old Airport at Sasa, Davao City. Excerpt:
“The plans and programs are admirable with grand projects and ambitious targets. The Mindanao Railway Project, the Tawi-tawi Free Port, the implementation of the Trading Program among our partners in the BIMP-EAGA and the operationalisation of the Barter Trade are among the major programs lined up for implementation.
The questions which beg for answers are: Where are we now? How far have we gone in implementing these grandiose plans? What keeps us from realising these dreams?
Taking a closer look at the much-ballyhooed Davao-Bitung Trading to be served by a vessel capable of carrying cargoes back and forth which I understand is operating intermittently now, I realised what was absent in all of these grand plans.
We tried to build a huge dream on very weak foundations.
Before the launching of the Davao-Bitung Shipping Route attended by no less than President Duterte and President Joko Widodo of Indonesia two years ago, I do not believe that there was a careful study on the sustainability of the project. I suspect that there was simply no in-depth evaluation on whether there were sufficient products to be traded.
Taking the Davao-Bitung Shipping Route fiasco as an example of a poorly planned program, I now ask: If we build the Mindanao Railways, what goods would be transported to where?
Or, if we build the Tawi-tawi Free Port what do we offer our neighbours in the form of counter-trade; Or what goods do we barter in the Barter Trade Centre?
With these questions, I believe we should now realise that we can dream big but these dreams must be anchored on strong foundations”.
Despite the grand Mindanao Railway project coming, Pinol cautioned its inevitability:
(Ang) Mindanao Railway project ay mag-uumpisa na. But I issued a fair warning. Magandang pangarap, pero meron ba tayong ikaka-cascade. Do we have the goods? (The railway project will push through but I issued a fair warning: It is a beautiful dream but do we have the goods to cascade?)” he said as quoted by the Philippine News Agency.

The PHP82.9 billion modern dual track, electricity-run project will cover 1,550 kilometers of the first phase of the Mindanao Railway, which would have eight stations: Tagum; Carmen; Panabo; Mudiang in Bunawan, Davao City; Davao Terminal; Toril; Sta. Cruz; and Digos City.
Since I’ve been writing political and economic column (my favorite is the amendment of the Public Service Acts to open our xenophobic economy to foreign investors) for countless of years already, Secretary Piñol was one of the very few Filipinos, susmariosep, who exposed courageously that the Emperor wears no clothes.

The emperors here were probably Alonto, members of the Regional Development Council, National Economic Development Authority, Departments of Public Works & Highways, Transportation & Communication, or others.
Of course, the hundreds of billions of pesos that will go with the construction of Mindanao Railway Project, the Tawi-tawi Free Port, the implementation of the Trading Program are patent boondoggle at the expense of the Filipino taxpayers.
 Those who crafted these profligacies should be put in a firing squad.
 Piñol was right, why not first build the production of goods and other counter trades through farm-to-market-roads, spike the agricultural production there, more fish cages, livestock and dairy, solar power irrigation and fertilizer loaning so that people there have products to reciprocate with their clients and our country’s neighbors who trade with us, too.
Now, that’s what we call good economic sense! 


P'gasinan, Manila, Others Want to Host MinDA Fruit Fest

 By Mortz C. Ortigoza

BAGUIO CITY – Even before the successful First MinDA Fruit Festival held here, Lingayen, Pangasinan Mayor Leopoldo Bataoil and other officials of the local government units in Luzon wanted to host the tastiest but cheapest fruits from Mindanao.
According to Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Chairperson and Secretary Manny Piñol, Mayor Bataoil signified his intention to host the fruits’ galore like durian, mangosteen, pomelo, lanzones, marang, rambutan, pineapple, lacatan banana, passion fruit, sweet-water or aromatic coconut and guyabano being ferried here by commercial airlines and cargo trucks from Mindanao.
Many of these fruits were sold by traders at Burnham Park and Session Road last August 24 and 25.

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Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Chief and Secretary Manny Pinol (4th from left) poses with Baguio City Mayor Benjie Magalong (3rd from right) and the staff of the MinDA before the start of the First MinDA Fruit Festival held recently in Baguio City.

The MinDA chief asked consumers for understanding that many who joined the queue as early at 5 Am Sunday were not able to buy because the 20 tons’ supply were wiped out in just three hours.
Aside from Lingayen, Piñol eyes Isabela, Munoz,Nueva Ecija, Manila City, Cebu, Iloilo, Bicol, and Cagayan Valley as target areas for the abundance of fruits in the southern part of the country.
“In fact I talked to Cesar Chavez already the chief of staff of mayor Isko (Moreno). This will be the advocacy of the Mindanao Development Authority”.

Piñol cited that he will double the tonnages of fruits unloaded here so everybody could buy the tastiest fruits but cheaper than P20 to P30 a kilo compared to those sold by local retailers here.