Friday, April 12, 2013

Strictly monitor dams, expert said

MALOLOS CITY—While dams in Central Luzon remain safe after the 5.4 earthquake that hit Baler, Aurora on April 4, a dam safety expert advised that a thorough monitoring and assessment on structures be conducted.

Engineer Roderick Dela Cruz, a Bulakenyo dam safety expert based in California said that in the United States, they immediate conduct the same after an earthquake of at least magnitude 5.

“We want to be sure of the safety of our facilities,” said during his presentation on dam safety here on Thursday afternoon, April 4 hours after the earthquake.

As lead dam safety engineer of Southern California Edison (SCE), Dela Cruz manages 82 large dams with age range of 80 to 100 years old.

He said that immediate monitoring and assessment of dam structures especially dikes and spillways are important to see its integrity.

The said actions are mandated by US state and federal laws on dam safety that set standards in the management of dams.

He said that it is unfortunate that in the Philippines there is no law yet that cover dam safety which will also set standards in dam management.

“There are many stake holders in dam operations in the Philippines, but there is no single office that monitors the dam because there no law on dam safety,” he said.

He also lamented Congress’s slow pace on the ratification of the proposed bill for a national dam safety program.

However, he remained optimistic that advocacy n dam safety can be taken by local government units through the enactment of provincial ordinance on the same concern.

This was affirmed by Governor Wilhelmino Alvarado in an interview after Dela Cruz’s presentation.

Alvarado vowed that he will coordinate with the Sangguniang Panglalawigan of Bulacan to pass a local ordinance on dam safety.

He said that a local ordinance can later be improved by Congress, and will serve as their basis in passing a national law which takes time.

Meawhile, the National Power Corporation (Napocor) made assurance that Angat Dam in Hilltop,Norzagaray town is safe after the recent earthquake.

Engineer Rodolfo German,the general manager of the Angat River Hydroelectric Power Plant (Arhepp) said that Thursday’s earthquake was hardly felt at the dam.
However,he said that Napoco Dams and Waterways division along with representatives of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology were tasked to conduct monitoring and assessment of dam structures.

Constructed 43-years ago, Angat Dam is facing its first major rehabilitation due to the presence of a splay of the Marikina West Valley Faultline near the dam’s dike.

The Aquino Administration has allocated P5.7-Billion for the said rehabilitation but the bidding for the construction still have to be conducted.  Dino Balabo

Team Patay faces trouble in vote rich Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY—Team Patay candidates are likely to face bigger challenge in the vote rich province of Bulacan as lay leaders of the Church here vowed that they will not vote for candidates who voted in favor of the Reproductive Health (RH) Law.

This came as some political and Church leaders claimed that there is Catholic vote in this predominantly Catholic country is nothing but a myth.

The decision of the lay leaders, however, remains independent, as Bishop Jose Francisco Oliveros of the Diocese of Malolos is still preparing a pastoral letter that sources said was greatly influence by the passage of the RH law.

The bishop’s letter is expected to be issued after next week when the Church completed its second diocesan synod that will be held from April 8 to 13.

Father Dars Cabral, chair of the Commission on Social Communications admitted that there is not Catholic vote in the country for simple reason that Filipino voters are mostly Catholics.

He warned that said point of view might change in the coming May polls as the Church in Bulacan with almost 3-Million population has started working to educate the province’s over 1.4-M registered voters.

Cabral disclosed that there is no official communication yet from the Church hierarchy telling voters who to vote.

But he added that members of the church laity has already made a vow not to vote for candidates who voted in favor of RH Law last year.

He also disclosed that Bishop Oliveros is preparing a letter on the stand of the church.

But he stressed that while the Diocese did not make a clear cut stand in the past, its stand in the May poll is greatly influenced by the outcome of the passage of the RH law.

“There will be modification because of the influence of  the RH Law, yung  mga di pumanig sa paninindigan ng simbahan laban sa RH ay pinaninindigan din ng mga layko na hindi nila iboboto,” Cabral said.

Cabral also disclosed that all congressional representatives in the province gave their word to Bishop Oliveros that they will not support RH bill which was passed into law last year.

However, only Rep. Arthur Robes of the Lone District of San Jose Del Monte remained true to his words, while others either voted in favor of the controversial law or wne out of the country at the time that it is being ratified in Congress.

Cabral admitted that he still don’t what will be content of the bishop’s pastoral letter, but he stressed that Oliveros is interested in awakening the members of the church to vote based on their conscience.

He also said that the Parish Pastoral Councils (PPCRV) in Bulacan has started their voter’s education campaign as early as February.

As the citizen’s arm of the Church, the PPCRV campaign is parallel with the teachings of the church.

The provincial chapter of the PPCV is also responsible for the translation of its materials into Filipino. Dino Balabo

Jobs fair pre-registation at SM City Baliwag

MALOLOS CITY—Jobseekers are in for a real treat as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Bulacan together with the Municipal Public Employment Service Office (PESO) will hold an early registration for the upcoming Labor Day Job Fair on May 1 at SM City Baliwag.

 To help aspirants speed up their application process, a DOLE Pre-Registration Booth will be stationed at the mall’s event center where job hopefuls can drop by every Monday, Wednesday and Friday starting April 8, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Beverly Cruz, SM City Baliwag public relations specialists said the early screening will allow an applicant to sign up in advance, get their requirements validated and select possible jobs and employers.

During the actual day of the job fair, a pre-registered applicant will be able to go directly to their prospective employer for the interview.

Apart from the pre-registration opportunity, DOLE and PESO representatives will also conduct a Pre-Employment Orientation Seminar (PEOS) every Monday, starting April 8, 2 p.m. at the event center of SM City Baliwag.

The seminar will aid job hunters and fresh graduates with information to prepare them for local and overseas employment.

For inquiries, please call DOLE Bulacan Provincial Field Office at (044) 662-0656 or SM City Baliwag at (044) 761-0723. Dino Balabo