Tuesday, July 22, 2014

House built 60 years ago, gone in 2 minutes

House smashed by Glenda's storm surge.  DB

HAGONOY, Bulacan—Built 60 years ago, gone in two minutes.

This was how a resident of the coastal village of Pugad here described the fury of storm surge spawned by typhoon Glenda when it traversed the Manila Bay on July 16 en route to the West Philippine Sea.

In total, no less than 60 houses in the said villages were totally damaged as seven feet storm surge came rushing in.

Joey Gregorio, 44, of the said village narrated to PromdiNEWS how their house crumbled on the fury of storm surge.

“Wala kaming nagawa, dalawang minuto lang nawala na yung bahay,” he said noting that houses of his three older brothers built beside their ancestral house were also washed out.

Their ancestral house was built by his parents 60 years ago.

The said houses which used to stand side by side were all made of concrete hollow blocks.

Now, only piles of debris were left in place and the concrete comfort room of his brother’s house.
Remains of the Gregorio house.  DB

In the nearby village of Tibaguin, Yolanda Geronimo burst into tears as she recounted how her three year old house gave in to the fury of storm surge.

“Twenty minutes lang wala na yung bahay naming,” she said.

Geronimo said their house was constructed less than three years ago.

It was actually a replacement to their former house destroyed by similar storm surge at the height of the onslaught of typhoon Quiel in 2011.

“Dalawang sunod na po iyan mula noong Quiel,” she said as she tried to hold back the tears.

While lamenting the loss of their houses, both the Gregorios and the Geronimos where thankful that no one in their families and in their villages died during the typhoon.

But they also stressed that storm surges not hit their villages because municipal fishpond that used to protect them was damaged.

This was affirmed by Councilmen Gilbert Tamayo and Alfredo Lunes of Barangay Pugad.

They said that since the dikes of the over 200 hectare municipal fishpond beside the two villages were washed out six years ago, they are now fearing for their lives every time there is a typhoon.

“Natatawag po naming ang lahat ng Santo sa simbahan kapag bumabagyo na dahil walang humaharang sa alon mula sa dagat,” Tamayo said.

For his part, Mayor Raulito Manlapaz said they will start rehabilitating the municipal fishpond by December.

Manlapaz visited the two villages yesterday to distribute relief goods to residents.

His group’s arrival cam just when PromdiNEWS was about to leave Barangay Pugad.

According to Manlapaz, they are now preparing fund for the rehabilitation.

But he stressed that rehabilitation will be quicker if the provincial government will loan them its large dredging machine.

As a former fishpond operators, Manlapaz said that they will need all the assistance they can get to rehabilitate the 13-kiloment coastline of this town and protect its aquaculture industry along with the two coastal villages. Dino Balabo

PUGAD AFTER GLENDA.  There used to be houses here.  DB

PNoy hails INC's Philippine Arena

Philippine Arena, world's largest dome shaped arena.  DB 

BOCAUE, Bulacan—President Aquino hailed the religious group Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) and it’s giant Philippine Arena which he described as bigger than the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

This came after the President joined INC Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo in inaugurating the Ciudad de Victoria at Barangay Duhat here on Monday, July 21.

Unveiling of Ciudad de Victoria marker. DB 
Speaking at the jampacked 55,000-seater Philippine Arena, the President marvelled at “biggest domed arena in the world,” as a symbol that the Filipinos can compete in the world.   

The President also said that the giant structure is a symbol of victories that the INC achieved in its first 100 years, adding that the world is now looking up to the INC as it continues to expand while taking care of its members.

He also expressed personal support to the INC and cited its continued spiritual leadership to its members as he thanked the religious organization for supporting him. 

Before he ended his speech, the President also cited Bible verses from the Gospels of John and Matthew, noting how Jesus Christ reminded his apostles to love one another as He loved them.

The President took potshots against his detractors and encouraged them to sow “seeds of hope instead of disunity.”

Located at the sprawling 70-hectare Ciudad de Victoria complex at Barangay Duhat here, the Philippine Arena which was built at the cost of $200 million is said to be earthquake-proof and can withstand super typhoon winds.

The INC said that its designed is inspired by the narra and banyan trees and has a dome spanning over 3.6 hectares. Its 55,000 seating capacity made it the biggest domed arena in the world, larger than the O2 Arena in London.

Construction of the Philippine Arena started in September 2011 and it can be seen on the east side of the North Luzon Expressway in this town.  Dino Balabo

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Malolos warehouse raided, feeds component mixed with imported rice

Sec. Mar Roxas at Purefeeds warehouse.

MALOLOS CITY—A rice trader here will soon face multiple charges for mixing old rice stocks which is said to be unfit for human consumption with imported ones.

However, the rice trader said he did nothing wrong and noted that he was even are cooperating with the National Food Authority (NFA) inspections as directed by President Aquino last week.

As this developed, NFA and police officials said more rice warehouses suspected of rice hoarding and profiteering have been identified and will soon be raided.

This came as the Criminal Investigation Detection Group (CIDG) cordoned off a rice warehouse at the First Bulacan Industrial City (FBIC) in Barangay Tikay here on Friday and was opened to the media on morning, July 7.

Interior Secretary Mar Roxas told journalists that Purefeeds Corp. will be facing multiple charges for violation of laws implemented by the NFA, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the Bureau of Customs (BoC) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Roxas said that Purefeeds Corp., owned by one Jojo Soliman, has been mixing old stocks rice which are deemed unfi t for human consumption with imported rice from Vietnam. “They are selling adulterated rice,” Roxas said noting that old stock rice served as “extender” to imported rice.

Roxas and the NFA represented by its Administrator Arthur Juan reported that a total of 32,000 bags of rice were seized at the Purefeeds warehouse here. However, sources said the total inventory at the said warehouse is about 60,000 bags.

Roxas clarified that the 32,000 bags he mentioned earlier is a result of initial inventory. Roxas also said that there is a possibility that rice mixed and repacked by Purefeeds have been distributed to the market. He said that NFA will soon file charges against Purefeeds, and if found guilty, their license to trade rice might be terminated.
Jojo Soliman, Purefeeds owner
For his part, Soliman told PromdiNEWS that his family has been trading rice for over 50 years. He said that he himself has been in the business for 25 years and started rice importation 15 years ago. “We have done nothing wrong, there is nothing illegal in our operation,” Soliman said. He added that they have been cooperating with the NFA in the implementation of its “visitorial function.”

He expressed disappointment over the seeming trial by publicity against them. “This is supposed to be a regular inspection,” he said. The same was affirmed by NFA Administrator Arthur Juan who also said that he respects the comments of Soliman.

Juan noted that once the case is filed in court, they will follow what the law requires. Dino Balabo

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Mobile passport service in Malolos

CITY OF MALOLOS- In a continuous bid to bring services closer to the people, the Provincial Government of Bulacan in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs will once again conduct a Mobile Passport Service to help Bulakenyos acquire passports in a more convenient and easy way.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said this project offers convenience to Bulakenyos allowing them to save time and money.

“Maraming magagandang serbisyo ang dapat malaman ng mga Bulakenyo at isa na ‘to. Dito hindi na nila kailangang gumising ng sobrang aga at mamasahe ng malaki para lumuwas kasi nandito na sa malapit sa atin,” Alvarado said.

Provincial Youth, Sports, Employment, Arts, Culture & Tourism Office (PYSEACTO) head Elizabeth Alonzo said that passport applications and submission of the duly accomplished forms and all other requirements will run from August 1-15, 2014 and to be submitted at PYSEACTO while the appearance and final evaluation by the representatives of DFA will be on September 13, 2014 at the Bulacan Capitol Gymnasium.

The release of passports will be announced at a later date.

Alonzo also said that the project will be served in a first come, first serve basis.

“Yung mga aplikanteng aabot doon sa limit na 600 ay magbabayad ng P1, 200 para sa mobile passport fee kapag nagpunta na sila for personal appearance,” Alonzo explained.

According to the DFA, new applicants need to submit Birth Certificate (BC) in Security Paper (SECPA) issued by National Statistics Office (NSO), two valid Identification Cards (photocopy) and NSO Authenticated Marriage Contract for married women as requirements.

Moreover, applicants for renewal of passport are required to submit old passport, photocopy of the first, last & all pages with marks in the passport, and Marriage Contract (MC) in Security Paper (SECPA) issued by National Statistics Office (NSO) for newly married women.

PYSEACTO is located at Capitol Compound, Gat Blas Ople Building, City of Malolos, Bulacan