Saturday, January 9, 2016

Guingona named Gatan on ‘completed’ waterworks; folks ask 'where is the water'

Except irrigation waters to ricefields in Tanulong it is a big question ' where is the  Boasaw water for domestic  use'?
SAGADA MOUNTAIN PROVINCE- Indigenous Peoples Representative to the Sangguniang Bayan Jaime Dugao named Senator Teofisto Guingona 111 Gatan during his visit here handing him a spear and a balaka (indigenous headgear). Gatan in Sagada literature is married to Bangan; and Gatan in Benguet mythology refers to a representative of Lumawig (God)  who came down to earth.

As reported by the Philippine Information Agency, the senator from his visit to Ifigao goes to Sagada to inaugurate the P36 million Boasaw waterworks where he alloted 18 million pesos from his priority development assistance funds (PDAF) in 2011.

Guingona was instead met with a thanksgiving ritual called ‘apoy di danum’ here at sitio Anga-ang where locates the ending of the four inch diameter pipe to the irrigation canal leading to Tanulong ricefields.

There was no inauguration of a ‘completed’ waterworks to speak of with a project beset with questions. 

Declared  as ‘completed’ by mayor Eduardo Latawan, the waterworks project  called Improvement of  Buasao  Irrigation System and Construction of  Tanulong  Tribe Irrigators Association Water Services is meant to service the irrigation waters  of  Tanulong  and domestic water supply for 15 barangays of Sagada as noted in the project feasibility study.
The other half of 18 million pesos is sourced from the Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management Project (CHARMP) who is now seeking turnover of the project to hesitant Tanulong irrigators.

Irrigation water to Tanulong rice fields is the reason for the release of Boasaw waters for the said project to begin which also meant to provide for the domestic water supply of Sagada Poblacion. This leading to an agreement in 2011 among northern leaders and elders witnessed by  Latawan that a 5 inch pipe shall lead to the  irrigation canal and  the ‘excess’ waters  for the domestic supply.    

Barangay captain  Ben Ayyawan of Tanulong said the agreement had not been followed with only a four inch diameter pipe leading to the  irrigation canal of Tanulong instead of a five inch orifice. Ayyawan said northern officials had been consistently forwarding their concern to Latawan. 

Excess waters as noted  in said agreement means only when Tanulong ricefields are in fallow during rainy months that waters are directed to the domestic water supply; and in times where ricefields continuously need water that only one hour is allowed every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday of the week to be released to the domestic water system.

The local government unit of Sagada implemented the project with Cotabato- based FFJJ construction who won the bidding in December 2011.

Long awaited waters
While irrigation water to the ricefields of Tanulong flow on,  domestic waters to Sagada remain a big question of when the residents  shall taste  the long  awaited waters from Boasaw despite construction of water tanks in strategic areas of barangays Patay, Ambasing and Antadao and pipes already  laid out.

Folks in barangay Ambasing say waters have not yet reached Ambasing though there is already a waiting tank to be filled.

Same is true in barangays Demang and Dagdag named in the 15 beneficiary towns who await these long awaited waters to come by.

There is no water reaching the eastern barangays though Boasaw waters has flowed here for at least two months March to May of 2014 then stopped.

And in this northern barangays of Bangaan, Aguid and Madongo where water pipes pass through, domestic waters from Boasaw within their territory is not a reality to utilize. Bangaan folks earlier called for pipelines specially meant for Bangaan.

Project redesigns
It’s now 2016 and that is thrice the duration more than the 320 day period of the P36 million Boasaw waterworks since the Sangguniang Bayan then in 2012 asked why pipes do not reach the main town stopping only in sitio Kapinitan despite the project feasibility that said waterworks shall service15 barangays. The SB then further called for redesign of the project. The LGU asked for an extension till August of 2013 to CHARMP to accommodate changes to the design. 

This led to P2 million from 2013 Bottom up Budgetting (BuB) allotted to pipes to reach intended 15 barangays. It was also in said meeting with the  SB then in 2012 that Latawan said 2 four- inch pipes shall be connected from the 6- inch pipe connected from the Boasaw water dam.

Only 1 four- inch pipe however was installed leading to the distribution tank at Palidan loaded with questions if this means saving on pipes.

CHARMP in its recommendation forwarded that 2 four- inch pipes be installed aside from the construction of two water tanks before the waters reach Palidan. 

Barangay captain Ayyawan of Tanulong said there should be at least 2 four inch pipes leading to the distribution tank in Palidan to ensure enough supply of water both for the irrigation of Tanulong ricefields and domestic water supply for Sagada.

Engineer Windel Baaten of CHARMP earlier said volumes of water from the 6 inch pipe connected from the Boasaw dam is getting wasted along the water canal and not fully going to the distribution tank to Palidan. CHARMP recommended that an 8 inch pipe be connected from the open canal connected from the 6 inch diameter pipe from the Boasaw dam.

In June of 2015 CHARMP Supervisor Beverly Pekas assured that domestic waters shall be in town third quarter of 2015.  Waters remained in the canals of Boasaw till now.

This stands since the 320 day project had been bidded December of 2011 and awarded January of 2012.  Project started February and stalled to start again August of 2012 to be stalled again due to questions on free prior and informed consent (FPIC) by adjacent Tubo Abra on the construction of a water tunnel within a common boundary. And that was in later months of 2013.

Comes Senator Guingona at the turn of the New Year in 2016 met with an ‘apoy di danum’ and him getting baptized as Gatan by the LGU officials led by mayor Latawan. Shall the waters finally come to Sagada Poblacion with the ‘apoy’ having been done and the reported removal of a big rock along the water canal?

No turnover yet
Turnover of the project has yet to be done with Tanulong not accepting the waterworks project from CHARMP due to questions on implementations and compliance to CHARMP’s recommendations.

Ayyawan  is hopeful inspection shall be done by CHARMP  January this year.

Equally the question remains when the Boasaw waters shall come to water-needy Sagada Poblacion where abounds a number of business establishments catering to  tourists.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

5 million tourism fund asked to improve old town hall instead

SAGADA MOUNTAIN PROVINCE -  A 5 million  peso tourism building is being questioned for being  projected to be built in front of the municipal building posing  traffic  gridlock and  congestion.

A resolution from the Sangguniang Bayan here asked   the Tourism  Infrastructure And Enterprise Zone Authority  (TIEZA to  reprogram the  5 million peso tourism fund sourced from said agency for the construction of a tourist information center and comfort room in front of the new municipal building to the improvement of the  old municipal  hall  to house said tourism facility instead.

This, as former vice mayor Richard Yodong asked  Department of Tourism  (DOT) Secretary Ramon Jimenez to  realign the  P15 million TIEZA fund for the municipality’s  tourism-related projects to the development of  the Mission Compound  further saying that that projected site for the tourism building is “misplaced”.  

One of the projects jointly identified with the  mayor’s office and the Sanguniang Bayan is  the construction of a comfort room and a Tourism Information Center worth P5 million from TIEZA’s grant of 15 million pesos.

The SB noted that  construction of said structure allows the crowding of the  town hall with nearby buildings thus creating  congestion and unsightly scene in the center of the town and further leads to occurrence of  traffic issues.

A resolution in 2013  was issued by the former SB authorizing  Mayor Eduardo Latawan to  enter into a Memorandum of Agreement  (MOA) for the implementation of identified projects following  letter from TIEZA that revised plans  have been approved after the SB Resolution  in 2012  asked that bidding be  suspended  due to   difference  on project  listing  between the  SB and the Mayor’s Office.  The previous SB then  initiated the proposal  to TIEZA  in 2010 with identified project listings.

Bidding for the proposed projects funded by  TIEZA have already been conducted  following the lifted by the current  legislative body in a resolution superseding the 2012  SB’s suspension of  bidding.

Other projects sourced from the 15 million TIEZA  fund  were bidded September  2015  aside from the  tourism building. These are the construction of comfort rooms  near  Sumaguing Cave, Bangaan, Bumod-ok Falls, and Kiltepan Viewpoint; landscaping of Municipal Park; installation of guard rails at Echo Valley; improvement of pathway to Bokong Falls and Bomod-ok Falls, health and safety program,  and  signages.

link here too

12M Poblacion road widening to be bidded by DPWH

SAGADA, MOUNTAIN PROVINCE-   Bidding for the widening of the road in the central business area of this tourist town shall soon be bidded before the year ends by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). 

Mountain Province – DPWH District Engineer Wilbur Likigan said the road widening project costing 12 million pesos  is scheduled  to be bidded November  24 this year.

Measuring some 300 linear meters, the 3 -lane road widening is projected to cover  near the Omaweng’s residence at Nangonogan sitio to the central Poblacion area near the Centrum building and located within the Mission Compound.

Said proposed and projected road widening came  in the midst of the  previous controversial and opposed road diversion project  which cuts across some portions of the  Mission Compound located in threatened karst geographical locations including a sinkhole.

Said diversion road proposed in 2013 by the municipal local government unit and another in 2014 endorsed by the Standing Committee of the  Episcopal Diocese of Northern Philippines (EDNP) having titled property to the Mission Compound  was then designed to address traffic issues in the center of the town especially during peak tourism seasons. 
Likigan said the projected road widening to begin construction by 2016 is not a parking space.

Meantime, a request for the opening of  a parking lot a at sitio Tangeb  reached the Vestry  of the Church of St Mary the Virgin  (CSMV) in a letter- request by Dagdag residents earlier noted in a barangay assembly in 2014, further affirmed in the barangay’s  August 2015 assembly and passed in a resolution by the barangay officials.

The proposed opening of a parking lot at Tangeb inside the  Mission Compound  refers to a same  entrance and exit  towards the busy Daoangan road which covers a section of the 13 kilometer Dantay-Sagada national road.

The opening of parking spaces is a crucial need  in this part of the town where most  business establishments are found especially inns, restos and souvenir shops./MtProvince Exponent 11-15-2015

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Sagada-Dantay proposed diversion road threatened of Karst topography effects

SAGADA, MOUNTAIN PROVINCE – The heavily opposed  controversial diversion road here at the borders of the Mission Compound takes a new argument  in favor of opposing petitioners.

“Sagada being underlain by Karst topography may well indicate that the Mission Compound  is relatively fragile for major infrastructural development.”

Mining engineer and  St Mary’s School alumnus Jerry  Abeya  in his letter to  Bishop Brent Alawas of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Philippines (EDNP)  has this to say regarding the opposed proposed diversion road projected to be built from the Poblacion terminal joining the Dantay-Sagada National Road at the Daoangan section.

Proposed 700 meter road follows a creek along Deccan to Sayocsoc sitios  and moves upward below Saint Mary’s School to the borders of private lots and residences of  Daoangan.

Above the Deccan-Sayocsoc creek is  a sloping area with the softball ground above and the other side of  residences built along the opposite slope on to the main road.

While  on proposal stage before the Regional Development Council for  funding endorsement, petitioners  of nearly 300 signatories of  Sagada based overseas and nearly 500 signatories from homeland Sagada opposing said proposed diversion road ask congressman  Maximo Dalog to withdraw his endorsement and support building of  parking spaces instead.

The tourist town of Sagada incurs heavy traffic jams during weekends of holidays when influx of tourists visit the community which boasts of natural beauty spots such as Sumaguing Cave, rice terraces, Bumod-ok and Pongas Falls. 

The comment of Abeya posted in Save Sagada Facebook Group  was supported by mining engineer and geologist  George Tauli who told Abeya, ”you are very right that Sagada is in atop a Karst topography (limestone rocks) so we see all around sinkholes with the most prominent at Kiltepan. Therefore the rocks are very porous and with sinkholes, here and there, that you will never know when to encounter them. In case you intersect one, you cannot imagine how many bags of cement or concrete are needed to fill them up".

"There were instances in recent news around the world that sinkholes swallowed whole buildings and cars along a highway in separate incidents....", Tauli added.

Abeya proposes “a thorough study to be first undertaken by a geology expert to determine any risks a major road could pose to Sagada’s Karst topography in the Mission Compound” while challenging the Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP) and the government “to determine in totality if the proposed new diversion road shall strike a harmony between economic development and environment.”

Addressing the Bishop and the Standing Committee who endorsed said road to address traffic issues, Abeya  forwarded that “there should be no rush in constructing a major concrete road that could potentially permanently damage the landscape.”

The petitioning public also asked Bishop Alawas to cancel the  Permit to Enter  signed by him and witnessed  by the Barangay Chairman of Patay Poblacion,  the Standing Committee, and  Department of  Public Works and  Highways (DPWH)  representative to enter, conduct and undertake, survey and occupy   and do other construction activities in connection  to the building  of proposed diversion road.   

Opposing Sagadians and parishioners of  the Church of St Mary the Virgin would like the Mission Compound to stay as is and are wary of proposed diversion road posing  threats of destroying the green belt,  indiscriminate waste disposal, and destruction of a heritage site established a hundred years ago. ( Mountain Province Exponent, May 10, 2015) 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

2 BUB farm to market roads up for probe

SAGADA, MOUNTAIN PROVINCE- Two  farm to market roads here under the Bottom up Budgetting (BUB) for  investigation reached focal person for Mountain Province Lynn Madalang.

Questions on status of implementation and process on project identification were asked by petitioners on farm to market roads  Ato-Engan located at Patay Poblacion  and Canipawan-Mabbay implemented by the  Sagada local government.

Some 15 farmers and residents here questioned alleged double funding of  P350,000  for the Canipawan –Mabbay farm to market road and a P350,000 for Ato- Engan Patay FMR  sourced from the 2013 BUB  listed projects allotted for said  roads.

Left with no riprap constructed , the residential house above donated
portion of the road is prone to landslide
An initial P3.5 million programmed  for the Canipawan-Mabbay  FMR  was sourced from a  P10 million pesos reportedly realigned  from the 15 million peso Pamana funds supposedly for  the Madongo-Tanulong FMR.

Also, the amount of  P3.5 million  was  allotted for the Ato-Engan FMR with funds sourced from the same ‘realigned’ 10 million peso Pamana funds earlier budgeted for the P15 million Tanulong-Madongo FMR. 

A P1.3 million was again programmed for the Ato-Engan FMR from the 2014 BUB listed funded projects. 

The  10 million peso fund  realigned from the P15 million Tanulong-Madongo  FMR sourced from Pamana funds in 2013-2014  was programmed for  Anga-ang – Angtin  Madongo FMR at  P3.5 million, Canipawan-Mabaay  FMR at P3.5 million, and Ato-Engan  FMR  at P3 million nd bidded out by the Department of Agriculture in 2013.

The owner of the donated lot complains why no steps
were constructed to add to the uncoontinued parapet.  
The  petitioners ask where the P350,000 BUB listed fund was worked on and the P3.5 million at the same Canipawan-Mabbay FMR project.
FMR  implementors don't care if  rain will
splatter down  the premises of residential house nearby 

Petitioners also asked where  the  P350,000 and P1.3 million BUB listed fund worked on at the same Ato-Engan FMR where the realigned P3.5 million PAMANA fund was allotted for.
Identification of said projects was asked how  the BUB listed projects were picked out  when other  Civil Society Organizations  (CSOs) have their respective income generating proposals to answer intentions of the BUB mechanism to address poverty alleviation and job generation.

Petitioners  ask  that the projects be investigated suggesting substandard work with cracks on the already implemented Ato-Engan FMR.

Obviously substandard work with buttered add-on cement
and uneven  pavement
No railings
BUB  listed projects  are financed by various agencies depending on what project it is. Roads, pathways and waterworks   are financed by the  Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG),  school-based  projects by the Department of  Education (DEpED),  skills trainings by the  Technical  Skills  Development  Authority (TESDA),   communal  irrigation systems l by the  Department of Agriculture,  tourism related  projects by the  Department of Tourism (DOT), and micro enterprise projects by the Department of  Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)

BUB  ensures funding for the development needs of localities in the budget proposals of participating national government agencies; and the process of project identification involving representatives from the  government and CSOs.
The once beautiful fence was destroyed and interlinks
unrestored to the ire of the owner who complained to the implementing
Department of Agriculture and Local Government Unit of Sagada. 

The process intends to provide funding for projects to provide basic social services,  mitigate hunger, generate jobs, and disaster preparedness.

Lousy drainage. Water shall get pooled here
for whatever purpose 
Projects not allowed under the  BUB listing as contained in the 2015 guidelines are those below 500,000 pesos  as these  can be proposed as LGU  implemented projects,  expansion of Pantawid Pamilya Program, housing Projects, materials recovery facility and landfills, vaccination and  health insurance programs, construction of new school buildings and classrooms nd clinics, farm-to-market roads, construction of municipal halls and  training centers, and purchase of motor vehicles.

Earlier guidelines did not identify  farm to markets roads as unallowed projects. The 2015 guidelines specially identified  FMR as not allowed  projects as these are too costly for the limited  funds under BUB listing. ( April 5, 2015 Mountain Province Exponent)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sagada mayor probed on double funded FMRs and slippage of P36 M waterworks

SAGADA, MOUNTAIN PROVINCE - A complaint filed at the office of the
Ombudsman asked lifestyle check of Sagada mayor Engr Eduardo Latawan
Jr, double-funded farm to market roads and a probe on the long delayed
completion of the 36 million Boasaw waterworks.

Complainant Grace Bandoy alleged that Latawan acquired properties in
separate dates during his term as mayor of Sagada municipality since
he entered the elective post in 2007.

Complainant demanded investigation on Latawan’s acquisition of  real
estate properties in  Sto Tomas, Quezon Hill and Pacdal Baguio City
and separate lots in eastern and southern Sagada while he was mayor of
the town in 2008 till now.

Latawan’s newly acquired lot in southern Sagada last year is located
near the newly inaugurated Balangagan cave in Taccong, Sagada.

This, aside from his newly built three-story house at Antadao, Sagada
in 2009 while the municipal building was being built at the same time.

An earlier complaint charged Latawan of not having  filed his
Statement of  Assets and Liabilities (SALN) since he entered
government office in 2007.

Said complaint also asked investigation of alleged overpricing of the
four- story municipal building costing nearly 22 million pesos as
compared to a four- story private commercial building built in the
same period of time costing 10 million pesos.

Said complaint also alleged 200% plus slippage on the full completion
of the  P36 million Boasaw waterworks  supposed to have been finished
early 2013.

The P36 million waterworks fund was sourced from an P18 million
priority development assistance funds (PDAF) of  Senator Teofisto
Guingona 111 and P18 million from Cordillera Highland Agricultural
Resource Management Project (CHARMP). The 36 million peso project was
awarded to Cotabato-based FFJJ construction in December 2011 jointly
implemented by said  construction company and the LGU of Sagada.

Complaint also asked investigation on the alleged double funding of
farm to market roads namely Angaang -Angtin, Ato-Engan and  Kanipawan
located in Sagada. Said projects were allotted the amounts of P3.5
million each from the  questioned  realignment of  P10 million from a
P15 million Tanulong- Madongo FMR allotted from Pamana funds.

Said complaint  asked probe on the implementation of the same
Ato-Engan FMR allotted P1.3 million from the  BUB listed projects for
2014  monitored by the National Alleviation  Poverty Commission- Department of Interior and Local Government and a P350,000 also  from BUB listed projects in 2013; and a P350
thousand pesos budgeted in 2013 for the same Kanipawan FMR. (Mountain Province Exponent, February 22,2015)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sagada mayor and tourism officer charged for graft and unethical acts

SAGADA, MOUNTAIN PROVINCE - Sagada Mayor Eduardo Latawan and tourism officer Robert Pangod, former executive secretary of Latawan were charged for alleged graft practices, abuse of authority and violation of the code of conduct for public officials and employees. 

In a complaint filed at the Office of the Ombudsman by private citizen Grace Bandoy, complainant alleged that Latawan and Pangod conniving with each other, entered into a contract of service with a certain Mary Ann Wallang for the latter
to prepare and submit 10 proposals for the Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resources Management Project (CHARMP) in early 2012. 

Said complainant forwarded that a cheque was issued in the name of Mary Ann Wallang in the amount of P50,000 by the local government unit of Sagada purportedly as payment for the CHARMP project proposals she supposedly submitted. 

A letter of retraction however noted that Wallang has not authored said CHARMP project proposals.

Said complaint further asked the Ombudsman to order Latawan, Pangod and CHARMP through Department of Agriculture director Marilyn Catalina to produce said project proposals.

Meantime, Pangod is the subject of an investigation by the Civil Service Commission for claiming he is a college graduate of Baguio Central University but negated by a BCU certification dated May 2014 that he is not. Pangod was appointed as municipal tourism officer in 2014. (Mountain Province Exponent, January 11, 2015)