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Real estate group pushes creation of housing department

Fri, 10/27/2017 - 17:46




Published in the Sunstar Davao Newspaper on Friday, October 27, 2017
By Jennie P. Arado

A HOUSING department will help better address the country’s housing concerns than a mere coordinating council, said Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Association, Inc. (Creba) official.

One of the bills that Creba wants to push is the Department of Housing Bill, which had been pending for about 20 years now.

According to Creba executive director Sharmin Albacete, this bill had been certified as an urgent bill by past administrations but still did not make it into law.

“Creba is hopeful that having a Department of Housing and Development, rather than just a coordinating council that we have now for housing, the housing concerns of the nation will be better addressed by a department that is truly focused on delivering housing programs encompassing finance, administration, actual production, and better regulations for housing,” said Albacete.

By late 2015, the House of Representatives approved the creation of Department of Housing and Urban Development. House Bill (HB) 6194 was authored by House Committee on Housing and Urban Development Chairman Alfredo Benitez, Liberal Party (LP) representative Rodolfo Biazon, LP representative Jose Christopher Belmonte, Lakas representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Party-list representative Silvestre Bello III.

The HB has the objective of merging together the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).

“What we would like the department to focus on are on four major aspects that are now spread out being implemented independently by several shelter agencies, some of them even Government Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs). So we would like to integrate all of these housing functions under a department of housing to make the entire process of housing, real estate development, and planning more systematic,” said Albacete.

As for their organization’s part, she said they had been relentless in pushing the passage of the bill most especially to the congressmen that they know or the congressmen of the areas they have chapters in.

Albacete said their organization understands that creation of a new department might require additional funding from the government, however, they are hopeful that with the recent creation of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to answer an urgent need, the department of housing will also finally be pushed as well.

“(The urgent need) is also true for housing as well. There is no need for new funding because the key shelter agencies already have their own. What we only need to do is to integrate the functions, the funds, and administration and fashion it in a way that we will set the responsibilities and accountabilities of the secretary very clearly,” she said.

Meanwhile, Creba Public Relations Officer and 2017 National Convention Chairman Jocelyn Yumul believes that the constant appointment of the highest elected official of the opposing party of the elected president as HUDCC chair is one of the major reasons the creation of the department is always pending under different administrations.

“We have not been given priority in that area only because there really is no strength or strong influence by the head. We’re happy that at least, during this term the head of housing is a direct appointee of the president,” Yumul.

The appointment of Eduardo del Rosario as HUDCC chair in July followed the stepping down of Vice President Leni Robredo from the position.

Source: Sunstar Davao

More Negrense support for federalism seen

Thu, 10/19/2017 - 17:01




Published October 18, 2017, 10:00 PM
By Mark L. Garcia

Bacolod City — President Duterte’s move to shift to a federal government is gaining more support in Bacolod and Negros Occidental.

Martin Diño, a strong Duterte ally and former Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority chairman, was in Negros Occidental Monday to seek Negrenses’ support for the move towards federalism, a move that will keep the two Negros provinces together and create a free port zone that could generate thousands of jobs.

Diño was accompanied by Local Government undersecretaries Jesus Hinlo and Emily Padilla, and Social Welfare Undersecretary Virginia Orogo, who like Diño are officials for the Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte National Executive Coordinating Committee.

They joined Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia at the Bacolod City Government Center, and a forum on federalism in Bago City Tuesday.

Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. and Leonardia have announced their support for a federal government.

Marañon believes the abolished Negros Island Region is a good model for establishing a federal state.

Earlier this month, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez led the oath-taking of about 13,000 Negrenses here as new members of PDP-Laban. The separate oath-taking ceremonies were led by Leonardia and 3rd District Representative Alfredo Abelardo Benitez.

Diño said the President wants the change to federalism fast-tracked and put to a vote in a referendum during the barangay elections next year or the mid-term polls in 2019.

He said they are going around the country to explain the advantage of a federalist state, especially to Filipinos living outside Metro Manila where development has been focused for years.

Source: Manila Bulletin

Crush terror before lifting martial law – Lacson

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 17:04



BY BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO ON OCTOBER 18, 2017

SEN. Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday said the military must be allowed to finish its “final assault” against the remaining terrorists cornered in Marawi City before martial law is lifted in Mindanao.

Some senators said the government must also focus on the reconstruction of war-torn Marawi following President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration that the Islamic City has been “liberated” from the clutches of the Islamic State-linked Maute group.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto 3rd said: “A new dawn is coming to Marawi and Mindanao. I look forward to a modern city to replace the old Marawi.”

“Liberating Marawi is the easy part. Now, for the more difficult part which is rehabilitation, reconstruction and recovery,” said Sen. Gregorio Honasan 2nd.

Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito said martial law should not be lifted yet in Mindanao as government troops needed to continue with clearing operations “to make sure that all the terrorists are arrested or neutralized.”

The President declared martial law in Marawi on May 23 hours after the Maute group attacked the city. Congress later extended the declaration up to the end of the year.

Assessment needed

Lacson said the military should finish its mission prior to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi.

“If there will be terrorists left behind, they can be likened to a wound or bacteria which can be infectious and spread,” Lacson said.

Sought for reaction regarding proposals to lift martial law in Mindanao following the death of Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute, Lacson said, “Let us first assess the full gamut of the Marawi crisis.”

“In lifting the martial law, it is the government forces on the ground who can make the proper proposal because according to them there are still foreign terrorists in the [main battle]area. I think they are already looking at a small area to launch their final assault,” he said.

“So, it depends on their recommendation since they are the ones on the ground. It’s not for me, for you, or anybody for that matter who are not in Marawi City who should assess when to lift the martial law,” Lacson added.

Sotto said martial law was not needed for the rehabilitation of Marawi. “I think the President will lift martial law shortly. We should still be alert and cautious.”

For opposition senator Francis Pangilinan, the government should make rehabilitation of Marawi City a top priority “instead of dwelling on baseless destabilization reports.”

House mixed

Members of the House of Representatives were split on whether or not to lift martial law.

Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles said martial law should remain in effect even after the remaining leaders of the Maute militants have been killed, to allow the fast and uninterrupted rebuilding of Marawi City.

Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez martial rule “should be lifted as soon as possible.”

Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat said the latest developments downgraded the justification for martial law, but conceded that clearance from the troops in Marawi was needed before lifting it.

“The commitment of the security officials during the martial law hearings in Congress is that they will recommend the lifting of martial law once security threat has been downgraded,” Baguilat said.

“But I am willing to await a full military assessment of the situation with the caveat that martial law should be lifted,” he added.

Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said he would leave it to the President to decide on the matter,
“I will leave it to [Duterte] to assess the threat of terrorist attacks not just in Marawi but all over Mindanao and whatever his decision will be I will support it as a Mindanaoan,” Barbers said.

Rehab is next step

Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano said that with the siege over, the swift and reliable rehabilitation of Marawi should be the next priority.

“The rehabilitation of Marawi City should have a comprehensive, multi-agency plan in order to properly address all fronts. Provision of basic needs, building of houses and infrastructure, and return of economic activity are things that must be acted upon immediately. Psychological services should also be provided for the residents and soldiers who have been in the frontlines and have endured the conflict on the ground,” Alejano said in a statement.

“I hope that the rehabilitation would be swift and reliable. We do not want to add more sufferings to the people of Marawi. May all of us in the government and civil society offer our helping hands to our Maranao brothers and sisters,” Alejano said.

AND RALPH VILLANUEVA

Source: Manila Times

Nikki Cares Surgical Mission Pre-screening

Wed, 10/18/2017 - 09:27



on Wed, 10/18/2017

More than 500 residents of the Third District of Negros Occidental, all with medical conditions like hernia, gallstones, goiter, polyp, cyst and the like that may require surgery underwent pre-screening last October 13, 2017 for the Nikki Cares Surgical Mission slated November 23 to 26, 2017 at the Teresita Jalandoni Memorial Provincial Hospital.



Mrs. Nikki Benitez welcomes all who participated in the pre-screening and thanks assistance of supporters.*

Dominique “Nikki” Lopez Benitez, wife of Congressman Alfredo Benitez, organized the surgical mission with the assistance of the Makati Medical Center surgeons who volunteered their free services. The project is supported by Silay City Government through Mayor Mark Golez, Teresita Jalandoni Memorial Provincial Hospital through Chief of Hospital Dr. Girlie Pinongan, Betty Bantug Benitez Foundation through Executive Director Mary Ann Diño and the District Office of Congressman Benitez.



BBBF Executive Director Mary Ann Diño briefs the Makati Medical Center surgeons before the pre-screening.*

The prospective surgical patients came from the cities of Silay, Talisay and Victorias, and the municipalities of Murcia and EB Magalona.

The surgeons from Makati Medical Center who conducted the pre-screening were Dr. Erwin Dizon, Dr. Natividad Soler, Dr. Fe Villarfria, Dr. Joaquin Manalastas, Dr. Darryl Santiago, and Dr. Michele Angela Meer Anievas.*

 

 

Source: Negros Daily Bulletin

From the Editor-in-Chief: Albee for Senator? (Why Not?)

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 18:26



on Fri, 10/13/2017 by Pert Toga

“It’s about time. If Albee does not run for the Senate now, when will he decide? If not in this 2019 polls, when? If not Albee,, who?” These were just some of the instant reactions from several Albee supporters and political pundits as the possibility of his senatorial draft for the Senate was declared during the mass oath-taking of thousands who joined the political exodus to the administration camp recently at the Victorias Coliseum in that Northern Negros Occidental city.

When speaker Pantaleon Alvarez jumped the gun on Pres. Rodrigo Duterte by virtually proclaiming Negrense Congressman Albee Benitez as having been included among the top contenders for the PDP-Laban senatorial slate in the 2019 mid-term elections, most Negrenses were apparently amazed but happy and optimistic.

Not a few welcomed the unexpected and sudden expression of open support by the party in power in favor of Albee whose constituency had been silently praying and hoping that this time, Negros Occ. will finally have its very own favorite son to sit as a senator, what with the big influence and political clout of the administration bandwagon, granting that the President dramatically recovers from a recent slump in his trust rating and to maintain his upward trend in popularity until his six-year term comes to a booming conclusion especially sometime in 2019 or earlier.

Albee, who apparently could hardly hold his emotions and surprise, but can only exhude his elation by being humble enough to say that there are still many things to take into consideration, and he has yet to make a nationwide consultation to “feel the real pulse of the Filipino electorate.”

Truly, it’s not just popularity, money or political endorsements that could make a candidate win. What’s more important, to our mind, is a nationwide political machinery, well-oiled and efficiently-managed by professionals with unquestioned integrity and loyalty. But over and above all else, the candidate’s winnability, mass appeal, sterling acceptability, qualifications, credibility and sincerity can do wonders for an achiever like Albee Benitez.

If one possesses all these qualities in abundance, he will boost his self-confidence and further enhance his chances, especially with his eloquence and charisma as a convincing public speaker, sincere and down-to-earth in his approaches to ease the plight of the less fortunate.

For generations, Negros Occidental had not been blessed with the rare opportunity to elect even one senator, unlike some other provinces like Cebu, Iloilo and even those with relatively smaller number of registered voters. Why is this so? Lack of qualified leaders? Crab mentality? Lack of unity? The ever-widening gap between the very rich and the poor? Name it, we have it, and so what happens? True-blooded Negrenses could hardly even reach first base in national elections.

Gone were the days when we were lucky enough to have some of our big names who made it to the senate, much more the vice presidency or the presidency for that matter. Not even during the hey-days of the once influential “Sugar Bloc” when rich and highly-respected sugar barons lorded it over the country’s political electoral processes and economic dominance.

Those were the days when Negros Occ. had been ably represented in the upper chamber like the late Senator Pedro “Perico” C. Hernaez, often refined to as “father of Bacolod City” having principally sponsored the bill that granted the city charter of Bacolod City in 1938; the late Senator Enrique B. Magalona of the former town of Saravia which was later named in his honor by no less than his son, Luis Magalona, one of the longest-serving mayor of the said town, now EB Magalona; the late Senator Jose C. Locsin of Silay City; the late Senator Ramon Torres of Bago City; not to forget the late former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Gil Montilla of Isabela, Negros Occidental.

After these distinguished gentlemen, I can no longer recall any other Negrense who rose to national prominence in governance except for the late Island Governor Alfredo “Peding” Montelibano, Sr. who was tapped by former Presidents as economic czar, heading top positions like Interior Secretary and chairman of the National Economic Council, among others and the late former Ambassador Roberto Salas Benedicto who was one of the closest and most influential figures during the Martial Law era, having headed the Philippine Sugar Commission (PHILSUCOM), the National Sugar Trading Authority (NASUTRA) several banking institutions and the Philippine National Bank (PNB), during the unlamented 20-year-term of the dictatorship under the late Pres. Ferdinand Edralin Marcos.

Several distinguished Negrenses have attempted to vie for national positions but unfortunately did not succeed, many of them could not even land in the winning column even in their native province, Negros Occ. despite their winning capability and qualifications. One of them was the late Jose Yulo of Bago City who aspired for the presidency but lost to Carlos P. Garcia, a Boholano who defeated Yulo even in his home ground, Negros Occ. The late City Councilor Wilson Gamboa Sr., who rose to prominence to become Defense Undersecretary for munitions and DAR secretary sometime during the Cory Aquino presidency also failed to clinch a senate seat despite the political clout of his group, the Grand Alliance for Democracy (GAD) led by then Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile. Sad but until recently, decades after the one-man rule and earlier, Negrenses hoping for at least one senatorial wannabe to even reach first base in the national polls. Many political analysts have pointed to the crab mentality as among the causes of these misfortunes. True or not, the facts and realities point to the continued frustration among Negrense voters who are always hoping against hope that at least one Negrense aspirant for the Senate can make it at last. Is Albee Benitez the answer to their prayers? That of course depends upon Albee himself and the sincerity of his supporters and political backers in the high echelon of the political firmament, and above all, the entire Filipino electorate come 2019. It’s still a decisive two years to go and many intervening factors and crucial events are expected to happen affecting the ever-changing and volatile political crisis confronting the nation.

Will it bring about favorable atmosphere towards realization of the Negrense dream? Or will it lead to another standstill and further frustrations for Negrenses whose fond wishes for unity will remain a bad dream and worse, a political nightmare of unprecedented magnitude? Let’s wait and see what the political scenario will turn out to be in the next two years.*

 

Source: Negros Daily Bulletin

NHA to rebid P800-m ‘Yolanda’ housing project

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 15:19



posted October 11, 2017 at 12:01 am by Maricel Cruz

The government will rebid the allegedly anomalous P800-million housing projects intended for Yolanda victims, a National Housing Authority official told lawmakers on Tuesday.

At a congressional hearing conducted by the joint House committees on housing and urban development and on good government and public accountability, chaired by Reps. Alfredo Benitez of Negros Occidental and Johnny Pimentel of Surigao del Sur, NHA assistant general manager Froilan Kampitan said the rebidding of the contract was needed to fast-track the implementation of the “Yolanda” housing projects which said to have used substandard construction materials.

“We just need to rebid it to a new contractor. We are trying to locate some properties already that are available [under the contract of JC Tayag Builders Inc.,” Kampitan said during the hearing.

Kampitan said the NHA will issue a notice of termination of contract to JC Tayag Builders Inc., operated by JC Tayag, the main contractor of the government’s “Yolanda” housing project in Eastern Samar.

Rep. Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar earlier filed the resolution on the controversy.

“Procurement policies, land acquisition issues and the many permits and clearances needed to start certain projects have been cited as among the primary reasons that slow down the implementation of the resettlement projects,” Evardone said.

In the same hearing, Tayag denied anew that his construction firm used substandard materials and thus endangering the lives of the families and victim of Super Typhoon “Yolanda.” 

Tayag’s subcontractor Camilo Salazar accused his principal of using substandard steel and bars for the construction of 2,000 housing units for “Yolanda” victims in Balangiga, Hernani and Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

Salazar alleged that Tayag used 8-millimeter steel rods in the construction instead of the required specification of 10 millimeters.

Earlier, Benitez’s committee conducted a series of on-site hearings on the issue and validated Salazar’s allegations against Tayag.

Benitez said his panel’s inspection team uncovered the size of the reinforcing steel bars averaged at 8 millimeters; while it also discovered that Tayag also used undersized bars of 12 millimeters, which is below the requirement of 16 millimeters.

Benitez also said lawmakers will recommend the filing of perjury, syndicated estafa and plunder charges against Tayag and other NHA officials over the controversy.

Source: Manila Standard

Groundbreaking Ceremony of Scout Ranger Ville

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 17:43


October 11, 2017
Courtesy of PTV




Source: PTV

NHA in hot water over ‘Yolanda’ housing

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 15:07




October 11, 2017
By: Ellson Quismorio

The National Housing Association (NHA) is in hot water for failing to act on the use of substandard materials for housing projects in “Yolanda”-ravaged Eastern Samar.

Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez, chairman of the Committee on Housing and Urban Development, said during a joint House inquiry yesterday that someone must answer for this very disturbing negligence on the part of the NHA.

The hearing was conducted along with the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability, although the Benitez panel began its probe on the controversial construction project last September.

“There seems to be a failure on NHA’s monitoring system since the fact remains, for nine months…you told this hearing that you knew nine months before that substandard materials had been utilized. But no rectification, no action has been taken after nine months after this hearing discovered and exposed (it),” Benitez told attending NHA officials led by Assistant General Manager (AGM) Froilan Kampitan.

NHA General Manager Marcelino Escalada Jr. – scolded by congressmen during last month’s hearing for being too lax on housing project contractor JC Tayag Builders as far as meeting targets go – did not attend yesterday’s hearing.

Source: Tempo

UNegA meetings in October, Benitez not ruling out guv bid

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 21:30



Tuesday, October 10, 201
BY CARLA GOMEZ

The United Negros Alliance is set to hold meetings this month, that will include the swearing in of new members, its secretary general, Acting Governor Salvador Escalante, said yesterday.

He said Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., UNegA chairman, is still determined to support Rep. Alfredo Benitez (Neg.Occ., 3 rd District) if he runs for senator or governor of Negros Occidental.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Senate President Koko Pimentel, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan top officials, have said Benitez is on their party's senatorial line up shortlist for 2019.

But Benitez saidlast night thatrunning for governor of Negros Occidental is “still an option” along with even not running for any post at all.

If Benitez does not run for the top post of the province,UNegA has yet to determine whom it will field for governor, Escalante said.

He said no merger talks between UNegA and Love Negros have begun, so he could not say ifUNegAwould supporta gubernatorial bid of Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson.

He said anything is possible from a Lacson-Alfredo Marañon III to a Lacson –Jeffrey Ferrertandem to a purely UNegA team up.

Meanwhile, among the likely contenders for the fifth congressional seat with Alejandro Mirasol on his third and last term, are Board Member Alain Gatuslao, Himamaylan Mayor Agustin Ernesto Bascon and Marilou Arroyo.*CPG

Source: The Visayan Daily Star

NHA may bid out Yolanda housing project again as contractor comes under fire

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 18:17



By: Vince F. Nonato - Reporter / @VinceNonatoINQPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 04:53 PM October 10, 2017

The National Housing Authority is set to terminate the contract of a construction firm that allegedly used substandard materials in the houses meant for the resettlement of families in Eastern Samar that were displaced by Typhoon Yolanda (internationally known as Haiyan) in 2013.

A notice to terminate and a show-cause order was issued to J.C. Tayag Builders, Inc., back in August, NHA Visayas Management Office officer-in-charge Grace Guevarra said on Tuesday during the joint inquiry of the House of Representatives’ housing and good government committees on Tuesday.

NHA Assistant General Manager Froilan Kampitan added that the affected projects in Eastern Samar could still be completed even though the houses were built using 8-mm steel rods instead of the 16-mm specification.

“We just need to rebid it to a new contractor,” he said.

No payment, no acceptance

Kampitan also stressed that “no payment has been made, no acceptance of the project has been done,” amid the issues hounding J.C. Tayag’s resettlement projects.

But, J.C. Tayag owner Juanito Tayag maintained during the hearing that he did not know that undersized bars were used in the construction.

Tayag already testified under oath in a Sept. 18 hearing that substandard materials were not used in the housing projects. But a subsequent inspection uncovered the use of undersized rods, prompting housing committee chair Rep. Albee Benitez to say on Sept. 26 that he planned to file perjury charges against Tayag.

The contractor, however, stuck to his claim during the Tuesday hearing and said that “based on our records, we did not use 8-mm [steel rods].”

He even raised the possibility of an inside job.

“In truth, even we are investigating it because we do not know why there were 8-mm. We really did not buy and use 8-mm,” he said.

Errors already spotted in December 2017

The lawmakers also grilled NHA Region 8 Director Rizaldy Mediavillo for not earlier disclosing to the House that the issue with the materials was already flagged in a “site memorandum” as early as December 2016.

Mediavillo told legislators that the site memorandum required the contractor to rectify the errors. Otherwise, they would not be paid.

But, Benitez questioned why the attention of the House was not called sooner and said no one would have noticed if the committee had not conducted a hearing and if J.C. Tayag subcontractor Camilo Salazar had not come forward as a whistleblower.

“I find it unusual that suddenly, there’s a site memo that you released in December 2016,” Benitez said. “You yourself don’t even know. Doesn’t it show the NHA’s shortcomings in the management of the project?”

“That site memo was very material and important [to this issue],” he said. “They’re using substandard material. In all construction, I haven’t seen anyone use 8-mm.”

Mediavillo explained, however, that such site memoranda were circulated among the on-site engineers and not the level of the regional office.

Kampitan defended the NHA regional office and conceded: “Maybe the issue really is the time response.”

Still, Benitez said: “There seems to be failure on the NHA’s monitoring system.”

Unqualified contractor

Meanwhile, good government committee chair Rep. Johnny Pimentel questioned why J.C. Tayag was engaged as a contractor for the P800-million project, when its previous project in San Jose del Monte in Bulacan was only worth P96 million.

He also questioned why the contract had not been rescinded when it had incurred slippages – that is, failure to meet the deadline – in the range of minus-70 percent.

“You do not enter into a contract with unqualified contractors”, he said. “No wonder the Yolanda emergency housing program is very much delayed.” /atm

Source: Inquirer.net

Solons grill NHA execs over Yolanda housing issue

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 16:27



Published October 10, 2017 1:21pm
By ERWIN COLCOL, GMA News

Lawmakers on Tuesday grilled officials of the National Housing Authority (NHA) over the supposed delays in the resolution of the alleged substandard construction of housing units for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda.

During a joint House inquiry into the snail-paced implementation of housing relocation and resettlement projects for Typhoon Yolanda victims, Juanito Tayag, owner of contractor J.C. Tayag Builders Inc., reiterated that they did not purchase or use substandard materials for the housing units.

This, even as the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development earlier sent an inspection team to the construction site to check the housing units.

Instead of the standard 10 millimeter steel rods, the team found that J.C. Tayag Builders Inc. used 8 millimeter ones for the construction of the housing units.

"I was speaking because based on our records we did not use 8 millimeter," Tayag stressed during the hearing.

"Sa totoo po, pati kami nagpapaimbestiga dahil 'di namin alam bakit may 8 millimeter... Talagang wala po kaming binili at ginamit na 8 millimeter," he added.

A whistleblower named Camilo Salazar earlier revealed that J.C. Tayag Builders Inc. had used 8 millimeter instead of 10 millimeter steel rods for the project.

Tayag has since denied Salazar's allegations.

House panel chairman Alfredo Benitez then turned the questioning to NHA Region VIII director Engineer Rizaldy Mediavillo to ask how J.C. Tayag Builders Inc. got away with using substandard materials for the housing project.

Mediavillo, however, said they issued a site memo to J.C. Tayag Builders in December 2016 upon learning that the contractor used substandard materials.

The site memo obligates the contractor to rectify the issues the NHA found in the construction of the project.

"Hindi nakalusot dahil binigyan namin siya ng site memo noong ma-inspect," Mediavillo said.

"'Yung mga hindi in compliance with contract, subject to site memo to rectify. Kung 'di ico-comply, hindi mababayaran," he added.

But Abang Lingkod party-list Representative Joseph Stephen Paduano found it alarming that the NHA only informed the House panel of the existence of the site memo when the issue of the substandard materials was already being discussed in the previous hearings.

Benitez asked Mediavillo to provide the committee with a copy of the site memo.

"Can you submit yung site memo? I find it very unusual na bigla na lang nagkakaroon ng site memo na pinadala niyo ng December 2016," he said.

"Napaka-material ng site memo na 'yun. Sa lahat ng construction, walang gumagamit ng 8 millimeter," he added.

Engineer Grace Guevarra, officer-in-charge of the Visayas Management of the National Housing Authority, said they have already issued a notice to terminate the project last August.

NHA Assistant General Manager Froilan Kampitan, meanwhile, assured that the J.C. Tayag Builders Inc. will not be paid for their non-compliance in the contract for the project.

"No payment has been made, no acceptance of the project has been done. As far as the payments, none has been done yet as of the moment and the action of the [NHA] general manager right now is to pursue termination of that project," he said.

Benitez has warned that they may file perjury charges against Tayag for allegedly making false statements in their previous hearings.

This was after he declared under oath that J.C. Tayag Builders Inc. did not use substandard materials for the construction project when the inspection team found otherwise. — RSJ, GMA News

Source: GMA News Online

PDP-Laban shutting doors to new members to prepare for 2019

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 19:15



(philstar.com) | Updated October 9, 2017 - 1:25pm

MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Monday said that the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino- Lakas ng Bayan party will no longer accept new members by the end of November.

Pimentel, also the president of PDP-Laban, said his party mulled closing doors to potential members after several others jumped ship from their respective parties. He, however, clarified that the recruitment drive will continue until the end of next month.

The PDP-Laban president said that their party needs sufficient time to prepare for the May 2019 national and local elections.

“After the massive influx of new members into the party for the past year, we now have significant presence in most of the provinces of the country,” Pimentel said in a release.

“We should now focus on teaching all the members the Party Ideology and Program of Government and deepening their understanding of these. After this, we can present a solid and united front come 2019,” he added.

New members might reap privileges without contributing to party

Pimentel described PDP-Laban as one of the few parties in the country that recruits members bound by the following ideology: "Belief in God; Human Dignity; Love of Country; Equal Opportunities for All; Consultative and Participatory Democracy; and Federalism."

He said he is worried that “latecomers” to the party may claim the privileges of the membership “without actually contributing anything to the development of PDP-Laban.

“PDP-Laban is a party for those who believe in its principles, whether it is in power or not. We are not a party of political convenience. By stopping recruitment, we will have time to indoctrinate and train our members, screen possible candidates, and absorb our new members into our grassroots infrastructure,” Pumentel said.

"It is the duty of every member of PDP-Laban to pursue the change that we have promised under President Duterte, foremost of which is the shift to the Federal System of Government,” he added.

Last Friday, Pimentel disclosed the names of the party's six potential senatorial candidates for the 2019 midterm polls. He said senatorial slate could include himself as well as House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas (Ilocos Norte), presidential adviser Francis Tolentino, Rep. Karlo Nograles (Davao City), Rep. Geraldine Roman (Bataan) and Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Negros Occidental).– Rosette Adel

Source: Philippine Star

PDP-Laban won't accept new members by end-November

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 10:32



Published 7:40 PM, October 08, 2017
Updated 7:45 PM, October 08, 2017

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III says this would give the ruling party time to screen candidates for the 2019 midterm elections

MANILA, Philippines – Politicians wishing to join the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) would only have until next month as the ruling party is set to stop accepting new members by the end of November.

Senate President and party president Aquilino Pimentel III said they need enough time to screen and choose their official candidates for the midterm elections in May 2019.

PDP-Laban is already preparing for the national and local elections. Just last week, Pimentel revealed the initial names on their Senate slate for 2019.

These include Pimentel himself, Negros Occidental 3rd District Representative Albee Benitez, Bataan 1st District Representative Geraldine Roman, Davao City 1st District Representative Karlo Nograles, former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino, and House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas.

"After the massive influx of new members into the Party for the past year, we now have significant presence in most of the provinces of the country. We should now focus on teaching all the members the Party Ideology and Program of Government and deepening their understanding of these. After this, we can present a solid and united front come 2019," Pimentel said.

He added that they are wary of possible members only showing up in the period leading up to the elections to enjoy the privileges of being in the ruling party.

"We are not a party of political convenience," said Pimentel.

"By stopping recruitment, we will have time to indoctrinate and train our members, screen possible candidates, and absorb our new members into our grassroots infrastructure," he added.

Pimentel's father, PDP-Laban founder and former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr, earlier called on the party to question the motives of new members.

"It is now being swamped by new members, and I think it is important that the motivation of these people going to the party should be put into question," said Pimentel in a Rappler Talk interview last July 29.

"Only if the party is satisfied that they are really sincere, eager to learn about party platforms, direction that they should be accepted as members. Otherwise, they should be accepted as allies but not necessarily members."

After President Rodrigo Duterte's victory in the May 2016 elections, some lawmakers from former president Benigno Aquino III's Liberal Party (LP) jumped ship to PDP-Laban. The House of Representatives is dominated by a Duterte-allied "supermajority."

Local officials from different political affiliations also shifted to PDP-Laban. Just last week, Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan, Siquijor Governor Zaldy Villa, and Occidental Mindoro Vice Governor Peter Alfaro took their oath before Pimentel. – Rappler.com

Source: Rappler.com

2019 SENATORIAL: POLLS PDP-Laban to field Fariñas, Roman, Tolentino

Sun, 10/08/2017 - 15:37



BY THE MANILA TIMES ON OCTOBER 7, 2017

THE ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) has identified six of the 12 candidates for its senatorial slate in the 2019 mid-term elections.

The PDP-Laban senatorial line up will be, so far, composed of Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, Representatives Alfredo Benitez, Karlo Nograles and Geraldine Roman; and former Metro Manila Development Authority chief Francis Tolentino.

“I will limit it to those who are already party members as of today. We will try our best to come up with a complete 12-person slate,” Pimentel told reporters in a Viber message. “If we cannot come up with 12 then we are open to entering into coalition agreements with other parties. If incumbent re-electionist senators join the party then they will enjoy priority in inclusion in the slate,” he said.

Pimentel said the ruling party was aiming to sweep the senatorial elections.

“I plan to ask [House] Speaker [Pantaleon] Alvarez to be the national campaign manager for the senatorial slate under the battlecry ‘12-0.’ This is a ‘developing/evolving’ matter, hence not final, not official. [It’s] just my personal preference,” he said.

The re-electionist senators belonging to other political parties but allied with President Rodrigo Duterte are Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara (Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino), Nancy Binay (United Nationalist Alliance), Joseph Victor Ejercito (Pwersa ng Masa), Grace Poe (Partido Galing at Puso) and Cynthia Villar (Nacionalista Party).

“SP (Senate President) Koko is convincing me to transfer to PDP. I’ll be going with them in their activities as guest and observer of the party. I might join them next year,” Ejercito said when asked if he was considering joining the PDP-Laban.

Asked whether he was open to running under the PDP-Laban banner in 2019, Ejercito said: “Since I am with the majority that is a possibility. That is if I will still run (for the Senate in 2019).

Source: Manila Times

Pimentel: Benitez ‘interested’ to run for senator in 2019

Sat, 10/07/2017 - 16:53




Saturday, October 07, 2017
Marchel P. Espina

SENATE President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said Negros Occidental Third District Representative Alfredo “Albee” Benitez is inclined to join the senatorial race in the 2019 elections.

Pimentel, president of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), bared Friday, October 6, the initial list of senatorial candidates who will banner the administration party in the next polls.

The six senatorial bets, aside from Pimentel, are Benitez, Bataan First District Representative Geraldine Roman, Davao City First District Representative Karlo Nograles, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, and former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino.

Pimentel, in a text message sent to SunStar Bacolod, said that PDP-Laban is pushing for the senatorial bid of Benitez because the Negrense lawmaker is “an interested party member.”

“I think he (Benitez) is interested to run as senator. That is good enough for us,” the senator said.

He said that the lawmaker “makes the final decision next year.”

Pimentel also said that the list is not yet final – “Nothing is final.”

Benitez, who has yet to bare his plans for 2019, said the other day that he has been going around and telling people about his advocacies.

He said he will decide to run for senator if there is already acceptance of his advocacies.

On Thursday, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who administered the oath of about 12,000 PDP-Laban members from Negros Occidental in the cities of Bacolod and Victorias, had asked the Negrenses to vote straight for the senatorial candidates of the administration party in 2019.

Alvarez also announced that the party is pushing for the senatorial bids of Benitez, the third richest congressman in the country; and Roman, the first transgender woman elected to Congress.

The United Negros Alliance of Governor Alfredo Marañon III, which is pushing for a coalition with PDP-Laban, and Grupo Progreso led by Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia have also declared support for Benitez’s senatorial bid.

Source: Sunstar Bacolod

Koko backs Albee for senator, too

Sat, 10/07/2017 - 14:35



Saturday, October 7, 2017
BY CARLA GOMNEZ

Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said yesterday Rep. Alfredo Abelardo “Albee” Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3 rd District) is among his personal choices to be included in the 2019 senatorial slate of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan.

The statement of Pimentel, PDP Laban president, came on the heels of the announcement of party secretary general, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, in Negros Occidental Thursday, that Benitez was among the PDP-Laban senate bets for 2019.

Benitez, the third richest man in the House of Representatives, yesterday told the DAILY STAR he is “grateful for being considered.”

Benitez said he is now going around the country to see if the people will accept his plan to run for senator, which will be the basis for his decision. There has to be acceptance, he said.

Pimentel yesterday told Manila reporters that,aside from himself, among his personal choices to be included in the PDP-Laban senatorial slate for 2019 are Benitez, Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, Rep. Geraldine Roman (Bataan), Rep. KarloNograles (Davao City), and former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chair Francis Tolentino.

But he said “This is a developing/evolving matter, hence, not final, not official…just my personal preferences.”

Pimentel said if Alvarez has no opponent for his congressional seat in 2019, he plans on asking him to be the national campaign manager for the PDP-Laban senatorial slate with the battlecry“12-0”.

Also invited to join the PDP Laban slate is Senator JV Ejercito, he added.

“We will try our best to come up with a complete 12-person slate. If we cannot come up with 12, then we are open to entering into coalition agreements with other parties,” he said in a text message.

The 1987 Constitution allows senators to serve only two consecutive terms, but Pimentel said he could still seek re-election because his case is different.

He only served one year and 10 months of his first term after finally being proclaimed senator onAugust 2011 after winning a protracted election protest against Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri. He won another term in the Senate in 2013.*CPG

 

Source: The Visayan Daily Star

Koko bares ‘personal’ choices for Duterte’s 2019 senatorial slate

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 21:24




By KATHRINA CHARMAINE ALVAREZ, GMA News
Published October 6, 2017 1:39pm Updated October 6, 2017 4:01pm

Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Friday bared his personal choices to be included in the 2019 senatorial slate of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

Pimentel is the president of PDP-Laban, while President Rodrigo Duterte is the party chairman.

In a text message to reporters, Pimentel said that aside from himself, to be included in the senatorial slate are Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, Representatives Alfredo Benitez (Negros Occidental), Geraldine Roman (Bataan), Karlo Nograles (Davao City), and former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chair Francis Tolentino.

Tolentino ran for senator in the 2016 elections, and ranked 13th in the final tally. He has since been appointed as Duterte’s political adviser.

Pimentel clarified that the first six candidates are not yet official.

“This is a developing/evolving matter, hence, not final, not official. [These are] just my personal preferences,” the Senate President said, adding that he has not yet personally discussed his choices with the party.

He added that the PDP-Laban is open to entering into coalition agreements with other parties if the party fails to come up with a complete 12-person senatorial slate.

Pimentel added that he plans on asking House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, secretary general of the party, to be the national campaign manager “under the battlecry ’12-0’.”

Senator JV Ejercito, a re-electionist, is also being convinced by Pimentel to transfer to PDP-Laban. Ejercito, son of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada, is a member of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).

“Since I am with the majority, that is a possibility. That is, if I will still run,” Ejercito told reporters.

“SP Koko and I have been talking these past few months. In fact he talked to Mayor Erap and asked permission if I can transfer  from PMP, because he needs me to strengthen PDP in the Senate,” Ejercito added. — RSJ, GMA News

Source: GMA News Online

Duterte party names 6 senatorial bets for 2019 mid-term polls

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 21:12



BY THE MANILA TIMES ON OCTOBER 6, 2017

THE Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) has identified six of 12 possible candidates for its senatorial slate in the 2019 mid-term elections.

They are: Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas, and Representatives Alfredo Benitez, Carlo Nograles, Geraldine Roman and former Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Francis Tolentino.

“I will limit to those already party members as of today. We will try our best to come up with a complete 12-person slate,” Pimentel said through Viber.

“If we cannot come up with 12 then we are open to entering into coalition agreements with other parties. If incumbent re-electionist senators join the party then they will enjoy priority in inclusion in the slate,” he said.

Pimentel added: “I plan to ask (House) Speaker (Pantaleon) Alvarez to be the national campaign manager for the senatorial slate under the battlecry “12-0.” This is a ‘developing/evolving’ matter hence not final, not official. (It’s) just my personal preferences.”

The re-electionist senators belonging to other political parties but allied with President Rodrigo Duterte are Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara (Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino), Nancy Binay (United Nationalist Alliance), Joseph Victor Ejercito (Pwersa ng Masa), Grace Poe (Partido Galing at Puso) and Cynthia Villar (Nacionalista Party).

“SP (Senate President) Koko is convincing me to transfer to PDP. I’ll be going with them in their activities as guest and observer of the party. I might join them next year,” Ejercito said when asked whether he was considering to join the PDP-Laban.

Sought to comment on whether he was open to run under the PDP-Laban banner in 2019, Ejercito said, “Since I am with the majority that is a possibility. That is if I will still run (for the Senate in 2019). BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO

Source: Manila Times

PDP-Laban to open doors to senators seeking re-election in 2019

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 19:05



Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News
Posted at Oct 06 2017 03:33 PM

MANILA- The ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) party will open its doors to incumbent senators who will seek re-election in the 2019 mid-term elections.

Senate President Koko Pimentel, who also heads the party, said on Friday that the "offer" will prioritize incumbent senators.

"If incumbent...senators [who would like to] join the party, then they will enjoy priority in inclusion in the slate," Pimentel told reporters in a message.

Members of PDP-Laban occupy a majority of key positions in the government. Among them are President Rodrigo Duterte, Pimentel, and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

Senators who might seek re-election in 2019 and membership in PDP-Laban are Sonny Angara, JV Ejercito, Grace Poe, and Cynthia Villar.

As early as now, Pimentel already revealed other personalities who may be included in the party's senatorial slate, namely Representatives Albee Benitez, Geraldine Roman, Karlo Nograles, Rodolfo Fariñas, and former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chair Francis Tolentino.

The Senate president, however, clarified that he has yet to speak with these public figures he mentioned.

Party outsiders, according to Pimentel, will only be considered if PDP-Laban fails to complete its "Magic 12."

"We will try our best to come up with a complete 12-person slate. If we cannot come up with 12, then we are open to entering into coalition agreements with other parties," he said.

Meanwhile, Alvarez will be asked by Pimentel to be their party's "national campaign manager" for the senatorial slate under the battle cry "12-0."

Source: ABS-CBN News

Koko wants these 5 politicians to run as PDP-Laban senators in 2019

Fri, 10/06/2017 - 18:55



By Mae Ann Los Banos, News5 | October 6, 2017, 4:19 PM

MANILA, Philippines — Besides himself, Senate president Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III wants these five people to become the administration’s senatorial candidates in the 2019 polls:

–Negros Occidental Third District Rep. Albee Benitez

–Bataan First District Rep. Geraldine Roman

–Davao City 1st District Rep. Karlo Nograles

–Former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino

–House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas

Pimentel said he would still “personally discuss” with the five politicians their possible candidacies and the PDP-Laban Party “will try” its “best to come up with a complete 12-person slate.”

“This is a developing, evolving matter. Hence, not final, not official, just my personal preferences,” he told reporters on Friday.

“If we cannot come up with 12 then we are open to entering into coalition agreements with other parties…If incumbent re-electionist senators join the party, then they will enjoy priority in inclusion in the slate,” said Pimentel.

The Senate president said he was planning to ask Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to be the national campaign manager for the senatorial slate “under the battle cry 12-0” or winning all senatorial seats.

Source: InterAksyon News 5

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