Saturday, 31 August 2013

MambulaoWatch, By PERCY A OSTONAL

The Boardwalk at sunset … Mambulao Bay has a stunning sunset. – Photo courtesy of NOE CHRISTIAN S NOLASCO/Facebook 

Tourism directory for Mambulao  

IT'S HARD to imagine that our local government tourism programme is merely banking on Facebook and other social media networks instead of looking to some other ways such as printed brochures and magazines and the creation of information center that would disseminate our town’s great history.

What makes communities in the US economically sound and growing could be attributed 100% to its ability to "sell the full package" of what they have as ordinary and yet increasingly interwoven and intertwined special place to visit.

Blessed with natural beauty, our town's colorful sunset beyond a mountain and its bustling Mambulao Bay could be the scenic sites to emphasize on the tourism magazine’s front covers.

Accommodations, attractions, mode of transport and local produce shopping are all available. 

It is so important that Mambulao's "Mambulaoan's street dancing" depicting the olden days of our town and people, and most specially what Mambulao

was known for --- its abundance in gold --- should not only continue but rather be showcased. 

This story of our beloved community should reach the doorsteps of our nostalgic Mambulaoans, friends and relatives both local and abroad.

For feedback, email:Percival Ostonal

Commentary: Pork barrel rolled across Mambulao

The 72m-long seawall along the line of squatter shanties that dotted the Parang beach, this structure will stop the surge of destructive waves towards the houses during typhoons. – MWBuzzpic by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ


THE landscape of the scandal-rocked pork barrel system would be greatly altered if President Noynoy Aquino has his way.

From being dealt out by the president to senators and congressmen - as has been the practiced over the years – pork allocation will now have to be included in the national budget.

Here, the use of the money would be subjected to the so-called “line-item budgeting”, a fine-comb system to separate the spurious projects from the legit ones.

Earlier, Aquino told the nation that the notorious Priority Development Fund Assistance (PDAF) has been abolished.

In truth, it was not – the announcement was the Palace’s bid to cushion the surge of anger from the people who found out too late that the pork barrel money raised from their taxes had actually been benefiting only the chosen few.

And so the President’s PDAF scrapping tale he dished out on TV was not true – it just assumed a new personality, a new mentality but same dead end – somebody’s hungry pocket.

Accordingly, of the P25.2 billion government money allocated for pork barrel for 2014, a great part of it could not be used by senators and congressmen even if it was already earmarked as pork barrel.

Funny, it was Budget Secretary Florencio Abad who deciphered P-Noy’s mind for the bemused, mouth-agape Filipinos by hinting at a scenario where senators and congressmen would still have the right to choose what projects to bankroll next year with the money.

And at the end of this scrutiny-laden pork process, they could still get their dirty hand in the cookie jar and pocket much of the money – if not all, as what had happened in the Janet Napoles pork barrel-NGO saga, a story that devoured the entire nation as it unfolded with changing plot, twists, turns and new players.

Locally, the congressmen who have districts in their provinces to look after for development funding could always come up with projects purported to benefit their constituents.

Some of them may be sincere in bringing such positive changes in the community.

While others would still scheme to pocket a part of it, using tried and tested strategy they have mastered with finesse in their previous handling of the pork.

Anyway, despite the evil that surrounded the pork barrel system, it has in more ways than one benefited many municipalities across the country.

And the dripping of the money into the various community development initiatives by the governors and mayors, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) was no doubt facilitated by friendly or sympathetic senators and congressmen.

Mambulao is among the hundreds of municipalities that pushed some of their development projects fueled by pork barrel, courtesy of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Chiz Escudero and Teofisto “TG” Guingona among the few, and local congressmen.

During his first term as mayor, Ricarte “Dong” Padilla chased these lawmakers for some “manteca” (pork lard) that the local government badly needed to work its various social and community projects -- road-building and bridge-building among them.

The latest of this to get pork allocation was the 2km San Pedro-Baranggay Silang Dos (Labo town) concrete road that would connect Mambulao to the Maharlika Highway, one that would serve as a diversion road in future.

The funding came from Enrile, estimated between P15 million and P20 million.

During the nine years of William A Lim as Mambulao mayor, he also sought pork barrel money from friendly lawmakers for his projects and initiatives designed to benefit Mambulaoans.

And CamNorte Governor Edgardo “Egay” Tallado, from the year 2011 to early this year, claimed to have poured into Mambulao at least P159.5 million in so-called development initiatives.

Much of the funding came from pork barrel allocations of the Office of the President, specifically the Office of the Presidential Affairs on Peace Process (OPAPP), Enrile and other lawmakers and money from the General Appropriations Act, through the Agrarian Reform Community Projects (ARC), National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Department of Health.

Enrile’s pork of P7 million went to seven farm-to-market roads, namely: Bagong-bayan FMR; Plaridel FMR; Osmena FMR; San Isidro FMR; Sta Rosa FMR; Luklukan Sur; and Luklukan Norte.

Another pork-fueled project was the asphalting of a 2.5km road linking San Rafael to Sta Rosa at a cost of K10.9 million.

In San Martin, pork barrel had also funded the rehab of a washed-out 175m-concrete pipe culvert and spillway at a cost of K3.3 million.

And from the president’s pork barrel, P20 million was purportedly spent on the Sta Rosa-San Rafael, a 2.8km farm-to-market road; and another P7 million went to the construction of the San Isidro-Sta Cruz FMR.

At baranggay Parang, a sea-wall of 72-meter long was built for P4.9 million. Rising along the line of squatter shanties that dotted the Parang beach, this structure will stop the surge of deadly waves towards the houses during typhoons.

And the muncipality’s Rural Health Unity (RHU) was extended and renovated for P2.3 million in 2011.

An evacuation center at Motherlode was built in 2011 at a cost of P2.5 million.

Pork also benefited seven barangays when their multi-purpose building/covered court/evacuation centers were built for P6.23 million. These barangays were Larap (P2.5 million); Dayhagan (P500,000); JPES South Poblacion (P700,000); Sta Rosa Norte (P1 million); Calero (P1 million); Nakalaya (coming up); and Sta Elena (Senior Citizens Hall 0 P50,000).

Of course, without the pork, the provincial government won’t be able to fund an array of small community projects and financial aids here and there -- from the purchase of toilet bowls to the construction of a terminal for tricycle operators (Osmena) and baranggay outpost, to the purchase of JetMatic Pumps and uniforms of Senior citizens, to the construction of day-care center and classrooms.

This did not include several thousand pesos that went towards free medicines and dental care program during the provincial government’s so-called multi service caravan at baranggays in and out of Mambulao poblacion.

On this alone, the provincial government said in a recent report that it spent a total of P2.45 million, or 1.53 percent, of the P159.5 million that went to Mambulao for development from 2010 to 2012

It is true that any organization such as the provincial government and the municipal local government won’t be able to function properly as government unless they have enough funds to run their affairs.

It is for this reason that the pork barrel has been institutionalized as a necessary tool of progress as well as a necessary evil -- to buy favors of senators and congressmen – something that no President of the Philippines could do without.

Pork barrel is one assurance to his political survival; it is his umbilical cord to his constituents – the Filipino people.

And for the senators and congressmen, it is a means to give flesh to what they have promised to the voters – that is progress for the people.

But over the past ten years – Circa Janet Napoles – pork barrel has been deliberately made a necessary tool of evil, contaminating to the core the bone of the powers-that-be and personalities in all levels of the government.

And here in Mambulao, we just don’t know how much evil went out with Tallado’s churning of the P159.5 million funding designed to benefit our municipality.

There was this concreting of a 2.8km farm-to-market road – the Sta Rosa-San Rafael stretch – costing P20 million with funding from P-Noy’s pork barrel. It’s Tallado’s project under the OPPAP-PAMANA program.

The public would not know how much money went into this road.

And looking at the appalling state of the 2.5km Santa Rosa Norte-San Rafael road asphalted at a cost of P10.9 million, we could easily deduce that the forces of evil had worked hard to steal from Mambulaoans.

This stretch crumbled in just a few heavy downpours.

For feedback, email the writer: and

Editorial: Cement donation must continue

RECENTLY, Mambulao Mayor Ricarte “Dong” Padila announced that the remaining portion of the Larap road to be cemented has received a government funding.

The money will come from the Department of Tourism through the General Appropriationss Act and for release by this November.

Under the present costing set by the DPWH and the contractors, a kilometer of concrete road costs P10 million to build. 

Therefore, the remaining two kilometers of rough road leading to the center of Larap from Purok 8 at the Spurline will cost P20 million.

Since the road project is worth more than P5 million, it would be handled by the provincial government and not the Mambulao government. 

Under the rules, projects with national government funding of more than P5 million will be coursed through the provincial government, who will do the job.

Padilla said that most likely, the concreting of the remaining two-kilometer road could begin by January, lasting at least five months. 

With this, we can safely assume that this stretch would be competed by May - about nine months from now.

The call for the concreting of the remaining segment of the Larap road earlier spurred the LaPIMA to urge its members elsewhere in the Philippines and overseas to contribute to the job by donating bags of cement.

LaPIMA is an association of the children of families who benefited from the mining operations by the Philippine Iron Mines (PIM) in Larap until the middle of 1970.

In an email message to LaPIMA, Padilla said: “The cementing from Spurline to Larap proper will resume between December (2013)-January next year and would be completed in 120-130 days.

 “So I request everybody to sympathize with the LGU and give a little more patience while we are exhausting all possible means to complete the ‘century dream project’ of Mambulao.”

With this, LaPIMA has advised its members they could forget sending their donation since there is going to be money for the remaining stretch of the road.

Which could also be interpreted as: Forget about those roads outside of Larap.

Likewise, Padilla has implied that work on the Larap road project would stop at the end of the cemented segment – at Spurline – and activities would pick up again in January, some five months away.

Why is that?

If this is so, what about those in baranggays away from Mambulao poblacion that needed to be fixed – do they have to wait much longer too?

We should realize by now that the bulk of the road building materials that went into the Parang-Larap project up to Purok 8 at Spurline came from various sources, such as donations from Mambulaoans (not from Larap) and those friendly supporters who included certain private groups and private companies.

Only a bucket of this came from Lapima, who donated the stuff in 2012 to coincide with the grand alumni homecoming of the Jose Panganiban National High school (JPNHS).

And now it has stopped donations from its members, as if it did not want them to go into other projects – as in roads in Santa Elena or Luklukan Sur, Salvacion or San Pedro -- other than those that should be fixed within Larap.

Has LaPIMA gone parochial like what Larap was during its heydays?

When Padilla appealed for help in building most of Mambulao’s 81kilometers of roads, he specifically asked for cement.

Each bag of donated cement will go into a pool of road building materials and will assume no distinction as to where it came from, or who donated it.

And it would go into the roads that needed fixing until it is exhausted.

In other words, the donated bags of cement will go to where they are needed.

This has been the scheme of things since the road concreting in Mambulao has been launched in July 2010.

And Padilla is trying to carry this out as he has planned it, with the unceasing support of Mambulaoans in Mambulao and overseas.

There are still roads in other parts of the municipality that need looking after just like in Larap.

Let’s not forget this.

And yes … your donation of bags of cement is still welcome.

- Alfredo P Hernandez

Editorial No 2: Accountability and transparency

The "kariton" for income-generating projects. - Photo courtesy of Mambulao-LGU


AT ITS own initiative during the month of July this year, Mambulaoans Worldwide Buzz spearheaded a worldwide fundraising drive among Mambulaoans and friends to support the Mambulao-LGU’s Sulong Kabuhayan sa Kariton livelihood community project. 

We netted no less than 100% of the targeted P40,000. 

Within the second week of August, 80% (equivalent to P32,362.50) of said US and Canadian donations was wired to a local bank in Daet, CamNorte and  the remaining 10% (equivalent to P7, 533.00) from our OFW kababayans (from Saudi Arabia) contributions that was sent directly to our designated local and overseas donations coordinator-representative based in Mambulao, were combined and converted to a local bank manager's check. 

Despite funds-check availability for turnover ceremony, our designated coordinator-representative has difficulty getting in touch with Mayor Ricarte “Dong” Padilla these days. 

Several overseas calls and follow ups (thru PM at Facebook) made both with our coordinator-representative and that of Ms Cynthia Canoy’s (Office of the Mayor, Community Affairs Coordinator ) revealed that Mayor Padilla was on official leave for sometimes. 

On August 24th, Saturday 10.40pm, I had rare opportunity to get my PM to Mayor Padilla through with this message:

"Hi, Mayor Dong Padilla, kumusta kayo? I was told by my bayaw Caloy na you're on leave kaya hindi niya ma-i- turnover the local manager's check amounting to P40,000. Pareng Fred (Hernandez), Ms Arlene Grace Suzara, Ms Mary Fe Barcoma-Dearth and myself raised the money for the "Sulong Kabuhayan sa Kariton " livelihood project. 

“If you'll be home by next week, my bayaw will turn over the check to you. It's a great honor and privilege serving our town and people … mabalos!! -- kuya Percy” 

On August 25, Sunday, at 9.21am, I received this response message from Mayor Padilla: 

"Hi, Kuya Percy, kumusta kayo? Hope you are well and good. By the way, I will be going back to JP tomorrow afternoon, I will definitely call Kuya Caloy … anyway, let me extend my sincerest thanks to you, Kuya Fred, Ate Arlene and Ms Dearth for raising such valuable amount  that will surely be a blessing to its intended  recipients Again, thank you very much, mabuhay! “

On August 25th, Sunday at 2.28pm, this was reply to his message:

“Thanks, Hon. Mayor Dong Padilla. Truly, you're a man of honor and should be bestowed with great respect. Always expect us ... Pareng Fred and myself to be at your side knowingly, that your management and leadership style "ay kaiba at totoong malinis". God Bless you … Kuya Percy”

Latest updates: 

Mrs Rosenda " T'yang Rosing " Evangelista- Romualdo and family’s donation of P2,000, which should have been included (to make a total of P42,000) was turned over by her granddaughter, newly-elected JP council woman Ms Diday R Abano -- directly to JP-LGU only to be told to have it replaced as the payee should  have been: The Municipal Treasurer of JP-LGU. 

Mrs Romualdo flew to the United States the second week of August.

On August 30, Friday, 8.41pm, I sent a PM to Ms Cynthia Canoy (Municipal Community Affairs Coordinator ) asking for the latest updates as to "when possibly " Mayor Padilla could be available for the check turnover and here was her reply:

August 30, Friday 9.41pm:

“They (Mayor Padilla and Vice-Mayor Non) left 4 Legaspi City noong Thursday po. I have already talked to Kuya Caloy (Mr Carlos R Taboada, is the designated local and overseas Mambulaoans fundraising JP-based coordinator/representative-coordinator) yesterday. 

“May schedule na po sila with Mayor Padilla on September 5th. Hope the check turnover will happen by then. The amount will be deposited to the trust fund. Thanks. I might not be around on September 5th. I am … (vacation place ) bound. 

But I will advice the municipal information officer of the check turnover."

August 30th Friday 3.45pm:

I received an additional check by mail for US$60 from Mr and Mrs Ricardo “Ric” Espana, a Mambulaoan of Rego Park, New York, USA for his donation to the “Sulong Kabuhayan sa Kariton” livelihood community project. 

To date, at the present currency exchange rate of P44 to US dollar, it is worth P2,640.

To speed up money transfer, this amount will be sent directly via money gram to PNB (Daet)  JP-LGU Trust Fund Account this coming week.

Final notes: Instead of P40,000.00 funds mobilization drive target, MAMBULAOANS WORLDWIDE BUZZ core group not only made its 100% projection, but rather surpassed it 112%. (P44,640).

Our heartfelt and sincerest thanks to all our donors without them, such accomplishment will never be realized.

Dios mabalos po sa indong gabos.

Percy A Ostonal

Michigan, USA

(Core Group: Ms. Arlene Grace Suzara, Ms Mary Fe Barcoma- Dearth, Mr Fred P Hernandez and Mr Percy A Ostonal.)

 For feedback email: Percival Ostonal