Thursday, June 28, 2012

Plenty to do in SBFZ

A pretty comprehensive overview on Subic (SBFZ) was recently published here The article has lots of places to visit and things to do for any people that are planning on visiting the old base.  Take the time out to read you might find some new things to do or places to visit.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

PI Water Parks Reviewed

The Bugle recently visited a pair of water parks and figured he should compare the two for our readers. Subic's finest is at White Rock resort and one of the best water parks in Angeles City is Fontana Water Park. The Bugle thought the P650 entrance fee charged by White Rock was very steep. One price. Adults and children same fee. The facility however is attractive and the slides and wave pools really fun. It's obvious they take their maintenance seriously. There is even a well equipped first aid station in case of injuries. The rock climbing wall costs an additional P150. (It is P100 in Boracay)
While you can bring your own food and drinks at no charge the cheapest cabanas are.....P4000!!!
We suggest if you have a large group to bring blankets and spread it on the very accessible, shaded grass areas.
Clark's premiere resort is Fontana Water park. The slides and wave pools are all really nice, safe and fun. We particularly enjoyed the lazy river surrounding the park. This is a slow moving drift, relaxing ride on inter-tubes around the entire area. Any age can get into this, including grandma.
Admission is P375 Tues-Thur and P475 weekends. The is no charge for much of the seating area. Nipa and metal cottages are P500-P700. Food and drinks are available and reasonably priced.
Our kids preferred Fontana but they both resorts provide an enjoyable family experience.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Publlic School Fees

For those readers who have children in public schools in the Philippines here is an interesting link for you to read  DepEd Memo 41.  Some of the interseting points that leapt out at me were on fees and uniforms. The main point on the fees was that all of these fees are VOLUNTARY in nature.  Same thing with uniforms they are not required yet I still see youg kids wearing them to and from school.  The Bugle has heard that some public schools are subtly trying to enforce a uniform policy by saying that they are not really a public school because Mayor So and So is sponsoring them.  Wrong the Mayor doesn't sponsor any schools,  your tax dollars do. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Harbor Point Blues

The Bugle recently went into the newly opened Harbor Point Mall which is owned by Ayala and was shocked to say the least.  The recent monsoon rains seem to have destroyed major portions of the ceilings located on the second floor.  Some of these holes in the ceiling are at least two meters wide in places.  Also seen near two of the entrances were buckets and water bottles that were being used to collect the water from several other leaking spots in the ceilings.

 I always thought that the Ayala corporation would have been a little more aware of these types of construction woes and would have been better prepared but then again I guess that in the rush to open this mall certain safety considerations must have been sacrificed.  I would really hate to have some of these ceiling tiles hit some unfortunate souls walking about gazing into the high priced stores that dominate the mall.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Just Say No to Coal

From The Philippine Daily Inquirer comes the following article against our favorite energy plan.  The Bugle feels that more people need to be stepping up in the fight against this Coal burning monstrosity.  Even though the Bugle does not agree with the ZAMECO members decision to allow the coal burning plant in the first place maybe now they will realize that it is not in our best interests.

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—Members of an electric cooperative in Zambales have sued RP Energy, a consortium of energy firms planning to put up a coal-fired power plant inside this free port, and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), saying the firm had abandoned its plan to provide the province with cheap electricity.

Lawyer Edmund Dante Perez said members of the Zambales Electric Cooperative (Zameco) are asking the Iba Regional Trial Court to direct SBMA not to issue permits to RP Energy, a consortium led by Aboitiz Power, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and Taiwan Cogeneration Corp. (TCC).

Perez said his clients—Eric Ebarle, Roy Obillo, Lyn Mercurio, Samuel Ablola and Citadel Dial—filed a civil case on June 5 because RP Energy had turned its back on the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that would have benefited Zameco.

“They say [the MOU is] already expired, but we think otherwise,” he said.

Perez said the July 28, 2006 MOU between SBMA and TCC, RP Energy’s predecessor-in-interest, showed that Zameco would directly benefit from the project for its reliable and affordable source of energy.

But in July last year, after Meralco entered the consortium and signed a shareholder agreement giving the firm majority control of RP Energy, the complaint said “both [SBMA and RP Energy] began espousing the theory that the February 2006 and July 28, 2006 MOUs had either expired or were superseded by the lease development agreement dated June 8, 2010.”

“[This] means that they will no longer honor their obligation of providing reliable and affordable energy to the intended beneficiaries of the MOU, among which are [the complainants],” it said.

Perez said this “perverted stance” became more apparent in RP Energy’s letter to SBMA Chair Roberto Garcia on July 8, 2011.

In that letter, he said RP Energy described the MOUs’ purpose as “a preliminary document.”

Zameco members asked the court to direct SBMA not to issue any building, construction and operation permit to RP Energy “pending the determination and translation of the objectives of the MOUs… to provide affordable power to Zameco and other beneficiaries.”

The project has been stalled by protests from environment advocates, business locators and government officials of Olongapo City and Zambales, who decried its impact on the environment and the lack of consultations.

In December last year, SBMA held a series of stakeholder consultations on the proposed 600-megawatt coal-fired power plant but RP Energy failed to send its representatives to discuss the project and address the concerns of groups opposing it.

Garcia said SBMA knew that a case was filed against the agency and RP Energy. He said RP Energy had requested for a meeting with SBMA.

An SBMA official said the project is on hold until RP Energy meets the conditions set for the issuance of permits and improves the terms of the contract to ensure that this would not be disadvantageous to the government. Robert Gonzaga, Inquirer Central Luzon

Monday, June 18, 2012

And the Rains Keep Coming!!

Just when we are finally getting clear of the rain that was brought about by the influence of Butchoy.  We can expect some more still from the recent Tropical Storm that lies to the west of us.  While neither of these storms are expected to make landfall they are influencing the monsoon rains that are directly over us here in the Subic/Manila areas.  There has been a lot of localized flooding of the streets and some landslides along the National highway.  Just another lovely rainy season here in the PI.

MANILA (3rd Update, 2:39 p.m.) -- A new tropical storm is expected to enter the Philippine territory on Wednesday as Typhoon Butchoy (international name: Guchol) is set to move out of the country Monday evening or Tuesday morning, the weather bureau reported. Weather forecaster Manny Mendoza said a third potential cyclone, internationally codenamed “Talim,” is expected by Wednesday afternoon. “As of now, ‘Talim’ packs maximum sustained winds of 75 kilometers per hour (kph) ay nasa karagatan ng labas ng mga bansang (in seas outside) China, Laos, Cambodia at Vietnam o nasa layong 820 kilometers (km) west of extreme northern Luzon. Si ‘Talim’ ay tropical storm na and potential to become a typhoon,” Mendoza said. He said once “Talim” enters the Philippine area of responsibility, it will be locally codenamed “Carina.” Meanwhile, Mendoza said “Butchoy” has slightly weakened as it moves in a north-northeast direction.

At 10 a.m. Monday, the eye of Typhoon Butchoy was located based on satellite and surface data at 580 km east northeast of Basco, Batanes, with maximum sustained winds of 160 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 195 kph.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said “Butchoy” is moving north northeast at 24 kph and is expected to be 1,030 km northeast of Basco, Batanes by Monday evening or 290 km east northeast of Okinawa, Japan by Tuesday morning.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Subic's Fake Mall

Remember me? I'm the guy who hates malls. Except for the new movie theaters which are way more comfortable than Times Square Cinema nothing about this dump is attractive. The Olongapo SM has a fake Ace Hardware store. It has a fake Watson Drug store. Both are miniature teasers about the size of a residential kitchens. Everything is reduced. They're like advertisements for the real thing in Pampanga. It even has a fake Starbucks in the Red Bucks coffee wagon with a ripped off logo. WTF. SM was recently instrumental in cleaning out and closing the bootleg DVD's across the street from them at Green Hills. Not because they worried about artist royalties but because they worried about sales at their own sad sack Odyssey store. And Oh boy....a Jollibee, a KFC, a Greenwich, a Chow King, an Inasal, a Smart, and a Globe store. Golly gee what will they think up next? How about a 7-11? What is wrong with a French Bakery or maybe even a SBarros? Please just give us residents something that we don't already have in Olongapo and SBMA. You have to pay to park at a crummy fake mall where the escalators don't even work. What a sick joke this abortion is.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Dentistry in the PI

When a foreigner first moves to the PI some things are hard to find, primarily from lack of information. A good doctor, dentist, mechanic. Frankly after thirty years here I'm still looking for a good barber.
Not so in our family dentist who has served us and our kids for over 16 years. Lorenzana Dental clinic is as near to a stateside replica as any dental office you will find. they are antiseptic clean and well decorated with some of the finest female dentists in the Olongapo area. Besides general dentistry they do orthodontics, implants, endodonics and esthetic dentistry.
Their equipment is up to date as are their skills. Periodic trips are made by the staff to seminars and conferences abroad to update and familiarize themselves with new techniques.
They are fabulous with children. When our kids were young they put them in the chair and just did a look-see to get them comfortable. Now they do not even moan or complain when the time comes to visit the dentist. In fact it is often them who suggest it.
Lorenzana and Associates is located in East Bajac in Olongapo behind the market at 14 A 20th Street. There is plenty of parking. They are open Monday - Saturdays by appointment. 222-3638

Friday, June 15, 2012

Very Hard to Believe

MANILA, Philippines - A taxi driver was apprehended yesterday morning after Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) officials caught him with a “batingting,” a device used to speed up a taxi’s meter, installed in his vehicle.
In his report, action officer Manny Rodriguez told Manila Airport Authority assistant general manager Salvador Peñaflor that he received a text message that a metered taxi with body number S-037 has a batingting connected to its meter.
He called airport police and found that the taxi described in the text message belongs to Gallant Godsend Transit Corp., one of the metered taxi firms operating at the airport. Driver Eduardo Bejado was in line to pick up passengers at NAIA Terminal 1 at the time he was apprehended.
Upon inspecting the taxi’s engine, Rodriguez found two separate gadgets that speed up the meter. Bejado, who has been driving the same taxi for the past four years, said he found the taxi already equipped with the batingting when he started.
He justified the use of the batingting by saying that even if he made 10 trips in a day, he would still not have enough to feed his family because of high gasoline prices. Bejado’s unit has been impounded at the NAIA, though he himself has been released.
An airport taxi’s flagdown rate is P300 and a passenger has to pay an additional P4 for every 300 meters.
Peñaflor said all metered taxis operating at NAIA terminals will be inspected following Bejado’s apprehension. No charges have been filed as of yesterday.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Readers comment on Amsec Subic contract

Interesting Philippine Star reader comments about the Amsec contract in Subic:

zaint posted on Jun 13, 2012 05:02 PM
F**king militant talking n*n sense. Why they opposed this project and yet they do nothing about chinese intrustion in west philippine sea. are they idi*ts or mor*n. instead of helping our nation against aggressor they are the one selling our country. S**t up man. . . . .

walangwork: Yes Sir! Good Training / Good Jobs / Good Pay Zambales needs this ! What do the Communists offer? They are helping the Chinese. NUF SAID!

purple9 posted on Jun 13, 2012 04:53 P
These militant groups contributed nothing to the Philippines stability. They want their China masters, to govern the country. Always making trouble in the peace loving filipino people. Always giving psychotic problem to the Philippine society. Get out in the Philippines and relocate to your masters land in China! You d**b as* ho**s!

dudley posted on Jun 13, 2012 04:48 PM
You only have two choices: welcome them back or learn chineese

lightcrusaderjr posted on Jun 13, 2012 04:40 PM
The leftists in the Philippines are using all sorts of scare tactics to prevent the U.S. from having a cooperative relationship with the Philippines. Yet is is apparently blind to the REAL THREAT now being poised by China against the country's sovereignty. If they are serious about protecting the nationalist rights of the Philippines, then they should help in getting the country to acquire the capability to defend itself. But to to side with China by putting the focus against the United States is to betray the dishonesty and lack of loyalty of this group toward the Philippines.

walangwork posted on Jun 13, 2012 04:39 PM
Well..if these people accusing US Gov of trying to regain the bases they have the money to feed these people that is doing the job??They should help the people grow for a living..Come on...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Militant Group's Blog Features Bamboo Bugle

From the blog of the militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN):

A private defense contractor has posted the first US Navy-related job opening in 20 years in Subic, Zambales, Philippines. From the job description, it appears that US warships will be frequenting the former US naval base. The position of project manager is open only to US citizens and requires a Secret-level security clearance and about 15 years experience in the US Navy.

Umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), who campaigned for the rejection of the US bases in 1991, says the private contractors are being used to circumvent the Philippine constitutional ban on US bases by making it appear that military operations are mere commercial transactions. US warships, including an advanced nuclear attack submarine, have had frequent port calls in the Philippines this year.

USS New YorkThe job opening was issued by AMSEC, a subsidiary of private military contractor Huntington Ingalls Industries which is the biggest builder of nuclear and non-nuclear ships for the US Navy and Coast Guard. AMSEC is in partnership with Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines to provide maintenance, repair and logistics services to the U.S. Navy and other customers in the western Pacific region.

“For more than a century, HII has built more ships in more ship classes than any other U.S. naval shipbuilder,” HII’s website says.

“This is a part-time position with a focus on growing U.S. Navy and Military Sealift Command maintenance work at a commercial ship construction ship yard. Work hours are expected to grow as maintenance work increases, and occasional travel to the U.S. or Singapore may be required,” the AMSEC job placement says.

From this ad, it appears that the US is serious in using Subic for its warships. In a subtle way, the US is transforming a civilian facility back into a military hub through the use of private defense contractors. The use of these contractors to provide logistics and other support services for US warships may also be intended to circumvent the Constitutional ban on US bases absent a treaty ratified by the Senate. US bases were kicked out from the Philippines in 1991 and both the US and PH governments are careful not to indicate that they intend to bring back the bases now.

Instead of the US Navy itself that operates maintenance and logistics support services, they get a private contractor to do it so it won’t be so obvious that the US bases are back.

The US would make it appear that these are mere commercial transactions between the US Navy and private firms, but there is no mistaking the military character of the operations that will be conducted in Subic. The high-level security clearance and lengthy US navy experience required for the position of AMSEC project manager shows the sensitive nature of the job. The private contractor HII is the biggest producer of US nuclear and non-nuclear warships.

It won’t be long before full-blown logistics and servicing operations for US navy warships are conducted in Subic.

According to the job advertisement a successful candidate will have “a thorough knowledge of U.S. Navy readiness organizations, budgets, and leaders; a familiarity with surface ship maintenance industry competitors; and an in-depth knowledge of U.S. Navy contracts and programs. The candidate will participate in assessing shipyard repair capability, development of the strategy to grow this capability, and then drive the execution of the strategy”.

This is not the first time private military contractors have operated in the Philippines. DynCorp, a logistics provider for the US military has done work in the past for US military facilities in the Philippines, including the building of US forward bases in Mindanao. A DynCorp subsidiary recruited Filipino translator Gregan Cardeno, who later died under mysterious circumstances a day after he started work with US troops in Marawi province in Mindanao. The notorious Blackwater private military contractor was also reported by media to be operating out of Subic in the past. Private contractor Corporate Training Unit, an affiliate of Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR)-Haliburton meanwhile operated in the former Clark Airbase.

Privatize military contractors make the US government a bit removed from any direct accountability to the Philippine government. They however remain part of the US military machinery and we may be seeing their increasing involvement in the Philippines as the US shifts most of its warships to Asia in the next ten years. ###

See links below

Monday, June 11, 2012

Rainy Season Websites

With the advent of rainy season the Bugle thought he would pass out some of his favorite weather links so that our readers can stay informed.  These links are not all inclusive and if any of our readers have any additional links they would like to share please feel free to send them in.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The First US Navy Job to Return to Subic

For those interested, here is the advertisement for the first real US Navy job to be posted for Subic in 20 y
ears. It is part of the Huntington Ingalls subsidiary AMSEC's partnership with Hanjin Subic to maintenance US Navy ships. It's a US citizenship job that requires Secret-level clearance and includes travel to San Diego and Singapore. Sounds like a very nice gig indeed. It appears the position has already been filled but expect plenty more jobs like this come.

Amsec Project Manager 2
Auto req ID 1131BR
Department/Cost Center 110 - AMSEC MMTS - 11000 - MMTS OPERATION
Location Subic Bay-Republic of the Philippines-Philippines
US Citizenship Required for this Position Yes
Relocation Assistance No relocation assistance available
Clearance Type Secret
Shift 1st
Schedule Part-time
Internal Job Description Position Specifics:
This position is based out of Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines, reporting to AMSEC's San Diego office. This is a part-time position with a focus on growing U.S. Navy and Military Sealift Command maintenance work at a commercial ship construction ship yard. Work hours are expected to grow as maintenance work increases, and occasional travel to the U.S. or Singapore may be required.

Candidate must be able to travel internationally, work across multiple time zones, and represent AMSEC to senior U.S. Navy maintenance managers. Ideal candidate possesses skills needed to work with foreign company executives and foreign local officials as well as understand, follow, and help enforce International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Candidate will be the single on-site AMSEC representative at the start of the project and must be able to understand shop level repair efforts through project management, and have the ability to coordinate with senior management at a foreign-owned ship yard to satisfy U.S. Navy customers including U.S. Navy ship commanding officers and Military Sealift Command vessel masters.

The candidate for this position must have a minimum of 15 years U.S. Navy maintenance experience in a leadership role and must possess a detailed knowledge of Navy shipboard maintenance and modernization, particularly in the hull, mechanical, and electrical areas including familiarity with governing maintenance manuals. The ideal candidate has both U.S. Navy maintenance and shipbuilding program management experience. The successful candidate will have:
a thorough knowledge of U.S. Navy readiness organizations, budgets, and leaders; a familiarity with surface ship maintenance industry competitors; and an in-depth knowledge of U.S. Navy contracts and programs.

The candidate will participate in assessing shipyard repair capability, development of the strategy to grow this capability, and then drive the execution of the strategy. The candidate will participate in evaluating repair opportunities, support maintenance proposal development, and participate in maintenance work planning and execution.

Essential Job Responsibilities:
Oversees and manages the operational aspects of ongoing projects and serves as liaison between project management and planning, project team, and line management. Reviews status of projects and budgets; manages schedules and prepares status reports. Assesses project issues and develops resolutions to meet productivity, quality, and client-satisfaction goals and objectives. Develops mechanisms for monitoring project progress and for intervention and problem solving with project managers, line managers, and clients.
Basic Qualifications Bachelor's degree or equivalent plus 5 years relevant experience; OR Master's degree plus 4 years relevant experience. An additional 4 years of specific job experience with a HS diploma may be substituted for the Bachelor's degree requirement for this job. This experience is in addition to the relevant years of experience listed with the job's education requirements. Example:
If this job required a Bachelor's degree + 5 years relevant experience the equivalency would equal HS diploma + 9 years job related experience.
Company Statement AMSEC is a subsidiary of Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII). Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) designs, builds and maintains a variety of nuclear and non-nuclear ships for the U.S. Navy and builds high-endurance cutters for the U.S. Coast Guard. In addition, HII provides aftermarket services for military ships around the globe. For more than a century, HII has been building more ships, in more ship classes, than any other U.S. naval shipbuilder. Employing nearly 38,000 shipbuilders in Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana and California, Huntington Ingalls Industries' primary business divisions are Newport News Shipbuilding and Ingalls Shipbuilding.
EEO Statement Huntington Ingalls Industries is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to hiring and retaining a diverse workforce. U.S. Citizenship is required for most positions.
Removal Date 14-May-2012

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Pills, Anyone need Pills??

Sorry readers if you feel that the Bugle is ranting again but it is that time of the month again.  What is it with Doctors in the local hospitals?  They will write out a prescription for something then when you go to the hospital pharmacy you are invariably told, "Sorry Sir not in stock".   Now I am not talking about some off the wall medicine designed to treat some kind of a venereal disease that was caught out in Subic,  I am talking about basic meds take for example the latest prescription that was written out 250ml of paracetamol.  "Sorry sir all we have is 500ml"  Then it is back to the doctor to ask if that size of a dosage would be alright.  You would figure that if the hospital is attempting to make money on their pharmacy they would have the drugs in stock that the doctors most commonly prescribe.  But alas that is not the case all you get from the Pharmacy is try xxxx out in town.  Then you have to run around to two or three places trying to fill out the meds that the doctors prescribed.  A total waste of time and money.  But at least I have an air conditioned vehicle to drive around in while visiting all these different pharmacies unlike your average local who has to do all of this while sucking diesel fumes while sitting in the back of a Jeepney. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Too Good To Be True

US troops can use Clark, Subic bases

MANILA, Philippines - American troops, warships and aircraft can once again use their former naval and air facilities in Subic, Zambales and in Clark Field in Pampanga as long as they have prior clearance from the Philippine government, a senior defense official said.
“They can come here provided they have prior coordination from the government,” Defense Undersecretary for defense affairs Honorio Azcueta told reporters after his meeting with Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, on Monday.
Coming straight from the just-concluded three-day Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Dempsey was in the country the other day for a follow-up meeting with senior defense and military officials.
Azcueta pointed out that a shift of US security focus toward the Asia-Pacific region is expected to increase with more military engagements between the two long-time allies.
Earlier, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that the US is increasing the deployment of its naval presence in the region, without necessarily establishing permanent military bases in any country in the region.
Asked if US troops as well as their warships and fighter planes would be allowed access to their former naval base in Subic, Azcueta said yes.
“That’s what we want... increase in exercises and interoperability,” Azcueta said.
Aside from offering a safe haven for ships due to its secured location from cyclones, the former US naval base in Subic has an airfield that can accommodate civilian and military planes.
During the Vietnam war in the 1970s, Subic Naval Base, especially its airfield, was used by the US military as staging point of all its major air operations against the Vietcong.
However, in 1992 Subic Naval Base and the Clark Air Base in Pampanga, the two biggest US military bases outside mainland America, were shut down after the Philippine Senate rejected an extension of their presence in the country.
China wary of US AsiaPac plan
Meanwhile, China’s top newspapers expressed concern over the US plan, saying that such move might widen the rift between the two countries.
Although Panetta gave assurance that the plan was not aimed at containing China, whose fast-modernizing navy has kindled worries among its neighbors, the People’s Daily did not buy that.
“Opinion across the Asia-Pacific generally does not believe that the United States’ strategy of returning to the Asia-Pacific is not aimed at China; it’s there plain for all to see,” said a commentary in the paper, which reflects the current thinking in Beijing.
“The United States verbally denies it is containing China’s rise, but while establishing a new security array across the Asia-Pacific, it has invariably made China its target,” it said.
“This strategy is driven with contradictions and undoubtedly will magnify the complexities of Asia-Pacific security arrangements, and could even create schisms.”
The People’s Daily commentary was blunter than Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin, who responded to Panetta’s announcement by saying China hopes the United States will respect its regional interests, and by calling the Pentagon’s steps “out of keeping with the times.”
Beijing appears keen to avoid outright confrontation with the US, but the comments in state newspapers reflected persistent worries that Washington is bent on frustrating its emergence as a major power.
“After this new (US) military deployment and adjustment is completed, the intensity of US meddling in Asia-Pacific affairs will surely increase,” the Liberation Army Daily quoted a People’s Liberation Army researcher as saying.
“This trend will increase people’s fears about the United States using its military dominance to interfere in the sovereignty of the region’s countries,” said the researcher, Han Xudong, a professor at China’s National Defense University.
China is focused on ensuring stable conditions for a Communist Party leadership transition later this year that will see the appointment of a new president to succeed Hu Jintao.
Still, Beijing and Washington have repeatedly been in dispute over US arms sales to Taiwan, which China sees as an illegitimate breakaway from its control; and the South China Sea, where China confronts a mosaic of disputes over islands and seas also claimed by Southeast Asian nations.
The US has backed a multilateral approach to solving those territorial disputes, which Beijing has rejected as meddling.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Get Your Bribe Money Ready

LTO might take over traffic enforcement on SCTEX...

Council backs LTO’s bid for NLEx, SCTEx control

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The Regional Development Council in Central Luzon’s Sectoral Committee on Infrastructure Development (SCID) backed the bid of the regional Land Transportation Office (LTO) for jurisdiction of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx).

During its regular meeting at Party Place in this city, SCID chairman and Bulacan Governor Wilhemino Sy-Alvarado said: “We strongly support and endorse the desire of LTO to have jurisdiction over NLEx and SCTEx since 98 percent of both highways are within Central Luzon and not Metro Manila.”

“Since the regional LTO similarly supports the appeal of PamCham (Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc.) on this matter, we will immediately issue the necessary resolution and forward it to LTO central office,” he added.

Sy-Alvarado told Sun.Star Pampanga that the move would finally do away with the inconvenience of over-speeding violators in claiming their licenses from the central office in Quezon City.

“We have strategic offices of LTO in Central Luzon including the regional office. It is but logical that confiscated licenses should be claimed in the nearest LTO office or at the regional office, which can then transfer the license in at least a day to the district office where the motorist comes from. We will definitely work this out,” he said.

Earlier, LTO Regional Director Oliver Macaspac disclosed they were lobbying anew for jurisdiction of the two expressways in response to the appeal of PamCham to reconsider its policy involving over-speeding motorists where violators have to retrieve their confiscated licenses from the LTO main office.

The business group, led by its chairman emeritus Levy Laus and president Marco Antonio Jimenez, had written Assistant Secretary Virginia P. Torres, to propose that erring motorists be given the option to claim their confiscated licenses and pay the corresponding penalty from either the LTO main office or the LTO regional office here to avoid inconvenience and additional expenses.

Macaspac said, “We do understand the predicament of PamCham and other concerned motorists. We are looking at this with urgency and will continue to lobby at the central office for us to have jurisdiction over NLEx and SCTex just like SLEx [South Luzon Expressway] is under the operations of LTO Region 4 (Calabarzon),” recalling that on July 21, 2010, Asec Torres had already approved of LTO Central Luzon’s jurisdiction over the NLEx and SCTEx but was reverted back to central office jurisdiction through a memorandum circular dated July 29 of the same year for unknown reasons.

Macaspac, along with PamCham vice chairman Rene Romerop expressed elation and hope that with the RDC-SCID endorsement, the appeal would be fast-tracked.

“Just imagine that about 70 percent of those who use both expressways are from Central Luzon. It would be of great convenience for motorists in the region. Plus, once the LTO gets jurisdiction over the two expressways, traffic there could be strictly regulated in all areas including after the toll exits where it is free for all. And then they would be able to curb apprehensions without evidence. We deeply appreciate the endorsement and support of the RDC,” Romero said.

Kalaklan Gate Toll?

Question from a reader:
   Can you provide any information concerning the soon to be implemented toll for entering the SBMA complex? I have heard that the SBMA administration is considering a P20. Fee to enter the Kalaklan gate. Is this true?

From the Bugle:
We are hearing about a raft of new fees and taxes being proposed by SBMA in order to dig the freeport out its financial hole. One of the implications of this toll, in addition to it being a P40 (nearly one dollar) round-trip into the base, is the long lines as the cashiers fumble with change. This toll will essentially shut down Kalaklan gate.Can you imagine during holiday weekends? The lines will run for a mile down the national highway!

Hopefully readers on SBMA who have more details on this proposed fee, and others, can provide more information.