Canadian surgical team back in another mission here next weekend

Some Baguio boys and girls are coming home for a humanitarian mission next week, bringing in other Filipino expats and Canadians in the medical field, some for the third straight year, for yet another surgical mission at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center.

For nurse Shirley Pinlac Maas, a product of the Baguio City National High School and the BGH School of Nursing, the mission is becoming an annual pilgrimage of sorts since she swung Operation Rainbow Canada to do cleft palate surgery here in 2000.

So with Dr. Norman Peter Blair, a surgeon serving as the  team leader for the third straight year to the annual mission at the BGHMC. He led  the Health for Humanity mission in 2009 and the GO-MED (Greater Outreach-Medical/Educational Destinations), a non-profit health support group he heads, last year.

As in the past two years, the 31-member mission will do surgery for free, particularly thyroidectomy, laparoscopic/open cholecystectomy (gall bladder), all types of hernia repairs, breast biopsy/mastectomy, abdominal/vaginal. hysterectomy, tubal ligation and all other gynecological procedures.

BGHMC chief, Dr. Manuel Factora has advised indigent patients availing of the services to sign up at the out-patient, surgery and gynecology departments before the start of the mission on Jan. 23.

The visiting team, who will be assisted by their local counterparts, will do surgeries from Jan. 24 to 28 and Jan. 31 to Feb. 3.

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City working out lagoon tunnel clearing project

BAGUIO CITY – The planned dredging of the City Camp lagoon tunnel is now in the works with an initial funding of P25 million.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan said he has been informed by Dept. of Public Works and Highways city district engineer Ireneo Gallato that the Special

Allotment Release Order (SARO) for the amount has already been issued for the project.

The said fund was worked out by Rep. Bernardo Vergara.

However, the mayor said that the project will not be implemented immediately as they are still determining the applicable process that can be employed to prosecute the project considering that it is not a typical infrastructure venture.

He said that as required under Republic Act No. 9184 or the national procurement law, the project has to be bid out but those in charge of the project could not complete the documents required in the bidding as they are encountering difficulties in quantifying the scope of work and target accomplishments due to the physical condition of the site.

The mayor said they are considering the implementation of the project by administration instead of the regular bid out process so that the project cost to be paid will be commensurate to the amount of work to be accomplished.

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Dads okay additional fund for Mines View Satellite Market

BAGUIO CITY – The city council last Monday approved the realignment of a P12 million fund earlier allotted for various disallowed projects for the completion of the on-going satellite market project at Mines View Park.

The body approved Ordinance No. 1 series of 2011 for the purpose.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan requested for the realignment of the said amount to enable the city to finance an additional scope of work to complete the satellite market project.

The P12 million was earmarked for various projects in 2009 but said projects were not implemented after these were disallowed by the Dept. of Budget and Management-Cordillera (DBM-CAR).

The Local Finance Committee certified that the amount from the 2009 Development Fund  remained as a continuing appropriation eligible for realignment for the satellite market project.

The council committee on laws recommended approval of the realignment citing the justifications of the executive department on the urgency of the satellite project.


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Mayor meets PBs

BAGUIO CITY – The city’s 128 Punong Barangays were briefed on what to expect this year during the first official  meeting with Mayor Mauricio Domogan at the city hall multi-purpose hall last week.

Foremost on the concerns brought up was the P30M funding from the 20% development fund, pegged for priority projects in the barangays.

The mayor verified reports on equal distribution of said funds which would amount to a measly P275,000 per barangay. The amount would not be enough to complete a project thus a priority list should be followed, through a P2M allocation per city council member, the mayor said.

Not all barangays will be given funds, as distribution should be guided by the local government code, the mayor clarified. Congressman Bernardo Vergara through Mayor Domogan, however has assured the barangays of an additional P30M from his funds; still to be used for priority projects.

Priority projects are the city’s drainage and sewerage, including the city camp lagoon. Whatever is lacking, “iremedyo tayo,” the mayor said. If needs be, the next projects would be allocated funds in 2012, he added.

The mayor also regarded the agreement between and among the PBs as the fruit of “good teamwork and cooperation,” as with the “beauty of unity.”

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Traffic coding suspended for SLU centennial celebration, TTMC recommendation awaited

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan last week signed a city council resolution suspending the number coding scheme from January 12 to January 23 this year for the Centennial Grand Alumni Homecoming of Saint Louis University (SLU).

As to the resolution, SLU Boys High School celebrates from Jan 14 to Jan 16 while the university celebration shall be on January 22 and 23; thus the suspension for attendees; city dwellers and out-of-towners.

Saint Louis University, now 100 years old, affirms Baguio as the educational center of the north, being one of the best educational institutions in the Philippines, ranked first outside Metro Manila and third nationwide among 1,188 tertiary schools.

Meanwhile, Mayor Mauricio Domogan, during the media Ugnayan last week said that the Traffic and Transportation Management Committee (TTMC) and the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) Traffic Division shall study the implications of granting exemptions as to the number coding scheme.

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Mayor thumbs up on agri trade fair for kids

BAGUIO CITY –   this one is for the kids  . . . they need the help, expressed City Mayor Mauricio Domogan on the newly approved Trade Fair at Igorot Park here.

The mayor was reacting to queries on trade fairs being conducted throughout the city during the weekly Ugnayan presser sponsored by DZEQ Radyo ng Bayan and aired live at Sky cable.

This week, Domogan signed Administrative Order No. 5 authorizing the re-scheduling and re-establishment of the Industrial and Agricultural Exhibit to be undertaken by the Baguio City National High School Special program on the Arts (BCNHS-SPA).

The request was through a letter of Maria Elena Araneta, President of the Parents Teachers Association BCNHS-SPA for a 2 week use of the park addressed to the city council.

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Mayor’s year-end report: city on the right track

BAGUIO CITY – The city government is on the right track in its developmental pursuit gauging from the gains it attained in the delivery of service to the public for the past six months.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan made this assessment last Monday during his first flag-raising rites address for the new year where he cited the accomplishments achieved by the various departments under his administration for the second part of last year.

“Based on the initial reports from the various departments, we can say that we are substantially on the right track in fulfilling our obligations of delivering service to the public,” the mayor said.

He cited the substantial gains attained at the tourism and peace and order fronts as well as the achievements in revenue collection, peace and order, human resource development, health services, infrastructure development and currently on waste management as proof that the city is in a good position on the road to achieving its developmental thrusts this year.

He however said that the key is sustaining if not improving the efforts to propel the development momentum.

“I therefore ask each and everyone of us to continue our good teamwork to sustain or even improve the momentum gained for the past six months to enable us to hurdle any kind of problem,” the mayor exhorted City Hall employees.

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P-noy asked to help city reclaim forbes lot

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan got his wish to bring the city’s desire to recover the lots within the Forbes Park forest reservation to the attention of President Benigno Aquino III.

The mayor last Monday bared that the Forbes Park issue was one of the two concerns he took up with the President during his brief visit at the city mayor’s office last Dec. 31 where he expressed to the President the city’s desire to have the Solicitor General file for the reversion of the Certificates of Ancestral Land Title (CALTs) issued by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) over the lots to enable the city to reclaim the supposedly inalienable lots.

The mayor said the President asked him to put the request in writing so he could act on it.

The mayor expressed hopes that something concrete will result from his encounter with the President especially since the Forbes Park issue is an immediate concern of the city government.

“We need to handle this properly because losing Forbes Park to these private individuals would mean the eventual destruction of Baguio considering that it is one of the only few remaining pinestands in our city,” the mayor bemoaned.

The mayor during the Ugnayan press briefing last Thursday bared that the draft petition for the Solicitor General to initiate proceedings for the CALTs’ cancellation has been finished and will be pushed but the support of the President will be crucial.

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ERS delayed but city ‘on track’

BAGUIO CITY – slight delays in the operation of the Environmental Recycling System (ERS) machines will not be a problem.

This was assured by City Mayor Mauricio Domogan during the weekly Ugnayan Presser which resumed January 6.

The ERS machines will be fully operational by January 17, this is the commitment of Mr. Luis Lu of Protech Philippines, he said.

The full operation of the ERS machines were set at an earlier time but due to the need for 3 167 KVA transformers to power up the machines, the same have been stalled.

The electrical installation is ongoing and would be finished by this week, Domogan stressed.

A set of conveyors are also set to arrive in the country by January 7 and would be delivered to the city on January 11.

Answering to queries on garbage backlog due to the non-operation of the ERS machines, Domogan said he has already approved authority for Protech to lease the big garbage trucks owned by the city government which will be used by the company to haul residual wastes at no cost to the city.

I believe that we can solve the garbage problem and we can stop the hauling of garbage to Tarlac which is eating up our funds, he said.

Inauguration of the ERS machines are set February 2 and invited as guests are the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Secretary of Agriculture.

Domogan also said he has also invited President Benigno Aquino III to grace the inauguration.

Hopefully he could come, Domogan said.


Domogan bares timetable for Asin Minihydro Project

BAGUIO CITY – The city government aims to bid out the Asin minihydroelectric plants operation in February, Mayor Mauricio Domogan announced last Wednesday.

The mayor said the draft terms of reference (TOR) for the project which have undergone several revisions have been submitted for finalization in last week’s meeting of the Asin hydro technical working group.

He said he is confident that the TOR will be completed before the end of the month for submission to the city council for approval.

“Hopefully, the city council will approve the TOR immediately so that by February, the city could start sending out notices of invitation for bidding to various interested companies,” the mayor said.

The privatization of the plants’ operations has long been pushed by the city government to restore the viability of the facilities which slackened under its management due to lack of funds and expertise.

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Creation of zoning review committee urged

BAGUIO CITY – The city council Monday urged Mayor Mauricio Domogan to constitute the Local Zoning Review Committee (LZRC) to take charge of determining changes in the Comprehensive Land Use plan (CLUP).

In Resolution No. 005 series of 2011 authored by Councilor Isabelo Cosalan Jr., the body said the creation of said sub-committee as mandated by section 36 of City Ordinance No. 51 series of 2001 or the Revised Comprehensive Zoning Regulations for the City of Baguio is necessary at this time when the CLUP is presently undergoing updating as spearheaded by the City Planning and Development Office.

“The constitution of the LZRC is of utmost importance considering that the city’s CLUP is outdated and had been overtaken by events and developments,” the body noted in the resolution.

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BFF 2011 goes on with student participation – Mayor

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan last week allayed apprehension over reports of participating students’ boycott of Panagbenga 2011 or the Baguio Flower Festival this February. An assurance of participation has also been given by Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Ellen Donato during an earlier meeting, the mayor said.

The reported boycott was said to be due to unpaid cash prizes won by elementary and secondary school student-participants for Panagbenga 2010 which the mayor clarified has already been resolved. He recalled that as congressman during the earlier half of 2010, P1M from his funds has been allocated for the purpose. An additional Half-a-Million Pesos last December has been appropriated from the Special Education Fund (SEF) to fulfill said obligations, the mayor added.

A review of events revealed that prizes for BFF 2010 has not been granted appropriation, and the 2010 city budget has just been approved, thus the delay.

Mayor Domogan also rued the exaggeration for the non-payment may be due to “political” reasons.  
He thus called on the parents and teachers of students to participate in the government-led and community-based festival which opens with a parade on Feb. 1. The efforts of both should redound to a better festival, the mayor said.

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Thieves getting bolder, city victimized anew

BAGUIO CITY – Criminal elements can strike anytime, this was expressed by City Mayor Mauricio Domogan during the weekly Ugnayan Presser Wednesday answering to queries on the theft which happened at the City Treasury Office.

Reports reveal that cash amounting to 135,690 thousand pesos has been carted away by an unidentified culprit inside the city’s one stop shop in broad daylight during office hours.

Accordingly, Revenue Collection Officer Merceditas Dela Pena placed the cash inside a box on top of her table after collecting monies from the tellers.
She however left her table unattended to get cedula booklets which was the perfect opportunity for the ‘man of steal’ to strike.

The cash is from the collection of community tax payments for the day.

This is a warning to employees to take extra precaution, Domogan said citing negligence on the part of the employee.

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Autonomy issues heat up in mountain province

The fresh push for Cordillera autonomy has stirred discussions on how this mountain region can finally take stock and control of its dwindling natural and mineral resources for its own development instead of these being continuously  exploited for national progress. 

The “development-for-whom” issue anchored initial dialogues especially in Mountain Province where its task force on regional development and autonomy conducted initial consultations in the 10 towns.

At the meeting Wednesday of the regional committee tasked to get inputs for the drafting of a new autonomy charter, provincial task force chair Franklin Odsey reported the questions raised included the following:

Will the people of the region be able to have titles to their lands vis-à-vis restrictive national government policies and laws proclaiming wide areas as parks, watersheds or claims of mining firms? Will the regional government have the power to issue mining and other permits for the exploitation of Cordillera’s resources and directly collect taxes from their operations?

Among the issues raised ion Sagada, Sabangan and Tadian towns were: What should be done with national laws that prevent us from utilizing our forest resources like trees planted by our forefathers? Whaty about the tapping of our water resources for dams which are now in private hands?

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P-noy keeps hope alive for nixed peza share

BAGUIO CITY – President Benigno Aquino III’s intervention kept the city government’s hope alive for its long-time bid to collect the P125 million tax share from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) operations.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan Thursday bared that the President directed the Dept. of Budget and Management (DBM) to look into the city’s claim which suffered a setback after Aquino himself vetoed it from the national budget last month.

Domogan said the information on the President’s directive was relayed to him by DBM regional director Liza Fangsilat during the forum on autonomy last week.

The mayor said he directed the Local Finance Committee to coordinate with the DBM-CAR and forward the details of the city’s claims to the DBM central office.

The President’s move was an offshoot of Domogan’s request for him to reconsider his veto of the city’s tax share when the President visited the mayor last Dec. 31.

The mayor refused to give up on the share despite the President’s veto so that when Aquino arrived and paid him a brief visit, he took the opportunity to request for a reconsideration of the vetoed tax share recounting to the President the city’s struggle in collecting said amount and emphasizing the need for it to fund various priority projects including the payment of the Baguio Convention Center.

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Public hearing set on rights of taxi passengers ordinance

BAGUIO CITY – The city council will hold a public hearing on the proposed ordinance “Providing for Rights of Taxi Passengers in the City of Baguio “on January 14 at 2 p.m. at the city council session hall.

The hearing will be facilitated by the council committee on human rights, public protection and peace and order chaired by Councilor Nicasio Aliping Jr.

Authored by Councilor Edison Bilog, the proposed measure seeks to acknowledge the rights of taxi passengers and penalize acts violating such.

As spelled out in the proposed ordinance, the rights of taxi passengers are as follows:

* Right to be picked up and transported to their stated destination by any available on duty taxi driver, subject to applicable traffic regulations;
* Right to a fare meter duly calibrated and sealed by proper authorities;
* Right to a properly dressed and courteous driver who provides assistance, if requested;
* Right to a taxi that is clean, smoke-free and in good repair;
* Right to direct the route, to suggest the destination on the most economical route;
* Right to see the taxi meter;
* Right to see the driver’s identification card;
* Right to a quiet atmosphere upon request;
* Right to pay the rate exactly as posted in the meter;
* Right to be assisted by the drivers in loading and unloading of goods; and
* Right to be returned of any property left in the taxi cab.

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Speech Delivered by Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan during the Cordillera Month Closing Ceremony
July 26 SLU-BC




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Autonomy Working Draft is also in the Legislative Directory