Vol. XX No. 41

December 20, 2000

Virac, Catanduanes


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Briefly Yours

By Joel Son Panti

Goodbye, Remelito…

Soon people will no longer see giant streamers of Gov. Sanchez displayed along or accross national roads welcoming one and all "maogmang kapistahan saindo gabos".

Not only streamers but billboards and advertisements as well.That is, if D.E. Mariano Saret will implement DPWH Department Order No. 217 s. 2000 issued by Sec. Gregorio Vigilar last month banning the above from national roads.

Question: Are the roads from the airport to the highway and that strip of road from the seaport to the Virac fountain a national road? If they are, then soon the text written on the arches, including the name of the governor, will soon disappear!

Talagang killjoy ang DPWH. Or was Sec. Vigilar influenced by Saret in order to get even with the governor?

Remember, Saret and the entire DPWH people were kicked out of the Capitol building by Gov. Sanchez, complete with a platoon of heavily armed men!

Remember, too, that Gov. Sanchez's newspaper had been hitting the local DPWH real black and blue!

Of course, unlike the governor, Engr. Saret is not a vindictive man.

As a matter of fact, when interviewed by broadcast and print journalists last week, DE Saret said he will pray hard "baka lumambot ang puso ni governor" and in the spirit of the Yuletide Season. He said he may even pay the governor a courtesy call and personally greet him a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Such a humility is worth emulating.



Some contractors have been cursing some members of Task Force Quarry for "ga hagad nin lagay na P2,500 sa lambang proyekto masqui saday."

The contractor's claim that the grease money is for the boss "ta ma-aqui na si misis." But sources say that the wife of the head of Task Force Quarry is working in Manila and is not pregnant.

Or it may be possible that these crooks and vultures are using the name of their boss to enrich themselves without their boss knowing it. That's name-dropping!

Our good friend Col. Dominguez should investigate and kick out the guilty.



The Land Transportation Office and the local traffic cops should teach some tricycle drivers real hard lessons.

Many of them violate traffic laws, including the ordinance on traffic here in Virac. Many are arrogant. And above all, many exact illegal fares. These are the usual complaints of commuters.

The LTO, before giving these road maniacs some licenses, should educate them thoroughly. Perhaps it would be wise to issue to them a handbook on basic traffic laws.

The trouble with the LTO is basta marunong nang magdrive, binibigyan na kaagad ng license.



We received a copy of DPWH District engineer Mariano P. Saret's answer to the alleged charges hurled against his office by Gov. Sanchez's newspaper.

He answered the charges point by point, from issue no. 1 to No. 10. to confirm the figures and verify some facts, we decided to see him in his office.

From all the documents presented to us by Engr. Saret, plus those we gathered from other sources, it becomes very apparent that the charges were bloated and magnified out of proportion.

Some charges, like the rehab of Porot-San Isidro road in Pandan, were the products of misappreciation of facts and figures. Or simply, the non-understanding of some construction or engineering codes.

In short, there was not a single ghost project as charged by Sanchez's newspaper. "An ibang projects puedeng iguang defects, pero mayo caming ghost project," Saret told the mediamen.



What is a ghost project? A ghost project is a non-existing project, non-existing in fact and in truth but the funds for the same has already been collected or is being collected.

In short, the alleged project exists only on papers but not in reality. And the fund already released and collected or pocketed by whoever are or is the crook.

Based on our perusal of the documents presented to us by DE Saret, and our oral interview with him and some engineers, the DPWH has no single ghost project as charged.

How could a ghost project be consummated?

Every civil engineer will tell you that when a certain project is completed, a Certificate of Completion and Turnover for Custody is prepared and signed by the DPWH project engineer, the contractor, the COA resident auditor and the district engineer.

There are four signatories. Together with this certificate of completion, an Acknowledgement of Turnover and Custody document is signed by the barangay captain, his secretary or any member of the barangay council as witness where the project is located. There are two signatories.

During the turnover or immediately after the turnover, some pictures are taken of the finished or completed project which will be used as annexes in the processing of the voucher for payment of the project.

Now, in order to consummate a ghost project, all the six major signatories, from the project engineer down to the barangay captain, must connive among each other.

Plus, a fake picture has to be taken or presented in order to be able to collect the money. In short, many people, not only the signatories to all documents, will know about it.

Question: Are these signatories to the completion of the project willing and ready to lose their faces?



Finally, DILG Sec. Fred Lim intervened.

And finally, too, PBM Jenor Sollegue has been vindicated. Sec. Lim ordered the SP, thru the presiding officer, to recognize Sollegue as SK Provincial Federation president and ex-officio member "vice Remelito Cabrera".

In his Dec. 8 order, Sec. Lim concurred with the decision of SK National Executive Board. Perhaps, mababawasan ng kunti ang infighting sa SP. Goodbye, Remelito. Goodbye, Hector.


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