Vol. XX No. 42

December 27, 2000

Virac, Catanduanes


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The Catanduanes Tribune

Rawis, Virac


Philippines - 5001

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Edwin A. Gianan




Simeon G. Cueno 


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by Fernan A. Gianan


Texting heaven

There are some aspects of the recently issued DENR guidelines on the recovery and disposition of abandoned logs, drifted logs, sunken logs, uprooted and fire/typhoon damaged trees, tree stumps, tops and branches, that are not applicable particularly in the light of our province's experience.

During the last supertyphoon, thousands of drifted logs clogged the Cabugao bay as well as parts of Bato river. According to the new guidelines, the finder of the wood materials has first priority, ahead of the National Resources Development Corporation (NRDC) and the local government units.

It is not easy to imagine that the finder would have a hard time maintaining his stake on the floating lumber, as others would erase his name and etch theirs as soon as the finder leaves to apply for the Wood Recovery Permit. In San Vicente, Virac last 1998, a piece of timber stranded on the beach sported as many as six names chiseled on it.

The guidelines also specify that the CENRO, upon learning of the existence of such materials, shall conduct a 100% inventory of the lumber, which shall be chronologically numbered, photographed and indicated in a sketch map. It would be hard for them to number logs floating in the open sea, much less draw a sketch map of them as they are constantly pushed around by waves. Nor would an approximate measurement of volume be possible, if foresters don't have the heart to jump from rolling log to rolling log.

It is also a mystery why it included typhoon-damaged trees in private lands. For landowners in Catanduanes, which is hit most often by strong typhoons than any other province in the country, it would be a bother to apply for a permit just to cut down mango, avocado, jackfruit, and similar common backyard trees felled by winds. The guidelines should have indicated only those trees from which good lumber can be extracted and used, like narra and other species.

There is also the matter of paying the forest charges. A man whose house has been blown down would not even think of paying the government for the right to secure lumber materials, freely floating at sea, when the government takes its own time in giving assistance on relief and rehabilitation efforts.

We have good laws, but there are laws, like these DENR guidelines, that should have been given more thought and inputs from the field before they were implemented.



On or about New Year, Globe Telecom's 40-meter tower at its cell site now being constructed in barangay San Isidro Village, Virac would be operational.

Under subcontract with the M. Alberto Construction with Engr. Jessie Alberto as project manager, the cell site's structural component is nearing completion. Last week, main contractor Nokia sent its systems engineer, Jonathan Rodriguez of Cabugao, Bato, and commissioning engineer Jorgen Lindgren, to initialize the operation of the so-called Base Station Transceiver(BTS).

The BTS, Rodriguez disclosed, would be capable of handling 60 cellphone calls at the same time. He said the cell site, which is part of Globe's expansion program, would cost anywhere from P28 to P30 million once operational.

Local texting addicts are expected to multiply like flies in the first quarter of 2001. This columnist dreams to own one, although current financial difficulties due to recent housing expenses deter its realization.

It would be better to wait until Digital Telecommunications (Digitel) launches its cellphone and Short Messaging System (SMS) by October of next year. As the landline communications here is run by Digitel, it would be more economical for the caller if his cellphone would be Digitel's, not Smart or Nokia.

The other week, Piltel reportedly activated its long dormant Mobiline cellsite. Some gratified users switched on their dusty phones, including the ugly bagphones distributed by Rep. Jun Verceles through the much-ballyhooed Telepono sa Barangay, and got a signal. But only for a while. As of presstime, the Motorola Startac this columnist borrowed sported a "red" blinker, meaning Mobiline is out again. Perhaps, NTC Commissioner Joseph Santiago should personally take it upon himself to ensure that Mobiline upgrades its Virac equipment so it can accommodate text messages and be operational daily.



FIVE DOLLARS. Offerings had been down the past several Sundays, and the preacher decided he had to do something to change the trend.

The next Sunday, as the plate was being passed, he said... "Brothers and Sisters, I don't like to have to do this, but there is a man in the congregation who is having an affair with another parishioner's wife, and if there is not at least five dollars in the collection, I will reveal his name."

Later, as he counted the money, he found 20 five dollar bills, and two dollar bills with a note that read: "Forever hold your peace; I'll have that other three dollars before sundown."


Copyright 2000 The Catanduanes Tribune