cagayan de oro

Ombud junks nepotism plaint vs. Emano, Elipe

April 9, 2019

MISAMIS Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano and his brother-in-law Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) member President Elipe on Monday (April 8) welcomed the dismissal of the nepotism complaint filed against them before the Office of the Ombudsman.      In a press conference that day, lawyer of the respondents Melchor Cubillo reported that they received the resolution only recently even though the Ombudsman had already decided on the complaint in July 2018.      It can be recalled that one Ernesto Molina filed in October 2017 complaints for malversation, unlawful appointments, grave abuse of authority and grave misconduct against the two provincial officials.      Molina alleged that Emano committed nepotism in 2016 by appointing his own brother-in-law as general manager of the Misamis Oriental Integrated Sports Complex (MOISC).      In his complaint, Molina pointed out that MOISC is a government entity since it stands on land jointly owned by the provincial government of Misamis Oriental, city government of Cagayan de Oro and the Department of Education (DepEd).      But in the July 2018 resolution issued by graft investigation and prosecution officer Rosemil Bañaga, the Ombudsman pointed out that the documents submitted by both complainant and respondents did not show that MOISC is a government entity.      “The SSS registration of the Integrated Sports Foundation, Inc. and the fact that it remits its employees’ premium contributions to SSS lean toward the inference that it is a private entity,” part of the resolution stated.      Along this line, Emano and Elipe welcomed the issuance of the resolution, saying it vindicated them from undue accusations thrown at them by their political foes.      Elipe in particular said during the press conference that they had documents showing that Molina, the complainant, was a city government of Cagayan de Oro employee at the time the complaint was filed.      The city mayor of Cagayan de Oro, Oscar Moreno, is a political opponent of the brothers-in-law.      Elipe hinted that they would be filing counter-complaints against Molina for falsification of documents leading to “political harassment.”      Their lawyer Cubillo said that the nepotism complaint had no chance to revive since Molina failed to file a motion for reconsideration on time.      “There is no way to defeat truth, it will triumph over evil. The move of our rivals in politics especially in the city to implicate me on the charges which I never did is a political harassment. This is the plan of the Moreno camp to get even with his more than 100 graft cases,” Elipe said. (MF)

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Dominguez underscores SSS priorities under law

April 8, 2019

New Social Security Commission (SSC) chairman Carlos Dominguez III has emphasized the need to reduce the state-run pension fund's overhead expenses and use digital tools to make it easier for its members to access services.   “We need to be very prudent in managing expenses because we are talking about the hard-earned savings of Filipino workers.  The new SSS law has provided the means to beef up the pension fund through contribution rate adjustments. Our role now is to digitize processes that will make it easier for members to access services. Modernizing systems will also eventually save on costs and other operating expenses," Dominguez said.   Based on the Social Security Act of 2018, Social Security System (SSS) is allowed to spend no more than twelve percent (12 percent) of the total yearly contributions plus three percent of other revenues for administrative and operational expenses such as salaries and wages, supplies and materials, depreciation, and the maintenance of offices of the SSS.   SSS financial statements show that the pension fund utilizes an average of five percent of its total revenue for annual operating expenses since 2016. Operating expenses of SSS amounted to P9.48 billion in 2016, P9.54 billion in 2017, and P9.76 billion in 2018.   As part of his mandate, Dominguez also wants to see more investments in information technology in support of the planned digital transformation of the pension fund.   “We have to do some serious investments in technology because it will not only save us  but will also save time for the transacting public. Online transactions are easier and more convenient. But I directed the SSS management at the same time to be clear as to when exactly we are supposed to see the returns of our investments in electronic services,” Dominguez said.   At present, SSS electronic services include online application for SS number issuance, application for member data amendment, Payment Reference Number (PRN) inquiry and generation, employment report submission, submission of contribution (R-3) and loan collection list (ML-2), salary loan application, certification of salary application, filing of maternity and sickness notification.   These services and claims can be made thru the SSS Website--My.SSS, the SSS Mobile App, Self-Service Information Terminal (SSIT), Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) and Text-SSS.   Other services that may be filed through these channels include filing of retirement claim applications, annual confirmation of  (ACOP) program, request for branch appointment, inquiry on location of SSS branch, Member/Employer/Household Employer, feedback submission, inquiry on SS information, Personal Equity Saving Option (PESO) fund enrolment, Flexi-fund enrolment and requesting of records.   Last January 2018, SSS made a bold move in its digital platform when it implemented the Real-Time Processing of Contributions (RTPC) program wherein contribution payments are posted immediately through the use of a Payment Reference Number (PRN), thereby avoiding delays in the processing of benefits because of unposted contributions.   Under his leadership, Dominguez wants to reinforce the twin messages that SSS helps its members save for tomorrow while providing them with easy access to services today. "What you put in SSS as savings today is what you will receive in benefits in the future.  The increase in contributions is an opportunity for members to save more for contingencies, and particularly for retirement," he said.   SSS’ contribution collection in 2018 jumped by over P22 billion to P181.92 billion in 2018, up by 13.89 percent from the P159.72 billion recorded in 2017.     Dominguez chairs the SSC, which is composed of representatives from labor and employer groups, namely, SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora Cruz Ignacio, Michael Regino, Gonzalo Duque, Diana Pardo Aguilar, Anita Bumpus Quitain and Ricardo Moldez. Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III also sits in the Commission as a member. 

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7 dead, 27 wounded in new Sulu fighting

April 5, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY  – Fresh fighting erupted in Sulu Friday morning, resulting in the killing of three soldiers and four militants. A total of 22 combatants from both sides were also wounded in the firefight in the municipality of Patikul. Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, spokesperson of the Armed Forces’ Western Mindanao Command, said government troops were pursuing Abu Sayyaf leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, alleged mastermind of the Jan. 27 bombing of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral in Jolo that left at least 20 dead and a hundred wounded.  Besana said Scout Rangers were dispatched to Sitio Atol, Barangay Latih in Patikul after information was verified that Sawadjaan and 80 of his men were in the village. “Unfortunately the militants have prepared against this kind of incursion,” Besana said.  Three soldiers were killed immediately after the militants fired M203 rifle grenades at the advancing troops, he said.  Thirteen soldiers were also wounded in the fighting as the militants took advantage of the dense vegetation around the village, Besana added.  He described the battle as “close quarters with combatants only 50 to 80 meters apart.”  Besana said Army units fought hard to catch up with the Scout Rangers for reinforcement, firing 81mm mortars against the positions of the militants.  He said they have recovered four bodies of the militants and intercepts on the radio revealed that at least 14 members of Sawadjaan group were wounded.  The fighting came a day after Malaysian kidnap victim Jari Abdullah, 34, was shot by his captors during a firefight in Simisa Island in Sulu. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)

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MALAYSIAN KIDNAP VICTIM SHOT WHILE ESCAPING FROM ABU SAYYAF; IN CRITICAL CONDITION

April 5, 2019

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – A Malaysian kidnap victim was shot Thurday afternoon in Sulu while escaping from his Abu Sayyaf captors who were engaged in a firefight with the Marines. Western Mindanao Command spokesperson Lt. Col. Gerry Besana said Malaysian national Jari Abdullah, 34, was in critical condition when he was found by the Philippine Marine Battalion Landing Team 3 at around 4:25 pm Thursday. He said the Marines engaged the Abu Sayyaf militants led by a certain Najir Arik in a 15-minute firefight in Simusa Island, Barangay Bahkaan, Banguingui, Sulu. “The kidnap victim tried to escape from his captors during the firefight but was shot by the Abu Sayyaf,” Besama said. (Froilan Gallardo)   ISULAN BOMBER IDENTIFIED THRU CCTV FOOTAGE – PNP COTABATO CITY– The Philippine National Police on Thursday said a suspect in Wednesday’s bombing in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat has been identified through the CCTV footage of the restaurant where the improvised explosive device went off, wounding at least 18 persons. Apprarently to avoid recognition, the CCTV footage shows the suspect, wearing a face mask, a cap and jacket, entering Carlitos Restaurant carrying what looked like a small white grocery bag at around 1:53 p.m, and immediately blended with the crowd. Brig. Gen. Eliseo Rasco, police commander of Region 12, said the suspect pretended to be a customer buying lechon manok (roasted chicken). The suspect moved around inside the restaurant presumably looking for a seat then entered the comfort room.

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SP OKs brgy budgets

April 3, 2019

THE 18th City Council on its regular session yesterday presided over by Vice Mayor Raineir Joaquin V. Uy adopted separate resolutions returning to Barangays 38 and Kauswagan covering their respective budgets for 2019 with the information that the same are in order and may be given force and effect.      From an estimated income of P2.4 million, Barangay 38 allocated P222,270 representing its 20-percent Development Fund for the rehabilitation of its drainage system.      Moreover, it also has allocated P120,402 and P240,804 for its  five-percent calamity fund and 10% SK fund, respectively.      For its part, Barangay Kauswagan has earmarked P4,917,188 from its Development Fund project for the concreting of the perimeter fence at Capisnon covered court, drainage at Harpy St. Extension, Zone 1, drainage cover at St. John the Baptist to Raagas compound, road at Gawad Kalinga, pathways at Group 5, Zone 5,  and Zone 6, construction of road pavement at Las Piedras St., flood control-declogging of canals, road concreting at Kabina, Zone 1 and at Fairlane, Zone 6 and for its solidwaste program.      It also has allocations for its Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction Management (70%), Quick Response Fund (30%), and SK fund (10%) amounting to P1,101,445, P474,641, and P3,152,172, respectively.      These will be taken from the Barangay’s estimated income of P31.5 million. The legislations were previously reviewed and endorsed by the committees on barangay affairs and on laws and rules chaired by Councilors Yan Lam S. Lim and Ian Mark Q. Nacaya, respectively. (SP/JAO)

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Soaring Ahead of the Curve | Cagayan de Oro takes off as PH’s next Metropolis

April 3, 2019

The Philippine Development Plan of 2019-2022 envisions Cagayan de Oro City to become the Philippines ‘next metropolis by 2025. However, one only has to look around to see for himself that the boom that’s suppose to propel the metropolization of this gateway city to Mindanao and its environs could already be coming in ahead of schedule. Although the outward signs evidently are all over town, data from government entities charged with recording business and financial transactions prove beyond the shadow of a doubt there is indeed a healthy lifeblood of investments and business confidence beneath the muscle and sinew putting up the new buildings and new businesses. Data from the City Finance Department /Treasurer’s Office show that from 3,439 new business permits issued in 2013, there were already 4,367 by 2017.  Renewals have grown even faster, from 14,640 in 2013 to 19,330 in 2017. In toto, from 18,079 business permits in 2013, there were 5.618 more in 2017, for an impressive 31% growth over the four year period to 23,697 total permits, barely a year into the second term of City Mayor Oscar S. Moreno. On the average, prior to 2013, there were only 13,099 registered businesses on record per year.  From 2014 to 2019 the number ballooned to 18,125 registered businesses per year.  New business registrations in these groups of years on the other hand had a yearly average of 3,156 and 4,000, respectively. “The people deserve more to be able to respond to the pressures and demands of their city that is fast becoming a burgeoning metropolis,” said Moreno in his message published in the City Mayor’s Report for 2018. “The city that continues to attract investments as a competitive destination for commerce and industry, city of choice for education, preferred medical/hospital care destination, and as banking and financial hub of the region.” “All of these because of its business-friendly governance, comfortably calm peace and public safety condition, as well as its sustained commitment to become a climate resilient city where people live and enjoy relatively safer environment.” New investments reported by the City Finance Department grew 136.7% with total capitalization of P3.906-Billion (B), consisting of more than 4,000 businesses that were registered with the Department of Trade and Industry(DTI) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The construction boom surged to new heights in 2017 driven by the construction of new hotels, condominiums, housing projects and commercial/hospital buildings. The single largest investment recorded was the P2.8-B bulk water supply project of Metro Pacific Investments. Meantime, investments monitored by the Misamis Oriental provincial office in 2017 grew 214%  to P7.260-B, from only P2,310-B in 2016. Major sectors covered included P4.468-B under Infrastructure and Services, and P2.267-B for Real Property/Real Estate/Real Estate Development.   City Competitiveness Network To further bolster the city’s competitiveness, Moreno established the City Competitiveness Network in 2017. Chaired by the City Mayor and co-chaired by the NEDA-10 Regional Director, it is supported by the Local Economic and Investment Promotion Office as Secretariat, which also operates the Cagayan de Oro Trade and Investment Promotions Center. Since it was first established in 2013, Cagayan de Oro has maintained its position among the Top 10 Most Competitive Cities (Highly Urbanized Cities Category) and was ranked fifth in overall competitiveness in 2018, and No. 1 as the Most Resilient City. Eileen E. San Juan, the city’s Local Economic & Investment Promotion Office, credited the initiatives undertaken by the Moreno administration since its first term in the latter half of 2013 to improve the business climate in the city and make it more business and people friendly. “Primary among these are the automation/online platforms for business registration, payment of taxes and fees, building permits, the updating of the Local Investment Incentive Code in 2018 and the Local  Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Code,” San Juan said. From an average of 19 days in 2012, the City under the Moreno initiative reduced the time for securing a new business permit to only 46.88 minutes in 2013 and further to 31.82 minutes in 2014. It takes an average of 5 days in other LGUs to secure a new business permit. Similarly, business permit renewals which took two days in 2012, were reduced to only 100.93 minutes by 2013 and further reduced by 50% of that to only 51.79 minutes. This likewise compares well with other LGUs where an average of 5 days is needed to renew a business permit. Cagayan de Oro became the first country in 2014 to institute an Online Assessment and Payment for new and renewal of business applications, quarterly business permits, real property taxes, city building fees, fines for road and traffic violations, market stall rentals, and other taxes and fees. For this achievement, Cagayan de Oro was declared champion in the 6th Awards for Excellence in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Local Government Units or eGOV Awards under the Best in Digital Payment category. Organized by the DICT and NICP, the eGOV Awards recognizes innovative and outstanding local government units which innovate information and communication technology to improve the delivery of public services. Cagayan de Oro likewise blazed the trail for other LGUS in the same year when it streamlined the construction permitting process for building and occupancy permits through the Building Permit Management System of the Cagayan de Oro Office of the Building Official (OBO) in partnership with the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP). Not the least, it updated its Investment Incentives Ordinance in 2018 by offering a local business tax holiday on gross receipts of new businesses from two to five years depending on the number of workers employed, capitalization, nature of technology used and location of new enterprises. These business-friendly initiatives did not go unnoticed, and made the city a finalist in 2018 in the Most Business Friendly Local Government Unit category. Peace and Public Safety On top of all these, Cagayan de Oro has also scored high peace and public safety, a priority concern businessmen and investors rank highly in Mindanao. From 2018, Cagayan de Oro accomplished an impressive 45% reduction (-3,369) in total crime volume compared to 2017. The Cagayan de Oro City Police Office further bolstered its crime clearance efficiency to 87.2% in 2018 (from 72.4% in 2017), and its crime solution efficiency from 63.3% in 2017 to 77.1% in 2018. As a result, the average monthly crime rate in Cagayan de Oro City dropped from 89.3 percentage points in 2017 to  only 49.1 per 100,000 population in 2018 , an impressive 40.2 reduction. “Peace is an entitlement of the people,” said Moreno, who currently also serves as the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC-10) Chairperson. (RMB)

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