[Top story online] Duets prediction correct: Jason Farol of Batangas is third


More on Jason Farol’s feat in Duets will be reported in the next newspaper edition of The Filipino Connection next week.


MANILA–The prediction by Jenn Lee of BuddyTV in the US was correct: Filipino Jason Farol placed third in the inaugural season of the reality singing  show Duets[Read more…]

[Winning 001] Knowing your purpose: Your best investment

In our desire to have a better quality of life, we are usually fascinated, influenced and enticed by all sorts of opportunities.
Often we see only the bottom-line (for example, profit), not how that end can be reached. [Read more…]

[Editorials of The Connection] The aspired ‘award’ on local governance

Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto receives the Seal of Good Housekeeping award from Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) officials, on behalf of the provincial government. (Photo from Batangas Public Information Office)

Since the beginning of the Aquino administration’s term, the Department of Interior and Local Government has been handing out awards to local government units. One of those awards is the Seal of Good Housekeeping, which aims to recognize LGUs’ efforts—particularly, internal housekeeping—in relation to good governance. [Read more…]

Batangas’ anti-plastic ordinances might confuse public—stakeholders

BATANGAS CITY— In the wave of recently-enacted ordinances by Batangueno municipalities and cities regulating and banning plastic use, the province’s stepping in and enacted a province-wide ordinance.
[Read more…]

Donaire’s July 7 match ain’t ringing a bell?

With eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao slowly reaching the twilight of his career, WBO super bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire Jr. is touted to replace the Pacman as the new Filipino boxing icon. A boxing expert even regards him as “the best fighter in the lighter weight divisions.” [Read more…]

Jollibee, Mcdo fined in anti-plastic town

MENRO Sto. Tomas has apprehended 74 violators, including this Jollibee branch for violating the town's anti-plastic ordinance [PHOTO BY MARLON LUISTRO}]

STO. TOMAS, BATANGAS—Establishments big and small are not spared from a recently enacted ordinance here banning plastic bags, cups and Styrofoam.

Not even rival fastfood chains McDonald’s and Jollibee: These firms’ branches here learned the hard way twice over, in the form of fines and citation tickets.

As the wave of anti-plastic ordinances continues here in Batangas province, the municipal government here just finished the first month of implementing Municipal Ordinance no. 2011-05 that prohibits the use of plastic on dry goods, regulating plastic use on wet goods, and prohibiting Styrofoam.

And the two fastfood chains, just within the month of June, were already issued citation tickets twice and had pad fines worth P1,000 (first offense) and P1,500 (second offense) for allegedly using plastic as lid for paper cups on take-out orders.

If the third offense comes both establishments’ way, their business permits are at risk of being cancelled.

Convenience store 7-ELEVEN was also fined a P1,000 for a first offense.

Jollibee-Sto. Tomas branch manager Eric de la Cruz admitted that Jollibee, on June 1 and 6, used plastic as lid for their paper cup. He, however, explained that Jollibee had no intention of disregarding the ordinance; that time, there were no existing supplies of paper lids, de la Cruz claimed.

“It’s really unfair because we had no supplies of paper lid even in Los Baños and Calamba. Prior to the implementation (of the ordinance), we could have ordered paper lids. But even if we order, the supplier does not have the existing equipment to produce it,” De la Cruz told The Filipino Connection.

The situation had forced Jollibee’s officials from Manila to have a dialogue with Sto. Tomas Mayor Renato Federico. Afterwards, the mayor later agreed to relax a provision of the ordinance and allow Jollibee to use plastic cups as containers for gravy and ketchup, plastic spoon and fork, as well as plastic as lid for beverages for take out orders.

Jollibee-Sto. Tomas “have already complied 100 percent” to the ordinance, de la Cruz claims. Jollibee here now uses paper bags as containers for food. Jollibee also no gives out straws, although de La Cruz said they continue to receive complaints from customers who order the Jollibee coke float since Jollibee only offers a plastic spoon, not a straw.

This McDonalds Sto. Tomas branch, which only opened last March, was also fined twice for violating the anti-plastic ordinance

Meanwhile, McDonald’s-Sto. Tomas branch manager Daryl Bonifacio refused to answer questions surrounding the establishment’s compliance with the municipal ordinance.

Municipal ordinance No. 2011 -05 also bans the selling and providing of: plastic bags to consumers as secondary packaging materials on wet goods; plastic bags as primary packaging material for dry goods; and styrofoam as container. Disposing plastic wastes are also prohibited by the ordinance.

Individuals and business establishments who violate the law could face fine penalties of P1000 and/ or two hour community service and one hour seminar on proper solid waste management; P5,000 fine and/or four-hour community service and one hour seminar on proper solid waste management; and P2,500 fine and / or eight hours .

Depending on the court’s discretion a violator of the ordinance could also be imprisoned for six months and a one-year cancellation of business license.

What makes the ordinance different from other towns and cities in Batangas though, was that Sto. Tomas municipal government also banned individuals and business establishments from selling and using plastic cups and straws.

At least 21 days since the ordinance was enforced on the town’s 30 barangays, the municipality had already apprehended 74 violators, which range from push-cart vendors, small-scale entrepreneurs, ordinary citizens to bigtime business establishments.

Sto. Tomas Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer Eric Velasco said the big number of plastic violators caught shows that the municipal government is serious enough in implementing the ordinance, which was meant to resolve the town’s garbage woes and curb flooding in the area.

“We do not give special treatment to anyone, rich or poor. We just implement the law,” Velasco told The Filipino Connection in a separate interview.

The municipal government already made 2011 as a year-long moratorium period for people and institutions to prepare for the eventual implementation of the ordinance.

Within the said period, the MENRO also conducted massive information campaign against the use of plastics and their possible alternatives in the town’s 30 barangays.

As a result of the plastic ban, which included plastic cups, palamig vendors like James Ventura were forced to use paper cups, which cost P1 per piece compared to plastic cups, which costs only P15 for 100 pieces. The price of Ventura’s palamig shot up from P5 to P6.

Not surprisingly, James said their income from palamig and barbeque grill has gone down from P1,500 to P1,000 daily since the plastic ban was enforced at the start of June. There were also times that they have lost customers as they can no longer issue plastics and  straw as containers for their palamig and softdrinks.

“While the intention may be good, it’s been difficult for us to adjust as we’ve already been used to plastics (as containers). It’s hard not to use plastics especially for liquids. But we have no choice but to follow or we will be fined,” Ventura said.

But despite the so-called “inconvenience” caused by the plastic ordinance and potential loss of income, the 28-year-old vendor admits though the ordinance had effectively reduced garbage on the streets.

“A lot has changed. Before you can see litters of plastics here but then right now there are only a few.”

Public schools get P1 M equipment grants

Malvar Central School is just one of the 20 public school beneficiaries of Bato Balani's Project 20/20

MALVAR, BATANGAS–Many Filipino public schools are cash-strapped and far-flung to allow the age of multimedia instruction to seep in to their schools.

So when some of these state-funded schools learned of a donor willing to bankroll their dreams of having additional equipment, these schools took the chance.

”]Like the Wenceslao Trinidad National High School (WTNHS) in Laurel town, whose principal, Librada Landico, proposed to the Bato Balani Foundation the improvement of the library audio visual room —their “dream AVR”— by having a projector, a desktop computer, and DVD players.

We don’t have a venue, Landicho said, for students’ film showing activities.

“Most of our students are from remote places and are not actually aware of what’s happening in their surroundings,” Landicho said.

Thanks to the donor organization’s 20th anniversary, some twenty Batangueno schools got P100,000 each in equipment grants to fund their schools’ proposed projects that mostly want to have the latest multi-media equipment (even if additional classrooms for some of these schools are sorely needed).

The grant comes from the Bato Balani Foundation through its “Project 20/20: A Search for 20 Innovative Public Schools in Batangas”. – Ten public schools in Batangas up to P100,000 worth educational grants for the improvement of their teaching facilities and equipment.

Like WTNHS, Tanauan City’s Bernardo Lirio Memorial National High School (BLMNHS) got a grant, with principal Adelio Balbin proposing an audio-visual and function room for students and teachers.

While he admits that their school, with a population of more than 1,700 students, currently lacks classrooms, Balbin said they have decided to propose the said project as they believe they need an additional venue for teaching, film showing and a room for faculty and division meetings.

With Bato Balani’s grant, they are planning to buy multimedia equipment such educational DVDs and CDs, sounds system and appliances such as flat screen TV and air-conditioning units.

Barangay officials and residents of Darasa, where BLMHS is located, can also benefit from the project as they could use the said room as their venue to hold assemblies.

“They say that picture is worth a thousand words that’s why we’re planning to buy educational CDs and DVDs and have more film viewings to supplement our students’ classes. We just wanted to make our facilities more conducive so that we can compete with private schools,” Balbin told The Filipino Connection in an interview hours after they received the grant.

But the 20-year-old Bato Balani Foundation Inc. (BBFI) hopes that the grants that seek to purchase equipment and, in some instance, construct rooms where multi-media equipment may be placed, will help in public school students’ education.

Other grant recipients were the Balas Buco Sta. Maria National High
School in Talisay; Balete National High School in Balete; Bernardo Lirio Memorial National High School, Tanauan City High School and Tinurik National High School in Tanauan City; Lipa City National High School in Lipa and Wenceslao Trinidad National High School in Laurel.
Also awarded with checks and certificates were Malvar Central School in Malvar and Tanauan North Central School and Tanauan South Central School, respectively.

Project 20/20 is part of the BBFI’s 20th anniversary celebration. First Asia Institute of Techonology and Humanities (FAITH) is Bato Balani’s partner for the program’s implementation.

Brian Belen, BBFI vice president, said they launched the project last February 3, where they called public schools in the North Batangas area (consisting of two cities and nine municipalities) to submit a proposal for an educational grant based on their immediate needs.

These proposals include among others building an audio-visual room, improving a school library, buying a projector and educational CDs and DVDs and establishing a multi-purpose room for teachers and students. Others also asked for reading recovery equipment and materials for students whom they consider as “struggling readers.”

Belen said they evaluated and chose the grant recipients based on the four criteria namely the project’s innovativeness, impact, contribution and the project’s feasibility.

BBFI was supposed to award 20 grant recipients on May 28 but they decided to choose only the first 10 recipients because the organization believes these projects are the ones that are “doable and necessary”.

This coming September, BBFI and FAITH officials will visit the 10 schools in order to monitor their progress for the said project and be able to propose certain measures, which Belen said would help improve “if ever the project is not going as planned.”

Pestered by coco pests, farmers’ patience to last a year more

COLORS OF AN OUTBREAK. No thanks to scale insects that have made coconut trees in seven municipalities and a city in Batangas their home, over-180,000 trees have been affected. A sign of such infestation is that leaves turn yellow, like these trees in Tanauan City (the area with the most number of infested trees). (photo by Marlon Alexander Luistro)

Full recovery from coconut pest attack, says PCA, will take pruning, washing, burning, spraying fertilizer unto infected coco leaves

TANAUAN CITY, BATANGAS—EVEN before the Philippine Coconut Authority urged Batangueño farmers to selectively remove, or prune, leaves infected with the scale insect, Crisanta Matira’s had done pruning on her trees.

[Read more…]

[Editorials of The Connection] Preparing for a post-Pacquiao Philippines

(photo from http://www.mannypaquiaovs.com/pacquiao-vs-bradley-round-by-round-recap/)

Debating over the controversial upset win by Timothy Bradley over Manny Pacquiao last Sunday (June 10) ain’t going to reverse the verdict. Pacquiao himself had accepted the decision. Scoring professional boxing fights, even with the presence of computerized means of tabbing punches landed and thrown, is not an exact science. The Pacquiao-Bradley fight could have gone either way [Read more…]

Lipa’s CENRO nets 48 plastic violators


But only two violators have thus far paid penalties


LIPA CITY–Fresh from enforcing a plastics regulation ordinance, this city’s environment office has netted a total of 48 violators in just one month.

The said violators were issued citation tickets for violation of Article 7, Section B of Lipa City’s General Ordinance no. 1, which “prohibits the use of plastic bags on dry goods and regulating its use on wet goods and totally banning styrofoam in the City of Lipa.”

Engr. Cesar Ledesma said that for the first two days after the April 22 announcement of the ordinance, CENRO personnel apprehended and issued citation tickets to those they spotted carrying plastic bags.

No business establishments so far have been issued citation tickets for violating a provision of the ordinance. Ledesma however said they already warned a supermarket owner after his employees were caught using plastic bags for both primary and secondary packaging of grocery items.

Ledesma said most of the individual violators caught were outsiders and non-residents of Lipa. “They said they were not aware of the ordinance but it’s no excuse. Since March, we have already started our information campaign on barangays and business establishments and we even installed billboards on the streets. It was even announced on the radio,” Ledesma told The Filipino Connection.

Data culled from the CENRO said 19 of the 48 violators who were apprehended were non-residents of Lipa City and came from the municipalities of Malvar, San Jose, Ibaan, Rosario, Taysan, Lemery, as well as those residing from Quezon Province, Baguio City and Quezon City.

But only two of the said violators, however, had paid the P1,000 fine at the CENRO following the ordinance’s six-day prescriptive period to pay  fines. Others who were caught using plastics simply refused to pay the fine and their cases were referred to the City Legal Office for appropriate legal action, which may include the filing of charges.

“Implementing the ordinance ain’t easy though,” he says as some CENRO employees have often received harsh words from people they caught violating the said ordinance. Others apprehended even refused to disclose their names and to sign the citation ticket issued by the CENRO.

General Ordinance No.1, series of 2012, prohibits the use of plastic bags on dry goods and regulates its use on wet goods and bans styrofoam in Lipa City.

The ordinance also prohibits the selling or providing of plastic bags and other similar materials, except those to be used as primary packaging materials.

Using or utilizing plastic bags as secondary packaging materials, as well as selling, providing or using styrofoams and other similar materials as containers of foods and other similar products, are also banned.

The ordinance, however, exempts from the prohibition the sale and use of recycled or black colored plastic trash bags for garbage disposal. The ordinance also allows business establishments, groups and individuals dealing with wet goods such as fruits, vegetables, meat and poultry  products, to use plastic bags for primary packaging.

Individual or group violators of the ordinance face fine penalties of P1,000 for 1st offense, P2,000 for the second offense and P3,000 fine and or imprisonment for the third offense depending on the court’s discretion.

Business establishments who violate the policy likewise face fine penalties of P3,000 for the 1st offense, P4,000 for the second offense and P5,000 and a one-year cancellation of license to operate for the third offense.