All posts by durianburgdavao

Journalist from Davao City, Mindanao, Philippines

Garbage talk sparks furor in Davao City Council



Dad wants business to shoulder bulk of trash collection expenses

BADNEWS by ROGER M. BALANZA             

A Davao City councilor wants local taxes on garbage collection hiked saying revenues of P24 million last year paled against P124 million spent by the city government to run the operation of its environment office.

            Councilor Conrado Baluran in a privilege speech in Tueaday’s session of the Davao City Council said the so-called Garbage Tax under the Amended Revenue Code of 2005 needs to be revisited for possible increase due to its meager financial contribution to the operation of the garbage collection system of the City Environment and Natural Resources (City Enro).

            The garbage tax is pegged at P20 per month for households on dwellings of 50 square meters and P50 for those in houses above 50 sqm under the socialized rates. Business establishments are taxed uniformly at P4,000 annually, payable upon issuance of business permit.

            But authors of the Garbage Tax first introduced in the latest amendment of the tax code in 2005 approved last year cautioned Baluran against the increase.

            Councilor Diosdado Mahipus said the city government is awash with budget savings and imposing additional taxes may not sit well with the public.

            Councilor Bonifacio Militar said Baluran may have the wrong figures saying the P24 million represented only collections for the socialized bracket of the garbage tax. He said he knew for a fact that business establishments paid a total of P94 million last year.

            Mahipus was the original proponent of the amended revenue code as chair of the finance committee last year. Militar took over the final run of the code in July after a change in committee chairmanships.

            Councilor Myrna Dalodo-Ortiz, presiding in yesterday’s session, proposed a better tax collection system rather than an increase in the garbage tx.

            Dalodo-Ortiz, chair of finance, advised Baluran to bring his case to her committee, which is currently conducting public hearings on the 2008 annual budget.

            Baluran said however his main proposal was to address fees on business establishments which pay a pittance of P11 a day. He said businesses are the city’s biggest garbage generators and should be slapped more than the annual fee of P4,000.



No gay winners in Davao City polls, says Comelec


            The Commission on Elections in Davao City said it could not determine if there were gays who run in the recent barangay polls saying the office is not in position to establish if a candidate was gay or not.

            To us the candidate is either male or female, said a Comelec official who asked that he not be named. He said there is no middle ground between the two sexes and legal questions may later arise if a candidate placed gay in the space for sex in the certificates of candidacy.

            Nevertheless, the official offhand said several gays took a crack at positions at stake in the October 29 elections. It appears there were only a few of them who won, said the official. Full results were in two days after the elections.    

This developed as members of the gay community here flexed their wrists in support of peers running for positions in the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan election.

            Rhoy Diaz, executive director of Iwag-Davao, said earlier before the elections said gays have been hitting the trail with their gay candidates since the campaign period started last week to boost their winning bid.

            Iwag is the most active local organization of gays in the city.

            Diaz said Iwag-Davao members would troop to the polls today to deliver their crucial vote that is expected to clinch for gay candidates several positions at stake.

            Like avid supporters of other candidates, gays say their candidates are most qualified to run the barangay and SK. Diaz could not know how many gays are running for election in today’s polls for barangay captains, barangay councilmen and the SK chairmen. The city has 182 barangays.

            In the May mid-term, Iwag-Davao picked candidates but shied away from Ladlad, the national organization of gays seeking a seat in Congress as a party-list. Headed by journalist Denton Remoto, Ladlad would be disqualified by Comelec before the election. Diaz had said Iwag did not support Ladlad because Remoto had not consulted them about gays’ plan to put a representative at the House of Representatives.

             Iwag-Davao publicly announced their support for reelectionist Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Second District Congressman Vincent Garcia, an original Iwag-Davao convenor.   


Davao City communist leader hurt in gunbattle


The military said rebel leader Leonardo Pitao alias Parago has been wounded along with 17 New People’s Army rebels in sporadic gun battles with troopers in Paquibato, Davao City last week.

Pitao is the leader of the Pulang Bagani Command of the NPA which operates in Davao City’s boundaries with Kukidnon, Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur.

Our reports said Parago was among those wounded, said Lt. Col. Alex Ambal, commander of the Army 73rd Infantry Battalion. Ambal said troopers clashed about five times with Parago’s band last week in Paquibato.

Ambal said a militiaman has been killed while three troopers were wounded in the gun battles.

Parago is the most well known rebel leader in the Davao area, having led various NPA commands since the mid-80s.

Davao City mayor assures graft-free business dealings with Chinese investors

Mayor assures Chinese of graft-free Davao City


Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has assured Chinese businessmen that graft and corruption would not come in the way when they invest in Davao City.

I told them they could apply for business permits at my office and they could have the papers in three days, said Duterte of his meeting with the Chinese investors in Nanning, China last week.

Duterte went to Nanning to sign a pact of friendship with officials of the Chinese city. He was accompanied by top Davao City businessmen eyeing business tie-ups with the Chinese investors.

Duterte said during business discussion, the Chinese hurled at him three questions: corruption, kidnapping and bombings in Davao City.

At the Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa television program on ABS/CBN-Davao on Sunday, Duterte said he assured the Chinese he could easily take charge of the first two, but admitted bombings is a thing difficult to control.

To avoid corruption, I told them I would myself handle their papers, he said.

On kidnapping, I told them that if that would happen I can assure the victim would be freed with the criminals dead, he said.

Duterte said he frankly told the Chinese that Davao City had been hit by two deadly bombings in 2003 but said the military and police had been doing its best to prevent a repeat of the tragedy.

The mayor said he tried to squeeze a bargain from the businessmen in exchange for a graft-free business dealings and safety against criminals.

He said told them that if they come to invest in Davao City, the arrangement should not be a one-way street.

They should also buy our products and not just dump on us Chinese goods and then bring profit back to China, said the mayor.