Tag Archives: leo avila


What happened to the P30 million fund for Paquibato farmers whose crops were ravaged by rat infestation in 2011?

As if smelling a dead rat, this question was posted by Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte in his Facebook account last week which could revive a Davao City Council resolution calling for a probe on how the multi-million calamity fund was used.

The investigation could place in the hot seat city councilor Leonardo Avila, who handled the fund when he was officer-in-charge of the City Agriculturist Office (CAO).

The Davao City Council that called for an investigation and an order for Avila, then the CAO caretaker, to account for the fund intended for victims of rat infestation that ravaged farmlands in upland Paquibato district was approved in early 2012.

A year before in early 2011 as farmers lost their crops to the rat attack, the city council declared Paquibato under state of calamity and approved a P30 million calamity fund, upon request of Avila.

Victims of the massive rat attack were the farmers of barangays Salapawan, Lumiad, Colasas, Tapak, Mapula, Paradise Embac, Fatima, and Pandaitan. all in Paquibato district.

A year after on March 2012, the city council passed the resolution, calling for an investigation into how the fund was handled, following a privilege speech by then city councilor Melchor Quitain, chair of the committee on ethics and good governance. In his speech, Quitain said Avila and CAO failed to liquidate the fund, a year after the rat infestation.

Quitain was re-elected to the city council in 2013 but resigned shortly after the election to take the post of City Administrator.

Despite the resolution, the city council has not been reported to have conducted an investigation.

There has also been no report that Avila and CAO had already liquidated the fund.

Duterte, a city councilor when the fund was approved, apparently knew that there had been no investigation conducted nor was there closure to the controversy, having raised the query on the fund in his Facebook account.

In his privilege speech calling for the probe, Quitain said that the resolution/ordinance that declared Paquibato under state of calamity and appropriated the P30 million calamity fund required that CAO must submit a monthly disbursement report to the city council.
Quitain said this provision was never followed.

The City Hall social services office had said the rat infestation affected nearly 5,000 people and ravaged crops worth P30 million in about 2,330 hectares.

Punta Dumalag fish pens blamed for massive pollution


It is not only fishermen who are rising up in arms against fish pens sprouting in Punta Dumalag.

The Department of Health also blamed the fish pens for the rise of e-coli bacteria in the Punta Dumalag sea to threaten the health of bathers. The shorelines of Punta Dumalag, along with Times Beach in the Matina Aplaya area, is home to beach resorts.

About 120 fish pens illegally operating in Punta Dumalag dump into the pens thousands of kilos in fish meal every day to pollute the sea. Fishermen depending for livelihood on Punta Dumalag complained their catch has been dwindling due to marine pollution from the fish cages.

If the pollution is not stopped, fishermen feared a fish kill could happen not only in Punta Dumalag but also the Davao City side of the Davao Gulf. Also to be threatened is the Marine Turtle Sanctuary  located in kidney-shaped Punta Dumalag that juts out of Matina Aplaya. Beach resort owners in Punta Dumalag and Times Beach are already reporting about bathers complaining about skin irritations that could only be traced to the pollution of the sea caused by tons of  artificial feeds dumped into the fish cages.

The fish pens are said to be operated by businessmen who are not from Davao City who do not pay taxes.   

City councilor Leonardo Avila said the Davao City government is determined to stop the operation of the fish cages.

Avila is also the vice chairman of the Davao Gulf Management Council.

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte wants the closure of the fish cages, said Avila.

A study by the Department of Science and Technology (DoST) and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) showed that E. coli bacteria in the area has increased.


Davao agri chief under fire for P30M calamity fund

City councilors want Avila

probed over ‘rat attack’ fund

    The Davao City Council has ordered City Agriculturist Leonardo Avila, a former city councilor, to account for a P30 million fund for victims of rat infestation in upland Paquibato district.

Rats ravaged Paquibato farm lands last year prompting the city council to declare Paquibato under state of calamity.
The council also approved the fund as assistance to farmers whose crops were lost in the massive rat attack that hit barangays Salapawan, Lumiad, Colasas, Tapak, Mapula, Paradise Embac, Fatima, and Pandaitan
The resolution followed a privilege speech of city councilor Mechor Quitain, chair of the City Council committee on ethics and good governance, who said the City Agriculturist Office (CAO) failed to liquiate the fund.
The ordinance that declared Paquibato under state of calamity and appropriated the calamity fund required that CAO must submit a monthly disbursement report to the city council.
The (City Agriculturist Office ) must submit to the City Council a monthly itemized report of the expenses incurred in connection with the assistance and other expenses to be granted to the calamity victims, said Quitain qouting portions of the ordinance.


Former Davao City councilor Leonardo Avila at the height of his popularity as the “godfather” of Hawksbill marines turtles in Punta Dumalag, releasing to sea captured turtles after rehabilitation at the Turtle Sanctuary
NO. 104 APR 16-22, 2012

   durian beatA politician in Zamboanga City is under severe fire from his constituents for abandoning his old cause to promote the protection and conservation of marine turtles. As the story went, the politician gained popularity before the 2010 elections for his ‘love for the marine turtles’ that he used in the political campaign to lure the votes. The issue was popular to environment-conscious Zamboanguenos and the politician won a seat in the local council all because he said he loved turtles.
He has altogether forgotten the turtles as soon as he won, and the Zamboanguenos are accusing him as a fake environmentalist and have vowed not not give him a single vote in the next election in 2013.
The joke going around Zamboanga is that even the Hawksbill marine turtles would be campaigning for him in the coming polls.
In Davao City, city agriculture officer-in-charge Leo Avila, as a city councilor, was immensely popular because he was instrumental for the establishment of the turtle sanctuary in Punta Dumalag. He loved turtles so much that you can hear him on radio, see him on television and read him in the newspapers talking day and night about his beloved Hawksbills that he has earned the monicker Ninja Turtle.


The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) were so impressed by Avila’s honeymoon with the Hawksbills that they gave him subsantial funds (WWF in dollars, the DLPC in pesos) to help him run his Turtle Sanctuary in Punta Dumalag.
Like the Zambo politician, Dabawenyos initially loved Avila for his love for turtle while sitting as a member of the Davao City Council where he chaired the committee on environment. Turtles, many agree, helped Avila won a seat in the local legislative council.
But like the Zmbo pol, Avila too altogether forget about the marines turtles as soon and he is being accused of using the marine animals as tool for his political career.
The issue about Avila and the turtles has resurfaced as Avila, whose only passport to be city aggie OIC appears to be that he has run out the one-year ban on former elective officials  to hold a government office, is being accused of allowing commercial fish cages in Punta Dumalag.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said in a recent report on water analysis study said Punta Dumalag is in a state of massive pollution because of the fish cages.
Fish in the cages are fed with fish meals which excesses in time deteriorate to lead to poor water quality and threaten marine life, including Avila’s turtles, in the Punta Dumalag area.
In plain and simple talk, Avila by allowing the fish cages has destroyed the habitat of the turtles that he once loved so much.


Talk about fakery of gargantuan proportions.
We heard Avila is making a comeback to the city council in the coming elections next year.
This early we hear talks about Hawksbills in Mindanao, including those in Punta Dumalag, joining forces to campaign against Avila and the Zambo politician.

Aggie chief blamed for

Punta Dumalag pollution

Matina Aplaya village head Jimmy Poliquit has blamed acting city agriculturist Leonardo Avila for the proliferation of fish cages in Punta Dumalag pinpointed by a government study as behind massive pollution.
A recent water analysis and study by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) of the Punta Dumalag area showed prevalence of bacteria that it traced to the fish cages.
Poliquit in a television interview said Avila’s office instigated the entry of fish cages in Punta Dumalag as part of livelihood program promoting marine resources.
Poliquit said Avila did not consult his village council. He said he was aware about pollution that the fish cages could cause to Punta Dumalag are Times Beach marine areas, which are being promoted by his village as a tourist destination.
The fish cages have been subjected to a public hearing following the DOST study, with City Hall recommending their immediate closure. The Davao City Council committee on environment chaired by Marissa Abella and the committee on agriculture headed by Conrado Baluran also probed the existence of the illegal fish cages.
Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said a study is needed before closing down the fish cages saying that investments and livelihood are involved.
Operators of the fish cages are said to have to business permit to operate from the local government.


November 30, 2006
Turtle summit set December 7-8

A TURTLE Summit will be conducted in Davao City on December 7 and 8 to encourage all local government units (LGUs) to help in the protection of the endangered marine turtles found within the Davao Gulf.

Davao City Councilor Leonardo Avila III said the summit will invite all 23 coastal LGUs in the region to participate in the preservation of the five out of seven marine turtle species sighted at the Davao Gulf.

The summit will also highlight the best practices in turtle protection being undertaken by the City Government of Davao, which will be shared to other LGUs for duplication.

Avila said they will also be sharing pertinent details of the IOSEA Protocol (Indian Ocean SouthEast Asia) with the participants. The protocol aims to protect, conserve, and rehabilitate marine turtle sanctuaries in all of the 26-country signatories including the Philippines.

Asked if they are winning the battle, Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Southern Mindanao Parks and Wildlife Division chief Manuel Isip said they have a very positive outlook on their advocacy.

“We are winning the battle. We will never fail with the support of the people,” Isip said.

Task Force Pawikan had been conducting information campaign in 10 coastal barangays in Davao City where sightings of marine turtles are reported.

Avila said this is to ensure that residents in the area would not harm the sea turtles but help protect them.

Next month, two turtle nests are expected to hatch at Punta Dumalag Turtle Sanctuary.

Avila said this will bring the number of hatchlings to more than 2,000 since they started their operation there.

Among the marine turtle species found in Davao Gulf are the Hawksbill, Oliver Ridley, Green Sea Turtle, Loggerhead, and the Leatherback. (BOT)




                The recent rat attack on farmlands in Paquibato and the assault on coconut trees by worms in Marilog sent us back to the time when aerial spraying in banana plantations was a hotly-contested issue in the city.

                The rat attack that ravaged corn and rice fields and fruit crops in Marilog brought out actions and suggestions, some sane, some coming out of wards in that old building along J. P. Laurel Avenue that we said should be a proper headquarter for lawyer Elly Pamatong’s Republic of Mindanesia.

                Among the sane response was Mayor Inday Sara’s Work for Food program, where farmers work, work we repeat, by running after 300 rodents, catching them and cutting their tails, and exchanging them for a sack of rice. Vice Mayor Rody suggested mass murder of the four-legged tormentors: buy rat poison. City agri OIC Leo Avila, on leave as Ninja Turtle from his concern for marine turtles in Davao Gulf and also on leave as the Batman caring for giant bats in the caves of Marilog, wants People Power: bayahihan-style all the denizens of Paquibato together would crawl on their knees side by side and catch those goddamned rodents.

                The insane has this suggestion: gather all cats in the city and bring them up to Paquibato to feed on the rats.

                The wormy army chomping on coconut tree leaves was not much of an issue and died as quick as Avila made another suggestion: get a basin, flashlights or candles; at night, fill up the basin with water, light up the candles or switch on the flashlight; and place them under the coconut trees. The worms would think there is a disco dance down below, would dive from the coconut tree to land on the basin of water—-there to drown and die a watery death!

                But back to aerial spraying.

                Coconut farmers against aerial spraying have this beef: fungicides used in aerial spraying led to proliferation of the rhinoceros beetle (bakukang in bisdak) that ravished their coconut trees. Backing up the farmers’ claim was the NGO Interface Development Initiative (IDIS)—the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA) calls the group IPIS, bisdak for cockroach—which led the campaign against aerial spraying.

                In one of the committee hearings by then city council environment committee chair councilor Arnolfo Ricardo Cabling which tackled the bakukang attack, the predecessor of Ninja Turtle/Batman Avila, then city agri chief Rocelio Tabay—a mean joker outside or inside of a drinking session—admitted an alarming growth in the number of rhinoceros beetles in the coconut farms but demolished the farmers’ claim that fungicides impregnated the insects to cause the overpopulation.

                Tabay said the farmers are themselves to blame: farmers leave dead coconut tree trunks and leaves to rut just anywhere allowing the beetles to breed on them. But Tabay is not finger-pointing and has discovered a concoction that could end the farmers’ bakukang woes.

                His magic, cheap but deadly home-made brew, according to Tabay, could even spare the farmers the agony of buying expensive imported insecticides.

                And what is this Tabay brand of anti-rhinoceros beetle cocktail? A mix of your favorite Tanduay rum, spiced up by a San Miguel Beer Grande or Red Horse, a packet of ordinary detergent and a bagful of hot pepper (sili in bisdak) that grows abundantly in the farms.




He and his team had conducted tests on the mixture and found an outstanding success at wiping out almost all the beetles in one of the ravished coconut farms, according to Tabay, to assure the farmers that he is the agri chief and not some nuts straight out of that old building along J. P. Laurel Avenue we said earlier should be a nice place for a headquarter for lawyer Elly Pamatong’s Republic of Mindanesia.

                But, wait, there is a problem, Tabay told the Cabling committee and the farmers attending. The brew is applied using sprayers with extended nozzles attached to long bamboo poles raised up to the level of the coconuts.

                As the deadly Tanduay-Beer Grande-Red Horse-detergent-hot pepper brew is sprayed on the coconuts, drops of it by the principle of gravity fall down on his spraying team, who ends up with itchy eyes. Sobrang halanga kuno. Sili god na. He abandoned the idea. My people will go blind! Basig mangabuta! But the method was effective—the bakukangs crawled out of the crevices of the coconut trees—-to die a drunken death!

                But all is not lost yet.

                Tabay said he would risk ending up a laughing stock or called a nut by city councilors whom he would ask for funding for purchase of gas masks for his team to continue spraying the Tabay cocktail without endangering their eyes with drops of the deadly Tanduay-Beer Grande-Red Horse-detergent-hot pepper brew. Ninja Turtle/Batman Avila, the city agri OIC, will have no problem when the bakukangs return to ravish coconut trees: Tabay is ready with his deadly brew if city councilors can provide him the gas masks for his team.


Pesticide in Davao City rivers

Chair of City Council environment committee wants thorough probe

Davao City Councilor Leonardo Avila wants a closer probe on allegations by a non-government organization that the city watershed areas have been contaminated by pesticides from banana, pineapple, flower and agricultural plantations.

The Interface Development Interventions (IDIS) said its 2006-2007 study in the Panigan-Tamugan and Lipadas-Talomo watersheds, the primary source of the city’s drinking water, showed massive contamination of deadly pesticides including those belonging to the Dirty Dozen, twelve kinds of synthetic chemicals banned years ago.

The watershed areas in the city’s third district is also home to banana and pineapple plantations, tagged by IDIS as a primary source of pesticide contamination in rivers and land surface as shown b water samplings taken during a 14 month period.

Avila said the study should not be taken for granted having bared an alleged threat to the city water sources.

The Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority however said the study was not validated by a competent analytical agency, as shown by records at the Bureau of Plant Industry Analytical Laboratory, which IDIS said was asked to analyze the samples, but which has not released any findings.

With the BPI laboratory denial, IDIS’ credibility and motive is placed anew on the spot. IDIS is the lead lobbyist against aerial spraying of fungicides in the export Cavendis banana farms in Davao City, where an ordinance was passed banning the practice that the banana industry said would kill Davao Region’s primary industry that brings in revenues of more than $400 million annually.

The Court of Appeals in Cagayan de Oro has issued a restraining order against the ordinance on a case filed by the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association (PBGEA), the umbrella group of Davao Region banana growers.

IDIS elements had “awarded” the Appeals justices early this year with rotten bananas delivered to their offices, after the CA raised doubts on the constitutionality of the ordinance by issuing the TRO sought by BGEA.

Fisherfolk assail Davao City fishery code

Shall we catch fish with our bare hands?

This question was hurled at Davao City councilor Leonardo Avila by a fishermen’s group as the Davao City Council nears approval of the City Fisheries Code of 2008.

The code, authored by Avila, chair of the committee on environment, according to the Alyansa sa mga Mananagat sa Davao, outlaws several active fishing methods commonly used by marginal fishermen. If these are outlawed, we will be left with no means of fishing, said the group.

In a letter in the vernacular to Vice Mayor Sara Duterte, the group deplored lack of consultation with small fishermen who depend on fishing for livelihood. The city council has been reviewing and approving sections of the code during regular sessions and the code is expected to be set to a vote this month.

The group also scored fees to be charged on fishermen, who are also required to register their small fishing boats, saying it would have dire economic impact on marginal fishermen netting only two kilos of fish a day.

While assailing the fees—and fines for violations that go up to P500—the group also lashed at failure of authorities to stop commercial fishing encroaching into the municipal waters that the code pegs at within 10 kms from the shore. It said the encroachment leads to monopoly of marine resources by commercial fishermen at the expense of marginal fishermen.