by Fernan A. Gianan
Social media criticism of the administration of Baras Mayor Jose Paolo Teves III over the issue of the town’s non-inclusion in the list of 2019 Good Financial Housekeeping Passers appears to be misplaced.
Last week, the DILG released the list of passers for the province of Catanduanes and only Baras was not in the list.
Naturally, this resulted in unsavory comments on social media, particularly among Barasnons who expects much from the neophyte mayor.
A check of the DILG Memorandum on the 2019 GFH Passers that was released last Feb. 14, 2020 shows that the assessment of the local government units were based on the following criteria: a) the most recent available COA Audit Opinion is Unqualified or Qualified for CYs 2017 or 2018, and b) Compliance with the Full Disclosure Policy – posting of financial documents in 3 conspicuous places and in the FDP Portal for CY 2018 all quarters and CY 2019 1st quarter posting period documents.
Clearly, the above requirements on which the assessment was made by the Regional Assessment Team (RAT) indicate that the period covered by the reports referred to the whole of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019, when Jose Paolo Teves III was just an ordinary citizen and later on a candidate for the mayoral post.
A summary of the passers also show that among the regions, Bicol had the second lowest passing percentage at 73%. Catanduanes had the highest passing percentage with 11 out of 12 LGUs (including the provincial government) while Masbate had the lowest with just one municipality passing the assessment out of its 20 towns and one city.
It appears that the group behind the “Kumander Dante” call has been doing so since December last year.
Reliable sources told this writer that even the president of a higher institution of learning has been contacted by the same caller and asking for assistance for the alleged NPA group, claiming that a large shipment of arms is headed to the island.
At least one more businessman has admitted having received the call last January and was forced to change his cellphone’s SIM card to stop the harassment.
Another claimed that a doctor at the Eastern Bicol Medical Center reportedly send P15,000 through Smart Padala after being threatened by the callers.
Of course, the police cannot do anything about the reports unless someone who receives the same call contacts the authorities and sets up an entrapment operation to arrest those behind the extortion scam.
Pursuant to a memorandum of agreement signed between the Catanduanes Police Provincial Office (CATPPO) and the Malinao Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (MTRC), some 73 former drug users and pushers who have availed of plea bargain agreements at the Regional Trial Court are now undergoing the Intensive Outpatient Program inside Camp Francisco Camacho.
Pursuant to President Rodrigo Duterte’s marching order to end the scourge of illegal drugs in the country, the local police headed by Provincial Director Col. Paul F. Abay signed the agreement with Dr. Maria Teresa C. Iñigo, chief of hospital of the MTRC last Jan. 27, 2020, ensuring the local police’s assistance and support to the IOP in terms of venue and applicable logistics in catering to the needs of the voluntary or court-mandated clients.
It aims to ease the treatment process of the IOP patients covered by the Community-Based Treatment and Rehabilitation Program (CBTRP), as they will not have to go and spend money for the six to nine months of treatment at Malinao.
Not only does this help decongest the crowded district jails in the island but also provide a good enough chance for the drug offenders to reform, as long as they do not test positive for drug use at the end of the IOP.
The 73 plea bargain beneficiaries bring their own lunch and snacks for the daily live-out sessions at the camp chapel.
Dr. Ramonfelipe Sarmiento, who authored that five-part series on World War II in Catanduanes, will resume his regular columns this March. He is currently finishing up his study of the local ermitas.
On the other hand, this week’s Islander in the City piece of arts and entertainment columnist Pablo Tariman will be his last for the year.
He will be taking time off from the field, where he has reported on films and dabbled in promoting classical concerts, to finally write his memoirs.
Thank you, dear readers for the support given us throughout these 39 years of community journalism.
ONE GOOD THING WITH DRINKING. The priest was having a heart-to-heart talk with a lapsed member of his flock, whose drinking of cheap wine invariably led to quarreling with his neighbors and occasional shotgun blasts at some of them.
“Can’t you see, Ben,” intoned the parson, “that not one good thing comes out of this drinking?”
“Well, I sort of disagree there,” replied the drunk. “It makes me miss the people I shoot at.”