by Fernan A. Gianan
Barangay officials in Concepcion, Virac as well as the MDRRMO, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the police were thrown into a tizzy when the former learned belatedly that a motorized banca from Rapu-Rapu, Albay had docked on its shore last Friday, June 19, 2020, with three persons on board.
There was no coordination made with local authorities and the passengers, the authorities later learned, had no travel documents with them.
Only the boat owner, Glecerio Betito, was at the beach when the officials arrived, with his passengers – Rolando Estringael Jr. and Galicia barangay kagawad Vergie Bilien – having left earlier to attend a court hearing in connection with an illegal logging case.
Barangay chairman Anthony Arcilla immediately informed the MDRRMO, which in turn told the PCG personnel.
Arcilla went to the Regional Trial Court and told the guard at the entrance not to allow entry to the visitors from Rapu-Rapu.
Unknown to them, the couple had already arrived at the Hall of Justice at 8:15 A.M. and were in fact sitting at the visitors’ lobby at the time the barangay captain arrived.
It was only when a lawyer from the Public Attorney’s Office arrived that the guard noticed that the “wanted” persons were at the lobby.
The Rapu-Rapu trio’s early morning sea voyage to the Happy Island turned out to be a disappointment, as they not only faced investigation for traveling in violation of quarantine protocols but their scheduled hearing was also cancelled that same day.
The Committee on Planning, Zoning & Land Use of the Sangguniang Bayan of Virac has recommended to Mayor Sinforoso Sarmiento Jr. the temporary stoppage of the construction of two buildings
It was Councilor Reynante Bagadiong who raised the issue against the construction of an LPG refilling plant at Magnesia del Norte near the elementary school.
The councilor, a civil engineer, questioned how BK Twins Trading was able to secure a locational clearance and building permit without the agricultural land passing through the reclassification process at the council, adding that its operation would be hazardous to pupils at the school.
The MPDO, however, reasoned that the lot in question was in conformance with the industrial land use based on the zoning map, as its portions was not exclusively in Casoocan but also portions of Magnesia, and the lot was relatively distant from the school.
Still, the committee chaired by Councilor Bagadiong recommended that the construction temporarily cease pending its compliance with zoning restrictions.
The same committee, which also has as members Councilors Juan Paolo Sales, Jose Romeo Francisco, Robert Maullon and Rosie Olarte, also made the same recommendation regarding the construction of Virac’s would-be-newest and biggest hotel.
Councilor Bagadiong said that the construction of the E-Crown Hotel should have passed through the Land Use and Infrastructure committees, as the lot on which it is being built is classified as residential and the building permit was issued for a three-storey building and not the on-going five-storey structure.
The MPDO admitted that it did not know how the clearance was issued as it did not conform with actual land use and noted that the area where it is located is a red zone prone to storm surge.
In its stop-work recommendation, the joint committees also required the contractor to furnish the council the structural analysis of the building as well as plans for the parking area, and for the owner to apply for rezoning of the lot.
THE HUSBAND AND THE BABY. Observing the baby one night, a wife found her husband standing over their baby’s crib. Silently she watched him.
As he stood looking down at the sleeping infant, she saw on his face a mixture of emotions: disbelief, doubt, delight, amazement, enchantment, skepticism.
Touched by this unusual display and the deep emotions it aroused, with eyes glistening she slipped her arm around her husband.
“A penny for your thoughts,” she said.
“It’s amazing!” he replied. “I just can’t see how anybody can make a crib like that for only $67.50.”