INSIDE PAGE | Fernan A. Gianan:

Ferry companies not increasing fares

Despite the spiraling increase in fuel prices, two of the three RORO ferry companies plying the route between Tabaco and the Happy Island have decided not to impose the impending increase in passenger fares.

As per agreement among the ferry companies in the Bicol region, the fares for both regular and aircon accommodations are supposed to increase by 40% effective Monday, March 28, 2022.

Last weekend, Regina Shipping Lines (RSL) announced that it would suspend the fare increase for the meantime, prompting the other company, Cardinal Shipping Lines, to follow suit.

RSL’s decision is probably due to politics, as two members of the Cua family are running for top provincial posts.

The higher fares will undoubtedly have some impact on the number of voters residing outside the province who would travel back to the island before Election Day, mostly to take advantage of the cash windfall from vote-buyers.

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Last week, the Supreme Court found RTC Tabaco City Judge Alben Rabe guilty of two counts of gross ignorance of law or procedure and dismissed him from the service with forfeiture of retirement benefits, except accrued leave benefits, and with prejudice to re-employment in the government service.

Judge Rabe was also found guilty of gross misconduct and undue delay in rendering an order and was penalized with a total fine of P200,000, to be deducted from his leave credits.

The complaint was in connection with three informations for rape which the judge mishandled and showed partiality when he dismissed all three cases filed against the accused and then refused to issue an arrest warrant against him after the Court of Appeals overturned Rabe’s earlier ruling.

Judge Rabe was the judge-designate in RTC Branch 42 during the time there was only one judge in Virac.

He presided over the hearings of the libel case filed by PBM Edwin Tanael against columnist Jex Lucero and this writer several years ago, which was dismissed for lack of merit.

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Somewhere in the pages of this issue is an article on the DILG’s nationwide assessment of Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADACs) starting April 1, 2022 to ensure their continued progress and improved performance in the implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of anti-illegal drugs activities within their locality.

Under DILG-DDB JMC No. 2018-01, the functionality of BADACs will be evaluated on the following criteria: creation or reorganization of BADACs; BADAC Plan of Action; establishment of Barangay Rehabilitation Referral Desk with Desk Officer; allocation of fund; organization of BADAC Auxiliary Team; organization of House Clusters with designated Cluster Leaders; implementation of drug abuse prevention advocacy campaign; implementation of drug-clearing operations; and, implementation of community-based interventions for Persons Who Used Drugs (PWUDs).

DILG provincial director Leandro Gigantoca told the Tribune that in Catanduanes, only 50% of the BADACs have “basic” functionality and it will be the job of the municipal local government operations officers and their partners, the PNP and PDEA, to lift up the performance of the BADACs.

The evaluation would start by identifying where among the 20 parameters the councils are weakest so that appropriate measures could be implemented.

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On a personal note, this writer congratulates classmate Emmanuel “Kong” Valeza, the preferred designer and construction supervisor of Bishop Manolo delos Santos and businesswoman Concepcion Ang-Co, for being among the first in our Catanduanes Colleges (CC) high school batch of 1979 to reach 60 years of age.

Two others – Gina “Ging” Guerrero and Teresita “Bhem” Urbano – achieved the same milestone of senior citizenry a few weeks back. And in all three cases, I was not able to attend the celebration, for which I extend my apologies. Belated birthday greetings to you all!

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THE MISSING BULL. A big-city lawyer was representing the railroad in a lawsuit filed by an old rancher. The rancher’s prize bull was missing from the section through which the railroad passed. The rancher only wanted to be paid the fair value of the bull.

The case was scheduled to be tried before the justice of the peace in the back room of the general store. The city-slicker attorney for the railroad immediately cornered the rancher and tried to get him to settle out of court.

He did his best selling job, and finally the rancher agreed to take half of what he was asking.

After the rancher had signed the release and took the check, the young lawyer couldn’t resist gloating a little over his success, telling the rancher, “You are really a country hick, old man, but I put one over on you in there. I couldn’t have won the case. The engineer was asleep and the fireman was in the caboose when the train went through your ranch that morning. I didn’t have one witness to put on the stand. I bluffed you!”

The old rancher replied, “Well, I’ll tell you young feller, I was a little worried about winning that case myself, because that darned bull came home this morning.”

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