Lunes, Abril 22, 2013




 ‘When governance like this is suspect - then the people’s welfare is adversely affected. – Gina Lopez’
IN fairness, first, let us hear out Gina Lopez’s tirade against her perceived Palawan enemies:
“As you know, there have been articles written against our Brooke’s Point Eco-Academy Project in Palawan. I would just like to inform you that there is NO cease and desist order. In fact we just had our first management council meeting chaired by the mayor of Brooke’s Point. The council is membered by the Sanggunihan Bayan, the barangay captains of Ipilan and Aribungo, a member of the Church, an NGO representative serving the community near the area, academe (Palawan State University) and the president of the Tourism council of Brooke’s Point.
“A cease and desist is valid if there is danger to the environment or people’s lives. In this case the project is hiring 49 forest rangers to guard the forest, benefitting 90 families, helping them with forest products. I question the motives of PCSD in their intentions. There is mining on top of the rice fields of Palawan and abandoned mine sites all over the island. Why have they not stopped these operations? Now they want to stop these operations which are benefitting the people?
“The current crop of PCSD has totally lost its credibility to govern. They are even going against the very mandate they have been tasked with. They are using their authority to hit back (a case was filed against them in the ombudsman because of the degradation I saw with my own eyes while flying for 2 hours over Palawan).
“When governance like this is suspect - then the people’s welfare is adversely affected.” -- Gina Lopez
Wow! She ranks her management council higher than the PCSD, created by law to decide on Palawan’s environmental concerns!
Expect that the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) officials will ask Gina to explain herself what she meant by saying that the present crop of PCSD officials “has totally lost its credibility to govern.”
Gina will be asked to explain herself and provide proof of perfidy on the part of the PCSD before the PCSD hears the pending petition to issue a cease and desist order against Gina’s land grab in Sabsaban Falls, Brooke’s Point.
Her statement claims that Lopez, who is from Metro Manila, is more concerned in protecting Palawan than the officials who are from the province. Silly!
Gina denies having received the order which was immediately effective until the PCSD Adjudication Board has ruled on the petition for the issuance of a permanent CDO for Gina’s not having secured first a SEP clearance. Gina is already in violation of RA 7611 or the Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan Act.
Lopez’ tirade against the PCSD attacks the credibility of its individual members that include Palawan Governor Abraham Mitra as PCSD chairman, Alfredo Abueg Jr. – PCSD Adjudication Board Chairman, former Vice Governor David Ponce de Leon, PCSD and Adjudication Board Vice Chairman and members -- former Congressman Vicente Sandoval, Provincial Prosecutor Allen Ross Rodriguez, Atty. Nesario Awat, PNP Provincial Director Reynaldo Jagnis and Director Romeo Dorado.
As for Gina’s laying the premise for her continued violation of PCSD’s authority – “a cease and desist order is valid if there is danger to the environment or people’s lives” – there really is no need for that since the PCSD was set up precisely to protect Palawan’s fragile ecosystem.
Now, the PSCD knows what Gina Lopez is really about. She considers herself the authority on the environment and everyone else has no standing to question anything that Gina Lopez wants to do in Palawan or anywhere else. Only she and, possibly Mother Nature, too, know what is best for the environment!
Palawan, through the PSCD, can teach Gina that the environment of any locale is what the people make of it and outsiders – like her – have little say on what it should be. Certainly, claiming a waterfall for herself is not a very friendly thing to do – to the people who live in the area and will continue to live there when visiting environmentalists from Metro Manila such as the Gina Lopezes have moved on to their other pursuits.
Tribals to Gina Lopez: Keep off our land
12:52 am | Thursday, June 7th, 2012
A dedicated environmentalist and scion of the politically influential Lopez family is under fire for her alleged plans to put up a tourism resort in the middle of sacred tribal ground in Palawan province.
Bert Palaan, a leader of  Brooke’s Point Federation of Tribal Councils (BPFTC), has accused Gina Lopez and her environment protection arm, ABS-CBN Foundation’s Bantay Kalikasan, of allegedly failing to practice what she was preaching when her construction crew forcibly took over their ancestral land at Sabsaban Falls, Barangay (village) Aribungos, in Brooke’s Point on March 25,  reportedly with the aid of local police and military operatives.
Palaan said Lopez had proposed to put up offices and ecotourism facilities, such as hotel, restaurant and function areas, on the land. He said four lodging structures had been established for which the foundation was charging P25,000 for a day’s stay.
25 trees cut?
“We are not against progress. We just wanted her to follow the process, such as consultation and getting our prior consent before taking over our ancestors’ land where our people go to worship and heal themselves,” Palaan said in a phone interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
“We thought she was for the protection of the environment and upholding the rights of the indigenous people. But why did she cut down 25 trees in a watershed area inside our holy ground? Why did she not consult with us or inform us of her plans?”
Lopez, managing director of the ABS-CBN Foundation, claimed in previous statements that she wanted to save the area from the ravages of mining companies by converting it into a biodiversity school.
Lopez, who has initiated a signature campaign against mining, has not replied to an Inquirer request for comment.
Ifugao Representative Teddy Brawner-Baguilat, chairman of the House committee on national cultural communities and vice chair of the committee on natural resources,  said Lopez should have been more consistent in her advocacy.
“There should be no double standard here,” he said.
No informed consent
While agreeing that Sabsaban Falls had a great tourism potential, Baguilat said ABS-CBN Foundation should have followed the rules.
“While ecotourism is preferred, any development work must and should be made to go through the same stringent Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) that the IPs (indigenous peoples) demanded of mining companies. Any project in an area considered sacred by IPs should be undertaken with consideration of not just the environment but also the rights of the IPs,” Baguilat said.
Palaan and 27 other BPFTC leaders have already written President Aquino, requesting him to intervene and stop the desecration of their land.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has already ordered an inquiry into the cutting of trees and takeover of the ancestral lands without the approval of the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) and the ancestral land domain owners in violation of Republic Act No. 8371, or the Indigenous People’s Rights Act.
Palaan said his group wanted the government to stop the project until Lopez had obtained an  FPIC from the indigenous people in the area and a certificate of precondition from the NCIP.

Lopez foundation rips off gov’t in La Mesa deal—audit
MWSS ends up with empty bag in agreement 
The supposed civic arm of the Lopez Group’s ABS-CBN Corp., ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. (AFI) had appropriated the La Mesa Ecopark operations as its own, denying the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) its share in a 2001 concession signed between both and the local government of Quezon City.
According to a 2011 report of the Commission on Audit (CoA), state auditors found deficiencies in both the memorandum of agreement (MoA) and memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed among the three for the operation of the ecopark which is also known as the La Mesa Resort Zone.
Under the MoA, a profit sharing of 40 percent of net income for MWSS, 30 percent for AFI and 30 percent for the Quezon City government was agreed on.
The CoA audit showed from 2004 to June 30, 2009, the La Mesa Ecopark operation earned P22 million in net income. “Based on the audited financial statements of the La Mesa Ecopark, the total income for the period 2005 to June 2009 was P20.8 million, hence the share of MWSS should be P8,3 million subject to income tax.
The CoA report, however, stated that the 40 percent share of MWSS on the net income after tax of the project “has not been remitted.”
The CoA also noted that AFI, which is headed by Gina Lopez, a member of the media business clan, had managed to obtain a greater share in the venture than either the MWSS or the QC government, since AFI deducts 15 percent from the gross revenue of the ecopark operations as management fee.
“In managing and operating the La Mesa Ecopark, AFI deducts 15 percent from the gross revenue thereof as management fees. However, no supporting document was presented to show approval by either the MWSS Board of Trustees or La Mesa Executive Board on the 15 percent management fee being charged by the AFI,” according to the CoA.
“Furthermore, with AFI charging another 15 percent management fee on gross revenue over and above the existing profit-sharing of 40 percent as MWSS share, 30 percent each for AFI and LGQC, it would now appear that AFI has a greater share in the revenues and income derived from the operations of the La Mesa Resort Zone,” according to the report.
In the ABS-CBN website, it was stated that “all income generated by La Mesa Ecopark is utilized for the continuous preservation and protection of La Mesa Watershed.”
CoA said a review of the MoU dated Nov. 23, 2001 and MoA (undated) executed by MWSS with AFI and the Local Government of Quezon City had several deficiencies.
It also cited conflicting provisions in the MoU and the MoA signed among the three relative to the Environmental Trust Fund (ETF).
“Section 1 of the MoA provides for the creation at La Mesa Resort Zone – Executive Committee (LMRZ-EC) composed of two representatives each from MWSS, AFI, and the QC government in which the committee shall take the stewardship of the Environmental Trust Fund (ETF) under the control of the MWSS board of trustees (BOT) and under the supervision of the La Mesa Executive Board (LMEB).
“However, under Section 1.a.v of Article IV of the MoU– Management and Operations Framework-the LMEB shall take stewardship and control of the ETF,” according to the report.
The CoA required the MWSS board to clearly designate the stewardship and control of the Environmental Trust Fund.
It added that section 1.2 of the MoA also provided that the LMRZ-EC will be tasked to approve and supervise the implementation of the La Mesa Resort Framework Plan and all programs and plans relative to the operation of the La Mesa Resort Zone. “However, no committee was formed since the inception of the contract,” according to the CoA.
The CoA recommended the creation of the LMRZ-EC that will formulate policies regarding the LMRZ aside from other functions and responsibilities stated in the MoA.
“Upon creation, members of the proposed body should convene regularly to address and assess the operations and concern of the LMRZ/La Mesa Ecopark,” it said.
The CoA also cited section 6 of the MoA that required all funds generated from the operation of the LMRZ should be deposited under a special account for the Environmental Trust Fund (ETF) to be opened in the name of MWSS, AFI and the Quezon City government “and any or all transactions or withdrawal involving the ETF shall be considered approved if signed and approved by at least two official representatives or signatories of either MWSS and AFI, or MWSS and LGQC.”
CoA said, however, documents showed that all accounts were opened in the name of AFI only and “transactions/withdrawals were made without the consent of MWSS.”
The CoA said that the parties involved in the agreement should comply with the provisions of section 6 of the MoA “to maintain sound internal controls by opening an account in the name of the three contracting parties.”
“All transactions shall be authorized with the consent of MWSS representative,” the CoA added.
It also cited violations of section 22 of the MoA that mentioned four requisites for the agreement to be effective which were that the MoA shall be signed by the parties; approved by proper authorities; and reviewed by the Office of the Government Corporate Council (OGCC) and ratified by the QC Sanggunian.
“Requisites 2 and 4 were not complied with. There was no MWSS resolution approving the MoA as per certification by the Board Secretariat of MWSS. Also, the contract was not ratified by the QC Sanggunian as confirmed by Mr. Francisco Mallillin to IAD Manager Bienvenido A. Sarmiento based on the report of Virgilio P. Matel, Officer-in-Charge of the Internal Audit Department during that time,” the CoA said.
The CoA said the MWSS should require the post facto approval and ratification of the MoA to enable the agreement to be fully effective.
“Otherwise, the MoA could be considered null and void,” it added.
The CoA also noted that the 40 percent share in the net income generated from La Mesa Ecopark operation (La Mesa Resort Zone) was not recorded in the books of the MWSS pursuant to section 11 of the MoA among the parties involved.
“Section 11 of the MoA requires that financial report shall be prepared and submitted by the AFI to the La Mesa Executive Board (LMEB) from its initial operation ending June 30, 2005 and the annual financial report thereafter and the income shall be distributed among the parties accordingly,” CoA added.
The AFI, however, failed to submit the annual financial report as required in the MiA.
“Finally, on Nov. 5, 2009, the Internal Audit Department (IAD) of MWSS received the audited Financial Statements of La Mesa Ecopark/Watershed Operation covering the period 2004 to June 30, 2009 or a period of five years,” it said.
The CoA noted that based on financial report, included in the direct expenses was the 15 percent management fee charged by the AFI amounting to P20.5 million for five and a half years “whereas the 40 percent  share of MWSS on the net income after tax has not been remitted as of today.”
The CoA tasked the MWSS to require the AFI to submit the annual financial report and remit the corresponding share of income to the MWSS.
“The books of account of the La Mesa Ecopark should be made available to the duly authorized representative of MWSS as required under Section 12 of the MoA,” it added.
Published in Headlines
  • rotogold
one senator has consistently shielded this family and had blindly attacked Ongpin on the supposedly behest loan which had been FULLY PAID, unlike this family , whose loans had been WRITTEN OFF officially by a government bank. SO now what gives? saan mapupunta ang story eto? I am sorry, I am beginning to believe that their supposed to be persecution under the Marcos regime is all for show. And they are exacting their revenge to the hilt on the Filipino people. and now , this? what do you call these creatures then? vultures?
rotogold Sunday, 21 April 2013 06:05 Comment Link
  • koomug
Assuming the whole story is true, I think it is also important to know why MWSS allowed itself to get ripped off. I can safely assume nagkalagayan na naman dito , after all it takes 2 to tango. Mahirap eradicate ang greed and dirty tactics from the business community, it is their way of life. I think it is easier to solve the problem kung katayin muna natin at ilibing ng buhay ang mga govt. officials who allowed such things to happen.
koomug Monday, 15 April 2013 12:43 Comment Link
  • koomug
Assuming the whole story is true, I think it is also important to know why MWSS allowed itself to get ripped off. I can safely assume nagkalagayan na naman dito , after all it takes 2 to tango. Mahirap eradicate ang greed and dirty tactics from the business community, it is their way of life. I think it is easier to solve the problem kung katayin muna natin at ilibing ng buhay ang mga govt. officials who allowed such things to happen.
koomug Monday, 15 April 2013 12:42 Comment Link

Hypocrisy, thy name is Gina Lopez. After Going after Philex Mining for an accident caused by heavy rains which killed nobody, then staying silent on another accident caused by heavy rains (Lopez-owned EDC) that killed 14 people and leaked boron into a river, now we find out that her foundation (she's the director) has been ripping off the government.

You're as dirty as the rest of them, Gina.

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