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Yes to water, no to MIWD

“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” W. H. Auden

By Alex P. Vidal

Water and the Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) are supposed to be like Siamese twins: inseparable.

Without MIWD there is no water. Without water there is no MIWD. At least that’s how most Ilonggo concessionaires think in as far as the water system in Iloilo is concerned for almost 50 years now.

MIWD produces potable water in the households, offices and farms. Consumers pay for the water supply. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. They maintain this type of symbiotic relationship.

Just like Panay Electric Company (PECO) and electricity, services are smooth and uninterrupted if consumers don’t renege on the payment of their monthly bills. There is no public uproar and restlessness if there are no frequent power outages and atrocious hidden fees. Simple logic.       

But public perception for MIWD has changed critically. Irate consumers have grown tired of its inefficiency and lackadaisical services that MIWD is not anymore indispensable in their eyes.

LIFE

Consumers have realized that there would still be life, after all, even without MIWD. They are not anymore afraid to kick MIWD in the butt and tell MIWD straight in the face to get lost!

When the faucets stopped producing water last June 14 and 15 because MIWD failed to settle the partial payment of its debt worth P2.7 million to its bulk water supplier, Flo Water Resources Iloilo, Inc., the patience of consumers reached the tipping point. Enough is enough.

Picking up the cudgels for the distraught consumers, Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Trenas and Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, who are water consumers themselves, uncorked the heaviest verbal barrage never uttered before by high-ranking local leaders in recent memory.

Trenas, a many-time referee of MIWD internal squabbles, has called for the privatization of the water utility firm. He feared the worst for the consumers if MIWD’s management was not privatized. He has no more love lost for MIWD owing probably to his love for his constituents and, perhaps, to his love for Dr. Rogelio Florete, Jr., his business associate and owner of Flo Water Resources Iloilo, Inc.

ADOPT

Trenas wanted MIWD to adapt to the paradigm shift of water management in the modern world. There is no room for inefficiency, sloppiness and ineptitude in a privatized MIWD, Trenas thought.

Mabilog, on the other hand, wanted to dissolve the MIWD. He wants water consumers in the city to look for their own water distribution system and not to anymore rely on the decrepit MIWD.

He has given up on MIWD’s series of demagoguery. Both city leaders fear MIWD’s lousy services will delay Iloilo City’s march to progress and development. Investors would never risk a long-term investment in a city that can’t quench the thirst of its residents even during rainy season.

The hostile reactions of both Trenas and Mabilog were enough proof that Iloilo City is willing to let go of MIWD after years of mutual co-existence and relationship. Somebody has to pack up and leave. A divorce is inevitable.

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Posted by on June 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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No concrete answer why 26 journalists have been killed

“If you have to kill a snake, kill it once and for all.” Japanese Proverb

By Alex P. Vidal

As community journalists, we have heard in brutal details how some of our colleagues were killed in cold blood by hired assassins. Sometimes they died in the line of duty like cops and soldiers in the battlefield.
When we joined the press after the EDSA Revolution, the country was already becoming one of the most dangerous places on earth for journalists, a notoriety that hasn’t changed until today.
Extra-judicial killings and other forms of harassment continued unabated under the Cory administration — even after Marcos has fled. FVR, Erap and Gloria have failed to curb the culture of impunity, as well.
Journalists, labor leaders, and other activists disappeared like shallow lakes in the summer. They were summarily executed sometimes in front of their family members and in broad daylight.
Back in November 2009 at Camp Pendelton in Oceanside, California, an American soldier asked why I was in tears while I was reviewing the news in the internet. “My colleagues were massacred in the Philippines,” I replied in a cracked voice. I cried in horror because of the magnitude of that massacre.

MAGUINDANAO

I was referring to the Maguindanao massacre on November 23, 2009. Of the 58 victims, 34 were community journalists. Two of them were my former roommates at the Hyatt Hotel in Manila way back in the 90s when we were still active members of the Publishers Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PAPI).
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called the Maguindanao massacre the single deadliest event for journalists in history. Until now, justice continues to elude the victims and their families.
When an American journalist, who accompanied President Barrack Obama in Manila last April 28, brought the matter of media killings during a joint conference, President Noynoy Aquino was caught flat-footed. In fact, he failed to satisfy this very straight-to-the-point and simple question: “President Aquino, as a journalist, I’d like to ask you why 26 journalists have been killed since you took office. And I understand that there have only been suspects arrested in six of those cases. What are you doing to fix that?”
President Aquino’s answer: “With regards to the killing of journalists, perhaps we should say from the outset that I don’t have the figures right here before me. But we did set up an inter-agency committee to look on extralegal killings and forced disappearances, torture, and other grave violations of right to life, liberty and security of persons.

FIGURES

“And in this particular body, there has been — I have the figures for labor-related issues — there were 62 suspected cases of extrajudicial killings referred to it, and of the 62 investigations before this committee, there have been 10 that have been determined to fulfill the criteria and the definitions of what constitutes an extrajudicial killing. Of the 10 cases that have been determined to be possible EJK cases, only one happened during our watch — the case of Mr. Estrellado.
“Now, as far as journalists are concerned, perhaps the track record speaks for itself. The Maguindanao massacre involved something like 52 journalists, and there are presently something like over 100 people who have been indicted for this crime and are undergoing trial. That doesn’t mean that we have stopped trying to look for others potentially involved in this particular killing. And may we just state for the record that even when it comes to journalists, it is not a policy of this state to silence critics. All you have to do would be to turn on the TV, the radio, or look at any newspaper to find an abundance of criticisms.

INVESTIGATIONS

“Now, having said that, investigations have been done. Anybody who has been killed obviously is a victim, and investigations have been ongoing. If at times we do not reveal the discoveries by our intelligence agencies and security services, perhaps we are very sensitive to personal relationships by the people who are deceased who were killed not because of professional activities, but, shall we say, other issues. But having said that, they were killed. That is against the law. And the people will have to be found, prosecuted and sent to jail.”
Why they were killed and what is the president doing to fix the killings? President Aquino has failed to break the camel’s back in this very fundamental question. No assurance that the culture of impunity will end. No assurance that justice will soon be served on the fallen members of the Fourth Estate.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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IVQ to Doyle: Don’t be emotional, stick to issue

“Conflict cannot survive without your participation.” WAYNE DYER

By Alex P. Vidal

Instead of being mad at IVQ Landholdings, Inc., Thomas “Tom” Patrick Joseph Doyle should be thankful that the realty company did not forfeit his downpayment for the purchase of a subdivision lot in Arevalo district, Iloilo City when he failed to settle his monthly amortization on time.
This was the contention made by IVQ Landholdings, Inc. president Ian Eric Pama in an exclusive interview at the Promenade of Days Hotel March 6.
“Under the Maceda Law,” Pama pointed out, “we have the option of full forfeiture of Mr. Doyle’s money after he failed to honor his obligation to pay the monthly amortization as stipulated in the contract.”
Mr. Doyle had been remiss on his monthly payment obligations, asserted Pama, who was accompanied by his vice president Joel Nermal, lawyer GV Eutiquio Cunada, and three female sales executives.

ASSIST

“But instead of forfeiting his downpayment, we did not touch him for one year. We even assisted him in finding a buyer for the lot when he could no longer sustain the monthly payment,” added Pama, who is also president of Valiant Bank, sister company of the IVQ Landholdings, Inc.
Nermal, who admitted meeting Doyle only once, confirmed that “Doyle was already due for forfeiture but we gave him a chance after he came to us and made an appeal.”
Nermal denied Doyle’s accusation that they swindled him. Doyle had claimed that his application for a loan to pay the remaining balance of P1,7393,140 at Valiant Bank was denied because he is 76 years old and an alien. Doyle and wife Mesalie had paid a total downpayment of P348,285 for the subdivision lot worth P1,741,425 on Princedale Residences at Yulo St., Arevalo district.

APPLICATION

Had he known that his application for a loan would be rejected, Doyle said he would not have bought the property.
But Nermal said it was Doyle himself who informed them he was able to secure a loan from Wealthbank on Ledesma St. after he presented a collateral to the bank.
“We learned that his application was approved but only for a short term,” disclosed Nermal.
Nermal also denied giving Dolye a run around every time the Australian national went to their office on Mabini St. “We are not shrugging him away. The problem is every time Mr. Doyle arrived, he was already agitated to the point that it’s impossible to deal with him civilly.”
“If he will only approach us professionally and refrain from his armed force-style demands out of logical reason, we are always willing to sit down and come up with a solution,” explained Nermal.

ACCOMMODATE

Nermal said they continued to accommodate Doyle despite his “abrasive” behavior “for humanitarian reason considering that he is already old and a foreigner.”
Cunada described Doyle’s case as “fund-management” problem.
“Mr. Doyle is actually changing his tune. He wants us to dance on his own tempo. First he insisted before the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) that he wanted to go on with the deal based on his own terms. Then he wanted a refund,” the lawyer observed.
“The IVQ Landholdings can’t control his own finances. He has to honor his obligations in the contract to sell.”
IVQ Landholdings denied there is another contract to sell aside from the one signed by the Doyle couple, Pama, and witnesses Winie Gopio and Beverly Vargas dated Nov. 27, 2012 and notarized by lawyer Mary Milagros Hechanova.

RESERVATION

The other paper, a “reservation agreement” bearing the signatures of the Doyle couple dated October 10, 2011, is not a contract because only the couple signed it, Cunada insisted.
“Anybody can use a Microsoft word and type a contract,” Cunada said.
Cunada showed a copy of Mesalie’s hand-written note to IVQ Landholdings, Inc. dated November 23, 2012 where she appealed that they be allowed to “start paying our bridge financing start (sic) on January 28, 2013.”
Cunada said the act of Doyle in claiming that he was a victim of fraud is not fair. “He is appealing on emotion and using the culture of Filipinos,” he said.
Cunada added: “Doyle can’t claim a full refund (of the amount he paid for downpayment) because IVQ is not at fault.”

ABIDE

Pama said they are willing to abide by the HLURB order to refund Doyle “but we have to deduct some expenses including administrative costs.”
“The HLURB decision is not yet final so we cannot reveal the other details of the case for fear of subjudice,” Cunada contended.
Doyle said he sacked his lawyer Rey Candido “for not following what I want.” He wanted a refund of the total amount he paid for downpayment “plus interest of 18 percent per annum.”
Pama said “it is beneficial on our part if we refund Mr. Doyle so we can resell the property which has gone up from its original price since 2011.”
Pama said they have no problem disposing off the property because their subdivision lots are sold out.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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IVQ Landholdings: We offered to return Mr. Doyle’s money last year

“Our settlement of land is without regard to the best use of land.” ARTHUR ERICKSON

By Alex P. Vidal

The president of the beleaguered IVQ Landholdings, Inc. has denied the allegations of client, Thomas “Tom” Patrick Joseph Doyle, that they committed fraud when both parties entered into a contract to sell for Doyle’s purchase of a subdivision lot in Arevalo district in Iloilo City in 2011.
Ian Eric Pama, who is also president of Valiant Bank, IVQ Landholdings, Inc. sister company, said they even wanted to refund the P348,285 as downpayment paid by Doyle and his wife Mesalie for the lot known as Block 4, Lot 7 of Princedale Residences located at Yulo Street since last year.
“But it was Mr. Doyle who wanted to proceed with the deal and was insisting on a 10-year payment period without interest,” Pama told this writer over the phone yesterday (March 5) morning. “We would lose if we agree on that scheme.”
Pama promised to present their own documents this morning (March 6) “to show who is telling the truth.”
Pama’s statement came about three weeks after the Housing Land Use and Regulatory Board (HLURB) regional office ordered his company engaged in the development and sales of subdivision lots to refund the Doyle couple “within 30 days from receipt hereof, the amount of P348,285.00 without interest.”

CANCELLED

HLURB also cancelled or rescinded the contract to sell dated November 27, 2012.
The lot’s purchase prize was P1,741,425 as contained in the contract to sell dated Nov. 27, 2012 signed by Pama, Doyle, Mesalie, witnesses Winie Gopio and Beverly Vargas and notarized by Atty. Mary Milagros Hechanova.
“Even in the HLURB, Mr. Doyle was insisting on his own scheme supposedly contained in the contract to sell signed only by Mr. Doyle and his wife,” Pama explained. “We have our own documents to present and we will prove Mr. Doyle wrong.”
The contract referred to by the Doyle couple was not signed by Pama and not notarized, observed Pama’s counsel, Atty. GV Eutiquio Cunada, in a letter dated June 18, 2013 to Doyle’s former counsel, Atty. Rey Canindo.

VERSION

Cunada called the Doyle couple’s own version of contract to sell supposedly executed on October 10, 2011 as “misleading” and their contentions as “premature.”
Doyle has refused to acknowledge the contract to sell referred to by Pama and which was ordered cancelled or rescinded by HLURB. He stuck to the October 10, 2011 version of the contract to sell.
Ironically, the Australian national of Irish descent, who now lives with his Filipino wife and daughter in Calumpang, Molo district, chided HLURB arbiter, Atty. Melchor M. Calopez, for cancelling or rescinding the November 27, 2012 contract saying “the HLURB should have penalized IVQ Landholdings, Inc for committing a fraud under the Housing and Condominium Act.”
“HLURB only ordered the IVQ Landholdings to refund my downpayment but did not penalize the land developer to pay interest for my money,” Doyle insisted.
The Doyle couple filed the complaint at the HLURB versus the IVQ Landholdings, Inc. represented by Pama and vice president Joel M. Nermal, to compel the land developer to honor the October 10, 2011 contract to sell and to accept the couple’s monthly amortization of P11,000 for 120 months without interest. They also demanded moral damages of P200,00 from Pama’s company.

HONOR

The complaint came after IVQ Landholdings, Inc. refused to honor the P11,000 check paid by the Doyle couple as initial monthly amortization for the lot last December 5, 2012 and sent the couple a demand letter dated January 17, 2013 reminding them to settle their account within one week.
In their defense, the land developer called as “admission against self-interest of the complainants themselves” the Doyle couple’s willingness to avail of the in-house/bridge financing arrangement with IVQ Landholdings, Inc. and sister company, Valiant Bank, and their willingness to pay a monthly installment of P50,365.35 within three years.
Doyle claimed he agreed to enter into contract to sell agreement after being assured by the company’s salespersons that he could avail of a loan from Valiant Bank to finance his monthly amortization.
His loan applications were denied by Valiant Bank as well as other commercial banks because he was already 76 years old and an alien. His wife did not have a steady income and lacked the capacity to pay.
Unable to find sufficient sources from other financial institutions to sustain the monthly amortization, they asked for a refund which the HLURB granted.
“The order to refund is for our advantage because in real property business, the longer that the lot is not used the more that we are in the losing end,” Pama concluded.

 

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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No ‘sweet victory’ for Tom Doyle even as HLURB orders a refund

“Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory,” MAHATMA GANDHI

Image

By Alex P. Vidal

Victory appears to be “not sweet” for Thomas “Tom” Patrick Joseph Doyle and wife Mesalie even if the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) ordered IVQ Landholdings, Inc. to refund them the amount of P348,285 they paid as downpayment for the subdivision lot sold by the realty developer in 2011.
“The order says the refund should be made within 30 days from receipt thereof. It’s not yet 30 days, but I don’t think they will refund me,” boomed Doyle, who went to the IVQ Landholdings, Inc. office on Mabini St. February 25 to claim his money. “Despite my age and physical deformity (he can’t walk without a cane) they gave me a run around.”
Because of the way he was treated by IVQ Landholdings, Inc. Doyle said he was contemplating on hauling the developer firm to court for damages. He wanted HLURB to penalize IVQ Landholdings, Inc. with interest of his money.
IVQ Landholdings, Inc. refused to make a comment when contacted by this writer yesterday (February 25). This writer also went to IVQ Landholdings, Inc. last February 21 but was told by the secretary to leave a contact number. No representative from the IVQ Landholdings contacted this writer since February 21. A second attempt to get the side of the IVQ Landholdings, Inc. proved futile as the staff, who asked anew for this writer’s contact number, did not make a return call as promised yesterday (February 25) afternoon.

ORDER

In an order dated February 10, 2014 on the “manifestation and motion for the refund of downpayment” the Doyle couple filed last December 3, 2013, HLURB arbiter Melchor M. Calopez also declared as “cancelled or rescinded” the contract to sell signed between the Doyle couple and IVQ Landholdings, Inc., represented by its president, Ian Eric Pama and vice president Joel M. Nermal, dated November 27, 2012.
“Accordingly, the herein respondent is hereby ordered to refund to the complainant, within thirty (30) days from receipt thereof, the amount of P348,285.00 without interest. It is so ordered,” stated Calopez’s order.
The Dolye couple filed the manifestation and motion after HLURB earlier ordered them to apply for a loan to pay IVQ Landholdings, Inc. the total balance of P1,393,140 for the subdivision lot known as Block 4, Lot 7 of Princedale Residences located at Yulo St., Arevalo district, Iloilo City.

LOAN

The couple argued Doyle’s loan applications with three commercial banks: The Bank of Philippine Islands (BPI), Banco de Oro, and Metrobank have been denied because he is an alien and already 76 years old, and his wife is unemployed and has no means of income and lacks capacity to pay.
HLURB gave credence to the Doyle couple’s assertion.
Calopez’s order stated that IVQ Landholdings, Inc. “knew from the very start” that Doyle is an alien and already 76 years old at the time he was enticed to purchase the subdivision lot.
“That respondent IVQ also assured complainants that they could avail of a loan with Valiant Bank, a sister company of IVQ, however, their loan application was also turned down by the said bank;
“That had it not for the assurances of respondent’s sales agents and its Vice President, Mr. Joel M. Nermal, complainants did not enter into contract to sell and paid a downpayment amounting to P348,285.00;

COMPEL

“That in view of the foregoing, respondent IVQ cannot therefore compel the complainants to continue with the contract to sell and pay the remaining balance of the purchase price considering that they could not avail of a loan from any bank or financial institution, hence the contract to sell should rather be rescinded and respondent be ordered to refund the total downpayments plus interest,” read part of Calopez’s order.
Calopez’s order pointed out that the Doyle couple “have tried to comply with the decision of the (HLURB) Regional Office (to apply for a loan to cover the remaining amount of the subdivision lot), however, they were not able to do so because they are not qualified borrowers.”
Calopez’s order further explained: “This circumstance was made known only after the decision has been rendered. To rule that they are no longer entitled to refund of their downpayment will be unjustly depriving them of their money though no fault on their part.
“Based on equitable ground, and after determining that the complainants cannot possibly comply with the terms and conditions of the contract to sell, the contract to sell dated November 27, 2012 should be rescinded, and the respondent should return the amount of P348,285.00 without interest.”

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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