Tag Archives: LAUGH PA MORE!



President Rodrigo R. Duterte will not meddle in the quarrel among members of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban), Malacañang said.


Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark after a group of PDP Laban members on Wednesday questioned the mass oath-taking activities initiated by PDP Laban secretary general, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
The group of PDP-Laban members from different parts of the country expressed their disdain towards Alvarez and questioned the mass oath-taking activities initiated by the Speaker who allowed new members  into the party without undergoing membership seminars as required by the party’s constitution and by-laws.

The group also urged the party to expel Alvarez, during an assembly organized as part of the 36th founding anniversary celebration held at the Quezon Memorial Circle on February 28.
Alvarez has also been accused earlier of fragmenting PDP-Laban and admitting narco-politicians into the party in his recruitment binge.
The massive recruitment of new party members by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has opened the floodgates for entry of narco-politicians into  the party, Benito Ranque, PDP-Laban deputy secretary general, also said last year.
After being accused of allowing entry of narco-politicians and causing division in the party, Alvarez was declared last year  as ‘persona non grata.’
The PDP-Laban has issued a resolution declaring Speaker Alvarez as ‘persona non grata’ for acts inimical to the party, according to Rogelio Garcia, former labor undersecretary and party chairman for Region 12, and Cesar Cuntapay, interim president of Southern Mindanao regional council.
Garcia and Cuntapay also urged President Duterte to look into Alvarez’s “acts inimical to the party.”
Roque said that Duterte, chairman of the ruling party, was aware of the issues hurled by party members against the Speaker.

However, Roque said that Duterte would leave it to Alvarez and PDP Laban president and Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi to resolve the issue.



Panama Disease aka Fusarium Wilt is a banana plant disease that a few years ago devastated hundreds of hectares of banana plantations in the Davao Region particularly the province of Davao del Norte where the dollar-earning export Cavendish banana industry is a major economic driver  for decades.The deadly Panama Disease, which attacks roots of the banana plant,  first surfaced in Panama, to explain the name,  and spread to other banana-producing Latin America countries and nearly wiped out the banana industry there in the 50s.

the-durian-beatBY ROGER M. BALANZA

Panama Disease crept into banana farms in the Davao Region in 2015, sending the Department of Agriculture (DA) and local governments in a frenzy of looking for solutions to prevent the spread of the deadly plant disease.
The  banana industry lost millions of dollars before the spread of Panama Disease was contained in at least 15,500 hectares of plantations in southern Mindanao.
But still, Panama disease remains to be a threat that forces DA, the LGUs and the banana farms to continue the interventions earlier adopted in the campaign to stop the spread of the plant disease. Among the measures was closing off farms to the public.
Davao del Norte was the most affected province in the region.
Hit hard by the Panama disease was the Tagum Agricultural Development Company (Tadeco), the pioneering Cavendish banana producer and today the largest Philippine banana exporter,  established in the 60s by the late Don Atonio Floirendo Sr.
Tadeco and Floirendo Sr. are credited with placing Davao del Norte, and the Philippines,  in the world map of major banana producers and exporters.
Like its brother, the equally deadly leaf disease Sigatoka, the Panama Disease attack sent shock waves of uncertainty to the Davao del Norte economy, Tadeco being a critical contributor to the province’s economic development  since the Floirendo company was established in the 60s.
While it maintains farms in other privately-owned lands, the lifeblood of Tadeco is its lease of about 5,300 hectares of the Davao Penal Colony (Dapecol) covered by a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
As provided in the JVA that was approved by Congress, Tadeco converted the unproductive Dapecol reservation area into a banana farm, with BuCor earning a share from the produce without spending a single centavo.
As a preventive measure at the height of the Panama Disease attack and upon the advice of the DA, Tadeco closed off some of the roads inside the plantation from the public, as part of efforts to stop the pread of the disease.
The move was supported with resolutions of agreement by the Davao del Norte Provincial Government and the municipalities sharing boundaries with the Tadeco farm. A new route was etched out outside of the farm for public use.
The resolutions of the LGUs were an expression of support of the campaign against the spread of Panama Disease whose attack on banana farms could mean financial disaster to the econmy and trigger massive unemployment.
This is because under the JVA, Tadeco, on top of taxes paid to the LGUs,  also provided jobs to locals, including prisoners of Dapecol as part of a joint project of BuCor and Tadeco to rehabilitate inmates even as they are still serving time in the penal colony.
People of Davao del Norte are happy that Panama Disease has been licked although it still remains a threat to the Cavendish banana plantations and the economic well being of the province and its people.
This happiness however may only be temporary because Davao del Norte is now under attack by a nemesis worse than the Panama Disease.
This Panama Disease-like economic saboteur has emerged in the form of a humanoid, in the person of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez who could be more deadly and virulent than the plant disease that nearly destroyed their banana industry.
In a move described variously as political harassment, business and personal agenda, abuse of power, arrogance and a veiled attempt to grab the Dapecol estate, Alvarez is now hounding Tadeco and Second District Congressman Antonio Floirendo, Jr., son of the Tadeco founder,  with various allegations of anomalies.
And Alvarez is attempting to open the floodgates for the spread of Panama Disease, which the DA, the LGUs and banana farms fought hard to stop during the past several years.
Alvarez, the congressman who represents Davao del Norte’s First District in Congress,  would not only open the Tadeco farm to Panama Disease but also want to cripple the banana industry, particularly Tadeco, considered as one of the  crucial drivers in the economic progress of Davao del Norte.
His brain apparently infected by the destructive Panama Disease, Alvarez has now challenged the legality of the Tadeco-Bucor deal, wants the JVA voided, thus raising the specter of massive job displacement and economic dislocation of the province.
He has raised his case to kill the Tadeco-Bucor JVA in Congress, which is now conducting an inquiry.
He has gone berserk and filed a graft charge at the Ombudsman in connection with the JVA against Floirendo, his former friend and political supporter.
And Alvarez is not joking as he said he was joking when he raised a nation-wide howl when he warned LGUs would have zero congressional funds if their officials would not join the administration party PDP-Laban.
He is as serious in his fight against Tadeco and Floirendo as he was serious in reportedly deleting developmental funds for Floirendo’s Second District in the national budget.
He is serious as when he said in public that he has abandoned  his wife and now has seven girlfriends.
Alvarez made his serious intent to have roads inside the Tedeco farm opened during a joint hearing of the House’s justice and good governance committees on his complaint vs. Tadeco and Floirendo on February 9.
To make sure that his intent is implemented, Alvarez usurped the function of PNP chief Gen. Bato dela Rosa, with his direction to the Davao Regional Police to dismantle gates in the Tadeco farm and open and secure  the roads therein for public use.
Welcome back Panama Disease!
What should Davao del Norte do to stop this tormentor and the impending tragedy?
Simple. Make Alvarez a “one-term congressman and one-term House Speakerand reduce him into an inconsequential dot in the political landscape of Davao del Norte, by dumping him when he seeks reelection in 2019.





Davao del Norte Congressman Antonio Floirendo, Jr. said the graft rap filed with the Ombudsman against him by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez is not only political harassment but also for “business and personal interest of the Speaker.”
Floirendo said this in a statement as the Sandiganbayan on Wednesday ordered his arrest in connection with the graft case filed against him by Alvarez for the alleged anomalous lease of land of the Davao Penal Colony (Dapecol) to a Floirendo-owned banana company.
Floirendo said the case is a “veiled attempt” by Alvarez to cancel the deal  and “landgrab” the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) between the Floirendo-owned Tagum Agricultural Development Company (TADECO) and the Bureau of Correction (BuCor) involving  about 5,300 hectares of the Dapecol in Davao del Norte. Alvarez is a former friend and political ally of Floirendo. Both supported the 2016 election bid of President Rodrigo Duterte. Floirendo was a major financial backer of the Duterte presidential campaign. The Floirendo-Alvarez spat, initially fueled by a public quarrel between their girlfriends has become an irritant in the unity of the ruling party PDP-Laban. President Duterte however is keeping his hands off the conflict.
alvarez 12
The Sandiganbayan’s Sixth Division set a PHP30,000-bail bond for the temporary liberty of Floirendo. Floirendo posted the bail in a Davao City court on the day of the issuance of the warrant of arrest.
“The hasty filing of graft charges against me before the Sandiganbahe subsequent issuance of the warrant of arrest in connection with the Bucor-Tadeco deal is a clear sign of the existence of abuse of power and arrogance on the part of the Speaker,” Floirendo said in the statement.
“While I welcome the hastily-filed complaint, I would like to point out that this transgression on the part of the Speaker is not only political but a veiled attempt at grabbing the deal for his business and personal interest,” Floirendo added.
Floirendo said the Tadeco-BuCor deal was legal and expressed confidence that the court would uphold the validity of the JVA.
Alvarez filed the graft case against Floirendo before the Office of the Ombudsman in March 2017 for his alleged financial interest in the  JVA.
In his eight-page complaint-affidavit, Alvarez said that in 1969, the TADECO entered into an agreement with the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) to lease a portion of land in the Davao Penal Colony to be used for the private company’s banana plantation.
The JVA was executed in 1979, which extended the period of lease for 25 years and renewed in May 2003 for another 25 years.
At the time the contract was renewed, Floirendo was already a congressman of the Second District of Davao del Norte.
However, while he was serving as representative in 2003, Alvarez alleged that the lawmaker was also a stockholder of TADECO.
Citing data from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Alvarez said Floirendo was also a board member of ANFLOCOR from 1997 to 2015.
On Feb. 9, 2018, the Ombudsman charged Floirendo before the Sandiganbayan for violation of Section 3(h) of Republic Act No. 3019, or the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act”.
The graft case was filed less than a month after the Ombudsman denied the motion of Floirendo to reopen the case for submission of documentary and testimonial evidence.
The anti-graft body said Floirendo’s connection with TADECO violated Article VI, Section 14 of the 1987 Constitution, which states that “no member of Congress is allowed to intervene in any government contracts before any agency for his pecuniary benefit during his term of office.” (PNA)

Arrogant Speaker


Davao del Norte 2nd District Representative Antonio Floirendo Jr. said the arrogance and abuse of power by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez fueled the arrest warrant issued against him by the Sandiganbayan.

The anti-graft court on Wednesday, February 21, issued  the warrant of arrest for one count of graft against Floirendo.
The case stemmed  from a case filed with the Ombudsman by Alvarez in connection with the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) between the Bureau and correction (BuCor) and the Tagum Agricultural Development Company (Tadeco) owned by the Floirendo family.  
Alvarez, Floirendo’s former friend and political ally who represents Davao del Norte’s First District, claimed that the JVA was illegal and disadvantageous to the government, and that Floirendo signed the JVA while sitting as a congressman.
In elevating the case to the Sandiganbayan, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said  Floirendo violated a constitutional prohibition banning public officials from having direct interest in government projects.
The Sandiganbayan set bail for Floirendo at P30,000.
The JVA involved about 5,300 hectares of reservation area of the Davao Penal Colony (Dapecol), a Bucor agency, that Tadeco converted into a banana plantation.
Foirendo, in a statement on Wednesday, welcomed the case  that he said would give him a chance to clear his name.
“My only hope is for the Speaker to insulate the courts from his established brand of maneuvering and undue influence. Despite such setback, I maintain my faith in our justice system because I have not done anything wrong,” he said.
“In the end, I am confident that I will prevail because the truth is on my side,” said Floirendo who described the case as a reflection of Alvarez’s “abuse of power and arrogance.”
“The hasty filing of graft charges against me before the Sandiganbayan and the subsequent issuance of the warrant of arrest in connection with the Bucor-Tadeco deal is a clear sign of the existence of abuse of power and arrogance on the part of the Speaker,” he said.
“While I welcome the hastily-filed complaint, I would like to point out that this transgression on the part of the Speaker is not only political but a veiled attempt at grabbing the deal for his business and personal interest,” Floirendo added.
Floirendo said the Tadeco-BuCor deal was legal and expressed confidence that the court would uphold the validity of the JVA.
“All things considered, the filing of the case will reveal that the more than 3-decades old Bucor-Tadeco deal which benefits thousands of inmates and their families and has provided livelihood to thousands of residents and workers, is valid and legal,” Floirendo said.