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If government wants to stop smuggling, then it should embrace XLOG technology

The country’s Bureau of Customs is leaking like a sieve, which explains why until now, smuggling of illegal drugs hasn’t abated. Shabu that is being sold on the streets of the archipelago are manufactured in China. There are no shabu laboratories in the country anymore. Several shipments worth billions of pesos have been intercepted, but this represents only a fraction of the shabu coming into the country. This leaves me wondering if President Duterte is raising his hands in surrender in the face of this pipeline of shabu flowing right under the noses of our customs bureau. Or put another way, it raises questions on whether the government even wants to stop smuggling of shabu.

This is rather tragic because putting a stop to smuggling could have been accomplished as early as the first quarter of 2018 with software developed by Filipino IT experts. Called “XLOG”, the software has been tested and retested, and consistently proved that the leaks in the system could be plugged permanently. It basically removes human intervention in the entire process, and with it, the opportunities for corruption.

If put to use by our Bureau of Customs, XLOG can eliminate delays in getting cargoes processed and released, and ensure that the government collects the right tariffs. What more can the government ask for? It will make exporters and importers happy, get rid of corruption, and increase collections. It’s a simple formula and it’s hard to understand why Customs officials refuse to embrace the technology.

On top of the crystal clear benefits it will bring to the government, XLOG is not even to cost the Bureau of Customs a single centavo. It is being offered entirely for free. All it needs to do is accept the technology, install the application at all ports of entry, and government will reap the rewards in one smooth movement. The technology has been proven effective in plugging the leaks in the present set-up. Government cannot possibly find a better solution to the smuggling problem and the corruption issue.

Of course, once in place, XLOG will eliminate corruption, which is perhaps the reason why there is resistance in the Bureau of Customs. No matter how many shake-ups will be carried out, the corruption will continue to plague the agency, for as long as officials are given broad discretion on letting a cargo shipment go through its checkpoints. Money, especially when it involves millions of pesos for a single transaction, can dilute the strongest of principles among officials.

Hence, we can only watch with despair as more and more smuggling take place on a daily basis at our ports of entry, both for sea and air cargo. We are losing the war, and government has only itself to blame. If Customs chief Isidro Lapena wants to change the situation, all he needs to do is get XLOG to come into the picture. It’s been waiting there on the sidelines. The picture can change in an instant: smuggling can be eliminated once the buttons for XLOG are pressed.

 

 

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Drilon was the protector of drug lords in Iloilo

Until now, President Duterte hasn’t fathomed the real picture of illegal drugs in Iloilo City. He has blamed dismissed City Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog for the rise of drug lords and their grip on the local community before he came to power. But the truth is that Mabilog was only a pawn. He was never the political boss of Iloilo City. He took orders from Senator Franklin Drilon.

But isn’t it strange that despite the massive reportage and media commentaries on the illegal drugs problem in Iloilo City, Drilon never ever said anything about it? He reads my every blog and Facebook post, and there is no denying he knew about how bad the illegal drugs problem had grown during the years 2010-2016. In fact, I sent him an email sometime in 2012 beseeching him to do something about it. And when the late Melvin “Boyet” Odicta tried to storm into the premises of Aksyon Radyo Iloilo on November 19,2015, Drilon squelched the calls for a Senate investigation into the incident, saying it was a minor police matter.

Drilon was not just the political kingpin of Iloilo at the time. All the national government agencies, including the PNP, PDEA and NBI, bowed before him like a demi-god. Only those who received his blessings were given assignments as Regional Directors in Western Visayas, which has Iloilo City as the regional center. Despite such power that he wielded, Drilon never issued orders for the police to crack down on the drug syndicates. What he did was show a fondness for Barangay Monica-Blumentritt Punong Barangay Keith “Dabing” Espinosa, wife of Jing Jing Espinosa, a top lieutenant of the Odicta syndicate.

Kap dabing with drilon

VIP treatment palagi si Kap Dabing Espinosa na asawa ni Jing Jing Espinosa sa mga okasyon ni Drilon.

Drilon with Kap Dabing

And he was always quick to downplay the magnitude of the problem. Not once had he chastised Mabilog, his cousin and protege, about the growth of the syndicates. In short, it was Drilon who gave protection to the syndicates. And it’s time President Duterte took him to task for this crime against the nation.

David vs. Goliath Part 2

The “David versus Goliath” battle that started four years ago hasn’t ended yet.

The “victory” that Goliath achieved in his own turf at the Senate was hollow. While I was ganged up upon by his ilk in the Liberal Party, I wasn’t pulverized. Yes, I was beaten black and blue, especially with the black propaganda machinery thrown against me. But my integrity was not shattered. It stayed intact.
Now David is coming back into the arena, better armed, and no longer a lonely warrior.
David has got the machinery of the Digong administration behind him.
He is now equipped with a larger arsenal of documents to prove the plunder of Goliath. And he’s got the lawyers of Digong help him and his lawyer with the case.
The link between Drilon and DAP in the ICC project is now established with competent proof.
And David can show the evil scheme that Goliath employed to plunder no less than half a billion pesos — 500,000,000 pesos — from this project.
Goliath thought he could hide the evidence.
But truth has a way of coming to the surface.
And it is the truth that will slay Goliath, like a well-aimed pebble hitting his forehead.
David and Goliath is a story that happened thousands of years ago.
It is being reincarnated in modern Philippine history.

Drilon is a big liar

In all his statements about his share from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) for his anomalous Iloilo Convention Center project in Iloilo City, Senator Franklin M. Drilon has consistently claimed that he got only P100,000,000 for the project.  On July 8, 2014, Drilon issued a press release entitled, “Drilon releases details of his P100-M DAP funds, invites public to scrutinize his DAP availment,” he said the amount was just P100-million. He said the same thing in a press release much earlier, on October 13, 2013, which is entitled, “DAP creation based on President’s power to realign funds.

But this claim is a big lie. And Drilon knew he was lying. That’s because when he first had to make such claim, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) had already issued three (3) SAROs, or the Special Allocation Release Order, with a total amount of P300 million that went into the Iloilo Convention Center project. This is confirmed by no less than the DPWH Regional Director, Engr. Wenceslao Leano, in a matrix of fund disbursements for the ICC, a digital copy of which is shown below:

cof

That these funds covered by the SAROs listed in the matrix were part of the DAP in 2012-2013 are confirmed by no less than Secretary Benjamin Diokno in his letter dated July 23, 2018, shown below:

letter-from-diokno.jpg

cof

This proves me assertion four years ago that Drilon had designed an evil scheme to steal public funds by the hundreds of millions of pesos from the ICC. The design of the ICC as specified by the Megaworld’s architect, W. Coscolluela and Associates, had a budgeted cost of only P200 million. During the Blue Ribbon committee investigation on November 13, 2014, Drilon admitted that the design and specifications for the building were part of the donation made by Megaworld. And the terms and conditions of the Deed of Donation spelled out how much the government was required to put up to fund the construction of the convention center. It was P200 million, no more, no less.

Drilon’s insatiable greed became runaway. He tried to get as much money from DAP. He wasn’t contented with P100-million under SARO No. A-12-01294 dated December 12, 2012. He got another chunk of P50-million under SARO No. A-13-00079 dated January 15, 2013. It only whetted his appetite; he got another P150-million on July 5, 2013 under SARO No. A-13-01134. He attempted to get more and spend more. But the heat became unbearable for the DPWH because of my exposes, and the faucet was shut down.

Drilon had announced during the Dinagyang festival in January 2014 that the ICC was going to cost P1-billion. Apparently, he had programmed the DAP releases to ultimately reach P1-billion. This is the reason why when the DAP faucet was shut down, the ICC was not 100% complete, which is the state it is now in. After spending nearly P750-million for the project, Drilon’s ICC lacks a number of components to truly make it world-class.

Now I am asking Drilon to ask the Filipino people for forgiveness. He was caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He tried to grab more than his share of the DAP. He put up deceptive ploys to hide the fact that he got more — much more — than his fellow senators. He should also apologize to his colleagues in the Senate for this deception.

This shouldn’t be unfamiliar territory for Drilon. In June 2005, he goaded and coached then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to face the nation and say, “I am sorry”, in the wake of the “Hello, Garci” scandal. Maybe he can rise on a question of personal and collective privilege on Monday and deliver his own “I am sorry” speech for being a liar and a thief.

The Iloilo City slaughterhouse: a corruption scandal

The City Council discussed last Tuesday the deteriorated state of the Iloilo City Abattoir. I produced this video last year to document the substandard construction of the meat processing facility, a DAP funded project of Senator Franklin Drilon only four years ago. About a hundred million pesos were spent on this project. There should be an investigation into the anomalous implementation of the project.

CSR? Nope, more like corporate arrogance

I was told that residents along the road in Barangay Baldoza, Lapaz have started a signature campaign to voice their complaints about the disturbance caused by heavy trucks of La Filipina Uygongco Corp. in hauling raw materials from its private port in Barangay Ingore.
Baldoza becomes the second barangay to complain about the noise.
I asked former Punong Barangay Ernie Poral whether the flour manufacturer has made any efforts to mitigate the rumbling noise of their heavy trucks and shaking of the ground. He said there is no such effort.
I had hoped that after the public hearing conducted by the Committee of the Whole of the Sangguniang Panlungsod two weeks ago, La Filipina Uygongco would take steps to address the complaints.
But it appears the company is oblivious to the disturbance to the community. Last July 24, the hauling operations went on the whole night, and many residents were unable to sleep.
Is this a case of corporate arrogance? I learned the company has a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program. However, its behavior points the other way about its social responsibility.
I hope our City Councilors can schedule a second public hearing so that it can obtain more information about these issues.
Right now, I am waiting for the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) in Manila to release the documents relative to the company’s application for a permit to build and operate this private port.

Digong gets a medical check-up before his 3rd SONA

Less than 24 hours before he was to deliver his 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA) before Congress this afternoon, July 23, President Rodrigo R. Duterte underwent a one-and-a-half hour medical check-up at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan City.

But Spokesman Harry Roque said there was nothing to worry about, and that President Duterte went back to Malacanang after the check up to continue rehearsing his SONA. It was a routine check-up, Roque said.

Special Assistant Christopher Go said the prepared speech for the SONA consists of 16 pages.

The speech would not exceed 35 minutes for the President to deliver, according to Atty. Roque.PRRD_PUBHEALTH4-768x512