Friday, June 30, 2006

MISORTEL Strikes Back

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MIKE BAÑOS / June 29) – In a strong bid to stop the further erosion of its subscriber base and give its competitors a taste of their own medicine, the Misamis Oriental Telephone System, Inc. (MISORTEL) is bringing in affordable high-speed data services to its furthest service areas.

Misamis Oriental Governor and MISORTEL President Oscar S. Moreno signed a Memorandum of Agreement with DCTech Micro Services, Inc. that will make 24/7 internet services available to new subscribers.

Engr. Ryan Sumalinog, DC Tech Vice President for Operations, who signed in behalf of the firm, said the new value added service called MISORNET will feature a two-tiered service structure: its Unlimited Dial-Up service will deliver 24/7 internet services at a minimum speed of 52 kbps (vs. 38 kbps. tops for competitors) for only P399 a month while its DSL service guarantees a spped of 384 kbps for only P799 a month, but will enable the user to access the internet and use his voice phone at the same time.

Sumalinog said the 24/7 Unlimited Dial-Up Service is ideal for home/personal use while the DSL service would best serve the needs of msall and medium enterprises.

DC Tech is a full complement service provider based in Davao City which is now providing similar value-added services in partnership with Globe-Telecoms to local exchange carriers (LECs) of the Telecommunications Office in Cagayan de Oro, Iligan; Maramag, Malaybalay and Valencia cities in Bukidnon; Cotabato, Pikit, Kabakan, Matalam, Panabo, Tagum and Mati.

Marriz Manuel B. Agbon, DCTech Sales and Marketing Partner in Northern Mindanao, said the move would provide local businessmen the impetus to invest in ICT.

"With additional investments in ICT, enhanced executive reporting follows, leading to significant cost reductions, revenue growth and increased profitability as a result of improved work efficiency brought by reduced data losses and integrated systems of operations," Agbon said.

Moreno is optimistic the venture would further push MISORTEL's mission to provide modern, adequate, efficient, reliable and affordable telecommunications specially to areas currently unserved and underserved by the company, which is majority owned by the Misamis Oriental provincial government.

"The provision of Voice and Internet applications in remote areas has become a necessity," Moreno said. "In order for us to keep up with other developing nations, our citizens must be aware and knowledgeable to successfully compete in the global market. This is where MISORTEL's partnership with DCTech plays a vital role.

Industry sources estimate internet users in the Philippines would grow to 20 million by next year and to 41 million by 2014.

"The business sector, being an engine of growth, is also a priority of this venture," Moreno said. "For our economy to be globally competitive, Filipino businessmen, especially those engaged in agri-business, must also be at par technology wise with their global competitors."

Sumalinog said the new venture would also bring in new subscribers to MISORTEL which has seen its former dominance in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental diminish with the inroads made on new and existing subscribers by cellphone service providers.

"Since we shall do the installation, maintenance and collection from MISORTEL, they will gain a steady revenue stream at little or no expense to their present network," he said.

Already, Sumalinog said DCTech provides its value added services to some 60 percent of the internet cafes in Cagayan de Oro City, offering 1mpbs package for only P8,000 and their 768 kbps for only P4,000. He said they have also successfully increased the total subscriber base of all the Telof LECs they are now serving by 15 percent after only four months of operations.

"We hope we will be able to do the same, or even better, for MISORTEL," he added.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Advincula hits Sia, calls partymate irresponsible

COUNCILOR Reynaldo Advincula strongly denied he pushed for the approval of an ordinance that wrote off the debts of market stallholders, including his, as he called his partymate Councilor Juan Sia ‘‘irresponsible’’ for making such a claim.
Advincula and Sia are members of the ruling PaDayon Pilipino, the party of Mayor Vicente Emano.
Earlier this week, Sia said the market committee chaired by Advincula was responsible in railroading the approval of the ordinance. He said the then proposal was elevated to the city council even before Advincula could present the list of beneficiaries and their corresponding debts to city hall to the finance committee.
The amount of debts written off remains unclear. The ordinance did not state any amount nor did it identify the beneficiaries. But Advincula hinted in an earlier interview that the vendors’ debts had reached nearly P10 million.
But Advincula maintained that the ordinance was not endorsed by his committee.
"That (ordinance) did not come from my committee. How then can anyone say that I worked or pushed for the passage of that ordinance?" Advincula asked.
Advincula lashed at Sia, saying the councilor’s pronouncements only meant that the finance committee failed to review the controversial ordinance. ‘‘He is blaming others for the failure of his committee.’’
Advincula said the ordinance was endorsed by the City Economic Enterprise Management Board
(CEEMB) and directly came from the office of Mayor Vicente Emano.
"That (ordinance) was endorsed to my committee for approval as part of the process before it reached the plenary," Advincula said.
Advincula said at least four committees reviewed the ordinance before it was properly deliberated and approved by the council.
Sia has claimed that he demanded a list of the vendors and their corresponding debts from Advincula but he (Advincula) failed to show it to his committee.
"Sia should have insisted on it if he really wanted to see the list," said Advincula.
From Sia’s committee, he said the proposal was instead passed on to the committee on laws and rules chaired by Councilor Maryanne Enteria.
Advincula said he did not participate when the other committees tackled the proposal.
"Why did he (Sia) allow it to reach the laws and rules committee if the things he required were not met," Advincula said.
He said Sia should be held liable for allowing the proposal to be approved by the city council without the finance committee’s green light.
Sia earlier claimed he was surprised when the council tackled the then proposed ordinance given Advincula’s alleged failure to show the finance committee the list he required. But he said he voted in favor of the proposal.
Advincula said, ‘‘He (Sia) has been a councilor for quite a time already yet until now he doesn’t know what he is doing.’’

Charge other councilors too, Nanding dares critics

EMBATTLED Councilor Reynaldo Advincula yesterday challenged his critics to file charges against him and all the councilors who voted to write off the debts of the city’s public market vendors.

"Why only Ian (Nacaya)? Is it because he is my son-in-law?" Advincula asked. "It should be all of us or those who voted for the ordinance.’’

Advincula said his critics wanted to involve Councilor Ian Mark Nacaya in an attempt to establish a case of conflict of interest.

In April, Advincula and Nacaya voted in favor of Ordinance no. 10127-2006 that wiped off the debts of market vendors leasing stalls at the city hall-owned markets in 2001 and the preceding years. The debts of the Advinculas were among the debts written off.

Ex-vice mayor Antonio Soriano and former mayor Manolo Tagarda Sr. said Advincula and Nacaya, his son-in-law, could be held liable for voting for a city law that benefitted the Advinculas.

Advincula said Soriano and Tagarda should sue all the councilors who voted for the ordinance if they were convinced that the passage of the city law was illegal. He said he or Nacaya should not be singled out.

Only five other councilors voted for the ordinance. They are councilors Annie Daba, Simeon Licayan, Edgar Cabanlas, Alfonso Goking and Maryanne Enteria.

Those who abstained or failed to vote or were absent were councilors Jose Benjamin Benaldo, Zaldy Ocon, the then Sangguniang Kabataan Federation president Benmarc Garcia, Ceasar Ian Acenas, Alvin Calingin and Alexander Dacer.

Advincula reiterated his call for Tagarda, who sharply criticized him, to sue him.
"Why don’t he file it before the ombudsman now? That’s his (Tagarda) right and prerogative," said Advincula. "I will not try to stop him."

Tagarda has threatened to bring Advincula before the ombudsman for doing business in a local government-owned property. He said Advincula would likely be the first city hall official to face a case before the newly opened extension office of the ombudsman in Cagayan de Oro.

"I’m not afraid to face him (Tagarda). If he is really serious, he should start drafting his complaint against me," Advincula said.

‘‘I’m only hoping that he will have a basis this time," said Advincula even as he mocked Tagarda for supposedly losing a case against him before.

Advincula said Tagarda would likely revive a dismissed case filed in regard to an attempt by a group of vendors to occupy stalls at the Cogon public market.
Advincula said Tagarda had sued him because he (Advincula) personally barred the vendors’ group from illegally establishing stalls at the city’s busiest market.
"Some of them forcibly entered and occupied market stalls. I was the one who barred them (vendors) being the city council’s economic enterprise head. They had no legal papers to occupy the stalls and it was unfair to vendors who acquired stalls legally," Advincula said.
Advincula’s son, Reynaldo Jr., is a stallholder. The councilor also admitted that his sister is doing business at Cogon market.
"He (Tagarda) already filed a case against me and the city, but it was already dismissed by the court because it had no basis,’’ said Advincula. "If they really have a basis, file the case as soon as possible. The ombudsman’s office is just a few minutes away."
Advincula also lashed at ex-vice mayor Soriano for calling Ordinance no. 10127-2006 ‘‘defective.’’
"Who is he (Soriano) to say that the ordinance is defective? Is he an authority?’’ asked Advincula , adding that Soriano was talking like a judge.
Advincula said only a court can declare the ordinance defective.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Magtajas: Nanding blames everyone but himself

FORMER mayor Pablo Magtajas lashed back at embattled Councilor Rey-naldo Advincula even as he denied being the brains behind an ordinance that has been blamed for the accumulation of market vendors’ debts

‘‘He (Advincula) is now blaming everyone but himself for the mess he is in,’’ said Magtajas in an interview over the weekend. ‘‘He is trying to deviate from the real issue which is delicadeza.’’

Advincula has called Magtajas the ‘‘culprit’’ and the one responsible for the failure of market vendors to pay city hall their rent. The combined debts of the vendors, according to Advincula, reached nearly P10 million because of an ordinance that dramatically increased stall rentals. The ordinance, according to the councilor, was passed by the council during the Magtajas administration.

"Advincula is already cornered so he is deviating from the real issue. He is trying to escape," Magtajas said. "What ordinance is he talking about? I don’t know what he’s talking about and I never pushed for the approval of an ordinance that increased stall rentals.’’

Magtajas challenged Advincula to show proof that would show he (Magtajas) was to blame for the vendors’ debts that ballooned to some P10 million.

"Nine years have passed and I can’t understand why Advincula would accuse me of something that’s not my doing," Magtajas.

Instead, Magtajas said Advincula should ask Mayor Vicente Emano to explain why the debts of market vendors ballooned to some P10 million.

Last April, the city council approved an ordinance that wrote off the debts of vendors, including the debts of the Advinculas, in 2001 and the preceding years. Advincula, who voted for the ordinance, said the April ordinance had to be passed to correct a ‘‘mistake’’ made during the Magtajas administration.

"He is dreaming," Magtajas said. "The issue is delicadeza, his business interests at the market. What he did is clearly a serious offense against Cagayanons."

Magtajas also sharply criticized city hall for approving an ordinance that wrote off the vendors’ debts without specifying the amount involved.

"The city council is also liable for passing that ordinance, they allowed Advincula’s debts to be written off," said Magtajas, adding that no one raised a question on Advincula’s ‘‘conflict of interest.’’

Advincula has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in connection with his "videoke" and video game machine business at the 3rd level of city hall-owned Cogon market. The councilor allegedly maintains a stall at a lower level under the name of his son Reynaldo Jr.

That can be read at Gold Star Daily