Balon Bayambang

JANICE HIDALGO’S MISLEADING CLAIMS AND LIES AGAINST A MAYOR

By Chester Capua (Weekly GoodNews-Regional)

Bayambang – Janice Hidalgo is facing rap for her malicious claims and damaging lies against an honest public servant of Bayambang, Mayor Cezar Quiambao. The video was uploaded and went viral last February 5, 2019, but it was the blotter, and her claim of death threats that forced the mayor to file charges.

Recently, a malicious documentary-like video was uploaded in the social media. It was the video of Janice Hidalgo that garnered the ire and discord of the Filipinos, especially in the line of media. Last Monday, Mayor Quiambao expressed his sadness and concern about the wrong practice of a certain journalist. In his press conference, the mayor humbly stated that he will not tolerate the blackmailing, and misleading claims of Hidalgo. Present in the press conference are Mayor Cezar Quiambao, Bayambang Municipal Engineer, Engr. Eddie Melicorio, Bayambang OIC-Municipal Accountant, Mrs. Elsie Dulay, Bayambang Municipal Internal Auditor, Mrs. Erlinda Alvarez, Bayambang Municipal Legal Officer, Atty. Raymundo Bautista Jr, running for the Board Member, Ms. Darwina Sampang, Bayambang Municipal Treasurer, Mrs. Luisita Danan and Bayambang Municipal Budget Officer, Mr. Peter Caragan.

The damage she has done caused a stir within the circles of the media. Hidalgo is a fellow colleague in the media industry, a host and have been known recently because of her viral video that is not only tarnishing the reputation of Mayor Quiambao, but her malicious accusations of the mayor’s corruption and malversation of the city’s funds. Sampang, who has a somewhat close relationship with Hidalgo can justify the dubious claims and fabricated lies of the latter. In her statement, it was Sampang who took the initiative of talking to Hidalgo at Lenox Hotel, a hotel chosen by Hidalgo herself. In their conversation, Hidalgo vehemently boasted her experiences with Cojuangco. And how much money she received, which is equivalent to the staggering price of a building. Sampang asked Hidalgo of what help she could give, Hidalgo stated that she could build her up, and conduct interview. However, Sampang clearly stated that she doesn’t have the means, and the money to pay Hidalgo’s service which the latter told her that it’s okay. Hidalgo again narrated that she was called by Espino, and asked her to stop the video against them. To which Hidalgo answered that it was too late as Espino’s camp wouldn’t afford to pay what Cojuangco has given her. According to Sampang, it was also Hidalgo that opened the topic of the video about Bayambang.

Meanwhile, Hidalgo vehemently asked if there was an offer coming from Mayor Quiambao’s camp. To which Sampang answered that there was never an offer. Sampang explained that Mayor Quiambao doesn’t know about their meet-up, nor any members of the mayor’s family. She reiterated that she was concerned about the welfare of Bayambang so she initiated the talk, and then challenged Hidalgo to simultaneously take a lie detector test. On the other hand, Hidalgo insisted them to give her a Hyundai Starex van under her name, in exchange of erasing the video. Sampang debunked all the claims and accusations in the blotter.

Proceeding to the press conference, Mayor Quiambao clarified some important issues surrounding the said allegations in the viral video. First is about the higher tax rates for business owners in the municipality. Showing the tricycle fees, it was only the annual parking fee that increased by only ₱15. The most affected business taxes were Land Registration Systems Inc (LARES), and STRADCOM, both of which are companies owned by Mayor Quiambao. Second, the ghost projects that are no where to be found. With a supposedly allocated budget, East West Bank hasn’t yet released the remaining funds for them. The LGU is still waiting for the remaining loan of ₱91,419,809.75 to complete the projects. Third, the issue of who is paying for the loan of the LGU. It was the mayor himself, Mayor Quiambao is the biggest taxpayer of the entire municpality. Fourth is that, the clip of Mayor Quiambao included in the video was taken in 2012 and it has nothing to do with the issue. The last is the accusation of not paying taxes on Royal Mall, where mayor explained it is impossible not to pay it as he already paid the rental 50 years in advance. Mayor Quiambao clearly stated that all the transactions done by his office are transparent.

Mayor Quiambao honestly answered some questions raised by the panel of media outlets. In one of the questions, he clarified the accusations on building the Prayer Park, “By the way, sinasabi nila kaya ako nangutang kasi gingastos natin sa Prayer Park. For the last 2 and a half years I’ve been quiet. What I have been spending for this town. That prayer park will cost ₱240M, and no single centavo is being spent out of taxpayer’s money (By the way, they keep on saying that the reason why I borrowed money because we are spending it on the construction of the Prayer Park….)”

“Why civil case? It’s a legal strategy because civil case goes to RTC. So we will just file damages, even if it will be granted, I filed the ₱5M damages. Okay! Then her next video, it would be the criminal case, then another civil case by prosecution.. so it’s a legal strategy. So, what she earns, is going to spend it in legal cases that we are going to file against her,” Quiambao answered on why he opted for civil case against Hidalgo.

His wife Mrs. Niña Quiambao has been emotional because of the controversy. She was saddened on why Hidalgo is dragging her husband’s name, when Mayor Quiambao’s only intention is to support and uplift the lives of Bayambangueños. No amount of money could leverage his love for Bayambang. No instance was Hidalgo threatened or offered any amount of money because Quiambao believes that Bayambangueños are smart enough to know Hidalgo’s purpose of making a demolition job. A dirty tactic, as the election season is approaching. Before Quiambao ended the press conference, he was grateful to the presence of the media, “..hopefully we will able to clarify the issues against us, and hopefully this will give a lesson to the media industry that we should have a balance reporting”.

HOUSING TURN OVER CEREMONY FOR THE POOREST OF THE POOR IN BAYAMBANG

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By Chester Capua (Weekly GoodNews-Regional)

Bayambang – The housing turn over ceremony was held at Brgy. Sancagulis, Bayambang, Pangasinan last January 24, 2019. Led by the Couples for Christ (CFC) ANCOP Charity Organization, with the participation of Kasama Kita sa Barangay Foundation (KKSBFI), and with the aide of Mayor Cezar Quiambao, ten (10) houses were successfully awarded to the beneficiaries.

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The program commenced with a mass officiated by Rev. Fr. Oscar Roque. Present in the said event are Mayor Cezar Quiambao, Vice Mayor Raul Sabangan, CFC ANCOP Canada President Bro. Ricardo Cuenca, CFC Pangasinan Provincial Area Director Gerry Montero, KKSBFI General Manager Romyl Junio, CFC Pangasinan Area Head Rudi Talosig, CFC ANCOP Chairman Reuel Robregado, CFC ANCOP Board Member Henjie San Juan, CFC ANCOP Board Member Raul Marababol, benefactors of CFC ANCOP Canada, some representatives of KKSBFI, LGUs and barangay officials.

After the Groundbreaking Ceremony happened last July 2018, some of the completed houses are now ready to be turned over to its selected beneficiaries. ANCOP, an acronym for “Answer the Cry Of the Poor”, is a global non-profit organization founded by Couples for Christ. It is dedicated to uplift the lives of poor families in developing countries such as the Philippines. With a mission to restore the poor’s hope and dignity, organizing them into sustainable and self-reliant communities through livelihood assistance, values formation, and community empowerment. Currently operating in the country, its aim is to answer the cry of the poor through effective child education and community development programs, develop partnership to achieve a shared vision, and sharing of resources for the poor. Putting faith into action, with the grace of God, and the generosity of all of their donors and supporters, they already helped many poor families and transformed many lives. Kasama Kita sa Barangay Foundation, Inc.(KKSBFI) is a non-stock, non-profit corporation. It is organized by a group of individuals led by the Quiambao family of Pangasinan, who wanted to uplift the quality of life of Bayambangueños. It was established to address poverty due to unemployment and lack of economic opportunities, while it focuses on the Livelihood Trainings. In areas such as bamboo processing treatment and preservation, livelihood workshops, reflexology, cosmetology, entrepreneurship, computer hardware service, housekeeping and implementation of 4P’s Sustainable Livelihood Training Residential Care. One of their recent initiative in Bayambang is the,“Vision Mission” together with WeCare Foundation, a medical mission focused on giving free eye care needs around the different provinces.

The invocation was headed by Bro. Ricky Castillo, then Vice Mayor Raul Sabangan delivered an exuberant opening speech while Mr. Romyl Junio welcomed the guests. Bro. Gerry Montero made the briefing of the project. According to him, “..the project involves the construction of fifteen (15) units duplex houses for a total of thirty (30) units in all. Each housing unit has a floor area of thirty square meters (30 sqm). By far, one of the biggest, if not the biggest low-cost housing in the country in terms of floor area. It has likewise a lot area of sixty square meters (60 sqm)”. He added that, “Each housing unit has a total project cost of one hundred seventy thousand pesos (P170,000). Of this estimated amount of one hundred seventy thousand pesos per unit (P170,000/unit), CFC ANCOP Canada funded one hundred fourty-five thousand pesos (P145,000), or 85% of the total project cost per unit. And the remaining thirty five thousand pesos (P35,000), or 15% of the cost is the counterpart of our foundation, KKSBFI.

So all in all, the total project cost is, for the entire thirty (30) units socialite housing project is five (5) million one hundred thousand pesos (P5.1M). The CFC ANCOP Canada fund a counterpart of four (4) million three hundred fifty thousand pesos (P4.350M), and the KKSBFI counterpart is seven hundred fifty thousand pesos (P750,000)”. That day, they are set to turn over five (5) duplex houses or ten (10) units to ten (10) of their selected beneficiaries. Jonah Gulles, one (1) out of the ten (10) beneficiaries, was unable to express her happiness. “..maraming-maraming salamat po sa lahat. Hindi ko po ma-express ang pasalamat na nagkaroon kami ng sariling bahay. Na magkaroon kami ng panibagong panimula; na magkaroon kami ng dignidad na masasabi talaga namin na kami ay tagarito na, bahay na namin. Nakatira po kami dati sa Amangcosiling. Saksi po si Municipal Councilor, Councilor Amory. Saksi po siya sa buhay ko po, na ako ay palaging pinapalayas. Hiwalay po ako sa asawa. Pero pasalamat pa rin ako sa Panginoon binigyan ako ng bagong pagkakataon, bagong buhay para maalagaan ko ang aking mga anak. Para magiging maayos na tao sa lipunan, hindi pasaway. Ito na po ‘yung way para sa panibagong pagbabago po (Thank you so much for everything. I cannot express my gratitude of having our own house. To start anew; to have our dignity in claiming that we are a resident here, that it’s our home. We were once a settler in Amangcosiling. Municipal councilor Amore is a witness. He witnessed how I lived my life, that I am always evicted out my abode. My husband and I were separated. But I am grateful to the Lord giving me a new chance, a new life that I can take care of my children. To be a good citizen in the society, and not to be delinquent. This is the way towards a fresh start)”.

For a brief moment, Bro. Rudi Talosig offered a short prayer for the late, Mr. Levin Uy. Levin Uy was a councilor, KKSBFI Managing Director and a political adviser of Mayor Quiambao before he was killed. Talosig narrated Uy’s important role in the project. How they conceptualize the idea, giving Uy’s whole heart into it. He later empowered the beneficiaries with his kind words, an announcement of building additional houses in the future, and a promise of scholarship for the children of beneficiaries, where one of them is dreaming of becoming a future engineer. “..tinitiyak ko sa inyo na lagi kaming nakaalalay. Kami ay tutulong, pero kayo ang unang tumulong sa inyong sarili (I am assuring you that we will always guide you. We will lend our help, but, you should help yourselves first)”, as Talosig ended his message. Meanwhile, Bro. Ricky Cuenca was all-praises to the local government of Bayambang. He commended the successful partnership and collaboration between the two parties. The strong support from the local government, together with the KKSBFI made it successful. Calling the beneficiaries as “home partners”, rather than the former, Cuenca emphasized how blessed the CFC ANCOP Canada seeing the project came into full fruition. He was touched and inspired, because of the hard work of everyone. Reminding the home partners to the conditions it entails, he empowered them with his kind words and assuring them the help they need will be given.

Gathering the community’s attention, Mayor Cezar Quiambao made a remarkable speech expressing his gratefulness to all the partners, local government units and barangay officials who made the project a success. He was grateful for the new partnership that developed, while hoping for a new collaboration in the future. Commemorating the death of a beloved friend, Levin Uy, he can never be replaced, but continuing his leadership was tasked to Mr. Romyl Junio. Mayor Quiambao was reminded of how the proposed two (2) hectares of the land to be used on this project was acquired. The land was bought to Levin Uy’s driver, with the help and persistence of Levin Uy himself. After remembering Uy and his participation, Quiambao move on announcing the new name of the new community. He called it “Ancop Village”, gotten the name from its benefactors and its equivalent translation of the word “ancop” in the local dialect, meaning “bagay na bagay” , in tagalog. Wrapping up his speech, he introduced some of his new projects in Bayambang. One of his major project is Bayambang Poverty Reduction Action Plan. A 10-year action plan proposing to reduce the poverty rate of its residents. The program ended with the awarding of symbolic key, after which a walk-thru inspection was made. Prior to the program, Quiambao has stated another plan in the works, “Sa kabila ‘yung low-cost housing naman ng mga empleyado (The low-cost housing for the employees would be on the other side)”.

Witnessing all the important figures and local political officials that came to the event, one man was grateful to be part of such historical event. The Barangay Captain of Brgy. Sancagulis, Brgy. Captain Marcelo Caniezo cannot express his awe and gratitude for choosing a portion of their land to give a shelter to his fellow homeless Bayambangueños. “Lucky kami, lucky kami na kuwan, nakita ‘yung barangay namin na para dito sa pabahay (We are lucky, lucky in a sense that they saw our barangay for this project)”. Caniezo said. The newly established, ANCOP Village, is situated between the boundaries of Brgy. Sancagulis and Brgy. Bical Sur. Geographically, it is still part of Brgy. Sancagulis.