Who should fix the water system?

Vol 1. Issue 4, April 2016

It is so sad to think and say that despite repeated request from the Sangguniang Bayan to fix the problematic Flora Water Supply System (FWSS) there is less effort (or nothing at all?) to expedite such requests.

     It has been over five months already when an inspection at the FWSS pumping station by the local legislative council found out that the reason for the constant water outages we have been experiencing is attributed to major defects in the generator set (GenSet) and other issues. The SB even had to call the attention of the contractor of the multi-million investment loan from the national government and the company owner had also been invited to appear before the august body.

     Promises were made to initiate measures to solve the problem. But the constant water outages remain up to this time. We should say that the constant complaining of Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR) Richard De San Jose is reasonable enough. Request letters had been forwarded to concerned offices and personalities, apparently there was very little concern. We felt obliged to echo his constant complaining because it is a serious problem that needs serious attention. After all, every household customer, every business establishment — everyone is complaining. The question is when will our miseries end? Who should solve the problem? Who should fix what should be fixed?


Re-asserting women’s roles in society 

Many of today’s women face a gargantuan problem of violence — domestic or institutionalized. Domestic violence is mostly committed by men against his wife by physical/ verbal abuse, which often lead to broken marriage. Institutionalized violence is often the cause of economic and social inequalities such as treating women as mere housekeepers and babysitters or worst, comfort women. Sexual harassment or even assault by men among women in the work places is another serious problem. These issues are in fact remain a huge task for women’s groups around the world to deal with.

      In Africa, women’s circumcision is a traditional practice but this has recently became a serious issue.  In the Middle East, the rights of women to participate in political decision making and even voting in elections are very limited. In contrast, women in Europe and America are almost at par with their gender counterparts in a lot of respects. Here in Asia, a lot of things has to be improved in terms of putting women in the frontlines whether in political, economic and social aspects.

      In the Philippines, the work and achievements of great women in all walks of life are very highly commendable. Regardless of what they have accomplished in the course of their duties, we have two women who served as president and there are two aspirants in the coming polls. We also have several women in the Senate and Congress. We have associate justices in the Supreme Court noting that the  present chief justice is a woman.

     Apayao’s lone district representative is a woman. Over 50% of Flora-LGU employees are women and most department heads are women and we have a very strong and capable woman vice mayor. Two more are SB members.

     Women continue to assert themselves in various fields of study and in many instances they have shown stronger abilities over men. But women’s issues should not stop from here because there must be some kind of measurements that men would strictly follow just to narrow the gap between both genders for a peaceful co-existence. After all, the dictum “behind a man’s success is a woman” emphasizes that men’s success often depend on the work and support of their wives.


  The local election scene

Vol. 1 Issue 3, March 2016


         We hope for a peaceful and orderly conduct of elections when we elect the next set of public officials to lead us to progress and prosperity. As the political atmosphere is brewing hot in other localities around the country, we are highly expecting a peaceful one in our beloved municipality. Thanks to the unity that was forged between incumbents Mayor Rodolfo B. Juan and Vice Mayor Jessica L. De San Jose and of course the ever good-looking political standout of Flora, Richard De San Jose.

     For the local aspirants, victory will come from the voters. The decision is bestowed upon them. It is not the COMELEC that decides the outcome. Each candidate is of course optimistic to  garner votes otherwise he/she should not have filed his/her certificate of candidacy.  On our part, we are wishing that whoever make it would deliver the quality service from the position they are aspiring for. Engineer Jean Agustin of the Municipal Planning and Development Office said so. During a regular session of the SB, she told the incumbents her hope of seeing them again in 2017 as he briefed them of the P21.5 million bottom-up budget for next year. Whatever that means, we will also be having to choose from 13 candidates for SB Flora including the five aspirants outside the administration line-up of Liberal Party.

     Candidates  for  Members of the House of Representatives and elective regional and provincial city and municipal officials nationwide will start  their campaign activities on March 25, 2016 (Friday) and end on May 7.

      Incumbent Lady Representative Leah Bulut Begtang is running unopposed in the May 9 polls for the lone congressional district of Apayao province.

     Governor Elias C. Bulut Jr. and running mate Remy Albano are also unchallenged like almost all aspirants for mayors and vice mayors in Apayao.

     Here in Flora, Mayor Rodolfo B. Juan and Vice Mayor Jessica L. De San Jose will lead the administration’s Liberal Party slate that included all incumbents in the Sangguniang Bayan. SB Members Clapton R. De San Jose, Sergio D. Sabbun, Aniceta T. Cacacho, Florendo D. Conde, Jessie R. Pascua, Cristelita A. Putulan, Demetrio D. Conde Jr., David O. Tabbaban will face five other aspirants outside of the LP ticket.

     The LP proclamation rally for Flora will be held  March 29 in Barangay Allig to be led by Gov. Bulut and the rest of the provincial aspirants.

     Four are running under the Nationalist People’s Coalition namely Vic Maruquin of Bagutong, Baranggay chairmen  Marcial Pablo of Balluyan and Dionisio Fernandez of Malubibit Norte and Julius Aguilar of Poblacion East.      The only aspirant running as an Independent is Beldion Balanan of Atok.

     Again, we voters must do our share to ensure a honest, peaceful and orderly conduct during the campaigns.


The year that was

 Vol. 1 Issue 2 January-February 2016

Despite the tragic events, the Municipality of Flora had accomplished great strides in its socio-economic well-being, brighter prospects in the political front, a community working hand-in-hand for a peaceful co-existence and a local government leadership striving to deliver the basic services to the people in the most effective way thus creating a positive outlook in the year that was.

   The untimely demise of Dr. Efren U. De San Jose in July installed a new leadership both in the executive and legislative branches — Rodolfo B. Juan as mayor and Jessica L. De San Jose as vice mayor.

    Before he died, it was Dr. Efren who pushed Mayor Juan to forge a political unity in Flora. This dream could not have been possible if not for the conscientious minds of husband and wife Richard and Jessica.  Their willingness to give way should always be remembered in the annals of Flora politics.

  The swift change of leadership signals a new style of administration which is energizing the local bureaucracy yet giving the people a better public service.

     Aside from implementing the projects left behind by the late Dr. Efren, the municipality has been undergoing major face-lifting activities as well as installing more facilities.

    Though not fully satisfactory, we must thank the FWSS for struggling to improve its service and provide us with potable water supply.

     Several paved street roads and of course, most of the main road or the national road will be concreted, hopefully by end of next year.

     Many of our barangay roads are also on the stage of completion. These farm-to-market-roads are very vital to the progress not only of our municipality but to help uplift the standard of living for our people especially in interior barangays. These and many other infrastructure projects are important.

     In the community service aspect, Poblacion East remained the most peaceful barangay in Cordillera. The barangay council headed by Manny Biggayan are highly commendable for their untiring efforts in ensuring our safety.   

      Taking a cue from the names of its seven puroks (Layunin, Bagong Silang, Buklod, Saranay, Maganda, Mabuhay), Poblacion East is no wonder the most peaceful place to live.

       Another front giving honors to our beloved town is the Flora Central School for consistently making itself as the nation’s best implementer of the Brigada Eskwela.

        These and other issues have marked another colorful chapter in our town’s history.

         Also born last year, was Kabinnulig News, the official publication of the Municipality of Flora that provides information on the everyday dealings of the LGU, the goings-on in our school campuses and how the community interact with each other to create a healthy and peaceful environment.

      We challenge every Flora citizen to contribute in making our municipality’s dreams and visions a reality.    


Every drop of water is precious

Vol. 1 Issue 1 November-December 2015

An estimated 40 percent of total output by the pump well of the Flora Water Supply System (FWSS) is wasted due to  broken pipes and other reasons which should be a cause of concern for everyone.

     Along with other issues such as substandard        generator as had been reported by the Sangguniang  Bayan after an inspection at the pumping station in   Bagutong, we are      directly affected by the situation especially during brownouts when water supply totally stopped.

     Municipal Administrator Nonito Vicente, who heads the provisional governing body (PGB) of the FWSS, told the    legislators during a regular session that most of the broken pipes are attributed to the ongoing            construction of roads. If so, then the road contractors should be accountable for this.

     That 40 percent is a huge loss considering that the  estimated supply demand for the daily needs of 674 households is 240,000 liters or 240 cubic meters. At the moment, FWSS’s steel tank has a capacity of only 150 cubic meters or 150,000 liters. This would mean that about 60,000 liters is wasted on a daily basis. Which also means that the actual water consumption as of the moment is only 90,000. So  FWSS still has 150,000 liters deficit to fully serve the target consumers.

     The estimated  average daily consumption per head is 80 liters or 400 liters average demand per family    household (five members) per day.

     FWSS says that as of the August 2015, they have   collected P1.3 million from its total actual billings of P1.4 million or about 82 percent collections and 17 percent unpaid. The total actual connections as of September 2015 reached 472    households.

       Flora’s water system was built through a loan from the Department of Finance worth P34.3 million with a fixed       annual interest rate of seven percent for a repayment period of 20 years, inclusive of three years grace period on the principal payment.

     It is envisioned to be a “demand driven water         facilities, provider of safe, potable, affordable and      sustainable water supply professionally manage under effective and efficient governance.”

     Its mission is to “provide safe, potable and sufficient water supply in four baranggays, particularly Poblacion East, Poblacion West, Bagutong and Tammalunog improving the     economies, health and living conditions of the residents.”

     It also aims “to deliver quality service through competent and committed personnel and endeavor to continually        enhance system and technology,” and to become financially viable and sustaining water facility.

     FWSS started operating on Dec. 15, 2014 as an economic enterprise managed by the PGB for an interim period of two years.

     Such economic enterprise offers two important aspects. First, it directly delivers basic service to the community and secondly, it provides income to the Local Government Unit.

      Along the way, it also provides employment and makes life better and easier for the people.

     It is understood that we are still on the learning stage of managing the enterprise but the FWSS should not just       focus on issuing bills and collecting payments.

      It must also exert more efforts on fixing the huge loss of water supply because every drop of water from the faucet is precious.