The rage over Partido
FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas () - November 8, 2011 - 12:00am

Friends who spent the long holiday in Camarines Sur came back with glowing reports about the province’s being “so beautiful, with resorts having first-class facilities, the beaches simply awesome, the towns being so clean and walk-able, we’d like to go back there.” Such superlatives coming from seasoned travelers. Cam Sur then it will be for my family when the opportunity arises.

My friends are not aware that politicians have been fighting - with words, not with swords — about splitting the province into two. So let them fight, so long as they keep the beaches sparkling and the tourists coming.

Much of the development of the province is attributed to the operation of the Partido Development Authority (PDA) which oversees the 4th District of Cam Sur. PDA is said to be so effective in performing its mandate that numerous attempts have been made by other congressional districts nationwide to duplicate it.

PDA suffered a big blow when Rep. Rufus Rodriguez filed a bill last year which proposed the abolition of government-owned and controlled-corporations (GOCCs), including PDA. The move had CamSurians up in arms, and Congressman Rodriguez, said over RMN DWNX in Naga City, that he has withdrawn the Partido from the list of GOCCs to be abolished.

What has the Partido done for the 4th District? One, it operates a level 3 water system supplying potable water to all 10 municipalities of the district. The district thus charges the lowest rates in the country for quality water. Two, it does not depend on the national government to fund its operations — a fact that Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile found surprising in 2009, making him recommend that the government pour in more funds to PDA.

The PDA acts in the district like the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) because of its planning function, like the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) because of its coordinative function, and like the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) because of its pioneering business function.

Under its charter, RA 7820, PDA is empowered to engage in agriculture, industry, commerce or other activities to promote the socio-economic development of the area. Hence, it can organize finance, invest in and operate subsidiary corporations, making it self-sufficient.

Examples of these operations are PDA’s TV station and FM station DZRP which provides accurate information to the public including during the tsunami scare from the earthquake in Japan. Then there is the PDA’s operation of the Nato Port which recently opened roll-on, roll-off services from Sugnay to Carmoan and Catanduanes, which are among the recent routes opened under the P-Noy administration.

PDA has practically trained good technocrats for the government. PDA’s first administrator, Danila Encinas, became an undersecretary of the Presidential Management Staff, and a key player in the peace process under the Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo administrations. PDA’s second administrator, Benjamin Geronimo, served as assistant secretary of the Department of Finance and head of the Bureau of Local Government Finance under the Estrada and Arroyo presidencies.

PDA’s third administrator, Renato San Jose, is now director for operations of the MetroRail Transit under the Department of Transportation and Communications, and its former chairman, Wimpy Fuentebella, is now assistant secretary for plans and programs of the HUDCC after serving as commissioner of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board.

The PDA’s institutionalizing of district planning and operation of revenue generating projects for self-sustainability resulted in the National Statistical Coordinating Board’s showing that the 4th District’s ten municipalities are well-governed by their mayors.

All this shows that the smear campaign against PDA is intended to divert the issue away from the creation of Nueva Camarines.

Politics should not spoil the beauty of Camarines Sur, nor the creation of Nueva Camarines.

*      *      *

Noli Me Tangere: The Opera, will be presented by the Dulaang UP November 16-20, 23-27, and 30, and December 1-4 at the Wilfredo Ma. Guerrero Theater, UP Diliman. This will be the third time that Jose Rizal’s two immortal novels will be staged — not as plays, but as an opera created by National Artist Felipe Padilla de Leon, with libretto by Guillermo Tolentino.

Noli Me Tangere: the Opera is hailed by its organizers as “a testament to the ingenuity of the Filipino artist. With two pianos providing the accompaniment to the powerful voices of young and talented artists, the 2011 staging of the opera welds energy and fresh insight together with tradition to breathe life into Rizal’s opus through the transcending power of music.”

Dulaang UP Artistic Director Alexander Cortez directs the opera. He has directed such memorable productions as Cayayab/Asensio’s Spolarium, Lumbera/Letaba’s Hibik at Himagsik nina Victoria Lactao; Quintos/De Guzman’s Atang: A Play with Music, and Quintos/Africa’s St. Lois Loves dem Filipinos: The Musical.

Under the tutelage and music supervision of vocal coach Camille Lopez Molina, promising opera singers Myramae Meneses, Antonio Ferrer, Kuya Manzano, Elainne Vibal, Fredrick Hipol, Mark Queddeng, and veterans Jonathan Velasco, Jean Judith Javier, Joy Abalon-Tamayo, Cynthia Guico, Rica Nepomuceno and Natasa Cabrea, among many others from UP and other music conservatories will interpret memorable songs from the opera. Production designer Gino Gonzales will use Philippine indigenous materials for the sets and the inable cloth from the Ilocos region for the costumes. Lighting designer Jon Jon Villareal, sound designer Jethro Joaquin, and choreographer Dexter Santos collaborate to create an all-Filipino ambience for the production.

For sponsorship and ticket inquiries, contact Cherry Bong Edralin at 0917500107, or the Dulaang UP Office at 926-1349, 981-85oo local 2449 or 433-7840.

* * *

My column on turkey farming last week elicited many inquiries, some from OFWs from England and the Middle East, and local farming enthusiasts from Pampanga and Bacolod. An email from London indicated interest in raising turkey upon the OFW’s return in the Philippines. “This will be a good business for me when I come home,” the letter-writer said. For those interested in contacting Gil and Prime Quizon, the turkey-raisers of Antipolo, here are their contact numbers: Gil, 0916 2340122, and Prime, 0916 2340121. Their e-mail is greatpartners@yahoo.com.      

My e-mail:dominimt2000@yahoo.com

A PLAY ANTONIO FERRER ARTISTIC DIRECTOR ALEXANDER CORTEZ CAMARINES SUR DULAANG ESTRADA AND ARROYO NOLI ME TANGERE NUEVA CAMARINES PDA
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