CITO BELTRAN:  BACK TO NORMAL INCOMPETENCE?

Yes, things are back to normal under the P-Noy administration. While other international airports manage to land an airplane every 30 seconds, I am told that at NAIA it takes 7 minute intervals on the average to bring in a “bird”. Things are so bad that planes hovering over NAIA average 10 to 20 minutes before making their landing. Planes wanting to take off wait an average of 20 minutes from line up to take off. Try computing how much fuel the airlines waste in the air and on the ground! I’m really glad that the P-Noy government is not corrupt, because their collective incompetence particularly in the Department of Transportation is damaging enough to productivity and profit of private citizens and corporations.


MANILA, DECEMBER 9, 2013 (PHILSTAR) CTALK By Cito Beltran (photo at left) After two weeks recuperating in Manila, “Pastor Eugene” was excited to get back to Tacloban City. He made it a point to be at NAIA 3 two hours before check-in just in case the PAL flight would be full. Then he waited for the usual boarding call for PR-971. Everything was clockwork as their aircraft began its roll towards the runway.

Five minutes became ten, became 20, became 30, became 40, and on and on. Yes, the passengers had to wait for what they thought was a whole hour for take off. But that never happened. The pilot unexpectedly announced at around 4:15 p.m. that their flight had been cancelled because the Tacloban City Airport only operates from sunrise to sunset. Flying out at 4:15 p.m. would mean that the pilot would have to risk not being able to land without ground radar or runway lights.

The passengers were understandably upset at the inconvenience and a day lost not to mention the taxi fare, food as well as the physical effort of hauling luggage and checking in. But just imagine how much more upset the airline management and personnel were?

Not only did they lose income on the flight, they also lost money prepping, fueling, lining up at the terminal, and paying the related government charges for the flight. Then the cancellation meant they don’t haul back passengers, which is another set of lost income. Even worse the airline has to go through the whole process and expense all over again the following day!

Yes, things are back to normal under the P-Noy administration.

While other international airports manage to land an airplane every 30 seconds, I am told that at NAIA it takes 7 minute intervals on the average to bring in a “bird”. Things are so bad that planes hovering over NAIA average 10 to 20 minutes before making their landing. Planes wanting to take off wait an average of 20 minutes from line up to take off. Try computing how much fuel the airlines waste in the air and on the ground!

I’m really glad that the P-Noy government is not corrupt, because their collective incompetence particularly in the Department of Transportation is damaging enough to productivity and profit of private citizens and corporations.

If the DOTC Secretary can’t even solve this “traffic problem” in our airports and airspace, he should give the job to someone who can. Nothing personal, but this is not just a matter of flight cancellations, this amounts to losses and failure to serve the public.

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A friend in Tacloban confirms they now have a serious mosquito problem in the city. While people can protect themselves with mosquito nets, they still have to deal with the health threat at work, at school, and other public places. The problem is complicated by the absence of electricity, which prevents residents from using electronic zappers.

If the people at Bayer chemicals and the manufacturers of RAID (if they’re still around) get to read this, now would be a good time to send down teams to fumigate or “fog” the affected towns and cities hard hit in Eastern Visayas. The use of your products would certainly be appropriate CSR to prevent the outbreak of Dengue and to protect many children.

The people at the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) can also help by mass producing or sending down teams to teach people how to make the mosquito traps they “invented” during this year’s dengue outbreak. The Department of Health could also chip in with fumigating machines.

* * *

Illac Diaz, a well known proponent of “green solutions” and social enterprise has been busy promoting his “Isang Litro ng Ilaw” campaign wherein they use 1 liter PET bottles, fill them with water, add a few drops of bleach or some similar chemical and the combination “creates” light for homes without electricity.

Last Tuesday, I met up with Illac and Director General Joel Villanueva of the TESDA to coordinate the delivery of 500 to 1,000 solar house lights and a hundred plus solar lamp posts for victims of Typhoon Yolanda.

The solar panels are made of a PCB or printed circuit board made by persons with disability at TESDA. The parts are locally purchased using 2 small solar panels, LED, batteries, PVC pipes and 1 liter PET bottle used for softdrink.

This may seem ordinary for city dwellers who’ve never experienced total darkness, but me and my teammate in Tacloban Mike Black were very excited about the TESDA made solar house lights because they are safe, reliable and affordable. With an estimated life of 3 1/2 years the lights cost approximately 50 centavos a night. No risks of fire, they light up automatically and recharge automatically.

Illac Diaz wants to promote this project as a green solution and a social enterprise that can be replicated in all provinces particularly where there is no electricity. The solar house light costs about P730 to P750 while the lamp post costs about P2,100 I believe.

If the PVC manufacturers as well as architects, contractors and builders all pitch in, the costs of the posts would be drastically reduced since Illac Diaz and TESDA are still buying retail. I pray that the project receives corporate as well as international grants because this “green” project will definitely improve people’s lives!

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When an earlier typhoon hit Lipa City, I lost most of my beloved saging na saba or native banana trees. I was so upset I swore to find a shorter variety and that’s when I learned of the “Mama Sita” variety that is only 6 to 8 feet tall, very resilient, bears a lot of fruit and gives a lot of planting material quickly.

The man behind its propagation is a highly respected scientist and plant expert Professor Benito Vergara who is based in Los Baños, Laguna.

I also learned from Rey Quisumbing down in Mindanao of the dwarf variety out of Thailand that he has managed to propagate and bears fruit faster than the native buko.

Perhaps Agriculture Secretary Prosi Alcala can look into this option for typhoon belts.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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