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Heavy equipment are seen working at the house of Gov. Tupas in Brgy. Juanico, Banate, Iloilo sometime in April 2009

Heavy equipment are seen working at the house of Gov. Tupas in Brgy. Juanico, Banate, Iloilo sometime in April 2009

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Tupas may face graft for misuse of gov’t resources

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

ILOILO Gov. Niel D. Tupas Sr. is facing possible graft charges for misuse of government resources when he allegedly used government-owned heavy equipment to work in the construction of his rest house in Banate, Iloilo.

The latest controversy that Tupas figured in stemmed from video clips and photographs showing two province-owned dump trucks and a grader and bulldozer owned by the Banate municipal government working in Tupas’s house at Brgy. Juanico, Banate.

The said materials showed the trucks dumping filling materials in the work site while the grader and bulldozer were clearing the area.   

The green dump trucks are marked “Province of Iloilo” while the blue grader and bulldozer bear the official seal of the Banate municipal government.

In an interview with Rey Cabarles of RMN-Iloilo last Monday, Tupas said “the truck never got near my house.”

But in his next interview with Regan Arlos also of RMN-Iloilo yesterday, said the heavy equipment passed by his house and he only invited the drivers to have coffee and snacks.

He made this statement after Tupas was shown with copies of pictures of the heavy equipment.

In another interview with Bombo Radyo, Tupas said the heavy equipment were getting quarry materials from a quarry site near his house.

The governor established a house at Brgy. Juanico in preparation for his candidacy for congressman of the Iloilo 4th congressional district opposite incumbent Rep. Ferjenel Biron.

Early this year, Tupas transferred his voter’s registration to Brgy. Juanico.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

VARIOUS sectors in Iloilo have joined efforts to bring relief to victims of Typhoon Ondoy in Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon.

The Social Action Center of the Archdiocese of Jaro has begun accepting donations of used clothing, bed sheets, food and medicines for typhoon victims.

Jaro Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo said it is time to help displaced residents of Luzon who also helped Ilonggos when Typhoon Frank hit the city and province of Iloilo in June 2008.

Lagdameo also issued an Oratio Imperata or obligatory prayer to all parishes under the Jaro Archdiocese to spare typhoon victims from other calamities.

The Iloilo Business Club, Inc. (IBC) is set to meet to discuss relief efforts for Ondoy’s victims.

“The board of directors and officers will meet on Friday to discuss whatever help we can extend to our fellows who were displaced by Typhoon Ondoy,” said Victoria Lea E. Lara, IBC executive director.

Iloilo Gov. Niel D. Tupas Sr. has requested the provincial board to allow the release of P1million from the province’s 5% calamity fund to be donated to typhoon victims.

“We cannot just watch on the sidelines and pray for the victims,” Tupas said.

Tupas also ordered the deployment of a team of doctors to Metro Manila and nearby provinces in the next few days to provide free medical services to victims of Typhoon Ondoy, especially children and elderly who are vulnerable to diseases in evacuation centers.

Initially, Governor Tupas is organizing a team of six doctors for this medical mission to lend a helping hand to overworked government and private doctors now attending to these flood victims.

“We are looking for fund sources to cover the plane tickets and food of these doctors, and if our resources will allow it, we will send a bigger team,” said Tupas.

Media outlets in Iloilo also launched their respective donation drives.

Troy J. Camarista, public relations officer of SM City mall in Iloilo, said SM Foundation, Inc. put up an Operation Tulong Express booth inside the mall.

“We accept donations whether financial or in kind such as clothing, food and medicines,” Camarista said.

Lawyer Daniel V. Cartagena, an organizer for Senator Benigno C. Aquino III, said they suspended their political activities to focus on relief efforts.

“We have asked our volunteers to gather donations which will be sent to the office of Sen. Aquino,” Cartagena said.

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