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7 in 10 ODA projects fail to deliver touted benefits

AT LEAST seven in 10 projects funded by Official Development Assistance (ODA) loans have failed to deliver their touted benefits and results, according to a six-month study of project documents conducted by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ).

Stories about “white elephants” — grand but unfinished or unused public works projects, such as the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in the ’80s to the Telepono sa Barangay program in recent years abound. Yet many more ODA-funded projects disappoint, even after completion and roll-out.


Banished from ‘paradise’

MACTAN Island, one kilometer southeast of the island province of Cebu, is a famous rest and recreation destination in the Visayas. It is host to some of the country’s world-class, pricey hotels and resorts. At its northern tip is also a popular dive spot, Punta Engaño.

That other Garcia

FOR CEBU political commentator Frank Malilong Jr., the best proof of the Garcia family’s Malacañang connection is the fact that Winston Garcia has kept his position as president and general manager of the Government Service Insurance System, despite persistent calls for his ouster. Many of the complaints against Garcia are actually series charges, with GSIS employees accusing him of “mismanagement, corruption, and oppressiveness.”

Power shift looms in Cebu politics

CEBU CITY — This bustling metropolis in central Philippines used to be the heart of Osmeña country, the home of a political clan that at one time even managed to wield power from within Malacañang. But in the last two decades, a new family has been gaining considerable political ground in Cebu province. For the past few years, it has also been widely perceived to have Malacañang’s ear. This May, three of its members are seeking public office, and many are betting all three will win their respective electoral contests.

Postcards from the road back

Everything was different yet the same. The smell of early morning cooking — fish stew called tinowa simmering in an earthen pot — was a welcome greeting as we crested the last hill of the village. The same puny shrubs snagged our pants and the same emaciated dogs sniffed our legs. But where were the furtive glances, the scurrying away at the sight of strangers, the palpable presence of fear, or the guns openly wielded by almost everyone?

Blasting-cap production
spreads to nearby towns

TALISAY CITY — Proclaimed a city a mere four years ago, Talisay still looks and feels like a rural coastal town, albeit with a few touches here and there of urban blight. Rising above the shacks of poor fisherfolk here, however, is a spanking new building that seems out of sync with the rest of the city. Finished in 2004, Talisay’s new city hall has no rival among the other cities in Central Visayas — not even progressive Cebu City, which contented itself in renovating its own city hall a few years back.

Coastal city is hub of underground explosives trade

TALISAY CITY — Located just 30 minutes away by car from bustling Cebu City, this coastal oasis of relative calm used to be known for its beaches. Yet even then, Talisay already harbored a lethal secret: it was a major source of blasting caps used to detonate explosives.