Farmer's daughter is nursing board topper

>> Monday, February 23, 2009

BAKUN, Benguet -- The topnotcher in the latest nursing board exams is the daughter of a farmer in this remote town, and with her feat, life looks rosy to the family.

Jovie Ann Decoyna, 24, may soon find a job abroad but for now, that is not yet in her mind, she wants her mom, a domestic worker in Taiwan to come home.

Decoyna’s father tenders their farm producing native rice and highland vegetables, while her mother had been a domestic helper for 15 years now.

“Life in the farm is really hard, and this has been one of my motivations to strive harder in my field of education,” she said. “I still do not know what opportunities are install for me in the near future, but if given the chance I want to spend time with my family than going abroad to work.”

Decoyna, a student of the Baguio Central University and Mind Movers Review Center garnered an average of 89% earning her the top spot in the licensure examinations.

She has been a consistent honor student during her elementary and high school years, graduating from the Bakun Elementary School and the Bakun National High School respectively.

Before entering the nursing course, she graduated in 2005 with the degree of Bachelors in Science in Biology at the Saint Louis University.

Mia Jacalne, Vice President for Marketing of the Mind Movers Review Center described Decoyna as a diligent and persistent student.

“She always had been one of our bets to top the board examinations,” Jacalne said,

According to Jacalne, they really were surprised at the same time happy that she landed as number one. “We never expected that she would get the top spot.”

Decoyna is part of the first batch of nursing review graduates from the review center which started to operate June 2008. – Larry Madarang


Mastermind, 7 guns-for-hire known in slay of PDEA agent, son

By Jerry Padilla

CANDON CITY – Lawmen have identified the mastermind and seven suspected guns-for-hire from Ilocos Sur and Abra who killed an agent of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and his 16-year-old son here on Feb. 13.

PDEA Assistant Secretary Rodolfo Caisip and Col. Roberto Opeña, PDEA regional director, bared this to reporters in San Fernando City Tuesday saying police are now closing in on the suspects who were allegedly hired by the mastermiond, a prominent person, to kill agent Edward Gautani Sr. who was involved in monitoring illegal drug cases.

“Investigators have to double their time in working on the case to solve it as soon as possible. This is the price (Gautani had to pay) for doing his job right. Even his son was sacrificed,” Caisip said.

Gautani and his son, Edward Jr., were shot to death while having dinner along with four other family members at the resort of the PDEA agent’s mother.

Before the shooting, two men approached the Gautanis and ordered four bottles of beer.

When one of the family members left to get their order, one of the two pulled out a gun and shot Gautani Sr. at close range.

Edward Jr. came to his father’s rescue but was shot, too.

Caisip said the killing was work-related and that the mastermind is capable of paying guns-for-hire.

Opeña said a police team is now pursuing the suspects who would be rounded up as soon as an arrest warrant is issued for them.

“We already got their names. They are still in the area. There are strong leads linking them to the murder,” he said.

Opeña said Gautani was active in gathering intelligence information, which resulted to 15 successful anti-illegal drug operations.

“His job as a ‘case monitor’ was very sensitive. He was also in charge of counter-checking graft and corruption in illegal drug cases if there were government authorities or private individuals involved. He’s a big loss to the PDEA,” Opeña said.

Opeña and Caisip went to Candon Feb. 17 to attend the wake of the Gautanis who was buried Feb. 18.


Fulfill promises, Baguio gov’t told: Tribe diverts river flow, shuts down power plants

By Dexter A. See

TUBA, Benguet — Tribal people of this town, protesting the inaction by the city government of Baguio on their demand, diverted the flow of water in the Asin River here and, as a result, shut down the three Asin hydroelectric power plants owned and operated by the city.

The tribe’s drastic action was caused by the failure of city to fulfill its commitment to pay the land claims of the people affected by the hydropower project.

The ancestral-land claimants said they were forced to divert the water leading to the three power plants to force city officials into negotiating with them.

They said the city government’s commitment to provide them financial assistance has remained an unfulfilled promise for several years now.

Members of the Tadiangan Hydroelectric Ancestral Land Claimants Association said they have yet to see a firm commitment by the city to address their concerns.

They said they have been communicating their concerns to the city since Mayor Reinaldo A. Bautista took over the reins of the city government.

The members of the association said they resorted to the drastic action of diverting the flow of the water in the Asin River because they urgently need the city’s financial assistance for their livelihood activities.

The claimants accused the city government of not being serious in their commitment to settle their land claims.

Last year, the group wrote the city government and informed city officials of their intention to divert the flow of the water which runs the turbines of the three power plants.

The claimants gave the city government 60 days to look for other sources of water. When the 60-day deadline expired, they indeed made good their threat to divert the flow of water.

They said they are ready to face any action to be taken by the city against them, adding they are just asserting their rights enshrined in the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA).

The claimants cited the water which currently feeds the power plants will be used for agricultural and livelihood purposes, noting that the city is earning a huge income from it without giving them their share in the use of their national wealth, which is the free-flowing water.

The Asin power plants generate a combined power output of six megawatts. The power is sold to the various public utility firms and the city government.

It was noted that since the city government took over the operations of the facility, it could not reach its maximum production because of the lack of expertise by the city officials.


Wycoco's councilor-brod kin survive grenade attack

By Liam Anacleto

CABIAO, Nueva Ecija – A councilor-brother of the late National Bureau of Investigation director Reynaldo Wycoco, his wife and daughter were unhurt when two grenades and an incendiary bomb were thrown in their house here early Wednesday morning.

Senior Insp. Romeo Ramos, Cabiao police chief, said one of two MK-2 grenades hurled at around 1 a.m. went off, ripping the right side of councilor Jumar Wycoco’s Toyota Corolla XL.

Wycoco, his wife Gloria and their 13-year-old daughter Glorigel were asleep during the attack.

Wycoco said before one of the grenades exploded, he heard a loud explosion a meter away from his house and immediately called the police.

Wycoco suspects that politics was behind the attack. Police are investigating. – MG


BIR to impose ‘Oplan kandado’

By Lito Dar

BAGUIO CITY – The Bureau of Internal Revenue is set to implement “Oplan Kandado”, on order of the newly installed BIR Commisioner Sixto Esquivias IV.

BIR Cordillera Director Norberto Vitug recently told newsmen here under the program, repeat offenders of collection deficiency would face closure.

All apprehended establishments in 2007 and 2008 that were not registered or did not issue tax receipts will be listed, and those caught again this year for reiteration of violation, would constitute additional sanctions and could face closure.

Vitug said establishments found violating again the tax code during their tax-mapping this year could face closure or additional sanction, until they comply with all regulations pertaining to their particular business.

“After their bench-marking and due process, establishments that will be found out to have claimed expenses that cannot be justified or taxpayers with sales/receipts declared that are 30%, or more lower than the actual, will also get an additional sanctions and could be closed,” Vitug added.

Vitug said the BIR has three ways to implement sanctions against tax deficiency: administrative, civil and criminal.

In the Cordillera, the BIR reportedly resorts to criminal actions or filing of cases against offenders in the fiscal’s office, after thorough assessment and prior notices.

Meanwhile, Vitug said the BIR will also be selecting “honest taxpayers”. These are taxpayers with an increment of 20% or more from their previous taxes.

The list of honest taxpayers will be recorded by the bureau and will also be submitted to the Department of Finance.

Those who will be included in the list will have immunity from investigation, pertaining to their taxes.


Chinese Filipino cohorts indicted: DOJ reverses dismissal of case: PNP exec named shabu lab's ‘protector’

NAGUILLAN, La Union – The prosecutor assigned by Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez to reinvestigate the dismissed case involving the shabu laboratory busted here last year found probable cause to indict a former police chief of Dagupan City as protector of the illegal facility.

La Union prosecutor Danilo Bumacod indicted Supt. Dionicio Borromeo and Joselito Artuz, the alleged financier of the shabu lab, along with several unnamed Chinese and Filipino cohorts.

Bumacod filed amended information and a motion for issuance of arrest warrants for Borromeo and Artuz with the Regional Trial Court Branch 33 in San Fernando City Wednesday.

Among documents Bumacod submitted was his 34-page resolution which said Borromeo and Artuz had been in constant communication with Dante Palaganas, shabu lab caretaker, from the time they started looking for a site for the illegal facility to the raid on July 9 last year.

“Palaganas and Andy Tangalin who acted as caretakers, Artuz as financier, Borromeo as protector, and John Does, some of them foreigners, did then and there willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously manufacture, produce, process shabu, directly by means of chemical synthesis in Bimmotobot by making it appear that they (were) engaged in the piggery business,” the amended information said.

Last Nov. 12, a three-man prosecution panel dismissed complaints against Borromeo and three of his former men at the Regional Mobile Group 1, namely PO3 Joey Abang, PO2 Walter Banan and PO1 Rodolfo Damian.

However, in his Feb. 4 resolution, Bumacod reversed the decision by indicting Borromeo. He, however, affirmed the dismissal of the charges against the three junior policemen who were found liable only for administrative lapses.

“There is probable cause to warrant Borromeo’s indictment of an offense with overwhelming magnitude of nefarious effect. Surely, there are still people greatly involved in the operation of the laboratory where manufacture of drug was undertaken,” Bumacod said in his resolution.

President Arroyo, acting on the request of Catholic clergy in La Union headed by Bishop Artemio Rillera, ordered Gonzalez last Dec. 30 to reinvestigate the case.

Gonzalez directed Bumacod on Jan. 5 to start review of the case but strictly told him not to release his resolution to anyone without his approval.

On Feb. 16, after reviewing Bumacod’s resolution, Gonzalez ordered him to file the information in court, which the prosecutor did Feb. 18.

Chief Supt. Ramon Gatan, head of Task Force Bimmotobot (named after the Naguilian village where the shabu lab was busted), welcomed new development in the case. “Let justice take its course. This is a chance (for Borromeo) to defend himself in court. Although he belongs to our (police) organization, let him answer the accusations. As far as we are concerned, we have done our job,” Gatan said.

The shabu lab was raided July 9 last year, yielding six truckloads of chemicals that could make at least P27 million worth of shabu.


Gambling lords influencing politics, gov’t, church – Gov

By George Trillo

SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – Gambling lords continue to influence politics, the government and even the church in the country, according to Gov. Ed Panlilio.

In Pampanga alone, he accused the police of “subverting the rule of law” by ignoring his powers to choose the provincial police director in his fight against illegal gambling like jueteng.

Panlilio earlier sought the relief of Senior Supt. Keith Singian as provincial police director, saying he failed to stop the illegal numbers game.

Senior Supt. Gil Lebin replaced Singian Tuesday, but the governor protested this, saying the Pampanga Mayors’ League lobbied for Lebin’s appointment.

Heading the league is Lubao Mayor Dennis Pineda, son of Rodolfo “Bong” Pineda who was tagged as an alleged jueteng lord during the Senate impeachment trial of former President Joseph Estrada.

Panlilio said he wanted a “morally upright” provincial police director, accusing presidential son Rep. Mikey Arroyo of lobbying for Lebin.

Chief Supt. Leon Nilo de la Cruz, regional police director denied this, saying since he was appointed regional police director last Nov. 18, Arroyo never interfered in police appointments.

“Our communication since then has been limited. Two instances were by cell phone when he congratulated me on my appointment to Central Luzon, and when he greeted me Merry Christmas, and then once at a social function. In those instances, he never mentioned anything about police appointments,” he said.

De la Cruz said he hoped Panlilio would change his mind about Lebin once he gets acquainted with the police official.

De la Cruz said Lebin was appointed as officer-in-charge and that he intends to come up with a list of three nominees to be presented to Panlilio.

He, however, said the police officers being recommended by Panlilio could not be included, as they are stationed outside Central Luzon.

This, as de La Cruz urged Panlilio to move for the scrapping of small town lottery franchises in the province if he wants to address the issue of whether STL operations are being used as fronts for jueteng.

De la Cruz told newsmen his men would not raid STL outlets based merely on Panlilio’s allegation they are jueteng fronts, as legal suits against them could arise.

“We cannot clamp down on STL operations which are legal and with legitimate franchises from the PCSO (Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office). Perhaps he should first have the franchises scrapped, then we will follow,” he said.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita earlier tried to turn the tables on Panlilio and challenged him to substantiate his claim that jueteng continues to thrive in Pampanga.

“The question that may be asked is what the good governor is doing against jueteng if it’s true as he alleges that it’s rampant in Pampanga,” Ermita said in a statement.

Panlilio said his initial move was to replace police officers who couldn’t stop jueteng like Singian but his moves were being opposed by officials in government including those holding high positions.


Padaca readies tax evasion charges vs 5 town mayors

ILAGAN, Isabela– Five mayors here are facing charges of tax evasion for failing to remit the provincial government’s share of real property taxes.

Gov. Grace Padaca said the five mayors repeatedly ignored requests for them to do so.

Alicia town headed by Mayor Napoleon Dy has allegedly not remitted a single centavo for the last five years.

But Dy said he is willing to face the charges. “These charges are old hat. We are ready to answer them. Anyway, we have not received anything from the provincial government. We better directly utilize the money for projects and services for our own constituents.”

Padaca said other delinquent towns are Angadanan, San Isidro, Santo Tomas, which she said have “very irresponsible and erring mayors and treasurers,” and this capital town.

“Alicia and Angadanan have never remitted a single centavo for the last five years or since I assumed the governorship,” said Padaca in her State of the Province Address last week.

The mayors of the five towns and 10 of their colleagues identified with the Dy clan skipped the event.

Alicia’s Dy, president of the provincial mayors’ league, is the brother of former governors Faustino Dy Jr. and Benjamin Dy, who lost to Padaca in the 2004 and 2007 elections, respectively.

Despite the five towns’ delinquency in settling their obligations, Padaca though said the provincial government “continued to implement projects in their localities, and our constituents there are very aware that we are never remiss in extending services to them.”

“It’s not my problem if the mayor or barangay chairman doesn’t like me. I am reaching out to the people; I am serving the Apo Isabelino. No one can prevent us from helping them directly,” she added.

Vice Gov. Ramon Reyes said they would fully support Padaca in running after delinquent municipalities for their real property tax remittances. -- CL



Bibak overseas reach out to baby, family in grief
By Ramon Dacawi

Expatriates from Baguio and the Cordillera have responded to pleas for support to Lyka Cadaweng Masgay, a seven-month old baby with a complicated congenital heart defect and to the family of a young girl who recently died.

From his post in California, bibaknets administrator Harry Basing-at e-mailed that members of the website have pooled $400 for Lyka who has been in and out of the hospital for a month now. “I will try to hit the 500 mark before I leave for the Philippines,” Basing-at said.

Lyka’s maternal grandmother earlier appealed for support through bibaknets, The baby, first and only child of Edward and Agustina Masgay, was born with TGA (transposition of the great arteries), VSD (ventricular septal defect) and PFO (patent foramen ovale).

Lyka’s grandmother had applied for charity surgery in Israel where she works, but her parents were still working out a medical plane travel grant for the mother and child and an accompanying cardiologist. Edward said the costs would be more if the baby would be operated on in Metro-Manila, estimated about P500,000.

From Vancouver, Canada, another member of BIBAK (the organization of those who trace their roots to Baguio and the Cordillera region) wrote that he and a friend in Australia are offering a two-pronged support to the family of eight-year old Jessica Tampol who was buried the other week.

The two friends (who will be identified when they agree to have their names mentioned) offered to provide a no-interest loan, to enable Jessica’s mother Melina to cook and sell food again to jeepney drivers plying the route to Beckel, La Trinidad at their Happy Glen Loop staging area. They offered to help 17-year old Jayson, the eldest of the three surviving Tampol children, return to and finish high school.

“ I am willing to pay for his tuition fees and minimal stipend to help him secure what he needs in school,” the e-mail sender said, adding he may be able to support him in college if “he has the focus and determination to achieve a career”.

Jayson quit high school to earn as a barker for jeepneys plying the route to Pacdal. His father is an unemployed gardener and his mother quit serving food to the jeepney drivers when Jessica complained of chest pain and was hospitalized last December. The girl was diagnosed for diabetes and later succumbed to complications. While trying to cope with her loss, the family also worried where to and how to bury her.

Shoshin, a Germany based foundation headed by former world traditional karate champion Julian Chees, shouldered a P6,000 shortfall of the costs of funeral pegged at P15,000. Jessica’s schoolmates and teachers at the Rizal Elementary School pooled P1,738 for her burial while the Beckel Drivers delivered P800 during the wake.

Samaritans can get in touch with the Tampols by calling 09202383342, the cellphone number of Pacing, the sister of Pablito, or visit them at their shack at 42 Happy Glen Loop. Those giving support to Lyka may ring up Edward’s cellphone number 09202973570.

Probe set on treasure hunting in Baguio
By Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY – The city council last Monday approved a resolution asking Mayor Reinaldo Bautista Jr. to direct the Baguio City Police Office in coordination with the city engineer’s office to conduct a thorough investigation on alleged treasure hunting or illegal diggings and tunneling activities in the city.

Vice Mayor Daniel Farinas who proposed the resolution said there are reports of continued treasure-hunting activities in the city and these have to be thoroughly investigated.

“Baguio City had always been a favorite haven for treasure hunters on account of the truth to the fact that the Golden Buddha and other alleged Yamashita treasures had been found and are ceaselessly and persistently being sought, pursued and uncovered to this very day,” Farinas noted.

“There have been innumerable instances of swindling and rip-offs by unscrupulous personalities who dupe financially able people to invest in treasure-hunting claiming to be experts and are certain of locations that undoubtedly and ‘definitely’ are ‘the spots’,” he added.

“Most often that not, if none at all, such diggings have never been confirmed to contain treasure and which had only led to the bankruptcy of ambitious financiers and more importantly had only to the destruction of the environment, endangered life and limb of workers and jeopardized the safety of unsuspecting people because of such diggings and excavations that have hollowed out the earth beneath.”

Farinas said, “Such wanton destruction of our precious environment and the trickery of innocent gullible people by clever criminals who devise treasure hunting as their bait should not be allowed to be left unpunished and that such acts should be filed for all the charges and damages they effected.”

He said reports of these activities must be thoroughly investigated by the authorities to put a stop to these hazardous activities and pinpoint perpetrators for filing of appropriate charges.

Baguio folk indicted for blocking dumpsite
By Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY – The City Prosecutor’s Office has found probable cause to indict Irisan barangay residents, who caused the padlocking of the gate to the city’s open dumpsite in August last year, for the crime of grave coercion.

Prosecutor III Elmer Manuel Sagsago filed an information dated Jan. 29 for the prosecution of the criminal case for grave coercion against Leonardo Taganas, John Siloy, Amadeo Binwag and several unidentified others who were accused of “conspiring, confederating and mutually aiding one another, taking advantage of their numbers and displaying hostile attitude, arrogance and intransigence and by actually closing and padlocking the gate to the dumpsite.”

The information said the acts “amounted to moral, force and intimidation and harassment and without any authority of law, prevent the complainants from doing something not prohibited by law, which is to dispose of waste matters into the dump site.”

Sagsago in a Resolution also dated January, 29 reversed an earlier decision on the complaint filed by city environment and parks management officer-in-charge Cordelia Lacsamana, Anthony Saguco and Jimmy Pugoy which found no probable cause to indict the respondents.

“That complainants were prevented from performing an act not prohibited by law is as clear as day. That the prevention was not of complainant’s own doing but arose from the acts of respondents is equally as clear as the fact that respondents were not acting within the bounds of the law. Righteous causes do not authorize any person to take the law into his own hands. This is the ration d’etre behind the law punishing grave coercion,” the resolution reads.

“In the face of such display of hostility, one can not but agree with the complainants that they were intimidated into not doing what they were supposed to do. There was coercion within the letter and spirit of the law.”

The case will be handled by the City Prosecutor’s Office as it is prosecuted in the name of the Republic of the Philippines.

As this developed, the city council last Monday approved the budget for the stabilization of the Irisan dumpsite.

The work consists of the construction of perimeter riprap wall, main canal outside the perimeter fence, litter fence around the dumpsite, application of soil cover and vegetation.

The work is still part of the overall plan to close the dumpsite in line with the requirement of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

A portion of the dumpsite is also being cleared to accommodate residual wastes when the city ceases to haul out its wastes to Capas, Tarlac in the coming months due to lack of budget.

Guidelines, penalties set on land dev’t in Baguio
By Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY – The city council Monday approved on final reading an ordinance setting guidelines in monitoring subdivisions and other real estate development projects in the city.

Authored by Councilor Isabelo Cosalan Jr., the measure provided penalties for violations committed by developers and proponents of all subdivisions, constructions and real estate development intended for sale or for commercial purposes that require the issuance of Preliminary Approval and Locational Clearance (PALC), Development Permit and/or Final Approval of Subdivision.

“There is a need to monitor the activities of these developers and contractors to ensure strict compliance to existing laws including the city zoning ordinance and other applicable local resolutions and ordinances,” Cosalan noted.

The measure mandates the creation of a monitoring team to be headed by the city planning and development office and the city council committee on urban planning, lands and housing as chair and co-chair respectively with the following offices as members: city engineer’s office, city buildings and architecture office, city administrator’s office, city assessor’s office, city treasurer’s office and a representative from the private sector.

The monitoring team will conduct periodic inspection of all subdivisions to which the city issued the requirements, will receive and act on complaints of violations, recommend to the city council and the city mayor the imposition of fines and penalties and will recommend to the city council legislative measures for effective monitoring of development activities of the real estate developers and contractors.

The measure also sets penalties for failure to secure the needed requirements. For the simple subdivisions, fines ranging from P500 to P3,500 were set while for complex subdivisions, the penalties range from P1,500 to P5,000.

The following acts will be the grounds in the imposition of fines:
*failure without just cause to secure, before any development activity, any of the clearances, permits or approval that are required by law or regulation from the city council or the city mayor;
*failure to comply with any or all of the conditions set forth in the clearances and permits;
*failure to complete development or non-provision of the required facilities, non-compliance with the approved development plan or altering plans without the approval of the city council;
*misrepresentation of facts and circumstance relative to the project at the time of application or monitoring; and
*failure to comply or obey orders issued by the city council or the city mayor after monitoring the existence of any violation.
The following will be the procedures:
*Upon receipt of a complaint of information of violation, the monitoring team shall immediately notify the violator and inspection shall be conducted;
*If there is any violation found, the fines and penalties for the first offense will be immediately applied;
*A 90-day period shall be given to the developer/owner/contractor to comply with the all the requirements or cause the needed mitigating measures. The fines and penalties for the second offense shall then be applied for any non-compliance;
*A 60-day complying period shall be set prior to the application of the fines and penalties for the third offense;
*Failure of any developer or owner to secure the necessary permits and clearance or to institute mitigating measures within 30 days after the third offense shall constitute just cause for the cancellation of the locational clearance, development permit and business permit and a recommendation for the revocation of the License to Sell and Certificate of Registration will be made to the Housing Land Use Regulatory Board;
*Violators may seek reconsideration of extension only on instances where the period of implementing mitigating measures is justifiably not enough provided any request for extension shall be exceed 90 days.

CHED, Arroyo urged to freeze school fees
BAGUIO CITY -- Campus journalists here pressed the Commission on Higher Education and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to immediately act on their call for a freeze on tuition and other school fees as the nation faces the challenges of a global economic crisis.

They also urged school administrations to find conscience in considering “no increase” for the next school year.

“With the global economic crisis hitting hard on the country, increasing tuition, miscellaneous and other school fees will cause immeasurable hardships on students and our parents,” said Marc Mendiola, chairperson of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines Baguio-Benguet chapter.

He added an increase will cause income loss on the part of private school owners as more students are expected to drop out.

“This will further burden students with already empty pockets. If school owners insist on taking more from us, students will most likely transfer to tight-budgeted state universities or even drop out of school.” he said.

Mendiola called on CHEd to invoke its duty to protect their right to education by declaring a tuition moratorium on all levels.

He urged the President to support this move by doing what she did last summer for elementary and high school levels. “These are the government institutions bound by law to aid us in these hard times. They must assume this responsibility instead of crafting outrageous proposals like the five-year program.”



Expert cites Mt Prov bee business potentials
By Dexter A. See

BONTOC, Mountain Province — A retired Canadian mathematics teacher, who has been an apiarist for over 37 years now, cited potentials of bee keeping which could help in nurturing forests and protecting the environment in the province.

Charles Polcyn and his wife Berna Polcyn were in town upon the initiative of the Northern Apiary Culture Research Training Institute based in the Don Mariano Marcos State University and headed by Dr. Apolinario Sito, apiary expert and director.

Polcyn is a volunteer adviser of the Canadian Executive Service Office, a service agency providing technology transfer and technology assistance in the field of agriculture, fishery, forestry and the natural environment.

The apiary expert said this is not the first time they came to the Philippines as other beekeeper groups in other parts of the country have also availed themselves of their expertise.

The Mountain Province State Polytechnic College a seminar-workshop on apiary culture to boost the industry in the province because of its importance in preserving and protecting nature.

Polcyn said an investment of P100 could generate an average return of P800 provided there is proper support and assistance extended to the beekeepers.

Alvin Ayugat and Elpicio Marrero Jr., apiary experts of the MPSPC apiary production project, estimated that a local colony of apis milipera (domestic bees) could at most produce two kilos of honey, a quantity which is much higher than the observed production capacities of the apis cerrana or the local bee species, locally known as "aleg" or wild bees.

Dr. Nieves A. Dacyon, MPSPC president, said production data on apis dolsata, locally known as "uyokan," is an interesting field of study, noting the strengthening of the conduct of researches in support of the school’s programs for poverty reduction and sustainable development.

In the MPSPC apiary project, there are 60 colonies of bees which are being maintained at the school’s Baang Campus in Bauko town.



Trinidad execs legalize sale of chicken manure despite folks’ gripes of foul odor

By Dexter A. See
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — Despite opposition by affected residents in barangays here, the municipal council approved an ordinance governing and regulating the sale of dried chicken manure.

The approval of the controversial chicken dung trade in this capital town has triggered business rivalry between La Trinidad and nearby Tublay town over the sale of the supposedly nuisance product.

Chicken dung, widely used as fertilizer in this vegetable-producing province, has caused inconvenience to thousands of residents due to its obnoxious odor.

Residents of Barangay Shilan where the municipal government plans to sell the chicken dung have aired vehement opposition to the council’s action of approving the ordinance, saying the councilors were blinded by the fact that they suffered in the past because of the foul odor.

In passing the ordinance, the council cited the demand of farmers for the sale of the product in this town because it is convenient to them.

La Trinidad town officials said the consensus was that the community would benefit from the chicken dung trade.

But the affected residents disputed the claim, saying the passage of the ordinance was not subjected to public consultation.

Under the ordinance, warehouses selling the product are required to have permanent roof and walls to prevent the foul odor from polluting the surroundings.

The ordinance also requires that trucks carrying chicken dung from the low land are allowed entry in the town only between 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The ordinance imposes a P1 fee for every sack of chicken manure sold in the town.

The fee to be collected by the town is similar to the fee being collected by the Tublay municipal government.

The measure provides that the amount to be collected would be used partly to fund projects aimed at enhancing the quality of chicken dung as fertilizer as well as minimizing its annoying effects.

The ordinance standardizes the weight of chicken dung per sack at 50 kilos each, and sacks exceeding the weight limit would be charged additional fee by the municipal government.

Earlier, the municipal government drove away chicken dung dealers in Shilan because of the persistent complaint by the residents about the obnoxious odor which, they said, poses risk to their health.

This action prompted the municipal government of Tublay to pass an ordinance welcoming the chicken dung trade in the municipality and providing guidelines to ensure the safety of the people and the environment.



Illegal logging, mining rampant in Apayao
By Dexter A. See

LUNA, Apayao – Illegal logging and mining in the province is unabated in the province prompting environment officials to warn that if left unchecked, this could lead to environmental disaster.

Primitivo Galinato Jr., Cordillera Environment director urged residents in the province to do their part in stopping these illegal activities by reporting or stopping the culprits.

Galianto made the appeal during the regular quarterly meeting of the Regional Development Council recently held in this province.

Earlier, Apayao Gov. Elias Bulut Sr. asked the Dept. Of Environment and Natural Resources to stop issuing permits to loggers and miners, including companies.

Bulut said there should be consultation with the people and officials before the DENR issues logging and mining permits.

Noting that no one can prevent prospective loggers and miners from filing with the DEMR applications for logging and mining, Galinato said the financial and technical capabilities of the applicants are subjected to through evaluation.

This is done before the applicants are allowed to secure social acceptability as well as the free and prior informed consent of the affected communities, Galinato said.

He said the DENR grants logging concessionaires integrated forest management agreements (IFMAs) instead of the usual timber license agreements (TLAs) because IFMA requires the loggers to plant replacements of the trees they cut.

In Apayao, the DENR issued three IFMAs to loggers, and the others operating in the province and parts of Region II are illegal.

Bulut said the DENR should stop issuing permits to applicants for logging concessions and mining activities in this province because these would result in the eventual destruction of the environment of Apayao.

He said the region’s natural resources must be preserved and protected, and the government should not allow unscrupulous individuals to deprive future generations of their right to exploit, utilize, and develop their resources.

Bulut said he had been pressured by top government officials who are allegedly forcing provincial officials to allow logging and mining concessions to operate in their province, but the financial and technical capabilities of the applicants are doubtful.

Galinato told provincial and municipal officials the DENR will not allow any logging or mining company to enter Apayao without the approval of the officials and the affected communities.

He said this would ensure the preservation of the thick forest cover of the mountains which serve as a potential source of water for domestic, industrial and agricultural uses.



Ifugao town has zero crime rate
By Vency D. Bulayungan

MAYOYAO, Ifugao -- This historic town recorded a zero crime rate against persons from January to October last year.

This was reported by Supt. Joseph Adnol, provincial police director during a joint provincial peace and order and provincial development council meeting held recently at the provincial police office.

Participated by mayors from different towns, line agencies and peoples’ organizations, Adnol reported among the 11 municipalities in the province, only Mayoyao was able to maintain zero crime rate against persons.

The capital town of Lagawe had the highest at 12 followed by Alfonso Lista, 11; Banaue and Lamut, 7; Aguinaldo, 6; Asipulo, Kiangan, Tinoc and Hingyon, 3; and Hungduan, 1.

Mayoyao mayor Romeo Chulana said strong coordination among municipal, barangay officials, police and the people contributed much to the peace and order situation of the municipality.

He said barangay tanods in the different communities conduct regular patrol in their area of responsibility which helps much in the prevention of crimes. “It is not difficult to maintain peace and order since the people are also cooperating in maintaining peace and order in their own homes and barangays,”

Chulana said the culture of the people also was one of the reasons why there was no crime against persons. “It is part of our culture that committing crime against your neighbor is bad and it is against our conscience to do something wrong to others especially so that almost all the people in the barangays know one another.

Chulana said he hoped this good performance of his municipality will continue and that other municipalities will emulate what they are doing in the whole province will have a zero crime rate.



4 shot dead, 1 hurt in Tarlac massacre
By Dennis Trillo

PANIQUI, Tarlac – Four persons were killed while another one was seriously wounded when six unidentified armed men who introduced themselves as policemen successively fired at them here in Barangay Nagmisaan Feb. 13.

In his report to Chief Supt. Leon Nilo de la Cruz, Central Luzon police director, Senior Supt. Rudy Lacadin, Tarlac police provincial director, identified the fatalities as Graciano Miguel y Valdez, 76; Jhon Martin y Miguel, 29; Marlon Bautista, 20 and Raymondo Bautista Jr., 41; all residents of Barangay Nagmi­saan, Paniqui town.

Wounded and still under medical treatment at the CILD Hospital in Tarlac City due to multiple gunshot wounds was identified as Maque Martin, 23, also from said barangay.

Lacadin said at about 6:30 a.m. that day, the suspects armed with Cal. 45 and 9mm pistols in civilian clothes introduced themselves as policemen reportedly to serve a search warrant to Jhon Martin.

He said the other victims who were neighbors of Martin went inside the house of the latter to observe but once inside, the suspects started to shoot the victims successively.

Four of the victims died on the spot due to gunshot wounds in different parts of the body, said Lacadin.

After the incident, the suspects boarded their dark blue vehicle without plate number and fled towards the north.

A dragnet operation was immediately launched by Tarlac police for the arrest of the fleeing suspects.

Police recovered several spent shells for caliber .45 and 9mm pistols at the scene of the crime.



NPA killed in clashes with Ecija army troops

RIZAL, Nueva Ecija – Another New People’s Army rebel was killed when government troops encountered a nine-man NPA band here last week.

The Feb. 15 encounter brought to 10 the number of NPA fatalities since the armed engagements broke out three weeks ago.

Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, commander of the 702nd Infantry Brigade said his men and those of Lt. Col. Melquiades Feliciano, commander of the 71st Infantry Battalion, encountered the rebels in Barangay Gen. Luna, Rizal around 8:45 a.m. that day.

This also resulted to seizure of one M-16 Armalite rifle, medical kit and subversive documents.

The slain rebel was identified as a certain “Billong.”

Feliciano said the group that they encountered was part of the band that was cornered by the military in the hinterlands of Pantabangan.

The military operations, which started Jan. 26, had displaced 100 families in Pantabangan.

The operations were instigated when the NPA ambushed 71st IB troops on the same day in km 5 of Pantabangan.

Five rebels were killed in Bongabon town and three others in Barangay Galintuja, Ma. Aurora, Aurora on Feb. 12.

On Saturday Feb. 14, Bautista presented eight former NPAs to Maj. Gen. Ralph Villanueva, commanding general of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division based at the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation in Palayan City.

Of the eight, two were the ones involved in NPA operations in Aurora province, according to 702nd IB information officer, Maj. Carmelito Pangatungan.

NPA rebels are still holed up in Ma. Aurora, Alfonso Castañeda, Nueva Vizcaya; Barangay Villarica in Pantabangan and Barangay Calaanan in Bongabon, both in Nueva Ecija. -- MG



Truckers take advantage of defective weigh bridge
By Joan Capuna

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya — Truckers and traders in Region 2 using the national highway are loading cargos beyond the allowed load limit taking advantage of a defective weigh bridge here.

Marlon Santos of the Motorcycle Club of Vizcaya said there are trucks passing through the highway loaded with cargos higher than allowed load because there is no working weigh bridge to check the weight.

The Region 2 Dept of Public Works and Highways had been urging traders and cargo haulers to comply strictly with Republic Act 8794, the Anti-Overloading Law to minimize damage to national roads and bridges.

Last year, the provincial office of DPWH reported 2,942 of the 3,760 cargo trucks that had been weighed were found overloaded.

But an engineer at the DPWH provincial office in Nueva Vizcaya, who requested anonymity, said that the department’s weigh bridge in Aritao, one of only two government-operated weigh bridges in the region, has been inoperative since December.

The other weigh bridge is in Claveria, Cagayan.

The engineer said the provincial DPWH office sent several requests to the regional office for replacement of the defective digital scale but no action has been taken. "We have tried communicating with the regional office, but I think we have to wait a little more because there may be no budget for it."

The Aritao weigh bridge began its operations in the early 1980s.

"The non-working weigh bridge makes the enforcement of RA 8794 futile," he also said.
The defective weigh bridge was blamed by motorists for heavy traffic on the steep zig-zag in Santa Fe town.

The traffic snarl causes inconvenience to travelers and delay in transport of goods to and from the region.

A report from DPWH Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane said 13 billion is spent annually on repairs alone for 30,000 kilometers of national roads, but it could easily balloon to P20 billion due to overloading.

A study by the Road Information and Management Support System showed most overloading cases occurred in Northern and Central Luzon.



Couple, driver ambushed by gunmen in Ilocos Sur

SOLSONA, Ilocos Norte – A business couple and their driver died dawn here Wednesday they were ambushed by still unidentified gunmen using assault rifles.

Eddie Tabradilla and his wife Eden, who own a videoke bar in the town, were going home aboard their vehicle driven by Alejandro Balaco when fired upon by gunmen.

The couple died on the spot while Balaco died in the hospital. The couple and their driver suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

Probers found 30 empty shells of M16 Armalite rifle at the scene of the shooting.

This is the latest among grizzly crimes in Ilocos Norte prompting residents to urge policemen and government authorities to stop shooting incidents.

In Magsingal town, Ilocos Sur, a militiaman was recently shot while dancing along with revelers at a birthday party in Barangay Maratudo.


2 new HIV/AIDS cases in Baguio City bared

BAGUIO CITY– Health authorities found two new cases of HIV/AIDS-inflicted cases bringing a total of 30 Human Immunodeficiency Virus cases here since 1997.

Government physician Celia Brillantes, head of the Social Hygiene Clinic of the Baguio City Health Services Office here bared this but said the victims are young male adults.

She said one of the new cases is undergoing validation of test results while the other is undergoing counseling. “Both are physically strong and would only need to take some maintenance drugs to strengthen their immune systems.”

HIV/AIDS infection weakens the immune system of the body, making victims vulnerable to illnesses.

With the new cases, Brillantes urged homosexuals and sexually active heterosexuals with multiple partners to “change their sexual orientation as they are prone to acquiring not only HIV but also sexually transmitted diseases (STD).”

The Health department here said the youngest case of HIV-affliction in Baguio is a 17-year-old male.

The past years, most cases of HIV-affliction in the city were reportedly either OFWs or commercial sex workers.



>> Sunday, February 22, 2009

Setting policies and solving land disputes

The Cordillera Regional Development Council was reported as having adapted an inter-agency approach involving concerned government agencies and instrumentalities in information, education and communication campaigns on land tenure to resolve policy differences on lands.

The region’s policy-making body said the inter-agency approach involving the departments of Environment and Natural Resources, Agrarian Reform and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples in the conduct of information and education campaign on land tenure instruments has been proven effective as seen in the recently Ifugao land summit in Banaue, Ifugao.

But the RDC said there is a need to synchronize the conduct of advocacy campaign on land titling by the DENR, DAR, NCIP and other government agencies to avoid duplication overlapping of land tenure instrument issuances. The Cordillera is characterized by its being a geographically contiguous ancestral domain area and principally inhabited by indigenous cultural communities and indigenous peoples which compromise more than 90 percent of its 1.4 million population.

The DENR, DAR and NCIP are issuing land tenure instruments as part of their respective mandates. However, there is confusion among the target beneficiaries on nature, scope and effects of the land tenure instruments considering the Regalian Doctrine, concepts and practices of indigenous land ownership and issuance of certificate of ancestral domain titles (CADTs).

Section 11 of Republic Act 8371 known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997 provides the recognition and respect for the native title and issuance of CADT is a recognition of the said title.

The RDC believes the implementation of a synchronized advocacy campaign coupled with the adaption of uniformed rules relative to land tenure instruments would ease the burden of those involved in land conflicts especially in the litigation of their conflicts.

Recently, the DENR and the NCIP are working out the crafting of uniformed rules in the issuance and recognition of land tenure instruments so that the conflicts in the implementation of the related laws will be addressed and corrected to prevent cases from clogging their respective offices in the future.

The DENR deals with the titling of alienable and disposable lands, the DAR issues titles under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and the NCIP deals with the concerns of indigenous cultural communities and indigenous peoples.

According to the RDC, concerned government agencies and instrumentalities must adapt the necessary administrative proceedings in their respective offices to settle the expected conflicts that would arise from the varied issuance of titles to prevent the mushrooming of cases related to land tenure instruments issued by the different agencies.

The RDC can start from itself in land policies like in addressing disputes. After all, it is considered the region’s top executive body. As to the need for information campaign, all it has to do is conduct grassroots consultations and inform the media. Placing advertisements is not a bad idea.



Alfred P. Dizon
Letters on Balao, Ifugao buses and arrest of NPAs

Hereunder are letters. Those who feel alluded to may send their comments to the Northern Philippine Times. Our email:

Gov. Baguilat on Balao
Yet another son of the Cordilleras, another activist for our rights, has disappeared. I don’t know James Balao personally. But I know his kind. There are only a few of us who have the courage to devote one’s life to pursuing difficult causes. Yet he craves no praise or gratification, just a desire that the coming generations of Cordillerans will live in a region of genuine peace, sustainable development and self-determination.

Thus, I join all those who have manifested their indignation over his disappearance. I condemn forces of political intolerance and brute force who have sought to silence Balao’s crusades with an act of terror.

For whatever ideology, political belief or religious persuasion that propels our actions, the value of non-violence and human rights must be upheld.

True, we live in a world of conflict, a war of attrition, but Cordillerans have for centuries resolved their conflicts respecting the rule of traditional law and human rights. The casualties of our wars were slain in acts of honor, not with treachery. The battles waged by our forefathers were for freedom, not for fascism.

These were the things James fought for. Despite the fears and the solitude, he struggled. We owe him this much to pray and demand that he be returned to the family and community he so loved.

Teodoro B. Baguilat Jr.
Provincial Governor


Unfair business competition of Ifugao buses
I am a concerned citizen and a taxpayer and I would like to raise the issues involving bus operators using the Baguio-Banaue route and unfair business competition (underpricing) against KMS Lines owned by Herbert Codamon and our arguments for reducing the current unconscionable and excessive rate of 1.35 per km. Our arguments are very simple:

The current rate is shameful. Let’s take Baguio-Banaue for example. At the current rate, the student’s fare is 370 while the regular fare is 465. Partas and other Manila bound bus companies have a rate of 330 for ordinary (non-airconditioned) rides while 466 for de-luxe (airconditioned with restroom). Ohayami Trans, Jack’s Transpo and KMS Lines use second-hand non-airconditioned buses.

Ifugao is one of the 20 poorest provinces. I need not cite a source for this is well-known. There are few business establishments in Ifugao and it’s obviously an agriculture-based province. But there are rich residents of Ifugao who ride their SUVs and Pajeros. The rates of the buses in the richer Gitnang Luzon and Ilocandia provinces are much lower at 0.9 per km.

I have tenants and relatives living in Ifugao and studying in Baguio. I am very much concerned that this continuing trend and business practice of irresponsible bus operators would hinder their education and undermine their future. We need to take action! Maraming Salamat Po!

Rosel Camtugan-Pespes

Truth behind ‘arrest of top NPAs’
Chief Supt. Luizo Ticman, Philippine National Police Region 1 director haughtily crowed recently that police operatives in Abra recently arrested three alleged “high-ranking officials of the NPA Kilusang Larangang Gerilya (KLG)-Northern Luzon.

He claimed the three suspects Edgardo Molina alias Ka Dong/Bobby, Edwin Balawag alias Ka Bagyan, and Rosemarie Domingo alias Ka Ramses are the commanding officer, executive officer and medical officer respectively of the alleged NPA unit.

Through their latest stunt, PNP officials are trying to project for themselves an image of superb efficiency in implementing the US-Arroyo regime’s pipe dream of crushing the revolutionary forces by 2010.

“On the contrary, their latest stunt only highlights the expertise of these PNP officials in spinning lies and fabricating outrageous tales to cover up one of their more lucrative money-making ventures: “bounty hunting.”

Alleged and former NPA elements are projected by the PNP as “high-ranking” cadres to justify the release of millions in reward money or bounty. This has been the case in several past incidents and is the case now with the alleged arrest of Molina, Balawag and Domingo -- all former NPA guerillas who have returned to civilian life for a long period of time. In Molina’s case, the PNP invented incredible tales about his supposedly high rank to collect one million pesos in reward money.

The tall tales they concoct expose these PNP officials’ gross ignorance about the revolutionary movement. They claimed that Molina, Balawag and Domingo are officers of the Kilusang Larangang Gerilya-Northern Luzon. One would think that with the legion of lies they have woven these PNP officers would finally have their acts together. But as the saying goes, “Military intelligence is an oxymoron.”

In this case, PNP intelligence is clearly an oxymoron. For the edification of these ignorant PNP officers, there is no Kilusang Larangang Gerilya, but there are more than a hundred larangang gerilya or NPA guerilla fronts all over the country. Each larangang gerilya covers the equivalent of three to five contiguous municipalities, roughly the size of a congressional district, so it is impossible for a Larangang Gerilya-Northern Luzon to exist.

What these enterprising PNP officers did was to assign to Molina, Balawag and Domingo a fictitious NPA unit in a non-existent guerilla front. And presto, they raked in more than a million pesos in reward money! What these PNP officers lack in intelligence, they compensate for with deviousness.

A small portion of the reward money will go to a local warlord in Abra who facilitated the fake arrest of Molina, Balawag and Domingo. This is nothing more than leftovers of a feast or crumbs on the table for a loyal servant.

Molina, Balawag and Domingo were presented as prized exhibits during PNP Chief Jesus Versoza’s visit to Tineg, Abra last Dec. 7. The latest tools in gaining for the PNP some sorely needed “pogi points.” But “pogi points” or not, the image of the PNP is one reeking with corruption and abuse. There are Euro generals, there are generals who are protectors of drugs, jueteng, kidnapping and other crime syndicates, and there are generals who make money through their make believe versions of gallantry and “bounty-hunting.” “As the people of Abra say to all liars, “Pallak, amud langsut yo!

Simon “Ka Filiw” Naogsan
Cordillera People’s Democratic Front



Perry Diaz
GMA’s stimulating gimmickry

Last Feb. 13, the think tank IBON Foundation posted on its website an article titled "Gov't 'Stimulus Plan' A Mere Spin." IBON implied that the much ballyhooed stimulus plan of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is a "mere public relations gimmickry to create the impression that something is being done to address the crisis."

According to IBON, "part of the reported P330-billion stimulus plan includes the P160-billion increase in the 2009 national budget, the P100-billion off-budget infrastructure fund, the P40-billion corporate/individua l tax breaks, so-called alternative livelihood programs, etc."

Sonny Africa, research head of IBON, stated that "the 'stimulus' funds are already there even before the recent descent into crisis… There is very little to indicate that, with the so-called stimulus plan, government is pouring any substantially new efforts to deal with the economic downturn." He concluded that "all these imply that the administration is not really taking additional measures in the face of the crisis, and leaves the majority of poor Filipinos on their own."

To begin with, the original stimulus plan was the brainchild of Albay Governor Joey Salceda who serves as an "economic adviser" to President Arroyo. The goal of the stimulus plan was to continue the country's growth momentum and minimize the effect of the imminent recession in the United States. He submitted the P75-billion stimulus plan to Arroyo in January 2008. A few days later, Arroyo approved it.

But before the stimulus plan could take off, then Senate President Manny Villar said the stimulus plan should go through Congress for appropriation as mandated by the constitution. Fearing resistance from Congress, Arroyo scuttled the stimulus plan and replaced it with a P50-billion "performing budget" which was already in the 2008 national budget; thus, a congressional appropriation was no longer required.

In December 2008, the Arroyo administration made a surprise announcement: it planned to implement a P300-billion stimulus plan to "speed up spending on infrastructure and social services, and cut tax rates, in the first half of 2009 to ensure jobs are created and a major slowdown in growth prevented." The stimulus plan was called the Economic Resiliency Plan (ERP). Gloria's point man for ERP was Socio-economic Planning Secretary Ralph Recto.

Within a couple of weeks, Romulo Neri, President of the Social Security System (SSS), swiftly acted to channel P12.5 billion to the ERP as its share in the stimulus plan. Instantaneously, lawmakers in both chambers of Congress filed resolutions to investigate Neri's plan to remove a big chunk of money from the private sector employees' pension fund and "contribute" it to the ERP. Senator Ping Lacson suspected that the money would eventually find its way to the campaign funds of administration candidates in the 2010 elections. Assistant Minority Leader Congresswoman Liza Maza said that Neri "has to account to the about 27 million SSS members on how he is going to use their hard-earned money." Indeed, Neri could be the "robbing hood" who steals from the people to feed the rich.

In another appearance of irregularity, Gloria signed A.O. 248 last December 4, 2008 which ordered the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to contribute P250 million to the ERP. That amount was to be used to finance OWWA programs as part of the stimulus plan. However, Migrante International Chairman Garry Martinez said that the money had been a part of OWWA's annual budget since 1986. So why the double-budgeting? Martinez said, "We smell something fishy with this stimulus package. And as usual, they are targeting the funds of OWWA, which belongs to us OFWs."

In the labor sector, the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) had raised concerns that the stimulus plan did not have clear and specific programs. Daniel Edralin, the APL chairman said, "without clear programs, this 'stimulus package' will just end up 'stimulating' once more the oversized greed and pockets of Arroyo's henchmen and sycophants."

In January 2009, the stimulus plan was increased by 10% making it to P330 billion. Recto explained that the P30 billion increase would come from government agency savings, government-owned and government-controll ed corporations. However, he did not say what the increase was for. Could it be one of those markups that we hear about that are earmarked for "tong-pats" or "commissions"?

Two weeks ago, Sen. Ma. Ana Consuelo Madrigal filed Senate Resolution 881 asking the Senate Committee on Ways and Means to "investigate the source, rationale, and detailed expenditure breakdown of the P330 billion 'economic resiliency plan'." Madrigal claimed that the stimulus plan is "not only unclear but seemingly padded with non-existent expense."

I reviewed the outline of the ERP and its objectives were: 1) To ensure sustainable growth, attaining the higher end of the growth targets; 2) To save and create as many jobs as possible; 3) To protect the most vulnerable sectors: the poorest of the poor, returning OFWs, and workers in export industry; 4) To ensure low and stable prices to support consumer spending; and 5) To further enhance competitiveness in preparation for the global economic rebound. Hmmm…

The strategies to achieve its goals were: Improve Revenue Collection; Budget Intervention; and Off-Budget Interventions. First of all, how much would it cost to improve revenue collection? Doesn't the government have agencies assigned to do that already? Couldn't they improve revenue collection without increasing cost? But as we all know, the revenue collection agencies are some of the most corrupt agencies.

In regard to Budget Intervention, does this mean that the funds have already been included in the 2009 national budget? And in regard to Off-Budget Intervention, the government is going to raid the SSS pension funds, OWWA funds, government agencies, and government-owned and -controlled corporations. So, where is the "new money" to stimulate the economy?

The IBON Foundation is then right when it said that "the 'stimulus' funds are already there even before the recent descent into crisis…" There is no "new money" to be infused into the economy. In other words, there is really no new "spending plan" which is what a stimulus plan should be all about.

However, if there was a "spending plan" using "new money," then it would require Congress to appropriate these funds for the stimulus plan. The fact that it never went through Congress shows that Gloria's stimulus plan is nothing more than a stimulating gimmickry. (PerryDiaz@gmail. com)



Ramon Dacawi
What’s in a name? (II)

Delegates to the third International Igorot Consultation (IIC) in 2000 here in Baguio took a morning arguing whether or not to call themselves Igorots. A majority vote reaffirmed use of the collective name. Still, the debate on the propriety of “Igorot” (which means ”from the mountain”) never died.

Unable to whip up the registration fee, I listened to the arguments in observer status, then took a breather outside the hall. There, I overheard a delegate, a long-time expatriate like most who came, in soliloquy.

“Whatever arguments you have for or against (that term), no problem, as I’m an American citizen,” he murmured to himself, perhaps thinking no one was within earshot. “Ah, Amerikano ka gayam, saan nga Igorot; agsubli ka ngarud idiay ilim,” I ribbed.him from behind. He spun - and was startled to see a drinking buddy way back in college. “Manglukluko ak laeng, manong, sika met,” he uttered. Grinning sheepishly, he hugged me like a long-lost brother.

Finding the issue inside not of our moment, we shared how each had moved on towards affording a gin bottle to share, as Igorots, Ifugaos, Apayaos, Kalingas, Ibalois, Kankanaeys, Kalanguyas, Bagos, Tingguians, Cordillerans or Filipinos normally do. Back into the hall, I overheard another aside, a Shakespearian parody from noted Baguio short film artist Eric de Guia,

“An Igorot by another name is just as sweet,” Eric, also known as Kidlat Tahimik, said. You can click on the internet arguments for “Igorot”, as spelled out by Igorot expat Lambert Sagalla (a.k.a Maltreb Aslagal). His paper is “The Rationale Behind the Name ‘Igorot’ in the Titles of IQ, IIC and IGO.” Below that title is a blurb: “An Appeal for Understanding”.

The acronyms stand for the Igorot Quarterly, a publication of the Igorot Global Organization which sponsors the IIC, a biennial forum to discuss current issues in our Cordillera Homeland. I share some of the views of Maltreb, or Mr. Sagalla, and wrote on them in a two-part column item entitled “Igorot Slant”.

Perhaps needing relief should the debates resurface in last year’s IIC in Banaue, Ifugao, the conference organizers, mostly women offered to waive my fees if I could share some of those Ifugao jokes during breaks from the panel and group discussions.

Three jokes paid for my kit, board and lodging. Some asked for more anecdotes, which I said will be shared at the eighth IIC April next year in Vancouver, Canada . These days, have second thoughts, unless we can laugh off this world-wide recession that, like our identity debate, may torment us for a while.

By the way, the anecdotes are Ifugao - not Kiangan jokes. Not all Ifugaos are from Kiangan, but the jokes naturally surface anywhere you find an Ifugao. If you’re in San Diego, ask for Bob Aliping, an Igorot from Bauko,Baguio and Alfonso Lista, Ifugao. This disarming gentleman will readily “sheyl yu di leytis, wid di plapel diksyon, layt pisial explesyon en gestyols mit a”.

Whatever. Columnist Jose Dulnuan, an Igorot – and Ifugao -, said it all about this Igorot name imposed by the Americans (whose name came from that of an Italian explorer whose name a German cartographer wrote on his map of what is now America).: “I am an Igorot. Let me be treated as I deserve - with respect if I am good, with contempt if I am no good, irrespective of the name I carry. Let the term, Igorot, remain, and the world will use it with the correct meaning attached to it.”



March Fianza
Marag Valley and Mang Esko’s dream

Marag Valley was beginning to get back its life in 1999 when I visited with a group of newsmen, together with then Mayor Betty Versola of Luna and Apayao DepEd Superintendent Dr. Philip Flores.

The last contingent of Philippine Army soldiers was still there. They believed that there were still NPA fighters roaming in the vicinity so the soldiers built a 40-foot bamboo look-out tower.

At Marag Elementary School , a concrete marker near the flagpole contained more than 200 names of the government soldiers, NPA fighters and civilians who were killed “by” the war. The names were etched on the marker as a reminder to all about the ugliness that the war brought to Marag Valley .

The valley is so rich with natural resources that it attracted speculators and land grabbers. Marag farmers had to resist these groups from exploiting their rich natural resources and needed all the assistance they can get, including the help from the NPA.

Jovencio T. Bullaoit, Luna town’s present mayor said, it was then that a “shadow government” by the NPA was established in Marag. The lone barangay of Marag, now subdivided into three namely, Bucao (which retained its old name of Marag), Calabigan and Cagandungan was in the center of a “20 year war” between the NPA and government forces.

In fact, there were reports that said the military used the NPAs' presence as its excuse to make sure that “development” and road improvement that led to big-scale logging that has been allowed with the issuance of permits by the central government, would be implemented.

Gov. Elias K. Bulut whose wife hails from Marag said the valley is now a progressive place with more new roads and schools but that “sometimes progress is ugliness,” even mentioning that there are still “people with personal interests who want to rape” the natural resources of Apayao.

In a short talk with Dr. Zacharias Baluscang Jr, president of Apayao State College, who was born and raised in Marag, he confirmed Bulut’s statement of a Marag Valley that is reforming and “NPA-free.”

However, Marag folks continue to fight a harder “battle” that disturbs them although the shooting war has stopped, in the sense that hundreds of children in the valley were prevented from entering formal elementary education due to the war.

Jun Baluscang said that with the Marag experience, there is reason to legislate a law to provide special education to children affected by the war which may also be a law applicable in all war-torn areas in the country. Republic Act 8895 has been passed to establish the Marag Valley Agricultural and Trade School for secondary education and vocational courses but that is not enough.
Cruising in Apayao and some towns of Cagayan Valley through hectares of
green fields planted to varieties of rice makes one think about the life that rice farmer
Mang Esko led. Imagine him tend to ricefields from dawn till dusk everyday of the
year, rain or shine. Then think of the greater role that the farmers perform in a society,
which is to feed the Pinoy nation – a role that sometimes eclipses personal interests
such as family and survival.

The farmer tills the earth because that may be his means of livelihood but the bigger picture obliges him to do just that if only to save a nation from going hungry. That has been the situation for the longest time and I can not avoid thinking of how or why government effort to improve the status of food-producing communities has not made impressive impact on the farmer’s life.

Thanks and no thanks to land reform where glamourized benefits have yet to be felt by the farmers. Thanks and no thanks too to programs about farm subsidies implemented by the likes of Jocjoc Bolante. Because of these, the rice farmer of yesterday is the same farmer today.

That is the situation in the farmer’s endless struggle for a better life. And if so, then concerned government departments have all the reason to call for a review of their so-called programs and put in place better solutions that would directly benefit the farmer and the family.

Francisco Ramos, 62, father to two boys is a rice farmer in Pamplona , Cagayan Valley . I met him during the Cordillera Regional Development Council meeting in Luna, Apayao. When I asked what his two boys were busy with, he said they help him with farm work.

“Nag-adal da ti elementary ken vocational high school ngem saan dan nakasrek iti kolehiyo ta awan met ti pangmatrikula ken kasapulak iti katulong nga agtalon. Lumakay met ti taon ket awan sabali nga pagbiyagan nu saan nga dyta agmula ti pagay.” (They finished elementary and vocational high school but did not enroll in college because they did not have tuition money and I needed help in field work. I am getting old and there is no other means of survival other than to plant rice.)

Once in a while we come across stories of farmers who offer their ricefields as collateral to rich money lenders or sell their carabao in order to send their kids to college. That shows that they too dream that their children will someday become professionals – teachers, policemen, nurses, doctors, lawyers or anything that is different from actually tilling the soil.

Aside from saving money from rice farming, Mang Esko’s wife augments their income with her small store. One of his boys, on the other hand, earns extra money by driving a tricycle while the other manages a single table billiard room where most of their farmer-neighbors meet after field work. His boys also own an electronic repair shop.

In the conversation that ensued, Mang Esko hoped that with his children becoming more financially stable, they will be able to buy the ricefield that his Lolo has been tilling ever since. He also had high hopes that his grandchildren will not go the same way that he, his Lolo, father and his two boys passed through. He knows that his two boys will see to it that his grandchildren will finish college and become professionals.

When that time comes, the farmer’s status shall have improved – from the ricefield peat to the dry concrete floor. As for the children, they will no longer be tilling the soil like their forefathers did but they will be seated behind the cash register and supervising a farm that they now own.

Mang Esko’s dream will not remain a dream forever. He said something about a solution to the ‘dream.’ Though his face showed years of weariness, I saw that he was contented with life as he pointed to government “returning the efforts of poor rice farmers by providing free education for their kids from elementary to college and seeing to it that they are employed.”

In a soft voice Mang Esko said, “mangipasa kuma dagiti opisyales tayu iti maysa a linteg para iti ubbing dagiti manalon.” (I hope our officials pass a law for farmers’ children). In fact, his solution was practical and radical at the same time – “education for the farmers’ children.” Indeed, this may be realized through proper legislation, just like the proposed legislation for the displaced school children of war-torn areas.

Congress representatives, if they are not too occupied with their investigations, can easily find the formula on how to subsidize and provide special educational fund for Mang Esko’s dream. Congress is such a powerhouse composed of bright minds, they do understand the proposal because 70 per cent of them represent agricultural communities.

Giving back certain financial percentages to rice farmers computed according to the volume of production may be a solution. If so, it might even encourage farmers to plant more. Government subsidizes the tobacco industry, why not for rice and other agricultural products.

Also, maybe government can further help the rice farmer if it buys their rice produce instead of importing from other countries. There is no doubt that economics is stronger if money circulates in our farms – not in the farms of other countries. But with the rate we are going in the importation of rice, we are helping improve the economy of other countries.

Maybe when answers to Marag Valley and Mang Esko’s woes are found, the farmer’s sweat will taste sweeter, no longer bitter. –


Mike Guimbatan Jr.
Landslide research ofKalinga State College

TABUK, Kalinga – A state college here assures upland communities prone to landslides that the loss of lives and properties can be avoided if the people are well informed of landslide susceptibility.

Dr. Eduardo T. Bagtang, President of the Kalinga Apayao State College (KASC) said a P3.2 million research project entitled “Development of a Non-Expert Tool for Site-Specific Evaluation of Rain-Induced Landslide Susceptibility,” aims to enable communities, as well as any individual or group interested in landslide prevention, to assess the land sliding susceptibility of their area using simple procedures and on-site tests that they themselves can perform.

Funding of the landslide research came from the Philippine Council of Industry and Energy Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCIERD-DOST). The Grant-In-Aid (GIA) of P3,245,435.00 for the project was released by PCIERD-DOST, through Undersecretary Graciano P. Yumul Jr., on Feb. 11.

Dr. Bagtang said the project also seeks to create a network of agencies and institutions concerned with landslide disaster mitigation such as the local government and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.

Apart from determining the water-bearing capacity of landslide prone areas, rain gauges will also be fabricated and incorporated in community-based early-warning and disaster-mitigation programs.

Balik Scientist Awardee Dr. Daniel C. Peckley Jr., who proposed the project, explained that “an informed and enabled community could be the most cost-effective measure we can pursue for minimizing the loss of lives and properties due to landslides.” He added that the project’s main study areas are Kalinga and other provinces in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), as these areas are prone to rain-induced landslides.

Peckley explains that through this network, communities and local government units can gain access to expert advice on and assistance in implementing cost-effective mitigation solutions against landslides.

KASC also looks forward to using the inspection and test equipment acquired through the project not only for this particular research, but also for planning, designing and implementing infrastructure projects in the province.

Dr. Bagtang of KASC said the Landslide research equipment together with KASC’s other research and extension activities would boost the KASC in offering specialized civil engineering programs in infrastructure engineering and hydropower engineering.

“We need to train and equip our youth so that they would become the engineers who will plan and design the infrastructures that Kalinga needs in order to develop its vast natural resources and meet the challenges of the 21st century,” Bagtang said.



Ike Seneres
Four freedoms of the times

In his address to the US Congress that he delivered on January 6, 1941 the late President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said that “In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms”, and he identified these to be the “freedom of speech and expression”, the “freedom of every person to worship God in his own way”, the “freedom from want” and the “freedom from fear.”

In these present days that are part of the “future days” in the mind of Roosevelt, millions of people around the world are still denied these human freedoms, and sad to say, many of us are still not free from “want” and more so from “fear”, although the present denials of these freedoms have taken on new forms and expressions.

\Analyzing what “freedom from want” would mean in these present days, I could see that the present denials of this freedom have taken the form of the denial of personal incomes which translates into the lack of “freedom from poverty”, the denial of food supplies which translates into the lack of “freedom from hunger”, the denial of health services which translates into the lack of “freedom from sickness” and the denial of quality education which translates into the lack of “freedom from ignorance”.

Analyzing as well what “freedom from fear” would mean in these present days, I could see that the present denials of this freedom have taken the form of the denial of human security which translates into the lack of “freedom from environmental risks”, the lack of “freedom from structural risks” and the “freedom from consumer risks”.

Over the past years, many governments and movements have declared “wars” on the four “evils” of poverty, hunger, sickness and ignorance. Some of those who tried may have succeeded in one way or the other, but for the most part in many areas of the developing word, these four “evils” are still present in their most vicious forms, seemingly not wanting to go away.

Until now and rightly so, “human development” and “human security” are still the popular buzz words in the United Nations, the biggest and most equipped organization in fighting these “wars”. Big as it is however, it still has to rely on the actions of its member countries, and this is where I think the ordinary citizens of the world could help, to come to the side of their own member governments in fighting these “wars” in their own localities.

The Human Development Index (HDI) that was developed by the United Nations provides member countries with a scientific way of measuring success and failure in the delivery of public services that are meant to address the problems of poverty, sickness and ignorance. I am guessing that in the reckoning of the HDI developers, the problem of hunger could be addressed indirectly if people would have the means to buy food.

Using a very practical method of computation, the HDI measures the per capita incomes, the life expectancies and the literacy rates of its member countries. It goes without saying that increasing the per capita income would be a way of reducing poverty, increasing the life expectancy would be a way of reducing sickness and increasing the literacy rate would be a way of reducing ignorance, at least in macroeconomic terms.

Inspired by the HDI, I am now organizing a development program that will implement this scientific method in the microeconomic level, in self-contained communities where the data collection and the mobilization of the needed resources would be doable and sustainable.

To be more specific, the program will introduce livelihood services for the purpose of reducing poverty by increasing per capita incomes. It will introduce health services for the purpose of reducing sickness by increasing life expectancies. It will also introduce education services for the purpose of reducing ignorance by increasing literacy rates.

In addition to the use of the HDI methods, the development program will also implement four experimental standards in the project sites. These are the standards for Green Architecture, Intelligent Infrastructure, Clean Manufacture and Organic Agriculture (GICO). All of these four standards have been tried out in some countries in some form or the other, but to my knowledge, there has never been an experiment to converge all four at the same time.

On one hand, the use of the HDI method will address the goals of human development; while on the other hand, the use of the GICO standards will address the goals of human security. The GICO standards are meant to reduce environmental risks, structural risks and consumer risks.

On the economic side, the GICO standards will also bring down the costs of food, electricity, gas and water. It will also bring down the costs of telephony, internet and cable television. On the practical side, it will make “Zero Waste” a reality by making it easier for everyone to recycle.

Email or text me at +639293605140. Watch my TV show “KA IKING LIVE” every Friday from 930 to 1030 PM in Destiny Cable Channel 3. Tune in to “KAPIT-BAYAN” in DWIZ 882 KHZ 5 to 6 PM Mon to Fri. Join the 4FREEDOMS Movement. Form your local chapter.



Rudy Garcia
Crime and police jurisdiction

Tired and hungry from a long period of window shopping at the trade fair along Burnham Park, near the Athletic Bowl and skating rink, in Baguio, me and my son decided to eat in a cheap turo turo or carinderia that could be enough on our budget, but we were surprised to learn how much we pay for that little food which did not even fill one fourth of our stomach.

Little did we realize that the P300 worth of the food we ate was not reasonable enough considering the high price of the raw items and LPG. It was hard to believe that a common tao with a common salary below the average could make it if he or she were to eat in a cheap turo turo all along.

Needless to say, if a man earns an average of minimum P 300 a day and eats in a cheap turo turo for a budget meal and multiply it three times a day, then he could spend at least P 120-150 a day if he prefers the budget meal. If he chooses an “ordinary” meal then he spends P300 a day for his food. And how about his basic needs, his boarding house rental, transportation and so forth? Simple mathematics.

I am not an economist or a management expert but having gone through this experience, I could not imagine an ordinary Juan Dela Cruz to be able to cross the bridge when the demand is more heavier to hold than the supply which is on the other hand.

In other words, his expenses are much higher than his income. This is what they call supply and demand. Can we hear more of those economists pretending to be smart saying this banana republic is far from being affected by the global crisis?

They could say so if their husband or wife is receiving millions of kickbacks from projects, making them worry less, (or is worthless?) and nothing to fear in these times of trouble. Well, it’s already difficult to count the money that was accidentally thrown out from an attaché case intended for delivery to the husband of the queen who lives near the Pasig River. They are really good economists, they don’t need to worry about money.
I have been calling the attention of concerned Baguio Authorities to look into those areas along upper and lower Magsaysay Avenue where criminal elements conduct their illegal activities due to the operation of adjacent business establishments such as beerhouses, bars and billiards, massage parlors motels and so forth.

These areas in particular are from the overpass beside Jollibee down to Lower Magsaysay near the Baguio Central University and the vicinity area of corner Magsaysay Avenue and Upper Burgos St. However, It seems, it seems these officials are just too busy or just shrug off their shoulders saying, What do I care?

You see, days just after a female believed to be one of the Magsaysay express girls who was found dead due to stab wounds inside of a room in one of the motels along the red light district of this summer capital, another untoward incident happened.

A security guard was shot dead while walking early evening of Feb. 15 in front of the former popular Marosans Restaurant and Bakery which is just a stone’s throw away from a police precinct. As usual the unidentified suspect was nowhere when responding policemen arrived. There according to my bubwit, the dead victim lay sprawled on the pavement while some policemen tried to look for a witnesses among the kibitzers who could give leads on identity of the suspect.

As narrated by my bubwit, he was inside the said police precinct when they heard a single gunshot from outside. They went out but noticed nothing untoward, hence they went again inside but minutes later someone came rushing and told the policemen that somebody was shot nearby.

At this point, although the police precinct was just a stone’s throw away from the incident, it was not under their area of jurisdiction but it was for Compact 1 or the market police precinct under BCPO station 7 while a few steps away from that particular area is under the jurisdiction of BCPO Station 2.

Under this circumstance where responsibilities of policemen is based on the zoning plan of the barangays then I guess this would eventually lead to confusion of the police and to the public. I could not imagine a police precinct who should always do their job but don’t want top do it because they are not in their area of jurisdiction though it is their mandate to be on call of duty regardless of their assigned AOR (Area of responsibility).

It is more appropriate and proper for authorities to revise the existing areas of jurisdiction and define more appropriate boundaries of responsibility for policemen assigned particularly at lower and upper Magsaysay Avenue Bonifacio St., T. Alonzo St., Hanger St., Upper Burgos and Dagohoy St.

As a saying goes, “nothing is impossible under the moon. If we want it, we could do it. Kung gusto, maraming paraan. Kung ayaw, maraming dahilan!



Glo Abaeo Tuazon
Seminarian found innocent

BONTOC, Mountain Province -- The courtroom was filled to the brim but was still and silent during the Feb, 13 promulgation case People of the Philippines versus Wilfredo Andong on two counts of criminal cases in the sala of Judge Joseph A. Patnaan.

When the verdict was read, a majority of those who attended the promulgation clapped. Andong on his part was silent but definitely the burden he had been carrying for two years finally was lifted. The complainant and her family were not present during the reading of the decision.

Andong, a seminarian towards priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church" was accused of violating Republic Act 7610 and another count for lasciviousness.

The victim, a minor, claimed Andong had done her acts contrary to said provisions of the law that had caused her shame and great prejudice. In the course of the two-year period that the case was heard, it was now ended.

The joint judgment read: "Calibrated in its entirety, the testimony of the complainant flunks the credibility test. Considering that her testimony is the single important consideration in determining the culpability of the accused and it is not credible. The prosecution has failed to demonstrate the guilt of the accused to a moral certainty.

“Wherefore, finding that the guilt of the accused has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt, the accused Wilfredo Andong is hereby acquitted in both criminal case 2142 for violation of the section 10 of Article 6, Republic Act 7610 and criminal case 2142 for acts of lasciviousness."

The judgment was read, the case closed, but life goes on for all those involved. Andong went back to his hometown after the verdict, to ponder awhile and summon the strength to pick up pieces of his life. His dream vocation which was a few moments close to his being ordained a priest went with the fall. Eight years of schooling down the drain.

In retrospect those around the courtroom who followed the progress of the proceedings have comments to say, "Punish those who erred especially in the plight of innocent children (minors) and women, but spare those who have done no faults. For in the process both suffer greatly and the consequences are greater than the cause."
The forty-five minute drive up the rickety road to Mainit, Bontoc was the same the way I saw it last. From the high vantage point one could view the whole valley and see the clustered community of Bontoc Poblacion, Callutit, and Samoki. On the way up is Guina-ang.

It is a lonely, winding road this time of year, the cloud of dust following you after the tires disturb the slumber of the lazy, hazy day. Up above the power pole perched an eagle, like an icon on a very high pedestal. It was immobile, but intently eyeing the horizon. We left him at that only to see him winging the mighty skies with a snake dangling from its talons a few minutes up the route later. These creatures are just a few of the remaining and endangered specie in these parts of the province.

Parking the car at the elementary school grounds we alit and ascended a gently sloping “hiking trail” to the resort. It was a frequently travelled path I see, of dirt and nothing much along the side of a steep mountain side. You could see the houses below and their improvised wading pools along a much dried up river path. On one pool are naked bathers and they don’t mind being so at that.

Moving along quickly with a borrowed battered umbrella I could smell the whiff of sulphur this far. Not far away we sighted a newly constructed building and three pools simmering in the sun. The hot spring resort is indeed new, some of the shower rooms and picnic areas still under construction but operational.

I took a dip I would never forget, nor would regret either. It was more like being cooked in a cauldron and all that was missing were vegetables floating around me to make a stew. Forget the seasonings also, there’s enough salt in the water to make me tasty. Then I knew I was cooked enough and good to go when the wrinkles on my feet and hands matched those of a raisin. But the dip was good, therapeutic in a way. It sapped the fatigue from the aching limbs and weary body.

We went further up the area where the endless bubbling, hissing sound of boiling water emanates from the earth. Some were covered with loose boards to prevent accidents but the much stronger and fiercer ones were left as is. Atop the bridge, we were smothered in a sea of hot mist, the pungent sting of sulphur penetrating the nose canals to the throat. Hold it in a few seconds they say and it also cures asthma and other respiratory problems.

The areas surrounding the geysers were covered in a thick pack of white crystals. I learned later (and tasted) that it was salt. Then it dawned on me that back in the early days before Mountain Province was influenced by foreigners, salt production was one industry that sustained their barter trade with neighboring communities and the lowlands.

It was during the early 1900s that this “hot” product called salt, being a necessity, was on its peak. Salt “factories” called asigas were built around the steaming mineral hot springs to contain and condense the heat to form crusts of salt on rock surfaces. It would later be scraped and washed into cauldrons, the brine slowly evaporated by cooking and the remaining paste dried to form salt cakes. Those were the days.

This tiny place has so much story to tell, from history to these mineral hot spots, to salt making, to their fierce resistance to the big mining companies who wanted to dig the bowels of Mainit for gold. -- Email:


Tip-off leads to seizure of P1.6 marijuana in truck

By Larry Madarang and Emely Cayandang- Fama

CAMP DANGWA, Benguet -- A tip to agents at the regional office of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency here has led to the seizure of P1,635,000 worth of marijuana bricks over the week.

Chief Insp. Edgar Apalla, regional chief of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in the Cordillera said this led to the arrest of Domingo D. Tongali, 29, married, vegetable dealer, native of Bakun, Benguet and resident of Upper Wangal, La Trinidad, Benguet, owner and operator of the intercepted vegetable and fruit dealer truck and Martin S. Madinno, 24, single, also of Bakun.

Tongali was in the target list of drug personalities in the Cordillera, Apalla said. Tongali and Madinno were arrested after the vehicle they were riding; an elf truck bearing plate number ZKM 699 bound for Naguilian, La Union was intercepted night of Feb. 3 along Quirino Highway, Irisan, Baguio City.

The contraband items were found by the PDEA operatives packed in sacks, stuffed in black garbage bags and placed at the truck’s underchassis and behind the driver’s seat.

Apalla said, a case for illegal drugs would be filed before the Baguio city prosecutor against Tongali and Madinno.

The inventory of evidence against the suspects was done on site in the presence of representatives from the city prosecutor’s office, media and a barangay official of Irisan.

Personnel of Police Station 9 in Irisan also assisted during the anti-drug operation.


  © Blogger templates Palm by 2008

Back to TOP  

Web Statistics