Ifugao jueteng-free, says Gov Balitang: Jueteng back in P’sinan, Benguet operations

>> Monday, November 29, 2010

BAGUIO CITY – Jueteng is back with a vengeance in parts of northern Luzon particularly Pangasinan and Benguet towns of Buguias and Mankayan, sources said.

To date no police chief has yet been relieved in these areas under the “one strike policy” of the Philippine National Police.

The policy mandates any police chief found remiss in his duties for jueteng operations under his turf would be relieved.

In the Cordillera, regional police authorities based in Camp Dangwa, Benguet remained silent on rampant jueteng operations in Buguias and Mankayan or whether police chiefs in those areas would be relieved.

At the Ilocos Region police headquarters in Camp Florendo, San Fernando City, La Union, Supt. Orlando Mabutas, regional police director, told newsmen he was still confirming if indeed jueteng has returned in the region particularly Pangasinan.

He said if confirmed, police chiefs in areas where jueteng operates would be relieved in accordance with the one-strike policy.

In Pangasinan, sources said jueteng has returned in all six districts, the turf of retired Lingayen Archbishop Oscar Cruz, who earlier linked local and national personalities to the illegal numbers game.

It is business as usual for kubradors (bet collectors) after a certain Orduna allegedly gave the go-signal for jueteng operators in the six districts to resume operations.

A certain “Boy Bata” allegedly operates jueteng in Binmaley, Lingayen, Bugallon and San Fabian towns and Dagupan City.

A certain Mallorca reportedly operates in Bayambang, Malasiqui, Mangaldan, Manaoag and Mapandan towns.

Another jueteng operator identified as a certain Co reportedly operates in the fifth district.

In the sixth district, a certain Marlon is reportedly the jueteng boss.

In Aguilar, Mangatarem, Urbiztondo and Basista towns, jueteng is reportedly under a certain Sison.

A certain Bebot is reportedly the operator in Villasis, Sto. Tomas, Alcala, Bautista and Carmen towns.

In the past, these operators were supposedly the ones behind jueteng in the province.

According to sources, daily jueteng bets in the six districts of Pangasinan reach P10 million but the amount could become higher with the yuletide season.

Despite these, provincial police director Senior Supt. Rosueto Ricaforte told local newsmen Wednesday, “There is no jueteng in Pangasinan. I’m challenging you (referring to those who claim there is jueteng), you come over here and see for yourself.”

He said many called him, including the Philippine National Police chief, about reports there is jueteng in the province. “Wala talaga dito (There is really none here). “I assure you, I will arrest them. If they insist, I will jail them.”

Ricaforte said those collecting bets were from neighboring towns of Pangasinan where there was small town lottery.

“These operators use people from Pangasinan to bring the collections to their area,” he said. “But that is still illegal,” he said.

Last Monday, Archbishop Cruz, chairman of Krusada ng Bayan Laban sa Jueteng, said he was sad over the return of jueteng in the country, including Pangasinan.

He added he was wondering why President Aquino keeps silent about it.

In Ifugao, Gov. Eugene Balitang said the illegal numbers game has never taken root in the province despite attempts by jueteng operators.

Balitang warned jueteng operators not to push their luck too much by trying to enter Ifugao through guerrilla-type or run-and-gun operations.

“We Ifugaos will never allow jueteng operations in¬¬side the province or even take bets anywhere here. So, to all jue¬teng operators, you can run, but you can’t hide. We will run after you,” Balitang said.
Operators of the said illegal numbers game had tried in previous years to enter the province, even as recent as the incumbency of then governor Teodoro Baguilat Jr., now representative of Ifugao’s lone congressional district, but failed to establish a permanent presence.

Reports showed they even tried to put up a base in the southern part of the province but, due to the combined strong opposition of the provincial government and other sectors of society and lack of support from the public, have been unable to do so.

Senior Supt. Lawrence Mombael, Ifugao police director, vowed before the provincial government and the Church that he will make sure the illegal numbers operations will not succeed in the province, since he himself is from Ifugao’s Mayoyao town.

“Many have been attempting to put up bases for jueteng operations in Ifugao.”

“With the constant vigilance of our men and with the support of the provincial government and the people, we will make sure that they are not able to do so,” he said.

It is a result of this vigilance that no jueteng operators have so far been able to establish a foothold in Ifugao despite attempts, Mombael said. – With a report from Charlie Lagasca


Bocap shot dead in Abra

LAGAYAN, Abra – A barangay chairman was shot dead here morning of Nov. 22 while he, with two others, were walking along an uninhabited area toward another barangay.

Police identified the victim as Collago barangay chairman Freddie Balucas Martinez, 47, tagged a supporter of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army.

Abra police director Senior Supt.Armando Laguiwid told newsmen gunmen fired at the barangay chairman, Leonardo Alcartado, 32 and Ireneo Martinez, 42.

Martinez immediately fell down with many gunshot wounds while his companions ran away.

Two witnesses told PO3 Reynaldo Fancuvilla, police investigator, they could not recognize the perpetrators because they were hiding in ambush hidden by thick bushes.

The witnesses however said the three assassins were wearing camouflage military uniforms.

Four cartridge cases of M16 rifle and two cartridge cases of M14 rifle were found at the crime site by police.

Police said residents told them Martinez was a supporter of the CPP/NPA since he provided food to the NPAs whenever they passed by his house.

A personal bodyguard of an Abra regional trial court judge was also shot dead in the capital town of Bangued by bonnet-wearing gunmen in his own backyard more than a week ago.

Efren Aquino alias Appeng, 40, a personal bodyguard of RTC Branch 2 Judge Corpus Cristi Alzate, was drinking with villagemates in Barangay Sta. Rosa, when gunmen suddenly appeared and shot him dead with an M16 assault rifle.

Police recovered eight empty shells of M16 Armalite from the crime site.

Alzate, whose sala was also ransacked of firearms being kept as evidence on April 7, this year, urged concerned authorities for early solution of his bodyguard’s killing.

The firearms have been kept in the court as evidence to pin down criminals in mostly in poll-related violence in Abra.

Unidentified men broke into Alzate’s courtroom located beside the Abra provincial capitol.


2 critical, 12 hurt as jeep falls down ravine

TUBLAY, Benguet – Two persons are still in critical condition while 12 others were hurt after a private jeep lost its brakes and dived down a 100-meter ravine here in Sitio Suyok, Barangay Daclan early morning Monday.

Only 46-year-old Orlando Acosta and 62-year-old Walsi Tomasa, from Tublay were confined at the Benguet General Hospital for serious head injuries.

Injured were Efren Bayeng, 30; Benedict Bayeng, 30 from Damsite, Caliking, Atok, Benguet; Jomar Emoco, 15, Melicio Mariano, 38; Jonie Sinlao, 38; and Efren Mariano, 40; from Paoay, Atok; Jonel Cutay, 12, from Damsite, Caliking, Atok, Lindo Nabus, 23, from Domolpot, Bayaan, also of Tublay; Rogine Acosta (driver), 21, from Barian, Caliking; Abraham Buddong, 50 from Bayaan, Tublay; Rommel Acosta, 29 and Lydia Acosta, 44, also from Damsite, Caliking, Atok.

They survived with minor scratches.

Passengers said the driver evaded on oncoming vehicle but the steering wheel locked after turning forcing the vehicle to fall down the cliff.

The ill-fated vehicle was bound to the capital town of La Trinidad.

The incident is the second-worst highway accident in Benguet since the Aug. 18 disaster in Banangan, Sablan town where an Eso-Nice bus fell down a 200-meter ravine killing 42 passengers.

The LTFRB-Central Office is still ruling on Eso-Nice’s franchise after its one-month suspension has ended and allowed again its buses to ply their Baguio-Ilocos Sur routes.


Isabela village chief slain

By Charlie Lagasca

SAN MATEO, Isabela -- Another barangay chairman was gunned down in this province in broad daylight, the second village chief to be slain or the fourth shooting incident to take place in a week in the province.

The victim, Wilson Tan, re-elected chairman of Barangay 3 in this town, was attacked by a motorcycle-riding man just past noon last Tuesday.

Vice Mayor Roberto Agcaoili said seven of 11 bullets from a Cal. 45 pistol hit Tan’s body, three in the head and four in the chest, killing him on the spot.

Tan’s killing came five days after another barangay chairman-elect, Alfredo Salvador of Barangay Bagong Sikat, Alicia town, also in Isabela, was killed in an ambush by a motorcycle-riding assailant.

Salvador, 56, sustained three gunshot wounds, while his mother, Virginia, 71, who was with him on board a tricycle, also succumbed to three bullets.

They had just come from the town market and were on their way home when they were fired at.

A day before the Alicia incident, a candidate for barangay chairman, Alexander Salazar, of Marikit in Isabela’s coastal Palanan town, and a companion, Ladislao Lanioza Jr., were killed in a reported shootout with a rival group allegedly led by the incumbent barangay chairman, Wilmer Atienza.

The groups of Atienza and Salazar reportedly crossed paths during a campaign sortie for the Palanan special barangay elections.

A verbal tussle ensued, leading to the exchange of gunfire in the early morning of Nov. 17 or three days before the rescheduled polls.

The barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls in Palanan as well as in Divilacan and Maconacon towns were reset due to the destruction left by super typhoon “Juan.”

On other hand, businessman Johnny de Leon, 46, a defeated candidate for barangay chairman of Mabini in Isabela’s Santiago City, was lucky enough to survive at least three gunshot wounds in the chest just past midnight also last Tuesday.

Two of De Leon’s companions, a certain Sultan Laguindanab and Rodolfo Magat, also survived with a single bullet wound each.

De Leon, together with his two companions, was about to ride his vehicle when he was attacked in front of the city’s cockpit arena in Barangay Dubinan East past midnight last Tuesday.

De Leon, who lost his second bid for barangay chairman by a slim margin, has been on the watch list of the regional police of suspected drug personalities.

He has denied being involved in the illegal drug trade.


Union busting still resolved: LCMC: Lepanto workers to receive unpaid wages

By Leonida Tundagui

BAGUIO CITY -- Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company agreed to pay all monetary claims of union members before end this month even as the latter are still poised to strike over other unresolved issues.

LCMC representatives agreed to the payment at the regional office of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board here during the second conciliation meeting following a notice of strike filed by the workers.

Union officers however said these were claims specified in the preventive mediation case filed by the workers’ unions two years ago.

These included backlog in payroll from October to November amounting to P44 million plus P4 million for vacation leaves, sick leaves and rest leaves.

Another P12.5 million shall be paid to local savings and cooperatives for unremitted loan payments of workers.

On unremitted SSS and Philhealth payments, the government condoned penalties to the company.

However, the workers can only avail of their benefits after six months if the company maintains good standing record.

Unremitted SSS and Philhealth contributions amounted to around P90 million.

Manuel Binhaon, Jr. president of Lepanto Employees Union-National Federation of Labor Unions-Kilusang Mayo Uno urged his members to “stay vigilant because these promises of the company will remain promises unless these are accomplished.”

Issues specified in the notice of strike were not resolved.

On the issue of union busting, the management stood by its previous position there was no union busting.

The unions, LEU-NAFLU-KMU and the Lepanto Security Force Union-NAFLU-KMU, said the retrenchment of 140 workers including union officers was a clear indication of union busting.

The company was considering the recall of the retrenched union officers while other retrenched workers will be brought to voluntary arbitration.

KMU, through its regional coordinator, Vicente Dilem assailed the company on its basis of retrenching the workers.

“The company (LCMC) is saying that the basis of retrenchment is workers inefficiency and bad record but how come they included three ‘model employees’ awarded by the company several times?”

He added “this is clearly union busting as the company wanted to replace regular workers to contractual. We condemn the illegal termination of workers while they continuously hire contractual workers who doing the same thing regular workers are doing. This is an act of circumvention of the law. The series of company’s acts dating back to 2005 is, without doubt, a clear case of union busting. ”

The two labor unions filed a notice of strike on Nov, 12 on grounds of unfair labor practice and union busting.

They alleged unfair labor practices consisting of gross violations of their respective collective bargaining agreements including unpaid wages and benefits.

Union busting consists of illegal retrenchment and reduction of work.

The labor dispute is being addressed by NCMB Director Brenda Odsey.


Centuries-old wood boat retrieved in Pangasinan

ROSALES, Pangasinan – Thanks to a boy, residents of this eastern town of this province retrieved a “treasure” that will give pride here for its archaeological and historical significance.

An unfinished centuries-old dugout boat was found last week by residents in Barangay Casanicolasan this town along Lagasit River, about 500 meters away from the Agno River, the third largest river in Luzon and fifth biggest nationwide.

The boy saw it while swimming in the river and he hurriedly called local folks.

Curious men, about 30 of them, led by Ronaldo de los Reyes, tried to retrieve the artifact manually with the aid of two carabaos for three days but to no avail.

Then, they sought the help of Mayor Ricardo Revita who sent heavy equipment to lift it from the river and bring it to the town hall.

With the size of the wood and its kind, excluding its submersion in the river, Revita said one can see that it is hundreds of years old.

Revita said the relic looks like an unfinished banca.

He said this could not have been kolloong, an Ilocano material used for pounding rice by the people because of its large size.

Revita added the people were small then and could not pound rice using the big artifact.

He wrote a letter and sent someone to coordinate with the National Historical Institute and the National Museum to conduct carbon dating to determine its age and the kind of wood it was made of.

 It weighed more than five tons, measures eight meters long plus two meters wide in its front and back with a height of up to 1.5 meters.

It can load 10 carabaos at the same time, the mayor said.

 Revita said it could have been part of an unfinished dugout boat, a big banca.

Despite its heavy weight and size, Revita said this will float in the river or sea because of buoyancy.

He said the boat was testament that ancient people used to live then along river banks and the material was consistent with old stories that people used bancas as their means of transportation.


Gov chides Aurora PNP chief for unmanned log checkpoints

CASIGURAN, Aurora – Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo again chided government law enforcers, including provincial Philippine National Police and Philippine Army chiefs over unmanned or undermanned checkpoints of the Aurora government-led task force against illegal logging which, she said, slowed down the campaign against tree-cutters in the province.

In a meeting with Task Force Sagip Kalikasan at the Aurora Pacific Special Economic Zone here Monday, Angara-Castillo spent an hour talking to task force provincial police director, Senior Supt. Rosvi Manulid who admitted logging trucks were able to pass through checkpoints.

The governor was visibly peeved with Manulid who, she said, “appeared to lack the seriousness in carrying out the task force’s mission of ridding the province of illegal loggers.”

This, after Manulid admitted certain trucks suspected of carrying coconut lumber which is banned in the province may have been able to pass through the checkpoints undetected.

Manulid said it’s difficult to determine whether a vehicle is loaded with coco lumber that’s why it is possible some of these vehicles passed through the checkpoints.

He said it is also difficult to unload the cargo one by one to uncover what is inside.

This angered Angara-Castillo who said Manulid lacked the resolve to arrest illegal loggers and timber poachers.

“If you will say that detecting illegal cargo is hard, why give up on something when it’s hard to do? If you will allow vehicles containing them, then don’t guard the checkpoints anymore,” she said.

Juan Millar of the Philippine Coconut Authority came to Manulid’s defense, saying it’s hard to search coco lumber in the absence of a search warrant from the court.

An exasperated Angara-Castillo reacted: “Are you all cowards? Why give up on something that’s hard to do? It’s hard indeed but we have to do it,” she said.

She said the local PNP should step up its counter-intelligence capability to be effective in the fight against illegal logging.

Last month, the governor called the attention of Supt. Alfredo Roxas, chief of the Provincial Public Safety Co. for the “disappearing act” of lawmen in the checkpoints.

Roxas did not attend Monday’s meeting of the task force.

Angara-Castillo also said only two policemen were manning each checkpoint for 24 hours which, she said, was not enough to monitor passing vehicles.

“If only two persons will man the checkpoints, it won’t be effective because they cannot stay awake for 24 hours,” she said. -- MG


MP grain retailers urge: Restore P8-B NFA fund

By Dexter A. See

BONTOC, Mountain Province– Officials and members of the Confederation of Grain Retailers, Mountain Province Chapter joined their counterparts nationwide in appealing to President Benigno S. Aquino and Congress to restore the P8-billion budget of the National Food Authority next year.

This developed as the supposed budget of the NFA for 2011 will reportedly be transferred to the Department of Social Welfare and Development to fund its Conditional Cash Transfer program, amounting to over P21 billion.

In a letter, the local chapter of Grecon said cutting off the budget of the NFA would render the rice agency inutile to perform its mandate of ensuring rice security in the country.

Rice retailers in Mountain Province contended the budget is very much needed to stabilize the supply and prices of rice, food security and palay procurement.

They said the extent of the NFA’s financial support is usually the barometer in fixing the rice prices in the market and palay farm gate prices during harvest.

They also feared the government promise of eliminating middlemen in the marketing of the farm produce and the three-year rice self-sufficiency goal would come to naught if there is not enough government marketing support for farmers, especially that the budget for the agency has been scrapped and given to another agency as dole out.

With the reported constricting of rice supply in the world market, the grains retailers said it would be more imperative for the government to provide support to the farmers to encourage them to produce more.

The grains retailers maintained that the Philippines which has 38 percent of the population who consider themselves as poor based on a recent SWS survey, should continue subsidizing the prices of rice sold by the food agency.

Mt. Province, a highly rice deficit province which depends on the NFA of its about 30 percent rice consumption will be most affected if the government rice agency will not be provided its much needed budget, an NFA employee said.

With the scrapping of the NFA’s budget, rice prices will surely hit skyrocketing levels which will be unaffordable to most poor families which will eventually render the government’s conditional cash transfer useless considering that the amount will simply go to the purchase of rice with high prices just to sustain their living.


Marijuana peddler nabbed at Burnham

BAGUIO CITY – A young man was nabbed here Monday at Burnham Park after he asked a promenader to buy a brick of marijuana from him worth P22,000.

The latter instead reported the matter to Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency agents at their basement office below the Melvin Jones Grandstand at the park.

A few hours later, Pala Padep Toukyo, 26, single, water delivery boy of Acoje Mines, Sta. Cruz, Zambales, and resident here of Purok 3, Kias was nabbed around 4 p.m. that day by PDEA agents in a buy-bust operation near the Solibao Restaurant also within Burnham Park.

Toukyo delivered a brick of dried marijuana fruiting tops weighing 908 grams to a PDEA agent who posed as buyer during the anti-narcotic operation.\

A case for illegal drugs was filed against Toukyo before the First Judicial Region’s Regional Trial Court Branch 61 here.

Follwing this, Edgar Apalla, Cordillera PDEA regional director urged the public to report drug violations to their office by calling (074) 422-5544, or e-mailing atpdeacar_info@yahoo.com,

Apalla said they could also be contacted through cell phone 0921-801-654.
Informants could also or visit the PDEA-Cordillera office at Camp Dangwa, La Trinidad, Benguet.


As JICA withdraws: P3.5- billion Agno flood control project hangs

By Mar Supnad

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan - The Sangguniang Panlalawigan has summoned officials of the Department Of Public Works and Highways’ Project Management Office in charge of the Agno River Flood Control System to render a report on extent of flood control works along the river following reports the Japanese International Cooperation Agency has withdrawn its financial commitment on the P3.5 billion project.

The SP made the move following a privilege speech by 6th district Ranjit Shahani who expressed dismay over the reported withdrawal by the Japan International Cooperation Agency of its financial commitment.

Head of the concerned agency, project director Resito V.David, failed to answer the SP summons and instead sent Rogelio Pelaez, Edgardo Paragas and Alejandro Sosa, consultants of PMO, as his representatives, raising eyebrows among board members.

It was learned during the question hour that the Agno Flood Control Project worth P3.565 billion, starts at the mouth of the Agno River in Lingayen leading up to San Manuel and San Nicolas where the San Roque Multi-purpose Dam is located.

Phase 1 is from Lingayen to Bayambang, now completed while Phase II from Bayambang to Alcala is 3.5 percent short of the accomplishment target, particularly involving structures in some segments of the project in Alcala town.

The PMO consultants told the SP that JICA’s financial commitment had expired even before the fund portfolio could be exhausted, thus rendering abandoned phase III of the project and the loss of P700 million which otherwise could have been spent to complete the project.

Pelaez said because of time constraints caused by delays in the Alcala segment owing to right-of-way problems brought about by fully grown Mahogany trees which lingered until the expiration of JICA’s period of commitment.

“The people wanted us to pay millions for the mahogany alone”, Pelaez said, adding that “the government threw charges against this because it was illegal to plant trees in there but later dropped it because of the long delayed judgment. “

In the same meeting, Board Member Amadeo Espino, representing the Association of Barangay Captains, lamented non-completion of the JICA-funded project, saying undue delay in construction of dikes in Alcala caused flooding in farming areas of adjacent Bautista town.

“They should have thought of an alternative route, kawawa ang mga tao doon, mga 400 families ang naapektuhan,” Espino said.

Barangay captains and farmers from affected barangays from Bayambang and Bautista towns attended the session to affirm the testimony of Espino.

Because of some questions that could not be answered by the consultants of PMO, presiding officer board member Jeremy Agerico Rosario said Resito David should attend the next session.


Aurora ecozone project opposed by prov’l folks

CASIGURAN, Aurora— Ramon T. Fernando, deputy administrator of the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport (Apeco) appealed last week to Sen. Sergio Osmeña III to personally “visit” the ecozone project which is allegedly being strongly opposed by various local organizations here who said this “will result to massive dislocation of 3,000 families including tribal villagers.”

Osmeña and several residents of northern Aurora are also opposing the creation of Apeco due to the alleged massive dislocation, human rights abuses and environmental degradation of the marine life-rich Casiguran Bay and destruction of around 10 hectares of mangrove areas within the ecozone project.

Critics against the ecozone also claim that 12,000 hectares of the 91,000 ancestral lands belonging to the “Dumagats” tribal community would be expropriated.


Marijuana seized, plantation raided in Benguet operations

KIBUNGAN, Benguet – Anti-narcotics agents in two incidents Tuesday seized four sacks of marijuana leaves in brick form here and torched P1.4 million worth of harvestable marijuana plants in a huge plantation in adjacent Kapangan town, touted as the marijuana capital of the country.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency – Cordillera chief Edgar Apalla said 6,400 marijuana plants were burned in a 1,400 square meter plantation in a hinterland barangay.

Meanwhile, Senior Insp. Melchor Ong, deputy chief of the Cordillera police Regional Anti-illegal Drugs Task Group, said John Pawas, 46, a porter and resident of Polis, Poblacion tried to trade marijuana when police told him it was a sting operation.

Ninety-three dried marijuana bricks weighing 90 kilos were seized from Pawas who reportedly was eyeing buyers from the lowlands.

Pawas is now incarcerated at the Benguet provincial jail while facing criminal charges for the contraband priced at P 4,950,000.

Meanwhile, Cordillera PDEA officers said information dissemination on ill effects of marijuana use, legal implications of marijuana production and trading was conducted in a forum attended by local folk and officials headed by Kapangan Mayor Robert Canuto.

The near three days marijuana eradication drive was carried out at Sitio Pingew, Barangay Sagubo.

Concerned citizens reportedly helped in the destruction of the illegal hemp.


Ifugao Typhoon Juan victims to get P1.2 million

LAGAWE, Ifugao -- Victims of recent Typhoon “Juan” will receive an assistance package of P1.2 million to help them fix their damaged homes, the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office said.

The provincial government here allocated P1 million from its calamity fund while the League of Governors shared to pool the amount of P200,000 as displaced families await a bigger cash assistance from the national government.

Erlinda Lunag of the PSWDO said each of the 46 families whose houses were totally damaged in this province will receive P10,000 as emergency shelter assistance to help defray the purchase of materials for the construction of their houses.

Lunag said the provincial government will also distribute P5,000 to each household whose residences were partially damaged so that they could begin repairs. -- Dexter See


BSU-AREC receives award for electrification of Benguet barangays

By Jennelyn Tabangcura

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- The Affiliated Renewable Energy Center of the Benguet State University received this year’s “Benguet everlasting award” during the Adivay 2010 awards program on Nov. 23 at the Benguet provincial capitol.

The award is given every year during Benguet Foundation Day to recognize an individual, entity or firm that rendered voluntary services benefiting the province.

AREC was responsible for electrification of far-flung baranggays in the province not served by the grid by using renewable energy sources such as solar, microhydro and animal wastes.

The center also increased awareness of rural folks on available technologies that decreased dependence on fossil fuels.

In Kabayan, the AREC was responsible for energizing 35 households in Barangay Tawangan and 15 households and a school building in Lusod using micro hydro system.

In Kibungan, AREC energized 25 households through the Tacadang communal photovoltaic battery charging station and 20 households through the Badeo communal photovoltaic battery charging station.

Three teachers at the Kibungan National High School-Dalipey, Tacadang Annex and 50 pupils of Torre Elementary School in Camp 3, Tuba also availed of photovoltaic home systems courtesy of the AREC.

The AREC also provided household-size biogas systems to four households in Tuba, four households in Buguias, two households in Mankayan and one household in La Trinidad.

The BSU-AREC is the extension arm of the Philippine Department of Energy in the development and promotion of renewable energy systems and technologies.

It is incorporated to the BSU-College of Engineering and Applied Technology in 1994.

It is one of 21 centers operating in various parts of the country. AREC service areas are the provinces of Benguet, Ifugao and Mt. Province.

Funding support is provided by the DOE while BSU provides logistic support.

Projects implemented by AREC are collaborative in nature involving as many organizations such as LGUs and NGOs.

The more recent projects of the AREC are the PV lighting system at the Burnham Parking lot in Baguio City in collaboration with the city government of Baguio, Energy and Clean Air Project (ECAP) funded by the US government and the on-going establishment of a techno-demo park at the CEAT R&E farm in BSU.

The center caters to walk-in clients who come to the center to ask for technical assistance with regards to Renewable Energy Systems.

AREC team members are Edgar M. Molintas, John James F. Malamug, Feliciano G. Calora, Jr., Jackson L. Agaldang, Constantino T. Sudaypan, Sr., Julie B. Abadey, Arnold F. Balnges, Alfredo L. Agaldang and Freddie T. Sudaypan.


Coloma addresses central, north Luzon media summit

By Mar T. Supnad

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan -- Secretary Herminio Coloma of the Presidential Communications Group for Operations addressed some 250 media practitioners from Central Luzon and other parts of Luzon yesterday capping the three-day 1st Central-North Luzon Media Summit from Nov. 26-28.

The media summit under the auspices of the newly revived Federation of Provincial Press Clubs of the Philippines was here at the Narciso Ramos Cultural and Sports Complex.

Coloma explained the Aquino government’s reach out communications program through the so-called “feedback mechanism” system designed to bring the national government closer to the people.

H’Rayfel “Bobot” Caracas, FPPCP deputy secretary-general and convention chairman, said the summit theme was, “Link-Up to the Millennium Development Goals.”

He said this was envisioned to rally the country’s various community press organizations in support of the transformational governance of President Benigno Aguino III.

Orly Navarro of Aksyon Radyo Dagupan and FPPCP chairman for the Ilocos region, said, also invited to the summit as speakers were Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Pangasinan Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr., Ilocos Norte Gov.Imee Marcos, Juan P. Dayang, FPPCP chairman-emeritus and Publishers Association of the Philippines (PAPI) president, Antonio A. Villar Jr., Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) chairman, Pangasinan 6th district Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil, Roberto Amores, president of Philippine Exporters, Inc. and currently vice president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Inc.), Board Member Alfonso C. Bince Jr. of Pangasinan.

FPPCP president Allan Sison said the organization paid tribute to the late Ermin Garcia, Sr., FPPCP founding president and founder of the Sunday Punch, one of the country’s oldest and prestigious weekly newspaper, during whose leadership the community press gained prestige and respect among political, business, education, religious and other sectoral leaders.

For his daring exposes on murder syndicates and other criminal gangs, Garcia was gunned down inside his editorial office after closing the pages of the newspaper for the week’s issue.


P5.2 billion set for rehab of 3 main Cordillera roads

BAGUIO CITY— After the completion of the over P5.2 billion worth of road projects in the Cordillera, the region stands to benefit from the infusion of more funds to upgrade three more interior roads linking several provinces in the coming months, a ranking official of the Department of Public Works and Highways central office said here.

Funds for rehabilitation of three major roads in Kalinga, Abra, and Benguet are part of the Aquino administration’s commitment to improve infrastructure in the countryside improve the lives of the people as envisioned by the Cordillera Road Improvement Project (CRIP), the blueprint of the development of roads in the region prepared by the Regional Development Council during the early 1990s.

DPWH Assistant Secretary Roy Manao said roads being prioritized for funding by the agency the coming months include the upgrade of the Lubuagan, Kalinga to Abra Road, Bokod-Kabayan, Benguet-Baguio Road, and the Acop-Kapangan-Kibungan-Bakun Road, both secondary national arterial roads located in southern and northern Benguet, respectively.

Manao said feasibility studies for upgrading of the roads were completed and awaiting funding from national and international funding agencies.

Earlier, the RDC in the Cordillera Administrative Region endorsed the funding of the project and was approved by the National Economic Development Authority – Investment Coordinating Committee and forwarded to the DPWH for implementation.

Manao urged local governments and other stakeholders to help solve the expected increase in road-right-of-way problems that will arise during the project implementation so these will not delay completion of programmed works like the controversial multi-billion projects in Mountain Province, Ifugao and Kalinga.


Kalinga govt uses Ramos formula to reduce poverty

By Peter Balocnit

TABUK, Kalinga – The provincial government, to reduce poverty in Kalinga, has adapted the comprehensive and integrated delivery of social services under the Social Reform Agenda of the Ramos administration.

This developed after the National Anti-Poverty Commission and the Food and National Research Institute revealed Kalinga was the second highest in poverty and malnutrition in the Cordillera.

The town of Tanudan was also tagged the second poorest municipality nationwide.

Dubbed Formula Four or F4, four barangays in each municipality are identified as pilot areas of convergence.

Here, the provincial government unit and partner agencies will pool human and material resources to develop said barangays.

Gov. Jocel Baac, in an executive order created the Provincial Poverty Reduction Program Council to lead the undertaking.

“The objective is to empower the populace to take lead in the resolution of their problems. We are there to re-direct their action to become partners of development,” he said .

He added the program will be implemented in the target barangays for six months to avoid dependence of the populace on government.

It will be moved or expanded to another set of barangays.

The criteria used in selecting areas of convergence is based on the minimum basic need survey result, accessibility, probability of success and acceptability of the barangay.

The provincial government plans to raise P10 million for this program.

To start the program, Baac authorized to use part of the Technology and Livelihood Development Center funds of P500,000 for Rizal town barangays San Francisco, Kinama, San Pedro, and Bulbul/Bagbag.

The Provincial Poverty Reduction Program Council recently launched the program at Moleg, San Francisco in Rizal.

For this project, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources committed 300 assorted seedlings for planting while the National Irrigation Administration will inspect the Kinama small water impounding project for rehabilitation.

Other agencies also agreed to put in their contribution after the needs of the people have been determined.

The group will split to conduct planning in cluster barangays covered by the convergence to include organizing, updating of barangay plans, training and delivery of basic social services.


Special Isabela election peaceful

By Charlie Lagasca

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya– Special barangay elections in three typhoon-hit coastal towns of Isabela on Nov. 20 were generally peaceful, contrary to fears of violence following the recent killing of a candidate for village chief.

The barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls in the towns of Palanan, Maconacon and Divilacan were postponed to that date due to devastation wreaked by Typhoon “Juan” last Oct. 19, barely a week before the scheduled elections.

Isabela election supervisor Manuel Castillo said except for minor hitches like shortage of ballots in some precincts in Palanan, the special elections there and in the two other towns went smoothly, with high voter turnout.

Two days before the special polls in Palanan, Alexander Salazar, a candidate for barangay chairman, was killed in a reported shootout with his rival, Wilmer Atienza, the incumbent village chief.

Salazar’s companion, Ladislao Lanioza Jr., was also slain in the incident.

In Tarlac, special elections were also held in two barangays in Paniqui town Nov. 20.

The polls in Barangays Salumague and San Isidro were postponed due to heavy flooding in schools that would serve as polling centers last Oct. 25.


Baguio eyes world record in singing of Xmas carols

By Dexter A. See

BAGUIO CITY-- This mountain resort city is aiming to break the world record in the number of people singing Christmas carols at the same time in a single place with the conduct of the Christmas Rhythm, the highlight of the Paskua in Baguio festivities in celebration of the Yuletide season.

The chorale competition will be divided into two categories, the traditional and show choir.

The show choir will be school-based and open to elementary, high school and college students.

The Christmas pieces that will be rendered are Carol on the Bells for elementary pupils, Tuloy na Tuloy ang Pasko for high school students, and Pasko na Sinta Ko for college students.

Elimination rounds for the biggest Christmas caroling event in the city over the past several decades will be scheduled on December 4, 5, 11, and 18 while the grand finale is scheduled wherein the winners in each category will compete in order to beat the world record set by England in the number of people singing Christmas carols in three venues then.

By gathering at least 20,000 individuals in one venue, particularly the Baguio Athletic Bowl, singing Christmas carols simultaneously, it will be able to break the world set by England which is around 16,000 individuals in three venues.

The school which will bring the most number of individuals to attend the event will be given special awards.

Other Christmas activities lined up by the Creative Worx, one of the partners of the city government in the staging of the month-long crow drawing activities that will keep the city alive during the Yuletide season are the Venetian Night at the Burnham Lake, Photo Walk II, Sumo Soccer, and the scenic snow show.

The Venetian Night will transform the Burnham Lake to be like the famous tourist spot in Venice filled with gondolas and gondoliers serenading the people in boats.

On the other hand, the Photo Walk II will be a competition of the best, most romantic and funniest photo taken in the country’s Summer Capital.

Paskua in Baguio organizers claimed the sumo soccer event will give entertainment to the public as the players will be wearing sumo costumes while playing the game at the Melvin Jones football ground right at the heart of the city.

According to organizers, the conduct of the new innovations to the Christmas in Baguio activities will provide a new look for Baguio in the coming Yuletide season where more foreign and domestic tourists will flock to the city to witness for themselves unique events that will spice up their celebration of Christmas with their families.


Pampanga marks 439th anniversary

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga— Pampanga Gov. Lilia G. Pineda and the provincial government officials are leaving no stones unturned to make this year’s 439th celebration of Pampanga Day as memorable and meaningful as possible.

Various activities have been lined up for the 11-day observance of Pampanga Day that starts on December 11.

The Circulo Capampangan, a non-government organization which seeks to preserve and promote Pampanga’s rich cultural heritage is spearheading a grand ball to be held on the evening of Dec. 11 at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center.

This was learned from Malou Garbes, a representative from the organization who said that “19 years after the onslaught of lahar from the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, the Circulo Capampangan will hold a grand ball that would bring together all sectors and unify all Capampangans everywhere.” -- FR


Community Billboard

Jeep fare hike still pending

BAGUIO CITY -- The Public Transport Affairs Office is still awaiting the confirmation from the Land Transportation Office central office in Manila on the proposed fare hike that would increase the regular fare of public utility jeepneys from P7.50 to P 8 nationwide.

A petition was earlier forwarded by different drivers’ cooperatives in Baguio-Benguet to the LTO on the proposed fare hike.

According to Perfecto “Jonie” F. Itliong Jr., Cordillera regional transport coordinator of CAR, if the said petition is confirmed, there will be a separate petition to be proposed for Baguio City and Benguet that would increase the regular fare to more than P 8.

This is due to the higher prices of oil in the Cordillera, he said. -- Christian Jovic D. Carino

Aiday Festival ongoing in Benguet
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet --The opening of the Aivay Festival is ongoing here at the at Wangal sports center here ushered by a welcome address delivered by Gov. Nestor Fongwan.

The avang (an Ibaloi term for catching the pig) was done by representatives from each municipality. The tayao (Ibaloi tribal dance) was performed by the governor with his wife Priscilla. Musician Jun Chamos composed the jingle for the festival. His wife Joy “landscaped” the giant strawberry cake.

According to Camilo Alumit, master of ceremonies it took September to October to prepare the festival. Last year 2009 there was no celebration of the festival because of the tragedy wherein scores of people died at the height of Typhoon Pepeng here at Little Kibungan. -- Genevieve Pacheco

Vigan offers products, delicacies in trade fair
VIGAN CITY— Attractive and unique antique furniture and the local fabric abel, and other Iloko products and delicious food delicacies produced from this heritage city were showcased in the Vigan Food and Trade Fair last week that formally opened at the premises of Villa Fernandina de Vigan in Taguig City, Metro Manila.

Vigan City Mayor Eva Marie Singson Medina said products that were displayed for sale included the famous antique furniture of Ilocos Region, attractive souvenir items abel, the unique burnay (jars), Vigan tiles and delicious food delicacies such as bagnet (crispy pig’s rind), longganisa (native sausage), bibingka paskua (native rice cake), miki (native noodles), empanada, sinanglao and okoy among others.– Freddie Lazaro

E-library set for Mt Prov college
BONTOC, Mountain Province— The Commission on Higher Education approved the application of the Mountain Province State Polytechnic College here for the electronic library (e-lib) connectivity which will allow students, faculty, and staff to have a wider avenue and greater access to the newest trends in the information and communication technology industry.

The e-library connection of the state-run higher education institution is the first out of the eleven government-funded projects of the school to be realized this year in connection with its pending application for accreditation of some of its courses.

Dr. Nieves A. Dacyon, MPSPC president, said the e-library connection is a collaborative project of the National Library of the Philippines, University of the Philippines system, CHEd, Department of Science and Technology, and the higher education institution based in the province to boost its chances of being the third university in the Cordillera.

15,000 attend Christ the King celebration
LINGAYEN, Pangasinan, Philippines - Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas told an estimated 15,000 parishioners from his flock who trooped here Nov 22 for the Christ The King celebration that “the real power is in the power of love manifested by Christ as the King of hearts.”

Villegas said in his homily during a Mass concelebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Renato Mayugba and all the priests in their archdiocese that,” It is only by loving one another that we can truly discover the real power of Christ our King.”

“Jesus is the king of hearts of everyone, not king of money, not king of revenge. He does not show His power by punishing (people) but He shows his power by freely offering Himself, by waiting, and waiting, and waiting for us,” he said.

He said that by coming together as Pangasi nenses in one venue for the archdiocesan celebration of Christ The King, people recognize that the real shepherd of the archdiocese is neither him as the archbishop nor Gov. Amado Espino Jr. as head of the province but it’s Jesus.

The affair gathered together provincial and municipal officials and Catholic faithful at the Capitol plaza after many years of celebrating it in different vicariates.

Villegas said that while it is true there is separation of church and the state, “there should be no separation of God and man.”

Baguio police office gets P7.6-M backing
BAGUIO CITY— The city government here has already released at least P7.6 million as assistance to the Baguio City Police Office which was instrumental in strengthening their peacekeeping, anti-criminality and anti-terrorism activities in its areas of jurisdiction.

Senior Supt. David Q. Lacdan, BCPO director, said the assistance extended by the local government to the Baguio’s Finest was utilized to boost the mobility of the policemen so that they will be able to immediately respond to calls for help in the city’s 128 villages.


Sack PNP chiefs in jueteng areas

>> Sunday, November 28, 2010


The reported emergence of jueteng in parts of northern Luzon lends credence to the observation of concerned individuals and groups that the illegal numbers game wouldn’t be able to operate if local and police officials within its areas of operation haven’t allowed it.

The top honcho of the regional police headquarters in the Ilocos Region said they are still validating of there is indeed jueteng in Pangasinan.

It has been two weeks since Ilocos police director Chief Supt. Orlando Mabutas said they would validate if jueteng is indeed in Pangasinan. Despite reports, the Pangasinan police chief denied jueteng has returned in the province.

Until now, the regional police command hasn’t yet made its conclusion on the matter despite persistent reports tht the illegal numbers game is indeed flourishing.

Mabutas maybe making sure that if he is to relieve, relocate or sanction police chiefs where jueteng operates following the “one strike policy” of the Philippine National Police, it should be justified.

In the Cordillera, regional police director Chief Supt. Villamor Bumanglag should also check pronto the reported rampant jueteng operations in Buguias and Mankayan towns in Benguet if he means business.

If both Mabutas and Bumanglag won’t be do something about reported jueteng operations in their turf pronto and sack their inefficient officers, the central command of the PNP should sanction or relocate the two to make sure that jueteng would not be in operation in their areas of command.

But if the top PNP hierarchy finds out that truly, there are no jueteng operations in Pangasinan and Benguet, then the two regional police directors should be commended.

Reporting public fund anomalies

President Aquino has encouraged the public to report incidents of public fund misuse or anomalies to the website of the Department of Finance.

The website http://perangbayan.com/index.php will entertain information relevant to graft, improper action, negligence, lavish lifestyle and other anomalous practices of civil servants. It will likewise receive reports of exemplary performance.

Mr. Aquino said the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs would file “highly visible” corruption cases every other week.

So to the honest but disgruntled government workers or those in the private sector, go on, report such anomalies. Let us see if such reports would indeed be acted upon, or such presidential pronouncements would just be that – pronouncements.


Slain botanist also worked in Cordillera

Alfred P. Dizon

(Below is the statement of the Community Health Education Services and Training Center on the murder of prominent botanist Dr. Leonard Co allegedly by members of the army in Leyte last week.)

The Cordillera cries out with grief over the loss of Leonard Co, a great scientist who devoted a major part of his life to documenting the Region’s medicinal plants and indigenous knowledge about their use in the book Medicinal Plants of the Cordilleras.

During the decade of the 1980s, Leonard served as staff of the Community Health Education, Services and Training in the Cordillera Region (CHESTCORE).
Leonard helped build community-based health programs among indigenous peasant communities in the Mountain Province, Ifugao, Benguet, Abra and Kalinga.

He endured treacherous rides along rocky mountain roads and trekked up many steep trails on foot to reach communities suffering centuries of government neglect and lack of social services. He trained local health workers on the use of medicinal plants and the practice of acupuncture so they could attend to their community’s health needs.

Leonard was a living example of the practice of ‘science and health for the people’. He refused to be confined to the university or the laboratory. He patiently interviewed elders and traditional healers, learning local culture and traditions. Drawing on his knowledge and skills, he recorded and systematized the people’s collective knowledge and practice on medicinal plants. He did not use this body of work for his own personal career or economic advancement but instead offered it back for the communities’ benefit and use.

In fact, his contribution benefits not only the Cordilleran communities but enriches the body of science and health knowledge we can all draw upon.
It is but unfortunate that Leonard’s years of service to the people was suddenly cut short by a few minutes of gunfire.

What happened to Leonard is not an isolated case. Many health professionals working in far-flung communities have been accused of aiding or being members of the New People’s Army or the Communist Party of the Philippines. Instead of being lauded as heroes for choosing to devote their lives to community service and for opting to give up opportunities for career advancement abroad or in private practice, many of them have been harassed, arrested on false pretenses and even killed.

Most prominent examples include the killing of Dr. Bobby de la Paz in Samar, the summary execution of Dr. Johnny Escandor who served in Bicol, the attempted assassination of Dr. Chandu Claver in Kalinga and the arrest and continued detention of the Morong 43.

We strongly condemn the killing of Leonard Co and two of his staff at the hands of the Philippine Army’s 19th IB. We demand that justice be served and those responsible not be allowed to hide behind the guise that Leonard and his companions were “caught in the crossfire”.

We salute Leonard for being a people’s scientist and a health worker for the people. Whenever a community health worker in the Cordilleras prescribes medicinal plants or gives acupuncture treatment, we shall remember Leonard and pay him the highest tribute by continuing his work and his legacy.


Liz and Da Prez

Perry Diaz

The love story of “Liz and Da Prez” is a modern-day Cinderella story: the 50-year king of Pilipinas falling in love with his 28-year old hair stylist. It was “love at first cut.” Yup, the moment Liz made the first cut of Da Prez’s hair, he was bewitched by Liz’s simple beauty. “Talagang kay ganda!” (So beautiful!), Da Prez mused. He was never the same again.

Then, Da Prez called his spin meister Ricky and told him that Liz was “talagang kay ganda!” and that she personifies the true Pilipina. Guess what? Ricky called Mai Mai, Da Prez’s speechwriter, and told her that Liz personifies Pilipinas, “kay ganda!” Mai Mai immediately posted a tweet in her Tweeter and Facebook pages, “Pilipinas kay ganda!”

The Tourism Secretary, Albert, read Mai Mai’s tweet and he liked it. He took his young son’s crayons, drew “Pilipinas kay ganda!” and doodled some funny figures and the words“So beautiful” and then he announced to the whole world that that was the new logo of the Philippines’ tourism campaign.

When Da Prez asked Albert where he got the idea, Albert replied, “I got it from Mai Mai, sir.” Da Prez asked Mai Mai where she got the idea, Mai Mai replied, “Sir, I got it from Ricky, po.” Da Prez asked Ricky where he got the idea, Ricky replied, “I got it from you, boss.”

Da Prez said, “From me? Hmm… I must be dreaming when I said that,” and scratched his head. He then remembered telling Ricky that Liz was “talagang kay ganda!”and smiled.

Then Ricky said, “Boss, just curious, may I know why you shaved your head, sir?” “Huh?” Da Prez said and touched his head. It’s bald!!! Then he remembered what Liz did when she cut his hair. He smiled and said, “I like it this way, and do I look now like Yul Brynner? Ahem.” “No, sir,” Ricky answered, “You look like Boy Abunda. Hehehe…”

Onto better things. Prez Benigno “Noynoy”Aquino III’s former girlfriend, Shalani Soledad, didn’t waste any time moving on and not looking back. She was hired to co-host the new game show, “Willing Willie,” with former Wowowee host Willie Revillame. Indeed, when the door to Noynoy’s “Bahay Pangarap” (Dream House) closed, the door to the “world of entertainment” opened up to her.

Now she can chart her own destiny instead of waiting for six years hoping to marry Noynoy whose destiny was charted for him by others. And there’s absolutely no truth to the rumor that Shalani was taking a course in hair styling. She’s too “tall” for that.

As an elected councilor of Valenzuela City, the 29-year old Shalani is on a course where she can chart her own destiny. It’s a modest start for a budding politician, but she’ll grow into a political force in due time.

Talking about destiny, last May 2010, Noynoy was swept to victory on the promise of hope and change. A lot of people said that it was his destiny. After five months in office, his performance and trust ratings remain very high considering several embarrassing incidents during his first 100 days.

While it’s too early to tell if he would be able to deliver on his promises, political pundits are apprehensive that Noynoy’s “bright star” might be losing its luster soon, if not later. They’re concerned that Noynoy was heading into the same rough and bumpy road that US President Barack Obama took after he was swept to victory on a promise of hope and change. Does that sound familiar? Déjà vu?

It’s beginning to occur to me that “destiny” is not the end of a journey but a “journey in progress.” While Obama has another year to change course in his journey to win reelection in 2012, Noynoy doesn’t have to worry because he has a six-year term with no reelection. So he can just float around and let his journey go on autopilot until the end of his presidency in 2016. And by that time, either his journey ends in greatness or just another footnote in history.

From destiny to greatness, there is one man who– against all odds, charted his destiny and reached the unreachable star of “greatness.” Born dirt poor, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao slugged his way to greatness, one weight division at a time -- from flyweight to welterweight – and captured eight world titles in eight weight divisions. Indeed, there is only one man on earth today who could break his record – himself.

Quo vadis, Pacquiao? At 31 years old, Pacquiao – who is now a congressman representing the province of Sarangani -- is getting older to stay in shape and win more fights. If he continues to fight, it will just be for the moolah. Yup, he can no longer be “greater”; he is already the “greatest”!

But Pacquiao must have realized that “greatness” is not measured in terms of championship titles and wealth. He is no longer content with the greatness that he has achieved for himself. He probably thought that there is a loftier greatness and that would be the greatness he could achieve for his people.

Does Pacquiao have a vision for his constituents in Sarangani? Or better, does he have a vision for the Philippines? That’s something to ponder, right? But don’t hurry; Pacquiao still has two decades before he’d qualify for president. But in the meantime, he can hone his political skills. He has to hurdle all the obstacles to the top. And it’s not easy. But Pacquiao could be a diamond in the rough. Watch him!

Pilipinas kay ganda… The Philippine Department of Tourism was thrown into the dark recesses of cyberspace two days after launching its “Pilipinas kay ganda!” tourism campaign. What happened?

First, it abandoned its website www.beautifulpilipinas.com because they found out that there’s a similarity to an existing porn site which uses the key words “beautifulpilipinas.” Immediately, they renamed the website to www.tourismphilippines.com to “promote the P100 million new Philippines tourism brand that they have created.”

Well, it turned out that the tourism “brand” or logo that they created, “Pilipinas kay ganda,” was similar to Poland’s tourism logo. Did it cost the government P100 million to “tweak” – or plagiarize – Poland’s tourism logo? I hope it wasn’t paid to an account in Cayman Island. Madaming buwaya doon! (There are a lot of crocodiles over there!)

And finally, some people were saying that the slogan seems like a “code name” for gays. Although “Pilipinas kay ganda” translates to “Philippines so beautiful,” it also translates to “Philippines for Ganda,” which is causing a lot of buzz and fizz in the gay community.

Television’s new “gay icon” in the country is “Vice Ganda,” a comedian and judge of the popular “Showtime” game show. Ganda claims to be representing “gays who like to dress as girls.” Like they say, “Ah-ya-yay!”

Perhaps, the Philippines should go back to its good ol’ brand, “WOW Philippines!” It sold; it should still sell… and save money monkeying around with other countries’ tourism logos.


Sports cinderellas re-live glory days

Ramon Dacawi

They were dubbed Baguio Cinderellas for having had to seek fairy godmothers (and godfathers) just to be able to compete in tournaments they were a cinch to win, including four national opens and numerous blitz tournaments.

That’s why mayor Mauricio Domogan and the Benguet Electric Cooperative teamed up again to send the Baguio ladies football squad to the 10th Labay Soccer Fiesta this morning at the University of the Philippines in Laguna.

Never mind if they’ll come home without the trophy this time, which has been a rarity in their campaign now spanning 20 years. . It’s heartwarming enough that this time, some of the pioneers in the multi-titled squad will be playing with their daughters whom they’d nursed in-between matches during their prime. After all, there were moments of glory to remember about the team coach Manny Javellana gathered and trained in their teens in the late ‘80s.

Like when they booted in the winning goal against tough Polytechnic University of the Philippines in the first Baguio Ladies Open summer of 1992. That was when mayor Domogan and then city prosecutor Erdolfo Balajadia jumped out of their seats and punched the air in jubilation at the Melvin Jones Grandstand.

Like those numerous times Beneco suited them up and drove them to and from numerous out-of-town campaigns like the Alaska Cup in plush Alabang, Rizal.That was when Randall Dampac, who was driving them home with their trophy, just couldn’t take it anymore. So he stopped the van beside a fast-food shop in Tarlac, counted his cash, woke them up and told them to have supper to celebrate their victory – on him.

Or when Peewee Agustin or Petronio Dacoron had to ask them to get out and push from behind to help jumpstart the van. Or when businessman Dan David took the tab and then stood by them when they recaptured the National Ladies Cup in Sta. Cruz, Laguna from defending champion Davao. They initially took the cup in 1993 here but couldn’t fly to Davao to defend it the following year.

The Cinderella squad being fielded this morning in the seven-a-side, 20-minute-per-game blitz series in Los Banos will be led by original striker Anna Liza Umoc-Cabanilla, her sister and defender Vangie Umoc-Gigan, Grace Carrera and Virgie Tibaldo-Bungay.

They will be backed up by Anna’s daughters Jana and Luisa Marie, second-generation recruits Judith Doctolero, Melody Buccahan, Carol Banguitan, Marissa Manaday, Rachelle Gasigas, Shiela Abucay, Kathlynne Sabalburo and Jerelle Tabisula, daughter of pioneer forward Richelle Ranchez-Tabisula.

Used to making do within the givens just to be able to play, the girls again cooked and packed “adobo” and started off last night, timed to reach the playing venue this morning.


Hazy, foolish machinations


March L. Fianza

In a nation where people are about to experience problems due to development and urbanization similar to those felt in advanced countries, there is need to restudy and amend rules to stop the inconveniences that so-called regulations brought to our midst.

The traffic re-routing scheme that seemed to have served SM on one hand and had disadvantaged the UP College Baguio, Convention Center, City High, DOT and adjacent areas on the other hand, has to be reassessed.

Even Mayor Domogan asks for its review since it has been there on an “experimental” basis but its deadline or length of implementation has never been known.

Every time I drive around that circuit, I ask why in the first place the traffic was re-routed. The usual traffic scheme that motorists got used to was alright until it was changed.

As far as experience tells me, one of the causes why motorists around the rotunda at the top of Session Road get entangled is when an “aginpopogi” and undisciplined Manila drivers make shortcuts – a violation similar to the “counterflow” that P-Noy hates.

The other causes are that selfish jeepney drivers who ply the SM-Post Office route use the frontage of the YMCA building as their loading-unloading station.

Just like any traffic observer, I wonder why that part of the traffic problem was not what was isolated and studied – instead, the traffic jam around the rotunda below SM was exploited as the reason to make a re-routing experimental scheme, consciously or unconsciously benefiting SM.

And adding insult to injury, part of Upper Session road has a marker that says “SM only.” Where in the world do you find public officials who segregate a stretch of a public road that will serve the interest of a private entity?

One more thing, it appears that traffic authorities have not noticed that traffic jams became more packed as motorists are all moving around because they cannot find any parking space as almost all roads have the “No Parking” sign.

Now I believe retired Police Superintendent Rafael Delson who said that the answer to traffic congestion is to keep motor vehicles stationary or out of the road instead of keeping them mobile. He said if motorists continuously move around due to the absence of a parking space, the result is a traffic jam.
People do not receive extra benefits for protecting trees inside lands that they have tax declared. That is why many tax declared lands are deforested because of that.

Former La Trinidad councilor William Esteban now says government must study the possibility of giving tax incentives to persons who plant and protect trees inside their lots – maybe an incentive per tree that occupies at least a square meter of land being paid by the taxpayer.

William’s idea came in the wake of discussions about problems on environmental destruction in La Trinidad. His idea is very laudable but we hope government, particularly, congress, endorses it.

Engr. Patrick Concepcion, La Trinidad municipal assessor said trees are included as improvements on lands and they too can be taxed. Ironically, when the occupant or planter cuts down what he has planted, he is penalized or required to acquire a tree-cutting permit and pay the corresponding forest dues that is computed based on an estimate.

Here, the ordinary tax payer’s thinking becomes clear – that protecting trees does not give him direct benefits and cutting trees without permission only brings in penalties.

In relation to this, government does not approve applications for titling especially on forested lands that is why people resort to cutting down the trees in order to pass requirements for land titling. Isn’t it time, tree-cutting laws, tax declaration laws and land laws are revisited? – marchfianza777@yahoo.com


SEDA forum

Ike Señeres

It has been difficult for me to explain the meaning of complete convergence, and what its correlation is to universal access. There is actually a cause and effect relationship between the two. Complete convergence is the cause, and universal access is the effect. Of course there is a quantitative side to this, because if the convergence is not complete, then the access is not universal.

In my media work and my advocacy work, I meet a lot of people who are in a position to contribute to complete convergence, in other words they are potential assets that could make universal access happen. Conversely, I also meet a lot of people who need support, in order to make universal access happen where they are. It disturbs me to see that in many cases, they do not even meet, such that their common energies are wasted.

We are facing the sad reality that by nature and by structure, the bureaucracy of the government is really compartmentalized, and that is the opposite of convergence or being converged. On the positive side, the government is already seeing the benefits of public and private partnership (PPP). That is good news, but with PPP coming into the picture, there is now an increased burden on the government to converge the actions not only of the national agencies, but also of the local governments.

It is a known fact that the national government bureaucracy is not just compartmentalized, it is also Balkanized. Agencies and bureaus within a Department are not talking to each other, how much more coordinating with each other. This is also true in the case of Departments that are supposed to be part of a cluster that should address a common concern. Whatever happened to the cabinet clusters that used to work so well before?

I do not want to blame anyone in the government in particular, but it could be said that government functionaries could not be as aggressive as their private sector counterparts, because they do not have a profit motive. I mean a profit motive for the corporate bottom line, and not for their pockets. This profit motive could have been substituted by a genuine concern for the good of their own institutions, but that is absent too, because most bureaucrats are now political appointees and are no longer career public servants.

Not that I am crying over spilled milk, but in the absence of a profit motive, the new political appointees could have been expected also to be highly motivated if they are loyal members of a political party that has a genuine and serious platform for economic prosperity and good governance. Sad to say again, there appears to be no party behavior in the pattern of political appointments. I am talking about political will, a powerful motivation that is greater than a profit motive.

In the spirit of public and private partnership, the Corinthian Coffee Clutch (CCC) has already become a clearing house not only for PPP, but also for corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects. It is my wish that PPP and CSR projects will also converge in specific geographic locations, jointly addressing common sectoral concerns such as health and education.

Please join me in the forum of the Socio Economic Development Alliance (SEDA FORUM), where we could discuss the ways and means of nation building, leading towards our socio economic development. To join, just send a blank email toSEDA_FORUM-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

SEDA has the same purpose as CCC, except that it is online. It became necessary for me to activate the SEDA FORUM, because my mailing lists for CCC are already full, and I could no longer send mass emails.

By nature, PPP programs are always profit driven, but CSR programs are not. On the other hand however, some expenses for CSR programs could be tax deductible. For one reason or another, the private sector would be very much open to helping sectoral concerns everywhere, if only they would know where to go and what to do.

I am hoping that through the SEDA FORUM, I will be able to bring together via online means the government agencies and private companies that would want to do projects together. This is also applicable to local governments. As usual, we could all meet in the CCC for real time, brick and mortar “eyeball” transactions. Online or offline, we have no more reasons not to act now.

Go for Complete Convergence! Tune in to Universal Access 2pm to 3pm Monday to Sunday in DZRJ 810 khz or log on to www.rjplanet.com/rj-radio/

Watch KA IKING LIVE! Saturdays 8 pm to 9 pm in Global News Network (GNN), Channel 8 in Destiny Cable. Email iseneres@yahoo.com or text +639234059174 for local cable listings. Visit www.senseneres.blogspot.com


The Ganza and Solibao fiasco

Rudy Garcia

Time and again, we hear and see whistleblowers singing their songs for good but sad to say, only a few stand behind them. They sing a different tune that only nincompoops hear but refuse to listen.

For them, a song could be long and difficult to sing but they have to finish it no matter what, thus we should appreciate them. However, rarely do we knew of government officials blowing the whistle against their co-officials, because oftentimes they prefer to close their eyes, shut their mouth and hear nothing for obvious reasons.

We can count by the fingers officials who have balls to ring the bell against their colleagues, but good to note that we have one in Baguio City to add on this good breed in the city government.

A genuine Ilokano, this former Baguio City councilor who served his term is one among local officials who has good record. Although out from politics, his good attitude stays the same, boosting his sense of social responsibility.

He called the attention of my bubuwit when they happened to meet along Session Road, one afternoon last week, and over a cup of coffee inside a coffee shop along the popular thoroughfare, the former councilor told a story.

He gave my bubuwit copy of a proposed board resolution from the Baguio City Burnham Park Management Authority.

Based from the said document, this proposed board resolution was prepared and adapted on Nov. 25, 2008 resolving the move to conduct public bidding of Solibao and Ganza Restaurants at Burnham Park since the contract of lease between the City Government of Baguio, and spouses Moises and Zenaida Cating, operators of Solibao and Ganza Restaurants had long expired.

Further resolved in the resolution was to task the bids and awards committee to conduct the public bidding while Community Environment Parks Management Office was ordered to immediately prepare the terms and reference for the conduct of its open and competitive bidding.

This was a supposed good and appreciable move by the board but it was a surprise why three out from the 12 members of the board did not sign the proposed board resolution for reasons known only to them.

Solibao and Ganza Restaurants as we know are in a prime location and surely investors would come rushing to file their bids once the bidding pushes through but those three rotten eggs in the city government have taken for granted this appropriate move. This the document was made to eat dust inside the cabinets at City Hall and likely to be thrown in the garbage bin later.

To give you a clue who these three monkeys are, two of them still hold key positions in the city government as department heads while the other one held a top position at city hall during the past administration and he was unlucky he lost in the election.

If the story of the former councilor is true that favors filled the pocket of these three monkeys, then I challenge the new administration of this mountain resort city under Mayor Mauricio Domogan Jr to look into this matter. Matagal na palang tapos ang kontrata, bakit hindi pa pinabidding?

I don’t want to think that this matter would again be placed inside a bottle and covered tightly for the stench not to come out, but we have a saying, “walang baho ang hindi sisingaw.”

The former councilor is now twisting the cap and now ready to open the bottle. As the document lies in silence, this could soon lead to public outcry and legal suits and worst public embarrassment.

Am I right Mr. and Mrs C. as in “Cababain” (shameful) and the three eggs, Mr. RB as in “rotten boss” ( nalaos o nabugok), Mr. LB as in “ little boss” (agin agin) and miss LC as in “lady cashier” (agruprupa nga kwarta)?

Just hang on dear readers and we will be giving you more details and updates in my next columns. Abangan!



Hilarion ‘Abe’ Pawid

Sunflowers. This is a typical specie in the world of flora that does not have a sweet smell. It emits a bitter smell, hence, it’s called “marapa-it” in the Ilocano dialect.

They start blooming in the month of November beautifully dotting the mountains with radiating bright yellow colors. With their wide leaves staying green all year-round, these uncultivated flowers seem to announce the opening of the season and the birth of mankind’s savior by way of spreading their yellow petals into eye-catching flowers.

Because a sunflower plant finds the tropical hills and mountains as its natural habitat, communities normally regard this common undomesticated flowering plant a nuisance. Its rapid growth is slashed and hacked to the roots, yet, unknown to the innocent community those resilient roots hold the soil from draining with the flash waters of the rainy months.

This brings to mind the call of ecologist groups some fifty years back to preserve clusters of sunflowers in the mountain slopes. These environmentalists encouraged the planting of this shrub in any vacant space to help prevent erosion and landslides.

A paper prepared by the defunct Mountain Province Development Authority of the l960s cited the sunflower plant as a natural agent of soil preservation. The MPDA paper has encouraged its massive planting. Sadly, like most government researches they simply gathered dust in the shelves of libraries unread. Although the sunflower is not found in flower vases, Cordillerans however find several helpful uses for the astringent foliage.

In highland school houses where floor wax are not heard of, sunflower leaves when rubbed on wooden floors give a darkish shade of varnish shine and color. For generations, the Bontoc tribes have used the shrub to fertilize their rice terraces and exacting bountiful harvests.

Used as fence, the sunflower plant grows robustly and conveniently delineating boundary lots among neighbors. The fence also prevents animals from freely roaming the neighborhood while cuttings can also be used for firewood.

At the other side of the globe, millions survived devastated Russia as a result of the revolution by eating sunflower seeds providing them with sufficient nut-oil and protein.

Recently, Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan strongly encouraged residents to plant sunflower shrubs in their backyards to help prevent the erosion of top soil. The mayor’s call is expected to amplify the regreening movement in the city and would also help promote clean air from the pollution of overcrowded traffic.

Now along the Ilocos Sur Cervantes-Mankayan road in Benguet, they have problems with slope erosions as the widened highway has caused recurring landslides. They are presently planting marapa-it shrubs and they call it bioengineering. MPWH people say it is the “Nepal Experience” yet it is not new in the Cordillera. Cordillerans simply did not have the academe word to describe it.

The late Department of Environment and Natural Resources Cordillera Director Oscar Hamada planted thousands of sunflower sticks along the mountainsides of along Kennon road to help prevent erosion, and make the mountains beautiful with blooming sunflowers starting from the months of October or November.

And the clincher, unknown to communities in the tropics, air fresheners advertised as “natural air” are actually flavors of sunflowers. While Ilocanos find the smell of sunflowers as “napa-it” or bitter, westerners whose windows are seldom open savor it as natural air to freshen up their homes. - (h.abe pawid)


How to ‘bag’ the local market

Portia Marie Silva

As a child, Amina Aranaz-Alunan spent all her summers working in her mother’s bag factory that it seemed natural for this style maven to take over the business one day. And in 1999, she did take over Aranaz.

But despite knowing the business like the back of her hand, Amina admits that she found it hard to identify and break into the local market because the family business initially operated as an exporter.

“I’ve always believed in our products, but we have a very select group of clients back then. The appeal it has on our foreign buyers might not work here,” she says.

As the new kid in the local bag industry and a fairly “unknown” brand at that, breaking through the mold scared Amina. “I wasn’t sure on who to tap or where to go to market our bags,” she shares.

All these questions were eventually answered in late 1998, after her brother Miguel made incredibly huge sales from selling their export overruns to his classmates in Ateneo de Manila University. The timing was perfect since her brother’s buyers were purchasing the bags to give as Christmas gifts.

So from 1999 to 2003, Amina decided to expand the enterprise and explore different markets in Manila, without necessarily having set up shop in malls and going mainstream. It was a branding tactic, she explains.

At that time, Aranaz bags could only be found in upscale Christmas bazaars. The brand had gained quite a following that at one point, they were invited by The City Golf Plaza in Pasig City to become an in-house brand.

“We want our brand to be known while remaining ‘exclusive’. In other words, we want buyers to specifically look and request for our items. Although we might come off as a little elitist, the company and the brand are not discriminating. In fact, we involve peoples from different walks of life in the business,” she says.

Indeed, Amina, together with good friend and fashion designer Rajo Laurel, has collaborated with social business enterprise Rags2Riches to help the women of Payatas. “I don’t think they have ever heard of the brand, but these women, you have to give it to them.

They are skilled,” she says. For three months, Amina conducted workshops at a design school that she co-founded, the School of Fashion and the Arts (SoFA), to hone the creative skills and educate the women of Payatas in bag design and manufacturing. The training paid off and the partnership with Rags2Riches produced an exquisite line of classy, eco-friendly bags.

The collection uses recycled materials gathered from the poverty-stricken Payatas community, incorporated with “distinctly Aranaz” pieces like wood handles, leather trimmings and mother of pearl embellishments. Amina says, “It is important to give back and help while you can. They have the talent; I have access to resources. Just do good and the business will flourish

The bag designer reveals that she is also looking into launching women’s clothing under the same brand sometime soon.

Right now, few pieces are on display in Aranaz boutiques in Power Plant Mall and Greenbelt 5 but Amina is quick to admit that she’s “not as strong a retail designer as she is a bag designer.” Her sister Rosanna, fashion blogger and co-author of www.littlemissdressup.com, does most of the creative planning for their proposed clothing line.

Amina adds, “I’m every bit of a bag junkie and a fashion lover turned entrepreneur. While I say I’m a designer first and foremost, I have learned through my years at Aranaz that creativity alone will not help the company survive. When you have the right business mindset and when you constantly innovate, then nothing can stop you from bagging it all.”


Lepanto mine workers picket DOLE; talks futile

>> Wednesday, November 24, 2010

By Leonida Tundagui

BAGUIO CITY – Labor union members of the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Co. picketed the National Conciliation and Mediation Board regional office here Thursday even as a conciliation meeting between LCMC management and workers proved futile.

This, after labor unions of the mining company earlier filed notices of strike at the regional NCMC office here on grounds of unfair labor practices and illegal retrenchment.

Another conciliation meeting was set on Nov. 23 and if no agreement would be reached by LCMC management and union leaders, the latter might push through with their strike.

Pablito Sicdoy, president of the Lepanto Security Force Union said “conciliation did not result to any resolution of our demands as management maintained hard stance in not recalling the retrenchment of workers.”

Sicdoy said this was disappointing even as the NCMB director suggested the termination of union officers and workers with good standing be recalled.

Still, LCMC management reportedly refused to agree.

Manuel Binhaon, Jr., president of the LEU said the “LCMC management suggested to bring the case to voluntary arbitration but we refused because it will prolong the case and we already had been into preventive mediation for two years now but the company continues to violate our collective bargaining agreement.”

He added the unions will stand firm in defending their security of tenure, wages and benefits.

The LEU and SLFU are both affiliated to National Federation of Labor Unions-Kilusng Mayo Uno.

Vicente Dilem, regional coordinator of KMU-Cordillera, said “the continuing blatant violations of the LCMC on the collective bargaining agreement and the labor standards are clear indications of corporate greed. It is crushing down on the right to life of their workers and their families. The labor sector should stand firm to defend their rights.”


Radio anchor’s house bombed

CAMP RAVINA, Aurora – Unidentified men hurled a bomb at the residential compound of a veteran broadcaster here Wednesday night, damaging the front door, police said.

No one was reported hurt in the explosion, which occurred at around 7 p.m. Wednesday at the house of Bernie Rada, a correspondent of CLTV 36.

Rada, 39, is also a commentator of local radio station Radyo Natin and a former president of the Aurora Press Club.

Senior Supt. Rosvi Manulid, provincial police director, said a man was seen walking back and forth in front of Rada’s house, and minutes later, a loud explosion was heard.

The man casually walked away and boarded a motorcycle parked nearby.

Rada was in Manila at the time of the incident. – MG


Cagayan lawmaker eyes politics in dad’s slay try

By Charlie Lagasca

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya– Cagayan third district Rep. Randolph Ting said the attempt on the life of his father, Tuguegarao City Mayor Delfin Ting, last Monday was politically motivated.

The elder Ting is now recuperating in a Manila hospital from a bullet wound in the face.

He underwent surgery on Wednesday to remove the slug, suspected to have come from a Cal. 22 pistol.

“No one is to be blamed here but politics. This is all politics. We don’t believe that there are other motives behind the attack,” said Rep. Ting, himself a three-term mayor of Tuguegarao City, the capital of Cagayan.

“Thanks God that my father was still lucky enough to survive. God must have plans for him for the continued progress of Tuguegarao,” he added.

The elder Ting, 72, who won his second term as mayor last May, was shot in front of the family-owned Hotel Delfino along Bonifacio street in the city’s downtown area at around 6:15 a.m. on Nov. 15.

Senior Supt. Mao Aplasca, Cagayan police director, said the mayor sustained wounds in the right cheek and nose bridge from a single bullet.

Ting’s family opted to airlift him to a Manila hospital for an operation to remove the slug embedded in his cheek after getting treatment at the Catholic Church-run St. Paul Hospital in Tuguegarao.

“The motive is obvious. Everybody knows who our enemies are. They have been trying to get us even during the elections. Our supporters have also been harassed before,” Rep. Ting said.

The lawmaker said a few days before the attack, they received a death threat for his father through a Facebook account, aside from earlier threats through text messages and letters from unknown sources.

Besides politics though, Chief Supt. Francisco Villaroman, Cagayan Valley police director, said another possible motive could be personal grudge.

He added the attack might also have been perpetrated by criminals whom the mayor had gotten entangled with in his campaign against illegal drugs.

“We already have an idea who (the masterminds are) but we cannot yet identify them to the media. The motives could be political and personal grudge,” he said.


Jueteng back in P’sinan;Ilocos PNP chief checking

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – Jueteng has returned in all six districts of Pangasinan, sources said, but according to police, they are still verifying reports while provincial officials are silent on the issue.

In this provincial turf of retired Lingayen Archbishop Oscar Cruz, who earlier linked local and national personalities to the illegal numbers game, jueteng kubradors have returned, business as usual, collecting bets, residents said.

At the regional police headquarters in Camp Florendo, San Fernando City, La Union, Supt. Orlando Mabutas, Ilocos police director, said he is still confirming if indeed jueteng has returned.

He said if confirmed, police chiefs in areas where jueteng operates would be relieved in accordance with the one-strike policy of the Philippine National Police.

A certain Orduna allegedly gave the go-signal for jueteng operators in the six districts to resume operations.

A certain “Boy Bata” allegedly operates jueteng in Binmaley, Lingayen, Bugallon and San Fabian towns and Dagupan City.

A certain Mallorca reportedly operates in Bayambang, Malasiqui, Mangaldan, Manaoag and Mapandan towns.

Another jueteng operators identified as a certain Co reportedly operates in the fifth district.

In the sixth district, a certain Marlon is reportedly the jueteng boss.

In Aguilar, Mangatarem, Urbiztondo and Basista towns, jueteng is reportedly under a certain Sison.

A certain Bebot is reportedly the operators in Villasis, Sto. Tomas, Alcala, Bautista and Carmen towns.

In the past, these operators were supposedly the ones behind jueteng in the province.

According to sources, daily jueteng bets in the six districts of Pangasinan reportedly reach P10 million but the amount could become higher with the yuletide season.


Baguio jins bag 11 golds, 1 silver in Chicago int’l taekwondo bash

By Isagani S. Liporada

BAGUIO CITY – “While Manny Pacquiao was busy rearranging the face of Mexican Antonio Margarito inTexas, three Baguio warriors likewise toppled their own ‘Goliaths’in Chicago.”

This was posted on Facebook by Canadian Farid Bedwany, who flew from Canada to witness the scintillating performances of three Baguio jins in the 4th Chicago International Winter Taekwondo Games on Nov. 14.

Nine-year old Justin Carl Nacua, 11-year old Patrick Butche, and Baguio Defenders Taekwondo Do Jang and University of Baguio playing-coach Arnold Oglayon each bagged four medals for a total 11-golds and one silver in the international tourney.

These wins, in a field of world-class fighters featuring jins from powerhouses South Korea and United States of America , among others.

Pint-sized UB warrior Nacua went up against taller fighters, his age group drawing first blood for Team Baguio Defenders-Philippines en route to a gold in kyorugi (sparring), proving anew like Pacquiao, speed and skill weigh more than height and weight.

His Ibaloi-powered turning kicks and high flying brain shaking blows were followed by jaw-dropping performance in level 1 freestyle kyukpa (board breaking) and dexterity in the kids’ individual poomse (forms).

Butche on the other hand deceived his opposition proving his weight wasn’t an issue at all, powdering his international opponents with his rugged cheek-shaking whoppers.

While he only mustered silver in level 1 kyukpa, he rebounded with golds in individual poomse and kyorugi.

Nacua is a pupil from UB; Butche, from Berkeley School .

Meantime, coaching phenom Oglayon couldn’t resist international fray, deciding to risk his highland mestizo looks to bring honor to Baguio and the Philippines as a fighter when their plane touched down Chicago.

Oglayon bagged gold mints in seniors’ sparring, individual poomse, and level 4 board-breaking.

Students and master capped their individual exploits ‘becoming one’ in team poomse to capture the team’s final three golds.

The team is flying back to the Philippines today.

Meanwhile in Baguio, “It’s free coffee for everyone,” announced Eric Nacua inside the BDTDJ after his co-parents congratulated him for his son’s accomplishment.

“It was all worth it,” he said adding, “Our sacrifices have reaped us more than their golds. It gave us pride that we are from Baguio, from the Philippines.”

Coffee was the best Eric could offer after spending $4,000 to get his son to Chicago .

“I am glad I believed in foresight,” he added. “I am thankful I believed Oglayon when he said they will bring home the bacon despite being branded underdogs.”


Chico River rehab project gets backing

By Dexter A. See

BONTOC, Mountain Province— The Cordillera Regional Development Council and provincial governments of Mountain Province and Kalinga passed separate resolutions endorsing the $20 billion Integrated Natural Resources Environmental Management Project covering the rehabilitation of the Chico River Basin and its watersheds located in central Cordillera to bring back the greenery of the region’s forests.

The INREMP as proposed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources covers four river basins in the country which includes the Chico River Basin located in the Cordillera.

The multi-billion-peso environmental project will be funded by the Asian Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development with counterpart funding from the national government through the National Economic Development Authority–Investment Coordinating Committee.

The project, which is expected to be completed in seven years, will implement sustainable programs on proper land use and capability assessment, forest rehabilitation and protection, tree plantation establishment and agro-forestry, livelihood enhancement with improvement of rural infrastructure of participating communities, indigenous peoples’ organizations and local governments.

The deteriorating condition of the Chico River Basin and the need to adopt an integrated management approach to address such concerns prompted the Cordillera RDC to approve a proposal to prepare a master development plan for the judicious development and management of the watershed.

Earlier, the provincial board of Mountain Province approved resolution 2010-60 expressing interest of the province to participate in the Integrated Natural Resources and Environmental Management Project of the agency and requested the inclusion of the towns of Natonin, Tadian, and Besao as hosts of watersheds supporting tributaries to the Chico River.

Ifugao Gov. Eugene M. Balitang and Kalinga Gov. Jocel C. Baac signified their desire to actively participate in the INREMP to boost the return of the forest cover in denuded mountains in their respective places which is now taking its toll on the abundant water supply for the present and future generations.


CHARM projects set in Kalinga towns

TABUK, Kalinga – Projects under the second Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management Project (CHARM 2) are now set for implementation in this province.

Norma Frances Damian, provincial planning and development coordinator and CHARM 2 Point for Kalinga, said concerned barangays and town officials have already identified their needs and roles.

“The ball is now on the hands of the provincial government to integrate in its plan what was approved by the communities,” Damian said.

Committees for each of five project components will be organized in barangays as overseer of projects with municipal supervisory teams assisting, Damian said.

He added before the provincial government could give its support to project proposals, the “barangay participatory investment plan” has to be reviewed to determine how counterpart money would be appropriated.

The provincial government has allotted an initial P1 million counterpart this year and has budgeted P5 for next year.

“In the municipal level, the counterpart scheme adopted is for 6th and 5th class municipalities to contribute 40 percent while CHARM 2 provides the 60%. For 4th class LGUs, it will be 50-50 sharing,” Damian said.

CHARM 2 in Kalinga covers the five highland municipalities of Balbalan, Pasil, Lubuagan, Tinglayan and Tanudan. Each of the towns has identified four barangays as pilot area.

The seven-year project starting 2009-2015 gives emphasis on solving malnutrition among underweight children by 50% and addressing poverty indicators by also 50%.

About 60% of the P3.056B fund of Charm 2 that comes from zero interest foreign loans will be used to rehabilitate farm-to-market roads, while 18% will go to income generation projects. -- PIA-Kalinga


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