RDC adapts final draft for Cordillera autonomy

>> Monday, October 31, 2011

By Michael G. Umaming

BAGUIO CITY -- The working draft for a Cordillera Third Autonomy Act was adapted by the Regional Development Council here in a special meeting Oct. 13, at AtingTahanan, Barangay South Drive here, through RDC Resolution No. CAR-.20, s. 2011.

“The draft, though a work-in-progress, embodies the ideas and aspirations of the Cordillera for self-determination and socio-economic development in accordance with the provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution,” stated the RDC resolution.

The resolution endorsed the working draft to members of the House of Representatives for thorough assessment and consideration and asked secretariat to reproduce it and furnish all stakeholders also for their assessment and consideration.

The special meeting also urged LGUs to prepare resolutions urging their congressmen to support the working draft.

The working draft is the final output of the Third Autonomy Act Drafting Committee (TAADC), which the RDC formed in August 2010 with Mayor Mauricio Domogan of Baguio City elected as chairman.

References in preparing it were the two previous organic acts; consolidated results of consultations conducted by RDC since 2006 when it decided to renew the pursuit of regional autonomy; and consolidated results of consultations conducted through TAADC. It also considered position papers submitted by individuals and organizations.

The next step is to submit the working draft to the House of Representatives so that a bill for a Third Cordillera Organic Act can now be passed. Domogan previously emphasized that Congress is the only body with full authority to pass an Organic Act and that TAADC is just helping Congress pass the law and making things easier for public dissemination before a plebiscite.

The RDC is now trying to arrange a meeting with CAR congressmen through the Advisory Committee (AdCom), which is composed of interested congressmen from the region and members of the RDC Executive Committee, in order for them to discuss the working draft.


Vizcaya bandits take P1.5 M gold ore, cash

By Charlie Lagasca

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya – An unidentified armed group ran away with some P1.5 million in cash and raw gold after robbing the houses of three small-scale miners at a remote mountain village in Quezon town Sunday evening.

Authorities identified the victims of the robbery which took place at around 7 p.m. as Noel Bandao, 46; Renato Pumihik, 46; and Noel Habiling, 39, all of Sitio Bit-ang, Runruno village.

Reports showed the hooded men armed with M-16 rifles and other short firearms first robbed the residence of Habiling where they took about 172 grams of gold worth P258,000 and some P100,000 cash.

At Pumihik’s house, the robbers stole around 200 grams of gold worth P300,000, P250,000 cash and a .45 caliber pistol.

The bandits also took 100 grams of gold worth P150,000 and P500,000 cash from Bandao.

Police have launched a manhunt operation against the suspects.


Ombudsman urged: Suspend Abra execs with plunder cases

LAGAYAN, Abra -- - The Office of the Ombudsman has been asked to issue preventive suspension orders against the members of a political family in this town who were charged with a P133.9-million plunder complaint last month.

In a supplemental affidavit filed Wednesday, Bernadine Joson, municipal planning and development coordinator and concurrent Sangguniang Bayan secretary of Lagayan, said former Lagayan mayor Cecilia Seares Luna and her son Jendricks, president of the Association of Barangay Captains in the municipality and Mayor Purificacion Paingan should be suspended to ensure an impartial and unimpeded investigation of the case against them.

Joson also sought the suspension of municipal treasurer Marissa Donato, municipal accountant Meno Dickenson and municipal engineer Osborne Dolaoen.

“I pray that respondents who are incumbent public officials be immediately suspended from public office for the maximum period of six months or 180 days without pay as provided by law,” Joson’s affidavit read.

Joson also provided a list of the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the respondents in her affidavit.

Joson filed plunder, graft, technical malversation, and other charges against the Luna family, citing what she described as “big-time corruption in a small town.”


Kagawad held:PNP forms special body to probe Pangasinan killings

By Christian Supnad

CAMP FLORENDO, San Fernando City, La Union – A special police task force was formed here Wednesday to investigate killings in the province particularly a shooting incident that led to the death of the village chief of Barangay Mestizo, San Carlos City, Pangasinan last Oct. 20 even as a barangay kagawad was held for questioning.

Chief Supt. Franklin Bucayu, Region 1 police director, bared this adding victim Abraham dela Cruz, a resident and acting barangay captain of said place, was on his way home when unidentified persons riding in tandem aboard a motorcycle shot him near his house at about 10 a.m.

The suspects escaped after the incident, passing the barangays of San Juan, Baldog, Talang and Aponit, all in San Carlos City.

A hot pursuit operation was conducted following information that a certain Ramon Yanes, a barangay kagawad of Barangay Balaoac of said city, was one of the assailants.

When approached by police officers to be invited for questioning, Yanes was found in possession of a Cal. 45 pistol.

Failing to present any document to legally possess said firearm, Yanes was put under arrest, said Senior Supt. RosuetoRicaforte, Pangasinan police director.

Also confiscated from Yanes along with the pistol were seven bullets, two magazines with seven bullets, nine live ammunition for M14 rifle, a camouflage pouch and a camouflage jacket.

Yanes, who denied participation in the killing, was subjected to paraffin testing and the confiscated firearm was also subjected to ballistics examination and cross-matching.

He will be included in a police line-up for possible identification by witnesses.

Records showed Yanes had been the subject of several operations and investigation for his alleged involvement in gun-for-hire activities.

A case for violation of Republic Act 8294 is being readied against Yanes for illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.


P78 M out for Sagada road

By Gina Dizon

SAGADA, Mountain Province – Repair of the dangerous Sagada-Dantay Road in this tourist town got a boost with the release of an additional P78 million for its rehabilitation.

This, following the August 2010 resolution forwarded by the Sangguniang Bayan here urging appropriation of P90 million for development of the Sagada-Dantay Road.

A total of P50 million was recently implemented to repair a 1.3 stretch starting from Dantay Junction including slope construction. Further rehabilitation costing P28.8 million would be used continue works up the road stretch.

DPWH estimated one kilometer equal to P25 million cost.

In reference to Resolution No 45-201 of the Sangguniang Bayan of Sagada forwarded to Department of Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim and DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson, Assistant Secretary Maria Catalina Cabral of DPWH informed Vice Mayor Richard Yodong of said release of the P78 million and an additional P42 million deliberation by Congress the amount for fiscal year 2012.

The P13.5 kmDantay-Sagada route has been declared as national road by virtue of Department Order No. 20 by then DPWH Secretary HermogenesEbdaneJr citing the road as a vital access road to boost the tourism industry of the municipality Sagada.

This means concreting of the 13.5-km road can then be directly appropriated by the department as it is a national road.

The Cordillera Regional Development Council in its efforts to promote tourism, also expressed earlier support to the completion of the concreting of the Dantay-Sagada Road.

Regional Department of Tourism Director PurificacionMolintas endorsed said resolution to former DOT Sec. Lim and DPWH Sec. Singson.

The Dantay- Sagada Road was declared John Staunton Road in honor of American missionary John Staunton who built the road in the early 1900s.

The 13.5 hmroad has seen earlier improvement along Mabaaysitio with P22 million released by then Bayan MunaSaturOcampo and an additional P2 million from Sen. Francis Pangilinan.

Some amount from Mt Province LGU funds were also appropriated and implemented below sitioDapdapanan.

In said resolution, the SB cited immediate need for the road to be rehabilitated to prevent further loss of lives.

The road has earlier claimed the death of teachers from Besao in 1996 who were then bound for a field trip.

Two years ago, pastor Arthur Batcagan and three members of his family met their untimely death when their car fell down f the road in October 2009.

Nine lives also were lost in 2007 in a jeep that fell on same road. In same year, Engr. Tomas Lawagan had an accident here which led to his death. Very recently a few months back, the vehicle of Sagada Mayor Eduardo Latawan Jr plunged down the road to the Chico River killing the driver and injuring a passenger.


Suspected drug pusher shot dead in Pangasinan

ROSALES, Pangasinan -- A suspected drug pusher was killed by unidentified gunmen here Wednesday night.

Police identified the victim as Michael Gil Garcia, who died from several gunshot wounds in the body.

Investigators said that Garcia was shot dead in Barangay Zone 5 around 6 p.m.

Police said that Garcia is a suspected drug pusher. He was also involved in a series of robbery incidents in the town.

Investigators believe that the victim might have been eliminated by one of his cohorts.

Recovered from the crime scene were seven spent shells and one slug believed from a .45 caliber pistol.


Panlilio done with politics; will return to priesthood

SAN FERNANDO CITY, Pampanga– Former Pampanga Governor Eddie Panlilio debunked speculations he was angling for an elective position in 2013, saying there is “No more (electoral) politics for me.”

“I am still waiting for the Church’s action on my request to return to the priesthood,” said Panlilio during a novena mass at the St. Jude parish church in Barangay San Agustin in San Fernando City here.

Panlilio was the guest homilist in the Mass celebrated by Rev. Fr. Raul de los Santos, the parish priest.

In his introduction of the suspended priest-turned governor, De los Santos hailed Panlilio for “answering a higher call” in running for the governorship and winning in 2007, as well as in seeking, but losing, re-election in 2010.

The priesthood remained “manifest” in Panlilio, De los Santos said, even in the field of politics with his innate “sense of self-sacrifice and service to the people.”

Panlilio said that out of politics, he would continue in his various advocacies.

These included the environmental preservation with the Save the Trees Coalition that prevented the wholesale cutting of all trees along MacArthur Highway being pursued by the Department of Public Works and Highways and endorsed by the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the city government of San Fernando.

“Thanks to the STC, we can still enjoy the cool shade of the trees,” Panlilio said.

The campaign for good governance, he said, continues with nationwide talks being undertaken by the Kaya Natin group that included himself, former Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca and now Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.

It was in the anti-jueteng advocacy that Panlilio was most emphatic in his homily.

“As long as jueteng politics exists, there will be no chance for good governance to take roots,” he said, lamenting that some priests and pastors regularly receive jueteng money.

Panlilio claimed that in the last elections, a Christian pastor intimated to him that a group of pastors were offered “as much as P100,000 individually” with a number of them accepting the bribe.

Delving on the message of the gospel for the day – of love of God above all, and love of neighbor as the greatest of commandments, Panlilio said these were the same attributes that moved the Italian priest Rev. Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tintorio to live with the Manobos in the hinterlands of Cotabato, fight for their rights and die a martyr’s death.

Panlilio made Tintorio’s “self-sacrifice” as a “ray of hope” in these times of scandals hounding the Catholic clergy, specially that in Pampanga, for whom he asked the congregation to pray.

As early as the first quarter of 2011, Panlilio is being bruited about as a possible running mate of City of San Fernando Mayor Oscar S. Rodriguez in his supposed run for the governorship.

“A Rodriguez-Panlilio team will give a Pineda-Arroyo tandem a run for their money,” a Panlilio supporter said then. “It would be a morality play all over again, the forces of good against the evils of jueteng and corruption.”

AngGalingPartylist Rep. MikeyMacapagal-Arroyo has made no secret his plans to run for vice governor, a position he held from 2001-2004 in tandem with then Gov. Lito Lapid.

Other possible vice gubernatorial wannabes being talked about are Mexico Mayor Teddy Tumang, Candaba Mayor Jerry Pelayo and 4th District Rep. Anna York Bondoc-Sagum. -- Bong Lacson


New Cordillera police chief bares 3-point peace agenda

CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet – The new leadership of the Police Regional Office in the Cordillera Friday spelled out a 3-point agenda in sustaining peace and order efforts in the region which will be a key factor in charting the development of far flung villages.

Chief Supt. Benjamin Magalong, newly-installed police regional director, said the region’s police force are easy to work with, thus, it will be easier on his part to map out strategies to sustain peace and order campaign in the Cordillera.

One of Magalong’s main thrusts is to aggressively pursue the 10-point agenda of Philippine National Police chief Director-General Nicanor A. Bartolome with emphasis on implementation of the one policeman, one barangay policy; arrest of wanted persons and the 24-7 operation of police stations regionwide.

Bartolome presided over the turnover of command between retiring Chief Supt. Villamor A. Bumanglag, a member of Class 1979 of the Philippine Military Academy and Magalong, a member of PMA Class of 1982.

Magalong also underscored the importance of all policemen being familiar with community relations work since the setback of police operations could not only be attributed to failure of intelligence work but also equally a failure of police community relations.

The new police official, who was the executive officer of the Directorate for Police Community Relations over the past ten months, cited he saw the importance of aggressive community relations efforts in achieving the PNP’s goal of bringing peace and order in the countryside and allowing the influx of development therefore.

Magalong, a known tactician and a respected intelligence and operations officer, pointed out the need for information technology enhancement within the regional police force and its operating units.

The police official assured different local leaders and the community of optimum police service that will guarantee lasting peace in the different parts of the region, especially in remote communities where their services are needed.

Considering the diverse culture of the Cordillera, Magalong emphasized need to come out with strategies that will be in accordance with the existing policy of the current leadership so that lasting peace in the region will be achieved the soonest.

Bartolome urged Magalong to implement the PNP 10-point agenda so law enforcers will be effective and efficient in attending to the needs of people.


New routes for Aurora Hill, Trancoville jeeps permanent

By Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY – The city council has approved on final reading an ordinance setting new routes for Aurora Hill and Trancoville public utility jeepneys at the central business district.

Authored by Councilors Nicasio Aliping, Fred Bagbagen, Erdolfo Balajadia, Philian Louis Weygan and Joel Alangsab, the measure was prompted by the positive outcome of the traffic experiment conducted in August last year and extended that September proving that the new routes are beneficial to the traffic condition at the CBD.

The traffic management branch of the city police also recommended the permanent adoption of the new traffic route.

As approved in the measure, Aurora Hill and Trancoville PUJs will traverse the CBD with the following options:

*PUJs traverse Harrison Road passing through Melvin Jones Grandstand and take a right turn at the Abad Santos Drive in front of Women and Children Protection Center of the Baguio City Police Office then turn right to Burnham Park Lake Drive and finally turn right to Bayanihan Hotel and back to Magsaysay Road;

*PUJs traverse Harrison Road passing by the Melvin Jones Grandstad, then turn left to 66th Infantry Loop between the Veterans Memorial Park and Social Security System (SSS) office passing by the Petron Gas Station and up to Caldreon Street then turn left going down between United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) and the triangular island and further down to Claudio St. then turn right to Harrison Road;

*PUJs traverse Harrison Road up to corner of Abad Santos Drive (before the University of the Cordilleras) then take a right turn towards Burnam Park Lake Drive and turn right to Abad Santos Drive passing through the Women and Children Protection Center and turn left to Harrison Road; and

*PUJs traversing Upper Bonifacio St. will turn left to North Drive (in front of the Dept. of Interior and Local Government) and back to Bonifacio St. towards origin.

The proposed measure provides that the PUJs will also observe the odd-even scheme presently being implemented.

Violators will be subject to fines ranging from P1,000 to P3,000.


Ifugao PSWDO thanks groups for relief goods

By Vency D. Bulayungan

LAGAWE, Ifugao - - The Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office here extended its appreciation in behalf of the provincial local government unit to those who provided help and relief goods to the province for distribution to families affected by Typhoons Pedring and Quiel.

PSWD Officer Joyce Niwane said SN Aboitiz, GMA 7 and ABS CBN delivered goods to augment the relief operation of the DSWD. “We express our deep gratitude to them since they helped in easing up the hardships and even loss of lives of residents here.”

In Aguinaldo, the DSWD distributed 81 family packs containing five kilos of rice, four pouches of noodles and six sardines.

In Alfonso Lista, SN Aboitiz distributed 70 family packs containing three kilos of rice, 5-6 pouch of noodles and 6-7 sardines while in Asipulo, the company assisted 175 families by distributing 175 family packs.

In Banaue, a total of 1,347 family packs were distributed -381 packs from DSWD, 154-SN Aboitiz; 312 from GMA and 500 from ABS CBN.

In Hingyon town, the Provincial Local Government Unit and the DSWD distributed 164 family packs; Kiangan – 287 by DSWD; Lagawe 244 family packs from GMA; Lamut-444 from GMA; Mayoyao-207 family packs from DSWD and Tinoc-48 family packs from DSWD.

Out of the 175 barangays in the province, the two typhoons affected 157 barangays and 2,689 families respectively. Both typhoons affected 12,590 persons (6,249 male and 6,345 females).

Pedring and Quiel claimed five lives, one missing, 22 injured and 124 families displaced to the evacuation centers. 143 houses were totally damaged houses while 2,543 were partially damaged.


Probe on sinking areas in Baguio City pushed

By Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY – The city council approved a resolution requesting the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Cordillera to conduct an investigation on the circumstances of the continuing erosion and sinking of portions of Crystal Cave, Bakakeng Central to aid the city in planning and adopting necessary legislations in protecting the area.

In a resolution authored by Councilor Isabelo Cosalan Jr., the body asked the findings and recommendations be turned in within 30 days upon the start of the probe.

Cosalan noted that Pinewood Street at Crystal Cave, Bakakeng Central is not currently passable to all types of motor vehicles as a portion has caved in cutting the road and threatening to sink at least three residential structures.

“The road condition deteriorated through the years, and that road portion collapsed as an aftermath of the recent typhoon Mina,” he noted.

He said the continuing erosion and flooding at that portion of Crystal Cave, Bakakeng Central Barangay poses imminent danger to life and properties.

“A comprehensive report on the geological status and condition of the said area is very important not only as forewarn to residents but also for appropriate consideration relative to any development plan over the area,” Cosalan said.


Relief goods from Binay given in Mt. Province

By Wabilyn C. Mana-od

BONTOC, Mountain Province – The office of Vice President Jejomar Binay donated relief goods to families affected by recent storms that devastated lives and properties in different municipalities last week.

Relief goods came in blue bags with assorted goods that included mineral water, biscuits, can goods and noodles.

The municipality of Bontoc was given 350 bags, 300 bags for Sadanga, 300 bags for Natonin, and 300 bags for Barlig.

A total of 1,250 bags were received by the municipal government here which shall be turned over to beneficiaries.

The said relief goods were ferried to Bontoc by representatives from the Office of the Vice President last Oct. 23.

Mayor PascualSacgaca extended thanks and gratefulness to the Office of the Vice President for donating the said relief goods.

The mayor said the relief goods would be of great help to victims.

With this, the mayor instructed the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office and the Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) to come up with the list of affected families who shall benefit from the same.

The mayor also nstructed the MSWDO to identify deserving individuals so there will be easy and organized distribution of goods. The representatives from the Office of the Vice President came fromIfugao where they also districuted relief foods.

Ifugao was also greatly affected by recent typhoons.


USAID donates P32 M for Luzon disaster programs

The United States Agency for International Development/Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) has donated about P32.4 million for disaster preparedness and response projects in Luzon through the United Nations World Food Program (WFP).

The WFP’s one-year project in the provinces of Benguet, Cagayan, Laguna and Sorsogon is being implemented in collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Office of Civil Defense and WFP’s local NGO partner the Philippine Business for Social Progress.

“WFP highly appreciates USAID/OFDA’s timely and generous funding for a key government priority. This support is critically needed for a country which is so vulnerable to natural disasters,” WFP-Philippines country director Stephen Anderson said in a statement.

“The recent floods and the damage to agriculture caused by Typhoons Pedring and Quiel have highlighted once again how essential it is for us to work together to improve disaster preparedness and response,” he said.

The WFP said participating local government units have earmarked P13.9 million in counterpart funds for the projects, while DSWD is providing P3.9 million from its disaster fund.

A Capacity Needs Assessment on Disaster Preparedness and Response that WFP conducted together with the Earthquakes and Megacities Initiative highlighted the need to mitigate the impact of landslides in Benguet, to improve flood control systems in Cagayan and Laguna and to strengthen the capability of communities in Sorsogon to better respond to volcanic eruptions and flooding, Anderson said.


Press village to rise inBulacan town

PULILAN, Bulacan – A dream come true for Filipino journalists.

Regular and lifetime members of the National Press Club (NPC) of the Philippines will soon have the opportunity to own a house at a prime lot in Barangay Tibag here.

NPC officials led by its president Jerry Yap together with Presidential sister Elena “Balsy” Aquino-Cruz, Bulacan Governor WilhelminoSy-Alvarado, Pulilan Mayor Vicente B. Esguerra, Sr. and Atty. Darlene Marie B. Berberabe, Chief Executive Officer of Pag-IBIG Funds, laid the time capsule over the weekend containing the construction plans for the first 11 housing units of the NPC Village located near the Pulilan exit of the North Luzon Expressway in Barangay Tibag here.

“The project is in line with our efforts to uplift the living conditions of our less privileged members. The NPC Village is a low-cost housing project in partnership with Pag-Ibig fund that will extend soft loans to qualified journalist-borrowers,” Yap said.

Former NPC president and current Alyansang Filipinong Mamamahayag (Afima) president Benny Antiporda said the NPC has resolved to allocate P6 million from its funds to begin construction of the 48 housing units which will be sold to NPC members at very minimal cost.

Other NPC partners have even vowed to help underwrite down payment and other expenses that would be required from journalist-borrowers.

“This is low-cost in its very meaning. Each house will have enough room for the family. There will also be a car port and a provision for the construction of a loft. This will be the NPC’s legacy to its members,” Antiporda, who co-chairs the housing project with NPC secretary Louie Logarta, said.

Yap and Antiporda thanked Aquino for personally helping the NPC to have a link with the Pag-IBIG Funds through Atty. Berberabe who promised them that she will ask the board to make NPC members regular Pag-IBIG members.

Aquino, for her part, hailed the initiatives of the NPC officials in providing low-cost housing units to less privilege Filipino journalist, adding that housing is the next best thing to education that Filipinos should have.

Alvarado, on the other hand, said Bulacan is honored to be the host of the NPC village because the province is the hometown of the great propagandist of Philippine revolution Gat. Marcelo H. delPilar, the acknowledged “patron saint” of Filipino journalists.


4 NPAs slain in Cagayan clash

By Charlie Lagasca

BAGGAO, Cagayan -- Four New People’s Army guerrillas were killed and scores of others, including three civilians, were wounded in a running gun battle Thursday between the insurgents and men of the Army’s 17th Infantry Battalion in this town.

The Armed Forces’ Northern Luzon Command said in a report the clash started as early as 5:30 a.m. when the Army’s Bayanihan patrol led by 2Lt. Kenneth Pangcoga was fired upon by a group of NPA rebels.

The identities of the slain rebels were not immediately known, but the three civilians wounded in the crossfire were identified as ZaldyDurado, 25; Arnold Pasion, 30; and four-year-old AmolitoDurado.

Nolcom said civilians tipped off Pangcoga as early as 4 a.m. to warn the group of the rebels’ presence in Barangay San Miguel, Baggao town.

Items recovered by government troops included two M-16 rifles, a shotgun, a generator set, a laptop and computer printer, a cellular phone, and subversive documents, Nolcom said.

Nolcom spokesman Capt. Jovily Carmel Cabading said, “We, as soldiers, do not rejoice in the death of these four rebels. They are our fellow Filipinos.”

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Alvin Flores, the commander of the 17th IB, requested for medical teams instead of the usual combat reinforcement to the scene of the firefight.

“We are sending a message to the wounded NPA (rebels) that we will receive them with open arms and will definitely attend to their medical needs. We have no choice but to stop the hot pursuit operations because they opted to hide inside the civilians’ abode,” Flores said.

“If they fire at our troops first, we cannot immediately fire back fearing for the presence of civilians inside the houses. If they continue to hide inside the houses, it will appear that they are holding the civilians hostage,” he added.


P'sinan teacher guilty of rape

CALASIAO, Pangasinan – A public school teacher here has been sentenced to eight to 17 years in jail for raping a 14-year-old student in 2008.

In a 17-page decision, Judge Caridad Villegas-Galvez of RTC Branch 43 here also ordered Oliver Ico of the Calasiao Comprehensive National High School to indemnify the victim with P15,000 as moral damages.

The victim’s relatives said they were relieved justice was attained for their kin who was facing a bright future when this was clouded by what the victim’s teacher did.


Palace grants P110 million to repair Baguio dumpsite

By Dexter A. See

BAGUIO CITY October 28 – President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III recently approved the release of P110 million which will be used to rehabilitate the Irisan dumpsite to prevent the further collapse of its retaining wall that will lead to another trashslide in the future which will pose a serious threat to life and limb, especially to those living below the closed dumpsite.

Out of the said amount, P10 million will be utilized to pay the hauling of garbage that were washed down to the villages below the dumpsite while the P100 million will be used to construct a super steel structure that will stabilize the dumpsite’s retaining wall and hold the inert waste from being carried away by water during heavy rains.

Rep. Bernardo M. Vergara cited the approval of the release of the multi-million funds for the repair and rehabilitation of the Irisan dumpsite shows the concern of the Aquino administration in helping the city government address its garbage problem that will put an end to the controversy and will bring back the vibrance of the city’s local tourism industry which had been greatly affected by negative reports about the trash slide.

Vergara, together with Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, had been constantly meeting with the technical working group of the Irisan dumpsite rehabilitation over the past several days to finalize the appropriate design of the super steel structure which will be installed to protect the retaining wall from further collapsing.

Included in the closure plan of the Irisan dumpsite is its conversion into an ecotourist park which will serve as an added tourism destination in the city for visitors to visit and that the same will help boost the city’s tourism industry.

Currently, the Irisan dumpsite is simply being used as a sorting and transfer station for the generated non-biodegradable waste of the city before the same will be hauled out of the city by Pro Tech Machinery Corporation pursuant to its commitment contained in an earlier memorandum of agreement it signed with the local government.

Domogan explained the dumpsite is no longer serving as an open dumpsite after its closure in 2008 and that it is now serving as a transfer station for the non-biodegradable waste while the biodegradable wastes are being fed into the two Environmental Recycling System (ERS) machines that were put in place for their conversion into high grade fertilizer.

With the funding assistance from Malacanang, city officials are confident that the city’s garbage problem will be addressed in due time and that fears among residents living in villages below the dumpsite of a worst case scenario in the future will be prevented since the super steel structure will serve as their protection.

The detailed estimates and programs of work for the rehabilitation and improvement of the Irisan dumpsite will be submitted by the city government to the office of Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson since it will be the public works department which will undertake the project to ensure that the quality of work will be strictly monitored to prevent the occurrence of trashslides caused by the collapse of the dumpsite retaining wall.


DPWH, Dalog agree on workers’ tenure

By Pamela F. Dungala

BONTOC, Mountain Province -- The district engineering office of this province has agreed on the proposal of Rep. Maximo Dalog to accommodate applicants flocking the DPWH office for a month only to work as road side maintenance laborers under the district office.

With the increasing percentage of unemployment rate for local wage earners, Dalog and DPWH officials agreed for the office to accommodate 252 roadside laborers for October, 180 workers for November and 160 laborers for December which exceeded authorized roadside maintenance workers for this province.

DPWH Secretary Rogelio L. Singson has issued a memorandum early this year relative to the hiring of maintenance workers and specifying the number of the same for every district with the Mountain Province District Engineering Office having only 89 authorized roadside workers.

The agreement between the district and the congressman shall make the applicants take turn to work as roadside maintenance workers.

However, roadside maintenance workers assigned to remote road sections will remain until the end of the year as it is difficult for the office to conduct orientations every month which shall be time-consuming and to save government resources as the office is issuing working gears/gadgets and/or tools to every employed maintenance worker.

The non-replacement of said workers will also not disrupt the flow of maintenance activities on hard-to-reach areas which are vulnerable to slides and road blocks.

On the other hand, others who were not accommodated will replace those who were accommodated for this month of October 2011 particularly those assigned within the capital town and those assigned at the office as agreed.

Wages for these maintenance workers shall be sourced out from the savings of the maintenance section.

However, since the district engineering office has exceeded the authorized number of maintenance workers since April 2011 to present, said savings is no longer enough to employ every applicant coming in the office.

“The savings is already depleted; hence, we have to cut off for the mean time the employment of additional roadside maintenance workers”, said maintenance engineer Manuel Likigan.

This is to maintain workers until the end of the year especially that we are experiencing heavy rains and typhoons these months.

Meanwhile, while the district has cut-off the hiring for roadside workers, it has still employed hundreds of workers since last year with Dalog mediating to address unemployment rate of the province.
As it is, maintenance workers are still expected to work meticulously while complying with maintenance orders even with only a month of employment.


Increase in fine for drunk driving mulled

By Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY – An increase in the penalty for driving under the influence of liquor or drugs from P1,000 to P5,000 has been proposed here.

Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda who proposed to amend Ordinance No. 7-84 or the city’s Comprehensive Transportation and Traffic Regulations for this purpose said the updating of the fine for said offense has long been overdue.

“With the increasing number of vehicular accidents associated with driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs, there is a need to increase the said penalty to eradicate or at least lessen the said incidents,” Tabanda noted in her proposed amendatory ordinance.

“The outcome will hopefully lessen vehicular accidents, injuries to the motorists or citizens, damage to property and even save lives. A higher penalty for said offense would be commensurate to the outcome it may yield, which sole purpose is for the safety of the motorists and the citizenry,” she added.

Tabanda’s proposal will be discussed by the city council soon.

As this developed, the city council approved Tabanda’s resolution requesting the Dept. of Transporation and Communication (DOTC), Land Transportation Office (LTO), Highway Patrol Group, the city police, Dept. of Trade and Industry (DTI), the city treasury office and other concerned agencies to strictly implement and enforce Republic Act No. 10054 or the Motorcycle Helmet Act.

“Due to the unstable prices of fuel nowadays, there has been a substantial increase of individuals who are riding motorcycles within the streets of the city (and) we often see a lot of motorcycles plying our streets but do not comply with the use of protective helmets,” Tabanda said.

“For the protection of the riders, there is an urgent need to strictly implement the mandates of R.A. 10054 specifically on the proper wearing of the prescribed motorcycle helmet for drivers and back riders.”

Under the act, violators are subject to pay fines ranging from P1,500 to P10,000.


Dads back request for CJH lot segregation for school site

By Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY – The city council Monday endorsed to the Camp John Hay Management Corporation the approval of the request of barangay Country Club Village for the identification, segregation and use of a portion of the Camp John Hay reservation as a school site.

In a resolution authored by Councilor Peter Fianza, the body also urged the JHMC to consider the immediate grant of a temporary or conditional permit for the construction of a school building to be funded from a national allocation pending the approval of the request for segregation.

Fianza noted that the site has been identified by the City Land Needs and Identification Committee upon request of the barangay as a school site as early as 1991.

On the strength of a permit issued by the JHMC, the barangay was able to construct two additional temporary classrooms on the site.

“With all the classrooms of the barangay being located in different places in the barangay and all of temporary nature and use, the school site has to be established (and) the barangay thus has to reiterate and pursue its request with the immediate hope that the construction of the school building be allowed within the year to prevent the allocation for the school building realigned or reverted,” Fianza said.

The barangay under barangay captain DencioAlmag last August 7 approved Resolution No. 24 following up the request reiterating the prioritization of the request for the identification, segregation and use of said lot for said purpose.

“With the (said) request… still pending favorable action, intentions to construct classrooms or a building has not been implemented (and) without the school building, the school and the community will continue to be faced with the absence of classrooms especially with the need to have another classroom for the next grade level,” they said.


Cordillera Police Roundup

2 men nabbed for trying to sneak in drugs inside jail

BAGUIO CITY – Two men in separate occasions were caught red-handed while trying to deliver shabu and marijuana inside the city jail here last week.

Jeremias L. Ballasio was caught with a sachet of dried marijuana fruiting tops which he was about to deliver to Joel B. Fallorin, a known shabu dealer from Itogon, Benguet, who is in prison.

The contraband, which weighed seven grams, was found by jail officer James Gabil in Ballasio’s wallet Oct. 26.

Ballasio, 43, meat vendor was a resident of Slide, Tuding, Itogon, Benguet.

Earlier, JO1 Bonbon Pangcog also foiled Allan R. Joseph Reyes from allegedly smuggling a sachet of .28 gram shabu into the city jail Oct. 24.

Reyes was 20 years old, jobless, and resident of Block 1, Lot 58, Barangay West Quirino Hill.

A police report said about 3 p.m., Pangcog who was detailed as gate officer, was asked by Reyes to give a plastic bag containing packs of noodles and sachets of coffee to an inmate named Joker Velanueva.

Subsequently, the jail officer invited the visitor inside and, in front of the latter, made routine inspection of the items he was conveying to the detainee.

The jail officer came to discover briefly later that one of the noodle packs had a strange sachet of seasoning. It was found out to be shabu.

The report said the pack of noodles had already been opened beforehand, then the shabu was placed inside, and made to look like regular seasoning; afterward, the noodle pack was resealed.

Warden Chief Insp. Khita notified immediately the regional Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency upon interception of the dangerous drugs to handle filing of illegal drug cases against the suspects.

Man nabbed in Abra shooting incident
BANGUED, Abra -- Police arrested a man who shot to death a person while injuring another on Oct. 20 at Barangay Calot here.

The fatality was identified as Ryan Belmonte, 32 while injured was Irene Bose, 31, both residents of Barangay Talampac, Lacub town in the province.

The suspect was identified as Dominador P. Belmonte, 47 of Silag, Calot, Bangued.

A police report said the victim and the suspect had a heated argument after which the victim went to bed but the suspect followed him and shot him several times.

Bose came to pacify the suspect but she was also shot on her right arm.

As a result, Ryan died on the spot while Bose was immediately rushed to the Abra Provincial Hospital for medical treatment.

Dominador was arrested after the incident and is now under the custody of Bangued police while charges were prepared against him in court.

The police report said the weapon used was a Cal. 9 mm as evidenced by the three spent shells recovered from the crime scene.

Farmer bumped by trike dies; young man nabbed
CONNER, Apayao – Police held in custody a young man here for bumping a farmer with a motorcycle along the national road of Malama on Oct. 21 which resulted to the death of the latter.

The victim was identified as Benigno A. Gannaban, 56, married of Malama while the suspect was identified as Alcantara P. Parutto, 18, of Purag, Badduat, Kabugao.

Based on the investigation, the suspect was driving a blue motorcycle owned by a Alberto C. Mabborang of Malama along the road when he bumped the victim and immediately sped away.

Police immediately conducted a follow-up operation in coordination with the Kabugao police that led to the arrest of the suspect on Oct. 22 at his residence.

The suspect and the recovered motorcycle are now under the custody of Conner police while a case of reckless imprudence tesulting in homicide was being readied against him.

Man owns up to rape-slay of 13-year-old girl
CONNER, Apayao – A man has owned up to killing of a 13-year-old girl who was found found floating naked in a creek at Barangay Buluan here by a certain Loreto Layugan on Oct. 20, at around 10:45 a.m.

The body was identified as that of Lote E. Gaano, of SitioBisokol, Buluan, Conner.

Investigation disclosed that the victim asked permission from his father to gather shells (agurung) afternoon of Oct. 19 but failed to return home in the evening that prompted his father to follow and search for her the whole night but was unsuccessful.

The following day, the cadaver of the victim was found at the creek and upon lifting the cadaver from the water it was discovered that she suffered major injuries on her head and broken skull.

Conner police conducted investigation that led to the identification of the suspect Joven R. Rimudo, 49 of Sta. Maria, Camarines Sur and presently residing at same barangay.

The suspect admitted the crime and revealed that he came from a drinking spree.

While on his way home, he saw the victim at the creek and attempted to rape her but she resisted by kicking the suspect that prompted him to strike the victim’s head with a stone that made her unconscious.

Rimando immediately fled to his residence after the incident but was arrested by the police and is now under the custody of Conner police.

Farmer jailed for sex abuse
LUNA, Apayao -- A farmer was nabbed here for sexual abuse last week.

A police report identified him as Noriel R. Gamiao, 32 of Barangay Bacsay here who was nabbed here at Oct. 23 at the barangay. The suspect was arrested by the policemen of Luna police led by Insp. Ryan H. Tayaban, deputy town police chief by virtue of an arrest warrant issued by Executive Judge Francisco Donatoopf the Regional Trial Court, Branch 33, Ballesteros, Cagayan.

The police report did not identify the victim while the arrested person is now under the custody of Luna police.

Businessman nabbed for rape
ALFONSO LISTA, Ifugao – Town police led by Insp. Alex Kimayong arrested a businessman identified as Rogelio S. Mique, 53 of Barangay Poblacion here for rape on Oct. 20.

He was arrested after an arrest warrant was issued by Judge Rufus G MalecdanJr of Regional Trial Court 15, Alfonso Lista.

Mique was was later presented to the court and incrcerateeda the town jail.

Wanted man nabbed in Abra
DOLORES, Abra – Police nabbed a wanted man here for frustrated murder last week.
A police report said Lito T. Zapata, 40, of Kemmel, Lublubba here was arrested for frustrated murder on Oct. 18 at about 5 a.m.

A warrant for Zapata’s arrest was earlier issued by Judge Corpus B Alzate of the Regional Trial Court Branch 1 in the capital town of Bangued with a recommended bail bond of P200,000.

The accused was turned-over to the court concerned for proper disposition and was later incarcerated at the Abra Provincial Jail.

‘Thief’ arrested in police operation
LAGAWE, Ifugao – A laborer was arrested in an entrapment operation conducted by police here on Oct. 17 at about 10 a.m. at Poblacion South at Mila’s bakery.

The suspect was identified as Ablus L. Angayon, 28 of Pugo, Amganad in the tourist town of Banaue in the province.

Based on the investigation, the victim identified as Vicente L. Kalaw, 34, government employee and resident of Bliss, Lamut town lost his wallet when he rode a bus from Baguio to Lagawe night of Oct. 7.

Kalaw’s wallet reportedly contained cash and important documents including his Smart SIM card which the suspect used in texting the cellphone numbers of the victim’s relatives demanding P2,500 in exchange for the wallet to be returned.

The victim reported the incident to Lagawe police who immediately carried out an entrapment operation resulting to the arrest of the suspect.

Angayon is now under the custody of Lagawe police pending disposition of the case.


P.3 B needed for rehab of CV irrigation facilities

By Charlie Lagasca

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya – Cagayan Valley, the country’s leading rice and corn-producing region, needs at least P300 million to rehabilitate its typhoon-damaged irrigation systems.

The National Irrigation Administration said the amount covers the repair of 234 main and small irrigation facilities destroyed during the recent onslaught of typhoons “Mina,” “Pedring” and “Quiel” in the region.

These typhoons, according to NIA, damaged a significant number of irrigation facilities in the region’s mainland with Cagayan accounting for 24 damaged irrigation systems; Isabela, 45; Quirino, 19; and Nueva Vizcaya, 145.

Engineer Vicente Galvez, NIA director for Cagayan Valley, said some of these facilities need immediate restoration in time for the next planting season for the region to maintain its level of rice and corn production.

Isabela is the country’s top corn producer and ranks second in palay yield. All in all, the region accounts for some 20 percent of the country’s total corn and rice production.

Galvez said the damaged irrigation facilities impact on farmlands totaling 36,817 hectares tilled by 32,508 farmers.


Moratorium sought on dues of storm-hit farmers in C. Luzon

MASANTOL, Pampanga – Gov. Lilia G. Pineda said Tuesday that she has requested the national government for a moratorium on the collection of dues and contribution from farmers in Central Luzon, who suffered financial reverses due to recent typhoons and calamities.

Pineda said she urged National Irrigation Authority Administrator Antonio Nangel to exempt the farmers, particularly those in the Pampanga’s 4th District, from paying their obligation until next planting season to help them recover their losses.

Pampanga’s 4th District includes this small town, Apalit, Candaba, Macabebe, Minalin, San Luis, San Simon, and Santo Tomas, which were severely devastated by back-to-back typhoons “Pedring” and “Quiel.”

“I am asking NIA administrator Nangel to exempt from paying irrigation service fees our farmers whose crops were almost totally washed out,” Pineda said.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) reported that Pampanga incurred P1.3 billion of loss in rice with 31,135 hectares of farmland battered and P760 million damages in fisheries with 4,514.81 hectares of fishpond bruised by typhoons “Pedring” and “Quiel.”

Earlier, NIA said that would allot around P18 million for the rehabilitation of communal irrigations in Pampanga with the municipalities of Candaba and San Luis to be allocated the highest at P4 million each.

On the other hand, some 10 million tilapia fingerlings, 18 million bangus (milkfish) fingerlings, and 500 gill nets will be handed out to typhoon-hit fisher folks.

Nangel, who also recently attended the farmers' forum in San Luis town together with Pineda and other mayors, assured the farmers of equitable collections based on the validated reports by the respective local government units (LGUs).

He said that for those farmers who were totally deprived of earnings as the ready-to-harvest palay were destroyed by floodwaters, they will be given exemption.

However, those farmers who still harvest up to the extent of 60 percent, they still need to pay 50 percent of their total obligation, he added.


Sagada grabs awards in Mt Prov Arts Festival

by Gina Dizon

SAGADA, Mountain Province --Young artists in this tourist town grabbed most awards of art contests among elementary and high school students in the recently concluded Festival of the Arts hosted by St Mary’s School here.

In same event conducted by the Department of Education Mt Province Division held Oct. 23 to 25, delegates from Mountain Province’s District 1 towns of Barlig, Paracelis, Sadanga and Bontoc romped off with winners of the cultural troupe competitions.

The following were the winners: For collage making contest , Grade 4 category: 1st place-Rosalyn Balisong of Antadao National High School (Sagada), 2nd- JericoBasilio of Lagawa Elem School (Bauko), 3rd- Dennis Oryan of Barlig Elem School. For Grade 5, poster making: 1st- Lloyd Gayagay of Sagada Central School, 2nd- Regine de Los Reyes of Madep-deppas Elem School (Sabangan) ; and 3rd-JoshrielBugnosen of Barlig Elem School . For Grade 6, painting: 1st- Benito Domanog of Antadao Elem School (Sagada), 2nd- Bless Annoque of Natonin Elem School , and 3rd-Crismer Culop of Cadad-anan Elem School (Tadian).

For the secondary level on the arts category, 1st place went to Delpead Gayudan of Mt Data National High School ( Bauko); 2nd place was won by Artemio Dapadap of Bacarri Trade National Agricultural School (Paracelis); and 3rd place to John Falag-ey of Albago National High School (Bontoc).

Art exhibit competitions for the secondary level was won by Luis EdpisJr of St Mary’s School (Sagada), 2nd place (Barlig), and 3rd place to Daphne Pearl Kinaud and Meah Garcia of SMS (Sagada). For the elementary level, 1st place was taken by Brix Sario of Sabangan Elem School, Joshua Edrosalam of Bontoc , and 3rd place to John Gayagay and EliyahMagsino of Antadao Elementary School and Sagada Central School.

Meantime, Eastern Bontoc Vocational Agricultural High School of Barlig took off 1st place on the cultural troupe competitions with their dance depicting the community practise of building a house. Talubin National High School of Bontoc got 2nd place with their rain dance ; and Bantay-Anonat Annex dancers of Paracelis with their courtship dance took off 3rd place.

For the elementary level, Anabel Elementary School of Sadanga with their agricultural dance romped off with the 1st prize while Bontoc Central School got 2nd place.

Bagnen Oriente Elementary School of Bauko made it to the 3rd place among nine participating districts of the Department of Education participating from the Mountain Province division.

For the choir competition, Guinaang National High School of Bontoc got 1st place followed by Barlig National High School for 2nd place, and Bauko National High School taking the 3rd place. Meantime, for the elementary level, Balugan Elementary School of Sagada romped off with the 1st place followed by Cagubatan Elem School (Tadian), and 3rd place to Tadian Central School.


Masons hold medical mission in Conner

By Bro Kantaro

CONNER, Apayao -- The members of the Free and Accepted Masons (FAM) of the Philippines of Apayao Lodge No. 396 in coordination with the Office of Rep. Eleonor Bulut-Begtang, Provincial Government of Apayao, Far North General Hospital, Conner District Hospital and the Local Government of Conner, Apayao headed by Mayor Leonardo D. Dangoyrecently held a medical mission here in Barangay Guina-angon in the compound of Guina-ang Elementary School.

Activities included dental extraction, check-up and medicine distribution with more than two hundred recipients.

The medical mission was a concerted effort of the members of masons of Apayao Lodge No. 396 of Sta. Marcela, Apayao under the leadership of WB Edwin Caluducan. There were also mason members from the Rio Chico Lodge No. 182 and the Mampiya-an Lodge No. 284 both of Tabuk, Kalinga, and the Bontoc Lodge No. 140 of Bontoc, Mountain Province who attended the event.

This medical mission was spearheaded by three mason doctors who led the medical mission namely: Dr. Danilo Domingo of Far North General Hospital in Luna, Apayao; Dr. Nelson O. Rigor and Dr. Oliver D. Lacambra, both of Conner District Hospital.

Dr. CristetaBetat-Lacambra and Dr. Andrea Songgadan-Bartolome led the dental extraction.

Nurses and midwives of Conner District Hospital and barangay officials of Guina-ang helped and assisted in the said event.

Prior to the medical mission, a similar activity was conducted in Balbalan, Kalinga on March 21-25 spearheaded by masons of the provinces of Kalinga and Apayao.

Conner Ex-Mayor and Mason Bro. Manuel Betat and family accommodated members.


Drug groups disbanded with arrest of their ‘lords’

BAGUIO CITY -- Two drug groups were recently disbanded flowing arrest of its members by operatives of the regional Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency headed by Cordillera PDEA Gil Cesario P. Castro.

A PDEA report said Bernardo C. Oliveros, 36, the so-called drug lord of Baguio City, and leader of the Oliveros drug group was recently nabbed.

A notorious and long-existing drug group in Baguio, affiliated closely with the Bahala Na gang, was also deemed deactivated, when one of its members was recently sentenced to life term; two others got busted and currently undergoing trial in court; one died lately of shabu overdose, reportedly; while, still, another member is now paralytic due to alleged abuse of drugs.

The report said during Castro’s first three months as regional director, from June 24 to Sept. 21, a total of P7,414,279.25 worth of dangerous drugs was seized by PDEA, Philippine National Police and other peace and order units in the Cordillera.

P5 million of the total ‘yield’ were in the form of marijuana plants, hashish and shabu.

The illegal drugs were nabbed in 25 anti-drug operations, which involved 14 buy-busts or entrapments, eight searches and marijuana eradication drive.

Operations resulted in the arrest of 28 pushers and three possessors of dangerous drugs.
Also, 29 were men and two are women.

Two of the arrested drug law violators were in target list of drug personalities.

A total of 19 drug cases were filed against the suspects before different courts in the Cordillera.


Intelligence funds


Intelligence funds of law enforcement bodies of government which include the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, along others should be audited by the Commission on Audit.

As things stand now, these are not audited by the COA. How taxpayer’s money is spent like in the case of intelligence funds should be known by the people. And this includes discretionary funds of local officials which are also not audited by the COA. How intelligence funds are being used should be known considering these have reportedly not been used judiciously and as a result crime is still high to add insurgency and unrest in Mindanao.

Senate minority Alan Peter Cayetano lamented the seeming inability of both the AFP and PNP to stop the series of bombings and acts of terrorism in Mindanao despite the huge amount of intelligence funds made available to them.

The senator noted that in 2011 the AFP was given P124.397 million in confidential and intelligence funds while the PNP was given P270.029 million.

For the proposed 2012 budget, PNP’s budget is still pegged at P270.029 million while AFP’s budget is slated to increase to P136.397 million.

“With intelligence funds this big, why are these agencies still unable to get to the masterminds of these bombings and put a stop to continuing acts of terrorism in the country?” he asked.

The minority leader pointed out that the failure of government to stabilize peace and order particularly in Mindanao is one of the major factors why foreign investments and development of local economy continue to be hampered.

Indeed, if citizens do not feel secure in their own country, how can we expect investors to come in? If investors become scarce, how can we expect to boost the country’s economy?

Must a “VIP” be harmed first before law enforcers intensify their intelligence efforts? According to Cayetano, the country’s soldiers and policemen have the capability to act swiftly and effectively but results could not be seen.

The senator urged leaders of both the PNP and the AFP to step up their intelligence gathering in order to justify the millions of funds they receive for this purpose.

Taxpayers’ money should be used for its intended purpose. Law enforcement agencies should be more transparent in the use intelligence funds so the people could if these are indeed being used properly. Why the silence?


Road blues once more with feelings

Alfred P. Dizon

BAGUIO CITY -- This monster called “preventive maintenance” by the Department of Public Works and Highways has gone far enough and basing from tirades of people here and in the nearby La Trinidad town of Benguet in the media, they want heads to roll.

Nowadays, it takes two to three hours to commute from La Trinidad to Baguio as a result of the botched road asphalting from km 4 to 3 and the ongoing road repair from Pines Hospital to the Camdas intersection.

A lot of public utility jeeps have stopped plying their trade as a result and Tabora Park (which is not actually a park) but a jeep terminal of La Trinidad jeeps is now usually empty and commuters have to wait for the handful of PUJs which dutifully wait for passengers there.

La Trinidad mayor Greg Abalos told a media interview he had written PWH Sec. Rogelio Singson to do something about the situation but the latter has still to reply.

Abalos explained that the La Trinidad local government had nothing to do with the situation since the Halsema Highway is a national road and the DPWH just informs them if they intend to do a project over such roads.

The mayor said he also wrote the contractor to hasten the project but there was also no response. As of this time, the contractor was seemingly taking his own sweet time to finish the project as only a few workers were there. Meanwhile, all the rah-rah boys of the DPWH could only say was that the agency was doing the projects as part of “preventive maintenance.”

In Baguio, when the road projects would finally be done is still a question. These include the Loakan, Naguillan and Aurora Hill projects. People have repeatedly asked why these good cemented roads were torn to be cemented once again. All these DWPWH officials could say was that these projects were “preprogrammed” and covered under “road preventive maintenance.”

Maybe somebody should tell P-Noy, Singson and their drumbeaters that the administration’s “tuwid na daan” policy had actually become “sirang daan” policy due to misguided programs like those of the DPWH. “Preventive maintenance” projects are happening all over the country wherein roads in good condition are being torn to be replaced with the same mixture.

I was in Isabela on Tuesday and saw the same situation in Ramon town where half of the well-paved road was being demolished to be redone. Asiong Aksaya came to mind, that comics strip character who only knows how to do things in excess.

I actually came from Paracelis, Mountain Province where I saw the decrepit dirt roads in the town. Funds for road maintenance could actually have been used to concretize roads which needed more attention like those in Paracelis.

Maybe P-Noy still doesn’t know it, or is being given the wrong information by DPWH undertakers so they could earn more commissions from these projects. Come to think of it, the money used for these useless and extravagant road projects could have been put to better use like those on livelihood.

Taxpayers’ money should be used judiciously all the time. Often, we hear of DPWH officials saying they are just implementing pre-programmed projects. It is high time, the top honchos of this government agency should not recommend oir approve useless projects and stop these if they can put their integrity ahead of their greed.

Nevermind if the project allocation reverts back to the national treasury where it could be programmed and put to better use for the benefit of the greater majority.


Interview with Lt. Col. Manny Pacquiao

Perry Diaz

Finally, after numerous attempts, world boxing champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao returned my phone call for an interview. Our conversation went as follows:

Perry: Thank you, Congressman Pacquiao, for returning my call.
Pacman: Don’t thank me; thank God I did it.
Perry: Congressman… or should I say, Lt. Col., sir… you haven’t lost your sense of humor.
Pacman: Well, my friend, you see… every time I make one billion pesos, it humors me.
Perry: Well, in my case, just talking to you humors me!
Pacman: Hoy! Watch your mawt! What do you think I am? A clown?
Perry: No, no, no! Actually, you’re my hero, sir! Didn’t you know that our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal was like you, a boxer? He was also a martial artist, a fencing artist, and a great lover. And he’s a linguist, too.
Pacman: I’m better than Rizal.
Perry: How so?
Pacman: Well, I’m also a doctor with a PhD in Sports Science. But I’m better than Rizal cuz I received my doctor’s degree with “honors.”
Perry: You mean, “honoris causa,” which is for the sake of honor, right?
Pacman: Same thing, same thing. Now, when it comes to boxing, Rizal was just an amateur. I have eight world titles; Rizal didn’t have any.
Perry: But Rizal was a martial artist.
Pacman: That’s nothing! He’s only a martial artist; I’m a marital expert. Ask my wife, Jinkee. We have four kids and seven more to go. Hehehe…
Perry: Gee! You amaze me, sir! But how about fencing? Rizal was very good at fencing.
Pacman: Hoy! When it comes to fencing, Rizal can’t beat my record. I have installed a fence around my 500-hectare property all by myself. Did he do something like that?
Perry: I guess you’re right…
Pacman: And don’t forget, I’m also a congressman! And one more thing, I am a Lieutenant Colonel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines! And I can sing, “My Way,” better than Sinatra!
Perry: Wow! You definitely are much better than Rizal. But one thing that Rizal was and you’re not is that he’s a linguist.
Pacman: Huh? Ling… what?
Perry: I said, linguist.
Pacman: Lingo? Hoy, I’m better than Rizal. I go to church not only on Lingo but also on Lunes, Martes, Miyerkoles, Huwebes, Viernes, and Sabado. I go to church every day of the week, not just on Lingo, amigo!
Perry: And I suppose you pray the rosary every day, too.
Pacman: Huh? How did you know about Rosario? Who told you that?
Perry: Rosario? Hahaha…. Ikaw, ha! Pilyo ka pala.
Pacman: Hoy! This is confessional information, okay?
Perry: Confessional? You lost me there, sir. What do you mean?
Pacman: Well, it’s like when you confess to a priest, the priest can’t tell it to anybody.
Perry: Oh, you mean, confidential?
Pacman: That’s it! Same thing, same thing!
Perry: Okay, I’ll keep it confessional then. I’m getting to know you a lot better, Congressman Dr. Pacquiao. Hehehe…
Pacman: Don’t forget my new title, Lt. Col., okay?
Perry: Oh, yeah! Congressman Lt. Col. Dr. Pacquiao it is then, sir.
Pacman: Thank you. I just want to settle the record long.
Perry: You mean, “set the record straight,” right?
Pacman: Same thing, same thing.
Perry: By the way, lest I forget, there is one thing that Rizal was very good at -- he’s a good shooter. He knows how to shoot! I understand that you don’t know how to shoot.
Pacman: How do you know I’m not a good shooter? I wouldn’t be promoted to Lt. Col. if I weren’t a good shooter. I’m the best shooter that’s why I was promoted from Master Sergeant to Lt. Col.!
Perry: And without firing a gun, ha? Can you prove that you’re the best shooter?
Pacman: Of course, I can. Just ask Rosario!
Perry: Ay naku! Maloloko ako! Good-bye, Congressman Lt. Col. Dr. Pacquiao. Don’t pray too much, okay?
Pacman: Eat your heart out, Perry. Good-bye. Hehehe….


Baguio earns Guinness record for biggest Ten Commandments tablet

Ramon S. Dacawi

BAGUIO CITY – The Guinness Book of World Records has certified a wall bearing the Ten Commandments mounted on Dominican Hill here as the biggest of its kind, triggering celebration when the official record was presented last Wednesday morning.

Measuring 152.90 square meters, the slanting wall of an A-frame prayer building was made to look like two giant stone tablets bearing the Ten Commandments.

Its construction was commissioned last February by Grace Galindez Gupana, founder of the Kingdom of Jerusalem Halleluyah Foundation International.

The total structure costing P5 million was the 10th Guinness record for Gupana, a businesswoman from Nueva Vizcaya who is introduced in her foundation brochure as its “Prophetess and Ambassador for Peace and Goodwill for Israel to the World”.

Among others, Gupana earlier commissioned seamstresses who stitched the biggest flag (Israel), biggest banner (777 Yahweh’s banner), aside from registering with Guinness the largest diabetes screening, blood pressure check, blood identification and cholesterol test.

In 2008, she had the biggest Philippines flag (100 meters by 200 meters) unfurled at the Baguio Athletic Bowl to mark the country’s 110thIndependence Day.

Beyond placing the city in Guinness, Gupana explained the tablet, built facing north after the entrance to the hilltop that used to be the prayer grounds of priests of the Catholic Dominican Order, was in response to a high calling for her to abide.

“On the highest mountain a miracle happens”, she said, adding “God chose Baguio (as site as it is) the nearest to heaven”. She equated the place to a “Mount Sinai in the New Testament”.

Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Menashe Bar-on graced the ceremonies, congratulating Gupana for the feat. He drew comparison to the Hebrew celebration of Shavuot, the day the Torah, including the Ten Commandments, was revealed by God to the Jewish nation through Moses at Mt. Sinai.

“This is a glorious achievement,” agreed Minister Abraham Okoliko of the Nigerian embassy who represented King Governor Jonah David Jang of Jos City who was a benefactor of the giant tablet project.

Guinness representative Vic Fabellana read and presented the world record certificate covering the tablet, copies of which were given to Bar-on, Domogan and Okoliko.

City officials agreed would provide moral compass to a city that, in the recent past, came out with the “largest tossed salad” and “longest longanisa line” as part of its tourism come-ons.

In his weekly press conference later in the afternoon, mayor Mauricio emphasized that the prayer structure will be open to people and groups of any religious or spiritual beliefs. He said the city will soon set guidelines on its use.

Rep. Bernardo Vergara expressed hopes the structure, which houses an altar and a replica of the Ark of the Covenant, would serve to drive away evil spirits spawned by disasters, aside from the evils of illegal drugs, gambling and prostitution.

“Let this place be used properly,” vice-mayor Daniel Farinas prayed as he welcomed the dignitaries, past and present city and barangay officials, spiritual leaders, the religious and the curious who gathered in front of the prayer building.

The promontory on which the building stands is surrounded by mature pine, eucalyptus and camphor trees and recently installed cellular telephone and similar communication towers.

To the aging trees around, the dignitaries and city officials added an olive seedling they planted on the left frontage of the new, three-story structure.

Dominican Hill was originally developed as a prayer area for priests of the Dominican Order. It was later turned into a hotel before it was taken over by national government. The property was later transferred by then President Arroyo to the city government.

The original giant edifice, constructed for the Catholic religious order using the skills of Japanese stone masonry artisans, is now an abandoned skeleton of its magnificence, stripped bare of its interior fittings by vandals and robbers over the years.

Reports from guards also had it that treasure hunters had also dug up portions of the compound.

A foundation led by former Ambassador to Germany Delia Albert had petitioned its rehabilitation into a mining museum accenting on the city’s development as a mountain resort serving four of the country’s biggest gold mines that sprang around Baguio in the early 1900s.

Mayor Domogan, however, said the foundation has agreed to instead rally for the use of a sequestered property along the road to Mines View as site for the mining museum.

That leaves the city to decide on what to do with the historic hill which spiritual significance has been partially restored by the introduction of the record-setting tablet.


Drinking dirty BWD water /Pacquiao the army colonel

March L. Fianza

BAGUIO CITY -- I use Baguio Water District water from the tap to wash and brush. Last weekend, I noticed the yellowish color of the BWD water but dismissed it as something normal. The color was still there but this time it had foul smell.

That has already been fixed according to the BWD workers who came to check the pipelines around New Lucban and T. Alonzo streets, of course, after hundreds or thousands of residents already gulped down the bad water. In fact my sister continuously vomited the night of Tuesday and the following day.

According to BWD worker Marie, they discovered a cracked pipe at Jacinto St. near the Aurora Hill jeepney loading area, hence, the affected areas were possibly the lower levels such as New Lucban and T. Alonzo and the neighboring barangays.

What is at stake here is the health and safety of water consumers of BWD. The BWD workers said they announced the discovery and warned their consumers. As for me and those in the same household, we never learned of it, never heard of any emergency announcement until I saw our neighbor draining their water tank.

Did BWD make hourly emergency announcements on Radio and TV, something that can easily be done to inform and warn the consuming public? If the other utilities can do this, why can’t they?

Well, if I were the boss of a public utility, you cannot blame me. As much as possible, I will conceal from the consuming public the bad things that happen inside my company.
When you wake up any morning, don’t be surprised to find a new armed forces battalion commander in the person of Lt. Colonel Manny Pacquiao. He literally boxed his way through. No, the promotion does not go to anyone’s credit but the army. But, for what? Only the people who were directly involved with processing Manny’s promotion know.

Pacquiao, a young boxer then who was starting his boxing career, was enlisted as a Sergeant in the Reserve Force of the Philippine Army in 2006 when then Col. Alexander B Yano was the Brigade Commander in Sarranggani.

He moved up a step higher to Technical Sergeant in the same year and was again promoted to Master Sergeant in 2007 “for giving distinct honor, not only to the Army and the AFP, but the entire country after defeating Antonio Barrera.”

In 2009, he was elevated to the rank of Senior Master Sergeant as a tribute to him as the World’s No.1 pound-for-pound boxer. What is that? Tribute?

Pacquiao was commissioned in the Reserve Force of the AFP with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel effective September 21, 2011. Sec. Ochoa, under the authority of the President, signed the document.

If what Pacquiao says is true that he did not ask for the promotion then he cannot be blamed for the newly acquired status. Col. Quirino Calanzano, Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Reservist Affairs said that Pacquiao applied for the appointment, something that the world champ denied.

It now appears that the officials of the AFP placed a dangerous precedent to the rule in promoting reservists. The promotion brokers changed the rule by saying that honorary academicians are on equal level with those who earned hard their college degrees, just to have popular army reservists in their list of colonels.

Republic Act 7077 states that any elected official can have a rank of an officer in the reservist force of the AFP if the candidate finished any college degree. Lt. Col. Pacquiao did not finish his studies but the Army considered his status as an elected official and his honorary doctorate degree from the South Western University.

And if that will now be the rule to be implemented following the precedent in Pacquiao’s case, then all advanced ROTC graduates with college degrees should be promoted to Lt. Col. Then the next morning, we will wake up to see many more battalions of colonels. That is possible.

To quote one reserve officer, he said: “I am a degree holder, a lawyer at the same time a licensed professional engineer who finished advanced ROTC, yet as the rest of the members of the Advanced ROTC Alumni Association, I did not receive a meteoric promotion like Congressman Pacquiao. What a sacrilegious
and travesty of the military organization ethos in general. Money talks and walks I guess. Amen!”

Other critics said, “an honorary degree as the term suggests, does not confer skills, knowledge and competencies. Kaya nga honorary, binibigay sa iyo ng hindi ka naghirap e!” Honoris causa or “for the sake of honor” or honorary as the term suggests is never equal to a college degree.

Dr. Clarita Carlos, defense and security expert said, "Hindi maganda ito. Bakit? Dahil mayroon kang national champion? That's the problem with us. Ang sense of proportion natin, sobrang baluktot," and added that an honorary degree and a person’s being a world champion is not enough to be a commissioned officer of the AFP.

Now, critics are asking – what really did Pacquiao do that justifies such a promotion? Did he sacrifice his life for the country? We know the answer is “no.” Let us think about it. People ask: Did he give a fraction of his earnings from these fights, or something as much as to benefit thousands of poor Filipinos? Again the answer is “no.”

But there must be a big reason why those in charge of the reserve force recommended and approved his promotion. That is why some critics are thinking or asking if money changed hands in this case. If so, then even promotions in military ranks can now be bought.

The truth is, once the boxer climbs the ring, he is going to fight mostly for himself because there millions of dollars in store for him, not for his country. And when he wins, people will praise him, not the people who will remain poor.

By the way, one critic said: If the AFP asked Pacquiao to fight the rebels in Mindanao, he will definitely refuse. – marchfianza777@yahoo.com


Going autonomous

Gina Dizon

SAGADA, Mountain Province -- Asug is a cultural practice of the people of Balugan, one the oldest settlements of this culture-rich town.

It is done by convincing one of the benefits and the goodness of any decision one takes on anything introduced by another, for example, using one’s property for public purposes.

And so Manong Martin Bagcalang of Balugan, chairman of the then Pide Dap-ay Association (PDA) now transformed to a wider group, shared in an interview, what asug means in the context of one introducing an improvement in a community. With the making of a road from barangay Ambasing to sitio Pide of Balugan barangay in the early 80’s, PDA has to do asug to some members of the community who don't want their lots taken for the road opening.

Manong Martin said the organization with majority of the members of Pide cannot proceed even with one not convinced and her lot used for the proposed road. Not until the benefits to the community had been rationally let known to the complainant and just compensation given for the value of the land that the complainant gave in. That is to say, asug does not come in a minute or two. It takes time to make asug to one to come to an informed decision intelligently, freely, and rationally arrived at.

The case above illustrates the act of being one in community and one seeing the advantages and benefits of his/her decision for the good of the people of the village. It talks of a belonging with other members of the ili (community)and the belonging arrived at in unity with the ili.

Comes now the provision of the proposed organic Act to establish the Cordillera Autonomous Region herein particularly found in Article XV1, Section 163, par (b): “The province or city which vote unfavorably in the plebiscite shall revert to their mother region prior to the establishment of the Cordillera Administrative Region.”

By the way, said working draft by the Third Autonomy Act Drafting Committee (TAADC) chaired by Baguio mayor Mauricio Domogan, has been adopted by the Regional Development Council (RDC) in RDC Resolution No. CAR-20 s. 2011 , in a special meeting last October 13, 2011.

Benedict Solang, founding member of the militant Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) finds Section 163 (par b) divisive. CPA which earlier lobbied for the inclusion of an autonomous government of the Cordillera region in the 1987 constitution of the Philippines envisioned a REGIONAL autonomous government with the Cordillera peoples as distinct indigenous peoples within a Philippine state having the right to self-determination to decide on their political, social and economic status and well being.

Solang then sees the basic framework of considering in totality all the provinces of the Cordillera to be ONE considering the distinct general similarities of the provinces of Abra, Apayao, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Benguet, and Kalinga on their customary practises and beliefs.

The general similarity of culture being a basic consideration in a Cordillera regional set up going autonomous clearly sees the commonality of peoples living within contiguous territories to come together and govern themselves as one region.

I therefore find funny and absurd that provision not including one province among Cordillera provinces which does not vote favorably to a plebiscite for a regional autonomous government, whenever such shall be declared.

What we call a Cordillera region then becomes dismembered and fragmented with one who votes unfavorably going to either Region 1 or 2 where such province formerly belongs before said five provinces became a Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)! Sowing this divisive framework already defeats the very purpose of an autonomous REGION.

Obviously where an earlier survey by RDC finding at least 40% of those surveyed did not know what autonomy is all about says Cordillera people need to be convinced. That is, how could one intelligently come up with a decision whether to say yes or no where one is not totally convinced?

Congressmen Theodore Baguilat of Ifugao, Eleanor Bulot -Begtang of Apayao and Ronald Cosalan of Benguet along with the people of Mountain Province as had been noted in previous consultations, clearly forward the need for further consultations in barangays and among sectors to be informed, clarified and forward recommendations to such proposed organic act. This affirmation is loud enough to be heard.

What does it take to give in to regional autonomy and what benefits can the people and the provinces get? Such can be noted with enough information and consultations conducted with and among the peoples concerned. And more importantly, what does it take for people to participate and find themselves in this autonomous set up considering the political framework of the initiative?

Ben Solang says even if the autonomy process shall go for a long time unless and until the people are ready and are able to govern themselves that regional autonomy can be achieved.

Founding member of the CPA, Joanna Carino says organized communities are crucial in a regional autonomous set up. It is a question then to ask first of all how ready and organized communities are to be able to govern themselves as a self- determining people in their respective communities. With the giving of an free prior and informed (FPIC) to an introduced project for example. Are the people empowered as a community to state what they want? Or do they give in to the statement of the barangay captain or a few barangay officials or the elected municipal mayor and consider their decision as the all of what the community is?

What gives for the draft autonomous organic act for Congress to act on and a plebiscite to be conducted apparently within this three- year political term? Where the process calls and demands for further consultations on working draft, is better that it shall be done before such is forwarded to Congress.

That is, where the people shall just say yes or no to a plebiscite is inviting another failure. It would be
good to learn from how the people of Balugan do asug.


Cordi pols urge P-Noy: Suspend EO on CPLA, government agreement

>> Tuesday, October 25, 2011

BAGUIO CITY— The Cordillera Regional Development Council urged President Aquino to suspend implementation of Executive Order No. 49 – the so-called“closure agreement” between the government and the Cordillera Bodong Administration-Cordillera People’s Liberation Army for the rebel group to lay down their arms and instead help government in economic growth.

In a press conference here last week, Dr. Virgilio Bautista, RDC co-chairman, said regional line agency officials voted in favor of the resolution to suspend the implementation of EO 49.

Bautista made the announcement right after a meeting on the contents of the closure agreement presented by the government with the CPLA faction headed by ArsenioHumiding.

He said President Benigno S. Aquino III must suspend the implementation of EO 49 until such time that all sensitive issues concerning the agreement for lasting peace in the Cordillera region have been effectively and efficiently addressed.

Earlier, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process said that the government and the CPLA are closer than ever before to reaching a closure agreement that will pave the way for lasting peace in the region.

The OPAPP is hoping for the speedy implementation of EO 49 in order to proceed with pre-identified socio-economic projects for the recipient communities.

This amidst pressure reportedly employed by the OPAPP for regional line agency officials to backtrack from their resolution requesting President Aquino to suspend the implementation of Executive Order No. 49 until such time that all sensitive issues concerning the agreement shall have been effectively and efficiently addressed by the OPAPP.

Speaking during a press conference right after a special Regional Development Council en banc meeting here last week where OPAPP officials presented the contents of the closure agreement with the CPLA faction headed by ArsenioHumiding, Bautista, disclosed several regional line agency officials who voted in favor of an earlier resolution requesting the suspension of the implementation of the closure agreement had been receiving calls from influential officials from Manila asking them to withdraw their stand on the controversial closure agreement so that the OPAPP could proceed with the implementation of the pre-identified socio-economic projects for the recipient communities.

Despite alleged machinations by the OPAPP to muddle the issue and get away with the “defective memorandum of agreement,” the RDC official asserted the earlier resolution requesting President Aquino to suspend the implementation of EO No. 49 stands considering that there are numerous issues raised against the agreement and that the same was executed without the appropriate consultation with regional line agency and local officials whose inputs should have been taken into consideration.

In his visit here last August, President Aquino directed the OPAPP to look into the issues being raised against the signing of the closure agreement with the Humiding faction of the CPLA, adding that he was not properly informed that there are other bolder factions of the armed group who are questioning their non-involvement and having not been consulted over the closure agreement.

While the RDC said they recognized efforts of OPAPP in forging the closure agreement, Bautista claimed all issues and concerns surrounding the sensitive matter must have to be patched up the concerned government agencies subject to consultations with affected sectors so that the implementation of the provisions of the same will be swift and acceptable to all sectors.

Instead of realizing a peaceful solution to the problem, Bautista cited the controversial CPLA-OPAPP agreement reopened the healed wounds among the feuding factions of the organization and is now causing headaches among Cordillera leaders who are religiously working to patch up the situation but it seems OPAPP refuses to come to terms with the other factions in order to permanently end the armed struggle in the region over the past three decades.

He said before sensitive issues will be subjected to agreements such as the closure agreement, consultations and machinations should have to be done with affected sectors in order to have a close to perfect agreement in the future.


Kidnap victim rescued in Bulacan

BULACAN- Anti-kidnapping operatives of the Philippine National Police last week rescued in Bulacan a Chinese businessman who was snatched by armed men Oct. 12.

Five suspects in the kidnapping were killed during the rescue operation conducted by the Police Anti-Crime Emergency Response (PACER), Special Action Force, Highway Patrol Group, Police Regional Office 3, and the National Capital Region Police Office.

Chief Supt. Isagani Nerez, PACER head, said the victim, Ying Ching Chang, 29, was rescued unharmed from the suspects’ safehouse in Barangay Bigte, Norzagaray town.

Two suspects guarding the blindfolded victim resisted the police operatives, triggering a firefight. They were killed after a brief shootout.

Three other suspects were intercepted at a checkpoint after an intense firefight at around 2:43 a.m. in Barangay Minuya also in Norzagaray town.

Another shootout ensured after the three fired at the police operatives, which resulted in the shattering of a windshield of a mobile patrol car. The three lay dead after the firefight.

The raiding team recovered the P210,000 ransom paid by the victim’s family.

PNP chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome lauded the policemen who rescued Ying and vowed to continue the drive against criminals.

“This particular successful operation is the result of a well-coordinated action with other law enforcement agencies and community support through the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Teams that provided vital information,” Bartolome said in a statement.

“By hitting hard on organized crime syndicates, particularly those engaged in high-profile crime activities, we are leaving no room for criminals to pose threat to the community,” he added.

Yin, who is engaged in garments manufacturing, was snatched at gunpoint last Oct. 12.


Policeman, 3 others held for massacre of 3 teens

By Mar T. Supnad

CAMP FLORENDO, La Union – Pangasinan police gave now in their custody a policeman and his three cohorts who allegedly shot dead three teenagers Oct. 14 in Balungao town.
Chief Supt. Franklin B. Bucayu, Region 1 police director, said police are poised to file murder (three counts) and attempted murder cases against four suspects in the shooting incident in Balungao that night which resulted in the death of three victims, all minors and high school students.

Another student survived unharmed.

In his report to Bucayu, Pangasinan police provincial director Senior Supt. Rosueto V. Ricaforte identified the suspects as SPO2 Loreto Florendo, Domingo de Jesus, Saturnino de Jesus, and Jovito de Jesus (all three are brothers).

The de Jesus brothers were invited for questioning and were brought for paraffin examination at the PNP Crime Laboratory in Urdaneta City.

The report stated the cases were based on the affidavit/statement of three witnesses subscribed by Noel Bince, acting provincial prosecutor.

Police said at about 11:30 p.m. a shooting incident happened at Barangay Raymundo ,Balungao
wherein a group of high school students on their way home after attending a wake in a nearby barangay was fired upon by then unidentified suspects.

This led to the instant death of Bryan Luna, 14; Paul Bryan Villapa, 14 and Mike Sapili, 14.

One Arjay Sobrevilla, 16, managed to escape.

Bucayu said swift action by Pangasinan police led to early identification of the suspects.

Investigation also revealed revenge to be the motive for the killings, based on the testimony of the witnesses who stated that there was old grudge between the perpetrators and a certain ReggyVillapa, father of one of the victims and reportedly a police informant and member of Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team of Barangay San Miguel, also of Balungao.

Earlier, another policeman identified as PO1 MunibDalimbang and two cohorts engaged in robbing activities were killed in a shootout with authorities in Pozorrubio town, Pangasinan Oct. 11.

Bucayu said he will not tolerate any wrongdoing of any member of his command. “Disciplinary action will be imposed immediately against erring police personnel in keeping with the 10-Point Action Plan of the PNP chief, particularly on Strengthening the Reward and Disciplinary System,” he added.


Coliform warning up In P’panga town

MASANTOL, Pampanga -- A warning against coliform and E. coli bacteria was raised in eight villages of this municipality, where at least 30 cases of diarrhea were reported over the weekend by the Philippine Medical Association.

Dr. Michael Aragon, PMA spokesman, said water they tested in Barangays Alauli, SagradaFamilia, Bagang, Balibago, Baco, Iscundo, and Sapang Kawayan proved to be contaminated with bacteria and the cause of diarrhea among residents.

Aragaon said 20 of the patients are children confined in different hospitals in Pampanga and Bulacan.

“This contaminated water here is not safe for human consumption. Eight coastal barangays are found positive with coliform bacteria and E. Coli,” he said.

Last weekend, PMA doctors initiated the water sampling in the eight villages in this coastal town with the assistance of Maynilad Water Central Office.

Meanwhile, Bulacan Governor Lilia G. Pineda directed the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC), Provincial Health Office and other concerned agencies to coordinate immediately with municipal and barangay officials to warn residents against drinking the water straight from the tap.

The PMA said chlorine tablets or solutions should be mixed with the water and then left to stay for at least 30 minutes for it to be safe for human consumption.


Cop slain inside his office;task force to probe incident

LAOAG CITY -- A police officer was gunned down inside the office of the public safety department here, before dawn Wednesday.

The victim, SPO4 Edwin Aquino, 52, did not reach the hospital alive.

He was shot in the head at around 4:20 a.m., said Chief Supt. Franklin Bucayu, Ilocos regional police director.

Bucayu formed a special task group to investigate the killing of Aquino, who was reportedly on duty as a traffic policeman when he was slain.

The killing came a day before today’s visit of Philippine National Police chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome to Ilocos Norte.

More than a week ago, a couple was killed in an ambush while en route to the Batac City public market to sell their goods.

A suspect has been arrested.


12 injured as PUV crashes; driver swears he saw dancing ghosts

By Freddie G. Lazaro

CAMP DIEGO SILANG, La Union -- A dozen people were injured when the commuter Asian utility vehicle they were in plunged into a 7-meter deep ravine in Santol, this province last Monday.

Police reported Tuesday that the driver of the public utility vehicle, with license plates ACP-546, lost control of the wheel while engaging a sharp curve in SitioBalayUdang, Barangay Ramut, Santol.

Of the 12 victims, only one was declared in critical condition at the Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center in San Fernando City, La Union.

She was identified in hospital records as Mindao Sadao, 27, of Barangay Tubaday, Santol, La Union, who is eight months pregnant.

The AUV driver Rolando Sadao, 33, of Barangay Tubaday, Santol, swore he saw “ghosts” of ladies dancing in the middle of the road.

He said they were the reason why he veered off course and off the cliff.

Police said the section of the road where Sadao lost control of the AUV is tricky for drivers, being a narrow, downslope path leading to a curve.


Labor group backs responsible mining

TUBA, Benguet – A liberal labor group here it fully supports the conduct of responsible mining in the country since it has greatly contributed to the development of remote villages over the past several decades.

Rep. Raymond Democrito C. Mendoza of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said the support they are extending to the country’s mining industry is because it has generated substantial employment opportunities for thousands of people in remote villages that have translated to improved living condition and the improvement of status of hundreds of remote communities because of the implementation of development projects through the various corporate social responsibility projects of the different mining companies.

According to him, mining is good for the country if it is done with utmost responsibility, it respects host communities and it strictly adheres to core labor standards.

With the resurgence of the mining industry as one of the country’s major economic indicators, Rep. Mendoza cited the management of the Philex Mining Corporation for its adherence to the three major c ore principles of mining that has improved its status into an international mining company and is now serving as a poster boy for the country’s rapidly growing mineral industry that is gaining momentum in keeping the economy sustainable.

Mendoza stressed Philex had shown to the world the practice of responsible mining, respect for host communities and the practice of core labor standards which has maintained its robust operations over the past 53 years.

He explained the ability of Philex to strike a balance between mining and sustaining its efforts to preserve and protect the environment as well as working out the development of its host communities is a showcase of its commitment towards proving to the world that mining is actually not that destructive as being projected by anti-mining advocates.

Philex is the first mining company to come out with a widespread tri-media advertisement projecting its best practices in striking a balance between the exploitation of the country’s rich mineral resources and preserving and protecting the environment while contributing in the development of the nation s a whole.

Mendoza challenged the company’s management and labor to continue with its solid partnership that has brought the firm through greater heights through the years amidst the previous problems that have greatly affected its operations in the early 2000 before it bounced back to outstanding operations courtesy of the prevailing high mineral prices in the world market.

The lawmaker assured the mining industry of the labor union’s support in advancing the interest of labor and providing employment opportunities for the country’s labor force in order to significantly reduce the country’s increasing unemployment rate.

He extended the invitation of a technical working group organized in the House of Representatives to the mining industry stakeholders so that they will be able to share important inputs to the proposal to amend the Philippine Mining Law so that they will be refute the arguments of the opposition. – Dexter A. See


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