IPs push NCIP revamp, titling of ancestral lands

>> Tuesday, August 20, 2013

By Gina Dizon

Indigenous peoples nationwide called for overhaul  of  the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples  (NCIP) for “lackluster and non- performance of its functions to uphold IP rights; apart from  holding a  controversial record on favouring  mining companies on the issuance of  free prior and informed consent  (FPIC) certificates while ignoring FPIC rights of IPs to their lands.”

In a petition paper forwarded to  President  Benigno Aquino 111, participants  called on  government   authorities  “to  revamp  the  NCIP  to remove those who have been proven to work against the rights and interests of IPs and support a  comprehensive  independent initiative to review the  implementation of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA).”

The IPs recently met in Quezon City August 8 in celebration of World Indigenous  Peoples Day.

Executive  director  Vicky  Tauli- Corpuz  of  the sponsoring organization Tebteba Foundation said the NCIP has failed to execute its functions  in favor of IP rights noting experiences  of  IP participants  and earlier studies  of the  University  of  the Philippines- Baguio  finding  NCIP to have failed in its  functions   to implement IPRA.

UP Baguio earlier conducted a review on NCIP wherein findings were presented to Philippine Congress during the World’s Indigenous Peoples Day 2012.  

This, as Koalisyon ng Katutubong Samahan ng Pilipinas (KASAPI)  executive director  Giovanni Reyes of the KASAPI asked some 200 members gathered during the event if “NCIP finally abdicated its responsibility to IPs”.

Reyes focused his question on the slow issuance of certificates of ancestral domain titles (CADTs) since NCCP was created 14 years ago in the   adoption of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) in 1997.

Reyes in his reference to  NCIP’s record as of  December 2010 with “probably its worst record in the past three years” ,  noted that only  156 certificates of ancestral domain title (CADT) were issued to  clans  composing   4.3 million hectares  of  which only 37 CADTs were registered   composing  936 hectares. 

There are an estimated 7.5 million hectares of the coverage of IP lands in the country spread out in IP territories in the Cordillera and other parts of Luzon, and a sizable number of IPs from Mindanao and some in the Visayas.   
Some CADTs and CALTs  issued by  NCIP has been contested by opposing private claimants due to questionable  processes ignoring indigenous processes, urging participants to call on government to fast track legitimate CADTS  and a review of the issuance of certificate of ancestral land titles (CALTs)  to private individuals.  

Reyes mentioned the ironical quick issuance of FPIC certificates favouring mining companies as compared to slow issuance of CADTS  to IP's.

Cordillera Peoples Alliance chairman Windel Bolinget said NCIP failed to implement IP rights on their free prior and informed consent to projects that enter their communities.

In a separate press conference, Reyes called for the declaration of all NCIP positions vacant for a re assessment of the criteria for applications to jobs positions of said commission to include bureau directors and even commissioners.

Rep.Teddy Baguilat from Ifugao and former chairman of the congressional committee on national minorities said the problem is structural aside from the persisting issue on non –performing personnel of NCIP.  

In the same event,  participants  questioned  the  process by which NCIP conducts its mandate to facilitate IP representative  positions to  sangguniang bodies   as per Memorandum  Circular  2010-119  providing mandatory representation of indigenous cultural communities/ indigenous peoples  in policy making bodies and other local   legislative councils issued by the  Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The DILG Circular adopted National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Administrative Order No 001 series of 2009 setting national guidelines for the mandatory representation of indigenous peoples in local legislative councils.  IPRA provides in section 16 that “the State shall ensure that ICCs/IPs shall be given mandatory representation in policy making bodies.”

Vice chieftain Marjorie Dulnuan of  Nueva Ecija said that  IP representative  positions in the municipal Sanggunian of Palayan of the  municipality had been filled up by  Nueva Ecija  NCIP provincial  director  Dario Saw-an   reportedly appointing  a certain Patricio  Fernandez without  barangay constituents’ knowledge  and thus  ignoring IP participation in the  process.    

In same  event, Dulphing  Ogan, convenor of  the Kalipunanng  mga Katutubong Mamayan ng Pilipinas  (KAMP)  said  municipal  chieftain Rafael Lantingan  of  Saranggani, Davao del Sur  reportedly placed himself as the municipal IP representative  which led Lumakas an IP  organization of the Blaan tribe in Saranggani, calls  to unseat  Lantingan. 

Ogan called on the DILG and the NCIP  to facilitate indigenous processes  in the selection of an IP representative in sangguniang bodies in accordance with the NCIP-DILG circular. 


Mayor wanted for attempted rape posts bail

ADAMS, Ilocos Norte – The mayor of this town who went missing after being charged for rape has posted P120,000 bail last week, authorities said.

Mayor Dr. Eric Bawingan who was earlier hunted by authorities after a court issued an arrest order  for allegedly attempting to rape his employee inside a rented house of the local government unit in Laoag City before the May 2013 polls.

Insp. Clemente Ceralde of the Adams town police said they have been trying to serve the arrest warrant two weeks ago but failed to locate Bawingan.

No one could say where the town mayor was earlier, said Ceralde.

Bawingan has denied the rape charges saying his accuser was only out to destroy his reputation.


Trail of bloody politics:3 dead, 2 seriously hurt in N. Ecija gun attack

By Liam Anacleto

GAPAN CITY – In what was seen as continuation of a long trail of bloody politics, a policeman and two civilians, including a maritime student, were killed while two others, including an 86-year-old woman, were listed in critical condition when five heavily armed men fired at the vehicle owned by a son of a former mayoral candidate here Tuesday morning.

Supt. Bernard Orig, Gapan police chief, identified the fatalities as PO2 Jefferson Lim; King Jasper Juvinal, a student of the Midway Maritime Academy; and driver Rufino Vendivil, 44.

Juvinal and Vendivil were killed on the spot while Lim died while being treated at a local hospital.

Confined at the intensive care unit of the Good Samaritan Hospital were Consuelo Manse, 86, and Rodney Garcia, 16.

Emerson Pascual, whose two brothers were among those slain in the 2006 cockpit attack here, escaped unhurt in the ambush at around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday along Tinio Street in Barangay San Lorenzo.

Police said Pascual and his companions had just alighted from the vehicle and were about to enter a restaurant when they were fired upon by the still unidentified men who fled on board a beige Toyota Hi-lux vehicle with license plate TT-1506.

Senior Supt. Crizaldo Nieves, provincial police director who rushed to this city following the ambush, said probers had yet to establish the motive.

But Pascual said prior to the incident, he came across Caloy Barlis, chairman of Barangay Sta. Cruz and a staunch ally of former three-term mayor Ernesto Natividad, father of incumbent Mayor Maricel Natividad.        

He said he had just attended the interment rites for a childhood friend and even greeted Barlis. “A minute after, it happened,” he said.

The elder Natividad, his late brother Romeo and 17 others, including one Ricardo Peralta, were tagged in the killing of Pascual’s brothers Erickson and Ebertson in their cockpit in 2006.

A year later, the Pascuals’ father Rodrigo ran for mayor against the elder Natividad but lost.

The elder Natividad went into hiding in February 2012 after the Manila court issued a warrant for his arrest in connection with the cockpit raid and after all 19 suspects were placed on a hold-departure order by the Bureau of Immigration on orders of Judge Felixberto Olalia Jr. of Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 8.

The Pascual family raised a P1-million reward for the arrest of Natividad and his co-accused.

The elder Natividad though was arrested while undergoing dialysis in Metro Manila a few months before the May 2013 elections.

His brother Romeo died while in hiding.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) initially ordered the filing of murder charges against the suspects in 2009 and forwarded this to the Office of the Ombudsman for review.

On Feb. 10, 2009, the Office of the Ombudsman affirmed the DOJ ruling. But when the two Natividads and Peralta filed a motion for reconsideration, then Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez reversed her ruling on April 8, 2009, excluding the three from the charge sheet.

The slain Pascual brothers’ mother Cristina appealed the Ombudsman ruling. 

On Nov. 25, 2011, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, however, found probable cause and ordered the filing of murder charges against the two Natividads and Peralta.      

In her resolution, Carpio-Morales said the DOJ ruling should have been affirmed outright because the three filed their motions for reconsideration way too late, thus rendering as final and executory the Ombudsman’s Feb. 10, 2009 ruling upholding the DOJ’s findings.

The murder cases were eventually transferred to the sala of Manila RTC Branch 10 Judge Virgilio Alameda who, on Sept. 17 last year, also found probable cause against former mayor Natividad and Peralta based on the records of the preliminary investigation and affirmed the findings of both the Office of the Ombudsman and the DOJ. 


Baguio gov’t seeks special rules on patent of city lots

By Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY – The city government sought reconsideration from the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on issuance of  special guidelines for the implementation of Republic Act 10023 or the Residential Free Patent Law here governing lots.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan told the city council he was banking on support of the DENR regional office through Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) Edgardo Flor in the crafting of a letter to boost Baguio’s position that the city, being a townsite reservation, needs special rule particularly in preventing the subdivision of lots beyond 200 square meters just to qualify under the Free Patent.
The DENR central office in a Memorandum Order through its Land Management Bureau earlier turned down the issuance of special guidelines for the city opining that the “DENR should not give due advantage to Baguio City’s proposed adoption of R. A. 10023 to 200 square meters limit only and no further subdivision for more than said area limit” for lack of basis and for fear that it may set a precedent for other areas.

City and DENR-CAR officials earlier agreed that the free patent law runs counter to the city’s present procedure of disposing alienable and disposable lots and thus is inapplicable to the city’s setting as a townsite reservation. 

They said townsite sales applications (TSAs) cannot be converted into residential free patents as TSAs have a maximum of 1,000 square meters of land to be claimed as compared to residential free patents with a maximum of 200 square meters in highly urbanized cities like Baguio.

Domogan also earlier said he sees no problem in the processing of free patent applications for lots measuring 200 square meters which is the maximum area allowed under the Free Patent law but what he is questioning is the move to allow the subdivision of large tracts of land into 200 square meter lots to qualify under the Free Patent.

He said this practice amounts to circumvention of the Free Patent law and may be abused by landowners.

He said the DENR must not allow the subdivision of said larger tracts of land and instead maintain a status quo by subjecting said lots to the regular Townsite or Miscellaneous Sales Application (TSA/MSA) procedures.
“We should follow the law and altogether disqualify lots exceeding 200 square meters from the coverage of the Free Patent,” the mayor said.

During the council inquiry, Flor assured that they are going by the guidelines on area and structure requirements and are processing only those qualified with applications being referred to concerned agencies like the city government through the city planning and development office for concerns on land use and the city engineer’s office and the Dept. of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). 

He stressed that they are sticking to the one-structure-one-applicant policy and they do not allow subdivisions under the Free Patent.

But Mayor Domogan said he personally knows of Free Patent applications covering compounds with multiple applicants that have passed through the DENR-CAR.

The mayor maintained that if continually applied in the city, this will result to further congestion in the city.

Republic Act No. 10023 entitled “An Act Authorizing the Issuance of Free Patents to Residential Lands” was signed into law by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on March 9, 2010. 

The DENR considers said new law as a “landmark measure as it streamlined the requirements and procedures of land titling involving zoned residential lands.”             


Mt Prov execs eye millions from hydropower income

By Gina Dizon

BONTOC, Mountain Province – Provincial officials are now eyeing environment-friendly hydropower to boost local government coffers with millions of pesos in income.  

Mountain Province which graduated as one of the poorest Club 20 provinces in the country has huge, untapped potentials of hydropower energy with build –operate- transfer  schemes  being encouraged.

Gov. Leonard Mayaen bared these during a media forum with local government  officials including  mayors  Anthony Wooden of Tadian, Abraham Akilit of Bauko and Gabino  Ganggangan of Sadanga, and heads of line agency offices.

In recent forum, engineering consultant  David  Tauli  said  the  province holds 63,300 kilowatt  or  63.3 megawatt potential  equal to 248.8 gigawatt  hours (GWH) per year able to generate an income of  minimum of  P10,740 million.

Compared to the  4,300 kilowatt or 4.3 megawatt consumption of  Mountain Province  Electric Company purchased from the national grid, the province’s  hydropower potential poses   considerable wealth which could practically mean subsidized if not free  electricity for its constituent households. 

Hydropower potentials are found in Barlig along the Tanudanriver  having  2,400 KW or 9.4  GWH/ year, Bauko with Enodey at 7,000KW or 21.5 GWH/year; Besao with 20,900KW at 64.1GWH/year; Bontoc at  Talubin  with 10,800 KW or 70.4GWH/year; Natonin at Siffu river with 5,150KW with 18 GWH/year; Sabangan with 14,000KW with 55 GWH/year and Tadian with Dicapan at 3,000KW at 10.5 GWH/year. 

HEDCOR has already began construction of  a 14 megawatt hydro power project  at Napua-Namatec, Sabangan.

The local BIMAKA Renewable Energy  Development Corporation has its 15megawatt  mini hydro plan  with the project intended to be built along the Layugan River at  Besao; now in its application stage at the Department of Energy.  

The multinational Asia Pacific company intends to build a 2.4 megawatt mini hydro Dicapan project in barangay Lubon, Tadian and another 2.4 megawatt mini hydro at Upper Siffuriver  in barangay Balangao, Natonin; 3MW at lower Siffu river at Balangao and 2.4 MW along the Tanudan river in Barangay Lias, Barlig.

Now local government units plan to build their own hydro energy plants.

For Mayor Abraham Akilit of  Bauko town which traces  headwaters  four big rivers- Chico, Agno, Abra, and Magat-  Akilit intends  to build a mini hydro dam  and divert the waters of the Chico and Dekyao rivers at Monamon barangay  towards Abit river through the construction of a one kilometer tunnel.

While this proposal alarmed irrigation water users downstream, Akilit said not all of the water shall be diverted and that the waters shall rejoin the Chico River.  

The former regional director of the National Irrigation Administration said the local government of Bauko also plans to construct a multi-purpose minihydro power plant for domestic water in Abatan, Buguias and Mankayan town with water Along the Agno River.

Mayor Anthony Wooden of Tadian said their LGU is intent on taking over the mini hydro  project  from Asia Pac.

Along  with some LGU officials, they shall be visit  the  mini hydro project of  San Luis, Aurora and get some  insights on how San Luis LGU is managing  its hydro power project.

The LGU-managed San Luis mini-hydro power plant (SLMHPP) is a 750 kW plant generating  4.0 million kWh per year financed by  a loan from Land Bank  composing 75% of the  P80.3 million project cost and 25% equity from San Luis municipality.

It started operations in June 2011 with contract for the supply of energy with AURELCO at PhP 4.4395 per kWh.

Tauli said  LGUs can apply for loans at banks  for the construction of  their intent to build mini hydro power plants  with construction to be done by private corporation –experts. 

These  “non-recourse projects” are loans incurred for  mini hydro paid by revenues from the project, he added.

Tauli who holds more than 30 years of experience on  electricity distribution utility engineering  and management   encouraged  local government units to go into Build Operate and Transfer  arrangements with  expert - private firms.

And because private companies  don’t own the  water, wind and sun, the firms should  turn over the energy plant  after 20 to 25 years  of operation after they have  recovered their  capital,  the former  Cagayan Electric and Light Power Company) CEPALCO vice chairman added.

Researcher on renewable energy and former staff with  SIBAT  (Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohiya) Jove Benosa said water rights of  folks downstream have to be taken note of in the implementation of hydro projects. SIBAT has been into intensive community based renewable energy projects for the past 20 years. 

Gwen Longid of the  Tangguyub Peoples  Center also said continuing studies be done on the implementation of  hydropower projects with the least destruction to the environment.  

Ensuring the  continuity of the watershed is an equally  demanding   responsibility  to keep the waters flowing.Akilit said watersheds of  Bauko are  in need of protection from encroaching vegetable gardeners and forest fires warranting the need for immediate  attention.

Wooden said preserving watersheds of  Tadian  is observed  by  applying the peoples’ customary  practises on watershed protection via the batangan system  firmed up by local legislative action.

Reforestation expense can be sourced from earnings from the project  with fifty  centavos or more per kWh allocated for watershed development, Tauli said.

At present only one-half of a centavo (PhP 0.005) per kWh of the generation of hydro projects is allocated for watershed development. 


‘Labuyo’ leaves eight dead, hundreds of folks displaced

The death toll rose to eight as cost of damage to agriculture and infrastructure from onslaught of Typhoon "Labuyo" last week ballooned to more than P1 billion, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported Friday.

The NDRRMC said cost of damage to property and crops in the regions of Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon and Cordillera Administrative Region has reached P1,081,719,037.59 (P358,547,941.93 in infrastructure and P723,171,096.66 in agriculture).

The NDRRMC reported that Central Luzon suffered the most during the typhoon’s onslaught with P421,653,318.88 cost of damage to property and crops followed by Cagayan Valley with P417 million.

The agency also reported that a total of 84,571 families or 383,540 persons in the 16 provinces of the five regions were affected by the typhoon.

A total of 53 families are still in two evacuation centers while 24,605 families are staying in their friends’ and relatives’ houses.

The NDRRMC has confirmed eight people killed at the height of the typhoon while four more remained missingas rescuers recovered the body of a 40 year old woman in Isabela.

A radio report said a team of rescuers from the Philippine Army recovered the body of the woman around 11:30 p.m. last Tuesday.

The victim was caught on video on the roof top of the house while being swept by raging waters during the height of the typhoon, which caused flashflood in the area.

The NDRRMCl identified the fatalities as Joemar Salicong, 22 and Reynaldo dela Cruz, 53. Salicong was killed in a mudslide in Benguet province while Dela Cruz drowned in Nueva Vizcaya.

The missing victims were Benny Amario of Isabela and Julio Balanoba of Batanes.

The NDRRMC also reported a total of 7,100 families or 31,256 people were affected and displaced by the typhoon in Cagayan Valley, Ilocos, Central Luzon, Bicol and Cordillera Administrative Region.

The agency has pegged the typhoon's damaged to property in Ilocos region and Central Luzon at P57,459,573.58.

A big chunk of the amount, P43,130,750, was recorded in Aurora province.

The NDRRMC said that a total of 229 houses were totally damaged and 1,384 more were partially damaged during the typhoon's onslaught.

Typhoon Labuyo may have left the country, but its destruction will be felt for some time by farmers in the Cordillera, Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon which incurred, by initial estimates, P438 million in agricultural damage, authorities said.

Labuyo’s onslaught in the Cordillera region, particularly Benguet, left crop losses reaching over P11 million.

Based on initial assessment, losses included P4.2 million worth of high-value crops like upland vegetables, P1.7 million worth of palay, and P5.3 million worth of corn, according to Office of Civil Defense-Cordillera officer-in-charge Alex Uy.

Agot Balanoy of the Benguet Vegetable Cooperative said there was minimal damage on vegetable farms in northern Benguet.          

In Mountain Province, Typhoon Labuyo damages to road networks reached P18,575,000 while damage to flood control structures summed up to P12,600,000.00.

Provincial Public Works maintenance engineer Domingo Pumecha reported this initial assessment was made on national road links and flood control structures of the province.

In a report, P10.325 million is needed to rehabilitate road slips and P7.250 million to restore road cuts along damaged national roads.

Clearing operations on intermittent sections are also necessary where P1 million is needed for equipments and manpower.

Various flood control structures also collapsed which will cost the Public Highways P12 million to restore.

During the onslaught of Typhoon Labuyo, district engineer Wilbur Likigan ordered deployment of the district’s maintenance crew to effect “band-aid” solution on critical areas, to manually clear minor slides and to assist in the clearing of massive road blocks.

Pumecha said his crew is doing preventive maintenance work to prevent additional damages and  prepare for typhoons or heavy rains.

Assistant.district engineer Charles C. Sokoken also advised the public to be vigilant on slides and falling rocks and debris during their travel and asked that road slides be reported earlier so these could be fixed.

In Pangasinan, authorities cited partial reports placing fisheries losses at P8 million and infrastructure damage at P42 million.

In Quirino, Agaton Pagbilao Jr., an officer of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC), said Labuyo’s fury destroyed P205,897,645 in agricultural crops, with corn accounting for the biggest damage at P177,460,824.

The howler, according to Pagbilao, affected 25,267 hectares of croplands, of which 15,330 hectares are planted with corn.

In Isabela, Senior Supt. Sotero Ramos Jr., provincial police director and action officer of the PDRRMC, said Districts 3 and 4 were the hardest hit by the typhoon, with crop losses initially placed at nearly P180 million.

Gov. Faustino Dy III reported that Labuyo destroyed at least 19,885 hectares of cornfields worth P138,741,314; 3,410 hectares of rice fields worth P26,555,375; banana plants at fruiting stage at P13,218,823; and vegetable farms worth P1.11 million. 

However, Dy said damage to infrastructure was negative but the water level in several areas in the province’s two cities and 34 municipalities was slightly elevated.

As of Wednesday, the water level of Magat Dam was at 191.90 meters, near the critical level of 190 meters. Its management earlier had to open one gate to let go of the excess water. – With reports from Charlie Lagasca, Luis Jose, Liam Anacleto and Pamela Fiar-odDungala


Ecija barangay chief charged for massacre

GAPAN CITY,  – A barangay chairman was charged with multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder for the massacre of a policeman and three civilians following an aborted ambush attempt on a son of a former mayoral candidate here on Tuesday.

Supt. Bernard Orig, Gapan police chief, said Montano Barlis, chairman of Barangay Sta. Cruz, was arrested Tuesday night by a police team accompanied by Emerson Pascual who was the target of the ambush attempt.

Barlis is an ally of former three-term mayor Ernesto Natividad who is facing charges for the 2006 raid on a cockpit arena owned by the Pascual family. Two of Pascual’s brothers, Erickson and Ebertson, were killed in the attack.

Orig said five others involved in Tuesday’s incident have yet to be identified although they will soon come out with artist’s sketches based on the description of witnesses.

PO2 Jefferson Lim, maritime student King Jasper Juvinal, and driver RufinoVendivil were killed following the ambush attempt which triggered a 10-minute firefight in a restaurant in Barangay San Lorenzo here.

On Tuesday afternoon, a fourth victim, Consuelo Manse, 86, died at the intensive care unit of the Good Samaritan Hospital.

Rodney Garcia, 16, is listed in stable condition but is still at the ICU of the same hospital. Pascual escaped unhurt.

Chief Supt. Edgar Ladao, Region 3 police director, and Senior Superintendent Crizaldo Nieves, provincial police director, both visited Pascual at his residence in Barangay Pambuan Wednesday.

Police said Pascual and his companions had just alighted from their vehicle and was about to enter a restaurant when they were fired at. The gunmen fled on board a beige Toyota Hi-lux vehicle with license plate TT-1506.

Some 500 slugs from various types of guns were found at the crime scene, including those from 9-mm pistols, .45-caliber pistols, M-16 Armalite rifles, and AK-47 and M-16 rifles.

Orig said they have yet to establish the motive behind the attack, but added that they are looking into politics and old grudge.

Pascual said prior to the incident, he came across Barlis. He said he had just attended the interment rites for a childhood friend and even greeted Barlis. “A minute after, it happened,” he said.


Philex grants scholarships to 20 college studes in Benguet

By TotengTanglao

ITOGON, Benguet -- Philex Mining Corp. has granted scholarships to 20 students belonging to the 42 households in two barangays here and pursuing various college degrees in different schools.

Dubbed College Educational Assistance (CEA) Program, the scholarship covers full tuition, a book allowance of P2,500 per semester, a monthly stipend of P1,500 from when the student is enrolled, and an incentive of P5,000 for a student who graduates.

In an agreement between Philex Mining and each of the students and their parents signed on July 14, the company said the CEA is in line with its “desire to promote the mining industry and its commitment to help in the development of host- and neighboring communities.”

“What a great help for me and my family,” said Rose Jane Lachica, a first-year student at King’s College of the Philippines, in the Benguet capital of La Trinidad, whose father’s livelihood is fishing and gold panning. Without this scholarship, she stressed, it would be difficult for her to finish her studies, considering that her two other siblings are also in school.

Libby Ricafort, vice president at Philex Mining and resident manager of Padcal Operations, said the scholars are either children or siblings of couples who are part of the 42 households found in Sitios Pangbasan, Pao, and Ambalanga, all in Brgy. Dalupirip, as well as in sub-Sitios of Kanagjan and Terong, both in Brgy.Ampucao.

These sitios were affected by the tailings-leak accident last Aug. 1, when Padcal’s Tailings Storage Facility No. 3 discharged nontoxic water and sediment into Balog Creek and its convergence area with Agno River, following historically unprecedented rains brought about by two successive typhoons.

Philex Mining had provided immediate remediation measures for the affected families, such as food and compensation for lost incomes as well as payment for the tools they used intheir livelihood.
Ricafort said the scholars have accomplished the requirements imposed by Philex Mining, such as having a minimum GPA, or grade point average, of 80 percent. These students are in different years in their studies in various schools in Baguio City and Benguet, and pursuing varied college degrees—from accounting management to education and forestry to environmental science, among other courses.
He said the CEA has been created through Philex Mining’s Social Development and Management Program (SDMP), which accounts for 75 percent of the 2013 Annual SDMP (ASDMP) amounting to P65.79 million, or P74.04 million including the P8.25 million carried over from 2012.

Fifteen percent of the ASDMP budget goes to Padcal Operations’ Information and Education Campaign while10 percent is for the Development of Mining Technology and Geosciences (DMTG),which involves research on how to further develop the mining industry. 


Baguio mayor gives back market walkways to public

By Ramon Dacawi

BAGUIO CITY -- It’s what residents have been clamoring for long – the return of discipline -, this time by  giving back the alleys and pathways to the public at the overcrowded city market.  

Housewives and other market-goers can now walk through with  comparative ease and relief after mayor Mauricio Domogan ordered the clearing of walkways occupied for years by vendors selling whatever are also offered inside legitimate stalls.

The clearing, implemented swiftly by the public order and safety division led by retired police officer and now executive assistant  Paul Cambod, came as a pleasant surprise to the buying public who had to daily inch their way through what little space is left unoccupied by the maze of goods or skip these like it were a game of hopscotch. 

The clearing drive was unexpectedly swift, even with  some vendors threatening to march to city hall and protest their dislocation from spaces that were  – for all intents and purposes – designed for access, not only for the public but for stallholders bringing in their goods.

Aware of this, mayor Domogan earlier called on members of the city council to support the executive thrust of finally breaking the rule of indiscipline.

He said while the city is finding ways to allow peddling in areas to be designated on certain hours, the initial success of the clearing drive can only be sustained with city officials pushing the same. 

“Walang mangyari sa atin kung di tayo magtulongan”, the mayor told fellow city officials after the weekly flag ceremony. 

He said President Aquino, in his order creating a multi-agency body to work for the preservation of the lure of Baguio and the world-renowned Boracay beach in the Visayas, noted the need to prevent use of sidewalks for vending. 

Domogan warned that affected vendors who resort to barricade in protest of  the city’s drive for restoration of order in the market will be disqualified from vending in the areas to be designated for such.

Years back, the mayor earned the ire of peddlers for his clearing the Hilltop Road of obstructions, with some reportedly  threatening not to vote for him in the next elections. 

“If the report of threat is true, I wouldn’t  care if they don’t vote for me as long as we can clear  the roads and passageways in the market,” he had said.

Last week, he acknowledged that the  drive for restoring the simple discipline  that was the mark of Baguio during its formative years is still a long way to go. 

For one, city tourism officer Benny Alhambra called for another round of information campaign on the (anti-) “King of the Road” ordinance introduced by  city councilor Fred Bagbagen three years ago. 

The ordinance requires drivers to fully stop and yield for five seconds before pedestrian lanes for the safety of and as courtesy to those on foot crossing the city’s streets. This regulation has yet to sink in among drivers who also have yet to acknowledge the presence of so-called “blue lanes” or street crossings for the elderly and persons with disabilities who are observing “White Cane” week this month. 

Motorists, on the other hand, claim it’s a two-way traffic  that would also require a crackdown on jaywalkers and pedestrians who are oblivious to stop-and-go signals and cross streets with the red traffic light on. 


Back to normal in LT after old liquor law stirs pubs

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – It is back to normal here after implementation of an old liquor ordinance in this capital town, known for its strawberry wine,  threw the nightspot industry here in turmoil with stakeholders griping.

This, after the municipal government, under mayor Edna Tabanda implemented a 1996 local law limiting sale of liquor until 8 p.m.

This raised a howl among bar owners who made a petition opposing it but Tabanda said the law has not been amended or abolished and the municipal government hads to implement it.

At press time however, reports had it that the mayor told bar owners she would suspend implementation of the ordinance while the municipal council has not yet made recommendations on what to do with it.
The mayor said she talked with council members who are now studying provisions of the ordinance to make it more up to date with the times.

In a press conference at the municipal hall, Tabanda reprimanded police to be more circumspect in implementing provisions of the ordinance.

Bar owners complained some police officers reportedly went to nightspots last week every 8 to 9 p.m. nightly covering their name plates and telling everybody to stop drinking liquor and leave.

Footage taken from a CCTV camera showed police officers telling customers of a Department of Tourism-accredited bar they won’t leave until all customers get out.

Other bar owners cited instances when police allegedly poured drinks of customers to compel them to move out.

In the press conference, Tabanda, in the presence of top town police officers, said she never ordered them to close any establishment or make customers go out.

She told police to be gentle in addressing customers. In the meantime the liquor ordinance has not been amended, Tabanda said customers may stay in nightspots after 8 p.m. to finish their drinks, have dinner or enjoy music.

“It is only the dispensation or sale of liquor that has to stop by 8 p.m.” she said, adding, even establishments accredited by the DOT as tourism establishments will have to comply with the rule.

A consultation was held with bar owners at the municipal hall on the matter with councilors Rod Awingan, Jim Botiwey and Henry Kipas wherein the former aired their gripes and called for longer hours to operate at night considering they pay taxes and have to contend with high rentals.

During the meeting, police said crime mostly those involving physical assaults drastically went down after the ordinance was implemented.

The councilors said they would present recommendations to the sanggunianbayan (municipal council) for appropriate action like amending the ordinance to be forwarded to the municipal mayor for review or approval. -- AD


Marijuana plants destroyed in plantation; 4 drug nabbed

CAMP BADO DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet -- More illegal drug offenders were arrested while marijuana plants were destroyed last week in Abra and Benguet.

Senior Supt.Benjaim B. Lusad, Abra police director said that four individuals, one  a minor were arrested by Bangued town police August 9.

In barangay Calaba, Bangued, Dexter Bisares  Oreili, 28, and a minor, both residents of Barangay Baac, Langiden town were arrested after the suspects were flagged down in a police checkpoint. Sacheta believed to be “shabu” was seized at the gas tank of the motorcycle.

In barangay Ubbog, Bangued, Abra, a 26-year old tricycle driver identified as Renier Belleza,Romero, of barangay Cabuloan, Bangued, Abra and alleged buyer of illegal drugs and Adrian Barbosa Beralde, 33, and a resident of barangay Angad, Bangued, Abra were arrested after they were chased by the police. Two sachets believed to contain “shabu” were seized from Romero.

In Benguet, 4,480 pieces of fully grown marijuana plants with a Dangerous Drug Board value of P 896,000.00 were uprooted and destroyed after a tipster informed responding law enforcers of the presence of marijuana plants in Sitio Ewa-Bokes, Sagpat, Kibungan, Benguet Sunday morning.

Benguet and Kibungan police uprooted the marijuana plants in a land area of 1,120 square meters and later burned the illegal hemp on site.

The team tried to locate the cultivators but no person was apprehended during the eradication.


1,000-room hotels to rise inside CJH

By Dexter A. See

BAGUIO CITY -- The Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevCo) said it is inclined to pursue the putting up several hotels having a total of 1,000 rooms in order to contribute in making the country’s Summer Capital the Convention Center in Northern Luzon.
Alfredo Yñiguez, CJHDevCo executive vice president and chief operating officer, said the completion of the 208-room Forest Lodge will augment the 187-room CJH Manor thereby resulting to increased accommodation facilities inside the 247-hectare John Hay Special Economic Zone (JHSEZ).
“We are here to stay and we will continue to pursue our plans to make our leased area a world-class tourism center for the sake of uplifting the status of Baguio City as the prime convention center north of Manila,” Yñiguez stressed, citing that after the full completion of its Forest Lodge, CJHDevCo will start the putting up of another 200-room hotel until it will be able to complete its planned 1,000-room hotels inside the leased area.
Aside from the putting up of new hotels inside John Hay, Shean Bedi, CJHDevCo senior vice president for marketing, said the developer is also planning to put up a flower garden in an area of around 16,000 square meters which will showcase flowers that are endemic to Baguio city and the Cordillera.
Furthermore, Bedi added an eco-theme park will also be established in a 5-hectare area within the forest reservation which is capable of hosting cold weather animals in order to help boost the robust growth of the local tourism industry.
Under the 50-year lease agreement signed between the developer and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), CJHDevCo is only allowed to introduce development in an area of not more than 18 hectares considering that the remaining portions of the leased area will be maintained as forested areas.
However, Yñiguez revealed that over the past 17 years, the developer was only able to introduce developments in an area of around 4.5 hectares, which is only 25 percent of the allowable area to be developed, because of the continuous breaches of BCDA to their commitments in relation to the delivery of the areas to be developed and the sudden withdrawal of their tax incentives within the special economic zone among other reasons.
According to him, CJHDevCo was already able to infuse more than P5 billion worth of development and paid around P1.7 billion in rentals to the government, thus, they will not allow their hard earned investments to go to waste.
The CJHDevCo official claimed the volume of development that their corporation has infused in the former American rest and recreation area only shows their liquidity, thus, the developer is capable of sustaining the implementation of more than P5 billion worth of additional development projects to make the facility a world-class tourism center that will attract the influx of more foreign and domestic tourists.
CJH has a total land area of more than 686 hectares with only 247 hectares leased by the government for development.

He assured city officials and residents that the development of John Hay will continue amidst the challenges that they are currently facing since it is their commitment to abide with the lease agreement they signed in October 1996. 


18 Sinos held for black sand mining released to boss

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya – The 18 Chinese nationals held early this month for allegedly engaging in illegal black sand mining in Aparri, Cagayan have been released by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to the custody of their employer.

Eva Antiporda, alien control officer of BI-Aparri district, said the foreigners are now with their company under recognizance, pending the filing of charges against them for illegal mining before the Cagayan prosecutor’s office.

The 18 Chinese were identified as Wang Wendong, Yang Yongliang, Ma Peihua, Zhu Liren, Hou Linlin, Fu Yujun, Xiao Peibao, Li Wenyong, Lu Liming, Jin Dejun, Li Laijie, Wang Cheng, Jiang Bin, Lin Qiang, XuJiajun, Jiang Nan, ZhengFeng, and Wang Gonglian.

Antiporda said the foreigners were all documented as far as their entry into the country is concerned. “But if they committed a crime, that’s another story. But as far as we are concerned, they are all documented,” she said.

Antiporda, however, said four of the Chinese have pending applications for working permits while another one has an expired document.

Joint operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) rounded up the 18 Chinese for allegedly conducting black sand mining along Aparri’s coastal villages of Paddaya and Dodang last Aug. 1 and 2.

They were all working for Huaxia Trading and Mining Corp. Inc., which the MGB earlier had ordered to “cease and desist” from extracting black sand or magnetite for operating beyond their permitted area or within the prohibited zone.

The NBI turned them over to the BI-Aparri following the raid for verification of their status but they were released later to the custody of their company.

“We only have limited facilities in our office, that’s why we released them to their employer under recognizance,” Antiporda said.

Black sand or magnetite, a rich resource along Cagayan’s northern coastlines, commands a high price in foreign markets, as it is used as additive in manufacturing concrete and steel products, magnets, paint, ink, paper, jewelry, and cosmetics.

Secretary Manuel Mamba, head of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office who was designated as head of the recently created Cagayan Task Force on Black Sand Mining, said there will be no sacred cows in their efforts to end the illegal activities.

The task force, whose members include the NBI, MGB and the police, is under the Office of the President’s Mining Industry Coordinating Council.

With the creation of the task force, Mamba said illegal black sand mining operations in Cagayan, “which are threatening our coastlines and marine resources, not to mention the danger they pose to the fishing communities,” will eventually be eradicated.

“At stake here is not only millions of pesos but billions which only flows into the pockets of those who are abetting the illegal operations to the detriment of the environment and the very lives of our fishing communities,” Mamba said.


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