Vice President in Baguio, Benguet visit: Binay presses more internal revenue allotment for LGUs

>> Tuesday, December 24, 2013

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Vice President Jejomar Binay was coy every time  he was being addressed  “Mr. President” by local officials during his visit in nearby Baguio City and this town last week even as he told Cordillera officials he would press more share of local government units nationwide from internal revenue allotment (IRA) to  spur economic growth in the countryside.

Here in in this Salad Capital of the country Tuesday. La Trinidad Mayor Edna Tabanda called him “Apo Presidente” as she welcomed the visiting official at the closed function area of the town hall.

The local chief executive reiterated it was not a slip of the tongue and announced that she supports Binay's presidential dream.

She addressed Binay as "President" at least three times.

Binay, for his part, was very coy and shook Mayor Tabanda’s hands in obvious approval.

Ironically, the event's lady host addressed Binay thrice as "Mr. Vice Mayor."

The host explained that her nervousness in the presence of Binay is making her call the second highest official the land as "vice mayor."

In the end, however, the lady host also addressed Binay as "President Jejomar Binay."

As the vice president addressed the audience, Binay alleged that the camp of presidential wannabe, incumbent Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, is monitoring his visits.

Binay lost to Roxas in Benguet in the 2010 vice presidential election.

“I lost in La Trinidad, and to tell you honestly in all towns in Benguet,” the vice president said.

The next day in Baguio City, Binay pressed more share of local government units nationwide from internal revenue allotment (IRA) to  spur economic growth in the countryside.

“Less developed local governments must be given higher IRA by the national government in order to allow the beneficiaries to bankroll the implementation of more infrastructure projects that will significantly contribute in increasing economic activities that will trigger more jobs and translate to improved living condition of the people,” Binay told the media in Baguio Wednesday .According to him, the current set up where lower class towns and provinces receive smaller IRA is depriving local governments to grow along with developed municipalities and provinces leaving huge number of poor families in the countryside.

Binay recommended to the Office of the President through the Department of Budget and Management and Congress of the Philippines to reassess distribution of the IRA to give higher allocation for less developed local governments and allow developed ones maximize utilization of sources of income that will cover the amount to be deducted from their existing share.

One of the major interventions that must be done by the national government, Binay said, is to increase allocation for development projects to less developed local governments to open areas for investments that will make them financially stable.

“We need to empower less developed local governments to be vibrant in terms of development by giving them substantial share from the meager resources of the national government and allow them to bankroll their priority projects because they actually know what they need in order to allow them to move out from the shackles of poverty,” Binay added.

Aside from increasing their share from IRA for development projects, Binay said increasing the IRA of poor local governments will also translate to better delivery of basic services that will translate to improved productivity of people allowing them therefore to earn income to improve their living condition.

In the case of developed local governments, Binay urged local officials to improve their efficiency in collecting the necessary taxes due the host communities so that they will be able to make their respective barangay, municipality, city or province develop into commercial centers that will help in eradicating poverty in the countryside.

Binay said local governments must learn to establish links with national and international partners to work out agreements that will guarantee influx of technical and financial assistance to the host and neighboring communities to augment the existing resources of the local governments in delivering sufficient services to the people with the mission of improving the living condition of the people.


B’gay chief slain, wife hurt in Ilocos attack

BANNA, Ilocos Norte   – A barangay chairman was killed while his wife was wounded when motorcycle-riding gunmen opened fire at them in Banna town, Ilocos Norte Monday.

Mariano Tejada of Barangay Marcos died on the spot due to a gunshot to the head, according to Insp. Gerardo Mabini, town police chief.

Tejada’s wife Leticia suffered injuries in the arms.

The couple was on their way home on a motorcycle when the gunmen ambushed them along the highway in the village of Marcos.


NPA rebels attack Army post in Abra

LACUB, Abra – Army troopers are now conducting “search and destroy” operations against New People’s Army guerillas who  attacked an army detachment here Dec. 15.

“This is a continuity of a series of punitive attacks against the 41st Infantry Battalion due to continuing human rights violations and will also serve as a warning to Golden Lake (mining company) and to Lacub officials who are intent in imposing the operation of large-scale mining.”

Danreb Bringas, spokesperson of Procopio Tauro Front –NPA North Abra bared this saying harassment operations Dec.15 against the Bantugo Detachment of Charlie Company, 41st IB at the Poblacion were meant to serve as warning.

He didn’t disclose if anybody was hurt in the attacks.

According to Bringas, the 41st IB has long been serving as security force of large-scale mining interests.  

“They are also being used to pressure and terrorize the masses who are opposing entry of large-scale mining, such as what happened during the bogus FPIC (free, prior, informed consent) process last May 2012 in Lacub,” he said.  

“Aside from this, the 41st IB continuously violates rules of war as mandated by International Humanitarian Law against using civilians as human shields, in the CARHRIHL (Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law) stating clearly that military units should not encamp in populated areas, and in the IPRA (Indigenous People’s Rights Act) that prohibits encampment and military operations in ancestral lands without prior consent of the indigenous peoples.”  He added a UNICEF declaration banned military camps in vicinity of schools, such as in Bantugo, Poblacion.

Bringas also warned LGU officials who were allegedly in cahoots with Golden Lake Mineral Resources by claiming that exploration is not mining and promising projects to be given by the mining company, when these projects should have been delivered by the national and local governments.

 “The CPP-NPA-CPDF consistently stands in opposition destructive projects such as large-scale mining, dams and illegal logging, who benefit on a few.  Based on the collective experiences of corporate mining communities, it is only the companies who really benefits and get rich, while the people continue to suffer, especially after the destruction of land, water and other resources.  No amount of money and so-called projects, roads and alleged employment can replace the destruction of communities,”

Bringas warned Golden Lake/Magdaleno Pena Mining Company: “Just try to bring your equipment, and surely you will feel the people’s protests and the punitive actions by the NPA.”


NE gov supports NIA exec facing graft charges

CABANATUAN CITY – Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali has expressed full support for the operations manager of the National Irrigation Administration’s Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems (NIA-UPRIIS) who is facing graft charges for alleged failure to serve a dismissal order against an employee.

In a letter to NIA administrator Claro Maranan, Umali personally vouched for the integrity of UPRIIS operations manager Josephine Salazar, who he described as a hard worker.

Two foundations filed a graft case against Salazar before the Office of the Ombudsman after she reportedly failed to serve a dismissal order against water resources technician Melanio Santos.

Umali said he is satisfied with the performance of the NIA-UPRIIS under Salazar’s leadership.

He said the official has established good working relation with congressional leaders, local chief executives and the provincial government, which is beneficial to the province and to the NIA itself.

He cited the accomplishments of Salazar who is included in NIA’s Hall-of-Famers’ list for being the no. 1 division manager for three consecutive years or from 2009 to and 2011, and was named Director of the Year in 2012.

Apart from this, Salazar received the Pag-asa award from the Civil Service Commission in 2012.

In expressing support for Salazar, Umali said NIA is one of the most important agencies of the government in improving the economy through effective and efficient irrigation management.

He said this task would be hard to pursue if NIA and the local government units didn’t have the proper coordination and communication in implementing irrigation projects in the provinces.

“The LGUs, especially the provincial government, should have a good rapport with your directors and managers in the provincial and regional offices to fulfill our common goal of helping farmers,” he said in his letter to Maranan.

Apart from this, Salazar received the Pag-asa award from the Civil Service Commission in 2012.

In expressing support for Salazar, Umali said NIA is one of the most important agencies of the government in improving the economy through effective and efficient irrigation management.

He said this task would be hard to pursue if NIA and the local government units didn’t  have the proper coordination and communication in implementing irrigation projects in the provinces.

“The LGUs, especially the provincial government, should have a good rapport with your directors and managers in the provincial and regional offices to fulfill our common goal of helping farmers,” he said in his letter to Maranan.


‘Mass transport’ system set for Baguio City folks

Baguio City – The Department of Science and Technology-Metals, Industry, Research, and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC) and the city government here have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the conduct of a feasibility study on the possible use of mass transport system in the Summer Capital of the country.

The MOU was signed by DOST Secretary Mario Montejo, DOST Assistant Secretary Robert Dizon, as the officer-in-charge of the DOST-MIRDC, and City Mayor Mauricio Domogan at the Mayor’s Office early this week.

Among those present during the signing were DOST-Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) Director Julius Caesar Sicat, City Planning Officer Evelyn Cayat, and City Engineer Leo Bernardez.

Montejo disclosed that the DOST is continuously working in infusing Science and Technology (S&T) research and development in their effort to help address the concerns in the various local communities in the country.

He said that they are also focusing on mass transportation systems, which not only aims to address traffic concerns, but also to bring in environment-friendly means of transportation.

For this city, he explained that they are looking into the possible use of the Automated Guideway Transit (AGT,) a road train, as an alternative mode of transportation that could possibly help decongest traffic here.

Montejo also disclosed that he has directed the DOST-CAR to likewise look into the possibility of connecting Baguio City and La Trinidad Benguet through an elevated train system – through the Balili River.

For his part, Domogan expressed the city government’s support to such endeavor as he pointed out that this will primarily help address the city’s pollution and traffic problems.

He pointed out that this city was originally designed for 25,000 to 30,000 people, but at present, it has registered population of around 325,000 individuals, which goes as high as an average of around 500,000 daytime population considering the daily tourists and traders, as well as the students and workers who come in the morning, and go home in the afternoon.

Domogan though called on the DOST to consider in their feasibility study the concerns of those working in the transport sector, particularly those in the public utility transport, that could be affected by such project.

“We also should consider on what alternative work or livelihood that we can give them if this project eventually materialize”, Domogansaid. -- PNA


P54.5 million marijuana destroyed in Benguet

CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet - More than P54.5 million worth of marijuana plants were destroyed by lawmen in Benguet last week.

Operatives of the Benguet Police Office, Regional Public Safety Battalion, Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Cordillera conducted  operations in three Benguet towns  Dec. 12-15. 

This, after Supt. Lambert A. Suerte, company commander of Benguet, Public Safety Company, formulated “OPLAN Daydreamer II 2013 based on program of provincial police director, Senior Supt. Rodolfo S. Azurin, Jr., to destroy marijuana in plantation sites in coordination with PDEA and criminal investigation agents.

The operatives were divided into six groups. They destroyed wherein 203,650 pieces fully grown marijuana plants, 1,520 seedlings, 17 kilos leaves, 106 kilos stalks and 5 kilos seeds valued at P 54, 590,800.

In Sitio Bayog, barangay Kayapa, Bakun,  six marijuana plantation sites were discovered planted with 62,500 fully grown plants valued at P12, 500,000.

In Barangay Badeo, Tacadang, Kibungan,  18 marijuana plantation sites planted with 26,850 fully grown plants and 12 kilos leaves were discovered worth P5, 670,000.

In Sitio Payakpak, Barangay Badeo, a minor was caught harvesting marijuana plants and later turned over to Kibungan municipal social welfare and development officer  Elizabeth Bagto in the presence of barangay chairman Bestre Domes of Badeo.

Five marijuana plantation sites planted with 12,500 fully grown plants, 40 kg marijuana stalks and 3 kg marijuana seeds worth  P7, 575, 000.00 were discovered.

In SitioBatangan, Barangay Tacadang, Kibungan, 10 marijuana plantation sites planted with 43,000 marijuana seedlings, 3 kg marijuana leaves, 6 kg marijuana stalks and 20,000 seedlings worth P10,275,000.00 were discovered.

In Sitio Tableo, Badeo,12 marijuana plantation sites planted with 56,100 fully grown marijuana plants, 60 kilos marijuana stalks and 2 kilos marijuana seeds valued  at P18,770,000 were discovered.

In Sitio Baokok, Barangay Belingbelis, Kapangan, two marijuana plantation planted with 2,700 marijuana plants and 1,500 seedlings valued at P600,000 were found.

The operating team uprooted and burned on site all marijuana plants, seedlings, seeds and dried marijuana leaves that were found while a few were brought to Benguet provincial police office as evidence.

After the operation, operatives conducted dialogue with residents on ill-effects and  consequences of cultivating marijuana plants.

Chief Supt. Isagani R. Nerez, newly-installed PRO-COR regional director, lauded personnel in the marijuana eradication drives as he urged marijuana planters to instead engage in legal livelihood. 


Expat Igorot karateka reaches out to Capiz typhoon victims

By Ramon Dacawi 

Samaritans in Southern Germany were able to reach out to typhoon victims in two towns of Capiz, thanks to the team work of a small foundation, a parish priest and a crew of linemen from Baguio-Benguet dispatched a month earlier to help restore electric power in the storm-devastated Visayan province.

Expatriate Igorot karate teacher Julian Chees personally delivered over P700,000 in rice and cash to villagers in  Dumalag and Tapaz towns in a joint effort with linemen of the Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco)  and Fr. Niel Olano, parish priest of the St. Martin of Tours Church in Dumalag.

 A month of repairing the typhoon-damaged lines of the Capiz Electric Cooperative (CAPELCO) gave the Beneco linemen led by engineers Rocky Pallogan, Zac Torres and Carlo Bentayen enough background information needed for the relief operation.  

They firmed up the mission with  Fr. Olano who had provided shelter for the Beneco crew and who had turned his parish into a base for such efforts in the wake of the typhoon devastation.

“You are the third group to reach out to the victims here through our parish,” he told Chees, a former  world shotokan karate champion from Bontoc, Mt. Province  who founded and heads Shoshin Kinderhilfe, a humanitarian arm he and his martial arts in Germany founded  in 2004 for the needy and sick  here in his native Cordillera region.

The Beneco crew used their boom truck to deliver  250 sacks of rice Shoshin paid a miller in Cogon,  Panitan town, some 40 kilometers away. Youth volunteers waiting in Dumalag  repacked 200 of the sacks which Beneco dispatched the following morning to over 300 recipients in barangay Concepcion, a community in the foothills of the town.

Tamang-tama ang misyon n’yo dahil ngayon ang pyesta ng barangay (Your mission is timely as today is the fiesta of this barangay),” Fr. Olano said before the team climbed up  the Imaculada Concepcion chapel which stood  on a hilltop.

The villagers heard mass, each now and then murmuring personal intentions and gratitude for having survived the howler that turned the barangay covered court below into a mass of twisted steel.

Limwel Limjuco, area manager of Capelco, said there were about 60 typhoon fatalities in the whole of Capiz province  (composed of Roxas City and 16 towns), comparatively low in relation to other areas as evacuation was forcefully done.

Along the highway from the Roxas Airport (which departure area roof was blown off) to Dumalag, were  still-to-be-cleared signs of the nightmare:  crumpled huts of the poor, mangled steel trusses stripped of roof sheets, thousands upon thousands of tropical trees and coconuts left where they had fallen or sawn for rebuilding, or standing naked, their  leaves,  branches or their upper halves  blown off.

After mass and before the relief distribution, the  community drew joy and hope as Fr. Niel christened their three newest members: three-month old John Eman Berino, one-month old Remy Remaze Queen and two-month old Alyza Faeldin.

Aside from rice,  Shoshin provided each relief beneficiary P500 cash support. Fr. Olano, who was accompanied by the church’s lay leaders,  explained that the recipients were those not served during the first and second distribution of relief goods coursed through the parish.

Back in the parish, the team, guided by a crew from Capelco, and town councilor Ruby Ann Bello set out and delivered the remaining rice sacks to Tapaz, 25 for  St. Andre Mission in barangay Taft under Fr. Romel Talabucon,  and  San Nicolas de Myra Parish under Fr. Wilson Navarrosa.

News of the relief mission soon  reached Suhot in barangay Dolores where  Fr. Olano had the visiting Baguio team billeted , in a spring resort developed by the municipal government.

“May 45 na pamilya rin dito at lahat sila ay biktima nga bagyo,” social worker Edralin  Gico told the team upon its arrival for the night last Monday.

“Magkita tayo pag-gising namin bukas ( Let’s see each other when we wake up tomorrow,” Julian advised.

As there was no time to purchase more rice for the community, Julian whipped out P1,000 for each household.

The evening before, he met the Beneco crew who were leaving before dawn Tuesday. They had a month-long  work repairing the lines in Roxas city, barangay Baybay Culasi, and the towns of Dau, Dumalag and Tapaz.

“Here’s a token of our admiration for what you have done for Capiz,” he said as he handed out a grand to each.

In an annual homecoming, Chees arrived here at the end of November to help defray the hospital expenses of financially strapped hospital patients here and in his native Bontoc, Mt. Province.

While he was here, his students, friends and supporters in southern Germany were pooling 15,650 euros (P908,158 for victims of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) aside from raising an earlier fund of 5,352 euros (P310,416) for Shoshin’s support to patients here.

Any  amount remaining from the two funds will be left here  for other patients who cannot sustain their treatments, he said.  


Abra, Apayao health stations set as birthing centers by January

BAGUIO CITY—Twenty-two  barangay health stations  in  the provinces  of Apayao and Abra will be  fully equipped and functional birthing centers  by January  through a project of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

JICA, in partnership with the Department of Health (DOH), has a Cordillera-wide project which aims to strengthen health services in the region especially on efficient delivery of maternal and child health services  to encourage health facility birth delivery and reduce cases of mother or child death.

Dr. Makoto Tobe,  JICA project chief advisor, said last week they  recently completed delivery of P6 million worth of medical and non-medical equipment for 17 barangay health stations  in Apayao and five BHS in Abra.

JICA also provided training support to all midwives handling maternal and child health services in the said barangays  for the 22 BHS to be DOH certified BEmONC or basic emergency obstetrics and neonatal care facilities.

These BHS   are expected to be fully operational birthing service centers by January next year.

To be it is their ultimate goal to ensure that no mother would die while giving birth.

According to him,  regionwide average of facility-based delivery in the  Cordillera is almost 80 percent  mostly in  urbanized areas.

In some provinces and remote municipalities, facility-based delivery   is as low as 40 percent.
DOH assistant regional director Dr. AmelitaPangilinan, in the same forum, also disclosed maternal death  remains a concern in the region.

In 2012, there were  25  recorded cases compared  to the 22 and 21 cases in 2011 and 2010, respectively.

Pangilinan added improving maternal and child health were goals  of the Aquino health agenda of “Kalusugang Pangkalahatan.” 

Aside from its partnership  with JICA, the DOH is also investing on Health Facility Enhancement Program (HFEP) where 37 projects have been completed  while five are   on-going.

These projects include upgrading of hospitals, rural health units and BHS to be fully functional BEmONC, in terms of facility and health personnel  --Carlito C. Dar


NFA to Ifugao farmers: Sell palay to gov’t

By Marcelo Lihgawon

LAGAWE, Ifugao -- The National Food Authority (NFA) urged farmers in the province to sell their  palay to the government in   either  dry or newly- threshed state.

NFA-Ifugao officer in-charge Lolita V. Paz said  the grain agency has started procuring wet “sariwa play with price ranging from 13.48 to 15.66 per kilo.

“The drying facilities Farm Level Grains Complex (FLGC) Warehouse at Namillangan in Alfonso Lista town is open 24 hours for seven days a week to cater to the needs of the farmers,” Paz added.

The NFA she said may deploy a team to pick-up palay of farmers who could not afford or transport their products to the NFA buying station.

The price for clean and dry palay is 15.88 to 17.40 per kilogram inclusive of drying and delivery incentives.

For further queries and/or schedules, interested barangay captains may contact the following cellphone numbers: 09361262014 / 0927253059 / 09189649650 and 09175699835 for District 1 and 09063693628 / 09297232358 and 09189649650 for District 2. 


Benguet Rep to police: Nab destroyers of Mount Pulag

KABAYAN, Benguet  — The Department of Public Works and Highways will construct a P124 million-road network leading to Mount Pulag here, Benguet Rep. Ronald Cosalan said last week even as he asked regional police officials to identify, arrest and prosecute those responsible for the destruction of a wide portion of the mountain.   

Mount Pulag is a national park and one of the most popular eco-tourism sites in the Cordillera Administrative Region.
The mountain is some 300 km north of Manila. It stands majestically at some 3,000 feet above sea level with a base of some 100 sq. km. It is the second tallest mountain in the country and serves as the widest watershed in northern Luzon.

The congressman, however, said the priority concern of the government is to stop the further denudation of the mountain by unidentified tract farmers who even use backhoe and other heavy equipment to convert a wide forested area into vegetable farms.

Records show that in the recent courtesy call of Police Chief Supt. Isagani Nerez, newly–installed regional director of the Police Regional Office Cordillera , Cosalan asked the police officer to lead the arrest of those responsible for destruction of the mountain.

Cosalan said he also asked Provincial Prosecutor William Bacoling to work with the authorities for the prosecution of whoever led in the wanton denudation of the mountain.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) executive regional director Clarence Baguilat was also tasked to coordinate the rehabilitation of the destroyed portions of the mountain, which since the late 1970’s was popular to local and foreign mountain climbers due to its almost freezing temperatures at its peak, aside from affording a rare view of three of its mountain lakes and unique wild games such as clouded rat.

Cosalan had already met with Mayor Mauricio Makay of Bokod, Benguet and Mayor Faustino Aquisan of Kabayan, Benguet. The two have jurisdictions on Mount Pulag.

”While we work for these roads towards the mountain, we have to see to it that the vast economic potentials in terms of watersheds as well as the eco-tourism endowments of Mount Pulag must be preserved, even if it means that we have to prosecute any person or persons who already caused substantial damage to the surroundings,” he said.


Singson fears losing ties with Hong Kong

By Myds Supnad

VIGAN CITY - A congressional representative of Ilocos Sur expressed fear Monday  that the Philippines might lose its strong ties with Hong Kong for the failure of the Executive branch to issue apology for the killing of eight Hong Kong nationals and injuring Nine in Luneta incident.

In his first privilege speech Monday afternoon, Rep. Ronald V. Singson, 1st district, Ilocos Sur, appealed to his fellow congressmen to extend apology for the infamous Luneta incident last August 23, 2010.

“If the Philippine President, who is the head of the Executive Branch of the national government, doesn't want to issue this much-requested simple apology to the people of Hong Kong, we in the Philippine Congress, as the representatives of the Filipino People and as a separate branch of the national government, are willing to issue an apology for this misunderstanding, between Filipinos and the Hong Kong people, to finally close its chapter.” Singson said.

A son of former governor Chavit Singson,  the young solon said “ I would like to call your attention regarding a place where many of us Filipino politicians, business leaders, and hundreds of thousands of OFWs have travelled to, while seeking rest and recreation for our families, transactions for our growing businesses, and opportunities for high- paying overseas employment. I am talking about a neighboring overseas location populated by a peace-loving and hardworking people we all know as Hong Kong. “

“We are in danger of losing our strong connection with this good neighbor in the North because the Executive Branch of our Government has remained stone-hearted to the request of the people of Hong Kong. We are about to weaken a very strong relationship that was established by our ancestors with hundreds of years of trade and friendship. Even our National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal personally maintained this very strong relationship with Hong Kong, through his common-law wife Josephine Bracken, who was a resident of this beautiful and peace-loving city. “

Citing a Filipino correspondent’s report in the, Singson said due to what happened at the Quirino Grandstand that night, the lawmakers in Hong Kong passed a resolution calling on Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-Ying to impose sanctions against the Philippines, and to make it hard for Filipinos to continue working there.

Singson said in his speech that “for everybody's information, Hong Kong is considered as the fifth richest city in the world and is providing a good future for more than 150,000 Filipinos and for more than half a million relatives of these OFWs. What if the Hong Kong Chief Executive called the Chief Executive of the Philippines to personally inform him of the status of Filipino casualties in a tragic disaster or calamity in Hong Kong, shown live in the world-media? Will the people in Malacanang still mention “protocol” and tell the Hong Kong Chief Executive to inform the Philippine President through traditional channels? I guess not. We should have shown a more sympathetic approach in comforting our traumatized Hong Kong neighbors by doing everything that can be done to relieve them of their sudden grief during that time and to finally remove any distrust among Filipinos and Hong Kong residents. “

“To the people of Hong Kong, we do not ignore that Hong Kong is a very rich city and many overseas workers prefer to work there, especially our very own OFWs,” said Singson.

Working Abroad is what we, Filipinos, are sometimes famous for and we call our OFWs as our modern Heroes. They are helping our government to enrich our economy and they contribute also in the development of your city, added Singson.

“We would like to convey our national voice in extending a formal apology to our seven million-strong, peace-loving Asian brothers and sisters in Hong Kong. I now enjoin my brother Filipino leaders in the House of Representatives to be united in finally closing that tragic 2010 chapter in the history of our two lands by co-sponsoring my House resolution which will finally settle this great misunderstanding between two very friendly groups of people in Southeast Asia; Hong Kong and the Philippines. 


Businessman, three others slain in Ilocos Norte attack

By Raymund Catindig

BADOC, Ilocos Norte --  A businessman, his daughter and two employees were killed while another was wounded when unidentified armed men fired at their vehicle in this town night of Dec. 13.

Benny Rosete, 31, and his employees Jerry Guzman and William Acoba, died on the spot while his daughter Hayamel died while being treated at a hospital, according to Senior Insp. Leo Tolentino, town police chief.

Rosete’s nephew, Mark John Rosete, 19, suffered gunshot wounds and was reported to be in critical condition.

Rosete’s wife Michelle, and their other child, Sonnymel, and nephew, Rayen Jen, survived unscathed.
Reports said the victims were in a tricycle when the gunmen waylaid them at about 9 p.m. along the highway in Barangay Santa Cruz-B.

Police recovered from the crime scene 13 bullet shells for an M16 Armalite. They have yet to determine the motive for the attack and the identities of the suspects. – With Charlie Lagasca, Teddy Molina


Baguio mayor to cops: Up visibility in city schools

By Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan on Monday directed the city police under police director Jesus Cambay Jr. to increase police visibility in all public and private schools in the city to deter crimes and maintain order in the school areas.
Cambay committed to beef up their manpower deployment in said areas as requested.
The city council later approved a resolution authored by Councilor Roberto Ortega asking the city police to implement city resolutions for the augmentation of police visibility to maintain peace and order in said areas.
“Delinquencies, misconducts and criminalities are clearly rampant in said areas which lead to untoward crimes.  Crime prevention group or any relation organization in preventing crimes of the school is not enough to control inhibit crimes,” Ortega noted.
He cited three past resolutions expressing the same intent.
Theft remains as the most prevalent crime in the city and most of these happen in crowded places like university belts.

Cambay acknowledged the need to deploy more policemen in schools also as a means to curb youth offenses. 


Livelihood program for army soldiers set

By Mar T Supnad

FORT RAMON MAGSAYSAY, Nueva Ecija –As part of soldiers' livelihood program,  the 7th Infantry (Kaugnay) Division headed by Maj. Gen.Hernando DCA Iriberri and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Regional Office 3 (BFAR RO3) led by its Regional Director Remedios E. Ongtangco signed Tuesday a memorandum of understanding.

Gen. Iriberri said the MOU between the 7ID and BFAR – 3 is in line with the Department of Agriculture-Department of National Defense-Armed Forces of the Philippines (DA-DND-AFP) Livelihood Development Programs in selected military reservations throughout the country.

He said the implementation of the Culture of Tilapia in Floating Net Cage project at Pahingahan Dam in Fort Magsaysay is just one of the many livelihood projects being undertaken at the vast land of Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation (FMMR) where soldiers of 7ID are the primary beneficiaries to these noble endeavors.

“We are very happy to have been extended assistance coming from our partner agency (BFAR RO3) for their Project 
“Culture of Tilapia in Floating Bamboo Net Cages-A Technology Demonstration Project”. It will surely enhancethe livelihood of 7ID troopers.” Maj Gen Iriberri said.

In fact, this was not the first tine that soldiers here were given livelihood projects as a number of it ( livelihood) had been provided during the time of Lt .General Gregorio Pio Catapang, now the Commander of all forces in Northern Luzon.


Sea products from P’sinan free from red tide: BFAR

DAGUPAN CITY – Fish and seashells harvested from the four coastal areas in Pangasinan are free from red tide toxin and are safe for human consumption, according to a latest advisory from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

Based from a BFAR advisory issued Dec. 11, laboratory analyses conducted on fish, squids, shrimps, crabs and seashells such as mussels and oysters taken from the waters of Bolinao, Anda, Alaminos City and Wawa in Bani, showed no presence of algae that produces red tide toxin.

BFAR regional director Nestor Domenden however, said that as precautionary measure, the local government units were told to require market inspectors, quarantine officers, administrators to demand clearance for fish and seashells transported to their area from other provinces and municipalities.

Domenden said the measure was meant to ensure that fish and shellfish brought to their markets did not come from areas found positive of red tide toxin.  



Former bocap arrested for toting gun in birthday party
Bangued, abra -- A 43- year old former barangay captain of Patucannay was arrested after he created trouble by pointing his gun at visitors in a birthday party in Barangay Patucannay Monday night.

Senior Supt. Benjamin M. Lusad, Abra Provincial Director, identified the arrested the suspect as Rexon Bermudez Festejo, a resident of Patucannay.

Festejo attended the birthday party at the residence of Jayrolf Santiago Millare when he created trouble and was seen by PO3 Marlon Laureta Brioso.

Said policeman immediately arrested him  and confiscated a Cal. 45 pistol loaded with 12 bullets.

Young man, cohort in taxi robbery-hold-up arrested
BAGUIO CITY A-- a 22- year old man was arrested after he and his companion who evaded arrest tried to rob a 36- year old driver here along Naguilian Road, San Luis Village, around 7 p.m. Monday.

Senior Supt. Jesus Cambay, city police director named the victim as Exequiel Sansan Solijon,  of Santo Niño, San Carlos Heights, Irisan here while the suspect was identified as Gim Carlo Hidalgo Samson, a resident of Km. 3 Asin Road also in Baguio  and his cohort who was identified as Angelo.

Solijon was driving his Mitsubishi Adventure taxi with plate number AYU 398 heading towards Naguilian road when he was flagged down by the suspects and requested to be ferried to Baguio Memorial Cemetery.

Upon reaching the place, Samson who was sitting in front pointed his knife to him and declared hold-up while Angelo who is sitting at the back choked him behind.

The driver fought back that prompted Samson to stab him twice while Angelo ran away.

Samson was later arrested after he was cornered by the responding police personnel of Station 1.

Both suspects and the confiscated evidence are now under custody of police prior to the filing of charges against them.

Chief Supt. Isagani Nerez, regional police director cited responding police personnel for their quick action and assured the public that police presence will be maintained in all public areas while the Police Beat System will be strengthened to deter crimes in the region.

Cop loses firearm, cash to thieves
BAGUIO CITY – An officer of the Cordillera police lost her service pistol and other personal belongings to thieves who broke into her house in this city on Tuesday. 

Insp. Joyce Ann Dayag, 24, said the robbers who struck at about 7 to 9 p.m.  took away her government-issued Glock 17 pistol, P3,000 cash, ATM card, and other personal belongings.

Investigators said the thieves broke the window in Dayag’s room in order to gain entry.

Security guards nab illegal drug user in Burnham Park  
BAGUIO CITY -- A 46 - year old drug user was arrested after he was caught smoking marijuana leaves by Security Guards at Burnham Park here around 11:45 a.m. Wednesday.

Senior Supt/ Jesus D. Cambay, Jr. city police director said  Dennis Rolluda Dilan and Angelo Fernandez Olivas, both security guards arrested Allan Julieta Abao, 46  of City Camp.

Confiscated from the suspect were marijuana leaves weighing 122.53 grams valued at P313.25.

Abao is now under the custody of the City Anti-Illegal Drug Special Operations Task Group while the evidence was submitted at the PNP Crime Laboratory, Camp BadoDangwa, La Trinidad, Benguet for examination.

3 girls hurt in mishap
TUGUEGARAO CITY – Three teenage girls were injured after the tricycle they were riding was hit by another vehicle as they were on their way to attend the “Simbang Gabi” in this city yesterday.

Jasmin Mae Justado, 16, Kristen Jasmin Tablac, 17, and Kristine Joy Baloran, 17, were rushed to the nearest hospital for treatment, according to Police Officer 1 Santiago Pelovello.

Tricycle driver Tirso Canceran was not hurt in the accident.

Police said no one could identify the vehicle that bumped the tricycle as it was dark in the area where the accident happened.—Raymund Catindig

2 killed in Benguet road mishaps
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Two persons were killed in separate accidents along the Benguet highway  night of Dec. 12.

Rogelio Andiso Dagupen, 52, from Balakbak, Kapangan was killed when the dump truck he was riding fell into a ravine at around 10:30 p.m. in Barangay Caponga in Tublay town.

Two hours later, a Ford Fiera with plate number ACK-194 driven by Albert Antonio Lawa also fell into a ravine along Man-atong Road in Buguias town.

One of its passengers, Joseph Antonio Atas, was declared dead on arrival at the Lutheran Hospital in Barangay Abatan.  

Buguias 'junkie' arrested anew
BUGUIAS, Benguet -- After being acquitted by the court of drugs charges, Shanon Guillao Bayas, alias “Bariches,” 32, here of Central Poblacion was arrested anew in a buy-bust operation Dec. 13.  Police said Bayas yielded .93 of a gram of metamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu.” Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Deputy Regional Director Gil Castro said Bayas is a big-time drug personality who has links with the “Olsim Group” and the “Mandu Gang” of drug dealers.

He evaded arrest last November when the PDEA searched an establishment said to be Bayas’ drug den.

Lady cop loses gun to thieves
BAGUIO CITY – A lady police officer assigned at the Cordillera police command lost her service pistol and other personal belongings after thieves broke into her house.

Thieves broke into the house of Inspector Joyce Ann Plata Dayag, 24, single, who is presently assigned at Cordillera police’s Regional Public Safety Batallion, between 7-9 p.m.  Tuesday,  carting away her government-issued Glock 17 Generation 4 9mm pistol bearing serial number 11097, P3,000, an ATM card, and other personal belongings.

Investigators believe that the thieves entered through the lady police officer’s room by removing the jalousie windows.

The other day, a taxicab driver was wounded in the neck with an ice pick after two robbers held him up.  The driver fought off the robbers but sustained stab wounds.

Woman found dead in Benguet creek
TUBA, Benguet – Another dead female was found dumped in a Benguet creek Sunday morning, police  said.
In October, alleged victims of summary executions were also found dumped here.

Tuba town policemen said villager Rudy Kimpa-OyCaoili led Tuba Bureau of Fire Protection employees  to a creek in Adafang Poblacion, Tuba where he found the body Saturday afternoon.

The yet to be identified victim was  wearing a shirt and is already decomposing.

Third week of October, another alleged victim of summary execution was found along Marcos Highway also in Tuba town.

A male cadaver was found by villager Jonathan Miguel dumped in  Poyopoy, Taloy Sur.

The cadaver, which was already decomposing was fished out from the deep ravine here and taken by police for autopsy.

Sitio Poyopoy, Taloy Sur,  uninhabited, very dark during the night and vegetated by tall grasses that could hide anything.

More than a week ago, two  victims of summary execution were found also along a deep ravine in barangay Tadiangan, also in this town.

Probers discovered two cadavers lying in an ESTIMATED 46-Meter deep ravine along the Baguio City bound lane road in sitio Sipitan, Tadiangan.

Tuba police added that both were barefooted.

In the first week of October too, two residents of Irisan barangay also in Baguio City were found dead in Naguillan town in La Union and were believed to be victims of summary killings too, while another alleged  victim of summary execution was also found in another town in Benguet.

Jeep driver, vegetable farmers fall in Baguio City drug busts
BAGUIO City - A shabu dealer, who doubles as a jeepney driver, was arrested in an entrapment operation in this city on Thursday.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Cordillera Administrative Region identified the suspect as Josephino Balanon, 44, who lives along Honeymoon Road but is a native of San Gabriel, La Union.

The PDEA said Balanon was caught selling less than a gram of shabu to an undercover agent in a waiteng shed at Bakakeng Norte at around 2 a.m. Thursday.

Meanwnile, PDEA agents also arrested two supposed vegetable farmers after being caught with at least P2 million worth of marijuana bricks abandoned along a sidewalk near a bus terminal in Governor Pack Road.

The suspects were identified as Crisanto Ngali Milio, 26 and Joel MadapenPaday-o, 24, from barangay Ahin and Lam-ayen in Tinoc town in Ifugao.

Seized from the two were 16,991.53 grams of marijuana bricks.

The suspects are facing charges for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Man with gun nabbed in videoke bar
BANGUED, Abra – Police arrested a man here after a concerned citizen reported that a person was in possession of a firearm and threatening customers inside the,  El Amor videoke Bar in Barangay Angad, Bangued, Abra  at around  1:30 a.m. Dec. 18.

Senior Supt. Benjamin M. Lusad,  Abrapolice director  identified the  suspect as Louis SoriaAgaid,  21,resident  of Barangay Namarabar, Peñarrubia, Abra.  Confiscated from his him was a gun replica of a Cal. 45 pistol.

Man arrested for creating trouble in bar
BAGUIO CITY -- A 22- year old man identified as Fermon Bangao Juan,  of Cruz, La Trinidad Benguet was arrested by police here after he and his companions who earlier evaded arrest created trouble inside the New Sagada Lunch Videoke Bar located along Jacinto St. here at about 12 a.m.

Juan and his three companions left the bar but later returned and created trouble inside the bar destroying the gate and breaking the glass door and four monoblock chairs.

Farmer, cohort jailed for mauling, forcibly taking P5k of victim
BAGUIO CITY -- A 26- year old farmer was arrested by police after he and his cohorts harmed their victim and took his money inside Kiara Bar located here in Lakandula St. at about 11:30 p.m. of Dec.

He was identified as MaximoTabingan Dapyawen, a resident of Km 5 Pico, La Trinidad, Benguet.

The mauled victim was identified as Daril Dalimag Magallis, 19, student and a resident of Philex Mines, Tuba, Benguet.

Police said the victim and his cousin Oliver Magallis were drinking liquor inside the bar when the suspect approached and suddenly slapped him while his companions mauled him outside the bar after which they forcibly took his money amounting to P5,500.

All arrested individuals are now in jail while caes are being prepared against them.


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