Lawmaker seeks probe of Camp John Hay mess

>> Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sublessees caught in middle of BCDA, developer fight 

BAGUIO CITY - A lawmaker from Pampanga is seeking an inquiry into the mess at Camp John Hay in Baguio City involving its private developer, the state-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority and the locators.

In Resolution No. 2107, Rep. JosellerGuiao said hundreds of investors and locators at the former US military facility are caught in the fight between the BCDA and the Camp John Hay Development Corp.

Guiao said an arbitration tribunal has ordered the CJHDevCo to vacate the facility, while the BCDA has been directed to reimburse the developer with P1.4 billion in rental payments for the facility.

The state-run agency has been trying to collect more than P3 billion from the developer in back rentals.

Guiao said the developer leased the units for 50 years, when its contract with BCDA was good only for 25 years.

The BCDA Friday slammed the Sobrepeña-led CJHDevCo for” misleading the Court of Appeals to issue temporary restraining order that put on hold a portion of   writ of execution that orderedCJHDevCo and all persons claiming rights under them or sublessees to peacefully vacate Camp John Hay.”

The Office of the Executive Clerk of Court and Ex-Officio Sheriff of Baguio is in charge of implementing the writ of execution.

"CJHDevCo blatantly misled the Court of Appeals of various lies that formed the very foundation for the issuance of TRO," BCDA President and CEO ArnelPaciano D.  Casanova said.

 He said CJHDevCo misled the CA to believe that there was going to be violence following the end of the 30-day notice to vacate. "I'm very sure that the sheriff of Baguio who is implementing the writ of execution and notice to vacateand  assisted by the Philippine National Police , will not start any violence. So does that mean that the Sobrepeña-led CJHDevCo has threatened to provoke violence against the Baguio sheriff?" Casanova said.

Casanova addedCJHDevCo mislead the CA by saying the  P1.42 billion   is advance rental payments when in fact it is a refund that  should be paid by CJHDevCo to sublessees.

 The Arbitral Tribunal of the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center, Inc. came out with its final award that ordered CJHDevCo to vacate Camp John Hay and promptly deliver the leased property, inclusive of all new constructions and permanent improvements to the BCDA. 

The final award also ordered the BCDA to return to CJHDevCo the amount of P1.42-B which the CJHDevCo paid to the BCDA as lease payments.

BCDA complied with the writ of execution on the P1.42 billion that is now in an escrow account under the direct control of the  Baguio Court.

Casanova said from day one of its operations,  theSobrepeña-led CJHDevCo may have  been misleading people  to avoid accountability to the sublessees.

“CJHDevCo has misled their sublessees by selling them 50-year lease hold rights when in fact the primary or main lease between BCDA and CJHDevCo is only 25 years renewable for another 25 years. The 25 year renewal is not a vested right but merely an option. The renewal is not automatic but subject to negotiations by the parties upon exercise of the option. CJHDevCo collected payments for 50 year leases.

“The Sobrepena-led CJHDevCo would like to get hold of the P1.42 billion and at the same time run away from their responsibility to return  the lease payments its sublessees have already  paid.”

 Casanova said that the sublessees should now seriously claim from the P1.42 billion that the BCDA is returning to CJHDevCo.

 “The only way for the CJHDevCo’s victims to recover their investments and protect their interests is to lay claim to the P1.42-B that the BCDA deposited  in the court,” Casanova said.

 Casanova also disclosed that CJHDevco has no authority and license to sell condominium/hotel, lots or house and lots as they are not authorized by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).  “They misled third parties by making it appear that they are allowed to sell hotel units and house and lot within the leased area, when in truth it is just a sublease.”

“At present, CJHDevCo has no authority to operate in the Camp John Hay because there is no longer an existing contract between BCDA and CJHDevCo and that CJHDevCohas  not been issued a permit by the John Hay Management Corporation,” Casanova said.

According to him, “CJHDevCo's  misleading the CA is  a violation of the rule of law, not to mention a desperate act to delay the inevitable at the expense of sublessees and the Filipino people.”

 He said it was CJHDevCo who compelled the BCDA to undergo into the arbitration process. The CJHDevCo filed for a petition to confirm the final award of the PDRCI Arbitral Tribunal before the Baguio RTC. 

Casanova added the court confirmed the final award  that  paved the way for the  writ of execution  issued by  Judge Cecilia Corazon Dulay-Archog and its eventual  implementation by the Baguio Sheriff. All of a sudden, CJHDevCo  would want to defy the court decision that it had asked for.

"By misleading the CA to issue a TRO, CJHDevCo has shown its defiance and contempt towards the rule of law,"  Casanovasaid.

 Casanova said the BCDA will exhaust all legal remedies, adding it had been consistent in respecting the rule of law. "Our previous actions clearly show that the BCDA has abided with the orders of the judge." He added that CJHDevCo should do the same.

 The BCDA also expressed its concern with the way CJHDevCowas trying to delay the inevitable at the expense of some sublessees whom they have reportedly been led to believe that the notice to vacate was not directed at sublessees.

“It  was very clear during the pre-execution conference held on  April 17, 2015 between BCDA and CJHDevCo in the presence of Judge Archog of the Baguio RTC Branch 6 that “third party investors  or vested right holders” which the court referred to as sublessees are covered by the Final Award issued by the Philippine Dispute Resolution Center, Inc,” he said.

Camp John Hay sublessees were advised to consult the BCDA and JHMC at: Baguio Help Desk: (074) 423-5403, (074) 422-1963 and at;  Manila Help Desk: (02) 575-1700 local 1728 and 1734 and at

 Casanova said the priority of the sublessees is to protect their investment and not fight the losing battle of CJHDevCo.

 Quite a number of sublessees have already signed up with the BCDA guaranteeing the continuity of their business operation or lease including former Senate President  ManuelVillar and Congressman Eric Singson.

 Last April 20, 2015, the Sheriff of Baguio started serving the notice to vacate to CJHDevCo and all persons claiming rights under CJHDevCo. The latter refers to sublessees.  CJHDevCo and the sublessees were given 30 days to peacefully and orderly vacate Camp John Hay. The 30 days ended on May 20, 2015.

Based on the notice to vacate, and prior to the TRO, following the end of the 30-day notice, the Baguio sheriff is compelled to forcibly evict those who have not vacated. – With a report from Melody Brawner


Jeep falls down ravine; 1 dead

SAN FABIAN, Pangasinan – An overseas Filipino worker died while 13 of his relatives were injured when their jeepney fell into a ravine here May 17.

Anselmo Cayabyab, 48, was declared dead on arrival at the Nazareth General Hospital in Dagupan City, Chief Insp. Crisante Sadino, town police chief, said.

The injured victims, including jeepney driver Renato Prado, 36, were brought to the same hospital for treatment.

The victims’ vehicle was at the Roheim Farm and Resort in Barangay Colisao when they figured in an accident.

Investigation showed that Cayabyab, with the help of a resort guard, was trying to get the jeepney near the swimming pool when he lost control of the wheel.               


Gunmen nabbed: Abra town exec shot dead by 3 assassins

SAN JUAN, ABRA – A municipal councilor of this town was shot dead by three assailants Tuesday morning.
Remegio “Roy”Tagudar, 50,resident of Sitio Publay, Barangay Baug here was on a motorcycle on his way to the municipal hall when he was shot shortly before 8 a.m., Abra police director Senior Supt. Alberlito Garcia said.

Tagudar was on his way to attend flag-raising ceremony at municipal hall boarded riding his blue Motorstar motorcycle when gunmen repeatedly shot him long the road at Sitio Barbaric, Baug.

Police arrested suspects in a follow-up operation next day after the ambush.

The suspects were alleged members of the gun-for-hire syndicate and identified as: Elmo Reyes, 51,   VirgilioBobila, 36 and Constante Valeros,45, all residents of Lacub town.  

Two Cal. 45 pistols were confiscated from the suspects.

Garcia said the three gunmen from the province and engaged in contract killings are now in jail.

They refused to reveal the mastermind in the killing during interrogation

Suspects are now under the custody of Abra police while firearms confiscated were submitted to Abra Crime Laboratory for examination.

The councilor sustained multiple gunshot wounds causing his instant death.

Regional police director Chief Supt.Isagani Nerez, has ordered a manhunt for the owner of the house which the suspects used prior to the killing.


Boss in scam of Baguio City folks in La Union

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union -- An alleged operator of a Laguna-based firm engaged in a pyramiding scam was arrested here last week.

Lorenzo Vargas, who reportedly operates the New Business Opportunities (NBO) Calamba City, was arrested based on separate warrants issued by Judge Cecilia Corazon Archog of Baguio Regional Trial Court for two counts of estafa.

 Vargas’ arrest came after several Baguio residents filed a complaint against him.

Investigators said Vargas lured the victims to invest their money in his company in exchange for high interest rates. 
The company has reportedly duped residents in Batangas, Laguna, Pangasinan, Rizal and in Metro Manila.

In August last year, the NBO stopped paying its investors and Vargas went into hiding.

Hundreds of Vargas’ alleged victims flocked to this city to confront him about their money. 

Vargas denied absconding with the victims’ investment


Mt Prov, Kalinga task force to nab Bontoc teen’s killers

By Peter Balocnit

BONTOC, Mountain Province -- A task force composed of members of provincial police offices of Kalinga and Mountain Province and municipal police forces of Tinglayan and Bontoc will be created to arrest the suspect on the stabbing to death of  a 15-year-old boy  in this capital town last month which fueled protest actions here.

This was agreed during recent peace dialogue here among officials from Kalinga led by Vice Gov. Allen Jesse CapuaynMangaoang and Tinglayan Mayor Johnny Maymaya  andBontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey and his people to  help police apprehend the  suspect from Basao, Tinglayan, Kalinga in the killing of John Crisostomo of Bontoc. 

According to police report, the stabbing incident happened at around 6:55 p.m. of April 10 at WacletMi-ing building at SitioFoyayeng here at Bontoc Ili.

Days before the dialogue, people from Bontoc barricaded the national road near the capital town barring people from Kalinga to enter Bontoc in protest against the murder of Crisostomo and seeking justice for his death.

During the dialogue, the aggrieved participants demanded Kalinga delegates to surrender the suspect within five days after the issuance of the warrant of arrest. They threatened to drive out Kalinga students in Bontoc after summer classes if this would not be done.

However, Fr. Jose Pic-it, spokesperson of Kalinga delegates, told their counterpart that they could not commit to produce the suspect within the time frame but assured to help law enforcers in their best efforts to bring the suspect to court.  

The dialogue pushed through after barangay officials from four central barangays of this town wanted to prevent vehicles and people coming from Tinglayan in entering this town.

Barangay officials and concerned residents from Caluttit, Samoki, Bontoc Ili, and Poblacion took shifts at SitioKhessat, Caluttit to check people coming from Tinglayan.

Tinglayanfolks coming to this town complained said action included all people of the Kalinga town when in fact only people of Basao, a barangay in Tinglayan, should be subjects of community action.

This development was a result of pent up emotions of the Bontoc people for misdeeds and wrongdoings reportedly perpetrated by Basao folks against the former in the past.

Police reported eight criminal incidents in the past that until now found no justice.

The recent stabbing incident caused anuproar from the community denouncing the barbaric act inflicted on a very young boy by a man who turned out to be from Basao.

On April 10, 2015, minor Bryden Faniswa Crisostomo, 13 and resident of Fatayan, Bontoc Ili, Bontoc, was stabbed to death by one Saldy Alinung Dalug of Basao, who has since escaped to his hometown and presently remains free.
The incident brought back memories of eight criminal acts reported by the police to have been perpetrated by people from Basao.

The stabbing incident infuriated local people to condemn the seemingly never ending saga of the Basao folks in committing criminal acts in the town.

Boarding houses in the town have been cautioned and urged to terminate all agreements or lease given to residents of Basao, not to allow them to stay in the town any longer.

Tension erupted among Tinglayan people who were of good behavior but nevertheless now being implicated for wrongdoings.

On May 4, 2015, a case was filed before the prosecutor’s office on the case  and was docketed under NPS Docket No. 1-07-INV-ISE-00045.

On the same day, officials from the four central barangays barred vehicles and people from Tinglayan to enter the capital town. It was learned that this action was to force the officials and people of Basao to cause the surrender of the suspect.

On May 6, officials from Kalinga led by Mangaoang, who traces his roots in Sagada, Maymaya  and other municipal officials had a dialogue with the municipal and barangay officials of Bontoc led by Mayor Odsey at the Multi-purpose building hall here in a bid to deter the tensions from escalating.

During the lengthy discussion, the Bontok tribe demanded the arrest or surrender of the suspect with the help of the local officials of Tinglayan, Kalinga.

They agreed that  moratorium be done on the conduct of spot check of passengers from Tinglayan by the Bontoc people for as long as the officials of Tinglayan will fully support the police to arrest the suspect in five days after the issuance of the arrest warrant which is yet to be issued.

If the suspect will not yet be arrested despite the issuance of the arrest warrant, the people of Bontoc will resume the spot check of passengers with the intention of not allowing the entry of people from Basao to the town.

According to a reliable source, the community action will resume after May 25, to prevent entry of the vehicles and
people from Tinglayan to the capital town of Bontoc if the suspect is not arrested by that date.

“Those who will be negatively affected here are the students studying here and those employed in the town”, said a barangay official.

Back home in Tabuk City, Kalinga, Mangaoang conferred with Gov. Joce lBaac for the creation of the joint task force and corresponding issuance of an executive order. – With a report from Roger Sacyaten


Hedcor, Aboitiz hydro to boost Luzon power grid

By Andrew Doga-ong

SABANGAN, Mountain Province – The Luzon grid will be boosted with power from the recently inaugurated 14 MW hydropower plant here.

Hedcor and the Aboitiz Power Corp. ere cited by Sabangan mayor Donato Danglose and Mountain Province Gov. Leonard Mayaen for investing in the province with the hydropower plant.

Danglose said the hydropower project is what Sabangan really needs noting rich water resources within the municipality.

With the project, Hedcor, he said will pour more development programs to improve his poor municipality.

Danglose thanked  provincial and local  government officials and residents  particularly of the two hosts barangays  for their support to  the project despite various issues and opposition.

Mayaen, said  construction and operation of the Hedcor – Sabangan Hydropower Plant will bring benefit to the people of  the province particularly local residents of the host municipality and barangays.

He cited financial and employment assistance and other benefits the project will bring through the firm’s corporate social responsibility(CSR) programs.

“This is the beginning for us people of Mountain Province to reap what we have and indeed we are entitled to it”, said the governor.

The 14MW Sabangan Hydropower Plant built along Chico River within barangays Napua and Namatec, is the first Hedcor hydropower project in  the province.

The plant  which makes use of a run-off-river scheme is expected to contribute 55 gigawatts of clean and renewable energy annually to the Luzon Grid.

Hedcor is set to remit about P16 million worth of annual shares, taxes and royalties to the two host barangays,

Sabangan local government unit,  the provincial government  and the indigenous people community aside from the firm’s CSR programs focusing on enhancing education, enterprise development and environment.

In his message, Hedcor president and chief operating officer Rene Ronquillo  said with the Sabangan  project as show window, he hopes other municipalities in  the province  will be convinced to allow their water resources  to be  developed for hydropower to generate more clean and renewable energy.

Also gracing the event were  Aboitiz Power Corp. president and COO Antonio Moraza, presidential sister Pinky Aquino-Abellada and husband ManoloAbellada and lawyer Marissa Cerezo of Department of Energy.


Mayor files charges vs vice, 5 councilors

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – The mayor of  Bayambang in this province has filed an administrative complaint against his vice mayor and five councilors for grave misconduct.

Mayor Ricardo Camacho, in a complaint filed with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan on May 13, wanted Vice Mayor Mylvin Junio and Councilors Raul Sabangan, Allan de Vera, Gerardo Flores, Joseph Vincent Ramos and Levin Uy suspended for allegedly maligning him in a press conference on April 14.

The respondents reportedly told journalists that Camacho violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees when he purchased a vehicle allegedly using municipal funds.

The respondents said the procurement was made without the conduct of a public bidding and permission from the municipal council.           

Camacho said the respondents committed perjury when they allowed the publication of the complaint against him.
He denied there was no bidding conducted for the purchase of the vehicle.

Board member Alfonso Bince Jr., chairman of the committee on good governance and accountability of public officials, gave the respondents 15 days to answer Camacho’s complaint.

Levin said they stand by their complaint and are ready to answer Camacho’s allegations.


PDEA partners with DepEd on campaign vs marijuana

By Joseph Zambrano

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The use of marijuana among high school students is going higher in the Cordillera, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

The PDEA Cordillera officials bared this saying they have partnered with Department of Education in campaign through lectures and seminars to educate students  on ill effects of using  illegal drugs.

Ronald Allan DG Ricardo, PDEA Cordillera regional director, said marijuana is top illegal drug used by high school students in the region.

One reason for this is marijuana is locally produced making it accessible to  students, Ricardo said.

He identified the provinces of Benguet, Mountain Province and Kalinga  where marijuana is cultivated.

High school students smoking cigarettes will likely try smoking marijuana, Ricardo said.

Among ill effects of taking marijuana include  rapid heartbeat, disorientation, lack of physical coordination, depression and panic attacks or anxiety.

Studies reportedly show regular marijuana use adversely affects mental health among young adults with increased risk of psychotic symptoms and disorders.

Moreover, students who use marijuana reportedly have high probability of dropping out  of school  or  achieving less educationally, as well as higher risk of delinquency and legal problems.

The Dangerous Drug Act mandates preventive education campaign in schools on illegal drugs while   DepEd is required to include it in its  curriculum  and teachers will have regular training.


P.5-M drugs seized in Dagupan raid

By Eva Visperas

DAGUPAN CITY – Anti-narcotics agents seized at least P500,000 worth of shabu and arrested two suspected drug traffickers following a raid here Wednesday.

Edmund Guzman, alias Edmund Sual,and Amira Didatu were taken to the city police station for questioning, Superintendent Christopher Abrahano, city police chief, said.

The suspects were reportedly on the watchlist of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the city police, according to PDEA-Region 1 director Adrian Alvarino.

The arresting team recovered documents allegedly showing the transactions made by the suspects, including one that amounted to P600,000.      


Strict rules set for gov’t vehicles use

By Paul Rillorta

BAGUIO CITY – The city government here will be implementing stricter rules on use of government vehicles to avoid wasteful spending of government funds.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan recently issued Administrative Order No. 35 series of 2015 which authorizes the City General Services Office (GSO) to establish measures in managing not only the use of government vehicles but fuel supply as well.

Being the custodian and administrator of city government properties, the mayor said the GSO is mandated to prescribe internal measures to safeguard and control the use of City government vehicles and gasoline expenses.

This time, all city government vehicles will have to pass through the GSO for their approval before any gasoline or diesel is drawn.

The GSO will be issuing to different offices Driver’s Trip Ticket (DTT) with serial numbers approved by the City General Services Officer or his duly authorized representative to control its issuance.    

The approval of the DTT shall be “by authority of the Chief Executive.”

All city government vehicles will also be marked ‘For Official Use Only” including the name of the agency or office as required.

The GSO will also require offices to have the odometer of their vehicles undergo repair, calibration or replacement to insure that it will have an accurate record of the distance that the respective vehicle travelled as indicated in the DTT.

Drawing of gasoline and diesel for government vehicles will strictly be from 8 a.m. to 12 noon during regular days and 8 a.m. to 10 am during holidays, Saturdays and Sundays except for garbage trucks, city issued police patrol cars and motorcycle vehicles including city government ambulances and fire trucks during emergency cases only.

Vehicles for long distance trip covered by Travel Authority may be allowed to withdraw prior to departure from station.
The said administrative order seeks to address Audit Observation Memorandum issued by the Commission on Audit (COA) on the absence of a monthly report of official travels and monthly report of gasoline consumption to support the utilization of gasoline and the proper accomplishment of the Driver’s Trip Ticket (DTT).

The COA report stated, the non-enforcement of proper controls over the use of government vehicles may result in wasteful spending of government funds and the lapses in the preparation of the DTT’s may result in the misuse of government vehicles and the utilization of gasoline may not be adequately controlled.

COA Circular No. 1977-61 prescribes the filling-up of a serially numbered DTT before any trip is undertaken approved by the head of agency.

The DTT should also include the name of the driver and its authorized passengers who will also sign the same before the trip is made.

For the Calendar year 2014, the City government has disbursed P25,169,962.15 for payment of gasoline used for 215 government motor vehicles assigned to the different offices.  


PNP shuts down John Hay secu firm; another probed

By Melody Brawner

BAGUIO CITY -- The Philippine National Police’s  Civil Security Group has shutdown the security agency of the Sobrepena-led CJH Development Corp. here in Camp John Hay after it was discovered operating  the past eight months with an expired license, the state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority said.

The Sobrepena-led Warbird Security and Investigation Agency, Inc. was issued a cease to operate order by the PNP Civil Security Group signed by Chief Supt. Elmer Ragadio Soria, CSG officer in charge.

“We are not surprised at this development. This just shows the kind of business that CJHDevCo has been conducting in Camp John Hay not to mention its total disregard for the rule of law," BCDA president Arnel Paciano D. Casanova said.

BCDA head for security operations retired general Carlos F. Quita said Warbird Security and Investigation Agency was not only operating without a license the past eight months, but their guards were armed with guns making them liable for illegal possession of firearms.

Based on the COO dated May 19,2015 the license to operate of Warbird Security and Investigation Agency, Inc. expired on Sept. 30, 2014. 

Pursuant to Section 11(c), Rule IV of the 2003 Revised Rules and Regulations Implementing RA 5487, "an LTO not renewed 60 days after the expiry date shall automatically be cancelled.

The COO stated:"Warbird Security and Investigation Agency,Inc. is hereby directed to cease its operation effective

The COO also directed Warbird Security to turn-over all its firearms for safekeeping to the Storage Branch, Firearms and Explosives Office,Civil Security Group, in Camp Crame, Quezon city or nearest police regional office within 15 days upon receipt of the COO.

Another security agency  hired by the Sobrepena-led CHJDevCo is now in hot water for operating within Camp John Hay without permit and for entering into contract with a client whose property  has an existing conflict  with another party without the  written permission of the police.

Eagle Corinthian Integrated Security, Inc.  is now the subject of investigation by the PNP Civil Security Group. 

The CJHDevCo-hired security agency  is reportedly in violation of sub-para A5 of paragraph 2, Section VIII of Standing Operating Procedure (SOP) No. 007-08 which states: "No  PSA [Private Security Agency] shall enter into contract with any client whose property/establishment has an existing conflict of claim, ownership, management or administration of properties/establishment with another party, without written permission from the police that has jurisdiction of the property/establishment."

Quita said the “uncalled for unauthorized deployment of Eagle Corinthian Integrated Security, Inc.  within Camp John Hay demonstrates CJHDevCo's strengthening of its security forces in contravention to intent and spirit of SOP No. 007-08.”

"Eagle Security may have been deployed to avert the Baguio Sheriff in implementing the writ of execution issued by the Regional Trial Court for CJHDevCo and all persons claiming rights to them to vacate the properties in Camp John Hay," Quita said.

Eagle Corinthian Integrated Security, Inc.  is also reportedly operating in CampJohn Hay without a permit from the John Hay Management Corporation--the management arm of the BCDA in  625-hectare  John Hay Special Economic Zone and Reservation Area.

If found guilty Eagle Corinthian Integrated Security, Inc. faces penalties that include payment of fines and the revocation of its license.

"I would like to enjoin both CJHDevCo and its security providers Warbird Security and  Eagle Security to respect and abide to the Cease to Operate Order  and the Standing Operating Procedure issued by Civil Security Group of the PNP. This will play a significant role to preserve and promote peace and order in Camp John Hay," Quita said.




53 fires reported in Mt Prov with P2.8M damage

BONTOC, Mountain Province – The Bureau of Fire Protection provincial office reported 53 fire incidents with damage of P2.8 million on properties first quarter of the year in the province.

Out of these, 42 were  forest and grass fires, seven residential and structural fires, three vehicular and one electrical.

Two of residential fires incurred casualties and injuries. 

Fire officials bared this, saying every household should have fire extinguishers as a vital equipment in homes.

Giving fire safety tips to participants of Dept. of the Interior and Local Government- initiated provincial disaster preparedness dialogue, Fire Officer 1 Mirasol Navarra said only big buildings and some business establishments in the province are installed with fire extinguishers which are usually put in an accessible location as part of their fire protection system.

BFP house to house inspections revealed most houses in the province especially in barangays did not have fire extinguishers.

Navarra said while fire extinguishers are not intended for big or out-of-control fires, these gadgets are very handy and useful in suppressing small or starting fires while also giving time to call for help.

She advised vehicle owners to have fire extinguishers installed in their cars in case of fire emergency.

Building inspectors of the municipal fire stations, if requested, will provide trainings on the operation and use of fire extinguishers, it was learned. -- Andrew Doga-ong


2 kids among victims: 179 sick with HIV in Baguio

BAGUIO CITY – The Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center has recorded 179 Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) cases with 4-year-old and  2-year-old  children as among the government hospital’s recent cases.

This was bared by Health officials May 17 in media forum on occasion of International AIDS Memorial Day, saying the number was based from 2006 to date.

A health expert said HIV or can be transmitted by an infected mother to her unborn child, thus this explained the two children being affected by HIV.

BGHMC medical specialist II, Dr. Maria Lorena Santos, said there are four ways in which HIV virus can be transmitted from one person to another.

These are through sexual contact, blood transfusion, sharing of needles (which is usual among drug users) and from a mother to a child.

THE BGHMC, she said, had been set as National HIV Screening and Treatment Center and it was here that if was found out the children got their HIV infections from their mothers, who didn’t know they were infected even before they got pregnant, she said.

Santos advised the sexually active, those with multiple partners and those who are engaged in risky sexual behavior to have themselves screened, not only for themselves but also for their future children.

Children, she said, have weaker immune system to fight such dreaded virus which has no cure yet and only being managed through retrovirals.

Santos said new cases of HIV infection are alarming and patients or infected persons are getting younger and younger.
She said of 179 cases recorded at BGHMC, 65 were 25 to 34 years old while 39 cases were 15 to 24 years of age.

HIV is a life-long disease and many people with HIV worldwide are dying because they are not properly monitored and not given right medication, Santos added.

In line with the DOH nationwide program, BGHMC provided free HIV testing and information drive last week. -- Carlito Dar



P13-M marijuana torched
KIBUNGAN Benguet – At least P13 million worth of dried marijuana bricks and stalks were destroyed by police officers following a raid here May 23.

Officers from the regional and municipal police found 300 kilos of marijuana bricks and 50 kilos of stalks in an abandoned shanty in Barangay Badeo.

No one was arrested during the raid, but police said they would find out who owns the shanty and the contraband.

Eight arrested for illegal gambling in Baguio
BAGUIO CITY – Police arrested eight persons here for illegal gambling at second floor of People’s Eatery here at Barangay Trancoville Wednesday night.

Arresting for playing “Mahjong” were Caroline FianzaTandayog, 50, businesswoman,  of Buyagan, La Trinidad, Benguet and Baguio residents Virginia Malanaes Gabol, 48,  of Copper St., Quezon Hill Tacay road; Imelda Lucuab Sabado, 48, of  Slaughter Compound; Christine Wallace Cuquilla, 48, of  Quirino Hill; Rodolfo CabintoBetenerario, 63, of Diego Silang Herminia and Sepulcre Nimer, 49, a resident of San Luis.

Also arrested were Henry Ciano Kawa, 42, of Km. 4 Pico, La Trinidad, Benguet and TeodoricoBernardezCalub, 57, of Zone 4, Bangued Abra.

Seized from the suspects were two mahjong tables; 288 pieces mahjong tiles, P1, 200 cash bets, mono block chairs and gambling paraphernalia.

All suspects with confiscated items are now under custody of police while a case for illegal gambling was filed against them.

Abra LGU town driver nabbed for illegal gun, bullets
DOLORES, Abra – A municipal driver of Tineg town was arrested at checkpoint junction of Barangay Talogtog town here Thursday after failing to show documents of firearm in his possession.

Arrested was Ariel Timbreza Allen, 24, of Barangay Silet, San Juan town.

Police stopped his vehicle for not heeding the flagman to stop.

Allen was on board a black pickup truck owned by Tineg town government.

Police found a bag containing Cal .45 pistol and magazine loaded with five bullets.

Allen and confiscated items are now under custody of police while a case for illegal gun was prepared against him.

PRO-Cordillera implements Oplan Balik Eskwela program
CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet – The Regional Police Office in coordination with the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education and local government units conducted simultaneous cleaning and repair of school materials, buildings and grounds last week in preparation for school opening dubbed Brigada Eskwela.

Police were deployed in the region to conduct foot patrol within schools and major routes leading to learning institutions.

Police assistance desks were also established.

Regional director, Chief Supt.IsaganiNerez cautioned students to be wary of strangers and to refrain from talking to them.

He said wearing expensive jewelries and bringing large amounts of money or  using expensive phones while in the streets should be avoided.

Anti-criminality campaign will be conducted in crime prone areas before and after the opening of classes for peace and order, Nerez said.

Militiaman wanted for store robbery arrested
LAOAG CITY – After 14 years in hiding, a member of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit fell into the hands of the authorities in Carasi town, Ilocos Norte Wednesday.

Orlando Agibay, alias, Orlando Turon, did not resist when National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents arrested him in Barangay Virbira.

Agibay and Noel Infiel were tagged as principal suspects in a robbery at a farm supply shop in Piddig town in 2001 that left one person dead, NBI-Laoag supervising agent DiosdadoAraos said.
Infiel has yet to be arrested.—Ariel P. Tejada

He urged the public especially the students to report crime or bullying to policemen or through social media (Twitter-@PNPCordillera or Facebook Page- PioProcor, or through the following numbers: Complaint Referral -094765880 / 09174297628; Regional Tactical Operation Center (074) 422-5515; 09175302679/ 09285591669.


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