Baguio signature campaign vs gambling reaches 20,000

>> Monday, June 29, 2015

Officials in quandary whether to allow e-Bingo operations 

By Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY – The city council is studying its next move on e-Bingo operations in the city even as oppositionists garnered 20,000 signatures to stop all forms of gambling.” 

 The body on Monday tasked its committee on laws under Councilor Richard Carino to study and recommend succeeding actions in the light of the revelation by Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. representatives that there is a way to revoke gaming license and that is to cancel the business permits issued by the local government.

The move is protracted to center on the information that another kind of online betting game called e-Games has been allowed to operate in an area within the border of the city and Tuba town.  

The said e-Games is cause for concern in the city because it is known to offer casino-style online gambling.

Casino has been banned in the city by virtue of city council resolutions prodded by massive church-led campaigns.

PAGCOR representatives Gaming Licensing and Development Department remote gaming unit senior manager Nelia Lorenzo and Corporate and Legal Services Department senior legal counsel Arnie Salvosa said that cancellation of the business permit granted an entity by the local government is one of PAGCOR’s bases in annulling the gaming license.

They said this is because based on PAGCOR charter, business permit is proof of the local government’s consent to the e-Bingo operation.  It was only in June 2012 that PAGCOR required a letter of no objection (LONO) from the local governments before allowing bingo joints to operate in a locality. 

The e-Bingo joints in SM Baguio and Baguio Center Mall were granted licenses on November 2010 or before June 2012 and thus were given the go signal on the basis of only the business permits granted by the local government.  The outlets started operating in September 2011 and in December 2010, respectively.

The e-Bingo outlet at the Centerpoint Plaza in Bakakeng Central started operating last year based on an alleged resolution of consent by the city council, the authenticity of which was later questioned. 

Last May, the body formally allowed its operations.

PAGCOR representatives said the licenses are renewed every two years without requirement for a new LONO. 

SM joint’s license will expire on in January 2017, Center Mall in March 2016 and Centerpoint in May 2017.  

When informed of the signature campaign against the e-bingo outlets as presented by Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda, Salvosa stopped short of saying that the signatures numbering 20,000 are immaterial because their sole basis is the go signal of the city officials.

Salvosa said as per their procedure in revoking licenses, the request of the local government is referred to the legal department for study and recommendation to the board of directors. 

The board will decide and the operator will be asked to comment.  

Two more applications for e-bingo outlets in Maharlika Livelihood Center and the Albergo Hotel are currently in the works and both will require LONOs.

Meanwhile, the body asked PAGCOR representatives to verify the location where the approved e-Games outlet will operate in Tuba in the light of the unresolved boundary issue between the city and Tuba.

The named location is included in the unresolved portion, according to Vice Mayor Edison Bilog.

The city’s anti-casino measures include Resolution No. 236 series of 1991 entitled “A Resolution opposing the return of casino to Baguio or the establishment of a new one under any other form or guise,” Resolution No. 122-02 entitled “Expressing the Sentiment of the People of Baguio and the Policy of the City Government against Gambling…” and Resolution No. 446 series of 2008 “Vigorously opposing the establishment of a casino or the conduct of a gambling activities at Camp John Hay and anywhere in the city.”


Bacnotan ABC president slain

BACNOTAN, La Union — The president of the Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) in this town was killed inside the barangay hall by an unidentified gunman Wednesday.

Municipal police chief FredilexMarron said victim Barangay Zaragosa chairman Edwin Cua, 55, was drinking beer and watching TV with two others when the gunman sneaked inside the barangay hall and shot him at close range. Cua, who had six bullet wounds on the body, was rushed to the Lorma Hospital in San Fernando City but was declared dead. The gunman immediately rode the motorcycle driven by another unidentified man who waited for him. -- Erwin G. Beleo


Pres Aquino declares July 15 Cordillera Day

BAGUIO CITY – President Aquino has declared July 15 as a special non-working holiday in the Cordillera Administrative Region in celebration of the region’s 28th Foundation Day.

“It is but fitting that the people of CAR be given full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies,” read Proclamation 1056 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr.

CAR was created under Executive Order 220 signed by former President Corazon Aquino on July 15, 1987.

With the theme “Conserving the Environment Toward a Greener Cordillera,” this year’s celebration will be hosted by the provincial government of Apayao, with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as head of the Regional Development Council’s Environment and Watershed Management Sectoral Committee.

The activities for the 28th Cordillera Day will start on July 9 in Luna town in Apayao, with a unity gong relay that will be passed around the region’s six provinces and two cities. Now on its fourth year, the unity gong symbolizes the pursuit for a regional autonomy in the Cordilleras.

As part of the unity gong relay, a symbolic tree will be planted in each of the provinces.

A series of activities will also be conducted in Apayao and in other provinces in the region.

Among these are the eco-tour of Apayao, agri-trade fair, technology and job fair, biodiversity and environmental forum and public consultation on the proposed House Bill 4649 or An Act Creating the Cordillera Autonomous Region.

The celebration will culminate on July 15 in Luna with Sen. Koko Pimentel, a supporter of the Cordillera autonomy, as guest of honor and speaker.

To start the series of activities a media forum was held June 24 at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources compound in Pacdal, Baguio City.  

Activities include forum on declaration of principles on environmental governance July 3 in University of the Philippines Baguio, and biodiversity exhibit and an autonomy forum in Luna.

Guests shall also be treated to tours that showcase Apayao’s prime ecotourism sites: Marag Valley, Lussok Caves and Nagan River. 

The Unity Gong Relay, the Cordillera Month mainstay activity that highlights unity among Cordillerans, will begin in Apayao, proceed to Kalinga, then to Ifugao, Mountain Province, Benguet, Baguio City, Abra and back to Apayao.  

There will also be a job fair, an agri-trade fair to feature the best of the region’s coffee products.

A “stakeholders night” and “Search for Dayagti Cordillera” will be held July 14, followed by culminating program and parade the next day. 

The public, government and private sectors, are invited to participate in the festivities.  

The regional Cordillera offices of DENR (074 443-9406) and NEDA (074 442-3232) can be contacted for more details on schedule of activities.

The “Secom on watershed and environmental management,” in partnership with Apayao provincial government, is heading this year’s Cordillera Month celebration.   

The CAR Regional Development Council sectoral committees and provinces take turns in coordinating and hosting Cordillera Month an annual regional event that started in1988.  


AIDS cases rising with 21 afflicted per day

Men having sex with men top cases 
By Carlito Dar

BAGUIO CITY – ADIS/HIV cases are still rising with one HIV case diagnosed per 24 hours since 2008.

Department of Health records from January to April 2015 showed around 21 new HIV cases a day -- mostly males having sex with males.

Dept. of Health Cordillera OIC regional director Dr. AmelitaPangilinan bared this here saying the DOH, local government units and stakeholders are collaborating on programs and policies to address alarming rise in HIV-AIDS.

Data from Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center showed from May 2006 to May this year,179 HIV cases were recorded including two children ( aged 2 and  4 years old  inflicted by HIV virus from their mother).

Records bared not  all patients afflicted with AIDS/HIV were residents of Baguio. 

During the DOH-led AIDS candlelight memorial ceremony at Prince Plaza Hotel here recently, Pangilinan said much has yet to be done to curb the menace.

Christian (not his real name), a 27- year-old male living with HIV (PLHIV) who attended the ceremony in honor of those who died of the disease, urged young adults like him, to practice healthy lifestyle, be wary of risky sexual behavior and learn more about sexual/reproductive health.

“We are suffering from an illness, fear of death in each day of our life and what we need most is compassion and support,  not stigma or discrimination, for us to go on with our lives like anyone else in our society,” he said.

“There is still life even with HIV, we have learned our lesson, but we still have a life to live in which we need your support.”

He urged ceremony participants to join advocacy against HIV/AIDS to lessen deaths.

Christian is among the PLHIVs who are not only fighting to stay alive and have a normal life, but are feeling stigma, discrimination and rejection from the public especially from their families.

HIV/AIDS has become an alarming concern in the country and worldwide that the DOH has included it in its five priority health issues in its newly launched High Impact (HI – 5) Program.

Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center Testing and Treatment Center head Dr. Maria Lorena Santos, in the same forum, said like any health illness, prevention through the practice of healthy lifestyle and better health awareness especially on reproductive health and proper sexual behavior is essential.

“HIV/AIDS has no cure yet. Being faithful or not engaging in multiple sexual partners or other risky sexual behavior are means to prevent HIV infection,” she said.

She bared the DOH ABCDE advocacy against HIV/AIDS in  which A stands  for abstain from Sex, B for  be faithful to your partner, C for practice  safe sex through the use of comdom, D for not using drugs,  and E for Educating yourself.


600 trees due for massive cutting despite opposition

By Jun Ramos Guiang

CURRIMAO, Ilocos Norte--After several months of opposition by some environmentalists and militant groups, a foreign-owned solar company has obtained  go-signal from government authorities to cut many trees for construction of multi-million-dollar solar energy plant project in the sunny barangays of Bimmanga and Paguludan Salindeg of this coastal town.

Town Mayor Gladys Go-Cue confirmed to the media that the municipal government of Currimao under her administration and the Department of Natural Resources (DENR)  had officially permitted the foreign firm to cut the estimated 400 to 600 old trees including century-old ones, all found in the aforesaid two villages of Currimao where the proposed solar power plant will rise  in a 60-hectare land.

Report said a letter of consent for the aforesaid massive cutting of trees was signed  by the concerned government authorities after a public hearing was held and attended by multi-sector members of the community in this town.

Mayor Cue explained that as corporate social responsibility of the solar firm, it pledged to offer jobs for the local residents, grant scholarships to poor but deserving students, help build more school classrooms, donate one unit of firetruck as well as support other laudable projects of the municipality.

On the other hand, Engineer Juan de los Reyes Jr., provincial environment and natural resources officer, said the solar company had allocated at least P25 million fund for reforestation project in Currimao.

For every cut tree, its replacement will be 300 growing trees of one meter in height, he said. They will be planted in any public places in Currimao such as plazas, school lots and even timberland if needed, he added.  

It was learned that the solar company will start the project this June 2015 to be funded at 40 million US dollar. It is expected to be completed by January 2016.

When operational, the solar project targets to generate some 20-megawatt electricity enough to supply  some 8,000 households in this town, report said.


Mayor’s aide charged for vice mayor’s slay

By Raymund Catindig

JONES, Isabela -- A security consultant of the municipal mayor here was among four men charged for the murder of the vice mayor last June 19.

Seventy one year old retired Army Col. Reynaldo Tapia, admitted to journalists that he is a security consultant of Jones Mayor Leticia Sebastian.

The charges against Tapia and three others were filed Tuesday with the office of the Department of Justice in Ilagan City, Isabela.

Provincial police director Senior Supt. Amorsolodela Cruz said they have documents supporting charges against Tapia.

Dela Cruz said among the pieces of evidence they submitted to the police cybercrime laboratory were mobile phones seized from Tapia said to contain messages to Sebastian.

Dela Cruz said they would invite Sebastian to shed light on the matter. Sebastian was unavailable for comment.

Tapia and former Army Cpl. Michael Deocariza reportedly helped the assailants, who shot dead Vice Mayor Florante Raspado and Marc Anthony Agarin, escape.

Tapia and Deocariza were arrested at a checkpoint in Aglipay town in nearby Quirino province an hour after the killing that occurred at the Jones municipal hall.

Also charged was Victor Funtilara and another suspect who has yet to be identified.

The victims were at the session hall of the municipal building when the assailants, whose faces were covered with masks, shot them June 19.

Funtilara was arrested in Barangay Sinaoangan Sur in nearby San Agustin town hours after the killing.

The arresting team recovered a .45 caliber pistol and a sling bag containing two loaded magazines, a mobile phone, a wallet, a mask and a hat from the suspect, according to regional police director Chief Supt. ReinierIdio.

Funtilara, Tapia, 71, and Deocariza – were subjected to paraffin tests.

Idio created Special Investigation Task Group Raspado to handle the case.  –


PENROs mandated to issue patents on school grounds

By Roger Sacyaten

BONTOC, Mountain Province – School sites nationwide may now be titled in the name of schools.

This was learned during a press conference at the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office here.

PENRO officer in charge Octavio Cuanso said recent DENR administrative order made it easier for schools to apply for documentation including issuance of titles over school sites at provincial levels.

The order is in compliance to Republic Act 10023 “An Act Authorizing the Issuance of Free Patents to Residential Areas,” specifically promulgating guidelines for the public school sites.

Cuanso said Administrative Order 2015-1 dated March 4, 2015 covers alienable and disposable public lands agricultural lands actually possessed, occupied and used for public schools of all levels and classification under the supervision and control of the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education regardless of period of possession.

All lands devoted to providing education and education related services such as, but not limited to, those used for offices, canteens, gardens, athletic fields, sports complex, sports courts, clinic, gymnasiums, car parks, science centers, nature parks, and other related areas are also covered, he said.

It was also learned that school sites with existing proclamations but are still untitled are also covered under this Order for issuance of Special Patents.

Special Patent is a public instrument issued by the government confirming the grant by the State of ownership over a parcel of agricultural land in favor of a grantee.

Assistant Schools Division superintendent Nestor Bolayo said 90 percent of school sites in the province, mostly donations, are undocumented.

It was gathered that the present problem in school sites is the penchant of previous donors or their relatives in taking back donated lots, either in part or in whole.

Details on this concern were not secured as the responsible people holding the records were not in the office at the time of this writing.

“It is good that the processing and documentation of the schools sites is now downloaded to the provincial level,” Bolayo said.

Under the guidelines, the Schools Division superintendent or any authorized officer at the DepEd central office may request for the issuance of a school site Special Patent.

For school sites under the jurisdiction of the CHED, any authorized officer of the CHED or higher educational institution may request for the issuance of the special patent.

The requirements provided in the guidelines are the request for the issuance of Special Patent, historical background of possession, recent photographs showing the panoramic view of the area, and certification of no pending land registration application over the area.

Applications may be filed at the office of the PENRO or Community Environment and Natural Resources Office.

The CENRO will conduct ocular inspections, related investigations, mapping and survey of the area before the approval of said application.

The order signed by DENR Secretary Ramon Paje provided forms needed and the flowchart of the processing and issuance of the Special Patents.

Bolayo said many schools will avail of this opportunity for them to document the school sites.


Fugitive shot dead as he hurls grenade

DAGUPAN CITY – An escapee from the Pangasinan Provincial Jail in Lingayen was shot dead by police officers out to arrest him in Barangay Pantal here June 20.

Ronnie Zarate reportedly hurled a grenade at the arresting team, prompting the latter to shoot him, according to city police director Supt. Christopher Abrahano. The grenade did not explode.

Zarate was declared dead on arrival at the Region 1 Medical Center.

Zarate, who was facing car theft with murder charges  and another inmate identified as Rogelio Garcia bolted from the jail on June 1.

Garcia was recaptured in San Carlos City an hour after they escaped.

Six provincial jail guards are facing administrative charges for the inmates’ escape. 

Provincial legal officer Geraldine Baniqued said the guards – Julio Tamondong, Joy Mondero, DaniloColis, Wynsel Sison, Huebner Velasco and Jimmy Nabung – received copies of the complaint on June 15.


Baguio exec calls for suspension of K-12

By Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY – Councilor Leandro Yangot Jr. called for the suspension of the K to 12 program implementation pending the resolution of cases questioning its constitutionality.

In his proposed resolution, Yangot said there are grey areas that need to be cleared first before the program can be effectively implemented.

He said there are now four cases filed before the Supreme Court assailing the program’s constitutionality.

Yangot noted loopholes in the program like its “lack of legal foundation as applied to children who were subjected to the K to 12 Program prior to the passage of Rep. Act No.  10533 in 2013” as articulated by Department of Education Secretary Armin Luistro himself in his report to the Senate where he stated that the K to 12 Program will produce two kinds of graduates: a) the real graduates of the K to 12  Program whose first batch will graduate in 2024 under Rep. Act No. 10533;  and b) the other graduates of the K to 12 Program whose first batch will graduate from secondary school  in 2018 under Department of Education Order No. 31.

“In the same report to the Senate, Sec. Luistro admitted that the government will need at least 30,000 classrooms and almost 40,000 teachers for the opening of Grade 11 in 2016 which are still not available as funding therefor is dependent on whether or not Congress will appropriate budget, on top of the Department’s backlogs for the previous years,” Yangot said.

“Aside from the above requirements of the K to 12 Program the funding provision of which is still uncertain, the Department of Education does not have enough classrooms and teachers to meet present needs, such that in certain areas of the country, grades are combined or two shifts of shortened classes per grade are held.”

He said that even the Commission on Audit,  in an  audit report released recently brought up lapses in planning and lack of foresight in implementing the K to 12 program which deprive students of their access to quality education;

He said that at present many colleges and universities are taking advantage of the program to violate the security of tenure of employees as shown by Saint Louis University’s plan to retrench 180 employees and dismiss around 400 contractual faculty instead of working on measures to protect its employees or mitigate the adverse effects of the Program.

“While there are no safety nets or protective measures in place to ensure the full protection of labor, university and college teachers and other employees will be vulnerable to massive displacement and violation of their rights, exacerbating the acute unemployment in the country,” Yangot stressed.
The program which added two years to high school education, with the roll-out of Grade 7 under Department of Education Order No. 31, s. 2012 was implemented in June 2012.

On May 15, 2013, Pres. Benigno S. Aquino signed Republic Act 10533 or the Enhanced Basic Education Act, statutorily institutionalizing the K to 12 Program applying for the first time to children who enrolled in kindergarten during the academic year 2013.

Yangot’s proposal was referred to the council committee on education for study. 


Demolition of 58 houses at Baguio BIBAK lot set

By Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY – The city government is set to demolish 58 illegal structures at the Benguet-Ifugao-Bontoc-Apayao-Kalinga (BIBAK) lot here along Harrison Road as anti-squatting drive intensified in this tourism resort. 

Mayor Mauricio Domogan said the city buildings and architecture office under engineer NazitaBanez issued notices to owners to voluntarily vacate and dismantle their constructions otherwise government forces will undertake the demolition on August 11-14.

Banez said the BIBAK building will not be torn down but will just be padlocked.

The mayor expressed hopes that the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor will no longer object to the move after its commissioners personally saw the situation in the area particularly the fact that the area is occupied by poor residents but by “unscrupulous individuals profiting from a government property.”

The city’s bid to clear the lot measuring about 5,000 square meters is supported by the from former leaders of the BIBAK Student Dormitories Inc., the Regional Development Council and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Cordillera (DENR-CAR).

The city earlier planned the demolition but was held back when PCUP chair Hernani Panganiban asked Domogan to defer the implementation of the planned demolition of the structures pointing out the need to observe proper procedures and to ensure that the rights of the owners will not be violated taking into consideration the settlers’ claim that they are members of the marginalized sector and have been occupying the BIBAK compound since 1982 and thus are qualified to stay in the area or be granted relocation privileges under Republic Act 7279 or the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992. 

The city however said the lot needs to be cleared as it was intended for BIBAK housing needs and that the present occupants are private individuals who entered the property without permission and are now utilizing the area for profit.

The said lot was segregated from Original Certificate Title No. 01 in favor of the BIBAK Dormitories Inc. in 1961 and thus “was slated to cater to the housing needs of the students coming from the BIBAK areas.”

Banez told newsmen notices of demolition have already been issued to occupants of the area.

The city’s bid to clear the lot received a boost from former leaders of the BIBAK Student Dormitories Inc. who committed to support the city government’s move.

Domogan said association members sought him out recently asking how the group can help the city government and promised to back the city’s plan to eject the squatters and clear the area.

The group served intention to reclaim the lot which was originally reserved for housing needs of students from the BIBAK areas but which is now occupied by private individuals and being used for business purposes.

The RDC In a resolution passed in 2013 supported the city’s plan to immediately demolish the illegal constructions in the area citing need to establish dormitories for BIBAK constituents.

Last year, DENR-CAR OIC regional director Paquito Moreno also supported the city’s demolition plan in the area as he turned down the petition of the OCT No. 1 settlers to own the lots they are occupying.

Moreno said the DENR being the administrator of the lots under OCT 1 has advocated “best use” of the property and a demolition to be executed by the city mayor’s office will help the department enforce its mandate.


Abra folks warned on pyramiding biz scams

BANGUED, Abra -- The Abra Consumer Net (ACN) has alerted the public on dangers of pyramiding scams to protect their investments.

In a seminar on Republic Act No. 7394 known as Consumer Act providing the trade laws that protect welfare of consumers and businessmen in the country conducted by the ACN last week, Franco Ching and Macos Rex Hall of DTI gave pointers to detect if a company is a scam or not.

They said the process includes offer to join a group, scheme, program or team where a member needs to recruit new members to make money. The scheme involves offers of goods or services of little or doubtful value that serve only to promote the scheme such as information sheets. There is a big up-front cost to pay for large quantities of goods but there are no goods or services being offered for sale by the scheme.

The promoter makes claims like ‘this is not a pyramid scheme’ or ‘this is totally legal’.

If you think you might be involved in a pyramid scheme, stop participating in the scheme immediately and contact fair trading agency. You should also warn other people you think may have been approached about joining the scheme, they advised.  

Ching and Hall cited importance of being vigilant of  deceptive businessmen as well as observance of product standards for consumer welfare and protection.

They gave pointers on how to determine the standards of various commodities that need certifications of seal of product standards that are sold in the market to ensure safety of the products especially the electrical and electronic appliances, devices and gadgets. -- Josa Mai Ramirez 


Of 10K firearms, less than 1K registered in IN -- Marcos

By Jun Ramos Guiang    
LAOAG CITY-- Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos has expressed deep concern about proliferation of loose firearms in the province in the wake of the recent Calucag ambuscade in Solsona as well as police search operations in Badoc and Solsona towns where several guns and ammunition were seized from private homes .

"Talagang puspusan nating habulin yong ating illegal firearms issue. As we know, 10,000, more or less, angina-assumed na firearms dittos a probinsia. Wala pang 1,000 yung rehistrado. Yun ang problema natin. So in effect, 90% plus are floating around and perhaps," Marcos said.

She disclosed the gun statistics during a press conference here attended by provincial administrator and provincial anti-partisan armed group task force chief Windell Chua, OIC provincial director Senior Supt. Albert Erasquin Ocon, INPPO  police community relations head/PIO Supt. Gil Gempes, PIDMB chief Supt. MaximoTaclas and other junior  police officers.

Contrary to earlier report, the governor also clarified that she did not give the direct order to search the houses of BadocVice Mayor Tom Torralba and his two brothers on June 15, 2015. 

She said "Di galling sa akin ang instruction as such. Pangkalahatanang instruction ng PNP at ngbatas" referring to the said police search operation at the house of the Badoc vice mayor.

 "So let me just clarify, si Tom Torralba ay mahal na mahal naming ni Bongbong at ako din pero wala tayong magawa eh,  kapag may kaso, ang batas pa rin ang mananaig," she added. (Bongbong is her brother Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.)

During the same presscon, Colonel Ocon also presented to the governor  the No. 6 most wanted person of Ilocos Norte who was arrested recently at his hideout in Alicia, Isabela in Region 2. 

The fugitive alias "Ampopoy",  tagged by police as alleged gun for hire, faces a string of criminal cases in local courts here.   


Koreans urged: Have checkups to prevent MERS-COV outbreak

BAGUIO CITY – Health officials urged travelers who went abroad particularly Koreans here to have themselves checked up as precaution against the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-Cov),  which has caused 25 deaths in South Korea.

This, as Mayor Mauricio Domogan allayed fears of MERS-Cov threatening the city, which hosts a community of Koreans of around 10,000.

He said leaders of five Korean organizations here are working closely with health officials to monitor and be watchful of their own fellow nationals in ensuring that that MERS-Cov does not reach the Philippines.

In a recent meeting with the Department of Health-Cordillera and City Health Office, Domogan said the Korean group leaders agreed to cooperate in preventing the virus from entering the country through new arrivals from Korea.
He said learning more about MERS-Cov and having the cooperation of Korean nationals with health authoritie s are the best defense against the dreaded disease.

The mayor said there is no case of MERS-Cov in the city.

Domogan told the public to be aware of symptoms of the illness, as there is still no known vaccine or medicine for MERS-Cov.

He said travel bans have been issued yet tourist arrivals should be monitored from airports and seaports to ensure health and safety of the general public.

MERS-Cov is an illness discovered in Saudi Arabia 2012 and spread to 21 other countries within two years.

Health officials said symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath and could be transmitted through close contact, by those caring for or living with an infected person. Individuals younger than one year old up to 99 could be infected, it was known.

Other symptoms:  gastrointestinal infections, vomiting, and nausea.

Senior citizens and those with low immune system could easily be infected.    

Health officials urged persons exhibiting symptoms with travel history to the Arabian peninsula to seek medical attention and stay home.

A 14-day quarantine period is recommended for persons with recent travel history to MERS Cov-infected places, unless laboratory tests which could be made available after three days states otherwise.

Domogan was set to meet with the council committee on health, and health authorities from the Department of Health –Cordillera, Health Services Officer Rowena Galpo, Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, Saint Louis University, Notre Dame, Baguio Medical Center, the Department of Health and representatives of the Korean community in the city.

Domogan urged private health facilities to prepare facilities to admit MERS-COV patients particularly Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center in case of an outbreak.

During the Ebola scare sometime last year, an isolated ward was prepared at BGH , with a specially trained team of doctors and medical workers. A specially equipped transport for patients was also prepared. – With a report from Julie G. Fianza   


No ‘palakasan’ in job recruitment in Baguio

By Jho Arranz

BAGUIO CITY  -  About 300 applicants/job seekers underwent an orientation regarding recruitment, selection and appointment processes in the city government here last June 9 at the Baguio City multi-purpose hall.

There were copious criticisms and feedbacks from applicants/jobseekers on the “palakasan system” in the hiring of employees in the government. 

Hence, the City Human Resource Management Office headed by officer-in-charge and supervising administrative officer Christine Flores conducted said orientation intended for all applicants for vacant positions in the various offices in the city government.

Said orientation aims to give information and awareness to applicants/job seekers regarding the policies and procedures in recruitment, selection and appointment in the city government of Baguio.

Accordingly, there are 219 vacant positions in the city government and only 70 vacant positions were published as of May 2015.

Supervising administrative officer Edith Dawaten pointed out and stressed that there is no discrimination among the incumbent employees and new applicants in the recruitment and selection processes considering that the city government is bound by the Civil Service Commission laws, rules and regulations.  

There is no discrimination among the incumbent employees and new applicants, she stressed
“The city government of Baguio has a higher qualification standard compared to the qualification standard under the national agencies,” said Dawaten.

There are qualification standard specifically on the education, experience, eligibility and training in every vacant positions published.  Thus, applicants were advised to first see if they meet the minimum qualification standard before signifying their intention to apply for a certain position.

There are corresponding points given to the applicants based on the qualification standard as well as documents submitted for evaluation.

In cases of promotional vacant positions, the incumbent employees in the city government have the upper hand since they have their performance ratings for two semesters to be taken into account by the appointing authority and the Personnel Evaluation Board (PEB).

In his inspiration message, vice mayor Edison Bilog assured the applicants/job seekers that there is no “palakasan system” in the city government of Baguio.  

“Being the appointing authority in the legislative sector,  I select and appoint applicants based on the qualification of the applicant for the vacant position being applied for and this holds true with the appointing authority which is the city mayor,  in the executive sector,” he added. 


Porter to receive award for returning P100k found on road

CALASIAO, Pangasinan  – A porter who turned over to authorities a bundle of bills amounting to P100,000 he found on the road here Feb. 18 was honored by the municipal government here.

Noel Gilli, 29, of Barangay Longos, received a cash reward and recognition from municipal officials on Monday’s flag-raising ceremony. 

Vice Mayor Roy Macanlalay hailed Gilli for his honesty.

Gilli said he is poor but he never thought of keeping the money to himself. 

He was out on an errand in Barangay Macabito when he saw the money lying on the road.

Gilli said some people tried to take the money but he refused to give it, knowing it did not belong to any of them. 
He asked a cousin to accompany him to their barangay officials, who brought them to the police station to report his find.

Town police chief Supt. Joseph Rizaldy Dalope said he was elated that Gilli trusted the police by reporting the find to them.

A doctor from Dagupan City turned out to be the owner of the money.

The doctor said she asked her driver to bring the money to a relative in Malasiqui town.

The driver placed the money in a pocket of his vest, but it fell as he was driving a motorcycle.

The doctor thanked Gilli and gave him an undisclosed amount as a show of gratitude.



MMA fighter leads list of awardees during Espina visit
CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet -- Police Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, officer-in-charge of the Philippine National Police awarded 11 personnel of regional police exemplary performance to their duties during his recent visit here. 

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter PO1 Crisanto G Pitpitunge received medalyang Kasanayan for demonstrating high sense of discipline to excel in combat sport that propelled him to win in his fight against RambaSomdet, Thailand’s legendary fighter on Nov. 2014 and in defeating Alvin Cacdac, California’s MMA fighter on June 13 at the Ynares Sports Arena.

Other awardees: Chief Supt. Robert G. Quenery, Deputy Regional Director for Administration received Medalyang Kasanayan for his meritorious leadership as Deputy Regional Director for Operation while Senior Supt. Albertlito S. Garcia recievedMedalyangPapuri  for leadership and competence as OIC, Abra Police Provincial Office chief which led to surrender of two members of a Partisan Armed Group identified as Sonny L. Bindo and Jaime Blanes on March 5, 2015.

Also awarded were Supt. Mark D Pespes, Deputy Battalion Commander of Regional Public Safety Battalion and Police Officer 3 Eubert B. Kaniteng who both received Medalyang Paglilingkod sa Santo Papa for their leadership and exemplary devotion as ground commander of PRO-COR and contingent during the State Visit and Apostolic Journey (SVAJ) of his holiness Pope Francis to the country on January 15-19.

Others were Senior Insp. Thrislyn C. Sagpaey, Bakun, Benguet police chief who received Medalyang Papuri for leadership and initiative in intensifying anti-illegal logging in the town. Police Officer 3 Jeremy G. Tugay-an of Regional Intelligence Division who received Medalyang Papuri for arresting a “top most wanted person” with bounty on his head of P90,000 for murder identified as Alex Esquillon on April 8, 2015 along Terminal 2, NAIA, Pasay City; Wilfredo V, Pascual Jr. of Baguio City Police Office who got Medalyang Papuri for completion of Basic Computer Essentials Certification Examination for PNP personnel 35 years and below.

Marites P. Melis of Regional Operation and Plans Division received MedalyangaKasanayan for establishing Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Council website which paved way to faster communication between member agencies.

Jefferson T, Damoslog of Regional Intelligence Division received MedalyangKasanayan in establishing RID clearance database that helped in the processing and issuing of RID clearances.

Jansen Vianney C. Abenoja of Regional Personnel and Human Resource Development Division also received MedalyangKasanayan in managing records of personnel that contributed to the PRO COR RPHRDD being rated No.2 in the DPRM unit performance rating for the first quarter nationwide.

 Espina also cited the leadership of the Cordillera police director Chief Supt. Isagani R. Nerez for “high sense of responsibility that brought good credit not only to the Police Regional Office-Cordillera but also to the whole PNP organization.”

Espinadded this indicated PRO-COR personnel were performing well in their duties and responsibilities.

Van, jeep collide on Bontoc road, 3 hurt
BONTOC, Mountain Province –Police urged motorists to be more careful when driving after a van and jeep recently collided here at SitioAmlosong, Bontoc Ili along the Halsema highway .

According to police investigation, the white colored van, with plate number WCY 313, driven by Lemuel Alingcodan Codiamat, resident of Abatan, Bauko, Mountain Province was on his way to Bontoc when his vehicle collided with a jeep bound to the tourist town of Sagada.

The jeep with plate number AHC 463, white and blue was driven by Johnson Locaneo Suyon of Aguid Sagada.

The driver and passengers of the van were immediately brought to Bontoc General Hospital.

Due to serious injuries, the driver was referred to Luis Hora Regional Hospital in Abatan, Bauko while his passengers were admitted for treatmentat BGH.

The passengers were Diana Bayugan Codiamat, Virginia Mosawan Sillatoc, and Vincent Sillatoc, all residents of Abatan, Bauko.        

The report said police received a text message at about 2:30 p.m. that day informing them of the accident.

Personnel of the Mountain Province Public safety Company, Bontoc municipal police station, Bureau of Fire Department, Bontoc emergency response team, provincial disaster risk reduction management office and other concerned citizens reportedly went immediately to the site and rescued the victims.

Killer of Natonin gardener still unknown
BONTOC, Mountain Province – Police are still investigating the death of a gardener who was stabbed here by a still unknown person on June 5. 

A police report said cops responded to a text message around 11 p.m. that a male was stabbed at Eyeb, Poblacion.

The victim was brought to the Bontoc general hospital for treatment but was later pronounced dead by attending physician.

The victim was identified as a certain Lito Aleton Chinyona, 24, single of Camagwan, Santa Isabel, Natonin, Mountain Province.

Based on police report, the victim was walking when he was stabbed at the back by unidentified suspect who fled to unknown direction.

The report said Chinyona was employed as gardener in Sayangan, Atok, Benguet.

He was about to go home to Natonin but was not able to catch the passenger jeep bound to Natonin.

He had a drinking spree with a certain Rocky. He suddenly left his companion.

Following this, Bontoc police chief Senior Insp. Richard Soliven urged the setting up of CCTVs and street lights in the town to lessen crimes such as rumbles, hold ups, stabbings.  -- Francis B. Degay

Citizen’s arrest law to lessen Baguio crimes     
BAGUIO CITY – A proposed ordinance giving power to ordinary citizens to apprehend any person committing a crime or violating any law or ordinance in this mountain resort will soon be tackled in the city council here.

The Citizen’s Arrest Ordinance in the City of Baguio which adopted the provisions of the rules of court specifically the rules on criminal procedure was proposed by Councilor Leandro Yangot, Jr.

The said ordinance strengthens the citizen’s authority in the apprehension of criminal offenders or lawless elements within the territorial jurisdiction of Baguio.

The ordinance seeks to put an end to rampant violations of existing laws, local ordinances and other issuances and criminal offenses and criminal offenders, as per the draft ordinance seem to fearless in committing crimes.

“Due to limited number of the local police force and other law enforcers, various criminal offenses and even simple transgressions are committed even in broad daylight and in public view and the perpetrators are scot-free,” Yangot said.

“The private citizen’s active role and participation is very much needed in the apprehension of criminal offenders in pursuit of the maintenance of peace and order and protection of the citizenry,” he said.

Yangot added, “the Local Government Unit (LGU) may validly enact such legislative measure designed to promote peace and order, safety and the general welfare of its constituents in the exercise of its police powers.”
“While citizen’s arrest is embodied in Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure of the Rules of Court of the Philippines, majority of the people are not cognizant of this provision, he said, hence the need for an ordinance to adopt the same.”

Yangot said, “enacting the ordinance is but proper in order to strengthen the citizen’;s authority in the apprehension of criminal offenders or lawless elements.”

Section 3 of the proposed ordinance states a private person or citizen may lawfully effect Citizen’s Arrest even without a warrant of arrest provided the circumstances are; 

When in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing a crime, or is attempting to commit an offense; or when an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it, and when the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgement or is temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another.

The proposed ordinance will be tackled in the city council soon. -- Paul Rillorta

PRO-COR holds 16th IAS anniversary; top cops cited
CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet – The Police Regional Office Cordillera hosted for the first time the 16th Internal Affairs Service (IAS) Foundation Anniversary here  June 15 with signing of memorandum of agreement between the IAS, PRO- and National Police Commission in the region, regional police director Chief Supt. Isagani R. Nerez said. 

Senior Supt. Leo Angelo D. Leuterio, RIAS-Cordillera regional director, said under the MOA the regional RIAS will conduct audits on all PNP units within PRO-Cordillera region pursuant to Section 39 of Republic Act 8551, Sec 2.

Unannounced inspections will also be done on police units to enhance operations.

NAPOLCOM-CAR has administrative and operational supervision and control over the PNP.

During said celebration, five PNP personnel of RIAS –Cordillera were awarded for  exemplary performance to  duties and responsibilities: Supt. Jorge Supsupin Benitez as outstanding senior PCO of the year; Supt. Esteban CutiDulnuan as  outstanding provincial superintendent of the year; Spo3 Dario Elan Marcelino, outstanding prosecutor of the year; PO3 Janeth Bucalen Tabanganay,  outstanding inspection and audit PNCO of the year  and Spo3 Randy Campos Lucas, outstanding investigator of the year.

 Nerez congratulated Leuterio for making PRO-COR as site of the event. He added that RIAS-Cordillera will be a good partner in pursuing and contributing to PRO-COR operations through audit functions.

Women’s Brigade receives 75 rainboots from PRO-Cordillera
CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet –The visit of Directorial Integrated Police Operation-Northern Luzon headed by James Andres B. Melad here highlighted distribution of 75 rain boots as provided by regional police officer to the La Trinidad Women’s Brigade June 22. 

The 75 rain boots were handed over by Melad regional police director Chief Supt.Isagani R. Nerezto LTWB president Mila Bingcola.

Nerez said this will help the women in their voluntary activities like clean and green projects, implementation of curfew and other voluntary peacekeeping services in barangays Betag, Balili, Pico, Puguis and Poblacion.

Nerez urged local officials and individuals to supportthe program to support police in peace-keeping activities.


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