Sueno orders PNP: Go after illegal gambling

>> Monday, January 30, 2017

Crackdown ordered on jueteng, online games 

ASIDE FROM ILLEGAL DRUGS, the government is now cracking down on illegal gambling like jueteng.
“The Duterte administration’s campaign against crime and corruption is not limited to narcotics use and trade, but also includes other crimes, including illegal gambling,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Tuesday. 
The illegal numbers game jueteng is still rampant in Cordillera, Regions 1, 2 and 3, sources revealed.
“It’s part of the priorities of the President because his top priorities are drugs, crime, and corruption. It’s included,” Abella said in response to the appeal of retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz that President Rodrigo Duterte to also pay attention to illegal gambling. 
Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno has ordered the Philippine National Police to go after illegal gambling operators.
Sueno said illegal gambling operations deprived the government of taxes, which could be used in programs to benefit the people.
Aside from the war on drugs, the PNP must implement the Oplan Tokhang principle in going after illegal gambling lords, this time to ensure that appropriate taxes go to government coffers,” Sueno said.
Sueno issued the order during the traditional New Year’s call Jan. 20 with officials of the attached agencies of the DILG including the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine Public Safety College and Local Government Academy.
Abella noted that Duterte had previously expressed his disapproval of gambling and directed that the revenue of state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., the country’s principal gambling regulator, be used for public health care needs.
Duterte also ordered Pagcor chairperson Andrea Domingo to cancel “soon” the licenses granted to online casinos because of its detrimental effect on people.
“In Davao City, they’re at it but I stopped it in time. It’s not good that people know nothing but gambling... And there is no way to collect taxes,” Duterte had said earlier.
Cruz, for his part, said he was grateful at Duterte’s disapproval of gambling but insisted that gambling is morally wrong and giving gambling revenues to worthy charitable causes does not make it morally right. 
“Gambling is gambling and don’t tell me that these gamblers are saints and holy,” Cruz said in a recent radio interview. “It’s so hard to accept that gambling will be used to help the poor. The end does not justify the means.” 
After the Philippines got involved in the cyber-heist of some $81 million from the Bangladeshi central bank, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines issued a pastoral statement on how gambling corrodes moral values.
“Gambling’s malice consists in the desire of the gambler to profit, if possible immensely and quickly, without making any corresponding contribution to society in terms of industry, investment and the creation of job-opportunities,” the CBCP said.
“Gambling also runs counter to the providence by which every person ought to provide diligently and prudently for himself and for his family, for it leaves to the flipping of dice, the spinning of wheels or the fortuity of cards what can and must be earned through diligence, creativity, application and toil,” the pastoral statement read.
This, as Sueno said  as Oplan Tokhang is branching out, from prohibited drugs to illegal gambling, full abeyance to the rule of law must be observed by law enforcers.

“I also prod PNP to ensure that (Oplan) Tokhang is not used or abused by policemen for their personal interests or some sort of vendetta against their enemies. Let us make sure that Tokhang is implemented for the sole purpose that it was conceived, and that is to round up drug personalities and other criminals,” he said. 


3 men who robbed gold trader of P1-M hunted

TABUK CITY – Police are still trying to locate three men who robbed a gold buyer from Hingyon, Ifugao of more than P1 million and expensive cellphone by three men who manhandled and nearly killed him on Jan. 12 around 1:30 p.m.
Police named the victim as Ramon Tomas Nagangi, 54,who was robbed in his residence here at 2nd floor, Indayao Building, Bulanao Centro.

Police said the victim was in his room, when somebody knocked his door. When he opened it, one of the suspects who was wearing sunglasses, white t-shirt and camouflage pants grabbed him and pointed a gun. Two other men choked and wrestled the victim down to the floor and tied his hands with packaging tape. His legs were also tied using a belt, then they covered his mouth and eyes with packaging tape. The third suspect served as look out.  The suspects took the victim’s cellphone worth P22,600 and forcibly opened two drawers and took the victim’s cash amounting to P1, 004, 000 then fled to unknown direction.


Court urged: Stop hydro power plant in La Union

By Erwin G. Beleo

ARINGAY, La Union – Farmers living along the river bank in this town and a non-government organization have filed a case before the Regional Trial Court  Branch 31 here seeking a temporary environmental protection order (Tepo to stop the ongoing construction of a P240-million hydro power plant in Barangay Halog East, Tubao, this province.
The farmers and the Aringay Development Coordinating Team, represented by lawyer Charlie Juloya, alleged that the management of the Tubao Mini-Hydro Electric Power Corporation (TMHEC) violated several environmental laws in constructing the project that would endanger the lives of the residents along the river bank.
“We filed the case because farmers and residents of Aringay were not consulted about the project,” Juloya said. “There were violations in the ‘environmental compliance certificate’ (ECC). Instead of a 10-meter high diversion run-of-river, the project became a 25-meter high impounding dam and instead of a 1.5 megawatt it is now designed for a 3-megawatt hydro-power plant,” he added.

Juloya said the project will cause flooding and would affect around 6,000 farmers because it will hold waters for the irrigation of vast farm lands in the second district of La Union.


Solons, LGUs press stop to toll fees in Cordillera

By Erlindo Agwilang

DESPITE OPPOSITION from the Department of Public Works and Highways and Rep. Marquez Go of Baguio City, two measures seeking to abolish collection of toll fees along national toll roads gained support from government units of Mountain Province and Benguet, including legislators who are members of the special committee on North Luzon growth quadrangle.
In the entire Philippines, only Cordillera Administrative Region has a national toll road collecting P15 from all motor vehicles plying the Baguio-Bontoc and Kennon Roads.
Earlier, Rep. Maximo B. Dalog of the lone district of Mountain Province filed House bills 4570 and 4571asking Congress to terminate the collection of fees in three toll gates located at Camps 1 and 6 both in Tuba, Benguet and in Acop, Tublay, Benguet.
At the congressional committee hearing Jan. 24, DPWH-CAR legal officer Maria Dionesia Guillermo in her presentation, said the toll fee collections in the previous years have been sufficient to cater to immediate needs for road repair, improvement and maintenance of the national toll roads in the Cordillera, including operation of toll facilities. “Several projects have been implemented previously without delay as their funding was made available by virtue of the toll fee collections,” Guillermo, a lawyer said.
However, Rep. Ronald Cosalan of Benguet, co-author of the measures said generally, the funding for maintenance of these highways does mainly come from the toll fees collected but from requested quick response funds like calamity funds from the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council.
Cosalan said despite the total amount collected at P33 million and P40 million in 2015 and 2016 respectively, there was no information that said amounts were used for maintenance and improvement of Cordillera highways particularly that of Kennon Road and the Baguio-Bontoc Road.
“With or without the collection of toll fees, we can still request from the national government for funds to maintain these roads,” he added.
Rep. Luisa Lloren Cuaresma of Nueva Vizcaya shared the same observation saying Dalton Pass, a zigzag road connecting Nueva Vizcaya and Nueva Ecija which is prone to landslides and disasters is being maintained very well by the district engineering office even if there are no toll fees collected therein.
Rep. Vini Nola Ortega of the Abono Party-list said the amount being collected at P30 round trip from farmers is too much, therefore expressed her support to the bills.
Rep. Pablo Ortega of La Union likewise backed the bill and suggested that Congress can actually increase the budget of DPWH-CAR or at least allocate a special budget to maintain the two national highways.
Meanwhile, several resolutions have been enacted and submitted to the House of Representatives strongly supporting House Bills 4570 and 4571.
Among those local government units who expressed solid support are: Governor Bonifacio Lacwasan and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Mountain Province, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Benguet, the Sangguniang Bayan of La Trinidad, Benguet and the municipality of Sagada, Mountain Province.
Lacwasan, in his letter to the committee said it is high time for Congress to declare the said roads as toll-free.

“The affected motorists who are mainly from the Cordillera Region should not suffer further for they had contributed so much, through payment of toll, to maintain national roads for 62 years since the toll was imposed in 1954,” he added. 


No BIBAK lot demolition; occupants to vacate area

By Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan last week called off the demolition at the Benguet-Ifugao-Bontoc-Apayao-Kalinga (BIBAK) lot along Harrison Road set for Jan. 26-27 after the occupants committed to dismantle their structures and vacate the premises before July 1.
The dwellers numbering 59 submitted a commitment under oath dated Jan. 25 where they also “appoint, constitute and name the Philippine National Police, City Demolition Task Force, the Office of the City Mayor and the City Building and Architecture Office… to cause the demolition of the remaining structures in the area on July 1.”
“We declare and swore that this authority is irrevocable,” they affirmed.
The mayor said the demolition will be suspended until July 1 to allow the occupants to comply with their commitment.
The Presidential Commission on Urban Poor (PCUP) worked out the commitment.  Earlier, the mayor was also informed that the agency will help the affected parties transfer to a relocation site.
The dismantling operation has been reset several times after the parties took the case to the court and later when the PCUP intervened for the occupants.
The Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch V last Oct. 28 declared as valid the demolition order issued by the city government and dismissed the two cases filed by the lot occupants aimed at stopping the city government from implementing Demolition Order No. 24 series of 2015.
The same court last Oct. 22 denied for the second time the petitioners’ motions for the issuance of a temporary restraining order to hold the demolition.
Last Sept. 9, the court first denied the motion citing earlier rulings that the claimants have no right over the lot and thus over the structures they built on the area because they do not own the lot and their buildings were not authorized by the owner of the lot.
The city wanted to clear the area of the dwellers who the city said do not possess building permits and who are not members of the urban poor and are using their structures for business purposes without care for sanitation and order.
The demolition was also supported by the Regional Development Council-Cordillera Administrative Region (RDC-CAR) and the DENR-CAR which said the “petitioners’ occupation has no legal basis and neither can they qualify as beneficiaries under (Republic Act) No. 10023 (Act Authorizing the Issuance of Free Patents to Residential Lands) because the lot is not alienable and disposable.” 

The mayor said that after the demolition, the city will shift its focus on developing the property.  He said a technical working group will be formed to work on fencing the property and on drafting a master development plan in cooperation with the stakeholders.


Ilocos Sur armed group burns tobacco firm's truck

SIGAY, Ilocos Sur – Authorities are trying to locate an armed group believed to be members of New People's Army who torched a truck here owned by tobacco giant Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp. on Jan. 21.
Ilocos Sur police spokesperson Chief Supt. William Nerona said cops discovered two Isuzu Centro Elf trucks in Barangay Mabileg, this town, when alerted of the incident that Saturday afternoon.
Policemen found the first vehicle abandoned along the road with a damaged right turn signal light assembly while the second Isuzu Elf truck was found abandoned and burned near the river in that barangay.
Though Ilocos Sur police have yet to determine who were behind the attack, Philippine Army officials said NPA rebels torched the tobacco firm’s truck.
Army Lt. Col Julio Osias, commander of the 81st Infantry Battalion, said six armed NPA rebels flagged down the truck driver and his assistant and commandeered it.
The rebels, however, abandoned the truck when it got stuck in the muddy road. They flagged down another truck soon after.
According to the military, the truck had just delivered free fertilizers to farmers in Sigay.
Osias said that rebels might just be making their presence felt. He said the rebels did not demand anything from PMFTC.

PMTC has temporarily suspended deliveries of free fertilizers, the military said.


Honest taxi driver gets guaranteed job in Australia

By Dexter A. See 

BAGUIO CITY  – A 30-year old taxi driver from Rosario, La Union had once again proven that honesty is the best policy after he was offered a guaranteed job in Australia when he returned the luggage of an Australian national that the latter left in his taxi several days ago.
Reggie Cabutotan, 30, married, and a taxi driver from Rosario, La Union, did not expect that his simple act of returning the luggage to its owner will eventually change the living condition of his family once he will be able to complete his training in the city.
“I was surprised to receive information from my operator that I have to be present in city hall early Monday morning. I did not expect that I will receive the surprise of my life  from what I think was a simple thing I did in returning the luggage of my Australian passenger,” said Cabutotan, a taxi driver in the city for over six years now.
Cabutotan, who is married with four young children, relies on driving a taxi as his source of livelihood and that he comes to the city every other day to drive the taxi owned by an overseas Filipino worker from Victoria Village barangay.
Trent Shields, an Australian bachelor businessman, handed over to Cabutotan a certificate granting him a P220,000 6-month scholarship in a local training academy based in Kalye Uno and if he successfully hurdles this, can guarantee him a job in a Coder Factory in Australia with a starting salary of P1.7 million monthly.
Shields claimed that in the early morning of Jan. 17, he boarded Cabutotan’s taxi from Navy Base bound for Kalye Uno, a co-working place in the city located along 1st Road Quezon Hill.
He narrated that he immediately alighted from the taxi after paying his fare without taking his things with him. While he was in the co-working place, he noticed that his luggage was not with him prompting him and his colleagues to report the matter to the nearest police station.
On his part, Cabutotan claimed he decided to look for a place to urinate in an uninhabited area along the road and when he boarded back his Dustin Brand taxi, he noticed the luggage inside his vehicle, thus, he immediately proceeded to the place where the Australian national dropped.
Upon arrival in Kalye Uno, Shields and his companions were about to go to the nearest police station when they were met by a smiling Cabutotan who was holding the left luggage.
Shields claimed the items that he left inside Cabutotan’s taxi included his passport, working gadgets and pertinent documents he needs for his transactions in the country.
“The scholarship granted to the taxi driver is a gesture of my gratitude to Cabutotan for the big thing that he has done in returning my valuable luggage,” Shields added.
He said the scholarship will involve business entrepreneurship combined with software development training for six months that will allow Cabutotan to work with his Coder Factory in Sydney, Australia once he will be able to successfully complete the prescribed course.
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan commended the act of Cabutotan as heroic for being honest because this will sustain the city’s identity as a home of honest taxi drivers.
“We are proud of Cabutotan’s heroic act because it again proves that we are able to  inculcate in the minds of our tourism frontliners the importance of being honest as a life principle which when used in their work enhances the city’s good image,” Domogan stressed.

Domogan urged public utility vehicle drivers in the city to emulate the good deed of Cabutotan because it would be an added factor in sustaining the influx of visitors that will directly benefit their source of livelihood.



 RDC – CAR recognizes Kalinga volunteer
BANAUE, Ifugao -- The Regional Development Council presented certificate of recognition to Andres B. Ngao-i   for being national winner in 2016 Search for  Outstanding Volunteers during  council meeting here last week.. 
Ngao-i, an engineer and RDC private sector representative for Kalinga, was awarded for  selfless and dedicated volunteer service for maintenance of peace and order in the community. He had been involved in conflict mediation for more than four decades.  He promoted peaceful resolution of tribal conflicts in Kalinga and was a strong advocate of indigenous peoples education and nurturance of Kalinga's culture and practices
National Economic and Development Authority – CordilleraAdministrative Region director and RDC – CAR chairman Milagros Rimando said the SOV is an annual search to recognize exemplary performance and dedication of volunteers in the country. The SOV puts faces and names to the unsung and ordinary Filipino citizens and organizations who have rendered noble acts of service towards nation-building and community development.
Since 2001, 129 volunteers and volunteer organizations have been recognized by the national government through the SOV. -- Marcelo B. Lihgawon

Ilocos bettor wins P107-M lotto pot
CANDON CITY , Ilocos Sur -- – A bettor from this city won the jackpot in the 6/55 Grand Lotto’s Jan. 21 draw, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office said.
The still unidentified bettor picked the six-digit winning combination: 52-17-20-43-15-19, which had a total jackpot prize of P107.37 million.
The bettor played the System 7 lucky pick and bet P140 for seven combinations.
Fourteen other players won P86,400 each for guessing five of the six-digit winning combination.
The 6/55 Grand Lotto is drawn every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.      

CHARMP 2 gives P1.8-M to Bauko groups for livelihood
BAUKO, Mountain Province – A total of P1.8 million was distributed to 20 farmers’ organizations here Tuesday by Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resources Management Project 2 at the municipal gymnasium.
Mayor Abraham B. Akilit , in his message urged responsible utilization and the fund  assistance . He called on the “og-ogbo” principle of every group so that projects and undertakings are done collectively, efficiently and successfully.
Present during the event were Beverly Pekas, provincial CHARMP coordinator; Walter Dalang, Bauko MPDO; Carolyn Wandalen, municipal agriculture officer and representatives of community Financial Institution Roy Busay and Andrea Docadoc.
Recipients of  the assistance were: Baang Small Scale association, Labgan Native Animal Association,Otucan norte Coffee ssociation, Otucan norte Unas association, Bila coffee Growers Association, Bila Unas rowers Association, Bila Pottery, Lamagan Weavers Group, Guinzadan Sur unas Growers association, Tapapan Sugar Cane Producers Group, Mabaay Taffic Women Enforcers association, Suyo Livelihood Interest Group, Sadsadan Camote production Group, Mabaay Women’s Association, sadsadan Livestock production Production Group, Pactil Mushroom Growers’ Association, Sadsadan Coffee Consolidators’ Group, Sadsadan women’s Association, Sadsadan Heirloom Rice Consolidators Group. -- Arsenia Addon

P5,000 fine set for subdivision owners  who don’t plant trees
BAGUIO CITY – The city council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance requiring all homeowners and developers of residential subdivisions within the city to plant trees in their open spaces, preserve and maintain the same and providing penalties for violators.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Joel Alangsab stated all homeowners, natural or juridical, of existing residential subdivisions, shall plant trees in open spaces required by law to be reserved for the common use and enjoyment of all the owners of the lots therein, as well as along all roads and service streets.
Upon effectivity of the ordinance, any homeowner and developer who voluntarily undertakes to plant trees in open spaces shall be entitled to free tree seedlings from the City Environment and Parks Management Office which he or she could plant in any available space in their neighborhood.
Homeowner of residential subdivisions who refuse to implement the provisions of the ordinance shall be fined P5,000.
The ordinance tasked the barangay officials in the city’s 128 barangays to strictly implement the local legislative measure. -- Dexter A. See

Mikey Arroyo out of danger
CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga — Former presidential son and Pampanga representative, Mikey Arroyo, is out of danger after being seriously injured in a car accident the other day along the FVR Megadike in Bacolor, this province.
The eldest son of former president and now Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who suffered a gash in the head, was declared out of danger by doctors at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City, according to Chief Supt. Aaron N. Aquino, Police Regional Office 3 director.
However, Mikey’s driver John Frederick Macaraig might have to face charges of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide after the accident resulted in the death of Police Officer 3 Alexander Villamin, assigned to the Police Regional Public Safety Battalion in Central Luzon.
Last Monday at 3:30 p.m., the Toyota Hilux driven by Macaraig collided with the Honda Civic (WEP-604) driven by PO3 Villamin in Barangay Maliwalu in the eastern part of the megadike.
Villamin died on the spot while the Hilux occupants, Mikey and one Edward Mendoza Montevergin were injured and taken to the Mother Teresa Calcutta hospital in the City of San Fernando for emergency treatment, said Aquino.
After their condition were stabilized, Mikey and his companion were transferred to the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City.
Aquino said the accident was still under investigation.

Pugo holds first ‘Tinungbo’ cookfest
PUGO, La Union — Through the first “Tinungbo Festival,” the local government here is pushing revival of indigenous cooking practices using bamboo stalks. Fourteen barangays and five schools joined the Tinungbo Cookfest last week and competed against each other in cooking different recipes using bamboo as “cooking pot.” The judges took part in preparing the food and identifying the winners.
“What many people know, only glutinous rice delicacies can be cooked using the bamboo, but here, many viands and delicacies that can be cooked using the abundantly growing bamboo grass,” Mayor Priscilla Martin said.
She added elders in the community have been thinking how to promote the town until they thought of the bamboo which in the Ilocano dialect is “tinungbo,” as they abundantly grow in the town.
It is also an occasion for local folk to take pride in their old practice of using bamboo in cooking their food, which can be revived in other parts of the country, she said.
Among dishes served at the festival aside from rice were sinigang (sour soup), nilagang isda (fish soup), adobong isda, and pinakbet (mixed vegetables).

Tadian completes 7 town projects worth P5 million
TADIAN, Mountain Province -- Seven community projects worth over P5 million have been  implemented by the community and local government unit in partnership with the Kapit-bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS) Program of the Dept. of Social Welfare and Development.
The completed projects are flood control structure in Barangay Balaoa, drainage canal in Lenga, farm-to-market road in Duagan,  drainage canal in Kayan West, erosion control in Bunga, water system in Masla and road concreting in Batayan.
These projects which are now operational and will benefit 3, 832 households,
Five months since the implementation of Kalahi- CIDSS in August 2016, these were the first projects to be completed in the region.
“As a community-led development, these projects were managed by the community volunteers. With the assistance of the local government unit , they were easily mobilized,” area coordinator Mary Jane Quiwas said.
Quiwas acknowledged MLGU Tadian for financial and technical support. The barangay and municipal LGUs shouldered unforeseen and underestimated cost of materials thus projects were completed without delay.
While waiting for funds, the MLGU convened  suppliers of materials for the  projects and explained processes of the program, she said.
There are 18 Kalahi-CIDDS projects in the municipality. Aside from the seven completed, four barangays are almost finished with their projects while seven are working double time to complete their sub-projects within the month.
Kalahi-CIDSS deputy regional program manager Imelda Tuguinay recognized the efforts of the implementers in the municipality. The projects she said are tangible proof of the community’s efforts to bring development into reality.
“We still have a lot to complete here in the region and we hope that other communities will be motivated to finish their respective projects within set target as what Tadian did,” she said. -- Jasmin P. Kiaso

Tabuk LGU allots P1M for additional CCTV cameras      
CITY OF TABUK, Kalinga---  The city government alloted P1 million for additional closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras this year to boost anti-criminality and traffic management efforts.
City public order and safety officer Dionisio Falgui III said there are 27 CCTV cameras already installed in strategic points along the provincial road leading to the city proper and other sites in Tabuk.    
These gadgets helped investigation and solution of cases especially traffic-related incidents, he said.
Other sites in the city earlier installed with CCTVs include public markets, landmarks, PNP compact posts, city hall compound and other crowded areas.
For the project, the POSO tiedup with police in puttingup two centralized monitoring stations, one at the police provincial command and another at the city POSO.
Falgui said there are plans to also install wireless CCTV cameras near schools. -- Larry T. Lopez

Importation ban due to H5 HPAI outbreak
A TEMPORARY BAN on importation of domestic and wild birds and their products including poultry meat, day old chicks, eggs and semen was ordered by Sec. Emmanuel Piñol of the Department of Agriculture.
Entry of the said commodities from France, Germany, Japan, and Lubuskie, Poland are prohibited to enter the Philippines. Outbreaks of H5 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) virus were reported by chief veterinary officers of the concerned countries. HPAI virus is highly contagious among birds and is extremely deadly to them.
Included in the memos set out by Piñol are  immediate suspension of the processing and evaluation of application and issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) import clearance, stoppage and confiscation of all shipments of the above stated commodities (with the exception of heat treated products) into the country by all DA veterinary quarantine officers/inspectors at all major ports.
Frozen poultry meat with slaughter/process date of 21 days prior to the HPAI outbreaks are allowed to enter the country subject to veterinary quarantine rules and regulations.
Importation of meat products of poultry is subject to the conditions provided in the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code. The ban is set to protect the health of the local poultry population. -- AGG

Ilocos Norte crime rate down by 60%
LAOAG CITY -- Provincial police director Jose Melencio Nartatez Jr. said crime in Ilocos Norte has fallen significantly.
With 1,500 reported index crimes in 2015, the figure dropped to 600 at the end of 2016, indicating a decrease by 60%.
“The decrease in crime rate is a good indicator that we have effective measure in the prevention of the occurrence of crimes,” Nartatez said.
On crime solution efficiency, he noted that INPPO’s investigation efforts increased from 65 percent to 80% this2016.
 Nartatez was also happy to report that during the Yuletide Season, no tourists were harmed or involved in any focus crime, and no shooting incidents happened.
Following this, Gov. Imee R. Marcos said the provincial government supports the provincial police plan to fight crime.— Ma. Rhona Ysabel B. Daoang 

Kiangan pushes ‘Iwas disgrasya” program
KIANGAN, Ifugao--  The municipal advisory council here  urged  the Sanguniang Bayan to enact an ordinance   adapting “Iwas Disgrasya” as  priority local anti-criminality action plan (LACAP) for 2017.
The move came about  following reports most cases recorded in police blotters were vehicular traffic accidents resulting to homicide, physical injuries and damage to properties. 
Statistics showed from 2013-2016, 74 incidents of  VTAs resulted to physical injuries and  54 incidents  to  damage to properties. 150 cases were caused by  human error due to drunkenness, fast and reckless driving, driving without licenses and driving without helmet for motorcycles; seven  due to  mechanical defect and four due to bad road condition.
Municipal police chief Roy T. Awisan  said support of all sectors  is needed  to address the problem. With  the LACAP, it prescribes the guidelines and procedures relative to the conduct of a holistic and comprehensive anti-crime approach to be undertaken jointly by the different sectors of the society and intends to address the prevalent crime in the municipality particularly VTAs.
Councilor Raldis Bulayungan vowed to fast track the enactment of said ordinance.  -- Daniel B. Codamon

Seven former rebels surrender in Abra
BANGUED, Abra -- Seven former rebels  of the province recently surrendered with each receiving  P65,000 livelihood assistance under the Comprehensive Local Integration Program awarded by Gov/ Maria Jocelyn V. Bernos Bernos and Col. Milfredo Melegrito, Commander 702Bde, Philippine Army during launching of  MASID (Mamamayang Ayaw saAnomalya, Mamamayang Ayaw sa Iligal na Droga) here at provincial capitol Jan. 10.
“Use this money to start anew and provide for your family. Never go back to your old ways please.” Bernos told surrenderees.  Six FRs   in the province earlier surrendered in November 2016.  -- Ginalyn B. Brioso

No exemption from amusement tax pushed
BAGUIO CITY  – The City Treasury Office said the city council should no longer entertain requests from event organizers for their exemption from the imposition of the mandatory amusement tax for events in the city to allow the local government to generate additional resources for the priority projects of the local government.
Alex Cabarrubias, in-charge-of-office of the City Treasury Office, said local legislators should not to grant requests from event organizers for exemption from the amusement tax.
“We had been longing for the non-exemption from the amusement tax of events in the city as we have lost millions of pesos in expected income primarily due to exemptions from the coverage of the amusement tax granted by the local legislative body to event organizers,” Cabarrubias stressed.
Because of the recent pronouncement from the City Treasury Office, the City Council required the said office to submit to the members its comparative data on the years when the local government had been strictly implementing the collection of amusement tax from organizers to the years when the local legislative body had been granting numerous requests for exemption from the collection of amusement tax.
The local legislative body agreed with the contention of the City Treasury Office that there is a need for them to significantly reduce exemptions from the coverage of the amusement tax. -- Dexter A. See

DFA-Pangasinan enforces dress code
CALASIAO, Pangasinan – People applying for documents at the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) office here have been advised to observe the proper dress code imposed by the agency.
Jennifer de Mesa, officer-in-charge of DFA office at the Robinson’s Mall here, said observing proper dress code is a sign of respect for the institution.
The DFA will refuse entry to those who are wearing shorts, sleeveless shirts, mini-skirts or skirts with low waist line or high slits and blouses that expose the navel, are transparent, off-shoulder, strapless or with spaghetti straps, backless or with plunging neckline.
It also prohibits the wearing of sunglasses, slippers and hats within the premises.  

Tadian  sets  Municipal Cooperative Day
TADIAN, Mountain Province -- Recognizing major contribution  of cooperatives  in development,  local officials here enacted an ordinance declaring every third Friday of October as Cooperative Day.
Authored by Councilor Jayne Saong, the “Coop Day Ordinance of Tadian” aims to help strengthen partnership between cooperatives within the locality, the local government unit and other stakeholders as key drivers of local development towards the attainment of its vision, mission and objectives and in achieving social change.
It also aims to raise the consciousness of the people to join the cooperative movement and to uphold the principles and values of cooperativism; increase public awareness about the economic model’s significant contribution to development towards a sustainable future and provide a venue for the stakeholders to actively take part and discuss ways and means to further the growth and development of cooperatives.
In this 4th class municipality, the role of cooperatives can not be underestimated. They have far reaching impacts in the lives of the members. While instilling the value of unity and participation among the stakeholders, the coops are key to sending children to college, in starting or sustaining businesses and in building big houses.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan has approved said municipal ordinance. -- Juliet B. Saley

DOH Kalinga to deploy newly hired health workers in February
CITY OF TABUK, Kalinga -- The Department of Health provincial office will deploy newly-hired health workers first week of February after their orientation and signing of contract.
Dr. Bernadette Andaya said a minimum of six nurses will be deployed per rural health unit, one midwife and one Public Health Associate each to the 11 RHUs, and one universal health care implementer per municipality.
Three medical technologists will be assigned each to Lubuagan, Tinglayan and Rizal and three Dentists to supportive local government units. The province was allotted four dentists but only three applied, Andaya said.
The health workers are hired under DOH’s human resources for health deployment program to render service for one year. Contracts are renewable every six months depending on result of performance evaluation.  -- Peter A. Balocnit

Centennial Relay recounts Abra  history
TUBO, Abra -- The Abra provincial seal is being brought around  the 27 municipalities to mark the countdown of Abra's 100th foundation anniversary  this March.
The Abra Centennial Relay took off in the town of Tubo  first  week of December 2016 led by Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member Antonio Dayag. 
During the ceremony, indigenous peoples' municipal representative Francisco Cayasen cited significance of celebrating Abra's centennial anniversary sharing his reflection on the motto of the late Cordillera leader, Fr. Conrado Balweg, SVD. Balweg's motto was "I would rather die early knowing the reason why I die than to live a million years without knowing the reason why I live."
Cayasen's concern was more of calling the attention of all Abreñeans and look into what Abra had become all those years since  it gained independence from being a sub-province of Ilocos Sur  on March 9, 1917. 
‘If we think we have not done as much for Abra's development, then let us take the challenge to exert more effort, and give more love to our dear Abra to rise above all odds and make it shine among its neighbors,’ he said. -- Maria Teresa B. Beñas

DTI launches e-Presyo in Ifugao
LAGAWE, Ifugao -- Consumers in the province  can now  avail of ready price guide when they do their shopping  with  the launching of the  Dept. of Trade and Industry’s (DTI)   “e-Presyo” in Barangay Poblacion West here Jan. 11.
The launching was conducted in partnership with the Ifugao Consumer Net and the Ifugao local price coordinating council as partners in the advocacy for consumer welfare and protection in the province.
The e-Presyo is Online Price Monitoring System (OPMS) where consumers can check out prices of basic and prime commodities being monitored by the DTI.  Using their smart phones and personal computers, the E Presyo App serves as their “gabay sa pamimili” or reference in terms prevailing prices and comparative prevailing prices of   basic necessities and prime commodities   and the names of the establishments carrying the lowest price.
The participants were shown how to access the system with the use of their computers, net books, android smart phones and other gadgets for their better appreciation and full utilization of the OPMS.
Imelda Kimmayong of DTI said they will ensure the system will be fully utilized by consumers through E-Presyo advocacy. The link of the DTI’s E-Presto is with the password rityrbtj.
Should there be queries,Kimmayong said they can contact the project secretariat through cell phone No. 09057790675.
She added  DTI will be posting suggested retail prices of commodities in public markets of the province starting March. -- Daniel B. Codamon

TESDA opens 5,000 slots for skills trainings in Kalinga   
TABUK CITY, Kalinga - - The Technical Education Skills Development Authority provincial training center   is offering  5000 slots  for trainings  under the Barangay Kasanayan para sa Kabuhayan at Kapayaan (BKKK).
Eduardo Tamayao of TESDA provincial office said free training will open as soon as barangay skills mapping is completed. The BSM is conducted in all 152 barangays of the province to determine course choice of target sectors.
Target participants in the skills training include overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), out-of-school youth, persons with disability, drug personalities with rehabilitation certificate, rebel returnees, indigents and interested unemployed applicants.
Under the program, TESDA has tie-up with other technical-vocational schools in the province offering the courses where trainees could enroll.
Courses offered under the program are bookkeeping, computer programming, bartending, cookery, bread and pastry production, backhoe-loader operator, household services, caregiving, beauty care, massage therapy, masonry, driving, electronics, agri-crops, animal production, carpentry, English proficiency, electrical, welding, automotive, tile setting, construction painting, furniture, organic agriculture, food and beverage services, computer and system servicing.    
 Trainees who completed the courses and pass assessment are issued TESDA National Certificate as employment eligibility here and abroad.
Tamayao said qualified graduates are also provided placement assistance by TESDA to partner industries for employment. -- Larry T. Lopez

Pursuit of people initiative for local government sought
BAGUIO CITY January 17 – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance adapting a Baguio City Code pursuing a Private Public Partnership for the People Initiative for Local Governments (LGU P4) approach towards development, providing for the procedure for selecting the private sector proponent, adopting a contract management framework and providing appropriations and for other purposes.
The ordinance, authored by Councilor Elmer Datuin, stated that the City of Baguio shall advance the public good and general welfare and promote the interest of the community and the city within the framework of sustainable and integrated development, and effective constructive engagement and meaningful people’s participation in local governance. Dexter A. See

Abra Provincial Hospital bans plastic bags
BANGUED, Abra – The Abra Provincial Hospital management will implement ban on   plastic bags inside the hospital and its vicinity to solve problem of plastic residues clogging toilet bowls and sinkholes.
Families of patients and visitors who visit are now prohibited to bring plastic bags and styro materials since it has been observed these are not disposed of properly.   
New provincial health officer Dr. Roy Seares urged watchers and visitors to use food keepers and eco bags instead of disposable plastic bags and styro containers.
Washing soiled dishes in the comfort rooms, throwing used paper napkins in the toilet bowls and tossing leftovers in the sink among other things are also prohibited.
Seares said they instructed all maintenance crew to clean comfort rooms and wards more frequently to ensure cleanlinessl.
“Patients come to the hospital to be cured. A clean environment is a sure way to help them recover fast; discipline is another,” he said.   -- Ginalyn B. Brioso

TY Lawin victims in CAR receive shelter assistance
BAGUIO CITY- - A total of 28,051 households   victims of Typhoon Lawin have received Dep’t of Social Welfare and Development’s emergency shelter assistance worth P 5,000 as of  Jan. 4.
The province of Kalinga had highest number of beneficiaries with 12,357, followed by Abra   with 9,279, Apayao   with 3,614, Mountain Province with 1,275, Baguio-Benguet with 919 and Ifugao with 607.
A total of P140,260,000 assistance has been distributed to  victims during onsite pay-outs conducted second week of November 2016 to first week of this month.
“Our personnel went on field to deliver our assistance to the victims of disaster. However, not all victims who have been assessed as qualified to receive the assistance were able to claim it. Some were able to be there during the pay-out but failed to bring necessary supporting documents.” DSWD-CAR regional director Janet P. Armas said.
She urged beneficiaries to provide documents such as identification cards, cedula, or authorization letter for release of  assistance fund,Meanwhile, beneficiaries who failed to claim assistance fund may coordinate with the Social Welfare and Development Team Offices in their provinces.
Armas urged the public to report irregularity on implementation of  ESA. “The Department is open to any report concerning the implementation of ESA. Individuals who have queries, complaints, and suggestions may report their concerns to our office, +63949-141-7232 or +63906-094-1064.”  
 The Emergency Shelter Assistance is one of the services provided by the Department to victims whose houses have been damaged due to man-made or natural disasters. The service prioritizes poor households.  -- Nerizza Faye G. Villanueva

 SSS Abra shares good news to its members
BANGUED, Abra -- The Social Security System (SSS) office here said initial  P1, 000 pension hike  for members would take effect this  January.
President Rodrigo Duterte approved  earlier this month an across-the-board pension increase of P2,000  to benefit more than two million SSS  pensioners  with the initial P1,000 effective this month and  another  P1,000 in 2022 or earlier.  Along with the President’s decision to increase pension was the instruction for SSS to incorporate reforms to ensure sustainability of the pension fund.    
 It’s possible to happen because they won’t promise it if they can’t, stressed SSS Provincial Manager Edward Urua following  reactions pension hike is highly improbable to materialize sooner because it may cut down SSS fund life in 10 years if not accompanied by higher contributions.
On calamity assistance loan, Urua said they are still waiting for go signal from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council before they can allow their members who are victims of typhoon Lawin to apply for a loan.  -- Ginalyn B. Brioso

Ifugao town shares good practices in ALS program
KIANGAN, Ifugao -- Networking among stakeholders and municipal government’s investment of resources  in  implementation of Alternative Learning System (ALS) program were among the best practices of the local government of Kiangan.
Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer Mario Indopia representing Mayor JoselitoGuyguyon shared the town’s best practices in 2016 under the ALS program at Schools Division Office here. The event was conducted to appreciate  LGUs actively engaged in developing learners under the ALS programs.
Indopia said the LGU showed its commitment by allotting financial support to the ALS from its Special Education Fund and its 20% development fund.  It also helped in advocacy of ALS programs and projects, provided data of out-of-school-children, out-of-school-youth and out-of-school-adults which assisted the ALS implementers in their mapping and appropriate intervention.
The LGU also participated in the strategic planning and maintained strong and effective networking with ALS implementers and other stakeholders.
Last year, there were 193 learners in the municipality who passed the Secondary Level ALS Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Test, 95 were trained on livelihood skills with 25 engaged on soap making, 33 on corsage making and 37 on detergent making.
ALS program coordinator for IfugaoArsenio Yongoyong cited Kiangan officias  for their cooperation..  -- Daniel B. Codamon

Youth participation in Baguio disaster programs proposed
BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance institutionalizing youth participation and representation in local disaster risk reduction and management in the city.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. stated there shall be a youth representative in the city and barangay disaster risk reduction and management councils and the National Youth Commission (NYC), in coordination with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) City field office, shall formulate the guidelines for the selection of the youth representative.
Under the proposal, the qualifications of the youth representative to the said councils are: not necessarily college graduate but underwent training and have experience in disaster risk reduction and management or climate change actions, and is willing and capable of serving as a member of the councils;  a member of a community-based organization, preferably those that have disaster risk reduction engagements or have worked with the NYC; at least one year residency in the barangay to help ensure familiarity of the barangay he or she will serve. -- Dexter A. See

4 Abra LGUs use SGLG incentive for infra projects
BANGUED, Abra -- More infrastructures are set to be built or improved in at least four towns in the province using the   Performance Challenge Fund.
Department of Interior and Local Government provincial director Millicent B. Cariño  said the P3 million  incentive as Seal of Good Local Governance awardees was released to four out of six  municipal government unit awardees in Abra last year. All four LGUs have programmed PCF for infrastructure projects.
San Juan Mayor Meynardo Arthur Bautista said they will use their PCF for  concreting of the unfinished portion of their municipal access road in Barangay Bayog to Supiil and Nangobongan to Abualan. 
 Mayor Robert Victor Seares, Jr., of Dolores said their P3 million will be used for  concreteing of canals in Poblacion. 
In Bucay, Mayor Bernadette Cardenas-Baroña   said they will construct a multi-purpose hall in South Poblacion.
For Peñarrubia, Mayor Jane Mamsaang-Cecilia said their PCF was programmed for   farm-to-market road and construction of spillway and stone masonry.
The Tayum and La Paz are yet  to receive their PCF, Carino said. -- Maria Teresa B. Beñas

OCD-CAR honors 2016 Gawad Kalasag awardees, partners 
 BAGUIO CITY -- The Office of Civil Defense  recognized  exemplars and  partners in disaster risk reduction and management efforts and actions in Cordillera during the 2016 Gawad Kalasag awards night here at at Camp John Hay Jan. 18.
The  regional awardees were   University of the Cordilleras – Best School DRRM; La Trinidad, Benguet  and Luna, Apayao – first and second  place respectively  in the Best Municipal DRRM 1st to 3rd class category; Municipality of Tublay, Benguet  for best Municipal DRRM – 4th to 6th class category; Baguio – Benguet Public Info and Civic Action Group as Best Volunteer Group; Tuba Fire Station as Best Government  Emergency Management  Service,  with  Baguio City EMS at second place. Baguio City is the best DRRM for the highly urbanized city category and Apayao as   the best Provincial DRRM   and Mountain Province at second place.
For the DRRM Commitment Awards (individual category), recognized were Benguet DRRM coordinator for Department of Education Nerissa Barbosa; Tublay MDRRMO Abner Lawangen; Licuan-Baay, Abra MDRRMO ErosbonSabedo; Mountain Province PRRMO Edward Chumawar; La Trinidad MDRRMO Yoshio Labi and Police Regional Office Deputy Director for Operations, PSSupt. Angelito Casimiro.
OCD also gave recognition to 30 government agencies and organizations, private institutions and volunteer groups for their valuable contribution in the DRRM advocacy and efforts last year especially during the onslaught of super Typhoon Lawin.
Assistant Secretary Kristoffer James “Toby” Purisima, OCD deputy administrator for admin- operations cited  importance of awardees’ work and leadership.
Gawad Kalasag’ (Kalamidad at Sakuna LAbanan Sariling Galing ang Kaligtasan) is an annual award that is given to individuals, non-government organizations, private sector and government organizations  in recognition of their initiative in helping the Filipino government uplift the standard of disaster management in the country. -- Carlito C. Dar

OSG wants to improve caliber of solicitors
Solicitor General Jose Calida bared his plans to improve the caliber and quality of solicitors under his watch.
“We have embarked in a campaign to lure the best and the brightest lawyers in the Philippines to join us,” Calida said in a press briefing in Malacañan on Jan. 19.
“If you have friends who are valedictorians or topnotchers of the Bar exams, please endorse them to us because we will accelerate their entry from associate solicitor I to associate solicitor III. And we have capacity-building seminars and conferences. We send our solicitors abroad to study the recent trends in law especially now the arbitration law,” he said.
“Of course, our main mission here is to defend the Republic of the Philippines from its enemies whether internal or external,” he added.
Calida said that the OSG needs to increase its manpower, considering the cases that are filed in court every day.
 “We are still short of the minimum number of assistant solicitor generals,” he said.
 According to Calida, among the recent accomplishments of the OSG include the West Philippine Sea case.
 “This case is the crowning glory of international law and the law of the seas as well as the rule of law,” he said.
In the same press briefing, meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella welcomed the Asia Business Outlook survey for 2017, which showed that 39.4 percent of the respondents said that they will increase investments in the country as compared to the 4.3 percent who said that they will reduce levels. 
“We continue to look at the Philippine socio-economic political landscape and note that based on evidence, there were business [that] seems to be affirming the administration's aggressive efforts on nation-building,” Abella said. 
“The Duterte administration's economic pronouncements appeared to be clear and consistent and want to achieve an economic growth that's not only robust and sustainable but actually inclusive for more Filipinos,” he said.
Just this week, the Palace official had announced that more foreign banks have expressed interest to enter the Philippines this year, which is expected to help potential investors to set up shops in the country.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also said that the Philippines is expected to maintain its strong GDP growth momentum registered in 2016 into 2017 at a pace of 6.8 percent.
In the same press briefing, Abella said the Department of Education (DepEd) is set to release 977 million hardship allowance for teachers.
“Teachers assigned to multi-grade classes, mobile teachers and alternative learning system coordinated is set to receive the respective special hardship allowances (SHA) amounting to 997,405,080,” Abella said.
The Palace official said the incoming SHA covers a total of 14,896 recipient schools for teachers assigned in hardship posts and multi-grade classes; and 2,395 recipient school districts and community learning centers, CLCs, or for mobile and ALS teachers.
 “The allowance of teachers assigned in hardship posts is computed based on the distance from the nearest point of available transport, which corresponds to a certain percentage of their basic salary,” Abella said.
Hardship posts include schools with transport inaccessibility as well as those that are in difficult situations such as exposure to calamities and armed conflicts.
 “Computation of the allowance from multi-grade, mobile and house coordinators are based on the number of classes or learning levels that the teachers handle,” Abella added.
Likewise, in the same briefing, Abella said Filipinos can now use the improved and widened radial road or R-10 as an alternative route to EDSA via Bonifacio Drive and RoxasBoulevard.PND


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