6 die as dengue, leptospirosis cases increase in Cordillera

>> Tuesday, August 21, 2018

BAGUIO CITY -- Six people succumbed to dengue and leptospirosis in the past seven months in the Cordillera, as cases of the weather-induced virus infections climbed in the highland region amid the unabated heavy monsoon rains.
Geeny Anne Austria, a nurse at the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) of the Department of Health (DOH) in Cordillera, said Tuesday the number of dengue cases in the region nearly doubled this year to 2,447 from 1,430 in the same period last year, with five deaths registered from Jan. 1 to Aug. 4 this year.
Last year, dengue took the lives of three people, she said.
On leptospirosis, Austria said the uptrend is 32 percent, recording 41 cases this year from 31 cases in the same period in 2017. One death was noted in Benguet province this year.
For dengue, Benguet recorded the most cases with 656; Kalinga had 522; Apayao, 448; Abra, 317; Baguio City, 268; Mountain Province, 129; and Ifugao, 107.
As for leptospirosis, Benguet again recorded the most cases, with eight; Baguio and Kalinga had five each; Apayao and Ifugao with four each; Abra has two cases, while Mountain Province has one.
There were also 12 cases involving residents from non-Cordillera provinces, who sought medical aid in the region, Austria said.
She said dengue and leptospiros tend to peak on rainy days, as breeding sites for the viruses, such as floods, develop.
"The number of dengue cases may peak during the rainy season and might reach widespread proportions if preventive measures are not taken,” the government nurse warned.
She urged the public to follow the four "S" as a control measure. Search and destroy breeding sites by cleaning the surroundings and preventing the accumulation of water; Self-protection measures must be put in place, such as healthy lifestyle and developing stamina and resistance to illnesses; Seek early consultation when suffering from two days of continuous fever; Say no to indiscriminate fogging.
She explained that most of the cases involved manual laborers or those engaged in construction and farming.
She said the infection could have been prevented with the use of protective gears like rain boots and washing and disinfecting after exposure to flood or contaminated water or soil.
The leptospira virus, she explained, comes from the urine or tissues of infected animals like rats.
Austria urged the public to watch out for symptoms, such as fever, headache, chills, rashes, and jaundice.
"If there is no reason to go out, stay home and be safe,” she advised the public.
The health department is keeping a close eye on health issues that normally arise during the rainy season, especially dengue and leptospirosis, which have caused deaths in different parts of the country. (PNA)


Ex-NE governor calls PDAF cases ‘fake news’

FORMER Nueva Ecija governor Aurelio Umali called on his detractors to stop politicking and not mislead the public with fake news on the pork barrel fund scam cases that he is facing. 
He made the appeal following reports that the Office of the Ombudsman has affirmed his dismissal and perpetual disqualification from public service.
Umali said he has not yet received any order from the anti-graft agency denying his motion for reconsideration on such ruling.
“I don’t know where they got such interpretation that I can no longer run for any elective position,” he said.
“Clearly this is another ploy designed to condition the minds of the public and to discredit my name,” he added.
Umali expressed optimism that the ombudsman would reverse its November 2016 decision dismissing him from government service.
He noted that of the more than 20 cases filed against him and his family before the courts, 90 percent have been dismissed for insufficiency of evidence.
“These cases will not discourage us from serving the people of Nueva Ecija,” Umali said.  referring to charges stemming from his alleged misuse of P15 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund when he was a lawmaker in 2005.


Kagawad nabbed for illegal gun, bullets

By Freddie Lazaro

BAYAMBANG, Pangasinan -- Police arrested a village councilor for illegal possession of gun and bullets here in Barangay Manambong Sur, Bayambang on Wednesday.
Supt. Fidel DG Junio, town chief of police, identified the suspect as Nelson Pagador Latorre.
Joint elements of Bayambang Police Station and Detectives of CIDG Provincial Force Unit, Pangasinan implemented a search warrant for Violation of PD 1866 as amended by RA 10591 dated August 13, 2018 issued by Presiding Judge Mervin Jovito Samadan of RTC Br 70, Burgos, Pangasinan against Latorre.
The implementation of the said search warrant resulted in the confiscation of: one unit of ARMSCOR Cal. .45 pistol; 11 pieces of live ammunition for Cal. .45 pistol; one piece of Magazine for Cal. 45 pistol and 11  bullets for shotgun.
Chief Supt. Romulo E Sapitula, Region 1 police director, instructed all chiefs of police to intensify their efforts in the conduct of Oplan Katok to address unlicensed and unregistered firearms in the region.
Latorre together with the confiscated items were placed under the custody of CIDG PFU Pangasinan for proper documentation and disposition.


Ifugao honors mixed martial arts champ

BANAUE, Ifugao -- As a show of pride and adulation for his recent feat, folks and officials of this province held  a motorcade in five municipalities of the province to honor Ifugao sports  warrior Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon recently.
The motorcade started early morning at Banaue Hotel passing through the towns of Hingyon, Lagawe, Lamut and ended up in Kiangan where Belingon hails, to the cheering crowds gathered to congratulate and see him personally.
 A short program was held at the Kiangan municipal hall followed by a public lunch called “hamul”.
Belingon represented the Philippines under Team Lakay during the thrilling five round match held in Manila last July 25 and won via a unanimous decision.
The 30-year old mixed martial art expert defeated Australian-Vietnamese fighter Martin “Situ-Asian” Nguyen, a two-division title holder champion of the One Fighting Championship group and wrestled the vacant Interim Bantamweight Division title belt for his first championship.
Nguyen previously defeated One Fighting Lightweight Champion Eduardo Folayang via a knockout for his second title belt before he succumbed to “The Silencer” Belingon who incidentally belongs to the same team as Folayang.
 “This belt is not mine but our championship belt because of your prayers and support,” Belingon said during the program.
His mother Lydia, a supervisor at the Ifugao Schools Division Office, added that “Kevin’s victory is God’s affirmation in all of us.” -- PIA Ifugao


Imee Marcos signs alliance with Hugpong ng Pagbabago

LAOAG CITY -- Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos formally signed an alliance with Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), the regional party formed by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio.
The formal signing took place at the Blue Leaf, Aseana, Paranaque City.
At the signing aside from Gov. Marcos are Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Seth Frederick Jalosjos, Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda, and Misamis Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Emano, among others.
Marcos said she joined the alliance because HnP “is not a monolithic, hierarchical or traditional party. Its approach is very local.” She took her oath as HnP member in Digos City last week before Mayor Duterte.
Hugpong does not require its members to abandon their political parties but instead forges coalitions in localities. “I think it is a very interesting model, something that is workable on the ground,” the governor said. “This model is better because a candidate wins or loses in the local contests anyway. It is not about the big political parties in Manila.”
The governor believes Hugpong will become the voice of Mindanao and a force to reckon with like the time-tested Solid North. Eight Northern provinces are getting ready to join the alliance, she said.


7 nabbed for jueteng, illegal gambling in Baguio, Benguet

CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet  – Seven persons including a minor were arrested in Benguet and Baguio City for illegal gambling and collecting jueteng bets.
Three gambling collectors were separately arrested in La Trinidad. Ortiz Dangpas Fernando, 55 and Gary Domingo Felipe, 36, both of Barangay Shilan, were arrested collecting jueteng bet money at Tili, Shilanon  August 10 after a concerned citizen informed the police.
Salvador Dionisio Wakat, 44, farmer, of Taloy Sur, Tuba, Benguet, was arrested collecting jueteng bet money at Palina, Tuba Benguet on August 9. Confiscated from their possession were three jueteng booklets and bet money of P740.00.
In Baguio, police nabbed four persons identified as Andrew Ingosan Vergara, 52; Delio Ingosan, 44; Noli Napadawan, 33, all laborer and residents of Purok 1, Irisan, Baguio City and a male minor, a resident of Lubas Proper La Trinidad, Benguet.
They were caught playing cards at Purok 1, Tibalbal, Irisan. Confiscated from them were a set of playing cards and bet money amounting to P120.
Regional police director Chief Supt. Rolando Z Nana commended operating police personnel arresting the alleged illegal gamblers.


3 robbery suspects shot dead in P’sinan

URDANETA, Pangasinan — Three men accused of robbing a tricycle driver were shot dead by police officers in Barangay Nancamaliran East in this city Monday.
The slain suspects, who have yet to be identified, reportedly took the personal belongings and tricycle of Jesus de Guzman, a resident of Barangay Mabanogbog.
Supt. Rollyfer Capoquian, city police chief, said the suspects shot it out with responding personnel of the Special Weapons and Tactics.
Capoquian said three guns and the stolen tricycle were recovered. – Eva Visperas


Soldier hurt in Ilocos NPA raid

STA. CRUZ, Ilocos Sur -- A soldier was wounded when suspected New People’s Army rebels raided an Army camp here in Barangay Bugbuga August 10. 
First Lt. Rey Anfone, civil-military operations officer of the 81st Infantry Battalion, was hit by shrapnel when the rebels reportedly fired a rocket-propelled grenade that destroyed the guard house.
The communist guerillas immediately fled after the raid. Army troops are now scouring nearby areas for the rebels and have set up checkpoints in strategic areas of known rebel lairs.   


Not resilience but concrete plans to address calamities


Whenever the Philippines experiences severe flooding, like the one brought by storms and monsoon rains, photos portraying the Filipino’s resilience in times of hardship always go viral.
They’re usually used as a testament to the people’s optimism but many netizens have spoken out against people’s tendency to champion these stories. For them, it’s not warm fuzzy feels the country needs but concrete plans that can actually bring about change and improve people’s lives.
One such post came from Facebook user Gabbie Tatad who wrote:
“I don’t want to hear about the f*cking resilience of the Filipino. I want better drainage, some sort of urban planning, and the guaranteed safety of the citizens in this damn country. “I want the change we were promised, because it’s been nine years since Ondoy and we’re still playing the same tune.What good is resilience if people keep fearing for their lives, or worse, dying from things that we could have at least tried to prevent?”
Tatad’s words struck a chord with many Filipinos who think the government still has not done enough to prevent floods. Her post now has more than 7,000 reactions, more than 6,000 shares, and 43 comments.
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, 88,131 families or 382,996 persons from six regions in Luzon have been displaced because due to recent flooding.
In North Luzon, many  towns were flooded particularly in Ilocos Region last week. As huge as these numbers are, they’re not uncommon in the Philippines. In fact, flooding happens every year.
And now, nine years after typhoon Ondoy which devastated Manila in 2009, not much has changed.
Another netizen shared thoughts similar to Tatad’s. In a tweet, @kristinamisajon said in Filipino and English: “We experienced [typhoon] Ondoy, we experienced [typhoon] Yolanda. And we still highlight resiliency? How about assessing how LGUs (lower government units) have prepared for disasters like flooding?”
 She wrote this in a retweet of The Philippine Star’s photo showing what the publication called “The Filipino spirit” of a man smiling while swimming in floodwater. @kristinamisajon’s post now has 4,000 likes and 1,000 retweets.
In the same thread, she continued to say that romanticizing resilience was not helping anyone and was just a way to “mask the incompetence and ill-preparedness of concerned authorities.”
Anybody in government listening?


Baguio, birth place of Native Title Doctrine could be its death bed

Alfred P. Dizon

(Rocky Ngalob, information officer of the Cordillera regional office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples writes this week’s piece) 
Baguio, the birth place of the Native Title doctrine and arguably Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA) could be its death bed.
In this year’s recently concluded celebration of the advancement of rights and collective well-being of indigenous peoples through the annual observance of the National Indigenous Peoples Day in the Philippines, the NCIP– Cordillera Administrative Region registered its comments and remarks to the growing confusion spreading throughout the indigenous peoples of Baguio; that the City of Baguio is beyond the coverage of Republic Act 8371 or widely known as Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA).
NCIP-CAR was alarmed of the erroneous information being planted among the IPs’ consciousness.
If not corrected, it would lead IPs in the city in limbo. And if tolerated, such erroneous information will form fragments of the indigenous peoples’ psyche thus adversely revising our rich history.
This sprang from the pending case of the Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) of Baguio before our regular courts which, by virtue of the Sub Judice rule, the author is prohibited to comment particularly on the merits of the case.
Nonetheless, there were issues triggered in aid of answers that is beyond the IPMR issue. Thus, this humble narrative.
Claiming that Baguio is beyond the coverage of IPRA, with an intent of excluding the IPs from the due rights bestowed by the law, is creating a dangerous path for IPs of Baguio.
The IPs of Baguio including IPs throughout the nation know too well that IPRA, a revolutionary law that lifted the then discriminated IPs above marginalization, sprouted when an Ibaloi native in the person of Mateo Carino went before the highest court of the highest country (USA) to question and claimed due recognition over his land against a feudalistic law imposed by our foreign colonizers.
Such act of defiance gave birth to the principle of the “Native Title Doctrine,” a victory, which we, IPs, and other IPs including those across our nation’s borders, hold dear.
IPRA was also the only legislation that specifically provided for right of indigenous peoples to determine their own development, even if there was a qualification in the 1987 Constitution that such development of communities must be in accordance with national development.
The law specifically states; “The State recognizes the inherent right of ICCs/IPs to self-governance and self-determination and respects the integrity of their values, practices and institutions. Consequently, the State shall guarantee the rights of ICCs/IPs to freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”
Ideally, this would mean that indigenous peoples do not only have the power to participate in decision-making processes of the State, but going beyond that, they themselves have the power to determine the fates of their territories and their lives.
Our history dictates that from birth, towards the enactment, Baguio played an essential role to IPRA’s realization. To think that Baguio is outside the coverage of IPRA is like stripping the IPs of Baguio off their rights -- rights which were fought and asserted by their ancestors.
We reduce them to mere spectators separated from rest of the IPs throughout the nation enjoying the privileges of the law they have greatly contributed in achieving -- the very law which sprouted from Baguio. Worse, were rendering them powerless against the ever evolving forms of injustices deeply rooted in the centuries old institutionalized feudalistic type of resource management.   
Section 78 of IPRA stating; “The City of Baguio shall remain to be governed by its Charter and all lands proclaimed as part of its townsite reservation shall remain as such until otherwise reclassified by appropriate legislation: Provided, That prior land rights and titles recognized and/or acquired through any judicial, administrative or other processes before the effectivity of this Act shall remain valid: Provided, further, That this provision shall not apply to any territory which becomes part of the City of Baguio after the effectivity of this Act”, should not be interpreted as an exclusionary provision of Baguio under the coverage of IPRA.
In fact, the high court stated that; “The foregoing provision indeed states that Baguio City is governed by its own charter. Its exemption from the IPRA, however, cannot ipso facto be deduced because the law concedes the validity of prior land rights recognized or acquired through any process before its effectivity. The IPRA demands that the city’s charter respect the validity of these recognized land rights and titles”.
The high court expressly made such statement in order to maintain the true spirit and wisdom of IPRA. IPRA did not intend to exclude Baguio from its coverage while it embraces others. A law that was created to cure an illness of discrimination, for sure, was not intended to be enacted in order to inflict another. More so, the law did not intend to sever its ties from its place of origin. The very place where the law was trained to crawl, walk and was reared to fight for the rights due for the IPs.
The challenge currently being faced by IPRA in Baguio is not the first of its kind. In fact, IPRA has met challenges even greater, one that challenged its constitutionality. But no matter how great the challenges were, IPRA emerged as the victor. In these challenges, particularly on the one being currently impressed to the IPs of Baguio, one thing is for sure; it is not IPRA that is being tested.
Nor the rights of indigenous peoples, as these rights have not ceased to exist, and are only awaiting society’s ability to recognize them. What is currently on trial is the willingness of our bureaucracy and people seated in power to finally rid themselves of prejudices and misplaced fears.
The IPs, especially those who believed and fought for IPRA, their crusade did not end with the enactment of IPRA in 1997.
They are mindful that their crusade is a continuous struggle to rid our nation the discrimination introduced by our colonizers that’s now institutionalized in our bureaucracy. It is about changing mindsets and prejudices.


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