IPs sue NCIP, Apayao officials for corruption

>> Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Cases filed with Ombudsman, prosecutor 

By Karlston Lapniten

BAGUIO CITY — Isnag villagers from barangays Lenneng and Poblacion of Kabugao, Apayao sued multiple officials of the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) and two local government officials before the Office of the Ombudsman and the Provincial Prosecutor recently.
    Filed separately, complainants from barangay Poblacion filed before the Ombudsman in Quezon City 54 counts each of estafa, falsification of documents, and use of falsified documents as well as for acts penalized by the Ombudsman Act and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act on Jan. 25.
    A separate case for the same charges were filed before the Apayao Provincial Prosecutor was filed on Jan. 19 in Luna, Apayao.
    Villagers from barangay Lenneng filed 104 counts for the same charge also before the Provincial Prosecutor last Jan. 6. They filed same charges before the Ombudsman on December 28.
    Among those accused are NCIP Cordillera Acting Regional Director Atanacio Addog, Apayao NCIP Provincial Officer Agnes Gabuat, Apayao NCIP Provincial Legal Officer Geoffrey Calderon, Kabugao NCIP Acting Head Jezryl Inopia, and the NCIP FPIC team.
    Also named accused are Kabugao Vice Mayor Fabulous Tucjang, Municipal Indigenous People Mandatory Representative John Anthony Amid, and several individuals.
    The complaints stemmed from a December 2019 community resolution naming several persons as “representatives” in negotiating with Pan Pacific Renewable Power Philippines Corporation (Pan Pacific) over its proposed 150-megawatt Gened-1 Hydroelectric Power Project (HEPP).
    Pan Pacific, a hydropower firm, intends to build two mega dam facilities along the Apayao River, affecting the ancestral domain of the Isnag.
    Many of the complainants claimed their signatures were forged as they did not sign any resolution to that effect, while others claimed they were deceived into signing the document as a receipt for government aid.
    Several others who had signatures were also long dead. Some community elders even executed an affidavit denying having signed documents which agreed to the construction of the dam.
    The NCIP Regional Review Team, which reviewed the Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) process conducted, indicated in its observation the evidently falsified signatures, repeated signatories, and dubious signatures, among others.
    It also observed irregularities such as holding FPIC activities outside the ancestral domain, and failure to observe consensus-building processes, among others.
    However, the formal review and opposition of the community were brushed aside by the then-NCIP Regional Director Marlon Bosantog.
    The questioned resolution was then used to usher the processing of the FPIC which lead to the issuance of the Certification Precondition (CP), now also a subject of complaint at the NCIP Commission En Banc.
    The cases are primarily handled by Rene Cortes Law in cooperation with Jose Molintas Law, Christopher Donaal and Partners Law, Nelson Lidua Law, BMW Law, and the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG).
    Ryan James Solano of Cortes Law said the four cases filed by the two barangays are just the preliminary fire as there are seven more barangays who will be filing.
    The nine barangays are listed as the “directly affected” barangays by the construction of the proposed giant 150-megawatt dam.
    “We cannot just close our eyes to these injustices, more so that it is done by the people in the agency which is supposed to protect the Indigenous People,” said Solano, who is an Ibaloy from Baguio City.
    Interestingly, Bosantog, Addog, and Calderon, all lawyers, were declared Persona Non Grata through two community resolutions in 2021.
    Kurdel Paroy, also Cortes Law, said they also asked the Regional State Prosecutor to order the entire Apayao Provincial Prosecutor to inhibit from handling the case.  
    “The initial cases are not even a question whether the dam should be built or not, it is merely a question whether the community resolution was duly acquired,” said Paroy.
    Proposed right at the heart of Apayao’s capital town of Kabugao, Gened-1 and the 250-MW Gened-2 HEPP threaten to submerge the Kabugao and Tawit ancestral domains.
    Both are projects of San Miguel Corp. (SMC)-controlled Pan, one of the eight Philippine conglomerates and corporations that benefited from the $3-billion loan agreement the Duterte administration entered with China in 2016.
    According to a June 2021 FPIC report, the Gened-1 dam, if it pushes through, will submerge communities in the barangays or villages of Bulu, Magabta, Poblacion, and Waga in Kabugao town, and Lt. Balag in Pudtol town.     At least five other Kabugao villages will also be directly affected.
    Aside from displacing hundreds of village folks, Gened-1 will destroy the Isnag burial grounds and their traditional fishing grounds and farms, according to the complainants. It will also severely alter the biodiversity of the Apayao, dubbed the “last nature frontier of the Cordillera.”
    Apayao is listed as a “key biodiversity area” by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The province’s pristine biodiversity was brought to the spotlight in 2011 when sightings of Philippine eagles were confirmed in the forests of Kabugao, Calanasan, and Pudtol.

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Water boy held for girl’s rape

TUBA, Benguet -- A rape suspect listed as number five most wanted person in Cordillera was arrested in his hideout here in Barangay Poblacion Jan. 20, police said in a report.
    The suspect was identified as Jonathan Madrid Mazaredo, 23, a water delivery crew, and currently residing at No. 221A Purok 5, Upper Pinget Baguio City.
    Personnel of Police Station 2 of the Baguio City Police Office led the arrest of the suspect at 3:35 in the afternoon pursuant to an arrest warrant issued by Judge Modesto D. Bahul, Jr. of Branch 2, Family Court, First Judicial Region, Regional Trial Court, Baguio City.
    The arrest warrant was issued against the suspect for statutory rape (Art. 226-A of the Revised Penal Code as amended by Republic Act 11648).
    No bail was recommended.
    In the investigation in November 2022, the suspect and the victim, Lea (not her real name), 14, had a drinking spree at his house in Upper Pinget, Baguio City.
    When the victim was drunk and dizzy, the suspect allegedly took the victim to his room where he exploited the minor.
    The suspect was brought to Station 2 Camdas for documentation. The police used a body-worn camera (BWC) during the arrest.

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16 Miss Kalinga 2023 bets bared


TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Sixteen official candidates of the Miss Kalinga 2023 pageant were presented Jan. 20, at the Governor’s Hall at the Enterprise Building at the provincial capitol here.
    They were Charlene Wanason Gaano, Balbalan; Arianne Cagaid Lammao, Tanudan; Franceis Jeramil Morgia Walis, Rizal; Althea Glate Baliwag Butay, Tabuk City; Dori Loren Rivera Domingo, Tabuk City; May Raquel Eddamag Dugao, Pinukpuk; Zaira Kisa Lungao, Lubuagan; Diwata Gupaal Baglinit, Tabuk City;
    Jancess Villa Agustin, Tabuk City; Kaye Goyao Paga, Tinglayan; Leslyn Adawoy Balasi, Balbalan; Joanna Pearl Estilong Dalere, Tabuk City; Jessica Omawat Bumacas, Tabuk City; Desiree Dalog Basiwal, Pasil; Angelina Lhodievin Caparas Dupaya, Rizal; and Anele Jane Martinez Annogui, Tabuk City.
    Pre-pageant activities were scheduled on Feb. 7 with the Best in Traditional Attire competition to be held at the capitol canopy and the swimsuit competition at the Golden Field Hotel in San Juan here.
    Winners will be crowned on Valentine’s Day at the Kalinga Sports Center in celebration of the 28th Kalinga Founding Anniversary and 4th Bodong Festival on Feb. 13.
    Gov. James Edduba said 26 candidates underwent pre-screening following the standards of anthropometric measurements.
    However, he said only 16 passed the rigorous final screening divided into four categories – beauty of face, figure and form, poise, and intellect.

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‘Baguio boy’ cited youngest int’l lawyer


BAGUIO CITY -- City officials here commended gifted Cordilleran, Jozef Maynard Borja Erece from this city who was dubbed as the ‘modern-day renaissance man’ for making history as the youngest law graduate and the youngest practicing lawyer in the world at the age of 18.
    Under Resolution No. 015, series of 2023, local legislators stated that although Erece had been awarded House Resolution No. 2072 on May 16, 2014, a congressional commendation and congratulations for graduating law at the age of 18 in Australia by the House of Representatives during the 16th Congress in which by the breadth and scale of his gifts and talent, inspired Congress to cite during its filing that ‘he may arguably be the most prodigious modern-day Filipino child prodigy,’ Baguio City still deserves to know and to recognize through the said resolution, one of the most prodigious citizen, if not in the history, renowned not only in the Philippines but the world over, for giving honor to the city and the whole nation.
Erece, now 26 years old, is a Cordilleran genius from the city, whose proud parents are Dr. Maynard Victor     ‘Thoots’ Erece, an educator, late prosecutor and criminal lawyer who went to Magsaysay Elementary School in New Lucban, and Dr. Josephine Ana ‘Jo-ann’ Borja Erece, a medical doctor, who was class valedictorian at the St. Louis Center.
    He finished Bachelor of Laws in only 3 years, and has a postgraduate diploma in Legal Studies (summa cum laude equivalent), a Master of Laws with High Distinction (summa cum laude equivalent) from the Australian National University in only 10 months and a credential of Readiness in Business Analytics, Economics for managers and financial account from Harvard University in only 3 months.
    At present, Erece is already a senior-ranked commercial litigator and disputed resolution expert at Corney and Ling Law Firm in Brisbane, Australia and represents clients internationally in disputes against multinational companies such as the Mercedes Benz and international alliances like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
    He completed his Masters in Corporate Law (magna cum laude equivalent) in only 9 months from the University of Cambridge and served as the first Filipino to be the associate editor of the Cambridge Law Review in 2021, the longest university journal in the United Kingdom.
    He is a product of the now-defunct Stanford education program for gifted youth, and advocated reading for the rights of audiences at the Bars of England and Wales, New York and Queensland, a feat never before achieved in law history at his young age.
    Erece was evaluated by educational psychologists and lead educators to be profoundly gifted with an intelligence quotient (IQ) beyond the 160 limit and that he consistently excelled in academics as well as in athletics, especially in taekwondo and basketball, aside from being a chess master, a book author and a gifted violinist.
    He started martial arts at the age of 5 in Tokoroa, New Zealand; awarded his black belt at the age of 8 by the New Zealand Olympic coach; became the youngest New Zealand taekwondo instructor at Sejong Taekwondo at Waikato University in Hamilton, New Zealand at the age of 14; trained with the New Zealand Olympic taekwondo team; was awarded his 3rd dan black belt in July 2010; and presently the youngest local taekwondo instructor at the Kukkiwon World Taekwondo headquarters.
    With a height of 6 feet and 2 inchers, Erece is a highly recruited basketball point guard, who has been offered athletic scholarships by coaches and agents from Manila-based universities to play for the Universities Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) and the Philippine National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), invited for ‘walk-on’ trials with academic scholarships by the United States NCAA Division 1 universities, and to play for the Nike all-Australian Tour to the United States.
    He became the youngest player in the semi-professional Greater Brisbane League tournament, the team captain of the champion St. Johns College Blue in Hamilton, New Zealand, voted in the Mythical Selection Team for the New Zealand junior secondary championships held in Rotorua, New Zealand in 2013.
    As a gifted athlete, Erece holds the current acceleration Australia record for no-step vertical jump for 15-year old athletes (all sports) which still holds today; captained the Waikato Hockey Association under 15 rep teams and played in the under 15 Filipino team for Hamilton; led the St. Johns senior blue team to the regional pool championships.
    As a chess master, Erece was the top player at the St. Johns chess team during the North Island championships at St. Paul’s College, Hamilton in 2011, and defeated nationally ranked senior chess players in New Zealand in only his sophomore year in spite of being the youngest player at board 1.
    As a book author, he published ‘The Grand Powers’ his first fantasy short novel at only 8 years old which was made available for general circulation at the New Zealand public library system through a local Cambridge bookstore. He continues to write 5-star rated books available for purchase on Amazon and Kindle, such as pieces that include ‘syzygy and one’ and ‘Starlight legacies.’
    As a gifted musician, he is also an accomplished violinist. He learned violin at the age of 6, participated in various youth symphony orchestras, entered secondary school as an academic and music scholar at St. Johns College, performs with the Waikato Youth orchestra and St. Johns Sacred Heart College combined orchestra in New Zealand, made his first musical composition at age 6, creating an addendum to ‘twinkle-twinkle little star,’ for his sister, Maynah Erece, on her first birthday (also a gifted and talented prodigy), claiming the song to be incomplete, and continues to play through church-based ministry, having gone through formal music training at Trinity college, London. -- Dexter A. See

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Ex-CPLA commander/ pastor nabbed for slay

CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet – Police arrested a 60-year-old pastor wanted for murder in Benguet in Sitio Balantog, Barangay Poblacion, Luba, Abra on Wednesday, Jan. 18.
    Col. Damian Olsim, Benguet police chief, identified the suspect as Melchor Langbayan Balance, a resident of Barangay Ol-olingen, Villaviciosa, Abra.
    Olsim revealed that Balance, also known as “Commander Kawar,” was a former commander of the disbanded Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA) and listed as the No. 2 regional top most wanted person in Cordillera.
    He said Balance had been wanted since 2015 and was listed as the regional top most wanted person in 2019.
    Damian said the Itogon Municipal Police Station received information on the whereabouts of the suspect and was nabbed on a warrant issued on March 20, 2014 by Judge Jennifer P. Humiding, Presiding Judge of Branch 63, Regional Trial Court, La Trinidad, Benguet.
    The court recommended no bail for the suspect.

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Public warned against Panagbenga scammers

By Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY -- Mayor Benjamin Magalong has warned the public against transacting with scammers or fixers promising slots in the Market Encounter and Session Road in Bloom activities of the Baguio Flower Festival.
    The mayor said reports were received on some unauthorized groups and individuals brokering for slots in the popular Panagbenga events and preying not only on the unsuspecting businessmen but also on those who are desperate to grab slots the easy way.
    "Please do not entertain these unscrupulous people to avoid being victimized," the mayor said.
    He said those intending to join any Panagbenga event should transact directly with the secretariat (tel. 074 442-4315; cel. 09619626688; or email secretariat@panagbengaflowerfestival.com).
    For the Market Encounter, the contact person is Marivel Chagwaten while for Session Road in Bloom, Malu Galiste.
    Panagbenga is slated to open on Feb. 1 with a grand parade from Panagbenga Park-Session Road-Harrison Road to Melvin Jones Grandstand at 8 a.m.
    The day will also witness the opening of the Panagbengascapes professional landscaping competition and exhibition at Melvin Jones grandstand and football grounds and the Baguio Blooms: A Market Encounter at the Juan Luna Drive and Skateboard Area at Lake Drive, Burnham Park.  Both events will run from Feb. 1 to March 5, 2023.




 

 

 

 

 

 

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Karpov, ex-world chess champ, visits Baguio Feb 1st

BAGUIO CITY – Former world chess champion Anatoly Karpov is coming up to this summer capital on Feb. 1 for a brief half-a-day visit that includes a personal appearance at the Baguio Convention Center for a chess engagement with local chess aficionados led by the Baguio Chess Club.
    Mayor Benjie B. Magalong welcomed the brief but meaningful visit of the famed ex-world chess titlist, recalling that the Baguio Convention Center was the venue for the historic chess match between him and fellow Russian Viktor Korchnoi in a grueling tournament that put Baguio in the world map.
    “As a chess enthusiast myself, I express the gratitude of our people in spreading the welcome mat for Mr. Karpov in his first-ever visit to the Summer Capital of the Philippines, after winning his chess match with a tough contender,” he said, stating that Baguio’s officialdom is honored to have him back even for a short visit.
    The mayor also invited the city’s chess players, notably from the Baguio Chess Club, to be part of the audience that will watch a film documentary on the fabled chess match, which the former world chess titleholder will personally annotate. This will be shown at 2 o’clock at the city’s convention center.
    A chess exhibition is being arranged for Karpov.
     The four-hour visit of the famous chess grandmaster will start at 12 noon with courtesy call and lunch with the city’s chief local executive, to be followed by a visit to the BCC for a tour of the premises, then by a film presentation that is open to the general public.
He leaves the city at about 4 p.m. for his return trip to Manila. - NSB

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Ex-NPA militia yields in Apayao

CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet – A former Militia ng Bayan member operating with the New People’s Army surrendered in Santa Marcela, Apayao on Thursday, Jan. 19.
    Brig. Gen. Mafelino Bazar, Police Regional Office-Cordillera director, said the 50-year-old rebel surrendered after a series of negotiations initiated by the Santa Marcela Municipal Police Station and Provincial Intelligence Unit of the Apayao PPO in line with the intensified campaign of the PRO-Cordillera to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC).
    The surrenderer yielded an Arisaka sniper rifle with with one magazine and four bullets and is now under the custody of the Santa Marcela MPS for debriefing and proper disposition.
    He was endorsed to the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Livelihood Integrated Program (E-CLIP).

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Bontoc allots budget for drug surrenderees


By Alpine L. Killa-Malwagay

BONTOC, Mountain Province – The local government here through the Municipal Anti-Drug Abuse Council (MADAC) has allotted funds for livelihood projects for drug surrenderees.
    The funds are ready for implementation this year in line with the LGUs anti-illegal drug campaign.
    This was presented by Social Welfare Officer III Stephanie Kanongkong of the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office during the joint MADAC and Municipal Advisory Council meeting on Jan. 17 at the Municipal Capitol.
    According to Kanongkong, among approved livelihood projects proposed by the beneficiaries in 2022 were hog raising, livestock, and procurement of welding machines/equipment.
    It was funded by the Bontoc LGU under its anti-illegal drug programs.
    She added beneficiaries completed their community-based rehabilitation program and are continuously being monitored by the MADAC.
    Aside from this, the council agreed to allocate the P100, 000 cash prize it will receive from the national government for the livelihood projects to be proposed by the PWUDs in the municipality.
    The cash prize is for being one of the 2022 National Anti-drug Abuse
Council Performance Awardees.
    On the part of the Bontoc LGU, the MADAC shall assist the beneficiaries in the preparation of their livelihood project proposals and documentary requirements.
The MADAC shall monitor livelihood projects.
Bontoc Mayor and MADAC Chairperson Jerome “Chagsen” Tudlong, Jr., said  anti-illegal drug programs are necessary in helping drug surrenderees go back on the right track.
“We hope that this assistance will assist our drug surrenderees in achieving a new life. We also hope that they will be able to sustain their livelihood. The MADAC will continue to assist them in this endeavor,” Tudlong added.
Meanwhile, PMAJ Pedro Tactay, the Chief of Police of Bontoc Municipal Police Station and co-chairperson of the MADAC thanked members and partner stakeholders for helping the police in the successful implementation of the anti-illegal drug campaign in the capital town when he presided over the meeting.

 

 

 

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Search on for missing light plane in Isabela

By Liezle Basa Inigo

SAN MARIANO, Isabela -- Authorities have stepped search for the missing Cessna 206 light plane in this province.
    The Philippine Army, Philippine National Police, and the Bureau of Fire and Protection scoured Barangays Sapinit and Dicambangan in Divilacan and Barangay Dibuluan in San Mariano, Isabela on Thursday, Jan. 26, for the single engine plane with registry number RP-C 1174.
    A report from the Police Regional Office 2 said a search-and-rescue team from the Maconacon, Isabela police and 1st Isabela Police Provincial Mobile Force went to Barangay Dicambangan to conduct information gathering at 5:30 a.m.
    In the afternoon, a SAR team from Divilacan police and BFP proceeded to Barangay Dicaroyan in Divilacan for the same purpose.
    Two Philippine Air Force choppers were dispatched to conduct SAR.
    The plane went missing a few minutes after departing the Cauayan City Airport for Maconacon with six people on board on Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 24.
    A local radio station reported that the plane left Cauayan City at 2:16 p.m. and was scheduled to land in Maconacon 30 minutes later.
    The radio station identified the occupants of the plane as Eleazar Mark Joven, pilot, and passengers Tom Josthle Manday, Val Kamatoy, Mark Eiron Siguerra, Xam Siguerra, and Josefa Perla Espana.
Constante Foronda, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer of Isabela, said they immediately conducted aerial surveillance on the missing plane but found nothing.
    It was reported that the pilot bared their final location in a part of Naguilian, Isabela.
    Another plane did not travel due to turbulence.
    Foronda urged the public if there are sightings of the plane to inform the PDRRMO and authorities.
    The 5th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army reported that PAF-TOG2 commander Col. Sadiri Tabutol said they will continue search and rescue operations when the weather improves.
Weather will be cloudy due to easterlies.
    Rain was recorded in areas where the plane passed.

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Probe on leasing at Baguio market on


By Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY -- Mayor Benjamin Magalong warned anew stallholders at the city public market against sub-leasing and other violations of lease contracts and of Tax Ordinance No. 2000-01 or the Baguio City’s Market Code. The mayor said the investigation on these illegal activities is continuing and has so far yielded “good leads.”
    This is part of the steps to stamp out these long-standing schemes of willful sub-leasing, use of dummy accounts and selling of stall “rights” as the city endeavors to adopt a foolproof system to manage the market.
    Public Order and Safety Division head enforcer Daryll Longid said validation of the applications under the market amnesty program implemented through Ordinance 86-2021 until 2022 is still ongoing and once finished, the city can “go full throttle in uncovering subleasing activities.”
    Under the amnesty program, stall occupants or actual leaseholders were given the chance to “rectify or act on their violations” with the actual occupants also given the chance to have the leasehold rights transferred to them if warranted.
After the said period, all arising violations will be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the market code.
    Longid recently reported that a number of personalities own multiple stalls at the market using dummy accounts and that these stalls are being subleased at unreasonably high rental rates.  He said there are leaseholders who sublease their stalls individually while there are those who do it on a large scale.
    These personalities victimize small vendors who are left with no choice but to agree with higher rental rates that can go as high as 2,000 percent. For the longest time, they have made hundreds of market stalls as their milking cow where they are actually earning millions,” Longid said in an earlier report.
    These are in violation of the provisions of the tax ordinance particularly section 146 which states that it is illegal to manage more than one stall and sections 157 and 160 which state that “the leaseholder shall physically or personally conduct business in the stall subject of the lease and that the leaseholder shall not sell, lease, or transfer to other individuals their leasehold rights nor permit others to conduct business therein” and section 161 which prohibits the sub-leasing of stalls and the use of dummies. 


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SEC ups drive vs illegal investment schemes

BAGUIO CITY -- The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has intensified its campaign against unauthorized online investment schemes by engaging the local government units in their information, education and communication initiatives.
    The SEC through its extension offices in cities and provinces partnered with LGU information officers through social media in the campaign against fraudulent investment methods mostly done online without SEC license collectively called as “ponzi.”
    On Jan. 25, the SEC revoked the Certificate of Authority of Fast Coin Lending Corp. to operate as a lending company for its continuous non-compliance with SEC Memorandum Circular No. 19, Series of 2019 (SEC MC 19) and its non-operation within 120 days from the grant of its CA.
    In an order dated January 10, the SEC Corporate Governance and Finance Department (CGFD) found that Fast Coin Lending Corp. failed to comply with the Disclosure Requirements on Advertisements of Financing Companies and Lending Companies and Reporting of Online Lending Platforms. The company was also found to have violated the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 9474, otherwise known as the Lending Company Regulation Act of 2007 (LCRA).
    Fast Coin Lending had been operating Cashcow Mobile Application despite failing to submit the required disclosures to the SEC, while also operating two more OLPs, namely Cashguard and Coco Peso, without registering the entities with the Commission, according to the CGFD.
Earlier on January 12, the SEC canceled the corporate registration of Silverlion Livestock Trading Corp. for soliciting investments from the public without the requisite secondary license from the Commission to offer or sell securities to the public.  According to SEC, Silverlion’s activities constituted serious misrepresentation as to what it can do, to the great prejudice of or damage to the general public.
Moreover, SEC advised the public against dealing with the following online investment companies for lack of license: Oriental Peak Mining promising investors a 15-day payout where monies invested, ranging from Php500.00 up to Php1,000,000.00, will double in just 15 days; Lele Gold Farm/Lele Gold Coin/Gold Farm which is a mobile application that can be downloaded in Google Playstore, promising investors luxury earnings of as much as Php2,310.00 up to Php345,600.00 monthly income while playing the said game; Trading Cartel offering investment schemes with promised returns of as much as 5%-10% monthly interest; FDMS Business And Marketing Solutions Inc. through its so-called Affiliate Learning Program, has been found to be offering investment plans with promised earnings ranging from 30% up to 50% per month.
The SEC in its advisories warned that these four investment companies “resemble a pyramid/ponzi scheme.”
In Baguio City, the public is advised to verify the legitimacy of an investment company by contacting the SEC Baguio Extension Office at Telephone: (074) 309 – 5804 and Mobile: 0939-325-3657 / 0997-235-5975. 

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Bontoc meat prices fixed

By Christy Mae Che-es

BONTOC, Mountain Province – The Sangguniang Bayan has passed an ordinance regulating live weight prices of hogs, pork and beef products sold in the municipality.
    Authored by Sangguniang Bayan Member Julian Chumacog who chairs the committee on market, ordinance no. 366, S. 2022 was passed by the council to regulating and set maximum prices of hogs, pork, and beef products.
    Under the ordinance, hogs/pigs shall be sold at ₱200 per kilo while the prices of pork per kilo are as follows: lean meat, ₱300; pork belly, ₱300; pork chop, ₱280;  ribs/bones with flesh (alas-as), ₱270; legs, head and internal organs, ₱250.
    Meanwhile, the prices of beef per kilo are: lean meat, ₱350; soup bones
(legs, ribs), ₱320; head,  ₱320; internal organs, ₱350 and skin, ₱200.
    All meat vendors were mandated to post or display a price list or price tag of their meat products in their respective stalls/booths/establishments.
    Violators of the said ordinance shall pay a fine of ₱1,000 for the first offense, ₱1,500.00 for second offense while third and succeeding offenses will result in cancellation of business permit and a fine of ₱2,500.
    Acknowledging and supporting the SB’s objective which is to promote general welfare, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan passed resolution 2023-015 which approved  said municipal ordinance.

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Baguio housing project for slated 2,000 families

BAGUIO CITY – More than 2,000 families here would soon have houses they could call their own once a local government housing project in a newly acquired property is completed.
    Mayor Benjamin Magalong revealed that the city government of Baguio signed a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Housing, Settlement, and Urban Development (DHSUD) for the project.
    “We signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the DHSUD in the first week of January for the township development project of the lot in Tuba, Benguet,” stressed Mayor Magalong.
    He said the area is a 6.3-hectare property where structures with a total of 2,000 units will be constructed.
    “This will be the second socialized permaculture housing project with the Luna Terraces project in Irisan barangay that is ongoing completion,” said Magalong.
    He said the city’s target is multi-level housing buildings that will accommodate 8,000-10,000 families in various sites.
Magalong said the Luna Terraces project which was designed for ten buildings with a total of 260 units was also supported by the DHSUD and the National Housing Authority (NHA).
The DHSUD granted P155 million for the site development and the NHA provided P50 million for the construction of two buildings with 62 units and another P326.17 million for the completion of the eight remaining buildings.
The city government has announced that it is continuously accepting offers from lot owners for its housing projects.
The project is in keeping with the ‘Pambansang Pabahay para sa Pilipino Program’ which is the flagship program of the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
The city’s concept of housing projects is permanent agriculture (permaculture) to achieve its goal of establishing a sustainable and livable community in line with the city’s thrust to address urban decay.
It also incorporates breathing and green spaces as part of the site.
The same concept will be adopted for the new project which is expected to break ground before the end of this month.

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DOLE, SSS up compliance of employers on payments


SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Social Security System (SSS) in Region 1 (Ilocos) met Jan. 20, to boost compliance of employers on social benefits.
    Speaking on behalf of DOLE Region 1 Director Exequiel Ronie A. Guzman, mediator-arbiter Atty. Amado Gasmin said the consultative meeting also aims to pave the way for a more fruitful collaboration between the two agencies for 2023.
    SSS La Union branch head Francisco Pentecostes and Atty. Kyra Erika Grace Gallano presented key SSS programs and benefits.
    The two SSS officials also provided insightful clarifications to DOLE Region 1 labor inspectors on the guidelines and policies surrounding the implementation of SSS benefits.
    As the DOLE inspectors go in the ground to ensure that these general labor standards are observed, their interpretation of these social benefits should be aligned,” Gasmin said.
    “The DOLE is geared towards a recalibrated labor inspection this year, thus, we recognize the importance of stronger convergence with SSS to ensure full compliance of employers.”
Inspection results last year showed that about 2.7 percent of establishments inspected in Region 1 failed to remit the SSS payments of their workers.
    “The DOLE has no jurisdiction to enforce this particular social benefit, hence, we touch base with SSS to apprise them with this concern,” Gasmin said.
    To address this, DOLE and SSS will form a technical working group that shall visit establishments that fail to comply with this social coverage.
    “This 2023, the DOLE and SSS shall work closely hand-in-hand to ensure that all workers get to enjoy these coverages they so rightfully work hard for,” Gasmin added.
 
 

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