Kalinga tribal war spill- over in Baguio feared; elders broker peace

>> Sunday, July 8, 2018

By Dexter A. See 

BAGUIO CITY – A tribal war between two tribes in Kalinga is feared to spill over in this summer capital wherein protagonists could kill or harm each other.
Following this, tribal elders from various tribes in Kalinga met and agreed to spare the city escalation of tribal war between the Tulgao and Lubo tribes to this city.
Earlier, two members of the Tulgao tribe allegedly shot to death a farmer and seriously wounded his brother of Lubo tribe in front of a store at Purok 4, Bulanao City, Tabuk City night of July 1 which started hostilities.
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan urged Kalinga elders to police their own ranks by making sure that no one among them  residing in the city will tolerate attempts by the aggrieved tribesmen to retaliate against innocent members of other tribes  residing in the summer capital that will affect peace and order.
“We are grateful to our brothers and sisters from the different tribes in Kalinga for heeding our call to sustain the declaration of Baguio and Benguet as a peace zone because we do not want the unnecessary disruption of the prevailing peace and order situation in the city. We commend their desire for the maintenance of peace and order in the city so that their employment and their studies will not be affected by whatever violent actions of their fellow tribe members,” Domogan said.
He said in 1993, Kalinga tribal elders and city and provincial officials of Baguio and Benguet signed an agreement declaring the two localities as peace zones in the region, thus, whatever hostilities triggered by tribal wars in Kalinga should not spill over in the city and the province and that professionals and students belonging to feuding tribes should be spared from the said conflicts to allow them to pursue their sources of livelihood and studies without unduly being interrupted by the said tribal wars.
Kalinga tribal elders who visited Mayor Domogan Monday night committed to take the lead in informing their fellow tribe members to refrain from being involved in whatever violent activities to retaliate what happened in Tabuk City so  peace and order in the city will prevail.
Domogan said it is important one of the suspects allegedly voluntarily surrendered to Kalinga Gov. Jocel C. Baac while police are currently conducting a manhunt operation against the other suspect  for them to answer and suffer  consequences of their criminal act that resulted to the loss of an innocent life of a member of another tribe.
He urged the members of the aggrieved tribe to observe sobriety and calmness in dealing with what happened and allow the wheels of justice to move while those members of the tribe who committed the criminal act should extend assistance to  law enforcers in locating the whereabouts of the suspect to prevent escalation of violence between the two tribes that will again taint a bad image for the Cordillera.


Gunman in Ecija priest slay held, admits killing

First murder suspect released 

ZARAGOZA, Nueva Ecija -- The supposed self-confessed gunman in the killing of Catholic priest Richmond Nilo in this town reportedly admitted doing the slay. Omar Mallari, 25, was arrested in Barangay Arenas, Arayat, Pampanga on June 29, a source said.
The source, who refused to be identified because he was not authorized to make a public statement, said Mallari admitted using a Cal.45 pistol to shoot Nilo while preparing for Sunday night mass at a chapel in Barangay Mayamot in Zaragoza town.
Mallari reportedly executed an extrajudicial confession in the presence of his mother and a lawyer from the Public Attorney’s Office.
The source said Mallari told police that he received only P6,000 of the P100,000 promised by the masterminds of the killing, which he shared with four of his accomplices.
Mallari identified a certain Rollie Sigua and an alias Bernie, reportedly duck raisers in Zaragoza, as the masterminds, and his accomplices only as Michael, Tony and a resident of a resettlement site in Mabalacat.
Sigua reportedly planned to kill Nilo at a chapel in Barangay Valeriana, but asked Mallari to do the job when he found out that the priest had left for Barangay Mayamot.
Mallari claimed the plan to kill Nilo was broached during a drinking spree in Barangay Laquiaos in Arayat three weeks before the incident.
Mallari said Sigua justified the killing of the priest, claiming he was involved in illegal drugs and had a pending case for rape.
Last June 29 Cabanatuan City Regional Trial Court Branch 27 Judge Angelo Perez, citing mistaken identity, ordered the release of Adell Roll Milan, who was arrested as Nilo was buried on June 15.
 A case of mistaken identity, a local court ruled as it ordered the release of a suspect in the killing of Catholic priest Richmond Nilo here.
Milan was released at around 11 a.m. Tuesday upon order of Perez, according to Senior Supt. Benigno Durana Jr., Philippine National Police spokesman.
“Milan was released, but again we need to emphasize that this case is not yet closed,”  Durana told reporters.
Durana said there are “encouraging developments” related to Nilo’s murder, but refused to elaborate.
“We cannot divulge the details because it may compromise ongoing investigation,” he said.
Milan’s counsel Lorenzo Gadon said the prosecutor’s office filed a motion to withdraw the case due to mistaken identity.
Chief Supt. Amador Corpus, Central Luzon police director, said it is up to Milan whether to file charges against the police.
“It’s okay with us. It’s his right,” Corpus said.
Gadon had earlier threatened to file charges for illegal detention against the police officers who arrested Milan.
Gadon said they would no longer file a case as they believe it was a result of the “eagerness” of the police officers to solve the case.
”The police did not do it in bad faith,” Gadon said.
Milan, allegedly a gun-for-hire, was arrested in Barangay Malapit, San Isidro four days after Nilo was gunned down on June 10.
A manhunt for five other suspects is underway.
Probers said they are looking at a land dispute, Nilo’s assistance to rape victims and the clergyman’s criticism of other religious sects as possible motives for the killing.
Nilo was shot dead while preparing Sunday night mass at a chapel in Barangay Mayamot. – With Romina Cabrera


Ex-Army officer nabbed for rape

CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet – A former military officer and Apayao’s top most wanted person with a P90,000 monetary reward on his head landed in jail after he was nabbed at 143 Asuncion Street, Morning Breeze Subdivision, Barangay 84, Caloocan City on July 2.
Cordillera police including those from Conner, Apayao in coordination with Caloocan City Police District arrested Vicente T. Licayu, 64, native of Tuao Cagayan, and resident of Morning Breeze Subdivision. He was charged for rape. Judge Quirino M. Andaya of RTC, 2nd Judicial Region, Branch 26 Luna, Apayao issued warrant for his arrest.
Licayu was  employed as a caretaker in one of the apartments at Morning Breeze Subdivision when he was  spotted at a 7/11 Convenience Store at Sangandaan, Caloocan City night of June 29.


Dismissed Ilocos Norte mayor regains seat

PAOAY, Ilocos Norte — Jessie Galano, who was unseated as mayor of this town for grave misconduct two weeks ago, was reinstated on last week.
The Court of Appeals issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on June 21 stopping the implementation of the order of the Office of the Ombudsman dismissing Galano for grave misconduct. 
 The CA said Galano’s petition “was extremely urgent,” adding that he would suffer “grave and irreparable injury” if his motion is not acted upon.
Galano’s dismissal stemmed from a complaint filed against him for allegedly falsifying the travel documents of municipal administrator Bruno Dumlao, who was councilor at the time.
Dumlao claimed the charges against them were politically motivated.
Former mayor Dolores Clemente, whom Galano beat in the 2016 elections, filed the complaint.


Politics, business eyed in town mayor’s slay

By Aaron Recuenco

GENERAL TINIO, Nueva Ecija --  Police are looking into local politics and quarrying as the possible motives behind the assassination of Mayor Ferdinand Bote of this town who was gunned down in Cabanatuan City on Tuesday.
Investigation revealed that Bote had never been included in the so-called narcolist of President Duterte—which is usually the motive being pointed to in the killings of some local chief executives in the country.
Chief Supt. Amador Corpuz, director of the Central Luzon regional police, said they have already created a special investigation team in order to expedite the solution of the murder of Bote.
“Based on the initial investigation of our investigating unit, they are looking into quarrying in Nueva Ecija and political issues as the possible motive,” said Corpuz.
The official disclosed that the Bote family is engaged in quarrying and construction business in Nueva Ecija. He was also in the process of preparations for his reelection bid in next year’s midterm elections.
Bote was gunned down in front of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) late Tuesday afternoon. He was the 10th mayor killed since Duterte assumed the presidency in July 1, 2016.
“So far as of this time, there is no report or anything that links Mayor Bote to illegal drugs,” said Corpuz.
Bote was a mayor of a small town, with only 13 barangays, which is located in the upland area of Nueva Ecija.
A total of 18 empty cartridges for .45 pistol were recovered in the assassination site.
Corpuz said there were three gunmen who were seen fleeing on board a motorcycle after the attack.
“We are currently retrieving the CCTV footages of some barangays where the suspects passed by after the attack. This will be a big help in our investigation,” said Corpuz.
A motorcycle-riding assassin killed the mayor  a day after a sniper shot killed Tanauan City Mayor Antonio Halili while attending a flag-raising ceremony in front of their City Hall in Batangas.
Director General Oscar Albayalde, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said the 57-year old Bote was declared dead on arrival at the MV Gallego Hospital in Cabanatuan City.
Bote was on board his car, a Toyota Fortuner with license plate AAB 2020, and was reportedly on his way home after visiting a regional office of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) when a lone gunman reportedly shot the window of the passenger seat beside the driver’s seat where he was sitting.
A Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) footage on the main entrance of the NIA compound showed that the car boarding Mayor Bote had just gone out of a compound of a government agency and made a brief stop before going to the Maharlika Highway when a lone gunman repeatedly shot the car.
The CCTV footage also showed that Mayor Bote’s driver was still able to drive the car away from the gunman.
The gunman fled after the shooting on board a motorcycle. It was not immediately known if he drove the motorcycle or he was fetched by an accomplice.
Mayor Bote was the 10th mayors killed since President Duterte assumed the presidency in July 2016. Duterte, it was recalled, vowed to run after local executives who are involved in illegal drugs trade.
Among those mayors who died are Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa; Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao Mayor Samsudim Dimaukom; Balete, Batangas Mayor Leovino Hidalgo; Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog; and the recent was Mayor Halili of Tanauan City in Batangas.
Bote, on the other hand, was reportedly not included in the list.


Aide of Isabela gov’s brother shot dead

CAUAYAN, Isabela -- Edwin Cadiz, an aide of Victor Dy, chairman of Barangay San Fermin here and brother of Isabela Gov. Faustino Dy III, was shot by a man who emerged from a red car in front of an automotive center in Barangay Cabaruan at about 7 a.m. Tuesday.
The gunman reportedly took the sling bag of the victim.
Police are still investigating motive of the slay and trying to locate the assassin and mastermind. 
The Dy clan had been the political kingpins of the province over the decades.
 Residents said the slay could have been due to politics, love triangle, business of feud. But police said motive could be established once investigations are complete.  


Imee to Ifugao execs: Focus on health, agri- tourism vs poverty

By Freddie Lazaro

LAGAWE, Ifugao — Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos has urged the Ifugao officials to focus their programs on health and agri-tourism to address the problem on poverty in the province.
Gracing the 52nd founding anniversary of “Gotad ad Ifugao” here, Marcos also expressed support to local officials for their programs that focus on agriculture.
She mentioned challenges in the agriculture sector of Ifugao, saying, “we still have failures in irrigation and a lack of research in hybrid rice; the inability to provide farmers more inputs.”
Assuring the province that Ilocos Norte would be there to help, she told them, “I’m convinced that helping each other ̶ not leaving the Cordillera behind, not leaving any Ifuganon behind ̶ I’m certain that we can end poverty in this generation if we really put our minds to it.”
She said both provinces have similar problems as two-thirds of Ilocos Norte is in the mountain zone of Cordillera. “I think the most important goal is to lift our people out of poverty in this generation, as soon as possible; certainly, the rural indigenous and remote peoples need to be addressed.”
Through providing quality agricultural infrastructure and increasing off-farm agricultural income for farmers, Imee believes that such alleviation of poverty could happen in the Solid North.
She added that agro-tourism, with sites such as the Banaue Rice Terraces, could also be a key to addressing poverty and empowering local communities, together with improved affordable healthcare.
“We need to enlist women and the youth to start contributing in commercial activities,” she said.
Noting instances of corruption, she also suggested that the government should directly give to the farmers what they need instead of getting embroiled in fraud.


Longer closure of historic Kennon Road pushed

BAGUIO CITY  – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said government agencies must study possibility of closing the historic Kennon Road for a longer period of time to allow its soil and rock formation to stabilize to guarantee the safety of motorists plying the said road and the residents living in the communities along the stretch of the roadline.
 The mayor said the proposal of certain sectors for the government to consider closing Kennon Road for a certain number of years is meritorious considering the recent untoward incidents that happened along the stretch of the road wherein some vehicles were hit by falling big boulders of rocks that resulted to the loss of lives and damages to properties.
“We find reason behind the proposed closure of Kennon road to allow the soil and rock formation of the mountain slope along the stretch of the scenic zigzag road to settle down and stabilize for the overall safety of motorists and residents. We should not sacrifice the safety of our people by continuously allowing motor vehicles to pass through the road that is why it is high time for the concerned government agencies to make a firm decision whether or not to close the road to vehicular traffic for a certain period of time,” Domogan stressed.
 However, he said public utility jeepneys and private motor vehicles of residents plying the route of the communities along the road will still be allowed to pass through the roadline but it will now be at their own risk, especially during the height of heavy rains, so as not to deprive them of the means of transportation from their homes to their workplaces in Baguio City and the lowland areas.
 Currently, the Cordillera office of the Department of Public works and Highways (DPWH-CAR) temporarily closed Kennon Road to vehicular traffic for over two weeks now following the series of incidents where innocent motorists were injured after their vehicles were hit by huge boulders of rocks that fell from the mountain slopes due to the prevalence of continuous rains that visited the city for over two weeks.
 The scenic zigzag road was heavily devastated at the height of the intensity 7.9 July 16, 1990 killer earthquake that struck Baguio City and other major cities in Northern Luzon which affected the stability of the soil and rock formation in the area which warranted proposals from concerned sectors for its permanent closure considering that motorists and residents will be exposed to extreme danger when passing through the area due to unavoidable falling huge boulders of rocks.
 Domogan quoted expert opinions that the highly fractured soil and rock formations along the roadline is the primary cause of the wayward rocks from the mountain slopes that tend to pose a serious threat to the motorists and residents, especially at the height of heavy rains, that is why it is still best for the concerned government agencies to consider closing the road to vehicular traffic for a longer period of time upon consultations with the affected stakeholders.
Kennon road was formerly known as the Benguet road and considered the shortest route from Baguio City to the lowlands and vice versa. It was built through the initiative of American architect Lyman Kennon in the early 1900s through the support of thousands of foreign and Filipino workers who helped open the gateway to the country’s Summer Capital. -- Dexter A. See


Benguet sets class suspension guidelines

By Nancy Lee B. Banaña

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – To avoid unnecessary suspension of classes and strictly observe 208 school days this school year 2018-2019, the Schools Division of Benguet released division memorandum number 134 stipulating guidelines on suspension of classes.
Benguet Schools Division Superintendent Marie Carolyn B. Verano, said schools shall not deviate from the SY 2018-2019 school calendar issued by the Dept. of Education through DepEd Order No. 025 series 2018.
Verano added the DepEd regional office shall issue prior notification in cases there will be national or local celebrations and holidays other than those listed in the school calendar.
Accordingly, there shall be automatic suspension of classes at the preschool level in both public and private elementary schools in cases of typhoons and other calamities when signal number one is raised by PAGASA.
When the typhoon signal no. 2 is raised, classes at the preschool, elementary, and secondary levels shall be automatically suspended in all public and private schools.
Meanwhile, when there shall be no typhoon signals from PAGASA, localized suspension of classes hall be implemented in both public and private schools.
The superintendent, however, shall decide on the suspension of classes if it applies to the entire division.
If the suspension of classes affects specific schools only, the school head shall decide on the matter.
Said memo further clarifies that local activities and observances that involve student participation like competitions, festivals, press conferences, culminating activities, and field demonstrations must be regulated to avoid disruption of classes.
PTA general assemblies, if not done before the start of classes, shall be conducted alongside with parent-teacher conferences, which is set every second saturday or after quarterly examinations, to minimize disruption of classes.
Meanwhile, Veranosaid  parents have the ultimate responsibility in determining whether their children should report to school, even if there is no order of suspension of classes during rainy days.
“During rainy season, they [parents] are the first to assess whether to send or not to send their children to school especially if they feel that traveling to or from school would put their children to risk,” she said. She urged school authorities to advise earners to use protective gears like raincoats, rain boots, and umbrellas.
Bringing of extra clothing at school was also recommended.


Barangay captain arrested in La Union for drugs, guns

By Erwin Beleo

CAMP FLORENDO, La Union – An incumbent village chairman of Barangay San Jose, Rosario, La Union, was arrested by virtue of a warrant search Wednesday.
Supt. Cherry Fajardo, PRO1 regional chief public information officer, identified the suspect as barangay captain Ruben O. Genetiano, 62, married and a resident of the area.
Genetiano was listed as a drug-personality person in the municipality who surrendered during “Oplan Tokhang” and was under surveillance by the authorities.
Authorities implemented a search warrant and seized from Genetiano’s household one magazine with two live .45 ammunitions, three sachets shabu, one matchbox containing marijuana leaves, and several drug paraphernalia.
The village chair will face charges for violation of Comprehensive on Dangerous Drugs Act or RA 9165 and Illegal Possession of Ammunitions.
Meanwhile, Michael ‘Nat’ Alcantara, 23, was arrested by joint operatives of San Fernando City police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in a buy-bust operation at Zamora street, San Fernando City, La Union Tuesday night (July 3, 2018).
Seized from him were two sachets dried marijuana and P500 peso bill used as buy bust money.
The suspects denied the accusation but he has been detained at the San Fernando City Jail for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.


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