Army troops hunt NPAs in Abra village ambush

>> Thursday, August 17, 2017


BOLINEY, Abra -- Government troops are now hunting communist rebels they clashed with early Monday morning in this remote town.
A platoon of the Army’s 24th Infantry Battalion, based in Abra, was on combat security operations when fired upon by around 20 NPA rebels in Barangay Danac East in Boliney town, authorities said.
The rebels are believed to be under the Kilusang Larangang Gerilya North Abra led by a certain “Ka Payas”
The exchange of gunfire lasted for 30 minutes, said Army Capt. Jefferson Somera of the 5th Infantry Division’s Public Affairs Office.
 No government forces were injured or killed in the firefight, but the military said the rebels suffered casualties.
Lt. Col. Dominic Baluga dismissed the NPA's presence in Abra, saying, there are only around 20 rebels in the province. “Wala nang NPA dito sa Abra, armed bandits, extortionists and terrorists na lang andito.”
In the first week of July, soldiers recovered three M16A1 rifles, an M203 grenade launcher and two M14 rifles from communist guerillas in a brief firefight in Boliney.
 Soldiers were on security patrol to verify tips from villagers of roaming rebels when fired upon in remote Barangay Kilong-olao.
Soldiers captured a wounded rebel after the clash in June.
Police also rescued a wounded 17-year-old guerrilla from a village in the same town after the skirmishes.

At least 15 backpacks with personal belongings, rebel documents, two handheld radios, eight cell phones, assorted medical paraphernalia, binoculars and different types of ammunition and magazines for M16 and M14 rifles were also seized from the rebels who fled when outmaneuvered by government forces.

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Rosales fake dentist nabbed


By Eva Visperas 

ROSALES, Pangasinan -- Police arrested a woman for allegedly posing as a dentist in Barangay Carmen West here on August 5. 
Shirley dela Cruz, 40, dental technician, was collared after she allegedly fit a retainer on an undercover agent of the Philippine Dental Association.

The arresting team seized from the suspect assorted dental instruments and marked money paid by the agent.  

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Tourist drowns in La Union falls


By Erwin Beleo

SAN GABRIEL, La Union -- A tourist from Manila drowned while diving in the famous Tangadan Falls here on August 5.
Chief Insp. Silverio Ordinado Jr., La Union police information officer, identified the tourist as Jose Moses Sy Ascano, 23, a resident of Malate, Manila.
Police said Ascano and his companions were on a trekking adventure at the waterfalls when he jumped from a cliff which is being used as diving platform.
Upon landing he was swept away by the strong current and drowned.
Rescuers from San Gabriel and San Juan fire stations and municipal disaster management personnel brought Ascano to  the Bacnotan District Hospital where he  was declared dead.

His body was fetched by his relatives and companions who brought it to Manila.

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Rights group seeks release of 74-year-old former rebel


BALBALAN, Kalinga -- A nationwide human rights group is calling for the release of a "retired" 74-year-old rebel and native of this town, whom it says is a political prisoner.
When Marcus Aggalao, also known as "Ka Munroe", was arrested in his village in Balbalan last September, he was already a weak former guerrilla ill from pneumonia, dementia and hypertension, Karapatan said.
Aggalao was arrested by a police team supported by the Army's 50th Infantry Battalion for murder and brought to Tabuk City, the provincial capital.
He had a stroke last month and was brought to a hospital and eventually returned to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology facility in Tabuk.
Karapatan said the stroke paralyzed half of his body. 
 He was released on bail earlier this year but was arrested again on charges filed against him in Baguio City.
His family said they would have to raise P300,000 for bail on the fresh charges.
On July 26, the Kalinga jail warden wrote Baguio City Regional Trial Court Judge Emmanuel Rasing that the jail does not have the resources to care for Aggalao in his condition.
“This callousness of this government is infuriating, opting to release and hand out favors to the guilty and the rich, while condemning political prisoners to rot in detention,” Karapatan, which said it sees no reason to keep Aggalao in detention.  
Karapatan Secretary-General Cristina Palabay said the government should release Aggalao under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law it signed with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
Palabay said jail conditions have been a major factor in the deterioration of the health of political prisoners. In November 2016, peasant organizer Bernabe Ocalsa died after suffering a coma and heart attack due to harsh jail conditions and persisting heart problems.
Ferdinand Castillo, another political prisoner detained in Taguig City, has rheumatic heart disease and has had a transient ischemic attack. Conditions at the Bicutan facility pose a risk to his health, a relative told Philstar.com on Sunday.
As of June 2017, 57 political prisoners have been arrested under the Duterte administration, Palabay said.
On August 2, another community organizer was reportedly arrested in Quezon, Bukidnon.  Ruel Cololot, an Anakpawis member and his companion are currently in the custody of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, Palabay claimed.
With the breakdown in peace talks between the government and communist rebels, the Office of the Solicitor General has started calling for the arrest of political prisoners released last year to facilitate the resumption of negotiations.
The New People's Army's Kalinga Lejo Cawilan Command said Aggalao retired from the armed struggle in 2012 due to old age.
 Kalinga NPA spokesman Tipon Gil-ayab said Aggalao’s arrest last year violates International Humanitarian Law because of his age and ailments, and the fact that he is no longer a combatant.

 The rebel spokesman also accused the government of fabricating criminal charges against Aggalao.

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P1-B P’sinan-Vizcaya road work halted; NPAs sighted


By Liezle Basa IƱigo

SAN NICOLAS, Pangasinan — Construction of the P1-billion Pangasinan-Nueva Vizcaya road project also known as the Valle Verde Trail has been suspended due to New People’s Army sightings in this town for the safety of at least 100 workers and personnel of the Department of Public Works and Highways,
“We were committed to Public Works Secretary (Mark) Villar that by December this year the Villa Verde trail will be finished and will be opened,” said engineer Larry Flores of the DPWH 33d Engineering District-Pangasinan.
However, engineer Narchito Arpilleda, administrative officer, said the P1-billion project had to be temporarily suspended based on security concerns over the presence of NPA rebels as raised by both the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Both the PNP and the AFP called for suspension of ongoing construction for  safety of the workers following last July 28’s encounter which resulted in the death of one and the wounding of another in Barangay Malico, here.
The DPWH personnel are still waiting for the go signal from the PNP to operate and continue construction activities, said Flores.
Arpilleda said that once completed, the Villa Verde Trail would be used as an alternative route from Manila to Isabela and Cagayan provinces when the Dalton Pass Road in Sta. Fe is closed due to landslides and vehicular accidents.

Flores vowed to work double-time on the project once they resume construction. “Hahabol kami sa aming pangako kay secretary (We’ll catch up with the work to deliver what we promised the secretary),” he said.

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Tarlac cops gun down fleeing motorcycle thieves


By Nelson Bolos

TARLAC CITY – Two unidentified “motornappers” were killed in an armed encounter with the police while fleeing with a stolen motorcycle at Barangay Binauganan here around Wednesday around 3:30 a.m.
Supt. Luis Ventura Jr., the newly assigned head of Tarlac Police Provincial Office Intelligence Branch bared this in a report to 
Tarlac Police Provincial Director Senior Supt. Ritchie Medardo Posadas, Ventura said the two motornappers were chased by his police intelligence personnel after receiving report that a motorcycle was stolen at Barangay Paraiso.
“Hinabol sila mula Mac Arthur Highway pero nang abutan sila sa by-pass road sa barangay Binauganan, pinutukan nila ang ating mga operatiba. Doon sila nagkamali, dahil mas sanay bumaril ang ating mga pulis,” said Ventura.
This city was recently plagued by several cases of motornapping which a police source said were committed “most probably by drug addicts and pushers”.
As of this writing, the 2 remained unidentified and their remains were brought to Lotus Memorial Homes here.
One was described as around 5’6” in height, medium built, around 25 to 28 years old and wearing white shirt and denim pants.
The other was around 30 to 35 years, more or less, 5’ 2”, in black shirt and maong pants.

An unmarked Cal.38 pistol with three bullets and a Cal. 22 were recovered at shootout area by police. Three plastic sachets of shabu were also found from the pocket of one of the slain motornappers.  

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Benguet’s capital town sets green market policy


By Dionisio Dennis Jr.

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- This capital town of Benguet has launched a policy urging the use of recyclable bags to reduce residual wastes especially plastic bags in the municipality.
The “green market” policy initiated by the group 1993 & 2002 Public Market Association led by its president, Winston Felipe, said the policy is their counterpart in aiding the local government in managing waste.
He said the policy is also in consonance with municipal Ordinance Number 11 series of 2015.
Authored by Councilor Roderick Awingan, the “La Trinidad Plastic bag, polystyrene and other synthetic packaging materials reduction” ordinance aims to regulate the use of plastic bags and other non-biodegradable materials in the municipality.
The local government failed, however, to implement the ordinance as soon as it was passed, but is now taking advantage of the private sector’s participation to the environment protection initiative.
During the launching on Monday, Awingan said that the annual garbage collection in the municipality had reached 90 tons.
From the total garbage generation, 3/4 is biodegradable. He also said that the municipality spends at least P2 million for the hauling of garbage to Capaz, Tarlac, which affects the town’s coffer.
 “We thank the association for coming up with their own policy which they have already implemented. This is exactly what we want to do in crafting the ordinance,” Awingan said.
Under the green market policy, stall owners will no longer place goods in a plastic bag, thus market goers are urged to bring their own shopping bags.
Awingan said the ordinance imposes a penalty of imprisonment and fine for violators.
In his message, Mayor Romeo Salda said that the cell 3 at the town’s sanitary landfill which was established in February this year is almost full.
The said cell was originally planned to serve the town for two years. The life span of cell 3 is conceived to be a time leeway for the town to finish cell 4.
 “But with the monthly increase of garbage collection we can only use the sanitary landfill until December this year,” the mayor said.
He said that cell 3 has an extension but can only last for a few months, so the the local government unit needs to fast-track the completion of cell 4.
Salda said something has to be done with the help of the residents to regulate or stop the excessive generation of residual waste to prevent facing bigger environmental and health problems in the near future.
As an initial move to promote the green market initiative, the local government unit distributed eco bags while the stall owners promised reduction of residual wastes as part of the green market policy implementation.
Awingan said the ordinance imposes a penalty of imprisonment and fine for violators.
In his message, Salda said the cell 3 at the town’s sanitary landfill which was established in February this year is almost full.
The said cell was originally planned to serve the town for two years.
The life span of cell 3 is conceived to be a time leeway for the town to finish cell 4.
  “But with the monthly increase of garbage collection we can only use the sanitary landfill until December this year,” the mayor said.
 He said that cell 3 has an extension but can only last for a few months, so the local government unit needs to hasten completion of cell 4.
 Salda said something has to be done with the help of the residents to regulate or stop the excessive generation of residual waste to prevent facing bigger environmental and health problems in the near future.

 As an initial move to promote the green market initiative, the local government unit distributed eco bags while the stall owners promised reduction of residual wastes as part of the green market policy implementation.  -- PNA

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Bishop disowns priest in drug bust


By Mar T. Supnad

PANIQUI , Tarlac — “Drug addicts are liars.”
This is how Bishop Dindo Ranojo, of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI or Aglipayan Church) Diocese of Tarlac, disowned a drug suspect who claimed he was an Aglipayan priest when arrested with two others in a buy-bust operation in this town recently.
“Randy Valdez is not a member of the IFI,” said Bishop Ranojo. “Randy is not and has never been a member of IFI. Before I became a Bishop, I have worked in our national office and I did not encounter his name.”
Valdez, 35 along with drug targets Camille Franilla, 23 and Mike Raven Quinto, 20 was arrested here last August 5 when he allegedly handed over two sachets of “shabu” to a poseur-buyer during a buy-bust operation by elements of the Municipal Police Station led by Supt. Joel Mendoza.
Upon his arrest, Valdez told investigators he was an Aglipayan priest, said Mendoza.
Ranojo disclosed that Valdez belongs to one of the several “factions” of their church.
“Valdez is a member of the PICC (Philippine Independent Catholic Church). He does not belong to the mainstream (Aglipayan church). Their group occupied some of our churches,” added the IFI bishop.
 “When we accosted Valdez along with the two other suspects, I thought he (Valdez) was joking, or either high on drugs, when he introduced himself as a priest. But it turned out to be true, he is a priest of the Aglipayan church,” Mendoza said.
It turns out that Valdez, who is a native of this town, is the destined priest OF the Aglipayan Church in Cuyapo.
“The target of our entrapment were Camille (Franilla) and Quinto who are both on our municipal watchlist of drug personalities. It was Camille who received the P500 marked money from my policeman poseur-buyer but it was this person (Valdez) who handed the two plastic sachets of shabu. That’s why we arrested them,” explained Mendoza.

He added that Quinto, who yielded five sachets of shabu, has three siblings who are allegedly known drug pushers.

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Baguio’s 5- star resort is drugs, drunk-free


By Liza T. Agoot

BAGUIO CITY – The city’s only five-star resort supports President Duterte’s anti drug campaign and is serious about implementing the “no drugs policy” at the Baguio Country Club.
Anthony de Leon, BCC general manager, on Thursday said the club applies a strict policy on employees and guests or club members who are engaged in illegal drugs.
“We do un-scheduled random drug tests on employees to make sure that there are no club workers who are using the prohibited substance,” he said.
This is important not only in support to the government’s anti- illegal drugs campaign but also for the safety of all employees especially the guests and club members.“We do not and will not tolerate illegal drug use of all employees,” whether they are regular workers, probationary or on casual status.
BCC is a membership resort club which is accessible only to registered members and only allows non-members inside the facility when accompanied by a member or with the endorsement of a member.
He talked about an incident in the past where a casual employee was found using and pushing illegal drugs after his short employment with the club, which he presumed was already in the activity while working with BCC. “We will ensure that authorities will investigate” the person even if he is no longer with the club.”
He said that when the club got a word about the person’s arrest, they immediately checked the roster and it was a good thing he was no longer connected to the club. “We take this seriously, each employee including the management undergo regular drug testing,” he stressed.
Aside from illegal drugs, he said that reporting for work under the influence of liquor or even smelling liquor is not allowed to all employees. “It is improper to attend to guests and even to deal with co-workers intoxicated and these are club regulations as part of the maintenance of high quality service to all. In the case of a drunk member who becomes rowdy in the club, we also ask that the person leave the premises.”
Andrew Pinero, Corporate Communication and Customer Service manager also said guests and members are likewise governed by the manual of policies and regulations which specifically prohibits the use and bringing in of illegal drugs in the club premises. “If anyone is caught red-handed, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are brought in the picture for proper disposition of the case.”

 He added that “the rules are very strict for any substance use and brought in the club. For an employee to be found during random drug test of the positive use of illegal substance, it may result to the termination of the employment and their names are forwarded to the law enforcers for proper investigation.”  -- PNA

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​Kevin Belingon expects big reward if he beats McLaren


As Kevin Belingon crosses paths with a fellow former world title challenger in Reece McLaren, the Filipino knockout artist sees a big reward if he plays his cards right against the Australian standout.
Belingon is set to square off with McLaren on the stacked card of ONE: Quest for greatness, which takes place at the iconic Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on August 18.
The 29-year-old Baguio City native hopes that if he secures a convincing victory over McLaren, it will bring him an inch closer to a rematch with Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes for the coveted ONE Bantamweight World Championship title.
“My initial goal is to continue winning until I get closer to the title and become a champion,” Belingon stated.
Belingon had his chance to vie for prestigious gold in January 2016 when he challenged Fernandes for the ONE Bantamweight World Championship belt, but things did not go his way as the Brazilian champion swiftly submitted him with a Kimura lock in the opening stanza.
Following his submission setback to Fernandes, Belingon took several months off before re-emerging in October 2016 by handing rising martial arts star Muin Gafurov of Tajikistan his second professional loss.
Belingon followed it up with an astounding knockout conquest of Finnish dynamo Toni Tauru last April in front of a sold-out crowd at the 20,000-capacity SM Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
For Belingon, his three-round bantamweight encounter with McLaren is an opportunity to make a truly impressive statement as his objective is to score a second cage meeting with Fernandes for the organization’s bantamweight title.
According to Belingon, defeating McLaren in decisive fashion may strengthen his bid to get a rematch with McLaren.
“I believe I will face Bibiano Fernandes if I can defeat Reece McLaren impressively. My dream of finally becoming a world champion is still there. It still lives in my heart. My upcoming bout is another journey to elevate my status as a contender for the title,” he stated.
Although a tough task is ahead of him, Belingon is confident that he will have his hand raised in triumph against McLaren inside the ONE Championship cage.
“It’s just the beginning for me. As a competitor, I have to keep on learning and adapt to changes in this forever-evolving sport. Through the years, improvement has been the key to my success. I am ready for Reece McLaren,” he concluded.


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