14 dead as jeep plunges down Kalinga ravine; victims named

>> Wednesday, September 19, 2018


BALBALAN, Kalinga -- Fourteen passengers, including 13 senior citizens, were killed when their hired overloaded jeepney plunged into a ravine here around 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
Twenty five other passengers were injured.
The senior citizens, who were among the estimated 50 passengers of the ill-fated jeepney, were returning home to Barangay Dao-angan after claiming their pension at the Balbalan municipal hall when tragedy struck.
Chief Insp. Richard Gadingan, information officer, of the Kalinga Provincial Police Office, said passenger jeepney (WRR-535) owned and driven by Francisco Gumaad Jr. was negotiating a curved, descending portion of the road.
Gumaad asked passengers on the roof of the jeep to disembark to make it easier for him to maneuver.
After making it past the curved portion, however, survivors said the driver lost control of the jeepney after its engine conked out.
The vehicle then hurtled down a ravine around 100 meters deep.
The fatalities were identified as Victorino Banglagan, 67; Soledad Dammay,70; Eliza Amoga,70; Rosario Badong,65; Isabel Bagni, 67;Agida Palangdao,62;Lolita Latawan, 68; William Gamongan,65; Leota Maday,72; Angelina Benito, 62; Benjamin Badong, 68; Terresa Dulansi 70; Martin Canao, 67; and Annie Baluga,45.
Rescuers from the Balbalan local government unit, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection and the Army’s 50thInfantry Battalion, 5thInfantry Division, helped extricate and transport the injured passengers to the Kalinga Western District Hospital.
The injured passengers were Arnel Banglagan,45; Anna Bagwingan, 75; Laika Barbosa, 4;Imelda Cuzon, 52; Manuel Banguingan, 70; CaridadPalicas,72;Jennifer Esteban,40; Irene Dammay, 60;Pedro Maday, 82;AgidaPalangdao, 42; Lolita Gullipis, 77; Mercedez Lingbao, 62; Joselyn Gannisi, 64; Conchita Canao, 61; Socorro Naganag, 56;Sonia Barbosa, 44; Necita Daggay, 61; Concordia Manadao, 61;Bartolome Balcanao, 85;Patricio Maday, 66; Edmund Duguit,45; Mariano Palicas,70; Nanette Gamongan, 61;LeonardaDumaguing, 69; and Francisco Gumaad Jr., 36.
Victims were brought to the Kalinga Western District Hospital.
 The provincial government of Kalinga and the Dept. of Social Welfare and Development assured aid to the families of the victims.
                Gov. Jocel Baac said they have started extending assistance to the victims' families as early as Tuesday evening.
Food and rice needed in the first night of the wake were distributed to the families by the provincial government.
Caskets were also given for those who died in the road crash.
 He added that there is an ongoing assessment of the condition of the injured victims to determine and assess their needs.
                Baac said the financial assistance will be given as soon as the assessment is completed.
                In a phone interview Wednesday, DSWD-Cordillera Director Janet Armas said they are in touch with the provincial office to assess and identify the nearest kin of those who died and the injured so that the government’s financial assistance can be properly handed.
                She added that aside from the DSWD resources, the local government is also extending assistance to the victims.
                In a separate interview, Senior Supt. Alfredo Dangani, Kalinga police provincial director, said they are still waiting for Francisco Gumaad Jr., the driver of the jeepney, to recover and get his side of the story.
                They also hope to interview the injured.
                The victims, all senior citizens, were on their way back to their homes from the Balbalan municipal hall after claiming the pay-out of their third-quarter social pension of P1,500 from the DSWD.
                “We are still pursuing the investigation. We hope to gather information from the driver and the victims to determine what transpired," Dangani said. 
                “We are saddened by the news. It was an incident that nobody wanted. We condole with the families of the victims,” DSWD Secretary Virginia Orogo said Wednesday in Manila.
The DSWD program grants a P500 monthly stipend for indigent senior citizens in the country. The pay-out to the senior beneficiaries is being conducted by the department in coordination with the concerned local government units.
Following the incident, Orogo said the DSWD will be reviewing its current practice and “find ways to make the cash pay-out process simpler and easier for the beneficiaries of our programs, especially for our indigent older persons benefiting from the social pension.”
Meanwhile, the DSWD field office of the Cordillera Administrative Region coordinated with Balbalan local officials for funeral services for victims.
Burial assistance will also be given to the families, DSWD added.
               Armas said social workers and other personnel from the field office will assist the families “until all other needs are assessed and responded to.”-- With a report from Jesse Maguiya/PNA

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RDC urges unity for autonomy; CPA calls Balweg, gov’t peace pact, Sept. 13 holiday a ‘sham


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The Cordillera Regional Council urged unity among Cordillerans in its thrust to attain autonomy for the region even as Malacanang declared Sept. 13 a special non-working holiday in the Cordillera region to commemorate the 1986 peace talks between the government and the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA).
The militant Cordillera Peoples Alliance called the declaration a “sham” even as Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea issued Proclamation 575 on Monday to commemorate the 1986 " sipat" or peace pact between the government and CPLA.
Medialdea said in the proclamation that it was fitting and proper that the people of Cordillera be given full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with proper ceremonies.
                The 1986 Mount Data Sipat Agreement was the first peace agreement entered into by the national government during the administration of former President Corazon Aquino.
On Sept. 13, 1986, the CPLA, led by Fr. Conrado Balweg, heeded the call for peace by then President Corazon C. Aquino through the forging of a sipat, or the peace agreement at the Mount Data Hotel in Bauko, Mountain Province.
The “sipat” allowed both sides to begin negotiating peace, leading to the issuance of Executive Order No. 220 on July 15, 1987, which created the Cordillera Administrative Region. 
Meanwhile, an event commemorating the sipat was held Thursday in Manila graced by former President Fidel V. Ramos, Office of the Office of Presidential Affairs on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Sec. Jesus G. Dureza and contending factions of the CPLA.  
The event was coordinated by the OPAPP with the RDC and National Economic Development Authority-Cordillera to push creation of a Cordillera autonomous region.
In attendance were RDC chair and Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan, NEDA-Cordillera Regional Director Milagros Rimando who is RDC vice chairperson, Mt. Province Gov. Bonifacio Lacwasan, Ifugao Gov. Pedro Mayam-o, Abra Vice Gov. Ronald Balao-as, Kalinga Vice Gov.  James Edduba, Baguio councilors Faustino Olowan and Benny Bomogao among others pushing Cordillera autonomy.
Others who attended were regional Philippine Information Agency Helen Tibaldo, Dr Amelita Pangilinan of Dept. of Health, Dept. of Agriculture regional director Cameron Odsey among others.
This, as the militant Cordillera Peoples Alliance hit issuance of President Duterte’s Proclamation No. 575 declaring Sept. 13 special non-working day in the Cordillera Administrative Region.
“It is a complete travesty of the history of the struggle of the Cordillera peoples for regionalization and genuine self determination,” the CPA said in a statement Friday.
The CPA said “the so-called Sipat or peace pact in Mt. Data in 1987 was a romanticized ritual of the sipat indigenous bodong system to symbolize unity or “embrace” of Cory Aquino and Conrado Balweg on Cordillera affairs.
Many of the Cordillera people may not even know and understand the 1986 Mt Data Sipat between Cory Aquino and the CPLA. It did not create the regionalization of the Cordillera.”
According to the CPA, “the regionalization was merely formalized by Cory Aquino through Executive Order 220 in 1987, but the movement for “regionalization” of the Cordillera was already a broad popular work in progress led by the Cordillera Peoples Alliance.”
“When CPLA emerged in 1986, it co-opted this political initiative with government support, then changed its tune of “Cordillera nation” to ride on the popular clamor for regionalization and regional autonomy,” said the CPA statement. “There is no basis to declare Sept. 13 as holiday because the 1986 Mt Data Sipat does not deserve to be commemorated. In fact, it must be condemned.
The so-called Mount Data Sipat has long been exposed as a sham and totally unacceptable, as only binodngan tribes engage in sipat. It emboldened and somehow justified the CPLA in its terrorism against the progressive people’s movement.”
The CPA said, “The 1986 Mount Data Sipat led to the bloody human rights record and terrorism of the CPLA. CPLA terrorism on the people’s movement in the Cordillera is marked by the murder of Cordillera Peoples Alliance officers Ama Daniel Ngayaan and Romy Gardo in 1987; Robert Estimada and Ferdinand Bragas in 1988; Ayangwa Claver, son of Atty. William “Billy” Claver who was the founding Chairperson of the CPA, in 1990 and Christopher Batan in 1993. There were many other victims in interior villages.
“CPLA terrorism targeted progressive Cordillera leaders and activists as well as organizations that criticized narrow indigenist CPLA politics and the opportunism of its leaders.
“In 1987, the Movement to Disband and Disarm the CPLA and other Vigilante Groups in the Cordillera called for the disbanding and disarming of the CPLA. The Movement was formed by various peoples’ organizations, including the CPA.”
              In 1988, the annual Cordillera Day led by the CPA reportedly conducted a peoples tribunal which declared the CPLA guilty of crimes and cited “atrocities of the CPLA” against the people.
“Proclamation 575 repeats the government’s mistake of coddling the terrorist group CPLA and recognizing the existence of the CPLA, which should have long been disbanded,” the CPA said.
RDC officials however said what is important now is for every Cordilleran to stop bickering, unite and work to attain autonomy for the region.  – With a report from Pamela Mariz Geminiano

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Barangay chairman shot dead in Rosario, La Union



By Liezle Basa Inigo

ROSARIO, La Union -- Police are still clueless on identity of men who shot to death a re-elected barangay chairman here of Barangay San Jose on Sept. 7..
Senior Insp. Nestor C. Juanbe, Pugo chief of police identified the victim as barangay chairman Ruben Orpilla Genetiano, 63, married of San Jose. Probers said around 1:20 that Friday afternoon, while Genetiano was talking to carpenters who were then working in front of his in-laws’ residence in Barangay Maoasoas Norte, Pugo, town, when unidentified armed men on board a Honda CRV fired several gunshots against
him.
The Police Regional Office 1 reported the victim was listed as a drug surrenderee in Rosario and classified high-value target with pending cases for violation of RA 9165 and RA 10591 at RTC Branch 31 in Agoo.
Senior Supt. Ricardo G. Layug, Jr, La Union provincial police director ordered neighboring police stations to conduct dragnet operations for possible apprehension of the gunmen.


Nueva Vizcaya trader shot dead


By Victor Martin

SANTIAGO CITY — An unidentified assailant gunned down a businessman in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya on Monday.
Antonio Lim, 73, a resident of Barangay Quirino, Solano, was in his car parked along the road in Barangay La Torre South when he was shot at around 5:30 a.m.
He suffered gunshot wounds in the head and arm.
The relatives and friends of the victim offered a reward of P200,000 for information leading to the arrest of the killer.
Police created a task force to investigate the killing. 

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List of Baguio PNP chief aspirants out


BAGUIO CITY – The Police Regional Office Cordillera recently transmitted to Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan list of qualified senior police commissioned officers who are the aspirants for the position of city police director about to be vacated after lapse of 2-year tour of duty of the incumbent chief.
                Included in the transmitted to the local government by regional police director Chief Supt. Rolando Z. Nana were Ifugao police head Senior Supt. David K. Peredo, Senior Supt. Agustin Juan Telllo, Senior Supt. Giovani C. Maines, regional police intelligence chief Senior Supt. Elmer Ragay and former city police director Senior supt. George Daskeo.
The mayo is given a maximum of 10 days to select from the list who will succeed outgoing city police director Senior Supt. Ramil L. Saculles.
Domogan said selection of the local chief of police is quite unique in the city for the past several years because a local screening committee composed of city department heads and private sector representatives will be tasked to screen the applicants and subsequently vote on who will be their choice to become the next chief of police.
 Among criteria set by the local screening committee in the selection process include availability, performance, programs, results of interview and other aspects of being a well-rounded police officer.
Under the screening process, all the applicants will be required to undergo interview of the panel members and present their programs on how to sustain the anti-criminality, anti-terrorism and peacekeeping efforts that will make the city a better place to study, work, live and do business.
Domogan said one of the challenges that will confront the incoming local police chief is how to sustain the recent achievement of BCPO that made Baguio city the 6th Safest Cities in Southeast Asia based on the perception of visitors through an online database.
Under Republic Act 6975 or law that created the Department of the Interior and Local government and the Philippine National Police, the PNP is mandated to submit to the local chief executive concerned a shortlist of qualified senior police commissioned officers duly screened by the Senior Officers Placement Board from where the local police chief will be chosen from.
The tour of duty of an officer-in-charge who will be assigned to head a local police force will only be 30 days to give a chance for the concerned local chief executive to select the chief of police of his or her police office.
               Daskeo served as BCPO officer-in-charge from January 2016 to June 2016 before being selected as the permanent city director in June 2016 before he was relived from his post and reassigned to the directorate for plans in Camp Crame in October 2016. -- Dexter A. See

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Man nabbed for raping drinking buddy’s wife


By Franco Regala

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga — Police have arrested a 40-year-old man for allegedly raping the wife of his drinking buddy in Barangay Malamig, Bustos, Bulacan.
Chief Supt. Amador V. Corpus, Police Regional Office 3 director, identified the arrested as Rodel Mayor, 40, of Purok 7, Barangay San Pedro in Bustos Bulacan.
The complainant in the case was identified by Corpus as a certain “Elvie,” 41, who is also from the same barangay.
Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna, Bulacan acting director, said the suspect, the victim and her husband were having a drinking session at a neighborhood store Monday night when the victim decided to go home ahead of the two at 11 p.m.
But instead of going straight home, she took a nap in the nipa hut beside their house.
Unknown to the victim and her husband, Mayor allegedly followed her to the nipa hut around midnight and found her asleep, said Bersaluna. It was then that the alleged rape happened, he added.
After her ordeal, Elvie reported the incident to barangay authorities and village watchmen picked up Mayor, then turned him over to the Bustos Municipal Police Station.

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Teen survives slay try in Sablan, 2 suspects nabbed slay of teen in Sablan


By Jun Elias

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union — Two women were arrested on Tuesday in connection with the murder attempt on a 16-year-old girl in Sitio Pitpitan, Barangay Bayabas, Sablan, Benguet on Sept. 9.
Thalia Galvan, 18, and Dianne Saranquin, 20, were arrested based on a warrant issued by Benguet Regional Trial Court Judge Marieta Cualing.   The suspects were positively identified by the victim through their Facebook accounts.
A manhunt for two other suspects is underway.
The victim, a resident of Barangay Sevilla, San Fernando, La Union, told police that she was invited by her two female friends for a night out on Jan. 8.  
The next day, she said they were joined by two men for a joyride in Baguio City.
Upon reaching this town, the victim said her friends and their male companions hit her head with a stone, brought her out of the vehicle and then threw her into the ravine. 
She said she crawled her way up to the highway when she regained consciousness and sought help from a resident, who brought her to the Baguio General Hospital.

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Back to work for honest security guard, Baguio’s most outstanding citizen


BAGUIO CITY – It is back to normal duties for a security guard who led this year’s Outstanding Citizens of Baguio awardees, the highlight of the 109th Baguio Charter Day celebration on Sept. 1.
Guillermo Battad Cortes was nominated by the owner of a McDonald’s food chain branch within the Insular Life compound in the city, where he works.
Lawyer Betty Lourdes Tabanda, head of the search committee of the Society of Outstanding Citizens of Baguio (SOCOB), said Cortes' honesty and dedication to service was the reason for his bagging the city’s top award for 2018.
Tabanda said the security guard was chosen “for his exemplary behavior in the exercise of his profession."
"He returned a bag containing P1 million, which was left in Maharlika, when he was still a guard there. It was not the only one. He was consistent in returning items left by the public in his workplace,” Tabanda noted.
Tabanda related that during the screening process, Cortes was asked: “Why do you treat people nicely, very respectful?"
She said his answer, in the Ilocano dialect, was: "Because I want people to respect me. I respect people so that people will respect me. I will not be able to get that respect if I don’t treat them the same way.”
Tabanda said Cortes clearly practices the Golden Rule. "Respect begets respect,” she said further describing Cortes as "an ordinary guy who makes you feel special.”
Tabanda went on to relate that Cortes had told the panel of judges in his interview that a "lowly" security guard like him could earn the people's respect by respecting others.
Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan announced the names of the other awardees as: Dr. Ester Litilit for education, Bonifacio dela Peña for professional distinction, Jose Bugayong Jr. for community service, Rosalynd Camat for education, Generosa Boado for community service, Jane Cosalan for community service, Teresita Marcelo for culture and arts, Jose Ong Tajan for community service, and Rolando Villanueva for business.
The 10 underwent different stages of judging: nomination, screening, background investigation, judging, and panel interview.
The screening committees are composed of former awardees of the city’s Outstanding Citizens Award, who were chosen by the city mayor through an Administrative Order.
Dr. Elma Donaal, SOCOB president, was among this year’s judges. She said the PHP1 million returned by security guard Cortes is an exemplary act, which must be recognized, pointing out that he did it not just once but on several occasions.
“Imagine naman na milyon na yan. Hindi siya nasilaw kahit na maliit lang sweldo niya at isauli pa ang mga naiiwan lalo na yung isang milyon na yan (Imagine that is already a million and he was not tempted despite his meager salary)," Donaal said.
There were 22 nominations submitted to the SOCOB since the search began in February. The number was trimmed down to 16, and 10 were recommended to the city government, whose names were conferred by the city and announced as this year’s awardees.
The search for outstanding citizens of Baguio is the most coveted award in this mountain resort city. It is the highest award the local government confers to a Baguio resident, who receives the accolade only once. (PNA)

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P11.6-M marijuana destroyed in Kalinga


BAGUIO CITY -- Some P11.6-million worth of marijuana plants was destroyed by anti-narcotic agents in a two-day operation this week in Tinglayan town, Kalinga province, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Cordillera reported. 
PDEA-Cordillera information officer Joseph Frederick Calulut said anti-narcotics agents from the PDEA-Cordillera, local police, and the Philippine Army in Barangays Buscalan and Butbut in Tinglayan, Kalinga jointly implemented the "Oplan Linis Barangay IV" of the PDEA and the Tinglayan Municipal Police Station's "Oplan NON-Buds."
Calulut said the operatives destroyed 33,700 pieces of fully grown marijuana plants worth P6.74 million on the first day of operation on Aug. 29. The illegal grasses were cultivated on eight planting sites, with a total land area of 4,250 square meters in Barangay Buscalan.
The second day led to the destruction of 11,800 pieces of fully grown marijuana and 20,000 grams of marijuana stalks worth P4.86 million.
The weeds were grown on three sites with a total land area of 2,900 square meters in Barangay Butbut.
Calulut said the PDEA-Cordillera named its operation "Oplan Linis Barangay IV," as it was the fourth wave of major marijuana eradication operations in Tinglayan, Kalinga.
He said while there was no cultivator arrested during the two-day operation, government troops are continuously monitoring the area and will not allow the illegal activity of growing the prohibited plant. -- PNA

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Equal sharing of IRA over disputed CAR areas pushed


By Dexter A. See

BOKOD, Benguet – The Cordillera Regional Development Council and Regional Peace and Order Council passed a resolution requesting the Department of budget and Management to equally release the corresponding Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) covering areas subject of boundary disputes by local governments in the different parts of the region.
The adoption of the resolution was an offshoot of the issue raised by Gov. Crescencio C. Pacalso regarding the failure of the DBM to release the IRA of the area being disputed by municipalities that also result to the non-release of the IRA due to the provincial government in relation to the said contested areas.
RDC-CAR and RPOC-CAR chairman and Baguio city mayor Mauricio G. Domogan proposed that instead of the DBM withholding the IRA covering the disputed areas of municipalities, cities and provinces involved in boundary disputes, the funds must first be equally divided between the contending local governments so that the share of the province could also be released and used for the implementation of priority development projects and to improve the delivery of basic services to the people.
Pacalso said there are a number of municipalities that have inter-municipality disputes with their neighboring towns inside and outside the province, thus, the said local governments are deprived of the IRA covering the disputed areas that also result to the non-release of the share of the province thereby depriving the people the projects and delivery of basic services that they deserve to have.
Both bodies also adopted Domogan’s proposal for the concerned municipal councils to pass the needed resolutions that will allow the proposed equal sharing of the IRA covering the disputed areas on a temporary basis while waiting the resolution of the boundary dispute to allow the involved local governments to benefit from the utilization of the supposed idle funds being kept by the national government.
He said the same arrangement will also be applicable to municipalities from two separate provinces or two provinces involved in boundary disputes so that whatever mounts due to the local coffers from the IRA covering the disputed areas will be downloaded for the use of the concerned local governments in the implementation of their priority development projects beneficial to the welfare of the people in their areas of jurisdiction.
Pacalso noted that boundary disputes involving different local governments inside and outside the province have not been settled for decades now, thus, millions of pesos in IRA covering the disputed areas have not been released to the said municipalities and provinces that deprived them of additional sources of funds for development projects and enhance the delivery of basic services to the people in their places, thus, it is now high time that a definite action must be done to compel concerned government agencies to act on the matter to help in advancing rural development.
The approved resolution will be transmitted by both bodies to the DBM for appropriate action of concerned authorities with the hope that positive action will be taken on the matter.


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Ms Baguio bets vie for three major titles


By Aileen P. Refuerzo 

BAGUIO CITY – Candidates vying for the Ms. Baguio 2018 title came out strong during recent press presentation here at Café Will as the pageant enters the crucial part before the grand coronation night on Sept. 29.
Organizer Sonny David Ticwala of Sonny T. Productions said the press conference where the 20 hopefuls showcased their wit and grace amid the pressure of answering questions on various issues from local media practitioners will be the basis in the selection of the Darling of the Press, one of the special awards in the tilt.
This was only the candidates’ second public exposure after giving the public a glimpse of their beauty and poise during the Baguio Day program and parade last Sept. 1.
Before the coronation night, the aspirants will undertake fashion pictorials and video shoot with photographer Eros Goze on Sept. 9 and lecture on Baguio City history at the Baguio Tourism Office on Sept. 16.
They will showcase their talents during the talent competition on Sept. 16 1-5 p.m. at the Baguio City Multi-Purpose Hall.
                The pageant night will feature a fashion show before the show proper where the contenders will compete in the swimsuit, gown and Q and A competitions.
As in the past years, the candidates will vie for the three major titles – Miss Baguio 2017, Miss Baguio Tourism and Miss Baguio Liga ng mga Barangay.  Four runners-up will also be picked from the pool of beauties.
The other special awards will be the Best in Swimsuit, Best in Evening Gown, Best and Casual Wear, Miss Photogenic and Glamour Girl.
Prizes at stake are P50,000 for the Miss Baguio 2018, P30,000 for Ms. Tourism and P20,000 for Ms. Liga ng mga Barangay.

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