ASIPULO, Ifugao – Government troopers are still pursuing New People’s Army guerillas here they had an encounter with last week, saying a physician and a nurse were among those wounded in the clash in remote Barangay Namal here where an alleged rebel encampment was overran.
Identification cards left behind by wounded and fleeing rebels after the Feb. 12 encounter in Barangay Namal, Aspulo night of Feb. 12 named physician Ana Marie Leung and nurse Isabelle Anne Ramos as among those hurt during the 1-hour gunfight that started 6 p.m.
Lt. Col. Nicolas Quemado, commander of the 54th Infantry Battalion said they found Leung’s Professional Regulation Commission ID card and two automated teller machine cards, including Ramos’s postal identification card at the rebel camp.
Leung was believed to be one of those wounded in the Feb. 12 firefight after a villager reportedly identified her as one of those brought by retreating rebels, the military official said.
Government troops also believed that the troops at Namal are top cadres of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army.
“What we fought are the heads of the Ifugao NPA command,” said Quemado.
Quemado made an appeal and said: "We are open to help their comrades, knowing that the victim is a female and a physician. We need to set aside our differences and help each other to save lives. After all, we are all Filipinos.”
He urged families of Leung and Ramos to communicate with them to claim identification and ATM cards of their relatives.
According to the 54th IB, pursuit operations against the fleeing rebels are still ongoing.
Quemado said that they are now coordinating with the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLAC) for the possible freezing of the bank accounts believed being used by the CPP-NPA Ifugao.
The Philippine Army’s 54th Infantry Battalion said a soldier, whose name was withheld, was slightly wounded in the left knee during the gunfight with rebels at Sitio Timmapaya, Barangay Namalon Feb. 11.
When the gun smoke cleared after the firefight, soldiers reportedly found camp of the Nona del Rosario Command of the Ilocos-Cordillera Regional Committee at Sitio Pinugao, Namal.
The NPA guerillas were reportedly under Nona del Rosario Command of the Ilocos-Cordillera Regional Committee.
Government forces said there were more NPA casualties due to scattered blood stains in the encounter site but taken away by their comrades who managed to hide due to nightfall.
Quemado said fleeing rebels with their wounded comrades fled towards Mt. Capan located at the Barangay.
Soldiers also seized a caliber Cal 5.56mm M16 assault rifle, including three laptop units, a printer, a Honda 1000w power generator, six long magazines for AK-47 assault rifle, two long magazine for M16 rifle, two rifle grenades, a roll of undetermined length of detonating cord, several pieces of blasting caps, assorted medical and food supplies and other personal belongings.
Government forces said the rebels were caught unaware when the soldiers, who were tipped by civilians of their presence, approached the rebel encampment.
By Victor Martin
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya – A barangay chairman returned a bag containing at least P2 million in cash that he found in Alicia, Isabela on Monday.
Eldie Mariano of Barangay Bantug Petines was hailed by his friends, neighbors and netizens after he turned over the cash owned by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).
Mariano was on his way to his farm when he found the bag near the irrigation canal at around 3 p.m.
He said he learned the money was intended for the salaries of NIA employees based on the payroll found in the bag.
Mariano immediately turned over the item to the NIA officials, who thanked and commended him for his honesty.
“Mariano epitomizes what a true public servant is. We really need more people like him in the public service,” Alicia Vice Mayor Joel Alejandro said.
The municipal government said it would present Mariano with a certificate of recognition.
BAUKO, Mountain Province – One was killed while four others were wounded when a Delica Van plowed on to them here at Mabilig, Sadsadan Feb. 12 around 9:30 a.m.
A police report said the green van with plate number RCA 374,
owned and driven by Tomas Bulaglag Bandao, 68, collided with a motorcycle driven by Reinfred Josh Kidkid Manabeng of Sadsadan Trail, then suddenly hit the victims while they were at the side of the road.
Killed was Cherry Pagindas Soriano, 31 who was hit on the head; Agrifina Mara Gisey, 44; Susan Bantew Mangsi, 42;
Jhesel Kate Galwak Luncio, 9 and one-year-old Charlene Pagindas Soriano, daughter of Cherry P. Soriano, all residents of Sadsadan.
Police rushed the victims to Luis Hora Regional Memorial Hospital, here for treatment, but the elder Soriano was pronounced dead on arrival by physicians while other victims were injured on different parts of their bodies and released after medication except for the baby who was confined.
Investigation disclosed that while the driver of the van was ascending toward Sitio Bato, it suddenly collided with the motorcycle which came from opposite direction. The van driver felt anxious, instead of applying on his brake he stepped on the accelerator causing the vehicle to move forward hitting the victims.
The motorcycle was also damaged. Bandao was taken into custody by police.
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Two of three alleged rebels accused in the Feb. 9 burning of two Philex Mines copper-ore concentrate-filled trucks at Ampucao, Itogon in Benguet have been freed on bail .
Sarah Abellon-Alikes—an alleged high-ranking leader of the Ilocos-Cordillera Regional Party Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army and Marciano Passon Sagun, who were accused of arson and robbery with violence at the Benguet prosecutor’s office walked out of prison afternoon of Feb. 11 after each posted bail of P250,000 through lawyer Reynaldo A. Cortes and Richard A. Abellon Jr.
The latter is the brother of Sarah.
The release order was ordered by Executive Judge Jennifer P. Humiding of First Judicial Region, Regional Trial Court, La Trinidad, Benguet.
Antonio Indian Cabalse meanwhile remains at the La Trinidad jail after authorities served a warrant of arrest for three cases of murder and one for rebellion allegedly committed in Abra.
The three, police said, were flagged down at checkpoint along Ambuklao road in Beckel, La Trinidad, more than an hour after the truck burning Ampucao, Itogon allegedly by rebels from the Chadli Molintas Command of the CPP-NPA.
Government forces are still hunting rebels after several days of pursuit operations.
The military traced blood stains along the rebels’ withdrawal routes at Camp 4, Tuba, Benguet indicating some rebels could have been wounded.
The military said the rebels wanted to raid Philex Mines and cart away firearms from its security armory but were foiled by presence of government forces.
They instead burned two trucks loaded with copper ore concentrates to be delivered to the company depot at Poro Point in San Fernando, La Union.
Up to now, the Chadli Molintas Command, the regional operational command of the ICRC has not acknowledged responsibility for the truck burning
The Cordillera People’s Alliance earlier condemned the arrest of Abellon-Alikes saying she was nabbed without warrant and detained.
According to them, Sarah is the daughter of the late Anglican bishop Richard Abellon. They said she is a board member of the Regional Development Center-Kaduami.
CPA urged the dropping the dropping of cases filed against Sarah. – With a report from Nikki Charongen
Comp hit for blocking Lopez’s confirmation
VIGAN CITY, Ilocos Sur -- An environmental protection advocacy group lauded Environment Sec. Regina Lopez for cancelling 75 mineral production sharing agreements (MPSAs) located in watershed areas, 27 of which are located in Luzon.
The Ilocos Network for the Environment (DEFEND Ilocos) praised the decision as “unprecedented in the history of DENR” and noted it as an “excellent follow through” after the closure order of 23 mining sites in the country.
“I think the DENR is now charting its proper course, putting the environment and the people’s welfare over mining revenue and profit. We hope that Sec. Lopez continues to hold her ground,” said Sherwin De Vera, the group’s regional coordinator.
The group earlier urged President Rodrigo Duterte to support Lopez on the closure of mines.
De Vera also added that beyond cancelation, the department should also conduct an investigation how mining companies where able to get permits and operate on watershed and critical habitats.
Meanwhile, the network called the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP) attempt to block Lopez’s committee on appointments confirmation “act of a bully”.
DEFEND Ilocos claimed that COMP is pressuring lawmakers to turn down Lopez as payback for the mining industry’s campaign contributions.
“The danger of allowing corporations, especially mining companies to fund political campaigns is that, profit-driven entities are given clout over national policies, making our laws and economic thrust more favorable to greed than the people’s welfare,” said DEFEND Ilocos.
The group also assailed the COMP of not only practicing “muscle flexing” to make politicians protect corporate interest, but also give funds to the military and paramilitaries “to make way and protect their investments at the expense communities”.
This, according to the De Vera is the reason why most areas where mining operations are located usually hold the large contingent of government troops and massive human rights violations occur.
By Gina Dizon
SAGADA, Mountain Province -- Tourist guide David Magalgalit Calabias of the Sagada Environmental Guides Association was given certificate of appreciation for his honesty in returning lost purse of a visitor from Manila.
Sagada mayor James Pooten Jr. said the award was given Feb. 2 during opening of Etag Festival of this tourist town, saying “while the guide did not want to be recognized we have to commend his good deed as a good citizen of Sagada.”
Calabias found the purse within the compound of the much-frequented Mission Compound, a pine nestled area with cool fresh air perfect for taking walks.
Calabias tried to find the owner of the purse but not and not able to, he surrendered the purse containing P16,000, latest model of 1Phone7, ATM cards and other important documents to the tourist information center.
The owner, a certain Adeline Gomez, 33 who works in a call center in Manila recovered her valuables two days after she lost her purse first week of January this year.
CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga – A former town mayor in Pampanga and four suspected members of his supposed private armed group were arrested Wednesday.
Former Arayat mayor Luis Espino; Rosendo Dizon, former chairman of Barangay Cacutud; Romy Malari, 42; Cesar Peralta, 25, and Rosauro Dillera Jr., 35. were collared by operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Special Action Force (SAF) and Arayat police.
SAF trooper Police Officer 2 Robert Ron Fernandez and SPO1 Joy Venturillo were wounded when Espino’s group resisted arrest and fired at them.
An M16 rifle, three caliber .45 and two 9mm pistols, assorted ammunition and grenades as well as 19 sachets of shabu and drug paraphernalia were allegedly recovered from the suspects.
The raid was based on a search warrant issued by Cabanatuan City Regional Trial Court Branch 24 Judge Anne Marie Joson-Viterbo.
The suspects are being held at the CIDG headquarters. They are facing charges for illegal possession of firearms and violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
Chief Insp.Reynold Macabitas, CIDG-Central Luzon chief, said the raid stemmed from information they received about Espino’s alleged involvement in illegal activities, including gun running and illegal drugs.
Espino served as Arayat mayor from 2004 to 2013. He ran for mayor again under the Nationalist People’s Coalition in May, but lost in his bid. – Ric Sapnu, Ding Cervantes
12 persons arrested in Cabanatuan drug raids
CABANTAUAN CITY — Police arrested 12 persons here in five anti-drug raids that also yielded shabu packets last week.
The raids targeted the houses of five known drug dealers, city police Ponciano Zafra said.
One of those arrested was wounded in a shootout with police, Zafra said.
He identified the suspected dealers as sisters Ma. Adoracion Maranan and Ma. Mean Maranan, both from Barangay Barrera, and cousins Teresita Magno and Jeffry Magno, and Melvin Manio, all from Barangay Imelda.
Fourteen sachets of shabu were found in from Ma. Adoracion’s house. She was arrested along with seven others who were caught using drugs in her house.
Ma. Mean, on the other hand, was apprehended after police found eight sachets of shabu in her room.
Eleven shabu packets were found in the house of Melvin Manio. His brother, Mark, shot it out with the police and was wounded in the exchange of fire.
Seized from Mark was around 5 grams of shabu.
Zafra and his men were issued an search warrant by Nueva Ecija Executive Judge Ana Marie Joson- Viterbo.
A week ago, Zafra led the confiscation of more than 7.2 kilos of marijuana and arrested thgree suspected pushers. It was the biggest marijuana haul in the city’s history.
“Hindi kami titigil hangga’t may gumagamit at nagtutulak ng droga. Huhulihin naming lahat ang mga salot dito sa lungsod”, said Zafra.
Since July 1 last year, the city police had recovered almost a kilo of shabu, around 8 kilos of marijuana and had caused the surrender of more than 4,800 drug personalities. -- Mar T. Supnad
4 Cordillera provinces declared drug-free
LAGAWE, Ifugao – Four provinces in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) have been cleared of illegal drugs.
Apayao and Mountain Province were declared drug-free on Tuesday, Chief Supt. Francis Sarona, CAR police director, said Wednesday.
Sarona said 144 barangays in 10 towns in Mountain Province and 102 of 153 barangays in Apayao were cleared of illegal drugs after a validation conducted by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and after compliance with the parameters set by the Dangerous Drugs Board.
The provincial anti-drug abuse council earlier declared Ifugao a drug-free province after validating reports from barangay and municipal anti-drug abuse councils, said Gov. Pedro Maya-o.
Kalinga received the drug-free certification on Feb. 6 during the opening of a drug rehabilitation center in the provincial jail. – Victor Martin, Raymund Catindig
Tanod stabbed in retired police officer’s house
BANGUED, Abra – A tanod was stabbed here around 8 p.m. Feb. 12 at here at Barangasy Calaba South. Police identified the victim as Rodolfo Dumalen Blaza, 64, while the suspect was was Rene Bayle Barbosa, 19, both residents of the barangay.
The victim and suspect along with Jonathan Vasquez, Riting Calixterio were reportedly having a drinking spree at the house of Pacifico Stanjan Ledda, 53, retired police officer, during a birthday party. While the group were singing, the victim was teasing the suspect to dance but the latter stood and went at the back of the victim and suddenly stabbed the victim three times. Blaza was rushed to Abra Provincial Hospital by his brother. The attending physician said the victim suffered multiple stabs on his neck and was admitted for further observation.
Barbosa fled after the incident.
Bulacan cop chief assures safety of Korean students
CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga – Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat, Bulacan police acting director, has assured the safety of South Korean students in the province.
Caramat held a dialogue with Korean students Jan. 27 and discussed role of police in keeping communities safe.
The dialogue was initiated in the aftermath of the kidnapping of Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo from his residence in Angeles City in Pampanga and killing inside the Philippine National Police headquarters at Camp Crame allegedly by police officers.
Caramat said he condemns the incident even as he promised that he would not tolerate any wrongdoing by policemen.
He also reminded the Koreans to be vigilant and immediately report any untoward incident to the police.
In Angeles City, Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan ordered the creation of a special desk at the city hall to address the concerns of South Korean residents and tourists. -- Ric Sapnu
Man nabbed for stealing 79 rice bags in Rosario
BAGUIO CITY – A man who reportedly stole 79 sacks of rice with still unidentified companions at public market of Rosario town in La Union was nabbed here Feb. 12 by Rosario cops led by SPO1 Allan F. Padilla who coordinated with Baguio police.
A police report said the robbery reportedly happened earlier that day around 8 a.m. The victim was named as Rolando Jacla of Barangay Concepcion, Rosario. The sacks of rice were allegedly stolen from his store by unidentified suspects who fled to Baguio City on board two Toyota Grandia with Plate Number 8668 and 8157 respectively.
Cops went to Slaughter Compound, Magsaysay Baguio where the rice was reportedly delivered. The suspect was identified in the area as Mayo Calasiao, 36, unemployed of Sitio Balengbeng, Beckel La Trinidad, Benguet.
Sixty one sacks of rice, part of the stolen 79 sacks were recovered and brought to Rosario with witnesses for documentation and filing of case in court. Jacla’s companions were still at large at press time.
Pasil councilor mauled after drawing gun
TABUK CITY, Kalinga – A municipal councilor of Pasil town identified as Dexter Gayawet Batalao, 29, was mauled by a certain Wilbur Bongad Agoy, 25 and his companions around 1 a.m. Monday here at Purok 2, Bulanao.
Investigation disclosed the victim who was under influence of liquor had a heated confrontation with the suspect who was having a drinking session beside a parked vehicle. Batalao drew a handgun and pointed it to Agoy who tried to grab the gun until they both fell on a canal. While the suspect and the victim were grappling on the firearm, the gun went off. The victim together with his companions mauled the suspect and took the firearm from him.
The victim together and the suspect were rushed to Kalinga Provincial Hospital for treatment.
Man found dead in Bulacan
CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga – The body of a man believed to be a drug pusher was found in Pandi, Bulacan Tuesday morning.
The victim bore several stab wounds. He was hogtied and his head was wrapped in packing tape, according to Bulacan police acting director Senior Superintendent Romeo Caramat.
The body was found by local transport group leader Alex Jacinto in Barangay Cacarong Bata at around 7:30 a.m.
Police are verifying reports that the victim was a drug supplier in Pandi, Bocaue and Balagtas, all in Bulacan. – Ric Sapnu
Groups challenge each other to fistfight; young man shot
TABUK CITY, Kalinga – A certain Paolo P. Chagwasi, 20 was shot on the foot here around 11:50 p.m. of Feb. 12 near Genesis Grain Center, Purok 4. Police investigation disclosed Chagwasi’s group had an altercation against another group wherein they challenged each other to a fistfight. The unidentified suspect who belonged to the other group drew a handgun and fired once at the victim hitting his right foot. Police responded but the suspect’s group had left already.
Ilocos Norte crime down 60 percent
LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte -- Crime volume in Ilocos Norte decreased significantly in 2016, the police provincial office reported.
Senior Supt. Jose Melencio Nartatez Jr., police provincial director, said the Ilocos Norte Police Provincial Office recorded 600 index crimes last year, 60 percent lower than in 2015 with 1,500.
Index crimes involve crimes against persons and against property that are used to track crime incidence.
Nartatez said their strong partnership with the local government and the intensified campaign of the Philippine National Police against crime resulted in the substantial decrease.
“The decrease in crime rate is a good indicator that we have effective measure in the prevention of the occurrence of crimes,” Nartatez added.
On crime solution efficiency, he noted that INPPO’s investigation efforts increased to 80 percent in 2016 from 65 percent.
Nartatez said that the INPPO's goal this year is to “to intensify the prevention of the occurrences of street crimes, further enhance our investigative solution, further increase the number of arrest involving illegal drugs and illegal firearms and strengthen the capability enhancement program.”
Police personnel will continue to undergo training to upgrade their skills, he added.
Gov. Imee Marcos said the provincial government supports the INPPO’s plan to fight criminality in the province fully. She said heightened public safety is in line with her vision for a "livable" province.
Young man arrested for homicide in Tabuk
TABUK CITY, Kalinga – A man was arrested here Monday after Jennifer P. Humiding, executive judge of regional trial court, First Judicial Region, La Trinidad, Benguet issued arrest warrant against him for homicide.
Arrested was Roldan “Arjay” Bukel Guzman, 24, farmer here of Barangay Nambucayan. Humiding set bond of P200,000 for Guzman’s temporary liberty.
Businesswoman nabbed for estafa; no bail set
SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – Police of La Trinidad, Benguet and their local counterparts arrested a businesswoman here Monday for estafa.
Nabbed was Nora Ngeti Ngan-Oy, 46, native of Kibungan, Benguet and presently residing at Quezon City, Manila.
The arrest was made after Cecilia Corazon S Dulay-Archong, assisting judge of RTC Branch 8 La Trinidad, issued warrant against her for estafa with no bail recommended. Accused was brought to La Trinidad where she was incarcerated at local jail.
Manila call center agent found fighting for life in Baguio inn
BAGUIO CITY – A call center agent in Manila is now fighting for his life at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center here after was found by an attendant stabbed in a room at room 409, La Brea Inn, Session Road bloodied and gasping for air Feb. 12 around 5:45 p.m.
Ferdinand S. Rosas, 27, service staff of said inn found victim Gerry Opog, 42, with residential address at Block 1, Lot 95, St. 8, San Isidro, Cainta Rizal, a call center agent of WNS, Global Service Philippines.
Investigation disclosed the victim checked in Feb. 11. Rosas was doing his round when he saw the victim lying on the floor since the door was half open.
He peeped and saw the victim gasping for air which prompted him to call for emergency assistance who came and rushed Opog to BGHMC while police inspected the room and found the bed sheet splashed with blood with a fan knife (balisong) near the pillow. The victim’s belongings were all intact indicating that no other person was present inside the room.
A police report said the victim apparently attempted to commit suicide since he was unjustly terminated from his job as a call center agent over money matters. Personal properties of the victim were turned over by police investigators. The family of the victim was contacted and informed of the incident.
Central Luzon now 83 percent drug-free
CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga —Central Luzon is now 83 percent rid of illegal drugs, according to police regional director Aaron N. Aquino.
Chief Supt. Aquino reported only 17 percent or 240 barangays in the region have been left “uncleared of illegal and addictive drugs.”
Aquino expressed optimism that in the next few months “we can probably rid the region totally of illegal drugs.”
He cited the successful campaign being launched by the Bataan Police Provincial Office (PPO) led by Senior Superintendent Benjamin Silo Jr., that resulted in the clearing of the province of illegal drugs last month or ahead of the target set by the President and Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.
Aquino wanted that Bataan’s success in its campaign versus drugs adopted and become a model by other PPOs and City Police Offices in the region.
For his part, Silo cited the all-out support of Governor Abet S. Garcia for the PPO’s successful campaign against illegal drugs. -- Mar T. Supnad
Six persons hurt in car accident.
BAGUIO CITY -- Six persons were injured in a car accident here Feb. 10 around 6 a.m. along Leonard Wood Road.
A Toyota Corolla sedan came from the direction of Pacdal heading towards the city proper when it slid due to slippery road landing on the opposite lane then collided with a taxi resulting to damage to both vehicles.
Four passengers of the sedan were injured including two occupants of the taxi. all victims were treated by the responding Baguio City Emergency Medical Service medical personnel and Fire Protection medical team who brought them to Baguio General Hospital Medical Center for further medical treatment. -- Gaius Cabrera
Ex-village chief nabbed for rape
BANGAR, La Union – A former barangay captain was arrested for rape Wednesday.
An M16 rifle, a caliber .38 revolver, a fragmentation grenade and ammunition of various calibers were also seizedduring a raid on the residence of Onofre Sabado, 50, former chairman of Barangay Luzong Sur, police said.
Sabado, who was accused of rape by his stepdaughter, is the second most wanted person in this town.
The arrest and raid were based on warrants issued by Regional Trial Court Branch 34 Judge Manuel Aquino.
Pampanga village chief shot dead
SAN SIMON, Pampanga – A barangay captain was shot dead in this town Monday.
Sonny Simbulan, 54, of Barangay Concepcion was in front of a store when unidentified motorcycle-riding men wearing bonnets fired at him.
Simbulan’s brother Isagani said the victim was buying food for his visitors from the Commission on Elections at the barangay hall when he was shot.
“He told us that he had received death threats, but we don’t have the details. We believe the killing was politically motivated,” Isagani said.
Simbulan, who lost in the mayoral elections, has a pending electoral protest. – Ding Cervantes
VIGAN CITY -- The Ilocos Human Rights Alliance said that the Philippine Army's 7th Infantry Division’s announcement of launching “focused military operation” in Northern and Central Luzon in pursuit of the government's all-out war against the revolutionary movement will only result to more human rights violations.
The groups said in 2016, IHRA recorded 101 cases of human rights violations in Ilocos Sur with 17,505 victims, most of which were perpetrated by the 81st Infantry Battalion.
“With the government's all-out war policy, the unit's operating troops in Ilocos will no doubt release their pent-up itch to terrorize peasant communities and harass political activists,” said the group.
The division took over from the 5th ID its area of operations in the Ilocos region in 2010. Its 81st Infantry Battalion currently has jurisdiction over the Ilocos provinces and some parts of Abra.
Just a few months after the 81st IB's deployment in 2012, its troops were immediately involved in atrocities against farmers, said Zoilo Baladad, IHRA secretary general.
She added on Oct.29, 2012, soldiers from 81st IB figured in an operation in Cabuusan, Currimao, Ilocos Norte that fired upon five farmers killing Carlo Magbulos and critically wounding Ronald Sadaba.
She also criticized the 81st IB's occupation of eight barangays in Sta. Lucia and five in Salcedo during the effectivity of the AFP's unilateral ceasefire declaration and despite the protest of the residents.
Baladad added that in 2016, IHRA recorded 101 cases of human rights violations in Ilocos Sur with 17,505 victims, most of which were perpetrated by the 81st IB.
“With this kind of record, all-out war will only embolden members of the 81st IB to violate human rights and international humanitarian laws, and civilians will bear the brunt of this militarist policy,” said Baladad.
Military combat operations are currently taking place in Salcedo, Sta. Lucia, Sigay, Del Pilar and Quirino, all in the Second Congressional District of Ilocos Sur.
IHRA also took note of the division's statement on serving warrants to “identified personalities” of the revolutionary movement in coordination with the Philippine National Police.
According to IHRA, “it has always been the scheme of the military and the police to associate leaders and members of progressive and militant organizations with the CPP-NPA-NDFP and file trumped-up charges against them.” IHRA further warned that “contrary to its claim of protecting communities, the 7th ID's “focused operation” will result to more human rights violations against political activists and peasant communities.”
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- The Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center (BAPTC) is pushing to make the BAPTC in full operation this year and entice farmers and traders to do business here instead of the old vegetable trading post.
Frederick Edeco, Contract Trading Department managing director, said since last quarter last year, open trading operation of the center had a “no-zero record” trading daily, which means the center had been continually trading vegetables from farmers to buyers.
On the other hand, accredited members of the trading center had been increasing from different stakeholders; individual and group farmers, buyer/sellers’ groups, inter-traders’ groups, packers’ groups, market facilitators and individual buyers.
Joaquin Geronomino Depalog, Farmers’ Leader Council chairman, also officially sat as member of the Project Steering Board representing thousands of accredited individual and groups of farmers.
This year, the accreditation of the trading center was simplified for convenience of stakeholders. No fees are collected from accreditation.
The trading center is now open for agri-tourism. An estimated 2,000 local and foreign tourist had already visited BAPTC.
In partnership with the Agricultural Credit and Policy Council, the center had also been helping farmers with loan assistance.
P10 million was allotted for 2016 and an additional P30 million is set to be added to the loan fund from the previous year.
Hazing in Baguio, Benguet universities cited
BAGUIO CITY – Youth group Anakbayan Cordillera assailed the possible introduction of mandatory Reserve Officers Training Corp (ROTC) program in all public and private senior high schools across the country despite what the group called “its abusive, violent, and impunity-ridden history.”
At a Cabinet meeting Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte reportedly approved the proposal of the Department of National Defense to make ROTC compulsory for all grade 11 and grade 12 students, declaring the move “urgent.”
Luke Bagangan, secretary-general of Anakbayan Cordillera, deemed the executive move as “absurd and “anti-peace given the fascist culture propagated by DND and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Whether in the Citizenship Advancement Training (CAT) or ROTC, the State has largely turned a blind eye on the cases of hazing, sexual harassment, and corruption.”
He said while suspensions and other disciplinary actions had occasionally been given to student perpetrators, “institutionalized violations” remain unaddressed.
Bagangan warned that violations inside ROTC will “escalate” since it is directly managed by DND and AFP, “who, themselves, are notorious in committing inhumane acts among their ranks and even upon their supposed constituents”.
Since the said institutions direct the program, Anakbayan Cordillera said in a statement it “fears the extensive mistreatment of young student enrollees.
The youth leader added that the program will inculcate blind obedience in the youth instead of genuine nationalism. From time to time, we have heard complaints of ROTC cadets being mauled in the name of discipline and patriotism.”
Anakbayan Cordillera cited recent reports of hazing and harassment in Benguet State University, alongside the history of corruption and abuses across the country.
From a fact sheet obtained by the group, Willy, a former cadet in the program at BSU, accused officers and unknown alumni of mauling and hitting him and his fellow students with wooden rifles.
“Corps Commander Baguiwan directed us to remove all our clothes and then to masturbate,” he narrated.
According to Willy, the said incident happened in the second semester of 2014, when he was still pursuing advanced courses in ROTC.
He noted the decrease of enrollees in the program from almost 60 in the first semester to only 20 in the second, apparently due to the incidents of hazing.
In addition, Willy said that only one cadet was able to finish the said training.
“Hazing in the ROTC is not an isolated case in the Cordillera,” added Bagangan, citing the case of Saint Louis University student and ROTC cadet Arthur Salero who reportedly died of hazing in 1999.
Two reported cases of hazing also happened in the University of the Cordilleras (UC) in 1999 and 2000, and another in the University of the Philippines Baguio (UPB) in 2000.
Bagangan also feared the efforts of the AFP in conducting surveillance on progressive student organizations by recruiting cadets in the Student Intelligence Network (SIN).
“Along with the President’s pronouncements, these incursions are not coincidental with the termination of peace talks between the government and the revolutionary movement and the declaration of all-out war,” he explained.
The youth leader claimed that mandatory ROTC will further scaffold the State’s intent to silence the struggle of the people, as it has tried to through Oplan Bayanihan and now, Oplan Kapayapaan.
“Service to the basic masses instills genuine nationalism, and the ROTC – with its abusive, violent, and impunity-ridden nature – will never be able to accomplish this,” Bagangan said.
By Aldwin Quitasol
NAGTIPUNAN, Quirino –The Danggayan dagiti Mannalon ti Cagayan Valley-Kilusang Magbubukid sa Pilipinas (Danggayan CV-KMP) reported that the ongoing military operations of the 86th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army against the New People’s Army guerillas brought fear and chaos to residents of San Martin, Villa Garcia and Villa Ylanan of Maddela, Quirino Province that resulted to their forced evacuation.
“Sa total war ng ‘Oplan Kapayapaan’, naghahasik ngayon ng sindak at pananakot ang mga tropa ng 86th IB sa mga mapayapang mga liblib na baryo sa Maddela sa pagsususpetsa na may mga NPA sa lugar. Sinadya nilang magpakalat ng maling balita na may naganap na labanan sa kalapit-bayan ng San Agustin, Isabela, at nagbantang bobombahin ng AFP ang mga baryong nabanggit,” (In the total war called “Oplan Kapayapaan”, the troopers from the 86th IB are spreading fears and inflicting harassment to the peaceful remote barrios of Maddela in the suspicion that there are NPAs in the area. They spread false news that an encounter erupted in the nearby town of San Agustin, Isabela, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines threatened to bomb the said barrios), Danggayan stated.
According to the group, a military helicopter and two army trucks arrived at the said barrios of Maddela.
The military chopper brought 30 soldiers to Barangay San Martin. One of the trucks brought 30 troopers to Barangay Villa Ylanan and 20 more to Villa Gracia.
The smaller truck brought 15 troopers to Barangay Tungcab proceeding to the barrios of Dipantan and Sangbay of Nagtipunan, Quirino.
Residents said they were ordered by the military to evacuate. Barangay San Martin Chief Paulino Lunag led around 50 of his constituents to the capital town of Maddela and they sought a temporary shelter in the barangay hall as well as the municipal hall in the area.
Danggayan said the 86th IBPA violated human rights of residents after its soldiers entered their barrios and conducted combat operations inside communities especially near the schools, community centers and in the middle of a residential area. “Tahasang nilalabag nito ang Pandaigdigang Deklarasyon ng Karapatang Pantao na niratipika n gating bansa at ang Government of the Philippines-National Democratic Front of the Philippines Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law,” (This is an outright violation to the International Declaration on Human Rights that was even ratified by our country and the GPh-NDFP CARHRIHL) added the group.
The peasant group condemned said military operations and demanded stop to operations of the 86th IB in the barangays of Maddela and Nagtipunan Quirino. Danggayan said that the troops of the 86th IB should pull-out from the barrios as the list of human rights violations by the AFP is becoming longer.
“Hayaang makabalik nang maayos at ligtas ang mga magsasaka at katutubo sa kanilang pamayanan,” (Let the farmers and the indigenous peoples go back to their communities) said the group.
The group also called for resumption of the peace talks between the GPh and the NDFP.
>> Friday, February 24, 2017
BAGUIO CITY – Jueteng operations are still on here as in other parts of Northern and Central Luzon despite President Duterte’s issuance of Executive Order 13 directing the Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies to intensify the government’s campaign against illegal gambling.
In Pampanga, Arayat town police arrested Tuesday Junmar Dizon in Barangay Bitas. Dizon is said to be a cabo (supervisor) of jueteng bet collectors.
In Tarlac province, the Bamban town police arrested Danilo Manalo, who was among those found playing sakla, an illegal cards game, in Barangay Virgen de los Remedios.
The other bettors were able to escape when they sensed the approaching policemen.
At least P750 in bet money, a playing board, a set of Spanish cards and a marker were taken as evidence.
The San Jose del Monte police also conducted their own anti-illegal gambling drive and arrested Joshua Zarcilla, Jay Peralta, Tommy Gaulala, Rouando Booc and Edgardo Manaligod Jr. for playing cara cruz, an illegal coins game, in Barangay Gaya-gaya.
“The PNP is hereby declaring war against illegal gambling,” PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said in a press conference in Camp Crame on Monday.
Police in the regions will conduct “one-time-big-time” operations to make their areas of jurisdiction free of illegal gambling, said Dela Rosa.
“The Philippine National Police will continue to hit hard on all forms of illegal gambling activities in line with Executive Order No. 13 issued by President Rodrigo R Duterte,” Dela Rosa said in a prepared statement.
EO 13 directed the PNP, NBI and other law enforcement agencies to intensify the national campaign against illegal gambling in coordination with the Dept. of Justice, Department of Interior and Local Government and Department of Information and Communications Technology.
The presidential order also directs law enforcement agencies concerned to “coordinate and promptly act on requests of gambling regulatory authorities to investigate and put a stop to illegal gambling activities in their respective jurisdictions,” according to Dela Rosa.
The police chief said the PNP’s Directorate for Operations was preparing a new campaign plan against illegal gambling, including illegal online gambling operations.
Dela Rosa warned that the police would be unforgiving against governors, mayors and other local chief executives who will be resisting the crackdown on illegal gambling, especially in the provinces.
“Gigyerahin natin sila kung matigas ang ulo nila. Kasama sila kung haharangin nila ‘yung anti-llegal gambling campaign (We will wage a war against them if they are hardheaded. They will be included if they would block the anti-llegal gambling campaign),” Dela Rosa, referring to the politicians, said Monday’s press conference at Camp Crame.
Dela Rosa said that no killings will be made because players in the gambling industry, unlike in the drug trade, are “in their right mind.”
“Hindi bloody kasi hindi naman sira-ulo ‘yung mga end players ng gambling, unlike sa drugs na wala sa tamang pag-iisip. Kaya nagkakaroon ng patayan dahil pumapatay nga sila kahit hindi sila threatened. Ito naman mga illegal gambling pera pera lang ito. Hindi ito kailangan magbuwis ng buhay,” he said.
(It won’t be bloody because end players of gambling are in their right mind, unlike those involved in drugs who are not in their right mind. There killings because involved in drugs kill even without being threatened. With illegal gambling, it only involves money. No life is needed to be sacrificed.)
Even before President Duterte issued EO 13, Dela Rosa said they have already identified the high-value targets and gambling financiers in the business.
He said police will dismantle all forms of illegal gambling, adding that illicit lotteries are “more widespread” than drugs.
“Mas widespread yang gambling kaysa sa drugs. Kung ang drugs, 92 percent ng barangays ay drug affected baka 100 percent ‘yung illegal gambling affected (Gambling is more widespread compared to drugs. If 92 percent of villages are affected by drugs, perhaps 100 percent of villages are affected by illegal gambling),” Dela Rosa said.
The PNP will concentrate on stamping out the illegal numbers game, including jueteng, he added.
In his earlier statement, the PNP chief noted the importance of weeding out illegal gambling activities because “if left unchecked, it breeds corruption and may mutate into other forms of organized crime, including drug-trafficking, illegal vices, money-laundering and kidnapping.”