Farmer burned alive in Tadian; 4 Philex workers, man killed in Itogon fire

>> Wednesday, February 27, 2019


Sagada mountains afire; destroyed water pipes causes water shortage 


By PNA and Gina Dizon

A TOTAL of five persons died after a forest fire broke past noon Wednesday in the mining town of Itogon, Benguet, even as a farmer was burned and died in a forest in Tadian, Mountain Province while fire also razed mountains in Sagada, Mountain Province destroying pipes leading to water shortage in the tourist town.
In Itogon, police report said responding personnel of Philex Fire Department found the four killed employees of Philex Forestry namely: Dante Molina, Noel Degiyem, Marlon Guiniguin, and Dexter Labasan and one resident identified as Leon Mocate.
All died allegedly due to suffocation and burned beyond recognition.
Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan said the blaze started here at Sitio Sal-angan, Barangay Ampucao a little past 12 p.m.
He said town police only informed him of the forest fire around 4 p.m.
Palangdan said responders and firefighters from Philex Mining Corporation, Bureau of Fire Protection and police immediately arrived at the area.
They also made fire breaks to prevent it from reaching Sitio Banawel, a residential area, the mayor said.
Palangdan said the victims’ bodies were brought to the Philex Santo Niño hospital.
“Nobody knows how they died, why they were there because there are no houses there. It is plain mountain area without residents,” he said.
In a text message, lawyer Ed Aratas, legal manager of Philex Mining Corporation-Benguet, said three of those who died were their forestry employees.
He, however, said with the bodies badly burned, they needed to do further tests to identify who among the five are their workers.
Aratas added firefighters and responders, who belong to the incident prevention and investigation committee were helping prevent the fire from spreading and reaching other facilities of the mining company.
At press time, the fire was spreading around mountainsides and towards Saint Louis High School- Philex Mines in this town.
Firemen from Itogon and Tuba town with volunteers were still trying to suppress the fire that gutted around 5-6 hectares of grassland and destroyed undetermined number of trees within Ampucao.
Police investigation disclosed the fire emanated at Sitio Sal-angan, when an unidentified person set on fire the area he wanted to cultivate for farming purposes, locally called kaingin by burning plants and trees.  
The area destroyed by the fire is part of the forestry site of company, he said.
Farmer burned in Tadian
In Tadian, Mountain Province, an 80-year-old farmer reported earlier as missing was found dead, his body burned at a forested area Monday.
Police are investigating if there was foul play involved saying it was around 9 p.m. that day that vice mayor Alfonso Polan reported to police that a certain Delfin Kiing Carias of Poblacion was missing.
Police and fire personnel including concerned residents immediately searched the kaingin of a said missing person located at Mount Am-o, Poblacion.
Around 10:45 p.m., searchers found the burned body of Carias adjacent to his makeshift shanty. Interview with his wife Natty revealed the victim informed her that he will go to their garden located at said place to clean and burn dried weeds.
Around 12 p.m. when Nattay was at Poblacion, she noticed smoke and fire at the forested area near their garden that prompted her to proceed to said place see if her husband was there.
At their kaingin, she came upon the cell phone and packed lunch of her husband still intact in a bag inside the shanty.
She tried to put out the fire while looking for her husband but she didn’t find him, so she decided to return home thinking that her husband might have gone home.
Since it was getting dark and her husband was not home yet, she sought assistance of responders.
The victim was found dead and burned near the shanty at their kaingin. The cadaver was brought home to the Carias residence.
Sagada mountains razed
In Sagada, Mountain Province, some 20 hectares of pine tree land located in different sites of this town have been hit in 10 incidents of mountain fires the past two weeks of February.
Fires burned water hoses that lead to one of the barangays here with a number of inns and homestays apart from households at barangay Dagdag.
Fire Protection Officer Jet Gewan of the Bureau of Fire Protection here appealed to the community to protect and not burn the forests considering the damage it does to trees and water that people need including threats to life and destruction of structures located in mountains.
The BFP here composed of only four personnel had to make do with their number trying to put off the fire at sitio Dalalag, Pakad and Danonoy last week.
Some four hectares of bush, young trees, old leaves and ferns were burned here at sitios Pakad, Dalalag and Danonoy the past week. Some 10 water hoses were also burned.
The water hoses lead to clustered sites and distributed to a number of households, inns and homestays at barangay Dagdag.  There are some 200 households in this barangay mostly dependent on water that pass at Danonoy and Pakad.
Danonoy and Pakad were first burned February 10 followed by two more recent fires resulting to lack of water in this part of the town. Due to this, some households bought water from water deliveries. Some households have to control their remaining stored water.
Gewan said the cause of fire was seemingly intentional at Pakad, Danonoy and Dalalag.
BFP personnel with their limited personnel and fire truck tried to put off the fire in sites where the forests were burning.
Gewan urged barangay officials to help in preventing forest fires.    
Assistant Supervisor Forester Christopher Bosaing of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) said five forest rangers are assigned per municipality of Mountain Province.
Five forest rangers however are not enough with the wideness of mountains in Mountain Province.
For the past two weeks in different dates, fires hit some five hectares of mountains at sitio Langtiw above Sumaguing Cave.  Fire extended to sitio Kanip-aw. Cause of fire is believed to be accidental.
At sitio Gagab-an in Ambasing, some 200 square meters of pine land were also burned due to children playing with fire as some people in the vicinity claimed.
At Antadao barangay, some 300 square meters of pine land was razed to the ground due to unattended kaingin burning, Gewan said. Though another mountain below the high school building was burned.
Gewan said the cause of fire is under investigation.     
Poblacion Patay barangay captain Dennis Lopez said he shall soon call for a barangay meeting to address mountain fires. Lopez’s alnus and coffee trees were also burned at Pakad.
Netizen Samsin Longid from Sagada noted that people in the olden days came out to put off fires and the culprit penalized with a pig.
Netizen Eric Urban noted that people in olden days use cogon houses. Must have something to do with this so they immediately go out to put off forest fires, he said.  Otherwise, ownership and management is another.
Sagada resident Mary Umaming noted that people don’t come out to put off mountain fires now because of the perception that they don’t own the forests. Mountains especially in the central part of town are privatized.
Whatever perception people have in not going out to put off forest fires still puts them at a disadvantage because water does not reach their homes with water hoses burned and water lessened due to faster evaporation during summer heat.
This aside from plants and trees burned.
Houses are threatened of being hit with fire as structures are now being built in mountains due to congestion in residential areas.
Forest fires usually come in raging infernos after years when debris has accumulated.  That time is now when forest fires were not that prevalent in previous years, Bosaing said.

Read more...

Ilocos N. mourns vice gov bet’s death


By Freddie Lazaro

LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte – Residents of Ilocos Norte are mourning the untimely death of incumbent Provincial Board Member Mariano “Nonong” Marcos II, 64, who is running for vice governor in the May 2019 elections.
Sources said Marcos suffered a stroke night of Feb. 15 at the comfort room of the Laoag International Airport.
Marcos was supposed to take a flight to Manila when he was found lying on the floor of the airport’s restroom.
Board Member Marcos was rushed to the Laoag City General Hospital but was declared dead on arrival.
Laoag City Councilor Michael Marcos Keon and Ilocos Norte Vice Governor Angelo Marcos Barba took the Board Member’s body to the Baquiran Funeral chapel.
A cousin of Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos and former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr, Board Member Marcos is a businessman who served as board member of Ilocos Norte from 2004-2013, re-elected board member in 2016.
Board Member Marcos, is the son of Pacifico Marcos, the younger brother of former president Ferdinand E. Marcos.

Read more...

DOH ups vaccination in 4 regions; deadly JE cases now 24 in Cordi


By Pamela Mariz Geminiano

BAGUIO CITY -- The Dept. of Health has started to administer Japanese Encephalitis vaccines to children in the Cordillera Administrative Region, one of the four pilot regions in the country.
"We will be conducting a house-to-house immunization for Japanese Encephalitis (JE) virus for children ages nine to 59 months old in the Cordillera as well in regions 1, 2 and 3," DOH-CAR OIC regional director Dr. Amelita Pangilinan said Tuesday. 
The DOH targets to administer the vaccine to around 174, 032 babies and toddlers.
Pangilinan said Cordillera was included as a pilot area due to recorded JE cases in its areas. 
In 2018, Cordillera had 24 laboratory-confirmed cases, with Baguio City having five cases; Kalinga, 5; Benguet, 5; Ifugao,3; Apayao, 3; Abra, 2; Mountain Province, 1.
From 2015 to 2017, there were 36 laboratory-confirmed cases.
Pangilinan said the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended the inclusion of JE in the national immunization schedules aside from those previously given free by the government in state-health institutions.
JE is a fatal illness that affects children.
"If you survive, there could be neurological side effects,”Pangilinan said, but noted that the disease can be prevented by getting vaccinated. 
She urged parents to bring their children to nearest health centers to avoid the increasing number of cases of the virus.
"Parents should not be scared of the vaccine, there were 400 million doses of vaccines that have been used for the same purpose," she said.
"Let us avail the free vaccine that the government is providing. This is at no cost and each one of our children is entitled to the free vaccine," she added.
 JE vaccines are used to be given by private doctors only at P3,500 to P4,000 a shot based on the WHO’s recommendation. 
The DOH, however, is looking at the possibility of adding it to the list of free vaccines provided free to babies and toddlers by the government.
JE is a mosquito-borne viral infection transmitted by the bite of an infected female culex mosquito, attacking victims after sunset and before sunrise.
Culex mosquito is a brown-colored mosquito that breeds locally in rice fields, ground pools, water hyacinth ponds, slow streams, irrigation ditches and canals. 
Adult female culex mosquitos strongly feed on pigs, but also feed on birds and humans.
With health workers doing a massive house-to-house vaccination giving anti-measles, the same health workers would also be giving JE vaccination.  -- PNA

Read more...

Mayor, 18 more ordered arrested for illegal detention, closing resort

By Freddie Lazaro

CABUGAO, Ilocos Sur – The youngest mayor elected in Phil­ippine history and 18 other local government employees were ordered arrested for seri­ous illegal detention and grave coercion in connection with a 2017 forcible takeover of a beach resort here.
Regional Trial Court Branch 24 Acting Presiding Judge Ra­phiel Alzate, in his order last Monday, directed policemen, CIDG agents or National Bureau of Investigation agents to arrest Cabugao mayor Josh Edward Cobangbang, 24, and 18 others in connection with a complaint filed by a local resort manager that she, her four-year-old son and several of her employees were detained upon orders of Cobangbang.
In her complaint, Virginia Nicole Savellano Ong said she, her son and employees were “detained and bullied” when the Cabugao Beach Resort was ordered padlocked in August 2017.
Cobangbang was acknowl­edged as the youngest mayor ever to be elected in Philippine history when he ran and won as Cabugao mayor in 2016 at the age of 21 years and seven months.
Justice Undersecretary Deo Marco had earlier ordered the Ilocos Sur provincial prosecu­tors office to indict Cobangbang and his co-accused after finding all the elements of serious illegal detention case present in Ong’s allegations.
Marco noted that Cabugao employees, upon Cobangbang’s orders, proceeded to shut down the resort even without any court order or order from a competent authority and padlocked the rooms, closed the resort gates and stationed several men, be­lieved to be armed, at the resort on August 23, 2017.
Marco also decided that an earlier ruling by an Ilocos Sur Special Prosecutor finding prob­able cause for grave coercion versus the town mayor and the 18 employees should be upheld as he found “all the elements of these cases present.”

Alzate allowed Cobangbang and the 18 other co-accused to post bail of P36,000 each.

Read more...

Gov wants PNP tag of Tabuk poll 'hotspot' out


TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Gov. Jocel  Baac on Friday urged the Philippine National Police to reconsider this city’s listing as an "election hotspot".
“That is a sad evaluation on our part. He (PNP Chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde) should have assessed that very well before making the declaration,” Baac said.
While noting that he was unaware of the basis for the PNP's move, the governor said he learned about it from people who heard the news over the radio.
On Tuesday, the PNP identified 701 areas classified as election hotspots.
“Very peaceful kaya ang Tabuk (Tabuk is a very peaceful place). It is one of the most peaceful, even in our politics. It is not contested as compared to Abra and other areas,” Baac said, adding that he was surprised at Tabuk's inclusion on the list.
On Monday, the Cordillera’s joint security council officials, headed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), told media after their meeting that they hope to have the list of election hotspots by next week as the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are still validating the situation in the region’s provinces.
However, a day after the council meeting, the leadership of the PNP announced the inclusion of Tabuk City.
Baac said he will write the police to inquire and correct the impression that Tabuk is a problematic area, if necessary.
“We hope that the management of the police would correct (it),” he said.
Baac's sentiments were echoed by Kalinga’s lone district representative, Allen Jesse Mangaoang.
“Nagulat kami. Tinawagan pa nga ako ni Congressman (Joseph Santo Niño) Bernos ng Abra. Bakit daw kasama ang Tabuk at nagbiro na wala nga raw sila sa listahan (We were surprised. Abra Congressman Bernos even called me to ask why Tabuk was included on the list of election hotspots. He even joked that their area is not on the list),” Mangaoang said.
For the past election years, Abra has been included on the Comelec’s list of areas of concern due to its history of political violence.
Kalinga, especially Tabuk City, had been holding elections peacefully for several elections already. (PNA)

No. 6, 3 cols

Read more...

Bomb threat alarms UB; ‘terrorists’ eyed


BAGUIO CITY – A bomb threat alarmed students and faculty here Wednesday around 5 p.m. at the University of Baguio.
A police report said  a certain professor ( name wiitheld upon request) , received a text message from cellphone number 09197313466 that time with the message "May bomba sa Universidad niyo!
She immediately reported the same to the school security officer who called for police assistance.
Responding police checked the area around 10 a.m. saying it could have been a prank but were not ruling out it was the work of terrorists.
The cell phone number used was referred to city intelligence unit for tracking. 
Investigation disclosed the professor also received a text message on her cell phone which read, “Allahu Akbar! Receiving this message is a confirmation that I have 2 improvised explosive devises plated in two buildings of your university. This is an act for our beloved Allah and to raise awareness of this city reminding you that not everyday is peaceful in this world and in this country.
Police searched school premises but found no bomb, so they declared the area safe and clear.

Read more...

La Trinidad sets March Strawberry fest various events


By Gelinie Jen Ulban and Pamela Mariz Geminiano

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – This valley town is set to showcase their world-record giant strawberry short cake to highlight the Strawberry Festival from March 4 to 29, Mayor Romeo Salda said on Wednesday.
Themed “La Trinidad: My home … my pride,” a variety of events will spice up the town, said Valred Olsim, municipal tourism officer as activities have already been finalized.
Mayor Salda, Vice Mayor Joey Marrero and members of the town council kicked off the event with a press conference at the municipal park on Feb. 20 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.
Officials said ecumenical mass will be on March 4 at the municipal gym while arts and mural competition will be on the 6th and 7th at the municipal park.
The most awaited yearly strawberry lane will be set up March 4 until March 30 at the municipal park accompanied by “concert in the park” on March 9 and March 17.
Jobs fair was set on the 8th at the municipal gym, while the “biggest and sweetest strawberry” will be presented on the 8th at municipal park simultaneous with flower arrangement contest, the duting tan dukto and fun run on the 9th at the municipal grounds.
Mass wedding will be held on the 13th at the municipal gym, while the battle of the bands will be on the 15th at the municipal gym.
Dog show will be staged on the 16th at the municipal grounds, while the dongba ni kabajo is set on the 16th and 17th at the Wangal grounds or the Benguet State Complex.
Acoustic band competition will be on the 17th still at Waangal grounds. Civic parade will be on the 18th from km 6 to the municipal grounds where the owik (traditional butchering of pig) will be done.
On the 18th, the main program for the Strawberry Festival will be held at the municipal gym with the kekkan (partaking of food) where the main program will be held.
The drum and lyre, street dancing and float parade was set on the 23rd from km.6 to the municipal grounds.
Presentation of the giant strawberry cake will be held at the Lednicky hall on the 23rd while the search for Mr. and Ms. La Trinidad will held at the municipal gym.
The Strawberry Festival will be capped off with wine fair, closing program and Barangay and Homecoming Night.
During the press conference, Salda said the giant strawberry cake will be a replica of the 2004 cake that gave the town the Guinness World Record for the biggest strawberry shortcake. The cake weighed 9,622.24 kilograms and was served to more than 10,000 persons.
Salda said the festival aims to showcase the strawberry as the valley's One-Town-One-Product (OTOP) and to foster and rekindle ties between locals and tourists alike.
"This is also an avenue to promote, not only La Trinidad Strawberries but also the town's many other products which are derivatives of the berry while celebrating the town's cultural diversity and richness," he said.
The same cake design was repeatedly showcased with a smaller version following the record. It was last featured in the 2017 festival.
This year’s cake will have the same measurement as that served in 2017.
"We will replicate what we have showcased last 2017, and the cake-making will be led by chef Eric Espadero of Valley Bread, the biggest supplier of quality loaf bread in Baguio and Benguet," said Councilor Estrella Adeban, committee chairman for the giant strawberry cake event.
In 2018, Adeban said several bakeshops were asked to make strawberry cakes with Espadero being selected to bake the cake replica.
“The municipal government wants Eric Espadero to manage the baking of the cake for this year to maintain the original taste of the cake,” Adeban said.
She said the giant strawberry cake to be served on March 23 will measure 1.5 meters high by 1.8 meters wide by 2.5 meters long, and weighing 2.5 tons.
It will be made of 500 pans which when sliced will make 16,000 slices. Each pan can be divided into 32 slices.
"The making of the cake will start a day before the event, assuring a freshly baked cake to be served to the public,” Adeban said.
Based on the list provided, the cake will be made using 225 kilos of butter, 275 kilos of fresh strawberries, 325 kilos sugar, 225 kilos fresh eggs, 175 kilos milk, 425 kilos of all-purpose flour, 2.5 kilos of baking powder, five kilos baking soda, 7.5 kilos of vinegar, 15 kilos of strawberry favor, 500 kilos whip cream, and 10 kilos of food coloring.
The total cost for the ingredients is P500,000.
Adeban said the slicing will start at 11 a.m. at the Lednicky hall at the municipal building.
During the event, the first 50 slices will be given free and the succeeding slices will be sold at P20 per slice to allow the organizers to recoup the expenses, which will not be taken from public funds.
Adeban said the extra proceeds will be used to fund other activities of the festival.  PNA)

Read more...

Couple killed in Ilocos Sur crash


By Freddie Lazaro

SAN JUAN, Ilocos Sur – Two persons were killed when a motorcycle they were riding in was accidentally hit by a car along the national highway here in Barangay Lapting Monday night.
Senior Insp. Jade Macaraeg, San Juan town chief of police, identified the victims as Abel Andallo, 28, the motorcycle driver; and his wife, Jane Andallo, 28.
They were declared dead on arrival at the hospital after their motorcycle was accidentally hit by a pickup truck by Jennifer Navarro, 38, and a resident in Barangay Lydia, Marcos, Ilocos Norte.
Investigation disclosed that the accident happened at about 8 p.m. when the southbound motorcycle was struck by the pickup as Navarro lost control of the wheel when she tried to avoid hitting a dog that strayed on to the highway.



Read more...

Cordillera RDC sets next FLAME awards


BAGUIO CITY – The Regional Development Council gathered a regional assessment team on Feb. 12 to discuss criteria and selection process for the 2019 F.L.A.M.E. (Forwarding Local Autonomy Medal of Excellence) Awards for provincial, municipal and city local government units (LGUs) of the Cordillera.
FLAME awardees will be chosen by the RDC regional awards committee chaired by NEDA-CAR with the regional assessment team chaired by DILG.
The winners are selected based on previous awards received recognizing the respective LGU’s efforts towards good governance, the LGU’s support to RDC initiatives and advocacies on regional development and autonomy, and its participation in RDC-led activities. 
The FLAME awards aim to give recognition to LGUs that excel in good governance efforts and dynamic participation in regional development. The previous FLAME awards were held in 2016 in three categories: (1) provincial and highly urbanized city, (2) component city and 1st to 3rd class municipalities, and (3) 4th to 6th class municipalities. In 2016, Baguio City was the champion followed by Mountain Province and Ifugao in the provincial and highly urbanized city category. La Trinidad, Benguet and Bauko, Mountain Province were the champions in their respective categories. Previous winners included the province of Benguet, the municipalities of Alfonso Lista, Ifugao, Sta. Marcela, Apayao, and Tublay, Benguet.
The awards committee will honor the new winners during the culmination event of the 2019 Cordillera Unity Gong Relay in Tabuk City on Cordillera Day, July 15, 2019 -- Marlo T. Lubguban


Read more...

NEDA Sec's visit brings Cordi concerns to national attention


By Marlo T. Lubguban

BAGUIO CITY – The recent visit of Socio-Economic and Planning Chief and NEDA Secretary Ernesto Pernia and Undersecretary for Regional Development Adoracion Navarro to this city has highlighted concerns and problems of the region to national attention.
The two-day visit comprised of a meeting with NEDA-CAR staff, a visit to the University of the Philippine Baguio Museo Kordilyera, a project visit to the Loakan Airport, a meeting with Cordillera Regional Development Council and stakeholders, and a press conference on the nation’s economy. 
After meeting with NEDA-CAR staff, Secretary Pernia visited the Museo Kordilyera of UP Baguio.
After learning about the culture of the Cordillera through the Feasts of Merit exhibit, UP Baguio Chancellor Raymundo Rovillos presented events held in the famous Diplomat Hotel ruins that were conducted as part of Baguio’s role as a folk arts and crafts city in the United Nations Creative Cities network.
They were joined by representatives of the Baguio Arts Creative Council, Inc. (BACCI). Chancellor Rovillos and BACCI are proposing a permanent regional cultural creative center in the area. Secretary Pernia also visited the Loakan Airport where he expressed his support for its modernization. He underscored the potential of the airport for domestic flights and its importance in times of disaster and emergency. 
NEDA had supported Cordillera in its many advocacies including the renewed the pursuit for autonomy since 2007. Various other regional projects have been developed with support by NEDA such as the Cordillera Roads Improvement Project and Phase II and scaling up of the Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management Project (CHARMP). 
Pernia said he recognizes the need for support from national leaders for Cordillera autonomy given the two plebiscites in 1990 and 1998 which failed due to a lack of proper information dissemination.
He noted that the unification of the Cordillera through EO 220 has helped improve the lives of Cordillerans.
He added that the consistent good economic performance of the region must be rewarded. Pernia committed to include the draft Cordillera Organic Act as part of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) agenda but urged that Cordillerans must show that they are willing to be autonomous. The Cordillera people must show their willingness to have an autonomous regional government in a referendum, Pernia suggested.
Secretary Pernia shared that this was his first visit to Baguio City in 20 years. It is the first visit of a NEDA Secretary since the late Secretary Cayetano Paderanga visited in 2011 -- NEDA CAR

Read more...

Baguio gov’t lauds DENR move to save 'dying' pines


By Pamela Mariz Geminiano

BAGUIO CITY -- The city government has welcomed the order of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu to conduct an eco-system research to extend the life of pine trees, which are abundant in the city.
"We welcome and appreciate the concern raised by DENR Secretary Cimatu on the state of the pine trees in a private property and public places in the different parts of Baguio City and the overall situation of its environment," Mayor Mauricio Domogan said in a statement posted on the city's social media account Tuesday evening.
During the Philippine Military Academy alumni homecoming on Feb. 16, Cimatu ordered the DENR staff to conduct an eco-system research and gave them one month to complete the inventory of pine trees.
Domogan, in an interview, said the city government through the City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO), in coordination with the DENR, have been looking at the pine tree infestation, which had been causing deaths to some of the trees.
"In fact, dozens of infested trees in our parks and other public places were subjected to the stringent surgical process while the dead trees were removed and replaced with young ones through the continuing reforestation program in coordination with DENR," he said.
Domogan also spoke of the city government’s efforts to protect the pine tree park near the Baguio Convention Center, which was the subject of letters of elementary pupils who wrote to President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
The mayor said they have forwarded over 67 letters from students of Baguio Pines Family Learning Center (BPFLC) to Duterte to help keep and maintain the pine tree park and prevent it from being sold.
He said the city government proposed to purchase the lot from the Government Service Insurance Corporation (GSIS), especially after information that a private company has expressed interest to buy the area and convert it to a commercial center, but to no avail.
The GSIS issued a statement saying it would not sell the property.
Baguio City, also known as the "City of Pines", is a popular tourist destination for its pine trees, which thrive in its cool weather.
In interviews with the media on the sidelines of the alumni homecoming, Cimatu said upon his arrival in the city on February 15, he instructed the DENR in the Cordillera to immediately start the counting of trees so the agency could take steps to preserve and protect them.
“This is what makes the city of Baguio unique among other tourist destinations, aside from its cold weather,” Cimatu said.
In the past, people who visit the city are greeted with the scent of pine while traversing the roads leading to Baguio, which has been missing these days, Cimatu said.
Cimatu said that upon his arrival in Baguio on Feb. 15, he instructed the DENR in the Cordillera to immediately start the counting of trees so the agency could take steps to preserve and protect them.
He said that he is really interested in pine trees because this what makes the city of Baguio unique among other tourist destinations, aside from its cold weather.
Cimatu said in the past, every time people visit the city they can immediately smell the scent of pine, which has been missing these days.
“The pine tree inventory will pave the way for the DENR and WWRRC to come up with an ecosystem research to check the status of pine trees in Baguio,” he said.
He said that he will also be sending scientists specializing in landslides and climate change to conduct a research and to come up with measures during calamities.
He assured that the research to be conducted by his office and WWRRC will not lead to the national government issuance of an order for the rehabilitation of the city.
“Honestly, there is no directive for the rehabilitation of Baguio. We are still focusing in Boracay since we still have a year to fully rehabilitate it. And now we are rehabilitating Manila Bay so Baguio is not yet subject for rehabilitation,” he said. -- PNA 



Read more...

Ex-Nueva Ecija rebs receive financial aid


SAN JOSE CITY, Nueva Ecija -- The Department of Interior and Local Government of Nueva Ecija in coordination with the Army’s 84th Infantry Battalion distributed checks to former rebels as part of its 9th founding anniversary celebration in Nueva Ecija last week.
The distribution of checks was held at Sitio Junior Campo, Barangay  Sto Niño 2nd, San Jose City.
Two former rebels received the amount of P65,000 each as part of their Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) benefits.
The financial aid included P15,000 as immediate cash assistance and P50,000 as livelihood assistance.
The 84th IB celebrated their 9th anniversary with the theme: “Victorious Troopers: Stronger, Bolder and Better at Nine” that featured a week-long celebration commemorating the unit’s success in various fields of endeavors.
One of its highlights was the distribution of immediate and livelihood assistance to the two former rebels from Carranglan, Nueva Ecija who voluntarily surrendered to the folds of the law on December 8, 2018.
The surrenderees declared  allegiance to the government. “You can count on us that we will continue to perform our duty in serving the people and securing the communities within our area of responsibility to the best of our abilities. It has and always been our mandated task” Lt. Col. George M. Bergonia, the Commander of the 84th IB, said.
Meanwhile, Brigadier General Lenard T Agustin, the Commander of the 7th Infantry (Kaugnay) Division, extended his greetings to the Victorious Troopers and he also commended the unit’s efforts in protecting the people and the community within its area of responsibility.
He also encouraged the rebels to lay down their arms and return to the folds of the law.
“I would also like to thank the LGUs and other agencies who were involved in the awarding of E-CLIP benefits to the former rebels. Let us continue to be of service to the people most especially to those who were deceived by the CTGs,” Agustin said.
Colonel Rowen A, Tolentino, the Commander of the 703rd Infantry (Agila) Brigade, said that the immediate and livelihood assistance will greatly help the families of former rebels in starting a new and peaceful life away from the armed struggle.


Read more...

PNG athletes receive prizes/Curbing kids’ gadget addiction


CITY HALL BEAT
Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY – Seventy one athletes and coaches instrumental in the city’s second-place finish in the 2018 Philippine National Games received their additional cash incentives last week.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan and City Sports and Recreation Division head Gaudencio Gonzales handed over the monetary reward amounting to P10,000 for gold, P5,000 for silver and P3,000 for bronze medalists.
He thanked the athletes for giving honor to the city and encouraged them to continue striving and realizing the benefits of sports activities. 
Gonzales said the additional incentive that totaled P1.157 million doubled the amount of cash rewards received by the athletes.
The regular incentive mandated by a city ordinance was released last year.
The additional incentive came from the P8 million cash prize given to PNG winners by the Philippine Sports Commission as part of its grassroots sports promotion. 
The grant of the extra benefits to the athletes was decided in a resolution approved by the City Sports Program Development Council which the mayor heads.
Domogan said the rest of the amount will be used to procure sports equipment and materials for use of the athletes in their trainings. 
The Philippine National Games (PNG) officially known as the POC-PSC Games is a national multi-sport tournament in the Philippines to select the national pool athletes who will compete in international tournaments such as the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games and the Olympics. 
The 2018 PNG was held in May 19-25 co-hosted by the City of Cebu and the Province of Cebu.
Meanwhile, Batang Pinoy athletes will also receive their additional cash reward soon from the P3 million prize for topping the finals held last year in the city.
Unlike the PNG, the incentive will amount to P3,000 for the gold, P2,000 for the silver and P1,000 for the bronze medalists.
                ***
Baguio barangays should identify and designate an area exclusively for multi-purpose community playgrounds and adopt programs promoting traditional games.
The city council approved Resolution No. 48 series of 2019 authored by Councilor Leandro Yangot Jr. for this purpose.
Yangot said the city has to address “grave concern on the harmful effects of excessive use of electronic devices by children.” 
He cited the report of the We Are Social and the Hootsuite which showed that for the third year in a row, the Philippines as of January 2018 emerged as the country that spent the most time on social media, with an average user spending almost 4 hours daily on different platforms.
Another research, he said, showed that touch screen devices have taken over all other forms of playful delight for kids. 
“Sixty percent (60%) of parents with kids under the age of twelve reported that their child plays on a portable screen often, while thirty eight percent (38%) apparently play very often. It is not just the number of children using the internet that has increased. The amount of time that children spend on the internet has also gone up over the past 12 months,” he said.
“Excessive use of electronic gadgets/digital technology by children can cause addiction thereby harming their cognitive, emotional and social development. In a December 2018 study, children spending more than 7 hours a day using said gadgets show signs of premature thinning of the cortex, the brain’s outermost layer that processes sensory information. In addition, children who spend more than two hours a day on said gadgets score worse on language and reasoning tests.”
He said that to encourage children to be more involved in social activities, “appropriate programs, projects and activities must be adopted and that a community park or playground must be provided to give the children an opportunity to interact with peers by playing traditional games, among others.”
“By giving the children a designated space for outdoor recreation, they will be able to improve their social skills, create new friendships, promote their health and well-being and eliminate the excessive usage of computers, mobile phones, smartphones and other related devices,” Yangot said.

Read more...

Remembering the People’s Power Revolution in Baguio


HISTORICAL NOTES
Ferdinand John Balanag

BAGUIO CITY -- Ferdinand Marcos ruled the Philippines for two decades, using his position to amass a personal fortune. When Benigno Aquino—Marcos’s key political rival—was assassinated on August 21, 1983, cross-class opposition to the regime erupted.
               Opposition protests drew international attention, and under mounting pressure, Marcos agreed to hold snap elections in 1986. Aquino’s widow, Cory, ran against Marcos; and no one was surprised when Marcos rigged the election. Just as Cory Aquino announced a plan for a nonviolent civil resistance, two military leaders defected.
The cardinal of the Filipino Catholic Church asked citizens to protect the two defectors. Millions responded, forming a human barricade between Marcos’s troops and the officers.
Civilian resisters encouraged the advancing soldiers to defect. After several days, the majority of troops joined the opposition movement. With no sanctioning power left, Marcos fled to Hawaii, and Aquino assumed the presidency.
That in a nutshell, was what happened during the 1986 People’s Power Revolution that occurred in the Philippines 33 years ago.
But although most people would say that this was a “bloodless revolution,” many more would disagree because in the years leading to the People’s Power Revolution, countless Filipinos were jailed, tortured, disappeared or killed.
True, the four-day protest of two million people at EDSA and thousands more in different cities around the country on February 22 to 25, 1986 was generally peaceful, but when we emphasized all these years that it was peaceful, that made us think that regaining freedom is as easy as dancing in the streets. Today, people think so easily of surrendering our freedoms and human rights for discipline. Well, in fact, following the law and respecting the rights of others manifest true love of country and fellowman.
That said, EDSA was far from peaceful. The anti-dictatorship struggle to restore democracy required so much hardships and sacrifices. Fourteen years of blood. We should remember that even at the height of Martial Law, militant sectors of society risked their lives and tested the limits to resist the dictator underground and above ground.
Thousands were imprisoned, many were killed. Those who survived torture were thought to have pointed to someone and were used as tracers.
That was why their friends and comrades turned away from them. This kind of situation prompted even the most moderate activists to go to the mountains and join the armed struggle. It was bloody.
Here in Baguio City, the ‘bloodless” struggle was held for the most part at the Baguio Cathedral, where most militants stood their ground.
During the four-day uprising, the world saw images of how Filipinos, instead of running away, went in front of the tanks along EDSA to crush the rebel soldiers.
They knelt and prayed, earnestly asking battle-hardened Marines to go away despite orders to disperse the crowd and attack the rebels. Instead of carrying weapons in a revolt, people took out religious images, rosaries and Bibles, kneeling and crying for a cause demonstrating what their goals really mean.
According to professors Felipe Landa Jocano and Felipe de Leon Jr., the four-day EDSA event was where our supposed ideals were displayed: pananampalataya, pakikipagkapwa, pakikiramay, pagiging masiyahin, bayanihan, pagiging mapayapa and pagiging malikhain. It was our brief shining moment in front of the whole world and it provided a template for the next peaceful successful uprisings the world over.
It wasn’t any different here in Baguio when local residents amassed at the Baguio Cathedral grounds to voice their sentiments.
According to then Lieutenant Benjamin Magalong, who headed the Philippine Constabulary detachment in Buguias, Benguet, and who was the first officer to defect during the People’s Power Revolution in the Cordillera, they made the turnaround because of the lack of any real leadership in the police or military.
“I consulted with my men and although we were all fearful about what would happen to us for defecting, we agreed to do it because we felt that there was no real leadership in the police or military in our country and this resulted in very low morale among us,” he pointed out.
After leaving a skeletal force to safeguard Northern Benguet due to the imminent danger posed by the communist New People’s Army rebels around Buguias, Magalong and two truckloads of PC soldiers made their exodus to Baguio a little before midnight on February 23, 1986 and passed Camp Bado Dangwa at around 3AM of February 24 to get as little attention as possible.
Upon their arrival in the city, they dialogued with personnel of the Baguio City Police Station and disarmed the latter to avoid any untoward incident from arising then.
After their arrival at the Baguio Cathedral grounds, they were met with enthusiasm by those gathered there, up to the point of dancing in revelry to the sound of indigenous gongs.
To finally finish their “mission,” despite being of a lower rank and the possibility of facing a court martial, Magalong and his men went to Camp Dangwa the following day to put the incumbent PC regional director under detention when the latter proved to be still loyal to the Marcos dictatorship.
The militants who boycotted the snap elections brought their gongs with them in front of the Baguio Cathedral and so the place had a cañao atmosphere. Some of the priests and nuns, especially those active in NAMFREL, also joined in.
But then it was reported that Marcos had fled, and there was a rush of glee at the cathedral. The expected sleepover turned into wild cheering and drinking.
The next day was the victory parade for the Baguio residents. The Cory Aquino for President Movement and other moderates with their yellow T-shirts paraded first below Session Road, with the yellow confetti raining on them. Helicopters also passed by the cathedral before that, showering leaflets of victory.
The militants paraded as well behind the Cathedral, on to Assumption, and down to Session Road, so there was that “sangandaan” for the two groups of marchers. The atmosphere then was that of revelry as the people regained their lost freedom.
For what he had done during the People’s Power Revolution in Baguio in February 1986, Magalong has been regarded by most local residents as one of the heroes of the uprising here.
With him then was former Major Victor Ibrado, who later became the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
In many narratives of EDSA, there were two dominant forces that brought about the end of the Marcos dictatorship: The middle-class Yellows and the nationalist democrat Reds. This prompted the military to claim that without their planned coup, EDSA wouldn’t have happened. Some in the church would claim that EDSA was none of these but was actually a miracle from God.
There is no disclaiming the big role all these sectors played in the fall of the dictatorship, and it is in the unity of all these forces, which also included social democrats, the indigenous and Moro sectors, and the non-organized population, all united despite contending interests that became the jigsaw puzzle that became EDSA. If one piece fell then it would have turned into a bloodier conclusion.
And yes, even Ferdinand Marcos was part of the jigsaw. Because, although ruthless, he knew that if he insisted on going after the rebels even if it meant mass murder, he could not escape the judgment of history. To avoid bloodshed, he left the country, ousted by the overwhelming presence of what we called People Power because it was precisely that—People’s Power. (Ferdinand John Balanag is a Baguio-based movie producer and writer – Ed)

Read more...

  © Blogger templates Palm by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP  

Web Statistics