Ilocos provinces tap more cops for tourist sites

>> Thursday, December 9, 2021



ROAD CONSTRUCTION -- The Department of Public Works and Highways continues to implement road construction and improvement to further provide access and good roads to the public. Undated photo shows road construction at the Naguilian Road leading to La Union from Baguio City. (PNA photo by Liza T. Agoot) 


SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union -- Police chiefs in key tourist destinations in La Union were directed to activate their respective tourist police units after Ilocos provinces were placed under Covid-19 Alert Level 2.
    “The Ilocos police will be on multi-role functions and will remain focused on mitigating the spread of the virus, especially that there is the threat of the new variant–Omicron,” said Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Peralta, director of Regional Police Office 1, in a statement Dec. 2.
    Peralta also ordered maximum police presence and visibility, especially in strategic and crowded areas frequented by tourists.
    “Police presence and visibility will be increased, with the augmentation of personnel from the Provincial Mobile Force to police stations,” Peralta said.
    Meanwhile, all Philippine National Police personnel conducting patrol operations in different tourist destinations in the region are instructed not to carry long firearms, only pistols.
    “We will make the people feel safe with a less aggressive stance. We will maintain the police presence and alertness yet friendly PNP image,” Peralta said.
    The said police operations and deployment are preparatory activities for the 2022 elections.
    “With these, we promote the proper observance of health protocols, at the same time, we provide security and assistance to both the locals and the tourists, and ultimately, we deter criminality. It’s like hitting three birds with one stone,” he added.
 
 
 

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2 NPA rebels yield to army in Kalinga


By Leander C. Domingo

PINUKPOK, Kalinga -- Two members of the New People's Army (NPA) surrendered with their firearms to the Philippine Army's 50th Infantry Battalion (50th IB) here last week.
    A report released Wednesday by the 5th Infantry Division’s (5th ID) Maj. Jekyll Julian Dulawan, 5th ID public affairs office chief, said the 50th IB identified the surrenderees as Alias Berto, 30 and Alias Ben, 29, both members of the Squad 1 of the Komiteng Larangang Guerilla-Ampis of Ilocos-Cordillera Regional Committee.
    Dulawan said Berto and Ben also surrendered an M14 rifle with two magazines and 15 ammunition, and a Cal. 30mm carbine with a magazine and seven ammunition.
    The 50th IB also reported it discovered four anti-personnel mines, three rifle grenade, and medical supplies including three anesthesia, six pieces syringe, three bandages, four intravenous fluids, dextrose and a set of surgical kit, as well as subversive documents in Balbalan town in the same province.
    Dulawan said the war materiel were brought to Barangay Salegseg in Bakbalan town in Kalinga for proper disposition.
Lt. Col. Melanio Somera, 50th IB commander, said the former rebels gave the information where these war materiel and medical supplies were kept, and commended the two communist rebels for surrendering to the Army.
    Brig. Gen. Santiago Enginco, 503rd Infantry Brigade commander, said the surrender of Berto and Ben which led to the discovery of the war materiel and medical supplies only proves the inhumane work of the NPA, adding that the use of anti-personnel mines is against international humanitarian law.
    "This time, we thwarted the terrorist group's plan to sow fear with the help of former rebels. The Army will not neglect the Cordillera region to protect the people against violence and harassment by members of the terrorist group," Enginco said.
    Maj. Gen. Laurence Mina, 5th ID commander, urged the remaining members of the terrorist group to surrender to the government.

 


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Ilocos, Cagayan, CAR folks urged: Help fight corruption

By Hilda Austria

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) urged residents of Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) to help fight bureaucratic corruption by becoming a volunteer or a champion.
    In a press conference on Tuesday, ARTA director general Jeremiah Belgica said the agency cannot totally eradicate red tape in the government without the help of different sectors of society.
    “If you are suffering, or you know somebody suffering because of corruption, volunteer and become the eyes and ears of ARTA,” he said during the assembly of the ARTA champions and volunteers from the three regions as part of the regional anti-red tape caravan or cARTAravan held here.
    Belgica said the agency provides training on the appropriate laws and access to ARTA to the champions and volunteers.
    “We train them so we are confident that they fully understand our mandate and what they report to us is related to our mandate,” he added.
    Undersecretary Carlos Quita, ARTA deputy director general for administration, finance and special programs, said citizens could be ARTA champions if they belong to an organized sector of society like the media, business sector, religious and civic groups, among others.
    Quita said volunteers are individuals from the grassroots or ordinary citizens who were victims of corruption.
    “We thought of this alliance or movement so we could help one another. We have a lot of problems, it could be resolved only if we help one another,” he added.
    ARTA champions and volunteers are tasked to report not only complaints or irregularities in the government agencies but also the best practices.
    “They serve as the pressure group monitoring the performance of government agencies and local government units through the report card system in collaboration with other agencies and the people. They also report and recommend, among other things they do,” Quita said.
    At present, he added there are 12 ARTA champions in the country from the business sector such as the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as the media and religious sectors. -- PNA
 

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Baguio sets Covid level 2 guidelines

BAGUIO CITY -- Mayor Benjamin Magalong issued on Nov. 30 executive order 160-2021 "Prescribing guidelines for alert level 2 in Baguio City" effective  Dec. 1, 2021.The following are the changes or adjustments in protocols: *Face shield may be worn in high risk environments like health facilities or establishments requiring the same for safety
     *Temporary liquor ban hours from 2 am to 10 am and limit in amount to be consumed is lifted
     *The general curfew implemented during higher quarantine status is lifted but may be re-imposed depending on Covid-19 situation
     *Public and private work places on-site capacity is at least 80%
    Dine-in establishments seating capacity: maximum 50% and for fully vaccinated persons only; outdoor - 70%
     *Gyms, fitness centers, salons, spas and personal care: maximum 50% of venue capacity and for fully vaccinated persons only; outdoor - 70%
     *Museums, cultural centers, libraries and archives and other tourist and leisure attractions: maximum 50% of venue capacity and for fully vaccinated persons only; outdoor - 70%
     *E-bingo and other gaming establishments: maximum 50% of venue capacity at any given time and for fully vaccinated persons only
     *All establishments may add 10% to permitted capacity if with Safety Seal certificate.  They are to ensure that only asymptomatic fully vaccinated persons will be allowed in indoor/enclosed spaces
     *Indoor kid amusement establishments may be allowed provided they were inspected by the Health Services Office and all on-site personnel are fully vaccinated.  Indoor group activities for minors are not allowed
    *Bars, night clubs and liquor establishments  shall not be allowed under Alert Level 2
    *Contact sports may be allowed upon recommendation of the City Sports Office.  Indoor settings must be inspected by CHSO and allowed maximum 50% of venue capacity and for fully vaccinated persons only
    *Meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions: maximum 50% of venue capacity and for fully vaccinated persons only; outdoor - 70%
    *Religious gatherings, necrological services, wakes, interments, funerals: maximum 50% of venue capacity and for fully vaccinated persons only; outdoor - 70%
    *Private social gatherings: maximum 50% of venue capacity and for fully vaccinated persons only; outdoor - 70%
     *All PUJ and taxi drivers shall be fully vaccinated and those unvaccinated are required to undergo RT-PCR/antigen testing every two weeks at their own expense. Those medically ineligible should have medical certificate from the CHSO and undergo tests every quarter.
     *Maximum capacity for PUJs is 70% and for taxi units, 3 persons. – APR/PIO Baguio
 

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Premature to return face shields policy amid Omicron threat


By Lade Jean Kabagani

Despite the threat posed by the Omicron Covid-19 variant, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday said "it is still premature to reintroduce the face shields" with the "significant public discontent" on its mandatory use.
    At the Laging Handa briefing on Tuesday, WHO Country Representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe said the mandatory use of face shields is not yet recommended amid the possible entry of the new Omicron coronavirus variant in the country.
    "WHO has right along said that this is a virus that is not airborne, right? It’s close contact transmission and that is why we emphasize that what is important is the physical distancing and the face masking and the hand hygiene," he said.
    Abeyasinghe gave much emphasis on strict adherence to social distancing policy as the dreaded virus can be transmitted through close contacts, not by air.
    "So, I think it will be premature now to go there and say we need to reintroduce face shields because we also know that there is significant public discontent on the mandatory use of face shields," Abiyasinghe said.
    "So it’s better to get public compliance with the measures that are there and data risk-based approach to reanalyze whether we need to go into the use of face shields or not," he added.
    Abiyasinghe said while the mandatory face shields rule is still being studied, the public should have strong compliance to the minimum public health measures.
    "If we can ensure that people don’t congregate in closed settings, the requirement for face shields probably at this point of time is not mandatory because as I said, we are still looking at understanding the transmission dynamics of the Omicron variant," he added.
    Abeyasinghe noted that the country must be prepared and recognize the threat caused by the "heavily mutated" Omicron variant.
    "We are conscious that we don’t have a lot of information right now about the potential transmissibility, the potential possibility of infections, or even its capacity to evade the therapeutics and vaccines that we have," he added.
    Abiyasinghe said the WHO supports the alert level system being imposed by the Philippines.
    "We need to manage the risk of Covid-19 without harming the economy and protecting lives. And so, the transient from the quarantine classifications to the alert levels which allows to greater economic activity is welcome and we support that, and we need to be very careful in monitoring the situation for all potential presence of Omicron in the country," he said.
    He said there is a need for stringent measures at points of entry and monitor the whole-genome sequencing to detect the presence of Omicron virus, particularly those Filipino returnees from Southern African countries.
    "I would go to say that we should not be looking from Omicron only countries that have confirmed the virus for now because there are many countries that the virus may be there, the variant may be there but have no capacity for sequencing," he added.
    He then recommended an immediately conduct whole-genome sequencing to those positive cases entering the borders, whether returning Overseas Filipinos or foreigners.
    "Of the recent detection of the variant, we need to rapidly do genome sequencing of the most recent arrivals," he said.
Abiyasinghe said the government must support the Philippine Genome Center in expanding its whole genome sequencing capacity for early detection of Omicron variant and to initiate appropriate control measures. -- PNA

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La Union offers P1-M projects to LGUs with 80% vax rate

By Hilda Austria

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – The provincial government of La Union is offering P1 million worth of projects, programs, or activities to any local government unit (LGU) in the province that will attain 80 percent and above vaccination rate for the first dose in its locality by December 8 this year.
    In a phone interview on Tuesday, La Union provincial information officer Camille Bumatay said the winner LGUs will also receive PHP50,000 worth of personal protective equipment.
    Bumatay said there will also be 60 individual winners of P,000 worth of family food packs in a raffle for the vaccinated residents.
     “Twenty winners will come from the senior citizens category, 20 from the general public, and 20 from the pediatric population or the 12 to 17 years old age group,” she said.
     Bumatay said these projects and activities aim to ramp up vaccination in the province to attain population protection in La Union.
     “Date of awarding will be announced soon,” she added.
 As of November 24, La Union has already inoculated the 70-percent target population or 409,319 individuals.
     “This is a welcome development as a testament of our coming together and this milestone is a product of our unity and this is what we prepared for with the virus outbreak. This fight is far from over so I call on you to continue the harmonious work and cooperation to recover and bounce back. We have a sufficient supply of vaccine,” Gov. Francisco Emmanuel Ortega III said in a video message posted on Tuesday. – PNA

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Non-jabbed Baguio workers required to have Covid tests

  By Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY -- Vaccine-eligible but still unimmunized government and private employees working on-site including public utility vehicle drivers in the city are now required to undergo Covid-19 testing at least once every two weeks at their own expense.
    The requirement for workers was directed in executive order No. 159-2021 issued by Mayor Benjamin Magalong on Nov. 29 in compliance with the national Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) directive.
    The testing requirement for public utility jeepney and taxi drivers is contained in executive order No. 160-2021 prescribing the Alert Level 2 guidelines in the city.
    Tests may either be RT-PCR or antigen and will be required until the time the employee receives his or her first vaccine dose.
    However, the employee will also be required to undergo mandatory regular testing if he/she fails to avail of the second dose after prescribed period of interval of the vaccine brand.
     Workers who are ineligible to receive the vaccines for health reasons must secure medical certificate from the City Health Services Office to be exempted from the bimonthly test requirement but will be required to undergo the test on a quarterly basis also with the assistance of the CHSO.
     The City Health Services Office in collaboration with the Permits and Licensing Division, the Safety Seal Inspection Team and the Public Employment and Service Office are tasked to implement the provisions of the order.
    Establishments and institutions that will fail to comply will be immediately reported to the Dept. of Labor and Employment, Dept. of Interior and Local Government, Civil Service Commission or other applicable departments directly supervising the offices concerned.
 
 
 

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Baguio bans street gangs

By Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY -- An ordinance prohibiting the establishment and operation of street gangs and recruitment of minors to instigate violence and community disorder has been ratified.
    Mayor Benjamin Magalong signed on Nov. 23 city council Ordinance No. 99 series of 2021.
    Authored by Couns. Levy Lloyd Orcales and Betty Lourdes Tabanda, the measure also provides intervention mechanism for the minor offenders.
    It was adopted to address activities of street gangs and similar groups taking advantage of misguided minors, children at risk and children in conflict with the law and use and expose them to violence and illegal activities that turn them into juvenile delinquents, unruly citizens and future burdens of society.
    The ordinance thus prohibits the following: creation and operation of street gang that vehemently disregards the safety and well-being of an individual; recruitment of persons including minors to participate in street gang violence; instigation on the conduct of gang graffiti; and other activities that disturb public order and threatens public safety and convenience.
    The measure also mandates the creation of the City Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council to be chaired by the mayor to take the lead in the implementation of the provisions of the ordinance.
    The council is tasked to formulate a Comprehensive Local Juvenile Intervention Program for integration into the annual Local Development Plan for Children.
    The intervention program should address the reformation needs of the minor offenders and their families.
    For adult offenders, sanctions provided are a fine of P5,000 and imprisonment of 1 to 30 days or both.
    The Office of the City Social Welfare and Development Officer is mandated to formulate the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the ordinance in coordination with the City Juvenile Justice and Welfare Task Force. 
 

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Gripes up vs Bontoc trike drivers; operators warned franchise renewal up Dec 31

By Alpine L. Killa

BONTOC, Mountain Province – Complaints against tricycle drivers mounted here like refusal to transport passengers, collecting more than minimum fare and not giving  20 percent  discount to students, senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs).
    This, as the Bontoc local government urged tricycle operators to renew their franchise as early as possible to prevent inconvenience since renewal of Motorized Tricycle Operators Permit (MTOP) will only be until Dec. 31, 2021. 
    Municipal ordinance 300, s. 2018, mandated the Bontoc Municipal Tricycle Franchising Regulatory Board (BMTFRB) to issue franchises to tricycles for to operate as public transport.
    The ordinance stipulated renewal of MTOP for next succeeding year, shall be done at any time prior to date of its expiration.
    A grace period of up to last day of January following expiration of franchise shall be extended for late renewal.
    However, the tricycle operator has to pay the penalty or fine of P2, 000. 
    After expiration of grace period, all MTOPs which had not been renewed shall be subject to cancellation and shall be made available to qualified applicants. 
    According to Marilyn Aquino, secretariat of the BMTFRB, 681 tricycle units were issued franchise now plying the municipality. 
    Aquino urged tricycle operators to bring with documents for renewal of their MTOP.
    These include barangay clearance, Land Transportation Office (LTO) official receipt (OR) or certificate of registration (CR); latest original copy of MTOP and photo of the tricycle parked at its respective parking space.
    Aquino added the photo of the tricycle must be taken with front, back, left, and right views and printed in legal size bond paper. 
    She added application for registration/ renewal must be filed by the operator or any individual of legal age who shall be given a Special Power of Attorney to transact by the operator. 
    For further inquiries on the renewal of MTOP, tricycle operators were advised to visit the Office of the Municipal Mayor through the BMTFRB. 
    She said tricycle operators and drivers fare matrix should be hanged conspicuously inside the tricycle with minimum fare in delineated points.
    The regular fare is P9 while fare for the senior citizens, students, and person with disability (PWDs) is P7. 
    BMTFRB officials said it welcomed complaints, suggestions or queries of the public concerning tricycle drivers and operators.  
     “Everyone is welcome to visit the Office of the Municipal Mayor to report her/his complaints regarding tricycle driver and operator so that we can immediately call the concerned individuals. In this way, both parties are present, complaints will be addressed, and such incident will be avoided,” Aquino said.  
She said before a tricycle operator is given a franchise, they are made to understand the Municipal Transport and Traffic Code of Bontoc on traffic rules and regulations, duties and responsibilities of the drivers and operators.



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BTR to public: Invest in Retail Treasury Bond

BAGUIO CITY --The Bureau of Treasury, in partnership with the Development Bank of the Philippines and Land Bank of the Philippines, brought their information caravan here last week to invite folks to invest in Retail Treasury Bond Tranche 26.
    The RTB 26, which is negotiable and transferrable, was issued Dec. 2.
    It offers investors a minimum investment of P5, 000 and in multiples of P5,000 thereafter with interest rate of 4.625 percent per annum.
    RTBs are low risk investment instruments issued by the national government through the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) to raise funds for the country’s priority projects nationwide.
    For RTB 26, its proceeds will also finance the government’s expenditures in supporting sectors most affected by Covid-19 and enhancing the country’s response against the pandemic.
    National Treasurer of the Philippines Rosalia De Leon, in a media interview, said more Filipinos including those overseas are now investing in retail treasury bonds as the BTr is continuously bringing in innovation and creativity such as online platforms and applications to reach out to more investors.
    RTBs can now be easily accessed by overseas Filipinos in over 50 countries, she said.
    De Leon said for RTB 26, Filipino investors not only can do their share in nation-building but can also help in recovery efforts of that national government against Covid-19.
    “Sa Retail Treasury Bond na ito is also one way na nakikita natin for small investors like you and me na makatulong sa ating recovery efforts. Just like in any RTB issuance where we can contribute our share in nation building, we are also contributing our share to the recovery efforts of the national government,” De Leon said.
For those interested to purchase RTB 26, they can do it through DBP and LBP branches or online through the www.treasury.gov.ph where one can find and go (click) the RTB 26 banner and read through the details of the investment.
There are also the Bonds.PH Mobile Application, OFB Mobile Banking Application (“OFB MBA”) or LBP Mobile Banking Application. Investors can also buy RTBs from secondary market at prevailing market price via banks or brokers.
De Leon led the RTB 26 Baguio caravan and had meetings with officials and representatives of cooperatives, local government units, University of the Philippines – Baguio and Camp John Hay Corp. retirees association. – PIA Cordillera

 

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Officials move to settle Cordillera land disputes


By Bob Lyndon B. Daroya

BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera regional land use committee (RLUC) chaired by regional director Susan A. Sumbeling of the National Economic and Development Authority held a webinar Nov. 23, as initial move to resolve Cordillera land use conflicts.
    The webinar was attended by RLUC members and representatives from regional growth centers, local government units, some coming outside the region, regional line agencies, academe, and private sector.
    Sumbeling in her welcome message, cited need for RLUC members and their partners to be updated on latest developments on land use to boost their functions.
    She said resolving land use issues in the region requires an integrated approach that will take into account the unique characteristics of the region in promoting efficient and sustainable land use for its growing population.
    Engineer Leon M. Dacanay Jr., former regional director of NEDA regional office X (NRO X), shared their successful implementation of their “conflict sensitive resource and asset management (COSERAM) program in Region X in resolving land use conflicts between the government and indigenous peoples, whose ancestral domain are within the Mt. Balatucan Range National Park (MBRNP), a protected area under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992.
    The Coseram program proclaimed townsite reservations.
    In relation to this special provision, he gave in-depth discussion of the recent Supreme Court decision nullifying Certificates of Ancestral Land Titles (CALTs) issued by the NCIP on public lands in Baguio City excluded by the IPRA.
    He added exemptions for Baguio City in section 78 does not have negative implications on the region’s clamor for self-determination.
    He said IPRA complements the proposed organic act for the establishment of the Cordillera Autonomous Region, adding it will boost IP rights with Cordillera autonomy.
    Atty. Severino G. Lumiqued of NCIP-CAR said the Coseram program could be adapted in Cordillera uplift the living conditions of the region’s indigenous cultural communities and indigenous people.
    Regional director Maria Amoroso of DHSUD-CAR said provisions under the IPRA law doesn’t hinder passage of the autonomy bill but rather both measures ensure protection of IP rights and preserve their unique culture and identity.
    She added there was need to integrate the ancestral domains sustainable development and protection plan (ADSDPP) in the comprehensive land use plan (CLUP), forest land use plan (FLUP) and other land use plans and investment programs.
NEDA-CAR assistant regional director Stephanie F. Christiansen in her closing message, said the CAR Regional Development Council, in signing the declaration of principles of environmental governance (DPEG), ensured rights of indigenous peoples are upheld in regional development planning in CAR.
    She added regional autonomy will empower the CAR and its people to control and supervise utilization, development and protection of the region’s natural resources and ancestral domains.
    She said the Cordillera Regional Land Use Committee will continue its advocacy for the passage of the National Land Use Act (NaLUA) that will establish a national land use framework that will define land utilization and allocation of residential, infrastructure, agricultural, and protected uses, and guide the region in preparing its own land use framework under an autonomous government.

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DOT features Cordillera weaving exhibit bazaar



BAGUIO CITY -- Weaving arts, crafts and products from provinces of the region were featured in “Cordillera weaves exhibit and weavers’ bazaar” at the Tourism regional office here Nov. 27 to Dec. 1.
    DOT Cordillera director Jovita Ganongan said traditional knowledge in the art of weaving is an important part of Cordillera’s rich culture and heritage that must be celebrated and pass on to the future generations.
    The weaving exhibit and bazaar provided a venue for Baguio folks and visitors to have a glimpse and to buy Cordillera weaving products for souvenirs or gifts and at the same time to learn about the Cordillera weaving as an art and an industry
    The DOT Cordillera in partnership with the Tourism Promotions Board, also initiated a webinar on Nov. 29 – 30 dubbed “Cordillera weaves, tradition, innovation and commerce” that aimed to explore the past, present and the future of Cordillera weaving industry.
    Science and Technology regional director Dr. Nancy Bantog presented the state of the Cordillera weaving industry, Trade and Industry OIC regional director Juliet Lucas talked on “Protecting the rights of the weaving industry stakeholders” while Tourism Promotions Board Chief operating officer lawyer Maria Anthonette Velasco – Allones discussed “Bringing the weaving industry in the 21st century.
    “The art of weaving design, tradition and the village weavers was discussed by Marion Martin of Kiangan Weavers Association.
    “Digitalization of the Cordillera textile was by Museo Kordilyera social anthropologist and museum director Dr. Analyn Salvador – Amores.
    Activities were in support to ongoing IBAGIW Creative Festival, an institutionalized event of the city government in line with Baguio being a member of the UNESCO’s Creative Cities particularly on Crafts and Folk Arts. -- PIA Cordillera

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Baguio City's tourist arrival slots fully booked weekends

TOURISM ON. Baguio City remains to be a favorite destination of tourists with thousands coming over after the city government re-opened its borders to non-essential travelers. The city tourism office has imposed a 3,000 limit of tourist arrivals per day. (PNA file photo)


By Liza Agoot

BAGUIO CITY – Even after the city government has increased the number of tourists that will be allowed to enter the Summer Capital to 3,000 daily from 2,000, the slots for all weekends of December have been filled-up.
    Information provided by city tourism officer Engr. Aloysius Mapalo on Tuesday said the 3,000 daily limits for December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, and 24 have all been reserved and blocked.
    The city allows and gives quick response travel passes (QTP) to non-resident travelers going to Baguio for unnecessary travel or those that are classified under the category of tourist thru the tourist online registration platform visita.baguio.gov.ph.
    The weekend before December was also blocked as registrations reached the 3,000 ceiling per day.
Mapalo said that aside from the registered tourist arrivals, the city is also accepting visitors who have the blue QR-coded tourist pass (QTPs) issued by some local hotels that have been permitted to operate their triage like the Forest Lodge and the Manor at Camp John Hay and the Baguio Country Club.
    The blue QTPs are not included in the limit as they are tourists that go straight to their hotels that operate their triage which had passed the standards imposed by the City Health Services Office (CHSO).
    The city tourism officer urged visitors to be responsible tourists by simply following the prescribed process and complying with the requirements to be able to enter the city.
    “We apologize to those who we cannot accommodate anymore, we’re still making it safe for everyone,” Mapalo said
    He warned visitors who do not have the issued QTPs that personnel manning the border checkpoints will turn them away back to their points of origin since it has been clear from the start that tourists wanting to enter the city must first register in the registration platform and await for the issuance of their QTPs.
    The city started to accept tourists on the last week of October after closing the border to non-essential travels due to the surge in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases.
    When it re-opened to tourists, only 2,000 per day was allowed as part of the efforts to allow the gradual and safe opening of the city under the guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force.
    During pre-pandemic, December recorded the most number of tourist arrivals in the city due to the cold weather condition. -- PNA 
 

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POLICE ROUNDUP

1 dead, 2 hurt as motorcycle hits tricycle in Kalinga town


PINUKPUK, Kalinga – The 24-year-old man who died after his motorcycle collided with a tricycle here on Nov. 21 was buried last week, police said.
Investigators said Jerick Calumnag, who was driving the motorcycle, tried to overtake the tricycle driven by Regie Vilda, 22, while they were traversing the Sucbot-Tabuk provincial road around 6: 30 p.m.
The motorcycle hit the rear of the tricycle, leaving Vilda and his 11-year-old passenger injured due to the impact, said Maj, Lee Alvin Alinao, Pinukpuk police chief.
Vilda and the minor victim were taken to the Kalinga Provincial Hospital for treatment while Calumnag was declared dead on arrival in the same hospital.

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Isabela lass tops 2021 teachers' license exam

Roslyn Vea Damasco, topnotcher of the 2021 Licensure Examination for Teachers. (Photo from Roslyn Damasco's Facebook account)


By Villamor Visaya, Jr.

CITY OF ILAGAN, Isabela – A resident of this city received good news on her birthday -- topping the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) which she took last September.
    Roslyn Vea Damasco, a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Education-Major in Special Education and Minor in Mathematics, topped the LET, besting 17,863 examinees with a 93.40-percent rate.
    Damasco was a consistent honor student during her elementary and high school years and graduated magna cum laude at University of the Philippines-Diliman in 2019.    
    “I have mixed emotions: happy, blessed, grateful, overjoyed. Sometimes I want to cry out of joy and of gratitude to God. Sometimes, I still can't believe it,” she said in an online interview on Tuesday.
    Damasco said her mindset since she entered UP was "I want to top the LET. I will top the LET,” which she nurtured through the years.
    “I found the exam, especially my major which is Mathematics, very difficult. From 'Lord, please help me top" to 'Lord, please help me pass' because I thought that it'll be a miracle if I passed. There was a thought na baka hindi po ako pumasa (I might not pass), but God is so great. I thank Him for this miracle. I know that He has a reason why He gave this to me and I want to fulfill His plan,” she said.
    She admitted she got depressed when the LET was postponed for almost two years due to the pandemic and when her grandmother died, and thanked her family for the all-out support they gave her.
    Her fellow Cagayan Valley-based LET-taker, Czendra Faye Compares of Tuguegarao City in Cagayan, got a 93.20-percent rate.
    Compares finished her Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education Major in Biology degree at the Cagayan State University-CSU Andrews. She is teaching high school students at the St. Louis University-Tuguegarao.
    “I am surprised. I did not expect to be among the topnotchers,” Compares said in a Facebook post, adding that her father and siblings first learned of her being the second-ranked topnotcher when the results were released on Monday night.
    She feared not flunking the examination but of possibly being positive for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) when they were required to take an antigen test prior to the examination.
    Meanwhile, another LET taker from Region 2, Devin David Despe Dumlao of Jones, Isabela, garnered a grade of 92.4. He is a product of the Our Lady of the Pillar College in Cauayan City. – PNA

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