Lawyers form probe team: 5 tagged in Ilocos judge's killing

>> Monday, January 24, 2011

By Teddy Molina and Charlie Lagasca

LAOAG CITY – Police identified five suspects in the killing of a municipal circuit trial court judge in his house in Currimao, Ilocos Norte last Tuesday night.

Probers, however, chose not identify the suspects yet pending the investigation.

Judge Fredelito Pingao, of the Municipal Trial Circuit Court Branch 2 that serves Vintar and Sarrat towns, had three hack wounds and several stab wounds in the neck, almost slashing his throat, said Chief Supt. Franklin Bucayu, Ilocos regional police director.

Pingao was also serving in an acting capacity as presiding judge of Branch 1 of the Laoag City Trial Court.

He was found dead in the living room of his house in Ba¬rangay San Simeon, Currimao town on Wednesday when his driver went to fetch him.

Bucayo said investigators were looking at two motives behind the judge’s murder: conflict over a piece of land and personal grudge.

The five suspects, who were allegedly seen with Pingao before he died, would be subjected to fingerprint investigation for matching with pieces of evidence recovered from the crime scene.

Two men who were last seen drinking with Pingao in his home in Barangay San Simeon, Currimao town on Tuesday night were invited for questioning by a special investigating team formed by Senior Supt. Marlo Chan, Ilocos Norte police director.

Pingao’s fellow judges as well as prosecutors and lawyers have also formed their own team to work closely with the police.

The group includes Judge Isidoro Pobre of Regional Trial Court Branch 18 in Batac town and prosecutors Bernardo Agdigos, Valentin Pascua and Myra Shiela Nalupta-Barba, who went to the crime scene to provide legal assistance to the police investigators.

Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos condemned the killing and urged police authorities to fast-track the investigation and give justice to Pingao’s family.

Ilocos Norte Executive Judge Conrado Ragucos and Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Ilocos Norte president Richard Tumaneng condemned the incident, too.

“It’s a senseless killing,” Ragucos said, as he urged the police “to leave no stone unturned in their investigation and bring the killers to court.”


Pacquiao to train in Baguio for Mosley bout

BAGUIO CITY -- Rep. Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao, coach Freddy Roach and the rest of his team will hold once again training camp here as the People’s Champ and eight division title holder gets ready for his next bout against Shane Mosley on May 7.

The previous rumors on site of their training camp have been confirmed by Team Pacquiao on their official website.

They are said to arrive in the city first week of March wherein a four week training period will be conducted before the team flies off again to America for the final preparations.

The pound for pound king trained in the city two times before against Miguel Cotto then later Antonio Margarito.

Baguio’s cool climate is suitable for training and roadwork according to coach Freddy Roach. -- Christian Jovic D. Cariño


Abra official, 2 others shot dead in ambush

By Charlie Lagasca

BANGUED, Abra -- Police are still investigating to find out the perpetrators in the killing of a councilor of Tineg, Abra and two companions in an ambush along the national highway in this capital town, Tuesday night.

Tineg councilor Montano Inon, 37, his cousin Berting Inon, 45, and Diego Biglay, 25, were cruising the highway on a Honda motorcycle en route to Bangued when they were gunned down by motorcycle-rising men.

The three did not reach the Abra provincial hospital alive, said Senior Supt. Armando Laguiwid, Abra police director.

Police investigators found four spent shells and a slug for Cal. 45 pistol at the crime scene.

Police promptly put up checkpoints to catch the gunmen but failed.

Meanwhile, on Jan. 16, a 60-year-old farmer in Abra’s Tayum town was shot dead by a neighbor.

The victim, Ricardo Carmelo, was reportedly about to check his livestock at the backyard when the suspect, Rogel Onor, shot him that night.

Police found eight fired cartridges from an M-16 assault rifle and one fired cartridge from a Gauge 12.

Carmelo, who was shot in the left shoulder and upper right part of the body, died minutes after he was brought to the provincial hospital.


P'sinan cop rapped for 'molesting' minor

SAN MANUEL, Pangasinan – A policeman here was fired from his post and now facing criminal and administrative cases for allegedly molesting a high school coed at a public auditorium last Jan. 15.

PO2 Leo Rombaoa was relieved from his post effective Wednesday upon order of Senior Supt. Rosueto Ricaforte, provincial police director.

Rombaoa was told to report to the holding unit of the provincial police in Lingayen town pending the investigation of his cases, said Supt. Geraldo Roxas, police-community relations head.

The complainant, a high school senior, filed an administrative case against Rombaoa with the National Police Commission office in Urdaneta City, accusing the police officer of touching her right breast and asking if she was still a virgin when he confronted her in a dark area of the public auditorium at around 10:30 p.m. last Jan. 15.

Rombaoa allegedly threatened the girl and told her to unhook her bra and then molested her.

Rombaoa faces an administrative case for grave misconduct, and a criminal case for acts of lasciviousness.

Roxas said Ricaforte wants Rombaoa assigned outside the province pending the investigation.

“We condemn the actuations of Rombaoa, if these would be proven true, and we will not tolerate it. We want him penalized as soon as possible,” Roxas said.


P200-M Benguet alternate road rehabilitation slated

By Dexter A. See

KABAYAN, Benguet – Officials and residents around the Gurel-Bokod- Kabayan-Abatan Road and commuters who use the said road network have reason to be in high spirits after they were informed about the impending road rehabilitation project.

The “gift” is a P200-million financial aid for the initial rehabilitation of the unpaved 50-kilometer secondary national road that links the towns of Bokod, Kabayan, and Buguias, which would provide an alternative route for commuters who are always inconvenienced by the usual closure of roads due to landslides during bad weather conditions.

Benguet Rep. Ronald M. Cosalan said Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson, who took time out from his travel to stop by critical road sections from Beckel to Bokod, made a commitment to start rehabilitation works within the year.

Singson and his family was welcomed to a simple and instant “cañao” prepared by Cosalan with Mayors Faustino Aquisan and Mauricio Macay, of Kabayan and Bokod, respectively, during a recent visit and trekking in Mount Pulag, the second highest mountain peak in the country.

Minutes after coming down from the 2,922 meter Mt. Pulag summit recently, Singson met with local officials of the two towns, Cosalan, and DPWH engineers Albert Gahid and Dominador Daway and discussed strategies on how to repair the said road network.

The scope of work would include widening of the existing road to hold a 5.5 meter-wide concrete road pavement, slope protection, line canals, and cross-drainage systems.

Singson said the road bends would have wider concrete pavements to allow larger passenger buses and trucks coming from opposite directions to negotiate the curves at the same time.

Aside from the Madaymen-Kapangan-Tublay Road, the Bokod-Kabayan-Buguias Road is used as a second alternate road to Baguio City and Nueva Viscaya for commuters and farmers from Bauko, Mt. Province, and further north.

Concerning the Guesset landslide along the Beckel-Bokod road stretch, Singson told Gahid to help push down loose aggregates in order to hasten natural stabilization process.

The Guesset landslide was triggered by typhoon “Pepeng” in 2009, was cleared and initially stabilized last year but was again washed down by typhoon “Juan.”

At the same time, Singson took advantage of the Pulag occasion to announce a commitment to set in place a cemented tire-path to connect the Bokod-Kabayan road to the Ranger Station in Mt. Pulag.


Lusad named new Benguet PNP chief

CAMP BADO DANGWA, Benguet --Senior Supt. Benjamin M. Lusad, took over Monday the command here as Benguet provincial police director, replacing Senior Supt. Wilben Mayor.

Lusad, former chief of the regional operation and plans division of Cordillera police is not new to the post since he had been a former provincial director of Ilocos Norte.

The ceremony was held here at the regional Philippine National Police grounds wherein guest of honor and speaker was Vice Gov. Cresencio Pacalso.

The outgoing provincial director extended his gratitude to personnel and staff of regional police and people of Benguet for their “untiring support in the fight against criminality that led to destruction of marijuana plants and arrest of wanted persons in Benguet.”

Lusad, after accepting command said he was ready to uphold command duties and responsibilities.

He urged Benguet police continue peace and order programs and projects. - Mar T. Supnad


Indigenous course set by Mountain Province State Polytechnic College

By Dexter A. See

BONTOC, Mountain Province— The Mountain Province State Polytechnic College here will offer indigenous peoples education to preserve and protect the culture of tribes in the Cordillera.

During last week’s celebration of its 19th Charter Day celebration, the MPSPC launched its indigenous people’s education curriculum which will be incorporated in the teacher education program leading to the degree Bachelor of Science in Teacher Education major in Indigenous Peoples Education and Rural Development.

The indigenous people’s education curriculum will be similar to the ones offered by St. Mary’s University and University of Southeastern Philippines based in Davao city.

Dr. Nieves Dacyon, MPSPC president, said the new course will providing knowledge on indigenous peoples’ rich culture and traditions in Cordillera.

MPSPC gained recognition as a prime education center in the Cordillera for rural development and for excellence in global competitiveness as it aspires to become a full-pledged university in the coming years.

The institution’s Charter Day activities focused on commitments of stakeholders as pioneers of indigenous peoples education in the country.

For the past years, MPSPC has produced responsible, morally upright and globally competitive professionals and technical workers who were able to excel in their respective fields of expertise.

It had promoted and undertook relevant research and extension activities that contributed to the local and national development on indigenous people’s education.

Dacyon said the offering of the course will help advance culturally appropriate and responsive frameworks of education and development as well as provide progressive and dynamic rural development programs.

For the past several years the course had been undergoing scrutiny by experts, said Dacyon.


Manhunt on for faith healer in Ifugao drinking spree slay

By Mar T. Supnad

ALFONSO LISTA, Ifugao - A faith healer is now being hunted by police after stabbing to death one person and seriously injuring two others during a drinking spree last week.

Eden Picha of Sitio Nambasal, Barangay Kiling, Alfonso Lista, Ifugao was mauled to death by Ricky Palingit, a Pentecostal faith healer, police said.

Also seriously wounded was Julius Ogasna after he was also strangled by Paling it who is now the subject of police manhunt.

Supt. Leon Talleo, regional police spokesman rbased in Camp Dangwa, Bengut said, the victims together with Robert Hidjum Ambuyao,Johnny Inablan Balliti and Ruben Chammag Buhungan were having a drinking spree at the house of Johnny Balliti when the suspect arrived blaming the victims of poisoning his fishpond and stealing his tilapia and kalabab/borasi.

The suspect however, joined in the drinking session. Buhungan went to buy two bottles of gin and when he returned with the two bottles the suspect took it and opened it and uttered let’s have a contest in consuming those gin.

Afterwards the suspect suddenly accused Munchangi and one Julius Manodchom.

The suspect then strangled Manodchom and hit him twice on his nape and right hand with the use of a piece of wood that prompted Picha and Balliti to help the victim but Picha was hit by the suspect many times on his head causing the victim to slump to the ground unconscious.

Talleo said the following day, Picha died of internal hemorrhage inside the house of Balliti.

As of press time, manhunt operation was still being conducted against the suspect, while a case was ready for referral at the Prosecutor’s Office, in Lagawe, Ifugao.


Another flyover to bebuilt in Baguio City

BAGUIO CITY – Another flyover is set to the constructed in this mountain resort to ease traffic.

The multi-million-peso flyover will be built at the junction of Bokawkan and Naguilian roads.

It will be the third among two flyovers, one along the Magsaysay Avenue leading towards La Trinidad, Benguet and the rotunda of the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center.

Engineer Ireneo Gallato, district engineer of the Baguio City District Engineering office of the Department of Public Works and Highways, said the feasibility study for the project will start by the middle part this year so the agency will be guided on actual cost of the project which will be included in succeeding budgets of the agency. -- Dexter See


Aurora Ecozone pushed by execs

BALER, Aurora – Popular support is gradually mounting for the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone (APECO) with governors, congressmen and economic development managers in Central Luzon and Northeastern Luzon pushing for the realization of the project which they said would produce an economic “domino effect” in their respective provinces.

The latest show of full support for the APECO has dwarfed criticisms mounted by militant groups and non-governmental organizations.

Sen. Edgardo Angara, architect of the APECO through legislative action in tandem with Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara and Governor Bellaflor Angara-Castillo, has stressed that APECO stands unique among the 200 economic zones in the country as it was built to be thoroughly sustainable and eco-friendly, with a one megawatt solar power plant that will generate electricity to 1,000 homes.


Missing Filipino soldiers during Korean war found in Pampanga

CANDABA, Pampanga -- Two of the 16 Filipino soldiers declared missing during the Korean war in the 1950s were finally found in this town.

Dr. Paterno Villoria , president of the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea, disclosed this during last week’s unveiling of the Philippine-Korean friendship monument here.

“We have finally found the two of the 16 missing soldiers whom we now considered as Korean War veterans. It is our great honor to come over here and to see our former comrades who fought for the freedom of Korea,” Villoria said.

The Korean War veterans were identified as Francisco Salac, 81, from Barangay Paralaya; and Victoriano Manalastas, 83, residing in Barangay Pansinao, both in Candaba town.

For a long time, Villoria said their organization has been exerting all efforts to find the missing comrades from the five battalion teams of the Philippine Army who fought during Korean War.

Salac served in South Korea under the Recon Company while Manalastas at the C-Company of the 10th Batallion Combat Team.

Villoria said the Philippines paid in blood and pain for defending democracy in South Korea.

The first war between democracy and communism took the lives of 112 Filipino soldiers and wounded 299 others.

With this development, only 14 soldiers now remain officially missing-in-action.
Villoria said it is about time for the government of South Korea to return the favor to Filipino soldiers who risked their lives during the war.

"We are not asking for too much. What we only want is to give to us what is appropriate. We are only few who are still alive. From more than 7,000, we are now only 2,000,” Villoria said.

As this developed, Lee Kyung Jae, a Korean legislator, assured the surviving Korean War veterans that South Korea will provide what is due to them.

"We will do return the favor. We never forget what we got from you," Jae said. -- PNA


BSU certified producer of organic fruits, veggies

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Benguet State University is now a certified producer of organic herbs, vegetables and fruits.

This is now possible as the Organic Certification Center of the Philippines has officially released BSU’s Organic Certificate No. 0038F10 effective November 23, 2010 to Nov. 23, 2011.

According to Dr. Joe Balaoing who manages the BSU organic demonstration farm, BSU is the first academic institution in the Philippines to acquire such certification.

He added this will be a big leap in BSU’s organic agriculture program.

Products of the farm specified in the certification include: American amaranth, ampalaya leaves, asparagus beans, bell pepper, broccoli, bush beans, cabbage, camote tops, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cherry tomato, Chinese cabbage, coriander, cucumber, dill, eggplant, fennel, French beans, garden pea, lettuce, okra, onion leeks, pechay, potato, spinach, strawberry, sugar beets, sweet basil, talinum, upland kangkong and zucchini.

BSU earlier declared itself as pro-organic on Sept. 14, 2004. This was supported by the Regional Development Council-CAR through RDC Excom Resolution No. CAR-011.
The same resolution called for the promotion of organic agriculture in the Cordillera.

BSU is also certified as producer/processor of Organic Arabica Coffee since 2008 by the Institute of Marketecology (IMO) based in Switzerland. – J. Sabado-Tabangcura


Aquino’s support for regional autonomy drive a ‘big break,’ says RDC

BAGUIO CITY – The commitment of President Aquino to consult with Cordillera autonomy advocates for regional self-governance is a big break, the Regional Development Council said.

However, Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, chairman of the drafting committee of the working document for the autonomy campaign, said all sectors in the region must unify their stand and come out with a working draft of what people want to be on the status of autonomy they want before presenting the same to the President for support.

In his report relative to the gains of his administration in his first 100 days in office, President Aquino earlier underscored the importance of talking to autonomy advocates to ascertain the extent of self-rule the region wants before supporting the same.

According to Domogan, provincial sub-committees were urged to complete massive consultations in their respective areas of jurisdiction to get sentiments of the grassroots before it will be presented to the regional committee for deliberation and the eventual crafting of a working document.

At the same time, the RDC downloaded to the six provinces and the city government here P500,000 each from the P15-million autonomy information campaign fund so that it will be utilized by the sub-committees to make the effort to get the real sentiments of the people on the desire to have autonomous governance.

Aside from recognizing the role of indigenous peoples (IPs) in nation-building, the 1987 Constitution recognized the neglect of the national government to the needs of people in the Cordillera and Muslim Mindanao, thus, the inclusion of the provision to establish autonomous regions in the two remote places in the country.

Domogan said Cordillerans must not waste the time given to the region to acquire autonomous status by cooperating in the ongoing massive consultations in the provinces so that they will be able to contribute their bright ideas which will help in the crafting of a third Organic Act that will be subjected to ratification by the people.

He explained that the attainment of an autonomous region will not diminish the benefits, powers and gains of the local governments comprising the region but will instead add up to the same with the provision of more funds for increased number of projects beneficial to the people in the far-flung communities.

Apart from adding up to the powers of the local and regional governments, he emphasized achieving autonomy will be a good vehicle for the region to be at par with the development of other regions provided the impending devolution must not only go with the powers but also the required resources so that the regional government will be appropriately administered.

After crafting a working document for the region’s autonomous status, the RDC will consult with sectors so congressmen will file the appropriate bill in Congress which will in turn be submitted to the people for approval in the future.


Groups urge P-Noy: Stop destruction of Sierra Madre

MALOLOS CITY– Bulacan environmentalists and clergymen from the provinces of Quezon and Aurora have urged President Aquino to act swiftly and stop the unabated rape of the Sierra Madre mountains.

In an open letter released Jan. 13, Fr. Pete Montallana, parish administrator of Dingalan and Umiray towns in Aurora, listed recent cases of rampant small- and large-scale logging in the Sierra Madre.

The latest was on Jan. 10 when he was informed by environmentalists from General Nakar, Quezon that about 10,000 logs were cut in Umiray and were ready for transport, but this was prevented by huge waves on the country’s eastern seaboard.

But this was not the only time when illegal activities were observed in the Sierra Madre, according to Montallana.

He said logging and charcoal making in Dingalan, Aurora and Gen. Nakar towns in Quezon had been reported before but the Department of Environment and Natural resources failed to act on this.

Montallana said the Task Force Sierra Madre had written so many letters before, including open letters to Malacañang.

“Environmentalists have welcomed your administration with much hope that things would finally change at the DENR. But as far as the destruction of the forests in the Sierra Madre is concerned it has been business as usual,” Montallana said in an open letter to Aquino.

“With one big difference – people have been deceived that logging has stopped with so many press releases from the DENR regarding its anti-corruption campaigns by installing surveillance cameras in offices, removing checkpoints, reporting confiscations of logs and giving confiscated logs to schools,” he added.

Montellana urged the President to finally put a stop to the destruction of the Sierra Madre by implementing a total log ban or stopping the permit of the San Roque Saw Mill.

“These may be good but DENR has not really addressed the corruption inside itself. If only there were a big camera in the Sierra Madre, then the whole country would know the real score regarding the destruction of the forests. The big question is this, can DENR heal itself?” he said.

The Sierra Madre Environmental Council (SMEC) based in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan echoed the same sentiment.

Led by Bro. Martin Francisco, the SMEC has been conducting an awareness campaign against illegal logging in the Sierra Madre by taking photographs and posting them on Facebook, a popular social networking site.

In a recent interview, Francisco said that unless the President cleanses the ranks of the DENR, a meaningful program will remain remote.

Montallana’s Save Sierra Madre Network also demanded a total log ban.

Montellana said, “What is happening now in the world should so alarm us that the government should even consider the declaration of the total log ban. It has to choose between the welfare of the people and the income of financiers. Should we continue to destroy our forests? At what price?”

He added: “The government has to address urgently, too, the issue of poverty of the poor loggers and charcoal makers who are taken advantage of by the financiers and by unscrupulous government officials.”


28 survive 2 mishaps in waters off Cagayan

By Freddie Lazaro

TUGUEGARAO CITY — At least 20 crew members of a tilted Hong Kong cargo vessel in waters off Aparri, Cagayan last Tuesday have been rescued safely, the Philippine Maritime Group reported Thursday.

Earlier on June 16, eight people, including a seven-month-old baby, survived after big waves wrecked the vessel they were riding in waters also off Barangay Linao in Aparri last Jan. 16.

Supt. Verlito Paredes, chief of the PMG, said after the rescue in the latest incident, his men assisted Philippine Coast Guard personnel in tugging “M/V Lucky V,” owned by Franco Shipping Company and registered in Hong Kong, to a shallow area.

The cargo vessel had an undetermined volume of iron ore bound for China from Cagayan when Filipino Captains Pio Sergio Jr. and Severino Gallenero Galo sent out an S-O-S message that their ship was hit by strong waves.

Earlier in the June 16 incident, the victims were bound for Claveria, Cagayan aboard M/V San Bartolome when it was hit by big waves.

Luckily, they were nearing the port in Aparri when the incident happened.

Chief Insp. George Cablarta, Aparri town’s chief of police, identified the survivors as Felino Fernando, 53; Arthur Fernando Duerme, 33, his wife - Mercy 32 and his child Boy Arthur Duerme, 7 – month old; Fernando Llopis; Prince Fernando, 29; Rexum Fernando and Vincent Caddarao, 19, all residents of Calayan Island in Cagayan.


Cordillera landslide-prone roads to be fixed

BAGUIO CITY— Landslide-prone road sections in the Cordillera region would be fixed by district offices of the Department of Public Works and Highways to prevent closure of national roads during the rainy and typhoon seasons, a ranking DPWH regional official said last week.

Edilberto Carabbacan, DPWH regional director, said at least 10 national road sections in region are prone to landslides, rockslides, mudslides and soil erosions during heavy rains and typhoons which impede the smooth flow of traffic and the continuous transport of agricultural crops from the farms to the markets.

Among the identified vulnerable road sections are the Gueset section of the Benguet-Nueva Vizcaya road, Ongkalew of the Tinongdan Dalupirip road, Ambassador and Gonogon of the Halsema highway, Sumigar of the Bontoc to Banaue road, Tinglayan of the Bontoc-Tabuk-Tuguegarao road and several other sections of secondary national arterial roads in the provinces of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Kalinga, Ifugao and Mountain Province.

Carabbacan ordered different district offices to take advantage of the summer months to clear debris on the verge of being washed down so that they will have fewer landslides during the rainy months.

He said mitigating measures must be put in place, especially in the identified landslide-prone road sections, so that closure of roads to vehicular traffic that last for several days during the typhoon months will be reduced and that the safety of the motoring and commuting public will be guaranteed.

Apart from instituting mitigating measures along critical road sections, the DPWH regional office is also studying the adaption of technologies that could reduce landslides as well as detect the occurrence of earth movements.

Meanwhile, the Cordillera office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources here said around 70 percent of the region’s land area is highly susceptible to landslides while 10 percent is flood-prone.

However, Clarence Baguilat, DENR-CAR regional director, said the public should not be alarmed because it is a major characteristic of a mountainous terrain.

By knowing the topography of areas in Cordillera, people could adapt measures to help prevent or avoid landslides that pose a serious threat to life and limb, Baguilat said.

The DENR has completed the 1:50,000 geohazard mapping for the whole region and the 1:10,000 geohazard mapping for Baguio and Benguet which will serve as the basis for government authorities in planning construction of buildings and infrastructure.

The geohazard maps should be used as a guide for plans to construct buildings and houses.


Law to stop moma spitting in LT filed

By Grace Abrio

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- A proposed ordinance was filed here last week to prevent individuals who chew moma (betel nut) from spitting anywhere to promote health and improve tourism industry in this capital town.

Councilors Roderick Awingan, Francis Lee and Horacio A. Ramos in their resolution said the mixture of betel nut, gawed, lime, tobacco, and other ingredients for chewing produces reddish spittle when blended and chewed.

The anti-spitting law had been implemented already in the said town, but Awingan specified moma to be the subject in the present resolution to attract local and foreign tourists and recognize the town as a place which is clean.

The proposed law requires Individuals chewing moma to bring spittoons that can be emptied in an appropriate place.

A public hearing of the proposed ordinance is set on Jan. 26 at the municipal hall.

If approved, the ordinance would penalize violators to pay P2,500 as fine or imprisonment for a period of six months.


Bulacan cop chief loses post over shabu exposé

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga– The police chief of San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan was relieved from his post last week after one of his men was caught using illegal drugs.

Chief Supt. Alan La Madrid Purisima, Central Luzon police director, has ordered the relief of Supt. Edwin Quilantes based on the Philippine National Police rule on “command responsibility.”

Purisima installed Supt. Pits Macarilla as officer-in-charge of the San Jose del Monte City police.

Quilantes lost his post after one of his men, PO1 Richard Guiyab, was caught on video sniffing shabu.

The footage was shown on GMA-7 “Imbestigator” program hosted by Mike Enriquez.
Guiyab was with another policeman, PO1 Antonio Carmona, of the Caloocan City police, in the shabu session.

Guiyab was brought to this camp last week and got a scolding from PNP chief Director General Raul Bacalzo, who ordered his immediate dismissal from the service.

Bacalzo was here to personally monitor the seven-day retraining of 46 non-commissioned police officers and their OIC, Supt. Wilfredo Paulo, all of Talavera, Nueva Ecija police.


Mountain Province promotes tourist spots

BONTOC, Mountain Province – The provincial government here recently embarked on an aggressive campaign to promote Mountain Province as ecotourist destination in the Cordillera to boost economic development in the countryside.

Gov. Leonard Mayaen said most national roads leading to the far flung communities as well as linking Mountain Province with nearby provinces which are vital tourist destinations has greatly improved, thus, the influx of foreign and domestic tourists is inevitable in the coming days.

To attract tourists, Mayaen said an aggressive campaign is a beautiful ecotourism destination because of the preserved and protected grandeur of most places.

Among the famous tourist spots in the province include Sagada caves and the hanging coffins, Mainit hot springs, Maligcong man-made stairway-like rice terraces, the Mount Amuyao ecopark which is suitable for mountain climbing, the Natonin view deck and the clear waters of the Chico river.

Mountain Province also where Mount Data plateau is located which has almost zero degrees Celsius temperature during the months of November to March.

Mayaen said one of the biggest contributors to the economic development in the province is tourism, thus, the need to strongly promote tourist spots.

From the usual six-hour travel from Baguio City to Sagada town, the same was reduced to at least four hours because of rehabilitation of Halsema highway, the major road to different parts of the Cordillera.

On the other hand, the usual two-hour drive from Bontoc to Banaue was also reduced to just one hour following the completion of the Halsema rehabilitation project amidst road-right-of-way problems.

Travel from Bontoc to Tabuk and vice versa was also reduced from the usual seven hours to a little over four hours after most parts of the over 200-kilometer Bontoc-Tabuk-Tuguegarao road was completed while awaiting completion of other major road sections that are being delayed because of existing road-right-of-way problems.


Cagayan city mayor charged over fire that killed 16 people

By Armand Tamaray

TAGUEGARAO CITY -- The mayor of this city was recently charged before the Department of Justice in connection with the fire last Dec. 19 that struck a pension house here that claimed the lives of 16 people, including male nursing graduates.

The Inter-Agency Anti-Arson Task Force of the Department of the Interior and Local Government filed the charges against Mayor Delfin Ting for violation of Article 208 (prosecution of offenses, negligence and tolerance) of the Revised Penal Code.

The provision, according to the DOJ, metes a penalty of prision correccional in its minimum period and suspension on any public officer, or officer of the law, who, in dereliction of the duties of his office, “maliciously refrains from instituting prosecution for the punishment of violators of the law, or shall tolerate the commission of offenses.”

The duration of prision correccional, suspension and destierro is from six months and one day to six years, except when the suspension is imposed as an accessory penalty, in which case, its duration shall be that of the principal penalty.

Sixteen people were killed when fire hit the Bed and Breakfast Pension House, where the nursing graduates were billeted for the licensure examination, and a semi-commercial building at the corner of Luna and Mabini streets in Tuguegarao City.

Senior Supt. Mao Aplasca, Cagayan police director, said the fire broke out at 1 a.m., initially trapping most of the victims in the two buildings.

Supt. Pedro Martirez, Tuguegarao police chief, said the bodies of nine male nursing graduates of the University of La Sallete in Santiago City, Isabela were retrieved along with six others.

The burnt remains of the couple who owned one of the fire-razed buildings and their two grandchildren were also among the fatalities.

Martirez identified six of the fatalities as Norman Fondevilla, Anniedel Fondevilla, Mildred de Leon, Karylle de Leon, Josh de Leon, and a certain Jen, reportedly a house helper.

“All the victims were trapped in the two buildings. They were burned beyond recognition. Most of the victims were identified (by) their relatives and companions,” Martirez said.

The DOJ also charged a certain Araceli Fondevilla with reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and multiple physical injuries under Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code.

In an affidavit, the Inter-Agency Anti-Arson Task Force said reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and multiple physical injuries should have been charged against Michael Norman Fondevilla, being the owner of the pension house.

But Fondevilla’s death in the blaze extinguished his criminal liability, it said.

Also included in the charge sheet was Gil Fondevilla Semanero for violation of Presidential Decree 1829 for obstruction of justice.


Wanted man in bank rob surrenders

BONTOC, Mountain Province – An alleged member of a “bolt cutter gang” who tried to rob a bank in Sabangan town in this province surrendered to police here Jan. 17.

Felimon Dawayen Carantes alias Yabut Carantes, a resident of Dantay, Alab, Bontoc, gave himself up to town police chief Senior Insp. Pablo D. Undalos and Alab barangay chairman Marlon Kis-ing.

Carantes has a standing warrant of arrest issued by Judge James P. Kibiten Sr. of Bauko Municipal Circuit Trial Court, 1st Judicial Region for frustrated robbery in a private building.

Police said Carantes was one among suspects who entered the Rural Bank of Sagada branch at Nacagang, Tambingan, Sabangan midnight of Nov. 1, 2010 with the use of a bolt cutter.

Though suspects were not successful in their intention, their images were captured by the close circuit television camera installed inside said bank which resulted to the identification of the subject who later disclosed the identity of his companion.

Carantes was turned over to the above mentioned court on Jan. 17 who was then released same day after posting bail bond for his temporary liberty.


Trinidad folks urged to attend composting gabs

By Grace R. Abrio

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The municipal government here, in partnership with Japan Agriculture exchange Program (JAEC) is now holding a one-month activity in line with home composting to promote solid waste management.

Concerned citizens were encouraged to attend seminars related to the venture for them to be able to get a certificate of attendance needed to get business permits.

The project teaches “two-drum composting technology,” adapted from Japan that had already used it in the country the past years.

Fely Ticbaen, the municipality agriculturist said the use of such invention is more advantageous compared to other technology since people could use it not only to support waste management but for home gardening as well.

All biodegradables should stay home, she said, adding the municipal garbage trucks will not going to accept waste unless segregated.

She said residual garbage should be brought to “Alno-Undayan.” a prepared dumpsite that would open considering that the Buyagan dumpsite will be closed.
The activity started Jan. 3.


Vigan City holds Longganisa fest

By Freddie Lazaro

VIGAN CITY, Ilocos Sur – Officials of this World Heritage City led by Mayor Eva Marie S. Medina had slated various significant events for the holding of its 15-day annual fiesta celebration featuring the 10th foundation anniversary of its cityhood, and the “Longganisa Festival” that started Jan. 16 to the 30th.

Medina said they started the yearly festivities with the local residents started attending a nine-day Novena for the patron of Vigan, Saint Paul, until January 24.

“We formally started continuous entertaining day and night activities of our yearly feast on Jan. 19 until Jan. 30 which are held mostly in the city’s Plaza Burgos,” she said.

“Jan. 22 is the day for the celebration of the 10th foundation year of Vigan’s Cityhood wherein the Longganisa Festival street dancing will be taking center stage through a competition moving to the beat of ‘San Pablo, Kamang ti Ili’ as the festival music showing the Bigueños devotion to Saint Paul, our patron,” she added.

According to the lady mayor, this year’s fiesta celebration had a lot of entertainment activities to provide remarkable attractions to the expected thousands local and foreign visitors that join this city’s feast to watch the various artistic events particularly the “Longganisa street dancing festival.”

Highlighting this year’s fiesta: The “Siglat ti Ilocandia” variety show, zarzuela, Abel Iloco fashion show, which is a night of entertainment where local talents perform in the traditional Zarsuela Ilocana; the balikatan and agricultural day featuring agri-float parade and contest; the Vigan City farm festival to include pig catching contest, pig rolleta, bingo bonanza, and other traditional games; coronation of night and revival dance contest; and seminar on container gardening.


Cordillerans top PDEA recruits list nationwide

CAMP DANGWA, Benguet -- Forty four or 21 percent, the so-called “best” of the fifth batch of recruits who shall enter the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Academy at Silang, Cavite on Jan. 24 are from the Cordillera Administrative Region.

Emely Cayandag-Fama, information officer of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in the Cordillera bared thos saying the figure surpassed that of the National Capital Region, which came second with 39 successful recruits or 19 percent of 206, the total number.

Region V or the Bicol Region came third with 18 or 9%. Regions III (Central Luzon), VIII (Eastern Visayas) and XII (SOCCSKSARGEN) all came next with 14.

Region II (Cagayan Valley Region) followed with 11; then Regions IV-A (CALABARZON) and XI (Davao Region) with ten each; followed by Region VII (Central Visayas) with seven; Regions I (Ilocos Region) and X (Northern Mindanao) with six each; Region VI (Western Visayas) with five; and Region IV-B (MIMAROPA) with only four.

Thirty one of the 44 Cordillerans, who took oaths on Dec. 30 as the newest agents of the country’s lead drug law enforcement agency were men while the remaining 13 comprised the 24 percent of the national female population of the recruits.


Stabbing suspect jailed by Buguias policemen

BUGUIAS, Benguet -- Arnel Sanggawa a native of Alilem, Ilocos Sur and presently residing at Alibacong, Buguias, Benguet was stabbed in front of a Meeting Place Videoke Bar at Sinipsip, Buguias, Benguet by a suspect identified as Cesar Cadano of Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya.

Investigation conducted by Buguias PNP disclosed that victim was standing in front of the Videoke Bar when the suspect without any apparent reason stabbed the victim on the different parts of his body with the use of a screw driver.

The victim was immediately rushed at Alunes Clinica while the suspect was arrested and the weapon used are now under the custody of Buguias PNP.- Mar T Supnad


Task force probes slay of Marcos lawyer’s son

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga — The Police Regional Office 3 created Tuesday “Task Force Lozano” that will focus on investigation and speedy arrest of the killers of the son of former Marcos lawyer, Oliver Lozano.

The creation of the task force followed a directive by President Benigno S. Aquino III to Chief Supt. Alan L.M. Purisima, PRO3 director, to give priority to the kidnapping and murder of 44-year-old Emerson “Burton” Lozano and his driver.

The charred body of the younger Lozano was found dumped near the FVR Megadike in Porac, Pampanga Jan. 14, two days after he was kidnapped.

Aquino also instructed Purisima to solicit the expertise of other agencies for the speedy solution of the case.

It took a few days after the charred remains were taken to the Galang Funeral Parlor in Angeles City Jan. 14 before the Lozano family, with the help of experts, positively identified the victim through his dental records.

His driver, Ernane Sensil, was found a day earlier dumped in an irrigation canal in Barangay Matayumtayum in La Paz, Tarlac.

Purisima said it has been established that the two were abducted at 7:15 p.m. Jan. 12 at a gas station on Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City where they had been waiting for a prospective buyer of the younger Lozano’s 2008 Kia Carnival (QAE-333).

Asked what the chances were for the task force to solve the case soon, Purisima answered: “There’s a big possibility to catch the culprit.”

He said by Tuesday, all the pieces of evidence needed for the task force to move forward in its investigation have been collated.


DENR pushes regulated quarry operations in city

BAGUIO CITY— The Cordillera regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources here said it supports regulated quarrying and responsible mining in the region so the Cordillera will be able to benefit from its rich natural resources.

Clarence Baguilat, DENR regional director, said the region is rich in natural resources which could spur economic development even in far flung communities if the same will be responsibly utilized by companies and individuals interested to exploit, utilize and develop the resources.-- Dexter A. See


Foreigners face deportation over illegal activities: mayor

BAGUIO CITY – The city government will file deportation proceedings before the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation against Koreans and other foreigners who are engaged in illegal activities, especially buying lands identified as watershed reservations and subsequently putting up illegal structures thereat.

Domogan issued the warning after receiving reports that some Koreans and other foreigners have been visiting the controversial Forbes Park, a vital watershed reservation in this mountain resort city, where some areas were issued certificate of ancestral land titles (CALTs) and were subdivided and sold to innocent buyers.

Domogan reminded Koreans and other foreigners, who were hoodwinked by alleged land speculators to buy the subdivided lots, that they could face deportation proceedings if they insist on buying the titled lands in the reservation and constructing structures without required zoning clearances and building permits.

The city mayor ordered the city building and architecture office not to issue any building permit to any individual interested to construct structures within the Forbes Park reservation since the CALT issued to over 23 hectares is highly irregular.

Moreover, the local zoning board of adjustment and appeals (LZBAA) will not issue any vocational or zoning clearance to individuals interested to put up structures in the watershed reservation considering that it was not identified for commercial or residential purposes.

Because of the increasing number of land speculators in the Forbes Park reservation, Domogan appealed to prospective buyers of real property in the city to check the validity of the papers of the properties being sold to them so that they will not be hoodwinked by enterprising individuals to give a large sum of money and later on lose their lands since it was fraudulently issued.

He claimed buyers of real property must be careful in buying the lands sold to them so that they will not waste their hard earned money into a questionable transaction which might lead to the land speculators who are now proliferating in the city.

Due to the overlapping provisions of the country’s land laws, speculators are now taking advantage of the same into fooling innocent individuals to buy lands in the city which turn out to be products of questionable transactions over the past several years.

While land is a precious asset and everyone is raring to own a piece of land in the city, Domogan advised buyers of real property from Metro Manila and even foreigners to first investigate the lands being sold to them and not be easily carried away by the sugar-coated words of brokers so that they will be able to get for them the best deal and a good and clean property in the future.

Section 78 of Republic Act (RA) 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples rights Act (IPRA) provides that Baguio city will maintain its townsite sales status but prior land rights recognized by the courts, judicial bodies and other qusai-judicial agencies will be respected and recognized.

The city has a total of 57 square kilometers in total land area and over 80 percent of the same has already been inhabited by either legitimate landowners or squatters. -- Dexter A. See


P11.57-B illegal drugs destroyed in Cordillera

By Dexter A. See

BAGUIO CITY — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Cordillera reported the seizure and destruction of P11.574 billion worth of illegal and dangerous drugs in the region last year.

The PDEA said 115 anti-illegal drug operations implemented in coordination with the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies in the region resulted to this.

A total of 112 persons were also arrested including seven drug personalities under target list and 12 in watch list while 86 cases were filed.

PDEA also reported the neutralization of eight local drug groups. Information Officer Emely Fama of PDEA they had to enhance their drug demand reduction strategy since the tourism potential of Cordillera and the emergence of gambling in the region also attracted illegal drug abuse and demand.

“Ang drug abuse sumasabay iyan sa turismo especially on areas with many night spots and gambling joints,” Fama said.

Fama identified Bakun and Kibungan in Benguet, Tinglayan and Tabuk in Kalinga, Lagawe and Banaue in Ifugao, and Sagada, Mountain Province as PDEA’s priority areas as far as illegal drugs are concerned.


Gagayam Festival set on March 20-21

Gabriel Moguet

SABANGAN, Mountain Province -- The Gagayam Festival, now on its fifth year, will be held here March 20-21.

Mayor Donato Danglose bared this, adding the celebration of the Patron Saint of Saint Joseph Parish Church will be celebrated on the 19th.

Events include street dancing, cultural shows like indigenous games and literary musical contest where even old folks could participate.

During the first Gagayam Festival, an indigenous game locally called ak-akad caught the attention of national dailies.

On the Evening of March 20 , the search for “Bangan” and “ Gatan” of Sabangan will be held.

This affair is the most awaited especially among youngsters as the search for “Bangan” and “Gatan” of Sabangan is not just a search for pretty faces but on wit and talents.

Local said the celebration would boost tourism in this town. During past celebrations, foreign and local tourists ran to thousands.

Meanwhile, Danglose and Vice Mayor Joseph Bernardez, turned over to the new town police chief Insp. Jabbar Wanna, one brand new laptop computer and also a new desktop compute r on Jan. 17.

The new chief of police, conveyed their gratitude but a school principal said the festival will be a test to Wanna if he would allow illegal gambling during the festival.

The past celebrations, despite letter of appeal from students to people concerned and a memorandum from the mayor to the chief of police, illegal gambling was allowed which was considered a major insult to the religious sector as it was operated just a few meters away from the Saint Joseph Parish Church.



Two arrested in buy bust
BAGUIO CITY – Two alleged illegal drug pushers were nabbed here by police Jan. 19 in buy-bust operations.

Jerry Alvin P. Lee, 26, of Sagubo, Kapangan, Benguet and presently residing at Tandang Sora St, Camdas Subdivision here yielded dried marijuana leaves valued at P7,579.

His companion, identified as Joerald Ugaldey Dameg was also nabbed in a separate operation. Confiscated from him was shabu worth P354.

Japan extends aid to Aurora
AURORA – The Japanese government has extended financial assistance to two projects in the province of Aurora with a combined worth of P780 million.

According to the Japanese Embassy in Manila, Japanese Ambassador Makoto Katsura will first grace the ground breaking ceremonies of the “Project for Improvement of the Aurora Memorial Hospital” in Reserva, Baler, Aurora.

The Aurora Memorial Hospital, which costs approximately 1.09 billion Japanese Yen, or approximately P509 million, is funded under the Japan’s Grant Aid Program.

It will be the only hospital in Aurora that can perform surgical procedures, thus reducing the number of patients transferred to other provinces.

DA distributes rice seeds to Kalinga farmers
TABUK, Kalinga – Rice farmers in this province have Kalinga found relief from heavy damage inflicted by super typhoon “Juan” to their crops that were on their vegetative, flowering, and harvestable stages last October with the distribution of 12,532 bags of certified rice seeds subsidy from the Department of Agriculture under its calamity assistance program.

Provincial agriculturist Gerry Jose said 11,231 bags fall under the 50-50 subsidy or farmers will pay half of the cost per bag amounting to P600, while 1,301 bags are covered under full subsidy.

Farmers allotted with the 50-50 subsidy are those who have chances of recovery covering an affected area of 11,231 hectares, while those under full subsidy are without chance of recovery coming from an affected area of 1,301 hectares. -- Dexter See

Colorum vehicles’ legalization on
BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera Department of Transportation and Communications regional office here is trying to humanize harsh penalties by trying to legitimize the operation of at least 1,000 colorum vans and taxis operating in the region to prevent a transport crisis.

However, Celina Claver, DOTC regional director, said the rapid growth in the region’s population has also resulted to bigger demand for public transport. --Dexter See

Computers given to 7 Pampanga libraries
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – The National Library of the Philippines turned over seven KOHA computer units to seven public libraries in the province in ceremonies held recently at the Pampanga provincial library.

Provincial librarian Bessie D. Makabali said the computers were turned over by the NLP to the city and municipal libraries of Guagua, Floridablanca, Sasmuan, Macabebe, Masantol, Angeles City and the provincial library here.

Baguio decreases waste volume
BAGUIO CITY— The segregation of residents’ waste at source has significantly reduced volume being dumped at the Irisan open dumpsite.

Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan reported from the average of 166 tons of waste being brought to the Irisan dumpsite daily, the same has been reduced to 103 tons or approximately 40 percent as people are now learning to segregate their waste before their collection schedules. --Dexter A. See

Pinatubo victims get land titles
PAMPANGA – Some 302 families in Pampanga displaced by the Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991 have been relocated by the government.

This developed after Vice President and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council Chairman Jejomar C. Binay awarded lot titles to the 302 qualified families from the villages of Bacolor, Mabalacat and Angeles City who were affected by the massive volcano eruption.

According to the National Housing Authority (NHA), the families are now “safely and securely resettled” at the Camachile Resettlement Project in Mabalacat, Pampanga.
“The Camachile project, which occupies a total land area of 26.80 hectares, was acquired in January 1992,” NHA said.

OFW center for Pangasinan pushed
LINGAYEN, Pangasinan - Provincial Board member Ranjit Ramos Shahani is pushing establishment of an OFW center in the province that will on problems of overseas Filipino workers.

Shahani said the center should accommodate any complaint from OFWs’ relatives who are in trouble abroad.

He brought up the need for such an office for OFW concerns following the repatriation last week of the remains of three OFWs from Saudi Arabia.

P204 M from Spain for N. Ecija risk reduction
CABANATUAN CITY -- A P204.197-million fund is set to be used for a disaster risk reduction project for marginalized families in Nueva Ecija affected by recent typhoons.

The government of Spain, through the Agencia Española de Cooperacion Internacional para el Desarrolo (AECID) in coordination with the Department of Interior and Local Government’s Local Government Academy identified the five LGUs that will benefit from this project, namely San Jose City, Carranglan, Pantabangan, Rizal and Llanera.

Ilocos Region PNP chief justifies cops’ training
CAMP FLORENDO, La Union — Chief Supt. Franklin J.B. Bucayu, Police Regional Office 1 director, announced recently the need to retrain police officers to be more effective in field operations.

Bucayu said the back-to-basics program will enhance their capabilities in investigation, proper first-response actions and procedures, crime scene preservation and management, case build-up, proper use of firearms, arrest and handcuffing techniques, and the like.

He said the retraining of the first batch of 60 members of the PRO1, which began last Jan. 11, is in line with Director-General Raul M. Bacalzo’s Eight Foundation Initiatives in the Philippine National Police.

Bulacan cops deputized to guard nature
SAN MIGUEL, Bulacan — Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy Alvarado signed last week a memorandum of agreement for the deputation of the Bulacan Provincial Police Office under the leadership of Senior Supt. Fernando S. Villanueva, as forest marshals and protectors of the environment.

Under the MOA members of the PPO may apprehend illegal loggers, poachers, mining and quarry operators and haulers of illegally-sourced extracted mineral, quarry materials, illegally cut logs and others violating provision of provincial ordinance on mining and proper disposal of waste.

Coldest in Nueva Vizcaya: 12°C
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines –This landlocked province Tuesday experienced its coldest temperature in recent years at 16 degrees Celsius.

The temperature was recorded early morning, the coldest since 2006 when the province had 12 degrees Celsius.

Nueva Vizcaya generally has cool weather this time of the year.

Dagupan gets 2 patrol bikes
DAGUPAN CITY -- The city police’s anti-crime drive got a boost after a private firm donated two motorcycles to be used for the regular patrolling of the city’s business district.

Mayor Benjamin S. Lim received the donation from Guanzon Lo, vice president and general manager of Guanzon Group of Companies, during opening of Guanzon Festival Grand Leg at the public square last Jan. 14.

Lim said the city police will use the patrol motorcycles particularly for going after notorious holdup duos riding-in-tandem on motorcycles.

Use of iodized salt drive on
LINGAYEN,Pangasinan – The Provincial Health Office here will conduct an information and communications campaign promoting the salt iodization program as it spearheads this year’s celebration of the Goiter Awareness Week on Jan. 23 to 29.

In line with the theme, “Iwas Goiter ni Mommy, Lusog Isip ni Baby,” provincial health officer Ana de Guzman said the campaign focuses on pregnant and lactating women who should be informed on the benefits of using iodized salt.

De Guzman said iron deficiency is the number one cause of preventable mental retardation in the Philippines and the most visible effect of this deficiency is goiter or an enlarged thyroid gland.


Red Plates


At least 15 government vehicles were seen in various tourist spots in Baguio City and La Trinidad, Benguet by a monitoring team from the Office of the Ombudsman last week.

Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Mark Jalandoni bared this saying his office conducted Oplan Red Plate while in Baguio for a dialogue with stakeholders and to conduct information campaign on public accountability among the city’s barangay officials and government employees.

Task Force Red Plate was created by the Ombudsman’s Office in April 2006 to ensure government vehicles are used prudently and in accordance with laws and regulations. It also aimed to enhance public awareness and participation in support of the Ombudsman’s fight against graft and corruption.

Jalandoni said the vehicles they saw in tourist spots were yet to be determined if they were used as personal vehicles by government employees. He added with the cold weather in Baguio the past weeks, more tourists were coming up and it was possible that government vehicles were being used for private purposes.

The investigating team had taken pictures of these vehicles parked in tourist spots and they would conduct investigation with the help of the Land Transportation Office to determine what government agencies own said vehicles, and if they are on an official travel to Baguio City and La Trinidad.

If proven these government vehicles were being misused, proper administrative and other charges will be faced by the agency head and or those who used it.

In previous years, 19 government officials were suspended from office without pay for violating rules and regulations on use of government vehicles.

According to Jalandoni, it takes a lot of time to monitor if government vehicles are being used properly and their agency does not have the capability to conduct inspections frequently in various places.

Lack of personnel to carry out the Ombudsman's anti-graft and corruption functions, he said, had been preventing them from conducting inspections including lifestyle checks. The Office of the Ombudsman has planned to put up a satellite office in Baguio.

As Jalandoni himself admitted, it maybe better for the Office of the Ombudsman to leave the job to law enforcement agencies like the Land Transportation Office or the police and concentrate in prosecuting graft and corruption cases. It could start from within the office where corruption is allegedly rampant.


Illegal logging

Alfred P. Dizon

Despite the series of natural disasters that struck the country, the issue of whether a total log ban would be imposed on this Banana Republic deserves more scrutiny as it is not as simple as that, according to critics.

Some lawmakers are supporting the total ban like Sen. Francis Escudero who said this must be imposed, particularly in areas identified as disaster-prone by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Citing data from the DENR, Escudero said a total of 1,618 municipalities across the country are now considered disaster hot spots. He said a total log ban should include natural forests regardless of logging concessions issued by the government to certain companies to prevent environmental tragedies.

“This must be executed now to avoid further destruction of our environment and the senseless loss of lives and properties. It would be a shame on our part to watch lives flicker out before us when we can very well do something to prevent this,” Escudero said.

President Aquino earlier said illegal logging continues to be the main culprit of landslides that cause significant loss of life and damage to property. Aquino has cited the dire situation in several areas in Bicol and Eastern Visayas continually battered by floodwaters. The President thought of imposing a total log ban in flooded provinces after visiting Bicol, Eastern Visayas and Agusan.

Albay, Sorsogon and the Samar-Leyte and Agusan provinces have been experiencing heavy rains and flooding the past several weeks. Scores of people have died.

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone supported Aquino’s plan to impose a total log ban in provinces that have been flooded the past several weeks.

“We should adopt drastic measures to offset the adverse effects of global warming. Since most of the country’s forests are already denuded, we must preserve our remaining forest cover and engage in massive tree-planting,” Evardone said.

The former journalist suggested government agencies offering scholarships like the Commission on Higher Education, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and the Department of Education should require their scholars to plant trees.

Evardone said he is imposing the same requirement on his 2,000 scholars in his province. Escudero, however, acknowledged the imposition of a total log ban would affect livelihood of affected communities that rely on forest resources.

He emphasized though the ban should be coupled with alternative sources of livelihood. “This is now or never. Aside from the loss of lives, the country is stepping back further from development as we incur an annual average of P6.6 billion in economic losses based on the study of the United Nations,” Escudero said.

Renato Miranda, head of the DENR’s Task Force Pagbabago, the government’s anti-illegal logging and illegal mining task force, however cautioned against imposing a total log ban.

“Declaring total log ban without offering immediate source of livelihood now is very untimely especially when prices of basic goods, cost of living and petroleum prices thus transportation fares are increasing, gradual log ban may be appropriate,” Miranda said.

“The President should think twice before even signing total log ban order,” said the former Marine commander. Miranda explained a total log ban would definitely affect the livelihood of a large number of people, particularly in the Caraga region.

“If only the President will personally see for himself how poor most tree farmers are thus they ended up victims of this mafia-like illegal logging and illegal mining activities perpetuated by those in power and authority in cahoots with corrupt DENR officials and their wealthy businessmen and wood traders’ friends,” Miranda said.

Miranda admitted that in his nearly five months of surveillance work on illegal logging activities, he discovered that the beneficiaries are middlemen who deal with tree farmers or woodcutters, traders, and corrupt officials.

“Unless these corrupt government personnel are punished therefore must be stopped totally in their moneymaking activities, and sustaining livelihood as alternative of illegal logging and mining be put in place, government cannot stop illegal logging and mining since these were the only source of livelihood of many people in Caraga region” he added.

Miranda said what is needed is a comprehensive and strict implementation of environmental laws.

“Meaning, the DENR must be transparent, pro-active in implementing existing forest and environmental laws while looking for alternative livelihood for the people,” he said. A total log ban without providing immediate livelihood would leave many tree farmers and their immediate families and dependents in hunger, he said.

“Let us all put our house in order first, let us first offer alternative livelihood the soonest. Confiscating illegally cut logs on daily basis will not help solve the problem, what we need is to prevent people right in the forest (from) cutting trees,” Miranda added.

But according to dome indigenous tribes, lawmakers should not impose a total log ban considering that in indigenous lands or domains, there are trees which these people use to build houses, for firewood, woodcarving or other purposes.

If ever there would be a total log ban, he said, they wouldn’t be able to cut trees for their use considering that they were the ones who planted these in the first place.


Troublemaker vs troubleshooter

Perry Diaz

A battle royale is looming on the horizon between P-Noy’s Chief Troublemaker, Rico E. Puno, and his soon-to-be Chief Troubleshooter, Mar Roxas. It would make the gunfight at OK Corral look like kids playing “Bang bang you’re dead!” during school recess.

Well, let’s see who’s going to win: Rico the “Chief Troublemaker” who’s good at shooting or Mar the “Chief Troubleshooter” who’s good at making trouble. Indeed, trouble is brewing again between Mar’s “Balay” faction and the “Samar” faction. With P-Noy’s “shooting buddy” Rico leading the “Times Street” faction, it’s going to be a three-way labo-labo among P-Noy’s groupies.

Meanwhile, Rico is missing! Nobody has seen him since the August 23 Luneta bloodbath and the “jueteng payola scandal. The buzz is that since P-Noy doesn’t have the heart to fire his “shooting buddy,” he transferred him to the government’s special “15-30” program; that is, he shows up every 15th and 30th of the month to pick up his paycheck.

It seems like the “Balay” faction was rooting for Atty. Romulo Macalintal to be appointed the next Comelec chairman while the “Samar” faction was rooting for Atty. Sixto Brillantes. Well, these are two good lawyers but Macalintal was linked to ex-prez Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as her “troubleshooting” election lawyer.
A consortium of several groups, including the watchdog “Kontra Daya,” released a statement saying: “While Atty. Macalintal is viewed by many as a ‘competent’ election lawyer, his consistent defense of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the fraudulent results of the 2004 elections and the succeeding ‘Hello Garci’ scandal in 2005 do not make him fit for the job.”

Hmm… Wouldn’t that be likened to President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III appointing Don Vito Corleone’s consigliere as the Ombudsman? I bet that Gloria must be tickled pink at the prospect of Macalintal getting the powerful post. I can just see Gloria calling, “Hello Mac.”

The truth of the matter is that Sixto Brillantes will be the next Comelec chairman. Poor Mac was thrown into the desert to attract the vultures and distract them from attacking Sixto. Indeed, Machiavelli is back in the game -- the end justifies the means. And P-Noy is learning fast! Yup, just like driving a Porsche in the fast lane – it’s aphrodisiac.
All P-Noy wanted was to trade in his karag-karag BMW for a third-hand Porsche sports car for P4.5 million and now he’s in big trouble with his “boss,” the Filipino people. Little did he know that a “cheap” used Porsche would create trouble. Yup, buying a Porsche while the poor were eating “pagpag” reminds me of Marie Antoinette telling the hungry French people to eat cake.

P-Noy was probably thinking of impressing his girlfriends driving them around at 150 kilometers an hour at Roxas Blvd in the wee hours like those spoiled kids of rich people. Yup, P-Noy is like a spoiled rich kid who has grown but refuses to grow up.

Now, there’s a question about the provenance of his new-used Porsche sports car. He claimed he bought it for P4.5 million but there is a buzz going around among Facebook denizens that P-Noy did not buy that Porsche; it was a gift from an architect friend of his who would benefit from “cornered” government contracts.

Now, what the heck does “cornered” mean? Hmm… No! No no no! I don’t believe that. People say that P-Noy is honest and incorruptible. Besides if he did something like that, it would be in billions, not a “cheap” third-hand Porsche. But like they say, “everybody has a price.” It’s just a matter of how much you’re worth. And if you asked Gloria, whew, $20,000 dollars (P1million) for dinner at Le Cirque in New York City would just be for starters.
A word war erupted between Sen. Joker Arroyo and Sen. Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV over Sonny’s expenditures. Joker’s peeve was that Sonny spent P21.136 million in 2009 while he was in detention for rebellion charges.

Trillanes’ expenditures made him the fourth biggest spender in the Senate, behind Sen. Jinggoy Estrada (P21.7 million), Sen. Gregorio Honasan ((P21.6 million) and former senator and now President Benigno Aquino (P21.5 million).

Sonny’s defense was that his expenses went to salaries of 44 staffers while Joker had only three. Sonny said his staff filed 347 bills while Joker filed none. Eighteen of Sonny’s bills passed and became law. Sonny said that Joker, in all his 18 years as a legislator, failed to file a bill, and yet spent P15 million in 2009. “Where did he spend that?” asked Sonny. Sonny said that makes Joker the “laziest.” Ugh! That hurts!

And all Joker could say was: “Why should I be bothered by a mosquito.” Hehehe… If there’s one thing that Joker wouldn’t deny, he’s wild... like a wild turkey. He can be acey, he can be deucey; but he can’t have what Sonny has, cojones hard-boiled during seven years of detention.

The third highest spending senator in 2009 was then Sen. Benigno Aquino III who spent P21.5 million. In the three years that he was in the Senate, P-Noy filed nine bills. It’s not clear how many of his bills were passed into law. But that’s a moot point cuz he’s now the Prez.
Lessons of the story… (1) He who talks the loudest is the laziest, (2) He who spends lots of money is the top producer, (3) He who has cojones always wins the argument, and (4) He who does not perform moves up to the top of the heap. That’s Pinoy politics.
No guts, no glory… Rebel officer Lawrence San Juan refused to apply for amnesty because of the amnesty requirement that he admit guilt. Instead he wants the judge to promulgate the verdict. If the verdict is “not guilty,” San Juan will be a free man. If the verdict is “guilty,” he will be incarcerated for a long time. He’s what I call a man with steel cojones.
Gung hay fat choy… It’s in the news: “P-Noy is mulling declaration of Chinese New Year as holiday.” P-Noy seems to bend over backwards just to please our giant neighbor. First, he boycotted the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony on Oslo to accede to China’s demand. And now he wants to pay tribute to China by commemorating their New Year.
P-Noy won’t run again… Yup, that’s what he said, “I will not to seek election for any other political post in 2016.” Well, there was more to it than that. My investigative reporter James Macaquecquec told me that he got a scoop from insiders that the reason P-Noy won’t be running again is that he’d like to spend the rest of his adult life driving his Porsche. P-Noy’s latest statement to the media seems to collaborate what James told me: “My reflexes might not be the same 10 years from now. I will not be [limited to] playing video games just so I could experience that [rush of driving a sports car].” Indeed, P-Noy has three loves in his life: fast cars, guns, and video games.

There was a story during the 2010 presidential campaign when P-Noy’s campaign entourage was taking a break somewhere in Bulacan. P-Noy was closeted in his trailer alone for two hours while everybody else was hanging around outside. My source, who was a campaign volunteer, asked one of the top aides what P-Noy was doing inside the trailer all by himself. The top aide told him that P-Noy was playing with his Xbox 360.

Indeed, with P-Noy’s Porsche, his “shooting buddy,” and his Xbox 360, he’s got everything he needs to enjoy la dolce vita of the rich and famous. (


Cartoon images

Ramon Dacawi

So we’re into “frost tourism”. We’re into exploiting as a visitor come-on the frostbite wreaking havoc on our vegetable gardens. It’s the latest in an endless series of events, places and things that we explore and develop as bait for tourists to come and spend their money up here.

We still have this tendency to link anything to tourism promotion long after vandals had destroyed the Crystal Cave and desecrated the Ibaloi mummies at Mt. Sto. Tomas. A still untouched cave of stalactites and stalagmites is discovered and the mind immediately works out how its beauty can be announced to all and sundry.

Yet the sooner tourists (whether backyard or from beyond) will come, the sooner the lure of the place – like Baguio’s temperate clime, terrain and pine - leads to its undoing.

Time was when nature, which came first, was on top of the order and value of things. This is the substance of indigenous knowledge and culture, which developed and flourished out of respect for nature. The Cordillera rice terraces were built out of respect for the contour of the mountains, their extent dictated by the natural flow and volume or water.

As the hierarchy began turning upside down, with tourism and commercial enterprise lording over nature and culture, we came up with “eco-tourism”, “cultural tourism”, “community-based tourism” and whatever term there is to make the industry appear responsible. I cringe hearing the label “medical tourism” that spells profit from sick foreigners seeking medical deliverance here.

In Thailand, they label expatriates living there in the guise of development workers as “development tourists”. On the other hand, it would be demeaning and uncalled for to term as “humanitarian tourism” the return here this week-end of a medical team from Canada to do free surgery for the third straight year at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center. As immigration officials plan to issue “medical tourism” visas to foreign patients, I pray they’d also consider issuing life-time medical mission visas to these healers and Samaritans reaching out to the poor.
Cabbage frostbite tourism. At least the come-on is not contrived or man-made. A temperature dip always lures tourists up here, and the current cold spell redeems us from the embarrassing frostbite of that vain attempt to put up an artificial snowfall along our inclined, narrow main street.

To the chagrin of the surprisingly huge crowd occupying every inch of Session Road for the “snow show”, what fell were like soap suds and bubbles that just burst and vanished in the air, shattering the precious wish of thousands for a feel of a white Christmas that only those out there pursuing the American dream really experienced.

I was not there, but the image conjured when I heard of the sizable crowd was that of a cartoon, of thousands gawking up the sky to see the initial letters “S” and “W” melting off and falling, so that the “snow show” written in white up in the sky ends up fittingly reading “no show”.

City councilor Elmer Datuin, whose idea it was to try the “snow fall”, admitted the overwhelming crowd turn-out was truly unexpected. He absorbed the flak and apologized. He assured that the city lost no penny in the attempt, as a private donor bankrolled the expense for the machines that churned up a short winter of discontent.

Councilor Edison Bilog, who quickly called for an investigation into the botched show, told all and sundry that the city procurement office certified no bidding was ever held for the rental of the gadgets, and no voucher ever processed for payment of the same.

For their statesman-like gestures, we join the community in wishing both councilors Kung Hei Fat Choi as we usher in the Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese lunar calendar. Likewise, we wish our friends – and ourselves – prosperity and riches.

The rabbit, according to Dr. Charles Cheng, symbolizes peace, good luck and happiness. As wags had it at the launching of the lunar year festivities, it also symbolizes clear vision - literally that is. The silent animal is living proof that carrots are good for the eyes. After all, we never see a rabbit wearing glasses.

The coming Year of the Rabbit brings to mind one of the best cartoons I’ve ever seen. The scene drawn was after the Great Deluge in the Bible, after the flood had subsided. Noah was leading out of his ark the pairs of animals to dry land.

All alighted in pairs, including those in the traditional year cycle in the Chinese calendar: Rat (Shu), mOx (Niu), Tiger (Yin), Dragon (ch-en), Snake (She), Hose (Wu), goat (Yang), Monkey (Shen), Rooster (Yu, Dog (Kou) and Pig (Hai).

Except the rabbits. To Noah’s chagrin, the first pair was followed by another pair, and then another, and still another. They came out legion.

Baguio’s observance of the Lunar New Year keeps a tradition established 12 years ago. Rather than a tourism promotion ploy, it is a cultural event. It is, in the words of Mayor Mauricio Domogan, to help us appreciate the uniqueness of our city as a cultural melting pot and the continuing contributions of the Fil-Chinese community to its growth and development.


Don’t trust a ‘rabbit’

March L Fianza

For the Chinese, 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit, the fourth animal in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese Zodiac. But before we talk about that, this space reprint parts of commentaries by Dr. Teresita Cheng Yu, about two books written by his uncle Engr. Richard L. Cheng of Trancoville,Baguio City and Nevada, USA.

Dr. Yu is the Medical Director of West Valley Center for Asian Medicine and Acupuncure and Snow Lotus Herbal Center.

Engr. Cheng, the author of Valley of Peace and The Day the Crickets Stopped Singing is the brother of Dr. Charles L. Cheng, Medical Director of the Baguio Filipino-Chinese General Hospital, M. Roxas St., Baguio City, Philippines and the author of Pesticides and Hazardous Effects on the Benguet Vegetable Farmers, 1993.

I asked permission from Engr. Cheng to use Dr. Yu’s statements about his books, parts of which I edited. Here goes:

“His first book, Valley of Peace, is a simple and easy book to read. Some may say, it is a children’s book belonging to the genre of folktales and fables. So be it. To me, it is much, much more.

The stories echo the voices of our forefathers. They teach us the lessons of humanity. They bring to life the sceneries of old. The ‘Ancients’ I think will give this book a grin and an encouraging nod. I myself, upon reading this book, was reminded of my grandfather Kungkung.

The Day the Crickets Stopped Singing, Uncle Richard’s second book, belongs to a different genre altogether. It is the story of a family – our family.

Reading the book transported me to a different time and place, a generation before we were born. It is a book with many voices, young and old, in a time of great turmoil and change. It is a story of survival, of love, of dreams, of togetherness and individual responsibility.
I hear the voices of my grandparents, my young mother, my aunts and uncles telling of their experiences of growing up in Baguio amidst the tragedy of war and the hope for peace.

What a wonderful surprise to find PoPo’s recipes! Just as I thought they were lost to our generation, lo and behold, this book resurrected them. I do remember grandma’s nine-layered cake. So that’s how you make it! And my Mom’s favorite taro root cake, what a delight.

Just for my grandma’s recipes, this book is a gem. What’s more, there are stories within the stories as told by my grandparents. I can hear their voices and realize how much I miss them. I am indeed so grateful that their legacy will forever live in this book.

I fancy myself an extensive reader, inspired by my mother. I began reading epic novels in the fifth grade and have not stopped since. Indeed, in each book, I always learned something new.

In my readings, I have yet to come across a book that uses so much symbolism as this one. I learned the symbolism of fruits! Thanks to this book, I will not eat a peach the same way again. Nor will I drink the sixth cup of tea at the office without thinking that I am now drinking with the immortals!

In my heart, I have always known that my family is special, that I am special. So it’s true, I come from a long line of great ancestry, from Admiral Zheng He to General Cheng Xing Kung. My name is Teresita Cheng Yu. I am the second daughter of Ah San in the book. I belong to the 26th generation of the Cheng clan.

I give my uncle Richard three bows – one for each book and the third to thank him for this great endeavor.”

I have read Valley of Peace. It is a collection of short stories based on old Chinese tales that are suited for children as a reading material in the classroom, and for adult readers because it leaves lessons that only mature readers may recognize. It also includes original stories by Engr. Cheng.

I met Richard Cheng more than a year ago when he came home to launch Valley of Peace. My uncle, the late Joseph L. Fianza was his school mate and playmate in Trancoville.
Now we talk about the rabbit. The rabbit years are 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999 and 2011. My first encounter with the rabbit was when I was a young boy, when I used to buy the white rabbit candy at one centavo per piece.

Then I saw my first rabbit when my father bought a pair. So first, it was a candy, then the real animal… now we have rabbit persons.

Famous people born in the Year of the Rabbit were Albert Einstein, Frank Sinatra, Pope Benedict the XVI, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Tiger Woods, Sting, Whitney Houston, Harry Belafonte, Bob Hope, Roger Moore, Tatum O'Neal, Jane Seymour, among a thousand others.

Rabbits make model diplomats or politicians, according to Atty. Cristeta Leung who introduced the Rabbit to the media in a presscon at the Hotel Supreme of Peter and Ivy Ng.

According to Chinese astrologers, what makes the rabbit unique is its nature in doing things, including sex. What I knew was that rabbits have a lot of sex. In fact they hump on anything they encounter, including chickens.

And so, North Korea decided to take advantage of this scientific fact and is encouraging its people to breed rabbits for food because of that. In one news item in a Korean paper, it said that rabbit farms have been built to increase parent rabbits that have very high or unusually high fertility rate and grow fast and produce much meat with less feed.

When asked if rabbit meat is good to eat, Dr. Cheng said that aside from the fur that fashion designers get, the government once upon a time during the Marcos era, made rabbit meat a supplementary diet as this is highest in protein.

I remember in the 70s, there was this restaurant-bakery in Burnham, Baguio called Bussurca (I forgot what the acronym stood for) that served rabbit burgers.

According to Chinese astrologers, rabbit persons, like the animal, are graceful and get on well with others. They are reserved ‘creatures’ and are happy when they are involved in intellectual works. The ‘rabbit’ stresses the significance of small details and pay attention to color and design, food taste and everything but live a conservative lifestyle.

‘Rabbits’ are easily moved by problems of others and they cry easily too. This makes them sentimental and compassionate. So that salesmen have much better luck with rabbit people as customers who will definitely buy their products.

By the way, Baguio is the only city in the Philippines that officially celebrates the Chinese Spring Festival (Chinese New Year). Hence, Malacanang is studying the possibility of declaring it a national event. That is a development worth following up.

But whatever the astrologers foretell, do not put full trust on the personality of the rabbit because the person, whether born in the year of the Rabbit or not, controls his own fate. And the astrologers’ predictions are effectively for amusement and are not meant to replace your natural talent on decision-making. –


Charity and advocacy

Ike Señeres

I look at charity and advocacy as two sides of the same coin. The bottom line is the same, to help people in need where they are, in whatever possible ways there are. The difference perhaps is the depth and reach of the help given.

The effect of charity is apparently short term, to help people for a day perhaps. The effect of advocacy is long term. Taking the case of livelihood, giving people fish to eat is charity, teaching them how to fish is advocacy.

Whatever it is, whether it is charity or advocacy, I have now found a way to help the people who are giving help to others. I now have a donation service that will enable charity and advocacy organizations to promote their cause on one hand, and to collect donations on the other hand. The promotion side will be done through multimedia, and the collection will be done through an online and mobile service.

To be specific, the promotion side will be done through a continuing series of public service announcements that will be aired by participating media outlets. These will be in the form of public service announcements that will run for one minute, and sponsored by corporate responsibility programs. I am happy to announce that Global News Network (GNN) and Rajah Broadcasting System (RBS) have already agreed to join this project.

To be specific as well, the collection side will be done through a website and a mobile gateway. Through these two facilities, anyone can donate anything anytime from anywhere, using either their computer or their cell phone. To make it easy for those who are not electronically connected, we will also set up service booths in the malls and supermarkets.

Many Filipinos here and abroad want to help the country in whatever way they could, either through charity or advocacy means. The problem is, it is not easy for them to do that, not having the convenient means to do it. Until now, there was also no way for them to give small donations in any amount, but that is doable now using this system.

Unknown to most people, it is actually possible to donate anything to any government agency, including the local government units (LGUs). These donations could actually be rewarded with tax credits, in effect turning the whole exercise into a voluntary tax procedure.

Of course, this could not be used to cover for all tax dues, but this procedure could be an option for those who want to make sure that part of their tax money would go to a purpose that is in line with their priorities.

In developing the software, I made sure that aside from goods and money, people could also donate their time and talent. With this in mind, I asked the software developers to make the service compatible with the Local Exchange Trading System (LETS) concept, a system that is already popularly used in many countries. LETS is actually a barter system that allows participants to buy and sell goods and services without any money involved.

Public and private partnership (PPP) is a big concept but anyone could actually help in whatever small ways they could, more so now that there is already a donation service in place. The best way to help is to donate to an existing government program that is already up and running. One such program is run by the National Development Support Command (NADESCOM) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

NADESCOM has already built more than 800 school buildings and health centers all over the country, particularly in depressed and war torn areas. The structures are already built, but these are all lacking in equipment and supplies such as tables and chairs. Fortunately, the PCSO has already committed to equip the health centers. Any individual is welcome to donate anything, in cash or kind.

In cooperation with NADESCOM, the Corinthian Coffee Clutch (ISIP BAYAN) is now helping the Montalban Planters Agro-Development Association (MAPALAD) in Barangay Macabud, Rizal so that they could turn their community into a model village. It is ironic to note that this village is only 45 minutes away from Quezon City, and yet it has no water, no electricity and no health center.

NADESCOM has already pledged to build the water system, the mini power plant, the feeder road and the health center, but donations are still needed to complete everything. This is an ideal site to build a model community, because the people are willing, and the local government is friendly. Fortunately, NADESCOM has approved my proposal to adopt the Integrated Area Development (IAD) approach.

Go for the good life! Tune in to Universal Access 2 to 3pm Monday to Sunday in DZRJ 810 KHZ and to KA IKING LIVE! 6 to 7pm Thursdays in Global News Network (GNN), Channel 8 in Destiny Cable. Email or send text to +639997333011for local cable listings. Visit


Sagada Etag Festival Program of Activities

Jan 29-Feb2, 2011
Theme: Nurturing our common origin amidst converging cultures’

January 28
7:00 PM PNP Band concert

January 29
7:00 AM Opening Ceremonies
8:00 Civic Parade
Street Dancing
Opening Program
1:00 PM Ground demonstrations per school
Cultural presentations per zone
4:00 Dog walk
6 :3O Ethnic music concert of song writer-students
with Pangkat Pinat, Kordilyera Jam and local musicians

January 30
8:00 AM Holy Eucharist
9:00 Etag making
Coffee cupping
Kimchi making
Ball Games
7:00 Search for Miss Teen Sagada 2011

January 31
8:00 AM Games
7:00 PM Ballroom dancing & Benefit dance

February 1
8:00 AM Quiz Bee
Essay Writing
1:00 PM Indigenous games

February 2 (Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
8:00 AM Candle procession
8:30 Mass service
10:30 Games
5:00 PM Literary and Musical contest


Dressing up for an occasion

Hilarion ‘Abe’ Pawid

One of the excitements in life is dressing up for an important occasion.

One’s attire is well planned way ahead of time especially if the occasion calls for dressing up. A look over before a mirror on how acceptable the attire is a habit developed as one grows up through the years. A turn or two will suffice before going out of the home.

Attending wedding ceremonies, parties, conferences, and public forum with renowned speakers and personalities mandates an outfit that does not make one a “sore thumb” in the crowd. There are exceptions though when one has the ulterior and selfish motive to attract attention and gain popularity either for positive or negative results.

In an occasion or two, one must have experienced the reprehensible feeling of either being overdressed or not properly dressed up. The urge is to get away from the place as fast as one could possible make it.

The most convenient way for an exit is to make an excuse of visiting the comfort room and leave. Otherwise one would experience the empty uneasiness and appalling pangs of flying butterflies in the stomach.

Either way it’s a situation of the square peg that cannot fit into a round hole. A sore thumb that’s it. Despite the educated knowledge of protocol on proper attire sometimes cultural upbringing makes people forget the norms of decorum.

In these modern times, written invitations indicating the proper dress code advisory are sent to target groups of people. If it’s a wedding celebration, those with written invitations are expected in formal receptions for either lunch or dinner.

Other well wishers would however, prefer informal receptions in either the bride’s or groom’s residence to avoid the uncomfortable strict dress codes of formal attires.

An invitation is a gesture of respect. The gesture nonetheless requires, among others, mutual and reciprocal respect. If one cannot oblige, he is ethically duty-bound to send his/her regrets days before the occasion.

Normally, an occasion dictates a dress code (for men) such as formal coat and tie, business suit, barong tagalog or decently casual. Should one feel unable to meet such conditions; the sound counsel of the gentleman in him would be to send an RSVP or regrets.

Three reasons were advanced: first, one has declined the respect accorded to him; second, one’s inability to return the respect extended to him; and last but not the least, one’s refusal to respect himself therefore his presence does not deserve respect.

I recall those Friday night jam sessions in my college years when the unwritten dress code for boys is coat and tie (or no tie) or barong tagalog. Those were “must attend” jam sessions with beautiful coeds an adolescent cannot miss.

I had to borrow every time and then my co-borders coats even if it did not fit me well and looked very loose. When I had one of my own semesters later, friends and classmates used to borrow mine too until somebody forgot whom to return it to.


Fights near PNP station /Lucrative money deals for bocaps

Rudy Garcia

BAGUIO CITY -- For the nth time, another untoward incident happened at the 1st Kayang St. here Thursday 1 a.m. wherein two groups of young male bystanders for unknown reason clashed causing a free-for-all fight with some throwing stones and bottles at their opponents.

A concerned resident who witnessed the commotion rushed to the nearest and main police station a few meters away to report the incident. Well, the story was not clear when told to me, so we decided to go check the record the following day.

At police Station 7, it was a surprise that the incident was not recorded in their blotter? Not even a single word, so I wondered how come and why? Imagine, we went to the said police community precinct at about 5 pm of Jan. 20 and noted the last time an incident entered into their logbook was 9 p.m. on Jan. 19!

Holy cow, don’t they tell me that on that long time span of hours nothing untoward happened or was reported for record purposes. They can tell that to the Marines! Now, I wonder no more why the Baguio City Police brags about the decrease of crime rates in this city.

Only recorded incidents perhaps are made as their reference, and how about those unrecorded ones that are blown away and gone with the wind? Simple ratio in mathematics would give a right answer to anyone’s guess. Whew!
Barangay residents choose their officials and oftentimes they regret their chosen candidates who won but don’t meet their expectations.

I am not saying that this is now happening in lower Magsaysay Barangay, but perhaps an inch close to the forgoing if reports are true that some of these barangay officials are really doing some monkey business in their area of responsibility.

First is the proposed resolution of the three kagawads who urged jeepney associations with the route La Trinidad-Baguio to pay 10 pesos for every unit of jeepney that enters and exists at the parking ground in Tabora Park (formerly Rabbit sinkhole).

Now, according to an official of a jeepney association, a jeep could make seven trips a day and there are almost a total of 180 jeeps all in all for that route. So 10 pesos multiplied by seven trips is 70 pesos the barangay could get for one unit a day.

You multiply it with 180 and that would make a whooping 12,600 pesos a day. The barangay therefore would be earning P378,000 in just one month. Wow, what a very good source of fund raising.

However, it remains a question where the money would go, and if the kagawads insist the resolution is legitimate, why was there no consultation with concerned transport groups earlier?

Did the committee on public utilities in the city council approve this resolution? Secondly, how true is it that the “Bigmac” kiosk standing beside Summit Bank are giving P 6,000 monthly to the two neighboring barangay captains? Accordingly, the 3,000 pesos per month goes to the barangay captain of Sto. Nino Barangay, a certain Tacbas, while the other P3,000 reportedly goes to barangay captain Boy Amagen of Lower Magsaysay.

If these are true, then the duo could have made an agreement to be partners in the big C. Thirdly, is the alleged collection of P50 per day from all vendors with no exception true? Kahit nagtitinda lamang daw ng mani ay kinokolektahan.

So if they have around 10 vendors, it is another P500 a day or P15,000 a month.

Aba mayaman pala ang Lower Magsaysay. Am I right punong barangay Boy Amagen? And how about those reported business establishments at Sunnyside Building, and those nearby who don’t have business permit, but instead your kagawad collecting certain amounts from them?

Do you know, or have you given the blessing to this kagawad, who accordingly is the brother of some of the business owners? If not, then don’t tell me you are now a member of the “bulag, pipi, bingi at inutil” bandwagon. Gising!


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