10 kubradors arrested in Abra: Baguio City, Benguet ‘jueteng lords’ bared

>> Monday, June 27, 2011

BAGUIO CITY – Jueteng operations are still going on full-blast here and nearby towns of Benguet even as operators of the illegal numbers game have been identified by reliable sources as a certain Luding and Atong Ang.

Sources bared draws are still being held thrice a day in different venues with bets being collected at waiting sheds, restaurants, sari-sari stores and even police stations and city hall.

Task Force Jupiter which was created by Mayor Mauricio Domogan, critics said, was a lameduck as no arrests have been made by the police the past weeks.

Sources said officials of the Department of Interior and Local Government, the city government and police which compose the task force have been mum on the issue and have not done anything concrete to stop the illegal numbers game.

The TFJ some months ago earlier held a conference with students and the Roman Catholic Church on means to stop jueteng in the city.

Some proposals were agreed upon but after a few weeks, the illegal numbers game was still in operation in this city and nearby Benguet towns like La Trinidad, Benguet.
One proposal was for the police to intensify operations and arrest bet collectors and charge them in court so jueteng lords will be hard up putting up bail money, but then, this was not followed, critics said.

They alleged some city, DILG and police officials were being given grease money by jueteng operators running to thousands of pesos on a weekly, bi-monthly or monthly basis, main reason why there was no concerted drive to stop the menace.

Critics also were wondering why church groups were not openly “waging war” against the menace which they said, was destroying the moral and social foundation of the people.

They added, city officials and the police have kept mum on allegations of getting grease money from jueteng operators and what they intend to do in stopping the illegal numbers game.

Meanwhile, in Abra, intelligence operatives of the Provincial Investigation Branch and Provincial Public Safety Company arrested 10 jueteng bet collectors (kubradors) for violation of Presidential Decree 1602 (illegal gambling) on June 18 at Mudiit, Dolores town.

Arrested were Dolores residents Rodelito T. Isao, 60; Joel A. Frio, 39; Roger B. Valeros, 39; Reynante A Eduarte, 43; Ronald A. Manangbao, 35; Roderick T. Fernandez, 55; Renato M Cabalbal, 61, and Reynaldo T Buenavista, 47.

Also nabbed were Hanzel B. Lopez, 17 of Tayum municipality and June B. Perez, 32 of the capital town of Bangued.

Confiscated from the arrested were jueteng bets amounting to P12, 648, one gray T-shirt, 12 booklets, eight papelitos among other jueteng paraphernalia.

All arrested persons and confiscated pieces of evidence were brought to Camp Juan Villamor, Bangued, Abra for documentation.

A case for illegal gambling was filed before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Abra against the suspects.

Pending termination of inquest proceedings, the nine suspects remained under police custody while a minor was ordered released and turned over to the custody of Department of Social Works and Development of Tayum by virtue of an order issued by Marcelo O Ortega, associate provincial prosecutor.


Election irregularities: HRET orders recount of Mt Prov ballot boxes

By Gina Dizon

BONTOC, Mountain Province – Following election irregularities, the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal has ordered the collection starting June 21 of ballot boxes and other election paraphernalia in the province on the May 2010 elections covering the ten municipalities.

The order stemmed from HRET Case 10 048 with protestant congressional aspirant Jupiter Dominguez alleging irregular transmission , illegal counting and canvassing of votes in the May 2010 elections.

Dominguez called for re-counting of ballots covering all 219 precincts in the ten towns of the province.

The May 2010 elections registered Dominguez second place with 23,973 votes less 751 of congressman-proclaimed Dalog’s 24,724 votes.

Following the election protest, a preliminary conference was held Sept 2010 with an order that all ballot boxes be transported to the HRET for revision and recount.
Pablo Wagtingan Jr., lawyer of Dominguez said the collection of all ballot boxes shall be done the soonest possible time.

Ballot boxes shall be stored and secured in a designated space at the Capitol building in this province as per request to Gov. Leonard Mayaen.
Collected ballot boxes shall be transported to the HRET office at Quezon City for recounting, Wagtingan said.


P’sinan execs urged: Stop gecko hunting

DAGUPAN CITY– The head of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office based here Wednesday sought the help of mayors in Pangasinan to curb the wanton collection and sale of tuko (gecko lizard).

Gecko lizards reportedly command a high price per kilo and are being bought even by foreigners because of their supposed medicinal benefits.

Leduina Co told reporters during the Pangasinan Tri-Media Action forum Wednesday that she sent letters to the mayors last week to seek their help in stopping this practice, which is in violation of Republic Act 9147 on the illegal collection of wild species.

Co cited reports that gecko lizards are being sold on the Internet, with 300 grams costing as much as P300,000 or even higher. -- EV


Police chief involved in bloody shooting sacked

By Mar T. Supnad

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – Chief Supt. Franklin Bucayu, Region 1 police director, ordered Tuesday the relief and the disarming of the police of Laoac town in Pangasinan and his men who were involved in a bloody shootout that resulted to the killing of a father and his son and the wounding three others in Barangay Lebueg June 19.

Here at Camp Florendo, Bucayu ordered Senior Insp. Lodovico M. Ellazar Jr. to be investigated even as he formed a task force to conduct an impartial probe on the incident.

Pangasinan police director Senior Supt. Boyet Rosueto designated Senior Insp. Bonifacio Ganaban as an officer-in charge of Laoac police pending investigation of the case.

Bucayu said he formed Special Investigation Task Group Eleazar to look into bloody broad daylight shooting between the policemen and the victims’ group that resulted to the death of Rodrigo C. Eleazar Sr., a former Laoac town councilor and former barangay captain of Barangay Lebueg and his son Gener M. Eleazar in Lebueg.

The task force will be headed by the Pangasinan chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, said Bucayu, adding the policemen involved should be immediately disarmed of their firearms.
At around 4pm June 19, Laoac police Ellazar Jr. responded to a call that a group of armed men identified as Rodrigo C. Eleazar Sr; 62, and his son Gener, both residents of Lebueg were firing their guns indiscriminately.

The policemen accused the group of firing a gun in their village.
Later gunfire followed after a heated argument.

Based on the version of Ellazar, they were fired upon by the younger Eleazar, hitting one of his police identified as PO3 Erwin Lopez, Barangay Captain Edgar Mensigos Ellazar and Barangay Kagawad Rogelio Ellazar Lopez.

This, he said triggered the gun fight resulting to the killing of the father and his son.

Probers recovered at the scene one Glock pistol Cal .45 with two magazines and live ammunition with spent shells for Glock .45 pistol, and cartridges for M16 and M14 rifles.

All were turned over to the Regional Crime Laboratory Office for ballistic examination.


Palace to decide fate of erring Kalinga governor

By Dexter A. See

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The Department of Interior and Local Government already completed its findings and recommendations on the case involving embattled Kalinga Gov. Josel Baac and government radioman Jerome Tabanganay but it will be up to President Aquino to decide on the gravity of the offense and the penalty to be imposed on the governor, DILG Sec. Jesse M. Robredo said here Tuesday.

He said all records of the case accompanied by the agency’s corresponding recommendations were included in the documents submitted to the office of the President for further evaluation before handing out the decision.

Tabanganay already filed grave threats and serious physical injuries against Baac which emanated from the incident inside the dZRK Radyo ng Bayan Kalinga around 1 p.m. of June 7, when the governor barged into the announcer’s booth of the station, pulled out the microphone and whacked the former with another microphone which he also pulled out from inside the booth.

However, Baac belied the allegations of the radioman, saying that he went inside the radio station to confront Tabanganay over his biased reportage and commentary against him which allegedly became too personal over the past several days.

Despite the filing of the cases against the governor and the submission of the DILG’s report to the Office of the president, the two protagonists continued to engage each other in a word war over radio stations and media outfits in Baguio city which could further complicate the matter.
While both persons believe the matter will be peacefully settled in the future, their actions seem to head otherwise, thus, Robredo advised them to keep quiet about the case and await the decision of President Aquino on the case.

Considering that the issue is being slowly blown out of proportion by no less than the two individuals involved in the case and their supporters, concerned sectors in the province appealed to both parties to leave the decision on the case to the proper authorities and not to make unnecessary actions that will delay the handing down of the verdict so that the Kalinga people will start moving on from where they left.

Robredo said the penalty to be imposed against Baac would range from reprimand to dismissal but it all depends on the evaluation of the Office of the President on the circumstances leading to the alleged harassment and harming of a government radioman who had been always criticizing the governor for his alleged virtual failure to stop illegal logging and illegal gambling in the province the past months since he assumed office last year.


Court upholds legality of Vizcaya mine project

By Charlie Lagasca

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya – The Court of Appeals has denied a petition by Church-backed anti-mining activists here questioning the granting of consent by an indigenous group for a Australian-owned company to conduct exploration activities in one of the province’s mountain areas.

In effect, the CA’s 19-page decision upheld the legality of the exploration project of Royalco Philippines Inc. in the villages of Pao and Kakidugen in Kasibu town, which the petitioners had been questioning since 2007 due to the firm’s alleged failure to conduct the required consultations with the affected Bugkalot villagers.

Formerly called Oxiana Philippines Inc., the firm, the CA said, complied with all the processes in getting the “free and prior inform consent (FPIC)” of the Bugkalots, as stipulated in the guidelines set by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.

Royalco’s local subsidiary, the Buena Suerte Mining Corp., now operates the mining exploration project in the two villages and nearby areas. Its operation in the Pao-Kakidugen area had been stalled due to the case filed by the anti-mining activists.

The CA even noted the firm’s adherence in conducting a series of dialogues with the villagers until it obtained their approval without resorting to bribery and other schemes, as the petitioners alleged.

The petitioners, backed by the Catholic Church’s Social Action Center here and other anti-mining groups, were led by Mariano Maddela, Renato Engco, Tony Cabarroguis, Maddela Camma, Ramon Biyao and Sampa Tangid, also residing in the area where Royalco is exploring gold, copper and other mineral deposits.


DILG chief warns absentee Abra pols

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Local officials from the conflict-stricken province were warned to report to their respective towns or else they would be administratively and criminally charged for abandonment of their respective duties, Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo said here Tuesday.

Robredo, who interacted with some Abra officials and representatives of non-government groups during the 6th regional road show on the Aquino administration’s full disclosure program, said he will visit the conflict-stricken province before President Aquino delivers his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) to try to resolve long standing issues in the province that keeps violent incidents high.

“We talk soft but we walk with a big stick,” Robredo said, adding he is fully aware of what is happening in the 313 barangays and 27 towns of Abra, thus, erring local officials must shape up or ship out.

According to him, the DILG knows for a fact that many local officials are not actually reporting for duty in their respective towns but instead stay in the capital town of Bangued, thus, the need for representatives from the agency to constantly check the presence of mayors, vice-mayors, councilors, barangay captains and barangay kagawads in their respective areas of jurisdiction, except when they are on official travel or on leave.

However, Robredo said once local officials are not on their post, their absence must be supported by a travel authority or leave of absence pursuant to the provisions of the Local government Code so it will be easy to ascertain their locations and to prevent them from being administratively and criminally charged for abandonment of duty or dereliction of duty.

For the past two decades, Abra has been branded as the killing fields of the North because of violent incidents that caused the death of innocent politicians and their supporters, including the brutal murder of Abra Rep. Luis Chito Bersamin in front of a church in Quezon City in the afternoon of Dec. 16, 2006.

Robredo said the agency will hold consultations with local officials and concerned stakeholders in Abra so they would find lasting solutions to the peace and order problem as well as the issue on absenteeism among most local officials, especially local chief executives who refuse to constantly stay in their respective places of assignment.

The DILG said he will base his future actions relative to erring local officials of Abra once he will be able to receive a concrete report relative to their violations to teach them lessons if they continue to defy orders for them to attend to the needs of their constituents.


Robredo confirms P30 billion IRA cut for LGUs next year

By Dexter A. See

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays nationwide will encounter around five percent reduction in their respective Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) next year, Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse M. Robredo said here Tuesday.

This, following the reported P30 billion reduction in the collected revenues three years ago which will be the basis for the budgeting by 2012.

Robredo said for this reason, local governments must be aggressive finding local sources of more revenues to offset the expected cut

Robredo presided over the 6th regional road show of the Aquino government’s advocacy on full disclosure for local governments to empower local officials to be transparent in their financial transactions to help rid the bureaucracy of corruption.

According to the DILG chief, P15 billion was the estimated reduction in the IRA of local governments next year based on the 2008 revenue collections of the government.

He added P10 billion will be attributed to the implementation of the third phase of the salary standardization for government workers while P5 billion will be eaten up by the increase in the IRA of the 16 new cities as upheld by the Supreme Court.

The DILG chief has met with top officials of the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and other international and local funding institutions to make good governance one of basic requirements in obtaining loans and grants.

The DILG has reportedly coordinated with the new Commission on Audit leadership in order to release reports of local government units early which will be utilized in judging the performance of local governments nationwide.

Because of the tremendous pressure from the national government on compliance of local governments to the seal of good housekeeping, the seven provinces, one chartered city, one component city and the seventy five municipalities committed to comply with the requirements of good housekeeping to make sure that government expenditures will be transparent for public scrutiny.


Farmers protest taking of waters by Church

By Gina Dizon

SAGADA, Mountain Province - Pumayew (rice field farmers), gardeners and concerned villagers of this tourist town are protesting the taking of the Kentaagen spring waters here at the Poblacion by the Anglican Church.

In a petition forwarded to Bishop Brent Alawas of the Diocese of Northern Philippines, rector Fr Prinzel Balitog of the Church of St Mary the Virgin in Sagada and vestry senior warden Evangeline Aguilan, some 200 pumayew of Lasig and Mangitong ricefields urged the EDNP to stop installing water pipes from the source to where it shall lead.

An already built 2-inch intake tank has already been installed where pipes would be connected.

Waters from Kentaagen are set to be directed to St Joseph Guest House and Restaurant , St Theodore’s Hospital, and St Mary’s School.

Petitioners claimed the waters of Kentaagen are traditionally used in irrigating the ricefields of Penged to Mangitong where a number of ricefields are located.
Inan Agwiking, a pumayew of Mangitong said the waters should flow to where it naturally flows.

Some church parishioners asked for a half- inch pipe instead of the already installed two-inch tube, following a consultation June 12.


Bani folk file recall petition vs officials

BANI, Pangasinan -- More than 6,800 registered voters in this town, including 21 barangay captains, have filed a petition for the recall of five members of the sangguniang bayan or municipal council Thursday.

Mayor Marcelo Navarro Jr. joined the solidarity walk of the petitioners, led by Barangay Garrita Captain Marcelo Tugas, to the local Commission on Elections Office to file their petition.

A total of 6,840 signatories in the petition is above the 20 percent required by election laws for a recall petition to move, said Tugas.

Navarro said the petition stemmed from the alleged loss of public confidence in the members of the municipal council over their supposed unproductive performance.

The mayor, who supported the petition, said among those sought for recall is Vice-Mayor Filipina Rivera.

The four others are councilors Rosalinda T. Acenas of Barangay Tiep; Ruben C. Ampler and Tamerlane Olores of Poblacion; and Cothera Gwen Yamamoto of Arwas.

Political observers said Navarro had differences with the SB because it had been blocking major projects of the mayor’s office which are supposed to benefit his constituents.

Pangasinan board member Teofilo Humilde Jr. (1st District) said he will step in to diffuse the growing tension among Bani officials and seek to find a solution to their differences.

Humilde said the petition by the mayor has already reached the required number of signatories. It only remains for the Comelec to verify the integrity of the petition before the recall can proceed. – LBI


Baguio to buy P200-M Convention Center

By Dexter A. See

BAGUIO CITY– The city government here approved the release of P200 million to pay its arrears to the Government Service Insurance System and fully own the 10,000-square meter Baguio Convention Center property.

Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan ordered the city legal office to coordinate with the GSIS legal department for the preparation of a compromise agreement that will allow the city full ownership of the 35-year-old convention facility so that it could already rehabilitate it.

The city government made a partial payment for the Baguio Convention Center property seven years ago but is in danger of losing the property by default because of missed payments.

The local government was supposed to pay the State insurance corporation P216 million representing unpaid arrears and interests as well as surcharges for its failure to comply with its obligations in a tripartite agreement entered into between GSIS, the city government and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority but the same increased to over P230 million due to continuing imposition of interest.

Supposedly, the city will purchase the Baguio Convention Center from GSIS in the amount of P250 million in 2004 with the use of the city’s 25 percent share from the lease rentals of the development of Camp John Hay.

Domogan said the local government badly needs the convention facility so that it will fully own a convention center that it could manage, administer and operate without restraint from outside forces.

The Baguio Convention Center was built by the Ministry of Human Settlements in 1975 in order to host the celebrated world chess championship match between Russian chess grandmasters Gary Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov.


Two men nabbed for rape and theft

NATONIN, Mountain Province – Police recently arrested two persons in the province for rape and theft.

Town police led by officer in charge Insp. Juaquin Balaan Nacnas arrested Yufren Changawen Afiaten, 25, along a road in Barangay Tonglayan here after a long period of surveillance.

Afiaten was charged for the crime with recommended bail bond of P200, 000 on order of Judge Joseph Patnaan of Regional Trial Court, 1st Judicial Region, Branch 36, Bontoc, Mountain Province.

Accused was brought to the municipal jail and later turned it over to the provincial jail in the capital town of Bontoc.

In another incident, Bontoc police received information that a person with standing warrant was sighted at the terminal of the Rising Sun bus depot at Poblacion, Bontoc.

Immediately, local police led by Insp Richard Soliven responded mabbed Noble “Noel” Paidok Ay-ayak, 25 and resident of Cagubatan, Tadian in the province.

Ay-ayak was charged for theft issued by Judge Antonio M. Esteves of RTC, 1st Judicial Region, Branch 5, Baguio City.

Accused was brought to the Bontoc jail and later incarcerated at the Baguio City jail.


3 robbers nabbed after taxi heist

By Elizabeth Cedo

BAGUIO CITY – It wasn’t the lucky day of two alleged robbers after they were arrested here Wednesday at about 7:45 a.m. after victimizing a taxi driver who has just started off for another busy day.

Taxi driver Charlie E. Ballesteros, 42, resident of San Carlos Heights here was traversing Chanum St. when he was flagged down by the suspects.

The suspects who pretended to be passengers were identified as Noel A. Gao-ay, 20; Norbert B. Palangdao, 18 and a 17-year-old cohort, requested the driver to transport them to Crystal Cave, Bakakeng Central.

Upon reaching the waiting shed near the turning point, the suspects announced the heist and demanded Ballesteros to give his earnings to them.

The victim told police Gao-ay poked a bolo on his neck while Palangdao divested his earnings inside the drawer amounting to P4, 000. The suspects then ran away from the site.

The victim immediately sought the assistance of Police Station 10 personnel who responded immediately resulting to the arrest of the suspects.

Gao-ay and Palangdao are now detained at Baguio City Jail while the minor suspect was turned over to the city Department of Social Works and Development on order of inquest prosecutor Bryan Sagsago.


BFAR reports fish kill in Ilocos Sur

By Freddie Lazaro

VIGAN CITY, Ilocos Sur — A new fish kill happened last week on Mestizo River in Barangay Callaguip, Caoayan, Ilocos Sur, fisheries officials reported Tuesday.

Bureau of Fishery and Aquatic Resources Officer Benny Saraos who is based in this province reported more than 1,000 pieces of marketable size of “tilapia,” valued around P25,000, turned up dead in Mestizo River.

“The dead fish were immediately buried upon collection from the river’s water to avoid its possible delivery for sale into the public market,” Saraos said.

He said the fish kill could have been caused by decomposing waste materials that flowed into the river during heavy rains.

Such a phenomenon would produce ammonia and contaminate the river. He said samples taken from the river should high toxicity levels.

Saraos said overcrowding of fish cages in the river aggravated the situation with the huge number of fish sharing limited supply of oxygen.

“At least three to five meters distance between fish cages should be maintained along the river’s water to avoid the possible suffocation of fishes along the river,” he added.

He also recommended zoning of fish cages along the Mestizo River will be imposed through the concerned local government unit to further anticipate the possible recurrence of a fish kill.


LTFRB grants Cordi taxi fare increase

BAGUIO CITY — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has allowed operators of taxi cabs in Baguio City and the rest of the Cordillera Administrative Region to raise the minimum fare by P10 starting next month.

In a four-page decision dated June 16, 2011, LTFRB Board Members Manuel Iway and Samuel Garcia granted the fare hike petition of taxi operators in CAR mainly in consideration of the effect of price increase of basic goods, services and petroleum products in the earnings of the petitioners.

As such, taxi passengers will start paying P35 flag down rate for the first 400 meters, from the previous rate of P25, and additional P2 per succeeding 200 meters, from the previous rate of P1.50, come July 2, or fifteen days after the LTFRB decision to grant the fare hike petition was published in a national newspaper.

Iway said the petitioners actually asked for a P15 increase in the flag down rate but the LTFRB only consented to a P10-hike since taxi cabs in Baguio and CAR do not use air conditioners unlike in other areas.

“The cold weather in CAR does not really require the use of air conditioner while operating the taxi service in other cities and provinces where air conditioners in taxi services are always turned on for convenience. This factor indicates less gas consumption,” the LTFRB order reads.

But the LTFRB clarified that only taxi units with receipt-issuing meters that are tested and resealed by the LTFRB office in CAR will be allowed to implement the fare hike.

The LTFRB likewise warned taxi operators in CAR of being fined if their drivers will engage in overcharging, refusing to convey passengers and violating the required working attire prescribed by the agency.

“A taxi driver who fails to observe (what is prescribed by the LTFRB) shall be subject to a penalty of P2,500 per offense,” the order added.

Early this year, the LTFRB also allowed taxi operators nationwide, except for CAR, to implement a P10 fare increase. Since late January, taxi operators in Metro Manila and across the country started charging taxi patrons P40 flag down rate for the first 400 meters and additional P3.50 per succeeding 300-meters.


DepEd: Enrolment down in Cordillera schools

By Dexter A. See

BAGUIO CITY— The Cordillera Administrative Region office of the Department of Education here reported Tuesday a significant decline in enrolment in elementary and secondary schools in the region.

Based on the latest report of the agency, enrolment in public elementary schools dipped from 217,472 enrolees last year to 214,144 for the school year 2011-2012 or a 1.76 percent decrease in enrolment.

At the same time, enrolment in the secondary level dropped by as high as 1.4 percent or from 86,817 enrolees last year only 83,049 students have enrolled this schoolyear so far.

Among the probable reasons of the decrease in enrolment is because students are reportedly moving to more urbanized and developed areas to pursue their studies and that some students decide to enroll late.

The significant decrease in this year’s enrolment is a big blow to the Aquino administration’s programs in trying to keep children in school such as the conditional cash transfer and the supplemental feeding of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

However, DepEd officials claimed they were not remise in their job to encourage parents and children to avail of the early enrolment schedule but they remain optimistic that they could at least tie last year’s enrolment when the deadline for enrolment expires by the end of the month.

Ifugao was the only province that posted a negative rate of decrease at 4.44 percent or a reduction of 103 students.


Bontoc peace council second best in region

By Roger Sacyaten

BONTOC, Mountain Province – Barangay Poblacion of this town was cited as second best local government in implementation of the Katarungang Pambarangay in the 2011 Lupong Tagapamayapa Incentives Awards in the Cordillera.

In a letter dated June 16, Regional Director Corazon Guray of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, invited Erlinda Bucaycay, barangay captain of Poblacion and member of the Lupong Tagamayapa to attend recognition rites which will coincide with the Regional Peace and Order Council meeting to be held on June 29, 8:30 a.m. at the Provincial Capitol, La Trinidad, Benguet.

It was learned that one factor that contributed to the success of the Barangay Lupon was regular submission of reports and practice of using indigenous systems in the resolution of disputes brought to it for settlement.

According to Amy Kalagui, barangay secretary, the non-inclusion of the cases that were dismissed, ongoing, and endorsed to other barangays and the courts could have helped them not attain the 90% criteria of settled cases, one criteria used in selection of best performers.

Under the criteria of the search, a contending Lupon must have settled 90 percent of the cases filed before it to qualify for the search.

The local Lupon was learned to have attained more than 80 percent efficiency.

Further research at the provincial DILG office indicated the local Lupon dismissed a number of cases due to the fact that those involved in the cases were students or businessmen who were not residents of the town.

Some were also reportedly settled by the parties involved outside of the jurisdiction of the lupon.

It was also gathered that the submission of incomplete documentation and improper packaging of documents may have contributed to the failure of the local Lupon to clinch first place.

The local Lupon has been credited for good documentation of the Lupon Secretary who was also the barangay secretary, for the many cases the local peace body has handled.
Since this was the first time for the Poblacion Lupon to participate in the search, it would not be farfetched that it will get first place in the future according to Kalagui.

The best performer was the Lupon of Barangay Paco, Mankayan, Benguet which had been a constant past regional winner and national finalist in the search.

Both winners will be awarded certificates of recognition only.

“We are working within the Provincial Peace and Order Council for the granting of a more modest reward and incentive for the search”, said Anabelle Laron, member of the PPOC Secretariat.


Cagayan Coast Guard seeks new sea craft vs poachers, smugglers

By Charlie Lagasca

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya – The Coast Guard based in Cagayan’s northern Aparri town is in dire need of new and modern sea craft to secure the country’s northernmost coast from illegal fishing and foreign intrusion.

Cagayan Valley’s Regional Peace and Order Council headed by Quirino Gov. Junie Cua appealed to the national government, particularly the Department of Transportation and Communications, to provide them more sophisticated patrol boats and other equipment.

“The appeal must be for vessels which are more efficient in coastal operations. This will enable (our Coast Guard) to sail in the ocean for more effective maritime protection,” Cagayan Valley police director Chief Supt. Francisco Villaroman said.

Villaroman said they also need additional gadgets such as rubbers boats, life jackets, life rings and flashlights not only for safeguarding the northern coast’s marine resources but for mercy missions during calamities or typhoons.

Besides poaching, illegal fishing and foreign intrusion, the northern coast, which is part of the now West Philippine Sea, is also being guarded against being used as a transshipment point of illegal drugs as well as smuggling of ores and vehicles.

Aparri’s Coast Guard, which is under the La Union-based Coast Guard district headquarters, covers the expanse of Cagayan and Isabela coastlines and the Batanes group of islands, including the Babuyan Channels, all lying along the South China Sea.

“We really have very limited number of sea vessels that we cannot permanently assign Coast Guard ships to certain areas of the country. What we are doing is we temporarily station one ship after another depending on the need of the area,” Captain George Ursabia, commander of the Coast Guard’s Northern Luzon district said.

The plight of the Coast Guard here was raised in a recent joint meeting of the RPOC and the Regional Development Council, which Cua also chairs.


Angeles City opens first dialysis center

ANGELES CITY -- This city’s first kidney dialysis center is set to open July 7 and serve the needs of patients suffering from severe kidney disease in Central Luzon.

City officials led by Pampanga 1st District Representative Carmelo “Tarzan” Lazatin and Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan led the formal inauguration of the newly-constructed Angeles City Dialysis Center last week.

Alongside its inauguration, the new Renal Care Unit and facade of the Rafael Lazatin Memorial Medical Center, here was blessed.

Pamintuan said the city dialysis center aims to provide quality and cost effective hemodialysis treatment to advance, or end stage renal disease patients through a caring and healing environment that utilizes state-of-the-art equipment.

“We are proud to become the first ever local government unit to have a dialysis center in Region 3,” said the vice mayor.

Other local officials who graced the inauguration rites were Vice Mayor Maria Vicenta Vega Cabigting Pamituan and Councilors Edu Pamintuan, Jericho Aguas, Alfie Bonifacio, Jay Sangil,, Alex Indiongco, Maricel Morales, Dan Lacson and ABC President Jojo Dimapilis.

Aside from the dialysis center, the façade and lobby of RLMMC underwent major facelifts. The renovated lobby now includes a waiting room for patients and a lounge room for hospital visitors and guests.

During his speech, Pamintuan added that it was his longtime desire to upgrade the level of medical services being offered by the city hospital and transform its image into a dependable health institution which has a heart that cares for Angeleños.


5 hurt in Ifugao vehicle collision

LAMUT, Ifugao – Five persons were hurt here Tuesday when two vehicles collided, police said.

A police report said an Izuzu Elf truck driven by Ramon Gadit, 42, of Barangay Pugol here collided with a TMX tricycle owned and driven by Marlon Pinhikan, 22, of Nunhabatan, Hapid also in the town at about 8:20 a.m. that day in front of Kings Restaurant.

Gadit was injured in the incident including four passengers of the tricycle identified as Rufino Lamohan Pangalina, 34 and George Lamohan Pangalina, 34, both residents of Biyoy, Kasibu, Nueva. Vizcaya; Remy Uyammi Dalallu, 35 of Hapid, Lamut, and Pablo Bangyod Mu-og, 38, of Saguday, Quirino Province.

Police investigation revealed the Izuzu truck was loaded with gravel and 135 pieces of steel bars owned by Clyde Ian Indopia and was going uphill towards Nayon, Lamut while the tricycle was coming from the opposite direction when the two vehicles suddenly collided.

The Izuzu elf incurred damages on its bumper while the tricycle was damaged on its wind shield, side bumper and flasher.

The victims were brought to Dr. de la Cruz Clinic of said town while the driver of the Elf was brought to Lamut police station for investigation.


Emotions flare in talks to settle boundary dispute

By Roger Sacyaten

BONTOC, Mountain Province - The aim to settle the boundary conflict between barangays Gonogon of this town and Lagan in Sabangan through the cadastral survey has been marred by claims including emotional outbursts from both sides.

Last June 22, the provincial office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources sponsored a forum at the municipal multi-purpose hall here to facilitate settlement of the boundary dispute between the two barangays.

Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Manuel Pogeyed said the cadastral survey had been funded by the agency upon the request of Sabangan municipal government.

During the forum, Bontoc Mayor Pascual Sacgaca traced the delineation of the boundary citing facts handed down for generations.

He propounded on the claim of Gonogon as a former barangay captain and long time resident of the barangay.

With the support of some residents and officials led by Gonogon Barangay Captain Rudy Gittabao, the claim of the mayor for the jurisdiction of Gonogon was emphasized to be at the ridge in Palingao.

“The ridge is the boundary since the time when Sabangan belonged to the sub-province of Lepanto and Bontoc belonged to the sub-province of Bontoc. That had been the political boundary,” he said.

On the other hand, the officials and elders of Lagan insisted that the boundary is at Kendalit which is well inside the territory of Gonogon.

Former vice mayor and now Councilor Florencio Sudicalan claimed that “mohon” were installed at the boundaries but he conceded that the earlier “cadastral survey” pegging the boundary at Kendalit was canceled in 1990.

The reason was reportedly due to the fact that no consultation was ever conducted.

The insistence of both sides to maintain their stance has caught some of the participants to flare up during the discussions.

Gittabao challenged the Isabangans led by Lagan Barangay Captain Mariano Teng-eg, Jr. to perform “Sapata” among the parties to ascertain who was telling the truth.

Vice Mayor William Aspilan reiterated that “Sapata” was the best option if the parties failed to arrive at a consensus in the absence of documentary evidence or firsthand knowledge on the boundary.

But cooler heads prevailed for the sober settlement of the boundary conflict urging both parties to consider other proposals.

However, neither party attempted to concede revision as both maintained their respective stand to the end.

It was proposed instead that the matter to settling the boundary conflict be elevated to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan per provisions of the Local Government Code.

Vice Mayor Aspilan informed the participants that they had already referred the matter the provincial board.

Pogeyed proposed a solution. The DENR will continue the conduct of cadastral survey and declare the conflict area as a common ground.

“Since we cannot settle the boundary now, we will continue the survey activities and regard the conflict area not belonging to either side,” he said.


20 illegal miners enter BC tunnel, one nabbed with explosives

ITOGON, Benguet -- A miner was arrested for trespassing and illegal possession of explosives here at Acupan, Virac June 19 at about 5:30 p.m.

Police identified the miner as Camilo L. Foken, 24 of Brangay Balatoc here.

Based on investigation, complainant Roger T. Payang, 40, supervisor of Impala Security Agency and other security guards spotted around 20 male persons who entered the restricted area of Benguet Corporation.

The suspects scampered to different directions upon sensing the arrival of the patrol guards who apprehended Foken.

Two sticks of dynamite were reportedly confiscated from his possession.

The suspect was turned over to Virac police while a case in being prepared against him.


4 nabbed for illegal logs; vice mayor to be charged

KABUGAO, Apayao – Four persons were arrested here for transporting illegally cut logs at Paco Valley and were later charged in court for violation of Presidential Decree 705 otherwise known as the Forestry Reform Code of the Philippines.

This, even as the vice mayor of this town will be slapped with charges for intervening in the case.

Nabbed by police on June 4 were Freddie Cadao, owner of the seized lumbers and his brother Allen; Rogelio Udaundo, driver and Jeffrey Agudelo, helper, all residents of Poblacion, Kabugao.

Police investigation bared a police team led by Inspectors James D. Acod and Leonard A. Danasen saw a truck speeding along Sitio Angupan, Paco Valley prompting them to flag down the vehicle.

Upon inspection, the vehicle was found loaded with red lawaan and tangili lumbers of assorted dimensions with a total volume of 1, 839.66 board feet.

Also found was a chainsaw machine. The occupants of the vehicle failed to show pertinent papers of the lumbers and so they were placed under arrest.

Apprehended suspects were brought to the Regional Public Safety Battalion Patrol Base at Malama, Conner, Apayao.

The arresting team was preparing to turn-over the vehicle with the confiscated lumbers and chainsaw to the office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources when Kabugao Vice-mayor Roosevelt Alitan intervened by removing two batteries of the confiscated vehicle and left.

The vehicle together and confiscated lumber and chainsaw were officially turned over to the Environment officer of Luna town in the province where inventory was done in the presence of arresting officers.

Charges were filed with the Apayao Provincial Prosecutor against the arrested persons while a separate charges will be filed against the vice-mayor.


Three men arrested for illegal guns in Kalinga

TABUK CITY, Kalinga -- Three men were nabbed here for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition June 18 at about 7 p.m. along Quezon St., Dagupan Centro in front of Maseyepan Lodge.

Police identified the suspects as Jumel D. Donag, 28, who had a shotgun with three bullets; Sowin G. Da-il, 18, who also had a shotgun with two bullets and Benjamin A. Ignacio Jr. 32, loader operator of Peter Busacay Omengan (PBO) and a resident of Bado Dangwa, Tabuk with a Cal. 38 handgun and four bullets.

Investigation bared the three suspects were approached by the policemen regarding their motorcycle, a Honda TMX without plate number parked in front of the Maseypan Lodge.

They were informed of the police’s “no plate no travel policy,” but instead, they ran to different directions prompting the cops to chase and arrest them.
Cases for violation of the police policy were filed against the suspects.


Cordi forest cover down to 37 percent: DENR exec

By Dexter A. See

BAGUIO CITY– The Cordillera office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources here has admitted that the region’s watersheds are now in a critical state thereby posing a serious threat to the food and energy self-sufficiency of Northern Luzon.

Based on recent studies done on the state of Cordillera forests, the agency found out that only 37 percent of the total 1.8 million hectares land area remains forested, which is way below the supposed average level at more or less 50 percent forested areas.
Clarence Baguilat, DENR-Cordillera regional director, said there is urgency to rehabilitate and manage properly rapidly deteriorating watersheds to bring back forest cover which was removed due to man-made activities that led to barren mountains.

As part of the effort to bring back the greenery of the region’s forests, the DENR has tapped the services of government and private sectors around the region to help in planting at least 3.4 million assorted trees in identified critical watersheds which will be the region’s contribution in the ambitious national regreening program whereby at least 1.5 billion assorted trees will be planted nationwide in the next five years.

The Cordillera has been branded the watershed cradle of Northern Luzon because it serves as the source of water flowing into the 13 major river systems that spill over in the lowland communities where lucrative agriculture and energy activities are being undertaken.

Baguilat admitted that despite being the third forested region in the country, the Cordillera lacks appropriate zoning of its areas, adding that forested zones, buffer zones and multi-use zones need to be established in order to prevent the massive invasion of the watersheds.

Region 4-B is the country’s most forested region because of the vast tracks of forests in the Palawan area while Region 2 or the Cagayan valley comes in second because of the existence of the Sierra Madre mountain ranges.

However, Baguilat claimed planting trees alone will not help in restoring the region’s rapidly deteriorating forests but taking care of the planted trees should also be made part of the obligation of those participating in the tree-planting activities to make sure that the trees will survive and will make the program successful.

Because Cordillerans are the ones making the lowland agriculture and energy sectors productive by sustaining the forest cover of the mountains amidst massive degradation activities, the DENR-CAR official said lowland communities must also share the burden in the preservation and protection of the forests by significantly contributing in the number of trees to be planted or whatever available assistance so that efforts to spare the remaining forest cover from being ravaged by unscrupulous individuals will be prevented.

Considering that people in the region have already felt the effects of climate change, many of them have committed to support the planting of trees and nurturing the same for the benefit of the future generation of Cordillerans.

Meanwhile in Lagawe, Ifugao, the representative of the lone district of this world heritage province endorsed for funding and approval by the Department of Energy the construction of five minihydro projects in the different parts of the province, saying this will benefit remote communities.

Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr. said he has endorsed the Ibulao 1 River minihydro project which is located at Barangay Bokiawan; Ibulao 2 River at Barangay Hucab; Hungduan River in Barangay Bokiawan and Asin River, all in Kiangan town and the Lamut River in Barangay Jolowon in Lamut. He said the projects will serve as an added source of power for the province.


Folks irked at P44M road works; DPWH justifies

BAGUIO CITY – Residents here are irked at road repair projects along Loakan Road here saying these caused massive traffic jams but the Baguio District Engineering Office of the Department of Public Works and Highways here justified the P44 million works saying they were delayed by bad weather.

During a coordination meeting held at the city mayor’s office Friday, Engr. Ireneo S. Gallato, DPWH-BCDEO district engineer, explained motorists and residents affected by the multi-million projects are now required to take Kennon road via Camp 7 to reach their respective points of destination while the contractor will work 24-7 on the prescribed works.

Aside from the aforesaid route, motorists from the affected barangays are also given the option to use the completed circumferential road, particularly the Kadaclan to Happy Hallow and Kennon road to Kadaclan, as alternate routes so that the contractor will be able to work on the closed section of the Loakan road from the new Camp John Hay gate to Scout Barrio without being disturbed.

Vice Mayor Daniel T. Farinas said it is high time that local residents and visitors must be aware of the existence of the circumferential road in the city which serves as an alternate route when major roads are closed to vehicular traffic to pave the way for repair and improvement works.
Pursuant to an earlier agreement with officials of the Texas Instruments Philippines, Philippine Economic Zone Authority and Philex Mining Corporation, Gallato said portion of Loakan road after Scout Barrio will remain open to vehicular traffic but asphalt overlay works will continue when the weather condition improves in order to achieve the rehabilitation of the road as earlier identified by the agency for upgrading this year.

The P44 million rehabilitation and repair works along the Loakan road was pinpointed by the DPWH as one of the major priority works of the agency this year in order to provide motorists convenient travel en route to their respective points of destination along the roadline.

If the weather condition will permit, Gallato assured affected motorists and residents that the project will be completed in two months instead of the 4-month project duration so that the public will experience lasting convenience using better road surface.

The DPWH-BCDEO will install the appropriate directional and traffic signs in conspicuous areas within the project sites to guide motorists on the alternative routes to take while the implementation of the project is underway.

According to the district engineer, the DPWH central office has given them timelines in the implementation of the project after the release of funds, thus, they are trying to do everything they could in order to meet the prescribed deadline for the completion of projects without sacrificing quality so that motorists will be able to benefit from its usage once it will be opened for use.

He appealed to affected residents to bear with the temporary inconvenience brought by the implementation of the project since they will be able to enjoy lasting convenience once the roadline will be improved and opened to vehicular traffic within the next two months provided that the weather will improve in the coming days. -- Dexter A. See


160-km Pangasinan rivers being cleaned

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – The massive river clean-up drive is bringing back the pristine beauty and richness of the rivers in this province.

A task force formed by Gov. Amado Espino Jr. had cleared 60 kilometers of the Agno River and other waterways in Pangasinan from illegally-constructed fishing structures stretching along the municipalities of Binmaley, Lingayen, Bugallon, Labrador, San Fabian and the City of San Carlos.

The assessment was made after a meeting on river clean-up and the current river situation in Pangasinan recently. -- LBI


Cordi PNP deputy chief now a general

CAMP BADO DANGWA, LATRINIDAD, Benguet – Chief Supt. Elmer Ragadio Soria, Cordillera police regional deputy director for administration was promoted last week to general.

Soria was among 15 generals who were promoted June 15 at Camp Crame, Quezon City.
Their oath taking was administered by the Philippine National Police Director General Raul M. Bacalzo.

Soria was former PNP Task Force Abra commander, wherein he played a vital role in lessening proliferation of firearms and dismantling of private armed groups.

During his term, nine suspected members of private armed groups (PAGs) employed by politicians were arrested.

Thirty members of four notorious PAGs maintained by influential politicians in Abra were also arrested in relation to the May polls wherein 25 high and low-powered firearms were confiscated from the suspects.

Police also seized two Baby Armalite rifles, one Cal. 22 rifle and a Super Cal. 38 pistol as well as assorted bullets and fatigue uniforms at the houses of incumbent local chief executive of Boliney, Abra Mayor Ronald Balao-as and Sanguniang Bayan member Lino “Tingli” Tulagan Boy-os.

During the Achievers’ Program, Wednesday at Camp Dangwa, regional police Chief Bumanglag congratulated Bar passers; Insp. Maurice C. Nabunat and SPO4 Domer B Tadeo.

Bumanglag also congratulated the newly promoted chief of the regional police crime laboratorySupt, Henry Magantino and new general Soria.


CSC confers civil service eligibility result in an hour

BAGUIO CITY -- Those who want instant career service eligibility, can now take the CAT or computer-assisted test.

Fernando M. Porio, regional director of the civil Service Commission said all it takes is an hour or less before an examinee gets the results of the examination.

He added government personnel with temporary appointment or any examinee who wants to enter government can take the CAT at the Civil Service Commission office here.

Meanwhile, the CSC-Cordillera Administrative Region is now accepting applications for the CS exams through paper and pencil test for both professional and subprofessional levels on Oct. 16.

Aside from Baguio City, the new testing centers are Lagawe, Ifugao and Tabuk City, Kalinga.

Deadline for filing of application is on Sept. 2, 2011.

Applicants must secure and submit their filled application forms at the CSC-CAR Regional Office or any of its Field Offices in Abra (PGO, Bangued); Apayao (Luna); Baguio City (New Lucban); Benguet (Km 5, La Trinidad); Ifugao (Lagawe); Kalinga (Tabuk City); and Mt. Province (Bontoc) with the following requirements: four pieces of recent and identical 1.5” x 2” I.D. pictures with the applicant in standard close-up shot and holding a full name tag that shows the applicant’s first name, middle initial, last name and extension name; original and photocopy of any valid I.D. card bearing the applicant’s name, picture, date of birth and signature, and the issuing officer’s name and signature.

Examination fee is P500. The CS exam through CAT is available only at the CSC-central office and at the CSC-CAR regional office.

The requirements for the CAT are the same as that of PPT but the examination fee is P600.

For the availability of CAT examination schedules in the region, please contact the Examination Services Division, CSC-CAR at telephone no. (074) 442-0367.


Closure to past scams


There is need for the Aquino administration to put a closure to the scams of the past administration by holding those involved accountable for graft and corruption.

Senate minority leader Alan Peter Cayetano has stressed this but even as he lauded the Aquino administration for its good work in instituting good governance, he said he found the latter lacking in holding the Arroyo administration accountable for its alleged corruption raps.

“Holding people accountable is an effective deterrent against future abuses to power. It is the only way we learn. When a person is removed from office, charged and incarcerated, we send a message that crime does not pay. If not, they will just resort to better timing or hiding.”

Cayetano pointed out that while it is only right that the government go after the “big fish” in graft and corruption cases, there is also a need to go after the “small fishes” who are tasked to do the paperwork necessary to commit these crimes.

“If we look at the scams that happened during the Arroyo administration – fertilizer scam, ZTE, swine scam, etc – no one was held accountable so far. And worse, we are only focusing on the mastermind.”

The minority leader used the Hello Garci scandal to illustrate his point, stating that while the Garci tapes may not be used as evidence, it can still be used as a lead in an independent investigation should the Malacanang show the initiative to do so.

“How important is it to Malacanang to go after the evils or the sins of the past administration? If the Garci boys are still present and even promoted here in the Commission on Elections, who’s to say that the Fertilizer Boys and the Swine Scam boys are not roaming at large at the Department of Agriculture or in the other agencies? Or the ZTE boys still lurking at NEDA (National Economic Development Authority and DOTC (Department of Transportation and Communications?” he asked.

What does the Malacanang Communications Department say about this?


Irregularities at DPWH Mt Province

Alfred P. Dizon

BONTOC, Mountain Province -- The “Daang Matuwid” program of the Aquino administration is seemingly not being followed in Mountain Province by some officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Take for example the government agency’s prequalification awards and bids committee. They still pushed through with the bidding of P67 million worth of infrastructure projects in the province despite complaints of representatives of two construction firms that their bid records were seized by individuals right inside the provincial DPWH office so they wouldn’t be able to participate in the bidding.
According to the PBAC members, since the complaining private firms didn’t submit their bid forms, they couldn’t participate. The bidding could have been postponed to set an investigation and clarify the matter. But then, wonder of wonders, the PBAC members were seemingly intoxicated by the hot weather and view of the Chico River that they allowed the bidding to proceed.

Construction firms representatives Ernie G. Baggao of EGB and Peter Omengan of PBO said the obvious intent of the grabbing of their documents by the individuals who were not employees of the DPWH was meant to stop them from participating in the bidding.
Any matuwid worker or official of the said office should have made corrective measures to ensure that the bidding was not tainted. Anyway since court charges for robbery with intimidation have been filed against the alleged culprits, let us leave it at that and let the courts decide on its merits.

DPWH Sec. Rogelio Singson was reportedly sent a complaint regarding the incident, so let us see what he will do about this. Whether some DPWH officials in Mountain Province would be sacked or reprimanded remains to be seen.

I got interesting information that some people orchestrated the incidents so they would be able to get a slice of the juicy contracts.
A side bar to the story is that the contracts included the Balaoa to Tue road widening in Tadian town. I talked with Anglican Priest Eduardo Solang a few days ago in La Trinidad, Benguet who said that indeed, construction works have started. Solang, a resident near the construction site said residents were opposing widening of the road to make it two-way as it will disturb the mountainside.

“We are not against two-lane roads, but in this case, widening the road to make it two-way would be dangerous as a lot of mountainslides could happen considering that it is very steep and high,” he said.

Solang, also the president of the Movement for Advancement of Inter-Tribal Unity and Development in the province, said they were opposing the two-lane construction before lives could be lost as a result of mountainslides in the future.
According to Solang, the environmental composition of the mountain should not be disturbed. He said the road was an artery of the Mountain Province- Cervantes Road in Ilocos Sur but considering that there was a better road network to Cervantes in Tadian, the Tue mountainsides should not be chopped.
Maybe Padi Solang has a point. Over the years, I have passed along the Halsema Highway and saw how mountainsides which were excavated to widen the road have been a perennial source of misery for stranded commuters who had to spend nights along the highway owing to landslides which closed the road for days or weeks. Until now, road slides along the Halsema are frequent particularly during storms or heavy rains.


P-Noy’s KKK

Perry Diaz

While it can be said that former First Lady Imelda Marcos had her “Blue Ladies” during her heydays, President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III has his KKK or “Kabarilan, Kaklase, and Kaibigan” (Shooting buddies, Classmates, and Cronies). Yes, behind every powerful man or woman is a retinue of sycophants. Now, don’t get me wrong but sycophants, psychopaths, and elephants are three different animals.

Virginia Torres, one of P-Noy’s “kabarilan” is back at her job as Administrator of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) after P-Noy told her to take a 60-day leave of absence while she was under investigation on the Stradcom controversy. Well, she was “cleared” of any malfeasance… by default; that is, no administrative case was filed against her during her 60-day “vacation with pay.” Iba na talaga ang untouchable, ano?

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is taking shooting lessons from P-Noy. I guess that makes her a “shooting buddy” apprentice. Asked what she thinks of P-Noy as her shooting teacher, she said, “He’s a very good teacher! Very strict, and he’s a very good shooter, too.” I hope she wouldn’t dare challenge her nemesis Sen. Ping Lacson to a shooting match. Ping is the kind of shooter who shoots first and asks questions later.
With the Chinese sending their warships to the Spratlys, P-Noy can only rely on his Yellow Army to stop the Chinese invasion. But with the Philippine Navy having only one World War II-vintage frigate, he needs a large fleet to transport his Yellow Army to battle with the Chinese. Perhaps he should ask ex-prez Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to help him build a flotilla of unsinkable “bankang papel” (paper boats). But should P-Noy trust Gloria? Ask Erap.
Last week, when Gloria arrived from Hong Kong with hubby Mike, she was rushed to St. Luke’s Hospital for a severe neck pain. She was discharged after a few days later sporting a neck brace. Seems like Karmic law has finally caught up with Gloria. After being a pain in the neck of the people for nine years, it’s her turn to suffer. Yup, what goes around comes around your neck. Aray!

Nobody knows what caused her severe neck pain but I hope it was not due to attempted strangulation from the NBN/ZTE Chinese contractor who allegedly gave her a non-refundable $40 million advance money… or as some people call it, “lagay” or “tongpat.” Chinese businessmen are known for their shrewdness and after the NBN/ZTE contract was cancelled, they’d want their money back… assuming that they did indeed give Gloria the “advance money.” If they did, sorry na lang sila. As they say, “A sucker is born every minute,” and Pinas is teeming with suckees.
During the commemoration of the 150th birthday anniversary of national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal in Calamba, Laguna, P-Noy encouraged every Filipino to be a hero in his or her own little way. I guess he took exception of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos whom he denied a hero’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.“Not during my watch,” he said the day before. So if anybody wants to be heroic, just do it but not under P-Noy’s watch.

The latest issue on the Marcos burial is whether to bury his remains with “full military honors” or not? And P-Noy has been agonizing over it. But what is strangely odd is nobody has defined what “full military honors” exactly means. Do they mean a five-kilometer long military contingent representing all units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines parading in final tribute to him in his flag-draped casket followed by 21-gun salute? I don’t think so.

What I believe to be “full military honors” is a simple Christian funeral ceremony with the addition of the Philippine flag draped over his casket and to be folded and given to his widow; a bugler playing “Taps”; and a 21-gun salute by seven uniformed soldiers each firing his rifle in the air three times in succession. That is “full military honors” given to every man or woman who served the Philippine military and discharged honorably.

Mr. President, it’s a simple “Yes” or “No.” But for crying out loud, please get over it!
After several months of chairing the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC), P-Noy signed Executive Order No. 46 turning over the job to his alter ego, Executive Secretary Pacquito “Jojo” Ochoa Jr., also known as “Little President.” EO 46 seeks to strengthen the PAOCC “to substantiate and generate results in the fight to eliminate corrupt practices.”

I hope that Czar Jojo could do a better job than P-Noy in fighting corruption. Makes me wonder if the ownership of the Glass Mansion has already been clarified? If not, Czar Jojo might want to clear his wife’s name that was alleged to be the owner of the Glass Mansion. Yup, Czar Jojo should fight corruption with the passion of Elliot Ness, the untouchable crime fighter during the Capone era. Hey, Czar Jojo is also “untouchable.” So are P-Noy’s “shooting buddies” and cronies.
The United States is dropping criminal charges against Osama bin Laden. Why not? He’s already dead and his body dumped in the Indian Ocean. “Not too fast, Obama!” protested a Fil-Am birther from Texas. “Before Obama could drop the charges against Osama, Obama must prove that Osama is indeed dead by producing the original long-form death certificate of Osama,” said the Sarah Palin diehard. Well, without a death certificate, Osama is officially alive. And I thought Pinas is the only one that’s full of pilosopo. Like they say, “Once apilosopo, always a pilosopo.”

The feisty Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago and her husband, Narciso Santiago, celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary on Rizal’s birthday by renewing their vows. When asked how she felt, she said, “I feel very sexy.” Well, that’s Miriam.

Gracing the occasion was P-Noy who acted as Narciso’s best man and the bridesmaid was actress Heart Evangelista. The entourage included heavyweights like former presidents Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Joseph “Erap” Estrada, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, and former first lady Imelda Marcos. Conspicuously absent was former president Fidel V. Ramos. According to news report, he was not invited. Hmm…
In 1983, P-Noy’s dad, Ninoy Aquino, was assassinated during the Marcos dictatorship. In 1986, Ramos and Juan Ponce Enrile led the People Power revolution that ousted the Marcoses from power and P-Noy’s mother, Cory Aquino, was installed as president. In 1992, Ramos defeated Miriam in a closely contested election. 1n 1998, Erap was elected president. In 2001, a sham people power revolution ousted Erap and then-vice president Gloria was installed. In 2010, P-Noy won in a landslide victory beating Erap who came in second.

Except for Ramos and Cory who passed away in 2009, all of the above characters were present in Miriam’s wedding celebration. The place must be electrifying! The next presidential election is in 2016. Who do you think will be the top contenders? Abangan…(PerryDiaz@gmail.com)


Reconnecting: an expatriate's voice

Ramon Dacawi

BAGUIO CITY -- Yvonne Belen, my former high school chemistry teacher now based in The Netherlands, recently alerted her fellow expatriates to the entry of Igorot artist Gilbert Gano Alberto to the 10th International Sculpture Symposium in Morges, Switzerland. The news took the small Igorot community there by storm. They ended up with a canao of sorts celebrating the victory of the carver in g-string with a shoestring budget for his ethnic rendition of an old man beating a gong.

Reading their impressions through e-mail, Yvonne, e-mailed back: “I didn’t realize that Gano’s presence would inspire our kailian in Switzerland and bring out the writer in them.”

Hereunder (after the asterisk) is the article from Violeta Passerini that somehow sums up the feeling of pride and sense of community heightened by their encounter with Gilbert:
Rain poured heavily that Saturday morning when my daughter and I drove from Baselland to see the International Sculpture Symposium at Morges. Reaching the place, I already heard a voice as we entered the exhibition compound, “Dey dimmateng da Manang,” Lolit was waving her hands with a wide grin.

“Nangabak manok tako” she said as she embraced us. She pointed to the others who were smiling: Christa, Letty, Erica, Jurg and Julio, and in midst of them was a shy man holding a glass ready for a toast.

“Hinay hi Gilbert,” she introduced us to him as we shook hands. I looked down, still holding his hand, to read the tag where his name was written and the title of his sculpture, “THE ECHO OF AN OLD MAN.”

“Congrats,” I said. “Pinadakkelmo dakami ay Igorot isna Switzerland.” He smiled as if he was still dreaming, not realising that all what happened was a fact. He was one of the best or I should say, “He was the best, bringing home two trophies, GOLD and SILVER.”

Lorena arrived. Julian Chees and Renate Doth from Nürnberg, Germany came to see him, too. This Saturday is Gilbert’s day. His co-artists ask him to have a picture with them and exchange gifts. Visitors ask him about his work and, of course, to have pictures with him. The buyer of his sculpture come to say hello and have a group photo with him. Do I see a kid asking for his autograph? Alphorn blowers ask him if he could join them while they play after he demonstrates playing his noseflute.

Lolit and I are standing beside him and listen to his music, “Nanlayad nenlikatan,” and I think of my roots, Igorotland. Yes, he is busy but we understand. Still, he has the time to play the gong with us and we dance around his sculpture. GILBERT IS THE MAN OF THE DAY.

Yes, Gilbert Alberto, thank you for the honour you shared us. This handful Saturday Igorot group is very proud of you. Not only we, but the whole Igorotland, is very proud of you. More, you represented not only the Philippines, but also us Igorots. We hope to read more about you and your work not only in local papers, but also here in Europe or to be short, international.

“Gilbert Alberto, an Igorot artist from Hapao, Hungduan, Ifugao representing the Philippines exhibits his artworks in…”

For him, it could still be a dream. Maybe when he is back home, when the jetlag is over, when he gets up one morning and sees the two trophies in his atelier, he will realize that it’s not only a dream but a dream come true. MORGES, TWO TROPHIES, SWITZERLAND and the handful IGOROTS on that SATURDAY morning, the sound of the GONGS that he played with us. GILBERT, the handful Saturday Igorot group say, “Thank you and we wish you all the best.” - Violeta Passerini.
Gano’s trophies and awards certificates are in his working hut at the Kennon Road side, Twin Peaks, Tuba, Benguet. They were turned far more precious by the warmth of the Igorot community members who dropped their work schedules to stand by their provincial artist in Morges. Reading their impressions just brings back the image triggered by another reading years ago:

“There are moments when a sudden connection is made somewhere in the world – powerful and undeniable. This is one of those moments.”

We here in the Cordillera homeland salute you, too, BIBAK Switzerland and Europe for reconnecting home through Gilbert. Ma’m Yvonne, thanks for the chemistry. Oss, too, to Sensei Julian Chees and Sensei Renate Doth for driving far beyond 500 miles so Gilbert could bring home that T-shirt from Shoshin.

Come to think of it, all of you never left home. (e-mail: mondaxbench@yahoo.com for comments).


Disclosures on jueteng and mining

March L. Fianza

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- The Full Disclosure Policy in the “Tapatan Roadshow” with main actor Sec. Jesse Robredo of the local governments department (DILG) aims to promote transparency, accountability and good governance at the local government unit level.

Part of the roadshow was the signing of the Covenant of Commitment to the Full Disclosure Policy tablet here participated in by around 400 LGU officials who came from different parts of the region.

Sec. Robredo said, this was nothing new as this was already part of the DILG reform program dubbed “Biyaheng Pinoy: Tapat na Palakad, Bayang Maunlad” and in line with PNoy’s “daang matuwid” program. That is why Sec. Robredo was honest when he admitted that the strategy to put in place the STL as the tool to kill jueteng in the country failed.

He further admitted that now we have policemen who are already tired of arresting jueteng kubradores because the bet collectors sport STL IDs. They do not know which hand of the kubrador is legal – the right hand or the left hand?

He also disclosed that the government is losing a lot of money and resources and policemen were only wasting their efforts in fighting jueteng. Accordingly, STL submitted or reported an income of P900 M for the whole year that was equivalent to its income for one-month only. STL was expected to submit at least P12 billion as its anticipated income for a year.

In the presscon that followed the tapatan roadshow, Sec. Robredo did not answer, or maybe intentionally did not want to answer the question, “What happened to the one-strike policy for police heads?”

Apparently, no police head was removed from office because those concerned did not want to implement the “one-strike policy.” Although it was very clear to the public that the police simply turned a blind eye to jueteng operations in their locality, which all the more makes the public suspect that the police are in cahoots with the operators or were protecting the operators. What happened instead was that the “one strike policy” was the one that was struck down.

In La Trinidad, a “disclosure” by a councilor revealed that for at least four months since they sat as officials last year, he had been receiving some P100,000 a month from jueteng operators who were then operating jai-alai joints, while his colleagues were getting P10,000 per month at P5,000 every 15 days.

He admitted too that now he only receives P10K because negotiation with the gambling operators was taken away from him by his colleagues who assigned another councilor to nail the final deal.

Now, the question about how much the other officials and the police chief are getting vanishes in the pesticide-scented air in this town’s strawberry fields because the better question that should be to answered is “who is receiving for them?”
Another full disclosure was divulged to a group of working newsmen who learned about the entry of the fourth biggest mining company in the world to Lepanto Mining.

Consultant Felice Yeban of Gold Fields Philippines disclosed that the company would be investing some US$340 million in Lepanto after finding out in 18 months if everything is economically feasible.

Louis Pawid III, the more enterprising cousin of newsman Jorge Pawid who coordinated the mining forum at the Mt. Data Hotel said Gold Fields gave Lepanto a non-refundable US$10 million to pay off retrenched personnel plus a non-refundable down-payment of US$44 Million after it agreed to the 18-month period.

In case Gold Fields decided to continue operating even before the 18-month lapsed, it would release US$66 Million with the final payment of $220 million payable until the expiration of the option period on March 12, 2012.

Engr. Rolly Reyes of Lepanto, Engr. Roland Aquino and Amy Nisperos of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the DENR helped the newsmen understand more details behind the gold dust and how Gold Fields and Lepanto would extract the deep-seated gold minerals under Mankayan.

Hence, there is a need for Gold Fields to look into the social acceptability of the project by the communities it would be interacting with in so many years to come, and whose gold it would be extracting.

In his bid to protect the rights and interests of his people, Mankayan Mayor Matt Luspian asked Gold Fields to follow legal procedures in winning the hearts of the people.

Apart from bringing in social development projects, Mayor Luspian asked Gold Fields to prioritize local employment and stressed the need to protect the environment.

And apart from strictly living up to the spirit in the application of Corporate Social Responsibility, it should go beyond building basketball courts and waiting sheds.

In the evening at the end of the mining conference, a new disclosure hidden by the Pines around Mt. Data revealed itself – that Gold Fields should be able to mine out not only gold, but extract also the priceless participation of the residents in community development.- marchfianza777@yahoo.com


Vergara’s projects

Grace Bandoy

I wish to acknowledge the very immediate response of Rep. Bernardo Vergara with regards po sa ating hinihinging updates of his accomplishments. Like Flash Gordon with his lightning rod speed, just days po after our request was published, he called for a press conference at eto na po ang ibinigay na updates of his accomplishments from 2010 – present:

Accomplished Projects from July to December 2010 –
Circumferential Road – Happy Hollow 30 Million – Completed
City Camp Lagoon 29 Million – 25% Complete
Gibraltar Barangay Road 2.7 Million – 100% Complete
Lower QM Drainage System P 500,000 – 100% Complete
Lighting Systems – Burnham, flyover, overpasses
and landscaping nung ilalim ng BGH flyover 35 Million – 100% Complete
Motor Cycles for Police 3 Million – under bidding process
Scholarship Program (with Domogan) 7 Million – 100% Complete
Livelihood Projects (BARP, Women’s Group, DSWD) 3 Million – on-going
Medical fund – BGH 2 Million – on – going
JICA Calamity Fund 71 Million – on- going retaining wall projects
Construction of Overpass – Abanao Street 5 Million – under bidding process
Construction of Overpass – unknown site yet 5 Million – under bidding process
Motor Vehicles Users Tax – Leonard Wood Rd. 10 Million – preparing program for bidding

Projects for 2011
Circumferential Road 140 Million
Bokawkan to Loakan Road, PMA Cut-off, Chanum St., Kennon, Outlook Drive to Magsaysay Avenue, Quezon Hill, Major Mane and Baguio – Bauang Road
Asphalting of Two National Roads 15 Million
Proposed beautification of the Rose Garden
Proposed underpass if Bokawkan flyover is not approved

May nagtext po sa atin at nagsabing hindi pa daw ibinibigay ang P500,000.00 na Livelihood and Productivity Fund na na-promise po ni Cong. Vergara for the BARP group last year pa daw po eto. Dapat ibigay na po eto para magamit na po sa mabuti ng ating mga lolos and lolas sa BARP hindi po ba?

Salamat din po sa mga nag text encouraging us to research more on these projects kung saan napupunta po ang ating mga pera. There was even a text suggesting we also research where the Councilor’s funds go to, we will try po.

So well, ako po ay hindi masyadong satisfied sa report ni Congressman. Because aside po from his PDAF na binibigay ng National govt., si lolo Bernie po eh masipag din po mag-solicit ng additional funds niya from people and other groups for his projects.

Hindi po really clear sa akin where his 2011 budget went to. Magkano na po ba ang nasa kanyang kamay na budget for 2011 and saan na po ginastos ang mga eto? Tayo naman po eh nagtatanong lang, wala naman po sigurong bad if we do, hindi po ba Sir? Mr. PR Ferdie Balanag? and people from your office? (feeling ko po kasi during the press conference kung saan inimbita niyo po ako eh nanggigigil po yata kayo sa akin sa inis? hehehe). Peace po tayo!
High blood po ako sa mga waiting sheds natin na ginawang permanent and concrete, long-term advertisement space ng Sitel and Love Radio!

May balak naman po palang gawing concrete canvass ang ating mga waiting sheds ni Mayor Domogan eh bakit ngayon lang po ginawa? And bakit naman po ad campaign pa ang naisip ilagay? Ganun na ba kahirap ang ating city at hindi na natin kayang i-maintain ang ating mga waiting sheds? That there is a need to have them leased or rented out or whatever to commercial companies?

And how much naman po kaya ang nakuha ng ating local government in exchange for these massive, permanent, long-term ad campaign by Sitel (numerous waiting sheds) and Love Radio (Engineers Hill waiting shed, ang nakita ko pa lang hehehe)

I wish to share the comments of Baguio Citizens when I posted the Sitel Waiting Shed in my Facebook:

“Next thing you know the city of pines would be known as the city of Sitel....welcome to Sitel city!”

“Dumaan b yan sa bidding? approved by yan nang NEDA? dumaan by yan nang public consultation?..hahaha”

“OMG SITELIZATION of Baguio! So they will be preventing Baguio people to pee when needed, require EOP, forced OTs, holiday duties & work during typhoons and get breaks only when allowed by the coach?”

“hehehe pinagbawalan yung mga frats na magpintura, yung sitel pinayagan ...very logical”
“ah dapat pala me URL tsaka phone number para di ipagbawal hihihi”

“malicious mischief versus City of Baguio and co-conspirator Sitel!”

“nagtitipid ang city kaya pinapintor sa SITEL para "pro bono" ba say mo je je”

“How could they have even thought about painting over the natural color and texture of stone? purely tasteless and ugly.”

“I suggest that Sitel be given the privilege to create garbage cans with their corporate logo. Let them create 1,000 eco-friendly garbage cans with their corporate logo.”

“thats a receiving area for applicants hehehehe..”

“baka call center extension dayta! Hehehe”

“yan ang smoking area nang mga call center agents nang Sitel”

“hindi pa sinulit... sana pati bubong at ceiling inayos na din... at sinulatan.. lol..”
“Baka addan call center idiyay attic na?”

Welcome to Sitel City!


Sustainable housing and renewable energy”

Ramon ‘Ike’ Villareal Señeres
(Fourth part of a series)

SHARE is the new acronym that I am proposing to signify the revival of the basic needs approach, this time modified to incorporate the “green and blue” convergence. Just like the old basic needs approach, it will have sustainable housing as the centerpiece component, but along with it, renewable energy will also be given equal importance. Aside from energy, water and transportation will be the other two critical public utilities that will be prioritized.

It is a generally known fact that many housing projects fail or are abandoned because there is no clean water and there is no affordable transportation available. This is a problem that should already be corrected in new and future housing development projects, and I believe that
the solution to this problem lies in the cooperative approach, and by that I mean the ownership of the community water system and the community transport system by the cooperatives that will be formed among the new homeowners, possibly organized as a parallel to the legally mandated Homeowner Associations (HOAs).

Depending on where you live in the Philippines, the quality of water varies. In some places, water on tap is safe to drink, but in other places, it is not, forcing people to buy bottled filtered water instead.

This is an extra drain on the budgets of our people who are already burdened with heavy expenses. The technology for water filtration is already commonplace. It is just plain and simple reverse osmosis, a technology derived from the business of filtering water for dialysis purposes.

The technology is so simple, such that water filtering stations are now in every street corner.
It would really spare residents a lot of money if filtered water could be supplied by the cooperatives on tap already, meaning to say that it is already pumped into the residential units as part of a centralized plumbing system.

Just like buying LPG in canisters, it has become the practice to buy filtered water in bottles, and everyone now takes it for granted that it is something that we have to live with, something that we could no longer change. That is really very far from the truth, because anything in
liquid or gaseous form could be pumped directly into residential units by way of centralized plumbing systems.

Just to stress my point, I will also say that if we could pump gas and water in, we could also pump liquid soap and cooking oil in, an idea that could also add more savings to the household budgets of our people. Just the same, the business of supplying liquid soap and cooking
oil on tap could be a service provided by the same cooperatives that would also supply the gasses and the water.

More than just in a symbolic sense, the production of biogas on site by the cooperatives and supplying the gas into the homes could be a service that will functionally implement the “green and blue” convergence. On one hand, it will be “green” because it will produce energy from waste. On the other hand, it will be “blue” because it will supply a renewable form of energy that will not only solve the problem of waste disposal, it will also solve the problem of rising energy costs. This is a combined opportunity of earning and saving that we should not miss.

Perhaps it is providential that electric powered vehicles are now in the market, not just tricycles but four wheeled cars as well. What this means is that if the coops could produce their own renewable energy efficiently, they could also own and operate an electric powered
transportation system economically, thus adding to their ways of making money and saving money. It would be more advantageous for local residents to have their own transportation system that is not purely commercially driven, because commercial systems would tend to “disappear” when the passenger traffic goes down.

Even if food is essentially a commercial commodity, there are still a lot of opportunities for coops to produce their own food locally, especially if this is done in the context of livelihood generation.
This is an idea that housing developers should consider in their designs, because the inclusion of livelihood production areas could impact significantly on the land use planning and the layout of the home sites. This concern is not only applicable to rural housing, because even the urban housing projects could also have their own livelihood components.

Health, education and recreation are the other basic needs that coops could provide commercially, but intentionally with a social purpose. The social purpose is to provide these services at lower and more affordable prices, something that only coops could do, because of their tax-free status, and because of their unique ability to reward their members with the
unique combination of discounts, rebates and dividends.

Just to set the record straight, I am advocating the adoption of SHARE not as a project or a program, but as a standard that will be adopted by the government in general, and by the housing developers in particular.

My apologies to those who might see political color in the idea of reviving a development approach that is associated with past regimes, but I assure everyone that my intentions are purely developmental and not political.

My wish is that everyone will not see political color in what I write, but will see instead the color of money that could be saved or earned as we give more business to more people, using the cooperative approach.


Broadcaster sues Kalinga governor

>> Monday, June 20, 2011

By Charlie Lagasca

TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Jerome Tabanganay, broadcaster of dzRK Radyo ng Bayan here has filed cases of grave threat and physical injuries before the Kalinga prosecutor’s office against Gov. Jocel Baac for assaulting and threatening him while he was hosting his noontime program.

Tabanganay also filed administrative and criminal charges before the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Department of Justice against Baac last Monday.

“We are also readying filing a case of malicious mischief against (Governor Baac) for causing the radio station to be off the air for about five minutes,” Tabangay added.

Tabanganay, 44, said he was heartened by the support from colleagues and other sectors who have been encouraging him to continue his crusade against anomalies in the provincial government despite threats to his life.

 He cited the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines and other media groups who have assisted him in filing the case against Baac.

Earlier, former justice secretary Silvestre Bello III also offered to provide free legal assistance to Tabanganay.

Bello condemned Baac’s act as “dishonorable, cowardly and barbaric meant to silence those that dare to speak and expose the truth.”

“What was committed by Governor Baac was not only trespassing and physical injury but a violation of the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of the press and of expression,” he said.

Tabanganay said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma also called to inform him that an administrative case had been filed against Baac before the DILG.

At least two policemen were also tasked to provide security for Tabanganay since the assault happened.

Baac together with his bodyguards entered the radio booth where Tabanganay was having his regular noontime program and hit him with a microphone.

Tabanganay reportedly earned Baac’s ire for his exposes on illegal gambling and logging activities, reportedly going unabated in Kalinga.

He was assisted by lawyer Edward Buliyat, Tabanganay when he filed a complaint for physical injuries against Baac.

Tabanganay’s complaint was bolstered by his colleagues’ eyewitness accounts of the incident, which has drawn national and international attention as a video footage showing Baac assaulting the broadcaster inside the announcer’s booth of dzRK-Radyo ng Bayan last Tuesday was aired on major TV networks.

Robredo earlier ordered an in-depth investigation into the incident, saying Baac’s action is “tantamount to conduct unbecoming of a public official, abuse of power and discretion.” Robredo said Baac “should have been more prudent and patient under such circumstances, taking into account that the radio program was live on air.”

Tabanganay said Baac “should be suspended” so he cannot influence any investigation and the eventual case that will emerge from the Kalinga prosecutor’s office.

Last Wednesday, the Regional Peace and Order Council in the Cordilleras convened to discuss the incident, while Baac was immediately relieved as chairman of the Regional Development Council with Ifugao Gov. Eugene Balittang taking his place.

Meanwhile, lawyer Henry Tubban, Baac’s legal counsel, said, “We see nothing wrong with the incident.”

Tubban, together with lawyer Christian Wandag, met with journalists in Baguio last week to explain Baac’s side, saying the governor “just wanted to talk” to employees of dzRK-Radyo ng Bayan.

“It was caught on video; it’s up to you to judge,” Tubban said in the dialect, adding that Baac would answer charges once filed.

Tubban said Baac grabbed the microphone purposely to cut off any conversation on air. “It was only an accident that Jerome’s lip was hit,” he said.

Baac, together with armed bodyguards, broke into the announcer’s booth, hit Tabanganay with the guest’s microphone and allegedly even threatened to kill him.


Baguio gets P60 M from John Hay

BAGUIO CITY — The management of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority partially released P60 million as payment to the city government representing its accumulated share from the lease rentals of the Camp John Hay special economic zone over the past several years.

In a letter to Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, Ariel Paciano D. Casanova, BCDA president and chief executive officer, said the amount was directly remitted to the management of the Government Service Insurance System as payment for the city’s acquisition of the P250 million in order to prevent the local government from accumulating continuous arrearages that would result to fiscal problems in the future.

Baguio City is entitled to 25 percent share from the lease rentals of the 246-hectare CJH special economic zone which was leased out to the Camp John Hay Development Corp. since 1997.

However, BCDA did not specify in its letter what are the years covered by the accumulated lease rentals although the same will still be subjected to reconciliation by the concerned agencies and the local government. -- Dexter See


2 suspects in Vigan City judge’s slay fall

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union - Authorities believe they have solved the killing of a judge in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur eight months ago with the arrest of two alleged guns-for-hire during a raid on a cockpit in La Union last Wednesday, a police official said.

Senior Supt. Ramon Purugganan, La Union police director, said witnesses positively identified Candido Mitrado, 49, and Peter Tagura, 52, as the assassins of Vigan City Judge Reynaldo Lacasandile last Oct. 4.

Purugganan said the two suspects were apprehended for illegal possession of firearms last June 8 at a cockpit in San Gabriel, La Union.

He quoted forensic experts as saying the caliber .45 pistol seized from Mitrado (along with two magazines with 14 bullets) matched with the firearm used in the Lacasandile killing.

“With that information, we have a strong case against them,” he said.

In a report to Ilocos regional police director Chief Supt. Frank Bucayu, Purugganan said they are verifying reports that Tagura’s caliber .45 Colt pistol was used in at least five other killings in the region.

Police records show that Lacasandile was waiting for a ride on his way to work last Oct. 4 when two men repeatedly shot him.

He died while being brought to the hospital due to multiple gunshot wounds.
Lacasandile had been traveling for over two hours from his residence in Tagudin town to his office in Vigan City on a daily basis.

Purugganan said the La Union police and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group also have a witness who testified the two arrested suspects had been roaming around Lacasandile’s house days before the killing.

Purugganan said he received information that the two had been hiding in La Union, prompting him to form a special tracker team to arrest them.

“The close coordination of police units, the sharing of vital intelligence and painstaking surveillance resulted in the arrest of the suspects,” he said.


9 missing fishermen found alive in Ilocos high seas

By Freddie G. Lazaro

CAMP PRESIDENT QUIRINO, Ilocos Sur – Nine fishermen earlier reported missing in the high seas during the onslaught of tropical depression “Dodong” turned up alive in the shores of Pangasinan and Ilocos Sur last week, authorities reported.

Senior Supt. Reynante G. Partible, acting provincial police director, identified the nine survivors as Gabriel V. Vesta, 29, of Barangay Arosan, Bolinao, Pangasinan; Rosalino M. Perges Jr., 28; and Joel L. Murcia, 32, both of Barangay Bayambang, Infanta, Pangasinan;

Gregorio M. Santillan, 52; Jovani M. Murcia, 22; Marwin T. Ladao, 19; Philip M. Murcia, 20; and Felix C. Relator, 51, all of of Barangay Cato, Infanta, Pangasinan; and Nestor M. Lapis, 36, of Barangay Poblacion, Infanta, Pangasinan.

Partible said Vesta was rescued in the high seas while clinging on to a piece of wood morning of June 12 after being spotted by fisherman Ismael Artillero, of Barangay Puro, Magsingal, Ilocos Sur.

The other eight were rescued around 2 p.m. also that day by brothers Eleno, 41, and Bartolome Tabigne, 46, who were fishing in the high seas off Magsingal, Ilocos Sur.

The Tabigne brothers were on their way home from fishing on high seas on board a motorized banca when they sighted said fishermen floating using the parts of their destroyed banca,” Partible said.

They were taken back to Pangasinan after being treated at the Magsingal District Hospital in Ilocos Sur, added Partible.

The survivors revealed they set out to sea to fish on the night of June 7, when their motorized banca was hit by big waves and wrecked to pieces night of June 9.


Ambuklao dam starts commercial operation

By Dexter A. See

BOKOD, Benguet — The management of the SN Power Aboitiz Benguet here has partially rehabilitated the Ambuklao Hydroelectric Power Plant, which started commercial operation of its Unit 3 turbine.

Ambuklao’s host municipality and province is Bokod, Benguet.

It hosts two barangays — Ambuklao (after which the plant was named) and Tikey-and a community called Shakilan ni Ikulos-Indigenous Peoples’ Organization.

The Ambuklao plant now has 35 megawatts (MW) of capacity after two years of rehabilitation following a 12-year shutdown. Apart from helping the grid, added capacity likewise contributes to the development and growth of the plant’s host communities.

Ambuklao plant’s rehabilitation began in year 2008 to restore the plant and increase its capacity from 75 MW to 105 MW.

The rehabilitation is expected to be completed in the third quarter this year and its full operation will begin at end of the year.

The Ambuklao plant upgrade is another engineering feat entailing the construction of a new intake, headrace and penstock, elevation of tailrace tunnel outlet, de-silting of tailrace tunnel and replacement of electro-mechanical components.

SNAP-Benguet’s renovation on its other facility, the Binga power plant, is ongoing. Began in 2010, the refurbishment will upgrade the plant from 100 MW to 120 MW one unit at a time within three to four years.

Built in 1956, Ambuklao was the first among the country’s largest hydroelectric power plants with an original installed capacity of 75 MW. Siltation and other technical problems caused by the 1990 earthquake that struck Benguet led to suspension of plant operations in 1999.

SNAP-Benguet likewise ensures a safe and healthy working environment for its employees.
Its Ambuklao and Binga plants, in fact, posted a combined 3.75 million man-hours of zero lost time incidents arising from workplace injury as of April 2011.

SNAP-Benguet also makes sure that it meets, and even exceeds, the requirements of law, rules, and regulations that govern the preservation and protection of the environment by promoting sustainability practices.

“SNAP-Benguet implements a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Program that aims to support development projects in livelihood and eco-tourism, education, health, governance, environmental protection, social infrastructure, and indigenous peoples concerns.

The company allocates a voluntary fund yearly for these community investments,” said SNAP president and CEO Manny Rubio.

He adds that SNAP-Benguet is at the forefront of environmental protection in Benguet through the implementation of its watershed protection and conservation projects in coordination with NPC.

It also supports the establishment of domain nurseries and agro-forestation projects with the Indigenous Peoples Organization of Bokod and Itogon, Benguet.


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