Baguio officials hit ‘illegal’ land titles issued by NCIP

>> Friday, January 31, 2014

By Paul Rillorta

BAGUIO CITY – The city government is now questioning titles issued by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to ancestral land applicants deemed not falling within Republic Act. 8371 or the Indigenous People’s Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA).

Mayor Mauricio Domogan said the city is only covered by the IPRA on a limited and exceptional manner stating Chapter 8 Section 78 which states “the city shall remain to be governed by its Charter and all lands proclaimed as part of its townsite reservation shall remain as such until otherwise reclassified by appropriate legislation.”

Domogan said, “the law also states that prior land rights and titles recognized or acquired through any judicial, administrative or other processes before the effectivity of the Act shall remain valid.”

“It is very clear that the NCIP is violating Section 56 of the Act by issuing Certificate of Land Titles (CALT’s) even to properties which are already titled and even owned by the government,” he said.

The NCIP recently issued CALT’s to government reservations and parks in the city some of which include Wright Park, Mansion House, Botanical Garden, parts of Loakan Airport, Busol Watershed, Forbes Park Reservation and Casa Vallejo among others.

Section 56 provides property rights within the ancestral domain already existing or vested upon the effectivity of the IPRA Law (1997) shall be recognized and respected.

“I hope that this matter is a wake-up call for the NCIP to seriously study their interpretation of the law,” he said.

However, Domogan said he is not against legitimate ancestral claims and is supporting legitimate ancestral claimants to finally get hold of their native titles.

“If the NCIP only follow what is stated in the law, we would never be in this situation,” he said stating further that there would be continuous coordination with the Solicitor General and other government agencies in order to protect land rights.

“You can count on this, we will continue to do our part and question CALT’s by the NCIP issued to illegitimate claimants and work for its nullification,” he said.

Accordingly, the city government and the NCIP which was then headed by Chairman Eugenio Insigne resolved in 2009 CALT applications will not undergo processing without first going through the Baguio Ancestral Land Clearing Committee (BALCC).

“It is really surprising that CALT’s continue to be issued to parks and government owned lots despite the understanding arrived at in 2009,” Domogan said.

Recently, the NCIP en banc issued a status quo order delaying the Writ of Possession its regional office issued to Roebling Hotel, Inc., who presently operates the Casa Vallejo hotel.

The hotel catapulted to the limelight last week after the National Resources Development Corporation (NRDC) under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) cried foul over the order of the NCIP favoring heirs of Cosen Piraso to take possession of the subject structure.

The 2,160 square meter subject property which houses the historic Casa Vallejo Hotel has been issued CALT’s by the NCIP, a move the city government and the DENR-NRDC say is questionable and done in haste. 

Domogan said, “the issuance of the status quo order by the NCIP itself is a starting point for the commission to realize that it created more serious problems than what the law intends to address.”

“This situation must be corrected,” Domogan said.
Domogan also pleaded to residents to be vigilant and support the move of the government to reclaim properties covered by titles and proclamations which have been issued CALT’s by the NCIP.

Domogan said the NCIP should only give titles to legitimate ancestral land claimants and should respect the provision of Section 78 of said law.


Bangsoy named as new JHMC board member

BAGUIO CITY -- A home-grown entrepreneur was appointed by President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III as the newest member of the Board of Directors of the John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC), a subsidiary of the State-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

            Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa transmitted to Rolando P. Gosienngfiao, BCDA Chairman, the appointment papers of lawyer Alexander L. Bangsoy and the ten other members of the JHMC Board of Directors who were reappointed to their current positions.

            Aside from Bangsoy, other JHMC officials who were reappointed were Silvestre C. Afable, Jr., Jamie Eloise M. Agbayani, Atty. Arnel Paciano Casanova, Reynaldo U. Agranzamendez, Catherine Mary R. Biazon, Emerito P. Manalo, Ceasar G. Oracion, Gloria F. Peralta, Teddy Esteban F. Rigoroso and Antonio H. Tengco.

            Bangsoy was born in an entrepreneurial family and worked as a store keeper, market vendor, sidewalk vendor and store owner that led him to finish his accounting degree at the St. Louis University (SLU).

            He finished his law degree at the Ateneo de Manila University Law School and had brief stints with two big Manila-based law firms, specifically the Balgos and Perez law office and the Tanjuatco, Oreta, Berenguer law office. For almost 15 years, he spent his law practice in the city where his practice evolved around corporate, litigation and land cases and a big part of which was devoted to free legal aid as a member of the now defunct Protestant Lawyers League of the Philippines (PLLP).

            Because of his involvement in real estate development and entrepreneurial activities, he was forced to take up and subsequently complete the course Master in Entrepreneurship at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM).

            In order to gain an indepth knowledge on his chosen field of profession, Bangsoy finished a short-term course on Accelerating Sales Force at the Kellogg School of Management, the Business School of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois and is currently enrolled in the Owner, President Management Program Batch 45 at the Harvard Business School in Boston.

            As the chief executive officer of the fast-growing Baguio-based Goshen Land Capital, a family-owned real estate corporation, Bangsoy was one of the twelve finalists in the 2013 Ernst and Young Entrepreneurship Award.

            “Want to establish a harmonious working relationship between the private sector and the government so that JHMC will be able to realize its primordial goals and objectives,” Bangsoy said after being furnished his appointment papers.

            He will be serving the unexpired term of former BCDA Chairman Felecito Payumo from 01 July 2013 up to 30 June 2013.

            He said JHMC is one of the most important institutions in the city and to be a member of the Board of Directors, it should mean that one must be adept with finance, entrepreneurship, corporate and other relevant laws and a deep understanding of the needs of the community. -- Dexter A. See


NPAs kill former Ifugao village exec

KIANGAN, Ifugao – New People’s Army rebels killed a former village official here for his alleged “crimes against the people,” according to a belated police report.

Three hit men of the NPA’s Nona del Rosario Command gunned down 36-year-old Francis Tayaban Habawil, a former councilman of Barangay Amdugtog, Asipulo town, last Jan. 8 and then left a letter with the communist unit owning up to the killing.

Habawil had been cooperative to local military units, said Senior Supt. Angelito Casimiro, Ifugao police director, prompting probers to believe that he was slain for helping get rid of rebels in his community.

Policemen and two teams from the Charlie Company of the Army’s 54th Infantry Batallion responded to the slay.

Habawil died from seven gunshot wounds in the chest and left armpit. Five spent shells from a .45-caliber pistol were found at the scene.

Chief Supt. Isagani Nerez, newly installed Cordillera police director, earlier urged NPA rebels in the region to join the peace efforts of the government, but added that they face the full might of the law if they go against it.


23 fall in crackdown on ‘jueteng’ in Pangasinan

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union -- Police operatives arrested 23 people allegedly involved in “jueteng” as they launched a crackdown on the illegal numbers game in Pangasinan, the Police Regional Office 1 director reported yesterday.

Senior Supt. Moro Virgilio M. Lazo, Officer-in-Charge of the PRO1), said the 23 were rounded up in simultaneous entrapments in the town of Umingan.

Lazo identified the suspects and the areas of coverage in Umingan as Basilla Domingo, Jose Tabada, Mateo Barientos, Marcelo Vidal, Eduardo Cortez in Poblacion West; Arcenio Galelta and Amado Castillo in Nancalabasaan; Edgardo Prepose, Corzillo Siblang and Rorego Santaroza in Cuardanetaan;

Rodrigo Ramos and Nicole Abad in Luna Este; Rolando Pascua, Renato Operana,  and Fredo Organo in Maseil-seil; Lucena Tolentino and Elsa Bedro in Poblacio East; and Juana Tamayo and Cristy Bello in Villa Bantug.

He added that three of the suspects – Aljade Ramos, Mark James Ramos and Nestor Gonzales – are residents of Rosario, Batangas, while Alay Austria is from Paniqui, Tarlac.

Lazo said the suspects were collared last Monday in an entrapment conducted after receiving intelligence report about the operation of illegal number games in Umingan.

He said that suspects were caught in the house of Basilla Domingo, 85, while they are remitting and consolidating bets.

The raiding team seized cash amounting to P8,322 in various denominations, papelitos, and other jueteng paraphernalia.


Kalinga tribe hails NCIP ruling over ancestral lands

PASIL, Kalinga -- The Balatoc tribe here hailed the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) for continuously “championing the cause of the indigenous cultural communities against extra-legal incursions by vested interest.”

Balatoc tribal leader Victor Gumisa was reacting to reports that the NCIP recently upheld the ownership claim by an Ibaloi family to a prime property along Session Road in Baguio City that holds Casa Vallejo, reputedly the oldest hotel in the country’s summer capital.

The NCIP en banc has put on hold implementation of the Cordillera NCIP’s decision over the Casa Vallejo property.

Speaking in Ilocano, Gumisa cited certain parallelisms in the Casa Vallejo case and the Batong-buhay mining controversy in Pasil.

The NCIP has ruled that the 2,160-square-meter Casa Vallejo lot was within the ancestral land of the Acop family which traces its roots to an ancient Ibaloi settler named Piraso.

In 2010, the NCIP granted the Acop family two certificates of ancestral land titles (CALTs) that included the Casa Vallejo lot.

The NCIP regional hearing office subsequently issued a writ allowing the Acops to take possession of the lots covered by their ancestral land titles.

Gumisa said in similar fashion, NCIP regional hearing officer Guillermo Kadatar has also upheld his tribe’s contention that their inherent rights as owners of ancestral land in Pasil were allegedly ignored by a consortium poised to conduct mining operations within their property.


Mayors create BLISTT ‘governing council’

By Freda Toyoken

BAGUIO CITY – Mayors of Baguio and nearby towns of Benguet signed an agreement here Jan. 18 creating a “governing council” to start framework and boost economic activities of the areas. 

Except for La Trinidad, chief executives of the towns of Baguio, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay in Benguet  (BLISST) signed amended memorandum of agreement in a breakfast meeting  here at Prince Plaza Hotel.

The MOA however, would be subject to confirmation of their respective town and city councils.

La Trinidad Mayor Edna Tabanda said she is awaiting confirmation and authorization to sign from La Trinidad’s Sanggunian Bayan.

If confirmed by their respective Sanggunian Bayan and Panglungsod, the MOA will supersede the 2012 BLISTT MOA together with agreements previously signed by the parties.

The amended MOA creates the Governing Council, composed of BLISTT local executives, and the Development Council composed of BLISTT mayors with their respective Municipal Planning and Development Officers (MPDOs).

Included in the Council are Baguio Rep. Nicasio Aliping and Benguet Rep. Ronald Cosalan, Benguet Gov. Nestor Fongwan  and Baguio City police director Senior Supt. Jesus Cambay and provincial police directors.

Also part of the council are and regional line agencies namely the Departments of Interior and Local government, environment and Natural Resources, Local Government, Tourism, Highways, Trade and Industry and National Economic Development Authority and national  Commission on Indigenous Peoples.

Also signed by BLISTT executives was a resolution requesting the Dept. of Science and Technology / Metal Industry Research and Development Center to expand coverage of its feasibility study on urban monorail/train system for Baguio to include the whole of BLISTT and consider electrical jeepneys as  alternative.

Next in the BLISTT agenda includes election of officers in the Governing Council, the BLISTT Strategic Development Framework and local consultations to solicit views on the BLISTT initiatives.


Drunk DPWH worker shoots two men in bar

BANGUED, Abra --  – A 33-year old employee of the Department of Public Works and Highways – Abra Engineering District was arrested by law enforcers after he reportedly shot  two individuals during a drinking session inside the MS Disco Bar here at Barangay Zone 5 around 10:30 p.m. on Jan. 22.

Senior Supt.  Benjamin M. Lusad, Abra provincial director, identified the gunman as Junie Viste Balmaceda, a resident of Barangay Poblacion, Lacub, Abra and an employee of the DPWH Abra district  while the victims were identified as Lester Lacaden Bayongan, 30, a resident of Lingey, Bucloc, Abra and Rommel Cabanting Stock, 30 and a resident of Sabnangan, Luba Abra.

Balmaceda and the victims were drinking in separate tables inside the establishment when a misunderstanding ensued that resulted to a heated altercation between the two parties.

Balmaceda left the place and later returned and without any reason immediately shot the victims several times.

Lester Bayongan sustained a gunshot wound on his buttocks while Rommel Stock sustained multiple gunshot wounds in the different parts of his body. Both victims of the shooting incident were immediately brought to the Abra Provincial Hospital for medical treatment while the suspect was able to escape from the crime scene prior to the arrival of responding police operatives.

The following day, Balmaceda was arrested by operatives of the Bangued police after a pursuit operation was conducted.

Police also recovered the Cal. 45 which he used in shooting Bayongan and Stock while police rrecovered 4 fired cartridges and a deformed fired bullet of Cal. 45, and two metal fragments in the crime scene.

Chief Supt. Isagani R. Nerez, regional director of the Police Regional Office (PRO) in the Cordillera, lauded the policemen for arresting the suspect.



PP1.5M marijuana burned; P15,000  lumber seized
CAMP BADO DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet -- Elements of the Police Regional Office Cordillera, in coordination with the different agencies resulted in the destruction of more than P1.5 million worth of marijuana plants while P 15,406.40 worth of illegal lumber were confiscated and recovered in the different parts of the Cordillera region.

A total of 7,750 fully grown marijuana plants planted in 6 marijuana plantation sites with a land area of 1,550 square meters worth P1,550,000.00 were uprooted by tough  police personnel of the Kibungan municipal police station in a two-day marijuana eradication operation over the weekend.

Police discovered the marijuana plantation in Sitios Bakbakan, Talnag and Tabao all in Barangay Poblacion, Kibungan, Benguet.

After the eradication, the operating team conducted a dialogue with the elders and residents of Sitio Bakbakan and enlightened them about the harmful effects of Marijuana, especially to the youth.

On the other hand, 87 pieces of assorted lumber and logs with a total volume of 471.3 board feet worth P 15,406.40 including other equipment were confiscated and recovered in a separate police operation in two continues successive days.

In Benguet, personnel of the Atok Municipal Police Station (MPS) recovered a total of 43 pieces of abandoned illegally sawn pine lumbers with a total volume of 341.3 board feet worth  P 9,556.40 at around 4 o’clock of Saturday. While operatives of the Tuba MPS also recovered 26 pieces of square post Gemelina Tree of different dimensions in Parispis, Tabaan Norte, Tuba, Benguet at about 2:30 PM of Sunday.

In Abra, joint personnel of the Tubo MPS together with the Municipal Councillors of Tubo, PENRO Abra, Municipal Forest Guard and Barangay Officials of Barangay Amtuagan, Tubo recovered a guide bar of chainsaw, 1 saw chain, 1 scuala; and 18 pieces of Narra flitches in Sitio Tomoy-ok, Barangay Amtuagan, Tubo, Abra last Sunday at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Police estimated a total volume of 130 board feet worth P 5, 850.00.

All confiscated and recovered items were brought to their respective unit for safekeeping prior to their subsequent turn over to CENRO and MENRO for proper disposition.

PNP-Ifugao to recruit 46 non-uniformed personnel
LAGAWE, Ifugao -- The Philippine National Police provincial office here is now accepting applicants to fill the available slots for Non-uniformed personnel (NUP) in the  province.

PNP-Ifugao director  Angelito Casimiro said that Ifugao was given a total of 46 NUP slots to be filled-up wherein the 11 municipalities are allotted  four slots each and two for the Ifugao Provincial Police Office (IPPO).

“Acceptance of application folder at the IPPO is until January 15. Late applicants may still  submit their application folders at the PNP regional office until January 20,” Casimiro  said.

New applicants should submit the folder containing an application letter; duly accomplished personal data sheet or CSC form 212-revised 2005; transcript of records and diploma; certificate of eligibility; certificate of training; certificate of employment (if available); and one original and one authenticated copies of NBI clearance, NSO birth certificate, and NSO marriage certificate.

For  in-service applicants, the  same set of documents, however they should include some additional requirements like affidavit of undertaking, attested appointments of current position and individual performance evaluation rating of IPER for the last two semesters prior to the application period. -- Marcelo Lihgawon

Man nabbed for shabu;illegal drug sent to inmate confiscated  
TABUK CITY, Kalinga --
Through the help of a tipster, a 30 year old man from Appari, Cagayan was arrested allegedly for  possession of four kilos of dried marijuana bricks which he was trying to transport aboard a passenger jeep bound to Roxas, Isabela on Jan. 10.

On the afternoon of the same day, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology also discovered around P12,000 worth of shabu including cough syrup in a packaged sent to an inmate.

The package was delivered by an unidentified tricycle driver at the BJMP.
On Jan. 13 police also searched a house at Pinukpuk, Kalinga last Jan. 9 wherein shabu of still undetermined quantity was seized. -- Geraldine. Dumallig

Kalinga’s top most wanted person nabbed
TABUK CITY – Kalinga’s top most wanted person was nabbed here Jan. 14 last week for murder.  

Police led by Chief Insp. Bobby Glen Ganipac identified the suspect as Allen Agpad, 35, security guard and resident of Nambaran this city.  Agpad was arrested following warrant issued by Marcelino K. Wacas, presiding judge of Regional Trial Court Branch 25 here , Bulanao, Tabuk City for murder.

 On the same day, Pinukpuk Municipal Police Station reported an alleged theft incident at the gravel pit of the Omengan Construction and Development Corp. camp at Sitio Denglo, Taga, Pinukpuk.

Domingo Awingan, 52,  watchman of OCDC construction reported he was awakened at midnight by presence of an intruder at the parked trucks.

Awingan narrated to police that truck drivers were immediately alarmed and tried to chase the unidentified suspect but failed to catch him. Police with the drivers recovered a gas tank and two car batteries approximately 50 meters away from the gravel pit.

Missing was acetylene cutting tip worth P7,000.

37 Kalinga PNP officers promoted
TABUK CITY – Thirty seven Kalinga police officer were promoted to higher ranks which included Chief Insp. Petronilo Guidangen, chief of the police community relations who was elevated to Police Superintendent.

They were sworn in  Jan. 13 by acting provincial police director Senior Supt. John Colinio assisted by deputy director for administration Supt. Dominador Mangaoang Halog in simple ceremonies at Camp Juan Duyan here.

Pinning of ranks and insignia was held  Jan. 17, 2014 at the Police Regional Office-Cordillera Administrative Region in Camp Dangwa, La Trinidad, Benguet.

Man arrested in mauling of farmer
BAGUIO CITY -- A suspected robber was arrested while his companions evaded arrest after they mauled a farmer here in Purok 21, Sariling Sikap, San Carlos Heights.

Senior Supt. Jesus D. Cambay, Jr., city police director, identified the victim as Carlo Sacla Aguindang, 28, resident of St. George, Banangan, Sablan, Benguet while the arrested suspect was identified as Kyle Pascua Sotelo, 26, of Purok 21, Sariling Sikap, San Carlos Heights, Baguio.

Based on a police report, the victim and his two companions came from a drinking session and went to sleep at the boarding house of Sotelo when one of the suspect’s companion attacked and mauled him without any reason and took his money and cell  phone.

Seven suspects arrested for various crimes
 CAMP BADO DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet -- Seven suspects who committed various crimes were arrested in the Cordillera last week.

In Ifugao, two of the eight robbers were arrested after they carnapped a Bighorn truck last Friday at around 4:30 in the afternoon.

The vehicle was reportedly owned by Jose Tomayan, Jr. from Tinoc, Ifugao and was taken by the suspects heading towards Ibulao, Kiangan, Ifugao.

In a follow-up operation, Johnny Puguon was arrested driving a Nissan Terrano bearing plate no. BDG 561 at Patukan, Kiangan, Ifugao at around 5:30 PM. Said vehicle is allegedly used by the suspects. While conducting a hot pursuit operation, Roger Dulnuan Guinid was also arrested while his other two cohorts evaded arrest at Palo, Duit, Kiangan, Ifugao at about 6:30 PM of the same day.

Taken from his possession were 2 caliber 45, 4 Magazines, 1 M14 Rifle; 43 live ammunition; cash amounting to more or less P206,000.00; and 2 cellular phones.

In Baguio City, two individuals of which one is a minor were arrested after they robbed a house in Purok 5 Gibraltar, Baguio City at around 11:30 PM of January 19.

Senior Superintendent Jesus D. Cambay, Jr., director of the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO), identified the arrested robbers as Nover Sarmiento Villaester, 18, Out of School Youth and a resident of Badihoy, Sorong, Guisad, Baguio City and a minor who is a resident of Gibraltar, Baguio City.

Based on a police report, the caretaker, Raymundo Gundran Rebulledo, 53, and a resident of Amsing, Pacdal, Baguio City was informed of the Punong Barangay of Gibraltar, Baguio City that the house he is taking care of was break in by the suspects.

The caretaker said that the robbers took the Electric and gas stove together with the gas tank and assorted canned goods. Police also revealed that the suspects gained entry through the window by destroying the iron grills with the use of iron pipe.

Another man was arrested for stealing a cellular phone at the Variety Store, 2nd Floor, Maharlika Livelihood Complex, Baguio City at around 7:35 PM of January 18.

Police Cambay named the suspect as Johaimen Sultan Gunting, 21, and a resident of Campo Sioco, Happy Homes, Baguio City, the one who took the cellular phone of Marlon Calawagan Rivera, 36, and a resident of Labsan Street, Kayang Extension, Baguio City while charging unattended inside his business stall.

The security guards in coordination with the police, immediately arrested the suspect and found the victim’s cellphone from his direct possession.

In Kalinga, two male individuals were likewise arrested after stabbing two victims inside the Kalinga Lunch restaurant at Purok 6, Bulanao, Tabuk City last Saturday at around 6:30 PM.

Police identified those arrested suspects as Joey Binuloc Aboli, 24, a native of Tulgao, Tinglayan, Kalinga and residing at Nambaran Tabuk City while his brother in-law was named Jomar Balao-ing Javier, 29, tricycle driver and residing at Purok 6, Bulanao, Tabuk City. Injured victims were Jayson G. Aggayaban, 20, Denver Siwagon, 21, and a minor who are all residents of Naneng Tabuk City, Kalinga.

Prior to the incident, the victims and the suspects were having a drinking spree inside the restaurant when Joey Aboli took a bottle of beer and slap it on the mouth of Denver causing a laceration on his upper lip. Not satisfied, the suspect then took a knife and stabbed the left hand of Jason Aggayaban and the minor. The victims tried to run away but Javier ran after them with a lumber.

Police Chief Superintendent Isagani R. Nerez, PRO-COR Regional Director, said that the fast response of our policemen and with the help of the barangay officials and the victim themselves resulted in the immediate arrest of this suspects.

“All chiefs of police regionwide are directed to conduct massive foot and mobile patrols in their areas of jurisdiction in order to prevent the occurrence of crimes to achieve lasting peace,” Nerez added.


DOH hires 51 nurses for Kalinga towns

By Peter Balocnit

TABUK CITY, Kalinga --  The Department of Health has employed 51 nurses in the province under the Nurse Deployment Program 2014 (NDP) of government to augment medical personnel in rural health units.

The nurses will be deployed in the seven municipalities of the province and this city. They were already oriented on their job.

Dr. Bernadette Andaya, Center for Health Development- Kalinga team head, said the qualified nurses were hired under a contract of service for six months from January to June and their service renewable for another  six months.

They will receive salary Grade 11 or P18,549.00 a month to be shouldered by DOH.

NDP 2014  aims to improve local health systems and support the Philippines’ attainment of Universal Health Care or “Kalusugang Pangkalahatan.”

It also  aims to also give employment opportunities to the growing number of unemployed nurses in the country. The program coincides with one of the main goals of the Aquino Health Agenda (AHA).

The NDP is the successor of the Registered Nurse for Health Enhancement and Local Service (RN Heals).

Meanwhile, midwife applicants for the 20 slots allotted for Kalinga are undergoing screening at Baguio City. “They will be paid P8,000.00 a month – P6,000.00 from DOH and P2,000.00 counterpart of the local government unit  where the midwife is assigned,” Andaya said.


JICA program helps Ifugao folks nurture rice terraces

By Daniel Codamon

LAGAWE, Ifugao -- The province is a beneficiary of the Human Resources Development Program for the Sustainable Development of the Ifugao Rice Terraces funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Akihiko Noshino of JICA in a press conference at the provincial capitol here recently, bared  this positive development for the  Ifugao Rice Terraces which is inscribed in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a world heritage site  and  a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) as advocated by the Food and Agriculture Organization.

The program also known as the “Ifugao Satoyama Satoumi Meister Training Program” will be implemented by the Kanasawa University (KU) of Japan in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) of Los Banos, Laguna,  the Ifugao State University (IFSU  and the Ifugao Government (IG).

This is intended to nurture and develop the young generations of Ifugao in the three pilot GIAHS  areas of the municipalities of Banaue, Hungduan and Mayoyao.

The GIAHS promotes public understanding, awareness, national and international recognition of Agricultural Heritage systems

Under the project,  the KU, UPOU, IFSU and the IG will try to replicate the model to reactivate and sustain the development of the rice terraces as a living cultural landscape by providing on-site skills and training opportunities to the Ifugao youth using curriculum designed and developed by the UPOU and the IFSU.

It also aims to  address the threats and problems that the rice terraces is currently facing such as landslides and outmigration of the youth which contribute greatly to the deterioration and destruction of these UNESCO-inscribed world heritage sites.

Activities involved in the program are tailored to win back the interest of the young Ifugao generation to their culture, rice terraces and mainstream as well the adaptive management framework of GIAHS.

According to the Deputy President of KU Koji Nakamura,  this training program succeeded in building the capacity of the young generations of Noto Satoyama Satoumi, a GIAHS site in Japan which has been challenged by the its decreasing and aging population.

He said that the capability building is of prime importance as this will empower the stakeholders of the rice terraces with both technical and leadership capacity to sustain its landscape.


Abrenian awarded ‘most outstanding medtech of the year’

By Maria Teresa B. Benas  

BANGUED, Abra -- The Philippine Association of Medical Technologists (PAMET) awarded Lilibeth Biogrnia-Martin, the provincial medical technologist of Abra, as Most Outstanding Medtech in the country for the year 2013 during their annual convention held at the Philippine International Convention Center last month.

Martin, a multi-awarded government employee of the Provincial Health Office of Abra, was chosen among a number of nominees from all over the country because of her continued dedication to serve the less privileged Abrenios who are deprived of the basic social services.

In her 25 years as Medtech, Martin, a graduate of the Far Eastern University, Manila, said, this latest award accorded to her is the highest citation she ever got.

As provincial coordinator  for the health programs on blood, renal disease control, malaria control, and  kilatis kutis (leprosy control), Martin was awarded in 2009  as Dangal  ng Bayan of the Civil Service Commission. Her unconditional and untiring support to the other health programs of the Provincial Government of Abra such the Anti-Tuberculosis Program for capacitating the rural health midwives and nurses in the microscopy project, Martin was also awarded the Most Outstanding Medtech in the Cordillera Region as well as in Northern Luzon. 


Mayor to DPWH: Finish roads for Panagbenga fest

By Joseph Zambrano

BAGUIO CITY -- Mayor Mauricio Domogan told Department of Public Works and Highways District Engineer Ireneo Galato to hasten road concreting of Juan Luna  and Lake Drives in Burnham Park in time for the 2014 Baguio Flower Festival or Panagbenga in February.

Said roads are now used as biking areas. Hoowever during Panagbenga, a portion is used for the Market Encounter.

The mayor also asked the bike concessionaires to cooperate instead of complaining because in the long run it will benefit them.

He said  road improvement in the  area is not only in keeping with providing better services for the general public, not only will  it serve the best interest of tourists  but also for local residents  who frequent the park with their families especially on weekends.

The project is  under the Department of Tourism-DPWH Convergence on Tourism Infrastructure Program.

Meanwhile, the local government is contributing P4 million for this year’s staging of the Panagbenga.

Domogan said the various committees of Panagbenga are ironing-out plans  to ensure a glitch-free conduct of this year’s festival. 

The Baguio City Police Office is currently implementing an experimental traffic re-routing scheme within the  Central Business District  to ease traffic.

Panagbenga is one of the festivals in the entire Philippines that is most visited by tourists where close to a million come to participate in the various  lined up events, said DOT-Cordillera Regional Director Purificacion Molintas. 


Hydro power plant starts construction in Ifugao

By Daniel Codamon

ASIPULO, Ifugao - -Another mini-hydro power plant will be constructed  this province with the  ground breaking ceremony held on Tuesday  at the project site in Barangay Haliap here.

The Likud Mini-Hydro Power Plant Project (LMPPP)  is funded by  the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and  implemented with the help of the technical expertise of the Tokyo Electric Power Corporation (TEPCO)   and the IWATA Construction of Japan as contractor   assisted by local contractors.

The third mini hydro plant to  be constructed in the province, the LMPPP is  expected to generate 820 kilowatt hour electric power supply or 5,585.5 megawatt hour annually.

This  is four times greater than the 201 kilowatt hours production of  Ambangal Mini-Hydro Power Plant  erected in Barangay Mungayang of Kiangan municipality in 2010  through a grant from JICA.

Feasibility study of the LMPPP was conducted in 2011.Several consultation meetings were conducted between the stakeholders consisting of the Provincial Government of Ifugao (PGI), JICA representatives and the residents of the affected communities of Haliap and Panubtuban of Asipulo and Barangay Duit of Kiangan who gave their consent as provided in the Indigenous People’s Right Act (IPRA) for the Free and Prior Consent of the people in the exploitation of their natural resources.

In November last year, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan approved  a  resolution granting power and authorizing Governor Denis Habawel to purchase private lots   for use of the project as one of the conditions of the JICA for its implementation.

JICA represented by Eigo Azukisawa said the LMPPP which is expected to be completed early next year and other similar projects in the future will strengthen the alliance of Japan and the Philippines in the development of renewable energy  which  is environmental-friendly and beneficial mainly to rural communities as an appropriate technology.

During the ground breaking , Governor Habawel,  Mayors Armando Domilod of Asipulo, Joselito Guyguyon of Kiangan, Barangay Captains of Haliap Laurence Putac, Wilma Ullay of Panubtuban and Marcial Allaga of Duit expressed their strong support and deep gratitude to JICA for their financial assistance and the Department of Energy represented by Director Mario Marasigan for their help in the realization of the project.

Ifugao has abundant sources of renewable sources of energy from natural hydro or water resources which can be developed and utilized and its benefits redounding to the people.


Apayao police creates task group to solve killing of Luna councilor

By Redjie  Melvic Cawis

LUNA, Apayao -- The Apayao Provincial Police Office has created a task group to solve the shooting incident on Monday that killed newly appointed municipal councilor  Bienvenido Verzola III here.

Provincial police director Senior Supt. Alberlito Garcia  said Verzola was shot in front of his water refilling station by still unidentified person at around 8:30 p.m.

The victim was rushed to the Far Northern Luzon General Hospital and Training Center but was declared dead on arrival by attending physicians.

He said the police are considering all factors including political, business and  personal motives.

But he said they are not dwelling much on the political motive since the person is not a politician by nature.

Verzola was appointed municipal councilor  last Jan. 7 following the death his mother, mayor  Betty Verzola, who was killed in tragic car accident in June last year, barely a month after assuming her second term as municipal mayor.

Meanwhile, Luna town police chief Senior Insp. Lorvin Layugan said the case was an isolated incident and  considered the first of its kind in the peaceful town of Luna in years.

Luna is home to at least 20, 000 people.

For the past years, Apayao has been the most peaceful province  in the Cordillera.


Former Abra rebels receive gov’t aid

BANGUED, Abra -- Four former New People’s Army members received cash amounting to P260,000 from the Armed Forces of the Philippines guns for peace program (AFPGPP) and Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) during a simple ceremony here at the provincial capitol Wednesday.

They are Carlito L. Baligod, 43 and Edwin Cattris 43 both from Tuao, Cagayan, Eric C. Anniban, 20 from Licuan-Baay, Abra and Ruben Pasingan, 30 from Pinukpok, Kalinga.

Baligod received P50, 000.00 as integration financial assistance for CLIP and another P50, 000.00 from AFPGPP as he surrendered one M16 rifle. Anniban and Pasingan also received P50, 000.00 each as they surrendered their M16 rifles while Cattris received P60, 000.00f or his M653 rifle.

The government through the 503rd Brigade and 41st Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, Office of Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) in collaboration with the Provincial Government of Abra awarded said amount for them to start a peaceful life with their families.

Gov. Eustaquio P. Bersamin and Col. Paul  T. Atal, CO of 503rd Infantry Brigade, led the awarding of symbolic checks to four (4) recipients of AFPGPP and one (1) recipient of CLIP which later encashed. Several personalities present witnessed the activity they were LTC Danilo R. Domingo, CO of 41st IB, Supt Mario Mayames, Deputy for Operations, Abra PPO, Pastor Francisco Sanchez from Evangelical Church, Mrs. Decemia Cabang, PSWDO and Dr. Marites Benas from PIA-Abra.

                Prior to ceremonial awarding of checks, Hazel B Sagmayao @ Melpher,  NPA remnant was presented to Bersamin.

Sagmayao, 21, a resident of Licuan-Baay, Abra voluntarily surrendered with one M16 rifle  to 41st IB under LTC Domingo last Jan.9.

Colonel Atal, also in his speech said the event was a concrete example of the sincerity of the government and commitment to peace and development initiatives by accepting former rebels to the community, giving assistance and letting them live with normal lives together with their love-ones and families.

He also urged the FRs to encourage their former comrades to return to the folds of law and avail of the government’s program.

Bersamin in his message expressed his gratitude to the Philippine Army, and stakeholders for the growing number of NPA remnants who surrendered in Abra.

He further urged the former rebels to use the money in any lawful-income generating activity that could bring benefits to their families.


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