Key suspects in ambush of two Abra mayors arrested

>> Thursday, June 26, 2014

BANGUED, Abra -- Two wanted men in Abra – one for the 2002 killing of Tineg town mayor Clarence Benwaren, and the other, for the 2010 failed slay try on former Bangued mayor Ryan Luna – are now in police custody.

After 12 years in hiding, Ruben BarcenaBobila, 34, the alleged assassin of Benwaren, was arrested Wednesday in his hideout in Barangay Lenneng, Baay-Licuan town in Abra.

Senior Supt. VirgilioLaya, Abra police director, said Bobila had been listed as the fourth most wanted person in the Cordillera region. 

The 35-year-old Benwaren was murdered right inside a church during a wedding ceremony in Calamba, Laguna in October 2002.

Police could not say who ordered Bobila to kill the Tineg town mayor and if he belonged to a private army.

Initially, authorities blamed the killing on the New People’s Army that supposedly had allied itself with an Abra politician. Up to this time, the NPA has kept mum on the crime. 

Benwaren’s family then insinuated that former Abra governor Vicente Valera could have had a hand in the killing.

Valera is in jail for allegedly masterminding the killing of Abra congressman Luis Bersamin in Quezon City in December 2006. He had denied having something to do with these slays.

Meanwhile, a certain JoneteBarbon Jacinto, 44, believed to have led the failed slay try on Luna during the 2010 election campaign, was arrested also on Wednesday.

Jacinto, however, was charged only with illegal possession of firearms for which he could post P80,000 bail for his temporary freedom.

Luna was waylaid in a village in Pennarubia town while he was campaigning for his mother, former Abra congresswoman Cecilia Seares-Luna.

The young Luna survived the ambush with facial and body injuries, and later became the mayor of Bangued, Abra’s capital town, for one term.

Luna though is now in hiding after an arrest warrant was issued against him before the May 2013 polls for the killing of a female Tineg mayoral bet in a polling precinct in Bangued.


P52.7 M Bontoc water system project probed

By Desiree Sokoken

BONTOC, Mountain Province – The Department off Public Works and Highways is now investigating an unfinished P52.7 million water project which should have eased water shortage of this capital town.

Acting on request of Mayor Franklin Odsey, the DPWH Central Office sent two representatives from its Internal Audit Service (IAS) to investigate the long delayed completion of the  Bontoc water system project shat started in 2005 and set for completion in 2008.

On June 18, engineer Bernadeth Betsy Uy and Remedios Arellano of the DPWH-IAS inspected different phases of the project together with Odsey and Mountain Province Assistant District Engineer Charles Sokoken.

The probe was in response to letter-request of Odsey and resolution of the Sangguniang Bayan sent to DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson to re-evaluate the completed phases and turn over the implementation of the uncompleted ones to the Bontoc Local Government Unit.

Awarded to Manila-based contractor AquaterraKonstrukt, the project should have installed a pipe water system for the four central barangays of Bontoc to be sourced from Barangay Bayyo.

It consisted of six phases, but only three were completed.

The sixth phase, which covers the installation of pipes to the main source in Mt. Tatamang in Bayyo, was terminated in 2010 because of strong opposition from Bayyo residents.

The latter feared that the project might result in the depletion of their source of irrigation.

The pipes were then re-routed to a water source in Baybay, Talubin, after a successful negotiation with Talubin residents.

Odsey said that the time is ripe for an investigation into the project, as its completion would bring relief to the residents of the four central barangays.

It would be an additional water source, thus assuring an ample supply to consumers. 

According to Sokoken, main pipes from the reservoir in Pagturao in Bontoc Ili to the intake tank in Baybay have all  been laid out.

However, some fixtures necessary before a hydro test can be conducted have not yet been installed by the contractor.

Of the 52.7 million allotted for the project, there is a balance of 11 million. But according to the DPWH-IAS representatives, there is a need to establish that this balance still exists.

“Part of our probe is to get our hands into the documents showing the payments that were made to the contractor. This will help us determine the amount to be turned over to the Bontoc LGU, should Sec. Singson decide that such is the proper course of action,” Uy said.

Odsey said he hoped for a speedy resolution of the matter, since putting an end to the water problem in Bontoc is one of the priorities of his administration. 


Ombudsman orders:File raps vs ex-Kalinga mayor

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on Thursday ordered the filing of criminal charges against a former mayor of Tabuk, Kalinga and his wife for allegedly extorting money from a contractor.

In a 17-page resolution, Morales approved the indictment of Camilo Lammawin Jr., former Mayor of Tabuk, and his wife, Salud Lammawin for direct bribery and graft and corruption.

Preliminary investigation showed the Lammawins allegedly extorted P520,000 from Rodman Corporation, a contractor of the Tabuk Water Supply Project, in exchange for the release of payments due to the contractor.

Complainant Susan Rodriguez, treasurer of Rodman Corporation, said that on July 10, 2002, P100,000 and P300,000 were deposited to the personal bank accounts of Mayor Lammawin and his wife.

Rodriguez also said that she deposited another P120,000 to Lammawin’s personal bank account on October 21, 2002.

The resolution found that the Lammawins were recipients of cash deposits made by the complainant as they failed to show sufficient proof of entitlement to the amounts deposited. 

It added that the “acts of the respondents showed conspiracy, in unity of mind and purpose, in extorting money from the complainant.”

Direct bribery is punishable under Article 210 of the Revised Penal Code.


19 witnesses, 52 evidences set versus massacre suspect

By Dexter A. See 

BAGUIO CITY – Still under heavy security and donning, Philip Avino, the lone suspect in the April 6 massacre incident here, arrived at the sala of Judge Mia Joy Olayres-Cawed of the Regional Trial Court Branch 4 at the second floor of the Baguio Justice Hall wearing  bullet proof vest and cap for Tuesday’s pre-trial conference where both parties presented their respective witnesses and pieces of evidence during the course of the trial which will start on July 22.

Avino, who was escorted by around 30 jail guards and backed up by ciry police in full battle gear, was again brought to the court by a vehicle of the Baguio City Jail to avoid being harmed by irate supporters and relatives of the five murder victims.

Compared to his two court appearances last May 5 and May 20 where there was much tension from Avino’s detention cell up to the court room, Tuesday’s pre-trial conference was less stressful because only close family members of the victims appeared in court.

Along the route giving law enforcers a sigh of relief.

Judge Cawed issued a stern warning against relatives and supporters of the five massacre victims not to take unnecessary action that would disrupt smooth flow of the proceedings or she will  order their arrest and for them to be charged accordingly.

She told relatives of victims that they should allow the “wheels of justice to roll and for them not to take the law in their own hands because there are legal procedures that are being observed.”

 Prosecutor Maria Nenita BOpiana said the prosecution will be presenting a minimum of 19 witnesses composed of family members, law enforcers and individuals who could attest to Avino’s involvement in the celebrated massacre incident and a minimum of 52 pieces of evidence that would corroborate the testimonies of the witnesses.

For the defense, lawyer Debbie del Valle, the court appointed lawyer for Avino from the Public Attorneys Office, said the defense will be presenting a still undetermined number of witnesses who will attest that Avino was in Sta. Mesa, Manila when the massacre happened in April 6 among other necessary pieces of evidence.

Avino is facing multiple murder charges for the killing of JackilynNociete, 19, her brother Joey, 9, Jonalyn Lozano, 32, RaymunddelMundo, 8, and Dave de Guzman, 7.

During his scheduled arraignment last May 20, Avino alias Michael Geronimo pleaded not guilty in each of the five murder charges filed against him after each case was read to him in Tagalog by a staff of the court.

The prosecution will start presenting their respective witnesses and pieces of evidence starting July 22 up to the later part of December before the defense will try to present their own witnesses and pieces of evidence that would rebut the prosecution’s charges starting early next year.

While Avino was being escorted out of the court room, some of the relatives shouted at the suspect along the hallway of the Baguio Justice Hall en route to the vehicle.


Sandigan junks case vs Ilocos Sur vice gov

The Sandiganbayan’s First Division has dismissed a graft case filed against Ilocos Sur Vice Gov. Deogracias Victor Savellano last year, as it cited “unreasonable delay” by the Office of the Ombudsman that violated his right to a speedy disposition of the case.

Savellano, a former Ilocos Sur governor, was indicted on orders of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales in October 2013 along with fellow former governor Luis “Chavit” Singson.

Singson was charged for alleged anomalies from 1998 to 2001 and Savellano from 2001 to 2003, covering alleged unlawful releases of public funds totaling P26,060,500 in financial assistance to Multi-Line Food Processing International Inc.

After looking into the records of the case, the anti-graft court, however, learned that the original complaint against the two was filed with the Office of the Ombudsman on Dec. 5, 2002 yet it was only on Dec. 10, 2012 that Savellano was directed to answer the allegations.

The First Division, composed of Associate Justices Efren de la Cruz, chairman, and Rodolfo Ponferrada and Rafael Lagos, said such a delay violated Savellano’s right to due process.

Singson also raised the same argument in his motion to quash the case against him pending before the Sandiganbayan’s Fifth Division. 

 “It is worth to stress that in this span of years, the Office of the Ombudsman had not concerned itself yet with the substantive issue on the presence of probable cause but only on the question of which office had jurisdiction to handle the complaint,” read the First Division’s ruling. 

“The court is persuaded that indeed the unjustified delay caused the accused-movant stress, anxiety and mental anguish and limited his defense. Thus the court is constrained to decree the dismissal of these cases for violation of the constitutional right of the accused to speedy disposition of his cases,” it added.

The First Division also recently ordered the dismissal of graft charges against former Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) commissioners NarcisoNario, Tereso Javier and Nicasio Conti, saying the Office of the Ombudsman violated their right to a speedy trial, too.

It cited the anti-graft agency’s unexplained failure to resolve the motions for reconsideration of the three former PCGG officials for more than two years.


Tabuk celebrates 7th founding anniversary, Matagoan Festival

By Geraldine Dumallig

TABUK CITY, Kalinga – With the theme ‘Timpuyog, Gaget, ken Disiplina, Tabuk Rumang-ay Ka,’ this city staged five-day revelry on its 7th founding anniversary and 13th Matagoan Festival from June-23-27.

The events started with the Matagoan Call or ayag with drum and lyre bands going around the city announcing start of festivities.  

It was followed by ecumenical ceremony, formal opening of the Agro-Industrial Fair, and the Search for Ms. Matagoan 2014 in the evening.

The Agro-Industrial Fair had its soft opening on  June 21 for early buyers of Kalinga products.

June 24 was City Foundation Day opened with a float parade of the past and present mayors of Tabuk City, and entourage of the Ms. Matagoang 2014 winners.

A civic parade followed the float parade.

Grand opening program was held at the People’s Gym with Department of Education  Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Alberto Muyot as guest of honor and speaker where City Mayor Ferdinand Tubban delivered his anniversary message.

After the declaration rite of Tabuk as a United City was the performance of the ‘Tabuk One Band One City’ or TOBOC, the first largest choreographed band performance  in the province with a thousand of majorettes and drum and lyre players participating in the historic event.

The program concluded with formal opening of the DepEdTabuk City Division Office.

In the afternoon was drum and lyre exhibition, fireworks display in the evening and reunion concert of Tabuk artists.   
June 25 was Barangay Day, starting with the 5-km Matagoan Run, a marathon with participants in Kalingag-string and tapis.

It started early morning with street dancing parade and competition centered on the theme “Tabuk City: Save Mother Earth.”

Guest and speaker was Cordillera Trade and Industry director Myrna Pablo with Rep. Manuel Agyao delivering an inspirational message.

Concluding the morning event was formal opening of the business permit and licensing system (BPLS) two-way process, launching of the Chamber of Kalinga Producers, Inc. (CKAPI) Shared Service Facility Project, and awarding of grassroots participatory budgeting fund for Tabuk City.

In the afternoon was the “World’s Greatest Magic Entertainment”  followed by barangay solidarity program.

June 26 was Cultural and Tourism Day, starting with a parade at 7 a.m. Messages were delivered by the mayors of Tabuk’s sister municipalities like Mayor Abraham Akilit of Bauko, Mt. Province; Mayor Faustino Aquisan of Kabayan, Benguet; Mayor Edna Tabanda of La Trinidad, Benguet and Mayor Reynaldo Flores of Naguilian, La Union.    

The day’s guest of honor and speaker was Alma Moreno, national chairman  of the Philippine Councilors League.

DOT-CAR director Purificacion Molintas also delivered a message.

The morning event will ended with Dornat rituals, and bamboo musicale and dance presentation.

At 1 pm was the Tabuk CLGU and Pasil LGU friendship basketball game.

Para-gliding for the adventurous was at 2 p.m. simultaneous with  TM/Globe sponsored city tour for Manila and Baguio City students.

At 6:30 p.m. was Tabuk Matagoan TM Singing Showdown “The Voice of Tabuk” and concert with the TM celebrity band featuring Angeline Quinto and Marcelito Pomoy.

The next day was Farmer’s and Cooperative Day starting with the sector’s parade while at  7 a.m. was a tree planting activity.

Department of Agriculture Assistant Sec.Edilberto de Luna graced the Agri-coop Program as guest of honor and speaker with Kalinga Gov. JocelBaac delivering an inspirational message.

In the afternoon was the Agri-Indigenous games featuring the Kariada contest, horse racing, and coconut grating. 

Veterinary games included sheep slaughter skills, pinikpikan preparation, Muscovy sa Kalunsuran, and organic pig catching. 

In the evening was Tabuk Night with the business sector and OFWs which concluded with fireworks display.

June 28 was Jump-off for the Matagoan bike fest at 6 a.m. while June 29 was Matagoan Festival 2014 Regional Taekwondo Open at the People’s Gym. 


Bauko folks affected by calamities given houses

BAUKO, Mountain Province – Many families here affected by calamities like landslides have already been given houses by the government. 

National Economic and Development Authority-Cordillera  regional director Milagros Rimando recently visited this town and discussed the status of the  Core Shelter Assistance Project (CSAP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development  with Mayor Abraham Akilit and the Neighborhood Association for Shelter Assistance (NASA), the organization of the project’s beneficiaries, represented by Gabriel Pocais.

CSAP aims to grant indigent families who have been residing in hazardous areas classified by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, as well as those who may have been afflicted by previous natural disasters.

There are 355 units for the said project at Kalimbatawa relocation site in barangay Otucan Sur, Bauko, of which 200 are already done and were turned over to the beneficiaries.  Sixty five families have already occupied their respective units.

 Moreover, electricity from the Mountain Province Electric Cooperative  is delivered to 35 families. The abandoned water spring rehabilitated by NASA in 2012 now distributes water to the houses.

 The DSWD noted that there is a strong bayanihan of the families in the site. They undergo social preparation through meetings and organization of committees.

If the beneficiaries incur violations for not attending meetings, not joining bayanihan, being late as well as drinking liquors, penalty is collected and the money goes to the budget for the pipeline.

According to the beneficiaries, they feel safe and are not worried to sleep in their new homes  even if there is a typhoon.

 The beneficiaries  are those whose houses are located within the sinking area in Otucan, Bauko. 


PAB clears Philex Padcal operations after dam spill

ITOGON, Benguet -- The Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) has issued to Philex Mining Corp. a formal lifting of the cease-and-desist order it had imposed on the company’s gold-and-copper production in this province, paving the way for the permanent resumption of operations at Padcal mine after fulfilling its environmental obligation with government agencies concerned.

 “Wherefore, the undersigned hereby issues a Formal Lifting Order in favor of the respondent,” the PAB said in a June 9 decision received today by Padcal mine, in Tuba, Benguet, from the Baguio City-based regional office of the Environment Management Bureau (EMB), which serves as secretariat in the adjudication of pollution cases.

 A quasi-judicial body not covered by the authority of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), which regulates the mining industry, the PAB also noted in a two-page resolution a report by the EMB, in the Cordilleras Administrative Region, of Philex Mining’s compliance to the urgent remediation measures at its Padcal’s Tailings Storage Facility No. 3 (TSF3).

 Michael Toledo, SVP for Corporate Affairs at Philex Mining, welcomed the decision, saying the company will continue to work further as a responsible miner by marching on with its environmental-stewardship advocacy  through the various forestation and reforestation activities, as well as the rehabilitation of TSF3, including the completion of an open spillway.

 Earlier TSF3, in Itogon, discharged nontoxic water and sediment onto the Balog Creek, a tributary of the Agno River, on Aug. 1, 2012, following historically unprecedented rainfall brought about by two successive typhoons. Philex Mining had voluntarily suspended operations immediately, resuming production only starting from March 8, 2013 based on a four-month temporary lifting order issued by government and which was extended indefinitely afterwards.

 The company has since abided by government requirements for the resumption of its operations at Padcal, including payments of P188.6 million as environmental obligation to the PAB in relation to Republic Act 9275, otherwise known as the Clean Water Act, on June 5, and P1.034 billion to the MGB, on Feb. 18, 2013, as fees over the accidental discharge of sediment.

 The PAB had imposed the said payment after ensuring that all the effluent and water samples collected from Balog and Agno on March 14-15, 2013 were within the water quality criteria required by government. These samples were collected and analyzed by the designated JMMT, or Joint Multipartite Monitoring Team. For its part, the MGB had asked for P1.034 billion in fees while it was studying the pertinent details of TSF3’s remediation.

Besides the construction of the P500-million open spillway, which replaces TSF3’s underground drainage system, the urgent remediation measures at Padcal include the filling up (with fresh tails) of the conical void at the pond left behind by the tailings leak accident as well as the creation of a beach that would push the accumulated water away from the pond, which is tasked to hold solids, and onto the spillway.

 TSF3’s third and last chute will be finished in July, making the pond able to accommodate an unusual rainfall of 1,500 millimeters (mm) over a 24-hour period—more than thrice the 455 mm of rain dumped by Typhoon Ondoy in 24 hours in 2009. The pond’s Penstock A, from which water discharges onto the Balog Creek via Tunnel A, had been sealed off with concrete after the accident while Penstock B, which connects to Tunnel B, will also be sealed off with concrete once the third chute is completed.


CDA warns vs fraudulent group enticing investors

By Susan Aro

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet - -  The Cooperative Development Authority – Cordillera warned the public  against  a group  of people  introducing themselves as members of a cooperative  and recruiting  individuals to become members  and  collecting deposits or investments promising high returns.

CDA Director Franco Bawang, Jr issued the call to caution people from being victimized by this fraudulent group  going around Baguio City to entice investors for easy money and larger returns.

According to  CDA senior cooperative development specialist Martin Manodon, complaints that reached their office indicated the  group  who claimed  to  be from Laguna, entices  individuals to invest in its  venture promising huge return of investment investment  in the guise of a surety fund program.

Bawang said this happened several times in the past and those involved coops are no longer existing today or their whereabouts unknown depriving investor-members of their hard earned investments.

He further advised the public that prior to joining a certain organization, particularly a cooperative coming from outside the region, to verify first the status of the coop with the CDA Office to make sure if it is a legitimate organization.

Bawang said it would be more prudent to call directly the CDA regional office where they say they come from.


Luzon to suffer severe power crisis in 2016: industry expert

By Dexter A. See

BAGUIO CITY – Luzon will suffer from severe power crisis in 2016 once no dependable power plant will be commissioned anytime which would be disastrous to the economic growth that it has gained over the past several years, a power industry expert said here last week.

Prof. Rowaldo R. del Mundo, associate professor of the University of the Philippines – National Engineering Center (UP-NEC), said Luzon is now experiencing first stage of power crisis because of the reported rotating brownouts in major generation plants and the simultaneous shutdown of major power plants which play a key role in sustaining the power supply of the grid.

 “If we encounter oneday of rotating brownout in a generation plant in a year, we are now in the first stage of power crisis. This year, we are expected to encounter 3 days of rotating brownouts in some power plants which would increase to ten days next year and thirty five days in 2016. By 2017, the projected rotating brownouts will be ninety two days,” del Mundo said.

Del Mundo was guest of honor and speaker during Friday’s Cordillera Administrative Region Power Forum headed by Benguet Electric Coop.

Del Mundo said simultaneous shutdown of the 3,000megawatt San Lorenzo and Sta. Rita power plants in Southern Luzon and the 1,200-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Sual- Pangasinan for emergency repairs could also be considered as initial stages of the expected occurrence of power crisis in Luzon.

He cited slim power reserves of Luzon that ranges from 600 megawatts to around 1,200 megawatts per day is also an indication that there is really a power crisis in Luzon because the power reserves are way below the industry requirement in order to sustain the sudden surge in power demand as a result of the influx of investments in the different parts of theisland.

 “Luzon has to have power reserves equivalent to 28 percent of the total power requirement to ensure that we will be spared from the possibility of having continuous rotating brownouts, especially in the coming years,” del Mundo added.

He claimed the huge requirement for power reserves will be a guarantee for buffer supply of the grid once dependable power plants will undergo emergency shutdown or scheduled preventive maintenance in order to keep the supply at a reliable level.

Currently, the power requirement of Luzon is more or less 9,000 megawatts per day but the available supply is around 9,800 to 10,000 megawatts.

According to him, what contributed to the impending power crisis in Luzon is the failure of the national government to commission a new power plant, except for the 600-megawatt clean coal power plant in Mariveles, Bataan, which was commissioned after the passage of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) in 2001.

 “It takes five years to commission a new power plant that is why we have to start the building of power plants now in order to mitigate the expected serious negative effects of power crisis in the coming years,” said del Mundo.

He added Luzon could suffer the current rotating brownouts in Mindanao which was 188 days per year since last year, thus, the government, power distribution companies and electric cooperatives should start working out the commissioning of additional power plants in order to stabilize the fragile situation of power in the grid.


Tabuk lad makes a ‘La Trinidad’ in Kalinga flower biz

TABUK CITY, Kalinga — News of this farming city’s first commercial flower plantation spread like wildfire online and through word of mouth.

It first attracted attention in February as flowers in the plantation started to bloom.

Willord Cyn Basiyo Tade, 32, the man responsible for the attraction, smiles when he remembers the beginning of what is now a successful experiment that he started in 2008, after coming from China as a teacher.

Tabuk City is a lowland valley in Kalinga, one that has a high temperature. It is located about an hour away from Philippines’ hottest city – Tuguegarao.

But, Willord was able to create a “La Trinidad flower farm” in this city.

Tade’s routine now includes entertaining the flower lovers and the simply curious as they visit his 1,500 square meter flower garden at the edge of the Basiyo farm in sitio San Francisco, Barangay Dagupan West, this city.

Asked if he is willing to share the technology to potential competitors, Tade said that he would gladly transfer to them the common flower production techniques but not the secret techniques.

He said that is the way it is done in Benguet – the knowledge of how to produce better flowers and how to time the blooming with the seasons in the year when flowers are in high demand are closed family secrets.

Tade who was born and raised in Tabuk City, discovered the secret – marriage with Sheryl Pagnas, of Lower Tomay, La Trinidad, Benguet. Sheryl’s father, Frank, is a retired college of agriculture instructor who is one of the pioneers in chrysanthemum growing in La Trinidad – the first formula that he holds on to as he makes history by creating the first ever commercial flower plantation in the “Rice Granary of the Cordillera.”

Even then, it was not automatic. Starting in 2008 after coming home from working as an English teacher in Beijing China, he and wife, Sheryl, under the close supervision of Frank, took over the 1,000 square meter flower plantation of the family. Tade met Sheryl at the Pines City College in Baguio City where he was taking up nursing and the latter respiratory therapy. The first years were a learning experience when they often missed the targeted blooming time, but by 2011, they had the hang of it, thereby maximizing their garden.

The bulk of the harvest was sent to the Dimasalang flower market in Manila. An average of four boxes a day were sent via the Victory and Dangwa buses. The average content of each box is 35 dozens. The farm also supplied the chrysanthemum requirements of the first flower store in the city located in Barangay Bulanao; and the flower needs of city residents who have already learned of the existence of the flower farm. Tade said that their Dimasalang buyers got the chrysanthemums at the same price as those coming from Benguet. “The quality of the flowers is comparable to those grown in La Trinidad. The difference is that they have larger flowers and stems because the plant is new to the soil,” Tade said.

“Our next problem was our limited production. It was then that the idea to expand came to us but we could only act on it last year. So many people, including close relatives, said Tabuk is the wrong place to expand, but the doubts challenged us. I do not see why it could not be done in Tabuk because Davao, La Union, Bicol and Isabela also produce flowers.”

Tade recalls that, at the start, they received so many discouraging remarks but since the flowers bloomed, they are reaping not just flowers but also praises.

According to Tade, for the experimental flower crop to succeed, he had to summon all the remedies he gained from his La Trinidad experience. There came a time when the chrysanthemums were already wilting, but he did not give up.

With the success of the experiment, Tade plans to expand the plantation to half hectare where he will plant flowers on staggered basis – producing blooms to sell from October to April to cover most of the year’s celebrations where flowers are a must. In this endeavor, his mother, Cynthia Basiyo Tade, one of those who doubted him at first, is now with him in the activity.

He said that his mother is even planning to develop a marshy section of the lot into a resort as an allied business to the flower plantation.


Behavior change of residents pressed to revitalize BaIiIi River

BAGUIO CITY — Behavior change of stakeholders play a vital role in the upkeep of the Balili River system.
 This was pointed out in “behavior change workshop” of the Balili River System Revitalization Coalition(BRSRC) held recently.

Facilitated by Ramon Daen and Alexander Deocareza of the Harnessing the Nucleus of Strengthened Services (HARNESS) consultancy group, BRSRC members identified crucial behaviors to work on in order to achieve change.
 Among these are inconsistent implementation of policies, improper segregation or garbage disposal, pig waste dumping into the river, refusal to desludge septic waste, refusal to segregate waste, absence or improper design of septic tanks, and encroachments tolerated along riverside.

 While there are ongoing efforts endeavored in revitalizing the Balili River, Daen pointed out that if change is desired focus should also be given on the vital behaviors.

 Daen presented the theories behind behavioral change which he said are unconsciously being applied but learning about it gives confidence in doing the right thing.

 But he cautioned that most of the behavior change efforts fail because it gives focus to only one level. The various levels progress which start with personal progressing into social and finally structural levels which incorporate elements of motivation and ability, and  hand in hand, the combination is  called sources of influence,  according to Daen.

Making the undesirable desirable, surpassing one’s limit, harnessing peer pressure, design reward and demand accountability and changing the environment are the sources of influence in changing behavior so that if all are present change is inevitable, Daen pointed out.

 In developing a plan for the river system, he  said all of the influencers should be considered to give a sense of ownership among the stakeholders at the barangay level with the guidance of the BRSRC.

 The coalition recognized the need to actively involve the community or the barangay, the forerunners in maintaining the river system,  in the revitalization effort apart from the ongoing efforts  and those already undertaken.

 Equipped with knowledge and skills on changing attitudes and behaviors, the coalition members are expected to download these to the barangays through appropriate activities in ensuring better participation and sustainability in the upkeep of the Sagudin-Balili River.
 The workshop was sponsored by the  University of the Philippines- Baguio together with the Environment and Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Cordillera and Water Governance Project of the UP System.


La Union cop faces dismissal over heist

NAGUILLAN, La Union  – A police intelligence officer is facing summary dismissal on charges of robbery holdup and attempted murder after he got involved in a robbery here Oct. 15.

Senior Supt. Ramon Rafael, La Union police director, said he has ordered the immediate filing of an administrative case against PO3 Ronald Quitasol who along with a certain Jonathan Vinluan held up couple Felimon and Florinda Rivera in their home.

Quitasol was wounded as he shot it out with responding policemen, Rafael said.   


P-Noy orders: Probe slay of Pangasinan town mayor

By Jojo Riñoza and Liezel Basa Iñigo

URBIZTONDO, Pangasinan — All permits to carry firearms in Pangasinan were suspended by the Philippine National Police last week, hours after President Aquino visited the family of slain Urbiztondo Mayor Ernesto Balolong Jr. here and the site where his Liberal partymate was gunned down last June 7.

It was through a directive issued by Chief Supt. Roman A. Felix, Police Regional Office 1, that Senior Supt. Sterling Blanco, officer-in-charge of the Police Provincial Office, suspended all permits to carry firearms outside residence (PTCFORs).

Municipal and city police offices in the entire province began to intensify security measures to implement the gun ban by conducting checkpoints and monitoring public places for violators.

Blanco said the memorandum is a security measure in the wake of the broad daylight shooting that killed Balolong; his bodyguard, PO1 Eliseo Ulanday; and municipal employee Edmund Meneses.

During his visit, Aquino met with police officials and instructed them to speed up the investigation into who was behind the killing of his Liberal partymate.

Accompanied by former Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuangco, Urdaneta City Mayor Amadeo Perez, Jr. and other mayors of Pangasinan, Aquino not only offered Balolong’s family his condolences but visited the crime scene amid the pouring rain.

Blanco said the President wants the identification of the mastermind soon and told PPO officials to maintain peace and order and ensure that such a gruesome crime is not repeated.

Special Investigation Task Force Balolong arrested two suspects: Eduardo de Guzman, alias “Gading” 65, a farmer from Salomague Norte; and Marito Femin, 48, a radiator mechanic from Pangaspasan, both of Bugallon town.

They were nabbed in their hideout as the two were about to leave and probably go on hiding.

The slain mayor’s relatives earlier told the media they know who Balolong was at grave odds with.

“Malaking tao sa probinsiya at lalabas din ang lahat kung sino ang may kagagawan nito… alam namin matagal nang kaaway ito at nagbabanta (This is an influential person in the province and it will all be revealed… we know of the grudge and the threats.),” he said.

Senior Supt. Sterling Raymund Blanco, officer-in-charge of the provincial police, said Aquino issued Aquino inspected the area where the mayor PO1Ulanday and supermarket employee Meneses, were shot dead.

“That’s why we are looking carefully at the motive for the killing, either political, business or in his personal dealings,” Blanco said.

He said the President was very much concerned about the case and told them he does not want the tension to escalate.
“For him, the peace and order in Pangasinan is paramount,” Blanco said adding Aquino condemned the killing and described it as a brazen act.

Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima was here June 14 to meet local police officials in a closed-door conference.

Aquino talked to the bereaved family of Balolong and the police, Blanco said.

The President asked the police about the progress of the case and the actions they have taken to solve it.

Blanco said members of the special investigation task group formed to solve the Balolong killing are doing their best to dig deeper into the case.


LTFRB checks PUVs on 20 percent fare discount

By Joseph Zambrano

BAGUIO CITY - - The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Cordillera is  doing inspection on public utility transportation units including jeepneys, buses, taxis, AUVs or vans and express service franchises  on the implementation of the  20 percent  fare discount.

Rosario K. Oyaman, head of LTFRB in the region,  said that with the opening of classes, public utility drivers should give the mandatory  20 percent fare discount to students.,  as well as  senior citizens and people with disability.

Students from preschool to college, including  vocational and technical schools recognized by the government, are entitled to the discount.

Students of postgraduate studies and short-term courses like seminars, however, are not covered by  such privilege.

Also  entitled to  the 20%percent fare discount are   senior citizens and people with disability.

To avail  of the discount,  they must present their identification cards.

On the part of the transport sector,  Perfecto “Jonie” Itliong Jr, 1 UTAK coordinator, said they are giving fare discounts  to those who are entitled to it.

“We know the difficulty parents face to defray household expenses with prices of basic commodities rising. This is the least we can do to help our students keep their spirit of going to school and pursuing their education,”  Itliong  said.

Violation of the directive will be penalized with a fine of P2,000 on first offense, P3,000 and suspension of franchise on second offense, P5,000 as well as cancellation of franchise on third offense.


Abreco employees nabbed for reckless imprudence, homicide

VILLAVICIOSA, Abra — Six employees of the Abra Electric Cooperative or Abreco were arrested Tuesday by elements of Abra Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit and Villaviciosa policer for reckless imprudence resulting to homicide.

Abra provincial director Virgilio Laya identified the suspects as Gregory Amano Prenicolas, 50, head officer of Abreco;Sadiri Langbayan Balance, 40; and Reymund Claveria Barbero, 28; Salvador Blaza Martinez, 52; Emerson Balance Cital, 33 and Crisostomo Verzosa Abella, 54.

Suspects reportedly failed to take action on alleged accidental electrocution of a minor working as lineman in the said company November last year.

Bangued, Abra RTC-Branch 1 presiding judge Raphiel F Alzate  issued their warrants of arrest with a recommended bail of 30,000 pesos each.



>> Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Baguio fire destroys P3M worth of goods
BAGUIO CITY – A fire that hit one of the city’s oldest department store chains destroyed around P3 million worth of goods, an official from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) said.

BFP-CAR Fire Chief Inspector Jo Fernan Bangyod said the fire that hit Tiongsan Magsaysay department store started at around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The fire started at the five storey building’s basement stock room.

A fire out was declared at 4:30 p.m.

Bangyod said at least two violations were already noted such as overloading of items and goods and operating without the necessary fire inspection from the BFP.

PNP celebrates Independence Day
CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet – Regional police director Chief Supt. Isagani Nerez and top regional police officials here observed  Independence Day rites with a flag-raising ceremony attended by police personnel.

Police held similar ceremonies were held in all Cordillera provinces. During the ceremony, the regional director reiterated the message of the Chief PNP, “Bilang alagad ng batas, mahalaga ang tungkulin natin sa pagsulong ng mga adhikaing itinanim ng ating mga ninuno tungo sa patuloy na kapayapaan at kalayaan ng bansang Pilipinas at higit sa lahat, mahalagang isapuso natin ang tema ng pagdiriwang na ito, ang pagsunod sa yapak ng mga dakilang Pilipino tungo sa malawakan at permanenteng pagbabago.

“At bilang Hepe ng Pambansang Pulisya, inaasahan ko ang higit na makatotohanang serbisyo sa bayan mula sa bawat miyembro ng kapulisan. Ito ang alay natin sa pagtaguyod ng tunay na kabuluhan at kahalagahan ng ating kalayaan at kasarinlan.”

 In coordination with the National and Local Organizing Committees, PRO-COR provided security and public safety measures in all places of engagement and maximum deployment of police officers and civil disturbance management for mass protests on occasion of the national holiday.

Police stations also installed service booths for job fairs and complaint assistance desks.

Chief Supt. Nerez tells Kalinga cops: Lessen crime 
TABUK CITY, Kalinga — Police Cordillera regional director, Chief Supt.  Isagani Nerez urged provincial police to serve well the people as he committed   more resources  to better the peace and order situation of the province.

Nerez called on the Kalinga Provincial Police Office and all chiefs of police to formulate their plans to justify the provision of equipment and facilities to address their concerns.

Said plans he said must be discussed with the local chief executives to ensure their support to the police activities.

In efforts to reduce the crime and the criminal elements in the province particularly Tabuk City,  PRO-COR’s implementation of the Police Integrated Patrol System (PIPS) will  be piloted  here. Tabuk City is identified because of its increasing crime volume and having the most criminal activities in Kalinga.

Towards this effort, he committed to allot an additional P100,000.00 monthly assistance from PRO-COR for the KPPO intelligence fund.

He added the PNP national office has allotted P10 million for the construction of the KPPO office with  P4 million counterpart from the provincial government. — Geraldine Dumallig

Man lands in jail for selling fake land titles
BAGUIO CITY— Senior Supt. Rolando Miranda, city police director said Alfredo Burgos, of Barangay Loakan-Liwanag was charged for estafa after he was nabbed by the City Investigation and Detection Management Unit  along Igorot Park, Harrison Road Monday morning. for allegedly selling fake land titles worth P100,000 pesos to individuals on installment basis.

Municipal Trial Court Branch 1 presiding judge Roberto R. Mabalot recommended no bail bond for his temporary liberty.

Case filed vs 2 men for theft
BAGUIO CITY — Two theft cases were filed against Mark Mendoza Ramirez a.k.a “Elizalde Dingayan Esguerra”, 22,  of Pasig City who was arrested at Tan Eng Lay Building while Mark Ba-oyan Baguilat, 26, of Sayangan, Atok, Benguet was arrested in km 5, Pico, La Trinidad, Benguet for theft and physical injuries.

Six persons arrested in Cordi jails for crimes
CAMP DANGWA, Benguet —   Six persons were also placed in jail sinc3e June 12 for violating various crimes.

Angelo Aragon Lazaro, 72, taxi driver, of Bandong Compound, Lower Balacbac, Baguio City was arrested for rape.

Valentine Legaspi Purgatorio, 28, farmer, of Mungol, Batan,

 Kabayan, Benguet was arrested at the Kaliling Bar and restaurant in Baguio City for frustrated murder with recommended bail of P200, 000.

Robert Barroga Ballaco, 28, farmer, of Manalpac, Solsona, Ilocos Norte was arrested in Sina, Namaltugan, Calanasan, Apayao for murder with no bail recommended.

Alfredo D. Culling, 50, of Burnay, Lagawe, Ifugao was arrested in Burnay for violation of Republic Act 7610 known as  “The special protection for a child against abuse, exploitation, and discrimination act” with bail of P170,000.

Raymund Bano Baday, 28, car wash boy, of Banao, Tadian Mt. Province, was arrested in his boarding house at Km 3, Stone Hill, Balili, La Trinidad, Benguet  for robbery with violence.

Elsie Tayag Capati, of Dominican Hill, Baguio City was arrested along Justice Hall, Baguio City for estafa.

Ex-policewoman nabbed for various crimes 
CAMP DANGWA, Benguet —A former policewoman as arreted June 9, at her residence at Poblacion, Santol, La Union for various  crimes.

Police identified the suspect as Marilyn Alipda y Oriente a.k.a “Cocot”, 43, businesswoman, of Lepanto, Mankayan with residence at Balili, La Trinidad, Benguet.

A case against here included violation of Social Security Law. An arrest warrant was issued against her by Judge Danilo P. Camacho of Regional Trial Court La Trinidad with bail set at P120, 000.

Alipda was also wanted for falsification of public documents issued by Judge Delilah N. Gonzales-Munoz of Municipal Trial Court, La Trinidad, with recommended bail bond of Pp 12, 000.

Four counts for falsification of commercial documents were also lodge against her with Judge Delilah N. Gonzales-Munoz of Municipal Trial Court, La Trinidad, Benguet issuing warrant for her arrest with bail set at P12, 000 for each case.

Alipda is now detained at the Municipal District Jail, La Trinidad.

Group formed against illegal drugs in Baguio 
BAGUIO CITY — To address the illegal drugs problem hooking teenagers in school, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Cordillera created the Anti-Illegal Drugs Youth Organization (AIDYO) through its “Barkada Kontra Droga” or BKD program in the city. PDEA Deputy Regional Director Gil Castro first formed the BKD in Barangay Manuel Roxas Barangay, supported by Councilor Bobby Ortega. Luica Mae Dioso leads the AIDYO in Manuel Roxas. “I hope Manuel Roxas barangay will set an example for other barangays in organizing an anti-illegal drugs youth organization,” Castro said.

Abra councilor, houseboy jailed over illegal guns
PENARUBIA, Abra — A municipal councilor here and his houseboy are now in jail after their arrest following the issuance of warrant by Judge Raphiel F Alzate, presiding judge of  Regional Trial Court, Abra for illegal guns.

Local police and members of Criminal Investigation and Detection Group led by Senior Inspectors Geron Padong Managtag and Angelito Mendoza Dangli Jr. served the search warrant to Valeriano Valera Damasen Jr., 52 owner of the house and his houseboy Michael Fontanilla Bagno, 53.

Confiscated from them was a shotgun, four bullets and  magazine for M16 loaded with 13 bullets for Cal. 5.56,

Both are now under custody of the CIDG.

The search was done in the presence of barangay chief  Eufrecina D. Soriaga and Kagawad Zenaida A.  Manilao.

Conner bocap surrenders gun
CONNER, Apayao – Batangay Caglayan chief Mike Littawa Baligod who is also president of Association of Barangay Captains in Conner surrendered a homemade 12 GA gun to police last week.

He said it was in support to the police’s program against illegal guns.

P122,000 marijuana burned in Kibungan
KIBUNGAN, Benguet — Four marijuana plantation sites were raided here Monday morning at Barangay  Badeo by local police.

Benguet police director Senior Supt. Rodolfo Azurin said his men uprooted around 1, 750 fully grown marijuana plants and 800 marijuana seedlings.

 The illegal plants, worth P122,000  were burned on site even as no planter was arrested.

Illegal logs impounded in Pinukpuk, Kalinga 
PINUKPUK, Kalinga – Some 25 pieces of illegally sawn red lawan lumber with volume of 400 board feet worth P8,000 were abandoned by police June 14 here in Sitio Sapote, Junction.

The illegal logs were impounded by police.

Police Chief Supt. Isagani Nerez urged the public to help in its fight against illegal activities, and report such.
He urged the public to website or contact the following numbers: complaints, referral -094765880 / 09174297628; Regional Tactical Operation Center  (074) 422-5515; 09175302679/ 09285591669

Camp Crame police brass find less crime in Cordillera
CAMP DANGWA, Benguet — The Police Regional Office Cordillera has just concluded the re-validation of crime incident in the Cordillera last year to get the true crime incident in the whole region with personnel from the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management from Camp Crame.

On June 9 to 13, personnel from the DIDM led by its executive officer Senior Supt. Ericson T. Velasquez conducted revalidation and found out crime volume as compared to same period this year particularly in Baguio City showed a decrease in crime incidents that contradicted what was being reported by critics that there was increase in crimes.

                Police Chief Supt. Sevilla congratulated police units of Abra, Benguet Ifugao and Baguio who successfully undertook the process, and for the panel and the PRO-COR Regional Advisory Council for sharing their time, expertise and knowledge.  Police Chief Superintendent Chief Supt. Isagani R. Nerez, regional police director said “Knowing the correct crime incident in our areas of responsibility will be of great help for the police particularly the COP in managing own personnel. This is in line with the Chief PNPs directive to get the true crime picture in a particular area so that commanders will be able to address it properly and appropriately”.

Cordillera’s most
wanted person arrested
BANGUED, Abra — The Cordillera Region’s top most wanted person was nabbed  early morning of June 11 at his residence at Baybayatin. Pulot, Lagayan, Abra.
Senior Supt. Virgilio Laya, Abra police director identified the suspect as Dennis Garcia, 33, who was charged for frustrated murder and murder. 

Judge sets P200K bail for man in frustrated murder
TABUK CITY, Kalinga — The region’s No, 9 TMWP was seized in his residence in Dagupan Cenro, here June 12.

Kalinga police director Victor Wanchakan identified the suspect as Felix Bocad, who was charged for frustrated murder.

Judge Marcelino Wacas, presiding judge of RTC, Branch 25, Tabuk recommended bail of P200,000 for his temporary liberty.

Man jailed for illegal guns
PENARRUBIA, Abra – A certain Jonete Barbon Jacinto, 44, of Barangay Malamsit here was nabbed for illegal possession of firearms last week,

Bail of P80,000 was set by issued by Judge Rafhiel F. Alzate, Presiding Judge, RTC Branch 58, Bucay, Abra for his temporary liberty.

3 men in arson case trapped by police
PARACELIS, Mountain Province —  Police arrested three men wanted for arson arsonists Tuesday morning in their residence here in Mabulog, Bantay.

They were identified as George Sacliwan Bucalan, 56; Valdez Bawal Macocay, 28 and Larry Bawal Macocay a.k.a Mangayut, 26, all residents of Mabulog.

All were charged in court for arson.

More suspects nabbed
CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet —  Other suspects were nabbed in their residences: Daniel Binay-An, 54, Bawi, Poblacion, Tinoc, Ifugao for attempted homicide ;Josephine Daluyen Datud, of Sagada, Mt. Province and of Ambiong Road, Baguio City, for bouncing chcck and Samuel Valeros Santos, of Tetep-an Village, Bakakeng Sur, Baguio City for acts of lasciviousness.

Two business persons were also arrested for estafa:  Clemente Calica Supnet, 30, of Cabinet Hill, Baguio City, with a recommended bail of P300,000  and Tessie Aliping Dagasen, 45, of Bacong, Loacan, Itogon, Benguet, who was arrested at Sab-atan Restaurant, Dangwa Terminal, Baguio City with a recommended bail of P1,000.


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