Fight over control of Camp John Hay on

>> Tuesday, February 24, 2015

BCDA orders CJHDevCo to vacate but latter won’t budge 

BAGUIO CITY – The fight over control of Camp John Hay here is far from over between the Bases Conversion and Development Authority and Camp John Hay Development Corp. of the Sobrepena group despite ruling from arbitration tribunal for CJHDevco to leave and BCDA to pay the lessee P1.42 billion.

CJHDevco stood pat in its decision not to leave Camp John Hay despite an order from the BCDA last week.

This, after the arbitration tribunal decided rescission of the memorandum of agreement between the BCDA and CJHDevCo noting failure of both parties to abide with their memorandum of agreement over lease of the former American military camp.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan said here Wednesday the decision has left the city government at a losing end as it won’t be able to collect more than P700 million as its 25 percent share from lease rental ofthe prime real estate.

He said despite this, the lessee cannot be booted out yet from Camp John Hay without a court confirmation of the PDRCI ruling as CJHDevCO still had legal options.

The 274-page final decision of the three-man arbitration tribunal, headed by Mario Valderrama, ordered rescission of the 1999 MOA between lessor BCDA and the lessee, that the lessee return Camp John Hay Special Economic Zone to the lessor, including all improvements made by Sobrepena’s group worth around P5 billion, and that BCDA pay in full P1.42-billion representing damages based on rental payments since 1996.

Due to BCDA’s breach of contract involving failure to comply with its obligations under the MOA and several revisions to the original MOA, the arbitration tribunal denied BCDA’s claim for P3.3 billion in back rentals from CJHDevCo.

According to CJHDevCo, it will abide by the arbitral award and will cooperate with BCDA for peaceful transition, provided the award is confirmed by the Baguio Regional Trial Court, and P1.42 billion has been received in full by the private developer.

BCDA chief Arnel Paciano Casanova said Monday the decision was a “government victory in the legal battle” even as there wasstill no writ of execution from the Baguio Regional Trial Court andBCDA has not yet paid the P1.42-billion arbitral award in full.

Despite this, Casanova ordered its private partner, the CJHSevCo, to vacate CJHSEZ and for the zone’s locators to ignore CJHSEZ and transact business only with BCDA.

In a press conference here last week, a CJHDevCo official said due process should be observed and there was need for both parties to wait to wait until the court issues a writ of execution before any court decision or arbitral award for that matter can be implemented.”

A loser due to the arbitral decision, city officials said,would also be the Armed Forces of the Philippines, because part of proceeds of privatization of the former American military bases and facilities should go to the AFP’s modernization program.

City officials said the arbital decision was a setback to the government’s public-private-partnership program. Had the BCDA been more investor-friendly, none of this would have happened, they said.
CJHDevCo chairman Robert John Sobrepeña said they felt vindicated by the arbitration tribunal when the latter upheld the company’s position that CJHDevCo does not owe P3.3 billion in back rentals to the BCDA. Instead, it was the finding of the tribunal that it is BCDA which now owes P1.42 billion as reimbursement for rental payments since 1996.

Sobrepeña,assured CJHDevCo’s locators of protection as they acquired CJH sub-leases in good faith.
He expressed  hope BCDA would sustain CJHDevCo’s vision for the JHSEZ to become the “leading eco-tourism destination in Northern Luzon” and continue nurturing almost half-million pine trees that CJHDevCo had taken good care of in the course of its almost two-decade stewardship.

CJHDevCo EVP/COO Alfredo Yñiguez III traced his firm’s major rift with its lessor to the latter’s breaches in the 2008 RMOA, specifically the non-establishment of the One-Stop Action Center (OSAC), which he said, eventually undermined the developer’s capability to generate revenues from its CJH operations.

The sole condition in the 2008 RMOA, he added, was establishment of the OSAC to facilitate the 30-day release of permits.

But this did not happen, he said, so without permits, there was no development, which meant there was “no revenue.”

Although financial losses from the OSAC non-compliance could not be quantified, Yñiguez said the amount is higher than the 2008 estimate of P250 million.

There are 15 existing projects, including the CJH Suites, requiring various permits that the promised OSAC was supposed to process in a month’s time but which remains pending till now, he added.
As of 2012, CJHDevco already completed 90 construction projects and was finishing another nine projects in its leased area. These 90 completed projects include the Camp John Manor Hotel, Golf Clubhouse, CAP Convention Center, luxury log homes and forest cabins, a new main gate, a filling station of the Eco-Village, and two buildings of the Ayala Technohub.

CJHDevCo filed its arbitration complaint before the PDRCI as a last resort after Casanova and the BCDA allegedly ignored the lessee’s request for its lessor to convene the joint BCDA-CJHDevCo committee that is supposed to tackle and settle disputes over MOA/RMOA provisions.

This developer had sought PDRCI’s confirmation of the validity of CJHDevCo’s January 9, 2012 decision to rescind its 2008 RMOA with the BCDA arising from the lessor’s “failures and breaches,” including non-compliance with its revised MOA obligation to immediately establish the OSAC.

CJHDevCo, in its submission said if reformation is impossible, Original Lease Agreement should be deemed rescinded, and that respondent (BCDA) pay claimant actual damages.

In its Feb. 11 decision, the PDRCI arbitral tribunal said: “It is undeniable that the One-Stop Action Center (OSAC), which the BCDA claims to have established in compliance with the 2008 restructured memorandum of agreement (RMOA), was unable to perform its warranties. For one, the OSAC was manifestly not fully authorized to process and issue developmental permits, such as tree-cutting, earth balling, and tree-pruning permits.”

The panel further said that the BCDA had failed to issue business permits even after the signing of this RMOA in 2008.

BCDA officials said they did not consider this controversy a closed case because its lawyers are still looking at the option of contesting the PDRCI panel’s order for the lessor to return CJHDevCo’s P1.42-billion rentals.


Lady with P140K bounty nabbed for kidnapping

BAUKO, Mountain Province – The “top most wanted person” in the Cordillera wanted for kidnapping with reward money of P140,000 was arrested here last week,

Police was identified her as Lorna Padua Lucas a.k.a. Lorna Petten Lucas, 49, farmer, and resident of Sitio Talalang, Lacong, San Gabriel, La Union.

Lucan was arrested by cops from Baguio, Bauko and Regional Intelligence Unit here at Sitio Caratula, Barangay Sadsadan afternoon of Feb. 9.

Judge Francis A. Buliyat, presiding judge of First Judicial Region of RTC Branch 9 in La Trinidad, Benguet recommended no bail for her temporary liberty.


More north Luzon officials oppose TPLEX realignment

BAGUIO CITY -- More northern Luzon officials expressed opposition to rerouting of Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) saying it would be disadvantageous to motorists as it would pass a longer route aside from the fact that government would have to spend more for construction.

Cordillera officials who have expressed opposition to proposed rerouting were Congressmen Ronald Cosalan of Benguet,  Nicasio Aliping Jr. of Baguio and Mt. Province’s Maximo Dalog, Benguet Gov. Nestor Fongwan, and Vice Gov. Nelson Dangwa.

Despite this, construction is underway despite conflict between Cosalan, who led opposition to rerouting and former Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuanco on whether the original program of work would be followed.

Cojuangco had urged the government to follow a new route that would move the TPLEX to less populated areas in the borders of Sison and San Fabian Pangasinan to avoid farmlands that are in the way of the project’s original alignment before it proceeds to the TPLEX exit in Rosario, La Union.

Under proposed rerouting, TPLEx would pass through less-developed villages and away from farmlands in Sison and Pozzorubio in Pangasinan. There would be a route passing through Bantay Isnik and Tara-ara in Sison that goes through San Fabian. The original plan traverses Urdaneta City to Rosario.

Cosalan, chair of the House committee on public works objected to Cojuangco’s proposal saying it would move the exit away from access roads to Baguio City by at least five kilometers at the expense of tourists, businessmen and truckers who ship vegetables grown in the provinces of Benguet and Mountain Province to Metro Manila daily.

Recently, the Cordillera Regional Development Council in ameeting, approved a resolution “Supporting the approved alignment of Section 3 of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) and strongly supports the approved original alignment of Section 3 (Urdaneta City to Rosario terminus) of the TPLEX.”

The resolution was presented alongside Cosalan's appeal to the RDC members during their first quarter meeting here last week.

The resolution cited an evaluation study by Filipinas Dravo Corporation (FDC) of three realignments of Section 3 that were proposed.

The study showed the shortest proposed realignment—which goes from Urdaneta City to Rosario—extends the length of the expressway by 1.48 km while another proposed realignment—from Laoac to Bued—will have the lowest increase in project cost from the original alignment by 26.88 percent.

The third proposed realignment, from Pozurrubio to Rosario roundabout increased the highway in length by 3.15 km and cost by 42.1 percent..

“These realignments will be disadvantageous to the riding public of the projected 7,000 vehicles that will ply Section 3 daily since the increase in length will result in higher toll fees,” the RDC resolution said.

The Benguet Provincial Board also passed a resolution requesting Department of Public Works and Highways Sec. Rogelio Singson  to ensure  implementation of the TPLEX based on the original plan and “staunchly opposing” the rerouting of the original road line. 

On Feb. 3, the Mountain Province Provincial Board passed a similar resolution strongly supporting the Benguet SP resolution. 

AbraGov. and RDC chair EustaquioBersaminalso announced at the RDC meeting that his province’s Board passed a similar resolution.

He asked other provinces in the region to support opposition, adding doing so would show unity among Cordillerans.

Efren Balaoing, director of the Department of Energy Luzon Field Office, said the infrastructure committee of RDC Region I endorsed the original plan for the TPLEX Section 3.

Cosalan also shared what transpired in his meeting with Ramon Ang, president of San Miguel Corp. which serves as administrator of the toll project through its unit Private Infra Development Corp. (the TPLEx concessionaire).

Ang reportedly said following the plan of Cojuangco would add not just an additional P 1 billion to the cost of the expressway, but it would also add  additional government subsidy of P 500 million a year for the next 25 years. Currently, there is P 4.7 billion subsidy from the national government for the Tarlac-Urdaneta section.

Meanwhile, Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan expressed neither support nor opposition of either Cosalan or Cojuangco. He said in his weekly press forum that he would go for any plan for the expressway as long as no private properties are compromised, adding that any complaints that will be raised will only just delay construction of the TPLEX.

The TPLEX is a Public Private Partnership project funded by Private Infrastructure Development Corporation through the Build-Transfer-Operate Scheme under the BOT Law.

It covers 88.85 km of expressway from Tarlac City to Rosario, La Union and is divided into three sections. Passing through it reduces travel time to and from Baguio and nearby provinces by almost two hours.

Domogan said he was hopeful for continuance of the project provided there will be no conflicts involving private properties of farmers and individuals.

He said another area aside from the existing road could be used.

“We cannot afford to sacrifice the interest of the farmers and private individuals that is why we want the Department of Public Works and Highways and concerned agencies to inspect the actual situation.  We need the extension of the TPLEX because the old existing road will no longer be used by majority of motor vehicles in going to La Union, Abra, Ilocos Norte, among others,” said the mayor.

Domogan said he believes re-routing of the expressway is practical to avoid delay of the project.  “Pero dapat tingnan nila ng maiigi na wala silang maaapektuhan na private property kasi pag nagkaroon ng temporary restraining order, matatagalan na naman yan,” he said. -- With a report from Pryce E. Quintos 


Families of 13 Igorot SAFs get P50,000 each

CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad,  Benguet — Checks for P50,000 were distributed Tuesday here to each family of  13 Igorot cops among so-called “Fallen 44” – the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (SAF) troopers killed in the clash in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25.

Department of Social Welfare and Development Cordillera assistant regional director Edna Benitez handed over the checks to families of Senior Inspectors Gednat G. Tabdi and Cyrus P. Anniban; Police Officers 3 Noel O. Golocan and Robert D. Allaga; PO2s Nicky Nacino, Noble S. Kiangan, Jerry D. Kayob, Walner F. Danao, Franklin C. Danao, and Peterson I. Carap; and PO1s Angel C. Kodiamat, Gringo C. Cayang-o, and Russel B. Bilog.

Benitez said that aside from the financial assistance, the families are also entitled to medical, educational, and livelihood support programs.

This, as the Third-Party Monitoring Team (TPMT), the body that monitors the progress in the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, highlighted the need to continue with the peace process especially after the tragedy in Mamasapano which claimed nearly 70 lives from all sides, including civilians.

“The recent tragic events at Mamasapano have underlined yet again the human costs of conflict, and the TPMT joins in expressing their condolences to the families of all the victims,” TPMT Chair Alistair MacDonald said during a press briefing in Manila held for the release of their second annual public report on Feb. 13.

“Pending the results of the various investigations now being carried out, it would be premature to comment substantively on these events,” he noted. “But it will be essential to protect the future while providing just remedies for the past – and that future can only prosper in the context of a widespread and lasting peace.”

According to MacDonald, while public attention is focused on the tragedy, the substantial progress made in the peace process for 2014 must not be overlooked. He noted that the report they release should serve to remind the public of this progress.

The TPMT cited the completion of the Normalization Annex in January, the historic signature of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro in March, the submission of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to Congress in September, and the conduct of extensive Congressional consultations and deliberations on the BBL immediately after its submission as proof of this progress, along with movements in the other dimensions of the peace process.

The latter include the initial progress made in the Normalization track; the setting up of the Joint Normalization Committee, the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission, and the Independent Decommissioning Body; preparations for the decommissioning or turnover of MILF firearms; continued work on socio-economic development, through the Sajahatra Bangsamoro program and the preparation of a detailed Bangsamoro Development Plan; and preparations for the transition from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority, with the establishment of a Coordinating Committee for the Transition.

Formally established in 2013, the TPMT is tasked to monitor the implementation of the peace agreement between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the government. Joining MacDonald, a former European Union ambassador to the Philippines, in the TPMT are  Husseyin Oruc of Human Rights and Freedoms Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH)‎; Karen Tanada, executive director of the Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute (GZOPI); Rahib Kudto of UNYPAD Philippines; and Steven Rood,‎ country representative of The Asia Foundation.

 “What struck me is that those calling for all-out war are not the people affected, not the police or military, not the people who live in the area,” MacDonald noted. He said that while it is necessary for the parties to restore trust in the peace process, he remains confident it will continue, and that the parties will be able to find lasting solutions to armed conflict.

Oruc, clarifying that the TPMT is neutral and not part of either the government or the MILF, noted that they “saw sincerity in both sides,” and that “we will continue to hope for peace in Mindanao.”


Comelec unseats Pangasinan town mayor over citizenship

BASISTA, Pangasinan – The Commission on Elections has annulled the proclamation of the mayor of this town over his citizenship.

In a 15-page resolution promulgated Jan. 27, the poll body unseated Manolito de Leon and declared Jocelyn Perez as the duly elected mayor.

Presiding Commissioner Elias Yusoph and Commissioners Luie Tito Guia and Arthur Lim signed the resolution, which Perez received on Feb. 11.

The resolution said De Leon, who was naturalized as an American citizen, availed himself of repatriation under Republic Act 9925 on Dec. 3, 2008.

On Oct. 17, 2009, he executed the Oath of Renunciation of his foreign citizenship.

“He is qualified to run and seek local elective position. However, his act of using his American passport on Sept. 10, 2010 and June 26, 2011 or before the 2013 elections barred him from running and holding public office. He reverted to his earlier status of being a dual citizen,” the resolution stated.  

The Comelec gave De Leon five days from receipt of the resolution to file his motion for reconsideration.


Cops turn mailmen in Sabangan town

By Alpine L. Killa

SABANGAN, Mountain Province – Cops here have come up with a program dubbed “Pulis Ko, Kartero Ko” wherein they deliver mail and packages dropped at police stations along the Halsema Highway.

It has been a practiced that mail, even money, food and other goods are being dropped by public utility vehicles such as buses at police stations located along the road where the receivers may claim.

With this situation, Senior Insp. Richard P. Soliven, former chief of police of Sabangan initiated the program in 2014 believing that it will lessen the burden of folks going to the police station to claim especially in far-flung barangays. 



Florida bus driver granted probation
BONTOC, Mountain Province -- Florida bus driver Edgar Mendoza Reynon found guilty of the complex crime of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and multiple serious physical injuries applied for probation and was granted pursuant to a court order dated Nov. 26, 2014 issued by the Municipal Trial Court  of this capital town.

Mendoza drove the bus which plunged down a ravine at Barangay Tocukan here last year killing scores of people. -- Gina Dizon

Man wanted for kidnapping arrested
BAUKO, Mountain Province – A man wanted for carnapping was nabbed here Feb. 8.

Police identified the suspect as Glenn Sacay ‘Pan-aw” Ledda, 30, farmer, who was nabbed in his residence here at SitioSuysuyoc, Barangay Leseb that night.

He was arrested by personnel of regional police intelligence office,  Buguias, Benguet and Bauko police.

Judge Agapito K. Laoagan Jr. presiding judge of Regional Trial Court  Branch 64, Abatan, Buguias, Benguet Province recommended bail of P 200,000.00 and P180,000 for two counts of robbery with violence and intimidation of persons and carnapping respectively.

A regional police report said Ledda and five other companions mauled and stole the cellular phone of their victim and in another incident stole motorcycle of another on February 2012.

Security guard arrested for violence vs women, children
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Police arrested a security guard charged for violation of Republic Act 9262 known as Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act here at  Flex Gym at Km 6, Barangay Betag Feb. 11.

Police identified the arrested Gregorio Dino Daganos, 27, resident here of Barangay Balili.

Judge Francis A. Buliyat, presiding judge of  RTC, Branch 9, La Trinidad, set bail of P60,000 for his temporary liberty.

No bail set for ‘rapist’
TABUK CITY, Kalinga – A man wanted for rape was arrested Feb. 11 by local cops and police’s  3rd Manuever Company here in Sitio Dalimuno, Barangay Bantay.

Provincial police director Senior Supt. Victor Wanchakan identified the arrested farmer as Daniel Mosuela Abuac aka Daniel Paga, 23, resident here of Mabato, Amlao.

Judge Marcelino K.Wacas of RTC, 2nd Judicial Region, Branch 25, Bulanao, Tabuk City recommended no bail for his temporary liberty.

Construction worker lands in jail for rape
ASIPULO, Ifugao – A construction worker charged for rape in Cabarroguis Quirino landed in jail after he was arrested here in SitioLicud, Barangay Haliap, Feb. 12 by operatives of Ifugao Provincial Public Safety Company and cops from Asipulo and Diffun, Quirino.

Ifugao police director Senior Supt. Robert Gallardo identified the  suspect as Nestor Banutan Umlano, 29, a resident of Ifugao Village, Diffun.

Judge Eufren F. Changale of RTC Branch 32, Cabarroguis Quirino recommended no bail for his temporary liberty.

3 nabbed in pursuit after shooting farmer
TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Police arrested three persons in the province last week for shooting a farmer in his residence here at Barangay San Francisco, Rizal town evening of Feb. 13.

Those arrested were identified as Almar Carag Bangalen, aka Denden, Felomino Carag and Eduardo Gragasen Vilda, residents of Laya East, Tabuk.

They reportedly shot Bernardo Mamba Tubban, 51 in his residents.

During the hot pursuit operation, FelominoCarag was arrested in a sari- sari store beside the provincial road in Laya East, Tabuk, followed by the arrest of Almar Bangelan in his farmland at Sucbot, Pinukpuk town and Eduardo Gragasen Vilda in his residence at Laya East, Tabuk. 

Seized inside the house of Bangelan were a shotgun and Cal. 30 gun without documents.

Man threatens minor with gun
BAGUIO CITY – Police arrested a man for threatening a minor with a gun  at here Mulberry Alley, Munoz Drive, Km 4, Asin Road night of Feb. 15.

Arrested was Dennis AmparoGumabay, 37, of Tetep-an, Sagada, Mountain Province, resident of Mulberry Alley.

Seized from Gumabay were a Cal. 9 mm gun, magazine with 11 bullets and holster.

Illegal fishers abandon gun along riverbank
BANGUED, Abra -- A Cal. 45 handgun, magazine loaded with bullets, stripe T-shirt, and black ball cap were found along the river bank of Barangay Calaba here early morning of Feb. 15. 

Prior to the incident, a concerned citizen informed police, a group of persons were seen along river bank engaging in illegal fishing using battery electricity to kill fishes.

Police went to said place but upon arrival, suspects scampered and escaped to different directions upon sensing approaching cops.

Five cornered in drug den raid
TABUK CITY -- Four persons were arrested in a drug den here at SitioIleb, Nambaran afternoon of Feb. 16.

This, after Judge Victor a. Dalanao, presiding judge of the Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, Second Judicial Region, City of Tabuk, Kalinga issued warrants against the suspects identified as Bong Addawi aka Hongti/Bongtay, who eluded arrest during police operation.

Five men, visitors of Bongtay’s drug den were arrested while illegal drugs  and drug paraphernalia were seized.

Arrested Jeffrey Dominguez Danipog, 32, of Dagupan West, Tabuk; Bam Macad Peter, 30, of Loccong, Tinglayan, Kalinga;LuisPaclayAppag, 54, of Agbannawag, Tabuk; Ricky PaclayBayog, 24,of San Pedro, Rizal and Jefferson Foken Sal-ao, 32, of Bantay, Tabuk City.

Seized from the suspects were shabu weighing 500 grams, plastic bottle containing brownish sticky substance suspected marijuana derivatives, marijuana hashes and two sachets containing shabu.

Shabu, P60,000 found in man’s house
LAGANGILANG, Abra – The house of a certain Bryan Paino here was searched Feb. 16 in Barangay Anget following arrest warrant was issued by Judge Raphiel F Alzate, presiding judge, of Regional Trial Court Branch 1, Bangued, Abra.

Seized were shabu and cash amounting to P60, 000.

Also seized were seven sachets containing shabu residue, lighters and aluminum foil.

Paino was not around during the search.

Minors caught sniffing MJ in waiting shed
BUCAY, Abra -- Two male minors were caught using illegal drugs in a waiting shed along the highway of Bangcagan here by a cop afternoon of Feb. 13.

Seized from them were a stick of marijuana, lighter and  cylinder glass tube.

The minors were turned over the to local Welfare office.

Mt Province b’gay teams proven helpful vs crime
BONTOC, Mountain Province -- Barangay Peacekeeping Action Teams (BPATs) have been proven helpful in keeping peace and order in the province.

This, as Philippine National Police provincial director Supt. Oliver Enmodias urged crime witnesses to send information via text messages leading to keeping peace and order, during a press conference here called by provincial police command and Montanosa Press Club last week.  

“Absence of witnesses to provide leading or corroborate information is one major deterrent in solution of crimes,” he said.

 Provincial police reports noted Bontoc,  Sagada, Paracelis, Bauko, Sabangan and Besao in this order topped crimes last January.

Enmodias urged concerned citizens send comments and suggestions to police stations hotlines.   

Police hotlines are provincial headquarters -09178174397, Barlig-09068755566, Bauko-09293302778, Besao- 0928542633, Bontoc- 0927944048, Natonin- 09997440662, Paracelis- 09276883753, Sabangan- 09084697555, Sadanga-09089049902, Sagada- 09082258115, and Tadian- 09275548819.

In Bauko, chief of police Roy Awisan said the BPATs helped in curbing illegal logging. 

Police confiscated a total of 465 board feet lawaan lumber with an estimated market value of P10,230 last Jan. 15.

Awisan said the confiscated lumber was turned over to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Awisan said 256 BPATs were given related trainings with support from the local government of Bauko headed by Mayor Abraham Akilit.

Also, Sadanga chief of police Recto Bumahit also said 105 BPAT members were given trainings with the support of Mayor GabinoGanggangan.

Newly installed Bontoc chief of police Richard Soliven said 37 BPATs trainees shall be given needed trainings with support from Mayor Franklin Odsey.

In Sagada, chief of police Clayton Estangki reported that BPATs  of Poblacion Sagada aided the flow of traffic  when visitors came in droves during the  Christmas season last year and the recently conducted Etag festival. – Gina Dizon

Farmer arrested for frustrated murder 
TABUK CITY, Kalinga -- A farmer wanted for frustrated murder was jailed after he was arrested in Barangay Encanto, Angat, Bulacan Jan. 31 for hacking his brother last year due to land dispute.

Provincial police director Senior Supt. Victor Wanchakan identified the suspect as BalilingG. Bio, 28, here of Asin, Lucog.

He was arrested by elements of Regional Intelligence Division, Regional Intelligence Unit and Kalinga provincial intelligence branch and Provincial Public Safety Company.

Judge Marcelino K. Wacas of RTC 2nd Judicial Region, Bulanao, Tabuk recommended bail of P200, 000 for his temporary liberty.

Businessman nabbed for robbery, theft
BANGUED, Abra – A businessman charged for robbery and theft identified as Christopher Pacano, 19,was arrested here along Torrijos St., Zone 5by police Feb. 3.

Judge Raphiel F. Alzate, executive judge of RTC Branch 1 Bangued, Abra recommended bail of P66,000 for Pacano, a resident of Poblacion Tayum.


Congressional bill seeks to make Manaoag Shrine pilgrimage site

By Liezle Basa Inigo

MANAOAG, Pangasinan – Now that the Our Lady of the Rosary in Manaoag has been formally declared a Minor Basilica, a lady congressman here has asked the government to ensure the welfare and protection of the throngs of Catholic devotees and visitors who are expected to grow in numbers in the coming days.

Pangasinan Rep. Gina De Venecia said she has filed House Bill 4481that seeks to make the Shrine a pilgrimage site.
Congressman Manay Gina De Venecia said, since Our Lady of Rosary in Manaoag has been formally declared as  Minor Basilica, the government must do something to  take care of the welfare and protection of the throngs of Catholic devotees,who will continue to visit the Our Lady of Manaoag.

“Millions of pilgrims visit the Basilica every year with its number continuously growing as more witness the glory it brings to those who humble their hearts. The shrine also continues to entice visitors not just from our country but from the many parts of the world making it one of the most visited places in the Philippines,” she said.

She said the bill has already been approved by Committee on Tourism at the House of Representatives.

“ It is now at the Committee on Appropriations , for fund sourcing, Once it becomes a law, the Department of Tourism and its  attached  agencies in coordination with Department of Public Works and Highways and in consultation  with the local government of Manaoag, will come up with the comprehensive development  plan for the improvement of  Our Lady of ManaoagShrine,”De  Venecia  said.

De Venecia noted that Our Lady of Manaoag—the patroness of Manaoag town—is one of the most venerated Marian images in the country and is often called as the pilgrim center of the north and its feast is among the most highly celebrated events in the Philippines.

De Venecia said the glorious history of Our Lady of Manaoag can be traced back to the1600s when the image was brought to the Philippines by a Spanish priest named Padre Juan de San Jacinto.

Among the many miracles of the image, as cited by locals, was how the church was “protected” from being burned down by pillagers in the early days of Spanish colonization even as the entire town was set ablaze.

It is also said that during the Japanese attacks in World War II, a bomb fell directly at the sanctuary of the church but did not explode.

The holy water and oil from the shrine are prized for their supposed healing powers.


Bontoc town women turn “Green Police”

BONTOC, Mountain Province -- The “Bontoc Green Police,” so-termed because of their role in monitoring compliance to  proper waste management, is set to become stronger with additional responsibilities, according to Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey.

These women volunteers will soon start issuing citation tickets to violators of the town’s ecological waste management policies such as segregation-at-source.

Now, they will also have the authority to issue citation tickets to those who litter, spit momma, and those establishments and persons who use styrofoam and plastic bags for dry goods. Momma-spitting has been tagged  one of growing problems of this capital town.

Bontoc banned the use of plastic bags on dry goods to lessen the garbage of the town.

Names of violators will be submitted to the barangay and the municipal government and will be made to pay fines and/or render community service depending on the severity of their offense.

They will be denied barangay, police, and mayor’s clearances.

The Bontoc Green Police was originally organized by virtue of Executive Order No. 35, series of 2013 issued by Mayor Odsey shortly after the closure of the controversial Matoytoy-ok dumpsite.

A Writ of Kalikasan case was filed against Municipality of Bontoc in 2012 by the Kalinga Anti-pollution Action Group (KAAG) over the operation of the Matoyto-ok dumpsite. Through a mutual agreement of both KAAG and Bontoc LGU in the Court of Appeals, the dumpsite was closed, rehabilitated, and re-vegetated in August 2013.

Since the closure of the dumpsite, Bontoc has revived the Oplan Perasa Basura, a contest wherein all elementary and high schools in the sixteen barangays of Bontoc collect recyclable wastes as well as bottles and plastic bags not bought by junk shops.

It has also developed Eco-park 1 for the composting of biodegradables and Eco-park 2 for the crushing of bottles and shredding of plastics used in making eco-blocks (hollow blocks containing crushed bottles and shredded plastics).

Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer Roger Agcapen said “while Green Police are instrumental in ensuring compliance with the policy on segregation at source and the schedule of bringing out of garbage, the real challenge is for individual households to have their own mini-waste management policies.”

“Something like we all become Green Police in our own way. There are still many challenges besetting the town in terms of garbage that’s why everyone’s cooperation is very important.”

This year, the Bontoc Green Police will be provided uniforms and IDs to better carry out their functions.



Imee’s education program helps more poor students

By Jennifer T. Pambid

LAOAG CITY – More students are now benefiting from the provincial government’s program on education.

Gov. Imee Marcos welcomed new set of Sirib youth leaders scholars during awarding of their stipend Feb. 11 here at provincial capitol.

Marcos said unlike other scholarship programs which focus on academic qualifications of beneficiaries, Sirib youth leaders scholarship program gives chance to poor but deserving students who have commitment to serve their fellowmen and community.

John Raymond Pascual of Laoag City, one of beneficiaries, said the financial assistance is a big help to him since he is a self-supporting student.

He grew up with his grandparents who passed away. He had no one to depend on since his parents were separated and now living with their own families.

After graduating from high school, Pascua worked as encoder, store and office assistant for three years in order to earn enough money to pursue his studies.

He is presently enrolled in the Mariano Marcos State University-College of Teacher Education as a second year student. 

He continues to do part-time jobs to support his daily needs.

Pascua admitted that his present situation is hard but with the financial assistance given by the provincial government, he continues to reach his dreams.

“I want to be a teacher. When I was in high school, my teachers helped and inspired me, so this is my way of giving back. (I want to help) other people and to serve the province as well,” he related.

Pascua expressed his gratitude to Marcos for assisting poor but deserving students like him.

“I hope the program will last to reach out for more youth in the province. I know that there are still those youth out there who are unable to pursue their dreams,” he said.

Relating to the scholars as a “family for life,” Marcos said the provincial government will try its best to provide alternatives to any problem they may face especially in seeking quality jobs in the province.


Ifugao honors fallen SAF members

By Marcelo Lihgawon

LAGAWE, Ifugao -- The provincial  government  honored two Ifugaos  of the  Fallen “SAF (Special Action Forces ) 44”   for sacrificing their lives  in  performance of  their duties.

Posthumous commendations were awarded to family representatives of the late P03 Robert Allaga and P02 Franklin Danao in a ceremony held at the provincial capitol attended by hundreds of national and provincial employees.

Allaga was from  Poitan, Banaue while  Danao  was a native of  Binablayan, Tinoc.

They were   among the 44 Philippine National Police-SAF commandos  who were killed in an encounter at Masampano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25 with Muslim rebels.

The  bereaved families also received financial assistance of P60,000 each.

The P50,000 came from the Department of Social Welfare  and Development and P10,000 from the provincial government through the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office.

PSWD officer Joseline Niwane said their office is set to conduct counseling and assessment among families  for possible assistance.

The families of the two slain SAF commandos are pressing justice for their loved ones. 


Baguio gov’t sets contract with Slaughterhouse Corral users

By JhoArranz

BAGUIO CITY -- A contract of lease between the city government and corral users here at Slaughterhouse Compound will be set this month after it was found out most didn’t have business permits.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan said this, while repair of the livestock market wa done to separate slaughterhouse and the livestock markets for health reasons.

Corrals were demolished so livestock activities were temporarily done at the road fronting the meat inspector’s office. 
Based on the report of the City Treasurer’s Office, no certificate of award and lease contracts were issued to any of the corral users since the operation of the city’s slaughterhouse or livestock market except for an individual corral ledger where monthly payments of the required corral fees are being recorded and maintained.

It was agreed upon during meeting Feb. 5 of the Baguio City Market Authority with the 17 registered corral users to have a contract of lease considering livestock market had been operating and occupied by majority of the corral users without business permits and it was only few year ago that they applied and secured permits.

Among terms and conditions in the contract of lease will include the following:  lease contract will be renewable every year, rental rate of P125/sqm per month and corral users only allowed to have livestock pigs and not allowed to sublease.

They should observe cleanliness (following schedule of solid waste disposal and practicing proper liquid waste disposal); all shipments must be accompanied by a veterinary certificate from the source; gambling and drinking of liquor within the vicinity are not allowed; parking of vehicles is prohibited, however, loading and unloading of livestock is allowed; corral users will shoulder their respective electric and water bills; no construction of extension will be allowed without approval of the city; to secure business permits, otherwise, the city will issue closure of business and it will be a ground for the cancellation of his/her right of the slot.

To address problem inadequate toilets, Domogan directed city buildings and architecture officials to prepare programs of work.

 CBAO personnel will identify corral in order to accommodate other interested individuals. 


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