Militant groups warned: Obey law during SONA or else …

>> Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Police on red alert; No permit, no rally for protesters 

Police in Northern and Central Luzon would be placed on red alert in time for the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Aquino tomorrow even as the Cordillera regional police command warned militant groups or lawless elements in the region they would be arrested if they would create trouble or hold mass rallies without permits during the occasion.

Some 250 from the Police Regional Office-Cordillera will be sent to Metro Manila to serve as augmentation to the Civil Disturbance Management (CDM) for possible attacks during the SONA( July 27).

Chief Supt. Isagani Nerez, Cordillera police director said 50 uniformed personnel from the regional police headquarters would be used as  reserve CDM contingents who will undertake security measures and public safety operations, secure vital installations, economic key points and places of convergence and to ensure peace and order during the SONA. 

Nerez said militant groups are expected to undertake mass protests and launch activities which may disrupt activities and endanger lives of officials and constituents.

The 16th Congress will officially open its 3rd regular session at 10 a.m. tomorrow be followed by the SONA at 4 p.m. before both Legislative Houses in joint session.

On this occasion, top-ranking government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, and other VIPs are expected to attend the event.

Nerez said in the Cordillera, it is expected especially in Baguio City, that groups and local militant organizations will stage mass actions to air their demands.

Nerez directed his personnel to be wary, vigilant and watchful to ensure a secure, safe and peaceful SONA, the last of the President.

“The PRO-COR strongly warns any threat groups and other unscrupulous individuals not to try to disrupt the SONA of President Aquino,” Nerez said.
He added maximum tolerance will be implemented during mass protests but any person who will violate the law will be apprehended.

 Nerez added the Philippine National Police respects freedom of speech of every Filipino citizen, pursuant to Batas Pambansa 880 or “The Public Assembly Act of 1985.”

But police will strictly implement the ‘‘No permit, no rally” policy in public places except in parks established by law, in private property, with the owner’s consent, or in the campus of a government-owned and operated educational institution.

Nerez urged his men to observe the Revised PNP Police Operational Procedure (POP) and respect human rights during operations.

PRO-COR will be placed under full alert status a day before the SONA and maximum deployment of personnel and utilization of resources will be carried out and partnership with the community, force multipliers and auxiliaries has been tapped to participate and involve themselves to help the PNP particularly crime prone areas, he said.

The PRO-COR urged the public to help police provide relevant information on unscrupulous activities which may disrupt peaceful convening of the SONA through social media or the following numbers: 09174297628, Regional Tactical Operation Center (074) 422-5515 or 09175302695 and 09285591669.


P2M marijuana plants destroyed in Kalinga town

TINGLAYAN, Kalinga – Some P2 million worth of fully grown marijuana plants were eradicated by police on a plantation here July 18. Senior Supt. George D. Daskeo, Kalinga police director said about 10,000 marijuana plants were found in SitioChumansil, Barangay Luccong at about 6 a.m. by lawmen.

No cultivators were arrested. Raiding lawmen were composed of elements from Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Regional Intelligence Unit (RIU)14, Tinglayan Municipal Police Office (MPS), Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB) and the Provincial Anti-Illegal Drug Special Operation Task Group (PAIDSOTG).

The raiding teams were led by Supt. Charles Domallig and Senior Inspt. Francisco Ben.

Chief Supt. Isagani R Nerez, Cordillera police director said campaign against illegal drugs had been upped in the region considering that one of the programs of  PRO-COR is to reduce supply of prohibited drugs being circulated by unscrupulous individuals in the region.


77 given ‘gift of sight’ in Candon medical mission

CANDON CITY, Ilocos Sur – It was some sort of a miracle for 77 people with defective vision were given the gift of sight as beneficiaries of a medical mission held in this city.

Five of the 77 beneficiaries of the successful eye medical mission cried, sang songs and praised the people behind the mission during the send-off party held at Vitalis Resort and Spa, Santiago, Ilocos Sur.

The third eye mission was sponsored by the Gift of Sight Foundation headed by Dr. Kenneth Westfield and Dr. Hon-Vu Duong, Rep. Eric Singson, Candon City Mayor Ericson Singson, City of Candon Hospital, Parañaque East Rotary Club, Manuel and Nieves Cariño, City Health Office and Southern Ilocos Sur Medical Society.

The four-day eye mission catered to patients in the second district of the province. There were successful 70 cataract and seven pterygium operations done.

The group of Dr. Westfield came practically with everything. They brought with them their equipment, gadgets, medicines and others.

Dr. Westfield expressed his deep appreciation to the hospitality and support extended to them during their stint.

Rep. Singson and City Administrator Grace Singson who played host during the party gave them gifts as gesture of appreciation of their works.

Mayor Singson said he hoped to have more eye missions. “Many were benefitted, many were cured, many were comforted but still long lists of our constituents continuously clamor for another staging in the next months. So even if this is supposed to be a send-off party we are readying again the red carpet for your welcome party on your return,” he said.

The city mayor who is a doctor said the “eye mission was fulfilling for our beloved constituents and beneficiaries. It was fulfilling as part of our public service duties. The eye medical mission allowed us to help our benefactors have the gift of sight.”

Dr. Westfield and his group were later toured around the city and tourist spots in the province. -- LBJ


Officer dies as ship runs aground off Ilocos Sur

VIGAN CITY, Ilocos Sur -- An officer of a Singaporean cargo ship reportedly died of heart attack when their vessel ran aground in the waters off his province July 17, the Philippine Coast Guard reported.

PCG spokesperson Commander Armand Balilo identified the fatality as Henry Libo-on, chief mate of the M/V Alam Manis.

Aside from Libo-on, the vessel had 20 other officers and crew onboard. All are Filipinos led by their captain, Orlando Cabalatungan.

Reports reaching the PCG headquarters said the vessel came from Surigao and was headed for China to deliver nickel ore.

Officers of the PCG sub-station Darigayos in La Union said they were informed at about 5:30 p.m. that the M/V AlamManis ran aground off the coast of Sta. Lucia in Ilocos Sur.

They said they immediately sent a search and rescue team to the area.

A tugboat, T/B Salviscount, was assisting the officers and crew of the vessel when the team arrived.

By 10:30 p.m. all officers and crew of the AlamManis were rescued and brought to the Port of San Fernando in La Union.

PCG Northwestern Luzon district commander Capt. LeovigildoPanopio said strong winds and huge waves spawned by the southwest monsoon dragged the vessel toward the shallow part of the sea.

“Our divers and Marine Environment Protection Unit teams remained in the area to check the possibility of an oil spill but they could not get close to the vessel due to rough sea condition. So far no spill has been detected,” Panopio said. – With reports from Jun Elias, RaymundCatindig


Chico River washes out 200 hectares in Kalinga

P14.8M out for water diversion project 
TABUK CITY, Kalinga -- An initial amount of P14.8 million was allotted for Chico River Re-channeling and Management Project to divert water from the mighty river and prevent it from causing further damage to rice lands and properties here, 200 hectares of which were already washed away.

CRRMP head Julio Barcellano said the project is jointly funded by the Department of Interior and Local Government under the Bottom-up-Budgeting with P10 million, and  the city government which allotted P4.8 million.

Based on project study, the Chico River had washed out about 200 hectares of rice land in the 13 rice-producing barangays situated along the west bank of the river.

The eight-year project from 2015-2022  is contained under Executive Order 2015-01 issued by Mayor Ferdinand B. Tubban in January 30, this year.

Seeing the impact of the project on rice industry of the city, it had been made part of the city development plan.
 A multi-sector taskforce was formed to  implement it.

Meanwhile, the city development council and barangay officials of barangays along Chico River met to discuss the Chico River rechanneling and management plan prepared by Task Force Chico which aims to enhance safety of the populace and boost local economy.

They were joined by other partners from the Office of the Congressman, Department of Public Works and Highways, National Irrigation Administration, the provincial government, and quarry operators group.

During their meeting, they agreed to pool their resources to implement the plan targeting to start it this year with the conduct of a stretch survey on areas where rechanneling will start.

Stakeholders involved in the project committed to support the plan considering the economic benefits it contributes to
farmers when farms are protected from flooding and lands redeemed; the construction industry for source of aggregates; local government units on revenue generation; and disaster risk reduction on settlers along riversides.


Tarlac doctors’ association hits prov’l gov’t over PhilHealth fees

TARLAC CITY -- The Tarlac Provincial Hospital Doctors’ Association assailed the provincial government saying there was no legal basis of the  latter to institute and enforce guidelines on pooled professional fees of doctors paid by PhilHealth.

In a position paper forwarded to Gov. Victor A. Yap, Vice Gov. Enrique Cojuangco and Provincial Board, last week, the TPHDA questioned revised guidelines on the matter released July 14, 2015 (which amended proposed guidelines issued on June 29, 2015) by the provincial government of Tarlac.

“Whether in its original form (dated 29 June 2015) or in its revised form (dated 14 July 2015), the subject guidelines constitute abuse of authority, as well as unwarranted and illegal withholding and deprivation of professional livelihood which the doctors and non-medical staff are lawfully entitled to receive,” the TPHDA said.

“The Philhealth-Accredited Health Care Institution (HCI) is required to pay the professional fees pooled within 30 days from receipt of such professional fees. Non-compliance with these clear directives can even result in the loss of Philhealth Accreditation for the HCI concerned.

The provisions of Republic Act No. 7875, as amended by Republic Act No. 10606, its Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (Section 44), as well as Philhealth Circular No. 35 s. 2013 clearly mandate and require the distribution of the pooled professional fees without granting any discretion to the Local Chief Executive or the Local Government Unit on the manner and extent of distribution.”

The TPHDA position paper added: “No change in the manner and extent of distribution can be implemented unless there is an agreement on this matter between the head of the HCI and the medical and non-medical staff. The local chief executive has no authority to unilaterally impose any changes, much less participate directly in the forging of any agreements.”

The TPHDA added: “The Management Committee created by and through the guidelines is without legal basis to support the validity of its creation or its actions in relation to the distribution and payment of the pooled professional fees. More importantly, even if it is within the power of the HCI or the provincial government to create such a body, it will still not validate the subject guidelines, especially since it is headed by the provincial governor who will also approve or disapprove its recommendations.

“The Local Government Code (Republic Act No. 7160), being an earlier law and one of general application, cannot validly supersede the provisions of Republic Act No. 7875, as amended by Republic Act No. 10606, which are laws of specific application, and which were enacted after the Local Government Code.

“The principle of devolution pertains only to the administrative management of the devolved HCI. It cannot be invoked to justify unilateral, unwarranted, and illegal deprivation of livelihood.

The TPHDA position paper was signed by members and officers.

Signatories included doctors Antonita M. De Pano, Marlo B. Manzano,  Myra G. Villaroman, Yamami B. Chan, Harriet C. Sulit, NonatoJowinSison, Cristina D. Pascual. Shiela S. Domecillo, Prospero T. Ong, and Ramon C. Aviguetero.


2 miners die due to gas poisoning, one by landslide

TUBLAY, Benguet --  — Two small-scale miners died due to gas poisoning inside a tunnel in the mountainous Sitio Piket, Barangay Caponga here afternoon of July 17.

Senior Insp. Rolly Albino, Tublay chief of police, said the cadavers of the victims – Francis Michael Sagudin, 39, a native from Barangay Batan, Kabayan, Benguet, and Marlon Agsalo, 21, of SitioBetwag, Barangay Caponga, Tublay, Benguet; were recovered from the mining tunnel shortly after 6 p.m. that day.

It was reported that Agsa-lo and Sagudin, along with several of their companions, entered the tunnel around 4 p.m. but had to get out two hours later because of a foul smell that was suffocating them.
Agsalo reportedly went back inside the tunnel, followed by Sagudin.

Minutes later, their companions went back into the tunnel with a blower to disperse the toxic fumes and found the victims unconscious.

They claimed discovering a poisonous gas in the tunnel owned by Elvis Depaynos, 36 of La Trinidad town.

Earlier, Benguet Gov. Nestor Fongwan and the Mines and Geoscience Bureau in Cordillera region suspended all mining activities in the province due to the continuous rain caused by southwest monsoon.

In the middle of heavy rain last July 12, a landslide that occurred at the mining site in Sitio Udoudan, Barangay Ampucao, Itogon, killed pocket miner Joven Robiz Bao-anan, 30, and injured his fellow miners Manuel Balang Diano, 30; Amos Robiz  Bao-anan, 21; Glenn Bao-anan Balao, 18; and a 17-year-old minor from Nueva Vizcaya.


Mayor says work resumption on city hall grounds urgent

Despite NCCA desist order

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan said there is urgency in resumption of work to finish the city hall stage and mini-museum and fence here even as cease and desist order issued by the National Commission on Culture and Arts is still in effect.

“We have to resume work in the improvements of city hall as time is of the essence,” Domogan said.

The NCCA’s cease and desist order halted construction and beautification works at city hall grounds citing Republic Act No. 10066 Section 48 which states that modification, alteration or destruction of the original features of, or undertakes construction of real estate development in any national shrine, monument, landmark, and other historical edifices and structures declared, classified, and marked by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, inclusive of their designated security or buffer zones extending five meters from the visible perimeter of the monument or site, is not allowed without written permission of the NCCA.

Another letter however was received by the city government from the NHCP stating that it interposes no objection to the improvements being made in the city hall grounds signed by NHCP chair Dr. Maria Serena Diokno.

It said the perimeter fence is acceptable because it is made up of see through grilles whose purpose is to secure the city hall premises from vandals, intruders and looters and does not obstruct the view of the City Hall.

With regards to the improvements of the flagpole area including the construction of a stage and a mini museum below it also does not obstruct the dominance and prominence of the city hall building.

Domogan said the NHCP reiterated they also have jurisdiction over the area.

“We have given due respect to the NCCA, unfortunately despite the fact that we filed a petition clearly pinpointing to them that they have no jurisdiction, that there is no legal basis for the issuance of the cease and desist order, there is no action from them,” he said.

“Hopefully they will also consider that time is of the essence especially now that we are being battered by continuous typhoons, what will happen to this project?”,Domogan said.

Domogan said, “There is regular contact with NHCP through architect Veronica Dado and that the NHCP already endorsed a letter to the NCCA asking for withdrawal of the cease and desist Order, but there is still no reply.”

Domogan ordered the contractor to stop on-going improvement and fencing in the City Hall grounds despite the fact that the project in question is outside the 5 meter buffer zone.

Domogan said, “the project should have been finished by August this year if not for the cease and desist order issued by the NCCA.”


Vice mayor’s kin nabbed for drugs

CURRIMAO, Ilocos Norte -- A sister-in-law of the municipal vice mayor and three others were arrested here in a drug sting July 17.

Josephine Torralba, sister-in-law of Badoc Vice Mayor Thomas Torralba, was arrested along with alleged drug traffickers Raquel Gamponia, Lisa Renien and Franklin Gorospe in Barangay San Simeon, according to provincial police director Senior Supt. Albert Ocon.

The suspects reportedly yielded a plastic sachet said to contain shabu with an estimated value of P5,000.

Ocon said the vice mayor’s sister-in-law was the primary target of the operation, but all suspects were in the police’s watchlist of suspected drug traffickers.              


Ex-Tabuk mayor baffled on motion to suspend him

By Jeffrey Damicog

A former mayor of Tabuk, Kalinga is baffled as to why state prosecutors wanted to suspend him when he is no longer the town’s chief executive.

In an opposition to the motion of the prosecution to suspend “pendente lite” (while awaiting litigation) former Tabuk Mayor Camilo Lammawin Jr., his lawyer, Atty. Mona Liza Abibico, explained that under the law the suspension being sought is intended “to prevent the accused from influencing the witnesses and to prevent him or her from further committing the same acts.”

“The accused can no longer influence any witness or tamper with evidence as he is not anymore the Mayor of Tabuk City,” said Abibico in the opposition filed before the Sandiganbayan Third Division.

“Notedly, this case had been sitting with the Office of the Ombudsman for 10 long years,” cited Abibico.

The Ombudsman filed before the Sandiganbayan two counts of violating Section 3(b) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act 3019) and two counts of direct bribery under Article 210 of the Revised Penal Code against Lammawin and his wife Salud.

Under the four cases, the couple were accused of extorting more than half a million pesos in 2002 when Lammawin was still mayor from Rodman Construction and Development Corp., a contractor for the Tabuk Water Supply Project.


CA denies appeal of John Hay lawyer on perjury case

By Melody Brawner 

The Court of Appeals’ (CA) Fourteenth Division of Manila denied the appeal of CJH Development Corp. lawyer Manual T. Ubarra Jr. to overturn the decision of the Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 41 of Quezon City that has found probable cause against him for perjury.

In its 12-page decision, the appeals court said “The appeal is devoid of merit.” The CA decision stated that “we have reviewed the records and see no error on the part of pubic respondent [MeTC Judge Rolando Dennis G. Molina] in sustaining the MeTC’s findings of probably cause for the issuance of the arrest warrant against petitioner [Ubarra].”

The CA decision ruled “The METC correctly found that the investigating prosecutor had carefully and meticulously scrutinized the complaint-affidavit and the accompanying documents that Atty. Ubarra, Jr. submitted, on behalf of CJHDC, against appellee Casanova and the other directors of the BCDA before the Ombudsman; and from his evaluation, it was convincingly shown that Atty. Ubarra had, in fact, made several untruthful statements  and false accusations against appellee Casanova that would constitute the crime of Perjury.”

Ubarra as the vice president for litigation of CJHDevCo, had filed a complaint-affidavit with the Ombudsman charging BCDA president and CEO ArnelPaciano D. Casanova and other directors of the BCDA of failing to promptly reply on letters and requests from the public within 15 days from receipt thereof, in violation of Sec. 5 (a) of RA No. 6713. 
 Responding to Ubarra’s complaint, Casanova said Ubarra’s allegations were false because he was not yet the President and CEO of the BCDA when the letters were sent and therefore he could not have replied to the letters.
 In his complaint-affidavit, Ubarra mentioned that it took 60 days before Casanova replied to the letter he sent on 29 December 2009.

Casanova argued that he assumed office as BCDA president and CEO on April 15, 2011.

The letters that CJHDevCo sent were addressed to Aloysius L. Santos and Gen. Narciso L Abaya (ret.) then the chairman and president and CEO of BCDA respectively.

Casanova also said that the reply letter of Ubarra’s March 01, 2010 was signed by then president and CEO Abaya.  
He added that Ubarra’s May 28, 2010 letter was addressed to Abaya.

Feeling aggrieved by allegations, Casanova filed a criminal complaint for Perjury against Ubarra.  


4 Bulacan coops appeal to PNoy, Kiko over rice profit

By Freddie C. Velez

SAN MIGUEL, Bulacan — At least four farmers’ cooperatives in this town are appealing to President Aquino, through Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, to help them recover their share from the sales of their imported rice from Thailand.

The officers and members of the Lambakin Agriculture Marketing Cooperative, Kalahi Farmers Multi-purpose Cooperative, St. Christopher Multi-purpose Cooperative, and Paliwasan Multi-purpose Cooperative told to Bulacan reporters they wanted Pangilinan to intervene on their behalf so that their financial partner, All Asia Countertrade Inc., may release to them their profits from the sales of the imported rice that is equivalent to P8 million gross profit for each cooperative that was given a rice allocation to import 100,000 sacks each.

The said rice importation was under the government’s minimum access volume program in 2014, and the program refers to the minimum volume of farm produce, such as rice, allowed to enter into the Philippines at reduced tariffs.

Soledad Tecson, Leonito Sacdalan, Florida de Guzman, and Hermogenes Baltazar, the chairpersons of the cooperatives respectively, chorused that up to now, their financial partner has yet to fully deliver to them their share in the sales of their imported rice that arrived sometimes in the first quarter of the year.

And as the wet planting season for rice has now started, they lamented that they badly need financial help for their farm inputs for their combined more than a hundred farm family members.

De Guzman noted that their financial partner “wanted to transact with only one representative for all the cooperatives” and that they had endorsed and assigned Eliseo Velasco to transact for and on behalf of the cooperatives in the rice importation.

However, Tecson said Velasco is now the former chairperson of their cooperative, whose authority to transact business on their behalf was stripped from him last April due to their loss of confidence in him.

Up to now, the cooperative officials and members lamented that Velasco has failed to fully deliver what is due them with the cooperative, now headed by Tecson, not receiving a single cent from their share while the three other cooperatives receiving only around 20 percent of their shares.

Tecson said their cooperatives have already provided All Asia Countertrade Inc. all necessary documents for the
availment of their shares.


Four dead, thousands flee as floods hit Northern Luzon

Leptospirosis claims teener in Pangasinan

Four people were killed and thousands forced to flee their homes as floods inundated large parts of the northern Philippines the past two weeks, government reports said.

Heavy monsoon rains lashed the largely agricultural provinces for days, bringing floods that left roads impassable and led about 3,000 people to be evacuated, government civil defense officers said.

At least four people died as a result of the rains, including a six-month old boy who was buried by a landslide in Pangasinan, the officers said.

Social welfare and relief agencies are delivering aid to affected areas while the public works department is preparing to repair damaged infrastructure, said Presidential spokesman Herminio Coloma.

Although no storm is forecast to hit, the government weather station warned that “monsoon rains which may trigger flash floods and landslides will be experienced,” over large areas of the northern Philippines on Sunday.

The Philippines is hit by about 20 typhoons and storms each year.

In  Pangasinan, Health workers in the entire province have been alerted on a possible spread of leptospirosis, following days of flooding in this city and 13 other towns and the death of a teenager in Mangaldan, recently.

Dr. Policarpio Manuel, chief of the Pangasinan Provincial Hospital, confirmed last week the hospital had dealt with two leptospirosis cases and that one of them – Dexter Preztoza, 17, of Mangaldan – died last Monday.

“He had fever for almost a week and his complexion turned to yellow. On Wednesday, his body gave up,” Manuel said of Preztoza.

From January 1 to July 20 this year, the Region 1 Medical Center (R1MC) has reported 28 leptospirosis cases.

Provincial Health Officer Anna de Guzman said 16 of these cases are in this province, including Preztoza.

Leptospirosis is an infectious bacterial disease that occurs in rodents, dogs, and other mammals and can be transmitted to humans.


The incidence of transmission of the disease to humans occurs increasingly during floods when feces and urine from infected rodents go with the water and threatens open wounds.

In Dagupan City, Pangasinan mayor  Belen Fernandez announced  a suspension of  classes  on Monday  in all pre-school, elementary and high schools both public and private
In a statement in her Facebook account, Fernandez said lingering effects of the monsoon shall continue to be felt with rain waters from the upstream flowing into the city’s rivers, causing it to swell and threatening to inundate key areas and the city’s major thoroughfares until today (Monday ), along with the expected tidal rise.

“By express authority provided under Section 2 of Executive Order No. 66, s. 2012 (Localized Cancellation or Suspension of Classes and Work in Government Offices) as chairperson of the Dagupan City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, I hereby order the suspension of all classes in all pre-school, elementary and high schools, both public and private, in the city of Dagupan, July 20, 2015,” Fernandez  said.

Meanwhile, she reminded that regular work at the City Hall and all other government offices within the city’s territorial jurisdiction shall not be affected by this declaration.

Suspension of classes in tertiary schools shall be left at the discretion of the presidents or administrators of their respective colleges and universities, she said. – With reports fromLiezle  Basa Inigo


DA sets P45M for Mt Prov farm road projs

By Juliet B. Saley
BONTOC, Mountain Province -- The Department of Agriculture  allocated this year P45 million for 14 farm-to-market roadprojects in the province coursed thru the Department of Public Works and Highways – Mt. Province District Engineering Office.

Based on the data provided by Engineer Randy Sagandoy of Construction Section of DPWH-MPDEO, P10 million of the total amount is appropriated for the construction/upgrading of Andanum-Banao-Guinzadan Norte FMR in Bauko; P5M each for the concreting of Maligcong FMR in this municipality and  improvement of Sinto-Monamon Norte FMR in Bauko; P4M for the construction/upgrading of Tawang-Bunot FMR in Paracelis, and P3M for the improvement/rehabilitation of Gisgisaan FMR in Bauko.

The amount of P2 million each was appropriated for the improvement/rehabilitation of the Kabatangan FMR and Data FMR,  both in Sabangan;  the Finnakar-Fangorao FMR here, the Bila-Bauko FMR in Bauko, and  the Poblacion-Bantay-Buringal FMR  in Paracelis.

P2M each is also appropriated for the construction/upgrading of the Codocod-Bangaan FMR and the Mabisil-Pakkil FMR, both in Sagada, the Bontoc-Mainit FMR, and the continuation/construction of Kaleo-Kadaclan FMR in Barlig.
According to Sagandoy, five of these projects were already bid out July 14 while opening of bids for seven projects is set July 16.

Two are still for advertisement.

Last year, the DA has also allotted the province the total amount of P128M for 13 FMRs and 8 of these are already completed.

Still on-going are the improvement/concreting of the Cadad-anan – Am-am Sadsadan FMR of  Bauko/Tadian with a project cost of P30M; improvement/concreting of Wala-Bunot-Tawang FMR in Paracelis(P32M); improvement of Sabangan-BagnenOriente Proper FMR of Sabangan/|Bauko(P28M), and  concreting of sitioMarallag FMR in Paracelis(P5M).

Junction national road, Lam-ayan FMR with a project cost of P10M is not yet started. It was bided out only last June 26, 2015 and under post qualification.



5 hurt in Pa’sinan highway collision

AGUILAR, Pangasinan – Five persons were injured when a minibus and a tricycle collided along the Romulo Highway in Barangay Bayaoas here on Tuesday. 

Tricycle driver Leonardo Donato, 21, a resident of  Barangay Pogomboa, and his passengers – Nelson Abad, 42, his wife Sharon and their children Shayne Anthony, 12, and Kian, 2, all residents of Barangay Niñoy – were brought to the Maroon-Punzal Medical Hospital in Mangatarem town. 

Initial investigation showed that the tricycle hit the minibus when it pulled over to pick up a passenger. – Eva Vizperas


Road in Sagada church area to ease traffic

By Gina Dizon

SAGADA, Mountain Province -- The vestry of Church of  St. Mary the Virgin here offered the existing road at the Mission compound in place of the controversial proposed diversion road to ease traffic in this heavily visited tourist town.

Church officials said the road within the church compound to SitioDaoangan could be improved.

Presented during consultation recently before town folksy, CSMV secretary Eduardo Umaming  said existing road shall would connect  ball grounds  of the Mission compound now used for parking spaces during heavy tourist days.

Parking along the national road had caused heavy traffic along narrow streets of the town.

The proposed road would be a one–lane street, for light vehicles only, and open only during certain hours of the day.
Existing road refers to the road entering the gates of the Mission Compound near the St. Theodore’s Hospital to Latang upwards to the foot of the stairs to the rectory, joining the road going to St. Mary’s School then downwards to the soccer field  to connect to Daoangan.

Bishop Brent Alawas of  the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Philippines (EDNP) earlier proposed a diversion road along borders of the Mission compound from the main road to  sitio Deccan  to Sayocyoc to “prevent encroachment”, then on to Daoangan.



Mountain Province urged: Lead autonomy movement

By Roger Sacyaten

BONTOC, Mountain Province – This province, once center of governance in the region and headwaters of major river systems in the Cordillera, should lead in advocacy for Cordillera autonomy.

This was the gist of the messages by guest speakers during “Gong Relay” ceremony at the provincial plaza here last week.

The “Gong relay” is a regional annual activity as part of the commemoration of the founding anniversary of the Cordillera Administrative Region with the passing of the gong from one province to another in the six provinces and one city of CAR.

Gov. Leonard Mayaen accepted the gong from the Ifugao delegation headed by Vice Gov. Pedro Mayam-o who charmed the audience with his witty and humor filled spiels.

“This Unity Gong Relay is a clear and beautiful display of our sincere and continuing efforts in building a socially, economically, and politically stable society grounded on the principles of unity and harmony,” Mayaen said.
Augusto Lagon, assistant regional director of the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources, attuned to the year’s theme “Conserving the Environment towards a Greener Cordillera, Mountain Province should lead in protecting the environment.

Jonathan Paul Leusen, Jr., assistant regional director of Dept. of Interior and Local Government, cited the province for being the center of governance as  capital of old Mountain Provinces composed of the six provinces before the subdivision.

EO 220 was issued in 1987 by then President Corazon C. Aquino creating the CAR to prepare for the region for autonomy .

The region twice rejected autonomy in two plebiscites. Latest data gathered from reliable sources indicate low but gaining level of awareness on autonomy especially in the province.

MarcelinoBalaso Jr., a member of the provincial task force on autonomy, said  awareness on autonomy is improving but acceptance is a different thing.

“The people are now becoming aware of autonomy but they are still confined in the traditional box of negative perception about autonomy. The advocacy campaign needs to be intensified to win favorable outlook of our people”, he said.

“Is the clamor for Cordillera autonomy gaining or sluggishly dying out?,” asked an observer during the program.

Provincial residents had earlier called for allotting autonomy funds to the barangays. 


RDC chair calls for unity in quest for Cordillera autonomy

LUNA, Apayao -- As the 28th Cordillera Administrative Region founding anniversary kicked off in  Apayao,  Cordillera Regional Development Council chairman Abra Gov. Eustaquio Bersamin urged  more active participation and “renewal of the commitment of the present generation of Cordillerans to the thoughts and aspirations of our forefathers.”

In a message posted on CordiLink magazine, the official publication of the RDC,  Bersamin hailed the role Cordillerans played to shape the history not only of the Cordillera, but the Philippines
“Geographically, the word Cordillera refers to a mountain range that serves as a backbone to the main island of Luzon. The word Cordillera though has come to be more profoundly associated with such noble notions as self-determination, brotherhood and loyalty.

The Cordillerans are known in history books as the ‘tri bus independientes’ during the Spanish Period, the stalwart oppositionists during the Martial Law and the fierce crusaders for autonomy,” he added.

This year’s celebration of CAR’s founding anniversary is also a celebration of such distinct identity of the Cordillerans, fierceness in upholding their culture, their land and their people, he said.
Bersamin urged everyone to participate and support activities lined up in  provinces in the region, relative to

Cordillera Day, particularly tree planting, eco-tour and trade and job fairs in Apayao.

“May the celebrations serve to strengthen the tie that binds us as one people –- our shared commitment to the cause of a more peaceful and progressive Cordillera,” he said.

A program and public hearing on Cordillera  Autonomy bill by the House committee on local government ad hoc committee was held here July `15.

Executive Order No. 220  signed by former President Corazon C. Aquino on July 15, 1987  established the Cordillera Administrative Region composed of the provinces of Abra, Benguet and Mountain Province and the City of Baguio from Region I and the provinces of Ifugao and Kalinga-Apayao from Region Cagayan Valley as the government’s initial commitment to the signing of the  Mount Data peace agreement between President Aquino and former Catholic priest ConradoBalweg of the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army  on September 13, 1986.

This year’s theme for the CAR founding anniversary is “Conserving the environment towards a greener Cordillera.”  



Province of Kalinga


Cordillera provinces over the years, have been in transition – as Mountain Province (composed then of now Cordillera provinces including Baguio City), divided between Region 1 and 2, then declared under the Corazon Aquino government as Cordillera Administrative Region as provided for by Executive Order 220.

Now, the provinces of Kalinga, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Mountain Province and Abra, including Baguio City are once again in the threshold of charting their destiny as a region.

Regional autonomy, as provided for under the Philippine Constitution is now being deliberated and bills to this effect have already been filed in the Senate and Lower House.

But like in cooking rice, this has to be “malinay” or cooked well so that whatever aspirations Cordillerans want, these would be deliberated and decided upon in a free and informed process under a democratic setup.

For sure, the road to autonomy maybe paved with rocks and thorns, but then, if that is really what people want -- for sure a Cordillera Autonomous Region will be borne.

In the meantime, it seems the region’s constituents are comfortable under an administrative setup.But then, as time passes by, change is imminent as the region would need more jobs to address an increasing population, food to feed more children, businesses to make the economy flourish, mechanisms to sustain the environment and good laws and policies to ensure that nobody would be left out.

As we commemorate the founding of the CAR, let us ponder and interact more on the direction we would be taking – as a region.

From Kalinga, Congratulations to everyone!




Probe military in Ifugao


Laya Migrant Youth for Change and Action, a community based organization in Daly City, has urged President Benigno Aquino III and the Philippine government to “hold thorough investigation regarding targeting, scapegoating and vilification of human rights and indigenous peoples  activists in Ifugao province of the Cordillera.”

Months ago, a poster reportedly mysteriously surfaced in the area identifying various community organizers in the region as soldiers of the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the National Democratic Revolution of the Philippines. The organizers on this poster were human rights workers and community organizers for the indigenous community, the LMYCA said.

The group said such groups and concerned persons volunteer their time to improve conditions of their fellow folks, empowering them to uphold their indigenous traditions. Due to these trumped up allegations, these organizers are reportedly now under constant and daily surveillance and harassment from officials of the local Philippine military.

Among those reportedly being targeted through this black propaganda and “red baiting” is Chinese American, Brandon Lee, a close friend and colleague of many members of Laya Migrant Youth for Change and Action. Before moving to the Philippines to live with his now wife and child, Brandon was a youth and student organizer with the League of Filipino Students at San Francisco State University. Like many others, LFS SFSU was the first community organization that 
pushed Brandon to actively take part in improving his community.

The LMYCA said Brandon was involved in various community campaigns ranging from the pushing of tenureship for a beloved SF State professor, to holding demonstrations fighting the state budget cuts to higher education to marching alongside others in anti-war campaigns in the Middle East.

He also volunteered for other grassroots organizations such as the Chinese Progressive Association based in San Francisco. Brandon is the epitome of a model concerned citizen, who actively works to improve his community.

For many years, he worked at the local Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) as a youth program camp leader.
Years ago, Brandon reportedly decided to extend his community work by moving to the Philippines. He now lives in Ifugao with his wife and child and organizes with the Cordillera People’s Alliance, a national alliance of indigenous peoples’ organizations. Over the years, he developed new relationships and is a prominent and positive figure in Ifugao province.

“These harsh allegations have done nothing more than destroy an innocent and wonderful man’s life,” the LMYCA said. “Not only has Brandon’s life been drastically impacted by this unexpected attack, so have his family and his community. Lastly, we acknowledge that this unfortunate account is not an isolated incident. On a daily basis, activists all across the Philippines have been victims of human rights violations ranging from physical attacks, to red baiting tactics, to violence and torture, to abductions, to extrajudicial killings.

“Brandon has always fought against these travesties and it is sharply ironic that he is now the target. Laya condemns these open attacks and harassments against Brandon Lee and his fellow community activists. We demand a thorough investigation be done by the Philippine government to address this very real problem. Activism is not a crime according to Laya Migrant Youth for Change and Action,” the statement said. Is somebody in government listening and addressing the matter?


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