Ineng batters north Luzon provinces

>> Monday, August 31, 2015

6 dead in Cordillera landslides; 22 roads closed, thousands affected

Habagat-induced torrential rains and strong winds triggered by typhoon “Ineng” (international name Goni) battered Northern Luzon starting Thursday flooding areas and affecting thousands even as six persons were confirmed killed in landslides in Cordillera provinces of Benguet and Mountain Province.

The Cordillera will experience intermittent moderate to heavy rains with strong winds today, weather forecasters said.
 Since Thursday, total amount of rainfall in Baguio City was recorded at 503.5mm. 

A report from the Cordillera Office of Civil Defense under regional director Alex Uy who is also regional Disaster chairperson said the region experienced power failure in some areas, but power is now restored in capital towns.

Uy said the provinces of Abra, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Apayao and Baguio City were placed on red alert status while Benguet and Kalinga were placed on blue.

Uy, regional Disaster chairman urged local disaster councils to ask residents to take precautionary measures as rains battered the region starting Thursday.

Cellphone signals are now operational regionwide.
Some 22 national roads were still closed to traffic as of Saturday with clearing operations  ongoing.

Six persons were killed in landslides with casualties were validated by Cordillera Dept. of Heath.

In Benguet, Erwin Celo, 26 and his brother Markin, 21died in a landslide Thursday around 4:30 a.m. while seeking  shelter in Takayan, Gambang, Bakun, Benguet. 

At around 12 noon also Thursday, while at his farm, Michael “Guingaban” Felix, 58 of Naptet, Bangao, Buguias,
Benguet died   when he was covered by landslide.

At around 5 p.m., Augist 21, a small scale miner resident of GewengCabiten,  Mankayan, Benguet named Glen
Poloc Baldasan, 27, was found dead due to a  landslide while on his way home. 

On Aug.  22, at  12:30 a.m.Michael Martin Lagasan, 59 from Comillas North Cervantes, Ilocos Sur died inside his vehicle when it was trapped under a  landslide and falling debris along Palatong,MankayanBenguet.

 A two storey concrete residential house with automotive Shop located along Halsema  Highway in Bekes, Buguias, Benguet was totally covered and damaged by landslide. 

In Baguio City 75% of power was restored Friday. A day earlier, 98 percent of the city was without electricity. There were three landslides, one rockslide, 36 fallen trees, two blown roofs for a total to 49 incidents.
Rains persisted for about 27 hours and left Burnham Park inundated.
Strong winds also uprooted trees in the city. A taxi and a truck were pinned down by uprooted trees. Drivers and passengers of the vehicles were injured.

Authorities have closed down Kennon Road due to landslides. Motorists were advised to take Marcos highway instead.

 In Mountain Province, a landslide was reported in  SitioTala,  Namatec, Sabangan involving mother and her two sons. The incident took place at around 4 a.m. when mud seeped in burying the victims. LykherMayon, 9, had head injuries while Ycher Mayon was confirmed dead.

Bontoc road was closed indefinitely until repairs until repairs shall be done as soon as rains stop pouring according to Kapon Gomgom-o from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council.

No buses travelled the Halsema highway as of August 21 when typhoon Ineng hit slopes along the national road from Atok, Benguet to Bontoc, Mountain Province.

Landslides were noted at Pactli and Gonogon section along Baguio-Bontoc road, at Cabunagan and Dawdawa section along the Mt Province-Ilocos Sur Road and at Dantay-Sagada road.

Also the center post of the temporary bridge at NakagangSabangan was carried by heavy rains making the only link to western towns here to central Bontoc unreachable to transport. Meantime, other road lines were closed along the Mt. Province-Cagayan visTabukEnrile road and Macotiti section St., Sadanga Mt. Province.

The Banaue-Bontoc Road remains to be open for motorists going to Baguio or Manila as of August 21.

In Abra, Five persons were people trapped in an island along Abra river ( Bucay area).
Swelling of Abra River may cause flood to low lying areas. Evacuations are ongoing in critical areas.

In Kalinga, swelling of Chico River was observed. Tabuk City DRRMC with assistance army men rescued trapped
people in a flashfloods and evacuated families living near the Chico River particularly from barangay BadoDangwa, Carabitan, Lanna and Tulyao in Tabuk City. The families were brought to various evacuation centers within the city.
Two trapped individuals along the Chico River identified as EdmundoFatig and Jailax Bruno, residents of SitioTuliao, Calanan, Tabuk were rescued. SixtoCablay, 59  and Chary Palope, were also rescued around  12 noon of the same day.

Disaster group also rescued 15 individuals trapped in Laya West at around 4:50 p.m.  identified as Jerome Malaga, Peter Mendoza, Moises Durucan, Alex Lazaro, Dangtan Tingle  , Rogelio Adnea, Christian Apalla, Eric Mundo, Jojie Mundo, Ronvan Wansi, BricksonApalya   Wendell Legado, Eduardo Baruz, Adonis Casubag,  Ejay Anton and Noel Hermeno.

In Ifugao, all major roads are now open with few exceptions in some barangays and municipal roads.

On Thursday, signal no. 3 was raised over Batanes Group of Islands and Northern Cagayan, including Babuyan and Calayan Group of Islands, while signal No. 2 was hoisted over the rest of Cagayan, northern Isabela, Apayao and Ilocos Norte.

A Pagasa report said under signal No. 1 were the rest of Isabela, northern Aurora, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Ifugao, Mountain Province, Benguet, La Union and Ilocos Sur.

Rains associated with the southwest monsoon   enhanced by Ineng   reached Metro Manila, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), Bicol region and Western Visayas Thursday.

Pagasa weather forecaster Aldczar Aurelio, at press time, said moderate to heavy rains would persist over extreme northern Luzon until weekend.

The rest of Northern and Central Luzon, particularly Ilocos region, La Union, Bataan and Zambales, would experience moderate to heavy rains due to Ineng.

 In Baguio City, Mayor Mauricio Domogan on Wednesday activated the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council disaster operations center under action officer city administrator Carlos Canilao to facilitate coordination and dissemination of advisories.

Kennon Road was being cleared of debris and fallen rocks and trees at press time even as residents in flood prone areas were urged to evacuate.

Typhoon Ineng was packing maximum sustained winds of 170 kilometers per hour near the center with gusts of 205 kph as of Friday.

According to state weather bureau PAGASA, Typhoon Ineng was stationary Friday night before it will change direction and head to the southern islands of Japan.

The Batanes group of islands and northern Cagayan, including Babuyan group of islands and Calayan group of islands, remained under signal number 3.

Public storm signal number 2 was up over the rest of Cagayan, northern Isabela, Kalinga, Apayao, Abra and Ilocos Norte. The rest of Isabela, Ifugao, Mt. Province, Benguet, La Union and Ilocos Sur were under signal number 1.

The typhoon continued to intensify monsoon rains (habagat) in Pangasinan, Zambales, Bataan, Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon and western Visayas.

Typhoon Ineng is expected to exit the Philippine area of responsibility by Monday noon wherein it is expected to be 725 kilometers northeast of BascoBatanes which is outside the Philippine area of responsibility.   With reports from Jerry Padilla, Aileen P. Refuerzo, Gina Dizon and Liam Anacleto


Baguio 106th charter day events launched

BAGUIO CITY   The city government has launched the 106th Baguio Charter Day Anniversary Monday 8 a.m. at city hall grounds here with events set for the whole month of September.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan urged residents and visitors to join community-led events and join the filled activities.
Domogan said, the city government has chosen top businessman Manny V. Pangilinan as guest of honor and speaker for Sept. 1 activities but they are still awaiting a reply from him.

This year s celebration is themed, “Nurturing the culture of caring and sharing towards competitiveness.”
The calendar of events features tourism activities, medical missions, sports and historical activities with other innovations to make the celebrations more meaningful.

Session Road will be closed on Sept. 1 for the grand parade, chalk art competition, photo competition, concert and other activities.

Other tourism-oriented events are lined up by the Hotels and Restaurant Association of Baguio  (HRAB).

The most awaited Miss Baguio Search show proper and coronation will kick-off on August 29 at the Baguio Convention Center starting 7 to 10 p.m.

Clean-up drives will also be undertaken by the city government in coordination with the National Service Training Program institutions within the city. 

Health Fairs organized by the city Health Services Office will also be done which will provide free dental extraction, eye check-up, basic medical assistance and free medicines and vitamins to needy families in the barangays.

Sporting events such as Baguio Day Fun Run, the National Arnis Championships, the annual Mr. Baguio Body Building contest, annual Baguio Day Scrabble Tournament and others will also be held.

The Public Employment Services Office will also have jobs fair Sept. 9 at the Baguio Convention Center.
The event was organized by the Department of Labor and Employment in partnership with the Public Employment Services Office of the city government.

About 25 local companies have an opening of more or less 1,700 workers and about 15 overseas recruitment
agencies have more or less 4,413 vacancies.

Job seekers were advised to bring resume with 2 x 2 ID pictures, authenticated birth certificate, high school or college diploma, transcript of records, NBI, police and barangay clearance, SSS number, taxpayer s identification number, medical certificate, marriage contract (if married), training certificates, professional licenses, and certificate of employment (if formerly employed).

Apart from the job vacancies, there will be health and wellness services to be offered to job seekers like free massage, hair cut, manicure and pedicure.  

Also, job seekers can avail of free local and overseas call to relatives.  

“The most awaited part of the Baguio Day Celebrations will be the awarding of the Outstanding Citizens of Baguio and the crowning of Miss Baguio 2015,” Domogan said.  — Paul Rillorta and JhoArranz      


Tarlac hospital doctors file case vs gov over ‘illegal acts’

 TPH head, cashier, PhilHealth also respondents 

TARLAC CITY — Doctors and personnel of the Tarlac Provincial Hospital urged the Regional Trial Court, National Capital Judicial Region to issue  temporary restraining order against the provincial government from enforcing a memorandum the latter made which they said, illegally deprived them of shares and benefits accrued from medical services they rendered.

Petitioners included doctors Antonita M. De Pano, Yamani B. Chan, Myra G. Villaroman, Harrier C. Sulit, Prospero T. Ong Jr., Cristina D. Pascual, NonatoJowinSison, Ramon Aviguetero, Marlo B. Manzano representing around 60 TPH doctors and personnel.

Respondents in the civil case for declaratory relief with prayer for issuance of TRO and writ of preliminary injunction were Gov. Victor Yap and Leonardo Mangahas Jr., officer in charge of TPH including hospital cashier Julio Pacelo.

Also named public respondent was Philippine Health Insurance Corp (PhilHealth) represented by its president and CEO Alexander A. Padilla.

Petitioners furnished a copy of their pleading to the Northern Philippine Times, saying “payment for professional services rendered by them were not subject to any regulation, limitation, or re-distribution by respondents or by the Provincial Government of Tarlac except when the same is in accordance with existing policies and practices of PhilHealth before the issuance of the “guidelines setting the mechanism on the distribution of service payment derived from PHIC” dated June 29, 2015 made by the provincial government” which they said, didn't have legal basis.

Petitioners said respondents had no basis or authority to refuse immediate payment and release of professional fees due them.

They said the “complaint is of common and general interest to the medical and non-medical staff of the Tarlac Provincial Hospital. The persons affected are so numerous, numbering more than persons in all that it is impracticable to join all as parties.”

In their petition, they said Yap, as provincial governor was being impleaded to stop “issuing, and attempting to forcibly impose, implement, and enforce the guidelines.”

They said Mangahas Jr. was “attempting to forcibly impose, implement, and enforce the guidelines even to the extent of forcing them (TPH employees) to tender their resignations for their opposition to it.

Pacelo, they said, “refused to release since January or June 2015 their just share in the professional fees paid by the PhilHealth for the professional medical services already rendered by them. It is further asserted that his actions are also upon the instructions or directives of respondents Yap and Mangahas Jr. for the purpose of coercing and forcing the petitioners to accede to, accept, and conform with the “guidelines”.

In including  PhilHealth as respondent, petitioners said it is “impleaded as a necessary party considering that its regulations and issuances pertaining to the professional fees due and payable to the petitioners are being disregarded and discarded by respondents through their enactment and forcible imposition of the guidelines”.

Petitioners said, “By law, all hospitals are under the control and supervision of the Department of Health (DOH), especially with respect to the services offered by the hospital and the clinical practice guidelines and processes. In accordance with Republic Act No. 10606, otherwise known as the “National Health Insurance Act of 2013”, all hospitals are committed to achieving universal health care. In view thereof, it is the manifest intent of the law that all individuals who are treated at hospitals, whether national or devolved,  are covered by the PhilHealth.

“For this reason, the professional fees and salaries of doctors and non-medical staff are governed by R.A. 10606, which amended R.A. 7875 (the National Health Insurance Act of 1995), its Implementing Rules and Regulations, as well as by the other issuances, policies, and regulations of the DOH and of PhilHealth.

“Based on DOH Administrative Order No. 42 s. 2001, otherwise known as “Guidelines for sourcing, pooling, and distribution of Medicare “common funds” in Department of Health hospitals,  it is provided, among others, that “All DOH retained and renationalized hospitals shall create a “common fund” where the professional fees (PF) for services rendered to Medicare patients shall be pooled and distributed among hospital workers”. This is applicable to all hospital workers, whether full-time, part-time, permanent, temporary, casual, contractual, or from the medical pool, whether medical or non-medical.

“Under Section 44 of the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. 10606: All payments for professional services rendered by salaried public providers shall be retained by the health facility in which services are rendered and be pooled and distributed among health personnel. Charges paid to public facilities shall be retained by the          
individual facility in which services were rendered and for which payment was made. Such revenues shall be used to primarily defray operating costs other than salaries, to maintain or improve the quality of service in the public sector”.

Finally, under PhilHealth Circular No. 35 s. 2013, otherwise known as the “ACR Policy No. 2   Implementing Guidelines on Medical and Procedure Case Rates, it is clearly provided Professional Fees shall be distributed by the HCI within 30 calendar days from the date of receipt of reimbursement. Policies and procedures on the distribution of PF shall be drafted and enforced by the HCI based on the agreements between the HCI and the professionals. Reports of noncompliance to this provision shall be forwarded to the PRO Health Care Delivery Management Division (HCDMD) and shall be included as a violation of the HCI to the Health Care Provider Performance Commitment.”

Petitioners said the government HCI shall facilitate the payment of the pooled PF share to the health personnel. The payment of the pooled PF shall be subject to existing rules on pooling by the Department of Health (DOH)”

“In accordance with the foregoing rules and regulations, the professional fees paid or reimbursed to the health care institution (HCI) are pooled by the HCI and thereafter divided on a 70% SHARE going to the HCI and the remaining 30% SHARE distributed to the doctors and non-medical personnel for services rendered.

With respect to the 30% SHARE distributed to the doctors and non-medical personnel, the same is further divided between the medical and non-medical personnel on an equal basis. Thus, of the pooled professional fees, 50% is distributed among the doctors and the remaining 50% given to non-medical personnel.

They said “Despite the existence of clear and established laws and regulations on the pooling and distribution of the 30% SHARE that doctors and non-medical personnel like the petitioners are entitled, even mandated, to receive, respondents Yap, without any prior consultation with the petitioners unilaterally issued and enacted the “Guidelines Setting the Mechanism on the Distribution of Service Payment Derived from PHIC” dated June 29, 2015.”

“While the above-cited laws and issuances allow for the execution of agreements between the petitioners and  Tarlac Provincial Hospital, which is the HCI in this case, no such agreement has ever been discussed or negotiated, much less finalized and duly executed between the petitioners and respondents.”

“Even more reprehensible is the fact that in an effort to forcibly impose the “guidelines,”  the respondents have been employing unwarranted and unlawful acts of coercion against the petitioners. These ignominious acts include the refusal to release the salaries and the pooled professional fees of the petitioners as well as forcing the petitioners to resign from their positions in the Tarlac Provincial Hospital.”

They said “There is no legal basis for the respondents to enact or to enforce the “guidelines.”” There is no law, regulation, or issuance by the DOH or by PhilHealth which allows for such enactment and issuance.

“Respondents  actions cannot be justified simply based on the self-serving assertion that the Tarlac Provincial Hospital is a devolved hospital which, under Republic Act No. 7160 (the “Local Government Code of 1991”) would be under the administrative control and supervision of respondents Yap for the simple reason that there are already clearly enacted guidelines pertaining to the manner in which the share of the petitioners in the pooled professional fees should be distributed. As such, the authority of respondents Yap cannot be validly argued to sanction or justify his unilateral, unwarranted, and illegal deprivation of the livelihood and professional fees due to the petitioners. 

“In addition to engaging in the above illegal acts, the respondents are also in continuing, contumacious, and direct violation of their legal obligation to distribute the pooled professional fees to the petitioners. The refusal of respondents to release and distribute both the salaries and the pooled professional fees of the petitioners constitutes refusal by the HCI to abide by its commitments as a PhilHealth accredited HCI.

In essence, petitioners said, the “guidelines” were illegal and the Court should declare it so.
They asked the Court to cause immediate release of their benefits and professional fees and restrain respondents from enforcing the “guidelines.”  

Petitioners said “It should not be overlooked that in addition to other sources of revenue or appropriation, the Tarlac Provincial Hospital receives a 70% share in professional fees that are paid or remitted to it by PhilHealth. As such, there is no danger or prejudice to viability or operations of the Tarlac Provincial Hospital or to any of the respondents if the provisional remedies herein prayed for are granted.”

Petitioners were represented by law office of Luis K. Kokin Jr. and associates.

Earlier petitioners filed a complaint addressed to Civil Service Commission Sec. Francisco T. Duque urging him to investigate the matter and Dr. Mangahas Jr. for his alleged illegal acts related to the issue.   Alfred Dizon


Pangasinenses urge Poe: Run for president in 2016 elections

By Liezle Basa Inigo

DAGUPAN CITY, Pangasinan -  Thousands of  blue, yellow, and white ribbons were tied on posts and trees here to mark the 76th birthday of the late “King of Philippine movies” Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) Thursday as Pangasinenses added their voice to the growing clamor for his daughter, Senator Grace Poe, to run for president in the 2016 national elections.

The thousands of ribbons which were the campaign colors of Poe when she ran in 2013 adorned the streets of Pangasinan where the elder Poe traces his roots. Poe hailed from Barangay Coayan Kiling in San Carlos City.

“We wanted to remember FPJ through this simple act of hanging ribbons on trees and electrical posts along our highways. It will also remind Pangasinenses of the person who almost became the president of the country,” said former Dagupan City councilor Dada Reyna, who now serves as a volunteer for FPJ s daughter.

The late FPJ ran in the 2014 elections but lost to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo by 3.5 percent of the total votes in what was widely perceived to be rigged polls.

Aside from the ribbons, tarpaulins bearing the message “Happy 76th Birthday Fernando Poe Jr.” were also put up in the centers of the 44 towns and four cities of Pangasinan, bearing the photo of the late actor and the Philippine flag.

It will be recalled that it was in San Carlos City where Poe announced in June that she was now more inclined to make a bid for the presidency, which many Pangasinenses viewed as just fitting given her family s roots in the province.

Radio stations across Pangasinan have also been playing songs popularized by the late actor, including “Doon Lang” and “Kumusta Ka”   a duet with actress Sharon Cuneta for the movie Kahit Konting Pagtingin.

The song “Kumusta Ka” is also very close to Senator Poe s heart as her late father used to sing it to her over the phone during her college days in Boston
Poe considered that her father s name remains to be her biggest “capital” in the political game even as she is continuously learning and carving her own niche in Philippine politics.

Poe has recently overtaken Vice President Jejomar Binay as the front runner in the latest surveys of pollsters Pulse Asia and Social Weather Station on voter preference for the next president.

Poe topped the Pulse Asia survey with 30 percent of Filipinos saying they would back her candidacy if the elections were held today.

Binay, the erstwhile frontrunner for several months now, came in second with 22 percent, followed by Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (15 percent), Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada (10 percent), Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago (6 percent), and Senator Alan Peter Cayetano and former Senator PanfiloLacson (2 percent).

In the SWS survey, Poe also pulled ahead of Binay with 42 percent.


Banaue mayor: Barbs over park building due to politics

By Victor Martin

LAGAWE, Ifugao   The mayor of this tourist town said a petition questioning the construction of a P55-million parking facility here was politically motivated, noting three of the petitioners were his rivals in the previous election.

Mayor Jerry Dalipog urged officials of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) to visit the town and see for themselves the construction site of the building which oppositionists said blocked the view of the famous Banaue Rice Terraces.

In a letter dated Aug. 13, Dalipog asked NCCA chairman Felipe de Leon Jr. to inspect the project or send representatives to verify the information on the facility.

Dalipog said the municipal government did not intend to desecrate the rice terraces, noting the building is within the commercial area and far from the heritage site.

On Aug. 5, the NCCA requested the municipal government to stop the construction of the seven-story parking building, which was said to be blocking the view of the rice terraces.

The NCCA s order stemmed from a petition filed by village chief Fernando Bahatan, lawyer Kendall Immoliap, Fiscal Zenaida Munar-Niwane, former town mayor Lino Madchiw and Grasibel Rufino, citing alleged violations and irregularities in the project.

The petitioners questioned the use of municipal development funds as collateral to secure a loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines to finance the project.

Meanwhile, Genoveva Candelario-Pocopio, chairman of the Association of Barangay Captains, has withdrawn her support for the parking building.

Pocopio admitted she was among the signatories of Municipal Ordinance No. 16 that authorized the use of the town s internal revenue allotment for the parking lot project.


Cellphone use in Trinidad gas stations banned

By Susan C. Aro

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — Local officials here banned use of mobile phones and similar electronic gadgets in gasoline refilling stations for safety of motorists and employees.

Ordinance Number 24-2015 prohibits the use of cellular phones, and other similar electronic gadgets such as tablets, i-pads among others while refilling in the fuel stations or depots.

Officials said the law would prevent any possible incident that may pose danger due to improper use of cellular phones and other similar gadgets.

Mobile phones, the ordinance said, have radio transmitters that could induce a spark in nearby metallic objects.

 A four-meter radius is observed as distance limit to the gasoline, diesel and kerosene pump of the gasoline fuel station.

The operation of electronic loading business within a four-meter radius from fuel pumps is not also allowed under the measure.

The ordinance has been referred to the Provincial Board's Committee on Legal Matters for further study and recommendation.


Bongbong open to tandem with Duterte

Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he is open to a possible tandem with Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in the May 2016 elections, although who would run for president or vice president still has to be settled.

“Whatever position Mayor Duterte would want, I would support him. We still have seven more weeks to go and it s a long time. Many things could still happen,” said Marcos, who arrived in Davao City Thursday for a series of engagements.

Marcos said he was still weighing his options for the 2016 polls, but said he is definitely supporting the mayor. 

Reports say an alliance between the Nacionalista Party (NP) and Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Laban is in the offing and will be endorsing Duterte should he opt to run for president in May 2016.

NP stalwart Sen. AlanPeter Cayetano earlier virtually endorsed Duterte for president, fuelling speculations that an alliance between Duterte s PDP-Laban and Cayetano s NP is in the making.

Cayetano was personally invited by Duterte to attend the opening of the 30th Kadayawan Festival in Davao last Monday.

It was during the program that Cayetano pointed to Duterte as having the edge over other presidential aspirants because there is a genuine clamor for the Davao City mayor to seek the presidency in next year s elections.

“Duterte's case is unique because there s a genuine clamor from the people asking him to run,” Cayetano later said in a press conference, describing the case as somewhat different to that of Sen. Grace Poe and Interior Secretary

Mar Roxas, who rely on surveys and their friends  urging them to run.

He added that he remains clueless as to who Duterte will pick as his running mate if he decides to join the presidential race next year.


NIA urges farmers: Pay irrigation fees

TABUK CITY, Kalinga — The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Provincial Office urged to rice farmers in the province  to pay  their  irrigation fees as it is the life blood of efficient irrigation service.

NIA-Kalinga head Benito Estique earlier expressed optimism to achieve the collection target for the first cropping, since the province did not suffer serious damages from recent typhoons.

NIA has set a collection target of least 80 percent  of its P20 million target collectibles  from rice farmers in the province.

There are about 8,000 rice farmers in Kalinga and nearby province of Isabela benefitting from the NIA Chico River Irrigation System.

For the first cropping or during dry season, NIA charges P2,550/hectare irrigation service fee and P1,700 on the second cropping or during rainy season. NIA offers 10% discount to encourage farmers to pay on time.  

Meanwhile, NIA-Kalinga said it would resumeirrigation service before the end of the month for the second cropping (July   November).

According to Estique, irrigation service was temporarily cut last summer to pave way for the ongoing rehabilitation works on service canals..   Larry T. Lopez


Abusive cops ordered: Attend rights seminar

>> Sunday, August 30, 2015

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union -  Reports of cops committing abuses against civilians here has prompted this city's police chief to subject erring cops and their peers to attend training on human rights.

“This is to ensure that rights of suspects as well as victims are safeguarded as well as to increase the level of tolerance of all CSFPS patrollers in dealing with arrogant persons.” Supt. Julius Suriben, city police chief, even as he said more police patrols would be implemented.

More policemen have been deployed along La Union streets since Philippine National Police Director General Ricardo Marquez, implemented “ Patrol 101” during his stint as regional director in Region 1.

A brainchild project of Marquez, Patrol 101 is now being implemented by La Union police chief Senior Supt AngelitoDumangeng.

“We must maintain maximum police presence at the same time ensure rights of every citizen are protected and respected at all times,”  Suriben told media.

Suriben said their strategy was in line with Marquez’s intent to maximize police presence by deploying more policemen on streets. 

Some 127 patrollers of CSFPS under Suriben, have been deployed in crime and traffic-prone areas. 

He also directed all personnel rendering administrative or office duties to perform patrol operations daily in compliance with Marquez’s directive. 

“All personnel have now their high impact commitments in crime prevention such as checkpoints, inspections and patrolling wherein they committed to do more than their usual activities,” said Suriben.

To improve how patrollers deal with the people, city police coordinated with Commission on Human Rights RO1 and 
Human Rights Affairs Office of PRO1 for training on human rights-based policing held July 28 and 29. 
Mayor Pablo C Ortega lauded Suriben for promoting human rights-based policing in the city.


DILG sets P28.1 million for Mt Province projects

By Juliet B. Saley

BONTOC, Mountain Province   The Department of Interior and Local government  allocated P28.1 million to finance 20 projects in eight municipalities of the province under its “bottom-up budgeting (BUB) this year.

DILG provincial office records bared , P6 million was  allotted for Sabangan broken down to  P1M each for construction of domestic water systems in barangays Data and Madepdeppas, P1.5M  in Barangay Busa, and P2.5M and barangay Camatagan.

The municipality of Sagada was allotted P5.1M for rehabilitation of Pak-et flood control with a project cost of P1.2M, rehabilitation of Dagdag drainage system (Letang/Daoagan) P1M, rehabilitation of Tabiyo flood control   P1M, construction of Dagdag small water system level II   P900,000.00, and P500,000.00 each for the construction of Ampatyay water system, and provision of rescue equipment.

Bontoc was allotted P3,750,000 for construction and maintenance of Bontoc waterworks (Balabag source) worth P1,250,000 and construction/improvement of Guina-ang water system   P2.5M.

The amount of P3.5M was earmarked for Natonin town for  erosion control.

Paracelis will receive  P3M to finance construction of Bayongyong flood control, and Minangga-Pagga footbridge with a project cost of P1.5M each. The amount of 2,750,000.00  is allotted  for  Barlig for the rehabilitation of Bouman s Trail and drainage.

The towns of  Sadanga and Bauko were appropriated  P2M each  for the completion of Demang water system, and waterworks system in Bagnen Proper(P1M) and Mayag(P.5)  and Banao drainage project(P.5), respectively.

Aside from BUB, the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan   DILG fund has allocated this year the amount of P25 million for the Fabuyan Fangorao road concreting with riprapping in barangay Maligcong here.

These projects identified  in local poverty reduction action plans of local government units were seen to help improve living condition of communities.


Baguio buildings without parking areas warned: Fix or else ...

By Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY-  At least ten establishments within the central business district have been issued notices of violation for non-compliance with the parking requirement.

City buildings and architecture officer Nazita Banez said this is pursuant to Mayor Mauricio Domogan's directive to give ultimatum to the owners of these establishments as they were given ample time or since September last year to restore the parking amenity in their places of business.

In the notice, the businessmen were given 30 days upon receipt of the document to restore their parking spaces according to the approved building and occupancy permits issued to them.  These parking areas were found to be converted into commercial spaces.

The mayor last month directed Banez to hasten and complete the inventory of establishments within a month and identify those that failed to comply for purposes of issuing orders for the cancellation of their building and occupancy permits and closing down the establishments.

“These businessmen have been given due process as we have met with them and given them enough time to comply.  They will have no reason to question our order,” the mayor said.

Owners of the business establishments with whom the mayor met in September last year committed to restore the parking area and appealed for a grace period.

The mayor agreed and gave them until February to give them chance to rectify their violation either by restoring their parking areas which were converted and used for other purposes or by designating a parking area outside their buildings but within the property s 200-meter radius.

After the deadline, the mayor asked the CBAO to check on the status of the buildings and come up with an inventory of those that did not comply with the agreement.

The mayor said altering the approved plans constitutes violation of Presidential Decree 96 or the National Building Code and city ordinances and as such the city can revoke the building and occupancy permits and close the establishments.


Declared persona non grata Battalion head, another Army exec hit for military offenses

By Eva Visperas

BINMALEY, Pangasinan    The municipal council assailed last week two officials of the Philippine Army for refusing to shed light on alleged offenses committed by the military on a beach here.

Mayor Simplicio Rosario said he signed a resolution declaring Lt. Col. Edgardo Batenga, chief of the Army's 70th Infantry Battalion (IB), and Capt. LaurencioPanit Jr. persona non grata.

The 70th IB is located at Camp Andres Malong Army Reservation in Barangay San Isidro Norte in this town.

The camp is located near a beach, where the alleged “militarization” reportedly occurred.

Rosario said due process was observed, there was a complaint and the municipal council invited the Army officers thrice to the hearing.

Earlier, the local government officials and the Army officers figured in a dispute regarding the dumping of garbage by the municipal government at the Army reservation site.

Rosario said the invitation of the municipal council was not about garbage, noting the matter has been resolved.

“The issue here is the militarization on the beach. The people are threatened,” he said.

Rosario said he had been receiving complaints that militiamen were brandishing firearms as they roamed the area.

Fishermen complained that the Army prevented them from entering the area.

Rosario said the beach area would be improved once the baywalk project of Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil reaches it.

He said local officials are willing to lift the persona non grata declaration against Panit “but not on Batenga.”

Batenga said he was willing to meet local officials on neutral ground.

He accused the Sangguniang Bayan of berating representatives he sent in his behalf to the session.

Two other invitations were sent to Batenga but he refused to attend.

Batenga said he was in Davao when he was first invited to the session and he sent Panit as his representative.

He sent a letter to the council explaining why he could not attend the session, but the legislators apparently wanted his presence. 

“The bottomline of this is our environment preservation project, which is about tons of garbage dumped at the camp by the municipal government,” Batenga said.

He said he sent his civil military operations officer, Capt. Lubonin Bangoc, to represent him in the session, but the legislators reportedly humiliated him.

He shrugged off the council resolution declaring him persona non grata.


Baguio claims area over e-games; wants legal gambling out

BAGUIO CITY   The stop of operations of an electronic games (e-games) outlet along Marcos Highway here is now the hands of the mayor following an order from the city council last Monday.

Former police officer and now Councilor Roberto Ortega urged local legislators to close the allegedly illegal operation of the e-games joint.

The city government said the e-games outlet in question, which was accredited by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), was located in Baguio City   contrary to claims that it is in the town of Tuba in Benguet.

Tuba Mayor Florencio Bentrez said the e-games joint was not a casino but a legal venture, as its operation was approved by the town officials.

Baguio City has a policy against casino operations, backed by church-led campaigns.

In June, the city council approved a resolution requesting Pagcor to cancel the license it issued to the said e-games outlet by virtue of a permit earlier issued by the municipal government of Tuba. 

Baguio officials claimed that the e-games station falls within the “economic jurisdiction” of the city, based on the tax declaration of land and building owners Ricardo and Emilia Valerio.

The city council cited the complaint of the barangay council of Santo Tomas Proper that some business establishments operating within the jurisdiction of the village were issued business permits by Tuba.


Govt urged: Probe smuggling of vegetables, meat from China

By Eva Visperas

ROSALES, Pangasinan-  A leader of an agricultural organization is urging the government to investigate alleged smuggling of vegetables from China, which reportedly poses risks to human health.

The issue stemmed from a complaint of Benguet Gov. Nestor Fongwan citing the decrease of farmgate vegetable prices prices due to smuggling.

Rosendo So of the Samahan ng Industriyang Agrikultura (SINAG) said these vegetables were soaked in formalin to make them appear fresh for a longer period.

So said carrots, which are bigger, cleaner and without stalks, are currently flooding the local market. He urged the government to create a task force that would look into the matter.

The group wants the Senate committee on food safety, which is investigating the entry of expired meat into the country, to also focus on other food items like vegetables.

So said a staff of Sen. Cynthia Villar, who chairs the committee on food safety, told him the  that the concern on carrots and other vegetables falls under the health committee of Sen. Teofisto Guingona III. 

So cited a report of the United Nations committee on trade showing 350,775 kilos of carrots exported to the country last year, but only 12,133 kilos appeared in the records of the Bureau of Customs.


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