Veggie traders against closure of trading post

>> Friday, February 26, 2016

‘La Trinidad mayor: They cannot control prices anymore’ 

By Jorton B. Campana

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Vegetable traders are against closure of the vegetable trading post here since they cannot control prices anymore once farmers transfer to the nearby Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center within the Strawberry Fields area.
Mayor Edna Tabanda bared this as she clarified closure order of the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post after receiving negative flak from the public.
Tabanda said farmers were not against relocating to BAPTC and closure of the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post but the association of traders were the main opponents to the closure.
In meeting conducted last week by representatives of BAPTC and attended by almost 200 groups of farmers from municipalities of Benguet, they agreed to transfer to BAPTC.
Tabanda cited reasons why traders did not want to vacate the trading post despite eviction notice.
One reason was traders will no longer control the prices of vegetables when they will be transferred to BAPTC.
Also the farmers will not be dependent to traders since there will be direct selling between traders and the BAPTV will provide loans for farmers.
She said the BAPTC will be the one to authorize or regulate the price so  farmers will not be greatly affected even if there is high or low supply and demand of vegetables.
The mayor said farmers in BAPTC would benefit from loan programs, training, seminars to enhance their farming techniques, methods and inputs in order to increase quality produced vegetables.
The mayor said traders were the ones disseminating false information which confused the farmers.
On allegation that she was against the farmers, she said there was no reason for her to disregard farmers because they were the ones contributing to the economy of La Trinidad.
Tabanda said farmers and others occupying the La Trinidad Trading Post need to vacate the area after the one-month eviction order because there will be no extension to be given.
Part of the renovation includes permanent trading center for cut flower producers, coffee growers and other organic farmers of La Trinidad.
Also included in the business plan is the development of the road entering trading post.

Tabanda said closure of trading post will affect a lot of businesses but after  renovation the place will still remain a commercial zone. 


RPO3 chief defends reward for solving magistrate’s slay

P1 million bounty 

By Mar T. Supnad

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga — Chief Supt. Rudy Lacadin, Region 3 police director, said criticisms over the reported awarding of a P1-million bounty to the Bulacan Police Provincial Office for solving murder of Judge Wilfredo Nieves were misplaced saying  the reward was given to an informant of the provincial police office with no irregularity.
“As far as we are concerned, Judge Wilfredo Nieves’ case was already solved because we have identified those behind the ambush slaying of the judge, and have filed criminal charges based on the extra judicial confession of Arnel Janoras, one of the gunmen,” said Lacadin.
“The P1 million reward was not from Philippine National Police funds, and was given to an informant of Bulacan Police Office. We made it appear that it was received by Bulacan PPO so as not to expose the informant, lest we will put his life in jeopardy including his family, because of the notoriety of the suspects,” he added.
Earlier, three congressmen and the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) expressed doubt in the handling of the case since Janoras, whose testimony was key to the supposed identification of the mastermind in Nieves’ murder, was shot dead by his police escort for allegedly grabbing the latter’s gun two days after executing the extra-judicial confession.
Lacadin said the killing of Janoras is still under investigation and if police are found to have erred, charges will be filed against them.
The VACC has called on the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct its own investigation into the Nieves killing.
Earlier, Rep. Samuel Pagdilao (ACT-CIS party-list), Carlos Zarate, (Bayan Muna) and Rodito Albano, Isabela, expressed doubt about the findings of the PNP who claimed to have resolved the killing of the judge.

The Association of Chiefs-of-Police of the Philippines, Inc. (ACPPI) in a statement, said it saw nothing irregular with the hand-over of P1-million reward by Lacadin to members of the Bulacan PPO in appreciation for their speedy solution of the killing of the Bulacan judge last year.


8 hurt as jeep falls off Benguet ravine

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Eight persons were injured when their jeepney plunged into a ravine here last week .
The victims were on their way to the wake of a relative when they figured in the accident in Barangay Wangal morning of Feb. 13.
Police said MartesTanacio, 39, was driving up the highway when the jeepney developed engine trouble.
Tanacio lost control of the wheel as the vehicle rolled backward and into the cliff.
 Aside from Tanacio, taken to hospitals in Benguet and Baguio City were his relatives Rudy Relay, 79; Paul Akesio, 67; Lilia Opdas, 67; AgapitoPucay, 66; Imelda Evasco, 59; Linda Guway, 44, and MiliaEmukod, 38.      


Nueva Ecija Congress bet’s disqualification not final’

Rosanna Vergara is still a candidate for congresswoman in the third congressional district of Nueva Ecija, her lawyer, former Commission on Elections commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal, said Monday.
Larrazabal said the decision of the Cabanatuan Municipal Trial Court (MTC) to remove Vergara’s name from the list of candidates over her void registration and American citizenship is not yet final pending a decision on their motion for reconsideration.
Vergara, wife of Cabanatuan City Mayor Julius Vergara, is running against Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali.
Larrazabal denied that Vergara’s registration had been deactivated when she became an American citizen in 1998. Vergara reacquired her Filipino citizenship in 2006 and executed an affidavit of renunciation of foreign citizenship in 2015.
 “They know that their case before the Comelec (Commission on Elections), which is up for resolution, has no basis so they filed a harassment case before the MTC,” he said.
Vergara earlier said the disqualification case filed against her by Philip Piccio was “nothing more than personal and political vendetta.”

 “I am fully confident that the law is on my side. I am a natural-born Filipino citizen. I have been a registered voter in Cabanatuan since 1994… I am more than qualified,” she said. 


A million tourists expected during Panagbenga events

By Julie G. Fianza

BAGUIO CITY – At least a million tourists are expected in this summer resort during the Panagbenga grandstreet dancing parade on Feb. 27 at the Athletic Bowl, Burnham Park here with the float parade at Melvin Jones football grounds on Feb. 28.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan bared this saying the 21st version of the Baguio Flower Festival is themed “Bless The Children With Flowers.”
The year’s event features street dancing children, drum and lyre groups, three Kalinga contingents, Pangasinan and La Union delegates and local high school and open category aspirants.
The mayor expects more than a million tourists on Feb. 27 and 28, with sister city participants from Alaminos and Bani, Pangasinan, Angeles City, Suyo Ilocos Sur, Butuan Agusan del Norte, among others.
Sister cities from South Korea including Taebaek, Han Gong-Ju, Incheon, Chung-bok; are also sending delegates.
 Mayor Domogan extended invitations for everyone to enjoy all activities of Panagbenga 2016.   
Other activities are the Baguio Blooms exhibition and exposition at Lake Drive, Burnham Park; Feb. 22, Boyce Avenue Concert; Feb. 27, Mr. Panagbenga Muscle Showdown at Baguio Convention Center; ABS CBN KapamilyaKaravan; Pacific Extreme Combat at the Baguio Convention Center; Feb. 27 to 28, Sponsor’s and exhibitor’s Day at the Athletic Bowl; Feb. 29 to March 6,
 Session Road In Bloom; March 5, Pony Boys’ Day at Wright Park; Panagbenga Princess Pageant; Handog Pasasalamat at Melvin Jones Football grounds; March 5 and 6, 14th Open Scrabble Tournament; March 6, Tambalang Saya; Closing Ceremonies and Grand Fireworks display at the Athletic Bowl and other areas in the Central Business District.


Netizens hit ban of 2-wheeled vehicles on Baguio streets

By Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY – The ban on two-wheeled vehicles along the central business district drew flak from netizens, but city officials stood pat saying unless a local law is amended allowing such, this has to be implemented.   
Mayor Mauricio Domogan said the ban on motorcycles, bicycles and motorcycles within the city limits is not a new law but an old and operative, albeit outdated statute.
This, after a memorandum he issued Feb. 4 to city police director Senior Supt. George Daskeo to implement ordinances prohibiting the use of two-wheeled vehicles and tricycles within the city boundaries  drew flaks in social media. 
The mayor said the order was meant to ease traffic flow and enhance the safety of motorists after complaints reached his office on the danger caused by these vehicles along busy streets. 
He said he did not intend to deprive motoring and biking enthusiasts of their sporting and mobility needs nor was he going against the environmental campaign to encourage biking and walking   as drummed up by some bloggers and Facebook commenters who criticized the mayor’s move.
“I also agree that the use of these vehicles should be encouraged but until the law is amended or suspended, it remains in effect.  I hope the people will not fault me for implementing the law,” the mayor said.
The mayor said in fact, the city has not been fully implementing the total ban on motorcycles and bicycles and has even been allowing them to traverse areas outside Session Road and even in parts of the central business district.
“But because of the complaints that we have been receiving, we thought we had to implement these laws fully to alleviate our traffic problem and ensure the safety of the riding public,” the mayor said.
Amid the online brouhaha, members of the Cordillera Motorcycle Association led by Robert Macamba and Watson Tabat met with the mayor and the city council and aired their request to have the ordinance amended in such a way that they will be allowed to traverse all roads at all times except in Session Road and Harrison Road where they will be allowed only on “window hours.”   The ban on tricycles will remain.
The mayor expressed willingness to consider the recommendations and asked the group to submit their proposed amendments which will be used as basis for repealing or amending the existing ordinances by the city council.
While this is being worked out, the mayor agreed to revert back to the old arrangement of allowing them entry in all roads except at Session Road.
Councilor Joel Alangsab, chair of the city council committee on traffic and transportation last Wednesday began conducting consultations with the motorcycle groups on the possible amendments. More consultations will be scheduled with the other stakeholders to determine the consensus on the matter.
The mayor said complaints reaching him pointed to transgressions by some undisciplined motorcyclists and bikers ranging from overspeeding to the detriment of other vehicles to noise and indiscriminate parking.
Ordinance No. 66 series of 1948 imposed the total ban on motorcycles, tricycle, scooters, bicycles or motorbikes within the city limits except on specified areas.  This was later amended by Ordinance No. 329 series of 1960, Ordinance No. 418 series of 1965 and Ordinance No. 423 series of 1965 but all of these in essence retained the total prohibition.  Ordinance No. 28 approved in 2012 banned tricycles in the city and this is being enforced up to now.

In 2000, there was a proposal to lift the prohibition for the motorcycles and bicycles but during consultations, the public posed objections prompting the city council to retain the ban.    



Woman’s body found in Baguio inn
BAGUIO CITY -- A dead body of a woman was found in Room 1 of Katipunan Inn II in Barangay Kagitingan here.
The victim was identified as Mary Ann N. Garcia, 24, of Tobeleng, Loakan Itogon, Benguet by her mother Mailene N. Garcia.
Police said at about 4:45 p.m. same date, the victim together with an unidentified man checked in for two hours. However, the man went out after 30 minutes and left the victim. At around 6:45 p.m., the establishment clerk knocked on the door of the room for check out but no one was responding. She called the building carpenter after 10 minutes of knocking to forcibly open the door and found the victim dead. Recovered in the crime scene were unidentified crystalline chemical and the victim’s cell phone with a farewell message for her mother.
Based on autopsy, the victim died of taking in toxic substance. Authorities are still investigating the identity of the victim’s male companion since there were no CCTV cameras installed in the establishment. -- Ian Pajarillaga

Man who axed wife dead surrenders        
 TARLAC CITY – A man surrendered after axing dead his wife.
In his report Supt. BayaniRazalan identified the man who killed his wife as Julio Trinidad Mercado, 44, of Barangay Cut-cut 2 here.
Mercado admitted axing his wife Alma Delama Mercado, 41, at their residence Friday during a heated argument. Alma died after three days fighting for life at the Intensive Care Unit of the Jecson Medical Center here.
“I was so drunk and I lost control of myself,” Mercado said when he surrendered to the police Wednesday accompanied by his brother Dominador and Barangay Councilor Bernardo Nidera.
Razalan disclosed that Mercado fled after he axed his wife. “I believe he has no intention to kill his wife but probably it was his being drunk that made him do it”, said Razalan.
Razalan said Mercado was charged of parricide, a non-bailable offense, after his wife was pronounced dead.  -- Nelson Bolos

Farmer shot dead by unidentified men
LAGAYAN, Abra – A farmer was shot to death here by still unidentified perpetrators around 7:15 a.m. Thursday.
A police report said that day a few minutes earlier, Insp. George Apostol Acob received a call from Anita M. Seares, chairperson of Barangay Ba-i, informing him of a shooting incident transpired in Sitio Dumayco, Barangay Ba-i, wherein  a certain Maximo Guyang Cortez, 60, resident of Sitio Lunglungboy, Ba-i,was shot dead. 
Investigation showed the victim’s son immediately ran outside their house when he heard the gunfire and saw his father lying on the rice field that prompted him to call for help. The victim sustained one gunshot wound on his chest and one on his head that caused his instant death.
Responding cops and elements of 24th IB, Philippine Army scoured the area to arrest perpetrators but they could not be found. Six fired cartridges of Cal. 5.56 were found in the area.

Engineer, security guard arrested over land dispute
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Police arrested a geodetic engineer and a security guard here Thursday around 3:30 p.m. over a land dispute. Arrested were: Robert Kalang-ad Wanchakan, 44, geodetic engineer, native of Mankayan, Benguet and a resident of Purok 4, Pinget, Baguio City and Fidel Tinay Pa-ay, 34, security guard, of KamogSablan, Benguet,resident of Purok 8, Upper Pinget, Baguio City for physical injuries and threat that transpired about 11 a.m. of same date, in Lamut, Beckel here.
Complainants were farmers Michael Consi Daniel, 25 and Marines Palsa-en Takingan, 63, both residents of Gulon, Ambiong, La Trinidad. 
Initial investigation showed  the group of the suspects were conducting land survey in Lamut,  prompting the victims and other relatives to verify. The victims approached the suspects together with the Sungyap family to stop the land survey but Wanchakan pushed one of the complainants and suddenly punched his upper right cheek. One of the security guards identified as Fidel Pa-ay pulled out a handgun and pointed it to the complainants.
The suspects were detained in La Trinidad Municipal Jail. Case was transmitted to the Prosecutor’s Office of La Trinidad.

Kalinga board member’s bodyguard, tanod arrested for gun ban violation
TABUK CITY – Two persons were arrested here Thursday for violation of the Commission on Elections gun ban.A police report said the suspects were nabbed around 11:45 p.m. They were identified as Lito Arpid Baggas, 26, bodyguard of a Kalinga board member and resident of Sto. Isla Basao, Barangay San Juan here and Jimmy Agayyong Dammay, 30, barangay tanod and a resident of Purok 6, Bulanao.
Investigation disclosed police established a checkpoint at San Juan, and later flagged down and checked a Suzuki motorcycle. Cops noticed a protruding firearm in possession of LitoBaggas and confiscated the  Cal. 9mm Taurus weapon from him loaded with 11 bullets. Suspects were brought to police station where charges were prepared against them.

Woman arrested for swindling, bouncing checks in La Trinidad
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – A 44-year-old married woman was arrested here Thursday for cases of swindling and bouncing checks. A police report identified the suspect as  Aida Ngitiw Milo, 44 of Sitio Buhao, Barangay Puguis here. 
This, after arrest warrant was issued against her by Glenda T. Ortiz-Soriano, presiding judge of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities, 2nd Branch, Baguio City for swindling. Ortiz-Soriano recommended bail of P50, 000 for her temporary liberty.
Another arrest warrant was issued against her by Judge Delilah Gonzales Munoz, presiding judge of MTC  La Trinidad, Benguet for violation of Batas Pambansa 22 (Bounding Checks Law). Munoz recommended bail of P5, 000

3 drug dealers’ houses raided; guns, ammos, shabu confiscated        
TARLAC CITY -- Three houses of known drug peddlers were raided Wednesday which resulted in the confiscation of guns, ammunitions and illegal drugs.
The raid was jointly conducted by the Tarlac Criminal Investigation and Detection Group led by CInps Angelo Nicolas, this city’s police headed by Supt. BayaniRazalan and by the Tarlac Provincial Public Safety Company under Supt. Samuel Munoz.
Arrested were Dante Rodriguez Ramos, 31, of Barangay San Isidro, JenelynMarimla De Lara, 42, Roy TregeroMagbag, 44, Rodelyn De Lara Magbag, 25, and Rhoyvin De Lara Magbag, 21, all of SitoSuba, Barangay Matatalaib.
“The raid was by virtue of 3 court-issued Search Warrants on the residents of Ramos, De Lara and Roy Magbag who are all in the Watch list of drug personalities in this city”, Razalan.
According to Nicolas, Magbag is the number 6 among the Top 10 Priority Targeted Drug personalities and is the leader of the Magbag robbery and drug group.
The houses of Rodriguez, De Lara and Magbag all yielded Caliber .38  pistols, several pieces of shabu sachets and various drug paraphernalia.
 The raid on the 3 houses was conducted past midnight. – Nelson Bolos         

Unemployed man arrested for frustrated murder
LAGAYAN, Abra – Police arrested an unemployed man here Thursday for frustrated murder. The suspect was identified as Joel Bicera Bersamina, 47, of Barangay Dangdangla Bangued, Abra.
This, after Raphiel F. Alzate, presiding judge, Regional Trial Court Branch 1, Bangued issued arrest warrant against him for trustrated murder and set bail of P200, 000 for his temporary liberty.
Bersamina was released after posting bail following release order signed by Alzate.

Woman arrested for rape
BAGUIO CITY – A 24-year-old woman was arrested here Thursday at Barangay Kitma, rape by sexual assault among other cases. The suspect was identified as Adelia Sales Rodriguez, of Upper Quezon Hil.
Mia Joy Oallares, presiding judge of RTC Branch 59, Baguio City issued arrest warrant against the suspect for violation of Republic Act 7610 and rape by sexual assault. The judge recommended bail of P80,000 and P200,000 respectively for her temporary liberty.
The suspect is now detained at the Criminal Detection Group office here.

Korean student loses belongings to taxi driver 
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – A Korean national lost his personal belongings Tuesday to a taxi driver whom he instructed to wait for him in front of the Philippine Postal Services Office here.
The victim, a student of Benguet State University here told police he took the cab inside the BSU Compound near the library together with his friends whom he dropped off at  Gladiola Building in Km 5, Barangay Betag then rode to the PPS to get his package. He asked the  taxi driver to wait for him because he will just get his package leaving his bag inside the cab. When he went back, he noticed that the taxi was already gone. The victim exerted effort to find the cab but he couldn’t.
The victim said the bag contained electronic dictionary worth P4,000, ATM, visa card, student I.D, books and important documents. The CCTV footage was being reviewed by police to identify the taxi driver at press time. – KhyrlLeizel A. Tanacio

Missing Isabela village treasurer surfaces
ECHAGUE, Isabela – The treasurer of Barangay Bacradal here who was reported kidnapped on Monday, surfaced Wednesday, claiming his captors released him without precondition.
Orlando Lagasca told police his captors returned his mobile phone and wallet.
Lagasca was reportedly taken from his house after attending a wedding reception in the village.
Police said they are investigating if the alleged kidnapping and the killing of village chief Nestor Medina of Barangay Rumang-ay are related.  --  RaymundCatindig

Farmer hacks dead another farmer
TABUK CITY – A farmer was hacked dead by another farmer over water here Thursday around 8:40 p.m. A report said cops responded to the incident in Sitio Isla Basao, Barangay San Juan wherein a certain Lawrence Pudayan, of Barangay Malin-awa, Tabuk city was hacked on his nape allegedly by BinsayBallongDugay, 56, of Sitio Isla Basao, Barangay San Juan.
Investigation disclosed around 6 p.m. that day, while the suspect was watering his rice paddies using water from irrigation canal when the  victim asked the suspect to stop. A heated altercation ensued between them prompting the suspect to leave. The suspect came back holding bladed weapon then hacked the victim on his nape the causes his instant death.
Dugay was nowhere to be found when cops went to the area.The victim’s body was brought to his residence in Sitio Isla Basao, San Juan.

Killing of Tarlac cop, drug related?
TARLAC CITY – Police are investigating whether the killing in broad daylight of PO3 Jessie Cabanlong at the busy Mac Arthur Highway fronting the Siesta bus stop, Barangay San Roque, Wednesday was drug related.
Cabanlong, who hails from Barangay Militar, Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija, was  assigned at the San Clemente police station but was formerly with the Nueva Ecija Public Safety Company and with the Munoz City police station.
A police investigator here, who requested that his name be withheld, revealed that Cabanlong was suspected to be involved in illegal drugs in Nueva Ecija.
“Base sa aming imbestigasyon, may connection ‘di umano si Cabanlong sa mga drug groups sa Nueva Ecija, at malamang related ang pagka-transfer niya ditto saTarlac sa pagpatay sa kanya ”, said the police source.
“Kung totooito, maaring may commitment siya o utangsamga drug suppliers nanaiwananniyasa Nueva Ecija kaya siyapinatay”, added the investigator.
From the Nueva Ecija police command, Cabanlong was ordered re-assigned to the San Clemente police station only last January.  
He was shot in the head by an unidentified lone gunman while crossing the Mac Arthur highway fronting the Siesta bus stop. The cold-blooded killing was witnessed by several persons who were waiting for north-bound buses around 10:30 in the morning.
In a separate interview, police chief Supt. Bayani Razalan said, “our investigation is still ongoing and we are looking into all possible motives in the killing of PO3 Cabanlong. Rest assured we will not stop (our investigation) until we arrest the killer of Cabanlong”.  -- Nelson Bolos

Tourist loses gadgets in pickpocket incident
BAGUIO CITY -- A local tourist lost P33,000 worth of gadgets to a pickpocket morning of Feb. 14 here along Harrison Road.
Victim Mike Ybanez Sarceno,40,of Quezon City and his companions were looking for a restaurant in the said place around 8 a.m. when his bluetooth headset suddenly alarmed, signaling that his gold-plated Samsung S5 and blue Samsung S3 were five meters away from the headset. Upon checking, he noticed that the zipper of his belt bag placed at his back was open and the gadgets were gone.
The victim said he didn’t notice someone went near him. Police officials no CCTV cameras installed in the vicinity. -- Ian Pajarillaga

16 gang members arrested in La Union
SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union --  Police and narcotics operatives arrested Thursday 16 gang members involved in illegal drugs, shooting incidents and various offenses.
Senior Supt. Angelito D Dumangeng, provincial police director, partnered with other government personnel  in implementation of 23 search warrants and two arrest warrants from courts in Pangasinan and La Union.
They seize five illegal guns, ammunition, a rocket launcher, 104 sachets of shabu, 1 lunchbox of white crystalline substance believed to be shabu, 31 sachets of Marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Dumangeg said the arrested gang leaders and members included drug personalities from the towns of Bauang, Agoo, City of San Fernando,  Caba, Sto Tomas, San Juan, Rosario and Aringay.
Chief Supt.  Ericson T Velasquez, police Ilocos director cited his men and other law enforcement agencies for initiating operations. - MydsSupnad

 P28-M marijuana destroyed in Benguet, La Union, Kalinga
CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet -- – Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency personnel destroyed over 60,000 marijuana plants and seedlings with an estimated value of P28 million in separate operations in Benguet, La Union and Kalinga last week.
Anti-drug operatives discovered around 53,900 marijuana plants in a 2,850-square-meter plantation in the mountain village of Takadang in Kibungan, Benguet. 
Authorities said it was the biggest marijuana plantation raid in the province since January.
Chief Supt. Ericson Velasquez, Ilocos police director, said 8,800 marijuana plants worth P1.7 million were uprooted in four plantations in Barangay Sapdaan in Santol, La Union.
In Tinglayan, Kalinga, 7,000 marijuana plants worth P1.4 million were destroyed in Barangay Bugnay, said Senior Superintendent Victor Wanchakan, Kalinga police director.

Grenade launcher, illegal drugs confiscated in Caba
CABA, La Union – A grenade launcher, five sachets of suspected shabu, 12 packs of dried marijuana leaves, drug paraphernalia and ammunition were seized during a raid here on a suspected drug den.
Senior Supt. Angelito Dumangeng, La Union police director, said the operator of the drug den, Ramon Gapuz, is the second most wanted drug suspect in the province.

Violence against women, children down in Baguio
BAGUIO CITY -- A lower number of violence against women and children was recorded at start of this year compared to same period last year, according to the Women and Children Protection Desk of Baguio City Police Office.
A total of 42 cases of violence against women and children were recorded by the Women and Children Protection Desk last January. Among the listed cases, 25 were physical abuse and 17 were psychological abuse. Compared to the same period last year, the office recorded a higher number of cases totaling to 108 cases, 41 were filed in court. It is expected to increase in the succeeding moths but the WCPD is hoping that it will not be greater on the total cases recorded last year.
SPO4 Lieza Batanes of the Women and Children Protection Desk said most common cases were physical abuse and psychological abuse.
She said they cannot force abused women to file cases against violent husbands because it just a waste of time and the case might just be dismissed.

She said most cases of violence began due to misunderstanding of couples which adversely affected children. – JortonCampana


P56-M marijuana burned in Ilocos

SUGPON, Ilocos Sur — At least P56-million worth of marijuana plants were uprooted and destroyed in a three-day sweep of clandestine plantations in Barangays Nava, Caoayan, and Licungan in this town through a joint operation by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the police, and the military.
Combined agents of the PDEA Regional Office 1 (RO1), the Philippine Air Force’s Tactical Operations Group-1 (PAF-TOG-1), the Philippine Army’s 81st Infantry Battalion (81IB) under the 7th Infantry Division (7ID), and the Philippine National Police (PNP) also arrested a suspected cultivator during the marijuana eradication operations on February 13-15.
PDEA-RO1 Director Adrian G. Alvarino identified the suspect as Jomar C. Capucap, 26, of Barangay Licungan, here, who was caught in the act of hiding marijuana seeds ready for planting in a site where troops were clearing up the hemp fields.
“Capucap is now detained at the nearby Tagudin (Municipal) Police Station in Ilocos Sur and facing charges in court for violation of Sections 11 and 16 of Article 2 of R.A. 9165, the Comprehensive Anti- illegal Drug Law,” Alvarino said.
Adriano said operating troops destroyed a total of 170 grams of marijuana seeds, 730 kilograms of its dried leaves, and 162,873 fully-grown plants across a combined area of 2.3 hectares.
The Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) estimated the total value of the illegal marijuana products destroyed at R56,849,250.
He said the operation was planned two months ago and the plantation went under surveillance for weeks.

“We are resolute in clearing these plantation sites before it reaches the main populace as evidenced by Noelezar T. Molina,” said Alvarino, who was referring to the suspect caught in this town while transporting 105 kilos of marijuana valued at  R450,000 to Manila, recently. – LiezleBasaInigo with a report from Freddie G. Lazaro


Smoke testers warned against fixing results

By Jun Elias

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – An official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources warned private emission testing centers (PETCs) of suspension or closure should they be found fixing smoke test results of vehicles.
The DOAS, installed at the police office’s air quality monitoring station, measures real-time ambient air quality within a one-kilometer radius.
Cuna said many PETCs were found to have issued certifications to vehicles that failed the smoke test.
The certification is required for the renewal of vehicle registration at the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
 “The EMB and LTO found out that many (owners of) motor vehicles obtained certifications from private emission testing centers although these are smoke belchers,” Cuna said.
He said the EMB either suspended the permits or padlocked the erring testing centers.
“We are doing this to promote good quality of air and a healthy environment for our people,” Cuna said,
In Metro Manila, the air quality as of December was 101 micrograms per cubic meter, slightly above the normal particulate level of 90 mpcm.
The average air quality in the metropolis in 2010 was 166 mpcm.
“There has been a significant reduction of particulate levels in Metro Manila because of the continuing efforts of DENR, the Metro Manila Development Authority, local government units and the transport sector,” Cuna said, adding the anti-smoke belching operation would continue .
Operators and drivers will be required to maintain their vehicles’ fuel efficiency.


Execs mull night market extension to parking lot

By Jho Arranz

BAGUIO CITY – “Wagwag” or sale of used clothes here is bullish with the Baguio City Market Authority planning to extend night market activities along Harrison Road to the Ganza Restaurant site previously the Jadewell parking area.
BCMA officials said the night market along Harrison proved to be a good source of income to Baguio residents and boosted the tourism industry in this mountain resort.
Said proposed night market extension can accommodate about 500 additional vendors giving priority to regular walk-ins.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan disclosed that the city collects an average of 1.5 million per month from the night market during dry and peak season while less than 1 million during rainy season.
The whole stretch of Harrison Road accommodates around 1200 vendors selling second hand clothes and shoes, accessories, street foods, among others is being monitored by the Public Order and Safety Division (POSD) personnel of the mayor’s office.  
With the proposed night market extension, a significant number of qualified and interested vendors will have the opportunity to vend their products so as to alleviate their standard of living.
Domogan stressed that it will be the BCMA who will screen and evaluate the applications on the night market vending giving priority to the regular walk-ins. 
The same rules and regulations at the Harrison Road will be followed once the said extension is approved. 
The Harrison Road is being utilized from 9PM until 4AM for night market vending.   
On the other hand, the city through the City Engineers Office is working on the improvement and installation of lighting system so as buyers will have a better look at the products they are buying.
Meanwhile, the city government here is now managing the Ganza parking area considering that the contract with the jadewell has already lapsed because of the long years of court disputes and conflicts on the legitimacy of the development deal.  


DENR execs ban ‘La Presa’ visitors

By Ian Pajarilla

TUBA, Benguet -- Department of Environment and Natural Resources officials have forbidden tourists from visiting Mount Santo Tomas here where the fictitious  place known as “La Presa” is located as portrayed in a television series.
Regional director Ralph Pablo of DENR-CAR, however said the ban is not permanent.
He said environment restoration and creating of eco-sites will be done first to make it a tourist site with activities such as mountain trekking, biking, and jogging.
Vendors have been banned and other local businesses in the area are also being removed while they are improving Mt. Sto. Tomas.
Pablo said eventually, tourists will be allowed to visit the place as soon as the project is finished. By then, tourists will only be able to visit certain parts of the mountain.

Pablo added these restrictions will be for the well-being and preservation of the environment.


Avian pest kills 9,000 chickens, birds

By Freddie G. Lazaro

LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte – Over 9,000 chickens and other bird species have been killed by Newcastle disease virus, the Provincial Veterinary Office said as it has intensified surveillance and close monitoring in the entire province to prevent the spread of the disease or avian pest here.
Dr. Loida Valenzuela, the provincial veterinary officer, said avian disease reported in Ilocos Norte is avian pest or Newcastle disease and “not an avian flu.”
The veterinary office has intensified information and education campaign (IEC) and enjoined poultry owners and fighting cock breeders to maintain cleanliness and stringent sanitation standards.
Valenzuela urged the poultry and fighting cocks’ raisers to disinfect their farms to prevent the entry of the avian pest.
To further ensure the health of the chicken and fighting cocks in the province, she added that there’s a need also to have the fowls vaccinated against Newcastle disease.
She said that giving vitamin supplementation to the chicken is also necessary to strengthen their immune system.
She warned the public to avoid too much exposure to the chicken infected with avian pest because it can be rapidly transferred from one place to another place through contact with infected personal belongings.
The Provincial Veterinary Office earlier reported  over 9,000 chickens and other bird species have been killed by the Newcastle disease virus.
Dr. Loida Valenzuela, PVO head, identified the towns affected by the NDV pest as Pagudpud, Burgos, Bangui, Dingras, Marcos, Banna, and Badoc.
She reported the initial deaths of at least 9,462 heads of bird species comprised of native chickens, fighting cocks, and turkeys.
“Most of the death of chickens was due to avian pest in the province were raised through backyard growing,” she said.
To control the spread of the virus, Valenzuela advised the local poultry raisers to subject to vaccination their healthy or unaffected chickens.
“For those affected farms, the raisers are advised to boost the immune system of their chicken through vitamin supplementation; and segregation of the affected chicken from the unaffected one,” she said.


28 Cagayan Valley towns, cities on poll watchlist

By Victor Martin

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya – Twenty-five towns and three cities in Cagayan Valley are on the election watchlist, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Wednesday.
The regional election monitoring center has identified the municipalities of Alcala, Buguey, Gattaran, Gonzaga, Solana, Pamplona, Tuao, Lazam, Rizal and Tuguegarao City in Cagayan among the areas considered as ”areas of concern.”
The towns of Alicia, Burgos, Delfin Albano, Echague, Gamu, Luna, Ramon, Roxas, San Mateo, San Pablo, San Mariano, Jones, Naguilian, Maconacon, Palanan and Dinapigue as well as the cities of Santiago and Ilagan in Isabela are also on the list. 
Chief Insp. Chivalier Irringan, Cagayan Valley police information officer, said the areas are being monitored for political rivalry, the presence of armed groups and loose firearms.
“The PNP’s election watchlist was based on reports… We have yet to identify which town will be considered immediate and grave areas of concern,” Irringan said. 
On Feb. 7, a grenade explosion hit the house of a mayoral candidate in Jones town while barangay chairman Nestor Medina of Echague town was killed in an ambush on Feb. 9.
Special task group
PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez said a special operations task group would be deployed in areas considered as poll hotspots.
During a visit to Pangasinan on Sunday, Marquez said the task group would be “over and above the existing resources” of the provincial police office.
Marquez had a meeting with Pangasinan police officer-in-charge Senior Superintendent Edgar Alan Okubo, the chiefs of police of the 44 Pangasinan towns and Senior Superintendent Marlou Chan, Ilocos region police deputy regional director for administration.
Marquez said Chan would head the special task group in the region.
Twenty of 48 towns and cities in Pangasinan are on the poll watchlist.

Marquez said he is leaving it up to police chiefs to decide whether to set up additional checkpoints.


Pangasinan governor cries harassment over graft case

By Eva Visperas

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – Gov. Amado Espino Jr. said his political rivals were behind his indictment for graft over black sand mining in the province. 
“The issue here is no longer about black sand mining,” Espino said during a press conference last week, noting that even concerned government agencies found no black sand mining operations in the province.
“What they want is for me and my son not to run so that Mr. (Mark) Cojuangco will be unopposed in the coming polls,” he said.
Cojuangco is running against Espino’s son, Amado III, for governor of Pangasinan. Espino is running against Cojuangco’s wife, Kimi, who is seeking reelection as congresswoman in the fifth district of Pangasinan.
Espino said he was wondering why the Office of the Ombudsman released its ruling affirming his indictment less than 90 days before the elections.
He said Abono party-list chairman Rosendo So, a staunch supporter of the Cojuangcos, was behind it.
In a press conference on Tuesday, So said Espino should not blame other people over the ombudsman ruling.
”This is not politically motivated…We don’t want black sand mining here,“ So said.
No one can influence the ombudsman on its decisions, he added.
On Espino’s allegation that his group wants Cojuangco to run unopposed, So said the governor could not just pass the gubernatorial post to his children.
“This is not like royalty where the king or queen passes the throne to the children,” he said. 



Binay eyes win in vote-rich Pangasinan
BINMALEY, Pangasinan –Buoyed by the support of local politicians here, Vice President Jejomar Binay’s camp on Wednesday expressed confidence that it would grind out a victory in the vote-rich province come May 9.
United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) Spokesman and Provincial Coordinator Mon Ilagan noted the support of gubernatorial candidate Mark Cojuangco and mayors Simplicio Rosario of Binmaley and Josefina Castañeda of Lingayen in his assessment of a “possible” win for Binay among Pangasinenses.
“Unang una ang pag dating naming kanina, sinalubong kaagad si Vice President ni governor at yung punong bayan ng Binmaley at Lingayen. So tanda itong pagsuporta kay VP Binay athletes at sa partido UNA,” Ilagan told Manila-based reporters in a chance interview.  (First of all the Vice President were greeting at once by the governor and the mayor’s of Binmaley and Lingayen. So this is a sign of support for VP Binay and the UNA party.)
The governor that Ilagan was referring to was incumbent Amado Espino, Jr. Espino is on his last term at the capitol and will be vying for a House seat in the upcoming elections.
Pangasinan has 1.8 million registered voters, making it a very vital stop in national candidates P’ campaign trail.
In the vice presidential race in 2010, Binay lost in Pangasinan by 70,000 to Liberal Party (LP) rival Mar Roxas. -- EllsonQuismorio

Benguet power firm gives CCTV’s to La Trinidad
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- The Benguet Electric Cooperative installed additional CCTV cameras to the specified areas in this capital town intensify the crime prevention.
Additional eight new CCTV cameras were installed last week by the La Trinidad Municipal Police Station in populated and busy spots.
Seven CCTV more will be installed by Beneco.
CCTV’s were set in front of Balili Barangay Hall, road entering Strawberry Field, area near La Trinidad Valley Hotel, in front of Wangal Barangay Hall, Alpanag junction road, Buyagan Rotonda and along Km. 6 near the Police Community Precinct 2.
Earlier, there were three functioning CCTV’s among eight others  installed years ago by Beneco.
Other CCTVs stopped functioning because were old or destroyed due to lack of maintenance.
SPO4 Benedicto Duntugan, deputy chief of police and head of the town police crime and solution department, thanked the Beneco for providing CCTVs to help police in preventing the crimes.
He added they are not working on maintenance of CCTVs since Beneco is the one who is in charge of the repair and it needs to pass through a request to the board before it is to be checked.
Mayor Edna Tabanda said that she plans also to add CCTVs and upgrade these to be installed by Beneco -- Jorteon B. Campana

Social Pension Program lowers age limit to 60
BAGUIO CITY - The Department of Social Welfare and Development, or DSWD, has further expanded the social pension program that provides benefits to the senior citizens.
 From 65 years of age, the age limit of those who can acquire a pension has been lowered to 60.
One of the criteria of the social pension program of DSWD includes indigent senior citizens who don’t receive a regular pension.
It is also a requirement that a senior citizen must be a part of an organization or a group in their respective barangay in order to make sure that the individual is a legitimate senior citizen.
Social pension program recipients shall receive monthly allowance of P1,500 and if they have been serving their job for more than 10 years, they will also be given insurance in case they meet an accident or pass away.
Insurances may only be able to be claimed by their legitimate children.--Valyn Joy Sabado

Ilocos transport groups get gas, diesel discounts
LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte --  Public utility vehicle drivers in this province may now enjoy six-peso per liter discount on gasoline and four-peso per liter discount on diesel through the Metro Ilocos Norte Council (MINC) of the Ilocos Norte government.
Around 2,111 tricycle and public utility jeep (PUJ) drivers were given membership cards during the 198th foundation anniversary celebration of the province held recently.
The membership cards (or MINC cards) will be used by tricycle and PUJ drivers in availing discounts when refilling (maximum of 30 liters a day) at the MINC Gas Station located in front of the Ilocos Norte Centennial arena.
The gas station was built by the provincial government in December.
The MINC was established in early 2015 as part of the province's effort to develop an integrated traffic management system, particularly in the capital city of Laoag, to solve traffic problems brought from rising number of tourists and other vehicles.
It was observation of the worsening traffic conditions in Metro Manila that necessitated the action, according to Gov. Imee Marcos.
In addition to the gas and diesel discounts, cardholders also enjoy medical benefits, namely: a 10-percent discount at all Generika pharmacies, and life insurance from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation(PhilHealth), point-of-care.
During the MINC awarding last week, Marcos recognized the importance of the transportation sector in the smooth flow of day-to-day operations in the province.
"Narito ang ating mga tricycle, pasada, at jeepney, na siyang nagbibigay ng sirkulasyon at buhay sa mga napakagandang kalsada ng ating probinsiya," she said.

169 couples join Valentine mass wedding in Pangasinan park
ALAMINOS CITY, Pangasinan — About 169 couples who have been living together without the benefit of marriage joined a mass wedding in the Hundred Islands National Park here Tuesday.
The brides wore long, white dresses and floral headdresses while the grooms were in red knee-length pants and cream polo shirts with leis around their necks.
The Valentine’s Day mass wedding was sponsored by Pag-IBIG Home Mutual Development Fund and city government  led by Mayor Arthur Celeste. 
Aside from providing the couples’ outfits and wedding rings, the city government and the Pag-IBIG Fund paid for the reception.
This is the third year in a row that such an activity, dubbed “I do… I do… ArawngPag-IBIG” was held on Quezon Island under Celeste’s administration.
About a hundred motorized bancas were used to ferry the couples and their visitors from Lucap Wharf to Quezon Island, where the ceremonies were held, and then back to the mainland.
Celeste said the activity was one of the many ways to promote the Hundred Islands as a major tourist spot. 
The oldest groom was Fernando Malazan, 64, while the oldest bride was Myrna Nabua, 58, of Barangay Pandan this city.
John Francis Aysara, 19, of Paracale, Camarines Norte and Remalyn Sonio, 18, were the youngest couple.
Michael Benson Beniola, 21, couldn’t be happier as he was celebrating his birthday when he married MaricelBaga, 26. – Eva Visperas

Baguio folks  urged to save water
BAGUIO CITY --  With  the  El Niño phenomenon affecting the country, Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan urged everyone to conserve water and use it responsively.  
Everybody has the responsibility to save water  especially that  the city is hosting big events like the Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (CARAA), the month-long Baguio Flower Festival in February , Philippine Military Academy graduation and the observance of Holy Week  in March which bring  thousands of foreign and local tourists, Domogan said.
According to Engr. Salvador Royeca, general manager of the  Baguio Water District,  more than 43,000 cubic meters of water is  being produced daily  from three main water sources- the  Mount Santo Tomas catch basin, four spring sources and 57 deepwells.
Domogan  encouraged the  public to  practice water conservation measures by avoiding excessive use of water.

DTI-Ifugao issues advisories to protect public welfare
LAMUT, Ifugao--  The Department of Trade and Industry recently issued advisories on text scams, door –to-door selling, official receipts and accredited shops.
 According to DTI-Ifugao, text scam is the most common scam. Dubious text messages are sent to cellular phone owners informing them that they have won a special prize in a raffle or a member of the family abroad needs a load. Phone owners should not entertain such text messages.
On door-to-door selling, the DTI advises the public to ask   for the home solicitation permit issued by the DTI and his identity to ensure the legitimacy of his business.
“When buying, the buyer should check first the product by opening it in front of the vendor to ensure the quality. Always ask receipts and   warranty cards as a proof of purchase to said products.”
Meanwhile, owners of repair and service shops in the province are encouraged to apply for accreditation for the promotion of quality service to the people and their business as a whole. -- Marcelo B. Lihgawon

Reform programs encourage  LGUs  to perform better
TABUK CITY, Kalinga--  Government  reform programs are making local government units more responsive and competitive in good governance.
The Seal of Good Housekeeping and Seal of Good Local Governance of the Department of Interior and Local Government are among the reforms making impact to good local governance.  
Local government units that are awarded the seal are eligible to the Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) of P7, 000 incentives for the province, P5, 000 for the city and P3, 000 for the municipality, to be utilized for development projects.
The latest incentive for performing LGUs is the Konkreto at Ayos na LanSAngan, ang DAanTungo sa Pangkalahatang Kaunlaran or KALSADA program.
Three of the Cordillera provinces- Benguet, Abra and Kalinga- are among the 32 provinces nationwide   that are recipients of huge amounts under KALSADA this year.
“LGUs now see the value of hard work and competence in local governance. If you don’t perform, you will receive lesser share from the development pie,” said Provincial DILG director Francisco Gamatero.
He informed that local chief executives and other  concerned  offices  will  oriented on February 9-10 on the seal of good local governance.  -- Peter A. Balocnit

DTI approves P8.5-M shared service facilities in Mt. Province
BONTOC, Mountain Province -- The Department of Trade and Industry approved in 2015 the total amount of P8, 523,105.00 for 12 Shared Service Facilities (SSF) projects in the province.
DTI’s SSF program aims to improve the competitiveness of micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) by providing them with machinery, equipment, tools, systems, skills and knowledge under a shared system. The program is implemented with project partners termed as cooperators.
Mabel Banggawan of the DTI Provincial Office here said the SSF on loom weaving was launched on January 10, 2015 with the Caneo Women’s Organization in barangay Caneo, Bontoc as the cooperator; SSF on muscovado processing upgrading   launched on November 19, 2015 with the Masla People’s Organization in Masla, Tadian as cooperator, and SSF on arabica coffee which was launched last December 16 with Madchikom Coffee Producer Cooperative as cooperator.
This January, the DTI launched two SSF on loom weaving with the Guinzadan Weavers Organization in Guinzadan Sur, Bauko and the Maggon Rural Improvement Club in Supang, Sabangan as cooperators.
Launching of the SSF on Arabica coffee with the Mountain Province Association of Coffee Growers as cooperator is also scheduled later this month.
The DTI provincial office has also scheduled on February 2016  the launching of the SSF on sweet potato processing for the Ubaya Food Processors Association, SSF on food processing for the Bauko Overseas Workers and Returnees Association, SSF on coffee processing for the Anabel-Sadanga Multi-purpose Cooperative, SSF on coffee processing for the Sagada Arabica Coffee Growers and Processors Organization, and the SSF on muscovado sugar processing for the Bagnen-BalintauganTimpuyog Credit Cooperative
Launching of SSF on organic fertilizer production for Seven Daffodil Organization of Organic Farming will be in March.
Under the SSF Project, DTI awards equipment aid to recipient cooperator under a six-year conditional grant. If recipient cooperator stops its business operation or if equipment is not being used for the purpose, DTI can recall the equipment and awards the same to another cooperator.
If the business opened by cooperator- beneficiary grows and surpasses the six-year conditional period, DTI turns over to the cooperator full ownership of the equipment. -- Juliet B. Saley

Coalition pushes community involvement  for Balili River
BAGUIO CITY- - The Balili River System Revitalization Coalition (BRSRC) will go beyond cleaning up activities and will push for community involvement in the protection of the Balili River.
This was agreed upon during the BRSRC Action Planning Workshop held at the University of the Philippines- Baguio on January 21.
Dean Aurea Sandoval of Benguet State University pointed out that the clean-up activities they have spearheaded in the past have not much of an impact in the revitalization of the Balili River.
University of the Cordilleras Director for Research and Development Center, Engr. Nathaniel Lubrica  seconded that fully revitalizing Balili River will not be successful with just clean-up drive; it  needs community involvement .
Proposed activities to encourage community involvement include “Adopt a Community” project wherein different institutions will adopt barangays within the stretch of the river and educate the residents about protecting this important river system.
Aside from pushing for behavioral change, the education campaign will also give focus on the improvement of the governance of barangay officials with regards to the environment.
The BRSRC formed in 2011 includes the Environmental Management Board - Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the academe and local government units of Baguio City and La Trinidad, government offices, private/industry partners and civil society group. -- Via Perez

New PMA chief assumes position
FORT DEL PILAR, Baguio City -- The new superintendent of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) assumed his post last week.
Brig. Gen. Donato San Juan II, Special Operations Command chief of the Army, replaced Maj. Gen. Oscar Lopez, who is reaching the mandatory age of retirement on Feb. 17.
Also retiring in the next few weeks is Maj. Gen. Benito de Leon, the military’s Inspector General.
Maj. Gen. Oscar Lactao, commander of the Cagayan de Oro City-based 4th Infantry Division, will replace De Leon.

Military insiders said Maj. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr. would assume the post to be vacated by Lactao.            

BWD assures enough water supply in Baguio
BAGUIO CITY-- The Baguio Water District said the city has enough enough water supply  even with  with the  expected influx of visitors  due to  various upcoming events and the effects of El Niño.
BWD general manager Salvador Royeca said his office has been preparing for the El Niño phenomenon with the adaptation measures to reduce its impact.
“The Baguio Water District constructed a lot of canals or ditches for our watersheds to capture the run of water especially with the less rainfall being experience here in the Cordillera and with the announcement that we are going to have an El Nino,” Royeca said during the Kapihansa Baguio forum  on Thursday.
He also bared that they have preserved the water collected at the Mount Santo Tomas catch basin which will be utilized until the Panagbenga and even up to March.
Royeca said the city has varying water demands especially with the expected thousands of tourists during the Panagbenga festivities, the Philippine Military Academy Foundation Day and Graduation Rites and the observance of Holy Week. The average demand is around 50,000 to 55, 000 cubic meters per day but it may increase to 100,000 cubic meters per day depending on number of people in the city.
The BWD at present has 65 pumping stations, 57 deep wells and five spring sources where it gets the supply of water rationed to residential homes, business establishments and government facilities.
Even with the assurance of enough water supplies in the city, Royeca encouraged the public to practice water conservation. He also called on the public to help in the preservation of the watersheds and other water sources which are slowly diminishing. -- LalaineGalagala- 

Tabuk City’s real
property tax collection up
TABUK CITY, Kalinga--  The city’s real property tax collection performance in 2015 increased by 13percent  compared  to the previous year.
Olivia Mendoza of the City Treasurer’s Office reported total collection of P6, 000,756 for the period over the P5, 268,956 in 2014.
Real property taxes of the city come from four major sources that include taxes on agricultural property posting the top with P2,669,109, residential – P1,848,977, commercial - P1,473,649 and industrial with P9,019.
According to Mendoza, the city has sustained annual growth in real property tax collection because of improved efforts on massive tax mapping, intensified tax campaign at the barangay level and massive information-education drive.
She admitted though there is still high need to educate people on taxation which  is considered as government’s life blood. Real property taxes accrue to the government’s general fund while the other half goes to Special Education Fund.
Mendoza urged eal property tax payers to avail of the 20% discount for advance payments made every December of the preceding year and the 10% discount for payments made in the first quarter of the year. Late payments are charged additional 2% monthly penalty fee.  -- Larry T. Lopez     

Million volunteer run reset  Feb 6 in Baguio
BAGUIO CITY ) - - The Philippine Red Cross (PRC)- Baguio City Chapter has re-scheduled the Million Volunteer Run3   on Feb.  6 as part of the Pangbenga 2016 activities.
The run, a humanitarian run which is participatory and non-competitive, aims to raise funds for the capacity building of the organization.
For a three kilometer run, the registration is P400, P450 for the 5 k.m. and P500 for the 10 km run, all inclusive with a singlet, race bib, and a runner’s card which name will be posted on the Red Cross website.
Annie Tamayo, PRC Baguio administrator, is inviting everyone to support the worthwhile activity which will help those who are in need.
Newly installed city police director Senior Supt. George Daskeo committed to send a big number of police contingent. At the same time the police will act as marshals and manage the traffic to ensure safety of the runners.  
Interested runners may register with race director Che Alberto (cellphone No.  09177450378) at Laperal Building, Session Road at and race coordinator Gerald Alejo Jr. (09082853788) at Baguio Red Cross office.  -- Joseph Zambrano

BFAR releases 300,000 tilapia fingerlings for Abra fisherfolk
BANGUED, Abra - - The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources regional office  released this month a total of 300,000 tilapia fingerlings  to  the province.
According to Provincial Fishery Officer Mr. Jesus Astrero, these fingerlings are distributed to fish folks and fish pond owners in the municipalities of Lagangilang, Sallapadan, Peñarrubia, Lagayan, Bucay, Pilar, Bangued, Dolores, San Juan, Tubo and Tayum.
 “Other tilapia fingerlings will be placed in communal body of water or rivers while fingerlings left in the office will be dispersed in Calaba River,” he said.
These fingerlings are expected to grow in number to help the community have additional source of living.
The first stock of fingerlings from BFAR was requested by Governor Eustaquio P. Bersamin to augment the loss resulting from strong typhoons that struck the province last year.  -- Ginalyn B. Brioso

Abrenian youth shine in UP Namnama Regionals
BANGUED, Abra --  Abrenian youth delivered a good fight during the UP NAMNAMA Regional Sirib Quiz Show ken Saririt Cultural Festival Events  in  Bacnotan, La Union last January 6 and 7.
With 25 participating elementary schools from Abra, Baguio, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur and La Union, Divine Word College of Bangued (DWCB) Grade School Department landed first runner up next to Saviour's Christian Academy of Ilocos Norte.
Beatriz Angelica Bernardez of DWCB bagged first place in English Essay Writing. Jonathan B. Tugadi of An-Anaao Elementary School, HannadynBalaoro of Bangued East Central School and KeziahVojtyllaBigornia of Bangued West Central School are third-placers in poster-making, vocal solo and Ilocano declamation respectively.
In the high school category participated by 36 schools, DWCB’s Irvin Jeremy Tamayo won first place in the poster-making contest, and Ralph Angelo Guzman of Holy Cross School in 2nd place. The Holy Spirit Academy of Bangued dance troop also won in the in the folkdance contest,
Other events in the regionals were declamation contest in Ilocano and English; short story writing in English and Filipino; impromptu speaking in Ilocano, Filipino and English; oration in Ilocano and English, Quiz Bee, Bucanegan Debate Tournament, Chorale Competition, and Speech Choir.
Regional winners will vie for the Patalasanlahi in the nationals.
This year’s theme, “Illuminating the Tapestry: Strengthening the Strands of Ilocano Culture through Youth Involvement in Nation-building” aims to increase the consciousness of the youth in their culture while developing their acumen.
The Regionals was organized and facilitated by UP NamnamaDiliman and Baguio. -- Ginalyn B. Brioso

PSA Baguio Serbilis outlet serves 1,410 clients daily
BAGUIO CITY - -  Just  a month into the new year, the Philippine Statistics Authority’s Baguio Serbilis Center  is already experiencing an influx of clients getting civil registration documents especially birth certificates.
PSA data shows that from January 4 to 13, the center is averaging 1,410 clients a day and going as high as 1,608 clients in January 11h compared to the 914 daily average clients for the year 2015.
Center Manager Gerard Tolito, in interview, explained that   the shift in school calendar is the first reason in the rise in the number of daily clients. Second semester starts this January many parents and students are getting birth certificates for enrolment purposes.
 Another reason is for local employment especially in the application for Philippine National Police recruits. Applicants are getting seven authenticated copies of their birth certificate, he added.
Tolito assured that PSA Baguio Serbilis outlet is always ready to respond to the challenge with the hiring of eight new staff to augment the personnel manning the six client/public assistance computers.
He also informed that PSA has six collection officers with two assigned to the priority lane to assist senior citizens, person with disabilities and pregnant/nursing mothers.
Tolito advises the public to plan ahead and come on lean days or months as birth certificate has no expiration if it will be used for enrolment purposes. He also appeals to those getting their civil registration documents not to bring companions especially children so that they will not add-up to the crowd inside the center.
Tolito also calls on the public to utilize the PSA’s BREQS (Batch Request Entry System) partner wherein for a little added amount, they can save travel time or avoid the long line at the Baguio Serbilis outlet.
PSA-CAR’s BREQS partners   provincial offices in Abra and Ifugao, and the  local government units of Paracelis, Bontoc, Tadian, Bauko and Barlig in Mountain Province; Balbalan and Tinglayan in Kalinga; Dolores Abra; Pudtol and Kabugao in Apayao,  and Kabayan, Buguias, Bakun and Tublay in Benguet. 
The public can also get their civil registration documents in SM City Baguio, he added. -- By Carlito Dar

Baguio moves up rank among cities
BAGUIO CITY — Tourism, education and sports, peace and order, health and social services, environment are among the accomplishments last year, Mayor Mauricio Domogan said. The mayor recalled that in 2014, Baguio was ranked 15th among the country’s 142 cities. Now, he takes pride that the city has gone up two notches to No. 13 based on national comparative ratings. He said concerted efforts must be taken to update and implement income-generating endeavors to improve the city’s ranking.

Ilocos Norte triples its scholarships grantees
LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte — To provide quality education for Ilocanos, the provincial government of Ilocos Norte headed by Gov. Imee Marcos gave a total of 1,919 scholarships grants last year.
In academic year 2014-2015, there were 459 recipients of the Sirib Academic Scholarship, according to the Provincial Education Office.
In the following school year, the number tripled with a total of 1,460 students benefiting from the Sirib Academic Scholarship, also known as the Sirib Community Leaders Scholarship.
Scholarship programs paved the way for training youth leaders, particularly through involvement in the Sirib Ilokano Kabataan Association (SIKA) that promotes volunteerism among youth through working together for the development of their respective communities.
Since 2010, the Ilocos Norte government has shouldered over 39,000 elementary, 16,000 high school, and 3,000 college scholarships.
Widening opportunities for learning has been an aim of Marcos, reflected in her vision for Ilocos Norte as a learning hub and learning community, hence the establishment of the “Heroes Walk” on Ablan Avenue to educate passersby on Ilocano heroes’ heritage.
Access to information technology is also a vital part of this goal, and in the past year alone, 38 i-Hubs have been established and 650 computer units have been distributed throughout the different cities and municipalities.
Making education more inclusive is in line with the province’s aim to alleviate poverty and eliminate unemployment, translating into a higher human development index and sustainable livelihood for Ilocanos.
These endeavors propelled the province in attaining the Millennium Development Goals, a United Nations initiative established in the year 2000.
“We have done what we set out to do, exceeding poverty, employment, education, maternal health, and reforestation. From the alarming increase in poverty in 2010, poverty has now fallen to a record of 8.4%,” she said. – Freddie G. Lazaro

Mountain Province, Benguet barangays forge sisterhood ties
SABANGAN, Mountain Province -- Officials of barangay   Tambingan here recently forged memorandum of agreement of sisterhood with barangay Betag of La Trinidad, Benguet to foster understanding, friendship and goodwill.
The Sangguniang Barangay of Betag headed by Punong Barangay Peter D. Comila and Tambingan led by PB Cedric Rommel V. Likigan inked the MOA.
Both parties agreed to nurture and encourage friendship and cooperation between the two local government units and their constituencies through mutual sharing of the barangay best practices; provision of technical expertise and assistance in the area of promotion and development of the eco-tourism industry, including exchange of culture and education through exchange programs and education tours.
They also agreed to enhance trade relations on agricultural products, livestock and promotion of local handicrafts and strengthen educational and cultural relations with each party through scholarships, environmental research and eco-tours. They shall also strive to keep an open communication line for the possibility of forging joint ventures. -- Juliet B. Saley

Change of name of local
hospital in Benguet sought
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- The  Benguet  SangguniangPanlalawigan urged the  National Historical Commission of the Philippines to approve renaming of  a provincial government supervised  hospital in the  province.
The change of name was sought for Kapangan Medicare Community Hospital” (KMCH) to be renamed “Kapangan Community Hospital”.
Board Member Esteban Piok, who authored the measure, said the word “Medicare” is rendered obsolete, thus the proposed deletion.   
The hospital was called the Kapangan Medicare Community Hospital since Sept. 23, 1982  after the Philippine Medical Care Commission (PMCC) which administered the former Medicare program. This is now called the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.
The hospital is under the supervision of the provincial governor pursuant to  the Local Government Code of 1991 which devolved the management of all hospitals except for some selected medical centers to the provincial local government units. -- Susan Aro

DA allots 23.5M to boost corn,cassava production in Apayao
Farmers in Apayao can now boost their production to corn and cassava as the Department of Agriculture (DA) through the Corn Program provided various farm machineries and livelihood assistance worth 23. 5M in the province.
These were turned- over last February 5 during the Farmers’ Forum with Secretary Proceso Alcala at the BGVJr. Memorial Sports Center, in Luna, Apayao.
Among the grants given were eight units of four wheel drive tractor, two units corn planter, one unit corn combine harvester, three units cassava digger/ uprooter, one corn mill, two hammer mill, one moisture meter, four silo, one unit cassava grater, two cassava pulvorizer, two cassava chipper, and one unit cassava granulator cum shredder.
The said farm equipment and facilities were given to selected farmer groups from the different municipalities and barangays of the province including Farmers’ Association, Rural Improvement Clubs (RICs), Irrigators Association among others.
Apayao is devoted to agricultural production, particularly food and industrial crops such as palaycorncoffeeroot crops and vegetables. Main fruits produce are lanzonescitrusbananas and pineapples.
Based on the data of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) 2015 survey, the province is the third biggest producer of corn contributing 13 percent of the total corn production in the region. Also, cassava in the Apayao has increased in yield to 27. 19 MT/ha from 24. 67 MT/ha last 2014 that proved that the province is the highest contributor among the six provinces of Cordillera Region. --  CK Rosario


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