6 die as dengue, leptospirosis cases increase in Cordillera

>> Tuesday, August 21, 2018

BAGUIO CITY -- Six people succumbed to dengue and leptospirosis in the past seven months in the Cordillera, as cases of the weather-induced virus infections climbed in the highland region amid the unabated heavy monsoon rains.
Geeny Anne Austria, a nurse at the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) of the Department of Health (DOH) in Cordillera, said Tuesday the number of dengue cases in the region nearly doubled this year to 2,447 from 1,430 in the same period last year, with five deaths registered from Jan. 1 to Aug. 4 this year.
Last year, dengue took the lives of three people, she said.
On leptospirosis, Austria said the uptrend is 32 percent, recording 41 cases this year from 31 cases in the same period in 2017. One death was noted in Benguet province this year.
For dengue, Benguet recorded the most cases with 656; Kalinga had 522; Apayao, 448; Abra, 317; Baguio City, 268; Mountain Province, 129; and Ifugao, 107.
As for leptospirosis, Benguet again recorded the most cases, with eight; Baguio and Kalinga had five each; Apayao and Ifugao with four each; Abra has two cases, while Mountain Province has one.
There were also 12 cases involving residents from non-Cordillera provinces, who sought medical aid in the region, Austria said.
She said dengue and leptospiros tend to peak on rainy days, as breeding sites for the viruses, such as floods, develop.
"The number of dengue cases may peak during the rainy season and might reach widespread proportions if preventive measures are not taken,” the government nurse warned.
She urged the public to follow the four "S" as a control measure. Search and destroy breeding sites by cleaning the surroundings and preventing the accumulation of water; Self-protection measures must be put in place, such as healthy lifestyle and developing stamina and resistance to illnesses; Seek early consultation when suffering from two days of continuous fever; Say no to indiscriminate fogging.
She explained that most of the cases involved manual laborers or those engaged in construction and farming.
She said the infection could have been prevented with the use of protective gears like rain boots and washing and disinfecting after exposure to flood or contaminated water or soil.
The leptospira virus, she explained, comes from the urine or tissues of infected animals like rats.
Austria urged the public to watch out for symptoms, such as fever, headache, chills, rashes, and jaundice.
"If there is no reason to go out, stay home and be safe,” she advised the public.
The health department is keeping a close eye on health issues that normally arise during the rainy season, especially dengue and leptospirosis, which have caused deaths in different parts of the country. (PNA)


Ex-NE governor calls PDAF cases ‘fake news’

FORMER Nueva Ecija governor Aurelio Umali called on his detractors to stop politicking and not mislead the public with fake news on the pork barrel fund scam cases that he is facing. 
He made the appeal following reports that the Office of the Ombudsman has affirmed his dismissal and perpetual disqualification from public service.
Umali said he has not yet received any order from the anti-graft agency denying his motion for reconsideration on such ruling.
“I don’t know where they got such interpretation that I can no longer run for any elective position,” he said.
“Clearly this is another ploy designed to condition the minds of the public and to discredit my name,” he added.
Umali expressed optimism that the ombudsman would reverse its November 2016 decision dismissing him from government service.
He noted that of the more than 20 cases filed against him and his family before the courts, 90 percent have been dismissed for insufficiency of evidence.
“These cases will not discourage us from serving the people of Nueva Ecija,” Umali said.  referring to charges stemming from his alleged misuse of P15 million of his Priority Development Assistance Fund when he was a lawmaker in 2005.


Kagawad nabbed for illegal gun, bullets

By Freddie Lazaro

BAYAMBANG, Pangasinan -- Police arrested a village councilor for illegal possession of gun and bullets here in Barangay Manambong Sur, Bayambang on Wednesday.
Supt. Fidel DG Junio, town chief of police, identified the suspect as Nelson Pagador Latorre.
Joint elements of Bayambang Police Station and Detectives of CIDG Provincial Force Unit, Pangasinan implemented a search warrant for Violation of PD 1866 as amended by RA 10591 dated August 13, 2018 issued by Presiding Judge Mervin Jovito Samadan of RTC Br 70, Burgos, Pangasinan against Latorre.
The implementation of the said search warrant resulted in the confiscation of: one unit of ARMSCOR Cal. .45 pistol; 11 pieces of live ammunition for Cal. .45 pistol; one piece of Magazine for Cal. 45 pistol and 11  bullets for shotgun.
Chief Supt. Romulo E Sapitula, Region 1 police director, instructed all chiefs of police to intensify their efforts in the conduct of Oplan Katok to address unlicensed and unregistered firearms in the region.
Latorre together with the confiscated items were placed under the custody of CIDG PFU Pangasinan for proper documentation and disposition.


Ifugao honors mixed martial arts champ

BANAUE, Ifugao -- As a show of pride and adulation for his recent feat, folks and officials of this province held  a motorcade in five municipalities of the province to honor Ifugao sports  warrior Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon recently.
The motorcade started early morning at Banaue Hotel passing through the towns of Hingyon, Lagawe, Lamut and ended up in Kiangan where Belingon hails, to the cheering crowds gathered to congratulate and see him personally.
 A short program was held at the Kiangan municipal hall followed by a public lunch called “hamul”.
Belingon represented the Philippines under Team Lakay during the thrilling five round match held in Manila last July 25 and won via a unanimous decision.
The 30-year old mixed martial art expert defeated Australian-Vietnamese fighter Martin “Situ-Asian” Nguyen, a two-division title holder champion of the One Fighting Championship group and wrestled the vacant Interim Bantamweight Division title belt for his first championship.
Nguyen previously defeated One Fighting Lightweight Champion Eduardo Folayang via a knockout for his second title belt before he succumbed to “The Silencer” Belingon who incidentally belongs to the same team as Folayang.
 “This belt is not mine but our championship belt because of your prayers and support,” Belingon said during the program.
His mother Lydia, a supervisor at the Ifugao Schools Division Office, added that “Kevin’s victory is God’s affirmation in all of us.” -- PIA Ifugao


Imee Marcos signs alliance with Hugpong ng Pagbabago

LAOAG CITY -- Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos formally signed an alliance with Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), the regional party formed by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio.
The formal signing took place at the Blue Leaf, Aseana, Paranaque City.
At the signing aside from Gov. Marcos are Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Seth Frederick Jalosjos, Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda, and Misamis Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Emano, among others.
Marcos said she joined the alliance because HnP “is not a monolithic, hierarchical or traditional party. Its approach is very local.” She took her oath as HnP member in Digos City last week before Mayor Duterte.
Hugpong does not require its members to abandon their political parties but instead forges coalitions in localities. “I think it is a very interesting model, something that is workable on the ground,” the governor said. “This model is better because a candidate wins or loses in the local contests anyway. It is not about the big political parties in Manila.”
The governor believes Hugpong will become the voice of Mindanao and a force to reckon with like the time-tested Solid North. Eight Northern provinces are getting ready to join the alliance, she said.


7 nabbed for jueteng, illegal gambling in Baguio, Benguet

CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet  – Seven persons including a minor were arrested in Benguet and Baguio City for illegal gambling and collecting jueteng bets.
Three gambling collectors were separately arrested in La Trinidad. Ortiz Dangpas Fernando, 55 and Gary Domingo Felipe, 36, both of Barangay Shilan, were arrested collecting jueteng bet money at Tili, Shilanon  August 10 after a concerned citizen informed the police.
Salvador Dionisio Wakat, 44, farmer, of Taloy Sur, Tuba, Benguet, was arrested collecting jueteng bet money at Palina, Tuba Benguet on August 9. Confiscated from their possession were three jueteng booklets and bet money of P740.00.
In Baguio, police nabbed four persons identified as Andrew Ingosan Vergara, 52; Delio Ingosan, 44; Noli Napadawan, 33, all laborer and residents of Purok 1, Irisan, Baguio City and a male minor, a resident of Lubas Proper La Trinidad, Benguet.
They were caught playing cards at Purok 1, Tibalbal, Irisan. Confiscated from them were a set of playing cards and bet money amounting to P120.
Regional police director Chief Supt. Rolando Z Nana commended operating police personnel arresting the alleged illegal gamblers.


3 robbery suspects shot dead in P’sinan

URDANETA, Pangasinan — Three men accused of robbing a tricycle driver were shot dead by police officers in Barangay Nancamaliran East in this city Monday.
The slain suspects, who have yet to be identified, reportedly took the personal belongings and tricycle of Jesus de Guzman, a resident of Barangay Mabanogbog.
Supt. Rollyfer Capoquian, city police chief, said the suspects shot it out with responding personnel of the Special Weapons and Tactics.
Capoquian said three guns and the stolen tricycle were recovered. – Eva Visperas


Soldier hurt in Ilocos NPA raid

STA. CRUZ, Ilocos Sur -- A soldier was wounded when suspected New People’s Army rebels raided an Army camp here in Barangay Bugbuga August 10. 
First Lt. Rey Anfone, civil-military operations officer of the 81st Infantry Battalion, was hit by shrapnel when the rebels reportedly fired a rocket-propelled grenade that destroyed the guard house.
The communist guerillas immediately fled after the raid. Army troops are now scouring nearby areas for the rebels and have set up checkpoints in strategic areas of known rebel lairs.   


Not resilience but concrete plans to address calamities


Whenever the Philippines experiences severe flooding, like the one brought by storms and monsoon rains, photos portraying the Filipino’s resilience in times of hardship always go viral.
They’re usually used as a testament to the people’s optimism but many netizens have spoken out against people’s tendency to champion these stories. For them, it’s not warm fuzzy feels the country needs but concrete plans that can actually bring about change and improve people’s lives.
One such post came from Facebook user Gabbie Tatad who wrote:
“I don’t want to hear about the f*cking resilience of the Filipino. I want better drainage, some sort of urban planning, and the guaranteed safety of the citizens in this damn country. “I want the change we were promised, because it’s been nine years since Ondoy and we’re still playing the same tune.What good is resilience if people keep fearing for their lives, or worse, dying from things that we could have at least tried to prevent?”
Tatad’s words struck a chord with many Filipinos who think the government still has not done enough to prevent floods. Her post now has more than 7,000 reactions, more than 6,000 shares, and 43 comments.
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, 88,131 families or 382,996 persons from six regions in Luzon have been displaced because due to recent flooding.
In North Luzon, many  towns were flooded particularly in Ilocos Region last week. As huge as these numbers are, they’re not uncommon in the Philippines. In fact, flooding happens every year.
And now, nine years after typhoon Ondoy which devastated Manila in 2009, not much has changed.
Another netizen shared thoughts similar to Tatad’s. In a tweet, @kristinamisajon said in Filipino and English: “We experienced [typhoon] Ondoy, we experienced [typhoon] Yolanda. And we still highlight resiliency? How about assessing how LGUs (lower government units) have prepared for disasters like flooding?”
 She wrote this in a retweet of The Philippine Star’s photo showing what the publication called “The Filipino spirit” of a man smiling while swimming in floodwater. @kristinamisajon’s post now has 4,000 likes and 1,000 retweets.
In the same thread, she continued to say that romanticizing resilience was not helping anyone and was just a way to “mask the incompetence and ill-preparedness of concerned authorities.”
Anybody in government listening?


Baguio, birth place of Native Title Doctrine could be its death bed

Alfred P. Dizon

(Rocky Ngalob, information officer of the Cordillera regional office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples writes this week’s piece) 
Baguio, the birth place of the Native Title doctrine and arguably Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA) could be its death bed.
In this year’s recently concluded celebration of the advancement of rights and collective well-being of indigenous peoples through the annual observance of the National Indigenous Peoples Day in the Philippines, the NCIP– Cordillera Administrative Region registered its comments and remarks to the growing confusion spreading throughout the indigenous peoples of Baguio; that the City of Baguio is beyond the coverage of Republic Act 8371 or widely known as Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA).
NCIP-CAR was alarmed of the erroneous information being planted among the IPs’ consciousness.
If not corrected, it would lead IPs in the city in limbo. And if tolerated, such erroneous information will form fragments of the indigenous peoples’ psyche thus adversely revising our rich history.
This sprang from the pending case of the Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) of Baguio before our regular courts which, by virtue of the Sub Judice rule, the author is prohibited to comment particularly on the merits of the case.
Nonetheless, there were issues triggered in aid of answers that is beyond the IPMR issue. Thus, this humble narrative.
Claiming that Baguio is beyond the coverage of IPRA, with an intent of excluding the IPs from the due rights bestowed by the law, is creating a dangerous path for IPs of Baguio.
The IPs of Baguio including IPs throughout the nation know too well that IPRA, a revolutionary law that lifted the then discriminated IPs above marginalization, sprouted when an Ibaloi native in the person of Mateo Carino went before the highest court of the highest country (USA) to question and claimed due recognition over his land against a feudalistic law imposed by our foreign colonizers.
Such act of defiance gave birth to the principle of the “Native Title Doctrine,” a victory, which we, IPs, and other IPs including those across our nation’s borders, hold dear.
IPRA was also the only legislation that specifically provided for right of indigenous peoples to determine their own development, even if there was a qualification in the 1987 Constitution that such development of communities must be in accordance with national development.
The law specifically states; “The State recognizes the inherent right of ICCs/IPs to self-governance and self-determination and respects the integrity of their values, practices and institutions. Consequently, the State shall guarantee the rights of ICCs/IPs to freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”
Ideally, this would mean that indigenous peoples do not only have the power to participate in decision-making processes of the State, but going beyond that, they themselves have the power to determine the fates of their territories and their lives.
Our history dictates that from birth, towards the enactment, Baguio played an essential role to IPRA’s realization. To think that Baguio is outside the coverage of IPRA is like stripping the IPs of Baguio off their rights -- rights which were fought and asserted by their ancestors.
We reduce them to mere spectators separated from rest of the IPs throughout the nation enjoying the privileges of the law they have greatly contributed in achieving -- the very law which sprouted from Baguio. Worse, were rendering them powerless against the ever evolving forms of injustices deeply rooted in the centuries old institutionalized feudalistic type of resource management.   
Section 78 of IPRA stating; “The City of Baguio shall remain to be governed by its Charter and all lands proclaimed as part of its townsite reservation shall remain as such until otherwise reclassified by appropriate legislation: Provided, That prior land rights and titles recognized and/or acquired through any judicial, administrative or other processes before the effectivity of this Act shall remain valid: Provided, further, That this provision shall not apply to any territory which becomes part of the City of Baguio after the effectivity of this Act”, should not be interpreted as an exclusionary provision of Baguio under the coverage of IPRA.
In fact, the high court stated that; “The foregoing provision indeed states that Baguio City is governed by its own charter. Its exemption from the IPRA, however, cannot ipso facto be deduced because the law concedes the validity of prior land rights recognized or acquired through any process before its effectivity. The IPRA demands that the city’s charter respect the validity of these recognized land rights and titles”.
The high court expressly made such statement in order to maintain the true spirit and wisdom of IPRA. IPRA did not intend to exclude Baguio from its coverage while it embraces others. A law that was created to cure an illness of discrimination, for sure, was not intended to be enacted in order to inflict another. More so, the law did not intend to sever its ties from its place of origin. The very place where the law was trained to crawl, walk and was reared to fight for the rights due for the IPs.
The challenge currently being faced by IPRA in Baguio is not the first of its kind. In fact, IPRA has met challenges even greater, one that challenged its constitutionality. But no matter how great the challenges were, IPRA emerged as the victor. In these challenges, particularly on the one being currently impressed to the IPs of Baguio, one thing is for sure; it is not IPRA that is being tested.
Nor the rights of indigenous peoples, as these rights have not ceased to exist, and are only awaiting society’s ability to recognize them. What is currently on trial is the willingness of our bureaucracy and people seated in power to finally rid themselves of prejudices and misplaced fears.
The IPs, especially those who believed and fought for IPRA, their crusade did not end with the enactment of IPRA in 1997.
They are mindful that their crusade is a continuous struggle to rid our nation the discrimination introduced by our colonizers that’s now institutionalized in our bureaucracy. It is about changing mindsets and prejudices.


20 million U.S. immigrants could face deportation

Perry Diaz

Since Donald J. Trump was elected President, legal and illegal immigrants are no longer safe from deportation even when they follow the law to a tee.  According to news reports, the Trump administration is “expected to issue a proposal in coming weeks that would make it harder for legal immigrants and illegal immigrants to become citizens.”  
Other reports said that Trump’s plan to deport them, which doesn’t need congressional approval, was part of White House senior adviser Stephen Miller’s plan to limit the number of immigrants who could obtain legal status in the U.S. each year.  His goal is to cut legal immigration in half and get rid of all illegal immigrants.
Who is Stephen Miller? 
Stephen Miller is Trump’s 32-year old senior policy advisor, speechwriter, anti-immigration policy chief, and right-hand troll.  A known provocateur, Miller is a white nationalist who supports rightwing, white supremacist, and alt-right causes.  An observer once described him as someone who “likes getting s rise out of people in a very sociopathic way.”
In his job in the White House, Miller developed policies such as the barring of individuals from Muslim majority countries, cuts to legal immigration, family separation, and the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).   
He used his influence in the White House to subvert bipartisan legislation that would have provided permanent protections for “Dreamers.” Dreamers are the young people – mostly Hispanic – who benefitted from former President Barack Obama’s DACA executive order when the DREAM Act -- Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors -- failed to pass in Congress several times.  
In September 2017, Trump rescinded DACA that has kept nearly 800,000 young immigrants from deportation since 2012.  Recently, he fashioned Trump’s controversial “Zero Tolerance Policy” that forcibly separated migrant children from their parents at the US-Mexico border.  And now, Miller’s ultimate dream of ridding the country of immigrants is about to become a reality. 
But Miller seems to be running away from reality in regard to his family roots.  His uncle David Glosser, a retired neuropsychologist and Miller’s uncle on his mother’s side, said that Miller’s great-great-grandfather Wolf-Leib Glosser left the village of Antopol in what is now Belarus amid “violent anti-Jewish pogroms” there and came to the US.  He landed on Ellis Island in 1903 and within a few years was able to bring over the rest of his family. 
“I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew, who is an educated man and well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country,” Glosser wrote.
Miller’s blueprint 
Miller’s master plan is to deport immigrants – legal and illegal – based on what he believed are “violations” of immigration laws.  His rulemaking proposal targets legal immigrants (green card holders) in the U.S. who have used or whose household members have used the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Food Stamp and other social programs, including the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for the aged.  
For participating in these social programs, illegal immigrants could be hindered from obtaining legal status, while legal immigrants’ application for citizenship could be imperiled.  In both cases, “violators” could be deported.  Those hardest hit are immigrants, mostly people of color, who are working in low-paying jobs that are not enough to support their families.   
 The crux of the matter is in a document called “affidavit of support,” which is required of all sponsors to execute.  Basically, it is a document an individual (sponsor) signs to accept financial responsibility for another person (new immigrant), usually a relative, who is coming to the United States to live permanently.  
An affidavit of support is legally enforceable; the sponsor's responsibility usually lasts until the family member or other individual either becomes a U.S. citizen, or can be credited with 40 quarters of work (usually 10 years). [Source: US Citizenship and Immigration Services]
The anti-immigrant blueprint designed by Miller and his white nationalist cohorts in the Trump administration first came to fruition in the early months of the Trump presidency.  The White House is currently reviewing the draft and once Trump approves it, it will be published in the Federal Register; thus, making it a law of the land. 
Elderly immigrants
 One of the groups that would be hardest hit by Miller’s anti-immigration initiative are elderly immigrants who were sponsored by their children under the Family Reunification law, which Trump refers to as “chain migration.”   
Since a majority of them were admitted to the U.S. in their senior years, they don’t have Social Security benefits and therefore don’t have any earnings or income.  As such, they would qualify to receive SSI benefits.  In addition, SSI is also used to help blind and disabled people, who have little or no income.  It also provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. 
The Family Reunification law allows the immigration of “immediate relatives” of US citizens, which is not subject to any annual visa numerical limits.  Immediate relatives are: (1) Spouses and unmarried children of US citizens; (2) Parents of US citizens; and (3) Widows, widowers, and children of deceased US citizens.
Chain migration           
Another anti-immigration policy that Miller has been working on is “chain migration.”  On January 8, 2018, The Hill reported: “Miller pushed the White House message on immigration reform, calling for a border wall and an end to ‘chain’ migration, the process by which an immigrant can petition to bring family members to the United States, as well as the adjustment of the country's visa lottery system.”  
But didn’t Miller realize that it was chain migration that made it possible for his family to enter the U.S. beginning in 1903?
It is interesting to note New York Times’ headline on August 9, 2018 that says: “Melania Trump’s Parents Become U.S. Citizens, Using ‘Chain Migration’ Trump Hates.”  The report said that Trump’s Slovenian in-laws, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, became US citizens by taking advantage of the Family Reunification program.  When their lawyer, Michael Wildes, was asked if the Knavses had obtained citizenship through “chain migration,” which Trump has repeatedly and vehemently denounced, he said, “I suppose.  Chain migration is a ‘dirtier’ way of characterizing the bedrock of our immigration process when it comes to family reunification.”
Punishing immigrants
Among the ethnic groups of immigrants that would suffer most under these changes to immigration laws are Filipinos. Filipinos, who are known for their close family ties, are arguably the largest group of citizens and legal immigrants who have sponsored their elderly parents to avail of Family Reunification Laws. 
One month into Trump’s administration, a draft executive order under consideration would have widespread chilling effects for legal immigrants including the prospective ones who have been waiting for many years – as much as 20 years -- to reunify with their relatives.  
Trump started attacking the process of sponsoring relatives as “chain immigration” and he vowed to stop it.  But it’s not limited to legal immigrants.  He also targeted illegal immigrants. 
 Once implemented, this sinister attempt to punish immigrants could result in mass deportation of an estimated 20 million legal and illegal immigrants -- Filipinos and other people of color.  
At no time in US history had this uprooting of immigrant families had been tried before. However, the large number of Filipinos working in the healthcare industry could have a crippling effect in hospitals, clinics, medical and nursing professions, and the elderly care home industry, which is growing fast due to the 60 million aging “baby boomers.”
 If Trump proceeds with the deportation of an estimated 20 million immigrants, the result could be catastrophic to the healthcare, agricultural, hotel and entertainment, sanitation, information technology, and other industries, which would have a crippling effect on the economy for lack of qualified professionals and skilled workers. (PerryDiaz@gmail.com)


The sound of the autonomy gong

Ramon Dacawi

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza was right in urging us, Cordillerans, to “continue making noise” in order to get the attention we desperately need from the national leadership for the creation of a Cordillera Autonomous Region.
“Let your presence be known and I am sure you will not be ignored because it is your right under the Constitution to have your own Autonomous Region of the Cordilleras, “ Dureza said during a Cordillera Autonomy Leaders Forum with Senators recently.
Well, for sometime now, we have been making noise. Each  time we mark the anniversary of the establishment of the Cordillera  as a separate administrative region - so installed to prepare us for autonomy =, we bring out the gongs.
Each time, we bring around each province of the Cordillera a gong that sounds “gong-gong-gong”. Yet, aside from saying what it says in the vernacular, the gong does not at all make a noise for Cordillera autonomy. Since it began as a highlighting feature of the annual observance of our creation as an administrative region, and given the funding for it, the gong-beating has yet to ring its purpose of convincing our people to go for autonomy.
 The fund for the “Cordillera Gong-gong Run” can well go to hiring three Dangwa buses and filling them up with Cordillerans in their indigenous attire on their way to Congress. With their banners for autonomy, the said Cordillera delegation can play their gongs to get the attention of the President along his way to his annual State-of-the-Nation Address.
Inside Congress, our Cordillera representatives can well greet the President in their G-strings and “tapis” and waving signs for their region’s autonomy. Their costume and billboards would get the attention and focus of the television cameras better than the “ternos” and “barongs” of the other delegations.
With Congress as venue and the annual SONA as backdrop, the pealing of Cordillera gongs would sound clearer,  and our message for autonomy heard by those who, we swear, should listen to our clamor for self-rule, This strategy would be a hundred-fold more effective than the remote, lonely sound of “gong-gong” that we annually beat ineffectively around the region.
It would do well, too, to review the terms of the peace-pact signed by the late Fr. Conrado Balweg and then President Corazon Aquino in their peace accord in Mt. Data on September 13, 1986.
It would do us good to have our Cordillera leaders  remind President Rodrigo Duterte that this region kept its vow for peace after it was signed by “Ka Ambo”( as Fr. Balweg was also known) and then President Aquino.   The Cordillera, the President should be reminded, kept its word of keeping the peace after that accord. Unlike in Mindanao where pacts were broken.
This fact would and should give the Cordillera an entitlement equal to, if not ahead of Muslim Mindanao which continued to be wracked by war despite having signed several peace pacts with the government.
With this region now salivating for attention equal to that being given to  Mindanao, a Cordilleran wished Fr. Balweg did not forge the peace pact at Mt. Data. His Cordillera People’s Liberation Army would still be intact and ready to fight if government does not address the region’s clamor for autonomy.
And now, aside from the repetitive “gong’gong”, what’s this we hear about the advocates organizing folk concerts-cum-speeches on advantages of self-rule to rally the people for autonomy? For us who love country music, it’s a curious, irritating blend to listen to both country music and a lecture on autonomy in the same venue. That’s why audiences are irked when folk musicians intersperse their renditions with speeches. “Kansyon ketdi, saan nga sao,” audiences would admonish the performers.
Money is also now and then spent to hire Manila people who, despite their lack of understanding about Cordillera autonomy, come and teach us how to advocate Cordillera autonomy. Like the purpose of the roving gong, this is also difficult to comprehend. (e-mail: mondaxbench@yahoo.com for comments.)


Pro-automation equals anti-corruption

Ike Señeres
equals anti-corruption
It may not be easy to spot the connection right away, but there is surely a direct correlation between automation and corruption. Simply put, if there is automation, there is no corruption. That is because if there is automation, there is no discretion.
Going direct to the point, if there is no discretion, there is no corruption. At the risk of sounding redundant, that is simply how it goes. No corruption if there is no discretion. No discretion if there is automation. To put this in another way, there is no in-between if everything is in black and white. If everything is in black and white, there are no gray areas. If there are no gray areas, then there is no room for discretion.
I have spent many years in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) business, and I have encountered many examples of how the “human factor” has hampered or has affected the implementation of ICT projects that would lead to automation. Perhaps it could be said that these “people” are just unwilling or unable to support these projects, but it seems that in many cases, “they” do not want to automate anything because that would prevent “them” from exercising their discretionary “powers”. As much as possible, these “people” would want to preserve the status quo because if everything is fully automated, they would be fully out of the loop.
While having dinner with a Filipino expat from Malaysia, we talked about the many possible ways of automating the public services of the Local Government Units (LGUs) in the Philippines. After hearing that local government automation is already very pervasive in Malaysia, our dinner host suddenly asked why we have not done it in the Philippines, meaning to say why we have not automated the similar services here.
Not really knowing how to answer him, I simply said that the reason, perhaps the one and only reason is the lack of political will. Even if I said that however, I did not exactly mean that the situation is hopeless, because I believe that there are some pockets of partial success all over the country where automation is starting to gain some traction, even if it has not reached the point of erasing or weakening corruption.
In theory, it is possible to systematize the information capabilities of the LGUs, even without computerization. Yes, paper records and ledgers could be kept even without computers. To add to that, corruption could actually be prevented by simply using manual methods. As a matter of fact, not even the use of computers could prevent corruption, especially if there is still discretion in the data entry. As the saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out” and that has not changed yet. In reality, there is really no need to choose between manual methods and electronic methods, because as it is supposed to be, good paper records are supposed to be the starting point of good electronic records.
Notwithstanding the problems and limitations of these present times, what we should be looking at in the long term future are smarter government agencies and smarter local governments where everything is modernized, everything is computerized and everything is automated. Setting aside the means of how that could be done, we should just say that the desired outcome is a government that is better and faster, a government that could be accessed all the time at anytime from anywhere, by anyone who needs anything from it, regardless of whether it is a report, a request or a complaint.
It goes without saying that the means of access should be electronic or contactless as the saying goes.
What started out as the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) scheme of long ago has apparently evolved into what is now known as the Public and Private Partnership (PPP) approach. As I understand it from my own perspective, one or the other would allow Joint Venture Projects (JVPs) of one form or the other. Perhaps no one is seeing it from the way that I see it, but JVPs could be an indirect form of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). In order to clearly define what is what is not however, I should say outright that a JVP could simply be a lesser version of the Joint Venture Corporation (JVC) approach; where there is there is really no need to form a new corporation.
It is said that there are many ways to skin a cat, and on that basis I could confidently say that the BOT scheme, the PPP approach, JVPs and JVCs are simply ways to attract private capital in order to fund public projects. Using an extreme example, it may already be possible to put up a JVP that will essentially privatize the construction and management of city jails and national prisons. In that example, the government could be spending less money per head per prisoner. As long as performance targets are met, what is there to complain about? In all likelihood, the use of JVPs and JVCs could be the way to achieve automation and defeat corruption. For feedback email iseneres@yahoo.com or text +639083159262



Man found dead near Burnham skating rink

BAGUIO CITY – Police are still trying to establish identity of a man who was found dead here August 11 around 6 a.m. near the skating rink at Burnham Park. The victim was wearing black slacks pants, black socks, black leather shoes, gray jacket with hood, white t-shirt, fair, medium size, about 5’4” to 5’5”  in height, 25 to 30 years old, and had visible injuries on his face and left ear.  
Investigation disclosed that the caretaker of the skating rink identified as Christopher Ibañez Lagario, 32 opened the gate to switch on the water tank and to throw out garbage, when he discovered the body lying prompting him to call the lady security guard identified as Mherly Lomayog Manongyao. Police found in the area a plastic transparent lunch box, blue canister; destroyed pink umbrella and black quartz wristwatch. The cadaver was later brought to La Paz Funeral Homes for autopsy examination.

 Ex-Vizcaya governor's house destroyed by fire

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya — A fire gutted the two-story house of former Nueva Vizcaya governor Rodolfo Agbayani night of August 12.
The fire, which reportedly started on the second floor of Agbayani’s house, spread to another building, which houses commercial establishments and offices in Barangay Don Mariano Marcos, which are also owned by the former governor.
Agbayani said he was recovering from an accident at their farmhouse in Barangay Magapuy with his family when the fire broke out.
The cause of the fire has yet to be determined. -- Victor Martin

Boy drowns in La Union river

SAN GABRIEL, La Union — A 19-year-old boy drowned after he was swept away by a strong current while fishing in the river in Barangay Carcarabasa, here last Monday.
The victim was identified as Mark Jake Subido, a resident of the same place. Rescuers found the victim’s body floating along the river bank at the nearby Barangay of Cabarsican, Bacnotan, La Union.
It was learned that the victim went fishing in the river during the height of the monsoon rains when he allegedly slipped into a deep portion of the river and was carried away by strong currents of water. -- Erwin Beleo

NPA Ifugao militia member surrenders

KIANGAN, Ifugao -- A Militia ng Bayan member of the New People’s Army surrendered here Aug. 12 to officials of the army’s 54th Infantry Battalion. With the surrenderee was his wife and shotgun with four bullets. A military report said the surrenderee whose name was not disclosed waned to lead a normal life without far of being suspected by government authorities as an NPA supporter.

Bizman shot in front of his house 

BAGUIO CITY – A businessman is now in critical condition here after he was shot several times by a gunman around 7:20 p.m. Monday at No. 21A Purok 11, Phase 2 Ciudad Grande, Bakakeng Sur. The victim was identified as Dexter Balancio De Guzman, 42, married while the suspect is still unidentified.
Investigation showed Melody Bautista Tatel, 22, house maid of the victim opened the gate of the victim’s house. De Guzman got off  from his Toyota GL Grandia van with when Tatel heard three successive gun shots and saw the victim fall in front of his vehicle that prompted her to seek for help.
The victim was brought to a hospital by a certain Gerald Del Monte, car wash attendant who was near the place of incident. The victim sustained gunshots multiple wounds and underwent surgical operation. The crime scene was processed by personnel of SOCO- Baguio City Crime Laboratory led by Chief Insp. Angeline Amangan. Motive of this case is yet to be determined.

Drug peddler slain in Pampanga

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga — The police-tagged No. 1 drug peddler in Barangay San Augustin, City of San Fernando has been killed in an anti-drug operation that resulted into a shootout, the Police Regional Office 3 said Tuesday.
Chief Supt. Amador V. Corpus, PRO3 director, identified the slain suspect as Manuel Dingle alias Toto, a resident of Boulevard in the said barangay.
The City of San Fernando Police Station operated against Dingle in Greenhills Village, where the shootout transpired. – Franco Regala

Estafa lands man in jail

BAGUIO CITY – A man wanted for estafa was arrested here August 12 at San Carlos Heights by police led by Chief Insp. Francisco Bongog Cacas Jr.
Nabbed was Bruce M. Becasen,46, single estafa through falsification of public documents with bail of P36,000 issued by Glenda T. Ortiz-Soriano presiding judge of Municipal Trial Court in Cities Branch 2, Baguio City. However while inside police office, cops arrived with another warrant against him for another similar charge. issued by Soriano with same amount of bail.
Becasen was detained.

Bizwoman files complaint vs ‘thieves’

BAUKO, Mountain Province – A businesswoman filed a complaint against a young man and his unidentified companion for allegedly stealing from her store around P10,575  worth of goods on Tuesday.
Juran Tarnate Bernardez, 48, married, of Mabaay, Bauko, Mountain Province reported to Bauko police that her establishment, Mountain View Cafe was allegedly robbed by Jason “Jerson” Dadecao Coniyat, 25 of Sitio Depas, Mabaay, Bauko with one unidentified companion.
Investigation disclosed on August 10 around 5 a.m. Rene Villalus, stay in caretaker of the establishment found the suspects entered the store by destroying the lock of the sliding windows and while inside carted away fish, meat, bread, noodles, burner stove among others.
The owner also filed for damages against the suspects saying the sliding door was destroyed. The suspects were identified upon review of CCTV footage mounted in the establishment.

Taxi driver nabbed for lasciviousness

ITOGON, Benguet – A taxi driver was arrested here last week for acts of lasciviousness and jailed at the Baguio City jail.
The suspect, named as Allan Frederick Jadormio Cortez, 53, widower, native of Candon City, Ilocos Sur and residing at  Baguio Gold Tuding Itogon.
Ivan Kim B. Morales, presiding judge of Regional Trial Court Branch 59, Baguio City ordered his arrest and set bail of. P12,000 for his temporary liberty.

Drive nabbed for rape in Tublay

TUBLAY, Benguet – A driver was arrested here Tuesday at Sitio Proper Tuel, for rape. Nabbed was Edgar Pawil Rubio, 41, resident of the area. This, after Marietta S. Brawner-Cualing, presiding judge of RTC Banch 9 ordered his arrest.

Man lands in jail for estafa

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – A resident of Maligcong, Bontoc, Mountain province was arrested here Tuesday for estafa. Arrested was Dickstien Chaguan Gusodan, 34, after warrant was issued against him by Danilo P. Camacho, presiding judge of Regional Trial Court, Branch 62, La Trinidad, Benguet with no bail recommended. Gusodan was incarcerated at the town jail.

 One hurt in Bangued, Abra road crash

BANGUED, Abra – A motorcycle driver was injured when his vehicle collided with a minicab here Tuesday around.
A police report said a certain Margarita Basos Valera went to Bangued police station and reported that a vehicular accident transpired along Abra-Ilocos Sur road in front of Caltex gasoline station in Barangay Lipcan, Bangued.
The report said the motorcycle was driven by Marnoll Basos Valera, 20 while the minicab was driven by Victor Damian Austodillo, 75.
Investigation disclosed the incident transpired around 11:30 a.m along Abra-Ilocos Sur road. Valera was headed towards Barangay Sinalang when he accidentally hit the minicab coming from the opposite direction about to turn left going to Caltex gasoline station.
The motorcycle driver sustained multiple abrasions and was rushed to Seares Hospital for medical treatment but was later discharged while the driver of the minicab was unhurt. Both vehicles were damaged.

Man in homicide case nabbed in army camp 

ECHAGUE, Isabela – A certain Senando Bannog, 35, of Poitan, Banaue, Ifugao was arrested here at the 513rd Engineers Contraction Brigade, Camp Melchor F dela Cruz, in Barangay Suyong after he surrendered to officers of 513 ECB and 502nd Infantry Brigade. This, after judge Ester L Flor of RTC Branch 34, Banaue Ifugao issued warrant for his arrest with no bail recommended.

 Man arrested for murder in Abra

PIDIGAN, Abra – A certain Joseph Catian Cadoy, 58 was arrested in his residence here at Barangay Poblacion East August 10 for murder. Judge Corpus B. Alzate of RTC Branch 1, Bangued, Abra earlier issued warrant for his arrest.

 Construction worker nabbed for rape

BAGUIO CITY – A construction worker identified as John Ang-ayan “Milio” Sakiwat, 53, was arrested in his residence here at Purok 7, Bakakeng Norte August 8 for rape.
Judge Cresencio I. Maliwat, presiding judge of Regional Trial Court, Second Judicial Region Branch 21, Santiago City, Isabela earl;ier issued warrant for his arrest with no recommended bail bond.

Man nabbed for hitting kid for asking food 

FLORA, Apayao – Police arrested a man for hitting and threatening a 9-year-old boy for asking food from his mother the suspect was drinking with.
 The kid identied as “Jam Jam”, 9 with his aunt Milagros Bunnao filed a complaint with police against he suspect named as Rommel Agustin alias “Birong”, of Poblacion East. 
Investigation disclosed around 8:30 a.m. of August 10, at  Poblacion East, the suspect told the kid,  “Pumanaw ka man ditoy nga ubing. Bekkelen ka la (Get out from here or I will strangle you.)” Jam Jam then left and went to his sister and asked for a Jelly Ace candy but again, the suspect shouted “Saan mo dawdawatan ta ading mo (don’t get food from your younger sister).”
Agustin suddenly threw a glass that hit the victim’s forehead and threatened him that he will beat him. He then grabbed the victim but the latter was able to escape and asked for help from his aunt.
 Manhunt operation was conducted by police led to the arrest of the suspect. The victim was brought to Flora District Hospital for treatment. Agustin was also brought to the hospital for medico-legal. The victim was referred to local Welfare office.

 Pickpocket lands in jail for stealing phone

BAGUIO CITY – A pickpocket is now in jail here for stealing the cellphone of an 18-year-old student around 6 p.m. on August 10, at the overpass along Harrison-Abanao road.
Complainant Jhanaica Jade Pomar Pe Benito filed a case against Wyndell Santos Gutierez, 18, single, resident hee of  No. 421, Gabriela Silang.
 Investigation disclosed the victim and her companion John Christian Duculan were walking when she felt somebody pulled her backpack. Benito looked back and saw the suspect withdraw his hand from inside the backpack and was holding her cellphone and wallet. However; the suspect immediately returned the items inside and ran away.
The victim narrated the incident to her companion at the same time pinpointing at the suspect. Duculan chased and subdued the suspect resulting to his arrest.
Inquest prosecutor Arlene Valerie Cacho ordered Gutierrez jailed.


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