3 firms eye development of Jadewell parking area

>> Thursday, September 26, 2019

By Jessa Mardy Samidan

BAGUIO CITY – With traffic still heavy in this summer capital, three firms signified their intent to develop a multilevel parking structure on Burnham Park’s Jadewell and Ganza area.
Representatives of the three companies have presented their unsolicited proposals during the Executive-Legislative Meeting of the city government on Sept. 16 as well as to the technical working group of the Burnham Park Master Development Plan on Sept. 17.
Engineer Joselito Lopez, managing officer of All Asia Structures Inc., proposed a Baguio central business district transport terminal and parking facility under Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) scheme worth Php400 million to accommodate at least 550 vehicles in a one-time parking basis.
Lopez proposed a 5-storey building with the first two floors as terminal for public utility vehicles with commercial spaces to accommodate Small-Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the city. He said the terminal will have a waiting area inclusive of rest rooms for the riding public’s safety and convenience.
He proposed that the existing U-overpass connecting Maharlika Livelihood Complex, Tiongsan Harrison and Hotel Veniz be connected to a shaded footbridge directly to the terminal. The terminal will also serve as loading and unloading of passengers for the yellow and green trunklines to clear the streets from parked jeepneys.
The second proponent is XY Fuji Elevator Co, LTD., a Chinese company represented by Engr. Ed Cruz who presented a mechanized parking facility with an estimated cost of Php270 million. The firm plans to develop a 3-storey building with four layers of modular facility made of bolts and steels to accommodate at least 668 cars.
Cruz wanted to develop a modern carpark similar to what his company has built in 168 Divisoria, Manila where vehicles are positioned in a metal slab then brought up and down automatically in less than a minute either parking or retrieval. He said the mechanized carpark can be built in a year and can be transferred to another area since this is made of detachable materials.
However, the proposed mechanized carpark will only be for short vehicles such as SUV. The facility will not be able to accommodate jeepneys or trucks since these requires longer and wider spaces.
The third proponent is CW Developments, Inc., an Australian firm represented by its CEO/Director Brian Cole. He proposed a 5-storey building with 600 slots for parking having an estimate cost of Php235 million under Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) scheme.
Aside from the unsolicited proposals, the City Buildings and Architectures Office also presented its plan for a parking facility which will be developed over Igorot Park and the commercial establishments selling lechon chicken. The Igorot Park will be move to the current Jadewell area so it will be proximate to the Melvin Jones football grounds.
Architect Arsenio Glen Martin Rillera said the plan was prepared during the administration of Mayor Mauricio Domogan but was shelved due to public opposition.
In the CBAO plan, the city will construct a 4-storey building with over 800 slots for parking complete with a lobby, rest rooms and commercial spaces to accommodate those selling lechon and food who will be affected in the development.
The building will feature a sky garden and green walls to jive with the park’s greeneries.
                During the presentation of carpark proposals, Councilor Philian Weygan-Allan asked for a time and motion study to be included in the final feasibility study of the proponents.
Councilor Vladimir Cayabas also asked the proponents to include in their final proposal the forecast if traffic generation once a carpark is developed within Burnham park. This was supported by City Administrator Bonifacio Dela Pena who opined that a parking building is a traffic generator since people will intentionally go to the facility to utilize the services.
Meantime, Architect Jodi Alabanza of the Burnham Park TWG said the proponents should consider environmental issues in their studies.
“Any development introduced in Burnham Park should be nature-oriented meaning reduce the protrusion of buildings because we want more greeneries. We want people to walk in the park so if there should be parking, it should be hidden if possible,” Alabanza said.

Councilor Mylen Victoria Yaranon, chairperson of the TWG said Mayor Benjamin Magalong and the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) are working closely to fund the development of a parking facility in Burnham Park if only lessen traffic in the CBD by removing street parking and to minimize the volume of vehicles going round the city’s streets due to lack of parking facilities.


Former Nueva Ecija town mayor’s supporters killed

By Jonas Reyes

STO. DOMINGO, Nueva Ecija — Two riding-in-tandem assailants who shot dead two supporters of former mayor Greg Andres on Sept. 20 are still unidentified.
According to Santo Domingo Police Station chief PMaj. Abraham Atencio, the victims were named as Herman and Imelda Moreno, husband and wife, of Barangay General Luna.
The couple were on board a Honda TMX tricycle in Purok 7 of Barangay Pulong Buli around 7:35 a.m. when the suspects appeared and shot Herman.
Atencio added that Imelda tried to escape, but was chased down and killed by one of the suspects.


Suspect in massacre of Bulacan family shot dead

By Freddie C. Velez

SAN JOSE DEL MONTE CITY, Bulacan -- Another person of interest in the gruesome killing of five members of a family here was shot dead by still unidentified gunmen inside his residence early morning last week.
Supt. Fitz Macariola, city police chief, in his report to Bulacan police provincial director Senior Superintendent Romeo Caramat Jr., identified the victim as Rosevelt Merano Sorema alias ‘Ponga.’
Initial investigation disclosed that two unidentified armed men, their faces concealed by masks and helmets, barged inside the house of Sorema and shot him several times.
Sorema is being eyed as one of the possible suspects in the massacre of members of the Carlos family.
Sorema was rushed to hospital but was declared dead on arrival by the attending physician.
Last Tuesday, a few hours before President Duterte and Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa visited the wake of the massacre victims here, 
Dapsy Daud, president of the homeowners association, said  Rolando Pacinos alias “Inggo”, linked to the family five victims of massacre, was found dead under a tree at around 6:30 a.m.
A piece of cardboard left on top of the victim’s body bore a message claiming that he was a drug addict and rapist who should not be emulated.
Carmelino Ibañes, who confessed to the killings, pointed to Pacinos as one of his two accomplices.
Meanwhile, even the high heavens apparently wept as rains poured as the victims were brought to their final resting place at the Citrus public cemetery here Monday morning.
Macariola said more than 2,000 people, including relatives sporting white headbands as sign of symphaty and belief that the victims will rest in peace and go to Heaven, attended the burial amid inclement weather.
Dexter Carlos Sr., a security guard and the husband, father and son in law of the victims, said he is still in shock.
“Hindi ko pa alam kung kailan ko malalampasan ang pangungulila sa pamilya ko. Ang hiling ko lang sa mahal na Pangulo ay kung sakaling maibalik ang death penalty ay unang sampolan ang mga gumawa nito sa aking pamilya,” Carlos said.


5 nabbed in Cordillera for illegal drugs; P600-K marijuana burned

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Five drug suspects were arrested even as P612,000 worth of marijuana plants were destroyed by police last week in different parts of the Cordillera.
In this capital town, Alexander Chavez Gucilatar, 45, driver, was arrested Monday morning at Barangay Puguis while Teofilo Nabadang Abellera, was apprehended at Kabildatan, Barangay Zone 7, Bangued, Abra in the afternoon.
Confiscated from Gucilatar were one sachet of suspected shabu,
P3,000 and one mobile phone while two sachets containing suspected shabu and P1,520 and cellphone were seized from Abellera. 
 In Baguio City,a certain Kimberly Anne Alvar Soriano, 42, was apprehended fronting Milan Building Padre Zamora Street on Sept. 20, 2019, while Erick Catalla Festejo was apprehended along Zone 3, Actividad, Economia Street, Bangued,  Abra on Sept. 19.
Confiscated from Soriano were sachet containing suspected shabu worth P1,000 while three sachets containing suspected shabu, P1,000, Redmi cellphone and other drug paraphernalia were seized from Festejo.
Still in Baguio City, a 17 year old minor, student of AL’s and a resident of Crystal Cave, was taken into custody on Sept. 19, after he was caught at AL's Building, Military Cut-Off in possession of marijuana.
Meanwhile, a total of P612,000 worth of marijuana plants were destroyed and burned during marijuana eradication drives on Monday. 
At Sitio Bacbacan, Barangay Poblacion, Kibungan, Benguet, some 300 seedlings of marijuana plants were discovered in a 60 square meter lot with an estimated Dangerous Drug Board value of P12,000.
These were uprooted while 3,000 fully grown marijuana plants discovered in plantation with an estimated DDB value of P600,000 were destroyed in Barangay Babanoy, Tanudan, Kalinga.


Former army officer shot dead in Luna

LUNA, Apayao – A retired army officer identified as Silverio Juan was shot to death by a still unidentified gunman here Monday around 11:30 a.m. at Barangay Quirino.
Barangay chairman Jimmy Morales who reported the incident to police said the victim was a resident of Barangay Dona Loreta in Pudtol town. Initial investigation showed that suspect fled using a motorcycle headed to Junction, Libertad, Abulug, Cagayan after the incident. Police pursued the gunman who sped off.


Ex-Ilocos Norte mayor convicted of breach of conduct, acquitted of graft

PASUQUIN, Ilocos Norte -- The Sandiganbayan Fifth Division has convicted former Pasuquin Mayor Victoria Andrea Peralta Aguinaldo and her husband, Oscar Dancel Aguinaldo, of their breach of conduct charge in relation to the irregular purchase of diesel fuel back in 2012.
They were both sentenced to pay a fine of P5,000 each.
Meanwhile, they were both acquitted of their graft charge in relation to the same case due to the failure of the prosecution to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
The two of them were charged for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Sec. 7(a) of R.A. 6713, also known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
The case stemmed from the municipality’s purchase of 2,600 liters of diesel worth P123,500 from North Metro Gasoline Station owned by Oscar.
In order to secure a conviction of graft, the anti-graft court said that they needed to prove that the procurement of the 2,600 liters of diesel required the conduct of competitive bidding.
However, based on the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, the court determined that “there is complete absence of any testimony that the procurement of 2,600 liters of diesel was required to be done through competitive bidding.”
One of the witnesses even testified that for purchases of gasoline and oil products, it was normal for the municipality to employ the shopping method.
The same cannot be said of their breach of conduct charge, which the prosecution managed to prove. The court likewise relied on what is stated in R.A. 6713, which prohibits officials from having any direct financial or material interest in public transactions.
So whether or not Victoria acted in good or bad faith in approving the transaction is “immaterial” in this case, the court ruled, since “mere possession of the prohibited interest is sufficient to incur criminal liability.”
“Oscar Aguinaldo’ s supplying the diesel fuel to the Municipality of Pasuquin, despite his knowing that his wife was the approving authority infers that he was a willing participant in violating Section 7(a) of R.A. 6173. The evidence therefore fully establishes their guilt,” the decision read.
The 29-page decision was written by Chairperson Rafael R. Lagos with the concurrence of Associate Justices Maria Theresa Mendoza-Arcega and Maryann Corpus-Mañalac.


4 NPA rebels surrender to Nueva Ecija police

By Ric Sapnu

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga — Four communist rebels surrendered to the Nueva Ecija police on Monday. 
Col. Victor Leon Rosete, Nueva Ecija police director, identified the rebel returnees as Villaflor Felix, 70, former secretary of the Alyansang Magbubukid ng Gitnang Luzon; Reynaldo Sobrepena, 56, a member of the Hukbong Bayan;  Jaime Gabres, former assistant secretary of the Samahang Magsasaka, and Armando Cajucom.
Rosete said the surrenderees did not turn over any firearm.


Dengue claims 17 lives in Cordillera

By Dexter A. See

BAGUIO CITY -- Health authorities said 17 people died due to dengue in different parts of the Cordillera Administrative Region over the past eight and a half months, or almost double compared to the same period last year.
Karen Lonogan, senior health program officer of the Dept. of Health-CAR, said the region recorded a total of 6,203 dengue cases as of September 7, 16 percent higher than the number during the same period in 2018.
Lonogan added that Kalinga had the highest number of cases at 992; followed by Benguet, 913; Apayao, 951; Abra, 841; Baguio City, 568; Ifugao, 562; and Mountain Province, 614.
There were 762 cases from non-CAR areas.
Of the 17 deaths recorded, six were from Benguet, five from Baguio City, three from non-CAR areas, two from Mountain Province and one from Kalinga.
“What is good here is that the local government units in our region are now very active with regard to the control and prevention of dengue.
Their anti-dengue task forces in their barangay (villages) have been activated, which helps in the decrease in cases,” Lonogan said.
The DoH-CAR observed that majority of those affected by dengue were 20 years old and below, while 50 were aged 12 years and below.
The Health department cited the need to conduct the 4S against dengue: search and destroy mosquito-breeding sites; [employ] self-protection measures (wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts, and daily use of mosquito repellent); seek early consultation; and support fogging or spraying.
Health officials called on residents to ensure the cleanliness of their surroundings, saying dengue-carrying mosquitoes thrive in clear and stagnant water.


New DepEd Cordillera assistant director named; division chiefs reassigned

By Georaloy I. Palao-ay

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The Dept. of Education-Cordillera Administrative Region welcomed its new assistant regional director in g rites here at the DepEd regional office last Monday.
Florante E. Vergara officially assumed as officer-in-charge of the office of the assistant regional director of DepEd CAR and replaced Bettina Daytec-Aquino, who was reassigned to Finance Services of DepEd Central Office.
Aquino served as full-fledged assistant director in Cordillera for almost two years since November 6, 2017 while Vergara served as schools division superintendent in several provinces and cities in the Cagayan Valley region.
Vergara, in his message, urged division offices, schools and personnel to cooperate and work collaboratively to ensure that DepEd CAR programs and projects will be implemented with the seal of good governance and transparency.
“With all humility, I accept this opportunity to assist CAR in safeguarding the welfare of our teachers, other personnel, students, parents and other stakeholders,” he added.
Aquino, on the other hand, expressed her gratitude to all regional and division personnel and assured that the Cordillera region will have a voice at the DepEd’s central office.
The outgoing director served as finance chief and later on as assistant regional director of Region 1 prior to her stint in this region.
Present during the installation and tribute were DepEd CAR Regional Director May B. Eclar and Region 2 Regional Director Estela L. Cariño and the superintendents and staff from both regions.
Meanwhile, all schools division superintendents in DepEd CAR were reshuffled recently by virtue of reassignment orders from DepEd Secretary Leonor M. Briones.
Abra will be headed by Gloria B. Buyao with Apayao by Sally B. Ullalim.
Taking over Baguio City is Marie Carolyn B. Verano; Benguet, Benilda M. Daytaca and Ifugao by Benedicta B. Gamatero.
Kalinga Province will be headed by Amador D. Garcia, Mt. Province by Federico P. Martin, and Tabuk City by Irene S. Angway.
The reshuffling was also due to the reassignment of Apayao Superintendent Ronald B. Castillo as the new assistant regional director of Region 1 last Sept. 18.
Another reshuffling of third level positions such as regional directors and assistant superintendents nationwide is expected by January next year.


Swine fever scare downs Pampanga pork sales despite clean meat; import ban pushed

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga — Hog raisers and meat producers in Pampanga reported a 75-percent drop in pork sales due to the African swine fever scare.
According to Toto Gonzales, spokesperson for the Pampanga Swine Producers Association (PSPA), their members have been suffering from low sales since last week even if Pampanga is still largely unaffected by the animal disease.
In a meeting with Gov. Dennis Pineda and agriculture officials on Monday, Gonzales said prices of pork also dropped to P100 per kilo from P127 last week.            
PSPA has sustained a P15-billion industry, with its commercial farms producing a minimum of 1,500 hogs a day for the domestic market. It directly employs more than 1,600 workers.
To address the glut, PSPA has proposed supplying seven Pampanga-based large meat processing companies that import their pork.
These have stopped buying from countries with cases of African swine fever.
Pineda has agreed to organize a meeting between PSPA members and meat processors.
Gonzales said pork had been scarce in Olongapo City since the ban of pork products imposed by the Bataan provincial government and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority since last week.
PSPA has been negotiating with authorities to lift the ban.
In Candaba town in Pampanga, backyard hog raisers still have 5,000 hogs to dispatch but they refuse to cull these at a compensation cost of P3,000 each from the government, according to Victoria Sandoval, representative of small hog raisers.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Monday confirmed cases of swine fever in several areas in Central Luzon region. Agriculture Secretary William Dar, however, declined to identify these areas.
Last week, the DA said there were cases of swine fever in 11 areas in the country, including several villages in Rodriguez town, Rizal province.
Earlier, the Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag) called on Dar to suspend the issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) permits for pork imports and to cancel all SPS still to be processed.
Although the reported swine fever outbreaks in Bulacan and Rizal provinces were already contained, the threat would continue if pork importation was not stopped, according to Rosendo So, Sinag chair.
“The volume of pork imports won’t matter. Even with little importation, if the product is contaminated with ASF (African swine fever), it could still pose risks,” So said in a statement.
He said the government should protect the P286-billion hog industry because a swine fever infestation would also affect other industries like corn, “darak” (rice bran), copra and sugarcane.
The ban on pork import would not violate the country’s commitment to the World Trade Organization, he said.
According to So, even with the total pork importation ban, the Philippines’ pork supply is still safe as the country produces 94 percent of local pork consumption.
Pork processors also buy from commercial farms, he said. There are 12,729,000 hogs in the country, raised in commercial farms and backyard piggeries, Sinag records showed.
The group asked the public to continue patronizing local pork products that, it said, “remain safe, clean and wholesome.” —With a report from Yolanda Sotelo


Ifugao farm roads boost heirloom rice production

By Elvy S. Taquio

BANAUE, Ifugao -- Three farm-to-market roads are now being constructed to boost heirloom rice production areas in Ifugao.
             The roads are being built under the Dept. of Agriculture’s Philippine Rural Development Project (DA PRDP) to make access to markets easier in top rice-producing municipalities of Ifugao.
            These include Anaba-Ducligan-Banao farm to market road and  improvement of Viewpoint-San Fernando FMR and Junction-Alimit-Nattum  which started recently.
Located in Banaue, the 8-km Anaba-Ducligan-Banao FMR is the first road opening subproject in Cordillera funded and implemented under the PRDP with a project cost of P245.64 million.
It is expected to benefit around 275 households with 1,255 population. The road project will connect three barangays – Anaba, Ducligan, and Banao, to the market centers within and outside the municipality.
As part of the road’s program of work, a 20-meter bridge will also be constructed in barangay Anaba.
Benefiting around 362 households with 1,841 population, the Viewpoint-San Fernando FMR in Banaue is a road improvement with a length of 4.8 kilometers.
It has a project cost of P124.81 million. A portion of the road however, of more than three kilometers, is also a new construction that will connect barangay San Fernando and barangay Viewpoint.
The improvement of this road will also bring rice farmers of barangay Lubu-ong in Hungduan municipality closer to market areas.
Engineer Anthony Gayumma of Banaue local government said  construction of these roads wsill not only to help farmers in bringing their products to the market but also to revive abandoned rice terraces in the municipality.
“There are a lot of abandoned rice terraces in these areas and with the construction of these roads, people will surely come back to till their lands and make it productive again,” he said.
On the other hand, the improvement of the 4.9-km Junction-Alimit-Nattum FMR in the municipality of Mayoyao has a project cost of P140.53 million benefiting around 296 households with 1,816 population. The NOL2 was issued earlier than the two mentioned subprojects.
Banaue ranked first on heirloom rice production among all municipalities in the province followed by Hungduan and Mayoyao.
FMRs connect rural agricultural areas to market towns. The PRDP, of which the DA is the main holder, has invested over two billion worth of infrastructure subprojects in the Cordillera provinces to date.
More than 81 percent of the total fund share consists of 13 FMR subprojects in support to the champion commodities of the region, and counting.


Heavy traffic hurts Baguio tourist influx

By Dexter A. See

BAGUIO CITY: Local tourism stakeholders have blamed worsening traffic congestion in the city for the steady decline in tourist arrivals since the start of the year.
Anthony de Leon, president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio and general manager of the Baguio Country Club, recently disclosed that hotels in the city began feeling the consistent drop in arrivals during the Holy Week this year when occupancy rate was 60 percent compared to the 90 percent in 2018.
He said the past years had been banner ones for the city’s hotel industry because of the 80- to 90- percent occupancy rate, but the 2019 rate has been reeling from gridlocks, depriving visitors of stress-free travel to Baguio’s tourist spots.
“We are keeping our fingers crossed that the local tourism industry will rebound during the remaining months of the year.
We also hope that concerned government agencies and the city government will formulate appropriate strategies to significantly improve the traffic situation in the city for us to win back our foreign and domestic tourists,” de Leon added.
Jeff Ng, general manager of Hotel Supreme, said Baguio still enjoys a good market for meetings, conventions and events, but added the chaotic traffic must be addressed efficiently to preserve that niche.
Ng admitted to the decreasing tourist arrivals in the city, but, like de Leon, he was optimistic that Baguio would be able to attract more visitors in the next few months.
Ramon Cabrera, general manager of Camp John Hay Manor, expressed fear that their occupancy rate until the end of the year would fall to 85 percent.
But he said hotels in the Summer Capital are upbeat that occupancy would go up as Christmas approaches.


Cordillera farmers get P700-M agriculture aid

BAGUIO CITY – The Dept. of Agriculture has provided P700.44 million-worth of project assistance to 42 farmers’ associations and cooperatives in the Cordillera Administrative Region as part of its effort to increase productivity, income and competitiveness of food growers across the country.

Agriculture Secretary William Dar awarded the interventions, which cover various farm machinery, including tractors, irrigation systems and harvesters; farming technologies, including greenhouses; and other farm inputs, during a farmers’ forum on September 20 in La Trinidad, Benguet.
He said the initiative is part of the agency’s battle cry of bountiful harvest and prosperous farmers and fisherfolk, specifically done through reviving the pro-farmer and pro-consumer “Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita” program of the DA.
“Merong mga kaakibat na tulong at credit facilities ang bawat programa ng DA (There are corresponding assistance and credit facilities to each program of the DA).
We want to link farmers to market facilities in Metro Manila so that we can give them better opportunities to produce and earn more,” Dar added.
The Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita, a collaborative project of the DA Department of the Interior and Local Government and Food Terminal Inc. a government-owned and -controlled corporation aims to provide poor Filipino households with major agricultural goods at reasonably low prices.
“Through this intervention, we can now link farmers from Benguet to major market outlets in Metro Manila and even other cities in the Cordilleras and all over Luzon,” Dar said.
Benguet is considered as the “Salad Bowl” of the Philippines because of huge production of upland vegetables in the province.
It provides 80 percent of the country’s vegetable needs.
Under its new leadership, the DA was banking on its “new thinking” strategy which aims to empower farmers, fishers and the private sector to increase productivity and profitability through agriculture sustainability and resilience.
Such initiatives will focus on trading, marketing and value-adding activities, among others.
Dar said the DA will focus on growth and development on eight paradigms: modernization of agriculture, industrialization of agriculture, promotion of exports, farm consolidation, roadmap development, infrastructure development, higher budget and investments for agriculture and legislative support.



Death benefits for poor senior citizens eyed

BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance granting death assistance benefit for indigent senior citizens of the city and for other purposes.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Betty Lourdes F. Tabanda states death benefits shall be given to the surviving heirs per beneficiary as the city government’s assistance to the bereaved family of the deceased.
Among benefits to be received by the surviving heirs of the deceased senior citizens include P10,000 if the cause of death of the indigent senior citizen is natural and P20,000 if the cause of death is by accident.
The ordinance stipulates the City Social Welfare and Development Office, in consultation with the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA), shall formulate the guidelines for the availment of the death benefits by the bereaved family of the deceased indigent senior citizen.
                The ordinance adds that funds for the implementation of the death benefits for indigent senior citizens shall be charged against the funds allotted for the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) under the City Social Welfare and Development Office.
Under the proposed ordinance, indigent senior citizens shall refer to any elderly who is frail, sickly or with disability and without pension or permanent source of income, compensation or financial assistance from his or her relatives to support his or her basic needs, as determined by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in consultation with the National Coordinating and Monitoring board.
On the other hand, the ordinance defines the nearest surviving relative as the legal spouse who survives the deceased indigent senior citizen; provided that, where no spouse survives the deceased, they shall be limited to relatives in the degree of kinship such as children, parents, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, uncles and aunts.
Republic Act (RA) No. 9994, otherwise known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, provides that senior citizens shall be entitled to death benefit assistance of a minimum of P2,000 which will be given to the nearest surviving relative of a deceased senior citizen which amount shall be subject to adjustment due to inflation in accordance with the guidelines to be issued by the DSWD.
Section 4.4 of Ordinance No. 16, series of 2019 which provides the guidelines for the implementation of assistance to individuals in crisis situations in the city granted a maximum of P5,000 per beneficiary to defray funeral or burial expenses.
As stated in the provisions of RA 9994, the ordinance notes that the amount of the death benefit assistance shall be subject to adjustments due to inflation, thus, it is fair and just to raise the benefit to a reasonable and realistic amount to be attuned to rising cost of the time.
The ordinance was referred by the City Council to the concerned committee for study and recommendation. -- Dexter A. See



Taxi driver nabbed in drug bust operation

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Police conducted a buy-bust operation which led to arrest of a taxi driver here around 10 a.m. on Monday. Alexander Chavez Gucilatar, 45, married, here of Wayside, Puguis was arrested at Barangay Puguis with a sachet of suspected shabu, P3,000 and cell phone. 

Miner captured for carnapping

BAGUIO CITY – Police apprehended a miner here Monday at Barangay Kias for carnapping. Nabbed was Sunny Paoay Ciriaco, 37, married, local resident. The arrest was made after warrant was issued against him by Rufus Malecdan Jr., presiding judge of RTC Branch 60. Ciriaco was indicted earlier for two counts of carnapping with bail set at P120,000 for each case. The accused posted bail.

Man apprehended in Bangued for shabu

BANGUED, Abra – A certain Teofilo Nabadang Abellera was arrested here Monday around 12 noon in a drug buy-bust operation in Kabildatan, Barangay Zone 7. Confiscated from the suspect were two sachets containing shabu,
P 1,520 cash and cellphone.  Abellera and confiscated items were brought to municipal police station.

Itogon, Benguet cops nab man in Pangasinan town

DON BENITO, Pangasinan – Cops from Itogon, Benguet traced a man wanted for violation of Republic Act 9262 (violence against women and children) and another crime in this town and nabbed him around 3 p.m. Nabbed was
Gerald Marcelo Degawan after warrant of arrest was issued against him by Marietta S. Brawner Cualing of RTC, Branch 9, La Trinidad, Benguet.  The judge set bail of P100,000 for the suspect’s temporary liberty.

 Estafa case filed vs Jordan national

BAGUIO CITY – A complaint for estafa was filed against a Jordan national identified as Jehad Abualsoud, 22 for allegedly ordering five pieces of jeans worth P4,000 on Sept. 20 but didn’t pay for the items.
Complainant Kaycee Dyn L. Mabitazan reported to Police Station 2, the suspect, resident here of Barangay Padre Burgos has not yet paid the jeans to date forcing her to file the complaint on Tuesday.

Man denied bail for large-scale estafa

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya – Police from Baguio City and Nueva Vizcaya traced and arrested a man here for large-scale illegal recruitment after Judge Rufus G. Malecdan Jr. of RTC, Branch 60, Baguio City issued warrant against him.
Arrested here at Barangay Don Mariano Marcos around 2 a.m. Wednesday was Andrei Perez aka Andres Salcedo who was denied bail by Judge Malecdan.
Judge Jose Godofredo M. Naui of RTC, Branch 27, Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya also issued warrant against the suspect for violation of Republic Act 8042 (overseas recruitment law) with bail set at P24,000.

Child abuse, vexation lands man in jail

SOLANO, Nueva Vizcaya – A man was arrested here Tuesday for child abuse and unjust vexation. Nabbed by Benguet, Mountain Province and Ifugao police was Jiro M. Martizano after warrant was issued against him by Judge Marietta S. Brawner Cualing of RTC, Branch 9, La Trinidad, Benguet. Bail was set at P160,000 and P2,000 respectively for said crimes.

‘Illegal gambler’ held in Baguio

BAGUIO CITY – Police nabbed a man here Tuesday at Tabora Park, Sinkhole, Lower Magsaysay for illegal gambling.Apprehended was Chris L. Maynes after Judge Roberto R. Mabalot of MTCC, Branch 1, Baguio City issued warrant against him with bail set at P6,000.

Forestry law violator nabbed

BAGUIO CITY – A certain Bernabe C. Santiago was arrested here Tuesday at Purok 3 Outlook, Drive for violation of Forestry Law. Santiago was arrested after Judge Maria Clarita Casuga-Tabin of MTC, Branch 4, Baguio City issued warrant against him. The judge set bail of P60,000 for Santiago’s temporary liberty.

Judge issues warrant vs man for attempted rape

BAGUIO CITY -- Judge Michael V. Francisco of RTC, Branch 6, Baguio City issued warrant against a man for attempted rape and set bail of P72,000 for his temporary liberty. Following this, police arrested suspect Jake Z. Fernandez here Tuesday and brought him to police station.

 Woman held in La Trinidad for estafa

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – A woman was arrested here Tuesday for estafa. Nabbed was Flora T. Lecwasen after warrant was issued against her by Judge Leody M. Opolinto of MTCC, Branch. 3, Baguio City. The judge set bail of P40,000 for Lecwasen’s temporary liberty.

 Woman in estafa case arrested

BAGUIO CITY – Police arrested a certain Domingo Balangen here Tuesday at No. 228 Holyghost Extension for estafa. This, after Judge Mia Joy C. Oallares-Cawed of RTC of  Branch 4, Baguio City issued warrant against her. The judge set bail of P80,000 for the suspect’s temporary liberty.

Woman held in Tabuk for theft

TABUK CITY – A certain Lorena L. Panabang was arrested here Tuesday at at Dagupan Centro, for qualified theft. The suspect was nabbed by virtue of warrant issued by Judge Nympha D. Abbacan of MTCC, Dagupan Centro who set bail of P24,000 for Panabang’s temporary liberty.

Judge denies bail to woman in theft case

BAGUIO CITY – A judge denied bail to a woman nabbed for theft here Tuesday at Barangay at Padre Burgos. The suspect was named as Shey P. Fernandez. Judge Melita Amylesha G. Delson-Macaraeg of MTC, La Trinidad, Benguet earlier issued warrant against her.

Cops nab man for illegal gambling

BAGUIO CITY – Police apprehended a man here Tuesday at Slaughter Compound for illegal gambling.  Suspect Rex C. Ramos was earlier ordered arrested by Judge Roberto R. Mabalot of MTCC, Baguio City. The judge set bail of P6,000 for Ramos’s temporary liberty.

Woman held for bouncing checks

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – A certain Gyemel B. Tumayan was arrested here Tuesday along km 5, Pico for bouncing checks.  This, after warrant was issued against her by Judge Melita Amylesha D. Macaraeg of MTC, La Trinidad, Benguet. Bail was set at P20,000.

 Woman held in Tadian for estafa

TADIAN, Mountain Province – A woman was arrested here Tuesday at Barangay Lubon for estafa. Suspect Petra Betot was earlier issued warrant by Judge Amparo M. Malinias Espada of MCTC, Tublay-Atok, Tublay, Benguet with bail set at P1,200.

Baguio cops trace theft suspect in La Union

ROSARIO, La Union – Cops from Baguio and this province arrested here Tuesday a suspect wanted for qualified theft. Nabbed at Bacani Street, Cataguintingan was Tristan P. Pandico Jr. after warrant was issued against him by Judge Mia Joy Oallares-Cawed of RTC, Branch 60, Baguio City.The judge set bail of P62,000 for Pandico’s  temporary liberty.

2 persons nabbed for malicious mischief

BOKOD, Benguet – Two persons were arrested here Tuesday at Barangay Bobok for four cases of malicious mischief. Apprehended were Marilyn K. Daway and John I. Alperez afterJudge Jonathan Chavez Segundo of MCTC, Kabayan-Bokod, Benguet issued warrant against them.

Man held in Asipulo for acts of lasciviousness

ASIPULO, Ifugao – Cops captured a man identified as Agustin D. Maddawat here Tuesday at Sitio Bili, Amduntog for acts of lasciviousness. This after warrant was issued against him by Judge Romeo Habbiling of RTC, Branch 14, Lagawe, Ifugao. The judge set bail of P180,000 for Maddawat’s temporary liberty.

Man nabbed for violating small-scale mining law

ITOGON, Benguet – A certain Herman Tabingan Dapyawen was arrested here Monday at Nay-en, Ampucao for violation for Small Scale Mining Act (RA 7076). This after warrant was issued against him by
Judge Linda Bading Gumabol, acting presiding judge of MTC, Itogon. Bail was set at P12, 000 for Dapyawen’s temporary liberty.

 Woman held for bouncing checks

SABLAN, Benguet – A woman was arrested here Monday for issuing bouncing checks. Nabbed was Arlyne Mainim Palgue, 39, married, resident of Baguio City.
The arrest was made after Gaerlan-Mejorada, presiding judge of MTC, City of Pasig, Branch 70 issued warrant against her for violation of Batas Pambansa 22 “Anti-Bouncing Checks Law.” Bail was set at
P 2,000.

Man lands in Baguio City jail for theft

BAGUIO CITY – Police arrested a certain Edwin Mabanglo Bautista, 29, single, high school graduate, native of Mangatarem, Pangasinan for theft. This, after warrant was issued against him by Noe T. Aquino, presiding judge of 5th MCTC, Tuba-Sablan, Benguet. The judge set bail of P38,000 for the subject’s temporary liberty.

 2 men nabbed for murder in Kabugao

KABUGAO, Apayao – Two men were arrested here Monday for murder. Nabbed were Regie Dinong Nario, 27, single, and Mark Dave Dinong, 26, single, both unemployed of this town.
This, after warrant was issued against them by Jorges Manaois Jr. presiding judge of RTC First Judicial Region Branch 10, La Trinidad, Benguet. The judge bail to both suspects.

Waitress arrested for serving liquor

MANKAYAN, Benguet – A waitress was arrested here Monday for violation of a municipal ordinance on observance of curfew in sale of liquor.  Alebeth Basinga Baclili, 34, married, waitress here of Poblacion was arrested after warrant was issued against her by Jonathan C. Segundo presiding judge of Mankayan MTC.

Baguio cops nab woman in Quezon City for estafa

QUEZON CITY – Cops from Baguio City traced a woman wanted for estafa in the summer capital and arrested her Monday at LTFRB Extension Office, Timog Avenue. Nabbed was Karen Carreon, female, 38, single, self-employed and resident of 9th Ave., Murphy, Cubao, Quezon City. The arrest was made after warrant was issued against her by Marie Ligaya V. Rivera, presiding judge of 1st Judicial Region, RTC, Branch 5, Baguio City. The judge set bail of P300,000 for Carreon’s temporary liberty.

Man held in Kabugao for violation of forestry law

KABUGAO, Ifugao – A certain Jerome Corpus Dela Cruz was arrested here Monday at Sitio Landing, Poblacion for violation of Presidential Decree 705 (Forestry Law). This after Judge Jorges Manaois Jr. of RTC, Br 10, La Trinidad, Benguet issued warrant against him. Manaois set bail of P50,000 for the suspect’s temporary liberty.

2 men stabbed to death in Isabela

TUGUEGARAO CITY,  Cagayan — Two men were stabbed to death during a drinking spree in Barangay Pasa, Ilagan City, Isabela on Sept. 22. Police said Rodel Versoza, 23, and Gerry Timbreza, 34, died on the way to a hospital. The suspect, Resty Mateo, 29, a carpenter, was arrested by responding police officers. Witnesses said Mateo had an argument with the victims, whom he accused of eating their pulutan or finger food. – Raymuind Catindig

 2 stabbed to death in Ilagan drinking spree

By Raymund Catindig

ILAGAN CITY, Isabela — Two men were stabbed to death during a drinking spree here in Barangay Pasa on Sept. 22.Police said Rodel Versoza, 23, and Gerry Timbreza, 34, died on the way to a hospital. The suspect, Resty Mateo, 29, a carpenter, was arrested by responding police officers.  Witnesses said Mateo had an argument with the victims, whom he accused of eating their pulutan or finger food.  


La Union pork ASF free: San Fernando City vet

By Erwin Bele

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – The City Government of San Fernando, through the City Veterinary Office, has assured that pork meat in this city and the rest of the province is free of the African Swine Fever (ASF) virus.
              “We guarantee that all pork meat being sold at the city auxiliary wet market and slaughtered here goes through several inspections,” said Flosie Decena, city veterinary officer.
Pork meat being sold in the market here comes from the city’s pig racers and from the neighboring towns of Pangasinan.
“La Union and Pangasinan are very strict. We have highly contiguous security measures to prevent the entry of ASF,” Decena added.
According to Melinda Adriano, president of the meat vendors’ association, said that their pork meat sales have declined due to fears of ASF contamination.
“Takot ang mga customer naming unang-una, naapektuhan siyempre ang benta, ngunit sa tulong ng mga inspector sa city veterinary, nakikita naman nila na nag-checheck sila at ipinapaliwanag na ang produkto dito sa San Fernando ay malinis at safe,” Adriano said.
Decena advised consumers to avoid buying frozen pork products that are being sold at a cheaper price.
The Office of the Provincial Governor issued Executive Order no. 23, series of 2019 which declared a temporary ban on the entry of live swine/pigs, fresh and frozen pork, and pork products into the provinces from ASF-infected areas as confirmed by the Department of Agriculture in the province.
The ASF is a deadly animal disease affecting pigs and wild boars with up to 100% mortality. It has no known cure but it is harmless to humans.
Over five million pigs in Asia have died in the past year due to ASF, according to the latest data of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.


Mayor wants Session Road closure up to December

By Dexter A. See 

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong requested the City Council to extend the closure of the ascending lane of Session road to allow concerned offices to have ample time to assess and evaluate the impact of the traffic experiment scheme to the people of the city.
In his letter dated Sept. 12 to the council, the city chief executive informed the city legislators the city government has received positive comments from residents and tourists with respect to the implementation of the temporary closure of the ascending lane of Session Road for four consecutive Sundays.
Earlier, the City Council passed Ordinance No. 65, series of 2019 approving the closure of the ascending lane of Session road to vehicular traffic for four Sundays upon approval subject to the explicit conditions.
Section 2 of the same ordinance states that the early termination or extension of the traffic experiment shall be determined by the City Mayor.
                The city mayor said enactment of the said ordinance is a concrete manifestation that through the joint efforts and cooperation of city officials, they can carry out together more effectively their good plans for a better Baguio.
Pursuant to Section 2 of the above ordinance, he sought the support of the City Council the necessity of extending until December 2019 the closure of the ascending lane of Session “road every Sunday.
He told members of the City Council that during the extension, if approved, concerned offices will be strictly abiding by the terms and conditions of the closure stated under the approved ordinance.
The city mayor signed Ordinance No. 65, series of 2019 on August 9, 2019 and was supposed to take effect after the conduct of a 2-week information education campaign to guide the residents and tourists alike on the implementation of the scheme.
The closure of the ascending lane of Session road started on August 18, 2019 and that the four Sundays was supposed to commence on September 8, 2019.
Among the conditions imposed by the ordinance include that the closure shall apply to the ascending lane of Session road beginning in the area fronting the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) up to the last pedestrian crossing fronting the Baguio Post Office from 6 am to 9 pm during Sundays; at the same time Upper and Lower Mabini Streets towards Harrison Road shall be open to vehicular traffic and the implementation of the said closure shall be pursuant to Section 2 of Ordinance No. 21, series of 2011 which provided for the guidelines in the conduct of traffic experiments in the city.
All traffic experiments shall be conducted for a period not exceeding six months.
Upon the lapse of the 6-month period and no ordinance is enacted, the traffic scheme will automatically revert to its status before the implementation of the experiment.


The many-headed hydra that is the CPLA

Alfred P. Dizon

BAGUIO CITY – If the so-called Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA) had earned a notorious reputation, it is because over the years, they have come to be known as human rights violators, “protector” of land squatters and speculators and being involved in illegal acts.
They have also been reported as having gotten millions of pesos under previous governments as “reconciliation money” for their so-called projects for their beneficiaries which those in the grassroots said, never reached them.
Some years ago, people were shocked in this summer capital when they paraded in full battle gear, an affront to government lawmen and peace-loving citizens.    
The city council as a result, made a resolution making the CPLA persona non grata in this summer capital.
But then, on Sept. 13, they held another parade purportedly to celebrate the peace pact they had with the Cory Aquino administration which they claimed, was the basis for the creation of the Cordillera Administrative Region.
Baguio residents again made a howl showing their displeasure making Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong announce the city government did not sanction the parade in the city’s central business district.
Reports had it that it was held by an “ousted” CPLA faction of the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) to commemorate what they called the 33th years of the “historic” Mount Data peace accord entered between the Philippine government under former President Corazon C. Aquino and former rebel priest and CPLA head Conrado Balweg.
Magalong claimed he was not aware having signed a permit for the conduct of the parade by the said group considering the CPLA armed group ceased to exist when it entered into a “closure agreement” with the Philippine government in July 2011.
Basing from a city hall report, Magalong said the local government will not allow such activities by the armed group considering that the city does not recognize the CPLA’s existence despite the claim of some CPLA combatants in some parts of the Cordillera that they were not part of the alleged closure agreement.
The city mayor said in the meantime, the city government will not recognize any activity of the CPLA in the city considering that as far as he knows, the group already entered into a closure agreement with the national government that should have resulted to the dissolution of the organization.
According to him, if there are internal matters between the factions of the organization which have not been settled, then it is appropriate for them to settle their rifts without intruding into the jurisdiction of local governments that decided not to recognize them as they are trying to sow confusion for them to be able to pursue their interests using the group for their personal and political interests.
He said similar activities of the CPLA in the city will no longer push through in the future as the city government already made its firm position on the matter so there will be no suspicion the city government is playing favorites to a faction of the CPLA.
In 1999, the city government declared some CPLA officials persona non grata in the city for their alleged involvement in alleged illegal activities to serve as warning to other officers and members not to be involved in alleged illegal activities that  affect the  image of the city.
Despite the previous condemnation done by the local government on the alleged illegal activities of the group in the city, there are still a number of people who reportedly still use the name of the organization to pursue their alleged clandestine activities for their own personal and political interests.
Meanwhile, in Camp Melchor Dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela, another group of former CPLA members who have been integrated into the Philippine Army lauded creation of a body that will keep track of the progress made in the implementation of the peace agreements signed by the group and the national government.
Aside from the opportunity for them to become part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the CPLA has also been tapped by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) in creating the Joint Evaluation and Monitoring Committee (JEMC).
 “We were given a second chance. The AFP waived requirements for us such as age, height, marital status, among others. They embraced us wholeheartedly,” now Army Cpl. Revaliza Gulingan told Villam or Visaya Jr. of the Philippine News Agency last week.
Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr., who led a program to commemorate the signing of the peace pact in Camp Gamu, said this mechanism “will serve as the venue wherein the parties can jointly develop comprehensive and sustainable programs to help transform former combatants, their families, and communities.”
 “It is the ultimate desire of the President (Duterte) and to fulfill the government's obligations to all signed peace agreements, and to ensure that the people will benefit from it," he was quoted as saying.
"Because the government has a mandate to take care of the general welfare of the people, we have to look for ways to help them.”
The PNA report said “Galvez led the wreath-laying to honor Army soldiers killed in the line of duty and the unveiling of the marker to memorialize the contribution of the CPLA fighters who fought side-by-side with government forces against the communists for 33 years.”
He said he will propose a concept similar to the Inter-Cabinet Cluster Mechanism on Normalization being implemented for decommissioned Moro Islamic Liberation Front members, wherein key government agencies are pooling their expertise and resources to help the former combatants and their families reintegrate to mainstream society as peaceful and productive civilians.
“We will look at the welfare not only of the former combatants but also their families and their communities,” he said.
Galvez said the special intervention will include “unreached former members, widowers and next of kin of martyred former members.”
The funds for the initiative will be lodged with the government’s Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan or PAMANA, which is the national government's convergence program that extends development interventions to isolated, hard-to-reach and conflict-affected communities, to ensure they are not left behind in the development process.
Galvez noted that the peace process in the provinces of Kalinga, Abra, Apayao, Ifugao, Benguet, and Mountain Province will enhance the approaches and strategies that are in line with the implementation of Executive Order 70, the President's whole-of-nation approach, with local counterparts.
Joining Galvez during the ceremonies were Maj. Gen. Pablo M. Lorenzo, 5th Infantry Division commander, and Brig. Gen. Bismarck D. Soliba, who is recognized as the most active senior military officer from the Cordillera, as well as World War II veterans.
Militant groups like the Cordillera Peoples Alliance are now saying it seems the CPLA is still being pampered by the government which doesn’t know or pretending not to know their notorious past.
They are saying they should not be treated like they are heroes considering the many crimes they have committed.
This many headed hydra that is the CPLA, they say, should be confined to the dustbin of history so it cannot rear its ugly head.


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