SNAP sends aid to storm--hit provinces

>> Monday, November 30, 2020

‘We own Magat Power Plant not Magat Dam’ 

Renewable energy company SN Aboitiz Power (SNAP) has mobilized relief operations in its host and neighboring communities affected by Typhoon Ulysses.
    SNAP has set aside P3.5 million for the operations which it launched on Nov. 16.
    As of Nov. 20, it has delivered around P3.35M worth of relief goods to the provincial governments of Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, and Ifugao; Cagayan State University in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan; and the Cagayan Red Cross.
    SNAP team headed by AVP Plant manager Willy Ferrer (2nd from right) turns over food aid to Isabela Vice Gov. Bodjie Dy
    Initial relief supplies from SN Aboitiz Power were turned over to Cagayan State University represented by Administrator Dr. Judy Luyun last November 16
    The aid consisted of rice, other food supplies, and water. SNAP also partnered with Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. and PILMICO which were jointly donating around PhP2M worth of medicine and vitamins, food packs, and bottled water for the next wave of relief to affected communities.
    Meanwhile, it clarified that it operates the Magat Hydroelectric Power Plant on the border of Isabela and Ifugao, but not Magat Dam, which is owned by the National Government through the National Irrigation Administration.
     SNAP issued this clarification after several social media posts and news stories erroneously identified SNAP as owner or operator of the Magat Dam.
     “SNAP does not own, manage, or operate Magat dam and its re-regulating facilities. It took over Magat hydroelectric power plant in 2007 after a successful privatization bid. Magat dam is a multi-purpose dam primarily for irrigation and flood control. As such, the ownership, management, and operations of Magat and Maris dams and all other non-power components such as reservoirs and spillways remained with the government through the National Irrigation Administration (NIA),” SNAP said in a statement.
    SNAP Group is a joint venture of SN Power of Norway and AboitizPower. It owns and operates the Ambuklao and Binga hydroelectric power plants in Benguet; the Magat hydroelectric power plant on the border of Isabela and Ifugao; and the Maris hydroelectric power plant in Isabela. The ownership, management, and operations of all non-power components such as dams, reservoirs, and spillways remain with the government.


Mt Prov battle of bands, dance winners awarded

By Erwin S. Batnag

BONTOC, Mountain Province – The provincial government awarded the winners of the recently concluded 2020 drug-free song online battle of the bands and drug-free song online dance animation contests of the local Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council (PADAC) on Nov. 19.
    For the PADAC Battle of the Bands-Year 4, the Saint Vincent High School Band of Bontoc brought home the championship trophy while the Thearmuz band of Masla, Tadian and UpYoung band of Sagada came second and third place, respectively.
     Out of nine entries for the dance animation contest, the Kilong Elementary School Group of Sagada bagged the first price while the only participating group from outside the province, the Hingyon Group of Ifugao was second and Saint Vincent High School Group of Bontoc came third.
     All participants for the two contests received PADAC t-shirts and certificates of participation and recognition.
    The first placers received cash price of P10,000 while the second and third placers got P7,500 and P5,000, respectively.
    Other participating groups received P1,000 each as consolation prizes.
    Online contests were initiated by Fr. Marcial Lloyd C. Castaňeda to sustain the province's campaign against illegal drugs.
It was funded by the provincial government through its local anti-drug abuse council.
     During the awarding ceremony, Fr. Castaňeda said the contests aimed to sustain the province’s campaign against illegal drugs through social media, music and dance despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
    “We need to involve the youth in our advocacy against illegal drugs through creativity like arts, dancing and music. These two beautiful elements of life are very attractive to the youth; hence, it makes sense to make use of them in our battle against illegal drugs and to sustain our being a drug-free community,” he said.
    Castaňeda also thanked PADAC chairman and Gov. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr. for appreciating the activity and assuring funds for the contests.
    “Equally, we thank our PADAC focal person Angel B. Baybay for supporting and giving hope to the activity, the PADAC secretariat members for the follow ups, the PMFC for the social media engagements, our judges and all who make this activity possible,” he added.
    In his message, Gov. Lacwasan cited importance of the activities to keep the youth away from illegal drugs and other vices.
    The governor assured his office’s support to the continuation of the battle of the bands and the newly introduced dance contest.
    “For our part, we will continue to support all PADAC activities and fund the sing and the dance contests because we believe that arts and music is a great help in our information campaign. With our continuous efforts, we believe that more youths will be inspired and will join us in our advocacy, the governor said.
    Lacwasan also thanked PADAC members for a fruitful year despite the pandemic and asked for their continuous support and dedication.
    Vice-Gov. Francis O. Tauli expressed his message through an “Uggyam” or as song. He reminded that the fight against illegal drugs is a continuous and a collective effort between the government, non-government institutions and the community.
    PADAC members from the national line agencies were also in attendance to show their support to the activity.
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency agent Edwin Changrapen acknowledged importance of the youth as advocates in inspiring their fellow youths towards a better path.
    The message of PNP provincial director Homer M. Penicilla was delivered by Lt. Col. Crisante P. Sadino of the Mountain Province Police Provincial Office.
    He cited Dr. Jose Rizal’s adage, “The youth is the hope of our nation,” to remind and challenge the youths on their important roles today and in the future.
    Dept. of Interior and Local Government’s Samson B. Appoy delivered the message of PADAC head secretariat and DILG-MP provincial director Anthony Manolo I. Ballug and congratulated participants for joining the activity and supporting fight against illegal drugs.


DTI opens virtual annual trade fair

By Liza Agoot 

BAGUIO CITY – The Dept. of Trade and Industry Cordillera opened last week the online "Impakabsat" trade fair where products made by local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are being showcased.
    Impakabsat stands for the first letters of the six provinces -- Ifugao, Mountain Province, Abra, Kalinga, Apayao, Benguet coupled with the Ilocano word “Kabsat” (kin).
    DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, in a virtual message, said the trade has premium items from exhibitors in the region that include ethnic novelty and gift items, housewares, food items, handwoven products, bamboo crafts, furniture, and collectible antiques.
    “The trade show gives a perfect example of the Cordillera scenery, tradition and culture. It is a celebration of the creativity and resilience of CAR, a perfect showcase of the Cordillera camaraderie and culture,” he added.
    Lopez said there are 80 exhibitors joining the trade fair that also offers live selling and live skills demonstrations.
    He said the “Cordillera is abundant with ingenious and innovative products that are distinct only in this part of the country”.
    The DTI chief added that “Impakabsat also highlights the DTIs programs for the MSMEs”.
    He said the DTI has supported a total of 1,571 MSMEs in CAR which helped improve the products of the 533 business ventures by providing development training.
    “Through the various programs of the DTI, we aim to develop and strengthen our micro SMEs and provide them a platform to market their products, and through the One Town One Product (OTOP) next-generation program, the agency aims to promote and link our micro and small business to domestic and foreign markets thru trade events and retail marketing,” Lopez said.
    He said that events like Impakabsat provide the region with the biggest platform and bigger venues where local enterprises can proudly present their goods.
    MSMEs can now access broader markets thru these events to visibly compete with other products both locally and globally.
    He said the online trade expo which ran Nov. 19 to 26 will enable exhibitors and buyers to visit and set up booths without going out to the physical venue. Interested persons can visit to check on the products being sold at the trade fair.
    “More importantly this new online platform will give our micro SMEs even greater access to international markets as well," he added.
    Lopez encouraged everyone to support the nationwide campaign “buy local, go local” that promotes locally made and proudly made Filipino products as part of the government’s push to restore consumer confidence.
    “As we go back to work and begin to spend our income once again especially this Christmas season, businesses will be encouraged to produce more as well. This in turn will start the vicious cycle of fueling our slowly reopening economy.”
    Instead of just adapting to the new normal, "let us all work in crafting better normal by supporting our MSMEs. Together, let us bring back better towards a more inclusive and hopefully post-pandemic future as envisioned by President Rodrigo Duterte," he added.
    DTI-CAR Regional Director Myrna Pablo, in a virtual message, also said that prior to the trade fair opening, the region and the provincial offices have been conducting massive capacity building on digital marketing and e-commerce among the MSMEs.
    “This first online Impakabsat will test our position on e-commerce as we embark to the new normal,” Pablo said.
    She said the target is to surpass the previous years’ sales considering the wider market and higher potential of the products to be seen.
    Pablo said the Impakabsat is on its 25th year as it started after the July 16, 1990 killer earthquake to help drum up local trade and tourism in the region.
    “In celebration of 25 years, let us reminisce a bit how it began with the theme trade and tourism fair of the resilient Cordilleras, a manifestation of the resilient nature of the Cordilleran as they recover from the killer earthquake," she said.
    “Over the years, Impakabsat evolved from a mere trade fair to a celebration and exposition of upland culture as well as tourism and investment potentials of the region carrying the tag line ‘Only the best from the Cordilleras," she added.
    Proudly, Pablo said, "let us mention that Impakabsat was institutionalized as the region’s major annual trade event that has helped our small and medium enterprises in elevating the standards of Cordillera products and attaining competitive advantage."
Every year, the trade fair offers new products that are being developed demonstrating creativity based on culture. -- PNA 


Naval Forces Northern Luzon's 'Saranay Cagayan' relief ops on

By Joanna P. Diaz-Sabado

SAN FERNANDO CITY– The Naval Forces Northern Luzon (NFNL) has received an estimated total of 100 tons of donated items as part of the second batch of “Saranay Cagayan” (Help Cagayan) project, as of Nov. 21.
    In its most recent report shared in Facebook, 30 tons of those were food items while 70 tons comprised pre-loved clothes and blankets.
    One of the civic-oriented groups who sent the accumulated relief items was Rotary Club of Metro San Fernando City for the affected residents in Cagayan due to excessive flooding last week.
    Among the items they purchased from the cash donations they received were 255 pieces of inabel blankets made in Luna town.
    Aside from sacks of clean clothes, 20 boxes of groceries which include food items and toiletries and 140 cases of bottled waters were among those sent-off through the NFNL.
    In the Nov. 21 episode of the Laging Handa Network Briefing News, Calapan City Mayor Arnan Panaligan said they were always being assisted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police in the rescue, evacuation, and relief distribution during disasters.
    The first batch of donations were handed to the Provincial Government of Cagayan on Nov. 15, with assorted food items, bottled water and sacks of clean clothes.  -- PIA La Union


DOH to undertake mass testing in Tuguegarao City

By Liezle Basa Inigo

TUGUEGARAO CITY -- The Dept. of Health is targeting to test at least 3,500 individuals for Covid-19 in this city in a four-day undertaking.
    Gov. Manuel Mamba said this will include police, barangay officials and tanods, and other frontliners.
    Provincial Health Officer Dr. Carlos Cortina III  said mass testing will be conducted in Tuguegarao City due to the increase in the number of Covid-19 cases that could have been triggered by the effects of typhoon Ulysses last Nov. 12 when thousands had to be taken to evacuation centers because of the massive flooding.
    “Napabayaan pansamantala ang minimum health protocols at ang muling pagsipa ng bilang ng mga positibong kaso sa lungsod (Minimum health protocols was overlooked, as well as the surge of positive cases in the city)” a press statement issued by Cagayan Provincial information Office said.
    Mass testing for Covid-19 in Tuguegarao City started Nov. 24 and will last until Nov. 26.
    A contingent from the DOH Central Office arrived with a 30-man team that will conduct swabbing.
    The team also brought tents and testing equipment.
    The target of mass testing in the city are families with active cases, the victims of the floods, especially the person, who became symptomatic at evacuation centers, will also be examined.
    Earlier, Mamba has expressed alarm over the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in Tuguegarao City.
    According to Mamba, the local transmission of the coronavirus has been quite disturbing in the aftermath of the widespread flooding that was caused by typhoon Ulysses that displaced thousands of residents in the province.
    The Cagayan Provincial Information Office reported Nov. 22 that 15 residents of Tuguegarao tested positive for Covid-19 on Nov. 20, bringing the number of active cases to 133.



More Covid-19 patients get well in Baguio; new cases low

BAGUIO CITY – This city posted record-high number of recoveries in a day of 114, while recording new low in the number of new cases of Covid-19 on Nov. 20.
    The city now has a total of 2,539 recoveries. Active cases are now  down to 272, as of Nov. 20.
    The number of fatalities remained at 39.

    There were also 10 new cases, two of whom were contact traced, three were tested at work, and five were symptomatic.

    City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo reported as of Nov. 18, the number of active cases in the city has been down to 17.26 percent of the total number of cases, while recoveries increased to 81.34 percent. 

    Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the downtrend in the city’s cases had been slow, owing to factors like reopening of economic activities, eased up restrictions and local transmissions. 

    Magalong said the public’s movement in Metro Baguio may also be a factor as people from other municipalities could freely move in and out of the city, and this may be a factor, especially if these local government units do not implement their own control measures.

    He said to enhance infection control, the city implemented measures, including tightening border restrictions between the city and its neighbors, imposing new restrictions for people aged 65 years and above, enhancing monitoring of establishments in implementing minimum health standards, imposing a modified ban on liquor consumption and social gatherings, among others.

    “This is also in response to the call of the medical community for enhanced control measures in the light of the increase in the number of severe cases and fatalities in the past days,” said Magalong. 



3 Ilocos LGUs regulate use of videoke, karaoke

By Joyah Mae C. Quimoyog

CANDON CITY -- Three local government units  in Ilocos Sur have regulated the use of videoke, karaoke, sing-along, and other audio-amplified machines in their localities to help the students adjust to the blended learning system without being distracted by loud noises in the community.
    The LGUs of Candon City, Sta. Maria, and Sta. Lucia recently passed this measure after the Dept. of the Interior and Local Government urged LGUs to enact ordinances prohibiting videoke and other loud distracting noises during online learning schemes of students amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
    In Candon City, Mayor Ericson G. Singson issued executive order no. 69 prohibiting noises in residential areas from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Candon City residents could use karaoke or videoke machines from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. but must not go beyond curfew hours.
    Blowing of car horns, use of chainsaw, and modified mufflers, amplified motor or car stereo with loud sounds are also prohibited.
    Moreover, the EO states that videoke during a wake may be allowed provided that the proper permit from the Punong Barangay is secured.
    Sponsored by Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Federation president Kyle Therese Andrea Ong, LGU-Sta. Maria also implements the same measure from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. from Monday to Saturday.
    Under municipal ordinance no. 44, illegal gambling activities like tupada, bingo, betting stations and drinking sprees, unnecessary shouting, and unnecessary neighborhood nuisance activities are also prohibited.
    Regulation on the use of computers at computer shops and prohibiting the entry of gamers during online class schedules are implemented too.
    Those who will violate the said ordinance could be fined P1,000 for the first offense and P2,500 or up to one month imprisonment for the third and succeeding offenses.
    In consideration for students and also for those who are under work-from-home arrangements, LGU-Sta. Lucia also passed municipal ordinance No. 15 prohibiting use and operation of videoke/karaoke machines from Monday until Friday.
    Residents could use karaoke or videoke machines from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. during Saturdays and Sundays.
    Those who will violate the ordinance could be fined P1,500.00 for the first offense and P2,500.00 for the third and succeeding offenses.
    For wake or vigil, the use of videoke/karaoke machine is allowed but for a limited time only, from 6p.m. until 10p.m. during the last night.
    Said LGUs have directed the police units to coordinate with barangay leaders for the enforcement of the local ordinances to be imposed in their areas. -- PIA Ilocos Sur


DOLE: Kalinga cash grants for workers on

By Larry Lopez

CITY OF TABUK, Kalinga --The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) opened online application for the second round of Covid-19 adjustment measure program (CAMP-2) under the Bayanihan to recover as one act (Bayanihan-2).   
    DOLE Kalinga Head Avelina Manganip said priority applicants under CAMP-2 are “unserved” workers under the first round of the program earlier this year.
    Beneficiaries of the program who will receive P5, 000 cash aid are workers of small private establishments whose operation were affected by the Covid-19 lockdown. 
    Based on the CAMP guideline, qualified applicant must not be a recipient of other government financial aid.  
    To hasten the release of claims, beneficiaries directly receive the aid through accredited partner remittance companies.
    Under CAMP 1, DOLE had released at least P13, 070,000 cash grant to more than 2,640 formal workers in Kalinga. -- PIA Kalinga


Government buildings tapped isolation facilities for Covid

By Liezle Basa Inigo

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — Available and accessible government buildings are being tapped as isolation facilities to add more Covid-19 facilities in the region even as two Provincial Ligtas Covid-19 centers were simultaneously inaugurated in San Vicente, Burgos, and Tebag East, Sta. Barbara, all in Pangasinan.
    Engineer Josefina G. Oamar, DPWH Disaster Risk Reduction Management focal person said the Dept. of Public Works and Highways Regional Office 1 converted the Pangasinan Reformation Center and Office of the Provincial Agriculturist Buildings into Covid-19 isolation facilities in both towns.
    In her report to DPWH regional director Ronnel M. Tan, the newly-completed Ligtas Covid-19 Center facility in Burgos town has a 25-bed capacity and one nurse station, while the one in Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan which is located at the OPAG has a 40-bed capacity and one nurse station.
    Oamar noted that Region 1 has a total of 13 DPWH Regional Evacuation Centers built that have been converted into quarantine facilities/healthcare facilities.
    These are the evacuation centers in Paoay, Banna, and Batac City in Ilocos Norte; Vigan City, Ilocos Sur; Bacnotan, Agoo, Government Center, Sevilla, San Fernando City in La Union dubbed as the Home of Hope, and the evacuation centers in San Nicolas, Dasol, Alaminos City, Calasiao, Manaoag and Urbiztondo towns.
    A total of seven local government unit buildings were converted into quarantine facilities/healthcare facilities to accommodate suspected and probable COVID-19 patients.
    The DPWH is building and converting structures to ensure demands are met for healthcare facilities that will help contain Covid-19 cases.





92nd Malasakit Center opened in Benguet

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- Sen. Bong Go attended the virtual launch of the country’s 92nd Malasakit Center here on Nov. 20.
    The Malasakit Center at the Benguet General Hospital is the third in the Cordillera and second in the province.
    The second center is located at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center in Baguio City.
    In his speech, Go cited commitment of the Duterte administration to advance the right of every Filipino to quality health services through universal health coverage.
    He added the administration was still implementing measures against corruption and need to cleanse the ranks of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. to improve its services.
    To improve the access to quality and affordable healthcare, Go authored and sponsored the passage of a bill that eventually became Republic Act 11463 or the Malasakit Centers Act of 2019.
    The measure, signed by Duterte on Dec. 3, brings under one roof all government agencies – Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, PhilHealth and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office - from which Filipinos can seek medical assistance.
    The one-stop shop aims to reduce to the lowest amount possible the balance of the hospital bills of the poor.
    It covers patient services and expenses such as laboratory examinations, medicine and surgery.
    The Malasakit Centers Act of 2019 mandates all government-run hospitals including the Philippine General Hospital to establish their own Malasakit Centers.
    All hospitals managed by local government units and other public hospitals may also establish their own Malasakit Centers, provided they meet the criteria set to ensure the center’s operations.
    “I am appealing to Dr. Meliarazon Dulay and to the hospital staff to prioritize the poor,” Go said, referring to the head of the Benguet General Hospital and its management.
    Go also recognized government officials and national agencies that continue serving their constituents amid the pandemic.


MGB-2 to LGUs: Relocate residents in high-risk areas

By Liezle Basa Inigo

    The Mines and Geosciences Bureau in Region 2 (MGB-2) urged local government units to check their respective comprehensive land use, and disaster risk reduction and management plans.
    The appeal was made by MGB-2 chief geologist Felicitas Piligan after the series of landslides and floods experienced in the Cagayan Valley region due to successive typhoons which hit the country recently.
    Piligan noted several areas in region were assessed and identified as high risk.
    She urged residents or settlers in these areas be immediately relocated.
    Among the high risk areas identified by MGB-2 were those in Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino and Cagayan provinces where deadly landslides occurred.
    Piligan said she was hoping local government units will consider their recommendations to avoid another tragic incidence.
    “One of the reasons for the landslides was the over saturation of the soils caused by the series of heavy downpour,” she said.


La Union logs 40 new Covid cases

By Caren Grace R. Cabanayan

SAN FERNANDO CITY – Forty new Covid-19 positive cases were recorded in La Union province on Nov. 22. 
    Among these newly recorded infections, 15 were from the City of San Fernando, 10 are from Bauang, eight from Luna, three from San Juan, two from San Gabriel, and one each from the municipalities of Bacnotan and Bagulin. 
    In San Fernando City, six of them were residents of Barangay Pagdalagan, three from Lingsat, and one each for villages of Ilocanos Sur, Sevilla, Sagayad, Cadaclan, Camansi, and Biday.
    These patients were all asymptomatic. 
    They were housed at the city’s isolation facilities, except for the patient from Ilocanos Sur who was confined at the Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center (ITRMC) and that from Camansi who is now at the Lorma Medical Center. 
    In Bauang, seven were logged in  Payocpoc Sur and one each for villages of Baccuit Sur, Dili, and Acao. 
    All of them were asymptomatic, and seeking medications at various hospitals. 
    While in the municipality of Luna, five infections are from Alcala and three are from Salcedo.
     All of them are asymptomatic except for one who is manifesting symptoms.
    They were all confined at the ITRMC. 
     The three new cases in San Juan were from barangays Ili Sur, Catdungan, and Legleg.
     These patients were all asymptomatic and admitted at the La Union Medical Center in Agoo. 
Infections in San Gabriel were both asymptomatic and from Poblacion. 
     The newly-recorded case in Bagulin was a symptomatic patient from Alinbangsay village while the case in Bacnotan was another symptomatic patient from Barangay Cabaroan.
     These two were both confined at the La Union Medical Center. 
     These newly-recorded infections brought total number of 110 active cases in the province.
     Concerned local government units put residential compounds of the patients under lockdown for the next 14 days for disinfection and contact tracing. 
    Gov. Francisco Emmanuel Ortega III said the provincial government was closely monitoring the situation and providing necessary support to concerned LGUs. 
     “The Provincial Government is working with the respective local chief executives of the concerned LGUs. Necessary measures are ongoing such as the Covid-19 data analysis, intensified contact tracing, isolation procedures, and monitoring of hospital capacities,” Ortega said in a statement. -- PIA La Union



P2.2-M marijuana burned in Benguet

KIBUNGAN, Benguet -- Marijuana plants worth more than P2.2 million were discovered, uprooted, and burned by the anti-illegal drugs unit of the Benguet Provincial Police Office in the hinterlands of this town.
    Col. Elmer Ragay, provincial director, said a total of 11,000 fully grown marijuana plants were discovered in three plantation sites in the area on Nov. 24, with a total land area of 2,000 square meters and worth more than P2.2 million.
    Ragay said combined operatives of Kibungan Municipal Police Station, Intelligence Unit and Drug Enforcement Unit of Benguet Provincial Police Office and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency  uprooted some 5,000 marijuana plants worth P1 million which were cultivated in a 500 square meters communal land at Sitio Basi, Barangay Tacadang.
    In Sitio Legab and Botbot, both in Barangay Kayapa, Kibungan, Benguet, more than 6,000 marijuana plants worth P1,206,000 planted in a 1,500 square meters land area was destroyed by personnel of the Benguet Provincial Mobile Force Company.

Bomb found after flooding in Cagayan

By Liezle Basa Inigo
TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan -- A farmer found an unexploded ordnance (UXO) near the Cagayan river here in Barangay Linao West on Tuesday.
    A report from the Police Regional Office 2 stated that a farmer who was gathering firewood saw the 52-inches bomb weighing about 1,000 pounds or 500 kilos.
    Probers said the bomb may have been washed away by the rising water of the Cagayan River which led to the widespread flooding in the province during typhoon Ulysses. 
    Lt. Col. Andree Abella, Police Regional Office 2 information officer, said the UXO was already brought to the ammo dam in PRO2 for temporary storage.
    “We are still waiting for the approval of  disposal in Capas, Tarlac,” Abella said.

 Fisherfolks find plastic container with 10 kilos of suspected shabu

By Liezle Basa Inigo

INFANTA, Pangasinan -- Police here has reported the discovery of a white plastic container containing liquid and white crystalline substance suspected to be methamphetamine hydrochloride locally known as shabu worth P25 million.
    A report from the Police Regional Police Office showed the container, with an estimated weight of 10 kilos, was first recovered at about 7:56 a.m. on Nov. 15, by fisher folks with the help of Jaime Barnachea, 33, boat captain and resident of Barangay Cato.
    The boat captain said they were fishing about 100 nautical miles of the West Philippine Sea when they discovered the container.
    They turned it over to the Infanta Police Station.


Over P1.6-million marijuana bricks found in Benguet

BOKOD, Benguet -- The Police Regional Office Cordillera recovered more than P1.6-million worth of marijuana found abandoned in a van here headed to Tabuk City early Nov. 19.
    PRO Cordillera director Brig. Gen. R’win Pagkalinawan said the Benguet Provincial Police Office recovered 14 kilos of marijuana bricks in a van driven by Genaro Lamsis in Adonot, Ambuklao, Bokod, Benguet.
    Investigation by Bokod Municipal Police showed Lamsis was conducting routine inspection of pieces of baggage loaded into his van when he noticed a suspicious-looking carton, which did not bear any marking.
    This prompted him to look into the box, and discovered the marijuana bricks.
    Pagkalinawan has already ordered the setting up of checkpoints in entrance and exit points in the province.
Narcotics detection dogs have also been deployed at the checkpoints.
    Meanwhile, the Benguet PPO reported the arrest of regional Top 10 drug personality, identified as Joseph De Vera Igama32, a resident of Camp 7, Kennon Road, Baguio City, in Sumbrero, Ambuklao, Bokod afternoon of Nov. 18.
    The operatives confiscated from him two transparent plastic sachets containing suspected shabu worth P37,400, P1,000 boodle money, cellular phone and P5,000 cash.


No more Covid-19 cases, Abra seeks wants province restricted

BANGUED, Abra -- Gov. Ma. Jocelyn Bernos urged suspension of unnecessary travel to the province from Dec. 1 until Jan. 15 next year to lessen spread of Covid-19.
    Bernos sought the Regional IATF's approval of the request for suspension of the issuance of travel authority for locally stranded individuals  and people with no essential or necessary transactions in or indispensable travel to the province from Dec. 1 to Jan. 15, 2021.
    Bernos, said this, while repairs are being done at barangay isolation facilities.
    The request's approval remains pending before the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease.
    Abra no longer has active Covid-19 cases, the only province in the whole Cordillera Administrative Region without Covid-19 since Nov. 17.
    The governor urged  observance of minimum health and safety protocols in the province despite it now having no active cases.
    The province had 105 recoveries and two deaths from a total of 107 cases since March.


High Covid-19 Tuguegarao Covid-19 cases alarms gov

By Liezle Basa Inigo

TUGUEGARO CITY -- Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba has expressed alarmed over the increasing number of Covid-19 cases here. According to Mamba, the local transmission of the coronavirus has been disturbing in the aftermath of the widespread flooding that was caused by typhoon Ulysses that displaced thousands of residents in the province.
    The Cagayan Provincial Information Office reported early last week  15 residents of Tuguegarao tested positive for Covid-19 on Nov. 20, bringing the number of active cases to 133.
    Of the 133 active cases, 62 are on home quarantine.
    Mamba noted most new victims were found to have been infected at home.
    The official said there was really a need for those in home quarantine to be transferred to the isolation area.
    Mamba suggested to Tuguegarao City Mayor Jefferson Soriano that he put the city under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) or, if necessary, implement enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to prevent the continuing increase in the number of COVID-19 positives in the city.
    CPIO confirmed there were 477 confirmed cases in Tuguegarao, and five have died due to Covid-19. 


Place Tuguegarao under MECQ anew, IATF asked

By Raymund Catindig

 TUGUEGARAO CITY — Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba wants this city to revert to modified enhanced community quarantine or MECQ for 30 days amid a spike in Covid-19 cases.
    Mamba said a month of stricter community quarantine could help stop the surge in cases.
    He said he and Mayor Jefferson Soriano agreed to seek the approval of the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases or IATF.
    The city was placed under MECQ for 10 days in August and for 15 days last month.
    Mamba lamented the increase in confirmed cases even before the city was hit by recent typhoons.
    Tuguegarao City accounts for 116 of the 147 active cases in the province.
    Mamba noted that the swab test results of 3,500 residents, mostly flood evacuees, are expected to be released this week.
    He said authorities expect that at least 300 could be found positive for the virus, citing violations of health protocols, such as physical distancing, wearing of face mask and washing of hands, in evacuation centers as well as during rescue operations and humanitarian relief missions.
    This city is among the areas in Cagayan hardest hit by massive flooding due to Typhoon Ulysses.
    Mamba said barangay officials should reserve at least two isolation centers for asymptomatic patients.
    The city has an isolation facility being maintained by the Department of Health, which can accommodate 60 patients. – Emmanuel Tupas



Tuguegarao City Mayor Soriano explains absence during super typhoon

By Chito Chavez

TUGUEGARAO CITY -- The Department of Interior and Local Government said beleaguered Mayor Jefferson Soriano of this city has submitted his explanation regarding his absence in his area during the onslaught of typhoon “Ulysses.’’
    DILG Secretary Eduardo Año confirmed in Manila Soriano’s submission of his explanation last Nov. 16 and added that “his legal service is assessing his reasons.”
    “I will wait for its (legal service) its recommendation’’ before deciding if charges will be filed against Soriano,” Ano said.     “We will see kung ano findings ng legal (service) at may appropriate sanctions naman ‘yan (what the findings of the legal service are and there are appropriate sanctions for them),’’ Año said in Manila.
    Año said that the sanctions may range from admonition up to suspension.
    After being widely criticized for his absence in his area during the typhoon, Soriano issued an apology.
    He claimed to have attempted to return to his turf during the typhoon as soon as possible but the North Luzon Expressway in Bocaue, Bulacan was impassable at that time.
    In a previous interview, DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said Soriano may face charges for violation of the DILG’s “Oplan: Listo” (awareness) protocols if his reasons are unjustified.
    Malaya also explained that the Office of the Ombudsman has the authority to impose disciplinary actions against the local government units (LGUs) with the DILG merely filing the charges.
    Año noted that the DILG’s Oplan: Listo strictly compels the local chief executives to have preparedness action plans in dealing with disasters.
    He added this will ensure the immediate and appropriate government response with the aim of having minimal or if possible zero casualties.


DA gives cattle to Cordi provs

By Liza Agoot 

BAGUIO CITY – The Department of Agriculture in the Cordillera Administrative Region disperses cattle for milk and meat supply in the region.
    Dr. Cameron Odsey, Cordillera DA director said the dispersal was part of the livestock livelihood program of the department to provide additional income to farmers while producing meat for needed supply in the country.
    There were 20 heads distributed this November -- 10 in Buguias, Benguet and 10 in Lagangilang, Abra.
    This came after the department also distributed 72 heads of cattle in June 2020 to six municipalities of Mountain Province namely: Sadanga with 28 beneficiaries, Sagada with five, Bauko with seven, Besao with five, Tadian with seven, and Bontoc with 20 under the Cattle Livelihood Project of the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program.
    The DA is also expected to deliver 25 more heads of cattle in Mountain Province under the DA’s SAAD in the Cordillera.
    Dr. Leisley Deligen, the livestock program coordinator of DA-CAR, said they dispersed 10 cattle in Buguias on November 14 to beneficiary members of the Lusong Vegetable Growers Association of Buyacaoan, Buguias; and another 10 to Balais Farmers Association in Lagangilang, Abra on November 16.
    “It (cattle) is a loan,” the doctor added.
    The beneficiary has to return an 18-month old female upgraded Brahman breed cattle weighing 180 kilograms within four years from the dispersal as repayment.
    Each cattle costs P27,100.
    Deligen said an upgraded Brahman breed adapts well to a semi-temperate or tropical environment and has a longer productive life, resistant to diseases, and can withstand heat.
    It has an intermediate size compared to other breeds. “Calves are small at birth, weighing 60 to 65 pounds, but grow rapidly and wean at weights comparable to other breeds,” he said.
    He added that well-bred and properly treated Brahmans are easily handled and has established a considerable reputation for high “cut-out” value with minimum outside fat.
    He said that for meat production, it would take two to three years after a calf is born for the owner to reap benefits through beef production.
    “We thank the DA for this assistance as a source of additional income aside from vegetable farming,” said Martin Suldayan, president of the Lusong Vegetable Growers Association.
    To ensure the sustainability of the program, the organization also signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the DA-CAR stipulating the responsibilities of all stakeholders highlighting the good animal husbandry practices and the “palit-baka” scheme requiring the farmers to return an offspring of the animals received.
    “As president of the association, I always remind the members about the importance of the assistance so that when the cattle multiply, other farmers will also be given and receive the same benefits," said Suldayan.
    Dr. Miriam Tiongan, Benguet provincial veterinary officer, said they will assist in the animal health management of the Brahmans through vaccination, deworming, artificial insemination through the Unified Artificial Insemination Program (UAIP), and the provision of planting materials.
    To further capacitate the association, training on animal management and silage-making will also be done to assure that farmers will know how to properly care for the animals and multiply their number. -- PNA 


LTO-Cordillera releases 8,000 motorcycle plates

By March L. Fianza

BAGUIO CITY -- After waiting for almost three years, the Land of Transportation Office-Cordillera Nov. 25 started distributing around 8,000 long-overdue plates to owners of motorcycles registered in 2018.
    LTO Cordillera director Francis Ray A. Almora, CESO VI said the 8,000 new and enhanced number plates were initially received by his office for distribution to the respective dealers and to the owners of motorcycles who waited for a long time.
    Almora said the delay in the distribution of number plates was due to the temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court and Notice of Disallowance by the Commission on Audit in 2016, but were lifted in 2018.
    Distribution of plates was further delayed as the LTO waited for the final design of number plates in compliance with the requirement under RA 11235 or the Motorcycle Crime prevention Act of 2019.
    The new rear plates with reflectorized sheets are now bigger, more readable, color coded and safety features such as the RFID sticker and QR code were installed, while a decal sticker will be placed at the front. Pink is the color code for the new motorcycle plate in the Cordillera.
    LTO-CAR has a total backlog of 71,086 motorcycle plates dating back from 2016 to June 30, 2020. By next year, upon registration, new motorcycle plates will be released by LTO-CAR simultaneously with the issuance of the Official Receipt and Certificate of Registration of the motorcycle.  


Baguio lodging houses checked for violations

By Gaby Keith

BAGUIO CITY -- – The city’s composite team for the entry and inspection of hotel lodging and boarding dormitories including tenement houses is now inspecting these establishments.
    Team member and city permits and licensing division head Allan Abayao said this is to make sure accommodation facilities are strictly following required sanitation, safety, health and other regulations.
    With the Covid-19 pandemic, he said owners and staff of establishments were reminded to adhere to minimum health standards and for their clients to do the same.
    These protocols for individuals include frequent washing of hands with soap and water, physical distancing, and wearing of face mask and face shield.
    Establishments were required to have alcohol for hand disinfection purposes, foot bath placemats, temperature scanners, information leaflets on Covid-19 and health regulations, directional guides and the like.
    Abayao said that several establishments have already have been penalized for violating the regulations.
    The team was reconstituted last year by Mayor Benjamin Magalong through executive order no. 149, series of 2019.
    Other than Abayao, the team is composed of SF03 Raul Doctolero of the Bureau of Fire Protection; architect Johnny Degay of the City Buildings and Architecture Office; engineer Charles Carame of the Health Services Office; Patrick Espinola of the Public     Order and Safety Division; Col. Johnny Balaki of the Baguio City Police Office and Patrick Rillorta of the Department of Labor and Employment.


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