Controversial Cordillera police director replaced

>> Saturday, April 10, 2021

Following kill order, ‘tokhang’ vs media, leftists 

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The Cordillera now has a new police director after the Philippine National Police announced a revamp on April 5, affecting 22 officials, including Cordillera police chief, Brig. Gen. R'win Pagkalinawan, who was transferred to a staff position at Camp Crame.
    Brig. Gen. Ronald Oliver Lee, former chief of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group assumed the post as chief of Cordillera region police last week.
    From the Office of the PNP Chief, Brig. Gen. Remus Medina took over the PNP Drug Enforcement Group vacated by Lee.
Pagkalinawan is now with PNP Directorate for Personnel Records and Management under the PNP Personnel Holding & Accounting Unit, the PNP said.
    The transfer order did not indicate his exact position in the unit. Pagkalinawan is due to retire next month.
    The Cordillera police has been mired in controversies, one of which was Pagkalinawan's shoot-to-kill order in January against Cordillera Peoples Alliance chairman Windel Bolinget, who is facing murder complaints in Mindanao which the militant group said were trumped up as he had never been in the area.
    The CPA denounced Pagkalinawan’s order, saying this "encourages violence and terrorism among the ranks of the police.”
    On March 10, Pagkalinawan said he lifted the shoot-to-kill order. 
    Last year, Pagkalinawan was also caught on CCTV camera strolling in front of a house that was the subject of a property dispute armed with a rifle and in civilian clothes.  
    Recently, a Baguio City court ordered the PNP Cordillera to stop all its red-tagging activities against progressive youth groups in the region.
    Pagkalinawan had also ordered regional police to conduct ‘tokhang’ against media personalities and leftists but the Regional Peace and Order Council ordered it junked after the Baguio City Council conducted public hearing on the matter wherein lawyers, religious and progressive and groups assailed it.
    They said ‘tokhang’ was unconstitutional, abusive, lacked due process, among others.  
    This, as a PNP order dated April 4 showed 22 police officials were affected by the revamp which took effect Monday.
    This was triggered by the impending retirement of Police Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Luis Licup, who until Monday was head of the Directorate for Comptrollership and retired on April 9.
    The list includes:
Brig. Gen. Randolf Balonglong from PNP Ilocos to the Office of the Chief PNP (OCPNP)
Brig. Gen. Segundo Lagiwid from Directorate for Police Community Relations to PHAU, DPRM
Brig. Gen. Alexander Sampaga from OCPNP to PNP Directorate for Information and Communications Technology Management (DICTM)
Brig. Gen. Rodolfo Azurin from DICTM to Directorate for Comptrollership (DC)
Brig. Gen. Erson Digal from Directorate for Logistics (DL) PHAU, DPRM
Brig. Gen. Conrado Gongon from PNP Communications and Electronics Service (CES) to PHAU, DPRM
Brig. Gen. Eden Ugale from OCPNP to PNP Bangsamoro
Police Brigadier General Patrick Villacorte from PNP Western Visayas to CES
Col. Rudolph Dimas from PNP Calabarzon to PNP Western Visayas
Col. Emmanuel Hebron from NCRPO to PNP Calabarzon
Col. Enrique Magalona from Directorate for Integrated Police Operations-Western Mindanao to PNP Ilocos
Col. Marlou Martinez from Directorate for Investigation and Detective
Management to PNP Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (IMEG)
Col. Ramil Montilla from IMEG to Civil Security Group (CSG)
Col. Randy Peralta from CSG to OCPNP
Col. Salvador Alacyang from Anti-Kidnapping Group to PNP Eastern Visayas
Col. Fernando Ortega from NCRPO to OCPNP
Col. Edwin Wagan from PNP Eastern Visayas to DL
– With reports from Rambo Talabong/


‘Influential persons’ push release; La Trinidad PNP chief denies Benguet ‘CPLA’ contractor held for gun during bidding

By March L. Fianza

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet - A public works contractor could not find a solid explanation after he was caught displaying a Cal.45 pistol inside the compound where the bidding for infrastructure projects was on process at the Department of Public Works and Highways – First Benguet Engineering District in Wangal, La Trinidad last Holy Wednesday.
    In a report submitted by La Trinidad police chief Maj. Cliff Vencio to Benguet police director Col. Reynaldo Pasiwen, the gun-toting contractor identified as Oscar M. Dodon, 54, owner of Rocky 5G Builders, was arrested based on a tip forwarded by an unidentified informant.
    The report said Dodon was carrying a gun while inside the compound with other men in the DPWH-BED1 compound while bidding on public works projects was about to proceed.
    The Cal .45 pistol that was found in his pocket was unlicensed and its serial number erased.
    Reliable news sources added, Dodon introduced himself as deputy commander of the long -disbanded militia group Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA).
    He was also said to be one of the “favorite” contractors of Benguet caretaker congressman Eric Go Yap.
    There was no confirmation from Rep. Yap if Dodon was really close to him, or was only using the legislator’s name to intimidate other bidders, including members of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) in the DPWH-BED1.
    A reliable source said influential personalities tried to call the police station and demanded that Dodon be released in their custody but Maj. Vencio said that cannot be granted as doing so will certainly put the police hierarchy in Benguet in a shameful situation.  
    An unidentified contractor said the bidders who were present that day were bidding for a road improvement project along the Andres Cosalan road (Bokod-Kabayan-Buguias roadline) worth around P70 million.


Vizcaya gov. vice gov, mayors, execs get Covid

By Vince Jacob Visaya

SANTIAGO CITY -- Nueva Vizcaya Gov. Carlos Padilla has tested positive for Covid-19 and is under quarantine at a private hospital in Solano town in this province.
    Padilla said via mobile on Monday that he is experiencing mild symptoms while massive contact tracing to his close contacts is ongoing.
    “My swab test result was only confirmed on April 5 but I have been quarantined for three days already since I was swabbed,” he said, adding that he has been staying at Salubris Medical Center.
    Padilla is likewise urging his constituents who he came in close contact with to self-isolate and inform barangay leaders if they experience any symptoms for Covid-19.
    He, however, denied that he is in critical condition, as claimed in some social media posts.
    Aside from him, two mayors — Dolores Binwag of Quezon and Dr. Ping Balgos of Bambang and two vice mayors — Philip     Dacayo of Solano and Ruben Sayo of Aritao are also in quarantine after being tested positive for the virus.
    One board member, Patricio Dumlao, is also in quarantine.
    Padilla said they may have been infected by Luis Binwag, husband of Dolores, during an informal meeting. Luis was earlier confirmed positive of the virus.
    Vice Gov. Jose Tomas Sr. is also positive for Covid-19 and is in isolation in another hospital.
    “Our province is the convergence area and terminal of those going to Ifugao, Quirino, Isabela, Cagayan and other towns in the province,” he added.
    As of April 4, Nueva Vizcaya has 1,457 confirmed Covid-19 cases with 403 active cases, 1,002 recoveries and 52 reported deaths. New cases reached 34 on Sunday.
    Another fatality was earlier recorded. Board Member Cirilo Galindez, a 67-year-old retired medical center chief of the Region 2 Trauma and Medical Center, died on April 2, Padilla added.
    “The province mourns with and celebrates the extraordinary life of this remarkable gentleman from the south who devoted his life to public service to our common home, Nueva Vizcaya. His energy and life-long dedication to improve the public health system of the province will continue to inspire our younger generations and will forever remain as his long-lasting legacy to our people,” Padilla added.
    “Despite the new challenges brought by this pandemic including the loss of more lives, let us not forget to foster respect and solidarity with others, especially those who are weak, poor and sick.”
    A four-day lockdown was already imposed at the provincial capitol.


Sandigan affirms Nueva Ecija execs’ graft conviction

By Elizabeth Marcelo

PANTABANGAN, Nueva Ecija -- The Sandiganbayan has upheld the graft conviction of the municipal accountant and treasurer of this town for their failure to remit contributions of an employee to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) from 2007 to 2010.
    The anti-graft court’s Sixth Division said Rosita Yang and Jorja Palacio, accountant and treasurer, respectively, failed to raise any meritorious argument in their joint motion for reconsideration that would have warranted the reversal of the ruling.
    Yang and Palacio were found guilty of 33 and 26 counts, respectively, of violation of Republic Act 8291 or the Government Service Insurance Act of 1997 on January 29.
    They were sentenced to one to two years in prison for each count of the offense
    Yang was ordered to pay a fine of P330,000 while Palacio was fined P260,000.
    The anti-graft court earlier dismissed the charges filed against the principal accused, former Pantabangan mayor Romeo Borja Sr., by virtue of his death last year.
    Filed by the Office of the Ombudsman in 2013, the charges stemmed from a complaint filed by Gerardo Sator, secretary to the Office of the Vice Mayor.
    The ombudsman said the accused failed to remit Sator’s GSIS contributions for 33 months amounting to P32,071.
    The amount was deducted from Sator’s monthly salary from 2007 to 2010.


Ilocos Sur: 345 Covid cases; towns, cities under MECQ

By Mario Supnad

VIGAN CITY, Ilocos Sur-  Gov. Ryan Singson placed two cities and 11 towns under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine following sudden spike in number of new cases infected with Covid-19.
    The provincial health department said there are 345 active cases recorded so far.
In his executive order 28, Singson placed Vigan and Candon cities, towns of Sinait, Cabugao, Bantay, Narvacan, Santa, Sta.     Maria, San Esteban,Sta. Lucia, Suyo, Tagudin and Cervantes under MECQ starting 7 April up to 21.
    “The number of infected in two weeks times has almost tripled so I called on all mayors for emergency meeting even Holy week to discuss this problem so we decided to impose this MECQ,” Singson said.
    Singson also ordered the manning of a 24-hour checkpoint at the province’s boundaries and that all LGUs placed under MECQ shall also put up their own checkpoints but not along national and provincial highways.
Inbound and outbound travels are also regulated by the LGUs.
    The governor said the following shall be allowed to operate at 50 percent on-site capacity: “Other manufacturing industries classified as beverages, including alcoholic drinks, electrical machinery, wood products, and furniture; non-metallic products; textiles and clothing/wearing apparels; tobacco products; paper and paper products; rubber and plastic products; coke and refined petroleum products; other non-metallic mineral products; computers, electronic and optical products; electrical equipment; machinery and equipment; motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers; other transport equipment; and others…”
    Hotels and other accommodation establishments with valid Department of Tourism’s accreditation will be allowed to accommodate guests and clients for legitimate purposes only under the state of public health emergency.
“The operations of such hotels and accommodation establishments as well as ancillary establishments within their premises such as restaurants, cafes, gyms, spas, function halls and the like shall be subject to guidelines issued by DOT and the IATF,” his EO said.
Curfew hours have been imposed as well from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. but added that LGUs are given the authority to extend it if circumstances so demand.


CA justice, wife catch Covid-19

TUGUEGARAO CITY — A justice of the Court of Appeals (CA) and his politician wife have tested positive for Covid-19.
    Cagayan provincial board member Mila Catabay-Lauigan announced on social media Tuesday that she and her husband, Justice Raymond Lauigan, are recovering from the virus.
    Lauigan said she experienced sore throat, fever, headache and body pains. Her husband manifested mild symptoms of the virus.
    They tested positive on April 1 and decided to extend their quarantine for another two weeks.
    Aside from the Lauigans, their househelper also contracted the virus.
    The judge attended an awarding ceremony at the regional police office in this city on March 22.


Isabela CPP-NPA leaders surrender

By Leander C. Domingo

GAMU, Isabela -- Leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in this province have voluntarily surrendered to the Army’s 86th and 95th Infantry Battalion (IB) of the 5th Infantry Division (5th ID) last week.
    Major Jekyll Julian Dulawan, 5th ID public affairs officer, said Alias Popoy of NPA’s Squad Uno, Regional Sentro De Gravidad (RSDG), Komiteng Rehiyon-Cagayan Valley (KR-CV) was the first one to surrender to the 86th IB in Sitio Jet in Barangay San Guillermo in Isabela province.
    Dulawan said Alias Popoy was recruited to the CPP-NPA in October 2020 by a certain Alias Andong.
    Intelligence records show that Alias Popoy was among the CPP-NPA members and whose group had an encounter with the 86th IB in San Guillermo town in Isabela on March 15 where a certain Alias Yuni, a high ranking CPP-NPA official in Cagayan Valley, was killed.
    Alias Popoy said he was able to sneak out, leaving his former comrades who threatened him if he left their organization.
    “I am too tired having to hide from government authorities, experiencing starvation, moving from one place to another for food and shelter,” he said.
    Alias Popoy said that while he felt bad fighting government troops, he was pressured and intimidated by his CPP-NPA cadres.
    In San Mariano town, Isabela, Alias Kalahati/Rocket/Rudy also surrendered to authorities.


Cordillera officials in jab list as execs get Covid-19

Baguio, Buguias mayors infected 

By Liza Agoot 

BAGUIO CITY – A number of local chief executives in the Cordillera Administrative Region, whose jurisdiction were listed as among critical or high-risk areas for Covid-19 have been included by government in priority list for anti-Covid-19 vaccinations.
    Mayor Benjamin Magalong of this tourism resort and Buguias, Benguet mayor Ruben Tindaan were latest Cordillera officials to have contracted Covid-19 virus.
    "It is with a sad note that I would like to inform everyone that as of my RT-PCR (reverse transcription - polymerase chain reaction) test conducted April 2, to which my results came out at 4:30 p.m. of the same day, I was tested positive of the Covid-19 virus," Magalong, the country’s contact-tracing czar said in a public announcement released by the city government on its official social media account.
    In Buguias, Benguet, Mayor Tindaan also admitted having been infected by the disease.
    "It is with a heavy heart to inform you that I have tested positive with Covid-19," said in a text message on Tuesday.
    He said the result of his polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test showing that he is positive for the virus came Monday afternoon.
    Kalinga Gov. Ferdinand Tubban, whose province is experiencing a surge in Covid-19 infections recording a total of 335 cases for the period April 1 to 6, said they were happy for their inclusion in the priority list.
    In February, Tubban tested positive of the virus and cleared same month after undergoing self-quarantine.
    Tubban, 57, said he looks forward to receive the vaccine. "I want to receive it. This is just what I have been waiting for -- to be vaccinated."
    Meanwhile, Abra Gov. Joy Bernos, who chairs the Regional Development Council (RDC), said: “I am very grateful that the IATF (Inter Agency Task Force) realized the danger on us, leading the whole province in the fight against Covid-19. I hope we could fast track everything in the vaccine roll-out so we could give protection for all the Abrenios.”
    Bernos was infected in March and has already recovered.
    Sagada, Mountain Province Mayor James Pooten, whose town is also experiencing a surge in Covid-19 cases with 462 new cases recorded in a span of six days (April 1 to 6), said, “(Para) sa akin dapat lang kasama ang LCEs (local chief executives) (For me, it is just right to include the LCEs in the vaccination program of the government)."
    "As for my case, kaya ako nag positibo, according to our MHO (municipal health officer) contact tracer, transmission was done when we went to barangays doing house-to-house to convince people to go for RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction) test (In my case, the MHO contact tracer said I got infected when we went house-to-house in the barangays to convince people to go for RT-PCR test),” the mayor said.
    “LCEs are also always with the front-liners whether at the barangay health centers, triage, checkpoints, hospitals and the like. LCEs are most of the time in the frontlines,” he added.
    Buguias town Mayor Ruben Tindaan, who tested positive for Covid-19 on April 5 and whose town is listed in A-1.5, said:     “All of us mayors are happy that we have been included in the A-1.5 list of priority to be vaccinated. It is in the nature of our job to be in direct contact with our people and our front-liners, so we are often exposed and prone to infection."
    "We welcome this especially in light of the recent Covid-19 positive cases involving mayors in our province and neighboring LGUs. Our vaccination would likewise be helpful in generating community awareness and vaccination acceptance,” he added.
    He, however, said he is not qualified to be vaccinated due to the infection.
    Advisory No. 26 of the National Vaccination Operations Center (NVOC) approved by the national IATF for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on April 5 has identified 57 high-risk and critical provinces, 25 highly urbanized and independent component cities as well as 321 component cities and municipalities all over the country whose mayors and governors can be inoculated, after all the health workers who are on the A-1 priority list have been vaccinated.
    The LCEs were categorized as A-1.5 priority or after the health workers and before the senior citizens.
    In the Cordillera, all the chief executives in the provinces of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province and Baguio City were included.
    Two towns in Kalinga -- Tabuk City and Pasil; eight in Mountain Province -- Sadanga, Barlig, Bauko, Tadian, Besao, Sabangan, Sagada and capital town Bontoc; two in Apayao -- Flora and Pudtol; five towns in Benguet -- Atok, Buguias, Kibungan, Kabayan and capital town La Trinidad; four in Ifugao -- Alfonso Lista, Lamut, Hingyon and capital town Bangued were also on the list.
    The national advisory also said if localities not on the list become high-risk or in critical risk as determined by the Dept. of Health, the LCE of the locality shall be qualified for inoculation with Covid-19 vaccines. -- PNA


5 from ‘high-risk’ Manila, Bulacan, held in Ilocos Sur

By Mar T. Supnad

SANTA, Ilocos Sur- Officials warned those who want to enter this province without coordination and proper documentations face that they arrest for violation of health protocols.
    This development came after five persons coming from Metro Manila and nearby provinces, considered as ‘high-risk’ areas were arrested before dawn last week here in Barangay Labut.
    Police identified the arrested as Dwight Concepcion, 42 of Valenzuela; Ernesto Valdez Jr, 36 of Novaliches, Quezon City; Cire     Enrian Pagapulangan, 27 of Pikay, Malolos, Bulacan; Remon Espinosa, 22 and Johnmar Amoroso, 28, both of Valenzuela.
    All were nabbed when they entered this town without necessary health papers.
    Santa police said they received a report from Santa RHU personnel informing that five persons onboard a Mitsubishi L300 (PN: NGA 2644) who came from high-risk area of Covid-19 entered the barangay without proper coordination.
    Police asked for their documents for verification but their border pass indicated their destination should be province of Abra, but they dropped and stopped at Barangay Labut Santa.
    This prompted police to arrest the five suspects for violation of quarantine protocol.
    Arrested suspects were turned over to Tagudin town police for investigation.
    Earlier, Gov. Ryan Singson issued a directive banning temporarily the entry here of outsiders without proper documents and health protocols following rise of Covid-19 cases.


P’sinan eco-tourism road to boost trade

By Venus May H. Sarmiento

MANGALDAN, Pangasinan -- The Dept. of Public Works and Highways has completed the first phase of the road leading to an eco-tourism park in this town. 
Facing the Angalacan River, the 900-meter concrete road has a  river protection barrier of 1 meter x 1 meter x 0.5 meter parapet walls and 200-meter flood control  system consisting of six-meter long per sheet pile project that extends to Barangay Embarcadero area up to Barangay Nibaliw.
District engineer Edita Manuel of Pangasinan 2nd District Engineering Office said the road  and eco-tourism project will serve as access route leading to the park being developed as a tourist destination and boost development by providing alternative source of livelihood and economic benefits  to town folks specifically Barangays Embarcadero, Nibaliw, Tebag and Salaan.
“The 44.8-million project is not only built to have an accessible means to the developing tourist spot but will also aid in controlling the entry of flood water in the locality. Residents along the road were provided with driveways and intersecting roads adjacent to the road project,” Manuel said in a report sent to the Philippine Information Agency.
Manuel said phase II of the project is about to start consisting of 1,195 meters concrete road with stone masonry and parapet wall and a 6.10 meters width of road carriageway.
Meanwhile, in an interview, Municipal Administrator Fernando Cabrera said the local government is brainstorming with DPWH personnel final concept of the eco-tourism project. 
“Generally, the project is developed to be a tourism road and  consideration must be given to environmental protection  and  security details which is why careful conceptualization is really necessary,” Cabrera told the PIA.
Aside from flood control, the eco-tourism project will have sports tourism biking, hiking area, floating restaurant and  solar lightings once finished.


Ifugao village chiefs can lock- down barangays

By Marcelo B. Lihgawon

LAMUT, Ifugao -- Punong barangays in this municipality may now declare    a localized lockdown, if warranted, for the protection of their residents with the increasing cases of Covid-19.
    As of April 6, Lamut which has 18 barangays, had 213 confirmed cases with 100 of these classified active.  
    Mayor Mariano Buyagawan Jr. mandated all PBs to assess necessity of localized lockdowns in their “purok” or “sitio” if a resident is infected with Covid-19, and in any case, the entire barangays if two or more are affected with the virus.
    “Any barangay chief executive in his/her assessment may declare a localized lockdown for a period of time in their respective barangayprovided a written notice of request together with an executive order stating the facts of the declaration of localized  lockdown in a particular purok, sitio or the entire barangay,” Buyagawan said.
    The contents of the barangay EO shall be the following; the affected purok or sitio, number and names of the affected individuals within the purok, sitio or barangay and the period of lockdown, with a maximum period of five days.
    “Any extension must be made in writing for the approval of the Municipal Inter-Agency Task Force,” the mayor added.
    The barangay t is authorized to impose lockdowns to restrict entry and exit of residents in the affected area.
    All activities in such area are automatically suspended.

Isabela public schools locked down; work-from-home set

CITY OF ILAGAN, Isabela -- The Isabela schools division here has ordered a province-wide lockdown from April 6 to 19 of all public schools and implemented a work-from-home scheme for staff amid the Covid-19 cases here. 
Dr. Madelyn Macalling, Isabela schools division officer-in-charge and assistant superintendent, has ordered public school district supervisors and districts in-charge in her memorandum to advise all school heads in their areas that no personnel shall be allowed to report for face-to-face transactions.
    Teachers and non-teaching workers have been among those infected by the virus, prompting the division head to impose the work-from-home scheme, as approved by DepEd Regional Director Benjamin Paragas.
The workers were tasked to do their duties and functions through “online transactions or virtual modes” and in the submission of required reports.
Macalling also tasked school and district nurses and other health workers to regularly monitor the condition and well-being of educators and closely monitor epidemiology and surveillance units to facilitate contact tracing and managing those exposed to the virus.
She advised those who have had close-contacts with Covid positives to stay in quarantine or isolation facilities.


Hedcor sets learning assessment tools in 3 Benguet town schools

ITOGON, Benguet -- Hedcor has rolled out assessment tests in three municipalities in Benguet to determine whether grade school students are learning through distance education amidst Covid-19 pandemic.
    This initiative is in partnership with Synergeia Foundation and will be administered to Grades 2 to 6 in Sablan, Itogon and Tuba.
    The outcome of the tests which cover English, Filipino and Mathematics would help educators and local governments assess their competency levels and implement remedies if necessary, to improve them.
     Synergeia Foundation, in collaboration with the local government units, pushed for the creation of assessment tool to determine whether remote education is working as the Covid-19 pandemic closed schools and forced children to learn from their homes.
    “The results of these assessments would give us an insight on the effectiveness of current remote education methodologies, and identify which communities would need support in strengthening distance education,” said Noreen Vicencio, Hedcor’s vice president for corporate services. 
    She added through assessments, partner LGU with Dept. of Education can recalibrate strategies to ensure needed skills in English, Filipino and Mathematics are achieved per grade level. 
    Synergeia president and CEO Milwida Guevara said, “We’re doing this to determine the learning competencies that the students  have developed, and identify those which they are weak in. It is important to assess and measure the learning outcomes achieved by the children.”
    The learning tests were put together with help of experts from the Philippine Normal University and focused on essential learning competencies prescribed by DepEd. 
     Hedcor officials said the power fi9rm’s dedication in providing sufficient learning venues strengthened during this pandemic, making it the community’s partner to quality education and children’s well-being.
    At the start of the school year, Hedcor provided P500,000 worth of school supplies to host schools in Benguet for the printing of modules. 


BeGH full; many Covid-19 patients awaiting admission

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — The management of the Benguet General Hospital (BeGH) here confirmed that its Covid-19 Ward is now full.
    According to BeGH chief Dr. Miliarazon Dulay, there are still many Covid-19 patients waiting to be admitted.
    She said that there are 41 beds intended for confirmed cases but are now being used as there are watchers of patients that were allowed inside the hospital.
    Dulay said there are critical and severe cases being treated as patients with moderate symptoms and even the asymptomatic ones are being brought to the quarantine and isolation facilities of the hospital.
    She also said that once the conditions of patients with moderate symptoms and the asymptomatic patients worsen, they will be easily be brought to the main hospital building.
    Because of its full capacity status, BeGH management is planning to add up its wards to accommodate more Covid-19 patients. Dulay said they are preparing the non-covid wards to be converted as covid wards. She said these will be opened on 7 April.
    Dulay said they requested from Benguet Gov. Melchor Diclas and Department of Health Cordillera for funds for the purchase of equipment needed in additional Covid wards.


Baguio, 5 other LGUs ban non- essential travel until April 22

By Liza Agoot

BAGUIO CITY – The mayors of the six local government units (LGUs) comprising the BLISTT (Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay) have agreed to limit movement of residents in their respective jurisdictions to essential travel for a period of two weeks.
    Resolution 107-A approved by the BLISTT mayors in a meeting on April 5, a copy of which was released to the public on Tuesday, said the limitation of travel within the BLISTT will start on April 8 until April 22.
    “Our health facilities are reaching full capacity and we have a total of 3,165 active Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) cases in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR),” it said.
    The mayors -- Benjamin Magalong of Baguio, Romeo Salda of La Trinidad, Victorio Palangdan of Itogon, Manuel Munar Jr. of Sablan, Clarita Sal-ongan of Tuba and Armando Lauro of Tublay, all in Benguet, took into consideration the position of health experts in the area in its decision to impose stricter rules.
    “Health experts have agreed that mobility plays a huge part in community transmission, thus we have agreed that there is an urgent necessity to implement methods to minimize non-essential travel between and within our respective areas for a limited period of time so that we can help each other bring our collective cases down and avoid a possible escalation of quarantine classifications similar to what happened in NCR (National Capital Region) Plus,” the resolution said.
    The increased number of Covid-19 cases has led to major hospitals in the city to full capacity.
    From April 1-6, Baguio City and the whole of Benguet province have recorded a total of 1,279 new Covid-19 cases.
    At the start of implementation, residents within BLISTT who cross borders have to present identification or document showing proof of their being an APOR (authorized person outside residence) to be allowed to pass through provincial or city checkpoints.
    For non-residents, they should show proof of confirmed appointment for transactions in any government or private agency or office or a government or private health care facility in BLISTT areas.
    Those who want to access goods or services may do so only on assigned schedules to be provided by the concerned LGUs.
    The advisory also assured unhampered passage for cargo, delivery, logistics services.
    Children below 15 years old, senior citizens above 65 years old, and persons with comorbidities are also advised to just stay home.
    It also reminded residents of the importance of taking care of themselves and complying with the minimum health protocol at all times and in all places.
    “Let us shield our households, especially the vulnerable members of our family, from this virus by practicing extra precaution be it outside of our homes or in the presence of our loved ones,” the advisory said. -- PNA 


Gov places 4 La Union towns under MECQ as Covid cases now 1,336

By Joanne Namnama P. Dilim

SAN FERNANDO CITY – Gov. Francisco Emmanuel R. Ortega III has imposed heightened community quarantine in four towns of La Union due to rising Covid-19 cases.
    As of April 6, La Union had 1,336 active Covid-19 cases.
Ortega signed Tuesday executive order 8, series of 2021 declaring the municipalities of Aringay, Luna, Naguilian, and Tubao under a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from April 8 to April 21.
    The EO cited the provincial core team against Covid-19 reported as of April 5,  said areas qwew at critical epidemic risk level with more than 50 percent of their barangays having new active cases.
     In Aringay, 14 of the 24 villages have been infected with the virus, 27 of 40 in Luna, 29 of 37 in Naguilian and 16 out of 18 barangays in Tubao.
    According to Adamor Dagang, provincial information and tourism officer, officials of concerned local government units were consulted and concurred prior to declaration of heightened classification in their locality.
     “This move of the provincial government is to arrest the further spread of Covid-19 in said LGUs and to benefit its surrounding municipalities as well as the province, in general,” Dagang said.
    He said local chief executives and police were directed to ensure compliance with guidelines on zoning containment in localization of the national action plan against Covid-19 response and other applicable guidelines during the MECQ.
     These include limitation on movement and transportation of people, establishment of checkpoints, observance of minimum public health standards, closing of non-essential establishments, and strict regulation of operating industries, imposition of curfews, and heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce protocols.
    The Regional Inter-Agency Task Force against Covid-19 has yet to release its resolution approving and concurring Ortega’s executive order. -- PIA La Union


Ilocos Region under ECQ ‘fake news'

By Joanne Namnama P. Dilim

SAN FERNANDO CITY – The news that Ilocos Region is under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to rising Covid-19 cases is “fake news,” authorities said.
    Region 1 had 2,552 active cases; 7,649 recoveries; and 324 deaths out of the 10,525 total confirmed cases as of April 4.
    There was no directive, as of Monday, regarding ECQ in the Ilocos Region or any of its provinces for the month of April, Interior regional director James Fadrilan said.
    “That is fake news,” Fadrilan said when asked about the circulating news that Region 1 will be placed under ECQ this month of April amid the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in the region.
    However, Fadrilan, also the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force (RIATF) chairperson, confirmed that his office has received a request to put Ilocos Sur under modified ECQ.
    “The request still needs validation based on guidelines on quarantine classification and concurrence from the RIATF and approval of the National Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases,” he said.
    Meanwhile, Regional Director Jennilyne Role of the Philippine Information Agency-Region 1, also head of the Crisis Communication Cluster of the Regional Task Force on Covid-19, urged the public not to spread misinformation and disinformation to avoid fear, panic, and confusion.
    “During these critical times, spreading false information is not helping. Mga kababayan, believe reliable sources only - check government sites,” Role said.
    Based on the latest announcement of Secretary Harry Roque, IATF spokesperson, on March 29, the entire Region 1 covering the provinces of Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur, and Ilocos Norte is under a Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) status this April per IATF resolution 107-A.


DOH: Breach of health rules upped Cordillera Covid cases

By Liza Agoot  

BAGUIO CITY – The Dept. of Health Cordillera said topping reasons for spike in Covid-19 cases in the region was improper or non-use of masks and face shields and breach of safety protocols.
    "'Pag pumunta ka sa market, sa mall or kahit saan, maiinis ka pa na makakita ng mga tao na ang ilong nakasilip, nasa baba ang mask, ang face shield ginawang headband (when you go to the market, the mall or anywhere, you will see people whose noses are peeping or the mask on their chin or some who use their face shield as headband)," Dr. Amelita Pangilinan, assistant regional director of the DOH-CAR, on Tuesday said.
    This is aside from the existence of the B.1.1.7 United Kingdom (UK) variant which was detected in several provinces of the region. This was found to be more transmissible than the original virus.
    Pangilinan said a total of 41 confirmed UK variant cases were found in the region -- 28 in Mountain Province, nine in Benguet, and two each in Kalinga and this city.
    Cordillera logged a record high number of Covid-19 positive cases in the past few days. The DOH-CAR Covid-19 tracker shows that a total of 2,489 new Covid-19 cases were recorded from April 1 to 5.
    The doctor urged the public to protect themselves from the virus. She also asked everyone to take extra caution and not contribute to the spread of the disease.
    "Let us have a personal examination of our conscience if we have been strictly following the health and safety protocols and stop pointing fingers because preventing the spread of Covid-19 is a responsibility lodged in all of us," she said. -- PNA 



31 nabbed in Baguio, Tuba for gambling

CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet – Police arrested 31 persons  in Baguio City and Tuba, Benguet for illegal gambling last week.
    Fourteen persons were nabbed for the offense in San Luis, Baguio City and Camp 1, Tuba, Benguet on April 1.
    Cases for violation of Presidential Decree 1602 (illegal gambling) were set to be filed against them.
    An anonymous report from a concerned citizen about ongoing illegal gambling, led to arrest of nine persons at Purok 8, Sampaguita Site, San Luis.
    Baguio police director Col. Allen Rae Co. identified the suspects as Dickson Dagdagi Tungap 34, laborer; Jay-r Lachica Seli, 27, teacher; Raymond Garcia Gatchalian, 29, laborer; Herminion Dayanan Floresca b, 55, taxi driver; Rogelio Ducusin Garcia, 54, construction worker; Montano Villanueva Pulido, 58, taxi. Driver; Eddie Angaluan, 46, construction worker; Clarence Arellano Duldulao, 52, taxi driver; and Cesar Lizardo Gapasin, 60, construction mason.
    Seized from them were playing cards; P620 cash, three dead fighting cocks and a live one, and other items used by the suspects in illegal gambling.
    Confiscated items were inventoried at the site witnessed by kagawad Joseph Domiong of San Luis while suspects were brought to Naguillan Road Police Station for investigation.
    Meanwhile, at Sitio Kamuweg, Camp 1, Tuba, local police on patrol were approached by a concerned citizen to report ongoing illegal cock fighting activity that resulted to the arrest of five individuals. 
    Col. Reynaldo Pasiwen, Benguet police director identified the arrested individuals as Midon Mendoza Marcelo, 34, laborer; Danny Bilit Coliado, 34, farmer; Jan Mico Allidem Bulalit, 25, mechanic; Mark Camacho Guay, 30, and Julius Alcedo Catubing, 40, both laborers.
    Two roosters and two notebooks containing bet lists were seized. The arrested suspects and confiscated items were brought to Tuba police station for disposition.
    Still in Tuba, eight individuals were nabbed for playing Lucky 9, an illegal card game at Sitio Laaw, Camp 6 early morning of April 4.
    Pasiwen identified the arrested suspects as Diosdado Casem Moral Jr., 32; Ferdinand Dumalig Bati, 27; Gilbert Felipe Lipawen, 36; Marvin Ayan Akisio, 45; Francis Sanchez Galiga, 44; Orencio Say-eng Arias, 41; Rey Barroso Marquez, 32, all miners; and William Likwet Diwayan, 58, driver. 
    Confiscated from the suspects were the bet money amounting to P 1,650 and playing cards. 
    Meanwhile, police also arrested three drivers and a bookie in two separate anti-illegal gambling operations April 5 in Sitio Acop, Barangay Caponga, Tuba.
    Pasiwen said the drivers were arrested playing cards inside a parked jeepney in the area.
    The arrested suspects were identified as Aron Carino Antero, 40; Leonardo Kimkiman Teofilo, 33; and Mark Bugnay Doloy, 29, all employed as drivers.
    Police confiscated a set of playing cards and bet money from suspects.
    In Tublay town, Dewey Ibanio Gao-ay, single, 57, was caught collecting money bets for Small Town Lottery (STL) and was in possession of illegal number game paraphernalia at Sitio Asin, Barangay Nangalisan. Confiscated items from the suspect were one cell phone, bet money among items used for illegal gambling.

P13.2-M marijuana uprooted in Kibungan, Benguet  24 nabbed in Cordi for drugs; P24-M shabu, MJ confiscated

CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet – Police arrested 24 persons for illegal drugs in Cordillera and seized over P21.9 million worth of marijuana and shabu in March. 
A report from the regional police information office said Cordillera police  conducted a total of 17 marijuana eradication operations wherein 92, 980 pieces fully grown marijuana plants, 3,000 marijuana seedlings and 26 kilos of marijuana stalks were destroyed worth P21, 836,000.
    Of this, P20,356,000 worth of marijuana was discovered and destroyed in Benguet while P1.48 million worth marijuana were eradicated in Kalinga.
Moreover, 21 buy-bust operations were conducted that led to the arrest of 24 drug personalities while 20.87 grams of shabu amounting to P141, 888.12 were confiscated from the arrested suspects.
Topping the list was Baguio City Police Office with 13 arrested drug personalities, followed by Benguet Police Provincial Office with eight arrests, Abra PPO with two arrests and Kalinga PPO with one.
This, as some P13.2 million worth of marijuana plants were uprooted and burned in Kibungan, Benguet by lawmen April 3-4.
Col. Reynaldo Pasiwen, Bnenguet police chief said the illegal plants were discovered in plantations at a communal forest in Sitio Tableo, Barangay Badeo.
On April 3, a total of 2,100 marijuana plants worth P420,000 were found at the site along with 10 kilos of abandoned dried marijuana stalks worth P1, 200,000.
The following day, 28,000 marijuana plants worth P5,600,000 were uprooted by police in another plantation. 
Some 50 kilos dried marijuana stalks P6,000,000 were also found in the area. 

Kalinga man wanted for slay nabbed after hiding over 15 years

BAGUIO CITY – A construction worker was nabbed here after 15 years hiding from the law for murder he allegedly committed in his hometown of Tanudan in Kalinga. 
    Kalinga police director Col. Davy V. Limmong identified the suspect as Arthur Calading Ao-as, 47, construction worker, of Barangay Babanoy, Tanudan, Kalinga.
    Ao-as, the no. 5 top most wanted person of Kalinga was reportedly nabbed at here in Purok 3, Barangay Pinsao Proper,Tam-awan Village on April 4.
    According to Tanudan police, an anonymous caller reported the location of Ao-as.
    Immediately, police from Tanudan, regional cops based at Camp Dangwa and Baguio Police Station 2 apprehended the suspect.
    Ao-as was brought to Tanudan municipal police station where he was jailed.
    He is now facing charges for the crime of murder with no bail recommended.

3 nabbed in Baguio selling shabu to cops

BAGUIO CITY – Police and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agents nabbed two women and a man here in separate operations on April 3 for illegal drugs. 
A police report identified the arrested as Jestonie Lamsie Packoy aka “Tonio,” 28; Nicole Foronda Salango aka Nikki, 33 and May Ann Sereso De Guzman, 37.
    In Loakan, Packoy was apprehended along Access Road, after he allegedly sold two grams of suspected shabu worth P2,000 to a cop operative who acted as buyer.
Confiscated from the suspect was another sachet of suspected shabu weighing 0.2 grams worth P2,000,  boodle money, non-professional driver’s license, F11 Oppo cellphone and motorcycle allegedly used by the suspect when he transacted with cops.
In a separate operation of City Drug Enforcement Unit, Salango, call center agent, was arrested along km 4 Marcos Highway Bakakeng Central while selling a sachet of suspected shabu weighing about one gram worth P6,000 to a lawmen who posed as buyer.
The buy-bust money and her Samsung cellphone used in the transaction were seized from the suspect.
Meanwhile, in Barangay Zamora, De Guzman was nabbed after she allegedly sold two small sachets of suspected shabu weighing about 0.3 grams worth P1,500 to an undercover cop.
Reports from the Camdas Police Station revealed a concerned citizen told police the suspect has been dealing illegal drugs to night workers (hospitality girls) along her route at Magsaysay, Harrison and Lakandula streets.
Cases for violation of Republic Act 9165 or The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 were prepared against the three suspects.


Tabuk treasurer held for shabu

TABUK CITY, Kalinga --– Police arrested a barangay treasurer here April 4 for shabu worth P34,000 after his house was searched following warrant issued by a court. 
Police identified the suspect as Marcelino Bumon-as Gud-ay, 59, who was nabbed in his house in Barangay Malin-awa
Seized in Gud-ay’s house were around 5five grams of suspected shabu placed in sachets, inside the casing of a  phone, lighter, tooter, and used and unused foil.
Inventory site witnesses were three barangay kagawads of Malin-awa and representatives from Dept. of Justice and media.


Bontoc bizwoman nabbed over resto slot machine 

BONTOC, Mountain Province -- A businesswoman was arrested here Monday following implementation of search warrant wherein a slot machine (Kulalong) was found allegedly being illegally operated in her establishment in Chakong, Bontoc Ili.  
The suspect was identified as Elaine Estao Peckley Fateg, a resident of Barangay Poblacion and owner of a Restobar located at place of arrest.
    Bontoc police reportedly received anonymous complaints regarding a slot machine (Kulalong) being operated at the business establishment which prompted police to apply for search warrant at her establishment.
Customers of the restobar reportedly kept coming to play the slot machine while waiting for their orders to be served.
The suspect and confiscated item were brought to Bontoc Police Station where a case for violation of Presidential Decree 1602 (illegal gambling) was prepared against her.

Man nabbed in Tuba for rape

TUBA, Benguet – Police arrested a rape suspect here April 2 at Barangay Tadiangan. A Benguet Provincial Police Office report identified the suspect as Ronnel Alban Taquid, 34, laborer who was wanted for violation of Republic Act 8353 or the Anti-Rape Law he allegedly committed on March 2019.
    Taquid was arrested after Marietta S Brawner-Cualing, presiding judge of Regional Trial Court Branch 9, First Judicial, La Trinidad, Benguet issued warrant against him. The suspect is now under custody of Tuba police.

Farmer ‘burns self’ to death in Ilocos town

By Mar T. Supnad

CAMP QUIRINO, Ilocos Sur- A 66-year-old farmer accidentally burned himself to death afternoon of April 5 in Barangay San Ramon, Magsingal town.
    Police identified the victim as Hermilo L. Andallo, 66 who was found by his neighbors at his farm.
    Police said investigation conducted by the police revealed around 10:30 a.m. that day, the victim went to his farm in San Ramon to clean twigs and dried leaves.
    After cleaning the area, the victim allegedly set on fire the collected dried leaves and twigs.
    However, he was suffocated by the smoke until became unconscious.
    As a result, police said the fire spread quickly where he was causing severe burns on the victim’s body where it was found around 10:30 a.m.
    Victim was rushed to Magsingal District Hospital, for treatment but he was declared dead on arrival by attending physician Rowena Dumag.


Easter hope amidst Covid-19 pandemic

>> Tuesday, April 6, 2021


People praying in churches are limited due to physical distancing. Most restaurants are closed. Family members who aren’t already under the same roof may not be gathering because of Covid-19 restrictions. This Easter Sunday is very different than any we have experienced in the past.
    The novel coronavirus pandemic has shut down cities, economies and in-person social interaction around the world and casts a shadow more in keeping with the darkness of the Good Friday crucifixion than with the sunrise of the Easter resurrection.
It is a special day for more than two billion Christians worldwide, most of whom will be worshiping through remote livestreams or even Zoom, another reminder of what the virus has done to our daily lives.
It is not a religious holiday for others, but it has become a celebration nonetheless.
The holiday involves family gatherings and events for children, although health protocols should be followed to lessen Covid-19 afflictions.   Easter signifies the beginning of renewal, rebirth and a sense of hope even as the Covid-10 pandemic ravages the world.
The development of anti-Covid-19 vaccines may lessen infections. But then, even with uncertainty and suffering, this pandemic may soon come to pass in the near future – with God’s grace.   


GCQ inspections on


Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY -- A total of 143 establishments were checked for compliance with General Community Quarantine (GCQ) restrictions during regular inspections by a joint team from the city government.  
The establishments consisting of 11 driving schools, four cinemas, museums and cultural centers, one library, two game arcades, 55 food, beverage and restaurants with dine-in, 15 personal care, spa and gym, 23 events and function halls, and 29 accommodation establishments were informed of GCQ rules under Executive Orders Nos. 42 and 46-2021 and were warned that violation will result to severe penalties.
    The inspections will be a continuing activity, according to Permits and Licensing Division Chief Allan Abayao who led the team composed of the Public Order and Safety division of the City Mayor's Office and the BCPO.
Under executive order 42-2021 issued by Mayor Benjamin Magalong, effective March 22 to April 4, the following are not allowed to operate: driving schools, traditional cinemas, galleries and cultural center, libraries, archives, game arcades, indoor tourist attractions while the following are allowed limited operations: dine-in establishments, gyms, salons, spas, personal care establishments at 50 percent.
Executive order 46-2021, meanwhile, provides additional restrictions on movement and activities in Baguio effective until April 4, 2021:
Curfew was adjusted to 10 4 a.m., age-based home restrictions were readopted, physical fitness was kept at 50 percent capacity, among others.



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