Covid outbreak hits 98 cops in Baguio training center

>> Saturday, June 26, 2021

Cordillera; 38,289 cases, 704 deaths 

By Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY --- An outbreak of Covid-19 has hit the Cordillera Philippine National Police Training Center in the city with 98 personnel falling ill as of June 25.
    This, as Cordillera recorded a total of 38,289 Covid-19 confirmed cases as of June 16, according to health authorities.
    Mayor Benjamin Magalong in a press briefing said the number of cases is expected to increase in Baguio as testing and contact tracing continue.
    He said the 98 are part of the 197 regular officers from various regions participating in leadership training. 
    Majority of them came from the Cordillera.
    The mayor said most of the patients had mild symptoms and necessary measures had been undertaken to implement medical intervention, isolation, quarantine of close contacts, disinfection and other measures to contain the spread of the infection.
    The mayor said some lapses in protocols were noted in the place notably the lack of proper ventilation and physical distancing.
    All activities had been suspended in the facility now placed under total lockdown for 14 days.
    In October last year, a similar outbreak occurred at another training center in the city affecting more than 200 new police recruits.    
    In Cordillera a press time, 36,255 patients recovered   while there were still 1,322 active cases with 704   Covid-19 related deaths.
    Of the 1,322 active cases in the region, 40 were from Abra, 96 from Apayao, 595 from Baguio City, 344 from Benguet, 120 from Ifugao, 68 from Kalinga, and 59 from Mountain Province.
    A total of 652 were asymptomatic, 585 with mild symptoms, 73 moderate and 12 in critical status.
    President Rodrigo Roa Duterte announced recently effective June 16 to 30, Apayao and Ifugao in Cordillera were among those placed under stricter MECQ while Abra, Benguet, Kalinga, Mountain Province and the City of Baguio are under general community quarantine.  
    As of June 14, Apayao recorded a total of 1,419 Covid-19 confirmed cases with 1,301 recovered, 109 active and nine Covid- related deaths.
    The June 10 report of the Apayao Provincial Health Office said the province was on high epidemic risk based on two-week growth rate and average attack rate.
    The municipalities of Conner, Kabugao and Sta Marcela are on high epidemic risk level while Calanasan, Luna and Pudtol are on moderate epidemic risk level.
    Only Flora is on a low epidemic risk level.
    For Ifugao as of June 14, there were 4,333 Covid-19 confirmed cases with 4,067 recoveries, 218 active cases and 48 Covid-19 related deaths.
    Benguet which was under MECQ for one month is now under GCQ.  – With a PIA report



Gov warns on closure of Hedcor hydros by NCIP

‘Nat’l power supply in peril’ 

By Lloyd Revilla and Rocky Ngalob 

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Gov. Melchor Diclas warned of adverse effects of the shutting down of three hydroelectric power plants of Hedcor Inc., in Bakun town by the National Commission on Indigenous People’s saying it “would negatively impact power supply in the country”. “It is the responsibility of the province including Bakun folks to provide the national government of uninterrupted supply of electricity to the Luzon grid,” he said during a dialogue between Hedcor and Bakun officials and folks. 
    The NCIP Cordillera issued a cease and desist order over Hedcor’s three run-of-river hydropower plants in Bakun on June 22.
 The issuance of the CDO was due to alleged irregularities regarding the free prior informed consent-memorandum of agreement (FPIC-MOA) between Hedcor and the Bakun Indigenous Tribes Organization (BITO) signed on Oct. 15, 2019.
 “We believe that we have been compliant with all the requirements during the course of the FPIC application process, and have been waiting for the issuance of the certificate precondition (CP) since the FPIC-MOA was signed,” said Hedcor’s vice president for corporate services Noreen Vicencio.
 NCIP-CAR ordered Hedcor to cease hydro operations, five days after receipt of the CDO.
“Hedcor is saddened by the NCIP-CAR’s decision to shut down its Bakun operations despite all efforts to come to a dialogue with BITO and the NCIP,” Vicencio said. "The CDO will not just affect Hedcor, but also the customers and communities we serve. At this time of a red alert situation in the Luzon grid, the continued operation of our plants is very crucial."
Despite the CDO, she said Hedcor will reach out to the community for a dialogue or the customary “tongtongan” between the company and the Bakun indigenous peoples with the guidance of NCIP.
“The company looks forward to continuing to provide the benefits that the Bakun community is currently receiving from the generation of the plants. Non-operation of the Bakun plants means the community shares and ER 1-94 funds will neither accrue nor accumulate,” she said.
NCIP regional director lawyer Marlon P. Bosantog, ordered Hedcor Inc. to cease and desist in its operation of the latter’s 2.4 MW Lower Labay, 3.6 MW Lon-oy and 6.4 MW FL Singit hydroelectric power plants all situated within the ancestral domain of Bakun.
Said CDO was anchored on section 59 of Republic 8371 known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997 parallel to the authority granted by the NCIP Commission en banc resolution 08-017-2021 series 2021.
“Hedcor, its respective officers, directors, agents, representatives, and any and all persons, conduit entities and subsidiaries claiming and acting under their authority, are hereby ordered to immediately cease and desist from further operating the three power plants, namely: (1) 2.4 MW Lower Labay; (2) 3.6 MW Lon-oy; and (3) 6.4 MW F.L. Singit”, the CDO said.
The CDO came after following issuance of a notice of violation last June 7 by the regional director to Hedcor Inc. giving Hedcor Inc. 10 ample working days to address “violations” towards the IP host community of Bakun. 
Hedcor applied to NCIP – CAR for the issuance of a certification precondition for continuance and renewal of their operation, of which caused the FPIC process on Aug. 13, 2018.
Both parties reached negotiation stage a year on May 17, 2019.
However, due to failure of the parties to meet at a common ground on royalty shares, the IP host community manifested their rejection through their issuance of resolution of non-consent (RNC).
The RNC was reconsidered on Sept. 2, 2019 during an IP community assembly with the hope that Hedcor will heed demands of the IP host community.
Negotiations resumed which culminated to signing of the MOA on October 2019.
The agreement of both parties however turned sour when the MOA entered by the IP host communities was allegedly used by Hedcor Inc. against the former’s fellow IPs in local government of Bakun. 
Bakun indigenous elders/leaders Juan Aglayen and Benitez Acbayaan said during negotiations between the domain and the company, the latter requested the community, not to ask too much “basiten yo ti dawat yo (demand small) and “haan yo unay padagsenen ti proposal (do not ask too much) to give room for the company to negotiate with the municipal and barangay governments. 
Due to these conditions, an agreement was forged through the signing of the MOA.
Hedcor reportedly barred negotiations with the LGU claiming the host IP community already consented to renewal, upgrading and continuance of operations thus negotiations with the LGU were no longer necessary.
Hedcor Inc. later filed cases against the LGU whose officials are IPs and AD holders themselves.   
Dominga Gaspar, one of the IP elder, during the validation activities of NCIP said the case filed against their officials was akin to paniyew or inayan (taboo) – “maga met lawa si inyat da (they [LGU] have done nothing wrong). Naey tako abe ay manmiti-miting yan nan kompanya et mangalgalansiya (We keep on meeting about the company’s operation with the company reaping the benefit continuously utilizing the natural resources in our ancestral domain).
Due to this, on March 1, 2021, NCIP – CAR received a resolution of from the IP elders/leaders of Bakun expressing they were revoking the MOA due to alleged  irregularities such as the MOA allegedly used by Hedcor Inc. as a tool to exert pressure on Bakun LGU officials to yield to demands of the former.
They said terms and conditions in the MOA were highly disadvantageous to the IP host community of Bakun.
The NCIP Commission en banc unanimously resolved to grant the request and authorized the regional director of NCIP – CAR to issue the requested CDO.
Said deliberation came after Bosantog issued a notice to Hedcor “to return to the Indigenous peoples community of Bakun the parcels of land occupied by your operations, as being the true and incontestable owners thereof, immediately and without delay”.
On April 7, 2021, NCIP – CAR received the second resolution of non-consent (RNC) from the IP host community of Bakun citing similar grounds in their revocation of the MOA.
Said second RNC was followed by a community resolution from the same IP host community requesting the NCIP for the issuance of a CDO against Hedcor Inc.
The IP host community later welcomed officials from the NCIP last June 1.
Four commissioners, including the NCIP chairperson, Allen Capuyan went to Bakun where Bakun folks and officials aired their issues and concerns.
AboitizPower, in its web site said it is the holding company for the Aboitiz Group’s investments in power generation, distribution, and retail electricity services. It advances business and communities by providing reliable and ample power supply at a reasonable and competitive price, and with the least adverse effects on the environment and host communities.
“The company is one of the largest power producers in the Philippines with a balanced portfolio of assets located across the country. It is a major producer of Cleanergy, its brand for clean and renewable energy with several hydroelectric, geothermal, and solar power generation facilities. It also has thermal power plants in its generation portfolio to support the baseload and peak energy demands of the country.”
The company reportedly owns distribution utilities that operate in high-growth areas in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, including the second and third largest private utilities in the country.
Currently, Aboitiz Power, together with its partners, is the Philippines’ largest owner and operator of renewable energy based on installed capacity. In the next 10 years, the company will significantly expand its Cleanergy portfolio, in support of the government's efforts to promote renewable energy in the country and as the company's contribution to the global renewable energy targets. AboitizPower is aiming for an almost 50:50 Cleanergy and thermal capacity mix by 2030.


49 NPA, militia rebs yield in Mt Province Abra, Ilocos Sur

CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad Benguet- A total of 49 New People’s Army guerillas and the communist group’s Militia ng Bayan from Mountain Province, Abra and Ilocos Sur surrendered to government authorities last week, basing from collated reports of the Police Regional Office here.  
    Cordillera police director Brig. Gen. Ronald O. Lee said latest were 12 communist members who surrendered to authorities in Abra on June 22.
    Lee identified latest surrenderees by their aliases: Edmar, 54; Solo,38; Mandag 60; Yaos/Sadem, 58; Melvin, 38; Bagwis, 42; Joker/Lindol, 38; Joker, 42; Yoyong, 63; Ranes, 35; Soli, 54; Wanti, 46 all from Abra were under Agustin Begnalen Command and Antonio Licawen Command of Kilusang Larangang Gerilya North Abra and KLG Abra, Mountain Province, Ilocos Sur.
    The twelve reportedly surrendered after negotiations initiated by the Benguet Provincial Police Office, Regional Intelligence Division, Regional Mobile Force Battalion 15 (RMFB 15), and Abra Provincial Police Office.
    The surrenderees handed over two M16 rifles, four Cal. 45 pistols, M2 Carbine rifle; M1 Carbine, 7.62 bolt action rifle,  357 magnum revolver , rifle grenade,  5.56 rifle and several bullets.
    A report from the police regional information office said eight MNB members earlier surrendered in Abra and Mountain Province on June 20 and 21.
    This, as 37 former NPA guerillas and MNG who recently surrendered received cash and grocery packs during a program at Pavillon Gym, Barangay Ayyeng, Manabo, Abra on June 22.
    The report identified Abra surrenderees as alias Macedo, 63; Hilda, 57; Ginwar, 53 and Tani, 65, reportedly former members of Cordillera Peoples’ Democratic Front. Darna, 48, Lilia, 62 and Haydi, 55 were former MNB also in Abra.
    In Mountain Province, alias Bog, 37 was formerly under Platoon Avila/ Kilusang Larangang Gerilya under Benguet, Abra, Mountain Province and Ilocos Sur NPA command.
    Lee said the rebels surrendered after negotiations initiated by cops with their families.
    “Bog” turned over a Springfield Cal. 45 pistol and four bullets for Cal. 45.
    All seven Abra rebel returnees are under custody of Luba Municipal Police Station while “Bog” of Mountain Province was brought to 1502nd Mobile Co. headquarters in Tadian Mountain Province for debriefing.
    In Manabo, surrenderees received cash and grocery packs during a program at Pavillon Gym, Barangay Ayyeng, Manabo, Abra on June 22.
    Present during the program were Brig. Gen. Lee; Col. Elmer Ragay, chief of the Regional Intelligence Division; Col. Christopher T. Acop, Abra police chief; Col. Reynaldo D. Pasiwen, Benguet police director; Manabo Mayor Joana Dumasing and Myrna Bersalona of Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office.
Lee handed over P74,000 and grocery items to the 37 surrenderees.
    Food packs from the provincial governor were distributed to them.
    Surrenderees will be receiving cash, livelihood and other assistance under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) of the government after their profiling by PSWDO and issuance of certification by AFP-PNP intelligence committee.


City gov’t solicits insights to revise Baguio charter

BAGUIO CITY -- The city is currently soliciting the insights of the concerns sectors on House Bill (HB) 8882 or the revised Baguio City charter that was recently approved by the House of Representatives to reflect the real sentiments of the city’s constituency.
    Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong said that local government department heads will be devoting the next management committee meeting to discuss the provisions of the bill to ensure it will be beneficial to the city, especially in effectively and efficiently addressing the issues and concerns previously raised by concerned sectors.
    HB 8882 which revised the city’s century old charter was approved by the House of Representatives on third and final reading and was subsequently transmitted to the Senate for the possible passage of the required counterpart bill in the upper chamber.
    The city will also be inviting framers of similar past bills in Congress as resource persons during the scheduled management committee meeting on Tuesday, June 22, 2021 to enlighten city officials on the concrete issues that should be addressed by the proposed revision of the city’s charter.
     Concerned sectors were urged to give their observations, insights and recommendations on how to improve the contents of the House version of the bill to be included as part of the proposed amendments in the Senate version before it will be passed and submitted to the Office of the President for signing into law.
    The city government department heads were also tasked to review the provisions of this approved House bill and provide the appropriate inputs during the scheduled deliberation for the possible consolidation of inputs for submission to the upper chamber for inclusion in the amendments of a good number of provisions that seem not to conform with the supposed intent of the law.
    City officials requested that the concerned sectors should submit their respective position papers in writing the soonest for their suggestions and recommendations to be considered in the crafting of the proposed amendments to the bill which was described by some sectors as a virtual deviation from the contents of previous similar bills.
    The city wants to immediately provide the appropriate inputs to the relevant Senate committee where the version of the lower House will be referred so that senators will be guided accordingly in deciding whether or not to entertain such proposals from the city sectors.
    Concerned sectors are optimistic that the Senate committee on local government will conduct the required public consultations to get the real sentiments of the city residents.
    The proposed revision of the city’s century-old charter started way back in 2001 until it was approved in late 2012 but the proposed law was vetoed by former President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III for reasons that were evidently parochial that deliberately delayed the desired settlement of the long-time boundary dispute between Baguio and nearby Tuba, among other land issues in the city. - Dexter A. See


Extension for city news stands urged

By Jordan G. Habbiling

BAGUIO CITY -- The Sangguniang Panlungsod in a resolution has requested the City Mayor’s Office to extend the validity of the agreement entered into by the Permits and Licensing Division with newsstand vendors and watch repair stand proprietors among others.
    Peter Puzon, a concerned citizen, brought the matter to the attention of the city council last Monday, informing the legislative body that the 6-month extension period is ending on June 30.
    In a public consultation attended by journalists, publishers, general managers of newspaper organizations, and the vendors/repairmen in December 2020, the city government decided to allow these stands located in the central business district to operate in their current locations from January to June 2021 while plans for their relocation have yet to be finalized.
    The public consultation was facilitated by Permits and Licensing Chief Allan Abayao, City Planning and Dev't Coordinator Donna Tabangin, Executive Assistant V Philip Puzon, councilors Mylen Victoria Yaranon and Philian Weygan-Allan, Atty. Jordan Tumayan of the City Legal Office, Arch. Homer Soriano of the City Buildings and Architecture Office, and POSD Deputy Head Daryll Longid.
    As agreed, the vendors and repairmen shall be relocated either within the premises of establishments that are willing to accommodate them or in spaces that may be identified and proposed by the city government after conducting a survey.
    In areas where the stands may be relocated, a .6-meter setback from the sidewalk must be observed so as to keep customers from blocking/clogging the sidewalk, thus allowing smooth flow of pedestrians.
    The city hall officials stressed that the move to relocate the said stands emanated from a directive issued by the national government under the Department of the Interior and Local Government Memorandum Circular No. 2019-121 signed by DILG Secretary Eduardo Año on July 9, 2020.
    The MC enjoins all local government units to implement operations that will remove constructions and illegal structures from public roads.
    Atty. Jordan Tumayan of the City Legal Office stressed that the national mandate includes conducting clearing operations on alleys, thoroughfares, and sidewalks.
    The MC also directs the local sanggunians to revisit ordinances to ensure responsiveness to the presidential directive and to ensure consistency with related laws/policies.
    During the executive-legislative meeting last Monday, City Planning and Development Coordinator Donna Tabangin presented another alternative relocation area of newsstands. She said these vending structures will form part of the structural design of waiting sheds in the city.


PNP urged: Check Baguio taxi barkers over unfair practices

By Jordan G. Habbiling

BAGUIO CITY -- Councilor Joel Alangsab urged the Baguio City Police Office,  Public Order and Safety Division and concerned barangays to assign personnel to check practices of volunteer taxi barkers at taxi stands along Abanao Street, Baguio City Public Market, and other areas at the central business district, following public complaints of their harassments and bad practices.
    In his resolution approved by the city council, Alangsab said some residents in the city have taken to social media to express their disappointment about their “harrowing” experiences while queueing at the taxi stands along Abanao Street and the city public market because of unauthorized taxi barkers who reportedly do not observe the “First come, first served” policy.
Alangsab said there are instances where a barker disregards the queue to let a person get a cab ahead of those in front of them.
This completely violates the "First come, first served" ordinance of the city, he said.
Under ordinance 25, series of 1990 as amended by ordinance 122, series of 2019, the “First come, first served” policy is imposed in transactions such as paying taxes and purchasing tickets as well as when entering public utility vehicles such as buses, jeepneys, taxis and the like.
The councilor said that the barkers should only assist the people queueing at the taxi stands but should not decide who gets to ride first or who gets to ride next. He said these barkers were not authorized by the city government.
Copies of the resolution have been forwarded to the BCPO, POSD, and the concerned barangays for information and appropriate action.  


Ilocos Norte: 3,277 Covid- 19 cases, 49 deaths

Bangui back to MECQ 

LAOAG CITY— The Ilocos Norte provincial government logged 63 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total number of active infections to 509. Most of the active Covid-19 cases are found in the towns of Bangui (71), Bacarra (36), San Nicolas (60), Dingras (24), and the cities of Batac (25) and Laoag (172).
    The province has recorded 3,277 cases since the pandemic began in March 2020, with 2,719 recoveries and 49 deaths.
 The town of Bangui in Ilocos Norte province has reverted to the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) starting Monday, June 21, as COVID-19 cases continued to rise, local officials said.
Bangui was previously under modified general community quarantine, the least restrictive quarantine classification in the country.
Under MECQ, the movement of people is limited to buying essential goods and services, while all forms of public gatherings are prohibited.
The local government also suspended the acceptance of returning residents to the town for two weeks.


Master infra dev’t plan for Baguio, Benguet towns endorsed to RDC

By Marissa M. Cabato

BAGUIO CITY -- The development council of the Baguio City-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) growth area in the Cordillera Administrative Region endorsed its “sustainable urban infrastructure development  master plan” to the Regional Development Council during its meeting on June 15. The plan will guide decision-makers in preparation and approval of plans, policies, programs and projects for implementation in BLISTT.
    The endorsement comes with the condition to revise the priority projects, particularly integrated terminals and multi-modal transport system.
    Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong who is also BLISTT council chair, recommended alignment of the master plan with     Baguio City’s development projects, their locations and design.
    He added the city has ongoing projects in initial stages, including the waste-to-energy project in Sablan, integrated terminal exchange with multi-level parking, and alternative transport systems.
While these initiatives form part of a bigger development program linked to the city’s bid as the first Smart City in the country, it is also envisioned to benefit the rest of BLISTT.
Mayor Victorio Palangdan of Itogon said the proposed sanitary landfill in Itogon may push through since the Dept. of Natural Resources and Environment lifted its prohibition and the fund is still available.
He added that this should take into consideration the BLISTT waste-to-energy project.
On other project proposals, Mayor Romeo Salda of La Trinidad said that they have yet to identify private lots for a terminal in the area.
Lawyer George Fukai of Tuba Benguet said possible locations for the University Community are available but they have to work out reclassification of these lots to alienable and disposable lands.
Mayor Armando Lauro of Tublay said 20 hectares is available for the establishment of an agro-industrial economic zone in Tublay.
The National Economic and Development Authority funded the preparation of the BLISTT SUID master plan through consulting services which commenced in 2019.
In the same meeting, the mayors expressed anew their full support to House Bill 9215 that seeks to create the BLISTT Development Authority.  
Baguio Rep. Mark Go, co-author of the bill, said this will help institutionalize initiatives and governing structure of the BLISTT Council.
The Council approved the activity design on updating of the BLISTT action agenda 2017-2019 presented by NEDA regional director Susan Sumbeling.
Sumbeling said this will commence in July with an assessment.
Workshops are scheduled while approval of the updated BLISTT action Agenda is set on December.
The BLISTT is one of the primary growth centers in the Cordillera organized in 2014.
It has a governing council comprised of the mayors serving as the final decision and policy making body, and the development council as the program implementation and legislation arm.
The NRO serves as council secretariat.


Baguio VM: Implement First Time Jobseekers Act

By Valleree D. Joseph

BAGUIO CITY -- Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan has passed a resolution strongly supporting effective implementation of Republic act No. 11261 known as First Time Jobseekers Assistance Act and seeking to reiterate its highlights and intensify public awareness.
    In his resolution, Olowan said this act aims to promote full employment and equality of gainful work and opportunities for Filipino citizens by expanding accessibility to government services and providing incentives to improve access to employment.
    The First Time Job Seekers Act was approved by President Rodrigo Duterte on April 10, 2019.
    Under the act, all government agencies and instrumentalities including government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), local government units (LGUs), and government hospitals shall not collect fees or charges from a first time jobseeker, provided, this fee or charge is in connection with the application for and granting of a license, proof of identification, clearance, certificate, or other documents required for employment.
    First time jobseekers, as defined by the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the said law, are graduates from all schools, colleges and universities, and learning institutions offering technical-vocational courses.
    The IRR further prescribes the qualifications of the assistance for first time jobseekers.  To qualify, the individual should be a Filipino citizen; a first time jobseeker; actively looking for employment; and a resident of the barangay issuing the barangay certificate for at least six months.
    This benefit, however, does not apply to the beneficiaries of the Jobstart Philippines program under Republic Act no. 10869 (An act Institutionalizing the Nationwide Implementation of Jobstart Philippines program and Providing Funds Therefor), also known  as the Jobstart Philippines Act, and other beneficiaries of other laws giving payment exemptions for the documents or transactions enumerated.
    It is stated that the following documents collected in connection with specific applications are not within the ambit of the said law: application to take professional licensure examination; application for a Philippine passport authentication and red ribbon documents from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA); application for a Career Service Examination with the Civil Service Commission (CSC); and application or a driver’s license from the Land Transportation Office (LTO). Thus, the government can still collect fees and charges from persons obtaining documents for the above mentioned purposes.
    The resolution stated that all barangays within the territorial jurisdiction of the City of Baguio are hereby mandated to carry-out the spirit and intention of Republic Act No. 11261.
    Barangays are also urged to include this matter in their agenda during their General Assembly meetings as part of their awareness campaign in their areas of jurisdiction.
    Copies of the resolution shall be forwarded to all barangays in the city, to the Public Information Office under the City Mayor’s Office, and to the concerned government agencies for information and appropriate action.




PRC opens ‘drive- thru’ swab test in San Carlos mall

By Yolanda Fuertes

SAN CARLOS CITY – Residents of this city and neighboring towns can avail of Reverse Transcriptions Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) testing by driving through at the Magic Mall here.
    The Philippine Red Cross inked a memorandum of agreement with Magic Mall of Companies recently for the use of an area of the mall here for drive through saliva collection and RT-PCR testing.
    The MOA was signed by PRC board of director chairperson Maybelyn Fernandez and Dagupan City Mayor Brian Lim whose family owns the Magic Mall of Companies.
    Lim said the Dagupan City government was one of the local government units which partnered with the PRC during the early months of the pandemic, and that the Magic Mall was happy to provide a convenient place for saliva collection for people that need RT-PCR tests.
Fernandez said the saliva RT-PCR testing is not invasive compared to the nasopharyngeal swab but has almost the same accuracy at 98 percent.
She thanked the Magic for allocating a space for the saliva collection, as the mall is strategically located in central Pangasinan and is accessible to residents of other towns.
The saliva RT-PCR is convenient, accessible and affordable, she said, explaining that those who want to be tested need not go out of their vehicles as the collection tube would be handed over to them.\This means the staff need not wear personal protective equipment, she said.\
It is also cheaper at P2,000 compared to the swab test cost of P4,000 and above.
The PRC would provide properly trained and qualified personnel for the testing on mornings of Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
The collected specimen would be sent to the PRC’s molecular laboratory and the results would be emailed to the concerned residents within two days.
Magic is third mall in Pangasinan where saliva collection RT-PCR testing is done. The others are the CB Mall in Urdaneta City and Robinson’s Pangasinan in Calasiao.


DA provides P58-M to Ifugao beneficiaries

LAGAWE, Ifugao -- More than P58 million worth of assistance were provided to beneficiaries of the Second Cordillera Highland and Agricultural Resource Management Scale-up Project of the Dept. of Agriculture in Ifugao. 
    Fund grants included projects for agro-forestry, rural infrastructure and trainings given to people’s organizations in barangays Abatan of Hungduan, Anao in Hingyon and Gumhang in Tinoc.
    Abatan received P23.99 million while Gumhang and Anao got more than P23.84 million and P10.22 million respectively. 
    Jerry Damoyan of the DA-Cordillera said the CHARM-2 Scale Up project   is offshoot of implementation of CHARM 1 and 2 projects in previous years. 
    “The CHARM project is a partnership among the DA, national government agencies, local government units and funding agencies. Our advocacy is a project demand driven rather than supply. It should be what the beneficiaries need,” he said.
Meanwhile, the DA facilitated turn-over of documents of CHARM-2 projects received by representatives of local government units and people’s organizations from the three barangays for termination of the project this month. -- PIA, Ifugao



PDEA-Abra warns on receiving parcels from anonymous individuals

BANGUED, Abra – The shipment of illegal drugs these days is evolving. Suppliers and traders are looking into new ways of transporting these prohibited substances down to barangays and one of the commonly used modes of shipment is through courier services.
    Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency – Abra Provincial Officer Emerson Joshua Santiago warned folks to refrain from receiving parcels and packages in behalf of unidentified person.
     This is reportedly a modus wherein an illegal drug trader pays a person with cash to receive their package that unknowingly contains illegal drugs. 
    “Kailangan natin na paalalahanan ang mga Abrenian na hwag magpagamit sa mga taong di kakilala” (Let us remind Abrenians not to allow themselves to be used by people they don’t know), Santiago said.
    To avert entry of illegal drugs in the province, PDEA-Abra and the Philippine National Police   conduct regular K9 random sweeping on parcels and packages stored in warehouses and distribution hubs of courier and shipping services here like LBC, JRS express and Ninja Van Services.
    They also inspect inbound cargo vehicles at the provincial entry point in barangays Tangadan in San Quintin. 
Santiago added PDEA-Abra, with support of local governments, is  also conducting barangay drug-clearing operations to ride the province of illegal drugs. – PIA Abra


PSA chief pushes nat’l ID; PWDs, seniors included

By Susan C. Aro

TUBLAY, Benguet – The Philippine Statistics Authority is pushing registration of all citizens of the country under the Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) or National ID including differently-abled persons and senior citizens.
    PSA Undersecretary Dennis Claire Mapa bared this saying persons with disability and senior citizens who are not   yet   profiled and incapable of going to biometrics registration centers will be reached in their homes.
    Mapa, who is also Civil Registrar General, announced this during his visit here in Barangay Caponga on June 17 to look into biometrics registration in the area. 
The municipalities of Tublay and Mankayan were the first   towns in Benguet that that implemented PhilSysregistration. 
Mapa, in responding to concern of the PWDs  raised by Local Civil Registrar Ruth Elyn Dino,  said the same issue was raised in other areas and  the  PSA is  working to address such  including  incapable senior citizens. 
Site of house to house strategies will be done in coordination with barangay officials for scheduling which will push through by September this year, he said.
PSA will provide knapsack biometrics registration kits which are lighter, movable and mobile so these can be easily carried house-to-house, said Mapa.
Registrants’ biometric information to be taken will be fingerprint biometrics, iris scans, and face photographs.
“Our aim is that all Filipinos will be registered with the national ID system and that no one will be left behind,” Mapa said.
Under the PhilSys program of the government, the national ID will be used as foundational proof of identity for any government and private transaction, he said. 
PSA-CAR director Villafe Alibuyog and Benguet provincial director Imelda Buyuccan   accompanied Mapa during the site visit. – PIA


Baguio child abuse cases up; authorities alarmed

BAGUIO CITY – The City Social Welfare and Development Office bared alarming increase in child abuse cases saying concerned government agencies and the local government needed to address the matter.
    City Social Welfare and Development Officer Betty Fangasan said there were 76 child abuse cases in the city last year.
    “In less than six moths of the present year, there were already 71 child abuse cases that were documented by the local government which is now one of the issues being looked into by social welfare officers,” she said.
    Fifty two of documented abused children were females while 19 were males.
     Fangasan added 20 of the child abuse cases were molestation.
    Two cases had already been filed in court while 18 were physical abuse cases.
     The city social welfare officer said based on investigation, major reason for such abuse was alleged failure of the children to attend to their modules, among other reasons.
Victims of child abuse cases and perpetrators had reportedly been counseled by social welfare officers.
Fangasan said most perpetrators of the child abuse cases were family members, relatives and neighbors.
Most cases were either being discussed by both parties under close supervision of social welfare workers or settled by involved parties.
 Fangasan attributed increase in the number of child abuse cases to residents who reported such abuses to authorities.
The social welfare office is reportedly providing psychological or psychiatric counselling to victims in coordination with the City Health Services Office (CHSO) to prevent victims from further abuse.
The local government department head appealed to the public to be vigilant on child abuse cases being committed in their neighborhood and report these to authorities so these could be addressed. -- Dexter A. See




Mt Province PNP arts tilt winners given cash

BONTOC, Mountain Province – The Police Provincial Office awarded winners in the “Sining bayanihan arts and culture” competition in the province here in Camp Montes on June 21.
    The nationwide competition of the Philippine National Police for the youth is done per province.
    Here, representatives of Kabataan Kontra Droga at Terorismo chapters from  municipalities participated.
    Theme was “Kabataan tayo mismo: Malikhain at matapang na pagtugon sa anumang hamon ng panahon.”
    Participants submitted entries for the categories of performing, literary and visual arts including short film making.
    Winners for performing arts: 1st – Besao dance group and Jhun Rush Lopsoten Besao KKDAT, second.
    For literary arts: 1st – Clienteast Van Totanes (Tadian) and Carmen Malabong (Sagada as second.
    For visual arts: 1st - Clienteast Van Totanes (Tadian) and Pipfer Holly Lingbawan (PMFC) as second.
Barlig Junior Pulis won the short film making category.
    Winners were awarded with certificates and cash donated by stakeholders. Further, the winners in each category will represent Mountain Province PPO for regional level competition.
    Judges were Mark Preston D. Lopez, lawyer Agosto C. Libang, Jazzel Mae P. Masidong, and MSg Guensel Oloan.
    The nationwide competition aims to promote youth empowerment, resourcefulness, active citizenry and participation in nation building, religiousness and respect for family and people.


Outstanding Cordillera policemen, offices cited

CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet - Seven personnel of Police Regional Office Cordillera were awarded for commendable services while two offices were cited here on June 21.
    Cordillera police director Brig. Gen. Ronald O. Lee and PROCor command group presented the awards.
    The Medalya ng Ugnayang Pampulisya was awarded to Lt. Col. Jonathan L. Chy and PCMS Gwendolyn Yodong for providing grocery items and packs of vegetable to five families and parishioners at San Jose Parish here at Barangay Buyagan.
    The Medalya ng Kasanayan was awarded to Cpl Melody Paleng and Cpl Jolly Batoyog for serving as facilitators of psychosocial, psycho-spiritual fora last year to date in Cordillera police provincial offices.
    Also, a certificate of recognition was awarded to the Regional Finance Service Office 15 for being adjudged the second time as cleanest office for the week.
    Joining virtually the awarding ceremony, Mountain Province police provincial director Col. Ruben Andiso bestowed Medalya ng Kasanayan to SSg. Darel Bacwadang, SSg. Cristobal Adawe and Cpl Harison Panitew for deed transporting a pregnant woman to hospital with the use of blanket and bamboo pole traditionally called 'fulig'.
    Medalya ng Kasanayan was also awarded to Barlig Municipal Police Station for improving and beautifying their station despite being located in a remote area.
    This was received by PEMS Reynante Liwaden, the municipal executive Senior Police Officer.


DOT accredits 374 Baguio establishments; tourists up

BAGUIO CITY -- Three hundred seventy-four accommodation establishments here were given the certificate of accreditation or certificate of compliance by the Dept. of Tourism Cordillera as visitors to this summer capital peaked.
    Supervising City Tourism Operations Officer engineer Aloysius C. Mapalo said accredited accommodation establishments were big and small hotels, transient houses and home stays to ensure their compliance to health protocols in accommodating visitors.
    He said the number of accommodation establishments issued by the regional DOT with certificate of accreditation or certificate of compliance was low compared to over 1,000 transient houses in the city before the pandemic.
 The city tourism officer said the DOT-CAR and the local government inspect accommodation establishments applying for certificate of accreditation or certificate of compliance to ensure said businesses will not breach Covid-19 health standards.
He said this is part of efforts of government agencies and the city government for  gradual and safe revival of the heavily impacted industry and economy of the city.
 Mapalo admitted the city’s effort to bring back vibrance of the local tourism industry suffered a serious setback when the National Capital Region plus bubble was placed under modified enhanced community quarantine several months ago and the city had zero tourist arrivals from the end of March up to April 12.
 Tourism arrivals started to increase to more than 500 end of April and drastically increased end of May with 1,400 documented visitors.
 From June 1-13, Mapalo said there were more than 2,900 tourist arrivals in the city following lowering of the community quarantine status of the NCR plus bubble as bulk of the city’s tourist arrivals come from the Metro Manila area and its neighboring regions.
He said accommodation establishments reported because of the sudden increase in tourist arrivals in the city the past weeks, they reached 50 percent capacity. -- Dexter A. See


DOH pushes vaccination of Cordi seniors vs Covid

BAGUIO CITY -- The regional Dept. of Health urged local government units and offices working  for the welfare of the elderly to help in ensuring eligible senior citizens in the  Cordillera will be vaccinated against Covid-19.
    Cordillera DOH regional director Dr. Ruby Constantino said Covid – 19 remains a public health concern regardless of age, race and ethnicity.
    She added risk of severe illness, complications and death from Covid–19 increases with age. 
    Constantino said senior citizens are considered most vulnerable of getting infected and advised to remain at home at all times.
    Due also to this vulnerability, senior citizens are next in priority for vaccination after workers in frontline health services.
    “We are appealing to all our partners at all levels to assist the government in this endeavor, and to all 60 years old and above constituents to take this opportunity to be vaccinated,” Constantino said.
As of June 14, 2021, DOH – CAR data showed Covid-19 deaths among ages 60 – 69 already reached 190 or 27 percent, and 282 among 70 years old and above which account for 40.5% of recorded deaths in Cordillera.
Based on the Cordillera RVOC June 17 data, there are 144,446 listed senior citizens in the region, of which 37,357 or 25.86% got their first dose of Covid-19 vaccines  including 9,562 who already completed their two doses of vaccines.
Nationwide, National Vaccination Operations Center data showed around 1.89 million or 23.18%  out of 8,173,223 master-listed senior citizens in the country already received their first dose of Covid-19 vaccines as of June 17. – PIA Cordillera


36 wanted persons nabbed in Cordillera

CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet – Cordillera cops arrested 36 wanted persons June 13 to 19. Abra Provincial Police Office recorded the highest number of arrests with nine arrested, followed by Kalinga PPO with eight, Baguio with six; Mountain Province and Benguet with five each, Ifugao with two and Apayao with one. 
    Based on records from the Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division here, eight of the arrested were listed as most wanted persons.
    Christopher A. Binoja and Julie Cudal Lapuz, were nabbed for rape; Aldous Ebero Gavina for illegal drugs and Pablo Cabarrubias Paringit aka “Ambong” for frustrated murder.
    All three were listed as most wanted persons in different provinces.
In the municipal level, Roberto Torqueza Panday was arrested for incestuous rape while Teodoro Banawag Pallogan was nabbed for illegal firearms.
Jackie Castillo Raga was arrested for cybercrime while Sean Allen Quimson Castillo was held for illegal drugs.

P71-K shabu  seized from  LT mechanic

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- A total of P71,672 worth of suspected shabu was seized from a  mechanic here in a buy-bust operation by police and narcotics agents  here June 19 at Barangay Betag. 
Police identified the suspect as Jefferson Pinas Garcia aka "Kusil," 25, resident here
    "Kusil" was arrested after selling suspected "shabu" weighing about 5.54 grams worth P37, 672.00 to an undercover agent.
    Another sachet containing suspected "shabu" weighing five grams valued at P34,000 and the  buy-bust money were also confiscated from him.
    Inventory of seized items was witnessed by Betag barangay captain Peter Comila; Denver Bastingo, media representative and Prosecutor Elnora Mangallay.
The suspect and confiscated items were brought to the town police station where charges for illegal drugs were filed against Garcia.

Online ‘shabu seller nabbed in Baguio

BAGUIO CITY -- A 28-year-old online “shabu seller” was arrested by cops and anti-narcotics agents here at Diamond Subdivision, San Luis on June 22. 
    Police named the suspect as Reina Salvador Buenaventura, 28, native of Nueva Ecija, and resident of the subdivision. 
Lawmen said Buenaventura sold a sachet of suspected shabu weighing 35 grams worth P238,000 to an undercover drug operative who acted as buyer. Additional shabu weighing 0.5 grams worth P3,400 was confiscated from the along with the buy-bust money.
Confiscated items were inventories in the presence of prosecutor Don Immanuel Vergara, barangay kagawad Marcial Wandagan and Charles Nikko Limon of RNG Luzon as media representative.
Buenaventura is now in incarcerated at Baguio City Police Station 8 where charges for illegal drugs were prepared against the suspect.

NPA cache of drugs, bullets found in Abra

TUBA, Abra — Government troops, acting on information from New People’s Army surrenderees, found a cache of guns and ammunition of New People’s Army rebels here in Barangay Alangtin on June 20.
    The military said four rifles, a 12-gauge shotgun, Cal. 38 revolver and bullets were recovered by 71st Infantry Battalion, 69th IB, 73rd Military Intelligence Company and Abra police.
    Cordillera police director Brig. Gen. Ronald O. Lee bared this, saying personnel of 71st Infantry Battalion, 7th ID; 69th IB; 73rd MICO of the Philippine Army and Abra police searched the area after former NPA rebels revealed arms cache hidden in the area.
The recovered firearms were placed under custody of the 71st IB in Barangay Alfonso, Gregorio Del Pilar, Ilocos Sur for safe-keeping.

P2.5M marijuana confiscated in Isabela

By Leander C. Domingo

ALICIA, Isabela -- Dried marijuana leaves worth P2.5 million were recently confiscated in joint operation of Philippine National Police and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency here. 
The PDEA identified the suspect as Isaiah Jet Co alias Ijay, 26 years old and a resident of Barangay Baluarte in Santiago City.
    He has been tagged by the authorities as a high value target.
    According to the PDEA, Co fell into the hands of the authorities in a buy-bust operation in Barangay Apanay here while selling to a PDEA agent acting as buyer.
Confiscated from Co were a loaded Cal.38, a hand grenade, four packs of marijuana worth more than P2.5 million, personal gadgets and accessories.
This town's police said a case has been filed against Co for violation of Article 2 Sections 5 and 11 of Republic Act 9165 known as the "Comprehensive Drugs Act of 2002."
Police said the suspect has partners in Kalinga province, the main source of marijuana sold in Region 2.

Vendor nabbed in Baguio over P17-K shabu 

BAGUIO CITY -- - A 24-year-old vendor is now facing charges for illegal drugs after he was arrested by cops and anti-narcotics agents here at Purok 5 St. Joseph Village on June 21.
    Police named the suspect as Marcelo Quinto Mata, aka “Makoy Quinto,” 24, vendor, native of Pangasinan, and resident of Trancoville.
Mata was arrested after he sold a sachet of suspected shabu weighing 2.6 grams worth P17,000 to a lawman.
Confiscated also from the suspect were alleged shabu worth P4,760 and P16,500 buy-bust money.
Confiscated evidence were inventoried at site in the presence of prosecutor Don Immanuel Vergara and barangay kagawad David Dawa of Purok 5, Barangay Saint Joseph Village.
Mata and confiscated items were brought to the Crime Laboratory of Baguio City Police Office for examinations. 

Itogon miner held over P23- K shabu

ITOGON, Benguet – Police and anti-narcotics agents arrested a “drug personality” here June 21 in Barangay Virac.
    Police identified the suspect as Winden Pimentel Baggay, 29, construction worker/mine, and a resident of Skyview, Virac.
    Baggay was arrested after allegedly selling suspected shabu weighing two grams worth P13,600 to lawmen who acted as buyers.
Suspected shabu weighing 1.5 grams worth P10,200 was also confiscated from him along with buy-bust money and a cell phone.
Inventory of all confiscated items was done at the site witnessed by barangay kagawad Alex Tongalag and media representative Charles Nikko Limon.
Baggay is now facing charges for illegal drugs.


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