Comelec set to disqualify, charge early campaigners

>> Sunday, August 27, 2023

Filing of candidacy slated Aug. 28 to Sept. 2

By Stephanie Sevillano

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday warned all aspiring candidates that charges will be filed for premature campaigning.
In a speech during the security command conference for the Oct. 30 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) in Camp Crame in Quezon City, Comelec Chairperson George Erwin Garcia said the poll body alongside law enforcement shall exercise strict actions against early campaigning.
    "We will file cases against all of them... Huwag nila kaming susubukan (They shouldn't dare us). We will disqualify them and we will file criminal cases against all of them," he said.
    Garcia said individuals who will file their certificate of candidacy shall be immediately considered as candidates.
    The filing of the certificate of candidacy (COC) for BSKE is set from Aug. 28 until Sept. 2.
Garcia said this measure applies to both direct and indirect campaigning.
    "Lahat ng nakapaskil nilang 'yan, may vote for o wala, dapat tanggalin ng bawat isa.
awal mangampanya, bawal umikot, bawal mamigay, bawal ipakilala ang kanyang sarili (All of the poster materials, with or without the ‘vote for’, should be removed.
    Campaigning is prohibited, giving is not allowed and also introducing oneself)," he said.
    Garcia said stringent measures will be observed even on social media platforms.
    "Lahat ng naka-post sa social media, ngayon at pagdating lalung-lalo na ng araw ng filing ng candidacy. Nag-file sila dapat tanggalin lahat-lahat (All social media posting now and especially on the day of filing of candidacy, once they file [their COCs], all must be removed)," he added.
    Garcia even cited prohibited content on the candidates' online accounts.
    "Pati sa Facebook dapat din nila tanggalin. Alam niyo kahit ano sabihin nila, kahit kunyare pasayaw-sayaw, pa-TikTok diyan, yan po ay pangangampanya. Wala naman kadahilanan magti TikTok at magsasayaw lalo't kandidato ka na. Pigilan ang sarili (Even on Facebook, they should remove it. You know, regardless of what they will say, even if it's just dancing, even a TikTok [content], that's campaigning.     You have no reason to do TikTok or dance videos because you're now a candidate. Restrain yourself)," he said.
Likewise, incumbent officials are warned against untimely gift-giving, aid distribution, or unusual social service activities as these also fall under premature campaigning.
    Possible violators may face disqualification and one to six years imprisonment.
    Garcia urged the public to be keen and avoid voting for erring aspiring candidates.
"Huwag niyong iboboto 'yung mga kandidatong hindi sumusunod sa batas. Hindi pa nga nananalo e, di na sumusunod sa batas. How much more kapag nanalo na 'yang mga iyan (Don't vote for candidates violating the laws. They haven't even won the elections, but they are violating the law. How much more if they win the elections?)," he said.
    Under the Comelec guidelines, aspiring candidates are only allowed to conduct their campaigns from Oct. 19 to 28.
    Meanwhile, the Comelec confirmed the conduct of pilot early voting hours for the BSKE in select areas for the vulnerable sector.
    The setup is expected to cater to senior citizens, persons with disabilities, and heavily pregnant women.
    Garcia said early voting will be done from 5 a.m. until 7 a.m. in Muntinlupa and Naga.
    Garcia said the Comelec is almost 100 percent done with its preparation, except for the completion of its command conferences with law enforcement and its scheduled training for electoral board members next month. -- PNA


Baguio Council to CBAO: Release building permits over titled ancestral lands

BAGUIO CITY – The City Council recently directed the City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO) to issue construction, building or fencing permits to owners of lands covered by Certificate of Ancestral Land Titles (CALTs) and Certificate of Ancestral Domain titles (CADTs) pursuant to the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 8371 otherwise known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997 cited and concurred by the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) as contained in its legal opinion no. 34, series of 2022.
    Under resolution 476, series of 2023, the City Council stated that to insist the only title referred to in the National Building Code that may be issued a building permit are those titles issued in accordance with the Torrens system of registration will absurdly compel every owner of a parcel of land recognized under a CALT to renounce the recognition and seek to have his land recognized under the Torrens system.
    The council argued that pursuant to Chapter III, Sections 8 and 9 of the IPRA on the rights of the indigenous peoples to their ancestral lands and ancestral domain, CALTs or CADTs which are not cancelled or revoked by the courts be issued construction, building or fencing permits.
    However, only land owners, their beneficiaries, family members and heirs may secure construction, building or fencing permits.
Duly authorized government institutions, organizations or entities in partnership with land owners, through appropriate deed or document allowing usufruct and/or transfer of rights, be allowed to secure building, construction and fencing permits and that private entities or institutions, in collaboration with the appropriate government agencies ad land owners, by way of agreement for the usufruct and development of ancestral lands, may secure construction, building or fencing permits in behalf of the latter.
    The Council said the Registry of Deeds (Rod) of Baguio city, being a government institution under the supervision of the DOJ, is directed to acknowledge and give due respect to validity of CALTs and CADTs with the same degree and manner that the DOJ afforded other titles under the Torrens system or titles being of equal weight and standing and to further allow the ROD to continue to utilize their judicial forms for CALTs as they have done so in the past.
    Earlier, CBAO launched a campaign encouraging regularization of securing a building permit for structures without the said permits in the city.
    Presidential Decree 1096 known as the National Building code provided that the primary requirement to acquire a building permit is a title.
    The council said CADT and CALT holders have been clamoring for issuance of building and/or fencing permits from the CBAO for more than a decade since the registration of their lands to no avail
    CBAO reportedly made an inquiry in relation to said issue referring to the issuance of building permits to land covered by CALT and CADT.
    In its opinion, the DOJ it stated that the requirement with respect to the submission of a Transfer Certificate of title (TCT) may be understood that it is a submission of a document evidencing or recognizing ownership over a real property, which may be construed, to include a valid title over a property, such as a CADT or CALT.
    Since the CADT or CALT are considered recognition of ownership, it may be submitted with the building official, in lieu of the Original Certificate of title (OCT) or TCT for the purpose of securing a building permit. -- Dexter A. See


Itogon folks reject MOA for ISRI to mine ancestral lands

By March Fianza and Aldwin Quitasol

ITOGON, Benguet -- Mining residents of at least three sitios namely; Dalicno, Simpa and Lolita of Barangay Ampucao in this mining town averted signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that could have resulted to approval of a pending Application for Production Sharing Agreement (APSA 103) by the Itogon-Suyoc Resources Inc. (ISRI).
    In a petition letter dated August 16, 2023 and addressed to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and the Itogon Indigenous Peoples Organization (IIPO), petitioners claimed their sitios were part of the areas inside the ancestral domain of Itogon affected by the APSA 103 of ISRI.
    Donalyn Basilio who acted as spokesperson of the petitioners said the three Ampucao sitios consisted of more than 2,000 individuals.
They feared that their water sources, small-scale mining activities, livelihood, safety of the people and properties would greatly be at risk without proper negotiations.
    A majority of Ampucao residents, particularly those whose households and properties were within the three sitios were insufficiently informed as negotiations through general assemblies and meetings were inadequate.
    To their knowledge, they were still in the process of consultation between ISRI and those concerned.
    The petitioners did not give their consensus approval of the project (APSA) on the grounds that they were not properly informed about the provisions and contents of the MOA.
    Signing of the MOA by representatives of the IPs of the ancestral domain of Itogon, the IIPO, ISRI and NCIP could have pushed through if it was not stopped.
    The proposed APSA 103 project covers 581 hectares that overlaps the ancestral domain of Itogon, particularly barangays Ampucao, Virac and Poblacion.
    If approved in a community consensus, an agreement would be signed that would allow ISRI to explore and develop the areas under a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement with certain conditions. 
    “We believe that our voice as an indigenous cultural community has been neglected since the MOA has been drafted already without the collective agreement of the community of sitios Dalicno, Simpa and Lolita,” the Ampucao residents wrote in their petition-letter.
    Dalicno elders Bonnie Arsi, Juanito Arciba and Ms. Basilio who sought the help of local and national news correspondents said they requested in their petition-letter to the IIPO and NCIP to uphold their rights as IPs of Itogon and ensure that their voices be heard prior to the signing of an agreement.
    The conduct of an FPIC (Free and Prior Informed Consent) with the physical presence of the IPs of the community affected by the ISRI project is required prior to the issuance of a certification precondition by the NCIP, certifying that a certain project does not overlap a part of an ancestral domain area. 


Graft cases filed vs 2 ex-Ilocos Sur mayors over P81-M ‘misuse’

NARVACAN, Ilocos  Sur --  The Sandiganbayan has allowed the prosecution panel of the Office of the Ombudsman to drop the charges filed against the president of a farmers’ organization of this town and make him a state witness in the graft and malversation cases filed against former Narvacan mayors Zuriel Zaragoza and his father Edgardo.
    In a 27-page resolution promulgated on Aug. 18, the anti-graft court’s second division granted the motion of the prosecution to discharge private respondent Constante Cabitac, president of the Federation of Farmers of Narvacan.
    The court said the prosecution was able to prove that Cabitac’s testimony would be vital in proving its case against the public officials, noting that he had first-hand knowledge of the commission of the crime.
    The court said Cabitac’s testimony “would supply the necessary evidence” to link the Zaragozas and their co-accused municipal accountant Melody Cadacio and education research assistant Mario Cabinte.
    “There is no other direct evidence available for the proper prosecution of the offenses committed, other than the testimony of accused Cabitac,” the second division said.
    The cases stemmed from the alleged misuse of P81 million in municipal government’s shares in tobacco excise tax for locally manufactured Virginia-type cigarettes.
    The ombudsman said the amount, which was intended for members of the Federation of Farmers of Narvacan, was instead “misappropriated or misused” by the accused public officials for their personal benefit. – Elizabeth Marcelo


SC stops detention of Cagayan gov

The Supreme Court (SC) has stopped the House of Representatives from detaining Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba over his failure to attend the hearings of the   House committees on public accounts and on suffrage and electoral reforms.
    Mamba was placed under the custody of the joint House panels after he surfaced before the chamber Thursday.
    The SC said it furnished a copy of a temporary restraining order to the Cagayan police, House sergeant-at-arms and the two House committees.
    Mamba was cited in contempt and ordered detained over his failure to attend congressional hearings on allegations that cash and other forms of assistance were given to registered voters and barangays in Cagayan during the 45-day public spending ban in the May 2022 elections campaign period.
    Mamba has refused to attend the hearings of the joint panels in the past three months, according to the two House committees.
Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez welcomed Mamba’s surrender and assured the governor of protection while under the custody of the chamber.
    “The House is fully committed to adhering to all established legal procedures and safeguards throughout this process, ensuring fairness and due process,” Romualdez said.
    Also cited in contempt was the Cagayan provincial information officer, for disobeying summons without legal basis. –  Delon Porcalla and Neil Jayson Servallos


Truck smashes vehicles; 3 hurt in Baguio crash

BAGUIO CITY – A ten wheeler truck loaded with chicken dung was ascending a road here a few meters from Teachers Camp, Pacdal Wednesday, Aug. 23 when it suddenly moved backward, fell down and hit four vehicles --  an Innova Taxi, Altis, another privately-owned Innova and L300FB van behind it.

Immediately, police officers and the responding medical team led by Micheal Singlot assisted three injured passengers who suffered multiple abrasions and brought them to Baguio General Hospital for treatment, the regional police information office said. 
Cops of Pacdal Police Station 3 here responded to the accident. 


3 men held at Bauko check- point for P1.9-M marijuana

BAUKO, Mountain Province -- Three men were arrested at a checkpoint here at Malupa, Abatan for transporting over P1.9 million worth of marijuana on August 23.
    The police regional information office said reports submitted to Cordillera police director Brig. Gen. David. K. Pererdo identified those arrested as Christian Rico Navas Espirito Santo, 25; Alex Francisco Santos, 25; and John Paul Jungkin De Leon, 24, all residents of Theresa, Rizal.
    The same report disclosed joint operatives from different units of Mt Province police, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Cordillera (PDEA) Mountain Province, Regional Intelligence Division (RID), Regional Intelligence Unit (RIU)-14, and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Mountain Province immediately conducted checkpoint operation after receiving information about three individuals who would be transporting marijuana products from Buscalan, Kalinga to Ilocos Region..
    During their arrest, operatives confiscated 16 bricks of dried marijuana leaves weighing 16,165 grams worth P1, 939, 800.00 and bag containing marijuana kush weighing 3.5 grams worth P4,200 inside the suspects' car.
    The confiscated items were inventoried at arresting site in the presence of suspects witnessed by Prosecutor Clifford Langbis, Daryle Fayofay, media representative and kagawad Lydia Dino of Abatan.
    Suspects were brought to Bauko police station where charges for violating Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) were prepared against them, while the vehicle used by the suspects is under the custody of PDEA.







DOST funds biz projects in La Union, Pangasinan

By Hilda Austria 

MALASIQUI, Pangasinan – Two micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Pangasinan and eight from La Union provinces have received PHP3.7 million under the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) that they utilized to buy equipment for the upgrade of their business production.
    In an interview on Wednesday, Ilocos Region SETUP coordinator Adeliza Florendo said the MSMEs chose the supplier and specifications of the equipment awarded to them according to the approved proposal of the DOST regional office.
    “The MSMEs are in manufacturing and processing including food processing, furniture and fixture, gifts’ decors and handicraft, metal and engineering sector, and agri-aqua sector among others covered by the program,” she said.
    The MSMEs in Pangasinan are Mimi’s Cacao Processing in Mangaldan town which has received P449,000 for the tablea processor and Tees Digital Arts and Prints, a souvenir items and signage maker in Laoac has received P266,560 for the purchase of its equipment.
    In La Union, Dr. Ronald Alwit Farm in Bauang town has received P360,000 for a feed mill mixer and a hammer mill for its livestock feed production while B Amigo's Wood Crafts Manufacturing in Bagulin town was awarded P329,000 for its essential woodworking equipment, including a jointer, a Mortiser, a Tenoner, a band saw, and an air compressor for its production of crafted wooden products.
    Mae Wood Crafts Manufacturing in Balaoan, La Union has received P497,200 for the procurement of a three-in-one machine and a band saw for its woodwork designs; IDA Wood Crafts Manufacturing in Bagulin town was granted PHP148,300 for a jointer and a Tenoner machine also for woodworks; Calica's Fruit Products in San Fernando City got PHP205,000 for a pneumatic filling machine and a semi-automatic cup sealing machine for their fruit product packaging process;
    4J Padilla-Gale Ricemill in Tubao town received P600,000 for a set of compact rice milling machines for its rice processing; Coloma Wood Works in Bangar town was awarded P385,000 for a three-in-one machine, a Jointer, and a Mortiser for their woodworks; and Ayaoan Lumpia Wrapper Manufacturing has received P545,520 for the procurement of a lumpia wrapper making machine, a stainless steel table, and a stainless steel cabinet for their lumpia wrapper production equipment.
    Florendo said the MSMEs will pay the amount of the equipment they obtained in three to five years depending on the memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed between them and the DOST without any interest and collateral.
    Under the MOA, the recipient firms are expected to use the funds to acquire technology interventions relevant to their specific industries, and these technological interventions are intended to provide the firms with the tools and equipment necessary to enhance their operations, enabling them to meet the challenges of a competitive market.
    “Nagre-request sila for support so they visited sa office and nalalaman nila programs through other MSMEs (They requested support and they visited the office and they also learn of the programs through other MSMEs,” she said.
    She advised the other MSMEs who would like to avail of the SETUP to bring a request letter to their respective Provincial Science and Technology Office (PSTO) and the PSTO will visit the area to conduct a technology needs assessment.
    “The firm will be assessed by observing their production and processing, and from there, their needs will be determined as well as the intervention they needed,” she added.
    The SETUP Fund is provided by the DOST Ilocos regional office to support local enterprises in adopting technological advancements to improve their business operations with the main goal of enhancing productivity, production efficiency, and overall income of these MSMEs. 
    Jennifer C. Fernandez, Science Research Specialist II of PSTO-Pangasinan, in a recent statement, emphasized the importance of fulfilling the responsibilities and obligations outlined in the MOA. -- PNA


Ilocos Norte showcased in New York tourism event

By Leilanie Adriano 

LAOAG CITY – A photo exhibit showcasing the province of Ilocos Norte’s iconic sites was featured at the Philippine Center in New York City Aug. 22.
    Dubbed "Daytoy ti Panawenmo (This is your time), Ilocos Norte,” the exhibit featured a series of 24 photographs, capturing the beauty of the province, aimed at encouraging tourists and investors to visit the province.
    “The exhibit was an invitation to experience the passage of time in the province, to immerse oneself in its rhythms and stories. From the break of dawn to the tranquil hours of twilight, the photographs reveal the ever-changing moods and beauty of Ilocos Norte around the clock,” Xavier Ruiz, tourism officer-in-charge at the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office, said in a statement.
    Ruiz and selected representatives of the provincial tourism and investment office of the Ilocos Norte government took an official business trip to the United States on Aug. 17, particularly in New York and New Jersey, to attend the "Fiesta in America" organized by the Filipino-American community in the East Coast to promote tourism and investment in the Philippines.
    Aside from the visual exhibit, the Ilocos Norte delegates also brought along with them authentic Ilocano products, from hand-woven textiles that reflect generations of weaving mastery to delectable treats that embody the flavors of Ilocano cuisine.
    “The market-ready products are ready for franchising business and we are targeting our balikbayans to entice them to invest in local businesses should they decide to retire in the Philippines for good,” Ilocos Norte investment office head Soya Cheng-Bueno said in an interview.
    Poised to become an investment destination in northern Philippines, Ilocos Norte continues to invite investors by offering more fiscal incentives and possible joint venture initiatives.
    Under the newly updated Ilocos Norte Investment Code, new and existing businesses with fresh investments worth PHP5 million or above are given up to 50 percent in discounts on the payment of basic real property tax.
    In addition, businesses are exempted from paying the governor’s permit fees for five years if 80 percent of their total workforce are bonafide Ilocos Norte residents.
    Businesses engaging in solid waste and industrial waste project or energy efficiency and conservation project will also be exempted for one year from the governor’s permit fees.
    Aside from the fiscal incentives, Bueno said a one-stop shop that eases the process of doing business in the province is also being offered to attract more investments and boost economic activities in the province.
    To promote public-private partnership matching and policies alignment, the Ilocos Norte government also recently signed a memorandum of agreement with the Board of Investments.
    Specifically, it aims to strategically position the province as a top investment destination for East Asian countries and a major commercial hub in northern Philippines, linking the northern and central parts of Luzon to Asian countries, such as Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea. -- PNA



Regions 2, 3 RTWPBs set wage adjustment hearings

By Ferdinand Patinio 

Two regional wage boards are scheduled to hold separate public hearings on minimum wage adjustment on the salaries of private sector workers and domestic workers (kasambahays).
    In separate social media posts Wednesday, the Department of Labor and Employment - Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards (RTWPB) 2 (Cagayan Valley) and 3 (Central Luzon) are inviting employers, workers and other stakeholders to participate in the public hearings
    For those interested to join the activity in Region II, the public hearing will be held on Aug. 24 at 1 p.m. at the Claude Convention Center of the Cagayan State University, Andrews Campus in Caritan Sur, Tuguegarao City.
    There will also be separate workshops for workers in private establishments and for domestic workers
Parties who intend to participate to this hearing may coordinate with RTWPB-2 and may submit position papers at 3rd Floor, Andrews Building corner Blumentritt & Luna Streets, Centro 07, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan 3500 or thru email address from Aug. 7-24, 2023.
    On the other hand, the public hearing in Central Luzon is scheduled on Sept. 4 from 1 p.m. up to 5 p.m. to be held at the Heroes Hall Mini Convention Center, Lazatin Boulevard., Barangay San Juan, City of San Fernando, Pampanga.
    Parties who intend to participate in the event may coordinate with RTWPB-3 at 0918-253-7930 or or may scan the QR code for confirmation of attendance. -- PNA 


17 downed in Kalinga for eating wild mushrooms

POISONOUS -- Jethro Simeon, senior health officer at the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit of the Dept. of Health  Cordillera, at press conference Tuesday warns the public from picking, harvesting or buying wild mushrooms. The DOH-CAR said they recorded two incidents of wild mushroom poisoning on Aug. 11, 2023 that downed 17 people. (Screenshot of the DOH report)

DOH-Cordillera warns public 

By Liza Agoot 

TABUK, Kalinga – Seventeen persons recently fell ill in Kalinga for eating wild, poisonous mushrooms.
    This made the Dept. of Health Cordillera to warn the public Tuesday to be vigilant when buying and consuming mushrooms or picking these from mountains.
    In Baguio City, Jethro Simeon, senior health officer at the DOH Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU), said not all mushrooms in the wild are edible, adding that several cases of wild mushroom poisoning have recently been recorded in the region.
    “We recommend that the public prefer to buy the commercially produced in legitimate selling areas, especially if they do not know how to decipher. So that they do not mistake a poisonous one from an edible one,” Simeon said in a press conference at the regional office here.
    He cited incident in Barangay Balawag in Tabuk, Kalinga where 14 people, aged 2 to 69 years, fell ill after consuming wild mushrooms. Another incident, in Cudal, also in Tabuk, downed three persons.     Both incidents happened on Aug. 11.
    “In both incidents, someone picked wild mushrooms at the forest and several people ate them not knowing that what was gathered were not edible ones,” Simeon said.
    All the victims were hospitalized but were sent home after several days of receiving medical treatment for vomiting, abdominal pain, and dizziness.
    The officer described the most common poisonous type as the one with a ring-like structure on its stem and scales on its umbrella.
    “It is difficult to identify them because there are numerous types so the best thing to do if you are not sure is do not pick or buy and prefer the cultured ones which are surely edible and will not endanger you or your family,” he said.
    “In case of emergency, seek medical help immediately,” Simeon said. -- PNA


City gov’t, gov’t agencies ink MOA for safer Baguio

BAGUIO CITY – Representatives of law enforcement agencies, the local government and community-based groups recently entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for establishment of a safe, secure community and activities to prevent victimization, control criminality and improve police and other services.
    The city government, Baguio city Police Office, National Police Commission Cordillera and community representatives entered into a partnership to effectively strengthen peace and order and public order in the city. 
    The agreement focuses on community and service-oriented policing systems, development of peace and order and public safety plan/integrated area/community public safety plan, implementation of joint programs, projects, services and activities within the community-and service oriented policing system and adaption and implementation of related programs.
    Under the agreement, all parties shall establish a city level triumvirate  and necessary mechanisms for implementation of programs, projects, services and activities, ensure active participation of designated members in the technical working group, ensure active participation in the sessions related to the implementation of the said system, facilitate monitoring and evaluation activities; designated focal persons from each of the signatory parties who will craft the progress of the individual agencies; designate necessary personnel and mobilize other resources and improve peace and order initiatives. 
    The local government shall formulate and adapt effective mechanisms for the coordination, cooperation and consultation involving the local chief executive, provide inputs and ensure assistance and support to the integrated area safety plan, formulate and pursue a 3-year, term-based peace and order public safety plan, convene and steer the peace and order council to review, update and approve the plan and supervise the peace and order council to gather data, analyze, draft, and update the local plans; mandate the full cooperation of all partner agencies, fund and implement  planned programs, facilitate the implementation, monitoring, and evaluation activities, designate personnel and mobilize other resources; implement information, education and communication activities; coordinate with Napolcom and perform additional functions.           
    The BCPO shall consult all stakeholders in identifying problems in the community, develop strategies to address identified community problems, prepare plan system programs, present the plan to the council; implement systems and conduct periodic review and assessment of police programs.
    Meanwhile,, the community shall provide data, information, and inputs to police and local government, mobilize and organize volunteers as force multipliers, share resources and assist in implementation of plans and programs while the Napolcom Cordillera shall monitor and evaluate the development, adaption and implementation of plans and strategies, guide police in implementation of their programs and provide capacity development to partner agencies and organizations. -- Dexter A. See


P’sinan to use app to collect quarry fees

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan -- The provincial government here will soon be using an app to ensure that every centavo collected from quarry operations in the province will go to the government coffers.
    The Sangguniang Panlalawigan has already authorized Gov. Ramon Guico 3rd to enter into a memorandum of agreement with a local software developer for the use of an app that would also monitor quarrying activities in the province.
    "This is part of the provincial government's commitment to update the operations and collections in our quarries," said Vice Gov. Mark Ronald Lambino in a recent press briefing.
    The app, which will be developed by Unla La Corp., a local company that also developed a food delivery app during the pandemic, will conduct reliable and remote regulation, inspection, supervision, monitoring and recording of the progress of quarrying activities.
    "We are hoping for a higher collection of fees and taxes from the quarry operations," said Lambino.
Last year, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan passed a tax ordinance that amended the province's Revenue Code and increased mineral extraction fees from P16 per cubic meter (cu m.) to P50 per cu m.
The ordinance also imposed administrative fees ranging from P50 per cu m. to P250 per cu m., depending on the volume of minerals loaded on the truck.
In addition, road maintenance fees ranging from P100 per cu m. to P300 per cu m. per truckload were collected, also depending on the volume of minerals being hauled.
From January 1 to July 31 this year, the Provincial Treasurer's Office (PTO) reported that it had collected P92.76 million in taxes and fees from quarry operations, which is almost 600 percent higher than the P15.52 million quarry operations taxes and fees collected from January to December in 2022.


Imee gives cash aid to Cagayan students

CAGAYAN VISIT Sen. Maria Imelda Josefa ‘Imee’ Marcos greets students during her visit to Cagayan province on Aug. 18 to distribute P10,000 educational assistance to each of the 1,000 students from Gonzaga, Santa Teresita, Lal-lo, Abulug, Santa Ana, Sanchez Mira, Aparri, Ballesteros, Calayan and other towns severely affected by Typhoon ‘Egay.’ 

LAL-LO, Cagayan -- Sen. Maria Imelda Josefa "Imee" Marcos distributed educational assistance to the Cagayan youth, particularly students who were affected by Typhoon "Egay."
    Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba said 1,000 selected students from Gonzaga, Santa Teresita, Lal-lo, Abulug, Santa Ana, Sanchez Mira, Aparri, Ballesteros, Calayan, and other towns that were determined to be most affected by the typhoon were given P10,000 each.
    Marcos was joined by Mamba and this town's mayor Florante Pascual during her visit in the Cagayan province on Friday, August 18.
    The senator said it is just appropriate to provide educational assistance because of the great impact left by Typhoon Egay, and that the assistance must be provided because of the series of hardships that students have also suffered during the pandemic, which also caused many deaths.
    "I thought of giving some help because, despite lots of problems we face today, we still have to provide for our children's schooling. We need money for tuition. You have been through a lot because of the two to three years pandemic; things are getting more expensive, and many have lost their jobs," the senator said.
The senator also gave P20 million for "cash for work" and P20 million for "emergency cash transfer" for the families of the students who did not receive educational assistance.
Board Member Rodrigo de Asis of Cagayan's third district, Police Regional Office 2 Director Christopher Birung, Cagayan Police Provincial Office Director Julio Gorospe, Gonzaga Mayor Marilyn Pentecostes, Santa Teresita Mayor Rodrigo de Gracia, Allacapan Mayor Harry Florida, Vice Mayor Olive Pascual and Officer in Charge Assistant Regional Director Franco Lopez of the Department of Social Welfare and Development also joined Marcos during the distribution.




Power back in almost all Ilocos Norte towns

MEN AT WORK -- Linemen of Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative fix  broken power post. INEC says full-force power restoration continues with all households reenergized last week. (Photo courtesy of INEC)

Restored after Typhoon ‘Egay’ 

By Leilanie Adriano 

LAOAG CITY – Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative (INEC) has restored power in all 559 villages in the province, except in some households with meter reading problems brought about by Super Typhoon Egay.
    Lawyer Enrico Ruiz, head of the institutional services department of INEC, confirmed this in a media interview on Wednesday, as members of the Ilocos Norte board called on the electric utility provider for an update on the continuing power restoration.
    "As of the moment, about 99.97 percent of households in the province have been re-energized,” said Ruiz, as he expressed hopes to restore electricity in 31 remaining households this week.
These households are in Laoag City and Pasuquin, Bacarra, Dingras, San Nicolas and Vintar towns.
As this developed, provincial board member Saul Lazo thanked the linemen of INEC and those who helped in the power restoration of the province from various parts of Northern Luzon.
From its AAA rating, the highest score given by the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to electric cooperatives indicating full compliance on four parameters, namely financial, institutional, technical, and reportorial requirements, INEC has been downgraded to AA rating due to its current financial status.
As part of cost-cutting measures, INEC laid off many linemen and the management has not trained new ones yet.
This prompted the Ilocos Norte government to call for more specialized linemen in various parts of Northern Luzon to help in the power restoration of the province.
Meanwhile, the Ayala-led wind farm in Pagudpud town is calling on new professional engineers to apply for a six-month cadetship program.
The cadetship program allows at least 15 cadet engineers to learn through technical and leadership learning programs and mentorship from leaders of the renewable energy firm, providing on-site operations experience for fresh graduates and licensed civil, electrical and mechanical engineers.
Organized by the company’s Plant Operations Human Resources team, the program aims to provide an opportunity for engineering graduates who have recently passed their board exams to hone their technical skills, build their competencies, and expose themselves to the various facets of the energy industry.
Interested applicants may contact Raymond Sesuca or leave a message at – PNA




PNP to transfer more than 300 cops with kin running in barangay, SK elections

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

Around 327 members of the Philippine National Police have been identified to have family members and other relatives running for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) in October this year.
    In a press briefing held at Camp Crame on Wednesday, PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said policemen whose family members and relatives who will run for barangay elections should expect to be reassigned to other areas in order to isolate the police organization from partisan politics.
    “Based on the survey we conducted, there were 327 of our personnel whose relatives would possibly run for the barangay elections,” Fajardo told reporters, adding that the rule covers relatives up to 4th degree of blood relations.
    She said the reassignment is not yet final since the PNP is still waiting for the end of the filing of certificate of candidacy which will start on Aug. 28.
    Fajardo said temporary reassignments of policemen away from the areas where they have relatives seeking elective post is a normal practice in the PNP.
“Hindi lang porke na sinabi ito ay malapit dito sa isang kandidato (It's not that a certain cop is close to a candidate) that will only be the basis of the PNP. Again we have to really validate and assess kung meron po bang batayan na sinasabi ng ilang mga pulitiko na maaaring makaimpluwensya ng election sa kanilang mga lugar (if there is any basis for what some politicians claim that may influence the election in their areas),” Fajardo said.
She said all PNP personnel are aware of this protocol. “This is not the first time that this will be done. Our personnel are aware of this and that’s the reason why we conducted the survey.”
Earlier, PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. said the identification of the policemen will serve as a major factor in the adjustment of assignments on the days leading to the elections.
“We identified these police officers to really make sure that they will not become partisan in this forthcoming election,” he said.
The intention, according to Acorda, is to isolate all PNP personnel from partisan politics amid past experiences wherein the barangay elections are considered the most challenging in terms of security and peace and order.
The filing of certificate of candidacy for the BSKE will start on Aug. 28 until Sept. 2 and by that time, the PNP hopes to come up with a list of all their personnel whose relatives are running for the local posts.
“We will make some adjustments before the election ban comes,” said Acorda.
He added the police force is ready to secure the barangay elections, adding that security measures are now being implemented for their goal of zero violence.
Among them are the aggressive campaign against private armed groups and loose firearms.
The election period for the Oct. 30 village and youth polls will run until Nov. 29 while the campaign period is set from Oct. 19 to 28. -- PNA 



6 arrested for illegal logging in Tanudan

TANUDAN, Kalinga -- A case for violation of Presidential Decree 705 or the Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines was readied for filing against six men for hauling illegally sawn Narra lumber worth P64,990 here in Barangay Mabaca on Wednesday, August 23, the regional police information office said in a report.
    A report submitted to Cordillera police director Brig. Gen. David K. Peredo Jr. identified suspects as  Jhonel Manipon Detchoso, 21; Michael Jordan De Larma Mateo, 29; Alvin Ramos Batwagen Tondo, 25; Ricky Bale Lawi, 28; Richard Sikat Garma, 30; and Arnold Mateo Santos, 29; all residents of Quirino province.
    The report said Tanudan police and personnel of Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources and Tanudan local government responded to a report regarding ongoing hauling of illegally sawn Narra lumber near the river bank at Sitio Anago, Barangay Mabaca that resulted to suspects’ arrest.
    Confiscated from suspects were a chainsaw and seven pieces of Narra lumber with total volume of 129.98 board feet and worth P64,990.
    The arrested suspects are now under custody of Tanudan police and will be facing charges for illegal logging, while the chainsaw and Narra lumber were brought to the DENR Kalinga office for disposition. 


P40-M marijuana burned in Cordillera; 17 arrested


CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet -- Authorities discovered more than P40.5 million worth of marijuana in Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mount Province recently while 17 persons were arrested for illegal drugs, the regional police information office bared in a report.
    The discovery included over 163,000 fully grown marijuana plants, seedlings, and dried leaves, all of which were burned by the police after documentation.
    His, as the Cordillera Regional Operations Division bared 17 persons were arrested in possession of 10.69 grams of shabu worth P135,728.
    The PIO report said eight arrests were made by Baguio City Police Office followed by Kalinga Police Provincial Office with four; Abra and Benguet PPOs with two (2) arrests each, and Mt.  Province PPO with one arrest. 
    Suspects were identified as Pierre Miles Meepegama, 24, Exel Baro, 43, Juvina Baro, 49, Ryan Carino, 41, Rolly Alban, 42, Mateo Tolingan, 42, Crisanto Vega, 45, Sharon Grace Espita, 47, Greg Espita, 43, Annabelle Omawas, 50, Jovan Pugong, 48, Alvin Orbase, 28, Ronald Quinto, 31, Virgilio Rosadino, 53, Thaike Francisco, 29 and two female minors. 
    All arrested suspects and confiscated pieces of evidence were brought to their respective arresting units, while charges for violating the R.A. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, is being prepared against them.
    Meanwhile, 21 marijuana plantations  with total of 163, 425 fully grown marijuana plants, 650 marijuana seedlings, 50, 000 dried marijuana worth P 40, 511, 000.were discovered in Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mt. Province. 
    These were all burned by operatives after documentation.
    Follow-up operations are being conducted to identify marijuana cultivators.
    The PIO report said police officers conducting continuous barangay visitation and information dissemination on anti-illegal drugs campaign of the PNP. 
    In recent months, marijuana busts worth millions of pesos have been made in the region.
    Last month, more than P149 million worth of marijuana was seized by police in Kalinga and Benguet; and in April, P6.8 million worth of marijuana was seized by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Baguio.
    Cordillera police have been taking proactive measures to curb illegal drug use at the barangay level, in line with the Philippine National Police’s anti-drug campaigns.
    “The police are continuously conducting barangay visitation and information operations regarding the anti-illegal drugs campaign of the PNP,” Brig. Gen. David Peredo Jr., PROCor director, said in a statement.

PDEA nets P231-K shabu in Baguio City drug den

BAGUIO CITY – Three suspected drug pushers were arrested while shabu worth P231,000 was seized in a drug den raid in Purok 3, Barangay Upper Dagsian, here August 21.
    The Philippine Drug Enforcement Unit-Cordillera identified suspects as Dominador Baddal Padcayan Sr., Cynthia Mercado Mabalot and Rowel Licoben Bumidang.
    Seized from the suspects were 34 heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets containing suspected shabu weighing around 40 grams valued at P231,200, drug paraphernalia, three keypad cellular phones and an android cellular phone.
    The PDEA said they have been following Padcayan and Mabalot who live in the house and use the place as a drug den for a long time.

52 wanted persons nabbed; no crime in 54 Cordi towns

CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet – Fifty-two wanted persons, including eight individuals listed as most wanted persons, were arrested in Cordillera August 13 to 19. The regional police information office said.
    Records of Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division of Police Regional Office-Cordillera bared Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) arrested 18 wanted persons, followed by the Benguet Police Provincial Office (PPO) with 15, Abra PPO with six, Ifugao PPO with five, Mountain Province PPO and Kalinga PPO with three each and Apayao PPO with two.
    Of the eight most wanted persons, two were most wanted personalities on the provincial level, one on the municipal level, and five on the station level, the regional police information office said.
    Police Brig. Gen. David Peredo Jr., PRO-Cordillera chief, said due to intensified police presence, 54 municipalities in the region and two police stations in Baguio City recorded zero crime incidents in the week.
    No crimes were logged in 22 out of 27 municipalities in Abra, five out of seven in Apayao, seven out of 13 in Benguet, four out of seven in Kalinga, nine out of 11 in Ifugao, and seven out of 10 in Mountain Province.
    Stations 8 (Kennon Road) and 10 (Marcos Highway) also recorded zero crime incidents out of 10 police stations in Baguio City. 

Pangasinan town cleared of drugs; 7 more to follow

By Hilda Austria

ASINGAN, Pangasinan – This municipality has been cleared of illegal drugs and seven others are applying for cleared status, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Pangasinan provincial office.
    In an interview on Wednesday, PDEA Pangasinan director Retchie Camacho said Asingan as deliberated and cleared by the regional committee on Tuesday.
    He said Asingan town passed deliberation for having complied with the required Balay Silangan and all its barangays were cleared of illegal drug activities and personalities.
    “May Balay Silangan pero wala pang enrolled client since cleared na nga silang lahat (They have their Balay Silangan but there were no enrolled client since they were already cleared) but Balay Silangan is one of the requirements of the municipalities for their drug-cleared status,” he added.
    He said there will be continuous monitoring even in the drug-cleared localities.
Asingan is yet to formalize its drug-cleared status in a ceremony to be held in their town.
    Meanwhile, seven municipalities in the province are applying for drug-cleared status since all their barangays were already drug-cleared and they just need to comply with documentary requirements and pass the deliberation, Camacho said.
    These are the towns of Agno, Bautista, Binalonan, Bolinao, San Fabian, San Nicolas, and Umingan.
    The PDEA Pangasinan is constantly coordinating with the local government units in the province to be able to assist them in achieving a drug-cleared status, he said.
    He said the remaining eight towns and four cities in the province that are not yet cleared mostly have only one each remaining affected village.
     “We are focusing on them to be able to clear the whole municipality or town. We are doing our best with the local government,” he said. -- PNA


114th Baguio Day events set

>> Saturday, August 26, 2023

By Julie G. Fianza

BAGUIO CITY -- With the theme, “Reflections of the Past, Visions for a Resilient Future,” activities for the 114th Charter anniversary day of Baguio have been set through executive order 107, series of 2023, issued by Mayor Magalong on Aug. 23.
    The same was presented by City Tourism and special events officer Jose Maria Rivera during the management committee meeting at city hall last week.
    The announcement and crowning of Miss Baguio was set Aug. 26 (Saturday) at the Baguio Cultural and Convention Center after search among barangay beauty representatives. 
    On Sept. 1, senior citizens (60 y/o and above) weave their way along the main thoroughfares of the city for the 7-kilometer run, starting at 4:45 a.m. from the city hall grounds.
    For details, interested participants may contact Rosario Alberto at CP number 09177450378. 
    The Baguio day program highlighted by the Outstanding Citizens of Baguio awards shall be at the BCCC starting at 8 a.m.
    Later, a community parade will be held ending at Malcolm square.
    There are five divisions in the parade with the academe, local government agencies, socio-civic groups; led by marching bands, drum and lyre and dance groups.       
    A ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Youth Innovation Hub shall also push through at the BCCC basement. 
    The Post Office Garden shall be opened at 11 a.m. with city officials led by Rep.  Marquez Go, Mayor Benjamin Magalong, Vice-Mayor Faustino Olowan, councilors and other officials.
    At 6 p.m. on the same day, unveiling of the reflection pool fountain at Upper Wright Park shall be done simultaneously with a fireworks display seen at vantage points at the Central Business District.
    On Sept. 2, the biggest cake by the Baguio Country Club shall be cut, simultaneously with mass wedding in the area. 
    An eco-sustainable and waste reduction fair is set Sept. 2 and 3, starting at 8 a.m. at Malcolm Square (People’s Park).
Booths for book, seed exchange, arts and crafts, composting, upcycled/recycled and household items, information and education campaigns shall be set at the venue.  
    On Sept. 2, a Victory Day ride to commemorate the triumph of Philippine Forces during World War II, starts 5 a.m. at city hall to Camp Henry T. Allen towards the Banangan, Sablan View deck and the Philippine Military Academy (PMA). 
    On Sept. 3, the US Congressional Gold Medal Awards Ceremony (for World War II heroes) will be held 2 p.m. at the BCCC, with the launching of War of Our Fathers exhibit, in the afternoon at the same venue.
    The exhibit is open to the public from Sept. 4 to 12. 
    The day closes with a fireworks display at 8 p.m. at upper Session road. 
    Other activities: with the Baguio country fair group, the 2023 Baguio Day Open Word Builders’ Tournament at the Baguio Athletic Bowl, on Sept. 9 and 10, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)  Baguio-Benguet Chapter Fun Run starting 4 a.m. on Sept. 10, Baguio City Foundation Marathon on Sept. 17 at 4 a.m., Baguio Day Job Fair on Sept. 23 at Baguio City National High School (BCNHS); the 3rd 6 hours endurance project long distance running on Sept. 24 at Lake Drive, Burnham Park and Baguio Charter Day Wushu Tournament on Sept. 29, 30 and Oct. 1.  



Baguio execs to NCIP: Issue rules on registration of titles

Ancestral lands controversy 

BAGUIO CITY – The City Council urged the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) en banc to immediately come up with guidelines on registration of Transfer Certificates of Titles (TCTs or derivative titles emanating from originally issued Certificate of Ancestral Land Titles (CALTs) pursuant to the memorandum of agreement entered between the land Registration Authority (LRA) and NCIP.
    The City Council issued resolution 477, series of 2023, saying such MOA stated that without submission of said rules to the Registry of Deeds (ROD), no derivative titles from CALTs shall be issued by the said office.
    On August 28, 2002, the LRA and the NCIP entered into an agreement to determine areas of coordination to ascertain extent of authority and determine responsibilities of parties relative to registration of CALTs with the ROD as required under Section 52(k) of Republic Act (RA) 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997.
    During a top LRA-NCIP policy dialogue in the registration of Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADTs) and CALTs with the ROD of provinces and cities held Jan. 20, 2005, the two agencies agreed to set guidelines in treating exemption of CADTSs from payment of the contribution to the assurance fund; registration of CADTs embracing ancestral domains straddling more than one province or city, CADTs overlapping titled properties and CALTs overlapping titled properties.
    On August 22, 2005, Joint LRA-NCIP Memorandum Circular No. 1, series of 2005 was issued for additional guidelines on the registration of CADTs/CALTs with the ROD.
    Earlier, representatives from the NCIP-CAR told the local legislative body that a meeting in 2016 between NCIP, Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Dept. of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and land Registration Authority (LRA) joint national committee resulted to an agreement where the LRA required submission by the NCIP guidelines on transfer of derivative titles of CALTs which the ROD should follow, and production of NCIP of a specific security paper from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to be used for said purpose.
    Further, LRA will not continue issuing for CALTs using their ROD issued TCTs as the same is for Torrens titles only. -- Dexter A. See 


Council to Baguio Tourism execs: Up drive vs scammers

BAGUIO CITY – The City Council urged the tourism and Special Events Division under the City Administrators’ Office to intensify its campaign against alleged scammers victimizing tourists in the city with their fraudulent bookings and tour packages.
    The Council said this was detrimental to the city’s robust tourism industry.
    Under resolution 491, series of 2023, the Council said numerous fraudulent practices of alleged scammers and unscrupulous enterprising individuals greatly affected image of the city as a premier tourist destination that needed to be checked through measures to guide and assist tourists and guarantee them good experience worthy of enticing more guests and visitors to come to the city and enjoy its sceneries among others.
    Baguio is swarmed by foreign and domestic tourists, especially during the summer season and conduct of major crowd drawing events, because of its temprat6e weather and as the Summer Capital of the country.
    The Council said an essential part of hosting visitors is availability of inns, hotels, guest accommodation centers and decent transient houses.
    The body said maximizing technology, online business transactions are now the latest trend, meant to lessen problems of the client and service provider.
    Earlier, a number of tourists filed complaints and lamented their  experiences against unscrupulous enterprising individuals offering fake accommodations and posing as owners of establishments or even residential houses.
    Upon arrival in the city, the tourists allegedly experienced being duped after discovering that their advance booking for a place of stay and after paying the required reservation or advance payment were non-existent in the city.
    Copies of the approved resolution will be transmitted to the concerned offices for their information, guidance, ready reference and further needed action.  


SCPW, UAPSA join SM Prime in promoting wetland conservation

SCPW president Arch. Celestino Ulep leads a discussion on nature-based architecture during the fourth SCPW Wetland Center Design Symposium. Photo from SCPW

As the world celebrated the International Day for Biological Diversity 2023, SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SM Prime) joined the Society for the Conservation of Philippine Wetlands, Inc. (SCPW) hosted the fourth SCPW Wetland Center Design Symposium on May 29th at the MAAX Building in the Mall of Asia Complex.
    Bannering the theme "Build Back Biodiversity: Wetland Centers and Nature-Based Architecture," the hybrid symposium featured presentations centered on fostering knowledge and awareness about wetland conservation and innovative design approaches. 
    SCPW president Ar. Celestino Ulep opened the symposium by sharing his optimism on how collaboration and embracing nature-based architecture can pave the way towards creating a future where wetlands thrive and biodiversity flourishes.
    Notable experts in the field also graced the event, sharing their insights and experiences including Chris Rostron, the global manager of Wetland Link International, and Alex Hughes of Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust in London, UK. The guest speakers kicked off the discussion by sharing about the pivotal role of Wetland Centers as a tool for Communication, Capacity Building, Education, Participation, and Awareness (CEPA) in wetland conservation efforts.
    Arch. Ulep, meanwhile, engaged the audience by introducing the concept of nature-based architecture, highlighting the importance of prioritizing sustainability and harmony in design by creating structures that seamlessly integrate with the natural environment.
    Meanwhile, Arch. Aaron Lecciones, SCPW Special Projects Officer, made a detailed visual presentation on the Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park (LPPWP) Design Team's experience. He highlighted the challenges and triumphs of designing a wetland park, serving as a source of inspiration for aspiring designers and architects.
    Esteemed partners, including Ms. Rida Reyes Castillo of SM Prime, Dr. Arvin Diesmos of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, 
    Mr. Laudemir Salac of DENR-Region 3, and Arch. Gleo Raymundo of UAPSA graced the event to show their full support for this endeavor.
    "It is an honor and privilege on the part of SM to partner with the SCPW and UAPSA in realizing its common goal of protecting ecosystems, particularly wetlands, by inspiring the youth to engage and take action on the socio-civic and economic issues in their communities by finding workable solutions towards building a sustainable future," SM Prime AVP and Head of Marketing, PR, and Communications Rida Reyes Castillo said.
    Castillo further emphasized that environmental protection and nature conservation are integral pillars of SM Prime's sustainability campaign and that they believe in the power of cultivating the younger generation’s devotion to building a sustainable future.
    The symposium concluded with a comprehensive discussion on the rules and guidelines of the design competition, followed by an open forum and exchange of ideas among participants.
    The symposium also marked the beginning of the highly anticipated 4th SCPW Wetland Center Design Competition, which aims to create a platform for talented students in the field of construction and design to showcase their skills and ingenuity and encourages them to address environmental challenges through sustainable solutions.





Chikungunya afflicts Mt. Province folks

By Aldwin Quitasol

BONTOC, Mountain Province --  — The provincial government warned the public on alarming rise of Chikungunya in the province as the Provincial Health Office logged 672 cases of the dengue-like viral infection from January to August 2023.
Chikungunya is transmitted to humans through a bite of an infected mosquito that can cause excruciating joint pain and swelling.
    The disease, however, is different from dengue yet they are both caused by mosquito bites.
    Fever as a result of chikungunya typically lasts three to four days, while dengue fever can last anywhere from two to seven days or even more.
    In Chikungunya, rashes all across the face, palms, feet, limbs can be found while rashes are limited to limbs and face for those who are infected with dengue.
    Based on the data from the PHO, the Municipality of Paracelis tops the list with 658 cases which were detected in the barangays of Bantay, Banana and Butigue while 14 cases were listed in the neighboring town of Natonin.




Man held for rape, pregnancy of stepdaughter

By Freddie Lazaro

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya – The National Bureau of Investigation has rescued a 12-year-old girl who was made a sex slave and impregnated by her stepfather in Quirino province.
    Dado Araos, chief of the NBI-Bayombong District Office (BAYDO), said the suspect was arrested and underwent inquest proceedings last Thursday for violation of Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code in relation to Republic Act 8353, An Act expanding the definition of the crime of rape, as amended, and Republic Act 7610 (Child Abuse Law).
    The mother of the girl was also arrested for violation of RA 7610 after the NBI found out she knew about the sexual exploitation but did not file any complaint.
    NBI agent-on-case Rodelyn Gay Eugenio said they were informed about the ordeal of the girl last Monday and headed to Cabarroguis town in Quirino and coordinated with the provincial social workers' office to verify the girl’s records and contacted some of her relatives.
    NBI agents, together with social workers, headed to Saguday town to invite the victim, her mother, and the suspect to a family counseling as “there was no strong basis yet to make an arrest.” 
    During counseling at the Provincial Social Welfare Office in Cabarroguis, the victim burst into tears in the arms of her maternal aunt who was waiting together with other relatives and revealed her ordeal.
    “After crying for several minutes, the victim bared how her stepfather sexually abused her since 2020 when she was ten-years-old,” Eugenio said.
    The victim told authorities she could not reveal her ordeal to her mother because the suspect threatened her.
    "She has no one to confide to as she was isolated without communication by the (suspect) from their relatives by transferring them to another place,” Eugenio said.
    The victim’s mother, who even admitted to once seeing his live-in partner on top of her daughter, is equally liable, the NBI said, hence, her child abuse case.


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