On March 1, a new Baguio City police director, will be assuming as an officer-in-charge, replacing Sr. Supt. Jesus Cambay Jr., said Cordillera police director Chief Supt. Isagani Nerez.
Nerez in his letter on Feb. 18, received by Mayor Mauricio Domogan the next day informed the latter of his intention to replace Cambay with Senior Supt. Rolando Miranda, chief of the Police Regional Office Cordillera Regional Operations and Plans Division, effective March 1, 2014."
But Cambay Jr. will remain as director of the Baguio City police, Mayor Mauricio Domogan announced Wednesday.
The mayor said Nerez decided to retain Cambay during their dialogue last Tuesday where the chief executive threw his vote of confidence for the beleaguered police director and attested to his adequate performance.
He said concerns raised by Nerez have been relayed to Cambay for action and they expect the police chief to address them for the further improvement of peace and order programs in the city.
Nerez last week informed the mayor of Cambay’s impending replacement on March 1 or six months before he completes his prescribed two-year tour of duty in the city in September but the mayor and Rep. Nicasio Aliping Jr., in their reply, asked Nerez to forgo with the plan saying they are satisfied with Cambay’s performance.
Some councilors also backed Cambay’s retention with Councilor Leandro Yangot Jr. proposing a resolution “expressing the city government’s uncompromising and full support” for him and noting the adverse effect of the “sudden and unilateral replacement of the BCPO director” on the implementation of security and peace and order programs amid the numerous and crowd-drawing events lined up in the city for the summer vacation.
The body on Monday decided to invite Nerez to its session on March 10 to shed light on his position.
Domogan said he also received resolutions of support for Cambay from the barangays and the Hotel and Restaurants Association of Baguio (HRAB) which also attested to Cambay’s satisfactory performance.
Earlier, police directors in Kalinga and Apayao were replaced with officers-in-charge and the local officials accepted it with open arms, Nerez said as he explained that the Philippine National Police is only after the good performance of the police commanders.
A continuing assessment of police directors show those performing and not performing, the police official said. Those not performing will be given an opportunity “to make up and shape up."
"Performers should stay and those who are not will be reminded by the organization to help them internalize the ideals and mission of the organization,” Nerez said.
The shake up sits well with some officials like in Kalinga and Ifugao, Nerez said. Officials there, after consulting them, opened up to the organization’s direction, he said.
But in Baguio City, Councilor Leandro Yangot, Jr. led city officials in supporting Cambay, whose position is reportedly being eyed by a police officer close to Nerez.
Citing the city mayor’s authority to appoint the city’s police director, Yangot said the existing “guidelines, rules and regulations, Chiefs of Police of Municipal Police Stations and Directors of City Provincial and Regional Police Offices have a tour of duty of at least two years in their respective assignments.”
A police director on an officer-in-charge capacity is given six months minimum and two years maximum stay, “but when performance is at stake, the PNP organization cannot follow that in letter for obvious reasons,” Nerez said.
Cambay was appointed as Baguio City Police Office Director in September 2012 and his supposed prescribed tour of duty will end in September 2014 or more or less seven months from now.
Cambay’s “sudden and unilateral replacement” will distort and disrupt the implementation and execution of the security and peace and order programs and plans which were put in place in preparation for the Baguio Flower Festival that ends in March 2, Yangot said.
What we are after for, Nerez added, is the shaping up of the organization that ultimately ends with how the welfare of the people are being served by our policemen. – Aileen P. Refuerzo
TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines – Police have filed murder charges against a former law enforcer for robbing and killing a former colleague.
Supt. Jay Cumigad, city police chief, said they found circumstantial evidence to link Michael Pasicolan, who remains at large, to the killing of PO3 James Saddul.
Cumigad said Pasicolan and Saddul were last seen having drinks at a beer joint here last Feb. 5 before Saddul went missing.
Saddul’s decomposing body was in a public cemetery a week later.
Saddul, 33, who was assigned with the logistics branch of the provincial police at Camp Tirso Gador here, had just secured a loan when he was killed.
Reports said Saddul’s money and other belongings were missing.
Pasicolan, who was discharged from the police service for absence without official leave, and Saddul completed their police training together.
By Carlito Dar
BAGUIO CITY - - The Department of Transportation and Communication- Cordillera Regional Office has intensified inspection of franchises and road worthiness of public utility vehicles(PUVs) following several road accidents in the region recently.
DOTC – CAR Regional Director Celina Claver disclosed that through the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), inspection of PUVs down to their terminals will be done and they will be adding manpower for such purpose.
Claver reported that adding to the risky mountainous road terrains in the Cordillera, mini-buses that plying provincial routes are also questionable of their road worthiness.
“We are already strictly implementing the 15 year phase-out rule for public utility buses, as we also face the concern of operators having financial capacity to replace their existing units with brand new buses. If a bus reached 15 years, we will now not allow it for public use, even if it pass a MVIS (Motor Vehicle Inspection Service) certification”, she stressed.
This February alone, a Florida bus with questionable franchise plunged into a ravine in Talubin, Bontoc, Mountain Province killing 14 passengers and injuring more than 30. A passenger jeepney in Abra which also fell killing five people, several passengers injured.
For the Florida case, Claver reported that they have already submitted their report for the incident, both those coming from the police investigation and from their own assessment of the accident and it is now up to the LTFRB board to decide, which she assured will be done in soonest possible time.
As for motorists, Claver reiterated the need for drivers to always use defensive driving especially newcomers or first-time to traverse the mountainous road terrain of the Cordillera.
BONTOC, Mountain Province -- The bus driver of the GV Florida Transport, Inc. who figured in a road accident here that left 14 persons dead, was released from jail after posting a P50,000 bail Feb. 21.
A Bontoc court, which is hearing the case of Edgar Renon, driver of the Florida bus that fell of a ravine in Barangay Talubin, has ordered his release from jail.
Renon was arraigned on the same day on charges of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and serious physical injuries.
The court earlier set the bail at P80,000 for Renon’s temporary liberty. The amount was reduced to P50,000 after it granted the motion to reduce bail filed by Renon’s lawyers from the Public Attorney’s Office and from the bus company.
Rey Luis of Florida Transport said it was their company that provided the bail.
“It was our company lawyer, accompanied by representatives from the Mt. Province Cable Tours, who posted the bail,” Luis said.
Florida Transport reportedly acquired the franchise of Cable Tours without the authorization of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), making the unit liable for the accident.
The LTFRB summoned the two bus firms for the hearing on the Bontoc incident last Feb. 19, after investigations showed the chassis number and license plate of the Florida bus belong to Dagupan Bus Lines and Mt. Province Cable Tours, respectively.
The Cagayan Valley-based Florida Transport is currently serving its 30-day suspension of operations imposed by the LTFRB a day after the mishap, pending investigation of the incident.
The LTFRB, along with Renon as well as police investigators and representatives from Florida Transport, will conduct an ocular inspection and hearing at the crash site on Feb. 28.
Aside from the 14 fatalities, at least 31 passengers of the Sagada-bound bus suffered injuries.
This, as the Mt. Province judge handling the case of the driver of the ill-fated GV Florida bus is conducting an investigation at the site in Bontoc where the bus plunged into a ravine last Feb. 7.
Police said the ocular inspection will be scheduled following arraignment of Renon, the driver of the Florida bus involved in the accident which left at least 14 passengers dead.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board also conducted on-site inspection on Feb. 28.
Renon is facing charges of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and serious physical injuries before Judge Luis Daoen of the Bontoc Municipal Trial Court.
LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – The province’s tourism sector apparently took a beating, with cancellation of bookings, following a report on a supposed flesh-eating disease spreading in certain places – which turned out to be false.
“Their presentation of the report would really scare you,” Mike Sison, city tourism officer of Alaminos City, said referring to a television news report about two persons in Sta. Barbara and Villasis towns supposedly suffering from such flesh-eating disease.
Sison said his office received phone calls from hotel owners after they got booking cancellations from some groups that planned to visit Alaminos to see the world-famous Hundred Islands.
In one hotel alone, Sison said five groups cancelled their bookings because of the false report.
The Philippine Adventure Corp. that has scheduled some water sports activities in the Hundred Islands also reportedly backed out.
There were inquiries, too, on the distance between Alaminos and Sta. Barbara, Sison said.
Other towns though kept mum about the issue because their places are not tourist destinations, he added.
This, as Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said the report about the so-called “flesh-eating” disease in Pangasinan is unfair to people who have suffered enough.
“This kind of news is unfair to people who need hope at this time,” Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said.
“At this point, what the people need is hope. We don’t need something to be afraid of. We have suffered enough,” he added.
In its Facebook account, the Alaminos City government said Mayor Arthur Celeste acted swiftly to dispel the report, saying the city “is most prone to receive major negative blows, especially in our growing tourism industry.”
“Thank God the issue is dying! No more viral status in the net, please help us to further cool it down. Friends from the media didn’t stop airing the truth,” the city posted in its Facebook page.
Also alarmed by the report, Pangasinan third district Rep. Rose Marie Arenas, whose jurisdiction includes Sta. Barbara, wrote Health Secretary Enrique Ona to seek his help.
“May I request your immediate action to investigate this matter of public health and safety. I am also requesting for immediate assistance by the concerned regional office of the Department of Health to be extended to these victims,” Arenas said in her letter to Ona.
Dr. Anna Maria Teresa de Guzman, provincial health officer, said the report was “unfounded, not true, and baseless.”
“There is no such thing a
s a mysterious skin disease nor a flesh-eating bacteria spreading in Pangasinan,” De Guzman said in a media briefing following the airing of the TV report Monday night.
De Guzman said the report, which went viral on social media, caused panic not only among locals but also among Pangasinenses abroad, prompting Gov. Amado Espino Jr. to instruct her and her team to swiftly investigate this issue.
In a report, the state-run Philippine Information Agency quoted De Guzman as saying that the Sta. Barbara patient is suffering from leprosy, a disease that causes skin sore, while the one from Villasis had a severe case of psoriasis, which causes peeling and red marks on the skin.
This, as Villegas said that what the people should dois to ignore such report so as not to cause further panic.
“I think we should not give it too much attention. I think it is causing unnecessary panic to the people, and it’s not what we need at this time,” he said.
“As a Catholic, we should say that God loves us. Second, it is not the way of God to punish people. The way of God is always compassion, mercy, and hope,” added Villegas.
Asked if the panic caused by the news showed the weak faith of the people, he answered negatively.
“No. I think it’s not the faith that is to be judged there. I think it’s the disposition of some people to cause panic and to be sensational,” Villegas said.
“What can be explained naturally by medical doctors and scientists we must not attribute to supernatural causes that’s the basic principle. You have to exhaust all natural means first before you attribute supernatural reasons for anything that happens,” he added. -- Leslie Ann Aquino
PASIL, Kalinga -- The Balatoc tribe of this town is currently waging a campaign to protect their ancestral land from mining companies and other Cordillera tribes are supporting them, a regionwide indigenous group said.
“A socio-political heritage of the Cordilleras is the inter-tribe peace pact system invariably called in the local tongue among its practitioners as bodong, podon, (and) pechen. Its elements are people, territory, law and governance,” leaders of the BAMIKBA Inc. said in an open letter dated Feb. 14.
BAMIKBA is an acronym for Benguet, Apayao, Mt. Province, Ifugao, Kalinga, Baguio, and Abra which comprise CAR.
BAMIKBA is a non-stock, non-profit association registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission meant to promote the well-being of the inhabitants of CAR, among other objectives.
According to the BAMIKBA letter, signed by its president Henry Aliten, the peace pacts continue to exist and are strongly practiced by the indigenous peoples of the region.
“As such, they have rights, including obligations, relative to resources within their domain which are recognized, promoted and protected under the Constitution, national laws, and other international declarations (or) treaties,” the letter said.
It added that it is also the right of the indigenous people, locally called “binodngan,” to have priority in the exploration and exploitation of natural resources within their respective domain.
By Manny Galvez
CABANATUAN CITY – A lay minister of a Catholic Church was charged before the provincial prosecutor’s office here for allegedly molesting a 10-year-old girl afternoon of Feb. 20 in Cabiao, Nueva Ecija.
Charged for acts of lasciviousness in relation to Violence Against Women and Children Act was Efren Meña, 55, of Barangay San Fernando Sur, Cabiao town.
Meña is a lay minister of the Saint John Nepomucene Parish Church in Cabiao, according to Chief Inspector Eric de Venancio, town police chief.
In her complaint, the girl’s mother said the crime happened inside the house of a neighbor at about 1 p.m. that Thursday.
The victim told case investigator SPO 1 Orlando Francisco that Meña kissed her on the lips and touched her breast.
The girl immediately told the incident to her mother who accompanied her to the police and the office of municipal social welfare and development.
Francisco said Meña allegedly owned up to the crime.
A bail of P200,000 was recommended for the suspect’s provisional liberty.