AFP, NPA urged: Leave Sagada, respect peace zone

>> Friday, December 19, 2014

SAGADA, Mountain Province – Officials of this tourist town condemned the Nov. 30 clash between the New People’s Army and government troops saying armed elements which included rebel and government military forces should leave Sagada as it was a peace zone.

The municipal council issued a statement against the incident but the NPA’s Leonardo Pacsi Command said in a statement said they ambushed the armed government soldiers as theArmed Forces of the Philippines implemented counterinsurgency Oplan Bayanihan program here.

Two government troopers of the 54th Infantry Battalion were killed while four were wounded in the clash at SitioPegew, Barangay Antadao.

Mayor  Eduardo Latawan and vice mayor  Benjamin Capuyan insinuated the NPAs should leave Sagada while councilor Jane Bawing and provincial board member Francis Tauli told the NPAs and their supporters to  get out from the town.  

Ka Magno Udyaw, spokesperson of the LPC– NPA said soldiers were in uniform and armed with high powered rifles when they left the Sagada Municipal Police Station, contrary to their claims that they were not.

“The ambush is part of our punishment to the 54th IB because of its human rights violations against the people of Cordillera.” said Udyaw.

 “To name a few, the continuous military operations and forcible entry in the houses of residents of Asipulo, Ifugao add up to their long list of crimes against the people. How can we forget the harassment and destruction of the irrigations here in Mt. Province?”

He added the 54th IB started the forest fires and encamped in schools at Aguid, Sagada while six high school students from Mainit, Sagada were beaten up by elements of the 54th IB in 2011.

“And because of their extensive pursuit for Simon “Ka Filiw” Naogsan Sr., Cordillera People’s Democratic Front spokesperson, their harassment to his father also caused his death,”Udyaw said.

“The 54th IB is also the culprit behind the deaths of William Bugatti, a staunch human rights worker, last March 25, 2014, Artus “KaLibre” TamangenTalastas from Lias, Barlig, Ronelio “Ka Renan” Balatines and Nardo “Ka Dose” Magnanang Gaong from Ankileng, Sagada last June 2 of the same year.”

Udyaw said the LPC-NPA can’t just stand by while military forces move around freely in Sagada and other towns of Mountain Province.

In an indignation rally held December 1 staged at the municipal grounds mostly attended by high school students of Sagada, former Sagada mayor Tom Killip said the youth should be reminded of the bloody incident in the late 1980s resulting to the death of three youth due to NPA-AFP clashes making the community to declare Sagada as a peace zone with no armed elements entering the town’s territory.

In the latest Nov. 30 clash, PFC Hanzel Onnon from Poblacion and PFC Osias Ing-ingan from Can-eo, both of Bontoc died while PFC Ian Mango, PFC Nathan Focasan, CPL Albert Paleyan and CPL William Agpawan were wounded in the ambush which lasted from 10:30 to 11 p.m. that night.

The soldiers came from a youth leadership training they delivered to high school students of Sagada.

A police report said the ambushed troops were led by Capt. Jefferson M. Somera.

Somera said that they were headed to their camp in Paracelis when they were fired upon by rebels.

Somera said the conduct of the leadership activity which was participated by about 75 youth leaders in the Cordillera was result of collaboration among the Philippine National Police, AFP, Sagada local government and National Youth Commission.

Somera said members of the AFP, PNP and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency have been invited as speakers.

Somera said members of the AFP were invited for the leadership youth summit.

He added the ambush site had a history of ambushes perpetrated by the NPA against the military.

As per Somera’s recount, they were fired upon even while they were trying to get away.

The fatalities were reportedly at the back of the second vehicle. The driver of the second vehicle, PFC Nathan Cade Listino Focasan was also hit but continued to drive until they reached Bontoc General Hospital. – With a report from Gina Dizon


Guard kills former town councilor, self

CABANATUAN CITY – A security guard shot dead a former municipal councilor in front of the victim’s wife before turning the gun on himself in San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija Dec. 6.

Antonio de Sahagun, 60, and security guard Argie Basan died at the scene from gunshot wounds, said Senior Supt. Crizaldo Nieves, provincial police director.

The victim was with his wife Anabella when the incident occurred near their house in Golden Meadows Subdivision in Barangay Castellano, where the suspect was assigned, said Chief Insp. Renato Morales, town police chief.

After killing De Sahagun, Basan reportedly pointed his gun, a Cal.38 revolver, at  Anabella and told her to run away.  

Morales said Basan pointed the gun at his head and pulled the trigger.

Case investigator Police Officer 3 Freddie Sevilla said an old grudge may be among the motives for the killing.

Probers recovered a gun believed used in the killing, two bullets and three bullet shells at the crime scene.


Vigan now one of New 7 World Wonder cities

By Mydz Supnad

VIGAN CITY, Ilocos Sur  –This Heritage City of Vigan was declared Monday one of the New Seven Wonder Cities (N7WC) of the world by Bernard Weber, president of N7WC Foundation.

The announcement earned the cheers from government officials led by Gov. Ryan Singson and Mayor Eva Medina, former governor Chavit Singson residents and tourists who spent a night vigil Dec. 6 in front of the Vigan City hall to wait for the much awaited declaration.

According to Weber, the other cities declared in the N7WC were Beirut, Lebanon; Doha, Qatar; Durban, South Africa; Havana, Cuba; Kuala Kumpur, Malaysia; and La Paz, Bolivia.

A day before the selection, former governor Chavit rushed to Vigan to personally see the occasion being a native of Vigan.

The New 7 Wonders Cities Foundation is the same institution that named the underground river in Puerto Princesa City one of New 7 Wonders of Nature.

Fifteen years earlier, Vigan was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in December 1999, making Vigan as city like no  other.

Medina expressed gratitude to people all over the world who supported Vigan’s bid for the  N7WC, saying this was inspiring and a tribute to a people who has committed to achieve development and make wonderful things in their lives.

 Reports said the New7Wonders Cities campaign began in 2011 with more than 1,200 nominees from 220 different countries.

It was later narrowed down to 21 nominees, and later 14 finalists, until the seven cities were declared winners.


Red tide in Pangasinan: 1 dead, 25 hospitalized

By Eva Visperas and Liezle BasaInigo

BOLINAO, Pangasinan -- The mayor here has ordered a ban on the harvest, sale and consumption of all types of shellfish after a person died and 25 others were hospitalized when they ate  tahong (mussel) here as poisoning victims reached 33 last week in the province. 

Mayor Noli Celeste said he sent copies of the order to barangay captains and ordered the setting up of checkpoints to prevent the transport of shellfish to and from the town.  

He said the fatality was identified as Manilyn Conde, 20, a resident of Barangay IlogMalino. Those who became ill from suspected food poisoning were residents of Barangays Ilog Malino, Zaragoza, Lambes and Pilar. 

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources regional director Nestor Domenden said shellfish samples collected from the waters of Bolinao and Anda were found positive for red tide toxin.

Domenden said they also re-imposed the shellfish ban in Alaminos City, adding the ban has not been lifted in the towns of Bani, Anda and Bolinao.

In Lingayen, Pangasinan Domenden urged fishermen here to refrain from collecting and selling shellfish from the western coast of Pangasinan as food poisoning victims reached 33 last week.

Officially, there was no red tide alert raised as most recent water samples taken from the area were still being examined.

Domenden urged a ban on harvesting of seashells and small shrimps (alamang) from the waters off Alaminos City and the towns of Bolinao, Bani and Anda.

Provincial Health Officer Ana de Guzman warned one woman had died of suspected paralytic shellfish poisoning and Mayor Celeste of Bolinao had instructed police to set up checkpoints to stop any transport of shellfish in the area.


Mayor stops waste station due to residents’ opposition

BY Aileen P. Refuerzo

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan said the proposed waste transfer station at Camp 7 here will not push through due to opposition of residents, saying it was the contractor and not the city government that pinpointed the site.

The mayor said it was the GC Flores Construction that identified its own location at Camp 7 Kennon Road to comply with the city government’s requirement to provide its own waste transfer site, being the winning bidder for the city’s new waste hauling contract.

The provision of the transfer site was among requirements specified in terms of reference in bidding for city’s garbage hauling service. 

To qualify the site, the city also requires the contractor to submit an affidavit of no objection by the owners of the adjoining properties, endorsement from the barangay and a certification of non-coverage from the EMB.

Company owner Gamaliel Flores proposed his own property at Camp 7 along with a certification issued by Camp 7 punong barangay Constancio Danao that there was no objection to utilize the area for said purpose.

 However, Camp 7 residents expressed opposition to the use of Flores’ lot or any other lot in their barangay as waste transfer station due to health considerations.

The residents wrote the Environment Management Board Cordillera to express their objection and to dispute the certification issued by Danao saying they were not consulted by the barangay head.

In view of the opposition, the mayor said the company will not be allowed to take over the hauling service until it finds a suitable site.

The mayor said Flores assured he will look for another area suitable for the purpose and while this is being worked out, the city will continue to employ the services of the present hauler, M. A. Camilo Freight Services.

As this developed, the city council on Monday agreed to summon Flores along with representatives from the general services office, the city mayor’s office and the affected Camp 7 residents for a dialogue in its regular session on Dec. 15.

This is to clarify the issue surrounding the planned set up of the transfer station at Camp 7.


Senate commends nat’l artistF. Sionil Jose, son of Rosales

>> Thursday, December 18, 2014

By Yvonne Almirañez

ROSALES, Pangasinan -- The Senate today adopted Senate Resolution No. 1045, commending National Artist Francisco Sionil Jose for his distinguished contribution to literature and journalism.

Senate Resolution No. 1045, introduced by Sen. Loren Legarda, recognized Sionil Jose’s “artistic and literary genius, and his perseverance to instill national pride through the arts.”

Born in Rosales, Pangasinan, on Dec. 3, 1924, Sionil Jose is considered as one of the country’s most prominent writers in the English language, his works having been translated to twenty-two languages, including Czech, Indonesian, French, Korean, Russian, Latvian and Dutch.

He has received numerous accolades, including the Ramon Magsaysay Award, the Pablo Neruda Award, Chevalier dansl’Ordre des Arts et Lettres, and the Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for literature, among others.

He was bestowed the title of National Artist of the Philippines for Literature in 2001.

“He has been an inspiration to several generations of writers and journalists through his essays, his role as a publisher, his lectures, his iconic bookshop, Solidaridad, and his founding of the Philippine chapter of the PEN, an international organization of poets, writers and novelists,” the Resolution said. 



>> Wednesday, December 17, 2014

CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad Benguet – A female cadre of the New People’s Army recently surrendered to police ending a life of hardship in the mountains after finding true love.

Cordillera police director ChiefSupt.IsaganiNerez, identified the surenderee as Priscilla Y. Silot Y Degiawe, 44, native of Lamag, Quirino, Ilocos Sur.

Priscilla reportedly joined the NPA November 2001 at Lamag and was assigned as  medical and finance officer of the Kilusang Larangang Guerrilla under the Jennifer Maria Carino Command operating in Quirino, Ilocos Sur area.

 She decided to join the underground because of the harassment she and the members of her family experienced alleged atrocities from military.    

During her stint with the group, she took several trainings and courses and conducted the same among the members of the rebel group.

She reportedly participated in the propaganda/mass work activities to strengthen and expand their mass base, particularly in places where support was dwindling.            

Since 2011, she left the group and sought refuge with her siblings because of health problem.

She reportedly communicated with her comrades but when she transferred to another place she lost communication with them.

Last year, she fell in love with a driver and they lived together where she worked as house helper in Daet, Camarines Norte where her relatives encouraged her to surrender.

Man wanted for drugs cornered
TABUK CITY, Kalinga – A man wanted for drugs was recently arrested here in Barangay Lacnog.

Provincial police director, Senior Supt. Victor Wanchakan, identified the suspect as   Bonny Maggongoy Wacnang, 39, farmer and resident of Lacnog.

He was nabbed by the joint personnel of the Regional Public Safety battalion, Tabuk City Police Office and members of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.   

Cordillera PNP chief orders rigid security as Yuletide Season starts
CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet – Cordillera police director Chief Supt. Isagani R. Nerez ordered police last week to enhance security operations before, during and after the observance of the traditional Yuletide Season in the region.

This, as influx of people is expected in shopping malls, churches, terminals and other public places.

Millions of catholic devotees are expected to attend the traditional simbang gabi which will start Dec. 16 while tourists, balikbayans, and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) will be coming to the country to visit tourist spots among other places and celebrate holidays with their families and friends.

Nerez said security operations were needed as criminals and other lawless elements may take advantage of this season to conduct their criminal activities.

He said police presence will be intensified through increased foot and mobile patrol operations and deployment of route safety marshalls.

Police assistance areas will also be established in places of convergence.

Nerez said police will intensify the campaign against loose firearms, illegal discharge of firearms, and campaign against  criminal gangs and personalities.

The public’s social responsibility and cooperation is very vital in preventing crime in the community, Nerez said.

He urged the the public to provide  police with relevant and timely information through social media (Twitter-@PNPCordillera or Facebook Page- ProProcor, or through the following numbers: Complaint Referral -094765880 / 09174297628; Regional Tactical Operation Center (074) 422-5515; 09175302679/ 09285591669.

PDEA seizes 40 kilos marijuana at Baguio transport terminal
BAGUIO CITY -- Authorities arrested a fruit vendor for yielding 44 bricks of dried marijuana leaves at a transport terminal here, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said  Wednesday.

PDEA director general Arturo Cacdac Jr. said that the dried marijuana leaves which weighed 41.475 kilograms was confiscated from Antonette Campiwer Churping, a native of Sadanga, Mountain Province and resident of Pinget, Baguio City.

Reports said last Dec.4, around 7 p.m., combined elements of PDEA Regional Office-Cordillera Administrative Region (PDEA RO-CAR) and the local police arrested Churping after she was caught transporting the marijuana bricks in a bus and jeepney terminal in Slaughter Compound, Barangay Sto. Niño, Baguio City.

"The seized illegal drug was neatly concealed inside a multi-colored nylon bag of assorted clothes, a box of ripe bananas and a sack of dried peanuts," Cacdac said.

A case for violation of Section 5 (Transportation of Dangerous Drugs), Article II of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, is now being prepared for filing before the Baguio City Prosecutor’s Office against Churping, who is now in the custody of PDEA RO-CAR.

Igorot cops bag Ilocos PNP awards
Four police officers from the Cordillera who are stationed in San Fernando, La Union were recently honored by no less than Retired Police Director General Ricardo De Leon for seizing the most coveted award by besting 16 others in the competition for the Best Regional Special Training Unit (RSTU) in the country for the year 2014.

Supt. Robert S. Daculan who heads the RSTU for Region 01 based at Camp Brig. General Oscar M. Florendo as Training Manager received the award in behalf of Region 01 and his team during simple rites that coincided with the 9th Founding Anniversary of the PNP Training Service at Camp Crame, Quezon City on Nov. 14.

The other team members and personnel of RSTU1 are SPO3 Hugh Reginald G. Coplat of Tadian, Mt. Province; SPO2 Christopher P. Nebrida of La Trinidad and Buguias, Benguet; and SPO1 Winston T. Litilit of Sabangan, Mt. Province.

Prior to his assignment as Training Manager of RSTU1, PSupt.Daculan was Section Chief of Directorate for Human Resource and Doctrine Development (DHRDD), Team Leader of the National Investigation Unit of the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNMIT), Deputy CIDG Provincial Officer of Rizal Province, and Special Mobile Group Company Commander for the Police Regional Office in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Special training units in all the 17 regions in the country are in charge of police training in Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), Field Training Program (FTP), SCOUT, Rifle and Pistol Marksmanship Trainings. -  March Fianza

796 Cordillera cops promoted; UC, Cordillera PNP seal MOA
CAMP DANGWA, La Trinidad, Benguet -- A total of 796 police commissioned officers (PCO) and police non-commissioned officers (PNCO) were promoted to the next higher rank here last week.

Regional police director Chief Supt. Isagani Nerez graced the activity together with command group, directorial staff, PNP officers among others.

Senior Supt. Joseph Adnol, chief RPHRDD said promotion was part of 2014 regular promotion program.

Nerez extended his congratulations to the newly promoted officers and expressed his thanks to their families and friends for all the support given to their loved ones. He urged them to continue seeking self and professional improvements.  

Another highlight of the program was the memorandum of agreement between University of Cordilleras (UC) represented by Dr. Ramon C. Cercado, UC president; Ariel Ninio Pumecha, dean, and regional police office represented by Nerez.

Both parties agreed to have criminology students of UC to have their on-the-job training program in police offices and provide training needed by  students. This agreement will begin on third trimester of 2014-2015 and  continue during terms when there are UC Criminology students qualified to undergo the OJT. 

Drug personality cornered in buy-bust 
BAGUIO CITY -- Agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Cordillera Administrative Region arrested Tuesday night a drug personality six months after his acquittal from a drug case.

William Lina Ibarra, 43, of Middle Quezon Hill here,  was arrested at Happy Glen Loop, Barangay SaludMitra, when he reportedly sold 5.31 grams of shabu to a PDEA agent who acted as buyer.

Seized from Ibarra were seven sachets of shabu weighing19.09 grams worth P122,000, buy-bust money and several drug paraphernalia.

Ibarra reportedly tested positive for use of metamphetamine during the initial drug test.

Charges were filed against Ibarra for illegal drugs who is now under custody of PDEA.

Ibarra was earlier arrested \June 15, 2009 by PDEA agents but the case was dismissed on April 10, 2010.  He was again apprehended on March 2, 2011 by police but was acquired June 3, 2014.

Rebel couple surrenders
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Two alleged members of the New People’s Army surrendered to the authorities in Abra, police reported.

Robert Arciaga and his wife Rochelle told Abra police director Senior Supt. Albertito Garcia that they were tired of fighting and living in the mountains.

Authorities said Rochelle was a medical officer of the NPA’s Kilusang Gerilya.

Robert, who was said to be a member of militant group Anakbayan in Caloocan City, joined the underground movement in 2012.

He served as vice leader of the NPA “Lerio” team operating in Mountain Province until 2013. He later joined the NPA’s “Ambag” team.

Robert said he was trained in individual combat techniques and other rebel-related activities, but denied having participated in any atrocities committed by the rebels.

Garcia said the couple had no firearms when they surrendered.

The couple’s surrender was facilitated by Tubo Mayor Gilbert Ballangan and town police chief Inspector Rodolfo Tubadeza, said Cordillera police director Chief Supt. Isagani Nerez.


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