Schedule of activities:10th Am-among and106th Bontoc founding anniversary

>> Friday, September 12, 2014


July - September, 2014                        -                       Am-among Inter-agency Volleyball Tournament
August 21-September 15, 2014 -                     1st Am-among Table Tennis Tournament (c/o GLOBE )         
                3:00 P.M.–   6:00 P.M.              -                       Wednesdays  to Fridays -  Municipal Health Office
                 8:00 A.M.—6:00 P.M.       -                               Saturdays & Sundays - Municipal Health Office
September 6, 2014                   -                       Ifontoc Got Talent—Pre Finals (c/o SMART)
                                                             7:00 P.M.—Municipal Quadrangle
September 9-15, 2014             -                       Am-among Billiards Tournament                                                                                                                                                    (Oya-oy Billiard Hall)
                                                                        (c/o SMART & Hon. John Pelew)
September 12-16, 2014                       -                       Agro Industrial Fair (c/o OMAG)
                        12-16               -                       Display, promotion and marketing of products of                                                                               farmers and LIGs (CHARMP2 Municipalities)
                                                 -                      Daily judging of zonal booths
                        14-15               -                       Diskwento Caravan—Provincial Plaza
                                                                         Sponsored by Tiongsan Harrison / Trinidad (c/o DTI)
                                                 -                      Selling of groceries & other household items up to 50%
                                                                        discount and product sampling & tasting at the 
                                                                        Provincial Plaza
                           15                 -                       Feeding Program & Distribution of School supplies at                                                                                                           SPED Center
                                                -                       Videoke challenge at the Provincial Plaza
September 12, 2014                
1:00 P.M.—6:00 P.M.              -                       BINGO GAMES (c/o SMART)
                         -                      Distribution of SMART Eco Bags
                      7:00 P.M.           -                       Ifontok Got Talent —Finals (c/o SMART)
                                                                         Municipal Quadrangle
September 13,2014                  -                       Marathon (c/o PEPSI COLA & Hon. John Pelew)
                    7:00 A.M.            -                       Starts at Dantay, Alab
                                                                         Finish Line : Municipal Quadrangle
September 13-19, 2014                       -         GLOBE Activities
                          13-19             -           Globe Photo Booth and X-box Competition      
                                                             Municipal Quadrangle    
                                                -           1:00 P.M.— onwards    
                        15-16               -           GLOBE BINGO
                                                            Municipal Quadrangle
                                                            1:00 P.M.— onwards
                              16              -           Battle of the Bands
                                                            Municipal Quadrangle
                                                            6:00 P.M.
September 13-14, 2014
             9:00 A.M-5:00 P.M.    -           SHOOTFEST (c/o Foresite Gun Club 1911)
                                                             Guina-ang Shoot Range
             8:00 A.M-6:00 P.M.    -           CHESS TOURNAMENT (c/o Mr. Pet-ten) Multi-purpose Building
September 15, 2014    
                        8:00 A.M.        -           Flag Ceremony (c/o Mayor’s Office)
                        8:30 A.M.        -           Thanksgiving Mass
                        10:00 A.M.      -           Marching Band Competition   
                                                            Municipal Quadrangle
         1:00 P.M. –5:00 P.M.      -           Chepchepap/Kabkabfo—(c/oTeamLakay)  Municipal Quadrangle
                                                -           Search For Am-among 2014 Lucky Visitors
                                                            c/o Mayor’s Office (Tourism desk) & Local Media
September 16, 2014                
                        8:00 A.M.        -           Street Dancing /Civic Parade - National Road
                        8:40 A.M.        -           Cultural Presentation-Eyeb Covered Court
        1:00 P.M.- 5:00 P.M.       -           Indigenous Games—(c/o MSWDO) Municipal Stage


Customs cracks down on Baguio ‘ukay-ukay’ dealers

>> Thursday, September 11, 2014

BAGUIO CITY – The Bureau of Customs has started a crackdown on the wagwagan or ukay-ukay business here  raiding nine warehouses here Tuesday, seizing almost 2,800 bales of used clothing, comforters, and other garments worth P22 million.

Following this, Mayor Mauricio Domogan said Customs officials should instead have investigated and gone after BOC members suspected of conniving with importers considering the goods passed through the country’s main ports and these could not have reached the dealers here if these were checked and confiscated in their points of entry.

But BOC officials said traders engaged in the “underground business” have been using privileges of locators inside this city’s economic zones to illegally import used clothing from abroad.

“We have found evidence that certain locators granted fiscal privileges by our government have abused these perks,” said Bonifacio De Castro, BOC district collector.

According to the BOC intelligence group, locators attached to export manufacturing enterprises (EMEs) registered with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), located at PEZA zones here, have been importing used clothing from countries like the United States and Canada tax-free and without paying any duties.

BOC officials said shipments entered the country through the Subic and Clark Freeport zones, and Cavite Export Processing Zone in Rosario, Cavite.

Shipments were reportedly declared “scrap fabric” intended for manufacture and subsequent export as rags.

EMEs at PEZA Zones are allowed tax-free and duty-free importation of raw materials, capital equipment, machineries, and spare parts.

They are also exempt from paying wharf duties and export tax, impost or fees.

City officials said the crackdown on smuggling of used clothing, would severely affect more than 2,500 registered wag-wagan or ukay-ukay stores, which have served as one of this city’s major tourism draws for decades.

These stores are regarded as pioneers in the used clothing business which had spread nationwide.

The has drawn brisk business that the local government allowed 500 ambulant vendors to open shops at the Baguio night market on Harrison Road from 9 p.m. until 4 a.m.

This time, traders whose warehouses were raided are at a loss on how to recover their business.

One who had a warehouse raided at Hilltop above the city market said BOC agents told them to produce documents which would prove that the used clothes were procured legally before they will release these.  

She said she would be losing half a million pesos if she would not produce the papers. She didn’t elaborate.


Tuguegarao mayor fights dismissal order

TUGUEGARAO CITY – Mayor Jefferson Soriano vowed before thousands of supporters here Thursday to exhaust all legal means to overturn the order of the Office of the Ombudsman dismissing him for alleged abuse of authority.

“We will file a motion for reconsideration once we formally receive the order from the ombudsman,” he said. 

“I will continue to discharge my duties as your duly elected mayor until the order becomes final and executory,” he told placard-bearing supporters during an indignation and prayer rally at the St. Peter’s Cathedral grounds here.

Civic leaders here deplored the ombudsman’s order, saying it was “too harsh” and “arbitrary.” 

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered the dismissal of Soriano and city administrator Ronald Brilliantes in a resolution dated Aug. 20.

Councilor Maila Ting-Que filed a complaint against Soriano for abuse of authority and grave misconduct over the operation of a flea market and carnival during the city’s fiesta from August to September last year without authority of the city council.

Que is the daughter of former mayor Delfin Ting, whom Soriano defeated in the 2013 elections.

“Only because of a flea market, they would unseat a person voted popularly by the people,” civic leader Ronald Guzman said.

He added that putting up a flea market during Tuguegarao festivities is a tradition even during the incumbency of the Tings. 

Soriano, a former police official, had just reassumed his post in May following a 90-day preventive suspension by the Sandiganbayan for his alleged involvement in the P34-million helicopter scam. 

Soriano, who also served as police director for Cagayan Valley, was among those implicated in the helicopter controversy, along with former Philippine National Police chief Jesus Verzosa.

In her order, Ombudsman Carpio-Morales cancelled Soriano’s civil service eligibility, forfeited his retirement benefits and disqualified him perpetually from holding public office.

Aside from Soriano, the ombudsman imposed the same penalty on city administrator Ronald Brillantes for allegedly acting “for and in behalf” of the mayor.

Soriano earlier said he was willing to step down once the Department of the Interior and Local Government serves the suspension order.

Que said Soriano violated the law when he allowed a private individual to operate a carnival and a bargain sale during the city’s fiesta last year without the permission of the city council.

She said that on July 18, 2013, Soriano wrote the city council asking for authority for the conduct of a bargain sale and closure of portions of Gomez, Del Rosario and Gonzaga streets.

But Soriano, Que said, had already allowed the conduct of such an activity even before he asked the city council’s permission.

Records showed that on July 11 of the same year, Soriano issued a special permit to a certain Vicky Medina allowing her to hold the sale.

The permit was issued through a memorandum signed by Brillantes.

Que said both officials ordered the closure of the streets for the construction of the stalls even before the council could issue a permit.

The ombudsman found sufficient evidence to hold Soriano and Brillantes liable for grave misconduct.

“The local chief executive is merely an executor, enforcer and implementer of the will of the legislature,” said graft investigators Johanna Young and Bayani Jacinto in the ruling.

The ombudsman said Soriano had no “plenary authority to cause the closure of local roads.”

Copies of the ombudsman’s decision were submitted to the Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Elections, and the Government Service Insurance System. Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon Gerard Mosquera advised the concerned government agencies to comply with the order. 


Monitoring team disproves pastors’ allegations on Kalinga-Abra Road

TABUK, Kalinga -- A monitoring team from national government line agencies and offices of the provincial government disproved allegations of substandard accomplishment and incapability of the contractor in the implementation of the road upgrading of the Kalinga-Abra Road.

This was contrary to statements issued earlier by 14 pastors purportedly representing various churches in the province who wrote Dept. of Public Works and Highways Sec. Rogelio Singson alleging that projects being undertaken along the Kalinga-Abra road are not properly implemented as per program of work and quality prescribed under DPWH standards.

In its report, the monitoring team said it was satisfied with the accomplishment of the contractor.

It found out on actual site inspection actual accomplishment was even higher than the 27 percent accomplishment reported by the Dept. of Public Works and Highways-Cordillera Administrative Region.

Engr. Florante Balala, Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers, Kalinga Chapter president and NGO representative of monitoring team said, the team substantiated the accomplishment report made by DPWH-CAR.

He said the output of the contractor conforms with DPWH standards contrary to the allegation of the group of pastors.

The monitoring team was composed of Dept. of Interior and Local Government  provincial director Francisco Gamatero as chairman, with Philippine Information Agency manager Peter Balocnit; engineer FloranteBalala, Col. Raul Bautista of the 503rd brigade; engineers Teodoro Owek of DPWH-KDEO,  Saturnino Bayong of  Provincial Engineering Office and RosendoDakiwag Jr. of the Provincial Planning and Development Office as members.

Earlier, 14 pastors purportedly representing various churches in the province wrote Sec. Singson alleging that projects being undertaken along the Kalinga-Abra road were not properly implemented as per program of work and quality prescribed under DPWH standards.

The contractor of said road upgrading project took exception to allegations hurled against his construction firm.

Engineer Bon Holden C. Mangaoang, general manager of BHM construction, in his letter to the DPWH secretary and various officials of the province assailed the group’s haphazard and hasty conclusion contained in the letter of the pastors led by a certain pastor Dauz.

He said all projects his firm is undertaking underwent public bidding. “The government will not disburse a single centavo unless the eligibilities of the contractors are established. BHMC is wondering why his firm is singled out,” he said.

He added there was a similarly disparaging letter reportedly sent by Gov. Jocel C. Baac to DPWH Sec. Singson almost at the same time with the letter of the pastors.

The BHMC urged the DPWH and other monitoring groups to subject all other projects being undertaken by other contractors for rigorous inspection. 

“To be fair, let every single infrastructure project in the province be probed particularly citing the Macutay-San Quintin FMR, FBR Bridge 1, FBR Brdige 2 all in the Municipality of Rizal, the Ableg-Balenciagao, Pasil, and Saleng, Blalbalan section of the Kalinga-Abra road which was terminated, and the Mamaga Bridge to Basao Bridge Section of the Bontoc-Tabuk-Tuguegarao road,” the BHMCV said in a press statement.

All these projects are reportedly contracted to Jocel C. Baac Construction (JCBC).

Amidst the controversy, Balbalan constituents refuted the pastors’ allegations.

In a manifesto  released by various civic and religious organizations, they stated: “ We, the different organizations and constituents of Balbalan, namely the Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Seventh day Adventists, union spiritistas, Benevolents, Liberty Baptists, free believers in Christ, streams of water ministries, KALIPIs, Senior Citizens, Farmers Groups, upon learning and reading of the news article had group meetings after which we grouped as assembly and come up with the following sentiments;

“That the construction work in the whole stretch of the Kalinga-Abra road was and is not manned by only one but several construction firms; That through a lay man’s appreciation we find the concreting project which is still on-going and undertaken by BHM construction of good quality and workmanship and better compared to the concreting done by other contractors along the stretch of the Kalinga-Abra Road;

“That the 14 church groups supposedly the ministries of the gospel implementing the values formation and Moral Recovery Program in our beloved province made a pre-mature conclusion when the project is still on-going;

“That the members of the 14 church groups are not residents nor are the ministry work based in Balbalan. Even then, the pastors should have made an ocular inspection of the project site then made comparisons to other on-going concreting projects in the other municipalities in the province.

The various groups disproved “erroneous concluding observations of the pastors.”

The manifesto was sent to Sec. Singson for his information.

Said manifesto was also signed by all barangay captains of  Balbalan town traversed by the Kalinga-Abra Road.


Pangasinan high school shooting deaths reach 4

By Jojo Riñoza, Liezel BasaIñigo and Eva Visperas

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – Police filed four counts of murder and three counts of frustrated murder against a policeman for killing three teachers and a loan collector and wounding three other teachers in a shooting rampage at the Pangasinan National High School (PNHS) here at around 4 p.m. on Monday. 

The complaints were filed against Police Officer 3 Domino Alipio, a resident of Calasiao town and assigned at Anda police station, said Supt.Reynante Panay, Lingayen police chief. 

Alipio shot dead Florenda Flores, teacher at Labrador National High School, a resident of Libsong West, Lingayen; AcidelloSison, teacher at the PNHS and a resident of Barangay Maniboc;  Jonalito Urayan of Barangay Gabon in Calasiao town, and Linda Sison, teacher of PNHS.

Authorities blamed the teachers’ unpaid loans for the shooting.

Flores was reportedly an agent of Alipio in extending loans to the teachers while Urayan was a collector. 

The wounded – Ferdinand Entimano, Jovito Jimenez and Juliet Molano, who are all teachers of PNHS – are still confined at the Pangasinan Provincial Hospital, Trauma Hospital in Dagupan City, and Lingayen Community Hospital, respectively.

Senior Supt. Reynaldo Biay, officer-in-charge police director of Pangasinan, assured the victims’ families that justice will be served. 

He also told Alma Ruby Torio, schools division superintendent of Pangasinan, during a dialogue Tuesday afternoon that the police will provide security to the school and the division office following the incident.

He said six policemen, or two for each shift, will be deployed at the PNHS. 

The question of what drove the cop to do the crime may lie with his “superiors” in the Philippine National Police.

PO3 Alipio,  admitted he could be liable to his “superiors” whom he borrowed the money from and lent to the teachers.

Armed with a Cal.45 pistol, a carbine rifle and a hand grenade, Alipio gunned down three teachers and his own collector in a school rampage blamed on a money-lending business gone sour at PNHS where about 39 teachers and employees owed the suspect large sums of money.

Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino Jr. has ordered a two-day suspension of classes at the school to allow the faculty and students to recover from the trauma of the shooting incident.

From initial reports, Alipio had been having problems collecting on loans he had extended to PNHS teachers and employees and was growing desperate over his inability to recover investments in his business.

“Paano naman ako, sir? Kung hindi ako makakasingil, eh di ako naman ang yayariin! Yung kinakapital ko dito ay pera ng mga higher ups ko (What will happen to me, sir? If I cannot collect, then I will be in trouble. The capital I used came from my superiors),” Alipio had allegedly told PNHS principal Florante Tamondong just days before the shooting.

Tamondong said that one of the slain teachers, Linda Sison, had racked up debts of more than P200,000.

The school official added that teachers and employees who had bad loans with Alipio have been receiving death threats for weeks before the shooting incident, prompting them to report these to the Lingayen police.

Apparently driven to desperation, Alipio confronted Flores, his alleged middleman with his PNHS debtors, and Urayan, who was his own collector, around 4 p.m. Monday inside one of the classrooms about the status of collections at the school.

“There were allegations that his own people – Flores and Urayan – were conniving against him,” said Supt. Reynate Panay, Lingayen police chief.

Then suddenly, in a fit of rage, Alipio drew his Cal.45 pistol and gunned down Flores and Urayan.

Urayan apparently bore the brunt of his boss’ anger as Alipio riddled him with 15 bullet wounds while Flores was shot twice.

Alipio then headed to a nearby classroom, turned his ire on a group of teachers having an after-class meeting and went on a shooting spree that killed Acidello Sison on-the-spot and left Linda Sison mortally wounded.

He also shot and wounded the four other PNHS teachers in that room.

Responding police collared Alipio inside one of the school buildings after a brief exchange of gunfire.

Also arrested was Oliver Ganigan, reportedly Alipio’s driver.

Lingayen police chief Supt. Reynante Panay said Alipio, along with his driver Oliver Ganigan and Urayan, went to the PNHS to collect payments from several teachers.

Panay said the suspect was furious when Flores failed to pay.

Alipio reportedly shot Flores and Urayan before killing the Sisons.

Responding policemen arrested Alipio and Ganigan after the incident. 

The Pangasinan police condemned Alipio’s acts.  Senior Insp. Diomedes Bonales, Anda police chief, said Alipio was off-duty at the time of the incident.

Bonales said Alipio was assigned as patroller and liaison officer at the police station last April. 


Baguio mayor swears in execs of autonomy ‘Cordillera bodies’

>> Wednesday, September 10, 2014

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan Tuesday swore in officers of “Cordillera bodies” who professed support to Cordillera autonomy. 

Disunity was the reason the Cordillera’s bid for autonomy has failed twice, according to Mayor Mauricio Domogan.

Domogan’s remarks came after he swore in four groups last Tuesday evening, who expressed their support to help the region attain its goal for the third attempt to become autonomous.

The mayor led the oath taking or what was dubbed “sapata” (promise) to the group of the Cordillera Executive Board (CEB), led by Basilio Fongayao; Cordillera Regional Assembly (CRA), led by Dr. Peter Saguilot; Cordillera Bodong Assembly (CBA) led by Richard Kiaki and the Unified Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA), led by Mailed Molina, at the Baguio City Hall.

Before administering the oath, he said he gave the oath to the groups only because they supported the bid and has nothing to do with the individual groups’ advocacy.

In his speech, he said disunity of the organizations, especially the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) bodies, was the reason that the plebiscite attempts in 1990 and in 1998 failed.


Bauko mayor warns of ‘environmental disaster’: Veggie farmers, operators ravaging Mt Data forest

BAUKO, Mountain Province -- Unscrupulous vegetables farmers and operators are now burning and cutting trees and bulldozing areaswithin the Mt. Data National Park along the tri-boundaries of Benguet, Ifugao and Mountain Province to create these into farms.

Mayor Abraham B. Akilit here bared this urging government agencies and local governments of the three provinces to pool resources to address this or the lush forest could become an environmental disaster considering water which supplies the three provinces would be greatly depleted.

Akilit pushed establishment of police center and watch tower within the tri-boundary to prevent commercial vegetable farmers from ravaging over 300 hectares of remaining virgin forests in the area.

Akilit hailed efforts of the Benguet provincial government, Benguet provincial police office and towns of Bokod and Kabayan for putting up a police center in sitio Babadac, barangay Bashoy to prevent illegal loggers and commercial vegetable farm owners from encroaching into the rich biodiversity of Mount Pulag, the country’s second highest mountain peak at 2,922 meters above sea level.

Mount Data is a mountain located in the Cordillera Central mountain range rising to a height of 2,310 meters (7,578 feet) north of Luzon. It is about 50 kilometers north of Baguio on the borders of the provinces of Benguet and Mountain Province along the Halsema Highway.

The mountain and surrounding areas have been declared a National Park since 1936. In 1940 the park was expanded to 5512 hectares. The slopes of the mountain are covered with pine forests and mossy oak forests.   

“Commercial vegetable farmers from the towns of Buguias and Mankayan, Benguet continuously invade and destroy the forested areas in the tri-boundary of Benguet, Mountain Province and Ifugao that is why we need all the support from concerned government agencies to stop the disaster in our own midst,”Akilit stressed.

He said people of Bauko were able to control the destruction of the forest in the Mountain Province area through their unity and cooperation to drive away intruders but the unscrupulous commercial vegetable farmers have shifted to the Ifugao side and they have started ravaging the forest in the towns of Tinoc and Hungduan.

“The commercial vegetable farmers use several units of heavy equipment to bar down century-old pine trees and flatten the surface for them to be able to plant more crops, thus, the need for a consolidated effort to put a stop on such illegal activities or else the forest will be gone and people will suffer the consequences of massive landslides, scarcity of water among others,” Akilit said.

Akilit said hectares of forests are being destroyed by massive expansion of commercial gardens in the Ifugao side, thus, the immediate establishment of the police center and watch tower will put s stop on the illegal cutting of trees and illegal excavations for the vegetable farms in the said areas.

Akilit said the Mount Data watershed plays a key role in the economic growth of Northern Luzon because it is the headwaters of the Chico, Agno, Abra and Magat rivers providing abundant water supply for agriculture, industrial and domestic uses as well as power generation for the 360-megawatt Magat dam, 125-megawatt Binga dam, 105 Ambuclao dam and the 354-megawatt San Roque dam.

He said immediate action of concerned agencies and local governments must be put in place before the last remaining pine stand in the Cordillera will be gone and converted into gardens resulting to scarcity of water for all.


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