Militant groups warned: Obey law during SONA or else …

>> Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Police on red alert; No permit, no rally for protesters 

Police in Northern and Central Luzon would be placed on red alert in time for the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Aquino tomorrow even as the Cordillera regional police command warned militant groups or lawless elements in the region they would be arrested if they would create trouble or hold mass rallies without permits during the occasion.

Some 250 from the Police Regional Office-Cordillera will be sent to Metro Manila to serve as augmentation to the Civil Disturbance Management (CDM) for possible attacks during the SONA( July 27).

Chief Supt. Isagani Nerez, Cordillera police director said 50 uniformed personnel from the regional police headquarters would be used as  reserve CDM contingents who will undertake security measures and public safety operations, secure vital installations, economic key points and places of convergence and to ensure peace and order during the SONA. 

Nerez said militant groups are expected to undertake mass protests and launch activities which may disrupt activities and endanger lives of officials and constituents.

The 16th Congress will officially open its 3rd regular session at 10 a.m. tomorrow be followed by the SONA at 4 p.m. before both Legislative Houses in joint session.

On this occasion, top-ranking government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, and other VIPs are expected to attend the event.

Nerez said in the Cordillera, it is expected especially in Baguio City, that groups and local militant organizations will stage mass actions to air their demands.

Nerez directed his personnel to be wary, vigilant and watchful to ensure a secure, safe and peaceful SONA, the last of the President.

“The PRO-COR strongly warns any threat groups and other unscrupulous individuals not to try to disrupt the SONA of President Aquino,” Nerez said.
He added maximum tolerance will be implemented during mass protests but any person who will violate the law will be apprehended.

 Nerez added the Philippine National Police respects freedom of speech of every Filipino citizen, pursuant to Batas Pambansa 880 or “The Public Assembly Act of 1985.”

But police will strictly implement the ‘‘No permit, no rally” policy in public places except in parks established by law, in private property, with the owner’s consent, or in the campus of a government-owned and operated educational institution.

Nerez urged his men to observe the Revised PNP Police Operational Procedure (POP) and respect human rights during operations.

PRO-COR will be placed under full alert status a day before the SONA and maximum deployment of personnel and utilization of resources will be carried out and partnership with the community, force multipliers and auxiliaries has been tapped to participate and involve themselves to help the PNP particularly crime prone areas, he said.

The PRO-COR urged the public to help police provide relevant information on unscrupulous activities which may disrupt peaceful convening of the SONA through social media or the following numbers: 09174297628, Regional Tactical Operation Center (074) 422-5515 or 09175302695 and 09285591669.


P2M marijuana plants destroyed in Kalinga town

TINGLAYAN, Kalinga – Some P2 million worth of fully grown marijuana plants were eradicated by police on a plantation here July 18. Senior Supt. George D. Daskeo, Kalinga police director said about 10,000 marijuana plants were found in SitioChumansil, Barangay Luccong at about 6 a.m. by lawmen.

No cultivators were arrested. Raiding lawmen were composed of elements from Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Regional Intelligence Unit (RIU)14, Tinglayan Municipal Police Office (MPS), Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB) and the Provincial Anti-Illegal Drug Special Operation Task Group (PAIDSOTG).

The raiding teams were led by Supt. Charles Domallig and Senior Inspt. Francisco Ben.

Chief Supt. Isagani R Nerez, Cordillera police director said campaign against illegal drugs had been upped in the region considering that one of the programs of  PRO-COR is to reduce supply of prohibited drugs being circulated by unscrupulous individuals in the region.


77 given ‘gift of sight’ in Candon medical mission

CANDON CITY, Ilocos Sur – It was some sort of a miracle for 77 people with defective vision were given the gift of sight as beneficiaries of a medical mission held in this city.

Five of the 77 beneficiaries of the successful eye medical mission cried, sang songs and praised the people behind the mission during the send-off party held at Vitalis Resort and Spa, Santiago, Ilocos Sur.

The third eye mission was sponsored by the Gift of Sight Foundation headed by Dr. Kenneth Westfield and Dr. Hon-Vu Duong, Rep. Eric Singson, Candon City Mayor Ericson Singson, City of Candon Hospital, Parañaque East Rotary Club, Manuel and Nieves Cariño, City Health Office and Southern Ilocos Sur Medical Society.

The four-day eye mission catered to patients in the second district of the province. There were successful 70 cataract and seven pterygium operations done.

The group of Dr. Westfield came practically with everything. They brought with them their equipment, gadgets, medicines and others.

Dr. Westfield expressed his deep appreciation to the hospitality and support extended to them during their stint.

Rep. Singson and City Administrator Grace Singson who played host during the party gave them gifts as gesture of appreciation of their works.

Mayor Singson said he hoped to have more eye missions. “Many were benefitted, many were cured, many were comforted but still long lists of our constituents continuously clamor for another staging in the next months. So even if this is supposed to be a send-off party we are readying again the red carpet for your welcome party on your return,” he said.

The city mayor who is a doctor said the “eye mission was fulfilling for our beloved constituents and beneficiaries. It was fulfilling as part of our public service duties. The eye medical mission allowed us to help our benefactors have the gift of sight.”

Dr. Westfield and his group were later toured around the city and tourist spots in the province. -- LBJ


Officer dies as ship runs aground off Ilocos Sur

VIGAN CITY, Ilocos Sur -- An officer of a Singaporean cargo ship reportedly died of heart attack when their vessel ran aground in the waters off his province July 17, the Philippine Coast Guard reported.

PCG spokesperson Commander Armand Balilo identified the fatality as Henry Libo-on, chief mate of the M/V Alam Manis.

Aside from Libo-on, the vessel had 20 other officers and crew onboard. All are Filipinos led by their captain, Orlando Cabalatungan.

Reports reaching the PCG headquarters said the vessel came from Surigao and was headed for China to deliver nickel ore.

Officers of the PCG sub-station Darigayos in La Union said they were informed at about 5:30 p.m. that the M/V AlamManis ran aground off the coast of Sta. Lucia in Ilocos Sur.

They said they immediately sent a search and rescue team to the area.

A tugboat, T/B Salviscount, was assisting the officers and crew of the vessel when the team arrived.

By 10:30 p.m. all officers and crew of the AlamManis were rescued and brought to the Port of San Fernando in La Union.

PCG Northwestern Luzon district commander Capt. LeovigildoPanopio said strong winds and huge waves spawned by the southwest monsoon dragged the vessel toward the shallow part of the sea.

“Our divers and Marine Environment Protection Unit teams remained in the area to check the possibility of an oil spill but they could not get close to the vessel due to rough sea condition. So far no spill has been detected,” Panopio said. – With reports from Jun Elias, RaymundCatindig


Chico River washes out 200 hectares in Kalinga

P14.8M out for water diversion project 
TABUK CITY, Kalinga -- An initial amount of P14.8 million was allotted for Chico River Re-channeling and Management Project to divert water from the mighty river and prevent it from causing further damage to rice lands and properties here, 200 hectares of which were already washed away.

CRRMP head Julio Barcellano said the project is jointly funded by the Department of Interior and Local Government under the Bottom-up-Budgeting with P10 million, and  the city government which allotted P4.8 million.

Based on project study, the Chico River had washed out about 200 hectares of rice land in the 13 rice-producing barangays situated along the west bank of the river.

The eight-year project from 2015-2022  is contained under Executive Order 2015-01 issued by Mayor Ferdinand B. Tubban in January 30, this year.

Seeing the impact of the project on rice industry of the city, it had been made part of the city development plan.
 A multi-sector taskforce was formed to  implement it.

Meanwhile, the city development council and barangay officials of barangays along Chico River met to discuss the Chico River rechanneling and management plan prepared by Task Force Chico which aims to enhance safety of the populace and boost local economy.

They were joined by other partners from the Office of the Congressman, Department of Public Works and Highways, National Irrigation Administration, the provincial government, and quarry operators group.

During their meeting, they agreed to pool their resources to implement the plan targeting to start it this year with the conduct of a stretch survey on areas where rechanneling will start.

Stakeholders involved in the project committed to support the plan considering the economic benefits it contributes to
farmers when farms are protected from flooding and lands redeemed; the construction industry for source of aggregates; local government units on revenue generation; and disaster risk reduction on settlers along riversides.


Tarlac doctors’ association hits prov’l gov’t over PhilHealth fees

TARLAC CITY -- The Tarlac Provincial Hospital Doctors’ Association assailed the provincial government saying there was no legal basis of the  latter to institute and enforce guidelines on pooled professional fees of doctors paid by PhilHealth.

In a position paper forwarded to Gov. Victor A. Yap, Vice Gov. Enrique Cojuangco and Provincial Board, last week, the TPHDA questioned revised guidelines on the matter released July 14, 2015 (which amended proposed guidelines issued on June 29, 2015) by the provincial government of Tarlac.

“Whether in its original form (dated 29 June 2015) or in its revised form (dated 14 July 2015), the subject guidelines constitute abuse of authority, as well as unwarranted and illegal withholding and deprivation of professional livelihood which the doctors and non-medical staff are lawfully entitled to receive,” the TPHDA said.

“The Philhealth-Accredited Health Care Institution (HCI) is required to pay the professional fees pooled within 30 days from receipt of such professional fees. Non-compliance with these clear directives can even result in the loss of Philhealth Accreditation for the HCI concerned.

The provisions of Republic Act No. 7875, as amended by Republic Act No. 10606, its Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (Section 44), as well as Philhealth Circular No. 35 s. 2013 clearly mandate and require the distribution of the pooled professional fees without granting any discretion to the Local Chief Executive or the Local Government Unit on the manner and extent of distribution.”

The TPHDA position paper added: “No change in the manner and extent of distribution can be implemented unless there is an agreement on this matter between the head of the HCI and the medical and non-medical staff. The local chief executive has no authority to unilaterally impose any changes, much less participate directly in the forging of any agreements.”

The TPHDA added: “The Management Committee created by and through the guidelines is without legal basis to support the validity of its creation or its actions in relation to the distribution and payment of the pooled professional fees. More importantly, even if it is within the power of the HCI or the provincial government to create such a body, it will still not validate the subject guidelines, especially since it is headed by the provincial governor who will also approve or disapprove its recommendations.

“The Local Government Code (Republic Act No. 7160), being an earlier law and one of general application, cannot validly supersede the provisions of Republic Act No. 7875, as amended by Republic Act No. 10606, which are laws of specific application, and which were enacted after the Local Government Code.

“The principle of devolution pertains only to the administrative management of the devolved HCI. It cannot be invoked to justify unilateral, unwarranted, and illegal deprivation of livelihood.

The TPHDA position paper was signed by members and officers.

Signatories included doctors Antonita M. De Pano, Marlo B. Manzano,  Myra G. Villaroman, Yamami B. Chan, Harriet C. Sulit, NonatoJowinSison, Cristina D. Pascual. Shiela S. Domecillo, Prospero T. Ong, and Ramon C. Aviguetero.


2 miners die due to gas poisoning, one by landslide

TUBLAY, Benguet --  — Two small-scale miners died due to gas poisoning inside a tunnel in the mountainous Sitio Piket, Barangay Caponga here afternoon of July 17.

Senior Insp. Rolly Albino, Tublay chief of police, said the cadavers of the victims – Francis Michael Sagudin, 39, a native from Barangay Batan, Kabayan, Benguet, and Marlon Agsalo, 21, of SitioBetwag, Barangay Caponga, Tublay, Benguet; were recovered from the mining tunnel shortly after 6 p.m. that day.

It was reported that Agsa-lo and Sagudin, along with several of their companions, entered the tunnel around 4 p.m. but had to get out two hours later because of a foul smell that was suffocating them.
Agsalo reportedly went back inside the tunnel, followed by Sagudin.

Minutes later, their companions went back into the tunnel with a blower to disperse the toxic fumes and found the victims unconscious.

They claimed discovering a poisonous gas in the tunnel owned by Elvis Depaynos, 36 of La Trinidad town.

Earlier, Benguet Gov. Nestor Fongwan and the Mines and Geoscience Bureau in Cordillera region suspended all mining activities in the province due to the continuous rain caused by southwest monsoon.

In the middle of heavy rain last July 12, a landslide that occurred at the mining site in Sitio Udoudan, Barangay Ampucao, Itogon, killed pocket miner Joven Robiz Bao-anan, 30, and injured his fellow miners Manuel Balang Diano, 30; Amos Robiz  Bao-anan, 21; Glenn Bao-anan Balao, 18; and a 17-year-old minor from Nueva Vizcaya.


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