Sunday, October 30, 2011

Central Luzon cops in full alert for “Undas 2011”

BALER, Aurora, October 31, 2011-A top executive of the Philippine National Police (PNP) here in Central Luzon said that all cops are in full alert status in line with the annual observance of All Saints’/Souls’ Day on November 1 and 2, 2011.

Police Chief Superintendent Edgardo T. Ladao said that they are in full alert and carrying out its “IMPLAN KALULUWA 2011”, the yearly security preparations of the PNP to ensure public safety and well-being during the traditional observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

Ladao issued directives to all City/Provincial Directors from the different Police Provincial/City Police Offices in the provinces of Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pampanga, Zambales, Bataan and Bulacan to strictly conduct checkpoint operations and bus terminal inspections which started last October 28, 2011 to November 3, 2011.

Motorists Assistance Centers are also established along major thoroughfares to help motorists who are travelling and heading towards their different provinces.  

Ladao said that starting today, October 31, 2011, all of his cops will also be deployed to the different cemeteries within the region and Public Assistance Centers are established to assist people.

“We also deputized the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Teams/Barangay Tanods to assist us in the implementation of Implan Kaluluwa,” Ladao said in a cellphone interview. (Jason de Asis) 

UPRIIS head sets record as 1st female irrigation manager in Phl

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, October 30, 2011-A multi-titled division manager of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) has entered the history books as the first-ever female operations manager in the country after she was appointed the new chief of the Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems (UPRIIS), the operator of the giant Pantabangan Dam.

Josephine Salazar, erstwhile division 3 manager, assumed the post of UPRIIS operations manager vice Reynaldo Puno during turn-over rites at the system’s headquarters here Thursday night.

Salazar is the youngest and the first female to head a national irrigation system supervised administratively by the male-dominated NIA in its 48-year history. She was barely one year old when the agency was created by then-President Diosdado Macapagal.

Her appointment was approved by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and NIA Administrator Antonio Nangel who both sit in the NIA Board.

Salazar succeeded Puno who assumed the post of regional irrigation manager (RIM) for Central Luzon, replacing Manuel Collado who was re-assigned as RIM for Region 1. Her previous post, meanwhile, is now occupied by engineer Jose Ariel Domingo.

Salazar told newsmen her appointment was overwhelming. “All the hard work paid off,” she said, adding she would try to duplicate and continue on the gains achieved under Puno’s watch.

UPRIIS is the country’s largest national irrigation system (NIS). It irrigates 102,000 hectares of agricultural lands in Central Luzon which also hosts the third largest NIS – the Angat Maasim River Irrigation System that runs and operates the Bustos Dam in Bulacan.      

Prior to her appointment at UPRIIS, Salazar was adjudged as the most outstanding frontline irrigation manager in 2010 by an evaluation committee of the agency for steering Division 3 in achieving the highest record in physical and financial performance in the management and operation among the 49 irrigation management offices and national systems.

Division 3, which Salazar started managing in 2008, posted a net income of P40.42 million in 2010, from P32.8 million in 2009 and P14 million in 2008. For the first semester of 2011, it has posted a net income of P50 million. It also posted a viability index of 2.24 percent, from 1.33 percent in 2008.

It was the second consecutive yearly award received by Salazar who, in 2009, also emerged as most outstanding irrigation management officer, best irrigation service fee (ISF) provider also in 2009, ISF top grosser for 2010 of P73.19 million, highest ISF back account collection for 2010 (P14.39 million).     

Salazar’s division was also given the best managed frontline irrigation service award. It was also recognized as most viable IMO for 2010 and best maintained division. (Jason de Asis)

NIA exec holds back tears as he bids goodbye after 13 years

CABANATUAN CITY, October 30, 2011–The regional irrigation manager of the Angat Maasim River Irrigation System (AMRIS) – the country’s third largest national irrigation system – finally bade goodbye to agency employees   in an emotional farewell nearly marked by tears.

In a speech turning over the reins of the regional office to his successor Reynaldo Puno during ceremonies at the NIA Region 3 office in Tambubong, San Rafael, Bulacan Thursday, Manuel Collado tried to hold back tears as he thanked the NIA family for their support in his stint as regional chief for 13 years.

Collado asked them to support Puno then finished his speech. Puno was relieved from the Cabanatuan-based Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems, the operator of the Pantabangan Dam.

Collado was reportedly not in his “best element” over the last few days because of the revamp ordered by President Aquino and which was implemented by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and NIA Administrator Antonio Nangel.

The revamp was ordered by President Aquino after NIA accomplished only 25 percent of its target of 30,958 hectares while spending over 60 percent of its P14.88 billion budget. The overhaul has touched off a firestorm among top-level officials of the agency, particularly since it was done without prior consultation with affected people.

Alcala said those affected should comply with the revamp or quit.  “When you enter government service, when you are told that you will be assigned in a particular place and you don’t want to be transferred, then just put up your own business,” he said in an interview with newsmen in San Jose City last week.

While Collado was delivering his speech, he paused briefly, his hands shaking a bit. A lady photographer of the agency was seen shedding tears.

Collado tried to hide the pain, smiling occasionally and even tried to make fun of the event. When the ceremonial key was handed by him to Puno, he playfully tried to grab it back, drawing laughter from those around him. 

Later, Collado, who will be re-assigned to NIA Region 1 office based in Urdaneta, Pangasinan, said his biggest legacy in the regional office is its becoming financially viable under his watch.

Collado, a bosom buddy of Nangel, declined to comment on his sudden relief. But NIA sources said Collado was “extremely disappointed” because he was reportedly assured by Nangel he would not be included in the list of those who would be reshuffled.

A NIA official said Collado was given the run-around since the recommendation to replace him was submitted to the NIA Board chaired by Alcala last September 5. It was approved on September 14. The memorandum circular from Nangel came out only on October 14.

“All along, we were told that Manager Collado would be retained. They hid the relief order up to the last minute,” one of the sources said.

Another NIA insider said that while the reshuffle is the prerogative of Aquino and Alcala, this should not be selective and give favors to some officials. “There were some who were not removed so it’s clear they enjoyed protection,” he said. 

The CMN tried to get Nangel’s comment but he could not be reached. His aide said he just arrived from an official trip in Korea.

But another source said Nangel was first hesitant to implement the revamp but was pressured to when Alcala confronted him. “Ano i-implement mo ba ‘yan? Kung hindi mo kaya ako ang magi-implement (Will you implement that? If you can’t, I myself will implement it),” the source quoted Alcala as telling Nangel.          
The top-level NIA revamp affected three officials from the NIA central office, eight regional managers, two operation managers and one project manager.

Alcala said the Aquino administration needs to implement the revamp because many of them are overstaying in their posts and have so familiarized themselves with the local conditions that they are no longer effective in their posts.

“That’s where the problem lies. They are no longer productive. And they have become friends with local politicians,” he said, without naming names.

He said the revamp was compelling, noting that in one particular area, P2 billion worth of funds for irrigation projects was already spent but no single drop of irrigation water flowed. When pressed to identify the particular area, Alcala refused. (Jason de Asis)      

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Soldiers killed 4 rebs, recovered 3 firearms in Cagayan clash

BAGGAO, Cagayan, October 29, 2011-The 17th Infantry Battalion in Sitio Bariwanay, Barangay San Miguel here confirmed that four (4) members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed in action with undetermined number of NPA-wounded while three (3) civilians injured in a recent clash of the military against the rebels.

The firefights started as early as 5:30 Thursday morning when the BAYANIHAN PATROL led by 2Lt. Kenneth Pangcoga was fired upon by the group believed to be part of SPP Cagayan. The civilians tipped-off 2lt Pangcoga as early as 4 in the morning to warn the group of the rebels’ presence nearby.

Government troops recovered two (2) M16 rifles, one (1) shotgun, one (1) generator set, one (1) laptop, one (1) computer printer, one (1) cell phone and subversive documents at the place of encounter.
NOLCOM spokesperson Captain Jovily Carmel Cabading reiterated the position of Major General Jessie Dellosa that despite the fate that has befallen some soldiers especially in Basilan recently, the AFP will not waiver in its commitment to pursue all-out peace.  

“We, as soldiers do not rejoice in the death of these four rebels. They are our fellow Filipinos. It is just unfortunate that they opted to trek the wrong path.  We will find more fulfillments in our mission if people like them will voluntarily lay down their arms and start life anew with their loved ones.  We do not want unnecessary bloodshed.”

Lieutenant Colonel Alvin V.  Flores, the battalion commander of 17IB has requested for medical team instead of the usual combat reinforcement. “We are sending a message to the wounded NPAs that we will receive them with open arms and will definitely attend to their medical needs. We have no choice but to stop the hot pursuit operations because they opted to hide inside the civilian’s abode. If they fire at our troops first, we cannot immediately fire back fearing for the presence of civilians inside the houses. If they continue to hide inside the houses, it will appear that they are holding the civilians hostages.”  

He added that the latter information was tipped off by a fleeing civilian (whose house) where the NPAs sought refuge. She reported the presence of two wounded (claiming to be civilians) were at the next house.

Cabading identified the names of three (3) civilians wounded as Zaldy Durado (25y/o), Arnold passion (30y/o) and Arnolito Durado (4y/o). The latter's finger is slightly wounded. (Jason de Asis)

Bullozo is new Aurora anglers’ club prexy

BALER, Aurora, October 29, 2011-The 79-man strong Baler Anglers Club Inc. (BAC) has installed Mar Bullozo as its new president during its recent elections of officers in this town.

Bullozo’s election was the main highlight of the BAC meeting which discussed matters involving the welfare of the association.

The barely one-year old association of fishing enthusiasts, which was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission in November last year, counts among its members those from this town and the central municipalities of San Luis, Maria Aurora and Dipaculao.

It was formed to foster camaraderie among fishing enthusiasts in the community and to encourage its members to actively participate in the collective effort to save and to protect the coastal resources of the province.

Also, it advocates coastal resources  management and protection, cooperate and  collaborate with the various local government units and other concerned agencies regarding its policies and fishery laws by serving as watchdogs and volunteer information disseminators.

Aside from Bullozo, also elected were Ritchell Rada (vice president); Bing Yngente (secretary); Val Rotas (treasurer); Attic Pasion (auditor); Garry Lombres and Cenon Bonifacio, public relations officers. The Board of Directors are composed of Paking Trinidad, Arthur Yngente, Boy Palispis, Loida Lapig, Roldan Duaso, Josue “Joe” Mora, Alex Exclamado and past president Bong dela Torre.

Dela Cruz, also known as Sir Bong, raffled various fishing gadgets and gear /paraphernalias to members during club meetings. (Jason de Asis)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Eco Group urges public to observe waste-free ‘undas’

MANILA, Oct. 28, 2011―An environmental watchdog urged the public going to cemeteries in observance of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day to preserve the solemnity of the occasion by not dumping garbage everywhere.
“Our cemeteries are sacred place and not graveyards for our unwanted trash. Let us commemorate the occasion with simplicity, spirituality and utter respect for both the dead and the living. Let us all do our share for our planet. Do not be a Zombasura!” said Roy Alvarez.
Alvarez, president of EcoWaste Coalition, also asked the public to segregate their garbage and practice composting waste.
He said doing so will not only address the impact of climate change but also reduce the proliferation of landfills and incinerators.
Meanwhile, Miss Earth-Philippines Athena Mae Imperial also called on the public to show their respect towards the environment as they visit their loved ones in the cemeteries.
"As we visit and commemorate our deceased loves ones, we need to express also our love and responsibility for the environment. Do not throw or burn your trash and avoid using plastic bags and disposable products and packaging. Let us keep our cemeteries clean and waste-free. These small steps will be a great gift to our Mother Earth!" she said.
The coalition, together with Miss Earth Foundation, Diocese of Caloocan-Ecology Ministry, representatives from the city government, Manila North Cemetery Administration, and civil society groups held a public event at the Manila North Cemetery to call on the public to get rid of their wasteful habits.
The groups paraded in the cemetery to show the people the harmful effects of improper disposal of garbage to the environment and public health, symbolized through “Zombasura” (a word jumble of “zombie” and “basura” or trash), a toxic monster who throws away garbage anywhere and litter the graveyard. (CBCPNews)

‘Get mastermind in Fr. Pops' slay'

MANILA, Oct. 28, 2011— The confreres of Italian priest Fr. Fausto Tentori in the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) urged the authorities to get the mastermind of his killing.
Fr. Gian Battista Zanchi, PIME superior general, said it would be good if the mastermind is brought behind the bar of justice.
“We need to find out who was behind the killing, the mastermind of this crime,” Zanchi told CBCPNews Oct. 26 at the Mary, Queen of the Apostles Parish in Parañaque City.
But the PIME official admitted getting the mastermind would not be that easy. He expected the killer may be identified but to know the person or persons behind the crime would be too difficult.
Despite having three of their missionaries killed in separate incidents and two other confreres kidnapped and held by Muslim insurgents, all of the 21 missionaries from PIME will stay in the Philippines, in their respective assignments.
Zanchi, now on his second six-year term said that immediately after the funeral of Tentorio, also known as “Fr. Pops”, in Kidapawan City last Tuesday, the missionaries decided to stay and continue their mission.
It was learned Zanchi was in Japan visiting his priests when he learned of Tentorio’s murder in Arakan, North Cotabato. He said he flew to Manila and to Mindanao to be with his confreres.
“After this tragic event, we are not afraid, not just leave the place and go back to Italy and will even strengthen our mission,” Fr. Zanchi said.
He added that though risks still exist, life will continue and the resolution of the PIME community in the Philippines is to attend to their usual activities.
Zanchi revealed that a young PIME missionary is willing to take over Tentorio’s assignment.
He said there are 21 missionaries in Manila, Mindoro, Antique and Mindanao.
Asked of the specific charism of PIME missionaries, Zanchi said it is to proclaim the Gospel to those who don’t know.
However, he hastened to add they are in the Philippines, a Christian nation, because of another provision in their congregation’s Constitution and that is to provide additional manpower to dioceses which lack priests.
“We are ready to go there and help the Church to grow and when the sufficient number is reached, we are ready to go to another place,” he explained.
He further said their foreign assignments grew immediately after the Second Vatican Council. There are PIME mission houses in Brazil, Cameroon, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, and five years ago, they sent a missionary to Algeria, at the request of the local bishop.
According to him, some 19 missionaries have been killed. Of the 19, three have been killed in the Philippines.
He said they have a group of PIME martyrs who were killed in China, five missionaries killed in Burma and some of them were similarly situated with Tentorio who stayed in the village, to help the poor, to stand for justice and in the end, the missionaries were killed to silence them.
Zanchi said he is about to end his second six-year term s PIME superior general and this was the first time a missionary was killed under his watch.
Fr. Zanchi returned to Japan, where is currently based, on board a 2:00 p.m. flight from Manila on Oct. 26. (Melo M. Acuna)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Juvenile justice law should be amended says Sotto

MANILA, October 27, 2011-Senate Majority Leader Vicente C. Sotto III calls to amend the country’s juvenile justice law and is proposing the lowering of the exemption from criminal responsibility to the age of 11 from the current 15 in the reports that drug syndicates exploiting minors to peddle illegal substance in the growing incidence of drug trafficking in the country.

“There is a pressing need to amend juvenile justice law in that worst scenario, saying that the minors’ exposure in the drug industry also makes them vulnerable to substance abuse,” Sotto said, admitting that drug dependence is a prevalent problem among minors today.

“That's why I filed a bill calling for the amendment of the Juvenile Justice Act. I proposed to bring back to the age of 11 and below the exemption of those in conflict with the law from criminal liability. The current law provides for the exemption of 18 years old and below,” the Majority Leader said.

He explained that it is the problem now confronting the country’s drug enforcers and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) because whenever they apprehend drug users and pushers aged between 15 to 16 years of age, they cannot even interrogate them. Most of the times, the lawyers of the drug syndicates they’re working for would immediately come to their rescue.

Sotto filed Senate Bill No. 43, a child above 11 years but below 13 years of age who acted without discernment at that time of the commission of the crime, shall be exempt from criminal responsibility but subjected to appropriate intervention program.

Authorities, who have taken them into custody, have the duty to immediately release the child to his or her parents or guardian and in the absence of such, to the nearest relative.

Authorities will also be mandated to notify the local social welfare and development officer who will determine the appropriate programs in consultation with the person having custody over the child.

If the parents, guardians or nearest relatives cannot be located, or if they refuse to take custody, the child may be released to any of the following: a duly registered nongovernmental or religious organization; a barangay official or a member of the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC); a local social welfare and development officer; or when and where appropriate, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

If the child happens to be abandoned, neglected or abused by his parents or in the event that the parents will not comply with the prevention program, the proper petition for involuntary commitment shall be filed by the DSWD or the local social welfare and development office pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 603, otherwise known as "The Child and Youth Welfare Code.”

Unless they were found to have acted with discernment at the time of the commission of the crime, they shall be subjected to an appropriate diversion program.

On the other hand, those who are 11 or above but below 18 years of age who are found to have acted with discernment and is charged, prosecuted and or convicted of an offense punishable under R.A. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, the provisions of that law will apply.

They will serve sentence upon reaching the age of 18 years.

The Majority Leader has also taken into consideration the fact of the lack of a national penitentiary for drug crimes.

“With due respect to the author and the members of Congress during that time when the law was passed, I think they overlooked the issue on illegal drugs,” he said.

Sotto said information that has reached him showed that more than 50% of those convicted of drug trafficking in the country confined in city and provincial jails, continue to operate even behind bars.

He pointed out that establishing a national penitentiary for drug crimes will give teeth to government’s campaign against illegal drugs. (Jason de Asis)


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