Monday, July 11, 2011

Retired Ilagan prelate dies

MANILA, July 12, 2011―One of the outspoken bishops who denounced the Marcos dictatorship at the height of Martial Law has passed away.
Ilagan Bishop Emeritus Miguel Gatan Purugganan died on Thursday, July 7, 2011 at the age of 80.
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines paid tribute to the late prelate for his contributions during the height of Martial Law in the country.
"Bishop Purugganan stood up bravely as one of the magnificent seven Catholic bishops who denounced martial law and the Marcos dictatorship from the very start," the NDFP statement posted on their website said.
The bishop, added the NDFP, "courageously set up the nationwide Basic Christian Communities - Community Organizing, which organized and mobilized the oppressed and exploited masses to stand up for their rights and collectively advance their interests and fight for the fundamental national and democratic aspirations of the people."
Purugganan became the second bishop of Ilagan when Bishop Francisco Raval Cruces was appointed Archbishop of Zamboanga. He served the diocese from 1974 to 1999.
He sat as chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Lay Apostolate of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines and was a member of the CBCP Permanent Council.
He was also a member of the Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Episcopal Commission on Canon Law, national president of the Basic Christian Communities and consultant of the Episcopal Commission on Seminaries.
Purugganan was born on November 19, 1931 in Cabagan, Isabela and was ordained to the priesthood at age 25 on March 3, 1957.
He was vice chancellor and prefect of discipline of San Jose Seminary and was secretary to Bishop Teodulfo Domingo during the Second Vatican Council in Rome.
As a priest, Purugganan was assigned as Assistant Pastor of St. Paul the Apostle parish, rector of San Jacinto Seminary and later on became vicar general of then Diocese of Tuguegarao.
He was chairman of the Our Lady of the Pillar College in Cayauan, St. Ferdinand College and Isabela Diocesan Schools System.
The prelate’s remains lie in state at the St. Ferdinand Cathedral in Upi, Gamu, Isabela. The interment will take place on Friday, July 15, 2011 at 9:00 am. (Melo M. Acuna)

1 NPA killed in Aurora says top army official

DIPACULAO, Aurora, July 12, 2011-One member of the New People’s Army (NPA) was killed in the recent encounter with the government troops here Sunday morning, the 48th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army said.

48th IB army Chief Ltc Kurt Decapia A Decapia reported that unidentified man was killed at the vicinity of Barangay Diarabasin after the army troops of 48th Infantry Battalion (IB) and Bravo CAA Coy of the 70th IB led by Captain Jerson B Igloria in the recent clashed to more or less fourteen (14) New People’s Army (NPA) with two Amazons who are members of Sentro De Grabidad Nueva Ecija-Aurora under Benjamine Peralta,  Alias Ka Onil/Otoy.

“It’s around 7 in the morning (July 10, 2011), the army platoon composed of 48th IB and Bravo CAA Coy, 70IB Philippine Army led by Captain Jerson B Igloria (INF) PA were conducting Bayanihan Patrol in the encountered site when our soldiers were fired by the rebels then the government retaliated fired against them,” Decapia said, explaining that the firefight resulted to the death of one (1) rebel and undetermined wounded casualties on the NPA as shown in the several thick blood stained found along their route of withdrawal in northeast direction while no reported casualty in the government side.

After of 30 minutes of the firefight the NPA rebels reportedly withdrew in the northeast direction and left the body of their comrade.

“The Army recovered one (1) body count of the NPA, one (1) M653 rifle bearing serial number RP 150497, 1 claymore mines with detonating device, 2 blasting cops, 1 DVD player and four handbooks,” Decapia said while the police under Aurora Provincial Director Police Senior Superintendent Jojo Gumban established twelve checkpoints along the possible exit of the rebels.

The army and the police call to the people of Aurora for the possible identity of the rebel who brought to Portera Funeral Homes in this town wearing white T-shirt and long gray pants. The unidentified male suffered gunshot wounds in the chest, right arms, right foot and the right side of the body.

Earlier, the NPA rebels were reported conducting extortion activities in the area that prompted the army to conduct operation in a statement by Decapia.

As of this writing, the army and the police are still conducting hot pursuit operation versus the armed rebels. Clearing operation in the area of encountered site was still going on. (Jason de Asis)

Pangilinan meets NDFP jalandoni and JOMA Sison

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, June 12, 2011-Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan meets the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Negotiating Panel Chairperson Luis Jalandoni and NDFP Chief Political Consultant Professor Jose Maria Sison at their headquarters in Utrecht, the Netherlands last July 7, 2011 in the hope that the kinks that have led to the postponement of the talks could be ironed out and that the peace talks could proceed after hitting a snag on the JASIG issue.

“Nagkaroon ng aberya. We took the initiative to go there after conferring with our government representatives,” said Pangilinan.

Pangilinan presented his proposals for solving socio-economic and political problems to Luis Jalandoni and to Jose Maria Sison where the former said in a statement that they will seriously study Pangilinan’s proposal.

“Jalandoni agreed that there is an urgent need for peace negotiations to move forward as the Philippines faces mounting problems and the Filipino people are crying out louder now for genuine reforms to be instituted under the leadership of PNoy,” Pangilinan said, explaining that no progressive nation became prosperous while facing armed conflict.

“The peace initiatives during the Ramos presidency created a window of opportunity for development in Mindanao. We would not have developed cities such as General Santos, Cagayan De Oro, and Davao City if it weren’t for this ceasefire agreement,” Pangilinan said, manifesting that his relationship with the NDF has been decades long.

“I was a student activist during the Marcos dictatorship and thus I fully understand the causes they are fighting for,” Pangilinan said.

The Communist Party of the Philippines-NDF-NPA insurgency is considered as one of the longest running insurgencies in existence started in 1969.

“Personally I want my children to see peace in our country happen in our lifetime. It took the Irish Republican Army (IRA) 90 years from the time of its creation to agree to peaceful means of resolving the armed conflict in Northern Ireland. We should be able to follow their lead and forge our own historic date of peace and unity sometime in the near future,” Pangilinan said in his statement.
“Since the restoration of democracy in 1986, the government has been talking peace with the NDF. That’s 25 years of on and off peace negotiations. Surely we can do better than this? If this is all we can offer, then it’s a shame. Our efforts thus and the results we have achieved are unacceptable. We deserve more. We deserve better, and the Aquino government has the unique and golden opportunity to finally make things right and forge a comprehensive peace settlement with the CPP-NPA-NDF.” (Jason de Asis)

P-Noy requested to declare Cabanatuan a highly urbanized city

The Cabanatuan City hall
CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, July 12, 2010-The Sangguniang Panlunsod (SP) has passed a resolution requesting President Aquino III to issue a proclamation declaring this city as a highly urbanized city (HUC), opening up a head-on collision with the camp of Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali who is strongly opposing the move.

During its regular Monday session, the SP chaired by Vice Mayor Jolly Garcia, passed the resolution stating that the city has met all the necessary requirements for conversion, including income, to be forwarded to the Chief Executive.

Eleven of the city councilors are mostly allies of Cabanatuan City Mayor Julius Cesar Vergara who signed the resolution except Councilor Jess Diaz who was absent.

Councilor Ariel Severino said that the copies of the resolution will formally come out today (Tuesday). After the issuance of a presidential proclamation, a plebiscite will be held among Cabanatuenos to ratify the proclamation.  

The council also passed a resolution requesting Umali’s wife, third district Rep. Czarina Umali to sponsor a bill in the House of Representatives declaring Cabanatuan as a lone congressional district.

The passage of the twin resolutions came nine months after Umali and Vergara parted ways over the HUC issue which the former vehemently opposed. Umali said Cabanatuan is not yet ready and ill-prepared to become HUC, adding its conversion would cripple the delivery of basic services to Cabanatuenos.

Vergara has argued that the HUC conversion of Cabanatuan is long overdue, saying its full development could not take off while under the provincial government.

It is the second attempt to convert the city into HUC. In 1995, Vergara’s predecessor, then-mayor Manolette Liwag pushed for HUC conversion which was subsequently proclaimed by then-President Fidel Ramos.

However, the move lost badly during the plebiscite, largely due to the opposition made by the Josons. 

If it becomes HUC, Cabanatuan would be politically independent from the provincial government and voters from Cabanatuan will no longer vote for governor, a move seen as detrimental to Umali who counts on this city as one of his bailiwicks.

Also, all taxes collected in the city would no longer be remitted to the province and all resolutions and ordinances passed by the city council would no longer be reviewed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.          

Umali said a HUC status would remove the powers of the provincial government and the SP to check possible abuses of city officials. He said city officials may abuse their powers and this could trigger corruption in “high places.”

“If you are a HUC and you are the mayor who also happens to own a utility, then that's a frightening scenario,” Umali said, apparently referring to Vergara whose family owns the Cabanatuan Electric Corp. (Celcor).

He said since the provincial government and SP no longer wield control over the city government and city officials, there will no longer be a higher authority to check on possible abuses and legislate ordinances that would bear down on these abuses.

“If, for example, there is an increase in the power rates of Celcor, who is there to check on the  abuse if there is any of the Celcor?,” he said.

Umali said it would be erroneous on the part of the Vergara camp to say that those objecting to HUC are playing politics, which, the mayor, said, has been dominating the province over the past 60 years.

“My I ask the mayor's camp, who was engaged in petty politics for the past 60 years? I was the one who stood up against such kind of politics. And when I rose up against that kind of politics, it was only then when he took the cue and followed my lead,” he said, adding that ever since he fought partisan politics, he pushed hard for political reforms which are now clearly seen and felt in the province.

“Converting Cabanatuan into a HUC and making it a separate political subdivision from Nueva Ecija is delivering the wrong message to the people, tantamount to saying Cabanatuenos are no longer Novo Ecijanos which is exactly not the case in point,” the governor said.

He said that when Cabanatuan becomes HUC, we are creating the wrong impression that the city is an independent republic. “Are we now saying the people of Cabanatuan are no longer the people of Nueva Ecija? What happens to me who is from Cabanatuan? Will I be deprived of my identity?” he asked. (Jason de Asis)


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