Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Four (4) Nueva Ecija robbers killed in shoot-out

SANTO DOMINGO, Nueva Ecija, July 20, 2011-Senior Superintendent Roberto L. Aliggayu, provincial police director reported that four suspected robbers believed to be members of a dreaded robbery-holdup gang who were responsible for a string of incidents in northern province were slain in a shoot-out with Nueva Ecija cops shortly after the suspects held-up a Baliwag Transit bus bound for Manila at dawn here today.

“The robbers who were killed in action (KIA) were Daryl Germino, Jeric Ace Dela Cruz, Raymund Dela Cruz and Mandy Villa, all of barangay Maliolio, Santa Rosa, Nueva Ecija,” Aliggayu said, explaining that the four belonged to Petinez group who were responsible in the series of robbery-hold-up incidents in the towns of Talavera and Guimba, Muñoz Science City and San Jose City.

He said that around four in the morning, the Sto. Domingo police led by Chief Inspector Eric De Venancio conducted hot pursuit operations against the suspects shortly after they robbed a Manila-bound Baliwag Transit bus with license plate CBS-472.

The four suspects flagged down the bus in barangay Malasin, San Jose City and at gunpoint announced the heist and thereby divesting the passengers’ cash money, mobile phones, jewelries, and other valuable belongings of the victims then fled aboard with two motorcycles.

Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija Police Station.
Authorities conducted hot pursuit operation where the lawmen gave chase after the fleeing suspects were spotted driving along barangay Burgos here.

“The suspects were told to stop by the police but instead they fired at our police that brought to instantaneous firefight which resulted to the death of the culprits,” Aliggayu said.

Cops recovered from the scene of the crime caliber 45 pistol with magazine, two caliber 38 revolvers, a hand grenade, bag containing the loot, several empty shells for caliber 45 and 38, crash helmet and two motorcycles. (Jason de Asis)

Audit own intel funds, P-Noy told

MANILA, July 20, 2011—The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) urged the Aquino government to properly, transparently and completely audit the intelligence funds, amounting to P1.46 billion (US$34.05 million), which Congress has approved last year.
Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya’s national chair, said the President should inform the public how the amount is used and being used, as the said fund is now hounded by controversy, in relation to the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office’s “intelligence funds scam,” which the Philippine Senate is now investigating.
“Mr. Aquino is legally obliged and morally bound to make an objective and transparent reporting. He should let COA [Commission on Audit] and an independent audit group to conduct an external audit of the P 1.46 B presidential pork barrel packaged as presidential intelligence funds,” Hicap said.
For years, the President’s “pork” had been speculated as being used in corruption and in some activities that do not benefit the public.
Intelligence or special fund for the President represents a portion of the total funds allocated to the Office of the President. The Online Free Dictionary says the fund, supposedly, is “for intelligence activities when the use of other funds is not applicable or would either jeopardize or impede the mission of the intelligence unit.” However, this fund, according to some critics is not subject to auditing, thus, it is prone to misusage and corruption.
On the other hand, the intelligence fund is not the only “highly questionable” money allotted to different agencies and instrumentalities, under the Office of the President.
Independent think-tank IBON Foundation says, 15 percent of the approved funds for 2011 are “ambiguous” as their use is improperly or ambiguously identified.
“These funds, composed of big budget items for no properly identified purpose, run contrary to the administration’s declared thrust of transparency and accountability,” said IBON in a statement.
IBON has enumerated the “ambiguous funds” as follows: 1) the P66.91-billion un-programmed funds and P1-billion contingent fund subject to essentially presidential discretion; 2) the P29.29-billion fund for the greatly expanded Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program (4Ps) and National Household Targeting System, as the DSWD has yet to properly establish that it has the capacity to implement the huge increase in the program and budget; 3) P15-billion fund divided equally among three ambiguous “public-private partnership support funds” under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) and the Department of Agriculture; 4) P2.34-billion fund to the military for “support to national development” which is even a matter more appropriately left to civilian departments; 5) P1.46 billion in intelligence funds, which is P403 million more than in Arroyo’s 2010 budget; 6) P1.19 billion for “major information and communication technology projects”, which is reminiscent of the failed NBN-ZTE deal; and 7) the P24.82 billion for the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), which increased from PhP10.9 billion in 2010.
IBON said the aforementioned items “should be completely justified with their purposes, programs and project specified.”
“There should also be a significant, if not full, audit and itemization of funds use in time for the budget season next year. These, the group said, are some steps towards greater transparency,” IBON further stated.
Meanwhile, IBON has advised the Congress to ‘clip’ the powers of the Chief Executive to withhold budget releases as the lump-sum funds are often used as “pork barrel” for the president.
“Doing this undermines their patronage character and will make them less prone to abuse,” IBON explained. (Noel Sales Barcelona)

Hospital demonstrates Camillian charity in songs, dances

MATI, Davao Oriental, July 20, 2011―St. Camillus Hospital in Madang, Mati City demonstrated the unique form of charity lived out by St. Camillus de Lellis through songs and dances in celebration of the 379th death anniversary/feast day of their patron saint and founder of the Camillian Order, now known as the Ministers of the Infirm (MI), last July 14.
Four departments of the hospital interpreted the life, conversion, calling, and relevance of St. Camillus to today’s world, particularly in the diocese of Mati. The General Services, Administrative, Nursing & Medical, and Community Based Health Care Program (CBHCP) sections colorfully created their own artistic versions of Camillian Spirituality through combined song, dance, video, drama, and lighting effects. Comical portions and audience cheers and laughter balanced the seriousness of the life of the soldier-gambler-turned priest-saint.
Prizes were awarded to all four departments that depicted the saint’s living charism of compassionate charity to the sick, after he himself had experienced deep pain and isolation as a wounded sick person, hankering for a caring, healing touch. Not finding priests who focused on the special needs of the sick and the dying, Camillus decided to be one and founded a community dedicated to the ministry of the infirm.
The MI community describes their spirituality as "Seeing Christ in the sick, Being Christ for the sick."
Fr. Angel V. Crisostomo, MI, hospital director, explained that the charism or spirituality of their founder was truly alive, not just in their own community, but among their associates and friends. He described their charism as “a new school of charity for the sick, open to everyone who attends with deep, sincere, heartfelt care for the sick anywhere, near or far, living out the compassion of Jesus for the sick, so that total well-being is given to the sick person.”
Fr. Crisostomo further announced that their congregation in Rome is currently preparing needed documents to be submitted to the Vatican for the purpose of recognizing St. Camillus as a Doctor of the Church because of his new school of charity specially directed to the sick. St. Camillus is well remembered for his words: “I wish I had a hundred arms to do more for the sick.”
Hospital staff and visitors had their chance to share their views on the Camillian spirituality during the Triduum Masses from July 11-13, 2011. In one sharing session, anesthesiologist Dra. Delia Mayol said “Medicines can kill germs, but to totally heal the person, you need love and compassion.”
"God goes straight through crooked lines,” Bishop Patricio H. Alo said of the Sinner-turned-Saint during the Eucharistic Celebration, adding that “St. Camillus teaches us service from the heart and to do good deeds without expecting something in return. Like other great evangelizers, his example was founded on the word of God, as we read in Matthew chapter 25: I was sick and you visited me…whatever you did to the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did it to me.” (Sr. Marietta Alo, OND)

Willie Revillame gives 100k to buy new cars for bishops

MANILA, July 20, 2011— Television personality Willie Revillame has emerged as one of the generous philanthropists to a fund raising campaign for the purchase of vehicles for some Catholic dioceses.
Lawyer Romulo Macalintal said Revillame donated P100, 000 turning the total donations to P1.5 million as of Wednesday or eight days after they started the fund drive.
Macalintal and former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza are leading the fund raising drive in support of seven bishops who bought utility vehicles from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office donations in 2009.
The bishops, however, surrendered the vehicles to the government last week amid allegations that the vehicles were given to them by former President Gloria Arroyo for political allegiance.
Macalintal said they are looking at seeking donations from Catholic parishioners to raise P8.2 million, the amount that the prelates received from the state-run lottery.
On Saturday, he said, they will bring the fund raising campaign to Cebu City to gather more funds, despite some negative reactions by some Catholic priests.
Macalintal was referring to statements made by Fr. Robert Reyes and Fr. Edu Gariguez against former presidential son Rep. Mikey Arroyo who also donated P50, 000.
“I’m so sad and disheartened to read negative reactions by some Catholic priests on donations made by Cong. Mikey Arroyo and other people identified with former President Arroyo to the fund raising for our bishops,” he said.
“In my 27 years service in the ministry of the liturgy in the Catholic Church, I have been taught by our priests and the Bible not to be judgmental which obviously is expected of a priest,” said Macalintal.
Gariguez, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ National Secretariat for Social Action, yesterday said that prelates should refuse the financial aid partially funded by younger Arroyo.
“This is more embarrassing for the Catholic Church that there would be money coming from the Arroyos. This is why in this early stage, we are already saying that we are against it,” he said.
“If you will ask me, it would be better if I would ride a bicycle,” Gariguez added.
Reyes, an activist priest, also said that instead of accepting donation from Arroyo, they should look for other sources to meet their financial needs.
He added that church leaders should not choose convenience over propriety and morality because it would make them weak and vulnerable.
Others who donated were Sen. Vicente Sotto (P200,000), Sen. Francis Escudero (P100,000), Radyo Veritas (P100,000) and Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing (P100,000), former Senator Ernie Maceda (10,000), and Jojo Mitra, eldest son of former speaker and the late Ramon Mitra (50,000).
Senator Bong Revilla and his wife Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado also reportedly pledged to give P200,000. [CBCPNews]

NIA exec assures enough water supplies on P100 million water sports complex

PALAYAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, July 20, 2011-The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) administrator Antonio Nangel, Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems operations manager Reynaldo Puno and Governor Aurelio Umali guaranteed that the Aulo Dam will have adequate water amid concerns that the irrigation facilities might dry up and do not have enough water for the proposed P100-million water sports complex and theme park being eyed for the construction by the provincial government.     

“The dam has enough water to accommodate the water sports complex project,” they said, explaining that the province tourism project, which is meant to propel as the new tourist mecca, centers on the development of the Aulo Dam as the nerve center of water sports activities, similar to the CamSur Watersports Complex (CWC), which has emerged as  the country’s biggest tourist attraction because of its water sporting events.

The development of the P295-million, 27-meter high Aulo Dam, which irrigates 810 hectares, will be undertaken by the provincial government through a P100-million loan package in collaboration with the Department of National Defense (DND), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the NIA.

“The Aulo Dam is very much like CamSur except that what will be developed is a dam, unlike CamSur which developed a man-made lake, adding that the provincial government has hired CamSur Governor Luis Raymond “LRay” Villafuerte as consultant in developing the tourism park and sports complex,” Umali said.

Puno, whose UPRIIS operates the Pantabangan Dam and smaller dams like the Aulo Dam said that they have already devised a way to ensure that the dam will have enough water supply for the operations of the water sports complex.

“The NIA has decided to forego a third cropping so that water will be available at the dam’s reservoir year-round. We will no longer do a third cropping to make sure that water level remains normal,” Puno said.

“Nangel and I have agreed to heighten the spillway level by 1.5 meters and to hold dredging operations to increase its storage capacity. The NIA central office is allocating P20 to P25 million for the dredging of the dam’s reservoir,” Puno said.      

Puno added that he and Nangel were both assured by Umali of the availability of the P100-million funding for the project which will start construction in 2012.

Umali, Vice Governor Jose Gay Padiernos and other local officials in the province recently visited CamSur and were awed by its success story in tourism which propelled it into greater economic heights.

The CWC features a world-class six-hectare complex with a six-point cable ski system for cable skiing, wakeboarding, knee boarding, water skiing and wake skating. It is now widely known as the best cable park in Asia.

Across the road from the CWC is the Lago del Rey family entertainment and water sports facility where a giant man-made lake features water slides, an aqua obstacle course and boat-towed wakeboarding and skiing. Families can go swimming, kayaking, dragon boating, aqua wall climbing or play water volleyball and water polo.            

Tourists and water sports enthusiasts from around the world have flocked to seek out adventures in CamSur, which will host the 22nd Philippine Advertising Congress in November. It has hosted several high-profile events, including the annual Summit Water CamSur Marathon and the Ultimate Wake Championship, two of the country’s most important sporting events which include athletes from as far as the United States, Europe, South Africa and from all over Asia.

Prior to the establishment of its water sports complex, CamSur was mired as the 39th poorest province in the country but has since emerged as the 10th richest province.

The CamSur local government is the only eco-tourism zone in the country endorsed by the Department of Trade and Industry’s special attached agency, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority nowadays. 

Umali said that it’s amazing how tourists now go gaga over CamSur. We have to learn from its experiences and take it from there to carve a niche for Nueva Ecija as an emerging tourist mecca.

“The Aulo Development Park will feature a zipline, zafari and zoo and offer activities for wakeboarding, motorbike, mountain trail and camp site,” Umali ended. (Jason de Asis)

Taiwanese big firms eye investments in Aurora ecozone

CASIGURAN, Aurora, July 19, 2011-Aurora Pacific Economic Zone (APECO) president and chief executive Robbie Mathay told newsmen that four major Taiwanese companies with diversified business interests are investing in agribusiness, mariculture and port construction here.

Mathay identified the Taiwanese big firms as the Chinabond International Co. Ltd, TP Color Corporation, Great Sun Optoelectronic and Philippine Kingford, Inc., saying that the firm representatives signed a Memorandum of Understanding with APECO officials last Monday.

Mr. Roberto K. Mathay, APECO President and CEO finalizes
the details of the agreement with Mr. Chen Chung-Lu, Chairman of TP Colors Corporation
The four firms affirmed in the recent signing rites their commitment to help develop Aurora ecozone into a leading global transhipment and investment hub in the Pacific region.  During the signing, Senator Edgardo J. Angara said that these taiwanese firm investments recognize the ecozone’s enormous potential for business expansion.

Angara and his son, Representative Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, authored Republic Act 9490 creating the APECO, saying that it spans 1,000 hectares of land in the town of Casiguran with a custom-designed seaport and airport that will drive economic activity in agro-industries, mariculture and ecotourism.

“The entry of the four (4) firms is a strong vote of confidence on APECO, adding that they are pioneering Public-Private Partnership (PPPs) in an ecozone that will engineer sustainable rural development across the country’s eastern side,” Angara said, noting that infrastructure development and investment inflow have always tilted to the western side of the country and that the ecozone provides a long-overdue opportunity for the provinces along the country’s eastern seaboard to benefit from development.

Mr. Roberto K. Mathay, APECO President and CEO; 
Mr. Norberto Ferreras of Aurora Grains Inc. 
and Dr. Eusebio Angara, President of Aurora State College of Technology 
with Mr. Jimmy MA , General Manager of China Bond International Inc.
“Even Northeast and Central Luzon will gain from positive spillover effects such as income and job creation and the Aurora Ecozone’s economic activities would also benefit the provinces of Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino,” Angara added.

Since the 1980’s, Chinabond has been in the mining industry but is now venturing into organic rice production in APECO which aims to improve the quality and yield of local rice varieties in the province. “They are also looking into further investments in hog raising, feed processing and hydroelectric power generation,” Angara furthered.

TP Color Corporation is in the mining industry which is set to expand into a port construction and operation. Its’ initial plan is to establish a port facility in APECO then later on venture into the aquaculture business.

Philippine Kingford is a company that specializes in tuna export, ship repair and freight forwarding where they choose APECO as the site for its expansion into milkfish and grouper production for which it will build its own facility inside the ecozone.

Mr. Roberto K. Mathay, APECO President and CEO (in orange) with
 (L-R) Department of Agriculture’s Consultant for Fisheries
Mr. Malcolm Sarmiento, Atty. Gau Pronove of Eco Market Solution, 
Mr. Jimmy Ma, General Manager of ChinaBond International;
 Mrs. Cheng Yeh-Hsin, General Manager of TP Colors Corporation;
 Mr. Chen Chung-Lu, Chairman of  TP Colors Corporation, 
Mr. Kuo –Kai Liao, Chairman of Great Sun Optoelectronics;
 Mr. Joseph Chiu, President of Philippine Kingford Inc. and
 Chairman of the Board, Taiwan Chamber of Commerce &
Industry in the Philippines, Inc.; Mr. Chi-Ming Chen,
General Manager of Great Sun Optoelectronics

Great Sun Optoelectronic is a highly diversified company engaged in construction, trading, manufacturing computer and TV monitors and providing medical services. It will invest in an aquaculture facility for milkfish and grouper breeding, as well as a coconut processing plant.

“These investors are capitalizing on the competitive advantages of the province in agriculture and mariculture-related industries,” Mathay said, explaining that they are aware that the province is among the few provinces in the country that is rich in natural resources.

“We are committed to harnessing these for development in sustainable ways for the benefit of the province,” he added, explaining that the Aurora ecozone is being primed as the country’s premier Gateway to the Pacific owing to its strategic location where its accessibility to Manila and to other logistic and investment hubs in Luzon via land, water and air makes it ideal for the inflow of commerce, trade and industry. (Jason de Asis)


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