Monday, August 29, 2011

Reds in massive recruitment in Aurora says army chief

LTC Kurt A. Decapia in a firing range at Camp Ravina,
Brgy. Sabang, Baler, Aurora.
BALER, Aurora, August 30, 2011-Communist Terrorist New People’s Army have engaged in massive recruitment in this place where rebels felt as their last bastion of defense, they are targeting rebel returnees, students and training so called “child warriors” to beef up its ranks and regain lost ground in the province, a military officer said Monday. 

“These groups are in the forefront of the rebels’ recruitment activities more than a year since the province was declared insurgency-free by the military, the Philippine National Police and the provincial government,” Lt. Col. Kurt Decapia, commander of the Army’s 48th Infantry (Guardians) Battalion, said.

He said last Tuesday’s (August 23) encounter proved the rebels are into training and recruitment, following the discovery of the training camp in Barangay Dimanayat, San Luis town.

“The rebels are projecting that they are still here although there are only a dozen of them, a number which is minimal and negligible,” Decapia said, adding rebels operating in the province merge with their counterparts from the provinces of Nueva Ecija and Nueva Vizcaya.

Decapia said the rebels are already a “spent force” in the province and trying to flex their muscles to make it appear their movement is still strong.

He said the rebels were trying to win back Aurora after a series of military operations cleared several areas, particularly in the tri-boundaries of Aurora, Nueva Ecija and Nueva Vizcaya. “Following several NPA-clearing operations since last December, these rebels felt Aurora is their last stronghold,” he said.

Decapia said  the rebels have not been successful in their efforts, particularly in trying to win back their former comrades. “Their former comrades have not been accommodating them. They have been rejected by the rebel returnees,” he said.

“The rebels also want to disrupt economic activities in the province since the economy is flourishing rapidly in Aurora,” Decapia added.

Decapia said the encounter was a spill-over operations conducted by his men after renewed clashes between government troops and rebel guerillas in Barangay Diteki, San Luis last August 12 and 13 in which the NPA claimed four soldiers were killed, a claim which Decapia vehemently denied.
Meanwhile, two days after August 23 encounter, Ka Rowena Servante, spokesperson of the Domingo Erlano Command (DEC), New People’s Army (NPA) in Aurora said in a press statement that they were killed seven soldiers and six wounded in a recent clashed in San Luis town, a claim which the military strongly denied saying that only one (1) was slightly wounded in action identified as PFC Erwin Dacayo, a native of Guimba, Nueva Ecija who was already brought at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Medical Center, V.  Luna road, Quezon City and now in a stable condition.

The DEC also vowed to launch more armed offensives against the military in the province at the soonest time possible. (Ronald Madrid Leander)

Nueva Ecija, the next Vatican of ‘Jueteng’ after Pampanga

Jueteng bet collector at Cabanatuan City, Public Market.
(Photo Courtesy: Ronald Leander, GMA 7) 

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, August 30, 2011-A reliable source of the Catholic Media Network revealed that this province could be the next “Vatican” of jueteng after Pampanga.

The illegal numbers “Jueteng” is now operating in Nueva Ecija most particularly in this city where betting is being done right in the heart of the central business district and in front of the provincial headquarters of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The man preparing his "papelitos" for jueteng operation.
(Ronald Leander, GMA 7)
In this city, jueteng bet-takers ply their trade at the public market with “papelitos” on full display of the public. When asked what this paraphernalia was for, whether jueteng or STL (small town lottery), the elderly woman replied without batting an eyelash “siyempre po jueteng (jueteng of course).”

Sources furthered that among the bettors in the illegal numbers game are policemen themselves who could not resist the temptation of placing their bets for a chance at hitting the winning numbers.

The man in white shirt checking the numbers who won in
the illegal number game. (Ronald Leander, GMA7)
One source said at the rate jueteng operations have spread rapidly in the province, Nueva Ecija could follow the footsteps of Pampanga province which was once described by former Senator Aquilino Pimentel as the “Vatican” of jueteng.

Senior Superintendent Roberto Aliggayu, PNP provincial director, could not be contacted for comment.

STL, which is being run by the CTG Prime Ventures, Inc. of one Henry Lim, is no match to the unabated jueteng operations in many parts of the province. CTGPVI, however, is also suspected of being used by its operator as a cover for jueteng as some of its managers have links to known jueteng lords, including suspected jueteng king Rodolfo “Bong” Pineda.

The jueteng operation at Cabanatuan Public Market.
(Ronald Leander, GMA7)
Reliable sources said jueteng thrives because money streams to the pockets of corrupt police and local officials and even the media. A certain “Argee” is reported to be providing “hush money” or payola to unscrupulous media practitioners not to report the illegal activities.

Armand Galang, president of the Nueva Ecija Press Club, has so far not issued a statement condemning or opposing the illegal number game in the province.

The cubrador of jueteng in Nueva Ecija.
(Ronald Leander, GMA7)
Earlier, retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said STL and jueteng are “close partners” because most of those who have STL franchises are also jueteng financiers.

“STL, therefore, uses also the structure of jueteng operations – from cobrador (collector), cabo (manager), rebisador (bet reviewer), pagador (paymaster) and operator,” said Cruz, chairman of the Krusada ng Bayan laban sa Sugal.

Cruz said a check made by his group showed that when there is STL in an area, the STL bet collectors have two sheets – one for STL and one for jueteng.      

A  PNP officer admitted that STL operators are also into illegal gambling.

The actual jueteng game in Cabanatuan City.
(Ronald Leander, GMA 7)
Chief Superintendent Ford Tuazon, deputy director of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), acknowledged during a hearing of the House committee on games and amusements that they have a hard time implementing STL because jueteng is being conducted under the cover of the STL.

Nueva Ecija Representative Rodolfo Antonino, who was named as one of the beneficiaries of proceeds from CTGPVI, said that jueteng continue operating in the province and in other places because it has a mass base.

“Jueteng can never be stopped by the PNP or any other law enforcement authority because in reality, the betting is something that is entertained by the mass base. In other words, they want it,” he said.

He said the PCSO should instead improve the STL instead of replacing it with the “Loterya ng Bayan.” (Jason de Asis)

Reds claim 7 slain, 6 wounded in the army troopers in Aurora clash; military denied the claim-only 1 wounded

The view of sitio Balagbag, Dikapinisan,
San Luis, Aurora.
(Arnel Turzar, DZJO FM,
CMN, Baler, Aurora)

DIKAPINISAN, San Luis, Aurora, August 30, 2011-The communist New People’s Army has claimed that seven soldiers were killed and six wounded in a recent clashes here, a claim which the military vehemently denied saying that only one (1) was slightly wounded even as the latter has gone on heightened alert amid increased sightings of armed rebels some 17 months since this province was declared insurgency-free by local officials, police and the Army.

Ka Rowena Servante, spokesperson of the Domingo Erlano Command (DEC), New People’s Army (NPA) in Aurora said in a press statement that the soldiers were waylaid in an encounter last August 23, 2011 at around 6:30 in the morning at the hinterland of Sitio Balagabag, Barangay Dimanayat where the rescue of choppers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) came in a broad day light.

The rebel group said that the encounter resulted to wide damages to the 48th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, saying that soldiers who were killed in action and other casualties were airlifted by the AFP chopper and brought to police headquarters at Camp Victor Ravina, Barangay, Sabang, Baler, Aurora around 4:30 in the afternoon. Soldiers wounded were also brought by boat at the Baler Fishport in Barangay Zabali, Baler town. “3 of the soldiers were hit at the body, 2 were hit at their back and 1 hit at the feet at around 9pm,” Servante said in her statement.

The DEC said that the latest incident was the fifth encounter with the government troops within six weeks, it said, belie the latter’s claims it has crushed the backbone of insurgency in the province. “It only showed that the rebels are very much alive and going strong in Aurora,” the rebel statement said.

The encounter site at Sitio Balagbag,
Dikapinisan, San Luis, Aurora.
(Arnel Turzar, DZJO FM, CMN,
Baler, Aurora)
Servante recalled the first gun battle in the army were at Brgy. Diarabasin, Dipaculao town last July 10, the next night (July 11) was the harassment at Sitio Dimutol, Barangay Dianawan, Maria Aurora town, the two consecutive encounters last August 12 and 13 in Barangay Diteki, San Luis town where the rebel group said that the first encounter took place at around 11:15 pm when the NPA band, also figured in a firefight with 20 soldiers who occupied the Diteki barangay hall then (August 13) at around 9:10 am, the rebel command said it has ambushed a truckload of soldiers who were trying to reinforce their fellow troops in Diteki when a bomb was hurled by the rebels and another one last August 23 at Dimanayat, San Luis, Aurora.

Servante said that LTC Kurt A. Decapia, Battalion Commander of the 48th IB threatened the villagers of Diteki that once proven that they are supporters of rebels will be lost. A certain Balong Genes was also pinpointed by a gun by the soldiers while on his way to "ulingan" (charcoal hole-a place where charcoal is being made) at Sitio Sablang, barangay Diteki, San Luis town last August 14, 2011.

“Ang ipinalabas na pahayag ng mga taga-Diteki na tumutuligsa sa naganap na ambush ay kinopya lamang sa mga anti-NPA rally na inorganisa ng mga military noong panahon ni General Jovito Palparan,” Servante said, condemning the Barangay Security System and Youth Leadership Seminar being organized by the army.

“Muli, nais naming ipahayag: binigo ng NPA ang mga pinakamalaking operasyon ng Oplan Bantay Laya mula 2005-2010 dahil sa suporta ng mamamayan. Higit na determinado ang NPA-Aurora na biguin ang Oplan Bayanihan ng AFP at lalong palakasin ang paglaban ng mamamayan hanggang sa tagumpay ng rebolusyon!”

The DEC also vowed to launch more armed offensives against the military in the province at the soonest time possible.

Northern Luzon Command spokesperson Captain Jovily Carmel Cabading said in a telephone interview that the rebel groups’ claims of army fatalities was a brazen lie. “Obviously, it was a purely propaganda to make it appear that they are recovering lost ground,” she said, adding that only one was hurt during the clash and there was no fatality among the soldiers.

“We don’t have any reason to hide anything among the army troopers,” she said. “Sa lahat ng bulaan ay pinakang-sinungaling iyang mga rebeldeng iyan. Alam ng lahat kung ano ang totoo. Walang ginawa ang mga iyan kundi mangotong at manakot ng tao.”

LTC Kurt A. Decapia said that the statement of Servante is not true and only an act of desperation to show that they have the support of the people of Aurora. “In fact, the recent battle with the guerillas was an effort of the civilians; thus, the army troopers overran their camp. The different groups of NPA who sowed terrorism in Aurora disbanded and left Aurora,” Decapia said. “Wala na sila, sumabog na. Nagwatak-watak na,” he ended in a telephone interview. (Jason de Asis) 

Laoag youth celebrate WYD with the National Youth Cross

LAOAG City, August 29, 2011—The Diocese of Laoag celebrated the World Youth Day on August 16 with the presence of the National Youth Cross in the diocese.
In pilgrimage across the country since January 31, the NYC had already traversed around Visayas and Mindanao. It arrived in the Northern Luzon Region last August 2 with the Diocese of Urdaneta as the first stop.
From the Diocese of Bangued, the pilgrim Cross was brought to the Diocese of Laoag on August 16. It was warmly welcomed by the faithful in parishes, diocesan schools, and national high schools.
An estimated 10,000 young people were able to see the NYC during its six days of stay in the diocese.
Touched by the presence of the Cross
As the Pilgrim Cross travelled around the diocese, many young people expressed appreciation on how their lives were touched by the presence of the Cross.
The prayers of petitions offered during the visit of the Cross mostly touched on the strengthening of family bond, stronger faith in God and healing from illness, especially dengue.
Delegates from parishes and Catholic schools prayed the Taize prayer during the evening vigil of the Cross.
The vigil started with a Eucharistic Celebration by Msgr. Noel Ian Rabago, the newly-elected Diocesan Administrator of St. William Cathedral Parish.
During his homily, Msgr. Rabago stressed the challenge for the elders of the community to support the young people and their spiritual initiatives.
The WYD celebrations followed after the Mass. The program included animation, Taize prayer, presentation for the NYC and a showcase of accomplishments of the Parish Youth Councils.
The participants had a youth walk the following morning carrying the NYC around the vicinity of the Church compound. The festivities ended with a Mass celebrated by Fr. Lester Menor, Laoag’s Diocesan Youth Director.
On August 21, the NYC was lifted to the Apostolic Prelature of Batanes where the youth also were awaiting its visit.
The Pilgrim Cross is due to arrive in the Diocese of Baguio on September 13, and from there it will be brought to the Military Ordinariate in Quezon City. (Mark Vertido)


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