Friday, September 21, 2012

Angara says Capitol bid fueled by Aurora mayor’s clamor

BALER, Aurora, September 22, 2012–The cat is finally out of the bag.

Sen. Edgardo Angara – the longest-serving senator in the post-Edsa Senate – who is reportedly eyeing the governorship in 2013, said his Capitol bid was spurred by an overwhelming clamor from majority of the mayors in the province.

Saying he was a “reluctant candidate” who has no gubernatorial ambitions, Angara said that contrary to reports, he was never interested in the post but was forced to seek the governorship because of the endorsement of the municipal mayors.

“In fact, I was the one who proposed a Noveras-Angara tandem which I considered unbeatable. But our political leaders rejected that. Instead, they endorsed me to run for governor,” he said.

He was referring to the supposed tandem between Vice Gov. Gerardo Noveras and his nephew, Rommel Angara which was floated a year ago.

Noveras has since declared he was running for governor, refusing to back out even following a series of backdoor negotiations with the senator’s camp. 

Angara, in an earlier interview said if his younger brother, Baler Mayor Arthur Angara did not stand a chance against Noveras, he would look for somebody else to pit against the latter. But he had an apparent change of mind following the endorsement he received from the mayors.

“I am not really obsessed with the governorship. But there was a clamor from among the mayors of Aurora which snowballed to a point that I have to reconsider. They said that my running would be the only assurance of the continuity of the development programs we have successfully mapped out and implemented in Aurora,” he said.

Angara’s younger sister, Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo is on her third and last term and is seeking a return stint in the House of Representatives where she previously served three terms as congresswoman representing the lone congressional district of the province. 

While he has not made public his decision to seek the governorship, Angara has reportedly already made it “final” and made it known to his close circle of political allies and friends, including deposed former President Joseph Estrada under whose administration he served as agriculture secretary.

Over the past month, the senator has shown telltale signs that he would indeed run for governor.

Last August 13, during the 31st foundation anniversary and 27th annual general assembly of the Aurora Electric Cooperative at the Aurelco headquarters in Barangay Reserva where he and Noveras were among the guests, Angara created a stir among the large crowd in attendance when he donated four tricycles during the raffle, drawing cheers from participants.   

Last September 8, during the closing ceremonies for “Aurora Plays Football (APF)” - a football program he launched for kids in the province - he stayed around longer than usual at the Baler Central School. He was even the one who gave the medals to the young players from the various football teams.

“He was not the type who would stay long in social gatherings. That shows you how serious he is in his gubernatorial bid,” a relative said.

Last September 14, during the testimonial dinner tendered by the UP Law Alumni Association at the Manila Polo Club in honor of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, the lady emcee, lawyer Ma. Celia Fernandez-Estavillo, his former senatorial chief of staff, introduced him as the “future governor of Aurora.”

Angara looked amused but jested that it was a “propaganda of Bella,” referring to Angara-Castillo.      

Angara-Castillo stressed his brother’s running would enable the provincial government to finish all the projects she started when she first ruled the Capitol in 2004. “Based on what they (leaders) have seen, it will take somebody like Senator Angara to expedite all the development projects in Aurora,” she said. (Manny Galvez)

Religious group hailed as Aurora’s ‘cleanest, greenest’ Church

BALER, Aurora, September 22, 2912-A religious organization based in the municipality of Dingalan in southern Aurora, which is long known for its humanitarian outreach program, has emerged as the cleanest and greenest church in the annual Gawad Punong Lalawigan para sa Kapaligiran (GPLK) Clean and Green search.

          The Holy Place Pentecost Church Tabernacle, Inc., led by its president Mrs. Ruth G. Sanchez, was bestowed the award in the non-Catholic category during awarding ceremonies at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan session hall at the provincial Capitol grounds Wednesday.

          A plaque and a cash prize went with the award which was handed by Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo, assisted by Vice Gov. Gerardo Noveras, Environment and Natural Resources Officer Ma. Teresa de Luna and Philippine League of Local Environment Officers representatives Erlinda Creencia, Oliver Gonzales and Raquel Naciongayo.

          Established in 1976 by Mrs. Sanchez’s late husband, Rev. Eustaquio G. Sanchez, the HPPCTI has congregations in Guiguinto, Bulacan; Project 8 in Quezon City, Sto. Tomas in Pampanga, Olongapo City, Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija, Davao City, Barangay Caragsacan, Dingalan and in Hong Kong.

          It also has outreaches in Marikina City; San Miguel, Baliuag, San Rafael and Bustos in Bulacan; Candaba in Pampanga; Binangonan, Rizal; Barangays Camp Tinio and Kalikid in Cabanatuan City; Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija; and in Barangays Umiray and Dikapanikian in Dingalan.  

          One of its notable projects was the “Operation Tulungan” gift-giving project which reached out to thousands of families in Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog and in Mindanao. In Dingalan, the program has been providing relief to impoverished families since 1983.  

          The GPLK is a pet project of Angara-Castillo in line with a province-wide search she launched in 2005 for the cleanest and greenest municipality, barangay, school, church, store/food establishment, hotel, recreation center and best Capitol implementer of the Ecological Solid Waste Management Program (ESWMP).

          She also issued Executive Order 1-2005 creating the provincial search committee.

          The St. Vincent Ferrer Parish Church in Ma. Aurora stood out as cleanest and greenest church in the Catholic category.

          Adjudged as the cleanest and greenest municipalities were Ma. Aurora, San Luis, Casiguran and this capital town in the urban category while Dinalungan, Dipaculao, Dingalan and Dilasag won in the rural category.

          Standing out as the cleanest and greenest barangay was Calabuanan, Baler (urban category) and Barangays Zone 1 (Dinalungan) and Puangi (Dipaculao).

          Emerging as cleanest and greenest schools are Diomes Elementary School, Estonilo ES, Leon Diaz Sr. ES, Bazal ES and Dimanpudso ES, all of Ma. Aurora; Mucdol ES and T. Molina ES, both of Dipaculao; Paulino Bautista ES (Dinalungan), Diagyan ES (Dilasag) and Suklayin ES (Baler), in the small ES category;

          San Luis Central School, Ditumabo ES, Dinalungan CS, Casiguran CS and Baler CS (big ES) category;

          Canili National High School, Don Mariano Marquez NHS, Juan C. Angara Memorial NHS, Dipaculao NHS, Ramada NHS, Aurora National Science HS, Calabuanan NHS, Borlongan NHS, Lual NHS and Dilasag NHS (high school category) and Mt. Carmel College in this town (college/university category).

          The Punta Sierra Verde in Dinalungan and the La Cez Food House won as cleanest and greenest hotel/recreation center and store/food establishment, respectively.

          The provincial tourism office, provincial social welfare and development office and the provincial cooperative office stood out as best office implementer of the ESWMP (without compound category) while the provincial veterinary office and the provincial empowerment and advancement center for employment won in the with compound category.

          The best utility ESWMP implementers were Rhealyn Santelises, Evelyn Samonte, Eufemia Bonifacio, Felicidad Hampit, Ronnel Gelen Dumandal, Jefferson Caruluan and Wengard Quisote.

          Special awards were also handed out to Dinalungan Mayor Tito Tubigan (most environment-friendly mayor), Dinalungan environment and natural resources office (most environment-friendly municipal office), Umiray ES (small elementary), Ditumabo ES (big elementary) and Canili NHS (high school) as most environment-friendly schools and the members of the Provincial Task Force Sagip Kalikasan (PTFSK).     

          For this year’s search, the provincial government gave out a total of P331,000 worth of cash prizes and plaques.       

          This year’s GPLK search committee was composed of Department of Interior and Local Governments provincial director Renato Bernardino, De Luna, Josephine Leander, Cristina dela Cruz, Domingo Gonzales Jr., Rosanna Querijero, Myrna Adeva, Geroldo Custodio, Melchito Romero, Sherylle Bernadette Natividad, Rommel Lombres, Roderic Torre and Andrew Catipon.  

          The awarding rites were graced by Department of Environment and Natural Resources provincial environment and natural resources officer Benjamin Mina, Land Transportation Office chief Renato Macalisang, Aurora Department of Education Superintendent of Schools Dr. Teresa Mababa among others.  (Manny Galvez)

Couple murdered over land dispute --PNP

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, September 22, 2012-A couple who was murdered last September 12 by a lone gunman was killed out of vengeance over a land dispute, the Philippine National Police said yesterday.

          Police Senior Superintendent Walter Castillejos, provincial director,  said Dominador Sumawang and his live-in partner Evelyn Siton were shot dead over a dispute over land which was also blamed as having triggered the killing early this month of Dennis Bautista, son of Siton’s late former lover Bienvenido.

          Sumawang, 49, and Siton, 52, both of Barangay Pantoc, Gabaldon town, were gunned down by a lone gunman while travelling along the Nueva Ecija-Aurora Road, Barangay Bantug Norte in the afternoon of September 12.

          Castillejos said the killing of the duo was possibly related to the earlier murder of Bautista who was shot dead by motorcycle-riding men while tending to his spare parts store in Pantoc the night of September 3.

          Police probers said Bautista and a sister were locked up in a legal battle with Siton over Bienvenido’s land property which Siton inherited.

Following Bienvenido’s death last May 4, Siton attempted to evict his children from their home, prompting them to sue her for perjury before Branch 2 of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court.

When Bautista was killed, Siton and Sumawang were suspected of being the brains behind the attack.

Sumawang and Siton have just attended the hearing and boarded a bus on their way home when a gunman shot them. (Manny Galvez)


Rome, Italy, September 22, 2012-Senator Edgardo J. Angara was today elected Vice President of the Centrist Democrat International (CDI) during the organization’s biennial Leaders' Meeting in Rome, Italy.

Angara, who attended the meeting as President of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP), was elected to the position alongside Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (Spain), Prime Minister Viktor Orban (Hungary) and Prime Minister Antonio Samaras (Greece). Angara will be representing the Asia-Pacific region.

"The CDI is highly respected across the world," said Angara, the longest serving senator in the post-EDSA Senate. "To be elected to a key position in this institution is a distinct honor for me."

The Centrist Democrat International, originally Christian Democratic Internationalis an alliance of democratic political parties with membership in 62 countries across the globe. Currently, only the Philippines and Cambodia represent Southeast Asia in the organization.

Founded in 1961, the CDI is the leading global international political group that strongly advocates for core values of human dignity, human rights, women’s rights, and interfaith dialogue and cooperation.

Angara said, "By linking with like-minded political organizations in other countries, the LDP hopes to strengthen its position as a truly platform-driven political party."

Angara is the main proponent of the Political Party Development Act (Senate Bill No. 3124), which aims to institutionalize a strong political party system in the country.

“One major factor that makes our political parties weak is their dependency on personalities rather than issues and political platforms,” said Angara.

“Political parties ought to advocate for clear-cut programs which can define their organization and its members. Only then will people start trusting political parties and not view them as mere vehicles for personalities to exercise power.”

The veteran lawmaker continued, “Our adhesion to the CDI is a strong statement on the commitment of the LDP to work for political party reform and provide strong leadership in promoting democracy and liberty in the Philippines and in Asia.”

The Meeting, which runs until September 22, is attended by other key world leaders, among them President Giorgo Napolitano and Prime Minister Maro Monti of Italy.

Angara is also set to meet with His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI in Castel Gandolfo, the Pope's Official Summer Residence.

Legarda: Promote Filipino Artistry, Creativity through MSMEs

MANILA, September 22, 2012-Senator Loren Legarda underscored her commitment to promoting Filipino artistry and creativity and strengthening the economy through greater support for the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country.

“Aside from being the lifeblood of the Philippine economy, MSMEs are powerful platforms for promotion of viable rural livelihoods, cultural preservation, socio-economic empowerment of indigenous peoples, and environmental protection,” she said.

Legarda is the author of both the Magna Carta for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and the Barangay Livelihood and Skills Training Act, which are landmark pieces of legislation for entrepreneurs in the country.

“A mat weaving center in Zamboanga del Sur, a handicrafts enterprise in Antique, a small business in Bulacan that markets bags and accessories made from recycled materials —these are a few of the MSMEs which prove that embracing our rich heritage and advancing sustainable development translate into jobs, incomes, and livelihoods,” she remarked.

Legarda detailed that the MSME Law, passed in 2008, provides more assistance to entrepreneurs by requiring lending institutions to allocate at least eight percent (8%), an increase from the previous six percent (6%), of their total loan portfolio to micro and small businesses. It also provides access to new technologies and regular entrepreneurship training programs for workers to ensure the viability and growth of MSMEs in the country.

She added that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the MSME Council, the DTI-Regional Operations Development Group, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Public Employment Service Offices (PESOs), and the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) are the people’s partners in synergizing efforts to provide not just jobs but also better earnings to the growing labor force.

“We have to utilize the available resources in the country, encourage the development of the exceptional creativity and artistry of Filipinos, and vigorously implement our laws in order to promote the growth of MSMEs as a main driver of our economy,” Legarda concluded.

5th PD in 3 years Ex-member of 3 UN peacekeeping forces is new Aurora PNP top cop

CAMP RAVINA, BALER, Aurora, September 22, 2012–A former member of three United Nations peacekeeping forces who was twice spot-promoted to the next higher rank for successfully engaging criminal and kidnapping-for-ransom (KFR) syndicates in armed encounters is the new provincial director of the Philippine National Police.
            Senior Superintendent Jose Santiago Hidalgo Jr. assumed the provincial post Monday vice Senior Superintendent Benjamin Hulipas in turn-over ceremonies at the PNP Regional Office 3 headquarters in Camp Olivas, Pampanga presided over by PRO3 director, Chief Superintendent Edgar Ladao. He is the fifth provincial police official in the province in 36 months.
            Hulipas, who was designated just last January, is the fourth consecutive officer to fail  to complete the routine two-year tour of duty of a provincial director in the province. His predecessor Senior Superintendent Ervin Gumban was relieved after only nine months following a crime wave.
            Other provincial directors before them who served abbreviated stints were Gumban’s predecessor Senior Superintendent Rosvi Manulid who was relieved after only seven months and Senior Superintendent Romulo Esteban who was booted out after only a year reportedly over “dismal performances” as Aurora top cops.
The case of Hulipas, a native of Barangay Suklayin here - and the second Auroran to serve as provincial director after Senior Superintendent Zorobabel Laureles in 1993 - was, however, different as he was promoted as chief of staff of the PRO8 based in Palo, Leyte.
Gov. Bellaflor Angara-Castillo expressed satisfaction over the performance of Hulipas, saying the latter should be congratulated for a job well done.
“If only his departure was not because of a promotion, I won’t let him go,” she said of Hulipas, who was credited for the 75% reduction in crimes in the province, already considered the most peaceful among the seven provinces in Central Luzon even before he came in.
Hidalgo, a native of Cuyapo in Nueva Ecija and a member of Batch ’91 or the “Tagapagkalinga Class” of the PNP Academy, comes with very impressive credentials and a sterling background as outstanding police officer.
Aside from being the new provincial director of the Aurora police, he holds in a concurrent capacity the post of battalion commander of the 1,600-strong 3rd Regional Public Safety Battalion, with four companies under his command. These include the 1st maneuver company based in Lubao, Pampanga; the 2nd maneuver company based in Gapan City in Nueva Ecija and the technical support platoon bannered by the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team.
The battalion has various complicated functions ranging from public safety and security, crisis incident and crowd dispersal management, explosive ordnance disposal; disaster response, relief and rehabilitation; tactical training, hostage rescue, water search and rescue and VIP protection and security.      
Hidalgo was part of the 80-man UN mission in East Timor in 2000 where he was designated as investigator of the serious crimes investigating unit whose primary function was investigate human rights violations committed by Indonesian military forces. In 2002, he was also a member of the 30-man UN mission to Kozovo and in another UN mission in Nigeria in West Africa in 2005.
To be part of the mission is regarded in police circles as quite an achievement, considering the rigid screening process, including an examination supervised by a UN representative. Hidalgo spent a total of three years in the UN missions. 
Hidalgo was assigned in various capacities as station commander in the towns of Bakakay and Tiwi in Albay; Cainta, Rizal and the Ermita police; as deputy police chief in San Juan, as commanding officer of the Light Reaction Unit or SWAT team of the National Capital Region, as a member of the district police intelligence unit of the Eastern Police District, the National Anti-Kidnapping Task Force and its successor, Presidential Anti-Crime Emergency Response.
It was with the NAKTAF and the PACER when his star shone brightest after he was twice spot-promoted, first from senior inspector (captain) to chief inspector (major) and then from chief inspector to superintendent following a series of armed encounters with criminal syndicates and KFR gangs. Being spot-promoted is considered a rare feat but Hidalgo pulled it off twice.
A known protege of Ladao, Hidalgo also had several stints with the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group - the crack police unit dealing with high-profile crimes - as deputy chief of the detection and special operations division in Camp Crame, deputy chief of the CDIG Region 2 office based in Tuguegarao, Cagayan and concurrently CIDG provincial officer in Quirino and deputy chief of the unit’s anti-organized crime division. All these under the tutelage of Ladao who was his immediate superior.
When Ladao was named PRO3 chief, he took with him Hidalgo whose last previous assignment was as chief of the district special operations unit of the Northern Police District.    
Hidalgo said he would continue the anti-crime gains posted by the Aurora PNP under Hulipas and run after illegal loggers and violators of special laws. (Manny Galvez)

ENVIRONMENTALISTS to culminate month-long Sierra Madre patrol with tree-planting in AURORA

QUEZON CITY, September 21, 2012-As part of the 2nd year celebration of Save Sierra Madre Day on September 26 and Save Aurora Sierra Madre Day on September 27, combined environmentalists from The Noble Blue Falcons International and the Green-Philippines will conclude their month-long environmental patrol of Sierra Madre mountain range with a culminating climb with tree-planting in Mt Egay in Dibutunan, Dipaculao, Aurora feared for its boulders but loved for its 7 majestic falls. On September 29-30, 2012 Noble Blue Falcons Int’l Environmental Mountaineers (NBFIEM) complemented by the Green mountaineers will gather in Aurora Province as they join Save Sierra Madre Network in celebrating the fight vs. mining, logging, kaingin, squatting, illegal vegetable gardening and wood charcoal-making in Sierra Madre.

As the mountaineers prepare for the First documented conquest and exploration of Mt Egay (Pinondohan) in Aurora Province, Prof. Sardz Colambo-President of Green-Philippines lambasted the pro-mining Provincial Board Members of Aurora in passing recently a controversial resolution allowing the large-scale mining exploration in the Province. “We will exhaust all legal means to stop the death of Aurora tourism due to the mining of its mountains and beaches,” he said. For his part, Prof. Joseph Beatriz Usita, National Chairman of the Noble Blue Falcons Environmentalists and Father of Environmental mountaineering in the Philippines , questioned the credibility and capability of DENR personnel in Aurora to protect its natural resources amidst persistent media reports of unchecked timber-poaching and wood charcoal-making(pag-uuling) in the mountains of Aurora Province.

Founded in March 19, 1996 in the Philippines, Noble Blue Falcons Environmentalists has 444,000 members(maximum cap) scattered nationwide with 8,000 Environmental mountaineers helping the provincial Government of Aurora to protect the province’s fast diminishing forest cover and promoting Aurora’s tourist spots thru eco-tourism advocacy.

A pioneer in Environmental Mountaineering, the Noble Blue Falcons Int’l is the biggest environmental group in the country today in terms of manpower strength while the Noble Blue Falcons International Environmental Mountaineers is the first and only mountaineering division in the Philippines organized solely for environmental protection. Green-Philippines, on the other hand, supports eco-tourism-based small- scale industries in the countryside.

Villar to open Villards Cup in Bulacan

BULACAN, sEPTEMBER 21, 2012-Sixteen aspiring pool players from Bulacan will take a shot at joining the likes of Efren “Bata” Reyes, Francisco “Django” Bustamante and Dennis Orcollo as they compete in the Villards Cup, which resumes this Sunday (September 23) at Starmall in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.

Now on its fourth year, this series of billiards tournaments started by Senator Manny Villar has travelled to different parts of the country and inspired many, particularly the youth, to take up the sport “which we, Filipinos, are on top of the world.”

“Villards Cup is our own little way of encouraging the youth to engage in sports, and move them away from illegal drugs. Alam kong marami pang katulad ni Efren Bata o ni Orcollo sa ating mga kabataan. Gusto kong maging instrumento ang Villards Cup na matuklasan sila at mabigyan ng pagkakataon na makilala din.” Villar said.

“Billiards now matches the popularity of basketball among Filipinos, especially the youth. Support for this sport should be encouraged and enhanced,” added Villar, who will grace the opening ceremonies along with Reyes, Bustamante, Orcollo and fellow former world champion Ronnie Alcano.

The 16 amateur players, who emerged from a series of qualifiers, will also vie for cash prizes worth almost P300,000, which will be awarded by Congresswoman Cynthia Villar, Managing Director of the Villar Foundation during the closing ceremonies on Monday.

Meanwhile, Senator Villar authored proposed Senate Resolution No. 875 commending Orcollo for winning the 2012 China Open held in Shanghai recently.

“Orcollo’s win solidifies the Filipino’s dominance over billiards. For years, more and more Filipinos are getting international fame in this sport and like boxing, people are seeing billiards as the Filipino’s game,” Villar said.

Orcollo defeated Chinese-Taipei’s Lu Hui Chan, 11-9, in the finals to add another prestigious title. He had earlier won the World 8-ball Championship, International 10-ball Championship, World Pool League, World Pool Masters and the US 10-ball Championship.


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