Tuesday, December 31, 2013

TPLEX management to begin collecting fees on January 6

TARLAC CITY Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corporation (SMC), through its subsidiary and toll road concessionaire Private Infra Development Corporation, Inc. (PIDC), will begin to collect fees in the Tarlac City-Gerona-Paniqui stretch of the 88.85-kilometer Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) on Monday, January 6.
In a statement, PIDC said “tariff in Tarlac City to Victoria part (8.66km) are P30 for Class 1, P76 for Class 2 and P91 for Class 3 vehicles,”
“Moreover, fees from Victoria to Gerona (8.017km) are P28 for Class 1, P70 for Class 2 and P84 for Class 3. Rates for Tarlac City to Gerona (16.777km), on the other hand, are P58 for Class 1, P145 for Class 2 and P175 for Class 3,” it added.
President Benigno Aquino III formally opened TPLEX last December 23 via an inaugural drive-trough in its Paniqui exit in Tarlac.
That portion brings to 23 kilometers the total length of the TPLEX that is operational following the opening of the 17-kilometer Phase 1A from Tarlac City to Victoria, Pura, then Gerona initially for free to the public.
At present, PIDC is working on the 27-kilometer stretch from Paniqui to Moncada in Tarlac then Carmen in Pangasinan including the construction of the 950-meter Agno viaduct.
PIDC eyes an April 2014 completion of this section, ahead of its December 2014 estimate.
By then, the two-hour travel time from Tarlac to Carmen will be cut to only 30 minutes.
Moreover, the remaining 25.83-kilometer part from Urdaneta, Pangasinan to Rosario, La Union will be completed by 2015.
From end-to-end, TPLEX will traverse 17 towns and two cities in the provinces of Tarlac, Pangasinan, La Union and Nueva Ecija.
It connects the Northern and Central provinces of Luzon to Metro Manila via the North Luzon and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressways.
Originally designed as a two-lane road, SMC decided to upgrade the infrastructure to four lanes to ensure road safety and in anticipation of future traffic growth.
Once completed, it will cut travel time from Tarlac to La Union to only an hour from the present three and a half hours. (Shane F. Velasco)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Retired Full Pledge Colonel, Held for Indiscriminate Firing in Aurora

BALER, Aurora-Elements of Baler Municipal Police Station responded to the reported indiscriminate firing at Purok 6, Barangay Buhangin in this town at around 10:20 PM, Saturday, December 28, 2013, and arrested retired colonel Adolfo Dela Torre, a former member of the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

The suspect was responsible for indiscriminately firing of a gun into the air three times which caused panic among his neighbors, who in turn reported the incident to the authorities.

Confiscated from him was a one (1) cal. 45 with markings Federal IL, USA, 1911 A-1 with Serial Number 500719, one (1) magazine with five (5) ammunitions and during the crime scene search the team recovered one (1) empty cartridge.

The Recovered pieces of evidence were brought to Aurora Crime Laboratory Office for examinations while suspect is now under the custody of Baler Police Station for proper disposition.

Dela Torres’ case of Violation of PD 1866 as Amended by RA 8294 and Unlawful Discharge of Firearms charges were already filed in court this afternoon against him. (Jason de Asis)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

CLMA-Aurora Chapter New Prexy Calls for Unity and Prayer

BALER, Aurora-DZJO “Spirit” FM 101.7 mhz Admin Officer/Newscaster Rey Fernando, in his capacity as the new president of the Central Luzon Media Association (CLMA)-Aurora Chapter, called on his colleagues for a deeper spirituality based on the bible and for unity prayer against corruption.

In a cellphone interview, Fernando said that corruption in business and in politics must be eradicated if not minimize, urging the CLMA members to be united through prayer, discernment and concerted action to renew the social and political fabric of the people in Aurora, media and the country.

“Many of them and/or perhaps the majority of the corrupt people in politics and in business are notorious to violence, lack of proper discernment and the likes,” he explained.

In his speech in a broad day light at Pedervera Beach Resort, following his election as the new prexy of the CLMA, Fernando expressed his heartfelt thanks to all of his colleagues who voted him.

“This is really an overwhelming sign of trust and confidence,” he said, promising that he will continue what the organization has started in the province and in Central Luzon.

“I will also work for the organization and with you in the year 2014 and want to win your confidence too.  I know the great responsibility of the President. This makes me humble. I want to lead the CLMA-Aurora Chapter according to my motto: Prayer and Unity in Diversity. It would mean that I will do my very best efforts to balance all the different best interests of the organization,” Fernando pointed-out.

“In every activity that we would like to implement, I want to listen and to enter into an on-going dialogue with all of you. You should know that my door, my ears, and my heart are always open for you,” he said.

With 100% votes, Fernando will Chair the CLMA-Aurora Chapter next year after the oath taking of the chapter officers of all media personalities from their respective provinces in Central Luzon at Philrice in Nueva Ecija on January 10, 2014.

Fernandos’ triumph marked a landslide victory in the CLMA election. The new officers are Ferdinand Pascual-Vice President for Print (BWBW FM Radyo TV Baler), Ronaldo Ramos-Vice President for Broadcast (DZJO FM), Nestor Molina-Secretary (DWBW FM Radyo TV Baler), Richard Baoy-Treasurer (DWBW Radyo TV Baler), George Balbero-Auditor (DZJO FM), Wilma Villareal-Business Manager (DWBW FM Radyo TV Baler) and Frederick Paulo-Marshall (DWBW FM Radyo TV Baler). The Board of Director are Jason de Asis (CMN/Bagong Aurora Website ng Bayan), Ronald Leander (GMA7), Amador Ramos (DZJO FM), Norberto Cruz (Bagong Aurora), Larry Marco (Radyo Natin FM), Richard Serquena (DWBW FM Radyo TV Baler) and Leonilo Beltran (TV5). The CLMA members present are Jonathan Querijero (DZJO FM), Arnel Turzar (DZJO FM), Sheryll Santa Maria (DZJO FM), Rodrigo Javar (DZJO FM), Eddie Rebueno (DZJO FM/KABALIKAT CIVICOM), Ernie Rebueno (DZJO FM) and Joseph Molina (DZJO FM).

The election period started from 1:30 to 2:30 in the afternoon. The conduct of election was facilitated by CLMA Regional President Ronald Madrid Leander. (Jason de Asis)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

PNP-PRO3 raids illegal firecracker factory

CAMP OLIVAS, City of San Fernando, Pampanga- Through the continuous efforts of the Philippine National Police to enforce laws that will help reduce the casualty figures due to firecrackers as well as confiscate illegal fireworks and pyrotechnics, Police Regional Office 3 under the leadership of PCSupt Raul D Petrasanta, PRO3, is currently conducting series of inspections/raids among firecracker manufacturers/warehouses and stores within the region especially in Bulacan.
The joint elements of Bulacan PPO Intelligence Brach, Bocaue Municipal Police Station and Provincial Public Safety Company raided an illegal firecracker/pyrotechnics manufacturer located at  Sitio Daang Riles, Brgy Bundukan, Bocaue, Bulacan which resulted in the seizure of large quantities of chemicals and finished and unfinished pyrotechnics and firecrackers yesterday at 10 o'clock in the morning.
Nine (9) persons were arrested and brought to Bulacan Provincial Police Office for filing of appropriate charges for Violation of Republic Act 7183 “An Act regulating the manufacture, sale, distribution and use of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices.”
Petrasanta reiterated his reminder to the public to refrain from using prohibited firecrackers to avoid any untoward incident during the celebration of New Year.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Ecija vice mayor held up; loses P50K to robbers

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija–A municipal vice mayor in Nueva Ecija lost P50,000 to two unidentified hold-up men who took away his cash he just withdrew from an ATM (automated teller machine) here the day before Christmas Day, police reported. 
            Police Senior Superintendent Crizaldo Nieves, provincial police director, identified the victim as Vice Mayor Emmanuel Manuel of Gen. Natividad, Nueva Ecija.
         The unidentified holdup men pulled off the heist at around 8:45 am last December 24 along the Maharlika Highway, Barangay Dicarma here.
         Manuel told police that he just withdrew cash at the ATM booth of the Philippine National Bank in Barangay Sangitan then drove his Toyota Tamaraw FX bearing license plate TRT-378 on his way home when it encountered engine trouble.

 As he was about to step out of his car, the suspects suddenly appeared and declared the hold-up at gunpoint.

They then carted away his bag containing P50,000 worth of cash and fled towards the north direction aboard a black motorcycle. (Manny Galvez) 

Maranan forms “Task Force Pablo,” earmarks P500 M for rehab works in 4 regions

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija-Administrator Claro V.  Maranan of the National Irrigation Administration has formed “Task Force Pablo” (TFP) and earmarked P500 million to fast-track rehabilitation works in four regions of Mindanao.

In a memorandum, Maranan named Felix Razo, NIA senior deputy administrator, as head of the  task force which flew yesterday to Region 11 in Davao City for a four-day inspection of Pablo-related irrigation projects.

          Razo’s team is also composed of Florentino R. David, internal audit services department manager; internal control officers Teresita G. Pantalla and Mary Jean P. Estefanio and systems management division senior engineer Maria Gracia A. Ramos.

          Maranan directed the task force to conduct audit on the implementation of restoration and rehabilitation works of all projects funded under the Typhoon Pablo Fund. The audit will cover procurement up to contract administration.

          For the restoration works, an initial amount of P500 million has been released for damaged irrigation facilities in Regions 10 to 13.

          As part of the administrative reforms being instituted at NIA, Maranan said four irrigation management officers will be reshuffled.

On December 29, Maranan will meet with farmers for their feedback on issues involving irrigation and the agency.

          The creation of the task force was in line with the seven-point development agenda of Maranan outlining the agency’s course of action on
various aspects of organizational and operational performance.

          This is aimed at achieving the following: 1) provide creative and speedy solutions to the urgent problems confronting NIA; 2) rally support of employees and officers in carrying out the reform agenda and 3) document the program for future reference as a learning organization committed to continuing improvement. 

          Maranan explained that his program is consistent with President Aquino’s vision to turn the country into a nation of transformational leaders, a government dedicated to honing and mobilizing people’s skills and energies as well as the responsible harnessing of natural resources, and the value for excellence and integrity. (Manny Galvez)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

P70 thousand Lost in Oasis Resort Christmas Robbery Incident

BALER, Aurora-Some P70,000 worth of valuables were lost before Christmas eve in a reported robbery incident in Oasis Resort located at Sitio Bukodtangi, Barangay Sabang, Baler, Aurora.

The incident happened at the said place around 7:30 p.m. inside the apartment occupied by the family of Ramiel Buenavista y Valenzuela, 37 years old and a salesman.

The police said that last December 25, 2013 at about 1:00 a.m. the elements of Baler Police Station received a report from Ramiel informing that a robbery incident transpired at the said place.

Robbers took one (1) unit of Cellphone Galaxy Packet color blue, one (1) wrist watch, fossil brand color combination of gold and silver, one (1) angle grinder and one (1) rooter machine including their native live chicken at the backyard with approximate amount of more or less Seventy Thousand pesos (P70,000.00 php). 

Police said the robbers gained entry by destroying the back wall of the apartment made of coconut lumber and used it as ingress and egress.

The police investigation is still on going to identify the perpetrators. (Jason de Asis)

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas to all!

BALER, Aurora-To our dear readers, the Yuletide season offers a meaningful occasion to reflect upon the blessings we received, the lessons that have made us wiser, and the trials that have made us stronger in different aspects.

There are countless definitions of what Christmas is; normally the answer depends on the psycho-sociological and economic status of a person. The Bible is the best source of definition. There is a common adage which runs “it is better to give than to receive;” however for those who belong to the grass root, it is the opposite, it is better to receive because they don’t have anything to give.

The real essence is “Christmas” is giving. One can give without loving while others could love without giving. For Christians who encounter problems, problems are considered challenges and ones these challenges are hurdled, they become better persons. In forgiving, it is no longer an issue as who is right or who is wrong.

It is a question of who loves most and gives the most.

In giving, it is not the value of what you give, it is the sacrifice you shared in giving.

A widow gave her offering of 3 coins eventhough the money would cost her daily sustenance; there is sacrifice on her part. The Pharisees offered almost riches for the poor. But it was not acceptable to God because there is no sacrifice, what more, there is no love; and their offerings came from the tax payers’ blood.

Therefore, there is no greater gift which God gave us in John 3:16, For God so love the world that he gave his only begotten son so that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but shall have eternal life.

May we all have a blessed and meaningful Christmas.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

KAUGNAY Troops Attends Commission on Human Rights Consultative Meeting

FORT MAGSAYSAY, Nueva Ecija – Selected soldiers of 7th Infantry (KAUGNAY) Division of Philippine Army attended a day of lectures and Focused Group Discussion (FGD) spearheaded by Commission of Human Rights (CHR) with regard to Security Sector Reform Institutional Framework, held at Hunters Valley Resort, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija on December 18, 2013.
            The Officer and Enlisted Personnel from 7th Civil-Military Operation (G.W.A.P.O.) Battalion, 3rd Infantry Battalion, and 7th Infantry Division Human Right Office participated in a one day consultative meeting together with Philippine National Police Region III. 
            The objective of the meeting is to strengthen the Security Sector Reform project that shall initially be aimed at strengthening core security sector’s capacity, organization and institutions to conform to the human rights standards and norms, towards ending impunity, preventing systematic and grave human rights violations, enabling civil oversight. Among the topics discussed were; Behavior of soldiers during combat operations, security threat, International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Rule of Engagement (ROE), reasons to established military detachment, respect of ancestral domain.
            The discussion was facilitated by Atty. Glenda Titong, Security Sector Reform consultant, CHR under supervision of Atty. Tifanie Gerona, Executive Assistant, CHR.
            The leadership of “Kaugnay” Division of Philippine Army has been aggressively promoting and strictly implementing its policy on absolute respect of human rights, International Humanitarian Law (IHL), Rules of Engagement (ROE) in the performance of its mandate in its area of responsibility.
            The Armed Forces of the Philippines Center for Human Rights Dialogue was established beside the Aquino – Diokno Shrine to cater and serves a venue for dialogues on symposia for human rights issues. It was inaugurated by his Excellency President Benigno S Aquino III last September 21, 2012.    
            The activity is just one of the many activities in connection with Human Rights Consciousness Week  with the theme, Wakasan ang Kawalang Pananagutan, Tiyakin ang Tapat na Pamamahala”.

Monday, December 23, 2013

7ID Welcomes CGPA’s Visit to Fort Magsaysay

FORT RAMON MAGSAYSAY, Nueva Ecija – The 7th Infantry (Kaugnay) Division under the leadership of Maj Gen Hernando DCA Iriberri warmly welcome the Commanding General of the Philippine Army, Lt Gen Noel A Coballes Armed Forces of the Philippines last December 18, 2013.
The Philippine Army Chief, Lt Gen Coballes, is the Guest of Honor and Presiding Officer (GOHAPO) of the Change of Command Ceremony of Commander, Special Forces Regiment (Airborne) (SFR(A)) and Assumption of Command Ceremony of Special Operations Command (SOCOM), Philippine Army.
A change of Command Ceremony is a military tradition that present a formal transfer of authority and responsibility for a unit from one commanding officer to another. The passing of colors, standard and insignias from an outgoing commander to an incoming one ensures that the unit and its soldiers is never without official leadership, a continuation of trust, and also signifies an allegiance to the unit’s commander.
“First of all would like to greet the Officers, Enlisted Personnel, and the Civilian Employees of the 7th infantry Division, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year to all.  The 7ID had been known to its commitment and dedication in its mandate in serving the people in its area of responsibility.  The troops of 7ID had been very cooperative in giving their utmost service in helping the victims of typhoon Santi and typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban City.” Lt. Gen. Coballes said.
            “Foundations have been laid for the Army Transformation Roadmap (ATR); the AFP’s Internal Peace and Security Plan “Bayanihan” is now strongly felt by the Filipino people as we have established and is continually establishing partnership with international, national and local leaders and various stakeholders.  In line with the ATR, the Philippine Army will make a directive requiring every soldier to have their own Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK). This will help our troops especially to those assigned in field units to have an immediate response in the absence of Medical Team. Also, the issuance of new Combat Boots called “Field boots” is expected to be given to each soldier this coming 1st Quarter of the coming year.” Lt. Gen Coballes added.

            “This Yuletide Season may we show sympathy to the victims of calamities by making our Christmas Party Celebration simple and meaningful. Let us try to extend help for our people who are need in deeply. Since Christmas is about giving, let’s try to help them not only thru giving material gifts but also including them in our prayers that they may easily build their communities again.”  The Army Chief ended in his remarks.

Legarda: Filipino Communities Must Learn, Share Lessons from Yolanda

MANILA-Amid the ongoing recovery efforts in areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda, Senator Loren Legarda today urged the survivors to learn from the lessons brought by the disaster and share the same to others to be able to build back better communities and ensure resilient recovery.

In her recent meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Legarda, UN Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, stressed that communities anticipated and prepared for Yolanda, but the strength of the typhoon and the devastation it caused showed that much more needs to be done.

“Filipinos are a resilient people. Communities, headed by the local government heads, had taken precautionary measures to avert a disaster, but Yolanda showed more of the underlying risks in our communities. Some local government units have early warning systems, but what we must ensure is that all LGUs must put in place such system,” she explained.

The Senator said that the Philippines is ahead of other countries in terms of being DRR-literate especially with the help of two landmark laws—the Philippine Climate Change Act and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act—both recognized as among the best in the world. These policies, however, still need to be fully operational.

“Some local government units are making good use of these laws. A good example is Former Mayor Al Arquillano of San Franciso, Camotes Island, a UN Sasakawa Awardee. He evacuated residents of a highly vulnerable island ahead of time before Yolanda made landfall, resulting in zero casualties. Other LGUs should be likewise proactive. We cannot achieve full resiliency with piecemeal efforts, with only few communities working towards resilience,” she pointed out.

“We are greatly thankful for the support of the international community, led by the UN. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed solidarity with the Filipino people and has called on donor nations to keep their commitment and strengthen their support to the rehabilitation efforts in the affected areas. As a sign of our deep gratitude, it is fitting and is to our best interest that we work hard towards preventing disasters and strengthening resilience,” said Legarda.

“Let us make good use of the lessons we have learned from Yolanda and share this experience with other nations as we hope for a fruitful outcome of two important global events--the UN Climate Summit in 2014 and the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in 2015,” she concluded.

PNoy leads formal opening of TPLEX today

TARLAC CITY-President Benigno Aquino III will lead today the formal opening of the 88.85-kilometer Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) via an inaugural drive-trough in its Paniqui exit in Tarlac.
That portion brings to 23 kilometers the total length of the TPLEX that is operational following the opening of the 17-kilometer Phase 1A from Tarlac City to Victoria, Pura, then Gerona initially for free to the public.
At present, diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corporation (SMC) through its subsidiary and TPLEX concessionaire- Private Infra Dev Corporation, Inc. (PIDC) is working on the 27-kilometer stretch from Paniqui to Moncada in Tarlac then Carmen in Pangasinan including the construction of the 950-meter Agno viaduct.
PIDC eyes an April 2014 completion of this section, ahead of its December 2014 estimate.
By then, the two-hour travel time from Tarlac to Carmen will be cut to only 30 minutes.
Moreover, the remaining 25.83-kilometer part from Urdaneta, Pangasinan to Rosario, La Union will be completed by 2015.
From end-to-end, TPLEX will traverse 17 towns and two cities in the provinces of Tarlac, Pangasinan, La Union and Nueva Ecija.
It connects the Northern and Central provinces of Luzon to Metro Manila via the North Luzon and Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressways.
Originally designed as a two-lane road, SMC decided to upgrade the infrastructure to four lanes to ensure road safety and in anticipation of future traffic growth.
Once completed, it will cut travel time from Tarlac to La Union to only an hour. (Carlo Lorenzo J. Datu)

Sunday, December 22, 2013


MANILA-Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada bats for the institutionalization of fixed monthly salaries and better working conditions for the public utility bus drivers, in an effort to promote road safety, improve traffic flow and prevent deadly highway accidents.
Sen. Estrada’s proposal is contained in Senate Bill 1372 or the “Bus Drivers and Conductors Compensation Program.”
Jinggoy, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, says that under the current boundary and commission-based compensation, bus drivers outdo and compete with each other and with limited working hours in drawing commuting passengers to ensure a decent daily take home pay for the family.
Jinggoy believes this compensation setup breeds a number of inconvenient and unsafe travel conditions for road users like clogged road lanes due to indiscriminate loading of passengers, buses beating speed limits, drivers stretching the work hours for ‘bonus’ pay, among others.
Under Senate Bill 1372, salaries of bus drivers should not be less than the prevailing minimum wage rate and must include benefits and incentives.
“A simple computation will show that drivers currently earning P900 a day and working more than 12 hours a day for three days a week will receive almost the same income based on the minimum wage for working eight hours a day for six days a week. The difference is that under the proposed act, drivers will get enough rest while operators will spend almost the same amount for salaries,” Jinggoy says in the bill’s explanatory note.
The bill also requires the operators of public utility bus service to observe an eight-hour daily work scheme (including at least 1 hour rest period) and two-shift system.
Violators of the law shall be meted out a fine of 100,000 to 200,000 pesos, and suspension of the franchise to operate.
In a separate proposal also authored by Sen. Estrada, Senate Bill 1378 or the proposed “Comprehensive Assistance Program for Public Utility Vehicle Drivers Act” provides that all public utility bus drivers be covered by the Social Security System (SSS), Philippine Health Insurance System (Philhealth), Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG), and Employees Compensation Commission (ECC).
Senate Bill 1378 also seeks to implement a livelihood and credit assistance under Land Transportation Office and in coordination with the Cooperative Development Authority “to improve their socio-economic condition.”
Moreover, the bill asks the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in coordination with the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) to undertake a Continuous Education and Skills Development Training Program for public utility vehicle drivers “to enhance their basic and advanced driving competencies, and knowledge on maintenance procedures, driving preparation and post-driving procedure, road safety rules and accident response procedure.”

Saturday, December 21, 2013


- After the successful buy bust operation of PNP personnel which resulted to the seizure of 182 million pesos worth of Shabu from a Chinese National last month, Police Regional Office 3 under the stint of PCSUPT RAUL D PETRASANTA, RD, PRO3 once again proved that PRO3 is stern in its campaign against illegal drugs as a Taiwanese National was arrested in a buy bust operation and his illegal drug laboratory was discovered.
On December 20, 2013, at around 12:30 in the afternoon, joint elements of Bulacan PPO Intelligence Branch, Regional Intelligence Division of PRO3, RAIDSOTF3 and PDEA Region 3 conducted buy-bust operation at Nr 35 Catleya Street, Sta Rita Village, Barangay Sta Rita, Guiguinto, Bulacan which resulted in the apprehension of Liu-Zhihua alias Peter Tan Lee, Taiwanese National and a resident said place.
Prior to the apprehension of ZHIUHUA, one of the PDEA Agent acted as poseur buyer and bought 100 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) in exchanged for Php 200,000.00 marked money. While the transaction was on –going a few meters away from his rented house, he noticed the presence of other operatives which prompted him to run towards the house. After a brief chase, suspect was cornered inside his rented house and his illegal drug (shabu) laboratory was discovered.
Recovered inside the laboratory were different chemicals used in the manufacture of shabu to include the following: a) red phosphorous; b) potassium hydroxide; c) acetic acid; and, d) sodium carbonate. Also, other equipment were seized such as: suction flask and weighing scales. Based on the assessment of the PDEA Agents, the shabu laboratory has a capacity to produce 10 kilograms of shabu within 6 to 8 hours.
It was found out that a certain Johny TAN rented said house since September of this year.
ZHIUHUA and the seized items are presently under the custody of PDEA Region 3 for proper disposition.
            PCSUPT PETRASANTA was once again lauded the operating troops for their successful anti- illegal drug operations and said that series of operations on drug- supply reduction strategy will be carried out in the coming days to maximize efforts to eradicate the proliferation of illegal drugs in the region.

Legarda Welcomes UN Head Ban Ki-moon

Senator Loren Legarda, along with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario, speaks with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon upon his arrival in Manila on Friday night. Legarda, the UN Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, thanked the UN Secretary-General for the support given to the Philippines and the humanitarian assistance by various UN agencies for relief and early recovery in areas devastated by typhoon Yolanda. “We believe that his leadership will inspire all sectors to unite and do more, to do better, and to sustain the gains in DRR and CCA, towards building a more resilient nation,” said Legarda.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Drilon: Aquino’s speedy signing of 2014 budget means timely recovery for disaster-stricken areas

MANILA-Senate President Franklin M. Drilon today welcomed the signing of the P2.264 trillion 2014 General Appropriations Act by President Benigno S. “Noynoy” Aquino III, saying that the budget’s approval “should translate to the timely activation of urgently needed services, particularly the rehabilitation of calamity-stricken areas.”      

The Senate leader expressed elation over the speedy approval of the national budget, explaining that the president’s go-signal means that the funding appropriated to agencies involved in the ongoing relief and rehabilitation efforts “could be implemented and accessed in time by those who need them.”

Included in the 2014 budget are authorizations worth P100 billion intended for the completion of various relief and rehabilitation programs on regions of the country struck by natural and man-made disasters in the past, especially those in the Visayas region affected by the destruction left by super typhoon Yolanda, stressed Drilon.

It includes the P20 billion rehabilitation fund and another P80 billion under the unprogrammed fund, which shall serve as standby authority and ready authorization for spending for the foreign donations and grants for victims of typhoon Yolanda, he noted.

On top of the P100 billion, the Congress has allocated P13 billion in calamity fund and P4.8 billion in quick response fund. Earlier also, the Congress approved a P14.6 supplemental budget and extended the validity of the remaining P12 billion 2013 calamity funds by another fiscal year, Drilon added. All in all, there will be about P145 billion funds made available in 2014 for the government's rehabilitation of areas damaged by the past calamities, he noted.

“In crafting the budget, the Congress took into consideration the need for urgent aid to our countrymen burdened by the damages of disasters. The sizeable amount of funding is absolutely necessary to equip the government in fulfilling its responsibilities to those left helpless by the calamities,” Drilon pointed out.    

With the budget’s approval, Drilon then expressed optimism that the line agencies in the executive would be able to “maximize the allocated funding in service of the Filipino people, to whom the budget is wholly intended for.”

“We will exercise our oversight functions to ensure that every single peso in the budget goes towards the benefit of our countrymen,” assured Drilon.


CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija – The Year of the Water Snake in Nueva Ecija has been a mix of the good and the bad, with the province - the country’s rice granary getting battered by calamities that destroyed billions of crops - some former local officials getting linked to suspected pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles and the Umalis suffering contrasting fortunes in their respective electoral bids in May.

          The destruction wreaked by typhoon Santi in October topped all other news in the province over the past 12 months. The super howler killed at least three people and destroyed P3 billion worth of crops alone, not to mention damage to properties, toppling power lines and turning many areas in the province into virtual wastelands.

          The province was placed under a state of calamity and President Aquino was supposed to pay a visit when an earthquake struck Bohol, diverting Malacanang’s attention away.

          The province just barely survived Labuyo when Santi came. For three full weeks, the province was without power. 

          On the political front, Gov. Aurelio Umali and his wife, third district Rep. Czarina won third terms in their posts, the former pulling off his fourth poll victory over the Josons, the once proud and mighty dynasty that ruled the province for 48 years.

          A third Umali, Board Member Emmanuel Antonio, however, lost in his mayoral bid in Cabanatuan to five-term Mayor Julius Cesar Vergara in their highly anticipated duel preceded by a prolonged word war over the Highly Urbanized City bid being pushed by the incumbent mayor. In April, Vergara and his men were charged with theft before the city prosecutor’s office for allegedly stealing the video camera of a crew from TV 48 identified with the Umalis’ camp.

Emmanuel Antonio’s debacle dealt the Umalis – unbeaten since they entered politics a decade ago – their first electoral defeat.

          Aurelio’s running mate, Vice Gov. Jose Gay Padiernos also breezed through reelection and became the first non-Umali to beat a Joson in positions involving the Capitol.

          Year 2013 saw the emergence of new political stars in the province such as Estrellita Suansing of the first district who beat a Joson and Magnolia Antonino-Nadres of the fourth district who survived a disqualification case thrown against her by a political rival for being an American citizen.

          Womanization of Nueva Ecija politics has become a byword after several women politicians soundly defeated their male counterparts in the various elective posts. Three of four congressional districts are now ruled by women while three of five cities are now sitting as mayors, the most prominent of whom is Adrianne Mae Cuevas of the provincial capital Palayan where she defeated a former political kingpin who once reigned as mayor and congressman for three terms each.

          Shortly after getting reelected, the governor announced that his wife Czarina is seeking the governorship in 2016.

            The year saw the rise and fall of dynasties.

          The start of 2013 saw the appointment of a Novo Ecijano as the new provincial director of the Philippine National Police. Senior Superintendent Crizaldo Nieves assumed the post in January, replacing Walter Castillejos who has barely warmed his seat.
        Nieves, a native of Zaragoza town, survived an acid test with the generally peaceful and orderly conduct of the elections in spite of the fact that 60% of the cities and towns were tagged as hot spots and Governor Umali aired concern over the defective precinct count optical machines (PCOS).

          The months before and after the elections were marked by several incidents. Shortly after the polls, the municipal hall in San Antonio town got burned in a fire, leaving the new Mayor Antonino Lustre with no office.

Prior to the polls, the former three-term mayor of Gapan City, Ernesto Natividad, was arrested while undergoing dialysis treatment in a Manila hospital. He was believed to have gone into hiding after he was charged with multiple murder along with several others in connection with the attack on a cockpit arena owned by his political rival in 2006.

A flood of sympathy went his daughter Maricel’s way, catapulting the latter into a surprise victory over incumbent Mayor Christian Tinio. The younger Natividad would pull off another surprise, getting married to former San Leonardo mayor Froilan Nagano who just blew his congressional bid.

Violence erupted in Gapan in August when four persons were massacred following an attack by gunmen. The target of the attack, Emerson Pascual survived and tagged barangay chairman Montano Barlis as the one who shot his group. Barlis was later arrested while Pascual was later elected barangay chairman of Pambuan in October.

Later, the election officer of Gapan also got wounded in an ambush, prompting Padiernos to summon the local police to shed light on the situation. The police chief was later relieved.   

In May, forester Edgardo de Luna survived an attack by suspected illegal logging syndicates. He was again attacked in June and survived. He was later transferred to another region.

Power was cut off in Pantabangan town in March by the First Gen. Hydropower Corp. allegedly over the failure of the municipal government-owned Pantabangan Municipal Electrification System (Pames) to settle over P50 million worth of unpaid bills. It was the third power cut off in eight months and it was costly for the sitting mayor. who lost as a result.

Also in March, Vice Mayor Ester Lazaro assumed the post of Mayor of the Science City of Munoz after the sitting mayor, Efren Alvarez lost a graft conviction case before the Supreme Court. Alvarez later went missing after a warrant for his arrest was issued. His younger brother,  comebacking former three-term mayor Nestor, trounced Lazaro in the May polls.                           

Aside from Alvarez, quite a number of local officials also faced charges. Mayor Richard Ramos of Lupao, Mayor Lucio Uera of Pantabangan and others were slapped graft charges.

At least five former municipal mayors, four in southern Nueva Ecija, were identified as having requested in 2006 funding assistance from then-agriculture secretary Arthur Yap. The letters ended up with Napoles’ office at Discovery Suites. The ex-mayors denied receiving the funds.

Napoles was also said to have owned a resort in Cabiao town but local officials had no knowledge that it actually exists.

In July, Novo Ecijanos lost a kababayan in the Cabinet when Antonio Nangel was replaced as administrator of the National Irrigation Administration barely a week after getting scolded by President Aquino. His successor Claro Maranan later relieved six division managers in the province. (Manny Galvez)  


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