Friday, February 7, 2014

Ecija mayor eyes P2-M budget for CCTVs to stem crime wave in town

TALAVERA, Nueva Ecija – Mayor Nerivi Santos-Martinez has sought the allocation of P2 million for the purchase of close circuit television (CCTV) cameras to arrest the rising tide of crimes and improve the overall peace and order situation in the town.
          In a press briefing, Santos-Martinez said she has requested the Sangguniang Bayan, led by Vice Mayor Anselmo Rodiel III to earmark the amount for the acquisition of eight CCTVs to be installed in strategic places in the town amid the recent spate of  killings.
Santos-Martinez said the high-definition, wireless surveillance cameras will help immensely in improving the peace and order situation. “With these CCTVs, we expect to be able to solve and deter crimes,” she stressed.
The CCTVs, which will be interconnected through a central monitor, are also expected to advance the Philippine National Police’s quick dispatch, rapid response and better coordination, particularly during emergency situations, enhance monitoring of crowd movements and spot crime suspects.
The P2 million is contained in a P120-million loan application the municipal government is seeking with the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) to finance its various development projects included in the Annual Investment Plan for 2014. 
Santos-Martinez has asked the SB to pass an ordinance authorizing the proposed terms and conditions from the LBP.
Earlier, the mayor expressed her dismay over five unsolved killings which took place last month and urged the town police chief, Superintendent Reynaldo dela Cruz to run after the perpetrators of these crimes.
Among the unsolved killings were those of two vendors whose bodies were found inside the public cemetery last January 21, the shooting to death of a 71-year-old widower at Zone 5, Pag-asa District last January 18 and the gunslaying of a 62-year-old barangay kagawad in Barangay Mabuhay last January 5.
Santos-Martinez said in the scale of one to 10, she is giving dela Cruz a grade of 5 to 6 for his failure to solve these crimes. She said the municipal government is also providing the local police with a patrol car to improve its mobility in running after criminal elements.
          The municipal government’s plan to acquire CCTVs to combat crimes is apart from an earlier proposal of the provincial chapter of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines to set up the surveillance cameras in some 600 barangays of the province for its crime-busting drive.
          Last August, Penaranda Mayor Ferdinand Abesamis, LMP  provincial chapter president, said they will work on the proposal starting in his hometown where they are eyeing to set up CCTVs in nine barangays.

          Last April, Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali sought the installation of 10 CCTVs in strategic locations in the province to keep watch over criminal elements round-the-clock and boost security, particularly in the run-up to the May elections. – Manny Galvez

Ecija mayor alarmed over spate of murders, tells cops to ‘shape up’

TALAVERA, Nueva Ecija – Mayor Nerivi Santos-Martinez has expressed alarm over the spate of killings in this town and asked the local police force to shape up and solve these crimes.
          In a meeting of the local Peace and Order Council (POC), Santos-Martinez said the Philippine National Police (PNP) have yet to solve the killings of five local residents in January as she called on station commander, Superintendent Reynaldo dela Cruz to run after the suspects.
“We cannot afford for Talavera to have an image it is prone to crimes so we have to get to the bottom of this,” she told Dela Cruz.
She  said in the scale of one to 10, she is giving dela Cruz a grade of 5 to 6 for his failure to solve these crimes.
Among the unsolved killings were those of two vendors whose bodies were found inside the public cemetery last January 21, the shooting to death of a 71-year-old widower at Zone 5, Pag-asa District last January 18 and the gunslaying of a 62-year-old barangay kagawad in Barangay Mabuhay last January 5.
Santos-Martinez said it is essential for the local police to solve these crimes, otherwise the town’s image as an investments haven will be tarnished as a consequence.
She said the town is enjoying an investments boom, particularly with the passage of an investments code that offers tax holidays to prospective investors and which promises to generate jobs to the local people.
          “We are offering investors 100% tax-free incentive on their first year of operation and 50% tax exemption on the second year. Our efforts at inviting them might go to waste if our crime situation is far from encouraging,” she said.
          Dela Cruz, who was barely six months in his post, told newsmen he was not surprised to get a low grade from the mayor owing to the surge in killings. “I expected to have a low rating because the killings took place one after another,” he said.
          He said crimes cannot really be prevented and hinted the killing spree appears to be isolated incidents as these occurred only in January. 
He clarified that not many crimes in the town were unsolved. “For example, we already have a lead in the killing of the barangay kagawad in Mabuhay as well as the 71-year-old widower in Pag-asa District,” he said.
          He said there are other cases where they have filed charges in court against the perpetrators.
          Dela Cruz said that in spite of concerns aired over the recent spate of killings, there is no breakdown of law and order in the town and that it remains generally peaceful. He said that since he assumed his post last July, there were only two murder incidents recorded over the past five months before January in this town, which is highly populous with a population of 120,000.
          He showed newsmen the town’s crime statistics wherein only 10 murder incidents were recorded the entire year, accounting for less than 10 percent of the 122 crime incidents from January to December 2013.
          Other crimes include homicide (two incidents), physical injuries (37), rape (6), robbery (14), theft (36) and carnapping (17).
          Included in last year’s 10 murder cases was the shooting of the barangay chairman of Bulak whose relatives, Dela Cruz said, didn’t want to file cases for fear of the suspects who were gun-for-hires.
          Dela Cruz attributed their failure to solve some of the murder cases to the fact that the local police force is undermanned. He said they only have 50 policemen manning a population of 120,000, or a ratio of one  policeman per 2,000 population.
“This is way, way below the ideal ratio of one policeman per 500 population,” he said.
He said to augment the police force, they are tapping the assistance of tanods and other barangay peacekeepers as force multipliers. – Manny Galvez

Ecija LGU eyes P120-M loan to bankroll infra projects, solve traffic

TALAVERA, Nueva Ecija – Neophyte Mayor Nerivi Santos-Martinez is eyeing a P120-million loan to finance her fledgling administration’s various projects, including infrastructure that would help solve the pestering traffic problem in this town, considered one of the major bottlenecks in its growth and development.
          Santos-Martinez said the loan application with the Land Bank of the Philippines will bankroll projects contained in the town’s annual investments plan for 2014.
          Santos-Martinez has asked the Sangguniang Bayan led by Vice Mayor Anselmo Rodiel III to pass an ordinance approving the proposed terms and conditions for the projects that include road concreting, asphalt overlay, construction of classrooms and gymnasium and improvement of the public market among others.
          Foremost among the road projects are the concreting of the stretch from the national highway to Barangay Sampaloc and another stretch from the public market also leading to Sampaloc.
          Santos-Martinez said that the concreting of the twin road networks are crucial in addressing the traffic problem in the town’s main thoroughfares. Also to be asphalted are nine streets, two of which are linked to the national highway.
          Also included are the concreting of 16 barangay roads in Gulog, Poblacion Sur, Tabacao, Bacal 3, Bantug, Burnay, Esguerra, Homestead 2, Minabuyok, Pinagpanaan, Pula, Poblacion Sur, San Miguel na Munti and San Pascual.
          As part of her administration’s development agenda for education, Santos-Martinez said P13.1 million worth of classrooms will be constructed involving the P8-million two-storey classroom in Pag-asa District and three academic classrooms in barangays Sibul and Tabacao worth P2.5 million each.
          Thirteen gymnasia worth P29.7 million will also be erected in barangays Paludpod, Caputican, Calipahan, Homestead 2, Collado, Mamandil, Poblacion Sur, Burnay, Bagong Silang, Kinalanguyan, Gulod, Bugtong na Buli and Bulac while four stages worth P4.2 million will be constructed in barangays Tagaytay, Calipahan, Burnay and Poblacion Sur.
          Santos-Martinez said the municipal government is eyeing to improve the public market and slaughterhouse, acquire an ambulance, two service vehicles, eight close circuit television (CCTV) cameras and an amusement facility. – Manny Galvez

City dad survives grenade attack in house

GAPAN CITY – A city councilor here survived an attack by two motorcycle-riding men who lobbed a handgrenade at his house here at dawn yesterday.
          Senior Superintendent Crizaldo Nieves, provincial police director identified the councilor as Danilo de Guzman of Sampaguita St., Purok 2, Barangay Malimba this city.
          De Guzman, 57, is an ally of Mayor Maricel Natividad.
          Chief Superintendent Raul Petrasanta, regional director of the Philippine National Police Region 3 Office (PRO3), ordered Nieves to run after the suspects.
          Police said De Guzman and his family were inside the house when the suspects, riding in two separate motorcycles, hurled the handgrenade inside the residential compound then fled.
The suspects were caught in a close circuit television (CCTV) camera while throwing the grenade. The city official was unhurt.
          However, the impact of the explosion damaged the Toyota Corolla Altis and Nissan mini-dump truck parked in the garage.
          Polixw have not yet established the motive behind the attack.      

          It was the second attempt on his life. Last September, gunmen also broke into his compound and fired shots,  wounding him, his wife, Julieta and fish vendor Rizalino Perez.  – Manny Galvez

Congress leaders push stronger, better coordination to ensure speedy passage of priority bills

MANILA-Congressional leaders have agreed to bolster coordination between the House of Representatives and the Senate in order to expedite the passage of a wide range of priority legislation and boost overall legislative performance, according to Senate President Franklin M. Drilon.

Drilon said he, together with Senate Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, and Sen. Vicente Sotto, met with their counterparts in the House of Representatives led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales, and Minority Leader Ronaldo Zamora on Thursday to discuss legislative goals of the 16th Congress.

At the meeting, the top solons also discussed ways to ensure the faster passage of bill throughout the rest of 16th Congress, as well as how to better resolve possible differences and incongruencies in the legislative process, which impede the prompt passage of crucial measures.

“Both chambers are aware of several pending measures that need urgent legislative action, and the failure of Congress to enact them promptly would be detrimental to the cause being advocated by the government and to the welfare and overall development of the nation and the Filipino people, who would primarily benefit from these measures,” said Drilon.

“Of particular importance to us is the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law. If we can have the administration bill by May, we aim to pass it by the end of this year so that we can submit it for ratification in early 2015,” Drilon added.

The Senate chief said that current legislative priorities can be grouped broadly into anti-corruption and pro-good governance measures, and legislation aimed at boosting the country’s socio-economic condition.

“We have a lot of promising pieces of legislation, which once passed, would promote heightened transparency and accountability in public office, and implement long-sought reforms in the delivery of justice,” said Drilon.

Among these, he said, are the amendments to the Sandiganbayan law, the Freedom of Information Act, Whistle Blowers Protection Act, and amendments to the Witness Protection Act.

“At the same time, we are looking at several measures aimed at ensuring better macroeconomic and fiscal sustainability, and at improving the country’s overall competitiveness and business climate,” he added.

These measures include, among others, the fiscal incentives rationalization, amendments to the Cabotage Law and Land Use Policy, amendments to the EPIRA, the consumer protection act, the promotion of micro-enterprise development institutions, and the Marina bill.

“We will also prioritize bills that will foster development of the nation’s status on social protection, education and health,” Drilon further said. Among such measures are bills on 13th month tax exemption, the implementation of a national student loan program, and required picture-based health warnings on cigarette products.

The Senate leader said the passage of these bills will be ensured by a “coordinated and synchronized legislative strategy” to be implemented by both chambers.

“We are determined to move fast towards the realization of our long-standing legislative commitments, and we are aware that this requires that legislative productivity be maximized,” pointed out Drilon.

“In my more than 15 years in this chamber, I am witness to plenty of occasions where a certain bill passes or receives greater legislative attention in one chamber, but languishes in obscurity or in deadlock within the other chamber. These must be now dutifully avoided, and both houses have pledged to do so,” he stressed.

Drilon said it would require tremendous coordination between the two chambers to ensure the speedy passage of bills and keep track of legislative activities at both houses, and to avoid unnecessary deadlock from occurring, the congressional leaders have agreed to meet regularly every month “to synchronize and integrate their legislative activities.”

He added that both houses “have agreed to allot the most judicious amount of time and resources for each important measure, so that every exerted effort is spent towards the bill’s passage.” 


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