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One killed, three others injured in Bulacan firecracker blast

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Dec. 13 (PNA) - A firecracker factory worker died and three others were seriously injured when a Roman Candle accidentally sparked that resulted in a minor explosion at Purok 6, Barangay Sto. Nino, Baliuag, Bulacan over the weekend.

In a belated report reaching here, Senior Superintendent Fernando Villanueva, Bulacan police provincial director, identified the fatality as Antonio Santos, 44, a resident of Barangay Sto. Nino

Villanueva said those injured were Alvin dela Cruz, Rudy Mapalad and Rodel Marcelo, 25, also residents of the said barangay.

Reports said the victims were in the process of making Roman Candle when it accidentally sparked, causing sudden explosion and fire.

Santos and Dela Cruz were immediately taken to Sagrada Fatima Hospital while Mapalad and Marcelo to Marcelo Hospital, both in Baliuag town.

However, Villanueva said Santos, who sustained severe burns in the different parts of his body expired while being transferred to Jose Reyes Memorial Hospital in Manila.

The owner of the makeshift firecrackers factory identified as Arnaldo dela Cruz, 33, was immediately arrested by responding policemen.

Villanueva said appropriate charges are being readied in court against Dela Cruz. (PNA) 

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Hijacked cargo of household appliances recovered in Bulacan

MANILA, Dec. 12 (PNA) -- Bulacan police operatives raided a warehouse in Marilao on Thursday, resulting in the recovery of a large stash of expensive household appliances.

Quoting reports from the field, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr. said that elements of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office, Bulacan Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, and Bulacan Highway Patrol Team stormed a storage of suspected hijacked cargo at No. 90 Iglesia ni Cristo St., Sta. Rosa II, Marilao, Bulacan owned by Numeriano Cristobal.

Recovered were 22 units of Samsung refrigerators, 26 units of Samsung Slim Fit TV and a washing machine.

Investigation revealed that the recovered items were hijacked by six suspects wearing police uniform on Dec. 6 while being transported by Ximex Delivery Express on board a wing-type cargo truck along the East Service Road in Barangay San Martin De Porres, Marilao town.

The truck was later abandoned along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) in Barangay Sta. Rita, Guiguinto, Bulacan, but already without its cargo.

Cruz said the Bulacan PNP is now conducting follow-up operations to track down the hijackers while Cristobal is now under investigation. (PNA)

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Mayor vows to transform Pandi into a first class agricultural town

PANDI, Bulacan, Dec. 12 (PNA) -- Mayor Enrico Roque on Sunday called on his constituents to leave politics behind and support projects and program geared towards the transformation of this second class farming municipality into a progressive first class agricultural town.

Roque made the statement after the Bulacan Regional Trial Court dismissed last week the election protest filed by his closest rival Oliver Andres in the automated May 10 polls, for lack of merit.

Atty. Noel Roxas and Atty. Anicia Marquez, legal counsels of Roque, said the camp of Andres failed to show proof and evidence on his allegations that the May 10, 2010 automated election in this town were tainted with fraud and irregularities.

Roque won over Andres with 2,959 votes.

He said his administration has lined-up programs and project that will boost livelihood opportunities for the people of Pandi.

He also bared that various programs are now being implemented to improve and protect the farm industry in their town, where many livestock farms are located.

"Let us set aside politics. The court has already made the decision. The true will of the residents prevailed. It is now time to unite and work together in pushing the programs and projects geared towards the progress and development of our town," he said.

Last week, Roque, together with the mayors of Sta. Maria, San Jose del Monte and Paombong joined provincial officials led by Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado and Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando during a seminar against the proliferation of hot meat at the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center in Malolos City.

The mayor said Gov. Alvarado has called on the support of local executives in eradicating the shipment and selling of hot meat or “botcha” by putting more teeth on existing ordinances against hot meat.

He said his office and the local police, in coordination with the Provincial Agriculture Office and the Provincial Veterinary office, are presently conducting inspection on hog farms and at the same time are conducting operations in detecting the smuggling and shipments of double-dead meat.

He said the Provincial Veterinary Office has certified that pork meat coming from hog farms in their town is clean and safe. (PNA) 

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Election protest vs. Bulacan town mayor dismissed 

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Dec. 11 (PNA) -- The Bulacan Regional Trial Court (RTC) here has dismissed the election protest case filed against winning Pandi Mayor Enrico Roque by his rival Oliver M. Andres in the May 10, 2010 automated elections.

In a 25-page decision, Bulacan RTC Branch 79 Judge Olivia V. Escubio-Samar junked Andres’ election protest for lack of merit.

Lawyers Noel Roxas and Anicia Marquez, legal counsels of Roque, said the court also certified the proclamation of Roque as the winning mayor of Pandi and attested the automated counting is accurate.

Andres alleged that vote buying took place during the May 10 polls in the said town and accused Roque’s camp of perpetrating it.

The court, however, stated that not one of the eight witnesses had confirmed the allegation of vote buying, aside from the 31 other witnesses presented who signed affidavits admitting that the allegations were just “hearsay.”

Roxas and Marquez also said that witnesses also failed to support Andres’ allegation of cheating and other cases of election irregularities.

Roque welcomed the decision, saying the will of the people of Pandi has been justified.

He thanked his lawyers and supporters for rallying behind him.

He also said that this positive development will push him to work hard for the growth and development of the town and vowed to make it a first class municipality under his watch.

In his protest, Andres claimed that it was impossible for him to lose in his “bailiwick.” He also alleged that the automated polls did not effectively function in some voting precincts and that the machine-reading of the ballots were not accurate.

The court, however, did not give weight to Andres’ allegations due to lack of evidence.

Before the election case was filed, the Municipal Board of Canvassers of Pandi had proclaimed Roque as the winning mayoralty candidate by edging his closest rival Andres with 2,959 votes. (PNA) 

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Bulacan local officials vow to intensify campaign vs. illegal trade, transportation of 'botcha' 

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Dec. 9 (PNA) - Local officials headed by Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado have vowed to intensify efforts against transportation and trading of double-dead meat or "botcha".

During the Conference on Meat Safety dubbed as “Botcha, Botcha, Paano Ka Mapupuksa?” held at the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center in this city on Wednesday, Alvarado said the provincial government would add “more teeth” to the existing Provincial Ordinance 98-01 by amending some of its provisions including the penalty and punishment.

The governor also urged the stakeholders to protect not only the swine but also the livestock and fish industry as they are protecting the welfare of the Bulakenyos and Filipinos in general.

Likewise, he called the attention of Bulacan Philippine National Police (PNP) to intensely monitor and set up check points to immediately stop the illegal operation of meat traders.

“We must act together to stop the transportation and selling of hot meat and ensure that pork meat coming from Bulacan is clean and safe,” Alvarado said.

Meanwhile, Vice Governor Daniel Fernando, the PNP, and Bulacan Mayors’ League represented by Mayor Donato Marcos promised to do their share in the crackdown of illegal meat traders.

Acting provincial veterinarian Voltaire G. Basinang said that they have already established coordination with meat inspectors, slaughterhouse and market supervisors in preventing the smuggling and selling of hot meat.

Basinang also said that they regularly conduct inspections in the different hog farms particularly in the towns of Pandi, Sta. Maria, Angat, and San Jose del Monte City.

He also stressed that Bulacan’s markets are free from hot meat trading, adding that hot meat trading was observed only in the markets of Balintawak, Quezon City and Caloocan. (PNA)

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Bulacan gov urges local officials, law enforcers and hog raisers to unite vs hot meat 

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Dec. 8 (PNA) -- Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado on Wednesday called on local officials as well as stakeholders of the swine industry and law enforcers to band together in stamping-out the proliferation of hot meat or “botcha”.

Alvarado, during a conference aimed to address the smuggling of double-dead pork at the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center here, said the smuggling of hot meat being perpetrated by unscrupulous traders is not only endangering public health but is also highly detrimental to the swine industry in the province.

Bulacan supplies 60 percent of pork meat to Metro Manila areas.

"Sometimes, sacrifice is needed. They will earn but this will bounce back to the businessmen, particularly to those involved in the selling of hot meat," Alvarado said.

He told different associations of hog raisers that he suspect that “economic sabotage” could be behind the smuggling of hot meat in an attempt to manipulate the prices not only of pork meat but other livestock products as well.

“I don’t want to speculate on this (economic sabotage) but I think the best solution to this is the strict implementation of the law,” Alvarado said, adding that there are local and provincial ordinances that could pin-down those engaged in the smuggling of hot meat.

The governor also called on Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando and members of the Sangguniang Panglalawigan as well as the Mayors League of Bulacan headed by Paombong Mayor DonatoMarcos to come up with legislations that will increase the penalties —fines and imprisonment— on those involved in the selling of double dead meat or “botcha.”

He also called on the different association of hog raisers to “police their ranks” and be responsible in observing cleanliness and proper disposal of their dead animals.

He also reminded consumers to buy only meats inspected by authorized government agencies like the National Meat Inspection Services.

Alvarado said he has issued a marching order to Bulacan police director Sr. Supt. Fernando Villanueva to intensify their crackdown against hot meat, in coordination with the Provincial Veterinary office and the Provincial Agriculture Office.

“We must act together to stop the smuggling and selling of hot meat and ensure that pork meat coming from Bulacan is clean and safe,” he said.

At the same time, Alvarado announced that the provincial government is considering the procurement of new equipment that will detect livestock related diseases in Bulacan in a bid to protect and boost the livestock industry in the province.

Acting provincial veterinarian Voltaire G. Basinang said they have already established coordination with meat inspectors, slaughterhouse and market supervisors in preventing the smuggling and selling of hot meat.

Basinang said they are regularly conducting inspection on the different hog farms in the province which are mostly located in the towns of Pandi, Sta. Maria, Angat and San Jose del Monte City.

He said Bulacan’s markets are free from hot meat trading, adding that hot meat trading was observed in the markets of Balintawak, Quezon City and Caloocan.

Basinang said Bulacan has around 926,000 heads of hogs at any given point in time.

He said 80 percent of hog population belongs to commercial and semi-commercial hog farms while 20 percent are raised by backyard raisers. (PNA) 

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Bulacan marks Human Rights Consciousness Week

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Dec. 7 (PNA) -- In observance of the International Human Rights Week, the provincial government has lined up various activities that aim to raise the Bulakenyos’ consciousness of basic human rights in relation to the functions and services being offered by the government.

Provincial Legal Officer Atty. Jeff Cruz said the province will initiate film showings and seminars on student rights to be held at different schools and universities in the province starting December 6 to 10.

Cruz said representatives from the Commission on Human Rights Region (CHR) III will also give light to the topics as they serve as speakers in the seminars.

In his regular message in a flag raising ceremony at the Capitol Gymnasium here, Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado affirmed his continuous respect, protection and support to the programs that will help protect the human rights of every Bulakenyos.

Meanwhile, the CHR, as the lead agency for the celebration, urged all government agencies and institutions to put in more meaning to this year's commemoration pursuant to Republic Act 9201 of 2002. (PNA) 

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Bulacan gov steps up drive vs hot meat

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Dec. 6 (PNA) - The provincial government has stepped-up measures to stop the smuggling of hot meat or “botcha” and to protect the local hog industry in the province.

Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado said he will hold a meeting on Wednesday with stakeholders of the local swine industry as well as law enforcement units and line agencies to address the distribution of hot meat or “botcha” in the different public markets not only in the province but also in the National Capital Region.

“We will discuss the matter with local hog raisers and other stakeholders on Wednesday because we are duty bound to protect the industry and consumers alike,” Alvarado said.

The governor noted that the proliferation of hot meats usually comes up during the holiday season.

He said this bad practice by unscrupulous traders is not only illegal but also endangers public health.

“Dead hogs should be incinerated and buried. Double dead or hot meat is not fit for human consumption so their sale or distribution must be stopped,” the governor said.

Alvarado said this practice could also destroy the local hog industry in the province, which supplies 60 percent of pork meat to Metro Manila.

“We must ensure that all pork coming from Bulacan and being distributed in the Metro Manila area are safe, otherwise, our local hog raisers will suffer,” Alvarado said.

The governor also announced that the provincial government will procure sophisticated equipment that will be used in analyzing livestock–related diseases so that the problem can be resolved immediately without sending specimens in laboratories abroad.

Alvarado also instructed the Bulacan Police Provincial Office headed by Senior Supt. Fernando Villanueva to intensify their crackdown on hot meats and strictly monitor, in coordination with the concerned government agencies, the transport of meats coming from various farms in the province.

Only last week, police intercepted two FX vans loaded with hot meat and three sick pigs in Barangay San Vicente in Sta. Maria town.

Police said the hot meat was bound to public markets in Metro Manila.

Villanueva said some unscrupulous traders are getting dead pigs from farms and instead of burying them, they sold it to their contacts in Metro Manila.

He said three live pigs that appears to be sick were also found at the said vans.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Agriculture Office disclosed that hot meats do not only comes from Bulacan but also from other provinces in Central and Southern Luzon. (PNA) 

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IBP-Bulacan holds 1st 'Legalympics' 

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Dec. 4 (PNA) -- Judges, prosecutors, lawyers and other court personnel in this province left the courthouse Friday afternoon as they competed in the first “Legalympics,” a year-end sportsfest initiated by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Gat Marcelo H. Del Pilar (Bulacan) Chapter at the Capitol Gymnasium here.

Atty. Renato “Jun” Samonte Jr., IBP-Bulacan president, said “Legalympics” does not only aim to keep major players in the judiciary physically fit but also to foster camaraderie among lawyers, judges, prosecutors, court personnel and even jail guards.

Various teams from different branches of the judiciary competed in events like three-on-three basketball, 50-meter dash, baton relay, and other parlor games.

Samonte said Team IBP-Bulacan wants the occasion to have a ‘fiesta-like’ atmosphere.

“We didn’t just limit it to the lawyers of the community itself but we also extended it to other collateral government offices,” he said, adding that Team IBP is hopeful that “Legalympics” would become a yearly event.

Former IBP-Bulacan president Atty. Jose “Peng” Dela Rama Jr. also said the sportsfest became momentous with the presence of Executive Secretary and Dangal ng Lipi awardee Atty. Paquito “Jojo” Ochoa, a native son of Pulilan, Bulacan and a member of IBP-Bulacan Chapter, Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando and Provincial Administrator Jim Valerio. (PNA) 
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Bulacan to launch program to address global warming in schools

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Dec. 3 (PNA) - The provincial government of Bulacan is now preparing the school community, particularly those in the high school level, on how to respond to the adverse effects of climate change.

Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando will lead on Monday the launching of the 1st School Hydrological Information Network (SHINE) Conference, an innovative program geared towards enhancing disaster awareness of the school populace.

Alvarado, who is also the chairman of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC), said that the School Hydrological Information Network (SHINE) is one major program aimed at addressing the issues on global warming, particularly focusing on the awareness to hydro-meteorological-related disasters as result of changes in climate.

He said the SHINE’s main objective is to enhance disaster awareness of the school populace and prevent loss of life and protect property by achieving and maintaining a high-level of school preparedness.

The Bulacan SHINE Program is a joint activity initiated by the Provincial Government of Bulacan thru its Provincial Disaster Management Office (PDMO) and the Department of Education (DepEd) of Bulacan with the continued support and guidance of the Pampanga River Flood Forecasting & Warning Center (PRFFWC) of PAGASA.

Provincial administrator Jim Valerio said that the activity is another way of supporting the DepEd’s thrust in its program on “climate change” enhanced curriculum.

This is consistent with the underlying principle that disaster awareness should begin in schools, Valerio said.

“With the growing concern on global warming and its adverse impacts to the environment and an extreme change in climate, it is but timely that schools, particularly the secondary level, get seriously involved in this issue in order to be able to understand what the situation will be and in response possibly formulate (doable) mitigating or adaptable ways in their own capacity and level to address this issue,” Valerio added.

Felicisima L. Mungcal, executive officer of PDRRMC, said School Rainfall Observation stations will be put up at the Akle High School, Dona Remedios Trinidad High School, John J. Russell High School, Angat National High School, Tabok, F. Halili High School, Vedasto R. Santiago High School, Norzagaray National High School, San Jose del Monte High School and Binagbag High School.

Mungcal said the program will also support community information through the Community-based (Local) Flood Warning System and the community’s disaster awareness programs. (PNA)

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Police intercept 2 vans loaded with hot meats in Bulacan

STA. MARIA, Bulacan, Dec. 2 (PNA) - Police intercepted two FX vans loaded with hot meats called "botcha" in Barangay San Vicente here Wednesday afternoon.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Fernando Villanueva said a joint police team from the Sta. Maria police station headed by Supt. Marcos Rivero and the Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG) from Police Regional Office 3 based in Camp Olivas, Pampanga arrested the drivers of the vans for transporting carcasses of double dead pigs.

The drivers were identified as Rodolfo Pascual and Danilo Bondoy, both natives of Albay province.

Villanueva said the hot meat was bound for public markets in Metro Manila when the police teams intercepted them.

He said that an informant tipped off the police that dead pigs would be smuggled out from farms, mostly located in this town and in the neighboring town of Pandi.

Villanueva said some unscrupulous traders are getting dead pigs from farms and instead of burying them, they sell these to their contacts in Metro Manila.

He said three live pigs that appeared to be sick were also found at the said vans.

The RSOG team said that Central Luzon police regional director Chief Supt. Allan Purisima have directed their unit to augment local policemen in intensifying their crackdown against the delivery and selling of hot meats.

Appropriate charges will be filed against the arrested drivers while the seized hot meats will be burned or buried. (PNA) 

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Bulacan 'Carnap King' surrenders

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan Nov 11 (PNA) -- Slippery no more.

Alleged “Carnap King” Raymond Dominguez surrendered on Thursday afternoon to the Bulacan Provincial Prosecutor’s Office after years of evading lawmen and leading a life of notoriety as the leader of the dreaded “Dominguez (Carnapping) Group.”

The Dominguez group is a well-organized and heavily-armed criminal gang engaged in carjacking, hijacking and robbery-holdup activities in Central and Southern Luzon and in the National Capital Region.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Fernando Villanueva said Dominguez’s brother Roger, alias “Ogie,” also an alleged member of the same gang who was detained at the Bulacan provincial jail after getting arrested last August, facilitated his surrender in coordination with the Bulacan Police Provincial Office and the Provincial jail warden.

Roger said his brother decided to surface to clear his name and face several criminal charges pending at the Bulacan Regional Trial Court.

He said he was fearing for the safety of his brother as different police units have turned the heat against the Dominguez Group.

Roger also said that Dominguez, 26, resident of Barangay Iba Este, Calumpit, Bulacan, also wanted to clear the name of actress Kristina Paula who was earlier linked to him and in their group’s criminal activities.

Paula had earlier denied that she is the live-in partner of Dominguez as well as having any participation in the gang’s illicit activities.

Shortly after he voluntarily surrendered on Thursday afternoon, Dominguez was detained with other 70 inmates at the Bulacan Provincial Jail.

Sources said Dominguez wanted to be transferred to either the holding area at the provincial police headquarters at Camp Gen. Alejo Santos or in Camp Crame after reportedly receiving threats for his life.

The 26-year-old good-looking leader of the carjacking gang, who had figured in several armed encounters with Bulacan policemen in the past years, pleaded not guilty when he was arraigned for several criminal charges pending before the sala of Bulacan RTC Branch 11 Judge Basilio R. Gabo Jr.

Villanueva said that Dominguez has a standing warrant of arrest in Criminal Case No. 2787-M-2009 issued by Judge Gabo dated Sept. 16, 2009 with no bail recommended.

Dominguez has also several warrants of arrest for criminal charges ranging from carnapping, carnapping with homicide, robbery with violence and intimidation, and theft.

It was also learned that Dominguez is one of the accused in Criminal Case No. 695-M-2006 for Violation of Republic Act No. 6539 filed at Bulacan RTC Branch 20 in Malolos City, Bulacan and also one of the accused in Criminal Case Nos. 3010-M-2007, 3011-M-2007, 3012-M-2007 and 3009-M-2007 filed at the Bulacan RTC for Violation of PD 1866 (Omnibus Election Code) and Violation of R.A. 9165, Section 11s and 15, together with her alleged girlfriend Jocelyn Alvaro y Torres.

He is also said to be the spotter and locator of the group.

In November 2008, Dominguez and some cohorts figured in an encounter with Bulacan policemen in Bocaue town.

In that incident, police said Dominguez managed to elude arrest after his cohorts opened fire at pursuing lawmen.

However, one of the gang’s members, Victor Felipe Guinto, was wounded and was later declared dead on arrival at the Roganciano Mercado Memorial Hospital in nearby Sta. Maria town.

Sources also disclosed that the group is directly involved in the taking of high-ends motor vehicles. Their main style is the taking of target vehicle by means of force and at gun point.

Police intelligence sources also said that “the Dominguez Group is well-organized and fully armed with different types of high caliber firearms, two-way radios, and frequency finder. They are also using high-end motor vehicles during their operation.”

Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado was visibly glad after learning of the surrender of one of the most wanted persons in Bulacan.

He commended the Bulacan police for vigilantly pursuing criminals and lawless elements and for efficiently maintaining an atmosphere of peace and order in the province. (PNA)

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Bulacan pyro makers urged to produce safe, good quality fireworks 

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Nov. 27 (PNA) -– Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado on Saturday urged legitimate manufacturers of fireworks in the province to produce safe, good-quality products and strictly follow safety measures and guidelines to prevent accidents and improve the local pyrotechnics industry.

At the same time, Alvarado instructed the Bulacan Police Provincial Office headed by police director Senior Supt. Fernando Villanueva to continue conducting inspections on factories and stores and see to it that regulations are strictly observed.

The governor also directed Villanueva to arrest illegal manufacturers, especially those engaged in making banned and killer types of firecrackers and those employing minors.

“Many people are also dependent on the local fireworks industry, which is one of the major industries identifiable with Bulacan. I believe our local manufacturers can produce safe and good quality fireworks like those being presented in aerial fireworks displays. It’s just a matter of proper management and discipline,” Alvarado said, adding that the province of Bulacan is considered as the “hub” of the local pyrotechnics industry.

He also noted that most explosions occurred in makeshift shops and clandestine factories, some of which are even located in populated areas.

“We have constituents who are investing in pyrotechnics business and some of them manufacture the firecrackers right in their own homes. We only found out that there was an illegal manufacturer when explosion occurred. Safety measures should be taken. There are safety regulations as stipulated in our law in manufacturing firecrackers which should be observed to avoid accidents,” he said.

Some big pyrotechnics companies like Dragon Fireworks have factories located in remote villages in the towns of San Rafael and Sta. Maria.

Local manufacturers, both legitimate and illegal, also have smaller shops in the two towns as well as in Bocaue, San Ildefonso, Baliuag, and Angat.

In the past years, powerful and deadly explosions had levelled shops and stores that also resulted in many deaths and injuries to scores of people.

Early this month, a 54-year-old woman died while eight other workers were injured after a powerful explosion rocked a clandestine fireworks factory in Barangay Marungko, Angat town.

Engineer Celso Cruz, chairman emeritus of the Philippines Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association Inc. (PPMDAI), agrees that the local fireworks industry can be globally competitive, adding that the PPMDAI, in coordination with other government agencies, has been conducting training and safety seminars on the safe and quality-oriented production of pyrotechnics products in the country.

“We have the manpower, the technology and good craftsmanship of local fireworks-makers. We only have to develop safe and adequate facilities and properly train the workers. The firecracker workers should be properly trained and skilled. There should be a system to avoid accidents, ” Cruz said.

Meanwhile, Bocaue police chief Supt. Ronaldo de Jesus said that fireworks stalls without fire fighting equipment like fire extinguishers, sand bins and water drums will be closed.

He also said that the police are strictly enforcing the “no smoking and testing” policy near fireworks stores, most of which are located along the municipal road in Barangay Turo. (PNA) 

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Bulacan cops intensify crackdown on illegal fireworks shops

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, Nov. 26 (PNA) - Police authorities have intensified their crackdown against illegal manufacturers of firecrackers and pyrotechnics devices, particularly in the towns of Bocaue and Sta. Maria where most fireworks shops are located.

Bulacan police director Sr. Supt. Fernando Villanueva said police authorities in the said towns and in other municipalities - where production of firecrackers is now in its peak due to the high demand for the Christmas season - are conducting daily inspections to see to it that manufacturers and dealers are strictly complying with the safety and zoning guidelines.

"While we consider the livelihood aspect of the fireworks industry, we must also ensure the safety of the public," Villanueva said.

He said that the "no testing and no smoking" policy is being strictly implemented along stores mostly found in the towns of Bocaue, Sta. Maria, Baliuag and San Ildefonso.

He also said that police personnel, in coordination with the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and local government units (LGUs), are conducting safety awareness campaign along fireworks stores.

He added that posters are being put up in stores reminding buyers and shop owners on the safe use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnics products.

Meanwhile in Bocaue town, police arrested eight persons while illegally making skyrockets and "5 star" firecrackers in the villages of Igolot and Bunlo Thursday afternoon.

Supt. Ronaldo De Jesus, Bocaue police chief, that the arrested workers have no permits to manufacture firecrackers.

He also said that four of the arrested workers were engaged in making banned types of firecrackers like "5 Star."

De Jesus said that the clandestine factory does not only endanger the safety of the workers but also the adjacent neighborhood.

They lack safety equipment like fire extinguishers. It is not only the safety of workers that would be endangered but also the people residing near the areas where they manufacture firecrackers, de Jesus said.

He said that charges for violations of Republic Act 7183 otherwise known as the "Firecracker Law" will be filed against the arrested suspects. (PNA) 

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Bulacan cops attend responsible parenthood seminar

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, Nov. 22 (PNA) --The Bulacan Police Provincial Office has lined up activities that aims to make police personnel good parents to their children.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Fernando Villanueva said the Bulacan PNP-Police Community Relations Branch headed by Supt. Lailene Amparo conducted a seminar on responsible parenthood in coordination with the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office and the Bulacan State University.

The seminar which was held at the Post Conference Room (PCR) of the BPPO building at the provincial police headquarters here was attended by PCR staff, police non-commissioned officers (PNCOs) and representatives from the different municipal and city police stations in Bulacan.

A lecture on “Me As A Parent” and “Me and My Family” was discussed by Paciencia V, Morada, community affairs officer of District IV of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) while Restita V Francisco, director of Extension Services and Center for Human Rights of Bulacan State University tackled and discussed the topics “Knowing and Understanding My Adolescent, “Ways to Get along With My Adolescent” and “Harnessing My Adolescent with Life Shells”.

Villanueva said the seminar will guide PNP personnel to be responsible parents in raising their kids even while they are working and rendering public service. (PNA) 

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One dead, 8 hurt in Bulacan firecracker factory blast

MANILA, Nov. 16 (PNA) – Police authorities are hunting down the owners of the illegal firecracker factory that exploded on Monday night in Bulacan, which resulted in the death of one worker and the wounding of eight other people, including two minors.

Bulacan Provincial Police Office (PPO) director Senior Supt. Fernando Villanueva said that police teams had been dispatched to hunt down spouses Allan and Beverly Sarmiento.

Villanueva said the Sarmineto couple were tagged as the owner of an illegal firecracker factory which exploded at around 8:30 p.m. on Monday in Sitio Tugatog, Barangay Marungko in Angat town, Bulacan.

”Follow up operations are being undertaken for the arrest of the suspects,” said Villanueva.

Charges of reckless imprudence resulting to homicide and multiple physical injuries and illegal business operations are now being prepared against the couple whose factory was not covered by any permit or license.

The explosion resulted in the killing of Linda Reyes, a worker at the illegal firecracker factory. She was brought to the Norzagaray General Hospital for treatment but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Wounded were Edgardo Padua, 17; Gena Biarcal, 33; Juvilyn Alvarez, 16; Angelita Dizo, 45; Julia Aspe, 30; Alejandro Cruz, 36; Angelito Cruz, 30, and Wiwi Lorenzo 30.

“All injured persons were brought to the different hospitals,” said Villanueva.

Initial investigation revealed the explosion of the stockpile of pyrotechnics was caused by ignited fuse. (PNA)

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Bulacan province in top 5 of 2010 FutureGov Awards 

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan, Nov. 15 (PNA) -- The provincial government of Bulacan has gained global recognition after being included in the Top 5 of FutureGov Awards 2010 for Business Process Category held at Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia recently.

Engineer Rhea Liza Ramos, head of the Provincial Information Technology Office, said the province has been recognized as one of the best in the Financial Management Information System for its efficient system in the integration of functions of financial offices --budget, accounting, assessment and treasury.

Ramos also said the province bested other 869 information technology (IT) innovation entries from various Asia Pacific countries.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said this recognition is an indication of the continuous efforts of the provincial government to create and adopt IT innovations that are at par with international standards.

Prior to this, Bulacan also made it in the Top 5 of last year’s competition with the Bulacan Hospitals Information System as the official entry in the Data Centre Category.

The FutureGov Awards is an international benchmark by which public sectors including government, education and healthcare organizations in Asia Pacific and Gulf States, are recognized for their outstanding information technology innovations and projects. (PNA) 

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Sy-Alvarado elected as Bulacan congresswoman

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Nov. 14 (PNA)--Finally, after more than four months of waiting, residents in the province’s first district has a representative in Congress.

Maria Victoria “Marivic” Sy-Alvarado, wife of Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, was re-elected as congressional representative of the first district of Bulacan, beating former Governor Roberto Pagdanganan and four others in the special polls held last Saturday.

Lawyer Sabino Mejarito, provincial election supervisor, said that the Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBOC) proclaimed Congresswoman-elect Alvarado around 5 a.m. Sunday.

Based on the results of the special elections, Alvarado garnered a total of 95,625 votes while Pagdanganan, her closest rival, only got 41,658 votes.

Other candidates like former Malolos Mayor Danilo Domingo earned 1,032 votes, former first district Rep. Jun Aniag had 400, Tomas Valencia had 271 while Francisco Cruz had 63.

Of the six candidates, only Alvarado and Pagdanganan actively campaigned in the seven-day campaign period.

Domingo and Aniag have earlier withdrawn their candidacies, while Valencia and Cruz did not stage a campaign.

All six names appeared in the printed ballots used on the special polls last Saturday.

Mejarito said that the voter turn out was lower than they expected as only 139,049 out of the total registered voters of 341,368 came out to cast their vote in Saturday’s special polls.

The provincial elections office said that the turnout was only 40.73 percent.

Sy-Alvarado thanked her provincemates for their continuing trust and support.

She said she would further boost her programs on education, health, livelihood and infrastructure in their district.

Pagdanganan, on the other hand, said that he would no longer seek an elective post in government.

“I offered my services to my kababayan and they voted the other way.I will now focus on the private sector where I came from,” he said.

He also said that he hoped that the concerns on flooding, healthcare, and irrigation of farmers in the first district would be addressed by the elected congresswoman.

Bulacan police director Sr. Supt. Fernando Villanueva said that the conduct of the special polls was “very, very peaceful and orderly.” (PNA)

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Low turnout of voters noted in Bulacan special polls

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Nov. 13 (PNA) -- “I leave their fate to God.”

After uttering such words, a registered male voter in Barangay Sumapang Matanda here flipped a coin and then entered a polling precinct where he and other voters cast their votes into the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines to elect their congressman in the first congressional district of Bulacan on Saturday.

The congressional race in the first district has turned into a one-on-one contest between reelectionist Congresswoman Maria Victoria “Marivic” Alvarado, wife of Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, and former Bulacan Governor Roberto “Obet” Pagdanganan.

Last Friday, the Sangguniang Panglalawigan ng Bulacan issued Provincial Ordinance No. 082-T’10 declaring November 13, 2010 (Saturday) as a special non-working holiday for the said special elections.

As of noontime, there seemed to be a low turnout of voters in several voting precincts in this historic capital city and in some parts of Hagonoy town.

“Siguro tinamad na sila dahil katatapos lang ng Barangay at Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections (Probably, they were feeling tired since the Barangay and SK elections had just taken place),” said Joel dela Cruz, a resident of Barangay Sumapang Matanda.

Dela Cruz also said that this was the third time he voted this year — the first one during the May 10 national and local elections and the second during the recent Barangay and SK polls.

Dan Orendain, chief of the Civil Security Unit of the Provincial Capitol, said that some inmates at the Bulacan Provincial Jail who are registered voters in the 1st district, were also allowed to cast their votes.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Fernando Villanueva said the special elections in the province’s first district was generally peaceful.

He said that police teams were deployed and assigned to man the Security Assistance Desks (SADs) in the different polling precincts in the City of Malolos and in the towns of Calumpit, Bulakan, Hagonoy, Paombong and Pulilan to ensure the conduct of honest, orderly and peaceful elections.

He also said that the total gun ban policy and liquor ban are being enforced in the said areas. (PNA) 

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Gun ban remains enforced in areas where special elections are scheduled

MANILA, Nov. 11 (PNA) – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Raul Bacalzo on Thursday ordered all police units in areas where special elections are scheduled on Nov. 13 to continue implementing intensified security operations, including the gun ban.

Bacalzo ordered all police units in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Basilan and some parts of the 1st District of Bulacan, where special elections are scheduled on Saturday, to continue to enforce the election gun ban until Nov. 28 as prescribed under Commission on Elections (Comelec) Resolution No. 9072.

Bacalzo, through PNP Director for Operations Chief Supt. Josefino Cataluña, has issued a memorandum directing all police units in these areas to sustain checkpoint operations and police visibility patrols to preempt possible outbreak of election-related incidents and to control the movement of persons carrying firearms.

“It is necessary to establish COMELEC checkpoints to effectively implement said rules and regulations (on gun ban),” said the Comelec in the en banc resolution.

Synchronized Barangay and SK elections will be held in the island-province of Basilan and in eight municipalities of Lanao del Sur after the Oct. 25 elections had been postponed due to logistical and security concerns.

On the other hand, special elections will be held in the 1st District of Bulacan where there was failure in holding the automated national and local elections last May 10.

Elsewhere across the country, the nationwide gun ban in connection with the Oct. 25 Barangay and SK elections was lifted on Wednesday upon culmination of the 45-day election period. (PNA)

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Two hijackers killed in shootout with HPG team in Pampanga

MANILA, Nov. 8 (PNA) – Two suspected hijackers were killed during a shootout with police operatives in Pampanga province early Monday morning, a ranking police official said.

Police Highway Patrol Group director Chief Supt. Leonardo Espina said the suspects, whose identities are yet to be established, engaged elements of the HPG's Task Force Limbas-Special Operations Division, led by Supt. Ronald Lee, in a shootout in Bacolor town.

Espina said the successful operation was launched after the police operatives were alerted by victim Jojo Padilla, whose Izusu truck with license plate numbers PRH-552 was hijacked by the suspects along 5th Avenue in Caloocan City at around 10 p.m. Sunday.

Espina said Lee immediately deployed mobile and duty teams from his unit to conduct operations to recover or intercept the hijacked truck.

At around 1 a.m. Monday, the stolen truck was sighted entering the Malinta toll gate of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). This prompted elements of Task Force Limbas to conduct pursuit operations and immediately coordinated with Bulacan and Pampanga provincial police offices.

The suspects were eventually cornered along the portion of MacArthur Highway in Bacolor town where they ignored a police checkpoint and fired at the lawmen, sparking an intense running gun battle that resulted in the killing of the two hijackers.

Espina said the two suspects were positively identified by Padilla as the ones who forcibly took his truck.

Recovered from the suspects were two caliber .45 pistols.

Espina said HPG investigators are still determining the possible affiliations of the slain suspects to organized hijacking syndicates operating in Metro Manila and adjacent provinces. (PNA)

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Coed accuses Bocaue college principal of sexually abusing her

BOCAUE, Bulacan (PNA) --The principal of the night shift high school department of a college school here will spend All Saints Day behind bars after police arrested him when an 18 years old female student accused him of allegedly sexually molesting her.

Supt. Ronaldo de Jesus, Bocaue police chief, identified the arrested suspect as Edgardo Tolentino, 41, a resident of Marilao, Bulacan and principal of the night shift high school department of Dr. Yanga Colleges in Barangay Wakas here.

Bocaue policemen arrested Tolentino after the teenage victim (name withheld) went to the Bocaue police station Friday afternoon and reported that she was allegedly sexually molested by his teacher.

The suspect did not resist arrest and is now under police custody.

De Jesus said that aside from being the principal of the night shift high school, the suspect also holds several positions at Dr. Yanga Colleges.

The suspect, according to De Jesus, is also the concurrent director of the school’s Student Personal Services Office and a faculty member of the college department.

He said the victim told police investigators that the suspect ordered her to report to his office on Friday morning. Once inside the office, the victim said the suspect allegedly began touching her private parts, mashing her breast and touching her sex organ.

The victim also told investigators that she decided to report her ordeal because she was afraid that her teacher will again molest her.

De Jesus said that appropriate charges would be filed against the suspect. (PNA)

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