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DECEMBER 2015

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Bulacan police keeping tight watch on firecracker law violators

BOCAUE, Bulacan, Dec. 31 (PNA) -- Police have deployed additional operatives that will track down illegal vendors clandestinely selling killer types of firecrackers as revelers begin to come in droves in fireworks stores here, known as the "fireworks capital" of the country.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina said Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado has instructed the provincial police force to ensure that the oversized and killer firecrackers will not be sold and used in welcoming the new year.

He said that police chiefs have deployed agents to track down back-pack carrying vendors selling banned firecrackers like “Goodbye Philippines,” “Bin Laden,” “Ampatuan,” “Kabase," “Pla-Pla,” and other killer firecrackers.

Divina said that the intensified crackdown against violators of Republic Act 7183 otherwise known as the “Firecracker Law” has forced some unscrupulous traders to market their illegal noisemakers through the “bulong” (whisper) system.

“These so called back-pack traders are either carrying those highly dangerous merchandise or prodding customers where to get powerful firecrackers. We are keeping a tight watch on them,” he said.

Divina also announced the arrest of three persons, including a woman, caught making killer types of firecrackers inside a house in Barangay Ibayo, Marilao town Wednesday afternoon.

Police identified the arrested suspects as Ernesto Dela Cruz, 68, tricycle driver, native of Saluysoy, Meycauayan City, Bulacan and a resident of No.188 Purok 2, Barangay Ibayo, Marilao, Bulacan; Andrea Bangabanga, 37, street sweeper, native and resident of No. 191 Purok 2, Barangay Ibayo, Marilao, Bulacan and Benedicto Pineda, 44, driver, native and resident of No. 10 Bluebell St., Marmulan, Barangay Lambakin, Marilao, Bulacan.

Divina said suspects Dela Cruz and Bangabanga were arrested after being caught in the act of manufacturing assorted illegal firecrackers inside the house of one alias “Itok” in Barangay Ibayo, Marilao, Bulacan.

Confiscated from their possession were 191 pieces of finished products of “pla-pla,” “de bola,” and “trianggulo” placed inside three boxes and sack.

Consequently, the suspects, together with the confiscated pieces of evidence, were brought to Marilao Police Station for proper disposition.

At around 6 p.m. last Dec. 29 in Lias Road, another operation was conducted by the police that resulted to the arrest of Pineda who was caught in the act of selling/retailing assorted illegal firecrackers at his stall.

Confiscated from Pineda were 17 packs with 10 small boxes each pack of “piccolo;” 77 pieces of “bawang,” and 297 pieces of "whistle bomb,” with a total of 391 pieces of assorted products displayed at his stall.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association, Inc. (PPMDAI) said that their group are constantly telling their buyers to buy only safe and branded firecrackers and do away with using the killer types.

“All our members underwent trainings and only those legal are being manufactured and sold based on the provision of the law and guidance of the PNP-Civil Security Group,” said PPMDAI president Lea Alipide.

Alipide and PPMDAI chairman emeritus Engr. Celso Cruz said those who did not attend the safety training seminars were not given permits and licenses to manufacture and sell fireworks.(PNA) 
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Police, emergency teams deployed along pyro stores in Bocaue

BOCAUE, Bulacan, Dec. 29 (PNA) -- As sales of fireworks and pyrotechnics devices began to surge, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado instructed the Bulacan police to remain vigilant and continue to intensify their crackdown against prohibited firecrackers, especially the killer types and ensure the peaceful celebration of the New Year.

Alvarado said that the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) has also deployed firefighters with fire trucks and ambulances with paramedics along Barangay Turo here where rows of fireworks stalls are located on a 24/7 basis to ensure that emergency teams will always on hand as need arises.

“We want to make sure that everyone will celebrate and welcome the New Year peacefully safe. Please refrain from buying and using killer firecrackers and buy only the safe and branded ones,” he said.

The governor also commended the Bulacan Police Provincial Office headed by Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina for their successful operations against clandestine fireworks shops that led to the seizures of assorted types of banned firecrackers.

Divina said that despite the police crackdown, erring manufacturers are still making banned, extremely oversized and deadly types of firecrackers due to the high demands from revelers.

“I have instructed police chiefs in towns where fireworks stalls and shops are located to keep a tight watch on the distribution and sales of banned fireworks,” said.

He also said that maneuver platoons from the Provincial Public Safety Company are also making operations in coordination with the provincial Task Force: Paputok against clandestine factories and stores selling illegal firecrackers.

Buyers has began to come in droves shortly after Christmas making the sales of firecrackers surge.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association,Inc. (PPMDAI) encourage buyers to buy only from stores with permits from the PNP-Civil Security Groups.

Engineer Celso C. Cruz, chairman Emeritus of PPMDAI, said that manufacturers and dealers of fireworks with PNP-CSG permits have undergone the required safety training seminars before they were issued licenses and permits to sell fireworks products.

“They cannot produce or sell fireworks without undergoing and passing the safety seminars conducted yearly nationwide by the PNP-CSG and the PPMDAI,” Cruz said.(PNA) 
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DTI inspects fireworks stores in Bulacan

BOCAUE, Bulacan, Dec. 29 (PNA) -- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) held a random inspection of fireworks stores on Tuesday in Bocaue, Bulacan, the country’s capital of fireworks manufacturers and retailers.

DTI Consumer Protection Group Undersecretary Victorio Mario Dimagiba led the special monitoring activity to verify that firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices being sold in the market have passed the requirements of Philippine National Standard (PNS) such as classification, construction and performance, and labelling.

Dimagiba said consumers should look for Philippine Standard (PS)-marked fireworks to ensure the safety of these products.

The DTI requires manufacturers to apply for PS license prior to distribution or sale of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices through the Bureau of Product Standards (BPS).

As of Dec. 23, the BPS has issued PS license to 17 manufacturers. These are: A.G.E. Pyrotechnic Enterprises; Diamond Fireworks; Double L Fireworks; Dragon Fireworks, Inc.; Global Lions Fireworks, Inc.; Golden Leopard King Fireworks Manufacturer; Legendary Fireworks, Inc.; MADZ Firecrackers and Pyrotechnic - Vista Alegre; Mary P Diaresco Pyrotechnics Manufacturing; Nation Fireworks; Pegasus Fireworks; Phoenix Fireworks; Platinum Fireworks, Inc.; Purity Fireworks; Pyro Kreations Fireworks; Tiger Fireworks; and Wow Fireworks Manufacturing.

Dimagiba also mentioned that consumers should check the labelling of fireworks which should contain information such as name of fireworks, classification and intended use, brand or trade name, name and address of manufacturer, the words “Made in the Philippines”, warning and precautionary signs, appropriate instruction for use, and effects.

He stressed that consumers should not buy imported fireworks as these are prohibited by law.

According to Republic Act No. 7183 Section 6, the importation of finished firecrackers and fireworks shall be prohibited and only duly licensed manufacturers shall be allowed to import chemicals or explosive ingredients used in the manufacture of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices.

The same law also lists types of fireworks allowed to be sold in the market. These include Baby Rocket, Bawang, Small Triangulo, Pulling of Strings, Paper Caps, El Diablo, Judas’ Belt, and Sky Rocket (Kwitis) for firecrackers as well as Sparkelrs, Luces, Fountain, Mabuhay, Roman Candle, Trompillo, Airwolf, Whistle Device, and Butterfly for pyrotechnic devices.

On the other hand, banned fireworks are Lolo Thunder, Pla-Pla, Watusi, Kwiton, Og, Atomic Bomb, Piccolo, Goodbye Philippines, and large sizes of Judas’ Belt and Bawang. (PNA) 
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Roxas leads distribution of relief goods to flood-hit victims in Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Dec. 24 (PNA) -- Liberal Party Presidential aspirant Manuel “Mar” Roxas III, together with Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Gov. Daniel R. Fernando visited Wednesday flooded areas here to give assistance to some 70,000 affected families that suffered massive flooding due to the release of excess water of the province’s three major dams—Angat, Ipo and Bustos dams.

Roxas accompanied by Alvarado personally distributed 18,005 relief goods to thousands of Bulakenyos in different barangays in the towns of Calumpit and Hagonoy.

Roxas said that he admired the strength and overflowing Filipino spirit of the flood-affected families that even though still flooded and is already Christmas season, are still hoping and enjoying what they have.

“The Filipinos, especially the Bulakenyos are resilient who never give up in any challenges. We are here to give assistance to those in need,” he said.

Prior to this, Alvarado said that the provincial government through the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office has been exerting coordinated response efforts through rescue and relief operations in different areas in the province that were greatly affected by the alleged irresponsible release of water from the dams at the height of the onslaught of the back floods induced by Typhoon Nona.

Meanwhile, the National Power Corporation stopped Wednesday the release of water in three dams in the province due to improved weather condition.

As a result of the massive flooding, damages to fisheries was estimated to reach PHP26,152,285 while damages to rice and vegetable crops was pegged at PHP28,753,565.03 or a total of PHP54,905,850. (PNA) 
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Bulacan to file class suit vs dam operators for 6 days massive flooding

CALUMPIT, Bulacan, Dec. 23 (PNA) -- Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Wednesday announced that the provincial government of Bulacan will file a class suit against officials of agencies responsible for the massive release of waters from the province’s three major dams—Angat, Ipo and Bustos dams—that aggravated the back floods that submerged many villages in the coastal towns of Calumpit, Hagonoy, Paombong and Pulilan for the past six days.

The governor said that despite their pleadings, operators of Angat, Ipo and Bustos dams proceeded in discharging big volume of water that worsened the miseries of flood stricken residents of Calumpit and Hogonoy and parts of Paombong and Pulilan who were still contending with the onslaught of backfloods from Nueva Ecija Saturday.

Alvarado said that their lawyers are now preparing the charges that they will file against officials of the National Power Corporation, The National Irrigation Authority, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System and the National Water Resources Board for the alleged irresponsible release of water from their dams at the height of the onslaught of the backfloods induced by Typhoon Nona.

“The floodwaters should have subsided last Sunday. But because of the dam officials who ignored our pleadings, most of the residents in Calumpit and Hagonoy would spend their Christmas under floodwater,"" he said.

The surging backfloods prompted Alvarado to call on officials of the National Power Corporation not to release big volume of waters from their dams because it will aggravate the floods wreaking havoc in Calumpit and Hagonoy.

However, Angat dam released 900 cms of water while Bustos dam released 400 cms of water that snakes through the already swollen Angat river that is aggravating the still rising backfloods in Calumpit and Hagonoy.

Alvarado recalled that in December 2011, the water level at Angat dam rose to 215 meters or 3 meters above its spilling level of 212 meters.

But he was able to request MWSS administrator Gerry Esquivel not to make big discharge of waters because it will sink the towns of Calumpit and Hagonoy at Christmas time, just like what’s happening now.

He said that Angat dam has a buffer limit of 217 meters and was able to hold 215 meters during that time.

As of Wednesday, more than 70,000 families from Calumpit, Hagonoy and parts of Paombong ang Pulilan are affected by the floods which is now on its sixth straight days.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office said that as of Wednesday, 23 of the 29 villages in Calumpit are still submerged under 2 to 8 feet of water while 16 of the 24 villages in Hagonoy are under 2 to 6 feet of floods.

The damages to fisheries was estimated to reach PHP25,251,660 while damages to rice crops was pegged at PHP5,650,964.60 or a total of PHP30,902,624.60. (PNA) 
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Release of waters from Angat and Ipo dams aggravates backfloods in Bulacan towns - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Dec. 20 (PNA) -- Hydro-engineers of Angat and Ipo dams have released over a thousand cubic meters per second of water from their reservoirs despite the earlier request of Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado to give flood-stricken residents of Calumpit and Hagonoy some “elbow room” before discharging waters.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) headed by Liz Mungcal reported that the number of flooded villages in Calumpit had climbed from 11 to 13 as of 3 p.m. Saturday while six villages in Hagonoy were being inundated under one to three feet of water.

As of Saturday afternoon, the number of affected families had risen to 30,523 or 152,615 individuals.

Mungcal said 1,429 families or 6,208 persons are now temporarily sheltered in five evacuation centers.

The surging backfloods prompted Alvarado to call on officials of the National Power Corporation (Napocor) not to release big volume of waters from their dams because it will aggravate the flooding in Calumpit and Hagonoy.

However, despite the governor’s plea, Angat dam released 900 cms of water while Bustos dam released 400 cms of water that snakes through the already swollen Angat River, thus aggravating the still rising backfloods in Calumpit and Hagonoy.

“This is indeed mind boggling. I can’t understand why they continue to release waters despite the fact that of the miserable situation of flood-stricken residents in Calumpit and Hagonoy are all over the news,” Alvarado said.

The governor reported the release of waters from the two big dams to Executive Secretary Paquito “Jojo” Ochoa Jr., a native of Pulilan which is also affected by the backfloods.

Alvarado said the Executive Secretary will talk to officials of Napocor and National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to consider the people of Calumpit, Hagonoy and parts of Pulilan.

In order to address the perennial back flooding dilemma in the coastal towns of Calumpit and Hagonoy, Alvarado urged the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to bring back the original water carrying capacity of the Labangan flood control channel of seven meters which, he said, has lost its holding capability by at least two meters more than two decades ago.

The governor also said that regular dredging of major rivers in other parts of Central Luzon should be revived because most of the waterways where flood waters from the eastern part of Luzon flows through are now heavily silted.

“If the Labangan Channel will be restored to its original water holding capacity, it will complement the flood control capability of the Pampanga Delta project. It is also high time to dredge not only the Labangan channel but other major rivers as well so that backfloods will flow to these flood control channels and thus prevent the rivers from overflowing towards low-lying villages in Calumpit and Hagonoy,” the governor explained.

Last Friday morning, despite sunny weather, several villages in Calumpit were once again submerged by floods coming from Nueva Ecija and Pampanga.

On Saturday morning, villages in nearby Hagonoy and Pulilan town were also inundated by the backfloods just like what happened when typhoon Lando brought heavy rains.

“It’s becoming a vicious cycle that is constantly wreaking havoc to the people of Calumpit, Hagonoy and other low-lying areas that have become the perennial catch basin of the back floods. It is very saddening to see our people suffering from floods especially during Christmas time,” he said.

The governor said that before Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1995, the DPWH had two dredgers that regularly dredged the Angat and Pampanga river systems.

But when the volcano erupted, the Mt. Pinatubo Commission took the dredgers to save the regional capital of San Fernando, Pampanga.

Alvarado said that since then, no dredging has been done in the said river systems, including the Labangan channel.

“The City of San Fernando has already been saved from massive flooding but for a long time no dredging has been done along the other major river systems and waterways in Bulacan and Pampanga. I am suggesting that the DPWH restore its dredging operations now to mitigate the effects of the perennial flooding in the catch-basin towns of Calumpit and Hagonoy,” he added. (PNA) 
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PDEA-3 nets two big-time drug personalities in Bulacan

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Dec. 17 (PNA) -- Agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Luzon (PDEA-3) arrested Wednesday two big time drug personalities in a drug sting in the City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan and seized shabu worth some PHP250,000.

PDEA-3 director Gladys Rosales identified the suspects as Peping Borngaw, 45, and Vicenta Guzman; both residents of City of San Jose Del Monte.

Rosales said the two suspects were apprehended in a drug buy bust operation at Dona Carmen, Zarogaza Avenue, Colinas Verdes Subdivision, City of San Jose Del Monte.

Borngaw and Guzman are included in the list of high-value targets operating in the City of San Jose Del Monte and nearby towns.

Confiscated from the suspects is a plastic sachet containing the illegal substance.

The suspects are now detained at the PDEA 3 Jail Facility in this camp. (PNA) 
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Classes in some Central Luzon areas suspended

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Dec. 16 (PNA) -- Classes in several areas in Central Luzon were suspended on Wednesday as typhoon "Nona" continues to bring more rains in the region.

Noeva Ecija Governor Aurelio Umali declared the suspension of classes in all levels as heavy rainfall with gusty winds continue to batter the province.

Bataan Governor Albert Garcia also announced the suspension of classes in all levels, both in public and private, in the province.

Localized suspension of classes, on the other hand, were declared in the provinces of Bulacan, Tarlac and Pampanga.

In Bulacan, classes were declared suspended in all levels, both in public and private in the municipalities of Paombong, Marilao, Sta. Maria, Bocaue and Pulilan.

Classes from pre-elementary to high school, both in public and private schools were suspended in Meycauayan City and San Miguel town.

Classes from pre-elementary to elementary, both in public and private schools, on the other hand, were suspended in Malolos City and the municipalities of Hagonoy, Calumpit, Guinguinto, Baliwag and Balagtas.

In Pampanga, Mayor Marino “Boking Moralas declared the suspension of classes, from pre-elementary to high school in all public and private schools in Mabalacat City.

Angeles City mayor Edgardo Pamintuan also declared the suspension of classes, pre-school and elementary levels in both public and private schools.

Mayor Edwin Santiago also declared the suspension of classes from pre-elementary to high school in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga.

Pre-elementary to high school levels, both in public and private were also suspended in Mexico, Pampanga.

In Tarlac, classes in all levels were suspended in the towns of Concepcion and Capas and in Tarlac City

Pre-elementary to high school levels were also suspended in Victoria, Talrac.

Meanwhile, afternoon classes from pre-elementary to high school were suspended in Olongapo City. (PNA) 
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PDEA-3 nabs couple drug pushers in Bulacan

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Dec. 15 (PNA) -- Agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Luzon (PDEA3) arrested Monday a couple for selling "shabu" (methamphetamine hydrochloride) in the City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.

PDEA 3 Director Gladys Rosales identified the live-in partner suspects as Amroden Mapandi, 39 and Leslie Feliciano, 36; both residents of Barangay Sto. Cristo, City of San Jose Del Monte.

Rosales said the couple were apprehended during a drug sting at Block 6, lot 5, Phase 1, Lancaster Place, Barangay Sto Cristo.

Rosales said that the couple was arrested after selling one heat-sealed transparent sachet containing shabu to an agent acting as poseur buyer.

The suspects yielded a plastic sachet containing shabu weighing 55grams with an estimated street value of Php253,000.

The operatives were also able to recover the marked money used in the operation.

The suspects are now detained in PDEA 3 Jail Facility in this camp. (PNA) 
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3 killed, 13 hurt in Bulacan mishap

SAN JOSE DEL MONTE CITY, Bulacan, Dec. 15 (PNA) -- Three persons were killed while 13 others were wounded after a wayward armored vehicle rammed into a passenger jeepney loaded with passengers in Barangay Sto. Cristo in this city Monday night.

Police said that among the fatalities was the driver of the passenger jeepney, a certain Erjel Relox, who was pinned down due to the impact of the head-on collision.

The other two casualties were both passengers of the ill-fated jeepney, who both remained unidentified as of posting time.

Investigators said the passenger jeepney with plate number CWM 348 was heading towards the direction of Sapang Palay while the Armotech carrier van (ZPS 308) driven by Ryan Rey Bautista was heading towards Barangay Tungkong Manga on the opposite lane.

However, the armored vehicle lost control and drove into the opposite lane, ramming the passenger jeepney at high speed.

The driver and the two other fatalities did not reach the hospital alive.

The 13 other victims sustained injuries and were brought to different hospitals in this city.

Appropriate charges will be filed against the driver of the armored van who is now under police custody. (PNA) 
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Central Luzon’s No. 1 most wanted person falls

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Dec. 11 (PNA) -- The No. 1 most wanted person in Central Luzon was injured and eventually arrested after a shootout Thursday with authorities in Bocaue, Bulacan.

Chief Supt Rudy Lacadin, Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3) director, said the suspect identified as Teejay Sabat has strings of warrants of arrest for murder and carnapping with homicide.

Lacadin said Sabat sustained gunshot wounds when he resisted arrest, engaging authorities in a firefight which took place in the suspect’s safehouse in Barangay Lolomboy, Bocaue, Bulacan.

”He refused to surrender after police asked him to do so,” he said.

Sabat instead fired at the arresting authorities.

Recovered from Sabat was a caliber .38 revolver with ammutions.

The suspect was brought to SG Hospital in Sta. Maria, Bulacan and being secured by the personnel of the Bocaue Police Office. (PNA) 
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PDEA boosts K9-Unit with basic handler's orientation course

MANILA, Dec 11 (PNA) -- The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) conducted a one month K9-unit basic handler’s course with 16 participants from the members of the PDEA Class SangKalasag.

PDEA Director General Undersecretary Arturo G. Cacdac, Jr. said the course enabled the participants to appreciate and understand how a K9-unit team work effectively and efficiently as front liners during anti-drug operations and enhance handlers’ connection with their respective working narcotic dogs as future K-9 team supervisors.

He said the graduation ceremony was held on Dec. 3, 2015 at the PDEA K9-Unit Compound, Brgy. Sto. Cristo, Sitio Lambakin, City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.

Cacdac encouraged the graduates to continue enhancing their skills to become experts in their field of specialization as drug busters.

The PDEA K9-unit has 71 strong narcotic dog handlers in 17 regions, handling narcotic dogs breeds like Belgian Malinois, Jack Russell Terrier, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd and Golden Retriever.

Cacdac said that the Canine Handler’s Course guided the narcotic dog handlers to properly perform their duties and responsibilities, adding that this one way of fulfilling the agency’s mandate as the lead agency in the campaign against illegal drugs. (PNA) 
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4 suspected drug pushers fall in Bulacan

CAMP GENERAL ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, Dec. 9 (PNA) -– Four suspected drug pushers were arrested Tuesday in a buy-bust operation conducted in Barangay Sto, Cristo, City of San Jose Del Monte, in this province.

Police Senior Supt. Ferdinand O. Divina, provincial director of the Bulacan Philippine National Police (PNP), identified the suspects as Ronald Bolo, 37; Michelle Roque, 26; Roque de Jesus, 38; and Memetho Reyes, 56; all residents of Towerville, Barangay Sto. Cristo, City of San Jose Del Monte.

Based on the report of San Jose Del Monte PNP headed by Police Supt. Charlie Cabradilla, the four suspects were arrested after being caught in the act of selling suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride or "shabu" to poseur buyers.

Recovered from the possession of the suspects were 40 small heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets of suspected shabu, including the buy bust item; a digital weighing scale; six pieces of Php100 bill buy bust money; and other drug paraphernalia.

The suspects and the confiscated evidence were brought to the Bulacan Crime Laboratory Office in Malolos City for appropriate examination while criminal complaints against them are now being prepared for filing before the City Prosecutor’s Office. (PNA) 
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Ombudsman junks criminal, admin raps vs Bulacan execs

MALOLOS CITY, Dec. 8 (PNA) -- The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed criminal and administrative complaints filed against Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and eight other provincial officials for lack of probable cause and absence of substantial evidence.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has approved a joint resolution by the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon dismissing the criminal complaint docketed as OMB-L-C-15-0007 (violation of R.A. No. 9184 and Sec. 3 (e) of R.A. No. 3019) for “lack of probable cause” and the administrative cases (grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service) for “lack of substantial evidence”.

The joint resolution also cleared 11 private individuals who were included in the said complaints filed by a certain Jocylina C. Casimiro on January 20.

Aside from the governor, the Office of the Ombudsman also cleared Jim C. Valerio, former chief of staff of the Governor; Lawyer Jeffrey C. Cruz; Marina SR. Flores, provincial budget officer; Eugenio C. Payongayong, provincial administrator; Kenneth O. Lantin, provincial general services officer; Belinda B. Bartolome, provincial treasurer; Glen D. Reyes, provincial engineer and Carina San Pedro-Espiritu, supply officer IV and head of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) Secretariat, in the said cases.

In her complaint, Casimiro alleged that “the Provincial Government of Bulacan released a total amount of PHP154,714,780 for the purchase of drugs, medicines and medical supplies; and that 300 vouchers pertaining to the said procurement were issued to pay a handful of trading companies selected by respondents by “shopping”.

However, in the 11-page joint resolution penned by Maria Luisa L. Villanueva, graft investigation and prosecution officer 1 of the Office of the Deputy ombudsman for Luzon and reviewed by Director Joaquin F. Salazar of the OMB’s Evaluation and Investigation Office, it was stated that “the complaints fail to impress” — explaining that “the procurement of drugs, medicines and medical supplies was included in the 2014 Annual Procurement Plan (APP) of the province, which was classified into the type of program or purpose the supplies would be used, for the various hospitals operated by the province, in medical missions via the Kapitolyo sa Barangay (KSB) program and free medicines program of the province via its Botika program.

The Office of the Ombudsman also stated that “there is no showing that the purpose of the staggered purchases (on a per quarter basis) was “not to evade” the requirement of public bidding, but to avoid the unnecessary spoilage of drugs, medicines and medical supplies.

In their separate counter affidavits, Gov. Alvarado and provincial administrator Payongayong claimed that the complaint is “a compendium of unwarranted and unsubstantiated averments based on hearsay evidence and wrongful inferences of facts and law.”

Officers and members of the BAC on the other hand, claim that “there is no splitting of contracts in the procurement of drugs and medicines; that the amounts purchased are indicated in the APP for the contract; and that public biddings were conducted, contrary to complainant’s allegation.

The BAC officers and members also explained that the KSB and Botika programs were separately funded from various hospital operations of the province; that the KSB is a community outreach project implemented through medical missions to different barangays in the province that provides free medicines to indigents, and that although these are regular programs of the province, the frequency and timing of implementation are intermittent and largely depend on request from constituents.”

They further said that the policy for the procurement of drugs and KSB and Botika program is on “as–the-need-arises” basis because the province cannot reasonably anticipate the kind, nature, dosage and quantity of drugs that would be needed at a give n period of time; hence, the procurement of drugs and medicines for hospitals was conducted in three public biddings in 2014, and for the KSB and Botika program through shopping.

For their part, the private individuals and trading firms stated that “their transactions with the province are legitimate and accompanied either by request for quotations or invitation to bid and that no collusion with public respondents ever took place in any of the transactions they individually entered into.”

Bulakenyos hailed the decision of the Office of the Ombudsman in dismissing the criminal and administrative charges filed against Governor Alvarado and eight other provincial officials by alleged political foes of the top provincial executive.

The Samahang Pares-Pares, an association of prominent businessmen based in this historic capital city, said that it is “sweet justice” and vindication not only for the hardworking and multi-awarded governor but also for the thousands of Bulakenyos whose signatures were forged and falsified by proponents of the fraudulent and failed “recall move” that stemmed from the junked complaints.

”We are thankful that justice prevailed and the truth came out that the baseless complaints and the anomalous recall petition are only part of dirty politicking by the political foes of the Governor Alvarado,” said Felix Motita, leader of the Samahang Pares-pares group.

Motita said that the dirty tactics of Alvarado’s rivals were concocted to deceive the people of Bulacan and election officials by filing baseless and unfounded complaints against the governor to trigger another fraudulent scheme-- the doomed “recall petition”.

He said that election officers in the province’s 21 towns and three cities ruled that 72 percent of the signatures in the recall petition were forged and falsified, even those of who are already dead. (PNA) 
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PDEA’s intensified anti-illegal drug operations net 31 drug personalities in Bulacan, Tarlac

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Dec. 2 (PNA) --Thirty-one drug personalities were arrested Tuesday in a simultaneous anti-illegal drug operations conducted by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency -3 (PDEA- 3) in Bulacan and Tarlac.

PDEA-3 director Gladys Rosales said that a total of 200 grams worth Php700,00 were confiscated in the operations.

Rosales said the first operation, covered by a search warrant, was conducted in Barangay Caingin, Bocaue, Bulacan that resulted in the dismantling of the drug den and the arrest of Ferdinand Javier, Ronaldo Castillo, Rodello Castillo, Ricardo Ramos, Silvestre Lapi, and Emelita Lapi.

Seized from the group were two plastic sachets containing shabu weighing 50 grams and several drug paraphernalia.

The second raid conducted also in Bocaue, Bulacan, she said led to the arrest of 10 drug personalities namely: Jimmy Bautista, Miguel Bautista, Miguel Mendoza, Jimwell Mayoba, Ellycar Adefin, Leslie Grace Austria, Ma Chrisia Castillo, Kose Cabral, Raffy Lauindanum, and Arnel Puno.

The 10 suspects yielded 50 grams of shabu and drug paraphernalia.

In Tarlac City, she said that those arrested were Carlito Macapinlac, the subject of a search warrant, and 14 others.

Confiscated from the house of Macapinlac were 30 plastic sachets of shabu weighing 100 grams and several drug paraphernalia.

The suspects are now detained at the PDEA jail facility in this camp. (PNA) 
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Bulacan weekly newspaper to give space for candidates

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Nov. 30 (PNA) -- In a bid to help voters in choosing the best candidates, MetroNews Bulacan -- the oldest English weekly newspaper in the province — will feature competing candidates and their platforms of government in order to give its readers a more wider perspective in getting to know the best bets in the coming May 2016 polls.

“This could trigger a change and educate our voters in choosing the best candidates,” Orlan L. Mauricio, publisher and editor-in-chief of Metro News Bulacan, said.

He said that MetroNews-Bulacan, which is accredited by the Bulacan Regional Trial Courts as a weekly newspaper with general circulation, has been doing this since it was established in 1983.

Lawyer Elmo Duque, Bulacan provincial election supervisor, hailed the initiatives of MetroNews-Bulacan and encouraged other media outfits to do the same so that the voters will be enlightened on what kind of candidates they will vote in the coming 2016 election. 

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Suspect in Bulacan judge's slay killed inside police car

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Nov. 23 (PNA) -- An alleged member of a high profile gun-for-hire gang whom police tagged as one of the primary suspects in the killing of Bulacan Regional Trial Court Branch 84 Judge Wilfredo Nieves was killed when he reportedly tried to grab the service firearm of a policeman inside a police car while cruising along the MacArthur Highway in Barangay San Pablo here before noon Monday.

Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina, Bulacan police director, identified the slain suspect as Arnel Janoras, a resident of Barangay Grace Ville in the City of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.

Police said the suspect was earlier arrested for the killing of Judge Nieves.

The incident happened several meters away where Judge Nieves was killed.

He said Janoras was supposedly in handcuffs while being escorted on the way to a court in San Jose del Monte City for inquest of a previous offense.

The firearm allegedly went off while Janoras and the policeman were wrestling for the gun, fatally hitting the suspect at the back of his head.

The suspect was allegedly involved in other criminal activities before he was arrested and is suspected to be a member of a high-profile gun-for-hire gang.

Divina said that full investigation on the incident is still going on as of press time.

Mayor Christian D. Natividad also instructed Malolos City police chief Supt. Arwin Tadeo to investigate the incident.

Divina also said that another suspect is now being held at the police provincial headquarters for further investigation.

The hunt for the killers of Judge Nieves went into full swing after the cash reward offered by friends and relatives rose to Php 3.5 million for the identification of the suspects.

Nieves was on his way home at about 5 p.m. last Nov. 11 when the SUV-Fortuner he was driving was peppered with bullets at a stoplight along McArthur highway in front of the Bulacan Industrial Park in Barangay Tikay here.

The slaying of Nieves has alarmed not only members of the judiciary but also fiscals and law practitioners who have clamored for tighter security measures inside the whole provincial capitol compound here that houses all the RTC offices and the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)-Central Luzon has urged law enforcements units to step-up their campaign in eradicating extrajudicial killings, saying hired assassins are getting bolder like in the case of Nieves’ slaying.

Lawyer Joe “Peng” dela Rama Jr., IBP-Central Luzon governor, said in statement that “a government of laws should prevail and always be observed for this is where law and order offers a legal protective shield to all men averting one sided judgment.”

The IBP-Central Luzon governor also pointed out that extrajudicial killings have no place in a civilized democratic country and the law enforcement and government should concentrate its efforts to its eradication.

“Lawyers and judges must be protected under our laws. Members of the bar and bench must always be vigilant at all times,” he added. (PNA) 
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Poe wants drastic change in choosing national artists - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Nov 19 (PNA)--Independent Presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe on Thursday said that the criteria for choosing a national artist should undergo a drastic change by removing the prerogative of the Chief Executive in its selection.

Poe made the remark after an entertainment writer asked her if she will vouch for actress Nora Aunor as a national artist.

“ I am a big fan of Miss Nora Aunor as much as I am also a big fan of Gov. Vilma Santos, but when it comes to choosing the national artist award I think they can get the honor even without the participation of the President,” she said.

Poe said that it should be taken care of by the council.

She also said that the government should support the movie industry because it does not only give jobs and opportunity but is also a good vehicle in inculcating the rich historical heritage of the Filipinos to the younger generation just like the recent blockbuster movie “Heneral Luna.”

“It was helmed by an independent movie outfit and look at the result. I think it will be good to support movie projects in the mold of the “Heneral Luna” film,” she said. (PNA) 
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PRO-3 nets 8 drug dealers in Bulacan, Pampanga

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Nov. 17 (PNA) -- The Police Regional Office-3 (PO-3) is continuously gaining headway in its anti-illegal drugs campaign following the arrest of eight drug dealers in separate anti-illegal drug operations Sunday and Monday in Pampanga and Bulacan.

Chief Supt. Rudy Lacadin, Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3) regional director, identified the arrested suspect as Esmundo Lapuz, 34, of Barangay Corazon, Calumpit, Bulacan.

Lapuz was apprehended in a drug sting and confiscated from him was a plastic sachet containing shabu.

Also arrested were live-in partners Michael Reyes and Maryjane Paraon, both residents of Barangay Tibagan, and Ronaldo Paulino, of Barangay B Mayor, all in Bustos, Bulacan.

Confiscated from the three suspects were shabu contained in three plastic sachets and the marked money.

Police also arrested Rogelio Bringola, 46, driver; Marlon Lumbao, construction worker; both residents of Barangay Gumaoc Central and Ronaldo Cruz, 37, construction worker of Stallion Homes, Barangay Mulawin, all in the City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.

Recovered from Bringola, Lumbao and Cruz were 12 plastic sachets containing shabu.

Meanwhile, Sadjid Bernal, 44, of Purok 3, Barangay Sta. Catalina, Lubao, Pampanga was arrested in his residence during a buy-bust operation. Seized from him were four plastic sachets of shabu.

Bernal, together with the confiscated evidence, were brought to Lubao Municipal Police Station for proper disposition. (PNA) 
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PDEA-3 agents nab big-time lady drug dealer in Bulacan

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Nov. 16 (PNA) -- Agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Central Luzon (PDEA-3) arrested Sunday a big-time lady drug dealer in an entrapment operation at the parking lot of a supermarket in the City of San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan.

PDEA-3 Regional Director Gladys Rosales identified the suspect as Mona Salanggi, 27, a resident of Barangay Muzon, City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.

According to Rosales, the suspect was promptly apprehended after handing over a plastic bag containing methamphetamine hydrochloride or "shabu" to PDEA operative, who acted as poseur buyer at the Simplicity Supermarket in Barangay Muzon.

About 200 grams of shabu, with an estimated value of Php700,000 were confiscated from the suspect.

Rosales said Salanggi is known to be a big-time supplier of shabu in the City of San Jose Del Monte.

She said they have been monitoring Salanggi’s drug activities since October.

The suspect is now detained at the PDEA-3 jail facility inside the camp. (PNA) 
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Bulacan steps up security measures for APEC - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Nov. 15 (PNA)--Bulacan is also bracing for the coming Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Summit.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Sunday instructed police and other security forces to step-up their internal security measures to help the Philippine government in ensuring a peaceful climate during the holding of the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting.

He said Bulacan is very near Metro Manila and it is prudent that pertinent security measures and preparations are strictly implemented to prevent potential hostile forces from disrupting the meeting of the world leaders which the Philippines is hosting this week.

“Even President Aquino is personally checking the venues where the world leaders would meet. We must help our President in ensuring the peaceful hosting of this important world event,” Alvarado said.

The governor has already instructed Bulacan police director and other law enforcement agencies in Bulacan to incraese police visibilty on a 24/7 basis.

He said he does not want a repeat of the recent cold blooded slaying of Bulacan Regional Trial Court Judge Wilfredo Nieves who was ambushed and killed by still unidentified assasins while on his way to Metro Manila after attending court duty.

“The criminals have no place in our peaceful society.We must not give them opportunity to do their evil deeds," he said.

Alvarado also called on fellow Bulakenyos to pray for the victims of the terror attacks in Paris, France.

He said that even advanced countries are vulnerable to such wave of terror so prayers and vigilance are really needed to prevent such incidents from happening.

“Let’s all pray that peace will always reign,” the governor said. (PNA) 
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IBP-CL urges law enforcement units to step-up drive vs. extrajudicial killings

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Nov.13 (PNA)--The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)-Central Luzon on Friday urged law enforcement units to step-up its campaign in eradicating extrajudicial killings, saying hired-assassins are getting bolder nowadays.

Lawyer Joe "Peng" dela Rama Jr., IBP-Central Luzon governor, particularly cited the brutal and senseless killing of Bulacan Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Wilfredo Nieves along MacArthur Highway in Barangay Tikay here last Wednesday afternoon.

"A government of laws should prevail and always be observed for this is where law and order offers a legal protective shield to all men averting one sided judgment,” dela Rama said in a statement.

He further stated that “the killing was brutal because the deceased magistrate was ambushed by unknown armed assailants affording him no chance to defend himself. It was bold because it was done during daylight in a public place.

Dela Rama, who is also a reserve lieutenant colonel in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, pointed out that “extrajudicial killings have no place in a civilized democratic country and our law enforcement and government should concentrate its efforts to its eradication.”

"Lawyers and judges must be protected under our laws. Members of the bar and bench must always be vigilant at all times,” he added.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina has formed a crack team of police investigators to pursue the perpetrators of the daring ambush.

A Php2 million cash reward has been put up for anyone who could provide A-One information on the identities of the gunmen who trailed and shot Judge Nieves.

Police said that the gunmen might have tailed the car of the judge when it left the premises of the Bulacan RTC.

Upon reaching the intersection near the Malolos Industrial Park along MacArthur Highway, the gunmen alighted from a vehicle that was apparently tailing Nieves’ Toyota Fortuner, flanked the judge’s vehicle and fired.

Investigators said that Nieves died on the spot from bullet wounds in the forehead, neck and body.

Divina said that the Malolos City Police Station headed by Supt. Arwain Tadeo are trying to secure footage from closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed in the area for an image of the suspects.

In April 2012, Nieves convicted Raymond Dominguez, one of the suspected leaders of a car theft gang operating in Metro Manila and Central Luzon, and sentenced him to up to 30 years in prison. (PNA) 
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VP Binay pays respect to slain Bulacan judge

MANILA, Nov. 13 (PNA) -- Vice President Jejomar Binay condoles with the family of Judge Wilfredo Nieves who was killed by unidentified men in Bulacan.

Binay condemned the murder of Judge Nieves, asking the Philippine National Police to act swiftly and find the people responsible for his killing.

"I condemn this killing in the strongest possible terms. Judge Nieves was a committed public servant and an inspiration to those working in the judicial system,” Binay said in a press statement on Friday.

”I expect our authorities to leave no stone unturned in making sure that the perpetrators are caught and brought to justice," he added.

Nieves, a judge of the Bulacan Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 84 who convicted one of the leaders of the Dominguez car theft group in 2012, was shot and killed by two gunmen last Wednesday.

He was on his way to Manila on board his Toyota Fortuner when the unidentified gunmen killed him near the Malolos Industrial Park along MacArthur Highway in Barangay Tikay. (PNA)
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Palace condemns killing of Judge Nieves - By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Nov. 12 (PNA) –- Malacanang on Thursday condemned the killing in broad daylight of Bulacan judge Wilfredo Nieves.

”We condemn this act of violence. The government is doing everything possible to bring them to the bar of justice,” Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a media interview.

Nieves, a judge of the Bulacan Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 84 who convicted one of the leaders of the Dominguez car theft group in 2012, was shot and killed by two gunmen in an ambush while he was on his way to Manila on board his Toyota Fortuner last Wednesday afternoon near the Malolos Industrial Park along MacArthur Highway in Barangay Tikay.

Coloma said the police are now tracking the killers of Nieves.

”The police and government are determined to bring them to the bar of justice. We recall that Judge Nieves was responsible for the speedy trial of a high-profile carnapping case, which resulted in the conviction of known carnapping suspects,” Coloma said.

On the proposal to arm the judges, Coloma said the matter should be referred to the Supreme Court (SC).

”The Supreme Court is the administrator of the judicial system and they are in the best position to determine what arrangements are appropriate for the line of work that they perform,” Coloma said.

Coloma said the government, through its security agencies, are willing to work with the judiciary in determining the appropriate measures to ensure the security and safety of the court officials. (PNA)
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Php2-M cash reward up for killers of Bulacan RTC judge

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Nov. 12 (PNA)--Friends and relatives of slain Bulacan Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 84 Judge Wilfredo Nieves on Thursday offered a Php2 milion cash reward to anyone who could provide “A-One” information that could lead to the identities of the gunmen who ambushed and killed the victim at an intersection near the Malolos Industrial Park on MacArthur Highway in Barangay Tikay here Wednesday afternoon.

At the same time, Bulacan Police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina announced that they have already formed a special investigation task group that will pursue vital leads in the identification of the suspects.

Meanwhile, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)-Central Luzon, issued a statement condemning the killing and called on authorities to leave no stone unturned in giving justice to the victim.

“We strongly condemn the ambush-slaying of Judge Wilfredo Nieves. He was a good man and loyal to his profession.This is an act of cowardice and treachery.”

Dela Rama further stated that “lawyers and judges must be protected under our laws. Members of the bar and bench must always be vigilant at all times,” Lawyer Jose "Peng" dela Rama Jr., IBP-Central Luzon governor said.

Initial police reports said that Judge Nieves left his chamber at the Bulacan Hall of Justice at the capitol compound around 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Police said that the gunmen might have tailed the car of the judge when it left the premises of the Bulacan RTC.

Upon reaching the intersection near the Malolos Industrial Park on MacArthur Highway in Barangay Tikay, the gunmen alighted from a vehicle that was apparently tailing Nieves’ Toyota Fortuner, flanked the judge’s vehicle and fired.

Investigators said that Nieves died on the spot from bullet wounds in the forehead, neck and body.

Divina said the Malolos City Police Station headed by Supt. Arwain Tadeo is trying to secure footage from closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed in the area for an image of the suspects.

In April 2012, Nieves convicted Raymond Dominguez, one of the suspected leaders of a car theft gang operating in Metro Manila and Central Luzon, and sentenced him to up to 30 years in prison.(PNA) 
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Three wanted persons arrested in Bulacan

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Nov. 2 (PNA) -- Police arrested three wanted persons in Bulacan during the observance of the All Saints’ Day Sunday.

Chief Supt. Rudy Lacadin, director of the Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3), identified the suspects Aries Rivera of Barangay Cambaog, Bustos; Maria Elena Abuedo, a resident of Barangay Lias, Marilao; and Jimboy Suminao of Barangay Guyong, Sta. Maria.

Lacadin said Rivera was ranked no. 8 in the top 10 most wanted person in Bustos town.

Rivera was apprehended in his residence by virtue of a warrant of arrest for RA 7610 or the Law on the Protection against Child Abuse and Exploitation issued by Judge Gregorio Elarmo Jr of RTC Branch 77 of Malolos City.

Abuedo, on the other hand, was wanted for theft and is listed no. 7 in the top 10 most wanted person in Marilao town.

Meanwhile, Suminao was arrested inside the Mary the Queen Memorial Park in Sta Maria. He was wanted for theft and the no. 10 most wanted person in Sta Maria.

Lacadin said the operations against three wanted persons is part of the PNP’s Oplan Lambat Sibat. (PNA) 
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Bulacan local gov't assures safety in cemeteries

MARILAO, Bulacan, Nov. 1 (PNA) -- The local government in the town of Marilao in Bulacan has assured safety of people visiting their departed loved ones for this year's Undas.

In one of major cemeteries in Marilao, the Lias Memorial Park, military officers are in place to observe orderliness around the cemetery's vicinity.

Police officers, barangay security officers, and security personnel of the cemetery are also ensuring the safety and order of the public.

It was also observed that fewer people flocked to the cemetery on November 1 this year compared to last year.

Likewise, traffic situation along Lias Road and MacArthur Hi-Way, which are the major roads to Lias Memorial Park, remains light as of writing.(PNA) 
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Bulacan braces for 'Undas' 2015 - By: Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 30 (PNA) -- As public cemeteries and memorial parks all over the province are being spruced-up, the provincial government of Bulacan and the Bulacan Police Provincial Office has began establishing Public Assistance Centers (PAC) at strategic areas to assist motorists and in anticipation of the big crowds that will come in droves this All Saints Day.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office have already put on a 24 hours alert their emergency response teams which is being backed-up by ambulances, paramedics and firefighting units.

He also called on constituents to be safe and prepared as he reminded them not to leave lighted candles unattended.

"Let us all pray our departed loved ones and be orderly observe the All Saints' Day,” he said.

The governor said that the public may call the Bulacan Rescue hotline at telephone number 791-0566.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina said that aside from the PACs being set up along key areas, police assistance booths are also being set-up in public cemeteries to provide crowd control.

He said that local policemen will be augmented by maneuver platoons from the Provincial Public Safety Company.

Divina said that people should refrain from bringing deadly weapons, liquors, gambling cards or mahjongs sets or noisy gadgets which prohibited at public cemeteries.

“Let us observe All Saints Day peacefully,” he said. (PNA) 
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Tarlac town's 2 most wanted fall

CONCEPCION, Tarlac, Oct. 28 (PNA) -- Two most wanted persons in this town were arrested Monday as a result of the intensive implementation of Oplan Lambat Sibat of the Philippine National Police.

The suspects were identified as Reinel David, 22 and Angelo de Vota, 21, both residents of Barangay San Francisco, this town.

The duo were arrested by virtue of warrant of arrest issued by Romeo Carmelito C. Conge, presiding judge of MCTC, Third Judicial Region, Province of Bulacan.

David and De Vota were ranked as No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, in the list of Top 10 most wanted person in this municipality.

The suspects are temporarily under the custody of Concepcion Municipal Police Station pending the issuance of commitment order of concerned court. (PNA) 
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11 hurt in Bataan road mishap

LIMAY, Bataan, Oct. 24 (PNA)-- A trailer truck going down a steep road collided Friday with an incoming passenger bus of the Bataan Transit at a portion of the Roman Expressway in barangay Alangan here.

Federico Arellano, Alangan barangay tanod, said 11 were hurt but with minor injuries only.

After being hit by the trailer truck, the passenger bus bumped into the village waiting shed that caused big damage on the vehicle and portions of the shed shattered.

"We were going up, i did break for the second time but unfortunately, it did not work. Many people could have died if I turn it to the right because there were many children and vehicles, thus, I decided instead to turn left where I bumped the passenger bus,"trailer truck driver Benjamin Antonio of Meycauayan, Bulacan said.

With the strong impact, big flat iron plates fell from the big truck that luckily no one was hurt.

A barangay tanod said there were many children and parents then who were on a pre-Halloween parade.

Antonio said his knee was injured while one foot of his son, who served as his truck helper, had cut vein.

" I was at the back ticketing when I've heard a sudden crashing sound at the back," said bus conductor Rodel Macaspac.

He said that they have 16 passengers but luckily no one was seriously injured.

Limay police said it was still conducting investigation. (PNA) 
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Damage to infra, agri in Central Luzon breaches Php7-B - By Zorayda S. Tecson

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Oct. 23 (PNA) -–The estimated worth of damages in agriculture and infrastructure caused by the onslaught of typhoon Lando in Central Luzon has breached Php7 billion, making it the most devastating typhoon to hit Central Luzon this year.

Latest report from the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) showed the combined infrastructure and agriculture losses pegged at Php7.3 billion in the region’s seven provinces, namely Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales.

The extent of damage to agriculture which covered rice, corn, high-value crops, fisheries and livestocks caused by severe flooding was estimated at Php6.8 billion.

The damage cost in infrastructures in the region which covered roads, bridges, fishery and livestock facilities, on the other hand, was placed at Php500 million.

The region’s rice sector was severely affected with an estimated yield loss at Php5.98 billion.

This was followed by high-value crops with damage cost reached to Php700 million.

Damage to fisheries sector at Php68.27 million; corn at Php32.63 million and livestocks at Php21.30 million.

Nueva Ecija, which is the main rice growing province in the region, suffered most the brunt of typhoon Lando where its vast ricefields submerged by floodwaters with an estimated damage cost to agriculture at Php3.6 billion.

The extent of damage in infrastructure in Nueva Ecija was at Php99 million.

The province of Tarlac was also severely affected with an extent of damages in agriculture and infrastructure at Php1.22 billion.

Damage to agriculture in Bulacan, on the other hand, soared to Php874 million from the previous report of Php669 million.

In Aurora, the extent of damage to agriculture and infrastructure was estimated at Php587 million and Php57.35 million, respectively.

The agriculture sector in Pampanga likewise suffered with damage cost at Php366 million.

Bataan’s agriculture was also hit by floods with an estimated loss at Php262 million.

Zambales was also not spared by typhoon Lando, with damage to infrastructures placed at Php120 million and in agriculture, the losses was pegged at Php130 million.

Meanwhile, a total of 33,764 houses were totally (5,043) and partially (28,721) damaged by the onslaught of the typhoon.

Of the provinces, Aurora topped the list with 4,605 (total) and 16,017 (partial) damaged houses, followed by Nueva Ecija with 686 (total) and 9,968 (partial).

There were 12 casualties, 47 injured and 335,736 families or 1,359,266 persons in the region were affected by the typhoon. (PNA) 
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Airborne rescue teams drop relief goods to stranded flood victims in Calumpit, Hagonoy - By Emil G. Gamos

CALUMPIT, Bulacan, Oct. 23 (PNA) -- Airborne rescue teams have dropped relief goods and other basic needs to people stranded on rooftops in several villages here and in the neighboring coastal town of Hagonoy as rampaging back floods coming from Nueva Ecija, Pampanga and Tarlac continue to flow downstream in the two coastal towns, the perennial catch basin of back floods during typhoon season.

Bulacan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management officer Liz Mungcal said that volunteer aerial rescue teams from PureForce Corporation airlifted and distributed relief goods to people who were isolated by back floods in some villages which were submerged under 5 to 9 feet since Monday morning.

“They are a big help in sending assistance to flood victims in Calumpit and Hagonoy. They have reached stranded victims, most of whom are temporarily sheltered on makeshift tents on rooftops, that cannot be immediately reached by our rescue teams due to strong current,” she said.

As of 6 a.m. Friday, Mungcal said 24 villages in Calumpit are still submerged under 4 to 9 feet of floodwaters while 16 villages in Hagonoy were under 3 to 8 feet of floods.

In nearby Pulilan town, 12 low-lying areas are being swallowed by floodwaters from the Candaba swamp in Candaba, Pampanga and are under 2 to 3 feet of water.

The village of Pinalagdan in Paombong town was also flooded under 3 to 4 feet of water.

She also said that Hagonoy Mayor Raul “Amboy” Manlapaz and Calumpit Mayor Jessie de Jesus have already placed their respective towns under state of calamity due to the still rising floods.

Some 2,079 families from the affected towns are still housed in the different evacuation centers in the said areas.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando are personally supervising rescue and relief operations in the said towns, including San Miguel which was also severely flooded during the onslaught of Typhoon Lando.

The water level at Angat dam has risen from 203 meters last Thursday to 204.3 meters Friday morning.

The water level in Ipo dam is 100.6 meters (spilling level 101 meters) while the water level at Bustos dam is 17.37 meters (spilling level 17.70 meters) (PNA) 
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Backfloods continue to 'swallow' villages in Calumpit, Hagonoy and Pulilan - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 22 (PNA) -- At least 48 villages in the coastal towns of Calumpit and Hagonoy and nearby municipality of Pulilan are still being submerged by rampaging backfloods coming from the Pampanga and Nueva Ecija, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) reported on Thursday morning.

Massive relief and rescue operations are on going as floodwaters inundate many villages in Calumpit under 4 to 9 feet while villages in Hagonoy are also being submerged as deep as 4 to 8 feet.

PDRRM officer Liz Mungcal said that 24,049 families or 120,245 persons were affected by the deluge of backfloods in the three towns, all located in the province’s first congressional district.

Hardest hit were the Calumpit villages of Sapang bayan which is under 9 feet; San Jose (5 to 9 feet), Meysulo (7 feet), San Miguel (7 feet) and Gugo (4 to 7 feet).

In Hagonoy, 11 villages are now being “swallowed” by backfloods and most are under 4 to feet of still rising floodwaters.

In Pulilan town, 11 barangays are still flooded up to 2 to 3 feet. These barangays are Inaon, Tabon, Dampol 1 and 2, Lumbac, Dulong Malabon, Penabatan, Paltao, Poblacion, Taal and Tibag.

Mungcal also said that damage to agriculture, including livestock and fishery, has climbed to PHP937,755,533.17

She said Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado has already set up a satellite command post in Calumpit where rescuers and relief teams converged to help flood-stricken residents.

Mungcal said the floods from Nueva Ecija, Tarlac and Pampanga is causing the backfloods in the three towns, with Calumpit and Hagonoy bearing the brunt of it being known as the perennial catch basins of backfloods during typhoon season.

As the backfloods continue to wreck havoc in the towns of Calumpit, Hagonoy and Pulilan, the rains spawned by typhoon Lando, however, was not enough to replenish the dwindling water supply at the Angat dam.

As of  6 a.m. Thursday, the water level at Angat dam was 203.72 meters which is still below its spilling level of 210 meters.

The rains of typhoon Lando has increased the water elevation at Angat dam by only 8 meters from 197 meters last Friday to 203.72 meters.

The water level at Ipo dam was 99.76 meters (spilling level 101 meters while the water elevation at Bustos dam was 17.48 meters (spilling level 17.70 meters).(PNA) 
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MMDA to assist manning of NLEX traffic on Saturday

MANILA, Oct. 21 (PNA) -– The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has expressed its willingness to assist in manning traffic along North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) on Saturday with the expected influx of vehicles for Eat Bulaga's AlDub event at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

MMDA officer-in-charge Emerson Carlos said the agency is willing to send team of traffic enforcers to assist the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Bulacan if they need help in the management of traffic along NLEX on Saturday.

”Kung hihingi ng tulong yung Bulacan PNP kasi as of now wala pang request pumupunta lang kami doon kapag may request,” Carlos told reporters Wednesday.

During earlier events of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) in Philippine Arena, Carlos said the MMDA deployed additional men along Balintawak and Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City, both entry and exit points in NLEX.

Carlos added that during INC events at the Philippine Arena, MMDA usually send a 200-man team to assist in traffic management along NLEX.

He said they expect a huge volume of private vehicles as there are no buses from Metro Manila that directly transport people to the Philippine Arena.

On its Facebook post late Monday night, the Philippine Arena has confirmed that the 55,000 tickets, the seating capacity of the multi-purpose indoor arena, for the popular “Eat Bulaga” special fan day this Saturday were sold out.

If the figure is factual, Carlos is advising motorists to expect heavy flow of traffic along NLEX heading towards the Philippine Arena.

He said he already instructed MMDA's Traffic Discipline Office head Atty. Crisanto Saruca to be ready for the deployment of their traffic enforcers. (PNA) 
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Two Bulacan towns still flooded; damage to agriculture climbs to Php739-M - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 20 (PNA) --As many villages in the towns of San Miguel and Calumpit remain submerged under one to three feet of flood water due to the stormy weather brought by Typhoon Lando, the damage in agriculture in the entire province has ballooned to Php739,526,548.11, according to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO).

PDRRM officer Liz Mungcal said that hardest hit were the rice farmers because about 22,505.40 hectares of fields planted with ready to harvest rice were devastated by the wrath of Typhoon Lando.

Mungcal said that some 4,400 farmers were affected and their loses was estimated to have reached Php735,523,898.11.

This was followed by the loses of some 199 vegetables farmers whose crops were also destroyed due to the stormy weather and the estimated damages is Php3,136,740.

At least Php865,910 was the estimated damage in the fishing industry, the PDRRMO report said.

As of 12 noon Tuesday, the PDRRMO said that 16 villages in San Miguel were still flooded under one to three feet of flood waters while 11 villages are still flooded in the coastal town of Calumpit.

Mungcal said that Governor Alvarado has already alerted relief and rescue teams to be ready for the backfloods that may come from Nueva Ecija which could inundate low lying areas in Calumpit and Hagonoy, the perennial catch basin of back floods during typhoon season.

As of 5 a.m. Tuesday, the water level at Angat dam was 202.93 meters which is still way below its spilling level of 210 meters.

The water level at Ipo dam was 99.81 meters (spilling level 101 meters) while the water elevation at Bustos dam was 17.46 (spilling level 17.70 meters). (PNA) 
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PDEA-3 nets 6 drug suspects in Bulacan

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Oct. 20 (PNA) -- Agents of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Central Luzon arrested Sunday six drug personalities in two separate anti-illegal drug operations in Bulacan.

PDEA-3 director Gladys Rosales said the operatives apprehended two suspects in a drug sting in Marilao town who were identified as Christopher Raneses, 50, a resident of Caloocan City and Elizabeth David, 45, a resident of Floridablanca, Pampanga.

Seized from Raneses and David were ice plastic bag with shabu weighing about 100 grams with an estimated value of PHP350,000 and the marked money used in the operation.

They are now detained in PDEA Jail Facility here.

Charges for violation of Section 5 (Sale of Dangerous Drugs) in relation to section 26 paragraph B (Conspiracy), Article II of Republic Act 9165 are being readied for filing in court.

Also in Bulacan, Rosales said, the operatives were implementing a search warrant in the house of Enrico Espiritu at Eufemia Sanchez Street, Barangay Caingin, Bocaue town, when they caught four persons while having drug session.

Espritu, who is the subject of the operation, was not around during the raid.

The four suspects who were caught in drug session were identified as Joselito Cruz, 49; Rodelito De Guzman, 41; Renato Francisco, 40; and Joselito Sebastian, 48; all residents of Bocaue, Bulacan.

They are now detained at the CIDG Bulacan Jail Facility in Malolos City, Bulacan. (PNA) 
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(Update as of 10:20 am Monday) Bad weather prompts more flight cancellations

MANILA, Oct. 19 (PNA) -- Four more flights were cancelled on Monday morning due to bad weather, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said in an advisory.

Additional flights cancelled include 5J 885 (Manila-Cotabato), 5J 886 (Cotabato-Manila), 5J 887 (Manila-Cotabato), and 5J 888 (Cotabato-Manila).

These flights belong to low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific (CEB).

CEB earlier cancelled flights 5J 196 (Manila-Cauayan), 5J 197 (Cauayan-Manila), 5J 504 (Manila-Tuguegarao), and 5J 505 (Tuguegarao-Manila).

There are a total of eight CEB flights cancelled as of posting time.

State-run weather bureau PAGASA earlier predicted stormy weather expected over Cordillera region, provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Abra, La Union, Cagayan including Calayan and Babuyan islands.

Meanwhile, rains with gusty winds will prevail over Pangasinan, Zambales, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Aurora, rest of Cagayan valley and Metro Manila.

PAGASA also said that cloudy skies with light to moderate rains will be experienced over Western Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula and the rest of Luzon.

Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated thunderstorms will prevail over the rest of the country. (PNA)
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Galvez appointed as AFP deputy chief-of-staff for operations - By Priam F. Nepomuceno

MANILA, Oct. 17 (PNA) --- Effective this Monday, Brig. Gen. Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. will now serve as Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP) deputy chief-of-staff for operations.

He will succeed outgoing AFP deputy chief-of-staff for operations Major Gen. Angelito M. De Leon, who was appointed to command the Nueva Ecija-based 7th Infantry Division.

The latter assumed command of the unit last Oct. 15.

Galvez is a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy “Sandiwa” Class of 1985 while De Leon is a member of PMA “Maharlika” Class of 1984.

The new AFP deputy chief-of-staff for operations is a decorated commander whose fields of specialty include Leadership Development, Counter-terrorism, Humanitarian Assistance, Strategic Thinking/Decision-making, Systems Dynamics Modeling, and Negotiation and Mediation (“Rido” Settlement).

He is a recipient of two Distinguished Service Stars, two Outstanding Achievement Medals, six Gold Cross Medals, eight Bronze Cross Medals, numerous military merit and commendation medals and lastly the wounded personnel medal.

Galvez is also a recipient of the DSWD “Salamat Po” Humanitarian Award and an Outstanding Citizen of Taguig City Award.

Among his achievement is the most prestigious United States Eisenhower Fellowships Multi-Nation Program in 2006. It gave him the opportunity to meet 22 other emerging leaders around the world and travel 11 US states and 15 cities and meet 200 American accomplished professionals and academicians in two months.

In March 12, 2007, he was adjudged as one of the “The Outstanding Philippine Soldier (TOPS) for 2007”.

He completed his Masters in Project Management, University of New South Wales, Australia in 2004. He also participated and finished executive education like the Kennedy School of Government Leadership Executive Education at Harvard University, Massachusetts; Asian Institute of Management Bridging Leadership Fellow; Executive Education on Leadership and Values at the University of Asia and the Pacific; Executive Course on Negotiation and Mediation at the National Security at the National Defense College of the Philippines; Executive Education on Leadership and Laws by the Australian Defense Course Program; Infantry Officer Advance Course in Fort Benning,Georgia, Military Operation Research Symposium in Singapore; Comprehensive Crisis Management Course in Hawaii and Rules of Engagement at the Institute of International Humanitarian Law in San Remo Italy.

He is the firstborn among 12 children of Carlito Galvez Sr. and Lourdes Guansing from Bustos, Bulacan.

He has been with the military service for 35 years with most of his company, battalion and brigade command and staff billet were spent in mainland Mindanao, Sulu and Basilan. He is an Airborne and Scout Ranger qualified.

He is happily married to former Marissa M. Pascua, an international flight purser of Philippine Airlines from Villamor Airbase, Pasay City and blessed with a 16- year old daughter, Mary Frances Therese.

While De Leon also has his array of achievements on an unblemished record of service.

He received four Distinguished Service Star Medals, Gawad Sa Kaunlaran Award, 15 Military Merit Medals and a Minister of National Defense Saber Award, among others.

He was former Chief of AFP Command Center, Secretary Joint Staff at AFP General Headquarters and Secretary of Army General Staff at Headquarters Philippine Army in Fort Andres Bonifacio.

He will continue to lead soldiers and serve as 7th Infantry Division head until his retirement in October 2016. (PNA) 
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Worsening 'Lando' prompts storm signal 4 in Aurora - By Catherine J. Teves

MANILA, Oct. 17 (PNA) -- Government hoisted late Saturday afternoon public storm warning signal (PSWS) 4 in Aurora province where State forecasters expect typhoon 'Lando' (international name 'Koppu') to make a landfall Sunday.

"The typhoon further intensified as it threatens the provinces of Aurora, Isabela and Northern Quezon," State weather agency Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said in its 5 p.m. severe weather bulletin released Saturday.

PAGASA expects Aurora to experience winds of 171 kilometers per hour to 220 kilometers per hour.

Very heavy damage to high-risk structures and agricultural losses are possible there, PAGASA warned.

"Storm surge may reach a maximum of three meters in Aurora and neighboring provinces," PAGASA also said.

'Lando' was 230 kilometers east of Aurora's Baler municipality as of 4 p.m. Saturday, said PAGASA.

The typhoon packed maximum sustained winds of 175 kilometers near its center and gustiness of up to 210 kilometers per hour, PAGASA said.

"Estimated rainfall is from heavy to intense within the 650-kilometer diameter of the typhoon," PAGASA said further.

PAGASA cautioned about sailing in Luzon and Visayan seas as well as waters off Mindanao's eastern seaboard.

"Wave height in open seas may reach up to 14 meters or higher," PAGASA also said.

PSWS 3 is already hoisted over Isabela, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija, Ifugao and Northern Quezon provinces as well as Polillo Island.

Such areas can expect winds of 121 kilometers per hour to 170 kilometers per hour, said PAGASA.

Already under PSWS 2 are Metro Manila, Calayan and Babuyan island groups, the rest of Quezon province as well as the provinces of Cagayan, Benguet, Mt. Province, Abra, Kalinga, Apayao, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Zambales, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bulacan, Rizal and Camarines Norte.

Winds between 61 kilometers per hour to 120 kilometers per hour can be expected there, PAGASA noted.

PSWS 1 is prevailing in Batanes, Bataan, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Marinduque, Camarines Sur, Albay and Catanduanes provinces as well as Lubang Island and northern Oriental Mindoro province.

The areas can expect winds of 30 kilometers per hour to 60 kilometers per hour, PAGASA said.

"Occasional rains and gusty winds will be experienced in areas under PSWS 1 while those under PSWSs 2, 3 and 4 will have stormy weather," PAGASA also said.

PAGASA forecast 'Lando' to move west at 10 kilometers per hour.

'Lando' will likely be in the vicinity of Quirino's Nagtipunan municipality by Sunday afternoon and Kalinga's Lubuagan municipality by Monday afternoon (Oct. 19), PAGASA added. (PNA) 
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Exciting election looms in Bulacan - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 17 (PNA) --A “battle-royale” between two powerful political families in Meycauayan City looms after the candidates for mayorship of the said city, known for its world class jewelry industry, and bets for the congressional race filed their respective Certificates of Candidacy (COCs).

A festive mood was witnessed in Meycauayan City after Manny Alarilla, son of outgoing last termer Mayor Joan Alarilla, filed his COC for mayor at the city election office.

Incumbent Mayor Alarilla, on the other hand, filed her COC for congresswoman in the fourth district at the provincial Comelec office in this historic capital city.

The younger Alarilla, who served as executive consultant of Mayor Alarilla, will face lawyer Henry Villarica, husband of incumbent fourth district Rep. Lynabelle Villarica, who will run for a third and last term as congressional representative in the 4th district vis-à-vis Mayor Alarilla, thus making it a “mother and son” tandem of the Alarillas versus the “husband and wife” team of the Villaricas.

In Bocaue, thousands of the residents lined-up the streets to show their support to former provincial administrator Jim Valerio, who filed his COC for the mayoralty race.

Valerio is an independent candidate but is also running with a complete ticket of independent bets for vice mayor and municipal councilors.

His running mate is Ray “Player Move” Bautista.

Valerio’s ticket for councilors include Eglich Mendoza-Artuz, Randi Pascual, Marvin dela Cruz, Joel martin Alcaraz, Rod Vincent “Rocky” dela Cruz, Santy Nicolas and Jose Porcinculla Viray.

Meanwhile, in the first district of the province, youth leader Jose Antonio R. Sy-Alvarado, son of incumbent Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, filed his COC for congressman.

He vowed to continue the leadership and public service of her mother—outgoing 1st district Rep. Ma. Victoria R. Sy-Alvarado.

A bemedalled youth leader, Sy-Alvarado has recently finished a political science course at the Oxford University in London, England and is also a magna cum laude graduate of Business Administration (masteral degree) of San Beda College. (PNA) 
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Top LP bets in Bulacan files COCs, thanks PNoy for trust and confidence

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 16 (PNA) -- The provincial election office here became a virtual “sea of yellow’ as provincial candidates of the ruling Liberal Party led by re-electionist Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and his long- time partner Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando, together with their ticket for board members, filed their respective certificate of candidacy (COC) Thursday afternoon.

The provincial candidates of LP first attended a mass at the nearby Sto. Nino Chapel of the provincial capitol before proceeding to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office.

Citing the adage “Vox populi, Vox Dei” (the voice of the people is the voice of God), Alvarado said that their team will continue to serve the people of Bulacan with a big heart.

“We are ready for the coming electoral exercise. We are very thankful to President Aquino and LP presidential candidate Mar Roxas for their trust and confidence in choosing us to be the official candidates of the ruling party in the province of Bulacan,” Alvarado said shortly after completing the registration requirements at the provincial Comelec office.

He said that while he has to serve his second term as governor up to June 2016, Alvarado said that if given a fresh mandate he will give more focus on environment protection, particularly the saving of the mountains in eastern Bulacan and the cleaning of the major rivers of the province.

He also said that Bulacan will soon emerge as the model province in the number of school buildings built in the past five years.

“We have no more backlogs in the number of classrooms. At present, we have already constructed 900 school buildings and soon it will be doubled because the Department of Education is now doing their part in the construction of school buildings,” he added.

He also urged his provincemates to support the presidential bid of Mar Roxas, whom he said could be the first Bulakenyo president.

He said Roxas has deep roots in Bulacan because his grandmother Dona Trinidad de Leon, wife of former President Manuel Roxas is a native of San Miguel town. Their son, the late Senator Gerry Roxas was the father of Mar Roxas.

The LP candidates for the Sanguniang Panlalawigan under the dynamic tandem of Alvarado and Fernando are: Therese Ople, Felix Ople and Teddy Natividad Jr., (1st district); Maria Lourdes Posadas and Enrique dela Cruz Jr., (2nd District); Lawyer Emelita Viceo and Nicanor Bartolome (3rd District) and Allan ray Baluyot, Giovanni Capricho and Rodolfo Nieto (4th district).

In this historic, the trademark red color of incumbent Mayor Christian Natividad has also become yellow as he and his ticket filed their COCs under the ruling Liberal Party at the heavily crowded city elections office here on Friday morning.

Natividad and his running mate Vice Mayor Bebong Gatchalian will be running for their third and last term as top city executives. (PNA) 
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Central Luzon braces for typhoon "Lando"

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Oct. 16 (PNA)--Local government units (LGUs) in Central Luzon are preparing for the possible onslaught of typhoon Lando, which is forecast to bring more rains and strong winds across the region.

Since Thursday, the local governments in the seven provinces in the region, namely Aurora, Bulacan, Bataan, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija and Zambales, have conducted pre-disaster preparations to ease the anticipated effects of the weather disturbance.

In Aurora where typhoon Lando is moving closer, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) is on red alert status to closely monitor the situation.

No fishing, no sailing and no outdoor activities are being implemented in the beaches of Aurora to ensure the people’s safety.

The evacuation centers are also on standby and pre-emptive evacuation was also ordered.

In Bulacan, the PDRRMC, headed by Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, is in close coordination with concerned government agencies to monitor the situation, particularly the water levels in the three dams — Bustos, Ipo and Angat.

Nueva Ecija Governor Aurelio, on the other hand, advised all local chief executives (LCEs) to immediately activate their local disaster risk reduction and management council (LDRRMC).

Umali also instructed LCEs to advise residents living in low-lying areas and landslide prone areas to take the necessary precautions and evacuate to safer grounds.

He likewise ordered the continuous monitoring of the water elevation of Pantabangan Dam.

The Nueva Ecija search and rescue team and equipment are likewise on standby status and ready for deployment.

In Pampanga, the MDRRMO from the towns of Arayat, Candaba, San Luis, San Simon, Apalit, Minalin, Macabebe and Masantol were advised to monitor their barangays for possible increase of water level in the Pampanga river and take precautionary measures or pre-emptive evacuation when needed.

The PDRRMC –Tarlac , on the other hand, is on blue alert status since Wednesday to closely monitor the situation.

In Zambales, the PDRRMC response agencies are on standby for possible activation of the three operation centers.

The MDRRMOs are also advised to undertake close monitoring and precautionary measures , particularly in the landslides and flood prone areas.

Meanwhile, the PDRRMC-Bataan and the DILG Provincial Operation Center is on alert status. (PNA) 
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Bulacan Comelec office braces for surge of COC filers

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 13 (PNA) -- Local candidates for the coming May 2016 elections are expected to come in droves starting Tuesday as the Provincial Election Office braces for the surge of “wannabes” for provincial posts on the second day of the filing of certificate of candidacy (COC) for the May 2016 polls.

The Provincial Election Office said that since the opening day on Monday, the registration of candidates was generally peaceful.

Lawyer Elmo Duque, provincial election supervisor, called Monday candidates to help the Commission on Elections (Comelec) conduct a peaceful and orderly registration of candidates.

Duque said that among the early birds who filed their COCs was re-electionist Rep.Gavini “Apol” Pancho, the incumbent representative for the second district of Bulacan has filed his certificate of candidacy at 11:25 am under the National Union Party.

Also, Ermalyn Carmen of Northville 6, Barangay Santol, Balagtas town filed her COC as an independent candidate for the gubernatorial post while Bernardo Aban of Barangay Tugatog, Meycauayan City is eyeing the post for provincial board member of the fourth district of Bulacan under the Liberal Party.

Sources also said that incumbent Gov. Wilhelmino Sy Alvarado and long-time partner Vice. Gov. Daniel Fernando, together with 19 mayors, 19 vice mayors and 9 provincial board members who recently took their oath of allegiance to the Liberal Party, are set to file their COCs anytime this week.

The dynamic tandem of Alvarado and Fernando will be seeking fresh mandate for their third term as governor and vice governor, respectively.

The two top provincial executives, who almost got a million votes in the May 2013 elections, are also rallying their provincemates to support the presidential bid of LP standard bearer Mar Roxas, whom the governor said, has deep roots in Bulacan being the grandson of Dona Trinidad de Leon of San Miguel and wife of former President Manuel Roxas, the father of the late Senator Gerry Roxas who was the father of Mar Roxas.

Bulacan Police Director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina said additional police troops from the Public Safety Company were deployed in towns and cities to augment local policemen in safeguarding the filing of the COCs. (PNA) 
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PNP’s ‘One Time Big Time’ operation nets 9 drug suspects in Bulacan

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Oct. 12 (PNA) -- Two top drug personalities and seven others were arrested Sunday in another “One Time Big Time” operation in Bulacan.

Sr. Supt. Ferdinand Divina, Bulacan police provincial director, identified the two top drug personalities as Manolito Escalona and Crisanto Nicdao, 36, both residents of Barangay Poblacion, Baliwag, Bulacan.

Escalona is the no. 3 priority target while Nicdao is the no. 6 in the priority target in the Baliwag police drug list.

Escalona was arrested in his residence by virtue of a search warrant issued by Judge Ma Theresa Mendoza, presiding judge of the RTC Branch 17 of Malolos City.

During the search warrant operation, three companions of Escalona namely Ricky Justiniano, 39; Raymond Martin, 30, both residents of Little Baguio, Barangay Poblacion, Baliwag; and Alfredo De Jesus, 43, of Barangay San Agustin, San Rafael, Bulacan were also arrested.

Recovered from the Escalona’s house were eight plastic sachets containing the illegal drug "shabu", drug paraphernalia and ammunition for a caliber .38 rifle.

Nicdao, on the other hand, was arrested in another operation along with Jaime Domingo, 38, of Barangay Sto Cristo, Baliwag; Ferdinand Angeles, 47, also of Barangay Pobalcion; Romeo Abilion, 40, a vendor; and Aldrin Viudez, 21, a tricycle driver, both residents of Barangay San Jose, Baliwag.

Nicdao was arrested by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by Judge Mario Pocholo Telan of the Municipal Trial Court of Baliwag.

Nicdao and his group were caught by the authorities in the act snipping drugs.

Confiscated from Nicdao’s group were a plastic sachet containing shabu and paraphernalia. (PNA) 
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Alvarado, Fernando, other Bulacan execs join LP

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 10 (PNA)--A big number of provincial and local executives here has joined the ruling Liberal Party (LP) bandwagon.

It’s now confirmed, the dynamic tandem of Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando will be the official candidates of the ruling LP for the gubernatorial and vice gubernatorial race in Bulacan in the coming May 2016 elections.

This after Alvarado and Fernando, together with 19 Bulacan mayors, 19 vice mayors and nine provincial board members, took their “oath of allegiance” as members of the party before LP Presidential bet Mar Roxas during the mass oath taking ceremony at the Balay LP headquarters in Quezon City Friday morning.

Alvarado and the Bulacan officials are among the new batch of political leaders who joined the ruling party with other political leaders from Bataan and Surigao.

Roxas said that Alvarado and Fernando are potent addition to the growing family of LP members, saying that the sterling leadership of the two provincial leaders have steered the province to the economic boom now prevailing in Bulacan.

“They (Alvarado and Fernando) have been very supportive in implementing the “Daang Matuwid” policy of President Aquino,” the LP Presidential standard bearer said.

Just recently, the two ranking Bulacan provincial executives received the “Seal of Good Local Governance” from the Department of Interior and Local Government, a proof of their strong commitment to uplift the lives of their province mates.

LP stalwarts also said that even when Alvarado was not yet a member of the ruling party, President Aquino has already shown his trust and confidence when the Chief Executive appointed him as chairman of the Regional Development Council in Central Luzon.

Alvarado said that they were convinced to join the LP because of its strong commitment and dedication to serve the country and the Filipino people.

“There’s no doubt that LP is the true political organization that has been doing its commitment to uplift the lives of the Filipino people and by pushing the country to greater heights in real time,” Alvarado said.

He said that the people of Bulacan will rally behind the candidates of the “Daang Matuwid” and the presidential bid of Roxas and running mate Leni Robledo in the coming May 2016 elections.

Bulakenyos are also courting the idea of having the first President coming from Bulacan since Roxas has deep roots in this historic province, known as the home of the three Republics—the Republic of Kakarong de Sili, the Biak-na-bato Republic and the Malolos Republic (also known as the First Philippine Republic).

The governor said Roxas is the grandson of former First lady Dona Trinidad de Leon of San Miguel, Bulacan, wife of former President Manuel Roxas and mother of the late Senator Gerry Roxas, the father of Mar Roxas. (PNA) 
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Bountiful harvest dashed to oblivion  (w/photo) - By Ben Cal

STA. MARIA, BULACAN Oct. 8 (PNA) -- Sixty-year old newly-hired farmer Eugenio M. Ensoy was looking forward for another bountiful harvest this month of the vegetables and fruits he planted from a piece of land he was cultivating here for over a year.

Furthermore, he was extremely happy upon learning last week that his six sisters and a brother would visit his farm this week.

But all of this went awry when Ensoy was killed in a freak road accident when the bicycle he was riding was sideswiped by a speeding motorcycle in Sta. Maria last Friday afternoon.

Compounding the tragedy is that Ensoy left behind four children, including the youngest, 11-year boy, who are now all orphans since their mother died last year. Except for the eldest daughter Vangie her sister and two brothers are still dependent on their father for a living. Following the accident, Ensoy was first brought to the Sta. Maria Hospital in Bulacan but had to be transferred to the East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC) in Quezon City because of severe brain damage.

Ensoy was already comatose when he was brought by ambulance to EAMC early Friday night. Doctors tried to revive him but to no avail. Ensoy died at 6:10 p.m. Saturday.

Recalling the incident, Vangie said his father fell to the pavement head first when his bicycle was hit but got up immediately and said “I’m okay.”

Hazael Guardiano, the motorcyclist, suffered minor rashes on his right forearm. He told Ensoy that he (Guardiano) called for a rescue team from the barangay. When the rescue unit arrived, Ensoy was still conscious and even asked for water so he could drink his maintenance medicine for high blood pressure.

He was able to give information on whom to contact when complained that he was experiencing an excruciating pain on his head and fell unconscious. He never recovered.

Vangie, who is jobless at the moment, said that their main problem is how to sustain life since his sister Ellen is sickly, her brother Jeffrey is a special child while her other younger brother Eldrige is a minor now that their father is dead.

They cannot continue to till the farm of their departed father since they do not own the land.

Guardiano assured the orphaned Ensoy children to foot all medical and burial expenses. But the bereaved family is asking for a just compensation for the untimely death of their beloved father so they can start a small business to survive.

Now that their father is dead, Vangie and her sister Ellen are confident that they can survive the rigors of life despite being poor through faith in God as their father, a born-again Christian, used to say that “the most essential thing in our earthly life is not material wealth but the abundance of spiritual wealth of being humble, compassionate, forgiving and God-fearing that would take us to Heaven, our eternal home.”

Eugenio Ensoy practiced these virtues until he breathed his last. (PNA) 
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Bulacan steps up campaign vs. unscrupulous meat traders - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 5 (PNA) --The Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) has intensified its campaign against unscrupulous meat traders to protect Bulakenyos from contracting illnesses related to eating double dead meat.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that series of meat inspection in different public markets and slaughterhouses in the province will be conducted through the help of PVO, Bulacan Provincial Police Office, and Provincial Public Safety Company to assure the Bulakenyos that the meat and meat products that they buy are safe, fit for human consumption, and free from any contamination.

“We will continue to intensify our campaign to combat illegal meat traders to safeguard the public’s health and we will strengthen our meat inspection system to assure safety and quality of meat and meat products available in different markets in Bulacan,” the governor said.

Alvarado said the move is also part of the celebration of Meat Safety Consciousness Week on October 19-23.

With the theme “Karne at Pagkaing Ligtas, Magkasama sa Iisang Landas,” the celebration aims to create public awareness about the government’s vigorous efforts to ensure healthy, clean and safe practices in the production and consumption of meat in the country.

Meanwhile, provincial veterinarian Voltaire Basinang reminded everyone to be a wise meat consumer and inspect the meat through the “HASA inspection” or the “Hawakan, Amuyin, Siyasatin, Alamin at Hanapin” to ensure the safety and quality of the meat and different meat products available in the market.

Basinang also advised the public to look for the seal of inspection and meat inspection certificate before buying from any meat vendor.

He also said that any person who commits violation of the provisions of the Republic Act 105336 known as Meat Inspection Code of the Philippines, including the selling of hot meat locally known as “botcha,” will be punished by imprisonment from 6 to 12 years or a fine ranging from Php100,000 to Php1,000,000. (PNA) 
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Korean fugitive Lee Sang Te deported to Korea Saturday

MANILA, Oct. 5 (PNA) -- Korean fugitive Lee Sang Te has been formally turned over to Korean authorities by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) over the weekend.

According to Atty. Elaine Tan, BI Spokesperson, the foreign national was deported last Saturday, October 3 on board Korean Air Flight KE622.

“He was accompanied by Korean police and escorts from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI),” she said.

Lee has been in the country since May 2009 and was arrested in Pampanga last week.

Tan said that the deportation was accomplished after getting a go signal from the NBI.

“We proceeded with the deportation after securing his NBI clearance,” she added.

Lee is wanted by the Korean government since 2011 for the crime of “inflicting bodily injury resulting from robbery,” in addition to other serious cases where he is involved.

On October 4, 2013, Lee was issued a summary deportation order for being an undocumented and undesirable foreign national.

Meanwhile, four overstaying foreigners were arrested with the help of concerned individuals through the bureau’s informant program.

Gregory Cue King (American), Raynaldo Roman (American), Peter Smith Bjarnason (Kiwi), and Isaac Agyei (Ghanian) were arrested in separate operations on September 29 and 30 at Tagum City, Cavite, and Marilao, Bulacan.

They were apprehended pursuant to the “Sa Immigration Magsumbong” informants program, where concerned private citizens may send information about overstaying or undocumented foreign nationals through a text message.

All of them were found to have no valid stay in the country, in violation of Section 37(a)(7) of the Philippine Immigration Act.

At the same time, Tan urged the people to send in their tips by texting “SIM ” to any of the following mobile numbers: Smart (0908) 894-6644, Sun (0932) 894-6644 and Globe (0917) 573-3871.

Information leading to the arrest of the foreign national shall entitle the informant to an incentive of Php 2,000.00. (PNA) 
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2 fatalities due to TS "Kabayan" - By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan

MANILA, Oct. 4 (PNA) -- Two people in the province of Nueva Ecija and Aurora became the casualties during the onslaught of tropical storm "Kabayan", the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC) in Region 3 said.

In its bulletin, RDRRMC identified the casualties as Raquel Camilo, 57, of Barangay Luzsok, Bongabon, Nueva Ecija who died due to snakebite while Samuel Corcoro, 29 of Barangay Debuco, Maria Aurora province, who died due to drowning.

For its part, the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management and Council (NDDRMC) also reported two persons were injured in Region 1 while 63 persons missing in Region 1 and 3, of which 31 were already rescued.

The NDRRMC said that "Kabayan" has affected 4,565 families or 22.368 people in the provinces of La Union, Aurora, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Zambales.

Of these, some 1,391 families or 6,480 people were staying in seven evacuation centers.

A total of 50 barangays are still flooded in provinces of Pangasina, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Pampanga.

Damage to property and agriculture was estimated at Php 1,120,716.59 in the provinces of Pangasinan (Php 4,101.34) and Aurora (Php 1,116,615.25).

A total of 131 houses were damaged (27 total and 104 partially) in Region 3.

It added that total cost of government assistance for the affected families has reached Php 685,210 worth of relief goods and medicines were provided for affected families in the provinces of Aurora, Bulacan and Nueva Ecija. (PNA) 
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15,796 individuals in Central Luzon affected by 'Kabayan'

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Oct. 3 (PNA) -- A total of 3,318 families or 15,796 persons in 38 villages in Central Luzon have been affected by Tropical Storm "Kabayan" which crossed over the region after it made a landfall Friday in San Luis-Baler in Aurora.

Based on the latest Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) report, four provinces in Central Luzon, namely Aurora, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Zambales, were hit by floods due to strong rains spawned by Kabayan since Thursday night.

Nueva Ecija was badly hit in the region with 2,422 families or 11,243 individuals displaced due to floods in the cities of Cabanatuan and Palayan and the towns of Laur and Bongabon.

In Bulacan, seven areas, namely Sta. Maria, Bocaue, San Miguel, Plaridel, Balagtas, Marilao and Meycauayan City were hit by floods, affecting some 664 families or 3,165 individuals.

In Baler, Aurora where tropical storm Kabayan made a landfall, a total of 229 families or 1,374 persons were displaced while three families or 14 persons in Sta. Cruz, Zambales were affected.

A total of 128 houses in Aurora were damaged where 27 were totally destroyed and 101 were partially damaged.

The RDRRMC also reported that some 936 families or 4,863 persons are being served inside and outside the various evacuation centers in the region.

Meanwhile, a total 53 villages in the Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Pampanga are still underwater up to three feet.

In Bulacan, the affected towns are Marilao, Meycauayan, Bocaue, and Balagtas while in Nueva Ecija are the municipalities of Laur, Cuyapo, Rizal and Bongabon.

In Pampanga, six villages in the flood-prone town of Macababe are still under water up to two feet. (PNA) 
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President Aquino appoints 12 new judges

MANILA, Oct. 2 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III has appointed 12 new judges for Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Bataan, Cagayan, Apayao, Bulacan, Mindoro, Quezon and Romblon.

This was contained in two separate transmittal letters sent to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. Aranal Sereno by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. which said that President Aquino has appointed new judges for the nine provinces.

In the transmittal letter of Malacanang to the SC dated Sept. 9, 2015, the new judges are assigned in the first level trial courts of the aforementioned provinces.

They are Judge Greta Mae Balcanao of the 6th Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) of Kabugao-Conner, Apayao; Judge Amy Alafag-Verzola of the 4th MCTC, Luna-Pudtol-Calanasan, Apayao; Judge Catherine Bangi-Allas of the MTC Branch 1 of Lai-lo, Cagayan; Judge Meliton Galia of the 8th Angadanan-San Guillermo, Isabela; Judge Linda Gumabol of MTC, Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya.

For Central Luzon, the newly-appointed judges are Judge Percyveranda Alcesto Dela Cruz of the MTC of Arayat, Pampanga and Judge Vanessa Fernandez Bernardo-Agawin of MTC Marilao, Bulacan.

Judge Donna Lee Dunuan-Gobway was appointed for the 3rd MCTC, Looc-Alcantara-Sta. Fe-San Jose, Romblon along with Judge Emery Joy Ma of the 2nd MCTC, Bansud-Gloria, Mindoro Oriental and Judge Grandis Rem Tobias Manalabe of the 10th MCTC, San Francisco-San Andres, Quezon.

For the Regional Trial Courts (RTCs), the new judges are Judge Edralin Reyes of Branch 43 of the RTC, Mindoro Oriental while Judge Edilwasif Tapsiril Baddiri was appointed for Branch 96 of the RTC of Quezon province.

The appointees were screened by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) prior to their appointments.

The JBC is constitutionally mandated to screen and vet nominees to the President for vacant posts in the judiciary and the Office of the Ombudsman.

It is chaired by Chief Justice Sereno, with ex-officio members Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. and Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila M. De Lima.

Retired SC Associate Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez is the head of the Executive Committee and represents the retired SC Justice Sector; Atty. Jose V. Mejia representing the Academe; retired Court of Appeals (CA) Associate Justice Aurora Santiago-Lagman representing the private sector, and Atty. Milagros Fernan-Cayosa from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) are the other JBC regular members. (PNA) 
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TS Kabayan rains inundate villages in Bulacan - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 2 (PNA)--Heavy and intense rains brought by tropical storm Kabayan since Thursday night inundated some villages in the province.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado placed rescue teams on alert as he led the monitoring of flooded areas, particularly in Marilao and Meycauayan City.

Initial reports from Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) show that two villages (barangays Nagbalon and Ibayo) in Marilao were submerged under 1 foot to 2 feet of flood waters while the villages of Tugatog and lawa in Meycauayan City were under 1 foot to 1.5 ft of flood water.

PDRRM executive officer Liz Mungcal also reported to Gov. Alvarado that preemptive evacuation were conducted in Sta. Maria town, affecting some 116 families in three villages and six families in Bocaue town were also temporarily relocated to higher grounds due to flashfloods.

The PDRRMO also reported that Bustos dam opened two sluice gates and discharged 200 cubic meters per second of water from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. Friday.

The water elevation of Angat dam slightly rose from 189 .9 meters last Thursday to 190.90 meters at 8 a.m. Friday, which is still way below its spilling level of 210 meters.

The water level at Ipo dam as of 8 a.m. Friday was 101.16 meters (spilling level 101 meters) while the water level at Bustos dam was 17.86 meters (spilling level 17.70 meters).

Meanwhile, local executives in the province’s 21 towns and three cities earlier suspended classes both in public and private schools. 
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Classes in some Central Luzon areas suspended

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Oct. 2 (PNA) -- Classes in several areas in Central Luzon were suspended on Friday as tropical storm Kabayan continues to bring more rains and strong winds in the region.

Governor Aurelio Umali declared the suspension of classes in all levels as well as work in government offices in Nueva Ecija as heavy rainfall continue to batter the province.

Bataan Governor Albert Garcia also announced the suspension of classes in all levels, both in public and private, in the province.

Tarlac Governor Victor Yap likewise declared the suspension of classes from elementary to high school levels in, both public and private.

Classes from pre-school to high school were also suspended in Pampanga, including Angeles City.

Localized suspension of classes, on the other hand, were declared in the provinces of Bulacan, and Zambales.

In Bulacan, the municipalities of Bocaue, Balagtas, Marilao, Pulilan, San Jose Del Monte, Pandi, Obando, San Miguel, Calumpit, Meycauayan, Norzagaray, and Plaridel declared the suspension of classes in all levels, both in public and private.

Suspension of classes from pre-elementary up to high school were declared in Malolos City, Hagonoy, Paombong, Bustos, Sta. Maria and Baliwag.

The municipality of San Rafael, on the other hand, declared the suspension of classes up to elementary level, both in public and private.

The Bulacan State University and the Centro Escolar University in Malolos City also declared suspension of classes in all levels.

In Olongapo City, Mayor Rolen Paulino announced the suspension of classes in all levels, both in public and private.

The suspension of classes up to high school, meanwhile, was declared in Subic, Zambales. (PNA) 
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3 known drug personalities in Central Luzon nabbed in intensified anti-illegal drugs operations - By Froilan E. Magtoto

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Oct. 1 (PNA) --The relentless campaign against anti-illegal drugs in Central Luzon is continuously paying off with the arrest of three known drug personalities in the region.

Chief Supt. Rudy Lacadin, Central Luzon Police director, identified the suspects as William Flores, 40, a resident of Barangay Poblacion, Sta Maria, Bulacan; Wilson Dela Cruz of Barangay Sapang, Jaen, Nueva Ecija; and Carlito Bacani, a resident of Barangay Consuelo, Floridablanca, Pampanga.

Flores was arrested in a manhunt operation in Barangay Catmon, Sta Maria, by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by RTC Branch 76 of Malolos City for drug offense.

Lacadin said Flores is ranked no. 1 in the top 10 drug personalities in Sta Maria, Bulacan.

Dela Cruz, on the other hand, is ranked no. 5 in the top 10 drug personalities in Jaen, Nueva Ecija.

Meanwhile, Bacani, who is listed as the no. 4 most wanted person in Sasmuan, Pampanga, was nabbed during an anti-illegal drug operation in Barangay Natividad, Guagua town. (PNA) 
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Four dope gang members killed, 13 others nabbed in Bulacan - By Emil G. Gamos

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, Sept. 30 (PNA) --Police scored anew in its all-out offensive against the dope menace during an operation at a suspected dope den in Sitio Crusher, Barangay Bigte, Norzagaray town.

This time, four suspected members of a drug syndicate were killed in a gun fight with police anti-narcotics operatives before Wednesday noon.

Initial reports from the encounter site received by Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina showed that the slain suspects were members of a drug gang known as Eric Espinosa drug group, a notorious dope ring operating in this town and nearby areas, including San Jose del Monte City.

Divina said that based on sketchy reports, anti-narcotics operatives from the Norzagaray police station, in coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), conducted a buy bust operation at the gang suspected lair in Sitio Crusher, Barangay Bigte at around 11:30 a.m. Wed nesday.

However, when the lawmen arrived at the area, members of the said dope gang who seemed to notice their presence, drew guns and fired on them, prompting the police officers to return fire.

Divina said that four of the gangmen, whose identities are still being established, died.

No policemen were hurt, he added.

He said 13 other suspects were arrested and are now under the custody of the Norzagaray police station where they are being investigated.

Assorted firearms, ammunitions, shabu, marijuana and drug paraphernalia were recovered from the arrested suspects.

Divina said that the Norzagaray police are still conducting investigation and follow up operations in the area. (PNA) 
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Bulacan declares state of calamity due to dengue

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Sept. 30 (PNA) -- The provincial government of Bulacan on Wednesday placed the province under state of calamity due to the alarming increase of dengue cases.

Through the Panlalawigang Kapasyahan Blg. 308-T’15, “Kapasyahan na nagpapahayag na ang Bulacan ay nasa ilalim ng state of calamity upang matugunan aang paglaganap ng sakit na dengue sa lalawigan,” Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado declared, saying that the provincial government will allocate PHP39 million calamity fund to prevent the continuous rise of dengue cases in the province.

Aside from the free hospitalization and medication to dengue patients, Alvarado also said that dengue express lanes will be provided in all hospitals run by the provincial government.

Based on the record of the Provincial Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (PESU), as of September 30, there are 4,771 cases of dengue reported in the province since January with 11 fatalities.

The incidence of dengue has grown dramatically and has a cumulative increase of 230 percent compared to last year’s statistics which was 1,342.

Children who are 11-20 yrs. old has the most number of dengue cases with 38.8 percent.

The municipalities and cities with the highest number of dengue cases are City of San Jose Del Monte with 615 cases, Sta Maria with 409 cases, San Rafael with 401, Bustos with 329 and San Miguel with 278.

Meanwhile, the provincial government is continuously intensifying the province-wide information drive to educate the public on how to prevent dengue, to promote the 4’o clock habit against dengue and to encourage them to join the Aksyon Barangay Kontra Dengue activity of their respective barangays. (PNA) 
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Saudi stampede not likely to happen at INC evangelical gathering

BOCAUE, Bulacan, Sept. 26 (PNA)--Police officials on Saturday maintained that despite the huge influx of Iglesia ni Cristo members at the sprawling Philippine Arena here for an evangelical mission, they are optimistic that no tragic incident like the deadly stampede that killed hundreds of Muslim pilgrims in Mina, Saudi Arabia early this week will likely to happen.

“The INC members are well disciplined especially in huge gatherings like this aside from the fact that the venue is well secured. There might be traffic jams but our police forces are there to maintain peace and order,” Bulacan police director Sr. Supt. Ferdinand Divina, said.

The stampede occurred during the ritual known as the “stoning the devil” in a tent city in Mina, about two miles from the holy site in Mecca, Islam’s holiest city.

It was the deadliest incident to hit the annual hajj in years and the second this season, coming less than two weeks after 109 worshipers were killed when strong winds toppled a crane at Mecca’s Grand Mosque.

Divina said that 500 policemen have been deployed to secure the area and to augment the 180 traffic enforcers of the Metro Manila Development Authority and the personnel of the North Luzon Expressway.

He said that hundreds of the expected 55,000 INC members that will attend the evangelical mission to be led by INC Executive minister Eduardo Manalo, have started to pour early Saturday morning.

The event is scheduled at 7 p.m. but the NLEX management expects traffic to be snarled as early as 6 a.m.

A one-lane counter flow on the southbound portion of NLEX from Bocaue to Marilao has been set up to ease the flow of northbound traffic near the Philippine Arena area according to NLEX management.

Divina said that police troops from the Provincial Safety Company were also deployed along the Macarthur Highway where traffic is also expected to get snarled.

“There are plenty of peace-keeping forces as well as traffic enforcers in the area. We have proper coordination with the INC leadership to ensure that their evangelical mission will proceed without any untoward incident. Our peace keeping forces are also prepared to respond to any eventuality,” he added. (PNA) 
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Bulacan declares all-out-war vs dengue

MALOLOS, Bulacan, Sept. 22 (PNA) -- Bulacan has declared an all-out-war against the dreaded dengue disease.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado has made a call to his province mates to join together in the intensive drive to combat dengue that is now wrecking havoc in many parts of the province.

Based on the report from Provincial Health Office, there are now more than 3,000 cases of dengue fever in the 21 towns and three cities of the province and nine persons have already died.

”At present, our province has registered more than 3,000 dengue cases wherein nine of them have died. This is alarming. We should work hand-in-hand in the fight against dengue here in our province,” the provincial top executive said in his open letter to his province mates which was circulated since Monday.

Alvarado also urged his province mates to exercise the following anti-dengue measures : have a massive cleaning operation in every barangay; regularly conduct a search and destroy operations on the breeding grounds and habitat of the “Aedes aegypti” mosquito, the main vector that transmits the viruses of dengue.

The governor also advised Bulakenyos to make consultations with health centers or hospitals when they experience these symptoms: having a fever for two straight days or more; redness of skin due to fever; lost of appetite; dizziness and vomiting; stomach ache: stomach discomfort and nose bleeding or gum bleeding.

Alvarado also said that hospitalization and medical care for dengue patients in the province is free in every government-run medical centers like the Bulacan Medical Center (Malolos City); Rogaciano M. Mercado Memorial Hospital (Sta. Maria); San Miguel District Hospital (San Miguel), Emilio Perez Hospital (Hagonoy), Calumpit District Hospital; Baliwag District Hospital and the Gen. Gregorio del Pilar Hospital (Bulakan).

Alvarado also encouraged healthy Bulakenyos to support the “Boluntaryong Pagbibigay ng Dugo” program of the provincial government.

Interested parties or blood donors can coordinate with the Bulacan Provincial Blood Center or contact telephone numbers 662-5427.

"In our united fight against dengue, the lives of every Bulakenyo will be saved from dengue. Thank you and I hope for a full support from everyone to combat this dreaded disease,” the governor said.

According to the World Health Organization, dengue is fast emerging pandemic-prone viral disease in many parts of the world.

Dengue flourishes in urban poor areas, suburbs and the countryside but also affects more affluent neighborhoods in tropical and subtropical countries. (PNA) 
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Bulacan police steps up 'Oplan: Lambat-Sibat'

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Sept. 21 (PNA) -- The Bulacan Police Provincial Office (BPPO) is now stepping-up its anti-crime drive through the reinvigorated Oplan: Lambat-Sibat of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in an effort to fight criminal gangs and other lawless elements.

Senior Supt. Ferdinand O. Divina, Bulacan police director, said the intensified campaign against criminality is like spreading a “spider’s web".

“They will be venturing into it like a fly into a spider’s web,” Divina said in an interview with Bulacan newsmen before the start of the BPPO’s weekly Lambat-Sibat meeting and immersion of provincial directors/city directors (PDs/CDs) and staffs at the Mariano Ponce Hall of the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center here on Monday morning.

Divina said that chiefs of police and the BPPO’s different units are now being briefed into the latest operational plans and tactics designed by higher headquarters to efficiently combat crime.

He said that police officers in the province’s 21 towns and three cities were briefed by Senior Supt. Cesar H. Binag on the overview of managing police operations Lambat-Sibat and Patrol 101.

He also discussed the BPPO’s Lambat-Sibat weekly assessment and updates on annual investment plan (AIP) of provincial and all stations as an additional source of funds regarding the implementation of Lambat-Sibat.

Divina also led the briefing of selected stations and progress in the implementation of Lambat-Sibat in focus on police stations.

During the forum, Supt. Frankie Candelario, chief of the Provincial Intelligence Branch, made an update on the accomplishments on Lambat Sibat targets and progress in connection with the campaign against illegal drugs in the province.

The weekly Lambat-Sibat meeting was also attended by Central Luzon police regional director Chief Supt. Rudy Lacadin. (PNA) 
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Dope ring leader, 3 cohorts slain in gunfight with Bulacan lawmen

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, Sept. 17 (PNA) -- An alleged drug ring leader and three of his cohorts were killed in a firefight with lawmen during a buy bust operation in Barangay Minuyan, Norzagaray town before noon Thursday.

In an initial report from the site, Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina identified the slain suspected dope gang leader as one alias “Sati”, who is said to be the No. 1 drug dealer in the mountain town of Norzagray.

His three slain cohorts were identified as alias “Lotlot”, “alias “Dindo” and “Deck.”

They all died on the spot after engaging police anti-drug operatives during a buy bust operation.

No lawmen was hurt in the said armed encounter.

Divina said that the Norzagaray police station headed by Supt. Joel Estaris, in coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), conducted a buy operation in Barangay Minuyan with alias “Sati” as the main target.

However, the target personality and his cohorts sensed the sting operation and instead of yielding peacefully, drew their guns and started firing at the lawmen, prompting them to return fire which resulted to the deaths of the four suspects.

Recovered from the encounter site were one cal, .22 revolver; one cal .38 revolver; two 12 gauge shotguns; one hand grenade, several grams of shabu and marijuana with illegal drugs paraphernalia.

The evidences were brought to the Bulacan PNP Crime Laboratory here for examinations, Divina said.

The cadavers of the suspects were brought to Faith Funeral Services in Barangay Gaya-gaya while their identities are still being established. (PNA) 
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1 dead, 40 injured in mini bus-trailer truck collision in Bataan

BALANGA CITY, Bataan, Sept. 17 (PNA) -- One person died while about 40 others were injured in head-on collision between a trailer truck and a fully-loaded passenger mini-bus along the Roman Superhighway in this city Wednesday night.

Police Superintendent Frederick Obar, Balanga City police chief, said mini-bus driver Joselito Izon of Mariveles town died while being revived at the ICMC Medical Center here.

City rescue medics said Izon was pinned down in the driver’s seat and it took some time to extract him.

"Initial investigation showed the trailer truck got out of its lane and swerved towards the lane traversed by the incoming mini-bus,” Obar said.

He said more than 30 passengers were rushed to the Bataan General Hospital while others to the ICMC, St. Joseph Hospital and Bataan Doctors Hospital, all in this city.

He placed the number of injured at more than 40.

Among those wounded was Marlon Paralejas of Bulacan, driver of the trailer truck.

Obar said they were readying charges against the truck driver.

“The trailer truck turned ‘7’ and hit the mini-bus,” said Ariel Valdez, one of the passengers of the bus. He was complaining that he could not move his body and his arm fractured.

“I thought the mini-bus only abruptly stopped. Then, its roof fell down and so with the belongings of passengers,” said Loida Pena, who was wounded in the forehead.

The mini-bus was full of passengers bound for Mariveles while the trailer truck was heading towards the Pampanga direction when the collision happened at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Many passengers were thrown out of the bus because of the strong impact, police said.

Investigation still going on. (PNA) 
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Update: Student pilot injured in Bulacan trainer plane crash dies

PLARIDEL, Bulacan, Sept. 16 (PNA) -- The student pilot who was reported injured late Tuesday afternoon when a Cessna trainer plane crashed here has died.

Superintendent Dale Soliba, Plaridel police chief, identified the fatalities as pilot Capt. Arthur Rebollido, 40, training instructor, resident of Cubao, Quezon City and Capt. James Phillip Oquialda, 24, of Parañaque City.

Police said the plane was a total wreck due to the strong impact of the crash.

Initial investigation disclosed that a Cessna two-seater plane with body number RP-C8691 owned by Fliteline Aviation in Plaridel Airport took off at Plaridel Airport in Barangay Lumangbayan here for training flight (touch and go) at around 4 p.m. Tuesday.

According to SPO1 Emison Palaganas, 48, married, member of the Aviation Security Group assigned at the Plaridel Airport, the plane made touch and go in the runway and upon going up lost power and crashed behind the Plaridel cockfit arena.

He said Rebollido was brought to Bulacan Medical Center in Malolos City but doctors declared him dead on arrival.

Oquialda, on the other hand, was rushed to Peralta Hospital in Barangay Poblacion here and later transferred to Our Lady of Mercy in Barangay Longos, Pulilan for treatment where he was declared dead by Dr. Voltaire Dela Cruz at around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines authorities have yet to complete their investigation on the incident. (PNA) 
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UN envoy graces 117th anniversary of Malolos Congress - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Sept. 15 (PNA)--The presence of an ambassador of the United Nations in the commemoration of the 117th anniversary of the Malolos Congress on Tuesday has made it more special and significant to the people of this historic city, the acknowledged “Cradle of Democracy” in Asia and Africa.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that opening of the Malolos Congress has put the Philippines in the community of nations that is why it is very significant that a representative from the United Nations came and made the occasion more meaningful.

”This is where a new country was born that was recognized by the community of nations. That’s why we are happy to note that we have a representative from the United Nations as our guest,” Alvarado said.

The UN Ambassador of Goodwill Geon Gounet, wowed the crowds at the patio of the historic Barasoain Church when he delivered his message in Filipino.

“Magandang umaga po. Mabuhay ang Bulacan,” he said.

Gounet also announced that Bulacan has been chosen by the United States’ State Department for its outreach program and has earmarked $ 400 million for a solar plant project in the province.

He also said that the rich historical heritage of the province will continue to serve as an inspiration to the free and peace-loving citizens of the world.

Gov. Alvarado echoed the observation of the UN envoy of goodwill, saying that the Malolos Congress will always be a “ burning beacon of hope in the dark alley of life”.

“The spirit of Malolos Congress will keep on kindling and burning as a nation of free citizens,” Alvarado said.

In his invocation, parish priest. Rev. Padre Dars Cabral said “let us bring back to consciousness the principles of our heroes. The stars and sun will continue to shine,” Cabral said.

Earlier, Bulacan 2nd District Rep. Gavini “Apol” Pancho was accompanied by provincial officials led by Gov. Alvarado, Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando and city officials headed by Mayor Christian D. Natividad in the ceremonial offering of flowers at the lifesize statue of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, president of the First Philippine Republic.

The Malolos Congress or formally known as the "National Assembly" of representatives was the constituent assembly of the First Philippine Republic.

It was opened at the Barasoain Church in this historic capital city on September 15, 1898.

The Malolos Congress drafted the Malolos Constitution, which gave credence to the declaration of Philippine Independence in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898. (PNA) 
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One killed, one hurt as trainer plane crashes in Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Sept. 15 (PNA) -- One person was killed while another one was hurt when a C152 type trainer aircraft crash landed on Tuesday afternoon at the end of the runway of the Plaridel airport in Barangay Agnaya, Plaridel town.

Those on board were pilot-in-command Capt. Arthur Rebollido and student pilot James Oquialda.

Initial police report said that Rebollido was dead on arrival at the hospital while Oquialda remained under observation.

The report also said that the aircraft was performing touch and go at the Plaridel airport between 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. when the incident took place. (PNA) 
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Bulacan's community peacekeepers undergo 2-month basic training on peacekeeping operations

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Sept. 10 (PNA) -- Some 2,000 barangay peace and security officers in the province have underwent a two-month basic training on peacekeeping operations as part of an effort to ensure peace and order in the community.

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Secretary Joel Villanueva will serve as guest of honor in the graduation rites of the barangay tanods during the Araw ng Barangay Tanod on Friday at the Bulacan Capitol Gymnasium in this city.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that every barangay tanod plays a vital role in the development and progress of the community.

”The responsibility of the our barangay tanods in the community is not a joke. They are the ones who maintain the peace and order and security in our community, thus it is only appropriate to give them recognition. Their sacrifices in serving the public are immeasurable,” Alvarado said.

The governor expressed hope that the local government units in the province will continue to support the trainings and seminars intended for the barangay tanods that will make them more inspired as peacekeepers in their own barangays.

Araw ng Barangay Tanod is one of the activities included in the celebration of Singkaban Festival 2015 with the theme “Bulacan, Dangal ng Bansa! Lahing Bulakenyo, Ating Ibandila! (PNA) 
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Bulacan getting ready for “Singkaban Festival 2015”

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Sept. 6 (PNA)--Bamboo arts galore!

Well crafted bamboo arches, popularly known as “Singkaban”, are now sprouting all over the province, particularly in this historic capital city, as the provincial government started preparation for the grand opening of this year’s “Singaban Festival” otherwise known as “Linggo ng Bulacan.”

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the weeklong activity which will kick-off on September 8 with a holy mass in honor of the feast day of the Immaculate Conception and will culminate on September 15 in commemoration of the Malolos Congress anniversary at the historic Barasoain Church here, is an annual event showcasing the rich cultural and historical heritage of Bulacan.

The main event of the festival is the street dance and float parade where representatives from different Bulacan towns, as far as San Jose del Monte in the southeast and San Miguel in the north, travel to Malolos during the festival season.

These events showcase Bulacan's local culture, heritage, and artistry, and the various towns' entries feature all things Bulakenyo.

The singkaban (bamboo artworks), after which the festival was named, is a prominent theme, especially in the entry of Hagonoy town.

The theme appears as dancers' headdresses, the arch and backdrop of the Desposorio, and as parts of the dancers' costumes.

“Every year, we celebrate Singkaban Festival and each year, the people of this great province are able to show more of their talents, creativity, innovativeness, intelligence and patriotism, thus making Bulacan a renowned and progressive province in the country. It is indeed something that Bulakenyos should be proud of,” Alvarado said.

About 3,000 Bulakenyos are expected to participate in the celebration that will begin with a thanksgiving mass and followed by the opening of exhibits.

The weeklong festival will be highlighted by the commemoration of the anniversary of the opening of the Malolos Congress at Barasaoin Church on September 15, 1898, where the Malolos Constitution was drafted and passed giving credence to the declaration of the Philippine Independence in kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898.

“It all began there. More than a hundred years ago at the dawn of Philippine Independence, the people of Bulacan, particularly in Malolos were in a jovial and festive mood. Celebrations were everywhere and the roads leading to Barasoain Church were adorned with bamboo arches and special foods were cooked. Every year, we remember those glory days that pave the way for birth of the First Philippine Republic (on January 23, 1899),’ Alvarado said.

He said that Senator Manuel “Lito” Lapid will join thousands of Bulakenyos in the opening ceremony of the weeklong Singkaban Festival to be held at the Bulacan Capitol Gymnasium in this city.

Alvarado said this year’s celebration is anchored on the theme “Bulacan, Dangal ng Bansa! Lahing Bulakenyo, Ating Ibandila!” that highlights the best of everything that Bulacan has to offer.

Among the exhibits are “Mga Dakilang Bulakenyo sa Tatlong Republika” that depicts the rich history of the country and commemorates the founding of the Philippine Republics in Malolos, Kakarong and Biak na Bato; “Lakan Sining Exhibit” that recounts the life of Apolinario Mabini and his connection to Bulacan heroes; “One-Stop Tourism Info Center” at Gat Blas Ople Hall and “Bulacan Food Fair and Exposition” (BUFFEX) which brings together the province’s food producers and offers food sampling and on-the-spot cooking demo and competitions.

Likewise, more establishments and activities will be launched including Bulacan Negosyo Center beside the Bulacan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) Office; Bulacan Festival Costume Expo at the Atrium, Robinsons Malolos that features Philippine national costume made by Bulakenyos and the Tatak Singkaban ng Central Luzon at the Events Center, Robinsons Malolos.

In the afternoon, “Parada ng Karosa”, a parade of government and corporate floats that features the traditional arts of Bulacan with a touch of modern technology and “Indakan sa Kalye”, a street dancing competition showcasing the culture and heritage through festivals of towns and will also be held at 1 p.m. from the Capitol to Bulacan Sports Complex and back to Bulacan Capitol Gym.

Other activities included in the weeklong celebration are Bulacan Fancy Pigeon and Chicken Show Exhibit from September 12-13, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Mini Forest; Bulacan Events Expo (Kasalan at Okasyon) from September 12-14 at 6 pm at Robinsons Place Malolos; and Kumperensiya sa Bulacan 2015 (SAMPAKA), an open forum that tackles Bulacan history from September 13-15, 8 a.m. to 5 pm at Balagtas Hall, Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center. (PNA) 
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SM City Marilao hosts another voter’s biometrics registration

MARILAO, Bulacan, Sept. 5 (PNA) -- Good news for those who missed the Commission on Election’s “No Bio, No Boto” voter’s biometrics registration last August 29.

The SM City Marilao will host another voter’s biometrics registration on September 5, 12 and 19 at the second floor cinema lobby of the mall from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m..

Gladiz May Latiza, public relations officer of SM City Marilao, said the biometrics registration at the mall is expected to bring Comelec services more accessible to the public.

"Marilao residents may go to the registration booths with a valid ID reflecting their current addresses," she said.

SM City Marilao mall manager Bernadette D. Velasco also explained that recently SM Supermalls as well as Walter Mart Community Malls have inked an agreement with the Comelec for the conduct of satellite registration booths.

"We are happy to hold the biometrics registration service on the three weekends of September. Because by doing so, we are giving those who are studying or working on weekdays, an opportunity to update their voter’s details for their convenience and safety," Velasco said.

Other SM malls will have the No Bio, No Boto booths in the coming days.

Schedules will be posted on respective mall’s Facebook pages. (PNA) 
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Bulacan intensifies efforts vs dengue

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Sept. 3 (PNA) -- Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado has ordered the Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO) to strengthen the campaign against the dengue hemorrhagic fever, cases of which have significantly increased this year.

Alvarado said the report of high number of dengue cases calls for renewed efforts to eliminate breeding grounds of dengue-carrying mosquitoes.

Based on the record of Provincial Epidemiology Surveillance Unit, there are 3,137 cases of dengue from January to August 22, 2015 or 202 percent higher compared to 1,038 cases reported during the same period last year.

Eight deaths were also reported, four from San Rafael, one each from cities of San Jose del Monte and Malolos, and from Pulilan and Norzagaray.

The towns and cities with the most number of reported dengue cases are San Jose del Monte City with 529 cases, San Rafael with 336 cases, Santa Maria with 287, Bustos with 219 and San Miguel with 189.

Dr. Jocelyn Gomez, PPHO head, said that dengue cases started to rise in June.

The report also said that 105 barangays are with dengue clustering or with three or more reported cases in four successive weeks of August, this year while 37 barangays are considered hotspot or barangays with dengue clustering and increased cases in two successive weeks.

Gomez said they are continuously monitoring the rise of dengue cases.

She also said that they are conducting simultaneous community assemblies and dialogues with local health officials and officers to push for simultaneous barangay cleanup, larval surveys, community forums and spraying/misting operations to hot spot barangays and Dengue Wizard designation in hospitals, among others.

”We are also promoting the 4S preventive and control campaign,” Gomez said.

She explained that 4S means search and destroy operation, seek early consultation, self protection and spraying only when there is known mortality due to dengue in verified communities. (PNA) 
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Baliwag’s old town hall now “House of History”  - By Emil G. Gamos

BALIWAG, Bulacan, Sept. 1 (PNA)--The glory days of old Baliwag is now preserved.

Clad in their traditional costumes, including the world famous “Buntal” hat, local officials and residents here sang “Kundiman” songs and danced as they celebrated the formal declaration of their old municipal building as “Tahanan ng Kasaysayan at Kalinangan ng Baliwag” by the National Museum.

Mayor Carol Dellosa on Monday said that the people of Baliwag are deeply honored by the declaration, making their old municipal building an “important property of the national museum”.

”We are happy with the recognition given to our municipality which will serve as beacon of light of the residents now and by the next generation to the colorful and historical cultures,” Dellosa said.

She said that there are still many old houses in Baliwag which were formerly known as “town castles” but the old municipal building, an old mansion owned earlier the Don of Baliwag, will now preserved the rich cultural and historical heritage of their town.

Town tourism officer Rosie Bautista said that the local government of Baliwag used it as the first “municipio” under the American regime.

On September 15, 1915, the municipal government bought the heritage mansion and lot owned by the family of Dr. Joaquin Gonzalez .

The Gonzalez’ old mansion then served as Lumang Munisipyo (the Old Municipio or Town Hall Building, as seat of the local government) for 65 years.

Bautista said that in 1971, Mayor Florentino Vergel de Dios constructed a new municipal building.

Accordingly, the Baliuag Tourism Council and Rolando E. Villacorta of Baliwag Historical Society have suggested the conversion of the historic house into a library-museum.

In 1993, Mayor Corling Trinidad, Rep. Pedro Pancho with the assistance of Guillermina T. Gabor started the reconstruction of the old municipal building.

She said that as time passed by, the old mansion needs some restoration.

Mayor Rolando Salvador accepted the renovated building as part of municipal government property in August 9, 1998.

The historic turnover was highlighted by a "Buntal Hat Dance" (by Rene Plamenco, Soledad Cruz, Eliseo Gonzalez and barangay Captain Elizabeth Agtarap) and "Sayaw sa Nayon".

“ The momentous event was witnessed by Rustan's Justa Tantoco, Bulacan former Vice-Governor Willie Villarama and Tesie Villarama, under the watch of Mayor Rolando Salvador and Evelyn C. Salvador. Antonio Cabangon Chua, Baliuag business mogul also graced the turnover,” Bautista said.

She added that the contemporary Baliuag's Museo houses on its ground floor the Baliuag community affairs and tourism office of incumbent Rosie Q. Bautista, Balibuntal Enterprises Officer.

Incidentally, Baliuag's Buntal Hat Festival was held with its 279th founding anniversary on May 26, 2012.

On the second floor of the Museo is the Silid-Aklatang Francisco Guerrero Library-Museum which has several “Bulwagan.”

The first local election in the Philippines took place on May 6, 1899 with Francisco Guerrero, the first Baliuag municipal president who held office in the house of Dr. Joaquin Gonzales, the old municipio, now the Museo ng Baliuag.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado congratulated the people of Bulacan, saying that the old municipal building will now serve as a “window to the rich cultural and historical heritage of a very colorful town whose sons and daughters have contributed immensely to the quest for Philippine freedom.” (PNA) 
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Bulacan folks ask Congress to pass HB 655 converting Malolos into a lone congressional district - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug.31 (PNA)--The support for the passing of a bill that will make this historic capital city into a lone congressional district has began to snowball.

The long delays in the passage of House Bill 655, an Act that will transform this historic capital city into a lone congressional district, is now creating an uproar among residents here who are now calling on the Committee on Local Government of the House of Representatives to support the proposed measure filed by Bulacan 1st District Rep. Ma. Victoria R. Sy-Alvarado.

The residents claimed that they are wondering why the Committee on Local Government has been “sleeping’ too long in taking cognizance of HB 0655 (an Act amending Section 57 of Republic Act No. 8754, otherwise known as the Charter of the City of Malolos), even if the required population of 250,000 has already been met since 2014.

Priscilla Mateo, village chief of Barangay Caniogan, said that the passage of HB 0655 will usher more growth since they will have their own representative in Congress that will solely focus on the needs of the 51 barangays in the booming historic capital city.

”We are calling on the members of Congress to be responsible in regards to the welfare of our city. I hope that they will set aside whatever the agenda of those individuals who want to derail the progress and growth of our city. The long delay impedes the development of our city,” Mateo said.

The village chief said that as far as their village and her constituents is concern they want the bill to materialize as soon as possible.

Former Tikay village chief Alejandro “Jhun” Joson Jr., who has served his village for 14 years as barangay chairman, said that the historic capital city of Malolos is fast becoming a highly urbanized city thus, it is high time that it become a lone congressional district.

”It is high time to give importance to the contribution of Malolos for the freedom of our country. As time went on, the population of this city has increased . Thus, there is a need to sustain the basic needs of the residents and one of the factors that could address this situation is to convert this city as lone congressional district.” Joson said.

He added that if there are some people who want to derail the progress of Malolos, they should do it on their own areas.

”What is ironic is that the individuals who are meddling the issue are those who are not from Malolos,” Joson lamented.

Residents also remember that no less that President Benigno S. Aquino III and Secretary Mar Roxas have pushed and defended the conversion of Malolos into a lone congressional district when they were still senators of the 14th Congress.

What is mind boggling too among residents here is the apparent cold shoulder treatment on the importance of the bill when in fact, they claimed that even the Supreme Court has already stated that “a mere justification from the National Statistic Office (now the Philippine Statistics Authority) is sufficient enough to merit the passage of the bill converting the historic city of Malolos into a lone congressional district.”

Last Wednesday, Rep.Sy-Alvarado delivered a speech in Congress questioning the delay in the hearing of her bill.

The Committee promised Sy-Alvarado that it will calendar and place it on agenda on the second week of September.

Sy-Alvarado said she will incorporate an endorsement for a special election for the lone district of Malolos if her bill will be passed after the May 2016 elections.

“My constituents in Malolos are appealing for the full cooperation of the said committee so that they can realize their dream of making the historic city, a place consecrated by history, into a lone congressional district,” she said.

Sy-Alvarado has refilled the bill in accordance with decision of the Supreme Court which has already been complied with -- the certification from national Statistician Dr. Lisa Grace S. Bersales of Philippine Statistics Authority that the required number of 250,000 population has not only been met but has already been surpassed.

Residents here also said that it is about time that Congress and the national government give due recognition to the historic capital city, the cradle of Democracy in Asia and Africa.

“Malolos houses the Barasoain church where the opening session of the Revolutionary Congress was held on September 15,1898. It was the same Congress that ratified the “Proclamation of Independence” on September 29,1898. It was the birthplace of the First Philippine Republic and the Malolos Constitution, the very first constitutional document which is the foundation of the structures and responsibilities of the government,” Sy-Alvarado added. (PNA) 
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NPC signs manifesto declaring Aug. 30 as “National Press Freedom Day” - By Emil G. Gamos

BULAKAN, Bulacan, Aug.30 (PNA)--A fitting birthday gift to the acknowledged “patron saint” of Filipino scribes.

Clad in red shirts emblazoned with the face of “Plaridel”, officers and members of the National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC) signed on Sunday a manifesto before the giant statue of Bulakenyo hero Gat Marcelo H. Del Pilar, the great propagandist of the Philippine Revolution against Spain in the late 18th century, at the Del Pilar Shrine in Sitio Cupang, Barangay San Nicolas here, declaring August 30 of every year as “National Press Freedom Day” in honor of Del Pilar’s birthday.

At the same time, NPC president Joel Sy-Egco also echoed the growing clamor of Bulakenyos headed by Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando in urging Congress and the national government to declare August 30 as a national holiday.

Sy-Egco and members of the NPC joined thousands of Bulakenyos in paying tribute to Del Pilar by staging the first-ever overnight camp-out at the Del Pilar shrine here on Saturday night.

The president of the largest association of Filipino journalists also said that the Del Pilar shrine will now become a “Mecca” for Filipino scribes as he called on his colleagues to make a pilgrimage here where the remains of the Bulakenyo hero who used the pen name “Plaridel” in his tirades against Spanish friars and the oppressive Spanish military colonial forces.

Plaridel was one of the first Filipino who launched a struggle and a revelation on the abuse and maltreatment of the Spanish invaders against the Filipinos through his writings,” Sy-Egco said.

Meanwhile, a group of veteran lawyers, journalists and members of the Free Masons gathered at the headquarters of the of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Gat Marcelo H. Del PIlar Chapter at the provincial capitol compound during the unveiling of Del PIlar’s bust last Friday morning as a tribute to the Bulacan-born national hero who was a lawyer,a journalist and the father of the Grand Mason of the Philippines.

During the ceremony, IBP-Bulacan lawyers led by IBP-Central Luzon Gov. Jose “Peng” dela Rama Jr., issued statements as they defended Justice Secretary Leila de Lima against the alleged pressure being exerted by the influential religious sect – Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) – whose members have staged a protest rally.

“What they are doing is a setting a dangerous precedent where a powerful and influential religious sect is already undermining the judicial system which is a gross violation of the constitution,” he said.

The bust of Del Pilar, now a permanent fixture at the IBP-Bulacan named in honor of The Great Propagandist, was donated by IBP-Central Luzon Governor Jose ‘Peng’ dela Rama, Jr.(PNA) 
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Bulacan to commemorate Del Pilar’s 165th birth anniversary on Aug. 30

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 26 (PNA)-—Bulakenyos will commemorate the 165th birth anniversary of the country’s great propagandist, Marcelo H. Del Pilar, on Aug. 30.

With the theme “Gat. Marcelo H. Del Pilar: Bayaning Bulakenyo, Huwaran ng Lahing Pilipino,” the event will be held at the Dambanang Marcelo H. Del Pilar in Barangay San Nicolas, Bulakan town with Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas as guest of honor.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the celebration will highlight the life and contribution of the great propagandist and rekindle it in the hearts and minds of the younger generation.

“The intelligence and heroism of Del Pilar were immeasurable. His contribution to the country’s literature paved the way for the Philippines to attain freedom. Let us all together revive the heroic feelings of every Bulakenyo which was started by the noble propagandist—Del Pilar,” the governor said.

The event will kick off with a civic parade at 5:30 a.m. to be followed with a program and wreath-laying ceremony to be led by Roxas, Alvarado, Bulakan town mayor Patrick Neil Meneses and National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Executive Director Ludovico Badoy.

Meanwhile, the National Press Club in partnership with NHCP will launch the petition for the declaration of the birth of Del Pilar as National Media and Press Freedom Day during the Plaridel’s Journalism and Media Camp Workshop, Seminar and Exhibit on August 29 at the Marcelo H. del Pilar Elementary School.

Del Pilar also known as Plaridel founded the first bilingual newspaper in the Philippines known as Diariong Tagalog in 1882 and also advocated reforms during the Spanish Era by publishing newspapers that sought civil liberties for Filipinos, including the La Solidaridad.

He died of tuberculosis on July 4, 1896 in Barcelona, Spain, a month before the Cry of Pugad Lawin, which signaled the start of the Philippine Revolution. (PNA) 
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2 wanted gangmen killed in Bulacan shootout - By Emil G. Gamos

CAMP GENERAL ALEJO S SANTOS, Bulacan, Aug. 24 (PNA)--Two of three alleged members of a notorious crime gang were killed in a shootout with Bulacan policemen in Barangay San Pedro, City of San Jose Del Monte (CSJDM) Sunday afternoon.

Bulacan police director Ferdinand O. Divina identified the slain suspects as Apolinario Bonifacio alias “Apolo”, and Victor Hosmillo, both residents of Block 53, Lot 12, Pruok 11, Area F, Barangay San Pedro.

Their cohort who was only identified as one alias “Omar” managed to elude arrest and is now a subject of a police manhunt.

Divina said that Bonifacio is listed as the No. 5 “priority target” of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office while Hosmillo is listed as No. 1 “priority target” for illegal drugs of the CSJDM police station.

He said that prior to the shootout, the CSJDM police station headed by Supt. Charlie Apil Cabradilla conducted Intelligence Driven Operation in the said area to serve a warrant of arrest for a case of robbery.

When the lawmen were approaching the area, the trio opened fire at them prompting them to retaliate that resulted to the death of Bonifacio and Hosmillo.

The SOCO Team from Bulacan Crime Laboratory led by Chief Inspector Gina Ledesma arrived at about 2:30 am to process the crime scene (site of encounter), and recovered a cal. 45 Taurus pistol with two magazine assemblies; a cal. 38 revolver loaded with live ammuntion; three pieces spent shells for cal. 45; three undocumented motorcycles; dismantled motorcycles parts and accessories; five sachets of suspected shabu; several illegal drugs paraphernalia, a digital weighing scale and two dismantled revolver guns.

The cadaver of the suspects were brought to Faith Funeral in Barangay Gaya-gaya for autopsy while appropriate criminal complaint for direct assault upon an agent of authority, illegal possession of firearms (R.A. 10591), violation of Anti-illegal Drugs (R.A. 9165) and Anti-Carnapping Law (R.A. 6539) are now being prepared to be filed against the third suspect who was able to escape.

Divina said that the Bulacan Police is continuously and relentlessly implementing “SOP on Managing Police Operations” otherwise known as Lambat Sibat, as directed by the Chief PNP and PNP Central Luzon regional director chief Supt. Rudy Lacadin. (PNA) 
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Classes in some Central Luzon areas suspended

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Aug. 24 (PNA) -- As the southwest monsoon continues to dump more rains due to Typhoon "Ineng", some local officials in Central Luzon on Monday declared the suspension of classes.

Classes in all levels, both in public and private, in the province of Bataan were suspended as announced by Gov. Albert Garcia.

Localized suspension of classes, on the other hand, were declared in the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, and Zambales.

Classes in all levels in Subic, Zambales were suspended as declared by Mayor Jay Khonghuan.

In Olongapo City, Mayor Rolen Paulino announced the suspension of classes in the pre-elementary to high school levels, both in public and private.

In Bulacan, the municipalities of Angat, Balagtas, Sta. Maria, Marilao, and Pulilan declared the suspension of classes in all levels, both in public and private.

Classes suspensions in pre-elementary to high school levels, both in public and private, on the other hand, were declared in Plaridel, Bustos and Baliuag.

The municipality of San Miguel suspended classes in the pre-elementary to elementary levels, both in public and private.

In Pampanga, the municipality of Sto. Tomas declared the suspension in the pre-elementary to high school levels, both in public and private.

The University of the Assumption, also in Pampanga, declared the suspension of classes in all levels. (PNA) 
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Consult with local execs before implementing energy projects, RDC-3 tells DOE - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 23 (PNA) -- Top officials of the Regional Development Council-3 (RDC-3) have called on the Department of Energy (DOE) to advise their contractors and stakeholders to first coordinate and consult provincial and local government executives before constructing projects in their areas.

Zambales Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane Jr., chairman of the RDC-3’s Sectoral Committee on Infrastructure Development, made the call upon learning from DOE-Region 3 Director Efren Balaoing said that projects are underway to level-up power sources in the region, including use of solar cells.

Ebdane said he is supporting a resolution encouraging the DOE to observe protocol by consulting local government units (LGUs) in the implementation of projects in the provinces.

“Most of the time, the DOE came in to the province and constructed projects without informing the governors. They should inform us first because some LGUs have development projects that might be aligned with their projects,” he said.

RDC-III chairman Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado agreed with Ebdane, saying that under the Local Government Code no national projects may push through without proper coordination with local and provincial executives.

He said many national projects should be compatible with the programs of LGUs.

Meanwhile, the RDC-III has approved a resolution regarding policy alternatives and advocacy options to stabilize supply and reduce the cost of electricity in Central Luzon.

The RDC-III Sectoral Committee on Economic Development (SCED) has endorsed the resolution and was unanimously approved.

He said the resolution aims to hasten the establishment of an integrated power transmission system (Pan Philippine Grid) to interconnect the Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao Grids for supply optimization and complementation.

Alvarado said the resolution endorsed by the SCED also aims to facilitate the construction of photovoltaic plants (solar cells) in Central Luzon with a total installed capacity of 3,600 mega watts to meet the projected additional load by 2020, and to promote other renewable energy sources such as wind and biomass.

The SCED resolution also suggested to promote rooftops photovoltaic solar cell utilization at government offices and local communities to address power load peaks in summer time when electricity tariff is at highest because hydro electric power plants operate below capacity due to water supply restrictions, Alvarado added.

It also aims to promote the privatization of electric cooperatives in clustered franchise areas to achieve economies of scale.

“The SCED resolution also endorses that the provinces and LGUs to come up with their renewable-friendly investment codes to attract more investors on energy power systems. All of this are in line with President Benigno S. Aquino III goal in upgrading the engines of growth in the region,”the RDC-III chairman said. (PNA) 
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Update: PAGASA downgrades rainfall warning in S. Luzon from orange to yellow

MANILA, Aug. 22 (PNA) --The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) on Saturday afternoon downgraded the rainfall advisory in Southern Luzon from orange to yellow.

PAGASA said that yellow rainfall warning has been issued at 1 p.m. over the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon.

Under the heavy rainfall warning system, a yellow rainfall advisory is raised when the expected rainfall amount is between 7.5 mm and 15 mm within one hour and likely to continue.

Communities under this advisory are advised to be aware of the weather condition and warned that flooding may be possible in low-lying areas.

Meanwhile, occasional light to moderate rains affecting Metro Manila, Bataan, Pampanga, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and portions of Zambales may persist for two to three hours.

The state weather bureau said the information are based on current radar trends and all available meteorological data.

PAGASA advised the public and the disaster risk reduction and management council concerned to monitor the weather condition and watch for the next advisory to be issued at 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, typhoon Ineng has accelerated slightly as it continues to move in a north northeast direction.

As of 12 p.m. the eye of typhoon Ineng was located at 75km east of Basco, Batanes (20.4°N, 122.7°E) packed with maximum sustained winds of 160 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 195 kph.

The typhoon continues to move north northeast and accelerated its speed from 9 kph to 11 kph.

Maintaining its speed and movement, Typhoon Ineng is forecast to be at 295 km northeat of Basco, Batanes by Sunday morning.

By Monday morning it will be outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility or at 740 km northeast of Basco, Batanes.

PAGASA added the enhanced “habagat” will continue to bring monsoon rains over Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon. (PNA) 
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Yellow rainfall raise in Pampanga, Bulacan, Zambales and Bataaan - PAGASA 
By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan

MANILA, Aug. 21 (PNA) -- Due to rains brought by typhoon "Ineng" and southwest monsoon the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) issued a "yellow" rainfall warning in Pampanga, Bulacan, Zambales and Bataaan‬ at 1 p.m. Friday.

Under the heavy rainfall warning system, a yellow rainfall advisory is raised when the expected rainfall amount is between 7.5 mm and 15 mm within one hour and likely to continue.

Communities given this advisory are advised to be aware of the weather condition and warned that flooding may be possible in low-lying areas.

Meanwhile, thunderstorm affecting Metro Manila (Parañaque, LasPiñas, Taguig, Rizal (Rodriguez), Laguna (Sta. Maria, Famy, Mabitac, Masinloc, Siniloan), Cavite (Sangley,Kawit), Quezon (Real, Sampaloc, General Nakar), portions of Batangas, which may persist for 1-2 hours.

Expect thunderstorm over other areas of Metro Manila, Rizal, Laguna, Cavite and Quezon within the next 2 hours while light to moderate rains affecting Tarlac and Nueva Ecija may persist for 2-3 hours.

The state weather bureau said the information are based on current radar trends and all available meteorological data.

PAGASA advised the public and the disaster risk reduction and management council concerned to monitor the weather condition and watch for the next advisory to be issued at 4 p.m. Friday. (PNA) 
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Families, classmates of 7 BulSU students who drowned in a field trip tragedy wants speedy implementation of justice 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 21 (PNA) -- Families and classmates of the seven Bulacan State University (BulSU) students who drowned in a field trip tragedy at the Madlum river in San Miguel town last year are still seeking what they termed as “elusive justice”.

Two of the victims’ fathers still aired frustrations in spite of the guilty verdict of the Office of the Ombudsman in the administrative case they filed against 9 officials of the university, claiming that the decision has not been implemented yet.

The victims’ families also expressed apprehensions that unseen hands are working overtime to frustrate their quest for justice.

Harold Marcelo and Jojo Rivera, fathers of two of the seven victims who were swept by rampaging waters and drowned at Madlum River in Barangay Sibul, San Migue twon are appealing to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to cite for contempt officials of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) if the latter fail to implement the Ombudsman's decision.

They claimed that until now, ”it seems that justice remains elusive for the victims because it is not yet being implemented.”

The seven victims were Mikhail Alcantara, Mitch Bonzo, Helena Marcelo, Jeanette Rivera, Sean Rodney Alejo, Maiko Bartolome and Madeleine Navarro.

All of the victims were first year tourism students and were mostly aged 16 when the accident happened. They belong to BSTM Class A1 with 58 students.

Now, a year later, their class is down to 45. Six of their former classmates have dropped and shifted to other courses due to the trauma they claimed to have suffered in the Aug. 19 field trip.

In the 12-page decision received last Monday by lawyers Juvic and Jeric Degala, legal counsels of the victim-complaints, the Ombudsman found BulSU president Mariano de Jesus and eight other university officials “guilty of gross neglect of duty for which they are meted the penalty of dismissal from the service.”

Also found guilty were Nicanor C. dela Rama, professor and dean of Student Affairs; Nerisa B. Viola and Angelina D. Singco, dean and assistant dean, respectively, of the College of Home Economics; professors Mary Jane G. Lopez and Angeline C. Dy Tioco; and instructors Leslie C. Garcia, Reynita G. Del Fonso and Rossette G. Tanwangco.

Aside from dismissal, the Ombudsman also ordered the forfeiture of all the retirement benefits of the school officials, including the cancellation of eligibility, and perpetual disqualification from holding public office and being barred from taking other civil service exams of the government.

The Ombudsman said the respondents violated a field trip ordinance passed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

The officials reportedly failed to seek the approval of the provincial government on changes in the field trip itinerary.

The anti-graft agency cited a change in the schedule of the trip at the Madlum Cave, which was originally set in the morning.

Lawyer Juvic Degala said that the case, docketed as OMB-L-A-14-0676 “for grave misconduct and grave neglect of duty” involved only the administrative aspects of the case which was filed by one of the survivors (Hanna Fabella) and the parents of five of the 7 victims in the field trip tragedy.

Aside from the administrative charges, the respondents are also facing charges of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and psychological trauma, and violation of Republic Act 7610 or the Child Abuse Law and RA 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corruption Practices Act.

Criminal charges were also filed against the nine school officials, the owner of the Adventours tour agency identified as Erwin Valenzuela, the two tourism students who acted as tour guides, and three tour guides of Madlum.

Degala said the victims’ relatives were confident they would get a similar decision in the criminal cases against the respondents.

He said that last Wednesday, the families and classmates of the victims held a ‘March for Justice” from the Barasoain Church here to the BulSU grounds to commemorate the first year anniversary of the tragic field trip.

They also held a mass and candle-lighting vigil at the BulSU grounds and at the Malolos Memorial Park where two of the victims were buried. (PNA) 
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RDC-3 approves reactivation of Task Force Balik MacArthur

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 20 (PNA) -- The Regional Development Council (RDC) in Central Luzon has approved the reactivation of the Task Force Project Balik MacArthur (TF-PBM) to oversee the reassessment of the MacArthur Highway and ensure the road users’ safety, road traffic management and maintenance.

The RDC chaired by Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado approved the revival of the task force during its 9th council meeting on Wednesday.

The Regional Project Monitoring Team Committee (RPMC) and the Project Implementation Offices (PIO) endorsed its reactivation to the RDC chaired by Rene Romero, in coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highway. It is embodied in their resolution No. 03-07-2015.

MacArthur Highway, formerly the Manila North Luzon Road, is one of the busiest arterial roads in the northwestern Luzon.

The volume of traffic started to move from North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) to the two lanes and congested MacArthur Highway after NLEX operator Manila North Tollways Corporation raised toll rates significantly few years ago.

The RDC thus organized then the TF-PBM to implement strategies to address more traffic congestions and increased of pedestrian and vehicular accidents.

The task force achieved positive results from the conduct of series of multi-sectoral consultations and site inspections not only to alleviate the traffic problems along the MacArthur Highway but would also rev up the economic activities in the area.

Meanwhile, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Pampanga 1st District Rep. Joseller Yeng Guiao, Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda, Bataan Governor Abet Garcia, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Regional Director Severino Santos and officials of concerned government agencies and private sector also attended the full council meeting. (PNA) 
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PNP chief urges Central Luzon cops to increase police visibility

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Aug. 18 (PNA) -- Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ricardo Marquez on Tuesday urged the policemen in Central Luzon to strengthen police visibility in the streets in order to deter crimes.

Marquez, who served as guest of honor and speaker during the celebration of the 114th Police Service Anniversary here on Tuesday, told the policemen to do more patrols rather than stay in the stations.

“Lumabas kayo kalsada (Go out in the streets). This will deter criminals from doing evil deeds when they see policemen in the streets. Patrolling is one of the best solutions to prevent crimes,” he said.

The PNP chief also lauded the men and women of Police Regional Office 3 for continuously doing their jobs efficiently.

He said that all PNP personnel should reaffirm their commitment to police service.

With this year’s theme “Pambansang Pulisya: Patuloy sa Makabuluhang Paglilingkod at Makatarungang Pagpapatupad ng Batas,” the celebration was highlighted with the giving of recognition to deserving PNP personnel and best units in the region as well as special awards to local government officials, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) counterparts and civilian sectors, including the tri-media who have contributed to the upliftment of the PNP-PRO3.

The awardees were Police Senior Supt. Alex B. Sintin, provincial director of Tarlac PPO (Achievement Award in the Field of Police Administration (PCO Level); SPO4 Claudio DC Salenga (Achievement Award in the Field of Police Administration (PNCO Level); Police Supt. Jhoanna P. Rosales (Achievement Award in the Field of Police Operations (PCO Level); PO3 Reggie T. Gonzales (Achievement Award in the Field of Police Operations (PNCO Level); Police Supt. Andrew M. Aguirre (Achievement Award in the Field of Intelligence (PCO Level); SPO3 Napoleon M. Olivares (Achievement Award in the Field of Intelligence (PNCO Level); Police Chief Inspector Romeo G. Maglanque (Achievement Award in the Field of General Support (PCO Level); PO3 Marilou G. Malonzo (Achievement Award in the Field of General Support (PNCO Level); NUP Arnold C. Adriosula (Achievement Award in the Field of General Support (NUP Supervisory Level); and NUP Maricar T. Martinez (Achievement Award in the Field of General Support (NUP Non-Supervisory Level).

Also given special awards were: Police Supt. Noel R. Ponsaran, regional chaplain; Regional Highway Patrol Unit 3, Regional Health Service 3 and 3RD Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit 3.

The awardees for best police units include Malolos City Police Station (Recognition for the Unit with Notable Accomplishment Beyond the Rating Period (CPS/MPS Level); Olongapo City Police Office (Achievement Award for the Solution of Sensational Criminal Case (PPO/CPO Level); Regional Communications and Electronics Office 3 (Best Regional Administrative Support Unit); Regional Intelligence Unit 3 (Best Regional Operations Support Unit); Bulacan Police Provincial Office (Recognition for the Unit with the Most Number of Firearms Accounted (PPO/CPO Level) and Tarlac Police Provincial Office (Recognition for the Unit with Notable Accomplishment in the Campaign against Illegal Drugs (PPO/CPO Level).

Based on the records of the National Historical Commission, Police Service as an institution takes its roots from the Insular Police Force that was created on August 8, 1901. (PNA) 
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Bulacan, land of great leaders past and present - Former DoE Sec. Petilla 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 16 (PNA)--Since time immemorial the province of Bulacan has been the cradle of great men and women that are shaping the future of the country.

Thus, the former Department of Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla’s vibrant description of Bulacan as the province kicked off its month long celebration of the annual “Singkaban Festival.”

Petilla, who was the guest of honor and speaker during the commemoration of the 437th founding anniversary of Bulacan Saturday, said that even at the dawn of Philippine uprising against Spanish colonial rule, Bulacan is at the forefront in the country’s quest for freedom and independence.

“Your great province has so many patriots, great minds and courageous leaders. Even today, the sons and daughters of the great province of Bulacan continue to help the administration of President Benigno Aquino in shaping the bright future of the country, “ he said.

Petilla said as the province once again embarked on celebrating the glorious moments in their rich history, he cannot help to feel proud of being a Filipino by just recalling the momentous events that took place in this province that made impact to the international communities.

The month-long Singkaban Fiesta begins every August 15 (foundation day of Bulacan) and culminates on September 15, the anniversary of the opening of the Malolos Congress.

“Until now, the province of Bulacan is not running out of brilliant and dynamic leaders.Just after the tollgate in Balintawak or at the start of the MacArthur Highway, we can see progress and development that put our country as one of the fastest rising economies in the Asia Pacific Region,” he said.

Petilla said the the booming growth and development being experienced in Bulacan is proof that the salient programs of President Aquino is now yielding good results because provincial leaders like Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando are working hard to attain the goal of the Chief Executive in revving up the engines of growth and changes.

Meanwhile, Gov. Alvarado said that the month long celebration is a tribute to the sacrifices and patriotism of brave Bulakenyo freedom fighters and noblemen.

”If there is one province in the Philippines that offered more children at the shrine of freedom since the first time the country was invaded more than 400 years ago, that is the noble province of Bulacan,” he said.

He said that during the administration of President Corazon Aquino, a Bulakenyo was helping the president in the person of Albert Romulo. And when her son Benigno Aquino III became the President, another Bulakenyo—Executive Secretary Paquito “JoJo” Ochoa Jr., --is also there in Malacanang helping the Chief Executive.

”If we lived in bravery and heroism in the past, we must now live in this generation with honor and greatness,” he said. (PNA) 
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Roxas to turn-over 204 Mahindra patrol jeeps to 5 police regional offices 
By Sol Luzano

CAMP VICENTE LIM, Calamba City, Laguna, Aug. 16 (PNA) -- Secretary of Interior and Local Government (SILG) Mar Roxas will lead the turn-over of 204 Mahindra patrol jeeps to Philippine National Police (PNP) Regional Offices 3, 4A, 4B, 7 and 9 scheduled on August 17, 2015 at Camp Vicente Lim in this city.

The 204 Mahindra (Enforcer 4x4) patrol jeeps will be distributed as follows: For Region 3 (Central Luzon), a total of 48 patrol jeeps allocated to be distributed to Nueva Ecija provincial police -27 units and to Bulacan provincial police-21 units; For Region 4A (Calabarzon), 39 units are allocated to Quezon provincial police; For Region 4B (Mimaropa) 48 units are allocated to be distributed to Occidental Mindoro provincial police -11 units, Oriental Mindoro provincial police -14 units and Palawan provincial police -23 units; For region 7 (Central Visayas), 44 units are allocated to Cebu provincial police; and for Region 9, 25 units are allocated for Zamboanga del Norte provincial police.

Expected to attend at the turn-over ceremony are the recipient governors, Representatives, mayors, provincial police Directors and chiefs-of police.

According to Police Superintendent Chitadel C. Gaoiran, chief, Police Information Office 4A, the patrol jeeps give additional mobility to recipient police units in their anti-criminality drive in accordance with the thrust of Police Director General Ricardo Cornejo Marquez, chief PNP, of going back to the basics emphasizing on the importance of police presence in the community as deterrent to commission of crimes.(PNA) 
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PNP intensifies Lambat Sibat in 19 crime spots in Central Luzon

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, Aug. 7 (PNA) -- The Philippine National Police (PNP) has identified 19 areas in Central Luzon as crime “hot spots” even as lawmen have intensified the “Oplan Lambat Sibat” campaign to help reduce criminality in the region.

Chief Supt. Ronald Santos, PNP regional director for Central Luzon, said the hot spots involve 10 cities and nine municipalities in six of the region’s seven provinces.

These are the cities of Cabanatuan, San Jose and Gapan in Nueva Ecija; San Jose Del Monte and Malolos in Bulacan; San Fernando, Mabalacat and Angeles in Pampanga; Balanga in Bataan and Tarlac in Tarlac province.

The crime-prone municipalities are the towns of Cabiao in Nueva Ecija; Marilao and Meycauayan in Bulacan; Arayat, Mexico and Sta. Ana in Pampanga; Mariveles and Dinalupihan in Bataan and Subic in Zambales.

Santos said Aurora province with eight municipalities has no known crime hot spot.

He described as negligible the occurrence of crimes in the province which covers the capital town of Baler and the towns of Casiguran, Dilasag, Dinalungan, Dingalan, Dipaculao, Maria Aurora and San Luis.

He said that the PNP is giving particular attention to Bataan where checkpoints are being activated to run after gun-for-hire syndicates and to secure the Freeport in Mariveles, the business hub of Dinalupihan and the central business district of Balanga City.

He added that the PNP is also keeping watch over Angeles City where a criminal syndicate was recently busted.

In Nueva Ecija, he said Gapan City is increasingly becoming a concern when it comes to crimes.

He said integrated checkpoints will be set up in boundaries of cities and municipalities in order to effectively run after criminal elements, citing the recent neutralization of a robbery-holdup gang in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija where lawmen killed a civilian suspect and arrested two policemen. (PNA) 
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Bulacan to receive rice donation from Taiwanese organizations

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 5 (PNA) -- Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado on Wednesday disclosed that two Taiwanese organizations will donate some 4,000 sacks of rice as a gesture of friendship and continued support to the province.

Alvarado said representatives from Taiwan Association of the Philippines and the World League for Freedom and Democracy (WLFD) will go to the province for the rice donation ceremony dubbed as "Love from Taiwan" to be held at the Bulacan Capitol Gymnasium on Friday.

The governor said the rice will be distributed to some members of the Bulacan Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association (BFJODA), Integrated Federation of Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association of Bulacan (TODA), and to persons with disability, veterans, solo parents, senior citizens and Dumagats.

"This will be the fourth time that the Taiwanese have been doing this in Bulacan that's why we would like to thank them as they continuously see the needs of the province. Thank you for imparting their love to the Bulakenyos," he said.

The governor said the upcoming activity is a proof of a strong relationship and camaraderie between Bulacan and Taiwan.

”We are seeing the result of good relationship. This rice donation has been continuous and it is a proof of a strong friendship,” the governor added.

A short program will be held that will include cultural presentation and familiarization of the province before the distribution proper.

Joining the event are WLFD president Eng Chi Yao and Wayne Chi, chief executive officer of Wellcom Telecom Supermarket. (PNA) 
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Groups welcome gov’s stance vs Canada garbage disposal in Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY, Aug. 5 (PNA) -- Environmental groups welcomed the statement made by Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-A;varado saying that the dumping of illegally imported trash from Canada will not be allowed in local landfills.

The Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society, Inc. and the EcoWaste Coalition cited Gov. Sy-Alvarado for disallowing the use of landfill facilities in Norzagaray and Obando, Bulacan for the controversial garbage imports from Canada after Tarlac barred their further disposal in Capas landfill.

“It will be totally disrespectful and outrageous if Canada’s garbage is sent to Bulacan for disposal. Governor Alvarado is right in rejecting such a move,” said Bro. Martin Francisco, Chairperson of the Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society, Inc.

“The people of Bulacan fervently pray that such rejection would be permanent and would apply to all imported trash,” he added.

Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition coordinator, said that “Bulacan and other provinces hosting waste disposal facilities should not be saddled with garbage illegally brought to our shores that could pose health risks to our workers and communities.”

“Like what the Tarlac Provincial Board did, we hope that Bulacan and other concerned local government units (LGUs) will adopt formal declarations and measures prohibiting the disposal of foreign wastes into their territories,” she suggested.

“As Bulacan is home to major cement factories, it’s necessary for such a ban to cover the use of foreign wastes as alternative fuels for cement kilns,” she said.

Citing Section 16 of Republic Act 7160 (Local Government Code), Lucero said that “every LGU shall exercise the powers…which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare.”

R.A. 7160 further provides that “within their respective territorial jurisdictions, LGUs shall… promote health and safety (and) enhance the right of the people to a balanced ecology.” (PNA)
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Gun-for-hire gangman, 2 car thieves fall in Bulacan

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, July 31 (PNA) -- Police foiled an alleged “assassination attempt” by a suspected member of a gun-for-hire gang while two suspected motorcycle thieves were nabbed in a series of police operations conducted Thursday in the province.

Bulacan police director Ferdinand Divina identified the arrested suspected gun-for-hire gangman as Moises Andres, 27, native of Malabon City and presently residing in Barangay Malhacan in Meycauayan City.

Prior to the suspect’s arrest, Divina said that a concerned citizen tipped-off the Meycauayan City police station headed by Supt. Lailene Amparo that there was a man wearing yellow sando, black shorts and red slippers standing along the street in Barangay Malhacan with a short firearm tucked in his waist.

Divina said Supt. Amparo sent a police mobile team to verify the report and saw the suspect’s as described by the informant.

At this juncture, the police team accosted the suspect and confiscated in his possession a .9mm Caliber pistol with 19 live bullets.

Divina said the police team asked the suspect to present any pertinent documents but he failed to show anything, prompting them to bring him to the city police station for further investigation.

Divina said that appropriate charges will be filed against the suspect, whom police investigators believed was out to “assassinate” somebody but was thwarted due to the vigilance of a concerned citizen and immediate response of lawmen.

In San Rafael town, police arrested suspected motorcycle thieves Roldan Munoz, 35, married, resident of Barangay Sabang and Dennis Lontoc, 52, married, resident of Barangay Poblacion, both in Baliwag town.

Divina said that the motorcycle thieves were arrested after one of them, Roldan drew a knife and tried to attack village watchman Eduardo Cruz of Barangay Tambubong after the latter confronted them that the motorcycle that they were trying to pawn was already pawned to another man.

The village watchman was able to subdue the suspect by hitting him with a rattan baton and was brought to the Baliwag District Hospital while his companion was arrested by responding lawmen and recovered the stolen motorcycle.

Divina said appropriate charges will be filed against the two alleged motorcycle thieves. (PNA) 
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DOH to conduct health care caravan in Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 30 (PNA) -- The Department of Health (DOH), in cooperation with the provincial government with conduct a health care caravan at The Pavilion, Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center in this city on Friday.

The health care caravan aims to directly provide health services to the residents and at the same time, to improve the access of Bulakenyos to relevant health information and services.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said Bulakenyos should spread the news and avail of the benefits intended for them.

Dr. Jocelyn Gomez, provincial health officer, said the health care caravan will kick off with a motorcade from Tabang, Guiguinto.

Gomez said that among the services available at the health care caravan are pre-natal, complete blood count, blood pressure measurement, distribution of ferrous sulfate, and birth planning for maternal care.

For adolescents and children, she said that there will be immunization, deworming, feeding, dental care and distribution of information, education and communication (IEC) materials to address teenage pregnancy.

As for infant care, she also said that there will be information dissemination on breastfeeding, childhood illnesses, and immunization.

For senior citizens, there will be an updating of Multi-Drug Resistant reports, enrollment as PhilHealth members, and information dissemination of PhilHealth services.

Likewise, she said that the health caravan offers HIV counseling and testing, blood typing and blood donation.

Some 400 Bulakenyos are expected to participate in the said caravan are senior citizens, parents and their babies, pregnant women, day care pupils and parents, blood donors from the Philippine National Police, Bulacan State University, Bulacan Polytechnic College and provincial government of Bulacan, target groups for HIV counseling and testing, media and other health partners.(PNA) 
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“Daang Matuwid” literally being felt in Central Luzon 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS, Bulacan, July 28, (PNA)--Some Filipinos gave President Benigno Aquino a passing grade in his sixth and last State of the Nation Address (SONA), but people in this province and other parts of Central Luzon believe that his administration’s “Daang Matuwid” policy is literally being felt, even in the remote mountain municipalities.

“I never thought that we can reach Angat dam in an hour’s time from the capital city of Malolos, the roads are well paved even in the mountain-resort town of Dona Remedios Trinidad. It only means that the Daang Matuwid policy of our President is indeed revving-up the engines of growth and yielding good fruits,” said Ed Castro, a communication technology expert.

Castro said that major highways like the Macarthur Highway, has been widened and upgraded as well as inner roads linking commercial centers to farm to market roads, thus spilling more growth and progress, especially in the countryside.

He said that Aquino’s development program is now being seen and felt and it is also being fast tracked by good provincial and regional leaders.

“You can’t just rate it in a scale of 10 because it is happening. Probably in a Manila, it is not that easy to notice the big changes and development. But in the provinces, the progress and development is brighter than the rays of the sun,” he added.

For Mitch Gregersen, a 29- year old construction worker in Barangay Sumapang Matanda here, he said he does not care about the SONA.

But, he said that due to the construction boom in many parts on the province and other areas of Central Luzon, he always have work and earning a decent living.

“Whatever they say about the President’s SONA, it is their opinions. However, I hope that they could see the effect to the Filipinos who were given job opportunities like us,” Gregersen said.

Even musician like Danny Penaranda of Barangay Caingin in this historic is expecting good tidings from the “fruits of Tuwid na Daan.”

“There are many good things that the President implanted. I am hoping that it will grow and prosper so that my three children will taste its good fruits,” Penaranda said. (PNA) 
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Palace on the 'Iglesia ni Cristo' controversy

MANILA, July 25 (PNA) -- The national government’s interest in probing the recent controversy involving members of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) is limited to verifying whether a crime has indeed been committed, Malacañang said Saturday.

Speaking over Radyo ng Bayan, Undersecretary Abigail Valte said both the Department of Justice and the Philippine National Police are already looking into the matter, amid reports that the INC is in possession of high-caliber guns, which it allegedly used to intimidate ministers who are critical of its current leadership.

“Secretary (Leila) de Lima has dispatched a team from the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) to verify allegations, so kung mayroon hong mga ganyan ay maisasama na ito doon sa imbestigasyon,” she said.

“Remember that the State is only concerned with any possibility that a crime may have been committed, pero doon po sa mga ibang pinag-uusapan ay hindi na po kasali ang estado doon,” Valte added.

Valte downplayed questions whether Malacañang is alarmed by these developments, given the fact that INC is known as an influential religious group whose members vote as a bloc in every election.

“‘Yung sa ‘vote as a bloc,’ hindi po natin napag-uusapan ito, in light of the recent incident. But, again, mayroon na ho tayong… Kumbaga, ang NBI nagpadala na po sila ng kanilang team, at tingnan na lang po natin,” Valte said.

“I can say that since this happened, of course, we’re aware of it because it has been plastered all over the news. But, beyond that, medyo marami din pong ibang napapagtuunan ng pansin ang Pangulo,” she added.

The NBI is verifying serious allegations of harassment and abduction involving some ministers and members of the INC, as claimed by Felix Nathaniel ‘Angel’ Manalo in a video posted on YouTube this week, which then spread out to various social media platforms.

Angel is grandson to INC’s founding father Felix, son to the late executive minister, Eraño, and brother to the current leader, Eduardo.

In the video, which ran under two minutes, Angel and his mother, Tenny, claimed that their lives were in danger and were seeking help from the public. They also appealed to their fellow INC members to aid the families of the ministers who allegedly disappeared and are yet to be found.

Angel and the other ministers are reportedly questioning some of the big-ticket projects of the INC, including the construction of the 0-million or P7.8-billion Philippine Arena within the 50-hectare Ciudad de Victoria property of the religious group in Bocaue, Bulacan.

The INC administration denied the allegations of corruption, harassment and abduction, and has since expelled some of its members, including Angel and his mother. (PNA) 
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Angat Dam water rises above MOL 
By Catherine J. Teves

MANILA, July 24 (PNA) -- Water level in Bulacan's Angat Dam finally rose above the 180-meter minimum operating level (MOL) after dipping below such point beginning May, further improving availability of water in this main water source of Metro Manila.

According to the government's weather agency Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Angat's water level reached 180.07 meters as of 6 a.m. July 24, up 0.11 meters from its elevation of 179.96 meters 24 hours earlier.

"That's good news as Angat's water reserve is increasing," said PAGASA hydrologist Richard Orendain.

He noted runoff from previous days' rain in parts of the Angat watershed mainly contributed to such increase in the dam's water reserve.

Orendain expects Angat's water level rise to continue, noting there'll still be rain during 2015's remaining months despite onslaught of El Nino phenomenon.

"That'll help improve Angat's water situation even if rainfall from October to December will likely be already less than average," he said.

People must conserve water, however, even if Angat's situation is improving, particularly since PAGASA forecast El Nino to intensify later this year, he noted.

PAGASA data show Angat's 6 a.m. water level on Friday at 0.36 meters below the dam's 180.43-meter rule curve for the same day.

"Angat's water level and rule curve are almost the same already. Data over the years indicate that once this happens, such water level tends to further rise beyond the rule curve," Orendain said.

Such further rise means more water in Angat Dam, he noted.

Rule curve is the desired water level to satisfy Angat's purpose which is to provide water for irrigation, power generation and needs of Metro Manila residents.

The government established rule curves to help control withdrawal of water from Angat.

PAGASA reported that this year, Angat's water level breached the MOL on May 26 and reached an elevation of 179.98 meters as of 6 a.m then.

Orendain noted Angat's water continued dipping, hitting its lowest 2015 level of 169.14 meters on July 5 before beginning to rise until it reached and surpassed the MOL.

"Angat recovered very fast this year as water level there rose by almost 11 meters in less than a month," he noted.

He added this month's rain due to the enhanced southwest monsoon accounted for much of such water level rise. (PNA) 
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Immigration allows Brown to roam around Metro Manila streets
By Ferdinand G. Patinio

MANILA, July 24 (PNA) -- American singer Chris Brown can roam around the streets of Metro Manila and any tourist destinations within the country while his papers are being processed that will allow him to leave the country.

According to Atty. Elaine Tan, Bureau of Immigration (BI) Spokesperson, since there was no warrant issued against the award-winning artist, he was allowed to visit other places in the Philippines.

“Yes, he could roam the streets of Manila,” she said.

Brown is still in the country after he was barred to leave the country when the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued an order putting him under the Immigration Lookout Bulletin (ILB) together with his promoter, John Michael Pio Roda.

The singer and the promoter are required "to obtain an Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC) before they will be allowed to depart from the Philippines".

Tan said that the ECC form can be downloaded at the BI website, www.immigration.gov.ph.

She added it could be submitted to any BI office that processes the ECC.

They were barred from leaving the country after the Iglesia ni Cristo wrote a letter to the DOJ, noting that they are looking to file a complaint for violation of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) for estafa against Brown and Roda, in connection with the singer's failure to appear on Dec. 31, 2014 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan for its New Year countdown. (PNA)
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Look out bulletin against singer Chris Brown out

MANILA, July 22 (PNA) -- Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila M. De Lima on Wednesday confirmed that the DOJ has issued a look out bulletin order against the international "R n B" singer Chris Brown.

The order was based on the request of the people behind the organizers of his supposed concert at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan on Dec. 31, 2014.

The Immigration Look Out Bulletin Order (ILBO) was faxed on Tuesday night to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and the copy of the same was also sent to the agency on Wednesday morning.

Chris Brown was about to leave the country on Wednesday morning after his concert on Tuesday night when he was held at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) because of the ILBO. (PNA) 
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President Aquino inspects Angat Dam in Bulacan

NORZAGARAY, Bulacan, July 22 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III said here Wednesday that a P1.08 billion-rehabilitation project would strengthen the structure of the Angat Dam and Dike to enable it to withstand a strong earthquake.

“Todo rehabilitasyon nga po ang gagawin natin dito. Gamit ang pondong 1.08 bilyong piso, layunin nating siguruhin ang stabilidad ng dam at dike, upang sa anumang lindol, kahit pa umabot ng hanggang 7.2 magnitude—o sinlakas ng nakaraang lindol sa Bohol—ay kakayanin pa rin ng strukturang ito,” the President said during his speech after he inspected the dam.

“Kaakibat nito, magkakabit tayo ng flood forecasting and warning system na nagkakahalagang 261 milyong piso, at magsasagawa ng flood control protection works na 292 milyong piso naman po ang halaga,” he said.

The President noted that the Angat Dam has never undergone any major rehabilitation since it was built more than 50 years ago.

Considering that the dam lies near the West Valley fault, the absence of a proper surveillance system and the questionable stability of its structure make the dam vulnerable in case of a major earthquake, putting at risk the lives of some 3 million Filipinos, along with their properties and livelihood, he explained.

Any serious damage to the dam, he said, would also disrupt water supply in Metro Manila and parts of Rizal, Bulacan and Cavite, affecting 15 million people, and cut off irrigation for almost 27,000 hectares of farmlands in Bulacan and Pampanga. President Aquino said the rehabilitation of Angat Dam is part of a bigger strategy to improve the water sector.

"Kabilang din po rito ang Angat Water Utilization and Aqueduct Improvement Project Phase 2, na nakumpleto na natin noon pang 2012, at 10 buwan ahead of schedule. Ongoing naman ang bidding ng iba pa nating proyekto tulad ng Kaliwa Dam sa Rizal, ang Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project, at ang Angat Water Transmission Improvement Project," he added.

The project to strengthen Angat dam, to be spearheaded by the Angat Hydropower Corporation (AHC), will involve increasing the height of the dam’s impervious core and widening its downstream slope.

The AHC is a local corporation co-owned by the SMC Global Power Holdings Corporation, a subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation, and the Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-Water).

K-Water Chief Executive Officer Gye-Woon Choi, in his speech, said since the Angat Dam provides drinking water to 10 million Filipinos, they are committed to complete the project in two years.

He also pledged that AHC will make Angat Dam one of the "most safe and essential facilities" in the Philippines.

Present during the event were Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, San Miguel Corporation President Ramon Ang, AHC President Geung Jeon Han, and K-Water Chief Executive Officer Gye-Woon Choi. (PNA) 
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(Update)
INC weighing estafa charges vs int'l singer Brown, promoter
By Perfecto T. Raymundo

MANILA, July 22 (PNA) -- The Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued an Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order (ILBO) against Grammy Award winning singer Christopher Maurice Brown or "Chris Brown" following request of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC).

The INC told DOJ it was filing a complaint for violation of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) for estafa against Brown and his promoter, John Michael Pio de Roda, in connection with the singer's failed appearance on Dec. 31, 2014 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan for its New Year countdown.

Maligaya Development Corp., administrator of Ciudad de Victoria ,where the INC's Philippine Arena is located, engaged Pio Roda to help INC bring Brown into the Philippines to perform on Dec. 31, 2014 at the Philippine Arena for the New Year's countdown.

"This is to respectfully request for assistance from your good office, for the successful prosecution of the criminal complaint which MDC is lodging against Mr. John Michael Pio Roda and Mr. Christopher Maurice Brown aka Chris Brown for the crime of Estafa," Atty. Glicerio Santos IV, chief operating officer and head legal counsel of INC said in its letter to the DOJ dated July 21, 2015.

DOJ Secretary Leila M. De Lima issued the ILBO.

A copy of the ILBO was received by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) Wednesday morning. (PNA) 
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Ranking rebel leaders bagged in Quezon City, Bulacan operations

MANILA, July 21 (PNA) -- A ranking New People’s Army (NPA) leader and his wife were arrested Monday by combined elements from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group during operations in Quezon City and Bulacan.

Nabbed was Ernesto Lorenzo, aka Ernie Lorenzo/Adlai/Lugod/Archimedes Bella, 1st Deputy Secretary of Southern Tagalog Region.

Lt. Col. Noel Detoyato, AFP public affairs office chief, said Lorenzo was apprehended while at the Gilmore Commercial Plaza, Quezon City at around 12:15 p.m. Monday.

He was arrested by virtue of arrest warrant for criminal case number 2010-450 for destructive arson issued by Judge Dennis R. Pastrana of Branch 66, 4th Judicial Region in Lucena City dated July 21, 2010.

Meanwhile, Joyce Felicia Latayan, his wife, was apprehended by joint units from AFP and PNP in a law enforcement operation at their residence located at Block 6, Lot 10, Silver St., Pecson Ville Subdivision, Barangay Tungkong Mangga in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan at 2:10 p.m. Monday.

The warrant of arrest against her was issued by Judge Rodolfo D. Obnamia Jr. of Branch 64, Regional Trial Court 4 in Mauban Quezon under criminal case 06-2985-M dated Sept. 9, 2008.

Lorenzo was also identified as member of Executive Committee of Southern Tagalog Region and head of its Regional Organization Department.

He was the former secretary of Komprob Quezon and Komprob Laguna.

Both Lorenzo and Latayan are now in the custody of PNP CIDG in Camp Crame, Quezon City. (PNA) 
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One dead, one missing, thousands displaced due to monsoon rains in Central Luzon 
Zorayda S. Tecson

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, July 19 (PNA) –At least one person was confirmed dead and another one missing due to continuous monsoon rains that battered Central Luzon in the past days.

Based on the latest data from the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC), the fatality was identified as Romeo Sunung, 13 of Sitio Dapla, Barangay Salaza, Palauig Zambales who drowned Friday at the Salaza River.

Missing is Arnel Encarnacion, 57, a resident of Barangay Mambog, Botolan, also in Zambales. He was reported missing since Friday.

Josefina Timoteo, chairperson of the RDRRMC and regional director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Region 3, also said that a total of 4,804 families or 22,731 persons in 59 barangays in provinces of Bataan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, and Zambales were displaced.

Timoteo said that of the total affected families, 571 families or 2,492 individuals were in the various evacuation centers in the region while 561 families or 2,057 persons were being served outside the evacuation centers.

She also said that strong monsoon rains caused flooding in some areas in the region.

In Pampanga, a total of 40 barangays in the towns of Macabebe, Guagua, Bacolor, Mexico, Sta. Ana, Minalin, San Simon and in the City of San Fernando were hit by floods up to 4 feet high.

In Bataan, 14 barangays in the towns of Dinalupihan and Hermosa were submerged to floodwater up to five feet high.

Twenty-two barangays in the towns of Cuyapo, Jaen, Licab, Quezon and Zaragosa, all in Nueva Ecija were also affected by flooding up to 4 feet.

Five barangays in San Miguel, Bulacan were also inundated by floodwaters up to six feet. But the floods subsided in those areas at around 6 p.m. Saturday.

Meanwhile, 14 barangays in the towns of Paniqui, La Paz, Camiling and Tarlac City were hit by floodwaters up to 3 feet . (PNA) 
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Bulacan intensifies campaign vs illegal drugs

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 17 (PNA) -- The provincial government of Bulacan, in partnership with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), has intensified its campaign against illegal drugs.

The intensified drive against illegal drugs started with the conduct of a seminar on anti-drug abuse and the formation of the Anti-Drug Abuse Council (ADAC).

Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado said the move aims to raise public awareness on the ill effects of illegal drugs and at the same time, encourage local government units (LGUs) to implement community development programs that focuses on fighting illegal drugs.

Alvarado said the seminar and the formation of ADAC is a great strategy with regard to the formulation of policies and programs on reducing and preventing drug abuse among young Bulakenyos.

“The prevalence of crime is alarming wherein the reported criminals are under the influence of illegal drugs. Drug abuse is the no. 1 problem of the society because it ruins someone’s life,” the governor said.

The governor, who is also the chairman of the Regional Development Council in Central Luzon, also said that the provincial government, with the cooperation of the LGUs, is eager to conduct different outreach and advocacy programs to counter the dangers and ill effects of drug abuse.

Meanwhile, PDEA Region3 Director Gladys Rosales disclosed the current situation of drug abuse in Central Luzon, particularly in the province of Bulacan.

Rosales said that Region 3 ranked fourth in the prevalence of illegal drug use.

She said that there are 330 villages in Bulacan affected by illegal drugs.

In addition, she said that from 1997 to 2016, there were 96 drug laboratories were dismantled wherein eight from Bulacan. (PNA) 
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Bulacan execs, other stakeholders discuss plans to address flood problems

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 16 (PNA) -- Provincial officials led by Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando met Wednesday with dam engineers and mapped out plans to address flood problems and the structural integrity of the three big dams in Bulacan namely Angat, Ipo and Bustos.

During the meeting, Engineer Russel Rigor, senior dam operation engineer of Angat Hydropower Corporation (AHC), revealed that in principle, the long overdue and much- awaited rehabilitation and strengthening of the aging Angat dam in the mountains of Norzagaray has already started.

Rigor told Governor Alvarado and Vice Governor Fernando that K-Water and AHC—the new owner and operator of Angat dam—have started the “pre-construction” phase of the 47 years old rock-filled dam, which according to experts and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) is nestling along the West Valley fault line.

Rigor said that the bidding for the rehabilitation and strengthening of Angat dam has already been done, adding that they are also getting “second opinions” from other experts aside from the feasibility study conducted by the Europe-based Tonkin and Taylor on its repair.

He also told the two provincial officials that the actual construction might start in October or November this year.

“It’s all systems go as far as the fortification and rehabilitation of Angat dam is concerned. The new management is aware of its obligation to the government. The stabilizing phase will be soon,” Rigor said during a meeting called by the governor at his office Wednesday afternoon.

Also present during the meeting were Youn Jong Hyuck, Korean manager of AHC; Engineer Felix Robles of National Irrigation Administration (NIA-Bustos dam); Engineer Mar Rodgriguez of Ipo dam, Alex Pacada and Alfel Roibles of the National Power Corporation; Lina Endoc of AHC; Liz Mungcal, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management officer of Bulacan; Arlene Pascual, head of the Provincial Planning and Development Office and other PDRRMO officials.

Alvarado said he called the meeting because there are now new players in the operations of the three big dams in Bulacan.

“These three dams are competing in the use of waters coming from our mountains. I think we again need proper coordination,” the governor said, adding that he also wanted to know why operators of Ipo and Bustos dams again released excess water during the onslaught of heavy rains spawned by the southwest monsoon and enhanced by typhoon Falcon last week.

The governor said that it is quite ironic why excess waters are once again being released by Ipo dam and Bustos dam at the height of the stormy weather and did not do pre-emptive release before the incoming bad weather.

“There is no water in Angat dam. Its elevation is still in critical level or below the normal level. But, the Ipo and Bustos dams released water. Every time that the dams released water, residents especially those in the coastal towns of Hagonoy and Calumpit are getting scared, so how do we avoid scaring people,” Alvarado asked Engineer Felix of Bustos dam.

Felix told the governor that since Bustos dam is a rubber dam, there is a need to allow overflow to protect the now brittle rubber gates of the irrigation dam.

”Bustos dam is likewise not designed for flood control,” Felix added.

Water discharges from Angat and Ipo dams flows through Bustos dam which, in turn, releases it to the Angat river that snakes into the towns of Pulilan, Baliwag, Plaridel, Calumpit and Hagonoy.

Alvarado said that once Bustos dam released 1,000 cubic meters per second of water, the coastal towns of Calumpit and Hagonoy are always being submerged in deep floods.

The governor has long been batting for the construction of Bayabas river, which flows towards Bustos dam, into a new dam so that it can hold the waters draining towards the dam and ends up into Manila bay.

“Those are God blessings and the natural wealth of Bulacan. If we can properly manage it, we will not only address the perennial flooding but have more water during times of dry season,” Alvarado said, referring to the abundant source of fresh water that goes to waste because it flows down the drain to Manila bay.

The governor also asked the dam engineers to maintain coordination with the PDRRMO every time they will release waters.

“There will be no problem if we will work as a team and talk properly. It is our concern because our job is to protect the province,” Alvarado added. (PNA) 
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Five suspected car thieves slain in Bulacan shootout - By Emil G. Gamos

MARILAO, Bulacan, July 12 (PNA) -- Five heavily-armed suspected members of a carnapping syndicate were killed in a running gun battle with Bulacan policemen and members of the PNP-Highway Patrol Group inside the Heritage Subdivision in Barangay Loma de Gato here early Sunday morning.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina said the slain suspects remain unidentified as of press time.

He said that four of the suspects were killed on the spot while the other one died while being brought to the Nazarenus Hospital in nearby Meycauayan City.

Divina disclosed that prior to the firefight, the Highway Patrol Group 3 (HPG3) coordinated with Supt. Rogelio Ramos, chief of the Marilao Municipal Police Station, informing that they were tailing suspected notorious criminals on board a black Nissan X-Trail with plate number XTU-414 and a blue and clack Yamaha Mio without plate number heading towards the direction of Marilao-San Jose Del Monte Road.

“The chief of police of Marilao, Bulacan immediately directed the Sector 4 MPS patrollers to establish a checkpoint at Likod Bisita in Barangay Loma de Gato, Marilao, Bulacan to check on and block the suspects. Elements of Marilao MPS, while manning the checkpoint, spotted the target vehicles. However, the suspects, upon seeing the established checkpoint, turned right going towards the direction of Heritage Subdivision, Barangay Loma de Gato, Marilao, Bulacan where the members of the HPG3 have established their chokepoint with their blocking force/teams,“ Divina said.

At that instance, Divina said the suspects suddenly fired towards the HPG team, prompting the lawmen to retaliate and an exchange of fire ensued that resulted to death of the four armed suspects.

One of the five suspects was rushed to Nazarenus Hospital in Meycauayan City, Bulacan but was pronounced dead on arrival by the attending physician.

Divina said that a SOCO team from the Bulacan Provincial Crime Laboratory Office (BPCLO) was requested to process the crime scene.

Recovered from the scene of encounter were the following: two caliber .45 pistols; one Ingram sub-machine gun with suppressor (silencer); one KG9 9mm Luger pistol; one fragmentation grenade and two handcuffs.

The recovered pieces of evidence are presently under the custody of BPCLO for examination while the recovered suspected carnapped vehicles - a Nissan X-Trail color black with plate number XTU-414 and Yamaha Mio motorcycle without plate number are temporarily under the custody of Marilao MPS pending further verification.

Divina said that the slain suspects could be members of a notorious carnapping gang that are also engaged in other criminal activities as shown by the high-powered firearms recovered from them. (PNA) 
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Floods submerge 16 villages in Bulacan; two dams opened gates and discharge excess water 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 10 (PNA) -- Heavy monsoon rains enhanced by Typhoon "Falcon" pounded on Friday many parts of the province and inundated 16 villages in two towns and one city.

Latest situation report from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) showed that that the hardest hit area is the City of Meycauayan where 12 villages, namely Bancal (2 feet), Bayugo (3 feet), Gasak (3 feet), Langka (2 feet), Malhacan (4 feet), Zamora (2 to 2.5 feet), Hulo (1 foot), Saluysoy (2 to 2.5 feet), Longos (1 to 1.5 feet), Ubihan (1 foot), Tugatog (1 foot) and Pandayan (1 foot) were flooded.

Also hit by floods were the towns of Marilao and Sta. Maria.

In Marilao, three villages were flooded while one village was affected in Sta. Maria town.

Three persons also died, two of them crushed to death when concrete fences collapsed, in separate typhoon- related incidents last Wednesday.

The fatalities were identified as Irene S. Lumugho, 1, resident of Barangay Pantoc; Aljon Lapitag Jr., 5, resident of Barangay Camalig and Demetrio Ylasco, 75, resident of Barangay Iba, all in Meycauayan City.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, Bulacan PDRRMC chairman, personally supervised operations at the command center of Bulacan Emergency Operation Center at the Provincial Capitol here, together with Vice Governor Daniel Fernando and Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina.

Alvarado said that they are closely monitoring major rivers and waterways as well as water elevation of the three big dams in Bulacan namely Angat, Ipo and Bustos dams.

The governor also instructed Mungcal and Provincial Social Welfare and Development head Rowena Tiongson to speed up delivery of relief goods and medical assistance to affected families.

The PDRRMO also reported that Ipo dam opened Radial Gate 1 and Radial Gate B and discharged 346.6 cubic meters per second (cms) of water from 5:30 a.m to 7 a.m. after its spilling level of 101 meters was breached by .20 meters early Friday morning.

Bustos dam also opened one of its washed out gate and released 24 cms of water after its elevation reached 17.60 meters (spilling level 17.70 meters).

The monsoon rains aggravated by Typhoon Falcon, however, did not made significant rise in the water elevation of Angat dam which is still way below its critical level of 180 meters. 
As of 5 a.m. Friday, the water level at Angat dam was 171.66 meters which is still way below its spilling level of 210 meters. (PNA) 
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3 die in Bulacan due to inclement weather
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 9 (PNA) --Three persons, including a one-year old baby girl and a five-year old boy, died in the province at the height of heavy rains Wednesday afternoon, according to the Provincial Disaster Risk and Management Office (PDRRMO).

The casualties were identified as Irene S. Lumugho, 1, a resident of Barangay Pantoc; Aljon Lapitag Jr., 5, a resident of Barangay Camalig and Demetrio Ylasco, 75, a resident of Barangay Iba; all in Meycauayan City.

Bulacan PDRRM officer Liz Mungcal said that Lumugho died after getting pinned by a concrete fence of RLMU Trucking Company that collapsed during the height of heavy rains while Lapitag drowned in a flashflood.

Ylasco, on the other hand, died when he was crushed by a concrete fence of Lapadema factory that also collapsed at the height of the heavy downpour.

Mungcal also reported to Bulacan PDRRMC chairman and Governor Wilhelmino Sy- Alvarado that mayors in the cities of San Jose Del Monte and Meycauayan, and in the towns of Bocaue, Obando, Bulakan, Sta. Maria, Calumpit, Hagonoy, Paombonmg, Guiguinto and Marilao suspended classes in all levels Thursday morning.

The heavy rains that flooded some villages in Marilao town, however, did not even made a dent in the water level of Angat dam which remains at 169.94 or 11 meters below the critical level of 180 meters and way below its spilling level of 210 meters.

The water level at Ipo dam was 100.94 meters with a spilling level of 101 meters.

The governor instructed Mungcal to monitor and assess the damages that might be brought by the continuous monsoon rains. (PNA) 
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Public schools along Valley Fault System strengthen readiness for earthquake

MANILA, July 9 (PNA)--The Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday started holding a series of orientations on earthquake preparedness for principals and school administrators in 1,134 public schools in the National Capital Region, Region IV-A, and Region III, areas surrounding the Valley Fault System.

The orientation aims to equip school heads and administrators with the right information to increase the level of preparedness of schools not just for earthquakes but also for other possible risks.

“There is no such thing as overdose of information. We need to cascade this disaster preparedness information,” Noel Bagano, Muntinlupa City Assistant Schools Division Superintendent (ASDS), said.

DepEd Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO) Project Officer Mariel Bayangos discussed the comprehensive DRRM in Basic Education Framework.

“Why is there a need for us to have a common framework? We need to establish an overall strategy para kahit saan mang school tayo magpunta, we have a common language,” Bayangos said.

The Comprehensive DRRM in Basic Education is guided by education outcomes and, at the same time, anchored in the four thematic areas: prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery, and rehabilitation.

Specifically, DepEd adopted the Comprehensive Safe Schools Framework to align DRRM implementation in basic education, which is presented in three pillars: safe learning facilities, school disaster management, and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in education.

Comprehensive DRRM in Basic Education Framework discussion encompasses the structural and nonstructural measures such as the adopted disaster resilient classroom design, the strengthened construction monitoring process, enhanced design of temporary learning spaces, the establishment of DepEd DRRM offices nationwide, and the policy on student−led school watching and hazard mapping.

Bayangos added that DRRM and CCA are already integrated in the K to 12 curriculum and the DRR reference materials are being uploaded in the learning portal.

Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) Geologist Mabelline Cahulogan discussed geologic hazards like the occurrence of ground rupture and liquefaction.

“We all know that the Philippines is situated at the Pacific Ring of Fire and it is crucial for us to be disaster prepared,” Cahulogan said.

“Everyday, our instruments at PHIVOLCS record at least 20 earthquakes. Hindi lang natin sila nararamdaman… We can live with the fault as long as we are prepared and ready. Hindi po natin kailangan mag-panic. Sa halip, kailangan lang po natin maging prepared,” she added.

The geologic hazards discussion was followed by an open forum to address questions from school principals and education administrators relative to disaster preparedness. Family earthquake preparedness

The orientation ended with the briefing on the Family Earthquake Preparedness Homework in line with DepEd Order No. 27 entitled “Promoting Family Earthquake Preparedness.”

The homework requires all students to answer a set of questionnaires with their parents to assess their family preparedness before, during and after an earthquake.

The class advisers will discuss each of the questions and shall tabulate and summarize the answers which will be submitted to the school administration.

The school heads shall be the one to discuss the results to the Parents−Teachers Association (PTA) and barangay officials.

Over 400 school principals, administrators and DRR coordinators from six Metro Manila cities (Las Pinas City, Muntinlupa City, Paranaque City, Pasay City, Taguig City, and Makati City) and Region III (Norzagaray and San Jose del Monte, Bulacan) participated in the five first batches of the orientation.

The orientation on earthquake preparedness will continue Friday at Jose Rizal Memorial School in Calamba City for those school administrators, principals and DRRM coordinators from Biñan, Carmona, Calamba, Rodriguez, San Mateo, San Pedro, Sta. Rosa and Silang, Laguna.

More than 200 participants are expected to attend Friday.

The last leg of the orientation on July 13 will be participated by principals from Manila, Navotas, Caloocan, Malabon and Valenzuela cities. (PNA)
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Bulacan intensifies efforts to make the province illegal recruitment free

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 3 (PNA) --The provincial government, through the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) and Workers Education Division (WED) of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration signed Thursday a memorandum of agreement (MOA) in an effort to make the province illegal recruitment free.

Among the stakeholders who signed the agreement were Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, Philippine Overseas Employment Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, Overseas Workers Welfare Administrator Rebecca Calzado and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) director Teodoro Gatchalian.

Alvarado said the initiative will help fight illegal recruitment in the province that causes some Bulakenyos to suffer financial difficulties.

The Barangay Training and Employment Coordinator (BTEC) mass oath taking was also held wherein officials and members were oriented of their responsibilities.

Also, the OFWs Family Circle Federation took their oath to help fight illegal recruitment.

Provincial PESO manager Elizabeth Alonzo discussed about the responsibilities of PESO managers and BTEC in each town and city to help achieve a province free from illegal recruitment.

“If they are offering salary and other benefits that you think is too good to be true, it is not true and there are various ways to know whether they are illegal recruiter, you can look at the websites of POEA and PESO,” Alonzo said.

Antonio Mutuc of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) also discussed their programs about career guidance, implementation of website for an easier access to job hunting for fresh graduates and unemployed.

Kabuhayan starter kits were also distributed for the BTEC skills training graduates. (PNA) 
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'Coastal Road' project to spur more growth in Central and Northern Luzon 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 2 (PNA)--Government officials and different sectors in Central Luzon are hoping that the would-be successor of President Benigno S. Aquino III will continue the implementation of various development programs known as “engines of growth” that is being pushed to further boost the economic miracle now being experienced in the booming region.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, chairman of the Regional Development Council (RDC) in Central Luzon, said that many key infrastructure projects have already been approved by the RDC-III that are not only geared to spur more growth and development in Central Luzon but also to make the Philippines one of the surging investment magnets in the Asia- Pacific region.

He said that barring any hitches, mammoth projects that will speed-up and bring more growth and development in the region is now underway.

He said the people of Central Luzon want the successor of President Aquino to also give priority on the projects because those were designed to boost economic stability not only in the region but in the whole country as well.

Alvarado said that among those infrastructures include the “Coastal Road” project that will link the special economic zone in Cavite, National Capital Region to the Bataan Special Economic Zone and Subic Freeport area with a fast highway network connecting it to the international airport at the Clark Special Economic Zone in Pampanga.

Also known as the Manila-Bataan BOT (Built-Operate-Transfer), the coastal road project is expected to decongest the nagging chaotic traffic mess in Metro Manila, especially at the Port Area.

“Aside from decongesting and addressing the traffic woes in Metro Manila, the construction of the coastal road will open new avenues for growth and development especially along the coastal towns in the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan and Zambales. The economic impact of the project will also spillover to the inland provinces of Tarlac, Nueva Ecija and even Aurora and other parts of Northern Luzon,” Alvarado said.

He said that delivery of basic goods and materials will be faster and efficient since it will become easier to transport goods from Metro Manila to the special economic zones in Bataan, Pampanga and Zambales and vice versa.

He said that the RDC-III has already approved the project which was based on the feasibility studies prepared by the United States of America-based Wilbur Smith Associates in association with TCGI Engineers-Philippines and the Sycip, Gorres, Velayo and Company under the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

He said that the coastal highway will also be designed to control the flow of tides and help solve the flooding problems in the coastal areas in Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan.

The governor said that in Bulacan alone, coastal villages in the City of Meycauayan and in the towns of Hagonoy and Obando are constantly being submerged by floods due to high tide.

Alvarado also sees the spark of economic boom that will have impacts on the coastal areas along Manila bay.

“People in these areas will have new livelihood opportunities,” he said.

Last Wednesday, Central Luzon National Economic Development Authority Regional Director Severino Santos confirmed to Bulacan Provincial Planning and Development Office chief Arlene Pascual that they are set to present the approved coastal road project to executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., and to Budget Secretary Butch Abad.

Aside from the coastal road project, RDC-3 is also working on the fast railway system that will link the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to the international airport inside the Clark Special Economic Zone in Angeles City, Pampanga.(PNA) 
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PRO3’s kicks off 20th Police Community Relations Month

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, June 29 (PNA) -- The Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3), on Monday kicked off the 20th Police Community Relations (PCR) Month at the PRO3 parade ground here.

With this year’s theme “Matibay na Ugnayan ng Mamayan at Pulisya, Simbolo ng Kapayapaan sa kaunlaran ng Sambayanan,” the celebration was highlighted by the awarding of medals to police commissioned officers, police non-commissioned officers and local government officials, including civilians who supported and contributed to various PCR activities within Central Luzon.

Chief Supt. Ronald V. Santos, officer-in-charge of the Police Regional Office-3, said the month-long celebration will include different activities that will highlight the importance of a solid partnership between the police and the community in the effective maintenance of peace and order and community development.

The individual awardees were Police Supt. Amelia D. Garcia, chief, PCR, Tarlac PPO; SPO4 Emelita Bautista, Bulacan PPO and PO2 Cherry Anne P. Bacallo, Tarlac PPO;

The unit awards went to Tarlac PPO headed by Police Senior Supt. Alex B. Sintin, provincial director; Olongapo City Police Office headed by Police Senior Supt. Pedrito F. Delos Santos; Cabanatuan City Police Station headed by Police Supt. Pedro Soliba and Baliwag Municipal Police Station headed by Police Supt. Enrico H. Vargas.

Meanwhile, Tarlac Governor Victor A. Yap was awarded the Best Supportive Local Chief Executive for the Year 2015. (PNA) 
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Crown-shape Pagoda set sails at Bocaue river on Friday night - By Emil G. Gamos

BOCAUE, Bulacan, June 26 (PNA)--The crowd-drawing fluvial festival in this town in honor of the venerated “Mahal na Krus sa Wawa” (Holy Cross of Wawa) is getting more majestic and captivating.

A more colorful pagoda carrying the venerated cross will again set sail for a nine-day Novena beginning on Friday night at the Bocaue river.

Jim Valerio, chief of staff of Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and this year’s Hermano Mayor of the fluvial festival, said the pagoda is designed like a crown that aptly depicts the “crowning glory” of the strong leap of faith of the people of Bocaue.

“The pagoda of the “Mahal na Krus sa Wawa” symbolizes the strong devotion of the people here in Bocaue and the colorful tradition of our town,”Valerio said.

He said that only 200 people will be allowed to board the pagoda every night and on its feast day to ensure that the tragedy that happened 22 years ago --when the overcrowded three- tiered pagoda (made of out lumber) sank in the murky waters of Bocaue river on July 2, 1993, that claimed the lives of at least 300 devotees--will not be repeated.

Aside from this, he said that Governor Alvarado has instructed the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) headed by Liz Mungcal to deploy more rescue teams, complete with rubber boats, ambulance and paramedics and ensure that fluvial festival will be safe and secured.

Maneuver platoons from the Provincial Public Safety Company of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office were also deployed to beef up local policemen in securing the riverside area, Valerio said.

He also said that after the fluvial festival, the “crown-shaped” pagoda will be converted into a chapel at the portion of the river where the venerated cross was found floating.

According to legends, a woman was saved from drowning by a floating cross which is presumed to be the Mahal na Krus sa Wawa.

He said that the strong faith of the people of Bocaue has made the resurrection of the centuries-old tradition possible.

The colorful voyage of the pagoda of the Mahal na Krus sa Wawa was revived last year, 21 years after the tragic accident.

It was again celebrated with a more religious patronage as devotees once again flocked to participate in one of the spectacular and crowd drawing fiestas in the province.

The governor, meanwhile, said that the strong devotion of the people has rekindled the “leap of faith” and trust to God as well as the crowd-drawing fluvial festival, which he said is just one among the many age-old traditions still being practiced and observed in Bulacan.

He said that peace keeping and emergency response units has properly coordinated with the organizers to ensure a peaceful and safe celebration of the feast day of the venerated Holy Cross of Wawa.

”It is merry but you can feel the sacred of the tradition. And because of the unity and heartfelt devotion of the people, the colorful fiesta in this town has once again back its vibrancy,” Alvarado said.

The Holy Cross of Wawa is a replica of the wooden cross on which the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, is set on a pagoda, which is paraded on the Bocaue river with several bancas, as well as devotees swimming alongside the colorful structure.

The festivities also include a nine-day novena, which celebrates the rescue of the Holy Cross of Wawa from the Bocaue River. (PNA) 
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Bulacan cops net seven suspects in 'One Time, Big Time' sting

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, June 22 (PNA) -- An alleged cybercrime offender, a notorious drug dealer and five other wanted persons fell in a series of police operations dubbed as “One time, Big Time” over the weekend in the mountain town of Norzagaray, the Bulacan Police Provincial Office reported on Monday.

Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina said that the Norzagaray Municipal Police Station led by Supt. Ramil Corpuz, together with personnel of the Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC), Motorcycle Cops and Bulacan Highway Patrol Team (HPT) conducted “One Time Big Time Operation” as part of the PNP’s “Oplan Lambat Sibat” in National Housing Village, Barangay Bitungol, Norzagaray.

He said the operation resulted in the arrest of Romeo Dosal of Block 26, Lot 1&2, Phase 1, National Housing Village, Bitungol, Norzagaray town with search warrant No. 079-15 for violation of Chapter II, Sec (4)-(1) of Republic Act 10175 (An act defining cybercrime, providing for the prevention, investigation, suppression and the imposition of penalties).

Divina said the police team recovered the following items from Dosal: one set desktop computer: computer mouse; one Wimax antenna with cable; and two notebooks with cooler fan.

Second to fall was Francisco “Boy” Manalastas alyas “Bordado”, a resident of Block 30, Lot 26, Phase 1, National Housing Village, Bitungol, Norzagaray with search warrant No. 08 1-15 for violation of RA 9165, issued by Judge Ramon D. Pamular, executive judge of RTC Nueva Ecija on June 11, 2015.

Manalastas’ arrest also resulted in the seizure of one small plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance suspected as methamphetamine hydrochloride known as “shabu” and assorted drug paraphernalia.

Divina said that the five other arrested wanted suspects were nabbed during the conduct of ”Oplan Galugad.”

They were identified as Jenny Bernardo, single of Block 2, Lot 42, Phase 1, National Housing Village, Bitungol; Delton Policarpio, 20, single of Block 170, Unit 14, Phase 5, National Housing Village, Tigbe; Allan Alfaro, 20, single, a resident of Block 2, Lot 39, Phase 1, National Housing Village, Bitungol; Erwin Sawit, 27, single, resident of Block 72, Lot 13, Phase 3, National Housing Village, Bitungol; and, Jonalyn Fornoles, 25, single, resident of Block 107, Lot 4, Phase 3, National Housing Village, Tigbe.

Divina said the Norzagaray Police Station also conducted “Oplan Bulabog” and has issued 12 citation tickets to motorists who violated provincial ordinances and impounded 18 different motorcycles for failure to show documents on current year registration while other motorcycles were abandoned by the riders upon seeing the presence of the policemen during the checkpoint.

Appropriate criminal complaints are now being prepared against the arrested suspects. (PNA) 
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MMDA trains 3,000 individuals to be part of Metro Manila Rescue Volunteer Corps

MANILA, June 22 (PNA) -- The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is training 3,000 individuals who have registered for the Metro Manila Rescue Volunteer Corps (MMRVC).

MMDA Director Mon Santiago said the training, conducted by batches of 200 volunteers each, consists of practical session day of orientation on how to respond to earthquakes and landslides.

Aside from the 3,000 walk-in volunteers, the MMDA also receives requests from Local Government Units (LGUs), non-government organizations (NGOs) and private institutions to be part of the rescue volunteer corps.

Some organizations also want to include dogs in the training for search, rescue and retrieval operations.

The MMDA aims for 8,000 individuals to take part in the training who will respond to disaster scenarios such as the looming 7.2 magnitude earthquake which could shake Metro Manila at any time.

Participants will receive T-shirt, identification card and a certificate of training.

Interested applicants may visit the MMDA website www.bepreparedmetromanila.com or may call the MMDA office at 882-0927 or the MMDA Trunkline at 882-4151.

Meanwhile, Santiago is urging the public to join the Metro Manila-wide earthquake drill which will be held on July 30 at 10:30 a.m.

In order to make the drill effective, he said they are hoping that various sectors will give their all-out participation.

The drill is part of the agency’s commitment to ensure disaster preparedness, especially during earthquakes, using the sectoral grouping as specified in Oplan Metro Yakal.

MMDA employees are required to group themselves according to sectors of their places of residence.

Areas covered by the North Sector are Caloocan, Valenzuela, Malabon and Quezon City.

The cities of Navotas, Manila and Pasay form the West Sector.

The South Sector includes the cities of Makati, Mandaluyong, Taguig, Muntinlupa, Parañaque and Las Piñas and the municipality of Pateros.

Covered by the East Sector are San Juan, Pasig and Marikina.

Oplan Metro Yakal is MMDA’s earthquake contingency plan which focuses on preparedness of government resources and that of private organizations during emergencies.

Phivolcs recently released the Valley Fault System Atlas which contained detailed maps of the areas near the earthquake faults -- the East Valley Fall which runs through Rizal and the West Valley Fault which spans from Bulacan going to Rizal, Metro Manila, Cavite and Laguna.

The agency said a strong movement, possibly equivalent to a magnitude 7.2, from the fault is possible and could kill more than 30,000 people based from Phivolcs studies.

The atlas also identified the 72 barangays in the Metro Manila cities of Pasig, Quezon, Marikina, Makati, Taguig and Muntinlupa which are above the fault line. (PNA) 
SCS/CLTC/Jarren Hill S. Repedro/JHSR (OJT)

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Gov pushes immediate transfer of Bulacan Prov’l Jail to new site - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 19 (PNA)--A long term solution to defuse a “ticking time-bomb.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Friday announced that the provincial government of Bulacan is finalizing the long-term plan to accelerate the transfer of the overcrowded provincial jail to a new site complete with all the amenities needed in reforming inmates.

At present, the Bulacan Provincial Jail (BPJ) is located within the capitol compound at the back of the Hall of Justice building of the Bulacan Regional Trial Court.

Alvarado said that it is high time to move the heavily congested provincial jail which only have the capacity to house 700 inmates but is now full to the seams with 3,000 prisoners.

He said the the Provincial Development and Planning Office has already found an ideal site for a new and modern jail facility at the satellite government center in eastern Bulacan.

“The population of Bulacan is fast growing and so are the inmates at our provincial jail which may soon burst or explode if we do not build a more spacious penitentiary. Right now, the population at the jail might exceed 3,000 and the present facility can only hold 700,” Alvarado said.

The governor said that plans are already in place about a new jail facility where inmates can have a more spacious and humane area, a correctional establishment where they can exercise, farm and be productive while awaiting the verdict for their case.

People visiting the BPJ has likened it to a “sardine can” where the inmates has barely an elbow room to move freely.

Alvarado said that they also want to ensure the health condition of the inmates but the now already overcrowded also poses health problems.

"While medical attention are always there for the inmates, the limited space at the jampacked jail is also deteriorating a clean environment there so it must be transferred at the soonest possible time,” he said.

The governor said that he is already working with Vice Governor Daniel Fernando and members of the Sanguniang Panglalawigan for the passage of a resolution on the immediate transfer of the provincial jail to a new and more spacious site.

“This is a long-term solution to a nagging problem that can be likened to a ticking time bomb. We will build it in conformity with present standard complete with properly equipped personnel,” Alvarado added.(PNA) 
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Fireworks safety seminar held in Bulacan - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 11 (PNA) -- Grow and glow!

The Philippines Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association (PPMDAI) and the Philippine National Police-Civil Security group is gearing up for the high demands of skilled "pyro-technicians" abroad by providing special courses on aerial fireworks display.

Engineer Celso C. Cruz, chairman emeritus of PPMDAI, said that there is a great opportunity for local pyrotechnics crew who are also known as "shooters" in the aerial fireworks display.

"Safety is the prime concern of PPMDAI and in training would be shooters" we are instilling to them all the precautionary measures in the preparations and operations of fireworks display which has now become popular in many parts of the world thus, requiring more skilled pyrotechnics crew," Cruz, a chemical engineer, said.

The special course is part of the annual "safety seminar" of the PPMDAI and the PNP-CSG in line with the new Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 7183 otherwise known as the "Firecracker Law of 1992" being enforced by the national police.

Under the IRR, Cruz said manufacturers and dealers of fireworks as well as operators of aerial fireworks display are required to attend the safety seminar before they will be issued licenses and permits to manufacture, sell and conduct fireworks display.

Participants in the aerial fireworks display were given crash courses on display requirement (training certification, fireworks and equipment and site).

He said professional pyrotechnicians like Ernan Corpuz lecture participants on operation of the fireworks display such as comparison of manual and electronic firing and safety concerns demonstration.

Another known pyro-technician Robert Basiman, who works for a well known Spanish pyrotechnics company, discussed "synchronized pyro-musical conceptualization and after display safety guidelines.

PPMDAI president Lea DG Alapide, also a former member of a foreign -based pyro- crew, provided technical "must dos and donts" during actual fireworks display operations.

Alapide reminded participants in the special course on the dangers that must be checked before and after the display show.

"It is important to know the direction of the winds for the fallout of debris, the proper stock filing of materials, its transport and coordination with firefighters and concerned authorities," she said.

Senior Supt. John C. Bulalacao, chief of the Explosive Management Division of the PNP-CSG headed by acting director Chief Supt. Elmer Soria, said participants of the safety seminars were also briefed on the overview of fireworks safety seminar (as requirement of the new IRR of RA 7183), inputs from the Bureau of Fire Protection, proper packaging, storage and transport of fireworks, store/stall display of products, consumer safety guidelines and other concerns, the IRR guidelines and the requirements of license application and renewal, update and related issues.

"While we want the local industry to flourish, we, at CSG are also making sure that the revised IRR of RA 7183 are strictly followed so that stakeholders of the local fireworks industry can do business safely and at the same time, producing quality and safe products," he said.

The PPMDAI thanked the PNP-CSG as well as resource speakers led by Supt. Thomas Valmonte, provincial legal officer of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office; Chief Inspector Soledad Arciso, chief of Permit and Licensing Section of EWD, Supt. Artemio Llena, provincial fire marshall; Rolando Bonilla, board member and spokesman of PPMDAI and Evelyn Lazaro, PPMDAI secretary.(PNA) 
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Ban use of explosives along fault line, cement factories urged - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 7 (PNA)--An environment watchdog on Sunday dared giant cement factories operating in the mountains of Eastern Bulacan to show and prove that they are no longer using explosives in extracting limestones as experts have once again confirmed that their mining areas run along the West Valley fault line.

"There is a clear and present danger if they are still using dynamites or other ordnance in extracting limestone which is the primary ingredient in their cement business.

These cement companies, which are foreign-owned should prove that they will not be the trigger that will cause the faultline to move," Bro. Martin Franscisco, chairman of the Sagip Sierra Madre Environment Society (SSMES), said.

Franscisco said that their group and even the office of Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado are receiving reports that explosions are being heard in the mountains of Norzagaray and Dona Remedios Trinidad where cement factories are extracting limestones.

He dared the management of Holcim cement and La Farge, two of the biggest cement companies owned by foreign business firms, to allow a team, including members of the media, to prove that they are not using explosives in the extraction of limestones.

Franscisco said that the alleged explosions are being heard during the afternoon and people are getting anxious especially after learning that the mining sites of these cement factories run along the strtetch of the West Valley fault line and are also near the Angat dam and Ipo dam watershed areas.

He also disclosed that even the Dumagats tribesmen, a cultural minority group living in the mountains of Eastern Bulacan, have once again complained that they are afraid that the "gods" in the mountains might get angry because of the constant "tremors" allegedly caused by the blasting of limestones by giant cement factories in the areas.

Franscisco said that last year, some Dumagats guided them to places in the mountains where some sort of mini-sink holes have appeared.

"This is very disturbing because we do not know what will be its effect on the faultline," he said.

Upon learning of this development, the governor urged cement factories to refrain from using explosives and instead use modern technologies in extracting limestones.

He said that it is quite ironic that while they are calling for the immediate rehabilitation of the aging Angat dam, those companies are blatantly daring the possible movement of the fault line through their blasting methods.

He also questioned the alleged rehabilitation program of cement factories in the areas.

‘Can they grow a mountain? They can grow a forest but not a mountain,” he said, adding that forest covers and the very mountain itself where it grows are being destroyed in the extraction of limestone.

The SSMES also said that the permit to extract limestone were issued by the national government to these cement companies. (PNA) 
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Bulacan to hold 'Day of Prayer'

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 5 (PNA) -- The provincial government will hold a “Day of Prayer” on Monday with different religious groups for a safe and progressing province.

Anchored on the theme “Sama-samang Pasasalamat at Pananalangin para sa Pagkakaisa at Kaunlaran sa Lalawigan ng Bulacan,” the event will be held at the Hiyas Pavilion, Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center in this city.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the event aims to unite the Bulakenyos in a day of thanksgiving and forgiveness, citing the need to worship and give thanks to the Lord for the peace, unity and continuous progress and development of the province.

Alvarado is encouraging the Bulakenyos to join the solemn ceremony and pray for the safety of everyone, particularly from the possible occurrence of a powerful earthquake that could cause massive destruction of the 47-year-old Angat Dam.

”Let us pray together for our province and our country because this is the time that we should always be prepared and ready in any accidents or calamities. It is always better to unite and pray for our safety and let us continuously thank God for our safety and for the all the blessings He is giving to us,” he said.

Hundreds of Bulakenyos are expected to participate in the event that includes different religious leaders and support groups, provincial and local government officials, heads and employees of the provincial government, teachers and students from Bulacan State University and Bulacan Polytechnic College and others.

The event will start with a doxology and will be followed by the ecumenical prayer by the Four Pillars of Bulacan headed by Rev. Joel Lombos of Cadence-Bulacan, Rev. Cezar Sacdalan of Alliance for Values Formation in Bulacan, Bishop Bert Chan of Baptist Church and Bishop Ephrain Perez of Interfaith Bulacan.

To conclude, the Bulakenyos will sing “Lord Heal Our Land” to be lead by Himig ng Bulakenyo and Hiyas ng Bulacan Brass Band coinciding the lighting of candles and offering prayer and commitment of the participants to promote peace and order in the province. (PNA) 
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Bulacan intensifies its disaster preparedness

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 4 (PNA) -- The provincial government, through the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) is intensifying its disaster preparedness in an effort to promote public awareness and readiness for calamities and other natural hazards.

PDRRMO head Felicisima Mungcal, in a quarterly meeting held Tuesday at Isidoro Torres Hall, Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center in this city, said her department would continue to monitor hazards and provide appropriate warning, and conduct appropriate preparedness, response and development plans.

Citing the importance to monitor hazards and possible impact of the calamities, Mungcal said the disaster risk reduction and management council of the 21 towns and three cities, including the responders of the different government agencies and non-governmental organizations, have gathered for a meeting to discuss systematic approach on how to respond in any disasters that might hit the province.

”Any hazard and possible impacts of the disaster must be effectively communicated as a way to respond properly before, during and after hazardous events,” she said.

Mungcal also presented the PDRRMO’s accomplishment for the previous quarter of the present year such as Weather Outlook 2015, Fire Prevention Month, Lakbay Alalay (SUMVAC), Oplan Listo, contingency plan update, local disaster risk reduction and management Fund Investment Revision, and preparation for rainy season and drought or dry spell.

During the meeting, the Provincial Planning and Development Office presented the Valley Fault System in Bulacan based on VFS Atlas released by Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) and came up with an action for a additional and clearance of an information from Phivolcs regarding faultline that run in three areas in the province such as City of San Jose Del Monte, Norzagaray and Dona Remedios Trinidad.

Meanwhile, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) discussed the Operation Listo WEmboree: A disaster resiliency camp, a program for the gathering of young people from different communities, academic institutions and organizations celebrating one goal in “Changing the Mindset from ME to WE.”

It also encourages young people to come together, actively engage and inspire their peers and their respective communities to unite and become prime movers in nation building. (PNA) 
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Two suspected drug pushers nabbed after yielding 2 kilograms of shabu - By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan

MANILA, June 2 (PNA)--Agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) have arrested two suspected drug pushers and seized from them two kilograms of shabu worth Php10 million during an anti-illegal drugs operation in Malolos, Bulacan.

PDEA Director General Undersecretary Arturo G. Cacdac Jr. identified the suspects as Herwin Francis Tee, 31, of Sumapang Ligas Road, and Marc Aben Reyes, 30, of Lorenzo compound, both of Barangay Sumapang Matanda, Malolos City, Bulacan.

Cacdac said that PDEA Regional Office 4-A, Director Adzhar A. Albani led the operation after the suspects agreed to sell one kilo of shabu in a transparent plastic bag to a PDEA poseur-buyer.

They also seized two plastic bags containing the drugs and Php 2,000 bill.

The suspects are currently detained at the PDEA RO43A detention cell in Camp Vicente Lim, Calamba, Laguna and will be charge for violation of Section 5 (Sale of Dangerous Drugs) and Section 11 (Possession of Dangerous Drugs) Article II of R.A. 9165.

Meanwhile, PDEA said that Php P2,044,000 worth of fully-grown marijuana plants and seedlings were destroyed by combined elements of the agency and the Philippine National Police (PNP) during a three-day marijuana eradication in Benguet.

Cacdac said the teams, composed of operatives from PDEA – Cordillera Administrative Region (PDEA-CAR) under Director Ronald Allan Ricardo and elements from Bakun Municipal Police Station, conducted the operation in Sitios Owasan and Kaot, Barangay Kayapa, Bakun, Benguet that led to the destruction of seven marijuana plantation sites with an estimated land area of 1,026 square meters on May 26 to 28, 2015.

Cacdac said that no cultivator was arrested during the operation, but the operating teams were able to destroy and burned on-site 8,420 fully grown marijuana plants, and 9,000 marijuana seedlings with a total estimated value of Php 2,044,000. (PNA) 
RMA/CLTC/Maria Edelyn Cantillo/MEC (OJT)

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Clamor to save aging Angat dam snowballs - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 1 (PNA)--Teachers and students have joined the bandwagon in the growing clamor to save the aging Angat dam which some engineers now described as a “ticking time bomb” as it is nestled along the West Valley fault that some experts said is no longer dormant and might move anytime and trigger a powerful magnitude 7.2 earthquake.

The possible bursting of the old dam has become the topic and “talk of the day” during the opening of classes in several schools and universities in the province with some even conducting basic drills and disaster preparedness.

Some students even urged Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado to again bring to the attention of President Benigno S. Aquino III the “clear and present danger” hanging like the proverbial “Sword of Damocles” over their heads so that the immediate rehabilitation and strengthening of the 47-year old earth dam in the mountains of Norzagaray could be expedited.

Earlier, village chiefs from San Jose del Monte City and in the towns of Dona Remedios Trinidad, and Norzagaray have asked the governor on the situation of the dam and its structural integrity after the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) once again confirmed that the Angat dam and its main dike is sitting over the West Valley fault line.

”The destruction it will cause is unimaginable especially if the 47 years old Angat dam will collapse because not only the province of Bulacan will be wiped out but also big parts of Pampanga and Metro Manila," the governor said.

He also told village chiefs from the towns of Norzagaray, San Jose Del Monte and Dona Remedios Trinidad, that even if residents of Metro Manila survive the "Big One" they will still face another dilemma of an equally "deadly" proportion.

"They will die of thirst and for a long time will have no supply of potable water," the governor said, adding that it is also important for concerned agencies to seriously consider dangers being poised by Angat dam, whose main dike is over the fault line.

Angat dam supplies 97 percent of the potable water needs of Metro Manila.

Without water, he said it is hard to imagine where residents of Metro Manila will get it once the source is destroyed.

He said that Angat dam is located on the highest slope of the mountains in eastern Bulacan.

He said that it is hard to imagine how fast rampaging waters that could be 30 meters high will wipe out villages.

He said the people of Bulacan are once again appealing to the national government to send engineers and experts to prod the new owner of Angat dam to immediately start its rehabilitation.

Alvarado said that since Phivolcs renewed its confirmation that the West Valley fault is still active, it has again brought dilemmas on the people of Bulacan who have been crying out for the immediate repair since 2008.

Some civil engineers also urged the new owners and operator of the dam to adopt the study and suggestion of Tonkin and Taylor, the Europe-based consultancy firm hired by the government to study the structural integrity of the dam.

The governor also suggested to the management of K-Water to implement the suggestions of the Tonkin and Taylor dam experts so that the repair and fortification of the dam could start immediately.

“Its repair should not be delayed any longer. There is now a growing clamor to save and fortify the structural integrity of the 47-year old dam which is situated in the highest slope of the mountain in Norzagaray,” he added. (PNA) 
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Seaborne cops net fisher who beheaded 9 year old boy - By Emil G. Gamos

HAGONOY, Bulacan, May 31 (PNA) --Seaborne policemen arrested a 50- year old fisherman suspected of beheading a 9- year old boy in the fishing village of Barangay Mercado here Saturday.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina identified the victim as Arnel Escobar alias “Kokey”, 9, a native and resident of Barangay Mercado here while the suspect was identified as Ernesto Santos, 50, married and a resident of Barangay San Nicolas.

Divina said that the headless body of the victim was identified by his father after it was fished out while floating along the river.

Initial theories of village officials who discovered the headless body suspects that the young victim’s head was cut-off after it was hit by a propeller of a motorized boat but police thought otherwise after a witness came and told police officers that he personally witnessed how the boy’s body was dumped into the river early morning Saturday.

Divina said the witness disclosed that on May 30 at around 3 a.m. while he was sleeping in his boat docked at the side of the river, he was awakened by a noise coming from the other boat, docked parallel with his boat.

The witness confirmed that prior to the incident, he saw the victim and the suspect named Santos resting.

He added that although he was awakened, he pretended to be asleep after he witnessed how the suspect dumped the headless body of the victim in the river and subsequently washed/cleaned his boat.

After identifying the suspect at about 3 p.m. of the same date, town police chief Supt Angel Bondoc, who was directly leading the investigation, immediately formed an arresting team.

And at about 5:45 p.m.of the same date, Divina said Bondoc led a team of seaborne policemen together with the River Rine Unit of the Philippine Army and conducted pursuit operation along the mouth of Manila bay and arrested the suspect who then fishing.

Divina said the police team recovered the 12 inches knife, with suspicious blood stain that was believed to be used in the killing the boy in the suspect’s boat.

The cadaver of the beheaded boy was brought to C and C Funeral Services in Barangay San Miguel here while the suspect is presently detained at Hagonoy Municipal Police Station.

Divina said that a joint team of Hagonoy policemen and the River Rine Unit of the Philippine Army are still conducting search operation for the missing head of the boy.

Appropriate criminal complaint is being prepared for filing at the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor, Divina added. (PNA) 
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Aging Angat dam a “ticking time bomb” along West Valley fault line - By Emil G. Gamos

NORZAGARAY, Bulacan, May 31 (PNA)--Worse than being nuked, twice!

The much talked-about “Big One” or the powerful earthquake that could jolt parts of Luzon once the long dormant West Valley fault line moves could bring double whammy of disastrous proportions even to those who would survive the tremor, particularly those living at the National Capital Region.

This grim scenario is also expected to make the earthquake drills virtually useless and just end into naught once the feared "Big One" comes and trigger the collapse of the aging Angat dam, which is nestling along the West Valley fault line.

This cropped up after village chiefs from different parts of Bulacan, particularly along the towns included by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) in their updated Atlas of the West Valley fault line, asked Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on the earthquake issue.

"The destruction it will cause is unimaginable especially if the 47 years old Angat dam will collapse because not only the province of Bulacan will be wiped out but also big parts of Pampanga and Metro Manila," the governor, who time and again has been calling the attention of national government since he was still a congressman, then a vice governor and now as the top provincial chief executive on the dangers that the aging dam is posing when it is jolted by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake.

Alvarado told the village chiefs from the towns of Norzagaray, San Jose Del Monte and Dona Remedios Trinidad, that even if residents of Metro Manila survived the "Big One" they will still face another dilemma of an equally "deadly" proportion.

"They will die of thirst and for a long time will have no supply of potable water," the governor said, adding that it is also important for concerned agencies to seriously consider dangers being poised by Angat dam, whose main dike is over the fault line according to studies of experts.

Angat dam supplies 97 percent of the potable water needs of Metro Manila.

Without water, the governor said it is hard to imagine where residents of Metro Manila will get it once the source is destroyed.

He said that Angat dam is located on the highest slope of the mountains in eastern Bulacan.

He also said that it is hard to imagine how fast rampaging waters that could be 30 meters high will wipe out villages.

"If the dam breaks, will you still hide under the table? How can you escape a rampaging water whose speed is like a bullet and will bring big boulders and illegally cut logs?,” he said.

Alvarado said that unless the 47 years old Angat dam is immediately repaired and strengthened, it will always serve like the probervial "Sword of Damocles" hanging over the heads of Bulakenyos.

He said the people of Bulacan are once again appealing to the national government to send engineers and experts to prod the new owner of Angat dam to immediately start its rehabilitation.

Alvarado said that since Phivolcs renewed its confirmation that the West Valley fault is still active, it has again brought dilemmas on the people of Bulacan who have been crying out for the immediate repair of the dam for so long now, in fact since 2008.

Since 2009, when he was the Vice Governor and presiding officer of the Sanguniang Panglalawigan, Governor Alvarado has already been calling the attention of the national government of the delicate situation of the aging dam.

Calling it as a disaster waiting to happen, Alvarado said that it is not only the lives of the people of Metro Manila that is at stake but also the lives of the people of Bulacan.

Alvarado said that even during the administration of former President Corazon Aquino, the government has already initiated studies, with the help of Japan, for the rehabilitation of Angat dam.

He said that even in 1968, the very year its operation started, dam officials and engineering experts have already detected leakages and in August 1986, a landslide also occurred near the ex-batching plant site of the dam.

Alvarado added that even President Benigno S. Aquino III is very much concern on the structural integrity of the 47 years old dam that he appropriated Php5.7 billion for its immediate repair and strengthening but it got stalled after the Supreme Court ruled that the privatization of the Angat dam is legal after Korean Water (K-Water) found a Filipino business firm as its partner .

It is stipulated under the contract between the new operator of the dam and the government that K-Water will shoulder and initiate its rehabilitation and fortification which will be the first ever repair since Angat dam began operation on October 1968.

Alvarado said that it is high time for the government to prod the new owners to immediately start its rehabilitation and implement the studies of Tonkin and Taylor, the European dam experts company commissioned by the Philippine government to study and formulate the fortification of the dam.

"Up to now, they are still in the drawing board even if there is already a viable study by a credible company. We, in Bulacan, are asking concerned agencies to help the K-Water in making the structural integrity of Angat dam safe for the next 50 to 100 years," Alvarado said.

While drills are being conducted, most residents here are faithfully relying on prayers.

“As we continue conducting drills, education campaign and formulate contingency plans, the people of Bulacan are still relying strongly in their faith to God and the power of prayers,” he added. (PNA) 
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3 Central Luzon police officers ordered relieved for failure to meet Lambat Sibat requirements - By Froilan E. Magtoto

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, May 28 (PNA) -- The Philippine National Police (PNP) National Headquarters has ordered the immediate relief of three chiefs of police in Central Luzon.

Police Director Ricardo Marquez, head of the PNP National Directorate for Operations, on Thursday instructed Central Luzon Police regional director Chief Supt. Ronald Santos to relieve Supt. Rechie Duldulao of this city; Supt. Marcos Rivera of Marilao in Bulacan; and Senior Inspector Marlo Dangaran of Abucay, in Bataan.

According to the order, the three police officers were relieved for failure to meet the requirements of Lambat Sibat, an anti- crime measure of the police.

Santos said in a report that he was instructed by Marquez during a command conference held on Thursday in this camp to identify police officers in the station levels who have shown remarkable performance for commendation but as well list down those who fell short of expectation for the past 11 weeks of Oplan Lambat Sibat.

Santos admitted that he was hesitant at first to remove underperforming officers until he was given the imprimatur to relieve anyone.

With implementation of Lambat Sibat regionwide, he said crime incidents have decreased by almost 30%. (PNA) 
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Gun for hire gangman killed, cohort wounded in Bulacan shootout

SAN MIGUEL, Bulacan, May 27 (PNA) -- An alleged member of a gun-for-hire gang was killed while another was wounded during a shootout with Bulacan policemen in Barangay Batasan Matanda here Tuesday afternoon.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina identified the slain gangman as Francisco Bernabe Jr. alias “Isko”, a native of San Miguel, of this province.

The wounded suspect, on the other hand, was identified as Joey Ramos of No. 59 Purok 3, Barangay Batasan Matanda.

Divina said that joint elements of the Bulacan Criminal Investigation Detection Team (CIDT) led by Chief Inspector Patrick Ramillano and the San Miguel Municipal Police Station headed by Supt. Nathaniel Villegas implemented search warrant No. 067-15 issued by Judge Ramon D. Pamular, RTC, Branch 32, Guimba, Nueva Ecija against Ramos for violation of RA 10591, otherwise known as Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act, dated May 21, 2015 at the house of the suspect Tuesday afternoon.

Divina said the suspect and his cohort noticed the approaching operating team and tried to escape by successively firing against the approaching lawmen, prompting the police officers to retaliate and use the necessary force.

During the firefight, Ramos sustained gunshot wound on his right leg and was rushed to San Miguel District Hospital for treatment and later brought to Bulacan Medical Center in Malolos City while his cohort Bernabe, was hit on the different parts of his body that resulted to his instantaneous death.

Divina said that Ramos and Bernabe are both members of a gang operating in Bulacan and other parts of Central Luzon engaged in gun running, drug pushing and selling of stolen motorcycle parts.

He also said that Ramos has a case of homicide with records of jump bail.

The encounter site was immediately secured and a team of SOCO from Bulacan Crime Laboratory was called and processed the crime scene.

The police team recovered one Caliber Super .38 Pistol, and two pieces of magazine of Caliber Super .38 from Ramos while a hand grenade was recovered from the slain suspect.

Several guns, ammunition, drugs and paraphernalia were also seized at the house of the suspect.

Divina said that charges for Violation of Sec 12, Art II of RA 9165 (Illegal Possession of Equipment, Instrument, Apparatus and Other Paraphernalia of Illegal Drugs) and direct assault are being prepared for filing against Ramos. (PNA) 
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Two gangmen killed in Bulacan shootout

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, May 23 (PNA)--Two suspected members of a gun-for-hire gang were killed while a policeman was wounded during a shootout with lawmen in Barangay Minuyan 2, San Jose del Monte City Thursday night.

Bulacan police director Sr. Supt. Ferdinand Divina identified the slain suspects as one alias “Lucky” who was killed on the spot and a certain Rodelio Lagario alias “Uding,” who was seriously injured and rushed to a hospital for medical attention but died while undergoing treatment.

SPO2 David Gatchalian of the SJDM City police station was shot by one of the suspects on the lower part of his right eye and was brought to the hospital for medical treatment and later declared safe.

Divina said the two were alleged cohorts of Amir P. Manda alias “Tangkad”, who was wanted for murder, and believed to be a member of a gun-for-hire gang.

The group are also believed to be involved in drug trafficking and other illegal activities.

Divina said that the SJDM City police, led by Supt. Charlie Cabradilla were conducting “Oplan: Lambat Sibat” in the area to serve warrant of arrest against the suspect in Barangay Minuyan 2, CSJDM, Bulacan, issued by Judge Francisco P. Felizmenio of Branch 19, RTC Malolos City, Bulacan for the crime of murder.

He said that the SJDM Police Station received a report that Manda together with his cohorts were seen at the vicinity of Barangay Minuyan 1.

Upon receipt of the report, the Sibat Tracker Operating Team was immediately dispatched under the supervision of Supt. Cabradilla to verify the report and conduct an operation against alias “Tangkad” and his cohorts.

Divina said that when the operating team arrived at the place, the suspect, together with his cohorts, successively shot the approaching police tracker team prompting team to return fire which resulted in the death of alias “Lucky” who was killed on the spot and Lagario who died later at the hospital while Manda managed to elude arrest.

The encounter site was immediately secured and a team of SOCO from Bulacan Crime Laboratory was called and processed the crime scene.

Recovered from the place of incident were one Caliber .38 Revolver loaded with two live ammunitions and four spent shells ; one replica of Caliber .45 (Air Soft); and 10 pieces of transparent plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance suspected to be “shabu”.

Divina said police teams were still hunting Manda as of presstime. (PNA) 
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Calls for immediate rehab of aging Angat dam snowballs anew

BALIWAG, Bulacan, May 16 (PNA) --News of recent devastating earthquakes has triggered new calls for the immediate repair of the aging Angat dam, which according to experts is sitting along the West Valley fault line.

While trying not to sound alarmists, a group of civil engineers on Saturday urged the new owners and operators of the aging Angat dam to immediately start its fortification and rehabilitation.

The engineers made the call after talking with several local newsmen in a meeting in Barangay San Jose here.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has confirmed that Angat dam is nestling along the West Valley fault line.

"They should do it now before the terrible earthquake strikes," one of the engineers said.

The engineers said that this booming town is one of those that will be severely devastated once the 47 years old rock-fill dam could collapse if jolted by a powerful Magnitude 7.2 earthquake.

The location of the dam, which lies atop the mountains of Norzagaray, Bulacan, makes it equally dangerous because its stockpiled waters will rampage its way towards low lying towns in a matter of minutes, according to the structural engineers.

They reminded K-Water, the new owner and operator of Angat dam, that even President Benigno Aquino III is deeply concerned on the structural integrity of the aging Angat dam and has long been supporting the calls of Bulacan officials, headed by Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, not only for the immediate rehabilitation and fortification of Angat dam but also the other big dams in the province like Angat Dam Afterbay Regulator dam, more popularly known as "Bustos Dam."

Alvarado has earlier said that "unless the rehabilitation and strengthening of the aging Angat dam commences, it will always be like the proverbial "sword of Damocles" hanging over the heads of the people of Bulacan.

Meanwhile, Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando expressed optimism that the rehabilitation of the Bustos Dam, a rubber-type irrigation dam, will also trigger socio-economic boom in the municipalities where the dam is situated.

Alvarado said that according to National Irrigation Administration (NIA) regional director Josephine Salazar, the bidding for the rehabilitation of Bustos dam has already been conducted last week.

He said that new rubber gates, complete with sprinkles to make it more heat-resistant, will replace the old, brittle and punctured with holes rubber gates.

The repair of the Bustos rubber dam will cost Php 1 billion, according to NIA.

Alvarado said that aside from the rehabilitation of the rubber irrigation dam, the site will also be developed into a major tourism destination complete with water sports facilities, zip line and souvenir shops. (PNA) 
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House panel approves renaming of NLEX to President Corazon C. Aquino Expressway (CAEX)

MANILA, May 10 (PNA) -- The House Committee on Public Works and Highways has approved a proposal to rename the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) to President Corazon C. Aquino Expressway (CAEX).

The committee chaired by Rep. Ronald M. Cosalan (Lone District, Benguet) approved House Bill No. 4820 authored by Rep. Magnolia Rosa C. Antonino ( 4th District, Nueva Ecija) who said the NLEX renaming will bestow distinct honor and perpetuate the memory of the late President Corazon Aquino, an icon of democracy.

“If favorably passed into law, it will constantly remind us of the noble deeds of the late President, especially for the poor, and inspire our people to emulate her example of selfless service to the nation while her exceptional courage and leadership gave hope and united the Filipino people at a critical time in the country’s history,” said Antonino.

Built in the 1960s, Antonino said the NLEX is an 84-kilometer highway maintained by the Manila North Tollways Corporation, a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation. It is one of the country’s main road arteries and has a daily traffic of over 16,000 cars.

The NLEX was formerly called the Manila North Diversion Road and Manila North Expressway (MNEX) and officially known as Radial Road 8. It is a two to eight limited-access toll expressway linking Metro Manila to the provinces of the Central Luzon Region.

The NLEX starts from Quezon City and passes through Caloocan City and Valenzuela City in Metro Manila, Meycauayan, Marilao, Bocaue, Balagtas, Guiguinto, Malolos, Plaridel and Pulilan in Bulacan, San Simon, San Fernando, Mexico and Angeles City in Pampanga. It ends in Mabalacat City in Pampanga and merges with the MacArthur Highway, continuing northward into the rest of Central and Northern Luzon.

The bill mandates the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to implement the provisions of the Act. (PNA)
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Notorious robbery gang leader slain in Bulacan operations

MANILA, May 7 (PNA) -- Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) operatives killed the leader of the notorious Natad robbery and holdup gang during operations in Sitio Dupias, Barangay Kalawakan, Dona Remedious Trinidad town, Bulacan Wednesday afternoon.

The slain suspect was identified as Rene Natad.

AKG operatives headed by Senior Insp. Alvin together with their local police counterparts were about to serve the arrest warrant for kidnapping-for-ransom with homicide at 3:30 p.m. when the suspect resisted, triggering a firefight which resulted in Natad's death.

The warrant was issued by Judge Paulino Gallegos of Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 47.

Recovered from the scene was a loaded .38 caliber revolver and several spent .38 caliber shells.

Natad was the leader of the Natad robbery and holdup gang and listed as one of the 10 Most Wanted Person of AKG 2015.

Police said he was also involved in the kidnapping and killing of a Korean national in Manila last March 3. (PNA) 
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Bidding for rehab of aging Bustos rubber dam begins - By Emil G. Gamos

BUSTOS, Bulacan, May 5 (PNA) -- The Angat Afterbay Regulator Dam, also known as Bustos dam, has been “diagnosed” to be very sick and needs immediate treatment and experts are coming in to cure it.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Tuesday announced that the national government has given the green light for the immediate repair of the already deteriorating Angat Afterbay Regulator Dam whose rubber gates were found out to have become brittle aside from punctured holes.

The governor made the announcement after meeting with newly installed National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Region 3 director Josephine Salazar at the provincial capitol Monday afternoon.

Alvarado thanked President Benigno Aquino III for giving priority concern on the condition of the aging dams in Bulacan.

Aside from Bustos dam, the governor said that the President is also fast tracking the immediate repair of the 47-year Angat dam located in the mountains of Norzagaray town.

The NIA regional director informed the governor that the bidding for the repair and improvement of the main canals, laterals and its appurtenant structures will commence on Tuesday morning at the NIA Regional Office 3 in Barangay Tambubong, San Rafael town.

Salazar said that the repair was pegged at PHP250 million which is part of the PHP1 billion of the total rehabilitation of Bustos dam.

Salazar, who was accompanied by Provincial Planning and Development Office chief Arlene Pascual and provincial agriculture officer Gloria Carillo, also presented to the governor the overall project objectives and the scope of the rehabilitation work for Bustos dam.

She said that the already brittle and punctured six rubber gates of the afterbay regulator dam will be totally replaced with new ones with additional features like sprinkles to make them heat resistant.

Alvarado said that the rubber gates of the Bustos dam is good for 30 years but due to global warming and climate change the rubber gates has already shown signs of deterioration and needs immediate replacement.

In 2012, he said that NIA hired the services of dam specialist from Bridgestone, a known international rubber and tire company, to examine the life expectancy of the rubber gates.

The Bridgetone experts noted that the rubber gates are approaching the end of its “useful life” and concluded that immediate replacement is necessary.

The governor said that the present condition of the dam is posing a “clear and present danger” to the downstream towns of Plaridel, Pulilan, Malolos, Calumpit and Hagonoy.

Alvarado said that when dam operators open one gate, it will release 500 cubic meters per second of water.

“But if they open two gates at the same time, the coastal towns of Calumpit and Hagonoy will be submerged under several feet of flood. Just imagine how deep the flooding will be if all six gates will collapse due to its deteriorating state come the typhoon season.”

“The people of Bulacan are once again thankful for the concern of President Aquino on the condition of Bustos dam,” Alvarado said.

Alvarado also said that the rehabilitation of Bustos dam will fortify the mammoth structure and will serve as flood control during the rainy season to prevent flashfloods at the downstream area of the Angat river.

The governor added that the repair of Bustos dam will also improve the irrigation water delivery and cropping intensity in support of the agricultural development program of the government.

“Hopefully, when the new and fully rehabilitated Bustos dam is finished it will have more water holding capacity and will also secure the delivery of irrigation water for our farmers,” Alvarado added.

Bustos dam, which is the longest rubber dam in Asia, supplies irrigation water to 31,485 hectares of farm lands in 20 towns in Bulacan and parts of Pampanga benefiting at least 20,562 farmers. (PNA) 
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Five suspected drug pushers in Bulacan nabbed

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, May 4 (PNA) -- The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Region--3 (PDEA-3) arrested Sunday five suspected drug pushers in a buy-bust operation in Barangay Pulong Buhangin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

Jeoffrey Tacio, regional director of PDEA-3, identified the suspects as Digno Ariel Gumising, 47; Romela Chavez, 38; Rodel Chavez, 35; Edgardo Casimiro, 50; and Marjun Gravador, 28; all residents of Pulong Buhangin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

Tacio said PDEA agents collared the suspects at about 3:30 p.m. after selling one piece knot-tied transparent plastic bag containing white crystalline substance suspected to be shabu to poseur buyer.

Seized from the suspects were 100 grams of shabu with an estimated street value of PHP350,000 and the buy-bust money.

The suspects are now detained in PDEA jail facility here.

Charges of possession of illegal drugs were filed against the suspects. (PNA) 
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Fresh graduates, other applicants troop to job fairs in Bulacan - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, May 1 (PNA) -- Jobs galore on the first of May.

Fresh graduates and job seekers in this province on Friday trooped to the yearly job fair held at the Event Center, SM City malls in Baliwag and Marilao.

The job fairs, which were spearheaded by the provincial government of Bulacan in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Regional Office 3, are being held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

At least 60 employers for local and overseas jobs participated in the said activities.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado has earlier reminded all interested applicants to go early to SM City for a chance to be matched with potential employers, be interviewed right away and hired-on-the-spot.

“I strongly urge the job seekers particularly the fresh graduates and new entrants to the labor force to take full advantage of what this job fair can offer,” the governor said.

He said that Bulacan is fast becoming a "magnet" for jobs, both domestic and in foreign countries.

A week ago, a delegation of Japanese executives made a courtesy call to the governor and announced that Japan was in need of at least one million nurses and caregivers.

Alvarado said that local nurses and caregivers are now being trained in preparation for work in Japan.

Aside from this, big companies that have put up investments in Bulacan are now giving employment to the locals.

"We are encouraging our young people to study hard because it will prepare them for the many job opportunities that come due to the growth and progress now being enjoyed in the province," the governor said.

The Public Employment Service Office (PESO) reminded the applicants about the needed documents or pre-employment requirements such as credentials, valid ID, passport, among others.

In addition, there are DOLE’s One-Stop-Shop Services for NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) and Police clearances, SSS (Social Security System), NSO (National Statistics Office), and Philhealth at SM City Marilao.

The DOLE also offered beauty and wellness services such as massage, manicure, pedicure, and haircut during the fairs.

The conduct of the annual Labor Day Job Fair is made possible with the help and support of the Provincial Youth Sports, Employment and Development Office (PYSEDO) and the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) of Baliwag and Marilao. (PNA) 
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Bulacan execs urges Comelec to put decent closure on “recall” - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 19 (PNA)--Local officials on Sunday called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to put a decent closure on the recall issue that has nearly tore the province apart due to massive forgeries, deceits and alleged utter disrespect to poll officials in the province who have already issued their rulings.

“It is time to move on, to move forward because the truth has already surfaced. Anything that will contradict the results of the recall proceedings will no longer hold water and will be detrimental to the unity of the people of Bulacan and to the booming growth and progress now being experienced in Bulacan,” Pandi Mayor Enrico Roque, president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) -Bulacan Chapter, said.

Roque said the recall proceedings has already opened a “hurt’s locker” and should now be closed permanently in order not to sow more confusion and divisiveness.

“It should be closed so that the Bulakenyos will unite again in pushing for the progress and development of the province and support the good programs of the provincial government which is continuously gaining recognition and bringing honor to the noble province of Bulacan and to the residents," Roque said.

Comelec regional director Temie Lambino said that the Comelec en banc will meet on Tuesday to tackle the appeal of the recall petitioner following the consolidated ruling of the election officers in Bulacan that 72.7 percent of the signatures in the petition against incumbent Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado were forged or falsified.

He also earlier said that the Commission will also investigate the distribution of USBs allegedly containing pre-encoded or prepared ruling to every election officers in the province’s 21 towns and three cities.

Aside from Mayor Roque, the City Vice Mayor’s League in Bulacan headed by Meycauayan City Vice Mayor Jojo Manzano said that the recall issue in the province has only prove one thing.

“They cannot put a good man down,” Manzano said, referring to the sterling leadership being shown by Governor Alvarado and his partner Vice Governor Daniel Fernando in spurring more growth and development in the province.

Manzano said that people should now unite and rally behind the good programs being implemented under administration of Governor Alvarado.

Bulakenyos appealed Friday to Comelec officials to “stop prolonging the agony and confusion of the province by putting a decent total closure to the already doomed and controversial recall initiative perpertrated by political rivals of the incumbent governor.

Magnolito Julian Cruz, a political science student in this capital city, said that the election officers of Bulacan have already spoken about the controversial poll proceedings and have already issued their consolidated ruling on the verification of signatures.

“This recall move is a despicable exercise that could be compared to a Pandora’s box that unleashed the dirty side of politics and waste of government money in an exercise that is tainted with lies, deceit, fraud and dirty poliyical tactics,” Cruz said.

Various organizations also commended the election officers for their integrity by coming up with honest rulings despite clear attempts by the petitioner to rig the outcome of the verification by providing them with USBs containing pre-encoded ruling. (PNA) 
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Bulacan may soon become a “garlic-producing” province - By Emil G. Gamos

SAN ILDEFONSO, Bulacan, April 19 (PNA) --It may not take long but the province of Bulacan may soon become one of the top garlic producing areas in the country.

This, after the Department of Agriculture(DA) has announced that they are pushing for the promotion of garlic production in Central Luzon and has allocated a P20 million budget for it.

Recently, a total of 47 farmers in this booming agricultural town now known as the vegetable basket of Bulacan, graduated from a four-month farmers field school on garlic production at the Pinaod Trading Post here.

Traditionally, garlic production is concentrated in Ilocos region and Batanes.

However, in the advent of modern technology, garlic is now grown in different provinces of the country like in Mindoro, Nueva Ecija, South Cotabato, Iloilo , Siquijor, Davao, Nueva Vizcaya and is now being tried in Bulacan.

Provincial agriculture officer Gloria Carillo said that the first ever training on garlic production in Bulacan was undertaken by the DA High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP), PGF Association Inc., Vieva Phils, Pangkat Kaunlaran and the local government unit of San Ildefonso.

Jenifer Remoquillo, HVCDP director, said that only 20 percent of the total garlic need of the country is being produced locally and the rest is imported.

On the other hand, Fernando Lorenzo, Central Luzon ’s HVCDP regional coordinator, has allocated garlic planting materials for the October 2015 planting season in Region III. (PNA) 
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Bulakenyos urged Comelec to put closure on “doomed” recall move - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 17 (PNA) -- Bulakenyos on Friday appealed to the officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to “stop prolonging the agony and confusion of the people" in this province by putting a total closure to the already doomed and controversial recall initiative perpetrated by political rivals of incumbent Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado.

Magnolito Julian Cruz, a political science student in this capital city, said that the election officers of Bulacan has already spoken about the controversial poll proceedings and have already issued their consolidated ruling on the verification of signatures which shows that 73 percent were forged while 27 are still being contested by lawyers of the governor.

“This recall move is a despicable exercise that could be compared to a Pandora’s box that unleashed the dirty side of politics and waste of government money in an exercise that is tainted with lies, deceit, fraud and dirty political tactics,” Cruz said.

Various organizations also commended the election officers for their integrity by coming up with honest rulings despite clear attempts by the petitioner to rig the outcome of the verification by providing them with USBs containing pre-encoded ruling.

"Their dedication to their duty has put an end to the deceit that has threatened to put the province into a maelstorm of divisiveness," the group said.

Meanwhile, Governor Alvarado said that now that the truth has came up about this recall issue, it is about time to heal wounds and move forward.

He said that while many have been hurt, offended and felt aggrieved by the falsification of signatures, he said there are still many important works to be done because Bulacan is now fast growing as the frontier of growth and development with many vital projects that are now nearing completion.

“There are groups who are seeking justice on what happened and are entitled to their rights. These groups are now filing charges against the proponents for maligning their names and signatures. But, at the same time, we must focus on the growth and development now transforming the province as the next mecca of big international and domestic investments.I know that our poll officials will continue to be the vanguard of our rights to suffrage and will do everything to maintain the integrity of the commission,” he said.

Meanwhile, supporters of the governor said that “now that the recall issue is doomed, the people of Bulacan are crying for justice and want the national government to hold liable the people behind it not only for bastardizing the sanctity of signatures, desecrating the memory of the dead but also for wasting government time and money for an exercise that was tainted with fraud, deceit, wanton violation of rights and dirty politics."

What made thousands of Bulakenyos more furious is the surfacing of one of the politicians behind the recall move, who in an earlier television interview, vehemently denied that he was behind it despite the fact the people already knew that he was the one financing because the petitioner is a close relative.

They claimed that the said politician even has the gall to say that the incumbent governor has “manipulated” the outcome of the verification of the signatures in the recall petition.

But Lawyer Pete Principe, counsel of Governor Alvarado, said that the proponents of the recall are the ones who tried to move heaven and earth even to the point of trying to rig the outcome of the verification phase by distributing pre-encoded ruling to the election officers.

“For the record, the petitioner, through her lawyer, was the one who filed an ex-parte motion to terminate the verification proceedings which the acting Comelec chairman granted on March 30, the same day that their lawyers also distributed USBs containing pre-encoded or prepared rulings to the election officers,” he said.

Principe explained that the distribution of the “pre-encoded rulings” in USB were part of the grand design of recall-petitioners to railroad the proceedings when they moved for the termination of the verification process a day earlier than the mandated schedule.

On March 30, the petitioner’s lawyer filed a controversial ‘ex-parte motion’ asking the en banc to set a hearing the following day, March 31, for the termination of the verification process that was on-going from March 23 to April 1.

Principe said that in spite of the fact that there was no notice on the supposed hearing was sent to them nor to the governor, the en banc issued an ‘order’, dated March 31, and signed alone by Comelec acting chairman Christian Lim granting the termination of the verification proceedings a day earlier than the last day on April 1.

“All of these confluence of events and machinations perpetrated by the proponents of the recall initiative are obviously meant to disregard the rules and laws on recall elections pursuant to Comelec Resolution 7505. Obviously, they are in panic because they know that the recall elections they are dreaming about is now doomed,” said Principe, a former president of IBP-Bulacan chapter said.

But their dirty tactics backfired on them because the EOs knew that they will be placed in legal trouble if they let the plan pushed through and instead issued their own honest ruling.

Lawyer Temie Lambino, Comelec regional director, has released the consolidated rulings of election officers in Bulacan showing that 73 percent of the signatures in the petition were forged while 27 percent were valid but are still under protest due to their dubious origin.

Aside from this, Lambino also confirmed that election officers in the province’s 21 towns and three cities have indeed received USBs allegedly containing pre-encoded or prepared ruling from the lawyers of recall petitioner Perlita Mendoza .

Lambino said the Comelec en banc will investigate the matter.

He said that based on the consolidated rulings, the low number of valid signatures-- which is also under protest—was 115,000 short of the required 10 percent threshold in order to comply with the provision of Comelec Resoltion 7505.

Lawyer Julio Nicanor C. Guinto, Malolos City election officer, confirmed that even the names of deceased or dead persons were discovered and mysteriously signed.

Lambino also confirmed that election officers were given USBs allegedly containing pre-encoded rulings but most of them did not use it, saying mere acceptance of it could bring them legal problems because it is highly illegal and unethical.

Bulakenyos whose signatures were forged and their names used without their knowledge have filed criminal charges against the petitioner.

Principe said that this incident warrants a thorough investigation because it does not only set a bad precedent but millions of pesos of government money were wasted in an exercise tainted with fraud, irregularities and mockery of existing laws. (PNA) 
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Bulacan Recall: “Doomed!” -- Alvarado camp 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 9 (PNA)--The controversial recall petition being feverishly pursued by political foes of incumbent Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado is “doomed.”

In a press conference at the provincial Comelec office here, Central Luzon poll director Lawyer Temie Lambino confirmed that based on the rulings of election officers in the province’s 21 towns and 3 cities, it shows that 73 percent of signatures and thumb marks were forged while 27 were valid but are being contested by lawyers of the governor for their alleged dubious origin.

Lambino, however, made it clear that rulings are still appealable to the Comelec en banc.

Both parties will be given ample time to appeal but it appears that the outcome favors that of the respondent (Alvarado) than the petitioner (former provincial administrator Perlita Mendoza)

He said that most of the objections of the Alvarado’s lawyers on the veracity of the signatures were sustained.

In Malolos City, election officer Julio Nicanor C. Guinto confirmed that even the names of deceased or dead persons were discovered and mysteriously signed.

Lambino also confirmed that election officers were given USBs allegedly containing pre-encoded rulings but most of them did not use it, saying mere acceptance of could bring them legal problems because it is highly illegal and unethical.

Lambino said that they are just waiting for the go signal of the Comelec En Banc to start an investigation on the distribution of the USBs which the election officers confirmed were distributed by the lawyers of Mendoza on March 30, a day before acting Comelec Chairman Christian Robert Lim approved an ex-parte motion filed by the petitioner terminating the verification process.

On March 30, Mendoza’s lawyer Atty. Ma Bernadete Serdillo filed a controversial ‘ex-parte motion’ asking the En Banc to set a hearing the following day, March 31, for the termination of the verification process that was on-going from March 23 to April 1.

Lawyer Pete Principe, legal counsel of the governor, said that in spite of the fact that there was no notice on the supposed hearing was sent to them nor to the governor, the En banc issued an ‘Order’, dated March 31, and signed alone by acting Chairman Lim granting the termination of the verification proceedings a day than the last day on April 1.

“All of these confluence of events and machinations perpetrated by the proponents of the recall initiative are obviously meant to disregard the rules and laws on recall elections pursuant Comelec Resolution 7505. Obviously, they are in panic because they know that the recall elections they are dreaming about is now doomed,” said Principe, a former president of IBP-Bulacan chapter, said.

“Petitioner Mendoza and her lawyers are cramming and wants to finish the verification proceedings before the Holy Week break so they can expedite and give Comelec a justification to promptly get the rulings from the 24 election officers and prod the En Banc to immediately set the calendar dates for the recall elections,” Principe said.

With the favorable ruling for the governor, Alvarado’s supporters said that this is a vindication from the massive poisoning” of minds which they claimed is part of a black operations against their hardworking and God-driven leader.

The governor said that this only shows that some politicians will go all out, even bastardizing the names and signatures of the people of Bulacan just to pursue their nefarious ambition.

The governor said that this will not go unpunished and appropriate charges will be filed against the proponents.

“We want everybody to know that the province is governed by law and not by men. Our great province is known as the “cradle of democracy in Asia and Africa” but their move is clearly undemocratic and has also put the electoral process in dire straight,” he said. (PNA) 
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Comelec urged to act on massive 'fraud' hounding Bulacan recall

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 7 (PNA) -- Angry and displeased residents whose signatures were forged in the recall petition against incumbent Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado strongly urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to immediately act on what they said were massive fraud, deceit and violations of laws that have marred the recall proceedings in the province which they claimed was threatening to cast doubts on the conduct of a clean and honest elections in the future.

“The forged signatures, the attempted plot to substitute an honest ruling with pre-encoded rulings and numerous violations of rights to due process are indeed alarming and threatens the very fabric of the integrity of electoral exercise in the Philippines,” a resident from the coastal town of Hagonoy said.

The town's election officer confirmed that out of the 840 signatures that they verified, 809 were forged while 31 were considered valid but were questioned and placed under protest due to their dubious origin.

The forged entries set a trending because they were also discovered in many towns and cities of the provinces even before the verification proceeding was terminated in the afternoon of March 31 by Comelec acting Chairman Christian Robert Lim, according to the restive Bulakenyos.

This developed as lawyers of Alvarado on Tuesday filed an urgent motion requesting the Comelec to issue an en banc resolution for a formal investigation on the alleged distribution of “pre encoded ruling” to every election officers (EOs) in the province’s 21 towns and three cities a day before the prescribed period for the verification of signatures in the recall petition expired.

Earlier, Alvarado’s lawyers also filed an urgent motion requesting the en banc committee to investigate the controversial order issued by the acting Comelec chairman last March 31 granting the ex-parte motion filed by petitioner Perlita Mendoza to terminate the verification of signatures by the election officers at 5:00 p.m. of March 31.

The governor’s lawyers said that they already wrote Comelec regional director Temie P. Lambino, the acting provincial election supervisor of Bulacan, to probe the distribution of USBs containing pre-encoded rulings to the election officers officiating the verification process.

The pre-encoded rulings contained names and prepared rulings for every petitioner’s signature/thumb mark that was objected by the governor’s lawyers and representatives in the verification stage of the recall proceedings.

According to the governor’s legal counsels, Lambino gave his assurance that his office will conduct an investigation on the distribution of the pre-encoded rulings to the Bulacan EOs “upon a formal directive from the Comelec en banc.

The lawyers believe that the en banc committee will not tolerate the alleged nefarious act because it destroys the very essence and foundation of democracy.

Alvarado’s camp also told Comelec commissioners that “a lot of information on the existence of the USBs containing pre-encoded rulings were gathered by members of the media who interviewed election officers that attended a meeting at the Provincial Comelec Office.

The members of the media were informed by the election officers that they received the USBs containing the alleged prepared-rulings from Lawayer Maria Bernadette Sardillo and other lawyers of the petitioner.

It was also learned that some election officers refused to accept the USBs because they considered that the mere acceptance of it was already illegal and unethical.

Some EOs who got hold of the USBs also opted not to use them knowing the legal consequences that they might face if they use it to circumvent the result of the verification of signatures.

Alvarado’s lawyers also said the existence and distribution of the USBs will prove the alleged purpose behind the hasty filing of the motion to terminate the verification stage on March 31, 2015 that was granted by the acting Comelec Chairman, Commissioner Christian Robert Lim.

“It was the grand design of the petitioner through lawyer Maria Bernadette Sardillo to end the verification short of one day and bring into play the USBs containing the pre-encoded rulings of every city and municipality on April 1,2015 or within 24 hour submission of EOs’ rulings. Unfortunately for the petitioner, this brazen plot was uncovered before it was completely executed,” the governor’s lawyer said.

Alvarado’s lawyers believe that the mere existence of the USBs and the information from the Bulacan EOs that they received the USBs will clearly present a case worthy of a formal investigation. (PNA) 
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Bulacan town residents urge Comelec to trash forged recall proceedings - By Emil G. Gamos

HAGONOY, Bulacan, April 5 (PNA) -- Residents of this province, particularly in this coastal town, on Sunday urged officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to act and trash the recall proceedings which they claim has now become a dreaded electoral disease that threatens future poll exercises due to massive deceit and glaring violation of election rules.

The residents went up in arms after the election officer of this town finished the verification of signatures in the recall petition lodged against Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado by the petitioner former provincial administrator Perlita Mendoza.

Lawyer Pete Principe, counsel of the governor, said that the ruling of election officer Gilbert Palagan showed that out of the total 840 signatures verified, it turned out that 809 were forged while 31 were declared valid but are still subject to contention.

Principe said they will question the 31 signatures because residents claimed they were duped into signing a piece of paper that proponents told them were for livelihood programs.

Aside from this, many signatures were discovered to be faked from deceased registered voters.

“There is now this alarming trend that most of the signatures were forged and the names were used without the knowledge of the people ,’ Principe said.

He said that this discovery gave more credence to the admission of an alleged “master forger” known only as “Mr. RC” who came out in the open and admitted that he and seven others were hired by a lady lawyer and paid by a congressman to forge signatures.

The said “Mr. RC” also admitted to local mediamen that they have forged more than 300,000 signatures in a span of three weeks.

Principe said that the recall incident in Bulacan is now turning out to be “clear and present danger” to the electoral exercise in the country posing doubts and integrity of the poll body in conducting honest elections in the future.

"The Bulakenyos are asking why the Comelec allowed and let the recall proceedings go on despite the blatant forgery of signatures of the people in the petition," Principe said.

He also made it clear that the governor is not against the recall process but he is fighting for his right and the rights of Bulakenyos to due process. (PNA) 
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Five faith healers “crucified” in Bulacan - By Emil G. Gamos

PAOMBONG, Bulacan, April 3 (PNA)—At least five faith healers were nailed to a wooden cross at a man-made Golgotha in Barangay Kapitangan here at high noon on Good Friday.

After hanging while nailed to a wooden cross for two minutes, faith healer Jon-Jon Tanael fainted when native actors playing the roles of Roman Centurions pulled out the nails from his hands and feet during the bloody Lenten rituals.

Tanael, who was “crucified” for the 7th consecutive years, was first dragged and whip by native centurions before he was raised to a wooden cross where stainless steel nails were drove to his spread eagled hands and feet before thousands of spectators, composed of local and foreign tourists who flocked and braved the heat of the noon day sun to witness the bloody Holy Week tradition here.

The faith healer was the second to be “crucified” at the man-made Golgotha erected at a rice field here where scores of faith healers and bareback flagellants fulfilled their Holy Week vows.

First to be nailed was Roger Macos of Paombong, then Tanael who was followed by a faith healer known only as “Erick’, then by female faith healer Precy Valencia, then by Michael Katigbak.

Veteran native “centurion’ Edong Caparas, 79, who has nailed scores of penitents for more than 30 years before he retired four years ago, said that most of the penitents who were nailed to the cross every Good Friday claimed they saw visions and heard “divine voices” telling them to fulfill their vows.

Caparas said that the man-made Golgotha in Barangay Kapitangan here has become some sort of a “graduate school” for faith healers.

"Most of those who were nailed here became good faith healers and been able to build chapels where they are doing the healing activities," Caparas said.

He said that among the “fulfilled faith healers” include Amparo Santos, popularly known as “Mother Paring” of Guiguinto, Bulacan.

He said Santos has fulfilled her lenten vow by getting herself nailed to the cross every Good Friday for 15 consecutive years.

She conducts spiritual healing sessions at the St. Joseph Chapel in Barangay Tabe, Guiguinto.

Caparas also mentioned the name of Buboy Dionisio, who also did the bloody ritual of getting nailed to the cross on Good Friday for 16 consecutive years.

Another faith healer whom Caparas remembers only as “Lucy” also fulfilled her Lenten vow by getting crucified for 15 straight years.

Thousands of local and foreign tourists, as well as devotees flocked to the Sto. Cristo chapel here as early as Wednesday where they prayed and queued for the blessed oil that was used to bathe the image of the crucified Christ, the patron saint in Barangay Kapitangan here.

Multitude of people also visit the Grotto Shrine in San Jose del Monte City, the Divine Mercy Shrine in Marilao, the Banal na Bundok in San Miguel and the age-old Lenten traditions like the Pabasa and Senakulo in many parts of Bulacan.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that public assistance centers were established in key areas to assist motorists and the crowds of people visiting the province. (PNA) 
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DPWH partially opens new Calumpit bridge

CALUMPIT, Bulacan, April 1 (PNA)-- The “calvary” of thousands of residents and motorists crossing the river here that links Bulacan to Pampanga and other northern provinces via the Macarthur Highway is partially over.

After two years of long delay, the new Calumpit Bridge along MacArthur Highway in Barangay Gatbuca here was partially opened to traffic on Wednesday morning for light vehicles only.

Engineer Ruel Angeles of the 1st Engineering District of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said the bridge was temporarily opened for light vehicles to ease the flow of traffic this Holy Week.

He said the partial opening of the bridge will be a great “sigh of relief” for motorists due to the exodus of people going to the northern provinces this Holy Week and summer vacation.

He said that although the bridge is not yet 100 percent complete, light vehicles can now pass.

Angeles said the new bridge still needs at least three weeks curing period and will formally be inaugurated before the end of April.

The new Calumpit bridge was scheduled to be completed last April 2014 but construction hitches delayed it, drawing frustrations and inconvenience to residents, students and motorists who have to bear the burden of crossing a makeshift bridge and having to go around the North Luzon Expressway just to reach the other side of the river.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy Alvarado and Calumpit Mayor Jessie de Jesus has time and again called the attention of the national government in the snail-paced work being done at the bridge prompting DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson to instruct the regional DPWH office and its contractor to expedite its completion.

It can be remembered that the DPWH awarded the contract to Wing Ann Construction and Development Corporation after making a nosedive bid of PHP166 million on the proposed PHP210 milion budget for the new bridge.

The construction of the new bridge began in 2013 after Alvarado appealed that the old bridge is no longer safe and could collapse like the Colgante bridge in Apalit, Pampanga.

The bridge links Bulacan to Pampanga and other northern provinces in Central and Northern Luzon. (PNA) 
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'Mother Paring' continues to heal the sick on Holy Week - By Emil G. Gamos

GUIGUINTO, Bulacan, March 31 (PNA) -- Old age has not diminished the strong faith in God of a septuagenarian faith healer here who continues to deliver “messages from Heaven”, 14 years after she stopped getting nailed to a wooden cross which she did for 15 consecutive years since 1986.

Amparo Santos, popularly known as “Mother Paring”, said that even if she has already stopped the bloody Holy Week ritual of re-enacting the Crucifixion of Christ, she still receives messages from Heaven which she shares to the people especially to the sick who comes to her for spiritual healing.

Now 74 years old, Mother Paring is still fulfilling her vows by erecting iron crosses in as many towns as she can so she can let people know that God loves them and is always with them.

“God is always sending me messages especially during those times when I was nailed to the cross every Good Friday. The Lord always tells me to spread the Word and make people repent,” she said during an interview at the St. Joseph Chapel in Barangay Tabe here where scores of people continue to flock for spiritual healing.

She said that she still remembers the first time she encountered God and received her “mission” in life.

Mother Paring said that it was in the summer of 1986, a few months after the bloodless EDSA people power revolt that toppled the Marcos dictatorship, when she went in trance while lying in her bed.

“It was as if I was zapped to a different world. I saw a place where everything is purely immaculate and beautiful and I know that it was Heaven. Then I was brought to a place full of thorns and emptiness which I think is the place called purgatory and a place that was very hot and there were many sad voices crying and screaming which I know was the place called hell,” Mother Paring said.

It was during that time when she was in trance, that she heard the voice of God telling her to get herself crucified every Good Friday and deliver His message while hanging nailed to the cross.

For 15 years, she fulfilled her Holy Week vows, carrying a wooden cross in the sun-baked roads of a farming village leading to the man-made Golgotha in Barangay Kapitangan, Paombong where she was nailed for at least 12 times at high noon every Good Friday.

The remaining three years of her Lenten vow was fulfilled in the hot open fields of Barrio Cutud in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga.

She stopped her “crucifixion” vow in 2000, mainly due to the prodding and wishes of her children, three sons and a daughter.

“She was already old for that and we want her to enjoy her grandchildren,” her only daughter Maricel Santos-Cruz, concurrent provincial information officer of the provincial government of Bulacan, said.

Santos-Cruz said that her mother continues to deliver the messages of the Lord by erecting steel crosses and displaying hundreds of images of Christ the King in many places not only in Bulacan but in other parts of the country as well.

“If she’s not busy fulfilling her vows, she still does faith healing. The St. Joseph Chapel is being swarmed by an average of 30 people a day,” Santos-Cruz added.

This Good Friday, the multitudes flocking to Barangay Kapitangan may no longer witness Mother Paring getting nailed but the faithfuls who once become a part of her devotion will always remember the strong faith that still drives an old woman in fulfilling her vows and spreading the words of God. (PNA) 
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Bulacan bags 'Hall of Fame' title in the Gawad Kalasag awards

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 26 (PNA) -- Bulacan was adjudged on Thursday by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) as the recipient of prestigious Hall of Fame award for being the best PDRRMC for three consecutive years and as the best Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) in the National Gawad Kalasag Search for Excellence in Disaster Risk Management and Humanitarian Assistance Award 2014

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and PDRRM officer Liz Mungcal accepted the plaque of recognition and cash award from the NDRRMC National Selection Council during the “Gawad Kalasag “ awarding ceremony at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Commissioned Officers’ Club in Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City, on Thursday morning.

Alvarado said that it was a great honor for the province to be once again recognized as outstanding DRRMC that continues to give exemplary performance in the implementation of disaster risk reduction management plans and quick response in times of calamities and disasters.

The governor, who is also the PDRRMC chairman, commended Mungcal and her staff at PDRRMO as well as the Bulacan Rescue teams and volunteers that have shown extraordinary courage, heroism, self-sacrifice, and bravery in times of natural and human-made emergencies and disasters.

"Our noble province of Bulacan is blessed because of the dedication of the people who are ready to face dangers only to ensure the safety of the residents in times of calamities and incidents," Alvarado said. ,p>According to the NDRRMC National Selection Committee, Bulacan was chosen as the recipient of the prestigious award because of the province’s systematic incorporation of risk reduction approaches into the implementation of emergency preparedness, response and recovery programs, particularly on its Disaster Risk and Vulnerability Assessment and Operation “Listo” that continues to ensure the safety and resiliency of communities in facing hazardous situations.

Aside from the Bulacan PDRRMC, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Fire and Rescue Team was also the recipient of this year’s Gawad Kalasag for being the best Government Management for Urban Search and Rescue (SAR) category while the Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (DART) Inc., was hailed as third place winner for the Gawad Kalasag for the GEMs Basic SAR category.

The Gawad KALASAG, which stands for KAlamidad at Sakuna LAbanan, SAriling Galing ang Kaligtasan, is an annual search for excellence in disaster risk management and humanitarian assistance given to individuals, non-government organizations, private sector and government organizations, in recognition of their initiative in helping the government in uplifting the standard of disaster management in the country. (PNA) 
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Tarlac Provincial Intelligence Branch ranks No .1 in PNP's UPER 4th Quarter CY 2014

CAMP MACABULOS, Tarlac City, March 25 (PNA) -- The Provincial Intelligence Branch of the Tarlac Provincial Police Office (TPPO) ranked no. 1 in the Unit Performance Evaluation Rating (UPER) during the last quarter of 2014, based on the result released by the Regional Intelligence Division.

Senior Supt. Alex B. Sintin, provincial director of Tarlac PNP, cited the good performance of the PIB Tarlac by awarding them plaque of commendation in a simple rite held Tuesday here as witnessed by various groups such as the Tarlac Citizen Eyewatch, an anti-crime organization based in this province.

The UPER have segregated their evaluation rating into five categories namely, intel-admin (11 points); intel-reseach (38 points); counter-intel (49 points), intel-operation (45 points) and foreign liaison (6 points) for a a total of 155 points.

Bulacan came in second ranking, followed by Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Olongapo City, Angeles City, Zambales, Aurora, and Bataan.

Meanwhile, the Tarlac PIB was also the champion in the recently-concluded basketball tournament.

"For the first time, we are the champion in the basketball tournament, Supt. Miguel Guzman, chief of the Tarlac PIB, said.

After the awarding ceremony, Guzman invited Sintin for a simple ribbon cutting ceremony of their newly renovated office. (PNA) 
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Election officers in Bulacan feel like soldiers sent to war without weapons, bullets

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 23 (PNA) --The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is now receiving heavy bombardment not only from thousands of dismayed Bulakenyos whose signatures were forged in the recall petition against incumbent Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado but also from their own election officers who claimed they found themselves into a deep mess after being ordered to proceed to the verification phase of the proceedings.

In an unexpected twist, at least 19 elections officers from the province’s 21 towns and three cities on Monday signed a sentiment letter to the Comelec En Banc to air their predicament on the controversial recall proceedings which they claimed has caused them to be physically , mentally and emotionally drained while doing their duties and responsibilities in an exercise that even them do not know where it is heading.

The election officers has been facing dilemma since the Office of the Deputy Executive Director for Operations ordered them to proceed with the verification process last Wednesday even if there was already an existing temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by Bulacan Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 83 Judge Gregorio P. Agloro ordering them to refrain from further conducting the recall proceedings.

The said election officers, together with their verifiers and the acting Provincial Election Supervisor, were given five days by Judge Agloro to explain why they should not be held for indirect contempt of court for disobeying a lawful court order.

The 19 election officers led by Malolos City election officer lawyer Julio Nicanor C. Guinto wrote the Comelec commissioners that “we are caught not only in the middle of the legal tussle between two warring political camps but also in the crossfire as we face several lawsuits that are criminal in nature, threats of facing several more charges from both camps as well as verbal and other kinds of harassment.”

Guinto and his colleagues also stated that “when we started this verification exercise, we felt like soldiers being sent into combat without arms and bullets.”

“Imagine being asked to look for accommodation of our augmentation verifiers and checkers without any guidelines and budget. Imagine being asked to proceed with the verification process without being supplied the forms prescribed by Comelec Resolution No. 7505. Imagine being asked to proceed with the verification process without being properly trained. Imagine being dragged into court and face charges of indirect contempt while our generals still command us to attack without making moves to neutralize the heavy bombardment pounding the foot soldiers.,” Guinto said as he read the sentiment letter to the media at the Office of the Provincial election Supervisor here on Monday morning.

The election officers also disclosed that while they will dutifully do their duties, they feel that in the present situation that they are in, they are being unnecessarily exposed to risk and charges, not to mention subtle threats to their lives and liberty, while they do they mandated task --which to their minds and as shown by a precedent—might later on be rendered useless if the Commission would decide to discontinue the recall process as was done in Resolution No. 9374 dated March 7, 2012, when the Comelec resolved to discontinue actions on all petitions for recall.

Guinto and his fellow election officers also informed the Comelec En Banc that there are only 48 days left from March 23, 2015 to May 8, 2015 which latter date is the last date when the recall election can be held under the law.

"The verification process has still to be concluded. Is there enough time to prepare for the recall election? Is there enough time for the printing of the election ballots including the prior bidding process thereof? Is there enough time to organize and train the Board of Election Inspectors,?” Guinto said.

Central Luzon regional election supervisor lawyer Temie Lambino, said he respects the sentiments of the Bulacan election oficers but reiterated that his order was to continue with the recall proceedings.

Lambino also explained that all complaints from aggrieved parties will be noted and acted upon.

He also stressed that all the 380,000 signatures will be verified.

“It’s a tedious process but we were ordered to do our jobs,” he said.

This developed as pockets of uprisings by people who claimed their names were used without their permission and their signatures forged in the recall petition were noted in several areas in Bulacan.

Lawyer Pete Principe, legal counsel of Governor Alvarado, said the people felt aggrieved because they cannot stomach why the Comelec are still pursuing the recall proceedings even if it is already very clear that the names of the petitioners were massively forged and falsified.

The angry crowd, most of them carrying placards, said that the integrity of the election body is being compromised by the vested interests of dirty politicians who will use the color of money just to sow discord and divisiveness in their province.

"This is alarming. The blatant act forgery by the petitioners is being forced to continue by the Comelec. The Comelec should be the one protecting the rights of every Filipino voter, " a registered voter from Malolos City whose name and that of his mother were found to have been forged, said. (PNA) 
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Massive forging of signatures uncovered in verification phase of Bulacan recall

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 20 (PNA)--As election officers in some towns and cities of this province face possible contempt of court for defying the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by a Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge here, massive cases of forgery and falsification of signatures in the petition for recall against the incumbent governor were uncovered since Wednesday, the day the Commision on Elections (Comelec) gave the go signal for the verification phase of the recall to start vis-a-vis the presence of the TRO.

This developed as Comelec regional director Lawyer Temie Lambino said that the election officers who proceeded with the verification are now facing indirect contempt charges and are scheduled to appear at the sala of Bulacan RTC Branch 83 Judge Gregorio P. Agloro and explain why they should not be held in contempt for defying the TRO restraining the Provincial Election Supervisor (PES) and election officers from further conducting proceedings on the recall process.

Lambino took the position of erstwhile acting PES Lawyer Jerbee Anthony Cortez Thursday and told local newsmen that “no one would like to take this post (PES) that’s why I was made to take over on a concurrent basis.”

As the verification of signatures started on Wednesday, even Comelec verifiers noted cases of massive forgeries which give credence to earlier complaints of residents that their names were arbitrarily used without their knowledge and permission and worse their signatures were also forged in what they claim is a “grand scheme” of its proponents in a bid to deciet Comelec officials and the people of Bulacan.

A verifier who hails from Nueva Ecija even sent text messages to members of the Bulacan Press Club reporting that, “Even the verification proceeding will push through, the recall will not be conducted due to many forged signatures."

The same verifier also said that other verifiers in other towns and cities also discovered massive forging of signatures.

On Wednesday, election officers in several towns proceeded with the verification of signatures despite a court order issued Tuesday by Judge Agloro making it clear that “the TRO covers acts, participation, directly or indirectly, as well as the direction and orders, verbally or in writing, emanating from the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor.

The court order further stated that “it is the considered opinion of the court that the actions of the election officers of different cities and municipalities of Bulacan which are intended in furthernance of the recall proceedings of herein plaintiff, under the direction of the PES are covered by the TRO issued by this court.”

Judge Agloro also clarified that “it is the considered opinion of the court the cause of action of the plaintiff (Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado) is the violation of his right to due process considering that the plaintiff is not questioning in this particular case the exercise of the COMELEC in enforcing and administering election laws and regulations.

He also said that the plaintiff is only seeking the intervention of the court to restrain the PES from proceeding with the verification stage of the signatures of the petitioners in a petition for recall because allegedly there was violation in the enforcement and administration of the procedural aspect in the petition for recall which is tantamount to a violation of his right to due process.

Before the PES and election officers defied the court TRO and proceeded with the verification phase, hundreds of thousands of registered voters have already complained that they were not aware that their names have been used in the recall petition.

At least 20 cases of forgery, fallsification of public documents and perjury have already been filed at the Bulacan Provincial Prosecutors Office in connection with the massive forging of signatures in the petition for recall initiated by a former provincial administrator.

Most of the complainants want the petitioner to be jailed for using their names without their permission and falsification of their signatures.

The widespread incidents of forgery has also prompted a man who earlier claimed to be the “master forger’ and one of the seven forgers hired by a lady lawyer and paid by a congressman to falsify signatures that were mostly culled from voter’s lists and through fraudelent and decietful methods. to go into hiding for fear of his life.

He told some members of the local media that he has been recieving death threats since he divulged the task they were paid to do.

The said “master forger” have earlier admitted to authorities that they even forged signatures of the deceased and those who are in abroad. (PNA) 
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Thousands of Bulakenyos set to file class suit vs petitioner of recall move

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 11 (PNA) -— A new twist cropped up on the court-stopped recall process in this province as thousands of Bulakenyos, whose names were used without their knowledge and their signatures forged in the recall petition against incumbent Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, are set to file criminal charges against its proponents led by a former provincial administrator at the capitol.

This developed as the Bulacan police confirmed that thousands of registered voters whose signatures were forged have already been blottered and complained that their names were used and that their signatures were falsified with many claiming that they do not even know that there was a recall move against the top provincial executive.

“My mother and I were surprised when we saw our signatures in the recall move against the governor. In the first place, we do not know anything about this recall and we are not losing trust with the effective and efficient supervision and management of our industrious governor," Ron Gatchalian of Malolos City said.

Thousands of registered voters aired similar grievances with many claiming that even their dead relatives were also included in the purported lists of people allegedly supporting the recall move initiated and filed by the said former provincial administrator.

Police and village officials also said that the mystery of the forged voters’ signature in the petition for recall emerged following the numerous complaints from residents.

The claims of the registered voters whose signatures were falsified was bolstered after a man, who claimed to have principal participation in the massive and systematic forgeries, surfaced and admitted to authorities that he was paid to “doctor” the signatures of thousands of Bulakenyos.

The man, who was only identified as certain “Mr. R” , also revealed that he was among the seven forgers hired to forge the signatures culled from the voters lists from selected villages in the province’s 21 towns and 3 cities.

The self-claimed “master forger” also sought protection and his admission is expected to include also the disclosure of his other cohorts.

Sources also revealed that most of those who signed were duped into believing that if they signed their names they will be given goodies and other benefits from the government.

They also averred that “complainants can easily translate into thousands, and will even be hundreds of thousands-except for all those who were already dead who obviously can no longer come-out and file a complaint that they too were also included as among the signatories in the recall petition.

The issue on the massive forgeries spreads like wildfire and is now the talk of the town and in the cities—be it in the market place, barber shops, village fiestas, during wakes of the dead, and other gatherings.

Political observers also pointed out that “such developments also lead to the question of who stand to benefit from the clear deception now made apparent and indeed considerable.”

They also said that the petitioner in the said recall proceeding has a lot of explaining to do and will certainly be in trouble, not only because of the obvious thousands of signatures forged where victims who are indeed duped, aggrieved, deceived and even insulted registered voters in Bulacan are complaining but also by a presumption in the law that states—“he who benefits from the falsification is deemed the falsifier.”

Last Friday, Bulacan RTC Branch 83 Judge Guillermo P. Agloro issued a temporary restraining order enjoining Provincial Election Supervisor lawyer Jerbee Anthony Cortez from conducting further proceedings in connection with the recall.

The hearing of the case proceeded Friday morning on the “prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO)” where the governor was represented by legal counsels --lawyers Wendel Dimaculangan and Yasser Lumbos.

In his order, Judge Agloro stated that “it appears that the prayer for the issuance of a TRO is anchored on the alleged violation of the plaintiff’s (Gov. Alvarado) right to due process in accordance with the rules.”

The plaintiff’s counsel sought the TRO also on the ground that the provisions of the rules regarding the publication and posting of the said rule was violated.

The court also set the hearing for the application of “writ of preliminary injunction” on March 12, 2015 at 10 a.m. (PNA) 
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Bulacan RTC judge temporarily stops recall proceedings vs. Gov. Alvarado - By:Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 7 (PNA)--A Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge has temporarily stopped the office of the Provincial Election Supervisor (PES) from conducting further proceedings on the recall petition filed against incumbent Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado to protect the latter’s right to due process of the law.

Bulacan RTC Branch 83 Judge Guillermo P. Agloro issued Friday a temporary restraining order enjoining provincial election supervisor Lawyer Jerbee Anthony Cortez from conducting further proceedings in connection with the recall proceedings against -Alvarado, the plaintiff in civil case No. 100-M-2015.

The hearing of the case proceeded Friday morning on the “prayer for the issuance of a TRO” where the incumbent governor was represented by legal counsels-- lawyers Wendel Dimaculangan and Yasser Lumbos.

Judge Agloro, in his order, said that “it appears that the prayer for the issuance of a TRO is anchored on the alleged violation of the plaintiff’s (Gov. Alvarado) right to due process in accordance with the rules.”

Alvarado’s counsel Dimaculangan said that the plaintiff was asking the court for the issuance of a TRO to enjoin the defendant (provincial election supervisor Cortez) from conducting the setting for the verification of the signatures and thumbmarks of the supporting petitioners for the recall petition filed against the governor on the ground that the provisions of the rules regarding the publication and posting of the said rule was violated.

Dimaculangan also said that the office of the defendant failed to comply with the publication and posting as provided under Sec. 14 of COMELEC Resolution No. 7505.

Under such rule, the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor of Bulacan is required to publish the petition, including the pages containing the names , addresses and signatures of the supporting petitioners, once a week for three consecutive weeks in a national newspaper and a local newspaper of general circulation and that from the publication of the petition in a national newspaper of general circulation .

According to the resolution, the provincial election supervisor, at the expenses of the petitioner, caused the publication of the petition in the newspaper of general circulation in the province of Bulacan.

However, the court said that in this case, “the publication of the petition, purportedly in Daily Tribune (national newspaper) and Rekta ( for the local newspaper) were not caused by the provincial election supervisor, but by the petitioner in the petition for recall election, former Provincial Administrator Perlita Mendoza.

The court also said that the said allegation was supported by the admission of the predecessor of provincial election supervisor --Lawyer Elmo Duque—that the publication was “at the instance of the petitioner for the recall election.

Agloro also stated in his order that “likewise, even assuming that the publication was caused by the provincial election supervisor, nevertheless, the publication in the supposed newspaper in the locality was violated as per certification from the Ofice of the Clerk of Court, saying that “Rekta” is not an accredited newspaper of general circulation in Bulacan.”

The Bulacan RTC Judge also pointed out that “without necessarily passing upon the merits of an important relief as it appears that great and irreparable injury will result to the plaintiff before the matter could be heard on notice if the defendant be not restrained.”

In the meantime, the court also set the hearing for the application of “writ of preliminary Injuction” on March 12, 2015 at 10 .a.m.

Meanwhile, supporters of Alvarado said the issuance of TRO was a vindication from the smear tactics being implied against the top provincial executive by his political rivals.

They claimed that if the basis of the recall petition was due to alleged lack of trust and confidence how come that the province of Bulacan, through the leadership of Alvarado is being showered with major awards and recognition, that include the “Seal of Sound Financial Management and Seal of Good Housekeeping on Transparency and Accountabilty” given by the Department of Interior and Local Government.

They said that major awards showed that the provincial government was being recognized for its no-nonsense and effective management of salient programs compliant to the full disclosure and transparency policy on local government units by the DILG.

They also disclosed that for the third consecutive year, Bulacan was also adjudged as among the 10 outstanding provinces which is set to receive the Agri-Pinoy Rice Achievers Award on March 26.

“This recall petition is just part of a sinister plot aimed to harass and besmirch the good reputation, performance and sterling leadership of the incumbent governor of Bulacan, who also got the full trust and confidence of no less than President Benigno S. Aquino III when the latter appointed him as chairman of the Regional Development Council in Central Luzon, the chief executive’s home region, last year,” a supporter of the governor said. (PNA) 
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Bulacan kicks off Fire Prevention Month celebration

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 3 (PNA) -- The provincial government of Bulacan, through the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), has lined up various activities for the celebration of the Fire Prevention Month.

The month-long celebration kicked off Monday with a motorcade and a short program at the provincial capitol gymnasium here.

With the theme “Kaligtasan sa Sunog: Alamin, Gawin, at Isabuhay Natin!, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said this year’s celebration aims to increase the awareness and preparedness of Bulakenyos with regard to fire prevention.

The PDRRMO has distributed disaster preparedness flyer entitled “Mga Payo ng Pangkaligtasan -- Pag-iingat sa Sunog.”

“Follow those simple tips and pass it on to your friends and family that would potentially saved everyone’s life, make this fire prevention month count,” Alvarado said.

Meanwhile, six municipalities that include Bocaue, Pandi, Paombong, Obando, San Ildefonso and San Rafael received rescue tools and equipment from the provincial government through the proceeds of the “Ang Bote Mo, Kaligtasan Ko!” project.

Each municipality received one throw can, six life vests, one throw bag, one padded splint, one trauma kit and one spine board.

Alvarado also distributed emergency kits to 100 capitol employees while 40 employees won life vests, 14 throw bags and 14 rescue or throw cans.

Felicisima Mungcal, PDRRMO head, said the activities for the fire prevention month include fire safety inspection on March 4 at the provincial capitol building and in government offices and private establishments; coordination and ocular inspection on March 5; fire talk and fire drill orientation on March 6.

Fire drill will also be conducted at the Bulacan Polytechnic College on March 11 and a bloodletting drive in Guiguinto, Bulacan on March 18.

Other activities include meetings of the PDRRMC and capitol fire marshalls, provincial convergence on LISTO, fire suppression and first aid and basic life support-cardiopulmonary resuscitation training in Pandi town. (PNA) 
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Four kids die in Bulacan fire

MARILAO, Bulacan, Feb 28 (PNA) -- Four children, including a four-month-old boy, died after they were trapped inside a rented house in Barangay Sta, Rosa II that was gutted by a big fire Friday night.

Police identified the victims as Jerry Anne 4; Ashley Jane, 3; Tisoy, 2; and 4-month-old Jeremy Jr., all surnamed Sotayco.

Police investigators said the four children were left inside the rented house by their parents identified as Jeremy Sotayco and Angie Ferrer when the fire broke out around 8:00 p.m. Friday.

Residents tried to rescue the children but the fire was already big.

The children were rushed to the St. Michael Hospital. Due to severe burns, attending doctors tried to transfer them but the victims perished while being brought to the Philippine General Hospital in Manila.

Firefighters said the fire originated from a candle that was lit due to the brownout Friday in many parts of the province.

Meanwhile, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado reminded Bulacan residents to be extra careful and alert during brownouts with the onset of the Fire Prevention Month this March.

Alvarado also asked residents never to leave lighted candles unattended. (PNA) 
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2 alleged dope dealers killed, 3 suspects in La Union “massacre” fell in Bulacan sting - By Emil G. Gamos

SAN JOSE DEL MONTE CITY, Bulacan, Feb 26 (PNA)--Two alleged drug dealers were killed while three of four suspects in the February 24 “killing spree” in Barangay Capas, Agoo, La Union that resulted in the death of five persons, including a 3 year-old girl, and the wounding of three others, were arrested when a gun battle erupted during a police operation in the boundary Sitio Cariapay, Barangay Dulong Bayan and Barangay Minuyan here early Thursday morning.

Initial police reports showed that combined elements of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office, the San Jose Del Monte City Police Station and the La Union Police Intelligence Division were conducting a manhunt operations against the suspects in the La Union “killing spree” that were reported to be hiding in the area, a place notoriously known as “shabu tiangge’.

Some 250 battle-ready policemen swooped down in the area and after reaching the alleged hideout of the suspects in the La Union “massacre”, they were fired upon prompting the lawmen to return fire.

Since the area was notoriously known for its dope den, it was theorized that armed drug dealers were the ones who triggered the firefight, resulting to the death of two suspects who were not yet identified as of press time.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina, who personally supervised the operation, said that no casualty on the police was reported, adding that the police teams also recovered five high powered firearms, several grams of shabu and assorted dope paraphernalia.

Divina also said that the operation resulted in the arrest of three of four wanted suspects in the bloody killing of five family members and wounding of three others at a roadside in Barangay Capas, La Union last Tuesday (February 24).

Divina identified the arrested suspects as Eduardo Cabuyag Gayo,65, Demetrio Dulatre Gayo,42 and Noel Dulatre Gayo, all of San Nicolas East, Agoo, La Union.

The Bulacan police director said that according to Chief Inspector Artemio Infante, Agoo, La Union police chief, Eduardo Gayo and his sons Demetrio, Noel and one Oscar (still at large) were behind the shooting, hacking and stabbing spree that left victims Reynaldo Refuerzo, 30, his three-year old daughter Mary Anne, Gil Cabilitazan and Zosimo Fontanilla, all residents of Barangay Capas, Agoo, La Union and their cousin Gilberto Cecilio, 41 of Dagupan City died while seriously wounded were Rodel Refuerzo, Gilmar Cabilitazan, and Benjie Tabunia who were all taken to the Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center for treatment.

Police said the fatalities and the injured victims suffered gunshot wounds as well as hack and stab wounds on different parts of their heads and bodies.

Investigation showed that the victims were having a drinking spree along the roadside when the suspects arrived and Demetrio challenged them to a fight.

Suddenly, his son Noel started shooting the victims one by one with a caliber .45 followed by the other suspects who stabbed and hacked the victims repeatedly.

The suspects immediately fled towards a mountainous trail in the area.

Police said the motive of the incident is an old family feud between the suspects and the victims.

Meanwhile, Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado commended the police raiding team for successfully neutralizing armed drug dealers and capturing armed criminals wanted for heinous crimes.

The governor said that criminal gangs and lawless elements are not welcome in Bulacan as he reiterated his directive to Divina to step-up their campaign against criminal syndicates and drug dealers and ensure that the prevailing peaceful climate in the province will not be disturbed.

“Bulacan is now fast becoming as the new frontier of growth and progress and we are creating an environment conducive for business investments to flourish while at the same time also creating an environment not conducive for organized crime and law offenders by intensifying security operations against crime,” Alvarado said.(PNA) 
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Palparan’s camp tries to destroy witness credibility as trial resumes - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb 23, (PNA)--The trial of kidnapping with serious illegal detention case against Ret. Army Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan pushed through on Monday morning with the cross examination of a primary witness that earlier pinpointed the controversial military officer as the one behind the abduction of missing UP students Karen Empeño and Shierlyn Cadapan.

Prosecution witness Raymond Manalo again reiterated his earlier testimony that he saw Palparan three times when he was also brought to a military camp.

Manalo again told the court that he saw the two missing students being tortured and at one time saw them hogtied naked.

The lawyers of Palparan, however, dismissed Manalo’s testimonies as “inconsistent” saying that it was not the latter’s own but a “scripted” piece.

Lawyer Narzal Mallares said that because his client (Palparan) is famous anybody can impersonate him and the witness might have pointed to a wrong guy.

Aside from this, Mallares said that based on their cross examination on Manalo, it only strengthen their claim that the criminal charges filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) against his client is clearly wrong.

Mallares explained that Palparan was still in active duty when the abduction of the two students happened and that the general was only doing his job as a military officer.

On the other hand, prosecution Lawyer Edre Olalia said that Manalo’s testimonies are credible because he saw what took place and was there when it happened.

He said that Manalo’s recollection on what happened was clear and sharp.

Manalo is also the same witness against Palparan’s co-accused Col. Felipe Anotado and M/Sgt. Edgardo Osorio.

At the same time, Olalia said that the security at the court now seems to be like a circus because anti-riot police are only getting more sweat while deployed under the heat of the sun even after the hearing was over and Palparan was already whisked away by a phalanx of heavily armed escorts to his detention in Fort Bonifacio.

“The policemen should be helping in tracking down the criminals,” Olalia said.

No hearing will be conducted in the whole month of March and it will resume on April 6 after the observance of Holy Week. (PNA) 
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Trial of Palparan’s case sizzles - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb.18 (PNA)—Security is expected to be tightened anew on Monday next week as the trial of the kidnapping with serious illegal detention case against retired Army Major General Jovito Palparan began to sizzle following the appearance in court of an alleged eyewitness who pinpointed to the controversial military officer as the one behind the abduction of UP students Karen Empeño at Shierlyn Cadapan.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina said security details have been briefed to secure the premises of Bulacan Regional Trial Court (RTC) due to the intense development concerning the trial of Palparan and three other military officials that stemmed from the missing UP students.

Last Monday, firetrucks were used as barricade to prevent both militant groups and pro-Palparan supporters from getting near the Bulacan RTC.

The court has scheduled the next hearing this coming Monday.

“We wanted the safety of everyone and we want the case to push through without any untoward incident,” Divina said, adding that aside from the security details of Palparan from his detention cell in Fort Bonificaio, the Bulacan police is also deploying anti-riot policemen and members of the Bulacan PNP-Special Weapons and Tacticts Unit.

Wearing Kevlar helmet and bullet-proof vest and surrounded by heavily armed security personnel, Palparan arrived last Monday at the sala of Bulacan RTC Branch 14 Judge Teodora Gonzales, together with his co-accused Lt.Col. Felipe Anotado and M/Sgt. Edgardo Osorio.

During last Monday’s hearing, prosecution eyewitness Raymond Manalo testified that he saw Palparan three times and was just lucky enough that he escaped.

He however, did not elaborate how he escaped.

Manalo claimed that he saw the two missing UP students being tortured while tied naked.

Palparan’s lawyer Narzal Mallares just shrugged off the testimony of Manalo, saying that everybody knew his client because he is popular.

He said that the accusers’ must prove their claims during cross examination.

Meanwhile, members of militant groups expressed belief that the two missing UP students are still alive.

As Palparan was being whisked away for his return journey to Fort Bonifacio after the hearing, some of the militant protesters were shouting “Executioner, release the students whom you abducted." (PNA) 
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Bulacan keeps tight watch on dengue cases

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 13 (PNA) -- The provincial government, through the Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO), is continuously monitoring the cases of dengue in the province.

Based on the latest report from the Provincial Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (PESU), there are already 212 cases since January 2015 up to present in the whole province.

PESU records also showed that from the 21 municipalities and three cities of Bulacan, San Jose del Monte has the highest number of dengue cases with 23, followed by Hagonoy with 22, and Meycauayan and Hagonoy, both with 20 reported cases.

"What is good about this, our rural health units, barangay health emergency response team and dengue school watch team are actively reporting which make us immediately know the situation in the ground level," Dr. Jocelyn Gomez, head of the PPHO, said.

Gomez also encouraged the public to support the 4-S against dengue campaign: search and destroy; seek early consultation; self-protective measures and say no to indiscriminate fogging.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, for his part, has urged Bulakenyos to keep their surroundings clean in order to prevent the spread of dengue and other diseases.

"There is no other best way to prevent the spread of dengue except for having clean environment because if there is no breeding place for mosquitoes, there is no chance for dengue to spread," Alvarado added. (PNA) 
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Bulacan poll supervisor returns recall resolution to Comelec en banc; says rallyists "barking at the wrong tree" - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb 10 (PNA) -- A classic case of “barking at the wrong tree”?

Does the handful of rallyists identified with a Bulacan politician know what they were doing when they stormed the provincial Commission on Elections (Comelec) office Monday morning?

These questions cropped up after Bulacan Provincial Elections supervisor lawyer Elmo Duque clarified that he returned a “technically defective” resolution to the poll body’s en banc committee for immediate review.

A group of rallyists reportedly headed by former provincial administrator Perly Mendoza stormed the Bulacan Comelec office questioning why Duque did not serve a poll body’s resolution certifying the “sufficiency” of the petition for recall filed against Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado.

The resolution which carries a questionable signature of Bartolome J. Sinocruz Jr., the Deputy Executive Director for Operations of Comelec, directed Duque--being the provincial election supervisor in Bulacan, “to serve copies of Minute Resolution No. 14-0380 dated June 3, 2014.

The Resolution and Summary of Votes both dated January 30,2015 with separate concurring opinion of Commissioner Lucenito N. Tagle and dissenting opinions of Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr and Commissioner Christian Robert S. Lim to the petitioner and to Gov. Alvarado. A copy of the petition shall likewise be served upon Gov. Alvarado.”

Duque said that the signature was not personally signed by the Deputy Executive Director for Operations (DEDO), whom sources said has been in hospital for a week now.

“I just cannot serve it because of the technical flaw (signature). If the signature of the DEDO is authenticated, I will served it right then and there. However, there is something wrong and need to correct it, that's why we returned it to Comelec En Banc for review and immediate action,” he said.

Duque explained that he will be courting charges if he served a “technically defective” resolution.

"I also want to clarify that we are not leaning to any politicians here. I am just following the proper procedure which is in accordance with the law," he added.

He said that he is still awaiting the decision of the en banc.

Some personnel at the Bulacan Comelec Office just scratched their heads when the handful of rallyists led by Mendoza staged a rally in front of their office Monday morning.

“They are barking at the wrong tree. Our chief is just following what is right. I do not know but I guess they just want to attract media attention,” a Bulacan Comelec staff said.

Political observers, however, see it as part of an alleged “demolition job” being waged against Governor Alvarado by his political rivals.

A civic group, the Kapatirang Magkakapitbahay para sa Tuwid na Daan (KASAMAKA) has also earlier deplored what they claimed as “desperate acts of a desperate politician” whom, they said are once again behind the smear campaign being waged against the leadership and performance of Alvarado.

Rene del Rosario of KASAMAKA said he and his group are echoing the sentiments of many Bulakenyos who were once again shocked by the never ending dirty politicking of Alvarado’s political rivals, whom they claimed has once again used a dummy in filing baseless and unfounded cases against the governor at the Office of the Ombudsman. (PNA) 
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Slain PNP-SAF commando from Bulacan laid to rest - By Emil G. Gamos

SAN JOSE DEL MONTE CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 5 (PNA) -- Hundreds of Bulakenyos braved the heat of the noon day sun as they witnessed the final journey of a modern day Bulakenyo warrior who gave his life so that others will be safe and free from the threat of terror.

A huge crowd wept as they paid tribute and final respect to a fallen warrior-- PO3 Junrel Narvas Kibete, a native of Meycauayan City who was among the brave 44 Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) troopers who were killed in action during a fierce firefight with heavily armed members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January 25.

Kibete was among the highly trained PNP-SAF commandos who were sent to arrest high value target Zulkilfi Bin Hir alias Marwan and local terrorist Basit Usman.

Although outnumbered in an unfamiliar terrain, the PNP-SAF troopers were able to kill Marwan, according to confirmed reports.

“Their efforts and ultimate sacrifice were not in vain. They have neutralized one of the most wanted terror- bombers in the world,” said Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina who led Bulacan policemen in giving Kibete a heroe's funeral rite complete with 21- gun salute befitting a fallen trooper who “died with his boots on."

Divina said that before Kibete was killed in action in the Mamasapano operation, the Bulakenyo SAF commando has also figured in many fierce skirmishes defending the interest of the state, including the siege of Zamboanga City by MILF rebels.

"To the children, wife, siblings and relatives of Junrel, we, at the PNP, admire the bravery he has demonstrated. We indeed admire him and recognize his dedication to the call of duty – to serve a warrant of arrest against a most wanted terrorist in South East Asia who was then hiding in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, and for which, he sacrificed even his life for the accomplishment of the mission, a task came from the court.

In the sudden and violent death of Junrel, let our and your comfort be – that we have a God who is ever present with us in every place – be it East, West, North or South, in all situations and conditions of our lives. There is never a circumstance or a place where God’s presence is away from us,” Divina said in his farewell message to the fallen PNP-SAF trooper from Bulacan.

Divina also said that Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas also joined the hundreds of Bulakenyo who paid their last respect to Kibete.

He said that the DILG Secretary and the high command has explicit instruction to him to render the best and all possible assistance to the bereaved family of the Kibete.

Earlier, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the province and the people of Bulacan will forever remember the heroism of Kibete and his fallen SAF comrades.

He said that Kibete belongs to the class of great Bulakenyo warriors and came in the molds of Gen. Gregorio del Pilar, Eusebio Roque (Maestro Sebio), Gen. Isidoro Torres and other true blooded Bulakenyo soldiers who shed blood and tears to gain freedom from foreign colonial rule.

In tribute to their heroism, the Sanguniang Panglalawigan ng Bulacan headed by Vice Governor Daniel Fernando has passed a resolution declaring the “Fallen 44” of the PNP-SAF as “Bayani ng Bayan.” (PNA) 
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Bulacan declares 'Fallen 44' as 'Bayani ng Bayan'

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 4 (PNA) --Great deeds do not go unrecognized in the land of noble heroes.

The Province of Bulacan, the seat of the three republics against Spanish colonial rule where Filipino revolutionaries shed blood sweat and tears for freedom and peace, recognized the heroism of the “Fallen 44” or the 44 members of the PNP-Special Action Force who were killed in a fierce firefight with elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25 and declared them as “Bayani ng Bayan.”

This after Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Wednesday signed a resolution passed by the Sangguniang Panglalawigan officially declaring the 44 PNP-SAF troopers as “Bayani ng Bayan.”

“They were there to uphold the law and they died with their boots on, performing their sworn duty so that there will be peace and order and ensure that the Filipino people will not be threatened by terror and harm,” Alvarado said.

Because of their heroism, Alvarado said that the province and people of Bulacan paid tribute to the “Fallen 44” and expressed esteem condolence to their families and loved ones.

The governor also said that a special tribute will be given to PO3 Junrel Narvas Kibete, a native of Meycauyan City who was among the brave 44 SAF troopers who gave his own life, the ultimate sacrifice, in the call of duty.

Alvarado said that Vice Governor Daniel Fernando authored a resolution wherein the provincial government of Bulacan gives high regard and tribute to the 44 members of the PNP-SAF who were killed in Maguindanao and recognize them as "Bayani ng Bayan" while at the same time, expresses sympathy to the bereaved families.

Fernando said that while it is now a grim and tragic episode in the nation’s history, the SAF troopers showed exemplary patriotism in their willingness to offer their own lives for the sake of many so that they will not become victims of terror-bombings.

"The 44 Fallen SAF will serve as example and inspiration not only to defenders and peace mediators, but also to the fellow Filipinos and to the whole nation because they were being considered as "Bayani ng ating Bayan."

The provincial government and all the Bulakenyos are paying tribute and giving recognition to the honesty, bravery and heroism showed by them. We are all extending our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of our Bayani ng Bayan," Fernando said.

The vice governor said that the heroism of the “Fallen 44” of the PNP-SAF will forever be etched in the history of the province as “Mga Bayani ng Bayan.” (PNA) 
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Ople Day, a special non-working day in Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 1 (PNA) -- It will be a special non- working day in Bulacan on Tuesday (Feb. 3 ) as the province commemorates the 88th birth anniversary of one of its most illustrious son—the late Bulakenyo stateman Gat Blas F. Ople.

To give honor for the selfless, dedicated and sincere service to the country and outstanding contribution in history of the great legislator, statesman and journalist from the coastal town of Hagonoy, the provincial government through Provincial History, Arts, Culture and Tourism Office prepared a tribute program.

Provincial officials headed by Governor Wilhelmino and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando, together with the Ople family will lead the offering of flowers and prayers to the bust of Ople

"Ople who was also known as Ka Blas, an author of the Philippine Labor Code and “Father of Overseas Employment," is one of the noble sons of Bulacan where his leadership and wisdom is appropriately be emulated," Alvarado said.

This will be followed by the guest speaker’s message and some special numbers.

One of the highlights of the second part of the program is the ceremontial signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Bulacan Laban sa Human Trafficking Movement through the effort of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute.

There will be distribution of checks for the beneficiaries of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Livelihood Program and Special Program for Employment of Studies (SPES).

A symposium entitled “Sinimulan ni Ka Blas, Hindi Magwawakas”: Symposium on Gat Blas Ople’s Life, Works and Legacy will also be held at the Nicanor Abelardo Auditorium wherein more or less 100 students and teachers are expected to attend.

A video presentation about Ka Blas and the Blas Ople Center will also be shown wherein his daughter Susan “Toots” Ople, president of Blas F. Ople Policy Center, will be the guest speaker.

A grand daughter of Ka Blas, Estelle Ople-Osorio will deliver a speech for her well loved grandfather. (PNA) 
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President Aquino hails gains of 1st Philippine Republic - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 23 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday said that the blood, sweat and tears as well as the wisdom of Filipino freedom fighters that drenched the sacred grounds of the historic Barasoain Church here more than a century ago continue to put the nation into the international limelight with respect and admiration.

In his message read by Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas at the patio of Barasoain Church here during Friday's commemoration of the 116th anniversary of the First Philippine Republic, the Chief Executive said that the glorious events that transpired in Malolos 116 years ago were proof that Filipinos can stand on their own and write their own destiny among the communities of nations with flying colors.

“Ang Pilipinas ay para sa mga Filipino (The Philippines is for the Filipinos),” Roxas quoted the President as saying in his message.

Roxas represented the Chief Executive as guest of honor in the 116th anniversary rites of the First Philippine Republic.

He said that the collective unity and good behavior of the Filipinos during the recent visit of Pope Francis in the country is a clear indication that Filipinos can unite for a common cause just like what happened in the hallowed grounds of Barasoain Church where Filipino revolutionaries and budding statesmen drafted and ratified the Malolos Constitution that paved the way for the inauguration of the Malolos Republic otherwise known as the First Philippine Republic.

The momentous event gave credence to the declaration of Philippine Independence in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898 by the revolutionary government of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that the momentous event that transpired in Barasoain Church is the “crowning glory” of the freedom-loving Filipinos and that has also regained the old kingdom of the Filipino monarchial Filipino tribes taken away for almost 400 years of Spanish colonial rule.

Alvarado said that the 1st Philippine Republic will always serve as an “amulet” of the Filipino freedom fighter known as Katipuneros that he said still lives in the hearts of modern day Filipino warriors now serving in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and government leaders.

"The first Republic in Malolos will remain as monument of bravery, sacrifice and wisdom of our forefathers and will still be the memorial of independence as a free nation with government and Constitution that paved the way to recognition of the historic Malolos City as the 'Cradle of the First Republic' and the first democratic country in the whole Asia and Africa," he said.

The governor again reiterated his call to make January 23 of every year a national special non-working, saying that Bulacan 1st District Rep. Ma. Victoria R. Sy-Alvarado has filed House Bill No. 5156 to make it a national holiday equal to the commemoration of June 12.

Vice Governor Daniel Fernando, for his part, said that Filipinos are now enjoying the “joy of freedom” because of the First Philippine Republic.”

"We are living independently because of the establishment of the First Republic in the historic Barasoain church, a proof that our free and independence have the blessing of God," Fernando said.

City Mayor Christian Natividad said that even the Chinese have sent a delegation of Lion and Dragon dancers to highlight the historical parade after the anniversary rites at Barasoain church.

Roxas, Alvarado, Fernando, Natividad and City Vice Mayor Gilbert Gatchalian were joined by Central Luzon police regional director Chief Supt. Ronald Santos and National Historical Commission Chairman Dr. Maria Serena L. Diokno in the wreath-laying rites at the foot of the life-sized statue of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, president of the First Philippine Republic. (PNA) 
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(Update) Govt investigators start probe of Guiguinto high-wall tragedy - By Emil G. Gamos

GUIGUINTO, Bulacan, Jan. 20 (PNA)--Different teams of government investigators on Tuesday swooped down at the construction site of a warehouse being constructed here whose high wall collapsed, crushing to death 11 persons and seriously injuring four others Monday afternoon.

A group of product standard team from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) headed by Provincial Director Zorina D. Aldana arrived at the site Tuesday morning and began their own investigation.

Aldana noticed that the steel bars used in the collapsed concrete wall are not strong enough to hold the weight of the concrete wall.

“We would talk to the contractor and the supplier and find the manufacturer of the steel bars,” she said.

Aldana said that her team is also gathering samples of the steel bars used in the collapse wall to determine if they have passed the quality standards set by DTI.

“Contractors and builders should know that steel bars are also passing under the quality control and product standard test of DTI,” she added.

Aldana said that steel bars should have the right weight and strength for it to pass the quality standards set by the DTI.

This developed as Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado instructed provincial engineer Glen Reyes to inspect construction of buildings and see to it that contractors are strictly following the specifications and standards of the National Building Code.

Alvarado gave the order after government engineers noticed that most of the steel bars used in the collapsed concrete wall looks substandard in quality.

At least 11 persons died after the high wall of the warehouse building collapsed crushing the makeshift barracks and canteen where workers were having a refreshment break at around 3:30 p.m. Monday.

Nine of the victims, one of them a seven year old boy, died on the spot after the concrete wall collapsed pinning them to death.

The two other fatalities were declared dead on arrival at the nearest hospital after emergency rescue teams managed to retrieved them under the rubbles of the collapsed wall.

In a report to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), Bulacan police director identified the fatalities as Edmund Bernabe, Jonathan Sagayap, Cinto Nayanga, Rodolfo Nayanga, Jerald Nayanga, Joseph Bellones, Arnel Cardano, Agnes Tan Santos, Arnold Humawan, Nestor Maidon and Dave Avelino (7 years old).

Those injured who are now being treated at the Bulacan Medical Center are Junny Galela, Edmar Bernabe, Marlon Andaya and Randy Buitizon Bucayo.

Alvarado said that somebody is liable for the tragedy.

“We are strictly implementing the national building code in this province. Building contractors should conform and strictly follow the specifications required by the National Building Code of the Philippines and male sure that their structures are strong and safe,” the governor said.

Supt. Ernesto Cruz, Guiguinto police chief, said they are now building-up a case and has already taken sworn statements of witnesses.

He said that investigators theorized that the high wall may have been weakened by the earthquake that jolted Luzon island recently and that heavy rains last Sunday may have also weakened the foundation of the building.

“”We are in the process of gathering evidences so we can establish an air tight case against those who will be found liable for the multiple deaths and other violations of the law,” Cruz said.

He also added that based on background history of the site, the area was formerly a noodles factory where the soil could be soft.

“Since the area is a former noodles factory, the soil might have been piled with husk of palay and ashes which were being used in cooking noodles," he added. (PNA) 
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(Update) 11 confirmed dead, 4 hurt in a collapsed warehouse in Bulacan

GUIGUINTO, Bulacan, Jan. 20 (PNA) --Eleven persons, mostly construction workers, were confirmed dead and four others were hurt when a wall of a warehouse building being constructed in Barangay Ilang-ilang here collapsed Monday afternoon.

Senior Superintendent Ferdinand Divina, Bulacan Police provincial director, said the identities of the casualties that include a pregnant woman, and those injured are still being verified.

Divina said that they have yet to determine the real cause of the collapse of the warehouse building.

Initial reports said that the incident took place at around 3:30 p.m. in a warehouse building owned by a certain Dante Chua.

Meanwhile, Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado said the provincial government will conduct a deeper investigation on the incident.

Those responsible will be held accountable, Alvarado said as he, together with the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, was conducting a rescue operation for those trapped in the collapsed wall Monday night.

Initial findings suggest that the steel used for the wall was substandard. (PNA) 
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Special non-working holiday declared in Bulacan for Papal visit

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 15 (PNA)-- In support of the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis, it will be a special non-working holiday in the province on Friday.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the declaration is in accordance to Proclamation 945 which was signed on January 13, 2015 by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr, to give honor and support to the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis in the Philippines on January 15 to 19, 2015.

“I courteously requested Malacañang for the said declaration in view of the aforementioned Papal state visit not only to address the imminent traffic congestion but also to allow the Bulakenyos to participate in the commensurate activities on occasion thereof,” Alvarado said.

During His Apostolic Visit to the Philippines, His Holiness Pope Francis will bring his message of “mercy and compassion” to at least 11 different venues in the province of Leyte and Metro Manila.

Bulacan is the gateway from the north to the National Capital Region and so the provincial government advised all Bulakenyos to stay at home if they are not heading to the venues of the Pope’s visit to avoid heavy traffic congestion.

Alvarado said the 78-year-old Pope Francis is an inspiration to commuters because he is a humble commuter himself. (PNA) 
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Repair of aging Angat Dam urge anew following Luzon quake - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan 11 (PNA) --As government engineers inspected bridges and other infrastructures in the province following the Magnitude 6.0 earthquake that jolted Luzon early Sunday morning, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado once again reiterated his call for the immediate repair and fortification of the aging Angat dam in the mountains of Norzagaray town.

At the same time, Alvarado also called on concerned authorities to make a thorough inspection of the 47 years old rock-filled dam and determined its structural integrity following the latest earthquake that was felt in some areas in this province.

He said that the new owners and operator of the Angat Dam Hydro Electric Power Plant, Korean Water (K Water), should begin at the soonest possible time the repair and rehabilitation of the aging dam which was turned over to them by the Philippine government last Nov. 1, 2014.

Under its contract with the Philippine Government, the K Water should be the ones which should conduct the repair and rehabilitation of Angat dam.

“We are beginning to sound like a broken record but until the aging Angat dam is repaired and strengthened, it will always be like the proverbial “Sword of Damocles” hanging over our heads,” Alvarado said.

Meanwhile, engineers from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) inspected the still under repair Gen. Alejo Santos Bridge that links the towns of Baliwag and Bustos after early Sunday morning quake that jolted Luzon island.

It can be recalled that the said bridge was closed for repair last November 14 after suffering cracks and wear and tear.

Only light vehicles are allowed to pass at present and since there was an earthquake, the DPWH immediately sent a team to inspect its structural integrity.

DPWH engineers said it is still passable to light vehicles but will still conduct a series of inspection on Monday.

The quake’s epicenter is located 13 kilometers southeast of San Antonio, Zambales with a depth of 85 kilometers according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs). (PNA) 
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New modern expressway to usher more growth in Bulacan - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 9 (PNA) -- The “Year of Green Wooden Sheep” seems like bringing more good tidings for the province as a new expressway of growth is in the offing.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Friday announced that the provincial government is working closely with concerned national government agencies for the completion of a new highway that is seen to speed-up growth and development along agricultural towns in the eastern part of Bulacan linking them to booming areas in Central Luzon.

Dubbed as “The Roads to Rapid inclusive Growth”, Alvarado said that the Eastern Bulacan Expressway and New Towns Development Project, which is complimentary to the North Luzon East Expressway, is a comprehensive program designed to facilitate economic boom by providing access to once isolated or difficult-to-reach towns and cities.

He said that the farming towns of San Miguel, San Ildefonso and Rafael, known as the province's “vegetable basket, ” will further be developed as their farm harvests that supplies 60 percent of the vegetable needs of Bulacan and Metro Manila, will have more easy access to bustling metropolis and markets in other parts of Central Luzon.

The proposed expressway is complimentary to the North Luzon Expressway and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway in the north and the Manila-Cavite Expressway and South Luzon Expressway in the south.

The proposed highway will also have a train alignment for future plans.

The other objectives of the project is to have an alternative highway to the now heavily-clogged Maharlika highway that connects Metro Manila passing thru the eastern part of Bulacan to Nueva Ecija, Aurora and northern Luzon provinces.

Alvarado said that the new modern highway project will also boost socioeconomic development in the eastern corridor of Northern Luzon.

At present, Alvarado said that government planners at the provincial capitol have already identified the so called “growth area” where the highway will traverse with linkages to other booming municipalities in the first and second congressional districts as well as the bustling cities of Malolos, Meycauayan and San Jose del Monte.

Based on the proposed alignment route, the project will connect San Jose Del Monte City to the towns of San Rafael, Angat, San Miguel then to Gapan-West Cabanatuan City-Talavera-Llarera-San Jose City and Balaho in the province of Nueva Ecija.

Alvarado also said that the identified “growth areas” in eastern Bulacan will be designed into a “compact town,’ containing a town center, providing employment and services, living spaces, surrounded by well-developed agricultural lands ensuring the sustainability of the community.

He said that this new mega-highway in the eastern growth corridors of Bulacan and other provinces in Central and Northern Luzon will unlock economic potentials and increase economic output.

“It will attract industries that bring employment and livelihood aside from providing access to isolated areas in the said areas,” Alvarado said, adding that the project will also improve and supplement existing infrastructures. (PNA) 
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PRO-3 unseals police personnel's firearms 
By Rea Katherine Mendoza

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Jan. 2 (PNA) --The Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3) on Friday conducted simultaneous inspection and removal of the taped muzzles of the police personnel in the region.

Chief Superintendent Ronald Santos, officer-in-charge of PRO3, led the unsealing of firearms which signified the culmination of the PRO3's "no firing of guns."

The sealing of firearms of policemen in Central Luzon has been annually conducted to ensure that no one will use his guns during the celebration of Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

After the inspection, Santos said that no police personnel in Central Luzon got involved in indiscriminate firing of their issued firearms.

He said that there are two reports of indiscriminate firing in the region but were perpetrated by civilians.

Santos identified the two civilians that fired their guns as Dan Dojillo, a resident of Barangay Sabang, Bataan and Angelo Olaivar, 35, a resident of Barangay Loma de Gato, Marilao, Bulacan.

He said Dojillo was arrested after he fired his .9mm pistol into the air on Dec. 29 at the residence of her sister in Sitio Hilltop, Barangay Sabang while Olaivar was arrested by elements of Criminal Investigation and Detection Field (CIDF) for firing his calibre .40 pistol.

He said there are no casualties reported during the New Year’s celebrations.(PNA) 
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Region 12 cops to file charges vs illegal firecracker traders

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Jan. 2 (PNA) -- Police authorities are set to file charges for violation of the Firecrackers and Pyrotechnics Law against a number of traders in parts of Region 12 who were caught selling illegal or prohibited materials during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Chief Supt. Lester Camba, Region 12 police director, said Friday he instructed all police stations and offices in the region to file the appropriate complaints against the erring traders on Monday, Jan. 5, the first official working day for this year.

Facing charges are owners of firecracker and pyrotechnic stalls, stores and shops as well as individuals who were found selling illegal items during raids or operations conducted by police operatives, he said.

He said traders who had secured business licenses or permits but resorted to selling illegal materials will be dealt with sternly.

“We want to teach them a lesson. Some of these stall owners were able to leave their stalls prior to the raids and evaded arrest,” Camba said.

Camba said local police units are currently finalizing the list of the violators, who will mainly be charged for violation of Republic Act (RA) 7183 or the “Act Regulating the Sale, Manufacture, Distribution and Use of Firecrackers and other Pyrotechnic Devices.”

Under RA 7183, firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices that have more than the allowable explosive content are strictly prohibited.

Among the banned materials are watusi or the “dancing firecracker,” piccolo, super lolo, atomic big triangulo, mother rockets, lolo thunder, pillbox, boga, big Judah’s belt, big bawang, goodbye Philippines, kabasi, five star, pla-pla, OG, giant whistle bomb and unlabeled firecrackers.

The departments of health and of the trade and industry had issued prohibitions regarding the use and sale of the said firecrackers and fireworks.

Camba said they have yet to complete the inventory of the seized illegal firecrackers and pyrotechnics or fireworks during the raids but noted that they were quite significant.

The official said nearly all police stations and offices in the region were able to accomplish successful operations against illegal firecrackers and pyrotechnics in compliance with an earlier directive from the Philippine National Police central office.

He said a series of major operations were specifically launched in parts of North Cotabato and South Cotabato provinces as well as in the cities of Cotabato and General Santos.

Also known as Soccsksargen, Region 12 comprises of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

The South Cotabato Police Provincial Office earlier reported two major operations in the municipalities of Tupi and Polomolok that netted around P125,000 worth of illegal firecrackers and pyrotechnics.

“We concentrated our operations on piccolo, being the number one cause of firecracker injuries in our area,” Camba said.

Citing their assessment, the official said most of the illegal firecrackers that proliferated during the holidays came from areas outside the region and as far as Bulacan in Luzon.

He said majority of the confiscated materials, specifically piccolo, were locally-made or “fake” although they had markings that they were made and imported from China.

He said studies made by personnel from the regional police’s Firearms and Explosives Security Agency Group or FESAG showed that the “fake” piccolo were crudely-made, making them more dangerous to use.(PNA) 
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Six persons hit by stray bullets in Bulacan 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 2 (PNA)--At least six persons were hit by stray bullets at the height of New Year’s Eve celebration while the number of firecracker victims in the province climbs from 13 last Dec. 31 to 102 Thursday afternoon.

Two of the victims, identified as Maria Liberty Andoque and Misael Eguin, both of Barangay Minuyan, San Jose del Monte City, were brought to the Bulacan Medical Center (BMC) after they were hit by stray bullets in the stomach and thigh, respectively.

Andoque told police investigators that she was standing in front of their house when she was hit by a stray bullet in her stomach while Eguin was hit while walking at the height of New Year’s eve celebration causing him to fell on the ground.

Aside from the two victims from San Jose Del Monte City, 28 years old Benjamin Alipio pf Barangay Paltao, Pulilan was also treated at the BMC for gunshot wound due to stray bullet

They are now declared safe by the attending doctors.

The police also reported that a 32-year old Marvelyn Valdez was also hit by stray bullet.

Police later recovered the slug that hit the victim and are now conducting test to determine its origin.

Latest police reports also showed that 16 -year old Charish Amela Habaybay and a certain Rogie Vizcara were also hit by stray bullets from a caliber .45 pistol.

Governor Wilhemino M. Sy-Alvarado ordered Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina to conduct a thorough investigation and check if Bulacan policemen indiscriminately fired their guns during the New Year’s day celebration.

Alvarado also instructed Divina to intensify their campaign against loose firearms in the province.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) reported that the number of firecracker victims rose from 13 to 102 based on hospital data last Thursday.

PDRRM officer Liz Mungcal said that despite this, the number of firecracker victims is still lower compared to previous years. (PNA) 
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Number of firecracker victims in Bulacan relatively low - By: Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan.1 (PNA) -- As assorted types of noisemakers reverberated and the skies over many parts of Bulacan were illuminated with vast array of spectacular fireworks display on New Year’s eve, the number of firecracker related incidents were significantly low compared to previous years, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Office (PDRRMO) reported on Thursday.

As of 2 p.m . Thursday, the PDRMMO said that from December 21 only 13 persons were admitted in different hospitals for treatment of firecracker-related injuries.

Most of the victims were children whose age ranges from four to 15.

Based on PDRMMO data, the number of injuries in 2014 is much lower compared to the 53 victims recorded on January 1, 2013.

“But we are still waiting the latest reports from other towns in cities, The number might still climb due to those picking unexploded firecrackers. But compared to last year’s victims it appears that the number of victims this year is relatively lower,” Raul Agustin, a PDRMMO analyst, said

PDRMM officer Liz Mungcal said that the “Ingat Paputok” and other information campaign of the provincial government headed by Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando has gained grounds as shown by the low number of injuries.

The Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association, Inc. (PPMDAI) said that sales of fireworks and pyrotechnics devices has peaked days after Christmas and up to December 31.

PPMDAI chairman emeritus Engr. Celso C. Cruz said that the police crack down against illegal firecrackers was also instrumental in the lower number of injuries.

He also said that the series of safety seminars conducted by the PPMDAI and the PNP-Civil Security Group in the different parts of the country have also widened safety consciousness among makers and end-users.

He also said that their campaign on the quality and safe production of fireworks are also gaining grounds, with consumers assured of buying branded and quality-safe fireworks and pyrotechnics devices.

Meanwhile, three old houses were gutted by fire in Barangay Balungao, Calumpit town Wednesday afternoon where a septuagenarian man nearly died of suffocation but was saved in the nick of time by neighbors.

The fire started at 11 a.m. and the destroyed houses were owned by Eva Paguia, Jess Paguia and Deogracias Sambilay.

Arson probers are still investigating the origin of the fire and are still determining if it was caused by fireworks or faulty electrical wiring.

No one was hurt except for one of the victim’s dogs that perished in the said fire.(PNA) 
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