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JULY 2016

JUNE 2016

MAY 2016

APRIL 2016

MARCH 2016



Army’s 7ID backs Pres. Duterte-declared truce

FORT RAMON MAGSAYSAY, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija, Dec. 26 (PNA) -- The Philippine Army's 7th Infantry Division which covers 14 provinces in Regions 1, 2 and 3 and two towns in Mt. Province, has expressed support on President Rodrigo Duterte's holiday truce making assurance on Monday that "no arrests will be made for those who will favor the President's invitation."

In a statement, the 7ID said it also opened its camps to all.

1Lt. Catherine Hapin, 7ID public affairs officer, said the command adhered to the decision of President Duterte who encouraged all rebel groups and members to spend the season with their families.

"However, members of the Maute Group and Abu Sayyaf Group as well as terrorists and criminal groups are not included in the ceasefire declared by the President," Hapin noted.

The 7ID maintained, however, that it would continue to be vigilant against criminals.

"The ceasefire will not hold back the 7ID from being vigilant against criminals and terrorist groups who will plan to disrupt the celebration of the holiday season and the declared ceasefire," Hapin said.

She said the command also shared the vision of President Duterte for a permanent ceasefire with the communists and Muslim rebels and the success of the peace negotiations.

Meanwhile, Major General Angelito de Leon, 7ID commander, visited Sunday the line units to impart message to the men and women under his charge.

Among the units visited by De Leon were the 701st Infantry Brigade, 71st Infantry Battalion, 69th Infantry Battalion and the 3rd Infantry Battalion in Mindanao; 56th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Calabuaanan, Baler, Aurora; 703rd Brigade in Barangay Calaanan, Bongabon, Nueva Ecija; 702nd Infantry Battalion in Barangay Lico, San Rafael, Bulacan; and 3rd Mechanized Infantry Battalion in Barangay Burgos, San Jose Tarlac. (PNA) 

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NDRRMC on red alert over 'Nina'

MANILA, Dec. 25 (PNA) -- The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has raised its status to "red alert" as Typhoon "Nina" intensifies further threatening the Bicol Region Sunday.

This was disclosed by NDRRMC executive director Ricardo Jalad in a statement Sunday (Dec. 25 2016).

"Red" alert footing of the entire NDRRMC took place 12 noon with the response clusters, headed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, being activated to ensure close coordination and quick mobilization of assistance for communities that might be affected by the typhoon.

"The NDRRMC is closely monitoring the updates on the typhoon as well as the situation on the ground through the regional and local councils concerned," Jalad added.

Typhoon Nina has intensified further, prompting authorities to raise Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal (TCWS) No. 4 over Catanduanes as of 11 a.m. Sunday, before the typhoon’s landfall in the province on Sunday night.

Nina was last seen 150 km east of Virac, Catanduanes, and is forecast to move west at 15 kph.

It has a maximum sustained winds of up to 185 kph near the center, and gustiness of up to 255 kph.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the estimated rainfall amount is from moderate to heavy within its 500-km diameter of Nina.

Sea travel is risky over the seaboards of Luzon, the state weather bureau added.

Storm surge height of up to 2.5 meters is possible over the coastal areas of Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Albay, Sorsogon and Catanduanes.

PAGASA warned that Nina has increased its threat the Bicol region.

Burias Island, Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur and southern Quezon are currently under TCWS No. 3.

TCWS No. 2, on the other hand, was raised over Masbate, including Ticao Island, Sorsogon, Oriental Mindoro, Batangas, Laguna, rest of Quezon including Polillo, Marinduque, Romblon and northern Samar.

Metro Manila, Rizal, Bataan, Occidental Mindoro including Lubang Island, Nueva Ecija, Aurora, southern Quirino, southern Nueva Vizcaya, Zambales, Pampanga, Bulacan, Tarlac, Cavite, Aklan, Capiz, Samar, Eastern Samar, Biliran, Leyte and Bantayan Island are still under TCWS No. 1. (PNA) 

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Bulacan moves to make pyro industry safer by banning unstable ingredients

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Dec. 22 (PNA) -- The provincial government of Bulacan, through the Provincial Pyrotechnics Regulatory Board (PPRB), in partnership with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), has come up with proposals to make the local fireworks and pyrotechnics industry more safe and at par with international standards.  

Among the proposal is the banning of potassium chlorate, a type of unstable chemical that has a tendency to self ignite when it gets wet or mixed with other chemicals.

"Because Bulacan is the fireworks capital in the country, we are analyzing the cause of accidents and to make sure that it would not happen again. We are instructing the provincial police to make rigid inspection of factories and stores and strictly implement all the provisions of Republic Act 7183 and at the same time, we are asking the stakeholders to police their ranks," Gov. Wilhelimino Sy-Alvarado said.

The governor also said that emergency responders, together with firefighters and ambulances with paramedics, will now be deployed 24/7 along areas where fireworks and pyrotechnics products are being sold in anticipation of the rush of revelers expected to flock to Bocaue, Sta. Maria and Baliwag where big stores are located.

Celso C. Cruz, chairman emeritus of the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association, said that most of the deadly accidents was caused by improper storage and mixture of unstable chemical ingredients.

Cruz said that 90 percent of local manufacturers in the Philippines are still using potassium chlorate which, he said has long been banned in other countries.

He said that local manufacturers are still using the said chemical because it is much cheaper than potassium per chlorate.

The PPMDAI chairman said there are at least five local dealers of chemical ingredients, including the owner of the fireworks store that exploded and killed two people last October in Bocaue town.

It was learned that the blast was triggered when the chemicals got wet and self ignited.

“These unstable ingredient has the tendency to self ignite when mixed with other chemicals or get wet,” he explained, adding that potassium chlorate, locally known as “kolarato”, is the main ingredient in high explosives like dynamite and is preferred by local manufacturers because of its loud bang character.

For his part, DILG Assistant Secretary Ricojudge Echeverri thanked Alvarado for suggesting to ban the use of potassium chlorate, adding that Bulacan should be the role model in making the industry safe.

"This is the first time that a province has opened such issues that could help the industry to be more safe and globally competitive," Echeverri said.

He said that President Rodrigo Duterte is very keen on the health and safety of Filipinos but at the same time is not insensitive to the thousands of Filipinos dependent on the industry.

"So, there must be balance. You will answer to the need and heed the call. If it would not be addressed, there is a possibility of total ban," he added.

Alvarado also said that the provincial government will help local manufacturers in the proper packaging which, according PPMDAI official, is among the safety procedures in the sale of fireworks.  

The governor said they will inspect stores to ensure that they are stocking the allowable volume of fireworks as mandated by law.

He also said that fireworks and pyrotechnics products in Bulacan should have its own “safety standard mark” so that buyers will know that it is quality fireworks and safe to use. (PNA) 

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5 suspects, including 2 minors, nabbed for illegal manufacture of fireworks in Bulacan

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, Dec. 19 (PNA) -- Police continue to intensify their crackdown against illegal manufacturers of firecrackers in this province, dubbed as the “fireworks Capital” of the Philippines.

In its latest operations against clandestine fireworks shops, police arrested five suspects, including two minors, during a surveillance in Barangay Pulong Buhangin, Santa Maria.

Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., identified the arrested suspects as Edwin Del Rosario, 40, caretaker; Rolly Roxas, 32, helper, native of Bocaue Bulacan; Jayr Asi, 26, helper, and the two 15-year old suspects, all residents of Sitio Manggahan, Barangay Pulong Buhangin, Sta. Maria.

Supt. Raniel Valones, acting chief of police of Santa Maria Municipal Police Station, reported that his men arrested the suspects while conducting patrolling and surveillance operation against illegal firecrackers.

Valones said the suspects failed to present any documents pertaining to the manufacturing of fireworks.

Recovered from the suspects were chemicals being used in making fireworks, finished products and other raw materials.

Appropriate criminal complaint is now being prepared for filing against the suspects. (PNA) 

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Two amputees lend their voice for campaign vs firecrackers -By Leonardo V. Micua

DAGUPAN CITY, Dec. 13 (PNA) -- In a soft voice, two amputees shyly appealed to their audience: "'Wag nyo kaming tularan (Don't emulate us)".

Nervous, the two confessed that they continue to regret so much their stubbornness and acts of indiscretion in their younger years. They recalled how one New Year's eve, they tried to salvage firecrackers that did not explode, intending to explode them themselves, but when they did, these suddenly blew up and ripped off their limbs.

Jemmar Llamas, now 36, of Barangay Bonuan Gueset, and Jomari Rosario, now 15, of Barangay Malued, survived the incidents that nearly cost them their lives. They said they have moved on, though they believe that life would have been kinder to them had they not lost one arm each to the firecracker explosion.

At about 8 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2006, Jemmar, then 24, and six cousins greeted the new year by walking along Paras St. in Bonuan Gueset, searching for pyrotechnics that did not explode the previous night.

Jemmar stumbled upon a rare firecracker that seemed to have not exploded. He called his cousins to show them his find but when they gathered around him, the firecracker suddenly exploded, badly injuring them.

All hell broke loose on Paras St. in an instant, with many wailing in pain and their relatives rushing to offer some help.

The victims' relatives were speechless and only one kin, Rod Ibasan, had the presence of mind to call the police and this journalist to cover the carnage. In a few more minutes, ambulances arrived to save the victims.

It was the worst New Year's day bloodbath in Dagupan City yet in memory.

"That was a 'thermal bomb', an imported kind of pyrotechnic," recounted Jemmar during a talk to newsmen during the launch of this year's "Oplan: Iwas Paputok", a yearly project of the Department of Health (DOH) with DOH Undersecretary and concurrently DOH-Ilocos Region director Myrna Cabotaje, and Mayor Belen Fernandez as guests.

At Region 1 Medical Center (R1MC), doctors advised Jemmar's parents that his badly mangled left arm needed to be amputated. His six cousins were luckier as they only sustained minor injuries and were discharged after a few hours.

In the case of Jomari, he was only 12 when his right arm was amputated on Jan. 4, 2014, a few minutes after he and some friends exploded a "Super Lolo" they found in their neighborhood.

He said that with his right arm already bloodied and dangling, he ran home as fast as he could, crying to ask for help from his parents who rushed him to the R1MC.

Both Jemmar and Jomari are just like most victims of firecracker explosions who were injured after picking up unexploded firecrackers.

The "thermal bomb" found by Jemmar was later discovered not to be in the list of firecrackers manufactured in Dagupan, Pangasinan and even in Bocaue, Bulacan and therefore could have been sourced abroad.

"It was probably imported," said Undersecretary Cabotaje, asking the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to look into the imported and dangerous brands of firecrackers that may still be coming into the country.

Cabotaje indicated that the thermal bomb could have entered the country illegally and was acquired probably by a rich scion on Paras St. who left it after it failed to explode.

Ten years after that traumatic incident, Jemmar confessed that he had already adjusted. Using only his right hand, he cooks for an eatery owned by a relative, who pays him at least PHP150 a day.

He used to help fold the newspaper "Sunday Punch" every Saturday afternoon when he had both hands.

Dagupan was where "Oplan: Iwas Paputok" was launched this year because for the past two years, it recorded the highest firecracker-related injuries all over the Ilocos Region. It logged 33 injuries in 2014-2015; and 27 in 2015-2016, based on reports of sentinel hospitals monitored by the DOH.

This is quite alarming, said Mayor Fernandez, who complemented the launch with a "Fun Walk" around the city, during which participants blew horns called "torotot", and banged rice receptacles to call attention for "Oplan: Iwas Paputok".

Jemmar Llamas may have put that nightmare behind him but vows that he will never ever allow the two children he has with wife, Josephine, to explode firecrackers.

Jomari Rosario meanwhile is in Grade VII at the Malued Elementary School. He confessed that he initially had trouble using his left hand for writing and eating since he was right-handed.

His parents, Maritess and Ranillo, even his teachers, however prodded him not to lose hope as they patiently guided him in using his left hand.

Now, he is comfortable with it and is happy to be still alive.

Both Jemmar and Jomari were tapped by Dagupan's local government to speak in various school forums in a bid to discourage students from exploding firecrackers. Instead, they endorse the use of toy horns, trumpets and drums -- makeshift or otherwise -- in creating noise to welcome the New Year, in keeping with the Filipino tradition.

For her part, Mayor Fernandez vowed to adopt the recommendation of the DOH to set up a community fireworks display, calling on the public to refrain from buying firecrackers and pyrotechnics and instead use their money to buy food.

"If you do not buy their products, then the firecracker manufacturers will close shop," she intoned.

Fernandez also created "Task Force Iwas Paputok" composed of representatives of the Department of Education, City Police, Bureau of Fire Protection and City Health Office to ensure compliance to the DOH advocacy for a community fireworks display, instead of the individual use of firecrackers. (PNA) 

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DOLE allows 18 more pyrotechnics, firecrackers shops in Bulacan to continue operations

MANILA, Dec. 13 (PNA) -- The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Tuesday has given the green light to to 18 establishments to continue manufacturing and selling of pyrotechnics and firecrackers in Bulacan following the lifting the Work Stoppage Order (WSO) it issued last month.

DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III lifted the order against the companies after they complied with the Occupational Safety and Health Standards (OSHS) and their family member attended the Safety Awareness Training as required by law.

The following establishments were certified by the DOLE Regional Office No. III to have complied with the law: Big J Fireworks & Pyrotechnics, BJ D'Fire Crackers Trading, EB Eat Bulaga Fireworks, Evelyn Fireworks/Evelyn Pyrotechnics, JBC Fireworks, Jelaizah Fireworks, Rich and Felis Fireworks, Unistar Fireworks, Racine Beatrice Fireworks Store, AFC Fireworks, Eunice Rose Fireworks, Gramce and Grace Fireworks, Jaguar Fireworks, Jesusa P. Cabatuando Fireworks and General Merchandise, JSS Fireworks, Justimax Merchandise, Musang Fireworks and Nenel Fireworks.

The DOLE Regional Office in the said province conducted the assessment from Nov. 29 to Dec. 7, wherein they determined that they have complied with general labor standards, (OSHS) and other pertinent labor laws and rules and regulations.

With the lifting of the WSO on 18 companies, there are only 22 firms left that are being inspected by the DOLE.

On Dec. 8, the agency has lifted the WSO it issued on 48 establishments for being compliant with general labor and occupational safety and health standards.

The DOLE issued a WSO to all establishments engaged in the manufacture and sale of pyrotechnics and firecrackers nationwide last Nov. 24 following the recent explosions which struck fireworks shops in Bulacan that killed five people and injured 30 others. (PNA) 

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Transfer of firecracker vending zone sought in Dagupan

DAGUPAN CITY, Dec. 11 (PNA) -- A task force composed of the Bureau of Fire Protection, Dagupan City Police Station and the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) is recommending the transfer of the present firecracker vending zone in front of West Central Elementary School to a vacant area in Poblacion Oeste here.

The BFP said this is to ensure public safety as the usual vending zone is too small and just along the sidewalk of Burgos Street, which is crowded with vehicles in bumper-to-bumper situation all-day because of heavy traffic.

As of today, no firecracker vendor has applied with the city police for a permit to sell firecrackers in the usual vending area> They are expected to do it a week before Christmas.

However, if they get permit from the police, they will still have go to the BFP that will issue them proper guidelines and certification.

They must also secure temporary business permit from the city government and without it, they can not sell firecrackers.

According to the BFP, the recommendation of the Task Force "Ligtas Paputok" will be submitted to Mayor Belen Fernandez.

Prospective firecracker vendors, however, questioned the recommendation transferring the firecracker vending zone as it is far from buyers but the BFP maintained that the recommended place is only 300 meters away from the present one.

The task force recommended that there should be no firecracker to be sold in any part of the downtown area or the city's crowded central business district and any vendor who may insist to sell will be penalized with his or her permit to sell revoked, aside from facing a case in court.

The BFP said that based on record, only one in Dagupan so far was granted a permit to manufacture firecrackers, admitting that most firecrackers being used by revelers in city come from Bulacan.

At the same time, Provincial Health Officer Anna de Guzman called on the police to check on the practice of some firecracker vendors who sell their stuffs not in the poblacion but in villages where policemen are seldom patrolling.

She said this practice was done by many of the firecracker vendors in previous years which was the reason why firecracker explosions still persisted resulting to injuries and even death to some people, and could be repeated again this year unless this practice is finally put to stop.(PNA) 

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Bulacan fireworks firms' operations back to normal as DOLE lifts work stoppage order  

BOCAUE, Bulacan, Dec. 9 (PNA) -- It’s back to normal operations for at least 48 fireworks manufacturers and dealers in this town and other parts of Bulacan after the Department of Labor and Employment lifted its work  stoppage order Thursday on several stakeholders of the local fireworks industry.

The Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association, Inc. (PPMDAI) said that local manufacturers and dealers have complied with the requirements of the labor department.

However, the long shutdown has affected local stakeholders because their products should have been selling since the last week of November.

Local dealers also expressed apprehensions that the prices of fireworks would skyrocket because the supply will be low and there will be high demands.

"It was stopped when the production was at its peak due to the high demand for the coming Yuletide season,” said Engineer Celso C. Cruz, chairman emeritus of PPMDAI.

Some local manufacturers also aired apprehensions that smuggled firecrackers could flood the local markets due to the low supply.

Last November 24, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued a work stoppage order to all establishments engaged in the manufacture and sale of pyrotechnics and firecrackers nationwide.

The order signed by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III states that "Pursuant to Rule 1012.02 of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards in relation to Article 168 of the Labor Code, as amended and renumbered, and Rule VIII of Department Order No. 131-B, Series of 2016, this Work Stoppage Order is hereby issued for all establishments engaged in the manufacture and sale of pyrotechnics and firecrackers."  

The order was issued after two persons were killed and 24 others were injured when an explosion occurred in a fireworks shop in Barangay Biñang 1st, Bocaue town last October 12. Another blast occured at the AA Fireworks Barangay Pulong Buhangin, Sta. Maria where three persons were killed and six others were injured last November 23.

"In view of the aforementioned accidents and with the projected increase in production during the holidays, this Department is inclined to declare the existence of grave and imminent danger to the health and safety of workers in workplaces involved in the production of pyrotechnics and firecrackers," the order said.

Bello directed the DOLE regional director, the Occupational Safety and Health Center and the Bureau of Working Conditions to assess compliance with the occupational safety and health standards and general labor standards of the establishments.

Last week, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado called a meeting between stakeholders of the industry, the DOLE Regional Office led by Atty. Ana Dione, the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection and other concerned agencies to come up with proposal that aims to make the production, sale and use of fireworks safe.

Alvarado said that the safety and general welfare of the people is of utmost importance but the livelihood of thousands of families dependent on the industry should also be given due consideration.

The governor said that they should convince the President and Congress that the production of quality fireworks and pyrotechnics devices is safe.

He also instructed the Bulacan Police to intensify their crackdown against clandestine shops particularly those engaged in making oversized and killer types of firecrackers. (PNA) 

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PNP: Third suspect in foiled bombing near US embassy arrested - By Perfecto T. Raymundo

MANILA, Dec. 7 (PNA) -- The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday presented to media the third suspect in the attempted bombing near the United States Embassy last Nov. 28.

In a press conference in Camp Crame, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Oscar Albayalde identified the suspect as Mohammad Jumao-as alias “Modie”, an X-ray technician and resident of Sta. Ana, Bulacan.

Albayalde said that Jumao-as’ arrest came after surveillance videos retrieved by the Manila Police District (MPD) showed that he was with Jiaher Guinar and Rayson Kilala alias “Rashid”.

Guinar and Kilala were arrested Wednesday last week for their alleged involvement in the foiled bombing attempt last Nov. 28.

Jumao-as, together with the two previously arrested suspects, were seen wandering in several areas in Luneta Park, Manila and the US Embassy hours before a street sweeper discovered the improvised explosive device (IED) in the early morning of Nov. 28, 2016.

Albayalde said that during Jumao-as’ arrest in Bulacan last Dec. 3, found in his possession were a 1911 Colt .45 caliber pistol and a fragmentation hand grenade, which were placed inside his black shoulder bag.

Jumao-as was charged with violation of Republic Act No. 10591, or the “Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Act”, before the Bulacan provincial prosecutor’s office in Malolos City.

A follow-up probe of the MPD showed that Jumao-as is also a member of the Al-Khalifa in the Philippines (AKP), a group reported to have ties with the Abu Sayyaf Group/Maute/Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Mindanao. (PNA) 

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Ex-cop, 3 other drug pushers killed in Bulacan operations

CAMP GENERAL ALEJO S SANTOS, Bulacan, Dec. 7 (PNA) -- An ex-policeman and three other drug pushers were killed in different police operations conducted by Bulacan PNP Tuesday night and early morning Wednesday.

Acting Provincial Director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., on Wednesday said three were killed in San Miguel town and one in Bustos town.

Caramat identified the four slain suspects as PO2 Marjo A. Sidayen, 41, a former drug enforcer unit (DEU) operative of San Miguel Municipal Police Station who has been absent without leave (AWOL) since October 21, 2016; Michael Q. Taradel; John Albert Apoderado, 28, a resident of Corona Street Barangay Tigpalas, San Miguel; and a certain Jao.

Based on the report of San Miguel Police Station (MPS), he said that an armed encounter ensued upon verification of the report of the ongoing pot session at the residence of Apoderado in Barangay Tigpalas, San Miguel.

Caramat said the suspects opened fire towards the approaching law enforcers that resulted in a brief exchange of gunfire causing the death of Sidayen, Taradel and Apoderado.

Investigation revealed that Sidayen and Taradel were involved in drug pushing and was using the residence of Apoderado in repacking "shabu" (methamphetamine hydrochloride) and as a pot session area.  

Apoderado was also identified in Barangay Tigpalas as a drug user and pusher who refused to surrender in Oplan Tokhang.

Recovered on the crime scene were one caliber 9mm pistol with serial no: 6010164 with magazine and eight live ammunition; three caliber .38 revolvers with three fired cartridges and two rounds of live ammunition; four pieces of heat sealed transparent plastic sachet containing suspected shabu; 24 pieces of transparent plastic sachet containing suspected shabu residue; two fired cartridge cases of M16 rifle; two cartridge cases of caliber .45; one cartridge case of caliber 9mm; and other drugs paraphernalia.

Meanwhile, Chief Inspector Joseph Bernabe reported that an armed encounter ensued in Bustos town during a consummated drug transaction when alias Jao while evading arrest, drew and fired his firearm towards the policemen that prompted the operatives to retaliate, resulting in the suspect's death.

Bernabe said that Jao's unidentified male cohorts managed to escape on board a black motorcycle without plate number heading towards Plaridel town.

Recovered from the crime scene were five pieces plastic sachets containing suspected shabu; one Smith and Wesson caliber .38 revolver snub nose without serial number loaded with three live ammunition; two fired cartridge cases and one black inside holster; three pieces fired cartridge cases of 9mm pistol and a PHP500 buy-bust money. (PNA) 

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DOLE-12 shuts down pyrotechnics factory in South Cotabato town

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Dec. 7 (PNA) -- The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Region 12 has closed down a pyrotechnics factory operating in Banga town in South Cotabato in line with a directive issued by its central office.

Albert Gutib, DOLE-12 acting regional director, said Wednesday the move is mainly in compliance with the work stoppage order issued two weeks ago by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III for all establishments engaged in the manufacture and sale of firecrackers and pyrotechnics.

He said they officially served the work stoppage order on Tuesday to EMG Pyrotechnics Factory based in Barangay San Vicente in Banga.

The enforcement activity was joined by personnel from the Bureau of Fire Protection and the Banga municipal police station, he said.

Gutib said there was no production activity and not a single worker was seen at the factory when the enforcement team came.

He said they still served the order to the factory’s owners and office or administrative employees.

“The work stoppage order will remain in effect, pending the completion of the assessment on its operations,” Gutib said in a press conference.

The official said the assessment will specifically focus on the compliance of EMG to occupational health and safety standards and other labor-related regulations.

He said they will immediately lift the stoppage order should it pass the assessment and inspection.

Gutib said EMG is so far the only existing pyrotechnics manufacturer reported by their field offices.

But he said they are currently coordinating with other agencies in locating other manufacturers.

Secretary Bello issued the work stoppage order in the wake of the series of accidents involving firecrackers and pyrotechnics manufacturers, especially those based in Bulacan province, which already killed five people and injured 30 others.

The order is pursuant to Rule 1012.02 of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards in relation to Article 168 of the Labor Code, as amended, and Rule VIII of Department Order No. 131-B. (PNA) 

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Suspects in planting of improvised bomb near US Embassy arrested

MANILA, Dec. 1 (PNA) -- Two suspects behind the planting of an improvised explosive device along Roxas Boulevard near the US Embassy were arrested Thursday.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa presented the suspects before mediamen at the Philippine National Police Headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City. They were identified as Rayson Kilala Sakdal alias "Rashid" and Jiaher Guinar, members of Ansar Khalifa (AKP).

In two separate operations Wednesday, police arrested Guinar, 30, around 2:35 a.m. in Bagong Silang, Caloocan City and recovered a caliber .45 pistol and a fragmentation grenade from his possession. Sakdal was arrested around 9:30 a.m. in Barangay Bagong Bayan, Bulacan, Bulacan.

Dela Rosa said the two admitted to planting the IED to seek the recognition and monetary support of the Islamic State (IS).

He added that Luneta Park was the initial target of the group but instead transferred the IED near the US Embassy.

Authorities are now hunting down the three other members of the Ansar Khalifa who were with the two suspects in the attempted bombing.

The IED was recovered by authorities inside a trash bin on Monday. It is made of 81 MM mortar and similar to the one used in the bombing of a night market in Davao City last Sept. 2 that claimed the lives 15 persons and injured 70 others.

The suspects are facing charges of conspiracy to commit terrorism. (PNA) 

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PHL under 'terror alert level 3' - By Perfecto T. Raymundo Jr

MANILA, Dec. 1 (PNA) -- Terror alert level 3 was raised nationwide after the arrest of two suspected terrorists allegedly behind the foiled bombing attempt near the United States Embassy in Manila last Monday.

In a press conference in Camp Crame, Quezon City on Thursday, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa said that because of the "full alert status", the public should expect a stricter implementation of security measures, especially on the conduct of "random and mobile checkpoints".

Dela Rosa also advised the public to be "alert, vigilant and observant" but not to "panic".

The PNP chief said the public has nothing to be worried about even if the terror alert level 3 is raised nationwide.

Dela Rosa also issued directives to the regional police directors to intensify security measures in highly-urbanized cities.

Meanwhile, Dela Rosa presented to mediamen two of the five suspects in the attempted bombing. The two suspects were identified as Rayson "Rasid" Kilala Sakdal and Jiaher Guinar.

Dela Rosa said Rasid is a returnee to the Islamic faith and a religious preacher in Bulacan. He was the one who placed the IED inside a trash bin while Guinar was assigned as the trigger man.

Rasid himself admitted that their first target was Luneta Park but they were "bothered by their conscience" and instead planted the IED near the US Embassy.

The suspects' three accomplices transported the IED from Central Mindanao to Metro Manila, Dela Rosa said.

He said the two suspects are members of the Ansar Khalifa terror group, which has direct links with the Maute terror group that is now the center of military operations in Butig, Lanao del Sur.

The PNP is now hunting down the three accomplices of Rasid and Guinar who are believed to have returned to Marawi City, Lanao del Sur. (PNA) 

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PCSO turns over 26 ambulances to Central Luzon provinces

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Dec. 1 (PNA) -- The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) on Thursday turned over 26 brand new ambulances to the four provinces of Central Luzon.

A total of nine units of ambulance were given to Pampanga while the other units were distributed to the provinces of Tarlac, Zambales and Bulacan.

The distribution, held at the Benigno Hall, Pampanga Capitol Compound was personally facilitated and handed by PCSO chairman Jose Jorge E. Corpuz, under the agency’s Ambulance Donation Program.

Governor Lilia Nanay Pineda is thankful to President Rodrigo Duterte and to the PCSO for the unwavering support and goodwill in providing assistance not only to Pampanga but the entire Central Luzon.

“This is a big help for the people, particularly the poor who are needing emergency response in times of sickness and calamities,” Pineda said.

The governor also advised the end-users to take extra good care and properly maintain the new ambulance as she stressed that ambulance is a basic necessity in any hospital and other health facilities.

Corpuz said the PCSO donation program is aimed at providing ambulance units to municipalities, hospitals, national government offices and foundations for emergency response and patient transfer as way of giving charity assistance.

Second district Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, former second district Rep. Mikey Macapagal Arroyo, board members Cherry Manalo, Anthony Torres, Rosve Henson and PCL president Olga Frances David Dizon, and provincial administrator Andres Pangilinan Jr. also graced the occasion.

In Pampanga, the recipients of the ambulance are the municipalities of Bacolor, San Luis, Porac and San Simon, Mabalacat City, City College of Angeles, Dr. Emigdio C. Cruz Sr. Memorial Hospital in Arayat town, Pampanga State Agriculture University (PSAU) and Dr. Andres J. Luciano District Hospital, both situated in Magalang town. (PNA) 

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Pangasinan now also on alert vs terrorists - By Leonardo V. Micua

DAGUPAN CITY, Dec. 1 (PNA) -- The police in Pangasinan are ready to thwart any act of terrorism or lawlessness with the raising of Terror Alert Level No. 3 on Thursday by PNP Chief Director General Ronald "Bato" De la Rosa.

This was bared by Supt. Jackie Candelario, deputy police regional director for operations and also spokesman of the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office (PPPO) minutes after receiving the order of the PNP chief placing the police under Terror Alert No. 3.

De la Rosa made the announcement when he presented to newsmen two suspects just arrested in Caloocan City and Bulacan who were believed to have a hand in planting improvised explosive device (IED) near the United States Embassy in Manila.

"Ibig sabihin may mga threat na natatanggap. . . imminent threat na po yan (It means there was a threat that was received. That was already imminent threat," Candelario told newsmen here, hinting this is reason Gen. dela Rosa placed the entire PNP under Terror Alert Level No. 3.

He said that was possibly in Metro Manila which is the center of the whole country, pointing out that no such activity was noted in Pangasinan yet.

Asked by newsmen what the local police will do here in Pangasinan to enforce the PNP chief's order, Candelario said since the state of national emergency declared by President Rodrigo Duterte sometime in August as an aftermath of the Davao bombing is still in effect and has not been lifted, they will just intensify it.

"We will adopt stricter security measures to address the situation especially in areas where bombings by alleged terrorists group may likely occur," he said.

He did not identify this group but may be referring to the Maute group being linked to the planting of IED near the U.S. embassy and is now being pursued by the military in Mindanao which reportedly has link with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

"Here in our province, we have not received any threat. But we can never be confident and will be preparing very well to thwart any one from disturbing the peace, he said.

At the same time, Candelario admitted that for the Christmas holidays and fiestas in Pangasinan, they will not request any augmentation force from the Philippine Army anymore and will just rely on help to be extended by their force multipliers from the ranks of concerned citizens, including those from the barangays.

He said they can always call the Provincial Public Safety Company based in Tayug led by Supt. Virgilio Pascua if there is a necessity for it and if concerned towns and cities would request for it.

In placing the police under Terror Alert No. 3, PNP Chief De la Rosa ordered the police in the entire country to bring back checkpoints which were withdrawn last month on order of President Duterte.

At the same time, Candelario said the police in Pangasinan will intensify their intelligence networks in a move to detect persons who know how to make improvised explosive devices, noting that some chemical-based fertilizers as well as blasting caps from the mines are usually being used as raw materials in bomb-making (PNA) 

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7 drug personalities nabbed in Bulacan drug den raid

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Nov. 28 (PNA) -- Agents of the Central Luzon Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-3 (PDEA 3) arrested a notorious drug dealer and six others inside a drug den in Marilao, Bulacan.

PDEA 3 Regional Director Emerson Margate on Monday identified the suspects as Edilberto Clemente, 39, a drug den maintainer and included in the PDEA drug target list; Aizy Villareal, 23; Eric Dela Cruz,41; Vilmar Maniego, 30; Milky Joy Principe, 29; Russel Derrick de Jesus, 29; and Candy Ruth Dollesin, 24; all residents of Barangay Abangan Norte, Marilao, Bulacan.

Margate said a poseur buyer and Clemente agreed to meet in the latter's drug den located at Unit 19 Beverly Place Suite, Barangay Abangan Norte and when the authorities arrived, the suspects were having a drug session.

Confiscated from the suspects were 25 plastic sachets containing "shabu" (methamphetamine hydrochloride) weighing 50.53 grams with an estimated street value of PHP230,000; various drug paraphernalia and the marked money used in the operation.

The suspects are now detained in the PDEA Jail Facility in Camp Olivas, City of San Fernando, Pampanga. (PNA) 

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Baguio City mayor supports proposal for total ban on firecrackers

BAGUIO CITY, Nov 25 (PNA) -- City Mayor Mauricio Domogan supports President Rodrigo Duterte’s proposal to ban the production and sale of firecrackers and pyrotechnics following the recent blasts due to firecrackers in Bulacan which claimed several lives and damaged some properties.

Domogan is hoping that an Executive Order (EO) from the national government be issued to totally ban the production and sale of firecrackers and pyrotechnics.

The mayor said that in the absence of an EO, local government units (LGUs) may sponsor fireworks displays in special occasions.

This will enable the LGU to manage the use of the firecrackers and pyrotechnics and limit the display to a specific place and time, he said.

Domogan urged firecracker-selling groups in the city to organize themselves, fulfill requirements of the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) and join the bidding to qualify as supplier of pyrotechnics.

For several years now, Domogan has been requesting the Baguio City Council to pass an ordinance which will declare the purchase of firecrackers and pyrotechnics, outside the city, a criminal offense.

No individual nor property should be endangered during celebrations, considering that these firecrackers and pyrotechnics are made out of non-environmental-friendly substances, he said.

In 2013, Domogan did not allow the sale of firecrackers and pyrotechnics in Baguio City but was accommodated by neighboring Municipality of Tuba, Benguet and allowed the sellers to set up shop along Palispis-Aspiras Highway (Marcos Highway).

He is asking for the cooperation of the residents to report those who are in the business of selling firecrackers or pyrotechnics, illegally.

Domogan said that despite warnings, firecrackers are still sold and used to celebrate the yuletide season, especially the New Year.

The Department of Health (DOH) records an increasing number of firecracker-related accidents leading to loss of limbs, properties and lives. (PNA) 

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Labor dept. orders fireworks factories to stop manufacture of firecrackers - By Ferdinand G. Patinio

MANILA, Nov. 24 (PNA) -- The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Thursday issued a work stoppage order to all establishments engaged in the manufacture and sale of pyrotechnics and firecrackers nationwide.

"Pursuant to Rule 1012.02 of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards in relation to Article 168 of the Labor Code, as amended and renumbered, and Rule VIII of Department Order No. 131-B, Series of 2016, this Work Stoppage Order is hereby issued for all establishments engaged in the manufacture and sale of pyrotechnics and firecrackers," read the order signed by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

It can be recalled that two people were killed and 24 others were injured when an explosion occurred in a fireworks shop in Barangay Biñang 1st, Bocaue, Bulacan last Oct. 12 while two children, aged 2 years and 5 years, died and four others were wounded in an explosion that hit the AA Fireworks factory in Barangay Pulong Buhangin in Sta. Maria, Bulacan on Wednesday morning.

"In view of the aforementioned accidents and with the projected increase in production during the holidays, this Department is inclined to declare the existence of grave and imminent danger to the health and safety of workers in workplaces involved in the production of pyrotechnics and firecrackers," stated the order.

Bello directed the DOLE regional director, the Occupational Safety and Health Center and the Bureau of Working Conditions to assess compliance with the occupational safety and health standards and general labor standards of the establishments.

The assessment is with proper coordination with the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection and the Local Government Units.

The order also instructed the DOLE regional director to submit to the labor chief weekly reports of assessment activities.

Bello also directed the labor field official, in coordination with the Bureau of Local Employment and the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns, to extend assistance to workers who might be affected by the directive. (PNA) 

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Charges filed vs owner of fireworks shop in Bulacan over deadly blast - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Nov. 24 (PNA) -- Police arrested the owner of AA fireworks and filed charges against him following the explosion that killed two toddlers and their mother and injured four others in Sitio Banca-Bancaan, Barangay Bulong Buhangin in Sta. Maria town Wednesday morning.

Acting Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., on Thursday said that the Sta. Maria Police Station headed by Supt. Rainer Valones arrested Wilfredo Alonzo, 49 and was charged with cases of reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide, physical injuries and damage to properties aside from violations of Republic Act 7183 otherwise known as the “Firecracker Law”.

Alonzo is now under the custody of the Sta. Maria police, Caramat said.

Police said workers were making sky rocket, locally known as “kwitis”, when the blast happened, killing siblings Ashley Mayo, 2 and Brylee, 5. Their mother, Mary Grace Mayo, 28, also died later in a hospital. The three came to the factory to just bring food for the head of their family, 29-year-old Benjie Mayo, who works at the factory.

The blast also injured Ryan Magnai and Raymund Muntante. Two still unidentified persons suffered minor injuries, police said.

The explosion also damaged houses and a car within the vicinity.

It was the second deadly explosion to rock Bulacan, dubbed as the hub of the fireworks industry in the country, this year.

Last month, a powerful explosion rocked a row of fireworks stall in Bocaue that emanated from the stockroom of Gina Fireworks in Barangay Biniang 1st, Bocaue.

The blast killed Gina Gonzales, 47, owner of Gina Fireworks and Manuel “Gigi” Ayala, a former barangay captain of Biniang 1st while 26 others were injured.

Most of the injured victims suffered burns, including passengers of a public utility vehicle that was passing along the Macarthur Highway when the blasts occurred.

Investigators said the explosion emanated from the store of Gonzales, a licensed fireworks dealer who has been selling fireworks for more than three decades.

Valones, however, said that the license and permit of Alonzo as a fireworks manufacturer has already expired last July 2016.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association, said that they will join the police in conducting inspections of factories in stores.

Engineer Celso C. Cruz, chairman emeritus of PPMDAI, said their group, together with the PNP-Civil Security Group and the Bulacan Pyrotechnics Regulatory Board, has been conducting safety training seminars for stakeholders of the fireworks industry.

He said that there were lapses that caused the explosions in Sta. Maria and Bocaue.

“If they were strictly following the safety guidelines, these accidents will not happen,” he said.

Cruz, a chemical engineer, also said that it is high time to ban the use of potassium chlorate and the black powder known as "devil" which, he said, are unstable ingredients and have been the cause of major accidents in the industry.

He said these chemicals have already been banned in other countries producing quality fireworks and pyrotechnics devices. (PNA) 

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2 kids killed, 5 hurt in Bulacan town fireworks factory blast - By Emil G. Gamos

STA. MARIA, Bulacan, Nov. 23 (PNA) -- Two children were killed while five others were injured when a fireworks factory exploded in Sitio Bangka-bangkaan, Barangay Pulong Buhangin here on Wednesday morning.

Police identified the fatalities as Ashley Mayo, 2 and Bryle Mayo, 5.

The injured who were rushed to hospitals were Mary Grace Mayo, 28; Ryan Magnai, 21 and Raymund Muntante and two still unidentified persons who suffered minor injuries, police said.

The explosion happened at around 8 a.m. Wednesday at the factory where skyrockets are being made.

The factory owner was identified as Wilfredo Alonzo, 49, a resident of Barangay Pulong Buhangin here.

Investigators also learned that the license to manufacture of the owner already expired last June 14, 2016.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office has established a command post in the area.

Police and arson probers have yet to determine the cause of the blast.

Police are also investigating why children were in such a place where skyrockets are being made.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, for his part, ordered Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., to investigate why minors are being allowed to work in firecracker shops.

He said that the Department of Labor and Employment has time and again made it clear that hiring minors to work in fireworks shops is illegal and is banned as mandated by law.

He also instructed Caramat to intensify their crackdown on illegal factories and stalls especially where oversized or banned types of deadly firecrackers are clandestinely being manufactured and sold.

Aside from Bocaue town, which is known as the firecracker capital of the country, the fireworks industry also thrives in Sta. Maria town where many factories and stores are also located.

Production of firecrackers is now at its peak as Christmas and New Year draw near, when there is high demand for various noisemakers. (PNA) 

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Gov't satellite offices open at SM City-San Jose del Monte in Bulacan

CITY OF SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, Bulacan, Nov. 22 (PNA) -- In a bid to bring closer to the people the delivery of basic services, the City Government of San Jose del Monte has opened a one-stop–shop “government express” at the SM City here.

City Mayor Arthur Robes on Tuesday said the program aims to speed up public transactions with comfort and convenience.

"This will give the people of San Jose del Monte City the convenience to transact or process their license and permit applications with various government offices,” Robes said.

Gladys May Latiza, SM City public relations officer, said a memorandum of agreement (MOA) was signed between the city government and officials of the SM City –San Jose del Monte headed by mall manager Erlinda G. Estrella.

She said that the MOA signing seals the partnership with the local government units (LGUs) in bringing its services more closer to the public through accessible location inside the mall.

Estrella said that the MOA signing is aligned with SM City-San Jose Del Monte’s vision and mission of reaching out to the people and providing one-stop concept to the ever changing needs of the community.

She added that the presence of government satellite offices and agencies inside the mall will definitely help people to save time and effort in going to government offices while assuring them of convenience, safety and security. (PNA) 

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Bulacan-PPMDAI members undergo safety seminar

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Nov. 21 (PNA) -- Members of the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers Dealers Association, Inc. (PPMDAI) - Bocaue Chapter underwent a basic occupational safety seminar to ensure that the applications of safety regulations under Firecracker Law are strictly being observed.

DOLE Bulacan Field Office head May Lynn Gozun said the seminar was also held in light of the October 12 fireworks store explosion that killed two people, injured 24 others and gutted 10 commercial establishments in Bocaue town.

Gozun said the seminar was initiated by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), in partnership with the Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC).

"We conducted the seminar for the association as part of the requirements of all its member-companies on strict adherence to occupational safety and health standards,” she said.

She said that among the topics discussed include fundamentals of safety management, hazard recognition and identification, assessment and control, types of hazards, electrical and fire safety, behavior motivation, and emergency preparedness.

Other important topics discussed, she said, include work safety inspection, accident causation theories, fundamentals of industrial hygiene, materials handling and storage, machine safety, job hazard analysis, personal protective equipment, and accident communication.

Meanwhile, DTI Bulacan chief Jack Fulido said that firecracker retailers can only sell pyrotechnic products with the “P.S. Mark.”

“The DTI only allows retailers to sell pyrotechnic products with the P.S. Mark on them otherwise it will be compelled to confiscate products which do not have this seal during our rounds of product inspection visits,” Fulido said. 

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7 armed drug dealers killed, 43 nabbed in Bulacan’s 'One Time, Big Time'

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, Nov. 16 (PNA) -- The all-out-war against illegal drugs in this province continues as seven armed drug dealers were killed while 43 other suspects were arrested in one day during the series of police operations known as “One Time Big Time” (OTBT).

Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., acting Bulacan police director, on Wednesday said that the series of OTBT operations was conducted in the province’s 14 towns and three cities.

Caramat said the targets of the anti-drug operations were known drug personalities, most of whom fell during buy bust operations and some during the implementation of search warrants issued by the courts.

He said seven armed drug dealers were killed when they tried to shoot it out with lawmen.

They were identified as Rod Mendoza alias “Diko” and Paul Bergonio “Jepet”, both of Norzagaray; one alias “Utoy” in Pandi; Jun Aryam Macapugay alias “Popeng” in the City of San Jose del Monte; Gilbert Aradanas alias “Don Don” in Marilao; Jade Flores alias “Edong” and a still unidentified suspect in Baliwag.

Caramat also disclosed that a total of 142 pieces of heat sealed transparent sachets of "shabu" (methamphetamine hydrochloride); 16 firearms; 871 pieces of ammunition and other drug paraphernalia were recovered during the implementation of seven search warrant and 28 buy-bust and three other police operations. 

Caramat said that local policemen are playing as a team in the all-out-war against the proliferation of illegal drugs.

He has also likened the Bulacan police’s war on drugs to a basketball team play.

"If you cannot score, for sure you will be put out by the coach, thus, there are some police chiefs being replaced," Caramat said. (PNA) 

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Authorities seize PHP225-M shabu in Quezon City drug raid

MANILA, Nov. 15 (PNA) -- Authorities seized PHP225-million worth of suspected shabu in Barangay Manresa, Quezon City on Tuesday.

Joint elements of the Philippine National Police-Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (PNP-AIDG), Quezon City Police District (QCPD) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) served a search warrant at No. 1117 Banawe St., Barangay Manresa, Quezon City at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The search warrant was issued by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 1117.

Confiscated and seized during the raid were more or less 45 kilograms of white crystalline substance believed to be shabu, 27 packs of activated carbon, two weighing scales and one vehicle Mitsubishi Fusion colored black with plate number TQJ-847.

Arrested during the said operation were identified as Eduardo Dario, 62, jobless and resident of Marikina City; Rhea May Libira, 20, jobless, native of Balagtas, Bulacan; Gemma Rose Codera, 26, native of Masbate; and John Rey Bungcasan, 34, native of Dumaguete City.

All of the suspects were brought to the PNP-AIDG in Camp Crame, Quezon City for booking and preparation of charge for violation of Section 11 of Republic Act No. 9165, or the “Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002”. (PNA) 

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Dela Rosa wants death penalty for drug dealers restored - By Perfecto T. Raymundo

MANILA, Nov. 15 (PNA) -- “Death penalty for drug dealing has to be restored,” Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa on Tuesday said.

PNP chief aired this after inspecting an illegal drug warehouse in Quezon City, where police operatives equipped with search warrants, seized 45 kilos of suspected shabu worth Php 225 million on Tuesday afternoon.

The contraband was found inside a big cardboard box at No. 1117 Banawe Street, Barangay Manresa, Quezon City.

The drug operation was conducted by the operatives of the PNP-Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Arrested during the raid were Eduardo Dario, 62, resident of Marikina City; Rhea May Libira, 20, native of Balagtas, Bulacan; Gemma Rose Codera, 26, native of Masbate; and John Rey Bungcasan, 34, native of Dumaguete City.

Delarosa said that many people have already died because of drugs, but the operation of the illegal drug traders continuous, adding that drug traders seemed to fear nothing at all because they knew that they could evade the law when arrested.

Hence, Dela Rosa said, it is now the right time to restore the death penalty. (PNA) 

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Bulacan Reform Centers yield positive results - By Emil G. Gamos  

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, Nov. 10 (PNA) -- The intensified all-out-war against proliferation of illegal drugs in this province is getting successful not only in the Oplan Double Barrel approach of the Philippine National Police (PNP) but also in the reformation of surrendered dope users and pushers.

Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., said that as of November 7, the total number of drug offenders in this province killed in legitimate police operations has reached 181 while the number of deaths under investigation has a total of 180.

Caramat, during a forum dubbed as “Estado ng Kampanya Laban sa Droga sa Gitnang Luzon” organized by the Bulacan Press Club at the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center here on Thursday morning, also disclosed that at least 198 persons who underwent rehabilitation in the different “Bahay Pagbabago” centers in Bulacan have already finished their one-month treatment and gained skills in the training module provided by the Technological Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and other stakeholders of the reform programs.

Caramat said that out of the 198 persons, only one was monitored to have gone back to using drugs.

"After they finished their one-month reformation program, we still monitor them. We are happy to note that almost all of the 'reformed surrenderers' are moving on to their new lives. Most of them can now apply for work as massage attendants in spa parlors and in other jobs because of the certificates given to them by TESDA,” he said.

He also said that after conducting "Oplan Tokhang” sorties in almost all the barangays in the province’s 21 towns and three cities, the Bulacan police is now focusing on education and information campaign in the different schools in Bulacan,

"This time, we want to inculcate to the students the evils of the dope menace and how to avoid its tentacles,” he said.

Caramat also said that since he assumed post as officer-in-charge of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office (BPPO), he adopted the “basketball approach” of teamwork in addressing the dope menace in the different municipal and city police stations.

"Like in basketball, if one player cannot score, there is a need to replace him with a new one," he explained.

He said that non-performing police chiefs will naturally be relieved.

“We are doing our best to sustain our campaign in cleaning this province of the dope menace,” Caramat added.

He said the initiatives of Central Luzon police regional director Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino is fast gaining grounds in combating the evils of illegal drugs.

At the same forum, Caramat also disclosed that the Bulacan police is also operating high value targets and said that they are closely monitoring several village chiefs and verifying their involvement in illegal drugs activities. (PNA) 

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Renewal of commitment to peace by President Duterte and Misuari inspires 'Yes' for peace group

PLARIDEL, Bulacan, Nov. 6 (PNA) -- Hope springs eternal for just and long lasting peace in the country, a peace advocacy group based in this town has said.

The public declaration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding Chairman Nur Misuari renewing their commitment to pursue the elusive peace in Mindanao has inspired movers of the Yes for Peace -- Bayanihan ng Bayan para sa Mapayapa, Maunlad at Masaganang Pilipinas -- to level up the momentum of their bid to lay down the groundwork for the integrated delivery of community-based programs.

The programs aim to facilitate the holistic reintegration of armed rebels into the mainstream of society as well as the development of rebel influenced communities   

Ernesto A. Alcanzare, lead organizer of Yes for Peace, sees the public declaration of the President and Misuari as a go signal for them to follow through their plan to present “A Call for Bayanihan Towards a Peaceful, Progressive and Prosperous Philippines” and a menu of community-based government programs prepared by 18 learners of the Integrated Gabay ng Paglilingkod (I-Gabay) of the Leadership and Management Program (LAMP).

The programs will be presented to the 15th Annual Career Executive Service (CES) Convention organized by the Career Executive Service Board (CESB) and the National Union of Career Executive Service Officers (NUCESO) to be held later this month.

This is in consideration of the Reciprocal Working Committees (RWCs) of the ongoing peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in crafting the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER)

Mama S. Lalanto, al Haj, adviser of Yes for Peace, disclosed that they have informed Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza and Labor Secretary and the government's chief negotiator in talks with the NDFP Silvestre H. Bello III of their plan to seek the help of Career Executive Service Officers (CESOs) on the cost effective and efficient delivery of government plan to ensure the success of the comprehensive peace process.  

Dureza is set to present the status of the ongoing peace talks during the said CES convention.

For his part, Brig. Gen. Rhoderick M. Parayno, commanding general of the Civil Relations Service, Armed Forces of the Philippines, hailed the manifesto as a welcome addition to peace initiatives undertaken by various sectors of society to help ensure the success of the ongoing comprehensive peace process.

"I look forward to the meeting of minds of all those working for a just and lasting peace. All of us, specially government workers, should understand and take seriously into our hearts why we are doing what we are doing for peace to get our acts together,” Parayno said.    

With the ceasefire in place, Parayno said that soldiers can help disseminate the menu of existing community-based programs of various government agencies to far-flung communities hardly reached by civilian government agencies and thereby, empower the people to organize and avail of all programs that suit their needs. (PNA) 

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Malolos City to host visit of Australian officials this month - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Nov. 2 (PNA) --The city government here is preparing to host a five- day special visit of a delegation of government officials, young leaders, legislators,  traders and scholars from Australia who will arrive on November 12 and stay up to November 16, to personally feel the ambiance of the place where the first democratic republic in Asia was born more than a century ago.

City Mayor Christian D. Natividad disclosed that to make the visit and stay of the Australian delegation more fruitful and memorable, the city government will host a dinner at the garden of the historic Barasoain Church, where the Malolos Congress drafted and ratified the Malolos Constitution on September 1898 that led to the inauguration of the First Philippine Republic on January 23, 1899.

“Malolos City is expected to be visited by the Australian delegations and are excited to see the home of the first democracy and republic in Asia. Interestingly, both nations have one thing in common—colony-- as we were under Spain and America; United Kingdom for the Australians as the latter is still under a Commonwealth system of government,” the young City Mayor told local newsmen.

Last month, Natividad was part of an eight-man Philippine delegation for the 10th Philippine Center of Young Leaders (PCYL) - Australian Political Exchange Program (APEC) international exchange agenda last October 8-14.

A young leader and a lawyer, Natividad’s vast experience in government service from  Sangguniang Kabataan, city councilor, provincial board member to now a third termer city mayor coupled with exceptional governance performance as reflected by numerous awards, earned him the attention and eventually chosen to represent the Philippines in this important international program.

Natividad said that the week-long extensive study program composed mainly of key institutional visits and meetings with top government officials of Australia helped the delegates to be familiarized with the Australian political structure; provided an overview of the policy-formation of the country;  exposed to Australian governance from national, provincial, city, municipal, down to the villages, and; provided opportunities to create networks for strong sustainable relationships between the participating countries.

"Current issues were  also shared first hand by the delegation as they were able to witness Parliament debates, met with members of senate and congress, ministers of departments, political party officials, business executives and community leaders. This really helped the young leaders of the Philippine delegation to have  first-hand account of the government set-up and its salient programs for its people,” Natividad added. (PNA) 

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Bulacan PNP remains on full alert for All Saints', Souls' days

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Nov. 1 (PNA) -- Uniformed personnel in the province of Bulacan will remain on full alert on Tuesday and Wednesday in observance of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day.

In a phone interview, the Bulacan Police Provincial Office told the Philippines News Agency that some 428 police were deployed in 173 police assistance centers in three cities and 21 municipalities of Bulacan.

It was noted that Bulacan PNP stands ready to deploy more police, shall situations require for more uniformed police.

As of this posting, the Bulacan PNP said there is no untoward incident reported in the province. (PNA) 

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Bulacan braces for UNDAS 2016, sets up 111 first aid stations in cemeteries - By: Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 29 (PNA)--Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Saturday said that a total of 111 first aid stations have been set up by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) to augment the various public assistance centers in cemeteries and  crowd convergence areas in the province’s 21 towns and three cities as Bulacan braces for the influx of people on All Saints Day and the long vacation.

The governor said that the first aid stations were set up Friday in different public cemeteries and memorial parks where people began to come in drove to spruce up the tombs of their departed love ones.

He said that that standby first aider and public assistance booths were also set-up in front of provincial capitol  and other areas with ambulance, fire truck and self loading truck beside Petron gasoline station from  Oct. 28 to Nov.3 .

Alvarado also disclosed that the PDRRMO, headed by Liz Mungcal, has earlier conducted DRRMOs meeting at Operation Center in preparation for “Oplan Kaluluwa 2016."

It was attended by Bulacan Rescue staff, city/municipal DRRMOs, non-government organizations (NGOs) and other partner agencies

The Bulacan Police Provincial Office also deployed additional personnel from the Provincial Public Safety Company to augment local  police units.

The governor also called on his fellow Bulakenyos to reflect, pray and enjoy the family bonding moments.

"It’s a long vacation. While we pay our respect to our loved ones, we must also be alert and follow safety tips from concerned authorities like do not leave unattended lighted candles inside residences,” he said.

Fire trucks were also deployed along key areas so that firefighting teams can respond immediately and fast. (PNA) 

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Bulacan goes high tech in disaster preparedness and public security - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 27 (PNA) -- Disaster preparedness and crime prevention go high tech in this province.

To further improve public safety, monitoring and response during calamities and emergencies, the provincial government of Bulacan is set to install wireless weather stations, water level sensors and closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras along critical remote areas of the province for integrated rescue and operations and security purposes.

Dubbed as “Bulacan 4C” or Bulacan Communication Command Control Center, the PHP92 million-worth project features the modernization of the flood management and monitoring system of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC).

The control center would provide real time weather condition and water level information of Angat, Ipo, and Bustos Dams and other critical waterways in the province. 

“The installation of the CCTVs and water level sensors which are part of our environmental monitoring and video surveillance system would serve as flood forecasting devices that could help in the early detection of rising water in our province. This project is also our assurance for constant vigilance to safeguard the safety of our people against the perils of environmental disasters as well as from any crime and other factors that may affect public safety,” Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado said.

He said that around 75 percent of the total population of the province or about 2.2 million Bulakenyos will benefit from the project.

Thirty-two 32 strategic locations and remote sites in Bulacan were included in the provision of advance monitoring system, including the three major dams - Angat, Ipo and Bustos.

The provincial government is conducting a feasibility study for the possible installation of fiber optic lines for the fast and reliable transmittal of information to the Communication, Command, Control Center (C4) of PDRRMC, PDRRM executive officer Liz Mungcal said. 

Mungcal added that video surveillances were also installed in different public places in the province, including Robinson's Malolos Footbridge, SM Marilao overpass, Balagtas Junction, Calumpit Market and other crowded places in Bulacan. (PNA) 

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Expanded NLEX Bocaue toll barrier opens in time for 'Undas' - By Marna Dagumboy-Del Rosario

BOCAUE, Bulacan, Oct. 25 (PNA) --The Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC) on Tuesday officially inaugurated the PHP287-million expansion of the Bocaue toll barriers at the North Luzon Expressway .

Rodrigo Franco, president and CEO of the MNTC, said the expansion of the Bocaue toll barrier from 26 to 34 lanes will help lessen the surge in traffic volume, particularly this All Saints' Day.

"This project is part of MNTC's continuing commitment to provide motorists with fast, safe and convenient travel and more importantly, value for money in terms of greatly enhanced facilities and services," Franco said.

The additional eight lanes is composed of four manual lanes, two Easytrip lanes and two mixed lanes.

"The expanded toll plaza assures that motorists will continue to experience speedy toll transactions at the NLEX especially during peak hours, " Franco added.

In time for the holidays, MNTC is again implementing "Safe Trip Mo Sagot Ko" (SMSK) along the NLEX, the SCTEX and the CAVITEX, according to Raul Ignacio, MNTC chief operations officer.

The SMSK is the motorist assistance program of the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC) to ensure hassle-free travel during holidays.

The tried and tested SMSK has always enhanced the traffic management and toll collection services during 'Undas', a red-letter day when motorists and riders flock to the provinces to remember their departed loved ones.

For those going north, traffic is expected to build up in the afternoon on October 28 until late morning November 1.

For motorists traveling back to Manila, heavy traffic is expected to start in the afternoon of October 31 until morning of November 2.

From October 28 to November 2, NLEX-SCTEX traffic personnel will extend working hours to closely monitor and manage the expected heavy volume of vehicles in Balintawak, Mindanao Avenue, Bocaue, Tarlac and Tipo toll plazas.

Additional patrol teams will be deployed for immediate assistance to distressed motorists.

On October 28 to 30, Balintawak, Mindanao Avenue, Tarlac and Tipo toll plazas will have additional toll collection points.

Starting in the afternoon of October 29, until the late evening of November 1, the Bocaue Toll Plaza will open 45 toll collection points including the new eight-lane toll plaza.

By November 2 and 3, Bocaue will have 34 collection points in operation.

Portabooths and portable toll collection equipment will be used to speed up transactions. Road works will be suspended beginning October 27 and will resume on November 3.

MNTC will activate information and help desks at selected toll service facilities along NLEX-SCTEX and set up SMSK Motorist Camps in Dau rest bay northbound and Floridablanca rest bay on Ocotber 28, 29, 31 and November 1. (PNA) 

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(Update) Malvar, Batangas town police chief relieved - By Dick Garay

CAMP MIGUEL MALVAR, Batangas City, Oct. 24 (PNA) -- The Police chief of Malvar, Batangas and three other personnel were relieved from their posts immediately after 12 prisoners on Monday dawn bolted from the detention cell of the Malvar Municipal Police Station.

Police Senior Superintendent Leopoldo E. Cabanag, acting provincial director, immediately ordered the relief of Police Senior Inspector Alberto Fabregas, chief of police of Malvar Municipal Police Station, including three other personnel, upon receiving reports of the escape of 12 prisoners.

Likewise, Cabanag immediately organized a Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) to conduct deeper probe on the incident while a hot pursuit operation was organized in coordination with other police stations and the provincial headquarters for the recapture of the escapees as well as the declaration of a 24-hour lockdown (checkpoints) in the province.

Initial investigation reports revealed that the prisoners escaped from the detention cell by cutting the steel bars of the 10-feet high ventilation window and used blankets tied together to get out through the opened ventilation window.

Eleven of the 12 escapees were facing charges for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act (RA 9165) while one was facing a murder case identified as Freddie Custodio, 49, a resident of San Pedro 1 Village Malvar town.

Meanwhile, the other escapees were identified as : Diego Baes Barola,31, from Tambo , Lipa City; Melvin Tacia Ona, 34, from Santiago , Malvar; Jerald Estrella Rivo, 29, a native of Balagtas, Bulacan and now a resident of Bulihan , Malvar; Leodegario Silva Lara, 39, from Solis , Balete ; El King Paulino Leonida, 25, from Pola, Oriental Mindoro and presently a resident of Darasa ,Tanauan City; Noel Garcia Malpas alias Smith, 34, a native of Altura Bata, Tanauan City and now a resident of San Fernando, Malvar;

Carissa May Cauilan Salagan, 23, a native of Palingon, Calamba City now a resident of San Fernando, Malvar; Artemio Joloan Castillo Jr., 27, a native of Tiaong, Quezon and presently a resident of North Suzana Executive Village, Diliman, Quezon City; Morris Rap Gutierrez Publico, 23, from Darasa, Tanauan City; Arvie Santillan Villegas, 36, native of Pasay City now a resident of Pantay Matanda, Tanauan City; and John Raniel Hiwatig Castillo, 26, native of Tiaong, Quezon now a resident of Sto.Toribio, Lipa City.

Authorities enjoined the public to provide information that will result to the recapture of the named escapees by contacting the number : 0915-336-6396. (PNA)
FPV/ZT/Dick Garay/ebp

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Two dopesters killed in Bulacan anti-drug sting

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, Oct. 21 (PNA) -- Two armed drug dealers were neutralized in different anti-illegal drugs operation conducted by the Bulacan police in the towns of San Ildefonso and Sta. Maria Thursday afternoon.

Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Romeo M. Caramat Jr., identified the two slain suspects as Rafael Reyes y Dela Rosa alias “Bungo”, 44, a resident of Barangay Dulong Malabon, Pulilan, Bulacan and Ramil Montaos y De Vera, 33 , an illegal drug surrenderer of  Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

Caramat said that the San Ildefonso Municipal Police Station headed by Supt. Isagani Enriquez reported that an armed encounter ensued during a buy-bust operation conducted by the elements of San Ildefonso MPS, in coordination with the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency-Region 3 (PDEA-3) against Reyes in Barangay San Juan, San Ildefonso, Bulacan around 3 p.m. Thursday.

Caramat said that when the suspect noticed that the poseur buyer is a policeman, he drew his gun and shot the poseur buyer but missed. This prompted the lawmen to retaliate which resulted in the death of the suspect.

A team of Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) from the Bulacan Crime Laboratory processed the crime scene and recovered one cal. 38 Smith and Wesson revolver without serial number loaded with three live ammunition and two fired cartridges cases; four sachets of "shabu” (methamphetamine hydrochloride) and four fired cartridges cases for 9 mm.

Meanwhile, in Santa Maria, Bulacan Police Supt. Raniel Valones reported that an armed encounter ensued in a buy-bust operation conducted by the personnel of Santa Maria MPS, in coordination with PDEA 3 against Montaos in Barangay Lalakhan, Sta. Maria, Bulacan at 7:10 p.m. Thursday.

Investigation revealed that after the consummated transaction, the police operatives attempted to arrest Ramil but resisted.

The suspect drew and shot his firearm towards the police officers that prompted the law enforcers to fire back, resulting in his death.

The SOCO team of Bulacan Provincial Crime Laboratory processed the crime scene and recovered one caliber .38 revolver with three live ammunition; one spent shell for caliber .38; three spent shells for 9mm pistol; and six sachets of illegal drugs. (PNA) 

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13 villages still flooded in 2 Bulacan towns 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 20 (PNA) --Typhoon Lawin has aggravated the flooding caused by typhoon Karen in the town of San Miguel  and parts of Calumpit as the “super typhoon” swirled into Luzon early Thursday morning.  

As of 8 a.m. Thursday, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said that six villages in San Miguel town were still submerged under one to three feet of water while seven villages in the coastal town of Calumpit are now flooded under one to two feet of water.  

Light to moderate rains started pelting the province early Thursday morning after Typhoon Lawin made  landfall in northeastern Luzon.  

PDRRM officer Liz Mungcal said that Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado has prepositioned responders in identified flood prone areas as he personally supervised monitoring of the cyclone at the command and operation center of the PDRRMO at the capitol Thursday.  

She also said that Gov. Alvarado issued a Memo Go 101816-137 addressed to all city/municipal mayors for a meeting at the PDRRMC Operation Center on Thursday.

Despite the onslaught of the supertyphoon , the rains seems to have not made a dent at the “low” water level at Angat Dam which has not yet reached the 200 meters mark.

As of 8 a.m. Thursday, the water level at Angat Dam was 199.91 meters which was still way below its spilling level of 210 meters.

The water level at Ipo Dam was 99.72 meters (spilling level 101 meters while the water level at Bustos Dam was 17.38 meters (spilling meters 17.70 meters).  

Meanwhile, the PDRRMO reported that the total damage wrought by Typhoon Karen on agriculture in Bulacan was PHP34, 307,065.70 while the damage in infrastructure was estimated at PHP38,170,000. (PNA) 

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DSWD extends aid to victims of Bocaue blast

MANILA, Oct. 19 (PNA) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said Wednesday that through its Field Office III, it continues to interview and assess the survivors of the explosion which occurred in Bocaue, Bulacan last Oct. 12 to determine appropriate assistance essential for their recovery.

The explosion incurred left two people dead and injured 25 others. The injured victims were immediately taken to the nearest hospitals and to date, 16 have already been discharged. The rest are still recovering.

DSWD Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo said that bereaved families will be given burial assistance while those injured will receive medical aid through the DSWD Assistance for Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS).

Social workers are also ready to provide psycho-social counseling to the bereaved families and to the survivors to help them cope with the trauma brought by the incident.

“Even if frontline services for victims of calamities or accidents, such as the explosion that occurred in Bocaue, are already devolved to the LGUs, the Department is ready to provide immediate assistance to affected citizens,” Taguiwalo said. (PNA) 

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Bulacan priest opposes total ban on fireworks

MANILA, Oct 17 (PNA) -- A priest from Bulacan has opposed total ban on fireworks, saying it will affect the livelihood of people producing pyrotechnics.

"I am not in favor of a total ban because fireworks are already part of our culture and custom. Besides many people in Bocaue and other parts of the Philippines would lose their source of income and way of living," Bishop Jose Oliveros of Malolos, Bulacan.

Oliveros was reacting to a plan to totally ban fireworks following the last week's explosion of a pyrotechnics factory in Barangay Binang First in Bocaue.

He said the October 12 incident was unfortunate, urging the government to strictly implement measures that would ensure the safety of the public.

"What happened in Bocaue was an unfortunate incident. May be what is needed are stricter safety measures and for the government to ensure its implementation," Oliveros said.

The last week's firecracker factory explosion left two people dead and injured several others. (PNA)

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Bulacan spared from wrath of 'Karen' 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 16 (PNA) -- Typhoon 'Karen' was “tame” when it swirled into the province of Bulacan on Sunday.

As of Sunday noon, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) reported that except for the City of San Jose del Monte which experienced heavy to intense rainfall, all towns and the two other cities of Bulacan were only pelted by light and moderate rains.

No floods were reported as of Sunday noon, according to Bulacan PDRRM executive officer Liz Mungcal.

The water level at Angat dam did not even reach the 200 meters mark and is still at 197.20 meters as of 6:00 a.m. Sunday and is still way below its spilling level of 210 meters.

The water level at Ipo dam was 100.77 meters (spilling level 101 meters) while the water level at Bustos dam was 17.48 meters (spilling level 17.70).

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, who is monitoring the typhoon's track since Thursday, was thankful that it spared many parts of the province.

He however, instructed, the PDRRMO to monitor and brace for possible back floods that may come from Nueva Ecija and Pampanga.

Alvarado has earlier ordered the prepositioning of responders and rescue teams to identified flood-prone areas to augment the different barangay quick response teams in the areas. (PNA) 

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Malolos Bishop Emeritus Almario writes 30

MANILA, Oct. 15 (PNA) -- Malolos Bishop Emeritus Cirilo Almario has died. He was 85.

The retired Catholic prelate was pronounced dead on arrival at Sacred Heart Hospital in Bulacan at 6:30 a.m. on Friday.

Almario was rushed to the hospital after he collapsed inside his room at the convent of the Religious Catechist of Mary located in Sta. Isabel, Malolos City.

He had been unwell for days and complaining of pain in his feet.

Fr. Nick Lalog, director of the Malolos diocese’s Commission on Social Communications said that Almario’s death is a “great loss” to the diocese.

“He is loved by the priests in and outside the diocese. He had been fatherly to all of us,” he said in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) website.

The priest also described the late prelate as a “father figure” to the clergy and many people.

The wake started on Saturday at the theology chapel of the Immaculate Conception Major Seminary in Guiguinto, Bulacan.

On Monday, a funeral procession will be held at 10 a.m. from the Malls Crossing to the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, where the bishop’s remains will stay until the funeral at 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

After the Requiem Mass, the entombment of his body will take place at the crypt of the cathedral, close to the tomb of Malolos’ first bishop Manuel Del Rosario.

Almario, a native of Cavite, was ordained to the priesthood on Nov. 30, 1956 in Manila and was appointed Coadjutor bishop of Malls on Aug. 22, 1973. As coadjutor, he automatically succeeded Del Rosario upon his retirement in December 1977.

He was also the CBCP secretary general from 1976 to 1981 and was once the chairman of the bishops’ Public Affairs Committee and the Commission on Biblical Apostolate.

Almario resigned as bishop of Malolos in January 1996 after serving the diocese for 23 years. (PNA)

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PNP-FEO wants to amend law regulating firecrackers

MANILA, Oct. 14 (PNA) -- If the Philippine National Police-Firearms and Explosive Office (PNP-FEO) will have its way, it would like to amend the law regulating the manufacture and sale of firecrackers in the country.

This after a series of firecracker explosions in a firecracker store in Bocaue, Bulacan claimed the lives of two individuals and injured 20 others on Wednesday.

According to PNP-FEO Director Chief Supt. Cesar Binag, the penalty for violators of the provisions of the said law is very minimal.

Because of this, the PNP-FEO would make recommendations which they will submit to the lawmakers.

Likewise, the personnel of the PNP-FEO conducted an “onsite inspection” on Friday in Bocaue, Bulacan where they also held a meeting with the local government of Bocaue.

The local government of Bocaue is also pursuing a strict implementation of the safety measures for the sale of firecrackers as well as the safety of the residents.

At the same time, the PNP-FEO has started the process of cancelling the license of the Gina Gonzales Mechandise, which was the origin of the firecracker explosion in Bocaue, Bulacan on Wednesday.

The series of firecracker explosions claimed the lives of two individuals, including the storeowner identified as Gina Gonzales, and injured 20 others. (PNA) 

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Bulacan gov to convene Provincial Pyrotechnics Regulatory Board in wake of Bocaue ‘cracker blasts

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 14 (PNA) –- In the wake of the deadly explosions that hit rows of fireworks stores and killed two persons and injured 26 others last Wednesday, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Friday said that he will convene the Provincial Pyrotechnics Regulatory Board (PPRB) in order to promulgate salient policies that will make the local industry more safe and globally competitive.

At the same time, Alvarado also instructed the Bulacan police headed by acting Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., to identify and inspect all fireworks shops and stalls in the province and ensure that the safey measures and other provisions of Republic Act 7183 otherwise known as the “Firecracker Law” is strictly followed.

Aside from the safety provision, the governor said the law on zoning must also be be strictly observed.

“When inspecting factories, the production building should be several distance away from the packaging site and see to it also that firefighting equipment are in place,” he said.

Alvarado said that the provincial government has taken the initiative to upgrade the status and working standard of pyrotechnicians.

Since 1999, the PPRB has been working with the Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in an effort to revolutionize the industry.

The partnership aims to elevate local pyrotechnics to an industry that can produce using local resources, laboratory-tested and manufactured by mechanized production, and at par with international product quality standards.

"There are at least 20,000 families that are dependent on the local fireworks industry. They would be displaced if a total ban is enforced and at least PHP1.5 billion will be lost in annual revenues from which PHP1 billion comes from Bulacan annually,” he said.

At present, Alvarado said that Bulacan is promoting the aerial display fireworks which, he said is now being developed to be at par with international standards.

The governor added that the PPRB also came up with Pyro Safety Rules and Guidelines, a code that delineates product standards covering the length of firecracker fuses, size of pyrotechnic cylinders, and the amount of explosive powder used for the different products.

Under the standards, all firecrackers are limited to 150-200 milligrams of chemicals, so that in the event of an accident, the worst injury obtained would be a minor burn.

He also disclosed that the provincial government has likewise commissioned experts from United States and Canada to introduce safe fireworks technology to local manufacturers and has since been conducting trainings and seminars on proper handling and storage of chemicals that enable the industry to conduct serious quality control over its products as of today.

Meanwhile, Mayor Joni Villanueva ordered the temporary closure of all fireworks stores in Bocaue to pave way for a thorough inspection that will be ordered by composite government teams to ensure that the safety provisions of the law is strictly being followed. (PNA) 

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Bulacan gov orders rigid inspection of fireworks stores following series of blasts in Bocaue
By Emil G. Gamos

BOCAUE, Bulacan, Oct. 13 (PNA) -- Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Thursday ordered the Bulacan police to conduct a rigid inspection of fireworks stalls and shops to make sure that these are strictly complying with the safety provision of Republic Act 7183 otherwise known as the “Firecracker Law of 1992."

The move seeks to prevent explosions and accidents like the one that rocked the row of fireworks stores along Macarthur Highway in Barangay Biniang 1st on Wednesday morning which left two persons dead and 26 others injured.

Alvarado also instructed the Bulacan police and arson investigators to conduct a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the series of blasts, the worst  pyrotechnics-related incident that hit the “fireworks capital of the Philippines” since 2008 and 2009 where rows of fireworks stores exploded in Barangay Turo here that both occurred on New Year’s Eve.

He also ordered the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) to deploy firefighting teams and other responders to areas where rows of fireworks stores are located particularly in Bocaue, Sta. Maria, Baliuag and parts of San Ildefonso and San Miguel.

He said that the immediate response of emergency rescue units has prevented explosions from spreading and doing more harm to residents in the area.

PDRRM executive officer Liz Mungcal said that based on their latest update, two persons died and were burned beyond recognition while 26 others were injured.

The fatalities were identified as Gina Gonzales, 47, owner of Gina Fireworks and  Manuel “Gigi” Ayala, former  barangay chairman of Biniang 1st.

Most of the injured victims suffered burns, including passengers of a public utility vehicle that was passing along the Macarthur Highway when the blasts occurred.

Five other vehicles were damaged in the incident.

Investigators said the explosion emanated from the store of Gonzales, a licensed fireworks dealer who has been selling fireworks for more than three decades.

Gonzales is the niece-in-law of the late former Bocaue Mayor Enchong Gozales.

Meanwhile, Engr. Celso C. Cruz, chairman emeritus of the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association Inc.(PPMDAI), said that they will form an inspection team that will conduct “post-blast” investigation to determine what really cause the explosion.

"At the same time, we will also coordinate with the police to inspect stores because like Gonzales, most of the traders as well manufacturers have already undergone the safety training seminars jointly being conducted by the PPMDAI and the PNP-Civil Security Group as part of the implementing rules and regulations in securing licenses and permits,” Cruz, a chemical engineer said.

He said the investigation should be done by experts who can scientifically explain the root cause of the incident.

"There are some possible causes but we need to know why it happened considering the strict implementation of security measures being conducted to those traders and manufacturers of fireworks," he added. (PNA) 

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1 dead, 20 hurt as blasts hit fireworks stores in Bocaue, Bulacan - By Emil G. Gamos

BOCAUE, Bulacan, Oct. 12 (PNA) -- A still unidentified person was burned to death while at least 20 others were injured when a series of explosions rocked the rows of fireworks stalls along the Macarthur Highway in Barangay Biniang 1st here on Wednesday morning.

The series of blasts also damaged at least six vehicles along the stretch of the highway, according to initial police reports.

Police are still investigating if the vehicles were moving or were parked along the rows of the fireworks stalls.

The Bocaue police station said that the fatality was burned beyond recognition after a powerful blast rocked the Gina Gonzales Fireworks Store along the Macarthur Highway which triggered a series of explosions from nearby rows of fireworks stores in the said area.

Ramon Efren Lazaro, a newsman from this town, said most of the victims were brought to the nearby Dr. Yanga’s Emergency Hospital for treatment.

“Madami ang nasugatan kaya yung ibang biktima ay sa pasilyo na ginagawaran ng paunang lunas (There are many who sustained injuries. That's why other victims were given first aid treatment along the corridor," he said.

Acting Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., said that police are still investigating the cause of the explosion which according to witnesses emanated from the Gina Gonzales Fireworks store, a licensed dealer of fireworks and pyrotechnics devices in this town.

The Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association Inc.(PPMDAI), said that most of the stores in Barangay Biniang 1st and in Barangay Turo have already complied with the safety training seminars being  required by the PNP-Civil Security Group for stakeholders before they can be issued with license and permits to sell.

Engineer Celso C. Cruz, chairman Emeritus of PPMDAI, said that PPMDAI, together with the PNP-Civil Security Group, has been conducting the safety seminars all over the country and is a vital part of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) being enforced by the national police for local manufacturers and dealers before they can locally produce and sell fireworks products.

Most of the stores that were damaged by the explosions have been legally selling fireworks for more than 25 years, the PPMDAI official said.

It was also learned that most of the stall owners have already undergone the safety training seminars of the PPMDAI and the PNP-CSG.

Cruz said that in many instances, deadly and powerful explosions usually occurred in clandestine shops.

The PPMDAI said that this was the first major explosions to hit Bocaue in the past six  years.

In 2008 and 2009, rows of fireworks stores in Barangay Turo were also rocked by powerful explosions that both happened on New Year’s Eve. (PNA) 

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PNP to use lady cops in eradicating 'ninja cops'

MANILA, Oct. 12 (PNA) -- The policewomen will be used as deep penetration agents (DPAs) to flush out 'ninja cops' who recycle and resell illegal drugs seized from police operations.

Chief Supt. Carlos De Sagun, executive officer of the Philippine National Police-Directorate for Police Community Relations (PNP-DPCR), made the statement after the awarding ceremonies for the 10 outstanding policewomen at the PNP Multi-purpose Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City on Wednesday.

De Sagun said that the policewomen have long been used in undercover operations because of their own ability to get the trust and confidence of their targets.

De Sagun added that the role of women in the national police is limitless, noting that it is just normal that they are also included in dangerous operations such as drug raids.

The 10 outstanding policewomen given recognition on Wednesday are Supt. Criselda De Guzman, of Muntinlupa City; Supt. Elizabeth Velasquez, of the PNP-Highway Patrol Group (HPG); Insp. Anjanette Tirador, of Tagum City, Davao del Norte; Insp. Jenely Kiwingan, officer-in-charge of the Calanasan, Apayao; Insp. Sheryl Bautista, of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7; PO3 Aileen Catugas, of Lingayen, Pangasinan; PO3 Abigail Rayala, of OAS, Albay; PO2 Maricar Anastacio, of Guiguinto, Bulacan; PO2 Lalaine Castro, of PRO 8; and PO1 Haidelyn Arevalo, of Aroroy, Masbate. (PNA) 

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PNP honors 10 outstanding policewomen

MANILA, Oct. 12 (PNA) -- The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Zonta Club of Makati-Paseo de Roxas on Wednesday honored the Ten Outstanding Policewomen in the Philippines (TOPWP) during simple ceremonies in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

The winners are selected based on their service record and achievements and result of a panel interview by a board of judges.

The ten outstanding policewomen awardees are the following:

-- Supt. Criselda Yee De Guzman, Deputy Chief of Police for Operation of Muntinlupa City Police Station;

-- Supt. Elizabeth Flores Velasquez, Chief of the Police Community Relation/Public Information Office (PCR/PIO) of PNP-Highway Patrol Group (HPG);

-- Senior Insp. Anjanette Padilla Tirador, Chief of the Investigation Unit of the Tagum City Police Station;

-- Senior Insp. Jenelyn Mortero Kiwingan, Officer-in-Charge of the Calanasan Municipal Police Station;

-- Senior Insp. Sheryl Yu Bautista, Assistant Team Leader of Regional Intelligence Division of the Police Regional Office (PRO)-7;

-- SPO1 Aileen Parayno Catugas, Chief and Pre-charge Investigator of Provincial Investigation and Detective Management of Pangasinan Provincial Police Office (PPO);

-- PO3 Abigail Barrera Rayala, of Women and Children Protection Desk Police Non-Commissioned Officer (PNCO) of Albay PPO;

-- PO2 Maricar Sison Anastacio, of PCR/Women and Children Protection Desk PNCO of Bulacan PPO;

-- PO2 Lalaine Rosales Castro, of Regional Police Community Relations of PRO-8; and

-- PO2 Haidelyn Pimentel Arevalo, of PCR PNCO of Masbate PPO.

In his speech, PNP Chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa said that “the PNP leadership, once again, takes pride in recognizing the TOPWP awardees and congratulates them for their meritorious service and outstanding contributions.”

Dela Rosa also extended his gratitude and appreciation to the Zonta Club of Makati-Paseo de Roxas for their continuous support and recognition to the organization.

Each TOPWP awardee received a 9mm pistol from Armscor and PHP30,000 cash award, respectively.

The TOPWP is an annual competition whose aim is to discover and recognize the efforts and achievements of the female members of the PNP.

The yearly award was started by Zonta Club of Makati-Paseo de Roxas together with the PNP who seeks to identify heroic women in the police force who are able to gain the support of the community to prevent and solve crimes in their locality. (PNA) 

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Trio who claim to be Sen. Lacson’s staff arrested in Bulacan sting opn - By Azer N. Parrocha

MANILA, Oct. 8 (PNA) -- Three persons, who claimed to be staff members of Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, were arrested in a sting operation in Malolos City, Bulacan on Friday (Oct 7), the senator’s office said Saturday.

According to Lacson’s office, police investigations showed that the trio demanded money from a woman.

A report by Supt. Ruel Cagape of the Philippine National Police Region 3 Regional Intelligence Division’s Special Concerns Unit identified the three a Dina Joson Castro, 34; Roberto Fajardo, 51; and Ariel Balotro, 35.

The report noted that Castro introduced herself to a certain Mercedez dela Cruz, whose son faces charges for violating the Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition.

Castro, claiming to be a part of Lacson’s staff, promised to talk to the inquest prosecutor about the speedy resolution of her son’s case so he could post bail.

Her group initially convinced dela Cruz to extort Php 320,000, assuring her the charges against her son would be dismissed through “intercession” by Lacson’s office.

Castro contacted dela Cruz on Oct 6 and demanded another Php 30,000 for the “early resolution” of her son’s case, not knowing dela Cruz had previously confirmed that Castro is not connected to the senator.

The office of Lacson meanwhile assures the public it does not engage in and will not tolerate actions similar to what Castro and her group did.

The three now face charges of robbery extortion and usurpation of authority. (PNA)

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2 drug suspects killed, 5 others arrested in Bulacan

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Oct. 5 (PNA) -- Two drug suspects were killed and five others were arrested during an anti-illegal drug operation conducted on Wednesday in Barangay San Martin 4, City of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.

Senior Superintendent Romeo Caramat, Bulacan police acting provincial director, identified those killed as Theodoro Fortes alias Buboy and Nanding Rodrigo, both residents of said barangay.

Those arrested were Allan Manansala, Romulo Bargola, Noel Centeno, Jonathan de Jesus, and George Duran, all of said barangay, Caramat said.

City of San Jose Del Monte police with Drug Enforcement Unit of Bulacan police led by Superintendent Wilson Magpali conducted the buy-bust operation against Rodrigo and Fortes, who ranked no. 8 in the city's Top 10 drug personalities.

Fortes and Rodrigo saw the back up team of poseur buyer approaching, prompted them to draw their guns and fire towards the lawmen.

During a brief of exchange of firefight, the two suspects sustained gunshot wounds in the different parts of the body and died on the spot.

Caramat said the five drug suspects were arrested while in the act of sniffing shabu.

Recovered from the crime scene were five plastic sachets of shabu, assorted drug paraphernalia, PHP500 marked money and two improvised guns with spent shells and bullets.  (PNA) 

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Reform centers for drug surrenderers sprouting like mushrooms in Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 4 (PNA)-- Rehabilitation centers, including a mansion formerly owned by a former bold star turned “shabu queen," are now sprouting like mushrooms in the different towns and cities of Bulacan.

Since Monday, at least three more reformation centers otherwise known as “Bahay Pagbabago” were opened and became functional in Hagonoy, Guiguinto and in this historic capital city.

Acting Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., said that provincial officials led by Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando, together with local executives, have been supportive in the all out war against illegal drugs and in helping dope victims to have new lease on life and become productive citizens anew.

At the “Bahay Pagbabago” in Barangay Ligas, Malolos City, Caramat has likened dope users to “walking time bombs,” ready to explode at any given time.

"Once you get hooked on shabu, it will just be a matter of time when you will steal or do something nefarious,” Caramat told 51 drug users who are now housed and being rehabilitated after surrendering to City Mayor Christian D. Natividad.

Natividad said that some 3,000 drug users and dealers have surrendered to him after feeling the heat induced by President Rodrigo Duterte’s no nonsense crusade to rid the country of the dope menace.

The city top executive said that with the big number of surrenderers, the city government will reform, detox and give new opportunity to them.

"We will help them through mental, physical, spiritual renewal and then give them means of livelihood after their rehabilitation,” Natividad said.

The mayor said that the city government will conduct jobs fair and will soon sign a memorandum of agreement with industrial corporations in the city for the hiring of those who have undergone rehabilitation.

He said the new facility has 51 beds  and will admit one each from the 51 barangays of the city.

Last week, Natividad launched the “Tokhang Unity Games” as part of the rehabilitation program of the city government to make the dopesters physically fit again and at the same time detoxify them from long time of substance abuse.

In Guiguinto, Mayor Ambrosio “Boy” Cruz, Jr.,  said that 25 dopesters are now being reformed at the “Bahay Pagbabago” at a mansion formerly owned by arrested “drug queen” and former bold star Ecita Evora in Rosaryville, Barangay Sta. Cruz.

Evora was arrested by intelligence operatives of the Bulacan police then headed by now retired police General Richard Albano during the time of also now retired Gen. Noe Wong sometime in the 1990.

"It’s quite ironic that our “Bahay Pagbabago” was a former mansion owned by big time drug dealers. Now it will serve as a house of transformation for the better good,” Cruz said.

He said that since Duterte became President, some 600 drug users and pushers have surrendered to him.

In Hagonoy, Mayor Raulito “Amboy” Manlapaz led the opening of the Hagonoy Reformation Center.

Last month, PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa inaugurated the Bulacan police’s Reformation Center at the provincial PNP headquarters in Camp Gen. Alejo Santos. (PNA)  

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Bomb scare hits Bulacan regional court

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 3 (PNA) -- Court employees at the Bulacan Regional Trial Court scampered out of the Bulwagan ng Katarungan building here after a bomb threat was received before the regular flag raising ceremony on Monday morning.

Police investigators said that a phone call from an unknown male was received by the Tactical Operation Center (TOC) of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office at Camp Alejo Santos.

The caller claimed that four bombs were allegedly planted and about to explode in the three buildings of Bulacan RTC and at the vicinity of the nearby Mini Forest, all located at the provincial capitol compound.

Police Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., Bulacan PNP acting provincial director said that the phone call was received at around 7:15 a.m. Monday.

Caramat said that he immediately dispatched his men from the Special Weapon And Tactics (SWAT) and Bomb Squad Unit from the Bulacan PNP headquarters and operatives of the Malolos City Police Station.

Police informed the Bulacan RTC  regarding the received report and ordered all the employees to vacate the building for inspection.

The old RTC Bldg. 1 is located beside the Capitol Gym while the two other buildings is situated 20 meters away from the old RTC building where the Provincial Prosecutors Office is also located at the second floor of Bldg. 2.

The Mini Forest is a place where students from the Bulacan State University (BulSU) usually stay. It is located infront of the Bulacan RTC and Capitol Gym with an area of 1.5 hectares.

After two hours of inspection by the dispatched team from the said police units, it was turned out that it is again a "hoax call" and later on declared safe and cleared.

The regular hearings resumed at 9:30 a.m. (PNA) 

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Dopesters, pushers in Malolos City participate in 'Tokhang Unity Games'

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Sept.27 (PNA) -- Dope users and drug pushers who recently surrendered under the double-barrel approach of the government in the all-out-war against illegal drugs otherwise known as “Oplan: Tokhang” are now slugging it out in a different arena — the basketball court and chess boards.

This, after the city government headed by Mayor Christian D. Natividad launched Monday the “Tokhang Unity Games” at the Malolos City Convention and Sports Complex where some 2,000 drug users and pushers who are included in the watch list of the Malolos City police station are the main participants.

"This is our way of giving them a new lease on life so that they will not feel as outcast of society. Each team represents the 51 barangays in our city,” Natividad said.

The top city executive said that this is also a means to erase the fear of those who surrendered to the government and at the same time, put them into a detoxification process.

Natividad said that through the “Tokhang Unity Games,” they will now have the opportunity to feel how it is to be a part of a team aiming to achieve a winning goal and at the same time, foster camaraderie and establish strong family ties through sportsmanship and spiritual renewal.

He said that each participant will be subjected to a monthly drug test for six months after which they will be eligible for recommendation for job opportunity and become productive citizens of the city.

The city government, through Mayor Natividad, signed a “pledge of commitment” with the Police Regional Office 3 under regional director Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino, who was represented by Chief Supt. Benjamin Hulipas, Deputy Regional Director for Administration, the Bulacan Police Provincial Office led by Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., and the Malolos City Police Station headed by Supt. Arwin Tadeo.

Hulipas hailed the initiatives of Mayor Natividad, saying this program is the first of its kind not only in Region 3 but perhaps in the entire country as well.

He also commended the anti-drug offensive of the Bulacan police and the support being given by local executives.

He told the participants that they should be thankful of the opportunity to live normal again.

"It is nice to live a normal life. Be good to each other and cooperate with the goal of President Rodrigo Duterte to save our country from the ill effect of drug menace," he said.

During the first basketball game between Barangay Caniogan and Barangay San Pablo, the crowds had fun jeering at the players every time they committed violations like pushing or when scoring.

The croed shouted, “Tulak ka, penalty ka” for travelling offense and “uy naka-iskor” for every basket that counted. (PNA) 

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Two dope dealers killed, one arrested in Bulacan drug war

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, Sept. 27 (PNA)--Two more alleged drug pushers were killed in a shootout with lawmen during separate anti-drugs operations conducted by  the Bulacan police in Baliwag and Santa Maria towns early Tuesday morning while another offender was also arrested.

Bulacan  acting police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr.,  identified the two slain suspects as a certain "Big Boy”, 45, a resident of Sitio Tumana, Barangay San Jose, Baliwag and Alvin Dela Torre, who is included in the BADAC list of Santa Maria Municipal Police Station while the arrested suspect was identified as Amelia De Guzman, the live-in partner of “Big Boy."

Based from the report of Supt. Froilan Uy, acting police chief of Baliwag Municipal Police Station (MPS),  an armed encounter ensued during a buy-bust operation at around 12:30 a.m.when police operatives of the Baliwag MPS was about to effect the arrest of @ Big Boy after the consummation of the drug transaction.  

The report said that Big Boy resisted, drew and fired his firearms toward the law enforcers, prompting the operating police officers to fire back that resulted to the suspect’s death and arrest of her live-in partner.  

Scene of the Crime Operative (SOCO) of Bulacan Crime Laboratory Office recovered the following pieces of evidence: one caliber 22 revolver, five pieces live ammunition for caliber 22, four pieces spent cartridge case for 9 mm, four pieces plastic sachets containing “suspected” shabu, PHP 500 peso bill as buy bust money and other drug paraphernalia.

In Santa Maria town, Supt. Raniel Valones reported that  Dela Torre  was neutralized during a buy-bust operation at 12:40 a.m Tuesday.  

Valones said Dela Torre drew and fired his firearm towards the approaching operatives that prompted the police officers to retaliate causing the death of the suspect.

However, an unidentified companion of Dela Torre  onboard a motorcycle sped off and escaped during the incident.  

A SOCO team from the Bulacan PNP Crime Laboratory recovered the following pieces of evidence: seven sachets of suspected “shabu” weighing 2.2 grams, including the buy bust item with a street value of PHP4,500; one Smith and Wesson caliber .38 revolver without serial number; three live ammunition and two fired cartridge cases for caliber .38 revolver and three pieces fired cartridge cases for caliber 9mm;,PHP 500 bill buy-bust money and a folding knife (PNA)

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4 killed, 2 others nabbed in Bulacan buy-bust

MANILA, Sept. 22 (PNA) -- Police have killed four unidentified armed men and arrested two others in a buy-bust operation in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan on Wednesday night.

The police conducted the buy-bust operation in Towerville Subdivision, Barangay Minuyan Proper against A drug suspect identified as Erick Espinosa which led to an armed encounter.

The two arrested suspects were identified as Mark Anthony Laxa and Rene Lloyd Sacdalan.

Initial probe showed that Espinosa and his four cohorts immediately fired towards the police team upon their arrival in the area of the operation.

The police fired back which led to a brief firefight, leading to the killing of the four unidentified armed men and the arrest of Laxa and Sacdalan.

However, Espinosa, the leader of the Espinosa Drug group managed to escape while a bystander, Michelle Seleic, became a victim of crossfire and was hit on her right leg.

She was immediately rushed to the Ospital ng Lungsod ng San Jose del Monte.

Recovered from the arrested suspects were six pieces small heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets and assorted drug paraphernalia while one caliber 45, two caliber 38 revolvers and one caliber 22 revolver were seized from the slain suspects. (PNA) 
BNB/PTR/Arianne D. Valdez (OJT)/mec

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President Duterte: “I don’t want to declare martial law” - By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Sept. 21 (PNA) -- President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday he does not want to declare martial law, despite his gargantuan task to break down illegal drug apparatuses in the country.

President Duterte made the statement while showing the long list of individuals allegedly involved in illegal drugs, to troops of the 9th Infantry Division at Camp Elias Angeles San Jose, Pili, Camarines Sur.

”What will I do to this? I cannot arrest neither kill them all. That cannot happen. I do not want to declare martial law,” the Commander-in-Chief told his soldiers on the day the country remembered the 44th year of the declaration of martial law by the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos on September 21, 1971.

The President said he will provide the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police copies of the same list of 1,000 individuals linked to illegal drugs that he showed to members of the First Scout Ranger Regiment at Camp Teczon in Bulacan last week.

”I will give you copy, the AFP and the PNP. It’s up to you. I don’t know how. I can solve it if I would still be here. It’s up to you. If you don’t want to make any move, fine. It’s your country, my country but we have a problem,” he said.

President Duterte, a former fiscal before he became mayor of Davao City for more than two decades, said he is still making a final assessment of the individuals in the list.

”I’m assessing it as former fiscal. If I will bring it to the court, will I win? So I have to assess it first,” he said.

The President said the list includes Chinese nationals, judges, public officials and personnel of the National Bureau of Investigation and police.

He mentioned some listed names, among them former Pangasinan governor and incumbent Rep. Amado Espino Jr. and provincial administrator Raffy Baraan, Herbert Colangco, and a certain Diana Lagman of Pampanga.

President Duterte appealed to the government troops “not to abandon your duty” if the drug problem outlasts him for whatever reason.

”This will destroy your children, your grandchildren and the next generation and that’s why I’m ready to die for this (campaign),” he said. (PNA) 

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Soldiers happy with Chief Executive's promise of new pistols

MANILA, Sept. 18 (PNA) -- Troopers, especially those belonging to the elite 1st Scout Ranger Regiment, are very happy with President Rodrigo Duterte's announcement to provide them with a brand-new Glock 30 .45 pistol.

This move highlights the Chief Executive value for the soldiery, Armed Forces public affairs chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said.

Also, these new pistols are an incentive to the Bulacan-based 1st Scout Ranger Regiment for doing their job well, he added.

The guns will be delivered by October.

Additional weapons are also scheduled to be provided to other military units.

Morale of all soldiers, both officers and enlisted personnel, very high, thanks to the frequent visit of Duterte in various military camps nationwide.

Arevalo said that having the Chief Executive in your midst, not only the Defense chief and ranking military officers, talking to you, shaking your hand, and asking about your welfare certainly brings a huge morale boost to troopers in the frontlines.

"He (President Duterte) really talks and care about the men in the ground. He also talks to the commander to hear for himself what they really need in the field and how can the government can address it immediately for the good of our soldiers," Arevalo said in Filipino.

"There is no request within reason, by our soldiers, that the President did not respond positively to," the AFP official stated.

Arevalo said that this is the first time in military and Philippine history that an elected-President takes time to visit various military command headquarters and their personnel. (PNA) 

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Bulacan cops neutralize 2 drug pushers in police operations

CAMP GENERAL ALEJO S. SANTOS, Bulacan, Sept. 16 (PNA) -- It’s the end of the road for two more alleged drug pushers who died after engaging lawmen in a gun battle during a series of police operations in Marilao and San Rafael Thursday. 

Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., acting Bulacan police provincial director, said that one of the slain suspects was identified as Raymart Pobillo, a resident of Marygrace Subdivision, Barangay Sta. Rosa-1, Marilao, Bulacan, an identified thief and drug pusher; while the other one, a male personality, was still unidentified.

Based on the report, elements of Marilao Police Station received a report that a suspicious person was roaming around the caller’s vicinity in Marilao-Bocaue Boundary, Barangay Sta. Rosa-2, Marilao at around 10:35 p.m. Thursday.

Report said that later, a brief exchange of gunfire occurred after the suspect fired towards the responding law enforcers.

Scene of the Crime Operative (SOCO) of Bulacan Crime Laboratory Office recovered two pieces of heat sealed plastic sachet containing suspected “shabu” (methamphetamine hydrochloride); one .38 caliber revolver marked Smith and Wesson with serial number 14141 loaded with two live ammunition and two empty spent shells; two pieces of empty spent shell for Cal. 9mm; a motorcycle with O.R./C.R. and driver's license of Mr. Salvador Soriano y Macaraig of B. Sta. Rosa-2, Marilao, Bulacan.

Meanwhile, Supt. Angel Garcillano, reported that an unidentified suspect known to be a drug pusher with the following descriptions: between 25 to 30 years old, with dark complexion, medium built, 5’4” in height, wearing a black biking shorts and green and white t-shirt was killed in an armed encounter while evading a joint anti-criminality checkpoint by the personnel of San Rafael MPS and 48th Infantry Batallion (IB) of the Philippine Army along Barangay Poblacion, San Rafael Bulacan at about 10:45 p.m. Thursday.

Recovered on the crime scene was one caliber .38 revolver loaded on cylinder with six live ammunition, marked Smith & Wesson and with serial number 98215; five 9mm fired cartridge cases; one folded foil containing two heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet containing suspected “shabu”; one Suzuki 120 skeleton type motorcycle without plate number, with engine number F119-112016; and one unit Samsung Mobile Phone. (PNA)  

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Malolos Congress an inspiration that could unite Filipinos— Bulacan gov - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Sept. 15 (PNA) -- Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Thursday said that the opening of Malolos Congress 118 years ago continues to serve as an inspiration and is a strong catalyst that could foster unity and change in the country.

"More than a century ago, our forefathers crafted the Malolos Constitution inside the historic Barasoain church. It was like rain, with thunder and lightning, that poured and drenched away the bondage of the Filipino people from colonial rule,” Alvarado said in his message during the commemoration of the 118th anniversary of the opening of the Malolos Congress at the patio of historic Barasoain church here on Thursday morning.

He said that despite bickerings, the differences and factionalism that prevailed during that time, it was all buried for the best interest of the country and made the Philippines, particularly Barasoain church, the cradle of the first democracy in Asia and Africa.

The governor, who is also the chairman of the Regional Development Council in Central Luzon, said that the Malolos Congress, which is parliamentary in nature, is still model that usher change and that would spur bright future for the country.  

Alvarado said that the Malolos constitution, which was drafted shortly after the opening of the Malolos Congress inside Barasoain church, gave credence to the declaration of Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898 in Kawit, Cavite.

"Walang saysay ang Kawit kung walang Barasoain," Alvarado said.

City Mayor Christian D. Natividad, for his part, said that what happened at Barasoain church 118 years ago ushered in drastic change in the lives of the Filipinos and has put them in the world map as a free people of a sovereign and independent nation.

"During that time, the word sovereignty is alien to the Filipinos. It became battle cry that began inside Barasoain Church and continues to inspire the new generation," Natividad said.

The city mayor also cited the prayer of Rev. Dars Cabral, parish priest of the Nuestra Senora del Carmen, who said that the events that transpired here 118 years ago was woven by experience of patriots and revolutionaries who shed blood, sweat and tears.

He said Father Cabral was right that the Constitution was made with the aid of Divine Providence because it was drafted inside a sacred place, the Barasoain Church.

Earlier, Gov. Alvarado, together with Vice Governor Daniel Fernando, Mayor Natividad and acting Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., joined Tourism Assistant Secretary Rolando Canizal in paying tribute to the life-sized statue of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo during the offering of flowers highlighted by a 21- gun salute.

Canizal, who represented President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in the historic event, said that the commemoration and celebration of the 118th anniversary of Malolos Congress  is not only an annual tribute but also serves as a mirror of the path that would lead to a united Philippines.

He also said that it symbolizes the “triumph of freedom” that serves as a bridge to the past and present. (PNA)         

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Pres. Duterte urges soldiers to sustain war on drugs even if “I will not be here in this world” - By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Sept. 15 (PNA) -- President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday urged the military to take care of the country by sustaining the war against narcotics, even if “I will not be here in this world”.

”If the (drug) problem will still be there and I (will) not be here in this world, please take care of our country. Do not allow our country to take a deadly spin on drugs,” the Commander-in-Chief said during his visit to the First Scout Ranger Regiment (FSRR) Headquarters at Camp Tecson in San Miguel, Bulacan.

President Duterte pointed to the 3.7 million Filipino drug pushers and users scattered across the country as proof of the nation's serious drug problem.

”It was never known to us na ganun pala karami (that the problem was this extensive). There are 700,000 (pushers and users) who surrendered,” Duterte said.

In front of more than 300 Army Scout Rangers, President Duterte showed a new narcolist composed of some 1,000 barangay captains, mayors, governors, policemen and judges.

President Duterte did not name names but promised to make public soon the thick list of individuals mostly local government leaders linked to drugs.

”The final report is there. I am about to make it public. I talked to the congressmen, what I will do with this. There are about 1,000 barangay captains, mayors, congressmen governors, policemen, judges. They are all there,” he said.

The President said the list was finalized by the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

”I really do not know how. I will just to talk to your commanders. It’s really thick (list). That’s our problem. Hindi ko kaya ito. Masisira ako. (I cannot solve this myself. I will be ruined.) Now if you want to help me. If not, I really don’t know,” the President said.

"I may not be able to solve it. This problem may outlast me. Now, my concern is please take care of the country," he added.

To help soldiers fight the drug menace, President Duterte showed a copy of a certificate of a .45-caliber Glock 30 sidearm to be given to soldiers.

”I will endeavor to give each one of you. Just do your job. No problem with me. In accordance with my order (to fight drugs), I will assume full, legal responsibility and I will go to jail alone,” President Duterte assured the soldiers.

In closing, President Duterte appealed, “Do not allow drugs to destroy the next generation. Do not destroy the Filipinos.”

President Duterte has been making the rounds of military camps since he assumed office last June 30 to assure soldiers of his government’s full support. (PNA) 

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President Duterte asks soldiers not to let country take deadly spin on illegal drugs - By Emil G. Gamos

CAMP TECSON, San Miguel, Bulacan, Sept. 15 (PNA) --President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Thursday asked the soldiers here not to allow the country to take a deadly spin on illegal drugs.

The President made the call as he revealed the inclusion of some 1,000 government official on the new drug list.

"If the problem would still be there and I won't be here in this world, please take care of your country. Do not allow drugs," the President told the elite Army Scout Rangers here in Camp Tecson.

The Chief Executive said the final report about the new drug list is already with him and he is about to make it public.

"The final report is there. I am about to make it public. Nakipag-usap ako sa mga congressmen, 'What will I do with this?' There are 1,000 mayors, congressmen, judges, barangay captains, governors," he said.

The Chief Executive said his new drug list is based on raw data validated by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and National Intelligence and Coordinating Agency (NICA).

"In accordance with my order on illegal drugs, i will assume full legal responsibility and I will go to jail alone," the President said, adding that "I am doing this because I am trying to save the next generation.

He also asked the soldiers to keep focus on doing their tasks.

Wala kayong problema sa akin. I'll assume full legal responsibility. That's the guarantee I can give you," added.

After his speech, the President read a certificate for the grant of a .45 caliber Glock 30 sidearm to each of the soldiers.(PNA) 

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Bulacan's Singkaban Festival 2016 kicks off Thursday

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Sept. 7 (PNA)-- The most anticipated Singkaban Festival in Bulacan will once again showcase the diverse culture and arts of the province.

The weeklong celebration will kick off on Thursday, with Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel as the guest of honor.

This year’s celebration is anchored on the theme, “Singkaban Festival 2016: Lalawigan ay Ikarangal, Kasaysayan, Sining at Kultura ay Itanghal Tungo sa Kaunlaran."

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the event will highlight the cultural legacies of the province as the home of talents, artistry and uniqueness in preserving its history.

"Despite of the continuous modernization and development of our province, we are still able to preserve our rich culture and artistry. Through the celebration of Singkaban Festival, we will showcase the excellence of the Bulakenyos in different endeavors that we are truly proud of,” the governor said.

More than 3,000 Bulakenyos are expected to participate in the celebration that will begin with a thanksgiving mass and will be followed by the “Parada ng Karosa at Kasaysayan”, a parade of government and corporate floats that features the traditional arts of Bulacan with a touch of modern technology and a street play of the history of the province.

Different cultural exhibits including the Dakilang Bulakenyo Exhibit, Bulacañana Exhibit and Book Fair and Lakan Sining Exhibit that will showcase the life and contributions of Heneral Isidoro Torres and other revolutionary heroes who fought for national independence, will also be launched.

The governor also said there will be different trade fairs, including the Agri-Tourism and Tamis Stevia Fiesta, Tianggian sa Kapitolyo and Tatak Singkaban ng Central Luzon that will display the best products and delicacies of Bulacan and other provinces in the region that will surely attract thousands of local and foreign tourists.

Thousands of participants also await the Bulacan Food Festival Exposition (BUFFEX) that will offer food sampling and on-the-spot cooking demo and competitions.

Other activities that will provide fun and enjoyment to the Bulakenyos include concerts and performances of Parokya ni Edgar, Jose Marie Chan and the Bulacan Bass Brand as well as the competition of talents such as the Indakan sa Kalye and KBS Rewaynd.

“We are proud of our cultural inheritance that reflects who we are as Bulakenyos. There are lots of activities for our celebration that include cultural presentations and art exhibits that you will surely enjoy, so we are inviting everyone to witness and join us in celebrating Singkaban Festival,” Alvarado added. (PNA) 

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Bulacan gov rallies local execs to crush dope menace - By Emil G. Gamos

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan,  Sept. 6 ( PNA)-- Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said Monday that the strong stance of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa sparked the fire needed to crush the dope menace in the country which , he said has now become a dreaded disease that does not need band aid treatment but a major surgical operation.

The governor , who is also the chairman of the Regional Development Council (RDC) in Central Luzon, made the remarks during the first visit of Dela Rosa to the provincial police headquarters here which coincided with the inauguration of the “Bahay Pag-asa” Reformation Center, Monday afternoon.

Alvarado said it is an honor for Bulacan to be visited by the “man of the hour” who is fearlessly waging a no non-sense war against drug menace in line with the strong political will of President Duterte to free the country from the steely claws and evils of drug addiction.

"It is no longer poverty that is the main headache of our nation but the alarming proliferation of illegal drugs and its scary influence in our society,’ Alvarado said.

He recalled that in 1998, when he was still a congressman, together with then Congressman Duterte, the National Security Council has already informed them that the illegal drug trade has already became a growing concern.

"I just can’t imagine how big it is now. We really need a leader with a strong political will and a national police chief that will go all out to crush this menace. Under President Duterte, there is now a total war against illegal drugs and we must support it all the way,” Alvarado said.

He said that provincial and local leaders in Bulacan will fully support the all out war against illegal drugs to save the country and its people specially the youth.

For his part, the PNP chief said the war against drugs is no longer purely a police approach.

"It’s everybody's war now,” Dela Rosa said, saying it has already transformed into “a whole nation approach because of the all out support of local government units, leading the communities to be sincere in fighting the dope menace, of which he said that he is really very thankful.

"All is not lost. Let us accompany our President.We must always remain alert. We started strong, we will finish strong,” Dela Rosa said as he again reiterated his warning to all erring police to stop their illicit activities.

He said that with the all out support of LGUs “we will prevail and be victorious in this war.”(PNA)

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Bulacan recognizes police detectives who nabbed wanted criminals

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Sept. 6 (PNA) -- The provincial government of Bulacan has recognized the remarkable works of police detectives who have arrested wanted felons involved in murder cases and have solved those cases in a short span of time.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando presented Monday a plaque of recognition to police detectives led by Supt. Marlon Santos, chief of the Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB) of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office, for the swift solution of the murder case of former Pandi Vice Mayor Roberto Rivera, who was ambushed and killed last April 18 in Barangay Manatal, Pandi and the killing of barangay kagawad Emma Rodriguez of Calumpang, Calumpit on May 30, 2016.

Santos and police intelligence operatives arrested Ariel Orolfo, an alleged member of a gun-for-hire syndicate, by virtue of warrant of arrest in a murder case he committed before the former local official slay inside an online casino in Barangay Poblacion, San Ildefonso, last Wednesday.

Orolfo was tagged as the prime suspect for the killing of former Pandi Vice Mayor Rivera, who was shot dead by the suspect on board his Nissan pickup while on his way home in Barangay Manatal.

The victim died on the spot due to multiple gun shot wounds in his head and body.

The suspect was arrested by PIB operatives headed by Supt. Santos by virtue of warrant of arrest issued by Judge Hermenegildo C. Dumlao II of RTC, Branch 81, Malolos City, Bulacan for the crime of murder with no bail recommended. 

The arrest warrant was served by personnel of the Bulacan PIIB inside an E-Game-Online Casino where he was subjected for a prolong monitoring and surveillance.

Santos said that intelligence records showed the suspect was a member of a notorious gun for hire syndicate and alleged member of Communist Party of the Philippines/National Democratic Front/New People's Army operating in some provinces in Central Luzon such as Bulacan, Bataan, Pampanga and Nueva Ecija. 

Former Pandi Mayor Enrico Roque offered a PHP100,000 cash reward for the immediate arrest of the lone suspect.

Aside from Santos, also cited were SP03 Catarino Gacutan, P03 Crisanto Pilapil, P03 Theodore Juan and P03 Malon Buenaventura of PIB.

The governor and vice governor also recognized Calumpit police led Supt. Angel Garcillano, Inspector Edwin Caranza, SP04 Rommel Manazala and P03 Joey Gonzales for solving the slaying of kagawad Rodriguez.

Alvarado said that this only shows that skilled police detectives are pursuing leads that resulted in the immediate resolution of crime cases. (PNA) 

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Classes in some areas in Bulacan and Bataan suspended on Monday due to 'habagat'

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Sept. 5 (PNA) -- Classes in some areas of the provinces of Bataan and Bulacan were suspended on Monday due to southwest monsoon and low pressure area (LPA) that are expected to bring more rains.

In Bataan, Mayor Liberator Santiago, Jr. declared the suspension of classes in all levels in Abucay town, both in public and private.

Mayor Francis Garcia likewise declared the suspension of classes from pre-school to senior high school in Balanga City.

In Bulacan, classes in levels were suspended both in public and private in Meycauayan City and Marilao town.

Based on the weather advisory issued as of 7 a.m. on Monday, light to moderate with occasional heavy rains affecting some parts of Central Luzon, namely Bulacan, Bataan, Pampanga and Tarlac which may persist for 2-3 hours.

Yellow rainfall warning, on the other hand is up in Zambales where flooding in low-lying areas may prevail.

The weather bureau advised the public and the concerned disaster risk reduction and management councils to take appropriate action and monitor the weather condition in their respective area. (PNA) 

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NPA man linked to Pandi ex- vice mayor slay falls in Bulacan

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, Sept.2 (PNA)--Police intelligence operatives captured an alleged member the New People’s Army of the Communist Party of the Philippines/National Democratic Front (NPA-CPP-NDF), who is also said to be engaged in gun-for- hire activities during an operation in Barangay Poblacion, Wednesday night.

Report received by Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino, regional director of Police Regional Office 3 (PRO-3) from Bulacan police acting provincial director Sr. Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., said the arrested suspect was identified as Ariel Lorenzana y Valmocina, alias "Ogie," 36, a farmer and a resident of Valmocina St. in Barangay Pinaod, San Ildefonso.

Lorenzana was arrested by operatives of the Bulacan Police Intelligence and Investigation Branch (PIIB) by virtue of warrant of arrest in a murder case he committed before the former local official slay inside an online casino in Barangay Poblacion, San Ildefonso, Wednesday before midnight.

Caramat said Lorenzana  was  tagged as the prime suspect for the killing of former Pandi Vice Mayor Roberto "Ruben" Rivera, who was shot dead by the suspect on board his Nissan pickup while on his way home in Barangay Manatal in Pandi, Bulacan on April 18, this year.

The victim died on the spot due to multiple gun shotwounds in his head and  body.

He said the suspect was arrested by operatives of the Provincial Intelligence branch headed by Supt. Marlon Santos  by virtue of warrant of arrest issued by  Judge Hermenegildo C Dumlao II of RTC, Br., 81, Malolos City, Bulacan  for the crime of murder with no bail recommended. 

Caramat said the arrest warrant was served by personnel of the Bulacan PIIB inside an E-Game-Online Casino where he was subjected for a prolong monitoring and surveillance.

Santos said based on intelligence records, it showed that the suspect was a member of a notorious gun for hire syndicate and alleged member of CNN (Communist/ National Democratic Front/ New Peoples Army) operating in some provinces in Central Luzon such as  Bulacan, Bataan, Pampanga and Nueva  Ecija. 

Former Pandi Mayor Enrico Roque offered a PHP100,000 cash reward for the immediate arrest of the lone suspect.

Roque was among those accused in the said crime but no substantial evidence was presented against him.

The former mayor said he is still willing to give the reward.

"The suspect was already arrested. Probably, all the charges being hurled will be cleared. Let us wait for the result of the judicial process," Roque said in a telephone interview. (PNA) 

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DILG opens 15 emergency hotlines in Cebu

MANILA, Aug. 31 (PNA) -- Department of Interior and Local Government has officially opened 15 emergency hotline 911 operations in Cebu City on Monday.

“We have launched 15 operators in Cebu particularly in Region 7 last Monday at 7 a.m. as part of the nationwide system hotline engagement, they are now providing assistance to our Cebuanos,” Dir. Edgar Allan B. Tabell, Executive Director of PATROL 117 Commission said in an interview.

Tabell stressed that they have drafted an executive order to be submitted to the Office of the President wherein proposals for the enhancement of the hotline 911 was included.

“We have drafted an Executive Order that pertains to the agency that will lead and operate 200 operators all over the country, the proposed 2017 budget of maximum of Php300-million but we are calibrating it and the exclusive free call to 911 which proposed to be funded by the government. Furthermore, we also asked the Telcos to lower down fees.” he said.

Tabell also said that aside from Cebu, they were prioritizing the first operations, which will be facilitated in Bataan, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Sultan Kudarat and Bulacan. He also said that in the next two weeks, LGUs would now be linked to 911.

"As of now, what we are focusing is the increased of hired call agents and equipment, we have 175 agents all over the country that supervise the calls, we hired people from our sister-agencies, the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Bureau of Fire and Protection (BFP) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), trained four days by veterans agents. Aside from them, we are prioritizing the capacity of calls to be accommodated. In the long run, the 911 hotline will be applicable to landline and mobile phones.” He added.

He also said that average of emergency calls increases into 8.1 percent this month higher than they expected of 5 percent during its launch. The prank calls, however decreases into 17 percent. (PNA) 

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Bulacan solon bats for declaration of Aug. 30 as National Press Freedom Day

BULAKAN, Bulacan, Aug. 30 (PNA)-- Support for the declaration of August 30 of every year as “National Press Freedom Day” continues to snowball as a lawmaker in this province has vowed to file a bill in Congress that will make the event into a law and as fitting tribute to Bulakenyo hero Gat. Marcelo H. Del Pilar, who was born on August 30, 1850 in Barangay San Nicolas here.

Rep. Jonathan R. Sy-Alvarado (1st District, Bulacan) said he will file two House bills to honor Del Pilar, who is known as the “Great Propagandist” of the Philippine revolution against Spain.

Sy-Alvarad said one of the measures is the declaration of Aug. 30 of every year as “National Press Freedom Day” which, he said is now being pushed by the National Press Club (NPC) of the Philippines in honor of Del Pilar.

The young congressman from Calumpit, Bulacan said he had already talked to NPC President Paul Gutierrez to provide him with pertinent inputs that he will incorporate into his House bill.

He said he will continue the dreams of Bulakenyo to make the birthday of Del Pilar to be declared as a national special working holiday”.

The other House bill that Rep. Sy-Alvarado will file is the renaming of the North Luzon Expressway into its old name—the Marcelo H. Del Pilar Highway.  

"It is only fitting  to remember the heroism and patriotism of Del Pilar. The people of the great province of Bulacan should feel proud they have a native son and a native hero in Del Pilar who played a big role in the quest for freedom and independence,” Sy-Alvarado said.

NPC president Gutierrez said this is the second time that officers and members of NPC has paid tribute to the acknowledged father and patron saint of Filipino Journalists.

"We have already requested the national government last year to declare Aug.30 as National Press Freedom Day. Unfortunately, nothing has happened but we are very optimistic that the new administration under President Rodrigo Duterte will finally take cognizance of our appeal,” Gutierrez, who was among the invited speakers at the commemoration  of 166th birth anniversary of Del Pilar here, said.

He said President Duterte has already approved the Freedom of Information bill and has already formed the Presidential Task Force that will look into the spate of media killings in the country.

At the same event, Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said Del Pilar's legacy continues to inspire leaders and the people into shaping the nation into a peaceful and developed country in the Southeast Asia.

He said Del Pilar, who used the pen name “Plaridel”, shone brightly and became a beacon of hope when the reformist movement is losing hope for their oppressed country.

"He is like a bright star that is always watching us,” Alvarado said. (PNA) 

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Flood alert for low-lying, flood-prone areas in Central Luzon

CITY OF FERNANDO, Pampanga, Aug. 29 (PNA) -- The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council-3 (RDRRMC-3) on Monday asked the local disaster councils to strictly monitor the low-lying and flood-prone areas as southwest monsoon rains started to experience in most parts of Central Luzon.

Josefina Timoteo, chairperson of the RDRRMC and regional director of the Office of the Civil Defense in Region 3, said all concerned members of the disaster councils have been advised to take precautionary measures and other disaster response efforts.

”We already advised all Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices (DRRMOs) in the region to take precautionary measures to ensure the safety of the residents, particularly those living in the low-lying, flood and landslide prone areas,” Timoteo said.

The RDRRMC said at least 34 families or 106 individuals residing along the riverbanks in barangays Pamonoran, Naulo and Bangcol, all in Sta Cruz, Zambales, were preemptively evacuated following intermittent light to moderate rains since Sunday night.

In a weather advisory issued as of 1 p.m. Monday, the provinces of Zambales and Bataan are under yellow warning level.

Light to moderate with occasional heavy rains, on the other hand, affecting Pampanga.

Light to moderate rains will prevail Tarlac and Bulacan within the next three hours.

Timoteo said that since most parts of the Central Luzon are experiencing southwest monsoon rains, it is only appropriate to be always prepared in case of flooding.

She said concerned government agencies and local disaster councils are on standby to monitor the water level in major dams and rivers for possible flashflood and landslide that may be caused by rainfall.

Likewise, she asked the public to keep monitoring the weather reports.

”We are reminding everyone to do all the necessary actions in preparation for the possible effects of the southwest monsoon rains,” she added. (PNA) 

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Fate of civilian pilots in Quezon helicopter crash still unknown - By Priam F. Nepomuceno

MANILA, Aug. 24 (PNA) --- The fate of two civilian helicopter pilots remain unknown as of Wednesday or two days after their aircraft crashed in a mountainous area in Quezon last Monday.

48th Infantry Battalion head Lt. Col. Ramil Anoyo said troops have spotted the crash site in Barangay Umiray, Gen. Nakar but they still have to reach the area due to the rugged and difficult terrain.

The names of the two civilian pilots were not yet released as of this posting.

An Air Force search-and-rescue W-3A "Sokol" helicopter spotted the crash site 4: 30 p.m. Tuesday.

Only the tail boom of the civilian helicopter was spotted.

Anoyo said two helicopters flew in troops to be inserted in the area via air in support of ongoing ground troop movements towards the crash site.

Owned and operated by the air transport provider Macro Asia, the missing helicopter took off from Barangay Bigte in Norzagaray, Bulacan for Sitio Sumag, Barangay Umiray at noon Monday to pick up rescue teams earlier deployed for search-and-recovery operations for workers believed to have been lost during a flashflood at the Sumag Tunnel in Gen. Nakar last Aug. 13.

The tunnel flooding that occurred at the height of heavy monsoon rains last week resulted to the death of six construction workers and the rescue of a lone survivor. (PNA) 

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Two Central Luzon mayors linked to drug trade surrender firearms

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Aug. 24 (PNA) -- The two mayors in Central Luzon who are on the list of those local government executives allegedly involved in the drug trade on Wednesday surrendered 12 different high-powered firearms to Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3).

PRO-3 acting regional director, Chief Superintendent Aaron Aquino, in a press conference here presented to the media the firearms surrendered by Mabalacat City (Pampanga) Mayor Marino “Boking” Morales and San Rafael (Bulacan) Mayor Cipriano Violago.

Aquino said that Morales surrendered four firearms -- a caliber .40 pistol, caliber .380, one AK 47 rifle and a 12 gauge shotgun.

Violago, on the other hand, surrendered a 12-gauge shotgun, one 5.56 Elisco rifle, a 5.56 Micro Galil rifle, one 5.56 Colt rifle, a caliber .45 pistol, one 5.7 pistol, a caliber .40 pistol and caliber .45 pistol.

Aquino said Morales and Violago turned over their guns as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.

"The two mayors understood why they had to do it and we are thankful for their cooperation with us,” Aquino said.

Morales and Violago were named by President Duterte as among the list of narco-mayors, recently.

Aquino also said that all the PNP personnel acting as security of the two mayors were already recalled and re-assigned to different police units in the region.

He likewise said that the Regional Intelligence Division is now halfway in its validation of the 10 mayors and 10 vice mayors in Central Luzon who are reportedly linked to the illegal drug trade.

After the validation, Aquino said he will submit the names to Chief PNP Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa. (PNA) 

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Bulacan police adjudged as PHL's best police provincial office

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 18 (PNA) --- Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Thursday commended the officers and men of the Bulacan Provincial Police Office (BPPO) after it was adjudged as the best police provincial office during the 115th founding anniversary of the Philippine National Police  held Wednesday at the PNP National Headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.  

"A job well done. Carry on,” Alvarado said as he personally congratulated acting Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., after receiving the award from President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, together with Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary and National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) Chairperson Ismael Sueno and PNP Chief, Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa.  

"Such accomplishment is a testament of the hard work and dedication to duty of the 1,753 men and women of Bulacan police who continues to aim for service excellence in the performance of their sworn duties and responsibilities,” the governor, who is also the chairman of the Regional Peace and Order Council in Central Luzon, said. (PNA) 

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Alert still up as 'habagat' pummels Central Luzon - By Zorayda S. Tecson

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Aug. 16 (PNA) -- The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) on Tuesday remained on alert as moderate to heavy rains spawned by southwest monsoon and low pressure area continue to batter most parts of Central Luzon.

Josefina Timoteo, chairperson of the RDRRMC and regional director of the Office of the Civil Defense in Region 3, said local disaster councils in Central Luzon are keeping tight watch, particularly on areas in the region which will continue to experience rainy weather.

Based on the weather advisory issued by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), yellow rainfall warning level is up in the provinces of Zambales, Bataan and Pampanga.

The state weather bureau likewise said light to moderate with occasional heavy rains will still affect other parts of Central Luzon, namely Bulacan, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija.

”The disaster risk reduction and management councils in the regions are closely monitoring the weather situation and advised to take appropriate actions,” Timoteo said.

Likewise, she said local government units as well as residents, particularly those in the low-lying and flood prone areas are advised to take precautionary measures.

Latest data showed that one person is dead, one injured and another one missing since monsoon rains battered the region for the past days.

The victim, identified as Rufino Lozada, 74, of Barangay Upig, San Ildefonso, Bulacan, was drowned Sunday while crossing Maasim River.

Joseph Cepeda, 18, a resident of Villarica Subdivision, Barangay Poblacion, Sta. Maria, Bulacan, is still missing after being carried away by the strong current of water last Saturday.

Nanilo Enriquez, 53, a resident of San Pablo, Dinalupihan, Bataan, on the other hand, sustained head injury while walking on slippery road in Olongapo City.

A total of 17,172 families or 78,917 individuals in 121 barangays in the provinces of Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales were displaced by the continuous monsoon rains being experienced in the region.

Following the continuous threat of flooding, classes in most schools in the region were suspended on Tuesday.

In Pampanga, Gov. Lilia Pineda suspended classes in pre-elementary to senior high school levels, both in private and public.

Classes in the City of San Fernando and in the municipality of Guagua, in all levels, both in public and private, were also suspended.

Localized suspension of classes were declared in Tarlac, Bulacan, Zambales and Nueva Ecija.

In Tarlac, local executives of Tarlac City as well as municipalities of Capas, Concepcion, La Paz, Sta. Ignacia, Pura, Ramos and Victoria declared the suspension of classes in all levels, both in public and private.

The municipality of Paniqui, on the other hand, suspended classes from elementary to high school levels, both in public and private.

In Bulacan, no classes in all levels in Bocaue, Plaridel, San Miguel, Obando, Bulakan, Sta. Maria, Calumpit, San Ildefonso, Bustos, Baliwag, Guiguinto, Marilao, Hagonoy, Balagtas, Paombong, Pulilan and the cities of Malolos, Meycauayan and San Jose Del Monte.

Meanwhile, classes are also suspended from elementary to high school in San Rafael.

In Bataan, classes in pre-elementary up to senior high school were suspended in Balanga City and Dinalupihan.

In Zambales, Subic Mayor Jay Khonghun declared the suspension of classes in all levels, both in public and private.

Classes in all levels, both in public and private, in Olongapo City were likewise suspended.

In Nueva Ecija, Mayor Jay Vergara declared the suspension of classes from pre-elementary to high school levels, both in public and private. (PNA) 

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President Duterte cancels Camp Tecson visit due to bad weather - By Jelly F. Musico

CAMP TECSON, San Miguel, Bulacan, Aug. 16 (PNA) – President Rodrigo Duterte cancelled his scheduled visit on Tuesday at the headquarters of the First Scout Ranger Regiment (FSRR) here due to zero visibility in Manila.

Presidential Security Group (PSG) ground commander Rolanda Bautista announced the cancellation through FSRR Commander Col. Eduardo Davalan.

Several provinces in Central Luzon and areas in Metro Manila declared class suspension on Tuesday due to inclement weather brought by southwest monsoon.

The President was supposed to meet the 400 Scout Rangers Officers and men at 2 p.m. but after an hour, it was announced that the visit would not push through due to heavy monsoon rains.

It was the second time the presidential visit here has been cancelled.

Last July 26, President Duterte reset his visit at the FSRR headquarters located in Barangay Tartaro here due to time constraint. On the same day, the President visited first the Fort Magsaysay in Palayan, Nueva Ecija.

Since his inauguration last June 30, President Duterte had already visited 11 military camps throughout the country.

In his previous visits, President Duterte promised to pour in more supports for the government troops including state of the art medical facilities, more equipment and good compensation package. (PNA)

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Classes in some Central Luzon areas remain suspended on Wednesday

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Aug. 16 (PNA) -- Classes in Pampanga as well as in some areas of Bulacan and Bataan remain suspended on Wednesday due to continuous moderate to heavy rains brought about by the southwest monsoon and the low pressure area (LPA) east of Baler, Aurora.

In Pampanga, Gov. Lilia Pineda declared the suspension of classes in the province in all levels, both in public and private schools.

Likewise, work in offices at the Pampanga provincial capitol compound are also suspended due to flooding.

Localized suspension of classes in Bulacan, on the other hand, was also declared.

The cities of Malolos and Meycauayan also suspended classes in all levels, both in public and private.

Classes in all levels, both in public and private, in the municipalities of Paombong, Hagonoy, Pulilan, Calumpit, Guiguinto, Marilao, Plaridel, Bulakan and Bocaue are also suspended.

In Bataan, suspension of classes in all levels in Hermosa, both in public and private, was also declared.

Residents in the region were advised to keep monitoring on the weather condition and be alert for possible floods, particularly those living in low-lying and flood-prone areas. (PNA) 

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Region 3 remains on alert vs. habagat

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Aug. 15 (PNA) -- The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council-3 on Monday sustained the alert level for possible flooding in some low-lying and flood prone areas in Central Luzon as monsoon rains continue to affect most parts of the region.

Josefina Timoteo, chairperson of the RDRRMC and regional director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Region 3, said all members of the disaster councils have been ordered to continuously monitor the weather situation and undertake disaster response activities, particularly in the provinces of Zambales and Bataan.

Both provinces were placed under yellow rainfall warning by state weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

PAGASA said light to moderate rains will affect on Monday the provinces of Tarlac, Pampanga and Bulacan.

"We are advising residents situated in low lying and identified flood-prone areas to regularly monitor the weather situation in their areas and to take precautionary measures as southwest monsoon and low pressure area (LPA) continue to bring rains," Timoteo said.

The monsoon rains triggered flashfloods in some areas in the region over the weekend, affecting some 6,447 families or 26,631 persons in 76 barangays in Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga, and Zambales.

The RDRRMC also reported that some 4,187 families or 17,403 persons sought temporary shelter in 41 evacuation centers in the region.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development-3 has, so far provided assistance worth PHP1,421,560 to the provinces of Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga, and Zambales.

Meanwhile, class suspensions on Monday were declared in most parts of the region to ensure the safety of residents. (PNA) 

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5 dead due to monsoon rains --NDRRMC

MANILA, Aug. 14 (PNA) --The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Sunday reported that five people died due to floods and landslides caused by heavy rain brought by the southwest monsoon.

NDRRMC identifed the fatality as Benedict Brasileño, 68, resident of Barangay Canauiklian, Janiuay, Iloilo, who died due to drowning while crossng Malbug River when he was swept by a strong current around 6:00 a.m on Wednesday and his body was retrieved around 10 a.m. on the same day.

On Friday at around 8:40 p.m., a dead body was recovered at Nagtahan Pumping Station while on Saturday two persons reported dead due to a collapsed firewall along Oroquieta Street, Sta. Cruz Manila.

Also on Saturday, one person reported dead due to collapsed wall of shanty house located at 7th street Barangay Mariana, Quezon City.

NDRRMC said that the five fatalities are still subject for validation by the Department of Health.

The agency also reported one injured person identified as John Harry Parco Ocera, 38, resident Robinson Homes East, Antipolo City, Rizal who sustained injuiries on his legs after he was hit by large falling mountain rocks along Ortigas Ave., Extension, Barangay Dolores, Taytay Rizal on Friday evening.

One missing person also reported a certain Ruben Pahilagmo, 57, of Barangay Bognuyan Gasan, Marinduque, was reported missing after he went fishing last Aug. 8.

NDRRMC said that 15,665 families or 70,266 persons were affected in Regions 3, 4-A, 6, NIR (Negros Island Region) ARMM and NCR.

Of which 5,139 families or 24,225 persons sought temporary shelter in 52 evacuation center.

A total of seven road sections are not passable due to flooding and landslides one in Benguet(Bugias-Tinoc Road) ; three in Bulacan (Manila-North Road, Old MNR, San Fernando Section) ; and three in Pampanga (Jose Abad Santos Ave., and Northwest Diversion Road).

A total of 65 passengers are still stranded in Coast Guard District in Southern Tagalog.

A total of PHP469,560 worth of relief assistance provided to NIR Local government units (Pontevedra with PHp131,000: San Enrique with PHP246,600; and Valladolid woth PHP91,960).

Relief funds amounting to PHP293,355,962.66 were already made available at the field offices in the regions of NCR, CAR, 1, 3, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, 6, NIR and 12.

Meanwhile, the NDRMMC is now under "red alert" means that all of its units are now at congregation point and ready for immediate deployment. (PNA) 

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Bulacan gov calls on local execs to fully support all-out war vs dope

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug.13 (PNA)--Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado has called on local officials, law enforcement agencies, the military and the community to join hands and rally behind President Rodrigo Duterte’s all out offensive against the illegal drugs trade.

The governor, who is also the chairman of the Regional Development Council (RDC) in Central Luzon, made the clarion call during the monthly Peace and Order Council (POC) meeting at the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center here Friday afternoon.

"The government has already gained grounds in addressing poverty and is now focusing on a more clear and present danger that could ruin the very future of our nation,” Alvarado, who is also the chairman of the POC said.

He recalled that during the 11th Congress when he and President Duterte were still “neophyte” congressmen, the dope menace was already a major threat in the country and had already become a multi-billion pesos clandestine business.

“That was many years ago. I don’t want to imagine how big it is today. Big time drug syndicates can now finance their men and install them in public office and has millions of cash to buy and corrupt government  officials,” Alvarado said.

He said that previous administration had focused on poverty alleviation and had already set the engines of growth in full motion but failed to effectively curtail the problem of the dope menace.

He added that only this time, under the watch of President Duterte, that this “clear and present danger” was being addressed to the hilt.

Alvarado also called on the newly inducted officers of the League of Municipalities-Bulacan Chapter headed by Guiguinto Mayor Ambrosio “Boy” Cruz Jr., to seriously work together and help the President in battling this monster.

He said that he knew that Bulacan officials did not want any of them to be tagged as drug lords or coddler.

"No local executives, no policemen, no public officials should be involved. They should not dip their hands because good public servants and law enforcers are bound to get maligned too. Imagine if someone posted in the social media that a certain local official is involved, how could that person recover. It will be a waste of time, instead of working and doing his or her mandate, that somebody would be very busy clearing his name,” he said.

“I am asking everybody here to give full support to our President in this fight.Let us also pray to the Lord to give him the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the wisdom of King Solomon because the general welfare of the Filipino people is enshrined in the Constitution,” he added.

Alvarado also called on the LMP-Bulacan chapter and the Sanguniang Panglalawigan in addressing  the rehabilitation of the thousands who voluntarily surrendered .

“It’s a problem but we just can’t leave them like that. We also have to help them. I would ask the help of the business sector in the establishment of effective rehabilitation centers in the province,” he said.

Likewise, he asked the LMP-Bulacan chapter to continue their support to the Bulacan police who are waging an all out  war against drug gangs and dealers.

He congratulated the Bulacan police for doing a good job and encourage them to “carry on” but always respect due process and law.

Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., said that as of Friday noon, the number of armed drug dealers who died after engaging lawmen has already reached 102, where all of them killed in legitimate police anti-narcotics operations province-wide.

Caramat also took the opportunity to thanked local executives for their full support in combating the drug menace.

Malolos City Mayor Christian D. Natividad was among the local executives who has provided additional patrol cars to the Malolos City Police Station for exclusive use in the all out war against the dope menace.

Natividad is also giving cash rewards for the neutralization of high value targets and drug dealers in the historic capital city.(PNA) 

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August 15 declared as special non-working day in Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 12 (PNA)--August 15 is a special non-working holiday in Bulacan in celebration of the province's 438th foundation day.

The declaration is based on The New Provincial Administrative Code of Bulacan Section 27 or “The Provincial Legal Holidays” of Bulacan.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the free day aims to give Bulakenyos more time to reflect, look back and give importance to the efforts of their forefathers in giving them a province that they can call their own.

"It is only appropriate to commemorate the founding anniversary of our province. This was the place of many noble Bulakenyos," Alvarado said.

The celebration will kick off with a holy mass at 7:30 a.m. in front of the provincial capitol building here to be followed by a flag raising ceremony, oath to the national flag and wreath laying ceremony at the monument of Marcelo H. Del Pilar.

Senator Richard Gordon will serve as the guest speaker.

Meanwhile, Dr. Jaime Veneracion, a writer, professor and historian is also invited to the event to give a brief talk about the province’s founding history.

Likewise, the celebration marks the opening of Singkaban Festival with the theme “Singkaban Festival: Lalawigan ay Ikarangal, Kasaysayan, Sining at Kultura ay Itanghal Tungo sa Kaunlaran." (PNA) 

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Dengue cases in Bulacan decrease by 43%

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 12 (PNA)-- Dengue cases in this province declined by 43 percent in the first seven months of this year compared to the same period in 2015.

Based on the report of the Provincial Epidemiology & Surveillance Unit (PESU) of the Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO), there are 1,319 reported dengue cases from January 1 to July 30, this year, as against 2,318 cases in the same period last year.

Of the total dengue cases, 89 percent were admitted in hospitals while 11 percent were outpatient.

PESU records showed that municipalities and cities with the highest number of reported dengue cases were Plaridel with 152; San Miguel with 141; City of San Jose del Monte with 113; City of Malolos with 99 ; and Baliuag and Santa Maria with 90 each.

Despite this development, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado reminded the Bulakenyos not to be complacent.

The governor asked the residents to continue cleaning their surroundings and be more vigilant when it comes to dengue symptoms.

He also urged his provincemates 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.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health through the PPHO and the Department of Education (DepEd) launched the vaccination against dengue program in March to Grade 4 pupils, ages nine and up and are enrolled for the year 2015-2016.

The 61,361 target pupils who were already given vaccines will receive another shot after six months to ensure their protection against the deadly disease.

The next schedule of vaccination will be in October, November, December 2016 and April, May and June 2017. (PNA) 

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Bulacan provincial jail declared free of drugs, deadly weapons - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug.9 (PNA) -- Police declared the Bulacan Provincial Jail (BPJ) free of narcotics and deadly weapons after a three-hour search Tuesday afternoon.

Police, led by the Bulacan Police's chief of intelligence Supt. Marlon Santos, conducted the surprise inspection with the help of drug-sniffing dogs. They later said they did not find any illegal drug and crude weapon found during previous inspections.

Provincial jail warden, Police Col. (ret.) Fernando Villanueva, said the surprise inspection was in line with the directives of Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado to make sure that the BPJ is drug-free and orderly.

He attributed the BPJ inmates' rehabilitation to the spiritual and livelihood courses initiated by the provincial government and various cause–oriented groups.

"We see to it that the inmates are all actively participating in purpose-driven programs aside from the tight security procedures that we are implementing at our provincial jail,” Villanueva said.

He also disclosed that the installation of jammers and other security gadgets has helped a lot in preventing the entry of illegal drugs into the jail.

Villanueva further noted that the provincial jail, which could only hold 700 prisoners, is crammed with more than 3,000 inmates, 1,669 of whom are facing charges under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.   

“The number of inmates with drug cases are rising, mainly as the effect of the all-out war being waged against dealers of dangerous drugs,” he said.

"When drug-related detainees arrive, I cluster them into groups and tell them not to attempt to sneak in illegal drugs,” he added.

Villanueva also said that the governor constantly reminds him to check on the health of the inmates.

Santos, a former provincial officer of the Bulacan Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit, noted the drastic change at the BPJ.(PNA) 

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2 mayors in President Duterte's drug list surrender to CIDG - By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan

MANILA, Aug. 7 (PNA) -- Two local chief executives in various municipalities on Sunday surrendered after their names were announced by President Rodrigo Duterte as allegedly involved in the proliferation of illegal drugs in various parts of the country.

San Rafael Bulacan Mayor Cipriano Violago and former Surigao Del Sur Mayor Rasmiya Macabagos immediately went to the headquarters of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) at the PNP Headquarters in Camp Crame to explain their side.

Violago said he is willing to cooperate with any investigation in order to disprove the allegations against him.

Last Friday, Maguing Mayor Mamaulan Abinal Molok, former Mayor Mohammadali Abinal of Marantao, Lanao del Sur and Mayor Rasul Sangki of Ampatuan, Maguindanao also surrendered to the CIDG to give their statement.

Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte, was the first to surrender to PNP Chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa.

Like the three incumbent and former mayors, judges and local chief executives named may likely be also sent home since the PNP has no basis to hold them.

Earlier, Dela Rosa also said that he is expecting other local officials to surrender.

The PNP Chief said the statement that would be provided by those who yielded could be used against them by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

But he said what is important is the intention of those who surrendered to reform and help in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

He also said these mayors who have surrendered earlier already pledged to lead the war against illegal drugs in their municipalities. (PNA) 

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President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s speech during a wake visit to killed-in-action soldiers Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao, Panacan, Davao City 07 August 2016 (Note: Edited Version)

MANILA, Aug. 7 (PNA) -- I would like to address myself to the Communist Party of the Philippines.

I would like to talk to you about the rules of war. Kasi po if it is to your advantage, and I’ve been around in government for the last 40 years, you are the very first to cry foul when something goes wrong even in the handling of prisoners. Marami pong sundalo na idinemanda ninyo under the Geneva Convention in the handling of prisoners. But one of the important, and may be a very humane provision, iyang binabawal po iyong landmine. I cannot understand for the life of me that if it is to your advantage, you invoke the Geneva Convention provisions. And yet, time and again, I’ve been the mayor of the city sinabi ko sa inyo, akala ko ba sumusunod tayo sa Geneva Convention? Or would you like that I would also order the Armed Forces na gamitin ninyo ang landmine pag kayo ang naka-posisyon at in-ambush ninyo – which is which?

It cannot be a different rule for you and a different rule for the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the police. Or would you rather na tabla tayo na sabihin ko sa kanila start using the landmines for offensive or defensive purposes?

We’re having talks, you better decide now – tonight – nandito ako sa Davao. You may hear it maybe or if it is there – decide now. Gagamit ba tayo ng landmine? Kasi kung gagamit tayo I will order the Armed Forces to prepare the explosives also, iyong ordnance, para tabla. Eh bakit iyong sundalo lang ng gobyerno ang magdusa nito? Lahat tayo. I can understand. Iyong prinsipyo mo – prinsipyo mo – fine.

We’ve been at war for almost 45 years. That’s why I’m pleading to everybody including the Communist Party of the Philippines to continue with the peace talks. I have kept my silence despite the ranting of Sison. Hindi na ako… kasi kung mayor lang ako pwede – pwede talaga – but then I carry the burden of a nation and so I just have to control my mouth. But this cannot go on. This crazy thing about just the landmine, ito nag-buk iyong mukha nawala na. And this has been going on for 45 years.

Anong naibigay ninyo sa Pilipinas actually? You cannot even hold a barangay. Influence? Yes. Why? Patayan eh. Kayo lang naman ang abante diyan – because you hold the gun. Alisin mo sa atin lahat iyong baril, titingnan natin, karate na lang. Aba’y exasperated ako sa… you must decide now. Because if I hear another explosion that would kill the civilians and the soldiers - sometimes sumasakay sa truck, anak ng… may pamilya iyan. When you blow up an Army truck, alam mo iyang mga sibilyan na iyan, hindi iyan sibilyan – mga pamilya iyan umuuwi doon sa kampo. Because they’re human beings and the practice really is to bring the family within the camp vicinity or parameters.

Nasasaktan rin ako para sa inyo. Kayong mga komunista dito sa Davao, kung mamatay kayo, sino pumupunta doon sa punerarya? Ako. Big-time leaders ninyo pinayagan kong ilibing dito. These guys were sad but I told them that, you know, we are in government. Wala tayong magawa eh. We cannot exhibit the same behavior because dala-dala natin iyong gobyerno. Wala tayong magawa. Then in pursuing a quest for peace I have to do it I told them. Do not be angry at me because, you know, it would just really worsen.

Ngayon pag ganito, if the talks failed, meron tayong usapan – I would insist you include the landmine issues or else no talks at all. Then we fight for another 45 years. Walang problema. Mag-recruit ako ng isang milyong Pilipino – fight.

In the 45 years, anong nakita ninyo sa pamilya ninyo? Nakita mo iyong anak ninyong lumaki? Have you elected a single leader here in Davao. Manalo lang kasi na-ticket. And yet I carry ba yan, kasi pareho ang damdamin natin.

The problem is arms struggle. I can be a communist party member but I will never go to war. Iyang armadong pakig bisug ang problema. No, I’m not trying to understand me. I’m saying now. Stop the landmines o you tell the leaders at itong gobyerno ko – get out from the talks. Alam mo bakit? I am now invoking the Geneva Conventions. It is part of the international law not only of the Philippines but around the world. Either you stop it or we stop talking. Fight na lang – another 45 years.

Ba’t makababa ba kayo kung mamatay ang tatay mo, nanay mo? Kayo ba pag birthday ng mga anak ninyo nakakababa kayo doon sa ano…? Is that the life that you really need? Iyong mga lider ninyo hindi naman nananalo. So anong gusto ninyo? Either you stop it now or I’m ordering the government panel to come home. Actually iyong gastos nila di ibigay ko na lang sa sundalo. Sige bili kayo ng isang barkong explosives diyan, paputukin natin itong…

I’m not pleading this time. That’s an ultimatum.

I hear another explosion killing people, not only soldiers, killing people - no talks. Pasensya na. ‘adre, iyan talaga ang buhay. Kung hindi kayo magkaintindihan, e di good. Hindi naman nauubusan ng pera ang gobyerno, hindi naman talaga ninyo kayang tumbahin - bukas.

The Defense Department is asking for 20 more thousand troops. Tiningnan ko iyong budget, wala akong pera. Pero iyan ang gusto ninyo, ibigay ko sa Defense Department iyang gusto na additional 20,000. Huwag na iyong mga pagkain, iyang medisina – huwag na iyan. Dito muna sundalo kasi may giyera tayo, for peace. Ikansela mo iyan. We sacrifice the hungry and the poor para may panlaban tayo. Patayan. Iyan ang gusto ninyo, di sige. Hindi naman ako mahirap kausapin eh. Pag iyan ang gusto mo, God.

Now, I’m reading now the personalities in the Philippines. It might be true. It might not be true. But then iyong sinasabi ninyong due process isa iyan. Baka sakali ma-demanda itong mga taong ito – administrative or criminal – then they should have due process – presumption of innocence. Lahat iyan sa Constitution ibigay ko iyan but my mouth is – walang due process dito. Iyong due process has nothing to do with my mouth. Walang proceedings dito, walang abogado.

Ako’y nagsasalita po sa taong-bayan at malaman po ninyo ano’ng katotohanan sa ating buhay dito sa Pilipinas. Ako po’y kaisa-isang Presidente na gumagawa nito. Alam mo bakit? Kailangang malaman ng tao kung ano’ng nangyayari sa bayan. It’s very important for the people to know the state of things or conditions in this country. That is my sworn duty.

Hindi ninyo ako mapigilan. And I am not afraid of… sabihin ninyo na ikulong ako pagka – fine. Wala akong drama diyan. At sabihin ko sa inyo ang totoo - I can… pwede kong iwanan itong Presidency. Wala akong - sabihin mo na hangal-hangal ako diyan sa adoration ng tao. Ayaw kong magpakita nga Manila because I could cause traffic. I’m finished, I’m done. Wala akong onor na habulin sa buhay ko. Presidente na ako. Hindi ako makikipag-kumpetensiya diyan sa mga pulitiko. Ang trabaho ko is to take care of the Filipino. Period.

Now there are things that are really reaching crisis and it’s not even epidemic – kayo, Carol – it’s pandemic.

You know, two years ago sabi ng PDEA three million addicts. Noon iyon – two, three years ago – I remember. Sabi nila 92% of the barangays in the Metro Manila are contaminated with drug use. Noong mayor ako, ako iyong binubugbog ng human rights issue. Hindi ako nakinig sa inyo, kasi may trabaho ako. At alam ko talagang nagka… it was really spreading like wildfire. And I was scared for my country kasi Filipino ako. Ngayon Presidente ako, I have to worry sa lahat ng mga anak ninyo. Why? Because kung three million iyon – two years or three years ago – incremental, ibig sabihin tumubo talaga iyan – maraming na-contaminate naman kasi iyong natamaan maghanap ng biktima iyun para suporta niya. Iyon namang isa – and it’s a vicious cycle – it is almost an internecine affair amongst sa ating Pilipino.

So ito, droga. I said sorry. Meron ditong tumawag sa akin. But you know if there is a rule, a law, either you enforce it or none at all. Pero mga kaibigan, kung hindi ko basahin kasi kilala kita, ang pinakamabuti kong magawa para sa bayan mag-resign. E kung ganoon ako katali, mahiya naman ako sa kumpare ko, e nakatulong naman ito sa pagka-Presidente – well and good – at mabayaran kita sa anong paraan mabuhay ko. Kung sabihin mo may nag-huramentado diyan tawagan mo ako, harapin nating dalawa. Pero not this one because this is not personal to me. Hindi ko kayo kalaban. Wala akong sama ng loob sa inyo. Pero galit na ako ngayon. Kasali ka na. Someday magkikita tayo.

I’ll start with judges. Judge Mopas of Dasmarinas, Cavite. Judge Reyes, only known, Baguio City. Judge Savillo-RTC Branch 13, Iloilo City. Judge Casiple – Kalibo, Aklan. Judge Rene Gonzales – MTC – blanko dito. Judge Navidad - RTC Calbayog City. Judge Exequiel Dagala – MTC. Judge Dapa, Siargao.

Mayor: Reynaldo Flores – Naguilian, La Union. Dante Garcia – Tubao, La Union. Martin de Guzman – Bauang, La Union. Marjorie Apel Salazar – Lasam, Cagayan. Goto Violago – San Rafael, Bulacan. Marino Morales – Mabalacat, Pampanga. Felix Castillo – Langiden, Abra. Ex-Mayor Eufronio Eriguel – Agoo, La Union. Jesus Celeste “Boying alias” – Bolinao, Pangasinan. Jose “Pepe” Miranda – Santiago City, Isabela. Vicente Amante – San Pablo City, Laguna. Ryan Dolor – Bauan, Batangas. Vice Mayor Edgardo Trinidad – El Nido, Palawan.

In the Visayas: Alex Centena – Calinog, Iloilo. Julius Ronald Pacificador – Hamtic, Antique. Jed Mabilog, I think he’s the mayor of Iloilo City. Sigfredo Salangutin Betita – Carles, Iloilo. Marciano Malones – Maasin, Iloilo.

Sabi ko noon eh, noong sa campaigning actually lahat ng tao doon, lahat ng tao: Mayor, kung maari tulungan mo kami. Waay ko sentimiento sa inyo ah. Waay ko utang, ti waay ka man nagpangayu sa akon. So, doon sa Iloilo many times, almost desperate, mayor, ang droga. So we just pray, just pray that I will win and may be in the fullness of God’s time I will take care of this problem. Ito, I’m sorry, kaibigan tayo pero…

Marciano Malones, Maasin, Iloilo. Michael Rama – the former mayor of Cebu City. Hector Ong – Laoang, Northern Samar. Rolando Espinosa - alam mo hinahanap kita hanggang ngayon. Nauna ka lang kay Bato. Lahat kayong local officials, at this point mag ano muna ako ha?

Beda Canamaque – Basay, Negros Oriental. Ex-Mayor Madeline Ong – Laoang, Northern Samar. Dito muna ako.

All policemen, PNP personnel assigned as security guards, security personnel ng mayor I have mentioned, you are hereby relieved of your duty and immediately report to your mother unit. Wala na itong… tatanggalin ko iyong operational authority over them – 24 hours. Lahat – military, police nakadikit diyan sa mga ito, I give you 24 hours to report to your mother unit or I will whack you. I’ll dismiss you from the service.

Vice Mayor Francis Ansing Amboy – Maasin, Iloilo. Fralz Sabalones – San Fernando, Cebu – who ran for mayor but actually maybe they lost. Attorney Antonio Pesina of Iloilo City. Erwin “Tongtong” Plagata – Iloilo City.

The most shabulized – is that the word – shabulized, is there such a word shabulized? I will say that wala akong personal sa kanila ha – Iloilo.

Ex-Congressman JC Rahman Nava – Guimaras. Congressman Party-list Jeffrey Celis, Panay chapter. Lider pa ba ang yawa. Ayan oh. Panay chapter – bwisit. Wa pa ba ibang trabaho diyan? Baka may bakante sa inyo?

Mindanao: Abubakar Abdulkarim Afdal – Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur. Gamar Ahay Janihim – Sirawai, Zamboanga del Norte. David Navarro – Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur. Bobby Alingan – Kolambugan, Davao del Norte. Yusofa Monder Bugong Ramin – Iligan City, Lanao del Norte. Jessie Aguilera – Alegria, Surigao del Norte. Fahad Salic – Marawi City. Mohammad Ali Abenal, iyong nag-surrender, sino kaya ang kasama ng yawa na yun? Dalawa sila. Jamal Dadayan – Buadiposo-Buntong, Lanao del Sur. Sabdullah Macabago – Saguiran, Lanao del Sur. Muslim Aline Macadatu – Lumbatan, Lanao del Sur. Rasul Sangki – Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao. Montaser Sabal – Talitay, Maguindanao. Vicman Montawal – Datu Montawal, Maguindanao. Pati iyong sarili niyang bayan. Samsudin Dimaukom – Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao. Norodin Salasal – Datu Salibo, Maguindanao.

Ex-Mayor: Benahar Tulawie – Talipao, Sulu. Reynaldo Parojinog alias Andong, the mayor of Ozamiz City. Nova Princess Parojinog Echavez, used to be the wife of, I think, Colangco. Iyong poster boy doon sa… pa-blondie-blondie pa ang buhok hindi naman tisoy.

Alam mo, maski saan kayo magpunta aabangan ko kayo. Maski wala na ako sa presidency, habang may baril ako. Gusto ninyo gisingin ninyo ako para… ito sabi niya, hindi… maybe I believe you. He’s a personal friend. Kasama namin iyan sa kawsa, but I’m sorry because your name appears here.

Omar Solitario Ali – Marawi City. He used to be the… I said alam mo magkaibigan tayo, Rama, Solitario - either I read all or I read not, I cannot play. Sa trabaho kong ito, I cannot play. Kailangan basahin ko itong lahat andito. Galing sa military pati sa pulis – lahat nandito, or hindi ko basahin.

Abdul Wahab Sabal – vice mayor ito, Talitay, Maguindanao. Otto Montawal, Datu Montawal, Maguindanao. Nida Dimagkon – Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao. Arafat Salic – Marawi City. Rasmiyah Macabago – Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur. Congressman Guillermo Romarate Jr. – 2nd District, Surigao del Norte. Former 2nd District Board Member Ricardo Parojinog Ardot, so iba itong si ano, kapatid siguro ito.

I would like to just give you the advice. Once you hear your name mentioned here, if you are somewhere, you are now relieved of your present assignment. Report to the PNP within 24 hours or I will order the entire Armed Forces and the police to hunt for you. Nasa sa inyo iyan.

Police Inspector Rolando Batulayan (retired). Police Superintendent Maristelo Manalo – PNP-CIDG. PCI Roberto Palisoc – Station 7 MPD. Superintendent Ciceron Ada (retired). PCI Eric Buenaventura – Navotas. Non-commissioned officers.

Kaya dumating tayo dito eh, you know why? Kayo iyong enforcer and you allowed yourself to be used. You are working for the government, ang nagbubuhay mo noon na bata pa kayo, bago, ang Pilipino. Pagdating ninyo, nasaan kayo? Nandito na kayo. You destroyed the country. Sabihin ninyo kung anu-anong gusto ninyo. Di mag-shabu na lang tayong lahat pati sundalo. You want a country now? Sabay na lang tayo. You have infected today iyong nag-surrender lang, ha? Ang hindi nag-surrender takot o matapang and ready, hindi pa iyan bilang.

There are now 600,000 Filipinos who are addict – pusher and user. Huwag mo akong bigyan diyan na user ka lang – wala ka namang pera, hindi ka naman anak ng… hindi kita iniinsulto. E ako anak rin ng mahirap pero hindi ako kagaya mo. Ang IQ ninyo, itong mga ito - katorse. Bakit kayo pumasa sa…? That’s treason. Kumbaga noong old times treason now is a state of war and you’ll become a spy and there is a war going on. But actually in the olden times it’s treason. That’s a crime against the country of the Republic of the Philippines. Di na lang kayo na-konsensya niyan?

Meron pa ditong mga pulis naririnig ko, sabi, bakit ako maggawa ng ganoon? E after six years ano? Say goodbye to your promotion. Maghintay kayo six years. Say goodbye. Hindi ka na ma-promote. Either you’re a cynic, sigurista ka or you are a coward. Ngayon kung takot ka, sinabi ko na sa inyo sagot ko kayo personally and officially – kung hindi pa ba na sapat sa inyo ang… umalis ka sa pwesto. Ito wala na to onor. We will file… wag na iyong criminal, beyond reasonable doubt, e marunong ka e pulis kaya. Administratively, you’re dead. You separate yourself from the PNP. Do not destroy the young men and women who are true to their country diyan. Huwag ninyong sirain ang PNP; huwag ninyong sirain ang Armed Forces, bagay which is a consolation to you, guys, here, wala.

Police non-commissioned officer: PO2 Geraldine Bautista Manuel – PNP PRO2 Health Service. Babae ito. SPO3 Ronald Calap – Isabela PPO. POC Rodel Samoledo – Lalio Police Station, ewan ko kung saan iyan. PO3 Cecilio Domingo – Nueva Ecija siguro ito, CIDT. PO2 Romando Mendoza, this is I think, excuse me, Ryan Mendoza – Tarlac Police Station. Jeffrey Serafica – Butuan PPO. PO1 Norman Adarlo – Puerto Galera NPS. Mark Canete – RSRPSB, ano itong yawa na ito, MIMAROPA, ngayon lang ako nakarinig niya, opisina iyan? Ah unsa nang, oo, Region 4-B nga.

PO1 Mark Christian Catalina – PNP Camarines Norte. PO2 Alan Carpio – PCP 8 Pasay City. PO3 Eric Lazo – QCPD Station 6. PO3 Alexander Macabeo – PCP 3 Paranaque City. PO3 Johnny Mahilum – QCPD Station 6, Batasan. Doon siguro pinapasa iyong congressman na iyon. PO2 Celito Melendrez – Binangonan Police Station.

Actually ngayon lang ito, as corrected, I have retrieved validation pagdating – raw lang iyong akin eh. Tanggalin mo iyong protector-protector, kasi hindi natin sigurado iyan, or take what. Baka sabihin niya iyong bata niya, e huwag mong galawin iyan, bata ni Duterte iyong security niyan, parang ganun. So I had it revalidated. And again when I saw the mayors na kilala ko, I had it revalidated. Ngayon lang ito pinasa sa akin.

PNP officers: General, tapos na ito, Vicente Loot (retired). General Valerio – Santa Barbara, Iloilo (retired). General Bernardo Diaz – Region 6. General Idio – RTC of Calbayog City. Police Superintendent Floro (retired) – Antique PNP and City Director. Police Superintendent Kashmir Disomangcop – COP of Iloilo Base Commander. Police Superintendent Delia Paz – Chief RDIDM. Police Superintendent Genepa – RIU Region 6 Intelligence. Police Superintendent Ipil Duenas, walang address. Superintendent Condag. Police Superintendent Eugenio Malic – PNP Maritime Group. PNP Lamsis, former P/Supt of Chief Antique, anti-drug. Police Superintendent Gomboc. Police Superintendent Lebin. PCI Rio Maymay. PSI Kenneth Militar – iyong isa sa Iloilo – Militar – Iloilo. PSI Donasco, walang address. Inspector De Jose – SOG PNP Region 6. Police Inspector Duarte, buti na lang hindi Duterte ang yawa (laughter), former PCOP of Arevalo, Iloilo. Iloilo grabe talaga. Wala ito, sabihin mong pulitika. PIC Vicente Vicente – Chief of Police Banate. Superintendent Romeo Santander – former chief Intel Cebu.

Kaya umabot tayo ng 600,000 tibuok, ano bang tibuok? Buong Pilipinas kasi may naglaro. Gaano bakit kadali? Bakit napakarami po? How is it that is in this magnitude? It is because government personnel were into it. Iyan ang explanation. Kung anu-ano lang diyan ang shabu-shabu. Kaya dalawa, tatlo, apat. Ako iyong human rights violator, talagang hinawakan ko ang Davao kasi alam ko delikado, talagang inipit ko sila dito. Extrajudicial killing, maybe. Pero sabihin mo nagpatay ako ng tao nakatali na, you must be crazy. Extrajudicial killing.

At alam mo sa totoo, I’ll share with you a secret that you do not want to believe. Iyang mga pusher bangag iyan. And the first thing alam ninyo kung meron kayong mga… di ba sinasabi may nagha-hunting sa akin, meron taong sumusunod. Because the first thing that will destroy the mind or the mindset is paranoia – paranoid – kaya magdala ng baril.

Ngayon sabi nitong mga NGO, itong mga newspaper, bakit patay lahat? Bakit may baril? Planted? Maybe one or two. Ang pulis pag mag-operate iyan hindi isa lang siya o dalawa. May back up iyan - tatlo, apat iyan sila may dalang armalite. Kaya pagka itong mga pusher alam nila makukulong na sila eh. Bangag, sira ang ulo, talagang…

O tingnan mo ang nangyari sa Chief of Police ng Magsaysay, Davao del Sur, o di patay, ah buhay. Ngayon, I hope and I pray that he would make it. Tinamaan sa dibdib, shattered. Iyong isang pulis… I forgot I apologize for the lapse of memory, iyong namatay he was serving a warrant, droga, patay. O iyong mga NGO ngayon, mga newspaper, mga… we respect your views but kindly explain to me. Kung sina-salvage iyan bakit mamatay itong pulis. Ngayon he’s hanging between life and death. Kindly tell me. Bakit? E di kung salvage, barilin mo na lang ng armalite distansiya. Huwag mo na lang lapitan, hintayin mo nang lumabas ng bahay, e di targetin mo. O bakit ito ngayong mga pulis na… hindi lang ito, karami na ‘yan in the past.

Kaya sabi ko sa pulis ko dito noong mayor ako, huwag kong makita ka na you are dying there, sipain kita. Bakit ka magpa-una? Barilin mo. Hostile iyang bunot-bunot. Huwag ka nang maghintay maglabas pa ng baril. Basta iyong mga ganun-ganun. E ngayon kung magkamot ka, e di pasensya. (laughter) Alang-alang ka maghintay ka ba, ano, magkakamot o may baril? Kaya sabi ko itong mga pulis huwag ko kayo maabutan ko na nagkikirig-kirig dyan, sipain kita. Bakit ka nagpa-una? Iyan ang order ko sa pulis. Iyang Davao. Ngayong Presidente ako, ganoon. Bakit maghintay ka pa na ilabas niya at sabihin, sir, apple lang ito, gutom ako. That ain’t that way. Illegal? No, of course not. Human rights violation.

Ngayon, itong mga NGO, you’ve been repeating this kind of sloganeering that, you know, drug addiction is a disease, is an ailment. Sakit iyan, hindi natin patayin. Dapat igamot. Okay. Saan bang opisina ninyo? Itong 600,000 ibigay ko sa inyo bukas. Sabihin ko doon sa mga iyon i-deliver ninyo iyan. Sino yan, iyang NGO? Hala, sige, ipagamot mo. Sabi mo sakit iyan. Sige, bigay mo. Kayo na ang bahala.

Human rights? United Nations? Come here. You lecture dito. Instead kayong mga NGO you go around lecturing iyong shabu let alone iyong salvaging-salvaging na huwag kayong pumasok diyan kayong mga anak. Kayo naghihintay lang, pag may matumba, ah, human rights violation. Ako I guarantee it, they will not go to prison. Period. In the performance of duty itong mga ito not one of them will go to prison hanggang Presidente ako, wala iyon. I will not allow a police officer or a soldier or an officer of the Armed Forces, in the performance of their duties, kasuhan ninyo. I would like to say now – they will never go to prison – not under my watch.

Ngayon itong mga pulis na kidnapper, itong mga naglasing diyan ug spraying the armalite and killing civilians, well, I’m sorry, kasali iyan dun sa - basura ka sa akin tingin ko. Do not pray for any deliverance from me.

PO2 Michael Cortez – Barile Police Station. SPO1 Jen dela Victoria – PS5 Cebu CPO. SPO1 Onel Nabua – Barile Police Station. PO2 Jomar Ibanez – Lapu-Lapu Police Station. PO3 Ryan Martus Kiamco – Cebu Provincial Office.

PNP Officers Mindanao: PCI Ibrahim Jabiran – Zamboanga CPO. PCI Perfecto Abrasaldo Awi Jr. – Misamis Oriental. Police Inspector Roy Sinojales Montes – Iligan PRO. Police Superintendent Ricardo Gando Pulot alias Daganis – Chief of Police, Quezon Bukidnon. Police Inspector Martin Plaza – former Panabo chief intel.

Kaya 600,000 ito iyan sila.

Police non-commissioned officer: PO1 Pierre Dizo, iyong aide ko pa man si Dilo, baka mapalitan nila ito maaresto kaya si Dilo kawawa naman. Iyong isang aide ko iyong counterpart niya sa Maynila.

PO3 Omar, ito Zamboanga del Sur iyan ha, Dizo. PO1 Omar Juani – Zamboanga City Public Safety. Rommel Mansul – PRO9. Ba’t itong report na ito?

PO3 Daryl Page – Tabasan Municipal Station. SPO1 Totong Joe Valdez – 9th RNG. SPO1 Rodrigo, mabuti na lang at hindi Duterte, (laughter) malapit na akong ma-disgrasya dito. Babarilin ako sa likod, naka-cap nang mga baril niyan eh. Naghanap lang yan ng excuse para mamatay.

SPO4 Rodrigo Ramos – Bukidnon PRO. SPO1 Reynaldo dela Victoria – CDO. SPO3 Emilio Mendoza – Lozario PP5 Iligan City. Marlo Espinosa – Bukidnon. SPO3 Ritchie Mat – CDIG Mati, Davao Oriental. Ano siguro, ito iyong Davaoeno. SPO3 Rosell Iliviera – CIDG Tagum, Davao del Norte. PO3 Jessie Balabag, hala, Region 11. Ikaw, bakit ka nakatawa diyan? Ikaw ha?

PO3 Filomeno Toronio – Digos Police Station. PO1 Glenn Alicarte – PRO 12. Walang address. PO1 Philip Pantarolia – Tacurong City Police Office. SPO1 Gerry dela Rosa – SCPPO. It’s not complete. PO3 Bebot Ruiz – GSCPO. PO3 Estelito Solanio – Malongon MPS Sarangani. PO1 Jerebel Ocsio – PRO RMN.

I am sorry for my country. I grieve for the agony and suffering of the Republic of the Philippines.

SPO1 Billones, Ernesto – NCR. JS1 Montemayor, Lito – Roxas District Jail Aparri District. PO1 Vicente Reynaldo Celis – NCR. PG Saet, Drexel – MIMAROPA. SPO1 Tubil, Felix – Region 3. SPO3 Angeles, Nicolas Ponce – Region 3. SPO2 Erseni, Rod – Marinduque BFP. FO1 Reynaldo Valencia – Claveria Police Station. S/Sergeant Vic dela Cruz – MIMAROPA. Brigadier General Leoncio Daniega – NCR. SPO3 Gerry Mendoza – NCR. Reymante Dayto – Region 5. Reymar Dayto – Region 5.

Visayas: Zamora, Renato Gumaro – Region 6. JO1 Alan Coca Manatad – Region 7. SPO3 Christie Cielo Tingad – Region 7.

Mindanao. This is the last. Meron tayong problema dito. RSAD Casimiro Castro – CAFGU 38IB 6th Infantry Division ARMM. Pfc. RSAD Philip Miro – 40IB 6th Infantry Division ARMM. Corporal Cusinan Lopez Giamad Loy – 52 Brigade ARMM. Pfc. Mamadali Ipad – 64IB 6th Infantry Division ARMM. Yasin Abolgalib – Bobong, Yasin Boboy, walang ano. JO1 Ogacho, Alfredo Galis. FO1 Ablaca, Nicolas Ponce – ARMM. FO3 Ibanez, Ricardo Villaris – Region 9. Marine Corporal Alfrenz Gurias Abedin, Western Mindanao. Jimmy Manlangit - Region 12.

This is… others are undergoing revalidation again. Ano kasi hindi ma… I could be wrong. I could be wrong. Pero pag ito kasi it has undergone a process. So any mistake of the military and the police dito, ako iyong nagkasala.

I ordered the listing, I ordered the validation. I’m the one reading it and I am the sole person responsible for these all.

Now, I am ordering those mentioned here, I said: report to your chief PNP in 24 hours. You are hereby relieved of your, whatever your position there. Umalis kayo diyan, mag-report kayo. I said I’ll be harsh.

Lahat ng mga mayors dito na-mention, I’m ordering the PNP chief tanggalin iyong police supervision and cancel any and all private arms na naka-lisensya sa kanila. They’re all cancelled. Go out to naked. Go out naked to the world and show your kalokohan ninyo.

Lahat. Military, pulis, pag ikaw assigned sa security, go back to your mother unit immediately. Tapos iyong cancellation of the firearms licenses and permits – sa lahat nang minention na ito – are ordered cancelled as of tonight.

Lahat kayong judges or whatever, you report to the Supreme Court. Police, you report to PNP Chief. And sa Army, you report to the Chief-of-Staff – General Visaya – 24 hours lahat. You do not do that, I will order the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the entire PNP to hunt for you.

Salamat po. (PNA)

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President Duterte reveals list of judges, local execs, law enforcers linked to drugs - By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Aug. 7 (PNA) -- President Rodrigo Duterte revealed early Sunday the long list of individuals, including judges, incumbent and former local officials and retired and active law enforcers allegedly involved in the illegal drugs.

President Duterte announced the drug list in his speech in Davao City. The list include:

Judges: Judge Mopas of Dasmariñas, Cavite; Judge Reyes of Baguio City; Judge Savilo of RTC Branch 13, Iloilo City; Judge Casipli of Kalibo, Aklan; Judge Rene Gonzales of MTC; Judge Navidad of RTC Calbayog City; and Judge Ezekiel Dagala of MTC; and Judge Dapa, Siargao.

In Luzon: Incumbent Mayor Reynaldo Flores, Naguilian, La Union; Dante Garcia of Tubao, La Union; Martin De Guzman, Bauang, La Union; Marjorie Salazar, Lasam, Cagayan; Cipriano "Goto" Dungao Violago Bulacan; Marino "Boking" Morales of Mabalacat, Pampanga: Felix Castillo of Daguioman, Abra; Mayor Jesus Celeste, Bolinao, Pangasinan; Jose "Pepe" Miranda of Santiago City, Isabela; Vicente Amante of San Pablo City, Laguna; Ryan Dolor of Bauan, Batangas; former Vice Mayor Edgardo Trinidad, El Nido, Palawan; former mayor Eufranio Eriguel of Agoo, La Union;

In Visayas: Former Alex Centena of Calinog, Iloilo; Julius Ronald Pacificador of Hamtic, Antique; Jed Mabilog, Iloilo City; Wilfredo Salangutin Bietbeta, Carles, Iloilo; Mariano M. Malones of Maasin, Iloilo; former mayor Micheal Rama, Cebu City; ex-mayor Madeleine Mendoza-Ong, Laoang, Northern Samar; Hector Ong of Laoang, Northern Samar; Ronaldo Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte; Beda L. Cañamaque, Basay, Negros Oriental; Vice Mayor Francis Ansing Amboy of Maasin, Iloilo; Fralz Sabalones, San Fernando, Cebu; Antonio Pesina, Iloilo City; and, Erwin ‘Tongtong’ Plagata, Iloilo City.

Congressmen: JC Rahman Nava, Guimaras; congressman party-list Jeffrey Celis, Panay chapter; Congressman Guillermo Romarate Jr., Surigal del Norte;

In Mindanao: Abubaka Abdul Karim Afdal, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur; Gamar Ahay Janihim, Zambaonga del Norte; David Navarro, Pagadian, Zamboanga Del Sur; Bobby Alingan, Kolambugan Lanao del Norte; Yusufa Munder Bobong Ramib, Iligan City Lanao del Norte; Jessie Aguilera, Alegria Surigal del Norte; Fahad Salik, Marawi City; Muhammad Ali Abinal; Jamal Dadayan, Buadipuso-Butong, Lanao del sur; Sabdulla Macabago, Saguiran Lanao del Sur; Muslim Aline Macadatu, Lumbatan, Lanao del Sur; Rasul Sangki, Datu Saudi-Ampatuan, Maguindanao; Montaser Sabal, Talitay, Maguindanao; Vicman Montawal, Datu Montawal, Maguindanao; Samsudin Dimaukom, Datu-Saudi Amaptuan, Maguindanao; Noridin Salasal, Datu Salibo, Maguindanao; ex-mayor Benahar Tulawie, Talipao Sulu; Reynaldo Parojinog, Ozamiz City; Nova Princess Parojinog Echavez, ex-wife of Colangco;
Omar Solitario Ali, Marawi City; Vice Mayor Abdul Wahab Allan Sabal, Talitay Maguindanao; Otto Montawal, Datu Montawal, Maguindanao; Nida Dimagkon, Datu-Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao; Arafat Salic, Marawi City; Rasmiyah Macabago, Saguieran, Lanao del Sur; former board member Ricardo Parajinog Ardo.

The President also mentioned the active and retired law enforcers. They are: P/Insp. Rolando Batulayan (ret.); P/Supt. Maristelo Manalo - PNP-CIDG; PCI Roberto Palisoc - Station 7 MPD; P/Supt. Ciceron Ada (ret.); PCI Eric Buenaventura – Navotas; PO2 Geraldine Bautista Manuel - PNP PRO2 ;SPO3 Ronald Calap - Isabela PPO; POC Rodel Samoledo - Lalio Police Station; PO3 Cecilio Domingo - Nueva Ecija CIDT ; PO2 Ryan Mendoza - Tarlac Police Station ; Jeffrey Serafica - Butuan PPO ; PO1 Norman Adarlo - Puerto Galera NPS; Mark Canete - RSRPSB MIMAROPA; PO1 Mark Christian Catalina - PNP Camarines Norte; PO2 Alan Carpio PCP - 8 Pasay City ; PO3 Eric Lazo - QCPD Station 6; PO3 Alexander Macabeo - PCP 3 Paranaque City; PO3 Johnny Mahilum - QCPD Station 6 Batasan ; PO2 Celito Melendrez - Binangonan Police Station; Gen. Vicente Loot (ret.) ; Gen. Valerio (ret.) - Santa Barbara, Iloilo; Gen. Bernardo Diaz - Region 6; Gen. Idio - RTC of Calbayog City.

P/Supt. Floro (ret.) - Antique City PNP; P/Supt. Kashmir Disomangcop - COP of Iloilo Base Commander; P/Supt. Delia Paz - Chief RDIDM ; P/Supt. Genepa - RIU Intelligence; P/Supt. Ipil Duenas; P/Supt. Condag; P/Supt. Eugenio Malic - PNP Maritime Group ; Lamsis - former chief Antique anti-drug; P/Supt. Gomboc; P/Supt. Lebin; PCI Maymay; PSI Kenneth Militar – Iloilo; PSI Donasco; P/Insp. De Jose - SOG PNP Region 6; P/Insp. Duarte - former PCOP of Arevalo, Iloilo; P/Insp. Vicente Vicente - COP Banate; P/Insp. Romeo Santander - Former chief intel Cebu; PO2 Michael Cortez - Barile Police Station; SPO1 Jen dela Victoria - PS5 Cebu CPO; SPO1 Onel Nabua - Barile Police Station;

PO2 Jomar Ibanez - Lapu-Lapu Police Station; PO3 Ryan Martus Kiamco - Cebu Provincial Office; PCI Ibrahim Jabiran - Zamboanga CPO; PCI Perfecto Abrasaldo Awi Jr. - Misamis Oriental; P/Insp. Roy Montes - Iligan PRO; P/Supt. Ricardo Gando Pulot - COP Quezon Bukidnon; P/Insp. Martin Plaza - former Panabo chief intelligence; PO1 Pierre Dizo - Zamboanga del Sur; PO3 Omar Juani - Zamboanga City Public Safety; Rommel Mansul - PRO9; PO3 Daryl Page - Tabasan Municipal Station; SPO1 Totong Joe Valdez - 9th RNG; SPO4 Rodrigo Ramos - Bukidnon PRO; SPO1 Reynaldo dela Victoria – CDO; SPO3 Emilio Mendoza - Lozaria PP5 Iligan City; Marlo Espinosa – Bukidnon; SPO3 Richie Mat - CIDG Mati Davao Oriental; SPO3 Rosell Iliviera - CIDG Tagum Davao del Norte; PO3 Jessie Balabag - Region 11; PO3 Filomeno Toronia - Digos Police Station; PO1 Glenn Alicarte - PRO 12; PO1 Philip Pantarolia - Tacurong City Police Office; SPO1 Gerry dela Rosa – SCPPO;

PO3 Bebot Ruiz – GSCPO; PO3 Estelito Solanio - Malongon MPS Sarangani; PO1 Jerebel Ocsio - PRO RMN; SPO1 Ernesto Billones – NCR; JS1 Lito Montemayor - Roxas District Jail Aparri; PO1 Vicente Reynaldo Celis – NCR; PG Drexel Saet – MIMAROPA ; SPO1 Felix Tubil - Region 3; SPO3 Nicolas Ponce Angeles - Region 3; SPO2 Rod Erseni - Marinduque BFP; FO1 Reynaldo Valencia - Claveria Police Station; SSgt. Vic dela Cruz – MIMAROPA; B/Gen. Leoncio Daniega – NCR; SPO3 Gerry Mendoza – NCR; Reymante Dayto - Region 5; Reymar Dayto - Region 5; Renato Zamora - Region 6; J1 Alan Manatad - Region 7; SPO3 Christie Cielo Tingad - Region 7; RSAD Casimiro Castro - CAFGU 38IB 6ID ARMM; RSAD Pfc. Philip Miro - 40IB 6ID ARMM; Cpl. Cusinan Lopez - 52IB ARMM; Pfc. Mamadali Ipad - 64IB 6ID; Yasin Abolgalib; JO1 Alfredo Ogacho; FO1 Nicolas Ponce Ablaca; FO1 Ricardo Ibanez; Marine Cpl. Alfrenz Gurias Abedin; Jimmy Manlangit - Region 12. (PNA)

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Support for peace talks between gov’t and communists rebels continues to snowball

PLARIDEL, Bulacan, Aug. 5 (PNA) -- Support for the continuation of peace talks between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) continues to snowball.

Domingo B. Alidon, president of the Department of Education National Employees’ Union (DepEd NEU) and member of the Yes for Peace – Bayanihan ng Bayan Technical Working Group, declared support to President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s challenge for marathon peace talks with the NDF to start on August 20 despite his lifting of the unilateral ceasefire he declared during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Aside from the conduct of marathon peace talks, Johnny Balawag, chairman of the National Board of Directors of the 20,000-strong DepEd NEU, suggested that the peace talks, wherever it may be held, be live streamed over social media.

"This will enable all stakeholders to keep abreast of developments as well as review what has transpired whenever they want or need to through social media,” Balawag said.

The DepEd NEU National Executive Committee and National Board of Directors unanimously reiterated its support to Yes for Peace – Bayanihan ng Bayan.

"We will simply go for it without reservations,” Fidel Salosagcol, DepEd NEU public relations officer, said.

Mama S. Lalanto, al Haj, adviser of Yes for Peace and a a member of the board of directors of the Philippine Postal Corporation, said that Yes for Peace has, through the years been anchored on the three principles of the peace process laid down by former President Fidel V. Ramos.

Particularly, “a comprehensive peace process should be community-based, reflecting the sentiments, values and principles important to all Filipinos. Thus, it shall be defined not by the government alone, nor by the different contending groups only, but by all Filipinos as one community,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Gen. Rhoderick M. Parayno, commanding general of the Community Relations Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said: “Peace should be everybody's aspiration and not just by the government because peace benefits everyone except those who work against it. Many of the NPA combatants, we know, are longing to rejoin society to be reunited with their families.”

Yes for Peace – Bayanihan ng Bayan is the offshoot of a comprehensive review of the Yes for Peace – Bayanihan para sa KKK (Kapayapaan, Kaunlaran at Kasaganahan).

This, after the 10 million target set in an inter-agency memorandum of undertaking entered into by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, the Department of Education, the Philippine Postal Corporation, the Philippine Information Agency, the National Printing Office, the Alpha Phi Omega, the Boy Scouts of the Philippines and the Girl Scouts of the Philippines was exceeded early this year.

According to its website -- – 12,290,656 Filipinos, 10 years and older, or 122.90 percent of the 10-million target have thus far participated in the education and advocacy campaign.The cumulative results of Yes for Peace since it was initiated in the University of the Philippines System in 1988 was symbolically turned over to the previous administration during the programme of the EDSA 30 celebration.

The campaign was described as the new face of people power by the EDSA People Power Commission that organized the annual event to commemorate the day when the collective action of the Filipino people led to a non-electoral change of government.     

However, the need for all Filipinos to take part in the comprehensive peace process remains and thus, Yes for Peace was reviewed by members of the campaign’s technical working group from different partner agencies to realign and reformulate the questions to the policy statements of President Rodrigo Duterte. (PNA) 

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Recto urges Pres. Duterte to free sick, old prisoners to decongest PHL jails - By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Aug. 4 (PNA) – Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto on Thursday urged President Rodrigo R. Duterte to grant parole or pardon to sick and old prisoners to address congestion in some of the country’s jails.

Recto cited the congestion rate in the four most tightly-packed jails in the country to prod the government to initiate reforms in the country’s penal system which, with 135,000 inmates, are almost at four times their capacity.

”It is no longer accurate to call our prisons na parang sardinas sa sikip. The correct term is 'daig pa ang siniksik na longganisa', (It is no longer accurate to describe our prisons as 'crammed like sardines'. The correct term is 'worse than a packed sausage',)” Recto said.

He said President Duterte should grant parole or pardon to “old, infirm, or gravely- or terminally-ill prisoners,” especially those who are not guilty of heinous crimes.

If Duterte plans to release so-called “political prisoners” as part of the trust-building steps to clinch a peace deal with Communists, “then he must set in motion a process that will grant liberty to prisoners sick of cancer, the aged, the infirm, those who can be freed on humanitarian grounds.”

Duterte’s predecessor, President Benigno Aquino III, exercised his power to grant executive clemency only 67 times during his six years in office, according to an official report.

“It is one record President Digong can easily top. And he must use this power to forgive lonely, old, sick and infirm inmates who have paid their debt to society,” the senator said.

In a resolution, Recto urged the Senate to probe “the worsening conditions” in the country’s prisons, which will cost taxpayers Php10.1 billion to maintain this year.

Another compelling reason why prisons must be reformed was their expected intake of thousands of new inmates, Recto said.

With the administration’s war on crime and illegal drugs netting thousands, many of whom may be jail-bound, “there’s a need to find space for them because our standing-room-only prisons are filled to the rafters,” he added.

Two government agencies run the “prison republic” – the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), which is under the Department of Interior and Local Government, and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), which is attached to the Department of Justice.

Detainees awaiting trial and those who have been sentenced by the courts to serve time for three years or less are committed to the BJMP. It had 93,961 detainees under its care as of September last year.

Those who have been sentenced to more than three years and one day in prison are sent to eight BuCor facilities. More than half, or 23,749 of BuCor’s 2016 prisoner population of 41,207, are in the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.

BJMP jails are 397 percent over capacity, Recto said. “Cells built for 18,881 prisoners now house 93,961.”

Citing BJMP data, he said the top four most congested BJMP jails – in Malolos City, Bulacan; San Pedro, Laguna; General Trias, Cavite; and the female dormitory of Quezon City Jail – have a congestion rate of 2,000 percent. (PNA) 

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Senator Villar eyes free rehab for indigent drug users - By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Aug. 2 (PNA) – Senator Cynthia Villar has filed a bill establishing more rehabilitation centers and a socialized payment scheme that would make rehabilitation and treatment free for the indigent drug users.

In filing Senate Bill No. 718, Villar noted that the inadequate number of rehabilitation centers in the country is now more evident with the number of drug dependents seeking rehabilitation increasing day by day.

The bill also seeks to make rehabilitation expenses chargeable to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation or PhilHealth.

“The government must be ready to extend help to these drug dependents who should be treated as victims rather than criminals. Ensuring their recovery through rehabilitation and reintegration into the community will be beneficial to society as they will become productive citizens,” Villar said.

Since the implementation of the anti-illegal drugs drive “Oplan Tokhang” with the assumption into office of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, over 120,000 drug suspects have surrendered to the authorities.

Villar said more rehabilitation centers where a drug dependent will be motivated to regain self-confidence, rediscover his working abilities and develop a sense of responsibility for himself, are needed.

According to the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) website, there are a total of 44 DOH-accredited rehabilitation centers nationwide, 28 of which are operated by non-government organizations, 12 are government-owned, and four are maintained by local government units.

Earlier, Villar has proposed the training of drug users in farm schools as a way of rehabilitation. She said the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has allotted PHP500 million for 45,000 scholars of agriculture-related courses.

Duran Farm in San Ildefonso, Bulacan, has started opening its doors to drug users by offering a two-month course on agriculture production.

“We have heard a lot of testimonies coming from individuals whose lives have changed after participating in free trainings on agriculture. This is also a livelihood opportunity for drug users who want to start anew,” Villar said. (PNA)

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5 suspected drug pushers killed in buy-bust operations in Bulacan

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Aug. 2 (PNA) -- Five suspected drug pushers, including an absent without leave (AWOL) police officer and a barangay chairman, were killed during separate buy-bust operations in Bulacan, Monday night.

Senior Superintendent Romeo Caramat, Bulacan police provincial director, identified those slain as PO1 Franco Sagudang, an AWOL whose last assignment was at the Regional Public Safety Battalion 3 (RPSB3) based here;

Damaso Santiago, barangay chairman of Barangay San Martin, San Jose Del Monte City and a certain Paypay, a resident of Barangay Talacsan, San Rafael and Mike Lim, 40, of Northville, Barangay Lambakin, Marilao; and Leo Panulong, alias Toto, a resident of Kaypian, San Jose Del Monte City, all in Bulacan.

Sagudang fired his gun towards the operatives after sensing their presence. This prompted the operatives to retaliate, killing him on the spot, Caramat said.

Recovered from the suspect were a caliber .38 revolver with four bullets, a spent shell, five plastic sachets with shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride), assorted drug paraphernalia and Php500 marked money.

Caramat also said that barangay captain Santiago was a well-known drug pusher in his village.

The suspect, a certain Paypay, was also a notorious drug pusher in San Rafael. He was killed following an exchange of firefight with a police team during the conduct of buy-bust operation in Barangay Talacsan, he said.

Lim, on the other hand, was killed when he fired the operatives while conducting buy-bust operation against him in Barangay Lambakin, Marilao.

Panulong was also killed in an armed encounter with a police team from San Jose Del Monte City during a buy bust operation, Caramat added. (PNA) 

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DOJ Secretary cites importance of united pillars of justice

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 2 (PNA) -- Department of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has cited the importance of united five pillars of justice in achieving change and protecting the youth against the threats that surround them.

The DOJ secretary likened the five pillars of justice, namely the community, law enforcement, prosecution, courts and the correctional system, to a human hand wherein each finger represents a pillar, and when joined together becomes a fist that can hammer any wrongdoing.

Aguirre said this in his speech delivered by lawyer Erickson Balmes during the kick off ceremony of the Five Pillars of Justice Month with the theme “Kabataan ay Gabayan Tungo sa Lipunang Maunlad at Mapayapa” held Monday at the Bulacan Capitol Gymnasium here.

"I enjoin everyone to protect our youth from all the threats that surround them. For the longest time, our youth have been the ones sacrificed in the altar of retribution either as pushers or users. This has got to stop. Now, when we try to do something about the drug problem, we can really hope in the youth. Let us make every corner, every road, every home a safe environment for our youth so that they can grow up to be the God-fearing and law abiding citizen that we all want them to be,” Aguirre said.

He said that change will only come if there is a conscious effort on the part of every stakeholder in the justice system.

"Please stop it and stop it now. Please do not wait for the DOJ to go after you with all the powers at its disposal, you will not like it,” the secretary warned those possible offenders.

Aguirre also expressed hopes to formally launch the formal operation of a national prosecutors’ academy during his stewardship at the DOJ.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, for his part, stressed the responsibilities of the elderly in fostering the youth.

Other activities lined up for the celebration of the Five Pillars of Justice Month are Orphanage Visitation and Gift Giving on August 6 in St. Martin de Porres, Bustos, Bulacan; Gift Giving and Information Drive and Seminar in Bahay Tanglaw Pag-Asa Rehabilitation Center and Bulacan Provincial Jail on August 10 and 23;

Fun Run “Sama-Samang Takbo para sa Limang Haligi ng Hustisya 2016” on August 13; and Responsible Partnership of Parents, Teachers and Children Seminar (Students/Parents) in MHPHS Sta. Isabel, City of Malolos on August 18 and in Meycauayan National High School Sto. Niño, City of Meycauayan, Bulacan on August 26. (PNA) 

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(5 p.m. update)"Carina" intensifies into tropical storm - By Ma. Cristina C. Arayata

MANILA, July 30 (PNA) -- State weather agency Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said "Carina" has intensified into a tropical storm as it continues to move towards northern Luzon.

"Carina" has a maximum sustained winds of 65 kph near the center, and gustiness of up to 80 kph. It is forecast to move north northwest at 18 kph.

Moderate to heavy rains within the 400 km diameter of the tropical storm may be expected.

Fisherfolk are warned against rough to very rough seas over the eastern seaboards of Camarines Norte and Quezon including Polillo Island.

Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal (TCWS) No. 2 was raised over Isabela, while Cagayan including Babuyan Group of Islands, Apayao, Ilocos Norte, Aurora, Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon and northern Samar were put under TCWS No. 1.

Areas under TCWS No. 1 and 2, as well as the rest of Cagayan Valley, rest of Cordillera and the provinces of Masbate, Camarines Norte and Quezon are alerted against moderate to heavy rains which may trigger flash floods and landslides.

The center of "Carina" was last spotted at 290 km. northeast of Virac, Catanduanes.

Meanwhile, at 4:45 p.m. Saturday, PAGASA said thunderstorm is affecting ‪Metro Manila (Valenzuela, Navotas, Malabon), Nueva Ecija‬(Gen. Tinio, Rizal, Gabaldon),‪ ‎Zambales ‬(San Marcelino, Castellejos),‪ Quezon‬(Tiaong),‪ Batangas‬(San Juan) and portions of ‪Bulacan‬. This may persist for one to two hours.

The state weather agency added that Pampanga‬,‪ Rizal‬ and other areas of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Zambales, Batangas and Quezon may expect thunderstrom within the next 2 hours.

The intermittent light to moderate with occasional heavy rains currently affecting portions of Quezon may persist for several hours, PAGASA said. (PNA) 

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Owners of old houses in Malolos City vow to support project to transform it into a “renaissance city” - By: Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 28 (PNA) -- The city government, through the City Tourism Office, in coordination with different historical society groups, is pushing for the transformation of Malolos into a “renaissance city” which will be “bigger than Vigan and at par with Intramuros” in terms of significance to the nation's history, the historic capital city being the site of the Malolos Congress and the First Philippine Republic.

Mayor Christian D. Natividad has managed to gather in one sitting the descendants of the ruling clans of Malolos, who owns old houses including those that once served as houses or offices of the cabinet of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, president of the First Philippine Republic otherwise known as the “Malolos Republic”.

Natividad said that representatives from the well-known families of Malolos -- Bautista, Lomotan, Reyes, Tantoco, Tiongson, Witangkoy and Santos to name a few -- have agreed to renovate the old houses in sync with the city government’s project of transforming the capital city into its old glory as a modern renaissance city.

“I am glad they have obliged our invitation and has agreed to support the project. It is hard to gather them in one sitting but now we are moving forward into achieving that goal,” Natividad said.

He said that renovating the old houses is part of preserving the rich cultural heritage of the City of Malolos, which is one of the three republics that were born in Bulacan during the height of the Philippine revolution against colonial rule.

Natividad said that this is an important  cultural package since Malolos was delisted under the Heritage Preservation Society of the Philippines before 2010.

"It happened before I was elected as mayor of this city. Thus, we want to present anew the prominence of Malolos,"Natividad said.

The meeting ended with the formation of a core group of the owners of the old houses to be led by Lydia Balatbat Echauz, who said that it is high time to bring back the glory days of one of the colorful and significant cities not only in the Philippines but in Asia and Africa.

"We want our relatives to comeback and see the grandeur and the rich cultural heritage of Malolos, the foods, the culture, its history and the warm hospitality of its people,” Echauz said.

City tourism officer Arman Sta. Ana made a video presentation highlighting the tour package of the city dubbed as “Vamos A Malolos."(PNA) 

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Bulacan dope war: 14 armed drug dealers killed, 47 nabbed in buy bust operations

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 28 (PNA) -— The Bulacan Police Provincial Office (BPPO) reported on Thursday the neutralization of 14 armed drug personalities, arrest of 47 violators of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act and confiscation of numerous illegal drugs, firearms and ammunitions during separate buy bust operations, including the One Time Big Time (OTBT) of the provincial police in the past five days.

Acting Bulacan PNP provincial director Sr. Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr. said that the latest slain suspects were identified as Paolo Saseluya, 46, of Norzagaray town and Joswell Leabres, 21, of Barangay Lambakin, Marilao.

Other slain suspects were identified as Glen Malalo of Barangay Duhat in Bocaue; Bayani Belteza of Barangay Pungo in Calumpit; Rafael Cruz of Barangay Poblacion in Guiguinto; Johnny De Leon of Barangay Sta. Ana in Bulakan; Ariel Dela Cruz of San Ildefonso; Florentino Santos of Barangay Tuktukan in Guiguinto, alias "Tap" and alias "Ambo" of Barangay Balite, Malolos City; alias "Nono" and alias "Edong" of Barangay Banga in Plaridel; alias "Rico" of Meycauayan Cityband and a still unidentified male suspect.

A total of 111 pieces of heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets of suspected “shabu” and 11 undocumented firearms were also confiscated.

Caramat said the Bulacan police is continuously and relentlessly implementing its intensified campaign against illegal drugs and loose firearms. (PNA) 

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President Duterte's first SONA brings renewed hope to Central Luzon residents - By Zorayda S. Tecson

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, July 25 (PNA) -- President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday delivered his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), bringing renewed hope and faith to the residents in Central Luzon that indeed “change is coming” for the betterment of the nation and the Filipino people.

As most people in the region were glued to listen, watch and follow the President as he enumerated his plans and programs for the next six years, majority of them have expressed belief and high hope that the new administration could steer the nation toward peace, progress and development.

Lawyer Nicanor Austria said the President’s SONA was well said, straightforward and strongly reiterated the Chief Executive’s desire to maintain peace and order that would propel the country to progress and development.

”The President’s SONA is comprehensive and yet direct to the point which clearly reflected the Filipinos’ longing for change, especially in dealing with crimes, illegal drugs and corruption,” Austria said.

Political science student Reynan Rosales was convinced that the President’s SONA manifests strong commitment to curb graft and corruption.

”It is very encouraging as the days of crooks in government are now numbered. It is a gigantic task as he goes on to clean and overhaul the bureaucracy, but I strongly believe that he can do it," Rosales said.

Lawyer Darwin Reyes, president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Pampanga said he “finds sincerity in President Duterte’s speech, particularly his instruction to the Philippine National Police (PNP) on the fight against illegal drugs.

”Aside from that, the President’s call for peace which he started through the unilateral ceasefire with the communist rebels is a nice move,” Reyes said.

Aurora Santiago, secretary general of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan sa Gitnang Luzon, likewise said the move of President Duterte initiating a unilateral ceasefire with the communist rebels showed his sincere commitment for a lasting peace.

Professor Bruce Bansao of the Bulacan State University also considered President Duterte’s SONA as the best in particular to the plan for the shift from the presidential to federal system which could bring the services and benefits to the ground level.

The business sector likewise noted that the President’s SONA was comprehensive as it tackled all aspects that need to be addressed by the government, in particular to the plan to spur development in the countryside.

Rene Romero of the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the President mentioning the full utilization of the Clark Airport through the construction of a railway system from Clark to Manila is a welcome development.

”The full utilization of Clark Airport is a manifestation of the administration's sincere effort to spur development in the countryside. This would not only decongest Metro Manila but also generate employment and provide livelihood to the people,” Martin said.

Meanwhile, Karen Sta. Rosa, a student at the Don Honorio Ventura Technology State University, said that the President's speech is significant and meaningful especially on the pro-poor programs.

Sta. Rosa said the Chief Executive's SONA discussing the vision to make the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries self-reliant and independent gives bright hope to the indigents like her.

"I am now more confident that I could finish my studies. Aside from benefits that we are receiving as 4Ps beneficiaries, the statement of the President directing the Department of Social Welfare and Development to give rice to the poor like us, is a big help,” Sta. Rosa said.

Consuelo Abelgas, a housewife and mother of four children, said that every word uttered by the President in his SONA was filled with love for the country and the Filipino people.

”I was teary-eyed because I do believe that change is really coming through his strong leadership,” she said.

The agriculture sector in the region likewise hailed the President’s SONA with high hopes that the new administration would give priority to the plight of the farmers and fisherfolk.

Farmer Aurelio dela Pena said he is optimistic that the Duterte administration will implement more programs in the agricultural sector that could uplift their lives. (PNA) 

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Bulakenyos: President Duterte’s SONA is for real - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 25 (PNA) -- A seven-minute power interruption did not dampen the warm response of residents here and other parts of the province on the first State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte during the joint session of Congress at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City on Monday afternoon.

Many Bulakenyos responded favorably to what they said was the President’s sincerity in curbing the drug menace and his ardent desire to attain genuine and long lasting peace in the country, which are both on the right path.

Ritchie Alejo, a tricycle driver in this historic capital city, said that the all-out-war against the proliferation of illegal drugs is now strongly being felt in Bulacan.

He said that as early as 1 p.m., many people were awaiting the President’s SONA. Some residents felt a little bit anxious when power was cut off at around 3:15 p.m. but were relieved when it went back at 3:22 p.m.

”Almost every day, there are drug pushers either killed or arrested, including the police involved on illegal drugs were not spared,” Alejo said.

He said that this has never happened before and it is about time that a strong leader has come to put a stop to it.

Provincial and local officials were also impressed by the SONA of President Duterte.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that it was “spoken from the heart” and for his love to his country and the Filipino people.

He said the President is like a good disciplinarian father who wants to raise his family with peace, love, obedience and love of God and fellowmen.

Alvarado, who is also the chairman of the Regional Development Council in Central Luzon, was glad that the President is pushing for the maximum use of the Clark International Airport and other economic zones in the country.

He said that further development of said areas will also make a spreading of growth to other provinces in the region.

Malolos City Mayor Christian D. Natividad said the President’s SONA has rekindled hopes in many aspects. The Chief Executive, he noted, is very keen on boosting the country's tourism.

“Our President really means business and his SONA is for real. His sincerity to make the Philippines a peaceful and prosperous nation will inspire more local leaders to “tow the line” of his brand of leadership,” Natividad, who is also a lawyer, said. (PNA) 

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Dengue cases in Central Luzon up by 7%

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, July 21( PNA) -- The Department of Health (DOH) Regional Office 3 has reported a seven percent increase in the number of dengue cases in Central Luzon.

Data from the Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (RESU) of the DOH-3 showed that there are 5,914 cases of dengue reported in the region from January 1 to July 16 this year as compared to 5,517 dengue cases from the same period last year.

Of the seven provinces in Central Luzon, Bataan posted a 100 percent increase from 551 cases in 2015 to 1,100 cases this year.

Nueva Ecija registered a 57 percent rise in dengue cases from 512 last year to 805 this year.

Pampanga registered a 34 percent increase in dengue cases from 1,362 last year to 1,821 this year while Aurora has reported a 21 percent rise from 180 cases last year to 270 cases this year.

A 17 percent rise of dengue cases in Zambales was also reported from 310 last year to 362 this year.

On the other hand, Bulacan and Tarlac provinces reported a decline in the number of cases from the more seven-month period this year.

Bulacan posted 43 percent decrease in dengue cases from 1,557 last year to 888 this 2016 while Tarlac 31 percent drop from 1,045 in 2015 to 721 this year.

The RESU also reported that there were 11 fatalities caused by dengue in the region.

Of the total dengue death toll, four each in Bulacan and Pampanga; two in Bataan and one in Nueva Ecija.

The DOH-3 has reminded the residents to follow the department's anti-dengue campaign anchored on the 4S which stands for Search and destroy mosquito breeding sites; Self-protection measures, such as using insect repellents and wearing long-sleeved light colored clothes; Seeking early consultation for fever that lasts for more than two days and Saying no to indiscriminate fogging.She also said that monitoring fever is one of the early measures in the detection and prevention of dengue as fever is one of its most common symptoms. (PNA) 

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Bulacan PNP probes incidents of 'summary execution'; 10 more drug suspects killed in shootouts

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 21 (PNA) -- Police are now investigating the surge of summary executions of suspected drug pushers and criminals in this province believed to be perpetrated by vigilante groups or members of dope gangs.

Supt. Marlon Santos, head of the Provincial Intelligence Branch, said that the Bulacan PNP is not tolerating the continuous merciless killing made by the so-called "vigilantes" in the province after two more incidents of summary execution were reported Wednesday.

He said that acting Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., has already instructed the chief of police where salvaging cases were committed in their respective areas to conduct deeper investigation in the said incident that might give any lead on the case or else it might be a ground for their relief.

It was learned that the Bulacan PNP is also not setting aside the possible scenario that the drug lord themselves were behind the said summary execution.

Likewise, there is also a possibility that the victims were executed in other areas but dumped in the said towns to mislead authorities.

Two still unidentified suspected male drug pushers were both found dead and believed to be victims of summary execution.

One body was found inside a house in Barangay Tambubong in San Rafael town while another body was found in a grassy vacant lot in Barangay San Juan in Balagtas town Wednesday morning.

This developed as 10 more armed suspected dopesters were killed in firefight with lawmen while seven more were arrested in different police operations conducted by Bocaue, Norzagaray, Marilao, San Rafael Municipal Police Stations, Malolos City and San Jose Del Monte City Police in a three day drug operations since Monday.

In a report sent to Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino, Officer-In-Charge of Police Regional Office 3 (PRO3) by Caramat, the latest slain suspects were  identified as Zaldy Carinio of Marilao, a certain alias "Ben" of Poblacion in Sta. Maria and alias "Morris" of Barangay Bulihan in Malolos. They were all killed in an armed encounter Wednesday night.

Also shot dead were Vergel V. Veleza, resident of Diliman 1st, San Rafael, Bulacan; Armando Dela Cruz;  Allan Alonto, of Barangay Minuyan, Norzagaray, Bulacan; Randy Castro, Cecilio Elardo, of San Juan Compound., Villaluz Subdivision Barangay Sta. Rosa 1, Marilao; a certain Joel Duran and Rey Nicolas while the two other slain suspects are still unidentified.

The latest arrested suspects were identified as Anna Fatima Pascual, a resident of Barangay Matictic; Vergel Hernandez, of Sitio Settlin,g Barangay Bigte; Henry Boticario, of Marlene Subdivision Barangay Minuyan; Sylvester Mesina and Alfredo Cruz, both residents of Sitio Curbada, Barangay Minuyan, all of Norzagaray, Bulacan; Amado Tizon, 39, native of Manila and resident of Purok Madricacao, Barangay Sta. Rosa 1 and Pedro San Jose of Barangay Loma De Gato, both of Marilao, Bulacan. (PNA) 

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NCC confers 'most competitive' provinces award to 3 Mindanao provinces

DAVAO CITY, July 20 (PNA) -- Three provinces in Central Mindanao were included in the top six most competitive provinces by the National Competitiveness Council (NCC).

The provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat bagged the 3rd, 5th, and 6th places in the ranking respectively and are the only Mindanao provinces included in the top ten list.

Topping the list is Rizal province, followed by Cavite, South Cotabato, Laguna, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Bataan, Aklan, Batangas, and La Union.

North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza meanwhile appreciated the inclusion of her province in the most competitive list.

She urged her fellow Cotabateños to take advantage of the recognition by working harder.

"Cotabateños should carry on. Just like all of you, I am a humbled and proud. We all work hard together with our 18 local government units, barangay officials, attached and other line agencies of government, civil societies and NGOs. Our committed partners in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan headed by Vice Governor Dodong Ipong. As well our department heads and 1800 dynamic and multitasking provincial employees," she said.

The National Competitiveness Council also named the most competitive LGUs as it recognize the crucial role of local government units in promoting competitiveness in the country.

In their 2016 Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI), topping the list of overall most competitive Highly Urbanized Cities (HUC) is Quezon City followed by Makati City at 2nd and the City of Manila at 3rd place.

Meanwhile, Naga City secured its position as the overall most competitive Component City, along with the second placer San Fernando City, Pampanga. Legazpi City, Albay landed in the 3rd spot.

On the overall most competitive 1st-2nd Class Municipalities category, Cainta, Rizal is 1st place while its neighbor Taytay, Rizal moved one notch to 2nd place. Last year’s overall top municipality General Trias, Cavite slipped to 3rd rank.

On the other hand, Infanta, Quezon emerged as the overall most competitive 3rd-6th Class Municipality, with Baler, Aurora in the 2nd notch, while Calamba, Misamis Occidental placed third.

Under the Economic Dynamism Pillar for HUC, Makati City performed best followed by Pasig City and Quezon City.

For the Component Cities, Naga City, Camarines Sur got 1st place, while Imus City and Biñan City trailed in 2nd and 3rd places, respectively.

For 1st-2nd Class Municipalities, General Trias, Cavite topped the category with Cainta, Rizal in 2nd , and Sta. Maria, Bulacan in 3rd place.

For 3rd-6th Class Municipalities, Jimenez, Misamis Occidental ranked first, followed by Manito, Albay and Nasipit, Agusan del Norte.

On the Government Efficiency Pillar for HUC, City of Manila is the most competitive, with Quezon City as second and Iloilo City as third.

For Component Cities, Cotabato City led the ranking followed by Naga City and Legazpi City.

For 1st-2nd Class Municipalities, Cainta, Rizal ranked first, with Taytay, Rizal and Midsayap, North Cotabato next in the list.

For 3rd-6th Class Municipalities, Calape, Bohol topped the category followed by Paoay and Pasuquin, both in Ilocos Norte.

Lastly, under the Infrastructure Pillar for HUC, Quezon City is the best in the category, trailed by Makati City and Pasig City.

For Component Cities, Naga City ranked first, while Bacoor City, Cavite and Legazpi City, Albay placed second and third places respectively.

For 1st-2nd Class Municipalities, Cainta, Rizal is the most competitive, followed by Malay, Aklan, and Taytay, Rizal.

For 3rd-6th Class Municipalities, Infanta, Quezon led the category, with Pagsanjan, Laguna and Baler, Aurora next in the list.

Aside from these citations, NCC recognized the most improved LGUs from each category: Taguig City for HUC; Ormoc, Leyte for Component Cities; Pagbilao, Quezon for 1st-2nd Class Municipalities; and Barugo, Leyte for 3rd-6th Class Municipalities.

This year’s CMCI has the largest number of participants, with 1,389 LGUs, 144 of which are cities and 1,245 are municipalities.

This equals to about 85 percent of total LGUs in the Philippines.

When CMCI started in 2013, only 285 or 17 percent of the LGUs in the country joined the index. The data used were gathered with the help of the 16 RCCs, which are composed of public and private sectors and the academe.

CMCI measures LGU’s competitiveness based on the three pillars: Economic Dynamism, Government Efficiency, and Infrastructure.

The increasing coverage of the index signified a higher level of interest and awareness on the importance of being measured based on the three pillars and a stronger commitment to improve LGU performance based on the resulting ranking.

NCC believes that LGUs are the building blocks of national competitiveness, the reason it encouraged the creation of RCCs.

These RCCs are tasked to regularly assess local competitiveness indicators, formulate programs to improve competitiveness, and engage in investment promotion activities to attract investors and create new jobs.

By developing competitive LGUs across the nation, NCC is optimistic that this would contribute to the overall attractiveness of the country as a preferred place to do business.

Aside from the awarding, NCC also launched the 2016 CMCI website, which contains the detailed information on a particular LGU.

The CMCI data may be used by businesses and government, as a tool for policy making, planning, governance, budget management, and investment promotion.

Stakeholders coming from the national government agencies, business chambers, development partners, diplomatic community, and the academe have joined this annual event.

The Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index is an annual ranking developed by NCC through the Regional Competitiveness Committees with the support of United States Agency for International Development and Globe Telecom. (PNA)

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44 rebels surrender in Pampanga

CITY of SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, July 18 (PNA) -- Forty four members of New People’s Army (NPA) and Rebolusyonaryong Hukbong Bayan (RHB) in this province have returned to the fold of the law and were presented to Governor Lilia Pineda during a simple ceremony held on Monday at the provincial capitol executive house.

Sta. Ana town mayor Edilberto Gamboa said that out of the 44 surrendered rebels, 25 were NPAs while the rest were RHBs. <>Gamboa was also a former communist rebel who surrendered to then Lt . Col. Ricardo Visaya, now a general and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. (AFP).

Gamboa, who was then known as Commander Ross, surrendered in 2004.

The first term mayor said that during the campaign, he told the rebels that "if ever I win in the election as mayor, I will help them and facilitate their surrender.”

"At first, they were hesitant to approach me. But, I initiated to approach them later and convinced them to surrender," he said.

The surrendered rebels, though not active in the province, still operate in some nearby provinces like Bulacan and Rizal.

The returnees were all residents of Sta. Ana town. Their names were not disclosed pending the processing of the surrender requirements.

Pineda, in her message to the returnees, said that she will give them livelihood and gainful employment.

"Let us unite in making our province progressive and peaceful," the governor added. (PNA) 

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Suspect armed with grenade, firearms busted by Dasmariñas City police - By: Rogelio Limpin

DASMARIÑAS CITY, Cavite July 16 (PNA) -- Operatives of Dasmariñas City police chanced upon a suspect who was holding a grenade on his right hand and about to flee as the cops were responding to a shooting incident in Barangay Datu Esmael in this city on Friday.

According to this city chief of police officer-in-charge Superintendent Rodolfo Caoili Hernandez, his police team were dispatched immediately to investigate a reported shooting incident when they spotted the suspect wielding a hand grenade and about to insert the explosive inside a sling bag.

The police operatives immediately neutralized and nabbed the suspect as the latter attempted to evade arrest.

Investigating cops identified the suspect as Idadalaw Ontawar Saykalabe, 38 of Block 17, Lot 8 North Gate Executive Village, Barangay Sto Cristo in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.

They also recovered from the suspect the hand grenade; sling bag containing a caliber 45 model 1911; three magazines with seventeen live ammunitions of caliber 45 and .22 revolvers defaced of their serial numbers and loaded with live ammunitions.

The confiscated pieces of evidence were properly documented and turned-over to the Firearms and Explosive Ordnance unit in Camp Crame, Quezon City for verification.

Police temporarily detained suspect Saykalabe at the Dasmariñas custodial center and proper charges have been filed against the suspect.

According to police investigators, the law provides that possession of a hand grenade is a non-bailable offense. (PNA) 
PGL/SEP/Rogelio Limpin/rcg

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2 more drug dealers killed in firefight with Bulacan cops

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, July 14 (PNA) -- Two more armed drug dealers, who are both included in the target list of the Hagonoy Police Station, were killed in a firefight with lawmen during a buy bust operation in Barangay San Pablo-Sta. Elena Diversion Road, Hagonoy town early Thursday morning.

Acting Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., identified the slain suspects as Ronaldo Viray alias “Onad” and Reynaldo Cruz alias “Rey Ulo”, both of legal age, residents of Barangay Mercado, Hagonoy.

Caramat said the suspects sensed the ongoing police operation and at this juncture, suspect Viray drew a Caliber .38 revolver and fired towards the poseur buyer, who is a police officer, prompting the operative to fire back against him.

The other suspect, on the other hand, ran and also fired his gun (caliber .22 magnum) towards the operatives, prompting them to return fire.

"The exchange of gunfire between the suspects and police operatives resulted to the neutralization of the two suspects. No casualty was reported on the police side," Caramat said.

Scene of the Crime Operative of Bulacan Crime Laboratory processed the crime scene and recovered the following pieces of evidence: one Smith and Wesson Caliber .38 with serial number 000077, loaded with three live ammunition; one Astra caliber .22 Magnum with serial number 182722, loaded with five live ammunition; one fired cartridge case for caliber .22 Magnum; one plastic sachet containing suspected shabu; pack of cigarettes; one Seiko wrist watch; and PHP4,600 cash.

Meanwhile, Senior Inspector Lynelle F. Solomon, public information officer of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office, belied circulating reports that P03 Rogelio Sta. Ana committed suicide while under restricted custody of the Bulacan police following his voluntary surrender to Malolos City Mayor Christian D. Natividad who turned him over to Senior Supt. Caramat.

As early as 12 noon Wednesday, unconfirmed reports circulated in the city that Sta. Ana was killed inside the police provincial headquarters.

At 12 midnight, reports began circulating that Sta. Ana hanged himself inside the barracks of the Provincial Public Safety Company based in this camp.

Solomon said that Sta. Ana is alive and well and is still undergoing investigation on his involvement in the sales of prohibited drugs.

A member of the mobile patrol unit of the Malolos City police station, Sta. Ana decided to surrender to Mayor Natividad for “fear of his life” after his buddy, P03 Michael Manalad was found dead with gunshot wounds while still wearing a police uniform in Barangay Ubihan Meycauayan City last week.

"I think that he (Sta,. Ana) will not leave this camp at this time. He feels safe while under the restricted custody of the Bulacan police. We would like to appeal to the public not to believe rumors and baseless information concerning his voluntary surrender,” she said. (PNA)      

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Classes in some Central Luzon areas suspended due to monsoon rains

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, July 11 (PNA) -- Classes in the province of Bataan and in some parts of Zambales province were suspended on Monday due to southwest monsoon that brings more rains in the areas.

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

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

In Olongapo City, Mayor Rolen Paulino also suspended classes in all levels, both in public and private, due to inclement weather.

Mayor Jay Khonghun likewise declared suspension of classes in all levels, both public and private, in Subic town due to anticipated heavy rains.

Mayor Jun Rundstedt Ebdane also suspended classes in all levels, both public and private, in the capital town of Iba.

Meanwhile, the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council-3 (RDRRMC-3) reported that some 7,452 families or 32,104 persons in Central Luzon were affected by Typhoon Butchoy-enhanced monsoon rains that were experienced in the region the past days.

RDRRMC chairperson and Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Regional Director Josefina Timoteo said that 58 barangays in Dinalupihan, Hermosa, and Orani in Bataan; Calumpit in Bulacan; and Olongapo, Botolan, Iba, San Antonio, San Felipe, and San Narciso in Zambales were affected by moderate to occasional heavy rains due to southwest monsoon.

She said that some 150 families in Bataan and Zambales were brought to 14 evacuation centers.

Data from RDRRMC 3 also showed that the Department of Social Welfare and Development has provided PHP360,940 worth of relief items to Zambales and PHP72,188 to Bataan.

The Department of Health, on the other hand, has provided PHP250,000 worth of medicines and hygiene kits to Zambales.(PNA) 

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Bulacan's intensified war vs criminality resulted to crime rate drop

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 9 (PNA) -- Governor Wilhelmino Sy Alvarado said that the province's intensified and all-out campaign against criminality has resulted to the decline of crime rate here.

Alvarado, during his State of the Province Address (SOPA) Friday, reported a 16.65 percent drop in crime rate for the first quarter of 2016 wherein 6,465 crime incidents were recorded as against the 7,612 reported crimes last January to May 2015, marking a decrease of 1,147 incidents.

"Peace and order is one of the best foundations of a progressive development and Bulacan has remained generally peaceful prompted by heightened police efficiency and our intensified all-out campaign against criminality,” the governor said.

He also reported the continuous upgrading of the Bulacan Provincial Jail (BPJ) to make a strong foundation of the justice system with fairness and respect for the rights of the inmates.

"We added six more units of two-way radio, service firearms and CCTV camera. We also put up perimeter fence within the whole area of the jail facility to ensure that no unauthorized person nor prohibited items could enter there, the governor said.

He also reported that the heightened police efficiency and maintenance of peace and order has resulted to significant arrest of lawless elements and neutralization of notorious crime syndicates operating in Bulacan, Metro Manila and some parts of Central Luzon.

The governor has also vowed to support the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, who sworn to carry out an uncompromising crackdown on crime in the country. (PNA) 

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(Update as of 11:30 a.m.) List of class suspensions in MM, provinces due to 'Butchoy'

MANILA, July 8 (PNA) –- Classes from preschool to college have been suspended on Friday in various areas due to the heavy monsoon rains brought by Typhoon "Butchoy" (international name: Nepartak).

The following areas and schools have announced the cancellation of classes for Friday, as of 11:30 a.m.:

National Capital Region:

Caloocan City - preschool to high school

Las Piñas City - preschool to high school

Malabon - All levels

Mandaluyong City - preschool to high school

Manila - preschool to high school

Makati City - preschool to high school

Marikina City - preschool to high school

Muntinlupa City - all levels

Navotas City - preschool to high school

Parañaque City - all levels

Pasay City - all levels

Pasig City - all levels

Pateros - preschool to high school (morning classes)

Quezon City - preschool to high school

San Juan City - preschool to high school

Valenzuela City - preschool to high school


Bataan province - all levels

Batangas province - all levels

Cavite province - all levels

Meycauyan, Bulacan - preschool to high school

Obando, Bulacan - preschool to high school

San Pablo, Laguna - preschool to senior high school

San Pedro, Laguna - preschool to high school

Angono, Rizal - all levels

Antipolo, Rizal - all levels

Binangonan, Rizal – all levels

Cainta, Rizal - all levels

San Mateo, Rizal - all levels

Taytay, Rizal - all levels

Zambales province - all levels


Adamson University - all levels

Centro Escolar University-Manila - senior high school

Colegio de San Juan de Letran - all levels

De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde - classes, office operations

De La Salle University (Manila and Makati campuses) - all levels and office operations

Far Eastern University (Manila and Makati Campuses) - classes and office operations

Jose Rizal University - all levels

Juan Sumulong Memorial Junior College (Taytay, Rizal) - all levels

Lyceum of the Philippines University Manila - all levels

Metropolitan Medical Center College of Arts, Science and Technology - all levels

National Teachers College - all levels including graduate school

National University - all levels, office operations

Perpetual Help College of Manila - all levels

Philippine College of Criminology - all levels, office operations

Polytechnic University of the Philippines (all Metro Manila campuses) - senior high school and college levels

Santa Isabel College-Manila - pre-school to senior high school

St. Paul University-Manila - all levels

Trinity University of Asia - all levels

University of the East (Manila and Caloocan City) - pre-school to Grade 11

University of the Philippines-Diliman - all levels

University of the Philippines-Manila - afternoon classes, operations

University of Perpetual Help System Dalta (Las Piñas City) - grade school to senior high school

University of Santo Tomas - all levels, office operations

Valenzuela City Polytechnic College - all levels (PNA) 

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Classes in some Central Luzon areas suspended due to "Butchoy"

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, July 8 (PNA) -- Classes in several areas in Central Luzon were suspended on Friday as Typhoon "Butchoy" enhances the southwest monsoon that brings more rains in the region.

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

Red warning level was raised in Bataan due to the possibility of flooding in some flood-prone areas in the province brought by the moderate to occasional heavy rains

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

Meycauayan City and the municipality of Obando suspended classes from pre-elementary to high school levels, both in private and public.

In Olongapo City, Mayor Rolen Paulino also suspended classes in all levels, both in public and private, due to inclement weather.

Mayor Jay Khonghun likewise declared suspension of classes in all levels, both public and private, in Subic, Zambales town due to anticipated heavy rains. (PNA) 

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100 cops in Central Luzon under probe vs illegal drugs - By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan

MANILA, July 8 (PNA) -- Around 100 police designated in Central Luzon are now under investigation for allegedly have links to illegal drugs trade.

Chief Superintendent Aaron Aquino, Central Luzon regional police director, on Friday said that most these police personnel were detailed in Bulacan and Pampanga and will be re-assigned in other regions but continues to monitor them.

”Gagawa po kami ng report. Titingnan ko po mga record ng pulis (then) filan (file) ng administrative case (if found guilty). I-assign po sila sa ibang lugar for the meantime at pamomonitor ko po lahat po ng mga kapulisan natin. Tutukuyin rin kung may kasabawat na mga sibilyan,” Aquino said in a radio interview.

When asked to comment on a policeman found dead in Bulacan with strap sign “Pulis na pusher ’wag tularan (This policeman is a pusher. Do not emulate),” Aquino said the said police personnel was one of the three policemen found positive in drug test during drug testing for police officers.

The police identified as PO3 Michael Lee Manalad of the Malolos police was found dead on Thursday morning in the City of Meycauayan.

”Actually, tatlo nagpositive sa atin sa drug test for the past one week -- isa pong major, isang PO1 at yung namatay kahapon isa po yun sa 3 na nagpositive sa drug test. Sa aming CIU (Crime Investigating Unit) report pati sa intelligence group po namin ay may report na involved siya sa drugs,” he explained.

During the 69th anniversary celebration of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) on Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte publicly tagged five police generals allegedly involved in illegal drugs.

These were retired General Marcelo Garbo and retired General Vicente Loot, now mayor of Daanbatayan; and three active police generals namely: Police Regional Office (PRO) 6 Director Chief Supt. Bernardo Diaz, former National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) Chief Police Director Joel Pagdilao, and former Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Director Edgardo Tinio.

PNP Chief Director General Ricardo Dela Rosa said the three generals wanted to clear their names and assured him that they will fully cooperate with any investigation.

The PNP chief said he already forwarded the case of the three generals to the National Police Commission (Napolcom) for investigation.

Dela Rosa said despite the alleged involvement of these generals in illegal drugs, the morale of the PNP remain very high adding that they consider the incident as morale booster.

“Ito'y pagsubok lamang, lilipas din ito, high morale kami,” he said. (PNA) 

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2 more dope dealers killed in Bulacan anti-drug sting

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, June 7 (PNA) -- Two more alleged dope dealers were killed in the on going all out war against illegal drugs in the towns of San Ildefonso and Plaridel while a lifeless body of a uniformed policemen with a placard emblazoned with “Pulis na Pusher wag Tularan” was found in Barangay Ubihan, Meycauayan City on Thursday.

Bulacan Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr.,  identified the two slain suspects as  Nicky Noel Villanueva Santos alias “Nicky”, 40, married, resident of 0325 Sitio Gulod, Barangay Pinaod, San Ildefonso, Bulacan and Aldwin Salvador, who was ranked No. 2 in the top 10 drug personality list of Plaridel Police. He has also several drug cases pending at RTC Branch 80, Malolos City, Bulacan

On the other hand, the arrested suspect Ahren Santos alias “Ayen," who is included in the drug watch list of Sitio Dike, Barangay Banga 2nd, Plaridel, Bulacan.

Appropriate criminal complaint against Santos is now being prepared for filing in court. 

Meanwhile, a body of a lifeless police in uniform was found dumped in Barangay Ubihan, Meycauayan City by the personnel of Meycauayan City Police Station (CPS) on Thursday morning.

Supt. Lailene Amparo, officer-in-charge of Meycauayan City Police Station,  said the lifeless policeman was identified as PO3 Michael Lee Manalad, 34, member of Bulacan Police Provincial Office presently assigned in Malolos CPS, a native of Isabela, Basilan and resident of No. 459 Purok 4, Sta Isabel, Malolos City, Bulacan.

Thorough and extensive follow-up investigation and operation is still ongoing. (PNA) 

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QC Mayor Bautista favors giving President Duterte six-year emergency power - By Sammy F. Martin

MANILA, July 4 (PNA) -- Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista said on Monday a two-year emergency power is not enough for President Rodrigo R. Duterte to solve the worsening traffic woes in Metro Manila.

In a press conference, Bautista proposed that the new Chief Executive be given a full six-year term to solve traffic on Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) and the other major thoroughfares of the metropolis.

“It is not that easy to address that problem. This will continue to worsen when major infrastructure projects of the national government start,” he told reporters

“Most of them are in Quezon City, and therefore a two-year emergency power is too short for the President,” he pointed out.

According to the three-term mayor, the emergency powers will definitely solve various obstacles to push through with the (past) administration’s infrastructure projects to improve traffic.

Among the projects are all phases of the Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3, North Luzon Expressway-Circumferential 5 Road Segment 8.2, Southeast Metro Manila Expressway, Visayas Avenue Extension, Ateneo de Manila University-Miriam College viaduct, Metro Manila Interchange Phase 4, Metro Rail Transit Line 7 and Light Rail Transit Line 2 expansion projected to have target completion dates of 2020 and beyond.

“Some of these projects have not yet started. After two years of having the emergency powers on traffic, the President will have to seek an extension,” he noted.

The President earlier said he could only provide band-aid solutions if he could not secure emergency powers to fix the worsening traffic in the metro.

Metro Manila’s traffic jam is causing a PHP2.4-billion economic loss per day to the country. By 2030, the loss is expected to balloon by PHP6 billion a day.

The local chief executive pointed out that the President’s emergency power must not only cover the National Capital Region, but also expanded to the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan.

“Because these areas would be the recipients of the impact of the traffic solutions in the metropolis. If we do not include them, where do we relocate affected informal settlers to be displaced by the traffic reduction measures?” he asked.

“Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Bulacan will stand to benefit from the metro’s decongestion, and they must be part of the (inclusive) plan,” Bautista stressed.

He said that in Quezon City alone, the national government’s infrastructure projects will affect 55,000 informal settler families.

The President’s emergency power, if approved by the august body, must span its authority over the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Budget and Management, National Housing Authority, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, Department of Public Works and Highways, and Department of Transportation and Communications in solving the metro’s gridlock, Bautista said. (PNA) 

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7 more dope dealers killed in shootout with Bulacan cops

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, July 4 (PNA) -- Like dominoes, drug dealers are falling one after another in the ongoing all-out war being waged by the government against the proliferation of illegal drugs.

At least seven persons engaged in the sales of illegal drugs were killed over the weekend, barely 48 hours after wanted dope dealers were killed in an armed encounters during a series of anti-drugs operations last week.

In the latest dope sting in the province, Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr.,  said three were neutralized in Meycauayan City, one in Pandi, one in Calumpit, one in Obando, and one in Dona Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan.

Caramat identified the slain suspects as Bobby Lanoto alias “Baba," a resident of Barangay Banga, Meycauayan City and was No. 9 in BADAC watch list; Randy Rusiana, who was identified through his driver’s license and a resident of No. 4049 Golden Rod, Mapulang Lupa, Valenzuela City; Eric Tolentino, 38, jobless; Ronnie Medina alias “Jay-R/Pipoy”; Koji Harada, 27, presently residing in Barangay Pag-asa, Obando; Alfred Allan Abella, 25, a known notorious drug pusher and list as No. 1 in drug watchlist personalities in Dona Remedios Trinidada; and one still remains unidentified.

No casualty was reported on the police side.

Confiscated from the slain suspects were assorted firearms and ammunitions; sachets of containing white crystalline substance of suspected shabu; marked money and other drug paraphernalias.(PNA)

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Malolos City mayor starts working shortly after taking oath

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 1 (PNA) -— Shortly after taking his oath as city mayor of this historic capital city for his third and last term, lawyer Christian D. Natividad, who is popularly known as “Agila” here, rolled up his sleeves and led his supporters walking toward the newly constructed public market which was inaugurated and blessed Thursday afternoon.

On the same day, people already noticed that the road leading to the new public market was cleared of ambivalent vendors and is once again open for traffic.

"I am reminiscing the glory days of our city. I owe it to the people of Malolos to give them convenient places and fast service,” Natividad said.

In his address, Natividad said he did not prepare any speech.

But the mayor emphasized that the best legacy he can leave is to prepare the future leaders of this historic city which will continue his programs and good governance that made Malolos City one of the top 10 Next Wave Cities in the Philippines.

He said that his administration has already worked hard to give the people of Malolos a good future by establishing schools in every village.

He also announced that there will soon be 6,000 jobs available for the 24-hour call center that will soon rise at the Information Technology hub of Malolos, which will be constructed near the new City Hall (now under construction) beside the Malolos City Sports and Convention Center along the MacArthur highway in Barangay Bulihan here.

He said that the best is yet to come, but right now “we will walk our talk” and establish the foundation and identity of a growing metropolis that is blessed with a colorful past.(PNA)  

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6 dope dealers killed in Bulacan anti-drug operations

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, July 1 (PNA) -- Six notorious drug dealers were killed after shooting it out with lawmen in a series of anti-illegal drug operations in the towns of Norzagaray, San Ildefonso, Hagonoy, San Rafael, Guiguinto and Malolos City Thursday and on Friday morning.

Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., said that a wanted drug dealer was killed during a follow up buy bust operation at around 2 a.m. Friday in Barangay Iba-Ibayo Hagonoy town.

The slain suspect was identified Lauro Reyes alias “Lupin.”

Reyes is out on bail due to an earlier illegal drug charges filed against him after he was earlier arrested in a buy-bust operation in Paombong town.

Caramat said a police team pursued Reyes after his companion, identified as Lamberto Morales, fired at the approaching lawmen serving a search warrant at his house in Barangay Iba, also in Hagonoy town around 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Morales, according to Bulacan police, heads the criminal group “Bobsy Gang” which is involved in the series of shooting incidents, motornapping and robbery-hold-up in many areas in the province.

In San Ildefonso town, Oliver dela Cruz alias “Aga” was killed during a buy bust operation in Barangay Pala-pala at around 1 a.m. on Friday.

In Norzagaray town, a subject of search warrant in Barangay FVR identified as Keith Del Pilar Gibson was killed when he fired on the police at around 1:45 a.m. Friday. The police team was implementing a search warrant issued by Judge Celso Baguio of Gapan City, Nueva Ecija.

In the City of Malolos, an unidentified suspected drug dealer was killed when he fired on policemen during a buy-bust operation along the Diversion Road in Barangay Mojon around 1:45 a.m. on Friday.

In Guiguinto town, another armed drug dealer was killed after shooting a policeman acting as poseur buyer,

The slain suspect was only identified as a certain “Anok," who sold PHP500 worth of shabu to PO2 Jay-R Noprada.

The suspect drew a handgun and shot Noprada after his alleged cohort identified as Barry Tuazon arrived riding a Black Yamaha Mio Soul, without an attached plate number and shouted the following words, “pulis yan (that is a policeman)."

Noprada was hit in the chest portion of the bullet vest he was wearing, causing him to loose his balance.

Luckily, he did not sustain any injury while the security/back up members of the operating team, who were positioned in a dim privately owned backyard, rushed to the scene upon hearing suspect Barry Tuazon shouting.

Subsequently, SPO1 Rogelio Gregorio, who was the first to rush-in, fired on the armed suspect, who died instantaneously after sustaining multiple gunshot wounds in the body.

Simultaneously with the firefight, the other members of the operating team blocked suspect Barry Tuazon who tried to elude arrest riding the motorcycle.

When he was frisked, two pieces of small heat sealed transparent plastic sachet were recovered inside the small right pocket of his maong pants. (PNA) 

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Elected officials in Bulacan to take mass oath-taking on June 30

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 27 (PNA)- Third termer Governor-elect Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado will lead the oath-taking of all the elected officials in this province at the Bulacan Capitol Gymnasium here on June 30.

Executive Judge Albert Fonacier will administer the oath-taking of the officials in the provincial and district levels while the elected local government officials of the three cities and 21 municipalities in the province will swear their oath before the elected governor.

With the theme “Mapanagutang Pamamahala: Susi sa Maunlad at Nagkakaisang Bulacan,” Alvarado said that the mass oath-taking would be a great opportunity for all public servants, regardless of their political affiliations, to unite in serving and leading the province into greater heights of success through good governance.

The governor will also take the opportunity to present his accomplishments and future plans for Bulacan in order to achieve rapid and inclusive economic growth through his seven-point agenda that prioritizes pervasive development in the field of good governance, health, education, nature and environment, livelihood, peace and order, and history and culture

Meanwhile, the provincial government of Bulacan will also formally receive its International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001-2008 Certification from TÜV Rheinland Philippines for its commendable provision of public service to the Bulakenyos. (PNA) 

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(Feature) Bocaue’s Pagoda sails for unity and strong faith - By Emil G. Gamos  

BOCAUE, Bulacan, June 27 (PNA) -- Will the resurrected "Pagoda ng Mahal na Poon ng Krus sa Wawa" heal the political turmoil that ripped this town after the mayoralty post in the last May elections was decided through a toss coin and is presently under protest?

The response is somewhat pragmatic but devotees of the “Mahal na Poon ng Krus sa Wawa” believe that the voyage of the Pagoda will in time help heal the political wounds just like the tragedy when the three-tiered boat carrying the holy cross with hundreds of people on board tilted and sank in the murky river on the night of July 2, 1993, drowning more than 200 devotees.

"Our people have moved on since then and after 21 years, our faith has remained strong and our Pagoda is again sailing,” said a former mayor who requested not to be named.

After the tragedy in 1993, the Pagoda once again set its maiden voyage in July 2014 and this is the third consecutive year that the famous fluvial festival is being celebrated in honor of the venerated Mahal na Poon ng Krus sa Wawa and the town’s patron saint -- St. Martin of Tours.

In 2014, business communities and local folks then led by Ruben Mercado and the Roman Catholic Church under the parish priest Msgr. Albert Suatengco decided to revive the long lost sailing of a grand Pagoda with an aim to regain what they perceived to have also good tidings in the town.

The new Pagoda built for this year’s celebration of the Feast of the Holy Cross on July 3 sailed the river shortly after it was inaugurated on the eve of the start of its nine-day novena voyage.

This year’s theme “Nagkakaisang Sambayanan sa Mahal na Poon ng Krus sa Wawa” aims to unite the people, have cooperation and further deepen the religious faith, according to Michael Yanga, one of the fiesta committee chairmen, together with Gloria Lazaro and Josefina Santiago.

Msgr. Suatengco said the resiliency and the strong faith of Catholic devotees have fortified the voyage of the Pagoda as well as its impact on the town.

Every afternoon, since Thursday last week, the holy cross is being carried out from the Parish Church and placed into an altar, the centerpiece of the Pagoda, for the nine-day novena before the main parade on its feast day on July 3. (PNA) 
SCS/zst/EEGamos/ps --  

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Philippine Army joins war vs crimes, illegal drugs

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 27 (PNA) -- The Philippine Army troopers have joined the police in the all-out-war against illegal drugs and criminality.

The 48th Infantry (Guardians) Battalion and policemen from the Dona Remedios Trinidad PNP Station confiscated one sachet of shabu and a handgun Sunday in Barangay Pulong Sampalok, Dona Remedios Trinidad town.

The troops under 2Lt Jan Michael Jamelarin of Bravo Company, 48IB and PNP personnel led by Police Senior Inspector Isagani E. Santos III while conducting checkpoint, flagged down a Honda Wave motorcycle with plate number 8979 whose rider was identified as Roger Sayson Enriquez for not wearing a helmet.

Upon verification of pertinent documents, Enriquez fled towards the grassy hill of the said barangay. Personnel on the said checkpoint pursued the suspect but to no avail.

The suspect left his motorcycle and a red pouch containing one cal .22 revolver, four ammunitions of cal .22, one heat sealed sachet of shabu, and PHP200. The said items were brought to Bulacan Provincial Police Station for proper disposition.

Major General Angelito M. De Leon, commander of 7ID of Philippine Army, in his guidance said that areas covered by the division will not only be secured from insurgents but also from threats coming from lawless elements and drug syndicates.

Aside from this, Col. Felimon T. Santos Jr., commander of 703rd Brigade, said that success of 48IB’s anti-illegal drug campaign is achieved through effective joint operations with PNP.

Lt. Col. Eugenio Julio C. Osias IV,, 48IB commanding officer, for his part, said that 48IB will maintain close coordination with PNP to thwart drug-related activities in Bulacan and other provinces covered by the unit. (PNA) 

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PNP Chief orders probe rift between NCRPO and Baliwag police during checkpoint operation
By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan

MANILA, June 24 (PNA) – Outgoing Philippine National Police chief Director General Ricardo Marquez on Friday ordered an investigation into the rift between operatives of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) and Baliwag Police over a checkpoint incident in Baliwag, Bulacan last Tuesday.

The 17 cops and assets of NCRPO, onboard five vehicles were stopped at a checkpoint in Baliwag after which were caught with kilos of shabu. But the NCRPO cops denied owning the contraband, claiming that they recovered it from a buy-bust operation.

”Napatunayan ng NCRPO na their presence there was legitimate. so last night i was also shocked to hear that PRO 3 is filing(charges) so I have asked Inspector General (IG) to investigate kung ano talaga nangyari sa operations na yun,” Marquez told reporters when asked for a comment.

The PNP Chief also said that earlier, he told his men to open a investigation to strengthen the idea of the operations.

”Laging sinasabi ko ang mga pulis dapat iopen sa investigation para to strengthen the idea na yung ating operations are from the very beginning regular so that yung mga gawain nung mga unang panahon ay maiwasan,” he said adding that the investigation would determine the truth and when people step beyond the line of regularity then they should investigate and if they found irregularity they would face charges.

”(The) scope nung investigation will be a big part of what we would want to find out bakit nangyari yun and how do we prevent it from being repeated in the future,” Marquez added. (PNA)

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PRO-3 chief vows to file charges vs NCRPO operatives, assets

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, June 24 (PNA)--Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino, chief of the Police Regional Office (PRO) in Central Luzon, vowed on Friday to pursue charges against policemen who were caught with the illegal drugs in Bulacan.

Aquino , who made his first command visit here, said the controversial confiscation of  large volume of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu from policemen and supposed assets of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) has boosted the morale of regional police operatives in their anti-illegal drug campaign.

"It serves as an accomplishment to us. You know when you got caught policemen with illegal drugs such as this, it is an accomplishment. At least, from here, we were able to cut their illegal acts,” Aquino said, saying they have found enough grounds to file charges against the 12 policemen and five alleged assets.

"Hopefully, we are able to file charges as there is no bail then," Aquino said.

The statements of NCRPO men, he said, are filled with conflicts.

He maintained that the NCRPO should present an arrested suspect if the operation was indeed a buy bust.

"What is surprising is that why the illegal drugs were in their assets' gray Montero vehicle. Those illegal drugs should be in the possession of the policemen," he stressed.

An investigation of the task force, headed by Senior Supt. Benjamin Hulipas, deputy regional director,  Aquino said, also belied claim of a ranking NCRPO officer that a certain group is out to have them fighting.

He also stressed that the checkpoint set up in Baliwag, Bulacan was a legitimate police operation. (PNA) 

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20 nabbed as cops bust cybersex den in Bulacan - By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan

MANILA, June 23 (PNA) -- The Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP ACG) arrested 20 persons for cybercrime charges during an operations in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan, PNP-ACG director, Senior Superintendent Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said on Thursday.

Eleazar said that before midnight Wednesday the cybercops raided a cybersex den in San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan where they arrested 20 persons, 13 of them males accused of recording the sex act of their victims and threatening to send the video to their target’s families if their extortion demand is unheeded.

“Thru our Strikeback Operation 2016, we have smashed another local cybersex ring victimizing foreigners and even Filipinos, luring them into webcam chats and blackmailing the victims with the footage showing them in uncompromising situation,” said Eleazar.

Strikeback is a massive operation of the PNP ACG aimed at neutralizing cybersex syndicates in the country particularly those involved in so-called ‘sextortion.’ The Interpol has tagged The Philippines, Morocco and Ivory Coast as the top three countries where ‘sextortion’ rings are operating.

However, Interpol authorities last week lauded the Philippine government specifically the PNP ACG for its continuing massive effort to identify and arrest members of ‘sextortion’ syndicates operating in the country.

Eleazar said that around 11:45 p.m. Wednesday, Cybercops from the PNP ACG Cyber Response Team led by Superintendent Jay Guillermo raided the office of the Jaira Online Marketing Services located at the 2nd and 3rd floors of 8650 ME Building in Eraño Manalo Street, Purok 6, Area-C in Barangay San Martin, SapangPalay, San Jose del Monte City on the strength of a search warrant for violation of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybersex Act of the Philippines issued by Judge Ramon D. Pamular of the Guimba, Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court Branch 32.

The authorities, with the assistance of the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Office 3 and the San Jose del Monte City Police Station arrested the 20 suspects and seized 39 computer sets, three computer servers, three TP Link routers, two PLDT DSL, one CPU without monitor, 16 different cellphones and one Ipad during the operation.

Eleazar identified the arrested suspects as Sherly Jean Avellana, 25; Ma. Elena Mercolita, 30; Maricar Pagwagan, 18; Carmela Carmelo, 23; Jenalyn Tazarte,25; Teresa Rayo, 39; and Cathy de la Rosa, 19; and males Ezer Victorino, 30; John Carlos Vergara, 20; Raymond Sudario, 27; Russel Canlas, 27; Norman Fortich, 21; Steven Jommel Rico, 24; Sherwin del Rosario, 29; Alcel Jan Cruz, 26; JavemarVegaño, 32; Reymark Roldan, 27; Benedict Jade Duran, 27; Surewin Carreon, 21; and Julius Christian Realba, 29.

All 20 suspects who are residents from different parts of Bulacan were taken to the PNP-ACG headquarters in Camp Crame for documentation after they were apprised of their constitutional rights, said the PNP-ACG director.

Eleazar said that the ‘sextortion’ rings target males in all ages. The syndicates’ modus operandi goes like this: A beautiful sexy young girl will send a message to a user of Facebook and any social media site and will try to establish an instant interpersonal connection.

As soon as the target befriends the suspect, their conversation will start to get sexual in nature and the suspect will start sending her supposed naked pictures and invite the target to have a live video chat wherein she can be seen performing sexual acts.

Once the target is hooked, he will be encouraged to do the same by showing his face and genitals on webcam. Unknown to him, the chat video is not a live performance but a recorded video downloaded from porn sites. Mostly, the suspects behind the webcam are also males who know how to use tools to show recorded videos on live chat conversations.

“Your sexual acts will be recorded and the never-ending extortion will start as the suspect has already profiled your account and captured all of your friends’ list. He or she will then threaten to send the video to your friends, your officemates or classmates and even to your family if you will not give them money,” Eleazar said.

The PNP-ACG director renewed his call on the public to fully cooperate with them in going after ‘sextortion’ gangs who preys on both the young and the old, students included as they use Facebook and other social media in the country.

"We are very much aware of the possibility that young students may end up victims of ‘sextortion’ in the country with the opening of regular classes this month since during the summer period, we made at least three sextortion-related arrests with students as victims," Eleazar said as 25 million students returned to regular school this week.

Eleazar said they have activated their Operation Strikeback 3 designed to arrest cybercriminals victimizing women, children, and men with their ‘sextortion’ activities. He said that ‘sextortion’ syndicates usually demand USD500-USD2,000 from their victims and the demand will increase further.

The official said members of the "sextortion" group would create fake Facebook accounts of fictitious young and attractive women and entice and lure victims with pornographic materials after striking up online chats with them.

With the advent of Internet, Eleazar again asked parents to have more time in communicating with their children particularly minors to prevent them from failing victims to Internet predators.

“This is the reason we are encouraging parents and children to report to the PNP ACG all Internet or computer crimes. We also assure them that all information they will provide us will be treated with utmost confidentiality,” he said. (PNA) 

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10 kilos of shabu seized in Bulacan anti-drug sting

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, June 23 (PNA) -- Mystery shrouds the anti-drug operation in Baliwag town Wednesday afternoon that led to the recovery of 10 kilos of high grade shabu inside a van at a police checkpoint along the Dona Remedios Trinidad highway in Barangay Tarcan here but ended without any suspects or drug dealers getting arrested.

In a press conference at the police provincial headquarters here, Chief Supt. Benjamin Hulipas, deputy regional director for administration of Police Regional Office 3, said that Central Luzon police director Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino has formed a special investigation team to dig deeper into the said anti-drug operations.

The joint operatives of the Regional Intelligence Division -Special Concern Unit of PRO3 and the Baliwag police intercepted a silver Mitsubishi Montero driven and occupied by assets of the Regional Intelligence Division of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), who claimed they were conducting legitimate anti-drug operations and claimed they have 10 kilos of shabu in their vehicle.

Hulipas said the special investigation team will try to establish if something irregularity has transpired in the said dope deal and will file appropriate cases.

He said they will investigate the two civilian assets of the NCRPO who were taken to this Camp for investigation but was later released after ranking officers from the NCRPO confirmed that the anti-drug operation in Baliwag was legitimate.

Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., said that at around 9:15 p.m. Wednesday, the Baliwag police headed by Supt. Froilan Uy flagged down the driver of the Mitsubishi Montero with plate number VVM-122 and instructed him to park at the side of the highway.

While the police were verifying the identities of the occupants and the illegal drugs, Caramat said more or less six vehicles stopped and the occupants alighted and identified themselves as members of RAIDSOTG of the NCRPO.

Caramat said that the team leader of the group identified himself as Police Inspector Johnny Garcia and told the Baliwag police chief that they are conducting follow-up operations after consummating buy bust operations at the 8 Waves Resort in San Rafael, Bulacan,

Caramt said that they brought the team and the drugs to the police headquarters and at around 1 a.m. Thursday, Senior Supt. Manuel Lukban, chief of the Regional Intelligence Division of NCRPO, arrived  and coordinated with him regarding the operations conducted by RAID-SOTG.

Caramat said that Chief Inspector Roberto Razon, chief of the RAID-SOTG of NCRPO, arrived and claimed that he is fully aware about the operations of his men.

Lukban said that even if the target drug dealers managed to elude arrest, the police was successful in recovering the 10 kilos of shabu which he said has already saved many possible victims.

He explained that drug transactions nowadays have become “high tech”.

"The drug deal now is unlike before, especially with such a big haul of illegal drugs. What is important is our policemen managed to recover the illegal drugs," he said, adding that the NCRPO is also conducting an investigation of the incident, in coordination with the Bulacan police and PRO 3.

A SOCO team from Bulacan PNP Crime Laboratory  led by Chief Inspector Amelita Mendoza conducted inventory of the recovered 10 kilos of suspected shabu placed in 10 big ziplock plastic bags with the presence of NCRPO officers led by Senior Supt. Lukban and Senior Supt. Caramat and the silver Montero van, which is now under the custody of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office.(PNA)       

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Bulacan crime rate drops 16.65% in first quarter of 2016

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 22 (PNA) -- The province's intensified drive against criminality resulted in a 16.65 percent decline in crime rate for the first quarter of the year.

Police Supt. Romeo Caramat, chief of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office (BPPO), reported during the Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting that there were 6,465 crime incidents recorded in the first quarter of this year, a decrease of 1,147 incidents compared to the 7,612 reported crimes in the same period in 2015.

Caramat said that their all-out campaign against criminality and maintenance of peace and order has resulted in significant arrests of lawless elements and neutralization of notorious crime syndicates operating in Bulacan, Metro Manila and some parts of Central Luzon.

"We have successfully conducted buy-bust operations, implemented Oplan Galugad and Oplan Sita and we have arrested 322 criminals and seven from them were killed during operations,” he said.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado commended the government peacekeeping forces for continuously maintaining an atmosphere of peace and order and for protecting the province from all types of security threats. The governor, who is also the chairman of the Regional Development Council in Central Luzon, also praised the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines 3rd Mechanized Infantry Battalion for their commendable services in maintaining peace and security in the region, which are necessary for the attainment of sustainable economic development.

“With their continuous conduct of Bayanihan activities and security operations through the support of different local government units (LGUs), enemy was preempted in staging criminal acts and attacking our territory. Government presence and support are evidently felt by the masses with safe and secured environment,” he said.

The governor also expressed his full support to the administration of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte, who vowed to ensure peace and security through his intensified campaign against illegal drugs.

Alvarado likewise urged everyone to unite and always remain vigilant against any form of threat on the sovereignty of the country, including the tense situation at the West Philippine Sea.

"Law enforcement agencies and LGU’s cannot make it alone without the cooperation of the people. Let’s do our part to attain lasting peace and order in our communities,” the governor added. (PNA) 

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Two more suspected dope dealers slain in Bulacan shootout 

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, June 17 (PNA) -- In a span of more than a week, five suspected drug dealers have been killed during armed encounters with policemen conducting anti-drug operations in the town of San Miguel.

After neutralizing three alleged top targets in the campaign against illegal drugs in the said municipality, the San Miguel police killed two more suspected drug dealers during a gun battle in a suspected dope den in Sitio Daang Bakal, Barangay San Juan, San Miguel Thursday afternoon.

Acting Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., identified the slain suspects as Joseph Sarmiento, 47, single, and his brother Feliciano, 49, single, both residents of said barangay.

Caramat also said that one of their cohorts identified as Alex Carpio, also a resident of Sitio Daang Bakal, Barangay San Juan, San Miguel, was nabbed while another  suspect managed to elude arrest and is now a subject of  police manhunt.

Based on the report of  Police Supt. Joel Estaris, officer--in-charge of San Miguel Municipal Police Station (MPS), personnel of San Miguel MPS, in coordination with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-3, conducted an anti-illegal drug operation in Barangay San Juan, San Miguel.

Caramat said that the encounter ensued after one of the suspects, a certain alias “Epak", sold one sachet of shabu to a poseur buyer for Php 500.

However, after the consummation of the buy-bust operation, it was discovered that the Sarmiento brothers, together with Carpio, were a having a pot session.

Sensing of the ongoing anti-illegal drugs operation, Estaris said the Sarmiento brothers fired towards the PNP operatives, prompting the police to return fire.

An exchange of gunfire ensued that resulted in the death of the two brothers and the arrest of Carpio.

No casualty, however, was reported on the police side.

Confiscated pieces of evidence from the suspects were one heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet of shabu; one improvised pen gun loaded with one fired cartridge of caliber .38; one plastic container with aluminum foil strips; and Php1,000.

Caramat said that Scene of the Crime Operative (SOCO) processed the crime scene and recovered the following pieces of evidence: two cut-opened transparent plastic sachets; one pouch containing one cut-opened transparent plastic sachet with shabu residue; one metallic fragment; three caliber .22 fired cartridge cases; one deformed fired bullet; one lead case; one fired bullet; one caliber 5.56 fired cartridge bullet; one caliber .38 revolver with no serial numbers and with five live ammunition; and one caliber .38 revolver with no serial number loaded with two ammunition.

The cadaver of the slain suspects were brought to Tuazon Funeral Homes in Barangay Poblacion, San Miguel.

Appropriate criminal complaint is now being filed against the arrested suspect before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutors City of Malolos, Bulacan.

Meanwhile, a follow-up operation is being conducted for apprehension of the other suspect who evaded arrest. (PNA) 

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Bulacan execs hail blood galloners as modern-day heroes

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 16 (PNA) -- Calling them as modern-day heroes, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado hailed volunteer blood donors in the province, saying their “efforts of love” is giving lifelines to their needy fellowmen.

Alvarado, together with Vice Governor Daniel Fernando and regional officials of the Department of Health (DOH) in Central Luzon feted hundreds of volunteer blood donors during the “Blood Galloners” recognition ceremony Wednesday at the Pavillion of the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center here.

"Because of you (blood galloners), you lighten the load being burdened by those who have illness.You are heroes because you save many lives especially in needy times," Alvarado told the volunteer blood donors who attended the event which is part of the “World Blood Donor Day”.

The governor also announced that starting next month, the blood letting program in the province’s 21 towns and three cities will be chaired by Vice Governor Fernando.

Alvarado also recalled that during the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991, many changes have happened in the region, even in the coastal town of Hagonoy where he served for 12 years as municipal mayor.

"I still remember that while I was delivering message about blood donation, the volcano suddenly erupted and there was somewhat like a mushroom cloud," he said.

Alvarado said that during that time, their town only needs 50 bags (459 cc per bag) of blood per month. But now, the province needs at least 1,000 bags a month or a target of 40,000 bags per year.

He added that during the term of former Gov. Roberto Pagdanganan, he suggested that its about time that the province should have their own blood bank.

Dr. Joel A. Torregoza, president of Blood Galloners and Dugong Pinoy Foundation, said that donating blood is the highest form of giving back because it really comes from the heart.

Torregoza , 68, has been donating blood since he was 10 years old and has already donated 195 bags of blood and still doing so.

Meanwhile, blood donor blood donor Mario Castillo said that he feels recharged and energized  every time he donates blood.(PNA) 

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Ex-Norzagaray mayor rapped due to delayed GSIS payment

MANILA, June 13 (PNA) -- The Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) has filed charges against former Norzagaray, Bulacan Mayor Feliciano Legaspi, including Municipal Treasurer Cristeta Esteban and Municipal Accountant Manuel Marcial in connection with the delayed remittance of Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) premium contributions for the month of November 2009.

In an 11-page resolution released on Monday, the Ombudsman has found probable cause to indict the respondents for violation of Section 52 of Republic Act No. 8291, or the "Government Service Insurance System Act".

Investigation found that the municipality was able to remit the November 2009 premiums only in February 2010 even if the deadline for remittance was in January 2010.

The resolution said that under RA No. 8291, government employers are required to remit directly to the GSIS the employees' and employers' contributions within 30 days from the day the obligation fell due and demandable.

Otherwise, the employer would be liable for delay, refusal or failure to remit under RA No. 8291. (PNA) 

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Ex-Bulacan town mayor faces 40 counts of usurpation of authority

MANILA, June 13 (PNA) -- The Office of the Ombudsman (Ombudsman) has upheld the filing of cases before the Sandiganbayan against former Norzagaray, Bulacan Mayor Feliciano Legaspi, Sr. for 40 counts of usurpation of authority or official functions.

Legaspi faces charges for solemnizing 39 marriages and issuing a business permit despite being suspended for six months by the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman has earlier ordered Legaspi suspended for six months from December 2012 to June 2013.

However, Legaspi continued to discharge the duties and responsibilities of a mayor.

Legaspi was ordered suspended after the Ombudsman found him guilty of oppression or grave abuse of authority in a separate administrative case.

In a 15-page resolution released on Monday, it said that "the decision of the Ombudsman is immediately executory pending appeal and could not be stayed by the filing of an appeal or the issuance of an injunctive writ."

It added that "during this period, [Legaspi] was barred from discharging his duties and responsibilities as municipal mayor." (PNA) 

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PNP chief: Aurora one of the most peaceful provinces in PHL

BALER, Aurora, June 8 (PNA) –- This province is one of the most peaceful places in the Philippines and still considered the safest province in central Luzon, according to the country’s top police official.

In an interview, outgoing Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Ricardo Marquez said the province, located in a horseshoe-shaped coastal valley overlooking the Pacific Ocean, is generally peaceful and the people are generally friendly.

Marquez lauded the entire police force in this province in maintaining the peace and order situation in their respective area of assignments.

He said that this place's beauty never gets old and is still generally peaceful compared to other provinces.

The PNP chief came over Tuesday at Camp Ravina, Barangay Sabang here to personally give recognition to 10 police officers in Central Luzon for their meritorious and invaluable services rendered during the conduct of 2016 national and local elections.

Marquez said that through their diligent effort and dedication to public service, the police officers contributed immeasurably in the attainment of the PNP organization’s overall mission and objectives.

"By their distinctive accomplishments, the awardees earned lasting credit and honor not only for themselves but for the entire Philippine National Police,” Marquez said.

The “Medalya ng Kagalingan’ was personally awarded by Marquez to the following police officers: Police Senior Superintendent Danilo Florentino, provincial director of Aurora; Police Senior Superintendent Rhodel Sermonia, provincial director of Bataan; Police Senior Superintendent Romeo Caramat, Jr., provincial director of Bulacan; Police Senior Superintendent Cornel, provincial director of Nueva Ecija; Police Senior Superintendent Rodolfo Recomono Jr., provincial director of Pampanga; Police Senior Superintendent Alex Sintin, provincial director of Tarlac; Police Senior Superintendent Eli Depra, provincial director of Zambales; Police Senior Superintendent Eden Ugale of Police Regional Office Region 3; Police Senior Superintendent Sidney N. Villaflor, City Chief of Police of Angeles City; and, Police Senior Superintendent Jerry Sumbad, City Chief of Police of Olongapo City.

The awarding of “Medalya ng Kagalingan” is in pursuant to the provision of section 21, National Police Commission Circular No. 93-018, in furtherance of section 14 (m), and section 69, RA6975, governing incentives and awards of honor for PNP uniformed personnel.

“I congratulate the friendly people of Aurora and the other provinces here in Central Luzon for their support to our police force, particularly our awardees for doing their job well,” Marquez added.(PNA) 

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Bulacan to join 118th celebration of Philippine Independence

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 7 (PNA) -– The provincial government of Bulacan, along with hundreds of Bulakenyos, will relive the spirit of true independence during the 118th anniversary of the Philippine Independence to be held at the historic Barasoain Church here.

With the theme, “Kalayaan 2016 – Pagkakaisa, Pag-aambagan, Pagsulong”, the celebration will revolve in inspiring every Bulakenyo to feel the independence as well as the responsibilities it holds.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the commemoration of the country’s independence is an opportune time to understand and inspire others of what it takes to be free and be reminded that freedom is not about oneself, but about the country and what one can do for the nation.

“In this time, it is easy to say that we are independent and free but we do not know the true feelings of having lost such independence and the sacrifices that our fellow Filipinos did to regain it,” Alvarado said.

Meanwhile, Senator Cynthia Villar is expected to grace the event as the guest speaker and will lead the flag raising and wreath laying ceremonies at the statute of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, together with the local officials here.

Independence Day (Araw ng Kalayaan) is an annual national holiday in the Philippines observed every June 12 as a commemoration of the Philippine Declaration of Independence from Spain on June 12, 1898 by President Emilio Aguinaldo. (PNA) 

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7 drug pushers in Central Luzon fall

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, June 6 (PNA) -- The Police Regional Office 3 (PRO3), in its intensified campaign to eradicate all forms of illegal drugs in Central Luzon, arrested seven persons in separate anti-illegal drug operations conducted over the weekend in the provinces of Bataan, Bulacan and Nueva Ecija.

Chief Superintendent Arron Aquino, officer-in-charge of PRO3, said operatives of Balanga City Police Station and Limay Municipal Police Station conducted buy bust operations in Barangay Tenejero, Balanga City which resulted in the arrest of Enrico Raymundo, 51, and his brother Jeric, 31, both of Barangay Wawa and Mark William Arboleda, 34, a resident of Barangay Bagong Daan, both in Orion, Bataan.

They were arrested after selling one piece of teabag size heat sealed sachet containing suspected shabu worth PHP3,000 to a poseur buyer.

Confiscated from their possession were marked money and 17 pieces sachets of suspected shabu amounting to about PHP15,000.

Meanwhile, operatives conducted buy-bust operations at Phase 5, Sto Niño, Barangay Bagbaguin, Meycauayan City, Bulacan which resulted in the arrest of Anthony Castro, 47, and Jeffrey Lacson, 41, both residents of said barangay.

Confiscated from their possession were 10 plastic sachet containing suspected shabu weighing approximately two grams, various illegal drug paraphernalia and PHP200 as marked money.

Likewise, operatives conducted buy bust operation on illegal drugs in Barangay Palasinan, Cabiao, Nueva Ecija which resulted in the arrest of Guillermo Victorio, 49, a resident of said barangay and included in the list of top five priority target on illegal drugs personalities.  

During the operation, the suspect’s cohort identified as Maximo Valerio was also arrested for having possession of suspected shabu.

Seized from the duo were four small plastic sachets of suspected shabu, PHP500 marked money, two units of cellular phone and a tricycle.  (PNA) 

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2 motorcycle thieves fall in Bulacan sting

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, June 3 (PNA) -— The hard stance of President-elect Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte against criminals is now taking its toll with some of them forced to sell stolen items at cheaper price and getting caught in the process.

Two alleged motorcycle thieves were arrested Wednesday in a joint operation conducted by San Jose Del Monte City Police Station Highway Patrol Group, Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC) and Norzagaray Municipal Police Station along Rancho Libis Road, Barangay San Martin-1, Area-C, San Jose Del Monte City.

Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., acting police provincial director identified the arrested suspects as Jenricdray Villegas, 20, resident of No. 012 Sitio Gulod, Barangay Bitungol, Norzagaray and Danlord Dela Cruz alias “Bilog”/,”Kalbo”, motorcycle mechanic, resident of Block 16, Lot 2, NHV, Barangay Bitungol, Norzagaray.

Based on the report of Supt. Raniel Valones, officer-in-charge of San Jose Del Monte City Police Station, Caramat said that there was an intelligence report that a stolen motorcycle is being sold for Php 5,000.

A police operative who acted as buyer negotiated with suspect Villegas.

Police teams arrested the suspect and recovered from his possession was one Yamaha Mio motorcycle without plate number, engine no. 40C-232446 and chassis no. PA040C000F0274220.

Another joint follow-up operation was conducted at Block 16, Lot 2, NHV, Barangay Bitungol, Norzagaray which resulted in the arrest of Dela Cruz. Recovered from his possession were two suspected stolen Yamaha Mio with plate number 5035 RK, engine no. 40C1-010475, and chassis number PA040C00090009636 and another plate nunber CB-0849, engine number 5TL-352201, chassis number MH35TL0046K352116.

"It seems that criminals are now in panic even to the point of selling stolen items at a cheap price,” he said.

The two arrested suspects are now under the custody of San Jose Del Monte City Police Station.

Criminal complaints for violation of Anti Fencing Law (PD 1612) and RA 6539 (carnapping) are now being prepared for filing before the Office of the City Prosectuors, City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan against the suspects. (PNA) 

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Bulakenyos join National Flag Day celebration

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, May 30 (PNA)-- Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Monday reminded the Bulakenyos to always show love and respect to the Philippine flag and the Filipino people.

"Let us respect and love our flag as we respect and love ourselves and our fellowmen," Alvarado said during the 118th anniversary of the Philippine National Flag held in front of the Provincial Capitol Building here.

The governor also called on the Bulakenyos to be strong willed and emulate the country’s heroes who fought for the country’s freedom.

Together with Vice Governor Daniel R. Fernando, OIC PS/Supt Romeo M. Caramat Jr. of the Bulacan Provincial Police Office and department heads, Alvarado also led the flag raising and wreathlaying ceremony in front of the statue of Gat. Marcelo H. Del Pilar.

"This is noblest day as we are commemorating the importance of the country's flag and at the same time, giving recognition to the heroism of our own hero, Marcelo H. Del Pilar. This is a reminder to the next generations on his gallantry and heroism that gave flame in attaining our freedom and independence through the offering of blood, tears and lives," Alvarado said.

On May 28, 1898, the Philippine flag was first raised and received its baptism of fire and victory in the battle of Alapan, Imus, Cavite and after the American government banned this act for decades, it was reinstated in 1919.

By virtue of Proclamation No. 374, s. 1965, May 28 was declared as Flag Day each year and in 1994, President Fidel V. Ramos issued Executive Order No. 179, extending the National Flag Day from May 28 to June 12 for it is an opportune time for all Filipinos to collectively reflect on the significance of the National Flag, in the light of the Philippine Independence celebration. (PNA) 

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President Aquino unveils PHP3.3-B water transmission project in Bulacan - By Emil G. Gamos

NORZAGARAY, Bulacan, May 26 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III assured residents of Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal and some parts of Cavite of adequate and uninterrupted supply of potable surface water as he led on Thursday the unveiling of the PHP3.3-billion water transmission project at the Ipo dam here.

Accompanied by Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, Asian Development Bank (ADB) country director Richard Bolt and Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) administrator Gerry Esquivel, the President inspected the location of the tunnel after viewing the schematic diagram of the project.

The President said that the water transmission project will improve the delivery of fresh mountain water to Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

He said that the project will ensure that there will be no more total disruption of service due to the decades old tunnel which will be rehabilitated and improve with modern standard and technology.

The project is expected to be finished by the year 2020.

"Ang tubig ay bukal ng buhay at mahalagang matugunan natin ang pangangailangan ng ating mga boss. Ang atin pong solusyon ay ang pagtatayo ng panibagong tunnel system upang maisaayos ang ating pasilidad,” the Chief Executive said.

The project is funded through a loan from the ADB.

It will allow further rehabilitation work on the raw water transmission system and will ensure sustainable provision of water supply in the said areas.

Alvarado took the opportunity to thank President Aquino for his initiatives to bring fresh surface water supply to the homes of three million Bulakenyos through the Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project.

He said that after almost 50 years of watching their supply of fresh mountain water goes to Metro Manila, the people of Bulacan will now enjoy the bounty of their natural resources.

Alvarado said that Bulakenyos will no longer depend on underground supply of water.

For many years, the mountains of Bulacan has been providing 97 percent the water needs of Metro Manila. (PNA) 

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Bulacan gov warns factories, piggeries not to dump waste into rivers, waterways

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, May 23 (PNA) -- In a bid to further boost the image of Bulacan as an environment-friendly growth center, Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado has warned factories, piggery and poultry farms not to discharge their waste water to creeks and rivers and comply with existing environment laws or face revocation of their business permits.

Alvarado also ordered the Bulacan Environment and Natural Resources Office headed by Elizabeth Apresto to inspect factories, big piggery and poultry farms if they are complying on the provision of the provincial environment code.

He told Apristo to revoke the permits and the Environment Compliance Certificate (ECC) of those who will be found discharging waste waters to creeks and rivers and other violations of the law.Alvarado said that discharging toxic waste to creeks and river does not only pollute but is also hazardous to human health. Bulacan is one of the provinces who has its own environment code that was drafted and passed as an ordinance by the Sanguniang Panglalawigan  after Alvarado assumed post as governor in 2010.

Most of the factories are located in this city, Guiguinto, Marilao and Meycauayan City while big piggery and poultry farms are located in Sta. Maria, Pulilan, Pandi, Norzagaray, San Ildefonso and San Rafael.  (PNA) 

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Fireworks association appeals to President-elect Duterte for a soft stand on fireworks

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, May 20 (PNA) -- Officers and members of the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association Inc (PPMDAI) on Friday appealed to President-elect Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to go soft on the sale and use of firecrackers and pyrotechnics devices, saying that more than half a million Filipinos are dependent on the industry.

Engineer Celso C. Cruz, chairman emeritus of PPMDAI and Marlene Lea DG Alapide, PPMDAI president, made the appeal during the “Fireworks Safety and Display Operators Seminar 2016” at the Paradise Resort in Barangay Dakila here on Friday morning.

The seminar was attended by some 3,000 manufacturers and dealers of fireworks in Central Luzon.

Cruz said that the safety seminar, jointly conducted by the PPMDAI anf the PNP-Civil Security Group, is a requirement to manufacturers and dealers in order for them to get license and permits.

As mayor of Davao City, Duterte has banned the use, production and sale of all types of fireworks in that city for so many years.

The PPMDAI officials expressed apprehension that the incoming President of the Philippines might expand his strong stand against fireworks nationwide which will have a very strong adverse effect on the livelihood of more than half a million people dependent on the industry.

Cruz said that the PPMDAI and the PNP-Civil Security Group are conducting the safety seminars nationwide in order to make sure the safety provisions of the Comprehensive Firecracker Law are strictly followed.

The PMMDAI officials said that in Bulacan alone, there are at least 400,000 individuals who are dependent on the industry and might lose their means of livelihood if the new President bans the use and sale of fireworks nationwide.

"Our vision is to have a pyrotechnic industry in the Philippines that is economically stable, producing quality fireworks with safety as its foremost thrust and aims to eliminate accidents and injuries in the manufacture, storage and transport of fireworks products. Our association and the government authorities are working together in developing programs to minimize and prevent untoward incidents,” Cruz explained.

Manufacturers and dealers who attended the safety seminars were debriefed and trained on display requirements, synchronized pyro musical conceptualization and safety guidelines, operation of the display and other concerns.

The seminar was also graced by PNP-CSG officials headed by Police Director Elmer Soria and Bulacan police officials led by acting police director Senior Supt. Romeo C. Caramat Jr.(PNA) 

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2 carnap ring members fall in Bulacan sting

CAMP GENERAL ALEJO S SANTOS, Bulacan, May 18 (PNA) -- Police arrested two alleged members of a notorious carnap gang operating in Central Luzon and recovered two carnapped vehicles, two hand guns, ammunition and a bladed weapon during a joint police operation in Barangay Lambakin, San Miguel town Tuesday morning.

Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat, acting provincial director of Bulacan PNP, identified the arrested suspects as Jaime Dumias, 28, married, auto mechanic, a resident of Barangay Pulong Malaki, San Isidro, Nueva Ecija; and a certain Tomasito, 25, single, helper, residing in Barangay Sta. Lucia, San Miguel, Bulacan.

Based on the report of Supt. Joel Estaris, officer-in-charge of San Miguel Municipal Police Station (MPS), joint elements of San Miguel MPS and Gapan City Police Station (CPS), together with the Highway Patrol teams of Bulacan and Nueva Ecija, arrested the two suspects in a hot pursuit operation after they took and carted away a white taxi Toyota Vios with plate no. ASA 6527, marked Kurt Jericson Transport, registered and operated by Rodolfo Dela Minez, 34, married, taxi operator, resident of Tadeo St., RTC Compound, Karuhatan, Valenzuela City.

Caramat said that the taxi was driven by Ronel Rufo, 40, married, driver, resident of No. 92 Heroes St., DM Compound, Caloocan City.

Investigation disclosed that subject vehicle was forcibly taken at gunpoint from Rufo at around 10:00 a.m. Tuesday while in the vicinity of Barangay Sto. Cristo Norte, Gapan City, Nueva Ecija.

The driver immediately reported the incident to Gapan City Police Station who coordinated with San Miguel MPS and informed the Provincial Highway Patrol Team of Bulacan and Nueva Ecija Provincial Police Office about the incident that led to the joint police operation.

Recovered from the suspects’ possession were one white taxi Toyota Vios with plate no. ASA 6527 (carnapped vehicle); two caliber .38 revolvers; 10 rounds of ammunition for caliber .38 and one dagger knife.

The arrested suspects and recovered pieces of evidence were turned-over to Gapan CPS for further investigation and filing of appropriate criminal cases. (PNA) 

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PDEA-3 nabs drug dealer in Bulacan

CITY of SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, May 16 (PNA) -- Agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Central Luzon arrested Sunday a drug dealer in a buy bust operation conducted in Meycauayan City, Bulacan and seized some PHP170,000 worth of shabu.

PDEA 3 Director Gladys Rosales identified the suspect as Jeffrey Jimenez, 32, a resident of Barangay Bangkal, Meycauayan City.

Rosales said the suspect was apprehended after he handed over to a poseur buyer a sachet containing shabu in the entrapment operation.

The arrest of Jimenez yielded 50 grams of shabu with an estimated street value of PHP170,000.

The agents also recovered the marked money used in the operation.

The suspect is now detained at PDEA 3 Jail Facilty in Camp Olivas in this province. (PNA) 

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Php 353-M worth of shabu seized in Bulacan drug bust -PDEA - By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan

MANILA, May 16 (PNA) – Combined operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) seized an about Php 353- million worth of methamphetamine hydrocloride , or "shabu," during an anti-drug operation in Bulacan, PDEA official said on Monday.

PDEA Director General Undersecretary Arturo G. Cacdac, Jr. said that the operation took place along Bypass Road, Barangay Sta. Clara, Sta. Maria, Bulacan around 9:30 a.m. on Sunday as the joint operatives of PDEA Special Enforcement Service (PDEA-SES) under the direct supervision of Director Ismael Fajardo, Jr. and the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (PNP-AIDG), arrested Leonardo Pedrosa, 39, a resident of Matang Tubig, Guyang Lote, Sta. Maria, Bulacan; Christian Ultra, 22; and Marlon Cervantes y Esta, 20; both residents of Parola, Tondo, Manila, after they conspired in selling two kilos of suspected shabu to a poseur-buyer.

He said suspects also yielded a black Toyota Vios with plate number AAK-1628 where an additional 10 kilos of suspected shabu were found inside the back compartment.

The driver of the vehicle, Jaime Halili, 28, tried to escape on foot and ran towards a house in Ignacio Subdivision, Sta. Maria, Bulacan where he was subdued. Arrested inside were Frans Espaldon, 20; Glynel Base, 18; and Junvi Ivory Base, 29, who were caught in the act of drying shabu. Confiscated inside the house were more or less 58.7 kilograms of the illegal drug.

The total weight of seized drug is 70.7 kilograms with an estimated market value of Php 353.3 million.

Cases for violation of Section 5 (Sale of Dangerous Drugs) and Section 11 (Possession of Dangerous Drugs), Article II of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, are now being prepared for filing in court against Pedrosa, Ultra and Cervantes, while Halili, Espaldon and the Bases will be charged for violation of Section 11 of the anti-drug law. (PNA) 

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Former CA Justice Jose dela Rama passes away

BOCAUE, Bulacan, May 12 (PNA) -- Lawyers and students of Law at the Bulacan State University mourn the passing of former Court of Appeals (CA) Justice Jose dela Rama who died last Monday. He was 90.

Dela Rama was a trial lawyer and eventually became a trial court judge and later moved up to become a justice of the Court of Appeals.

Lawyer Julius Victor Degala, who studied law at the Bulacan State University when Dela Rama was the dean of the College of Law, said that even at an old age, Dela Rama was still sharp in the field of legal jurisprudence.

"Deeply passionate about his love for country, he would always fight for the rights of the Filipinos and spearhead groundbreaking movements such as the use of Filipino language in courts. He will be surely missed,” Degala said.

Dela Rama is survived by his wife Dolores Ignacio and their children Rebecca, Josefina, Cynthia, Jose Jr. and Ruth as well as his 12 grandchildren and a great granddaughter.

He is the father of lawyer Jose “Peng” dela Rama Jr., governor of the Integrated Bar of the Philipibnes-Central Luzon chapter.

His body lies in state at the Mary the Queen Memorial Homes located along the bypass road in Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

Interment will be on May 15, 2016 in the family estate at the Garden of Peace, NIA road, Barangay Bagumbayan, this town. (PNA) 

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Bulacan incumbent gubernatorial and vice gov sweep the poll race with landslide wins

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, May 11 (PNA) -- Bulakenyos gave the tandem of Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando an overwhelming victory over their closest rivals in last Monday's elections.

Alvarado, who will be serving the people of Bulacan for his third term as top provincial executive, garnered a total votes of 659,024 while his rival Josie dela Cruz got  380,665.

Fernando, on the other hand, swept the race for vice governorship with an overwhelming 894,575 votes against the 297,560 votes of Phillip Salvador.

Both Alvarado and Fernando thanked their province mates for the trust and confidence and vowed to further boost the programs that will rev up anew the engines of growth in the province.

"The election is just one day. We should again unite and help each other in a continuous effort to develop our noble province and let us further uplift the status of life of every Bulakenyo," Alvarado, who is also the chairman of the Regional Development council, said shortly after he and Fernando were proclaimed as the winning governor and vice governor, respectively, by the Provincial Board of Canvassers at the Pavilion of the Hiyas Convention Center here, Tuesday night.

Except for the winner in the congressional race in the lone district of San Jose del Monte City, all winning congressmen in the province’s four legislative districts have also been proclaimed.

In the first district of Bulacan, young candidate Jose Antonio R. Sy-Alvarado, son of Gov. Alvarado, garnered 159,715 votes as against his rival Michael Fermin, who got 114,413 votes.

In the second district, Apol Pancho got 265,764 votes against the 11,548 of his rival Jaime Villfuerte.

The race in the third congressional district saw former Rep. Korna Silverio made a comeback by beating long time political rival Joselito Mendoza. Silverio garnered a total votes of 119,016 while Mendoza got 109,670 votes.

In the fourth district, reelectionist Rep. Lynabelle Villarica made a landslide victory with 216,962 votes over Joan Alarilla, who got 40,043 votes. (PNA) 

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Bulacan Gov. Alvarado and Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando headed for landslide victory

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, May 10 (PNA) -— With only the votes from the towns of Bocaue and San Ildefonso and the City of San Jose del Monte still unaccounted as of 12 noon Tuesday, the “dynamic duo" tandem of Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando are pulling away and headed for a landslide win over the pair of gubernatorial bet Josie dela Cruz and her running mate Philip Salvador.

Partial and unofficial returns showed that Alvarado and Fernando, both candidates of the Liberal Party, are leading by more than 300,000 votes that could no longer be surpassed as of 12 noon.

Their lawyers have requested the Provincial Board of Canvassers headed by Bulacan provincial election supervisor Lawyer Lydia V. Florentino-Pangilinan, chairman; Lawyer Renato C. Samonte, vice chairman and Director Romeo Alip, member; that because of the lead of the two provincial officials are mathemathically impossible to overcome, they should be proclaimed as soon as possible.

Pangilinan said that their request is noted but since returns from the towns of Bocaue and San Ildefonso and the City of San Jose del Monte are not yet ready for transmission, they suspended the canvassing and reset it to continue at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Likewise, the lawyer of re-electionist Congressman Gavini “Apol” Pancho of the 2nd legislative district of Bulacan also requested that their client be proclaimed after getting a total of 268,651 votes in the district’s six municipalities.

They claimed that the total votes from Bocaue cannot hampered the overwhelming victory of Pancho.

In the first district of Bulacan, Jose Antonio “Kuya Jonathan” R. Sy-Alvarado, the Liberal Party’s candidate for congressman, clobbered his rival outgoing provincial senior board member Michael Fermin and is expected to be proclaimed anytime Tuesday.

Sy-Alvarado, a son of Gov. Alvarado, garnered a total of 157,828 votes while Fermin got 118,663 votes in the first district towns of Calumpit, Hagonoy, Paombong Pulilan, Bulakan and the City of Malolos.

Samonte said that with only the votes from Bocaue, San Ildefonso and San Jose del Monte still being waited for transmission to the Provincial Board of Canvasser, the winning provincial officials could be proclaimed anytime Tuesday evening. (PNA) 

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4 cops, 4 other cohorts arrested in Bulacan for gun ban violations

CAMP GENERAL ALEJO S. SANTOS, Bulacan, PNA--Four cops and four other civilians were arrested as firearms and ammunitions were seized in Barangay Kalawakan, Dona Remedios Trinidad (DRT) town, this province Friday morning.

Officer-In-Charge (OIC) of Bulacan PNP Sr. Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., identified the arrested suspects as SPO4 Gerald J. Ruiz, 39; PO3 Arnaiz Gan Aguilar, 38; PO2 Emanuel B Carlos, 34 ; PO1 John Kirby DL Merle, 29 ; all from Bulacan Police Provincial Office (PPO).

The four arrested civilians, on the other hand, were Rogelio Lopez, 50, resident of Barangay Kalawakan, DRT; Ronald Piadozo, resident of Sapang Bulac, DRT; Tom C. Otrera, 65, press member, resident of Amparo Village, Caloocan and Mercy Ann Arañego 36, press member, resident of Tondo, Manila.

Sr. Insp. Isagani Santos, Chief of Police (COP) of Dona Remedios Trinidad MPS, said that they received a report from DRT Mayor Ronnie Flores informing that two suspicious vehicles were allegedly boarded with armed men.

Upon arrival of the responding policemen at the said area, they saw incumbent DRT Vice Mayor Hilario Cruz and one of the members of the armed group having a conversation.

Thereafter, Vice Mayor Cruz and his unidentified supporters turned over the apprehended armed group to the responding policemen.

One of the armed group identified himself as a police officer assigned in Bulacan PPO and voluntarily submitted themselves for investigation.

Confiscated from the suspects were one M16AI rifle with SN RP129609; one M16AI rifle SN 72488283; one Norinco  M16 SN   0013-17-09-CN; 12)magazines for M16; one Armscor 45 with SN 1411920; one COLT 45 with SN 110088; and four magazines of cal. 45 loaded with  23 ammunitions, 313 ammunitions for M16; and two vehicles.

Verification from Firearms and Explosives Office FEO, Camp Crame and LTO, Quezon City respectively are now being prepared to determine the real registered owner of said firearms and vehicles.

Appropriate criminal complaints were filed against the suspects before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutors, Malolos City. (PNA) 

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Central Luzon cops vows to be apolitical in May elections

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, May 3 (PNA) -- Officials and personnel of the Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3) have vowed not to engage in any partisan activity this coming May 9 elections.

Chief Supt. Rudy Lacadin, PRO-3 regional director, led the signing and oathtaking of non-partisanship during the Monday flag raising ceremony held at the PRO-3 Parade Ground here.

Lacadin said all police units in Central Luzon also signed the oath in their respective stations to show that they would not participate in any election-related activities or campaign for candidates and political parties.

"The entire Central Luzon police force is apolitical, professional and nonpartisan. We focus on our mission to ensure that this national exercise on May 9 will be secured and fair," he said.

The signing and oathtaking of non-partisanship was also participated in by lawyer Emmanuel Ignacio, Assistant Regional Election Director in Central Luzon; Brig. Gen. David Diciano, Assistant Division Commander, 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army and other PRO-3 officers.

Meanwhile, Ignacio said that preparations for the local and national elections are now ongoing.

He said that the 8,048 vote counting machines (VCMs) for Central Luzon are now in four identified hubs in Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, and Pampanga and to be delivered in all municipalities and cities in the region on Tuesday.

The delivery of ballots, he said will be completed by Thursday, and a simultaneous final testing and sealing of the VCMs is likewise scheduled on the same day.

Meanwhile, a total of 5,488 police personnel were deployed in 2,825 polling centers in the region to ensure safe and fair elections.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will also deploy some 611 military troops to assist the police in the region. (PNA) 

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More support pours for Poe with one week left before May 9 polls - By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, May 1 (PNA) – With one left before the May 9 elections, support for presidential aspirant-Senator Grace Poe continues to pour from the ranks of politicians to showbiz personalities, to civil society groups, business leaders and ordinary folks.

“Pinagbuksan tayo ng pinto sa bawat bahay na kinatok, binigyan ng mainit na pagsalubong sa bawat bayan na dinayo. Salamat sa inyong tiwala at suporta,” she said in a campaign sortie in Marikina City.

Poe said people from all walks of life come to her and pledge their vote to preserve the country and reject a destructive leader.

“Nakakagulat at nakakataba ng puso ang patuloy na pagdami ng mga kababayan nating gustong tumulong. We will finish this fight to the end and will hand victory to the Filipino people,” she said.

Multi-awarded singer and composer Ogie Alcasid was the latest in the roster of supporters to add star power to Poe's bid for the presidency. He vowed to campaign for her among his colleagues in the music industry.

Alcasid, president of the Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM), serenaded the crowd of around 25,000 during the 5th National Fireworks Festival at the Marikina Riverbanks Center Ampitheater with his original composition titled Gobyerno na may Puso, a song dedicated to Poe.

The senator was welcomed by former Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Bayani Fernando, who is running for a congressional post, and his wife, former Marikina City Mayor Marides Fernando. The Fernandos are also backing Poe.

Earlier, local executives from the Bicol region, led by Albay Governor Joey Salceda, have joined the campaign for Poe, pledging to deliver votes for her.

Poe also gained new allies from the province of Zambales after several Liberal party candidates for mayor and provincial board members shifted loyalty to her.

In Nueva Vizcaya, the senator is being backed by House Deputy Speaker Carlos Padilla, wife Governor Ruth Padilla and Vice Governor Lambert Galima and his slate.

Women leaders are also making their voices heard for Poe with the recent launch of “Kababaihan para kay Grace Poe” in Quezon City. The group counts among its members former Senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani, former Senator Santanina Rasul, lawyer Katrina Legarda, Sister Mary John Mananzan, film director Bibeth Orteza, leaders of various women's groups, and students, among others.

As a daughter of well-respected artists Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces, Poe’s hordes of supporters would not be without the big names in the entertainment industry like Dingdong Dantes, Coco Martin, and Vic Sotto and Pauleen Luna-Sotto.

Beyond words of encouragement, Martin has joined some of Poe’s sorties to personally urge the people to vote for her.

In a statement, Alcasid said, "Saksi ako sa sinseridad ni Grace na magsilbi sa taumbayan. Siya ay may takot sa Diyos at may paninindigan.”

It was the first time that Alcasid joined Poe's campaign sortie. Two weeks ago, he resigned as member of the government's EDSA People Power Commission.

During the event in Marikina, he rallied the audience to vote for Poe, saying she is the candidate who has a heart for the children and the youth.

In her speech, Poe vowed to put focus on programs that would ensure the youth's welfare, such as the free lunch program, which she said she wants expanded to cover more students, including those in day care centers.

Taking note of the tragedy that struck the city when "Ondoy" came in 2009, she said that a comprehensive flood control program should be in place to give the Marikina residents peace of mind that they would not be inundated anew when heavy rains come.

Poe also expressed her desire to revitalize the city's shoe industry not only to provide the residents a source of income, but to showcase the Filipino's ingenious craft.

"Sisiguraduhin ko na masigla ang ating ekonomiya para maraming magbukas na trabaho dito sa ating bansa," she said.

Poe also reiterated her commitment to curb the labor contractualization scheme, which does not give security to the employment tenure of workers.

"Ang kailangan sa ating pamilya ay permanenteng trabaho na may sapat na kita. Kasi paano tayo makakapagplano na bumili ng motor, paano tayo makakapagplano na bumili ng bahay na matitirhan ng ating pamilya kung wala tayong kasiguruhan sa ating trabaho?" she said.

Poe was invited as guest in the grand finals of the fireworks festival. The finalists were from Batangas, Valenzuela City and Bulacan. The event coincided with the 16th anniversary celebration of the Riverbanks Center.

After Alcasid belted out the Gobyerno na may Puso song, the sky brightened with the fireworks display of the competition participants. (PNA)

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PRO2 nets 11 drug pusher in Tuguegarao City

CAMP MARCELO A. ADDURU, Tuguegarao City, April 28 (PNA) -- The Police Regional Office 2 (PRO2) arrested 11 suspected drug traffickers, including four minors, as they implemented a search warrant against a suspected drug pusher in Apple Street, Barangay Pengue Ruyu in Tuguegarao City Wednesday.

PRO2 public information officer Chevalier Iringan today said the Tuguegarao City Police Station (TCPS) intelligence operatives together with SWAT PPSC implemented Search Warrant No. 01-2016 against Ace Antonio y Soriano, 27, single, mechanic and a resident of Apple Street, Pengue Ruyu, Tuguegarao City which resulted in the arrest of 10 other persons seen on the act of having pot session inside the suspect'ss house.

Police identified the arrested suspects as: Alan Aguilar y Gatdula, 35, of Liwan, Norte, Enrile, Cagayan; Nestor Tupas y Rico, 28, of Salvador Street, Zone 5, San Jose Baggao, Cagayan; Jefferson Danao y Sekopito, 18, of 143 Maharlika Highway, Leonarda, Tuguegarao City; Marjorie Chan y Gepila, 21, of 51 Burgos Street, Centro 7, Tuguegarao City; Sheila Mae Cobo y Cenas, 20, of 36 Bulacan Street, Quezon City, presently staying at Zone 7, Buntun, Tuguegarao City; Janet Calebag y Manuel, 18, old of 53 A Pengue Ruyu, Tuguegarao City and four minors, all students in Tuguegarao City.

Recovered from the suspects were five pieces of heat sealed transparent plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance believed to be shabu, eight pieces empty transparent plastic sachet containing residue believed to be shabu and 32 pieces tooter placed inside a plastic lunch box.

Also confiscated were firearms and items: one unit Caliber .22 Riffle; one Caliber .45 described as Para Ordance with Serial no. 486237; one dismantled Caliber .38 with serial no. 3394; one dismantled Caliber .38 Derringer F.I.E. and two dismantled/dilapidated motorcycles and spare parts.

Recovered items were inventoried and firearms were submitted to the Regional Crime Laboratory Office for Ballistics Examination while the suspects were administered drug test examination and put under custody of Tuguegarao City Police Station. The suspect-minors will be properly turned over to CSWD for proper disposition. (PNA) 

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Bulacan a Hall of Famer in Agri-Pinoy Rice Achievers Award

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 22 (PNA) -- The province of Bulacan has elevated as Hall of Famer in the Agri-Pinoy Rice Achievers Award of the Department of Agriculture (DA), for its invaluable contribution to the national rice sufficiency.

For three consecutive years or from 2012 to 2014, Bulacan has maintained a production yield above the national level despite the problems in irrigation and calamity occurrences experienced by the province.

"It is a great honor for Bulacan to be recognized as a Hall of Famer in Agri-Pinoy. The award is a clear manifestation that we are committed in supporting the agricultural endeavors of the DA in providing sufficient and safe farm produce to the rest of the nation,” Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado said.

Aside from the plaque of recognition, Bulacan also received Php1 million worth of project intended for the province's rice productivity enhancement.

The province was also lauded for its appropriate interventions and support to the farmers including the conduct of Palay Check Farmers’ Field School, provision of small-scale irrigation support (STW/OSP), provision of farm machineries and post-harvest facilities, access to financing (SIKAT SAKA Program) coupled with the provision of inputs like organic fertilizer and locally funded seed subsidy.

According to Provincial Agricultural Office, the innovations on the promotion of production technologies through School-on-Air program aired over Radyo Bulacan, the conduct of “Usapang Palay” using a mobile techno-van, and capability building support to AEWs also helped the province in heeding the government’s call in increasing yield that contributes to the attainment of the nation’s thrust of food sufficiency.

Other “Hall of Famer” provinces include Pangasinan, Ilocos Norte, Nueva Vizcaya, Isabela, Occidental Mindoro and Davao Del Sur.

The Agri-Pinoy Rice Achievers Award is an annual event organized by the DA National Rice Program in recognition to the outstanding and significant contributions of the local government units, irrigators association, agricultural extension workers and local farm technicians to the Philippine rice industry. (PNA) 

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MRT-7 breaks ground; set to be operational by 2020 - By Azer N. Parrocha

MANILA, April 20 (PNA) -- Construction of the long-awaited Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT-7) finally kicked off on Wednesday morning with a groundbreaking ceremony at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City.

The Php69.30-billion project includes the development of a 23-kilometer railway system with 14 stations from North Avenue, Quezon City to San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan, passing through Commonwealth Avenue and Quirino Highway in Novaliches.

It is expected to initially accommodate 350,000 daily passengers and shorten travel time from the current 3.5 hours on the road to one hour once completed and operational by its target date in April 2020.

Ultimately, about 800,000 passengers per day — mostly residents from Novaliches, Quezon City and Caloocan City, Bulacan, and neighboring areas in the north are expected to benefit from a faster commute with the completion of the project.

The project also covers the development of an integrated transportation system, which includes the said railway system, a 22-km highway from the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Bocaue interchange, and an intermodal transport terminal (ITT) adjacent to the San Jose del Monte Station.

This way, commuters can take public utility vehicles (PUVs) or private cars and use the new highway from NLEX, alight at the ITT, and board the MRT-7 going to North Avenue, Quezon City.

President Benigno S. Aquino III led the groundbreaking ceremony, together with Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio A. Abaya.

Also present was the president of San Miguel Corporation (SMC), the parent company of contractor Universal LRT Corporation (ULC), Ramon Ang.

Abaya welcomed the latest development, noting that the project is not only meant to provide better transport but also decongest traffic in Metro Manila and nearby areas in the north.

“The long-awaited MRT-7 will serve commuters who ply the heavily-congested Commonwealth Avenue area for work and school on a daily basis,” Abaya said.

“The new railway system will not only significantly lessen travel time along this corridor, but also help decongest traffic in Caloocan and NLEX,” he added. (PNA) 

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Former Bulacan town vice mayor killed

PANDI, Bulacan, April 19 (PNA) — Police are investigating whether the Monday evening ambush-killing of a former vice mayor here is politically related or not.

Police said that former Vice Mayor Roberto Rivera, 61, resident of Barangay Bunsuran, was driving his white Nissan pick-up truck and heading home from his piggery farm in Barangay Manatal here when he was shot several times at point-blank range at around 6 p.m.

Sketchy reports said that a lone suspect shot Rivera three times in the head and once in the body.

The victim was brought to the Rogaciano District Hospital in nearby Sta. Maria town but was declared dead-on-arrival by doctors.

Chief Inspector Victor Bernabe, town police chief, said investigators gathered from some witnesses that the suspect boarded a tricycle before transferring to a blue car after shooting the former vice mayor.

“We are following leads that will help us establish the identity of the killer. We still cannot say if the incident is politically related since the victim is not running for any position in the coming elections,” he said.

Relatives of Rivera told police that the victim had received death threats but ignored them.

Rivera was a known staunch supporter of mayoral candidate Celestino Marquez of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan Party, who is running against reelectionist Mayor Enrico Roque in the May 9 polls.

Rivera served as vice mayor of Pandi from 1992 to 1998.

He started a farm business which he was personally managing while at the same time supporting the candidacy of mayoral candidate Marquez. (PNA) 
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Villegas leaves to voters Duterte's comments on rape victim - By Ferdinand G. Patinio

MANILA, April 18 (PNA) -- A high-ranking official of the Catholic Church is letting the public, particularly the voters to decide if they will vote for presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who is facing another controversy regarding his comment on the case of rape victim which happened in his city in 1989.

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Archbishop Socrates Villegas said that it was up for the people if they wanted to support the presidential bid of the local chief executive.

“Judge for yourself if this is the right choice,” he said in his Twitter account, @frsocvillegas.

The Lingayen-Dagupan prelate noted that he was keeping his personal opinion on the issue to himself.

“I will keep my personal judgment to myself,” he added.

On the other hand, vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said that the comment made by Duterte is inappropriate.

“Nagulat kami. It seems unfortunate and I can only describe it as inappropriate. Biktima ‘yung tao ‘tapos dinagdagan pa natin,” he said in an interview in Bulacan, where he accompanied his tandem, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, who was the speaker of the commencement exercises at the Bulacan State University in Malolos City on Tuesday.

Marcos noted that the mayor took the joke too far because the life of a victim of a crime was involved.

“He took a step too far. Kawawa naman yung biktima. Let’s be sensitive to someone who has already suffered as a victim of a crime,” the independent vice presidential said in a separate interview at the Manila Polo Club in Makati City during a luncheon hosted by former Court of Appeals Justice Manuel Lazaro.

Duterte has made the headlines again over his comment on the rape of an Australian woman missionary, which happened several years ago. (PNA) 

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Pena commends Makati cops for arrest of suspected robber, killer-rapist of taxi passengers

MANILA, April 18 (PNA) -- Acting Makati City Mayor Kid Peña lauded the Makati police for the swift arrest last Thursday of Nitro Ison alias “Ricky Ramos”, the suspect tagged in a series of robbery/hold-up, rape and homicide cases in various parts of Metro Manila that started last January.

“I congratulate the Makati police force, headed by Police Sr. Supt. Ernesto Barlam, for the speedy arrest and detention of the suspect who has been positively identified by some of the victims. By doing their job well, they have taken a very dangerous criminal off the streets and paved the way for justice to be served to all his victims and their families,” Peña said.

The mayor said he was very pleased with the outcome of the diligent efforts of the city police force, as his administration does not tolerate impunity. “We shall apply the full force of the law on anyone who commits a crime in our city, especially when the safety and well-being of our residents, transient workers and visitors are at stake,” he vowed.

“Despite the busy campaign period, we still give top priority to keeping the city safe and secure for our constituents and other stakeholders,” Peña added.

In a report to the mayor, Barlam said that Ison, 24 years old, single and a resident of Mandaluyong City, was arrested on April 14, 2016 at San Miguel, Bulacan, and was immediately brought to Camp Crame for further investigation.

Barlam said based on initial investigation, the suspect had been imprisoned in Manila for robbery. He said it was last January that Ison started his modus of posing as a passenger then forcibly taking a taxicab from the driver. He then used the cab to prey on female passengers, whom he allegedly robbed at gunpoint and even raped. One of three victims from Mandaluyong City reported being raped by Ison. The authorities also noted that the incidents happened on the 19th of every month.

Barlam said the suspect has also been linked to the murder of the widow of the late Dominic “Papadom” Gamboa of the Tropical Depression Band.

Amparo Santa Romana-Gamboa, widow of Papadom, was found dead early morning of Feb. 10 by a scavenger at a dump site at Kalayaan Avenue corner Bisaya Street in Barangay Guadalupe Nuevo. The victim, a call center transcriber, was known to usually take a cab going to and from her office in Makati.

Chief Inspector Shirley Bao, head of the Makati police investigation branch, said an abandoned taxi near the area, a Toyota Vios with license number UVY 402, was found with traces of blood, particularly on the passenger seat, seat belt and handbreak. This led authorities to suspect the vehicle’s role in the perpetration of the said crime, which was confirmed when the blood matched that of the victim’s.

Ison was subsequently linked to the Gamboa case after taxi driver Avelino Moran identified him as the passenger who stole his cab on Feb. 8 as they passed through C-5 Extension, Merville, Pasay. (PNA) 

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PDEA-3 nets notorious drug dealer

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, April 18 (PNA) -- Agents of the Central Luzon Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA 3) arrested Sunday a know drug dealer and seized some 200 grams of "shabu" or methamphetamine hydrochloride worth almost a million pesos in a buy bust operation in Quezon City.

PDEA 3 Regional Director Gladys Rosales identified the suspect as Victor Guilani, 42, and resident of Litex, Commonwealth, Quezon City.

Rosales said Guilani is a notorious drug pusher who is responsible for the bulk distribution of shabu in Bulacan and Pampanga.

“PDEA agents were able to negotiate for the purchase of 200 grams of shabu for Php 300,000 from Guilani and first agreed to meet in Apalit, Pampanga then in Malolos, Bulacan and eventually in Matandang Balara, Quezon City where he was collared after handing over the illegal substance to a PDEA agent who acted as poseur buyer,” Rosales added.

The apprehension of the suspect resulted in confiscation of four medium sized plastic sachets containing 200 grams of shabu with an estimated street value of Php940,000 and the marked money used in the operation.

The suspect is now detained at the PDEA 3 Jail Facility in Camp Olivas, City of San Fernando, this province. (PNA) 

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President Aquino returns to Bulacan, asks people to support continuity of govt projects

MEYCAUAYAN, Bulacan, April 16 (PNA) -- President Aquino returned to Bulacan on Friday and met the local leaders and community there insisting the need for the continuity of the programs that he initiated in the province.

He reported about the PPP projects in Bulacan, saying his administration poured a huge amount of money for the province in the past several years.

The government and the private sector have so far spent Php 116.94 billion for the province's PPP projects, he said in a speech at the Meycauayan College on Friday.

One of these projects include MRT 7, in which the groundbreaking will be held soon. The project will shorten travel time from Quezon City to San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, bringing great relief for commuters.

The President also reported that C-6, which was originally planned to start from Taguig to Quezon City will be extended up to Meycauayan, Bulacan to ease traffic congestion.

As to the budget coming from the national government, from 2005 to 2010, the previous administration spent Php 5 billion for infrastructure.

Under the present administration, from 2011 to 2016, the government's budget for infrastructure reached Php 19.04 billion, according to the President.

There is also continuous dredging of the Labangan Channel in Hagonoy as well as the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando River, he said.

Next year, the bridge in the Plaridel Bypass Road, will be finished once JICA made a confirmation on the project. This is part of the 107,000 lineal meters of bridges and 18,000 kilometers of roads constructed under the present government.

For irrigation system, the government allocated Php 1.38 billion while a separate Php 115.86 million went to the province's post-harvest machineries and equipment.

For health facilities and enhancement program, the government spent Php 181.43 million. The President also said that 2.47 million Bulakenos are enjoying PhilHealth benefits and they are part of the 93 million Filipinos covered by PhilHealth.

In the education sector, he said his administration has so far built 6,758 classrooms in Bulacan.

For job generation, he said TESDA's TWSP program produced 37,000 scholars who recently graduated. Current job placement is at 72 percent under the TWSP program, much higher than the 28.5 percent during the previous administration.

The Aquino government also made major strides in social welfare and security. In 2010, there were more than 5,000 households under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

Now, the President said there are 68,348 households enjoying benefits from 4Ps. They are part of the 4.6 million households benefitting from the program.

The President asked Bulakenos to choose the right leaders this coming May election in order for the present programs to continue.

Choosing administration candidates will ensure that those programs could benefit more Bulakenos, he said. (PNA)

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Cayetano receives public apology from ALDUB prayer warriors during rally

SAN PEDRO CITY, Laguna, April 16 (PNA) -- Vice Presidential contender Senator Alan Peter Cayetano received a public apology on Friday evening from the Alliance for Duterte and Bongbong (ALDUB) prayer warriors and civil society as among the Duterte camp’s sponsors of the campaign rally at the San Pedro City’s La Marea subdivision here.

Bishop Jessie Ramos, national director of the Hope Church and leader of the prayer warriors and faith-based group apologized to Cayetano before a mammoth crowd that their “ALDUB” group’s vice presidential preference is Senator Bongbong Marcos.

For his part, presidential contender Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte acknowledged the ALDUB as his strong supporters and even raised Cayetano’s hand during the rally.

Bishop Ramos issued the statement to shun any pretense and appeased ALDUB supporters of the situation that Cayetano happened to be there.

He told Cayetano that he supported the political career of the legislator’s father then Senator Renato “Compañero” Cayetano in the past.

The religious leader also led the pray-over en masse for the Duterte team national bets and local aspirants and supporters after the campaign speeches.

Cayetano arrived Friday evening in San Pedro City, Laguna with presidential running mate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte from their tandem’s political sortie in Mindoro on Friday.

The senator thanked the crowd who waited for almost five hours and praised their excitement and clamor for reform and change.

He criticized the snail-paced internet services of telecommunications firms despite huge gross earnings amounting to Php 300 billion and estimated net income of Php 50 billion per year for calls and texts.

Cayetano also pointed to realities of government’s lack on health and medical facilities why people from Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Bulacan go to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in Manila where it has complete medical facilities and expert doctors.

The senator proposed to prioritize the use of government funds to also address basic services such as health care, education and agriculture instead of focusing budget allocations for telecommunications due to politically-motivated monetary considerations.

Cayetano said his presidential running mate Duterte made it clear they would not accept any political campaign contributions from the wealthy businessmen who had businesses with government.

He said “in the government we have a choice of either serving the interest of the people or the interest of the few rich” because opting to serve the vested and business interest of the wealth few means abandoning the interest and general welfare of people.

Cayetano assured the Duterte camp would never give up on the Filipino people in their fight against corruption, criminality and illegal drugs.

The solon expounded that the exercise of political will requires a strong leadership to enjoin collective efforts even to the grassroots to enforce compliance and implementation of a policy and adherence to the rule of law.

He added that their campaign platform for reform and change includes the concerted plans of stakeholders and an “order of battle” to eradicate crime, illegal drugs and corruption for safe, secured and peaceful communities.(PNA) 

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PNP nabs suspected robber, killer-rapist of taxi passengers - By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan

MANILA, April 15 (PNA) – The Philippine National Police (PNP) arrested the suspect in the series of robberies with rape among female passengers of a stolen taxi in metropolis, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Chief Police Director Joel Pagdilao said on Friday.

Pagdilao identified the suspect as Nitro Ison, alias "Ricky Ramos", 24, resident of Blk-41 Zone-7 Welferville Cmpd., Brgy., Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City.

Ison was nabbed in Brgy. Santa Lucia, San Miguel, Bulacan on Thursday afternoon by virtue of Alias Warrant of Arrest issued by Hon. Presiding Judge Alma Crispina B. Collado-Lacorte of Manila RTC Branch 21, for Robbery with Unnecessary Violence and Warrant of Arrest issued by Hon. Judge Ronald B. Moreno RTC Branch 147, Makati for Robbery.

Pagdilao called on other victims to come forward and identify him as the same person who robbed or assaulted them, and to file formal complaints aswell.

Ison faces seven cases in Makati, including the killing of the widow of Filipino musician Dominic Gamboa, also known as Papa Dom of reggae band Tropical Depression, who was found dead at a garbage dump in Makati City last Feb. 10.

Police said Maria Amparo was found dead with a gunshot wound on the head under heaps of trash at Kalayaan Avenue corner Bisaya Street, barangay Guadalupe Nuevo and was only identified by family members.

The 24-year old suspect was linked in a series of carnapping, robbery, homicide and rape in the cities of Mandaluyong, Quezon City, Makati and Manila.

The suspect is now detained at the Makati City lock-up jail. (PNA) 

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Bulacan State University holds gubernatorial candidates forum 2016

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 3 (PNA) -- The Bulacan State University (BSU) hosted on Saturday a forum for candidates in the gubernatorial race in this province.

The forum, organized by the graduate school of BSU, presented questions to the three gubernatorial candidates -- incumbent Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado (Liberal Party), Josefina dela Cruz (Nationalist Peoples Coalition) and Roderick Tiongson (United Nationalist Alliance) -- anchored on health, education, poverty alleviation, agriculture, peace and order, tourism, employment opportunities, land conversion and infrastructure projects.

The candidates were given ample time to present their answers, plans and programs on the issues.

In the peace and order situation, Alvarado said that the police and other peacekeeping forces are doing their best to combat crime and other problems by having a peaceful atmosphere conducive to investments while, at the same time, creating an atmosphere not conducive to lawless elements.

Both Dela Cruz and Tiongson, on the other hand, said that the “high crime rate” should be properly addressed.

On progress and development Dela Cruz centered on entrepreneurship and providing right courses for students.

Tiongson, for his part, emphasized the creation of more farm-to-market roads and boosting of tourism programs.

Alvarado said that while his rivals are proposing such “dreams,” his administration has already set into motion various development programs that are now spurring growth and progress provincewide and at the same time, generating employment and jobs for the people of Bulacan as well.

“We are no longer living in dreams, the people of Bulacan are now enjoying the reality of it. Promises are different to what is real happening. Our constituents have started to feel now the continuing progress and development in our province,” Alvarado said.

The panelists also asked the three candidates on how they will improve services at the provincial hospital (now Bulacan Medical Center) which dela Cruz said should focus on bringing in more doctors and specialists while Tiongson proposed the bringing of anti-rabies vaccines and other medicines to the barangay level.

Alvarado, for his part, explained that the Bulacan Medical Center is now being transformed into a modern hospital which can equal the services of modern private hospitals.

At present, he said patients are now being treated in an air-conditioned emergency room and maternity wards.

He also said that the BMC has now a modern laboratory facility. He added that the number of dialysis machines has increased from 10 to 40 units and the intensive care unit is also being upgraded.

To emphasize the present situation in the province, Alvarado said that “our leaders should not make promises we cannot keep, but we must keep the promises we already made.”

The forum ended with the three candidates shaking and holding hands in a show of a united stand for a clean and orderly election. (PNA) 

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Bulacan top provincial execs get 2016 Golden Globe Filipino Achiever awards

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 1 (PNA) -- A prestigious award-giving body has bestowed to Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado a golden “Medal of Distinction” for being one of 2016 outstanding Filipino achievers in the field of public service.

Alvarado together with Vice Governor Daniel Fernando were among the recipient of this year’s Golden Globe Annual Awards for Filipino Achievers.

Director Ramon Juanito Balunes, chairman of the award’s research committee, said that the Golden Globe Annual Awards for Outstanding Filipino Achiever (Medal of Distinction) is conferred to individuals that have noteworthy achievements.

“Our researchers have taken on the daunting task of seeking out the shining stars, the hidden treasures and the diamonds in the rough, and bring them to the pedestal of fame that they deserve. They have conducted research, performed polls and tested services to determine who among the exceptional pool of nominees stand out and are worthy of the seal and endorsement of the Golden Globe Awards for Filipino Achievers," Balunes said.

”This recognition highlights every individual’s milestones of success and victory worthy of commendation and high regard,” he added.

Balunes said that Alvarado, who has been leading the people of Bulacan by completing his term as a municipal mayor of Hagonoy, then as congressman of the province’s first legislative district, a one term vice governor before serving his province as governor (for six years) anchored on his now famous battle cry-slogan “Lalawigan Ko’y Ikaw, Lingkod Mo’y Ako”— was chosen as one of this year’s awardees for being a “man of the people” leading his province to the greater heights of excellence through good governance.

The award giving body also recognized the visions of the Bulacan governor, who was also appointed by President Benigno S. Aquino III as chairman of the Regional Development Council in Central Luzon, for pursuing the game-changing concept of public-private partnership with the implementation of the Bulacan Program for Rapid Industrialization and Development (Bulacan-PRIDE). (PNA) 

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Bicol cops nab 10 wanted men

LEGAZPI CITY, March 30 (PNA) -- Different units of the Philippine National Police Bicol regional office arrested 10 wanted persons within this week, the office’s spokesperson said Wednesday.

Senior Insp. Malu Calubaquib, Police Regional Office 5 spokesperson, identified those apprehended as Abelardo O. Magdamit, Teofisto Rosales, Jozel Y. Suriaga, Randy P. Pajares, Raul P. Zamudio, Cornelio P. Austral, Vincent B. Saar, Jayson V. Bercero, Robert N. Oberos and Rene C. Claridad.

Magdamit was caught in Barangay Sta. Cruz, Ligao City at about 9:10 a.m. Monday by elements of Ligao City Police Station (CPS) led by PO3 Errol Escopete by virtue of a warrant of arrest (WOA) issued by Blancaflor V. Joven-Salgado, presiding judge of MCTC, Ligao City for attempted homicide.

Also on Monday, San Pascual MPS (Masbate) personnel led by PO2 Gerald R. Rosales served a WOA against Rosales on order of Judge Teofilo B. Tambago of Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 46, Masbate City, for violation of Sections 11 and 12 of Article 2 of RA 9165 with a bail of PHP200,000.

Operatives of the Baleno MPS led by PO3 Noli D. Manlapas cornered Suriaga in Baleno, Masbate with a WOA signed by Judge Igmedio Emilio F. Camposano of MCTC, Aroroy-Baleno for theft.

PO1 Joel Vergara of Paracale MPS arrested Pajares for robbery inside the Camarines Norte Provincial Jail in Daet, Camarines Norte on order of Judge Dara SJ Mallorca Torres of MTC Paracale, Camarines Norte.

Members of Mercedes MPS led by PO2 Mardi A Gonzales handcuffed Zamudio in Mercedes, Camarines Norte armed with a WOA from Judge Victoria C. Dino-Reyes MTC Mercedes, Camarines Norte for attempted homicide.

Austral did not resist arrest at his residence in Barangay Itangon, Bula, Camarines Sur when served a WOA for murder penned by Judge Marvel C. Clavicilla of RTC Branch 33, Pili, Camarines Sur.

Saar was caught in the act by PO3 Dennis A. Altez, duty officer of Naga City PS Intelligence Branch Office, while climbing the wall of the comfort room of the office at Barangay Sta. Cruz after forcibly destroying the ceiling made of plywood.

He was charged with attempted rape.

Uson MPS (Masbate) members led by Insp. Arnel N. Buncaras nabbed Bercero by virtue of a WOA for theft issued by Rolando G. Sandigan, presiding judge of MTCC, Masbate City.

Magarao MPS officers apprehended Oberos at his residence in Magarao, Camarines Sur on order of Judge Rosita L. Lalwani, presiding judge of RTC Branch 28, Naga City.

Claridad was captured by joint elements of Tigaon MPS (Camarines Sur) led by PO3 Wilmor B. Lontoc and Ocampo MPS led by PO3 Jay C. Papin on order of Judge Francisco P. Felizmenio, presiding judge, RTC Branch 19, Malolos City, Bulacan for robbery with PHP100,000 bail recommended.(PNA) 

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3 faith healers 'crucified' in Bulacan town 
By Emil G. Gamos

PAOMBONG, Bulacan, March 25 (PNA) -- Under the scorching heat of the noon-day sun, male actors playing the role of Roman centurions brutally whipped a faith healer who fell into the ground face-down before he was dragged up to carry a wooden cross towards a man-made Golgotha besides a Catholic chapel in Barangay Kapitangan here as the old bloody Lenten tradition continues in this province.

The faith healer, Michael Katigbak, is among the most popular penitents being awaited by thousands of spectators in his reenactment of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ.

This was also the sixth consecutive time that Katigbak was nailed to a wooden cross.

Two other faith healers were also nailed to crosses in the farming village of Kapitangan where thousands of devotees, local and foreign tourists, flocked every Holy Week to witness the centuries old bloody Lenten ritual.

After Katigbak, female faith healer Precy Valencia was equally dragged by “Roman centurions” to the crucifixion site where she stayed nailed on the cross for at least five minutes.

Before fulfilling her Holy Week vow, Valencia told local newsmen that she always received messages from heaven instructing her to follow the passion of the Lord Jesus Christ.

When asked what is the Lord’s message this Good Friday, Valencia said it is only for herself and the people who would seek her help to cure their sickness.

Another faith healer JonJon Tanael, was also “crucified” for the third consecutive time to fulfill his Holy Week vow.

Retired centurion Wilfredo Caparas, recalled that he started playing the role of a Roman centurion when he was 18 years old.

Now 80 years old, Caparas still joined the Lenten ritual in their villages by taking part in the praying for the faith healers who will be nailed to the cross.

“We have nailed to the cross more penitents and three of them were "crucified" for 15 times," Caparas said.

He was referring to faith healers Lucy Reyes, Amparo “Mother Amparing” Santos and Buboy Dionisio who completed their vows by getting nailed to the cross for 15 consecutive years.

Amid the multitude of crowds, the observance of Holy Week in Barangay Kapitangan was very peaceful and orderly, according to Chief Inspector Leo Estorque, the town police chief.

Estorque said the crowd began arriving Wednesday night to witness the bathing in oil of the centuries old and venerated wooden cross (also known as Sta. Cruz) and the image of the crucified Christ.

Old folks believes that the blessed oil can heal ailments.

Estorque said that the bloody Lenten rites began late Thursday afternoon where scores of bare-back flagellants whipped their bloodied backs with stringed bamboo sticks.

He said that this continues as early as 7 a.m. on Good Friday as the bloodied flagellants made their way to the Catholic chapel and made the station of the cross by lying spread-eagle while being brutally whipped.

He said that the provincial government headed by Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado has deployed ambulances with paramedics while his son Jose Antonio “Kuya Jonathan” Sy-Alvarado set up a first aid station to assist the crowds as well as the penitents.

Liz Mungcal, head of the provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office said public assistance centers were also set up in other crowd drawing areas like the Grotto in San Jose del Monte City, the Divine Mercy Shrine in Marilao and the Banal na Bundok in San Miguel.

She said emergency response teams were also deployed in strategic areas to assists motorists and tourists. (PNA) 

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Bulacan sets up ‘Lakbay Alalay’ to assist travelers this Holy Week

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 23 (PNA) -- The provincial government, through the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), has set up round-the-clock travel assistance to guide the motorists and travelers passing or heading to the province this Holy Week.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that Semana Santa Lakbay Alalay (SUMVAC) 2016 is all set wherein Bulacan Rescue Team as well as its partner agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are now activated to give immediate response in times emergency.

He said that assistance booth and first aid station will be set up in the two pilgrimage sites such as Barangay Kapitangan, Paombong on March 24 to 25; Divine Mercy National Shrine in Marilao on March 23 to 25 and in front of the Provincial Capitol from March 21 to 28.

Meanwhile, PDRRMO head Felicisima Mungcal reminded residents to implement safety measures, especially those leaving their houses this Lenten season and during summer vacation.

She also said that the public should immediately call the Bulacan Rescue hotline number 791-0566 or 117 which is the emergency hotline of the Department of Interior and Local Government in case an emergency arises. (PNA) 

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Three most wanted persons in Bulacan fell

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, March 17 (PNA) -- Police arrested Wednesday three most wanted persons in Bulacan through the intensified "Lambat Sibat" operations.

Senior Supt. Timoteo Pacleb, officer-in-charge of the Bulacan PNP, identified the arrested persons as Teopisto Cielo, no. 3 most wanted person, of Balagtas; Reynaldo Lizarondo, no. 9, of Hagonoy; and Rolando De Luna, no. 10, of Hagonoy.

Cielo was arrested by joint elements of Balagtas Municipal Police Station (MPS), Provincial Special Operation Group (PSOG) and Regional Intelligence Unit 3 (RIU) by virtue of warrant of arrest issued by Judge Virgilita Castillo, of RTC Branch 12, Malolos City, Bulacan.

He is presently under the custody of Balagtas PNP.

Lizarondo and De Luna, on the other hand, were arrested by virtue of the alias warrant of arrest issued by presiding judge Gregorio Sampaga of RTC Branch 78, Malolos City.

They were detained at Hagonoy lock-up cells for proper disposition. (PNA) 

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Bulacan intensifies anti-rabies drive

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 11 (PNA) -- The provincial government of Bulacan, in partnership with the Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Agriculture (DA), is conducting a province-wide program against rabies starting this March until April of this year.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) is doing a weekly mass vaccination and veterinary medical missions in each municipality wherein there will be free castration, free consultation, free deworming and free treatment not only for dogs but for other domestic pets as well.

The mass vaccination for animals started in the City of San Jose Del Monte last March 1 and in Plaridel from March 8-10, March 11 in Calumpit, March 14 in Balagtas and March 15-18 in Hagonoy.

The schedule of vaccination will resume after Holy Week, from April 5-8 in Pandi, April 12-15, in Guiguinto, April 19-22 in Baliwag and from April 26-29 in Santa Maria.

“Last year, we garnered the most number of vaccinated dogs here in Region III which is 216,474, that is more than 70 percent of the total dog population which is the regular target of every province or municipality,” Dr. Voltaire Basinang, head of the PVO, said.

Basinang also said that the province has dog pounds in the towns of Guiguinto, Santa Maria, and cities of San Jose Del Monte, Meycauayan and Malolos that are actively searching for rabies cases.

“Among all the provinces in the Philippines, we in Bulacan are the only ones who are actively searching for rabies cases. It is our province, therefore, it is our responsibility to eradicate these cases. No excuses. I am not making any promises but I think we are on the right track,” Basinang said.

He also clarified that despite having high number of animal bites on record, Bulacan has lower cases of human transmitted rabies and is continuously decreasing.

Rose May Fernando, rabies coordinator of the Provincial Public Health Office, said that there were 14 mortality cases in 2012; 13 deaths in 2013; 11 in 2014 and five in 2015.

Last year, the province gave complete anti-rabies dose to 19,676 Bulakenyos.

”We are reminding all Bulakenyo pet owners to have their pets vaccinated against rabies and be responsible pet owners,” Basinang concluded. (PNA) 

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Two PNP generals make 'sentimental journey' to Bulacan - By Emil G. Gamos

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, March 9 (PNA) -- Two police generals went down memory lane when they made a “sentimental journey” to the places where they were assigned shortly after graduating from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) many years ago.

Chief Supt. Richard A. Albano, regional director of Police Regional Office 4, and PNP-Civil Security Group director Elmer Soria, were teary eyed after their former operatives saluted them during their comeback visit to this camp Tuesday afternoon.

“It feels good to be back home,” said Albano, who together with some media friends and retired policemen who served under him when he was still the chief of the intelligence branch of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office under then police colonel Noe A. Wong (now a retired police general), traced back his days as a young police officer.

Albano asked new police officers if they have experienced ghostly encounters at the quarters of the police officers inside this camp, to which they replied “positive, sir”.

The bemedalled regional director of PRO 4 also saluted his former men and thanked them including retired SP04 Teodulo Tangson, who was marked for liquidation by the Sparrow Unit of the New People’s Army during the height of the insurgency war in Central Luzon.

“We were obliged to live in a safehouse to protect him (Tangson). Eventually we were able to neutralize that group,” he said.

He also gave young police recruits some tips on becoming good police officers by remembering “KSA” which means “knowledge, skills, and attitude.”

Albano, who also served as police chief of Marilao, Calumpit and Meycauayan City, was also instrumental in the successful operations of the crack police mobile group of the 170th PNP Company known as “Ruses de Guerre” which was then headed by the innovative Senior Inspector Leon Nilo dela Cruz, now a retired PNP general.

Albano, who was then the executive officer of the 170th PNP Company, has led several operations which led to the neutralization of dreaded criminal gangs and notorious armed drug dealers operating in Central Bulacan.

With three police cars named “Pursuit”, “Tomahawk” and Interceptor” at his disposal, Albano under the supervision of Captain Dela Cruz, conducted a series of police operations which also resulted in the busting of highway robbery gangs responsible for bus hold-ups along the North Luzon Expressway.

His colorful exploits at the 170th PNP Company was equally followed and continued by Soria, who also served as executive officer under then Chief Inspector now retired PNP General Roberto Rongavilla.

“It feels good to see your former colleagues and friends. Gen. Albano and I cannot help but feel emotional about this. We grew up here," Soria said.

He said another police general, Chief Supt. Ronald Estilles, was also part of the “sentimental journey” but was not available for interview.

Bulacan PNP Press Corps president Orlan L. Mauricio of Manila Standard and Metro News Bulacan, who chronicled the colorful exploits of the police generals when he was still desk editor of People’s Tonight, said Albano, Soria and Estilles honed their abilities as seasoned lawmen in Bulacan and have figured with many armed skirmishes with insurgents and heavily armed-criminal gangs.

“They became good police officers because of their exemplary stint in Bulacan," he said. (PNA) 

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Dope dealer killed in shootout with Bulacan cops

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, March 9 (PNA)-- A notorious drug pusher was killed in a shootout with police anti-drug operatives during a buy-bust operation in Barangay San Juan, San Miguel town Monday night.

Senior Supt. Timoteo G. Pacleb, officer-in-charge of the Bulacan Police provincial Office, identified the slain dope dealer as Jake Pangyarihan alias “Badjeck”, 23, married, and a resident of said barangay.

Pacleb said that Pangyarihan was listed as the No. 4 drug priority target of the San Miguel Police Station and has been long been under surveillance prior to the drug sting operation that led to the armed encounter.

He said that personnel of San Miguel Municipal Police Station, in coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 3, conducted an anti-illegal drug operation in the community.

He said that the shootout ensued after Pangyarihan tried to escape after selling one sachet of white crystalline substance suspected as methamphetamine hydrochloride otherwise known as “shabu” to a poseur buyer in exchange of PHP500 and fired towards the operatives, prompting the police to return fire that triggered an exchange of gunfire, resulting to the death of the suspect .

No casualty was reported on the police operatives’ side.

Scene of the Crime Operative (SOCO) recovered the pieces of evidence, namely two heat sealed transparent plastic sachet with suspected shabu; one improvised pistol (sumpak) loaded with one 12GA cartridge; two 12 GA cartridge; three caliber 9mm fired cartridge; one improvised aluminum foil toother; and one improvised aluminum foil strip with residue.

The suspect's cadaver was brought Cathedral Funeral Homes in Barangay Camias, San Miguel, Bulacan for autopsy while the recovered pieces of evidence were brought to Bulacan Crime Laboratory Office for custody and appropriate examination. (PNA) 

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PDEA-3 seizes Php60-M marijuana; arrests 3 persons in Pampanga

CAMP OLIVAS,Pampanga, March 5 (PNA) --Operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-3 (PDEA 3) on Saturday confiscated 60 kilos of marijuana worth Php60 million and arrested three persons in a drug sting in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga.

PDEA 3 Regional Director Gladys Rosales identified the arrested as Menalao Flores, 40; Israel Flores, 32; and Carlu Quiambao, 37; all residents of Baliuag, Bulacan.

Rosales said the agents initially were able to strike a deal with the suspects for 10 kilos of marijuana and met along Macarthur Highway in Barangay San Agustin, City of San Fernando.

The agents, she said discovered another bundle of marijuana stalks from the suspects during the operation.

"The sting yielded 43 bricks of marijuana, one bundle of marijuana and the recovery of the marked money used in the operation," Rosales said, adding that the anti drug bust was the largest marijuana haul in Pampanga.

Meanwhile, PDEA Director General Arturo Cacdac Jr. commended the PDEA 3 for the arrest of the high value targets and another successful high impact operation.

The suspects are now detained at PDEA Jail Facility inside this camp. (PNA) 

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Hundreds of Bulacan students to get summer jobs thru SPES

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 4 (PNA) -- A total of 164 students in this province will get summer jobs through this year’s Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) of the provincial government of Bulacan and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the program which will start in April up to May aims to help underprivileged but deserving students pay their education by providing additional income through SPES every summer vacation.

”The provincial government wants to help the youths prepare for their future by providing jobs during summer season,” the governor said.

The SPES beneficiaries will receive a salary of which 60 percent will come from their employer while the remaining 40 percent will be shouldered by the DOLE.

Kristine Plamenco, a student of Bachelor of Arts in Communication at Baliwag University, said the program helped her a lot in pursuing her college education.

”Through SPES, I was able to help my parents in paying my school expenses. At the same time, I’ve learned a lot,” Plamenco said, who is a SPES beneficiary for the past two years.

The SPES is being implemented by the Provincial Youth, Sports, Employment and Development Office - Bulacan Provincial Public Employment Service Office (PESO) wherein deserving students are given opportunities to work in public and private agencies. (PNA) 

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Bulacan's top fugitive, 3 others fall in series of police sting

CAMP GEN ALEJO S. SANTOS, Bulacan, March 3 (PNA) -- Bulacan police arrested Wednesday the no. 1 most wanted person, along with three other priority targets during a series of manhunt operations in this province.

Bulacan police officer-in-charge Senior Supt. Timoteo G. Pacleb identified the arrested top fugitive as Jayson Cruz, a resident of Villa Prescila Subdivision, Barangay Cut Cot, Pulilan Bulacan.

Pacleb said Cruz was arrested by personnel of Bulacan Provincial Intelligence Branch by virtue of a warrant of arrest for violation of Republic Act 6539 (carnapping) issued by Judge Teodora Gonzales of Regional Trial Court, Branch 14, City of Malolos, Bulacan with a recommended bail bond of PHP180,000.

Cruz is also suspected to be involved in the series of motorcycle theft in Pulilan town and other nearby areas.

Likewise, police arrested Amando Sinson, and Leonardo Melo, who are no. 3 and no. 4 Lambat Sibat priority targets, respectively, in Pulilan town.

Pacleb also said that the San Miguel PNP under chief of police Supt. Joel Estaris reported the arrest of no. 4 most wanted of Malolos City identified as Wilfredo Miranda, a resident of Baluarte, Gapan City Nueva Ecija. (PNA) 

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1 killed, five others arrested in a drug buy-bust operation in Bulacan

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, March 2 (PNA)-- A drug dealer was killed while five others were arrested on Wednesday morning in a drug buy bust operation in San Miguel, Bulacan.

In a report reaching this camp, killed was Ferdinand Sanguyo Jr. alias Camote.

Investigation showed that Sanguyo tried to escape after selling a plastic sachet containing shabu to a poseur buyer and fired at the authorities prompting the policemen to fire back that resulted in his death.

Meanwhile, those arrested were identified as Gerald Peñaflor and Roselyn Peñaflor, both residents of Tunsuya, Malabon City; John Oliver Gonzales, a resident of Barangay Partida; Dennis Salvador, a resident of Barangay Sta. Ines and Ryan Sanguyo, a resident of Barangay Camias, all of San Miguel, Bulacan.

Confiscated from the suspects were six plastic sachets of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride, also known as shabu; one caliber .38 revolver with ammunition, and assorted drug paraphernalia. (PNA) 

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Two notorious dope dealers fall in Bulacan sting

CAMP GEN. ALEJO S SANTOS, Bulacan, March 2 (PNA) -- Police anti-narcotics operatives have put an end to the nefarious drug trade of two notorious dope dealers in separate operations in the towns of Norzagaray and San Miguel, this province Tuesday afternoon.

Senior Supt. Timoteo G. Pacleb, officer-in-charge of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office, identified the arrested suspects as Francis Agustin, resident of Barangay Minuyan, Norzagaray and Junrey Cerdenia alias “Junrey Muyco”, water supply delivery boy and resident of Barangay San Jose, San Miguel.

Pacleb said Agustin is listed as No. 4 illegal drugs priority target of the Norzagaray Police Station while Cerdenia is listed as No. 5 priority target of the San Miguel Police Station.

According to the report of Norzagaray PNP, Agustin was arrested in Barangay Minuyan at around 3 p.m. Tuesday by virtue of warrant of arrest dated March 1, 2016 signed and issued by Judge Efren B. Tienzo of Regional Trial Court (RTC), Third Judicial Region Branch 18.

Cerdenia, on the other hand, was arrested in Barangay San Jose at around 11 a.m. Tuesday by virtue of warrant of arrest issued by Judge Virgilita B. Castillo, RTC Branch 12, Malolos City. (PNA)

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Murder raps filed vs. Malolos RTC judge's killers

MANILA, March 2 (PNA) -- The alleged perpetrators in the 2015 killing of a Malolos City Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge have been charged with murder before the Malolos City RTC in Bulacan.

In a progress report to Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. Aranal Sereno released on Wednesday, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) disclosed that an information for murder has already been filed against the suspects in the death of Malolos RTC Branch 84 Judge Wilfredo T. Nieves, who was gunned down on Nov. 11, 2015.

Charged with murder were Jay Deogrades Joson with aliases "Jepoy" and "Jefferson," and Raymond Dominguez.

However, the complaint against Arnel Janoras was dismissed because Janoras was already dead, while the complaint against the other respondents, including two "John Does," was dismissed for lack of probable cause.

Based on the report to the OCA by Senior Supt. Ferdinand O. Divina, Director of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office, it was learned that as of Feb. 1, 2016, the case was already raffled to the Malolos RTC Branch 82 and that a warrant of arrest is to follow.

"Rest assured that the Bulacan Police will continue to monitor and coordinate for progress and best result of the murder case filed against the suspects," Divina said in his letter to the OCA.

Dominguez, who was convicted of carnapping by Judge Nieves in 2012, is currently detained at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.

He was included in the charge sheet after it was established, based on the deceased Janoras' statement, that he had instructed Deogrades Joson to kill Nieves.

The statement of Janoras that Deogrades Joson is a friend of Dominguez was bolstered by the fact that based on the list of visitors of NBP, the former visited Dominguez as a friend.

Nieves was the 25th judge slain while in the service since 1999. (PNA) 

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27 nabbed in anti-cybersex raid in Cabanatuan City 
By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan

MANILA, March 2 (PNA) -- The Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) on Tuesday arrested 27 persons involved in cybersex activities and 'sextortion' in an operation in Cabanatuan City, PNP-ACG Director Senior Superintendent Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said.

Eleazar said the suspects were arrested inside the office of TLS Synergy Group, an online marketing firm in Cabanatuan City.

“We have reason to believe that the suspects’ activities could lead to 'sextortion' after we discovered that the company was engaged in the maintenance, control and operation of lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activities in front of web cameras for a fee”, said the PNP-ACG director.

The raid led by the Chief of Regional Anti-Cybercrime Office 3, Police Chief Inspector Ronelio O Manaog, came in the wake of an alarm raised by the PNP-ACG over the presence of foreign and domestic cybercrime operators involved in cyber pornography, cybersex dens, illegal gambling, credit card fraud and identity theft.

Eleazar said they raided the office of principal suspect Florendo Holgado, armed with a search warrant for violation of Section 4(c)1 of Republic Act 10175 issued by Judge Richard A. Paradeza of Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 72.

The police operation took place at No. 31 Melencio Extension in Kapitan Pepe Subdivision, Barangay San Jose Sur, Cabanatuan City at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday.

However, Holgado was not around during the raid.

The arrested suspects include seven women who were caught in the act of engaging, chatting, and showing recorded videos of females doing simulated sex.

The suspects are now being held at the PNP-ACG headquarters in Camp Crame. They are set to face raps for violation of Section 4(c)1 (Cybersex) of Republic Act 10175, otherwise known as Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, and Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code or Immoral Doctrine, Obscene Publications and Exhibitions and Indecent Shows.

The PNP-ACG chief said the operatives seized 30 computers, 31 cellphones, 3 printers, 2 monitors, 2 telephone sets, a router, several raffle coupons, and other pieces of documentary evidence during the raid.

According to Eleazar, they discovered that the 27 persons were hired by Holgado to work for him as Chat Sales Agents/Online Marketing Agents or ‘Chat Operators’ who have been trained for simulated sex videos.

“They are looking for possible victims on various dating sites, social media sites, blogs sites and porn sites that can be easily accessed through the internet,” he said.

PNP-ACG investigators discovered that the ‘Chat Operators’ are engaged in advertising obscene pornographic sites (through, and and online chatting (using Yahoo, Facebook, MSN, and Skype).

Records show that in 2014, PNP-ACG agents arrested 58 suspects involved in cybersex activities in Bulacan, many parts of Bicol, Laguna and Metro Manila. Eleazar said that the mode of operation of the 58 suspects arrested in 2014 were very similar to that of the TLS Synergy Group in Cabanatuan City, thus triggering the PNP-ACG investigation of the online marketing scheme of the Nueva Ecija-based company.

Eleazar said that they are conducting a thorough investigation to determine the actual involvement of the company in ‘sextortion’ activities.

“We are digging deeper into their possible ‘sextortion’ activities since we found photographs, videos, and messages between the victims and the suspects in many of the digital evidence we had seized,” he said.

Eleazar warned the public anew to be wary of the modus operandi of ‘sextortion’ syndicates operating in the country. He said that in most cases, the ‘chatter’ or suspect will encourage his/her target to take part in a video chat through Skype.

The ‘chatter’ will then show a simulated video of a naked woman and entice the victim to go naked on camera. As soon as the victim agrees, the ‘chatter’ will then record the live video on his/her computer and will later blackmail the victim by threatening to send the recorded video to his Facebook friends once he fails to heed the chatter’s monetary demands.

Eleazar said that the PNP-ACG is currently conducting more police operations against cybersex, sextortion activities, and any violations committed by, through and with the use of information and communications technologies in the country.

The raid was conducted two days after the PNP-ACG crushed a Manila-based cybercrime syndicate composed of five men engaging in sex and other obscene acts in front of webcams being viewed online by their clients, majority of them foreigners involved in pedophilia and other sexual perversions.

Eleazar said that the suspects were receiving payments for their services through different money remittance services such as Western Union, Palawan Express, Cebuana Lhuiller, Smart Money Master Card, Globe Beep Master Card and other payment systems, such as Payoneer Prepaid Master Card. (PNA) 

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Police probes murder attempt vs Bulacan gov’s son

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 29 (PNA) -- Police is investigating the alleged murder attempt against the son of Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado whose Toyota Fortuner vehicle was reportedly tailed and intentionally bumped head-on at high speed by a car being driven by policeman in front of Northfields Subdivision along MacArthur highway in Barangay Longos here past midnight Saturday.

Police report said that Jose Antonio “Jonathan” R. Sy-Alvarado, who is also a candidate for congressman in the first congressional district of Bulacan, sustained injuries in the head and different parts of his body.

He is still confined and undergoing treatment at a hospital in Manila.

The young Alvarado was sitting at the passenger seat and was on his way home to Calumpit when his driver noticed a car swerving on the opposite side of the highway while heading towards Malolos City.

According to witnesses, the vehicle of Sy-Alvarado has already stopped in front of the gate of Northfields Subdivision to avoid the incoming car.

However, witnesses said its driver seemed to have intention of crashing the Toyota Fortuner of Sy-Alvarado because it has already stopped.

Police identified the suspect as policeman Marlon Calderon assigned the Bulacan Police Provincial Office in Camp Gen. Alejo Santos.

The victim’s family is set to file a case of attempted murder aside from reckless imprudence resulting to multiple injuries and damage to property.

Sy-Alvarado, a magna cum laude graduate of the San Beda College (Master in Business Administration), is leading the congressional race in the province’ first district due to his various outreach programs and livelihood projects. (PNA) 

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President Aquino asks Bulakenyos to support Roxas-Robredo tandem, other LP bets

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 24 (PNA) -- Proudly telling Bulakenyos that he has deep roots in this historic capital city, President Benigno S. Aquino III called on Tuesday Bulakenyos to rally behind Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Mar Roxas and running mate Leni Robledo together with their senatorial slate and provincial candidates led by reelectionists Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando in order for the “Daang Matuwid” leadership to push through with continuity.

The Chief Executive, who arrived on board the presidential chopper at the jampacked Bulacan Sports Complex here, said that he believes that the people of Bulacan will support the candidacy of the LP top bets because of their fervor for good governance and the progress now being enjoyed in the province due to the “Daang Matuwid” policy of his administration.

“Ako po ay naniniwala na susuportahan ng mga Boss kong Bulakenyo ang ating mga pambato (Roxas-Robledo) para ituloy ang tuwid na daan at lalo pa itong palawigin,“ the President told a cheering crowd.

He said that the ancestral house of the Cojuangcos is near the historic Barasoain Church as he calls on his fellow Malolenyos and the people of Bulacan to rally behind the LP candidates.

Alvarado also made a clarion call to his province mates to support the candidates being endorsed by President Aquino.

Alvarado said the country needs a good captain that can steer the nation towards unity and progress.

Roxas and Robledo, who earlier made campaign sorties in San Miguel and Plaridel, thanked the President for his strong support as well as the people of Bulacan for their warm welcome. (PNA) 

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Bulacan to host PRISAA 2016 regional meet

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 17 (PNA) -- After the successful hosting of the recently-concluded Central Luzon Regional Athletic Association (CLRAA) meet, this province will also be the venue of this year’s Private Schools Athletics Association (PRISAA) regional meet that will kick off on Thursday at the La Consolacion University Philippines (LCUP) Kalinangan Gymnasium in this city.

More than 40 secondary and tertiary schools in Central Luzon will compete in different sports categories, namely athletics, baseball, basketball, badminton, boxing, chess, lawn tennis, sepak takraw, gymnastics, track and field, golf, table tennis, taekwondo, swimming, football, judo, cycling and volleyball.

PRISAA aims to continuously discover the best young athletes who will compete in various competitions in the country and even around the world.

Meanwhile, the provincial government of Bulacan headed by Governor Wilhemino M. Sy-Alvarado ensures the safety as well as peace and order around the vicinity where the competitions will be held.

”We already coordinated with the Bulacan police and Bulacan Rescue so that we are ready and prepare at all times. We expect that this sports meet will become successful,” the governor said.

The sports competitions will be held in various locations, including LCUP, Bulacan Sports Complex, Robinsons Place Malolos and City Walk Sports Center.

The winners will represent the region in the upcoming PRISAA National Collegiate Games in April 2016.

PRISAA started in 1953 through the initiative of the then Director of the Bureau of Private Schools Dr. Manuel Carreon, who encouraged the private schools all over the Philippines to join the PRISAA for the purpose of promoting sports competitions. (PNA) 

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Bulacan police cited for quick resolve on murder case

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Feb. 15 (PNA) -- The Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) on Monday awarded the Bulacan Provincial Police Office with PHP1-million bounty for the quick resolution on the slaying of Judge Wilfredo Nieves, then presiding judge of Bulacan Regional Trial Court Branch 84 .

The awarding of bounty was held during the regular flag raising ceremony at the Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3) here.

Nieves was shot dead along MacArthur Highway in Barangay Tikay, Malolos City, Bulacan last November 11, 2015.

Bulacan police headed by Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina solved the cases in less than two weeks following the arrest of the primary suspect Arnel Janoras, who was later killed while trying to escape en route to San Jose Del Monte City, also in Bulacan, for inquest proceedings.

Police Chief Supt. Rudy Lacadin, PRO-3 director, expressed his gratitude to the RPOC for its unrelenting support to PNP-PRO3.

He said that the accomplishment only proves that PRO-3 is indeed quick in resolving cases and arresting lawless elements.

“The entire Central Luzon police force is keeping on its toes to ensure that our communities are safe. We continue to implement our pro-active measures through SOP Lambat Sibat especially now that we are in the election period to guarantee the attainment of a secure and fair elections this May,” Lacadin said. (PNA) 

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2016 Central Luzon Regional Athletic Association kicks off in Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 8 (PNA) -- Thousands of athletes started competing for regional sports supremacy as the 2016 Central Luzon Regional Athletic Association (CLRAA) meet unfolded at the sprawling Bulacan Sports Complex in Barangay Sta. Isabel here and other parts of the province.

Department of Education (DepEd) Regional Director Malcolm Garma formally opened the annual sporting event Sunday afternoon which was attended by spectators and delegates from the different provinces of Central Luzon.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando welcomed the athletes in 18 schools divisions in the region.

Alvarado said the hosting of the 2016 edition of the CLRAA is a prelude to possible hosting of the national games or Palarong Pambansa.

He said that Bulacan is now ready to host such event with the biggest open stadium at Ciudad de Victoria, as the possible venue which is located side-by-side with the Philippine Arena in Bocaue town.

Alvarado, who is also the chairman of the Regional Development Council (RDC) in Central Luzon said that the annual sporting event is not only the breeding ground of the nation’s future sports heroes but also sharpens the mind and body of the youths.

“With strong minds and strong body, our youths will also have discipline and know the wonders of teamwork as they trek new hopes towards a strong nation with a nationalist mind set,” Alvarado said.

Senator Teofisto “TJ” Guingona III, who graced the occasion as the guest of honor and speaker, encouraged the young athletes to inculcate in themselves trust and friendship.

The game proper started today, February 8 and end on the 12th at the 15 assigned playing venues which include Balagtas Central School, Balagtas Gym, Boying’s Billiard Hall, Bulacan Sports Complex, Bulacan Capitol Gymnasium, Bulacan State University Activity Center, Calumpit Central School, City Walk, CMIS Sto. Rosario, Guiguinto Municipal Athletic and Cultural Center, Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center, Marcelo H. Del Pilar National High School Gym, Norzagaray Central School, Philippine Sports Stadium and Richwell College in Plaridel.

Events include archery, arnis, athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, boxing, chess, football, gymnastics, sepak takraw, softball, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, volleyball, and special Olympics such as billiard, futsal and sepak takraw-girls shall be demonstration sports.

The 18 participating schools divisions, on the other hand, include Angeles City; Aurora Balanga City, Bataan; Bulacan; Cabanatuan City; Gapan City; Mabalacat City; Malolos City, Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija; Olongapo City; City of San Fernando, Pampanga; San Jose City, Tarlac City, Tarlac, and Zambales. (PNA) 

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Bulacan cites as blood champ in Central Luzon’s 1st blood program implementers awards

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 4 (PNA) -- For providing lifeline to needy patients, Bulacan and its hardworking leaders received new “feather in its cap.”

Its best practices and exemplary innovations on the implementation of blood programs have placed Bulacan as one of the most outstanding provinces in Central Luzon that continuously encourages blood donation as way of life for every qualified healthy Filipino during the 1st Recognition for Outstanding Blood Program Implementers and Stakeholders held on Thursday at Holiday Inn, Clark Freeport, Pampanga.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado personally received the awards in different categories, including the recognition for Home of Galloners with 125 registered blood galloners, Province With Most Number of Mobile Blood Donation, and even recognized as the Most Supportive and Active Governor for his dedicated efforts in supporting the blood services program implementation for his constituents.

“We are always been supportive to the objectives of the Department of Health (DOH) in ensuring that everyone has access to safe and adequate blood all the time. It is a great honor for the province to be recognized and we will continue to serve quality health care and services,” the governor said.

Alvarado said that the province was also recognized as one of the Lead Blood Services Facility in Region 3 and for almost 12 years operations of the blood programs in Bulacan, all efforts have gained momentum in advocacy for blood donor recruitment and mobile blood donations.

”These are few of the achievements of the province of Bulacan. Thus, I would like to thank all our partners in providing excellent services to our constituents,” Alvarado said.

Prior to this, DOH 3 Regional Voluntary Blood Service Program Council said that Bulacan has always been active in supporting the blood donation program that promotes voluntary blood donation to provide sufficient supply of safe blood and to regulate blood banks.

Bulacan as the Home of Sandugo awardees, was also commended for its effective distribution of blood and blood products to hospitals and other health facilities, its functions to cover advocacy, quality assurance program, monitoring rational and efficient use of blood products, financial management and regional blood program coordination.

The first ever awarding aims to recognize the efforts of all stakeholders, donor and galloners from provincial, municipal and barangay level in their untiring dedication to support the blood programs initiated by the DOH. (PNA) 

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President Aquino declares February 3 a special holiday in Bulacan and the City of Cabanatuan

MANILA, Feb. 2 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared February 3 (Wednesday) a special non-working day in the province of Bulacan and the city of Cabanatuan in Nueva Ecija province.

President Aquino issued Proclamation No. 1204, which declares February 3 a special holiday in Bulacan to celebrate the birth anniversary of Blas Ople.

“Blas F. Ople, who served as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Senate President and Secretary of Labor, devoted decades of his life to selfless and dedicated service to our country and our people,” the proclamation stated, adding that the “son of Bulacan is a model citizen and public officer to the Filipino people, especially to the Bulakenyos”.

President Aquino also issued Proclamation No. 1205 declaring February 3 a special non-working day in Cabanatuan City in commemoration of its 66th Foundation Anniversary.

“It is but fitting and proper that the people of the City of Cabanatuan, be given full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies,” the proclamation stated.

The proclamations were signed last January 28. (PNA) 

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Bulacan to commemorate 89th birth anniversary of Ka Blas Ople

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 1 (PNA)-- Bulakenyos will commemorate on Wednesday the 89th birth anniversary of Ka Blas Ople, one of the most outstanding sons of the province.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy Alvarado will lead the commemoration with the theme, “Ka Blas, Huwaran ka sa isip, sa salita at sa gawa” at the Gusaling Gat Blas F. Ople in the city.

Alvarado said the Provincial Government of Bulacan through the Provincial History, Arts, Culture and Tourism Office (PHACTO) has prepared a short program to rekindle Ka Blas’ selfless, dedicated and sincere service to the country.

Expected to grace the event are Ople’s children, Susan “Toots” Ople and board member Felix Ople, family members, officials and employees of the provincial government and National Historical Commission of The Philippines Bulacan-Zambales head Alex Balagtas, among others.

His daughter Susan will lead the unveiling of Ka Blas’ bust while his son, board member Felix Ople will represent the Ople family and give a brief message during the program.

The celebration also includes the opening of exhibit of the Hagonoy Art Group, a presentation of Ople’s heroic legacy and leadership.

Bulakenyos consider Ople as their inspiration because of his outstanding leadership and public service not just in Bulacan but in the whole country.

Ople was recognized as “Father of Overseas Employment" and the author of the Philippine Labor Code for the protection of workers' rights.

He also served as Senate President, Foreign Affairs Secretary and Labor and Employment Minister.

He became the first Filipino president of the International Labor Organization in 1975.

Meanwhile, in accordance with Proclamation No. 948, Feb. 3 was declared as a special (non working day) in the province of Bulacan to celebrate the birth anniversary of Ople.

Ople was born in Hagonoy, Bulacan on February 3, 1927.(PNA) 

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PDEA-3 nets son of incumbent officials in Bulacan

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Feb. 1 (PNA) -- Agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-3 (PDEA-3) arrested Sunday in a buy-bust operation the son of the incumbent public officials in Pandi, Bulacan.

PDEA-3 director Gladys Rosales identified the suspect as Christopher Bryan Sebastian 34, and a resident of Bagong Barrio Pandi, Bulacan.

Rosales said that Sebastian is the son of the incumbent barangay captain and city councilor of Pandi, which reportedly made him untouchable in the locality.

The PDEA official said that the suspect tried to elude arrest and even used a dump truck as a getaway vehicle.

”A gunfight then ensued between the suspect and the authorities,” she said.

Sebastian sustained a gunshot wound.

Rosales said the operation netted seven plastic sachet containing shabu weighing 57 grams with an estimated street value of PHP250,000 and recovered the marked money. (PNA) 

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Malolos lone district bill now in Senate, residents jubilant

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 1 (PNA)--Bulacan First District Rep. Ma. Victoria R. Sy-Alvarado has announced that House Bill 6338, “an Act separating the city of Malolos from the First Legislative District of Bulacan to constitute the lone legislative district of the City of Malolos,” was already approved in Congress.

Sy-Alvarado, who is the author of the said measure, also said that the HB 6338 was already approved for transmittal to the Senate.

She said the House of Representatives has also given advance information to the Office of Senate President Franklin Drilon for calendaring it as official business in the Senate.

“Finally after long delays, the dream of the people of Malolos to be represented in Congress is now advancing to the Senate and might soon become a reality,” Sy-Alvarado said.

Residents recalled that no less than President Benigno Aquino III and former Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel Roxas II vouched for and defended the conversion of Malolos into a lone congressional district when they were still senators of the 14th Congress.

Upon learning that the bill is now scheduled for approval in the Senate, residents of this historic capital city are now rejoicing because their dream of being represented in Congress will soon materialize.

The people of Malolos as well as village officials are now calling on the Senate Committee on Local Government chaired by Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., to hasten the passage of the bill saying that it is about time that the national government give due recognition to the important role of this now booming metropolis in the nation’s history.

“Senator Bongbong Marcos will play a key role in the realization of the dreams of the people of Malolos because he is also a Bulakenyo, being a grandson of Dona Remedios Trinidad, the mother of former First Lady and now Rep. Imelda Trinidad Romualdez Marcos,” said former Barangay Tikay village chief Alejandro “Jhun” Joson Jr.

Joson added that the passage of the bill will be a legacy of Senator Marcos because the historic capital city of Malolos is fast becoming a highly urbanized city thus, it is high time that it becomes a lone congressional district to further boost progress development.

“It is about time that Malolos be given its proper recognition as a lone district, especially on account of its great contribution to Philippine independence and democracy,” Joson said.

In a related development, Rep. Sy-Alvarado also announced that that House Bill 5156 or "An act declaring January 23 of every year a special working holiday in the entire country to commemorate the declaration of the First Philippine Republic” has already been approved in the Lower House and is now in Senate also under the committee being chaired by Sen. Marcos.

Sy-Alvarado said that it is also high time to recognize the national significance of the First Philippine Republic because it was on this date the Philippines was recognized as an independent nation by the international community.

“It was on that very day, January 23, 1899, when our people and country, was recognized by the international community as a free republic and until now continues to gain the respect and admiration of foreign dignitaries, world leaders and even the Pope,” she said.

January 23 is currently special non-working holiday in Bulacan.

It would be a national holiday equal to June 12 commemoration of Philippine Independence Day if HB 5156 gets approved,

The lady solon also explained that January 23 is a priceless gift to the Filipino people, a date that brought democracy in the country and made Malolos the cradle of Democracy in Asia and Africa.

“What happened in this historic capital city 117 years ago is like a shinning comet that continues to serve as beacon of change that will always remind and hopefully unite all Filipinos of their proud heritage as free and independent people of the world,” she added. (PNA) 

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AWOL cop, 8 others nabbed in Bulacan dope sting

CAMP GEN ALEJO S SANTOS, Bulacan, Jan. 28 (PNA) -- Nine persons, including an AWOL (absent without leave) cop, were arrested during an anti-drug sting on Thursday at Ma. Soccorro Subdivision, Marilao town.

Senior Supt. Ferdinand O. Divina, Bulacan police director, identified the arrested suspects as Victor de Guzman alias “Tata Vic,” PO1 Franco Nero Sagudang, 33, an AWOL member of Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB), Police Regional Office 3, Richard Aguado, 30, all residents of Ma. Socorro Subdivision, Barangay Abangan Note, Marilao, Bulacan; Allana Coronel, 50, a resident of Sarmiento Homes, Abangan Norte, Marilao, Bulacan; Alex Mahistrado, 34, a resident of Barangay Guyong, Sta. Maria, Bulacan; Christopher Lumangyao, 43, Dennis De Castro, 48, both live-in residents of Ma. Socorro Subdivision, Barangay Abangan Note, Marilao, Bulacan; Jethro Bentor, 42, live-in, resident of Lolomboy, Bocaue, Bulacan; and Ma. Louralliene Caringal, 24, a resident of Villa Grande Subdivision, Lambakin, Marilao, Bulacan.

Divina said that prior to the arrest of the suspects, a telephone call from a concerned citizen was received by elements of Marilao Municipal Police Station (MPS) informing that a certain “Tata Vic”” is rampantly selling illegal drugs known as “shabu” at his residence in Ma. Socorro Subdivision, Barangay Abangan Norte.

Upon receipt of this information, Divina said that operatives of Marilao MPS conducted surveillance operation at the place and after confirming the same, elements of Marilao police immediately coordinated with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in PRO3 Camp Olivas, City of San Fernando, Pampanga, which eventually issued a Control No. 10004- 012016-0391 for the conduct of operation.

Subsequently after a short briefing, the operatives of Marilao Police went to the reported place to conduct buy-bust operation.

Divina said that PO1 Nico Riño, who acted as poseur buyer together with the confidential asset, went to the house of “Tata Vic” which was being used for their illegal drugs transaction.

When the operatives arrived, they approached suspect “Tata Vic” and his cohort Mahistrado, who were then waiting in front of their house and informed of their intention.

Tata Vic” yielded a plastic sachet containing suspected shabu and handed over it to the poseur buyer, in exchange for two pieces of PHP100 as marked money.

However, before the members of the operating team could give the pre-arranged signal to the other operatives in the area, the two suspects sensed the presence of the operating team and hurriedly fled towards their house.

A brief chase ensued wherein the members of the operating team were able to apprehend the suspects inside the house.

The operating team also saw the other suspects, AWOL PO1 Franco Nero Sagudang and six others, in the act of sniffing illegal drugs inside the house of Tata Vic.

Confiscated from the possession of suspect “Tata Vic” were one heat sealed small size plastic pack containing suspected “shabu”; one piece heat sealed medium size plastic sachet containing suspected shabu and the marked money.

Likewise, elements of Marilao MPS also confiscated suspected shabu from Mahistrado's possession.

On the other hand, recovered and confiscated from the possession of PO1 Sagudang and six other suspects were some drug paraphernalia.

The arrested suspects, together with the confiscated pieces of evidence, were brought to the Bulacan Crime Laboratory Office in Malolos City, Bulacan for drug test and laboratory examination.

Meanwhile, verification with the Regional Public Safety Battalion 3 based at Camp Olivas, City of San Fernando, Pampanga revealed that PO1 Sagudang has pending criminal and administrative cases for serious neglect of duty for his AWOL and grave misconduct, resulting from his criminal case of malversation of government property.

Criminal complaint for violation of Section 5 in relation to section 26, sections 6, 7, 11, 12, 13 and 14, Art. II of R.A. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs of 2002) is now being prepared for filling against the nine arrested suspects before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor. (PNA) 

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Bulakenyos hopeful that January 23 will soon be a special nationwide holiday

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 28 (PNA) -- Bulakenyos, particularly residents of this historic capital city, are now pinning their hopes on Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., for the materialization of their dreams to make January 23 of every year as a “special working holiday” in the entire country because of its significance in the nation’s history.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said Wednesday that House Bill 5156 or "An Act declaring January 23 of every year a special working holiday in the entire country to commemorate the declaration of the First Philippine Republic” filed by Bulacan 1st District Rep. Ma. Victoria R. Sy Alvarado has already been approved in the Lower House and is now in Senate under the committee chaired by Sen. Marcos.

Alvarado said that Bulakenyos are optimistic that the bill will be passed because the senator has deep roots in Bulacan as his grandmother Dona Remedios Trinidad, mother of the senator's mother Rep. Imelda Romualdez Marcos, is a native of Baliwag, Bulacan.

Alvarado said that it is high time to recognize the national significance of the First Philippine Republic because it was on this date that the Philippines was recognized as an independent nation by the international community.

“It was on that very day, January 23, 1899 when our people and country was recognized by the international community as a free republic and until now continues to gain the respect and admiration of foreign dignitaries, world leaders and even the Pope,” Alvarado said.

January 23 is currently special non-working holiday in Bulacan. It would be a national holiday equal to the June 12 commemoration of Philippine Independence Day if HB 5156 gets approved, the governor who, together with Chief Justice Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, has also been pushing for the passage of the said measure.

Alvarado also explained that January 23 is a priceless gift to the Filipino people, a date that brought democracy in the country and made Malolos the cradle of democracy in Asia and Africa.

“What happened in this historic capital city 117 years ago is like a shinning comet that continues to serve as beacon of change that will always remind and hopefully unite all Filipinos of their proud heritage as free and independent people of the world,” Alvarado added.

Former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Joel Villanueva also said it is about time that the rich and highly important date in Philippine history be given its due recognition.

In the measure’s explanatory note, Rep. Sy-Alvarado said that while June 12, 1898 marks the date when the country achieved independence from Spain, it was on January 23, 1899 that the first Philippine Republic came into being “as the sovereign choice of the Filipino people.”

“It is a conscious choice to reject dictatorial and revolutionary government and establish for all the future Filipino generations the groundwork for democracy,” she said.

The lawmaker said the creation of the first Philippine Republic, the first in Asia, should be a source of pride for Filipinos as this represents “our strong democratic and republican ideals as a nation.

Alvarado said that Bulakenyos has high hopes on Marcos because the senator fully well knows its importance and its value especially to the youths and the next generations. (PNA) 

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First PHL Republic continues to shine like a 'comet of change' —Bulacan governor

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 24 (PNA) -- Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado described on Saturday the inauguration of the First Philippine Republic in this historic capital city 117 years ago like a "shining comet that continues to serve as beacon of change."

Alvarado said that the events that transpired at Barasoain Church on Jan. 23, 1899 were equal to the proclamation of Philippine Independence in Kawit ,Cavite on June 12, 1898 because the inauguration of the First Philippine Republic gave credence and legality to the historic moments at the balcony of the mansion of then revolutionary leader Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, making him the president of the 1st Philippine Republic, to the eyes of the international community.

The governor said that Barasoain Church will always be the showcase of the great spirit and love for freedom of the Filipino race.

“We should always look back at the significance of Jan. 23, 1899 and be proud that our forebears had established a government of their own in the middle of a war against two of the most powerful empires in the world — Spain and the United States of America,” Alvarado said.

Alvarado said that Filipino revolutionaries and the Bulakenyos have proven that they can stand up and fight for their rights as sovereign people.

“Our freedom fighters have shown to the world what the Filipino race can do against tremendous odds and achieve their goals,” he added.

Alvarado, together with Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando, City Mayor Christian Natividad, and Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand O. Divina earlier joined the guest of honor, former Secretary Joel Villanueva of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in paying tribute to the lifesize statue of Gen. Aguinaldo where they offered flowers and a 21-gun salute before the singing of the national anthem during the commemoration of the 117th anniversary of the First Philippine Republic.

This year's celebration carried the theme "Diwa ng Republika Filipino, Batayan ng Mabuting Pamamahala."

Villanueva, in his speech, said he felt somewhat creepy when he set foot at the patio of Barasoain Church as he imagined the day when the people of Malolos were rejoicing the birth of a new republic.

“It’s a nostalgic feeling. It is important to remind the youths of their proud heritage so that the embers of patriotism will burn inside their hearts," he said.

Villanueva, a native of Bocaue town, said that it is time to pursue a historic revolution as he echoed the call of Governor Alvarado to make Jan. 23 of every year a special Philippine holiday just like June 12 or Philippine Independence Day.

“January 23 is very significant to the lives of the Filipinos who now enjoy living as free citizens of the world,” he said.

On Jan. 23, 1899, the First Philippine Republic, popularly known as the Malolos Republic, was inaugurated amidst colorful ceremonies at the Barasoain Church, Malolos, Bulacan Province.

This was also the first republic in Asia.

Aguinaldo took his oath of office as President of the Republic at the Barasoain Church. (PNA) 

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Bulakenyos to commemorate the 117th First Philippine Republic anniversary

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan.22 (PNA)--Bulakenyos will once again relive the heroic deeds of the eight provinces that fought for the country’s independence in the 117th anniversary of the First Philippine Republic on Saturday at the historical church of Barasoain in this city.

With the theme, “Diwa ng Republika Filipina, Batayan ng Mabuting Pamamahala," the celebration will lead by Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvardo with former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Secretary Emmanuel “Joel” Villanueva as guest of honor.

The event aims to uplift the awareness of the younger generation about the heroic moments in the Philippine history and to highlight the importance of the first republic in guiding the government today.

The program will start at 8 a.m. through a flag raising ceremony and wreath- laying activity at Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo’s monument.

Local officials, senior citizens, students, teachers, non-government organizations, and other sectors in Bulacan are expected to participate in the celebration as well as the representatives from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

Alvarado said that everyone especially the Bulakenyo youth should not forget the sacrifices and wisdom of our revolutionary forefathers that awaken the Filipinos’ aspiration to become free.

”Let us make January 23 every year as a reminder to everyone that we are nation of heroes and this is the reasons why we have democracy and one republic and why we have EDSA and why we are going through the straight path,”Alvarado said.

The First Philippine Republic, popularly known as the Malolos Republic, was the first republic in Asia.

It was inaugurated on January 23, 1899 at the Barasoain Church in this city where Aguinaldo took his oath of office as President of the Philippine Republic. (PNA) 

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18th 'Halamanan Festival' in Bulacan kicks off Saturday

GUIGUINTO, Bulacan, Jan. 21 (PNA) -- Spectacular and colorful fireworks will illuminate the night skies in synch with festive music as the annual “Halamanan Festival” culminates on Saturday at the back of the municipal gym here.

Now on its 18th straight year, the “Halamanan Festival” has become a crowd gathering affair and one of the most awaited festivals in the province in the mold of the Panagbenga Festival in Baguio, the Sinulog Festival of Cebu, the Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo, the Masskara Festival of Bacolod, among others.

Mayor Ambrocio C. Cruz said that the festival showcases the wonders of Guiguinto and its native products, cultural heritage and its famous and lucrative industry—ornamental gardens and landscaping.

“Every year, more and more people were coming here to join with the celebration of the “Halamanan Festival” where we all together presented the excellence and beauty of our culture, including the native products of Guiguinto,” Cruz said.

The mayor said that this year’s celebration will have a very exciting climax as popular bands blends with mainstream Bulacan bands in the “Rakrakan sa Halamanan” where spectacular fireworks will “dance” in the night sky in sync with festive tunes and rock music.

The “Rakrakan sa Halamanan” will also feature a beer plaza where the world-renowned San Miguel Beer will be sold.

Cruz said the musical fireworks show is a joint collaboration of the municipal government of Guiguinto, the Rotary Club of Guiguinto-Suburbs headed by Rtn. Ernie Gatmaitan and the San Miguel Brewery, which is also celebrating its 125th years of making the best beers in the world. (PNA) 

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Two notorious drug gang members killed in firefight with Bulacan cop

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, Jan. 17 (PNA) -- Two armed members of a notorious drug gang who were out to liquidate a police officer known for his hard stance against dope dealers were killed in a firefight with their target lawman in Sitio Tabtab, Barangay Poblacion, Norzagaray, Bulacan on Saturday afternoon.

Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina, Bulacan police director, said the identities of the slain suspects were still being verified as of press time.

He identified the police officer as PO3 Jonathan V. De Belen, of legal age, married and intelligence operative of the Municipal Anti-Drug Special Operations Task Force (MAIDSOTF) of the Norzagaray Municipal Police Station.

Divina said that De Belen was inside his rented apartment when he heard his dog barking.

He said the policeman went outside to verify what was happening and saw two men suspiciously entering the vicinity of his apartment. Once confronted, the duo drew their firearms and thereafter, a gun battle ensued between De Belen and the two armed men, resulting to the death of the intruders.

Further investigation revealed that prior to the incident, De Belen had been continuously receiving death threats from drug groups relative to the previous successful anti-drug operations of the Norzagaray Police Station and also death threat from a certain Domingo Cabangon, alias “Ambo,” a former New People's Army (NPA) member against whom De Belen was tasked to serve a warrant of arrest for the crime of homicide.

Recovered from the possession of suspect No. 1 were one caliber .45 Colt Mac 4 pistol with one magazine loaded with five live bullets; four plastic sachets of suspected marijuana and one bag containing suspected marijuana.

Seized from suspect No. 2 were one caliber .38 snub-nosed revolver loaded with three pieces of live ammunition; two empty cartridges for caliber .38; one small plastic container with two plastic sachets containing white crystalline substance of suspected shabu; one plastic sachet containing blue crystalline substance and one wallet containing community tax certificate in the name of Joel Garcia.

A Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) team from the Bulacan PNP Crime Laboratory also recovered from the crime scene 12 pieces of empty cartridge for caliber 9mm and seven pieces of empty cartridge for caliber .45.

Divina said a follow-up investigation is being undertaken by the Norzagaray Police for the true identities the two slain suspects. (PNA) 

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PDEA nets 3 big-time drug dealers in Bulacan

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Jan. 13 (PNA) -- Agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-3 (PDEA-3) arrested Tuesday three big-time drug dealers and seized shabu worth PHP400,000 in an entrapment operation in the City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.

PDEA-3 Regional Director Gladys Rosales identified the suspects as Al Lopez, 32; Danny Diaz, 47; and Jorel Flores, 35; all of Sapang Palay, City of San Jose Del Monte.

Rosales said the three suspects were arrested after handling 100 grams of shabu with a street value of PHP400,000 to a agent poseur buyer in the parking lot of Tito Renz Restaurant located in Barangay Minuyan, City of San Jose Del Monte.

She also said that the seized items were contained in a plastic ice bag and the marked money used in the operation was recovered.

The suspects are now detained at PDEA Jail Facility in this camp.

They will be charged for violation of Section 5 (selling of dangerous drugs) in relation to section 26 paragraph B (conspiracy) of Article II of RA 9165, she added. (PNA) 

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Vigilance of village dad led to the arrest of 2 burglars

MARILAO, Bulacan, Jan. 13 (PNA) -- The vigilance of a village councilor has led to the arrest of two burglars, one of them armed with a handgun, during a joint operation of village watchmen and local policemen in Barangay Saog here Tuesday.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand O. Divina identified the arrested suspects as Ferdinand Policarpio, 25, a resident of S. De Vera St. Barangay Pandayan, Meycauayan City, Bulacan, and Bravery de Juan, 20, native of Baguio City and residing at No. 19 St. Fortune 5 Malinta, Valenzuela City.

Divina said that prior to the apprehension of the suspects at around 1:20 a.m. Tuesday, barangay councilor Troy Gallardo of Saog, Marilao, Bulacan saw two suspicious male persons who entered the premises of his house at No. 020 Angeles St. Barangay Saog, Marilao.

Upon observing the suspicious moves of the two suspects, Gallardo immediately informed the barangay tanods of Saog and asked the assistance of Marilao Municipal Police Station who promptly responded that resulted to the arrest of the two suspects.

Confiscated from the suspects during the body search were one .22 caliber magnum revolver with two rounds of live ammunition, and a fan knife.

Divina said that the vigilance of concerned citizens is a big boost to the ongoing campaign of the Philippine National Police against loose firearms which is in line with the implementation of the total gun ban under the Omnibus Election Code.

Complaints for violations of Omnibus Election Code and RA 10592 is now being prepared for filling against the two arrested suspects before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutors Office, City of Malolos, Bulacan. (PNA) 

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Bulacan police, Comelec brace for start of election period

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, Jan. 9 (PNA) --Manuever platoons of the Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC) as well as Philippine Army troopers and local police units were given final debriefing on the security plans and implementation of the total gun ban in preparation for the start of the election period on Sunday.

Bulacan police director Sr. Supt. Ferdinand O. Divina disclosed that maneuver platoons of the PPSC will augment local police units in the establishment of checkpoints in key areas of the province starting 12 midnight on Jan. 10.

“They are now well prepared and ready for deployment as part of Complan: Safe 2016," Divina said.

The Regional Joint Security Coordinating Center (RJSCC) meeting held last week was presided by Commission on Elections (Comelec) Regional Election Director Temie. Lambino.

It was participated by the senior field commanders from 7th Infantry Division, Police Regional Office 3 Command Group and Provincial/City police directors and provincial election supervisors of Central Luzon.

“Its aim is to have unified efforts among members of the security forces hand-in-hand with counterparts in other government agencies so that the forthcoming elections will be secured and fair,” Divina said.

Pursuant to Comelec Resolution No. 9571, the PNP and AFP are deputized to assist Comelec in its security preparations for the elections.

Divina further explained that the Regional Joint Security Coordinating Center (RJSCC) is a composite organization in the region responsible in the coordinated and systematic utilization of all resources dedicated in the successful conduct of election, implementation of the ban on the bearing, carrying or transporting of firearms and the employment and deployment of security personnel in the region.

“Provincial JSCCs are likewise organized in the provinces headed by provincial election supervisors,” he added.

Lacadin, for his part, called on the citizens as well as candidates to help ensure the conduct of a clean, honest and orderly elections.

He said that with the security preparations and pro-active measures that PRO3 and the AFP have been undertaking, the goal for a safe and fair election will be attained.(PNA) 

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PDEA-3 nabs notorious lady drug pusher in Bulacan

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Jan. 5 (PNA)-- Agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Central Luzon (PDEA-3) arrested Monday a notorious lady drug pusher in a buy-bust operation in San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan.

PDEA-3 regional director Gladys Rosales identified the suspect as Sharry Bartolome, 19, of Minuyan Proper, San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan.

Rosales said PDEA agents were able to negotiate for the sale of 50 grams of shabu worth PHP150,000 with the suspect and agreed to meet in front of an hardware at Kalye Demonyo Road 2 in Minuyan Proper.

“Bartolome has been a drug runner since she was nine years old that is why she knew the drug business so well,” Rosales added.

The arrest of Bartolome yielded one plastic sachet containing shabu weighing 53 grams with an estimated street value of PHP243,800.

Bartolome is now detained at the PDEA Jail Facility in Camp Olivas, San Fernando City, Pampanga.

A charge for violation of Section 5 (selling of dangerous drugs) Article II of RA 9165 is being readied for filing in court against the suspect. (PNA) 

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Solon says strict enforcement, tougher laws, will curb firecracker-related injuries - By Sammy F. Martin

MANILA. Jan. 5 (PNA) -- Strict enforcement of the existing laws against illegal firecrackers by the Philippine National Police (PNP) will be useless if law enforcers will not move to crack down on manufacturers of illegal firecrackers, Valenzuela City Rep. Win Gatchalian said on Tuesday.

“The PNP and other law enforcement agencies should strictly enforce the existing laws against illegal firecrackers since enforcement is what is lacking. And this is the reason why manufacturers of illegal firecrackers continue to ply their trade during the holiday season,” said Gatchalian, who is pushing for the imposition of tougher regulations on firework products that are being sold all over the country during the Christmas season.

Gatchalian said banning all types of firecrackers as what Health Secretary Janette L. Garin has been saying will be of no use if the PNP and other law enforcers will not strictly enforce the pertinent provisions of Republic Act No. 7183 or the law that governs the fireworks industry.

Under R.A. 7183, firecrackers that have explosives content of more than 0.2 grams are considered illegal and should not be sold in the market. There are at least seven illegal firecrackers as their explosive content is beyond what the law provides for and these include Piccolo, Pop Pop, Goodbye Philippines or Crying Bading, Yolanda or Goodbye Napoles, Pla-Pla, Giant Kuwitis and Watusi because of their toxic contents.

Among the legitimate firecrackers that can be used during the New Year revelry are the Baby Rocket, Bawang, El Diablo, Judas Belt, Paper Caps, Pulling of Strings, Sky Rocket or kwitis and the small "trianggulo."

Pyrotechnic devices that can be used include Butterfly, Fountain, Jumbo Regular, Luces, Mabuhay, Roman Candle, Sparklers, Trompillo, Whistle Devices and Pailaw.

Gatchalian pointed out that television reporters were able to interview manufacturers of illegal firecrackers like Goodbye Philippines and Super Pla-Pla in Bocaue, Bulacan which showed that the Bulacan police provincial office had been remiss in enforcing the law against these life-threatening firecrackers.

“I cannot understand why TV reporters can locate illegal manufacturers and interview them while Bulacan policemen remain blind and if ever they confiscate illegal firecrackers, no arrests were made which further emboldens the manufacturers,” Gatchalian said.

Based on 2014 PNP data, only 68 manufacturers, 285 dealers, and 2,551 retailers of firecrackers are licensed by the PNP-Firearms and Explosive Office based in Camp Crame.

In his House Bill No. 4434, Gatchalian expressed hope that amending certain provisions in Republic Act No. 7183 would ensure a healthier environment for Filipinos, especially children who are most vulnerable to firecracker-related injuries.

"We endure the pollutants and countless injuries caused by the use of firecrackers, especially every New Year’s eve. Until when should we endure this cycle of peril to our health and environment?" asked Gatchalian in his bill's explanatory note.

In 2014, the Department of Health recorded 860 cases of firecracker-related injuries in the country. As of morning of Dec. 31, 2015, a total of 185 firework-related injuries were reported in the country, 133 of which were caused by piccolo and four were cases of indiscriminate firing.

Dubbing his bill as "Firecracker Regulation Act of 2014," Gatchalian highlighted the need for the government to do more about fireworks that are also considered as hazards to public safety.

Gatchalian, a member of the House Committee on Trade and Industry, wants local government units (LGUs) to designate pyrotechnic zones in their own locality to avoid fire and injuries.

"These amendments do not entirely do away with time-honored merry-making but enforces to provide stricter regulations in an effort to protect our people," he said.

His bill provides a maximum of PhP5,000 as limit for a single purchase of any firecracker or pyrotechnic device, excluding those with permit from PNP-FEO.

The bill would also prohibit selling fireworks to any person below 18 years old while requiring children who would use firecrackers to be under the strict supervision of their guardians.

Those who will fail to secure their dealer’s permit through legal means would be penalized with a fine ranging from PhP100,000 to PhP500,000 or an imprisonment ranging from six months to three years.

Dealers found guilty of selling fireworks to minors would be imposed with a fine of PhP100,000 and would have their permit revoked.

Meanwhile, parents found guilty of instigating firework deals of their children would be imposed with a fine of PhP10,000. (PNA)

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INC sets four Guinness World Records

MANILA, Jan. 1 (PNA) -- The Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) was granted four Guinness World Records during its New Year’s revelry on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.

In a statement, the influential sect said it was awarded for the largest paying audience for a movie premiere (for the Felix Manalo movie); the most number of sparklers lit in relay; the most number of sparklers lit simultaneously; and the largest fireworks display.

The announcement for the first record was given in the evening of Dec. 31 while the three other recognitions were given early morning of Jan. 1 by Christina Conlon, official adjudicator of Guinness World Records.

The fireworks display lasted an hour from Thursday midnight to 1 a.m. Friday.

Last October, the INC also set two Guinness World Records – Largest Attendance for a Film Screening and Largest Attendance for a Film Premiere at the premiere showing of the Felix Manalo movie, with more than 43,000 people in attendance at the 55,000-seater Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

According to Edwil Zabala, INC spokesperson, some 2,000 participants took part in the lighting sparklers event.

On the other hand, he said that employees of the fireworks company, which he did not mention, were in charge of the firing.

Incidentally, the Philippine Arena holds two world records of its own — World’s Largest Indoor Arena and World’s Largest Mixed-Used Indoor Theater. (PNA) 

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At least 50 injured from use of firecrackers in Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 1 (PNA) -- It’s a wet welcome for 2016 in many parts of the province but it was nevertheless noisy and colorful as the rains did not dampen the spirits of revelers in Bulacan, known as the capital of the fireworks industry in the country.

But when the smokes cleared following the lighting of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices, at least 50 persons were brought to different government hospitals for treatment of injuries.

Dr. Protacio Badjao, director of the Bulacan Medical Center, said 15 persons were treated in the said hospital due to firecracker-related injuries, the youngest of which is a 7-year-old boy and the oldest a 52-year old man.

The young victim was identified as Gabriel Sotto, 7, resident of Barangay Sta. Rita, Guiguinto.

He was injured when the Roman Candle he was holding exploded and injured his left hand. He was declared out of danger after getting treatment.

The 52-year old victim was identified as Elmer Barreto of Barangay Sipat, Plaridel town.

He sustained abrasion on his body after a powerful firecracker known as dynamite exploded near him.

Doctors said he is now out of danger and recuperating.

Forty-eight other firecracker-related victims were admitted to the different hospitals in the province.

Meanwhile, Lea de Guzman Alipide, president of the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association Inc., (PPMDAI) said most of this year’s revelers preferred to use the branded and quality types of fireworks.

She said that those who were injured were caused by the banned types of firecracker like piccolo, dynamite, bawang and other over-sized firecrackers.

“We have time and again appealed to the public not to use these banned types because they are not only illegal but highly dangerous as well when there are plenty of quality types of fireworks that are safe and spectacular,” Alipide said.(PNA) 

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