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PRO-3 fetes personnel; gets vehicles in PNP’s 27th anniversary

By Ric Sapnu  February 19, 2018, 7:55 pm

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga -- The Police Regional Office-Region 3 (PRO-3) marked the 27th Foundation Day of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday in a simple celebration highlighted by giving recognition to outstanding men and women in uniform for their remarkable performances in fulfilling the organization’s peacekeeping efforts.

Governor Lilia Pineda, together with Chief Supt. Amador Corpus, PRO-3 director, led the pinning of medals to deserving personnel of the police regional office for their contribution and tireless efforts in promoting and maintaining peace and order within Central Luzon.

Those who received the awards include Chief Supt. Elmer Bantog, PRO-3 Deputy Regional Director for Administration; Senior Supt. Ronald Llanera, Deputy Regional Director for Operations; Senior Supt. Rommil Mitra, PRO-3 Regional Directorial Staff;  and Senior Supt. Rolly Mendoza, chief of the Regional Headquarters and Support Group.

Pineda also led the distribution of financial assistance to the families of PRO-3 personnel who died in line of duty.

The assistance in the form of checks and cash was received by the five widows and orphans of policemen who died while performing their sworn duties.

The program was also highlighted with the turnover of vehicles donated by Pampanga provincial government to concerned police units in Central Luzon.

The PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Central Luzon led by Supt. Lito Patay and PNP Aviation and Security Group under its Director, Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos and Pampanga Special Weapons and Tactics received the three mobile vehicles.

The governor, in her speech, expressed her utmost gratitude to the entire Central Luzon police for making the region, particularly the province of Pampanga, peaceful and orderly.

She also assured the police that her office is willing to extend additional assistance to the police organization.

For his part, Corpus thanked the governor for extending assistance to the police. (PNA)

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64 drug reformists in Bataan finish TESDA training courses

By Ernie Esconde  February 16, 2018, 9:25 pm

ORANI, Bataan— A brighter future awaits 64 drug reformists here after they  completed training on courses accredited by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

Felicito Payumo, president of the University of Nueva Caceres (UNC)- Bataan, congratulated the graduates as they received their training certificates during the graduation rites at the Bahay Pagbabago earlier this week.

“You can now use whatever you have learned in case you want to apply for work as skilled laborer.  If you want to put up small business, it is also applicable,” Payumo, former chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and the Bases Conversion Development Authority, said.

Payumo said that TESDA courses like those given to drug reformists from Orani were provided by UNC-Bataan.

He said that the school brings mobile training to include instructors, machines and materials to places where drug reformists are.

“We are offering courses which the drug reformists want for the start of their new meaningful lives,” Payumo, also a former three-term Bataan congressman, said.

TESDA courses offered by UNC-Bataan are shielded metal arc welding NCI; shielded metal arc welding NCII; food and beverage services NCII; housekeeping NCII; front office NCII; agricultural crop production NCI; and computer system servicing NCII.

Grace Vibar, UNC TESDA school coordinator, said 48 reformists graduated from shielded metal arc welding NCI and 16 from computer systems servicing.

The training started on Dec. 28, 2017 and ended February 9, 2018.

Vibar said their school started offering TESDA courses in 2015 with the completion of five batches in welding, two batches in food and beverage services and computer servicing.

Chief Inspector Leovaldo Bacon, Orani police chief, said the graduates were former drug dependents in the town who surrendered voluntarily to the authorities. (PNA)

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Notorious drug peddler killed in Meycauayan drug ops

By Manny Balbin  February 16, 2018, 6:01 pm

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- A notorious drug pusher was killed in a buy-bust operation early Friday morning in Meycauayan City.

Senior Superintendent Romeo Caramat Jr., Bulacan police director, identified the suspect as Marvin Divina alias King.

Caramat said a police drug sting was hatched against Divina in Barangay Pandayan in Meycauayan City around 3:20 a.m. Friday.

Supt. Lorenzo Kim Cobre, Meycauayan police chief, reported to Caramat that when the poseur-buyer introduced himself as a policeman, the suspect pulled out a .38 caliber revolver and fired at arresting officers to escape, resulting in a brief gunfight and neutralization of Divina.

Recovered from the suspect were the .38 caliber revolver and suspected "shabu" or methamphetamine hydrochloride weighing approximately 15 grams, Cobre said. (PNA)

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Environmentalists ask Duterte to declare war vs. deforestation

By Manny Balbin  February 14, 2018, 11:34 pm

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- Environmentalists, mountaineers and nature lovers have appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to take a look at the critical condition that deforestations have caused on Bulacan watersheds, the main source of drinking water supply of the millions of residents of Metro Manila.

Officials and members of the Sagip Sierra Madre Environmentalists Society Inc., UP Mountaineers, and other environmental groups on Wednesday said that they have delivered a letter to President Rodrigo Duterte informing him about the grave state of Ipo watershed.

The groups said the letter contained documentation on the activities inside the watersheds.

“We are hopeful that the letter, together with evidences, interviews and accounts, moves our President to initiate a  war on deforestation and against all environmental criminals,” they said.

The groups claimed that unscrupulous activities such as illegal logging, timber poaching, charcoal making and slash and burn farming are daily occurrences in the watersheds of Ipo and Angat.

Bro. Martin Francisco, founding chairman of the Sagip Sierra Madre Environment Society Inc., said the five anti-illegal logging operations conducted this year inside the Angat watershed have led to the confiscations of  several  board feet of illegally cut lumber and chain saws.

The environmentalists said that illegal logging operations and other deforestation activities cause creeks and streams to dry up, soil erosion and siltation, create landslides, affect irrigation systems and ultimately reduce the water supply from Angat-Ipo River Systems that could eventually impact on the water supply of Metro Manila.(PNA)

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19 arrested for illegal drugs in Central Luzon

By Ric Sapnu  February 13, 2018, 9:15 pm

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga –- At least 19 suspected drug personalities were arrested Monday in a series of anti-illegal drug operations in Central Luzon.

Chief Supt. Amador V. Corpus, Police Regional Office-3 (Central Luzon) head, said the intensified campaign against illegal drugs was part of their continuing effort to make the region drug-free.

“The PNP-PRO3 is conducting pro-active operations against all forms of illegal drugs in order to achieve our quest for a drug-free Central Luzon,” Corpus said.

He said the regionwide anti-drug operations Monday led to the arrests of 11 drug suspects in Pampanga; three in Bulacan; two in Zambales and one each in Bataan, Tarlac, and Nueva Ecija.

Those arrested in Pampanga  were Erwin Mallari of San Fernando; Wendell Bautista and Juan Paolo del Rosario, both of Bacolor; Aladin de Leon, Sabado Fernandez, Allan Garcia, Nilo Medina,  Renan Langsangan,  Nomer Bautista, Ninoy Fernandez and Junior Mendoza, all from Mabalacat City.

In Bulacan, those nabbed were Jessica Mae Gonzales of City of Meycauayan; Jean Mhar Cabanganan of San Ildefonso town and Elison Magaro of San Miguel town.

In Zambales, those apprehended were Raymunda Mawali and Gilbert Isaac, both residents of Subic town.

Other arrested were Emelito Reyes of Orion, Bataan; Richard Alberto of Nueva Ecija; and Mark Atencio of La Paz, Tarlac.

Corpus said the drug suspects were arrested during buy bust operations where several sachets containing suspected "shabu" or methamphetamine hydrchloride, illegal drug paraphernalia and marked money were confiscated.  (PNA)

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Central Luzon police gets 16 new motorcycles

By Ric Sapnu  February 12, 2018, 5:49 pm

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga – Police Regional Office 3 (Central Luzon) on Monday received a big boost in its anti-criminality efforts after receiving 16 newly-acquired motorcycles from the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Logistics Support Service.

The motorcycles were turned over to the Angeles and Olongapo City police offices and blessed after the regular flag-raising ceremony at PRO-3’s parade grounds here.

Chief Supt. Amador Corpus, PRO-3 director, called the arrival of the motorcycles very timely since several pro-active anti-criminality campaigns of PRO-3 are in effect, especially the campaign against motorcycle-riding suspects and the round-the-clock conduct of anti-criminality checkpoints and mobile patrolling.

He urged members of PRO-3 to provide the people of Central Luzon the quality police service that is expected of them and to always go the extra mile in serving the public.

“With the additional mobility, I am in no doubt that more positive accomplishments would be achieved in the future and that the public can expect the PNP PRO-3 to respond better to incidents and that the delivery of our police services would be more effective and efficient, particularly in Angeles and Olongapo,” Corpus said. 

He also reminded the end-users of the motorcycles to take good care of them. (PNA)

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4 illegal loggers nabbed in Bulacan

By Manny Balbin  February 11, 2018, 2:16 pm

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- The Provincial Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force of Bulacan arrested four illegal loggers and confiscated 134 pieces of illegally cut lumber in Dona Remedios Trinidad (DRT) town, this province Saturday.

Senior Inspector Roldan Manulit, DRT police chief, told the Phillipine News Agency (PNA) that the arrested illegal loggers were identified as Lando Simbulan, resident of Papaya, General Tinio, Nueva Ecija; Randy Jay Salvador, Ranie de Leon, and Jojit de Leon, all residents of Sitio Calumpit, Barangay Kalawakan in DRT.

Manulit said the arrested illegal loggers were caught in the act of cutting timber at around 10:30 a.m. Saturday in Sitio Mangga Barangay Kalawakan.

The suspects are now detained at the DRT municipal jail while charges are being prepared by environment officials for filing in court on Monday.

Bro. Martin Francisco, chairperson of the Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society Inc. (SSMESI), said the task force confiscated illegally cut lumber with a total volume of 2,194 board feet worth some PHP109,700 and two chain saws that were brought for safekeeping to the community environment and natural resources office of the DENR in Baliwag town.

The task force are composed of personnel from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Bulacan, Bulacan Environment and Natural Resources Office, and SSMESI. (PNA)

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Nueva Ecija town 2nd most wanted killed in buy-bust operation

By Marilyn Galang  February 10, 2018, 6:17 pm

SAN ANTONIO, Nueva Ecija -- Anti-drug operatives killed one of the most wanted persons in this province in a buy-bust operation in Barangay Sta. Cruz, this town on Friday.

Senior Supt. Eliseo Tanding, Provincial Police Director, identified the fatality as Reynaldo Calison, 42, of Barangay Panabingan and listed as number 2 in the town police's wanted list.

Tanding said that aside from peddling illegal drugs, Calison was involved in gun-for-hire and robbery hold-up activities operating in this town and in also in the town of Zaragoza as well as nearby provinces of Tarlac and Pangasinan.

Police said that elements of the station’s Drug Enforcement Unit conducted a buy-bust against Calison but the suspect allegedly fired a cal. 38 revolver, thus the lawmen retaliated.

Recovered from the suspect were six sachets of shabu, the PHP500 marked money and the revolver, police said.(PNA)

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Village watchman killed in Bulacan drug shootout

By Manny Balbin  February 9, 2018, 6:34 pm

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- An active barangay tanod or village watchman tagged as involved in illegal drugs was killed in a shootout with policemen in Maunlad Phase 2, Barangay San Agustin, Bulacan province Thursday night.

City police chief, Supt. Heryl Bruno, in a police report submitted to higher authorities, identified the suspect as Jerico Pagadian alias "Emong", a barangay tanod of San Gabriel and listed in the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council watch list.

Bruno said they conducted a buy-bust operation against the suspect in Barangay San Agustin at about 11:50 p.m. Thursday.

After accepting the marked money, the suspect, sensing that it was a police operation, drew his .38-caliber revolver and shot the poseur buyer.

The police returned fire, hitting the suspect in different parts of his body.

Recovered from the suspect were small packs of suspected "shabu" (methamphetamine hydrochloride), PHP500 in marked money and the revolver. (PNA)

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Duterte wants all media killings solved by 2020: Undersecretary Egco

By Ric Sapnu  February 8, 2018, 11:24 pm

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga -- President Rodrigo Duterte wants all media killings in the country to be solved by year 2020.

This was disclosed on Thursday by Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, executive director of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), who personally came over here to receive from Chief Supt.  Amador Corpus, Police Regional Office (PRO)-3 (Central Luzon) director, the documents on the journalists killed in the region.

“The President would like to make our country better, safe and free,” Egco said as he noted that the purpose of his visit here is to get all the data on the cases of violence perpetrated upon media workers by state and non-state forces in compliance with Section 4 of Administrative Order (AO) No. 1.

The AO provides that the PTFoMS should come up with an inventory of all cases of violence against media workers, which will be classified under the following categories: unsolved cases; cases under investigation; cases under preliminary investigation; cases under trial; and cases under appeal.

There are at least nine cases of media killing in the region from year 2000 to 2015.

“The task force will look or investigate if these cases are related to work or not. If related, this is considered as media killing,” Egco said.

He also said that the PRO-3 was the first police regional office he visited to gather data which the PTFoMS Technical Working Group would reexamine using the AO's No. 1 criteria for violence against media workers in order to produce a harmonized list of cases.

He vowed to visit all the police regional offices nationwide to gather all data cases as part of the task force’s continuing efforts to  make the country safe for media personalities.

Meanwhile, Corpus, as he turned over  to the PTFoMS the nine case folders, said that five of those cases were solved, two cases were pending in court and the two other cases were still under police investigation.

The PRO-3 head said that the police officers handling the case were focused until the resolution of the crime.

He likewise said that police would still further investigate the case even though the family of the victim was no longer interested in pursuing it.

“We hope that in year 2020, there will be no more record of media killing cases,” Egco said. (PNA)

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Pampanga Megalopolis Plan: Strongest counter-magnet to MM

By Marna Dagumboy Del Rosario  February 8, 2018, 9:26 pm

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga -- The much-anticipated development plan that envisions to position the province of Pampanga as the strongest counter-magnet to Metro Manila and secure it as business and financial center of Northern Luzon, was formally turned over on Thursday to the provincial government of Pampanga.

Dubbed as “The Pampanga Megalopolis Plan,” a comprehensive development plan that seeks to address major issues and challenges, as well as optimize the potentials of the province as an urban growth center, it was received by Governor Lilia Pineda, together with former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in a ceremony held at the Laus Event Center here.

The plan was officially handed over by lawyer Peter Sychiangco, representing Ramon S. Ang, president and chief executive officer of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) that provided the financial grant to formulate the plan, and Architect Felino “Jun” Palafox, Jr., principal architect-urban planner of the Palafox Associates.

Composed of various metropolitan areas, the Pampanga Megalopolis is clustered into four building blocks, namely: Aerotropolis (airport-driven cluster: Angeles City, San Fernando City, Mabalacat, and Mexico), Agropolis (agriculture-driven cluster: Lubao, Guagua, Sta Rita, Bacolor, San Luis, San Simon, Apalit, Santo Tomas, Sta Ana and Magalang), Aquapolis (water-driven cluster: Sasmuan, Macabebe, Minalin, Masantol, and Lubao), and Ecopolis (ecology-driven cluster: Arayat, Candaba, Floridablanca, and Porac).

Each possesses its own strengths to persuade both local and foreign investors, as well as citizens to move there.

Development needed for each of these metropolitan clusters had been identified and would then be addressed through implementation of proposed projects, including, but not limited to, the following specific sectors:

Transportation and Road Infrastructure. A circumferential road and growth corridor is proposed to interconnect all the cities and municipalities in the province.

As a result of consultations conducted with key stakeholders, such as members of the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PamCham), officials of provincial and municipal governments, experts from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and a technical working group guided by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), priority and supplementary road projects to complete the circumferential road have been identified. These include, among others, Sasmuan-Masantol Road (Viaduct), Arayat-Magalang Road,  Angeles-Porac-Floridablanca Road,  Lubao Bypass , Road Extension, Masantol-Macabebe-Apalit-San Simon-San Luis-Arayat Road, Angeles Bypass Road, and SCETEX-Porac Quarry Road.

Alternative Corridor and Transportation Improvement Measures for MacArthur Highway (mass transport). To reduce traffic congestion along the busy MacArthur Highway, a sustainable mass transport system that makes use of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is recommended, including feeder system loops and identified intermodal stations.

Tourism Projects at Uplands and Wetlands. The development framework strategy for Pampanga follows the clustering for the Pampanga Megalopolis, packaging the province’s immense diversity to advance tourism growth.

Tourism circuits are proposed to help the province establish a unique brand for itself and hence better its market potentials in attracting tourists and visitors.

Some of the priority projects for tourism, integrated in the Pampanga Megalopolis Plan, include creation of tourism circuits, setting up of tourism information kiosks and information centers, as well as redevelopment of the Candaba Wetland and Nature Park, Floridablanca Astroscience Center, and Mt. Arayat Eco-Adventure Park.

The proposed priority roads would be incorporated to provide better roadway connectivity between tourist destinations in the province.

Water transport would also be utilized as well, starting with the Lubao Bamboo hub in Lubao town to Bangkung Mapalad in Sasmuan, as the kick start for water transportation.

Integrated Water Resources and Water Supply Planning. Pampanga has significant surface water supplies, which are currently not maximized.

Based on the geographical and topographical features of the province and the high annual rainfall amount, there is also a large volume of surface runoff water that can be contained and impounded.

Developing a series of water retaining ponds and series of water reservoirs would help to significantly mitigate flooding during rainy seasons and become a source of water during dry season.

After constructing the water retention reservoirs, the cities and municipalities could practically invest in developing water treatment plants and distribution systems to provide clean water for domestic and industrial use. Investing in water treatment plants also helps solve the issue of waste-water pollution.

Disaster Resilience and Flood Protection. Building resilient communities is one of the most critical aspects of economic development, sustainability, and livability.

Pampanga, being exposed to numerous natural hazards, should have the propensity to address these potential risks, especially flooding, for it to better protect its industries and economic interests, as well as the health, well-being and quality of life of Kapampangans.

Agro-Industrial Development Zones. To further enhance the province’s agro-industrial sector, the Pampanga Megalopolis plan also proposes areas of agro-industrial estates, complemented with operational farm-to-market roads and sound and efficient post-harvest facilities.

Another important component of the Pampanga Megalopolis is the Pampanga Golden Triangle, an imperative channel to jumpstart the proposed projects and developments under the plan.

Bounded by major thoroughfares such as SCTEX, NLEX, MacArthur Highway, and Jose Abad Santos Ave. (JASA), the Pampanga Golden Triangle is a composite convergence of three cities -Angeles, San Fernando, and Mabalacat, and six municipalities -- Porac, Floridablanca, Lubao, Guagua, Santa Rita, and Bacolor.

With Angeles and San Fernando cities being Pampanga’s main urban centers and with their relatively lower susceptibility to natural hazards, the Pampanga Golden Triangle signifies high development potential and could very well be the jump-off point for the larger context of the province.

With the main goal of revitalizing urbanized areas, the objectives of the Pampanga Megalopolis Plan also include organizing the current land uses, identifying new road connections and road improvement, and creating buffer zones along hazard-prone areas.

These, in turn, could serve as guidelines for future developments within the Pampanga Golden Triangle.

In her acceptance speech, Pineda emphasized that she is not only receiving the plan document, but more importantly, she is accepting the responsibility of seeing to it that the plan is implemented to the fullest benefit of the present and future generations of Kapampangans.

Pineda committed to create a Project Management and Investment Promotions Unit, under the Office of the Governor, to aggressively shepherd the implementation of the plan.

Meanwhile, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who closely guided the formulation of the Pampanga Megalopolis Plan, called on all Pampanga-loving Kabalens to single-mindedly support the plan.

She committed to be the foremost advocate and promoter of the Pampanga Megalopolis Plan both locally and internationally. (PNA)

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250K reward up for city exec's killers

By Manny Balbin  February 6, 2018, 6:13 pm

CITY OF SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, Bulacan -- Mayor Arthur Robes announced Tuesday a PHP250,000 cash reward for any information leading to the arrest of five unidentified men who shot dead a city official in front of her house here Monday night.

City police chief, Supt. Fitz Macariola, identified the victim as Orpha M. Velasquez II, 44, married, and the assistant city administrator, chairperson of the Bids and of Awards Committee (BAC), and officer-in-charge of the Public Employment Service Office.

In his report to Provincial Director of the Bulacan Police, Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., Macariola said the shooting incident occurred in front of her house along Sto. Domingo St., Barangay Fatima at about 7:20 p.m. The victim went out of their house and was at the gate when five armed men riding a white Adventure vehicle and a black and red motorcycle, both with unknown plate number, appeared and shot her several times.

The victim sustained four gunshot wounds to the head and body, causing her instant death while the suspects fled towards unknown directions.

Robes offered the reward for the immediate arrest of the assailants.

Macariola said they were conducting a thorough investigation of the incident, which might be related to the victim's job, particularly as chairperson of the board of the city’s bids and awards committee.

Velasquez had been receiving death threats since last year, prompting the city government of San Jose del Monte to provide her with security details.

It can be recalled that in December 2015, a former city engineer here survived an ambush by two motorcycle-riding gunmen in a remote village in Barangay Bulac, Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

Rufino Gravador, Jr. of Dulong Bayan, Barangay Poblacion in Sta. Maria was on board his blue Montero sports utility vehicle when two suspects on a motorcycle blocked his way and shot his vehicle several times.

Gravador reportedly testified in the plunder case filed against former mayor Reynaldo San Pedro and 29 other city officials over the alleged overpriced construction of the PHP300-million San Jose del Monte City Government Center.  (PNA)

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3 persons nabbed in Tarlac drug bust

By Ric Sapnu  February 4, 2018, 5:08 pm

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga -- Three persons caught sniffing shabu were arrested in a drug bust operation in Barangay Poblacion Norte, Paniqui, Tarlac on Saturday.

Tarlac police provincial director Ritchie Posadas identified the pushers as Rafael Austria, 49, and Erickson Linga, 37, both from Barangay Poblacion, Paniqui and Nino Sabado, 40, of Barangay San Rafael, Tarlac City.

Posadas said Drug Enforcement Units operatives of the Paniqui Police Station received an intelligence report that a pot session was being held in a house at Barangay Poblacion Norte.

Posadas said when police operatives arrived in the area, they caught the three persons in the act of sniffing shabu.

Recovered from the suspects were eight opened plastic sachets, eight aluminum foil strips, three cut straws which contained shabu residues, and other drug paraphernalia.

The three suspects are now detained at Paniqui Police Station while appropriate charges are being prepared against them. (PNA)

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DOTr tackles PUV modernization program in Bulacan

By Manny Balbin  February 3, 2018, 8:09 pm

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has spearheaded a dialogue with leaders and members of the Bulacan Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association to further explain the government's proposed public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, together with Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, told jeepney operators and drivers in the dialogue held Friday afternoon at the Bulacan Convention Center, the program would be beneficial to all.

Tugade allayed concerns of the jeepney operators and drivers that the modernization program would lead to the loss of their livelihood.

“The government only intends to modernize jeepneys in the country and this program seeks to upgrade jeepneys into an environment friendly transport service that will ensure safety and convenience of commuters and we would like to assure you that this will not lead to the loss of your livelihood,” Tugade said.

To address the concern of jeepney operators and drivers of undue economic burden from having to purchase brand new PUJ units, the DOTr Secretary briefed them on the government's loan assistance.

Tugade said the government was offering to the possible beneficiaries a six percent loan interest based on diminishing balance if they avail of the modernization program and inquiries can be made at the Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines local offices.

Governor Alvarado, for his part, asked Secretary Tugade if the loan scheme provided by the government could be patterned after the German government’s loan scheme that had a lower interest rate compared to the six percent being offered by the government.

This way, micro, small, medium entrepreneurs like the jeepney drivers and operators could maximize the benefits of getting loans and at the same time be advantageous to the riding public with lesser fare hikes, he said.

To reduce the impact on capital outlay to buy the compliant vehicle, Tugade advised the jeepney drivers and operators to form a cooperative.

He also pointed out that vehicles, even those from different manufacturers, were guaranteed to have an approval for its operation as long as it was compliant with the modernization program.

He likewise said that operators of compliant vehicles could come forward to the DOTr so that they could be endorsed to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to start the negotiations for fare hike demand. (PNA)

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Bulacan livelihood center named after Ka Blas Ople

By Manny Balbin  February 3, 2018, 4:22 pm

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- The Bulacan provincial government on Saturday named its newly-constructed Livelihood Training Center as Gat Blas F. Ople Sentro ng Kabataan, Kaalaman at Hanapbuhay.

The initiative was held as the province celebrated Ople’s 91st birth anniversary in a simple ceremony held in front of the provincial capitol building here.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando signed a resolution naming the new center.

Alvarado also said that the provincial library would soon have a specific section where the works of Ka Blas would be put on display to inspire Bulakenyo youths.

Board Member Felix Ople of the 1st District of Bulacan and son of Ka Blas thanked the provincial government for honoring his father with the annual celebration of his birthday.

Meanwhile, Senator Cynthia Villar, who served as guest of honor in the celebration with the theme, “Gat Blas F. Ople: Dakilang Lingkod Bayan, Inspirasyon ng Mamamayan”, expressed her belief that the talent and intelligence of Filipinos could be used to uplift the economy and support the interests of overseas Filipino workers.

“Panahon na upang makilala ang Pilipinas bilang frontrunner sa industriya ng turismo at agrikultura. Iyan ang pangarap para sa atin ni Ka Blas F. Ople at iyan din ang pangarap nating lahat (It is high time for the Philippines to be known as a frontrunner in the tourism and agriculture industries. This was Ka Blas Ople’s dream for us and our dream, as well),” Villar said.

Ka Blas was a journalist and politician who held several ranking positions in the executive and legislative branches of the Philippine government, including as Senate President from 1999 to 2000. He also served as Secretary of Foreign Affairs from 2002 until his death in 2003.

He fathered the National Labor Relations Commission and National Manpower and Youth Council.

He was born on Feb. 3, 1927 in Hagonoy, Bulacan to Felix Antonio Ople and Segundina Fajardo. (PNA)

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2 ‘illegal recruiters’ arrested in Bataan

By Ric Sapnu  February 2, 2018, 5:58 pm

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga  -- Two alleged illegal recruiters were arrested during an entrapment operation in Barangay Townsite, Limay, Bataan, Thursday.

Chief Superintendent Amador Corpus, director of the Police Regional Office-3 (PRO3), said joint operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Field of Bataan and Bataan Provincial Intelligence Branch conducted an entrapment operation against Mark Montanez and Dominador Luzano, both of Bataan, who promised their victims jobs at San Miguel Corporation (SMC), which turned out to be fake.

Corpus said Montanez and Luzano were caught after receiving PHP2,800  from two victims through money transfer at the M Lhuillier branch in Barangay Townsite.

“The victims said they were promised with jobs as factory workers in SMC and were asked to pay PHP2,800 for processing fee,” he said.

Confiscated from the possession of the suspects were PHP2,800 dusted money, M Lhuillier payout receipt, voter's ID and provincial health card.

Corpus said the operation was conducted in response to the request of the SMC head office after receiving reports on fake employees using the name of the company to collect money. (PNA)

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Bulakenyos honor Ka Blas on 91st birthday

By Manny Balbin  January 31, 2018, 6:57 pm

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- Bulakenyos will commemorate on Saturday the 91st birth anniversary of former senator and Department of Foreign Affairs secretary Blas Ople, known here as “Ka Blas” and considered as one of the most outstanding sons of the province.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando will lead the celebration with the theme, “Gat Blas F. Ople: Dakilang Lingkod Bayan, Inspirasyon ng Mamamayan,” in front of the provincial capitol in this city.

Alvarado said the provincial government of Bulacan through the Provincial History, Arts, Culture and Tourism Office (PHACTO) had prepared a short program to recall Ka Blas’ selfless, dedicated and sincere service to the country.

The governor encouraged all Bulakenyos to participate in the event which was declared special non-working holiday in the province by the virtue of Proclamation No. 399.

Senator Cynthia A. Villar will serve as special guest in the celebration of the birth anniversary of Ka Blas, who is regarded as an illustrious son of Bulacan.

Expected to grace the event are Ople’s children headed by board member Felix V. Ople of the First District of Bulacan, other members of the family, local officials, provincial government employees, teachers, senior citizens and students.

Bulakenyos consider Ople as their inspiration because of his outstanding leadership and public service not just in Bulacan but also in the whole country.

He authored the Labor Code of the Philippines and launched an Overseas Employment Program that helped seven million Filipinos land jobs abroad. Because of this, he was recognized as the “Father of Overseas Employment”.

Ople also created the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, and the Philippine Labor Attache corps to carry out the overseas employment program.

Moreover, he established the National Manpower and Youth Council, which is now the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

Ople was likewise a journalist and politician who held several high-ranking positions in the executive and legislative branches of the Philippine government including Senate President from 1999 to 2000, and Secretary of Foreign Affairs from 2002 until his death on Dec. 14, 2003.

He was born on February 3, 1927 in Hagonoy, Bulacan to Felix Antonio Ople and Segundina Fajardo. (PNA)

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2 suspected riding-in-tandem robbers killed in Bulacan shootout

By Manny Balbin  January 29, 2018, 7:13 pm

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- Two suspected riding-in-tandem robbers were killed in an alleged shootout with law enforcers Monday morning along Ople Diversion Road in Barangay Bulihan in this city.

Based on the report of Superintendent Heryl Bruno, city police chief, the encounter happened around 4 a.m. when the lawmen caught up with the suspects after a brief chase. 

Bruno said Yulbert de Guzman, a manager of Domino's Pizza, reported to the police that while walking on his way home to Capitol View Park, this city, he was robbed by the two male suspects riding on a motorcycle.

Police authorities immediately formed a team that conducted a hot pursuit operation against the motorcycle-riding suspects who were neutralized in an armed encounter. 

“The suspects, instead of yielding to responding policemen, shot the operatives several times and a gunfight ensued that resulted in the instantaneous death of the suspects,” Bruno added. 

Recovered from the suspects were a Racal motorcycle with plate no. 7367 XP; five sachets of suspected "shabu" or methamphetamine hydrochloride; one caliber .38 revolver with serial no. PR ‎12972261 loaded with one ammunition and three spent shells and one caliber .22 revolver without a serial number. 

The victim positively identified the slain suspects as the ones who took his belongings. 

The bodies of the suspects were brought to Superior Funeral Homes in Barangay Bintog, Plaridel, Bulacan. (PNA)

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4 drug suspects fall in Nueva Ecija sting

By Ric Sapnu  January 29, 2018, 7:11 pm

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga -- Four drug personalities were arrested in a buy-bust operation in Barangay MS Garcia, Cabanatuan City, Sunday. 

Reports reaching here identified the arrested suspects as Apolinario Zapata, 29, of Barangay Buliran; Antonio Basa, 40 of Barangay MS Garcia; Riza Peralta, 38, of Barangay Josep Sur; all in Cabanatuan City and Raffy Mangawang, 27, of Barangay Valle, Talavera, Nueva Ecija. 

Another drug suspect, Loida Javier of MS Garcia, was able to elude arrest. 

The suspects were arrested by Cabanatuan City police and Special Drug Enforcement Unit during a buy-bust operation in Barangay MS Garcia. 

Confiscated from them were four sachets of "shabu" or methamphetamine hydrochloride and PHP500 marked money. (PNA)

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3,298 Bulakenyos benefit from US group’s free medical mission

By Manny Balbin  January 26, 2018, 9:04 pm

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- Some 3,298 Bulakenyos benefited from the free medical services of the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) Medical Mission Foundation of Greater St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America held at the Bulacan Capitol Gymnasium in this city from January 22 to 25. 

So far, the PMA has already served a total number of 13,545 beneficiaries in their five years of the medical mission here.

During the four-day mission, the Filipino and American nurses and doctors served  2,671 out-patients, including 362 senior citizens, 1,890 adults, and 419 children.

A total of 197 Bulakenyos availed of the dental services, 160 of the ophthalmology services, 181 had undergone minor operations and 89 went through major operations.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado lauded the efforts of the PMA delegates who literally “crossed the seas just to go back and help their motherland.”

“While we, the provincial government, have earnestly devoted much of our funds and efforts in giving priority to the health and wellness of our people through acquisition of medical equipment; improvement of our hospitals and facilities; and comprehensive training of our medical personnel, we recognize the reality that such efforts need support from individual and organizations such as the Philippines Medical Mission Foundation of Greater St. Louis, Missouri to ensure its fruition,” the governor said.

Dr. Necita Roa,  president of the PMA Medical Mission Foundation of Greater St. Louis, Missouri, said their objective is to give the Bulakenyos medical assistance and free medicines.

“The primary aim of PMA is to help our kababayan, especially the unfortunate one. To give them free medical check-up and medicines,” Roa said.

Meanwhile, Dionita Morales, one of the patients who consulted because of her constant migraine and fatigue, recognized the big help of the free medical mission.

“For a single parent like me, it is hard for us to afford a medical check-up in a private as well as a public hospital. We are very thankful to Gov. Alvarado and especially to the doctors of PMA for this one of a kind project for the Bulakenyos,” she said.  (PNA)

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202 hot lumbers seized, destroyed in Bulacan

By Manny Balbin  January 26, 2018, 9:01 pm

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- The provincial anti-illegal logging task force of Bulacan seized and destroyed 202 assorted pieces of illegally cut lumber and flitches in an operation conducted Thursday inside the Angat Watershed.

Bro. Martin Francisco, chairperson of the Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society Inc.(SSMESI) and a member of the task force, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that the anti-illegal logging operation was conducted in Mount Balikiran which is situated in Barangays Camachile and Kabayunan in Dona Remedios Trinidad town.

Francisco said that a 15-member team of the task force composed of  personnel  from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources –Community Environment and Natural Resources Office in Baliwag, SSMESI Bantay Gubat and Bulacan Environment and Natural Resources  secretly planned the raid after receiving information of the illegal logging operations being conducted in the said area.

He said that some 202 assorted pieces of chain-saw lumber and flitches composed of giho, red and white lawaan trees measuring approximately 4,237 board feet and worth more or less PHP212,815 were found in an abandoned lumberyard in the said place.

“Since the confiscated lumbers were too heavy to bring down to the impounding area of the provincial government of Bulacan, it was decided that it be documented, burned and destroyed,“ Francisco added.

The abandoned lumber and flitches are believed being stockpiled in the said place by illegal loggers who are selectively cutting and sawing the trees into commercial products inside the Angat Watershed.

Meanwhile, members of a mountaineering group also confided to PNA that last January 14, they encountered illegal loggers using horses transporting lumber flitches in Mount Siam Bundoc.

The western half of the mountain belongs to the Ipo Watershed while the eastern half is part of Angat Watershed.

The mountaineers noted that the unhampered illegal logging operations in the area have been observed for the last two decades. (PNA)

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2 'ranking' NPA members killed in Tarlac clash

By Ric Sapnu  January 25, 2018, 5:05 pm

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga -- Two ranking members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed in an encounter with combined police and military teams in San Manuel, Tarlac Wednesday. 

In a report sent here, Senior Superintendent Ritchie Posadas, Tarlac police provincial director, identified the fatalities as Victorio Tesorio alias Ka Dong/Rico/Dado/Merto/Ikoy/Reto and Lolito Raza alias Ka Lanlan.

Posadas said Tesorio was first deputy secretary and company commander of Komiteng Rehiyon-Hilagang Silangan Luzon (KR-HSL) while Raza was company officer of Danilo Ben Command of WestCom, Northern Front, KR-HSL.

He said the raiding team armed with warrant of arrest swooped down the house of a certain Jose Dallente alias Caloy in Barangay San Miguel, San Manuel town where the two rebels were reportedly staying.

The two NPAs were issued warrants of arrest for murder, frustrated murder, rebellion, and attempted murder.

During the operation, the suspects resisted arrest and fired towards the operating teams that prompted the lawmen to retaliate.

After a brief of exchange of firefight, the two rebels were killed, Posadas said.

Recovered from the crime scene were a caliber .45 Llama pistol, a caliber .45 Colt, two hand grenades and several subversive documents.

Police said Dallente, the owner of the house, was arrested for harboring or concealing of criminals. (PNA)

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Kadamay members storm factory in Bulacan

By Manny Balbin  January 24, 2018, 7:23 pm

SANTA MARIA, Bulacan -- Members of the militant group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) stormed an apparel factory in this town as they staged a lightning rally on Tuesday, police said.

Superintendent Raniel Valones, Santa Maria police chief, said the Kadamay members forcefully entered the C and S Apparel Manufacturing Inc. located in Barangay Bagbaguin here as they protested the company’s policy disallowing workers to park their motorcycles inside the factory premises.

Valones identified the leaders of the militant group who staged the rally as Jeselyn Asadon, Kadamay campaign organizer, a resident of Quezon City and Pat Tupaz, a resident of Barangay Mapulang in Pandi, Bulacan.

The police chief said the rally was conducted as “show of force to air demands for the three members of Kadamay who wished to park their motorcycles inside the factory.”

A report said the rallyists initially engaged security personnel of the company in a scuffle until the group was able to overcome them and forcefully entered the compound, and denounced the management’s treatment of Kadamay members working in the factory.

The timely arrival of the Santa Maria police led to a negotiation between Kadamay officials and the management which led to the eventual peaceful dispersal of the protesters.

However, it is not yet clear if the company has filed any formal charges against the Kadamay officials and members who barged inside its compound.

In early March 2017, members of the said group occupied National Housing Authority (NHA) housing units in Pandi, Bulacan that had been left idle in the past years. (PNA)

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Unity to fight new ‘enemies’ cited in 119th Malolos Republic day

By Manny Balbin  January 23, 2018, 7:48 pm

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan –- An official of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday cited the need for unity and cooperation to fight  the new “enemies” which appeared 119 years after the country gained independence from foreign domination.

DILG Assistant Secretary for Human Resource and Special Concern Marjorie Jalosjos, who represented DILG Undersecretary Eduardo Año as the guest speaker during the 119th anniversary of the Malolos Republic held at the historic Barasoain Church here, identified these new “enemies” as criminality, illegal drugs, the deceptive ideology of communism, destructive threat of terrorism and corruption.

Jalosjos said these enemies are the primary reasons for the country’s destruction of the environment, the morality of the society and the future of the next generations.

“Now,  more than ever do we need the bravery, sacrifices, and unity of each and everyone just like what our forefathers did,” she said.

On the other hand, Governor  Wilhelmino Sy Alvarado said that one way of awakening the patriotism and inspiring unity in every Filipino is by looking back to the period when the people’s forefathers were fighting for the freedom of the country.

Meanwhile, Malolos City Mayor Christian D. Natividad said that January 23 had already forgotten by many Filipinos especially the new generations.

“January 23 came and went but many Filipinos seem to have forgotten the importance of that day in Philippine history,” he said.

Natividad, who has become known for his passion in educating people about the importance of Malolos Republic Day, said he wishes the country would celebrate Republic Day with as much pomp and splendor as other countries do.

He added that the events that transpired at Barasoain Church on January 23, 1899, are 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,  in the eyes of the international community.

The city mayor also mentioned that in other countries, Republic Day is an opportunity to showcase a nation’s military strength and cultural diversity.

Representative Jonathan Sy-Alvarado of Bulacan’s 1st District, for his part, emphasized the House Bill 477, a legislative measure which seeks to make January 23 of every year a special Philippine holiday just like June 12 or Philippine Independence Day.

Jaloslos and Alvarado, together with Vice Governor Daniel R. Fernando, National Historical Commission of the Philippines Executive Director Luvicido Badoy, Mayor Natividad, and other local officials led the flag raising ceremony and wreath-laying activity before Gen. Aguinaldo’s monument at the Barasoian Church on Tuesday.

Also present during the event were local officials, employees, senior citizens, students, teachers, non-government organizations, and other sectors in this province.

With this year’s theme “Unang Republikang Filipino, Patnubay sa Pagsulong ng Bansa, the First Philippine Republic, popularly known as the Malolos Republic, was the first republic in Asia.

In 2013, then-President Benigno Aquino III signed Proclamation No. 533, s. 2013, declaring January 23 of every year as “Araw ng Republikang Filipino, 1899.” (PNA)

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Bulacan’s war vs. drugs: 268 suspects killed, 2,909 arrested in 2017

By Manny Balbin  January 20, 2018, 10:47 pm

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- A total of 268 drug suspects were killed and some 2,909 persons were arrested in police anti-drug operations in this province from January 1 to December 31, 2017.

This was reported Friday by Bulacan police director Sr. Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., to the Bulacan Peace and Order Council.

Caramat said that police operatives were also able to confiscate a total of 8,903 sachets of “shabu” weighing 4,567 grams and 263 sachets of dried marijuana leaves weighing 18.375 grams.

He also said that a total of 281 firearms that include 40 high-powered and 247 low-powered guns were seized in the illegal drugs operations in the province.

The anti-drug campaign in Bulacan has made 30,950 house visitations.
Out of the total number of house visitations, the campaign revisited 26,275 houses which led to 5,079 surrenderers.

Of the number of those who surrendered, 4,955 were drug users and 124 were drug pushers, Caramat added.

Meanwhile, nine illegal drug suspects were arrested in different buy-bust operations in this province Friday.

Those arrested were Rogelio Nacional, Renato Jiminez, Alberto Valdez, and Abubacar Macabidar, all residents of Barangay Gumaoc West, City of San Jose Del Monte; Rufino Caganda, of Pandi; Abigail Francisco of Obando; and, Nasib Patumanong, Melody Garcia and Leonard Jaranilla, all of Baliwag.

The arrested suspects and recovered pieces of evidence were brought to Bulacan Crime Laboratory Office for appropriate examination while appropriate criminal complaints against the arrested suspects were now being prepared for filing in court.

Caramat has vowed to continuously implement its intensified campaign against illegal drugs otherwise known as “Project Double Barrel Reloaded”. (PNA)

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DOH to monitor Dengvaxia recipients until 2021

By Manny Balbin  January 19, 2018, 7:51 pm

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- The government will strictly monitor the children administered with free anti-dengue vaccine until year 2021, the Department of Health (DOH) said during the Dengvaxia surveillance and response forum it conducted Thursday at The Pavilion, Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center in this city.

The forum aimed to provide awareness to the thousands of Bulakenyos given the anti-dengue vaccine on what to do in case of occurrence of possible side effects.

Dengvaxia recipients in Bulacan, together with health officials, were advised to report any suspected complications of the vaccine to the province’s Dengvaxia hotline ‎(0998-324-2261) or to DOH regional hotline in Central Luzon ‎(0921-368-8541).

Dr. Cindy Canlas, communicable disease cluster head of DOH in Central Luzon, said the free-anti-dengue vaccines were given to around 205,000 schoolchildren in Region 3 who are currently being monitored for possible side effects.

Free dengue rapid diagnostic test kits were initially given to public hospitals, where free treatment would also be provided to those who are positive of the mosquito-borne disease.

Aside from the public hospitals in Bulacan, Canlas said 13 private hospitals have also agreed to participate in providing tests for dengue vaccine recipients and part of the agreement is to provide the DOH with its reports on the tests conducted.

Canlas, however, could not confirm if private hospitals that have been included in the provision of tests on Dengvaxia recipients are allowed to charge testing fees.

She said there are three confirmed deaths among Dengvaxia recipients in Central Luzon as of January 8, one of whom suffered bronchial asthma; another had septic shock; and the other, due to infection.

Canlas clarified that it was still not established whether the deaths were related to the Dengvaxia vaccine.

The free anti-dengue vaccination program of the DOH was launched in April 2016. In Bulacan. The targeted recipients were 63,985 children aged at least nine years old enrolled in Grade IV.

A total of 52,882 beneficiaries received the immunization in the first round of vaccination. Some 45,654 received the second dose and the last round in April 2017. A total of 41,019 beneficiaries completed the recommended dose of the dengue vaccine.

Meanwhile, Governor Wilhelmino Sy Alvarado said no recipient of Dengvaxia in Bulacan has been reported to have suffered complications from the vaccine.

 “We are not waiting for a case to surface. Thus, we need to strictly monitor them,” he said. (PNA)

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PRO3 orders relief of 6 Nueva Ecija cops involved in extortion

By Zorayda Tecson  January 17, 2018, 6:54 pm

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga — The Police Regional Office 3 (PRO 3) has ordered the immediate relief of six members of the Carranglan Municipal Police Station in Nueva Ecija for their alleged involvement in extortion activities.

Police Chief Supt. Amador V. Corpus on Wednesday identified the six police personnel as SPO1 Antonio Otic, PO3 Danilo Sotelo, PO3 Oliver Antonio, PO3 Ronald Buncad, PO2 Rodrigo Edralin and PO2 Romeo Nuñez.

They were arrested in an entrapment operation on Tuesday at the police checkpoint conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) Counter-Intelligence Task Force in Barangay Digdig, Carranglan town after reports reached the Office of PNP Chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa on their alleged involvement in extortion activities.

Two civilians who acted as collectors were also arrested. They were identified as Ramon Cabilangan and Darwin Lagisma.

Confiscated from their possessions were proceed money in different denominations.

"We did not fall short in our warnings and memorandum directives reminding all PNP personnel to never engage in illegal activities. We do not condone such illegal activities and may this serve as a warning to all police personnel who are involved and will be involved in unscrupulous activities. We will not hesitate to file charges against you as our Chief PNP General Dela Rosa’s stern directive to weed out all erring and rogue cops shall be strictly adhered,” Corpus said.

He vowed to weed out hoodlums and punish the undisciplined among the police ranks through the strict application of the punitive sanctions for violations of PNP rules and regulations, and intensified counter-intelligence efforts. (PNA)

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16 wanted persons arrested in Central Luzon

By Ric Sapnu  January 17, 2018, 12:44 pm

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga  -- At least 16 wanted persons were arrested Monday in separate manhunt operations conducted by the police in Central Luzon.

Chief Superintendent Amador Corpus, Police Regional Office-3 (PRO3) director, on Tuesday said the manhunt operations were conducted in Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga and Zambales.

Those arrested were identified as Angelisa Mercado of Mariveles town and Dennis Ignacio of Orani, both of Bataan; Arthur dela Cruz of Pulilan town;  Riza Cruz of Balagtas; Efren Legaspi of Meycauyan, Jasmine Pascual of San Rafael, Marlon Magro of Marilao, all in Bulacan;

In Nueva Ecija, Verden Apostol of Pantabangan, Mary Ann Pradas Crillo of Llanera, and Roderick Barrilos of San Leonardo; 

In Pampanga, Jessie Dizon of Mabalacat City, Marlon Pangan of San Simon and Russel Gigante of Floridablanca; Allan Lapira of Tarlac City; Realizo Factor of Masinloc, Zambales and Leo Anthony of Olongapo City.  

Corpus said the arresting police teams were armed with warrants of arrest when they apprehended the wanted persons, whose cases ranged from theft, estafa, illegal drugs and robbery. (PNA)

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Alert Level 3 raised as 141 rockfalls recorded in Mayon

By Connie Calipay

LEGAZPI CITY -- The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised Mayon Volcano’s alert status to Alert Level 3 Sunday evening, as 141 rockfalls have been recorded in the past 24 hours.

Phivolcs resident volcanologist Ed Laguerta said this means that magma is at the crater and that hazardous eruption is possible within weeks or days.

“The six-km radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) around the volcano and the 7-km Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) on the southeastern flank enforced due to the danger of rock falls, landslides and the 3 km lava flows," he said.

Laguerta said the agency seismic network recorded two volcanic earthquakes and 141 rockfall events during the past 24 hours. Degassing at the active vents could not be observed due to thick clouds covering the summit.

He added that crater glow was visible early Monday morning, although rain clouds prevented visual observation of the crater during the day.

Mayon’s summit crater is now exhibiting bright crater glow that signifies the growth of a new lava dome and beginnings of lava flow towards the southern slopes.

"Based on records, Precise leveling data obtained on November 7 to 11, 2017 indicated slight inflation of the edifice relative to September 2017. This is also exhibited in increased rates in the inflationary trends recorded by continuous GPS and tilt since October and November 2017, respectively. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission was measured at an average of 856 tonnes/day on 03 December 2017," Laguerta said.

Alert Level 3 remains in effect over Mayon Volcano, which means that it is currently in a relatively high level of unrest.

Albay Public Safety Emergency Management Office (APSEMO) head Cedric Daep said, the public is strongly advised to be vigilant and desist from entering the six (6) kilometer-radius Permanent Danger Zone (PDZ) and the 7-km Extended Danger Zone (EDZ) on the southern flanks, due to the danger of rockfalls, landslides and sudden explosions or dome collapse that may generate hazardous volcanic flows.

Increased vigilance against pyroclastic density currents, lahars and sediment-laden streamflows along channels draining the edifice is also advised.

The PDRRMC, Albay Provincial Safety and Emergency Management Office, and the mayors of the affected cities and municipalities will have an emergency meeting at 1:00 p.m. Monday. (PNA)

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Bulacan pyro board asks Duterte not to totally ban firecrackers

By Manny Balbin  January 13, 2018, 6:09 pm

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- The Pyrotechnic Regulatory Board (PRB) of Bulacan has expressed decision to appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider his plan to completely ban firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices.

This developed after the President Said he will push for Congress to enact a law prohibiting all firecrackers and pyrotechnics.

The PRB is composed of representatives from concerned government line agencies such as the Philippine National Police, Departments of Trade and Industry, of Science and Technology, of Labor and Employment, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Bureau of Fire Protection and two committee chairpersons of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Bulacan with the governor as the chairman and the chairman emeritus of Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association Inc. (PPMDAI) as vice chairman.

Celso Cruz, chairman emeritus of PPMDAI, said Vice Governor Daniel Fernando approached their association and told then not to panic and concentrate first on the training-seminar on safe manufacturing and regulation for pyrotechnics manufacturers in the country that the Department of Science and Technology has sponsored for the week.

The recent five-day training-seminar, was aimed at upgrading pyrotechnicians’ knowledge and capabilities on the new technologies, safety manufacturing, regulation, and awareness of international standards.

Fernando told the fireworks stakeholders to learn first from pwhat the seminar has to offer.

The vice governor then assured the stakeholders that there is still time to have their voices and concerns heard since there will still be a deliberation in Congress then a public hearing that requires a long process.

On the other hand, Ma. Lourdes Posadas, a member of the board and chairperson of the Committee on Tourism, Culture and the Arts of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Bulacan, said that the board will make the appeal “for sure.”

She said the fireworks industry in the province is one of the major sources of livelihood for the Bulakenyos and banning it would affect a lot of marginalized families who depend on the industry for their source of income.

She said that the pyrotechnic industry should instead be regulated and not banned or prohibited and it is not the cause of injuries, but the abuse and misuse of the products.

Guiguinto Mayor Ambrocio “Boy” Cruz, president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines-Bulacan chapter, said through text message that “definitely we cannot agree to a total prohibition as we will be banning an industry where Bulacan is the prime mover.”

“This will go against the tradition of merrymaking during New Year, fiestas and special occasions where fireworks are traditionally being used," he said.

Cruz added the “strict monitoring and compliance with established rules and regulations are the answer and not a total ban.”

He also raised speculations that “other may operate illegally which may result in further damage to persons and properties.”

Representatives Jonathan Alvarado from the First District and Lorna Silverio from the Third District of Bulacan shared their thoughts on the issue.

Bulacan 1st District Rep. Jonathan Alvarado said that a fireworks safety bill was already submitted to Congress and that he will continue the call to have a safer fireworks products while law enforcers should supervise the use of firecrackers. (PNA)

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6 suspects in Clark airport luggage pilferage suspended

By Marna Dagumboy Del Rosario  January 11, 2018, 11:53 pm

CLARK, Pampanga -- Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) president Alexander Cauguiran on Thursday tagged six Miascor Aviation Services employees as responsible for the pilferage of the luggage of an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) from Bulacan.
Cauguiran, however, did not divulge the names of the six suspects pending investigation of the Clark Airport police.
The six suspects have been placed  under preventive suspension following the Facebook post of Jovenil Dela Cruz of Pandi, Bulacan regarding his pilfered luggage.
According to Cauguiran, Miascor is the ground handler under contract with airlines that service flights in Clark and handle baggage of passengers. 
"I will also recommend to Miascor the termination from employment of these suspects," he said in a statement, adding that measures are being undertaken with airlines and ground handlers to ensure that the incident will not happen again. 
Miascor has compensated the passenger for the lost items in the luggage amounting to PHP84,000. 
Last December 23, 2017, Dela Cruz arrived at Clark International Airport (CRK) via Jet Star Flight No. 3K 779 from Singapore-Clark and reported to the Philippine Airport and Ground Services Terminal Inc. (PAGS) that his three luggages and one big “balikbayan” box will arrive on December 24. 
PAGS luggage agent Jobel Fernando told Dela Cruz that they will immediately notify him upon the arrival of the luggage. However, there was no notification sent after two weeks. 
On Wednesday, Dela Cruz decided to go to Clark Airport to ask about the luggage that was found out to have been delivered last December 24.
Upon claiming, he discovered that his luggage was damaged and several items placed in the box were missing. (PNA)

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Pampanga's quarry collection hits P375-M in 2017

By Froilan Magtoto  January 10, 2018, 7:14 pm

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga -- The Pampanga Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PPENRO) has reported increased quarry operations revenues for 2017.

PPENRO head Art Punzalan said Wednesday his office recorded PHP375 million in collected quarrying fees last year. In 2016, the province earned PHP370 million from quarrying operations.

The total quarry revenues since Governor Lilia Pineda assumed post as Pampanga's chief executive in July 2010 has now reached PHP2. 35 billion.

Pineda said the earnings from the quarrying operations go back to the people in terms of services such as in health and education.

The provincial government also supports the police by donating patrol vehicles needed in fighting criminality, the governor added.

In 2010, quarry revenue collection was PHP119.38 million. In 2011, the collection siginificantly increased to PHP238.38 million; for 2012, it was PHP292 million; for 2013, PHP283 million; 2014, PHP343 million; 2015, PHP331 million; and 2016, PHP370 million. (PNA)

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Central Luzon crimes down 24% in Q4 of 2017

By Zorayda Tecson  January 8, 2018, 8:28 pm

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga -- The crime volume in Central Luzon went down by almost 24 percent in the last quarter of 2017 as a result of the intensified implementation of anti-criminality measures in the region. 

Based on the latest data from the Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division (RIDMD), there was a total of 13,707 crime incidents recorded from September to December last year, which is 4,322 cases or 23.97% lower compared to the 18,029 recorded in the same period of 2016. 

Police Regional Office-3 Director, Chief Supt. Amador V. Corpus, on Monday said the significant decrease in crimes can be attributed to the leveling up of their anti-criminality measures particularly on their campaign against motorcycle-riding suspects and wanted persons.

"We are doubling our efforts to work round-the-clock in order to guarantee the public of a safe and sound sleep keeping our eyes always open against lawless elements and their activities," Corpus said. 

He vowed to keep on tracking down violators of the law especially the motorcycle-riding suspects.

"We are also back on track in our campaign against illegal drugs, expect series of anti-drug operations in the coming days. Time and again, I always say that crime prevention is a 24-hour task and is a serious business to be handled by us in the Philippine National Police," he said. 

Corpus asked the support of the public to help them by actively participating in their anti-criminality campaigns through immediate reporting of crimes and information of any illegal activities. (PNA)

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21 arrested in Central Luzon anti-illegal drug ops

By Froilan Magtoto  January 8, 2018, 6:12 pm

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga -- Twenty-one drug personalities were arrested and numerous illegal drugs were confiscated during the series of anti-illegal drugs operations in Central Luzon conducted by the police authorities over the weekend.

Police Regional Office 3 director Chief Supt. Amador V. Corpus on Monday said the region-wide operations on Saturday and Sunday resulted in the arrests of seven drug suspects in Tarlac; four in Pampanga; three in Zambales; three in Bataan; two in Bulacan; one in Nueva Ecija and one in Olongapo City.

Those arrested in Tarlac were identified as Rodney Carino and Michael Sangalang, both from Capas; Rolly Paulino, Virgilio Tabamo and a 16-year-old from Tarlac City; Jeffrey Salazar of Gerona; and, Joselito Padilia of La Paz.

In Pampanga, the four arrested drug suspects were Michael Palo of City of San Fernando; Ronald Reyes and Marco Nicolas of Porac; and Dennis Nucum of Mexico.

In Zambales, the three drug suspects arrested were Christian Abenoja of San Antonio; Aleli Linayao and Angelita Cometa of Iba.

Nabbed in Bataan were Jimmy Ronquillo of Dinalupihan; Richard Mina of Abucay; and Vic Macapinlac of Balanga City.

Also arrested were Ramil Flores of City of Meycauayan and Reynaldo Cacnio of Bocaue, both in Bulacan; Osmena Moises of Olongapo City; and Jolly Bernardo of Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija. (PNA)

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Bulgarian charged over ATM skimming

By Froilan Magtoto  January 5, 2018, 8:17 pm

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga -- A 37-year-old Bulgarian national was arrested here Thursday night for ATM skimming, and charged on Friday with violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

Senior Supt. Joel Consulta, Pampanga police provincial director, identified the suspect as Ivaylo Sashov Galabov, presently residing at DM Residente, Balibago, Angeles City.

Consulta said Galabov was caught while in the act of withdrawing money at a bank in Barangay San Agustin here.

Recovered from the foreign national were 100 fake or cloned ATM cards, one black wallet containing PHP2,100; one Honda Scoopy motorcycle; a Bulgarian driver’s license in his name; one HP laptop; one ATM card copier device; one ATM clone pad cover for camera installation; and USD1,020 in cash.

A criminal case for violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 has been filed before the City Prosecutor’s Office.

Consulta said they are looking into Galabov's possible connections with international syndicates. He theorized that the suspect’s skimming activity is related to that of three Europeans arrested on July 24, 2017 at the same bank.

They had the same modus operandi and type of equipment, Consulta said, adding that Galabov’s case carries no bail. (PNA)

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12 Cebu cops relieved

By Luel Galarpe  January 4, 2018, 6:33 pm

CEBU CITY -- Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) Director Edgar Alan Okubo on Thursday ordered the relief of 12 Talisay City policemen who had gone on leave with no permission.

Okubo and some CPPO officers conducted a surprise inspection at the Talisay City Police Station on Dec. 30 and found the 12 law enforcers missing from duty.

The CPPO chief ordered the 12 to report back to the Talisay Police Station that very same day, which the policemen failed to obey, said CPPO deputy director for administration Supt. Jaime Quiocho Jr.

These 12 police officers were supposed to report for work last Dec. 30 until the New Year, but extended their Christmas vacation instead without informing their superiors, said Quiocho.

They have been assigned at the CPPO Holding and Accounting Unit and will undergo reorientation pending the result of the investigation.

Quiocho said Okubo and his staff made random inspections of police stations in the province to ensure public security and safety during the holiday season. (With reports from Michelle Bugtai/PNA)

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