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APRIL 2017

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Police, PACs set up in Bulacan grotto shrine

CITY OF SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, Bulacan, April 11 (PNA) --Police and public assistance centers are now being set up within the vicinity of the Our Lady of the Lourdes Grotto Shrine in this mountain city in anticipation of the big influx of devotees and tourists who will troop to this Lenten and scenic spot this Holy Week.

Supt. Fitz Macariola, city police chief, said that radio groups and other volunteer organizations have also set up assistance centers in key areas of the city, which is one of the favorite destinations of Catholic devotees during Holy Week.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado has also instructed the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office headed by Liz Mungcal to be on full alert this Lenten season and during the summer vacation.

“Aside from the many Lenten traditions, the province is also a favorite destination during summer vacation, “ Alvarado said.

Meanwhile, the business sector has joined the police and local government units in providing assistance to the thousands of Catholic devotees and pilgrims.

Mary Joy L. Ballego, public relations officer of SM City San Jose Del Monte Bulacan, said that SM Supermalls nationwide are usually close for two days for the observance of Maundy Thursday (April 13) and Good Friday (April 14), but SM City San Jose del Monte will be opening its supermarket and carpark to serve the devotees of the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Ballego said that the peak time of arrival of devotees at the Grotto shrine usually starts in the late afternoon of Holy Thursday.

“The Sta. Maria-Tungko Road is closed for vehicles going to the grotto, and since there is a traffic rerouting scheme and road restrictions, the mall carpark can serve as a refuge for parking from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. as well as its supermarket,” she said.

Regular mall schedule is set from Palm Sunday (April 9) to Holy Wednesday (April 12), Black Saturday (April 15) and Easter Sunday (April 16), she added. (PNA) 
EGGamos

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'Rent-tangay' mastermind files counter-affidavit on second batch of raps at DOJ

MANILA, April 10 (PNA) -- The alleged mastermind in ‘rent-tangay’ modus operandi on Monday submitted a counter affidavit during the continuation of preliminary investigation before the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Rafaela Montes Anunciacion appeared before the DOJ and submitted her counter affidavits responding to the testimonies of the 18 complainants, the second batch referred by the Philippine National Police - Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) on the charges for swindling and syndicated estafa under Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code and Presidential Decree 1689.

There are a total of 47 complainants, 29 of which belong to the first batch.

In her counter-affidavit, Anunciacion said that her rent-car business is legitimate and not a scam as tagged by authorities, citing "so many satisfied customers or clients to boot and nobody to rock the boat so to speak."

She sought the dismissal of the charges for swindling and syndicated estafa under Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code and Presidential Decree 1689.

Anunciacion argued that the complaints are "bereft of any allegation of fraud or deceit which are the essential elements of that offense (estafa)" as she blamed "rumors" fed by her erring agents to their clients as the cause of the charges.

Anunciacion explained that the problems in her business only started last February "when some rouge agents through whom I entrusted payments earmarked for my clients, the car owners, feloniously pocketed the money in the millions and thus failed to reach the intended recipients."

The investigating DOJ panel chaired by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rosanne Balauag set the next hearing on April 17, Monday for filing of answers of the other respondents namely Tychicus Nambia, Sabina Torrea, Eliseo Cortez, Eleanor Constatino, Marilou Cruz, Jhennelyn Berroya, Ana Borlon and Lea Rosales.

The other members of the panel are SASP Rex Gingoyon; Reyes, Rodan Parrocha, Bryan Jacinto Cacha Jr., Anna Noreen Devanadera, Jovyanne Escaño-Santamaria and Assistant Prosecution Attorneys Wendell Bendoval, Joan Garcia and Marc Eico Tariga.

Last March 29, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) also filed charges of syndicated estafa, large scale syndicated estafa and carnapping against Anunciacion, Cauyan, Cortez, Torrea and Spouses Bienvenido Cruz and Marilou Vera Cruz.

In its complaint affidavit, NBI stated that Anunciacion led the group to the scheme to defraud the car owners by getting money from them.

This is the second case filed against the respondents after the PNP-HPG filed the case from the complaints and several sets of victims of the scam from Bulacan, Laguna, Angeles City, Batangas and Nueva Ecija.

Balauag earlier said that they will be consolidated the complaint together with PNP.

Under the “rent-tangay” scheme, authorities said the suspects would convince car owners to become business associates in a rent-a-car service and have their cars rented for a hefty profit.

At first, the car owners will get paid but, unknowingly, in the end their vehicles will be pawned to other people and the suspects will disappear, making the victims unable to get their rented vehicles back. (PNA) 
CLTC

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Ombudsman orders dismissal of 2 Bulacan execs for grave misconduct

MANILA, April 7 (PNA) -- The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the dismissal from the service of two executives from the Bulacan Environment and Natural Resources Office (BENRO) for grave misconduct in connection with mining activities in the province.

In a ruling approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, Provincial Department Head Rustico De Belen and Antonio Cacdac, from the Natural Resources Management Division of the BENRO, were ordered dismissed from the service.

They were also meted the accessory penalties of perpetual disqualification from holding public office, cancellation of eligibility and forfeiture of retirement benefits.

In case of separation from the service, the penalty is convertible to a fine equivalent to the respondents’ one year salary.

The Ombudsman found that in 2011, the respondents issued six Ore Transport Permits (OTP) and a Mineral Ore Export Permit (MOEP) in favor of a certain Lucila Valdez and Eduardo Mercado.

Under the law, in order to be qualified to be an OTP grantee, an applicant must have a valid and existing Small Scale Mining Permit (SSMP) issued by the Provincial Governor upon the recommendation of the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB).

Records of the case show that in 2008, the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) cancelled the SSMPs granted to Valdez and Mercado.

It was also established that in 2012, the Regional Director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) issued two letters requesting the provincial Governor of Bulacan, through De Belen, to refrain from further issuing OTPs using cancelled/voided SSMPs.

The MGB also enjoined the mining operators to cease and desist from conducting mining or ore recovery operations without valid mining permits.

The Ombudsman said that "a reading of Provincial Ordinance No. C-005 clearly shows that respondent De Belen does not have the sole authority to grant and approve OTPs and MOEPs, and that the PMRB of the Province of Bulacan never authorized him, as head of the BENRO, to issue OTPs for all llic minerals extracts from small-scale mining areas."

"De Belen's issuance of the OTPs and MOEPs, based on the favorable recommendation of Cacdac, is characterized by stubbornness and open defiance of the DENR decision which clearly show respondents' propensity to willfully violate the law," Ombudsman Morales said.

She added that "this Office finds respondents' reasoning—that they issued the OTPs and MOEPs to give private respondents Valdez and Mercado an opportunity to recover their expenses -- shallow and flimsy since the subject SSMPs in the first place, were declared void for being issued in violation of various mining laws and that the minerals extracted are not considered among the authorized quarry resources."

The Ombudsman ruling added that "respondents unjustifiably turned a blind eye and repeatedly issued OTPs and MOEPs in favor of Valdez and Mercado" and that respondents "failed to observe the proper procedure in issuing the OTPs and MOEPs when they did not secure the approval of the PRMB." (PNA) 
/PTR

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Bulacan cops neutralize 2 armed dope dealers

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 7 (PNA) -- It’s the end of the road for two drug dealers who tried to shoot it out with anti-narcotics operatives of the Malolos City police station.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr. said that two notorious drug dealers were killed during an armed encounter in Barangay Mabolo, this city on Friday morning.

He said that the Malolos City police headed by Supt. Heryl Bruno identified the slain suspects as one alias “Enteng” and one alias “Noli." Other data are still being verified.

Caramat said that after consummating a dope deal with the suspects, the poseur buyer introduced himself as a policeman but instead of submitting themselves into police custody, the duo drew handguns and shot the undercover operative but luckily missed.

This prompted the the operating team to retaliate, resulting in the instantaneous death of the suspects.

Police recovered two caliber .38 revolvers and several sachets of "shabu" from the suspects. (PNA)
EGGamos

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KADAMAY members urged to live peaceful lives after housing award

MANILA, April 6 (PNA) --- Live peaceful and productive lives.

This was the advise of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla when sought for a comment on the alleged leftists links of KADAMAY whose members were earlier given housing units intended for police and military personnel in Pandi, Bulacan.

The group forcibly occupied these housing units last March.

The awarding was ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte in order to prevent trouble and bloodshed.

"A lot of people are saying that they (KADAMAY) are members of the left or front organizations (of the rebels). We don't care as they are still Filipinos and in need of decent housing," Padilla said in Filipino Wednesday.

And with the group getting decent housing from the government, the AFP spokesperson hopes that they will live peaceful and productive lives in their new homes and gradually reintegrate themselves in mainstream society.

The housing project named the Pandi-Bulacan Villa Lois, which was taken over by KADAMAY members, has around 675 units allocated to members of the military and police. (PNA) 
PFN

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3 more drug suspects fall in Bulacan sting

CITY OF SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, Bulacan, April 5 (PNA) --Police continue to pounce hard against dope offenders in this city.

Three more drug suspects were arrested in a buy-bust operation conducted on Wednesday by San Jose del Monte (SJDM) Police in Towerville Subd, Barangay Minuyan Proper here.

Supt. Fitz Macariola, city police chief, identified the arrested suspects as Erwin Aquino, 41, native of Manila and resident of Block 9, Lot 8 Phase 4B, Towerville Subd., Barangay Minuyan Proper; Ezraline Villanueva, 28, native of Aurora and resident of Block 9, Lot 8 Phase 4B, Towerville Subd., Barangay Minuyan Proper, and Zaldy Fontarumm, 25, native of Malabon; a resident of Block 4, Lot 34 Phase 4B, Towerville Subd., Barangay Minuyan Proper, all in this city.

Macariola said that upon verification, the suspects were positively found involved in selling illegal drugs when elements of Intelligence and City Drug Enforcement Group of SJDM CPS conducted a buy-bust operation against them.

Recovered were 18 pieces transparent plastic sachet containing suspected “shabu” with estimated weight of 15 grams and assessment street value of PHP24,000; PHP500 buy-bust money; and assorted illegal drug paraphernalias.

The arrested suspects and recovered pieces of evidence were brought to Bulacan Crime Laboratory for laboratory examinations.

Appropriate criminal complaints against the suspects are now being prepared before the City Prosecutor's Office of San Jose del Monte. (PNA) 
EGGamos      

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1 killed, 4 nabbed in series of anti-drug stings in Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 3 (PNA) -- A suspected drug pusher was killed while the alleged “shabu queen” of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan and three other dope offenders were arrested in a series of stepped-up police operations in different parts of the province over the weekend.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., on Monday identified the slain suspected drug dealer as Pilegio Legaspi alias “Weng Weng”, 51, a resident of Barangay Bambang, Bocaue.

Caramat said that anti-drug operatives of the Bocaue police were able to transact a dope deal with the suspect in Barangay Tambubong also in Bocaue town.

During the transaction, however, Caramat said the suspect sensed that he was being entrapped, prompting him to draw a handgun and open fire at the undercover policemen who posed as a buyer.

The police team neutralized the suspect by returning fire, causing his death.

A SOCO team from the Bulacan PNP Crime Laboratory recovered 25 pieces of small heat sealed transparent plastic sachets containing suspected “shabu” with an estimated weight of 10 grams and a street value of PHP35,000; one cal. 38 revolver without serial number loaded with six live ammunition and three fired shell of Cal. 9mm pistol; one piece slug, and one piece of PHP500 bill used as buy bust money.

In the City of San Jose del Monte, operatives of the City Drug Enforcement Group (CDEG) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) netted the alleged “shabu queen” in the area and one of her alleged clients while two more drug dealers were nabbed in a series of anti-narcotics operations.

Supt. Fitz Macariola, city police chief, identified the arrested female pusher as Winnie Rodero and her alleged client as Mario Berwega.

Macariola said that intelligence operatives of CDEG conducted buy bust operation in Barangay Sto. Cristo against the suspect, who is included in the target list of PDEA.

Her alleged client was subsequently arrested after scoring a sachet of shabu while the buy-bust operation is being done, he added.

Rodero is known as a “street pusher” and one of the primary sources of shabu in San Jose del Monte, police said.

Two more suspected drug dealers were arrested by the CDEG during a buy bust operation in Barangay Gaya-gaya, also in San Jose del Monte City.

Macariola identified the arrested suspects as Peter Arenas and Jovy Rodriguez, both residents of the said village.

Six pieces of plastic sachets containing shabu, the buy bust money and assorted paraphernalia were seized from the suspects.

Charges of violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act will be filed against the suspects. (PNA) 
EGGamos

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Clamor grows for poet Balagtas' hero status - By Catherine J. Teves

MANILA, April 1 (PNA) -- An expert joined calls for renowned Filipino poet Francisco Baltazar's formal recognition as Philippine hero.

Writer and educator Michael Coroza believes such accolade is due, noting Baltazar harnessed the pen's might to advocate love of country and fellowmen.

"He inspired even our heroes," Coroza said.

'Francisco Balagtas' was the pen name Baltazar chose for his work.

The country will celebrate Sunday the annual Araw ni Balagtas to mark Baltazar's 229th birth anniversary.

Baltazar's defining work was 'Florante at Laura' which experts consider as one of the country's literary gems.

They noted Dr. Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Apolinario Mabini and other Philippine heroes recognized 'Florante at Laura' as being work of the highest caliber.

The late Filipino writer Lope K. Santos also saw the spirit of nationalism in 'Florante at Laura' and believed this to be already enough for Baltazar to gain hero status.

"He started the campaign to make Baltazar a hero," noted Coroza.

Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino is likewise seeking hero status for Baltazar, citing his advocacy for love of country and writing prowess that helped enrich Philippine literature.

Available data show Baltazar was born on April 2, 1788 in Bulacan province's Bigaa municipality, the youngest among four children of Juan Balagtas and Juana de la Cruz.

Baltazar attended school and eventually learned to write poetry under the guidance of Tondo's famous poet Jose de la Cruz whose pen name was 'Huseng Sisiw.'

Philippine literary pieces then were mostly written in Spanish but this didn't dissuade Baltazar from writing his poems in Tagalog, a local language.

Rivalry for the love of Maria Asuncion Rivera ended with Baltazar's imprisonment as his competitor used influence and money to make this happen, available data show.

It was during such imprisonment that Baltazar wrote 'Florante at Laura,' a poem about love between fictional characters Duke Florante and Princess Laura.

According to some observers, 'Florante at Laura' likely mirrors events in Baltazar's own life.

Santos saw 'Florante at Laura' as being much more than a love story, however.

In 1955, Santos cited four rebellions which he perceived from 'Florante at Laura.'

He said those are rebellions against oppressive government, false beliefs and wrong practices which undermine people's unity and distort their mores and customs.

Also hidden in the poetry of 'Florante at Laura' was rebellion against proliferation of low-quality literature, he said.

Santos considered such rebellions as unmistakable acts of nationalism, available information further show.

"Baltazar's 'Florante at Laura' taught us to be good people," Coroza observed.

In modern-day Philippines, Baltazar remains a popular literary figure.

Authorities renamed his birthplace as Balagtas.

His 'Florante at Laura' continues being discussed in schools and performed onstage.

Local extemporaneous debates are still called 'balagtasan' after his pen name.

Coroza said 'balagtasan' commenced in 1924.

KWF is marking Baltazar's birth anniversary this year by spearheading until Sunday the three-day 2017 Pambansang Kampong Balagtas student-writers' camp in Bataan province's Orion municipality.

Orion is reportedly the modern name of Udyong municipality where authorities said Baltazar died on Feb. 20, 1862. (PNA)

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Bulacan Provincial Jail opens sportsfest

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 31 (PNA) -- For 20 straight days, inmates at the Bulacan Provincial Jail (BPJ) were given the chance to “escape” loneliness and something to cheer about—their own basketball, volleyball and chess tournaments-- as the “BPJ Sportsfest 2017” kicked-off on Friday inside the province’s penitentiary.

Retired Police Col. Fernando Villanueva, jail warden, said that the annual sportsfest has become a much- awaited event among the inmates because through this activity, they are not only being given the opportunity to exercise the athletic skills but also to foster camaraderie, teamwork and sportsmanship.

“This is also one way of giving the inmates some time to escape boredom and depression,” Villanueva said.

Some 30 teams from different cells will compete in basketball (men), volleyball (women) and chess.

During the opening rites on Friday morning, three cheering squads also competed.

Villanueva said the champion cheering squad will take home PHP10,000, PHP5,000 for 1st runner up and PHP2,000 for 2nd runner-up.

The provincial jail warden also thanked those who supported the annual summer sportsfest, saying that it is boosting the morale and spirits of the inmates, who now have the chance to show their mettle in sports. (PNA) 
EGGamos

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Blown up tire kills 11, critically injures four, in Zambales road mishap - By Ruben A. Veloria

BOTOLAN, Zambales, March 30 (PNA)-- Eleven persons were killed and four more were critically injured after a delivery van collided with a multi-cab Thursday afternoon, triggered by blown up tire along national highway here.

Police said the multi-cab was assigned as service vehicle of Sitio Ulpoy in Barangay Amungan, Iba, Zambales carrying 13 passengers while the delivery van belongs to Goldilocks.

According to sketchy report from Botolan police chief Chief Insp. Generico Binan, the delivery truck (XMD 934) was seen traveling fast at around 2:45 p.m. along national highway in Barangay Carael, Botolan towards south direction when one of the truck’s tires exploded a few meters from the Bucao Bridge.

The incident caused the truck to swerve to the left and collided head-on against the north-bound multi-cab, which had just crossed the Bucao Bridge, killing seven of the passengers on the spot, including the cab driver.

Died on the spot were Romulo Mantes, May Villanueva, Josephine Dorde, Marites Dela Cruz, Evangeline Capistrano, Linda Ruanto, Kenneth Ivan Capistrano, all of Amungan, Iba.

Zambales provincial administrator Atty. Izzele Iamly Deloso who led the Emergency Response Team, rushed the injured victims at the Iba District Hospital.

However, attending physicians declared three more victims as dead on arrival, namely Rose Candule, 50; Daniel Jay Dorde, 2, and Angelo dela Cruz, 1, all of Sitio Ulpoy.

One Ardin Villanueva, 6, also among the passengers, died hours later at the hospital.

Those still under observations are Manilyn Parilla, 27; Francis Matthew Parilla, 5, both of Amungan, Iba; and Dario Cruz Torres, 36, of Calumpit, Bulacan, and Jefferson Vray, 29, a resident of Macabebe, Pampanga.

Police learned that the passengers of the cab were returning home from watching a program in Ramon Magsaysay Technological University, Botolan Campus, which is just a few meters from across the Bucao Bridge.

Meanwhile, Governor Amor Deloso directed Izzele to extend all available assistance, including hospital and burial expenses of the victims.(PNA)

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4,300 dope reformists attend Bulacan’s anti-drug symposium

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 29 (PNA) --"Come back from hell and live your life well!”

This, in a nutshell, is the collective message of provincial officials headed by Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando , police officers and evangelists to some 4,300 drug surrenderers who participated in the “ Symposium on Illegal Drugs” held at the Bulacan Capitol Gymnasium here on Wednesday.

Alvarado said the event is in support to the no-nonsense,   all-out-war of President Rodrigo Duterte to rid the country of the evils of the dope menace and as a birthday gift of the Bulakenyos to the Chief Executive.

“It is indeed dangerous and those who are victims of illegal drugs are being pulled into hell. But your public servants will not surrender nor watch you being hooked into drugs. Life is important and while still alive, there is hope. Thus, let us help our President to get rid of the drug menace," Alvarado said.

He told the dope reformists who have gone rehabilitation treatment at the 26 “Bahay Pag-asa” reform centers in the province's 21 towns and cities and at the provincial police headquarters at Camp. Gen. Alejo Santos here, that the province of Bulacan is now experiencing an economic boom and the province will need more human resources to propel it to more growth and development.

"Your family needs you. Our nation needs you. Thus, do avoid, fight and help get rid the illegal drugs," the governor added.

Vice Gov. Fernando, for his part, said “taking illegal drugs is not the solution to problems, it will only worsen and create more problems.”

“There are many things to get that high. The world is so beautiful and it is so nice to look at it. But why the problem on illegal drugs exploded like a bomb and get worse? That is why when President Duterte started the fight against illegal drugs, we wholeheartedly gave our full support to get rid of this problem," Fernando said.

Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat  Jr., said since July 1, 2016, at least 37, 365  have surrendered in their “Oplan” Tokhang or the knock and plead campaign of the national police. 

He said 36,357 of them were users while 1,012 were pushers or about 1.13 percent of the three million population of Bulacan.

He said more than 400 of those who underwent reform programs have graduated and now have been doing well with jobs.

"It is not yet too late. Our provincial officials love you. That is why you are being given new opportunities so that you could help in the growth and development of Bulacan," Caramat said.

Pastor Cesar Sacdalan, provincial chairman of the Alliance for Values Formation, said no matter how sincere the desire of drug offenders to reform, it will not materialize without putting the love of God into their hearts.

"Always remember that the desire of the devil will not prevail if God is in your heart, Sacdalan added. (PNA) 
Emil G. Gamos

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NBI files another complaint vs 'rent-tangay' suspects

MANILA, March 29 (PNA) -- The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Wednesday filed a complaint before Department of Justice against the perpetrators behind the ‘rent-tangay’ modus operandi which has victimized car owners from different parts of the country.

The NBI filed charges of syndicated estafa, large scale syndicated estafa and carnapping against Rafaela Anunciacion, Anastacia Cauyan, Eliseo Cortez, Sabina Torrea and Spouses Bienvenido Cruz and Marilou Vera Cruz.

In its complaint affidavit, NBI stated that Anunciacion led the group to the scheme to defraud the car owners by getting money from them.

"From the forgoing, it can be seen that Anunciacion and her associates personally knew of the scheme because the same was actually designed by them. This would also prove that Anunciacion et al deliberately defrauded not only car owners but also investors who unknown to them was infusing money in Anunciacion's schemes. The above sequence of events clearly demonstrates the criminal intent of all subjects herein to deprive car owners of their vehicles and defraud investors of their hard earned money amounting to millions of pesos," the document reads.

The complaint was signed by Atty. Joselito R. Amon, Division Chief of the Legal Service of the NBI and was approved by Atty. Leo Edwin D. Leuterio, Deputy Director of the Legal Service.

This is the second case filed against the respondents after the Philippine National Police (PNP) Highway Patrol Group filed the case.

The DOJ investigating panel chaired by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rosanne Balauag earlier said that they will be consolidated the complaint together with PNP.

The Philippine National Police - Highway Patrol Group 4-A said several sets of victims of the scam from Bulacan, Laguna, Angeles City, Batangas and Nueva Ecija filed the charges of syndicated estafa under Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code and Presidential Decree 1689.

Balauag is the head of the DOJ panel while the nine other members of the task force are SASP Rex Gingoyon; Assistant State Prosecutors Aristotle Reyes, Rodan Parrocha, Bryan Jacinto Cacha Jr., Anna Noreen Devanadera and Jovyanne Escaño-Santamaria; and Assistant Prosecution Attorneys Wendell Bendoval, Joan Garcia and Marc Eico Tariga.

Last March 27, Anunciacion, submitted her counter affidavit on the continuation of the preliminary investigation on the complaints against the scheme.

Anunciacion was arrested last March 2 by members of the Regional Highway Patrol Unit 4-A’s Special Operations Team by virtue of a warrant for estafa issued by Judge Francisco Pano of the San Pedro, Laguna Regional Trial Court Branch 93.

In her counter-affidavit, Anunciacion alleged that the complainants were only forced to file criminal charges against her by the Philippine National Police - Highway Patrol Group through a threat that they would no longer recover their vehicles.

But when the car owners already recovered their vehicles, they have withdrawn their charges against Anunciacion, which she claimed, noting that she did not commit the alleged crimes.

During the hearing some of the complainants withdrew their complaints after recovering their vehicles from Anunciacion.

Aside from Anunciacion, Cauyan also submitted her counter-affidavit and raised the same issue.

The DOJ set the next hearing on Friday at 10 a.m. for filing of counter-affidavit of the other respondents namely Tychicus Nambia, Sabina Torrea, Eliseo Cortez, Eleanor Constatino, Marilou Cruz, Jhennelyn Berroya, Ana Borlon and Lea Rosales.

Nambio, who also in police custody in Laguna for estafa.

Under the “rent-tangay” scheme, authorities said the suspects would convince car owners to become business associates in a rent-a-car service and have their cars rented for a hefty profit.

At first, the car owners will get paid but, unknowingly, in the end their vehicles will be pawned to other people and the suspects will disappear, making the victims unable to get their rented vehicles back.

Last March 15, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II led the turnover of the six cars recovered from the 'rent-tangay' scheme to its rightful owners. (PNA) 
CLTC

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Alleged 'rent-tangay' mastermind submits counter-affidavit to DOJ

MANILA, March 27 (PNA) -- One of the alleged masterminds behind the so-called “rent-tangay” scam which has victimized car owners from different parts of the country on Monday appeared before the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the continuation of the preliminary investigation on the complaints against the scheme.

The suspect, Rafaela Anunciacion, submitted her counter affidavit on the investigating DOJ panel chaired by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rosanne Balauag who handled the complaint filed by Philippine National Police - Highway Patrol Group 4-A several sets of victims of the scam from Bulacan, Laguna, Angeles City, Batangas and Nueva Ecija filed the charges of syndicated estafa under Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code and Presidential Decree 1689.

The other members of the panel are Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rex Gingoyon, Assistant State Prosecutors Aristotle Reyes, Rodan Parrocha, Bryan Jacinto Cacha Jr., Anna Noreen Devanadera and Jovyanne Escaño-Santamari, and Assistant Prosecution Attorneys Wendell Bendoval, Joan Garcia and Marc Eico Tariga.

Anunciacion was arrested last March 2 by members of the Regional Highway Patrol Unit 4-A’s Special Operations Team by virtue of a warrant for estafa issued by Judge Francisco Pano of the San Pedro, Laguna Regional Trial Court Branch 93.

In her counter-affidavit, Anunciacion alleged that the complainants were only forced to file criminal charges against her by the Philippine National Police - Highway Patrol Group through a threat that they would no longer recover their vehicles.

But when the car owners already recovered their vehicles, they have withdrawn their charges against Anunciacion, which she claimed, noting that she did not commit the alleged crimes.

During the hearing some of the complainants withdrew their complaints after recovering their vehicles from Anunciacion.

Aside from Anunciacion, another respondent Anastacia Cauyan also submitted her counter-affidavit and raised the same issue.

The DOJ set the next hearing on Friday at 10 a.m. for filing of counter-affidavit of the other respondents namely Tychicus Nambia, Sabina Torrea, Eliseo Cortez, Eleanor Constatino, Marilou Cruz, Jhennelyn Berroya, Ana Borlon and Lea Rosales.

Nambio, who also in police custody in Laguna for estafa.

Under the “rent-tangay” scheme, authorities said the suspects would convince car owners to become business associates in a rent-a-car service and have their cars rented for a hefty profit.

At first, the car owners will get paid but, unknowingly, in the end their vehicles will be pawned to other people and the suspects will disappear, making the victims unable to get their rented vehicles back.

Last March 15, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II led the turnover of the six cars recovered from the 'rent-tangay' scheme to its rightful owners. (PNA) 
CLTC

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Police, mily, residents foil Kadamay plan to occupy Bustos housing proj.

BUSTOS, Bulacan, March 25 (PNA) -- Police and Army personnel, together with some residents, thwarted some 750 members of the urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay), who tried to occupy vacant housing units in Bulacan Heights, a National Housing Authority project in Barangay Bonga Mayor here Friday night.

Bulacan Police director, Sr. Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., said Saturday the Kadamay members arrived on board 39 passenger jeepneys at about 8:30 p.m. Friday and tried to enter the Bulacan Heights housing project but were blocked by a phalanx of policemen, soldiers and residents who barricaded the gates with two firetrucks and some heavy equipment.

He said local policemen, backed up by maneuver platoons from the Public Safety Company of the Bulacan Police, were supported by Army troopers of the 48th Infantry Battalion under the command of Col. Ramil Anoyo.

Most of the residents of Bulacan Heights are policemen and military personnel, Caramat said.

Chief Insp. Victor Bernabe, Bustos Police chief, said a peaceful dialogue ensued, resulting in the dispersal of the Kadamay members, some of whom even asked for transportation to ferry them back to the occupied housing sites in Pandi town.

The municipal government provided trucks that brought them to Pandi.

Bernabe said some Kadamay members warned that they will be back in full force and will occupy idle housing units, claiming that they have rights to government housing projects.

A village official who declined to be identified meanwhile said the government should investigate the series of "invasion" of government housing units because it is becoming a vicious trend.

"Somebody is manipulating this group. They just can’t go around invading government housing units,” the village official said. (PNA)      
EGG                               

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Bulacan Anti-Drug Council joins President Duterte’s all-out-war on drugs

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 24 (PNA) -- In support to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s all-out-offensive against the dreaded dope menace, the provincial government of Bulacan headed by Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado convened the Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council (PADAC) and came up with programs aimed to address the drug addiction problems in the province.

“We should help the President in whatever way we could in fighting this menace,” the governor said.

In line with this, he said that PADAC will conduct a symposium dubbed as “Kampanya para sa Pagsugpo sa Ipinagbabawal na Gamot” to be held at the Bulacan Capitol Gymnasium on March 29, from 8 a.m. to 12 noon.

The symposium will be attended by approximately 4,300 illegal drugs users and pushers out of the more than 36,000 users and pushers that have turned themselves over to the police.

The participants will come from all the municipalities in Bulacan.

Alvarado said that different government agencies like the Department of Health, Philippine National Police, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Alliance for Values Formation and other concerned groups will also help in this endeavor.

Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat, provincial director of Bulacan Provincial Police Office (BPPO), will also brief participants on the ongoing “Oplan Double Barrel Reloaded” of the Philippine National Police and will also discuss the Local Government Unit (LGU) based rehabilitation program.

The event will tackle programs on rehabilitation, health issues, livelihood, and values.

Dr. Leonita Gorgolon, Department of Health (DOH) regional director, will inform the participants on the ill-effects of illegal drugs while Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) provincial director Grace Corazon C. Castillo will talk about livelihood projects that aim to help reformed drug offenders.

Pastor Cesar Sacdalan, provincial chairman of Alliance for Values Formation, will be in charge of values formation.  

The winners for the slogan and poster-making competition which was held on March 24 will also be announced as well as the awarding of trophies and cash prizes. (PNA) 
EGGamos

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Five most wanted persons in Bulacan fall

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, March 23 (PNA) -- Police have stepped-up their campaign against wanted felons and bagged the five Most Wanted Persons listed in Lambat Sibat Phase 3 (Enhanched Managing Police Operations) during a series of operations in the province.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., on Thursday said the suspects, who were nabbed by the Bulacan police manhunt/tracker teams, were Ringo Manansala, 36, a native and a resident of Barangay Tibaguin, Hagonoy, Bulacan and listed as No. 1 in the top most wanted person in Enhanced Managing Police Operation (EMPO); Napoleon Estosame, 33, a resident of Barangay Camias, San Miguel, Bulacan and listed as top 6 in phase 3 of the Sibat Priority List of San Miguel Municipal Police Station;

Peter Paul Velasco, 32, and Michael Velasco, 35, who were listed Top 5 and 6 most wanted person in Obando town, respectively and Reymark Sayco, 25, a resident of Sta. Catalina Bata, San Ildefonso, and listed as top 9 Most Wanted Person Phase 3 of the Sibat Priority List of San Ildefonso Municipal Police Station.

Caramat said the intensified operations against the most wanted persons is in line with the instruction of Chief PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa and was effectively made clear by the marching order of PNP Regional Director Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino to be relentless in implementing manhunt operations against wanted felons and the sustained operations against illegal drugs as well. (PNA) 
EGGamos

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Cadets from Mindanao dominate top 10 PNPA graduates

MANILA, March 23 (PNA) -- Cadets from Mindanao dominate the top 10 students of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) who will graduate in Camp Castaneda, in Silang, Cavite on Friday.

Seven of the top 10 of the “Masidlak Class of 2017” hail from Mindanao led by top 1 Cdt. Darping Enca from Cotabato.

The others are top 2 Cdt. Midzfar Hamis Omar -- Tawi-Tawi; top 3 Cdt. Jan Ace Elcid Pascua Layug – Tondo, Manila; top 4 Cdt. Juan Paolo Alday Porciuncula -- Sta. Maria, Bulacan; top 5 Cdt. Harley Glenn Bacarro – Cagayan de Oro City; top 6 Cdt. Michael Salendab Daunotan – Cagayan de Oro City; top 7 Cdt. Ian Rey Canen Diolanto -- Sultan Kudarat; topd8 Cdt. Abdulcahar Bacarat Armama – Cotabato and top 9 Cdt. Michael John Suniega Sentinta -- Sultan Kudarat.

Only one woman cadette is on the top 10 graduates of the PNPA -- Maysy Villaflor Cataquiz from Quezon province.

Six of the top 10 PNPA graduates will serve in the Philippine National Police (PNP), two in the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and two in the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

Of the 365 cadets who entered the PNPA in 2013, only 144 of them will graduate this year wherein 22 are women. (PNA) 
/PTR

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Top Bulacan gun-for-hire leader, 2 cohorts killed in shootout with cops

BALIWAG, Bulacan, March 22 (PNA)--Policemen killed one of the province's most elusive gun-for-hire leaders during a shootout at the group’s lair in Barangay Piel here on Wednesday morning.

Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., Bulacan police director, identified the slain gang leader as Randy Lopez, leader of the Randy Lopez Group.

Caramat said that Lopez is involved in gun-for-hire, gun running ang carnapping activities in Bulacan, Metro Manila and other parts of Central Luzon.  

Two of Lopez's still unidentified cohorts also died in the firefight that broke out at around 4:30 am Wednesday.

Caramat said that joint operatives of the Provincial Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, the Provincial Police Intelligence Unit, the Bulacan Police Highway Patrol Group and local policemen from Baliwag and San Rafael implemented the search warrant issued by Bulacan Regional Trial Court Vice Executive Judge Sita Jose Clemente.

During the operation, Lopez and his cohorts opened fired at the raiding team, the official said.

A fierce gun battle ensued, resulting to the death of Lopez and his still unidentified cohorts, Caramat said.  

Police recovered a .45 caliber pistol and two .38 caliber revolvers from the slain suspects. (PNA) 
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Militant 'invaders' restless, sad, defiant after served notice of eviction - By Emil G. Gamos  

PANDI, Bulacan, March 21 (PNA) -- Some militant settlers belonging to the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay), who occupied rows of “idle” housing units in five resettlement areas in this town since March 8,  have become emotional while others were apprehensive and restless after personnel of the National Housing Authority (NHA) posted the “notice of eviction” on the occupied housing units in the villages of  Masuso, Cacarong Matanda, Siling Matanda and Mapulang Lupa here Monday afternoon.

Senior Inspector Michael Bernardo, deputy police chief of Pandi, said on Tuesday that majority of the housing project  “invaders," however, remain defiant where some even removed and tore the eviction notice.

Bernardo led the heavily armed policemen clad in bulletproof vests who escorted the NHA team in posting the notice of eviction.

He said the NHA teams went first to Villa Elise in Barangay Masuso, one of six housing projects that Kadamay members have taken over last week, to dramatize their demand for free mass housing.

He also said the Kadamay members who occupied the vacant housing units in Villa Elise were peaceful but some were visibly sad.

“We were tasked to protect and secure the staff of the NHA. The Kadamay members who occupied the housing units in Villa Elise were bit calm," he said.

Police said the NHA team posted the notices on 324 houses at around 4 p.m Monday in Villa Elise in Barangay Masuso. They then proceeded to the Padre Pio housing project in Barangay Cacarong Bata; the housing project for jail and penology employees and firemen in Barangay Cacarong Matanda; the Villa Louise housing site in Barangay Siling Matanda; and the Pandi Heights 2 and 3 housing projects in Barangay Mapulang Lupa.

Last Sunday and Monday, defiant Kadamay members erected barricades and issued identifications to members in order that they will not be infiltrated by outsiders who may discredit their cause.

Gloria Arellano, Kadamay national President, said they will remain and will not leave the place, stressing that the urban poor has the right to free shelters from the government.

But despite the defiant stance, some of the “invaders” are pleading to President Rodrigo Duterte to be kind to them and give them the home of their dreams.

Jennifer Angeles and Babylyn Galvan, who were among those who occupied the vacant housing units in Villa Elise in Barangay Masuso, in an interview with Radyo Bulacan, said they do not know what to do now that the notice of eviction has already been served and posted.

They claimed they feel sad amid hope that the units that they have occupied will be theirs.

For the moment, Angeles and Galvan said they will remain at the occupied site and hope that their rights will be recognized.

They also said they want the matter be resolved peacefully.

The NHA said the Kadamay members were given seven days to vacate the housing units or they will be evicted.

The NHA has also explained that the housing units have already been awarded to police and military personel and have already been turned over to the PNP Housing Board.

The other units were also intended for dwellers living and were already removed along "danger zones" in Metro Manila and Bulacan. (PNA)     

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Suspected big time drug dealer killed in shootout with Bulacan lawmen

CITY OF SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, Bulacan, March 21 (PNA) -- A suspected bigtime drug dealer out to deliver methamphetamine hydrochloride or "shabu" to his “scorers” in this city from the nearby Quezon and Caloocan cities was killed while his cohort eluded arrest during a brief firefight with Bulacan policemen manning a checkpoint along the Quirino Highway, Sitio Sapang Alat, Barangay San Manuel here early Tuesday morning.

In a report sent to Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., by Supt. Fitz Macariola, officer-in-charge of City of San Jose Del Monte Police Station, the armed encounter took place around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday morning while a mobile police team was conducting a checkpoint near the boundary of this city and Caloocan City.

Macariola said that the suspect and his lone cohort were riding in tandem on a motorcycle and were approaching the police checkpoint.

Before the policemen were able to flag them down, one of the suspects drew a handgun and started firing at the direction of the lawmen, prompting them to return fire that resulted in the death of one of the suspects while the other managed to run and elude arrest.

The identities of the slain suspect and his companion are still being determined as of press time, Macariola said.

Police recovered from the crime scene one Viper pistol, 12 fired case of Caliber 9mm pistol bullets, one magazine loaded with five bullets, two fired metal jacket of 9mm bullets, one metallic fragment, 10 small plastic sachets containing shabu, one pack of empty plastic sachet, one portable digital weighing scale, one stainless scissor, one Honda motorcycle with plate number 6811 and cash amounting to PHP1,8000.

Macariola said that the police checkpoint was being conducted as an offshoot of intelligence works on illegal drug activities where target bigtime drug personalities using said route in transporting illegal drugs from Quezon City and Caloocan City into the City of San Jose del Monte. (PNA)  
LAP/zst/EGGamos

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DSWD extends food packs to "families in crisis" in Pandi, Bulacan

MANILA, March 21 (PNA) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has denied tolerating the action of some 3,000 families who have occupied vacant public housing projects in Pandi, Bulacan province when it provided aid to urban poor families.

“Our mandate is to help those who are in immediate need of our services and assistance programs, and that is what we did and continue to do for the urban poor of Bulacan. The urban poor there are facing a crisis situation," Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said in a media release issued by the department Tuesday.

Taguiwalo pointed out that the delivery of assistance to those in crisis is their immediate concern, and not the legality of the families’ occupation of the housing projects.

“That is a matter we are leaving to the National Housing Authority and other housing agencies to decide. The DSWD’s assistance for the families is focused on their immediate need for food,” she said.

Last March 16, the DSWD office in Central Luzon released 2,100 family food packs (FFPs) to urban poor relocatees in Pandi, Bulacan who were not members of the Occupy Bulacan movement or the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY).

She said the release of the FFPs followed the guidelines set by the DSWD on similar situations.

“We are helping Filipinos who asked us for immediate assistance in the form of food. We do not discriminate against those who are in crisis situations and are in immediate need of our help. The families we gave FFPs to last March 16 were not involved in the Occupy Bulacan campaign. They sought our help because they are very poor and are needing assistance," she said.

The social welfare chief added that this week, they will validate the families who joined the Occupy Bulacan action and determine the immediate food needs of children, senior citizens, and pregnant women.

"We do not judge their decision to participate in the mass action led by the urban poor group, Kadamay. We are providing help as part of our social welfare and humanitarian mandate to help those in crisis situations,” she said.

Taguiwalo emphasized that they could not just stand by and watch these families, especially their children, starve.

“If our social workers determine and assess that there are individuals, families, or entire communities who need DSWD services because they are facing a crisis situation, we will do what we can to provide them services, regardless of their political leanings or calls,” she explained. (PNA) 
DSWD-PR

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'Invaders' of gov’t housing units in Bulacan vow to defy NHA's notice of eviction - By Emil G. Gamos

PANDI, Bulacan, March 20 (PNA) -- Hundreds of militants belonging to the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) urban poor group on Monday braved the heat of the noon day sun as they fortified their crude barricade and vowed not to leave the place which they have occupied since March 8, even if the National Housing Authority (NHA) or any government agencies serves the “notice of eviction."

The only entrance to the housing unit in Atlantic Village, which is adjacent to the also occupied NHA Village Heights 2 in Barangay Mapulang Lupa here, is a small opening at the barricade made up of steel bars, wooden planks and the hundreds of ID-wearing Kadamay members who formed the security of the urban poor group.

Norman dela Cruz, who claimed to be one of the security details at the Atlantic resettlement area where 1,200 housing units have been occupied since March 8, said their leaders headed by Gloria Arellano, Kadamay national chairperson, and Carlito Badion, Kadamay secretary general , are having a meeting on Monday with officials of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) and instructed them not to let anybody in except Kadamay members.

However, before 2 p. m. Monday, dela Cruz and other members have allowed a 10-member team from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), inside the barricaded Atlantic resettlement site.

"They are helping us. They are giving us relief goods, water and medicines," dela Cruz explained.

A member of the DSWD, who requested not to be named, said they are there to assist the “invaders” because of their poor and unsanitary living condition at the occupied government housing units.

Dela Cruz said their group, together with others  who barged inside NHA housing units in Villa Elise in Barangay Masuso, Villa Louise in Barangay Cacarong Matanda and Padre Pio in Cacarong Bata and some units in San Jose Heights in City of San Jose del Monte last March 8, will fight for their rights to have their own houses from the government.

Meanwhile, at the government resettlement site in Villa Elise in Barangay Masuso, the situation is quite peaceful despite the presence of bullet-proof clad and heavily armed policemen in the area.

Unlike in Atlantic Village and NHA Village Heights II in Barangay Mapulang Lupa, there are no barricades in the occupied parts of Villa Elise.

According to Marissa Palomeno, the Kadamay leader in Villa Elise, said they know that the notice of eviction will be served to them anytime Monday by NHA officials but they did not put up any barricades because they do not want trouble to erupt.

"Our sole desire is the housing and not to get into trouble. It is our right to have our own house under the program of the government and we have gone through the process for a long time but we are being ignored," she said.

She added that the government must not punish them because they only wanted to have their own home.

At the moment, at least 275 Kadamay members have occupied the still “idle” government housing units in Villa Elise.

Senior Inspector Michael Bernardo, deputy police chief of Pandi police station, said that they were positioned at Villa Elise to protect and secure officials of the NHA who were scheduled to serve the notice of eviction Monday.

As of 3:30 p.m. Monday, no notice of eviction has been served. (PNA) 
LAP/zst/EGGamos

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2 'rent-tangay' suspects no-show at DOJ hearing

MANILA, March 20 (PNA) -- The two alleged masterminds behind the so-called “rent-tangay” scam which has victimized car owners from different parts of the country failed to appear at the first preliminary investigation on the complaints against the scheme.

Rafaela Anunciacion failed to appear before the Department of Justice (DOJ) hearing on the complaint filed by Philippine National Police - Highway Patrol Group 4-A several sets of victims of the scam from Bulacan, Laguna, Angeles City, Batangas and Nueva Ecija filed the charges of syndicated estafa under Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code and Presidential Decree 1689.

Anunciacion, who was arrested last March 2 by members of the Regional Highway Patrol Unit 4-A’s Special Operations Team on the strength of a warrant for estafa issued by Judge Francisco Pano of the San Pedro, Laguna Regional Trial Court Branch 93.

Aside from Anunciacion, the other respondent Tychicus Historillo Nambio was also a no-show during Monday's hearing.

Nambio, who also in police custody in Laguna for estafa.

Some respondents were present and received the complaint during the hearing preside by the 10-member panel of prosecutors headed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rosanne Balauag.

The other members of the panel are Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rex Gingoyon, Assistant State Prosecutors Aristotle Reyes, Rodan Parrocha, Bryan Jacinto Cacha Jr., Anna Noreen Devanadera and Jovyanne Escaño-Santamari, and Assistant Prosecution Attorneys Wendell Bendoval, Joan Garcia and Marc Eico Tariga.

To accommodate all complainants and respondents, Balauag said the hearings on the cases will be conducted on a batch-by-batch manner.

She also said that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is also set to file charges against these perpetrators behind the ‘rent-tangay’ modus operandi and it will be consolidated the complaint together with PNP.

The DOJ set the next hearing on March 27 and March 31 at 10 a.m.

Under the “rent-tangay” scheme, authorities said the suspects would convince car owners to become business associates in a rent-a-car service and have their cars rented for a hefty profit.

At first, the car owners will get paid but, unknowingly, in the end their vehicles will be pawned to other people and the suspects will disappear, making the victims unable to get their rented vehicles back.

Last March 15, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II led the turnover of the six cars recovered from the 'rent-tangay' scheme to its rightful owners. (PNA) 
CLTC

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DOJ to probe raps vs 'rent-tangay' scam Monday

MANILA, March 19 (PNA) -- The Department of Justice (DOJ) is set to conduct its first preliminary investigation on the complaints filed against the perpetrators behind the ‘rent-tangay’ modus operandi which has victimized car owners from different parts of the country.

The 10-member panel of prosecutors headed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rosanne Balauag will begin the preliminary investigation on the complaints filed against the suspects who allegedly masterminded the scam on Monday at 10 a.m.

The other members of the panel are Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rex Gingoyon, Assistant State Prosecutors Aristotle Reyes, Rodan Parrocha, Bryan Jacinto Cacha Jr., Anna Noreen Devanadera and Jovyanne Escaño-Santamari, and Assistant Prosecution Attorneys Wendell Bendoval, Joan Garcia and Marc Eico Tariga.

The panel will hear the complaint filed by Philippine National Police - Highway Patrol Group and several sets of victims of the scam from Bulacan, Laguna, Angeles City, Batangas and Nueva Ecija have filed charges for carjacking, swindling and syndicated estafa under Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code and Presidential Decree 1689 against Rafaela Anunciacion, Eleanor "Leah" Constantino Rosales, Tychicus Historillo Nambio, Jhennelyn Berroya, Anastacia Montes Cauyan, Marilou Cruz, Eliseo Cortez and Sabina Torrea.

Anunciacion, Nambio, Rosales and a certain Ana Pamplona Borlon are already the subject of an immigration look-out bulletin order issued by DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II which enables authorities to monitor any attempt on their part to leave the country.

Anunciacion and Nambio are now in police custody.

Under the “rent-tangay” scheme, authorities said the suspects would convince car owners to become business associates in a rent-a-car service and have their cars rented for a hefty profit.

At first, the car owners will get paid but, unknowingly, in the end their vehicles will be pawned to other people and the suspects will disappear, making the victims unable to get their rented vehicles back.

Last March 15, Aguirre led the turnover of the six cars recovered from the 'rent-tangay' scheme to its rightful owners.

“We restore the vehicles to their rightful owners. However, we do not stop there. We want to ensure that we set a good example in bringing justice to all the victims in this case by effectively prosecuting the perpetrators and putting them away so that they will do no more harm,” Aguirre told reporters after the recovered by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to their rightful owners at the premises of the DOJ.

He noted that this is part of the strong campaign of the government against the proliferation of the modus known as Rent-Tangay or Rent-Sangla which has victimized car owners from various parts of the country.

”Our NBI operatives under the leadership of Director Dante Gierran have recovered 300 vehicles, of which 177 have been returned to their owners while 123 vehicles are still in custody. We assure the public that we will continue to fight this modus and prosecute the offenders, and deter similar attempts. We ask the cooperation of the public to report similar incidents to the NBI or the police,” Aguirre added.

“Beyond prosecuting the perpetrators is the restoration of the stolen vehicles to their rightful owners. However, we do not stop there. We want to ensure that we set a good example in bringing justice to all the victims of common crimes,” the DOJ Chief said. (PNA) 
BNB/CLTC

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1 killed, 1 hurt, thousands stranded for hours in Subic road mishap - By Ruben A. Veloria

SUBIC, Zambales, March 14 (PNA) -- A truck driver was killed, a helper was seriously injured, and thousands of workers and students arrived late in their destinations after two truck trailers collided head-on on Tuesday along the national highway in this municipality.

Subic police identified the victim as Rufino Sebastian, 49, of Pandi, Bulacan, and the driver of a trailer truck with plate number CVX 305 owned by MOJ Company Subic.

Severely hurt was a truck helper named Tonton Agsayang, a resident of Barangay Pamatawan, Subic.

Based on initial investigation, the accident occurred around 1 a.m. Tuesday along the national highway in Barangay Aningway-Sacatihan, Subic, where the MOJ truck was last seen travelling fast going south direction.

Witnesses said the white MOJ truck suddenly occupied the other lane and collided head-on against the incoming bulk carrier truck driven by Edgar Cubangbang, 46, of Suralla, South Cotabato.

The heavy impact caused Sebastian to crash on his truck’s windshield and died on the spot.

Meanwhile, thousands of workers and students were stranded and went late for hours to their destinations due to unavailability of heavy equipment at that time to remove the two involved trailers which completely blocked the narrow and only access road to Subic town and Olongapo City. (PNA) 
LAP/zst/RAV

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'Invaders' of gov’t housing projects in Bulacan given 7 days eviction period - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 10 (PNA) -- Government housing authorities have given the 5,000 people who forcibly occupied 1,500 housing units at a resettlement site in Barangay Kakarong Matanda, Pandi town last Wednesday, seven days to vacate the area which was intended for police and military personnel.

Romuel P. Alimboyao, officer-in-charge of the National Housing Authority (NHA) in Region 3, also told leaders of the militant Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) during a dialogue held on Friday at the Francisco Balagtas hall of the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center that the government knew their plight and is very much willing to help them but they must understand that there is due process.

At the same time, Alimboyao assured Gloria Arellano, Kadamay national chairperson, that there will be no harassment to be employed to cause any violence.

He said they are just abiding with what the law provides of seven days time allowance for illegal occupants to vacate what they occupied.

Alimboyao explained that if they want to avail of government housing units, they must first undergo a process.

He told the group that availing of government housing project requires process which everyone should follow and abide with.  

Alimboyao also told the media in an interview after the meeting that they heard reports the forcible entry of the urban poor is just a pilot move of the Kadamay to show its muscle.

"Our legal department is looking into those reports. We will see if there is somebody or a group who are behind the scene,” Alimboyao said.

The eviction order is expected to be released early next week.

Last Wednesday, at least 5,000 members of the urban poor forcibly took control of the NHA housing units in Villa Elise in Barangay Masuso, Pandi Village 2 in Barangay Maoulang Lupa, Villa Louise in Barangay Cacarong Matanda and Padre Pio in Cacarong Bata and some units in San Jose Heights in City of San Jose del Monte.

Meanwhile, Vice Governor Daniel Fernando has designated three committees of the Sanguniang Panglalawigan to probe the invasion of the urban poor at the NHA housing sites in Pandi and San Jose del Monte City.

Fernando ordered the investigation after provincial board member Therese Cheryll Ople made a privilege speech during the regular session of the SP Thursday where she deplored the unruly take over of government housing projects aimed for the poor.

She told Fernando and other members of the SP that there could be something fishy in the said invasion.

The Vice Governor said the incident will be investigated by the committees on social services, land use and urban development, and peace and order.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado has ordered the Bulacan Police Provincial Office headed by Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., to secure the area and other government housing sites. (PNA)   
LAP/zst/EGGamos

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12 dopesters fall in Bulacan sting operations

CITY OF SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, Bulacan, March 9 (PNA) --Joint operatives of the San Jose Del Monte City police station and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Regional Office III (PDEA-3) on Thursday netted at least 12 persons engaged in illegal drugs activities during simultaneous buy bust operations and implementation of search warrant in different barangays (villages) in this city.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., said that the series of operations was in line with the “One Time Big Time” operation plan of the Philippine National Police (PNP) against criminals and lawless elements.  

Caramat identified the arrested suspects as Reden Cruz, Justine Talahuron, Albert Del Rosario, Manuel Guirero, Wefredo Aquino, Antonio Memoracion, Ronald Valmonte, John Mark Solomon, Jennifer Soriano, Fenando Udal, Liza Soliman and Venonica Balvis.

Confiscated evidence were 49 sachets of illegal substance and two firearms.

Supt. Fitz A. Macariola, acting city police chief, said that the success of the operation is the result of good cooperation between city and village officials.

“This is part of our comprehensive implementation of security measures in the maintenance of peace and order wherein the crackdown against the proliferation of Illegal drugs and loose firearms are among our focus,” Macariola said.

He said that the arrested suspects were detained at San Jose del Monte City Police Station and will be charged for criminal complaint for Violation of Art II of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act) and Violation of RA 10591 (Illegal Possession of Firearms and Ammunition). (PNA) 
LAP/zst/EGGamos

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2 suspects slain, 2 nabbed on 1st day of "Double Barrel Alpha, Reloaded"

MANILA, March 7 (PNA) -- Two suspects were killed, two others were arrested and illegal drugs and firearms were seized during the first day of the implementation of the so-called "Double Barrel Alpha, Reloaded".

The neutralization, arrest and seizure were accomplished during the anti-illegal drugs operations of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agents in Bulacan, Pampanga and Tarlac provinces.

Joint operatives of Malolos city police and PDEA Region 3 (Central Luzon) conducted buy-bust operation along Sto. Cristo-to-Mabolo diversion road, Barangay Mabolo, Malolos City, Bulacan midnight Monday.

The operation resulted in a shootout and neutralization of two suspects identified as Elmer Pagsanjan alias "Whitey", 41, single, tricycle driver, resident of Barangay San Juan, Malolos City and Francis Bondoc alias "Pantot", of legal age, single, resident of Barangay Caingin, Malolos City, Bulacan.

Both suspects were included in the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC) watch list as "pusher/user".

During the transaction, the suspects sensed that the buyer was a police officer which prompted the former to fire their guns.

A shootout ensued between the suspects and the police which resulted in the instantaneous death of the suspects.

Recovered from the possession of the suspects were eight heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets containing suspected shabu, one black Haojue tricycle, without plate number, seven 9mm spent shells, two Smith & Wesson caliber .38 revolvers loaded with ammunitions, six aluminum foil strips, lighter and the marked money.

Likewise, joint operatives of Sta. Rita town police and PDEA3 conducted buy-bust operation in Barangay San Jose, Sta. Rita, Pampanga Monday afternoon which led to the arrest of couples Renato Reforma alias "Natoy" and Lourdes Reforma alias "Nene".

Confiscated from the possession of the suspects were six heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets containing suspected shabu and the marked money.

PRO3 Regional Director Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino commended the operating troops.

Aquino said that PNP PRO3 will continue its unwavering efforts to eradicate illegal drugs within the region as the relaunched "Project Double Barrel Alpha, Reloaded" is being widely implemented in the country. (PNA) 
RMA/PTR

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10 DOJ prosecutors to conduct initial probe on raps vs car rental scam suspects

MANILA, March 5 (PNA) -- Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has named 10 prosecutors who will conduct preliminary investigation on the complaints filed against the perpetrators behind the ‘rent-tangay’ modus operandi which has victimized car owners from different parts of the country.

Aguirre has issued Department Order no. 138 dated March 2 which designated Senior Assistant State Prosecutor (SASP) Rosanne Balauag as chair of the high-level panel while its other members are SASP Rex Gingoyon; Assistant State Prosecutors Aristotle Reyes, Rodan Parrocha, Bryan Jacinto Cacha Jr., Anna Noreen Devanadera and Jovyanne Escaño-Santamaria; and Assistant Prosecution Attorneys Wendell Bendoval, Joan Garcia and Marc Eico Tariga.

The Philippine National Police - Highway Patrol Group and several sets of victims of the scam from Bulacan, Laguna, Angeles City, Batangas and Nueva Ecija have filed charges for carjacking, swindling and syndicated estafa under Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code and Presidential Decree 1689 before the DOJ.

The respondents in the complaints are Rafaela Anunciacion, Tychicus Nambia, Anastacia Cauyan, Sabina Torrea, Eliseo Cortez, Eleanor Constatino, Marilou Cruz, Jhennelyn Berroya, Ana Borlon and Lea Rosales.

Earlier, Aguirre ordered the Bureau of Immigration to issue an immigration look-out bulletin order (ILBO) against three suspects in the ‘rent-tangay’ modus operandi which has victimized car owners from different parts of the country.

In a memorandum, Aguirre ordered BI Commissioner Jaime Morente to put the suspects Ana Pamplona Borlon, Lea Constantino Rosales and Rafaela M. Anunciacion under an ILBO.

Under the ILBO, all Immigration Officers are mandated to immediately coordinate with the Office of the Secretary of the DOJ any attempt on the part of the aforementioned persons to leave the country.

A person subject of an ILBO can still leave the country upon clearance from the DOJ.

Aguirre warned that any attempt to violate the ILBO will be held liable.

He ordered the government prosecuting arm to immediately file a case in court and obtain an arrest warrant "if it should be found that there is probable cause to criminally charge the respondents."

Aguirre already met the representatives of the victims, and upon seeing the magnitude of this scam, there are around 500 people who fell as victims to the scheme."Rentangay" is a modus where suspects pose as renters of private vehicles and pay an agreed amount of monthly rent. The suspect will then pawn the rented vehicle to another person.

In their modus operandi, the suspects would allegedly victimize car owners from different parts of greater Metro Manila area and Luzon. While some of the cars were recovered as far as Mindanao provinces such as Marawi and Tawi-Tawi.

Aguirre also ordered the NBI to investigate and spearhead the filing of cases against the perpetrators of the car rental scam.

”I immediately ordered the NBI to take action. I have given the NBI 15 days to submit a status report on this case,” he added.

For his part, NBI National Capital Region (NCR) Director Cesar Bacani said that by March 10, they will submit the report following the order of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to submit a status report on the investigation conducted by the bureau on the scam after 15 days.

”We will file the first batch kung sino hahabol sa kaso na yun. After that, yung hindi hahabol sa kaso na yun habol na lang sa filing," Bacani told reporters in press conference last Feb. 21 held in NBI main headquarters in Manila.

Bacani said that the suspects may face multiple counts of estafa based on how many number of vehicles were involved in the scam.

He explained the NBI doesn't see yet a carnapping case since the investigation so far revealed that there were documents executed by the victims which shows that the suspects have lawful possession of their vehicles.

Though estafa is a bailable offense, the NBI official assured that the suspects might fail to post bail bonds.

Bacani cited that there are 72 vehicle owners who have sought help with the NBI.

Apart from vehicles recovered by the Philippine National Police (PNP), there are also 256 vehicles turned over by money lenders to the NBI.

"Kapag naka-comply sila sa requirements we can release the cars to the rightful claimants (If the vehicle owners comply with the requirements we can release the vehicles to them)," he said.

Though nothing is final yet, the NBI official said that vehicle owners may be required to submit a sworn affidavit of complaints, financing documents of their vehicles, valid identification cards, and the official receipts and certificates of their vehicles.

"Of the documents required , we will also ask them to execute an affidavit of undertaking," he added. (PNA) 
BNB/CLTC

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Plaridel By-Pass Road Phase 2 to be completed by June -- DPWH

MANILA, March 2 (PNA) -- The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said that the Package 3 of the Plaridel Bypass Road Phase II, is set to be finished by June.

According to DPWH Mark Villar, as of Jan. 30, 2017, Package 3 of the bypass road is 86.16 percent complete.

"The Plaridel Bypass Road is an arterial road of 24.61 km that will link the NLEX in Balagtas, Bulacan with the Maharlika Highway in San Rafael, Bulacan,” he said in a statement.

He added, "We will maintain 24/7 operations in the area to meet our project deadline. We will continue to do so until the project is completed."

The project will reduce travel time by about 45 to 50 mins and will divert about 15,000 vehicles from existing road networks. Travel distance will also be shortened by about 5 kilometers.

"It will bypass the town proper of Plaridel and urban areas of Pulilan and Baliuag along the existing Maharlika Highway, to alleviate the perennial traffic congestion at the core urban areas along the Philippine-Japan Friendship Highway road section from Plaridel to San Rafael, Bulacan," Villar said.

The DPWH chief noted that the public will have full access to the entire project by July 2018.

The Plaridel Bypass Road starts at Barangay Borol in Balagtas along the North Expressway and will connect the Maharlika Highway in Barangay Maasim, San Rafael, Bulacan.

It bypasses the vast agricultural lands of five municipalities in Bulacan namely Balagtas, Guiguinto, Plaridel, Bustos and San Rafael.

When completed, the bypass would include the construction of 11 bridges, 2 interchanges, 5 overpasses, and 1 intersection. The project includes the construction of two service roads, one each side along the Toll Road, along section Burol to Angat River. (PNA) 
BNB/FGP/eds

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Full dev’t of Clark airport seen to reduce vehicle volume in EDSA

CLARK, Pampanga, Feb. 24 (PNA) -- The full development of the Clark airport may help ease the horrendous traffic in Metro Manila, according to the Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC).

CIAC president and CEO Alexander Cauguiran said that at least 12 million out of the 36 million passengers using the Ninoy Aquino International Airport come from the northern and Central Luzon provinces.

"Ten to twelve million passengers are recorded to be coming from the northern part of the country. Assuming that  50 percent of the figure plies EDSA en route to NAIA, you have at least six million vehicles clogging EDSA,” Cauguiran said.

The CIAC chief added that the volume of vehicles in Metro Manila will be drastically reduced if travelers from Regions 1, 2 and 3, the Cordillera Autonomous Region, and the CAMANAVA Area (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela) will use Clark airport instead of the over-crowded NAIA.

These areas have a combined population of around 24.2 million, a huge market potential of CRK and the airline industry in the country, with studies indicating the inevitable growth in the number of passengers due to the increase in flights at CRK.

Cauguiran, together with other CIAC executives and concerned government officials, conducted the second leg of the CIAC North Philippines Roadshow in Dagupan City on Friday.

He presented  an update of CIAC’s Master Development Plan which includes the building of a new Passenger Terminal with an eight million-passenger capacity being implemented by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) headed by Secretary Arthur Tugade.

"Secretary Tugade’s marching order is for us to entice airlines and to ensure first-rate operations of Clark airport,” Cauguiran said, adding that DOTr plans to build another terminal by 2019 or before President Rodrigo Duterte’s term ends while CIAC maximizes the use of the existing terminal with a capacity of 4.2 million passengers annually in the next two to three years.

“We look forward to increasing passenger traffic in CRK while helping ease the congestion at the NAIA and Metro Manila,” the CIAC executive added.

“This is the time to do business, to expand, and to patronize Clark airport,” Martin Valera, Regional Director of the Department of Tourism Region 1, said, adding that Clark will vastly improve interregional traffic between north Luzon and southern provinces of the country.

PAL has already made its strong presence at CRK with domestic flights to Caticlan, Cebu, Davao, and international flights via Incheon in South Korea. The flag-carrier is also set to launch its Palawan route via Puerto Princesa and Busuanga domestic flights by March 26. 

Air Asia will launch thrice weekly Clark-Kalibo flights starting March 27 and four times weekly flights to and from Davao by April 22, two routes that are expected to further boost CRK’s passenger traffic.

CRK hosts other airlines such as Emirates Airlines via Dubai, Qatar Airways via Doha, Asiana Airlines via Incheon, Jin Air via Incheon and Busan, Cebu Pacific Air via Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and domestic flights to Cebu, along with Cathay Dragon via Hong Kong and Tiger Air via Singapore.

Cauguiran said the CIAC roadshow will also be held in Olongapo, Bataan, Bulacan and Cabanatuan. (PNA) 
LAP/zst/MDDR

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Govt forces in Bulacan on alert following NPA sightings

MALOLOS, Bulacan, Feb.23 (PNA) – Government forces in this province, particularly those assigned in the north eastern part of Bulacan, are on alert following confirmed sightings of band of New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas in Dona Remedios Trinidad town and in the mountains of Umiray, Aurora which is close to the mountain town of Norzagaray, Bulacan.

Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., made this disclosure during the Peace and Order Council (PPOC) meeting held at the Hiyas Convention Center here on Thursday morning.

Caramat told PPOC chairman and Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando that a band of NPA rebels were first sighted in the mountain village of Kabayunan, Dona Remedios Trinidad on Feb. 7.

He said that based on intelligence reports and sources that was verified by the 48th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army under the command of Lt. Col. Ramil Anoyo, the communists guerrillas were on procurement missions.

He said the rebel band bought dresses, combat boots, 100 bullet rounds of M203 grenade rifle and 10,000 rounds of M16 rifles.

Alvarado said both the police and military should be vigilant since Bulacan has already been declared insurgent -free by the Philippine Army in 2013, during the time of AFP chief Gregorio Pio Catapang.

He also said that while no violent incidents have been reported for so many years now, the government troops assigned in Bulacan must always remain on alert and vigilant because the anniversary of the NPA  will take place next month and they might do some surprises in the province. (PNA) 
FPV/zst/EGGamos  

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Gov urges Bulacan police to help PDEA crush dope menace

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 23 (PNA) -- Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado urged the Bulacan police force not to let the success and the big gains of their all-out-war against the dope menace go to naught by supporting the campaign now being waged by the Philippines Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

The governor made the call after convening the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) on Thursday morning at the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center here.

Alvarado, who is the provincial PPOC chairman, took notice of the report of Bulacan acting police director Romeo Caramat Jr., that the police have already identified the main source of the mind-altering drug methamphetamine hydrochloride which is popularly known as “shabu”.

Caramat said that according to their informants, mostly hardcore pushers who surrendered at the height of the Philippine National Police's (PNP’s) Oplan Double Barrel and "Oplan Tokhang" drive, the supply of shabu being peddled in Bulacan comes from a southern Tagalog town.

He said that this happens because drug dealers in Bulacan cannot afford to score wholesale in Pampanga "that is why they have to go to Southern Luzon where they can buy the dope in retail price."

Caramat also told the PPOC chairman that at least half a kilo of shabu is being consumed daily in Plaridel and Pulilan towns.

Upon learning about this, Alvarado told Caramat to coordinate with PDEA and neutralize these drug dealers by sharing to them vital intelligence and information.

"We have already gained many grounds in our no-nonsense campaign to rid this province of the dope menace. We must not let our guards down because this will make those drug traffickers more daring again," Alvarado said.

The PDEA was tasked by President Rodrigo Duterte to oversee the government’s anti-drug drive while the PNP cleanse its ranks of rogue cops. (PNA) 
LAP/zst/EGGamos

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Field trips should have safety guidelines — Bulacan solon

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 22 (PNA) -- Schools conducting educational field trips should follow stringent guidelines that will ensure safety of their students, a lawmaker in this province said on Wednesday.

Bulacan 1st District Rep. Jose Antonio R. Sy-Alvarado, vice chairman of the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education, said that new Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) on educational field trips must be issued by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) following the recent bus accident in Tanay, Rizal that claimed the lives of 15 people, mostly students of Bestlink College.

But up to now, Sy-Alvarado said that they have not yet receive the new IRR. He added that an oversight committee in Congress is now probing the incident.

School officials said that as part of the National Service Training Program (NSTP), the students were to undergo medical and survival training and went to the Sacramento Adventure Camp in Tanay.

Sy-Alvarado said that schools should hire quality and safe buses.

He also said that they (schools) should also coordinate with local security forces, like the police and military or even village watchmen, to ensure the students' safety in line with the NSTP.

Meanwhile, Vice Governor Daniel Fernando said that Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado has temporarily closed picnic and campsites areas, particularly the Bakas River where two students of the Bulacan State University drowned last month.

Fernando said that the governor has also ordered an ocular inspection of tourists spots in the province to ensure the safety of the public. (PNA) 
LAP/zst/EGGamos      

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Victims of rental scam seek HPG Calabarzon’s help to recover cars - By Robert Maico

CAMP VICENTE LIM, Laguna, Feb. 14 (PNA) -- Close to 100 car owners from Region 3 (Central Luzon) on Monday trooped to the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) of the Police Regional Office (PRO) Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) here to recover their cars believed to have been used in an investment scam.

In a media interview, Police Superintendent Joel Jucutan, PRO deputy regional director, said close to a hundred car owners from Region 3, mostly from Bulacan and Nueva Ecija provinces, came to the HPG office here to identify and recover their respective cars.

According to the victim-claimants, the vehicles were rented out by the suspects identified as Rafaela Anunciasion and sister Anastacia Montes and another operator identified as Eleanor “Ela” Rosales.

Supt. Jucutan described the modus operandi as like a "binary" investment scheme wherein the "right leg" agents look for cars to be rented at Php 25,000 for a Sedan; Php 35,000 for a medium-size car and Php 45,000 for Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) of 2016 and 2017 models.

He said under the modus, the agents look for investors using their car as collateral.

For instance, for a Php 200,000 investment with a sedan as collateral, the monthly income is Php 10,000; Php 300,000 for a medium-size car and Php 15,000 income; and Php 400,000 for an SUV with the corresponding Php 20,000 monthly income.

Jucutan said the car owners started complaining when they stopped receiving their monthly rentals and learned their vehicles had been to Tawi-tawi, Marawi City, or Surigao - all in Mindanao and Marinduque and Camp Vicente Lim in Southern Luzon through the Global Positioning Systems (GPS) tracking device installed in their cars.

The HPG official reported close to 200 cars are impounded at the headquarters out of the 1,400 cars under investigation by "Task Force Limbas" of the HPG’s special operations division.

The victims requested anonymity during the interview for fear that a syndicate has been behind all the troubles while saying “they just want to make money out of rental payments more than the bank’s monthly amortization for their car loans.”

Some of the victim-claimants are now staying at nearby hotels while some are staying in their cars until they can recover their respective cars that are now under investigation and processing with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and respective banks.

Jucutan said that since last February 11, the investors who are now using the "questioned" cars have been coming to the HPG office for identification and verification.

He said the office is preparing the appropriate charges against the suspects while pursuit operations have been ongoing leading to the arrest of the scammers. (PNA) 
LAP/SEP/ZAT/RM/eds

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PNP's intensified anti-illegal gambling drive nets 9 in Central Luzon

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Feb. 14 (PNA) -- Nine persons were arrested by police authorities following a series of anti-illegal gambling operations in different provinces of Central Luzon.

Police Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino, Police Regional Office-3 director, said the move is part of the intensified efforts to curb illegal gambling activities in the region as per directive of President Rodrigo Duterte.

President Duterte issued last week Executive Order (EO) No. 13 intensifying the government’s fight against all forms of illegal gambling.

Aquino said those arrested for different forms of illegal gambling activities were Matilde Manuel, 55, gambling financer/operator and resident of Barangay Culis, Hermosa and Nico Ombrog, 25, gambling operator and resident of Barangay Roosevelt, Dinalupihan, both in Bataan; Junmar Dizon, 44, jueteng collector and resident of Barangay Bitas, Arayat, Pampanga; Danilo Manalo, 50, of Barangay Virgen De Los Remedios, Bamban Tarlac; Joshua Zarcilla, ArJay Peralta, Tommy Gaulala, Rouando Booc and Edgardo Manaligod Jr. , all from San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan.

The police official commended the operating troops for their job well done as he vowed that the PRO-3 will continuously direct pro-active operations and reinforce its efforts to wipe out all form of criminal activities, including illegal gambling operations in order to achieve their pursuit for a safer Central Luzon. (PNA) 
LAP/ZST

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Drug surrenderers in Central Luzon reach 129,217

CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga, Feb. 9 (PNA)-- A total of 129, 217 drug users and pushers have surrendered in Central Luzon since July last year up to January, this year.

Dr. Benjamin Reyes, chair of Dangerous Drug Board (DDB) made this disclosure during the first ever Central Luzon Dangerous Drug Summit held Wednesday at Royce Hotel here.

Bulacan has the most number of drug surrenderers with 37, 266, followed by Nueva Ecija with 27, 552; Pampanga, 22,479; Tarlac, 15,329; Zambales, 8,025; Bataan, 9,911; Aurora, 3,356; Angeles City , 3,107 and Olongapo City with 2,192.

It was also revealed that PHP55.8 billion worth of methamphetamine hydrocloride or shabu was confiscated nationwide in 2016.

With this good result in the campaign against dangerous drugs, Reyes said the Duterte administration is determined to implement community-based rehabilitation, after care program and conduct drug testing at DOH- accredited drug -testing laboratories to help in the treatment, rehabilitation and recovery of surrenderers.

DOH Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial said the anti-dangerous drug summit is aimed at further strengthening the strategies of local government units (LGUs) while acknowledging the proper handling of surrenderers imparted by the national agencies.

"Currently, there are group-dynamic activities, pyscho-educational lectures and meditations presently being offered at the Mega Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (MEGA-DARTC) in Palayan Nueva Ecija,” Ubial said.

She said some 705 local government health sectors composed of doctors, nurses and district medical officers were trained in screening and assessing drug users in the region. (PNA) 
FPV/zst/JM    

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Aguirre orders NBI to probe brutal killing of 17-year-old housemaid

MANILA, Feb. 8 (PNA) -- Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Wednesday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct investigation on the brutal killing of 17-year-old Richelle Sagang whose severed head was found in Makati City while her body was dumped in Bulacan in January.

”The National Bureau of Investigation through Director Dante Gierran, is hereby directed and granted to conduct investigation and case build up over the death of Richelle Sagang of Zamboanga City, who was shot to death and whose severed head was found in Makati City while the body was dumped in Bulacan in January 2017,” Aguirre said in a memorandum issued on Wednesday.

Sagang, who worked as housemaid at Ayala Alabang Village in Muntinlupa City and was shot to death and beheaded.

Sagang’s decapitated body was found in Sta. Maria, Bulacan, on Jan. 12 around 11 p.m. while her head was found floating at a creek in Makati City around 1 p.m. on Jan. 14.

Sagang’s picture taken by the security guards that day provided leads to investigators as the clothes matched the clothing of the decapitated body.

The victim's father, Noel, a farmer said he knew that the victim was his daughter based on the scars on both feet, same face shape and forehead. Also, the body of the victim was wearing long-sleeved black shirt and blue leggings, the same clothes her daughter was wearing in the pictures taken by Ayala Alabang Village security officers. (PNA) 
BNB/CLTC

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New Tarlac police chief vows to prioritize internal cleansing

CAMP MACABULOS, Tarlac City, Feb. 6 (PNA) -- Newly installed Tarlac Police Provincial Office (TPPO) director Senior Supt. Ritchie Medardo Posadas vowed to prioritize internal cleansing within the police ranks here.

Posadas, in his first meeting with the Camp Macabulos Press Corps Monday afternoon after eight days of stay in the province, said that his first agenda is to see to it that nobody within the ranks is doing things that will mar the uniform of the police.

"Before cleansing other backyards, I need to cleanse first my own," Posada’s stressed, adding that he ordered all Tarlac chiefs of police to impose discipline in their own station.

The new TPPO chief said that he wants a heart to heart talk with his police, go exercise with them and above all go to church with them because being close to God is one avenue to keep the morale of the police.

Posadas likewise said that he is a kind of person who always wants a competition. 

“Since TPPO used to be number one during the stint of Senior Supt Alex Sintin, (Posadas classmate) my goal is to bring the glory of this office once again during my stay,” he said.

Posadas also said that he is always close to the press people because they are of great help in disseminating police’s accomplishments.

Meanwhile, he thanked Concepcion town mayor Andy Lacson for donating two new mobile patrol vehicles for Concepcion Police Station which are useful in police operations, particularly in pursuit of the lawless elements.

Posadas was raised in Baguio City but stayed for most of his life in Visayas region, particularly in Cebu City.

Prior to his current post, he was a long-time Criminal Investigation and Detection Group officer all over the country including La Union, Olongapo City and Bulacan, Cebu City as provincial officer and Carraga region as regional director.

He was also designated as head of Aviation Security Unit in Region 7 in Cebu City in 2012 to 2013. (PNA) 
LAP/zst/EGutierrez         

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Bello, Bulakenyos pay tribute to Ople’s 90th birthday - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 3 (PNA) --Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Friday joined with provincial officials and thousands of Bulakenyos in paying tribute to one of the province’s most illustrious son and statesman, the late Gat Blas F. Ople, during the commemoration of his 90th birth anniversary at the capitol grounds here,

Bello, who was the guest of honor and speaker, said he was deeply honored to be part of the occasion because Ople is one of the brightest  leaders in modern Philippine history who championed the welfare of marginalized laborers and overseas Filipino workers.

"Ka Blas was my favorite cabinet secretary during the administration of President Ramos where I was then the justice secretary. I was fortunate to see how our beloved Ka Blas served his country with a big heart and ardent love for our country,” he said.

He also said that Ople's legacy at DOLE continues to help the labor sector in the myriads of problems hounding the Filipino work force.

He said that the former senator and foreign secretary has set the international labor standards that countinue to uplift the welfare not only of the Philippine labor force but also in other countries especialy when he became the first Filipino president of the International Labor Organization (ILO).

For his part Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado described Ople as “a class by himself," a poor lass from the coastal area of Hagonoy,   who did not allow poverty to hinder his dream of serving his country and fellowmen.

“Ka Blas is a class by himself. He towered tall above the rest,” Alvarado said, adding that the province was so blessed because it is not only the home of the three Republiscs—The Republic of kakaraong de Sili in Pandi, the Biak-na- Bato Republic in San Miguel and the Malolos Republis also known as the First Philippine Republic—but also for having noble and illustrious sons like Ople.

The governor said that Ople can also be considered the “Philosopher King” in the mold of Rameses of Egypt, Marcus Aurelius of Rome, Thomas Jefferson of the United Staes, David of Israel and Mao Tse Tung of China.

Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando, on the other hand, said that “Ka Blas” has not only helped many Filipinos but continues to inspire the people.

"Ka Blas was one of the illustrious and noble heroes of our generation and also in the next generations," Fernando said.

Ople was born on February 3, 1927  and died on  December 14, 2003.

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

Perceived as a leftist-nationalist at the onset of his career in public service, Ople was, in his final years, a vocal supporter for allowing a limited United States military presence in the Philippines, and for American initiatives in the War on Terror including the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Ople's most enduring role was his 19 years as Secretary (later Minister) of Labor and Employment during the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos, when Philippine labor laws were overhauled through the enactment of the Labor Code of the Philippines that he authored.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell described  him as "one of the pivotal figures of the late 20th century for Philippine history.

This year’s commeration of Ople’s 90th birth anniversary carries the theme “Kahalagahan ng Edukasyon, Pamana sa Bagong Henersayon.” (PNA) 
FPV/zst/EGG    

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CLRAA meet opens in Bulacan Feb. 5

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 2 (PNA)-- Its all systems go for this year's Central Luzon Regional Athletic Association (CLRAA) meet.

With the theme, “Achieving Stronger Union through Friendly Sports Competition," the annual regional meet wii kick off at the Bulacan Sports Complex in this city on February 5.

To be hosted by the Provincial Government of Bulacan and the Department of Education Schools Division Office (SDO) of Bulacan, the opening program will start at 2 p.m. with a parade.

Senator Richard Gordon is expected to grace the sports event that aims to promote sportsmanship, good values and camaraderie among the delegates.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that future champions are being molded through this friendly sports competition.

"Every year, there are lot of participants in the CLRAA which only show that there are many students who are dreaming to give honors to their respective areas. We are always ready to help them reach and fulfill their dreams to the fullest of our abilities,” Alvarado said.

Bulacan was the overall champion in the 2016 CLRAA meet, followed by Bataan as first runner up and Olongapo as second runner-up. (PNA) 
FPV/zst/EGGamos

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US-based foundation offers surgical, medical mission in Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 30 (PNA) -- The Philippine Medical Association (PMA), Medical Mission Foundation of Greater St. Louis, Missouri, USA, in partnership with the provincial government of Bulacan, kicked off on Monday a four-day medical and surgical mission at the Bulacan Capitol Gymnasium in this city.

The medical team, composed of 55 Filipino and American doctors and nurses, has been offering free medical services to Bulakenyos for the past years.

The free medical services include consultations and check-ups on children, adult and senior citizens, dental and ophthalmology services, minor operation on cysts and major operations on goiter, gall bladder, hernia and myoma.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the province is more than grateful to the association of doctors for extending their helpful hand to the less fortunate Bulakenyos for five consecutive years now.

"Although, we are trying to improve the services of our public hospitals, we are thankful to the people like them, who in spite of being in foreign land, are willing to help our provincemates in their medical needs," Alvarado said. (PNA) 
LAP/zst/EGGamos

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Bulacan officials, police assure Korean students of their safety

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 28 (PNA) -- Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado and acting Bulacan Police director, Sr. Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr. have assured Korean students at the Bulacan State University that they are safe in this province.

Alvarado and Caramat made the assurance during a dialogue with Korean students at the Hostel Function Hall here Friday to assure them that not all police and military officials are involved in nefarious activities, such as the recent kidnap and slaying of Korean businessman, Jee Ick Joo.

During the dialogue, Caramat said not all uniformed personnel are scalawags. He gave his word that he will not tolerate such atrocities in his area of responsibility.

He also reminded the Korean nationals to be vigilant and report to the nearest police station any untoward incident that might happen to them so that the provincial government and the police could take immediate action.

Caramat also said that the Bulacan Police will give its all in ensuring the security of Koreans and all other foreigners visiting and residing in Bulacan. (PNA) 
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Senate sets probe into 'tokhang for ransom' on Thursday

MANILA, Jan. 23 (PNA) -- The Senate inquiry into the kidnap for ransom cases allegedly perpetrated by members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the guise as an "Oplan Tokhang" operation is scheduled on Thursday (January 26).

Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, sought a probe in the wake of the abduction of Korean businessman, Jee Ick-Joo, who was eventually killed in Camp Crame last week.

Lacson, who is former PNP chief, said the inquiry had the end view of speeding up what he described as the “seeming slow and soft” action of the PNP on the perpetrators.

He said this was not the first time "tokhang" was used as cover-up for kidnap for ransom activities citing an incident last August 2016 in Bulacan wherein a friend was also taken from the premises of his own home on the pretext of his alleged drug activities.

The senator meanwhile urged PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa anew to prioritize cleaning the police ranks.

PNP’s Oplan Tokhang involves police officers visiting houses of suspected drug users and traders to persuade them to stop their involvement in the illegal drugs trade. (PNA)
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First Philippine Republic is worth dying for -- Robin Padilla

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 23 (PNA) -- Actor Robin Padilla said Philippine freedom is worth dying for as he paid tribute to the significance of the First Philippine Republic which was inaugurated at the historic Barasoain Church here 118 years ago.

Padilla, together with actress Vina Morales, joined city officials headed by Mayor Christian D. Natividad and the people of Malolos in commemorating the 118th anniversary of the First Philippine Republic at the patio of Barasoain Church on Monday morning.

He said that if the Supremo of the Katipunan Andres Bonifacio, who he portrayed in one of his films, is still alive today, he would remind the Filipino race and say these words: “Mahal kong mga kapatid, kaibigan at kababayan, ang araw na ito ay dapat kilalanin at ipagdiwang upang ang bagong henerasyon ay mamulat sa maganda at matamis na kasaysayan ng Pilipinas (My dear brothers, friends and countrymen, this day should be recognized and be celebrated so that the new generation would become conscious on the nice and sweet history of the Philippines).

Padilla said that it is high time to unite, under the significance of the First Philippine Republic, and commemorate it without any shed of politics.

He said the event here that transpired 118 years ago was the fruit of the hardships by patriots like Rizal, Bonifacio, Del Pilar and other Filipino heroes as well as the revolutionaries who fought, killed and died for independence and sovereignty.

Padilla said the people of the Republic should not forget the blood, sweat and tears that Filipino freedom fighters have shed and should always be ready to do so.

Padilla and Morales thanked Mayor Natividad and the city government of Malolos for giving them an opportunity to be a part of one of the momentous celebrations in the country and have a part in paying tribute to the significance of the First Philippine Republic.

Natividad for his part, said that as long as there are people who will remember and rekindle in the hearts the importance of the First Philippine Republic, Philippine freedom will not die nor fade away.

"Thus, let us always celebrate this event not only in this noble city of Malolos, but also for in the entire nation and in other parts of the world where there are Filipinos," he said. (PNA)  
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DILG chief asks Bulakenyos to support gov't fight vs corruption, illegal drugs, crimes - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 23 (PNA) -- Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael O. Sueto on Monday called on the people of Bulacan and its leaders to support the government in its fight against graft and corruption, illegal drugs and crimes.

Sueto, speaking during the inauguration of the First Philippine Republic on January 23, 1899 at the historic Barasoain Church here, said such support is needed so as not to waste the sacrifices of Filipino patriots and revolutionaries who shed blood, sweat and tears 118 years ago in attaining the quest for freedom and sovereignty.

The DILG Secretary, who was the guest of honor and speaker during the 118th anniversary of the First Philippine Republic, told Bulacan officials headed by Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, Vice Governor Daniel Fernando and City Mayor Christian D. Natividad and the people of Bulacan who attended the ceremony that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is extending his best wishes and adherence to the significance of the First Philippine Republic.

He said the President believes that the sacrifices of the patriotic Filipinos and the revolutionaries will not go into naught as long as the people of the Republic will continue to unite and fight corruption, crime and the specter of narco-politics, which is now the enemy and evil that threaten the very fabric of the Philippine’s hard-earned freedom and democracy.

The DILG secretary said that if President Duterte did not become the head of the nation, the Republic will surely be transformed into a state of “narco-politics," where drug lords will rule and control national and local executives.

He also told the people of Bulacan that the President, after meeting the different mayors in the country, also met with the provincial governors.

He said the Chief Executive gave them the list of politicians involved in the proliferation of the illegal drug trade in the country which, he said is very alarming because it even includes a senator, congressmen, judges, mayors, village chiefs and the police.

“I can’t imagine what will happen to our country if the local government units (LGUs) will fall under the control of drug lords,” Sueto said.

He said the controversial kidnapping and killing of Korean national Jee Ick Jooi inside Camp Crame by police officers is a “wake-up call not only for the Philippine National Police but for all of us.”

For his part, Gov. Alvarado said that it is high time to look back at the importance of January 23, 1899 in the midst of the growing clamor for change.

Alvarado also said that it is his fervent wish that the significance of this day (January 23), the anniversary of the First Philippine Republic, be given the full honor and recognition and must not only be regarded as a mere provincial holiday in Bulacan. (PNA) 
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DILG Secretary to grace the 118th anniversary of the First Philippine Republic

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 20 (PNA)-- Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael D. Sueno will join the Bulakenyos in the commemoration of the 118th anniversary of the First Philippine Republic on January 23 at the historic Barasoain Church in this city.

Anchored on the theme, “Republica Filipina: Sagisag ng Demokrasya ng Bansa," the celebration will start at 8 a.m. through a flag raising ceremony and wreath laying activity at the monument of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, the first president of the Republic of the Philippines.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado sad it is fit and proper not only for the Bulakenyos but also for the whole Filipino nation to relive the day when the country fought for its freedom and won the battle against foreign invaders.

Dr. Rene R. Escalante, OIC-chairman of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines will also take part on the said event, together with local officials, government employees, senior citizens, volunteer workers, veterans, teachers, students and other non-government organizations.

To give Bulakenyos the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion, Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea issued Proclamation No. 129, also known as “Declaring Monday, 23 January 2017, as a Special (Non-Working) Day in the Province of Bulacan."

Meanwhile, the Alagang Kalusugan Medikal Mission mula kay Tatay Digong 2017, in partnership with the Provincial Government of Bulacan (Kapitolyo sa Barangay), will offer free medical and dental services, free medicines, an X-ray and electrocardiogram (ECG) tests, haircut, reflexology and massage as well as legal counseling from 7:30 a.m. until 12 noon beside the Barasoain Church.

The inauguration of the First Philippine Republic also known as Malolos Republic and the proclamation of the first President-elect, Gen. Aguinaldo took place on January 23, 1899 at the historic ground of Barasoain Church. (PNA) 
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Bulacan officials push for declaration of January 23 as national holiday

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 19 (PNA)-- Inside the historic Barasoain Church here, a marker where the names of the members of the Malolos Congress are inscribed on metal, a message written in Filipino, Spanish and English states that, “On this part of the world from the Eastern shores of the Meditterranean and the Suez Canal eastward to the Islands of the Pacific , north and south of the Equator, this Holy Church became the cradle of the government “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

Inspired by these patriotic words, many residents of this historic capital city are clamoring for the declaration of January 23 of every year, which is the commemorative anniversary of the First Philippine Republic, as a national holiday.

They said it is long overdue to dignify a most significant part of Philippine history that makes it a sovereign nation  and the “cradle of democracy” in the continents of Asia and Africa.

"Our congressmen have been pushing for a proposal to make the noble date of the birth of the First Philippine Republic a national holiday but until now, only provincial holiday was declared in recognition of the occasion," said Engineer Alejandro Joson Jr., a former village chief of Barangay Tikay here.

Joson said that Malolenos hope that with a patriotic Chief Executive in the person of President Rodrigo Duterte, the dreams of the people of Malolos would soon finally come true.

The former village chief also refferred to House Bill No. 477 that Bulacan First District Rep. Jose Antonio R. Sy-Alvarado authored and filed in Congress, an act declaring January 23 of every year as a special working holiday.

In an interview, Rep. Sy-Alvarado said HB 477 was approved during third reading in Congress and was supported by  256 congressmen.

"The proposed measure is now in the Senate and through your prayers, support of our lawmakers, and the industriousness and patience of the representative from the first district of Bulacan, we are expecting that it will instill into the minds of our citizenry and hearts of the youth that our race has a noble past and present and has brilliant future, ” Sy-Alvarado said.

The young solon said that he wants it to be declared as a special working holiday so that it will not disrupt the economic motion in the country.

For his part, Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said it is about time for the Filipino people to know that the First Philippine Republic is not only significant in the city of Malolos but in the entire country.

The governor said the birth of the First Philippine Republic showed that Filipinos can stand on their own as free citizens of the world and can govern themselves, aside from proving that they are capable of achieving their long quest to free themselves from the bondage of colonial rule.

He also said Filipinos abroad should also celebrate and commemorate the “great day” of Philippine freedom and independence.

The First Philippine Repubic was inaugurated on January 23, 1899 at Barasoain Church, in this historic capital city, and was marked by festive celebrations.

The day also become momentous with the proclamation of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo as the elected President of the new Philippine Republic.(PNA) 
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WACOM4 delegates visit Divine Mercy Shrine, other 'places of Mercy' in Bulacan - By Emil G. Gamos

MARILAO, Bulacan, Jan. 19 (PNA) --They came, they saw, they believed in God’s love and mercy.

Thousands of devotees, both foreign and local, flocked to the Divine Mercy Shrine in Bgy. Sto. Rosa II here before noon Thursday, where they shared personal experiences and the blessings of God’s love and mercy on their lives and devotion to the Divine Mercy.

Fr. Nick F. Lalog, chairman of the Diocesan Commission on Social Communication of the Diocese of Malolos, said at least 3,484 local Catholic lay devotees and some 753 foreign delegates arrived at the Holy Shrine of the Divine Mercy Church here, the first stop in their “pilgrimage” to the 15 “places of Mercy in Bulacan as part of the “4th World Apostolic Congress on Mercy” (WACOM) that began last January 16 and will culminate on January 20, 2017  here in the country.  

During a press conference, Monsignor  Bartolome Santos,  who represented Bishop Jose Oliveros of the Archdiocese of Malolos and WACOM national episcopal coordinator,  said Bulacan has many places of mercy where people who are experiencing miseries in life are being taken cared of by the Diocese.

He said the Diocese in Bulacan has been caring for those who have lost hope due to heavy burdens and miseries that they are experiencing or have experienced.

Santos also said the Diocese has also long been taking care of drug dependents and those who are spiritually lost.

Known as the Galilee Home, the rehabilitation and spiritual therapy center is located in the mounatain resort town in Dona Remedios Trinidad and one of the 15 places of Mercy that the WACOM delegates are scheduled to visit in the Bulacan leg of their pilgrimage.  

"The Galilee Home , which was opened in 1991, has no walls. All those who are coming are being asked if they are ready to accept the Lord in their lives. Here, they will learn to pray daily, and even plant vegetables. They always have foods and other daily needs because there are those who always make donations. Here, you can feel the mercy and love of God," he said.

One of the delegates and a Divine Mercy devotee who identified herself as Melinda Miralles, a breast cancer patient, also shared her devotion.

She said that the Divine Mercy has helped her to be brave and instead of losing hope, it has helped her strengthened her faith.  

"I don’t want to considere myself as a cancer survivor but  a faith survivor. I will be excited to face the Lord because of the Divine Mercy,” she said.

Upon hearing her story, Monsignor Sabino A. Vengco of the Epheaus Ministry for Sick and Elderly Persons, said Millares is very special and precious to the Lord.

Other devotees also shared their personal experiences during a program where the WACOM delegates were also welcomed and serenaded by local singers singing kundiman and Filipino classical folk songs.

They were also entertained by local dancers dressed in native costumes who performed the “Tinikling and Pandango sa ilaw” and other native dances.

Aside from the Divine Mercy Shrine, the WACOM delegates will also visit the Ephesus House, Tahanan ni Mother Rita, Sto. Nino Bethany House, Bahay Pangarap,  all in Guiguinto town; Nazareth Home for Street Children (Bustos, Bulacan) , Bahay ni San Martin (Bustos), Nazareth Home for Street Children (Bustos); Emmaus House of Apostolate (Malolos City), Tahanang Mapagpala (Malolos City); Bethlehem House of Bread (Baliwag); Bahay Kalinga (Sta. Maria); Lingap Bata Center (Sta. Maria); Hospicio San Juan de Dios for Men (Bocaue),   Galilee Homes (Dona Remedios Trinidad) and the Dumagats tribes men also in Dona Remedios Trinidad as part of their “Pilgrimage of Mercy." (PNA) 
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Malolos City opens “Fiesta Republika 2017”

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 18 (PNA)--The festive mood that transpired at the historic Barasoain Church 118 years ago was relived as the city government headed by Mayor Christian D. Natividad opened on Wednesday this year’s “Fiesta Republika” in tribute to the commemoration of the 118th anniversary of the First Philippine Republic which was inaugurated here on January 23, 1899.

Natividad said that “Fiesta Republika” is the culmination of the festive mood that began on the opening of the Malolos Congress, also at the Barasoain Church on September 15, 1898.

He said the city government has been holding “Fiesta Republika” for seven years now as a fitting tribute to the importance and significance of the First Philippine Republic which made the nation the “cradle of democracy” in Asia and Africa.

Natividad, who is also a lawyer, said that the inauguration of the First Philippine Republic gave credence to the declaration of Philippine Indepence on June 12, 1898 in Kawit, Cavite.

As a tribute, Natividad said they have lined up various events to celebrate the occasion.

"Fiesta Republika is not only for the people of Malolos and Bulacan but for all Filipinos of all ages. This is a very great day for our people because it is a day when we gain freedom and sovereignty from 400 years of colonial rule.

He said that to make the occasion more momentous, he requested the ambassadors of the Philippines in the United States of America, Spain and Australia to commemorate and have their own celebrations.

"It should be commemorated not only here in Malolos and the whole province of Bulacan but also in the entire Philippines and other parts of the world because January 23 is the date of the birth of the Filipinos as independent citizens," Natividad said.

The “Fiesta Republika 2017” kicked off with a holy mass at the historic Barasoain church. It was followed by the Kalutong Malolos where the city’s culinary products took center stage.

The other events are “Hataw sa Sining”, “Tiange, Sining at Tsibog”, “Kasalang bayan at Handaan sa Republika” at Talakayan sa Sining, Kultura at Turismo”.

The colorful events will culminate on January 23 at the Barsoain church and will be followed by float parade, street dancing shopwcasing the momentous events that took place in this historic capital city. (PNA) 
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MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 18 (PNA) -- The festive mood that transpired at the historic Barasoain Church more than a century ago was relived as the city government opened this year’s “Fiesta Republika” to mark the 118th anniversary of the First Philippine Republic that was inaugurated here on January 23, 1899.

Malolos City Mayor Christian Natividad said the “Fiesta Republika” also celebrates the opening of the Malolos Congress at the Barasoain Church on September 15, 1898.

The city government has been holding the “Fiesta Republika” for seven years now as a fitting tribute to the significance of the First Philippine Republic that made the nation the “cradle of democracy” in Asia and Africa.

The inauguration of the First Philippine Republic gave credence to the declaration of Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898 in Kawit, Cavite, Natividad said.

To celebrate the occasion, the city government has lined up various events.

"Fiesta Republika is not only for the people of Malolos and Bulacan but for all Filipinos of all ages. This is a very great day for our people because it is a day when we gain freedom and sovereignty from 400 years of colonial rule,” he said, adding that he has requested the Philippine ambassadors to the United States, Spain and Australia to commemorate the event and have their own celebrations.

"It should be commemorated not only here in Malolos and the whole province of Bulacan but also in the entire Philippines and other parts of the world because Jan. 23 is the date of the birth of the Filipinos as independent citizens," the mayor said.

“Fiesta Republika 2017” kicked off with a holy Mass at the historic Barasoain Church, followed by the "Kalutong Malolos" where the city’s culinary products took center stage.

There were also the “Hataw sa Sining”, “Tiange, Sining at Tsibog”, “Kasalang Bayan at Handaan sa Republika” at "Talakayan sa Sining, Kultura at Turismo”.

The celebration will culminate on Jan. 23 at the Barsoain Church, with a float parade and street dancing, showcasing the momentous events that took place in this historic capital city of Bulacan. (PNA) 
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3 armed drug dealers dead in shootout with Bulacan cops

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, Jan. 17 (PNA) -- Three alleged armed drug dealers were killed in separate buy-bust operations conducted in the towns of Pandi and Obando on Monday and Tuesday.

Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., acting provincial director of Bulacan PNP, said that two of the suspects identified as one alias “Mumong” and Emarwin Pabico were killed in two different operations conducted by Pandi PNP while a certain alias “Budoy” was killed in an operation conducted by Obando police station.

Caramat said that based on the report of Chief Inspector Manuel de Vera Jr., officer-in-charge (OIC) of Pandi Municipal Police Station, Pabico was killed in a shootout around 11 p.m. Monday while Mumong was killed at 1 a.m. Tuesday, both in Barangay Cacarong Bata, Pandi town.

He said the two suspects drew their guns after sensing they were negotiating with police operatives who acted as poseur buyers.

"Our police operatives retaliated and hit the suspects," he said.

Likewise, Caramat said the Obando PNP under Chief Inspector Arnulfo Tangol reported that suspect Budoy was killed in a buy bust operation at around 12:30 a.m. Monday in Barangay Panghulo, Obando town. (PNA) 
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World Apostolic Congress delegates to visit 15 'Places of Mercy' in Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 15 (PNA) -- At least 3,484 local Catholic lay devotees and some 753 foreign delegates will visit 15 “Places of Mercy” in this province as part of the “4th World Apostolic Congress on Mercy” (WACOM) that will take place in the country from January 16 to 20.

Fr. Nick F. Lalog, chairman of the Diocesan Commission on Social Communication of the Diocese of Malolos, said that both local and foreign participants will visit the designated “Places of Mercy” like the Ephesus House, Tahanan ni Mother Rita, Sto. Nino Bethany House, Bahay Pangarap, all in Guiguinto town; Nazareth Home for Street Children (Bustos, Bulacan), Bahay ni San Martin (Bustos), Nazareth Home for Street Children (Bustos); Emmaus House of Apostolate (Malolos City), Tahanang Mapagpala (Malolos City); Bethlehem House of Bread (Baliwag); Bahay Kalinga (Sta. Maria); Lingap Bata Center (Sta. Maria); Hospicio San Juan de Dios for Men (Bocaue), Galilee Homes (Dona Remedios Trinidad) and the Dumagats tribesmen also in Dona Remedios Trinidad on Thursday, January 19.

Lalog said the participants, together with Church dignitaries headed by Papal Nuncio Most Rev. Guiseppe Pinto, H. E. Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle (Archbishop of Manila), Most Rev. Socrates Villegas (Archbishop of Lingayen and president of the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines); Most Rev. Ramon Arguelles (Archbishop of Lipa); Most Rev. Ruperto Santos (Bishop of Balanga and WACOM-Asia Episcopal Coordinator); Most Rev. Jose Oliveros (Bishop of Malolos and WACOM National Episcopal Coordinator); Rev. Patrice Chocholski (WACOM Secretary General); and Rev. Fr. Prospero Tenorio (WACOM-Asia Secretary General), will arrive and assemble on Monday morning at the Manila Metropolitan Cathedral in Manila.

On the second day, the participants will witness the enthronement of the images of the Divine Mercy, Our Lady of Mercy, Saints Faustina, John Paul II, Padre Pio and Mother Teresa with morning prayers at the Royal and Pontifical University of Sto. Tomas in Manila.

On the third day, they will depart for the National Shrine and Parish of Padre Pio in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. The pilgrimage will culminate on Friday at the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Balanga, Bataan.

Seeing Divine Mercy as object of the Church's missionary proclamation, Lalog said the saintly Pope John Paul II has stated that "The Church, professing mercy and remaining always faithful to it, has the right and the duty to call upon the mercy of God, imploring it in the face of all the manifestations of physical and moral evil, before all threats that cloud the whole horizon of the life of humanity today.".

Lalog said that WACOM was introduced by the Vatican on April 2-6, 2008 in Rome, Italy.

He said that the first WACOM coincided with the third death anniversary of St. Pope John Paul II.

"From then on, mercy congress have been sustained on a regular basis so that every world congress was followed by a continental congress and on the following year by a national congress then back to another world congress,” he said.

Lalog also disclosed that on July 18, 2015, Bishop Oliveros of the Archdiocese of Malolos wrote to all the bishops requesting them to delegate an archdiocesan spiritual director who shall guide and direct lay devotees to actively involve themselves for WACOM 2017.

He said that this year theme is “Communion in Mercy, Mission for Mercy.” (PNA) 
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Bulacan mayors support President Duterte's all out war vs illegal drugs - By Emil G. Gamos

GUIGUINTO, Bulacan, Jan. 12 (PNA) -- Claiming that the effective all-out-war of President Rodrigo Duterte against illegal drugs has positively resulted in a significant drop in the crime rate in this province, the League of Municipalities-Bulacan Chapter on Thursday announced its full support to the Chief Executive in his ardent desire to rid the country of the dope menace.

Guiguinto Mayor Ambrosio “Boy” Cruz, LMP Bulacan president, said that mayors in the province have expressed their full backing to President Duterte's war against illegal drugs during their visit at the Malacanang Palace Wednesday.

The Chief Executive called for a meeting with the municipal and city mayors in the country wherein one of the discussed issues was how to suppress the illegal drug operation in their respective areas.

Cruz said that the no-nonsense crusade of the President against the proliferation of illegal drugs is also spilling over in the commitment of other crimes such as robbery, car theft and snatching among others.

"Many towns and cities in Bulacan have became peaceful. The intensified operations of the police have also put the heat on drug dealers while thousands of users are surrendering or getting rehabilitated,” Cruz said.

Cruz said that Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado is very supportive of the intensified all-out campaign of local officials and the police as he urged his colleagues in Bulacan LMP to be strict in the implementation of tasks assigned to them by the people to further develop their towns and cities.

Malolos City Mayor Christian D, Natividad, who was also present during the meeting, said that community leaders are also supporting the anti-drug crusade of President Duterte.

“People are now seeing the good results of the war against illegal drugs initiated by our President. We are also noting its good effects on investments,” he said. (PNA) 
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Comelec dismisses petition to annul victory of winning Bocaue 'coin toss mayor'

BOCAUE, Bulacan, Jan. 12 (PNA) -- The Second Division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has dismissed the petition of losing Bocaue mayoral candidate Jim Valerio to annul and nullify the proclamation of his rival Eleanor "Joni" Villanueva-Tugna as winning mayor of this town in the May 9, 2016 elections.

It can be recalled that the mayoralty race in this town, known as the “fireworks capital” of the country and for its colorful fluvial festival, was decided via a coin toss after Tugna and Valerio both received an equal number of votes (16,694 votes each).

Tugna scored a 3-0 on a best of five mechanics against Valerio. She was immediately proclaimed the winner of the mayoral race.

Valerio was contesting that he was not present and was not properly represented when the Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBOC) conducted the breaking of tie via the toss of coin.

In a 10-page resolution, the Comelec Second Division-- headed by Presiding Commisioner Al L. Parreno, together with Commissioners Arthur D. Lim and Sheriff M. Abas, dismissed the petition after pointing out that “a coin toss is a luck-based method in the same way that drawing of lots is based on luck.”

The Second Division also stated that “it is noteworthy that the agreement to conduct the “toss coin” as means to break the tie was voluntarily entered into by the parties’ respective authorized representatives, as evidenced by a written gentleman’s agreement that legal counsels of the parties voluntarily signed. This act of petitioner’s counsel, duly authorized by by him to act as such, is binding upon the petitioner.”   

Furthermore, the Second Division also stated that under the provisions of Philippine election laws, “it can be seen that in an election resulting in a tie, the law provides for drawing of lots of the candidates who garnered an equal number of votes as the method by which the tie will be broken; thereafter, the candidate who may be favored by luck shall be proclaimed the winner.”

The poll body also explained that “while the law expressly mentions this method of breaking the tie, it does not, however, prohibit any similar method to determine the lucky, and thus, the winning candidate.”

It also added that “neither did the law declare that the use of any other methods, likewise based on luck, is a ground for the annulment of the proclamation of the candidate favored by luck.”

The Comelec’s Second Division stated that they found no irregularity in the way the MBOC used a coin toss, a method  based purely on luck, to break the tie.

Last Tuesday, the camp of Mayor Tugna announced that  Judge Herminigildo Dumlao of Branch 81 of the Bulacan Regional Trial Court dismissed the election protest also filed by Valerio.

In the said decision, the court sustained Tugna's argument that complainant/protester Jim Valerio "failed to give a detailed description of the acts or omissions complained of as required by Sec. 10(c)(iv), Rule 2 of A.M. No. 10-4-1-SC, otherwise known as the "The 2010 Rules of Procedure for Municipal Election Contests".

The protest was filed after Valerio lost in a coin toss alleging that in 34 clustered precints "frauds and irregularities were committed in the conduct of the election and during the canvassing of the election returns".

Tugna's lawyers Romulo Macalintal and Antonio Carlos Bautista asked the court to summarily dismiss the said protest for being insufficient in form and substance and for failure of Valerio to make a detailed specification of the acts or omissions complained of showing the electoral frauds, anomalies or irregularities in the protested precincts as required by the Supreme Court Rules for election protests involving elective municipal officials.

The court said that Valerio did not indicate in his protest the particular acts or omissions which amounted to fraud or irregularities committed in the conduct of election. (PNA) 
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Malolos RTC dismisses election protest filed against Bocaue mayor

MANILA, Jan. 10 (PNA) -- A Regional Trial Court of Malolos, Bulacan has dismissed the election protest filed against Bocaue Mayor Eleonor Tugna for insufficiency in form and substance.

The decision dated November 11, 2016 by Regional Trial Court, Brach 81 of Malolos, Bulacan, presided by Judge Hermenegildo Dumlao II, (which was officially released on December 27, 2016 and received by the parties on January 5, 2017), junked the petition.

The election of the local chief executive was decided by a coin toss after she and her rival got equal number of 16,694 votes after the elections on May 9, 2016.

Valerio filed the election protest when he lost in the coin toss alleging that in 34 clustered precincts “frauds and irregularities were committed in the conduct of the election and during the canvassing of the election returns” and that the vote counting machines (VCMs) “in certain precincts did not print the required receipts and therefore did not function correctly.”

When required by the court to answer, Tugna, through her lawyers Romulo Macalintal and Antonio Carlos Bautista asked the court to “summarily dismiss the election protest for being insufficient in form and substance for failure of Valerio to make a detailed specification of the acts or omissions complained of showing the electoral frauds, anomalies, or irregularities in the protested precincts as required by the Supreme Court Rules for election protests involving elective municipal officials.”

It also sustained respondent's argument that the petitioner “failed to give a detailed description of the acts or omissions complained of as required by Section 10(c)(iv), Rule 2 of A. M. No. 10-4-1-SC, otherwise known as the “The 2010 Rules of Procedure for Municipal Election Contests.”

"Valerio did not indicate in his protest the particular acts or omissions which amounted to fraud or irregularities committed in the conduct of the election”, the decision said.

The Court added that Valerio’s “election protest did not make mention of individuals or parties that committed the frauds or irregularities complained of or of the voters who were disenfranchised due to the commission of the frauds or irregularities complained of.”

Valerio can still file an appeal before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

"If he wants to he can go to Comelec for appeal...decisions of RTCs in municipal officials are appealable only to Comelec," Macalintal added. (PNA) 
FPV/FGP/eds

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Bodies of 2 drowned Bulacan college students retrieved

NORZAGARAY, Bulacan, Jan. 9 (PNA) -- A team from the Bulacan Rescue, personally supervised by Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, on Monday morning retrieved the bodies of two college students of the Bulacan State University (BulSU) who drowned at the Bakas river here last Saturday.

One of the fatalities, Jaysie Ronwill Balitoasan, 19, a resident of Barangay Caingin, Meycauayan City and president of the BulSU Student Council, was retrieved at around 9:52 a.m.

The other victim, who was identified as Jericho Burgos, 17, resident of Barangay Bagong Bayan, Bulakan town, was later found and recovered at around 10:00 am.

Based on the reports gathered by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), the victims, together with members of the Journalism Society Group of BulSU, went to the Bakas river last Saturday to shoot a short film as an entry to the Sine Bulacan Film Festival of the said university.

Upon arrival at the said river, the locals warned and advised them that the river was treacherous but they ignored them and went on to swim and shoot their film.

The strong current swept away the victims, whom witnesses said were pulled down the so-called “Tres Maria’s Rock” and sank and were presumed to have drowned.

Since Saturday and Sunday, Governor Alvarado, together with the Bulacan Rescue and divers from the Norzagaray Rescue, Meycauayan Rescue, Norzagaray Police Station and the 48th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, conducted retrieval operations.

The strong current, according to some sources, was due to the release of waters from Angat dam.

Last Sunday, Alvarado requested dam officials to temporarily stop the discharge of waters so that the retrieval operations could proceed without any untoward incident and without posing danger to divers and rescue teams.

Aside from the two BulSU students, two girls also drowned last Saturday at the Angat river in Sitio Hulo, Barangay Caingin, San Rafael.

The fatalities were identified as Myka Nicolas, 16 and Nikki Cruz, 8, both residents of Barangay Capihan, San Rafael.

Police report said that the lifeless body of Nicolas was recovered on the same day while the body of Cruz was recovered Sunday at the part of the river in nearby Bustos, Bulacan.

It was learned that the victims, together with their relatives went on the said river to clean the garbage truck of Barangay Capihan.

The victims reportedly swam at the deep part of the river which resulted in their drowning.

Gov. Alvarado said that the Provincial Government will help the families of the victims.

The series of incidents drew varied reactions from provincial and local officials.

Vice Governor Daniel Fernando said the Sangguniang Panlalawigan will conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation regarding the drowning incidents.

He said that local and barangay authorities should be strict in warning and advising people who want to swim in the river.

He also said that swimming should be strictly prohibited when the river is “angry” or “wild”.

Malolos City Mayor Christian D. Natividad also said that dam officials should install warning systems and have precautionary systems when releasing waters from the dams.

“Bulacan is host to three big dams — the Angat, Ipo and Bustos. Proper warning systems should be enforced to avoid untoward incidents,” Natividad said. (PNA) 
LAP/zst/EGGamos

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PDEA recognizes drug free provinces, cities in Central Luzon

BALER, Aurora, Jan. 7 (PNA) --The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) regional office in Central Luzon has recognized the provinces in the region that declared drug free.

The PDEA-Central Luzon has acknowledged the drug-free declaration of the three provinces, namely Bataan, Aurora and Zambales and the cities of Angeles and Olongapo, based on the reports of Police Regional Office that came from Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADACs) and Municipal Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (MADACs) in the region.

PDEA agent Christian V. De Honor, chief of Barangay Drug Clearing Team, sent data to the Philippines News Agency (PNA) showing the current status of the all- out war against illegal drugs.

Aside from the provinces and cities with 100% drug-free, the percentage of drug-cleared in other areas in the region are the following: Nueva Ecija (94.66%); Tarlac (92.79%); Bulacan (84.51%); and Pampanga (62.34%).

De Honor, in an interview, said that PDEA personnel were assessing and validating those said areas and identifying the percentage of drug-free based on 14 parameters set by the Dangerous Drugs Board.

Data also showed that of the 3,102 barangays in Central Luzon, 2,837 are affected while 265 barangays are unaffected by illegal drugs.

Of the 2837 drug- affected villages, 2,498 were already cleared.

It could be remembered that PDEA has declared Bataan as the first drug-free province in Central Luzon. (PNA) 
RMA/zst/JDA

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6 armed drug pushers killed; 6 others nabbed in separate police buy bust operations in Bulacan

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, Jan. 6 (PNA) -- Police continue to put the heat against those involved in illegal drugs in this province.

Six armed drug dealers were killed while six other suspects were arrested in three separate buy-bust operations conducted by police anti-narcotics operatives in the City of Malolos, Bocaue and Norzagaray late Thursday night and early Friday morning.

Based on the report, two drug personalities were killed in Malolos, two others in Bocaue and another two in Norzagaray, all in this province.

Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., identified the slain suspects as Charlie Ayuyao, 33, resident of Daisy St., Purok 2, Barangay Cofradia, Malolos City; Arnold Capareda, 23, driver, native of Navotas and was residing in Block 4 Lot 17, St. Martha Homes, Barangay Batia, Bocaue; Reynald Lipana and Jose Noli Espayos, both from Angat, Bulacan; a certain alias “Baba," and one still unidentified suspect.

On the other hand, the six arrested suspects were identified as Joel Rosales, 21, delivery boy; Jack Jasareno 20, laborer; Joan Capareda, 30; Angeline Ocampo, 26; Jimmy Ocampo, 28; and Hausban Mendoza, 37, all residents of St. Martha Homes, Barangay Batia, Bocaue, Bulacan. (PNA) 
LAP/zst/EGGamos

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PHL to host 4th World Apostolic Congress on Mercy

MANILA, Jan. 3 (PNA) -- The country will be hosting the 4th World Apostolic Congress on Mercy (WACOM 4) to be held on January 16 to 20.

Fr. Prospero Tenorio, Chief Executive Officer of WACOM 4 said the country was chosen by the WACOM committee to be the host country of this year’s event.

“Sila ang pumili (sa Pilipinas). Meron kasi committee pumipili kung saan gagawin ang WACOM,” he said.

“Nakita kasi nila na organisado ang Pilipinas na ‘yung connection with the Divine Mercy promotion. Meron tayo tinatawag dito sa ating bansa “BOSOM,” na ang ibig sabihin ay Basic Orientation Seminar on Mercy that’s why in the National Shrine every month meron tayo ginagawa Bosom. Upang ang mga tao ay matulungan sa pagpapahalaga, pag-unawa sa awa ng Diyos,” he added.

More than 3,000 participants from the Philippines and other countries are expected to attend the five-day event.

“More or less ang ating local ay 2,888 plus 722 and international kaya more or less we have 3,610,” the Catholic priest said.

The places that will host the gatherings are Manila, Batangas, Bulacan and Bataan.

On the other hand, Tenorio said that Pope Francis will be sending a representative to deliver his message.

“Meron siya legate in the person of Philippe Cardinal Barbarin from France siya ang magdeliver ng message,” he added.

The other countries that hosted the first three WACOMs are Rome, Poland, Colombia, respectively.

WACOM, which is being held every three years, is an international gathering of Divine Mercy devotees and promoters such as bishops, priests, religious brothers and sisters and the laity. (PNA) 
BNB/FGP/ssc

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Number of firecracker-related injuries in Bulacan drops - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 1 (PNA) -- Unlike last New Year revelry, there is a low turn-out of firecracker victims in Bulacan, according to the latest report of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO).

As of 11 a.m. Sunday, the PDRRMO has received partial report showing that there were only 38 persons admitted to the different district hospitals in Bulacan and at the Bulacan Medical Center.

No firecracker-related fatality was also reported.

Bulacan PDRRMO executive officer Liz Mungcal said that most of the victims belong to the 11 to 15 age bracket.

Mungcal said that children aged 8 to 10 were also treated for blast injuries caused by the lethal “Picolo”, a banned type of firecracker which has become popular among children and has notoriously become the major cause of firecracker-related accidents.

The other victims were treated for injuries caused by whistlebomb, five-star and Judas belt.

The PDRRMO chief said that the number of injuries this year is much lower than the more than 100 firecracker victims last year.

She said that the implementation of “Oplan Ingat Paputok 2017” contributed in the decrease in the number of victims this year.

Likewise, there was no report of victims of stray bullet.

Enfgineer Celso C. Cruz, chairman emeritus of the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association, attributed the decrease in the number of injuries to the intensified crackdown of the Philippine National Police on banned types or killer types of firecrackers.  

He also said that production of safe and quality fireworks is now being practiced by local manufacturers.

He hopes that the industry would continue to be safe and globally competitive in the production and sale of quality fireworks which is at par with international standards. (PNA) 
JBP/zst/EGGamos        

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