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2 carnap ring members fall in Bulacan sting

CAMP GENERAL ALEJO S SANTOS, Bulacan, May 18 (PNA) -- Police arrested two alleged members of a notorious carnap gang operating in Central Luzon and recovered two carnapped vehicles, two hand guns, ammunition and a bladed weapon during a joint police operation in Barangay Lambakin, San Miguel town Tuesday morning.

Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat, acting provincial director of Bulacan PNP, identified the arrested suspects as Jaime Dumias, 28, married, auto mechanic, a resident of Barangay Pulong Malaki, San Isidro, Nueva Ecija; and a certain Tomasito, 25, single, helper, residing in Barangay Sta. Lucia, San Miguel, Bulacan.

Based on the report of Supt. Joel Estaris, officer-in-charge of San Miguel Municipal Police Station (MPS), joint elements of San Miguel MPS and Gapan City Police Station (CPS), together with the Highway Patrol teams of Bulacan and Nueva Ecija, arrested the two suspects in a hot pursuit operation after they took and carted away a white taxi Toyota Vios with plate no. ASA 6527, marked Kurt Jericson Transport, registered and operated by Rodolfo Dela Minez, 34, married, taxi operator, resident of Tadeo St., RTC Compound, Karuhatan, Valenzuela City.

Caramat said that the taxi was driven by Ronel Rufo, 40, married, driver, resident of No. 92 Heroes St., DM Compound, Caloocan City.

Investigation disclosed that subject vehicle was forcibly taken at gunpoint from Rufo at around 10:00 a.m. Tuesday while in the vicinity of Barangay Sto. Cristo Norte, Gapan City, Nueva Ecija.

The driver immediately reported the incident to Gapan City Police Station who coordinated with San Miguel MPS and informed the Provincial Highway Patrol Team of Bulacan and Nueva Ecija Provincial Police Office about the incident that led to the joint police operation.

Recovered from the suspects’ possession were one white taxi Toyota Vios with plate no. ASA 6527 (carnapped vehicle); two caliber .38 revolvers; 10 rounds of ammunition for caliber .38 and one dagger knife.

The arrested suspects and recovered pieces of evidence were turned-over to Gapan CPS for further investigation and filing of appropriate criminal cases. (PNA) 
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PDEA-3 nabs drug dealer in Bulacan

CITY of SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, May 16 (PNA) -- Agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Central Luzon arrested Sunday a drug dealer in a buy bust operation conducted in Meycauayan City, Bulacan and seized some PHP170,000 worth of shabu.

PDEA 3 Director Gladys Rosales identified the suspect as Jeffrey Jimenez, 32, a resident of Barangay Bangkal, Meycauayan City.

Rosales said the suspect was apprehended after he handed over to a poseur buyer a sachet containing shabu in the entrapment operation.

The arrest of Jimenez yielded 50 grams of shabu with an estimated street value of PHP170,000.

The agents also recovered the marked money used in the operation.

The suspect is now detained at PDEA 3 Jail Facilty in Camp Olivas in this province. (PNA) 
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Php 353-M worth of shabu seized in Bulacan drug bust -PDEA - By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan

MANILA, May 16 (PNA) – Combined operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) seized an about Php 353- million worth of methamphetamine hydrocloride , or "shabu," during an anti-drug operation in Bulacan, PDEA official said on Monday.

PDEA Director General Undersecretary Arturo G. Cacdac, Jr. said that the operation took place along Bypass Road, Barangay Sta. Clara, Sta. Maria, Bulacan around 9:30 a.m. on Sunday as the joint operatives of PDEA Special Enforcement Service (PDEA-SES) under the direct supervision of Director Ismael Fajardo, Jr. and the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (PNP-AIDG), arrested Leonardo Pedrosa, 39, a resident of Matang Tubig, Guyang Lote, Sta. Maria, Bulacan; Christian Ultra, 22; and Marlon Cervantes y Esta, 20; both residents of Parola, Tondo, Manila, after they conspired in selling two kilos of suspected shabu to a poseur-buyer.

He said suspects also yielded a black Toyota Vios with plate number AAK-1628 where an additional 10 kilos of suspected shabu were found inside the back compartment.

The driver of the vehicle, Jaime Halili, 28, tried to escape on foot and ran towards a house in Ignacio Subdivision, Sta. Maria, Bulacan where he was subdued. Arrested inside were Frans Espaldon, 20; Glynel Base, 18; and Junvi Ivory Base, 29, who were caught in the act of drying shabu. Confiscated inside the house were more or less 58.7 kilograms of the illegal drug.

The total weight of seized drug is 70.7 kilograms with an estimated market value of Php 353.3 million.

Cases for violation of Section 5 (Sale of Dangerous Drugs) and Section 11 (Possession of Dangerous Drugs), Article II of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, are now being prepared for filing in court against Pedrosa, Ultra and Cervantes, while Halili, Espaldon and the Bases will be charged for violation of Section 11 of the anti-drug law. (PNA) 
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Former CA Justice Jose dela Rama passes away

BOCAUE, Bulacan, May 12 (PNA) -- Lawyers and students of Law at the Bulacan State University mourn the passing of former Court of Appeals (CA) Justice Jose dela Rama who died last Monday. He was 90.

Dela Rama was a trial lawyer and eventually became a trial court judge and later moved up to become a justice of the Court of Appeals.

Lawyer Julius Victor Degala, who studied law at the Bulacan State University when Dela Rama was the dean of the College of Law, said that even at an old age, Dela Rama was still sharp in the field of legal jurisprudence.

"Deeply passionate about his love for country, he would always fight for the rights of the Filipinos and spearhead groundbreaking movements such as the use of Filipino language in courts. He will be surely missed,” Degala said.

Dela Rama is survived by his wife Dolores Ignacio and their children Rebecca, Josefina, Cynthia, Jose Jr. and Ruth as well as his 12 grandchildren and a great granddaughter.

He is the father of lawyer Jose “Peng” dela Rama Jr., governor of the Integrated Bar of the Philipibnes-Central Luzon chapter.

His body lies in state at the Mary the Queen Memorial Homes located along the bypass road in Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

Interment will be on May 15, 2016 in the family estate at the Garden of Peace, NIA road, Barangay Bagumbayan, this town. (PNA) 
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Bulacan incumbent gubernatorial and vice gov sweep the poll race with landslide wins

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, May 11 (PNA) -- Bulakenyos gave the tandem of Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando an overwhelming victory over their closest rivals in last Monday's elections.

Alvarado, who will be serving the people of Bulacan for his third term as top provincial executive, garnered a total votes of 659,024 while his rival Josie dela Cruz got  380,665.

Fernando, on the other hand, swept the race for vice governorship with an overwhelming 894,575 votes against the 297,560 votes of Phillip Salvador.

Both Alvarado and Fernando thanked their province mates for the trust and confidence and vowed to further boost the programs that will rev up anew the engines of growth in the province.

"The election is just one day. We should again unite and help each other in a continuous effort to develop our noble province and let us further uplift the status of life of every Bulakenyo," Alvarado, who is also the chairman of the Regional Development council, said shortly after he and Fernando were proclaimed as the winning governor and vice governor, respectively, by the Provincial Board of Canvassers at the Pavilion of the Hiyas Convention Center here, Tuesday night.

Except for the winner in the congressional race in the lone district of San Jose del Monte City, all winning congressmen in the province’s four legislative districts have also been proclaimed.

In the first district of Bulacan, young candidate Jose Antonio R. Sy-Alvarado, son of Gov. Alvarado, garnered 159,715 votes as against his rival Michael Fermin, who got 114,413 votes.

In the second district, Apol Pancho got 265,764 votes against the 11,548 of his rival Jaime Villfuerte.

The race in the third congressional district saw former Rep. Korna Silverio made a comeback by beating long time political rival Joselito Mendoza. Silverio garnered a total votes of 119,016 while Mendoza got 109,670 votes.

In the fourth district, reelectionist Rep. Lynabelle Villarica made a landslide victory with 216,962 votes over Joan Alarilla, who got 40,043 votes. (PNA) 
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Bulacan Gov. Alvarado and Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando headed for landslide victory

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, May 10 (PNA) -— With only the votes from the towns of Bocaue and San Ildefonso and the City of San Jose del Monte still unaccounted as of 12 noon Tuesday, the “dynamic duo" tandem of Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando are pulling away and headed for a landslide win over the pair of gubernatorial bet Josie dela Cruz and her running mate Philip Salvador.

Partial and unofficial returns showed that Alvarado and Fernando, both candidates of the Liberal Party, are leading by more than 300,000 votes that could no longer be surpassed as of 12 noon.

Their lawyers have requested the Provincial Board of Canvassers headed by Bulacan provincial election supervisor Lawyer Lydia V. Florentino-Pangilinan, chairman; Lawyer Renato C. Samonte, vice chairman and Director Romeo Alip, member; that because of the lead of the two provincial officials are mathemathically impossible to overcome, they should be proclaimed as soon as possible.

Pangilinan said that their request is noted but since returns from the towns of Bocaue and San Ildefonso and the City of San Jose del Monte are not yet ready for transmission, they suspended the canvassing and reset it to continue at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Likewise, the lawyer of re-electionist Congressman Gavini “Apol” Pancho of the 2nd legislative district of Bulacan also requested that their client be proclaimed after getting a total of 268,651 votes in the district’s six municipalities.

They claimed that the total votes from Bocaue cannot hampered the overwhelming victory of Pancho.

In the first district of Bulacan, Jose Antonio “Kuya Jonathan” R. Sy-Alvarado, the Liberal Party’s candidate for congressman, clobbered his rival outgoing provincial senior board member Michael Fermin and is expected to be proclaimed anytime Tuesday.

Sy-Alvarado, a son of Gov. Alvarado, garnered a total of 157,828 votes while Fermin got 118,663 votes in the first district towns of Calumpit, Hagonoy, Paombong Pulilan, Bulakan and the City of Malolos.

Samonte said that with only the votes from Bocaue, San Ildefonso and San Jose del Monte still being waited for transmission to the Provincial Board of Canvasser, the winning provincial officials could be proclaimed anytime Tuesday evening. (PNA) 
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4 cops, 4 other cohorts arrested in Bulacan for gun ban violations

CAMP GENERAL ALEJO S. SANTOS, Bulacan, PNA--Four cops and four other civilians were arrested as firearms and ammunitions were seized in Barangay Kalawakan, Dona Remedios Trinidad (DRT) town, this province Friday morning.

Officer-In-Charge (OIC) of Bulacan PNP Sr. Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., identified the arrested suspects as SPO4 Gerald J. Ruiz, 39; PO3 Arnaiz Gan Aguilar, 38; PO2 Emanuel B Carlos, 34 ; PO1 John Kirby DL Merle, 29 ; all from Bulacan Police Provincial Office (PPO).

The four arrested civilians, on the other hand, were Rogelio Lopez, 50, resident of Barangay Kalawakan, DRT; Ronald Piadozo, resident of Sapang Bulac, DRT; Tom C. Otrera, 65, press member, resident of Amparo Village, Caloocan and Mercy Ann Arañego 36, press member, resident of Tondo, Manila.

Sr. Insp. Isagani Santos, Chief of Police (COP) of Dona Remedios Trinidad MPS, said that they received a report from DRT Mayor Ronnie Flores informing that two suspicious vehicles were allegedly boarded with armed men.

Upon arrival of the responding policemen at the said area, they saw incumbent DRT Vice Mayor Hilario Cruz and one of the members of the armed group having a conversation.

Thereafter, Vice Mayor Cruz and his unidentified supporters turned over the apprehended armed group to the responding policemen.

One of the armed group identified himself as a police officer assigned in Bulacan PPO and voluntarily submitted themselves for investigation.

Confiscated from the suspects were one M16AI rifle with SN RP129609; one M16AI rifle SN 72488283; one Norinco  M16 SN   0013-17-09-CN; 12)magazines for M16; one Armscor 45 with SN 1411920; one COLT 45 with SN 110088; and four magazines of cal. 45 loaded with  23 ammunitions, 313 ammunitions for M16; and two vehicles.

Verification from Firearms and Explosives Office FEO, Camp Crame and LTO, Quezon City respectively are now being prepared to determine the real registered owner of said firearms and vehicles.

Appropriate criminal complaints were filed against the suspects before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutors, Malolos City. (PNA) 
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Central Luzon cops vows to be apolitical in May elections

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, May 3 (PNA) -- Officials and personnel of the Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3) have vowed not to engage in any partisan activity this coming May 9 elections.

Chief Supt. Rudy Lacadin, PRO-3 regional director, led the signing and oathtaking of non-partisanship during the Monday flag raising ceremony held at the PRO-3 Parade Ground here.

Lacadin said all police units in Central Luzon also signed the oath in their respective stations to show that they would not participate in any election-related activities or campaign for candidates and political parties.

"The entire Central Luzon police force is apolitical, professional and nonpartisan. We focus on our mission to ensure that this national exercise on May 9 will be secured and fair," he said.

The signing and oathtaking of non-partisanship was also participated in by lawyer Emmanuel Ignacio, Assistant Regional Election Director in Central Luzon; Brig. Gen. David Diciano, Assistant Division Commander, 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army and other PRO-3 officers.

Meanwhile, Ignacio said that preparations for the local and national elections are now ongoing.

He said that the 8,048 vote counting machines (VCMs) for Central Luzon are now in four identified hubs in Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, and Pampanga and to be delivered in all municipalities and cities in the region on Tuesday.

The delivery of ballots, he said will be completed by Thursday, and a simultaneous final testing and sealing of the VCMs is likewise scheduled on the same day.

Meanwhile, a total of 5,488 police personnel were deployed in 2,825 polling centers in the region to ensure safe and fair elections.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will also deploy some 611 military troops to assist the police in the region. (PNA) 
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More support pours for Poe with one week left before May 9 polls - By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, May 1 (PNA) – With one left before the May 9 elections, support for presidential aspirant-Senator Grace Poe continues to pour from the ranks of politicians to showbiz personalities, to civil society groups, business leaders and ordinary folks.

“Pinagbuksan tayo ng pinto sa bawat bahay na kinatok, binigyan ng mainit na pagsalubong sa bawat bayan na dinayo. Salamat sa inyong tiwala at suporta,” she said in a campaign sortie in Marikina City.

Poe said people from all walks of life come to her and pledge their vote to preserve the country and reject a destructive leader.

“Nakakagulat at nakakataba ng puso ang patuloy na pagdami ng mga kababayan nating gustong tumulong. We will finish this fight to the end and will hand victory to the Filipino people,” she said.

Multi-awarded singer and composer Ogie Alcasid was the latest in the roster of supporters to add star power to Poe's bid for the presidency. He vowed to campaign for her among his colleagues in the music industry.

Alcasid, president of the Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-aawit (OPM), serenaded the crowd of around 25,000 during the 5th National Fireworks Festival at the Marikina Riverbanks Center Ampitheater with his original composition titled Gobyerno na may Puso, a song dedicated to Poe.

The senator was welcomed by former Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Bayani Fernando, who is running for a congressional post, and his wife, former Marikina City Mayor Marides Fernando. The Fernandos are also backing Poe.

Earlier, local executives from the Bicol region, led by Albay Governor Joey Salceda, have joined the campaign for Poe, pledging to deliver votes for her.

Poe also gained new allies from the province of Zambales after several Liberal party candidates for mayor and provincial board members shifted loyalty to her.

In Nueva Vizcaya, the senator is being backed by House Deputy Speaker Carlos Padilla, wife Governor Ruth Padilla and Vice Governor Lambert Galima and his slate.

Women leaders are also making their voices heard for Poe with the recent launch of “Kababaihan para kay Grace Poe” in Quezon City. The group counts among its members former Senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani, former Senator Santanina Rasul, lawyer Katrina Legarda, Sister Mary John Mananzan, film director Bibeth Orteza, leaders of various women's groups, and students, among others.

As a daughter of well-respected artists Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces, Poe’s hordes of supporters would not be without the big names in the entertainment industry like Dingdong Dantes, Coco Martin, and Vic Sotto and Pauleen Luna-Sotto.

Beyond words of encouragement, Martin has joined some of Poe’s sorties to personally urge the people to vote for her.

In a statement, Alcasid said, "Saksi ako sa sinseridad ni Grace na magsilbi sa taumbayan. Siya ay may takot sa Diyos at may paninindigan.”

It was the first time that Alcasid joined Poe's campaign sortie. Two weeks ago, he resigned as member of the government's EDSA People Power Commission.

During the event in Marikina, he rallied the audience to vote for Poe, saying she is the candidate who has a heart for the children and the youth.

In her speech, Poe vowed to put focus on programs that would ensure the youth's welfare, such as the free lunch program, which she said she wants expanded to cover more students, including those in day care centers.

Taking note of the tragedy that struck the city when "Ondoy" came in 2009, she said that a comprehensive flood control program should be in place to give the Marikina residents peace of mind that they would not be inundated anew when heavy rains come.

Poe also expressed her desire to revitalize the city's shoe industry not only to provide the residents a source of income, but to showcase the Filipino's ingenious craft.

"Sisiguraduhin ko na masigla ang ating ekonomiya para maraming magbukas na trabaho dito sa ating bansa," she said.

Poe also reiterated her commitment to curb the labor contractualization scheme, which does not give security to the employment tenure of workers.

"Ang kailangan sa ating pamilya ay permanenteng trabaho na may sapat na kita. Kasi paano tayo makakapagplano na bumili ng motor, paano tayo makakapagplano na bumili ng bahay na matitirhan ng ating pamilya kung wala tayong kasiguruhan sa ating trabaho?" she said.

Poe was invited as guest in the grand finals of the fireworks festival. The finalists were from Batangas, Valenzuela City and Bulacan. The event coincided with the 16th anniversary celebration of the Riverbanks Center.

After Alcasid belted out the Gobyerno na may Puso song, the sky brightened with the fireworks display of the competition participants. (PNA)
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PRO2 nets 11 drug pusher in Tuguegarao City

CAMP MARCELO A. ADDURU, Tuguegarao City, April 28 (PNA) -- The Police Regional Office 2 (PRO2) arrested 11 suspected drug traffickers, including four minors, as they implemented a search warrant against a suspected drug pusher in Apple Street, Barangay Pengue Ruyu in Tuguegarao City Wednesday.

PRO2 public information officer Chevalier Iringan today said the Tuguegarao City Police Station (TCPS) intelligence operatives together with SWAT PPSC implemented Search Warrant No. 01-2016 against Ace Antonio y Soriano, 27, single, mechanic and a resident of Apple Street, Pengue Ruyu, Tuguegarao City which resulted in the arrest of 10 other persons seen on the act of having pot session inside the suspect'ss house.

Police identified the arrested suspects as: Alan Aguilar y Gatdula, 35, of Liwan, Norte, Enrile, Cagayan; Nestor Tupas y Rico, 28, of Salvador Street, Zone 5, San Jose Baggao, Cagayan; Jefferson Danao y Sekopito, 18, of 143 Maharlika Highway, Leonarda, Tuguegarao City; Marjorie Chan y Gepila, 21, of 51 Burgos Street, Centro 7, Tuguegarao City; Sheila Mae Cobo y Cenas, 20, of 36 Bulacan Street, Quezon City, presently staying at Zone 7, Buntun, Tuguegarao City; Janet Calebag y Manuel, 18, old of 53 A Pengue Ruyu, Tuguegarao City and four minors, all students in Tuguegarao City.

Recovered from the suspects were five pieces of heat sealed transparent plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance believed to be shabu, eight pieces empty transparent plastic sachet containing residue believed to be shabu and 32 pieces tooter placed inside a plastic lunch box.

Also confiscated were firearms and items: one unit Caliber .22 Riffle; one Caliber .45 described as Para Ordance with Serial no. 486237; one dismantled Caliber .38 with serial no. 3394; one dismantled Caliber .38 Derringer F.I.E. and two dismantled/dilapidated motorcycles and spare parts.

Recovered items were inventoried and firearms were submitted to the Regional Crime Laboratory Office for Ballistics Examination while the suspects were administered drug test examination and put under custody of Tuguegarao City Police Station. The suspect-minors will be properly turned over to CSWD for proper disposition. (PNA) 
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Bulacan a Hall of Famer in Agri-Pinoy Rice Achievers Award

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 22 (PNA) -- The province of Bulacan has elevated as Hall of Famer in the Agri-Pinoy Rice Achievers Award of the Department of Agriculture (DA), for its invaluable contribution to the national rice sufficiency.

For three consecutive years or from 2012 to 2014, Bulacan has maintained a production yield above the national level despite the problems in irrigation and calamity occurrences experienced by the province.

"It is a great honor for Bulacan to be recognized as a Hall of Famer in Agri-Pinoy. The award is a clear manifestation that we are committed in supporting the agricultural endeavors of the DA in providing sufficient and safe farm produce to the rest of the nation,” Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado said.

Aside from the plaque of recognition, Bulacan also received Php1 million worth of project intended for the province's rice productivity enhancement.

The province was also lauded for its appropriate interventions and support to the farmers including the conduct of Palay Check Farmers’ Field School, provision of small-scale irrigation support (STW/OSP), provision of farm machineries and post-harvest facilities, access to financing (SIKAT SAKA Program) coupled with the provision of inputs like organic fertilizer and locally funded seed subsidy.

According to Provincial Agricultural Office, the innovations on the promotion of production technologies through School-on-Air program aired over Radyo Bulacan, the conduct of “Usapang Palay” using a mobile techno-van, and capability building support to AEWs also helped the province in heeding the government’s call in increasing yield that contributes to the attainment of the nation’s thrust of food sufficiency.

Other “Hall of Famer” provinces include Pangasinan, Ilocos Norte, Nueva Vizcaya, Isabela, Occidental Mindoro and Davao Del Sur.

The Agri-Pinoy Rice Achievers Award is an annual event organized by the DA National Rice Program in recognition to the outstanding and significant contributions of the local government units, irrigators association, agricultural extension workers and local farm technicians to the Philippine rice industry. (PNA) 
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MRT-7 breaks ground; set to be operational by 2020 - By Azer N. Parrocha

MANILA, April 20 (PNA) -- Construction of the long-awaited Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT-7) finally kicked off on Wednesday morning with a groundbreaking ceremony at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City.

The Php69.30-billion project includes the development of a 23-kilometer railway system with 14 stations from North Avenue, Quezon City to San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan, passing through Commonwealth Avenue and Quirino Highway in Novaliches.

It is expected to initially accommodate 350,000 daily passengers and shorten travel time from the current 3.5 hours on the road to one hour once completed and operational by its target date in April 2020.

Ultimately, about 800,000 passengers per day — mostly residents from Novaliches, Quezon City and Caloocan City, Bulacan, and neighboring areas in the north are expected to benefit from a faster commute with the completion of the project.

The project also covers the development of an integrated transportation system, which includes the said railway system, a 22-km highway from the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Bocaue interchange, and an intermodal transport terminal (ITT) adjacent to the San Jose del Monte Station.

This way, commuters can take public utility vehicles (PUVs) or private cars and use the new highway from NLEX, alight at the ITT, and board the MRT-7 going to North Avenue, Quezon City.

President Benigno S. Aquino III led the groundbreaking ceremony, together with Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio A. Abaya.

Also present was the president of San Miguel Corporation (SMC), the parent company of contractor Universal LRT Corporation (ULC), Ramon Ang.

Abaya welcomed the latest development, noting that the project is not only meant to provide better transport but also decongest traffic in Metro Manila and nearby areas in the north.

“The long-awaited MRT-7 will serve commuters who ply the heavily-congested Commonwealth Avenue area for work and school on a daily basis,” Abaya said.

“The new railway system will not only significantly lessen travel time along this corridor, but also help decongest traffic in Caloocan and NLEX,” he added. (PNA) 
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Former Bulacan town vice mayor killed

PANDI, Bulacan, April 19 (PNA) — Police are investigating whether the Monday evening ambush-killing of a former vice mayor here is politically related or not.

Police said that former Vice Mayor Roberto Rivera, 61, resident of Barangay Bunsuran, was driving his white Nissan pick-up truck and heading home from his piggery farm in Barangay Manatal here when he was shot several times at point-blank range at around 6 p.m.

Sketchy reports said that a lone suspect shot Rivera three times in the head and once in the body.

The victim was brought to the Rogaciano District Hospital in nearby Sta. Maria town but was declared dead-on-arrival by doctors.

Chief Inspector Victor Bernabe, town police chief, said investigators gathered from some witnesses that the suspect boarded a tricycle before transferring to a blue car after shooting the former vice mayor.

“We are following leads that will help us establish the identity of the killer. We still cannot say if the incident is politically related since the victim is not running for any position in the coming elections,” he said.

Relatives of Rivera told police that the victim had received death threats but ignored them.

Rivera was a known staunch supporter of mayoral candidate Celestino Marquez of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan Party, who is running against reelectionist Mayor Enrico Roque in the May 9 polls.

Rivera served as vice mayor of Pandi from 1992 to 1998.

He started a farm business which he was personally managing while at the same time supporting the candidacy of mayoral candidate Marquez. (PNA) 
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Villegas leaves to voters Duterte's comments on rape victim - By Ferdinand G. Patinio

MANILA, April 18 (PNA) -- A high-ranking official of the Catholic Church is letting the public, particularly the voters to decide if they will vote for presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who is facing another controversy regarding his comment on the case of rape victim which happened in his city in 1989.

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Archbishop Socrates Villegas said that it was up for the people if they wanted to support the presidential bid of the local chief executive.

“Judge for yourself if this is the right choice,” he said in his Twitter account, @frsocvillegas.

The Lingayen-Dagupan prelate noted that he was keeping his personal opinion on the issue to himself.

“I will keep my personal judgment to myself,” he added.

On the other hand, vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said that the comment made by Duterte is inappropriate.

“Nagulat kami. It seems unfortunate and I can only describe it as inappropriate. Biktima ‘yung tao ‘tapos dinagdagan pa natin,” he said in an interview in Bulacan, where he accompanied his tandem, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, who was the speaker of the commencement exercises at the Bulacan State University in Malolos City on Tuesday.

Marcos noted that the mayor took the joke too far because the life of a victim of a crime was involved.

“He took a step too far. Kawawa naman yung biktima. Let’s be sensitive to someone who has already suffered as a victim of a crime,” the independent vice presidential said in a separate interview at the Manila Polo Club in Makati City during a luncheon hosted by former Court of Appeals Justice Manuel Lazaro.

Duterte has made the headlines again over his comment on the rape of an Australian woman missionary, which happened several years ago. (PNA) 
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Pena commends Makati cops for arrest of suspected robber, killer-rapist of taxi passengers

MANILA, April 18 (PNA) -- Acting Makati City Mayor Kid Peña lauded the Makati police for the swift arrest last Thursday of Nitro Ison alias “Ricky Ramos”, the suspect tagged in a series of robbery/hold-up, rape and homicide cases in various parts of Metro Manila that started last January.

“I congratulate the Makati police force, headed by Police Sr. Supt. Ernesto Barlam, for the speedy arrest and detention of the suspect who has been positively identified by some of the victims. By doing their job well, they have taken a very dangerous criminal off the streets and paved the way for justice to be served to all his victims and their families,” Peña said.

The mayor said he was very pleased with the outcome of the diligent efforts of the city police force, as his administration does not tolerate impunity. “We shall apply the full force of the law on anyone who commits a crime in our city, especially when the safety and well-being of our residents, transient workers and visitors are at stake,” he vowed.

“Despite the busy campaign period, we still give top priority to keeping the city safe and secure for our constituents and other stakeholders,” Peña added.

In a report to the mayor, Barlam said that Ison, 24 years old, single and a resident of Mandaluyong City, was arrested on April 14, 2016 at San Miguel, Bulacan, and was immediately brought to Camp Crame for further investigation.

Barlam said based on initial investigation, the suspect had been imprisoned in Manila for robbery. He said it was last January that Ison started his modus of posing as a passenger then forcibly taking a taxicab from the driver. He then used the cab to prey on female passengers, whom he allegedly robbed at gunpoint and even raped. One of three victims from Mandaluyong City reported being raped by Ison. The authorities also noted that the incidents happened on the 19th of every month.

Barlam said the suspect has also been linked to the murder of the widow of the late Dominic “Papadom” Gamboa of the Tropical Depression Band.

Amparo Santa Romana-Gamboa, widow of Papadom, was found dead early morning of Feb. 10 by a scavenger at a dump site at Kalayaan Avenue corner Bisaya Street in Barangay Guadalupe Nuevo. The victim, a call center transcriber, was known to usually take a cab going to and from her office in Makati.

Chief Inspector Shirley Bao, head of the Makati police investigation branch, said an abandoned taxi near the area, a Toyota Vios with license number UVY 402, was found with traces of blood, particularly on the passenger seat, seat belt and handbreak. This led authorities to suspect the vehicle’s role in the perpetration of the said crime, which was confirmed when the blood matched that of the victim’s.

Ison was subsequently linked to the Gamboa case after taxi driver Avelino Moran identified him as the passenger who stole his cab on Feb. 8 as they passed through C-5 Extension, Merville, Pasay. (PNA) 
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PDEA-3 nets notorious drug dealer

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, April 18 (PNA) -- Agents of the Central Luzon Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA 3) arrested Sunday a know drug dealer and seized some 200 grams of "shabu" or methamphetamine hydrochloride worth almost a million pesos in a buy bust operation in Quezon City.

PDEA 3 Regional Director Gladys Rosales identified the suspect as Victor Guilani, 42, and resident of Litex, Commonwealth, Quezon City.

Rosales said Guilani is a notorious drug pusher who is responsible for the bulk distribution of shabu in Bulacan and Pampanga.

“PDEA agents were able to negotiate for the purchase of 200 grams of shabu for Php 300,000 from Guilani and first agreed to meet in Apalit, Pampanga then in Malolos, Bulacan and eventually in Matandang Balara, Quezon City where he was collared after handing over the illegal substance to a PDEA agent who acted as poseur buyer,” Rosales added.

The apprehension of the suspect resulted in confiscation of four medium sized plastic sachets containing 200 grams of shabu with an estimated street value of Php940,000 and the marked money used in the operation.

The suspect is now detained at the PDEA 3 Jail Facility in Camp Olivas, City of San Fernando, this province. (PNA) 
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President Aquino returns to Bulacan, asks people to support continuity of govt projects

MEYCAUAYAN, Bulacan, April 16 (PNA) -- President Aquino returned to Bulacan on Friday and met the local leaders and community there insisting the need for the continuity of the programs that he initiated in the province.

He reported about the PPP projects in Bulacan, saying his administration poured a huge amount of money for the province in the past several years.

The government and the private sector have so far spent Php 116.94 billion for the province's PPP projects, he said in a speech at the Meycauayan College on Friday.

One of these projects include MRT 7, in which the groundbreaking will be held soon. The project will shorten travel time from Quezon City to San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, bringing great relief for commuters.

The President also reported that C-6, which was originally planned to start from Taguig to Quezon City will be extended up to Meycauayan, Bulacan to ease traffic congestion.

As to the budget coming from the national government, from 2005 to 2010, the previous administration spent Php 5 billion for infrastructure.

Under the present administration, from 2011 to 2016, the government's budget for infrastructure reached Php 19.04 billion, according to the President.

There is also continuous dredging of the Labangan Channel in Hagonoy as well as the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando River, he said.

Next year, the bridge in the Plaridel Bypass Road, will be finished once JICA made a confirmation on the project. This is part of the 107,000 lineal meters of bridges and 18,000 kilometers of roads constructed under the present government.

For irrigation system, the government allocated Php 1.38 billion while a separate Php 115.86 million went to the province's post-harvest machineries and equipment.

For health facilities and enhancement program, the government spent Php 181.43 million. The President also said that 2.47 million Bulakenos are enjoying PhilHealth benefits and they are part of the 93 million Filipinos covered by PhilHealth.

In the education sector, he said his administration has so far built 6,758 classrooms in Bulacan.

For job generation, he said TESDA's TWSP program produced 37,000 scholars who recently graduated. Current job placement is at 72 percent under the TWSP program, much higher than the 28.5 percent during the previous administration.

The Aquino government also made major strides in social welfare and security. In 2010, there were more than 5,000 households under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

Now, the President said there are 68,348 households enjoying benefits from 4Ps. They are part of the 4.6 million households benefitting from the program.

The President asked Bulakenos to choose the right leaders this coming May election in order for the present programs to continue.

Choosing administration candidates will ensure that those programs could benefit more Bulakenos, he said. (PNA)
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Cayetano receives public apology from ALDUB prayer warriors during rally

SAN PEDRO CITY, Laguna, April 16 (PNA) -- Vice Presidential contender Senator Alan Peter Cayetano received a public apology on Friday evening from the Alliance for Duterte and Bongbong (ALDUB) prayer warriors and civil society as among the Duterte camp’s sponsors of the campaign rally at the San Pedro City’s La Marea subdivision here.

Bishop Jessie Ramos, national director of the Hope Church and leader of the prayer warriors and faith-based group apologized to Cayetano before a mammoth crowd that their “ALDUB” group’s vice presidential preference is Senator Bongbong Marcos.

For his part, presidential contender Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte acknowledged the ALDUB as his strong supporters and even raised Cayetano’s hand during the rally.

Bishop Ramos issued the statement to shun any pretense and appeased ALDUB supporters of the situation that Cayetano happened to be there.

He told Cayetano that he supported the political career of the legislator’s father then Senator Renato “Compañero” Cayetano in the past.

The religious leader also led the pray-over en masse for the Duterte team national bets and local aspirants and supporters after the campaign speeches.

Cayetano arrived Friday evening in San Pedro City, Laguna with presidential running mate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte from their tandem’s political sortie in Mindoro on Friday.

The senator thanked the crowd who waited for almost five hours and praised their excitement and clamor for reform and change.

He criticized the snail-paced internet services of telecommunications firms despite huge gross earnings amounting to Php 300 billion and estimated net income of Php 50 billion per year for calls and texts.

Cayetano also pointed to realities of government’s lack on health and medical facilities why people from Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Bulacan go to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in Manila where it has complete medical facilities and expert doctors.

The senator proposed to prioritize the use of government funds to also address basic services such as health care, education and agriculture instead of focusing budget allocations for telecommunications due to politically-motivated monetary considerations.

Cayetano said his presidential running mate Duterte made it clear they would not accept any political campaign contributions from the wealthy businessmen who had businesses with government.

He said “in the government we have a choice of either serving the interest of the people or the interest of the few rich” because opting to serve the vested and business interest of the wealth few means abandoning the interest and general welfare of people.

Cayetano assured the Duterte camp would never give up on the Filipino people in their fight against corruption, criminality and illegal drugs.

The solon expounded that the exercise of political will requires a strong leadership to enjoin collective efforts even to the grassroots to enforce compliance and implementation of a policy and adherence to the rule of law.

He added that their campaign platform for reform and change includes the concerted plans of stakeholders and an “order of battle” to eradicate crime, illegal drugs and corruption for safe, secured and peaceful communities.(PNA) 
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PNP nabs suspected robber, killer-rapist of taxi passengers - By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan

MANILA, April 15 (PNA) – The Philippine National Police (PNP) arrested the suspect in the series of robberies with rape among female passengers of a stolen taxi in metropolis, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Chief Police Director Joel Pagdilao said on Friday.

Pagdilao identified the suspect as Nitro Ison, alias "Ricky Ramos", 24, resident of Blk-41 Zone-7 Welferville Cmpd., Brgy., Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City.

Ison was nabbed in Brgy. Santa Lucia, San Miguel, Bulacan on Thursday afternoon by virtue of Alias Warrant of Arrest issued by Hon. Presiding Judge Alma Crispina B. Collado-Lacorte of Manila RTC Branch 21, for Robbery with Unnecessary Violence and Warrant of Arrest issued by Hon. Judge Ronald B. Moreno RTC Branch 147, Makati for Robbery.

Pagdilao called on other victims to come forward and identify him as the same person who robbed or assaulted them, and to file formal complaints aswell.

Ison faces seven cases in Makati, including the killing of the widow of Filipino musician Dominic Gamboa, also known as Papa Dom of reggae band Tropical Depression, who was found dead at a garbage dump in Makati City last Feb. 10.

Police said Maria Amparo was found dead with a gunshot wound on the head under heaps of trash at Kalayaan Avenue corner Bisaya Street, barangay Guadalupe Nuevo and was only identified by family members.

The 24-year old suspect was linked in a series of carnapping, robbery, homicide and rape in the cities of Mandaluyong, Quezon City, Makati and Manila.

The suspect is now detained at the Makati City lock-up jail. (PNA) 
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Bulacan State University holds gubernatorial candidates forum 2016

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 3 (PNA) -- The Bulacan State University (BSU) hosted on Saturday a forum for candidates in the gubernatorial race in this province.

The forum, organized by the graduate school of BSU, presented questions to the three gubernatorial candidates -- incumbent Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado (Liberal Party), Josefina dela Cruz (Nationalist Peoples Coalition) and Roderick Tiongson (United Nationalist Alliance) -- anchored on health, education, poverty alleviation, agriculture, peace and order, tourism, employment opportunities, land conversion and infrastructure projects.

The candidates were given ample time to present their answers, plans and programs on the issues.

In the peace and order situation, Alvarado said that the police and other peacekeeping forces are doing their best to combat crime and other problems by having a peaceful atmosphere conducive to investments while, at the same time, creating an atmosphere not conducive to lawless elements.

Both Dela Cruz and Tiongson, on the other hand, said that the “high crime rate” should be properly addressed.

On progress and development Dela Cruz centered on entrepreneurship and providing right courses for students.

Tiongson, for his part, emphasized the creation of more farm-to-market roads and boosting of tourism programs.

Alvarado said that while his rivals are proposing such “dreams,” his administration has already set into motion various development programs that are now spurring growth and progress provincewide and at the same time, generating employment and jobs for the people of Bulacan as well.

“We are no longer living in dreams, the people of Bulacan are now enjoying the reality of it. Promises are different to what is real happening. Our constituents have started to feel now the continuing progress and development in our province,” Alvarado said.

The panelists also asked the three candidates on how they will improve services at the provincial hospital (now Bulacan Medical Center) which dela Cruz said should focus on bringing in more doctors and specialists while Tiongson proposed the bringing of anti-rabies vaccines and other medicines to the barangay level.

Alvarado, for his part, explained that the Bulacan Medical Center is now being transformed into a modern hospital which can equal the services of modern private hospitals.

At present, he said patients are now being treated in an air-conditioned emergency room and maternity wards.

He also said that the BMC has now a modern laboratory facility. He added that the number of dialysis machines has increased from 10 to 40 units and the intensive care unit is also being upgraded.

To emphasize the present situation in the province, Alvarado said that “our leaders should not make promises we cannot keep, but we must keep the promises we already made.”

The forum ended with the three candidates shaking and holding hands in a show of a united stand for a clean and orderly election. (PNA) 
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Bulacan top provincial execs get 2016 Golden Globe Filipino Achiever awards

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 1 (PNA) -- A prestigious award-giving body has bestowed to Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado a golden “Medal of Distinction” for being one of 2016 outstanding Filipino achievers in the field of public service.

Alvarado together with Vice Governor Daniel Fernando were among the recipient of this year’s Golden Globe Annual Awards for Filipino Achievers.

Director Ramon Juanito Balunes, chairman of the award’s research committee, said that the Golden Globe Annual Awards for Outstanding Filipino Achiever (Medal of Distinction) is conferred to individuals that have noteworthy achievements.

“Our researchers have taken on the daunting task of seeking out the shining stars, the hidden treasures and the diamonds in the rough, and bring them to the pedestal of fame that they deserve. They have conducted research, performed polls and tested services to determine who among the exceptional pool of nominees stand out and are worthy of the seal and endorsement of the Golden Globe Awards for Filipino Achievers," Balunes said.

”This recognition highlights every individual’s milestones of success and victory worthy of commendation and high regard,” he added.

Balunes said that Alvarado, who has been leading the people of Bulacan by completing his term as a municipal mayor of Hagonoy, then as congressman of the province’s first legislative district, a one term vice governor before serving his province as governor (for six years) anchored on his now famous battle cry-slogan “Lalawigan Ko’y Ikaw, Lingkod Mo’y Ako”— was chosen as one of this year’s awardees for being a “man of the people” leading his province to the greater heights of excellence through good governance.

The award giving body also recognized the visions of the Bulacan governor, who was also appointed by President Benigno S. Aquino III as chairman of the Regional Development Council in Central Luzon, for pursuing the game-changing concept of public-private partnership with the implementation of the Bulacan Program for Rapid Industrialization and Development (Bulacan-PRIDE). (PNA) 
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Bicol cops nab 10 wanted men

LEGAZPI CITY, March 30 (PNA) -- Different units of the Philippine National Police Bicol regional office arrested 10 wanted persons within this week, the office’s spokesperson said Wednesday.

Senior Insp. Malu Calubaquib, Police Regional Office 5 spokesperson, identified those apprehended as Abelardo O. Magdamit, Teofisto Rosales, Jozel Y. Suriaga, Randy P. Pajares, Raul P. Zamudio, Cornelio P. Austral, Vincent B. Saar, Jayson V. Bercero, Robert N. Oberos and Rene C. Claridad.

Magdamit was caught in Barangay Sta. Cruz, Ligao City at about 9:10 a.m. Monday by elements of Ligao City Police Station (CPS) led by PO3 Errol Escopete by virtue of a warrant of arrest (WOA) issued by Blancaflor V. Joven-Salgado, presiding judge of MCTC, Ligao City for attempted homicide.

Also on Monday, San Pascual MPS (Masbate) personnel led by PO2 Gerald R. Rosales served a WOA against Rosales on order of Judge Teofilo B. Tambago of Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 46, Masbate City, for violation of Sections 11 and 12 of Article 2 of RA 9165 with a bail of PHP200,000.

Operatives of the Baleno MPS led by PO3 Noli D. Manlapas cornered Suriaga in Baleno, Masbate with a WOA signed by Judge Igmedio Emilio F. Camposano of MCTC, Aroroy-Baleno for theft.

PO1 Joel Vergara of Paracale MPS arrested Pajares for robbery inside the Camarines Norte Provincial Jail in Daet, Camarines Norte on order of Judge Dara SJ Mallorca Torres of MTC Paracale, Camarines Norte.

Members of Mercedes MPS led by PO2 Mardi A Gonzales handcuffed Zamudio in Mercedes, Camarines Norte armed with a WOA from Judge Victoria C. Dino-Reyes MTC Mercedes, Camarines Norte for attempted homicide.

Austral did not resist arrest at his residence in Barangay Itangon, Bula, Camarines Sur when served a WOA for murder penned by Judge Marvel C. Clavicilla of RTC Branch 33, Pili, Camarines Sur.

Saar was caught in the act by PO3 Dennis A. Altez, duty officer of Naga City PS Intelligence Branch Office, while climbing the wall of the comfort room of the office at Barangay Sta. Cruz after forcibly destroying the ceiling made of plywood.

He was charged with attempted rape.

Uson MPS (Masbate) members led by Insp. Arnel N. Buncaras nabbed Bercero by virtue of a WOA for theft issued by Rolando G. Sandigan, presiding judge of MTCC, Masbate City.

Magarao MPS officers apprehended Oberos at his residence in Magarao, Camarines Sur on order of Judge Rosita L. Lalwani, presiding judge of RTC Branch 28, Naga City.

Claridad was captured by joint elements of Tigaon MPS (Camarines Sur) led by PO3 Wilmor B. Lontoc and Ocampo MPS led by PO3 Jay C. Papin on order of Judge Francisco P. Felizmenio, presiding judge, RTC Branch 19, Malolos City, Bulacan for robbery with PHP100,000 bail recommended.(PNA) 
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3 faith healers 'crucified' in Bulacan town 
By Emil G. Gamos

PAOMBONG, Bulacan, March 25 (PNA) -- Under the scorching heat of the noon-day sun, male actors playing the role of Roman centurions brutally whipped a faith healer who fell into the ground face-down before he was dragged up to carry a wooden cross towards a man-made Golgotha besides a Catholic chapel in Barangay Kapitangan here as the old bloody Lenten tradition continues in this province.

The faith healer, Michael Katigbak, is among the most popular penitents being awaited by thousands of spectators in his reenactment of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ.

This was also the sixth consecutive time that Katigbak was nailed to a wooden cross.

Two other faith healers were also nailed to crosses in the farming village of Kapitangan where thousands of devotees, local and foreign tourists, flocked every Holy Week to witness the centuries old bloody Lenten ritual.

After Katigbak, female faith healer Precy Valencia was equally dragged by “Roman centurions” to the crucifixion site where she stayed nailed on the cross for at least five minutes.

Before fulfilling her Holy Week vow, Valencia told local newsmen that she always received messages from heaven instructing her to follow the passion of the Lord Jesus Christ.

When asked what is the Lord’s message this Good Friday, Valencia said it is only for herself and the people who would seek her help to cure their sickness.

Another faith healer JonJon Tanael, was also “crucified” for the third consecutive time to fulfill his Holy Week vow.

Retired centurion Wilfredo Caparas, recalled that he started playing the role of a Roman centurion when he was 18 years old.

Now 80 years old, Caparas still joined the Lenten ritual in their villages by taking part in the praying for the faith healers who will be nailed to the cross.

“We have nailed to the cross more penitents and three of them were "crucified" for 15 times," Caparas said.

He was referring to faith healers Lucy Reyes, Amparo “Mother Amparing” Santos and Buboy Dionisio who completed their vows by getting nailed to the cross for 15 consecutive years.

Amid the multitude of crowds, the observance of Holy Week in Barangay Kapitangan was very peaceful and orderly, according to Chief Inspector Leo Estorque, the town police chief.

Estorque said the crowd began arriving Wednesday night to witness the bathing in oil of the centuries old and venerated wooden cross (also known as Sta. Cruz) and the image of the crucified Christ.

Old folks believes that the blessed oil can heal ailments.

Estorque said that the bloody Lenten rites began late Thursday afternoon where scores of bare-back flagellants whipped their bloodied backs with stringed bamboo sticks.

He said that this continues as early as 7 a.m. on Good Friday as the bloodied flagellants made their way to the Catholic chapel and made the station of the cross by lying spread-eagle while being brutally whipped.

He said that the provincial government headed by Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado has deployed ambulances with paramedics while his son Jose Antonio “Kuya Jonathan” Sy-Alvarado set up a first aid station to assist the crowds as well as the penitents.

Liz Mungcal, head of the provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office said public assistance centers were also set up in other crowd drawing areas like the Grotto in San Jose del Monte City, the Divine Mercy Shrine in Marilao and the Banal na Bundok in San Miguel.

She said emergency response teams were also deployed in strategic areas to assists motorists and tourists. (PNA) 
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Bulacan sets up ‘Lakbay Alalay’ to assist travelers this Holy Week

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 23 (PNA) -- The provincial government, through the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), has set up round-the-clock travel assistance to guide the motorists and travelers passing or heading to the province this Holy Week.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that Semana Santa Lakbay Alalay (SUMVAC) 2016 is all set wherein Bulacan Rescue Team as well as its partner agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are now activated to give immediate response in times emergency.

He said that assistance booth and first aid station will be set up in the two pilgrimage sites such as Barangay Kapitangan, Paombong on March 24 to 25; Divine Mercy National Shrine in Marilao on March 23 to 25 and in front of the Provincial Capitol from March 21 to 28.

Meanwhile, PDRRMO head Felicisima Mungcal reminded residents to implement safety measures, especially those leaving their houses this Lenten season and during summer vacation.

She also said that the public should immediately call the Bulacan Rescue hotline number 791-0566 or 117 which is the emergency hotline of the Department of Interior and Local Government in case an emergency arises. (PNA) 
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Three most wanted persons in Bulacan fell

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, March 17 (PNA) -- Police arrested Wednesday three most wanted persons in Bulacan through the intensified "Lambat Sibat" operations.

Senior Supt. Timoteo Pacleb, officer-in-charge of the Bulacan PNP, identified the arrested persons as Teopisto Cielo, no. 3 most wanted person, of Balagtas; Reynaldo Lizarondo, no. 9, of Hagonoy; and Rolando De Luna, no. 10, of Hagonoy.

Cielo was arrested by joint elements of Balagtas Municipal Police Station (MPS), Provincial Special Operation Group (PSOG) and Regional Intelligence Unit 3 (RIU) by virtue of warrant of arrest issued by Judge Virgilita Castillo, of RTC Branch 12, Malolos City, Bulacan.

He is presently under the custody of Balagtas PNP.

Lizarondo and De Luna, on the other hand, were arrested by virtue of the alias warrant of arrest issued by presiding judge Gregorio Sampaga of RTC Branch 78, Malolos City.

They were detained at Hagonoy lock-up cells for proper disposition. (PNA) 
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Bulacan intensifies anti-rabies drive

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 11 (PNA) -- The provincial government of Bulacan, in partnership with the Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Agriculture (DA), is conducting a province-wide program against rabies starting this March until April of this year.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) is doing a weekly mass vaccination and veterinary medical missions in each municipality wherein there will be free castration, free consultation, free deworming and free treatment not only for dogs but for other domestic pets as well.

The mass vaccination for animals started in the City of San Jose Del Monte last March 1 and in Plaridel from March 8-10, March 11 in Calumpit, March 14 in Balagtas and March 15-18 in Hagonoy.

The schedule of vaccination will resume after Holy Week, from April 5-8 in Pandi, April 12-15, in Guiguinto, April 19-22 in Baliwag and from April 26-29 in Santa Maria.

“Last year, we garnered the most number of vaccinated dogs here in Region III which is 216,474, that is more than 70 percent of the total dog population which is the regular target of every province or municipality,” Dr. Voltaire Basinang, head of the PVO, said.

Basinang also said that the province has dog pounds in the towns of Guiguinto, Santa Maria, and cities of San Jose Del Monte, Meycauayan and Malolos that are actively searching for rabies cases.

“Among all the provinces in the Philippines, we in Bulacan are the only ones who are actively searching for rabies cases. It is our province, therefore, it is our responsibility to eradicate these cases. No excuses. I am not making any promises but I think we are on the right track,” Basinang said.

He also clarified that despite having high number of animal bites on record, Bulacan has lower cases of human transmitted rabies and is continuously decreasing.

Rose May Fernando, rabies coordinator of the Provincial Public Health Office, said that there were 14 mortality cases in 2012; 13 deaths in 2013; 11 in 2014 and five in 2015.

Last year, the province gave complete anti-rabies dose to 19,676 Bulakenyos.

”We are reminding all Bulakenyo pet owners to have their pets vaccinated against rabies and be responsible pet owners,” Basinang concluded. (PNA) 
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Two PNP generals make 'sentimental journey' to Bulacan - By Emil G. Gamos

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, March 9 (PNA) -- Two police generals went down memory lane when they made a “sentimental journey” to the places where they were assigned shortly after graduating from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) many years ago.

Chief Supt. Richard A. Albano, regional director of Police Regional Office 4, and PNP-Civil Security Group director Elmer Soria, were teary eyed after their former operatives saluted them during their comeback visit to this camp Tuesday afternoon.

“It feels good to be back home,” said Albano, who together with some media friends and retired policemen who served under him when he was still the chief of the intelligence branch of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office under then police colonel Noe A. Wong (now a retired police general), traced back his days as a young police officer.

Albano asked new police officers if they have experienced ghostly encounters at the quarters of the police officers inside this camp, to which they replied “positive, sir”.

The bemedalled regional director of PRO 4 also saluted his former men and thanked them including retired SP04 Teodulo Tangson, who was marked for liquidation by the Sparrow Unit of the New People’s Army during the height of the insurgency war in Central Luzon.

“We were obliged to live in a safehouse to protect him (Tangson). Eventually we were able to neutralize that group,” he said.

He also gave young police recruits some tips on becoming good police officers by remembering “KSA” which means “knowledge, skills, and attitude.”

Albano, who also served as police chief of Marilao, Calumpit and Meycauayan City, was also instrumental in the successful operations of the crack police mobile group of the 170th PNP Company known as “Ruses de Guerre” which was then headed by the innovative Senior Inspector Leon Nilo dela Cruz, now a retired PNP general.

Albano, who was then the executive officer of the 170th PNP Company, has led several operations which led to the neutralization of dreaded criminal gangs and notorious armed drug dealers operating in Central Bulacan.

With three police cars named “Pursuit”, “Tomahawk” and Interceptor” at his disposal, Albano under the supervision of Captain Dela Cruz, conducted a series of police operations which also resulted in the busting of highway robbery gangs responsible for bus hold-ups along the North Luzon Expressway.

His colorful exploits at the 170th PNP Company was equally followed and continued by Soria, who also served as executive officer under then Chief Inspector now retired PNP General Roberto Rongavilla.

“It feels good to see your former colleagues and friends. Gen. Albano and I cannot help but feel emotional about this. We grew up here," Soria said.

He said another police general, Chief Supt. Ronald Estilles, was also part of the “sentimental journey” but was not available for interview.

Bulacan PNP Press Corps president Orlan L. Mauricio of Manila Standard and Metro News Bulacan, who chronicled the colorful exploits of the police generals when he was still desk editor of People’s Tonight, said Albano, Soria and Estilles honed their abilities as seasoned lawmen in Bulacan and have figured with many armed skirmishes with insurgents and heavily armed-criminal gangs.

“They became good police officers because of their exemplary stint in Bulacan," he said. (PNA) 
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Dope dealer killed in shootout with Bulacan cops

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, March 9 (PNA)-- A notorious drug pusher was killed in a shootout with police anti-drug operatives during a buy-bust operation in Barangay San Juan, San Miguel town Monday night.

Senior Supt. Timoteo G. Pacleb, officer-in-charge of the Bulacan Police provincial Office, identified the slain dope dealer as Jake Pangyarihan alias “Badjeck”, 23, married, and a resident of said barangay.

Pacleb said that Pangyarihan was listed as the No. 4 drug priority target of the San Miguel Police Station and has been long been under surveillance prior to the drug sting operation that led to the armed encounter.

He said that personnel of San Miguel Municipal Police Station, in coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 3, conducted an anti-illegal drug operation in the community.

He said that the shootout ensued after Pangyarihan tried to escape after selling one sachet of white crystalline substance suspected as methamphetamine hydrochloride otherwise known as “shabu” to a poseur buyer in exchange of PHP500 and fired towards the operatives, prompting the police to return fire that triggered an exchange of gunfire, resulting to the death of the suspect .

No casualty was reported on the police operatives’ side.

Scene of the Crime Operative (SOCO) recovered the pieces of evidence, namely two heat sealed transparent plastic sachet with suspected shabu; one improvised pistol (sumpak) loaded with one 12GA cartridge; two 12 GA cartridge; three caliber 9mm fired cartridge; one improvised aluminum foil toother; and one improvised aluminum foil strip with residue.

The suspect's cadaver was brought Cathedral Funeral Homes in Barangay Camias, San Miguel, Bulacan for autopsy while the recovered pieces of evidence were brought to Bulacan Crime Laboratory Office for custody and appropriate examination. (PNA) 
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PDEA-3 seizes Php60-M marijuana; arrests 3 persons in Pampanga

CAMP OLIVAS,Pampanga, March 5 (PNA) --Operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-3 (PDEA 3) on Saturday confiscated 60 kilos of marijuana worth Php60 million and arrested three persons in a drug sting in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga.

PDEA 3 Regional Director Gladys Rosales identified the arrested as Menalao Flores, 40; Israel Flores, 32; and Carlu Quiambao, 37; all residents of Baliuag, Bulacan.

Rosales said the agents initially were able to strike a deal with the suspects for 10 kilos of marijuana and met along Macarthur Highway in Barangay San Agustin, City of San Fernando.

The agents, she said discovered another bundle of marijuana stalks from the suspects during the operation.

"The sting yielded 43 bricks of marijuana, one bundle of marijuana and the recovery of the marked money used in the operation," Rosales said, adding that the anti drug bust was the largest marijuana haul in Pampanga.

Meanwhile, PDEA Director General Arturo Cacdac Jr. commended the PDEA 3 for the arrest of the high value targets and another successful high impact operation.

The suspects are now detained at PDEA Jail Facility inside this camp. (PNA) 
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Hundreds of Bulacan students to get summer jobs thru SPES

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 4 (PNA) -- A total of 164 students in this province will get summer jobs through this year’s Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES) of the provincial government of Bulacan and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the program which will start in April up to May aims to help underprivileged but deserving students pay their education by providing additional income through SPES every summer vacation.

”The provincial government wants to help the youths prepare for their future by providing jobs during summer season,” the governor said.

The SPES beneficiaries will receive a salary of which 60 percent will come from their employer while the remaining 40 percent will be shouldered by the DOLE.

Kristine Plamenco, a student of Bachelor of Arts in Communication at Baliwag University, said the program helped her a lot in pursuing her college education.

”Through SPES, I was able to help my parents in paying my school expenses. At the same time, I’ve learned a lot,” Plamenco said, who is a SPES beneficiary for the past two years.

The SPES is being implemented by the Provincial Youth, Sports, Employment and Development Office - Bulacan Provincial Public Employment Service Office (PESO) wherein deserving students are given opportunities to work in public and private agencies. (PNA) 
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Bulacan's top fugitive, 3 others fall in series of police sting

CAMP GEN ALEJO S. SANTOS, Bulacan, March 3 (PNA) -- Bulacan police arrested Wednesday the no. 1 most wanted person, along with three other priority targets during a series of manhunt operations in this province.

Bulacan police officer-in-charge Senior Supt. Timoteo G. Pacleb identified the arrested top fugitive as Jayson Cruz, a resident of Villa Prescila Subdivision, Barangay Cut Cot, Pulilan Bulacan.

Pacleb said Cruz was arrested by personnel of Bulacan Provincial Intelligence Branch by virtue of a warrant of arrest for violation of Republic Act 6539 (carnapping) issued by Judge Teodora Gonzales of Regional Trial Court, Branch 14, City of Malolos, Bulacan with a recommended bail bond of PHP180,000.

Cruz is also suspected to be involved in the series of motorcycle theft in Pulilan town and other nearby areas.

Likewise, police arrested Amando Sinson, and Leonardo Melo, who are no. 3 and no. 4 Lambat Sibat priority targets, respectively, in Pulilan town.

Pacleb also said that the San Miguel PNP under chief of police Supt. Joel Estaris reported the arrest of no. 4 most wanted of Malolos City identified as Wilfredo Miranda, a resident of Baluarte, Gapan City Nueva Ecija. (PNA) 
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1 killed, five others arrested in a drug buy-bust operation in Bulacan

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, March 2 (PNA)-- A drug dealer was killed while five others were arrested on Wednesday morning in a drug buy bust operation in San Miguel, Bulacan.

In a report reaching this camp, killed was Ferdinand Sanguyo Jr. alias Camote.

Investigation showed that Sanguyo tried to escape after selling a plastic sachet containing shabu to a poseur buyer and fired at the authorities prompting the policemen to fire back that resulted in his death.

Meanwhile, those arrested were identified as Gerald Peñaflor and Roselyn Peñaflor, both residents of Tunsuya, Malabon City; John Oliver Gonzales, a resident of Barangay Partida; Dennis Salvador, a resident of Barangay Sta. Ines and Ryan Sanguyo, a resident of Barangay Camias, all of San Miguel, Bulacan.

Confiscated from the suspects were six plastic sachets of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride, also known as shabu; one caliber .38 revolver with ammunition, and assorted drug paraphernalia. (PNA) 
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Two notorious dope dealers fall in Bulacan sting

CAMP GEN. ALEJO S SANTOS, Bulacan, March 2 (PNA) -- Police anti-narcotics operatives have put an end to the nefarious drug trade of two notorious dope dealers in separate operations in the towns of Norzagaray and San Miguel, this province Tuesday afternoon.

Senior Supt. Timoteo G. Pacleb, officer-in-charge of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office, identified the arrested suspects as Francis Agustin, resident of Barangay Minuyan, Norzagaray and Junrey Cerdenia alias “Junrey Muyco”, water supply delivery boy and resident of Barangay San Jose, San Miguel.

Pacleb said Agustin is listed as No. 4 illegal drugs priority target of the Norzagaray Police Station while Cerdenia is listed as No. 5 priority target of the San Miguel Police Station.

According to the report of Norzagaray PNP, Agustin was arrested in Barangay Minuyan at around 3 p.m. Tuesday by virtue of warrant of arrest dated March 1, 2016 signed and issued by Judge Efren B. Tienzo of Regional Trial Court (RTC), Third Judicial Region Branch 18.

Cerdenia, on the other hand, was arrested in Barangay San Jose at around 11 a.m. Tuesday by virtue of warrant of arrest issued by Judge Virgilita B. Castillo, RTC Branch 12, Malolos City. (PNA)
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Murder raps filed vs. Malolos RTC judge's killers

MANILA, March 2 (PNA) -- The alleged perpetrators in the 2015 killing of a Malolos City Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge have been charged with murder before the Malolos City RTC in Bulacan.

In a progress report to Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. Aranal Sereno released on Wednesday, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) disclosed that an information for murder has already been filed against the suspects in the death of Malolos RTC Branch 84 Judge Wilfredo T. Nieves, who was gunned down on Nov. 11, 2015.

Charged with murder were Jay Deogrades Joson with aliases "Jepoy" and "Jefferson," and Raymond Dominguez.

However, the complaint against Arnel Janoras was dismissed because Janoras was already dead, while the complaint against the other respondents, including two "John Does," was dismissed for lack of probable cause.

Based on the report to the OCA by Senior Supt. Ferdinand O. Divina, Director of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office, it was learned that as of Feb. 1, 2016, the case was already raffled to the Malolos RTC Branch 82 and that a warrant of arrest is to follow.

"Rest assured that the Bulacan Police will continue to monitor and coordinate for progress and best result of the murder case filed against the suspects," Divina said in his letter to the OCA.

Dominguez, who was convicted of carnapping by Judge Nieves in 2012, is currently detained at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.

He was included in the charge sheet after it was established, based on the deceased Janoras' statement, that he had instructed Deogrades Joson to kill Nieves.

The statement of Janoras that Deogrades Joson is a friend of Dominguez was bolstered by the fact that based on the list of visitors of NBP, the former visited Dominguez as a friend.

Nieves was the 25th judge slain while in the service since 1999. (PNA) 
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27 nabbed in anti-cybersex raid in Cabanatuan City 
By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan

MANILA, March 2 (PNA) -- The Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) on Tuesday arrested 27 persons involved in cybersex activities and 'sextortion' in an operation in Cabanatuan City, PNP-ACG Director Senior Superintendent Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said.

Eleazar said the suspects were arrested inside the office of TLS Synergy Group, an online marketing firm in Cabanatuan City.

“We have reason to believe that the suspects’ activities could lead to 'sextortion' after we discovered that the company was engaged in the maintenance, control and operation of lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activities in front of web cameras for a fee”, said the PNP-ACG director.

The raid led by the Chief of Regional Anti-Cybercrime Office 3, Police Chief Inspector Ronelio O Manaog, came in the wake of an alarm raised by the PNP-ACG over the presence of foreign and domestic cybercrime operators involved in cyber pornography, cybersex dens, illegal gambling, credit card fraud and identity theft.

Eleazar said they raided the office of principal suspect Florendo Holgado, armed with a search warrant for violation of Section 4(c)1 of Republic Act 10175 issued by Judge Richard A. Paradeza of Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 72.

The police operation took place at No. 31 Melencio Extension in Kapitan Pepe Subdivision, Barangay San Jose Sur, Cabanatuan City at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday.

However, Holgado was not around during the raid.

The arrested suspects include seven women who were caught in the act of engaging, chatting, and showing recorded videos of females doing simulated sex.

The suspects are now being held at the PNP-ACG headquarters in Camp Crame. They are set to face raps for violation of Section 4(c)1 (Cybersex) of Republic Act 10175, otherwise known as Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, and Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code or Immoral Doctrine, Obscene Publications and Exhibitions and Indecent Shows.

The PNP-ACG chief said the operatives seized 30 computers, 31 cellphones, 3 printers, 2 monitors, 2 telephone sets, a router, several raffle coupons, and other pieces of documentary evidence during the raid.

According to Eleazar, they discovered that the 27 persons were hired by Holgado to work for him as Chat Sales Agents/Online Marketing Agents or ‘Chat Operators’ who have been trained for simulated sex videos.

“They are looking for possible victims on various dating sites, social media sites, blogs sites and porn sites that can be easily accessed through the internet,” he said.

PNP-ACG investigators discovered that the ‘Chat Operators’ are engaged in advertising obscene pornographic sites (through www.webcams.com, and www.sexplaycam.com) and online chatting (using Yahoo, Facebook, MSN, and Skype).

Records show that in 2014, PNP-ACG agents arrested 58 suspects involved in cybersex activities in Bulacan, many parts of Bicol, Laguna and Metro Manila. Eleazar said that the mode of operation of the 58 suspects arrested in 2014 were very similar to that of the TLS Synergy Group in Cabanatuan City, thus triggering the PNP-ACG investigation of the online marketing scheme of the Nueva Ecija-based company.

Eleazar said that they are conducting a thorough investigation to determine the actual involvement of the company in ‘sextortion’ activities.

“We are digging deeper into their possible ‘sextortion’ activities since we found photographs, videos, and messages between the victims and the suspects in many of the digital evidence we had seized,” he said.

Eleazar warned the public anew to be wary of the modus operandi of ‘sextortion’ syndicates operating in the country. He said that in most cases, the ‘chatter’ or suspect will encourage his/her target to take part in a video chat through Skype.

The ‘chatter’ will then show a simulated video of a naked woman and entice the victim to go naked on camera. As soon as the victim agrees, the ‘chatter’ will then record the live video on his/her computer and will later blackmail the victim by threatening to send the recorded video to his Facebook friends once he fails to heed the chatter’s monetary demands.

Eleazar said that the PNP-ACG is currently conducting more police operations against cybersex, sextortion activities, and any violations committed by, through and with the use of information and communications technologies in the country.

The raid was conducted two days after the PNP-ACG crushed a Manila-based cybercrime syndicate composed of five men engaging in sex and other obscene acts in front of webcams being viewed online by their clients, majority of them foreigners involved in pedophilia and other sexual perversions.

Eleazar said that the suspects were receiving payments for their services through different money remittance services such as Western Union, Palawan Express, Cebuana Lhuiller, Smart Money Master Card, Globe Beep Master Card and other payment systems, such as Payoneer Prepaid Master Card. (PNA) 
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Police probes murder attempt vs Bulacan gov’s son

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 29 (PNA) -- Police is investigating the alleged murder attempt against the son of Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado whose Toyota Fortuner vehicle was reportedly tailed and intentionally bumped head-on at high speed by a car being driven by policeman in front of Northfields Subdivision along MacArthur highway in Barangay Longos here past midnight Saturday.

Police report said that Jose Antonio “Jonathan” R. Sy-Alvarado, who is also a candidate for congressman in the first congressional district of Bulacan, sustained injuries in the head and different parts of his body.

He is still confined and undergoing treatment at a hospital in Manila.

The young Alvarado was sitting at the passenger seat and was on his way home to Calumpit when his driver noticed a car swerving on the opposite side of the highway while heading towards Malolos City.

According to witnesses, the vehicle of Sy-Alvarado has already stopped in front of the gate of Northfields Subdivision to avoid the incoming car.

However, witnesses said its driver seemed to have intention of crashing the Toyota Fortuner of Sy-Alvarado because it has already stopped.

Police identified the suspect as policeman Marlon Calderon assigned the Bulacan Police Provincial Office in Camp Gen. Alejo Santos.

The victim’s family is set to file a case of attempted murder aside from reckless imprudence resulting to multiple injuries and damage to property.

Sy-Alvarado, a magna cum laude graduate of the San Beda College (Master in Business Administration), is leading the congressional race in the province’ first district due to his various outreach programs and livelihood projects. (PNA) 
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President Aquino asks Bulakenyos to support Roxas-Robredo tandem, other LP bets

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 24 (PNA) -- Proudly telling Bulakenyos that he has deep roots in this historic capital city, President Benigno S. Aquino III called on Tuesday Bulakenyos to rally behind Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Mar Roxas and running mate Leni Robledo together with their senatorial slate and provincial candidates led by reelectionists Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando in order for the “Daang Matuwid” leadership to push through with continuity.

The Chief Executive, who arrived on board the presidential chopper at the jampacked Bulacan Sports Complex here, said that he believes that the people of Bulacan will support the candidacy of the LP top bets because of their fervor for good governance and the progress now being enjoyed in the province due to the “Daang Matuwid” policy of his administration.

“Ako po ay naniniwala na susuportahan ng mga Boss kong Bulakenyo ang ating mga pambato (Roxas-Robledo) para ituloy ang tuwid na daan at lalo pa itong palawigin,“ the President told a cheering crowd.

He said that the ancestral house of the Cojuangcos is near the historic Barasoain Church as he calls on his fellow Malolenyos and the people of Bulacan to rally behind the LP candidates.

Alvarado also made a clarion call to his province mates to support the candidates being endorsed by President Aquino.

Alvarado said the country needs a good captain that can steer the nation towards unity and progress.

Roxas and Robledo, who earlier made campaign sorties in San Miguel and Plaridel, thanked the President for his strong support as well as the people of Bulacan for their warm welcome. (PNA) 
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Bulacan to host PRISAA 2016 regional meet

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 17 (PNA) -- After the successful hosting of the recently-concluded Central Luzon Regional Athletic Association (CLRAA) meet, this province will also be the venue of this year’s Private Schools Athletics Association (PRISAA) regional meet that will kick off on Thursday at the La Consolacion University Philippines (LCUP) Kalinangan Gymnasium in this city.

More than 40 secondary and tertiary schools in Central Luzon will compete in different sports categories, namely athletics, baseball, basketball, badminton, boxing, chess, lawn tennis, sepak takraw, gymnastics, track and field, golf, table tennis, taekwondo, swimming, football, judo, cycling and volleyball.

PRISAA aims to continuously discover the best young athletes who will compete in various competitions in the country and even around the world.

Meanwhile, the provincial government of Bulacan headed by Governor Wilhemino M. Sy-Alvarado ensures the safety as well as peace and order around the vicinity where the competitions will be held.

”We already coordinated with the Bulacan police and Bulacan Rescue so that we are ready and prepare at all times. We expect that this sports meet will become successful,” the governor said.

The sports competitions will be held in various locations, including LCUP, Bulacan Sports Complex, Robinsons Place Malolos and City Walk Sports Center.

The winners will represent the region in the upcoming PRISAA National Collegiate Games in April 2016.

PRISAA started in 1953 through the initiative of the then Director of the Bureau of Private Schools Dr. Manuel Carreon, who encouraged the private schools all over the Philippines to join the PRISAA for the purpose of promoting sports competitions. (PNA) 
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Bulacan police cited for quick resolve on murder case

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Feb. 15 (PNA) -- The Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) on Monday awarded the Bulacan Provincial Police Office with PHP1-million bounty for the quick resolution on the slaying of Judge Wilfredo Nieves, then presiding judge of Bulacan Regional Trial Court Branch 84 .

The awarding of bounty was held during the regular flag raising ceremony at the Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3) here.

Nieves was shot dead along MacArthur Highway in Barangay Tikay, Malolos City, Bulacan last November 11, 2015.

Bulacan police headed by Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina solved the cases in less than two weeks following the arrest of the primary suspect Arnel Janoras, who was later killed while trying to escape en route to San Jose Del Monte City, also in Bulacan, for inquest proceedings.

Police Chief Supt. Rudy Lacadin, PRO-3 director, expressed his gratitude to the RPOC for its unrelenting support to PNP-PRO3.

He said that the accomplishment only proves that PRO-3 is indeed quick in resolving cases and arresting lawless elements.

“The entire Central Luzon police force is keeping on its toes to ensure that our communities are safe. We continue to implement our pro-active measures through SOP Lambat Sibat especially now that we are in the election period to guarantee the attainment of a secure and fair elections this May,” Lacadin said. (PNA) 
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2016 Central Luzon Regional Athletic Association kicks off in Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 8 (PNA) -- Thousands of athletes started competing for regional sports supremacy as the 2016 Central Luzon Regional Athletic Association (CLRAA) meet unfolded at the sprawling Bulacan Sports Complex in Barangay Sta. Isabel here and other parts of the province.

Department of Education (DepEd) Regional Director Malcolm Garma formally opened the annual sporting event Sunday afternoon which was attended by spectators and delegates from the different provinces of Central Luzon.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando welcomed the athletes in 18 schools divisions in the region.

Alvarado said the hosting of the 2016 edition of the CLRAA is a prelude to possible hosting of the national games or Palarong Pambansa.

He said that Bulacan is now ready to host such event with the biggest open stadium at Ciudad de Victoria, as the possible venue which is located side-by-side with the Philippine Arena in Bocaue town.

Alvarado, who is also the chairman of the Regional Development Council (RDC) in Central Luzon said that the annual sporting event is not only the breeding ground of the nation’s future sports heroes but also sharpens the mind and body of the youths.

“With strong minds and strong body, our youths will also have discipline and know the wonders of teamwork as they trek new hopes towards a strong nation with a nationalist mind set,” Alvarado said.

Senator Teofisto “TJ” Guingona III, who graced the occasion as the guest of honor and speaker, encouraged the young athletes to inculcate in themselves trust and friendship.

The game proper started today, February 8 and end on the 12th at the 15 assigned playing venues which include Balagtas Central School, Balagtas Gym, Boying’s Billiard Hall, Bulacan Sports Complex, Bulacan Capitol Gymnasium, Bulacan State University Activity Center, Calumpit Central School, City Walk, CMIS Sto. Rosario, Guiguinto Municipal Athletic and Cultural Center, Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center, Marcelo H. Del Pilar National High School Gym, Norzagaray Central School, Philippine Sports Stadium and Richwell College in Plaridel.

Events include archery, arnis, athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, boxing, chess, football, gymnastics, sepak takraw, softball, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, volleyball, and special Olympics such as billiard, futsal and sepak takraw-girls shall be demonstration sports.

The 18 participating schools divisions, on the other hand, include Angeles City; Aurora Balanga City, Bataan; Bulacan; Cabanatuan City; Gapan City; Mabalacat City; Malolos City, Science City of Munoz, Nueva Ecija; Olongapo City; City of San Fernando, Pampanga; San Jose City, Tarlac City, Tarlac, and Zambales. (PNA) 
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Bulacan cites as blood champ in Central Luzon’s 1st blood program implementers awards

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 4 (PNA) -- For providing lifeline to needy patients, Bulacan and its hardworking leaders received new “feather in its cap.”

Its best practices and exemplary innovations on the implementation of blood programs have placed Bulacan as one of the most outstanding provinces in Central Luzon that continuously encourages blood donation as way of life for every qualified healthy Filipino during the 1st Recognition for Outstanding Blood Program Implementers and Stakeholders held on Thursday at Holiday Inn, Clark Freeport, Pampanga.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado personally received the awards in different categories, including the recognition for Home of Galloners with 125 registered blood galloners, Province With Most Number of Mobile Blood Donation, and even recognized as the Most Supportive and Active Governor for his dedicated efforts in supporting the blood services program implementation for his constituents.

“We are always been supportive to the objectives of the Department of Health (DOH) in ensuring that everyone has access to safe and adequate blood all the time. It is a great honor for the province to be recognized and we will continue to serve quality health care and services,” the governor said.

Alvarado said that the province was also recognized as one of the Lead Blood Services Facility in Region 3 and for almost 12 years operations of the blood programs in Bulacan, all efforts have gained momentum in advocacy for blood donor recruitment and mobile blood donations.

”These are few of the achievements of the province of Bulacan. Thus, I would like to thank all our partners in providing excellent services to our constituents,” Alvarado said.

Prior to this, DOH 3 Regional Voluntary Blood Service Program Council said that Bulacan has always been active in supporting the blood donation program that promotes voluntary blood donation to provide sufficient supply of safe blood and to regulate blood banks.

Bulacan as the Home of Sandugo awardees, was also commended for its effective distribution of blood and blood products to hospitals and other health facilities, its functions to cover advocacy, quality assurance program, monitoring rational and efficient use of blood products, financial management and regional blood program coordination.

The first ever awarding aims to recognize the efforts of all stakeholders, donor and galloners from provincial, municipal and barangay level in their untiring dedication to support the blood programs initiated by the DOH. (PNA) 
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President Aquino declares February 3 a special holiday in Bulacan and the City of Cabanatuan

MANILA, Feb. 2 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared February 3 (Wednesday) a special non-working day in the province of Bulacan and the city of Cabanatuan in Nueva Ecija province.

President Aquino issued Proclamation No. 1204, which declares February 3 a special holiday in Bulacan to celebrate the birth anniversary of Blas Ople.

“Blas F. Ople, who served as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Senate President and Secretary of Labor, devoted decades of his life to selfless and dedicated service to our country and our people,” the proclamation stated, adding that the “son of Bulacan is a model citizen and public officer to the Filipino people, especially to the Bulakenyos”.

President Aquino also issued Proclamation No. 1205 declaring February 3 a special non-working day in Cabanatuan City in commemoration of its 66th Foundation Anniversary.

“It is but fitting and proper that the people of the City of Cabanatuan, be given full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies,” the proclamation stated.

The proclamations were signed last January 28. (PNA) 
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Bulacan to commemorate 89th birth anniversary of Ka Blas Ople

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 1 (PNA)-- Bulakenyos will commemorate on Wednesday the 89th birth anniversary of Ka Blas Ople, one of the most outstanding sons of the province.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy Alvarado will lead the commemoration with the theme, “Ka Blas, Huwaran ka sa isip, sa salita at sa gawa” at the Gusaling Gat Blas F. Ople in the city.

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

Expected to grace the event are Ople’s children, Susan “Toots” Ople and board member Felix Ople, family members, officials and employees of the provincial government and National Historical Commission of The Philippines Bulacan-Zambales head Alex Balagtas, among others.

His daughter Susan will lead the unveiling of Ka Blas’ bust while his son, board member Felix Ople will represent the Ople family and give a brief message during the program.

The celebration also includes the opening of exhibit of the Hagonoy Art Group, a presentation of Ople’s heroic legacy and leadership.

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

Ople was recognized as “Father of Overseas Employment" and the author of the Philippine Labor Code for the protection of workers' rights.

He also served as Senate President, Foreign Affairs Secretary and Labor and Employment Minister.

He became the first Filipino president of the International Labor Organization in 1975.

Meanwhile, in accordance with Proclamation No. 948, Feb. 3 was declared as a special (non working day) in the province of Bulacan to celebrate the birth anniversary of Ople.

Ople was born in Hagonoy, Bulacan on February 3, 1927.(PNA) 
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PDEA-3 nets son of incumbent officials in Bulacan

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Feb. 1 (PNA) -- Agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-3 (PDEA-3) arrested Sunday in a buy-bust operation the son of the incumbent public officials in Pandi, Bulacan.

PDEA-3 director Gladys Rosales identified the suspect as Christopher Bryan Sebastian 34, and a resident of Bagong Barrio Pandi, Bulacan.

Rosales said that Sebastian is the son of the incumbent barangay captain and city councilor of Pandi, which reportedly made him untouchable in the locality.

The PDEA official said that the suspect tried to elude arrest and even used a dump truck as a getaway vehicle.

”A gunfight then ensued between the suspect and the authorities,” she said.

Sebastian sustained a gunshot wound.

Rosales said the operation netted seven plastic sachet containing shabu weighing 57 grams with an estimated street value of PHP250,000 and recovered the marked money. (PNA) 
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Malolos lone district bill now in Senate, residents jubilant

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 1 (PNA)--Bulacan First District Rep. Ma. Victoria R. Sy-Alvarado has announced that House Bill 6338, “an Act separating the city of Malolos from the First Legislative District of Bulacan to constitute the lone legislative district of the City of Malolos,” was already approved in Congress.

Sy-Alvarado, who is the author of the said measure, also said that the HB 6338 was already approved for transmittal to the Senate.

She said the House of Representatives has also given advance information to the Office of Senate President Franklin Drilon for calendaring it as official business in the Senate.

“Finally after long delays, the dream of the people of Malolos to be represented in Congress is now advancing to the Senate and might soon become a reality,” Sy-Alvarado said.

Residents recalled that no less than President Benigno Aquino III and former Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel Roxas II vouched for and defended the conversion of Malolos into a lone congressional district when they were still senators of the 14th Congress.

Upon learning that the bill is now scheduled for approval in the Senate, residents of this historic capital city are now rejoicing because their dream of being represented in Congress will soon materialize.

The people of Malolos as well as village officials are now calling on the Senate Committee on Local Government chaired by Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., to hasten the passage of the bill saying that it is about time that the national government give due recognition to the important role of this now booming metropolis in the nation’s history.

“Senator Bongbong Marcos will play a key role in the realization of the dreams of the people of Malolos because he is also a Bulakenyo, being a grandson of Dona Remedios Trinidad, the mother of former First Lady and now Rep. Imelda Trinidad Romualdez Marcos,” said former Barangay Tikay village chief Alejandro “Jhun” Joson Jr.

Joson added that the passage of the bill will be a legacy of Senator Marcos because the historic capital city of Malolos is fast becoming a highly urbanized city thus, it is high time that it becomes a lone congressional district to further boost progress development.

“It is about time that Malolos be given its proper recognition as a lone district, especially on account of its great contribution to Philippine independence and democracy,” Joson said.

In a related development, Rep. Sy-Alvarado also announced that that House Bill 5156 or "An act declaring January 23 of every year a special working holiday in the entire country to commemorate the declaration of the First Philippine Republic” has already been approved in the Lower House and is now in Senate also under the committee being chaired by Sen. Marcos.

Sy-Alvarado said that it is also high time to recognize the national significance of the First Philippine Republic because it was on this date the Philippines was recognized as an independent nation by the international community.

“It was on that very day, January 23, 1899, when our people and country, was recognized by the international community as a free republic and until now continues to gain the respect and admiration of foreign dignitaries, world leaders and even the Pope,” she said.

January 23 is currently special non-working holiday in Bulacan.

It would be a national holiday equal to June 12 commemoration of Philippine Independence Day if HB 5156 gets approved,

The lady solon also explained that January 23 is a priceless gift to the Filipino people, a date that brought democracy in the country and made Malolos the cradle of Democracy in Asia and Africa.

“What happened in this historic capital city 117 years ago is like a shinning comet that continues to serve as beacon of change that will always remind and hopefully unite all Filipinos of their proud heritage as free and independent people of the world,” she added. (PNA) 
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AWOL cop, 8 others nabbed in Bulacan dope sting

CAMP GEN ALEJO S SANTOS, Bulacan, Jan. 28 (PNA) -- Nine persons, including an AWOL (absent without leave) cop, were arrested during an anti-drug sting on Thursday at Ma. Soccorro Subdivision, Marilao town.

Senior Supt. Ferdinand O. Divina, Bulacan police director, identified the arrested suspects as Victor de Guzman alias “Tata Vic,” PO1 Franco Nero Sagudang, 33, an AWOL member of Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB), Police Regional Office 3, Richard Aguado, 30, all residents of Ma. Socorro Subdivision, Barangay Abangan Note, Marilao, Bulacan; Allana Coronel, 50, a resident of Sarmiento Homes, Abangan Norte, Marilao, Bulacan; Alex Mahistrado, 34, a resident of Barangay Guyong, Sta. Maria, Bulacan; Christopher Lumangyao, 43, Dennis De Castro, 48, both live-in residents of Ma. Socorro Subdivision, Barangay Abangan Note, Marilao, Bulacan; Jethro Bentor, 42, live-in, resident of Lolomboy, Bocaue, Bulacan; and Ma. Louralliene Caringal, 24, a resident of Villa Grande Subdivision, Lambakin, Marilao, Bulacan.

Divina said that prior to the arrest of the suspects, a telephone call from a concerned citizen was received by elements of Marilao Municipal Police Station (MPS) informing that a certain “Tata Vic”” is rampantly selling illegal drugs known as “shabu” at his residence in Ma. Socorro Subdivision, Barangay Abangan Norte.

Upon receipt of this information, Divina said that operatives of Marilao MPS conducted surveillance operation at the place and after confirming the same, elements of Marilao police immediately coordinated with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in PRO3 Camp Olivas, City of San Fernando, Pampanga, which eventually issued a Control No. 10004- 012016-0391 for the conduct of operation.

Subsequently after a short briefing, the operatives of Marilao Police went to the reported place to conduct buy-bust operation.

Divina said that PO1 Nico Riño, who acted as poseur buyer together with the confidential asset, went to the house of “Tata Vic” which was being used for their illegal drugs transaction.

When the operatives arrived, they approached suspect “Tata Vic” and his cohort Mahistrado, who were then waiting in front of their house and informed of their intention.

Tata Vic” yielded a plastic sachet containing suspected shabu and handed over it to the poseur buyer, in exchange for two pieces of PHP100 as marked money.

However, before the members of the operating team could give the pre-arranged signal to the other operatives in the area, the two suspects sensed the presence of the operating team and hurriedly fled towards their house.

A brief chase ensued wherein the members of the operating team were able to apprehend the suspects inside the house.

The operating team also saw the other suspects, AWOL PO1 Franco Nero Sagudang and six others, in the act of sniffing illegal drugs inside the house of Tata Vic.

Confiscated from the possession of suspect “Tata Vic” were one heat sealed small size plastic pack containing suspected “shabu”; one piece heat sealed medium size plastic sachet containing suspected shabu and the marked money.

Likewise, elements of Marilao MPS also confiscated suspected shabu from Mahistrado's possession.

On the other hand, recovered and confiscated from the possession of PO1 Sagudang and six other suspects were some drug paraphernalia.

The arrested suspects, together with the confiscated pieces of evidence, were brought to the Bulacan Crime Laboratory Office in Malolos City, Bulacan for drug test and laboratory examination.

Meanwhile, verification with the Regional Public Safety Battalion 3 based at Camp Olivas, City of San Fernando, Pampanga revealed that PO1 Sagudang has pending criminal and administrative cases for serious neglect of duty for his AWOL and grave misconduct, resulting from his criminal case of malversation of government property.

Criminal complaint for violation of Section 5 in relation to section 26, sections 6, 7, 11, 12, 13 and 14, Art. II of R.A. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs of 2002) is now being prepared for filling against the nine arrested suspects before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor. (PNA) 
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Bulakenyos hopeful that January 23 will soon be a special nationwide holiday

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 28 (PNA) -- Bulakenyos, particularly residents of this historic capital city, are now pinning their hopes on Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., for the materialization of their dreams to make January 23 of every year as a “special working holiday” in the entire country because of its significance in the nation’s history.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said Wednesday that House Bill 5156 or "An Act declaring January 23 of every year a special working holiday in the entire country to commemorate the declaration of the First Philippine Republic” filed by Bulacan 1st District Rep. Ma. Victoria R. Sy Alvarado has already been approved in the Lower House and is now in Senate under the committee chaired by Sen. Marcos.

Alvarado said that Bulakenyos are optimistic that the bill will be passed because the senator has deep roots in Bulacan as his grandmother Dona Remedios Trinidad, mother of the senator's mother Rep. Imelda Romualdez Marcos, is a native of Baliwag, Bulacan.

Alvarado said that it is high time to recognize the national significance of the First Philippine Republic because it was on this date that the Philippines was recognized as an independent nation by the international community.

“It was on that very day, January 23, 1899 when our people and country was recognized by the international community as a free republic and until now continues to gain the respect and admiration of foreign dignitaries, world leaders and even the Pope,” Alvarado said.

January 23 is currently special non-working holiday in Bulacan. It would be a national holiday equal to the June 12 commemoration of Philippine Independence Day if HB 5156 gets approved, the governor who, together with Chief Justice Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, has also been pushing for the passage of the said measure.

Alvarado also explained that January 23 is a priceless gift to the Filipino people, a date that brought democracy in the country and made Malolos the cradle of democracy in Asia and Africa.

“What happened in this historic capital city 117 years ago is like a shinning comet that continues to serve as beacon of change that will always remind and hopefully unite all Filipinos of their proud heritage as free and independent people of the world,” Alvarado added.

Former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Joel Villanueva also said it is about time that the rich and highly important date in Philippine history be given its due recognition.

In the measure’s explanatory note, Rep. Sy-Alvarado said that while June 12, 1898 marks the date when the country achieved independence from Spain, it was on January 23, 1899 that the first Philippine Republic came into being “as the sovereign choice of the Filipino people.”

“It is a conscious choice to reject dictatorial and revolutionary government and establish for all the future Filipino generations the groundwork for democracy,” she said.

The lawmaker said the creation of the first Philippine Republic, the first in Asia, should be a source of pride for Filipinos as this represents “our strong democratic and republican ideals as a nation.

Alvarado said that Bulakenyos has high hopes on Marcos because the senator fully well knows its importance and its value especially to the youths and the next generations. (PNA) 
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First PHL Republic continues to shine like a 'comet of change' —Bulacan governor

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 24 (PNA) -- Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado described on Saturday the inauguration of the First Philippine Republic in this historic capital city 117 years ago like a "shining comet that continues to serve as beacon of change."

Alvarado said that the events that transpired at Barasoain Church on Jan. 23, 1899 were equal to the proclamation of Philippine Independence in Kawit ,Cavite on June 12, 1898 because the inauguration of the First Philippine Republic gave credence and legality to the historic moments at the balcony of the mansion of then revolutionary leader Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, making him the president of the 1st Philippine Republic, to the eyes of the international community.

The governor said that Barasoain Church will always be the showcase of the great spirit and love for freedom of the Filipino race.

“We should always look back at the significance of Jan. 23, 1899 and be proud that our forebears had established a government of their own in the middle of a war against two of the most powerful empires in the world — Spain and the United States of America,” Alvarado said.

Alvarado said that Filipino revolutionaries and the Bulakenyos have proven that they can stand up and fight for their rights as sovereign people.

“Our freedom fighters have shown to the world what the Filipino race can do against tremendous odds and achieve their goals,” he added.

Alvarado, together with Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando, City Mayor Christian Natividad, and Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand O. Divina earlier joined the guest of honor, former Secretary Joel Villanueva of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in paying tribute to the lifesize statue of Gen. Aguinaldo where they offered flowers and a 21-gun salute before the singing of the national anthem during the commemoration of the 117th anniversary of the First Philippine Republic.

This year's celebration carried the theme "Diwa ng Republika Filipino, Batayan ng Mabuting Pamamahala."

Villanueva, in his speech, said he felt somewhat creepy when he set foot at the patio of Barasoain Church as he imagined the day when the people of Malolos were rejoicing the birth of a new republic.

“It’s a nostalgic feeling. It is important to remind the youths of their proud heritage so that the embers of patriotism will burn inside their hearts," he said.

Villanueva, a native of Bocaue town, said that it is time to pursue a historic revolution as he echoed the call of Governor Alvarado to make Jan. 23 of every year a special Philippine holiday just like June 12 or Philippine Independence Day.

“January 23 is very significant to the lives of the Filipinos who now enjoy living as free citizens of the world,” he said.

On Jan. 23, 1899, the First Philippine Republic, popularly known as the Malolos Republic, was inaugurated amidst colorful ceremonies at the Barasoain Church, Malolos, Bulacan Province.

This was also the first republic in Asia.

Aguinaldo took his oath of office as President of the Republic at the Barasoain Church. (PNA) 
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Bulakenyos to commemorate the 117th First Philippine Republic anniversary

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan.22 (PNA)--Bulakenyos will once again relive the heroic deeds of the eight provinces that fought for the country’s independence in the 117th anniversary of the First Philippine Republic on Saturday at the historical church of Barasoain in this city.

With the theme, “Diwa ng Republika Filipina, Batayan ng Mabuting Pamamahala," the celebration will lead by Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvardo with former Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Secretary Emmanuel “Joel” Villanueva as guest of honor.

The event aims to uplift the awareness of the younger generation about the heroic moments in the Philippine history and to highlight the importance of the first republic in guiding the government today.

The program will start at 8 a.m. through a flag raising ceremony and wreath- laying activity at Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo’s monument.

Local officials, senior citizens, students, teachers, non-government organizations, and other sectors in Bulacan are expected to participate in the celebration as well as the representatives from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

Alvarado said that everyone especially the Bulakenyo youth should not forget the sacrifices and wisdom of our revolutionary forefathers that awaken the Filipinos’ aspiration to become free.

”Let us make January 23 every year as a reminder to everyone that we are nation of heroes and this is the reasons why we have democracy and one republic and why we have EDSA and why we are going through the straight path,”Alvarado said.

The First Philippine Republic, popularly known as the Malolos Republic, was the first republic in Asia.

It was inaugurated on January 23, 1899 at the Barasoain Church in this city where Aguinaldo took his oath of office as President of the Philippine Republic. (PNA) 
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18th 'Halamanan Festival' in Bulacan kicks off Saturday

GUIGUINTO, Bulacan, Jan. 21 (PNA) -- Spectacular and colorful fireworks will illuminate the night skies in synch with festive music as the annual “Halamanan Festival” culminates on Saturday at the back of the municipal gym here.

Now on its 18th straight year, the “Halamanan Festival” has become a crowd gathering affair and one of the most awaited festivals in the province in the mold of the Panagbenga Festival in Baguio, the Sinulog Festival of Cebu, the Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo, the Masskara Festival of Bacolod, among others.

Mayor Ambrocio C. Cruz said that the festival showcases the wonders of Guiguinto and its native products, cultural heritage and its famous and lucrative industry—ornamental gardens and landscaping.

“Every year, more and more people were coming here to join with the celebration of the “Halamanan Festival” where we all together presented the excellence and beauty of our culture, including the native products of Guiguinto,” Cruz said.

The mayor said that this year’s celebration will have a very exciting climax as popular bands blends with mainstream Bulacan bands in the “Rakrakan sa Halamanan” where spectacular fireworks will “dance” in the night sky in sync with festive tunes and rock music.

The “Rakrakan sa Halamanan” will also feature a beer plaza where the world-renowned San Miguel Beer will be sold.

Cruz said the musical fireworks show is a joint collaboration of the municipal government of Guiguinto, the Rotary Club of Guiguinto-Suburbs headed by Rtn. Ernie Gatmaitan and the San Miguel Brewery, which is also celebrating its 125th years of making the best beers in the world. (PNA) 
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Two notorious drug gang members killed in firefight with Bulacan cop

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, Jan. 17 (PNA) -- Two armed members of a notorious drug gang who were out to liquidate a police officer known for his hard stance against dope dealers were killed in a firefight with their target lawman in Sitio Tabtab, Barangay Poblacion, Norzagaray, Bulacan on Saturday afternoon.

Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina, Bulacan police director, said the identities of the slain suspects were still being verified as of press time.

He identified the police officer as PO3 Jonathan V. De Belen, of legal age, married and intelligence operative of the Municipal Anti-Drug Special Operations Task Force (MAIDSOTF) of the Norzagaray Municipal Police Station.

Divina said that De Belen was inside his rented apartment when he heard his dog barking.

He said the policeman went outside to verify what was happening and saw two men suspiciously entering the vicinity of his apartment. Once confronted, the duo drew their firearms and thereafter, a gun battle ensued between De Belen and the two armed men, resulting to the death of the intruders.

Further investigation revealed that prior to the incident, De Belen had been continuously receiving death threats from drug groups relative to the previous successful anti-drug operations of the Norzagaray Police Station and also death threat from a certain Domingo Cabangon, alias “Ambo,” a former New People's Army (NPA) member against whom De Belen was tasked to serve a warrant of arrest for the crime of homicide.

Recovered from the possession of suspect No. 1 were one caliber .45 Colt Mac 4 pistol with one magazine loaded with five live bullets; four plastic sachets of suspected marijuana and one bag containing suspected marijuana.

Seized from suspect No. 2 were one caliber .38 snub-nosed revolver loaded with three pieces of live ammunition; two empty cartridges for caliber .38; one small plastic container with two plastic sachets containing white crystalline substance of suspected shabu; one plastic sachet containing blue crystalline substance and one wallet containing community tax certificate in the name of Joel Garcia.

A Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) team from the Bulacan PNP Crime Laboratory also recovered from the crime scene 12 pieces of empty cartridge for caliber 9mm and seven pieces of empty cartridge for caliber .45.

Divina said a follow-up investigation is being undertaken by the Norzagaray Police for the true identities the two slain suspects. (PNA) 
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PDEA nets 3 big-time drug dealers in Bulacan

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Jan. 13 (PNA) -- Agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-3 (PDEA-3) arrested Tuesday three big-time drug dealers and seized shabu worth PHP400,000 in an entrapment operation in the City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.

PDEA-3 Regional Director Gladys Rosales identified the suspects as Al Lopez, 32; Danny Diaz, 47; and Jorel Flores, 35; all of Sapang Palay, City of San Jose Del Monte.

Rosales said the three suspects were arrested after handling 100 grams of shabu with a street value of PHP400,000 to a agent poseur buyer in the parking lot of Tito Renz Restaurant located in Barangay Minuyan, City of San Jose Del Monte.

She also said that the seized items were contained in a plastic ice bag and the marked money used in the operation was recovered.

The suspects are now detained at PDEA Jail Facility in this camp.

They will be charged for violation of Section 5 (selling of dangerous drugs) in relation to section 26 paragraph B (conspiracy) of Article II of RA 9165, she added. (PNA) 
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Vigilance of village dad led to the arrest of 2 burglars

MARILAO, Bulacan, Jan. 13 (PNA) -- The vigilance of a village councilor has led to the arrest of two burglars, one of them armed with a handgun, during a joint operation of village watchmen and local policemen in Barangay Saog here Tuesday.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand O. Divina identified the arrested suspects as Ferdinand Policarpio, 25, a resident of S. De Vera St. Barangay Pandayan, Meycauayan City, Bulacan, and Bravery de Juan, 20, native of Baguio City and residing at No. 19 St. Fortune 5 Malinta, Valenzuela City.

Divina said that prior to the apprehension of the suspects at around 1:20 a.m. Tuesday, barangay councilor Troy Gallardo of Saog, Marilao, Bulacan saw two suspicious male persons who entered the premises of his house at No. 020 Angeles St. Barangay Saog, Marilao.

Upon observing the suspicious moves of the two suspects, Gallardo immediately informed the barangay tanods of Saog and asked the assistance of Marilao Municipal Police Station who promptly responded that resulted to the arrest of the two suspects.

Confiscated from the suspects during the body search were one .22 caliber magnum revolver with two rounds of live ammunition, and a fan knife.

Divina said that the vigilance of concerned citizens is a big boost to the ongoing campaign of the Philippine National Police against loose firearms which is in line with the implementation of the total gun ban under the Omnibus Election Code.

Complaints for violations of Omnibus Election Code and RA 10592 is now being prepared for filling against the two arrested suspects before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutors Office, City of Malolos, Bulacan. (PNA) 
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Bulacan police, Comelec brace for start of election period

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, Jan. 9 (PNA) --Manuever platoons of the Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC) as well as Philippine Army troopers and local police units were given final debriefing on the security plans and implementation of the total gun ban in preparation for the start of the election period on Sunday.

Bulacan police director Sr. Supt. Ferdinand O. Divina disclosed that maneuver platoons of the PPSC will augment local police units in the establishment of checkpoints in key areas of the province starting 12 midnight on Jan. 10.

“They are now well prepared and ready for deployment as part of Complan: Safe 2016," Divina said.

The Regional Joint Security Coordinating Center (RJSCC) meeting held last week was presided by Commission on Elections (Comelec) Regional Election Director Temie. Lambino.

It was participated by the senior field commanders from 7th Infantry Division, Police Regional Office 3 Command Group and Provincial/City police directors and provincial election supervisors of Central Luzon.

“Its aim is to have unified efforts among members of the security forces hand-in-hand with counterparts in other government agencies so that the forthcoming elections will be secured and fair,” Divina said.

Pursuant to Comelec Resolution No. 9571, the PNP and AFP are deputized to assist Comelec in its security preparations for the elections.

Divina further explained that the Regional Joint Security Coordinating Center (RJSCC) is a composite organization in the region responsible in the coordinated and systematic utilization of all resources dedicated in the successful conduct of election, implementation of the ban on the bearing, carrying or transporting of firearms and the employment and deployment of security personnel in the region.

“Provincial JSCCs are likewise organized in the provinces headed by provincial election supervisors,” he added.

Lacadin, for his part, called on the citizens as well as candidates to help ensure the conduct of a clean, honest and orderly elections.

He said that with the security preparations and pro-active measures that PRO3 and the AFP have been undertaking, the goal for a safe and fair election will be attained.(PNA) 
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PDEA-3 nabs notorious lady drug pusher in Bulacan

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Jan. 5 (PNA)-- Agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Central Luzon (PDEA-3) arrested Monday a notorious lady drug pusher in a buy-bust operation in San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan.

PDEA-3 regional director Gladys Rosales identified the suspect as Sharry Bartolome, 19, of Minuyan Proper, San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan.

Rosales said PDEA agents were able to negotiate for the sale of 50 grams of shabu worth PHP150,000 with the suspect and agreed to meet in front of an hardware at Kalye Demonyo Road 2 in Minuyan Proper.

“Bartolome has been a drug runner since she was nine years old that is why she knew the drug business so well,” Rosales added.

The arrest of Bartolome yielded one plastic sachet containing shabu weighing 53 grams with an estimated street value of PHP243,800.

Bartolome is now detained at the PDEA Jail Facility in Camp Olivas, San Fernando City, Pampanga.

A charge for violation of Section 5 (selling of dangerous drugs) Article II of RA 9165 is being readied for filing in court against the suspect. (PNA) 
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Solon says strict enforcement, tougher laws, will curb firecracker-related injuries - By Sammy F. Martin

MANILA. Jan. 5 (PNA) -- Strict enforcement of the existing laws against illegal firecrackers by the Philippine National Police (PNP) will be useless if law enforcers will not move to crack down on manufacturers of illegal firecrackers, Valenzuela City Rep. Win Gatchalian said on Tuesday.

“The PNP and other law enforcement agencies should strictly enforce the existing laws against illegal firecrackers since enforcement is what is lacking. And this is the reason why manufacturers of illegal firecrackers continue to ply their trade during the holiday season,” said Gatchalian, who is pushing for the imposition of tougher regulations on firework products that are being sold all over the country during the Christmas season.

Gatchalian said banning all types of firecrackers as what Health Secretary Janette L. Garin has been saying will be of no use if the PNP and other law enforcers will not strictly enforce the pertinent provisions of Republic Act No. 7183 or the law that governs the fireworks industry.

Under R.A. 7183, firecrackers that have explosives content of more than 0.2 grams are considered illegal and should not be sold in the market. There are at least seven illegal firecrackers as their explosive content is beyond what the law provides for and these include Piccolo, Pop Pop, Goodbye Philippines or Crying Bading, Yolanda or Goodbye Napoles, Pla-Pla, Giant Kuwitis and Watusi because of their toxic contents.

Among the legitimate firecrackers that can be used during the New Year revelry are the Baby Rocket, Bawang, El Diablo, Judas Belt, Paper Caps, Pulling of Strings, Sky Rocket or kwitis and the small "trianggulo."

Pyrotechnic devices that can be used include Butterfly, Fountain, Jumbo Regular, Luces, Mabuhay, Roman Candle, Sparklers, Trompillo, Whistle Devices and Pailaw.

Gatchalian pointed out that television reporters were able to interview manufacturers of illegal firecrackers like Goodbye Philippines and Super Pla-Pla in Bocaue, Bulacan which showed that the Bulacan police provincial office had been remiss in enforcing the law against these life-threatening firecrackers.

“I cannot understand why TV reporters can locate illegal manufacturers and interview them while Bulacan policemen remain blind and if ever they confiscate illegal firecrackers, no arrests were made which further emboldens the manufacturers,” Gatchalian said.

Based on 2014 PNP data, only 68 manufacturers, 285 dealers, and 2,551 retailers of firecrackers are licensed by the PNP-Firearms and Explosive Office based in Camp Crame.

In his House Bill No. 4434, Gatchalian expressed hope that amending certain provisions in Republic Act No. 7183 would ensure a healthier environment for Filipinos, especially children who are most vulnerable to firecracker-related injuries.

"We endure the pollutants and countless injuries caused by the use of firecrackers, especially every New Year’s eve. Until when should we endure this cycle of peril to our health and environment?" asked Gatchalian in his bill's explanatory note.

In 2014, the Department of Health recorded 860 cases of firecracker-related injuries in the country. As of morning of Dec. 31, 2015, a total of 185 firework-related injuries were reported in the country, 133 of which were caused by piccolo and four were cases of indiscriminate firing.

Dubbing his bill as "Firecracker Regulation Act of 2014," Gatchalian highlighted the need for the government to do more about fireworks that are also considered as hazards to public safety.

Gatchalian, a member of the House Committee on Trade and Industry, wants local government units (LGUs) to designate pyrotechnic zones in their own locality to avoid fire and injuries.

"These amendments do not entirely do away with time-honored merry-making but enforces to provide stricter regulations in an effort to protect our people," he said.

His bill provides a maximum of PhP5,000 as limit for a single purchase of any firecracker or pyrotechnic device, excluding those with permit from PNP-FEO.

The bill would also prohibit selling fireworks to any person below 18 years old while requiring children who would use firecrackers to be under the strict supervision of their guardians.

Those who will fail to secure their dealer’s permit through legal means would be penalized with a fine ranging from PhP100,000 to PhP500,000 or an imprisonment ranging from six months to three years.

Dealers found guilty of selling fireworks to minors would be imposed with a fine of PhP100,000 and would have their permit revoked.

Meanwhile, parents found guilty of instigating firework deals of their children would be imposed with a fine of PhP10,000. (PNA)
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INC sets four Guinness World Records

MANILA, Jan. 1 (PNA) -- The Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) was granted four Guinness World Records during its New Year’s revelry on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.

In a statement, the influential sect said it was awarded for the largest paying audience for a movie premiere (for the Felix Manalo movie); the most number of sparklers lit in relay; the most number of sparklers lit simultaneously; and the largest fireworks display.

The announcement for the first record was given in the evening of Dec. 31 while the three other recognitions were given early morning of Jan. 1 by Christina Conlon, official adjudicator of Guinness World Records.

The fireworks display lasted an hour from Thursday midnight to 1 a.m. Friday.

Last October, the INC also set two Guinness World Records – Largest Attendance for a Film Screening and Largest Attendance for a Film Premiere at the premiere showing of the Felix Manalo movie, with more than 43,000 people in attendance at the 55,000-seater Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

According to Edwil Zabala, INC spokesperson, some 2,000 participants took part in the lighting sparklers event.

On the other hand, he said that employees of the fireworks company, which he did not mention, were in charge of the firing.

Incidentally, the Philippine Arena holds two world records of its own — World’s Largest Indoor Arena and World’s Largest Mixed-Used Indoor Theater. (PNA) 
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At least 50 injured from use of firecrackers in Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 1 (PNA) -- It’s a wet welcome for 2016 in many parts of the province but it was nevertheless noisy and colorful as the rains did not dampen the spirits of revelers in Bulacan, known as the capital of the fireworks industry in the country.

But when the smokes cleared following the lighting of firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices, at least 50 persons were brought to different government hospitals for treatment of injuries.

Dr. Protacio Badjao, director of the Bulacan Medical Center, said 15 persons were treated in the said hospital due to firecracker-related injuries, the youngest of which is a 7-year-old boy and the oldest a 52-year old man.

The young victim was identified as Gabriel Sotto, 7, resident of Barangay Sta. Rita, Guiguinto.

He was injured when the Roman Candle he was holding exploded and injured his left hand. He was declared out of danger after getting treatment.

The 52-year old victim was identified as Elmer Barreto of Barangay Sipat, Plaridel town.

He sustained abrasion on his body after a powerful firecracker known as dynamite exploded near him.

Doctors said he is now out of danger and recuperating.

Forty-eight other firecracker-related victims were admitted to the different hospitals in the province.

Meanwhile, Lea de Guzman Alipide, president of the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association Inc., (PPMDAI) said most of this year’s revelers preferred to use the branded and quality types of fireworks.

She said that those who were injured were caused by the banned types of firecracker like piccolo, dynamite, bawang and other over-sized firecrackers.

“We have time and again appealed to the public not to use these banned types because they are not only illegal but highly dangerous as well when there are plenty of quality types of fireworks that are safe and spectacular,” Alipide said.(PNA) 
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Bulacan police keeping tight watch on firecracker law violators

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sabat instead fired at the arresting authorities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Suspect in Bulacan judge's slay killed inside police car

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They are now detained in PDEA Jail Facility here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His running mate is Ray “Player Move” Bautista.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No policemen were hurt, he added.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No lawmen was hurt in the said armed encounter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He placed the number of injured at more than 40.

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

Obar said they were readying charges against the truck driver.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two of the victims’ fathers still aired frustrations in spite of the guilty verdict of the Office of the Ombudsman in the administrative case they filed against 9 officials of the university, claiming that the decision has not been implemented yet.

The victims’ families also expressed apprehensions that unseen hands are working overtime to frustrate their quest for justice.

Harold Marcelo and Jojo Rivera, fathers of two of the seven victims who were swept by rampaging waters and drowned at Madlum River in Barangay Sibul, San Migue twon are appealing to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to cite for contempt officials of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) if the latter fail to implement the Ombudsman's decision.

They claimed that until now, ”it seems that justice remains elusive for the victims because it is not yet being implemented.”

The seven victims were Mikhail Alcantara, Mitch Bonzo, Helena Marcelo, Jeanette Rivera, Sean Rodney Alejo, Maiko Bartolome and Madeleine Navarro.

All of the victims were first year tourism students and were mostly aged 16 when the accident happened. They belong to BSTM Class A1 with 58 students.

Now, a year later, their class is down to 45. Six of their former classmates have dropped and shifted to other courses due to the trauma they claimed to have suffered in the Aug. 19 field trip.

In the 12-page decision received last Monday by lawyers Juvic and Jeric Degala, legal counsels of the victim-complaints, the Ombudsman found BulSU president Mariano de Jesus and eight other university officials “guilty of gross neglect of duty for which they are meted the penalty of dismissal from the service.”

Also found guilty were Nicanor C. dela Rama, professor and dean of Student Affairs; Nerisa B. Viola and Angelina D. Singco, dean and assistant dean, respectively, of the College of Home Economics; professors Mary Jane G. Lopez and Angeline C. Dy Tioco; and instructors Leslie C. Garcia, Reynita G. Del Fonso and Rossette G. Tanwangco.

Aside from dismissal, the Ombudsman also ordered the forfeiture of all the retirement benefits of the school officials, including the cancellation of eligibility, and perpetual disqualification from holding public office and being barred from taking other civil service exams of the government.

The Ombudsman said the respondents violated a field trip ordinance passed by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

The officials reportedly failed to seek the approval of the provincial government on changes in the field trip itinerary.

The anti-graft agency cited a change in the schedule of the trip at the Madlum Cave, which was originally set in the morning.

Lawyer Juvic Degala said that the case, docketed as OMB-L-A-14-0676 “for grave misconduct and grave neglect of duty” involved only the administrative aspects of the case which was filed by one of the survivors (Hanna Fabella) and the parents of five of the 7 victims in the field trip tragedy.

Aside from the administrative charges, the respondents are also facing charges of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and psychological trauma, and violation of Republic Act 7610 or the Child Abuse Law and RA 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corruption Practices Act.

Criminal charges were also filed against the nine school officials, the owner of the Adventours tour agency identified as Erwin Valenzuela, the two tourism students who acted as tour guides, and three tour guides of Madlum.

Degala said the victims’ relatives were confident they would get a similar decision in the criminal cases against the respondents.

He said that last Wednesday, the families and classmates of the victims held a ‘March for Justice” from the Barasoain Church here to the BulSU grounds to commemorate the first year anniversary of the tragic field trip.

They also held a mass and candle-lighting vigil at the BulSU grounds and at the Malolos Memorial Park where two of the victims were buried. (PNA) 
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RDC-3 approves reactivation of Task Force Balik MacArthur

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 20 (PNA) -- The Regional Development Council (RDC) in Central Luzon has approved the reactivation of the Task Force Project Balik MacArthur (TF-PBM) to oversee the reassessment of the MacArthur Highway and ensure the road users’ safety, road traffic management and maintenance.

The RDC chaired by Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado approved the revival of the task force during its 9th council meeting on Wednesday.

The Regional Project Monitoring Team Committee (RPMC) and the Project Implementation Offices (PIO) endorsed its reactivation to the RDC chaired by Rene Romero, in coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highway. It is embodied in their resolution No. 03-07-2015.

MacArthur Highway, formerly the Manila North Luzon Road, is one of the busiest arterial roads in the northwestern Luzon.

The volume of traffic started to move from North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) to the two lanes and congested MacArthur Highway after NLEX operator Manila North Tollways Corporation raised toll rates significantly few years ago.

The RDC thus organized then the TF-PBM to implement strategies to address more traffic congestions and increased of pedestrian and vehicular accidents.

The task force achieved positive results from the conduct of series of multi-sectoral consultations and site inspections not only to alleviate the traffic problems along the MacArthur Highway but would also rev up the economic activities in the area.

Meanwhile, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Pampanga 1st District Rep. Joseller Yeng Guiao, Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda, Bataan Governor Abet Garcia, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Regional Director Severino Santos and officials of concerned government agencies and private sector also attended the full council meeting. (PNA) 
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PNP chief urges Central Luzon cops to increase police visibility

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Aug. 18 (PNA) -- Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ricardo Marquez on Tuesday urged the policemen in Central Luzon to strengthen police visibility in the streets in order to deter crimes.

Marquez, who served as guest of honor and speaker during the celebration of the 114th Police Service Anniversary here on Tuesday, told the policemen to do more patrols rather than stay in the stations.

“Lumabas kayo kalsada (Go out in the streets). This will deter criminals from doing evil deeds when they see policemen in the streets. Patrolling is one of the best solutions to prevent crimes,” he said.

The PNP chief also lauded the men and women of Police Regional Office 3 for continuously doing their jobs efficiently.

He said that all PNP personnel should reaffirm their commitment to police service.

With this year’s theme “Pambansang Pulisya: Patuloy sa Makabuluhang Paglilingkod at Makatarungang Pagpapatupad ng Batas,” the celebration was highlighted with the giving of recognition to deserving PNP personnel and best units in the region as well as special awards to local government officials, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) counterparts and civilian sectors, including the tri-media who have contributed to the upliftment of the PNP-PRO3.

The awardees were Police Senior Supt. Alex B. Sintin, provincial director of Tarlac PPO (Achievement Award in the Field of Police Administration (PCO Level); SPO4 Claudio DC Salenga (Achievement Award in the Field of Police Administration (PNCO Level); Police Supt. Jhoanna P. Rosales (Achievement Award in the Field of Police Operations (PCO Level); PO3 Reggie T. Gonzales (Achievement Award in the Field of Police Operations (PNCO Level); Police Supt. Andrew M. Aguirre (Achievement Award in the Field of Intelligence (PCO Level); SPO3 Napoleon M. Olivares (Achievement Award in the Field of Intelligence (PNCO Level); Police Chief Inspector Romeo G. Maglanque (Achievement Award in the Field of General Support (PCO Level); PO3 Marilou G. Malonzo (Achievement Award in the Field of General Support (PNCO Level); NUP Arnold C. Adriosula (Achievement Award in the Field of General Support (NUP Supervisory Level); and NUP Maricar T. Martinez (Achievement Award in the Field of General Support (NUP Non-Supervisory Level).

Also given special awards were: Police Supt. Noel R. Ponsaran, regional chaplain; Regional Highway Patrol Unit 3, Regional Health Service 3 and 3RD Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit 3.

The awardees for best police units include Malolos City Police Station (Recognition for the Unit with Notable Accomplishment Beyond the Rating Period (CPS/MPS Level); Olongapo City Police Office (Achievement Award for the Solution of Sensational Criminal Case (PPO/CPO Level); Regional Communications and Electronics Office 3 (Best Regional Administrative Support Unit); Regional Intelligence Unit 3 (Best Regional Operations Support Unit); Bulacan Police Provincial Office (Recognition for the Unit with the Most Number of Firearms Accounted (PPO/CPO Level) and Tarlac Police Provincial Office (Recognition for the Unit with Notable Accomplishment in the Campaign against Illegal Drugs (PPO/CPO Level).

Based on the records of the National Historical Commission, Police Service as an institution takes its roots from the Insular Police Force that was created on August 8, 1901. (PNA) 
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Bulacan, land of great leaders past and present - Former DoE Sec. Petilla 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 16 (PNA)--Since time immemorial the province of Bulacan has been the cradle of great men and women that are shaping the future of the country.

Thus, the former Department of Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla’s vibrant description of Bulacan as the province kicked off its month long celebration of the annual “Singkaban Festival.”

Petilla, who was the guest of honor and speaker during the commemoration of the 437th founding anniversary of Bulacan Saturday, said that even at the dawn of Philippine uprising against Spanish colonial rule, Bulacan is at the forefront in the country’s quest for freedom and independence.

“Your great province has so many patriots, great minds and courageous leaders. Even today, the sons and daughters of the great province of Bulacan continue to help the administration of President Benigno Aquino in shaping the bright future of the country, “ he said.

Petilla said as the province once again embarked on celebrating the glorious moments in their rich history, he cannot help to feel proud of being a Filipino by just recalling the momentous events that took place in this province that made impact to the international communities.

The month-long Singkaban Fiesta begins every August 15 (foundation day of Bulacan) and culminates on September 15, the anniversary of the opening of the Malolos Congress.

“Until now, the province of Bulacan is not running out of brilliant and dynamic leaders.Just after the tollgate in Balintawak or at the start of the MacArthur Highway, we can see progress and development that put our country as one of the fastest rising economies in the Asia Pacific Region,” he said.

Petilla said the the booming growth and development being experienced in Bulacan is proof that the salient programs of President Aquino is now yielding good results because provincial leaders like Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando are working hard to attain the goal of the Chief Executive in revving up the engines of growth and changes.

Meanwhile, Gov. Alvarado said that the month long celebration is a tribute to the sacrifices and patriotism of brave Bulakenyo freedom fighters and noblemen.

”If there is one province in the Philippines that offered more children at the shrine of freedom since the first time the country was invaded more than 400 years ago, that is the noble province of Bulacan,” he said.

He said that during the administration of President Corazon Aquino, a Bulakenyo was helping the president in the person of Albert Romulo. And when her son Benigno Aquino III became the President, another Bulakenyo—Executive Secretary Paquito “JoJo” Ochoa Jr., --is also there in Malacanang helping the Chief Executive.

”If we lived in bravery and heroism in the past, we must now live in this generation with honor and greatness,” he said. (PNA) 
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Roxas to turn-over 204 Mahindra patrol jeeps to 5 police regional offices 
By Sol Luzano

CAMP VICENTE LIM, Calamba City, Laguna, Aug. 16 (PNA) -- Secretary of Interior and Local Government (SILG) Mar Roxas will lead the turn-over of 204 Mahindra patrol jeeps to Philippine National Police (PNP) Regional Offices 3, 4A, 4B, 7 and 9 scheduled on August 17, 2015 at Camp Vicente Lim in this city.

The 204 Mahindra (Enforcer 4x4) patrol jeeps will be distributed as follows: For Region 3 (Central Luzon), a total of 48 patrol jeeps allocated to be distributed to Nueva Ecija provincial police -27 units and to Bulacan provincial police-21 units; For Region 4A (Calabarzon), 39 units are allocated to Quezon provincial police; For Region 4B (Mimaropa) 48 units are allocated to be distributed to Occidental Mindoro provincial police -11 units, Oriental Mindoro provincial police -14 units and Palawan provincial police -23 units; For region 7 (Central Visayas), 44 units are allocated to Cebu provincial police; and for Region 9, 25 units are allocated for Zamboanga del Norte provincial police.

Expected to attend at the turn-over ceremony are the recipient governors, Representatives, mayors, provincial police Directors and chiefs-of police.

According to Police Superintendent Chitadel C. Gaoiran, chief, Police Information Office 4A, the patrol jeeps give additional mobility to recipient police units in their anti-criminality drive in accordance with the thrust of Police Director General Ricardo Cornejo Marquez, chief PNP, of going back to the basics emphasizing on the importance of police presence in the community as deterrent to commission of crimes.(PNA) 
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PNP intensifies Lambat Sibat in 19 crime spots in Central Luzon

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, Aug. 7 (PNA) -- The Philippine National Police (PNP) has identified 19 areas in Central Luzon as crime “hot spots” even as lawmen have intensified the “Oplan Lambat Sibat” campaign to help reduce criminality in the region.

Chief Supt. Ronald Santos, PNP regional director for Central Luzon, said the hot spots involve 10 cities and nine municipalities in six of the region’s seven provinces.

These are the cities of Cabanatuan, San Jose and Gapan in Nueva Ecija; San Jose Del Monte and Malolos in Bulacan; San Fernando, Mabalacat and Angeles in Pampanga; Balanga in Bataan and Tarlac in Tarlac province.

The crime-prone municipalities are the towns of Cabiao in Nueva Ecija; Marilao and Meycauayan in Bulacan; Arayat, Mexico and Sta. Ana in Pampanga; Mariveles and Dinalupihan in Bataan and Subic in Zambales.

Santos said Aurora province with eight municipalities has no known crime hot spot.

He described as negligible the occurrence of crimes in the province which covers the capital town of Baler and the towns of Casiguran, Dilasag, Dinalungan, Dingalan, Dipaculao, Maria Aurora and San Luis.

He said that the PNP is giving particular attention to Bataan where checkpoints are being activated to run after gun-for-hire syndicates and to secure the Freeport in Mariveles, the business hub of Dinalupihan and the central business district of Balanga City.

He added that the PNP is also keeping watch over Angeles City where a criminal syndicate was recently busted.

In Nueva Ecija, he said Gapan City is increasingly becoming a concern when it comes to crimes.

He said integrated checkpoints will be set up in boundaries of cities and municipalities in order to effectively run after criminal elements, citing the recent neutralization of a robbery-holdup gang in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija where lawmen killed a civilian suspect and arrested two policemen. (PNA) 
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Bulacan to receive rice donation from Taiwanese organizations

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 5 (PNA) -- Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado on Wednesday disclosed that two Taiwanese organizations will donate some 4,000 sacks of rice as a gesture of friendship and continued support to the province.

Alvarado said representatives from Taiwan Association of the Philippines and the World League for Freedom and Democracy (WLFD) will go to the province for the rice donation ceremony dubbed as "Love from Taiwan" to be held at the Bulacan Capitol Gymnasium on Friday.

The governor said the rice will be distributed to some members of the Bulacan Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association (BFJODA), Integrated Federation of Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association of Bulacan (TODA), and to persons with disability, veterans, solo parents, senior citizens and Dumagats.

"This will be the fourth time that the Taiwanese have been doing this in Bulacan that's why we would like to thank them as they continuously see the needs of the province. Thank you for imparting their love to the Bulakenyos," he said.

The governor said the upcoming activity is a proof of a strong relationship and camaraderie between Bulacan and Taiwan.

”We are seeing the result of good relationship. This rice donation has been continuous and it is a proof of a strong friendship,” the governor added.

A short program will be held that will include cultural presentation and familiarization of the province before the distribution proper.

Joining the event are WLFD president Eng Chi Yao and Wayne Chi, chief executive officer of Wellcom Telecom Supermarket. (PNA) 
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Groups welcome gov’s stance vs Canada garbage disposal in Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY, Aug. 5 (PNA) -- Environmental groups welcomed the statement made by Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-A;varado saying that the dumping of illegally imported trash from Canada will not be allowed in local landfills.

The Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society, Inc. and the EcoWaste Coalition cited Gov. Sy-Alvarado for disallowing the use of landfill facilities in Norzagaray and Obando, Bulacan for the controversial garbage imports from Canada after Tarlac barred their further disposal in Capas landfill.

“It will be totally disrespectful and outrageous if Canada’s garbage is sent to Bulacan for disposal. Governor Alvarado is right in rejecting such a move,” said Bro. Martin Francisco, Chairperson of the Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society, Inc.

“The people of Bulacan fervently pray that such rejection would be permanent and would apply to all imported trash,” he added.

Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition coordinator, said that “Bulacan and other provinces hosting waste disposal facilities should not be saddled with garbage illegally brought to our shores that could pose health risks to our workers and communities.”

“Like what the Tarlac Provincial Board did, we hope that Bulacan and other concerned local government units (LGUs) will adopt formal declarations and measures prohibiting the disposal of foreign wastes into their territories,” she suggested.

“As Bulacan is home to major cement factories, it’s necessary for such a ban to cover the use of foreign wastes as alternative fuels for cement kilns,” she said.

Citing Section 16 of Republic Act 7160 (Local Government Code), Lucero said that “every LGU shall exercise the powers…which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare.”

R.A. 7160 further provides that “within their respective territorial jurisdictions, LGUs shall… promote health and safety (and) enhance the right of the people to a balanced ecology.” (PNA)
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Gun-for-hire gangman, 2 car thieves fall in Bulacan

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, July 31 (PNA) -- Police foiled an alleged “assassination attempt” by a suspected member of a gun-for-hire gang while two suspected motorcycle thieves were nabbed in a series of police operations conducted Thursday in the province.

Bulacan police director Ferdinand Divina identified the arrested suspected gun-for-hire gangman as Moises Andres, 27, native of Malabon City and presently residing in Barangay Malhacan in Meycauayan City.

Prior to the suspect’s arrest, Divina said that a concerned citizen tipped-off the Meycauayan City police station headed by Supt. Lailene Amparo that there was a man wearing yellow sando, black shorts and red slippers standing along the street in Barangay Malhacan with a short firearm tucked in his waist.

Divina said Supt. Amparo sent a police mobile team to verify the report and saw the suspect’s as described by the informant.

At this juncture, the police team accosted the suspect and confiscated in his possession a .9mm Caliber pistol with 19 live bullets.

Divina said the police team asked the suspect to present any pertinent documents but he failed to show anything, prompting them to bring him to the city police station for further investigation.

Divina said that appropriate charges will be filed against the suspect, whom police investigators believed was out to “assassinate” somebody but was thwarted due to the vigilance of a concerned citizen and immediate response of lawmen.

In San Rafael town, police arrested suspected motorcycle thieves Roldan Munoz, 35, married, resident of Barangay Sabang and Dennis Lontoc, 52, married, resident of Barangay Poblacion, both in Baliwag town.

Divina said that the motorcycle thieves were arrested after one of them, Roldan drew a knife and tried to attack village watchman Eduardo Cruz of Barangay Tambubong after the latter confronted them that the motorcycle that they were trying to pawn was already pawned to another man.

The village watchman was able to subdue the suspect by hitting him with a rattan baton and was brought to the Baliwag District Hospital while his companion was arrested by responding lawmen and recovered the stolen motorcycle.

Divina said appropriate charges will be filed against the two alleged motorcycle thieves. (PNA) 
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DOH to conduct health care caravan in Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 30 (PNA) -- The Department of Health (DOH), in cooperation with the provincial government with conduct a health care caravan at The Pavilion, Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center in this city on Friday.

The health care caravan aims to directly provide health services to the residents and at the same time, to improve the access of Bulakenyos to relevant health information and services.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said Bulakenyos should spread the news and avail of the benefits intended for them.

Dr. Jocelyn Gomez, provincial health officer, said the health care caravan will kick off with a motorcade from Tabang, Guiguinto.

Gomez said that among the services available at the health care caravan are pre-natal, complete blood count, blood pressure measurement, distribution of ferrous sulfate, and birth planning for maternal care.

For adolescents and children, she said that there will be immunization, deworming, feeding, dental care and distribution of information, education and communication (IEC) materials to address teenage pregnancy.

As for infant care, she also said that there will be information dissemination on breastfeeding, childhood illnesses, and immunization.

For senior citizens, there will be an updating of Multi-Drug Resistant reports, enrollment as PhilHealth members, and information dissemination of PhilHealth services.

Likewise, she said that the health caravan offers HIV counseling and testing, blood typing and blood donation.

Some 400 Bulakenyos are expected to participate in the said caravan are senior citizens, parents and their babies, pregnant women, day care pupils and parents, blood donors from the Philippine National Police, Bulacan State University, Bulacan Polytechnic College and provincial government of Bulacan, target groups for HIV counseling and testing, media and other health partners.(PNA) 
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“Daang Matuwid” literally being felt in Central Luzon 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS, Bulacan, July 28, (PNA)--Some Filipinos gave President Benigno Aquino a passing grade in his sixth and last State of the Nation Address (SONA), but people in this province and other parts of Central Luzon believe that his administration’s “Daang Matuwid” policy is literally being felt, even in the remote mountain municipalities.

“I never thought that we can reach Angat dam in an hour’s time from the capital city of Malolos, the roads are well paved even in the mountain-resort town of Dona Remedios Trinidad. It only means that the Daang Matuwid policy of our President is indeed revving-up the engines of growth and yielding good fruits,” said Ed Castro, a communication technology expert.

Castro said that major highways like the Macarthur Highway, has been widened and upgraded as well as inner roads linking commercial centers to farm to market roads, thus spilling more growth and progress, especially in the countryside.

He said that Aquino’s development program is now being seen and felt and it is also being fast tracked by good provincial and regional leaders.

“You can’t just rate it in a scale of 10 because it is happening. Probably in a Manila, it is not that easy to notice the big changes and development. But in the provinces, the progress and development is brighter than the rays of the sun,” he added.

For Mitch Gregersen, a 29- year old construction worker in Barangay Sumapang Matanda here, he said he does not care about the SONA.

But, he said that due to the construction boom in many parts on the province and other areas of Central Luzon, he always have work and earning a decent living.

“Whatever they say about the President’s SONA, it is their opinions. However, I hope that they could see the effect to the Filipinos who were given job opportunities like us,” Gregersen said.

Even musician like Danny Penaranda of Barangay Caingin in this historic is expecting good tidings from the “fruits of Tuwid na Daan.”

“There are many good things that the President implanted. I am hoping that it will grow and prosper so that my three children will taste its good fruits,” Penaranda said. (PNA) 
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Palace on the 'Iglesia ni Cristo' controversy

MANILA, July 25 (PNA) -- The national government’s interest in probing the recent controversy involving members of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) is limited to verifying whether a crime has indeed been committed, Malacañang said Saturday.

Speaking over Radyo ng Bayan, Undersecretary Abigail Valte said both the Department of Justice and the Philippine National Police are already looking into the matter, amid reports that the INC is in possession of high-caliber guns, which it allegedly used to intimidate ministers who are critical of its current leadership.

“Secretary (Leila) de Lima has dispatched a team from the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) to verify allegations, so kung mayroon hong mga ganyan ay maisasama na ito doon sa imbestigasyon,” she said.

“Remember that the State is only concerned with any possibility that a crime may have been committed, pero doon po sa mga ibang pinag-uusapan ay hindi na po kasali ang estado doon,” Valte added.

Valte downplayed questions whether Malacañang is alarmed by these developments, given the fact that INC is known as an influential religious group whose members vote as a bloc in every election.

“‘Yung sa ‘vote as a bloc,’ hindi po natin napag-uusapan ito, in light of the recent incident. But, again, mayroon na ho tayong… Kumbaga, ang NBI nagpadala na po sila ng kanilang team, at tingnan na lang po natin,” Valte said.

“I can say that since this happened, of course, we’re aware of it because it has been plastered all over the news. But, beyond that, medyo marami din pong ibang napapagtuunan ng pansin ang Pangulo,” she added.

The NBI is verifying serious allegations of harassment and abduction involving some ministers and members of the INC, as claimed by Felix Nathaniel ‘Angel’ Manalo in a video posted on YouTube this week, which then spread out to various social media platforms.

Angel is grandson to INC’s founding father Felix, son to the late executive minister, Eraño, and brother to the current leader, Eduardo.

In the video, which ran under two minutes, Angel and his mother, Tenny, claimed that their lives were in danger and were seeking help from the public. They also appealed to their fellow INC members to aid the families of the ministers who allegedly disappeared and are yet to be found.

Angel and the other ministers are reportedly questioning some of the big-ticket projects of the INC, including the construction of the 0-million or P7.8-billion Philippine Arena within the 50-hectare Ciudad de Victoria property of the religious group in Bocaue, Bulacan.

The INC administration denied the allegations of corruption, harassment and abduction, and has since expelled some of its members, including Angel and his mother. (PNA) 
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Angat Dam water rises above MOL 
By Catherine J. Teves

MANILA, July 24 (PNA) -- Water level in Bulacan's Angat Dam finally rose above the 180-meter minimum operating level (MOL) after dipping below such point beginning May, further improving availability of water in this main water source of Metro Manila.

According to the government's weather agency Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Angat's water level reached 180.07 meters as of 6 a.m. July 24, up 0.11 meters from its elevation of 179.96 meters 24 hours earlier.

"That's good news as Angat's water reserve is increasing," said PAGASA hydrologist Richard Orendain.

He noted runoff from previous days' rain in parts of the Angat watershed mainly contributed to such increase in the dam's water reserve.

Orendain expects Angat's water level rise to continue, noting there'll still be rain during 2015's remaining months despite onslaught of El Nino phenomenon.

"That'll help improve Angat's water situation even if rainfall from October to December will likely be already less than average," he said.

People must conserve water, however, even if Angat's situation is improving, particularly since PAGASA forecast El Nino to intensify later this year, he noted.

PAGASA data show Angat's 6 a.m. water level on Friday at 0.36 meters below the dam's 180.43-meter rule curve for the same day.

"Angat's water level and rule curve are almost the same already. Data over the years indicate that once this happens, such water level tends to further rise beyond the rule curve," Orendain said.

Such further rise means more water in Angat Dam, he noted.

Rule curve is the desired water level to satisfy Angat's purpose which is to provide water for irrigation, power generation and needs of Metro Manila residents.

The government established rule curves to help control withdrawal of water from Angat.

PAGASA reported that this year, Angat's water level breached the MOL on May 26 and reached an elevation of 179.98 meters as of 6 a.m then.

Orendain noted Angat's water continued dipping, hitting its lowest 2015 level of 169.14 meters on July 5 before beginning to rise until it reached and surpassed the MOL.

"Angat recovered very fast this year as water level there rose by almost 11 meters in less than a month," he noted.

He added this month's rain due to the enhanced southwest monsoon accounted for much of such water level rise. (PNA) 
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Immigration allows Brown to roam around Metro Manila streets
By Ferdinand G. Patinio

MANILA, July 24 (PNA) -- American singer Chris Brown can roam around the streets of Metro Manila and any tourist destinations within the country while his papers are being processed that will allow him to leave the country.

According to Atty. Elaine Tan, Bureau of Immigration (BI) Spokesperson, since there was no warrant issued against the award-winning artist, he was allowed to visit other places in the Philippines.

“Yes, he could roam the streets of Manila,” she said.

Brown is still in the country after he was barred to leave the country when the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued an order putting him under the Immigration Lookout Bulletin (ILB) together with his promoter, John Michael Pio Roda.

The singer and the promoter are required "to obtain an Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC) before they will be allowed to depart from the Philippines".

Tan said that the ECC form can be downloaded at the BI website, www.immigration.gov.ph.

She added it could be submitted to any BI office that processes the ECC.

They were barred from leaving the country after the Iglesia ni Cristo wrote a letter to the DOJ, noting that they are looking to file a complaint for violation of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) for estafa against Brown and Roda, in connection with the singer's failure to appear on Dec. 31, 2014 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan for its New Year countdown. (PNA)
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Look out bulletin against singer Chris Brown out

MANILA, July 22 (PNA) -- Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila M. De Lima on Wednesday confirmed that the DOJ has issued a look out bulletin order against the international "R n B" singer Chris Brown.

The order was based on the request of the people behind the organizers of his supposed concert at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan on Dec. 31, 2014.

The Immigration Look Out Bulletin Order (ILBO) was faxed on Tuesday night to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and the copy of the same was also sent to the agency on Wednesday morning.

Chris Brown was about to leave the country on Wednesday morning after his concert on Tuesday night when he was held at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) because of the ILBO. (PNA) 
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President Aquino inspects Angat Dam in Bulacan

NORZAGARAY, Bulacan, July 22 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III said here Wednesday that a P1.08 billion-rehabilitation project would strengthen the structure of the Angat Dam and Dike to enable it to withstand a strong earthquake.

“Todo rehabilitasyon nga po ang gagawin natin dito. Gamit ang pondong 1.08 bilyong piso, layunin nating siguruhin ang stabilidad ng dam at dike, upang sa anumang lindol, kahit pa umabot ng hanggang 7.2 magnitude—o sinlakas ng nakaraang lindol sa Bohol—ay kakayanin pa rin ng strukturang ito,” the President said during his speech after he inspected the dam.

“Kaakibat nito, magkakabit tayo ng flood forecasting and warning system na nagkakahalagang 261 milyong piso, at magsasagawa ng flood control protection works na 292 milyong piso naman po ang halaga,” he said.

The President noted that the Angat Dam has never undergone any major rehabilitation since it was built more than 50 years ago.

Considering that the dam lies near the West Valley fault, the absence of a proper surveillance system and the questionable stability of its structure make the dam vulnerable in case of a major earthquake, putting at risk the lives of some 3 million Filipinos, along with their properties and livelihood, he explained.

Any serious damage to the dam, he said, would also disrupt water supply in Metro Manila and parts of Rizal, Bulacan and Cavite, affecting 15 million people, and cut off irrigation for almost 27,000 hectares of farmlands in Bulacan and Pampanga. President Aquino said the rehabilitation of Angat Dam is part of a bigger strategy to improve the water sector.

"Kabilang din po rito ang Angat Water Utilization and Aqueduct Improvement Project Phase 2, na nakumpleto na natin noon pang 2012, at 10 buwan ahead of schedule. Ongoing naman ang bidding ng iba pa nating proyekto tulad ng Kaliwa Dam sa Rizal, ang Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project, at ang Angat Water Transmission Improvement Project," he added.

The project to strengthen Angat dam, to be spearheaded by the Angat Hydropower Corporation (AHC), will involve increasing the height of the dam’s impervious core and widening its downstream slope.

The AHC is a local corporation co-owned by the SMC Global Power Holdings Corporation, a subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation, and the Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-Water).

K-Water Chief Executive Officer Gye-Woon Choi, in his speech, said since the Angat Dam provides drinking water to 10 million Filipinos, they are committed to complete the project in two years.

He also pledged that AHC will make Angat Dam one of the "most safe and essential facilities" in the Philippines.

Present during the event were Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, San Miguel Corporation President Ramon Ang, AHC President Geung Jeon Han, and K-Water Chief Executive Officer Gye-Woon Choi. (PNA) 
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(Update)
INC weighing estafa charges vs int'l singer Brown, promoter
By Perfecto T. Raymundo

MANILA, July 22 (PNA) -- The Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued an Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order (ILBO) against Grammy Award winning singer Christopher Maurice Brown or "Chris Brown" following request of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC).

The INC told DOJ it was filing a complaint for violation of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) for estafa against Brown and his promoter, John Michael Pio de Roda, in connection with the singer's failed appearance on Dec. 31, 2014 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan for its New Year countdown.

Maligaya Development Corp., administrator of Ciudad de Victoria ,where the INC's Philippine Arena is located, engaged Pio Roda to help INC bring Brown into the Philippines to perform on Dec. 31, 2014 at the Philippine Arena for the New Year's countdown.

"This is to respectfully request for assistance from your good office, for the successful prosecution of the criminal complaint which MDC is lodging against Mr. John Michael Pio Roda and Mr. Christopher Maurice Brown aka Chris Brown for the crime of Estafa," Atty. Glicerio Santos IV, chief operating officer and head legal counsel of INC said in its letter to the DOJ dated July 21, 2015.

DOJ Secretary Leila M. De Lima issued the ILBO.

A copy of the ILBO was received by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) Wednesday morning. (PNA) 
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Ranking rebel leaders bagged in Quezon City, Bulacan operations

MANILA, July 21 (PNA) -- A ranking New People’s Army (NPA) leader and his wife were arrested Monday by combined elements from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group during operations in Quezon City and Bulacan.

Nabbed was Ernesto Lorenzo, aka Ernie Lorenzo/Adlai/Lugod/Archimedes Bella, 1st Deputy Secretary of Southern Tagalog Region.

Lt. Col. Noel Detoyato, AFP public affairs office chief, said Lorenzo was apprehended while at the Gilmore Commercial Plaza, Quezon City at around 12:15 p.m. Monday.

He was arrested by virtue of arrest warrant for criminal case number 2010-450 for destructive arson issued by Judge Dennis R. Pastrana of Branch 66, 4th Judicial Region in Lucena City dated July 21, 2010.

Meanwhile, Joyce Felicia Latayan, his wife, was apprehended by joint units from AFP and PNP in a law enforcement operation at their residence located at Block 6, Lot 10, Silver St., Pecson Ville Subdivision, Barangay Tungkong Mangga in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan at 2:10 p.m. Monday.

The warrant of arrest against her was issued by Judge Rodolfo D. Obnamia Jr. of Branch 64, Regional Trial Court 4 in Mauban Quezon under criminal case 06-2985-M dated Sept. 9, 2008.

Lorenzo was also identified as member of Executive Committee of Southern Tagalog Region and head of its Regional Organization Department.

He was the former secretary of Komprob Quezon and Komprob Laguna.

Both Lorenzo and Latayan are now in the custody of PNP CIDG in Camp Crame, Quezon City. (PNA) 
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One dead, one missing, thousands displaced due to monsoon rains in Central Luzon 
Zorayda S. Tecson

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, July 19 (PNA) –At least one person was confirmed dead and another one missing due to continuous monsoon rains that battered Central Luzon in the past days.

Based on the latest data from the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC), the fatality was identified as Romeo Sunung, 13 of Sitio Dapla, Barangay Salaza, Palauig Zambales who drowned Friday at the Salaza River.

Missing is Arnel Encarnacion, 57, a resident of Barangay Mambog, Botolan, also in Zambales. He was reported missing since Friday.

Josefina Timoteo, chairperson of the RDRRMC and regional director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Region 3, also said that a total of 4,804 families or 22,731 persons in 59 barangays in provinces of Bataan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, and Zambales were displaced.

Timoteo said that of the total affected families, 571 families or 2,492 individuals were in the various evacuation centers in the region while 561 families or 2,057 persons were being served outside the evacuation centers.

She also said that strong monsoon rains caused flooding in some areas in the region.

In Pampanga, a total of 40 barangays in the towns of Macabebe, Guagua, Bacolor, Mexico, Sta. Ana, Minalin, San Simon and in the City of San Fernando were hit by floods up to 4 feet high.

In Bataan, 14 barangays in the towns of Dinalupihan and Hermosa were submerged to floodwater up to five feet high.

Twenty-two barangays in the towns of Cuyapo, Jaen, Licab, Quezon and Zaragosa, all in Nueva Ecija were also affected by flooding up to 4 feet.

Five barangays in San Miguel, Bulacan were also inundated by floodwaters up to six feet. But the floods subsided in those areas at around 6 p.m. Saturday.

Meanwhile, 14 barangays in the towns of Paniqui, La Paz, Camiling and Tarlac City were hit by floodwaters up to 3 feet . (PNA) 
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Bulacan intensifies campaign vs illegal drugs

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 17 (PNA) -- The provincial government of Bulacan, in partnership with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), has intensified its campaign against illegal drugs.

The intensified drive against illegal drugs started with the conduct of a seminar on anti-drug abuse and the formation of the Anti-Drug Abuse Council (ADAC).

Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado said the move aims to raise public awareness on the ill effects of illegal drugs and at the same time, encourage local government units (LGUs) to implement community development programs that focuses on fighting illegal drugs.

Alvarado said the seminar and the formation of ADAC is a great strategy with regard to the formulation of policies and programs on reducing and preventing drug abuse among young Bulakenyos.

“The prevalence of crime is alarming wherein the reported criminals are under the influence of illegal drugs. Drug abuse is the no. 1 problem of the society because it ruins someone’s life,” the governor said.

The governor, who is also the chairman of the Regional Development Council in Central Luzon, also said that the provincial government, with the cooperation of the LGUs, is eager to conduct different outreach and advocacy programs to counter the dangers and ill effects of drug abuse.

Meanwhile, PDEA Region3 Director Gladys Rosales disclosed the current situation of drug abuse in Central Luzon, particularly in the province of Bulacan.

Rosales said that Region 3 ranked fourth in the prevalence of illegal drug use.

She said that there are 330 villages in Bulacan affected by illegal drugs.

In addition, she said that from 1997 to 2016, there were 96 drug laboratories were dismantled wherein eight from Bulacan. (PNA) 
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Bulacan execs, other stakeholders discuss plans to address flood problems

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 16 (PNA) -- Provincial officials led by Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando met Wednesday with dam engineers and mapped out plans to address flood problems and the structural integrity of the three big dams in Bulacan namely Angat, Ipo and Bustos.

During the meeting, Engineer Russel Rigor, senior dam operation engineer of Angat Hydropower Corporation (AHC), revealed that in principle, the long overdue and much- awaited rehabilitation and strengthening of the aging Angat dam in the mountains of Norzagaray has already started.

Rigor told Governor Alvarado and Vice Governor Fernando that K-Water and AHC—the new owner and operator of Angat dam—have started the “pre-construction” phase of the 47 years old rock-filled dam, which according to experts and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) is nestling along the West Valley fault line.

Rigor said that the bidding for the rehabilitation and strengthening of Angat dam has already been done, adding that they are also getting “second opinions” from other experts aside from the feasibility study conducted by the Europe-based Tonkin and Taylor on its repair.

He also told the two provincial officials that the actual construction might start in October or November this year.

“It’s all systems go as far as the fortification and rehabilitation of Angat dam is concerned. The new management is aware of its obligation to the government. The stabilizing phase will be soon,” Rigor said during a meeting called by the governor at his office Wednesday afternoon.

Also present during the meeting were Youn Jong Hyuck, Korean manager of AHC; Engineer Felix Robles of National Irrigation Administration (NIA-Bustos dam); Engineer Mar Rodgriguez of Ipo dam, Alex Pacada and Alfel Roibles of the National Power Corporation; Lina Endoc of AHC; Liz Mungcal, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management officer of Bulacan; Arlene Pascual, head of the Provincial Planning and Development Office and other PDRRMO officials.

Alvarado said he called the meeting because there are now new players in the operations of the three big dams in Bulacan.

“These three dams are competing in the use of waters coming from our mountains. I think we again need proper coordination,” the governor said, adding that he also wanted to know why operators of Ipo and Bustos dams again released excess water during the onslaught of heavy rains spawned by the southwest monsoon and enhanced by typhoon Falcon last week.

The governor said that it is quite ironic why excess waters are once again being released by Ipo dam and Bustos dam at the height of the stormy weather and did not do pre-emptive release before the incoming bad weather.

“There is no water in Angat dam. Its elevation is still in critical level or below the normal level. But, the Ipo and Bustos dams released water. Every time that the dams released water, residents especially those in the coastal towns of Hagonoy and Calumpit are getting scared, so how do we avoid scaring people,” Alvarado asked Engineer Felix of Bustos dam.

Felix told the governor that since Bustos dam is a rubber dam, there is a need to allow overflow to protect the now brittle rubber gates of the irrigation dam.

”Bustos dam is likewise not designed for flood control,” Felix added.

Water discharges from Angat and Ipo dams flows through Bustos dam which, in turn, releases it to the Angat river that snakes into the towns of Pulilan, Baliwag, Plaridel, Calumpit and Hagonoy.

Alvarado said that once Bustos dam released 1,000 cubic meters per second of water, the coastal towns of Calumpit and Hagonoy are always being submerged in deep floods.

The governor has long been batting for the construction of Bayabas river, which flows towards Bustos dam, into a new dam so that it can hold the waters draining towards the dam and ends up into Manila bay.

“Those are God blessings and the natural wealth of Bulacan. If we can properly manage it, we will not only address the perennial flooding but have more water during times of dry season,” Alvarado said, referring to the abundant source of fresh water that goes to waste because it flows down the drain to Manila bay.

The governor also asked the dam engineers to maintain coordination with the PDRRMO every time they will release waters.

“There will be no problem if we will work as a team and talk properly. It is our concern because our job is to protect the province,” Alvarado added. (PNA) 
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Five suspected car thieves slain in Bulacan shootout - By Emil G. Gamos

MARILAO, Bulacan, July 12 (PNA) -- Five heavily-armed suspected members of a carnapping syndicate were killed in a running gun battle with Bulacan policemen and members of the PNP-Highway Patrol Group inside the Heritage Subdivision in Barangay Loma de Gato here early Sunday morning.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina said the slain suspects remain unidentified as of press time.

He said that four of the suspects were killed on the spot while the other one died while being brought to the Nazarenus Hospital in nearby Meycauayan City.

Divina disclosed that prior to the firefight, the Highway Patrol Group 3 (HPG3) coordinated with Supt. Rogelio Ramos, chief of the Marilao Municipal Police Station, informing that they were tailing suspected notorious criminals on board a black Nissan X-Trail with plate number XTU-414 and a blue and clack Yamaha Mio without plate number heading towards the direction of Marilao-San Jose Del Monte Road.

“The chief of police of Marilao, Bulacan immediately directed the Sector 4 MPS patrollers to establish a checkpoint at Likod Bisita in Barangay Loma de Gato, Marilao, Bulacan to check on and block the suspects. Elements of Marilao MPS, while manning the checkpoint, spotted the target vehicles. However, the suspects, upon seeing the established checkpoint, turned right going towards the direction of Heritage Subdivision, Barangay Loma de Gato, Marilao, Bulacan where the members of the HPG3 have established their chokepoint with their blocking force/teams,“ Divina said.

At that instance, Divina said the suspects suddenly fired towards the HPG team, prompting the lawmen to retaliate and an exchange of fire ensued that resulted to death of the four armed suspects.

One of the five suspects was rushed to Nazarenus Hospital in Meycauayan City, Bulacan but was pronounced dead on arrival by the attending physician.

Divina said that a SOCO team from the Bulacan Provincial Crime Laboratory Office (BPCLO) was requested to process the crime scene.

Recovered from the scene of encounter were the following: two caliber .45 pistols; one Ingram sub-machine gun with suppressor (silencer); one KG9 9mm Luger pistol; one fragmentation grenade and two handcuffs.

The recovered pieces of evidence are presently under the custody of BPCLO for examination while the recovered suspected carnapped vehicles - a Nissan X-Trail color black with plate number XTU-414 and Yamaha Mio motorcycle without plate number are temporarily under the custody of Marilao MPS pending further verification.

Divina said that the slain suspects could be members of a notorious carnapping gang that are also engaged in other criminal activities as shown by the high-powered firearms recovered from them. (PNA) 
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Floods submerge 16 villages in Bulacan; two dams opened gates and discharge excess water 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 10 (PNA) -- Heavy monsoon rains enhanced by Typhoon "Falcon" pounded on Friday many parts of the province and inundated 16 villages in two towns and one city.

Latest situation report from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) showed that that the hardest hit area is the City of Meycauayan where 12 villages, namely Bancal (2 feet), Bayugo (3 feet), Gasak (3 feet), Langka (2 feet), Malhacan (4 feet), Zamora (2 to 2.5 feet), Hulo (1 foot), Saluysoy (2 to 2.5 feet), Longos (1 to 1.5 feet), Ubihan (1 foot), Tugatog (1 foot) and Pandayan (1 foot) were flooded.

Also hit by floods were the towns of Marilao and Sta. Maria.

In Marilao, three villages were flooded while one village was affected in Sta. Maria town.

Three persons also died, two of them crushed to death when concrete fences collapsed, in separate typhoon- related incidents last Wednesday.

The fatalities were identified as Irene S. Lumugho, 1, resident of Barangay Pantoc; Aljon Lapitag Jr., 5, resident of Barangay Camalig and Demetrio Ylasco, 75, resident of Barangay Iba, all in Meycauayan City.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, Bulacan PDRRMC chairman, personally supervised operations at the command center of Bulacan Emergency Operation Center at the Provincial Capitol here, together with Vice Governor Daniel Fernando and Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina.

Alvarado said that they are closely monitoring major rivers and waterways as well as water elevation of the three big dams in Bulacan namely Angat, Ipo and Bustos dams.

The governor also instructed Mungcal and Provincial Social Welfare and Development head Rowena Tiongson to speed up delivery of relief goods and medical assistance to affected families.

The PDRRMO also reported that Ipo dam opened Radial Gate 1 and Radial Gate B and discharged 346.6 cubic meters per second (cms) of water from 5:30 a.m to 7 a.m. after its spilling level of 101 meters was breached by .20 meters early Friday morning.

Bustos dam also opened one of its washed out gate and released 24 cms of water after its elevation reached 17.60 meters (spilling level 17.70 meters).

The monsoon rains aggravated by Typhoon Falcon, however, did not made significant rise in the water elevation of Angat dam which is still way below its critical level of 180 meters. 
As of 5 a.m. Friday, the water level at Angat dam was 171.66 meters which is still way below its spilling level of 210 meters. (PNA) 
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3 die in Bulacan due to inclement weather
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 9 (PNA) --Three persons, including a one-year old baby girl and a five-year old boy, died in the province at the height of heavy rains Wednesday afternoon, according to the Provincial Disaster Risk and Management Office (PDRRMO).

The casualties were identified as Irene S. Lumugho, 1, a resident of Barangay Pantoc; Aljon Lapitag Jr., 5, a resident of Barangay Camalig and Demetrio Ylasco, 75, a resident of Barangay Iba; all in Meycauayan City.

Bulacan PDRRM officer Liz Mungcal said that Lumugho died after getting pinned by a concrete fence of RLMU Trucking Company that collapsed during the height of heavy rains while Lapitag drowned in a flashflood.

Ylasco, on the other hand, died when he was crushed by a concrete fence of Lapadema factory that also collapsed at the height of the heavy downpour.

Mungcal also reported to Bulacan PDRRMC chairman and Governor Wilhelmino Sy- Alvarado that mayors in the cities of San Jose Del Monte and Meycauayan, and in the towns of Bocaue, Obando, Bulakan, Sta. Maria, Calumpit, Hagonoy, Paombonmg, Guiguinto and Marilao suspended classes in all levels Thursday morning.

The heavy rains that flooded some villages in Marilao town, however, did not even made a dent in the water level of Angat dam which remains at 169.94 or 11 meters below the critical level of 180 meters and way below its spilling level of 210 meters.

The water level at Ipo dam was 100.94 meters with a spilling level of 101 meters.

The governor instructed Mungcal to monitor and assess the damages that might be brought by the continuous monsoon rains. (PNA) 
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Public schools along Valley Fault System strengthen readiness for earthquake

MANILA, July 9 (PNA)--The Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday started holding a series of orientations on earthquake preparedness for principals and school administrators in 1,134 public schools in the National Capital Region, Region IV-A, and Region III, areas surrounding the Valley Fault System.

The orientation aims to equip school heads and administrators with the right information to increase the level of preparedness of schools not just for earthquakes but also for other possible risks.

“There is no such thing as overdose of information. We need to cascade this disaster preparedness information,” Noel Bagano, Muntinlupa City Assistant Schools Division Superintendent (ASDS), said.

DepEd Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO) Project Officer Mariel Bayangos discussed the comprehensive DRRM in Basic Education Framework.

“Why is there a need for us to have a common framework? We need to establish an overall strategy para kahit saan mang school tayo magpunta, we have a common language,” Bayangos said.

The Comprehensive DRRM in Basic Education is guided by education outcomes and, at the same time, anchored in the four thematic areas: prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery, and rehabilitation.

Specifically, DepEd adopted the Comprehensive Safe Schools Framework to align DRRM implementation in basic education, which is presented in three pillars: safe learning facilities, school disaster management, and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in education.

Comprehensive DRRM in Basic Education Framework discussion encompasses the structural and nonstructural measures such as the adopted disaster resilient classroom design, the strengthened construction monitoring process, enhanced design of temporary learning spaces, the establishment of DepEd DRRM offices nationwide, and the policy on student−led school watching and hazard mapping.

Bayangos added that DRRM and CCA are already integrated in the K to 12 curriculum and the DRR reference materials are being uploaded in the learning portal.

Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) Geologist Mabelline Cahulogan discussed geologic hazards like the occurrence of ground rupture and liquefaction.

“We all know that the Philippines is situated at the Pacific Ring of Fire and it is crucial for us to be disaster prepared,” Cahulogan said.

“Everyday, our instruments at PHIVOLCS record at least 20 earthquakes. Hindi lang natin sila nararamdaman… We can live with the fault as long as we are prepared and ready. Hindi po natin kailangan mag-panic. Sa halip, kailangan lang po natin maging prepared,” she added.

The geologic hazards discussion was followed by an open forum to address questions from school principals and education administrators relative to disaster preparedness. Family earthquake preparedness

The orientation ended with the briefing on the Family Earthquake Preparedness Homework in line with DepEd Order No. 27 entitled “Promoting Family Earthquake Preparedness.”

The homework requires all students to answer a set of questionnaires with their parents to assess their family preparedness before, during and after an earthquake.

The class advisers will discuss each of the questions and shall tabulate and summarize the answers which will be submitted to the school administration.

The school heads shall be the one to discuss the results to the Parents−Teachers Association (PTA) and barangay officials.

Over 400 school principals, administrators and DRR coordinators from six Metro Manila cities (Las Pinas City, Muntinlupa City, Paranaque City, Pasay City, Taguig City, and Makati City) and Region III (Norzagaray and San Jose del Monte, Bulacan) participated in the five first batches of the orientation.

The orientation on earthquake preparedness will continue Friday at Jose Rizal Memorial School in Calamba City for those school administrators, principals and DRRM coordinators from Biñan, Carmona, Calamba, Rodriguez, San Mateo, San Pedro, Sta. Rosa and Silang, Laguna.

More than 200 participants are expected to attend Friday.

The last leg of the orientation on July 13 will be participated by principals from Manila, Navotas, Caloocan, Malabon and Valenzuela cities. (PNA)
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Bulacan intensifies efforts to make the province illegal recruitment free

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 3 (PNA) --The provincial government, through the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) and Workers Education Division (WED) of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration signed Thursday a memorandum of agreement (MOA) in an effort to make the province illegal recruitment free.

Among the stakeholders who signed the agreement were Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, Philippine Overseas Employment Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, Overseas Workers Welfare Administrator Rebecca Calzado and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) director Teodoro Gatchalian.

Alvarado said the initiative will help fight illegal recruitment in the province that causes some Bulakenyos to suffer financial difficulties.

The Barangay Training and Employment Coordinator (BTEC) mass oath taking was also held wherein officials and members were oriented of their responsibilities.

Also, the OFWs Family Circle Federation took their oath to help fight illegal recruitment.

Provincial PESO manager Elizabeth Alonzo discussed about the responsibilities of PESO managers and BTEC in each town and city to help achieve a province free from illegal recruitment.

“If they are offering salary and other benefits that you think is too good to be true, it is not true and there are various ways to know whether they are illegal recruiter, you can look at the websites of POEA and PESO,” Alonzo said.

Antonio Mutuc of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) also discussed their programs about career guidance, implementation of website for an easier access to job hunting for fresh graduates and unemployed.

Kabuhayan starter kits were also distributed for the BTEC skills training graduates. (PNA) 
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'Coastal Road' project to spur more growth in Central and Northern Luzon 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 2 (PNA)--Government officials and different sectors in Central Luzon are hoping that the would-be successor of President Benigno S. Aquino III will continue the implementation of various development programs known as “engines of growth” that is being pushed to further boost the economic miracle now being experienced in the booming region.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, chairman of the Regional Development Council (RDC) in Central Luzon, said that many key infrastructure projects have already been approved by the RDC-III that are not only geared to spur more growth and development in Central Luzon but also to make the Philippines one of the surging investment magnets in the Asia- Pacific region.

He said that barring any hitches, mammoth projects that will speed-up and bring more growth and development in the region is now underway.

He said the people of Central Luzon want the successor of President Aquino to also give priority on the projects because those were designed to boost economic stability not only in the region but in the whole country as well.

Alvarado said that among those infrastructures include the “Coastal Road” project that will link the special economic zone in Cavite, National Capital Region to the Bataan Special Economic Zone and Subic Freeport area with a fast highway network connecting it to the international airport at the Clark Special Economic Zone in Pampanga.

Also known as the Manila-Bataan BOT (Built-Operate-Transfer), the coastal road project is expected to decongest the nagging chaotic traffic mess in Metro Manila, especially at the Port Area.

“Aside from decongesting and addressing the traffic woes in Metro Manila, the construction of the coastal road will open new avenues for growth and development especially along the coastal towns in the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan and Zambales. The economic impact of the project will also spillover to the inland provinces of Tarlac, Nueva Ecija and even Aurora and other parts of Northern Luzon,” Alvarado said.

He said that delivery of basic goods and materials will be faster and efficient since it will become easier to transport goods from Metro Manila to the special economic zones in Bataan, Pampanga and Zambales and vice versa.

He said that the RDC-III has already approved the project which was based on the feasibility studies prepared by the United States of America-based Wilbur Smith Associates in association with TCGI Engineers-Philippines and the Sycip, Gorres, Velayo and Company under the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

He said that the coastal highway will also be designed to control the flow of tides and help solve the flooding problems in the coastal areas in Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan.

The governor said that in Bulacan alone, coastal villages in the City of Meycauayan and in the towns of Hagonoy and Obando are constantly being submerged by floods due to high tide.

Alvarado also sees the spark of economic boom that will have impacts on the coastal areas along Manila bay.

“People in these areas will have new livelihood opportunities,” he said.

Last Wednesday, Central Luzon National Economic Development Authority Regional Director Severino Santos confirmed to Bulacan Provincial Planning and Development Office chief Arlene Pascual that they are set to present the approved coastal road project to executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., and to Budget Secretary Butch Abad.

Aside from the coastal road project, RDC-3 is also working on the fast railway system that will link the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to the international airport inside the Clark Special Economic Zone in Angeles City, Pampanga.(PNA) 
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PRO3’s kicks off 20th Police Community Relations Month

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, June 29 (PNA) -- The Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3), on Monday kicked off the 20th Police Community Relations (PCR) Month at the PRO3 parade ground here.

With this year’s theme “Matibay na Ugnayan ng Mamayan at Pulisya, Simbolo ng Kapayapaan sa kaunlaran ng Sambayanan,” the celebration was highlighted by the awarding of medals to police commissioned officers, police non-commissioned officers and local government officials, including civilians who supported and contributed to various PCR activities within Central Luzon.

Chief Supt. Ronald V. Santos, officer-in-charge of the Police Regional Office-3, said the month-long celebration will include different activities that will highlight the importance of a solid partnership between the police and the community in the effective maintenance of peace and order and community development.

The individual awardees were Police Supt. Amelia D. Garcia, chief, PCR, Tarlac PPO; SPO4 Emelita Bautista, Bulacan PPO and PO2 Cherry Anne P. Bacallo, Tarlac PPO;

The unit awards went to Tarlac PPO headed by Police Senior Supt. Alex B. Sintin, provincial director; Olongapo City Police Office headed by Police Senior Supt. Pedrito F. Delos Santos; Cabanatuan City Police Station headed by Police Supt. Pedro Soliba and Baliwag Municipal Police Station headed by Police Supt. Enrico H. Vargas.

Meanwhile, Tarlac Governor Victor A. Yap was awarded the Best Supportive Local Chief Executive for the Year 2015. (PNA) 
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Crown-shape Pagoda set sails at Bocaue river on Friday night - By Emil G. Gamos

BOCAUE, Bulacan, June 26 (PNA)--The crowd-drawing fluvial festival in this town in honor of the venerated “Mahal na Krus sa Wawa” (Holy Cross of Wawa) is getting more majestic and captivating.

A more colorful pagoda carrying the venerated cross will again set sail for a nine-day Novena beginning on Friday night at the Bocaue river.

Jim Valerio, chief of staff of Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and this year’s Hermano Mayor of the fluvial festival, said the pagoda is designed like a crown that aptly depicts the “crowning glory” of the strong leap of faith of the people of Bocaue.

“The pagoda of the “Mahal na Krus sa Wawa” symbolizes the strong devotion of the people here in Bocaue and the colorful tradition of our town,”Valerio said.

He said that only 200 people will be allowed to board the pagoda every night and on its feast day to ensure that the tragedy that happened 22 years ago --when the overcrowded three- tiered pagoda (made of out lumber) sank in the murky waters of Bocaue river on July 2, 1993, that claimed the lives of at least 300 devotees--will not be repeated.

Aside from this, he said that Governor Alvarado has instructed the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) headed by Liz Mungcal to deploy more rescue teams, complete with rubber boats, ambulance and paramedics and ensure that fluvial festival will be safe and secured.

Maneuver platoons from the Provincial Public Safety Company of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office were also deployed to beef up local policemen in securing the riverside area, Valerio said.

He also said that after the fluvial festival, the “crown-shaped” pagoda will be converted into a chapel at the portion of the river where the venerated cross was found floating.

According to legends, a woman was saved from drowning by a floating cross which is presumed to be the Mahal na Krus sa Wawa.

He said that the strong faith of the people of Bocaue has made the resurrection of the centuries-old tradition possible.

The colorful voyage of the pagoda of the Mahal na Krus sa Wawa was revived last year, 21 years after the tragic accident.

It was again celebrated with a more religious patronage as devotees once again flocked to participate in one of the spectacular and crowd drawing fiestas in the province.

The governor, meanwhile, said that the strong devotion of the people has rekindled the “leap of faith” and trust to God as well as the crowd-drawing fluvial festival, which he said is just one among the many age-old traditions still being practiced and observed in Bulacan.

He said that peace keeping and emergency response units has properly coordinated with the organizers to ensure a peaceful and safe celebration of the feast day of the venerated Holy Cross of Wawa.

”It is merry but you can feel the sacred of the tradition. And because of the unity and heartfelt devotion of the people, the colorful fiesta in this town has once again back its vibrancy,” Alvarado said.

The Holy Cross of Wawa is a replica of the wooden cross on which the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, is set on a pagoda, which is paraded on the Bocaue river with several bancas, as well as devotees swimming alongside the colorful structure.

The festivities also include a nine-day novena, which celebrates the rescue of the Holy Cross of Wawa from the Bocaue River. (PNA) 
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Bulacan cops net seven suspects in 'One Time, Big Time' sting

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, June 22 (PNA) -- An alleged cybercrime offender, a notorious drug dealer and five other wanted persons fell in a series of police operations dubbed as “One time, Big Time” over the weekend in the mountain town of Norzagaray, the Bulacan Police Provincial Office reported on Monday.

Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina said that the Norzagaray Municipal Police Station led by Supt. Ramil Corpuz, together with personnel of the Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC), Motorcycle Cops and Bulacan Highway Patrol Team (HPT) conducted “One Time Big Time Operation” as part of the PNP’s “Oplan Lambat Sibat” in National Housing Village, Barangay Bitungol, Norzagaray.

He said the operation resulted in the arrest of Romeo Dosal of Block 26, Lot 1&2, Phase 1, National Housing Village, Bitungol, Norzagaray town with search warrant No. 079-15 for violation of Chapter II, Sec (4)-(1) of Republic Act 10175 (An act defining cybercrime, providing for the prevention, investigation, suppression and the imposition of penalties).

Divina said the police team recovered the following items from Dosal: one set desktop computer: computer mouse; one Wimax antenna with cable; and two notebooks with cooler fan.

Second to fall was Francisco “Boy” Manalastas alyas “Bordado”, a resident of Block 30, Lot 26, Phase 1, National Housing Village, Bitungol, Norzagaray with search warrant No. 08 1-15 for violation of RA 9165, issued by Judge Ramon D. Pamular, executive judge of RTC Nueva Ecija on June 11, 2015.

Manalastas’ arrest also resulted in the seizure of one small plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance suspected as methamphetamine hydrochloride known as “shabu” and assorted drug paraphernalia.

Divina said that the five other arrested wanted suspects were nabbed during the conduct of ”Oplan Galugad.”

They were identified as Jenny Bernardo, single of Block 2, Lot 42, Phase 1, National Housing Village, Bitungol; Delton Policarpio, 20, single of Block 170, Unit 14, Phase 5, National Housing Village, Tigbe; Allan Alfaro, 20, single, a resident of Block 2, Lot 39, Phase 1, National Housing Village, Bitungol; Erwin Sawit, 27, single, resident of Block 72, Lot 13, Phase 3, National Housing Village, Bitungol; and, Jonalyn Fornoles, 25, single, resident of Block 107, Lot 4, Phase 3, National Housing Village, Tigbe.

Divina said the Norzagaray Police Station also conducted “Oplan Bulabog” and has issued 12 citation tickets to motorists who violated provincial ordinances and impounded 18 different motorcycles for failure to show documents on current year registration while other motorcycles were abandoned by the riders upon seeing the presence of the policemen during the checkpoint.

Appropriate criminal complaints are now being prepared against the arrested suspects. (PNA) 
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MMDA trains 3,000 individuals to be part of Metro Manila Rescue Volunteer Corps

MANILA, June 22 (PNA) -- The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is training 3,000 individuals who have registered for the Metro Manila Rescue Volunteer Corps (MMRVC).

MMDA Director Mon Santiago said the training, conducted by batches of 200 volunteers each, consists of practical session day of orientation on how to respond to earthquakes and landslides.

Aside from the 3,000 walk-in volunteers, the MMDA also receives requests from Local Government Units (LGUs), non-government organizations (NGOs) and private institutions to be part of the rescue volunteer corps.

Some organizations also want to include dogs in the training for search, rescue and retrieval operations.

The MMDA aims for 8,000 individuals to take part in the training who will respond to disaster scenarios such as the looming 7.2 magnitude earthquake which could shake Metro Manila at any time.

Participants will receive T-shirt, identification card and a certificate of training.

Interested applicants may visit the MMDA website www.bepreparedmetromanila.com or may call the MMDA office at 882-0927 or the MMDA Trunkline at 882-4151.

Meanwhile, Santiago is urging the public to join the Metro Manila-wide earthquake drill which will be held on July 30 at 10:30 a.m.

In order to make the drill effective, he said they are hoping that various sectors will give their all-out participation.

The drill is part of the agency’s commitment to ensure disaster preparedness, especially during earthquakes, using the sectoral grouping as specified in Oplan Metro Yakal.

MMDA employees are required to group themselves according to sectors of their places of residence.

Areas covered by the North Sector are Caloocan, Valenzuela, Malabon and Quezon City.

The cities of Navotas, Manila and Pasay form the West Sector.

The South Sector includes the cities of Makati, Mandaluyong, Taguig, Muntinlupa, Parañaque and Las Piñas and the municipality of Pateros.

Covered by the East Sector are San Juan, Pasig and Marikina.

Oplan Metro Yakal is MMDA’s earthquake contingency plan which focuses on preparedness of government resources and that of private organizations during emergencies.

Phivolcs recently released the Valley Fault System Atlas which contained detailed maps of the areas near the earthquake faults -- the East Valley Fall which runs through Rizal and the West Valley Fault which spans from Bulacan going to Rizal, Metro Manila, Cavite and Laguna.

The agency said a strong movement, possibly equivalent to a magnitude 7.2, from the fault is possible and could kill more than 30,000 people based from Phivolcs studies.

The atlas also identified the 72 barangays in the Metro Manila cities of Pasig, Quezon, Marikina, Makati, Taguig and Muntinlupa which are above the fault line. (PNA) 
SCS/CLTC/Jarren Hill S. Repedro/JHSR (OJT)

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Gov pushes immediate transfer of Bulacan Prov’l Jail to new site - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 19 (PNA)--A long term solution to defuse a “ticking time-bomb.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Friday announced that the provincial government of Bulacan is finalizing the long-term plan to accelerate the transfer of the overcrowded provincial jail to a new site complete with all the amenities needed in reforming inmates.

At present, the Bulacan Provincial Jail (BPJ) is located within the capitol compound at the back of the Hall of Justice building of the Bulacan Regional Trial Court.

Alvarado said that it is high time to move the heavily congested provincial jail which only have the capacity to house 700 inmates but is now full to the seams with 3,000 prisoners.

He said the the Provincial Development and Planning Office has already found an ideal site for a new and modern jail facility at the satellite government center in eastern Bulacan.

“The population of Bulacan is fast growing and so are the inmates at our provincial jail which may soon burst or explode if we do not build a more spacious penitentiary. Right now, the population at the jail might exceed 3,000 and the present facility can only hold 700,” Alvarado said.

The governor said that plans are already in place about a new jail facility where inmates can have a more spacious and humane area, a correctional establishment where they can exercise, farm and be productive while awaiting the verdict for their case.

People visiting the BPJ has likened it to a “sardine can” where the inmates has barely an elbow room to move freely.

Alvarado said that they also want to ensure the health condition of the inmates but the now already overcrowded also poses health problems.

"While medical attention are always there for the inmates, the limited space at the jampacked jail is also deteriorating a clean environment there so it must be transferred at the soonest possible time,” he said.

The governor said that he is already working with Vice Governor Daniel Fernando and members of the Sanguniang Panglalawigan for the passage of a resolution on the immediate transfer of the provincial jail to a new and more spacious site.

“This is a long-term solution to a nagging problem that can be likened to a ticking time bomb. We will build it in conformity with present standard complete with properly equipped personnel,” Alvarado added.(PNA) 
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Fireworks safety seminar held in Bulacan - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 11 (PNA) -- Grow and glow!

The Philippines Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association (PPMDAI) and the Philippine National Police-Civil Security group is gearing up for the high demands of skilled "pyro-technicians" abroad by providing special courses on aerial fireworks display.

Engineer Celso C. Cruz, chairman emeritus of PPMDAI, said that there is a great opportunity for local pyrotechnics crew who are also known as "shooters" in the aerial fireworks display.

"Safety is the prime concern of PPMDAI and in training would be shooters" we are instilling to them all the precautionary measures in the preparations and operations of fireworks display which has now become popular in many parts of the world thus, requiring more skilled pyrotechnics crew," Cruz, a chemical engineer, said.

The special course is part of the annual "safety seminar" of the PPMDAI and the PNP-CSG in line with the new Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 7183 otherwise known as the "Firecracker Law of 1992" being enforced by the national police.

Under the IRR, Cruz said manufacturers and dealers of fireworks as well as operators of aerial fireworks display are required to attend the safety seminar before they will be issued licenses and permits to manufacture, sell and conduct fireworks display.

Participants in the aerial fireworks display were given crash courses on display requirement (training certification, fireworks and equipment and site).

He said professional pyrotechnicians like Ernan Corpuz lecture participants on operation of the fireworks display such as comparison of manual and electronic firing and safety concerns demonstration.

Another known pyro-technician Robert Basiman, who works for a well known Spanish pyrotechnics company, discussed "synchronized pyro-musical conceptualization and after display safety guidelines.

PPMDAI president Lea DG Alapide, also a former member of a foreign -based pyro- crew, provided technical "must dos and donts" during actual fireworks display operations.

Alapide reminded participants in the special course on the dangers that must be checked before and after the display show.

"It is important to know the direction of the winds for the fallout of debris, the proper stock filing of materials, its transport and coordination with firefighters and concerned authorities," she said.

Senior Supt. John C. Bulalacao, chief of the Explosive Management Division of the PNP-CSG headed by acting director Chief Supt. Elmer Soria, said participants of the safety seminars were also briefed on the overview of fireworks safety seminar (as requirement of the new IRR of RA 7183), inputs from the Bureau of Fire Protection, proper packaging, storage and transport of fireworks, store/stall display of products, consumer safety guidelines and other concerns, the IRR guidelines and the requirements of license application and renewal, update and related issues.

"While we want the local industry to flourish, we, at CSG are also making sure that the revised IRR of RA 7183 are strictly followed so that stakeholders of the local fireworks industry can do business safely and at the same time, producing quality and safe products," he said.

The PPMDAI thanked the PNP-CSG as well as resource speakers led by Supt. Thomas Valmonte, provincial legal officer of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office; Chief Inspector Soledad Arciso, chief of Permit and Licensing Section of EWD, Supt. Artemio Llena, provincial fire marshall; Rolando Bonilla, board member and spokesman of PPMDAI and Evelyn Lazaro, PPMDAI secretary.(PNA) 
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Ban use of explosives along fault line, cement factories urged - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 7 (PNA)--An environment watchdog on Sunday dared giant cement factories operating in the mountains of Eastern Bulacan to show and prove that they are no longer using explosives in extracting limestones as experts have once again confirmed that their mining areas run along the West Valley fault line.

"There is a clear and present danger if they are still using dynamites or other ordnance in extracting limestone which is the primary ingredient in their cement business.

These cement companies, which are foreign-owned should prove that they will not be the trigger that will cause the faultline to move," Bro. Martin Franscisco, chairman of the Sagip Sierra Madre Environment Society (SSMES), said.

Franscisco said that their group and even the office of Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado are receiving reports that explosions are being heard in the mountains of Norzagaray and Dona Remedios Trinidad where cement factories are extracting limestones.

He dared the management of Holcim cement and La Farge, two of the biggest cement companies owned by foreign business firms, to allow a team, including members of the media, to prove that they are not using explosives in the extraction of limestones.

Franscisco said that the alleged explosions are being heard during the afternoon and people are getting anxious especially after learning that the mining sites of these cement factories run along the strtetch of the West Valley fault line and are also near the Angat dam and Ipo dam watershed areas.

He also disclosed that even the Dumagats tribesmen, a cultural minority group living in the mountains of Eastern Bulacan, have once again complained that they are afraid that the "gods" in the mountains might get angry because of the constant "tremors" allegedly caused by the blasting of limestones by giant cement factories in the areas.

Franscisco said that last year, some Dumagats guided them to places in the mountains where some sort of mini-sink holes have appeared.

"This is very disturbing because we do not know what will be its effect on the faultline," he said.

Upon learning of this development, the governor urged cement factories to refrain from using explosives and instead use modern technologies in extracting limestones.

He said that it is quite ironic that while they are calling for the immediate rehabilitation of the aging Angat dam, those companies are blatantly daring the possible movement of the fault line through their blasting methods.

He also questioned the alleged rehabilitation program of cement factories in the areas.

‘Can they grow a mountain? They can grow a forest but not a mountain,” he said, adding that forest covers and the very mountain itself where it grows are being destroyed in the extraction of limestone.

The SSMES also said that the permit to extract limestone were issued by the national government to these cement companies. (PNA) 
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Bulacan to hold 'Day of Prayer'

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 5 (PNA) -- The provincial government will hold a “Day of Prayer” on Monday with different religious groups for a safe and progressing province.

Anchored on the theme “Sama-samang Pasasalamat at Pananalangin para sa Pagkakaisa at Kaunlaran sa Lalawigan ng Bulacan,” the event will be held at the Hiyas Pavilion, Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center in this city.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the event aims to unite the Bulakenyos in a day of thanksgiving and forgiveness, citing the need to worship and give thanks to the Lord for the peace, unity and continuous progress and development of the province.

Alvarado is encouraging the Bulakenyos to join the solemn ceremony and pray for the safety of everyone, particularly from the possible occurrence of a powerful earthquake that could cause massive destruction of the 47-year-old Angat Dam.

”Let us pray together for our province and our country because this is the time that we should always be prepared and ready in any accidents or calamities. It is always better to unite and pray for our safety and let us continuously thank God for our safety and for the all the blessings He is giving to us,” he said.

Hundreds of Bulakenyos are expected to participate in the event that includes different religious leaders and support groups, provincial and local government officials, heads and employees of the provincial government, teachers and students from Bulacan State University and Bulacan Polytechnic College and others.

The event will start with a doxology and will be followed by the ecumenical prayer by the Four Pillars of Bulacan headed by Rev. Joel Lombos of Cadence-Bulacan, Rev. Cezar Sacdalan of Alliance for Values Formation in Bulacan, Bishop Bert Chan of Baptist Church and Bishop Ephrain Perez of Interfaith Bulacan.

To conclude, the Bulakenyos will sing “Lord Heal Our Land” to be lead by Himig ng Bulakenyo and Hiyas ng Bulacan Brass Band coinciding the lighting of candles and offering prayer and commitment of the participants to promote peace and order in the province. (PNA) 
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Bulacan intensifies its disaster preparedness

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 4 (PNA) -- The provincial government, through the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) is intensifying its disaster preparedness in an effort to promote public awareness and readiness for calamities and other natural hazards.

PDRRMO head Felicisima Mungcal, in a quarterly meeting held Tuesday at Isidoro Torres Hall, Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center in this city, said her department would continue to monitor hazards and provide appropriate warning, and conduct appropriate preparedness, response and development plans.

Citing the importance to monitor hazards and possible impact of the calamities, Mungcal said the disaster risk reduction and management council of the 21 towns and three cities, including the responders of the different government agencies and non-governmental organizations, have gathered for a meeting to discuss systematic approach on how to respond in any disasters that might hit the province.

”Any hazard and possible impacts of the disaster must be effectively communicated as a way to respond properly before, during and after hazardous events,” she said.

Mungcal also presented the PDRRMO’s accomplishment for the previous quarter of the present year such as Weather Outlook 2015, Fire Prevention Month, Lakbay Alalay (SUMVAC), Oplan Listo, contingency plan update, local disaster risk reduction and management Fund Investment Revision, and preparation for rainy season and drought or dry spell.

During the meeting, the Provincial Planning and Development Office presented the Valley Fault System in Bulacan based on VFS Atlas released by Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) and came up with an action for a additional and clearance of an information from Phivolcs regarding faultline that run in three areas in the province such as City of San Jose Del Monte, Norzagaray and Dona Remedios Trinidad.

Meanwhile, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) discussed the Operation Listo WEmboree: A disaster resiliency camp, a program for the gathering of young people from different communities, academic institutions and organizations celebrating one goal in “Changing the Mindset from ME to WE.”

It also encourages young people to come together, actively engage and inspire their peers and their respective communities to unite and become prime movers in nation building. (PNA) 
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Two suspected drug pushers nabbed after yielding 2 kilograms of shabu - By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan

MANILA, June 2 (PNA)--Agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) have arrested two suspected drug pushers and seized from them two kilograms of shabu worth Php10 million during an anti-illegal drugs operation in Malolos, Bulacan.

PDEA Director General Undersecretary Arturo G. Cacdac Jr. identified the suspects as Herwin Francis Tee, 31, of Sumapang Ligas Road, and Marc Aben Reyes, 30, of Lorenzo compound, both of Barangay Sumapang Matanda, Malolos City, Bulacan.

Cacdac said that PDEA Regional Office 4-A, Director Adzhar A. Albani led the operation after the suspects agreed to sell one kilo of shabu in a transparent plastic bag to a PDEA poseur-buyer.

They also seized two plastic bags containing the drugs and Php 2,000 bill.

The suspects are currently detained at the PDEA RO43A detention cell in Camp Vicente Lim, Calamba, Laguna and will be charge for violation of Section 5 (Sale of Dangerous Drugs) and Section 11 (Possession of Dangerous Drugs) Article II of R.A. 9165.

Meanwhile, PDEA said that Php P2,044,000 worth of fully-grown marijuana plants and seedlings were destroyed by combined elements of the agency and the Philippine National Police (PNP) during a three-day marijuana eradication in Benguet.

Cacdac said the teams, composed of operatives from PDEA – Cordillera Administrative Region (PDEA-CAR) under Director Ronald Allan Ricardo and elements from Bakun Municipal Police Station, conducted the operation in Sitios Owasan and Kaot, Barangay Kayapa, Bakun, Benguet that led to the destruction of seven marijuana plantation sites with an estimated land area of 1,026 square meters on May 26 to 28, 2015.

Cacdac said that no cultivator was arrested during the operation, but the operating teams were able to destroy and burned on-site 8,420 fully grown marijuana plants, and 9,000 marijuana seedlings with a total estimated value of Php 2,044,000. (PNA) 
RMA/CLTC/Maria Edelyn Cantillo/MEC (OJT)

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Clamor to save aging Angat dam snowballs - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 1 (PNA)--Teachers and students have joined the bandwagon in the growing clamor to save the aging Angat dam which some engineers now described as a “ticking time bomb” as it is nestled along the West Valley fault that some experts said is no longer dormant and might move anytime and trigger a powerful magnitude 7.2 earthquake.

The possible bursting of the old dam has become the topic and “talk of the day” during the opening of classes in several schools and universities in the province with some even conducting basic drills and disaster preparedness.

Some students even urged Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado to again bring to the attention of President Benigno S. Aquino III the “clear and present danger” hanging like the proverbial “Sword of Damocles” over their heads so that the immediate rehabilitation and strengthening of the 47-year old earth dam in the mountains of Norzagaray could be expedited.

Earlier, village chiefs from San Jose del Monte City and in the towns of Dona Remedios Trinidad, and Norzagaray have asked the governor on the situation of the dam and its structural integrity after the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) once again confirmed that the Angat dam and its main dike is sitting over the West Valley fault line.

”The destruction it will cause is unimaginable especially if the 47 years old Angat dam will collapse because not only the province of Bulacan will be wiped out but also big parts of Pampanga and Metro Manila," the governor said.

He also told village chiefs from the towns of Norzagaray, San Jose Del Monte and Dona Remedios Trinidad, that even if residents of Metro Manila survive the "Big One" they will still face another dilemma of an equally "deadly" proportion.

"They will die of thirst and for a long time will have no supply of potable water," the governor said, adding that it is also important for concerned agencies to seriously consider dangers being poised by Angat dam, whose main dike is over the fault line.

Angat dam supplies 97 percent of the potable water needs of Metro Manila.

Without water, he said it is hard to imagine where residents of Metro Manila will get it once the source is destroyed.

He said that Angat dam is located on the highest slope of the mountains in eastern Bulacan.

He said that it is hard to imagine how fast rampaging waters that could be 30 meters high will wipe out villages.

He said the people of Bulacan are once again appealing to the national government to send engineers and experts to prod the new owner of Angat dam to immediately start its rehabilitation.

Alvarado said that since Phivolcs renewed its confirmation that the West Valley fault is still active, it has again brought dilemmas on the people of Bulacan who have been crying out for the immediate repair since 2008.

Some civil engineers also urged the new owners and operator of the dam to adopt the study and suggestion of Tonkin and Taylor, the Europe-based consultancy firm hired by the government to study the structural integrity of the dam.

The governor also suggested to the management of K-Water to implement the suggestions of the Tonkin and Taylor dam experts so that the repair and fortification of the dam could start immediately.

“Its repair should not be delayed any longer. There is now a growing clamor to save and fortify the structural integrity of the 47-year old dam which is situated in the highest slope of the mountain in Norzagaray,” he added. (PNA) 
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Seaborne cops net fisher who beheaded 9 year old boy - By Emil G. Gamos

HAGONOY, Bulacan, May 31 (PNA) --Seaborne policemen arrested a 50- year old fisherman suspected of beheading a 9- year old boy in the fishing village of Barangay Mercado here Saturday.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina identified the victim as Arnel Escobar alias “Kokey”, 9, a native and resident of Barangay Mercado here while the suspect was identified as Ernesto Santos, 50, married and a resident of Barangay San Nicolas.

Divina said that the headless body of the victim was identified by his father after it was fished out while floating along the river.

Initial theories of village officials who discovered the headless body suspects that the young victim’s head was cut-off after it was hit by a propeller of a motorized boat but police thought otherwise after a witness came and told police officers that he personally witnessed how the boy’s body was dumped into the river early morning Saturday.

Divina said the witness disclosed that on May 30 at around 3 a.m. while he was sleeping in his boat docked at the side of the river, he was awakened by a noise coming from the other boat, docked parallel with his boat.

The witness confirmed that prior to the incident, he saw the victim and the suspect named Santos resting.

He added that although he was awakened, he pretended to be asleep after he witnessed how the suspect dumped the headless body of the victim in the river and subsequently washed/cleaned his boat.

After identifying the suspect at about 3 p.m. of the same date, town police chief Supt Angel Bondoc, who was directly leading the investigation, immediately formed an arresting team.

And at about 5:45 p.m.of the same date, Divina said Bondoc led a team of seaborne policemen together with the River Rine Unit of the Philippine Army and conducted pursuit operation along the mouth of Manila bay and arrested the suspect who then fishing.

Divina said the police team recovered the 12 inches knife, with suspicious blood stain that was believed to be used in the killing the boy in the suspect’s boat.

The cadaver of the beheaded boy was brought to C and C Funeral Services in Barangay San Miguel here while the suspect is presently detained at Hagonoy Municipal Police Station.

Divina said that a joint team of Hagonoy policemen and the River Rine Unit of the Philippine Army are still conducting search operation for the missing head of the boy.

Appropriate criminal complaint is being prepared for filing at the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor, Divina added. (PNA) 
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Aging Angat dam a “ticking time bomb” along West Valley fault line - By Emil G. Gamos

NORZAGARAY, Bulacan, May 31 (PNA)--Worse than being nuked, twice!

The much talked-about “Big One” or the powerful earthquake that could jolt parts of Luzon once the long dormant West Valley fault line moves could bring double whammy of disastrous proportions even to those who would survive the tremor, particularly those living at the National Capital Region.

This grim scenario is also expected to make the earthquake drills virtually useless and just end into naught once the feared "Big One" comes and trigger the collapse of the aging Angat dam, which is nestling along the West Valley fault line.

This cropped up after village chiefs from different parts of Bulacan, particularly along the towns included by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) in their updated Atlas of the West Valley fault line, asked Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on the earthquake issue.

"The destruction it will cause is unimaginable especially if the 47 years old Angat dam will collapse because not only the province of Bulacan will be wiped out but also big parts of Pampanga and Metro Manila," the governor, who time and again has been calling the attention of national government since he was still a congressman, then a vice governor and now as the top provincial chief executive on the dangers that the aging dam is posing when it is jolted by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake.

Alvarado told the village chiefs from the towns of Norzagaray, San Jose Del Monte and Dona Remedios Trinidad, that even if residents of Metro Manila survived the "Big One" they will still face another dilemma of an equally "deadly" proportion.

"They will die of thirst and for a long time will have no supply of potable water," the governor said, adding that it is also important for concerned agencies to seriously consider dangers being poised by Angat dam, whose main dike is over the fault line according to studies of experts.

Angat dam supplies 97 percent of the potable water needs of Metro Manila.

Without water, the governor said it is hard to imagine where residents of Metro Manila will get it once the source is destroyed.

He said that Angat dam is located on the highest slope of the mountains in eastern Bulacan.

He also said that it is hard to imagine how fast rampaging waters that could be 30 meters high will wipe out villages.

"If the dam breaks, will you still hide under the table? How can you escape a rampaging water whose speed is like a bullet and will bring big boulders and illegally cut logs?,” he said.

Alvarado said that unless the 47 years old Angat dam is immediately repaired and strengthened, it will always serve like the probervial "Sword of Damocles" hanging over the heads of Bulakenyos.

He said the people of Bulacan are once again appealing to the national government to send engineers and experts to prod the new owner of Angat dam to immediately start its rehabilitation.

Alvarado said that since Phivolcs renewed its confirmation that the West Valley fault is still active, it has again brought dilemmas on the people of Bulacan who have been crying out for the immediate repair of the dam for so long now, in fact since 2008.

Since 2009, when he was the Vice Governor and presiding officer of the Sanguniang Panglalawigan, Governor Alvarado has already been calling the attention of the national government of the delicate situation of the aging dam.

Calling it as a disaster waiting to happen, Alvarado said that it is not only the lives of the people of Metro Manila that is at stake but also the lives of the people of Bulacan.

Alvarado said that even during the administration of former President Corazon Aquino, the government has already initiated studies, with the help of Japan, for the rehabilitation of Angat dam.

He said that even in 1968, the very year its operation started, dam officials and engineering experts have already detected leakages and in August 1986, a landslide also occurred near the ex-batching plant site of the dam.

Alvarado added that even President Benigno S. Aquino III is very much concern on the structural integrity of the 47 years old dam that he appropriated Php5.7 billion for its immediate repair and strengthening but it got stalled after the Supreme Court ruled that the privatization of the Angat dam is legal after Korean Water (K-Water) found a Filipino business firm as its partner .

It is stipulated under the contract between the new operator of the dam and the government that K-Water will shoulder and initiate its rehabilitation and fortification which will be the first ever repair since Angat dam began operation on October 1968.

Alvarado said that it is high time for the government to prod the new owners to immediately start its rehabilitation and implement the studies of Tonkin and Taylor, the European dam experts company commissioned by the Philippine government to study and formulate the fortification of the dam.

"Up to now, they are still in the drawing board even if there is already a viable study by a credible company. We, in Bulacan, are asking concerned agencies to help the K-Water in making the structural integrity of Angat dam safe for the next 50 to 100 years," Alvarado said.

While drills are being conducted, most residents here are faithfully relying on prayers.

“As we continue conducting drills, education campaign and formulate contingency plans, the people of Bulacan are still relying strongly in their faith to God and the power of prayers,” he added. (PNA) 
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3 Central Luzon police officers ordered relieved for failure to meet Lambat Sibat requirements - By Froilan E. Magtoto

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, May 28 (PNA) -- The Philippine National Police (PNP) National Headquarters has ordered the immediate relief of three chiefs of police in Central Luzon.

Police Director Ricardo Marquez, head of the PNP National Directorate for Operations, on Thursday instructed Central Luzon Police regional director Chief Supt. Ronald Santos to relieve Supt. Rechie Duldulao of this city; Supt. Marcos Rivera of Marilao in Bulacan; and Senior Inspector Marlo Dangaran of Abucay, in Bataan.

According to the order, the three police officers were relieved for failure to meet the requirements of Lambat Sibat, an anti- crime measure of the police.

Santos said in a report that he was instructed by Marquez during a command conference held on Thursday in this camp to identify police officers in the station levels who have shown remarkable performance for commendation but as well list down those who fell short of expectation for the past 11 weeks of Oplan Lambat Sibat.

Santos admitted that he was hesitant at first to remove underperforming officers until he was given the imprimatur to relieve anyone.

With implementation of Lambat Sibat regionwide, he said crime incidents have decreased by almost 30%. (PNA) 
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Gun for hire gangman killed, cohort wounded in Bulacan shootout

SAN MIGUEL, Bulacan, May 27 (PNA) -- An alleged member of a gun-for-hire gang was killed while another was wounded during a shootout with Bulacan policemen in Barangay Batasan Matanda here Tuesday afternoon.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina identified the slain gangman as Francisco Bernabe Jr. alias “Isko”, a native of San Miguel, of this province.

The wounded suspect, on the other hand, was identified as Joey Ramos of No. 59 Purok 3, Barangay Batasan Matanda.

Divina said that joint elements of the Bulacan Criminal Investigation Detection Team (CIDT) led by Chief Inspector Patrick Ramillano and the San Miguel Municipal Police Station headed by Supt. Nathaniel Villegas implemented search warrant No. 067-15 issued by Judge Ramon D. Pamular, RTC, Branch 32, Guimba, Nueva Ecija against Ramos for violation of RA 10591, otherwise known as Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act, dated May 21, 2015 at the house of the suspect Tuesday afternoon.

Divina said the suspect and his cohort noticed the approaching operating team and tried to escape by successively firing against the approaching lawmen, prompting the police officers to retaliate and use the necessary force.

During the firefight, Ramos sustained gunshot wound on his right leg and was rushed to San Miguel District Hospital for treatment and later brought to Bulacan Medical Center in Malolos City while his cohort Bernabe, was hit on the different parts of his body that resulted to his instantaneous death.

Divina said that Ramos and Bernabe are both members of a gang operating in Bulacan and other parts of Central Luzon engaged in gun running, drug pushing and selling of stolen motorcycle parts.

He also said that Ramos has a case of homicide with records of jump bail.

The encounter site was immediately secured and a team of SOCO from Bulacan Crime Laboratory was called and processed the crime scene.

The police team recovered one Caliber Super .38 Pistol, and two pieces of magazine of Caliber Super .38 from Ramos while a hand grenade was recovered from the slain suspect.

Several guns, ammunition, drugs and paraphernalia were also seized at the house of the suspect.

Divina said that charges for Violation of Sec 12, Art II of RA 9165 (Illegal Possession of Equipment, Instrument, Apparatus and Other Paraphernalia of Illegal Drugs) and direct assault are being prepared for filing against Ramos. (PNA) 
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Two gangmen killed in Bulacan shootout

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, May 23 (PNA)--Two suspected members of a gun-for-hire gang were killed while a policeman was wounded during a shootout with lawmen in Barangay Minuyan 2, San Jose del Monte City Thursday night.

Bulacan police director Sr. Supt. Ferdinand Divina identified the slain suspects as one alias “Lucky” who was killed on the spot and a certain Rodelio Lagario alias “Uding,” who was seriously injured and rushed to a hospital for medical attention but died while undergoing treatment.

SPO2 David Gatchalian of the SJDM City police station was shot by one of the suspects on the lower part of his right eye and was brought to the hospital for medical treatment and later declared safe.

Divina said the two were alleged cohorts of Amir P. Manda alias “Tangkad”, who was wanted for murder, and believed to be a member of a gun-for-hire gang.

The group are also believed to be involved in drug trafficking and other illegal activities.

Divina said that the SJDM City police, led by Supt. Charlie Cabradilla were conducting “Oplan: Lambat Sibat” in the area to serve warrant of arrest against the suspect in Barangay Minuyan 2, CSJDM, Bulacan, issued by Judge Francisco P. Felizmenio of Branch 19, RTC Malolos City, Bulacan for the crime of murder.

He said that the SJDM Police Station received a report that Manda together with his cohorts were seen at the vicinity of Barangay Minuyan 1.

Upon receipt of the report, the Sibat Tracker Operating Team was immediately dispatched under the supervision of Supt. Cabradilla to verify the report and conduct an operation against alias “Tangkad” and his cohorts.

Divina said that when the operating team arrived at the place, the suspect, together with his cohorts, successively shot the approaching police tracker team prompting team to return fire which resulted in the death of alias “Lucky” who was killed on the spot and Lagario who died later at the hospital while Manda managed to elude arrest.

The encounter site was immediately secured and a team of SOCO from Bulacan Crime Laboratory was called and processed the crime scene.

Recovered from the place of incident were one Caliber .38 Revolver loaded with two live ammunitions and four spent shells ; one replica of Caliber .45 (Air Soft); and 10 pieces of transparent plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance suspected to be “shabu”.

Divina said police teams were still hunting Manda as of presstime. (PNA) 
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Calls for immediate rehab of aging Angat dam snowballs anew

BALIWAG, Bulacan, May 16 (PNA) --News of recent devastating earthquakes has triggered new calls for the immediate repair of the aging Angat dam, which according to experts is sitting along the West Valley fault line.

While trying not to sound alarmists, a group of civil engineers on Saturday urged the new owners and operators of the aging Angat dam to immediately start its fortification and rehabilitation.

The engineers made the call after talking with several local newsmen in a meeting in Barangay San Jose here.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has confirmed that Angat dam is nestling along the West Valley fault line.

"They should do it now before the terrible earthquake strikes," one of the engineers said.

The engineers said that this booming town is one of those that will be severely devastated once the 47 years old rock-fill dam could collapse if jolted by a powerful Magnitude 7.2 earthquake.

The location of the dam, which lies atop the mountains of Norzagaray, Bulacan, makes it equally dangerous because its stockpiled waters will rampage its way towards low lying towns in a matter of minutes, according to the structural engineers.

They reminded K-Water, the new owner and operator of Angat dam, that even President Benigno Aquino III is deeply concerned on the structural integrity of the aging Angat dam and has long been supporting the calls of Bulacan officials, headed by Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, not only for the immediate rehabilitation and fortification of Angat dam but also the other big dams in the province like Angat Dam Afterbay Regulator dam, more popularly known as "Bustos Dam."

Alvarado has earlier said that "unless the rehabilitation and strengthening of the aging Angat dam commences, it will always be like the proverbial "sword of Damocles" hanging over the heads of the people of Bulacan.

Meanwhile, Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando expressed optimism that the rehabilitation of the Bustos Dam, a rubber-type irrigation dam, will also trigger socio-economic boom in the municipalities where the dam is situated.

Alvarado said that according to National Irrigation Administration (NIA) regional director Josephine Salazar, the bidding for the rehabilitation of Bustos dam has already been conducted last week.

He said that new rubber gates, complete with sprinkles to make it more heat-resistant, will replace the old, brittle and punctured with holes rubber gates.

The repair of the Bustos rubber dam will cost Php 1 billion, according to NIA.

Alvarado said that aside from the rehabilitation of the rubber irrigation dam, the site will also be developed into a major tourism destination complete with water sports facilities, zip line and souvenir shops. (PNA) 
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House panel approves renaming of NLEX to President Corazon C. Aquino Expressway (CAEX)

MANILA, May 10 (PNA) -- The House Committee on Public Works and Highways has approved a proposal to rename the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) to President Corazon C. Aquino Expressway (CAEX).

The committee chaired by Rep. Ronald M. Cosalan (Lone District, Benguet) approved House Bill No. 4820 authored by Rep. Magnolia Rosa C. Antonino ( 4th District, Nueva Ecija) who said the NLEX renaming will bestow distinct honor and perpetuate the memory of the late President Corazon Aquino, an icon of democracy.

“If favorably passed into law, it will constantly remind us of the noble deeds of the late President, especially for the poor, and inspire our people to emulate her example of selfless service to the nation while her exceptional courage and leadership gave hope and united the Filipino people at a critical time in the country’s history,” said Antonino.

Built in the 1960s, Antonino said the NLEX is an 84-kilometer highway maintained by the Manila North Tollways Corporation, a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation. It is one of the country’s main road arteries and has a daily traffic of over 16,000 cars.

The NLEX was formerly called the Manila North Diversion Road and Manila North Expressway (MNEX) and officially known as Radial Road 8. It is a two to eight limited-access toll expressway linking Metro Manila to the provinces of the Central Luzon Region.

The NLEX starts from Quezon City and passes through Caloocan City and Valenzuela City in Metro Manila, Meycauayan, Marilao, Bocaue, Balagtas, Guiguinto, Malolos, Plaridel and Pulilan in Bulacan, San Simon, San Fernando, Mexico and Angeles City in Pampanga. It ends in Mabalacat City in Pampanga and merges with the MacArthur Highway, continuing northward into the rest of Central and Northern Luzon.

The bill mandates the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to implement the provisions of the Act. (PNA)
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Notorious robbery gang leader slain in Bulacan operations

MANILA, May 7 (PNA) -- Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) operatives killed the leader of the notorious Natad robbery and holdup gang during operations in Sitio Dupias, Barangay Kalawakan, Dona Remedious Trinidad town, Bulacan Wednesday afternoon.

The slain suspect was identified as Rene Natad.

AKG operatives headed by Senior Insp. Alvin together with their local police counterparts were about to serve the arrest warrant for kidnapping-for-ransom with homicide at 3:30 p.m. when the suspect resisted, triggering a firefight which resulted in Natad's death.

The warrant was issued by Judge Paulino Gallegos of Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 47.

Recovered from the scene was a loaded .38 caliber revolver and several spent .38 caliber shells.

Natad was the leader of the Natad robbery and holdup gang and listed as one of the 10 Most Wanted Person of AKG 2015.

Police said he was also involved in the kidnapping and killing of a Korean national in Manila last March 3. (PNA) 
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Bidding for rehab of aging Bustos rubber dam begins - By Emil G. Gamos

BUSTOS, Bulacan, May 5 (PNA) -- The Angat Afterbay Regulator Dam, also known as Bustos dam, has been “diagnosed” to be very sick and needs immediate treatment and experts are coming in to cure it.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Tuesday announced that the national government has given the green light for the immediate repair of the already deteriorating Angat Afterbay Regulator Dam whose rubber gates were found out to have become brittle aside from punctured holes.

The governor made the announcement after meeting with newly installed National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Region 3 director Josephine Salazar at the provincial capitol Monday afternoon.

Alvarado thanked President Benigno Aquino III for giving priority concern on the condition of the aging dams in Bulacan.

Aside from Bustos dam, the governor said that the President is also fast tracking the immediate repair of the 47-year Angat dam located in the mountains of Norzagaray town.

The NIA regional director informed the governor that the bidding for the repair and improvement of the main canals, laterals and its appurtenant structures will commence on Tuesday morning at the NIA Regional Office 3 in Barangay Tambubong, San Rafael town.

Salazar said that the repair was pegged at PHP250 million which is part of the PHP1 billion of the total rehabilitation of Bustos dam.

Salazar, who was accompanied by Provincial Planning and Development Office chief Arlene Pascual and provincial agriculture officer Gloria Carillo, also presented to the governor the overall project objectives and the scope of the rehabilitation work for Bustos dam.

She said that the already brittle and punctured six rubber gates of the afterbay regulator dam will be totally replaced with new ones with additional features like sprinkles to make them heat resistant.

Alvarado said that the rubber gates of the Bustos dam is good for 30 years but due to global warming and climate change the rubber gates has already shown signs of deterioration and needs immediate replacement.

In 2012, he said that NIA hired the services of dam specialist from Bridgestone, a known international rubber and tire company, to examine the life expectancy of the rubber gates.

The Bridgetone experts noted that the rubber gates are approaching the end of its “useful life” and concluded that immediate replacement is necessary.

The governor said that the present condition of the dam is posing a “clear and present danger” to the downstream towns of Plaridel, Pulilan, Malolos, Calumpit and Hagonoy.

Alvarado said that when dam operators open one gate, it will release 500 cubic meters per second of water.

“But if they open two gates at the same time, the coastal towns of Calumpit and Hagonoy will be submerged under several feet of flood. Just imagine how deep the flooding will be if all six gates will collapse due to its deteriorating state come the typhoon season.”

“The people of Bulacan are once again thankful for the concern of President Aquino on the condition of Bustos dam,” Alvarado said.

Alvarado also said that the rehabilitation of Bustos dam will fortify the mammoth structure and will serve as flood control during the rainy season to prevent flashfloods at the downstream area of the Angat river.

The governor added that the repair of Bustos dam will also improve the irrigation water delivery and cropping intensity in support of the agricultural development program of the government.

“Hopefully, when the new and fully rehabilitated Bustos dam is finished it will have more water holding capacity and will also secure the delivery of irrigation water for our farmers,” Alvarado added.

Bustos dam, which is the longest rubber dam in Asia, supplies irrigation water to 31,485 hectares of farm lands in 20 towns in Bulacan and parts of Pampanga benefiting at least 20,562 farmers. (PNA) 
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Five suspected drug pushers in Bulacan nabbed

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, May 4 (PNA) -- The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Region--3 (PDEA-3) arrested Sunday five suspected drug pushers in a buy-bust operation in Barangay Pulong Buhangin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

Jeoffrey Tacio, regional director of PDEA-3, identified the suspects as Digno Ariel Gumising, 47; Romela Chavez, 38; Rodel Chavez, 35; Edgardo Casimiro, 50; and Marjun Gravador, 28; all residents of Pulong Buhangin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

Tacio said PDEA agents collared the suspects at about 3:30 p.m. after selling one piece knot-tied transparent plastic bag containing white crystalline substance suspected to be shabu to poseur buyer.

Seized from the suspects were 100 grams of shabu with an estimated street value of PHP350,000 and the buy-bust money.

The suspects are now detained in PDEA jail facility here.

Charges of possession of illegal drugs were filed against the suspects. (PNA) 
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Fresh graduates, other applicants troop to job fairs in Bulacan - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, May 1 (PNA) -- Jobs galore on the first of May.

Fresh graduates and job seekers in this province on Friday trooped to the yearly job fair held at the Event Center, SM City malls in Baliwag and Marilao.

The job fairs, which were spearheaded by the provincial government of Bulacan in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Regional Office 3, are being held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

At least 60 employers for local and overseas jobs participated in the said activities.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado has earlier reminded all interested applicants to go early to SM City for a chance to be matched with potential employers, be interviewed right away and hired-on-the-spot.

“I strongly urge the job seekers particularly the fresh graduates and new entrants to the labor force to take full advantage of what this job fair can offer,” the governor said.

He said that Bulacan is fast becoming a "magnet" for jobs, both domestic and in foreign countries.

A week ago, a delegation of Japanese executives made a courtesy call to the governor and announced that Japan was in need of at least one million nurses and caregivers.

Alvarado said that local nurses and caregivers are now being trained in preparation for work in Japan.

Aside from this, big companies that have put up investments in Bulacan are now giving employment to the locals.

"We are encouraging our young people to study hard because it will prepare them for the many job opportunities that come due to the growth and progress now being enjoyed in the province," the governor said.

The Public Employment Service Office (PESO) reminded the applicants about the needed documents or pre-employment requirements such as credentials, valid ID, passport, among others.

In addition, there are DOLE’s One-Stop-Shop Services for NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) and Police clearances, SSS (Social Security System), NSO (National Statistics Office), and Philhealth at SM City Marilao.

The DOLE also offered beauty and wellness services such as massage, manicure, pedicure, and haircut during the fairs.

The conduct of the annual Labor Day Job Fair is made possible with the help and support of the Provincial Youth Sports, Employment and Development Office (PYSEDO) and the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) of Baliwag and Marilao. (PNA) 
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Bulacan execs urges Comelec to put decent closure on “recall” - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 19 (PNA)--Local officials on Sunday called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to put a decent closure on the recall issue that has nearly tore the province apart due to massive forgeries, deceits and alleged utter disrespect to poll officials in the province who have already issued their rulings.

“It is time to move on, to move forward because the truth has already surfaced. Anything that will contradict the results of the recall proceedings will no longer hold water and will be detrimental to the unity of the people of Bulacan and to the booming growth and progress now being experienced in Bulacan,” Pandi Mayor Enrico Roque, president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) -Bulacan Chapter, said.

Roque said the recall proceedings has already opened a “hurt’s locker” and should now be closed permanently in order not to sow more confusion and divisiveness.

“It should be closed so that the Bulakenyos will unite again in pushing for the progress and development of the province and support the good programs of the provincial government which is continuously gaining recognition and bringing honor to the noble province of Bulacan and to the residents," Roque said.

Comelec regional director Temie Lambino said that the Comelec en banc will meet on Tuesday to tackle the appeal of the recall petitioner following the consolidated ruling of the election officers in Bulacan that 72.7 percent of the signatures in the petition against incumbent Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado were forged or falsified.

He also earlier said that the Commission will also investigate the distribution of USBs allegedly containing pre-encoded or prepared ruling to every election officers in the province’s 21 towns and three cities.

Aside from Mayor Roque, the City Vice Mayor’s League in Bulacan headed by Meycauayan City Vice Mayor Jojo Manzano said that the recall issue in the province has only prove one thing.

“They cannot put a good man down,” Manzano said, referring to the sterling leadership being shown by Governor Alvarado and his partner Vice Governor Daniel Fernando in spurring more growth and development in the province.

Manzano said that people should now unite and rally behind the good programs being implemented under administration of Governor Alvarado.

Bulakenyos appealed Friday to Comelec officials to “stop prolonging the agony and confusion of the province by putting a decent total closure to the already doomed and controversial recall initiative perpertrated by political rivals of the incumbent governor.

Magnolito Julian Cruz, a political science student in this capital city, said that the election officers of Bulacan have already spoken about the controversial poll proceedings and have already issued their consolidated ruling on the verification of signatures.

“This recall move is a despicable exercise that could be compared to a Pandora’s box that unleashed the dirty side of politics and waste of government money in an exercise that is tainted with lies, deceit, fraud and dirty poliyical tactics,” Cruz said.

Various organizations also commended the election officers for their integrity by coming up with honest rulings despite clear attempts by the petitioner to rig the outcome of the verification by providing them with USBs containing pre-encoded ruling. (PNA) 
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Bulacan may soon become a “garlic-producing” province - By Emil G. Gamos

SAN ILDEFONSO, Bulacan, April 19 (PNA) --It may not take long but the province of Bulacan may soon become one of the top garlic producing areas in the country.

This, after the Department of Agriculture(DA) has announced that they are pushing for the promotion of garlic production in Central Luzon and has allocated a P20 million budget for it.

Recently, a total of 47 farmers in this booming agricultural town now known as the vegetable basket of Bulacan, graduated from a four-month farmers field school on garlic production at the Pinaod Trading Post here.

Traditionally, garlic production is concentrated in Ilocos region and Batanes.

However, in the advent of modern technology, garlic is now grown in different provinces of the country like in Mindoro, Nueva Ecija, South Cotabato, Iloilo , Siquijor, Davao, Nueva Vizcaya and is now being tried in Bulacan.

Provincial agriculture officer Gloria Carillo said that the first ever training on garlic production in Bulacan was undertaken by the DA High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP), PGF Association Inc., Vieva Phils, Pangkat Kaunlaran and the local government unit of San Ildefonso.

Jenifer Remoquillo, HVCDP director, said that only 20 percent of the total garlic need of the country is being produced locally and the rest is imported.

On the other hand, Fernando Lorenzo, Central Luzon ’s HVCDP regional coordinator, has allocated garlic planting materials for the October 2015 planting season in Region III. (PNA) 
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Bulakenyos urged Comelec to put closure on “doomed” recall move - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 17 (PNA) -- Bulakenyos on Friday appealed to the officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to “stop prolonging the agony and confusion of the people" in this province by putting a total closure to the already doomed and controversial recall initiative perpetrated by political rivals of incumbent Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado.

Magnolito Julian Cruz, a political science student in this capital city, said that the election officers of Bulacan has already spoken about the controversial poll proceedings and have already issued their consolidated ruling on the verification of signatures which shows that 73 percent were forged while 27 are still being contested by lawyers of the governor.

“This recall move is a despicable exercise that could be compared to a Pandora’s box that unleashed the dirty side of politics and waste of government money in an exercise that is tainted with lies, deceit, fraud and dirty political tactics,” Cruz said.

Various organizations also commended the election officers for their integrity by coming up with honest rulings despite clear attempts by the petitioner to rig the outcome of the verification by providing them with USBs containing pre-encoded ruling.

"Their dedication to their duty has put an end to the deceit that has threatened to put the province into a maelstorm of divisiveness," the group said.

Meanwhile, Governor Alvarado said that now that the truth has came up about this recall issue, it is about time to heal wounds and move forward.

He said that while many have been hurt, offended and felt aggrieved by the falsification of signatures, he said there are still many important works to be done because Bulacan is now fast growing as the frontier of growth and development with many vital projects that are now nearing completion.

“There are groups who are seeking justice on what happened and are entitled to their rights. These groups are now filing charges against the proponents for maligning their names and signatures. But, at the same time, we must focus on the growth and development now transforming the province as the next mecca of big international and domestic investments.I know that our poll officials will continue to be the vanguard of our rights to suffrage and will do everything to maintain the integrity of the commission,” he said.

Meanwhile, supporters of the governor said that “now that the recall issue is doomed, the people of Bulacan are crying for justice and want the national government to hold liable the people behind it not only for bastardizing the sanctity of signatures, desecrating the memory of the dead but also for wasting government time and money for an exercise that was tainted with fraud, deceit, wanton violation of rights and dirty politics."

What made thousands of Bulakenyos more furious is the surfacing of one of the politicians behind the recall move, who in an earlier television interview, vehemently denied that he was behind it despite the fact the people already knew that he was the one financing because the petitioner is a close relative.

They claimed that the said politician even has the gall to say that the incumbent governor has “manipulated” the outcome of the verification of the signatures in the recall petition.

But Lawyer Pete Principe, counsel of Governor Alvarado, said that the proponents of the recall are the ones who tried to move heaven and earth even to the point of trying to rig the outcome of the verification phase by distributing pre-encoded ruling to the election officers.

“For the record, the petitioner, through her lawyer, was the one who filed an ex-parte motion to terminate the verification proceedings which the acting Comelec chairman granted on March 30, the same day that their lawyers also distributed USBs containing pre-encoded or prepared rulings to the election officers,” he said.

Principe explained that the distribution of the “pre-encoded rulings” in USB were part of the grand design of recall-petitioners to railroad the proceedings when they moved for the termination of the verification process a day earlier than the mandated schedule.

On March 30, the petitioner’s lawyer filed a controversial ‘ex-parte motion’ asking the en banc to set a hearing the following day, March 31, for the termination of the verification process that was on-going from March 23 to April 1.

Principe said that in spite of the fact that there was no notice on the supposed hearing was sent to them nor to the governor, the en banc issued an ‘order’, dated March 31, and signed alone by Comelec acting chairman Christian Lim granting the termination of the verification proceedings a day earlier than the last day on April 1.

“All of these confluence of events and machinations perpetrated by the proponents of the recall initiative are obviously meant to disregard the rules and laws on recall elections pursuant to Comelec Resolution 7505. Obviously, they are in panic because they know that the recall elections they are dreaming about is now doomed,” said Principe, a former president of IBP-Bulacan chapter said.

But their dirty tactics backfired on them because the EOs knew that they will be placed in legal trouble if they let the plan pushed through and instead issued their own honest ruling.

Lawyer Temie Lambino, Comelec regional director, has released the consolidated rulings of election officers in Bulacan showing that 73 percent of the signatures in the petition were forged while 27 percent were valid but are still under protest due to their dubious origin.

Aside from this, Lambino also confirmed that election officers in the province’s 21 towns and three cities have indeed received USBs allegedly containing pre-encoded or prepared ruling from the lawyers of recall petitioner Perlita Mendoza .

Lambino said the Comelec en banc will investigate the matter.

He said that based on the consolidated rulings, the low number of valid signatures-- which is also under protest—was 115,000 short of the required 10 percent threshold in order to comply with the provision of Comelec Resoltion 7505.

Lawyer Julio Nicanor C. Guinto, Malolos City election officer, confirmed that even the names of deceased or dead persons were discovered and mysteriously signed.

Lambino also confirmed that election officers were given USBs allegedly containing pre-encoded rulings but most of them did not use it, saying mere acceptance of it could bring them legal problems because it is highly illegal and unethical.

Bulakenyos whose signatures were forged and their names used without their knowledge have filed criminal charges against the petitioner.

Principe said that this incident warrants a thorough investigation because it does not only set a bad precedent but millions of pesos of government money were wasted in an exercise tainted with fraud, irregularities and mockery of existing laws. (PNA) 
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Bulacan Recall: “Doomed!” -- Alvarado camp 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 9 (PNA)--The controversial recall petition being feverishly pursued by political foes of incumbent Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado is “doomed.”

In a press conference at the provincial Comelec office here, Central Luzon poll director Lawyer Temie Lambino confirmed that based on the rulings of election officers in the province’s 21 towns and 3 cities, it shows that 73 percent of signatures and thumb marks were forged while 27 were valid but are being contested by lawyers of the governor for their alleged dubious origin.

Lambino, however, made it clear that rulings are still appealable to the Comelec en banc.

Both parties will be given ample time to appeal but it appears that the outcome favors that of the respondent (Alvarado) than the petitioner (former provincial administrator Perlita Mendoza)

He said that most of the objections of the Alvarado’s lawyers on the veracity of the signatures were sustained.

In Malolos City, election officer Julio Nicanor C. Guinto confirmed that even the names of deceased or dead persons were discovered and mysteriously signed.

Lambino also confirmed that election officers were given USBs allegedly containing pre-encoded rulings but most of them did not use it, saying mere acceptance of could bring them legal problems because it is highly illegal and unethical.

Lambino said that they are just waiting for the go signal of the Comelec En Banc to start an investigation on the distribution of the USBs which the election officers confirmed were distributed by the lawyers of Mendoza on March 30, a day before acting Comelec Chairman Christian Robert Lim approved an ex-parte motion filed by the petitioner terminating the verification process.

On March 30, Mendoza’s lawyer Atty. Ma Bernadete Serdillo filed a controversial ‘ex-parte motion’ asking the En Banc to set a hearing the following day, March 31, for the termination of the verification process that was on-going from March 23 to April 1.

Lawyer Pete Principe, legal counsel of the governor, said that in spite of the fact that there was no notice on the supposed hearing was sent to them nor to the governor, the En banc issued an ‘Order’, dated March 31, and signed alone by acting Chairman Lim granting the termination of the verification proceedings a day than the last day on April 1.

“All of these confluence of events and machinations perpetrated by the proponents of the recall initiative are obviously meant to disregard the rules and laws on recall elections pursuant Comelec Resolution 7505. Obviously, they are in panic because they know that the recall elections they are dreaming about is now doomed,” said Principe, a former president of IBP-Bulacan chapter, said.

“Petitioner Mendoza and her lawyers are cramming and wants to finish the verification proceedings before the Holy Week break so they can expedite and give Comelec a justification to promptly get the rulings from the 24 election officers and prod the En Banc to immediately set the calendar dates for the recall elections,” Principe said.

With the favorable ruling for the governor, Alvarado’s supporters said that this is a vindication from the massive poisoning” of minds which they claimed is part of a black operations against their hardworking and God-driven leader.

The governor said that this only shows that some politicians will go all out, even bastardizing the names and signatures of the people of Bulacan just to pursue their nefarious ambition.

The governor said that this will not go unpunished and appropriate charges will be filed against the proponents.

“We want everybody to know that the province is governed by law and not by men. Our great province is known as the “cradle of democracy in Asia and Africa” but their move is clearly undemocratic and has also put the electoral process in dire straight,” he said. (PNA) 
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Comelec urged to act on massive 'fraud' hounding Bulacan recall

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 7 (PNA) -- Angry and displeased residents whose signatures were forged in the recall petition against incumbent Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado strongly urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to immediately act on what they said were massive fraud, deceit and violations of laws that have marred the recall proceedings in the province which they claimed was threatening to cast doubts on the conduct of a clean and honest elections in the future.

“The forged signatures, the attempted plot to substitute an honest ruling with pre-encoded rulings and numerous violations of rights to due process are indeed alarming and threatens the very fabric of the integrity of electoral exercise in the Philippines,” a resident from the coastal town of Hagonoy said.

The town's election officer confirmed that out of the 840 signatures that they verified, 809 were forged while 31 were considered valid but were questioned and placed under protest due to their dubious origin.

The forged entries set a trending because they were also discovered in many towns and cities of the provinces even before the verification proceeding was terminated in the afternoon of March 31 by Comelec acting Chairman Christian Robert Lim, according to the restive Bulakenyos.

This developed as lawyers of Alvarado on Tuesday filed an urgent motion requesting the Comelec to issue an en banc resolution for a formal investigation on the alleged distribution of “pre encoded ruling” to every election officers (EOs) in the province’s 21 towns and three cities a day before the prescribed period for the verification of signatures in the recall petition expired.

Earlier, Alvarado’s lawyers also filed an urgent motion requesting the en banc committee to investigate the controversial order issued by the acting Comelec chairman last March 31 granting the ex-parte motion filed by petitioner Perlita Mendoza to terminate the verification of signatures by the election officers at 5:00 p.m. of March 31.

The governor’s lawyers said that they already wrote Comelec regional director Temie P. Lambino, the acting provincial election supervisor of Bulacan, to probe the distribution of USBs containing pre-encoded rulings to the election officers officiating the verification process.

The pre-encoded rulings contained names and prepared rulings for every petitioner’s signature/thumb mark that was objected by the governor’s lawyers and representatives in the verification stage of the recall proceedings.

According to the governor’s legal counsels, Lambino gave his assurance that his office will conduct an investigation on the distribution of the pre-encoded rulings to the Bulacan EOs “upon a formal directive from the Comelec en banc.

The lawyers believe that the en banc committee will not tolerate the alleged nefarious act because it destroys the very essence and foundation of democracy.

Alvarado’s camp also told Comelec commissioners that “a lot of information on the existence of the USBs containing pre-encoded rulings were gathered by members of the media who interviewed election officers that attended a meeting at the Provincial Comelec Office.

The members of the media were informed by the election officers that they received the USBs containing the alleged prepared-rulings from Lawayer Maria Bernadette Sardillo and other lawyers of the petitioner.

It was also learned that some election officers refused to accept the USBs because they considered that the mere acceptance of it was already illegal and unethical.

Some EOs who got hold of the USBs also opted not to use them knowing the legal consequences that they might face if they use it to circumvent the result of the verification of signatures.

Alvarado’s lawyers also said the existence and distribution of the USBs will prove the alleged purpose behind the hasty filing of the motion to terminate the verification stage on March 31, 2015 that was granted by the acting Comelec Chairman, Commissioner Christian Robert Lim.

“It was the grand design of the petitioner through lawyer Maria Bernadette Sardillo to end the verification short of one day and bring into play the USBs containing the pre-encoded rulings of every city and municipality on April 1,2015 or within 24 hour submission of EOs’ rulings. Unfortunately for the petitioner, this brazen plot was uncovered before it was completely executed,” the governor’s lawyer said.

Alvarado’s lawyers believe that the mere existence of the USBs and the information from the Bulacan EOs that they received the USBs will clearly present a case worthy of a formal investigation. (PNA) 
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Bulacan town residents urge Comelec to trash forged recall proceedings - By Emil G. Gamos

HAGONOY, Bulacan, April 5 (PNA) -- Residents of this province, particularly in this coastal town, on Sunday urged officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to act and trash the recall proceedings which they claim has now become a dreaded electoral disease that threatens future poll exercises due to massive deceit and glaring violation of election rules.

The residents went up in arms after the election officer of this town finished the verification of signatures in the recall petition lodged against Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado by the petitioner former provincial administrator Perlita Mendoza.

Lawyer Pete Principe, counsel of the governor, said that the ruling of election officer Gilbert Palagan showed that out of the total 840 signatures verified, it turned out that 809 were forged while 31 were declared valid but are still subject to contention.

Principe said they will question the 31 signatures because residents claimed they were duped into signing a piece of paper that proponents told them were for livelihood programs.

Aside from this, many signatures were discovered to be faked from deceased registered voters.

“There is now this alarming trend that most of the signatures were forged and the names were used without the knowledge of the people ,’ Principe said.

He said that this discovery gave more credence to the admission of an alleged “master forger” known only as “Mr. RC” who came out in the open and admitted that he and seven others were hired by a lady lawyer and paid by a congressman to forge signatures.

The said “Mr. RC” also admitted to local mediamen that they have forged more than 300,000 signatures in a span of three weeks.

Principe said that the recall incident in Bulacan is now turning out to be “clear and present danger” to the electoral exercise in the country posing doubts and integrity of the poll body in conducting honest elections in the future.

"The Bulakenyos are asking why the Comelec allowed and let the recall proceedings go on despite the blatant forgery of signatures of the people in the petition," Principe said.

He also made it clear that the governor is not against the recall process but he is fighting for his right and the rights of Bulakenyos to due process. (PNA) 
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Five faith healers “crucified” in Bulacan - By Emil G. Gamos

PAOMBONG, Bulacan, April 3 (PNA)—At least five faith healers were nailed to a wooden cross at a man-made Golgotha in Barangay Kapitangan here at high noon on Good Friday.

After hanging while nailed to a wooden cross for two minutes, faith healer Jon-Jon Tanael fainted when native actors playing the roles of Roman Centurions pulled out the nails from his hands and feet during the bloody Lenten rituals.

Tanael, who was “crucified” for the 7th consecutive years, was first dragged and whip by native centurions before he was raised to a wooden cross where stainless steel nails were drove to his spread eagled hands and feet before thousands of spectators, composed of local and foreign tourists who flocked and braved the heat of the noon day sun to witness the bloody Holy Week tradition here.

The faith healer was the second to be “crucified” at the man-made Golgotha erected at a rice field here where scores of faith healers and bareback flagellants fulfilled their Holy Week vows.

First to be nailed was Roger Macos of Paombong, then Tanael who was followed by a faith healer known only as “Erick’, then by female faith healer Precy Valencia, then by Michael Katigbak.

Veteran native “centurion’ Edong Caparas, 79, who has nailed scores of penitents for more than 30 years before he retired four years ago, said that most of the penitents who were nailed to the cross every Good Friday claimed they saw visions and heard “divine voices” telling them to fulfill their vows.

Caparas said that the man-made Golgotha in Barangay Kapitangan here has become some sort of a “graduate school” for faith healers.

"Most of those who were nailed here became good faith healers and been able to build chapels where they are doing the healing activities," Caparas said.

He said that among the “fulfilled faith healers” include Amparo Santos, popularly known as “Mother Paring” of Guiguinto, Bulacan.

He said Santos has fulfilled her lenten vow by getting herself nailed to the cross every Good Friday for 15 consecutive years.

She conducts spiritual healing sessions at the St. Joseph Chapel in Barangay Tabe, Guiguinto.

Caparas also mentioned the name of Buboy Dionisio, who also did the bloody ritual of getting nailed to the cross on Good Friday for 16 consecutive years.

Another faith healer whom Caparas remembers only as “Lucy” also fulfilled her Lenten vow by getting crucified for 15 straight years.

Thousands of local and foreign tourists, as well as devotees flocked to the Sto. Cristo chapel here as early as Wednesday where they prayed and queued for the blessed oil that was used to bathe the image of the crucified Christ, the patron saint in Barangay Kapitangan here.

Multitude of people also visit the Grotto Shrine in San Jose del Monte City, the Divine Mercy Shrine in Marilao, the Banal na Bundok in San Miguel and the age-old Lenten traditions like the Pabasa and Senakulo in many parts of Bulacan.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that public assistance centers were established in key areas to assist motorists and the crowds of people visiting the province. (PNA) 
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DPWH partially opens new Calumpit bridge

CALUMPIT, Bulacan, April 1 (PNA)-- The “calvary” of thousands of residents and motorists crossing the river here that links Bulacan to Pampanga and other northern provinces via the Macarthur Highway is partially over.

After two years of long delay, the new Calumpit Bridge along MacArthur Highway in Barangay Gatbuca here was partially opened to traffic on Wednesday morning for light vehicles only.

Engineer Ruel Angeles of the 1st Engineering District of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said the bridge was temporarily opened for light vehicles to ease the flow of traffic this Holy Week.

He said the partial opening of the bridge will be a great “sigh of relief” for motorists due to the exodus of people going to the northern provinces this Holy Week and summer vacation.

He said that although the bridge is not yet 100 percent complete, light vehicles can now pass.

Angeles said the new bridge still needs at least three weeks curing period and will formally be inaugurated before the end of April.

The new Calumpit bridge was scheduled to be completed last April 2014 but construction hitches delayed it, drawing frustrations and inconvenience to residents, students and motorists who have to bear the burden of crossing a makeshift bridge and having to go around the North Luzon Expressway just to reach the other side of the river.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy Alvarado and Calumpit Mayor Jessie de Jesus has time and again called the attention of the national government in the snail-paced work being done at the bridge prompting DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson to instruct the regional DPWH office and its contractor to expedite its completion.

It can be remembered that the DPWH awarded the contract to Wing Ann Construction and Development Corporation after making a nosedive bid of PHP166 million on the proposed PHP210 milion budget for the new bridge.

The construction of the new bridge began in 2013 after Alvarado appealed that the old bridge is no longer safe and could collapse like the Colgante bridge in Apalit, Pampanga.

The bridge links Bulacan to Pampanga and other northern provinces in Central and Northern Luzon. (PNA) 
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'Mother Paring' continues to heal the sick on Holy Week - By Emil G. Gamos

GUIGUINTO, Bulacan, March 31 (PNA) -- Old age has not diminished the strong faith in God of a septuagenarian faith healer here who continues to deliver “messages from Heaven”, 14 years after she stopped getting nailed to a wooden cross which she did for 15 consecutive years since 1986.

Amparo Santos, popularly known as “Mother Paring”, said that even if she has already stopped the bloody Holy Week ritual of re-enacting the Crucifixion of Christ, she still receives messages from Heaven which she shares to the people especially to the sick who comes to her for spiritual healing.

Now 74 years old, Mother Paring is still fulfilling her vows by erecting iron crosses in as many towns as she can so she can let people know that God loves them and is always with them.

“God is always sending me messages especially during those times when I was nailed to the cross every Good Friday. The Lord always tells me to spread the Word and make people repent,” she said during an interview at the St. Joseph Chapel in Barangay Tabe here where scores of people continue to flock for spiritual healing.

She said that she still remembers the first time she encountered God and received her “mission” in life.

Mother Paring said that it was in the summer of 1986, a few months after the bloodless EDSA people power revolt that toppled the Marcos dictatorship, when she went in trance while lying in her bed.

“It was as if I was zapped to a different world. I saw a place where everything is purely immaculate and beautiful and I know that it was Heaven. Then I was brought to a place full of thorns and emptiness which I think is the place called purgatory and a place that was very hot and there were many sad voices crying and screaming which I know was the place called hell,” Mother Paring said.

It was during that time when she was in trance, that she heard the voice of God telling her to get herself crucified every Good Friday and deliver His message while hanging nailed to the cross.

For 15 years, she fulfilled her Holy Week vows, carrying a wooden cross in the sun-baked roads of a farming village leading to the man-made Golgotha in Barangay Kapitangan, Paombong where she was nailed for at least 12 times at high noon every Good Friday.

The remaining three years of her Lenten vow was fulfilled in the hot open fields of Barrio Cutud in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga.

She stopped her “crucifixion” vow in 2000, mainly due to the prodding and wishes of her children, three sons and a daughter.

“She was already old for that and we want her to enjoy her grandchildren,” her only daughter Maricel Santos-Cruz, concurrent provincial information officer of the provincial government of Bulacan, said.

Santos-Cruz said that her mother continues to deliver the messages of the Lord by erecting steel crosses and displaying hundreds of images of Christ the King in many places not only in Bulacan but in other parts of the country as well.

“If she’s not busy fulfilling her vows, she still does faith healing. The St. Joseph Chapel is being swarmed by an average of 30 people a day,” Santos-Cruz added.

This Good Friday, the multitudes flocking to Barangay Kapitangan may no longer witness Mother Paring getting nailed but the faithfuls who once become a part of her devotion will always remember the strong faith that still drives an old woman in fulfilling her vows and spreading the words of God. (PNA) 
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Bulacan bags 'Hall of Fame' title in the Gawad Kalasag awards

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 26 (PNA) -- Bulacan was adjudged on Thursday by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) as the recipient of prestigious Hall of Fame award for being the best PDRRMC for three consecutive years and as the best Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) in the National Gawad Kalasag Search for Excellence in Disaster Risk Management and Humanitarian Assistance Award 2014

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and PDRRM officer Liz Mungcal accepted the plaque of recognition and cash award from the NDRRMC National Selection Council during the “Gawad Kalasag “ awarding ceremony at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Commissioned Officers’ Club in Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City, on Thursday morning.

Alvarado said that it was a great honor for the province to be once again recognized as outstanding DRRMC that continues to give exemplary performance in the implementation of disaster risk reduction management plans and quick response in times of calamities and disasters.

The governor, who is also the PDRRMC chairman, commended Mungcal and her staff at PDRRMO as well as the Bulacan Rescue teams and volunteers that have shown extraordinary courage, heroism, self-sacrifice, and bravery in times of natural and human-made emergencies and disasters.

"Our noble province of Bulacan is blessed because of the dedication of the people who are ready to face dangers only to ensure the safety of the residents in times of calamities and incidents," Alvarado said. ,p>According to the NDRRMC National Selection Committee, Bulacan was chosen as the recipient of the prestigious award because of the province’s systematic incorporation of risk reduction approaches into the implementation of emergency preparedness, response and recovery programs, particularly on its Disaster Risk and Vulnerability Assessment and Operation “Listo” that continues to ensure the safety and resiliency of communities in facing hazardous situations.

Aside from the Bulacan PDRRMC, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Fire and Rescue Team was also the recipient of this year’s Gawad Kalasag for being the best Government Management for Urban Search and Rescue (SAR) category while the Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (DART) Inc., was hailed as third place winner for the Gawad Kalasag for the GEMs Basic SAR category.

The Gawad KALASAG, which stands for KAlamidad at Sakuna LAbanan, SAriling Galing ang Kaligtasan, is an annual search for excellence in disaster risk management and humanitarian assistance given to individuals, non-government organizations, private sector and government organizations, in recognition of their initiative in helping the government in uplifting the standard of disaster management in the country. (PNA) 
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Tarlac Provincial Intelligence Branch ranks No .1 in PNP's UPER 4th Quarter CY 2014

CAMP MACABULOS, Tarlac City, March 25 (PNA) -- The Provincial Intelligence Branch of the Tarlac Provincial Police Office (TPPO) ranked no. 1 in the Unit Performance Evaluation Rating (UPER) during the last quarter of 2014, based on the result released by the Regional Intelligence Division.

Senior Supt. Alex B. Sintin, provincial director of Tarlac PNP, cited the good performance of the PIB Tarlac by awarding them plaque of commendation in a simple rite held Tuesday here as witnessed by various groups such as the Tarlac Citizen Eyewatch, an anti-crime organization based in this province.

The UPER have segregated their evaluation rating into five categories namely, intel-admin (11 points); intel-reseach (38 points); counter-intel (49 points), intel-operation (45 points) and foreign liaison (6 points) for a a total of 155 points.

Bulacan came in second ranking, followed by Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Olongapo City, Angeles City, Zambales, Aurora, and Bataan.

Meanwhile, the Tarlac PIB was also the champion in the recently-concluded basketball tournament.

"For the first time, we are the champion in the basketball tournament, Supt. Miguel Guzman, chief of the Tarlac PIB, said.

After the awarding ceremony, Guzman invited Sintin for a simple ribbon cutting ceremony of their newly renovated office. (PNA) 
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Election officers in Bulacan feel like soldiers sent to war without weapons, bullets

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 23 (PNA) --The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is now receiving heavy bombardment not only from thousands of dismayed Bulakenyos whose signatures were forged in the recall petition against incumbent Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado but also from their own election officers who claimed they found themselves into a deep mess after being ordered to proceed to the verification phase of the proceedings.

In an unexpected twist, at least 19 elections officers from the province’s 21 towns and three cities on Monday signed a sentiment letter to the Comelec En Banc to air their predicament on the controversial recall proceedings which they claimed has caused them to be physically , mentally and emotionally drained while doing their duties and responsibilities in an exercise that even them do not know where it is heading.

The election officers has been facing dilemma since the Office of the Deputy Executive Director for Operations ordered them to proceed with the verification process last Wednesday even if there was already an existing temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by Bulacan Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 83 Judge Gregorio P. Agloro ordering them to refrain from further conducting the recall proceedings.

The said election officers, together with their verifiers and the acting Provincial Election Supervisor, were given five days by Judge Agloro to explain why they should not be held for indirect contempt of court for disobeying a lawful court order.

The 19 election officers led by Malolos City election officer lawyer Julio Nicanor C. Guinto wrote the Comelec commissioners that “we are caught not only in the middle of the legal tussle between two warring political camps but also in the crossfire as we face several lawsuits that are criminal in nature, threats of facing several more charges from both camps as well as verbal and other kinds of harassment.”

Guinto and his colleagues also stated that “when we started this verification exercise, we felt like soldiers being sent into combat without arms and bullets.”

“Imagine being asked to look for accommodation of our augmentation verifiers and checkers without any guidelines and budget. Imagine being asked to proceed with the verification process without being supplied the forms prescribed by Comelec Resolution No. 7505. Imagine being asked to proceed with the verification process without being properly trained. Imagine being dragged into court and face charges of indirect contempt while our generals still command us to attack without making moves to neutralize the heavy bombardment pounding the foot soldiers.,” Guinto said as he read the sentiment letter to the media at the Office of the Provincial election Supervisor here on Monday morning.

The election officers also disclosed that while they will dutifully do their duties, they feel that in the present situation that they are in, they are being unnecessarily exposed to risk and charges, not to mention subtle threats to their lives and liberty, while they do they mandated task --which to their minds and as shown by a precedent—might later on be rendered useless if the Commission would decide to discontinue the recall process as was done in Resolution No. 9374 dated March 7, 2012, when the Comelec resolved to discontinue actions on all petitions for recall.

Guinto and his fellow election officers also informed the Comelec En Banc that there are only 48 days left from March 23, 2015 to May 8, 2015 which latter date is the last date when the recall election can be held under the law.

"The verification process has still to be concluded. Is there enough time to prepare for the recall election? Is there enough time for the printing of the election ballots including the prior bidding process thereof? Is there enough time to organize and train the Board of Election Inspectors,?” Guinto said.

Central Luzon regional election supervisor lawyer Temie Lambino, said he respects the sentiments of the Bulacan election oficers but reiterated that his order was to continue with the recall proceedings.

Lambino also explained that all complaints from aggrieved parties will be noted and acted upon.

He also stressed that all the 380,000 signatures will be verified.

“It’s a tedious process but we were ordered to do our jobs,” he said.

This developed as pockets of uprisings by people who claimed their names were used without their permission and their signatures forged in the recall petition were noted in several areas in Bulacan.

Lawyer Pete Principe, legal counsel of Governor Alvarado, said the people felt aggrieved because they cannot stomach why the Comelec are still pursuing the recall proceedings even if it is already very clear that the names of the petitioners were massively forged and falsified.

The angry crowd, most of them carrying placards, said that the integrity of the election body is being compromised by the vested interests of dirty politicians who will use the color of money just to sow discord and divisiveness in their province.

"This is alarming. The blatant act forgery by the petitioners is being forced to continue by the Comelec. The Comelec should be the one protecting the rights of every Filipino voter, " a registered voter from Malolos City whose name and that of his mother were found to have been forged, said. (PNA) 
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Massive forging of signatures uncovered in verification phase of Bulacan recall

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 20 (PNA)--As election officers in some towns and cities of this province face possible contempt of court for defying the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by a Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge here, massive cases of forgery and falsification of signatures in the petition for recall against the incumbent governor were uncovered since Wednesday, the day the Commision on Elections (Comelec) gave the go signal for the verification phase of the recall to start vis-a-vis the presence of the TRO.

This developed as Comelec regional director Lawyer Temie Lambino said that the election officers who proceeded with the verification are now facing indirect contempt charges and are scheduled to appear at the sala of Bulacan RTC Branch 83 Judge Gregorio P. Agloro and explain why they should not be held in contempt for defying the TRO restraining the Provincial Election Supervisor (PES) and election officers from further conducting proceedings on the recall process.

Lambino took the position of erstwhile acting PES Lawyer Jerbee Anthony Cortez Thursday and told local newsmen that “no one would like to take this post (PES) that’s why I was made to take over on a concurrent basis.”

As the verification of signatures started on Wednesday, even Comelec verifiers noted cases of massive forgeries which give credence to earlier complaints of residents that their names were arbitrarily used without their knowledge and permission and worse their signatures were also forged in what they claim is a “grand scheme” of its proponents in a bid to deciet Comelec officials and the people of Bulacan.

A verifier who hails from Nueva Ecija even sent text messages to members of the Bulacan Press Club reporting that, “Even the verification proceeding will push through, the recall will not be conducted due to many forged signatures."

The same verifier also said that other verifiers in other towns and cities also discovered massive forging of signatures.

On Wednesday, election officers in several towns proceeded with the verification of signatures despite a court order issued Tuesday by Judge Agloro making it clear that “the TRO covers acts, participation, directly or indirectly, as well as the direction and orders, verbally or in writing, emanating from the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor.

The court order further stated that “it is the considered opinion of the court that the actions of the election officers of different cities and municipalities of Bulacan which are intended in furthernance of the recall proceedings of herein plaintiff, under the direction of the PES are covered by the TRO issued by this court.”

Judge Agloro also clarified that “it is the considered opinion of the court the cause of action of the plaintiff (Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado) is the violation of his right to due process considering that the plaintiff is not questioning in this particular case the exercise of the COMELEC in enforcing and administering election laws and regulations.

He also said that the plaintiff is only seeking the intervention of the court to restrain the PES from proceeding with the verification stage of the signatures of the petitioners in a petition for recall because allegedly there was violation in the enforcement and administration of the procedural aspect in the petition for recall which is tantamount to a violation of his right to due process.

Before the PES and election officers defied the court TRO and proceeded with the verification phase, hundreds of thousands of registered voters have already complained that they were not aware that their names have been used in the recall petition.

At least 20 cases of forgery, fallsification of public documents and perjury have already been filed at the Bulacan Provincial Prosecutors Office in connection with the massive forging of signatures in the petition for recall initiated by a former provincial administrator.

Most of the complainants want the petitioner to be jailed for using their names without their permission and falsification of their signatures.

The widespread incidents of forgery has also prompted a man who earlier claimed to be the “master forger’ and one of the seven forgers hired by a lady lawyer and paid by a congressman to falsify signatures that were mostly culled from voter’s lists and through fraudelent and decietful methods. to go into hiding for fear of his life.

He told some members of the local media that he has been recieving death threats since he divulged the task they were paid to do.

The said “master forger” have earlier admitted to authorities that they even forged signatures of the deceased and those who are in abroad. (PNA) 
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Thousands of Bulakenyos set to file class suit vs petitioner of recall move

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 11 (PNA) -— A new twist cropped up on the court-stopped recall process in this province as thousands of Bulakenyos, whose names were used without their knowledge and their signatures forged in the recall petition against incumbent Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, are set to file criminal charges against its proponents led by a former provincial administrator at the capitol.

This developed as the Bulacan police confirmed that thousands of registered voters whose signatures were forged have already been blottered and complained that their names were used and that their signatures were falsified with many claiming that they do not even know that there was a recall move against the top provincial executive.

“My mother and I were surprised when we saw our signatures in the recall move against the governor. In the first place, we do not know anything about this recall and we are not losing trust with the effective and efficient supervision and management of our industrious governor," Ron Gatchalian of Malolos City said.

Thousands of registered voters aired similar grievances with many claiming that even their dead relatives were also included in the purported lists of people allegedly supporting the recall move initiated and filed by the said former provincial administrator.

Police and village officials also said that the mystery of the forged voters’ signature in the petition for recall emerged following the numerous complaints from residents.

The claims of the registered voters whose signatures were falsified was bolstered after a man, who claimed to have principal participation in the massive and systematic forgeries, surfaced and admitted to authorities that he was paid to “doctor” the signatures of thousands of Bulakenyos.

The man, who was only identified as certain “Mr. R” , also revealed that he was among the seven forgers hired to forge the signatures culled from the voters lists from selected villages in the province’s 21 towns and 3 cities.

The self-claimed “master forger” also sought protection and his admission is expected to include also the disclosure of his other cohorts.

Sources also revealed that most of those who signed were duped into believing that if they signed their names they will be given goodies and other benefits from the government.

They also averred that “complainants can easily translate into thousands, and will even be hundreds of thousands-except for all those who were already dead who obviously can no longer come-out and file a complaint that they too were also included as among the signatories in the recall petition.

The issue on the massive forgeries spreads like wildfire and is now the talk of the town and in the cities—be it in the market place, barber shops, village fiestas, during wakes of the dead, and other gatherings.

Political observers also pointed out that “such developments also lead to the question of who stand to benefit from the clear deception now made apparent and indeed considerable.”

They also said that the petitioner in the said recall proceeding has a lot of explaining to do and will certainly be in trouble, not only because of the obvious thousands of signatures forged where victims who are indeed duped, aggrieved, deceived and even insulted registered voters in Bulacan are complaining but also by a presumption in the law that states—“he who benefits from the falsification is deemed the falsifier.”

Last Friday, Bulacan RTC Branch 83 Judge Guillermo P. Agloro issued a temporary restraining order enjoining Provincial Election Supervisor lawyer Jerbee Anthony Cortez from conducting further proceedings in connection with the recall.

The hearing of the case proceeded Friday morning on the “prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO)” where the governor was represented by legal counsels --lawyers Wendel Dimaculangan and Yasser Lumbos.

In his order, Judge Agloro stated that “it appears that the prayer for the issuance of a TRO is anchored on the alleged violation of the plaintiff’s (Gov. Alvarado) right to due process in accordance with the rules.”

The plaintiff’s counsel sought the TRO also on the ground that the provisions of the rules regarding the publication and posting of the said rule was violated.

The court also set the hearing for the application of “writ of preliminary injunction” on March 12, 2015 at 10 a.m. (PNA) 
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Bulacan RTC judge temporarily stops recall proceedings vs. Gov. Alvarado - By:Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 7 (PNA)--A Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge has temporarily stopped the office of the Provincial Election Supervisor (PES) from conducting further proceedings on the recall petition filed against incumbent Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado to protect the latter’s right to due process of the law.

Bulacan RTC Branch 83 Judge Guillermo P. Agloro issued Friday a temporary restraining order enjoining provincial election supervisor Lawyer Jerbee Anthony Cortez from conducting further proceedings in connection with the recall proceedings against -Alvarado, the plaintiff in civil case No. 100-M-2015.

The hearing of the case proceeded Friday morning on the “prayer for the issuance of a TRO” where the incumbent governor was represented by legal counsels-- lawyers Wendel Dimaculangan and Yasser Lumbos.

Judge Agloro, in his order, said that “it appears that the prayer for the issuance of a TRO is anchored on the alleged violation of the plaintiff’s (Gov. Alvarado) right to due process in accordance with the rules.”

Alvarado’s counsel Dimaculangan said that the plaintiff was asking the court for the issuance of a TRO to enjoin the defendant (provincial election supervisor Cortez) from conducting the setting for the verification of the signatures and thumbmarks of the supporting petitioners for the recall petition filed against the governor on the ground that the provisions of the rules regarding the publication and posting of the said rule was violated.

Dimaculangan also said that the office of the defendant failed to comply with the publication and posting as provided under Sec. 14 of COMELEC Resolution No. 7505.

Under such rule, the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor of Bulacan is required to publish the petition, including the pages containing the names , addresses and signatures of the supporting petitioners, once a week for three consecutive weeks in a national newspaper and a local newspaper of general circulation and that from the publication of the petition in a national newspaper of general circulation .

According to the resolution, the provincial election supervisor, at the expenses of the petitioner, caused the publication of the petition in the newspaper of general circulation in the province of Bulacan.

However, the court said that in this case, “the publication of the petition, purportedly in Daily Tribune (national newspaper) and Rekta ( for the local newspaper) were not caused by the provincial election supervisor, but by the petitioner in the petition for recall election, former Provincial Administrator Perlita Mendoza.

The court also said that the said allegation was supported by the admission of the predecessor of provincial election supervisor --Lawyer Elmo Duque—that the publication was “at the instance of the petitioner for the recall election.

Agloro also stated in his order that “likewise, even assuming that the publication was caused by the provincial election supervisor, nevertheless, the publication in the supposed newspaper in the locality was violated as per certification from the Ofice of the Clerk of Court, saying that “Rekta” is not an accredited newspaper of general circulation in Bulacan.”

The Bulacan RTC Judge also pointed out that “without necessarily passing upon the merits of an important relief as it appears that great and irreparable injury will result to the plaintiff before the matter could be heard on notice if the defendant be not restrained.”

In the meantime, the court also set the hearing for the application of “writ of preliminary Injuction” on March 12, 2015 at 10 .a.m.

Meanwhile, supporters of Alvarado said the issuance of TRO was a vindication from the smear tactics being implied against the top provincial executive by his political rivals.

They claimed that if the basis of the recall petition was due to alleged lack of trust and confidence how come that the province of Bulacan, through the leadership of Alvarado is being showered with major awards and recognition, that include the “Seal of Sound Financial Management and Seal of Good Housekeeping on Transparency and Accountabilty” given by the Department of Interior and Local Government.

They said that major awards showed that the provincial government was being recognized for its no-nonsense and effective management of salient programs compliant to the full disclosure and transparency policy on local government units by the DILG.

They also disclosed that for the third consecutive year, Bulacan was also adjudged as among the 10 outstanding provinces which is set to receive the Agri-Pinoy Rice Achievers Award on March 26.

“This recall petition is just part of a sinister plot aimed to harass and besmirch the good reputation, performance and sterling leadership of the incumbent governor of Bulacan, who also got the full trust and confidence of no less than President Benigno S. Aquino III when the latter appointed him as chairman of the Regional Development Council in Central Luzon, the chief executive’s home region, last year,” a supporter of the governor said. (PNA) 
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Bulacan kicks off Fire Prevention Month celebration

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 3 (PNA) -- The provincial government of Bulacan, through the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), has lined up various activities for the celebration of the Fire Prevention Month.

The month-long celebration kicked off Monday with a motorcade and a short program at the provincial capitol gymnasium here.

With the theme “Kaligtasan sa Sunog: Alamin, Gawin, at Isabuhay Natin!, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said this year’s celebration aims to increase the awareness and preparedness of Bulakenyos with regard to fire prevention.

The PDRRMO has distributed disaster preparedness flyer entitled “Mga Payo ng Pangkaligtasan -- Pag-iingat sa Sunog.”

“Follow those simple tips and pass it on to your friends and family that would potentially saved everyone’s life, make this fire prevention month count,” Alvarado said.

Meanwhile, six municipalities that include Bocaue, Pandi, Paombong, Obando, San Ildefonso and San Rafael received rescue tools and equipment from the provincial government through the proceeds of the “Ang Bote Mo, Kaligtasan Ko!” project.

Each municipality received one throw can, six life vests, one throw bag, one padded splint, one trauma kit and one spine board.

Alvarado also distributed emergency kits to 100 capitol employees while 40 employees won life vests, 14 throw bags and 14 rescue or throw cans.

Felicisima Mungcal, PDRRMO head, said the activities for the fire prevention month include fire safety inspection on March 4 at the provincial capitol building and in government offices and private establishments; coordination and ocular inspection on March 5; fire talk and fire drill orientation on March 6.

Fire drill will also be conducted at the Bulacan Polytechnic College on March 11 and a bloodletting drive in Guiguinto, Bulacan on March 18.

Other activities include meetings of the PDRRMC and capitol fire marshalls, provincial convergence on LISTO, fire suppression and first aid and basic life support-cardiopulmonary resuscitation training in Pandi town. (PNA) 
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Four kids die in Bulacan fire

MARILAO, Bulacan, Feb 28 (PNA) -- Four children, including a four-month-old boy, died after they were trapped inside a rented house in Barangay Sta, Rosa II that was gutted by a big fire Friday night.

Police identified the victims as Jerry Anne 4; Ashley Jane, 3; Tisoy, 2; and 4-month-old Jeremy Jr., all surnamed Sotayco.

Police investigators said the four children were left inside the rented house by their parents identified as Jeremy Sotayco and Angie Ferrer when the fire broke out around 8:00 p.m. Friday.

Residents tried to rescue the children but the fire was already big.

The children were rushed to the St. Michael Hospital. Due to severe burns, attending doctors tried to transfer them but the victims perished while being brought to the Philippine General Hospital in Manila.

Firefighters said the fire originated from a candle that was lit due to the brownout Friday in many parts of the province.

Meanwhile, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado reminded Bulacan residents to be extra careful and alert during brownouts with the onset of the Fire Prevention Month this March.

Alvarado also asked residents never to leave lighted candles unattended. (PNA) 
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2 alleged dope dealers killed, 3 suspects in La Union “massacre” fell in Bulacan sting - By Emil G. Gamos

SAN JOSE DEL MONTE CITY, Bulacan, Feb 26 (PNA)--Two alleged drug dealers were killed while three of four suspects in the February 24 “killing spree” in Barangay Capas, Agoo, La Union that resulted in the death of five persons, including a 3 year-old girl, and the wounding of three others, were arrested when a gun battle erupted during a police operation in the boundary Sitio Cariapay, Barangay Dulong Bayan and Barangay Minuyan here early Thursday morning.

Initial police reports showed that combined elements of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office, the San Jose Del Monte City Police Station and the La Union Police Intelligence Division were conducting a manhunt operations against the suspects in the La Union “killing spree” that were reported to be hiding in the area, a place notoriously known as “shabu tiangge’.

Some 250 battle-ready policemen swooped down in the area and after reaching the alleged hideout of the suspects in the La Union “massacre”, they were fired upon prompting the lawmen to return fire.

Since the area was notoriously known for its dope den, it was theorized that armed drug dealers were the ones who triggered the firefight, resulting to the death of two suspects who were not yet identified as of press time.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina, who personally supervised the operation, said that no casualty on the police was reported, adding that the police teams also recovered five high powered firearms, several grams of shabu and assorted dope paraphernalia.

Divina also said that the operation resulted in the arrest of three of four wanted suspects in the bloody killing of five family members and wounding of three others at a roadside in Barangay Capas, La Union last Tuesday (February 24).

Divina identified the arrested suspects as Eduardo Cabuyag Gayo,65, Demetrio Dulatre Gayo,42 and Noel Dulatre Gayo, all of San Nicolas East, Agoo, La Union.

The Bulacan police director said that according to Chief Inspector Artemio Infante, Agoo, La Union police chief, Eduardo Gayo and his sons Demetrio, Noel and one Oscar (still at large) were behind the shooting, hacking and stabbing spree that left victims Reynaldo Refuerzo, 30, his three-year old daughter Mary Anne, Gil Cabilitazan and Zosimo Fontanilla, all residents of Barangay Capas, Agoo, La Union and their cousin Gilberto Cecilio, 41 of Dagupan City died while seriously wounded were Rodel Refuerzo, Gilmar Cabilitazan, and Benjie Tabunia who were all taken to the Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center for treatment.

Police said the fatalities and the injured victims suffered gunshot wounds as well as hack and stab wounds on different parts of their heads and bodies.

Investigation showed that the victims were having a drinking spree along the roadside when the suspects arrived and Demetrio challenged them to a fight.

Suddenly, his son Noel started shooting the victims one by one with a caliber .45 followed by the other suspects who stabbed and hacked the victims repeatedly.

The suspects immediately fled towards a mountainous trail in the area.

Police said the motive of the incident is an old family feud between the suspects and the victims.

Meanwhile, Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado commended the police raiding team for successfully neutralizing armed drug dealers and capturing armed criminals wanted for heinous crimes.

The governor said that criminal gangs and lawless elements are not welcome in Bulacan as he reiterated his directive to Divina to step-up their campaign against criminal syndicates and drug dealers and ensure that the prevailing peaceful climate in the province will not be disturbed.

“Bulacan is now fast becoming as the new frontier of growth and progress and we are creating an environment conducive for business investments to flourish while at the same time also creating an environment not conducive for organized crime and law offenders by intensifying security operations against crime,” Alvarado said.(PNA) 
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Palparan’s camp tries to destroy witness credibility as trial resumes - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb 23, (PNA)--The trial of kidnapping with serious illegal detention case against Ret. Army Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan pushed through on Monday morning with the cross examination of a primary witness that earlier pinpointed the controversial military officer as the one behind the abduction of missing UP students Karen Empeño and Shierlyn Cadapan.

Prosecution witness Raymond Manalo again reiterated his earlier testimony that he saw Palparan three times when he was also brought to a military camp.

Manalo again told the court that he saw the two missing students being tortured and at one time saw them hogtied naked.

The lawyers of Palparan, however, dismissed Manalo’s testimonies as “inconsistent” saying that it was not the latter’s own but a “scripted” piece.

Lawyer Narzal Mallares said that because his client (Palparan) is famous anybody can impersonate him and the witness might have pointed to a wrong guy.

Aside from this, Mallares said that based on their cross examination on Manalo, it only strengthen their claim that the criminal charges filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) against his client is clearly wrong.

Mallares explained that Palparan was still in active duty when the abduction of the two students happened and that the general was only doing his job as a military officer.

On the other hand, prosecution Lawyer Edre Olalia said that Manalo’s testimonies are credible because he saw what took place and was there when it happened.

He said that Manalo’s recollection on what happened was clear and sharp.

Manalo is also the same witness against Palparan’s co-accused Col. Felipe Anotado and M/Sgt. Edgardo Osorio.

At the same time, Olalia said that the security at the court now seems to be like a circus because anti-riot police are only getting more sweat while deployed under the heat of the sun even after the hearing was over and Palparan was already whisked away by a phalanx of heavily armed escorts to his detention in Fort Bonifacio.

“The policemen should be helping in tracking down the criminals,” Olalia said.

No hearing will be conducted in the whole month of March and it will resume on April 6 after the observance of Holy Week. (PNA) 
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Trial of Palparan’s case sizzles - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb.18 (PNA)—Security is expected to be tightened anew on Monday next week as the trial of the kidnapping with serious illegal detention case against retired Army Major General Jovito Palparan began to sizzle following the appearance in court of an alleged eyewitness who pinpointed to the controversial military officer as the one behind the abduction of UP students Karen Empeño at Shierlyn Cadapan.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina said security details have been briefed to secure the premises of Bulacan Regional Trial Court (RTC) due to the intense development concerning the trial of Palparan and three other military officials that stemmed from the missing UP students.

Last Monday, firetrucks were used as barricade to prevent both militant groups and pro-Palparan supporters from getting near the Bulacan RTC.

The court has scheduled the next hearing this coming Monday.

“We wanted the safety of everyone and we want the case to push through without any untoward incident,” Divina said, adding that aside from the security details of Palparan from his detention cell in Fort Bonificaio, the Bulacan police is also deploying anti-riot policemen and members of the Bulacan PNP-Special Weapons and Tacticts Unit.

Wearing Kevlar helmet and bullet-proof vest and surrounded by heavily armed security personnel, Palparan arrived last Monday at the sala of Bulacan RTC Branch 14 Judge Teodora Gonzales, together with his co-accused Lt.Col. Felipe Anotado and M/Sgt. Edgardo Osorio.

During last Monday’s hearing, prosecution eyewitness Raymond Manalo testified that he saw Palparan three times and was just lucky enough that he escaped.

He however, did not elaborate how he escaped.

Manalo claimed that he saw the two missing UP students being tortured while tied naked.

Palparan’s lawyer Narzal Mallares just shrugged off the testimony of Manalo, saying that everybody knew his client because he is popular.

He said that the accusers’ must prove their claims during cross examination.

Meanwhile, members of militant groups expressed belief that the two missing UP students are still alive.

As Palparan was being whisked away for his return journey to Fort Bonifacio after the hearing, some of the militant protesters were shouting “Executioner, release the students whom you abducted." (PNA) 
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Bulacan keeps tight watch on dengue cases

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 13 (PNA) -- The provincial government, through the Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO), is continuously monitoring the cases of dengue in the province.

Based on the latest report from the Provincial Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (PESU), there are already 212 cases since January 2015 up to present in the whole province.

PESU records also showed that from the 21 municipalities and three cities of Bulacan, San Jose del Monte has the highest number of dengue cases with 23, followed by Hagonoy with 22, and Meycauayan and Hagonoy, both with 20 reported cases.

"What is good about this, our rural health units, barangay health emergency response team and dengue school watch team are actively reporting which make us immediately know the situation in the ground level," Dr. Jocelyn Gomez, head of the PPHO, said.

Gomez also encouraged the public to support the 4-S against dengue campaign: search and destroy; seek early consultation; self-protective measures and say no to indiscriminate fogging.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, for his part, has urged Bulakenyos to keep their surroundings clean in order to prevent the spread of dengue and other diseases.

"There is no other best way to prevent the spread of dengue except for having clean environment because if there is no breeding place for mosquitoes, there is no chance for dengue to spread," Alvarado added. (PNA) 
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Bulacan poll supervisor returns recall resolution to Comelec en banc; says rallyists "barking at the wrong tree" - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb 10 (PNA) -- A classic case of “barking at the wrong tree”?

Does the handful of rallyists identified with a Bulacan politician know what they were doing when they stormed the provincial Commission on Elections (Comelec) office Monday morning?

These questions cropped up after Bulacan Provincial Elections supervisor lawyer Elmo Duque clarified that he returned a “technically defective” resolution to the poll body’s en banc committee for immediate review.

A group of rallyists reportedly headed by former provincial administrator Perly Mendoza stormed the Bulacan Comelec office questioning why Duque did not serve a poll body’s resolution certifying the “sufficiency” of the petition for recall filed against Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado.

The resolution which carries a questionable signature of Bartolome J. Sinocruz Jr., the Deputy Executive Director for Operations of Comelec, directed Duque--being the provincial election supervisor in Bulacan, “to serve copies of Minute Resolution No. 14-0380 dated June 3, 2014.

The Resolution and Summary of Votes both dated January 30,2015 with separate concurring opinion of Commissioner Lucenito N. Tagle and dissenting opinions of Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr and Commissioner Christian Robert S. Lim to the petitioner and to Gov. Alvarado. A copy of the petition shall likewise be served upon Gov. Alvarado.”

Duque said that the signature was not personally signed by the Deputy Executive Director for Operations (DEDO), whom sources said has been in hospital for a week now.

“I just cannot serve it because of the technical flaw (signature). If the signature of the DEDO is authenticated, I will served it right then and there. However, there is something wrong and need to correct it, that's why we returned it to Comelec En Banc for review and immediate action,” he said.

Duque explained that he will be courting charges if he served a “technically defective” resolution.

"I also want to clarify that we are not leaning to any politicians here. I am just following the proper procedure which is in accordance with the law," he added.

He said that he is still awaiting the decision of the en banc.

Some personnel at the Bulacan Comelec Office just scratched their heads when the handful of rallyists led by Mendoza staged a rally in front of their office Monday morning.

“They are barking at the wrong tree. Our chief is just following what is right. I do not know but I guess they just want to attract media attention,” a Bulacan Comelec staff said.

Political observers, however, see it as part of an alleged “demolition job” being waged against Governor Alvarado by his political rivals.

A civic group, the Kapatirang Magkakapitbahay para sa Tuwid na Daan (KASAMAKA) has also earlier deplored what they claimed as “desperate acts of a desperate politician” whom, they said are once again behind the smear campaign being waged against the leadership and performance of Alvarado.

Rene del Rosario of KASAMAKA said he and his group are echoing the sentiments of many Bulakenyos who were once again shocked by the never ending dirty politicking of Alvarado’s political rivals, whom they claimed has once again used a dummy in filing baseless and unfounded cases against the governor at the Office of the Ombudsman. (PNA) 
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Slain PNP-SAF commando from Bulacan laid to rest - By Emil G. Gamos

SAN JOSE DEL MONTE CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 5 (PNA) -- Hundreds of Bulakenyos braved the heat of the noon day sun as they witnessed the final journey of a modern day Bulakenyo warrior who gave his life so that others will be safe and free from the threat of terror.

A huge crowd wept as they paid tribute and final respect to a fallen warrior-- PO3 Junrel Narvas Kibete, a native of Meycauayan City who was among the brave 44 Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) troopers who were killed in action during a fierce firefight with heavily armed members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January 25.

Kibete was among the highly trained PNP-SAF commandos who were sent to arrest high value target Zulkilfi Bin Hir alias Marwan and local terrorist Basit Usman.

Although outnumbered in an unfamiliar terrain, the PNP-SAF troopers were able to kill Marwan, according to confirmed reports.

“Their efforts and ultimate sacrifice were not in vain. They have neutralized one of the most wanted terror- bombers in the world,” said Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina who led Bulacan policemen in giving Kibete a heroe's funeral rite complete with 21- gun salute befitting a fallen trooper who “died with his boots on."

Divina said that before Kibete was killed in action in the Mamasapano operation, the Bulakenyo SAF commando has also figured in many fierce skirmishes defending the interest of the state, including the siege of Zamboanga City by MILF rebels.

"To the children, wife, siblings and relatives of Junrel, we, at the PNP, admire the bravery he has demonstrated. We indeed admire him and recognize his dedication to the call of duty – to serve a warrant of arrest against a most wanted terrorist in South East Asia who was then hiding in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, and for which, he sacrificed even his life for the accomplishment of the mission, a task came from the court.

In the sudden and violent death of Junrel, let our and your comfort be – that we have a God who is ever present with us in every place – be it East, West, North or South, in all situations and conditions of our lives. There is never a circumstance or a place where God’s presence is away from us,” Divina said in his farewell message to the fallen PNP-SAF trooper from Bulacan.

Divina also said that Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas also joined the hundreds of Bulakenyo who paid their last respect to Kibete.

He said that the DILG Secretary and the high command has explicit instruction to him to render the best and all possible assistance to the bereaved family of the Kibete.

Earlier, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the province and the people of Bulacan will forever remember the heroism of Kibete and his fallen SAF comrades.

He said that Kibete belongs to the class of great Bulakenyo warriors and came in the molds of Gen. Gregorio del Pilar, Eusebio Roque (Maestro Sebio), Gen. Isidoro Torres and other true blooded Bulakenyo soldiers who shed blood and tears to gain freedom from foreign colonial rule.

In tribute to their heroism, the Sanguniang Panglalawigan ng Bulacan headed by Vice Governor Daniel Fernando has passed a resolution declaring the “Fallen 44” of the PNP-SAF as “Bayani ng Bayan.” (PNA) 
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Bulacan declares 'Fallen 44' as 'Bayani ng Bayan'

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 4 (PNA) --Great deeds do not go unrecognized in the land of noble heroes.

The Province of Bulacan, the seat of the three republics against Spanish colonial rule where Filipino revolutionaries shed blood sweat and tears for freedom and peace, recognized the heroism of the “Fallen 44” or the 44 members of the PNP-Special Action Force who were killed in a fierce firefight with elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25 and declared them as “Bayani ng Bayan.”

This after Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Wednesday signed a resolution passed by the Sangguniang Panglalawigan officially declaring the 44 PNP-SAF troopers as “Bayani ng Bayan.”

“They were there to uphold the law and they died with their boots on, performing their sworn duty so that there will be peace and order and ensure that the Filipino people will not be threatened by terror and harm,” Alvarado said.

Because of their heroism, Alvarado said that the province and people of Bulacan paid tribute to the “Fallen 44” and expressed esteem condolence to their families and loved ones.

The governor also said that a special tribute will be given to PO3 Junrel Narvas Kibete, a native of Meycauyan City who was among the brave 44 SAF troopers who gave his own life, the ultimate sacrifice, in the call of duty.

Alvarado said that Vice Governor Daniel Fernando authored a resolution wherein the provincial government of Bulacan gives high regard and tribute to the 44 members of the PNP-SAF who were killed in Maguindanao and recognize them as "Bayani ng Bayan" while at the same time, expresses sympathy to the bereaved families.

Fernando said that while it is now a grim and tragic episode in the nation’s history, the SAF troopers showed exemplary patriotism in their willingness to offer their own lives for the sake of many so that they will not become victims of terror-bombings.

"The 44 Fallen SAF will serve as example and inspiration not only to defenders and peace mediators, but also to the fellow Filipinos and to the whole nation because they were being considered as "Bayani ng ating Bayan."

The provincial government and all the Bulakenyos are paying tribute and giving recognition to the honesty, bravery and heroism showed by them. We are all extending our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of our Bayani ng Bayan," Fernando said.

The vice governor said that the heroism of the “Fallen 44” of the PNP-SAF will forever be etched in the history of the province as “Mga Bayani ng Bayan.” (PNA) 
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Ople Day, a special non-working day in Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 1 (PNA) -- It will be a special non- working day in Bulacan on Tuesday (Feb. 3 ) as the province commemorates the 88th birth anniversary of one of its most illustrious son—the late Bulakenyo stateman Gat Blas F. Ople.

To give honor for the selfless, dedicated and sincere service to the country and outstanding contribution in history of the great legislator, statesman and journalist from the coastal town of Hagonoy, the provincial government through Provincial History, Arts, Culture and Tourism Office prepared a tribute program.

Provincial officials headed by Governor Wilhelmino and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando, together with the Ople family will lead the offering of flowers and prayers to the bust of Ople

"Ople who was also known as Ka Blas, an author of the Philippine Labor Code and “Father of Overseas Employment," is one of the noble sons of Bulacan where his leadership and wisdom is appropriately be emulated," Alvarado said.

This will be followed by the guest speaker’s message and some special numbers.

One of the highlights of the second part of the program is the ceremontial signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Bulacan Laban sa Human Trafficking Movement through the effort of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute.

There will be distribution of checks for the beneficiaries of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Livelihood Program and Special Program for Employment of Studies (SPES).

A symposium entitled “Sinimulan ni Ka Blas, Hindi Magwawakas”: Symposium on Gat Blas Ople’s Life, Works and Legacy will also be held at the Nicanor Abelardo Auditorium wherein more or less 100 students and teachers are expected to attend.

A video presentation about Ka Blas and the Blas Ople Center will also be shown wherein his daughter Susan “Toots” Ople, president of Blas F. Ople Policy Center, will be the guest speaker.

A grand daughter of Ka Blas, Estelle Ople-Osorio will deliver a speech for her well loved grandfather. (PNA) 
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President Aquino hails gains of 1st Philippine Republic - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 23 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday said that the blood, sweat and tears as well as the wisdom of Filipino freedom fighters that drenched the sacred grounds of the historic Barasoain Church here more than a century ago continue to put the nation into the international limelight with respect and admiration.

In his message read by Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas at the patio of Barasoain Church here during Friday's commemoration of the 116th anniversary of the First Philippine Republic, the Chief Executive said that the glorious events that transpired in Malolos 116 years ago were proof that Filipinos can stand on their own and write their own destiny among the communities of nations with flying colors.

“Ang Pilipinas ay para sa mga Filipino (The Philippines is for the Filipinos),” Roxas quoted the President as saying in his message.

Roxas represented the Chief Executive as guest of honor in the 116th anniversary rites of the First Philippine Republic.

He said that the collective unity and good behavior of the Filipinos during the recent visit of Pope Francis in the country is a clear indication that Filipinos can unite for a common cause just like what happened in the hallowed grounds of Barasoain Church where Filipino revolutionaries and budding statesmen drafted and ratified the Malolos Constitution that paved the way for the inauguration of the Malolos Republic otherwise known as the First Philippine Republic.

The momentous event gave credence to the declaration of Philippine Independence in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898 by the revolutionary government of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that the momentous event that transpired in Barasoain Church is the “crowning glory” of the freedom-loving Filipinos and that has also regained the old kingdom of the Filipino monarchial Filipino tribes taken away for almost 400 years of Spanish colonial rule.

Alvarado said that the 1st Philippine Republic will always serve as an “amulet” of the Filipino freedom fighter known as Katipuneros that he said still lives in the hearts of modern day Filipino warriors now serving in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and government leaders.

"The first Republic in Malolos will remain as monument of bravery, sacrifice and wisdom of our forefathers and will still be the memorial of independence as a free nation with government and Constitution that paved the way to recognition of the historic Malolos City as the 'Cradle of the First Republic' and the first democratic country in the whole Asia and Africa," he said.

The governor again reiterated his call to make January 23 of every year a national special non-working, saying that Bulacan 1st District Rep. Ma. Victoria R. Sy-Alvarado has filed House Bill No. 5156 to make it a national holiday equal to the commemoration of June 12.

Vice Governor Daniel Fernando, for his part, said that Filipinos are now enjoying the “joy of freedom” because of the First Philippine Republic.”

"We are living independently because of the establishment of the First Republic in the historic Barasoain church, a proof that our free and independence have the blessing of God," Fernando said.

City Mayor Christian Natividad said that even the Chinese have sent a delegation of Lion and Dragon dancers to highlight the historical parade after the anniversary rites at Barasoain church.

Roxas, Alvarado, Fernando, Natividad and City Vice Mayor Gilbert Gatchalian were joined by Central Luzon police regional director Chief Supt. Ronald Santos and National Historical Commission Chairman Dr. Maria Serena L. Diokno in the wreath-laying rites at the foot of the life-sized statue of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, president of the First Philippine Republic. (PNA) 
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(Update) Govt investigators start probe of Guiguinto high-wall tragedy - By Emil G. Gamos

GUIGUINTO, Bulacan, Jan. 20 (PNA)--Different teams of government investigators on Tuesday swooped down at the construction site of a warehouse being constructed here whose high wall collapsed, crushing to death 11 persons and seriously injuring four others Monday afternoon.

A group of product standard team from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) headed by Provincial Director Zorina D. Aldana arrived at the site Tuesday morning and began their own investigation.

Aldana noticed that the steel bars used in the collapsed concrete wall are not strong enough to hold the weight of the concrete wall.

“We would talk to the contractor and the supplier and find the manufacturer of the steel bars,” she said.

Aldana said that her team is also gathering samples of the steel bars used in the collapse wall to determine if they have passed the quality standards set by DTI.

“Contractors and builders should know that steel bars are also passing under the quality control and product standard test of DTI,” she added.

Aldana said that steel bars should have the right weight and strength for it to pass the quality standards set by the DTI.

This developed as Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado instructed provincial engineer Glen Reyes to inspect construction of buildings and see to it that contractors are strictly following the specifications and standards of the National Building Code.

Alvarado gave the order after government engineers noticed that most of the steel bars used in the collapsed concrete wall looks substandard in quality.

At least 11 persons died after the high wall of the warehouse building collapsed crushing the makeshift barracks and canteen where workers were having a refreshment break at around 3:30 p.m. Monday.

Nine of the victims, one of them a seven year old boy, died on the spot after the concrete wall collapsed pinning them to death.

The two other fatalities were declared dead on arrival at the nearest hospital after emergency rescue teams managed to retrieved them under the rubbles of the collapsed wall.

In a report to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), Bulacan police director identified the fatalities as Edmund Bernabe, Jonathan Sagayap, Cinto Nayanga, Rodolfo Nayanga, Jerald Nayanga, Joseph Bellones, Arnel Cardano, Agnes Tan Santos, Arnold Humawan, Nestor Maidon and Dave Avelino (7 years old).

Those injured who are now being treated at the Bulacan Medical Center are Junny Galela, Edmar Bernabe, Marlon Andaya and Randy Buitizon Bucayo.

Alvarado said that somebody is liable for the tragedy.

“We are strictly implementing the national building code in this province. Building contractors should conform and strictly follow the specifications required by the National Building Code of the Philippines and male sure that their structures are strong and safe,” the governor said.

Supt. Ernesto Cruz, Guiguinto police chief, said they are now building-up a case and has already taken sworn statements of witnesses.

He said that investigators theorized that the high wall may have been weakened by the earthquake that jolted Luzon island recently and that heavy rains last Sunday may have also weakened the foundation of the building.

“”We are in the process of gathering evidences so we can establish an air tight case against those who will be found liable for the multiple deaths and other violations of the law,” Cruz said.

He also added that based on background history of the site, the area was formerly a noodles factory where the soil could be soft.

“Since the area is a former noodles factory, the soil might have been piled with husk of palay and ashes which were being used in cooking noodles," he added. (PNA) 
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(Update) 11 confirmed dead, 4 hurt in a collapsed warehouse in Bulacan

GUIGUINTO, Bulacan, Jan. 20 (PNA) --Eleven persons, mostly construction workers, were confirmed dead and four others were hurt when a wall of a warehouse building being constructed in Barangay Ilang-ilang here collapsed Monday afternoon.

Senior Superintendent Ferdinand Divina, Bulacan Police provincial director, said the identities of the casualties that include a pregnant woman, and those injured are still being verified.

Divina said that they have yet to determine the real cause of the collapse of the warehouse building.

Initial reports said that the incident took place at around 3:30 p.m. in a warehouse building owned by a certain Dante Chua.

Meanwhile, Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado said the provincial government will conduct a deeper investigation on the incident.

Those responsible will be held accountable, Alvarado said as he, together with the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, was conducting a rescue operation for those trapped in the collapsed wall Monday night.

Initial findings suggest that the steel used for the wall was substandard. (PNA) 
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Special non-working holiday declared in Bulacan for Papal visit

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 15 (PNA)-- In support of the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis, it will be a special non-working holiday in the province on Friday.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the declaration is in accordance to Proclamation 945 which was signed on January 13, 2015 by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr, to give honor and support to the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis in the Philippines on January 15 to 19, 2015.

“I courteously requested Malacañang for the said declaration in view of the aforementioned Papal state visit not only to address the imminent traffic congestion but also to allow the Bulakenyos to participate in the commensurate activities on occasion thereof,” Alvarado said.

During His Apostolic Visit to the Philippines, His Holiness Pope Francis will bring his message of “mercy and compassion” to at least 11 different venues in the province of Leyte and Metro Manila.

Bulacan is the gateway from the north to the National Capital Region and so the provincial government advised all Bulakenyos to stay at home if they are not heading to the venues of the Pope’s visit to avoid heavy traffic congestion.

Alvarado said the 78-year-old Pope Francis is an inspiration to commuters because he is a humble commuter himself. (PNA) 
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Repair of aging Angat Dam urge anew following Luzon quake - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan 11 (PNA) --As government engineers inspected bridges and other infrastructures in the province following the Magnitude 6.0 earthquake that jolted Luzon early Sunday morning, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado once again reiterated his call for the immediate repair and fortification of the aging Angat dam in the mountains of Norzagaray town.

At the same time, Alvarado also called on concerned authorities to make a thorough inspection of the 47 years old rock-filled dam and determined its structural integrity following the latest earthquake that was felt in some areas in this province.

He said that the new owners and operator of the Angat Dam Hydro Electric Power Plant, Korean Water (K Water), should begin at the soonest possible time the repair and rehabilitation of the aging dam which was turned over to them by the Philippine government last Nov. 1, 2014.

Under its contract with the Philippine Government, the K Water should be the ones which should conduct the repair and rehabilitation of Angat dam.

“We are beginning to sound like a broken record but until the aging Angat dam is repaired and strengthened, it will always be like the proverbial “Sword of Damocles” hanging over our heads,” Alvarado said.

Meanwhile, engineers from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) inspected the still under repair Gen. Alejo Santos Bridge that links the towns of Baliwag and Bustos after early Sunday morning quake that jolted Luzon island.

It can be recalled that the said bridge was closed for repair last November 14 after suffering cracks and wear and tear.

Only light vehicles are allowed to pass at present and since there was an earthquake, the DPWH immediately sent a team to inspect its structural integrity.

DPWH engineers said it is still passable to light vehicles but will still conduct a series of inspection on Monday.

The quake’s epicenter is located 13 kilometers southeast of San Antonio, Zambales with a depth of 85 kilometers according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs). (PNA) 
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New modern expressway to usher more growth in Bulacan - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 9 (PNA) -- The “Year of Green Wooden Sheep” seems like bringing more good tidings for the province as a new expressway of growth is in the offing.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Friday announced that the provincial government is working closely with concerned national government agencies for the completion of a new highway that is seen to speed-up growth and development along agricultural towns in the eastern part of Bulacan linking them to booming areas in Central Luzon.

Dubbed as “The Roads to Rapid inclusive Growth”, Alvarado said that the Eastern Bulacan Expressway and New Towns Development Project, which is complimentary to the North Luzon East Expressway, is a comprehensive program designed to facilitate economic boom by providing access to once isolated or difficult-to-reach towns and cities.

He said that the farming towns of San Miguel, San Ildefonso and Rafael, known as the province's “vegetable basket, ” will further be developed as their farm harvests that supplies 60 percent of the vegetable needs of Bulacan and Metro Manila, will have more easy access to bustling metropolis and markets in other parts of Central Luzon.

The proposed expressway is complimentary to the North Luzon Expressway and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway in the north and the Manila-Cavite Expressway and South Luzon Expressway in the south.

The proposed highway will also have a train alignment for future plans.

The other objectives of the project is to have an alternative highway to the now heavily-clogged Maharlika highway that connects Metro Manila passing thru the eastern part of Bulacan to Nueva Ecija, Aurora and northern Luzon provinces.

Alvarado said that the new modern highway project will also boost socioeconomic development in the eastern corridor of Northern Luzon.

At present, Alvarado said that government planners at the provincial capitol have already identified the so called “growth area” where the highway will traverse with linkages to other booming municipalities in the first and second congressional districts as well as the bustling cities of Malolos, Meycauayan and San Jose del Monte.

Based on the proposed alignment route, the project will connect San Jose Del Monte City to the towns of San Rafael, Angat, San Miguel then to Gapan-West Cabanatuan City-Talavera-Llarera-San Jose City and Balaho in the province of Nueva Ecija.

Alvarado also said that the identified “growth areas” in eastern Bulacan will be designed into a “compact town,’ containing a town center, providing employment and services, living spaces, surrounded by well-developed agricultural lands ensuring the sustainability of the community.

He said that this new mega-highway in the eastern growth corridors of Bulacan and other provinces in Central and Northern Luzon will unlock economic potentials and increase economic output.

“It will attract industries that bring employment and livelihood aside from providing access to isolated areas in the said areas,” Alvarado said, adding that the project will also improve and supplement existing infrastructures. (PNA) 
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PRO-3 unseals police personnel's firearms 
By Rea Katherine Mendoza

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Jan. 2 (PNA) --The Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3) on Friday conducted simultaneous inspection and removal of the taped muzzles of the police personnel in the region.

Chief Superintendent Ronald Santos, officer-in-charge of PRO3, led the unsealing of firearms which signified the culmination of the PRO3's "no firing of guns."

The sealing of firearms of policemen in Central Luzon has been annually conducted to ensure that no one will use his guns during the celebration of Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

After the inspection, Santos said that no police personnel in Central Luzon got involved in indiscriminate firing of their issued firearms.

He said that there are two reports of indiscriminate firing in the region but were perpetrated by civilians.

Santos identified the two civilians that fired their guns as Dan Dojillo, a resident of Barangay Sabang, Bataan and Angelo Olaivar, 35, a resident of Barangay Loma de Gato, Marilao, Bulacan.

He said Dojillo was arrested after he fired his .9mm pistol into the air on Dec. 29 at the residence of her sister in Sitio Hilltop, Barangay Sabang while Olaivar was arrested by elements of Criminal Investigation and Detection Field (CIDF) for firing his calibre .40 pistol.

He said there are no casualties reported during the New Year’s celebrations.(PNA) 
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Region 12 cops to file charges vs illegal firecracker traders

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Jan. 2 (PNA) -- Police authorities are set to file charges for violation of the Firecrackers and Pyrotechnics Law against a number of traders in parts of Region 12 who were caught selling illegal or prohibited materials during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Chief Supt. Lester Camba, Region 12 police director, said Friday he instructed all police stations and offices in the region to file the appropriate complaints against the erring traders on Monday, Jan. 5, the first official working day for this year.

Facing charges are owners of firecracker and pyrotechnic stalls, stores and shops as well as individuals who were found selling illegal items during raids or operations conducted by police operatives, he said.

He said traders who had secured business licenses or permits but resorted to selling illegal materials will be dealt with sternly.

“We want to teach them a lesson. Some of these stall owners were able to leave their stalls prior to the raids and evaded arrest,” Camba said.

Camba said local police units are currently finalizing the list of the violators, who will mainly be charged for violation of Republic Act (RA) 7183 or the “Act Regulating the Sale, Manufacture, Distribution and Use of Firecrackers and other Pyrotechnic Devices.”

Under RA 7183, firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices that have more than the allowable explosive content are strictly prohibited.

Among the banned materials are watusi or the “dancing firecracker,” piccolo, super lolo, atomic big triangulo, mother rockets, lolo thunder, pillbox, boga, big Judah’s belt, big bawang, goodbye Philippines, kabasi, five star, pla-pla, OG, giant whistle bomb and unlabeled firecrackers.

The departments of health and of the trade and industry had issued prohibitions regarding the use and sale of the said firecrackers and fireworks.

Camba said they have yet to complete the inventory of the seized illegal firecrackers and pyrotechnics or fireworks during the raids but noted that they were quite significant.

The official said nearly all police stations and offices in the region were able to accomplish successful operations against illegal firecrackers and pyrotechnics in compliance with an earlier directive from the Philippine National Police central office.

He said a series of major operations were specifically launched in parts of North Cotabato and South Cotabato provinces as well as in the cities of Cotabato and General Santos.

Also known as Soccsksargen, Region 12 comprises of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

The South Cotabato Police Provincial Office earlier reported two major operations in the municipalities of Tupi and Polomolok that netted around P125,000 worth of illegal firecrackers and pyrotechnics.

“We concentrated our operations on piccolo, being the number one cause of firecracker injuries in our area,” Camba said.

Citing their assessment, the official said most of the illegal firecrackers that proliferated during the holidays came from areas outside the region and as far as Bulacan in Luzon.

He said majority of the confiscated materials, specifically piccolo, were locally-made or “fake” although they had markings that they were made and imported from China.

He said studies made by personnel from the regional police’s Firearms and Explosives Security Agency Group or FESAG showed that the “fake” piccolo were crudely-made, making them more dangerous to use.(PNA) 
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Six persons hit by stray bullets in Bulacan 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 2 (PNA)--At least six persons were hit by stray bullets at the height of New Year’s Eve celebration while the number of firecracker victims in the province climbs from 13 last Dec. 31 to 102 Thursday afternoon.

Two of the victims, identified as Maria Liberty Andoque and Misael Eguin, both of Barangay Minuyan, San Jose del Monte City, were brought to the Bulacan Medical Center (BMC) after they were hit by stray bullets in the stomach and thigh, respectively.

Andoque told police investigators that she was standing in front of their house when she was hit by a stray bullet in her stomach while Eguin was hit while walking at the height of New Year’s eve celebration causing him to fell on the ground.

Aside from the two victims from San Jose Del Monte City, 28 years old Benjamin Alipio pf Barangay Paltao, Pulilan was also treated at the BMC for gunshot wound due to stray bullet

They are now declared safe by the attending doctors.

The police also reported that a 32-year old Marvelyn Valdez was also hit by stray bullet.

Police later recovered the slug that hit the victim and are now conducting test to determine its origin.

Latest police reports also showed that 16 -year old Charish Amela Habaybay and a certain Rogie Vizcara were also hit by stray bullets from a caliber .45 pistol.

Governor Wilhemino M. Sy-Alvarado ordered Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina to conduct a thorough investigation and check if Bulacan policemen indiscriminately fired their guns during the New Year’s day celebration.

Alvarado also instructed Divina to intensify their campaign against loose firearms in the province.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) reported that the number of firecracker victims rose from 13 to 102 based on hospital data last Thursday.

PDRRM officer Liz Mungcal said that despite this, the number of firecracker victims is still lower compared to previous years. (PNA) 
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Number of firecracker victims in Bulacan relatively low - By: Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan.1 (PNA) -- As assorted types of noisemakers reverberated and the skies over many parts of Bulacan were illuminated with vast array of spectacular fireworks display on New Year’s eve, the number of firecracker related incidents were significantly low compared to previous years, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Office (PDRRMO) reported on Thursday.

As of 2 p.m . Thursday, the PDRMMO said that from December 21 only 13 persons were admitted in different hospitals for treatment of firecracker-related injuries.

Most of the victims were children whose age ranges from four to 15.

Based on PDRMMO data, the number of injuries in 2014 is much lower compared to the 53 victims recorded on January 1, 2013.

“But we are still waiting the latest reports from other towns in cities, The number might still climb due to those picking unexploded firecrackers. But compared to last year’s victims it appears that the number of victims this year is relatively lower,” Raul Agustin, a PDRMMO analyst, said

PDRMM officer Liz Mungcal said that the “Ingat Paputok” and other information campaign of the provincial government headed by Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando has gained grounds as shown by the low number of injuries.

The Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association, Inc. (PPMDAI) said that sales of fireworks and pyrotechnics devices has peaked days after Christmas and up to December 31.

PPMDAI chairman emeritus Engr. Celso C. Cruz said that the police crack down against illegal firecrackers was also instrumental in the lower number of injuries.

He also said that the series of safety seminars conducted by the PPMDAI and the PNP-Civil Security Group in the different parts of the country have also widened safety consciousness among makers and end-users.

He also said that their campaign on the quality and safe production of fireworks are also gaining grounds, with consumers assured of buying branded and quality-safe fireworks and pyrotechnics devices.

Meanwhile, three old houses were gutted by fire in Barangay Balungao, Calumpit town Wednesday afternoon where a septuagenarian man nearly died of suffocation but was saved in the nick of time by neighbors.

The fire started at 11 a.m. and the destroyed houses were owned by Eva Paguia, Jess Paguia and Deogracias Sambilay.

Arson probers are still investigating the origin of the fire and are still determining if it was caused by fireworks or faulty electrical wiring.

No one was hurt except for one of the victim’s dogs that perished in the said fire.(PNA) 
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Bulacan cites the cleanest barangays

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Dec. 23 (PNA) -- Fifty four barangays in the 21 towns and three cities in the province were cited Monday for being the cleanest and greenest communities during the Kalinisan at Kaayusan ng Kapaligiran sa Barangay (KKK) awarding ceremony held at the Bulacan capitol gymnasium here.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the program is part of his administration's seven-point agenda that aims to protect the environment and maintain and ensure the cleanliness and orderliness in the communities.

Winners from District I were Barangay San Nicolas (2nd) and Barangay Balubad (1st) from Bulakan; Barangay Bugion (3rd), Barangay Sergio Bayan (2nd) and Santa Lucia (1st) from Calumpit; Barangay Iba (1st) from Hagonoy; Barangay Tibag (1st) from Pulilan; Barangay San Jose (1st) from Paombong; and Barangay Matimbo (4th), Barangay San Pablo (3rd), Barangay Taal (2nd) and Barangay Bagong Bayan (1st) from this city.

District II winners include Barangay Barangca (2nd) and Barangay Piel (1st) from Baliwag; Barangay Taal (2nd) and Barangay Tambubong (1st) from Bocaue; Barangay Bonga Mayor (1st) from Bustos; Barangay Siling Matanda (1st) from Pandi; Barangay Bulihan (2nd) and Barangay Dampol (1st) from Plaridel; and Barangay Malis (2nd) and Barangay Tuktukan (1st) from Guiguinto.

Winners from District III were Barangay Sta. Catalina (5th), Barangay Bubulong Malaki (4th), Barangay Matimbubong (3rd), Barangay Upig (2nd) and Barangay Basuit (1st) from San Ildefonso; Barangay Sta. Cruz (2nd) and Barangay Sulucan (1st) from Angat; Barangay Bayabas (1st) from Dona Remedios Trinidad; Barangay Partida (1st) from Norzagaray; Barangay Pantubig (4th), Barangay Ulingao (3rd), Barangay Mabalas-balas (2nd) and Barangay Tambubong (1st) from San Rafael; and Barangay Camias (5th), Barangay Sta. Rita Matanda (4th), Barangay Bulualto (3rd), Barangay Sta. Rita Bata (2nd) and Barangay Sta. Ines (1st) from San Miguel.

Meanwhile, District IV winners include Barangay Panghulo (1st) from Obando; Barangay Bancal (3rd), Barangay Longos (2nd) and Barangay Lawa (1st) from Meycauayan; Barangay San Rafael IV (4th), Barangay Francisco Homes-Yakal (3rd), Barangay Ciudad Real (2nd) and Barangay Minuyan I (1st) from San Jose Del Monte City; Barangay San Gabriel (3rd), Barangay Mahabang Parang (2nd) and Barangay Sto.Tomas (1st) from Sta. Maria; and Barangay Loma De Gato (3rd), Barangay Saog (2nd) and Barangay Ibayo (1st) from Marilao.

The winners received a plaque of recognition each and cash incentive worth Php20,000 and material aid worth Php100,000 for the first prize; Php15,000 and material aid worth Php75,000 for the second prize; and Php10,000 and material aid worth Php50,000 for the third up to the eight prize depending on the total number of entry per each town or city.

Provincial Administrator Eugenio Payongayong, head of the Provincial KKK Task Force, said all winners garnered a grade of 85 percent and above and were chosen based on the criteria of 50 percent for cleanliness (kalinisan) and 50 percent for orderliness (kaayusan).

The governor congratulated the winners as he expressed hope for a sustainable cleanliness and orderliness in the communities. (PNA) 
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Bulacan exec urges DENR to train more forest rangers

NORZAGARAY, Bulacan, Dec. 22 (PNA) -- Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Monday urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to train more forest rangers that are more disciplined, properly compensated and cannot be lured by the color of money coming from illegal loggers and poachers operating at the watershed areas of Bulacan.

The governor made the call upon learning that DENR officials in Bulacan have admitted that they lack logistics and manpower to put under control the unhampered illegal logging activities inside the Ipo Watershed.

Alvarado said that this is quite alarming since the 70 percent of rain forest, including centuries-old trees, at the watershed area of Ipo have been destroyed due to unabated illegal logging activities.

He said that it is high time that DENR, in coordination with local government units (LGUs), become more serious in protecting the rain forest at Ipo dam watershed area by increasing the number of forest rangers with suitable gears and proper equipment.

The governor has earlier suggested the use of drones to monitor the vast watershed areas so they can immediately see if there are illegal activities going on.

“These illegal loggers and poachers are using high tech radio equipment and before our forest guards can come near them, they are already gone. We must address these matters immediately,” he said.

The Ipo Dam on the said watershed is at the downstream dam of the bigger Angat Dam, and both provide 97 percent of the potable water requirements of Metro Manila residents.

Celia Esteban, provincial environment and natural resources officer in Bulacan, together with Roger Encarnacion, community environment and natural resources officer for the DENR-Tabang office, have confirmed to Bulacan reporters that 70 percent of the 6,600 hectares watershed has already been “touched” by human activities like farming, orchard and charcoal making.

Encarnacion said that the reason for these human activities inside the Ipo watershed is the influx of informal settlers on the adjacent side of Rodriguez, formerly Montalban town, in Rizal province who take advantage of its forest cover as a source of livelihood opportunities.

Most of these settlers, who are not Dumagats or indigenous people, are from other provinces who migrated to Rizal and Bulacan and eventually became engaged in illegal logging and charcoal-making activities within the watershed area, Encarnacion said.

He lamented that they only have seven forest rangers deployed inside the 6,600 hectares watershed that requires 132 personnel for the ideal ratio of one forest guard for every 50 hectares of forest.

To address the problem, Esteban said they hired a team of Bantay Gubat composed of residents living within the watershed.

However, Encarnacion noted that their fund request for 30 Bantay Gubat was not fully granted and only a fund for 14 individuals was approved by their central office.

Despite their meager resources, Encarnacion said that they have come out with a long-term framework plan for the protection of the Ipo watershed and also with a three and five-year short term plans.

He also pointed out that the DENR and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) are the groups tasked to oversee the protection of Ipo watershed.

He, however, cannot tell what programs the MWSS is implementing for the watershed’s protection. (PNA) 
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Coastal residents of Bulacan subject for relocation – DENR

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Dec. 19 (PNA) -- A ranking government environment officer confirmed that most if not all of residents living along island villages in the coastal areas of Bulacan are considered informal settlers and are subject for relocation.

Roger Encarnacion, community environment and natural resources officer of Bulacan, said that most residents who constructed their houses along fishpond dikes can be considered as “informal settlers” because they are dwelling on lands they do not own.

Encarnacion made the statement during the “ Kapihan para sa Inang Kalikasan” forum on Thursday sponsored by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), in coordination with the Philippine Information Agency at the Barasoain Hall of the Malolos Club Royale Resort in this city.

It was noted that most if not all of these residents do not own titles on the land which their houses were constructed.

These residents are possible contenders for families to be relocated once the different government agencies that were ordered by the Supreme Court in December 2008 to clean up, rehabilitate, and preserve Manila Bay, restore and maintain its water classification fit for swimming, skindiving and other form of contact recreation.

Encarnacion also disclosed that relocations of the informal settlers that constructed their house structures along the river systems and waterways leading to Manila Bay are not yet complete.

He said that the relocatees are those from the coastal barangays of Obando, Bulacan, Paombong, Hagonoy and the City of Malolos.

He also said that resettlement of these informal settlers were tasked to the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of the Interior and Local government and the National Housing Authority.

The order was based on the Supreme Court’s decision in line with the principle of continuing mandamus.

In order to comply with the decision of the Supreme Court, Celia Esteban, the provincial environment and natural resources officer of Bulacan explained that plans were laid to rehabilitate Manila Bay.

She said that the plan aims to achieve by the year 2015 50 percent reduction of liquid waste, 100 percent compliance of local government units (LGUs) on solid waste management, and 100 percent relocation of informal settlers together with rehabilitation of habitats and resources.

Esteban said that there are moves by the concerned government agencies to come up with a doable solution to comply with the High Court decision. (PNA) 
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Contractor of Calumpit bridge fails to meet deadline anew By Emil G. Gamos

CALUMPIT, Bulacan, Dec. 14 (PNA) --Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and town mayor Jessie de Jesus nearly blew their tops after learning that the contractor cannot meet its latest December deadline they earlier promised in finishing the new Calumpit bridge along the Macarthur Highway in Barangay Gatbuka here.

The governor said that this is the teenth time that both the regional office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Wing Ann Construction and Development Company have failed to meet their promised deadline.

The construction of the new bridge began in 2013 after Alvarado called the attention of the national government that the old bridge is no longer safe and could collapse like the Colgante bridge in Apalit, Pampanga.

The DPWH awarded the contract to Wing Ann Construction and Development company after making a bid of P166 million on the proposed P210 million budget for the new bridge.

The new bridge was scheduled to be finished by April 2014 but got stalled after workers discovered that there was an old structure beneath the old bridge.

No less than DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson inspected the bridge after failing the April 2014 deadline.

The governor, Mayor de Jesus and Bulacan 1st District Rep. Ma. Victoria R. Sy-Alvarado complained to the DPWH chief about the snail-paced work at the bridge construction site.

The contractor then promised that the bridge will be finished and passable by September, then October and then December 2014.

But until now, the construction of the new bridge is still half-way over the river.

“They nose-dived the bidding and after encountering structural problems, it seems that the contractor is no longer financially capable of finishing it,” the governor said.

Alvarado and mayor De Jesus are once again appealing to DPWH Secretary Singson to step into the picture again and expedite its completion.

“Our people have suffered long enough. They have waited long enough. They have to do something now and they have to make it fast,” the governor, who has to circle the neighboring province of Pampanga everyday to reach his office at the Provincial Capitol in Malolos City.

He also said that many businesses have incurred big losses already since the bridge was closed to traffic in 2013.

The bridge links Bulacan to Pampanga and other northern provinces in Central and Northern Luzon.

Mayor de Jesus said that his constituents have to cross the temporary bridge even during rainy season.

Likewise, motorcycle riders have to pay for their vehicle to ferry to the other side of the river. (PNA) 
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Alpha Phi Omega stages “Freedom Run” at Bulacan State University

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Dec. 10 (PNA)—Loud cheers reverberated at the campus of Bulacan State University (BSU) before noon Wednesday when some 40 members of the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) International Incorporated run naked during their annual “freedom run” highlighting the celebration of International Human Rights Day here.

After a short run around the campus, the hooded but naked down-waist APO members gathered around their fraternity tree at the campus, and called on the Filipino people to unite and support a collective drive for long lasting peace in the country.

Michael Francia, grand chancellor of APO in the BSU,said "Let us assert our individual and collective human right to peace and contribute to further increase the growing number of Filipinos who have, thus far, responded to the YES FOR PEACE -- Bayanihan para sa KKK (Kapayapaan, Kaunlaran at Kasaganahan) campaign.

In 1984, the United Nations General Assembly declared peace as a third generational human right.

"We are honored to have been tapped by the organizers of YES FOR PEACE to conduct the campaign among the students, faculty and non-academic personnel of our beloved university." Francia said.

"We shall earnestly conduct the campaign in January 2015 in cooperation with the administration of BSU," Francia continued.

Francia said that APO is one of the government and non-government institutions -- including the Department of Education, the Philippine Postal Corporation, the Philippine Information Agency, the Philippine News Agency, the Boy Scouts of the Philippines and the Girl Scouts of the Philippines -- that are promoting YES FOR PEACE through the Bayanihan (collective involvement and participation) spirit.

Notably, the campaign has also gained the support of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and even the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

Even former Bayan Muna party list representatives Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casiño have openly expressed their support for the peace education and advocacy initiative initiated by students of the University of the Philippines System in 1988.

Jerry Villanueva, deputy regional director of APO in its Northern Luzon Administrative Region declared that, "While we have already collectively surpassed the 10 million target, we believe that the call for permanent cessation of hostilities between government forces and armed groups must involve all Filipinos 10 years and older."

More and more Filipinos are responding to the peace initiatives spearheaded by the APO through lead organizer Ernesto A. Alcanzare, a former national executive director of APO. (PNA) 
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Bulakenyos to witness lighting of giant 'Singkaban' Christmas tree By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Nov. 27 (PNA) --Bulakenyos will witness the lighting of the huge Singkaban Christmas tree on Friday in front of the provincial capitol here, signifying the start of the yuletide celebration in the province.

Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado said the annual traditional Christmas tree lighting aims to put Christmas closer to the hearts of Bulakenyos.

Alvarado also said that the activity will encourage Bulakenyos to celebrate Christmas season with love, joy, peacefulness and forgiveness, which is the true essence of the celebration.

Standing at 50 feet, the gigantic Christmas tree is made from meticulously carved bamboo or "Singkaban", adorned with colorful decors like Christmas balls, lights and flowers.

Aside from the annual traditional Christmas tree lighting to be led by the provincial officials, Bulakenyos will also witness various programs to add color and glow to the festivity.

The first part of the program will showcase the talents of Bulakenyos in the Konsierto ng mga Artistang Bulakenyo featuring BulSU Saringhimig, BulSU Lahing Kayumanggi, Sining Bulakenyo, Talentadong Pinoy Grand-finalist Melbelyn Caluag and many more.

Also, before the countdown to the lighting ceremony, the audience will be serenaded with Christmas carols by different chorale groups.

Meanwhile, Alvarado encouraged all the Bulakenyos to help one another and share the joy and inspiration that the Christmas season brings

"The celebration of Christmas is important to every Filipino because this is the time for sharing and loving. It is nice to remember the important message of Christmas that is to thank our Lord for all the blessings," he said. (PNA) 
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Mayor offers Php300,000 reward for arrest of suspect/s in rape/slay of 14-year-old girl in Bataan town By Ernie B. Esconde

MARIVELES, Bataan, Nov. 26 (PNA) -- Mayor Jesse Concepcion of this town has offered a Php300,000 reward for any information that will lead to the arrest of the suspect/s who abducted, raped, killed and burned a 14-year- old girl here last week.

"I am strongly condemning the gruesome killing of the girl. As a father of this town and for the immediate solution of the crime, I will give Php300,000 from my own pocket as reward for those who could give vital information," Concepcion said.

The mayor expressed hope that his constituents would cooperate to put an end to such kind of crime.

He said the police are working day and night to solve the case.

"Mariveles received a national award as 'most child-friendly LGU' in 2011 and I do not want such image to be destroyed," Concepcion said.

"It is painful for me because the victim was my relative. Aside from that, it happened during my birthday," Concepcion said.

The mayor marked his 60th birthday Thursday last week.

Denielle Fereria, 14, was reportedly abducted from her school, the Llamas Memorial Institute in this town Tuesday noon last week while about to go home.

A police report said that using the victim's cellphone, the abductor/s asked for Php500,000 ransom for her release.

The burned body of the girl was found Thursday morning below a bamboo groove in Barangay Balon Anito here.

She was allegedly raped, strangulated and then placed in a sack and burned.

Supt. Raynold Rosero, Mariveles police chief, said they are on continuous follow-up operations.

“We are in talks with a witness which we hope would cooperate with the police," he said.

A big crowd, many wearing T-shirts marked “Justice for Denielle” with her picture, joined Tuesday the funeral for the slain girl.

From her residence in Barangay Bonifacio, the funeral stopped at the Llamas Memorial Institute where Denielle was in third year high school.

Her classroom was Room 6 where she sat at the first desk, third row right side.

"She was so kind and always happy. What had happened was really painful for us. We are praying that her senseless death will be given justice," said classmate Arlene Ocampo.

Joining the funeral were religious groups from the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) of Aglipay, Church of Christ, Methodist Church, students and members of different organizations in the town.

Denielle was an active member of the IFI choir and the youth organization of the church.

"We hope that justice will be given to a youth who was an active member of the church," said Franz Fuentes, president of the Youth for IFI under the Diocese of Bulacan –Bataan.

IFI parish priest of Mariveles Rev. Fr. Roderick Miranda said that through the peaceful march, it shows that the church and government can work side-by-side for the quest for justice.

"The Aglipay is wishing for an immediate resolution of the crime. This is clear violation of the rights of women and youth," said Fr. Jojit Sayas, IFI spokesman.

Former town Mayor Oscar delos Reyes, godfather and relative of the victim’s mother, blamed illegal drugs for the crime.

“This is an accountability of those who are serving. Whoever did this heinous crime should be arrested immediately," he said.

Delos Reyes said the victim’s father died some years ago, leaving wife Vina and children Denielle and a younger son. The mother still refused to be interviewed.

"What had happened is indeed so painful. All of us are seeking justice for my granddaughter," businessman Lito Rubia, a yacht maker in this town, said. (PNA) 
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Palparan presents list of 30 witnesses as against 15 prosecution witnesses in kidnapping case By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Nov.25 (PNA)--The camp of former Army Major Gen. Jovito Palparan has listed 30 witnesses vis-à-vis the 15 witnesses of the prosecution in the kidnapping with serious illegal detention case filed against the controversial retired military officer at Branch 14 of the Bulacan Regional Trial Court here.

Both camps presented the list of their witnesses to Judge Teodora Gonzales during the hearing of the case Monday.

Palparan is facing charges in connection with the disappearance of University of the Philippines students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan in Hagonoy, Bulacan in 2006 when the controversial but bemedalled military officer was then the commanding general of the Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Division based in Nueva Ecija.

His co-accused are (ret) Lt. Col. Fleipe G. Anotado and S/Sgt. Edgardo L. Osorio. A fourth suspect M/Sgt. Rizal O. Hilario is still at large.

Lawyers of Palparan told local newsmen that among the evidences they will present include the Salary Grade 28 of the controversial military general to prove that he was still in active service when the students went missing.

They claimed that Palparan cannot be charged with kidnapping because he was a military officer in active duty during that time.

They explained that Palparan should be charged at the Sandiganbayan and not at the Regional Trial Court.

However, private prosecutor lawyer Julian Oliva Jr., said that Palparan cannot use as defense his Salary Grade 28 because the kidnapping case was filed against him as a private individual and outside the scope of him being in the military service.

The court has set the next hearing on December 8 and will continue in February next year.

Meanwhile, supporters of Palparan and militant groups clashed in front of the Bulwagan ng Katarungan of the Bulacan RTC while the hearing was being heard.

The militant groups destroyed the sound system of the pro-Palparan supporters and even punched one of the ex-general’s “rah-rah” boys.

But before it could get worse, members of the Bulacan police anti-riot squad prevented them from a near “free-for-all” brawl.

The supporters of Palparan said that they will not file any charges and agreed to keep a safe distance from the militant groups every time the former holds rally during the trial of the case. (PNA) 
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BI nabs 11 illegal chinese workers

MANILA, Nov. 21 (PNA) -- Eleven Chinese nationals were arrested by Bureau of Immigration (BI) operatives in Bulacan for working in a metal fabrication company without the necessary permits.

Atty. Jose Carlitos Licas, BI Intelligence Division chief, armed with a Mission Order, led the operation at the Greenmiles former SLA Compound, Barangay Sta. Rosa 1, Marilao, Bulacan where they found the foreign nationals last November 18, 2014.

The BI said that the Chinese nationals were in the act of supervising and assisting in the operation of metal moulding and metal fabricating without the necessary visas for engaging in the said acts.

With this, authorities immediately effected a warrantless arrest on the foreign workers who were identified as Wang Zhiming, Chen Zhongji, Sze Chun Ni, Sze Mang Hung, Liu Song, Zheng Kang Yan, Wang Fanjiang, Guo Guosen, Li Chunjia, Wu Hongshun and Chen Jian Shi.

They were brought to the BI Main Office for further verification, booking and proper disposition. (PNA) 
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Bulacan town mayor denies he and his mom were involved in QC road rage

BULAKAN, Bulacan, Nov. 12 (PNA) -- Town Mayor Patrick F. Meneses on Wednesday vehemently denied that he and his mother Priscilla Meneses were involved in a road rage incident that happened along Congressional Avenue in Barangay Pasong Tamo, Quezon City last October 27.

According to a police blotter, a Land Cruiser and an Innova car belonging to the Meneses family were reported to be involved in a road rage incident with the family of UP law professor Elizabeth Pangalangan.

"If I am with them during the incident, it will never have happened, because I will never tolerate that kind of behavior or attitude. As a public servant, I have worked hard to maintain a good reputation and I respect every one, whether a constituent of mine or not. I will never condone any abuse of authority, that's why I felt disconsolate that my name has been dragged into that incident,” Meneses said.

The mayor said that he is very much aware that no one is above the law that is why he will never abuse anyone.

He said that lawmen should conduct a thorough investigation of what really happened.

“Me and my mom were not part of the alleged traffic incident involving my mother’s vehicle and her staff,” he said.

A male passenger of the Innova car, which was tailing the Land Cruiser, later got off the car, hurled invectives at Miguel Enrico, who was driving the Pangalangans’ Fortuner vehicle, and pulled out a gun.

The man was reportedly furious because the vehicle of Pangalangan, had disrupted the convoy.

The man returned to his vehicle — a silver Innova — and fled after the professor yelled at him that children were aboard her vehicle.

The UP professor later filed a complaint against Meneses and his family at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Priscilla Meneses admitted that her family owned the two vehicles involved in the incident — the Innova and a white Land Cruiser, but clarified that she was not riding in any of them at that time.

She also stressed that she and her son were not involved in the traffic altercation.

Mrs. Meneses said she had sent her driver Joel Piñon on an errand in Manila that day but denied he had security escorts with him.

Mrs. Meneses said her son, Mayor Meneses, should be spared because he was at the Bulakan town hall at the time of the incident.

“My son was not on board the vehicle and the convoy was on a personal errand when the supposed traffic incident took place,” she said.

She identified the driver of the Innova that cut the path of the Pangalangans’ vehicle as Joel Piñon.

The Pangalangans believe that the unidentified gun-wielding man was a security escort of the passengers in the Land Cruiser.

But more than a week after the incident and despite the identification of the vehicles as those of the Meneses family, the identity of the gun-toting man remains a mystery.

Recently, the Pangalangan family went to Camp Karingal to identify the suspects in a police lineup.

The lineup included a police escort assigned to Mrs. Meneses and two Bulacan policemen assigned to the Bulacan mayor.

But the Pangalangans said the gun wielder was not in the lineup.

The Pangalangans had already filed a complaint at the NBI against the Meneses --mother and son, Piñon and several John Does.

“We want to make it clear with the family of the Proffessor Pangalangan that we were not in any way involved in that incident and it will have never happened if we were on board in any of our cars during that time,” the mayor added. (PNA) 
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Notorious drug pusher in Bulacan falls

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Nov. 5 (PNA) -- A notorious shabu pusher was apprehended Tuesday by agents of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 3 (PDEA3) and Regional Anti-Illegal Drug Special Operation Task Group 3 (RAIDTF3) in a buy-bust operation in Barangay Lulumboy, Bocaue, Bulacan.

PDEA3 director Jeoffrey Tacio identified the arrested suspect as Banjo Garcia alias “Gary,” 27, and a resident of Barangay San Gabriel, Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

Garcia was arrested after selling a transparent heat-sealed sachet containing methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu to a poser buyer of PDEA3 agent, Tacio said.

Confiscated from his possessions were four large sachet of shabu with an estimated weight of 100 grams and street value of Php280,000.

Also confiscated from the suspect's possession are 10 pieces of Php100 bill, Tacio said.

He said that charges for the possessions of illegal drugs are being prepared for filing in court against Garcia.

PDEA director general Arturo Cacdac Jr., commended the operatives of PDEA3 for another high impact operation. (PNA) 
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Bulakenos flock to cemeteries to remember departed loved ones

MARILAO, Bulacan Nov. 1 (PNA) -- Bulakenos has started to flock to the different cemeteries here in the province of Bulacan early Saturday in observance of All Saints' and All Souls' Days.

Local government units (LGUs) here tightened the security as number of policemen and barangay volunteers were deployed in cemeteries.

Likewise, private cemeteries have increased the number of security guards roving inside cemeteries to ensure peace and order in observance of 'Undas'.

Traditionally, Bulakenos visit tombs of their departed loved ones every 1st of November -- rather than November 2 -- despite this day is for the commemoration of saints of the Catholic Church.

Meanwhile, prices of flowers further increase Saturday with increments ranging from Php30 to Php100.

A vendor said prices of flowers will start to decline by evening.

Small merchandises also built their stalls inside and outside cemeteries.

However, it was observed that prices of goods they are selling also increased even beyond suggested retail prices (SRPs) particularly for basic goods including candles and bottled water.

Department of Trade and Industry Consumer Protection Group (DTI-CPG) Undersecretary Victorio Marjo A. Dimagiba already reminded retailers and consumers that there should be no increase in prices of goods, particularly for basic commodities.(PNA) 
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Four robbers killed in Bulacan shootout

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 31 (PNA) -- Police scored anew in the fight against criminal gangs, killing four members of a robbery group during a firefight in front of the “Palayan sa Nayon Cooperative” office in Barangay Ligas here on Friday morning.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina said three of the suspects died on the spot after engaging policemen in a shootout where a local resident and a police officer were wounded.

Divina said the other suspect who was driving the alleged get-away car, a Toyota Vios with plate number PN-TOK 561 was killed after shooting it out with a pursuing police team at the Malolos Crossing in Barangay Guinhawa here.

Divina said the Malolos police headed by Supt. Arwin Tadeo earlier received information that a robbery group will conduct a heist at the said area.

He said Tadeo deployed a team of intelligence operatives to the area and when the armed gangmen alighted from their car with their guns drawn, the operatives asked them to drop their firearms and yield.

However, the gangmen opened fire at them, hitting a police officer on board a police patrol vehicle, prompting the other cops to return fire.

This was the second time in the city this month that armed criminals were killed in shootout with responding policemen.

Last October 14, two suspected motorcycle thieves were slain in a shootout with lawmen.

City Mayor Christian D. Natividad sent a strong message to crime groups that they are not welcome in this city.

“We will welcome them with just force if they tried to do their illicit activities here and try to harm our citizens. They have no place here,” he said.

Meanwhile, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado commended the Bulacan police and the Malolos Police for their bravery and vigilance.

"Our policemen are prepared and ready against lawless elements who will create trouble in our province," Alvarado said, adding that the Bulacan police is out to do its job in ridding the province of lawless elements. (PNA) 
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Two police officers wounded in hostage taking incident at NLEX

GUIGUINTO, Bulacan, Oct. 20 (PNA) -- Two police officers were wounded but managed to save the lives of two passengers of a Manila bound bus after a man armed with a bladed weapon took them as hostages along the Sta. Rita exit of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) in Barangay Sta. Rita here on Monday morning.

Supt. Ernesto Cruz, Guiguinto police chief, identified the wounded police officers as Supt. Frankie Candelario and Senior Inspector Isagani Santos while the hostage taker was identified as Lauro Sanchez, 35, shoe vendor and resident of Agoncillo, Batangas.

Investigators said Sanchez boarded the Everlasting Transport Corporation bus in Tuguerarao, Cagayan.

When the bus reached the Sta. Rita exit at NLEX, Sanchez suddenly grabbed a male passenger and at knife point held him as hostage.

The bus driver stopped the bus and together with the bus conductor and some passengers were able to left the bus unharmed but 13 other passengers were left inside with the hostage taker.

It was at this point that security personnel of NLEX secured the area and at the same time, called for police assistance.

A joint team from the Guiguinto police headed by Cruz and members of the Bulacan PNP SWAT and Provincial Public Safety Company arrived and began negotiating with the hostage taker.

One of the demands was to bring members of the media.

Cruz said the two officers earlier posed as mediamen but Sanchez changed his mind and instead asked for a car.

It was at this point that the male hostage managed to break lose from Sanchez who then grabbed a female passenger.

The police team circled a bus and one of the passengers signaled that the auxiliary door is open.

The police team managed to get inside and was able to save the female passenger.

Cruz said the two police officers sustained minor wounds when they wrestled the knife from Sanchez

No other passengers was hurt.

Cruz said that the suspect later told investigators that he was receiving death threats and made him to do what he did.

The suspect is now under the custody of the Guiguinto police while appropriate charges are being readied for filing against him. (PNA) 
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Cases of 'hot meat' smuggling in Bulacan decline

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 9 (PNA) -- Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Thursday commended the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) and local government units (LGUs) for significantly scoring against the proliferation of hot meat in the province.

Alvarado said that it is in this time of the year when meats are in high demand for the coming Yuletide celebrations, thus "cases of hot meat smuggling proliferate."

“But those days are gone. I thank our Task Force: Botcha and the support of our local and village officials for doing a good job by being vigilant and always on guard for violators,” he said.

The governor cited that the passage of the provincial ordinance against hot meat has given more teeth in its enforcement as well as the massive information campaign and community participation to neutralize the selling the double dead meats in the markets.

Alvarado also said that the provincial government, through the PVO, has intensified its commitment to ensure healthy and safe meat consumption of every Bulakenyos as part of the celebration of Meat Safety Consciousness Week this coming October 20-24, 2014.

Anchored on the theme, “Kaligtasan ng Mamamayan at Katuwang sa Kalakalan,” the provincial government, in cooperation with the LGUs, are all set to increase checkpoints and conduct series of meat monitoring and inspection in different public markets and slaughterhouses in Bulacan.

Likewise, he said they will conduct series of meat inspection with the help of PVO, Bulacan Provincial Police Office, and Provincial Public Safety Company to assure the Bulakenyos that the meat and meat products they buy are safe, fit for human consumption, and free from any contamination.

“We are working hand in hand to continuously enforce and intensify our battle against the illegal trading of double-dead meat in the province and we will continue to safeguard the public’s health by strict monitoring and inspection of meat and meat products in the markets,” the governor said.

Alvarado said the celebration aims to create public awareness about the government’s vigorous efforts to ensure healthy, sanitary and safe practices in the production and consumption of meat and meat products in the country.

Provincial veterinarian Dr. Voltaire Basinang, meanwhile, confirmed that there was a significant decrease in cases of hot meat smuggling this year compared to previous years.

“There is a significant dive, it’s almost zero this year,” he said.

Basinang said the provincial ordinance otherwise known as the Provincial Hot Meat Ordinance, which prohibits the transport and distribution of double-dead meat, is strictly being implemented with the cooperation of the provincial government.

He also reminded everyone that vehicles carrying meats should have livestock handlers license from the Department of Agriculture and animal traders should also have veterinary health certificate from licensed veterinarians with shipping permits from the PVO.

He also advised the public to look for the seal of inspection and meat inspection certificate before buying from any meat vendor.

The celebration is pursuant to the Proclamation No. 276 signed by former president Fidel V. Ramos, declaring every third week of October as Meat Safety Consciousness Week, which is the stepping stone of the government to fulfill a vision of a healthy and better life for every Filipino. (PNA) 
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Gov’s task force recommends transfer and construction of new Bulacan provincial jail By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 6 (PNA) -- Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Monday said the provincial government is set to seek the help of the national government to decongest the overcrowded Bulacan Provincial Jail (BPJ) as the number of inmates continue to swell to more than 3,000 when it only has a capacity to hold 400 to 700 detainees.

The governor made the move after seeing the conditions of inmates at the BPJ and after reading the recommendation of the task force, he studied solutions to what he described as “a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.”

“The present condition of inmates at the provincial jail is no longer bearable. It is about time we build a new bigger provincial penitentiary,” he said.

Alvarado said that the swelling of inmates at the BPJ is due to the all out campaign of the Bulacan police against crime, thus sending wrongdoers—mostly those with drug related cases—behind bars.

”Even if we continue to pour all-out efforts to make our provincial jail an ideal place for reformation, it is still in vain because of overcrowding. No matter how the five Pillars of Justice doubled their efforts in fast-tracking their cases, it is still not enough because they keep on increasing on a daily basis,” he added.

The governor said he will bring the matter to the attention of the national government, based on the recommendation of the task force he commissioned to address the problem.

Alvarado said that the task force has recommended to search for a new site-- an ideal place to build a more spacious jail where the inmates can exercise, plant vegetables, raise livestock and meditate as part of their reformation.

“Even if they are prisoners, they should be provided with a more humane living condition and not be like sardines," he said.

He said that it would entail a bigger budget to build a new penitentiary with better facilities but the present situation shows that it has to be done.

Aside from looking for a new site to build a more spacious provincial jail, Alvarado also said that the task force is also considering the proposal of the Sangguniang Panglalawigan to build district jails in the four congressional districts of the province.

“We are studying all possibilities but we need the help of the national government in constructing a new jail with better facilities which the provincial government will manage,” he added. (PNA) 
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Colorful floats, street plays to highlight Bulacan's 'Singkaban Fiesta 2014'

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Sept. 6 (PNA) -- Street plays depicting the province’s glorious past and colorful floats will highlight the opening ceremonies of the annual week-long Singkaban Festival also known as “Linggo ng Bulakan” on Monday.

The festival also coincides with the feast day of the Immaculate Concepcion of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the patron saint at the Basilica Minore (formerly the Malolos Cathedral) here.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that the festivity will kick-off with a flag ceremony and prayers at 7 a.m. on Monday in front of the provincial capitol.

He said that Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV will be present to grace the occasion, which is being held every second week of September and will culminate on September 15 to commemorate the anniversary of the historic Malolos Congress at the Barasoain Church.

Alvarado said that this year’s “Singkaban Festival” will carry the theme “Arkong Kawayan Sagisag ng Sining at Kalinangan ng Bulacan.”

The opening program will be followed by a civic parade that will be highlighted by street plays depicting the rich historic past of the province.

Colorful floats will also pass through the historic streets of Malolos from the Basilica Minore to the provincial capitol.

At 10 a.m., Alvarado, Aquino and Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando will formally open the “Dakilang Bulakenyo at Lakan Sining Exhibits”, Regional Trade Fair, Bulacan Food Festival Exposition (BUFFEX), and the Expanded Bulacan Pasalubong Center at the Gusaling Gat Blas Ople, Hiyas Pavilion, Bulacan Trade, Tourism and Business Assistance Center at the capitol compound here.

Alvarado also said that the Singkaban Festival will also be formally opened simultaneous in the different congressional districts of the province.

The governor is inviting everyone to witness and be a part of the celebration of the grand history and colorful tradition of Bulacan.

"Let us reminisce the colorful and historical past of our noble province and we will do this as our guide towards bountiful future," Alvarado added. (PNA) 
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Escudero alarmed by series of kidnappings; wants PNP to explain

MANILA, Sept. 2 (PNA) – Alarmed by the rising cases of kidnapping in the country, Sen. Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero on Tuesday said he will verify the reports in the Senate hearing on the proposed Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) budget for 2015.

”I will verify if the reports are true that the kidnapping is on the rise in our country, specially in Metro Manila,” Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on finance, said in a Senate media interview.

Escudero has also put to task the Philippine National Police (PNP) to step up its campaign to arrest the perpetrators in order to allay fears of a restive public.

Escudero said crimes brazenly done in broad daylight is an indication of the criminals’ contempt for law and order and a clear mockery of police authorities.

“Why are criminals so emboldened nowadays to perpetrate their crimes in public? Why do these things happen under the noses of our police authorities?” Escudero asked.

“I have received feedback from friends who have witnessed kidnappings or relatives of victims who have been subjected to abduction and have paid ransom for their releases. There’s a segment of the community who is already in panic and there must be a concrete action to abate these crimes and prevent the spread of alarm among the public,” he said.

Recent incidents of kidnap-for-ransom have been reported with the perpetrators even killing their victims, according to the senator from Bicol.

Last week, Chinese-Filipino businessman Benito Chao was snatched in Bulacan and was found dead hours after. The kidnappers were reported to have asked for a P20-million ransom but a series of negotiations by the family has brought it down to P15 million.

Just last Monday, a photo went viral showing a group of heavily-armed men appeared to be forcing passengers of one vehicle at gun point to get out while in the middle of EDSA. When police authorities arrived, they gunmen were gone.

“These are crimes that do not even hide under the cloak of darkness anymore. It is very disturbing. These are the reported ones, but I am sure there are more which have remained unreported by the victims and their families out of fear of retaliation from their aggressors,” Escudero said.

“I ask the PNP to intensify its campaign against criminals and beef up security to protect the public. The people need to be assured that they can walk our streets to and from their homes,” he added. (PNA)
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Bulacan gov creates special committee for improvement of jail management system

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Sept. 1 (PNA) -- Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado has created a special jail oversight committee that would assess the implementation of the penitentiary guidelines and programs at the Bulacan Provincial Jail (BPJ).

The governor said that the provincial government is determined to improve the jail facilities and to develop standards for jail operations in line with the noble crusade of the institution to enhance and strengthen its reliability.

“We are in a battle for a good cause of upgrading the provincial jail and the strict implementation of the regulations is the best way to improve the management system,” Alvarado said.

He also said that the provincial government, BPJ and the Five Pillars of Justice work hand-in-hand in the criminal investigation and immediate movement of the cases of almost 3,000 prisoners incarcerated in the provincial jail.

Meanwhile, BPJ warden Lt. Col. Pepito Plamenco, together with the committee head, provincial administrator Eugenio Payongayong have examined the penitentiary guidelines and assessed the implementation of additional security measures such as the Task Force Droga and Task Force Magdalena that are against the entry of illegal drugs and prostitution in the jail premises.

“We are implementing the penitentiary guidelines based on the seven point agenda of the administration and this is our strategy for an organized care and treatment program for inmates to have a chance of a meaningful life after imprisonment,” Plamenco said.

He also said that they conduct livelihood trainings like the abaca and buntal hat weaving that serves as the source of income of the inmates for their SSS Alkansya Program.

He said that there are also regular lectures and seminars on drug rehabilitation, dental and medical missions, sports activities and worship programs intended for the inmates.

“We are strictly implementing our guidelines, we conduct weekly searching in different cells and we are focused on the implementation of security measures,” Plamenco added.

The governor, meanwhile, is encouraging all sectors of the provincial government to support the ongoing enhancement of the provincial jail. (PNA) 
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Pre-trial of Palparan’s case moved to Sept. 8

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Sept 1 (PNA) -- The pre-trial of the kidnapping case with serious illegal detention against retired Army Major Gen. Jovito Palparan was reset by the court Monday next week pending the hearing of the two motions filed by the lawyer of the controversial military officer last Friday.

Bulacan RTC Branch 14 Judge Teodora Gonzales on Monday said the court will first decide on the “motion for reconsideration for change of custody” and a “motion to quash information” filed by Palparan’s camp last week.

Militant groups and pro-Palparan supporters were again present at the Bulawagan ng Katarungan compound here.

A phalanx of government security forces, including civil disturbance units of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office, were also deployed to prevent tension and untoward incident, according to Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina.

Palparan is facing charges of kidnapping with serious illegal detention in connection to the missing UP students Karen Empeño and Shierlyn Cadapan.

Palparan said he is requesting the court to transfer him to the custody of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) where he said he will safer.

He said he is more comfortable there because he and the AFP has common enemy -- the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Palparan stressed that the threat to his life is real and insisted that he is an “easy target” because it was confirmed by his camp that there are at least communist rebels also detained at Bulacan Provincial Jail (BPJ) here.

Aside from this, Palparan said that the SWAT team from the Philippine National Police (PNP) assigned to secure him has other important obligation in the maintenance of peace and order.

Palparan was committed to the BPJ after Judge Gonzales junked his earlier motion to stay detention at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) shortly after he was arrested and presented in court more than a week ago.

In filing the motion to quash information, Palparan said that they are requesting the court to conduct preliminary investigation because the kidnapping with serious illegal detention is wrong.

He explained that the allegation that he kidnapped the two students was filed when he was still in active military service.

He said that the case of kidnapping should not be filed to an active member of the military but only to individual citizen.

Palparan also said that there was no ransom money demanded based to the testimonies of the families of the missing UP student, thus, there is no case of kidnapping.(PNA) 
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Palparan files two motions before Bulacan RTC - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 30 (PNA)--More than a week has passed since retired Army Major General Jovito Palparan was detained inside the Bulacan Provincial Jail but the controversial military officer continues to fear for his life.

The once fierce general said that the threat to his life continues to grow every day prompting his lawyers to file Friday a “motion for reconsideration for change of custody” and a “motion to quash Information” before the sala of Bulacan RTC Judge Teodora Gonzales.

Palparan is facing charges of kidnapping with serious illegal detention in connection to missing UP students Karen Empeño and Shierlyn Cadapan.

Palparan said he is requesting the court to transfer him to the custody of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) where he said he will be safer.

He said he is more comfortable there because he and the AFP has common enemy—the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Palparan stressed that the threat to his life is real and insisted that he is an “easy target” because it was confirmed by his camp that there are at least communist rebels also detained at the provincial penitentiary.

Aside from this, Palparan said that the SWAT team from the Philippine National Police assigned to secure him has other important obligations in the maintenance of peace and order.

"I am safer at the AFP headquarters and the policemen assigned to secure me can do their other tasks," he said.

In filing the motion to quash information, Palparan said that they are requesting the court to conduct preliminary investigation because the kidnapping with serious illegal detention is wrong.

He explained that the allegation that he kidnapped the two students was filed when he was still in active military service.

He said that the case of kidnapping should not be filed against an active member of the military but only against individual citizens.

Palparan also said that there was no ransom money demanded based on the testimonies of the families of the missing UP student, so there is no case of kidnapping. 

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PRO-3 joins the 11th Police Service Anniversary celebration

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Aug. 26 (PNA) -- The Police Regional Office 3 (PRO3) on Tuesday joined in the commemoration of the 113th Police Service Anniversary held at the parade ground here.

Aurora Governor Gerardo A. Noveras served as the guest of honor and speaker in the celebration with a theme “Pulisya Kaagapay ang mamamayan para sa patuloy na Kapayapaan at Kaunlaran” which aptly manifests the Philippine National Police's (PNP) and PRO3’s continuing partnership with the community for sustained proficiency and excellence in law enforcement towards a stable peace and order particularly in Central Luzon.

The activity was highlighted with the giving of recognition to deserving PNP personnel and best units in the region as well as special awards to local government officials, AFP counterparts and civilian sectors, including the tri-media who have contributed vastly to the upliftment of PNP-PRO3.

Among the awardees were Senior Superintendent Crizaldo Nieves of Nueva Ecija Police provincial director, Achievement Award in the Field of Police Administration (PCO Level); SPO1 Ma Catalina D. Manarang - Achievement Award in the Field of Police Administration (PNCO Level); Chief Inspector Melvin Montante, Chief of Intelligence Division, Achievement Award in the Field of Police Operations (PCO Level); SPO1 Rhodora D. Cortez -Achievement Award in the Field of Police Operations (PNCO Level); Inspector Napoleon Cruz - Achievement Award in the Field of Criminal Investigation (PCO Level);

PO3 Rodel M Borja - Achievement Award in the Field of Criminal Investigation (PNCO Level); Superintendent Roldan Luna- Achievement Award in the Field of Intelligence (PCO Level); SPO1 Dominador M. Canlas - Achievement Award in the Field of Intelligence (PNCO Level); Inspector Alipio Villavicencio- Achievement Award in the Field of General Support (PCO Level); PO3 Augustine M. Ingaw - Achievement Award in the Field of General Support (PNCO Level); NUP Cynthia Q. Placido - Achievement Award in the Field of General Support (NUP Supervisory Level); and, NUP Nestor H Soro - Achievement Award in the Field of General Support (NUP Non- Supervisory Level).

Other PNP personnel who were awarded with Medalya ng Kagalingan are Superintendent Roginalda Francisco; PO3 Mylin G. De Guzman; SPO3 Rommel L Manansala; and, PO1 Ronnie G. Tamalian Jr.

The awardees for best police units include the following: Gerona Municipal Police Station - Recognition for the Unit with Notable Accomplishment Beyond the Rating Period (CPS/MPS Level); Meycauayan City Police Station - Achievement Award for the Solution of Sensational Criminal Case (MPS/CPS Level);

Tarlac Provincial Public Safety Company - Achievement Unit Award in the Campaign Against Insurgency (PPSC/CPSC Level); Regional Crime Laboratory Office 3 - Achievement Award in the Field of Forensic Investigation; Regional Health Service 3 - Best Regional Administrative Support Unit; Regional Highway Patrol Unit 3 - Best Regional Operations Support Unit;

Bulacan Police Provincial Office - Recognition for the Unit with Notable Accomplishment on Disaster, Rescue and Relief Operations (PPO/CPO Level); and Nueva Ecija Police Provincial Office - Recognition for the Unit with the Most Number of Firearms Accounted during the Election Period (PPO/CPO Level) and Recognition for the Unit with Notable Accomplishment in the Campaign against Illegal Drugs (PPO/CPO Level).

Noveras, in his message, lauded the men and women of PRO3 for continuously doing their jobs efficiently.

After the ceremony, a simple gathering was held at the PRO3 Multi-Purpose Hall which was attended by PRO3 Police Commissioned and Non-Commissioned Officers, non-uniformed personnel and guests. (PNA) 
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PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group, Interpol-HK police probe “cyber sextortion” operations in Bulacan - By Emil G. Gamos

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, Aug 24 (PNA)--The Interpol-Hong Kong police is closely coordinating with the Philippine National Police (PNP) in investigating the alleged multi-million dollar money laundering operation of a Bulacan-based international ‘cyber-blackmail’ and extortion syndicate that has raked in more than $ 100-million using minors.

Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta, Central Luzon Police Regional director, said that this cropped up after the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group (PACG), in coordination with Interpol-Hong Kong police busted the gang with the arrest of eight suspects, including its female leader in a series of operations conducted in several suspected lairs in San Jose Del Monte City and Norzagaray town.

Petrasanta identified the gang’s leader as Ma. Cecilia Caparas-Regalachuela, who owns two Western Union branches in the province of Bulacan.

Also arrested was Regalachuela’s daughter, Marcel Jing.

Sr. Supt. Gilbert Sosa, PNP-PACG chief, tagged Regalachuela as ‘queen’ of the ‘sextortion’ syndicate after they rescued five minors, all gays, from the gang’s lair in San Jose Del Monte City Thursday night.

Based on the complaint of Interpol-Hong Kong Police Loue Kwan, the group has victimized 477 and has netted some $ 4 million Hong Kong dollars last year alone.

In Macau, 375 cases have been reported.

Their modus: A suspect will pose as an attractive female on Facebook and request a prospective victim to add her as ‘friend’.

After establishing acquaintance through private messages with their ‘target’, the suspect will lure him to use video call softwares such as Skype, Viber, among others.

During the video call, the victim is enticed to get naked and provoked to perform lewd acts in front of the web camera which are, unknowingly, recorded by the syndicate.

After capturing sufficient lewd video footages, the call will be terminated.

Thereafter, the victim will receive threatening messages in Facebook that the videos will be posted in his wall or sent to his friends and relatives unless he shells out cash to the suspect.

The victim would then be instructed to deposit an initial amount of HK$ 3,000 (P135,000) through the Western Union or the video will be uploaded.

Sr. Supt. Ferdinand Divina, Bulacan PNP provincial director, said seized from six separate houses being used by the syndicate were 13 laptops, several cellphones, passports, pocket wi-fi devices, several storage and network devices and at least 11 motor vehicles.

Divina said the arrested suspects will be charged with robbery/extortion, violation of RA 10364 (Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act) in relation to RA 10175 or Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

The police described the latest operations against internet-based criminal syndicates as “Strikeback II – Codename Goya”.

Goya is a colloquial term among gays meaning chocolates, sweets, to allure prospective and gullible male-victims who are easily attracted to sexy Facebook accounts.

According to Kwan, the syndicate has already been in operation even prior to the passage of the cybercrime law in the country.

It was estimated that more than $ 50 million has already been scooped by the gang from victims all over Hong Kong, Taipei, Macau, Singapore and the USA. (PNA) 
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Aftermath of drowning tragedy: Old folk believe river in San Miguel, Bulacan is “enchanted” - By Emil G. Gamos

SAN MIGUEL, Bulacan, Aug 24 (PNA)--Alluring, mystical and deadly.

This is how old residents in this historic town describe the mystical beauty of the mountains of Biak-na-Bato and its pristine crystal clear rivers.

Old folks here still believe that the pristine beauty of the Madlum river and the mountains at the Biak-na-bato national park are enchanted and still inhabited by “super natural beings” who were angered by the massive destruction of the mountains due to irresponsible mining and illegal logging operations.

These legends and tall tales cropped-up anew after seven tourism students of the Bulacan State University died when they were swept away by raging waters cascading from the mountains while trekking the pristine but dangerous river Tuesday last week.

Residents in the area said that this was not the first time that the river claimed the lives of people.

In 2004, eight youths also died while exploring the scenic river.

Like the tragic incident that befell the ill-fated tourism students last week, the victims in 2004 were also swept away by the sudden avalance of raging waters from the mountains.

"According to the old folk, the fairies are crying and when they are crying, the strong rains are pouring that result to the rampaging waters," said veteran Bulakenyo journalist Cecilio Franista, president of the Bulacan Press Club and a native of this town.

Franista said he still remembers the warnings of his grand parents.

"My grandparents told us before that we should always pay respect when we are in that area and be cautious because the rivers were claiming lives," he said.

He said that he cannot comment if the legends are true but he believes that the raging flashflood can also be the result of the wanton destruction of the rain forest in the mountains of Biak-na-Bato due to intensive mining and illegal logging activities.

He said that the mountains of Biak-na-Bato is gifted with deposits of the rare but expensive tea rose marble that can only be found in the said mountains.

The mining of the tea rose marble was only stopped after Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado issued an executive order banning the extraction of mineral deposits in the area, Franista added.

Biak-na-Bato National Park is a protected area of the country that extends to the nearby municipalities of San Ildefonso and Dona Remedioas Trinidad covering a total area of 2,117 hectares.

It was declared a national park in 1937 by President Manuel Luis Quezon by virtue of its association with the history and site of the Biak-na-Bato republic.

The park consists of a cave network and a system of rivers and trails of both historical and ecological importance.

Situated only 80 kilometers northeast of Manila it is fast becoming a popular weekend eco-adventure destination for the city dwellers.

Biak-na-Bato National Park is centered on a mountain gorge sliced by the Balaong River in the Sierra Madre mountain range.

More than a hundred caves of varying sizes and crystalline mineral formations are spread across the park.

Among the most explored caves are the Aguinaldo Cave, once the headquarters of President Emilio Aguinaldo, and the Bahay Paniki or Bat Cave, said to be home of at least six species of winged mammals: kabag-kabag, ngusong kabayo, bungisngis, sibsib, bayakan and pakibu.

In wake of the recent tragedy at the river, Alvarado issued an executive order banning field trips at the said river, especially during rainy season.

He also said that plans are underway to put a range gauge warning system where sirens will blare when surge of rain waters begin cascading to the river.

He also said warning signs will place in the said areas.

Police are still investigating the recent drowning incident at the Madlum river. (PNA) 
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'Sextortion' syndicate busted in Bulacan 
By Priam F. Nepomuceno

MANILA, Aug. 22 (PNA) -- Operatives from the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) together with other law enforcement agencies have successfully neutralized a "sextortion" syndicate during operations in San Juan Del Monte and Norzagaray, Bulacan Thursday.

Eight suspects were arrested in the operation called "Operation Strikeback 2" which was spearheaded by the ACG along with Police Regional Office 3, Special Action Force and Interpol. Recovered from the former were 106 pieces of electronic devices reportedly used in their illegal activities.

Also rescued in this law enforcement operation were five minors, ACG spokesperson Chief Insp. Jhoanna Gracia Manlapaz-Fabro said.

"Strikeback2" is a follow up operation of "Strikeback" which took place last April and resulted in the arrest of 58 suspects.

It highlights a strong international cooperation, collaboration and coordination in dealing with cybercrime.

She added that the operation stemmed from the complaint received by ACG from sextortion victims based in Hong Kong.

A series of surveillance operations were conducted in Norzagaray and San Jose Del Monte Bulacan and confirmed the existence of such illegal activities.

Fabro said two of the arrested suspects were identified as Ma. Cecilia Caparas-Regalachuela, the reported ringleader, and her daughter Marcel Jing Caparas-Regachuela, the owner of two Western Union branches in Bulacan which the syndicate uses as remittance agency for their "sextortion" money. (PNA) 
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Senior house officer seeks criminal probe into BSU field trip tragedy - By Sammy F. Martin

MANILA, Aug. 22 (PNA) -- Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo on Friday has called for criminal and administrative investigations into the drowning of seven Bulacan State University (BSU) students during a school-sanctioned excursion.

“We are counting on the authorities to get to the bottom of the horrible tragedy, and to take the appropriate actions against those accountable for possible criminal negligence,” said Romulo, chairman of the House committee on higher and technical education.

“We want answers. Just like the parents of the victims, we want to know why their sons and daughters were recklessly exposed to such extreme danger in the course of what should have been a trouble-free school outing,” he pointed out.

“Our hearts go out to the families of the victims, and our thoughts and prayers are with them,” he added.

The seven BSU students drowned on Tuesday when a flash flood swept them as they were crossing the Madlum River during a field study at the Biak-na-Bato National Park in San Miguel, Bulacan.

The victims were part of group of about 180 BSU Tourism students on the school jaunt.

“Way back in September 2004, eight people on a picnic, mostly children and teenagers, were also swept away when the Madlum River suddenly burst its banks due to rapid flooding,” Romulo pointed out.

“The river and its banks are clearly unsafe, especially during the rainy season. The students should not have been there at this time of the year,” he stressed.

The veteran lawmaker urged universities to exercise effective guardianship of their students during off campus educational activities, saying their safety should be assured at all times.

A Commission on Higher Education official earlier said those found responsible for the tragedy may face criminal, civil and administrative charges.

The dead students were identified as Mikhail Alcantara, Philip Rodney Alejo, Maiko Bartolome, Michelle Ann Rose Bonzo, Helena Marcelo, Madel Navarro and Jeanette Rivera.

The BSU has already formed a committee “to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances of the tragedy.” The school has also vowed “to take decisive measures” based on the panel’s findings.

The University has expressed its condolences to the bereaved families and offered them immediate assistance. (PNA) 
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Bulacan State University officials to help probe into drowning incident - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug 22 (PNA)--Officials of the Bulacan State University (BulSU) will help in the investigation of the drowning incident that killed seven of their tourism students in San Miguel town last Tuesday afternoon.

BulSU president Dr. Mariano De Jesus said that a committee was already formed to help in the ongoing probe.

At the same time, De Jesus said that BulSU will give full support to the victims and survivors of the field trip that turned into a tragedy.

“We will help in the investigation of this unfortunate incident. Meantime I am calling every one to pray for our beloved students,” he said.

Students and faculty members of BulSU will hold a prayer vigil where they will light candles after a holy mass in a show of sympathy for the victims.

On Thursday, the body of the seventh fatality, ex-EB Babe Maiko Eleva Ison Bartolome was found under a big rock where she might have been trapped and covered with logs.

Rescuers could not easily penetrate that location because of a deep portion of a Madlum cave surrounded by trees.

The bodies of students Mikhail Alcantara, Phil Rodney Alejo, Michelle Ann Rose Bonzo, and Helena Marcelo were recovered on Tuesday afternoon. The following day, the remains of Jenette Rivera and Madel Navarro were found.

Two other students who also crossed the river, identified as Daniel Cunanan and Thea Hernandez, were rescued and survived.

The victims were among the tourism students who joined a field trip at the historic Madlum cave where Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo established the headquarters of Filipino Revolutionaries during the Philippine-Spanish war.

It is now being investigated why no teachers accompanied the students who trekked the then calm river before a torrent of cascading water swept them away at the height of a sudden down pour.

The Commission on Higher Education said BulSU may have been careless in following procedures when conducting a field trip.

It said the school failed to submit the proper paperwork, which includes a risk assessment of the educational trip.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, who personally supervised the search and rescue operation since Tuesday, has issued an executive order banning field trips at the scenic but accident prone tourist spot until the local government can ensure that it is safe for the public. (PNA) 
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(Update) Death toll in Biak na Bato drowning rises to 5; search continues for 2 missing - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 20 (PNA) -- The death toll in the Monday drowning incident at the Madlum river in San Miguel town rose to five Wednesday morning as rescuers continue to search for the two other missing tourism students of Bulacan State University.

The first year tourism students of Bulacan State University were swept away by raging waters triggered by a sudden downpour on Monday afternoon.

Latest reports from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said that the body of Janet Rivera was retrieved around 10:20 am Wednesday several miles away from where the students were swept away by the rampaging current.

As of press time, two others are still missing, according to Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado who cancelled previous engagements to personally lead the search and rescue operations since Tuesday.

The subject of the search and rescue operation are Madel Navarro and Maico Bartolome.

Meanwhile, the four students whose bodies were retrieved Tuesday afternoon were identified as Michael Alcantara, Michelle Banzil, Helena Marcelo and Sean Alejo.

In the wake of the accident, Alvarado issued an executive order banning field trips and trekking activities at the said river.

“While the pristine waters within the Biak-na-Bato national park continues to allure tourists, we must not discount the dangers that sudden rains in the mountains could bring,” the governor said adding, that warning signs and precautionary measures should be put in proper places to ensure that accidents would not happen again.

Residents in the area said that the river always become “wild and raging” every time heavy rains fall in the mountains of Biak-Na-Bato, where massive extraction of the rare but expensive tea rose marble took place more than four years ago.

The mining of the expensive marble was only stopped when Alvarado assumed post as governor in 2010.

Initial reports received by the PDRRMO said that four buses carrying tourism students of the BSU went on a field trip at the historical Biak-na-Bato caves.

PDRRM executive officer Liz Mungcal said that while trekking the river near the Madlum cave, the river suddenly rose and swept away the students.

The river is full of big boulders and limestone that are highly dangerous when the river gets swollen with strong raging current. (PNA) 
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4 Bulacan students drown, 2 rescued, 2 missing at Biak-na-Bato park - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan Aug.20(PNA)-- Four students of the Bulacan State University drowned while two were rescued and two others missing after they were carried off by strong currents while crossing the river at the Biak-na-Bato National Park in San Miguel town Tuesday afternoon.

Reports received by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said that four tourism buses carrying tourism students of the BSU went on a field trip at the historical Biak-na-Bato caves.

PDRRM executive officer Liz Mungcal said that while trekking the river near the Madlum cave, the river suddenly rose and swept away eight students.

Mungcal said rescuers were able to find six of the students but four of them were already dead while the two others were given first aid treatment and were then brought to the nearest hospital.

Rescuers are still trying to find the two other students.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that additional rescue teams from the San Miguel MDRRMO, Army Scout Rangers and Bulacan rescue are now also helping in the search and possible rescue of the two missing students.

Local residents said that water cascading from the mountains of Biak-na-bato occasionally triggers flashfloods with strong currents when heavy rains pour .(PNA) 
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Palparan “sleepless” on his first night at the Bulacan Provincial Jail - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 19 (PNA)--A tired and weary-looking retired Army major General Jovito Palparan on Tuesday said he still fears for his life inside the Bulacan Provincial Jail (BPJ).

In an interview inside his cell, Palparan said he has a hard time sleeping on his first night at the BPJ.

“The threat to my life is real. I still feel that I would not last here long. I hope the court will reconsider my request to stay at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) detention cell where I feel comfortable,” he said.

Palparan was committed to a cell at the BPJ that he now shares with 72- year old inmate Edgardo Franscisco after Bulacan Regional Trial Court Branch 14 Judge Teodora Gonzales junked his petition to allow him to stay at the NBI detention cell during his arraignment Monday morning.

The court entered a “not guilty” plea after Palparan did not make a comment because according to his lawyer Narzal Mallares, his client is still assailing the charges filed against him.

Palparan is facing charges in connection with the disappearance of Univeristy of the Philippines students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan in Hagonoy, Bulacan in 2006 when Palparan was then the commanding general of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division based in Nueva Ecija.

His co- accused are (ret.) Lt. Col. Felipe G. Anotado and S/Sgt. Edgardo L. Osorio Anotado and a fourth suspect M/Sgt. Rizal O. Hilaro who is still at-large.

Palparan said he is sad that the court made a hasty decision on his petition to stay at the NBI detention cell.

He said his camp knew that there are at least four alleged New People’s Army (NPA) rebels detained in the same jail.

After his arraignment Monday morning, Palparan narrowly escaped being lynched by an angry mob of militant groups who charged towards the rear entrance upon learning that Palparan will be committed to the BPJ.

The militants showed their anger and were determined to “attack” the retired army general but a heavy phalanx of heavily-armed government security forces prevented them.

Bulacan Provincial Jail Warden Pepito Plamenco, on the other hand, said that eight members of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit from the Bulacan Police Provincial Office were sent by Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina to augment the jail guards in securing the controversial retired army general who earned the monicker “Berdugo” or butcher for his relentless campaign against insurgency and alleged involvement in killings of political activists.

Plamenco also said that their “high profile” detainee can order the foods that he wants to eat.

As of press time, Plamenco said that the retired general’s health condition looks okay.

"He (Palparan) said that he was not able to sleep well," he said.

The next hearing of Palparan's case is on September 1. (PNA) 
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Bulacan court enters plea of 'not guilty' for Palparan - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 18 (PNA) -- The Bulacan Regional Trial Court Branch 14 entered a plea of “not guilty” for retired Army Major General Jovito Palparan after his camp did not make a comment on his arraignment Monday.

Palparan, who was captured in Manila last week after three years in hiding, is facing a case of kidnapping with serious illegal detention of University of the Philippines students Karen Empeno and Shierlyn Cadapan.

Branch 14 Judge Teodora Gonzales also junked the “urgent ex parte motion to stay detention” at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and ordered the court bailiff to commit Palparan at the nearby Bulacan Provincial Jail where a solitary cell was prepared for the bemedalled but controversial retired Army general.

Palparan asked for consideration, saying that his life will be in great risk at Bulacan Provincial Jail.

After listening to the comment of NBI representatives who claimed that they cannot hold Palparan at their holding area for a long period of time, Judge Gonzales denied the retired general's motion.

Aside from this, the court said the Bulacan Provincial Jail is ready to keep Palparan safe while under detention.

The judge said that “it is more prudent, expeditious and less expensive for his travel every time there is a hearing for his case.”

Bulacan jail warden Pepito Plamenco said that they have added security measures to ensure that Palparan will be safe while under detention.

Meanwhile, the Hall of Justice at the Bulacan Regional Trial Court here became a virtual “war zone” as militant groups and supporters of Palparan met at the same ground while the captured former military officer was being arraigned at the sala of Judge Gonzales.

The frail-looking Palparan narrowly escaped being lynched by an angry mob of militant groups as he was being whisked toward the Bulacan Provincial Jail but was saved from harm by the composite heavily armed security forces of the NBI, Bulacan police, Philippine Army, Navy and Air Force.

Palparan will share the cell with 72-year-old inmate Edgardo Francisco who told local mediamen that the fomer Army general should not be scared at the Bulacan Provincial Jail.

He said he is excited to share his cell with Palparan adding that he will tell him Bible stories once the controversial military officer is committed at the jail.

”The facility is orderly and comfortable. It is my honor to be with the general in one cell," Francisco said.

He also jested that Palparan should bring an aide to cook, fetch water and clean the cell because there is nobody there to do that except the two of them and he is too old to do those chores for the former general.

During the arraignment, various militant groups led by the “Desaparecidos” (Families of the Disappeared for Justice) took turns in lambasting Palparan shouting “It is only the court, not only the government but the public will ask you to repay your sins."

While they were holding their rally in front of the Hall of Justice, a pro-Palparan group was also holding a vigil at the rear entrance of the Bulacan RTC where Palparan was earlier whisked inside the heavily guarded court compound at around 9:30 a.m. Monday.

The pro-Palparan group, numbering about 40 persons, belongs to the Guardians, Bantay Partylist, Wildcat Association and the AFP retirees association.

They claimed that Palparan is a “patriot and a hero.”

The militant group charged towards the rear entrance upon learning that Palparan is being brought to the Bulacan Provincial Jail.

The militants showed their anger and were determined to “attack” the retired Army general but a heavy phalanx of heavily-armed government security forces prevented them.

Earlier, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado instructed Plamenco to beef up security at the Bulacal Provincial Jail as per instruction of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas.

Plamenco said that they are ready to secure Palparan adding that they have previously held “high risk” detainees like James Chua, Dominguez brothers, Alfred Mendiola and Central Luzon CPP-NPA secretary general Efren De Guzman.

"Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Division has already provided additional team from the Provincial Public Safety Company,” Plamenco said.

The court scheduled the next hearing on September 1, this year. (PNA) 
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Palparan arrest show government commitment to bring all wanted people to justice

MANILA, Aug. 18 (PNA) -- The arrest of retired Major Gen. Jovito Palparan, who is wanted for the alleged abduction and disappearance of two UP coeds, is a clear manifestation of the government's commitment to bring all people wanted by the law to the bar of justice.

This was stressed by 1st Civil Relations Group commander Major Emmanuel Garcia on Monday.

"This is also a chance for Major General Palparan to defend himself at the proper forum and at the same time seek medical help due to his age and health condition," he added.

As it is, Garcia said the case of Palparan must be left to the court to hear and decide.

Garcia's unit is attached to the Tarlac-based Northern Luzon Command.

Palparan was arrested last Aug. 12 in Sta. Mesa, Manila after a three-year flight from authorities.

Palparan went into hiding after the Bulacan Regional Trial Court Branch 14 issued a warrant arrest for him, Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado Jr., Staff Sgt. Edgardo Osorio and Master Sgt. Rizal Hilario in 2011 for the disappearance of UP students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan on June 26, 2006.

Anotado and Osorio voluntarily surrendered. Hilario remains at large.

Palparan's last assignment at the Army was commander of the Nueva Ecija-based 7th Infantry Division. He retired from the service in Sept. 11, 2006. (PNA) 
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Palparan camp asks Malolos RTC for client's stay under NBI custody - By Perfecto T. Raymundo Jr.

MANILA, Aug. 14 (PNA) -- The camp of former Army Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan on Thursday asked the Malolos City Regional Trial Court (RTC) to make their client remain under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) due to security threats.

Atty. Narzal Mallares, the counsel of Palparan, filed the "Urgent ex-parte motion to stay in detention at the NBI detention facilities, Manila" before the Malolos City RTC.

The camp of the former general argued that the RTC should take into consideration the security of their client.

The motion also cited that there are "intelligence reports" in the possession of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) stating that the New People's Army (NPA) has formed a liquidation squad which is planning to execute Palparan.

As of Thursday, there is an existing "commitment order" issued by the Malolos City RTC directing that Palparan should be detained at the Bulacan Provincial Jail.

Meanwhile, the arraignment of the former general has been set on August 18 at 10 a.m. for the case of kidnapping and serious illegal detention allegedly committed against University of the Philippines (UP) students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan on June 26, 2006. (PNA) 
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Palace commends AFP, NBI on Palparan's arrest By Lilybeth G.Ison

MANILA, Aug. 12 (PNA) -- Malacanang lauded on Tuesday the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for the arrest of retired Army Major Gen. Jovito Palparan, who was wanted for the disappearance of two University of the Philippines (UP) students in 2006.

"We commend the AFP and the NBI for their steadfast doggedness in pursuing all leads to find and capture Jovito Palparan. Today, this resolute determination has paid off, the long arm of the law has finally reached Mr Palparan," said Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda in a statement sent to Palace reporters via SMS.

He said President Benigno S. Aquino III has promised that the government will go after those who evade the law.

"That promise to capture General Palparan has been fulfilled today," Lacierda said.

After close to three years in hiding, Palparan was arrested by the NBI Anti-Organized and Transnational Crime Division in a rented house in Sta. Mesa, Manila at around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Arrested with him were Grace Roa and Reynaldo Ladao, who will be facing charges for violating Presidential Decree No. 1829, or the "Decree Penalizing Obstruction of Apprehension and Prosecution of Criminal Offenders," for harboring Palparan.

Palparan is facing kidnapping with serious illegal detention charges before the regional trial court in Malolos, Bulacan for the abduction and subsequent disappearance of U.P. students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan in 2006.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, in a press conference at the NBI headquarters where the retired army general is temporarily detained, said Palparan would be arraigned on August 18, when he will also be presented to the court trying his case.

His two co-accused -- Army Col. Felipe Anotado and S/Sgt. Edgardo Osorio -- were earlier denied bail by the court. Another co-accused, M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario, is still at large.

Palparan went into hiding in December 2011 after a warrant was issued for his arrest. (PNA) 
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High tide submerges Obando town, classes in 8 villages suspended By Emil G. Gamos

OBANDO, Bulacan, Aug. 11 (PNA) -- It is a sunny Monday in the entire province of Bulacan but heavy flooding caused by high tide prompted local officials in this town to suspend classes in all levels in eight of the 11 villages here.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said that classes were not suspended in the villages of San Pascual, Lawa and Paco where flooding due to high tide were minimal.

PDRRM executive officer Liz Mungcal said that heavy flooding have inundated the villages of Panghulo, Catanghalan, Pag-asa, Paliwas, Hulo, Tawiran, Binuangan and Salambao.

These villages were submerged under 4 to 4.56 feet of flood water brought by the high tide.

Mungcal said the flooding was also aggravated by the breaching of an earth dike located along the fishing village of Barangay Pag-Asa.

She said that local officials are still in the process of repairing the damaged earth dike which was destroyed when typhoon "Glenda" hit the country last month.

"They are having difficulty in repairing the breached earth dike due to high tide," Mungcal said.

Town mayor Edwin Santos said that aside from the suspension of classes, many areas are now isolated as many roads were rendered impassable to light vehicles.

He said that even the municipal building was not spared as employees have to brave floods .

"We have decided to suspend classes because the students from those flooded areas would have hard time in going to schools," Santos said.

He also said that floods have become a way of life for the people of Obando.

He said that their dilemma was answered by the national government who planned to construct a dike to address the perennial planning but it was mothballed because of the controversy hounding the issuance of disbursement acceleration program (DAP).

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado have instructed Mungcal to closely monitor the situation and coordinate with the MDRRMO of Obando.

"We have asked to closely monitor the floods there. The villages in Obando are always experiencing perennial flooding. But this time, it is worse due to the damaged earth dike," the governor said. (PNA) 
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Environmentalists, outdoorsmen bare rampant illegal logging at Ipo dam watershed area

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 6 (PNA) -- Environmentalists, outdoorsmen and mountaineers on Wednesday appealed to concerned authorities to look into the alleged illegal logging activities along the Ipo dam watershed area.

Bro. Martin Franscisco, chairperson of the Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society, Inc. (SSMESI), said their group together with members of the University of the Philippines mountaineers and other outdoor groups have documented cases of illegal logging and how the poached timbers are being transported outside of Ipo dam.

He said that the national government should send a team to investigate why timber poaching is still rampant along the watershed of Ipo dam despite pronouncement of officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources that primary forests like those in the watersheds are protected areas.

"The illegal logging activities inside the Ipo dam Watershed is a big blow to the government, particularly DENR that said that no one is allowed to cut down trees on primary forests that are considered as protected areas,” Francisco said.

Fred Ochavo, a volunteer of the University of the Philippines Mountaineers (UPM) that has a reforestation project inside Ipo Watershed, disclosed that several planks of hard wood, believed to have been cut by illegal loggers, were recently monitored to be in the process of being transported out of the watershed.

Ochavo said that the illegal transport of wooden planks that were documented being moved through the river system-- piled beside the docking area for the boats beside a PLDT reforestation site signage; being loaded on a boat; carried by illegal settlers and piled along the road inside the Ipo Dam compound-- were monitored to have taken place inside Ipo Watershed on July 11, 13, 19, 26 and 31 this year.

Michelle delos Reyes, education subcommittee head of UPM environment committee, also bared that she was able to document the illegal transport of the wooden planks on July 11 and 31 as she tries to settle everything that are needed for their upcoming tree planting activity such as quality check of seedlings, tree planting site selection and to instruct UPM's caretaker for hole digging.

Francisco, together with several members of UPM, Sagip Kagubatan and other outdoorsmen, said that they wrote President Benigno Aquino a letter, dated April 29, 2014 and received by Malacanang Records Office on May 5, 2014.

The letter that stated that “As outdoorsmen, we have access to remote areas of Ipo Watershed and stood witness to illegal activities which gravely threatens the continued viability and stability of the water supply of 12 million residents of Metro Manila (2010 Census).”

The letter senders have also submitted sworn statements, documentary evidence and copies of reports and documentation “prepared by their organizations to furnish intelligence and information that may help in the government’s forest protection initiatives.”

They noted that they are “greatly alarmed that despite the existence of a legal framework to impose a total ban on the harvesting of forest products from Ipo Watershed, and despite the country’s commitment to international agreements such as the Millennium Development Goals which seeks to ensure sustainable access to safe drinking water, concerned agencies and officials have not taken concrete steps, and sustained effort to address the destruction of the only viable water source of Metro Manila’s 12 million residents.” (PNA) 
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Bulacan gov urges 5 Pillars of Justice to fast track pending cases of inmates at provincial jail

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 4 (PNA)-- Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Monday called on the “Five Pillars of Justice” to continue working as team and work double time to fast track the pending cases of some 3,000 inmates at the Bulacan Provincial Jail.

"I am expecting that every pillar of justice will help each other and serve for the speedy resolution of the cases of our constituents which we should be given attention," the governor said in his message during the opening ceremony of the “Five Pillars of Justice” month at the Capitol Gym Monday morning.

Alvarado said that by fast tracking the cases of the inmates, it will not only speed up the delivery of justice but will also help decongest the provincial penitentiary.

He said that “it is vital to make a strong foundation of the justice system and this will need the cooperation of all sectors to execute laws with fairness and respect to human rights in accordance to the mandate of the Philippine Constitution.”

The opening ceremony which carries the theme “Katarungan: Gabay at Patnubay tungo sa Pagbabagong Buhay” was graced by the attendance of Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief lawyer Persida V. Rueda-Acosta, who stressed the importance of free legal assistance to wrongfully convicted persons.

"If you committed sins, you must rot in jail but if you are innocent, I will defend you up to the Supreme Court," Acosta, the youngest ever lawyer to head the PAO, said.

She said that public attorneys are sworn to uphold only the truth and provide free access to courts in order to ensure social justice as part of the country’s sustainable development.

The 5 Pillars are composed of the Prosecutor’s Office headed by Renato Samonte Jr ; Philippine National Police headed by acting Bulacan Police Director PS/Supt. Ferdinand Divina; Regional Trial Court headed by Executive Judge Ma. Theresa Mendoza-Arcega; Probation and Parole Office consisted of CPPO Teresita Mascuñana, CPPO Cezar Lopez Jr., and CPPO Ramon De Leon; and the community which is composed of the Provincial Government of Bulacan. (PNA) 
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DOST chief urges Bulacan LGUs to propagate 'calamity foods' By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 31 (PNA)-- Science and Technology Secretary Mario G. Montejo has urged local government officials and community leaders in the province to propagate the use and production of the so-called “calamity foods” or “compressed foods” not only to combat malnutrition but also as survival intervention in times of natural disasters like typhoons and floods.

Montejo made the call during the culminating program of the nutrition month at the provincial capitol gym here Wednesday afternoon.

The program carries the theme: “Kalamidad Paghandaan: Gutom at Malnutrisyon Agapan”.

Montejo said the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of DOST has been propagating “compressed foods” because of the yearly floodings and storms hitting the country.

He said that “compressed food” are ready to eat and made with “cereal-legume” and fortified with milk, vegetable fat and sugar.

The DOST secretary said that “compressed foods” are ideal for relief goods because it is easy to produce, healthy and can be immediately distributed.

He also said that villages in the Philippines are abundant with vegetables and plants that can be added to processed foods like the “malunggay.”

Montejo also lauded the successful programs of the provincial government headed by Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando in combating malnutrition in the province.

He said Bulacan has always been emerging as the best province with an efficient food and nutrition program.

Alvarado, chair of the Provincial Nutrition Council and concurrent chairman of the Central Luzon Regional Development Council, on his part, said that healthy people is vital in propelling growth and development.

“Everyone has the right for nutritious foods and the provincial government is actively supporting the nutrition and feeding programs of local government units. The nation will become more vigor and stronger if there are healthy, active and mighty citizens," he said.

Fernando, for his part, encouraged community leaders to propagate the planting of backyard crops like malunggay and other healthy endemic plants.

Montejo, together with Alvarado and Fernando led the awarding of the bet nutrition program with the mountain town of Dona Remedios Trinidad garnering the first place.

Dona Remedios Trinidad mayor Ronaldo T. Flores and the municipal council received a plaque of recognition and Php100,000 cash incentives for their anti-malnutrition and feeding program.

The town of Calumpit headed by Mayor Jessie de Jesus received the second place award while San Rafael mayor Cipriano Viloga obtained the third place award.

Vilma M. Oronce of barangay San Miguel, Calumpit was adjudged as “Natatanging Lingkod Lingap sa Nayon” awardee.

Likewise, the provincial government distributed some 5,000 malunggay seedlings to barangay community leaders. (PNA) 
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QC to deploy 360 traffic personnel for Pres. Aquino's SONA on Monday

MANILA, July 27 (PNA) -- Quezon City Mayor Herbert M. Bautista has ordered the deployment of some 360 traffic personnel from the city’s Department of Public Order and Safety (DPOS) to complement the police and traffic management force mobilized by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in ensuring public safety during the State-of-the-Nation-Address (SONA) of President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday.

Deployment of QC traffic personnel for the President's fifth SONA at the Batasang Pambansa Building in Quezon City will start at 5 a.m., said Dexter Cardenas, DPOS traffic operations chief.

Meanwhile, the city government has also fielded some 50 barangay public safety officers (BPSOs) to provide assistance to participants of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) centennial celebration Sunday.

The city’s BPSO men deployed in the Bocaue area in Bulacan form part of the public safety legion that has been mobilized by the MMDA for the INC event.

The QC contingent has been sourced by the DPOS from Barangays Talipapa, Sangandaan, Sauyo, Tandang Sora and Pasong Tamo, Novaliches.

As part of the MMDA public safety legion, the QC government is also sending three mobile patrol cars, two ambulances, a fire truck and two dump trucks during the INC celebration.

The MMDA constituted the public safety legion to maintain peace and order, implement a comprehensive traffic management plan and undertake post-activity clean-up operations.

Meanwhile, regular traffic personnel are also deployed by the DPOS to ensure the orderly movement of vehicular traffic in the Balintawak area and along Mindanao Avenue which lead to the North Luzon Expressway. (PNA) 
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Succesful INC Centennial anniversary celebration ends smoothly By Emil G. Gamos

BOCAUE, Bulacan, July 27 (PNA) --The centennial celebrations of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) held on Sunday at the Philippine Arena in Ciudad Victoria here ended smoothly.

Except for at least 140 people who were given first aid due to the intense heat Saturday when multitudes of INC delegates began arriving here, there were no reported incidents even minor crimes.

The grand anniversary celebration, a thanksgiving of faith, was highlighted by a colorful show of aerial fireworks that illuminated Ciudad Victoria giving it a more spectacular ambiance before midnight Saturday.

More than one million INC members and guests attended the grand celebration that also featured the brief history of the Church of Christ in the last days from 1914 to 2014 to reminisce and recollect how God help Brother Felix Y. Manalo and the Iglesia Ni Cristo as fulfillment of His promise.

"I am so proud to be a member of the Iglesia ni Cristo. The Philippine Arena and Ciudad Victoria are blessings that resulted to the trust and faith to the leaders of the Iglesia and love of God to those who believe in Him," an INC member from Malolos City said.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the celebration was a success with no crime reported within the vicinity of Ciudad de Victoria.

He commended the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and members of the traffic and security force for achieving the “Herculean Task” of aiding and ensuring the safety of more than one million people.

Alvarado and MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino, who was tasked by President Benigno Aquino to head Task Force Sentenaryo, personally supervised the deployment of traffic and security forces last Saturday.

Aside from ambulances and emergency rescue personnel from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, the governor said that the Philippine National Red Cross also sent 13 ambulances and set up more than 20 first aid stations for medical emergencies.

Alvarado also announced that Monday, July 28, will be a holiday for the entire province of Bulacan to make way for clean-up and other post-INC centennial operations.

The flow of traffic along the North Expressway started getting heavy at around 9 a.m. Sunday when delegates began leaving the Philippine Arena. (PNA) 
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LTFRB to truckers: Avoid NLEX, other roads during INC centennial celebration By Azer N. Parrocha

MANILA, July 26 (PNA) -- The Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Saturday reminded truckers to avoid passing through North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) and several other roads, from July 26-28 for the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) centennial celebration in Bulacan.

The LTFRB in a statement, said they arrived at the decision after due consultation with the Task Force Sentenaryo which is in charge of government actions and responses in connection with the INC celebration.

“…All trucks-for-hire that will pass through NLEX from Balintawak Tollgate-Angeles City Exit and vice versa, McArthur Highway, Cagayan Valley Road from Sta. Rita Exit and all provincial roads in the Province of Bulacan that will be used as parking areas for the buses and utility vehicle (UV) are hereby advised to refrain from passing through these roads on July 26, 27 and 28, 2014 in view of expected heavy volume of traffic before, during and after the INC Centennial Celebration at the Philippine Arena on July 27, 2014 except those carrying perishable goods and food items,” LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez said in a statement.

The LTFRB, however, stressed that the advisory was not a truck ban.

“This is an advisory to all Trucks-for-Hire to avoid certain affected areas in Bulacan from June 26-28. This is not a truck ban,” the Board stressed.

Preparations for the INC anniversary is already in full swing in various areas in the country including arranging transport services to bring its members to the event, the LTFRB earlier said.

The INC’s anniversary will be held in the largest domed facility in the world, the Philippine Arena, located in Bocaue, Bulacan. (PNA)
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Military to help cops in securing INC 100th founding anniversary

MANILA, July 26 (PNA) -- An estimated 3,000 military personnel from the National Capital Region, Bulacan and Pampanga will be joining the Philippine National Police in securing the 100th year founding anniversary of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) on Sunday, January 27.

This was disclosed by Major Emmanuel Garcia, 1st Civil Relations Group commander, in a message to the PNA.

"Three thousand troops (coming from the NCR, Bulacan and Pampanga) will be helping in the security operations Sunday," he added.

An estimated one million INC followers are expected to join in Sunday's festivities in Bocaue, Bulacan where the group's 55,000 capacity stadium, the Philippine Arena, is located. (PNA) 
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MMDA chief, Bulacan guv supervise deployment of traffic and security forces for INC centennial rites on Sunday By Emil G. Gamos

MARILAO, Bulacan, July 26 (PNA)--As the countdown to the centennial anniversary celebration of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) reached its penultimate day on Saturday, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino and Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado personally supervised the deployment of 3,200 traffic and security forces along the North Luzon Expressway and the stretch of MacArthur highway from Meycauayan City to Calumpit town to ensure the safe and orderly arrival of an estimated 1.5 million members of INC and their guests at the Philippine Arena in Ciudad Victoria in Bocaue town.

As of 10 a.m. Saturday, buses that ferried INC delegations from Tarlac and other parts of Central Luzon have began occupying the north-bound lane of MacArthur highway in Barangay Tikay here.

“We have been preparing for this (INC centennial anniversary) and we will now implement our contingency plans to ensure a safe and orderly arrival and departure of INC delegations and their guests,” Tolentino, who was appointed by President Benigno S. Aquino III to head “Task Force Sentenaryo,” said.

Tolentino was joined by Alvarado in Marilao town for the strategic deployment of peace keeping forces as well as traffic aides.

Public and police assistance centers were also put up in key areas along the MacArthur highway from Meycauayan City to Calumpit town and along portions of the Cagayan Valley road from Guiguinto to the towns of Plaridel, Pulilan and Baliwag.

Alvarado said that public traffic advisory have also been sent through the media and social media so that the public may know where the converging points of the vehicles will pass through.

"The plan is perfect. The Philippine National Police and the MMDA have conducted a thorough study and plans for the influx of our INC members," Alvarado said.

The governor said that the world will be watching the Philippines, particularly the province of Bulacan where the Philippine Arena in Ciudad Victoria is located.

"This would happen only once in a period of 100 years and we are lucky that this historic celebration of the INC will take place in our noble province of Bulacan," he said.

He also said that Philippine Army troopers from the Northern Luzon command will also augment the security forces.

In Guiguinto town, police chief Supt. Ernesto Cruz said that Governor Alvarado has allowed them to use the sprawling compound of the Provincial Engineer's Office in Barangay Tabang as a “contingency parking zone.”

Cruz said that the sprawling parking area of a closed super market in Barangay Tuktukan will also be used as a “contingency parking zone”.

He also said that at least 400 buses will parked in Guiguinto.

"We have also put up public assistance centers in every barangay along the MacArthur highway to help and assist the INC delagations and their guests,” Cruz said.

Cruz also assured business companies and local trucking firms that their operations and parking will not be affected.

"There are designated parking areas for them. We will ensure that the flow of vehicles along MacArthur highway and Cagayan Valley road will be orderly," Cruz said as he inspected the different public assistance centers in his areas.

He said that the by noon of Saturday, the influx of the buses and vans of INC delegations will start arriving.

In Malolos City, hundreds of motorcycle-riding INC members with INC flags flying were seen heading towards the Philippine Arena before Saturday noon. (PNA) 
CTB/zst/EGGamos/ps

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Bulacan ready for INC’s grand centennial celebration on Sunday By Emil G. Gamos

BOCAUE, Bulacan, July 25 (PNA) -- Police teams are now being deployed within the vicinity of the mammoth Philippine Arena to ensure security and safety of an expected 1.5 million members and guests of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) who will converge here on Sunday for their centennial anniversary celebrations.

Since last week, teams from the Provincial Engineers Office have also been sprucing up villages around the Philippine Arena in Ciudad Victoria for the week-long INC centennial celebration that kicked-off last Monday with President Benigno S. Aquino gracing the inauguration of the biggest sports and multi-purpose indoor coliseum together with INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that the Bulacan Police Provincial Office headed by Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina have also deployed maneuver platoons from the Provincial Public Safety Company to augment local police teams in providing security and police assistance centers to the multitude of INC followers who are expected to flock at the Ciudad Victoria starting on Friday and Saturday for the grand INC celebration on Sunday.

Officials of the North Luzon Expressway have earlier said that they were expecting heavy traffic on Sunday with at least 82,000 vehicles expected to be heading to the Philippine Arena, touted as the biggest indoor coliseum in the world with a sitting capacity of 55,000.

Alvarado said that tens of thousands of Iglesia Ni Cristo members are expected to arrive in more than 10,000 buses and 2,800 vans.

"Congratulations to the Iglesia Ni Cristo on their 100 years anniversary as well as for showing to the world that they can build world class structure like the Philippine Arena in Ciudad Victoria in Bocaue town,” Alvarado said.

He said that after the centennial celebration, more crowd-drawing activities will be held in the Philippine Arena and the adjacent Philippine Sports Stadium inside Ciudad Victoria.

International events are also expected to be held in the area, which is now being tagged as the “New face of Bulacan.”

"This will be a big help for our province and the whole region to be recognized and this will pave way to attract more investors that will give more opportunities to our provincemates. This is a good example that if there is a unity and cooperation, we can achieve our goals," Alvarado said.

The governor, who was with President Aquino and top leaders of the INC, during the inauguration program, said that “the Philippine Arena is not only the centerpiece of the Iglesia Ni Cristo centennial anniversary but is also gem of pride of the people and the province of Bulacan and the entire nation as well.”

The governor said that the opening of the Philippine Arena will further spur growth and economic boom not only in Bocaue but will also spread to the neighboring towns of Sta. Maria, Pandi, Balagtas and parts of Marilao.

“This will usher in a new look for Bulacan which is now on the threshold of growth and development. The Philippine Arena is not only a beacon of strong faith to God but also heralds the dawn of bright future for the province due to its world class characteristic,” he said.

Meanwhile, July 28 (Monday), will be a special non-working day in Bulacan to allow the orderly exit of members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo from the venue of its centennial celebration in the province.

Proclamation 837 dated July 24 indicated that Bulacan province requested the holiday proclamation.

"In order to ensure an orderly procession of the attendees out of the venue, and to facilitate the flow of traffic, the province of Bulacan requests that Monday, 28 July 2014, be declared a special (non-working) holiday," according to the proclamation signed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. (PNA) 
LAP/zst/EGGamos/ps

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LTFRB issues traffic advisory on Iglesia ni Cristo's centennial event

MANILA, July 24 (PNA) -- The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has advised all trucks-for-hire to avoid certain roads in Bulacan province due to expected heavy traffic as the Iglesia ni Cristo holds its centennial celebration on July 26 to 28.

In an advisory coursed through the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), the LTFRB said trucks-for-hire should refrain from using the following roads and exits: NLEX from the Balintawak Tollgate-Angeles City exit and vice versa; McArthur Highway; Cagayan Valley Road from the Sta. Rita exit; and all provincial roads in Bulacan that will be used as parking areas for buses and utility vehicles.

The LTFRB said it expects heavy traffic before and after the Iglesia ni Cristo's celebration at the Philippine Arena on Sunday (July 27).

The board however exempted trucks carrying perishable goods and food items, allowing them to use those roads to bring cargoes to Metro Manila.

The LTFRB issued the traffic advisory after consulting the Task Force Sentenaryo in charge of government actions in connection with the Iglesia ni Cristo's centennial event. (PNA)
LAM/PND/as/utb

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PNP all set for INC Centennial celebration on Sunday By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan

MANILA, July 23 (PNA) -- The Philippine National Police (PNP) is all set to provide security coverage and public safety measures in Bocaue, Bulacan on Sunday (July 27) for the Centennial Celebration of Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC), Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, chief PNP Public Information Officer (PIO) said on Wednesday.

According to Sindac, the Police Regional Office 3 (PRO 3) led by Police Chief Superintendent Raul Petrasanta said that the PNP will provide at least 3,200 personnel for security coverage and traffic assistance in addition to the 200 AFP and 1,500 MMDA personnel, and more than 2,000 force multipliers.

”The security coverage is to ensure the safety of the delegates for the INC centennial anniversary. Hoping to attain zero incidents in the conduct of this major event,” Sindac said in press briefing held at PNP Headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City

He added the coordination being done since December 2013 and the PNP has been planning the security coverage and of course, the PNP are enjoining support of this desire for the peaceful conduct of the event.

”Assist and supervise outer perimeter, the PNP security coverage, crowd management and traffic assistance,” he said.

Sindac also said that as of this moment, he has not received any significant threat to the incident but the PNP are working on possible scenarios.

”We continue to validate the information received by our intelligence community,” he explained.

The said activity will be held at the Philippine Arena, Ciudad de Victoria, Bulacan where an approximate of two million INC members from different Ecclesiastical Districts nationwide and church congregation from almost 112 countries are expected to attend.

“The safety of the delegates and participants on the centennial celebration of INC is the primary concern of the PNP” said Petrasanta.

Signed on July 2, 2014, President Benigno Aquino III issued Proclamation No. 815 declaring year 2014 as Iglesia Ni Cristo Centennial Year which is the largest home-grown Christian church in the Philippines established in 1914 by Brother Felix Y. Manalo.

The PNP asks for the active support of different public and private organizations to help in the successful and peaceful celebration of the event.

SIndac said that all units and offices of the PNP will be placed on heightened Alert Status effective at 3 p.m. on Friday (July 25) for all the upcoming events in particular to INC Centennial Celebration on Sunday, State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Aquino on Monday (July 28) and Eid-al-Ftr on Tuesday (July 29).

”The Unit Commanders are reminded to secure all vital installations, economic key points, as well as places of convergence, and ensure high state of operational readiness to deter unlawful activities,” Sindac said.

He said the alert status of PROs 3, 4A, NCRPO and Special Action Force (SAF) will be upgraded to Full Alert Status effective 5 a.m. on Sunday (July 26) for the SONA.

“The PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima has directed the safety and security of all those that will be part of the sona while exercising SONA,” Sindac said.

Regional Directors of PROs are given the discretion to upgrade their alert level depending on the prevailing peace and order situation in their respective areas of responsibility. (PNA) 
CTB/CLTC/with trainee Elsha Joy I. Soriano (EJIS) and Floraldel G. Flora (FGF)

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‘Task Force Sentenaryo’ firms up traffic, security measures for INC centennial on Sunday

MANILA, July 23 (PNA) -- Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolenitno on Wednesday announced its readiness for the upcoming 100th year anniversary celebration of Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) on Sunday (July 27) in Bocaue, Bulacan.

In a meeting held in Manila with Bulacan officials, Philippine National Police (PNP) and local governments, Tolentino said all the necessary traffic and security measures have been finalized to ensure the peaceful and orderly commemoration of the Iglesia Centennial Year, which is expected to be attended by up to three million INC members.

“In coordination with concerned government agencies, provincial municipal government of Bocaue, Bulacan, and the INC leadership, we have finalized our preparations for this big event,” Tolentino said, who was appointed by President Benigno S. Aquino III to head the task force.

The traffic management measures firmed up by the task force cover the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), MacArthur Highway, Mindanao Avenue Extension and adjacent roads.

MMDA has formed the 2,000-strong Metro Manila Public Safety Legion that will be deployed in Bocaue to maintain peace and order, implement a comprehensive traffic management plan during the event and do a post-activity cleanup at the site.

The legion is composed of traffic constables, rescuers and policemen coming from the 17 local government units in Metro Manila.

Two MMDA headquarters will also be set up in Marilao, Bulacan to respond to any type of emergencies, according to Tolentino.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), meanwhile, will send a company-sized military personnel for additional security, four M35 trucks, explosive and ordnance experts, and K-9 units.

“With all these preparations and contingency measures, we can assure our brothers and sisters in INC that their centennial celebration will be smooth and orderly,” Tolentino said.

Aside from the 2,000-strong Metro Manila Public Safety Legion, Tolentino said 500 traffic personnel will also be deployed to assist delegates coming to and from the venue to augment elements from the PNP Region 3 and the Northern Luzon Command of the AFP.

The contingent will be dispatched Saturday morning Sunday night.

”So yung kick off natin yung initial activity which will commend on the 26th of July 9:00 a.m., operational na lahat. Nandun na rin kami hanggang 28 na yun, so all plans in motion. Ready na very Ready na. Ang DOH nandun na sa loob. Ang LTFRB is issuing advisory in joining trucks to refrain from utilizing NLEX from 26, 27, and 28 except perishable items,” Tolentino told the reporters after meeting.

The MMDA will also field its own rescue teams, mobile patrol and motorcycle units, and personnel from the Metro Parkways Clearing Group and Sidewalk Clearing Operations Group to strategic locations.

“INC will also put up medical booths inside the Philippine Arena for its members,” Tolentino added.

Tolentino said they expected INC members to arrive at the newly inaugurated Philippine Arena in Bocaue, the venue of the anniversary, a day before the event in at least 10,000 buses, 2,400 vans and Asian Utility Vehicles, and private vehicles.

The following areas have been designated as parking areas: Sta. Maria bypass; and Balagtas bypass along MacArthur Highway from Monumento to Calumpit, Bulacan. A portion of the Mindanao Avenue Extension will also be closed for parking purposes.

In case of traffic gridlock along NLEX, a “zipper lane” will be put up to enable northbound vehicles to counter-flow on the opposite lane and ease up traffic flow. Three areas have been already prepared for this with the help of NLEX authorities.

Tolentino said the task force has also suggested to the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) to dedicate toll booths for Bocaue-bound vehicles and “prepaid toll fees” to hasten the entry of vehicles at NLEX.

He pointed out the possibility of heavy traffic at the SMART-connect interchange and NLEX towards the Arena, especially in the morning rush hours.

In preparation for the big event, Task Force Sentenaryo conducted a “Contingency Planning and Tabletop Exercise” on July 11 at Camp Crame, Quezon City.

For his part, Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Alvarado suggested the use of Bulacan Medical Center and Rogacian M. Memorial Hospital for medical emergencies.

General Carlito Romero of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) has been designated as crisis/emergency commander Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta of PNP Region 3 will act as traffic ground commander.

Tolentino likewise designated Chief Supt. Ricardo Marquez of PNP headquarters at Camp Crame as overall operations officer.

The National Capital Regional Police (NCRPO) will help secure the routes to Bocaue and the billeting areas of INC members, according to NCRPO Regional Director Carmelo Valmoria.

Providing additional muscle for traffic management and securing of staging and parking areas are the PNP-Region 3, 13 municipal governments of Bulacan, NLEX, and other private groups and volunteer associations, Tolentino said.

President Aquino has signed Memorandum Circular No. 66 creating Task Force Sentenaryo for the July 27 celebration of the religious group, with Tolentino as head.

Task Force Sentenaryo has been tasked to handle all actions and responses in connection with the INC event.

Among its members are Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Health Secretary Enrique Ona, AFP chief Emmanuel Bautista, and PNP Director Alan Purisima.

The others are Winston Ginez, chairman of LTFRB; Juan Sta. Ana, general manager of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA); Jose Angel Honrado, Manila International Airport Authority general manager; Edmundo Reyes, executive director of the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB); and a representative from the INC. (PNA) 
LAM/CLTC/with Elsha Joy I. Soriano/Floraldel G. Flora-OJTs

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President Aquino to inaugurate 'world's largest indoor arena' Monday

MANILA, July 20 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III will inaugurate on Monday (July 21) Iglesia ni Cristo’s (INC) Ciudad de Victoria (City of Victory), a 50-hectare tourism enterprise zone located in Bocaue, Bulacan established by the congregation in time for its centennial celebration on July 27 (Sunday).
President Aquino along with INC executive minister Bro. Eduardo V. Manalo will lead the unveiling of the marker at the gazebo, signaling the formal public opening of the state-of-the art architectural complex to the public.
The President will then deliver a speech inside one of the site’s major construction, the Philippine Arena, which is considered as "the world’s largest indoor stadium" given its reported 55,000-audience capacity.
Vice President Jejomar Binay and other INC officials will accompany the President at the inauguration ceremonies with around 50,000 INC members expected to witness the event.
Manalo once said during the groundbreaking of Ciudad de Victoria in August 2011 that the arena and its other massive architectural marvels had been designed to bring glory to God and honor to the country.
Other major structures expected to be completed in the area in the near future are the Philippine Stadium, New Era University, Eraño G. Manalo Medical Center, and some soon-to-rise shops, hotels, and leisure parks.
Meanwhile, Malacañang has declared July 27 as a special non-working holiday by virtue of Joint Resolution No. 2 signed by President Aquino to commemorate the 100th founding anniversary of INC.
INC is considered as the third largest religious denomination in the Philippines with its members comprising 2.3 percent of the population based on the census of Year 2000 conducted by the National Statistics Office. (PNA)
FPV/PND/rsm.

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INC set to inaugurate Philippine Arena in Bulacan on Monday - By Emil G. Gamos

BOCAUE, Bulacan, July 19 (PNA)--Banners, flags, stickers bearing the colors of red, white and green has engulfed every town and city as the province braces for a momentous event-- the inauguration of the Philippine Arena.
President Benigno S. Aquino III, together with Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando will join the occasion on Monday for the inauguration of the world's largest indoor-domed arena situated at the sprawling 75-hectare eco-tourism zone in Ciudad de Victoria here.
With a capacity of 55,000 seats, the Philippine Arena is owned by the Iglesia ni Cristo and operated by its educational institution--the New Era University.
An eye-catching imposing structure, which is built on a 99,200 square meters of land and has a dome of 36,000 square meters, the Philippine Arena is touted as “the centerpiece” of the many centennial projects of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) for their grand celebration on July 27, this year.
Thousands of INC followers led by its executive minister Eduardo V. Manalo are expected to converge at the country’s biggest coliseum in a former riceland here as they usher the start of celebrating their centenial anniversary literally “with a bang.”
Alvarado said that some 3,000 policemen are now strategically being deployed in the area and nearby vicinity.
He said that since Friday, the Bulacan police headed by Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina have already been conducting security rehearsals and deployment.
“The Philippine Arena is not only the centerpiece of the Iglesia Ni Cristo centenial aniversary but is also gem of pride of the people and the province of Bulacan and the entire nation as well,” he said.
The governor said that the opening of the Philippine Arena will further spur growth and economic boom not only in Bocaue but will also spread to the neighboring towns of Sta. Maria, Pandi, Balagtas and parts of Marilao.
“This will usher in a new look for Bulacan which is now on the threshold of growth and development. The Philippine Arena is not only a beacon of strong faith to God but also heralds the dawn of bright future for the province due to its world class characteristic,” he said.
The arena will not only hold major church gatherings, it will also operate as a multi-use sports and concert venue, capable of holding a range of events from boxing and basketball to live music performance.
The overall vision of the masterplan will eventually see inclusion of shopping centers, a hospital and large scale residential developments
The Philippine Arena was also designed to withstand natural disasters like earthquake and typhoons. (PNA) 
CTB/zst/EGGamos/ps.

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'Glenda' death toll jumps to 77 -- NDRRMC

MANILA, July 19 (PNA) -- The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), on its Saturday update, announced that the death toll for Typhoon "Glenda" nationwide has now reached 77.
In its 6 a.m. bulletin, the agency reported that five persons are still missing with the number of injured now up to 220.
Previously, fatalities for "Glenda" was placed at 64 with 103 injured.
The NDRRMC also added that 330,433 families or 1,600,298 people were affected in Ilocos, Central and Southern Luzon, Bicol, Eastern Visayas and Metro Manila.
The NDRRMC also added that areas under a state of calamity include Obando, Bulacan; Cavite; Laguna; Albay; Camarines Sur; Tigaon and Bula, Camarines Sur; Naga City and Samar.
Around 97,055 families or 518,764 people are being served in 1,264 evacuation centers.
Damage to property stood at PHP5,860,756,042.28, including PHP1,049,931,600 in infrastructure and PHP4,810,824,442.28 in agriculture.
The NDRRMC added that PHP10,683,944.33 in relief goods and medicines has been extended to affected families.
Some 27,874 houses were destroyed while 83,498 were damaged.
Power has been restored in Legazpi and Naga Cities, while the Luzon and Visayas grids are now interconnected.
Seventeen roads and three bridges in Cagayan Valley, Central and Southern Luzon, Bicol and Cordillera are still impassable to traffic. (PNA) 
JBP/PFN

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'Glenda' destroys many houses in Bulacan towns; 1 dead, 2 hurt - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 17 (PNA) -— The strong winds whipped up by typhoon "Glenda" left a swath of destruction in some parts of the province, damaging many houses as well as leaving one dead and injuring two others, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRM) reported on Thursday.
The two injured persons were identified as Arnold Catajan, 35, married, a resident of Barangay Tumana, Sta. Maria and Jersey May Magpayo, 9, resident of Barangay Tabang, Guiguinto.
Catajan suffered injuries when a big Camachile tree fell on him while Magpayo was hurt when the van she was riding was hit by a falling tree.
The PDRRMO earlier identified the lone fatality in the province as Reynaldo Meneses, a 49-year-old vinegar vendor who was crushed to death after a giant Acacia tree fell on his makeshift store at the height of the typhoon Wednesday morning.
Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Thursday said that many areas in the province have been cleared of debris while damages to crops, infrastructures and properties are still being assessed.
Alvarado said that the PDRRMO has initially reported that 76 houses in Sta. Maria and four houses in Plaridel were totally damaged by powerful winds.
He also said that 204 houses were partially damaged in some villages in the towns of Paombong, Hagonoy, Pulilan and Plaridel.
The PDRRMO also said that a total of 649 families from nine municipalities and in this capaital city were evacuated.
The coastal towns of Obando and Hagonoy experienced flooding due to high tide, but these incidents were not severe.
The typhoon also failed to replenish the dwindling water supply at the giant reservoir of Angat dam.
As of 12 noon Thursday, the water level at Angat dam only reached 165.64 meters, which is still way below its critical level of 180 meters and to its spilling level of 210 meters.
The water level at Ipo dam was 99.55 meters (spilling level is 101.00 meters) while the water level at Bustos was 17.34 meters (spilling level is 17.70). (PNA) 
LAP/zst/EGGamos/ps

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(Update) 2 killed, 2 others hurt in Central Luzon due to typhoon 'Glenda' - By Zorayda S. Tecson

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, July 16 (PNA) -- Two persons were killed while two others were injured as typhoon Glenda on Wednesday unleashed its fury in Central Luzon.
Based on the latest report from the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council-3 (RDRRMC-3), the fatalities were identified as Reynaldo Meneses Hernandez, 49, a resident from Barangay Tabang, Plaridel, Bulacan and Mario Paulo, 52, of Barangay Burgos, San Antonio, Zambales, who were both hit by fallen trees.
Those injured were Francis Patawaran of Limay, Bataan due to electrocution and a certain Cruz, also from Limay, Bataan, who was hit by a falling tree.
Both of them are now in stable condition after being given immediate treatment.
The RDRRMC also reported that there are 801 families or 3,164 individuals from the flood and landslide prone areas in the region who were brought to the various evacuation centers.
In Aurora, a total of 50 families or 195 persons from Barangays Ibuna and Aplaya in Dingalan town were transferred to safer areas.
In Zambales, 72 families or 315 individuals from the towns of Castillejos, Sta Cruz, Masinloc and San Marcelino were also brought to the various evacuation centers in the province.
In Pampanga, a total of 67 families or 187 persons from the landslide prone Barangay San Juan Bano, Arayat were evacuated to the clubhouse pavillion in the said town.
The Pampanga PDRRM also implemented forced evacuation to those residents living in the coastal towns such as Sasmuan, San Simon, Macabebe and Lubao due to storm surge threat.
In Bulacan, a total of 46 families or 198 persons in Barangay Salambao, Obando town were also brought to the evacuation center.
In Bataan, some 566 families or 2,269 individuals from the towns of Limay, Pilar, Orani, Samal, Mariveles and Balanga City are now in various evacuation centers.
"Aside from the pre-emptive evacuation implemented by the local officials and disaster councils in the region, forced evacuation were also enforced to ensure the safety of the residents," Josefina Timoteo, RDRRMC chairperson and Office of Civil Defense regional director, said.
The RDRRMC also reported that the water elevation in the major dams in Central Luzon is way below the spilling level despite the stormy weather.
Power interruption also hit some parts in the region due to the tripping off of some lines and feeders as caused by strong winds.
At present, the electric power supply in the provinces of Nueva Ecija, Tarlac and Aurora have already been restored. (PNA) 
LAM/ZST/ps

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Central Luzon braces for tropical storm 'Glenda'

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, July 14 (PNA) -- The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) on Monday alerted all provincial and municipal disaster councils in Central Luzon on the possible effects of tropical storm "Glenda" as it is seen to bring more rains in the region and nearby areas due to enhanced southwest monsoon.
Based on the latest weather bulletin issued by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the seven provinces in the region, namely Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Bataan, Zambales, and southern Aurora are now under signal No. 1.
Josefina Timoteo, chairperson of the RDRRMC and regional director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Region 3, said although the effects of "Glenda" have not yet been felt throughout the region, all concerned members of the disaster councils have been ordered to undertake precautionary measures and other disaster response activities.
Timoteo said the RDRRMC has already alerted the provincial disaster risk reduction and management council (PDRRMC) in the seven provinces in the region to implement preparedness measures.
She said rescue and emergency response teams are on standby as well as the pre-positioning of search-and-rescue equipment and personnel have already been put in place.
She also said that local government units (LGUs) in the region have prepared food supplies and disaster response equipment and teams in anticipation of evacuation and other emergencies.
”Local officials are conducting meetings to plan their response on the possible effects of tropical storm Glenda,” she said.
Likewise, Timoteo said the Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Division has also alerted its disaster response units (DRUs) in anticipation for the conduct of disaster rescue and relief operations at areas to be affected by the tropical storm.
Meanwhile, she asked the public to keep monitoring on the weather reports.
She also advised residents in the low-laying areas to voluntarily leave their houses prior to the issuance of evacuation operations.
”Although the residents along the riverbanks and coastal areas have been properly warned on the possible flooding, it is advisable if they would evacuate earlier and go to higher areas,” she added. (PNA) 
LAP/ZST/ps

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Bulacan to hold media seminar on disaster preparedness

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 12 (PNA)--After enhancing the disaster response capabilities of town, city and village officials, the provincial government, through the Provincial Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Office (PDRRMO), is now set to conduct a “crash course” on how to report and dissiminate pertinent announcement for media practitioners and users of social media.
Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, who is also the concurrent chairman of the PDRRM Council and Regional Development Council (RDC) in Central Luzon, said that the provincial government will also distribute flyers containing information on how to cope with natural calamities and man-made disasters.
“We are now preparing informative and educational materials on what to do when disster struck and we will distribute it,” Alvarado said.
“Our constituents should know what to do and where to go every time there is a disaster," he added.
The governor said that media and users of the social network are vital in times of calamities and the fast way to disseminate important communications aand announcements.
The seminar will be held on Monday at the Hiyas convention center.
PDRRM executive officer Liz Mungcal said that the seminar is part of the disaster preparedness program of the provincial government.
The PDRRMO has already conducted seminars of map-hazards, trainings of various barangay, municipal and city emergency response teams. (PNA) 
FPV/zst/EGGamos/ps

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Bulacan to hold mobile passport service - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 9 (PNA) --The provincial government, in collaboration with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), will once again conduct a Mobile Passport Service to help Bulakenyos acquire passports in a more convenient and easy way.
Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the move is part of its continuous effort to bring services closer to the people.
"This project offers convenience to Bulakenyos allowing them to save time and money," Alvarado said.
Elizabeth Alonzo, head of the Provincial Youth, Sports, Employment, Arts, Culture & Tourism Office (PYSEACTO), said that passport applications and submission of the duly accomplished forms and all other requirements will run from August 1-15 this year.
The appearance and final evaluation by the representatives of DFA, on the other hand, will be at the Bulacan Capitol gymnasium on September 13 to process the passport applications, she said.
The release of passports will be announced at a later date, she added.
Alonzo also said that the project will be on a first come, first serve basis.
According to the DFA, new applicants need to submit birth certificate (BC) in security paper (SECPA) issued by National Statistics Office (NSO), two valid identification cards (photocopy) and NSO authenticated marriage contract for married women as requirements.
Moreover, applicants for renewal of passport are required to submit old passport, photocopy of the first, last & all pages with marks in the passport, and marriage contract (MC) in security paper (SECPA) issued by National Statistics Office (NSO) for newly married women. (PNA) 
CTB/zst/EGGamos/ps

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32,000 sacks of adulterated rice seized in Bulacan raid - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 7 (PNA) -- Government law enforcement units once again swooped down on a rice mill and warehouse owned by a Chinese businessman at the First Industrial Center in Barangay Tikay here over the weekend and seized some 32,000 sacks of adulterated imported rice
Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II said that the broken rice residue intended for animal feeds from Vietnam was being mixed with the Blue Diamond rice imported from Thailand and then repacked and being sold as “Golden Bee” Premium Sinadomeng rice.
Roxas, who was accompanied by Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, Vice Governor Daniel Fernando, Malolos City Mayor Christian D. Natividad and CIDG director Benjamin Magalong Jr., inspected on Monday the sprawling warehouse and showed to mediamen how the adulterated rice was being processed.
He said the owner of Purefeeds could face multiple violations of Philippine trade laws.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II said the raid was part of the government’s campaign to neutralize rice hoarders and unscrupulous rice traders.
Roxas also said that the discovery of the adulterated rice inside the warehouse of Purefeeds Corporation was the result of the National Food Authority’s (NFA) right to inspect rice mills and warehouses in coordination with the Philippine National Police -Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG).
He said the raid at the Purefeeds was the 18th operations conducted by the CIDG and NFA.
Of the 18 raids, he said only four was found to be engaged in illicit trading of rice.
"They have violations with the NFA, Bureau of Animal Industry, Bureau of Internal Revenue and even to the Bureau of Customs," Roxas said.
The DILG secretary said that operations of the said rice mill will be temporarily suspended.
He stressed that the government is making sure that Filipinos will eat safe rice and can buy quality grains at government-imposed price.
"We will not allow to prevail the illicit activities of some unscrupulous businessmen to the public. We will not stop in pursuing them and not let our citizens to eat such kind of rice," Roxas said.
Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina, Bulacan acting provincial director, said two trucks loaded with 450 sacks each of the adulterated rice was also held at the compound of the ricemill warehouse.
He said that NFA officials are investigating why the said trucks have the logo of NFA complete with licensed number.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue-Bulacan office is also investigating probable violations of Purefeeds Corporation.
Lawyer Sulpicio Agapon, BIR regional district officer, said that Purefeeds was registered with a business address in Sta. Cruz, Manila when it should also have registration to the Bulacan BIR office due to the large scope of their operations.
“I think they (owners) will have a problem with that too, aside from adulterating rice products with animal feeds,” Agapon said.
The owner of the rice mill identified as Jojo Suliman however, said that all their importation permits are legal and that their operations are legitimate.
He, however, acknowledged that they are not registered at the Bulacan BIR office.
But the evidence found inside their warehouse is enough for the raiding team to file appropriate charges against the owners of Purefeeds Corporation, according to Bulacan CIDG provincial officer Chief Inspector Reynaldo Magdalayo.
Governor Alvarado, for his part, said that the government is sincere in apprehending rice hoarders and unscrupulous traders.
He said that NFA rice should be sold at affordable prices and not be diverted.
Mayor Christian D. Natividad said that he suspects that this nefarious operation could have been going on for a long time and this kind of activity must be totally stopped.
This was the second raid conducted by the NFA-CIDG in Bulacan.
Last Thursday, the raiding team seized 5,000 sacks of rice containing rice grains from NFA that were switched to sacks of premium commercial rice at Jommaro rice mill in Barangay Abanagan Sur, Marilao town. (PNA) 
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Government confiscates 4,000 metric tons of NFA rice from private trading company

MANILA, July 6 (PNA) -- The government’s effort in battling overpricing, manipulation and cartel-like activities has led to the confiscation of an estimated 4,000 metric tons of rice, a Palace official said on Sunday.
Presidential Communication Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr., said the Philippine National Police – Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) has seized this much from three out of 12 warehouses they investigated.
“Tatlong bodega ang natagpuang may paglabag sa batas dahil hindi makapagpakita ng dokumento ang mga tinuring na rice traders at ang mga ito ay ipinadlock (padlock) na ng CIDG,” said Coloma in a press briefing over radio station dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.
“Ayon sa ulat ni NFA (National Food Authority) Administrator Arthur Juan, mula lamang sa tatlong bodega na siniyasat, may natagpuang 80,076 na bags ng bigas na kung tig-50 kilo ang laman, may kabuuang humigit-kumulang 4,000 metrikong toneladang bigas,” Coloma added.
In a similar development, Coloma said Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agriculture Modernization Secretary Francis Pangilinan reported that the Malolos Prosecutor’s Office has filed a case against a rice trading company.
The company was found violating Presidential Decree No. 4, for diversion of price and facing price manipulation charges under the Price Act, where they can face five to 15 years imprisonment.
Coloma also said NFA Administrator Juan reported that NFA-Bulacan Provincial Manager and NFA-Region III Director were both tasked to explain how NFA rice found its way to the hands of a private company when it should only be traded by cooperatives.
“Pinapatunayan lang nitong pagkilos ng ating pamahalaan na totoo ang hinala na meron talagang mga nagsasamantala at nagsasagawa ng mga paglabag sa batas na hoarding at pag-manipula ng presyo. Kaya ngayong nabulabog na sila, at nahulihan na ng konkretong ebidensya ang ilan sa kanila, at nasampahan na rin ng kaso ng ating pamahalaan, inaasahan nating luluwag na ang supply sa merkado,” said Coloma. (PNA)
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MMDA prepares for INC centennial celebration, President Aquino’s 5th SONA

MANILA, July 6 (PNA) -- The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has started preparing for two big events this month -- the centennial celebration of the religious group Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) on July 27 and the fifth State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno S. Aquino III on July 28.
According to MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino, President Aquino has formed a task force to oversee the centennial celebration of the religious group and the task force will also help instill order when the President delivers his SONA at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.
The MMDA chief was appointed by the President to head the Task Force Centenario.
The members of the Task Force include Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, Health Secretary Enrique Ona, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima, as well as the heads or representatives of the Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) and INC. 
Tolentino said the INC celebration is expected to be a big event since it will be attended by at least three million of its members around the world.
The celebration will be held at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Tolentino said an MMDA team headed by Neomie Recio of the Traffic Engineering Center will conduct an ocular inspection on Monday to adjust the traffic flow in the Bulacan area.
“Sa Lunes, may ocular inspection, kasama si Recio at babaybayin ang mga munisipyo ng Bulacan para maiayos ang daloy ng traffic,” Tolentino said. (PNA) 
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Thousands join Bocaue fluvial festival - By Emil G. Gamos

BOCAUE, Bulacan, July 6 (PNA)--The grandeur of an old tradition is back at the Bocaue river.
In a strong show of faith, thousands of people flocked to the Bocaue river here as they celebrated the feast day of the venerated “Mahal na Poon ng Krus sa Wawa” in a much safer and colorful fluvial rites on Sunday.
"It is colorful again and the devotion and love to the patron can be felt again," said newsman Ramon Lazaro, a native of this town.
He said that the nine straight nights of novena and prayers was completed without any untoward incident because of the good coordination of the organizers, the local parish of St. Martin of Tours, the police, local government units (LGUs) and the provincial government of Bulacan.
The Holy Cross of Wawa and the image of St. Martin of Tours were placed at the main altar of the three-tiered Pagoda, which has a loading capacity of more than 500 people.
Organizers, however, only allowed 150 to 200 people to ride the Pagoda and everyone was required to wear lifevest.
A more coordinated preparation focusing on safety and security was conducted and implemented in a bid to prevent a repeat of the tragedy where 300 people perished when the three-tiered overcrowded Pagoda tilted and sank in the murky waters of the river on the night of July 2, 1993—the penultimate night of the nine-day novena.
This time, the voyage of Pagoda ran smoothly, signaling a revival of the crowd drawing fluvial festival in Bocaue.
Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that the strong devotion of the people has rekindled the “leap of faith” and trust to God as well as the crowd-drawing fluvial festival, which, he said is just one among the many age-old traditions still being practiced and observed in Bulacan.
But this year, he said that peace keeping and emergency response units have properly coordinated with the organizers to ensure a peaceful and safe celebration of the feast day of the venerated Holy Cross of Wawa.
“It is joyful but you can feel the sacredness of the tradition and the fervent devotion of the people. And due to cooperation and deep devotion of the people, the colorful festival in this town of Bocause has been rekindled," Alvarado said.
The governor also said that since the old grandeur of the fluvial festival is once again revived, he said the town of Bocaue is now known for its crowd-drawing “Three Ps”—namely the Pagoda festival, the Pyrotechnic industry and the soon to be inaugurated Philippine Arena.
He said that several days before this year’s Pagoda sailed on the Bocaue river again, he met officials of the provincial police, representatives of the municipal government, fiesta organizers and members of the emergency response teams from the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council.
He said that the Bulacan Police Provincial Office headed by Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina has deployed additional police teams from the Provincial Public Safety Managemnt Company to augment local policemen to ensure order and safety of the people.
He also said that the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office headed by Liz Mungcal have also deployed two jet skis, ambulance and divers as part of safety-keeping force of the fluvial festival.
Divina said that some 200 bancas joined the procession of the Pagoda.
He said all bancas, including the Pagoda always undergo pre-inspection, before they were given the go signal to sail.
He also said that rescue and paramedics teams from the Provincial Government were backed up by members of the Riverine troops of the Philippine Army, divers from the coast guard and navy and volunteer rescue teams from various civic groups.
Divina also said that policemen are strictly checking every participants and did not allow anyone under the influence of liquor to board any bancas or the Pagoda itself.
“We were also strictly monitoring the participants if they have deadly weapons that might start violence. We also prohibited the throwing of water put in plastic which we used to be doing before," he said.
The Holy Cross of Wawa, a replica of the wooden cross on which the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, is set on a pagoda, which is paraded on the Bocaue river with several bancas, as well as devotees swimming alongside the colorful structure.
The festivities also include a nine-day novena, which celebrates the rescue of the Holy Cross of Wawa from the Bocaue River.
Legends also said that a woman was saved from drowning by a floating cross which is presumed to be the Holy Cross of Wawa.
Earlier Fr. Mar Evangelista, parochial vicar of the St. Martin of Tours Parish here, said that they have agreed to revive the fluvial rites after organizers convinced them of the safety measures that will be enforced to ensure public safety.
Fr. Evangelista said that to make the fiesta more lively on the feast day, 11 marching bands circled the 18 barangays of Bocaue. (PNA) 
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President Aquino creates task force for Iglesia ni Cristo centennial celebration

MANILA, July 4 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III has formed an interagency task force to maintain peace and order for the centennial anniversary celebration of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) on July 27 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
In a Memorandum Circular No. 66 issued on July 3, the President directed the creation of “Task Force Sentenaryo” headed by Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino which would be in charge of all actions and responses in connection with the event.
The task force is also composed of Secretaries of the Department of National Defense, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Health and Presidential Communications Operations Office.
Other members of the group are Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Chief of Philippine National Police, Chairman of Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, General Manager of Philippine Ports Authority, General Manager of Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Director of Toll Regulatory Board and a representative of Iglesia ni Cristo.
President Aquino said the task force may call upon any department, bureau, office, agency or instrumentality of the government, local government units, non-government organizations and the private sector for assistance.
The President on July 2 also issued Proclamation No. 815 “Declaring Year 2014 as Iglesia ni Cristo Centennial Year.”
Proclamation No. 815 was issued to enhance public awareness on the contributions of the INC to national development.
The same proclamation also directed the Postmaster General to cause the design, printing and issuance of a special postage stamp to commemorate the said event.
INC is the largest home-grown Christian church in the Philippines, with ministries in at least 102 countries. (PNA)
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Police kill 2 suspected motorcycle thieves in Bulacan shootout

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, July 3 (PNA) -- Two suspected motorcycle thieves were killed in Balagtas, Bulacan on Thursday as the Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3) intensified efforts against criminality in Central Luzon.
In a report reaching here, an armed encounter between the elements of the Balagtas Municipal Police Station and the three suspected thieves took place along Bypass Road, Borol 2nd, Balagtas, Bulacan.
Prior to the encounter, a female victim reported to police that her black Yamaha Mio with plate no. 3354 OG was forcibly taken from her at gunpoint by the unidentified suspects.
With this, the elements of Balagtas Municipal Police Station immediately chased the suspects who were spotted heading towards the Bypass road.
An exchange of gunfire ensued between the suspects and police which resulted in the instantaneous death of the two suspects while the other suspect managed to elude arrest.
One of the policemen was wounded and is now undergoing medical treatment.
The identities of the suspects are still being verified as the Bulacan Police Crime Laboratory Office conducted scene of the crime operations.
Police Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta, PRO-3 regional director, commended the operating troops for a job well done.
He also assured the public that PRO-3 will continue its campaign to eradicate all forms of criminality within the region. (PNA) 
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Update: Food security Czar Kiko Pangilinan orders law enforcers to step up crackdown against nefarious rice traders and hoarders - By Emil G. Gamos

MARILAO, Bulacan, July 3 (PNA)--National food security czar Sen. Francisco “Kiko” Pangilinan on Thursday called on law enforcement units to step-up their campaign against hoarders and unscrupulous rice traders following the arrest of 20 persons caught switching National Food Authority (NFA) rice into sacks of commercial rice.
Pangilinan, who arrived at around 2 p.m. Thursday at the Jomarro Star Rice Mill in Barangay Abangan Sur here, was briefed by Bulacan PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Team provincial officer Chief Inspector Reynaldo Magdaluyo that the owners of the rice mill and warehouse managed to elude arrest but they were able to nab a certain Juan San Luis, who was allegedly the rice mill manager and 20 workers switching the NFA well milled rice to sacks of commercial rice.
Magdaluyo also told Pangilinan that at least 5,000 sacks (50 kilos each) of NFA rice are being brought and switched inside the rice mill warehouse daily.
Pangilinan said that when computed the daily earnings of the rice miller could reached at least P6.7 million a day.
He said that a kilo of NFA well milled rice commands a market price of P25 to P27 pesos and when switched to sack of commercial rice it will be sold much higher to P47 up to P50 per kilo.
Pangilinan said that he has already instructed the Bulacan PNP-CIDT and the Marilao police headed by Senior Supt. Marcos Rivero to padlock the rice mill.
Police are also digging deeper into the possible involvement of a rice cartel.
"This is just one. There might be others involved in this nefarious activity. Thus, we ordered our police to intensify their campaign in order to avert this kind of scrupulous activity. We want to give our citizens good kind of rice at cheaper price but there are businessmen who arer taking advantage," he said.
Joint operatives of the Bulacan PNP-CIDT and the Marilao police station raided rice mill/ warehouse and arrested 20 persons repacking 100 sacks of NFA rice into the sack of commercial rice in Barangay Abangan Sur here on Thursday morning.
The PNP-CIDT agents led by Magdaluyo and Marilao policemen led by Supt. Marcos Rivero also intercepted two 10-wheeler trucks each loaded with 5,000 sacks of NFA rice inside the warehouse compound.
Rivero identified the owners of the warehouse as spouses Roberto and Regina Paulenco, who were not in the area when the raiding team swooped down.
Appropriate charges, ranging from violation of Price Regulation Act and economic sabotage are being readied against the couple, the manager and the 20 workers repacking the NFA rice into the sacks of commercial rice. (PNA) 
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Bulacan cops nab 20 persons switching NFA rice into sacks of commercial rice - By Emil G. Gamos

MARILAO, Bulacan, July 3 (PNA) -- Law enforcers on Thursday foiled a nefarious activity of a rice trader here engaged in the switching of government rice into commercial rice.
Joint operatives of the Bulacan PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Team and the Marilao police station raided a warehouse and arrested 20 persons repacking 100 sacks of National Food Authority (NFA) rice to be sold as commercial rice in Barangay Abangan Sur here.
Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina said that Bulacan PNP-CIDT agents led by Chief Inspector Reynaldo Magdaluyo and Marilao policemen led by Supt. Marcos Rivero also intercepted two 10-wheeler trucks each loaded with 5,000 sacks of NFA rice inside the warehouse compound.
Rivero identified the owners of the warehouse as spouses Roberto and Regina Paulenco, who were not in the area when the raiding team swooped down in the area.
Rivero also said that the raiding team arrested a certain Juan San Luis, who claimed to be the warehouse manager.
Divina said that appropriate charges, ranging from price regulation act and economic sabotage, are being readied against the couple, the manager and the 20 workers repacking the NFA rice into the sacks of commercial rice.
Upon learning of the incident, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado condemned the nefarious business practice, saying that government rice should not be altered and must be sold at affordable price to the public.
Alvarado also instructed the police to intensify their operations against rice hoarders.
"Those behind these nefarious activities should be held responsible. The objective of the government to provide enough supply of food and cheap rice to the citizens is nice. However, there are indeed unscrupulous businessmen. They should face the consequences of what they did," he said.
The governor also said that once the NFA rice was switched, it will be sold as commercial rice at a higher price. (PNA) 
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Bulacan conducts simultaneous “quake drills” - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 2 (PNA) -- With sirens blaring from all directions, occupants of the Bulacan Medical Center (BMC) here systematically rushed-out from the “shaking” building as firefighters and rescue teams started arriving during a simultaneous “earthquake drill” on Wednesday.
Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that the provincial government, through the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) , is constantly conducting drills to prepare personnel to properly respond to any given situation, including worse-type scenarios like a powerful earthquake.
“We cannot predict earthquakes but it is better to be ready than to be caught flatfooted. We are training our emergency response teams to be swift when such situation occurs. We are also training medical personnel what to do and how to evacuate patients,” Alvarado said.
The simultaneous “earthquake drill” kicked-off at exactly 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Dr. Protacio Badjao, BMC medical director, said that each floor of the three-story hospital has their own section chiefs that will “shepherd” them out of the building to a designated safe area within the hospital compound.
He said that hospital personnel have been debriefed on their tasking when emergency situation arises and know what agency to call.
Dr. Paul Camina, planning section chief of BMC emergency response team, said they are also assessing the response time in evacuating patients and people inside the hospital which caters to at least 2,000 patients every day.
"We are determining on how fast the firetrucks and other rescue units could arrive and as we saw, it is faster and there a system on how to coordinate with the hospital officials," Camina said.
PDRRM executive officer Liz Mungcal said similar drills are also being conducted in crowded areas like schools, malls and other places of convergence.
She added that rescue teams from the province’s 21 towns and cities are also undergoing trainings on the use of modern equipment in saving lives in times of emergencies. (PNA) 
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Bulacan joins National Disaster Consciousness Month

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 1 (PNA) -- The provincial government has joined the nation in the observance of the National Disaster Consciousness Month this July that would promote public awareness on natural hazards and disseminate information on the steps to be undertaken to mitigate the adverse effects of calamities.
With this year’s theme “Kahandaan at Kaligtasan ng Pamayanan, Pundasyon ng Kaunlaran”, the kick-off activity was held during the Monday's flag raising ceremony where the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) distributed 100 whistles to provincial capitol employees.
“The province has always been doing efforts to heighten the province’s awareness and the need to implement mitigation measures. Proper steps on how to deal calamities should be in place because of its direct connection with the planned development in the province," Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado said.
As part of its efforts to strengthen preparedness and response, the provincial government has lined up various activities that include the month-long distribution of IEC materials and the implementation of the “Ang Bote Mo Kaligtasan Ko, Buong Taon Na Ito” program.
On Wednesday, there will be an earthquake drill at the Bulacan Medical Center.
There are also training on first aid/CPR on July 2 to 4 and water safety and fire suppression on July 7-9 at Malolos Resort Club Royale.
Likewise, a 10-day first aid and /BLS-CPR refresher course are set on July 10-11, 14-19, 21-22 at the Bulacan provincial capitol gymnasium.
Other activities are the 11th Central Luzon First Aid and Basic Life Support Olympics on July 23-24 at Malolos Convention Center; Multi Hazards Maps Information, Education and Information Campaign in 569 barangays on July 7 at the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center and July 14-15 at 8 Waves Waterpark in San Rafael, Bulacan.
An ambulance management training will also be held on July 28-29 at Balagtas Hall, HBCC in Malolos while the much-awaited 4th Bulacan Rescuelympics is scheduled on July 31 at the Bulacan Sports Complex and Capitol Gymnasium.
“We know that disasters, when they occur, hit the poorest and the most vulnerable the hardest. And while we cannot fully control the occurrence and the impact of disasters, the provincial government has already focused on improving its capacity to respond to disasters and public health emergencies by making a concrete disaster contingency planning in anticipation to diverse set of threats due to disasters and crises of all magnitude” the governor added. (PNA) 
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Bocaue Pagoda organizers ensure public safety, say 1993 tragedy will never happen again - By Emil G. Gamos

BOCAUE, Bulacan, June 29 (PNA) –“No lifevest, no ride!”
Authorities and organizers of the Bocaue fluvial festival in honor of the venerated “Mahal na Poon ng Krus sa Wawa” are strictly implementing safety measures on the “voyage” of the “Pagoda” on the Bocaue river to avoid a repeat of the July 2, 1993 Bocaue Pagoda tragedy where 300 people died.
Ruben Mercado, president of this year’s fiesta committee, said a prominent daily newspaper has donated 250 lifevest for the fluvial rites that they revived 21 years after the overcrowded Pagoda tilted and sank in the murky waters of the Bocaue river on the penultimate night of the nine-day Novena.
“Everyone who will board the Pagoda is being provided with a lifevest. Aside from this, various rescue teams, including well trained divers, are also circling the river to ensure public safety,” Mercado said.
He said that the new pagoda has a capacity to carry at least 300 people but they were only allowing 150 people to board the boat carrying the altar of the Holy Cross of Wawa.
The nine-day novena is now on its 3rd night and so far, the river voyage of the Pagoda is going smoothly, Mercado added.
He thanked provincial and municipal officials for helping them revive an old tradition in honor of the venerated “Mahal na Poon ng Krus sa Wawa”.
Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that the people of Bocaue has moved on and it only shows that their faith to God has become more stronger.
The governor also said that rescue and medical teams from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office have been deployed and will provide assistance until the fluvial festival is over.
Alvarado added that the Bulacan police under Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina have also deployed maneuver platoons from the Provincial Public Safety Company to ensure security during the festival.
Earlie, Fr. Mar Evangelista, parochial vicar of the St. Martin of Tours Parish here, said that they have agreed to revive the fluvial rites after organizers convinced them of the safety measures that will be enforced to ensure public safety.
The Holy Cross of Wawa, which is a replica of the wooden cross on which the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, is set on a pagoda, which is paraded on the Bocaue river with several bancas, as well as devotees swimming alongside the colorful structure.
The festivities also include a nine-day novena, which celebrates the rescue of the Holy Cross of Wawa from the Bocaue River.
Legends also said that a woman was saved from drowning by a floating cross which is presumed to be the Holy Cross of Wawa.
Fr. Evangelista said that there is now a growing clamor among multi-sectoral groups and the local government to resurrect the old grandeur of the fluvial rites prior to the tragedy where 300 people perished when the three-tiered overcrowded Pagoda tilted and sank in the murky waters of the river on the night of July 2, 1993—the penultimate night of the nine-day novena.
He said that to make the fiesta more lively on the feast day—first Saturday and Sunday of July—11 marching bands will circle the 18 barangays of Bocaue town. (PNA) 
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Bocaue fluvial festival sets maiden 'voyage' Friday

BOCAUE , Bulacan, June 27 (PNA) -- After 21 years, the stigma of the Pagoda tragedy still lingers but the “leap of faith” and adoration of the people here on the venerated “Mahal na Poon ng Krus sa Wawa” have never wavered and continue to grow stronger.
And while the century old fluvial rites is slowly reemerging in past several years, the Catholic church here wants to maintain the solemnity of the tradition and at the same time revive its old glory.
Fr. Mar Evangelista, parochial vicar of the St. Martin of Tours Parish here, said that the nine days novena is still being observed and the the venerated Cross is still being paraded.
The Holy Cross of Wawa, which is a replica of the wooden cross on which the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, is set on a pagoda, which is paraded on the Bocaue river with several bancas, as well as devotees swimming alongside the colorful structure.
The festivities also include a nine-day novena, which celebrates the rescue of the Holy Cross of Wawa from the Bocaue river.
Legends also said that a woman was saved from drowning by a floating cross which is presumed to be the Holy Cross of Wawa.
Evangelista said that there is now a growing clamor among multi-sectoral groups and the local government to resurrect the old grandeur of the fluvial rites prior to the tragedy where 300 people perished when the three-tiered overcrowded Pagoda tilted and sank in the murky waters of the river on the night of July 2, 1993, the penultimate night of the nine-day novena.
He said that to make the fiesta more lively on the feast day, first Saturday and Sunday of July, 11 marching bands will circle the 18 barangays of Bocaue.
Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the provincial government is actively supporting the preservation and promotion of old traditions in Bulacan.
He said that there are many festivals in the province but many have learned from the tragedy and they are making sure that it will never happen again by deploying additional well-trained emergency response and rescue teams.
“Like in Bocaue, there are also fluvial rites in Calumpit known as “Ligiran”. We saw the faith to God of our townmates are continuously getting stronger. Even though there was a Pagoda tragedy that happened in Bocaue, the festivity is continuously being observed and the patron saint is still being paraded, a tradition that testifies the strong faith of our constituents to our Lord," the governor said.
He said the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office headed by executive officer Liz Mungcal has already briefed rescue teams and will be deployed on the different parts of the river to ensure that the fluvial festival will be safe.
Alvarado also instructed Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina to augment the Bocaue police and ensure public safety.
Meanwhile, newsman Ramon Efren Lazaro, a Bocaue resident, said that preparations are being done to make the first “voyage” of the Pagoda on Friday night safe.
“The security and safety of the devotees are strictly being monitored. They will no longer allow too many devotees to get into the pagoda. There will be limits. However, the pagoda will still go around the river," he said.
He said that a “Save the Bocaue River” campaign will also be launched to clean the river and save it from getting severely polluted. (PNA) 
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Earthquake prompts new call for rehab of aging Angat dam  By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 26 (PNA) -- The magnitude 5.7 earthquake that jolted Batangas and nearby provinces, including parts of Bulacan Wednesday night, has once again prompted provincial leaders here to urge the national government to immediately start the repair and strengthening of the 46-year-old Angat dam in the mountains of Norzagaray town.
Experts said that the Angat dam is sitting along the West Valley fault line and could collapse if jolted by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake.
Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado reiterated the call during the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Summit held on Thursday at the Hiyas Pavilion here.
Alvarado said an earthquake is different from other equally devastating natural disasters.
“It comes like a thief in the night, without warning and cannot be predicted unlike typhoons. The magnitude 5.7 earthquake that jolted many parts of Luzon, including some areas in Bulacan might be a wake–up call to make our national leaders realize that as days pass by, the aging Angat dam is becoming a ticking time and a virtual ‘sword of Damocles,” the governor said.
He said the dam has a life span of 50 years and was built in a period when modern technology was only starting to grow.
The repair of the dam has been approved by President Benigno Aquino III, who allocated P5.7 billion for the structure's repair and strengthening.
The rehabilitation got stalled, however, after the Supreme Court declared as “constitutional” the bid of a Korean firm (K-Water) to operate the 46-year-old dam with a Filipino company controlling the majority shares.
Under its contract with the Philippine government, K-Water should shoulder the repair and rehabilitation of the dam but until now it has yet to happen.
Alvarado said that the provincial government through the PDRRMO is regularly conducting drills, seminars and massive information drive on disaster control awareness.
“A little preparation is better than no preparation at all,” he said.
During the Provincial DRMM Summit, experts and resource speakers from Project Noah, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (NDRRMO) and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) briefed participants from various emergency rescue teams and the municipal and city DRRMO on gaining resiliency through mitigative measures and the Yolanda experience.
The summit was attended by Vice Governor Daniel Fernando, OCD-3 regional director and Central Luzon DRRMC Chair Josefina Timoteo and Bulacan DRRM executive officer Liz Mungcal. (PNA) 
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Bulacan cops commended for capture of fugitive

BALIWAG, Bulacan, June 23 (PNA) -- Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Monday commended the Bulacan Police Provincial Office for capturing an armed and dangerous fugitive as he reiterated his call for the police and other peacekeeping forces to step up the war against criminal gangs and lawless elements.
The governor said that Bulacan is now on the threshold of becoming the booming growth center in the region and that criminal elements has no place in the province except behind bars.
Last Friday night, police operatives swooped down on a house in Barangay Concepcion in this town and arrested a man wanted for murder and several cases of heinous crimes.
Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand O. Divina identified the arrested felon as Edilberto Santos, 47, married and a resident of Barangay Sulivan, Baliwag town.
The accused is isted as the no. 1 Most Wanted Person in Baliwag and also as the no. 10 Most Wanted Person in the province.
Divina said that Santos was arrested by joint operatives of the Baliwag police station headed by Supt. Enrico Vargas and the Regional Intelligence Unit at a house in the said barangay.
He said the police team served two warrants of arrest against the suspect, one for murder and one for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
Santos was turned over to the court and is now detained at the Bulacan provincial jail. (PNA) 
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PNP steps up monitoring of sales of explosives, ingredients

GUIGUINTO, Bulacan, June 14 (PNA) -- The Explosive and Management Division of the Firearms and Explosive Office (EMD-FEO) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) has stepped up its monitoring and accounting of explosives and explosives ingredients in every region of the country to ensure that they do end up into the wrong hands.

Senior Supt. John C. Bulalacao, chief of the EMD-FEO, said that the move was in accordance with the directive of PNP Civil Security Group Director Melito M. Mabilin to ensure that the procurement of explosives and its ingredients are properly accounted and that no laws are being violated by legitimate end users, particularly those engaged in the fireworks and pyrotechnics industry.

In a letter addressed to Lea Alapide, acting president of the Philippines Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association Inc (PPMDAI), Bulalacao said that the accounting of explosives and its ingredients was prompted by series of reports that dealers and purchasers are colluding with alleged personnel of the explosive division in some regions to violate certain provisions of pertinent laws.

He said that during one of their inspections of explosives storage facility in Central Luzon, they found out that an applicant to purchase explosive ingredients still uses a non-existing project or project that was already completed as purpose for their request.

“We are investigating the possible involvement of some police personnel. Since the dealers and purchasers are in collusion with them, they have arbitrarily endorsed the request, unmindful of the possible consequences,” Bulalacao said.

To avoid the occurrence of these procedure, Bulalacao said they are requiring manufacturers and dealers of pyrotechnics to set aside copy of all receipts of delivery of explosive ingredients from their dealer and submit them to the office of the EMD-FEO not later than June 30, 2014 and every 5th day of the following months.

He said that this will help the EMD-FEO to strictly monitor and account the movement and sales of explosives and its ingredients and their end-users.

In response, PPMDAI chairman emeritus Celso C. Cruz said that they will help the EMD-FEO by disseminating the procedures to all manufacturers and dealers of pyrotechnics in the country to ensure that all their members are complying with the new Implementing Rules and Regulations being enforced by the PNP. (PNA) 
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Fire destroys Bulacan school for boys founded by 'Papal Knight'

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 13 (PNA) -- A prominent Catholic school for boys beside the historic Basilica Minore (Malolos Cathedral) here founded by a ”Papal Knight” was gutted by a big fire that broke out amid heavy downpour early Friday morning.

Firefighters from all over the province helped put out the fire at the Immaculate Concepcion School for Boys (formerly Immaculata Academy) which began around 3 a.m. and spread rapidly, the Malolos City police said in a report.

As of 7 a.m., firefighters were exerting efforts to prevent the fire from spreading to the adjacent Malolos Cathedral, which served as the Palacio Presidential of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo after he was inaugurated as President of the First Philippine Republic on January 23, 1899.

Initial reports said that the big fire has razed to the ground the old building of Immaculada Academy that used to host the Chapel of German nuns known as the “Holy Spirit Sisters”.

Also destroyed were the school library, auditorium and the high school department classrooms.

Several vehicles serving as school transport service were also burned, police said.

Police and arson probers are still investigating the early morning fire that gutted one of the prestigious Catholic Church-run private schools in this historic city.

Residents said that they were awakened by the peeling of old bells which made some think that a Holy Mass will soon start at the Basilica Minore.

However, thick smokes and raging fire greeted early risers within the vicinity of the historic church.

The Immaculate Concepcion School for Boys was founded by Archbishop Cirilo Almario and founding-school principal Rodolfo Bagay in 1989 before it was transformed into an exclusive school for boys.

Like the Don Bosco school, the institution was formerly known as the Immaculata Academy, which was transferred in Barangay Sta. Isabel and renamed “Holy Spirit Academy.”

Bagay was conferred a “Papal Knight” (Order of St. Silvester) by then and now St. Pope John Paul II in 1987. (PNA) 
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President Aquino leads commemoration of 116th Philippine Independence Day

NAGA CITY, Camarines Sur, June 12 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday led the flag-raising and wreath-laying rites held at the Plaza Quince Martires in this province to commemorate the 116th Philippine Independence Day.

Plaza Quince Martires was chosen by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), with the President’s approval, as the venue for this year’s Independence Day celebration to honor the 15 Martyrs of Bicol whose travails helped ignite the revolution in 1896.

Taking off from the Independence Day theme of “Pagsunod sa Yapak ng mga Dakilang Pilipino, Tungo sa Malawakan at Permanenteng Pagbabago," President Aquino paid tribute to the country’s martyred heroes, who sacrificed their lives to free the Filipinos from the oppression of Spanish conquerors, leading to the proclamation of the country’s independence and the declaration of the First Philippine Republic.

“Ngayong Araw ng Kalayaan, sama-sama po tayong nagbibigay-pugay sa mga bayaning ipinaglaban ang tama. Gamitin natin silang inspirasyon sa patuloy nating paglalakbay sa daang matuwid,” President Aquino said before hundreds of Nagueños who gathered at the plaza.

“Isapuso natin ang iniwan nilang aral: ang malasakit sa ating kapwa ang maghahatid sa atin sa mga inaasam natin bilang isang lahi. Sa ganitong paraan lamang po natin masasabing tunay tayong karapat-dapat sa kanilang mga sakripisyo; sa ganitong paraan lamang po natin maitataguyod ang isang Pilipinas na ganap na makatarungan at malaya.”

President Aquino was joined by NHCP chairperson Maria Serena Diokno, Naga City Mayor John Bongat, Camarines Sur Representative Maria Leonor Robredo, National Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Emmanuel Bautista, and other local and military officials during his activities here.

Representative Robredo, for her part, thanked President Aquino for choosing to be in Naga City to celebrate this year’s Independence Day and for acknowledging the sacrifices rendered by their forefathers.

“Ikinagagalak po namin, Mahal naming Pangulo, ang inyong kapasiyahan na dito sa aming lungsod ipagdiwang ang 116 na araw ng kasarinlan. Ikinalulugod po namin na matapos ang mahabang panahon, nabigyan din ng kaukulang pagpapahalaga ang mga pamana at papel na ginampanan ng mga tinitingala naming mga bayani. Mula ngayon, hindi na lamang sila mga martir ng Bicol, mga bayani rin sila ng buong Pilipinas,” she said in her message.

Apart from the flag-raising and wreath-laying rites in Camarines Sur, other Independence Day-related activities were simultaneously held at the Rizal Park in Manila, Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine in Cavite, Barasoain Church in Bulacan, Pinaglabanan Memorial Shrine in San Juan City, Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan City, Mausoleo de los Veteranos de la Revolucion at the North Cemetery in Manila, and the Pamintuan House in Angeles City.

President Aquino was also slated to meet with members of the diplomatic community for the traditional Vin d’Honneur at Malacañang Palace to celebrate the occasion. (PNA)
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Police save wounded kidnap victim in Bulacan

CITY OF SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, Bulacan, June 11 (PNA) -- Quick response of the police has saved a wounded kidnap victim here who, together with his brother in-law, were abducted and intended to be executed by their abductors Monday afternoon, a belated police report said.

One of the two kidnap victims survived while the other died on the spot when six suspected members of a kidnap-for ransom gang brought them in Barangay Kaypian here and repeatedly shot them.

Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand O. Divina identified the survivor as Noah Corpuz, 36 , married, jobless, native of Baguio City and presently residing at Block 14, Lot 12, Barangay Sta Cruz II, Dasmariñas, Cavite.

He sustained a gunshot wound on the back of his body when found by responding policemen.

His brother–in-law who was identified as Edwin Orsal died on the spot due to multiple gunshot wounds.

Divina said that, earlier, elements of Police COMPAC 1 Of the San Jose del Monte City police station received a telephone call coming from Patrol 117 stating that a robbery hold-up transpired in Kaypian Road, Barangay Kaypian, City of San Jose del Monte.

Immediately, upon receipt of the information, Divina said that elements of COMPAC 1 were dispatched to validate the report.

Upon reaching the place of occurrence, instead of a robbery hold-up incident, they saw the wounded Corpuz who was rushed to the district hospital for treatment.

Initial investigation based on an interview conducted on Corpuz revealed that he and his brother-in-law Orsal were abducted by the unidentified suspects last June 2 in Dasmarinas, Cavite.

This, after the suspects pretended as customer and rented the L-300 van owned by Corpuz.

The victim also told police investigators that on the night of June 9, the suspects blindfolded them and loaded them in a taxi cab and brought to Barangay Kaypian, City of San Jose Del Monte where they were shot several times by the suspects with the use of a shotgun and .38-caliber revolver.

Corpuz, who sustained five gunshot wounds at the back of the body, managed to ran away while his brother-in-law died on the spot.

A SOCO team from the Bulacan Provincial Office led by Chief Inspector Gina Ledesma recovered from the crime scene a spent cartridge of a 12-gauge shotgun.

Divina said they have already coordinated with the Cavite police on the incident.

He said that further investigation and follow-up is presently being conducted.

He added the survivor revealed there was ransom demanded. (PNA) 
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Bulacan ready for school opening on Monday 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 1 (PNA) --Its all systems go for the opening of classes in this province as schools are now spic and span and smiling policemen are ready to secure the various schools to ensure safety of students and teachers during the school opening on Monday.

Provincial officials headed by Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado made last minute inspections of school campuses in the province to ensure that everything is in order as students troops back to school.

Alvarado said that public schools in the 21 towns and three cities of Bulacan have already been spruced-up for the Monday's opening of classes.

He also said that the Bulacan Police Provincial Office under acting provincial director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina has deployed maneuver platoons from the Provincial Public Safety Company to augment police assistance centers that were set up in various schools.

He said that Divina has also instructed the policemen to always be respectful and smiling.

“First impression lasts. That is why we wanted our new batch of school kids as well as all students to start their classes on a good note. Teams have already been deployed to provide security and assistance to students, teachers and parents,” Alvarado said.

The governor also commended students, teachers, parents and community leaders for rekindling the Filipino virtue of “Bayanihan” during the recently concluded “Brigada Eskwela”.

Alvarado said that 457 public elementary schools and 85 secondary schools have already been spruced and are now ready for the school opening.

Teachers and students along the so-called University Belt in this city also thanked the governor and his wife Bulacan 1st District Rep. Ma Victoria R. Sy-Alvarado for the pedestrian overpass along the busy Macarthur highway, partuclarly those located at the Bulacan State University and at the junction in Barangay Dakila where several public and private schools are located.

They said that the pedestrian overpass will help prevent accidents from now on and ensure the safety of many students who have to cross the busy MacArthur highway. (PNA) 
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Former Baliwag mayor offers P.5M for whereabouts of kidnapped bodyguard 
By Emil G. Gamos

BALIWAG, Bulacan, May 31 (PNA)--Former town mayor Romy Estrella on Saturday announced that he is offering half million pesos for anyone who could provide information on the whereabouts of his close-in security Joselito Hizon.

Hizon was forcibly taken at gunpoint by a group of heavily armed men wearing military uniforms that stormed the Crystal Lodge in Barangay Bagong Nayon here Thursday afternoon.

In a live radio interview during the Saturday morning program of broadcaster Rommel Ramos, Estrella said he and his family are keeping a prayer vigil hoping that Hizon, whom they fondly called “Nitoy”, will return safe.

Hizon and Estrella were having a coffee break at the former mayor’s office at the Crystal Lodge together with former provincial board member Enrique Viudez and Ruben Delfoso last Thursday afternoon when a group of heavily armed men arrived at the said lodge.

Estrella said the men told the lodge’s staff that they are looking for the owner—who happens to be the ex-mayor—and that nobody would be harmed.

A secretary of the mayor immediately informed the mayor and told him to hide.

Estrella said he was able to hide at a nearby room before the armed men barged inside his office where they hogtied Viudez and Defoso.

Initial police reports said that the suspects took cash and jewelries before taking at gunpoint Hizon.

Estrella said that when he managed to hide, he was able to call the town’s police station and informed a duty policeman that armed men have stormed his office and need immediate police assistance.

The former mayor, however, said that a police team arrived an hour after the suspects have fled.

Police said that the incident was a case of robbery hold-up but the former mayor insisted that it is politically motivated because the men were looking for him and they could have taken him instead of his security aide if he was not able to hide.

"I am their target because recall petition was already been filed against the incumbent mayor because of lost of confidence, worsening peace and order condition and abuse of authority," Estrella said.

Before the incident at Crystal Lodge, Sonia Estrella, wife of the former-mayor, filed a recall petition at the local Comelec's office Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado instructed Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina to speed up their investigation and double their efforts to locate and save Hizon.

He also told Divina to investigate the slow response of the Baliwag police even if they were already informed of a serious situation that requires immediate police assistance. (PNA) 
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PRO-3 requires personnel manning checkpoints to wear reflectorized straps/vests

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, May 27 (PNA) -- The Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3) has required police personnel manning checkpoints to wear reflectorized straps/vests.

Chief Superintendent Raul Petrasanta, PRO regional director, issued the order so as to avoid similar vehicular accident that killed Police Officer 1 Mark Stewart Martinez.

Martinez, 28, a member of Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB3), was overran by a dumptruck along Quirino highway in Barangay Maharlika, City of San Jose Del Monte, over the weekend.

The victim was crossing the highway when he was overran by Hyundia dump truck (UQY-774) being driven by Reany Acob, 33, a resident of Barangay Sta. Lucia, Angat, Bulacan.

The victim was taken to Sapang Palay Medical District hospital but expired while undergoing medical treatment.

The driver of the dump truck was arrested by San Jose Del Monte Police Station.

Senior Superintendent Manuel Gaerlan, deputy regional director for operations, said Martinez was performing his duty as sentinel in Anti-Hijacking Control Point when accidentally overran by the speeding dumptruck loaded with coal.

“All PNP personnel manning checkpoints and anti-hijacking checkpoints especially those wearing camouflage uniform shall wear reflectorized straps/vests when on duty on the streets doing nighttime to avoid accidents,” Gaerlan said. (PNA) 
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Bulacan guv urges Central Luzon PNP to step-up drive vs. crime 
By Emil G. Ramos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, May 27 (PNA) --Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Tuesday urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) Region 3 to step up and strengthen its campaign against criminal gangs and lawless elements.

Alvarado, chairman of the Regional Peace Advisory Council (RAC), said it is evident that public security and maintenance of peace and order is one of the vital concerns of society and a booming region like Central Luzon.

He said combating crime and law offenders are both the concerns of the police, military and the local government units (LGUs).

“It is part of our duties to work hard and be aggressive in fulfilling the reform agenda and the fight against criminalities in the region," Alvarado said.

Meanwhile, police regional director Chief Supt. Raul Delfin Pentrasanta lauded Alvarado for the support and cooperation of RAC in the implementation of Integrated Transformation Program-Performance Governance System that aims to make good governance a shared responsibility between the PNP and the stakeholders.

RAC is composed of prominent personalities in Central Luzon with a common goal to further sustain and improve the PNP peace and order agenda with deeper commitment in curbing criminality in the region.

“If we do work toward the realization of this hope and find ways that may transform the way we understand others, we can achieve peace as it is the first necessity of human progress,” the governor said.

Alvarado also cited the efforts of newly installed Bulacan police acting provincial director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina in increasing police presence as well as improving the quick response of police teams in assisting the public.

“I also told Col. Divina to solve unsolved cases and step up their campaign against criminal gangs and lawless elements,” the governor told members of the local press here. (PNA) 
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Calumpit bridge collapse a 'blessing'

CALUMPIT, Bulacan, May 24 (PNA) -- A regional official of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Central Luzon on Saturday described the collapse of the Calumpit bridge Friday noon along MacArthur Highway in Barangay Gatbuca here where two workers were injured as a “blessing and a favor.”

Engineer Jess Obordo of DPWH-Region 3 said in a live radio interview wit broadcaster Rommel Ramos that the collapse of the mid-section of the old Calumpit bridge is a big favor that will hasten the pace of work.

Obordo explained that the bridge collapsed when they were begging to demolish the old structure to pave the way for the launching of the girder or base support for the new bridge.

“The construction firm is now demolishing the old structure. It just happened that it collapsed, thus saving us many days to hasten the removal of the steel trusts,” he said.

He also said that they already knew that the section of the bridge will soon fall and that workers are already demolishing it when it collapsed Friday noon.

Two workers identified by the police as Jerry David and Robert Baydelbaid sustained injuries and were immediately rescued and brought to the nearby Sta. Cruz hospital for treatment.

"That's why there was a crane operating there when the bridge collapsed because they were demolishing the old structure. The crane operator got scared and jumped, causing him to get a sprain," Obordo said.

Asked if DPWH will give sanction or investigate the construction company, Obordo said "no because the collapse of the bridge is expected."

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, on the other hand, said that the bridge -- like the public -- has also became impatient and decided to fall by itself.

The governor, together with town mayor Jessie de Jesus asked DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson to strictly implement safety measures at the construction site to prevent accidents from happening again.

They also asked DPWH to speed up the pace of construction of the new bridge and the strengthening of the temporary bridge before the onset of the rainy season.

The bridge, which links northern part of Bulacan to Apalit, Pampanga, was scheduled to be finished last April but was delayed after engineers found old structures under the river and has to be bored for its support base. (PNA) 
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Calumpit Bridge collapses, 2 workers hurt 
By Emil G. Gamos

CALUMPIT, Bulacan, May 23 (PNA) -- Two workers were injured when the middle portion of the old Calumpit bridge which is under construction collapsed before Friday noon.

The incident happened around 10:30 a.m. Friday while construction was going on at the bridge. Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson recently ordered to expedite works on the bridge due to long delay.

Police identified the injured as Robert Baydelbaid, 30, crane operator and Jerry David, 40, construction worker.

Police said the two victims were working on the middle portion of the bridge when it suddenly collapsed.

They were immediately rescued by the teams from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and the Calumpit Emergency Rescue Unit and brought to the nearby Sta. Cruz Hospital here.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Calumpit Mayor Jessie de Jesus immediately went to the site and talked with construction engineers and Provincial Engineer Glen Reyes and discussed measures to prevent accidents from happening again.

The two local officials also appealed to the DPWH to fast track the construction before the onset of the rainy season.

“The general welfare and safety of the public and the workers must be given priority consideration. The construction company must strictly implement safety measures to ensure that nobody will get hurt while the construction of the new bridge is being done,” Alvarado said.

The governor also said that Mayor de Jesus has deployed village watchmen in both ends of the bridge to ensure public safety 24 hours a day.

He also said that teams from the municipal government are no longer allowing fishing boats to pass under the bridge while construction is going on.

He also called on the regional office of DPWH to speed the construction of the temporary bridge where thousands of people cross everyday.

“The people can no longer bear the inconvenience caused by its delay. Everyday, thousands of people has to cross the river over a hanging bridge, which is now alarmingly becoming a disaster waiting to happen because its wear and tear has now become imminent. The delay has affected businesses and has already cost too much to the economy of the affected towns,” the governor said.

The bridge links the northern villages of Calumpit and provinces in Central and Northern Luzon to Malolos City and Metro Manila.(PNA) 
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'Brigada Eskwela' rekindles 'Bayanihan' spirit in Bulacan - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, May 19 (PNA)--The Filipino virtue known as “Bayanihan” was rekindled in school campuses all over the province on Monday morning.

Armed with brooms, mops, water pails and grass cutters, teachers, students and parents were joined by provincial officials community leaders as they trekked back to school campuses in this province as part of the nationwide repair and cleaning of schools known as “Brigada Eskwela.”

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said “Brigada Eskwela” does not only make school campuses spic and span for the school opening but also instill to the students the spirit of “bayanihan” or working together for a good cause.

“A clean school will give students an environment that will enhance their studies as they seek knowledge for better future. It is nice to see that all are helping one another to ensure that schools are clean and safe for students this coming school opening," Alvarado said.

At the same time, the governor said that the concerted effort of students, teachers, parents and community leaders is also very helpful in destroying the habitat of disease carrying mosquitoes and prevent germs that may cause sickness from spreading.

“In spite of the hot weather, it is indeed very inspiring to see our people working together to repair and clean our schools. This is a labor of love for our children and their good future,” he said.

The “Brigada Eskwela” program also brings to young students the values of unified efforts and instilling to them at an early age they have important roles in protecting the environment, he said.

Alvarado also said that providing quality education is among his administration’s seven-point agenda.

He said that at present the province of Bulacan has now zero back log in the construction of classrooms in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd).

Education officials have earlier hailed Alvarado for consistently supporting the government’s goal of creating more educational facilities and providing quality education for the young people of Bulacan.

Since he assumed post as governor, Alvarado and the provincial government in partnership with DepEd has already built 900 classrooms all over Bulacan.

Meanwhile, the DepEd has issued a list of things people can do to help make schools clean and safe in time for the opening of classes.

These are to coordinate with DepEd division; identify and communicate support that will be provided to schools; secure a copy of school preparedness checklist; signify interest to assist school during preparation for class opening; participate in school preparatory meetings for Brigada Eskwela; attend disaster risk reduction and management orientation; assist in the conduct of risk profiling and support the school preparedness strategies. (PNA) 
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Guv orders new Bulacan PNP OIC to step up war vs. crime - By Emil E. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, May 17 (PNA)--Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Saturday reiterated his marching order to the new officer-in-charge of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office (BPPO) to increase police presence and intensify its crackdown against criminal elements.

Alvarado also told Senior Supt. Ferdinand O. Divina to review and solve previous cases and prevent crimes from happening.

The governor said that Divina is a hardworking police officer and a competent partner in the maintenance of peace and order in the province.

“The province of Bulacan is now booming. While we, at the provincial government, are creating an environment conducive to business investments, we are also creating an environment not conducive to criminals and other lawless elements. Those lawless elements are not welcome in Bulacan, the only place for them here is behind bars,” Alvarado said.

Divina called Friday his first command conference at the provincial headquarters at Camp Gen. Alejo Santos here.

It was attended by Supt. Rolando Santos, Deputy Provincial Director for Operation (DPDO) and Supt. Jesus Reyes, Deputy Provincial Director for Administration (DPDA).

Also present in the command conference were the Bulacan PPO Command Group, Provincial Staff, Provincial Public Safety Company, PO Support Units and all chiefs of police (COPs) in the different towns and cities of Bulacan.

The COPs from San Jose Del Monte (SJDM) City Supt. Joel Estaris; Malolos City PNP Supt. Donato Bait and Doña Remedios Trinidad (DRT) Chief Inspector Manuel de Vera presented brief descriptions of their area of responsibility (AOR) crime situation and deployment for crime solution.

Preparations for the upcoming World Economic Forum (WEF) in May and Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) Centennial Celebration were also discussed in the meeting. (PNA) 
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Obando’s fertility dance: Where devotion, festivity 'collide'

MANILA, May 17 (PNA) -- What's the best way to end summer besides swimming, traveling and partying? Join a memorable festival!

The province of Bulacan has long been known for having grand festivities including Sto. Nino Festival, Pulilan Festival, Luyang Dilaw Festival, Plaridel Horse Festival, and so much more.

For the last wave of summer heat, Bulacan is kicking-off its Obando Fertility Festival.

Formerly known as Kasilonawan Festival, the so-called “Sayaw sa Obando” is celebrated annually from May 17 to 19. The celebration is known to make miracles for those longing to have a child, those searching for mates, and farmers who would like to have a good harvest.

To prove its authenticity, Jose Rizal in his novel Noli Me Tangere wrote that Dona Pia Alba (Maria Clara’s mother) was said to have danced in Obando in order to have a child.

Festival, prayerful appeal

The Obando fertility dance is both a festival and a prayerful appeal for devotees.

It is a festival where a number of couples hoping to be blessed by children gathers and performs on the street in a long procession. This old-age tradition to the present day has attracted a lot of tourists from around the world.

Since pre-Spaish times, Obando, Bulacan has hosted this festival which has been part of the tradition even before the Spanish conquest of the Philippines. Before, childless native couples dance in front of idols to request for children. When the Spanish arrived, they persuaded the natives to keep the Fertility Dance, but would dance to images of saints instead of idols.

Nowadays, the celebration is held in honor of San Pascual de Bailon, Sta Clara, and Nuestra Senora Immaculada Conception de Salambao. Prayers are offered to the patron saints for religious virtue, for the childless, and for a bountiful catch for fishermen.

Every year, it is observed that a huge number of childless couples, thankful parents, and grateful fishermen clad in colorful traditional costumes, dancing to the deep, sensual and eccentric affair beat of musical instruments made out of bamboo materials.

This tradition of dancing, along with images of patron saints carried by participants, is done to bring to life the mysterious forces of reproduction.

Evidently effective

Locals claim that the "ritual" is evidently effective, saying that one proof would be the population growth in the province of Bulacan.

Whether true or not, the fertility dance is a timeless tradition that bounds people into prayer of both thanks and pleas. People in the country believe that taking part in the festivity every year is one of the best ways to enjoy life.

With an unrestrained enthusiasm in the celebration, Filipinos show to visitors from different parts of the world that it is “more fun in the Philippines.”

So, if you are really looking for the best way to end your summer, brace yourself for the pure tradition of “Sayawan sa Obando” that the Philippines offers. (PNA) 
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Bulacan officials closely monitoring impact of dry spell as Angat dam water level continues to dip 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, May 13 (PNA) -- As the water level at Angat dam continues to plunge below its critical level of 180 meters, provincial officials are now closely monitoring farmlands in this city and in the towns of Bocaue and Bulakan where irrigation supply is badly needed to save rice plants not yet ready for harvest.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said teams from the Provincial Agricultural Office are now bringing water pumps to rice lands being hit by the dry spell.

He said that while the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) has assured that it will still release six cubic meters per second of water from Bustos dam for 10 days, the provincial government is also now assessing the impact of the impending “El Nino” weather phenomenon and coming up with mitigation plans.

As of 8 a.m. Tuesday, the water level at Angat dam was 179.45 meters which is now way below the critical of 180 meters.

Provincial agriculture officer Gloria Carillo said that there are still less than 5,000 hectares of farmlands planted with palay that have yet to be harvested.

He said that rice lands in the province's first district can still bear the dwindling irrigation supply.

However, she said they are also monitoring the so- called “Habol Tanim” or newly planted rice plants in the towns of Balagtas and Bulakan.

Carillo also said that they are focusing on the impact of the dry spell on land preparation that usually takes place in the last week of May or early days of June.

She said that if the water supply at the dams continues to dry up, at least six hectares of rice fields in the coastal town of Bulakan will be bereft of irrigation supply.

"There will be difficulty in reaching the ricefields there if NIA stopped the releasing of irrigation water," she said.

Last Sunday, the National Power Corporation (Napocor) announced that it cut off its water supply for irrigation for Bulacan and Pampanga to prioritize potable water supply to Metro Manila.

Napocor president Ma. Gladys Cruz-Sta. Rita said that water supply for Metro Manila remains at 42 cubic meters per second (cms) until May 21.

Sta. Rita said the National Water Resources Board is set to meet to discuss if water supply to Metro Manila will be reduced.

Napocor said that with a rate of reduction of 32 centimeters per day, the water level is expected to reach 170 meter above sea level (masl) after 29 days.

Though rains are expected to come by then as per forecast of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Angat dam can still supply water to Metro Manila even if it reaches 170 masl level.

Napocor has reiterated its call to the public to conserve and use water wisely.

It was in year 2010 when the lowest water level was recorded at Angat Dam at 157 masl, way below the dam’s minimum operating level of 160 masl for water supply.

Sta. Rita also reiterated the Bureau of Soils and Water Management’s statement that cloud seeding operations at Angat dam and the watershed area will commence once the clearance from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines is secured.

Meanwhile, the cultural minonity group known as "Dumagat" tribe performed on Tuesday the traditional "subkal" to ask their god “Makedepat” for rains.

The Dumagat tribe, which lives within the Angat watershed, are the first ones that will be affected should the dam level continue to decrease because it is one of their major sources of livelihood. (PNA) 
LAP/zst/EGGamos/ps

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Bulacan steps up measures to get rid of rice black bugs

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, May 9 (PNA) -- The provincial government, through the Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO), is stepping up efforts to control the infestation of rice black bugs (RRB) which have been sighted in four municipalities in the province.

Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado said that the PAO headed by Gloria Carrillo is strictly monitoring the reported sightings of the pest in the towns of San Miguel, San Ildefonso, San Rafael and Baliwag.

"Our farmers should not get worry with the RRB sightings as the provincial government is doing all possible ways to control and get rid of the pest in our crops, particularly in palay, which is the major source of income of the Bulakenyos," Alvarado said.

Carillo said that although the RBB situation in the province has not yet reached the distressing stage, their office is implementing some precautionary measures to prevent possible infestation.

"We do massive information campaign. We included the topic about RBB in the Integrated Pest Management Seminar for our farmers and agricultural workers for them to gain knowledge on how to control pest," she said.

According to the Philippine Rice Research Institute’s (PhilRice) Crop Protection Division, the RBB, which was reported to have infested some countries in Asia in the past years, are small, cryptic and highly invasive pest species attacking all growth stages of the rice plant, but which can be controlled naturally.

Carillo said that one of the PhilRice's recommended technique is to use light traps.

PhilRice experts said that light trapping of insects should start five days before and after the full moon and to use 2000-3000 watts or super light during outbreaks and set them up every night to obtain the most number of bugs.

The effective light trapping is from 8 p.m. to 12 p.m.

Carillo said that flooding, herding of ducks in the field, and sanitation also prevent pest infestation.

Aside from those techniques, she said PhilRice experts are also encouraging farmers to minimize the use of insecticide so as not to kill the natural enemies of RBB which include wasps; ground and coccinellid beetle; wolf, lynx, and long-jawed spider; red ant; and damsel bug.

"Weeding to destroy the habitat of RBB can also help exterminate the said pest," she added. (PNA) 
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25 hurt as bus falls into ravine in Aurora 
By Marilyn E. Galang

CAMP RAVINA, Aurora, May 9 (PNA) -– Twenty-five passengers, four of whom youngsters and an elderly couple, escaped death aboard a bus that fell off into a ravine in Maria Aurora town Thursday morning.

Senior Superintendent Elmer Bantug, provincial police director, said the passengers were on board a Papin bus liner with license plate CWC-847 cruising along the road in Sitio Dimutol, Barangay Dianawan, Maria Aurora at around 6:30 a.m. Thursday when its driver Celestino Marzan lost control of the steering wheel.

The bus, which was bound for Cabanatuan City, then skidded and fell into a 15-feet deep ravine.

Senior Inspector Victor Morales, Maria Aurora police chief, identified those injured as conductor Charito Pajela, 29; Linda Gutierrez, 53, of Dianawan, Maria Aurora; Francisco Josue, 40, of Alicia, Isabela; Reynaldo Apilado Jr., 37, of Florida, Maria Aurora; Joanne Tangonan, 34, of Barangay 1, Maria Aurora; Leonida Valdez, 37, and children Joyce Valdez, 10, and Lloyd Valdez, 7 and Daisy Baldove, 28, all of Ditale, Dipaculao, Aurora; Rodelio Abero, Pacita Romero, 59 and Kim Cedric Romero, 9, of Mejares, Dipaculao; Rodrigo Dagdag, 57 and wife Martina Dagdag, 56, both of Buenavista, Dipaculao;

Amelita Ordonia, 45, of Ipil, Dipaculao; Donalyn Licad, 40, and daughter April Krizzia Licad, 13, both of Dipaculao, Aurora; Noriel Briones, 22, of Sapang Kawayan, Dipaculao, Aurora; Marivel Montanez, 47, and Rodgievel Montanez, 18, both of Mucdol, Dipaculao; Erwin Suarez, 28, of Ligaya, Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija; Arcadio Mendoza, 58, Coral na Bato, Bulacan, Bulacan; Arceli Ramirez, 71, of Dimanpudso, Maria Aurora, and MJ dela Cruz.

The injured passengers were brought to the Aurora Memorial Hospital in Barangay Reserva and to the Premiere General Hospital for treatment.

PO3 Jaquel Sigua, duty investigator of the Maria Aurora police, said before the accident, the passengers heard something snapped and the driver tried to apply the brakes to no avail and the bus dived into the cliff.

Sigua said the area where the accident happened is not considered accident-prone.

“In fact, it was the first time such accident happened there,” he said.

Marzan has been detained at the Maria Aurora police stockade. (PNA) 
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Interpol lauds PHL police for busting int'l cyber extort group

MANILA, May 3 (PNA) -- The International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) has lauded the Philippine National Police (PNP) for its recent busting of an international syndicate engaged in cyber extortion.

This was revealed by Chief Supt. Rueben Theodore Sindac, PNP public information office chief, in a statement Saturday.

This came in wake of the PNP's arrest of 58 "sextortion" suspects and confiscation of 250 pieces of electronic evidence in simultaneous raids in Bicol Region, Laguna, Bulacan and in Taguig City on April 30.

The Interpol acknowledged the Philippine National Police and its Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) for the success of Operation “Strikeback”.

Following the Interpol Case Operational Plan (COPlan) “Strikeback”, a campaign against the prevalence of sex extortion activities in the Philippines, the PNP led the said multi-agency operation against sex extortion which was joined by representatives from Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission, Department of Justice, Police Scotland, Interpol, Hong Kong Police, Singapore Police, U.S. Homeland Security Investigation, Child Exploitation Online Protection and Australian Federal Police.

“I would like to thank them (PNP and ACG) for their professionalism and dedication, and without whose cooperation and efforts we would not be here today and this Operation would not have been successful,” Interpol Director Sanjay Virmani said.

“It is also important to highlight that while the arrests made this week were made here in the Philippines, these crimes are not limited to any one country and nor are the victims," he added.

Virmani also encouraged international cooperation in investigating "sextortion" as this is massive and run with just one goal in mind -- to make money regardless of the terrible emotional damage they inflict on their victims. He also assure that Operation “Strikeback” shows that no matter where criminals carry out their crimes or try to hide behind the anonymity of the internet, law enforcement is equally determined in their efforts to track them down and bring them to justice. (PNA) 
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PNP bags 58 'sextortion' suspects in series of raids, 250 electronic gadgets seized

MANILA, May 2 (PNA) -- The Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP ACG) on Friday announced that its operatives have arrested 58 "sextortion" suspects and confiscated 250 electronic gadgets during a series of raids in Bicol, Laguna, Bulacan and Taguig last April 29.

PNP ACG commander Senior Supt. Gilbert Sosa, in a statement forwarded to the Philippines News Agency Friday, said the operation is dubbed "Strike Back".

He said they were aided in the series of raids by the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission, Department of Justice, Scotland police, Hong Kong police, Singapore police, US Homeland Security Investigation, Child Exploitation Online Protection and the Australian federal police.

The operation stemmed from the 1st Interpol Eurasion Working Group Meeting in Singapore in November 2013 that highlights the growing number of sextortion victims in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, United Kingdom and the United States with potential victims in Australia, Korea and Malaysia.

The meeting resulted in the formulation of a joint investigation model to combat the increasing sextortion cases worldwide. This was followed by intelligence sharing between cybercrime departments of Hong Kong, Singapore, Scotland UK, Australia, Philippines and others through Interpol that linked victims and cybercrime cases among these countries.

Hence, a 2nd Operational Meeting in Singapore was held on March by the Interpol Digital Crime Centre, also participated by payment systems and judicial representatives.

The joint operation was divided into three groups, the Bicol Group led by Senior Supt. Elmo Francis Sarona, Laguna and Taguig Group led by Senior Supt. Bernardo Yang and Bulacan Group led by Senior Supt. Arnold Gunnacao.

The three groups were augmented by the Police Regional Police 5, Regional Public Safety Battalion 3, and San Jose Del Monte Bulacan Police Station.

A Tactical Operations Center was also established in the main office of PNP ACG to receive reports from the ground during the implementation of search warrants and serve as the focal coordinating office for all 15 teams that were strategically deployed with Sosa as the overall officer-in-charge.

There are four target establishments in Bicol region particularly in Naga City, Libmanan and Nabua in Camarines Sur, and in Legazpi City. The Money Maker Portal Solutions, Money Magnet Portal Web Solutions, Money Builder Marketing Web Solutions, and Mocha Bytes Web Solutions are located in the places mentioned earlier are linked together validated during actual surveillance.

On the other hand, Laguna and Taguig Group successfully arrested Vincent Regori Bravo, Jomar Palacio alias Park Jiman and Gian Tolin. These suspects are responsible for financial sextortion of victims mostly from UK.

Bravo was arrested in Binan, Laguna at around 1:30 am while Tolin was arrested at around 5:00 am of April 30, 2014 with Palacio who was then sleeping in his place at Barangay Hagonoy, Taguig City.

Bulacan Group arrested employees of Alfredo Gacasa Jr. of Barangay Muzon, San Jose Del Monte Bulacan at 4:00 a.m. on May 1. They are Aldrin E. Villamonte, Jemuel C. Matuguina and Emuross O. Dela Cruz.

Seized from the joint operation were assorted mobile phones, identification cards, assorted documents, laptops, network and storage devices, assorted SIM cards, assorted credit and ATM cards, pornographic materials, cameras, CCTV equipment, live ammunition, tablets, telephone sets, desktop computers, assorted cards believed to be used in their illegal activities.

These pieces of digital evidence will be analyzed by the forensic team of PNP ACG with the help of experts from involved countries to identify any additional victims and for follow-up investigations.

Sextortion is defined as sexual blackmail to a person to whom sexual information or images are extracted through social media, mobile phones or other online services. These images or information are then used to extort sexual favors or money from the victim with the threat of sharing these to others if not favored.

Operating in this kind of online scheme or “sex extortion” by agents as they call themselves, is making money ranging from 22,000 to 90,000 pesos per successful client. They also get bonus incentives during holidays, cash or mobile phones for reaching financial targets.

Suspects arrested in Laguna and Taguig City were charged for Violation of Access Devices Regulation Act (RA 8484) and Anti-Child Pornography Act. Suspects in Bulacan were charged for Violation of RA 8484 and Robbery/Extortion. For those arrested in Bicol, charges are being readied for Violation of RA 8484 and Violation of Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, particularly for cybersex.

Operation “Strike Back” provided the opportunity for information-sharing and continuous collaboration, cooperation and coordination among our international and local partners in cracking down cybercrimes around the world. (PNA) 
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P1-M worth of 'shabu' seized, 16 persons nabbed in Bulacan dope raids

MEYCAUAYAN CITY, Bulacan, April 30 (PNA) -- Government anti-narcotics operatives arrested Tuesday 16 persons and seized methamphetamine hydrochloride or "shabu" estimated to be worth more than P1 million during a series of raids in Northville, Barangay Bayugo here.

Senior Supt. Joel Orduna, Bulacan police director, said joint operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Regional Intelligence Division of PNP Regional 3, Provincial Public Safety Company and the Meycauayan City Police Station swooped down on five houses in the said village where illegal drug sessions and trade were being held.

Orduna said the raiding team was armed with a search warrant issued by Olongapo City RTC Branch 72 Judge Richard Paradeza.

He said that at least 16 persons engaged in pot sessions and illegal drug trade were arrested.

The team also seized plastic sachets containing shabu and drug paraphernalia.

Meycauayan City police chief Supt. David N. Poklay said that based on intelligence information, the said houses were being used as dope dens and suspicious persons were frequenting the area.

The arrested suspects are now in police custody while appropriate charges are being readied against them.

Earlier, Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado gave a marching order to the Bulacan police to step-up their operations against drug dealers and criminal gangs.

He said that there is no place in Bulacan for lawless elements except in jail. (PNA) 
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(Update)31 persons dead, 123 hurt during Holy Week observance -NDRRMC

MANILA, April 21 (PNA) -- The death toll during the Holy Week rose to 31 due to various incidents, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said on Monday.

In its update, NDRRMC said of the 31 fatalities, 16 were due to drowning, 13 from vehicular accident, one from gunshot wounds due to shooting incident and one by fire incident.

NDRRMC also said that 123 were injured from Regions 1, 2, 3, 4-A, 5,10and CAR.

NDRRMC said that as of Monday, a total of 50 incidents were monitored in Regions I (Ilocos), II (Cagayan Valley), III (Central Luzon), IV-A (Calabarzon), IV-B (Mimaropa), V Bicol), VIII (Eastern Visayas), X (Northern Mindanao), XI (Davao), National Capital Region (NCR), and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

The incidents involved the following:

19 vehicular accidents (1 in Santiago, Ilocos Sur; 1 in Bani, Pangasinan; 1 in Sto. Tomas, La Union; 1 Tuguegarao City, Cagayan; 1 in Pulilan, Bulacan; 2 in Bocaue, Bulacan; 1 in Plaridel, Bulacan; 1 in Nasugbu, Batangas; 1 in Mexico, Pampanga; 2 in Sariaya, Quezon; 1 in Maragondon, Cavite; 1 in Bacoor, Cavite, 1 in Libmanan, Camarines Sur; 2 in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental; 1 in Pinukpuk, Kalinga and 1 in Baguio City.

•1 Maritime Incident in Odiongan, Romblon

•2 Hazardous Materials Incidents in Nasugbu, Batangas and Catbalogan City

•7 Fire Incidents (1 in Tumauini, Isabela, 1 in Bauan, Batangas, 1 in Binangonan, Rizal, 1 in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental, 1 Pantar, Lanao del Norte, 1 in Tatalon, Quezon City and 1 in Grace Park, Caloocan City)

•16 Near Drowning and Drowning Incidents (1 in Bantay, Ilocos Sur, 1 Aglipay, Quirino, 1 in Cabagan, Isabela, 1 in Echague, Isabela, 1 in Cauayan City, Isabela, 2 in Ballesteros, Cagayan, 1 in Maragondon, Cavite, 1 in Sariaya, Quezon, 1 in Infanta, Quezon, 1 in Ternate, Cavite, 1 in Nasugbu, Batangas, 1 in Real, Quezon, 2 in Tabuk City, Kalinga Province and 1 Pinukpuk, Kalinga)

•2 Flooding Incidents (1 Tagum City, Daval del Norte and 1 in Carmen, Davao del Norte)

•1 Shooting Incident in Nagtipunan, Quirino Province

•2 Vehicle Fire Incidents in Atimonan, Quezon and San Jose, Batangas. (PNA) 
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Divine Mercy Shrine a place for prayer, inner peace and healing (Feature) 
By Aerol B. Patena

MARILAO, BULACAN, April 18 (PNA) -- Groups of pilgrims have flocked to the Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Santa Rosa I, Marilao, Bulacan because they believe it is a place for prayer, healing and inner peace.

The pilgrimage site draws a regular attendance of around 5,000 churchgoers which usually peaks during the Holy Week.

As early as the evening of Holy Wednesday, people from all walks of life coming from nearby towns of Meycauyan, Bocaue, Santa Maria, to name a few, visit the church to pray and spend time with their families as well.

Young devotees in groups prefer to walk while the elderly ride on their bicycles and motorbikes on their way to the shrine.

The devotees bring along food and water to help sustain themselves amidst the scorching heat of the sun.

Foreigners were also taking pictures and videos of the religious icons at the shrine.

One of the most popular attractions to visit in the shrine is the Guadalupe Chapel at the church basement where the picture of Our Lady is enthroned with its flowing water that many pilgrims consider healing.

Mrs. Manalo, a longtime devotee of the Divine Mercy, shared that her son used to suffer from an acute viral infection which affected his speech, mobility and cognitive skills.

"My son was suffering of an acute viral infection which affected his speech and mobility. Thus, I really prayed hard to God that He give me a sign which would give me courage that my son will be able to recover," Mrs. Manalo said in an interview.

Eventually, she accompanied her son to visit the shrine to pray for his full recovery and that was on a Good Friday seven years ago.

"Several months after, doctors have noted a remarkable improvement on his condition. Up to this very moment, he continues to recover ," according to her.

"From then on, my family and I made a personal vow to visit the shrine as often as we could without missing a Good Friday," she added.

Meanwhile, among the shrine's other features include a model of Calvary with life-sized statues from the Stations of the Cross at the back of the church, a Little Poland museum which features a replica of the house and basement where Pope John Paul II lived, a chapel where the vision of the Divine Mercy appeared to Sister Faustina Kowalska and the prison cell where St. Maximilian Kolbe was martyred.

It was elevated to the status of National Shrine by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines on November 30, 2002.

As pilgrims made their way home, they never miss to buy native delicacies such as bibingka, suman, puto, cuchinta, among others, where Marilao is noted especially for foreigners. (PNA) 
FPV/ABP

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5 die, 7 seriously injured when passenger but hits cargo truck

LEGAZPI CITY, April 16 (PNA) -- Five passengers died while seven others were seriously injured when a bus hit a parked truck loaded with scrap materials along the Maharlika Highway in Barangay Bikal, Libmanan, Camarines Sur, on early Wednesday morning.

A police report identified the casualties who did not reach the Libmanan District Hospital alive as Alexander Belen, of Bacacay, Albay; Jayson Purita, 23, single, of San Miguel Island, Tabacao City; Cindy Garcia, 17, single, of Concepcion, Marikina City; and Arneli Dacullo, and his son, Mark Kiven, 2 , residents of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.

Being treated at the hospital were Jeric Buelia of Bacacay, Albay; Pamela Brozo, 33, of Ifugao Province; Dennis Brozo, 37, of Mandaluyong City; Pablo Dacullo, of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan; Alicia Frimesta, 51, of Concepcion, Marikina City; Vicente Magdaraog, 55, of Barangay Calzada, Taguig City; and Michael Ochoa of Caloocan City.

The report said the accident happened at about 4:00 a.m. while the Bragais Liner bus driven by Joey Bermas, 42, of Tabaco City, was negotiating the highway when it rammed the rear part of the parked mechanically troubled cargo truck owned by Pacific Royal Basic Foods Inc. of Pasong Tamo, Makati City, and loaded with scrap metals.

The passenger bus was on its way to Tabaco City from Metro Manila where it left Tuesday night, carrying the victims who would take their vacation with their relatives in Albay.

Residents of the place and authorities rushed the victims to the hospital.

On investigation, police concluded that the passenger bus might have been speeding and did not see the parked cargo truck which it hit, damaging the bus' front part.

Authorities are now holding the bus driver who faces a case for reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and multiple physical injuries. (PNA) 
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Thousands join Bulacan’s 'March for Faith, Walk for Jesus'

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 12 (PNA) -- Thousands of Bulakenyos on Saturday woke up early and joined the early morning “March for Faith, Walk for Jesus”, a unified prayer rally for the blessing and protection of the province and its leaders.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and provincial capitol employees joined various religious groups in the “prayer walk” that started at 5:30 a.m. from the activity center of Bulacan State University to the provincial capitol gymnasium.

“We are always praying and we will keep on doing it to ask the guidance, the blessings and the protection of the Lord. And since the Lenten season is now in our midst, I am thankful that many woke up early and joined us in this prayer rally,” Alvarado said.

"Although we belong to different religions and have different beliefs, we are unified in one goal and faith in God that He will guide and protect us from any dangers," he also said.

The governor said that placing faith in Jesus Christ have the benefits of being at peace with God and that the people can surpass everything, including trials and problems.

Bishop Rufino “Bernie” Malitao IV, national chairman of the March for Jesus movement, said that the “prayer walk” which was also dubbed as “Sama-samang Pananalangin at Pag-aayuno para sa lalawigan ng Bulacan” is already a part of history of Malolos City.

“Today, this historic city witnessed the love and strong faith in God of the people of Bulacan. It is high time to have unity among Bulakenyos and this is a good start for continuous development of the province and the strengthening of the faith of the Bulakenyos," Malitao said.

Different religious leaders also offered prayers for the success of the seven-point development agenda, namely health, education, nature and environment, good governance, peace and order, livelihood, history and culture of the administration of Alvarado.

The different religious leaders -- Rev. Cesar Sacdalan (Alliance for Values Formation in Bulacan); Rev. Joel O. Lombos (Cadence-Bulacan); Pastor Oscar Luarca (Unida Evangelical Church), Fr. Gino Hererra (Roman Catholic Church); Bishop Ephraim Perez (Inter-Faith Bulacan); Rev. Fr. Reynaldo Tallara (Iglesia Filipina Independiente (Aglipayan Church) and Bishop Ted Malangen (Jesus Christ the Deliverer) -- also administered a pray over on Alvarado and the people of Bulacan.

Some 5,000 people joined the early morning “prayer walk,” according to a police officer who also participated the event. (PNA) 
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Bulacan has new provincial police chief

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, April 11 (PNA) -- Senior Superintendent Bartolome Bustamante on Friday was installed as officer-in-charge of Bulacan Police Provincial Office, replacing Senior Supt. Joel S. Orduna.

Senior Superintendent Agripino Javier, chief of the Directorial Staff (CDS), officiated the simple turnover ceremony held in this camp.

Bustamante said his first order to his chiefs of police in Bulacan is to intensify the campaign against motorcycle riding criminals.

He also ordered the deployment of more policemen to areas where crime incidents, particularly robbery/holdups occurred.

“I also directed all my chiefs of police to personally visit areas prone to crime incidents so they can supervise his personnel,” Bustamante said.

He said he will also activate the radio communications because it is a faster mode of communication than cellular phone.

He is a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class ’89.

Prior to his new assignment, Bustamante was the chief of the Anti-Fraud and Commercial Crimes Division at the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

He said that this is the first time that he will be assigned in Central Luzon.

Orduna served more than a year as provincial director of Bulacan police.

He was relieved from his post following the reported increase in the number of crimes perpetrated by motorcycle riding criminals.

He will be assigned at the PNP National Headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City. (PNA) 
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Chief of staff of Bulacan senior board member slain

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 10 (PNA)--The chief of staff of the province senior board member was killed on Thursday by two unidentified gunmen along the MacArthur highway near the gate of NorthFields Subdivision in Barangay Longos here.

Police identified the victim as Edwin Inocencio, 40, resident of Barangay San Sebastian, Hagonoy and chief of staff of board member Michael Fermin of the province’s first congressional district.

Initial investigation showed that Inocencio was driving their service van on his way to the house of the provincial legislator at the said subdivision when his path was blocked by two men on board a motorcycle near the subdivision gate.

Witnesses said that the suspects who were both wearing helmets drew short firearms and opened fire on the victim.

The burst of gunfire killed Inocencio on the spot, whom police said sustained seven gunshot wounds in the head and different parts of his body.

A witness told police investigators that one of the suspects even approached the already lifeless body of the suspect and again shot him.

Fermin told local newsmen that the killing could be politically motivated.

The board member said he could be the target because in the last few days he and his aides have been receiving threats through text messages from unknown senders.

It was learned that Inocencio has been serving Fermin since 2010.

Meanwhile, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado condemned the killing and ordered the Bulacan Police Provincial Office to track down the suspects.

He also told Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Joel S. Orduna to leave no stone unturned until the suspects are arrested to shed light on the motive behind the killing.

Alvarado also instructed Orduna to increase police presence along major highways and places of convergence to thwart or deter criminals from doing their nefarious activities.

Orduna said police are still investigating the incident while a special team is now tracking down possible suspects. (PNA) 
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2 alleged gun-for-hire gangmen killed in Bulacan shootout

SAN MIGUEL Bulacan, April 7 (PNA) -- Joint operatives of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the Provincial Intelligence Branch of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office killed two alleged members of a gun-for-hire gang in a running gunfight in Barangay Tibagan here over the weekend.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Joel Orduna said the two suspected gangmen were being pursued by police intelligence operatives when one of them opened fire at the pursuing lawmen.

The two, who remain unidentified, died on the spot.

No casualty was reported on the government side, the report said.

Police recovered one cal. 45 pistol, one cal.38 pistol, several rounds of ammunition and one hand grenade from the slain suspects.

Orduna said that the two were riding-in-tandem and believed to be on a liquidation mission when they were spotted by the joint intelligence operatives who were then conducting surveillance operations.

The encounter took place late Saturday night three days after Governor Wilhelmino M Sy-Alvarado gave a marching order to the Bulacan police to intensify their campaign against criminals and other lawless element

Orduna said the San Miguel police headed by Supt Fitz Macariola are still conducting investigation. (PNA) 
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Bulacan declares 'all-out war' against crime groups, lawless elements

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 6 (PNA) -- The provincial government, together with the provincial police force and other law enforcement units, has declared an "all-out war" against criminal groups and lawless elements in this province.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the move is aimed at deterring crime groups from operating in the province, which is now experiencing growth and economic boom.

“Use all police units and logistics in preventing crime and in ensuring public safety in the booming province of Bulacan,” Alvarado told provincial police director Senior Supt. Joel Orduna as he issued a marching order to step up the campaign against crime prevention and strengthen police capabilities in the maintenance of peace and order.

Sitting as chairman of the provincial peace and order council, the governor said that “we must implement all resources in our disposal to ensu