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Central Luzon police offices pass proficiency stage

By Ric Sapnu  April 15, 2019, 8:18 pm

PNP PROFICIENT STATUS. Maricel Santos-Cruz, Bulacan information officer and advisory council chair, receives the Gold Eagle award trophy from Police Lt. Gen. Camilo Pancratius Cascolan during the Conferment of Performance Governance System Proficient Units held at the Parade Ground, Camp Olivas in City of San Fernando, Pampanga on Monday (April 15, 2019).  Also in photo are Col.  Chito Bersaluna (leftmost), chief of Bulacan Police Provincial Office; and Commissioner Felizardo Serapio Jr. (rightmost) of the National Police Commission. (Photo courtesy of the Police Regional Office 3)

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga -- Provincial and city police offices in Central Luzon were conferred proficient status on Monday after fulfilling the requirements of the proficiency stage of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) Peace and Order Agenda for Transformation and Upholding the Rule of Law (P.A.T.R.O.L.) Plan 2030.

Lt. Gen. Camilo Pancratius Cascolan, chief of the Directorial Staff and chairman of the Technical Working Group of the PNP P.A.T.R.O.L. Plan 2030, presented the awards in a ceremony held at the Police Regional Office 3 parade ground here.

Conferred with the Gold Eagle awards were the Bulacan, Tarlac, Olongapo police offices and the Regional Mobile Force Battalion

The police offices in Aurora, Bataan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Zambales and Angeles City, on the other hand, were conferred with Silver Eagle awards.

Brig. Gen. Joel Napoleon Coronel, PRO-3 regional director, said the proficiency stage is the third component of the Performance Governance System (PGS) before a PNP unit could get a go-signal to institutionalize all its measures and tools for its transformation program.

“Your awards were achieved and made possible by the collaborative efforts of every personnel making this transformation a reality for the PNP PRO3. It serves as an inspiration for each of us and I encourage everyone to keep the flame burning as we work together to surpass the challenges of the last stage which is the institutionalization,” he said.

The PNP PGS is comprised of four stages: initiation, compliance, proficiency and institutionalization with the end-purpose of addressing organizational dysfunctions and improve the quality of the delivery of police services in the country.

It also aims to strengthen law enforcement capabilities and to enhance the welfare and benefits of PNP personnel. (PNA)

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Bulakenyos vow to take action vs. illegal drugs, terrorism

By Manny Balbin  April 14, 2019, 11:49 am

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- Thousands of students in this province pledged to support the government in its fight against illegal drugs and terrorism.

Through the launching of the Kabataan Kontra Droga at Terorismo (KKDAT) Kabataan Bagani, Bagong Bayan on Saturday at Hiyas ng Bulacan Pavillion, in this city, Bulakenyos vowed to cooperate and help in the campaign against illegal drugs and terrorism.

Col. Chito G. Bersaluna, Bulacan provincial director, said the project intends to organize, train and mobilize the youth and student sectors as advocacy support groups that will stand against illegal drugs and terrorism through various advocacy programs of the PNP.

The program was highlighted with the mass recitation of “10 Utos Ng Mga Kabataan Kontra Droga at Terorismo” and pledge and signing of commitment.

Those who participated in the event that aims to educate and engage the youth in discussions about the ill-effects of illegal drugs and terrorism include students from the Bulacan State University and Bulacan Polytechnic College.

The launching of the program was graced by Agnes Tonanes, assistant regional director of National Intelligence Coordinating Agency; Dr. Teody San Andres, vice president of Bulacan State University; Julie Lucero, chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)- Bulacan; Marvin Tulyao, director of the National Service Training Program of the Bulacan State University; and Lt. Col. Ariel Alvarado, chief of the legal service of Bulacan Police Provincial Office.

San Andres expressed his gratitude to the PNP for its continuous efforts in ensuring that everyone, particularly the youth, acquires a deeper understanding about the evils of illegal drugs and terrorism. (PNA)

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2 suspects slain, 15 nabbed in Bulacan drug-bust

By Manny Balbin  April 12, 2019, 8:51 pm

CAMP GEN ALEJO S. SANTOS, Bulacan – Two alleged drug peddlers were killed while 15 other drug suspects were arrested in a series of buy-bust operations conducted by Bulacan police on Wednesday and Thursday.

Colonel Chito G. Bersaluna, provincial director of Bulacan Provincial Police Office, identified the neutralized suspects as Allan Nuela, 37, native of Barangay Longos, Calumpit, included in the drug watch list of Pulilan Municipal Police Station and Michael Lasala of Barangay Gaya-Gaya, City of San Jose del Monte, included in the unified Philippine National Police-Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PNP-PDEA) drug watch list.

Investigation showed that after the consummated drug transaction in separate operations, the suspects engaged operatives in a shootout and were killed in the process.

Meanwhile, Bersaluna said the 15 other drug suspects were arrested during buy-bust operations conducted in Baliwag, San Rafael, Santa Rafael, Bulakan, Plaridel, and Bustos.

They were identified as Enrico Cruz, John Demver Cortez, Julius Castillo, Jeffrey Castillo, Reynaldo Constantino, Froilan Dungao, Edwardo Liwanag, Efren Punzalan Jr., Leopoldo Sandiego, Jomar Leona, Bonifacia Espinar, Mohhamad Ali H. Abbas, Dhan Fernando Manlapaz, Hannah Pimentel, and Billy Joe Agustin.

The arrested suspects and seized pieces of evidence were brought to Bulacan Crime Laboratory for appropriate examination, while criminal complaints for violation of Section 5 and Section 11 of Article II of Republic Act 9165 (Dangerous Drugs Acts of 2002) are being prepared against them for filing in court. (PNA)

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P10-M shabu seized in Bulacan town

By Manny Balbin  April 11, 2019, 2:30 pm

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- Police seized some 1.5 kilos of shabu, with an estimated market value of PHP10 million, and arrested three drug suspects following the implementation of a search warrant in Barangay Maasim, San Ildefonso, this province Wednesday afternoon.

Col. Chito G. Bersaluna, Bulacan police provincial director, identified the arrested suspects as Duane Aquino, 41; his live-in partner, Kristine Oliveros, 25, both residents of E. Viudez St., Barangay Maasim, San Ildefonso; and Rey Allan Cruz, 38, of Barangay Baritan, Malabon City.

Based on a report submitted by Lt. Col. Julio S. Lizardo, San Ildefonso chief of police, a search warrant was issued by Judge Sita Jose of Regional Trial Court Branch 16, Malolos City against Aquino for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Aquino is on the drug watch list of the San Ildefonso Municipal Police Station.

The implementation of the search warrant, Bersaluna said, resulted in the discovery and seizure of one big plastic bag containing shabu, five plastic ice bags containing shabu, a heat-sealed plastic sachet containing shabu, and other drug paraphernalia.

"A case for violation of RA 9165 is being prepared for filing in the court against the suspects," Bersaluna said. (PNA)

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Suspect in slay of mom, sons in Bulacan found dead

By Manny Balbin  April 9, 2019, 8:41 pm

CITY OF SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, Bulacan -- One of the two suspects in last week's killing of a mother and her two children in this city was found dead in the comfort room of the detention facility on Tuesday.

Lt. Col. Orlando Castil Jr., city police chief, said the suspect, Joselito Cortez, committed suicide by hanging himself by the neck.

"The detainees found the suspect hanging over the comfort room about 2 a.m.," he said.

On April 3, victims Jaymee Casabuena, 28; and her sons Anton Gabriel, 8; and Joaquin Mateo, 4; residents of Block 32, Lot 57, Carissa Phase 2A, Barangay Kaypian, were found dead inside their home.

Cortez was nabbed in Barangay San Manuel while another suspect, Wilson Nosal, was arrested in Barangay 185, Malaria, Caloocan City.

Castil said the suspects claimed robbery was their motive.

“However, the victims resisted, thus, they stabbed them, leading to their death,” he said.

“Cortez may have taken his own life maybe because of guilt, that's why he left a suicide note,” the police official said.

Castil said Cortez was the alleged killer of Anton Gabriel, who bore 21 stab wounds, and Joaquin Mateo, who had 15 stab wounds. (PNA)

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Bulacan town declares CPP-NPA 'persona non grata'

By Manny Balbin  April 8, 2019, 9:08 pm

PANDI, Bulacan — The local government here has declared the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP) as "persona non grata".

Major General Lenard T. Agustin, commander of the Army's 7th Infantry (Kaugnay) Division, on Monday hailed the local officials of Pandi and the 48th Infantry Battalion (48IB) for playing a part in the town's declaration.

“The municipality of Pandi, as it continues to be productive and developed, did right to condemn the illegal and unlawful activities of the CPP-NPA Terrorists (CNTs) as it threatens the economic, social and political stability of the municipality and its people. With this resolution declaring CNTs as persona non grata, CNTs will not be welcomed in this municipality,” he said in a statement.

The approved resolution was proposed during the Municipal Peace and Order Council (MPOC) meeting held last March 15, which was presided by Pandi Mayor Celestino Marquez.

The resolution was formed in line with Memorandum Circular No. 2018-211 of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), which prohibited support to the Left Wing Rebel Group, and Executive Order No. 70, which institutionalizes the whole-of-nation approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace, creation of a national task force to end local communist armed conflict, and the adoption of a national peace framework.

Lt. Col. Felix Emeterio M. Valdez, acting commanding officer of the 48IB, said the declaration of persona non grata is timely, especially in the municipality of Pandi where issues in granting housing units under the National Housing Authority (NHA) is used by left-leaning organizations by allegedly giving promises of decent shelter if the residents join them through illegal and unauthorized protests and rallies.

“This resolution manifests condemnation of Pandi in the unlawful activities by the CNTs,” Valdez said.

The municipality of Pandi is the second LGU in Bulacan to declare the CPP-NPA as persona non grata. The first was Doña Remedios Trinidad last March 19.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)

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Bulacan town mayor’s niece survives ambush

By Manny Balbin  April 5, 2019, 7:29 pm

PANDI, Bulacan -- A niece of re-electionist Pandi town Mayor Celestino Marquez survived an ambush along the provincial road in Barangay Bunsuran 1st here on Thursday afternoon.

Col. Chito G. Bersaluna, Bulacan Police Provincial Director, said Pamela Joy Marquez is now in stable condition after sustaining three gunshot wounds.

Marquez is the 20-year-old daughter of former Pandi vice mayor Oscar Marquez, brother of the incumbent mayor.

The victim was on board a Fortuner vehicle with her driver when fired upon by three unidentified suspects at around 4:40 pm.

"Marquez sustained gunshot wounds in her left belly, left shoulder and right leg while the driver was reportedly unhurt," said Major Avelino Protacio, Pandi town police chief.

“The suspects immediately fled towards Balagtas town while the victim was rushed to Bulacan Medical Center and now in stable condition,” he added.

Bersaluna said a thorough investigation is now being conducted by the Pandi police. (PNA)

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574 assorted firearms seized in Central Luzon this year

By Ric Sapnu  April 4, 2019, 9:16 pm

CONFISCATED FIREARMS. Assorted firearms confiscated in various parts of Central Luzon are presented to Philippine National Police officials led by Gen. Oscar Albayalde (center) and the media during a press briefing in Camp Olivas, City of San Fernando, Pampanga on Thursday (April 4. 2019). The firearms, numbering 574 in all, were mostly confiscated in checkpoints as part of the election gun ban. (Photo by Ric Sapnu)

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga -- At least 574 assorted firearms have been confiscated by authorities in Central Luzon since the start of the election gun ban on January 13 this year.

Brig. Gen. Joel Napoleon Coronel, Police Regional Office 3 (Central Luzon) director, presented the seized firearms to Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde, during a press briefing in this camp on Thursday.

Albayalde instructed all provincial and city police directors in the region to intensify security measures for a peaceful national and local election next month.

The confiscated firearms comprised 148 pistols; 277 revolvers; 25 rifles; 16 shotguns; 85 other firearms, such as the sumpak, improvised gun, and homemade paltik; and 23 replicas.

The breakdown of the confiscated guns in seven provinces and two highly-urbanized cities in Central Luzon is as follows: Nueva Ecija, 207; Bulacan, 111; Pampanga, 95; Tarlac, 58; Bataan, 38; Zambales, 32; Angeles City, 23; Olongapo City, 7; and Aurora, 3.

Coronel said PRO-3 also confiscated 3,560 deadly weapons, 27 hand grenades, and 3,437 assorted ammunition.

Out of the total confiscated firearms, he said some of them were voluntarily surrendered by their owners due to expired licenses and others were seized in checkpoint operations.

Coronel said they will continue their intensified campaign against loose firearms to help curb incidents of election-related violence, as well as prevent criminals from carrying out their nefarious activities.

“Time and again, I am encouraging the public to report any illegal activities and we need your support to continue helping us in our fight against all forms of criminality as we aim for a safe and secure mid-term elections this May,” he added. (PNA)

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2 suspects in slay of mom, sons in Bulacan arrested

By Manny Balbin  April 4, 2019, 5:00 pm

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- Police authorities arrested on Thursday two suspects who admitted responsibility for the gruesome killing of a mother and her two sons in the City of San Jose del Monte (CSJDM), this province Wednesday night.

Col. Chito G. Bersaluna, Bulacan police commander, identified the suspects as Wilson Nosal, 23, single, a native of Norzagaray town, and Joselito Cortez, 48, single, a resident of Area D, Barangay Terona in Cavite.

Bersaluna said follow-up operations led to the arrest of the two suspects who owned up to the killing of Jaymee Casabuena, 28, and sons Anton Gabriel, 8, and Joaquin Mateo, 4, who are residents of Block 32, Lot 57, Carissa Phase 2A, Barangay Kaypian, CSJDM.

Lt. Col. Orlando Castil Jr., CSJDM chief of police, said Nosal was arrested in Barangay 185, Malaria, Caloocan City while Cortez was nabbed in Barangay San Manuel, CSJDM.

“The bloodied clothes of the suspects, who are part-time garbage collectors, were also recovered,” he added.

Castil said the suspects claimed robbery was their motive but the victims resisted, thus, they stabbed them, leading to their death.

He said they are also not discounting the possibility that the mother was raped and they are waiting for the autopsy report to confirm it.

Investigation showed that the bodies of the victims were found inside their house at around 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday by relatives who decided to visit them when the mother victim failed to reply to their text messages.

The mother was found in the living room while her four-year-old son was found in the kitchen and the eight-year-old in the bedroom.

Appropriate charges will be filed against the suspects who are now temporarily detained at the city jail. (PNA)

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2 drug pushers killed, 5 others nabbed in Bulacan

By Manny Balbin  April 2, 2019, 8:24 pm

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan -- Two alleged drug pushers were killed and five others were arrested in different buy-bust operations in this province on Monday and Tuesday.

Colonel Chito Bersaluna, director of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office, identified the neutralized suspects as Bartolome dela Cruz, who is listed in the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)/Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC) of City San Jose del Monte, and Christian Dungo.

Investigation showed that after the consummated drug transaction in separate operations, the suspects engaged operatives in a shootout and were killed in the process.

Meanwhile, the different anti-illegal drug operations conducted Monday by the operatives in Guiguinto, City of San Jose Del Monte and Meycauyan City, resulted in the arrests of Ivan Bravante, Rodolfo Constantino, Roel Constantino, Charlie Lorica, and Jose Lumatap.

Bersaluna said 11 plastic sachets of suspected shabu, two plastic sachets of dried marijuana leaves, assorted drug paraphernalia, and buy-bust money were confiscated from the suspects during the operations.


He noted the arrested suspects and seized pieces of evidence were taken to the Bulacan Crime Laboratory Office for examination.

“Criminal complaints against them are now being prepared for filing in court,” he added. (PNA)

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Drug suspect killed, 12 others arrested in Bulacan

By Manny Balbin  March 27, 2019, 6:32 pm

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan -- A suspect included on the watch list of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) was killed while 12 others were arrested in separate anti-illegal drug operations conducted by Bulacan police in the last two days.

Col. Chito G. Bersaluna, provincial director of Bulacan Police Provincial Office, identified the slain suspect as Axel Cortez alias "Baris", 36, resident of Barangay Sabang, Baliwag town, this province.

Investigation showed that after the consummated drug transaction, the suspect engaged operatives in a shootout and was killed in the process.

Bersaluna, however, said Cortez's unidentified cohort managed to escape.

Recovered in the crime scene were a .38-caliber revolver without serial number, three heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets of suspected shabu, a white Samsung cellphone, coin purse and buy-bust money.

Bersaluna also said that 12 other drug suspects were nabbed in buy-bust operations conducted by operatives of the municipal police stations of Balagtas, Santa Maria, Plaridel, Pandi, and Baliwag.

He identified them as Hector Fuentes, Benedict Dela Cruz, Elizalde Cruz, Jomar Martin, Jennifer Martin, Monica Magdaong, Sandy Dela Cruz, Sixto Cabatin, Joshua Campo, Marboy Babael, Mark Jake Ocampo, and a 16-year-old minor.

Confiscated from the suspects were 22 plastic sachets of suspected shabu, assorted drug paraphernalia, and buy-bust money.

The arrested suspects and confiscated pieces of evidence were brought to the Bulacan Provincial Crime Laboratory Office for appropriate examination and are now facing criminal charges for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. (PNA)

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3 killed, 8 arrested in Bulacan anti-drug ops

By Manny Balbin  March 21, 2019, 9:00 pm

CAMP ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan --Three drug suspects were killed while eight others were arrested in separate anti-illegal drug operations conducted Wednesday in this province.

Police Colonel Chito Bersaluna, director of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office, identified the three neutralized suspects as Ryan Daquiz,  a former Oplan Tokhang surrenderer and included in the drug watch list of the Pulilan Municipal Police Station; Novem Jornales, a resident of Barangay Sto. Niño, Plaridel, Bulacan; and a certain alias "Bukol".

Investigation showed that after the consummated separate drug transactions, the three suspects engaged undercover operatives in a shootout, prompting agents to retaliate and killed them in the process.

Bersaluna said the eight other suspects were arrested in buy-bust operations conducted in the towns of Obando, Angat, Baliwag, San Rafael, and Malolos City.

They were identified as Christopher De Leon, Josefino Cruz, Princess Sweet Melody Cabardo, Margarita Perez, Nicolas San Gabriel, Julieta San Gabriel, Reynaldo De Leon, and  Christian Paraiso.

Confiscated from the arrested suspects during the operations were 15 plastic sachets of suspected shabu, one motorcycle without plate number and buy-bust money.

The arrested suspects and confiscated pieces of evidence were brought to Bulacan Provincial Crime Laboratory Office for appropriate examination while the suspects are now facing criminal charges for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. (PNA)

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1 kilo of suspected shabu found in abandoned car in Bulacan

By Manny Balbin  March 21, 2019, 8:02 pm

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- Police discovered a kilo of suspected shabu in an abandoned car in Bustos town, this province Thursday morning.
 
Col. Chito Bersaluna, Bulacan police director, said the suspected illegal drug was found inside a black Daewoo car with license plate XKP 622 which was parked and left unattended around 9:30 a.m along the Bypass Road in Barangay Camachilihan of said town.
 
Maj. Ronnie Pascua, Bustos police chief, in his report to Bersaluna, said the abandoned car was reported to the police by a concerned citizen and upon checking, the car’s back door was found unlocked and inside was a light green plastic container with Chinese markings and containing more or less one kilo of white crytalline substance.
 
Pascua said the contraband is similar to the recovered shabu in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, which was presented by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency some two days ago. 
 
"The Highway Patrol Group-Bulacan and Scene of the Crime Operatives were called to process the abandoned car and the suspected shabu," Bersaluna said. (PNA)

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2 killed, 15 nabbed in Bulacan anti-drug ops

By Manny Balbin  March 20, 2019, 9:16 pm

CAMP ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan -- Two drug suspects were killed while 15 others were arrested in separate anti-illegal drug operations conducted by the Bulacan police on Tuesday.

Colonel Chito Bersaluna, director of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office, identified one of the slain suspects as Johnrick Amoncio alias Alay, who was included in the drug watchlist of the City of San Jose Del Monte (CSJDM). The other fatality is still unidentified.

Lieutenant Colonel Orlando Castil Jr., chief of police of the City of San Jose Del Monte, said a shootout ensued between anti-drugs operatives and the suspects during a buy-bust operation at about 10:45 p.m. Tuesday.

“After a consummated drug deal, the suspect and his cohort engaged (the government operatives) in a shootout while trying to elude arrest that resulted to their neutralization,” Castil said.

Recovered from the crime scene were two caliber .38 revolvers used by the suspects, an improvised shotgun and four heat-sealed plastic sachets of suspected shabu.

Bersaluna also said that police operatives of Bocaue, Santa Maria, Balagtas, San Jose Del Monte and Meycauayan City conducted separate anti-illegal drug operations that resulted in the arrest of 15 suspects.

He identified them as Manuel Burgos, Allan Pangan, Manilyn Antonio, John Paul Nicolas, Jerwin Castro, Nelson Vicente, Jay-R Abalde, Roderick Garcia, Julio Tan, Terence Taniel Tan, Noel Zuñiga, Ernie Llorente, Nonilo Moraga, Richard Banal and Michael Novelo.

A total of 21 plastic sachets of suspected shabu, assorted drug paraphernalia, and buy-bust money were confiscated from the suspects.

The arrested suspects and confiscated pieces of evidence were brought to the Bulacan Provincial Crime Laboratory Office for appropriate examination while criminal complaints for violation of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) are now being prepared for filing in court against them. (PNA)

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Drug suspect killed, 11 nabbed in Bulacan anti-narcotic ops

By Manny Balbin  March 14, 2019, 8:36 pm

CAMP GEN ALEJO S. SANTOS, Bulacan -- A suspected drug dealer was killed and 11 other drug suspects were arrested Wednesday as a result of the intensified drive against illegal drugs in this province.

Bulacan Provincial Police Office Director, Col. Chito Bersaluna, identified the suspect as alias Joc, who is on the drug watch list of the San Ildefonso Municipal Police.

Investigation showed that after the consummated drug transaction, the suspect engaged undercover operatives in a shootout by firing his gun, prompting the agents to retaliate and killed him in the process.

Recovered from the slain suspect were four plastic sachets containing suspected shabu, one Smith and Wesson caliber .38 revolver with serial number J94152 loaded with three ammunition; one fired cartridge case for a caliber .38 revolver; two fired cartridge cases for a caliber 9-mm. gun; and buy-bust money.

Bersaluna also said that 11 other drug suspects were arrested during the drug sting conducted in Malolos City, San Rafael, and Bocaue.

They were identified as Christopher Tan, Melvin Gueco, Ruben Estrao, Agustin Catacutan, Marina Paguia, Rolando Viola, Ricardo Mangahas, Hero dela Roma, Belando Villanueva, Margarette Lim, and Leonardo Vargas.

Seized from them were 25 plastic sachets of shabu, two large bricks and 20 Zip-lock plastic sachets of dried marijuana leaves, two pots of marijuana plants, one tricycle, and buy-bust money.

The arrested suspects and seized pieces of evidence were brought to the Bulacan Crime Laboratory for examination while criminal complaints for violation of Sections 5 and 11 of Article II of Republic Act 9165 (Dangerous Drugs Acts of 2002) are being prepared for filing in court. (PNA)

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2 suspects killed, 7 others nabbed in Bulacan anti-drug ops

By Manny Balbin  March 11, 2019, 7:15 pm

CAMP GEN ALEJO S. SANTOS, Bulacan – Two alleged drug pushers were killed while seven other suspects were arrested in buy-bust operations conducted by the Bulacan police on Sunday and early Monday morning.

Police Col. Chito Bersaluna, provincial director of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office, identified the two fatalities as Eric Gonzales, a resident of Barangay Poblacion, Plaridel, and Manny Paguia, of Barangay Santol, Balagtas, both in this province.

Investigation showed that after the consummated drug transactions, suspects Gonzales and Paguia attempted to engage the undercover operatives in a shootout by firing their guns, thereby prompting the operatives to retaliate, killing them in the process.

Bersaluna also said that the seven other drug suspects were arrested during separate buy-bust operations conducted in Meycauayan City and Bocaue town.

They were identified as Mary Rose Andaya, Rismar Magpayo, Heidy Rodriguez, Gerry Gonzales Jr., Juan Paulo Morales, Russel Gonzales and Allen Cipriano.

Seized from them were a total of 15 plastic sachets of shabu and buy-bust money.

The arrested suspects and seized pieces of evidence were brought to the Bulacan Crime Laboratory for appropriate examination while criminal complaints for violation of sections 5 and 11 of Article II of Republic Act 9165 (Dangerous Drugs Acts of 2002) are being prepared for filing in court against them. (PNA)

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3 slain, 7 nabbed in Bulacan anti-drug ops

By Manny Balbin  March 6, 2019, 6:25 pm

CAMP GEN. ALEJO S. SANTOS, Bulacan -- Three drug pushers were killed while seven others were arrested in separate buy-bust operations conducted by Bulacan police on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Col. Chito Bersaluna, director of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office, identified the fatalities as Jestoni Macandog and Kristoffer Jess Policarpio, both neutralized in a drug sting in the City of San Jose Del Monte, and Jose Orlando Santos, who was killed in a drug operation in Pulilan town.

Lt. Col. Orlando Castil Jr., chief of police of the City of San Jose Del Monte, said his men were able to recover from the two slain suspects 10 plastic sachets of suspected shabu, two .38-caliber revolvers and the buy-bust money used in the operation.

Meanwhile, operatives of the Pulilan Police Drug Enforcement Unit recovered from Santos three plastic sachets of suspected shabu, four pieces medium heat-sealed plastic sachets containing suspected dried marijuana leaves and one .38-caliber revolver.

Bersaluna also said that the seven other drug suspects were arrested during buy-bust operations conducted by Baliwag, Balagtas, and Santa Maria police stations.

They were identified as Teresita Polintan and Mirinda Cortez, both included in the drug watch list of Baliwag Municipal Police Station; Hansel Morales, Danilo Santos, Angelo Anicete, Brian Mateo, and Crisanto Torbeles.

Seized from them were 11 plastic sachets of suspected shabu, 22 pieces of zip-lock bag containing suspected dried marijuana leaves and buy-bust money.

The arrested suspects and seized pieces of evidence were brought to the Bulacan Crime Laboratory Office for appropriate examination, while criminal complaints against them are now being prepared for filing in court. (PNA)

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3 suspected pushers killed, 19 arrested in Bulacan drug-bust

By Manny Balbin  February 26, 2019, 8:09 pm

CAMP ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan -- Three drug pushers were neutralized while 19 others were arrested in Bulacan police's operations against illegal drugs on Monday.

Bulacan Police Provincial Director, Senior Supt. Chito G. Bersaluna identified the three slain drug suspects as Joel Andong and his brother Jonathan Andong, both included in the drug watch list of the City of San Jose del Monte (CSJDM) and residents of Barangay Sto. Cristo; and one alias Barog.

They were killed during the buy-bust operation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) of the said city in Barangay Sto. Cristo at around 5:50 p.m.

Based on the report of Supt. Orlando Castil Jr., CSJDM chief of police, suspect Joel Andong together with his two cohorts opened fired towards the approaching arresting police officers after the consummated drug transaction with an undercover agent, which prompted the law enforcers to fire back, resulting in the suspects' death.

Recovered were eight heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets of suspected “shabu”, another opened transparent plastic sachet of “shabu”; a Smith and Wesson .38-caliber revolver without serial number; two improvised shotgun (sumpak); two shells of 12-gauge shotgun; six fired cartridges of 9-mm pistol; two deformed fired bullets; four fired cartridges of .38-caliber revolver; and buy-bust money.

Meanwhile, 19 other drug suspects including a minor were arrested in separate buy-bust operations conducted in the city of Meycauayan and the towns of Guiguinto, Marilao, and Bulakan, Bersaluna said.

He identified them as Charleston Ditablan, Venz Albert Guzman Arenas, Randy Andaya, John Serrana, Leopoldo Pedroche, Emmanuel Diaz, Rodereck Bustamante, Aries Magpayo, Antonio Mariñas, Angelito Galuco Tubongbanua, Edgar Victorino Dela Cruz, Jerwin Santos Laceria, Ervin Dagul Rabo, John Alfie Mendoza Herrera, Joshua Galupo Tubongbanua, Alejandro Gonzalez Fajardo, Emmanuel Peña Lopez, Dennis Flores, and a 16-year-old female out-of-school youth.

“The arrested suspects and confiscated pieces of evidence were brought to Bulacan Crime Laboratory Office for appropriate examination while criminal complaints about violation of Republic Act 9165 is being prepared for filing in court,” Bersaluna said.(PNA)

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2 drug peddlers killed, 12 others nabbed in Bulacan drug ops

By Manny Balbin  February 24, 2019, 8:21 pm

CAMP ALEJO SANTOS -- Two drug peddlers in the City of Malolos were killed while 12 others were arrested in two days of anti-illegal drug operations conducted by the Bulacan police during the weekend. 

Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna, Bulacan police director, identified the fatalities as Rogelio Calano, 55, of Barangay Catmon and Jayson Cabangon, resident of Barangay San Vicente, both in Malolos City. 

According to Supt. Emerey Abating, Malolos City chief of police, a buy-bust operation was conducted against Calano at about 10 p.m. on Friday. A gunfight ensued when the suspect sensed the presence of the anti-drug operatives, resulting in the death of Calano.
 
Meanwhile, Cabangon was killed in an armed encounter with the police around 12:45 a.m. on Saturday in Barangay Longos, Pulilan, Bulacan. The suspect fought it out after he sensed that he was transacting with a police officer while his unidentified cohort managed to escape onboard an unknown black motorcycle without plate number. 

Recovered at the crime scenes were a .357 Smith and Wesson Magnum, a Colt 9mm caliber pistol, 19 plastic sachets with suspected shabu, a plastic sachet of marijuana, buy-bust money, wallet containing assorted IDs, and a Honda TMX 125 motorcycle with side car.

On the other hand, operatives of San Miguel, Plaridel, City of San Jose del Monte, Marilao, Norzagaray and City of Malolos conducted separate buy-bust operations that resulted in the arrest of Elizabeth Lanuza, Angelito de Guzman, Ofel Caringal, Rose Baltar, Leo Angeles, Jovie Diaz Sison, Julieta Cadenas, Wilfredo Visconde, Arvin Mojica, James Patrick Mendieta, John Hyden Santos and Ric Andro Ganacan. 

Confiscated from the suspects were 34 plastic sachets of suspected shabu and buy-bust money. 

"The arrested suspects and confiscated pieces of evidence were brought to Bulacan Crime Laboratory Office for appropriate examination while criminal complaints for violation of Republic Act 9165 against the arrested suspects are being prepared for filing," Bersaluna said. (PNA)

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2 women arrested; P25-M shabu seized in Bulacan buy-bust

By Manny Balbin  February 21, 2019, 4:44 pm

COLLARED. Bulacan Police Director Senior Supt. Chito G. Bersaluna questions  two arrested drug dealers after the buy-bust operation conducted by the Baliwag police on Thursday, February 21, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Baliwag Municipal Police Station)
 
 

BALIWAG, Bulacan -- Two women, believed to be members of a drug ring, were arrested on Thursday by anti-narcotics agents here for alleged possession of PHP25 million worth of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.

A report submitted to Bulacan provincial director, Senior Supt. Chito G. Bersaluna, by Supt. Voltaire C. Rivera, Baliwag acting chief of police, identified the two suspects as Cristina Joana Trinidad, 39, of Barangay Tambubong, San Rafael; and Ruth Francisco, 34, of Barangay Loma de Gato, Marilao.

Bersaluna said some 3.7 kilograms of shabu, with an estimated street value of PHP25 million, were confiscated during the sting in Barangay Sta. Barbara at around 3:50 a.m.

The operation stemmed from a tip given by a reliable informant that Trinidad and her cohort were distributing illegal drugs in the area.

The anti-narcotics agents immediately coordinated with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and a buy-bust operation was subsequently conducted, which resulted in the suspects' arrest after they sold and traded a plastic sachet containing suspected shabu in exchange for PHP10,000.

“Confiscated from the possession of the suspects were three pieces medium seized heat-sealed plastic sachet containing shabu, one varsity bag containing three pieces of large self-sealing plastic sachet containing shabu, a weighing scale, and the marked money used in the buy-bust operation,” Bersaluna said.

He said the seized illegal drugs were forwarded to the Bulacan Police Provincial Office Crime Laboratory for qualitative and quantitative examination, while the suspects are now being detained at the Baliwag Municipal Police Station.

Police is readying appropriate charges against the suspects. (PNA)

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Tutuban-Malolos railway construction starts in Bulacan

By Manny Balbin  February 15, 2019, 6:07 pm

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- The construction of the Tutuban-Malolos phase of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) North-South Railway began in this city on Friday.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan, Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda, PNR General Manager Jun Magno, Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy Alvarado, Bulacan 2nd District Representative Apol Pancho, Bulacan 4th District Rep. Linabelle Villarrica, and representatives from Sumitomo Mitsui Construction Co. Ltd. led the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction work along the old PNR railway in Barangay Mabolo here.

Tugade said the construction of the North-South Commuter Railway (Malolos- Tutuban) is one of the flagship projects of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) together with the PNR, in line with the “Build, Build, Build” program of the government.

Tugade said the project is expected to be completed by the last quarter of 2021.

“This is the President’s (Rodrigo Duterte) gift not only to the people of Bulacan and Pampanga, but more importantly, to the people of this country, in high hopes of providing them with an efficient and comfortable mode of transport. The President would like to reiterate his commitment, that we are committed to give a comfortable life without any temptation or badge of corruption,” Tugade said.

It is a 37.6-kilometer mass railway transportation expected to reduce travel time between Manila and Bulacan from over one hour and 30 minutes to only 35 minutes only. Once the railway is fully operational, it is expected to serve approximately 300,000 commuters daily.

There will be a total of 10 stations along the alignment project that will rise in Tutuban, Solis, Caloocan, Valenzuela, Meycauayan, Marilao, Bocaue, Balagtas, Guiguinto, and Malolos.

It will also be seamlessly integrated with the PNR North 2, Malolos- Clark Project and the PNR South Commuter, Manila to Calamba, Laguna Project, forming one integrated commuter railway system that will serve commuters travelling to, from, and within NCR, Central Luzon (Region 3), and Calabarzon (Region IV-A).

The project is made possible through an Official Development Assistance (ODA) from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) with its loan agreement signed on November 27, 2015 while the Detailed Engineering Design (DED) was approved in August 2017 parallel to the procurement of the General Consultant (GC) which has started in January 2018.

To date, the ongoing development and implementation of the project, include the proper resettlement program of the government as part of the social responsibility of the department for approximately over 300 informal settler families (ISFs) along the project alignment.

With this, the DOTr has entered into an approved a memorandum of agreement for Caloocan and Manila, Valenzuela and Guiguinto for Bulacan areas with the PNR, National Housing Authority, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and Local Government Units for the relocation and resettlement of ISFs, affected by the project. (PNA)

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'Bato' cites vital role of community in peace and order

By Manny Balbin  February 14, 2019, 9:55 pm

PERFORMANCE AWARD. Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel R. Fernando proudly present the Anti-Drug Abuse Council (ADAC) Performance Silver Award of the Provincial Government of Bulacan during the “Symposium on Community-based Rehabilitation Program cum Paglulunsad ng Barangay Seal of Good Local Governance at KKK sa Barangay: Pananagutan ng Bulacan para sa Kalikasan (Save Manila Bay Project)” held at the Bulacan Capitol Gymnasium, City of Malolos, Bulacan on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.   Also in the photo are (first row, left) former Philippine National Police Chief Gen. Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa, (second row, from left) Department of the Interior and Local Government Assistant Secretary for External and Legislative Affairs Ricojudge Janvier M. Echiverri, First District Rep. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado, DILG Bulacan Provincial Director Darwin David, (third row) Pulilan Mayor Maritz Ochoa-Montejo, Board Members Felix Ople, Ramilito Capistrano, (last row) and Allan Andan, and San Ildefonso Mayor Luis Sarrondo. (Photo courtesy of the provincial government of Bulacan)

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- Former Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa on Thursday cited the importance of the community in the prevention and solution of crimes.

Dela Rosa was one of the guests during the “Symposium on Community-based Rehabilitation Program cum Paglulunsad ng Barangay Seal of Good Local Governance at KKK sa Barangay: Pananagutan ng Bulacan para sa Kalikasan (Save Manila Bay Project)” event held at the Bulacan Capitol Gymnasium here.

Speaking before the village chiefs and councilors of the 569 barangays of Bulacan, he said the community as part of the five pillars of criminal justice, together with the law enforcement, prosecution, courts and corrections, is crucial in the attainment of the overall peace and order of the country.

Ang palaging sinasabi ng ating Pangulo Rodrigo Roa Duterte, importante ang mga nasa barangay dahil hindi katulad ng mga pulis na mayroong armas na nakikipaglaban sa drug personalities, pero ‘yung mga barangay official na ‘yan, araw-araw na nakikipag-engage sa drug personalities ng walang armas (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte keeps on saying that those in the barangays are important because unlike the police who have arms in fighting with the drug personalities, the barangay officials have been engaging with the drug personalities without arms every day),” dela Rosa said.

On the other hand, Department of the Interior and Local Government Assistant Secretary for External and Legislative Affairs Ricojudge Janvier M. Echiverri said barangay officials should enjoy their benefits stated on Section 393 of the Local Government Code.

Ang mahirap sa ating mga nasa barangay, trabaho tayo ng trabaho, alam na alam natin ang mga tungkulin natin pero hindi natin alam ang mga benepisyo na dapat nating tanggapin tulad ng (What is difficult with us in the barangay, we work and work. We know very well our tasks but we do not know the benefits that should receive like) honorarium, barangay officials’ insurance, barangay tanod’s insurance, when we get sick or accident in line of duty, free hospitalization, free matriculation, civil service eligibility and Christmas bonus,” he said.

As DILG representative, Echiverri conferred to the provincial government of Bulacan the Anti-Drug Abuse Council (ADAC) Performance Silver Award in recognition of its exemplary efforts and performance of its duties in complementing the national government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign and in garnering a score of 85 to 99 functionality points during the conduct of the 2017 ADAC Performance Audit.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado likewise underscored the vital and crucial role of the village officials.

Bagamat ang barangay ang pinakamababang sangay ng ating lipunan, subalit masasabi nating pinakamahalaga at pinakamalapit sa pakikipag-ugnay sa ating mga nasasakupan. Kayo ang may kakayahang makinig sa hinaing ng sambayanan, tukuyin ang katiyakan ng mga suliranin, magbigay ng solusyon at higit sa lahat tumugon sa mga pangangailangan at hamon ng ating lipunan (Although barangay is the lowest unit in our society, but we can say, that it is the most important and the closest in interacting with those in our jurisdiction, You (referring to the village officials) have the ability to hear the sentiments of the nation, determine the problems, give solutions and most important, to respond into the needs and challenges of our society),” the governor said. (PNA)

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Dismissed cop killed in Bulacan drug sting

By Manny Balbin  February 14, 2019, 5:48 pm

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- A police officer, who was dismissed, reinstated and again dismissed because of his involvement in various criminal and administrative cases, was killed in a drug operation in Barangay Lumbak, Pulilan, this province, early Thursday morning.

Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna, director of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office (PPO), identified the slain suspect as former PO3 Rowell Reynon alias "Balat", 47, a resident of Barangay Sta. Cruz, Guiguinto, Bulacan.

Based on investigation, the suspect opened fire after sensing that he was transacting with a police poseur-buyer, resulting in a gunfight that killed him at around 5 a.m.

Reynon was recruited to the police force in 1993. He was dismissed from the service in 2001 because of an extortion case but reinstated in 2002 and again dismissed in 2010 due to a drug case involving the "Alabang Boys".

Reynon was also criminally charged in his hometown in Guiguinto for a swindling case in 2014.

"The suspect was involved in different criminal activities, particularly in drugs as a pusher. He was listed on the drug watch list of Pulilan police," Bersaluna said. (PNA)

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4 'pushers' killed, 12 others nabbed in Bulacan drug ops

By Manny Balbin  February 13, 2019, 7:28 pm

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan -- Four drug pushers were gunned down while 12 others were arrested in simultaneous anti-criminality law enforcement operations in Bulacan on Tuesday.

Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna, Bulacan police director, identified the slain suspects as Buboy Mabulay of Area G, Barangay Citrus, and Dennis Noble of Zone 3, Barangay San Isidro, both in City of San Jose del Monte; Ranier Sumcad, who was included in the drug watch list of Malolos City, and Jimmy Carating, who was in the drug watch list of Meycauyan City.

Bersaluna said the four suspects were killed after they tried to shoot it out with police poseur buyers upon sensing that they were dealing with lawmen.

Meanwhile, he said the 12 other drug suspects were arrested in separate drug stings conducted in the City of Malolos, and the towns of Guiguinto, Baliwag, Obando and Calumpit.

Bersaluna identified them as Dennis Nicolas, Fredalyn Zaratan, Sonny Diaz, Renato Diaz, Niño Christian Legaspi, Nilo Egana Jr., Jayson Dela Cruz, Benedicto Mundo, Carlos Pasiola, Rex Aquino, Mario Mejarito, and Arnold Apable.

He added that 27 plastic sachets of suspected shabu, buy-bust money and assorted drug paraphernalia were seized during the anti-drug operations.

“The arrested suspects and confiscated pieces of evidence were brought to the Bulacan Provincial Crime Laboratory Office for appropriate examination while criminal charges are being prepared for filing in court,” Bersaluna said. (PNA)

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Drug peddler killed, 7 others held in Bulacan anti-drug ops

By Manny Balbin  February 12, 2019, 8:49 pm

CAMP GEN. ALEJO S. SANTOS, Bulacan -- A drug peddler was killed and seven others were nabbed on Tuesday as a result of intensified anti-drug operations of the Bulacan Police in this province.

Senior Supt. Chito G. Bersaluna, Bulacan police director, identified the slain drug suspect as Gilbert Cristobal, 41, tricycle driver, a resident of Barangay Caysio, Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

“The suspect fired successive shots toward the police officers after the consummated drug transaction. This prompted our police personnel to fire back, resulting in the suspect’s death,” Bersaluna said.

Recovered from Cristobal were 11 plastic sachets of shabu, one caliber 38 revolver without trademark and serial number; one black holster; a wristwatch, buy-bust money, and one black Kawasaki Bajaj motorcycle with sidecar and plate number QN 6923.

Meanwhile, seven other drug suspects were arrested in separate anti-drug sting operations conducted in the towns of Angat, San Miguel, Marilao, Bustos and Baliwag.

Bersaluna identified those arrested as Francis Santos; Arnold Esguerra, an "Oplan Tokhang" surrenderer who is on the drug watch list of the San Miguel municipal police; Emiliano Victorino San Jose, who is on the drug watch list of the Marilao municipal police; Romulo Dantis; Nelson dela Cruz, who is on the drug watch list of the Bustos municipal police; Reynald Salmo, who is on the drug watch list of the Baliwag municipal police; and Olivia Granil.

Confiscated from them were 21 pieces of transparent plastic sachets of shabu and buy-bust money.

The seized pieces of evidence and arrested suspects were brought to the Bulacan Crime Laboratory Office for appropriate examination while criminal complaints for violation of Section 5 and Section 11 of Article II of the Republic Act No. 9165 (Dangerous Drugs Acts of 2002) are being prepared for filing in court. (PNA)

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Bulacan conducts 'Oplan: Ligtas Tigdas' vs. rising measles cases

By Manny Balbin  February 12, 2019, 3:09 pm

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- In a bid to prevent the spread of measles in the province, the provincial government of Bulacan through the Provincial Health Office on Monday started implementing its intensified “Oplan: Ligtas Tigdas sa Bulacan” campaign.

Following the sudden rise in measles cases in the country, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado encouraged Bulakenyos to have their children vaccinated against this infectious disease.

“Do not be afraid to vaccinate our children, grandchildren, because it is still the most effective way to fight diseases not just for measles, much more like polio, pertussis, pneumonia and so on,” Alvarado said.

Oplan Ligtas Tigdas includes information dissemination on how to avoid contracting measles; consultation in health centers and hospitals when having symptoms of measles; mass vaccination against the disease in every barangay; continuous surveillance of vaccine-preventable diseases and reporting to concerned authorities; and bringing all infants six to nine months old to health centers for their proper and corresponding vaccinations.

According to the Provincial Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (PESU), the province has reported 217 suspected measles cases from January 1-26, 2019, which is 1,708 percent higher than the 12 reported cases during the same period last year. Among the cases, 63 percent comprises children aged five years old and below.

The PESU also noted six measles-related death cases from the towns of Paombong, Bocaue, Sta. Maria, Baliwag, City of San Jose del Monte and City of Meycauayan.

Based on records, City of San Jose del Monte has the highest measles cases with 42 followed by Bocaue with 29 and Baliwag with 23.

Since there was a noticeable increase in measles cases in the province starting August 2018, the provincial government of Bulacan, in partnership with the Department of Health, conducted the "Ligtas Tigdas Plus" wherein they vaccinated 17,030 children aged six months to five years old from October to December.

Dr. Jocelyn Gomez, public health officer, said despite their efforts, measles cases continued to increase due to low vaccination coverage as a result of the Dengvaxia controversy.

“At present, there are more than 42,000 children aged six months until the age of five who are still incomplete with the measles vaccine,” Gomez said.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons.

Initial symptoms, which usually appear 10–12 days after infection, include high fever, runny nose, bloodshot eyes, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth.

Several days later, a rash develops, starting on the face and upper neck and gradually spreading downwards. (PNA)

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Cop arrested for indiscriminate firing in Bulacan

By Manny Balbin  February 9, 2019, 6:18 pm

BALAGTAS, Bulacan -- A Metro Manila-based policeman was arrested in this town for indiscriminate firing on Friday.
Chief Insp. Restituto Granil, Balagtas chief of police, identified the arrested police officer as Police Officer 1 Arwin Bornel, assigned at the Northern Police District and detailed at the Valenzuela City Police Station.

Investigation showed that a resident of Northville 6 in Balagtas town reported that the suspect, also a resident of the subdivision, was firing his hand gun indiscriminately for unknown reason.

Balagtas police personnel immediately responded and arrested Bornel and confiscated from his possession a Taurus .45-caliber gun and two magazines loaded with bullets.

"The policeman is now facing charges for illegal discharge of firearm, alarm and scandal and violation of Republic Act 10591, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition," Granil added. (PNA)

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2 drug suspects killed, 12 nabbed in Bulacan ops

By Manny Balbin  February 9, 2019, 10:38 am

CAMP GEN. ALEJO S. SANTOS, Bulacan -- Two drug pushers were killed and 12 other drug suspects were arrested in separate buy-bust operations in the province Thursday.

Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna, Bulacan Police Provincial Office director, said Friday that those killed in the operations were Johnson Milliama, a resident of the City of San Jose del Monte, and Narciso Calizon, who was on the drug watch list of the San Ildefonso municipal police.

“The two drug pushers were neutralized during separate drug buy-bust operations after the consummated drug transactions,” he said.

Bersaluna said Milliama sensed that he was dealing with undercover agents and fired towards the operatives as he tried to escape, prompting the law enforcers to shoot back.

Recovered from the crime scene were four plastic sachets of suspected shabu, an improvised hand gun (sumpak) loaded with a 12-gauge shot shell, two pieces cal. 22, TCM fired cartridge cases, and buy-bust money.

On the other hand, Calizon, together with his cohort, immediately fled on board a motorcycle upon noticing that they were dealing with a policeman, Bersaluna said.

“A brief chase followed as Calizon engaged the lawmen in a firefight that resulted in his death while his cohort managed to escape,” he said.

Recovered were five sachets of suspected shabu, one Smith and Wesson Caliber .38 revolver loaded with two live ammunition, two fired cartridge cases for a Caliber .38 revolver, and two fired cartridge cases for 9mm.

Meanwhile, the 12 drug suspects were arrested in different anti-illegal drug operations conducted in Malolos City and in the towns of Baliwag, San Rafael, Calumpit, Pulilan, San Miguel, and Bocaue.

They were Elmer Bautista, who is on the drug watch list of the Baliwag municipal police; Andrei Cruz; Marry Ann Cruz; Rachelle Anne Javier; Emanuel Mamangon; Jeffrey Martinez; Jerwin Vicente, who surrendered in “Oplan Tokhang”; Cherwin Flores; Nhelo Parocha; Jaypee Gunayan, who ranked no. 1 in the Lambat Sibat Phase 1 of the San Miguel municipal police; Patricio Mendoza; and Cherrylyn Jimenez.

Confiscated were 47 sachets of suspected shabu, buy-bust money, and one gray Suzuki 150 Raider motorcycle.
Bersaluna said the arrested suspects and seized pieces of evidence were taken to the Bulacan Crime Laboratory Office for examination.

“Criminal complaints against them are now being prepared for filing in court,” he added. (PNA)

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Bulakenyos pay tribute to Ka Blas Ople

By Manny Balbin  February 4, 2019, 6:38 pm

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- Provincial officials and thousands of Bulakenyos on Sunday paid tribute to one of the province’s most illustrious sons and statesmen, the late Gat Blas F. Ople, during the commemoration of his 92nd birth anniversary held in front of the Livelihood Training Center in this city.

Commission on Audit (COA) chairperson Michael Aguinaldo, who served as guest speaker, rekindled Ka Blas’s immeasurable contribution to the country, especially in the labor and employment sector.

Aguinaldo also shared to Bulakenyos what the ‘Father of Philippine Labor Code’ said that has inspired him.

“Ka Blas then said that Filipinos live in an open society where every career is open to talents; that the opportunity to flourish is there for those who are ready for it; and in our willingness depends on how far we can change our lives,” he said.

The COA chair also shared some of the current efforts of the Department of Labor and Employment, which were all started by Ka Blas.

These include the eight-point labor and employment agenda, which contains the strengthening of protection and security of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), respect to rules and standards of human rights in labor, and ensuring that programs intended for the laborers will be rightfully given to them.

To continue the legacy of Ople, Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado said the protection of the rights of workers must be ensured.

“Protect the safety especially OFWs from cruel employers, defend the rights to serve, and value the money and remittances they have paid for through their sweat, blood, pride, and lives,” Alvarado said.

Meanwhile, the son of Ka Blas, Board Member Felix Ople, expressed his gratitude to the government, especially to the provincial government of Bulacan, for believing in his father’s advocacy even after his death.

“No matter where our father is, I know he is looking for us because of the development and enjoyment of Bulacan, and our country,” he said.

Anchored on the theme, “Pagpapatuloy ng Kanyang Nasimulan sa Larangan ng Empleyo at Kabuhayan,” the activity also included a wreath-laying activity at the monument of Ka Blas.

This was followed by the unveiling of the commemorative marker the renaming the Old Gat Blas F. Ople building to Gusaling Gat Blas F. Ople Sentro ng Kabataan, Kaalaman at Hanapbuhay.

Other guests who attended the commemoration were Rep. Jonathan Sy-Alvarado, Guiguinto Mayor Ambrosio Cruz Jr., Board Members Alex Castro and Therese Cheryll Ople and Ka Blas’ family members. (PNA)

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Construction of Bulacan interchange set

By Manny Balbin  February 2, 2019, 12:14 pm

The groundbreaking ceremony of Ciudad de Victoria Interchange in Bocaue, Bulacan led by (from right to left) Bocaue Mayor Joni Villanueva-Tugna, former House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, MDC chief operating officer Glicerio Santos IV, House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Senator Joel Villanueva and Rep. Alfred Vargas on Friday, February 1, 2019. (Photo by Manny Balbin)  

BOCAUE, Bulacan -- A new interchange that is seen to provide a long-term solution to heavy traffic situations and boost economic activities in this province will soon be constructed.
 
Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar, House of Representatives Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Senator Joel Villanueva, together with senior officers of the Maligaya Development Corp. (MDC), North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Corp. and other local officials, led the groundbreaking for the construction of the Ciudad de Victoria Interchange located in this town on Friday.
 
The PHP635-million project involves the construction of a four-lane road connecting the Manila North Road (MNR) and the Santa Maria-Bocaue Bypass road, bypassing the heavily congested Governor F. Halili road via Ciudad de Victoria.
 
Villar said the new road project is expected to solve the usual heavy traffic situation and queuing of vehicles at the Bocaue interchange.
 
It will also serve as infrastructure support and catalyst to further boost economic activities and industrialization in the road influence area, specifically to the towns of Santa Maria and Bocaue, Bulacan, he said.
 
“The people from Bulacan understand that there is a need for an alternative road due to the heavily congested road in Governor F. Halili road in Santa Maria, Bulacan and I am delighted to share that we no longer have to worry,” he added.
 
The first phase of the project consists of the construction of two additional lanes in the existing Bocaue Municipal Road, a new 80-linear meter 2x2 lane bridge crossing the NLEX, and the rehabilitation of the inner road of Philippine Arena for a total length of 1.93 kilometers.
 
This road segment will begin near the Bocaue Municipal Hall and will reach Santa Maria, Bulacan bypassing the heavily congested Gov. F. Halili Ave. in Bocaue.
 
Forming the second phase is the improvement of a 1.91-km. road from Manila North Road (MNR) of MacArthur Highway to Bocaue Municipal Road and the completion of the southbound acceleration and deceleration lanes for vehicles headed to Philippine Arena.
 
The last phase covers the construction of a 1.3-km. road from the Philippine Arena to the existing Patubig Road in Marilao, Bulacan.
 
“The DPWH will also build new NLEX west service road to serve local traffic between Bocaue and Marilao,” Villar added.
 
Meanwhile, Arroyo said she is very thankful to DPWH because the project materialized under her time as House Speaker.
 
“Masaya ako dahil ang proyektong ito ay naisakatuparan sa panahon ng aking pagsisilbi sa bayan (I am happy that this project would be realized when I am serving the nation),” she said.
 
DPWH 3 (Central Luzon) director Roseller Tolentino said project contractor LR Tiqui Builders will construct the road network for 300 days, expected to be completed on November 17.
 
“The new road project, which also serves as an entry/exit toll gate of the North Luzon Expressway (North and South Bound), will also have an 80-linear meter acceleration/deceleration lane in its northbound lane vehicles entering the exiting the expressway,” Tolentino added. 
 
Other public officials who were present during the event were Mayor Ed Pamintuan, Rep. Miro Quimbo, Rep. Winnie Castelo, Congressman Gavini Pancho, CIBA Party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nogales, and Bulacan Vice Governor Daniel Fernando. (PNA)

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3 firework blast victims in Bulacan die from injuries

By Manny Balbin  February 2, 2019, 9:40 am

BOCAUE, Bulacan -- Three of the five fireworks chemical blast victims in this town have succumbed to serious burn injuries.

Bocaue Mayor Eleonore “Joni” Villanueva–Tugna confirmed to reporters on Friday that Isaac Paraiso and Jamil Roxas, both 15 years old, died Tuesday; while the other one, whose name is still being validated, expired on Thursday night.

The other victims of the Saturday (Jan. 26)  blast were identified as Mark Joseph Ignacio, 16, and Jessie Habal and John David Yambao, both 15.

"The victims were said to be cracking a coconut in an abandoned shanty in barangay Lolomboy when an abandoned pile of fireworks chemicals ignited, causing serious burn injuries to their bodies," the mayor said.

Villanueva–Tugna said the municipal government of Bocaue will extend financial help for the medical expenses of the surviving victims, and burial expenses for those who have already died.

Meanwhile, Bocaue police chief, Supt. Amado Mendoza Jr., identified Rolando Alejandro, a resident of Barangay Bambang in Bocaue, as the owner of the abandoned shanty where the stockpile of chemicals ignited.

“Alejandro is not a registered fireworks manufacturer nor dealer, and is now facing charges for violations of the Fire Safety Code and negligence leading to homicide based on the revised Penal Code,” Mendoza added. (PNA)

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5 drug suspects killed, 13 others arrested in Bulacan

By Manny Balbin  January 29, 2019, 8:37 pm

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- Five suspected notorious drug pushers were slain on Tuesday, the second day of the intensified Simultaneous Anti-Criminality Law Enforcement Operations (SACLEO) in this province.

Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna, Bulacan Police director, said three of the suspects were killed in anti-illegal drug operations in Meycauayan City and in the towns of Baliwag and Pulilan.

They were identified as Norberto Ligon, 39, who was included in the drug watch list of the Meycauayan City Police; and Ariel Bunag and RJ de Leon, both included in the drug watch list of the Baliwag Municipal Police.

“They were neutralized during drug buy bust operations. They sensed that they were dealing with undercover agents and fired towards our operatives. Our police personnel retaliated, which resulted in their deaths,” Bersaluna said.

He also said that two other drug suspects, brothers Rico Reyes and Noel Reyes, both residents of Barangay Sto. Cristo, Pulilan town, were killed after they engaged the operatives in a shootout during the serving of a search warrant.

Recovered from the encounters were four caliber .38 revolvers without serial numbers, one caliber .45 pistol with a defaced serial number, eight sachets of suspected shabu, marijuana, and buy bust money.

Meanwhile, the 13 arrested drug suspects were Jorge Alpas; Rodel Galit; Norasan Gambao; Ronaldo Agacita; Edgardo Magtanao; Christopher Binuya; Rogelio Acuna; Joselito Ferrera; Edwin Castro; Erick Licuanan Jr.; Marlou Surio; Kimarvin Viray; and Roberto Policarpio.

Bersaluna said that a total of 33 plastic sachets of shabu and buy-bust money were confiscated during the operations conducted by the anti-illegal drug operatives of Malolos City, Meycauayan City, Bulakan, Calumpit, Balagtas, and Santa Maria.

“The arrested suspects and seized pieces of evidence were brought to Bulacan Crime Laboratory for appropriate examination while criminal charges against them are now being prepared for filing in court,” he added. (PNA)

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DENR–Region 3 urges public to support Manila Bay rehab plan

By Zorayda Tecson  January 28, 2019, 2:17 pm

CLEANUP. Personnel from various government agencies and volunteers join the cleanup drive for Manila Bay in Central Luzon on Sunday, January 27, 2019. (Photo courtesy of DENR Regional Office 3)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional office here has called on the public to help and support the government’s efforts to rehabilitate Manila Bay.

Paquito Moreno, Jr., executive director of DENR regional office, cited on Monday the importance of cooperation, commitment and support of the Filipinos for the success of the implementation of the rehabilitation plan for Manila Bay.

“Bringing back Manila Bay to its original state is a gargantuan task for the DENR, which requires a lot of commitment, cooperation and support from other government agencies, local government units (LGU), business establishments, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders,” Moreno said.

Some 5,000 individuals from DENR regional office here and other government agencies, local government units (LGUs), business sectors, academe and civil society organizations conducted on Sunday a cleanup of Manila Bay in three provinces of Central Luzon.

The cleanup was conducted simultaneously in Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan in Region 3, Metro Manila in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Cavite in Region 4-A on orders of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu as the start or “D-day” of the massive cleanup and rehabilitation of the Bay.

The launching in Central Luzon was conducted at the Obando River in Barangay Tawiran in Obando, Bulacan; Guagua River in Barangay Sto. Filomina in Guagua, Pampanga and in the more than 700-meter stretch of Mariveles coastline in Barangay Lucanin in Bataan.

“Actual cleanup was conducted in these areas while the total volume of waste collected was more than 5,000 kilograms. Three thousand mangrove species were also planted in these sites to protect our coastal areas,” Moreno said.

Moreno said that the phase one of the rehabilitation program is the cleanup and water quality improvement, which involves the actual cleanup of designated esteros and waterways to reduce fecal coliform level and toxic discharges from establishments, and the implementation of solid waste management.

He added that the DENR will also mobilize other government agencies, including those mandamus agencies tasked to clean the bay -- the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Philippine Coast Guard, the Department of Education, the Department of Health, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Budget and Management, the Philippine Ports Authority, the Local Water Utilities and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, to carry out the rehabilitation of the bay.

Statistics from the Manila Bay Coordinating Office of DENR in Central Luzon showed that the number of informal settler families (ISF) living along the coastal areas and rivers in Bulacan is 23,051 while there are also 9,363 ISF in Pampanga and 10,166 in Bataan or a total of 42,580 families.

“Notices of violation will also be issued to non-compliant establishments or if appropriate, cease and desist orders will be issued,” Moreno added. (PNA)

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DENR closes 47 establishments in Bulacan, Bataan

By Manny Balbin  January 28, 2019, 11:42 am

(From left) Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, PRO3 Regional Director Joel Napoleon Coronel, Region 3 DENR-EMB Lormelyn Claudio and Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna take an oath of commitment during the simultaneous launching of the massive cleanup and rehabilitation efforts for Manila Bay in Barangay Tawiran in Obando, Bulacan on Sunday, January 28, 2019. (Photo by Manny Balbin)

OBANDO, Bulacan -- A total of 47 establishments were shut down in the provinces of Bulacan and Bataan since Friday for polluting the river system that leads to Manila Bay.

This was disclosed by Lormelyn Claudio, Region 3 Environmental Management Bureau chief of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), during the simultaneous launching of the massive cleanup and rehabilitation efforts for Manila Bay in Barangay Tawiran in this town on Sunday.

The establishments were found violating environmental laws and most have no environmental clearance certificates.

Forty-three of the establishments are located in Bulacan -- 16 in the City of Meycauayan, 24 in the town of Obando, three in Marilao and four in Mariveles, Bataan.

Claudio said 15 of the establishments were served their notices of violation and cease and desist orders on Friday while 32 others were served their notices of violation with cease and desist orders on Sunday.

“Affected industries in the City of Meycauayan include those that are involved in the leather and jewelry industries, fishpond operators in Obando town and beach resort, hotel and manufacturing in Mariveles, Bataan,” Claudio said.

She said the establishments would be monitored closely and would remain closed until they have complied with the necessary requirements. (PNA)

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P6.12-M worth of ‘imported shabu’ recovered in Bulacan

By Manny Balbin  January 26, 2019, 6:17 pm

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Chito G. Bersaluna and other heads of anti-illegal drugs agency presents the P6.12 million shabu recovered from the suspect (2nd from right). (Photo courtesy of Bulacan Public Information Office)

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- Some PHP6.12 million worth of suspected shabu from “Las Vegas, USA” were recovered and a suspect was arrested in Barangay Sto. Rosario, Hagonoy, this province Friday afternoon.

The operation was conducted by the joint elements of Hagonoy Municipal Police Station, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Clark International Airport- Inter Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group, Bureau of Custom – (Port of Clark), Bulacan Provincial Special Operation Group (PSOG) and Bulacan Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit (PDEU).

Senior Supt. Chito G. Bersaluna, Bulacan police director, said on Saturday that the arrested suspect was identified as Jeffrey Samson alias Jeff, 35, of Purok 7, Barangay San Jose of the said town.

Bersaluna said that based on the report, a joint controlled delivery operation was conducted after the suspect received the delivery of a vacuum sealed plastic containing white crystalline substance suspected to be “shabu” with an approximate weight of some 900 grams and an estimated value of PHP6.12 million.

"The said parcel was addressed to the suspect from Las Vegas, USA," Bersaluna added.

The recovered pieces of evidence and the suspect were brought to PDEA Forensic Laboratory, PDEA Regional Office 3, City San Fernando, Pampanga for appropriate examination.

Criminal complaint for violation of Art II Sections 4 of RA 9165 (Importation of Dangerous Drugs and/or Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals) is being prepared for filing before the court.

"Continuous coordination and follow-up are being undertaken to trace the specific source of the said contraband," he added. (PNA)

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3 nabbed, P1.5-M ‘shabu’ seized at Comelec checkpoint in Bulacan

By Manny Balbin  January 24, 2019, 6:44 pm

NABBED AT CHECKPOINT. Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Chito G. Bersaluna (holding microphone) presents the three suspects arrested at a checkpoint during a press conference held at Camp Gen. Alejo S. Santos on Thursday, January 24, 2019. Also in photo are Doña Remedios Trinidad police chief Senior Inspector Isabelo Mondejar (Photo by Manny Balbin)

CAMP GEN. ALEJO S. SANTOS, Bulacan -- Three suspects were arrested and some PHP1.5-million worth of illegal drugs and firearms were seized at a Commission on Elections (Comelec) checkpoint in Barangay Pulong Sampalok, Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan province Wednesday night.

Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna, Bulacan Police Provincial Office Director, identified the suspects as Joselito Isidro, 30, and Florida Alipio, 46, both residents of Barangay Poblacion, Baliwag town; and Jerome Jay Niño Silverio, 26, of Barangay San Pedro, Bustos.

Senior Insp. Isabelo Mondejar, chief the Doña Remedios Trinidad police, said some of his men, together with members of the Philippine Army’s 48th Infantry Battalion, flagged down a green Mitsubishi Lancer with plate no. FEX 206 during a checkpoint at about 11:30 p.m.

"Upon turning on the vehicle’s cabin light, the checkpoint team saw in plain view the driver without an upper garment," Mondejar said.

He said the team asked for a license but the driver was not able to present any.

Authorities also saw during the plain view inspection one Ingram submachine gun at the driver’s seat. 

“The suspects failed to show any pertinent documents that prompted the checkpoint team to arrest them,” Mondejar said.

When searched, he said the police discovered one bag containing a caliber 9mm Norinco pistol and six plastic bags of varying sizes containing suspected shabu, weighing more or less 210 grams, and drug paraphernalia.

Criminal charges of violation of Section 5 (transporting), Section 11 (possession) of Republic Act (RA) No. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002), RA 10591 (The Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition and Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof) in Relation to the Omnibus Election Code, and RA 4136 (The Land Transportation and Traffic Code) are being readied for filing in court against the arrested suspects. (PNA)

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Bulakenyos to commemorate 120th Malolos Republic anniversary

By Manny Balbin  January 22, 2019, 6:16 pm

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra will join thousands of Bulakenyos in celebrating the 120th Anniversary of the first Philippine Republic at the historic Barasoain Church here Wednesday.
The celebration is anchored on the theme, “Unang Republika ng Pilipinas, Saligan sa Pagtataguyod ng Ganap na Pagbabago”.

Aside from Guevarra, Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, Vice Governor Daniel Fernando, Malolos City Mayor Christian Natividad, Vice Mayor Gilbert Gatchalian and National Historical Commission of the Philippines Executive Director III Ludovico Badoy will lead the commemoration.

Other local officials, government employees, senior citizens, volunteer workers, veterans, teachers, students, and other non-government organizations will also take part in the annual event.

The program will start with a flag raising ceremony, to be followed by a wreath-laying activity at the monument of Emilio Aguinaldo, the country's first president.

Alvarado encouraged Bulakenyos to participate in the activity since January 23 is declared a special non-working day in the province, through Proclamation No. 651 issued by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

“Looking back at the past heroism of our ancestors, which led to Bulacan's inclusion in the colorful history of the country, is a must not to be lazy or ignorant but it must always be done with nobility and love for the people,” Alvarado said.

The historic event that is now called "Araw ng Republikang Pilipino, 1899" is based on Proclamation No. 533 that took effect in 2013. (PNA)

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2 blocks of tea rose marble seized in Bulacan

By Manny Balbin  January 20, 2019, 6:46 pm

SEIZED MARBLE BLOCKS. Bulacan Environment and Natural Resources Office chief Elizabeth Apresto and Angat police head, Chief Inspector Isagani Santos, preside over a press conference held inside Camp Alejo Santos, Bulacan on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, following the confiscation of  two blocks of tea rose marbles Saturday afternoon. Standing at the back are the two drivers of the dump trucks where the marble blocks were loaded.(Photo by Manny Balbin)

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan — Joint elements of the Bulacan Environment and Natural Resources Office (BENRO) and Angat police seized and confiscated two blocks of tea rose marbles loaded in two dump trucks Saturday afternoon.

The suspects escorting the trucks, however, evaded arrest.

BENRO chief Elizabeth Apresto and Chief Inspector Isagani Santos, Angat Police chief, in a press briefing held on Sunday at the Camp General Alejo Santos here, said the trucks that carried the marbles had plate numbers UQY-993 and UUQ-424 and were driven by Dennis Villarin and Jenel Dagon.

Both vehicles were flagged down by the authorities at around 2 p.m. in Barangay San Roque, Angat town.

It was learned that a group of persons headed by a certain "Mr. Sy" was on board a Toyota Fortuner with conduction number A5 0636, was escorting the dump trucks loaded with the said marbles.

Apresto said when questioned by the authorities and asked for permit and other documents, Sy told them that the marbles were owned by a certain Manolo Caiwan and donated to them allegedly by higher officials from the DENR.

Sy even showed them an expired permit and other documents.

Apresto said the marbles were taken from Biak Na Bato in San Miguel, this province.

She said the confiscated marbles were part of the 160 tea rose marbles sold by the provincial government of Bulacan to a certain Charlie Ang in 2011 for USD500 per cubic meter.

But since then, the said tea rose marbles have not yet been claimed because of the bad road situation in Biak Na Bato.

Sy and his men on board the Fortuner as well as the drivers of the truck were invited to proceed to the Bulacan PNP provincial headquarters for investigation and proper disposition of the marble.

However, while on their way to the Bulacan police provincial headquarters, the vehicle of Sy and his companions managed to escape and was only noticed missing by the police and BENRO personnel when they reached the police camp.

Sy and the two drivers as well as the owners of the trucks are set to be charged with violation of Republic Act 7942, the Mining Act of 1995 and Theft of Mineral Resources and Provincial Ordinance under the Revised Environmental Code.

The confiscated marble blocks with a total size of 10.7 cubic meters with approximate cost of PHP280,000 are now  under the custody of the Bulacan PNP.

"The governor was dismayed upon receiving the information that the main man that could give information has escaped with his other companions," Apresto said.

The protection of tea rose marble, one of Bulacan’s natural treasures, was strictly implemented when Governor Alvarado started his first term in 2010. He banned the illegal extraction of all mineral deposits in the mountains of eastern Bulacan.

In the years that followed, the BENRO was able to seize illegally extracted marble, including wire-sawed tea rose marble blocks.

The Office of the President then granted the request of the governor that some 257 blocks be turned over to the provincial government of Bulacan, subject to the terms of the DENR.

The blocks were sold to Ang, the winning bidder, in 2011, who paid for 160 pieces of the said marble. (PNA)

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DFA opens new consular office in Bulacan

By Manny Balbin  January 17, 2019, 8:59 pm

NEW CONSULAR OFFICE. Office of Consular Affairs Executive Director Maria Theresa S.M. Lazaro (center), Mayor Christian D. Natividad (2nd from left), Vice Mayor Gilbert Gatchalian (left), and Mr. Alexander Cruz, of Xentro Mall (2nd from right) lead the opening of the Department of Foreign Affairs Consular Office in the City of Malolos, Bulacan on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019, while other local leaders look on. (Photo by Manny Balbin) 

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) formally opened its new consular office on the third floor of the Malolos Central Transport Terminal in this city on Thursday, as part of the government’s continuing commitment to bring passport and other consular services closer to the Filipino people.

The occasion also marked the start of the week-long celebration of Fiesta Republic that will culminate on Jan. 23, in commemoration of the establishment of the First Philippine Republic by the Malolos Congress.

Office of Consular Affairs Executive Director Maria Theresa S.M. Lazaro, together with Mayor Christian D. Natividad, Vice Mayor Gilbert Gatchalian, Alexander Cruz, of Xentro Mall led the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the first consular office in the province.

Lazaro, who served as the guest of honor, said the opening of the new consular office would help serve people in the province of Bulacan and nearby areas.

She noted that the establishment of such consular offices is part of the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to bring consular offices closer to the public.

Lazaro also said the services to be provided by the new office in Malolos City include passport applications and renewals.

“Temporarily, there is no authentication of passport and putting a red ribbon in this DFA Malolos office,” she added.

Natividad, for his part, is thankful for the establishment of the 700-square-meter consular office here.

“This is very convenient to the Bulakenyos as there is no need for them to go to Manila or Pampanga to obtain a passport or renew," he said.

The Malolos City consular office has started accepting passport applications since last week after the soft launching. (PNA)

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2 drug suspects killed in shootout with Bulacan cops

By Manny Balbin  January 15, 2019, 8:28 pm

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- Two drug personalities were killed in a shootout with policemen in a buy-bust operation in Club Royale Resort, Barangay Mabolo here Monday night.

Supt. Emery C. Abating, Malolos City acting chief of police, identified the suspects as Israel Dela Cruz, of Sampaguita St. Barangay Panasahan, and Gwynette Kylee N. Hong, of Sevilla St., Barangay Atlag, both in this city.

Abating said that after the consummated drug transaction in Club Royale Resort at about 8:30 p.m., the suspects drew and fired their guns toward the poseur-buyer when they sensed that they were dealing with an undercover agent.

“This led in a shootout that resulted in the death of both suspects,” he said.

Recovered from the crime scene were one Smith and Wesson caliber .38-caliber revolver and .22-caliber rifle, suspected dried marijuana leaves, identification cards, buy-bust money and assorted drug paraphernalia.

All pieces of evidence recovered from the suspects were brought to the Bulacan Provincial Office at Camp Alejo Santos for examination. (PNA)

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C. Luzon cops lauded for accomplishments on 1st day of gun ban

By Ric Sapnu  January 15, 2019, 6:22 pm

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga -- The Police Regional Office 3 (Central Luzon) has commended deserving police officers in the region for their good performance during the first day of the implementation of the election gun ban.

Chief Supt. Joel Coronel, PRO-3 director, awarded the Medalya ng Kagalingan to the deserving police officers during Monday’s flag raising ceremony here.

The awardees were Supt. Orlando Castil Jr., acting chief of police of San Jose del Monte and PO1 Jeremiah David B. Bangayan, both of Bulacan; Senior Supt. Leon Victor Rosete, Nueva Ecija police acting provincial director; Chief Insp. Arnel Aguilar, officer-in-charge of the San Antonio police; and SPO2 Alberto L. Interia, also from Nueva Ecija.

The police officers' effective implementation of the gun ban resulted in the arrest of four persons during checkpoint operations while two suspects were killed in a shootout.

Five firearms were likewise confiscated from violators during the first day of the gun ban’s implementation.

“We are quick in giving rewards to deserving personnel and acknowledge their notable deeds, but we are also swift and decisive in punishing the misfits and the undisciplined,” Coronel said.

He urged the public to cooperate with authorities at checkpoints and reiterated his assurance that police personnel will observe policies and procedures, and will uphold their basic rights.

During checkpoint, motorists are advised to slow down, dim their headlights, turn on their cabin lights, and answer promptly if asked by police authorities.

“I have also reminded our personnel to be courteous to motorists and to adhere to general guidelines prescribed in our Revised Police Operational Procedures,” Coronel said.

Carrying of firearms, other deadly weapons and explosives, as well as its transportation, is strictly prohibited from the start of the election period on January 13 until June 12.

Stricter penalties ranging from one year to 12 years of imprisonment will be meted to all violators. (PNA)

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2 killed, 10 nabbed on 1st day of Comelec checkpoint in Bulacan

By Manny Balbin  January 13, 2019, 8:53 pm

CAMP GEN ALEJO S. SANTOS, Bulacan -- Two unidentified persons were killed while 10 others were arrested on the first day of the setting up of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Commission on Elections (Comelec) checkpoints in this province on Sunday.

Supt. Orlando Castil Jr., City of San Jose Del Monte City (CSJDM) chief of police, said the two who were riding on a motorcycle without plate number, deliberately ignored the police and Comelec personnel manning the checkpoint at about 1:15 a.m. in Barangay Graceville in CSJDM.

“The personnel tried to flag down the motorcycle but instead of yielding, it accelerated, which prompted the police to chase the suspects,” Castil said.

He said that all Police Community Precincts (PCP) were directed to establish dragnet operations while possible exit routes were blocked by responding mobile patrols.

“The suspects, sensing they will be overtaken, immediately got off from the motorcycle and fired shots toward the responding personnel, prompting them to retaliate that resulted in the death of the still unidentified suspects," Castil noted.

The police collected from the crime scene a .45-caliber pistol, a .38-caliber revolver, and the motorcycle used by the suspects.

Meanwhile, Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna, chief of the Bulacan Provincial Police Office, said the 10 people were arrested in the PNP-Comelec checkpoint in Angat town.

They were identified as Cristopher Dela Torre and Ronnie Noto for not wearing helmets and for having live 9mm ammunition; and Monico Beltran, Jerwin Menoy, Christian Villarama, Lloyd Sarmiento, Rey Vizconde, John Eroll De Guzman, John Paulo De Guzman and Crispin Vizcone, who were said to have ignored the checkpoint.

“The suspects shouted towards the police manning the checkpoint and accelerated their tricycle and tried to evade arrest. They were immediately chased and arrested. The suspects were under the influence of liquor,” Bersaluna said.

"Appropriate criminal complaints against the arrested suspects are now being prepared for filing before the court," he added. (PNA)

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Central Luzon cops reminded to stay apolitical

By Manny Balbin and Ric Sapnu  January 13, 2019, 6:49 pm

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan — Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna, provincial director of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office, on Sunday reminded all the police personnel to remain apolitical at all times and avoid participating in any partisan political activity during the election.

Likewise, he assured the public that they are exerting their best efforts to maintain the security and integrity of the 2019 mid-term polls.

Bersaluna spoke during the kick-off ceremony of the election period in Central Luzon.

A unity walk, interfaith prayer rally and peace covenant signing were held, aimed at promoting clean and violence-free elections in the entire region.

The Police Regional Office 3 (PRO 3), Commission on Elections, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting spearheaded the activities.

The unity walk was also attended by students and members of concerned government agencies, religious groups, the academe and civic and non-government organizations.

It started at around 5 a.m. at the Barasoain Church here, where the participants converged and held an interfaith prayer rally led by Msgr. Pablo Legaspi, Pastor John Pangilinan and Ustag Gamor from the Muslim community.

Comelec Regional Director Artemio Lambino said the event symbolizes democracy and a better community. “We want to project honest, orderly and fair elections,” he noted.

"We are serious in this symbol. Every group of people, every individual acts as one group as a symbol for a credible election,” he added.

After the interfaith prayer rally, a short program followed which was highlighted by the signing of a pledge for clean and honest elections and releasing of doves.

Chief Supt. Joel Coronel, PRO 3 director, said similar events were held in the national headquarters and different regional offices to drumbeat the significance of the mid-term elections this May.

“We are doubling efforts on our preparations to ensure safe and fair elections. We want to assure the public that we are on the right track and highly vigilant in ensuring that there are enough police officers deployed on the streets for the maintenance of peace and order especially on the election day,” Coronel said.

He encouraged the participants as well as the public to continuously support them in their endeavors.

"We are indeed counting on you so that we can continue to take positive strides forward. Together, let us work for safe, clean and fair elections,” he added. (PNA)

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PRRD inaugurates school buildings in Bulacan

By Manny Balbin  January 10, 2019, 9:22 pm

BULAKAN, Bulacan -- President Rodrigo Duterte led on Thursday the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of two units of four-storey school buildings in this town as part of his administration’s continuing effort to improve the quality of education in the country.

The President, together with his common-law wife Cielito Honeylet Avanceña, Education Secretary Leonor Briones and Bulacan officials headed by Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, spearheaded the time capsule laying for the construction of the Gen. Gregorio Del Pilar National High School in Barangay Sta. Ana here.

The ceremony which was also witnessed by Rep. Jonathan Sy-Alvarado, Bulakan Mayor Patrick Meneses and Pandi Mayor Tinoy Marquez was likewise highlighted by the unveiling and presentation of the maniature school building plan of Pandi National High School.

The two units of four-storey school buildings of the Gen. Gregorio Del Pilar National High School has a total of 60 classrooms to be built on a 6,676-square meter lot. It is expected to house over 2,300 students up to Grade 12 after four years.

The Department of Education (DepEd) has allocated a PHP156.4-million budget for the construction of the said school buildings with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Bulacan First District Engineering Office as the implementing agency.

The project is expected to be completed in November 2019.

During the event, Secretary Briones led the presentation of Pandi National High School (Virginia Ramirez-Cruz High School Extension) miniature model to be built on a 19,296-square meter lot in Barangay Siling Bata in Pandi, this province.

The project has four units of four-storey school buildings with a total of 80 classrooms. Set to be completed in October this year, it has a budget of PHP177 million.

The establishment of said school buildings is seen to decongest the overpopulated nearby secondary schools.

"Ang eskwelahan na ito ay alay ko sa mga kabataan upang makapag-aral at matuto sa buhay (This school, I offer to the youth so they could study and learn in life)," President Duterte said.

"Ako ay lumaking salat sa kabuhayan pero nagsikap akong makatapos ng pag-aaral kahit na walang award na natanggap (I grew up lacking in life but I strove to finish my studies even if I didn't receive any award)," he added.

After the event, the President proceeded to Barangay Graceville in the City of San Jose Del Monte where he led the turnover of housing units for wounded-in-action soldiers and wounded-in-operation police personnel under the comprehensive social benefits program for law enforcers. (PNA)

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Suspect in killing of grandma, child in Bulacan nabbed

By Manny Balbin  January 9, 2019, 6:42 pm

SLAY SUSPECT. Newsmen interview the arested suspect in the killing of a sexagenarian and her teen grandchild in Isabel Village, Barangay Tabang, Plaridel, Bulacan, after a press conference on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. (Photo by Manny Balbin)

CAMP GEN. ALEJO S. SANTOS, Bulacan -- The Bulacan police has arrested the lone suspect who killed a sexagenarian and her teen grandchild and injured another grandchild during a robbery at the victims' house in Barangay Tabang, Plaridel Monday morning.

Senior Supt. Chito G. Bersaluna, director of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office, said the exhaustive investigation and continuous follow-up operations by joint elements of the Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB), Provincial Special Operation Group (PSOG), Plaridel Municipal Police Station (MPS), and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), led to the identification and arrest of the suspect, Jay Vincent Marmeto, 27, also a resident of Barangay Tabang.

Based on the report of Plaridel police, the three victims were stabbed several times in different parts of their bodies as they tried to fight off with the suspect who broke into their home at around 5:51 a.m.

Killed were Sylvia Castillo, 64, and Cyrene San Pedro, 14, while seven-year-old James Cyrus Maliksi was injured.

Supt. Arwin M. Tadeo, PIB chief, said that on Tuesday, Jan. 8, a confidential informant narrated the facts and circumstances which led to the arrest of the suspect in his residence on the same day.

The suspect asked forgiveness from the relatives of the victims. "My only purpose was to steal at the victims' house because my wife is giving birth," he said during the press conference Tuesday night.

Plaridel Mayor Jocell Vistan, for her part, is thankful for the immediate arrest of the suspect.

Vistan offered a reward of PHP100,000 in exchange for any lead to the identification and arrest of the robber, who killed the victims.

Bersaluna said the suspect is facing charges of attempted robbery with double homicide and frustrated homicide.

“The Bulacan police’s relentless follow-up investigation and operations that led to the significant breakthrough and case solution is proof enough of their competence, dedication, and teamwork to solve the said crime,” he said. (PNA)

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Bulacan crime volume down 45% in 2018

By Manny Balbin  January 8, 2019, 7:35 pm

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan — Total crime volume in this province declined by 45.18 percent in 2018 as a result of an intensified drive against crimes and lawlessness.

Data from the Bulacan Police Provincial Office (BPPO) showed that the total number of crime incidents in 2018 was 16,393, which is 13,512 cases lower compared to 29,905 in year 2017.

Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna, provincial director of the Bulacan PNP, said on Tuesday the remarkable decline in crimes was due to the continuous simultaneous anti-criminality and law enforcement operations, police information drive against criminality and maximum police visibility.

Data also showed that the eight focus crimes such as murder, homicide, physical injury, rape, robbery, car/motornapping, and cattle rustling decreased by 48.98 percent, from 3,738 in year 2017 to 1,907 in 2018.

Meanwhile, the crime solution efficiency rate increased to 4.15 percent while the crime clearance efficiency rate rose to 2.87 percent in 2018.

“The Bulacan police will continue to strive hard and implement more drives against all forms of criminality in the province,” Bersaluna said. (PNA)

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Bulacan town offers 100K reward for slay suspects

By Manny Balbin  January 8, 2019, 7:28 pm

CAMP GENERAL ALEJO S. SANTOS, Bulacan -- The municipality of Plaridel on Tuesday offered a cash reward of PHP100,000 to anyone who could give information leading to the immediate solution of the killing of two family members last Monday.

Plaridel Mayor Jocell Vistan offered the reward in exchange for any lead to the identification and arrest of the robbers, who killed an elderly woman and her grandchild, and injured another young kin after breaking into their home in Barangay Tabang at around 5:51 a.m.

Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna, director of the Bulacan police, said the three members of the Castillo-Molina family were stabbed several times in different parts of their bodies.

Killed were Sylvia Castillo, 64, and Cyrene San Pedro, 14, while the injured was James Cyrus Maliksi, 7.

“The three victims were stabbed several times in the different parts of their bodies as they tried to fight off the suspects. Castillo was stabbed twice and the 14-year-old girl was stabbed 10 times, wherein both were declared dead while the 7-year-old boy sustained 12 stab wounds and survived,” he said.

Bersaluna initiated the conduct of an exhaustive investigation on the possible persons of interest towards the immediate solution of the gruesome killing.

"We encourage the public to report any information to the Chief of Police of Plaridel Municipal Police Station at 0915 902 7132 and the following hotline numbers: 0998 598 5392 and 044 795 0057," he added. (PNA)

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2 killed, 10 arrested in Bulacan anti-drug ops

By Manny Balbin  January 8, 2019, 7:21 pm

CITY OF SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, Bulacan -- Two suspected drug pushers were killed while 10 other suspects were arrested in separate buy-bust operations conducted Monday by the Bulacan police.

Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna, director of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office, on Tuesday identified the suspects killed, during operations conducted by the Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) of the City of San Jose del Monte (CSJDM) Police Station, as Rommel Ferrer, a resident of Barangay Graceville, CSJDM, who was included on the Barangay Anti-drug Abuse Council (BADAC) watch list, and his cohort known only as alias "Boboy".

Bersaluna said investigation revealed that the two suspects fired their guns when they sensed the presence of law enforcers after a consummated drug deal at about 5:30 p.m. Monday.

“Our police officers have no choice but to defend themselves which resulted in the suspects’ death,” he said.

Supt. Orlando Castil Jr., CSJDM police chief, said that upon verification, it was found out that Ferrer was a notorious drug pusher in Barangay Graceville, and adjacent barangays of CSJDM.

Castil also said that Ferrer managed to elude arrest during a buy bust operation last month and was charged at large for violation of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act).

Recovered from the crime scene were six pieces of heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets of suspected shabu, two caliber .38 revolvers and buy-bust money.

Meanwhile, 10 other drug suspects were arrested in the towns of Hagonoy, Bocaue, Calumpit, Norzagaray and CSJDM. They were identified as Christopher Fajardo, Jeffrey Madredijo, Fernando Benidecto, Joel De Vera, Marilet Gines, Geann Zabal, Rodolfo Rivera, Jessie Gojar, Christopher Cabiling and Francis Maypa.

Seized from the suspects were 20 pieces of heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets of suspected shabu, one cut opened plastic sachet with suspected shabu residue, three pieces of heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets of suspected dried marijuana leaves, buy-bust money and assorted drug paraphernalia.

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

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2 killed, 1 hurt in Bulacan robbery

By Manny Balbin  January 7, 2019, 9:18 pm

PLARIDEL, Bulacan — A sexagenarian and her teen grandchild were killed and another grandkid was injured during a robbery in their home in Barangay Tabang here before dawn on Monday.

Supt. Laurente Acquiot, Plaridel police chief, identified the fatalities as Sylvia Castillo, 64, and Cyrene San Pedro, 14. Injured, on the other hand, was James Cyrus Maliksi, 7.

Acquiot said initial police investigation disclosed that at least two robbers broke into the victims' house before 6 a.m. when they were still asleep. During the heist, the elderly and the children were awakened and tried to fight off the suspects but were stabbed several times in different parts of their bodies.

"San Pedro and Maliksi were brought to Melverey Hospital while Castillo was brought to La Consolacion Hospital," Acquiot told the media.

He said that San Pedro and Castillo were declared dead on arrival by attending physicians while Maliksi is still undergoing treatment.

Acquiot said that the unidentified suspects fled after the incident and brought with them the stolen items from the victims. (PNA)

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3 suspects killed, 18 arrested in Bulacan drug bust

By Manny Balbin  January 5, 2019, 6:46 pm

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan -- Three drug suspects were killed in an operation conducted in Barangay Santo Cristo, City of San Jose del Monte (CSJDM), this province early dawn of Saturday.

Senior Supt. Chito G. Bersaluna, Bulacan police director, identified the neutralized suspects as Roger Angelo Polonan, PDEA watch-listed illegal drug personality; George Abellanosa, Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC) watch-listed and Lucky Brosoto.

Based on the report of Supt. Orlando Castil Jr., CSJDM police chief, his operatives conducted buy-bust operation against suspect Polonan which resulted in a shootout, causing the death of the suspects.

"After the transaction, the suspects sensed that they were dealing with undercover operatives. They immediately drew their firearms and fired toward the approaching police personnel. One of the suspects tried to escape and also fired towards the police on board his motorcycle, which prompted them to retaliate," Castil told the media.

Recovered from the crime scene were a caliber .38 revolver without trademark and without serial number; one caliber .38 revolver without serial number; one caliber .38 revolver S&W without serial number loaded; 11 caliber 9mm fired cartridge cases and seven plastic sachets of suspected shabu.

Meanwhile, Bersaluna said that different buy-bust operations conducted by operatives of Baliwag, Norzagaray, Plaridel, San Jose Del Monte, Balagtas, Santa Maria, Malolos and Bocaue police resulted in the arrest of 18 suspects identified as Virgilio Sy, Randy Cabrera, Isaias Guinto, Jessica Clemente, Andrew John Fernando, Adrian Palad, Gregor Vicente, Ronaldo Montalbo, Ernesto Espineda, Rodelio Oliveros, Jovito Cruz, Louie Garcia, Jason Buenaventura, Daryl Aleluya, Arlene Cabigting, Wilbert Mendoza, Gary Dela Cruz and Joseph Malaa.

"A total of 54 plastic sachets of suspected shabu and buy-bust money were confiscated from the arrested suspects," he added. (PNA)

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17 arrested in anti-drug ops in Bulacan

By Manny Balbin  January 4, 2019, 7:29 pm

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan -- Seventeen drug suspects were arrested during the two-day simultaneous anti-criminality law enforcement operations in this province, which ended Friday.

Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna, provincial director of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office, said the anti-illegal drug sting was spearheaded by the Drug Enforcement Unit of the cities of Malolos and Meycauayan and the municipalities of San Rafael, Calumpit, Angat, Bulakan, San Miguel, Hagonoy, Marilao and Paombong.

Bersaluna identified the arrested drug suspects as Agosto Paulino, Joebert Aquino,Christopher Cayabyab,Eduardo Isidro,Brian Levie Dizon, Richard Tolentino,Robin Kim Caparas,Vergel Vicente,Gilbert Base, Rene Balolot, Jay-Ar Bengco, Ronaldo Bauza,Bienvenido Carruiedo, Jeff Morales, Ric Jerome Taboy, Eulalio Siapno and Ariel Floreno Gravoso.

He said that 38 pieces of heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets of suspected shabu; two pieces of heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets of dried marijuana leaves; one aluminum foil strip with suspected shabu residue; buy-bust money; and assorted drug paraphernalia were confiscated during the operations.

“Appropriate criminal complaints against the arrested suspects are now being prepared for filing in court,” Bersaluna said.

He said the Bulacan police will relentlessly implement the intensified campaign against illegal drugs and all other forms of criminality. (PNA)

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Bulacan drug suspect killed, 6 others nabbed in drug ops

By Manny Balbin  January 3, 2019, 7:24 pm

CAMP GEN ALEJO S SANTOS, Bulacan -- A notorious drug pusher was killed while six others were arrested in separate anti-illegal drug operations in Bulacan province on Wednesday and Thursday.

Senior Supt. Chito G. Bersaluna, Bulacan Police Director, identified the suspect who was killed as Arvin Bautista, 40, a resident of Emerson Subdivision, Barangay Saog, Marilao, who was on the drug watch list of the Pandi municipal police. His cohort managed to elude arrest.

Bersaluna said based on the report of the Pandi police, the suspect drew his firearm and fired at the poseur buyer when his cohort realized that they were dealing with a police officer.

"A firefight ensued, which resulted in the death of the suspect during a buy-bust operation in Barangay Bunsuran 2nd, Pandi, Bulacan at about 11:45 p.m. Wednesday. The suspect was a known supplier of illegal drugs in the area and adjacent towns in Bulacan," he told the media.

Recovered from the crime scene were one heat-sealed plastic sachet of suspected shabu and one caliber .38 revolver.

Bersaluna added that six other drug suspects, identified as Raymond Magbitang Igaya, who is on the drug watch list of the San Rafael municipal police; Reynaldo Gomez, on the drug watch list of the Guiguinto municipal police; Christorey Gicoli; Nazareno de Guzman Jr.; Alexis Herrera; and Manny Villavicencio, were arrested in buy-bust operations conducted by the operatives of the City of San Jose del Monte, Bustos, Guiguinto, Obando, and San Rafael.

He said that a total of 17 plastic sachets of suspected shabu, buy-bust money, and assorted drug paraphernalia were seized from the suspects. (PNA)

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Firecracker production drops

By Manny Balbin  January 2, 2019, 5:45 pm

BOCAUE, Bulacan --The production of legal firecrackers for the New Year celebration has drastically dropped.

With President Rodrigo Duterte’s signing of Executive Order 28 (regulating the use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnic devices) in June 2017, the production of local firecrackers was slashed by 50 percent that year due to misinterpretation on its implementation, said Lea Alapide, president of the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association, Inc.

"Production of legal firecrackers again drew flak this year when Malacañang issued Memorandum Circular 31 in the last quarter of (2018) that stopped the issuance of new permits and licenses for those involved in the fireworks industry," Alapide said in an interview on Wednesday. 

She also said that manufacturers of legal firecrackers mostly belong to the backyard and micro-scale entrepreneurs.

Supt. Amado Mendoza Jr., Bocaue police chief, has confirmed that based on their monitoring, about 80 percent of the products being sold in fireworks stores in Bocaue were aerial fireworks display products. He said traditional sparklers and firecrackers now have a 20 percent share of the market.

 Based on Bulacan’s Pyrotechnic Regulatory Board (PRB), the province’s fireworks industry directly provides livelihood opportunities to at least 100,000 individuals.

In 2017, the PRB estimated that some 20,000 individuals were still directly benefitting from the livelihood opportunities of the fireworks industry.

However, fireworks stakeholders, who do not want to be identified, said the local industry has now suffered a slump in production and that only a few big-time fireworks manufacturers in the country are left struggling to keep the industry afloat.

These few big-time fireworks manufacturers are those who were able to shift from the old technology to the safer and modern mode in pyrotechnics manufacturing and mainly concentrate on aerial displays.

The PRB data showed that traditional fireworks manufacturers have been using technology that had already been banned in other countries for more than a century.

Joven Ong, president of the Philippine Fireworks Association, said that big-time manufacturers, like Dragon Fireworks, employ foreign experts to upgrade the local industry and mostly produces aerial fireworks display products so as not to compete with traditional manufacturers that mainly produce firecrackers and sparklers. (PNA)

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