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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Govt forces in Bulacan on alert following NPA sightings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Gov urges Bulacan police to help PDEA crush dope menace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Field trips should have safety guidelines — Bulacan solon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Drug surrenderers in Central Luzon reach 129,217

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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New Tarlac police chief vows to prioritize internal cleansing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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CLRAA meet opens in Bulacan Feb. 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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US-based foundation offers surgical, medical mission in Bulacan

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

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

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

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

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

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Bulacan officials, police assure Korean students of their safety

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

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

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

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

Caramat also said that the Bulacan Police will give its all in ensuring the security of Koreans and all other foreigners visiting and residing in Bulacan. (PNA) 

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Senate sets probe into 'tokhang for ransom' on Thursday

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

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

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

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

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

PNP’s Oplan Tokhang involves police officers visiting houses of suspected drug users and traders to persuade them to stop their involvement in the illegal drugs trade. (PNA)

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First Philippine Republic is worth dying for -- Robin Padilla

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Thus, let us always celebrate this event not only in this noble city of Malolos, but also for in the entire nation and in other parts of the world where there are Filipinos," he said. (PNA)  

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DILG chief asks Bulakenyos to support gov't fight vs corruption, illegal drugs, crimes - By Emil G. Gamos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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DILG Secretary to grace the 118th anniversary of the First Philippine Republic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bulacan officials push for declaration of January 23 as national holiday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The day also become momentous with the proclamation of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo as the elected President of the new Philippine Republic.(PNA) 

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WACOM4 delegates visit Divine Mercy Shrine, other 'places of Mercy' in Bulacan - By Emil G. Gamos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Malolos City opens “Fiesta Republika 2017”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The colorful events will culminate on January 23 at the Barsoain church and will be followed by float parade, street dancing shopwcasing the momentous events that took place in this historic capital city. (PNA) 

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 18 (PNA) -- The festive mood that transpired at the historic Barasoain Church more than a century ago was relived as the city government opened this year’s “Fiesta Republika” to mark the 118th anniversary of the First Philippine Republic that was inaugurated here on January 23, 1899.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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3 armed drug dealers dead in shootout with Bulacan cops

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

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

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

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

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

Likewise, Caramat said the Obando PNP under Chief Inspector Arnulfo Tangol reported that suspect Budoy was killed in a buy bust operation at around 12:30 a.m. Monday in Barangay Panghulo, Obando town. (PNA) 

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World Apostolic Congress delegates to visit 15 'Places of Mercy' in Bulacan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He said that this year theme is “Communion in Mercy, Mission for Mercy.” (PNA) 

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Bulacan mayors support President Duterte's all out war vs illegal drugs - By Emil G. Gamos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“People are now seeing the good results of the war against illegal drugs initiated by our President. We are also noting its good effects on investments,” he said. (PNA) 

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Comelec dismisses petition to annul victory of winning Bocaue 'coin toss mayor'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Malolos RTC dismisses election protest filed against Bocaue mayor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bodies of 2 drowned Bulacan college students retrieved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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PDEA recognizes drug free provinces, cities in Central Luzon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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PHL to host 4th World Apostolic Congress on Mercy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No firecracker-related fatality was also reported.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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