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1,657 newly-promoted Central Luzon cops take oath

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga -- A total of 1,657 newly-promoted police personnel in Central Luzon took their oath at the Police Regional Office 3 parade grounds here on Wednesday.

Chief Supt. Amador V. Corpus, Regional Director of the Police Regional Office 3 (PRO3), administered the oath-taking and mass pinning of the newly promoted 95 police commissioned officers and 1,562 police non-commissioned officers, witnessed by their families and relatives.

Corpus, in his message, said that promotion is not a reward of what was done well, but recognition that each police personnel has the potential to do more.

He warned the newly-promoted police personnel to stay away from doing nefarious activities as they carry on their fight on illegal drugs, illegal gambling and all forms of lawlessness.

"I warn each and every one of you to stay away from doing nefarious activities as I am quick to impose upon you an appropriate punishment if you are found linked to crimes. I will not tolerate any one of you for violating our laws, as you are not worthy to wear our uniform and you should be removed from our ranks. I am serious about this. All I simply ask from you is to do your job effectively and efficiently and you will be rewarded and supported by my leadership,” Corpus said. (PNA)

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Pangasinan cop awarded for returning lost bag

SAN FERNANDO CITY -- A policeman from Urdaneta City, Pangasinan was conferred the "Medalya ng Papuri" (Commendation Medal) in recognition of his admirable deed of returning a bag containing documents and bank checks amounting to Php200,000 to its owner.

Chief Supt. Reynaldo Biay, deputy regional director for administration of the Police Regional Office 1, conferred the award on Senior Police Officer 1 Noli Lee Teope, a member of the Urdaneta City Police Station in Pangasinan, on Monday.

The awarding ceremony was held at the PRO1 Grandstand at Camp Oscar Florendo in San Fernando City.

Teope recovered the bag sometime in August while patrolling Poblacion, Urdaneta City.

The owner of the bag, Mrs. Elena Paasa, thanked SPO1 Teope for returning her bag containing valuables. (PNA)

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Duterte seeks Bulakenyos' continued support vs corruption, drugs

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- President Rodrigo Roa Duterte thanked Bulakenyos and asked their continued support in the fight against illegal drugs, corruption and criminality.

During the commemoration of the 119th anniversary of the Malolos Congress at the historic Barasoain Church on Friday, Duterte relayed his message through Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Assistant Secretary Ricojudge Janvier Echiverri.

In a message read by Echiverri, Duterte expressed gratitude to the people of Bulacan for voting for him in last year's elections and for their trust and continued support. 

“Isang karangalan ang maanyayahan sa pag-gunita ng kauna-unahang kongreso ng Pilipinas. Kagaya noon, marami pa ring hamon ngunit naipakita na ng ating mga ninuno na kaya nating tumayo sa sarili nating mga paa at kakakayanin pa din natin ito basta magkaka-isa at sama-sama tayo bilang isang lahi at isang bansa (It's an honor to be invited to the occasion remembering the first Congress of the Philippines. Just like before, there are still many challenges today but our ancestors had showed that we can stand on our own feet and we can still hurdle the challenges if we stay united as one race and one country),” the President’s message read.

With regard to the fight against hard drugs, Duterte said, “death and killing” is not a state policy.

The President message said he will exert all means to rid the country of the dope menace but he did not want to waste lives, especially the youth, who are mostly the victims of this scourge of society.

Duterte, likewise, spoke on the proposed postponement of the barangay elections.

Echiverri said that based on the President’s list, there are at least 40,000 village officials who are directly involved in the proliferation of illegal drugs.

He urged them to resign immediately, stressing that good village officials should lead community-based war against drugs and not act as protectors or drug lords themselves.

Senator Aquino, who is also a guest speaker, said the sacrifices of Filipino revolutionaries should not be forgotten because they resulted in the freedom that modern-day Filipinos are now enjoying.

He said he is proud that his great grandfather, Sevillano Aquino, was a member of the Malolos Congress.

Meanwhile, Gov. Alvarado said Bulakenyos will always go back to Barasoain Church because of their love for freedom and independence and their reverence for their heroes.

He said this sacred ground, the great propagandist and Bulakenyo hero Gat Marcelo H. Del Pilar planted the love for freedom that is why up to now, people are preserving that legacy.

He said September 15 is the culmination of the month-long celebration that began August 15, the foundation day of the province.

Vice Governor Daniel Fernando, on the other hand, said the significance of Malolos Congres shall forever be enshrined in the heart and soul of freedom-loving Filipinos.

Malolos City Mayor Christian D. Natividad, for his part, said the Malolos Congress has changed the views of the world on the people of the Philippines.

“From being referred to as the lowly 'Indio', the Filipino race has been recognized as citizens of the Republic of the Philippines,” Natividad said.

The Malolos Congress , also known as the "National Assembly" of representatives, was the constituent assembly of the First Philippine Republic. It was convened at the Barasoain Church on September 15, 1698 where the Malolos Constitution was drafted. (PNA)

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PRO-3 intensifies drive vs illegal gambling in Central Luzon

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga -- The Police Regional Office -3 (PRO-3) has started its intensified drive against illegal gambling in Central Luzon.

The PRO-3, in its separate anti-gambling operations, arrested Tuesday four persons in the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga and Tarlac who were caught in the act of collecting bets for illegal number games known as jueteng and bookies.

Those arrested were Abigail Castro, 34, a resident of Barangay Niugan, Angat, Bulacan; Eliza Dolores Due, 34, of Barangay Maimpis, City of San Fernando, Pampanga; Enrimo Cruz, 51, of Barangay PulongSantol, Porac, Pampanga, and Ronnie Dizon, 33, of Barangay Pando, Concepcion, Tarlac

Confiscated from them were several illegal gambling paraphernalia, including collection money.

Police Chief Supt. Amador Corpus, PRO-3 regional director, lauded the operating police troops for the arrests as he vowed to eradicate all forms of illegal gambling in the region.

Likewise, Corpus said that police operatives are continuously conducting monitoring operations especially in the areas where illegal gambling activities have been previously reported. (PNA)

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Dental mission benefits 400 Pampanga inmates

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga-- Some 400 inmates from the Pampanga Provincial Jail (PPJ) have benefited from the dental mission conducted by the provincial government through the Provincial Health Office (PHO).

Provincial dental supervisor Dr. Thricia Sunglao on Wednesday said the dental mission is part of the regular activity of PHO inside the provincial jail to ensure the health and well-being of inmates.

Tooth extractions and check-ups were performed on the inmates while proper medications were also provided during the activity.

Fifteen dentists from the district hospitals of the province, some rural health units, a private practitioner, and staff from the PHO and the Provincial Malward took part in the activities.

Sunglao disclosed that the PHO will conduct another dental and medical mission inside the PPJ in December as part of the Pampanga Day celebration. (PNA)

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Classes suspended in most areas in Central Luzon due to 'Maring'

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga -- Classes in some parts of Central Luzon were suspended on Tuesday as tropical depression "Maring" intensified and continues to move towards Quezon-Aurora area.


Governor Albert Garcia declared the suspension of classes in all levels, both in public and private schools, in the entire province of Bataan.


Governor Cherry Umali, likewise declared the suspension of classes, both in public and private schools in Nueva Ecija.


Governor Susan Yap also declared the suspension of classes, both in public and private schools in Tarlac.


Bataan, Nueva Ecija and Tarlac are three of the six provinces in Central Luzon that are under tropical cyclone signal no. 1.

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


In Bulacan, classes in all levels both in public and private schools were suspended in the cities of Meycauayan, Malolos and San Jose Del Monte and the municipalities of Marilao, Obando, Bocaue, Hagonoy, Angat, Pulilan, San Ildefonso, Calumpit and Norzagaray.


Classes from pre-elementary to high school levels, both in public and private, were suspended in the towns of Bustos and Paombong.


Classes up to elementary level, both in public and private, were suspended in the municipalities of Sta. Maria, Pandi, and Bulakan.


In Pampanga, classes in all levels in public and private schools in the cities of Angeles, Mabalacat and San Fernando as well as in the towns of Minalin, Magalang, Masantol, Mexico, Porac, San Luis, Apalit, Sasmuan, and Sta Rita were suspended.


On the other hand, classes up to elementary level, both in public and private schools, in the towns of Guagua and Sto. Tomas were suspended.


In Aurora, the local government of Dipaculao declared the suspension of classes up to elementary level, both in public and private.


Based on the regional weather forecast issued by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) as of 5 a.m., the provinces of Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Zambales, Pampanga and Bulacan will rains with gusty winds until 5 p.m. (PNA)

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14 drug suspects arrested in Pampanga, Olongapo

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga -- Fourteen drug personalities, including a barangay official were arrested in separate anti-illegal drugs operations in Pampanga and Olongapo City on Sunday.

In a report submitted to the Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3), those arrested in Pampanga were identified as Noli Allen Laxamana, 39, a barangay kagawad of Balitucan, Magalang; Raden Andong of Barangay Atlu-bola, Mabalacat City; Erwin Navarro, 31, of Barangay Mabiga, Mabalacat City; Joseph Bernardo, of Barangay Panda, Angeles City; Andrew Bartolome of Barangay Balibago, Angeles City; Nelson Quiamson, Lucindo Halili, Elmer Tizon, Roy Licaycay, Niño Blas, Raul Alegaga, and Arturo Manaloto, all residents of Barangay Dau, Mabalacat City, Pampanga.

Confiscated from the possession of the suspects were a total of 14 heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets containing suspected shabu with street value of PHP15,000, the marked money and other drugs paraphernalia.

Meanwhile, those nabbed in Olongapo City were Alfredo Abad Jr. and Michael Santos . Seized from them were a total of 15 heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets containing suspected shabu and marked money.

PRO3 Regional Director, Chief Supt, Amador V. Corpus, said the entire Central Luzon police force is continuously on alert to eradicate all forms of illegal drugs in line with “Double Barrel Reloaded”. (PNA)

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Drug dealer killed, 9 other dope suspects nabbed in Bulacan

CITY OF SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, Bulacan --  Police killed an armed drug dealer who tried to elude arrest and engaged lawmen in a firefight during a buy bust operation in Barangay San Martin here Wednesday.

In a report to Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., San Jose del Monte City police chief Supt Fitz Macariola on Thursday also said that a drug pushing couple were nabbed in Barangay Gumaok Central, while seven other persons were nabbed while having a "shabu" session in Barangay Citrus.

Macariola identified the slain drug dealer as Jomar Luban of Barangay Bagong Buhay in this city.

He said the suspect was included in the Barangay Anti-Drug Council (BADAC) watch list of drug pushers in the said area.

Macariola said the suspect sold a plastic sachet of shabu worth PHP500 to a police undercover agent.

"But when the lawmen was about to arrest him, Luban ran and escaped, then drew a handgun, firing at the pursuing operatives who were prompted to fire back that resulted to the death of the suspect," he said.

A Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) team from the Bulacan PNP Crime Laboratory recovered from the suspect a 9mm pistol still loaded with three live bullets, a red pouch containing nine plastic sachets of suspected shabu, and eight pieces of fired catridge of 9mm bullets.

Police anti-narcotics operatives, on the other hand, arrested the husband and wife tandem of Fernando and Maria Bringula after selling a sachet of shabu worth PHP500 to a police undercover agent.

The duo did not resist arrest. However, when frisked, the couple yielded 11 more plastic sachets of shabu.

Macariola also reported that seven persons were caught sniffing shabu in a suspected dope den in Barangay Citrus after a concerned citizen tipped-off the police.

Appropriate charges for violations of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act will be filed against the arrested suspects. (PNA)

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Outstanding police units, personnel recognized

CAMP GEN. ALEJO S. SANTOS, Bulacan -- The Bulacan Police Provincial Office (BPPO) on Wednesday cited the outstanding police units and personnel who rendered excellent and dedicated service to the public in its pursuit of peace and order.

Police Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., together with Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, led the awarding ceremony which is part of the celebration of 116th Police Service Anniversary.

The governor, in his speech, expressed his gratitude for the services of the police force especially in the fight against criminality and illegal drugs.

The police units and personnel awarded were: Malolos City Police Station (best city police station); Baliuag Municipal Police Station (best municipal police station); Police Supt. Heryl Bruno ( best senior police commissioned officer); Police Senior Inspector Jun Alejandrino and Police Senior Inspector Wilfredo Dizon Jr. ( best junior police commissioned officers).

The San Rafael Municipal Police Station, on the other hand, was recognized for having the most number of arrested suspects who are high value targets during police operations, while the San Jose Del Monte City Police Station was cited for the most number of arrested drug personalities.

The Bulacan units that received certificates of recognition were the Provincial Public Safety Company, Provincial Crime Laboratory, Provincial Internal Affairs Service, Criminal Investigation & Detection Team, Highway Patrol Team, and Provincial Legal Office. (PNA)

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3 big-time drug pushers fall in Bulacan dope sting

CITY OF SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, Bulacan -- Anti-narcotics police have apprehended three suspected big-time drug pushers in a series of buy-bust operations in Barangays San Martin de Porres and Kaypian here Sunday night.

In a report to Bulacan Police Director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., San Jose Del Monte City police chief Supt. Fitz Macariola on Monday identified the arrested suspects as Rene Oliva, 39, of Barangay San Martin de Porres; Jaber Amparo, 26, and Airene Carreon, 25, both residents of Barangay Kaypian here.

Macariola said that Oliva is listed as one of the major suppliers of “street shabu” in the city.

He said the suspect was arrested after selling a plastic sachet of suspected “shabu” worth PHPP500 to a police undercover agent. When frisked, the suspect yielded 31 more plastic sachets of suspected “shabu.” 

In Barangay Kaypian, police operatives arrested Amparo and Carreon after selling a plastic sachet of suspected “shabu” to a police poseur buyer.

Macariola said police operatives recovered 11 more plastic sachets of suspected shabu with an estimated weight of 10 grams from the two suspects.

Macariola said drug pushing charges and violations of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act will be filed against the suspects. (PNA)

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2 big-time Bulacan drug dealers fall; P2.5-M 'shabu' seized

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan -- Police on Saturday busted two alleged big-time drug dealers in a buy bust operation in Barangay San Vicente, Sta. Maria town.

Bulacan police director, Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., identified the arrested suspects as Christopher Dave Colangcoy, 31, married, resident of Barangay San Vicente, Sta. Maria, and Janel Roldan, 20, single, resident of Barangay Sapang Palay, City of San Jose del Monte.

Caramat said anti-narcotics operatives of the Sta. Maria Police Station headed by Supt. Raniel Valones conducted a coordinated buy bust operation against the two suspects.

Before the arrest, the poseur buyer was able to buy a heat-sealed transparent sachet of suspected shabu from the duo in exchange for PHP1,000 marked money.

Caramat said police recovered one big plastic bag and three sachets of small heat sealed transparent plastic sachets of illegal drugs (shabu) including the buy bust item weighing 500 grams with market value of PHP2.5 million; PHP 1,000 marked money; one caliber .22 revolver loaded with two live ammunition; one improvised glass tooter; one stainless pair of scissors; one digital weighing scale; and one bundle transparent plastic sachets.

The arrested suspects and recovered pieces of evidence were brought to Bulacan Crime Laboratory Office for appropriate examination while criminal complaints of violation of Republic Act 9165 Section 5, 11, 12 and 26 and violation of RA 10591 will be filed in court against the two suspects. (PNA)

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Duterte leads chicken-boodle fight in Pampanga

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga -- President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday assured the public that poultry products from Pampanga and Nueva Ecija are safe for human consumption as he joined other national and local government officials in a boodle fight of chicken-based menu.

President Duterte also gave the assurance that the national government will continue its surveillance and vigilance to mitigate the impact of bird flu.

The Chief Executive announced in a press conference that he will ask Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) chief Andrea Domingo for available funds to give additional assistance to the affected poultry raisers.

Speaking before some 1,000 attendees from the local government units and poultry raisers, Duterte said Pampanga is not only a factor in food security but part of the food chain.

“The efforts and sweat poured in by the Kapampangans play a crucial role in securing the country’s food chain,” the President added.

He also pointed out the resiliency of the Kapampangans in these trying times, and that he is confident that the LGUs can contain the avian flu outbreak.

The President, together with Department of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, awarded an indemnity check to San Luis town worth PHP20,723,790.

He also gave checks to two poultry farm owners from Jaen town, Mary Grace Castro and Manuel Ruiz Luiz, whose poultry farms were depopulated because of the avian flu outbreak.

Shortly after the awarding ceremonies, President Duterte, along with Piñol, Governor Lilia Pineda, Pampanga 2nd district Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, 3rd district Rep. Aurelio Gonzales and local chief executives ate chicken, balut, and eggs in a boodle fight here to show the public that poultry products in Pampanga are safe.

 Meanwhile, Piñol said an opportunity was presented by the crisis brought about by the avian influenza outbreak after a group of German and Colombian engineers committed to provide technology to turn chicken manure to organic fertilizer. He said the group is now establishing a facility for the project. (PNA)

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Couple, 2 others fall in Bulacan drug busts

CITY OF SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, Bulacan -- Four drug peddlers, including a couple, were arrested during a series of anti-drug operations by the city police here Saturday. 

In a report to Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., city police chief Supt. Fitz Macariola on Sunday identified the arrested suspects as couple Arnel and Angeline Orabao, both 31 years old, residents of Barangay Graceville; Johna Ray Lopez, 18, single, a resident of Barangay Maharlika; and Liezel dela Cruz, 49, married, of Barangay Muzon, all in this city.

He said the couple was busted after selling PHP500 worth of shabu to a police undercover agent. 

Ten more plastic sachets containing an estimated five grams of suspected shabu worth PHP8,000 were recovered from the suspects, together with the marked money, Macariola said. 

Lopez, on the other hand, was arrested by another anti-narcotics police team after selling a plastic sachet of shabu to a police agent. Six more plastic sachets containing more or less two grams of suspected shabu with an estimated street value of PHP6,000 were recovered from the suspect. 

Dela Cruz, on the other hand, was arrested during a buy bust operation in Barangay Muzon where six plastic sachets of susoected shabu weighing more or less five grams were recovered from her.

The San Jose del Monte Police is set to file charges of violation of Republic Act 9165 or the “ComprehensiveDangerous Drugs Act of 2002” against the arrested suspects. (PNA)

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Flash floods hit 4 Bataan villages; destroy footbridge

MARIVELES, Bataan -- Flash floods hit four villages here and destroyed a footbridge at the height of intermittent light to heavy rains Friday afternoon till midnight.

Floods washed away the footbridge connecting portions of barangays Ipag and Balon Anito.

Edwina Mia of the Mariveles Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office said the affected barangays were Balon Anito, Baseco, Ipag and San isidro.

“The floods rose from above knee to chest deep from 4 p.m. (Friday) to near midnight in most of the low-lying areas,” she said.

Some residents said flood subsided in their villages before 3 a.m. of Saturday.

Only nine families chose to be evacuated temporarily in the barangay hall but returned home on Saturday morning, Mia said.

 Hundreds of workers of multi-national factories at the Freeport Area of Bataan bound for home were stranded and waited for several hours for the flood to subside.

 Rodito Luyo, Ipag barangay chairperson, said they placed ropes in flooded areas to assist factory workers who were going home.

 The village head said floods rose up to waist-deep in Purok 3 to 6 in Ipag from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday.

 On Saturday morning, residents were seen busy cleaning their houses and the streets of thick mud left by the floodings.

 Smith Esturas and Albert Escurido, both residents of Ipag, said the floodwaters came from the mountain that overflowed the rivers in the area. (PNA)

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Masantol is Central Luzon's 1st drug-free town

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga -- The town of Masantol in this province has been formally declared as the first municipality in Central Luzon to be cleared from illegal drugs.

This, as all of the 26 barangays of Masantol were cleared from drug infestation after complying with the parameters set forth pursuant to Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No 3 series of 2017.

The awarding of the formal certification was held on Friday at the Benigno Hall, Provincial Capitol Compound, City of San Fernando here.

Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino, director of the Police Regional Office 3, lauded the efforts of the local government of Masantol and police in its strong commitment to eliminate hard drugs.

 “Needless to say, I am in awe that while I am still the regional director of PRO3, one municipality under my watch has been declared drug-free and I am proud of this achievement.” Aquino said in his statement.

He expressed optimism that more municipalities and even provinces in the region will soon be declared drug-free because of their intensified barangay drug clearing operations, in partnership with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

Aquino asked the public to support them in their anti-illegal drugs campaign as it is not only their fight but also the fight of all to attain drug-free region. (PNA)

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Bulacan turns over donations for Marawi residents

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- Six trucks containing 4,000 boxes of foodstuff were turned over Friday afternoon to the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) under the first phase of the “Tulong Bulakenyo Para sa Marawi.”

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and provincial administrator Eugenio Payongayong also handed a check worth PHP4 million to OCD-III regional director Edgardo J. Ollet as part of the PHP8 million aid of the provincial government to the people of the war-torn Marawi City in Mindanao.

“This is our own way of giving back. Every time calamities hit our province, other provinces also sent us help and aid," Alvarado said.

OCD Director Josie Timoteo, chief of operations Task Force Marawi-OCD, is in Iligan City and will supervise the distribution of the donations from Bulacan, Ollet said. 

“This is a big help in our effort to help the people of Marawi, “ Ollet said.

Ollet thanked Alvarado and the people of Bulacan for their concern and kindness to the people of Marawi still suffering and bearing the brunt of the war. (PNA

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11 drug dealers killed, 45 others nabbed in Bulacan

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan -- The intensified campaign of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office pushes through without let-up in their simultaneous “One Time, Big Time" operations in the different parts of the province since early Tuesday morning.

From 21 in the early hours of Tuesday, the number of slain armed drug dealers climbed to 32 as 11 more drug suspects were killed while the number of arrested suspects rose to 109 from 64 as the Bulacan police stepped up their operations to protect the province from the scourge of the dope menace on Wednesday noon, according to  Bulacan police director, Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr.,  

Caramat said that illegal drugs, grenades, firearms and ammunition were also recovered in the simultaneous One Time Big Time operations conducted by the Bulacan Police the whole day of Tuesday that coincided with the celebration of Bulacan Day.

He said that a total of 67 operations were conducted by the 24 police stations in Bulacan, including the Bulacan Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB) and Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC) in the campaign against hard drugs, loose firearms and implementation of search warrant all over the province. 
 
The suspects were killed when they resisted and fired at arresting police operatives while the more than 100 who yielded without resistance were arrested, Caramat said.
 
The suspects were identified, most of them only by their aliases, as: Alvin who was killed in Balagtas; Pugeng Manyak in Baliwag; Ronnie in Bulacan; Jojo de Belen in Calumpit; Yayot and two of his unidentified cohorts in Guiguinto; Wilfredo Alapide, Jeffrey, Alvin, Victoria dela Cruz and Quintin in the City of Malolos; Jimmy Gongon and Marie Bartolome in Marilao; Allan Almojuela in Norzagaray; Enan and Justine in Obando; Ansiong in Pandi; Wilfredo Pleno and Jerome Crisostomo in Plaridel; Berth in Pulilan; Joseph Gentolia in San Ildefonso; Elias and Leogie Medrno in the City of San Jose del Monte; Christopher Tecson in San Miguel; Macoy, Rommel Victorino and two unidentified in Santa Maria; Jessie Andles and an unidentified one in operations conducted by PPSC; and Bryan Velayo who was killed in an operation conducted by PIB and SWAT.
 
A total of 359 plastic sachets of suspected "shabu" weighing 235.0792 grams; 765 grams of marijuana leaves; two grenades: 33 assorted firearms; and 112 pieces of ammunition were recovered and confiscated in the 50 buy-bust operations, serving of 15 search warrants and two police checkpoint operations, he said.

Caramat said that the Bulacan police have neutralized many drug dealers and offenders but it seems that many are still on the loose and selling their illegal stuff.

He stressed, however, that the Bulacan police will never stop going after them.

“Kung lagi silang gising dahil sa tama ng shabu, lagi ding gising ang ating kapulisan para tugisin sila (If they are always awake due to the effect of shabu, our police also always awake to chase them). It is quite obvious that many of those killed are no longer in their right minds because instead of surrendering like most of those arrested, they are inclined to fight it out with our policemen,” Caramat said.

In the  City of San Jose del Monte, police operatives led by city police chief Supt. Fitz Macariola dismantled a “shabu tiangge” and arrested at least 50 persons caught in the act of buying and sniffing prohibited drugs inside rows of shanties that serve as dope dens in Barangay Bagong Buhay.

Macariola said that one of the suspected drug dealers and owner of the “kubol” (dope den shanty) who was identified only as a certain "Elias” engaged police operatives into a firefight and was killed.

Five other drug dealers identied as Ederlina Garcia, Emmanuel David, Aldrin Aquirre, Van Riener Aporto and Josephine Niepes, all residents of said areas where arrested. The suspected drug dealers also own the so-called “kubols," Macariola added.

At least 50 other drug suspects, mostly clients, were also subsequently arrested.

“We have been monitoring the area after receiving reports that the place is being frequented by many people who are non-residents there. And there they are, still awake at the wee hours of the morning sniffing shabu,” Macariola said.

Police recovered a still undetermined amount of shabu, assorted drug paraphernalia and a handgun from the slain drug dealer.

The arrested suspects will be subjected to drug tests while appropriate charges will be filed against them, Macariola said. (PNA) 

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Hybrid cars to help fight drugs, terrorism in Eastern Visayas

PALO, Leyte-- The Philippine National Police (PNP) is eyeing a more effective drive against illegal drugs and terrorism with the Japanese donation of 45 hybrid patrol cars in Eastern Visayas.

Police Director Jose Ma Victor Ramos, chief of PNP logistics, said the donation from the Japanese government was very timely as it would augment mobility assets of the police regional office here.

“This will be used to serve the people. This will capacitate policemen to win the fight against illegal drugs and terrorism. Government will save a lot with the fuel cost,” Ramos said.

Takuei Nakayama, first secretary of Japan Embassy in Manila said the donation further strengthened diplomatic ties between Philippines and Japan.

“We saw the extent of damage caused by super typhoon 'Yolanda' in this region same as the destruction wrought by tsunami in Japan. These cars will be used not just against criminality, but also during emergency situations,” Takuei said.

“The Japanese government sincerely hopes that these patrol cars will have a great help in the region.” 

The 45 cars comprise the second batch of Toyota hybrid cars donated by Japan to the country. Last February 18, the foreign government distributed 32 units to national government agencies in the National Capital Region and Eastern Visayas.

Still up for distribution are 11 hybrid meant for central offices of government agencies in Manila.

Of the 45 units, 20 are for Leyte police provincial office; eight for Eastern Samar; eight for regional office; three for Tacloban City; two for Ormoc City; and one each for Samar, Biliran, Northern Samar, and the police regional public safety battalion.

Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Benito Ranque said the donation is part of the promotion of hybrid cars to attain sustainable energy consumption.

“The Philippine government has increasingly recognized that technology and innovation are the key components for the socio-economic developments and resiliency,” Ranque said.

PNP Eastern Visayas Regional Director Chief Supt. Elmer Beltejar thanked the DOE for prioritizing the police regional office here. The new vehicles are meant to replace police cars damaged by "Yolanda" in 2013.

“For the entrusted officers, I want all provincial chiefs, city head and directors to be responsible of proper maintenance of this patrol cars,” Beltejar said.

The Japanese government and the energy department provide maintenance fund of PHP200 per year for five years.

The hybrid cars are powered using electricity and fuel.

The Japanese government provided to the Philippine government 500-million-yen (about PHP250 million) grant for the procurement and delivery of the hybrid vehicles under the Japan Non-Project Grant Aid. (with reports by Patricia P. Salvo, Reynadel F. Costillas, OJTs/PNA)

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Bulacan reactivates Avian Influenza Task Force

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan -- Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Monday reactivated the provincial avian influenza task force to mitigate the effects of the bird flu virus detection in nearby San Luis town in Pampanga. 

Alvarado, the task force chairman, said he instructed the Provincial Veterinary Office headed by Dr. Voltaire Basinang and the Bulacan Police Provincial Office headed by Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., to establish 24-hour checkpoints and ensure that transport of fowls like chickens,  ducks, pigeons and quails will not enter Bulacan so that it cannot compromise the bio-security of their poultry industry which as of this time is safe and not affected by the avian flu case that hit San Luis,Pampanga.

Since Saturday, Alvarado said that checkpoints has been put in the towns of San Miguel, San Ildefonso, San Rafael, Baliwag, Pulilan, Calumpit and some exits of the North Luzon Expressway.

The governor also presided an emergency meeting attended by hundreds of  stakeholders of the local poultry industry in Bulacan where Basinang instructed to monitor and immediately report any signs or detection of fowl sickness.

“The task force is ready to deploy teams to monitor poultry farms. We are requesting our stakeholders to religiously clean their farms and follow guidelines issued by the Provincial Veterinary Office, “ Alvarado said.

The governor said that rigid inspection of farms is needed since Bulacan has also become an “airport” of migratory birds that has become common visitors in nearby Candaba swamp in Pampanga.

"We are regulating the industry in support of the actions of the national government and we will be strictly monitoring the movements of the delivery and transport of all poultry products and check their point of origin because at the same time, we do not want the industry to suffer,” Alvarado said.

“It is safe to eat the chicken, duck, eggs, "balot" and penoy that come from Bulacan. Just make sure that those are properly cooked," he said. 

He added that 60 percent of the meat, poultry and vegetable supply of Metro Manila comes from Bulacan.

Alvarado also announced that the task force will request  Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol to consider the plight of poultry raisers and egg producers whose animals are not infected with the avian flu.

He said that the Philippine Duck Raisers and Egg Managers represented by Ike Illescas reported that since Friday, at least 500,000 duck eggs have not been sold, thus, badly affecting  the duck raisers and egg producers even if their poultry products are not infected by the avian influenza disease.

Illescas said that if this continues, it will ruin the local poultry and egg industry.

In a related development,  Malolos City Mayor Christian D. Natividad said that the City Agriculture Office has also set up checkpoints to ensure that no movement of fowls will enter the capital city.

“We have been strict even to other meats and we are regularly monitoring meat products that are entering our markets,” Natividad said.

Natividad said they are also monitoring petshops selling birds like pigeons and love birds as well as game fowls. (PNA)

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International theme park to rise in renaissance Malolos City

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan, Aug. 11 -- With the culture, traditions and flavors of at least six Asian nations as its main highlight, a first of its kind theme park will soon rise in this renaissance city to give quality family entertainment not only to the people of Bulacan but also those from other provinces.

The construction of the Chimera Land Theme Park will start immediately following its ground-breaking ceremony along the Macarthur highway in Barangay Sumapang Matanda here on Friday.

Malolos City Mayor Christian D. Natividad, together with Bulacan First District Rep. Jose Antonio R. Sy-Alvarado and Bulacan tourism officer Dr. Eliseo dela Cruz, who represented Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, joined Chimera Land theme park owner Tess Sta. Ana, her children Carlo, Christian and Teresa in the dropping of the time capsule containing the blue print and plan of the entertainment complex during the ground-breaking ceremony.

Alvarado later told local newsmen that the theme park will not only boost the tourism in Malolos but will also generate jobs for the people of the city and nearby towns.

Sta. Ana echoed the view of the governor, saying their human resource management team is now beginning to hire and screen would-be personnel of the Chimera Land theme park.

She said they will prioritize giving jobs to Bulakenyos because their family comes from the coastal town of Obando.

Mayor Natividad, for his part, said that this business endeavor will help boost the tourism potential of the renaissance city of Malolos because of its rich cultural ties with other countries even before the Spanish colonial period.

“People won’t have to go to South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Thailand. They will just have to visit the Chimera Land theme park when it opens by December this year,” Natividad said.

According to the Sta. Ana siblings --Carlo and Christian—the theme park will have an airplane at its entrance where visitors can board and have photo opportunities before descending on the compound of Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

Visitors will have the opportunity to taste the flavors and the culture of said nations after alighting from the “airplane at our gate which will have its own “flight attendants and pilots," they said.

Sta. Ana added that it will be built to suit the needs of students because of its educational package tour.

She said that Chimera Land theme park will be bridging dreams and reality as it aims to be the first sustainable theme park in the Philippines.

“First it was only our dreams but its now becoming real. Dreams are bound to get real, just believe in the love of God. Just follow your dreams,” Sta. Ana added. (PNA)

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Pampanga placed under state of calamity due to avian flu virus

SAN LUIS, Pampanga, Aug. 11 -- Governor Lilia Pineda on Friday declared the province under a state of calamity over the outbreak of avian flu virus in Barangays San Carlos and Sta. Rita in this town.

Pineda said the move aims to help the affected local government units (LGUs) fund preventive measures for the virus.

In a meeting with Pampanga officials, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol estimated the number of dead fowls at 37,000 out of the 194,000 population in the province as of August 4, this year. 

"It is with sadness and great concern that the Department of Agriculture is confirming the outbreak of Avian influenza in the town of San Luis [Pampanga]. We have already made a series of tests confirming the type of Avian Influenza that hit San Luis town is H5,” said Pinol.

He declared that all fowls in the one-kilometer radius epicenter in San Luis will be culled and buried. Estimated to be affected are around 200,000 birds, chickens, quails, and ducks.

Culling would be done in five farms of layers and four farms of quails in Barangay San Carlos and four farms of ducks in nearby Barangay Sta. Rita for a total of 132, 500 heads, Dr. Arlene Vytiaco, Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) focal person for avian flu control, said.

The culling method, agriculture authorities said, goes like this: the fowls will be placed in container vans and poisoned with carbon dioxide.The birds will then be buried in a single farm.

Piñol said no eggs could be brought out from the areas as 12 quarantine teams are now guarding the exit points of San Luis, all equipped with power sprays to disinfect all vehicles coming out of the said town.

Piñol even ordered a ban on the transport of poultry from Central Luzon to control the outbreak.

Senior Supt. Joel Consulta, Pampanga police director, said nine checkpoints have been established in San Luis town alone.

The secretary, in a meeting with affected livestock owners in the area, agreed to compensate for the birds that would be culled at a rate of about PHP80 per head.

He also called on other LGU executives in other province to implement quarantine measures to prevent the spread of the flu.

There is no reported human transmission of the avian flu virus as of press time. (PNA)

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Bulacan execs foresee looming water crisis, Angat Dam woes

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan, Aug. 6 -- The looming water crisis that is expected to hit Metro Manila due to the dwindling water supply at the Angat Dam reservoir was an “omen” foreseen almost a decade ago by a top executive of the province who has likened the dilemma from the aging rock-filled dam as the proverbial “Sword of Damocles” hanging over the heads of Bulakenyos as well as residents of the National Capital Region.

This cropped up after Second District Rep. Gavini Pancho said that a water crisis is imminent because the water supply at Angat Dam, which supplies 97 percent of the water needs of Metro Manila and nearby environs, is rapidly dwindling.

Pancho said the  recent rains brought  by the southwest monsoons failed to increase the elevation which, he said should be more than the 200 meters mark by this time.

From 189 meters, the water level only surged to 195 meters or 5 meters short of the 200 meters mark.

The solon also said that water concessionaires will now have to partake 10 percent of the already limited allocation of irrigation water intended for farmers in Bulacan and Pampanga.

The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) was reported to be eyeing the building of new dams to address the looming water crisis.

This imminent problem was foreseen almost a decade ago by Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alavardo, who was then the vice governor, when he delivered a privilege speech at the session hall of the Sanguniang Panglalawigan in September 2009.

In his speech, Alvarado said that during that time,  MWSS is pushing for the construction of the  Laiban Dam project as a new source of water for Metro Manila.  

He said that during that time, MWSS issued a statement  stressing that “because of  its (Angat dam) age and the presence of the West Valley Fault in the vicinity of  the dam, make our water source at risk. A new water source therefore will help mitigate the loss of water supply from the other source in case of major disasters and natural calamities.”

Alvarado added that MWSS also gave the following reasons why the Laiban  Dam project should push through: 1) Angat dam is old, 41 years old (2009) and its lifespan is only 30 years; 2) the reservoir is heavily silted, an indication of rampant illegal logging, quarrying and mining near and within its watershed area; 3) the Marikina or West Valley fault line runs through the main dikes of Angat Dam according to Dr. Kaare Hoeg of the Norwegian Technical Institute and 5) presence of crack inside the dam penstock.

These revelations, Alvarado said, showed  a more “clear and present danger.”

The MWSS, he said, insisted that the solution is the Laiban Dam project, which eventually “crashed” after the the administration of then President Cory Aquino shelved the project in December 1989 to give priority to the more practical projects like the Angat Water Supply Optimizing Project (AWSOP)and the Umiray-Angat Transbasin Project, which the MWSS Board of Trustees approved under Kapasyahan Bilang 195-89.

In his speech, then Vice Gov. Alvarado called the attention of the provincial board and said that the Laiban Dam project is not the solution.

Instead, he said that saving Angat dam should be given the utmost priority,  

He also called on the members of the 2009 Provincial Board to act and make a stand to protect the interest of the people and the resources of the province of Bulacan.  

The then Vice Governor also told them that “given its present state, Angat Dam is “an accident waiting to happen.”

Alvarado said that what happened then is now happening again.  

He said that building new dams is not the answer but the rehabilitation and strengthening of the 49 years old Angat Dam.  

He said that the new operator of the dam, the Angat Hydro Corporation, is now undertaking the repair and rehabilitation of the aging dam.

However, Alvarado added that some sectors are asking him if the on-going strengthening of the Angat Dam can withstand a magnitude 7.2 earthquake or the so called “Big One”.  

During that time when the first signs of the dwindling water source was revealed, the proponents of building new water sources must have overlooked the devastation should the dam breaks.  

The horror of it is unimaginable. The dam is located in the most steepest slope of the mountain. Once it breaks, big boulders, illegally cut logs and debris will be cascading down like bullets and will wipe out everything on its path towards Manila Bay,” he said.  

The governor stressed that strengthening the aging Angat Dam is good, but only prayers and the love and mercy of God can prevent this horrible disaster from happening. (Emil G. Gamos/PNA)  

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23 juvenile law offenders bolt Bahay Tanglaw Pag-asa in Bulacan

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan, Aug. 1 -- At least 23 “children in conflict with the law “ (CICL) escaped from the Bahay Tanglaw Pag-asa in Barangay Guinhawa here Monday night.

Initial reports, however, said seven of the “juvenile inmates” have been arrested and are now back at the Bahay Tanglaw Pagasa.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Tuesday said that parents of the 16 other CICL talked to him and promised that they will surrender them back in the soonest possible time.

Alvarado said the juvenile reformation and correctional facility is undergoing renovation.

He said the CICL escaped through a gap in the comfort room where renovation is going on.

A police team from the Provincial Pulic Safety Company of the Bulacan PNP chased and managed to arrest seven of them.

Bulacan provincial jail warden Retired Police Colonel Fernando Villanueva is now investigating the incident.

The Bahay Tanglaw Pag-asa is under the supervision of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office.

At present, there are at least less than one hundred CICL detained there who have cases ranging from rape, robbery and violations of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

Their ages range from 13 to 26. (Emil G. Gamos/PNA)

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CL outstanding police community relations personnel, units cited

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, July 31-- The Police Regional Office 3 (PRO3) on Monday recognized police community relations (PCR) commissioned and non-commissioned personnel as well as the units that supported and contributed to various PCR activities in Central Luzon.

The event is part of the culmination of the month-long celebration of the 22nd Police Community Relations with this year’s theme “Police and Community: Sharing Responsibility, Taking Action in Unity."

Rodolfo G. Santos Jr., National Police Commission 3 (Napolcom 3) director, led the presentation of awards held at the PRO3 Parade Ground here.

The individual awardees were Police Supt. Bayani Razalan, chief of police, Tarlac City; Police Supt. Avelina de Guzman, Olongapo City Police Office; Police Chief Inspector Jovy P. Arceo, chief of police, Bamban Municipal Police Station; SPO1 Lorikyn Cuarton, Dinalungan Municipal Police Station; PO2 Carol Capinpin, Tarlac City Police Station; and PO1 Juan Carlos C. Ventura, Olongapo City Police Office

The unit awards went to Aurora Police Provincial Office; Olongapo City Police Office and Tarlac City Police Station.

Various activities were lined up for the month-long celebration that highlighted the importance of a solid partnership between the police and the community in the effective maintenance of peace and order and community development in the region.(Froilan E. Magtoto/PNA)

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Bulacan governor wants regular update on Angat dam repair

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan, July 30 -- Regular earthquake drills are good but authorities should also consider a more devastating danger should the so-called “Big One” happens, a top provincial executive said on Sunday.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that while he does not want to picture a grim scenario, authorities should not overlook the massive devastation that could happen if a magnitude 7.2 earthquake or the so called “Big One” jolts the West Valley fault line that could break the aging Angat dam, which according to experts is nestling within the fault line and is located in one of the most steepest mountain slopes in the world.

The governor also asked dam engineers to give regular updates on the on-going repair and strengthening of Angat dam.

Alvarado recalled that when he was still the vice governor, he delivered a privilege speech at the Sangguniang Panglalawigan where he emphasized the statement of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) on July 16, 2009 regarding the agency justification for the construction and operation of Laiban dam project.

He said: "The Angat main dike axis is right on the recently confirmed Marikina Valley System fault. The main dike straddles in the fault which stretches from Taal lake area to Angat river. The dike has one of the steepest slopes in the world. Seepage has been observed right after its construction. The design criteria for the dam, particularly for seismicity, may not be sufficient considering the latest requirements for design codes and regulations."

During that time, Alvarado has already revealed that aging Angat dam is like the proverbial "sword of Damocles" hanging over the heads of Bulakenyos.

Aside from studies, Alvarado said that Angat dam is already 49 years old and the lifespan of the dam is 50 years old.

He said that the new operator of Angat dam, the Angat Hydro Corporation, has begun its repair and strengthening last year.

However, the governor said that some sectors are asking him for updates on the rehabilitation and strengthening of the dam.

Most of them, he said, are asking if the ongoing repair is suited to withstand a magnitude 7.2 earthquake.

"Many of them are anxious and believe that the destruction that a dam break would cause is highly unimaginable. Once it breaks, voluminous amount of water will come down cascading like bullets carrying with them huge boulders, cut logs and other debris to the lowlands that will eventually ends up in Manila Bay," the governor said.

He said that concerned authorities have already estimated that at least 38,000 would die at the National Capital Region once the “Big One” stikes. But they have not consider the effects and aftermath of a dam break.

"Millions will die instantly, most of which will be washed and wiped-out. Aside from this, the aftermath will bring more deadly consequences since the Angat dam supplies 97 percent of the potable water needs of Metro Manila. Survivors will surely die from thirst," Alvarado said.

He said that preparations and readiness are being undertaken by the government but the devastation in case the dam break should also be considered.

He also added that drills are doable but only the mercy and love of God can prevent such dreadful calamities from happening.

He said the province of Bulacan is regularly holding a “Day of Prayer” to save the land and the entire country from calamities and evil forces that want to destroy it. (Emil G. Gamos/PNA)

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Bulacan Rep. Sy-Alvarado assesses effects of typhoon 'Gorio'

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan, July 29 -- First District Rep. Jose Antonio R. Sy-Alvarado has personally assessed the effects of typhoon “Gorio” in the first congressional district of the province.

The young solon went to the Communication Command and Control Center (C4 Room) of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) here where he was briefed by Bulacan PDRRM Officer Liz Mungcal on the flooded villages in the coastal towns of Hagonoy and Calumpit, the perennial catch basin of floods during stormy weather.

Some 15 barangays in these coastal towns were submerged in floodwaters due to heavy rains and high tide.

Mungcal said that in Hagonoy town, the villages of San Jose, Sta. Monica, Sto. Rosario, Sagrada, San Pascual, San Nicolas and Sto. Nino were flooded by heavy rains that was aggravated by high tide.

Eight villages in nearby Calumpit town namely Sapang Palay, Gatbuca, Frances, San Miguel, Catmon, Bulusan, Sta. Lucia and Gugo were also submerged under flood waters due to heavy rains and high tide.

Mungcal also told Sy-Alvarado that no one has been evacuated in his district because the rivers can still hold the volume of waters brought by the typhoon and that the province of Nueva Ecija did not expect much rainfall.

Meanwhile, the congressman said the government should plan a long term solution to address the flooding and mitigate the effects of global warming and climate change which, he said is now affecting the coastal areas of Bulacan and adjacent provinces within Manila Bay.

Sy-Alvarado, who is spearheading a massive clean-up of rivers and waterways in his district, said dikes should be constructed in the coastal villages of Hagonoy.

“Some villages in our coastal areas are virtually sinking due to high tides and for being the catch basin of backfloods during stormy weather. This is the effect of global warming and climate change that we should face and address,” he said. (Emil G. Gamos/PNA)   

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Classes suspended in most areas in Central Luzon

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, July 28-- Classes in most parts of Central Luzon were suspended on Friday due to continuous moderate to heavy rains brought by southwest monsoon that is being enhanced by severe tropical storm Gorio.

In the provinces of Zambales, Bataan and Pampanga, classes in all levels, both in public and private were suspended.

In two highly-urbanized cities in the region, namely Olongapo and Angeles, classes in all levels in public and private were also suspended.

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

In Bulacan, classes in all levels both in public and private schools were suspended in the cities of Malolos, Meycauayan and San Jose Del Monte and the municipalities of Baliwag, Guiguinto, Marilao, Obando, Hagonoy, Paombong, Calumpit, Sta Maria, Pulilan, San Ildefonso, Bustos, Plaridel, Norzagaray, Bocaue, San Rafael, San Miguel, Balagtas, Pandi, Bulakan, Angat and Dona Remedios Trinidad.

In Tarlac, classes in all levels in public and private schools were suspended in the towns of Concepcion, Gerona, La Paz, Paniqui, and Capas.

Classes from elementary to senior high school levels in public and private scools were also suspended in Tarlac City.

Meanwhile, pre-school to elementary levels in public and private schools were suspended in Mayantoc town.

In Nueva Ecija, all levels in both private and public schools were suspended in Talavera town while pre-elementary to senior high school levels were suspended in Zaragoza town.

In Cabanatuan City, pre-school to elementary levels in both public and private schools were suspended.

Based on the regional weather forecast issued by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) as of 6 a.m., the provinces of Bataan, Zambales, Pampanga and Bulacan will experience monsoon rains with moderate to strong winds from southwest until 6 p.m.

The provinces of Nueva Ecija and Tarlac, on the other hand, will have cloudy skies with light to moderate rains until 6 p.m. (Zorayda S. Tecson/PNA)

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TS Gorio: Flood submerges villages in Bulacan

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan, July 27 -- Heavy rains spawned by tropical storm (TS) “Gorio” on Thursday submerged some villages in Marilao town, this province.

Reports reaching the Communication, Command, and Control Center (C4) of Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said that Barangay Poblacion 1 was submerged under 5 to 8 feet of flood waters while the villages of Poblacion 2, Tabing Ilog and Nagbalon were under 1 to 2 feet of water.

The stretch of MacArthur Highway in front of SM City Mall in Barangay Saog, also in Marilao, was also inundated by 4 to 5 feet of floods, rendering it impassable for light vehicles.

No untoward incident was reported as of 2 p.m. Thursday.

PDRRM officer Liz Mungcal said Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado has already alerted teams of responders to monitor the situation and give updates on the tropical storm.

Mungcal said the governor advised residents in flood-prone areas to be careful and report to authorities immediately.

As of 3 p.m. , the water level at Angat dam was 185.92 meters (spilling level 210 meters, 101.10 meters at Ipo Dam (spilling level 101 meters) and 16.16 meters at Bustos dam (spilling level 17. 50 meters). (Emil G. Gamos/PNA)

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Thousands join Bulacan's 7th Day of Prayer

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan, July 26 -- National government officials led by Presidential Spokesman Ernesto C. Abella, Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana joined some provincial and religious leaders and thousands of Bulakenyos in a collective prayer during the “Bulacan Day of Prayer-Peace for the Philippines” at the Bulacan Capitol Gym here Wednesday afternoon.

The prayer rally was highlighted by the ceremonial turnover of donations for Marawi City where Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando handed a check of PHP4 million for Marawi City and 4,000 boxes of foodstuff for the evacuees to the three Cabinet secretaries.

Abella said that the future of the Philippines lies in the shoulders of the people of God.

He also agreed with Alvarado that the power of prayer is so strong and can make wonders and miracles.

He also asked the participants in the prayer rally to pray for President Duterte.

“I look for a man that will stand within the gap. This is the present role of President Rodrigo Duterte. Can you imagine what might have happened if he (Duterte) did not make a stand against the dope menace, terrorism and other vital concerns of the country. Let us thank God for giving us a strong but dedicated leader.Let us all pray for our President and for peace and the future of our country,” Abella said.

Aguirre, for his part, said that the day of prayer is very timely because prayer can heal the land.

“All these things—drugs, terror, injustice—must end,” the Justice secretary said.

Lorenzana, on the other hand, said that holding a day of prayer for peace for the Philippines should be replicated all over the country.

“This is really a big help to our country. Instead of criticizing our President, it is better to pray than criticize," Lorenzana said.

Alvarado thanked the three Cabinet secretaries for participating in the day of prayer which has become an annual event in the province.

He said that in times of disasters and when evil forces attempt to destroy a peaceful land, faith and prayers can be a big help.

The governor said that it is a common practice for capitol employees, particularly at the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, to stop for a moment and offer prayers to God.

He also said that in every gateway of the province, giant billboards were put up to remind Bulakenyos on the love and mercy of God as inscribed in 2 Chronicles 7:14 – “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Vice Governor Fernando, for his part, said that prayers are potent savers and that he is encouraging his provincemates to make it a daily habit to pray for peace and love and for the country to be free from crimes and calamities. (Emil G. Gamos/PNA)

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9 drug suspects arrested in Pampanga

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, July 26 -- Nine drug personalities were arrested as a result of the anti-drug operations conducted by police authorities in this province.

Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino, Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3) director, identified the four drug suspects nabbed early Wednesday morning as Nelson Tolentino, Noel Ramos, Francis Pangan, and Melvie Ann Abrugar, all residents of Mawaque Resettlement Center, Barangay Sapang Biabas, Mabalacat City.

Aquino said that confiscated from the suspects' possession were 13 heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets containing suspected shabu, drugs paraphernalia and the marked money.

Meanwhile, joint operatives of Pampanga Provincial Intelligence Branch and Pampanga Provincial Public Safety Company arrested three suspects in a buy-bust operation in Barangay Del Pilar, City of San Fernando.

Those were identified as Ferdinand Silerio, Bonifacio Galang, and Jimmy Pineda, all street level targets of City of San Fernando, Pampanga.

Seized from the three suspects were seven heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets containing suspected shabu, one cellular phone, one magazine loaded with six ammunition for caliber .380, six aluminum foil strips containing suspected shabu residue and the marked money.

Aquino also said that another suspect was arrested by operatives of City of San Fernando Police Station during a buy-bust operation in Purok 4, Barangay San Jose, who was identified as Roger Manlulu.

Seized from his possession were 32 heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets containing suspected shabu and the marked money.

Meanwhile, operatives of the Mexico Municipal Police Station arrested George Hidalgo following a search warrant by Judge Celso O. Baguio of RTC Gapan City, Nueva Ecija for violation of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act).

Confiscated from Hidalgo's house in Barangay Pandacaque, Mexico were 11 heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets containing suspected shabu, one open plastic sachet containing suspected shabu residue, weighing scale, improvised tooter and lighter.

The PRO-3 director commended the operating troops.

He said the PRO-3 will continue its unwavering efforts to eradicate hard drugs within the region as “Double Barrel Reloaded” is being widely implemented in the country. (Froilan E. Magtoto/PNA)

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Bulacan to hold day of prayer for peace and order in Marawi City

CITY OF MALOLOS, Pampanga, July 25 -- Bulakenyos, to be led by Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Gov. Daniel R. Fernando, together with some religious groups, will hold a day of prayer on Wednesday for peace and order in the country, especially in Marawi City.

Governor Alvarado said there is nothing more powerful than a unified nation in prayer and with God’s intervention, every vision could be turned into reality.

"All our efforts will go senseless if we do not ask God. Whatever religion we belong, we have only one God that listens to our prayers," the governor said.

The ecumenical prayer to be held at the Bulacan Capitol Gymnasium will be led by different religious groups such as Catholic, Aglipayan Church, Methodist/Protestant, Bulacan Muslim Affairs Consultative Council (BMACC), Iglesia Ni Cristo and other Christian groups while the harmony prayer will be led by the Four Pillars of Bulacan which is composed of Interfaith, Alliance for Values Formation in Bulacan, Baptist and Cadence.

The event will also be highlighted with the singing of "Lord, Heal our Land," which is the theme song of the Day of Prayer.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto C. Abella is expected to grace the event, together with other cabinet members, including Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, Department of Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II, Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo, Department of Health Secretary Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial and Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez.

Likewise, Land Registration Authority Administrator Judge Renato D. Bermejo, Nayong Pilipino Foundation Board of Directors member Patricia Yvette M. Ocampo and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Andrea D. Domingo will be present in the event.

Aside from members of the religious groups, local officials and government employees, teachers, students and different sectors will also attend the prayer gathering. (Emil G. Gamos/PNA)

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Bulakenyos awed by 'straight from the heart' SONA

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan, July 25 -- Residents of this historic capital, the birthplace of Philippine democracy and freedom, were awed by the straightforward and “straight from the heart” second State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte during the joint session of Congress at the Batasang Pambansa hall Monday afternoon

Engineer Alejandro Joson Jr., a former village chief of Barangay Tikay here, said that the President has brought his message clearly and with a touch of patriotism because it came “straight from the heart.”

Ernesto A. Alcanzare, the lead organizer of the "Yes for Peace –Bayanihan ng Bayan", in a statement said, “We welcome President Duterte's decision to call off talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF)", and his declaration that "for a (unified)nation,we are pursuing an inclusive peace process, promoting the participation of all stakeholders, including those conflict-affected areas."

Journalist Orlan L. Mauricio, editor-in-chief of MetroNews-Bulacan, said that the President’s sincerity to rid the bureaucracy of scumbags and graft practices should start from dubious agencies in government causing hardship to marginalized sectors of society.

Mauricio said he had been receiving reactions from farmers and different organizations condemning the rampant smuggling of agricultural products that has been hurting the local industry for a long time.

He said that back in 2007-2008, onion local farmers have already been deploring the alleged “unholy alliance” between smugglers and some personnel of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), the agency that is issuing importation permits.

He said that  the agricultural sector has been clamoring for the replacement of BPI officials, particularly those in the importation permit section, by young and incorruptible personnel.

He said that people believes that the president is dead serious in cleansing government units which have been known as “corruption prone". (Emil G. Gamos/PNA)

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3 foreigners nabbed for ATM skimming in Pampanga

CAMP OLIVAS,Pampanga, July 25-- Three foreign nationals were arrested Monday night by authorities for automated teller machine (ATM) skimming in a bank in the City of San Fernando, this province.

Chief Superintendent Aaron Aquino, Central Luzon police regional director, identified the arrested as Nicaraguan Radu Minodor Sandor, 43; Italian Marcu Bogdan, 26; and Romanian Petro Joan Uvegas, 44.

Aquino said that although Uvegas is an Romanian, he is holding a Hungarian passport bearing the name  Balazs Varga. He is also married to a Filipino named Michelle Trajano with whom he has two sons.

Meanwhile, Supt Roland Agohob, police chief of the City of San Fernando, said they received a tip  regarding suspicious  three Caucasian-looking persons at the BPI Family Savings Bank along MacArthur Highway in Barangay San Agustin, City of San Fernando.

Agohob said the three suspects were caught in the act  of withdrawing money from the same bank about 10:30 p.m. Monday by the men of the City of San Fernando Police.

Seized from the three suspects were skimming device, assorted ATM cloning cards, cash money amounting to PHP339,362.00 and a Toyota Wigo color white car with conduction sticker VQ 8261.

Agohob also said the suspects are under now under the custody of the City of San Fernando Police Office.

"We are coordinating with the Bureau of Immigration on the status of the suspects as they might be involved in an international syndicate engaged in ATM card fraud," he said.

"In the meantime, they will be charged with violation of RA 8484 or Access Devise Regulation Act and violation of Section of 8792 or E- Commerce Law, " Agohob added. (Froilan E. Magtoto/PNA)

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Govt's all-out war on hard drugs proves effective approach vs crimes in Central Luzon

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, July 21 -- Residents in Central Luzon are convinced that the government's war against hard drugs was an effective tool in improving the peace and order situation in the region.

Amid some criticisms on the alleged extra-judicial killings and human rights violation, majority of the people in this region believe that criminality declined due to the government's relentless efforts against hard drugs.

Norman Francisco, an overseas Filipino worker, said he and his family now feel more safe as a result of the all-out campaign against hard drugs.

Francisco said they can now safely walk along the streets in Nueva Ecija even during the wee hours since the Philippine National Police (PNP) launched Oplan Tokhang and Oplan Double Barrel a year ago.

"We feel more safe now. The selling of 'shabu' and those using drugs in some places here used to be rampant. But now, they were gone. I will no longer have to worry about the safety of my family when I am away," Francisco, who is on a two-week vacation from his work in Dubai, UAE, said.

Likewise, call center agent Jenny dela Cruz said that it is less dangerous now in their place in Bulacan due to the anti-drug campaign of the government.

"There are still crimes committed by those high on drugs, like the recent massacre of five family members. But I think, in general, the situation in our province changed as the authorities are doing all-out efforts to get rid hard drugs, " dela Cruz said.

Guiguinto Mayor Ambrosio “Boy” Cruz, president of the League of Municipalities-Bulacan Chapter, agreed that the no-nonsense crusade of President Duterte against the proliferation of hard 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.

Jeepney driver Roger David from Mexico, Pampanga said the discovery of the shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) floating laboratory in Subic, Zambales, mega shabu laboratory in Arayat and other shabu laboratories in Magalang and Angeles City, all in this province, showed the seriousness of the Duterte administration in its war against drugs.

"I saw the iron fist approach in fighting drugs effective. Gone were the days where shabu can be bought easily. I hope the authorities will not stop in its campaign until we become drug-free," said David, who admitted he tried hard drugs before.

These testimonies were substantiated by the report from the Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3) which showed that the crime incidents in Central Luzon have declined since the implementation of Project Double Barrel Reloaded last March 1.

Based on the PRO-3 figures, there are 12,946 crime incidents recorded in the region from March to May this year, lower compared to 13,591 in the same period last year.

Likewise, the PRO-3 conducted some 2,483 drug operations during the implementation of the Project Double Barrel Reloaded from March 1 to June 30, this year that resulted in the arrest of 3,818 drug personalities.

With this, the PRO-3 came out no. 1 among all the regions in terms of anti-drug operations based on the Philippine National Police (PNP) national performance evaluation.

In its Project Double Barrel Reloaded accomplishments from March 1 to June 30, 2017, there are also some 6,940 drug personalities that surrendered in the region wherein 6,535 are users and 405 are pushers.

Police Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino, PRO-3 regional director, said there are more than 130,000 drug personalities who surrendered voluntarily in Central Luzon since President Duterte ordered an all-out war against hard drugs, prompting them to put up Bahay Pagbabago (Reformation Center) in every municipality in the region.

Bahay Pagbabago completely changed the lives of the hard drug victims as attested to by the family of a 24-year-old drug reformist.

Noel, not his real name, entered into one of the drug reformation centers in Tarlac for six months where he and other drug surrenderers underwent intensive physical, mental, social, moral and spiritual conditioning for their holistic personal development.

He said the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) also provided them free vocational-technical trainings that helped him to start a new life.

"We are very thankful to the government, police and local officials who helped in the reformation of my son. Genuine change indeed came because of President Duterte," Noel's mother said.

For Chief Supt. Aquino, the entire PRO-3 will continuously conduct pro-active operations to wipe out all forms of hard drugs in order to achieve its quest for a drug-free Central Luzon. (Zorayda S. Tecson/PNA) #DuterteSONA2017

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Duterte's Marawi visit draws admiration, support from Central Luzon residents

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, July 21 -- President Rodrigo Duterte's visit to Marawi City drew admiration and support from some residents in Central Luzon, who said that the Chief Executive's gesture showed his genuine concern to the military, police and to the people affected by the conflict.

Professor Nelson Dumlao said the President demonstrated his strong and committed desire to know personally the situation of the soldiers and policemen who are in the front line of the war against the Maute terror group.

"President Duterte is someone who is very courageous and for whom I have much respect and admiration. His act definitely boosted the morale of the soldiers and policemen who are fighting terrorism," Dumlao said.

Engineer Reynaldo dela Torre likewise lauded the strong will of the President, who he described as fearless and ready to die for the country and the Filipino people.

"As a commander-in-chief, he risked his life just to be with his men in the middle of conflict. This is the first time that I have seen a President who demonstrated his deep concern to the brave soldiers," dela Torre said.

Mary Anne Santiago, a second year communication arts student at the Wesleyan University in Nueva Ecija, said the Filipinos are blessed to have President Duterte who is a good leader of this country.

"We are blessed to have him as our President. He is truly our commander in chief . His message to the soldiers and policemen in the war-torn Marawi touched the lives of many Filipinos," Santiago said.

For Ayezza Batara, a native of Lanao Del Norte, who, together with her family decided to stay and do business in Tarlac City, said she is hoping that the war in Marawi will end soon.

"We live peacefully here in Tarlac together with the Christians. We are in support with the government and we hate terrorism. It is contrary to the teachings of Islam," she added. (Zorayda S. Tecson/PNA)

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Programs up to boost growth, development in Central Luzon

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan, July 21 -- Top provincial executives in Central Luzon are preparing the “blue prints” for a booming region that will make it the next “metropolis of growth” in the Asia-Pacific region.  

This was bared during the third meeting of the Central Luzon Growth Corridor Foundation Inc., (CLGCFI), an organization composed of all the governors in the seven provinces in Central Luzon, investment promotion officers and provincial officials of the Department of Trade and Industry, held at the Barcie International Center of the La Consolacion University of the Philippines in Barangay Catmon here Thursday afternoon.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, vice president of the CLGCFI, welcomed the different representatives headed by CLGCFI president Tarlac Gov. Susan Yap.  

In his brief message, Alvarado cited the strategic location of Central Luzon as the next  most convenient international hub of growth and development because the region is blessed with seas, mountains and territories ideal for big investments.  

“Kung ang Pilipinas ay kilala bilang Perlas ng Silangan, ang Gitnang Luzon naman ay maituturing na Hiyas ng Pilipinas (If the Philippines is known as the Pearl of the East, Central Luzon can be considered as Jewel of the Philippines)," he said.  

Alvarado, a former chairman of the Regional Development Council in Region 3, said that the region is now oozing with big opportunities that could bring back its old glory prior to the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo.  

“When it rains gold, bring out the bucket not the thimble,” Alvarado said quoting an English poem.

CLGCFI president Yap, said that as part of their goal to bring Central Luzon outside and into the realm of bustling metropolis, their group has earlier launched a slogan making contest that will be the “battle cry” of their movement to spur more growth and development in Central Luzon in the field of investments, cultural and historical heritage and tourism.  

Among the entries were “G.A.I.N Central Luzon” (Aurora); “Central Luzon Beyond the Usual (Bataan); “Clark…Subic…Central Luzon , Your Top Investment Destination Choice !” (Zambales); Central Luzon: “Experience the BEST in the Heart of Luzon” (Tarlac); “Explore it, Find It, Love It” (Nueva Ecija); “Central Luzon: Logical Solution for Business Location”  (Bulacan); and “the Region’s Investnebt Center” (Pampanga).  

After studying the entries, Yap announced that the winning slogan is the entry of Tarlac because of its acronym BEST ( Business friendly, Environment Friendly, Strategic location and Tourism) that aptly describe the region.  

Aside from the slogan, Yap said the CLGCFI will also have its own promotional logo.  

“With unity, cooperation and oneness, we will make Central Luzon great again and we will keep on charging forward,” she added. (Emil G. Gamos/PNA)

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Drug dealer killed, 21 nabbed in Bulacan police anti-drug sting

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, July 21 -- A drug dealer, who also was reportedly involved in a series of carnapping and robbery incidents, was killed while 21 others were arrested in a series of anti-drug operations in different parts of the province.

Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., on Friday identified the slain suspect as Antonio Estrella Jr. alias “Tol”, 39, and a resident of No. 203 Barangay Malumot, Paombong, this province.

Caramat said that according to a report sent by Supt. Heryl Bruno, Chief of Malolos City Police Station (CPS), an armed encounter ensued when Estrella sensed the ongoing police operations and fired towards the police operatives, leaving them with no choice but to retaliate which resulted in the suspect’s death while his cohort managed to escape on board a blue motorcycle, without serial number.

Police recovered one caliber .38 revolver without serial number loaded with four fired cartridge cases; two 9mm fired cartridge cases; 15 pieces heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets of suspected “shabu”; five pieces of cut/opened plastic sachets with suspected “shabu” residue; PHP100 used as buy-bust money and assorted drug paraphernalias.

Caramat also announced the arrest of 21 other drug suspects in different buy-bust operations conducted in San Jose del Monte City, San Miguel, Bustos, Pandi and San Ildefonso where 34 plastic sachets of suspected “shabu”, buy-bust money and drug paraphernalia were recovered.

The arrested suspects were identified as Santy Buque, Saudi Buque, Dario Gallardo, Frederick Nocete, Andrew Queteres, Jane Castañeda, Raymond Misula, Ronnielyn De Mesa, Edwin Canlas, JR Sumido;

Rolando Tiocson, Roberto Somino, Daisy Agustin, Jaime Canlas, Medel Bernard, Samuel Angeles, Editha Sto Domingo alias “Doña Edith/Dita; Ramil Jimenez alias “Iko; Leslie Abaño alias Panoy; Mariposa Domingo (surrendered in Oplan Tokhang) and Christian Vicmudo.

Appropriate criminal complaints against the arrested suspects are now being filed before the City/Provincial Prosecutors Office of Bulacan. (Emil G. Gamos/PNA)

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Bulacan was generally peaceful amid transport strike

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan, July 17 (PNA) -- Bulacan was generally peaceful in light of the "transport caravan " waged on Monday, July 17, by militant group “Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operator Nationwide” (PISTON).

Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr. said that despite the transport strike, there were no reported harassment nor violence so far.

To ensure the safety of students and avoid inconvenience that might be caused by the nationwide transport strike, local officials in several towns and cities in this province suspended classes in all levels.

A report from the Provincial Public Affairs Office of the provincial government of Bulacan showed that local executives in the cities of Malolos, San Jose del Monte and in the towns of Sta. Maria, Marilao, Baliwag and San Miguel have suspended classes in all levels in both in private and public schools.

The transport caravan is in protest against the the implementation of the Public Utility Vehicles Modernization Act, where a provision includes the phasing out of jeepneys which are more than 15 years old.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said that they understand the grievances of the drivers but they are also considering the general welfare of the public.

The LTFRB also said that they have a program that will subsidize affected drivers to procure new public utility jeepneys. (Emil G. Gamos/ PNA)     

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DNA results pin down prime suspect in Bulacan massacre

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, July 14 -- The DNA of one of the suspects in the gruesome killings of a family in Barangay Sto. Cristo here matched with the body swabs taken from one of the victims, the Bulacan Police Provincial Office (BPPO) announced on Friday afternoon.

In a press conference, Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr. considered the case closed as the results of DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) testing on the submitted vaginal and buccal swabs including hair strands, fingernails were finally released by the Bulacan PNP Crime Laboratory on Friday morning.

Caramat said based on the report of Crime Laboratory Office, it is only Carmelino Ibanez alias “Miling” who was found positive on the DNA tests and the four persons of interest (POIs) tested negative.

Caramat was referring to the gruesome killing of Carlos family: Auring Dizon, Estrella Dizon-Carlos, Donni, 11, Ella, 7, and Dexter Jr., 1 year-old, who were found with multiple stab wounds by security guard and patriarch Dexter Carlos Sr. on June 27.

Ibanez’ DNA was found on the vaginal swabs taken from the body of Estrella based on the forensic examinations, he said. Proof that he raped the victim, the police said.

The police director added that the results is a welcome development on the five counts of murder and two counts of rape cases filed against Ibanez by the City of San Jose Del Monte police office headed by Supt. Fitz Macariola before the City Prosecutor's Office.

“If you remember, Ibanez or 'Miling' admitted his participation in the gruesome killing of Carlos family on June 28, 2017 in the presence of his immediate family inside their house which resulted to his eventual arrest. Likewise, he reiterated his admission regarding his participation on the crime during exclusive interviews with different news networks and mentioned alias “Inggo” (Rolando Pacinos) and alias “Tony” (Anthony Garcia) as his cohorts in perpetrating said crime,” Caramat said.

He also said that the two (Pacinos and Garcia) were considered as “persons of interest” (POIs).

The two other POIs: Roosevelt Serema alias “Ponga” and Alvin Mabesa were mentioned by confidential informants.

Pacinos, Serema and Garcia were found dead, one after the other recently.

Caramat said that at the very onset of the case, their investigation has been on the right direction, pointing that Ibanez is the prime suspect.

“Though Ibanez recanted his previous admission on his participation on the crime, the DNA results will definitely pin him down on this multiple murder case,” Caramat said.

Macariola said that based on the results of forensic examinations,the PNP Crime Laboratory discovered that there were two knives used in the grizzly crime.

Macariola said that one knife was used in stabbing Auring, Estrella, Ella and baby Dexter.

He said the forensic team headed by Chief Inspector Raul Ed DC Gatuz and Bulacan Medico Legal Chief Inspector Editha Martinez confirmed that another weapon, a different knife, was used in stabbing 11-year- old Donny, who sustained 14 stab wounds.

“Unfortunately, we have not recovered the other knife. But this means that there were more than one perpetrator in the crime,” Macariola said.

“We can safely say that this case is closed but we can open it anytime when evidence crops up," he added.

Macariola said that the San Jose del Monte City police station will forward the results of the DNA tests and forensic investigation of the PNP Crime Laboratory to the City Prosecutors Office who will then file the case to the Bulacan Regional Court.(Emil G. Gamos/PNA)       

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Bulacan guv: Blood donors are modern day heroes

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan, July 13 --Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Thursday lauded blood donors for their generosity to save lives.

During the National Blood Donor’s Month Celebration held at the Bulacan Capitol Gymnasium in this city, on Thursday morning, Alvarado likened the blood donors to modern-day heroes as he encouraged every municipality in the province to support this drive.

The governor said the provincial government has launched an intense campaign for voluntary blood donation as the province currently needs 2,000 bags of blood per month, higher than 50 bags of blood per month needed several years ago.

Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando, who is also at the forefront of blood letting activities in the province, said blood donors are “lifeline arrows” that help  save lives in life and death situation.

"We should always have supply of blood to help save our provincemates from danger in times of needs," Fernando said.

Dr. Andres Bonifacio, OIC-Head of Philippine Blood Center, who represented Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Dr. Gerardo V. Bayugo, as the keynote speaker, emphasized the important role of blood donors and urged others to do the same. 

“As we gather here today, we celebrate life and honor all the blood donors for their contributions to the community. You are all the unsung heroes of the generation today, may you continue saving lives. Heroism is not about dying, it is about saving lives,” Bonifacio said.

There were 31 bronze galloner awardees and 166 blood galloner awardees that were given plaques of recognition.

Also, five local government units were given certificates of recognition namely the municipalities of Plaridel, Marilao and Santa Maria, city government of San Jose Del Monte, and Barangay Pulong Buhangin, Santa Maria.

There are also four blood partners who likewise received certificates of recognition. These are Bulacan State University, Ang Dating Daan, Fisher Farm Inc. and Damayang Filipino.

"It is a nice feeling that you been able to help those in need even in a little way. As the saying goes, it is better to give than to receive. At 60, I am thankful because I am healthy and can still donate blood. Thus, as a thanksgiving to God, I will help those in need, " said Henedina David from City of San Jose Del Monte, one of the bronze blood galloner awardees.

Dr. Julie Reyes, OIC-Assistant Regional Director of DOH, who represented Regional Director Leonita P. Gorgolon, shared good news that soon, a Regional Blood Center will rise in Barangay Maimpis, City of San Fernando, Pampanga.(Emil G. Gamos/PNA)

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All Malolos village officials, watchmen to undergo drug test

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan , July 13 -- Mayor Christian C. Natividad on Thursday ordered all barangay captains, councilmen, including all barangay tanod (watchmen) to undergo drug test and submit the result immediately.

Natividad, a lawyer and son of the late rep. Teodulo Natividad who authored the creation of the Dangerous Drugs Board four decades ago, was fuming mad after city police operatives on Tuesday killed four members of a drug-robbery syndicate and arrested a barangay tanod whose lair was less than a kilometer away from the city hall here.

"Our policemen are almost not sleeping and there are some of them who got injured and yet there is a barangay tanod who was supposed to be our partner against drugs that was arrested," Natividad told local newsmen.

Police identified the slain suspects as  Ronald Gaben alias "Tonton", Paquito Bernardo, Angelito dela Cruz alias “Toto”, Rodolfo Roberto alias “Dolfo”, all residents of Barangay Caniogan while the arrested barangay tanod was identified as Rodolfo Leoncio.

In a report to Bulacan acting  police director Senior Supt. Caramat Jr., the suspects were cannibalizing a stolen motorcycle when police swooped down on the gang’s hideout owned by "Tonton", said to be the leader.

An hour-long gunbattle ensued as the suspects scampered in different directions after they were surprised by the lawmen. 

Police recovered a cal.45 pistol, a 12-gauge shotgun, two improvised shotgun, one over-all uniform said to be used in the gang’s robbery activities, three stolen motorcycles, and undetermined grams of suspected shabu and drug paraphernalia.

“In spite of our serious and relentless grassroot campaign to eradicate the drug menace in the city, the fact that some tanod who are the first-line of watchkeepers in the barangay are drug-infected is really alarming,” the mayor said. (Emil G. Gamos/PNA)            

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AWOL cop, 8 others fall in Bulacan dope war

CITY OF SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, Bulacan, July 12 -- A former policeman, listed as a "high value target” in the all-out- war against hard drugs in this province, was busted in this city while eight other suspects were arrested in a series of operations in the towns of Baliwag, Bustos, Norzagaray and Meycauayan City on Tuesday.

In a report to Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr. on Wednesday, San Jose Del Monte City police chief Supt. Fitz Macariola, identified the arrested policeman as PO1 Daryl Lazaro, 33, a native of Nueva Ecija and presently residing at Block 9, Lot 7, Phase H, Francisco Homes, Barangay Guijo, in this city.

Lazaro is a former member of Bulacan Police Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC) who went absent without official leave (AWOL) on September 18, 2015.

Macariola said Lazaro did not resist arrest when accosted by a police team after selling a plastic sachet of shabu to a police undercover agent.

Police recovered 11 more plastic sachets containing shabu from the former policeman turned drug dealer.

Meanwhile, Caramat identified the other arrested suspects as Jhon Jhon Batas, Allan Buenaventura, Joel Dumagco, Aldrin Capisnon, Richard Enano, Ramil Enano, Acsie Abubacar, and Jayson Baricua.

A total of 25 pieces of heat sealed transparent plastic sachets of suspected “shabu”, buy-bust money and assorted drug paraphernalia were recovered during the conduct of separate police operations.  

The arrested suspects and recovered pieces of evidence were brought to Bulacan Crime Laboratory Office for appropriate examination.

Caramat said that appropriate criminal complaints are now being prepared for filing in court. (Emil G. Gamos/PNA)   

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4 dope gang members killed, 1 village watchman nabbed in Bulacan drug sting

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan, July 11 -- Four alleged members of a notorious drug gang who are also engaged in carnapping activities were killed while a village watchman was arrested in an anti-drug operation conducted by the Malolos City police station at a suspected dope den in Barangay Caniogan here early Tuesday morning.

Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., identified the slain armed suspects as Paquito Bernardo, Ronald Gaben, a certain alias “Toto” and one alias “Dolfo”, all residents of said barangay.

The village watchman who was arrested during an earlier buy-bust operation was identified as Rodolfo Leoncio.

Caramat said that the shootout ensued during a follow up operation by operatives of the Malolos City police station headed by Supt. Heryl Bruno after Leoncio was arrested in the buy bust sting.

Caramat said that Bruno and his men was about to conduct another anti-drug operation when the suspects sensed their presence.

He said that at that moment, the suspects were cannibalizing a motorcycle that police said was stolen earlier.

He said the group scattered in a dark alley while firing shots at the lawmen.

The gun battle lasted for more than an hour, police said.

Caramat said the Malolos police earlier reported that the group was also engaged in carnapping activities and other crimes aside from drug peddling.

Police recovered from the suspects one caliber 45 pistol, one 12 gauge shot gun, two improvised shotguns,  one coverall uniform said to be being used in robbery activities, three stolen motorcycles, undetermined grams of suspected "shabu" or methamphetamine hydrochloride and assorted drug paraphernalia.

Mayor Christian D. Natividad commended the Malolos police operatives for their non-stop operations against drug gangs and other lawless elements.

"They have no place in our city. The long arms of the law will catch them whenever they conduct their nefarious trade here,” Natividad said. (Emil G. Gamos/PNA)

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Wanted car thief, 7 others fall in Bulacan dope war

CITY OF SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, Bulacan, July 11 -- A wanted car thief and his cohorts in drug peddling were arrested while another dope dealer was nabbed together with four of his "scorers" during a series of anti-drug operations in Barangay Sapang Palay Proper and Barangay Sto. Cristo in this city Monday night.

In a report to Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr. on Tuesday, Supt. Fitz Macariola, head of the San Jose Del Monte City police station, identified the arrested suspects in Barangay Sapang Palay Proper here as Richie Victorio, 42; Elmer Nolasco, both residents of Barangay Sapang Palay Proper and Jonna Masel, 33, resident of Barangay San Jose Patag, Sta. Maria town.

Macariola said that Victorio and Nolasco were arrested shortly after selling a plastic sachet of "shabu" or methamphetamine hydrochloride to a police undercover agent while Masel was nabbed for possession of a plastic sachet containing shabu.

Police recovered 11 more plastic sachets with shabu from Victorio and Nolasco.

Macariola also said that during investigation, it was learned that Victorio has a pending warrant of arrest issued by Bulacan Regional Trial Court Branch 83 Judge Guillermo Agloro for a case of carnapping.

In Barangay Sto. Cristo, Macariola identified the suspected drug dealer as Jun Magbanta, alias “Jun Pangap”, resident of said barangay.

He was arrested after selling a plastic sachet to a police operative acting as buyer.

Four other suspects who were caught during a pot session were identified as Jhon-Jhon Santiago, Richard Sabalo, Arnold Franscisco and a certain Abuguin, all residents of Barangay Sto. Cristo.

Macariola said that appropriate charges will be filed against the arrested suspects. (Emil G. Gamos/PNA)

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3 armed drug dealers dead, 19 nabbed in Bulacan

CAMP GEN. ALEJO  SANTOS, Bulacan, July 10 -- Three armed drug pushers were killed and 19 more suspects engaged in the sale and use of hard drugs were arrested during a series of anti-drug sting in the province over the weekend.

Bulacan acting police director Sr. Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., on Monday said the slain drug dealers were identified as a certain alias “Sherwin” and “Kenneth."

Both suspects were killed after engaging operatives of the Malolos City police station under Supt. Heryl Bruno during an anti-drug operation in Barangay Bulihan.

Police recovered several plastic sachets containing shabu, handguns and drug paraphernalia from the suspects.  

In Bocaue town, Caramat said police anti-narcotics operatives had a brief firefight with a suspected dope pusher identified as Winston Cagampang y Bayron alias “Wilson”, 34, native of Valenzuela and resident of Barangay Tonsoya, Malabon, Metro Manila.

Cagampang died after the shootout.

Bulacan Scene of the Crime Operative (SOCO) recovered 13 heat sealed transparent plastic sachets of suspected “shabu”; two cal. 38 revolver; one improvised shotgun loaded with several ammunition; fired cartridge; 11 used sachets with suspected “shabu” residue, one black wallet with driver’s license receipt; buy-bust money and assorted drug paraphernalia.

Caramat also said that 19 other drug suspects were arrested in different police operations conducted in the cities of San Jose del Monte, Meycauayan, Malolos, and in the towns of Norzagaray, San Miguel, Hagonoy and Baliwag where 54 plastic sachets of suspected “shabu”, buy-bust money and drug paraphernalia were recovered.

The arrested suspects were identified as Danilo Sunga, Rodrigo Bido, Ruel Adriano, Jay Cee Reyes, Ricardo Quintana also known as Ricky Evite, Menandro Miranda known as Melvin Rucio, Rogelio Sopena also known as Mateo Legaspi, Paulo Feliciano also known as Rex Cristobal, Benjamin Rabuya Jr. also known as Maximo Relente, Domingo Duculayan also known as Melchor Banez, and Roberto Llorente also known as Landel Castor, all included in Meycauayan drug watchlist.

Others were identified as Jeric Roxas, Richard Faustino, Joseph Garrido, Mark Gil Cigo, Gil Cigo, Estrella Cigo, Adrian Catambis, and Miguel Mansibang.

Appropriate criminal complaints against the arrested suspects are now being filed before the City/Provincial Prosecutors Office of Bulacan. (Emil G. Gamos/PNA)  

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3rd 'person of interest' in Bulacan massacre found dead

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, July 8 -- The police reported that the third "person of interest" in connection with the killing of three children, their mother and grandmother last June 27 in Northridge Royal Subdivision in Barangay Sto. Cristo, San Jose del Monte City, was also found dead in Barangay Pacalag in San Miguel, Bulacan on Saturday morning.

Bulacan police provincial director Sr. Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr. identified the victim through an ID found in his wallet as Anthony Garcia Rose, one of the identified persons of interest by the police related to the massacre wherein Dexter Carlos Sr. found his mother in law Auring Dizon, wife Estrella, and his three children with multiple stab wounds and drenched in their own blood.

Initial investigation showed that a phone call was received by San Miguel Police Station reporting that a lifeless body of a male person was dumped by unidentified suspects along the shoulder of a road in Barangay Pacalag.

Police probers said Rose sustained gunshot wounds in the head and chest and his head was wrapped by a masking tape with a placard attached with the words, “Addict at Rapist ako Huwag Tularan”, the same tag attached in the body of Rolando Pacinos, alias "Inggo" who was first executed by perpetrators believed to be members of a vigilante group.

Pacinos' body was found under a tree along the road in Barangay Sto. Cristo last July 3, with several stab wounds. Four of his fingers and sexual organ were cut.

The following morning, on the same day that the massacre victims were being laid to their final resting place, another person of interest identified as Rosevelt Sorema, alias "Ponga" was shot dead inside his house, also in Barangay Sto Cristo.

Supt. Fitz Macariola, San Jose Del Monte Police chief said that around 10 p.m. on Friday night (July 7), a certain Juliet Villar, 44, reported to his office that her nephew Anthony Garcia Rose was abducted around 1:30 a.m. of the same day in their house in No. 22, Barangay Badias, San Miguel, Bulacan.

Venigna Garcia, 65, mother of Anthony, said that while they were sleeping, a group of armed men wearing bonnets barged into their house looking for Anthony and when they found him, he was beaten, carried out and dragged inside an unknown type of vehicle.

Macariola said that Anthony was last seen roaming in San Jose Del Monte City Wednesday, the same day the massacre victims were being laid to rest.

It was learned that he went home to San Miguel, Bulacan after learning that his two co-persons of interest were already executed.

Caramat said that the Bulacan police are investigating the series of killings connected to the massacre.

Police are also digging deep into the possible connection of the suspects to a drug syndicate.

"They might be killing each other,” a police investigator said.

Caramat said that only Alvin Mabesa is the one left in the list of persons of interest. He was also reported missing since Friday of last week.

Macariola called on the family of the remaining person of interest to coordinate with them for the whereabouts of Mabesa for his protection. He said they are willing to place him under police custody for his safety. (Emil G. Gamos/PNA)

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Bulacan steps up disaster preparedness, risk reduction efforts

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 5 -- The provincial government of Bulacan, through the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), has lined up various programs and activities in observance of National Disaster Resiliency Month.

PDRRMO head Felicisima Mungcal said the move aims to intensify disaster preparedness in the province.

Citing the importance of "Kamalayan sa Kahandaan Katumbas ay Kaligtasan (4K)," Mungcal said the PDRRMO will conduct trainings about resiliency during calamities in the whole month of July.

"Let us all remember the 4K. We will conduct a month-long trainings on first aid, water search and rescue and others to raise awareness and enhance the knowledge of our provoncemates in preparation for calamities," Mungcal said.

The month-long activities include attendance to 8th Water Search and Rescue (WaSaR) Simulation Exercise on July 5 to 7 at Pantabangan Dam, Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija; distribution of rescue tools and equipment at the Bulacan Capitol Gymnasium; and the announcement of second quarter raffle draw winners of the “Ang Bote Mo Kaligtasan Ko Buong Taon na Ito” project on July 10.

Several trainings are also lined up that include ambulance management and mass casualty incident training on July 10-14 at Malolos Resort Club Royale; basic incident command system training on July 11-13 at SBMA Freeport Zone, Olongapo City; and collapsed structure search and rescue (CSSR) training on July 16-26 at PEO Compound in Tarlac.

Other activities include earthquake drills in the municipalities of Calumpit and Hagonoy from July 18-25 in collaboration with Coalition of Services of the Elderly, Inc.; the 7th Bulacan Rescuelympics at the Bulacan Sports Complex on July 18; the 5-day Advance Refresher Course on First Aid on July 19-25 at Malolos Resort Club Royale and at the office of the Philippine Red Cross-Bulacan Chapter; and Basic Life Support-Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation Olympics to be held at Palayan City, Nueva Ecija on July 27-28.

Likewise, the PDRRMO will have a province wide distribution of DRRM books and climate change handbooks in public elementary and high schools.

The celebration is in accordance to Executive Order No. 29 s. 2017 or “Renaming the National Disaster Consciousness Month to National Disaster Resilience Month and Shifting its Focus from Disaster Awareness Building to Disaster Resilience." (Emil G.Gamos/PNA)

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PRO-3 mulls ID system for Muslims in Central Luzon

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, July 4 -- The Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3) is contemplating on providing identification cards to Muslims who chose to stay in Central Luzon, as a way to combat terrorism threats in the region.

This was gleaned during the Muslim Leaders’ Forum with PRO-3 on Tuesday in partnership with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) at Benigno Aquino Hall, Capitol grounds here.

PRO-3 Director Police Chief Superintendent Aaron Aquino said the proposal can help the local Muslim communities in identifying suspicious individuals so that these could be reported to the local authorities.

“This system is a good practice from Paniqui, Tarlac and we want this to be replicated to all Muslim communities in the whole region for easy and efficient identification of our Muslim brothers and sisters,” he said.

He also said that the proposed identification system should be signed by the local chiefs-of-police and the local government units (LGUs) for proper authorization.

The forum aims to deepen the connection of the regional police and the Muslim communities to combat criminality, terrorism, and illegal drugs in Central Luzon. (Joel Mapiles/PNA)

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PNP helps regulate muffler use

LAOAG CITY, July 3 (PNA) —The Ilocos Norte Police Provincial Office is helping the Land Transportation Office in its intensified drive against motorcycle owners using modified mufflers.

In Laoag City and its neighboring towns, Police Senior Superintendent Melencio Nartatez Jr. reported that about 50 percent of loud motorcycles had been regulated.

To totally get rid of it, the PNP is seeking for a higher penalty for violators through the passage of an ordinance that prohibits changing of motorcycle muffler or anything that can increase noise or fumes.

Republic Act 8749 or the so-called Philippine Clean Air Act seeks to regulate and control emissions of unwanted sound of a known source passed into the atmosphere.

Under the national policy, a violator could be fined PHP15,000 for using a modified muffler.

Aside from the national law, law enforcers are also guided by a municipal ordinance, which penalizes motorcycle drivers who are using modified mufflers ranging from PHP1,000 to PHP5,000. (LGA/PNA)

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'Lutina' or 9-day novena for Bocaue’s Pagoda Festival begins

BOCAUE, Bulacan, July 1 -- The nine-day novena or “Lutina” for the feast of the “Mahal na Poon ng Krus na Wawa” began its maiden voyage this year at the Bocaue river on a colorful Pagoda adorned with images of trumpeting angels Friday night.

This is the third year that the river voyage of the Pagoda of the venerated “Mahal na Poon ng Krus Wawa” was revived, 24 years after the so-called “Pagoda Tragedy”.

Before the voyage, Monsignor Albert Suatengco, parish priest of the Saint Martin of Tours in this town, officiated Thursday a holy mass and the blessing of the Pagoda of the venerated wooden cross of Wawa.

A simultaneous flying of white balloons was also held at the different chapels covered by the parish of Saint Martin of Tours in Bocaue as a symbolic send-off for the nine-day voyage of the Pagoda ng Mahal na Poon ng Krus sa Wawa at the Bocaue river.

Monsignor Suatengco also announced that from June 30 to July 8, holy mass will be held every 5 p.m. at the Saint Martin of Tours church after which devotees will carry the venerated cross to the Pagoda where it will be paraded at the Bocaue river with the “Lutina” or nine-day novena.

Organizers have lined-up day and night activities to celebrate the annual “fluvial parade” of the Pagoda, the centerpiece of the famous Bocaue River Fiesta”.

A boat race was held at the Bocaue river on Saturday.

On July 2, a Ronda ride will commence at the Pagoda where a holy mass will be held at the very site where the ill-fated Pagoda sank on the night of July 2, 1993 at the Bocaue river for the “Martyrs of Pagoda 1993”.

Bells will also peal on that night for the “Martyrs of Pagoda 1993”.

On July 3, a healing mass to be led by Fr. Ramon Garcia will be held at 5 p.m.

A community outreach program dubbed as “Lingap Kapwa Part II’ will be held on July 4 at the quadrangle of the parish church.

On the evening of July 5, a “Gabi ng Pagtatanghal” will be staged by different private schools in Bocaue at the church patio.

A “Battle of the Bands” and a ”car raffle” will grace the night of July 6 at the patio of St. Martin of Tours church.

On the night of July 7, the municipal government headed by Mayor Joni Villanueva-Tugna will host the “Gabi ng Pagtatanghal”

On the morning of July 8, the penultimate day of the Bocaue River Festival, a motorcade will circle the town’s different villages while a “musical “Serenata” will be held at 7 p.m. of the same day at the parish church quadrangle.

On July 9, the feast day of the venerated “Mahal na Poon ng Krus sa Wawa”, three holy masses which will start at 5 a.m. and a concelebrated mass will be offered in honor of the town’s Patron Saint.

By 9:30 am of the feast day, a procession and street dancing will commence on the streets of Bocaue leading to the part of the river where the Pagoda is docked.

The annual “Ligiran” or circling of boats around the Pagoda will begin at around 10:00 am up to 2:30 p.m. where a procession of the venerated cross will be held leading back to the parish church where holy masses will again be offered from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado has instructed the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office headed by Liz Mungcal to deploy emergency and rescue teams during the “Lutina” at the Bocaue river and during the feast day of the venerated “Mahal na Poon ng Krus sa Wawa”.

Alvarado also instructed Bulacan acting police director to deploy additional police troops from the Provincial Public Safety Company of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office to augment the Bocaue police and ensure the safety of the thousands of devotees and tourists that will flock to watch the famous fluvial festival, one of the crowd-drawing attractions, in Bulacan. (Emil G. Gamos/PNA)

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Drug dealer killed, Malolos police chief, 2 other cops hurt in shootout

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan, June 30 -- A drug dealer was killed while the chief of police and two policemen were wounded in a running gun-battle that ensued during an anti-drug operation at the Malolos Crossing in Barangay Guinhawa here early Friday morning.

Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., said that the slain armed dealer was only identified as alias “Jepoy”, said to be a notorious dope dealer based in nearby Calumpit town.

Caramat said that operatives of the Calumpit police station transacted with the suspect at Malolos crossing junction in Barangay Guinhawa early Friday morning.

During the deal, the suspect sensed a police entrapment, drew his .45 caliber pistol and opened fire at the police operatives.

The suspect ran while shooting at the pursuing lawmen until he reached a residential compound where he knocked on a door asking for help while introducing himself as a policeman.

It was at this juncture when a mobile team from the Malolos City police station headed by Supt. Heryl Bruno arrived and engaged the suspect in a gunfight that lasted for more than 10 minutes.

When the smoke cleared, the suspect ended up dead while Supt. Bruno and two of his police officers were wounded and were brought to the Bulacan Medical Center.

Police recovered one cal. 45 pistol with a magazine still loaded with live bullets and five grams of "shabu" from the suspect.

City Mayor Christian D. Natividad commended his policemen for their bravery in thwarting a drug-crazed suspect from inflicting harm on civilians.

“I salute our brave police officers. Armed criminals with intention to commit crime has no place in this city,” he said. (Emil G. Gamos/PNA)

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PRO-3 joins nationwide simultaneous quake drill

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, June 29 -- The Police Regional Office 3 (PRO-3) on Thursday joined the conduct of the second nationwide simultaneous earthquake drill with an aim to help prepare police personnel and other employees inside the camp in times of disaster.

"The important part of the drill is to understand that when there is an earthquake, it is safest to drop to the ground, find cover and hold on," Police Chief Supt. Aaron N. Aquino, director of the PRO-3, said.

The activity started through a one-minute blowing of siren, wherein all PRO-3 personnel, teachers, students and other employees inside their respective offices dropped on the floor, found cover under their tables and held on to them.

Afterwards, all participants went outside, with both hands covering their heads since they could be hit by falling objects, walked in a single file and proceeded at the designated evacuation area which is the parade ground located in front of the administrative building.

"This must be done so as not to cause panic while an earthquake takes place," Aquino said.

Meanwhile, Police Supt. Manny Calma, deputy chief, Regional Police Community Division of PRO3, said that " we always have to do preparations through protracted trainings and seminars. It is not a matter of lacking, it is keeping in tune, keeping abreast”.

Some 1,000 police personnel, teachers, students and other employees inside the camp participated in the annual drill. (Froilan E. Magtoto/PNA)

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70 policemen from C. Luzon sent to Mindanao

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, June 27-- Some 70 personnel from the Regional Public Safety Battalion 3 were sent to Mindanao on Tuesday to augment the ground troops as fighting continues between government forces and the Maute group in Marawi City.

Police Regional Office 3 (PRO3) director Chief Supt. Aaron N. Aquino, in a send off ceremony held on Tuesday at the PRO3 parade ground here, said the contingents would be sent to Cagayan de Oro City as augmentation force to complement the troops.

"They are among the best and skilled personnel who have undergone tactical and combatant training," Aquino said.

He said the deployment of police personnel is a continuing program of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and is line with the “Tour of Duty of PNP Personnel Deployed in Armed-Conflict Areas, Counter- Insurgency Operations and other Similar Serious Threats to National Security".

"I am sure that you will all do well, bear in mind that as police officers, we always place duty and honor above our own personal concerns. As your regional director, I am extremely proud of you because I am in no doubt that you will be able to carry out our mandated tasks of ensuring and maintaining public security and safety,” Aquino said.

The troops will remain deployed in Mindanao until the situation normalized.

Meanwhile, he asked the public to be extra cautious in believing and sharing in social media and spreading through text messages unverified reports circulating over the internet purportedly coming from police units as this might cause unnecessary panic and fear. 

He also encouraged the reporting of any suspicious persons, activities, and unusual occurrences in public or any untoward incidents and crime situations through the nationwide emergency hotline 911 and/or PRO3 TOC 0917-623-5700.

"Let us stay strong and united against terrorism and other lawless activities for a safer place to live, work and do business," he added. (Zorayda S. Tecson/PNA)      

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Local fireworks group appeals for review of EO 28

BOCAUE, Bulacan, June 25 -- While agreeing on the good intention of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s signing of Executive Order 28 -- limiting the use of firecrackers to community fireworks display -- the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association Inc., (PPMDAI) -- is appealing to the Chief Executive to consider their proposals aimed at uplifting the local fireworks industry through science and technology.

"The pyrotechnic industry is more on science and technology and through science, injuries can be avoided. Confining it to a designated zone is not a long term solution because lighting of fireworks is a centuries-old tradition of Filipinos,” Celso C. Cruz, chairman emeritus of PPMDAI, said.

The EO stated that because of the firecracker related injuries and deaths, "the promulgation of stricter national standards, rules and regulations is warranted."

It was signed by Duterte on June 20, 2017.

The PPMDAI, however, said they are hoping that the Chief Executive will review the EO which the group says is provided under Republic Act 7183 which states that the “industry should be uplifted to enhance cultural heritage and tradition.”

"We understand the good intention of our President. However, there are things that should be considered. The lightning of firecrackers is part of the traditions which cannot stop immediately," Cruz said.

He said that even before President Duterte assumed presidency, previous administrations has already banned the deadly “picolo," the major culprit in the number of firecracker related injuries.”

"Picolo has long been banned but until now it is still the cause of firecracker injuries," Cruz said.

He said that the government, through the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), is helping the PPMDAI and the local fireworks industry to be safer and at par with global standards.

"The PNP, which is the administrator of RA 7183, has already came up with its Implementing Rules and Regulation (IRR). In coordination with the PNP-Civil Security Group, the PPMDAI is regularly conducting safety training seminars on the manufacture and sale of fireworks and pyrotechnics. No safety seminar, no permit. And the PNP is very strict on this. The DOST, on the other hand, is willing to fund the uplifting of local fireworks by making it at par with international standards by producing safe and quality products," Cruz said.

Likewise, he said that the PNP and the PPMDAI has long been working as partners to make the local fireworks industry safe and its workers as professionals.

"The DOST is also willing to make the industry more globally competitive," he added.

Cruz, a chemical engineer, said the government should have experts on the pyrotechnics industry.

He said that there must be a government body that should have experts and properly trained staff who fully well know the industry and how to make it safer and globally competitive.

A PPMDAI official also told local newsmen that even during the time when it was still outlawed and even at the time of the martial law period of then President Marcos, the local fireworks industry still managed to survive. (Emil G. Gamos/PNA)  

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3 drug gang members killed in Bulacan shootout

CITY OF SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, Bulacan, June 24 --Three alleged members of a local dope gang operating in this city were killed after engaging police operatives in a gunfight during an anti-drug sting in Pabahay 2000, Barangay Muzon here Friday afternoon.

In a report to Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., Supt. Fitz Macariola, San Jose Del Monte City police chief on Saturday said the slain suspects were Richard Galon, 37, resident of Pabahay 2000, Barangay Muzon; a certain alias “Botong” and one alias “Dodo”.

Macariola said that prior to the armed encounter, a police team led by P03 Noel Estanislao of the City Drug Enforcement Group (CDEG) conducted a buy bust operation against suspect Galon.

After completing the drug deal to a police undercover agent, Macariola said Galon noticed the sting and without warning drew a handgun and fired against the lawmen while retreating back to his house.

"The police team gave chase but were fired upon by two more suspects identified only as one alias “Bodong” and one alias “Dodo”. The lawmen returned fire resulting to the deaths of the three suspects," Macariola said.

No casualty was reported on the police team.

Macariola said police recovered one cal.45 pistol, one .38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver, one improvised shotgun loaded with spent shells and two live ammunition and several plastic sachets containing suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.

He said a SOCO team from the Bulacan PNP Crime Laboratory processed the site of the armed encounter as well as the evidences.(Emil G. Gamos/PNA)    

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3 drug dealers killed in Bulacan, 8 others arrested

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, June 22 -- The dope war in this province continues to sizzle as police anti-narcotics operatives killed three armed suspected drug dealers in San Rafael and in the City of San Jose del Monte while eight other drug suspects were arrested in different police operations Wednesday.

Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., on Thursday identified the slain suspects as Mark Lester Marimon, 26, a resident of Barangay Tambubong; Julius Avela, 26, of Barangay Caingin, both in San Rafael town; and Ronald Francis Gariando alias “Botong”, 28, a native of Manila and presently residing in Robes II, Barangay Graceville, City of San Jose Del Monte.

Supt. Rizalino Andaya, acting Chief of Police of San Rafael Municipal Police Station, said that an encounter ensued between operatives and three drug personalities-- Marimon, Avela and May Ann Garcia when the latter sensed that they were transacting with police officers.

The suspects fired towards the operatives that  prompted the law enforcers to retaliate, resulting in the death of Marimon and Avela while their cohort Garcia was arrested.

Recovered were eight transparent plastic sachets of suspected “shabu"; two caliber .38 revolver (Colt and Smith & Wesson) without serial number; seven fired cartridge cases, seven fired cartridge cases of caliber 9mm, buy-bust money and assorted drug paraphernalia.

The arrested suspect and seized pieces of evidence were brought to Bulacan Crime Laboratory Office for appropriate examination.

In the City of San Jose Del Monte, Supt. Fitz Macariola reported that Gariando was killed in an encounter during a buy bust operation.

Investigation revealed that the suspects, upon resisting arrest, immediately ran and fired several times towards the police officers, prompting the operatives to fire back, which resulted in the death of Gariando while his unidentified cohort managed to escape.

Recovered from the crime scene were five plastic sachets of suspected shabu, one caliber .45 Armscore handgun with serial no. 1326062 loaded with one cartridge, and three cartridge cases.

Meanwhile, eight other drug suspects were arrested in different police operations conducted in the towns of Balagtas, San Ildefonso, Paombong, Bulakan, Norzagaray, and Obando.

Recovered during the operations were 13 small and five medium-sized transparent plastic sachets of suspected shabu, one self-sealing zip lock plastic sachets of suspected dried “marijuana” leaves with fruit tops; buy-bust money and assorted drugs paraphernalia.

The arrested suspects were identified as Justine Galang ; Herminio Villanueva; Manolito Trinidad; Raszel Bayan; Henry Lee Luis ; Joseph Sarmiento; Mary Jane Francisco; and Jerwin Natividad.

Appropriate criminal complaints against the suspects were filed before the City/Provincial Prosecutors Office of Bulacan. (PNA)#REALNUMBERS  

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Transfer of 21 high profile inmates to provincial police HQ pushed

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan, June 20 -- Provincial jail warden Retired Police Col. Fernando Villanueva has requested judges of the Bulacan Regional Trial Court (RTC) handling the cases of 21 high profile detainees to transfer them to the detention area of the provincial police headquarters at Camp Gen. Alejo Santos here where their actions would be closely monitored and checked by authorities.

Villanueva made the request in the wake of unconfirmed reports that the high profile detainees are involved in illegal drug deals where they are being pinpointed as conduits or persons being contacted by possible buyers even though no drugs were being brought inside the provincial jail.

“We are currently communicating with the respective judges handling the cases of these 21 detainees who were earlier transferred to a more heavily guarded cell after they were identified to have allegedly been involved as conduits in illegal drug transaction outside the provincial jail through the use of cellphones and visiting relatives or friends,” he said.

Earlier, Villanueva said that Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado ordered him to strictly prohibit cellular phones inside the Bulacan Provincial Jail (BPJ) and to conduct rigid inspection of visitors.

The provincial jail warden has also reported to Gov. Alvarado that the 21 high profile inmates have already been transferred to a common cell where they are being closely guarded.

He also told the governor that since June 15, at least 16 policemen from the Bulacan Police Provincial Office (BPPO) have been assigned to augment jail guards in guarding the gates of the provincial penitentiary and in inspecting visitors and their belongings.

Villanueva said that last June 6, about 75 policemen from BPPO headed by Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., conducted once again a surprise cell searching and inspection at the BPJ.

While no illegal drugs were found, the police team were able to confiscate packs of cigarette, playing cards, scissors, hammer, spoon and forks.

Six cellular phones were also seized from some inmates who have positions as cell commanders but are now removed from their posts.

Villanueva said that despite the implementation of various rehabilitation and integration programs for detainees, some individuals are seen to be plotting to destroy the credibility of BPJ.

"Despite being overcrowded, we are doing our best to make BPJ properly secured and rest assured that we will do all that it takes to stop any illegal activities and prevent occurrences that would tarnish of the integrity of our provincial jail,” Villanueva added. (PNA)     

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2 drug dealers killed, 14 arrested in Bulacan dope war

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, June 19 -- Two armed drug dealers were killed while 14 other suspects were arrested during operations conducted by Bulacan police over the weekend.

Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., on Monday said those killed were Benjie Pacomo, a resident of Block 10 Lot 37 Ph 1, Barangay FVR, Norzagaray town and a certain Roman or Bebe, of Barangay Malhacan, Meycauayan City. Both were included in the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Council (BADAC) watch list.

Investigation showed that during the operations, when the suspects noticed that they were transacting with police operatives, they drew guns and fired at the law enforcers who retaliated, resulting in their killings.

Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) recovered from the crime scene seven heat sealed transparent plastic sachets of suspected "shabu"; one cut opened transparent plastic sachet containing shabu residue; two caliber .38 Smith and Wesson revolvers; one hand grenade; several fired cartridges and ammunition; one cellphone; buy-bust money and assorted drug paraphernalia.

Caramat also said that at least 14 other drug suspects were arrested in different police operations conducted in San Jose del Monte (SJDM); San Rafael, Paombong, Bustos, Norzagaray, Bulakan, Baliwag and Balagtas wherein 27 small sizes and one medium size heat sealed transparent plastic sachets of  suspected shabu; buy-bust money; and assorted drug paraphernalia were recovered.

The arrested suspects were identified as Mark Bryan Reyes; Joel Baltazar; Jonathan Ramos; Joel Cruz ; Joey Diwa; John Patrick Rayo; Jojo Iliw-Iliw; Manolito Villanueva; Arnold Sulit; Paul Jhon Angeles; Marilou Bigornia; Mark Bryan Reyes; Enmark Mirano and Manolito Villanueva.

Appropriate criminal complaints against the arrested suspects are now being filed before the City/Provincial Prosecutors Office of Bulacan. (Emil G. Gamos/PNA) #REALNUMBERS 

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Bulacan pays tribute to fallen soldiers in Marawi during Independence Day rites

CITY MALOLOS, Bulacan, June 12 --Senator Loren Legarda joined Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, Vice Governor Daniel Fernando, City Mayor Christian D. Natividad and the people of Bulacan in paying tribute to the fallen soldiers in Marawi City during the celebration of the 119th anniversary of the declaration of Philippine Independence at the historic Barasoain Church here on Monday morning.

Legarda, the guest of honor and speaker, said it is fitting to dedicate the Independence Day celebration to those who have risked their lives for freedom.

She said that the war in Marawi should unite Filipinos and not be instrument of divisiveness.

“Let not our differences in religion and belief divide us,” the lady senator said.

Alvarado, for his part, said that the 13 marines and other soldiers who gave their lives in the name of freedom will forever be remembered as heroes of the Republic just like the Filipino revolutionaries who shed blood, sweat and tears in the quest for freedom, sovereignty and independence.

“Bulakenyos should be the first to know the importance of June 12 because it is in this sacred place Philippine Independence became a reality and was recognized by the global community. What took place in Kawit, Cavite is senseless if there were no Malolos Congress where the first Constitution of the Republic was drafted and ratified and inauguration of the First Republic," Alvarado said.

He said that the sacrifices of those who fight for freedom and independence have brought changes and the dawn of progress has broken, particularly in Bulacan which is now enjoying growth and development in its 21 towns and cities.

"We should remain united and repay our forefathers by making our province and our country great,” he added.

Vice Gov. Fernando, said that every time Filipinos see the Philippine flag waving proudly, they should also feel proud because they came from a proud race who will not vow to oppressive rule.

"Let us always remember the bravery of our heroes so that we could proud of being a free race and free nation," he said.

City Mayor Natividad, on the other hand, said that Barasoian Church and the historic city of Malolos will always remind Filipinos that Philippine Independence and the seed of freedom “sprouted” in this place, watered and nurtured by the blood, sweat and tears of the brave revolutionaries and patriots of that era.

Meanwhile, The Yes for Peace—Bayanihan ng Bayan group also took part in the celebration.

Ernesto A. Alcanzare, lead organizer of the said peace advocacy movement based in Plaridel town, said that “we are inspired by this year’s theme ““Kalayaan 2017: Pagbabagong Sama-samang Balikatin”. We are confident that Filipinos will not cower in fear from those who wage wars in the name of the people but instead be emboldened to assert our individual and collective human right to peace through bayanihan,” Alcanzare said.

Earlier, Senator Legarda, Gov. Alvarado and Central Luzon police regional director Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino offered flowers at the statue of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, president of the First Philippine Republic.

A moment of silence was also asked of the thousands who attended the celebration in honor of the fallen government soldiers and civilians in Marawi City. (PNA)

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Legarda pays tribute to hero soldiers at Independence Day rites in Bulacan

MALOLOS, Bulacan, June 12 -- Senator Loren Legarda on Monday morning led the commemoration of the 119th Independence Day at the historic Barasoain Church in the city of Malolos.

In her speech, Legarda paid homage to fallen soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice including the government troopers killed by terrorists in the Marawi siege.

"Let us dedicate today's Independence Day celebration to those who have invested their lives so that we would have freedom not just for Marawi but for the whole country," Legarda said.

The lady senator described the historic Barasoain Church as a "symbol of change" representing significant events that paved way for the country's attainment of freedom.

The Barasoain Church was the historic site of the First Philippine Republic. It was also the site where the First Philippine Congress convened, otherwise known as the Malolos Congress, which drafted the 1898 Malolos Constitution.

Legarda also called for unity and compassion to heal division amid threats to national security.

"Let our diversity be our tool to our unity," she said.

The commemorative rites were highlighted by flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremonies.

Among the provincial officials present in the event were Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando and Malolos City Mayor Christian Natividad.

The central theme of this year's celebration is “Kalayaan 2017: Pagbabagong Sama-Samang Balikatin.” (PNA)

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Notorious drug pusher falls in Aurora

BALER, Aurora, June 8 -- Personnel of the Baler Drug Enforcement Unit (BDEU) on Thursday arrested a notorious drug pusher in a buy bust operation in Purok 6, Barangay Suklayin, here.

Police Senior Inspector Emilio B. Sison, chief of police of Baler Police Station (BPS), said they conducted an anti-illegal drug entrapment operation that resulted in the arrest of Dennis Ruzol, a resident of the said place.

Confiscated from Ruzol are one piece of transparent plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance believed to be "shabu" or methamphetamine hydrochloride, Php1,000 marked money and one Black Honda motorcycle with plate no. 1657 AG.

In compliance with section 21 Art II of Republic Act 9165 as amended, the inventory of the seized pieces of evidence was done in the presence of the arrested notorious drug pusher, Barangay Councilor Antonio C. Mata, Department of Justice (DOJ) representative Gerardo Q. Ferreras and media representative Jason de Asis of the Philippine News Agency.

The drug evidence was delivered to the PNP Crime laboratory for examination while the arrested suspect was escorted for drug testing.

He is now temporarily detained at the BPS.

Meanwhile, a BPS intelligence operative who requested to hide his anonymity said that Ruzol did not undergo the reformation program despite the several warnings and invitations from the authorities.

Despite the reminders from the police, the suspect continuously sells shabu in this capital town of Aurora.

Sison warned those who are still involved in drug activities to stop, stressing they are committed to their campaign to totally eliminate drugs as soon as possible.

“I am also appealing to the public to be vigilant and help our police to stop drug activities,” he said.

In support to the Duterte administration, Sison said that they continue to build up strong partnership with the different stakeholders to bring the police closer to the people to help them to solve the problem on illegal activities.

"It is our people who will help us to win this battle against illegal drugs,” Sison added. (Jason de Asis/PNA)

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Ambulance driver, cohort nabbed in Bulacan for drugs

DONA REMEDIOS TRINIDAD, Bulacan, June 8 -- An ambulance driver and his companion were arrested in a buy-bust operation in Barangay Sampalok here Wednesday night while using the vehicle in the sale and transport of illegal drugs.

In a report to Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., Senior Inspector Roldan Manulit, town police chief, identified the arrested ambulance driver as Ron Joseph Agustin and his companion as Privado Mangahas, both residents of Barangay Minuyan, Norzagaray, this province.

Prior to their arrest, Manulit said his men arrested a drug pusher who squealed that their source was an ambulance driver.

"The first drug pusher that we arrested is the one selling 'lugaw' which he is using as front for selling 'shabu'. That is why we conducted a buy-bust operation after confirming that this is the source of the illegal drugs," Manulit said.

He said the Dona Remedios Trinidad Police Drug Enforcement Group seized four plastic sachets containing shabu or methamphetamine hydrochloride with an estimated weight of 2.4 grams, the buy bust money and the ambulance with markings of Barangay Minuyan, Norzagaray.

Charges for violations of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act will be filed against the suspects.

Meanwhile, police arrested two alleged drug pushers during a buy bust operation in Barangay Muzon, San Jose del Monte (SJDM) City Wednesday night.

Supt. Fritz Macariola, SJDM City police chief, identified the arrested suspects as Mario Rocha, 40, and Ronaldo Perez, alias “Toto”, both residents of said barangay.

Macariola said the two suspects were arrested after selling one transparent plastic sachet containing suspected shabu to a police poseur buyer.

Police are set to file drug pushing charges against the suspects. (Emil G. Gamos/PNA)#REALNUMBERS

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Rehab of Bustos dam to be completed by end of July 2017 — NIA

BUSTOS, Bulacan, June 8 -- Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and National Irrigation Administration (NIA) chief Retired AFP General Ricardo Visaya expressed satisfaction on the progress of the ongoing rehabilitation of the Angat Afterbay Regulator dam also known as Bustos Dam, said to be the world’s largest rubber irrigation dam.

According to NIA Central Luzon manager Josephine B. Salazar, the rehabilitation of the Bustos Dam which started in May 2016 will be finished before the end of July this year.

The governor and the NIA administrator conducted a project site inspection Wednesday, accompanied by Bulacan Second District Rep. Gavini Pancho, Bustos Mayor Arnel Mendoza and other NIA officials.

Alvarado said he was glad to know that the rehabilitation is pushing through as scheduled.

"Bustos Dam is one of the three important dams in Bulacan. Once the rehabilitation is completed, it will have an increased holding capacity to prevent flash floods. It will also secure the delivery of irrigation to farmers in 16 towns in Bulacan and four towns in Pampanga, with over 23,000 farmers dependent on it,” he said.

The governor said that brittle rubber gates of the old Bustos dam is like the proverbial “Sword of Damocles” hanging over the heads of the people of Calumpit and Hagonoy, the perennial catch basins of backfloods during typhoon season.

“When two of the dam's gates are opened to let out excess water, the two towns are submerged in water reaching up to seven feet,” he said.

The NIA administrator said that the new rubber gates are now equipped with sprinkles to ensure that it will not become brittle during the summer season.

Alvarado thanked Visaya and other ranking NIA officials for personally inspecting the rehabilitation of Bustos dam.

“Not only the farmers will be served fully well but this will also help solve the flood problems in the low lying towns of Hagonoy and Calumpit,” he said.

He said that once completed before the end of July this year, the dam will help boost the harvest of agricultural products.

The governor said that despite the rapid industrialization now being experienced in the province, Bulacan is one of the top 10 rice producing provinces in the country, having bagged the annual “Rice Achievers Award” from the Department of Agriculture for the fourth consecutive time.

Alvarado also disclosed that the Bustos dam is being transformed into a “water world-theme” park.

With the near completion of the Balagtas-San Rafael bypass road, it will become more accessible to tourists and will spur more growth and development in the area.

"Bustos dam will now be more durable. It will not only help address the flood problems in the province but will be a source of livelihood and socio-economic opportunities for the people of Bulacan,” Alvarado added. (PNA)  

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Bulacan gov orders strict implementation of jail security measures

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 6 -- Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado has ordered the strict implementation of jail security measures to ensure that no illegal activities can be done from the now overcrowded provincial penitentiary.

At the same time, the governor also instructed Bulacan police acting provincial director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., to help Bulacan provincial jail warden Fernando Villanueva in the regular inspection of the inmates’ prison cells and make sure that no contraband, deadly weapons or prohibited drugs can be smuggled inside the provincial jail.

"The police have been successful in neutralizing drug dealers in the province and most of those being arrested are getting incarcerated in our provincial jail and they are already bursting to the seams. We want to make sure that they can no longer do their illicit business inside the provincial jail,” Alvarado said.

The governor said Villanueva has already banned mobile phones inside the premises of the jail.

Rigid inspection of visitors is now also being enforced before they can get inside the jail.

He also said that Villanueva has secluded high profile inmates from regular ones to make sure that they can no longer contact their drug sources outside the jail.

He said that regular inspection of jails and ensuring that high profile inmates can no longer do business with outside contacts is part of the provincial government’s measures in support of President Rodrigo Duterte’s ardent intention to rid the country of the dope menace.

At the same time, Alvarado also announced that he has already asked Vice Governor Daniel Fernando and the Sanguniang Panglalawigan to pass a resolution transferring the Bulacan provincial jail to a more spacious area in the mountain town of Dona Remedios Trinidad.

The present provincial jail was designed to hold some 700 inmates but the number has now ballooned to more than 3,000 and counting due to the unrelenting war being waged against drug dealers and dopesters in the province, so it is prudent that the provincial penitentiary be transferred, he said.

Alvarado also said that the town of Dona Remedios Trinidad is an ideal site because if a new facility will be built there, the inmates can do farming and will have more breathing space unlike in their present condition where the inmates are now jam-packed like sardines in a can. (PNA)

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Wanted kidnapper falls in Bulacan

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, June 5 -- Joint police operatives arrested Sunday a wanted killer and kidnapper in Barangay Pulong Yantok, Angat, this province, police reported on Monday.

In a report submitted to Bulacan acting provincial director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., the arrested suspect was identified as Apolonio Policarpio Marcelo Jr. a resident of Apol Subdivision, 43 KM. Partida, Sta. Maria.

Supt. Frankie Candelario, company commander of Bulacan Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC), said that Marcelo was arrested during a follow-up operation and the implementation of two search warrants by the Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) from Camp Crame, Bulacan PPSC, Angat and Santa Maria Municipal Police Stations.

Candelario said that the suspect was arrested after one of his alleged cohorts Adriano Del Rosario, 53, a resident of Phase 2, Block 12, Lot 29, Barangay San Rafael IV, San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, voluntarily surrendered to Bulacan police last May 30.

Del Rosario admitted his involvement in the kidnapping and killing of Edeltrudes Tan and Jayson Puyo last March 25 in Barangay Pulong Yantok, Angat, Bulacan.

Recovered from Marcelo's office and residence were one Glock 17, 9mm pistol; one pistol Taurus PT740, cal. 40; one Bentley shotgun; one Armscor pistol, cal. 45;  four 9mm short Glock magazine; one Armscor cal. 38 revolver; two 9mm Glock magazines extended; and several ammunition.

Police also found human remains inside the compound of Apol subdivision. (PNA)  

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Bulacan gov: Stop cutting trees in Angat dam watershed

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 3 -- Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado has strongly urged engineers and contractors of the Angat Hydropower Corporation (AHC) to stop and desist from cutting trees at the watershed area of the aging hydro electric power dam.

The governor met with AHC engineers led by Russel Rigor and officials of the Sagip Sierra Madre Environment Society headed by Bro. Martin Francisco at his office Friday afternoon.

Alvarado said that while he was thankful that the repair and strengthening of the nearly 50 years old Angat dam in the mountain town of Norzagaray was pushing through, he was shocked and alarmed at the same time, when he was informed that 924 trees, many of which were decades-old, had been cut down to give way to roads and heavy equipment leading to the repair site.

“I was glad when the repair and strengthening of the aging dam finally pushes through. Many will remember that I have time and again called the attention of the national government that immediate fortification of the dam should be made after Phivolcs director Renato Solidum confirmed that the main dike of the Angat dam nestles within the West Valley fault line. But I was deeply shocked when I was informed that hundreds of trees have been cut down,” Alvarado said.

He said that it was not only unlawful to cut trees at the watershed, a protected area, but also pose danger to calamities that it might induce or trigger.

Engineer Rigor has earlier told local newsmen that the National Power Corporation (Napocor), the agency that has jurisdiction over watershed areas in the country, gave permission to cut 2,000 to replaced by one million saplings.

Alvarado said that it would take long years to replace the destroyed forest cover at the watershed of Angat dam.

“Actually, the decades-old trees are irreplaceable. In the first place not even a single tree should have been cut. Trees are also natural barriers against flash floods," Alvarado said.

Angat dam should be strengthened because it does not only supply 96 percent of the potable water needs of Metro Manila but also supplies the irrigation of farmlands in Bulacan and Pampanga and generates electricity as well, he said.

Francisco, of the environment watchdog Sagip Sierra Madre Environment Society, said that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued the cutting permit but it was the Napocor that authorized the zoning of the area that would be quarried to hasten rehabilitation and strengthening works at the dam.

He added that the cutting of trees and quarrying operations at the watershed proceeded even if there was no Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) from the National Commission of Indigenous People of the Philippines.

FPIC is an important requirement because the aging dam and its watershed area is located within the ancestral domain of the Dumagat tribesmen.

He said that their group would join the Bulacan Environment and Natural Resources Office in monitoring the status of the repair and strengthening of the Angat dam as well as the protection of the forest cover at the watershed area. (Emil G. Gamos/PNA)

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Police hold human rights forum

CAMP DANGWA, Benguet, June 1 -- Different law enforcement units together with non-government organizations and community leaders came together on Thursday here to assess the police operational procedures to make sure human rights are being respected.

Police Chief Superintendent Dennis Siervo, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Human Rights Affairs Office (HRAO) at Camp Crame, said the forum was aimed at providing the different sectors with information on how the police operate and to give them a briefer to determine if there are violations.

“The participants will be briefed on the police’ operational procedure with a discussion on Republic Acts (RA) 7438 and 9745. There will also be a speaker from the Commission on Human Rights on the mandate of the agency,” he said.

Siervo said the community-based dialogue would allow different sectors to assess police operations.

He said the HRAO’s activity was to wage a campaign and not to wage war.

He said that for a period of two years, the HRAO has acted on 17 human rights violations. There were 12 cases in 2015 and five cases in 2016.

Police Chief Inspector Dominga Terrado, head of the PRO-COR’s HRAO said the participants were from the PNP, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), local government unit representatives, academic institutions, church representatives, National Police Commission (Napolcom), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH), media and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). (Liza T. Agoot/ PNA)

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Police, Islamic leaders, clerics set dialogue in Calabarzon region

CAMP VICENTE LIM, Calamba City June 1-- Calabarzon Police Regional Director Chief Superintendent Ma. O. R. Aplasca has scheduled a meeting with Islamic leaders and imams on June to strengthen coordination with local governments and heighten vigilance against entry of lawless elements and terrorist groups in their respective communities.

Aplasca told PNA on Thursday that conference-cum-dialogue would gather Muslim community leaders from Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon.

Aplasca was interviewed before the start of the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) Calabarzon Regional R4A “Orientation on Community and Service-Oriented Policy (CSOP)” which ended on Thursday at the camp's headquarters multi-purpose hall.

Included in the June 8th gathering are the imams (Muslim clerics) of at least five mosques each in five Muslim communities across Calabarzon region, PNP Imam Moksir and salam police from the national police headquarters and the region.

Aplasca said the scheduled morning conference was also agreed upon by the invited Muslim leaders in respect to their observance of the fasting month of Ramadhan.

The meeting with the leaders is apart from their continuing consultations with imams and Muslim communities.

The Organization of Imams Conference of the Philippines has been known to be supportive of President Rodrigo R. Duterte administration’s fight against crime and corruption and federalism as proven by a massive rally they staged at the Luneta Park last February.

The regional police director also ordered provincial police commanders and chiefs of police to sustain full alert status amid the armed encounters in Marawi City.

He called on Calabarzon residents to remain vigilant as the regional police force also heightened peace and order operations and the war on illegal drugs and criminality. (Saul E. Pa-a/PNA)#DEFENDREPUBLIC

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Police report significant success on all-out drug war in Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, May 31 --The unwavering campaign of the Bulacan police and local government units (LGUs) in the province against illegal drugs continues to gain significant grounds, according to the police provincial official here.

Acting Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., announced during the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) meeting chaired by Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado at the Balagtas Hall of the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center here Tuesday afternoon that 507 of the total 569 barangays of the province or 89.58 % have been declared “cleared” of the dope menace since President Rodrigo Duterte launched his no-nonsense all-out-war against illegal drugs in the country.

Caramat also said three villages in the towns of Paombong, Dona Remedios Trinidad and San Ildefonso have been "unaffected". These are Barangays Masukol in Paombong, Kabayunan in Dona Remedios Trinidad and Bubulung Munti on San Ildefonso.

He also reported that from July 1, 2016 to May 15, 2017, the total number of users who surrendered was 37,134 while the total number of drug pushers who surrendered was 1,026.

From the same period, Caramat said that at least 351 armed drug dealers perished in shootouts with lawmen while 3,140 were arrested during anti-drugs operations.

He said that the Bulacan police has conducted 2,069 anti-drugs operations from July 1, 2016 to May 15, 2017.

Likewise, he said that 25 “Bahay Pagbabago” or reformation centers had been established in the province’s 21 towns and three cities and one at the Bulacan Police Provincial headquarters in Camp Gen. Alejo Santos in this capital city.

Caramat said that some 2,086 persons had already “graduated” from the reformation centers where 743 had been given jobs.

He also said that simultaneous opening of Bahay Pagbabago Reformation Center for the new batch of dope reformists in all cities and municipalities would be on June 1, 2017.

Caramat also told Alvarado and the League of Municipalities-Bulacan Chapter president Guiguinto Mayor Ambrosio “Boy” Cruz Jr., that some “Bahay Pagbabago” center needed funding.

Mayor Cruz, for his part, said that they would study a program so they could ask the national government for standard funding of its operation.

The Bulacan police director also said that a total of  27,127 houses were visited in their “Oplan Tokhang” operations.

He said non-stop police operations resulted to the confiscation of 8,589 sachets of "shabu" (4,617.39 grams) and 246 sachets of marijuana (9,234.8 grams).

The total estimated value of confiscated dopes reached PHP10,185,356.00 as per the Dangerous Drugs Board price value, he added.

Meanwhile, Alvarado instructed Caramat to invite the village chieftains of Barangays Masukol, Kabayunan and Bubulung Munti so they could share their approaches and methods on how they were able to keep their respective villages “unaffected" from dangerous drugs. (Emil G. Gamos/PNA)#REALNUMBERS

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Police regional command sends augments troops to Marawi

CAMP ALAGAR, Cagayan De Oro City, May 29 — The regional police command in Northern Mindanao on Monday sent a company of augmentation troop to the strife-torn Marawi City.

Superintendent Lemuel Gonda, the spokesperson of the police regional command here, said the troops belonged to the police Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) led by Superintendent Nelson A. Aganon.

The RPSB would be deployed in various areas in Marawi City in the conduct of a joint operation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Marawi against the Maute local terrorist group on the ground.

Gonda said the regional police command also closely coordinating with the AFP in all police operations in the area, including Northern Mindanao in combating terrorism in the region.

According to Gonda, the police regional command is also coordinating with the local government unit here after receiving reports that hundreds of evacuees from Marawi City had settled in the village of Barra, Opol, Misamis Oriental.

An exodus of thousands of residents in the predominantly Muslim community in Marawi City evacuated at the start of the armed conflict between government troopers and the Maute local terror group since last Tuesday.

The evacuees went to the neighboring cities like Iligan and Cagayan De Oro were they temporarily settled with relatives, the police report said.

Gonda said that the police regional command and the LGU would coordinate in conducting a profile of the evacuees.

”We simply want to know their identities and where they came from,” Gonda said, as he urged the Muslim community in Cagayan De Oro City to cooperate. (CD/PNA)

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Bicolanos say martial law will keep people safe from terror groups

LEGAZPI CITY, May 29 — A random interview with Bicolanos from the cities of Legazpi and Naga and the provinces of Albay and Catanduanes showed support for the declaration of martial law by President Rodrigo Duterte as they believed it was meant to keep the people safe from the terrorist groups.

They said they have friends in Mindanao who had shared that their feeling of security had been buoyed by the presence of the police and soldiers in their areas.

Rosalieh C. Luces of Legazpi City in Albay, said “martial law is for the safety of the people of Mindanao. It is needed because of the extreme violence of the Maute and terrorist groups in Mindanao.”

“The terrorists should be wiped out so they would not increase in number and get more outside support that would heighten their influence,” she said.

Kristine Lagman of Tabaco City, Albay, an architect and former president of the United Architects of the Philippines, Tabaco City chapter, said “violent extremism should be stopped at the soonest possible time”.

“I am more afraid of the terrorists than the imposition of martial law,” said Lagman who shared that her friends in Mindanao had told her they felt safer because of the declaration.

Maureen Cezar Camposano, a resident of Naga City in Camarines Sur, who had lived in Mindanao “for so long,” said her friends and relatives in Mindanao felt safer and more at peace due to presence of police and soldiers everywhere.

She said the declaration could cause immediate change as the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) could easily suppress lawlessness.

Camposano believed “the President will not abuse his power.”

Orpha Barba, a resident of Bato, Catanduanes said President Duterte knew what would be beneficial to the people.

“The imposition will also stop the sympathizers of the lawless group in Mindanao," she said.

Barba said the AFP found it difficult to suppress the lawless group because of some people who had helped them escape.

“The visibility of the military and the full alert status of the PNP and AFP (in some areas) are ways of keeping the civilians safer,” she said.

Glee Pedrico, who has roots in Catanduanes but is now a teacher of Rang-ay Integrated School in South Cotabato, shared her experience with martial law. "There is martial law here but honestly “hindi malupit ang mga sundalo or kapulisan” (the soldiers and police are not cruel).

She said “they are only strict in the checkpoints and ask all passengers of private and public vehicles to disembark and show valid IDs.”

"We left for Davao from South Cotabato at 12:00 a.m. but there was no untoward incident that happened and we did not sense any danger (hindi naman magulo or delikado).”

Atty. Jeffrey Louis G. Ilagan, who regularly visits his relatives in Albay, said the effects of martial law would ultimately depend on the government who should uphold its mandate to serve and protect the people while the people must keep a watchful eye against any form of abuse that may be committed by the forces implementing martial rule.

The President, in his report justified the proclamation of martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus by citing the possibility other terror groups operating in Mindanao would take advantage of the situation, Ilagan added.

"The development may be considered as catalyst for salvation, it could be strong remedy that could swiftly end the extremist insurgency in Mindanao", the lawyer added. (Connie B. Destura/PNA)

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Police to Ormoc residents: Remain calm, vigilant amid martial law in Mindanao

ORMOC CITY, Leyte, May 29 — The city police here encouraged the public to enjoy the city’s calmness following the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, adding the metropolis was not directly affected after all.

City police chief Sr. Supt. Ramil L. Ramirez urged locals to remain vigilant and report immediately to the authorities for possible sightings of suspicious persons in the neighborhood.

He expressed assurance that the local police were doing their tasks together with the troops from the Philippine Army in ensuring public safety.

“We have intensified our normal routines together with the army soldiers in conducting checkpoints at strategic areas. Along with this is the increased visibility of the composite team and conduct roving even at the secluded villages,” Ramirez said.

“Suspicious groups are also checked to ensure the safety of the community,” he went on.

The police have augmented personnel at the local port to work with the Philippine Coast Guard in safeguarding the coming in and out of tourists and also to halt bad elements who may barge into the peaceful city.

The Aviation Security Group takes care of the safety at the airport located some eight kilometers from the city.

City public safety company chief Supt. Joel Camacho said seaborne patrol operations with Bantay Dagat had been done at the city shores in support to the Coast Guard.

“These are aside from enforcing city fishing ordinance wherein just recently, the team confiscated unlicensed fishing paraphernalia and unregistered motorized boat from local fisher folks,” he said.

Ramirez also assured that they were keeping close eye at the city boundaries safeguarding against entries of possible bad elements.

Ormoc City is a first class independent component city in Leyte province in Eastern Visayas region and home to 215,031 people, making it the second most-populous city in the province after Tacloban City, the regional capital. The city is the economic, cultural, commercial and transportation hub of western Leyte.(Elvie Roman Roa/PNA)#DEFENDREPUBLIC

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President Duterte to troops on terror drive: ‘We will win’

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, May 26 – “We will overcome, we will win,” President Rodrigo Duterte told soldiers Friday in Iligan City, referring to the war against local terror groups in the country.

The President issued the pronouncement as sporadic fighting between government troops and local terror groups continued in some parts of Marawi City, 45 kilometers southwest of Iligan City.

Clashes between the government troops and the Maute and Abu Sayyaf terror groups erupted Tuesday afternoon in Marawi. State forces were out to arrest top Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, who was reportedly coddled by the Maute Group.

The military reported that as of midnight Thursday, 31 terrorists and 11 government troops were killed and 55 others were wounded in the clashes that displaced thousands of residents.

Duterte, accompanied by top cabinet officials, arrived in Iligan City at around 4:00 p.m. Friday to visit the wounded government troops and the evacuees who sought refuge in the city.

In his short talk aired live on television, Duterte confirmed before soldiers of the Army's 2nd Mechanized Brigade the presence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Mindanao.

Obviously to raise the morale of the state forces, Duterte said that there is no reason that “we could not win because the military has modern weapons, air assets and modern medical equipment.”

“There is always a time for everything — a time for peace and a time for war. In the meantime, let us fight for the country. But just be careful,” Duterte said.

He said that if given a chance, he would fight side by side with the government forces, but his body could no longer sustain the physical rigors.

“I am here to say to you to fight, I will pray for you, and answer everything,” Duterte said.

The President disclosed that he asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for a soft loan to acquire modern weapons to fight the terrorists.

Duterte reiterated the government will crush down the terrorists who will not yield peacefully.

“I want them to lay down their firearms. But for the hardliners, let us go to war...My instruction is to kill them,” he said.

Duterte said that the Maute brothers were former policemen in Manila who were drawn to illegal drugs.

From Manila, the Maute brothers went home to Marawi and operated the largest shabu factory in the area, the President said.

Their firearms were locally manufactured, he added.

The Maute Group started from the shabu business until they were recruited by Isnilon Hapilon, an Abu Sayaff leader who professed to be recognized by the ISIS, Duterte said.

Duterte also disclosed that the local ISIS is supported by disgruntled politicians and drug lords.

He said the government would not stop until the conflict in Marawi is resolved.

“Let us pray for the deliverance that our men would not suffer casualties, he said.

On the implementation of martial law, Duterte reiterated his instruction to kill the armed men who fight the government.

“I am here to say to you, ‘fight.’ I will pray for you and would answer everything,” Duterte said.

He said that under the “ramification” of martial law, “I, and I alone would be responsible. Just do your job.” 
(PNA)#DefendRepublic

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Lady rebel surrenders to AFP in Kalinga, guns seized

BAGUIO CITY, May 22 — A female member of the New Peoples Army voluntarily surrendered to the 50th Infantry Battalion at their Headquarters in Barangay Camalog, Pinukpuk, Kalinga over the weekend, Lt. Colonel Gulliver Señires said on Monday.

Señires said Liza Tongdo Gumabay, also known as “Raida”, 32 years old, and the party wife of the late communist terrorist leader Ruben Gumabay, also known as “Rashid” of the Kilusang Larangan Guerilla (KLG) Baggas, a local communist terrorist group operating in the province of Kalinga, surrendered to the government on May 21.

Señires assured that the government will provide her the assistance under the comprehensive local integration program (CLIP). The said surenderer is still at 50IB headquarters for documentation.

A total of 30 NPA members have surrendered to the 5th ID, majority of which are from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

In a statement released on Monday, Major General Paul Atal, 5ID Commander said “the influx of surrenderers from the communist terrorist group is a clear manifestation that our message of peace is already penetrating the core of their twisted belief and doctrine that is misleading some of the Filipinos living in the hinterlands of Cagayan Valley and Cordillera.” Atal said.

He also urged the other rebels “to lay down their arms and abandon their unworthy arms struggle against the government. Instead, they should actively participate in the political arena and help transform our country to what they think is good for the people. Let us settle our differences in a peaceful way. We are all Filipinos.”

Meanwhile the 50ID also discovered war materiels in Sitio Anyang, Barangay Wagud, Pinukpuk, Kalinga on May 20.

The M16 Rifle, a barrel and a short magazine, together with five meter electrical wire were discovered by the soldiers while doing security patrol. It can be recalled that in April, the troops also discovered war materiel inside a drum at Barangay Apatan in Pinukpuk town.

Señires said the war materiel are believed to be buried by a rebel who attended the burial of late Rudy Miguel, one of the communist terrorists who died during an encounter with the 50IB in May 13 in Balbalan, Kalinga. Miguel’s body was brought to his family in Pinukpuk town. (Liza T. Agoot/ PNA)

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Highway Patrol Team intensifies operations against traffic violations

DUMAGUETE CITY, May 22 — A total of 51 citation tickets and Temporary Operators Permits (TOPs) were issued by Highway Patrol Team (HPT) in Negros Oriental in just one day.

The HPT, headed by Police Senior Inspector Robelito Mariano, on Monday intensified its conduct of anti-canapping operations and monitoring of violations of the Land Transportation Code on the Philippines.

Of the number, 35 motorcycles were impounded, while verification is ongoing to determine if any of these are stolen vehicles or not.

Mariano said HPT Negros Oriental was assisted by 12 personnel from the highway patrol group in the Negros Island Region, with only two of them being deputized by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to issue TOP, and three other personnel deputized by the Dumaguete City government to issue citation tickets.

Questions were raised as to why the HPT singled out the motorcycles. Mariano disclosed they also flagged down four wheel vehicles but these had complete papers.

He advised motorists to fix accessories of their units, bring original copies of the Certificate of Registration and Official Receipts as well as driver’s license so driving would be enjoyable in the city.

He explained the revised schedule of penalties was provided for under a Joint Administrative Order (JAO) between the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the LTO, and the highway patrol group was merely enforcing the JAO and other road regulations.

Since not all are LTO deputized agents, those who were issued citation tickets during the anti-carnapping operations were lucky because of lesser fines and penalties.

The next biggest problem now of the HPT is the impounding area for motorcycles that were issued citation tickets and TOPs, Mariano said.

The first day of operation was at the Bagacay-Valencia route while the next day will be at the routes going to Sibulan or Bacong. (Juancho Gallarde/PNA)

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Standard police stations to rise in 7 Iloilo towns

ILOILO CITY, May 22—Standard police office buildings will soon rise in seven towns in Iloilo province according to the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO).

The stations are to be constructed in the municipalities of San Miguel, Estancia, Leon, Lambunao, Barotac Viejo, Tigbauan and San Dionisio.

IPPO spokesperson Police Chief Inspector Aaron Palomo on Monday said that these projects were now in their bidding process.

The construction of the buildings is part of the continuing transformation program of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to improve the performance of policemen.v The budget depends on the classification of the building to be constructed, Palomo said.

Based on the PNP National Headquarters (NHQ) Bids and Awards Committee Resolution No. 077, a city police office buildings costs PHP17.5 million; type A building costs PHP7.4 million; type B/C costs PHP4.6 million and Community Police Action (COMPACT) costs PHP1.2 million.

Palomo said that big police office buildings were proposed in big towns like Lambunao, Estancia and Barotac Viejo. He added that once the towns were done with the bidding, the buildings might be completed in two to five months.

The construction of the building will be fully funded by the PNP national headquarters.

With the new and standard facilities, Palomo stressed that policemen would have "good working atmosphere that could improve the performance of policemen and better serve the public."

He added that it would also "create spirit of independence" as they will fully own the facility unlike before that they do not own their building and lots and were dependent on local government units

With the seven additional facilities, 28 of its 42 towns and one component city of the province will have standard police office buildings.

Palomo assured that they are now working with the 13 remaining towns to have their own standard police stations.

"We are working hard so that 100 percent of our towns in the province will have new and standard police stations," he said. (Cindy B. Ferrer/PNA)

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DTI-Bulacan holds 'Diskwento Caravan' in San Jose del Monte City

SAN JOSE DEL MONTE CITY, Bulacan, May 22—In a bid to help parents and students search for low-priced school supplies and other items, the Department of Trade and Industry- Bulacan Provincial Office conducted a two-day back-to-school edition of “Diskwento Caravan” at the Dalisay Market, Tungkong Mangga over the the weekend.

The back-to-school sale was carried out in partnership with the local government of San Jose Del Monte City.

DTI-Bulacan Provincial Director Rhine Aldana said that the “Diskwento Caravan” was a regular program of the agency offering at least 10 percent discount on basic and prime commodities, school supplies and other products.

She said that bags, school supplies, breads, canned goods, vegetables, processed meat and other grocery products were sold during the caravan.

She also said that buyers from different part of San Jose del Monte City swarmed over the place to buy discounted items.

Aldana said that “Diskwento Caravan” became popular to the buying public because of the discount being offered which could go up to 50% for selected items.

“This eases the burden of the buyers in spending more money on basic and prime commodities and other essential goods. Diskwento caravan also offers Noche Buena edition during Christmas season to make Noche Buena products affordable to the consumers for a bountiful celebration,” she added. (Emil G. Gamos/ PNA)

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Calabarzon police couples renew marriage vows

CAMP VICENTE LIM, Calamba City, May 22 — Around 100 police couples renewed their wedding vows inside this camp over the weekend, replete with police ceremonial honor guards and a banquet reception.

Chief Superintendent Ma. O Ranada Aplasca, Calabarzon police regional director, and wife Ma. Rica led the police couples who are celebrating their wedding anniversaries in April, May and June.

“I believe that camaraderie and oneness among personnel in this family-oriented police service is important and it is a great inspiration to see couples understand the true blessing of matrimony,” said Aplasca.

Aplasca initiated the first wedding anniversary celebration in the Calabarzon Police Regional Office under his family-oriented activities and shared the couple’s success story for their 20-year marriage, which is blessed with seven children.

Philippine National Police Academy ceremonial honor guards accorded the couples the traditional ceremonial salute as they entered the covered court adorned with a full wedding setup. A pastor presided over their renewal of vows.

The couples also exchanged wedding rings, shared cake, had their toast of wine and released doves, after which the husbands offered flowers to their wives.

Tokens and certificates of commendation were also presented to couples who have demonstrated their love, sacrifice and care for their families.

Ricardo Battalier, a non-uniformed personnel (NUP) of the Calabarzon Regional Operations and Plans Division, and his spouse, who celebrated their 45 year wedding anniversary, won a free trip for two to Boracay.

Another NUP, Cherry D. Dato, of the Regional Police Strategy Management Unit, and her husband won a free overnight “staycation” at a hotel in Tagaytay City. 
(Saul E. Pa-a/PNA)

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Police arrest drug suspects in anti-illegal drugs weekend operations

DUMAGUETE CITY, May 22 — Philippine National Police (PNP) operatives arrested four suspected drug pushers in separate anti-illegal drugs operations in Negros Oriental over the weekend, including three women.

Police arrested Zenaida Pancho Somualde, 40 years old, married and a resident of Barangay 2 of Bais City around 2:10 p.m. Sunday at Sitio Lag-it, Barangay Okiot during a buy-bust operation after allegedly selling one heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet containing suspected shabu granules/powder to an undercover operative.

Subsequently, during body search, police confiscated from her two more heat-sealed plastic sachets with suspected "shabu" and PHP500 marked buy-bust bill.

In Dumaguete City, the City Drug Enforcement Unit of the Dumaguete Police Station arrested suspect Geraldine Generoso Las Piñas, 42, widow and a resident of Purok Maanyag, Sitio Canday-ong in Barangay Calindagan around 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

She was allegedly caught in the act of selling one heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet containing suspected shabu granules to a police officer posing as a buyer.

Also recovered were one black pouch containing two pieces heat-sealed plastic sachet and three big pieces plastic sachet containing suspected "shabu", cash money and a cellphone.

Also on Saturday at 6:00 p.m., police conducted an anti-illegal drugs operation at Barangay Balugo in Sibulan town, which resulted to the arrest of the couple, Denaquiel Aran Ciano, 40 and his wife Raelyn Besano Ciano, 43.

Both are residents of Balugo, Sibulan.

The police recovered from the husband and wife four pieces of heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets with suspected "shabu" and the marked PHP500 bill used in the buy-bust operation. (Judy Flores Partlow/PNA)

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Couple, 5 others nabbed in Bulacan anti-drug sting

CITY OF SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, Bulacan, May 20— Police arrested an alleged drug-pushing couple and five others during an anti-drug operation inside a suspected dope den in Racho Libis, Barangay Assumption here Friday night.

In a report to Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat Jr., Supt. Fitz Macariola, head of the SJDM City police station, identified the arrested couple as Jimboy Damasco and Angela Reyes, both resident of the said village.

Macariola said the duo were arrested after selling a plastic sachet of "shabu" to a police undercover agent, who along with the City Drug Enforcement Group, has been monitoring them after receiving information that the suspects were using their house as a selling point and a dope den at the same time.

He said the operation was conducted in coordination with the regional office of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

Five others identified as Regina Barroquina, Ruffa San Juan, Rosen Telles, William Turata and Paul Adonis San Luis were subsequently arrested after they were caught in the act of sniffing "shabu "during the conduct of the drug-bust operation, Macariola added.

The police team recovered 10 plastic sachets containing suspected "shabu", the marked money used in the buy bust and assorted paraphernalia.

Appropriate charges will be filed against the suspects. (Emil G. Gamos/PNA)

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2 suspected drug pushers dead in Bataan buy bust

LIMAY, Bataan, May 19 —Two suspected drug pushers were killed after they tried to shoot it with police in a buy bust operation here Thursday evening.

Police Senior Supt. Benjamin Silo, Jr., Bataan police director, on Friday said a certain Rey and his still unidentified companion tried to escape when they apparently sensed that they were dealing with a police-poseur-buyer.

The suspects who were cornered in a vacant lot in an upland sitio in Limay pulled their handguns and fired but missed on the chasing policemen who returned fire and hit them, Silo said.

Scene of the crime operatives recovered from suspects two caliber .38 revolvers with live bullets, fired cartridges, four heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet of shabu, weighing scales and cash of more than PHP2,750.

Police are still waiting for relatives to claim the bodies and their identification known. (Ernie B. Esconde/PNA)

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5 dead, 65 nabbed in 'one-time, big-time' anti-drug operation in Davao City

DAVAO CITY, May 19 – Law enforcement and security forces in Davao City launched another "one-time big-time" anti-drug operation Friday dawn in 10 villages here, leaving five suspected drug pushers dead.

Sixty-five others, including women and a minor, were arrested.

Sr. Superintendent Alexander Tagum , Davao City Police Office (DCPO) director, said they conducted the operation to implement 18 search warrants, 34 warrants of arrest and 11 buy-bust operations in separate areas of the city.

The simultaneous operation resulted to the confiscation of 131.4 grams of suspected shabu with an estimated value of PHP1.9 million, 11 motorcycles, six firearms, a dynamite, and a hand grenade, Tagum said.

Tagum said the operation was a result of the series of test buys in 10 villages.

The team was composed of units from the Philippine National Police (PNP) such as the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the Highway Patrol Group, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Task Force Davao, Philippine Coast Guard, and Central 911, among others.

Those killed in the operations were identified as Mark Joseph Gimo-og, 28, of Barangay 76-A; Rolly Arendain of Sagrada Familia, Km 12, Sasa; Alex Cayao of Purok Catigan, Tagakpan, Tugbok; Jonathan LihayLihay Jr of Ilang, Tibungco; and, Louie Francis Reta of Sasa.

Tagum said they were killed when they tried to engage the police during the implementation of the warrants.

Of the 66 arrested persons, 55 are males and 10 are females. A 14-year-old was also among those rescued.

According to Tagum, minors have been used as drug couriers.

PDEA director Adhzar Albani, however, noted the volume of suspected shabu seized during the operation is smaller than the last "one-time big-time" operation, which netted at least 300 grams of shabu.

But, according to Albani, there are more persons arrested this time compared to the last operation.

”It (supply) decreased by more than half. This means supply is smaller,” Albani told reporters in a press conference on Friday noon.

He said even the price of shabu is becoming expensive in Davao, which has been leading in the campaign against illegal drugs since the 1990s, because of lesser supply. Albani said a gram of shabu is now being sold at PHP15,000, the highest price in the country.

Asked where the supply of shabu comes from, Albani said it comes "from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)." He said "it has been known that there are shabu laboratories in some parts of the ARMM."

While Davao City has strict security measures in checkpoints, Albani admitted that not all can be searched when entering the city. He said people can conceal drugs.

“We are not a fascist state,”Albani stressed.

Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio lauded the successful operation.

While the city has been "leading" in the country's anti-drugs campaign, the mayor said there is "no city anywhere with zero criminality,” especially for Davao because of its huge land area.

There are so many people who would take advantage of any situation, and there are people whose objective is to commit crimes, she said.

”But this will not be the first and last time we'll conduct an operation nga ingon ani kadako (as big as this),” she told reporters.

When asked why there are only small-time illegal peddlers caught, the mayor said the "poor are more vulnerable to offers of easy money because of poverty." 
(PNA)#REALNUMBERS

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Ozamiz police chief in ‘hot water’ for 'viral video, harassment'

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, May 15 – The police chief of Ozamiz City is in "hot water" for a viral video that allegedly showed him hitting a drug suspect and for purportedly harassing a local government official there.

The video clip showed Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido, the city police director of Ozamiz, allegedly repeatedly slapping a male individual inside a police precinct last March. The video came out on social media a few days ago.

Senior Superintendent Lemuel Gonda, police regional office spokesperson, said they would conduct an investigation into the incident.

The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption earlier called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) to look into the incident.

Last week, Ozamiz Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog also complained that the city police chief and some of his men went to her house late night on May 4.

Parojinog said the policemen were heavily armed and had surrounded her residence in Barangay San Roque, also known as “Lawis,” a few meters away from where his father, Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., lives.

The vice mayor said her brother called her up and told her Espenido and his men was outside her house.

It was a good thing, she said, that her residence was installed with CCTV cameras that captured the incident.

“I was really disturbed,” the younger Parojinog told reporters in an interview, adding that she found no reason why policemen would surround her home. “Unsa may akong sala (What’s my violation)? Why were they acting that way?”

She then called up her uncle, Octavio Parojinog, and asked him to talk to Espenido. Moments later, the police pulled out.

She said she also heard that Espenido allegedly threatened to burn the whole Lawis if they cannot catch the suspected drug dealers in the area, and even advised the Parojinogs to move elsewhere so they will be spared.

“Why would we leave this place? We’ve been here even before he set foot in Ozamiz. Besides, there are more law-abiding people living here than those who are engaged in illegal drugs,” she said.

She said she is considering on filing a formal complaint against Espenido and his fellow police officers who were there on the night of May 4.

Gonda said they will investigate Espenido on the allegations. He advised the complainants to file a formal complaint to the PNP-10 regional office at Camp Alagar in Barangay Lapasan.

As of this writing Monday, Espenido could not be reached for comment, but in previous interviews with journalists in Ozamiz, Espenido was said to have denied saying such statement.

Before his assignment in Ozamis City last year, Espenido was the former police chief of Albuera, Leyte, the hometown of suspected big time drug dealer Kerwin Espinosa whose father, former town mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., was killed inside a prison facility in that province last year. 
(Jigger J. Jerusalem/PNA)

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Magnitude 3.7 quake jolts Sarangani province

KORONADAL CITY, May 14 --- A magnitude 3.7 earthquake struck Sarangani province at around 6:46 p.m. Sunday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.

The epicenter of the earthquake, which was of tectonic origin, was recorded 23 kilometers southwest of Maasim town, Sarangani, Phivolcs said.

The earthquake was felt at Intensity III in Alabel town, the capital of Sarangani province, and Intensity II in General Santos City.

Phivolcs said it was not expecting any damage due to the temblor. (PNA)

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Villanueva siblings vow to build first public hospital in Bulacan town

BOCAUE, Bulacan, May 14 --Senator Joel Villanueva  and his younger sister Mayor Joni Villanueva-Tugna celebrated Mother’s Day by conducting a medical and dental mission with the villagers of  St. Martha Estate Subdivision, Barangay Batia here Sunday.

By noontime, some 5,000 residents have already availed of the free medical, dental and optical services jointly conducted by the senator’s staff, the municipal government, the Caloocan Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and the Bulacan Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

Sen. Villanueva said that this medical, dental and optical mission will be sustained.

“Now it’s only a medical mission, (but) soon the people of Bocaue will have their own public hospital complete with modern medical facilities, doctors and nurses,” Villanueva, who was the former director general of the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA), said.

The young senator, a native of Bocaue, said the people of Bocaue have been dreaming to have their own public hospital.

He said he will "move heaven and earth" so that this dream will come true soon.

“We have many doctors, nurses and medical technicians. We also have the best medical school so it won’t be long before this dream will become a reality,” the senator said.

Mayor Villauneva-Tugna, for her part, said that this health care project will soon come true "because of the cooperation and the strong faith of the people of Bocaue."

She thanked the Bulacan Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, headed by Executive Vice President Arthur Dy, and the Caloocan Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce for helping them in providing free medical, dental and optical mission for the people of Bocaue. 
(Emil G. Gamos/PNA)   

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TESDA chief warns public of fixers and scams

GUIGUINTO, Bulacan, May 13 --Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Sec. Guiling “Gene” Mamondiong will visit all their 120 training centers in a bid to warn the public of scams and fixers in their agency.

Mamondiong told participants of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) stakeholders conference held at the TESDA training center in Barangay Tabang here Friday, that there were reports of fixers facilitating the acceptance of TESDA applicants which he said was illicit.

The TESDA chief said that he had strictly forbidden such a scam which he said was not only duping Filipinos who want to have decent jobs but was also putting their agency in a bad light.

He that he received a text message from Mindanao that a fixer has victimized a regional director by dropping his name and that the fixer demanded PHP10,000 for facilitating TESDA applicants.

Upon receiving the report, he gave directives to all their regional and provincial directors that he has not authorized any one to act in his behalf in accepting any TESDA applicants.

TESDA scholar receives free tuition and transportation allowance and will be issued a national certificate once the course has been completed, which can be used by the graduate from applying for a local or international job,Mamondiong said.

Currently, there are 830,000 individuals from all over the country that have applied for a TESDA scholarship for around 18,000 technical and vocational courses, which on the average for each course cost PHP7,500.00.

TESDA has also procured PHP600 million worth of equipment for its training purposes to be used in all of its regional training centers in the country and that they are now pushing to have dormitories for their trainees in all of these centers, he said.  

Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado hailed the renewed initiatives and programs of TESDA that would provide opportunities for Bulakenyos to live decent lives. (Emil G. Gamos/PNA)

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Another 'Bahay Pagbabago' opens in Pampanga town

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, May 12 -- Another "Bahay Pagbabago" (Reformation Center) is set to open on Monday in Lubao town, this province as part of the continuing effort to rehabilitate drug surrenderers.

Police Superintendent Monico M. Cadayona, Lubao chief of police, said the Bahay Pagbabago which is located in Barangay Sto Tomas, Lubao, can accommodate at least 50 drug surrenderers.

“Not all surrenderers may enter the Bahay Pagbabago. Only those who will be recommended by the barangay officials. The remaining drug surrenderers in the communities are constantly being monitored by the police,” he said.

Cadayona said the Bahay Pagbabago, in cooperation with Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), would provide livelihood, technical skills trainings and seminars on automotive mechanic, cellphone repair and dressmaking within a span of 30 days.

He also said that the drug surrenderers can join the livelihood program under the Tulong Panghanapbuhay para sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) of the provincial government and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

He disclosed that seven out of the first batch of drug 
surrenderers in Lubao who enrolled in the Bahay Pagbabago last year, were found positive anew of illegal drugs.

"They were immediately brought to Central Luzon Drug Rehabilitation Center in Magalang, Pampanga and others in Mariveles, Bataan," he said.

At present, he said that there are 1,679 drug surrenderers in Lubao town. (Joel Mapiles/PNA)#REALNUMBERS

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Calabarzon cops step up security measures, police operations vs enemy forces

CAMP VICENTE LIM, Calamba City, May 11 -– All regional police officials from provincial to public safety unit commanders and chiefs of police in the Calabarzon region have strengthened security measures in their areas of responsibilities to prevent and preempt any planned atrocities or impending attacks by enemies and insurgents.

Police Superintendent Armie S. Agbuya, command duty officer at the Regional Operations and Plans Division, confirmed on Thursday the marching orders from Calabarzon Police Regional Director Chief Supt. Ma. O R. Aplasca to all police officers and their operating units to sustain target hardening measures and police operations throughout the region.

The order from higher police authorities was issued after the reported attack by rebel groups who overran the Maddela Police Station in Quirino province two weeks ago.

Also, a military encounter with communist and outlawed New People’s Army rebels occurred in Barangay Magsaysay, Infanta, Quezon three days ago.

Aplasca has reiterated to the police forces here the order to stand guard and thwart any terrorist activities of the communist armed group.

Provincial police officials were ordered to conduct regular inspection of police stations and other lower units to check their preparedness and capability.

The orders also tasked all operating units to activate police security containment ring system from the provincial down to the lowest police units.

The joint oversight security conference assessment report also disclosed around 13 violent incidents were reported by Calabarzon police provincial offices from January 1 to May 9.

The report revealed two harassment cases by armed enemy groups in Batangas; a robbery-holdup incident each in Rizal and Batangas; and arson/burning incidents each in Batangas and Quezon and seven armed encounters of the military troops with the enemy groups in the same period.

The headquarters memorandum also directed police to maintain/deploy perimeter guard/duty sentinel in all police stations, sub-stations, PAC base, camps and detachments.

Police were ordered to utilize Barangay Information Networks (BINs) in gathering information about the enemy’s presence in their area of responsibilities and adjacent areas and institute three-tiered defense system.

They were also cautioned to validate reported sightings or presence of enemy groups who might be employing diversionary tactics in their attacks in police stations and other units.

They were also urged to conduct close coordination and constant communications among police stations and “friendly forces” and to never disregard intelligence/information on the enemy as well as the modus operandi used by the communist insurgents or subversives in the attacks. (PNA)

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Quezon PNP to beef up security capability with 2 more maneuver platoons

CAMP VICENTE LIM, Calamba City, May 10 -- The Quezon provincial police office is set to strengthen its internal security operations with two more maneuver platoons to be based in the towns of Sariaya and Mauban after getting the nod from the Calabarzon regional police headquarters here.

According to Police Superintendent Armie S. Agbuya, command duty officer, Calabarzon Regional Operations and Plans Division reported Wednesday that Regional Police Director Chief Superintendent Ma. O Aplasca has approved the request of Police Senior Superintendent Rhoderick C. Armamento, acting provincial director of Quezon Police Provincial Office (QPPO) for additional platoons.

Armamento’s proposal includes the creation of the 7th Maneuver Platoon to be stationed in Sariaya, Quezon particularly covering the Eco-Tourism Road and the 8th Maneuver Platoon to be stationed in Mauban for security operations and peace-keeping in the areas of operation.

Under the PNP National Headquarters (NHQ) Memorandum Circular 2009-020, the Quezon Police Public Safety Company (QPPSC) has an authorized organization structure and staffing pattern of one company headquarter, one technical support platoon and eight maneuver platoons with a strength comprised of 339 personnel.

Armamento, however, reported the QPPSC actual strength of six maneuver platoons with personnel complement of around 323 having a variance of 17 personnel and two platoons.

The police joint oversight committee meeting report here also said that the Operational Guidelines under the police national headquarters memorandum provides that the Provincial Director of the Police Provincial Office is authorized to temporarily preposition appropriate number of maneuver platoons elsewhere within his jurisdiction for tactical reasons subject to the approval of the Regional Director, Police Regional Office.

Armamento said the additional maneuver platoons will boost and rationalize the deployment of police troops to ensure their maximum efficiency in the performance of Internal Security Operations (ISO) as well as to prevent or thwart possible threat and harassment in the areas by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front. (PNA)

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4 cops hurt in Maguindanao roadside explosion

SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao, May 9 (PNA) – Four policemen were hurt when a roadside explosion hit their patrol car Tuesday morning in Rajah Buayan, Maguindanao, an official said.

Three of the police officers were in critical condition, according to Senior Supt. Agustin Tello, Maguindanao police director. 

The police officers were heading to the Maguindanao police provincial office here when the roadside bomb, which was detonated using a cellular phone, went off at around 10:15 a.m., hitting their patrol car, Tello said.

Injured were Senior Police Officer 2 Mohammad Ampatuan, Police Officer 3 Ali Malok, Police Officer 3 Harim Ampatuan and P1 Norodin Olympain.

Although wounded, Olympain managed to drive the shrapnel-hit patrol car to the Maguindanao police provincial hospital here.

“They were to attend a command conference on anti-illegal drugs when the bombing happened,” Tello said.

He said among the suspects they are looking into are members of drug syndicates that the Rajah Buayan police had neutralized the past days.

He said they are also suspecting the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). The BIFF had been under air and ground assaults from the military in nearby Datu Salibo town in the past few days.

“This could be a diversionary tactic,” Tello said of the roadside bombing.

He urged the public to help the police identify those responsible in planting the improvised bomb. 
EOF/PNA

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Balikatan school building project sparks hope in Ormoc villages

ORMOC CITY, May 8 --An upland village in this city is happy to receive new classrooms through the ongoing PHL-US Balikatan Exercise 2017 focused on rebuilding facilities damaged by 2013 super typhoon Yolanda.

Villager Betty Ann Catapon said the two new classrooms inside the Don Carlos Rivilla Elementary School in Boroc village here would help in decongesting the classrooms.

The elementary school has more than 400 enrollees from kindergarten to Grade 6 in the last academic year. To date, a group of 60 children share a single room or 20 more than the ideal number for conducive learning.

The school provides education to children from Boroc and its nine sub-villages. Boroc is more than three kilometers away from the national road and more than five kilometers away from the city’s downtown.

Similar project will also rise in the campus of nearby Margen Elementary School. Principal Elvira de Leon said that the construction of classrooms was timely for the opening of the school year.

At least four classrooms were badly destroyed by super typhoon Yolanda on November 8, 2013, prompting students to use makeshift classrooms for their classes.

“This is timely because this coming school year, four new teachers will be assigned in this school,” according to De Leon. Margen campus has 627 registered students.

De Leon expressed hope that the need for chairs and learning materials would also be addressed after the turn-over of the classrooms.

From the usual war games since 2000, Balikatan Exercise 2017 has shifted to humanitarian assistance to cope with challenges that the country are facing and to prepare the US Forces and the Philippine Army to response during natural calamities and disaster, to carry out delivery of humanitarian aid and enhancing counter-terrorism capabilities.

“Balikatan gives us opportunities to share ideas, to learn from each other, to desire many more years of close relationship and partnership,” said Commander Robert Christian, head of US Armed Forces community relations team.

“We have a long history of working together for our common good, it will be our military and your military and people that we will be working together in times of disaster which is why we are doing this today,” Christian told reporters on Monday.

US Armed Forces joining the Balikatan Exercise 2017 are personnel from the US Air Force, Navy, Marines, Infantry and Seabees or the US Naval Construction Forces. Most of them are stationed in Okinawa, Japan.

Their counterparts from the Armed Forces of the Philippines are personnel from the 546th and the 543rd Engineering Construction Battalion and the Army Reserve Command.

The US troops are also conducting humanitarian civic assistance in selected villages covered by military humanitarian exercise.

Lt. Col. George Domingo of the Philippine Army 8th Infantry Division said the holding of Balikatan Exercise in Eastern Visayas was not only a good experience for soldiers assigned in the region, but also for people always facing threats of natural disaster.

“This is an exercise for our soldiers and the US troops to exchange knowledge in disaster preparation and for us to enhance more our working relationship with other foreign military forces,” Domingo added.

Balikatan Exercise 2017 in Eastern Visayas started early April and will end on May 18 after the turn-over of the constructed classroom to recipient schools. (Roel T. Amazona/PNA)

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Police, PACs set up in Bulacan grotto shrine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ombudsman orders dismissal of 2 Bulacan execs for grave misconduct

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bulacan cops neutralize 2 armed dope dealers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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KADAMAY members urged to live peaceful lives after housing award

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

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

The group forcibly occupied these housing units last March.

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

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

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

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

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3 more drug suspects fall in Bulacan sting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"He inspired even our heroes," Coroza said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Authorities renamed his birthplace as Balagtas.

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

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

Coroza said 'balagtasan' commenced in 1924.

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

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

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Bulacan Provincial Jail opens sportsfest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NBI files another complaint vs 'rent-tangay' suspects

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The municipal government provided trucks that brought them to Pandi.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The participants will come from all the municipalities in Bulacan.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Five most wanted persons in Bulacan fall

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

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

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

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

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Cadets from Mindanao dominate top 10 PNPA graduates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They also said they want the matter be resolved peacefully.

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

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

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

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Suspected big time drug dealer killed in shootout with Bulacan lawmen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anunciacion and Nambio are now in police custody.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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12 dopesters fall in Bulacan sting operations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Govt forces in Bulacan on alert following NPA sightings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Gov urges Bulacan police to help PDEA crush dope menace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Field trips should have safety guidelines — Bulacan solon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Drug surrenderers in Central Luzon reach 129,217

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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New Tarlac police chief vows to prioritize internal cleansing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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CLRAA meet opens in Bulacan Feb. 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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US-based foundation offers surgical, medical mission in Bulacan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Malolos RTC dismisses election protest filed against Bocaue mayor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bodies of 2 drowned Bulacan college students retrieved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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PDEA recognizes drug free provinces, cities in Central Luzon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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PHL to host 4th World Apostolic Congress on Mercy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No firecracker-related fatality was also reported.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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