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Palace on the 'Iglesia ni Cristo' controversy

MANILA, July 25 (PNA) -- The national government’s interest in probing the recent controversy involving members of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) is limited to verifying whether a crime has indeed been committed, Malacañang said Saturday.

Speaking over Radyo ng Bayan, Undersecretary Abigail Valte said both the Department of Justice and the Philippine National Police are already looking into the matter, amid reports that the INC is in possession of high-caliber guns, which it allegedly used to intimidate ministers who are critical of its current leadership.

“Secretary (Leila) de Lima has dispatched a team from the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) to verify allegations, so kung mayroon hong mga ganyan ay maisasama na ito doon sa imbestigasyon,” she said.

“Remember that the State is only concerned with any possibility that a crime may have been committed, pero doon po sa mga ibang pinag-uusapan ay hindi na po kasali ang estado doon,” Valte added.

Valte downplayed questions whether Malacañang is alarmed by these developments, given the fact that INC is known as an influential religious group whose members vote as a bloc in every election.

“‘Yung sa ‘vote as a bloc,’ hindi po natin napag-uusapan ito, in light of the recent incident. But, again, mayroon na ho tayong… Kumbaga, ang NBI nagpadala na po sila ng kanilang team, at tingnan na lang po natin,” Valte said.

“I can say that since this happened, of course, we’re aware of it because it has been plastered all over the news. But, beyond that, medyo marami din pong ibang napapagtuunan ng pansin ang Pangulo,” she added.

The NBI is verifying serious allegations of harassment and abduction involving some ministers and members of the INC, as claimed by Felix Nathaniel ‘Angel’ Manalo in a video posted on YouTube this week, which then spread out to various social media platforms.

Angel is grandson to INC’s founding father Felix, son to the late executive minister, Eraño, and brother to the current leader, Eduardo.

In the video, which ran under two minutes, Angel and his mother, Tenny, claimed that their lives were in danger and were seeking help from the public. They also appealed to their fellow INC members to aid the families of the ministers who allegedly disappeared and are yet to be found.

Angel and the other ministers are reportedly questioning some of the big-ticket projects of the INC, including the construction of the 0-million or P7.8-billion Philippine Arena within the 50-hectare Ciudad de Victoria property of the religious group in Bocaue, Bulacan.

The INC administration denied the allegations of corruption, harassment and abduction, and has since expelled some of its members, including Angel and his mother. (PNA) 
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Angat Dam water rises above MOL 
By Catherine J. Teves

MANILA, July 24 (PNA) -- Water level in Bulacan's Angat Dam finally rose above the 180-meter minimum operating level (MOL) after dipping below such point beginning May, further improving availability of water in this main water source of Metro Manila.

According to the government's weather agency Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Angat's water level reached 180.07 meters as of 6 a.m. July 24, up 0.11 meters from its elevation of 179.96 meters 24 hours earlier.

"That's good news as Angat's water reserve is increasing," said PAGASA hydrologist Richard Orendain.

He noted runoff from previous days' rain in parts of the Angat watershed mainly contributed to such increase in the dam's water reserve.

Orendain expects Angat's water level rise to continue, noting there'll still be rain during 2015's remaining months despite onslaught of El Nino phenomenon.

"That'll help improve Angat's water situation even if rainfall from October to December will likely be already less than average," he said.

People must conserve water, however, even if Angat's situation is improving, particularly since PAGASA forecast El Nino to intensify later this year, he noted.

PAGASA data show Angat's 6 a.m. water level on Friday at 0.36 meters below the dam's 180.43-meter rule curve for the same day.

"Angat's water level and rule curve are almost the same already. Data over the years indicate that once this happens, such water level tends to further rise beyond the rule curve," Orendain said.

Such further rise means more water in Angat Dam, he noted.

Rule curve is the desired water level to satisfy Angat's purpose which is to provide water for irrigation, power generation and needs of Metro Manila residents.

The government established rule curves to help control withdrawal of water from Angat.

PAGASA reported that this year, Angat's water level breached the MOL on May 26 and reached an elevation of 179.98 meters as of 6 a.m then.

Orendain noted Angat's water continued dipping, hitting its lowest 2015 level of 169.14 meters on July 5 before beginning to rise until it reached and surpassed the MOL.

"Angat recovered very fast this year as water level there rose by almost 11 meters in less than a month," he noted.

He added this month's rain due to the enhanced southwest monsoon accounted for much of such water level rise. (PNA) 
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Immigration allows Brown to roam around Metro Manila streets
By Ferdinand G. Patinio

MANILA, July 24 (PNA) -- American singer Chris Brown can roam around the streets of Metro Manila and any tourist destinations within the country while his papers are being processed that will allow him to leave the country.

According to Atty. Elaine Tan, Bureau of Immigration (BI) Spokesperson, since there was no warrant issued against the award-winning artist, he was allowed to visit other places in the Philippines.

“Yes, he could roam the streets of Manila,” she said.

Brown is still in the country after he was barred to leave the country when the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued an order putting him under the Immigration Lookout Bulletin (ILB) together with his promoter, John Michael Pio Roda.

The singer and the promoter are required "to obtain an Emigration Clearance Certificate (ECC) before they will be allowed to depart from the Philippines".

Tan said that the ECC form can be downloaded at the BI website, www.immigration.gov.ph.

She added it could be submitted to any BI office that processes the ECC.

They were barred from leaving the country after the Iglesia ni Cristo wrote a letter to the DOJ, noting that they are looking to file a complaint for violation of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) for estafa against Brown and Roda, in connection with the singer's failure to appear on Dec. 31, 2014 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan for its New Year countdown. (PNA)
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Look out bulletin against singer Chris Brown out

MANILA, July 22 (PNA) -- Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila M. De Lima on Wednesday confirmed that the DOJ has issued a look out bulletin order against the international "R n B" singer Chris Brown.

The order was based on the request of the people behind the organizers of his supposed concert at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan on Dec. 31, 2014.

The Immigration Look Out Bulletin Order (ILBO) was faxed on Tuesday night to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and the copy of the same was also sent to the agency on Wednesday morning.

Chris Brown was about to leave the country on Wednesday morning after his concert on Tuesday night when he was held at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) because of the ILBO. (PNA) 
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President Aquino inspects Angat Dam in Bulacan

NORZAGARAY, Bulacan, July 22 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III said here Wednesday that a P1.08 billion-rehabilitation project would strengthen the structure of the Angat Dam and Dike to enable it to withstand a strong earthquake.

“Todo rehabilitasyon nga po ang gagawin natin dito. Gamit ang pondong 1.08 bilyong piso, layunin nating siguruhin ang stabilidad ng dam at dike, upang sa anumang lindol, kahit pa umabot ng hanggang 7.2 magnitude—o sinlakas ng nakaraang lindol sa Bohol—ay kakayanin pa rin ng strukturang ito,” the President said during his speech after he inspected the dam.

“Kaakibat nito, magkakabit tayo ng flood forecasting and warning system na nagkakahalagang 261 milyong piso, at magsasagawa ng flood control protection works na 292 milyong piso naman po ang halaga,” he said.

The President noted that the Angat Dam has never undergone any major rehabilitation since it was built more than 50 years ago.

Considering that the dam lies near the West Valley fault, the absence of a proper surveillance system and the questionable stability of its structure make the dam vulnerable in case of a major earthquake, putting at risk the lives of some 3 million Filipinos, along with their properties and livelihood, he explained.

Any serious damage to the dam, he said, would also disrupt water supply in Metro Manila and parts of Rizal, Bulacan and Cavite, affecting 15 million people, and cut off irrigation for almost 27,000 hectares of farmlands in Bulacan and Pampanga. President Aquino said the rehabilitation of Angat Dam is part of a bigger strategy to improve the water sector.

"Kabilang din po rito ang Angat Water Utilization and Aqueduct Improvement Project Phase 2, na nakumpleto na natin noon pang 2012, at 10 buwan ahead of schedule. Ongoing naman ang bidding ng iba pa nating proyekto tulad ng Kaliwa Dam sa Rizal, ang Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project, at ang Angat Water Transmission Improvement Project," he added.

The project to strengthen Angat dam, to be spearheaded by the Angat Hydropower Corporation (AHC), will involve increasing the height of the dam’s impervious core and widening its downstream slope.

The AHC is a local corporation co-owned by the SMC Global Power Holdings Corporation, a subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation, and the Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-Water).

K-Water Chief Executive Officer Gye-Woon Choi, in his speech, said since the Angat Dam provides drinking water to 10 million Filipinos, they are committed to complete the project in two years.

He also pledged that AHC will make Angat Dam one of the "most safe and essential facilities" in the Philippines.

Present during the event were Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, San Miguel Corporation President Ramon Ang, AHC President Geung Jeon Han, and K-Water Chief Executive Officer Gye-Woon Choi. (PNA) 
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(Update)
INC weighing estafa charges vs int'l singer Brown, promoter
By Perfecto T. Raymundo

MANILA, July 22 (PNA) -- The Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued an Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order (ILBO) against Grammy Award winning singer Christopher Maurice Brown or "Chris Brown" following request of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC).

The INC told DOJ it was filing a complaint for violation of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) for estafa against Brown and his promoter, John Michael Pio de Roda, in connection with the singer's failed appearance on Dec. 31, 2014 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan for its New Year countdown.

Maligaya Development Corp., administrator of Ciudad de Victoria ,where the INC's Philippine Arena is located, engaged Pio Roda to help INC bring Brown into the Philippines to perform on Dec. 31, 2014 at the Philippine Arena for the New Year's countdown.

"This is to respectfully request for assistance from your good office, for the successful prosecution of the criminal complaint which MDC is lodging against Mr. John Michael Pio Roda and Mr. Christopher Maurice Brown aka Chris Brown for the crime of Estafa," Atty. Glicerio Santos IV, chief operating officer and head legal counsel of INC said in its letter to the DOJ dated July 21, 2015.

DOJ Secretary Leila M. De Lima issued the ILBO.

A copy of the ILBO was received by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) Wednesday morning. (PNA) 
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Ranking rebel leaders bagged in Quezon City, Bulacan operations

MANILA, July 21 (PNA) -- A ranking New People’s Army (NPA) leader and his wife were arrested Monday by combined elements from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group during operations in Quezon City and Bulacan.

Nabbed was Ernesto Lorenzo, aka Ernie Lorenzo/Adlai/Lugod/Archimedes Bella, 1st Deputy Secretary of Southern Tagalog Region.

Lt. Col. Noel Detoyato, AFP public affairs office chief, said Lorenzo was apprehended while at the Gilmore Commercial Plaza, Quezon City at around 12:15 p.m. Monday.

He was arrested by virtue of arrest warrant for criminal case number 2010-450 for destructive arson issued by Judge Dennis R. Pastrana of Branch 66, 4th Judicial Region in Lucena City dated July 21, 2010.

Meanwhile, Joyce Felicia Latayan, his wife, was apprehended by joint units from AFP and PNP in a law enforcement operation at their residence located at Block 6, Lot 10, Silver St., Pecson Ville Subdivision, Barangay Tungkong Mangga in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan at 2:10 p.m. Monday.

The warrant of arrest against her was issued by Judge Rodolfo D. Obnamia Jr. of Branch 64, Regional Trial Court 4 in Mauban Quezon under criminal case 06-2985-M dated Sept. 9, 2008.

Lorenzo was also identified as member of Executive Committee of Southern Tagalog Region and head of its Regional Organization Department.

He was the former secretary of Komprob Quezon and Komprob Laguna.

Both Lorenzo and Latayan are now in the custody of PNP CIDG in Camp Crame, Quezon City. (PNA) 
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One dead, one missing, thousands displaced due to monsoon rains in Central Luzon 
Zorayda S. Tecson

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, July 19 (PNA) –At least one person was confirmed dead and another one missing due to continuous monsoon rains that battered Central Luzon in the past days.

Based on the latest data from the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC), the fatality was identified as Romeo Sunung, 13 of Sitio Dapla, Barangay Salaza, Palauig Zambales who drowned Friday at the Salaza River.

Missing is Arnel Encarnacion, 57, a resident of Barangay Mambog, Botolan, also in Zambales. He was reported missing since Friday.

Josefina Timoteo, chairperson of the RDRRMC and regional director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Region 3, also said that a total of 4,804 families or 22,731 persons in 59 barangays in provinces of Bataan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, and Zambales were displaced.

Timoteo said that of the total affected families, 571 families or 2,492 individuals were in the various evacuation centers in the region while 561 families or 2,057 persons were being served outside the evacuation centers.

She also said that strong monsoon rains caused flooding in some areas in the region.

In Pampanga, a total of 40 barangays in the towns of Macabebe, Guagua, Bacolor, Mexico, Sta. Ana, Minalin, San Simon and in the City of San Fernando were hit by floods up to 4 feet high.

In Bataan, 14 barangays in the towns of Dinalupihan and Hermosa were submerged to floodwater up to five feet high.

Twenty-two barangays in the towns of Cuyapo, Jaen, Licab, Quezon and Zaragosa, all in Nueva Ecija were also affected by flooding up to 4 feet.

Five barangays in San Miguel, Bulacan were also inundated by floodwaters up to six feet. But the floods subsided in those areas at around 6 p.m. Saturday.

Meanwhile, 14 barangays in the towns of Paniqui, La Paz, Camiling and Tarlac City were hit by floodwaters up to 3 feet . (PNA) 
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Bulacan intensifies campaign vs illegal drugs

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 17 (PNA) -- The provincial government of Bulacan, in partnership with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), has intensified its campaign against illegal drugs.

The intensified drive against illegal drugs started with the conduct of a seminar on anti-drug abuse and the formation of the Anti-Drug Abuse Council (ADAC).

Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado said the move aims to raise public awareness on the ill effects of illegal drugs and at the same time, encourage local government units (LGUs) to implement community development programs that focuses on fighting illegal drugs.

Alvarado said the seminar and the formation of ADAC is a great strategy with regard to the formulation of policies and programs on reducing and preventing drug abuse among young Bulakenyos.

“The prevalence of crime is alarming wherein the reported criminals are under the influence of illegal drugs. Drug abuse is the no. 1 problem of the society because it ruins someone’s life,” the governor said.

The governor, who is also the chairman of the Regional Development Council in Central Luzon, also said that the provincial government, with the cooperation of the LGUs, is eager to conduct different outreach and advocacy programs to counter the dangers and ill effects of drug abuse.

Meanwhile, PDEA Region3 Director Gladys Rosales disclosed the current situation of drug abuse in Central Luzon, particularly in the province of Bulacan.

Rosales said that Region 3 ranked fourth in the prevalence of illegal drug use.

She said that there are 330 villages in Bulacan affected by illegal drugs.

In addition, she said that from 1997 to 2016, there were 96 drug laboratories were dismantled wherein eight from Bulacan. (PNA) 
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Bulacan execs, other stakeholders discuss plans to address flood problems

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 16 (PNA) -- Provincial officials led by Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando met Wednesday with dam engineers and mapped out plans to address flood problems and the structural integrity of the three big dams in Bulacan namely Angat, Ipo and Bustos.

During the meeting, Engineer Russel Rigor, senior dam operation engineer of Angat Hydropower Corporation (AHC), revealed that in principle, the long overdue and much- awaited rehabilitation and strengthening of the aging Angat dam in the mountains of Norzagaray has already started.

Rigor told Governor Alvarado and Vice Governor Fernando that K-Water and AHC—the new owner and operator of Angat dam—have started the “pre-construction” phase of the 47 years old rock-filled dam, which according to experts and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) is nestling along the West Valley fault line.

Rigor said that the bidding for the rehabilitation and strengthening of Angat dam has already been done, adding that they are also getting “second opinions” from other experts aside from the feasibility study conducted by the Europe-based Tonkin and Taylor on its repair.

He also told the two provincial officials that the actual construction might start in October or November this year.

“It’s all systems go as far as the fortification and rehabilitation of Angat dam is concerned. The new management is aware of its obligation to the government. The stabilizing phase will be soon,” Rigor said during a meeting called by the governor at his office Wednesday afternoon.

Also present during the meeting were Youn Jong Hyuck, Korean manager of AHC; Engineer Felix Robles of National Irrigation Administration (NIA-Bustos dam); Engineer Mar Rodgriguez of Ipo dam, Alex Pacada and Alfel Roibles of the National Power Corporation; Lina Endoc of AHC; Liz Mungcal, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management officer of Bulacan; Arlene Pascual, head of the Provincial Planning and Development Office and other PDRRMO officials.

Alvarado said he called the meeting because there are now new players in the operations of the three big dams in Bulacan.

“These three dams are competing in the use of waters coming from our mountains. I think we again need proper coordination,” the governor said, adding that he also wanted to know why operators of Ipo and Bustos dams again released excess water during the onslaught of heavy rains spawned by the southwest monsoon and enhanced by typhoon Falcon last week.

The governor said that it is quite ironic why excess waters are once again being released by Ipo dam and Bustos dam at the height of the stormy weather and did not do pre-emptive release before the incoming bad weather.

“There is no water in Angat dam. Its elevation is still in critical level or below the normal level. But, the Ipo and Bustos dams released water. Every time that the dams released water, residents especially those in the coastal towns of Hagonoy and Calumpit are getting scared, so how do we avoid scaring people,” Alvarado asked Engineer Felix of Bustos dam.

Felix told the governor that since Bustos dam is a rubber dam, there is a need to allow overflow to protect the now brittle rubber gates of the irrigation dam.

”Bustos dam is likewise not designed for flood control,” Felix added.

Water discharges from Angat and Ipo dams flows through Bustos dam which, in turn, releases it to the Angat river that snakes into the towns of Pulilan, Baliwag, Plaridel, Calumpit and Hagonoy.

Alvarado said that once Bustos dam released 1,000 cubic meters per second of water, the coastal towns of Calumpit and Hagonoy are always being submerged in deep floods.

The governor has long been batting for the construction of Bayabas river, which flows towards Bustos dam, into a new dam so that it can hold the waters draining towards the dam and ends up into Manila bay.

“Those are God blessings and the natural wealth of Bulacan. If we can properly manage it, we will not only address the perennial flooding but have more water during times of dry season,” Alvarado said, referring to the abundant source of fresh water that goes to waste because it flows down the drain to Manila bay.

The governor also asked the dam engineers to maintain coordination with the PDRRMO every time they will release waters.

“There will be no problem if we will work as a team and talk properly. It is our concern because our job is to protect the province,” Alvarado added. (PNA) 
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Five suspected car thieves slain in Bulacan shootout - By Emil G. Gamos

MARILAO, Bulacan, July 12 (PNA) -- Five heavily-armed suspected members of a carnapping syndicate were killed in a running gun battle with Bulacan policemen and members of the PNP-Highway Patrol Group inside the Heritage Subdivision in Barangay Loma de Gato here early Sunday morning.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina said the slain suspects remain unidentified as of press time.

He said that four of the suspects were killed on the spot while the other one died while being brought to the Nazarenus Hospital in nearby Meycauayan City.

Divina disclosed that prior to the firefight, the Highway Patrol Group 3 (HPG3) coordinated with Supt. Rogelio Ramos, chief of the Marilao Municipal Police Station, informing that they were tailing suspected notorious criminals on board a black Nissan X-Trail with plate number XTU-414 and a blue and clack Yamaha Mio without plate number heading towards the direction of Marilao-San Jose Del Monte Road.

“The chief of police of Marilao, Bulacan immediately directed the Sector 4 MPS patrollers to establish a checkpoint at Likod Bisita in Barangay Loma de Gato, Marilao, Bulacan to check on and block the suspects. Elements of Marilao MPS, while manning the checkpoint, spotted the target vehicles. However, the suspects, upon seeing the established checkpoint, turned right going towards the direction of Heritage Subdivision, Barangay Loma de Gato, Marilao, Bulacan where the members of the HPG3 have established their chokepoint with their blocking force/teams,“ Divina said.

At that instance, Divina said the suspects suddenly fired towards the HPG team, prompting the lawmen to retaliate and an exchange of fire ensued that resulted to death of the four armed suspects.

One of the five suspects was rushed to Nazarenus Hospital in Meycauayan City, Bulacan but was pronounced dead on arrival by the attending physician.

Divina said that a SOCO team from the Bulacan Provincial Crime Laboratory Office (BPCLO) was requested to process the crime scene.

Recovered from the scene of encounter were the following: two caliber .45 pistols; one Ingram sub-machine gun with suppressor (silencer); one KG9 9mm Luger pistol; one fragmentation grenade and two handcuffs.

The recovered pieces of evidence are presently under the custody of BPCLO for examination while the recovered suspected carnapped vehicles - a Nissan X-Trail color black with plate number XTU-414 and Yamaha Mio motorcycle without plate number are temporarily under the custody of Marilao MPS pending further verification.

Divina said that the slain suspects could be members of a notorious carnapping gang that are also engaged in other criminal activities as shown by the high-powered firearms recovered from them. (PNA) 
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Floods submerge 16 villages in Bulacan; two dams opened gates and discharge excess water 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 10 (PNA) -- Heavy monsoon rains enhanced by Typhoon "Falcon" pounded on Friday many parts of the province and inundated 16 villages in two towns and one city.

Latest situation report from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) showed that that the hardest hit area is the City of Meycauayan where 12 villages, namely Bancal (2 feet), Bayugo (3 feet), Gasak (3 feet), Langka (2 feet), Malhacan (4 feet), Zamora (2 to 2.5 feet), Hulo (1 foot), Saluysoy (2 to 2.5 feet), Longos (1 to 1.5 feet), Ubihan (1 foot), Tugatog (1 foot) and Pandayan (1 foot) were flooded.

Also hit by floods were the towns of Marilao and Sta. Maria.

In Marilao, three villages were flooded while one village was affected in Sta. Maria town.

Three persons also died, two of them crushed to death when concrete fences collapsed, in separate typhoon- related incidents last Wednesday.

The fatalities were identified as Irene S. Lumugho, 1, resident of Barangay Pantoc; Aljon Lapitag Jr., 5, resident of Barangay Camalig and Demetrio Ylasco, 75, resident of Barangay Iba, all in Meycauayan City.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, Bulacan PDRRMC chairman, personally supervised operations at the command center of Bulacan Emergency Operation Center at the Provincial Capitol here, together with Vice Governor Daniel Fernando and Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina.

Alvarado said that they are closely monitoring major rivers and waterways as well as water elevation of the three big dams in Bulacan namely Angat, Ipo and Bustos dams.

The governor also instructed Mungcal and Provincial Social Welfare and Development head Rowena Tiongson to speed up delivery of relief goods and medical assistance to affected families.

The PDRRMO also reported that Ipo dam opened Radial Gate 1 and Radial Gate B and discharged 346.6 cubic meters per second (cms) of water from 5:30 a.m to 7 a.m. after its spilling level of 101 meters was breached by .20 meters early Friday morning.

Bustos dam also opened one of its washed out gate and released 24 cms of water after its elevation reached 17.60 meters (spilling level 17.70 meters).

The monsoon rains aggravated by Typhoon Falcon, however, did not made significant rise in the water elevation of Angat dam which is still way below its critical level of 180 meters. 
As of 5 a.m. Friday, the water level at Angat dam was 171.66 meters which is still way below its spilling level of 210 meters. (PNA) 
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3 die in Bulacan due to inclement weather
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 9 (PNA) --Three persons, including a one-year old baby girl and a five-year old boy, died in the province at the height of heavy rains Wednesday afternoon, according to the Provincial Disaster Risk and Management Office (PDRRMO).

The casualties were identified as Irene S. Lumugho, 1, a resident of Barangay Pantoc; Aljon Lapitag Jr., 5, a resident of Barangay Camalig and Demetrio Ylasco, 75, a resident of Barangay Iba; all in Meycauayan City.

Bulacan PDRRM officer Liz Mungcal said that Lumugho died after getting pinned by a concrete fence of RLMU Trucking Company that collapsed during the height of heavy rains while Lapitag drowned in a flashflood.

Ylasco, on the other hand, died when he was crushed by a concrete fence of Lapadema factory that also collapsed at the height of the heavy downpour.

Mungcal also reported to Bulacan PDRRMC chairman and Governor Wilhelmino Sy- Alvarado that mayors in the cities of San Jose Del Monte and Meycauayan, and in the towns of Bocaue, Obando, Bulakan, Sta. Maria, Calumpit, Hagonoy, Paombonmg, Guiguinto and Marilao suspended classes in all levels Thursday morning.

The heavy rains that flooded some villages in Marilao town, however, did not even made a dent in the water level of Angat dam which remains at 169.94 or 11 meters below the critical level of 180 meters and way below its spilling level of 210 meters.

The water level at Ipo dam was 100.94 meters with a spilling level of 101 meters.

The governor instructed Mungcal to monitor and assess the damages that might be brought by the continuous monsoon rains. (PNA) 
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Public schools along Valley Fault System strengthen readiness for earthquake

MANILA, July 9 (PNA)--The Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday started holding a series of orientations on earthquake preparedness for principals and school administrators in 1,134 public schools in the National Capital Region, Region IV-A, and Region III, areas surrounding the Valley Fault System.

The orientation aims to equip school heads and administrators with the right information to increase the level of preparedness of schools not just for earthquakes but also for other possible risks.

“There is no such thing as overdose of information. We need to cascade this disaster preparedness information,” Noel Bagano, Muntinlupa City Assistant Schools Division Superintendent (ASDS), said.

DepEd Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO) Project Officer Mariel Bayangos discussed the comprehensive DRRM in Basic Education Framework.

“Why is there a need for us to have a common framework? We need to establish an overall strategy para kahit saan mang school tayo magpunta, we have a common language,” Bayangos said.

The Comprehensive DRRM in Basic Education is guided by education outcomes and, at the same time, anchored in the four thematic areas: prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery, and rehabilitation.

Specifically, DepEd adopted the Comprehensive Safe Schools Framework to align DRRM implementation in basic education, which is presented in three pillars: safe learning facilities, school disaster management, and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in education.

Comprehensive DRRM in Basic Education Framework discussion encompasses the structural and nonstructural measures such as the adopted disaster resilient classroom design, the strengthened construction monitoring process, enhanced design of temporary learning spaces, the establishment of DepEd DRRM offices nationwide, and the policy on student−led school watching and hazard mapping.

Bayangos added that DRRM and CCA are already integrated in the K to 12 curriculum and the DRR reference materials are being uploaded in the learning portal.

Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) Geologist Mabelline Cahulogan discussed geologic hazards like the occurrence of ground rupture and liquefaction.

“We all know that the Philippines is situated at the Pacific Ring of Fire and it is crucial for us to be disaster prepared,” Cahulogan said.

“Everyday, our instruments at PHIVOLCS record at least 20 earthquakes. Hindi lang natin sila nararamdaman… We can live with the fault as long as we are prepared and ready. Hindi po natin kailangan mag-panic. Sa halip, kailangan lang po natin maging prepared,” she added.

The geologic hazards discussion was followed by an open forum to address questions from school principals and education administrators relative to disaster preparedness. Family earthquake preparedness

The orientation ended with the briefing on the Family Earthquake Preparedness Homework in line with DepEd Order No. 27 entitled “Promoting Family Earthquake Preparedness.”

The homework requires all students to answer a set of questionnaires with their parents to assess their family preparedness before, during and after an earthquake.

The class advisers will discuss each of the questions and shall tabulate and summarize the answers which will be submitted to the school administration.

The school heads shall be the one to discuss the results to the Parents−Teachers Association (PTA) and barangay officials.

Over 400 school principals, administrators and DRR coordinators from six Metro Manila cities (Las Pinas City, Muntinlupa City, Paranaque City, Pasay City, Taguig City, and Makati City) and Region III (Norzagaray and San Jose del Monte, Bulacan) participated in the five first batches of the orientation.

The orientation on earthquake preparedness will continue Friday at Jose Rizal Memorial School in Calamba City for those school administrators, principals and DRRM coordinators from Biñan, Carmona, Calamba, Rodriguez, San Mateo, San Pedro, Sta. Rosa and Silang, Laguna.

More than 200 participants are expected to attend Friday.

The last leg of the orientation on July 13 will be participated by principals from Manila, Navotas, Caloocan, Malabon and Valenzuela cities. (PNA)
RMA/LOR

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Bulacan intensifies efforts to make the province illegal recruitment free

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 3 (PNA) --The provincial government, through the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) and Workers Education Division (WED) of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration signed Thursday a memorandum of agreement (MOA) in an effort to make the province illegal recruitment free.

Among the stakeholders who signed the agreement were Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, Philippine Overseas Employment Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, Overseas Workers Welfare Administrator Rebecca Calzado and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) director Teodoro Gatchalian.

Alvarado said the initiative will help fight illegal recruitment in the province that causes some Bulakenyos to suffer financial difficulties.

The Barangay Training and Employment Coordinator (BTEC) mass oath taking was also held wherein officials and members were oriented of their responsibilities.

Also, the OFWs Family Circle Federation took their oath to help fight illegal recruitment.

Provincial PESO manager Elizabeth Alonzo discussed about the responsibilities of PESO managers and BTEC in each town and city to help achieve a province free from illegal recruitment.

“If they are offering salary and other benefits that you think is too good to be true, it is not true and there are various ways to know whether they are illegal recruiter, you can look at the websites of POEA and PESO,” Alonzo said.

Antonio Mutuc of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) also discussed their programs about career guidance, implementation of website for an easier access to job hunting for fresh graduates and unemployed.

Kabuhayan starter kits were also distributed for the BTEC skills training graduates. (PNA) 
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'Coastal Road' project to spur more growth in Central and Northern Luzon 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 2 (PNA)--Government officials and different sectors in Central Luzon are hoping that the would-be successor of President Benigno S. Aquino III will continue the implementation of various development programs known as “engines of growth” that is being pushed to further boost the economic miracle now being experienced in the booming region.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, chairman of the Regional Development Council (RDC) in Central Luzon, said that many key infrastructure projects have already been approved by the RDC-III that are not only geared to spur more growth and development in Central Luzon but also to make the Philippines one of the surging investment magnets in the Asia- Pacific region.

He said that barring any hitches, mammoth projects that will speed-up and bring more growth and development in the region is now underway.

He said the people of Central Luzon want the successor of President Aquino to also give priority on the projects because those were designed to boost economic stability not only in the region but in the whole country as well.

Alvarado said that among those infrastructures include the “Coastal Road” project that will link the special economic zone in Cavite, National Capital Region to the Bataan Special Economic Zone and Subic Freeport area with a fast highway network connecting it to the international airport at the Clark Special Economic Zone in Pampanga.

Also known as the Manila-Bataan BOT (Built-Operate-Transfer), the coastal road project is expected to decongest the nagging chaotic traffic mess in Metro Manila, especially at the Port Area.

“Aside from decongesting and addressing the traffic woes in Metro Manila, the construction of the coastal road will open new avenues for growth and development especially along the coastal towns in the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan and Zambales. The economic impact of the project will also spillover to the inland provinces of Tarlac, Nueva Ecija and even Aurora and other parts of Northern Luzon,” Alvarado said.

He said that delivery of basic goods and materials will be faster and efficient since it will become easier to transport goods from Metro Manila to the special economic zones in Bataan, Pampanga and Zambales and vice versa.

He said that the RDC-III has already approved the project which was based on the feasibility studies prepared by the United States of America-based Wilbur Smith Associates in association with TCGI Engineers-Philippines and the Sycip, Gorres, Velayo and Company under the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

He said that the coastal highway will also be designed to control the flow of tides and help solve the flooding problems in the coastal areas in Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan.

The governor said that in Bulacan alone, coastal villages in the City of Meycauayan and in the towns of Hagonoy and Obando are constantly being submerged by floods due to high tide.

Alvarado also sees the spark of economic boom that will have impacts on the coastal areas along Manila bay.

“People in these areas will have new livelihood opportunities,” he said.

Last Wednesday, Central Luzon National Economic Development Authority Regional Director Severino Santos confirmed to Bulacan Provincial Planning and Development Office chief Arlene Pascual that they are set to present the approved coastal road project to executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., and to Budget Secretary Butch Abad.

Aside from the coastal road project, RDC-3 is also working on the fast railway system that will link the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to the international airport inside the Clark Special Economic Zone in Angeles City, Pampanga.(PNA) 
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PRO3’s kicks off 20th Police Community Relations Month

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, June 29 (PNA) -- The Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3), on Monday kicked off the 20th Police Community Relations (PCR) Month at the PRO3 parade ground here.

With this year’s theme “Matibay na Ugnayan ng Mamayan at Pulisya, Simbolo ng Kapayapaan sa kaunlaran ng Sambayanan,” the celebration was highlighted by the awarding of medals to police commissioned officers, police non-commissioned officers and local government officials, including civilians who supported and contributed to various PCR activities within Central Luzon.

Chief Supt. Ronald V. Santos, officer-in-charge of the Police Regional Office-3, said the month-long celebration will include different activities that will highlight the importance of a solid partnership between the police and the community in the effective maintenance of peace and order and community development.

The individual awardees were Police Supt. Amelia D. Garcia, chief, PCR, Tarlac PPO; SPO4 Emelita Bautista, Bulacan PPO and PO2 Cherry Anne P. Bacallo, Tarlac PPO;

The unit awards went to Tarlac PPO headed by Police Senior Supt. Alex B. Sintin, provincial director; Olongapo City Police Office headed by Police Senior Supt. Pedrito F. Delos Santos; Cabanatuan City Police Station headed by Police Supt. Pedro Soliba and Baliwag Municipal Police Station headed by Police Supt. Enrico H. Vargas.

Meanwhile, Tarlac Governor Victor A. Yap was awarded the Best Supportive Local Chief Executive for the Year 2015. (PNA) 
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Crown-shape Pagoda set sails at Bocaue river on Friday night - By Emil G. Gamos

BOCAUE, Bulacan, June 26 (PNA)--The crowd-drawing fluvial festival in this town in honor of the venerated “Mahal na Krus sa Wawa” (Holy Cross of Wawa) is getting more majestic and captivating.

A more colorful pagoda carrying the venerated cross will again set sail for a nine-day Novena beginning on Friday night at the Bocaue river.

Jim Valerio, chief of staff of Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and this year’s Hermano Mayor of the fluvial festival, said the pagoda is designed like a crown that aptly depicts the “crowning glory” of the strong leap of faith of the people of Bocaue.

“The pagoda of the “Mahal na Krus sa Wawa” symbolizes the strong devotion of the people here in Bocaue and the colorful tradition of our town,”Valerio said.

He said that only 200 people will be allowed to board the pagoda every night and on its feast day to ensure that the tragedy that happened 22 years ago --when the overcrowded three- tiered pagoda (made of out lumber) sank in the murky waters of Bocaue river on July 2, 1993, that claimed the lives of at least 300 devotees--will not be repeated.

Aside from this, he said that Governor Alvarado has instructed the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) headed by Liz Mungcal to deploy more rescue teams, complete with rubber boats, ambulance and paramedics and ensure that fluvial festival will be safe and secured.

Maneuver platoons from the Provincial Public Safety Company of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office were also deployed to beef up local policemen in securing the riverside area, Valerio said.

He also said that after the fluvial festival, the “crown-shaped” pagoda will be converted into a chapel at the portion of the river where the venerated cross was found floating.

According to legends, a woman was saved from drowning by a floating cross which is presumed to be the Mahal na Krus sa Wawa.

He said that the strong faith of the people of Bocaue has made the resurrection of the centuries-old tradition possible.

The colorful voyage of the pagoda of the Mahal na Krus sa Wawa was revived last year, 21 years after the tragic accident.

It was again celebrated with a more religious patronage as devotees once again flocked to participate in one of the spectacular and crowd drawing fiestas in the province.

The governor, meanwhile, said that the strong devotion of the people has rekindled the “leap of faith” and trust to God as well as the crowd-drawing fluvial festival, which he said is just one among the many age-old traditions still being practiced and observed in Bulacan.

He said that peace keeping and emergency response units has properly coordinated with the organizers to ensure a peaceful and safe celebration of the feast day of the venerated Holy Cross of Wawa.

”It is merry but you can feel the sacred of the tradition. And because of the unity and heartfelt devotion of the people, the colorful fiesta in this town has once again back its vibrancy,” Alvarado said.

The Holy Cross of Wawa is a replica of the wooden cross on which the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, is set on a pagoda, which is paraded on the Bocaue river with several bancas, as well as devotees swimming alongside the colorful structure.

The festivities also include a nine-day novena, which celebrates the rescue of the Holy Cross of Wawa from the Bocaue River. (PNA) 
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Bulacan cops net seven suspects in 'One Time, Big Time' sting

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, June 22 (PNA) -- An alleged cybercrime offender, a notorious drug dealer and five other wanted persons fell in a series of police operations dubbed as “One time, Big Time” over the weekend in the mountain town of Norzagaray, the Bulacan Police Provincial Office reported on Monday.

Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina said that the Norzagaray Municipal Police Station led by Supt. Ramil Corpuz, together with personnel of the Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC), Motorcycle Cops and Bulacan Highway Patrol Team (HPT) conducted “One Time Big Time Operation” as part of the PNP’s “Oplan Lambat Sibat” in National Housing Village, Barangay Bitungol, Norzagaray.

He said the operation resulted in the arrest of Romeo Dosal of Block 26, Lot 1&2, Phase 1, National Housing Village, Bitungol, Norzagaray town with search warrant No. 079-15 for violation of Chapter II, Sec (4)-(1) of Republic Act 10175 (An act defining cybercrime, providing for the prevention, investigation, suppression and the imposition of penalties).

Divina said the police team recovered the following items from Dosal: one set desktop computer: computer mouse; one Wimax antenna with cable; and two notebooks with cooler fan.

Second to fall was Francisco “Boy” Manalastas alyas “Bordado”, a resident of Block 30, Lot 26, Phase 1, National Housing Village, Bitungol, Norzagaray with search warrant No. 08 1-15 for violation of RA 9165, issued by Judge Ramon D. Pamular, executive judge of RTC Nueva Ecija on June 11, 2015.

Manalastas’ arrest also resulted in the seizure of one small plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance suspected as methamphetamine hydrochloride known as “shabu” and assorted drug paraphernalia.

Divina said that the five other arrested wanted suspects were nabbed during the conduct of ”Oplan Galugad.”

They were identified as Jenny Bernardo, single of Block 2, Lot 42, Phase 1, National Housing Village, Bitungol; Delton Policarpio, 20, single of Block 170, Unit 14, Phase 5, National Housing Village, Tigbe; Allan Alfaro, 20, single, a resident of Block 2, Lot 39, Phase 1, National Housing Village, Bitungol; Erwin Sawit, 27, single, resident of Block 72, Lot 13, Phase 3, National Housing Village, Bitungol; and, Jonalyn Fornoles, 25, single, resident of Block 107, Lot 4, Phase 3, National Housing Village, Tigbe.

Divina said the Norzagaray Police Station also conducted “Oplan Bulabog” and has issued 12 citation tickets to motorists who violated provincial ordinances and impounded 18 different motorcycles for failure to show documents on current year registration while other motorcycles were abandoned by the riders upon seeing the presence of the policemen during the checkpoint.

Appropriate criminal complaints are now being prepared against the arrested suspects. (PNA) 
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MMDA trains 3,000 individuals to be part of Metro Manila Rescue Volunteer Corps

MANILA, June 22 (PNA) -- The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is training 3,000 individuals who have registered for the Metro Manila Rescue Volunteer Corps (MMRVC).

MMDA Director Mon Santiago said the training, conducted by batches of 200 volunteers each, consists of practical session day of orientation on how to respond to earthquakes and landslides.

Aside from the 3,000 walk-in volunteers, the MMDA also receives requests from Local Government Units (LGUs), non-government organizations (NGOs) and private institutions to be part of the rescue volunteer corps.

Some organizations also want to include dogs in the training for search, rescue and retrieval operations.

The MMDA aims for 8,000 individuals to take part in the training who will respond to disaster scenarios such as the looming 7.2 magnitude earthquake which could shake Metro Manila at any time.

Participants will receive T-shirt, identification card and a certificate of training.

Interested applicants may visit the MMDA website www.bepreparedmetromanila.com or may call the MMDA office at 882-0927 or the MMDA Trunkline at 882-4151.

Meanwhile, Santiago is urging the public to join the Metro Manila-wide earthquake drill which will be held on July 30 at 10:30 a.m.

In order to make the drill effective, he said they are hoping that various sectors will give their all-out participation.

The drill is part of the agency’s commitment to ensure disaster preparedness, especially during earthquakes, using the sectoral grouping as specified in Oplan Metro Yakal.

MMDA employees are required to group themselves according to sectors of their places of residence.

Areas covered by the North Sector are Caloocan, Valenzuela, Malabon and Quezon City.

The cities of Navotas, Manila and Pasay form the West Sector.

The South Sector includes the cities of Makati, Mandaluyong, Taguig, Muntinlupa, Parañaque and Las Piñas and the municipality of Pateros.

Covered by the East Sector are San Juan, Pasig and Marikina.

Oplan Metro Yakal is MMDA’s earthquake contingency plan which focuses on preparedness of government resources and that of private organizations during emergencies.

Phivolcs recently released the Valley Fault System Atlas which contained detailed maps of the areas near the earthquake faults -- the East Valley Fall which runs through Rizal and the West Valley Fault which spans from Bulacan going to Rizal, Metro Manila, Cavite and Laguna.

The agency said a strong movement, possibly equivalent to a magnitude 7.2, from the fault is possible and could kill more than 30,000 people based from Phivolcs studies.

The atlas also identified the 72 barangays in the Metro Manila cities of Pasig, Quezon, Marikina, Makati, Taguig and Muntinlupa which are above the fault line. (PNA) 
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Gov pushes immediate transfer of Bulacan Prov’l Jail to new site - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 19 (PNA)--A long term solution to defuse a “ticking time-bomb.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Friday announced that the provincial government of Bulacan is finalizing the long-term plan to accelerate the transfer of the overcrowded provincial jail to a new site complete with all the amenities needed in reforming inmates.

At present, the Bulacan Provincial Jail (BPJ) is located within the capitol compound at the back of the Hall of Justice building of the Bulacan Regional Trial Court.

Alvarado said that it is high time to move the heavily congested provincial jail which only have the capacity to house 700 inmates but is now full to the seams with 3,000 prisoners.

He said the the Provincial Development and Planning Office has already found an ideal site for a new and modern jail facility at the satellite government center in eastern Bulacan.

“The population of Bulacan is fast growing and so are the inmates at our provincial jail which may soon burst or explode if we do not build a more spacious penitentiary. Right now, the population at the jail might exceed 3,000 and the present facility can only hold 700,” Alvarado said.

The governor said that plans are already in place about a new jail facility where inmates can have a more spacious and humane area, a correctional establishment where they can exercise, farm and be productive while awaiting the verdict for their case.

People visiting the BPJ has likened it to a “sardine can” where the inmates has barely an elbow room to move freely.

Alvarado said that they also want to ensure the health condition of the inmates but the now already overcrowded also poses health problems.

"While medical attention are always there for the inmates, the limited space at the jampacked jail is also deteriorating a clean environment there so it must be transferred at the soonest possible time,” he said.

The governor said that he is already working with Vice Governor Daniel Fernando and members of the Sanguniang Panglalawigan for the passage of a resolution on the immediate transfer of the provincial jail to a new and more spacious site.

“This is a long-term solution to a nagging problem that can be likened to a ticking time bomb. We will build it in conformity with present standard complete with properly equipped personnel,” Alvarado added.(PNA) 
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Fireworks safety seminar held in Bulacan - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 11 (PNA) -- Grow and glow!

The Philippines Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association (PPMDAI) and the Philippine National Police-Civil Security group is gearing up for the high demands of skilled "pyro-technicians" abroad by providing special courses on aerial fireworks display.

Engineer Celso C. Cruz, chairman emeritus of PPMDAI, said that there is a great opportunity for local pyrotechnics crew who are also known as "shooters" in the aerial fireworks display.

"Safety is the prime concern of PPMDAI and in training would be shooters" we are instilling to them all the precautionary measures in the preparations and operations of fireworks display which has now become popular in many parts of the world thus, requiring more skilled pyrotechnics crew," Cruz, a chemical engineer, said.

The special course is part of the annual "safety seminar" of the PPMDAI and the PNP-CSG in line with the new Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 7183 otherwise known as the "Firecracker Law of 1992" being enforced by the national police.

Under the IRR, Cruz said manufacturers and dealers of fireworks as well as operators of aerial fireworks display are required to attend the safety seminar before they will be issued licenses and permits to manufacture, sell and conduct fireworks display.

Participants in the aerial fireworks display were given crash courses on display requirement (training certification, fireworks and equipment and site).

He said professional pyrotechnicians like Ernan Corpuz lecture participants on operation of the fireworks display such as comparison of manual and electronic firing and safety concerns demonstration.

Another known pyro-technician Robert Basiman, who works for a well known Spanish pyrotechnics company, discussed "synchronized pyro-musical conceptualization and after display safety guidelines.

PPMDAI president Lea DG Alapide, also a former member of a foreign -based pyro- crew, provided technical "must dos and donts" during actual fireworks display operations.

Alapide reminded participants in the special course on the dangers that must be checked before and after the display show.

"It is important to know the direction of the winds for the fallout of debris, the proper stock filing of materials, its transport and coordination with firefighters and concerned authorities," she said.

Senior Supt. John C. Bulalacao, chief of the Explosive Management Division of the PNP-CSG headed by acting director Chief Supt. Elmer Soria, said participants of the safety seminars were also briefed on the overview of fireworks safety seminar (as requirement of the new IRR of RA 7183), inputs from the Bureau of Fire Protection, proper packaging, storage and transport of fireworks, store/stall display of products, consumer safety guidelines and other concerns, the IRR guidelines and the requirements of license application and renewal, update and related issues.

"While we want the local industry to flourish, we, at CSG are also making sure that the revised IRR of RA 7183 are strictly followed so that stakeholders of the local fireworks industry can do business safely and at the same time, producing quality and safe products," he said.

The PPMDAI thanked the PNP-CSG as well as resource speakers led by Supt. Thomas Valmonte, provincial legal officer of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office; Chief Inspector Soledad Arciso, chief of Permit and Licensing Section of EWD, Supt. Artemio Llena, provincial fire marshall; Rolando Bonilla, board member and spokesman of PPMDAI and Evelyn Lazaro, PPMDAI secretary.(PNA) 
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Ban use of explosives along fault line, cement factories urged - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 7 (PNA)--An environment watchdog on Sunday dared giant cement factories operating in the mountains of Eastern Bulacan to show and prove that they are no longer using explosives in extracting limestones as experts have once again confirmed that their mining areas run along the West Valley fault line.

"There is a clear and present danger if they are still using dynamites or other ordnance in extracting limestone which is the primary ingredient in their cement business.

These cement companies, which are foreign-owned should prove that they will not be the trigger that will cause the faultline to move," Bro. Martin Franscisco, chairman of the Sagip Sierra Madre Environment Society (SSMES), said.

Franscisco said that their group and even the office of Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado are receiving reports that explosions are being heard in the mountains of Norzagaray and Dona Remedios Trinidad where cement factories are extracting limestones.

He dared the management of Holcim cement and La Farge, two of the biggest cement companies owned by foreign business firms, to allow a team, including members of the media, to prove that they are not using explosives in the extraction of limestones.

Franscisco said that the alleged explosions are being heard during the afternoon and people are getting anxious especially after learning that the mining sites of these cement factories run along the strtetch of the West Valley fault line and are also near the Angat dam and Ipo dam watershed areas.

He also disclosed that even the Dumagats tribesmen, a cultural minority group living in the mountains of Eastern Bulacan, have once again complained that they are afraid that the "gods" in the mountains might get angry because of the constant "tremors" allegedly caused by the blasting of limestones by giant cement factories in the areas.

Franscisco said that last year, some Dumagats guided them to places in the mountains where some sort of mini-sink holes have appeared.

"This is very disturbing because we do not know what will be its effect on the faultline," he said.

Upon learning of this development, the governor urged cement factories to refrain from using explosives and instead use modern technologies in extracting limestones.

He said that it is quite ironic that while they are calling for the immediate rehabilitation of the aging Angat dam, those companies are blatantly daring the possible movement of the fault line through their blasting methods.

He also questioned the alleged rehabilitation program of cement factories in the areas.

‘Can they grow a mountain? They can grow a forest but not a mountain,” he said, adding that forest covers and the very mountain itself where it grows are being destroyed in the extraction of limestone.

The SSMES also said that the permit to extract limestone were issued by the national government to these cement companies. (PNA) 
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Bulacan to hold 'Day of Prayer'

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 5 (PNA) -- The provincial government will hold a “Day of Prayer” on Monday with different religious groups for a safe and progressing province.

Anchored on the theme “Sama-samang Pasasalamat at Pananalangin para sa Pagkakaisa at Kaunlaran sa Lalawigan ng Bulacan,” the event will be held at the Hiyas Pavilion, Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center in this city.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the event aims to unite the Bulakenyos in a day of thanksgiving and forgiveness, citing the need to worship and give thanks to the Lord for the peace, unity and continuous progress and development of the province.

Alvarado is encouraging the Bulakenyos to join the solemn ceremony and pray for the safety of everyone, particularly from the possible occurrence of a powerful earthquake that could cause massive destruction of the 47-year-old Angat Dam.

”Let us pray together for our province and our country because this is the time that we should always be prepared and ready in any accidents or calamities. It is always better to unite and pray for our safety and let us continuously thank God for our safety and for the all the blessings He is giving to us,” he said.

Hundreds of Bulakenyos are expected to participate in the event that includes different religious leaders and support groups, provincial and local government officials, heads and employees of the provincial government, teachers and students from Bulacan State University and Bulacan Polytechnic College and others.

The event will start with a doxology and will be followed by the ecumenical prayer by the Four Pillars of Bulacan headed by Rev. Joel Lombos of Cadence-Bulacan, Rev. Cezar Sacdalan of Alliance for Values Formation in Bulacan, Bishop Bert Chan of Baptist Church and Bishop Ephrain Perez of Interfaith Bulacan.

To conclude, the Bulakenyos will sing “Lord Heal Our Land” to be lead by Himig ng Bulakenyo and Hiyas ng Bulacan Brass Band coinciding the lighting of candles and offering prayer and commitment of the participants to promote peace and order in the province. (PNA) 
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Bulacan intensifies its disaster preparedness

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 4 (PNA) -- The provincial government, through the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) is intensifying its disaster preparedness in an effort to promote public awareness and readiness for calamities and other natural hazards.

PDRRMO head Felicisima Mungcal, in a quarterly meeting held Tuesday at Isidoro Torres Hall, Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center in this city, said her department would continue to monitor hazards and provide appropriate warning, and conduct appropriate preparedness, response and development plans.

Citing the importance to monitor hazards and possible impact of the calamities, Mungcal said the disaster risk reduction and management council of the 21 towns and three cities, including the responders of the different government agencies and non-governmental organizations, have gathered for a meeting to discuss systematic approach on how to respond in any disasters that might hit the province.

”Any hazard and possible impacts of the disaster must be effectively communicated as a way to respond properly before, during and after hazardous events,” she said.

Mungcal also presented the PDRRMO’s accomplishment for the previous quarter of the present year such as Weather Outlook 2015, Fire Prevention Month, Lakbay Alalay (SUMVAC), Oplan Listo, contingency plan update, local disaster risk reduction and management Fund Investment Revision, and preparation for rainy season and drought or dry spell.

During the meeting, the Provincial Planning and Development Office presented the Valley Fault System in Bulacan based on VFS Atlas released by Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) and came up with an action for a additional and clearance of an information from Phivolcs regarding faultline that run in three areas in the province such as City of San Jose Del Monte, Norzagaray and Dona Remedios Trinidad.

Meanwhile, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) discussed the Operation Listo WEmboree: A disaster resiliency camp, a program for the gathering of young people from different communities, academic institutions and organizations celebrating one goal in “Changing the Mindset from ME to WE.”

It also encourages young people to come together, actively engage and inspire their peers and their respective communities to unite and become prime movers in nation building. (PNA) 
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Two suspected drug pushers nabbed after yielding 2 kilograms of shabu - By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan

MANILA, June 2 (PNA)--Agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) have arrested two suspected drug pushers and seized from them two kilograms of shabu worth Php10 million during an anti-illegal drugs operation in Malolos, Bulacan.

PDEA Director General Undersecretary Arturo G. Cacdac Jr. identified the suspects as Herwin Francis Tee, 31, of Sumapang Ligas Road, and Marc Aben Reyes, 30, of Lorenzo compound, both of Barangay Sumapang Matanda, Malolos City, Bulacan.

Cacdac said that PDEA Regional Office 4-A, Director Adzhar A. Albani led the operation after the suspects agreed to sell one kilo of shabu in a transparent plastic bag to a PDEA poseur-buyer.

They also seized two plastic bags containing the drugs and Php 2,000 bill.

The suspects are currently detained at the PDEA RO43A detention cell in Camp Vicente Lim, Calamba, Laguna and will be charge for violation of Section 5 (Sale of Dangerous Drugs) and Section 11 (Possession of Dangerous Drugs) Article II of R.A. 9165.

Meanwhile, PDEA said that Php P2,044,000 worth of fully-grown marijuana plants and seedlings were destroyed by combined elements of the agency and the Philippine National Police (PNP) during a three-day marijuana eradication in Benguet.

Cacdac said the teams, composed of operatives from PDEA – Cordillera Administrative Region (PDEA-CAR) under Director Ronald Allan Ricardo and elements from Bakun Municipal Police Station, conducted the operation in Sitios Owasan and Kaot, Barangay Kayapa, Bakun, Benguet that led to the destruction of seven marijuana plantation sites with an estimated land area of 1,026 square meters on May 26 to 28, 2015.

Cacdac said that no cultivator was arrested during the operation, but the operating teams were able to destroy and burned on-site 8,420 fully grown marijuana plants, and 9,000 marijuana seedlings with a total estimated value of Php 2,044,000. (PNA) 
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Clamor to save aging Angat dam snowballs - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 1 (PNA)--Teachers and students have joined the bandwagon in the growing clamor to save the aging Angat dam which some engineers now described as a “ticking time bomb” as it is nestled along the West Valley fault that some experts said is no longer dormant and might move anytime and trigger a powerful magnitude 7.2 earthquake.

The possible bursting of the old dam has become the topic and “talk of the day” during the opening of classes in several schools and universities in the province with some even conducting basic drills and disaster preparedness.

Some students even urged Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado to again bring to the attention of President Benigno S. Aquino III the “clear and present danger” hanging like the proverbial “Sword of Damocles” over their heads so that the immediate rehabilitation and strengthening of the 47-year old earth dam in the mountains of Norzagaray could be expedited.

Earlier, village chiefs from San Jose del Monte City and in the towns of Dona Remedios Trinidad, and Norzagaray have asked the governor on the situation of the dam and its structural integrity after the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) once again confirmed that the Angat dam and its main dike is sitting over the West Valley fault line.

”The destruction it will cause is unimaginable especially if the 47 years old Angat dam will collapse because not only the province of Bulacan will be wiped out but also big parts of Pampanga and Metro Manila," the governor said.

He also told village chiefs from the towns of Norzagaray, San Jose Del Monte and Dona Remedios Trinidad, that even if residents of Metro Manila survive the "Big One" they will still face another dilemma of an equally "deadly" proportion.

"They will die of thirst and for a long time will have no supply of potable water," the governor said, adding that it is also important for concerned agencies to seriously consider dangers being poised by Angat dam, whose main dike is over the fault line.

Angat dam supplies 97 percent of the potable water needs of Metro Manila.

Without water, he said it is hard to imagine where residents of Metro Manila will get it once the source is destroyed.

He said that Angat dam is located on the highest slope of the mountains in eastern Bulacan.

He said that it is hard to imagine how fast rampaging waters that could be 30 meters high will wipe out villages.

He said the people of Bulacan are once again appealing to the national government to send engineers and experts to prod the new owner of Angat dam to immediately start its rehabilitation.

Alvarado said that since Phivolcs renewed its confirmation that the West Valley fault is still active, it has again brought dilemmas on the people of Bulacan who have been crying out for the immediate repair since 2008.

Some civil engineers also urged the new owners and operator of the dam to adopt the study and suggestion of Tonkin and Taylor, the Europe-based consultancy firm hired by the government to study the structural integrity of the dam.

The governor also suggested to the management of K-Water to implement the suggestions of the Tonkin and Taylor dam experts so that the repair and fortification of the dam could start immediately.

“Its repair should not be delayed any longer. There is now a growing clamor to save and fortify the structural integrity of the 47-year old dam which is situated in the highest slope of the mountain in Norzagaray,” he added. (PNA) 
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Seaborne cops net fisher who beheaded 9 year old boy - By Emil G. Gamos

HAGONOY, Bulacan, May 31 (PNA) --Seaborne policemen arrested a 50- year old fisherman suspected of beheading a 9- year old boy in the fishing village of Barangay Mercado here Saturday.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina identified the victim as Arnel Escobar alias “Kokey”, 9, a native and resident of Barangay Mercado here while the suspect was identified as Ernesto Santos, 50, married and a resident of Barangay San Nicolas.

Divina said that the headless body of the victim was identified by his father after it was fished out while floating along the river.

Initial theories of village officials who discovered the headless body suspects that the young victim’s head was cut-off after it was hit by a propeller of a motorized boat but police thought otherwise after a witness came and told police officers that he personally witnessed how the boy’s body was dumped into the river early morning Saturday.

Divina said the witness disclosed that on May 30 at around 3 a.m. while he was sleeping in his boat docked at the side of the river, he was awakened by a noise coming from the other boat, docked parallel with his boat.

The witness confirmed that prior to the incident, he saw the victim and the suspect named Santos resting.

He added that although he was awakened, he pretended to be asleep after he witnessed how the suspect dumped the headless body of the victim in the river and subsequently washed/cleaned his boat.

After identifying the suspect at about 3 p.m. of the same date, town police chief Supt Angel Bondoc, who was directly leading the investigation, immediately formed an arresting team.

And at about 5:45 p.m.of the same date, Divina said Bondoc led a team of seaborne policemen together with the River Rine Unit of the Philippine Army and conducted pursuit operation along the mouth of Manila bay and arrested the suspect who then fishing.

Divina said the police team recovered the 12 inches knife, with suspicious blood stain that was believed to be used in the killing the boy in the suspect’s boat.

The cadaver of the beheaded boy was brought to C and C Funeral Services in Barangay San Miguel here while the suspect is presently detained at Hagonoy Municipal Police Station.

Divina said that a joint team of Hagonoy policemen and the River Rine Unit of the Philippine Army are still conducting search operation for the missing head of the boy.

Appropriate criminal complaint is being prepared for filing at the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor, Divina added. (PNA) 
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Aging Angat dam a “ticking time bomb” along West Valley fault line - By Emil G. Gamos

NORZAGARAY, Bulacan, May 31 (PNA)--Worse than being nuked, twice!

The much talked-about “Big One” or the powerful earthquake that could jolt parts of Luzon once the long dormant West Valley fault line moves could bring double whammy of disastrous proportions even to those who would survive the tremor, particularly those living at the National Capital Region.

This grim scenario is also expected to make the earthquake drills virtually useless and just end into naught once the feared "Big One" comes and trigger the collapse of the aging Angat dam, which is nestling along the West Valley fault line.

This cropped up after village chiefs from different parts of Bulacan, particularly along the towns included by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) in their updated Atlas of the West Valley fault line, asked Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on the earthquake issue.

"The destruction it will cause is unimaginable especially if the 47 years old Angat dam will collapse because not only the province of Bulacan will be wiped out but also big parts of Pampanga and Metro Manila," the governor, who time and again has been calling the attention of national government since he was still a congressman, then a vice governor and now as the top provincial chief executive on the dangers that the aging dam is posing when it is jolted by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake.

Alvarado told the village chiefs from the towns of Norzagaray, San Jose Del Monte and Dona Remedios Trinidad, that even if residents of Metro Manila survived the "Big One" they will still face another dilemma of an equally "deadly" proportion.

"They will die of thirst and for a long time will have no supply of potable water," the governor said, adding that it is also important for concerned agencies to seriously consider dangers being poised by Angat dam, whose main dike is over the fault line according to studies of experts.

Angat dam supplies 97 percent of the potable water needs of Metro Manila.

Without water, the governor said it is hard to imagine where residents of Metro Manila will get it once the source is destroyed.

He said that Angat dam is located on the highest slope of the mountains in eastern Bulacan.

He also said that it is hard to imagine how fast rampaging waters that could be 30 meters high will wipe out villages.

"If the dam breaks, will you still hide under the table? How can you escape a rampaging water whose speed is like a bullet and will bring big boulders and illegally cut logs?,” he said.

Alvarado said that unless the 47 years old Angat dam is immediately repaired and strengthened, it will always serve like the probervial "Sword of Damocles" hanging over the heads of Bulakenyos.

He said the people of Bulacan are once again appealing to the national government to send engineers and experts to prod the new owner of Angat dam to immediately start its rehabilitation.

Alvarado said that since Phivolcs renewed its confirmation that the West Valley fault is still active, it has again brought dilemmas on the people of Bulacan who have been crying out for the immediate repair of the dam for so long now, in fact since 2008.

Since 2009, when he was the Vice Governor and presiding officer of the Sanguniang Panglalawigan, Governor Alvarado has already been calling the attention of the national government of the delicate situation of the aging dam.

Calling it as a disaster waiting to happen, Alvarado said that it is not only the lives of the people of Metro Manila that is at stake but also the lives of the people of Bulacan.

Alvarado said that even during the administration of former President Corazon Aquino, the government has already initiated studies, with the help of Japan, for the rehabilitation of Angat dam.

He said that even in 1968, the very year its operation started, dam officials and engineering experts have already detected leakages and in August 1986, a landslide also occurred near the ex-batching plant site of the dam.

Alvarado added that even President Benigno S. Aquino III is very much concern on the structural integrity of the 47 years old dam that he appropriated Php5.7 billion for its immediate repair and strengthening but it got stalled after the Supreme Court ruled that the privatization of the Angat dam is legal after Korean Water (K-Water) found a Filipino business firm as its partner .

It is stipulated under the contract between the new operator of the dam and the government that K-Water will shoulder and initiate its rehabilitation and fortification which will be the first ever repair since Angat dam began operation on October 1968.

Alvarado said that it is high time for the government to prod the new owners to immediately start its rehabilitation and implement the studies of Tonkin and Taylor, the European dam experts company commissioned by the Philippine government to study and formulate the fortification of the dam.

"Up to now, they are still in the drawing board even if there is already a viable study by a credible company. We, in Bulacan, are asking concerned agencies to help the K-Water in making the structural integrity of Angat dam safe for the next 50 to 100 years," Alvarado said.

While drills are being conducted, most residents here are faithfully relying on prayers.

“As we continue conducting drills, education campaign and formulate contingency plans, the people of Bulacan are still relying strongly in their faith to God and the power of prayers,” he added. (PNA) 
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3 Central Luzon police officers ordered relieved for failure to meet Lambat Sibat requirements - By Froilan E. Magtoto

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, May 28 (PNA) -- The Philippine National Police (PNP) National Headquarters has ordered the immediate relief of three chiefs of police in Central Luzon.

Police Director Ricardo Marquez, head of the PNP National Directorate for Operations, on Thursday instructed Central Luzon Police regional director Chief Supt. Ronald Santos to relieve Supt. Rechie Duldulao of this city; Supt. Marcos Rivera of Marilao in Bulacan; and Senior Inspector Marlo Dangaran of Abucay, in Bataan.

According to the order, the three police officers were relieved for failure to meet the requirements of Lambat Sibat, an anti- crime measure of the police.

Santos said in a report that he was instructed by Marquez during a command conference held on Thursday in this camp to identify police officers in the station levels who have shown remarkable performance for commendation but as well list down those who fell short of expectation for the past 11 weeks of Oplan Lambat Sibat.

Santos admitted that he was hesitant at first to remove underperforming officers until he was given the imprimatur to relieve anyone.

With implementation of Lambat Sibat regionwide, he said crime incidents have decreased by almost 30%. (PNA) 
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Gun for hire gangman killed, cohort wounded in Bulacan shootout

SAN MIGUEL, Bulacan, May 27 (PNA) -- An alleged member of a gun-for-hire gang was killed while another was wounded during a shootout with Bulacan policemen in Barangay Batasan Matanda here Tuesday afternoon.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina identified the slain gangman as Francisco Bernabe Jr. alias “Isko”, a native of San Miguel, of this province.

The wounded suspect, on the other hand, was identified as Joey Ramos of No. 59 Purok 3, Barangay Batasan Matanda.

Divina said that joint elements of the Bulacan Criminal Investigation Detection Team (CIDT) led by Chief Inspector Patrick Ramillano and the San Miguel Municipal Police Station headed by Supt. Nathaniel Villegas implemented search warrant No. 067-15 issued by Judge Ramon D. Pamular, RTC, Branch 32, Guimba, Nueva Ecija against Ramos for violation of RA 10591, otherwise known as Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act, dated May 21, 2015 at the house of the suspect Tuesday afternoon.

Divina said the suspect and his cohort noticed the approaching operating team and tried to escape by successively firing against the approaching lawmen, prompting the police officers to retaliate and use the necessary force.

During the firefight, Ramos sustained gunshot wound on his right leg and was rushed to San Miguel District Hospital for treatment and later brought to Bulacan Medical Center in Malolos City while his cohort Bernabe, was hit on the different parts of his body that resulted to his instantaneous death.

Divina said that Ramos and Bernabe are both members of a gang operating in Bulacan and other parts of Central Luzon engaged in gun running, drug pushing and selling of stolen motorcycle parts.

He also said that Ramos has a case of homicide with records of jump bail.

The encounter site was immediately secured and a team of SOCO from Bulacan Crime Laboratory was called and processed the crime scene.

The police team recovered one Caliber Super .38 Pistol, and two pieces of magazine of Caliber Super .38 from Ramos while a hand grenade was recovered from the slain suspect.

Several guns, ammunition, drugs and paraphernalia were also seized at the house of the suspect.

Divina said that charges for Violation of Sec 12, Art II of RA 9165 (Illegal Possession of Equipment, Instrument, Apparatus and Other Paraphernalia of Illegal Drugs) and direct assault are being prepared for filing against Ramos. (PNA) 
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Two gangmen killed in Bulacan shootout

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, May 23 (PNA)--Two suspected members of a gun-for-hire gang were killed while a policeman was wounded during a shootout with lawmen in Barangay Minuyan 2, San Jose del Monte City Thursday night.

Bulacan police director Sr. Supt. Ferdinand Divina identified the slain suspects as one alias “Lucky” who was killed on the spot and a certain Rodelio Lagario alias “Uding,” who was seriously injured and rushed to a hospital for medical attention but died while undergoing treatment.

SPO2 David Gatchalian of the SJDM City police station was shot by one of the suspects on the lower part of his right eye and was brought to the hospital for medical treatment and later declared safe.

Divina said the two were alleged cohorts of Amir P. Manda alias “Tangkad”, who was wanted for murder, and believed to be a member of a gun-for-hire gang.

The group are also believed to be involved in drug trafficking and other illegal activities.

Divina said that the SJDM City police, led by Supt. Charlie Cabradilla were conducting “Oplan: Lambat Sibat” in the area to serve warrant of arrest against the suspect in Barangay Minuyan 2, CSJDM, Bulacan, issued by Judge Francisco P. Felizmenio of Branch 19, RTC Malolos City, Bulacan for the crime of murder.

He said that the SJDM Police Station received a report that Manda together with his cohorts were seen at the vicinity of Barangay Minuyan 1.

Upon receipt of the report, the Sibat Tracker Operating Team was immediately dispatched under the supervision of Supt. Cabradilla to verify the report and conduct an operation against alias “Tangkad” and his cohorts.

Divina said that when the operating team arrived at the place, the suspect, together with his cohorts, successively shot the approaching police tracker team prompting team to return fire which resulted in the death of alias “Lucky” who was killed on the spot and Lagario who died later at the hospital while Manda managed to elude arrest.

The encounter site was immediately secured and a team of SOCO from Bulacan Crime Laboratory was called and processed the crime scene.

Recovered from the place of incident were one Caliber .38 Revolver loaded with two live ammunitions and four spent shells ; one replica of Caliber .45 (Air Soft); and 10 pieces of transparent plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance suspected to be “shabu”.

Divina said police teams were still hunting Manda as of presstime. (PNA) 
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Calls for immediate rehab of aging Angat dam snowballs anew

BALIWAG, Bulacan, May 16 (PNA) --News of recent devastating earthquakes has triggered new calls for the immediate repair of the aging Angat dam, which according to experts is sitting along the West Valley fault line.

While trying not to sound alarmists, a group of civil engineers on Saturday urged the new owners and operators of the aging Angat dam to immediately start its fortification and rehabilitation.

The engineers made the call after talking with several local newsmen in a meeting in Barangay San Jose here.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has confirmed that Angat dam is nestling along the West Valley fault line.

"They should do it now before the terrible earthquake strikes," one of the engineers said.

The engineers said that this booming town is one of those that will be severely devastated once the 47 years old rock-fill dam could collapse if jolted by a powerful Magnitude 7.2 earthquake.

The location of the dam, which lies atop the mountains of Norzagaray, Bulacan, makes it equally dangerous because its stockpiled waters will rampage its way towards low lying towns in a matter of minutes, according to the structural engineers.

They reminded K-Water, the new owner and operator of Angat dam, that even President Benigno Aquino III is deeply concerned on the structural integrity of the aging Angat dam and has long been supporting the calls of Bulacan officials, headed by Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, not only for the immediate rehabilitation and fortification of Angat dam but also the other big dams in the province like Angat Dam Afterbay Regulator dam, more popularly known as "Bustos Dam."

Alvarado has earlier said that "unless the rehabilitation and strengthening of the aging Angat dam commences, it will always be like the proverbial "sword of Damocles" hanging over the heads of the people of Bulacan.

Meanwhile, Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando expressed optimism that the rehabilitation of the Bustos Dam, a rubber-type irrigation dam, will also trigger socio-economic boom in the municipalities where the dam is situated.

Alvarado said that according to National Irrigation Administration (NIA) regional director Josephine Salazar, the bidding for the rehabilitation of Bustos dam has already been conducted last week.

He said that new rubber gates, complete with sprinkles to make it more heat-resistant, will replace the old, brittle and punctured with holes rubber gates.

The repair of the Bustos rubber dam will cost Php 1 billion, according to NIA.

Alvarado said that aside from the rehabilitation of the rubber irrigation dam, the site will also be developed into a major tourism destination complete with water sports facilities, zip line and souvenir shops. (PNA) 
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House panel approves renaming of NLEX to President Corazon C. Aquino Expressway (CAEX)

MANILA, May 10 (PNA) -- The House Committee on Public Works and Highways has approved a proposal to rename the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) to President Corazon C. Aquino Expressway (CAEX).

The committee chaired by Rep. Ronald M. Cosalan (Lone District, Benguet) approved House Bill No. 4820 authored by Rep. Magnolia Rosa C. Antonino ( 4th District, Nueva Ecija) who said the NLEX renaming will bestow distinct honor and perpetuate the memory of the late President Corazon Aquino, an icon of democracy.

“If favorably passed into law, it will constantly remind us of the noble deeds of the late President, especially for the poor, and inspire our people to emulate her example of selfless service to the nation while her exceptional courage and leadership gave hope and united the Filipino people at a critical time in the country’s history,” said Antonino.

Built in the 1960s, Antonino said the NLEX is an 84-kilometer highway maintained by the Manila North Tollways Corporation, a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation. It is one of the country’s main road arteries and has a daily traffic of over 16,000 cars.

The NLEX was formerly called the Manila North Diversion Road and Manila North Expressway (MNEX) and officially known as Radial Road 8. It is a two to eight limited-access toll expressway linking Metro Manila to the provinces of the Central Luzon Region.

The NLEX starts from Quezon City and passes through Caloocan City and Valenzuela City in Metro Manila, Meycauayan, Marilao, Bocaue, Balagtas, Guiguinto, Malolos, Plaridel and Pulilan in Bulacan, San Simon, San Fernando, Mexico and Angeles City in Pampanga. It ends in Mabalacat City in Pampanga and merges with the MacArthur Highway, continuing northward into the rest of Central and Northern Luzon.

The bill mandates the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to implement the provisions of the Act. (PNA)
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Notorious robbery gang leader slain in Bulacan operations

MANILA, May 7 (PNA) -- Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) operatives killed the leader of the notorious Natad robbery and holdup gang during operations in Sitio Dupias, Barangay Kalawakan, Dona Remedious Trinidad town, Bulacan Wednesday afternoon.

The slain suspect was identified as Rene Natad.

AKG operatives headed by Senior Insp. Alvin together with their local police counterparts were about to serve the arrest warrant for kidnapping-for-ransom with homicide at 3:30 p.m. when the suspect resisted, triggering a firefight which resulted in Natad's death.

The warrant was issued by Judge Paulino Gallegos of Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 47.

Recovered from the scene was a loaded .38 caliber revolver and several spent .38 caliber shells.

Natad was the leader of the Natad robbery and holdup gang and listed as one of the 10 Most Wanted Person of AKG 2015.

Police said he was also involved in the kidnapping and killing of a Korean national in Manila last March 3. (PNA) 
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Bidding for rehab of aging Bustos rubber dam begins - By Emil G. Gamos

BUSTOS, Bulacan, May 5 (PNA) -- The Angat Afterbay Regulator Dam, also known as Bustos dam, has been “diagnosed” to be very sick and needs immediate treatment and experts are coming in to cure it.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Tuesday announced that the national government has given the green light for the immediate repair of the already deteriorating Angat Afterbay Regulator Dam whose rubber gates were found out to have become brittle aside from punctured holes.

The governor made the announcement after meeting with newly installed National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Region 3 director Josephine Salazar at the provincial capitol Monday afternoon.

Alvarado thanked President Benigno Aquino III for giving priority concern on the condition of the aging dams in Bulacan.

Aside from Bustos dam, the governor said that the President is also fast tracking the immediate repair of the 47-year Angat dam located in the mountains of Norzagaray town.

The NIA regional director informed the governor that the bidding for the repair and improvement of the main canals, laterals and its appurtenant structures will commence on Tuesday morning at the NIA Regional Office 3 in Barangay Tambubong, San Rafael town.

Salazar said that the repair was pegged at PHP250 million which is part of the PHP1 billion of the total rehabilitation of Bustos dam.

Salazar, who was accompanied by Provincial Planning and Development Office chief Arlene Pascual and provincial agriculture officer Gloria Carillo, also presented to the governor the overall project objectives and the scope of the rehabilitation work for Bustos dam.

She said that the already brittle and punctured six rubber gates of the afterbay regulator dam will be totally replaced with new ones with additional features like sprinkles to make them heat resistant.

Alvarado said that the rubber gates of the Bustos dam is good for 30 years but due to global warming and climate change the rubber gates has already shown signs of deterioration and needs immediate replacement.

In 2012, he said that NIA hired the services of dam specialist from Bridgestone, a known international rubber and tire company, to examine the life expectancy of the rubber gates.

The Bridgetone experts noted that the rubber gates are approaching the end of its “useful life” and concluded that immediate replacement is necessary.

The governor said that the present condition of the dam is posing a “clear and present danger” to the downstream towns of Plaridel, Pulilan, Malolos, Calumpit and Hagonoy.

Alvarado said that when dam operators open one gate, it will release 500 cubic meters per second of water.

“But if they open two gates at the same time, the coastal towns of Calumpit and Hagonoy will be submerged under several feet of flood. Just imagine how deep the flooding will be if all six gates will collapse due to its deteriorating state come the typhoon season.”

“The people of Bulacan are once again thankful for the concern of President Aquino on the condition of Bustos dam,” Alvarado said.

Alvarado also said that the rehabilitation of Bustos dam will fortify the mammoth structure and will serve as flood control during the rainy season to prevent flashfloods at the downstream area of the Angat river.

The governor added that the repair of Bustos dam will also improve the irrigation water delivery and cropping intensity in support of the agricultural development program of the government.

“Hopefully, when the new and fully rehabilitated Bustos dam is finished it will have more water holding capacity and will also secure the delivery of irrigation water for our farmers,” Alvarado added.

Bustos dam, which is the longest rubber dam in Asia, supplies irrigation water to 31,485 hectares of farm lands in 20 towns in Bulacan and parts of Pampanga benefiting at least 20,562 farmers. (PNA) 
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Five suspected drug pushers in Bulacan nabbed

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, May 4 (PNA) -- The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Region--3 (PDEA-3) arrested Sunday five suspected drug pushers in a buy-bust operation in Barangay Pulong Buhangin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

Jeoffrey Tacio, regional director of PDEA-3, identified the suspects as Digno Ariel Gumising, 47; Romela Chavez, 38; Rodel Chavez, 35; Edgardo Casimiro, 50; and Marjun Gravador, 28; all residents of Pulong Buhangin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

Tacio said PDEA agents collared the suspects at about 3:30 p.m. after selling one piece knot-tied transparent plastic bag containing white crystalline substance suspected to be shabu to poseur buyer.

Seized from the suspects were 100 grams of shabu with an estimated street value of PHP350,000 and the buy-bust money.

The suspects are now detained in PDEA jail facility here.

Charges of possession of illegal drugs were filed against the suspects. (PNA) 
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Fresh graduates, other applicants troop to job fairs in Bulacan - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, May 1 (PNA) -- Jobs galore on the first of May.

Fresh graduates and job seekers in this province on Friday trooped to the yearly job fair held at the Event Center, SM City malls in Baliwag and Marilao.

The job fairs, which were spearheaded by the provincial government of Bulacan in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Regional Office 3, are being held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

At least 60 employers for local and overseas jobs participated in the said activities.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado has earlier reminded all interested applicants to go early to SM City for a chance to be matched with potential employers, be interviewed right away and hired-on-the-spot.

“I strongly urge the job seekers particularly the fresh graduates and new entrants to the labor force to take full advantage of what this job fair can offer,” the governor said.

He said that Bulacan is fast becoming a "magnet" for jobs, both domestic and in foreign countries.

A week ago, a delegation of Japanese executives made a courtesy call to the governor and announced that Japan was in need of at least one million nurses and caregivers.

Alvarado said that local nurses and caregivers are now being trained in preparation for work in Japan.

Aside from this, big companies that have put up investments in Bulacan are now giving employment to the locals.

"We are encouraging our young people to study hard because it will prepare them for the many job opportunities that come due to the growth and progress now being enjoyed in the province," the governor said.

The Public Employment Service Office (PESO) reminded the applicants about the needed documents or pre-employment requirements such as credentials, valid ID, passport, among others.

In addition, there are DOLE’s One-Stop-Shop Services for NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) and Police clearances, SSS (Social Security System), NSO (National Statistics Office), and Philhealth at SM City Marilao.

The DOLE also offered beauty and wellness services such as massage, manicure, pedicure, and haircut during the fairs.

The conduct of the annual Labor Day Job Fair is made possible with the help and support of the Provincial Youth Sports, Employment and Development Office (PYSEDO) and the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) of Baliwag and Marilao. (PNA) 
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Bulacan execs urges Comelec to put decent closure on “recall” - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 19 (PNA)--Local officials on Sunday called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to put a decent closure on the recall issue that has nearly tore the province apart due to massive forgeries, deceits and alleged utter disrespect to poll officials in the province who have already issued their rulings.

“It is time to move on, to move forward because the truth has already surfaced. Anything that will contradict the results of the recall proceedings will no longer hold water and will be detrimental to the unity of the people of Bulacan and to the booming growth and progress now being experienced in Bulacan,” Pandi Mayor Enrico Roque, president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) -Bulacan Chapter, said.

Roque said the recall proceedings has already opened a “hurt’s locker” and should now be closed permanently in order not to sow more confusion and divisiveness.

“It should be closed so that the Bulakenyos will unite again in pushing for the progress and development of the province and support the good programs of the provincial government which is continuously gaining recognition and bringing honor to the noble province of Bulacan and to the residents," Roque said.

Comelec regional director Temie Lambino said that the Comelec en banc will meet on Tuesday to tackle the appeal of the recall petitioner following the consolidated ruling of the election officers in Bulacan that 72.7 percent of the signatures in the petition against incumbent Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado were forged or falsified.

He also earlier said that the Commission will also investigate the distribution of USBs allegedly containing pre-encoded or prepared ruling to every election officers in the province’s 21 towns and three cities.

Aside from Mayor Roque, the City Vice Mayor’s League in Bulacan headed by Meycauayan City Vice Mayor Jojo Manzano said that the recall issue in the province has only prove one thing.

“They cannot put a good man down,” Manzano said, referring to the sterling leadership being shown by Governor Alvarado and his partner Vice Governor Daniel Fernando in spurring more growth and development in the province.

Manzano said that people should now unite and rally behind the good programs being implemented under administration of Governor Alvarado.

Bulakenyos appealed Friday to Comelec officials to “stop prolonging the agony and confusion of the province by putting a decent total closure to the already doomed and controversial recall initiative perpertrated by political rivals of the incumbent governor.

Magnolito Julian Cruz, a political science student in this capital city, said that the election officers of Bulacan have already spoken about the controversial poll proceedings and have already issued their consolidated ruling on the verification of signatures.

“This recall move is a despicable exercise that could be compared to a Pandora’s box that unleashed the dirty side of politics and waste of government money in an exercise that is tainted with lies, deceit, fraud and dirty poliyical tactics,” Cruz said.

Various organizations also commended the election officers for their integrity by coming up with honest rulings despite clear attempts by the petitioner to rig the outcome of the verification by providing them with USBs containing pre-encoded ruling. (PNA) 
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Bulacan may soon become a “garlic-producing” province - By Emil G. Gamos

SAN ILDEFONSO, Bulacan, April 19 (PNA) --It may not take long but the province of Bulacan may soon become one of the top garlic producing areas in the country.

This, after the Department of Agriculture(DA) has announced that they are pushing for the promotion of garlic production in Central Luzon and has allocated a P20 million budget for it.

Recently, a total of 47 farmers in this booming agricultural town now known as the vegetable basket of Bulacan, graduated from a four-month farmers field school on garlic production at the Pinaod Trading Post here.

Traditionally, garlic production is concentrated in Ilocos region and Batanes.

However, in the advent of modern technology, garlic is now grown in different provinces of the country like in Mindoro, Nueva Ecija, South Cotabato, Iloilo , Siquijor, Davao, Nueva Vizcaya and is now being tried in Bulacan.

Provincial agriculture officer Gloria Carillo said that the first ever training on garlic production in Bulacan was undertaken by the DA High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP), PGF Association Inc., Vieva Phils, Pangkat Kaunlaran and the local government unit of San Ildefonso.

Jenifer Remoquillo, HVCDP director, said that only 20 percent of the total garlic need of the country is being produced locally and the rest is imported.

On the other hand, Fernando Lorenzo, Central Luzon ’s HVCDP regional coordinator, has allocated garlic planting materials for the October 2015 planting season in Region III. (PNA) 
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Bulakenyos urged Comelec to put closure on “doomed” recall move - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 17 (PNA) -- Bulakenyos on Friday appealed to the officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to “stop prolonging the agony and confusion of the people" in this province by putting a total closure to the already doomed and controversial recall initiative perpetrated by political rivals of incumbent Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado.

Magnolito Julian Cruz, a political science student in this capital city, said that the election officers of Bulacan has already spoken about the controversial poll proceedings and have already issued their consolidated ruling on the verification of signatures which shows that 73 percent were forged while 27 are still being contested by lawyers of the governor.

“This recall move is a despicable exercise that could be compared to a Pandora’s box that unleashed the dirty side of politics and waste of government money in an exercise that is tainted with lies, deceit, fraud and dirty political tactics,” Cruz said.

Various organizations also commended the election officers for their integrity by coming up with honest rulings despite clear attempts by the petitioner to rig the outcome of the verification by providing them with USBs containing pre-encoded ruling.

"Their dedication to their duty has put an end to the deceit that has threatened to put the province into a maelstorm of divisiveness," the group said.

Meanwhile, Governor Alvarado said that now that the truth has came up about this recall issue, it is about time to heal wounds and move forward.

He said that while many have been hurt, offended and felt aggrieved by the falsification of signatures, he said there are still many important works to be done because Bulacan is now fast growing as the frontier of growth and development with many vital projects that are now nearing completion.

“There are groups who are seeking justice on what happened and are entitled to their rights. These groups are now filing charges against the proponents for maligning their names and signatures. But, at the same time, we must focus on the growth and development now transforming the province as the next mecca of big international and domestic investments.I know that our poll officials will continue to be the vanguard of our rights to suffrage and will do everything to maintain the integrity of the commission,” he said.

Meanwhile, supporters of the governor said that “now that the recall issue is doomed, the people of Bulacan are crying for justice and want the national government to hold liable the people behind it not only for bastardizing the sanctity of signatures, desecrating the memory of the dead but also for wasting government time and money for an exercise that was tainted with fraud, deceit, wanton violation of rights and dirty politics."

What made thousands of Bulakenyos more furious is the surfacing of one of the politicians behind the recall move, who in an earlier television interview, vehemently denied that he was behind it despite the fact the people already knew that he was the one financing because the petitioner is a close relative.

They claimed that the said politician even has the gall to say that the incumbent governor has “manipulated” the outcome of the verification of the signatures in the recall petition.

But Lawyer Pete Principe, counsel of Governor Alvarado, said that the proponents of the recall are the ones who tried to move heaven and earth even to the point of trying to rig the outcome of the verification phase by distributing pre-encoded ruling to the election officers.

“For the record, the petitioner, through her lawyer, was the one who filed an ex-parte motion to terminate the verification proceedings which the acting Comelec chairman granted on March 30, the same day that their lawyers also distributed USBs containing pre-encoded or prepared rulings to the election officers,” he said.

Principe explained that the distribution of the “pre-encoded rulings” in USB were part of the grand design of recall-petitioners to railroad the proceedings when they moved for the termination of the verification process a day earlier than the mandated schedule.

On March 30, the petitioner’s lawyer filed a controversial ‘ex-parte motion’ asking the en banc to set a hearing the following day, March 31, for the termination of the verification process that was on-going from March 23 to April 1.

Principe said that in spite of the fact that there was no notice on the supposed hearing was sent to them nor to the governor, the en banc issued an ‘order’, dated March 31, and signed alone by Comelec acting chairman Christian Lim granting the termination of the verification proceedings a day earlier than the last day on April 1.

“All of these confluence of events and machinations perpetrated by the proponents of the recall initiative are obviously meant to disregard the rules and laws on recall elections pursuant to Comelec Resolution 7505. Obviously, they are in panic because they know that the recall elections they are dreaming about is now doomed,” said Principe, a former president of IBP-Bulacan chapter said.

But their dirty tactics backfired on them because the EOs knew that they will be placed in legal trouble if they let the plan pushed through and instead issued their own honest ruling.

Lawyer Temie Lambino, Comelec regional director, has released the consolidated rulings of election officers in Bulacan showing that 73 percent of the signatures in the petition were forged while 27 percent were valid but are still under protest due to their dubious origin.

Aside from this, Lambino also confirmed that election officers in the province’s 21 towns and three cities have indeed received USBs allegedly containing pre-encoded or prepared ruling from the lawyers of recall petitioner Perlita Mendoza .

Lambino said the Comelec en banc will investigate the matter.

He said that based on the consolidated rulings, the low number of valid signatures-- which is also under protest—was 115,000 short of the required 10 percent threshold in order to comply with the provision of Comelec Resoltion 7505.

Lawyer Julio Nicanor C. Guinto, Malolos City election officer, confirmed that even the names of deceased or dead persons were discovered and mysteriously signed.

Lambino also confirmed that election officers were given USBs allegedly containing pre-encoded rulings but most of them did not use it, saying mere acceptance of it could bring them legal problems because it is highly illegal and unethical.

Bulakenyos whose signatures were forged and their names used without their knowledge have filed criminal charges against the petitioner.

Principe said that this incident warrants a thorough investigation because it does not only set a bad precedent but millions of pesos of government money were wasted in an exercise tainted with fraud, irregularities and mockery of existing laws. (PNA) 
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Bulacan Recall: “Doomed!” -- Alvarado camp 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 9 (PNA)--The controversial recall petition being feverishly pursued by political foes of incumbent Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado is “doomed.”

In a press conference at the provincial Comelec office here, Central Luzon poll director Lawyer Temie Lambino confirmed that based on the rulings of election officers in the province’s 21 towns and 3 cities, it shows that 73 percent of signatures and thumb marks were forged while 27 were valid but are being contested by lawyers of the governor for their alleged dubious origin.

Lambino, however, made it clear that rulings are still appealable to the Comelec en banc.

Both parties will be given ample time to appeal but it appears that the outcome favors that of the respondent (Alvarado) than the petitioner (former provincial administrator Perlita Mendoza)

He said that most of the objections of the Alvarado’s lawyers on the veracity of the signatures were sustained.

In Malolos City, election officer Julio Nicanor C. Guinto confirmed that even the names of deceased or dead persons were discovered and mysteriously signed.

Lambino also confirmed that election officers were given USBs allegedly containing pre-encoded rulings but most of them did not use it, saying mere acceptance of could bring them legal problems because it is highly illegal and unethical.

Lambino said that they are just waiting for the go signal of the Comelec En Banc to start an investigation on the distribution of the USBs which the election officers confirmed were distributed by the lawyers of Mendoza on March 30, a day before acting Comelec Chairman Christian Robert Lim approved an ex-parte motion filed by the petitioner terminating the verification process.

On March 30, Mendoza’s lawyer Atty. Ma Bernadete Serdillo filed a controversial ‘ex-parte motion’ asking the En Banc to set a hearing the following day, March 31, for the termination of the verification process that was on-going from March 23 to April 1.

Lawyer Pete Principe, legal counsel of the governor, said that in spite of the fact that there was no notice on the supposed hearing was sent to them nor to the governor, the En banc issued an ‘Order’, dated March 31, and signed alone by acting Chairman Lim granting the termination of the verification proceedings a day than the last day on April 1.

“All of these confluence of events and machinations perpetrated by the proponents of the recall initiative are obviously meant to disregard the rules and laws on recall elections pursuant Comelec Resolution 7505. Obviously, they are in panic because they know that the recall elections they are dreaming about is now doomed,” said Principe, a former president of IBP-Bulacan chapter, said.

“Petitioner Mendoza and her lawyers are cramming and wants to finish the verification proceedings before the Holy Week break so they can expedite and give Comelec a justification to promptly get the rulings from the 24 election officers and prod the En Banc to immediately set the calendar dates for the recall elections,” Principe said.

With the favorable ruling for the governor, Alvarado’s supporters said that this is a vindication from the massive poisoning” of minds which they claimed is part of a black operations against their hardworking and God-driven leader.

The governor said that this only shows that some politicians will go all out, even bastardizing the names and signatures of the people of Bulacan just to pursue their nefarious ambition.

The governor said that this will not go unpunished and appropriate charges will be filed against the proponents.

“We want everybody to know that the province is governed by law and not by men. Our great province is known as the “cradle of democracy in Asia and Africa” but their move is clearly undemocratic and has also put the electoral process in dire straight,” he said. (PNA) 
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Comelec urged to act on massive 'fraud' hounding Bulacan recall

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 7 (PNA) -- Angry and displeased residents whose signatures were forged in the recall petition against incumbent Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado strongly urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to immediately act on what they said were massive fraud, deceit and violations of laws that have marred the recall proceedings in the province which they claimed was threatening to cast doubts on the conduct of a clean and honest elections in the future.

“The forged signatures, the attempted plot to substitute an honest ruling with pre-encoded rulings and numerous violations of rights to due process are indeed alarming and threatens the very fabric of the integrity of electoral exercise in the Philippines,” a resident from the coastal town of Hagonoy said.

The town's election officer confirmed that out of the 840 signatures that they verified, 809 were forged while 31 were considered valid but were questioned and placed under protest due to their dubious origin.

The forged entries set a trending because they were also discovered in many towns and cities of the provinces even before the verification proceeding was terminated in the afternoon of March 31 by Comelec acting Chairman Christian Robert Lim, according to the restive Bulakenyos.

This developed as lawyers of Alvarado on Tuesday filed an urgent motion requesting the Comelec to issue an en banc resolution for a formal investigation on the alleged distribution of “pre encoded ruling” to every election officers (EOs) in the province’s 21 towns and three cities a day before the prescribed period for the verification of signatures in the recall petition expired.

Earlier, Alvarado’s lawyers also filed an urgent motion requesting the en banc committee to investigate the controversial order issued by the acting Comelec chairman last March 31 granting the ex-parte motion filed by petitioner Perlita Mendoza to terminate the verification of signatures by the election officers at 5:00 p.m. of March 31.

The governor’s lawyers said that they already wrote Comelec regional director Temie P. Lambino, the acting provincial election supervisor of Bulacan, to probe the distribution of USBs containing pre-encoded rulings to the election officers officiating the verification process.

The pre-encoded rulings contained names and prepared rulings for every petitioner’s signature/thumb mark that was objected by the governor’s lawyers and representatives in the verification stage of the recall proceedings.

According to the governor’s legal counsels, Lambino gave his assurance that his office will conduct an investigation on the distribution of the pre-encoded rulings to the Bulacan EOs “upon a formal directive from the Comelec en banc.

The lawyers believe that the en banc committee will not tolerate the alleged nefarious act because it destroys the very essence and foundation of democracy.

Alvarado’s camp also told Comelec commissioners that “a lot of information on the existence of the USBs containing pre-encoded rulings were gathered by members of the media who interviewed election officers that attended a meeting at the Provincial Comelec Office.

The members of the media were informed by the election officers that they received the USBs containing the alleged prepared-rulings from Lawayer Maria Bernadette Sardillo and other lawyers of the petitioner.

It was also learned that some election officers refused to accept the USBs because they considered that the mere acceptance of it was already illegal and unethical.

Some EOs who got hold of the USBs also opted not to use them knowing the legal consequences that they might face if they use it to circumvent the result of the verification of signatures.

Alvarado’s lawyers also said the existence and distribution of the USBs will prove the alleged purpose behind the hasty filing of the motion to terminate the verification stage on March 31, 2015 that was granted by the acting Comelec Chairman, Commissioner Christian Robert Lim.

“It was the grand design of the petitioner through lawyer Maria Bernadette Sardillo to end the verification short of one day and bring into play the USBs containing the pre-encoded rulings of every city and municipality on April 1,2015 or within 24 hour submission of EOs’ rulings. Unfortunately for the petitioner, this brazen plot was uncovered before it was completely executed,” the governor’s lawyer said.

Alvarado’s lawyers believe that the mere existence of the USBs and the information from the Bulacan EOs that they received the USBs will clearly present a case worthy of a formal investigation. (PNA) 
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Bulacan town residents urge Comelec to trash forged recall proceedings - By Emil G. Gamos

HAGONOY, Bulacan, April 5 (PNA) -- Residents of this province, particularly in this coastal town, on Sunday urged officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to act and trash the recall proceedings which they claim has now become a dreaded electoral disease that threatens future poll exercises due to massive deceit and glaring violation of election rules.

The residents went up in arms after the election officer of this town finished the verification of signatures in the recall petition lodged against Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado by the petitioner former provincial administrator Perlita Mendoza.

Lawyer Pete Principe, counsel of the governor, said that the ruling of election officer Gilbert Palagan showed that out of the total 840 signatures verified, it turned out that 809 were forged while 31 were declared valid but are still subject to contention.

Principe said they will question the 31 signatures because residents claimed they were duped into signing a piece of paper that proponents told them were for livelihood programs.

Aside from this, many signatures were discovered to be faked from deceased registered voters.

“There is now this alarming trend that most of the signatures were forged and the names were used without the knowledge of the people ,’ Principe said.

He said that this discovery gave more credence to the admission of an alleged “master forger” known only as “Mr. RC” who came out in the open and admitted that he and seven others were hired by a lady lawyer and paid by a congressman to forge signatures.

The said “Mr. RC” also admitted to local mediamen that they have forged more than 300,000 signatures in a span of three weeks.

Principe said that the recall incident in Bulacan is now turning out to be “clear and present danger” to the electoral exercise in the country posing doubts and integrity of the poll body in conducting honest elections in the future.

"The Bulakenyos are asking why the Comelec allowed and let the recall proceedings go on despite the blatant forgery of signatures of the people in the petition," Principe said.

He also made it clear that the governor is not against the recall process but he is fighting for his right and the rights of Bulakenyos to due process. (PNA) 
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Five faith healers “crucified” in Bulacan - By Emil G. Gamos

PAOMBONG, Bulacan, April 3 (PNA)—At least five faith healers were nailed to a wooden cross at a man-made Golgotha in Barangay Kapitangan here at high noon on Good Friday.

After hanging while nailed to a wooden cross for two minutes, faith healer Jon-Jon Tanael fainted when native actors playing the roles of Roman Centurions pulled out the nails from his hands and feet during the bloody Lenten rituals.

Tanael, who was “crucified” for the 7th consecutive years, was first dragged and whip by native centurions before he was raised to a wooden cross where stainless steel nails were drove to his spread eagled hands and feet before thousands of spectators, composed of local and foreign tourists who flocked and braved the heat of the noon day sun to witness the bloody Holy Week tradition here.

The faith healer was the second to be “crucified” at the man-made Golgotha erected at a rice field here where scores of faith healers and bareback flagellants fulfilled their Holy Week vows.

First to be nailed was Roger Macos of Paombong, then Tanael who was followed by a faith healer known only as “Erick’, then by female faith healer Precy Valencia, then by Michael Katigbak.

Veteran native “centurion’ Edong Caparas, 79, who has nailed scores of penitents for more than 30 years before he retired four years ago, said that most of the penitents who were nailed to the cross every Good Friday claimed they saw visions and heard “divine voices” telling them to fulfill their vows.

Caparas said that the man-made Golgotha in Barangay Kapitangan here has become some sort of a “graduate school” for faith healers.

"Most of those who were nailed here became good faith healers and been able to build chapels where they are doing the healing activities," Caparas said.

He said that among the “fulfilled faith healers” include Amparo Santos, popularly known as “Mother Paring” of Guiguinto, Bulacan.

He said Santos has fulfilled her lenten vow by getting herself nailed to the cross every Good Friday for 15 consecutive years.

She conducts spiritual healing sessions at the St. Joseph Chapel in Barangay Tabe, Guiguinto.

Caparas also mentioned the name of Buboy Dionisio, who also did the bloody ritual of getting nailed to the cross on Good Friday for 16 consecutive years.

Another faith healer whom Caparas remembers only as “Lucy” also fulfilled her Lenten vow by getting crucified for 15 straight years.

Thousands of local and foreign tourists, as well as devotees flocked to the Sto. Cristo chapel here as early as Wednesday where they prayed and queued for the blessed oil that was used to bathe the image of the crucified Christ, the patron saint in Barangay Kapitangan here.

Multitude of people also visit the Grotto Shrine in San Jose del Monte City, the Divine Mercy Shrine in Marilao, the Banal na Bundok in San Miguel and the age-old Lenten traditions like the Pabasa and Senakulo in many parts of Bulacan.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that public assistance centers were established in key areas to assist motorists and the crowds of people visiting the province. (PNA) 
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DPWH partially opens new Calumpit bridge

CALUMPIT, Bulacan, April 1 (PNA)-- The “calvary” of thousands of residents and motorists crossing the river here that links Bulacan to Pampanga and other northern provinces via the Macarthur Highway is partially over.

After two years of long delay, the new Calumpit Bridge along MacArthur Highway in Barangay Gatbuca here was partially opened to traffic on Wednesday morning for light vehicles only.

Engineer Ruel Angeles of the 1st Engineering District of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said the bridge was temporarily opened for light vehicles to ease the flow of traffic this Holy Week.

He said the partial opening of the bridge will be a great “sigh of relief” for motorists due to the exodus of people going to the northern provinces this Holy Week and summer vacation.

He said that although the bridge is not yet 100 percent complete, light vehicles can now pass.

Angeles said the new bridge still needs at least three weeks curing period and will formally be inaugurated before the end of April.

The new Calumpit bridge was scheduled to be completed last April 2014 but construction hitches delayed it, drawing frustrations and inconvenience to residents, students and motorists who have to bear the burden of crossing a makeshift bridge and having to go around the North Luzon Expressway just to reach the other side of the river.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy Alvarado and Calumpit Mayor Jessie de Jesus has time and again called the attention of the national government in the snail-paced work being done at the bridge prompting DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson to instruct the regional DPWH office and its contractor to expedite its completion.

It can be remembered that the DPWH awarded the contract to Wing Ann Construction and Development Corporation after making a nosedive bid of PHP166 million on the proposed PHP210 milion budget for the new bridge.

The construction of the new bridge began in 2013 after Alvarado appealed that the old bridge is no longer safe and could collapse like the Colgante bridge in Apalit, Pampanga.

The bridge links Bulacan to Pampanga and other northern provinces in Central and Northern Luzon. (PNA) 
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'Mother Paring' continues to heal the sick on Holy Week - By Emil G. Gamos

GUIGUINTO, Bulacan, March 31 (PNA) -- Old age has not diminished the strong faith in God of a septuagenarian faith healer here who continues to deliver “messages from Heaven”, 14 years after she stopped getting nailed to a wooden cross which she did for 15 consecutive years since 1986.

Amparo Santos, popularly known as “Mother Paring”, said that even if she has already stopped the bloody Holy Week ritual of re-enacting the Crucifixion of Christ, she still receives messages from Heaven which she shares to the people especially to the sick who comes to her for spiritual healing.

Now 74 years old, Mother Paring is still fulfilling her vows by erecting iron crosses in as many towns as she can so she can let people know that God loves them and is always with them.

“God is always sending me messages especially during those times when I was nailed to the cross every Good Friday. The Lord always tells me to spread the Word and make people repent,” she said during an interview at the St. Joseph Chapel in Barangay Tabe here where scores of people continue to flock for spiritual healing.

She said that she still remembers the first time she encountered God and received her “mission” in life.

Mother Paring said that it was in the summer of 1986, a few months after the bloodless EDSA people power revolt that toppled the Marcos dictatorship, when she went in trance while lying in her bed.

“It was as if I was zapped to a different world. I saw a place where everything is purely immaculate and beautiful and I know that it was Heaven. Then I was brought to a place full of thorns and emptiness which I think is the place called purgatory and a place that was very hot and there were many sad voices crying and screaming which I know was the place called hell,” Mother Paring said.

It was during that time when she was in trance, that she heard the voice of God telling her to get herself crucified every Good Friday and deliver His message while hanging nailed to the cross.

For 15 years, she fulfilled her Holy Week vows, carrying a wooden cross in the sun-baked roads of a farming village leading to the man-made Golgotha in Barangay Kapitangan, Paombong where she was nailed for at least 12 times at high noon every Good Friday.

The remaining three years of her Lenten vow was fulfilled in the hot open fields of Barrio Cutud in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga.

She stopped her “crucifixion” vow in 2000, mainly due to the prodding and wishes of her children, three sons and a daughter.

“She was already old for that and we want her to enjoy her grandchildren,” her only daughter Maricel Santos-Cruz, concurrent provincial information officer of the provincial government of Bulacan, said.

Santos-Cruz said that her mother continues to deliver the messages of the Lord by erecting steel crosses and displaying hundreds of images of Christ the King in many places not only in Bulacan but in other parts of the country as well.

“If she’s not busy fulfilling her vows, she still does faith healing. The St. Joseph Chapel is being swarmed by an average of 30 people a day,” Santos-Cruz added.

This Good Friday, the multitudes flocking to Barangay Kapitangan may no longer witness Mother Paring getting nailed but the faithfuls who once become a part of her devotion will always remember the strong faith that still drives an old woman in fulfilling her vows and spreading the words of God. (PNA) 
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Bulacan bags 'Hall of Fame' title in the Gawad Kalasag awards

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 26 (PNA) -- Bulacan was adjudged on Thursday by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) as the recipient of prestigious Hall of Fame award for being the best PDRRMC for three consecutive years and as the best Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) in the National Gawad Kalasag Search for Excellence in Disaster Risk Management and Humanitarian Assistance Award 2014

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and PDRRM officer Liz Mungcal accepted the plaque of recognition and cash award from the NDRRMC National Selection Council during the “Gawad Kalasag “ awarding ceremony at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Commissioned Officers’ Club in Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City, on Thursday morning.

Alvarado said that it was a great honor for the province to be once again recognized as outstanding DRRMC that continues to give exemplary performance in the implementation of disaster risk reduction management plans and quick response in times of calamities and disasters.

The governor, who is also the PDRRMC chairman, commended Mungcal and her staff at PDRRMO as well as the Bulacan Rescue teams and volunteers that have shown extraordinary courage, heroism, self-sacrifice, and bravery in times of natural and human-made emergencies and disasters.

"Our noble province of Bulacan is blessed because of the dedication of the people who are ready to face dangers only to ensure the safety of the residents in times of calamities and incidents," Alvarado said. ,p>According to the NDRRMC National Selection Committee, Bulacan was chosen as the recipient of the prestigious award because of the province’s systematic incorporation of risk reduction approaches into the implementation of emergency preparedness, response and recovery programs, particularly on its Disaster Risk and Vulnerability Assessment and Operation “Listo” that continues to ensure the safety and resiliency of communities in facing hazardous situations.

Aside from the Bulacan PDRRMC, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Fire and Rescue Team was also the recipient of this year’s Gawad Kalasag for being the best Government Management for Urban Search and Rescue (SAR) category while the Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (DART) Inc., was hailed as third place winner for the Gawad Kalasag for the GEMs Basic SAR category.

The Gawad KALASAG, which stands for KAlamidad at Sakuna LAbanan, SAriling Galing ang Kaligtasan, is an annual search for excellence in disaster risk management and humanitarian assistance given to individuals, non-government organizations, private sector and government organizations, in recognition of their initiative in helping the government in uplifting the standard of disaster management in the country. (PNA) 
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Tarlac Provincial Intelligence Branch ranks No .1 in PNP's UPER 4th Quarter CY 2014

CAMP MACABULOS, Tarlac City, March 25 (PNA) -- The Provincial Intelligence Branch of the Tarlac Provincial Police Office (TPPO) ranked no. 1 in the Unit Performance Evaluation Rating (UPER) during the last quarter of 2014, based on the result released by the Regional Intelligence Division.

Senior Supt. Alex B. Sintin, provincial director of Tarlac PNP, cited the good performance of the PIB Tarlac by awarding them plaque of commendation in a simple rite held Tuesday here as witnessed by various groups such as the Tarlac Citizen Eyewatch, an anti-crime organization based in this province.

The UPER have segregated their evaluation rating into five categories namely, intel-admin (11 points); intel-reseach (38 points); counter-intel (49 points), intel-operation (45 points) and foreign liaison (6 points) for a a total of 155 points.

Bulacan came in second ranking, followed by Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Olongapo City, Angeles City, Zambales, Aurora, and Bataan.

Meanwhile, the Tarlac PIB was also the champion in the recently-concluded basketball tournament.

"For the first time, we are the champion in the basketball tournament, Supt. Miguel Guzman, chief of the Tarlac PIB, said.

After the awarding ceremony, Guzman invited Sintin for a simple ribbon cutting ceremony of their newly renovated office. (PNA) 
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Election officers in Bulacan feel like soldiers sent to war without weapons, bullets

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 23 (PNA) --The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is now receiving heavy bombardment not only from thousands of dismayed Bulakenyos whose signatures were forged in the recall petition against incumbent Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado but also from their own election officers who claimed they found themselves into a deep mess after being ordered to proceed to the verification phase of the proceedings.

In an unexpected twist, at least 19 elections officers from the province’s 21 towns and three cities on Monday signed a sentiment letter to the Comelec En Banc to air their predicament on the controversial recall proceedings which they claimed has caused them to be physically , mentally and emotionally drained while doing their duties and responsibilities in an exercise that even them do not know where it is heading.

The election officers has been facing dilemma since the Office of the Deputy Executive Director for Operations ordered them to proceed with the verification process last Wednesday even if there was already an existing temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by Bulacan Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 83 Judge Gregorio P. Agloro ordering them to refrain from further conducting the recall proceedings.

The said election officers, together with their verifiers and the acting Provincial Election Supervisor, were given five days by Judge Agloro to explain why they should not be held for indirect contempt of court for disobeying a lawful court order.

The 19 election officers led by Malolos City election officer lawyer Julio Nicanor C. Guinto wrote the Comelec commissioners that “we are caught not only in the middle of the legal tussle between two warring political camps but also in the crossfire as we face several lawsuits that are criminal in nature, threats of facing several more charges from both camps as well as verbal and other kinds of harassment.”

Guinto and his colleagues also stated that “when we started this verification exercise, we felt like soldiers being sent into combat without arms and bullets.”

“Imagine being asked to look for accommodation of our augmentation verifiers and checkers without any guidelines and budget. Imagine being asked to proceed with the verification process without being supplied the forms prescribed by Comelec Resolution No. 7505. Imagine being asked to proceed with the verification process without being properly trained. Imagine being dragged into court and face charges of indirect contempt while our generals still command us to attack without making moves to neutralize the heavy bombardment pounding the foot soldiers.,” Guinto said as he read the sentiment letter to the media at the Office of the Provincial election Supervisor here on Monday morning.

The election officers also disclosed that while they will dutifully do their duties, they feel that in the present situation that they are in, they are being unnecessarily exposed to risk and charges, not to mention subtle threats to their lives and liberty, while they do they mandated task --which to their minds and as shown by a precedent—might later on be rendered useless if the Commission would decide to discontinue the recall process as was done in Resolution No. 9374 dated March 7, 2012, when the Comelec resolved to discontinue actions on all petitions for recall.

Guinto and his fellow election officers also informed the Comelec En Banc that there are only 48 days left from March 23, 2015 to May 8, 2015 which latter date is the last date when the recall election can be held under the law.

"The verification process has still to be concluded. Is there enough time to prepare for the recall election? Is there enough time for the printing of the election ballots including the prior bidding process thereof? Is there enough time to organize and train the Board of Election Inspectors,?” Guinto said.

Central Luzon regional election supervisor lawyer Temie Lambino, said he respects the sentiments of the Bulacan election oficers but reiterated that his order was to continue with the recall proceedings.

Lambino also explained that all complaints from aggrieved parties will be noted and acted upon.

He also stressed that all the 380,000 signatures will be verified.

“It’s a tedious process but we were ordered to do our jobs,” he said.

This developed as pockets of uprisings by people who claimed their names were used without their permission and their signatures forged in the recall petition were noted in several areas in Bulacan.

Lawyer Pete Principe, legal counsel of Governor Alvarado, said the people felt aggrieved because they cannot stomach why the Comelec are still pursuing the recall proceedings even if it is already very clear that the names of the petitioners were massively forged and falsified.

The angry crowd, most of them carrying placards, said that the integrity of the election body is being compromised by the vested interests of dirty politicians who will use the color of money just to sow discord and divisiveness in their province.

"This is alarming. The blatant act forgery by the petitioners is being forced to continue by the Comelec. The Comelec should be the one protecting the rights of every Filipino voter, " a registered voter from Malolos City whose name and that of his mother were found to have been forged, said. (PNA) 
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Massive forging of signatures uncovered in verification phase of Bulacan recall

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 20 (PNA)--As election officers in some towns and cities of this province face possible contempt of court for defying the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by a Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge here, massive cases of forgery and falsification of signatures in the petition for recall against the incumbent governor were uncovered since Wednesday, the day the Commision on Elections (Comelec) gave the go signal for the verification phase of the recall to start vis-a-vis the presence of the TRO.

This developed as Comelec regional director Lawyer Temie Lambino said that the election officers who proceeded with the verification are now facing indirect contempt charges and are scheduled to appear at the sala of Bulacan RTC Branch 83 Judge Gregorio P. Agloro and explain why they should not be held in contempt for defying the TRO restraining the Provincial Election Supervisor (PES) and election officers from further conducting proceedings on the recall process.

Lambino took the position of erstwhile acting PES Lawyer Jerbee Anthony Cortez Thursday and told local newsmen that “no one would like to take this post (PES) that’s why I was made to take over on a concurrent basis.”

As the verification of signatures started on Wednesday, even Comelec verifiers noted cases of massive forgeries which give credence to earlier complaints of residents that their names were arbitrarily used without their knowledge and permission and worse their signatures were also forged in what they claim is a “grand scheme” of its proponents in a bid to deciet Comelec officials and the people of Bulacan.

A verifier who hails from Nueva Ecija even sent text messages to members of the Bulacan Press Club reporting that, “Even the verification proceeding will push through, the recall will not be conducted due to many forged signatures."

The same verifier also said that other verifiers in other towns and cities also discovered massive forging of signatures.

On Wednesday, election officers in several towns proceeded with the verification of signatures despite a court order issued Tuesday by Judge Agloro making it clear that “the TRO covers acts, participation, directly or indirectly, as well as the direction and orders, verbally or in writing, emanating from the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor.

The court order further stated that “it is the considered opinion of the court that the actions of the election officers of different cities and municipalities of Bulacan which are intended in furthernance of the recall proceedings of herein plaintiff, under the direction of the PES are covered by the TRO issued by this court.”

Judge Agloro also clarified that “it is the considered opinion of the court the cause of action of the plaintiff (Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado) is the violation of his right to due process considering that the plaintiff is not questioning in this particular case the exercise of the COMELEC in enforcing and administering election laws and regulations.

He also said that the plaintiff is only seeking the intervention of the court to restrain the PES from proceeding with the verification stage of the signatures of the petitioners in a petition for recall because allegedly there was violation in the enforcement and administration of the procedural aspect in the petition for recall which is tantamount to a violation of his right to due process.

Before the PES and election officers defied the court TRO and proceeded with the verification phase, hundreds of thousands of registered voters have already complained that they were not aware that their names have been used in the recall petition.

At least 20 cases of forgery, fallsification of public documents and perjury have already been filed at the Bulacan Provincial Prosecutors Office in connection with the massive forging of signatures in the petition for recall initiated by a former provincial administrator.

Most of the complainants want the petitioner to be jailed for using their names without their permission and falsification of their signatures.

The widespread incidents of forgery has also prompted a man who earlier claimed to be the “master forger’ and one of the seven forgers hired by a lady lawyer and paid by a congressman to falsify signatures that were mostly culled from voter’s lists and through fraudelent and decietful methods. to go into hiding for fear of his life.

He told some members of the local media that he has been recieving death threats since he divulged the task they were paid to do.

The said “master forger” have earlier admitted to authorities that they even forged signatures of the deceased and those who are in abroad. (PNA) 
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Thousands of Bulakenyos set to file class suit vs petitioner of recall move

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 11 (PNA) -— A new twist cropped up on the court-stopped recall process in this province as thousands of Bulakenyos, whose names were used without their knowledge and their signatures forged in the recall petition against incumbent Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, are set to file criminal charges against its proponents led by a former provincial administrator at the capitol.

This developed as the Bulacan police confirmed that thousands of registered voters whose signatures were forged have already been blottered and complained that their names were used and that their signatures were falsified with many claiming that they do not even know that there was a recall move against the top provincial executive.

“My mother and I were surprised when we saw our signatures in the recall move against the governor. In the first place, we do not know anything about this recall and we are not losing trust with the effective and efficient supervision and management of our industrious governor," Ron Gatchalian of Malolos City said.

Thousands of registered voters aired similar grievances with many claiming that even their dead relatives were also included in the purported lists of people allegedly supporting the recall move initiated and filed by the said former provincial administrator.

Police and village officials also said that the mystery of the forged voters’ signature in the petition for recall emerged following the numerous complaints from residents.

The claims of the registered voters whose signatures were falsified was bolstered after a man, who claimed to have principal participation in the massive and systematic forgeries, surfaced and admitted to authorities that he was paid to “doctor” the signatures of thousands of Bulakenyos.

The man, who was only identified as certain “Mr. R” , also revealed that he was among the seven forgers hired to forge the signatures culled from the voters lists from selected villages in the province’s 21 towns and 3 cities.

The self-claimed “master forger” also sought protection and his admission is expected to include also the disclosure of his other cohorts.

Sources also revealed that most of those who signed were duped into believing that if they signed their names they will be given goodies and other benefits from the government.

They also averred that “complainants can easily translate into thousands, and will even be hundreds of thousands-except for all those who were already dead who obviously can no longer come-out and file a complaint that they too were also included as among the signatories in the recall petition.

The issue on the massive forgeries spreads like wildfire and is now the talk of the town and in the cities—be it in the market place, barber shops, village fiestas, during wakes of the dead, and other gatherings.

Political observers also pointed out that “such developments also lead to the question of who stand to benefit from the clear deception now made apparent and indeed considerable.”

They also said that the petitioner in the said recall proceeding has a lot of explaining to do and will certainly be in trouble, not only because of the obvious thousands of signatures forged where victims who are indeed duped, aggrieved, deceived and even insulted registered voters in Bulacan are complaining but also by a presumption in the law that states—“he who benefits from the falsification is deemed the falsifier.”

Last Friday, Bulacan RTC Branch 83 Judge Guillermo P. Agloro issued a temporary restraining order enjoining Provincial Election Supervisor lawyer Jerbee Anthony Cortez from conducting further proceedings in connection with the recall.

The hearing of the case proceeded Friday morning on the “prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO)” where the governor was represented by legal counsels --lawyers Wendel Dimaculangan and Yasser Lumbos.

In his order, Judge Agloro stated that “it appears that the prayer for the issuance of a TRO is anchored on the alleged violation of the plaintiff’s (Gov. Alvarado) right to due process in accordance with the rules.”

The plaintiff’s counsel sought the TRO also on the ground that the provisions of the rules regarding the publication and posting of the said rule was violated.

The court also set the hearing for the application of “writ of preliminary injunction” on March 12, 2015 at 10 a.m. (PNA) 
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Bulacan RTC judge temporarily stops recall proceedings vs. Gov. Alvarado - By:Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 7 (PNA)--A Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge has temporarily stopped the office of the Provincial Election Supervisor (PES) from conducting further proceedings on the recall petition filed against incumbent Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado to protect the latter’s right to due process of the law.

Bulacan RTC Branch 83 Judge Guillermo P. Agloro issued Friday a temporary restraining order enjoining provincial election supervisor Lawyer Jerbee Anthony Cortez from conducting further proceedings in connection with the recall proceedings against -Alvarado, the plaintiff in civil case No. 100-M-2015.

The hearing of the case proceeded Friday morning on the “prayer for the issuance of a TRO” where the incumbent governor was represented by legal counsels-- lawyers Wendel Dimaculangan and Yasser Lumbos.

Judge Agloro, in his order, said that “it appears that the prayer for the issuance of a TRO is anchored on the alleged violation of the plaintiff’s (Gov. Alvarado) right to due process in accordance with the rules.”

Alvarado’s counsel Dimaculangan said that the plaintiff was asking the court for the issuance of a TRO to enjoin the defendant (provincial election supervisor Cortez) from conducting the setting for the verification of the signatures and thumbmarks of the supporting petitioners for the recall petition filed against the governor on the ground that the provisions of the rules regarding the publication and posting of the said rule was violated.

Dimaculangan also said that the office of the defendant failed to comply with the publication and posting as provided under Sec. 14 of COMELEC Resolution No. 7505.

Under such rule, the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor of Bulacan is required to publish the petition, including the pages containing the names , addresses and signatures of the supporting petitioners, once a week for three consecutive weeks in a national newspaper and a local newspaper of general circulation and that from the publication of the petition in a national newspaper of general circulation .

According to the resolution, the provincial election supervisor, at the expenses of the petitioner, caused the publication of the petition in the newspaper of general circulation in the province of Bulacan.

However, the court said that in this case, “the publication of the petition, purportedly in Daily Tribune (national newspaper) and Rekta ( for the local newspaper) were not caused by the provincial election supervisor, but by the petitioner in the petition for recall election, former Provincial Administrator Perlita Mendoza.

The court also said that the said allegation was supported by the admission of the predecessor of provincial election supervisor --Lawyer Elmo Duque—that the publication was “at the instance of the petitioner for the recall election.

Agloro also stated in his order that “likewise, even assuming that the publication was caused by the provincial election supervisor, nevertheless, the publication in the supposed newspaper in the locality was violated as per certification from the Ofice of the Clerk of Court, saying that “Rekta” is not an accredited newspaper of general circulation in Bulacan.”

The Bulacan RTC Judge also pointed out that “without necessarily passing upon the merits of an important relief as it appears that great and irreparable injury will result to the plaintiff before the matter could be heard on notice if the defendant be not restrained.”

In the meantime, the court also set the hearing for the application of “writ of preliminary Injuction” on March 12, 2015 at 10 .a.m.

Meanwhile, supporters of Alvarado said the issuance of TRO was a vindication from the smear tactics being implied against the top provincial executive by his political rivals.

They claimed that if the basis of the recall petition was due to alleged lack of trust and confidence how come that the province of Bulacan, through the leadership of Alvarado is being showered with major awards and recognition, that include the “Seal of Sound Financial Management and Seal of Good Housekeeping on Transparency and Accountabilty” given by the Department of Interior and Local Government.

They said that major awards showed that the provincial government was being recognized for its no-nonsense and effective management of salient programs compliant to the full disclosure and transparency policy on local government units by the DILG.

They also disclosed that for the third consecutive year, Bulacan was also adjudged as among the 10 outstanding provinces which is set to receive the Agri-Pinoy Rice Achievers Award on March 26.

“This recall petition is just part of a sinister plot aimed to harass and besmirch the good reputation, performance and sterling leadership of the incumbent governor of Bulacan, who also got the full trust and confidence of no less than President Benigno S. Aquino III when the latter appointed him as chairman of the Regional Development Council in Central Luzon, the chief executive’s home region, last year,” a supporter of the governor said. (PNA) 
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Bulacan kicks off Fire Prevention Month celebration

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 3 (PNA) -- The provincial government of Bulacan, through the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), has lined up various activities for the celebration of the Fire Prevention Month.

The month-long celebration kicked off Monday with a motorcade and a short program at the provincial capitol gymnasium here.

With the theme “Kaligtasan sa Sunog: Alamin, Gawin, at Isabuhay Natin!, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said this year’s celebration aims to increase the awareness and preparedness of Bulakenyos with regard to fire prevention.

The PDRRMO has distributed disaster preparedness flyer entitled “Mga Payo ng Pangkaligtasan -- Pag-iingat sa Sunog.”

“Follow those simple tips and pass it on to your friends and family that would potentially saved everyone’s life, make this fire prevention month count,” Alvarado said.

Meanwhile, six municipalities that include Bocaue, Pandi, Paombong, Obando, San Ildefonso and San Rafael received rescue tools and equipment from the provincial government through the proceeds of the “Ang Bote Mo, Kaligtasan Ko!” project.

Each municipality received one throw can, six life vests, one throw bag, one padded splint, one trauma kit and one spine board.

Alvarado also distributed emergency kits to 100 capitol employees while 40 employees won life vests, 14 throw bags and 14 rescue or throw cans.

Felicisima Mungcal, PDRRMO head, said the activities for the fire prevention month include fire safety inspection on March 4 at the provincial capitol building and in government offices and private establishments; coordination and ocular inspection on March 5; fire talk and fire drill orientation on March 6.

Fire drill will also be conducted at the Bulacan Polytechnic College on March 11 and a bloodletting drive in Guiguinto, Bulacan on March 18.

Other activities include meetings of the PDRRMC and capitol fire marshalls, provincial convergence on LISTO, fire suppression and first aid and basic life support-cardiopulmonary resuscitation training in Pandi town. (PNA) 
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Four kids die in Bulacan fire

MARILAO, Bulacan, Feb 28 (PNA) -- Four children, including a four-month-old boy, died after they were trapped inside a rented house in Barangay Sta, Rosa II that was gutted by a big fire Friday night.

Police identified the victims as Jerry Anne 4; Ashley Jane, 3; Tisoy, 2; and 4-month-old Jeremy Jr., all surnamed Sotayco.

Police investigators said the four children were left inside the rented house by their parents identified as Jeremy Sotayco and Angie Ferrer when the fire broke out around 8:00 p.m. Friday.

Residents tried to rescue the children but the fire was already big.

The children were rushed to the St. Michael Hospital. Due to severe burns, attending doctors tried to transfer them but the victims perished while being brought to the Philippine General Hospital in Manila.

Firefighters said the fire originated from a candle that was lit due to the brownout Friday in many parts of the province.

Meanwhile, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado reminded Bulacan residents to be extra careful and alert during brownouts with the onset of the Fire Prevention Month this March.

Alvarado also asked residents never to leave lighted candles unattended. (PNA) 
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2 alleged dope dealers killed, 3 suspects in La Union “massacre” fell in Bulacan sting - By Emil G. Gamos

SAN JOSE DEL MONTE CITY, Bulacan, Feb 26 (PNA)--Two alleged drug dealers were killed while three of four suspects in the February 24 “killing spree” in Barangay Capas, Agoo, La Union that resulted in the death of five persons, including a 3 year-old girl, and the wounding of three others, were arrested when a gun battle erupted during a police operation in the boundary Sitio Cariapay, Barangay Dulong Bayan and Barangay Minuyan here early Thursday morning.

Initial police reports showed that combined elements of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office, the San Jose Del Monte City Police Station and the La Union Police Intelligence Division were conducting a manhunt operations against the suspects in the La Union “killing spree” that were reported to be hiding in the area, a place notoriously known as “shabu tiangge’.

Some 250 battle-ready policemen swooped down in the area and after reaching the alleged hideout of the suspects in the La Union “massacre”, they were fired upon prompting the lawmen to return fire.

Since the area was notoriously known for its dope den, it was theorized that armed drug dealers were the ones who triggered the firefight, resulting to the death of two suspects who were not yet identified as of press time.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina, who personally supervised the operation, said that no casualty on the police was reported, adding that the police teams also recovered five high powered firearms, several grams of shabu and assorted dope paraphernalia.

Divina also said that the operation resulted in the arrest of three of four wanted suspects in the bloody killing of five family members and wounding of three others at a roadside in Barangay Capas, La Union last Tuesday (February 24).

Divina identified the arrested suspects as Eduardo Cabuyag Gayo,65, Demetrio Dulatre Gayo,42 and Noel Dulatre Gayo, all of San Nicolas East, Agoo, La Union.

The Bulacan police director said that according to Chief Inspector Artemio Infante, Agoo, La Union police chief, Eduardo Gayo and his sons Demetrio, Noel and one Oscar (still at large) were behind the shooting, hacking and stabbing spree that left victims Reynaldo Refuerzo, 30, his three-year old daughter Mary Anne, Gil Cabilitazan and Zosimo Fontanilla, all residents of Barangay Capas, Agoo, La Union and their cousin Gilberto Cecilio, 41 of Dagupan City died while seriously wounded were Rodel Refuerzo, Gilmar Cabilitazan, and Benjie Tabunia who were all taken to the Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center for treatment.

Police said the fatalities and the injured victims suffered gunshot wounds as well as hack and stab wounds on different parts of their heads and bodies.

Investigation showed that the victims were having a drinking spree along the roadside when the suspects arrived and Demetrio challenged them to a fight.

Suddenly, his son Noel started shooting the victims one by one with a caliber .45 followed by the other suspects who stabbed and hacked the victims repeatedly.

The suspects immediately fled towards a mountainous trail in the area.

Police said the motive of the incident is an old family feud between the suspects and the victims.

Meanwhile, Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado commended the police raiding team for successfully neutralizing armed drug dealers and capturing armed criminals wanted for heinous crimes.

The governor said that criminal gangs and lawless elements are not welcome in Bulacan as he reiterated his directive to Divina to step-up their campaign against criminal syndicates and drug dealers and ensure that the prevailing peaceful climate in the province will not be disturbed.

“Bulacan is now fast becoming as the new frontier of growth and progress and we are creating an environment conducive for business investments to flourish while at the same time also creating an environment not conducive for organized crime and law offenders by intensifying security operations against crime,” Alvarado said.(PNA) 
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Palparan’s camp tries to destroy witness credibility as trial resumes - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb 23, (PNA)--The trial of kidnapping with serious illegal detention case against Ret. Army Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan pushed through on Monday morning with the cross examination of a primary witness that earlier pinpointed the controversial military officer as the one behind the abduction of missing UP students Karen Empeño and Shierlyn Cadapan.

Prosecution witness Raymond Manalo again reiterated his earlier testimony that he saw Palparan three times when he was also brought to a military camp.

Manalo again told the court that he saw the two missing students being tortured and at one time saw them hogtied naked.

The lawyers of Palparan, however, dismissed Manalo’s testimonies as “inconsistent” saying that it was not the latter’s own but a “scripted” piece.

Lawyer Narzal Mallares said that because his client (Palparan) is famous anybody can impersonate him and the witness might have pointed to a wrong guy.

Aside from this, Mallares said that based on their cross examination on Manalo, it only strengthen their claim that the criminal charges filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) against his client is clearly wrong.

Mallares explained that Palparan was still in active duty when the abduction of the two students happened and that the general was only doing his job as a military officer.

On the other hand, prosecution Lawyer Edre Olalia said that Manalo’s testimonies are credible because he saw what took place and was there when it happened.

He said that Manalo’s recollection on what happened was clear and sharp.

Manalo is also the same witness against Palparan’s co-accused Col. Felipe Anotado and M/Sgt. Edgardo Osorio.

At the same time, Olalia said that the security at the court now seems to be like a circus because anti-riot police are only getting more sweat while deployed under the heat of the sun even after the hearing was over and Palparan was already whisked away by a phalanx of heavily armed escorts to his detention in Fort Bonifacio.

“The policemen should be helping in tracking down the criminals,” Olalia said.

No hearing will be conducted in the whole month of March and it will resume on April 6 after the observance of Holy Week. (PNA) 
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Trial of Palparan’s case sizzles - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb.18 (PNA)—Security is expected to be tightened anew on Monday next week as the trial of the kidnapping with serious illegal detention case against retired Army Major General Jovito Palparan began to sizzle following the appearance in court of an alleged eyewitness who pinpointed to the controversial military officer as the one behind the abduction of UP students Karen Empeño at Shierlyn Cadapan.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina said security details have been briefed to secure the premises of Bulacan Regional Trial Court (RTC) due to the intense development concerning the trial of Palparan and three other military officials that stemmed from the missing UP students.

Last Monday, firetrucks were used as barricade to prevent both militant groups and pro-Palparan supporters from getting near the Bulacan RTC.

The court has scheduled the next hearing this coming Monday.

“We wanted the safety of everyone and we want the case to push through without any untoward incident,” Divina said, adding that aside from the security details of Palparan from his detention cell in Fort Bonificaio, the Bulacan police is also deploying anti-riot policemen and members of the Bulacan PNP-Special Weapons and Tacticts Unit.

Wearing Kevlar helmet and bullet-proof vest and surrounded by heavily armed security personnel, Palparan arrived last Monday at the sala of Bulacan RTC Branch 14 Judge Teodora Gonzales, together with his co-accused Lt.Col. Felipe Anotado and M/Sgt. Edgardo Osorio.

During last Monday’s hearing, prosecution eyewitness Raymond Manalo testified that he saw Palparan three times and was just lucky enough that he escaped.

He however, did not elaborate how he escaped.

Manalo claimed that he saw the two missing UP students being tortured while tied naked.

Palparan’s lawyer Narzal Mallares just shrugged off the testimony of Manalo, saying that everybody knew his client because he is popular.

He said that the accusers’ must prove their claims during cross examination.

Meanwhile, members of militant groups expressed belief that the two missing UP students are still alive.

As Palparan was being whisked away for his return journey to Fort Bonifacio after the hearing, some of the militant protesters were shouting “Executioner, release the students whom you abducted." (PNA) 
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Bulacan keeps tight watch on dengue cases

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 13 (PNA) -- The provincial government, through the Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO), is continuously monitoring the cases of dengue in the province.

Based on the latest report from the Provincial Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (PESU), there are already 212 cases since January 2015 up to present in the whole province.

PESU records also showed that from the 21 municipalities and three cities of Bulacan, San Jose del Monte has the highest number of dengue cases with 23, followed by Hagonoy with 22, and Meycauayan and Hagonoy, both with 20 reported cases.

"What is good about this, our rural health units, barangay health emergency response team and dengue school watch team are actively reporting which make us immediately know the situation in the ground level," Dr. Jocelyn Gomez, head of the PPHO, said.

Gomez also encouraged the public to support the 4-S against dengue campaign: search and destroy; seek early consultation; self-protective measures and say no to indiscriminate fogging.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, for his part, has urged Bulakenyos to keep their surroundings clean in order to prevent the spread of dengue and other diseases.

"There is no other best way to prevent the spread of dengue except for having clean environment because if there is no breeding place for mosquitoes, there is no chance for dengue to spread," Alvarado added. (PNA) 
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Bulacan poll supervisor returns recall resolution to Comelec en banc; says rallyists "barking at the wrong tree" - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb 10 (PNA) -- A classic case of “barking at the wrong tree”?

Does the handful of rallyists identified with a Bulacan politician know what they were doing when they stormed the provincial Commission on Elections (Comelec) office Monday morning?

These questions cropped up after Bulacan Provincial Elections supervisor lawyer Elmo Duque clarified that he returned a “technically defective” resolution to the poll body’s en banc committee for immediate review.

A group of rallyists reportedly headed by former provincial administrator Perly Mendoza stormed the Bulacan Comelec office questioning why Duque did not serve a poll body’s resolution certifying the “sufficiency” of the petition for recall filed against Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado.

The resolution which carries a questionable signature of Bartolome J. Sinocruz Jr., the Deputy Executive Director for Operations of Comelec, directed Duque--being the provincial election supervisor in Bulacan, “to serve copies of Minute Resolution No. 14-0380 dated June 3, 2014.

The Resolution and Summary of Votes both dated January 30,2015 with separate concurring opinion of Commissioner Lucenito N. Tagle and dissenting opinions of Chairman Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr and Commissioner Christian Robert S. Lim to the petitioner and to Gov. Alvarado. A copy of the petition shall likewise be served upon Gov. Alvarado.”

Duque said that the signature was not personally signed by the Deputy Executive Director for Operations (DEDO), whom sources said has been in hospital for a week now.

“I just cannot serve it because of the technical flaw (signature). If the signature of the DEDO is authenticated, I will served it right then and there. However, there is something wrong and need to correct it, that's why we returned it to Comelec En Banc for review and immediate action,” he said.

Duque explained that he will be courting charges if he served a “technically defective” resolution.

"I also want to clarify that we are not leaning to any politicians here. I am just following the proper procedure which is in accordance with the law," he added.

He said that he is still awaiting the decision of the en banc.

Some personnel at the Bulacan Comelec Office just scratched their heads when the handful of rallyists led by Mendoza staged a rally in front of their office Monday morning.

“They are barking at the wrong tree. Our chief is just following what is right. I do not know but I guess they just want to attract media attention,” a Bulacan Comelec staff said.

Political observers, however, see it as part of an alleged “demolition job” being waged against Governor Alvarado by his political rivals.

A civic group, the Kapatirang Magkakapitbahay para sa Tuwid na Daan (KASAMAKA) has also earlier deplored what they claimed as “desperate acts of a desperate politician” whom, they said are once again behind the smear campaign being waged against the leadership and performance of Alvarado.

Rene del Rosario of KASAMAKA said he and his group are echoing the sentiments of many Bulakenyos who were once again shocked by the never ending dirty politicking of Alvarado’s political rivals, whom they claimed has once again used a dummy in filing baseless and unfounded cases against the governor at the Office of the Ombudsman. (PNA) 
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Slain PNP-SAF commando from Bulacan laid to rest - By Emil G. Gamos

SAN JOSE DEL MONTE CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 5 (PNA) -- Hundreds of Bulakenyos braved the heat of the noon day sun as they witnessed the final journey of a modern day Bulakenyo warrior who gave his life so that others will be safe and free from the threat of terror.

A huge crowd wept as they paid tribute and final respect to a fallen warrior-- PO3 Junrel Narvas Kibete, a native of Meycauayan City who was among the brave 44 Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) troopers who were killed in action during a fierce firefight with heavily armed members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January 25.

Kibete was among the highly trained PNP-SAF commandos who were sent to arrest high value target Zulkilfi Bin Hir alias Marwan and local terrorist Basit Usman.

Although outnumbered in an unfamiliar terrain, the PNP-SAF troopers were able to kill Marwan, according to confirmed reports.

“Their efforts and ultimate sacrifice were not in vain. They have neutralized one of the most wanted terror- bombers in the world,” said Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina who led Bulacan policemen in giving Kibete a heroe's funeral rite complete with 21- gun salute befitting a fallen trooper who “died with his boots on."

Divina said that before Kibete was killed in action in the Mamasapano operation, the Bulakenyo SAF commando has also figured in many fierce skirmishes defending the interest of the state, including the siege of Zamboanga City by MILF rebels.

"To the children, wife, siblings and relatives of Junrel, we, at the PNP, admire the bravery he has demonstrated. We indeed admire him and recognize his dedication to the call of duty – to serve a warrant of arrest against a most wanted terrorist in South East Asia who was then hiding in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, and for which, he sacrificed even his life for the accomplishment of the mission, a task came from the court.

In the sudden and violent death of Junrel, let our and your comfort be – that we have a God who is ever present with us in every place – be it East, West, North or South, in all situations and conditions of our lives. There is never a circumstance or a place where God’s presence is away from us,” Divina said in his farewell message to the fallen PNP-SAF trooper from Bulacan.

Divina also said that Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas also joined the hundreds of Bulakenyo who paid their last respect to Kibete.

He said that the DILG Secretary and the high command has explicit instruction to him to render the best and all possible assistance to the bereaved family of the Kibete.

Earlier, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the province and the people of Bulacan will forever remember the heroism of Kibete and his fallen SAF comrades.

He said that Kibete belongs to the class of great Bulakenyo warriors and came in the molds of Gen. Gregorio del Pilar, Eusebio Roque (Maestro Sebio), Gen. Isidoro Torres and other true blooded Bulakenyo soldiers who shed blood and tears to gain freedom from foreign colonial rule.

In tribute to their heroism, the Sanguniang Panglalawigan ng Bulacan headed by Vice Governor Daniel Fernando has passed a resolution declaring the “Fallen 44” of the PNP-SAF as “Bayani ng Bayan.” (PNA) 
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Bulacan declares 'Fallen 44' as 'Bayani ng Bayan'

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 4 (PNA) --Great deeds do not go unrecognized in the land of noble heroes.

The Province of Bulacan, the seat of the three republics against Spanish colonial rule where Filipino revolutionaries shed blood sweat and tears for freedom and peace, recognized the heroism of the “Fallen 44” or the 44 members of the PNP-Special Action Force who were killed in a fierce firefight with elements of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25 and declared them as “Bayani ng Bayan.”

This after Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Wednesday signed a resolution passed by the Sangguniang Panglalawigan officially declaring the 44 PNP-SAF troopers as “Bayani ng Bayan.”

“They were there to uphold the law and they died with their boots on, performing their sworn duty so that there will be peace and order and ensure that the Filipino people will not be threatened by terror and harm,” Alvarado said.

Because of their heroism, Alvarado said that the province and people of Bulacan paid tribute to the “Fallen 44” and expressed esteem condolence to their families and loved ones.

The governor also said that a special tribute will be given to PO3 Junrel Narvas Kibete, a native of Meycauyan City who was among the brave 44 SAF troopers who gave his own life, the ultimate sacrifice, in the call of duty.

Alvarado said that Vice Governor Daniel Fernando authored a resolution wherein the provincial government of Bulacan gives high regard and tribute to the 44 members of the PNP-SAF who were killed in Maguindanao and recognize them as "Bayani ng Bayan" while at the same time, expresses sympathy to the bereaved families.

Fernando said that while it is now a grim and tragic episode in the nation’s history, the SAF troopers showed exemplary patriotism in their willingness to offer their own lives for the sake of many so that they will not become victims of terror-bombings.

"The 44 Fallen SAF will serve as example and inspiration not only to defenders and peace mediators, but also to the fellow Filipinos and to the whole nation because they were being considered as "Bayani ng ating Bayan."

The provincial government and all the Bulakenyos are paying tribute and giving recognition to the honesty, bravery and heroism showed by them. We are all extending our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of our Bayani ng Bayan," Fernando said.

The vice governor said that the heroism of the “Fallen 44” of the PNP-SAF will forever be etched in the history of the province as “Mga Bayani ng Bayan.” (PNA) 
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Ople Day, a special non-working day in Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 1 (PNA) -- It will be a special non- working day in Bulacan on Tuesday (Feb. 3 ) as the province commemorates the 88th birth anniversary of one of its most illustrious son—the late Bulakenyo stateman Gat Blas F. Ople.

To give honor for the selfless, dedicated and sincere service to the country and outstanding contribution in history of the great legislator, statesman and journalist from the coastal town of Hagonoy, the provincial government through Provincial History, Arts, Culture and Tourism Office prepared a tribute program.

Provincial officials headed by Governor Wilhelmino and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando, together with the Ople family will lead the offering of flowers and prayers to the bust of Ople

"Ople who was also known as Ka Blas, an author of the Philippine Labor Code and “Father of Overseas Employment," is one of the noble sons of Bulacan where his leadership and wisdom is appropriately be emulated," Alvarado said.

This will be followed by the guest speaker’s message and some special numbers.

One of the highlights of the second part of the program is the ceremontial signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Bulacan Laban sa Human Trafficking Movement through the effort of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute.

There will be distribution of checks for the beneficiaries of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Livelihood Program and Special Program for Employment of Studies (SPES).

A symposium entitled “Sinimulan ni Ka Blas, Hindi Magwawakas”: Symposium on Gat Blas Ople’s Life, Works and Legacy will also be held at the Nicanor Abelardo Auditorium wherein more or less 100 students and teachers are expected to attend.

A video presentation about Ka Blas and the Blas Ople Center will also be shown wherein his daughter Susan “Toots” Ople, president of Blas F. Ople Policy Center, will be the guest speaker.

A grand daughter of Ka Blas, Estelle Ople-Osorio will deliver a speech for her well loved grandfather. (PNA) 
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President Aquino hails gains of 1st Philippine Republic - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 23 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday said that the blood, sweat and tears as well as the wisdom of Filipino freedom fighters that drenched the sacred grounds of the historic Barasoain Church here more than a century ago continue to put the nation into the international limelight with respect and admiration.

In his message read by Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas at the patio of Barasoain Church here during Friday's commemoration of the 116th anniversary of the First Philippine Republic, the Chief Executive said that the glorious events that transpired in Malolos 116 years ago were proof that Filipinos can stand on their own and write their own destiny among the communities of nations with flying colors.

“Ang Pilipinas ay para sa mga Filipino (The Philippines is for the Filipinos),” Roxas quoted the President as saying in his message.

Roxas represented the Chief Executive as guest of honor in the 116th anniversary rites of the First Philippine Republic.

He said that the collective unity and good behavior of the Filipinos during the recent visit of Pope Francis in the country is a clear indication that Filipinos can unite for a common cause just like what happened in the hallowed grounds of Barasoain Church where Filipino revolutionaries and budding statesmen drafted and ratified the Malolos Constitution that paved the way for the inauguration of the Malolos Republic otherwise known as the First Philippine Republic.

The momentous event gave credence to the declaration of Philippine Independence in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898 by the revolutionary government of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that the momentous event that transpired in Barasoain Church is the “crowning glory” of the freedom-loving Filipinos and that has also regained the old kingdom of the Filipino monarchial Filipino tribes taken away for almost 400 years of Spanish colonial rule.

Alvarado said that the 1st Philippine Republic will always serve as an “amulet” of the Filipino freedom fighter known as Katipuneros that he said still lives in the hearts of modern day Filipino warriors now serving in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and government leaders.

"The first Republic in Malolos will remain as monument of bravery, sacrifice and wisdom of our forefathers and will still be the memorial of independence as a free nation with government and Constitution that paved the way to recognition of the historic Malolos City as the 'Cradle of the First Republic' and the first democratic country in the whole Asia and Africa," he said.

The governor again reiterated his call to make January 23 of every year a national special non-working, saying that Bulacan 1st District Rep. Ma. Victoria R. Sy-Alvarado has filed House Bill No. 5156 to make it a national holiday equal to the commemoration of June 12.

Vice Governor Daniel Fernando, for his part, said that Filipinos are now enjoying the “joy of freedom” because of the First Philippine Republic.”

"We are living independently because of the establishment of the First Republic in the historic Barasoain church, a proof that our free and independence have the blessing of God," Fernando said.

City Mayor Christian Natividad said that even the Chinese have sent a delegation of Lion and Dragon dancers to highlight the historical parade after the anniversary rites at Barasoain church.

Roxas, Alvarado, Fernando, Natividad and City Vice Mayor Gilbert Gatchalian were joined by Central Luzon police regional director Chief Supt. Ronald Santos and National Historical Commission Chairman Dr. Maria Serena L. Diokno in the wreath-laying rites at the foot of the life-sized statue of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, president of the First Philippine Republic. (PNA) 
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(Update) Govt investigators start probe of Guiguinto high-wall tragedy - By Emil G. Gamos

GUIGUINTO, Bulacan, Jan. 20 (PNA)--Different teams of government investigators on Tuesday swooped down at the construction site of a warehouse being constructed here whose high wall collapsed, crushing to death 11 persons and seriously injuring four others Monday afternoon.

A group of product standard team from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) headed by Provincial Director Zorina D. Aldana arrived at the site Tuesday morning and began their own investigation.

Aldana noticed that the steel bars used in the collapsed concrete wall are not strong enough to hold the weight of the concrete wall.

“We would talk to the contractor and the supplier and find the manufacturer of the steel bars,” she said.

Aldana said that her team is also gathering samples of the steel bars used in the collapse wall to determine if they have passed the quality standards set by DTI.

“Contractors and builders should know that steel bars are also passing under the quality control and product standard test of DTI,” she added.

Aldana said that steel bars should have the right weight and strength for it to pass the quality standards set by the DTI.

This developed as Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado instructed provincial engineer Glen Reyes to inspect construction of buildings and see to it that contractors are strictly following the specifications and standards of the National Building Code.

Alvarado gave the order after government engineers noticed that most of the steel bars used in the collapsed concrete wall looks substandard in quality.

At least 11 persons died after the high wall of the warehouse building collapsed crushing the makeshift barracks and canteen where workers were having a refreshment break at around 3:30 p.m. Monday.

Nine of the victims, one of them a seven year old boy, died on the spot after the concrete wall collapsed pinning them to death.

The two other fatalities were declared dead on arrival at the nearest hospital after emergency rescue teams managed to retrieved them under the rubbles of the collapsed wall.

In a report to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), Bulacan police director identified the fatalities as Edmund Bernabe, Jonathan Sagayap, Cinto Nayanga, Rodolfo Nayanga, Jerald Nayanga, Joseph Bellones, Arnel Cardano, Agnes Tan Santos, Arnold Humawan, Nestor Maidon and Dave Avelino (7 years old).

Those injured who are now being treated at the Bulacan Medical Center are Junny Galela, Edmar Bernabe, Marlon Andaya and Randy Buitizon Bucayo.

Alvarado said that somebody is liable for the tragedy.

“We are strictly implementing the national building code in this province. Building contractors should conform and strictly follow the specifications required by the National Building Code of the Philippines and male sure that their structures are strong and safe,” the governor said.

Supt. Ernesto Cruz, Guiguinto police chief, said they are now building-up a case and has already taken sworn statements of witnesses.

He said that investigators theorized that the high wall may have been weakened by the earthquake that jolted Luzon island recently and that heavy rains last Sunday may have also weakened the foundation of the building.

“”We are in the process of gathering evidences so we can establish an air tight case against those who will be found liable for the multiple deaths and other violations of the law,” Cruz said.

He also added that based on background history of the site, the area was formerly a noodles factory where the soil could be soft.

“Since the area is a former noodles factory, the soil might have been piled with husk of palay and ashes which were being used in cooking noodles," he added. (PNA) 
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(Update) 11 confirmed dead, 4 hurt in a collapsed warehouse in Bulacan

GUIGUINTO, Bulacan, Jan. 20 (PNA) --Eleven persons, mostly construction workers, were confirmed dead and four others were hurt when a wall of a warehouse building being constructed in Barangay Ilang-ilang here collapsed Monday afternoon.

Senior Superintendent Ferdinand Divina, Bulacan Police provincial director, said the identities of the casualties that include a pregnant woman, and those injured are still being verified.

Divina said that they have yet to determine the real cause of the collapse of the warehouse building.

Initial reports said that the incident took place at around 3:30 p.m. in a warehouse building owned by a certain Dante Chua.

Meanwhile, Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado said the provincial government will conduct a deeper investigation on the incident.

Those responsible will be held accountable, Alvarado said as he, together with the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, was conducting a rescue operation for those trapped in the collapsed wall Monday night.

Initial findings suggest that the steel used for the wall was substandard. (PNA) 
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Special non-working holiday declared in Bulacan for Papal visit

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 15 (PNA)-- In support of the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis, it will be a special non-working holiday in the province on Friday.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the declaration is in accordance to Proclamation 945 which was signed on January 13, 2015 by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa, Jr, to give honor and support to the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis in the Philippines on January 15 to 19, 2015.

“I courteously requested Malacañang for the said declaration in view of the aforementioned Papal state visit not only to address the imminent traffic congestion but also to allow the Bulakenyos to participate in the commensurate activities on occasion thereof,” Alvarado said.

During His Apostolic Visit to the Philippines, His Holiness Pope Francis will bring his message of “mercy and compassion” to at least 11 different venues in the province of Leyte and Metro Manila.

Bulacan is the gateway from the north to the National Capital Region and so the provincial government advised all Bulakenyos to stay at home if they are not heading to the venues of the Pope’s visit to avoid heavy traffic congestion.

Alvarado said the 78-year-old Pope Francis is an inspiration to commuters because he is a humble commuter himself. (PNA) 
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Repair of aging Angat Dam urge anew following Luzon quake - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan 11 (PNA) --As government engineers inspected bridges and other infrastructures in the province following the Magnitude 6.0 earthquake that jolted Luzon early Sunday morning, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado once again reiterated his call for the immediate repair and fortification of the aging Angat dam in the mountains of Norzagaray town.

At the same time, Alvarado also called on concerned authorities to make a thorough inspection of the 47 years old rock-filled dam and determined its structural integrity following the latest earthquake that was felt in some areas in this province.

He said that the new owners and operator of the Angat Dam Hydro Electric Power Plant, Korean Water (K Water), should begin at the soonest possible time the repair and rehabilitation of the aging dam which was turned over to them by the Philippine government last Nov. 1, 2014.

Under its contract with the Philippine Government, the K Water should be the ones which should conduct the repair and rehabilitation of Angat dam.

“We are beginning to sound like a broken record but until the aging Angat dam is repaired and strengthened, it will always be like the proverbial “Sword of Damocles” hanging over our heads,” Alvarado said.

Meanwhile, engineers from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) inspected the still under repair Gen. Alejo Santos Bridge that links the towns of Baliwag and Bustos after early Sunday morning quake that jolted Luzon island.

It can be recalled that the said bridge was closed for repair last November 14 after suffering cracks and wear and tear.

Only light vehicles are allowed to pass at present and since there was an earthquake, the DPWH immediately sent a team to inspect its structural integrity.

DPWH engineers said it is still passable to light vehicles but will still conduct a series of inspection on Monday.

The quake’s epicenter is located 13 kilometers southeast of San Antonio, Zambales with a depth of 85 kilometers according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs). (PNA) 
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New modern expressway to usher more growth in Bulacan - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 9 (PNA) -- The “Year of Green Wooden Sheep” seems like bringing more good tidings for the province as a new expressway of growth is in the offing.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Friday announced that the provincial government is working closely with concerned national government agencies for the completion of a new highway that is seen to speed-up growth and development along agricultural towns in the eastern part of Bulacan linking them to booming areas in Central Luzon.

Dubbed as “The Roads to Rapid inclusive Growth”, Alvarado said that the Eastern Bulacan Expressway and New Towns Development Project, which is complimentary to the North Luzon East Expressway, is a comprehensive program designed to facilitate economic boom by providing access to once isolated or difficult-to-reach towns and cities.

He said that the farming towns of San Miguel, San Ildefonso and Rafael, known as the province's “vegetable basket, ” will further be developed as their farm harvests that supplies 60 percent of the vegetable needs of Bulacan and Metro Manila, will have more easy access to bustling metropolis and markets in other parts of Central Luzon.

The proposed expressway is complimentary to the North Luzon Expressway and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway in the north and the Manila-Cavite Expressway and South Luzon Expressway in the south.

The proposed highway will also have a train alignment for future plans.

The other objectives of the project is to have an alternative highway to the now heavily-clogged Maharlika highway that connects Metro Manila passing thru the eastern part of Bulacan to Nueva Ecija, Aurora and northern Luzon provinces.

Alvarado said that the new modern highway project will also boost socioeconomic development in the eastern corridor of Northern Luzon.

At present, Alvarado said that government planners at the provincial capitol have already identified the so called “growth area” where the highway will traverse with linkages to other booming municipalities in the first and second congressional districts as well as the bustling cities of Malolos, Meycauayan and San Jose del Monte.

Based on the proposed alignment route, the project will connect San Jose Del Monte City to the towns of San Rafael, Angat, San Miguel then to Gapan-West Cabanatuan City-Talavera-Llarera-San Jose City and Balaho in the province of Nueva Ecija.

Alvarado also said that the identified “growth areas” in eastern Bulacan will be designed into a “compact town,’ containing a town center, providing employment and services, living spaces, surrounded by well-developed agricultural lands ensuring the sustainability of the community.

He said that this new mega-highway in the eastern growth corridors of Bulacan and other provinces in Central and Northern Luzon will unlock economic potentials and increase economic output.

“It will attract industries that bring employment and livelihood aside from providing access to isolated areas in the said areas,” Alvarado said, adding that the project will also improve and supplement existing infrastructures. (PNA) 
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PRO-3 unseals police personnel's firearms 
By Rea Katherine Mendoza

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Jan. 2 (PNA) --The Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3) on Friday conducted simultaneous inspection and removal of the taped muzzles of the police personnel in the region.

Chief Superintendent Ronald Santos, officer-in-charge of PRO3, led the unsealing of firearms which signified the culmination of the PRO3's "no firing of guns."

The sealing of firearms of policemen in Central Luzon has been annually conducted to ensure that no one will use his guns during the celebration of Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

After the inspection, Santos said that no police personnel in Central Luzon got involved in indiscriminate firing of their issued firearms.

He said that there are two reports of indiscriminate firing in the region but were perpetrated by civilians.

Santos identified the two civilians that fired their guns as Dan Dojillo, a resident of Barangay Sabang, Bataan and Angelo Olaivar, 35, a resident of Barangay Loma de Gato, Marilao, Bulacan.

He said Dojillo was arrested after he fired his .9mm pistol into the air on Dec. 29 at the residence of her sister in Sitio Hilltop, Barangay Sabang while Olaivar was arrested by elements of Criminal Investigation and Detection Field (CIDF) for firing his calibre .40 pistol.

He said there are no casualties reported during the New Year’s celebrations.(PNA) 
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Region 12 cops to file charges vs illegal firecracker traders

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Jan. 2 (PNA) -- Police authorities are set to file charges for violation of the Firecrackers and Pyrotechnics Law against a number of traders in parts of Region 12 who were caught selling illegal or prohibited materials during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Chief Supt. Lester Camba, Region 12 police director, said Friday he instructed all police stations and offices in the region to file the appropriate complaints against the erring traders on Monday, Jan. 5, the first official working day for this year.

Facing charges are owners of firecracker and pyrotechnic stalls, stores and shops as well as individuals who were found selling illegal items during raids or operations conducted by police operatives, he said.

He said traders who had secured business licenses or permits but resorted to selling illegal materials will be dealt with sternly.

“We want to teach them a lesson. Some of these stall owners were able to leave their stalls prior to the raids and evaded arrest,” Camba said.

Camba said local police units are currently finalizing the list of the violators, who will mainly be charged for violation of Republic Act (RA) 7183 or the “Act Regulating the Sale, Manufacture, Distribution and Use of Firecrackers and other Pyrotechnic Devices.”

Under RA 7183, firecrackers and pyrotechnic devices that have more than the allowable explosive content are strictly prohibited.

Among the banned materials are watusi or the “dancing firecracker,” piccolo, super lolo, atomic big triangulo, mother rockets, lolo thunder, pillbox, boga, big Judah’s belt, big bawang, goodbye Philippines, kabasi, five star, pla-pla, OG, giant whistle bomb and unlabeled firecrackers.

The departments of health and of the trade and industry had issued prohibitions regarding the use and sale of the said firecrackers and fireworks.

Camba said they have yet to complete the inventory of the seized illegal firecrackers and pyrotechnics or fireworks during the raids but noted that they were quite significant.

The official said nearly all police stations and offices in the region were able to accomplish successful operations against illegal firecrackers and pyrotechnics in compliance with an earlier directive from the Philippine National Police central office.

He said a series of major operations were specifically launched in parts of North Cotabato and South Cotabato provinces as well as in the cities of Cotabato and General Santos.

Also known as Soccsksargen, Region 12 comprises of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

The South Cotabato Police Provincial Office earlier reported two major operations in the municipalities of Tupi and Polomolok that netted around P125,000 worth of illegal firecrackers and pyrotechnics.

“We concentrated our operations on piccolo, being the number one cause of firecracker injuries in our area,” Camba said.

Citing their assessment, the official said most of the illegal firecrackers that proliferated during the holidays came from areas outside the region and as far as Bulacan in Luzon.

He said majority of the confiscated materials, specifically piccolo, were locally-made or “fake” although they had markings that they were made and imported from China.

He said studies made by personnel from the regional police’s Firearms and Explosives Security Agency Group or FESAG showed that the “fake” piccolo were crudely-made, making them more dangerous to use.(PNA) 
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Six persons hit by stray bullets in Bulacan 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 2 (PNA)--At least six persons were hit by stray bullets at the height of New Year’s Eve celebration while the number of firecracker victims in the province climbs from 13 last Dec. 31 to 102 Thursday afternoon.

Two of the victims, identified as Maria Liberty Andoque and Misael Eguin, both of Barangay Minuyan, San Jose del Monte City, were brought to the Bulacan Medical Center (BMC) after they were hit by stray bullets in the stomach and thigh, respectively.

Andoque told police investigators that she was standing in front of their house when she was hit by a stray bullet in her stomach while Eguin was hit while walking at the height of New Year’s eve celebration causing him to fell on the ground.

Aside from the two victims from San Jose Del Monte City, 28 years old Benjamin Alipio pf Barangay Paltao, Pulilan was also treated at the BMC for gunshot wound due to stray bullet

They are now declared safe by the attending doctors.

The police also reported that a 32-year old Marvelyn Valdez was also hit by stray bullet.

Police later recovered the slug that hit the victim and are now conducting test to determine its origin.

Latest police reports also showed that 16 -year old Charish Amela Habaybay and a certain Rogie Vizcara were also hit by stray bullets from a caliber .45 pistol.

Governor Wilhemino M. Sy-Alvarado ordered Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina to conduct a thorough investigation and check if Bulacan policemen indiscriminately fired their guns during the New Year’s day celebration.

Alvarado also instructed Divina to intensify their campaign against loose firearms in the province.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) reported that the number of firecracker victims rose from 13 to 102 based on hospital data last Thursday.

PDRRM officer Liz Mungcal said that despite this, the number of firecracker victims is still lower compared to previous years. (PNA) 
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Number of firecracker victims in Bulacan relatively low - By: Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan.1 (PNA) -- As assorted types of noisemakers reverberated and the skies over many parts of Bulacan were illuminated with vast array of spectacular fireworks display on New Year’s eve, the number of firecracker related incidents were significantly low compared to previous years, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Office (PDRRMO) reported on Thursday.

As of 2 p.m . Thursday, the PDRMMO said that from December 21 only 13 persons were admitted in different hospitals for treatment of firecracker-related injuries.

Most of the victims were children whose age ranges from four to 15.

Based on PDRMMO data, the number of injuries in 2014 is much lower compared to the 53 victims recorded on January 1, 2013.

“But we are still waiting the latest reports from other towns in cities, The number might still climb due to those picking unexploded firecrackers. But compared to last year’s victims it appears that the number of victims this year is relatively lower,” Raul Agustin, a PDRMMO analyst, said

PDRMM officer Liz Mungcal said that the “Ingat Paputok” and other information campaign of the provincial government headed by Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando has gained grounds as shown by the low number of injuries.

The Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association, Inc. (PPMDAI) said that sales of fireworks and pyrotechnics devices has peaked days after Christmas and up to December 31.

PPMDAI chairman emeritus Engr. Celso C. Cruz said that the police crack down against illegal firecrackers was also instrumental in the lower number of injuries.

He also said that the series of safety seminars conducted by the PPMDAI and the PNP-Civil Security Group in the different parts of the country have also widened safety consciousness among makers and end-users.

He also said that their campaign on the quality and safe production of fireworks are also gaining grounds, with consumers assured of buying branded and quality-safe fireworks and pyrotechnics devices.

Meanwhile, three old houses were gutted by fire in Barangay Balungao, Calumpit town Wednesday afternoon where a septuagenarian man nearly died of suffocation but was saved in the nick of time by neighbors.

The fire started at 11 a.m. and the destroyed houses were owned by Eva Paguia, Jess Paguia and Deogracias Sambilay.

Arson probers are still investigating the origin of the fire and are still determining if it was caused by fireworks or faulty electrical wiring.

No one was hurt except for one of the victim’s dogs that perished in the said fire.(PNA) 
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Bulacan cites the cleanest barangays

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Dec. 23 (PNA) -- Fifty four barangays in the 21 towns and three cities in the province were cited Monday for being the cleanest and greenest communities during the Kalinisan at Kaayusan ng Kapaligiran sa Barangay (KKK) awarding ceremony held at the Bulacan capitol gymnasium here.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the program is part of his administration's seven-point agenda that aims to protect the environment and maintain and ensure the cleanliness and orderliness in the communities.

Winners from District I were Barangay San Nicolas (2nd) and Barangay Balubad (1st) from Bulakan; Barangay Bugion (3rd), Barangay Sergio Bayan (2nd) and Santa Lucia (1st) from Calumpit; Barangay Iba (1st) from Hagonoy; Barangay Tibag (1st) from Pulilan; Barangay San Jose (1st) from Paombong; and Barangay Matimbo (4th), Barangay San Pablo (3rd), Barangay Taal (2nd) and Barangay Bagong Bayan (1st) from this city.

District II winners include Barangay Barangca (2nd) and Barangay Piel (1st) from Baliwag; Barangay Taal (2nd) and Barangay Tambubong (1st) from Bocaue; Barangay Bonga Mayor (1st) from Bustos; Barangay Siling Matanda (1st) from Pandi; Barangay Bulihan (2nd) and Barangay Dampol (1st) from Plaridel; and Barangay Malis (2nd) and Barangay Tuktukan (1st) from Guiguinto.

Winners from District III were Barangay Sta. Catalina (5th), Barangay Bubulong Malaki (4th), Barangay Matimbubong (3rd), Barangay Upig (2nd) and Barangay Basuit (1st) from San Ildefonso; Barangay Sta. Cruz (2nd) and Barangay Sulucan (1st) from Angat; Barangay Bayabas (1st) from Dona Remedios Trinidad; Barangay Partida (1st) from Norzagaray; Barangay Pantubig (4th), Barangay Ulingao (3rd), Barangay Mabalas-balas (2nd) and Barangay Tambubong (1st) from San Rafael; and Barangay Camias (5th), Barangay Sta. Rita Matanda (4th), Barangay Bulualto (3rd), Barangay Sta. Rita Bata (2nd) and Barangay Sta. Ines (1st) from San Miguel.

Meanwhile, District IV winners include Barangay Panghulo (1st) from Obando; Barangay Bancal (3rd), Barangay Longos (2nd) and Barangay Lawa (1st) from Meycauayan; Barangay San Rafael IV (4th), Barangay Francisco Homes-Yakal (3rd), Barangay Ciudad Real (2nd) and Barangay Minuyan I (1st) from San Jose Del Monte City; Barangay San Gabriel (3rd), Barangay Mahabang Parang (2nd) and Barangay Sto.Tomas (1st) from Sta. Maria; and Barangay Loma De Gato (3rd), Barangay Saog (2nd) and Barangay Ibayo (1st) from Marilao.

The winners received a plaque of recognition each and cash incentive worth Php20,000 and material aid worth Php100,000 for the first prize; Php15,000 and material aid worth Php75,000 for the second prize; and Php10,000 and material aid worth Php50,000 for the third up to the eight prize depending on the total number of entry per each town or city.

Provincial Administrator Eugenio Payongayong, head of the Provincial KKK Task Force, said all winners garnered a grade of 85 percent and above and were chosen based on the criteria of 50 percent for cleanliness (kalinisan) and 50 percent for orderliness (kaayusan).

The governor congratulated the winners as he expressed hope for a sustainable cleanliness and orderliness in the communities. (PNA) 
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Bulacan exec urges DENR to train more forest rangers

NORZAGARAY, Bulacan, Dec. 22 (PNA) -- Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Monday urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to train more forest rangers that are more disciplined, properly compensated and cannot be lured by the color of money coming from illegal loggers and poachers operating at the watershed areas of Bulacan.

The governor made the call upon learning that DENR officials in Bulacan have admitted that they lack logistics and manpower to put under control the unhampered illegal logging activities inside the Ipo Watershed.

Alvarado said that this is quite alarming since the 70 percent of rain forest, including centuries-old trees, at the watershed area of Ipo have been destroyed due to unabated illegal logging activities.

He said that it is high time that DENR, in coordination with local government units (LGUs), become more serious in protecting the rain forest at Ipo dam watershed area by increasing the number of forest rangers with suitable gears and proper equipment.

The governor has earlier suggested the use of drones to monitor the vast watershed areas so they can immediately see if there are illegal activities going on.

“These illegal loggers and poachers are using high tech radio equipment and before our forest guards can come near them, they are already gone. We must address these matters immediately,” he said.

The Ipo Dam on the said watershed is at the downstream dam of the bigger Angat Dam, and both provide 97 percent of the potable water requirements of Metro Manila residents.

Celia Esteban, provincial environment and natural resources officer in Bulacan, together with Roger Encarnacion, community environment and natural resources officer for the DENR-Tabang office, have confirmed to Bulacan reporters that 70 percent of the 6,600 hectares watershed has already been “touched” by human activities like farming, orchard and charcoal making.

Encarnacion said that the reason for these human activities inside the Ipo watershed is the influx of informal settlers on the adjacent side of Rodriguez, formerly Montalban town, in Rizal province who take advantage of its forest cover as a source of livelihood opportunities.

Most of these settlers, who are not Dumagats or indigenous people, are from other provinces who migrated to Rizal and Bulacan and eventually became engaged in illegal logging and charcoal-making activities within the watershed area, Encarnacion said.

He lamented that they only have seven forest rangers deployed inside the 6,600 hectares watershed that requires 132 personnel for the ideal ratio of one forest guard for every 50 hectares of forest.

To address the problem, Esteban said they hired a team of Bantay Gubat composed of residents living within the watershed.

However, Encarnacion noted that their fund request for 30 Bantay Gubat was not fully granted and only a fund for 14 individuals was approved by their central office.

Despite their meager resources, Encarnacion said that they have come out with a long-term framework plan for the protection of the Ipo watershed and also with a three and five-year short term plans.

He also pointed out that the DENR and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) are the groups tasked to oversee the protection of Ipo watershed.

He, however, cannot tell what programs the MWSS is implementing for the watershed’s protection. (PNA) 
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Coastal residents of Bulacan subject for relocation – DENR

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Dec. 19 (PNA) -- A ranking government environment officer confirmed that most if not all of residents living along island villages in the coastal areas of Bulacan are considered informal settlers and are subject for relocation.

Roger Encarnacion, community environment and natural resources officer of Bulacan, said that most residents who constructed their houses along fishpond dikes can be considered as “informal settlers” because they are dwelling on lands they do not own.

Encarnacion made the statement during the “ Kapihan para sa Inang Kalikasan” forum on Thursday sponsored by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), in coordination with the Philippine Information Agency at the Barasoain Hall of the Malolos Club Royale Resort in this city.

It was noted that most if not all of these residents do not own titles on the land which their houses were constructed.

These residents are possible contenders for families to be relocated once the different government agencies that were ordered by the Supreme Court in December 2008 to clean up, rehabilitate, and preserve Manila Bay, restore and maintain its water classification fit for swimming, skindiving and other form of contact recreation.

Encarnacion also disclosed that relocations of the informal settlers that constructed their house structures along the river systems and waterways leading to Manila Bay are not yet complete.

He said that the relocatees are those from the coastal barangays of Obando, Bulacan, Paombong, Hagonoy and the City of Malolos.

He also said that resettlement of these informal settlers were tasked to the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of the Interior and Local government and the National Housing Authority.

The order was based on the Supreme Court’s decision in line with the principle of continuing mandamus.

In order to comply with the decision of the Supreme Court, Celia Esteban, the provincial environment and natural resources officer of Bulacan explained that plans were laid to rehabilitate Manila Bay.

She said that the plan aims to achieve by the year 2015 50 percent reduction of liquid waste, 100 percent compliance of local government units (LGUs) on solid waste management, and 100 percent relocation of informal settlers together with rehabilitation of habitats and resources.

Esteban said that there are moves by the concerned government agencies to come up with a doable solution to comply with the High Court decision. (PNA) 
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Contractor of Calumpit bridge fails to meet deadline anew By Emil G. Gamos

CALUMPIT, Bulacan, Dec. 14 (PNA) --Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and town mayor Jessie de Jesus nearly blew their tops after learning that the contractor cannot meet its latest December deadline they earlier promised in finishing the new Calumpit bridge along the Macarthur Highway in Barangay Gatbuka here.

The governor said that this is the teenth time that both the regional office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Wing Ann Construction and Development Company have failed to meet their promised deadline.

The construction of the new bridge began in 2013 after Alvarado called the attention of the national government that the old bridge is no longer safe and could collapse like the Colgante bridge in Apalit, Pampanga.

The DPWH awarded the contract to Wing Ann Construction and Development company after making a bid of P166 million on the proposed P210 million budget for the new bridge.

The new bridge was scheduled to be finished by April 2014 but got stalled after workers discovered that there was an old structure beneath the old bridge.

No less than DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson inspected the bridge after failing the April 2014 deadline.

The governor, Mayor de Jesus and Bulacan 1st District Rep. Ma. Victoria R. Sy-Alvarado complained to the DPWH chief about the snail-paced work at the bridge construction site.

The contractor then promised that the bridge will be finished and passable by September, then October and then December 2014.

But until now, the construction of the new bridge is still half-way over the river.

“They nose-dived the bidding and after encountering structural problems, it seems that the contractor is no longer financially capable of finishing it,” the governor said.

Alvarado and mayor De Jesus are once again appealing to DPWH Secretary Singson to step into the picture again and expedite its completion.

“Our people have suffered long enough. They have waited long enough. They have to do something now and they have to make it fast,” the governor, who has to circle the neighboring province of Pampanga everyday to reach his office at the Provincial Capitol in Malolos City.

He also said that many businesses have incurred big losses already since the bridge was closed to traffic in 2013.

The bridge links Bulacan to Pampanga and other northern provinces in Central and Northern Luzon.

Mayor de Jesus said that his constituents have to cross the temporary bridge even during rainy season.

Likewise, motorcycle riders have to pay for their vehicle to ferry to the other side of the river. (PNA) 
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Alpha Phi Omega stages “Freedom Run” at Bulacan State University

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Dec. 10 (PNA)—Loud cheers reverberated at the campus of Bulacan State University (BSU) before noon Wednesday when some 40 members of the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) International Incorporated run naked during their annual “freedom run” highlighting the celebration of International Human Rights Day here.

After a short run around the campus, the hooded but naked down-waist APO members gathered around their fraternity tree at the campus, and called on the Filipino people to unite and support a collective drive for long lasting peace in the country.

Michael Francia, grand chancellor of APO in the BSU,said "Let us assert our individual and collective human right to peace and contribute to further increase the growing number of Filipinos who have, thus far, responded to the YES FOR PEACE -- Bayanihan para sa KKK (Kapayapaan, Kaunlaran at Kasaganahan) campaign.

In 1984, the United Nations General Assembly declared peace as a third generational human right.

"We are honored to have been tapped by the organizers of YES FOR PEACE to conduct the campaign among the students, faculty and non-academic personnel of our beloved university." Francia said.

"We shall earnestly conduct the campaign in January 2015 in cooperation with the administration of BSU," Francia continued.

Francia said that APO is one of the government and non-government institutions -- including the Department of Education, the Philippine Postal Corporation, the Philippine Information Agency, the Philippine News Agency, the Boy Scouts of the Philippines and the Girl Scouts of the Philippines -- that are promoting YES FOR PEACE through the Bayanihan (collective involvement and participation) spirit.

Notably, the campaign has also gained the support of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and even the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

Even former Bayan Muna party list representatives Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casiño have openly expressed their support for the peace education and advocacy initiative initiated by students of the University of the Philippines System in 1988.

Jerry Villanueva, deputy regional director of APO in its Northern Luzon Administrative Region declared that, "While we have already collectively surpassed the 10 million target, we believe that the call for permanent cessation of hostilities between government forces and armed groups must involve all Filipinos 10 years and older."

More and more Filipinos are responding to the peace initiatives spearheaded by the APO through lead organizer Ernesto A. Alcanzare, a former national executive director of APO. (PNA) 
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Bulakenyos to witness lighting of giant 'Singkaban' Christmas tree By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Nov. 27 (PNA) --Bulakenyos will witness the lighting of the huge Singkaban Christmas tree on Friday in front of the provincial capitol here, signifying the start of the yuletide celebration in the province.

Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado said the annual traditional Christmas tree lighting aims to put Christmas closer to the hearts of Bulakenyos.

Alvarado also said that the activity will encourage Bulakenyos to celebrate Christmas season with love, joy, peacefulness and forgiveness, which is the true essence of the celebration.

Standing at 50 feet, the gigantic Christmas tree is made from meticulously carved bamboo or "Singkaban", adorned with colorful decors like Christmas balls, lights and flowers.

Aside from the annual traditional Christmas tree lighting to be led by the provincial officials, Bulakenyos will also witness various programs to add color and glow to the festivity.

The first part of the program will showcase the talents of Bulakenyos in the Konsierto ng mga Artistang Bulakenyo featuring BulSU Saringhimig, BulSU Lahing Kayumanggi, Sining Bulakenyo, Talentadong Pinoy Grand-finalist Melbelyn Caluag and many more.

Also, before the countdown to the lighting ceremony, the audience will be serenaded with Christmas carols by different chorale groups.

Meanwhile, Alvarado encouraged all the Bulakenyos to help one another and share the joy and inspiration that the Christmas season brings

"The celebration of Christmas is important to every Filipino because this is the time for sharing and loving. It is nice to remember the important message of Christmas that is to thank our Lord for all the blessings," he said. (PNA) 
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Mayor offers Php300,000 reward for arrest of suspect/s in rape/slay of 14-year-old girl in Bataan town By Ernie B. Esconde

MARIVELES, Bataan, Nov. 26 (PNA) -- Mayor Jesse Concepcion of this town has offered a Php300,000 reward for any information that will lead to the arrest of the suspect/s who abducted, raped, killed and burned a 14-year- old girl here last week.

"I am strongly condemning the gruesome killing of the girl. As a father of this town and for the immediate solution of the crime, I will give Php300,000 from my own pocket as reward for those who could give vital information," Concepcion said.

The mayor expressed hope that his constituents would cooperate to put an end to such kind of crime.

He said the police are working day and night to solve the case.

"Mariveles received a national award as 'most child-friendly LGU' in 2011 and I do not want such image to be destroyed," Concepcion said.

"It is painful for me because the victim was my relative. Aside from that, it happened during my birthday," Concepcion said.

The mayor marked his 60th birthday Thursday last week.

Denielle Fereria, 14, was reportedly abducted from her school, the Llamas Memorial Institute in this town Tuesday noon last week while about to go home.

A police report said that using the victim's cellphone, the abductor/s asked for Php500,000 ransom for her release.

The burned body of the girl was found Thursday morning below a bamboo groove in Barangay Balon Anito here.

She was allegedly raped, strangulated and then placed in a sack and burned.

Supt. Raynold Rosero, Mariveles police chief, said they are on continuous follow-up operations.

“We are in talks with a witness which we hope would cooperate with the police," he said.

A big crowd, many wearing T-shirts marked “Justice for Denielle” with her picture, joined Tuesday the funeral for the slain girl.

From her residence in Barangay Bonifacio, the funeral stopped at the Llamas Memorial Institute where Denielle was in third year high school.

Her classroom was Room 6 where she sat at the first desk, third row right side.

"She was so kind and always happy. What had happened was really painful for us. We are praying that her senseless death will be given justice," said classmate Arlene Ocampo.

Joining the funeral were religious groups from the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) of Aglipay, Church of Christ, Methodist Church, students and members of different organizations in the town.

Denielle was an active member of the IFI choir and the youth organization of the church.

"We hope that justice will be given to a youth who was an active member of the church," said Franz Fuentes, president of the Youth for IFI under the Diocese of Bulacan –Bataan.

IFI parish priest of Mariveles Rev. Fr. Roderick Miranda said that through the peaceful march, it shows that the church and government can work side-by-side for the quest for justice.

"The Aglipay is wishing for an immediate resolution of the crime. This is clear violation of the rights of women and youth," said Fr. Jojit Sayas, IFI spokesman.

Former town Mayor Oscar delos Reyes, godfather and relative of the victim’s mother, blamed illegal drugs for the crime.

“This is an accountability of those who are serving. Whoever did this heinous crime should be arrested immediately," he said.

Delos Reyes said the victim’s father died some years ago, leaving wife Vina and children Denielle and a younger son. The mother still refused to be interviewed.

"What had happened is indeed so painful. All of us are seeking justice for my granddaughter," businessman Lito Rubia, a yacht maker in this town, said. (PNA) 
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Palparan presents list of 30 witnesses as against 15 prosecution witnesses in kidnapping case By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Nov.25 (PNA)--The camp of former Army Major Gen. Jovito Palparan has listed 30 witnesses vis-à-vis the 15 witnesses of the prosecution in the kidnapping with serious illegal detention case filed against the controversial retired military officer at Branch 14 of the Bulacan Regional Trial Court here.

Both camps presented the list of their witnesses to Judge Teodora Gonzales during the hearing of the case Monday.

Palparan is facing charges in connection with the disappearance of University of the Philippines students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan in Hagonoy, Bulacan in 2006 when the controversial but bemedalled military officer was then the commanding general of the Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Division based in Nueva Ecija.

His co-accused are (ret) Lt. Col. Fleipe G. Anotado and S/Sgt. Edgardo L. Osorio. A fourth suspect M/Sgt. Rizal O. Hilario is still at large.

Lawyers of Palparan told local newsmen that among the evidences they will present include the Salary Grade 28 of the controversial military general to prove that he was still in active service when the students went missing.

They claimed that Palparan cannot be charged with kidnapping because he was a military officer in active duty during that time.

They explained that Palparan should be charged at the Sandiganbayan and not at the Regional Trial Court.

However, private prosecutor lawyer Julian Oliva Jr., said that Palparan cannot use as defense his Salary Grade 28 because the kidnapping case was filed against him as a private individual and outside the scope of him being in the military service.

The court has set the next hearing on December 8 and will continue in February next year.

Meanwhile, supporters of Palparan and militant groups clashed in front of the Bulwagan ng Katarungan of the Bulacan RTC while the hearing was being heard.

The militant groups destroyed the sound system of the pro-Palparan supporters and even punched one of the ex-general’s “rah-rah” boys.

But before it could get worse, members of the Bulacan police anti-riot squad prevented them from a near “free-for-all” brawl.

The supporters of Palparan said that they will not file any charges and agreed to keep a safe distance from the militant groups every time the former holds rally during the trial of the case. (PNA) 
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BI nabs 11 illegal chinese workers

MANILA, Nov. 21 (PNA) -- Eleven Chinese nationals were arrested by Bureau of Immigration (BI) operatives in Bulacan for working in a metal fabrication company without the necessary permits.

Atty. Jose Carlitos Licas, BI Intelligence Division chief, armed with a Mission Order, led the operation at the Greenmiles former SLA Compound, Barangay Sta. Rosa 1, Marilao, Bulacan where they found the foreign nationals last November 18, 2014.

The BI said that the Chinese nationals were in the act of supervising and assisting in the operation of metal moulding and metal fabricating without the necessary visas for engaging in the said acts.

With this, authorities immediately effected a warrantless arrest on the foreign workers who were identified as Wang Zhiming, Chen Zhongji, Sze Chun Ni, Sze Mang Hung, Liu Song, Zheng Kang Yan, Wang Fanjiang, Guo Guosen, Li Chunjia, Wu Hongshun and Chen Jian Shi.

They were brought to the BI Main Office for further verification, booking and proper disposition. (PNA) 
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Bulacan town mayor denies he and his mom were involved in QC road rage

BULAKAN, Bulacan, Nov. 12 (PNA) -- Town Mayor Patrick F. Meneses on Wednesday vehemently denied that he and his mother Priscilla Meneses were involved in a road rage incident that happened along Congressional Avenue in Barangay Pasong Tamo, Quezon City last October 27.

According to a police blotter, a Land Cruiser and an Innova car belonging to the Meneses family were reported to be involved in a road rage incident with the family of UP law professor Elizabeth Pangalangan.

"If I am with them during the incident, it will never have happened, because I will never tolerate that kind of behavior or attitude. As a public servant, I have worked hard to maintain a good reputation and I respect every one, whether a constituent of mine or not. I will never condone any abuse of authority, that's why I felt disconsolate that my name has been dragged into that incident,” Meneses said.

The mayor said that he is very much aware that no one is above the law that is why he will never abuse anyone.

He said that lawmen should conduct a thorough investigation of what really happened.

“Me and my mom were not part of the alleged traffic incident involving my mother’s vehicle and her staff,” he said.

A male passenger of the Innova car, which was tailing the Land Cruiser, later got off the car, hurled invectives at Miguel Enrico, who was driving the Pangalangans’ Fortuner vehicle, and pulled out a gun.

The man was reportedly furious because the vehicle of Pangalangan, had disrupted the convoy.

The man returned to his vehicle — a silver Innova — and fled after the professor yelled at him that children were aboard her vehicle.

The UP professor later filed a complaint against Meneses and his family at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Priscilla Meneses admitted that her family owned the two vehicles involved in the incident — the Innova and a white Land Cruiser, but clarified that she was not riding in any of them at that time.

She also stressed that she and her son were not involved in the traffic altercation.

Mrs. Meneses said she had sent her driver Joel Piñon on an errand in Manila that day but denied he had security escorts with him.

Mrs. Meneses said her son, Mayor Meneses, should be spared because he was at the Bulakan town hall at the time of the incident.

“My son was not on board the vehicle and the convoy was on a personal errand when the supposed traffic incident took place,” she said.

She identified the driver of the Innova that cut the path of the Pangalangans’ vehicle as Joel Piñon.

The Pangalangans believe that the unidentified gun-wielding man was a security escort of the passengers in the Land Cruiser.

But more than a week after the incident and despite the identification of the vehicles as those of the Meneses family, the identity of the gun-toting man remains a mystery.

Recently, the Pangalangan family went to Camp Karingal to identify the suspects in a police lineup.

The lineup included a police escort assigned to Mrs. Meneses and two Bulacan policemen assigned to the Bulacan mayor.

But the Pangalangans said the gun wielder was not in the lineup.

The Pangalangans had already filed a complaint at the NBI against the Meneses --mother and son, Piñon and several John Does.

“We want to make it clear with the family of the Proffessor Pangalangan that we were not in any way involved in that incident and it will have never happened if we were on board in any of our cars during that time,” the mayor added. (PNA) 
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Notorious drug pusher in Bulacan falls

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Nov. 5 (PNA) -- A notorious shabu pusher was apprehended Tuesday by agents of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 3 (PDEA3) and Regional Anti-Illegal Drug Special Operation Task Group 3 (RAIDTF3) in a buy-bust operation in Barangay Lulumboy, Bocaue, Bulacan.

PDEA3 director Jeoffrey Tacio identified the arrested suspect as Banjo Garcia alias “Gary,” 27, and a resident of Barangay San Gabriel, Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

Garcia was arrested after selling a transparent heat-sealed sachet containing methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu to a poser buyer of PDEA3 agent, Tacio said.

Confiscated from his possessions were four large sachet of shabu with an estimated weight of 100 grams and street value of Php280,000.

Also confiscated from the suspect's possession are 10 pieces of Php100 bill, Tacio said.

He said that charges for the possessions of illegal drugs are being prepared for filing in court against Garcia.

PDEA director general Arturo Cacdac Jr., commended the operatives of PDEA3 for another high impact operation. (PNA) 
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Bulakenos flock to cemeteries to remember departed loved ones

MARILAO, Bulacan Nov. 1 (PNA) -- Bulakenos has started to flock to the different cemeteries here in the province of Bulacan early Saturday in observance of All Saints' and All Souls' Days.

Local government units (LGUs) here tightened the security as number of policemen and barangay volunteers were deployed in cemeteries.

Likewise, private cemeteries have increased the number of security guards roving inside cemeteries to ensure peace and order in observance of 'Undas'.

Traditionally, Bulakenos visit tombs of their departed loved ones every 1st of November -- rather than November 2 -- despite this day is for the commemoration of saints of the Catholic Church.

Meanwhile, prices of flowers further increase Saturday with increments ranging from Php30 to Php100.

A vendor said prices of flowers will start to decline by evening.

Small merchandises also built their stalls inside and outside cemeteries.

However, it was observed that prices of goods they are selling also increased even beyond suggested retail prices (SRPs) particularly for basic goods including candles and bottled water.

Department of Trade and Industry Consumer Protection Group (DTI-CPG) Undersecretary Victorio Marjo A. Dimagiba already reminded retailers and consumers that there should be no increase in prices of goods, particularly for basic commodities.(PNA) 
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Four robbers killed in Bulacan shootout

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 31 (PNA) -- Police scored anew in the fight against criminal gangs, killing four members of a robbery group during a firefight in front of the “Palayan sa Nayon Cooperative” office in Barangay Ligas here on Friday morning.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina said three of the suspects died on the spot after engaging policemen in a shootout where a local resident and a police officer were wounded.

Divina said the other suspect who was driving the alleged get-away car, a Toyota Vios with plate number PN-TOK 561 was killed after shooting it out with a pursuing police team at the Malolos Crossing in Barangay Guinhawa here.

Divina said the Malolos police headed by Supt. Arwin Tadeo earlier received information that a robbery group will conduct a heist at the said area.

He said Tadeo deployed a team of intelligence operatives to the area and when the armed gangmen alighted from their car with their guns drawn, the operatives asked them to drop their firearms and yield.

However, the gangmen opened fire at them, hitting a police officer on board a police patrol vehicle, prompting the other cops to return fire.

This was the second time in the city this month that armed criminals were killed in shootout with responding policemen.

Last October 14, two suspected motorcycle thieves were slain in a shootout with lawmen.

City Mayor Christian D. Natividad sent a strong message to crime groups that they are not welcome in this city.

“We will welcome them with just force if they tried to do their illicit activities here and try to harm our citizens. They have no place here,” he said.

Meanwhile, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado commended the Bulacan police and the Malolos Police for their bravery and vigilance.

"Our policemen are prepared and ready against lawless elements who will create trouble in our province," Alvarado said, adding that the Bulacan police is out to do its job in ridding the province of lawless elements. (PNA) 
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Two police officers wounded in hostage taking incident at NLEX

GUIGUINTO, Bulacan, Oct. 20 (PNA) -- Two police officers were wounded but managed to save the lives of two passengers of a Manila bound bus after a man armed with a bladed weapon took them as hostages along the Sta. Rita exit of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) in Barangay Sta. Rita here on Monday morning.

Supt. Ernesto Cruz, Guiguinto police chief, identified the wounded police officers as Supt. Frankie Candelario and Senior Inspector Isagani Santos while the hostage taker was identified as Lauro Sanchez, 35, shoe vendor and resident of Agoncillo, Batangas.

Investigators said Sanchez boarded the Everlasting Transport Corporation bus in Tuguerarao, Cagayan.

When the bus reached the Sta. Rita exit at NLEX, Sanchez suddenly grabbed a male passenger and at knife point held him as hostage.

The bus driver stopped the bus and together with the bus conductor and some passengers were able to left the bus unharmed but 13 other passengers were left inside with the hostage taker.

It was at this point that security personnel of NLEX secured the area and at the same time, called for police assistance.

A joint team from the Guiguinto police headed by Cruz and members of the Bulacan PNP SWAT and Provincial Public Safety Company arrived and began negotiating with the hostage taker.

One of the demands was to bring members of the media.

Cruz said the two officers earlier posed as mediamen but Sanchez changed his mind and instead asked for a car.

It was at this point that the male hostage managed to break lose from Sanchez who then grabbed a female passenger.

The police team circled a bus and one of the passengers signaled that the auxiliary door is open.

The police team managed to get inside and was able to save the female passenger.

Cruz said the two police officers sustained minor wounds when they wrestled the knife from Sanchez

No other passengers was hurt.

Cruz said that the suspect later told investigators that he was receiving death threats and made him to do what he did.

The suspect is now under the custody of the Guiguinto police while appropriate charges are being readied for filing against him. (PNA) 
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Cases of 'hot meat' smuggling in Bulacan decline

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 9 (PNA) -- Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Thursday commended the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) and local government units (LGUs) for significantly scoring against the proliferation of hot meat in the province.

Alvarado said that it is in this time of the year when meats are in high demand for the coming Yuletide celebrations, thus "cases of hot meat smuggling proliferate."

“But those days are gone. I thank our Task Force: Botcha and the support of our local and village officials for doing a good job by being vigilant and always on guard for violators,” he said.

The governor cited that the passage of the provincial ordinance against hot meat has given more teeth in its enforcement as well as the massive information campaign and community participation to neutralize the selling the double dead meats in the markets.

Alvarado also said that the provincial government, through the PVO, has intensified its commitment to ensure healthy and safe meat consumption of every Bulakenyos as part of the celebration of Meat Safety Consciousness Week this coming October 20-24, 2014.

Anchored on the theme, “Kaligtasan ng Mamamayan at Katuwang sa Kalakalan,” the provincial government, in cooperation with the LGUs, are all set to increase checkpoints and conduct series of meat monitoring and inspection in different public markets and slaughterhouses in Bulacan.

Likewise, he said they will conduct series of meat inspection with the help of PVO, Bulacan Provincial Police Office, and Provincial Public Safety Company to assure the Bulakenyos that the meat and meat products they buy are safe, fit for human consumption, and free from any contamination.

“We are working hand in hand to continuously enforce and intensify our battle against the illegal trading of double-dead meat in the province and we will continue to safeguard the public’s health by strict monitoring and inspection of meat and meat products in the markets,” the governor said.

Alvarado said the celebration aims to create public awareness about the government’s vigorous efforts to ensure healthy, sanitary and safe practices in the production and consumption of meat and meat products in the country.

Provincial veterinarian Dr. Voltaire Basinang, meanwhile, confirmed that there was a significant decrease in cases of hot meat smuggling this year compared to previous years.

“There is a significant dive, it’s almost zero this year,” he said.

Basinang said the provincial ordinance otherwise known as the Provincial Hot Meat Ordinance, which prohibits the transport and distribution of double-dead meat, is strictly being implemented with the cooperation of the provincial government.

He also reminded everyone that vehicles carrying meats should have livestock handlers license from the Department of Agriculture and animal traders should also have veterinary health certificate from licensed veterinarians with shipping permits from the PVO.

He also advised the public to look for the seal of inspection and meat inspection certificate before buying from any meat vendor.

The celebration is pursuant to the Proclamation No. 276 signed by former president Fidel V. Ramos, declaring every third week of October as Meat Safety Consciousness Week, which is the stepping stone of the government to fulfill a vision of a healthy and better life for every Filipino. (PNA) 
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Gov’s task force recommends transfer and construction of new Bulacan provincial jail By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 6 (PNA) -- Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Monday said the provincial government is set to seek the help of the national government to decongest the overcrowded Bulacan Provincial Jail (BPJ) as the number of inmates continue to swell to more than 3,000 when it only has a capacity to hold 400 to 700 detainees.

The governor made the move after seeing the conditions of inmates at the BPJ and after reading the recommendation of the task force, he studied solutions to what he described as “a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.”

“The present condition of inmates at the provincial jail is no longer bearable. It is about time we build a new bigger provincial penitentiary,” he said.

Alvarado said that the swelling of inmates at the BPJ is due to the all out campaign of the Bulacan police against crime, thus sending wrongdoers—mostly those with drug related cases—behind bars.

”Even if we continue to pour all-out efforts to make our provincial jail an ideal place for reformation, it is still in vain because of overcrowding. No matter how the five Pillars of Justice doubled their efforts in fast-tracking their cases, it is still not enough because they keep on increasing on a daily basis,” he added.

The governor said he will bring the matter to the attention of the national government, based on the recommendation of the task force he commissioned to address the problem.

Alvarado said that the task force has recommended to search for a new site-- an ideal place to build a more spacious jail where the inmates can exercise, plant vegetables, raise livestock and meditate as part of their reformation.

“Even if they are prisoners, they should be provided with a more humane living condition and not be like sardines," he said.

He said that it would entail a bigger budget to build a new penitentiary with better facilities but the present situation shows that it has to be done.

Aside from looking for a new site to build a more spacious provincial jail, Alvarado also said that the task force is also considering the proposal of the Sangguniang Panglalawigan to build district jails in the four congressional districts of the province.

“We are studying all possibilities but we need the help of the national government in constructing a new jail with better facilities which the provincial government will manage,” he added. (PNA) 
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Colorful floats, street plays to highlight Bulacan's 'Singkaban Fiesta 2014'

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Sept. 6 (PNA) -- Street plays depicting the province’s glorious past and colorful floats will highlight the opening ceremonies of the annual week-long Singkaban Festival also known as “Linggo ng Bulakan” on Monday.

The festival also coincides with the feast day of the Immaculate Concepcion of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the patron saint at the Basilica Minore (formerly the Malolos Cathedral) here.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that the festivity will kick-off with a flag ceremony and prayers at 7 a.m. on Monday in front of the provincial capitol.

He said that Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV will be present to grace the occasion, which is being held every second week of September and will culminate on September 15 to commemorate the anniversary of the historic Malolos Congress at the Barasoain Church.

Alvarado said that this year’s “Singkaban Festival” will carry the theme “Arkong Kawayan Sagisag ng Sining at Kalinangan ng Bulacan.”

The opening program will be followed by a civic parade that will be highlighted by street plays depicting the rich historic past of the province.

Colorful floats will also pass through the historic streets of Malolos from the Basilica Minore to the provincial capitol.

At 10 a.m., Alvarado, Aquino and Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando will formally open the “Dakilang Bulakenyo at Lakan Sining Exhibits”, Regional Trade Fair, Bulacan Food Festival Exposition (BUFFEX), and the Expanded Bulacan Pasalubong Center at the Gusaling Gat Blas Ople, Hiyas Pavilion, Bulacan Trade, Tourism and Business Assistance Center at the capitol compound here.

Alvarado also said that the Singkaban Festival will also be formally opened simultaneous in the different congressional districts of the province.

The governor is inviting everyone to witness and be a part of the celebration of the grand history and colorful tradition of Bulacan.

"Let us reminisce the colorful and historical past of our noble province and we will do this as our guide towards bountiful future," Alvarado added. (PNA) 
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Escudero alarmed by series of kidnappings; wants PNP to explain

MANILA, Sept. 2 (PNA) – Alarmed by the rising cases of kidnapping in the country, Sen. Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero on Tuesday said he will verify the reports in the Senate hearing on the proposed Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) budget for 2015.

”I will verify if the reports are true that the kidnapping is on the rise in our country, specially in Metro Manila,” Escudero, chairman of the Senate committee on finance, said in a Senate media interview.

Escudero has also put to task the Philippine National Police (PNP) to step up its campaign to arrest the perpetrators in order to allay fears of a restive public.

Escudero said crimes brazenly done in broad daylight is an indication of the criminals’ contempt for law and order and a clear mockery of police authorities.

“Why are criminals so emboldened nowadays to perpetrate their crimes in public? Why do these things happen under the noses of our police authorities?” Escudero asked.

“I have received feedback from friends who have witnessed kidnappings or relatives of victims who have been subjected to abduction and have paid ransom for their releases. There’s a segment of the community who is already in panic and there must be a concrete action to abate these crimes and prevent the spread of alarm among the public,” he said.

Recent incidents of kidnap-for-ransom have been reported with the perpetrators even killing their victims, according to the senator from Bicol.

Last week, Chinese-Filipino businessman Benito Chao was snatched in Bulacan and was found dead hours after. The kidnappers were reported to have asked for a P20-million ransom but a series of negotiations by the family has brought it down to P15 million.

Just last Monday, a photo went viral showing a group of heavily-armed men appeared to be forcing passengers of one vehicle at gun point to get out while in the middle of EDSA. When police authorities arrived, they gunmen were gone.

“These are crimes that do not even hide under the cloak of darkness anymore. It is very disturbing. These are the reported ones, but I am sure there are more which have remained unreported by the victims and their families out of fear of retaliation from their aggressors,” Escudero said.

“I ask the PNP to intensify its campaign against criminals and beef up security to protect the public. The people need to be assured that they can walk our streets to and from their homes,” he added. (PNA)
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Bulacan gov creates special committee for improvement of jail management system

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Sept. 1 (PNA) -- Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado has created a special jail oversight committee that would assess the implementation of the penitentiary guidelines and programs at the Bulacan Provincial Jail (BPJ).

The governor said that the provincial government is determined to improve the jail facilities and to develop standards for jail operations in line with the noble crusade of the institution to enhance and strengthen its reliability.

“We are in a battle for a good cause of upgrading the provincial jail and the strict implementation of the regulations is the best way to improve the management system,” Alvarado said.

He also said that the provincial government, BPJ and the Five Pillars of Justice work hand-in-hand in the criminal investigation and immediate movement of the cases of almost 3,000 prisoners incarcerated in the provincial jail.

Meanwhile, BPJ warden Lt. Col. Pepito Plamenco, together with the committee head, provincial administrator Eugenio Payongayong have examined the penitentiary guidelines and assessed the implementation of additional security measures such as the Task Force Droga and Task Force Magdalena that are against the entry of illegal drugs and prostitution in the jail premises.

“We are implementing the penitentiary guidelines based on the seven point agenda of the administration and this is our strategy for an organized care and treatment program for inmates to have a chance of a meaningful life after imprisonment,” Plamenco said.

He also said that they conduct livelihood trainings like the abaca and buntal hat weaving that serves as the source of income of the inmates for their SSS Alkansya Program.

He said that there are also regular lectures and seminars on drug rehabilitation, dental and medical missions, sports activities and worship programs intended for the inmates.

“We are strictly implementing our guidelines, we conduct weekly searching in different cells and we are focused on the implementation of security measures,” Plamenco added.

The governor, meanwhile, is encouraging all sectors of the provincial government to support the ongoing enhancement of the provincial jail. (PNA) 
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Pre-trial of Palparan’s case moved to Sept. 8

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Sept 1 (PNA) -- The pre-trial of the kidnapping case with serious illegal detention against retired Army Major Gen. Jovito Palparan was reset by the court Monday next week pending the hearing of the two motions filed by the lawyer of the controversial military officer last Friday.

Bulacan RTC Branch 14 Judge Teodora Gonzales on Monday said the court will first decide on the “motion for reconsideration for change of custody” and a “motion to quash information” filed by Palparan’s camp last week.

Militant groups and pro-Palparan supporters were again present at the Bulawagan ng Katarungan compound here.

A phalanx of government security forces, including civil disturbance units of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office, were also deployed to prevent tension and untoward incident, according to Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina.

Palparan is facing charges of kidnapping with serious illegal detention in connection to the missing UP students Karen Empeño and Shierlyn Cadapan.

Palparan said he is requesting the court to transfer him to the custody of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) where he said he will safer.

He said he is more comfortable there because he and the AFP has common enemy -- the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Palparan stressed that the threat to his life is real and insisted that he is an “easy target” because it was confirmed by his camp that there are at least communist rebels also detained at Bulacan Provincial Jail (BPJ) here.

Aside from this, Palparan said that the SWAT team from the Philippine National Police (PNP) assigned to secure him has other important obligation in the maintenance of peace and order.

Palparan was committed to the BPJ after Judge Gonzales junked his earlier motion to stay detention at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) shortly after he was arrested and presented in court more than a week ago.

In filing the motion to quash information, Palparan said that they are requesting the court to conduct preliminary investigation because the kidnapping with serious illegal detention is wrong.

He explained that the allegation that he kidnapped the two students was filed when he was still in active military service.

He said that the case of kidnapping should not be filed to an active member of the military but only to individual citizen.

Palparan also said that there was no ransom money demanded based to the testimonies of the families of the missing UP student, thus, there is no case of kidnapping.(PNA) 
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Palparan files two motions before Bulacan RTC - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 30 (PNA)--More than a week has passed since retired Army Major General Jovito Palparan was detained inside the Bulacan Provincial Jail but the controversial military officer continues to fear for his life.

The once fierce general said that the threat to his life continues to grow every day prompting his lawyers to file Friday a “motion for reconsideration for change of custody” and a “motion to quash Information” before the sala of Bulacan RTC Judge Teodora Gonzales.

Palparan is facing charges of kidnapping with serious illegal detention in connection to missing UP students Karen Empeño and Shierlyn Cadapan.

Palparan said he is requesting the court to transfer him to the custody of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) where he said he will be safer.

He said he is more comfortable there because he and the AFP has common enemy—the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Palparan stressed that the threat to his life is real and insisted that he is an “easy target” because it was confirmed by his camp that there are at least communist rebels also detained at the provincial penitentiary.

Aside from this, Palparan said that the SWAT team from the Philippine National Police assigned to secure him has other important obligations in the maintenance of peace and order.

"I am safer at the AFP headquarters and the policemen assigned to secure me can do their other tasks," he said.

In filing the motion to quash information, Palparan said that they are requesting the court to conduct preliminary investigation because the kidnapping with serious illegal detention is wrong.

He explained that the allegation that he kidnapped the two students was filed when he was still in active military service.

He said that the case of kidnapping should not be filed against an active member of the military but only against individual citizens.

Palparan also said that there was no ransom money demanded based on the testimonies of the families of the missing UP student, so there is no case of kidnapping. 

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PRO-3 joins the 11th Police Service Anniversary celebration

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Aug. 26 (PNA) -- The Police Regional Office 3 (PRO3) on Tuesday joined in the commemoration of the 113th Police Service Anniversary held at the parade ground here.

Aurora Governor Gerardo A. Noveras served as the guest of honor and speaker in the celebration with a theme “Pulisya Kaagapay ang mamamayan para sa patuloy na Kapayapaan at Kaunlaran” which aptly manifests the Philippine National Police's (PNP) and PRO3’s continuing partnership with the community for sustained proficiency and excellence in law enforcement towards a stable peace and order particularly in Central Luzon.

The activity was highlighted with the giving of recognition to deserving PNP personnel and best units in the region as well as special awards to local government officials, AFP counterparts and civilian sectors, including the tri-media who have contributed vastly to the upliftment of PNP-PRO3.

Among the awardees were Senior Superintendent Crizaldo Nieves of Nueva Ecija Police provincial director, Achievement Award in the Field of Police Administration (PCO Level); SPO1 Ma Catalina D. Manarang - Achievement Award in the Field of Police Administration (PNCO Level); Chief Inspector Melvin Montante, Chief of Intelligence Division, Achievement Award in the Field of Police Operations (PCO Level); SPO1 Rhodora D. Cortez -Achievement Award in the Field of Police Operations (PNCO Level); Inspector Napoleon Cruz - Achievement Award in the Field of Criminal Investigation (PCO Level);

PO3 Rodel M Borja - Achievement Award in the Field of Criminal Investigation (PNCO Level); Superintendent Roldan Luna- Achievement Award in the Field of Intelligence (PCO Level); SPO1 Dominador M. Canlas - Achievement Award in the Field of Intelligence (PNCO Level); Inspector Alipio Villavicencio- Achievement Award in the Field of General Support (PCO Level); PO3 Augustine M. Ingaw - Achievement Award in the Field of General Support (PNCO Level); NUP Cynthia Q. Placido - Achievement Award in the Field of General Support (NUP Supervisory Level); and, NUP Nestor H Soro - Achievement Award in the Field of General Support (NUP Non- Supervisory Level).

Other PNP personnel who were awarded with Medalya ng Kagalingan are Superintendent Roginalda Francisco; PO3 Mylin G. De Guzman; SPO3 Rommel L Manansala; and, PO1 Ronnie G. Tamalian Jr.

The awardees for best police units include the following: Gerona Municipal Police Station - Recognition for the Unit with Notable Accomplishment Beyond the Rating Period (CPS/MPS Level); Meycauayan City Police Station - Achievement Award for the Solution of Sensational Criminal Case (MPS/CPS Level);

Tarlac Provincial Public Safety Company - Achievement Unit Award in the Campaign Against Insurgency (PPSC/CPSC Level); Regional Crime Laboratory Office 3 - Achievement Award in the Field of Forensic Investigation; Regional Health Service 3 - Best Regional Administrative Support Unit; Regional Highway Patrol Unit 3 - Best Regional Operations Support Unit;

Bulacan Police Provincial Office - Recognition for the Unit with Notable Accomplishment on Disaster, Rescue and Relief Operations (PPO/CPO Level); and Nueva Ecija Police Provincial Office - Recognition for the Unit with the Most Number of Firearms Accounted during the Election Period (PPO/CPO Level) and Recognition for the Unit with Notable Accomplishment in the Campaign against Illegal Drugs (PPO/CPO Level).

Noveras, in his message, lauded the men and women of PRO3 for continuously doing their jobs efficiently.

After the ceremony, a simple gathering was held at the PRO3 Multi-Purpose Hall which was attended by PRO3 Police Commissioned and Non-Commissioned Officers, non-uniformed personnel and guests. (PNA) 
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PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group, Interpol-HK police probe “cyber sextortion” operations in Bulacan - By Emil G. Gamos

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, Aug 24 (PNA)--The Interpol-Hong Kong police is closely coordinating with the Philippine National Police (PNP) in investigating the alleged multi-million dollar money laundering operation of a Bulacan-based international ‘cyber-blackmail’ and extortion syndicate that has raked in more than $ 100-million using minors.

Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta, Central Luzon Police Regional director, said that this cropped up after the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group (PACG), in coordination with Interpol-Hong Kong police busted the gang with the arrest of eight suspects, including its female leader in a series of operations conducted in several suspected lairs in San Jose Del Monte City and Norzagaray town.

Petrasanta identified the gang’s leader as Ma. Cecilia Caparas-Regalachuela, who owns two Western Union branches in the province of Bulacan.

Also arrested was Regalachuela’s daughter, Marcel Jing.

Sr. Supt. Gilbert Sosa, PNP-PACG chief, tagged Regalachuela as ‘queen’ of the ‘sextortion’ syndicate after they rescued five minors, all gays, from the gang’s lair in San Jose Del Monte City Thursday night.

Based on the complaint of Interpol-Hong Kong Police Loue Kwan, the group has victimized 477 and has netted some $ 4 million Hong Kong dollars last year alone.

In Macau, 375 cases have been reported.

Their modus: A suspect will pose as an attractive female on Facebook and request a prospective victim to add her as ‘friend’.

After establishing acquaintance through private messages with their ‘target’, the suspect will lure him to use video call softwares such as Skype, Viber, among others.

During the video call, the victim is enticed to get naked and provoked to perform lewd acts in front of the web camera which are, unknowingly, recorded by the syndicate.

After capturing sufficient lewd video footages, the call will be terminated.

Thereafter, the victim will receive threatening messages in Facebook that the videos will be posted in his wall or sent to his friends and relatives unless he shells out cash to the suspect.

The victim would then be instructed to deposit an initial amount of HK$ 3,000 (P135,000) through the Western Union or the video will be uploaded.

Sr. Supt. Ferdinand Divina, Bulacan PNP provincial director, said seized from six separate houses being used by the syndicate were 13 laptops, several cellphones, passports, pocket wi-fi devices, several storage and network devices and at least 11 motor vehicles.

Divina said the arrested suspects will be charged with robbery/extortion, violation of RA 10364 (Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act) in relation to RA 10175 or Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

The police described the latest operations against internet-based criminal syndicates as “Strikeback II – Codename Goya”.

Goya is a colloquial term among gays meaning chocolates, sweets, to allure prospective and gullible male-victims who are easily attracted to sexy Facebook accounts.

According to Kwan, the syndicate has already been in operation even prior to the passage of the cybercrime law in the country.

It was estimated that more than $ 50 million has already been scooped by the gang from victims all over Hong Kong, Taipei, Macau, Singapore and the USA. (PNA) 
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Aftermath of drowning tragedy: Old folk believe river in San Miguel, Bulacan is “enchanted” - By Emil G. Gamos

SAN MIGUEL, Bulacan, Aug 24 (PNA)--Alluring, mystical and deadly.

This is how old residents in this historic town describe the mystical beauty of the mountains of Biak-na-Bato and its pristine crystal clear rivers.

Old folks here still believe that the pristine beauty of the Madlum river and the mountains at the Biak-na-bato national park are enchanted and still inhabited by “super natural beings” who were angered by the massive destruction of the mountains due to irresponsible mining and illegal logging operations.

These legends and tall tales cropped-up anew after seven tourism students of the Bulacan State University died when they were swept away by raging waters cascading from the mountains while trekking the pristine but dangerous river Tuesday last week.

Residents in the area said that this was not the first time that the river claimed the lives of people.

In 2004, eight youths also died while exploring the scenic river.

Like the tragic incident that befell the ill-fated tourism students last week, the victims in 2004 were also swept away by the sudden avalance of raging waters from the mountains.

"According to the old folk, the fairies are crying and when they are crying, the strong rains are pouring that result to the rampaging waters," said veteran Bulakenyo journalist Cecilio Franista, president of the Bulacan Press Club and a native of this town.

Franista said he still remembers the warnings of his grand parents.

"My grandparents told us before that we should always pay respect when we are in that area and be cautious because the rivers were claiming lives," he said.

He said that he cannot comment if the legends are true but he believes that the raging flashflood can also be the result of the wanton destruction of the rain forest in the mountains of Biak-na-Bato due to intensive mining and illegal logging activities.

He said that the mountains of Biak-na-Bato is gifted with deposits of the rare but expensive tea rose marble that can only be found in the said mountains.

The mining of the tea rose marble was only stopped after Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado issued an executive order banning the extraction of mineral deposits in the area, Franista added.

Biak-na-Bato National Park is a protected area of the country that extends to the nearby municipalities of San Ildefonso and Dona Remedioas Trinidad covering a total area of 2,117 hectares.

It was declared a national park in 1937 by President Manuel Luis Quezon by virtue of its association with the history and site of the Biak-na-Bato republic.

The park consists of a cave network and a system of rivers and trails of both historical and ecological importance.

Situated only 80 kilometers northeast of Manila it is fast becoming a popular weekend eco-adventure destination for the city dwellers.

Biak-na-Bato National Park is centered on a mountain gorge sliced by the Balaong River in the Sierra Madre mountain range.

More than a hundred caves of varying sizes and crystalline mineral formations are spread across the park.

Among the most explored caves are the Aguinaldo Cave, once the headquarters of President Emilio Aguinaldo, and the Bahay Paniki or Bat Cave, said to be home of at least six species of winged mammals: kabag-kabag, ngusong kabayo, bungisngis, sibsib, bayakan and pakibu.

In wake of the recent tragedy at the river, Alvarado issued an executive order banning field trips at the said river, especially during rainy season.

He also said that plans are underway to put a range gauge warning system where sirens will blare when surge of rain waters begin cascading to the river.

He also said warning signs will place in the said areas.

Police are still investigating the recent drowning incident at the Madlum river. (PNA) 
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'Sextortion' syndicate busted in Bulacan 
By Priam F. Nepomuceno

MANILA, Aug. 22 (PNA) -- Operatives from the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) together with other law enforcement agencies have successfully neutralized a "sextortion" syndicate during operations in San Juan Del Monte and Norzagaray, Bulacan Thursday.

Eight suspects were arrested in the operation called "Operation Strikeback 2" which was spearheaded by the ACG along with Police Regional Office 3, Special Action Force and Interpol. Recovered from the former were 106 pieces of electronic devices reportedly used in their illegal activities.

Also rescued in this law enforcement operation were five minors, ACG spokesperson Chief Insp. Jhoanna Gracia Manlapaz-Fabro said.

"Strikeback2" is a follow up operation of "Strikeback" which took place last April and resulted in the arrest of 58 suspects.

It highlights a strong international cooperation, collaboration and coordination in dealing with cybercrime.

She added that the operation stemmed from the complaint received by ACG from sextortion victims based in Hong Kong.

A series of surveillance operations were conducted in Norzagaray and San Jose Del Monte Bulacan and confirmed the existence of such illegal activities.

Fabro said two of the arrested suspects were identified as Ma. Cecilia Caparas-Regalachuela, the reported ringleader, and her daughter Marcel Jing Caparas-Regachuela, the owner of two Western Union branches in Bulacan which the syndicate uses as remittance agency for their "sextortion" money. (PNA) 
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Senior house officer seeks criminal probe into BSU field trip tragedy - By Sammy F. Martin

MANILA, Aug. 22 (PNA) -- Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo on Friday has called for criminal and administrative investigations into the drowning of seven Bulacan State University (BSU) students during a school-sanctioned excursion.

“We are counting on the authorities to get to the bottom of the horrible tragedy, and to take the appropriate actions against those accountable for possible criminal negligence,” said Romulo, chairman of the House committee on higher and technical education.

“We want answers. Just like the parents of the victims, we want to know why their sons and daughters were recklessly exposed to such extreme danger in the course of what should have been a trouble-free school outing,” he pointed out.

“Our hearts go out to the families of the victims, and our thoughts and prayers are with them,” he added.

The seven BSU students drowned on Tuesday when a flash flood swept them as they were crossing the Madlum River during a field study at the Biak-na-Bato National Park in San Miguel, Bulacan.

The victims were part of group of about 180 BSU Tourism students on the school jaunt.

“Way back in September 2004, eight people on a picnic, mostly children and teenagers, were also swept away when the Madlum River suddenly burst its banks due to rapid flooding,” Romulo pointed out.

“The river and its banks are clearly unsafe, especially during the rainy season. The students should not have been there at this time of the year,” he stressed.

The veteran lawmaker urged universities to exercise effective guardianship of their students during off campus educational activities, saying their safety should be assured at all times.

A Commission on Higher Education official earlier said those found responsible for the tragedy may face criminal, civil and administrative charges.

The dead students were identified as Mikhail Alcantara, Philip Rodney Alejo, Maiko Bartolome, Michelle Ann Rose Bonzo, Helena Marcelo, Madel Navarro and Jeanette Rivera.

The BSU has already formed a committee “to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances of the tragedy.” The school has also vowed “to take decisive measures” based on the panel’s findings.

The University has expressed its condolences to the bereaved families and offered them immediate assistance. (PNA) 
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Bulacan State University officials to help probe into drowning incident - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug 22 (PNA)--Officials of the Bulacan State University (BulSU) will help in the investigation of the drowning incident that killed seven of their tourism students in San Miguel town last Tuesday afternoon.

BulSU president Dr. Mariano De Jesus said that a committee was already formed to help in the ongoing probe.

At the same time, De Jesus said that BulSU will give full support to the victims and survivors of the field trip that turned into a tragedy.

“We will help in the investigation of this unfortunate incident. Meantime I am calling every one to pray for our beloved students,” he said.

Students and faculty members of BulSU will hold a prayer vigil where they will light candles after a holy mass in a show of sympathy for the victims.

On Thursday, the body of the seventh fatality, ex-EB Babe Maiko Eleva Ison Bartolome was found under a big rock where she might have been trapped and covered with logs.

Rescuers could not easily penetrate that location because of a deep portion of a Madlum cave surrounded by trees.

The bodies of students Mikhail Alcantara, Phil Rodney Alejo, Michelle Ann Rose Bonzo, and Helena Marcelo were recovered on Tuesday afternoon. The following day, the remains of Jenette Rivera and Madel Navarro were found.

Two other students who also crossed the river, identified as Daniel Cunanan and Thea Hernandez, were rescued and survived.

The victims were among the tourism students who joined a field trip at the historic Madlum cave where Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo established the headquarters of Filipino Revolutionaries during the Philippine-Spanish war.

It is now being investigated why no teachers accompanied the students who trekked the then calm river before a torrent of cascading water swept them away at the height of a sudden down pour.

The Commission on Higher Education said BulSU may have been careless in following procedures when conducting a field trip.

It said the school failed to submit the proper paperwork, which includes a risk assessment of the educational trip.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, who personally supervised the search and rescue operation since Tuesday, has issued an executive order banning field trips at the scenic but accident prone tourist spot until the local government can ensure that it is safe for the public. (PNA) 
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(Update) Death toll in Biak na Bato drowning rises to 5; search continues for 2 missing - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 20 (PNA) -- The death toll in the Monday drowning incident at the Madlum river in San Miguel town rose to five Wednesday morning as rescuers continue to search for the two other missing tourism students of Bulacan State University.

The first year tourism students of Bulacan State University were swept away by raging waters triggered by a sudden downpour on Monday afternoon.

Latest reports from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said that the body of Janet Rivera was retrieved around 10:20 am Wednesday several miles away from where the students were swept away by the rampaging current.

As of press time, two others are still missing, according to Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado who cancelled previous engagements to personally lead the search and rescue operations since Tuesday.

The subject of the search and rescue operation are Madel Navarro and Maico Bartolome.

Meanwhile, the four students whose bodies were retrieved Tuesday afternoon were identified as Michael Alcantara, Michelle Banzil, Helena Marcelo and Sean Alejo.

In the wake of the accident, Alvarado issued an executive order banning field trips and trekking activities at the said river.

“While the pristine waters within the Biak-na-Bato national park continues to allure tourists, we must not discount the dangers that sudden rains in the mountains could bring,” the governor said adding, that warning signs and precautionary measures should be put in proper places to ensure that accidents would not happen again.

Residents in the area said that the river always become “wild and raging” every time heavy rains fall in the mountains of Biak-Na-Bato, where massive extraction of the rare but expensive tea rose marble took place more than four years ago.

The mining of the expensive marble was only stopped when Alvarado assumed post as governor in 2010.

Initial reports received by the PDRRMO said that four buses carrying tourism students of the BSU went on a field trip at the historical Biak-na-Bato caves.

PDRRM executive officer Liz Mungcal said that while trekking the river near the Madlum cave, the river suddenly rose and swept away the students.

The river is full of big boulders and limestone that are highly dangerous when the river gets swollen with strong raging current. (PNA) 
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4 Bulacan students drown, 2 rescued, 2 missing at Biak-na-Bato park - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan Aug.20(PNA)-- Four students of the Bulacan State University drowned while two were rescued and two others missing after they were carried off by strong currents while crossing the river at the Biak-na-Bato National Park in San Miguel town Tuesday afternoon.

Reports received by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said that four tourism buses carrying tourism students of the BSU went on a field trip at the historical Biak-na-Bato caves.

PDRRM executive officer Liz Mungcal said that while trekking the river near the Madlum cave, the river suddenly rose and swept away eight students.

Mungcal said rescuers were able to find six of the students but four of them were already dead while the two others were given first aid treatment and were then brought to the nearest hospital.

Rescuers are still trying to find the two other students.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that additional rescue teams from the San Miguel MDRRMO, Army Scout Rangers and Bulacan rescue are now also helping in the search and possible rescue of the two missing students.

Local residents said that water cascading from the mountains of Biak-na-bato occasionally triggers flashfloods with strong currents when heavy rains pour .(PNA) 
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Palparan “sleepless” on his first night at the Bulacan Provincial Jail - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 19 (PNA)--A tired and weary-looking retired Army major General Jovito Palparan on Tuesday said he still fears for his life inside the Bulacan Provincial Jail (BPJ).

In an interview inside his cell, Palparan said he has a hard time sleeping on his first night at the BPJ.

“The threat to my life is real. I still feel that I would not last here long. I hope the court will reconsider my request to stay at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) detention cell where I feel comfortable,” he said.

Palparan was committed to a cell at the BPJ that he now shares with 72- year old inmate Edgardo Franscisco after Bulacan Regional Trial Court Branch 14 Judge Teodora Gonzales junked his petition to allow him to stay at the NBI detention cell during his arraignment Monday morning.

The court entered a “not guilty” plea after Palparan did not make a comment because according to his lawyer Narzal Mallares, his client is still assailing the charges filed against him.

Palparan is facing charges in connection with the disappearance of Univeristy of the Philippines students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan in Hagonoy, Bulacan in 2006 when Palparan was then the commanding general of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division based in Nueva Ecija.

His co- accused are (ret.) Lt. Col. Felipe G. Anotado and S/Sgt. Edgardo L. Osorio Anotado and a fourth suspect M/Sgt. Rizal O. Hilaro who is still at-large.

Palparan said he is sad that the court made a hasty decision on his petition to stay at the NBI detention cell.

He said his camp knew that there are at least four alleged New People’s Army (NPA) rebels detained in the same jail.

After his arraignment Monday morning, Palparan narrowly escaped being lynched by an angry mob of militant groups who charged towards the rear entrance upon learning that Palparan will be committed to the BPJ.

The militants showed their anger and were determined to “attack” the retired army general but a heavy phalanx of heavily-armed government security forces prevented them.

Bulacan Provincial Jail Warden Pepito Plamenco, on the other hand, said that eight members of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit from the Bulacan Police Provincial Office were sent by Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina to augment the jail guards in securing the controversial retired army general who earned the monicker “Berdugo” or butcher for his relentless campaign against insurgency and alleged involvement in killings of political activists.

Plamenco also said that their “high profile” detainee can order the foods that he wants to eat.

As of press time, Plamenco said that the retired general’s health condition looks okay.

"He (Palparan) said that he was not able to sleep well," he said.

The next hearing of Palparan's case is on September 1. (PNA) 
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Bulacan court enters plea of 'not guilty' for Palparan - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 18 (PNA) -- The Bulacan Regional Trial Court Branch 14 entered a plea of “not guilty” for retired Army Major General Jovito Palparan after his camp did not make a comment on his arraignment Monday.

Palparan, who was captured in Manila last week after three years in hiding, is facing a case of kidnapping with serious illegal detention of University of the Philippines students Karen Empeno and Shierlyn Cadapan.

Branch 14 Judge Teodora Gonzales also junked the “urgent ex parte motion to stay detention” at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and ordered the court bailiff to commit Palparan at the nearby Bulacan Provincial Jail where a solitary cell was prepared for the bemedalled but controversial retired Army general.

Palparan asked for consideration, saying that his life will be in great risk at Bulacan Provincial Jail.

After listening to the comment of NBI representatives who claimed that they cannot hold Palparan at their holding area for a long period of time, Judge Gonzales denied the retired general's motion.

Aside from this, the court said the Bulacan Provincial Jail is ready to keep Palparan safe while under detention.

The judge said that “it is more prudent, expeditious and less expensive for his travel every time there is a hearing for his case.”

Bulacan jail warden Pepito Plamenco said that they have added security measures to ensure that Palparan will be safe while under detention.

Meanwhile, the Hall of Justice at the Bulacan Regional Trial Court here became a virtual “war zone” as militant groups and supporters of Palparan met at the same ground while the captured former military officer was being arraigned at the sala of Judge Gonzales.

The frail-looking Palparan narrowly escaped being lynched by an angry mob of militant groups as he was being whisked toward the Bulacan Provincial Jail but was saved from harm by the composite heavily armed security forces of the NBI, Bulacan police, Philippine Army, Navy and Air Force.

Palparan will share the cell with 72-year-old inmate Edgardo Francisco who told local mediamen that the fomer Army general should not be scared at the Bulacan Provincial Jail.

He said he is excited to share his cell with Palparan adding that he will tell him Bible stories once the controversial military officer is committed at the jail.

”The facility is orderly and comfortable. It is my honor to be with the general in one cell," Francisco said.

He also jested that Palparan should bring an aide to cook, fetch water and clean the cell because there is nobody there to do that except the two of them and he is too old to do those chores for the former general.

During the arraignment, various militant groups led by the “Desaparecidos” (Families of the Disappeared for Justice) took turns in lambasting Palparan shouting “It is only the court, not only the government but the public will ask you to repay your sins."

While they were holding their rally in front of the Hall of Justice, a pro-Palparan group was also holding a vigil at the rear entrance of the Bulacan RTC where Palparan was earlier whisked inside the heavily guarded court compound at around 9:30 a.m. Monday.

The pro-Palparan group, numbering about 40 persons, belongs to the Guardians, Bantay Partylist, Wildcat Association and the AFP retirees association.

They claimed that Palparan is a “patriot and a hero.”

The militant group charged towards the rear entrance upon learning that Palparan is being brought to the Bulacan Provincial Jail.

The militants showed their anger and were determined to “attack” the retired Army general but a heavy phalanx of heavily-armed government security forces prevented them.

Earlier, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado instructed Plamenco to beef up security at the Bulacal Provincial Jail as per instruction of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas.

Plamenco said that they are ready to secure Palparan adding that they have previously held “high risk” detainees like James Chua, Dominguez brothers, Alfred Mendiola and Central Luzon CPP-NPA secretary general Efren De Guzman.

"Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Division has already provided additional team from the Provincial Public Safety Company,” Plamenco said.

The court scheduled the next hearing on September 1, this year. (PNA) 
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Palparan arrest show government commitment to bring all wanted people to justice

MANILA, Aug. 18 (PNA) -- The arrest of retired Major Gen. Jovito Palparan, who is wanted for the alleged abduction and disappearance of two UP coeds, is a clear manifestation of the government's commitment to bring all people wanted by the law to the bar of justice.

This was stressed by 1st Civil Relations Group commander Major Emmanuel Garcia on Monday.

"This is also a chance for Major General Palparan to defend himself at the proper forum and at the same time seek medical help due to his age and health condition," he added.

As it is, Garcia said the case of Palparan must be left to the court to hear and decide.

Garcia's unit is attached to the Tarlac-based Northern Luzon Command.

Palparan was arrested last Aug. 12 in Sta. Mesa, Manila after a three-year flight from authorities.

Palparan went into hiding after the Bulacan Regional Trial Court Branch 14 issued a warrant arrest for him, Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado Jr., Staff Sgt. Edgardo Osorio and Master Sgt. Rizal Hilario in 2011 for the disappearance of UP students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan on June 26, 2006.

Anotado and Osorio voluntarily surrendered. Hilario remains at large.

Palparan's last assignment at the Army was commander of the Nueva Ecija-based 7th Infantry Division. He retired from the service in Sept. 11, 2006. (PNA) 
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Palparan camp asks Malolos RTC for client's stay under NBI custody - By Perfecto T. Raymundo Jr.

MANILA, Aug. 14 (PNA) -- The camp of former Army Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan on Thursday asked the Malolos City Regional Trial Court (RTC) to make their client remain under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) due to security threats.

Atty. Narzal Mallares, the counsel of Palparan, filed the "Urgent ex-parte motion to stay in detention at the NBI detention facilities, Manila" before the Malolos City RTC.

The camp of the former general argued that the RTC should take into consideration the security of their client.

The motion also cited that there are "intelligence reports" in the possession of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) stating that the New People's Army (NPA) has formed a liquidation squad which is planning to execute Palparan.

As of Thursday, there is an existing "commitment order" issued by the Malolos City RTC directing that Palparan should be detained at the Bulacan Provincial Jail.

Meanwhile, the arraignment of the former general has been set on August 18 at 10 a.m. for the case of kidnapping and serious illegal detention allegedly committed against University of the Philippines (UP) students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan on June 26, 2006. (PNA) 
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Palace commends AFP, NBI on Palparan's arrest By Lilybeth G.Ison

MANILA, Aug. 12 (PNA) -- Malacanang lauded on Tuesday the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for the arrest of retired Army Major Gen. Jovito Palparan, who was wanted for the disappearance of two University of the Philippines (UP) students in 2006.

"We commend the AFP and the NBI for their steadfast doggedness in pursuing all leads to find and capture Jovito Palparan. Today, this resolute determination has paid off, the long arm of the law has finally reached Mr Palparan," said Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda in a statement sent to Palace reporters via SMS.

He said President Benigno S. Aquino III has promised that the government will go after those who evade the law.

"That promise to capture General Palparan has been fulfilled today," Lacierda said.

After close to three years in hiding, Palparan was arrested by the NBI Anti-Organized and Transnational Crime Division in a rented house in Sta. Mesa, Manila at around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Arrested with him were Grace Roa and Reynaldo Ladao, who will be facing charges for violating Presidential Decree No. 1829, or the "Decree Penalizing Obstruction of Apprehension and Prosecution of Criminal Offenders," for harboring Palparan.

Palparan is facing kidnapping with serious illegal detention charges before the regional trial court in Malolos, Bulacan for the abduction and subsequent disappearance of U.P. students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan in 2006.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, in a press conference at the NBI headquarters where the retired army general is temporarily detained, said Palparan would be arraigned on August 18, when he will also be presented to the court trying his case.

His two co-accused -- Army Col. Felipe Anotado and S/Sgt. Edgardo Osorio -- were earlier denied bail by the court. Another co-accused, M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario, is still at large.

Palparan went into hiding in December 2011 after a warrant was issued for his arrest. (PNA) 
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High tide submerges Obando town, classes in 8 villages suspended By Emil G. Gamos

OBANDO, Bulacan, Aug. 11 (PNA) -- It is a sunny Monday in the entire province of Bulacan but heavy flooding caused by high tide prompted local officials in this town to suspend classes in all levels in eight of the 11 villages here.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said that classes were not suspended in the villages of San Pascual, Lawa and Paco where flooding due to high tide were minimal.

PDRRM executive officer Liz Mungcal said that heavy flooding have inundated the villages of Panghulo, Catanghalan, Pag-asa, Paliwas, Hulo, Tawiran, Binuangan and Salambao.

These villages were submerged under 4 to 4.56 feet of flood water brought by the high tide.

Mungcal said the flooding was also aggravated by the breaching of an earth dike located along the fishing village of Barangay Pag-Asa.

She said that local officials are still in the process of repairing the damaged earth dike which was destroyed when typhoon "Glenda" hit the country last month.

"They are having difficulty in repairing the breached earth dike due to high tide," Mungcal said.

Town mayor Edwin Santos said that aside from the suspension of classes, many areas are now isolated as many roads were rendered impassable to light vehicles.

He said that even the municipal building was not spared as employees have to brave floods .

"We have decided to suspend classes because the students from those flooded areas would have hard time in going to schools," Santos said.

He also said that floods have become a way of life for the people of Obando.

He said that their dilemma was answered by the national government who planned to construct a dike to address the perennial planning but it was mothballed because of the controversy hounding the issuance of disbursement acceleration program (DAP).

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado have instructed Mungcal to closely monitor the situation and coordinate with the MDRRMO of Obando.

"We have asked to closely monitor the floods there. The villages in Obando are always experiencing perennial flooding. But this time, it is worse due to the damaged earth dike," the governor said. (PNA) 
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Environmentalists, outdoorsmen bare rampant illegal logging at Ipo dam watershed area

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 6 (PNA) -- Environmentalists, outdoorsmen and mountaineers on Wednesday appealed to concerned authorities to look into the alleged illegal logging activities along the Ipo dam watershed area.

Bro. Martin Franscisco, chairperson of the Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society, Inc. (SSMESI), said their group together with members of the University of the Philippines mountaineers and other outdoor groups have documented cases of illegal logging and how the poached timbers are being transported outside of Ipo dam.

He said that the national government should send a team to investigate why timber poaching is still rampant along the watershed of Ipo dam despite pronouncement of officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources that primary forests like those in the watersheds are protected areas.

"The illegal logging activities inside the Ipo dam Watershed is a big blow to the government, particularly DENR that said that no one is allowed to cut down trees on primary forests that are considered as protected areas,” Francisco said.

Fred Ochavo, a volunteer of the University of the Philippines Mountaineers (UPM) that has a reforestation project inside Ipo Watershed, disclosed that several planks of hard wood, believed to have been cut by illegal loggers, were recently monitored to be in the process of being transported out of the watershed.

Ochavo said that the illegal transport of wooden planks that were documented being moved through the river system-- piled beside the docking area for the boats beside a PLDT reforestation site signage; being loaded on a boat; carried by illegal settlers and piled along the road inside the Ipo Dam compound-- were monitored to have taken place inside Ipo Watershed on July 11, 13, 19, 26 and 31 this year.

Michelle delos Reyes, education subcommittee head of UPM environment committee, also bared that she was able to document the illegal transport of the wooden planks on July 11 and 31 as she tries to settle everything that are needed for their upcoming tree planting activity such as quality check of seedlings, tree planting site selection and to instruct UPM's caretaker for hole digging.

Francisco, together with several members of UPM, Sagip Kagubatan and other outdoorsmen, said that they wrote President Benigno Aquino a letter, dated April 29, 2014 and received by Malacanang Records Office on May 5, 2014.

The letter that stated that “As outdoorsmen, we have access to remote areas of Ipo Watershed and stood witness to illegal activities which gravely threatens the continued viability and stability of the water supply of 12 million residents of Metro Manila (2010 Census).”

The letter senders have also submitted sworn statements, documentary evidence and copies of reports and documentation “prepared by their organizations to furnish intelligence and information that may help in the government’s forest protection initiatives.”

They noted that they are “greatly alarmed that despite the existence of a legal framework to impose a total ban on the harvesting of forest products from Ipo Watershed, and despite the country’s commitment to international agreements such as the Millennium Development Goals which seeks to ensure sustainable access to safe drinking water, concerned agencies and officials have not taken concrete steps, and sustained effort to address the destruction of the only viable water source of Metro Manila’s 12 million residents.” (PNA) 
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Bulacan gov urges 5 Pillars of Justice to fast track pending cases of inmates at provincial jail

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 4 (PNA)-- Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Monday called on the “Five Pillars of Justice” to continue working as team and work double time to fast track the pending cases of some 3,000 inmates at the Bulacan Provincial Jail.

"I am expecting that every pillar of justice will help each other and serve for the speedy resolution of the cases of our constituents which we should be given attention," the governor said in his message during the opening ceremony of the “Five Pillars of Justice” month at the Capitol Gym Monday morning.

Alvarado said that by fast tracking the cases of the inmates, it will not only speed up the delivery of justice but will also help decongest the provincial penitentiary.

He said that “it is vital to make a strong foundation of the justice system and this will need the cooperation of all sectors to execute laws with fairness and respect to human rights in accordance to the mandate of the Philippine Constitution.”

The opening ceremony which carries the theme “Katarungan: Gabay at Patnubay tungo sa Pagbabagong Buhay” was graced by the attendance of Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief lawyer Persida V. Rueda-Acosta, who stressed the importance of free legal assistance to wrongfully convicted persons.

"If you committed sins, you must rot in jail but if you are innocent, I will defend you up to the Supreme Court," Acosta, the youngest ever lawyer to head the PAO, said.

She said that public attorneys are sworn to uphold only the truth and provide free access to courts in order to ensure social justice as part of the country’s sustainable development.

The 5 Pillars are composed of the Prosecutor’s Office headed by Renato Samonte Jr ; Philippine National Police headed by acting Bulacan Police Director PS/Supt. Ferdinand Divina; Regional Trial Court headed by Executive Judge Ma. Theresa Mendoza-Arcega; Probation and Parole Office consisted of CPPO Teresita Mascuñana, CPPO Cezar Lopez Jr., and CPPO Ramon De Leon; and the community which is composed of the Provincial Government of Bulacan. (PNA) 
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DOST chief urges Bulacan LGUs to propagate 'calamity foods' By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 31 (PNA)-- Science and Technology Secretary Mario G. Montejo has urged local government officials and community leaders in the province to propagate the use and production of the so-called “calamity foods” or “compressed foods” not only to combat malnutrition but also as survival intervention in times of natural disasters like typhoons and floods.

Montejo made the call during the culminating program of the nutrition month at the provincial capitol gym here Wednesday afternoon.

The program carries the theme: “Kalamidad Paghandaan: Gutom at Malnutrisyon Agapan”.

Montejo said the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of DOST has been propagating “compressed foods” because of the yearly floodings and storms hitting the country.

He said that “compressed food” are ready to eat and made with “cereal-legume” and fortified with milk, vegetable fat and sugar.

The DOST secretary said that “compressed foods” are ideal for relief goods because it is easy to produce, healthy and can be immediately distributed.

He also said that villages in the Philippines are abundant with vegetables and plants that can be added to processed foods like the “malunggay.”

Montejo also lauded the successful programs of the provincial government headed by Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando in combating malnutrition in the province.

He said Bulacan has always been emerging as the best province with an efficient food and nutrition program.

Alvarado, chair of the Provincial Nutrition Council and concurrent chairman of the Central Luzon Regional Development Council, on his part, said that healthy people is vital in propelling growth and development.

“Everyone has the right for nutritious foods and the provincial government is actively supporting the nutrition and feeding programs of local government units. The nation will become more vigor and stronger if there are healthy, active and mighty citizens," he said.

Fernando, for his part, encouraged community leaders to propagate the planting of backyard crops like malunggay and other healthy endemic plants.

Montejo, together with Alvarado and Fernando led the awarding of the bet nutrition program with the mountain town of Dona Remedios Trinidad garnering the first place.

Dona Remedios Trinidad mayor Ronaldo T. Flores and the municipal council received a plaque of recognition and Php100,000 cash incentives for their anti-malnutrition and feeding program.

The town of Calumpit headed by Mayor Jessie de Jesus received the second place award while San Rafael mayor Cipriano Viloga obtained the third place award.

Vilma M. Oronce of barangay San Miguel, Calumpit was adjudged as “Natatanging Lingkod Lingap sa Nayon” awardee.

Likewise, the provincial government distributed some 5,000 malunggay seedlings to barangay community leaders. (PNA) 
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QC to deploy 360 traffic personnel for Pres. Aquino's SONA on Monday

MANILA, July 27 (PNA) -- Quezon City Mayor Herbert M. Bautista has ordered the deployment of some 360 traffic personnel from the city’s Department of Public Order and Safety (DPOS) to complement the police and traffic management force mobilized by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in ensuring public safety during the State-of-the-Nation-Address (SONA) of President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday.

Deployment of QC traffic personnel for the President's fifth SONA at the Batasang Pambansa Building in Quezon City will start at 5 a.m., said Dexter Cardenas, DPOS traffic operations chief.

Meanwhile, the city government has also fielded some 50 barangay public safety officers (BPSOs) to provide assistance to participants of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) centennial celebration Sunday.

The city’s BPSO men deployed in the Bocaue area in Bulacan form part of the public safety legion that has been mobilized by the MMDA for the INC event.

The QC contingent has been sourced by the DPOS from Barangays Talipapa, Sangandaan, Sauyo, Tandang Sora and Pasong Tamo, Novaliches.

As part of the MMDA public safety legion, the QC government is also sending three mobile patrol cars, two ambulances, a fire truck and two dump trucks during the INC celebration.

The MMDA constituted the public safety legion to maintain peace and order, implement a comprehensive traffic management plan and undertake post-activity clean-up operations.

Meanwhile, regular traffic personnel are also deployed by the DPOS to ensure the orderly movement of vehicular traffic in the Balintawak area and along Mindanao Avenue which lead to the North Luzon Expressway. (PNA) 
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Succesful INC Centennial anniversary celebration ends smoothly By Emil G. Gamos

BOCAUE, Bulacan, July 27 (PNA) --The centennial celebrations of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) held on Sunday at the Philippine Arena in Ciudad Victoria here ended smoothly.

Except for at least 140 people who were given first aid due to the intense heat Saturday when multitudes of INC delegates began arriving here, there were no reported incidents even minor crimes.

The grand anniversary celebration, a thanksgiving of faith, was highlighted by a colorful show of aerial fireworks that illuminated Ciudad Victoria giving it a more spectacular ambiance before midnight Saturday.

More than one million INC members and guests attended the grand celebration that also featured the brief history of the Church of Christ in the last days from 1914 to 2014 to reminisce and recollect how God help Brother Felix Y. Manalo and the Iglesia Ni Cristo as fulfillment of His promise.

"I am so proud to be a member of the Iglesia ni Cristo. The Philippine Arena and Ciudad Victoria are blessings that resulted to the trust and faith to the leaders of the Iglesia and love of God to those who believe in Him," an INC member from Malolos City said.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the celebration was a success with no crime reported within the vicinity of Ciudad de Victoria.

He commended the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and members of the traffic and security force for achieving the “Herculean Task” of aiding and ensuring the safety of more than one million people.

Alvarado and MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino, who was tasked by President Benigno Aquino to head Task Force Sentenaryo, personally supervised the deployment of traffic and security forces last Saturday.

Aside from ambulances and emergency rescue personnel from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, the governor said that the Philippine National Red Cross also sent 13 ambulances and set up more than 20 first aid stations for medical emergencies.

Alvarado also announced that Monday, July 28, will be a holiday for the entire province of Bulacan to make way for clean-up and other post-INC centennial operations.

The flow of traffic along the North Expressway started getting heavy at around 9 a.m. Sunday when delegates began leaving the Philippine Arena. (PNA) 
CTB/zst/EGGamos/ps

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LTFRB to truckers: Avoid NLEX, other roads during INC centennial celebration By Azer N. Parrocha

MANILA, July 26 (PNA) -- The Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Saturday reminded truckers to avoid passing through North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) and several other roads, from July 26-28 for the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) centennial celebration in Bulacan.

The LTFRB in a statement, said they arrived at the decision after due consultation with the Task Force Sentenaryo which is in charge of government actions and responses in connection with the INC celebration.

“…All trucks-for-hire that will pass through NLEX from Balintawak Tollgate-Angeles City Exit and vice versa, McArthur Highway, Cagayan Valley Road from Sta. Rita Exit and all provincial roads in the Province of Bulacan that will be used as parking areas for the buses and utility vehicle (UV) are hereby advised to refrain from passing through these roads on July 26, 27 and 28, 2014 in view of expected heavy volume of traffic before, during and after the INC Centennial Celebration at the Philippine Arena on July 27, 2014 except those carrying perishable goods and food items,” LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez said in a statement.

The LTFRB, however, stressed that the advisory was not a truck ban.

“This is an advisory to all Trucks-for-Hire to avoid certain affected areas in Bulacan from June 26-28. This is not a truck ban,” the Board stressed.

Preparations for the INC anniversary is already in full swing in various areas in the country including arranging transport services to bring its members to the event, the LTFRB earlier said.

The INC’s anniversary will be held in the largest domed facility in the world, the Philippine Arena, located in Bocaue, Bulacan. (PNA)
CTB/ANP

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Military to help cops in securing INC 100th founding anniversary

MANILA, July 26 (PNA) -- An estimated 3,000 military personnel from the National Capital Region, Bulacan and Pampanga will be joining the Philippine National Police in securing the 100th year founding anniversary of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) on Sunday, January 27.

This was disclosed by Major Emmanuel Garcia, 1st Civil Relations Group commander, in a message to the PNA.

"Three thousand troops (coming from the NCR, Bulacan and Pampanga) will be helping in the security operations Sunday," he added.

An estimated one million INC followers are expected to join in Sunday's festivities in Bocaue, Bulacan where the group's 55,000 capacity stadium, the Philippine Arena, is located. (PNA) 
CTB/PFN

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MMDA chief, Bulacan guv supervise deployment of traffic and security forces for INC centennial rites on Sunday By Emil G. Gamos

MARILAO, Bulacan, July 26 (PNA)--As the countdown to the centennial anniversary celebration of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) reached its penultimate day on Saturday, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino and Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado personally supervised the deployment of 3,200 traffic and security forces along the North Luzon Expressway and the stretch of MacArthur highway from Meycauayan City to Calumpit town to ensure the safe and orderly arrival of an estimated 1.5 million members of INC and their guests at the Philippine Arena in Ciudad Victoria in Bocaue town.

As of 10 a.m. Saturday, buses that ferried INC delegations from Tarlac and other parts of Central Luzon have began occupying the north-bound lane of MacArthur highway in Barangay Tikay here.

“We have been preparing for this (INC centennial anniversary) and we will now implement our contingency plans to ensure a safe and orderly arrival and departure of INC delegations and their guests,” Tolentino, who was appointed by President Benigno S. Aquino III to head “Task Force Sentenaryo,” said.

Tolentino was joined by Alvarado in Marilao town for the strategic deployment of peace keeping forces as well as traffic aides.

Public and police assistance centers were also put up in key areas along the MacArthur highway from Meycauayan City to Calumpit town and along portions of the Cagayan Valley road from Guiguinto to the towns of Plaridel, Pulilan and Baliwag.

Alvarado said that public traffic advisory have also been sent through the media and social media so that the public may know where the converging points of the vehicles will pass through.

"The plan is perfect. The Philippine National Police and the MMDA have conducted a thorough study and plans for the influx of our INC members," Alvarado said.

The governor said that the world will be watching the Philippines, particularly the province of Bulacan where the Philippine Arena in Ciudad Victoria is located.

"This would happen only once in a period of 100 years and we are lucky that this historic celebration of the INC will take place in our noble province of Bulacan," he said.

He also said that Philippine Army troopers from the Northern Luzon command will also augment the security forces.

In Guiguinto town, police chief Supt. Ernesto Cruz said that Governor Alvarado has allowed them to use the sprawling compound of the Provincial Engineer's Office in Barangay Tabang as a “contingency parking zone.”

Cruz said that the sprawling parking area of a closed super market in Barangay Tuktukan will also be used as a “contingency parking zone”.

He also said that at least 400 buses will parked in Guiguinto.

"We have also put up public assistance centers in every barangay along the MacArthur highway to help and assist the INC delagations and their guests,” Cruz said.

Cruz also assured business companies and local trucking firms that their operations and parking will not be affected.

"There are designated parking areas for them. We will ensure that the flow of vehicles along MacArthur highway and Cagayan Valley road will be orderly," Cruz said as he inspected the different public assistance centers in his areas.

He said that the by noon of Saturday, the influx of the buses and vans of INC delegations will start arriving.

In Malolos City, hundreds of motorcycle-riding INC members with INC flags flying were seen heading towards the Philippine Arena before Saturday noon. (PNA) 
CTB/zst/EGGamos/ps

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Bulacan ready for INC’s grand centennial celebration on Sunday By Emil G. Gamos

BOCAUE, Bulacan, July 25 (PNA) -- Police teams are now being deployed within the vicinity of the mammoth Philippine Arena to ensure security and safety of an expected 1.5 million members and guests of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) who will converge here on Sunday for their centennial anniversary celebrations.

Since last week, teams from the Provincial Engineers Office have also been sprucing up villages around the Philippine Arena in Ciudad Victoria for the week-long INC centennial celebration that kicked-off last Monday with President Benigno S. Aquino gracing the inauguration of the biggest sports and multi-purpose indoor coliseum together with INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that the Bulacan Police Provincial Office headed by Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina have also deployed maneuver platoons from the Provincial Public Safety Company to augment local police teams in providing security and police assistance centers to the multitude of INC followers who are expected to flock at the Ciudad Victoria starting on Friday and Saturday for the grand INC celebration on Sunday.

Officials of the North Luzon Expressway have earlier said that they were expecting heavy traffic on Sunday with at least 82,000 vehicles expected to be heading to the Philippine Arena, touted as the biggest indoor coliseum in the world with a sitting capacity of 55,000.

Alvarado said that tens of thousands of Iglesia Ni Cristo members are expected to arrive in more than 10,000 buses and 2,800 vans.

"Congratulations to the Iglesia Ni Cristo on their 100 years anniversary as well as for showing to the world that they can build world class structure like the Philippine Arena in Ciudad Victoria in Bocaue town,” Alvarado said.

He said that after the centennial celebration, more crowd-drawing activities will be held in the Philippine Arena and the adjacent Philippine Sports Stadium inside Ciudad Victoria.

International events are also expected to be held in the area, which is now being tagged as the “New face of Bulacan.”

"This will be a big help for our province and the whole region to be recognized and this will pave way to attract more investors that will give more opportunities to our provincemates. This is a good example that if there is a unity and cooperation, we can achieve our goals," Alvarado said.

The governor, who was with President Aquino and top leaders of the INC, during the inauguration program, said that “the Philippine Arena is not only the centerpiece of the Iglesia Ni Cristo centennial anniversary but is also gem of pride of the people and the province of Bulacan and the entire nation as well.”

The governor said that the opening of the Philippine Arena will further spur growth and economic boom not only in Bocaue but will also spread to the neighboring towns of Sta. Maria, Pandi, Balagtas and parts of Marilao.

“This will usher in a new look for Bulacan which is now on the threshold of growth and development. The Philippine Arena is not only a beacon of strong faith to God but also heralds the dawn of bright future for the province due to its world class characteristic,” he said.

Meanwhile, July 28 (Monday), will be a special non-working day in Bulacan to allow the orderly exit of members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo from the venue of its centennial celebration in the province.

Proclamation 837 dated July 24 indicated that Bulacan province requested the holiday proclamation.

"In order to ensure an orderly procession of the attendees out of the venue, and to facilitate the flow of traffic, the province of Bulacan requests that Monday, 28 July 2014, be declared a special (non-working) holiday," according to the proclamation signed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. (PNA) 
LAP/zst/EGGamos/ps

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LTFRB issues traffic advisory on Iglesia ni Cristo's centennial event

MANILA, July 24 (PNA) -- The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has advised all trucks-for-hire to avoid certain roads in Bulacan province due to expected heavy traffic as the Iglesia ni Cristo holds its centennial celebration on July 26 to 28.

In an advisory coursed through the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), the LTFRB said trucks-for-hire should refrain from using the following roads and exits: NLEX from the Balintawak Tollgate-Angeles City exit and vice versa; McArthur Highway; Cagayan Valley Road from the Sta. Rita exit; and all provincial roads in Bulacan that will be used as parking areas for buses and utility vehicles.

The LTFRB said it expects heavy traffic before and after the Iglesia ni Cristo's celebration at the Philippine Arena on Sunday (July 27).

The board however exempted trucks carrying perishable goods and food items, allowing them to use those roads to bring cargoes to Metro Manila.

The LTFRB issued the traffic advisory after consulting the Task Force Sentenaryo in charge of government actions in connection with the Iglesia ni Cristo's centennial event. (PNA)
LAM/PND/as/utb

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PNP all set for INC Centennial celebration on Sunday By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan

MANILA, July 23 (PNA) -- The Philippine National Police (PNP) is all set to provide security coverage and public safety measures in Bocaue, Bulacan on Sunday (July 27) for the Centennial Celebration of Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC), Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, chief PNP Public Information Officer (PIO) said on Wednesday.

According to Sindac, the Police Regional Office 3 (PRO 3) led by Police Chief Superintendent Raul Petrasanta said that the PNP will provide at least 3,200 personnel for security coverage and traffic assistance in addition to the 200 AFP and 1,500 MMDA personnel, and more than 2,000 force multipliers.

”The security coverage is to ensure the safety of the delegates for the INC centennial anniversary. Hoping to attain zero incidents in the conduct of this major event,” Sindac said in press briefing held at PNP Headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City

He added the coordination being done since December 2013 and the PNP has been planning the security coverage and of course, the PNP are enjoining support of this desire for the peaceful conduct of the event.

”Assist and supervise outer perimeter, the PNP security coverage, crowd management and traffic assistance,” he said.

Sindac also said that as of this moment, he has not received any significant threat to the incident but the PNP are working on possible scenarios.

”We continue to validate the information received by our intelligence community,” he explained.

The said activity will be held at the Philippine Arena, Ciudad de Victoria, Bulacan where an approximate of two million INC members from different Ecclesiastical Districts nationwide and church congregation from almost 112 countries are expected to attend.

“The safety of the delegates and participants on the centennial celebration of INC is the primary concern of the PNP” said Petrasanta.

Signed on July 2, 2014, President Benigno Aquino III issued Proclamation No. 815 declaring year 2014 as Iglesia Ni Cristo Centennial Year which is the largest home-grown Christian church in the Philippines established in 1914 by Brother Felix Y. Manalo.

The PNP asks for the active support of different public and private organizations to help in the successful and peaceful celebration of the event.

SIndac said that all units and offices of the PNP will be placed on heightened Alert Status effective at 3 p.m. on Friday (July 25) for all the upcoming events in particular to INC Centennial Celebration on Sunday, State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Aquino on Monday (July 28) and Eid-al-Ftr on Tuesday (July 29).

”The Unit Commanders are reminded to secure all vital installations, economic key points, as well as places of convergence, and ensure high state of operational readiness to deter unlawful activities,” Sindac said.

He said the alert status of PROs 3, 4A, NCRPO and Special Action Force (SAF) will be upgraded to Full Alert Status effective 5 a.m. on Sunday (July 26) for the SONA.

“The PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima has directed the safety and security of all those that will be part of the sona while exercising SONA,” Sindac said.

Regional Directors of PROs are given the discretion to upgrade their alert level depending on the prevailing peace and order situation in their respective areas of responsibility. (PNA) 
CTB/CLTC/with trainee Elsha Joy I. Soriano (EJIS) and Floraldel G. Flora (FGF)

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‘Task Force Sentenaryo’ firms up traffic, security measures for INC centennial on Sunday

MANILA, July 23 (PNA) -- Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolenitno on Wednesday announced its readiness for the upcoming 100th year anniversary celebration of Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) on Sunday (July 27) in Bocaue, Bulacan.

In a meeting held in Manila with Bulacan officials, Philippine National Police (PNP) and local governments, Tolentino said all the necessary traffic and security measures have been finalized to ensure the peaceful and orderly commemoration of the Iglesia Centennial Year, which is expected to be attended by up to three million INC members.

“In coordination with concerned government agencies, provincial municipal government of Bocaue, Bulacan, and the INC leadership, we have finalized our preparations for this big event,” Tolentino said, who was appointed by President Benigno S. Aquino III to head the task force.

The traffic management measures firmed up by the task force cover the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), MacArthur Highway, Mindanao Avenue Extension and adjacent roads.

MMDA has formed the 2,000-strong Metro Manila Public Safety Legion that will be deployed in Bocaue to maintain peace and order, implement a comprehensive traffic management plan during the event and do a post-activity cleanup at the site.

The legion is composed of traffic constables, rescuers and policemen coming from the 17 local government units in Metro Manila.

Two MMDA headquarters will also be set up in Marilao, Bulacan to respond to any type of emergencies, according to Tolentino.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), meanwhile, will send a company-sized military personnel for additional security, four M35 trucks, explosive and ordnance experts, and K-9 units.

“With all these preparations and contingency measures, we can assure our brothers and sisters in INC that their centennial celebration will be smooth and orderly,” Tolentino said.

Aside from the 2,000-strong Metro Manila Public Safety Legion, Tolentino said 500 traffic personnel will also be deployed to assist delegates coming to and from the venue to augment elements from the PNP Region 3 and the Northern Luzon Command of the AFP.

The contingent will be dispatched Saturday morning Sunday night.

”So yung kick off natin yung initial activity which will commend on the 26th of July 9:00 a.m., operational na lahat. Nandun na rin kami hanggang 28 na yun, so all plans in motion. Ready na very Ready na. Ang DOH nandun na sa loob. Ang LTFRB is issuing advisory in joining trucks to refrain from utilizing NLEX from 26, 27, and 28 except perishable items,” Tolentino told the reporters after meeting.

The MMDA will also field its own rescue teams, mobile patrol and motorcycle units, and personnel from the Metro Parkways Clearing Group and Sidewalk Clearing Operations Group to strategic locations.

“INC will also put up medical booths inside the Philippine Arena for its members,” Tolentino added.

Tolentino said they expected INC members to arrive at the newly inaugurated Philippine Arena in Bocaue, the venue of the anniversary, a day before the event in at least 10,000 buses, 2,400 vans and Asian Utility Vehicles, and private vehicles.

The following areas have been designated as parking areas: Sta. Maria bypass; and Balagtas bypass along MacArthur Highway from Monumento to Calumpit, Bulacan. A portion of the Mindanao Avenue Extension will also be closed for parking purposes.

In case of traffic gridlock along NLEX, a “zipper lane” will be put up to enable northbound vehicles to counter-flow on the opposite lane and ease up traffic flow. Three areas have been already prepared for this with the help of NLEX authorities.

Tolentino said the task force has also suggested to the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) to dedicate toll booths for Bocaue-bound vehicles and “prepaid toll fees” to hasten the entry of vehicles at NLEX.

He pointed out the possibility of heavy traffic at the SMART-connect interchange and NLEX towards the Arena, especially in the morning rush hours.

In preparation for the big event, Task Force Sentenaryo conducted a “Contingency Planning and Tabletop Exercise” on July 11 at Camp Crame, Quezon City.

For his part, Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Alvarado suggested the use of Bulacan Medical Center and Rogacian M. Memorial Hospital for medical emergencies.

General Carlito Romero of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) has been designated as crisis/emergency commander Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta of PNP Region 3 will act as traffic ground commander.

Tolentino likewise designated Chief Supt. Ricardo Marquez of PNP headquarters at Camp Crame as overall operations officer.

The National Capital Regional Police (NCRPO) will help secure the routes to Bocaue and the billeting areas of INC members, according to NCRPO Regional Director Carmelo Valmoria.

Providing additional muscle for traffic management and securing of staging and parking areas are the PNP-Region 3, 13 municipal governments of Bulacan, NLEX, and other private groups and volunteer associations, Tolentino said.

President Aquino has signed Memorandum Circular No. 66 creating Task Force Sentenaryo for the July 27 celebration of the religious group, with Tolentino as head.

Task Force Sentenaryo has been tasked to handle all actions and responses in connection with the INC event.

Among its members are Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Health Secretary Enrique Ona, AFP chief Emmanuel Bautista, and PNP Director Alan Purisima.

The others are Winston Ginez, chairman of LTFRB; Juan Sta. Ana, general manager of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA); Jose Angel Honrado, Manila International Airport Authority general manager; Edmundo Reyes, executive director of the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB); and a representative from the INC. (PNA) 
LAM/CLTC/with Elsha Joy I. Soriano/Floraldel G. Flora-OJTs

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President Aquino to inaugurate 'world's largest indoor arena' Monday

MANILA, July 20 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III will inaugurate on Monday (July 21) Iglesia ni Cristo’s (INC) Ciudad de Victoria (City of Victory), a 50-hectare tourism enterprise zone located in Bocaue, Bulacan established by the congregation in time for its centennial celebration on July 27 (Sunday).
President Aquino along with INC executive minister Bro. Eduardo V. Manalo will lead the unveiling of the marker at the gazebo, signaling the formal public opening of the state-of-the art architectural complex to the public.
The President will then deliver a speech inside one of the site’s major construction, the Philippine Arena, which is considered as "the world’s largest indoor stadium" given its reported 55,000-audience capacity.
Vice President Jejomar Binay and other INC officials will accompany the President at the inauguration ceremonies with around 50,000 INC members expected to witness the event.
Manalo once said during the groundbreaking of Ciudad de Victoria in August 2011 that the arena and its other massive architectural marvels had been designed to bring glory to God and honor to the country.
Other major structures expected to be completed in the area in the near future are the Philippine Stadium, New Era University, Eraño G. Manalo Medical Center, and some soon-to-rise shops, hotels, and leisure parks.
Meanwhile, Malacañang has declared July 27 as a special non-working holiday by virtue of Joint Resolution No. 2 signed by President Aquino to commemorate the 100th founding anniversary of INC.
INC is considered as the third largest religious denomination in the Philippines with its members comprising 2.3 percent of the population based on the census of Year 2000 conducted by the National Statistics Office. (PNA)
FPV/PND/rsm.

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INC set to inaugurate Philippine Arena in Bulacan on Monday - By Emil G. Gamos

BOCAUE, Bulacan, July 19 (PNA)--Banners, flags, stickers bearing the colors of red, white and green has engulfed every town and city as the province braces for a momentous event-- the inauguration of the Philippine Arena.
President Benigno S. Aquino III, together with Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando will join the occasion on Monday for the inauguration of the world's largest indoor-domed arena situated at the sprawling 75-hectare eco-tourism zone in Ciudad de Victoria here.
With a capacity of 55,000 seats, the Philippine Arena is owned by the Iglesia ni Cristo and operated by its educational institution--the New Era University.
An eye-catching imposing structure, which is built on a 99,200 square meters of land and has a dome of 36,000 square meters, the Philippine Arena is touted as “the centerpiece” of the many centennial projects of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) for their grand celebration on July 27, this year.
Thousands of INC followers led by its executive minister Eduardo V. Manalo are expected to converge at the country’s biggest coliseum in a former riceland here as they usher the start of celebrating their centenial anniversary literally “with a bang.”
Alvarado said that some 3,000 policemen are now strategically being deployed in the area and nearby vicinity.
He said that since Friday, the Bulacan police headed by Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina have already been conducting security rehearsals and deployment.
“The Philippine Arena is not only the centerpiece of the Iglesia Ni Cristo centenial aniversary but is also gem of pride of the people and the province of Bulacan and the entire nation as well,” he said.
The governor said that the opening of the Philippine Arena will further spur growth and economic boom not only in Bocaue but will also spread to the neighboring towns of Sta. Maria, Pandi, Balagtas and parts of Marilao.
“This will usher in a new look for Bulacan which is now on the threshold of growth and development. The Philippine Arena is not only a beacon of strong faith to God but also heralds the dawn of bright future for the province due to its world class characteristic,” he said.
The arena will not only hold major church gatherings, it will also operate as a multi-use sports and concert venue, capable of holding a range of events from boxing and basketball to live music performance.
The overall vision of the masterplan will eventually see inclusion of shopping centers, a hospital and large scale residential developments
The Philippine Arena was also designed to withstand natural disasters like earthquake and typhoons. (PNA) 
CTB/zst/EGGamos/ps.

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'Glenda' death toll jumps to 77 -- NDRRMC

MANILA, July 19 (PNA) -- The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), on its Saturday update, announced that the death toll for Typhoon "Glenda" nationwide has now reached 77.
In its 6 a.m. bulletin, the agency reported that five persons are still missing with the number of injured now up to 220.
Previously, fatalities for "Glenda" was placed at 64 with 103 injured.
The NDRRMC also added that 330,433 families or 1,600,298 people were affected in Ilocos, Central and Southern Luzon, Bicol, Eastern Visayas and Metro Manila.
The NDRRMC also added that areas under a state of calamity include Obando, Bulacan; Cavite; Laguna; Albay; Camarines Sur; Tigaon and Bula, Camarines Sur; Naga City and Samar.
Around 97,055 families or 518,764 people are being served in 1,264 evacuation centers.
Damage to property stood at PHP5,860,756,042.28, including PHP1,049,931,600 in infrastructure and PHP4,810,824,442.28 in agriculture.
The NDRRMC added that PHP10,683,944.33 in relief goods and medicines has been extended to affected families.
Some 27,874 houses were destroyed while 83,498 were damaged.
Power has been restored in Legazpi and Naga Cities, while the Luzon and Visayas grids are now interconnected.
Seventeen roads and three bridges in Cagayan Valley, Central and Southern Luzon, Bicol and Cordillera are still impassable to traffic. (PNA) 
JBP/PFN

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'Glenda' destroys many houses in Bulacan towns; 1 dead, 2 hurt - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 17 (PNA) -— The strong winds whipped up by typhoon "Glenda" left a swath of destruction in some parts of the province, damaging many houses as well as leaving one dead and injuring two others, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRM) reported on Thursday.
The two injured persons were identified as Arnold Catajan, 35, married, a resident of Barangay Tumana, Sta. Maria and Jersey May Magpayo, 9, resident of Barangay Tabang, Guiguinto.
Catajan suffered injuries when a big Camachile tree fell on him while Magpayo was hurt when the van she was riding was hit by a falling tree.
The PDRRMO earlier identified the lone fatality in the province as Reynaldo Meneses, a 49-year-old vinegar vendor who was crushed to death after a giant Acacia tree fell on his makeshift store at the height of the typhoon Wednesday morning.
Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Thursday said that many areas in the province have been cleared of debris while damages to crops, infrastructures and properties are still being assessed.
Alvarado said that the PDRRMO has initially reported that 76 houses in Sta. Maria and four houses in Plaridel were totally damaged by powerful winds.
He also said that 204 houses were partially damaged in some villages in the towns of Paombong, Hagonoy, Pulilan and Plaridel.
The PDRRMO also said that a total of 649 families from nine municipalities and in this capaital city were evacuated.
The coastal towns of Obando and Hagonoy experienced flooding due to high tide, but these incidents were not severe.
The typhoon also failed to replenish the dwindling water supply at the giant reservoir of Angat dam.
As of 12 noon Thursday, the water level at Angat dam only reached 165.64 meters, which is still way below its critical level of 180 meters and to its spilling level of 210 meters.
The water level at Ipo dam was 99.55 meters (spilling level is 101.00 meters) while the water level at Bustos was 17.34 meters (spilling level is 17.70). (PNA) 
LAP/zst/EGGamos/ps

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(Update) 2 killed, 2 others hurt in Central Luzon due to typhoon 'Glenda' - By Zorayda S. Tecson

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, July 16 (PNA) -- Two persons were killed while two others were injured as typhoon Glenda on Wednesday unleashed its fury in Central Luzon.
Based on the latest report from the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council-3 (RDRRMC-3), the fatalities were identified as Reynaldo Meneses Hernandez, 49, a resident from Barangay Tabang, Plaridel, Bulacan and Mario Paulo, 52, of Barangay Burgos, San Antonio, Zambales, who were both hit by fallen trees.
Those injured were Francis Patawaran of Limay, Bataan due to electrocution and a certain Cruz, also from Limay, Bataan, who was hit by a falling tree.
Both of them are now in stable condition after being given immediate treatment.
The RDRRMC also reported that there are 801 families or 3,164 individuals from the flood and landslide prone areas in the region who were brought to the various evacuation centers.
In Aurora, a total of 50 families or 195 persons from Barangays Ibuna and Aplaya in Dingalan town were transferred to safer areas.
In Zambales, 72 families or 315 individuals from the towns of Castillejos, Sta Cruz, Masinloc and San Marcelino were also brought to the various evacuation centers in the province.
In Pampanga, a total of 67 families or 187 persons from the landslide prone Barangay San Juan Bano, Arayat were evacuated to the clubhouse pavillion in the said town.
The Pampanga PDRRM also implemented forced evacuation to those residents living in the coastal towns such as Sasmuan, San Simon, Macabebe and Lubao due to storm surge threat.
In Bulacan, a total of 46 families or 198 persons in Barangay Salambao, Obando town were also brought to the evacuation center.
In Bataan, some 566 families or 2,269 individuals from the towns of Limay, Pilar, Orani, Samal, Mariveles and Balanga City are now in various evacuation centers.
"Aside from the pre-emptive evacuation implemented by the local officials and disaster councils in the region, forced evacuation were also enforced to ensure the safety of the residents," Josefina Timoteo, RDRRMC chairperson and Office of Civil Defense regional director, said.
The RDRRMC also reported that the water elevation in the major dams in Central Luzon is way below the spilling level despite the stormy weather.
Power interruption also hit some parts in the region due to the tripping off of some lines and feeders as caused by strong winds.
At present, the electric power supply in the provinces of Nueva Ecija, Tarlac and Aurora have already been restored. (PNA) 
LAM/ZST/ps

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Central Luzon braces for tropical storm 'Glenda'

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, July 14 (PNA) -- The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) on Monday alerted all provincial and municipal disaster councils in Central Luzon on the possible effects of tropical storm "Glenda" as it is seen to bring more rains in the region and nearby areas due to enhanced southwest monsoon.
Based on the latest weather bulletin issued by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the seven provinces in the region, namely Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Bataan, Zambales, and southern Aurora are now under signal No. 1.
Josefina Timoteo, chairperson of the RDRRMC and regional director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Region 3, said although the effects of "Glenda" have not yet been felt throughout the region, all concerned members of the disaster councils have been ordered to undertake precautionary measures and other disaster response activities.
Timoteo said the RDRRMC has already alerted the provincial disaster risk reduction and management council (PDRRMC) in the seven provinces in the region to implement preparedness measures.
She said rescue and emergency response teams are on standby as well as the pre-positioning of search-and-rescue equipment and personnel have already been put in place.
She also said that local government units (LGUs) in the region have prepared food supplies and disaster response equipment and teams in anticipation of evacuation and other emergencies.
”Local officials are conducting meetings to plan their response on the possible effects of tropical storm Glenda,” she said.
Likewise, Timoteo said the Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Division has also alerted its disaster response units (DRUs) in anticipation for the conduct of disaster rescue and relief operations at areas to be affected by the tropical storm.
Meanwhile, she asked the public to keep monitoring on the weather reports.
She also advised residents in the low-laying areas to voluntarily leave their houses prior to the issuance of evacuation operations.
”Although the residents along the riverbanks and coastal areas have been properly warned on the possible flooding, it is advisable if they would evacuate earlier and go to higher areas,” she added. (PNA) 
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Bulacan to hold media seminar on disaster preparedness

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 12 (PNA)--After enhancing the disaster response capabilities of town, city and village officials, the provincial government, through the Provincial Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Office (PDRRMO), is now set to conduct a “crash course” on how to report and dissiminate pertinent announcement for media practitioners and users of social media.
Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, who is also the concurrent chairman of the PDRRM Council and Regional Development Council (RDC) in Central Luzon, said that the provincial government will also distribute flyers containing information on how to cope with natural calamities and man-made disasters.
“We are now preparing informative and educational materials on what to do when disster struck and we will distribute it,” Alvarado said.
“Our constituents should know what to do and where to go every time there is a disaster," he added.
The governor said that media and users of the social network are vital in times of calamities and the fast way to disseminate important communications aand announcements.
The seminar will be held on Monday at the Hiyas convention center.
PDRRM executive officer Liz Mungcal said that the seminar is part of the disaster preparedness program of the provincial government.
The PDRRMO has already conducted seminars of map-hazards, trainings of various barangay, municipal and city emergency response teams. (PNA) 
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Bulacan to hold mobile passport service - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 9 (PNA) --The provincial government, in collaboration with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), will once again conduct a Mobile Passport Service to help Bulakenyos acquire passports in a more convenient and easy way.
Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the move is part of its continuous effort to bring services closer to the people.
"This project offers convenience to Bulakenyos allowing them to save time and money," Alvarado said.
Elizabeth Alonzo, head of the Provincial Youth, Sports, Employment, Arts, Culture & Tourism Office (PYSEACTO), said that passport applications and submission of the duly accomplished forms and all other requirements will run from August 1-15 this year.
The appearance and final evaluation by the representatives of DFA, on the other hand, will be at the Bulacan Capitol gymnasium on September 13 to process the passport applications, she said.
The release of passports will be announced at a later date, she added.
Alonzo also said that the project will be on a first come, first serve basis.
According to the DFA, new applicants need to submit birth certificate (BC) in security paper (SECPA) issued by National Statistics Office (NSO), two valid identification cards (photocopy) and NSO authenticated marriage contract for married women as requirements.
Moreover, applicants for renewal of passport are required to submit old passport, photocopy of the first, last & all pages with marks in the passport, and marriage contract (MC) in security paper (SECPA) issued by National Statistics Office (NSO) for newly married women. (PNA) 
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32,000 sacks of adulterated rice seized in Bulacan raid - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 7 (PNA) -- Government law enforcement units once again swooped down on a rice mill and warehouse owned by a Chinese businessman at the First Industrial Center in Barangay Tikay here over the weekend and seized some 32,000 sacks of adulterated imported rice
Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II said that the broken rice residue intended for animal feeds from Vietnam was being mixed with the Blue Diamond rice imported from Thailand and then repacked and being sold as “Golden Bee” Premium Sinadomeng rice.
Roxas, who was accompanied by Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, Vice Governor Daniel Fernando, Malolos City Mayor Christian D. Natividad and CIDG director Benjamin Magalong Jr., inspected on Monday the sprawling warehouse and showed to mediamen how the adulterated rice was being processed.
He said the owner of Purefeeds could face multiple violations of Philippine trade laws.
Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II said the raid was part of the government’s campaign to neutralize rice hoarders and unscrupulous rice traders.
Roxas also said that the discovery of the adulterated rice inside the warehouse of Purefeeds Corporation was the result of the National Food Authority’s (NFA) right to inspect rice mills and warehouses in coordination with the Philippine National Police -Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG).
He said the raid at the Purefeeds was the 18th operations conducted by the CIDG and NFA.
Of the 18 raids, he said only four was found to be engaged in illicit trading of rice.
"They have violations with the NFA, Bureau of Animal Industry, Bureau of Internal Revenue and even to the Bureau of Customs," Roxas said.
The DILG secretary said that operations of the said rice mill will be temporarily suspended.
He stressed that the government is making sure that Filipinos will eat safe rice and can buy quality grains at government-imposed price.
"We will not allow to prevail the illicit activities of some unscrupulous businessmen to the public. We will not stop in pursuing them and not let our citizens to eat such kind of rice," Roxas said.
Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina, Bulacan acting provincial director, said two trucks loaded with 450 sacks each of the adulterated rice was also held at the compound of the ricemill warehouse.
He said that NFA officials are investigating why the said trucks have the logo of NFA complete with licensed number.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue-Bulacan office is also investigating probable violations of Purefeeds Corporation.
Lawyer Sulpicio Agapon, BIR regional district officer, said that Purefeeds was registered with a business address in Sta. Cruz, Manila when it should also have registration to the Bulacan BIR office due to the large scope of their operations.
“I think they (owners) will have a problem with that too, aside from adulterating rice products with animal feeds,” Agapon said.
The owner of the rice mill identified as Jojo Suliman however, said that all their importation permits are legal and that their operations are legitimate.
He, however, acknowledged that they are not registered at the Bulacan BIR office.
But the evidence found inside their warehouse is enough for the raiding team to file appropriate charges against the owners of Purefeeds Corporation, according to Bulacan CIDG provincial officer Chief Inspector Reynaldo Magdalayo.
Governor Alvarado, for his part, said that the government is sincere in apprehending rice hoarders and unscrupulous traders.
He said that NFA rice should be sold at affordable prices and not be diverted.
Mayor Christian D. Natividad said that he suspects that this nefarious operation could have been going on for a long time and this kind of activity must be totally stopped.
This was the second raid conducted by the NFA-CIDG in Bulacan.
Last Thursday, the raiding team seized 5,000 sacks of rice containing rice grains from NFA that were switched to sacks of premium commercial rice at Jommaro rice mill in Barangay Abanagan Sur, Marilao town. (PNA) 
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Government confiscates 4,000 metric tons of NFA rice from private trading company

MANILA, July 6 (PNA) -- The government’s effort in battling overpricing, manipulation and cartel-like activities has led to the confiscation of an estimated 4,000 metric tons of rice, a Palace official said on Sunday.
Presidential Communication Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr., said the Philippine National Police – Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) has seized this much from three out of 12 warehouses they investigated.
“Tatlong bodega ang natagpuang may paglabag sa batas dahil hindi makapagpakita ng dokumento ang mga tinuring na rice traders at ang mga ito ay ipinadlock (padlock) na ng CIDG,” said Coloma in a press briefing over radio station dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.
“Ayon sa ulat ni NFA (National Food Authority) Administrator Arthur Juan, mula lamang sa tatlong bodega na siniyasat, may natagpuang 80,076 na bags ng bigas na kung tig-50 kilo ang laman, may kabuuang humigit-kumulang 4,000 metrikong toneladang bigas,” Coloma added.
In a similar development, Coloma said Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agriculture Modernization Secretary Francis Pangilinan reported that the Malolos Prosecutor’s Office has filed a case against a rice trading company.
The company was found violating Presidential Decree No. 4, for diversion of price and facing price manipulation charges under the Price Act, where they can face five to 15 years imprisonment.
Coloma also said NFA Administrator Juan reported that NFA-Bulacan Provincial Manager and NFA-Region III Director were both tasked to explain how NFA rice found its way to the hands of a private company when it should only be traded by cooperatives.
“Pinapatunayan lang nitong pagkilos ng ating pamahalaan na totoo ang hinala na meron talagang mga nagsasamantala at nagsasagawa ng mga paglabag sa batas na hoarding at pag-manipula ng presyo. Kaya ngayong nabulabog na sila, at nahulihan na ng konkretong ebidensya ang ilan sa kanila, at nasampahan na rin ng kaso ng ating pamahalaan, inaasahan nating luluwag na ang supply sa merkado,” said Coloma. (PNA)
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MMDA prepares for INC centennial celebration, President Aquino’s 5th SONA

MANILA, July 6 (PNA) -- The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has started preparing for two big events this month -- the centennial celebration of the religious group Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) on July 27 and the fifth State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno S. Aquino III on July 28.
According to MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino, President Aquino has formed a task force to oversee the centennial celebration of the religious group and the task force will also help instill order when the President delivers his SONA at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.
The MMDA chief was appointed by the President to head the Task Force Centenario.
The members of the Task Force include Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, Health Secretary Enrique Ona, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Alan Purisima, as well as the heads or representatives of the Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) and INC. 
Tolentino said the INC celebration is expected to be a big event since it will be attended by at least three million of its members around the world.
The celebration will be held at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Tolentino said an MMDA team headed by Neomie Recio of the Traffic Engineering Center will conduct an ocular inspection on Monday to adjust the traffic flow in the Bulacan area.
“Sa Lunes, may ocular inspection, kasama si Recio at babaybayin ang mga munisipyo ng Bulacan para maiayos ang daloy ng traffic,” Tolentino said. (PNA) 
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Thousands join Bocaue fluvial festival - By Emil G. Gamos

BOCAUE, Bulacan, July 6 (PNA)--The grandeur of an old tradition is back at the Bocaue river.
In a strong show of faith, thousands of people flocked to the Bocaue river here as they celebrated the feast day of the venerated “Mahal na Poon ng Krus sa Wawa” in a much safer and colorful fluvial rites on Sunday.
"It is colorful again and the devotion and love to the patron can be felt again," said newsman Ramon Lazaro, a native of this town.
He said that the nine straight nights of novena and prayers was completed without any untoward incident because of the good coordination of the organizers, the local parish of St. Martin of Tours, the police, local government units (LGUs) and the provincial government of Bulacan.
The Holy Cross of Wawa and the image of St. Martin of Tours were placed at the main altar of the three-tiered Pagoda, which has a loading capacity of more than 500 people.
Organizers, however, only allowed 150 to 200 people to ride the Pagoda and everyone was required to wear lifevest.
A more coordinated preparation focusing on safety and security was conducted and implemented in a bid to prevent a repeat of the tragedy where 300 people perished when the three-tiered overcrowded Pagoda tilted and sank in the murky waters of the river on the night of July 2, 1993—the penultimate night of the nine-day novena.
This time, the voyage of Pagoda ran smoothly, signaling a revival of the crowd drawing fluvial festival in Bocaue.
Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that the strong devotion of the people has rekindled the “leap of faith” and trust to God as well as the crowd-drawing fluvial festival, which, he said is just one among the many age-old traditions still being practiced and observed in Bulacan.
But this year, he said that peace keeping and emergency response units have properly coordinated with the organizers to ensure a peaceful and safe celebration of the feast day of the venerated Holy Cross of Wawa.
“It is joyful but you can feel the sacredness of the tradition and the fervent devotion of the people. And due to cooperation and deep devotion of the people, the colorful festival in this town of Bocause has been rekindled," Alvarado said.
The governor also said that since the old grandeur of the fluvial festival is once again revived, he said the town of Bocaue is now known for its crowd-drawing “Three Ps”—namely the Pagoda festival, the Pyrotechnic industry and the soon to be inaugurated Philippine Arena.
He said that several days before this year’s Pagoda sailed on the Bocaue river again, he met officials of the provincial police, representatives of the municipal government, fiesta organizers and members of the emergency response teams from the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council.
He said that the Bulacan Police Provincial Office headed by Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina has deployed additional police teams from the Provincial Public Safety Managemnt Company to augment local policemen to ensure order and safety of the people.
He also said that the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office headed by Liz Mungcal have also deployed two jet skis, ambulance and divers as part of safety-keeping force of the fluvial festival.
Divina said that some 200 bancas joined the procession of the Pagoda.
He said all bancas, including the Pagoda always undergo pre-inspection, before they were given the go signal to sail.
He also said that rescue and paramedics teams from the Provincial Government were backed up by members of the Riverine troops of the Philippine Army, divers from the coast guard and navy and volunteer rescue teams from various civic groups.
Divina also said that policemen are strictly checking every participants and did not allow anyone under the influence of liquor to board any bancas or the Pagoda itself.
“We were also strictly monitoring the participants if they have deadly weapons that might start violence. We also prohibited the throwing of water put in plastic which we used to be doing before," he said.
The Holy Cross of Wawa, a replica of the wooden cross on which the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, is set on a pagoda, which is paraded on the Bocaue river with several bancas, as well as devotees swimming alongside the colorful structure.
The festivities also include a nine-day novena, which celebrates the rescue of the Holy Cross of Wawa from the Bocaue River.
Legends also said that a woman was saved from drowning by a floating cross which is presumed to be the Holy Cross of Wawa.
Earlier Fr. Mar Evangelista, parochial vicar of the St. Martin of Tours Parish here, said that they have agreed to revive the fluvial rites after organizers convinced them of the safety measures that will be enforced to ensure public safety.
Fr. Evangelista said that to make the fiesta more lively on the feast day, 11 marching bands circled the 18 barangays of Bocaue. (PNA) 
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President Aquino creates task force for Iglesia ni Cristo centennial celebration

MANILA, July 4 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III has formed an interagency task force to maintain peace and order for the centennial anniversary celebration of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) on July 27 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
In a Memorandum Circular No. 66 issued on July 3, the President directed the creation of “Task Force Sentenaryo” headed by Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino which would be in charge of all actions and responses in connection with the event.
The task force is also composed of Secretaries of the Department of National Defense, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Health and Presidential Communications Operations Office.
Other members of the group are Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Chief of Philippine National Police, Chairman of Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, General Manager of Philippine Ports Authority, General Manager of Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Director of Toll Regulatory Board and a representative of Iglesia ni Cristo.
President Aquino said the task force may call upon any department, bureau, office, agency or instrumentality of the government, local government units, non-government organizations and the private sector for assistance.
The President on July 2 also issued Proclamation No. 815 “Declaring Year 2014 as Iglesia ni Cristo Centennial Year.”
Proclamation No. 815 was issued to enhance public awareness on the contributions of the INC to national development.
The same proclamation also directed the Postmaster General to cause the design, printing and issuance of a special postage stamp to commemorate the said event.
INC is the largest home-grown Christian church in the Philippines, with ministries in at least 102 countries. (PNA)
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Police kill 2 suspected motorcycle thieves in Bulacan shootout

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, July 3 (PNA) -- Two suspected motorcycle thieves were killed in Balagtas, Bulacan on Thursday as the Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3) intensified efforts against criminality in Central Luzon.
In a report reaching here, an armed encounter between the elements of the Balagtas Municipal Police Station and the three suspected thieves took place along Bypass Road, Borol 2nd, Balagtas, Bulacan.
Prior to the encounter, a female victim reported to police that her black Yamaha Mio with plate no. 3354 OG was forcibly taken from her at gunpoint by the unidentified suspects.
With this, the elements of Balagtas Municipal Police Station immediately chased the suspects who were spotted heading towards the Bypass road.
An exchange of gunfire ensued between the suspects and police which resulted in the instantaneous death of the two suspects while the other suspect managed to elude arrest.
One of the policemen was wounded and is now undergoing medical treatment.
The identities of the suspects are still being verified as the Bulacan Police Crime Laboratory Office conducted scene of the crime operations.
Police Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta, PRO-3 regional director, commended the operating troops for a job well done.
He also assured the public that PRO-3 will continue its campaign to eradicate all forms of criminality within the region. (PNA) 
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Update: Food security Czar Kiko Pangilinan orders law enforcers to step up crackdown against nefarious rice traders and hoarders - By Emil G. Gamos

MARILAO, Bulacan, July 3 (PNA)--National food security czar Sen. Francisco “Kiko” Pangilinan on Thursday called on law enforcement units to step-up their campaign against hoarders and unscrupulous rice traders following the arrest of 20 persons caught switching National Food Authority (NFA) rice into sacks of commercial rice.
Pangilinan, who arrived at around 2 p.m. Thursday at the Jomarro Star Rice Mill in Barangay Abangan Sur here, was briefed by Bulacan PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Team provincial officer Chief Inspector Reynaldo Magdaluyo that the owners of the rice mill and warehouse managed to elude arrest but they were able to nab a certain Juan San Luis, who was allegedly the rice mill manager and 20 workers switching the NFA well milled rice to sacks of commercial rice.
Magdaluyo also told Pangilinan that at least 5,000 sacks (50 kilos each) of NFA rice are being brought and switched inside the rice mill warehouse daily.
Pangilinan said that when computed the daily earnings of the rice miller could reached at least P6.7 million a day.
He said that a kilo of NFA well milled rice commands a market price of P25 to P27 pesos and when switched to sack of commercial rice it will be sold much higher to P47 up to P50 per kilo.
Pangilinan said that he has already instructed the Bulacan PNP-CIDT and the Marilao police headed by Senior Supt. Marcos Rivero to padlock the rice mill.
Police are also digging deeper into the possible involvement of a rice cartel.
"This is just one. There might be others involved in this nefarious activity. Thus, we ordered our police to intensify their campaign in order to avert this kind of scrupulous activity. We want to give our citizens good kind of rice at cheaper price but there are businessmen who arer taking advantage," he said.
Joint operatives of the Bulacan PNP-CIDT and the Marilao police station raided rice mill/ warehouse and arrested 20 persons repacking 100 sacks of NFA rice into the sack of commercial rice in Barangay Abangan Sur here on Thursday morning.
The PNP-CIDT agents led by Magdaluyo and Marilao policemen led by Supt. Marcos Rivero also intercepted two 10-wheeler trucks each loaded with 5,000 sacks of NFA rice inside the warehouse compound.
Rivero identified the owners of the warehouse as spouses Roberto and Regina Paulenco, who were not in the area when the raiding team swooped down.
Appropriate charges, ranging from violation of Price Regulation Act and economic sabotage are being readied against the couple, the manager and the 20 workers repacking the NFA rice into the sacks of commercial rice. (PNA) 
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Bulacan cops nab 20 persons switching NFA rice into sacks of commercial rice - By Emil G. Gamos

MARILAO, Bulacan, July 3 (PNA) -- Law enforcers on Thursday foiled a nefarious activity of a rice trader here engaged in the switching of government rice into commercial rice.
Joint operatives of the Bulacan PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Team and the Marilao police station raided a warehouse and arrested 20 persons repacking 100 sacks of National Food Authority (NFA) rice to be sold as commercial rice in Barangay Abangan Sur here.
Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina said that Bulacan PNP-CIDT agents led by Chief Inspector Reynaldo Magdaluyo and Marilao policemen led by Supt. Marcos Rivero also intercepted two 10-wheeler trucks each loaded with 5,000 sacks of NFA rice inside the warehouse compound.
Rivero identified the owners of the warehouse as spouses Roberto and Regina Paulenco, who were not in the area when the raiding team swooped down in the area.
Rivero also said that the raiding team arrested a certain Juan San Luis, who claimed to be the warehouse manager.
Divina said that appropriate charges, ranging from price regulation act and economic sabotage, are being readied against the couple, the manager and the 20 workers repacking the NFA rice into the sacks of commercial rice.
Upon learning of the incident, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado condemned the nefarious business practice, saying that government rice should not be altered and must be sold at affordable price to the public.
Alvarado also instructed the police to intensify their operations against rice hoarders.
"Those behind these nefarious activities should be held responsible. The objective of the government to provide enough supply of food and cheap rice to the citizens is nice. However, there are indeed unscrupulous businessmen. They should face the consequences of what they did," he said.
The governor also said that once the NFA rice was switched, it will be sold as commercial rice at a higher price. (PNA) 
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Bulacan conducts simultaneous “quake drills” - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 2 (PNA) -- With sirens blaring from all directions, occupants of the Bulacan Medical Center (BMC) here systematically rushed-out from the “shaking” building as firefighters and rescue teams started arriving during a simultaneous “earthquake drill” on Wednesday.
Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that the provincial government, through the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) , is constantly conducting drills to prepare personnel to properly respond to any given situation, including worse-type scenarios like a powerful earthquake.
“We cannot predict earthquakes but it is better to be ready than to be caught flatfooted. We are training our emergency response teams to be swift when such situation occurs. We are also training medical personnel what to do and how to evacuate patients,” Alvarado said.
The simultaneous “earthquake drill” kicked-off at exactly 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Dr. Protacio Badjao, BMC medical director, said that each floor of the three-story hospital has their own section chiefs that will “shepherd” them out of the building to a designated safe area within the hospital compound.
He said that hospital personnel have been debriefed on their tasking when emergency situation arises and know what agency to call.
Dr. Paul Camina, planning section chief of BMC emergency response team, said they are also assessing the response time in evacuating patients and people inside the hospital which caters to at least 2,000 patients every day.
"We are determining on how fast the firetrucks and other rescue units could arrive and as we saw, it is faster and there a system on how to coordinate with the hospital officials," Camina said.
PDRRM executive officer Liz Mungcal said similar drills are also being conducted in crowded areas like schools, malls and other places of convergence.
She added that rescue teams from the province’s 21 towns and cities are also undergoing trainings on the use of modern equipment in saving lives in times of emergencies. (PNA) 
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Bulacan joins National Disaster Consciousness Month

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 1 (PNA) -- The provincial government has joined the nation in the observance of the National Disaster Consciousness Month this July that would promote public awareness on natural hazards and disseminate information on the steps to be undertaken to mitigate the adverse effects of calamities.
With this year’s theme “Kahandaan at Kaligtasan ng Pamayanan, Pundasyon ng Kaunlaran”, the kick-off activity was held during the Monday's flag raising ceremony where the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) distributed 100 whistles to provincial capitol employees.
“The province has always been doing efforts to heighten the province’s awareness and the need to implement mitigation measures. Proper steps on how to deal calamities should be in place because of its direct connection with the planned development in the province," Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado said.
As part of its efforts to strengthen preparedness and response, the provincial government has lined up various activities that include the month-long distribution of IEC materials and the implementation of the “Ang Bote Mo Kaligtasan Ko, Buong Taon Na Ito” program.
On Wednesday, there will be an earthquake drill at the Bulacan Medical Center.
There are also training on first aid/CPR on July 2 to 4 and water safety and fire suppression on July 7-9 at Malolos Resort Club Royale.
Likewise, a 10-day first aid and /BLS-CPR refresher course are set on July 10-11, 14-19, 21-22 at the Bulacan provincial capitol gymnasium.
Other activities are the 11th Central Luzon First Aid and Basic Life Support Olympics on July 23-24 at Malolos Convention Center; Multi Hazards Maps Information, Education and Information Campaign in 569 barangays on July 7 at the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center and July 14-15 at 8 Waves Waterpark in San Rafael, Bulacan.
An ambulance management training will also be held on July 28-29 at Balagtas Hall, HBCC in Malolos while the much-awaited 4th Bulacan Rescuelympics is scheduled on July 31 at the Bulacan Sports Complex and Capitol Gymnasium.
“We know that disasters, when they occur, hit the poorest and the most vulnerable the hardest. And while we cannot fully control the occurrence and the impact of disasters, the provincial government has already focused on improving its capacity to respond to disasters and public health emergencies by making a concrete disaster contingency planning in anticipation to diverse set of threats due to disasters and crises of all magnitude” the governor added. (PNA) 
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Bocaue Pagoda organizers ensure public safety, say 1993 tragedy will never happen again - By Emil G. Gamos

BOCAUE, Bulacan, June 29 (PNA) –“No lifevest, no ride!”
Authorities and organizers of the Bocaue fluvial festival in honor of the venerated “Mahal na Poon ng Krus sa Wawa” are strictly implementing safety measures on the “voyage” of the “Pagoda” on the Bocaue river to avoid a repeat of the July 2, 1993 Bocaue Pagoda tragedy where 300 people died.
Ruben Mercado, president of this year’s fiesta committee, said a prominent daily newspaper has donated 250 lifevest for the fluvial rites that they revived 21 years after the overcrowded Pagoda tilted and sank in the murky waters of the Bocaue river on the penultimate night of the nine-day Novena.
“Everyone who will board the Pagoda is being provided with a lifevest. Aside from this, various rescue teams, including well trained divers, are also circling the river to ensure public safety,” Mercado said.
He said that the new pagoda has a capacity to carry at least 300 people but they were only allowing 150 people to board the boat carrying the altar of the Holy Cross of Wawa.
The nine-day novena is now on its 3rd night and so far, the river voyage of the Pagoda is going smoothly, Mercado added.
He thanked provincial and municipal officials for helping them revive an old tradition in honor of the venerated “Mahal na Poon ng Krus sa Wawa”.
Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that the people of Bocaue has moved on and it only shows that their faith to God has become more stronger.
The governor also said that rescue and medical teams from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office have been deployed and will provide assistance until the fluvial festival is over.
Alvarado added that the Bulacan police under Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina have also deployed maneuver platoons from the Provincial Public Safety Company to ensure security during the festival.
Earlie, Fr. Mar Evangelista, parochial vicar of the St. Martin of Tours Parish here, said that they have agreed to revive the fluvial rites after organizers convinced them of the safety measures that will be enforced to ensure public safety.
The Holy Cross of Wawa, which is a replica of the wooden cross on which the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, is set on a pagoda, which is paraded on the Bocaue river with several bancas, as well as devotees swimming alongside the colorful structure.
The festivities also include a nine-day novena, which celebrates the rescue of the Holy Cross of Wawa from the Bocaue River.
Legends also said that a woman was saved from drowning by a floating cross which is presumed to be the Holy Cross of Wawa.
Fr. Evangelista said that there is now a growing clamor among multi-sectoral groups and the local government to resurrect the old grandeur of the fluvial rites prior to the tragedy where 300 people perished when the three-tiered overcrowded Pagoda tilted and sank in the murky waters of the river on the night of July 2, 1993—the penultimate night of the nine-day novena.
He said that to make the fiesta more lively on the feast day—first Saturday and Sunday of July—11 marching bands will circle the 18 barangays of Bocaue town. (PNA) 
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Bocaue fluvial festival sets maiden 'voyage' Friday

BOCAUE , Bulacan, June 27 (PNA) -- After 21 years, the stigma of the Pagoda tragedy still lingers but the “leap of faith” and adoration of the people here on the venerated “Mahal na Poon ng Krus sa Wawa” have never wavered and continue to grow stronger.
And while the century old fluvial rites is slowly reemerging in past several years, the Catholic church here wants to maintain the solemnity of the tradition and at the same time revive its old glory.
Fr. Mar Evangelista, parochial vicar of the St. Martin of Tours Parish here, said that the nine days novena is still being observed and the the venerated Cross is still being paraded.
The Holy Cross of Wawa, which is a replica of the wooden cross on which the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, is set on a pagoda, which is paraded on the Bocaue river with several bancas, as well as devotees swimming alongside the colorful structure.
The festivities also include a nine-day novena, which celebrates the rescue of the Holy Cross of Wawa from the Bocaue river.
Legends also said that a woman was saved from drowning by a floating cross which is presumed to be the Holy Cross of Wawa.
Evangelista said that there is now a growing clamor among multi-sectoral groups and the local government to resurrect the old grandeur of the fluvial rites prior to the tragedy where 300 people perished when the three-tiered overcrowded Pagoda tilted and sank in the murky waters of the river on the night of July 2, 1993, the penultimate night of the nine-day novena.
He said that to make the fiesta more lively on the feast day, first Saturday and Sunday of July, 11 marching bands will circle the 18 barangays of Bocaue.
Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the provincial government is actively supporting the preservation and promotion of old traditions in Bulacan.
He said that there are many festivals in the province but many have learned from the tragedy and they are making sure that it will never happen again by deploying additional well-trained emergency response and rescue teams.
“Like in Bocaue, there are also fluvial rites in Calumpit known as “Ligiran”. We saw the faith to God of our townmates are continuously getting stronger. Even though there was a Pagoda tragedy that happened in Bocaue, the festivity is continuously being observed and the patron saint is still being paraded, a tradition that testifies the strong faith of our constituents to our Lord," the governor said.
He said the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office headed by executive officer Liz Mungcal has already briefed rescue teams and will be deployed on the different parts of the river to ensure that the fluvial festival will be safe.
Alvarado also instructed Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina to augment the Bocaue police and ensure public safety.
Meanwhile, newsman Ramon Efren Lazaro, a Bocaue resident, said that preparations are being done to make the first “voyage” of the Pagoda on Friday night safe.
“The security and safety of the devotees are strictly being monitored. They will no longer allow too many devotees to get into the pagoda. There will be limits. However, the pagoda will still go around the river," he said.
He said that a “Save the Bocaue River” campaign will also be launched to clean the river and save it from getting severely polluted. (PNA) 
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Earthquake prompts new call for rehab of aging Angat dam  By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 26 (PNA) -- The magnitude 5.7 earthquake that jolted Batangas and nearby provinces, including parts of Bulacan Wednesday night, has once again prompted provincial leaders here to urge the national government to immediately start the repair and strengthening of the 46-year-old Angat dam in the mountains of Norzagaray town.
Experts said that the Angat dam is sitting along the West Valley fault line and could collapse if jolted by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake.
Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado reiterated the call during the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Summit held on Thursday at the Hiyas Pavilion here.
Alvarado said an earthquake is different from other equally devastating natural disasters.
“It comes like a thief in the night, without warning and cannot be predicted unlike typhoons. The magnitude 5.7 earthquake that jolted many parts of Luzon, including some areas in Bulacan might be a wake–up call to make our national leaders realize that as days pass by, the aging Angat dam is becoming a ticking time and a virtual ‘sword of Damocles,” the governor said.
He said the dam has a life span of 50 years and was built in a period when modern technology was only starting to grow.
The repair of the dam has been approved by President Benigno Aquino III, who allocated P5.7 billion for the structure's repair and strengthening.
The rehabilitation got stalled, however, after the Supreme Court declared as “constitutional” the bid of a Korean firm (K-Water) to operate the 46-year-old dam with a Filipino company controlling the majority shares.
Under its contract with the Philippine government, K-Water should shoulder the repair and rehabilitation of the dam but until now it has yet to happen.
Alvarado said that the provincial government through the PDRRMO is regularly conducting drills, seminars and massive information drive on disaster control awareness.
“A little preparation is better than no preparation at all,” he said.
During the Provincial DRMM Summit, experts and resource speakers from Project Noah, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (NDRRMO) and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) briefed participants from various emergency rescue teams and the municipal and city DRRMO on gaining resiliency through mitigative measures and the Yolanda experience.
The summit was attended by Vice Governor Daniel Fernando, OCD-3 regional director and Central Luzon DRRMC Chair Josefina Timoteo and Bulacan DRRM executive officer Liz Mungcal. (PNA) 
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Bulacan cops commended for capture of fugitive

BALIWAG, Bulacan, June 23 (PNA) -- Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Monday commended the Bulacan Police Provincial Office for capturing an armed and dangerous fugitive as he reiterated his call for the police and other peacekeeping forces to step up the war against criminal gangs and lawless elements.
The governor said that Bulacan is now on the threshold of becoming the booming growth center in the region and that criminal elements has no place in the province except behind bars.
Last Friday night, police operatives swooped down on a house in Barangay Concepcion in this town and arrested a man wanted for murder and several cases of heinous crimes.
Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand O. Divina identified the arrested felon as Edilberto Santos, 47, married and a resident of Barangay Sulivan, Baliwag town.
The accused is isted as the no. 1 Most Wanted Person in Baliwag and also as the no. 10 Most Wanted Person in the province.
Divina said that Santos was arrested by joint operatives of the Baliwag police station headed by Supt. Enrico Vargas and the Regional Intelligence Unit at a house in the said barangay.
He said the police team served two warrants of arrest against the suspect, one for murder and one for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
Santos was turned over to the court and is now detained at the Bulacan provincial jail. (PNA) 
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PNP steps up monitoring of sales of explosives, ingredients

GUIGUINTO, Bulacan, June 14 (PNA) -- The Explosive and Management Division of the Firearms and Explosive Office (EMD-FEO) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) has stepped up its monitoring and accounting of explosives and explosives ingredients in every region of the country to ensure that they do end up into the wrong hands.

Senior Supt. John C. Bulalacao, chief of the EMD-FEO, said that the move was in accordance with the directive of PNP Civil Security Group Director Melito M. Mabilin to ensure that the procurement of explosives and its ingredients are properly accounted and that no laws are being violated by legitimate end users, particularly those engaged in the fireworks and pyrotechnics industry.

In a letter addressed to Lea Alapide, acting president of the Philippines Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association Inc (PPMDAI), Bulalacao said that the accounting of explosives and its ingredients was prompted by series of reports that dealers and purchasers are colluding with alleged personnel of the explosive division in some regions to violate certain provisions of pertinent laws.

He said that during one of their inspections of explosives storage facility in Central Luzon, they found out that an applicant to purchase explosive ingredients still uses a non-existing project or project that was already completed as purpose for their request.

“We are investigating the possible involvement of some police personnel. Since the dealers and purchasers are in collusion with them, they have arbitrarily endorsed the request, unmindful of the possible consequences,” Bulalacao said.

To avoid the occurrence of these procedure, Bulalacao said they are requiring manufacturers and dealers of pyrotechnics to set aside copy of all receipts of delivery of explosive ingredients from their dealer and submit them to the office of the EMD-FEO not later than June 30, 2014 and every 5th day of the following months.

He said that this will help the EMD-FEO to strictly monitor and account the movement and sales of explosives and its ingredients and their end-users.

In response, PPMDAI chairman emeritus Celso C. Cruz said that they will help the EMD-FEO by disseminating the procedures to all manufacturers and dealers of pyrotechnics in the country to ensure that all their members are complying with the new Implementing Rules and Regulations being enforced by the PNP. (PNA) 
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Fire destroys Bulacan school for boys founded by 'Papal Knight'

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 13 (PNA) -- A prominent Catholic school for boys beside the historic Basilica Minore (Malolos Cathedral) here founded by a ”Papal Knight” was gutted by a big fire that broke out amid heavy downpour early Friday morning.

Firefighters from all over the province helped put out the fire at the Immaculate Concepcion School for Boys (formerly Immaculata Academy) which began around 3 a.m. and spread rapidly, the Malolos City police said in a report.

As of 7 a.m., firefighters were exerting efforts to prevent the fire from spreading to the adjacent Malolos Cathedral, which served as the Palacio Presidential of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo after he was inaugurated as President of the First Philippine Republic on January 23, 1899.

Initial reports said that the big fire has razed to the ground the old building of Immaculada Academy that used to host the Chapel of German nuns known as the “Holy Spirit Sisters”.

Also destroyed were the school library, auditorium and the high school department classrooms.

Several vehicles serving as school transport service were also burned, police said.

Police and arson probers are still investigating the early morning fire that gutted one of the prestigious Catholic Church-run private schools in this historic city.

Residents said that they were awakened by the peeling of old bells which made some think that a Holy Mass will soon start at the Basilica Minore.

However, thick smokes and raging fire greeted early risers within the vicinity of the historic church.

The Immaculate Concepcion School for Boys was founded by Archbishop Cirilo Almario and founding-school principal Rodolfo Bagay in 1989 before it was transformed into an exclusive school for boys.

Like the Don Bosco school, the institution was formerly known as the Immaculata Academy, which was transferred in Barangay Sta. Isabel and renamed “Holy Spirit Academy.”

Bagay was conferred a “Papal Knight” (Order of St. Silvester) by then and now St. Pope John Paul II in 1987. (PNA) 
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President Aquino leads commemoration of 116th Philippine Independence Day

NAGA CITY, Camarines Sur, June 12 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday led the flag-raising and wreath-laying rites held at the Plaza Quince Martires in this province to commemorate the 116th Philippine Independence Day.

Plaza Quince Martires was chosen by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), with the President’s approval, as the venue for this year’s Independence Day celebration to honor the 15 Martyrs of Bicol whose travails helped ignite the revolution in 1896.

Taking off from the Independence Day theme of “Pagsunod sa Yapak ng mga Dakilang Pilipino, Tungo sa Malawakan at Permanenteng Pagbabago," President Aquino paid tribute to the country’s martyred heroes, who sacrificed their lives to free the Filipinos from the oppression of Spanish conquerors, leading to the proclamation of the country’s independence and the declaration of the First Philippine Republic.

“Ngayong Araw ng Kalayaan, sama-sama po tayong nagbibigay-pugay sa mga bayaning ipinaglaban ang tama. Gamitin natin silang inspirasyon sa patuloy nating paglalakbay sa daang matuwid,” President Aquino said before hundreds of Nagueños who gathered at the plaza.

“Isapuso natin ang iniwan nilang aral: ang malasakit sa ating kapwa ang maghahatid sa atin sa mga inaasam natin bilang isang lahi. Sa ganitong paraan lamang po natin masasabing tunay tayong karapat-dapat sa kanilang mga sakripisyo; sa ganitong paraan lamang po natin maitataguyod ang isang Pilipinas na ganap na makatarungan at malaya.”

President Aquino was joined by NHCP chairperson Maria Serena Diokno, Naga City Mayor John Bongat, Camarines Sur Representative Maria Leonor Robredo, National Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Emmanuel Bautista, and other local and military officials during his activities here.

Representative Robredo, for her part, thanked President Aquino for choosing to be in Naga City to celebrate this year’s Independence Day and for acknowledging the sacrifices rendered by their forefathers.

“Ikinagagalak po namin, Mahal naming Pangulo, ang inyong kapasiyahan na dito sa aming lungsod ipagdiwang ang 116 na araw ng kasarinlan. Ikinalulugod po namin na matapos ang mahabang panahon, nabigyan din ng kaukulang pagpapahalaga ang mga pamana at papel na ginampanan ng mga tinitingala naming mga bayani. Mula ngayon, hindi na lamang sila mga martir ng Bicol, mga bayani rin sila ng buong Pilipinas,” she said in her message.

Apart from the flag-raising and wreath-laying rites in Camarines Sur, other Independence Day-related activities were simultaneously held at the Rizal Park in Manila, Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine in Cavite, Barasoain Church in Bulacan, Pinaglabanan Memorial Shrine in San Juan City, Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan City, Mausoleo de los Veteranos de la Revolucion at the North Cemetery in Manila, and the Pamintuan House in Angeles City.

President Aquino was also slated to meet with members of the diplomatic community for the traditional Vin d’Honneur at Malacañang Palace to celebrate the occasion. (PNA)
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Police save wounded kidnap victim in Bulacan

CITY OF SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, Bulacan, June 11 (PNA) -- Quick response of the police has saved a wounded kidnap victim here who, together with his brother in-law, were abducted and intended to be executed by their abductors Monday afternoon, a belated police report said.

One of the two kidnap victims survived while the other died on the spot when six suspected members of a kidnap-for ransom gang brought them in Barangay Kaypian here and repeatedly shot them.

Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand O. Divina identified the survivor as Noah Corpuz, 36 , married, jobless, native of Baguio City and presently residing at Block 14, Lot 12, Barangay Sta Cruz II, Dasmariñas, Cavite.

He sustained a gunshot wound on the back of his body when found by responding policemen.

His brother–in-law who was identified as Edwin Orsal died on the spot due to multiple gunshot wounds.

Divina said that, earlier, elements of Police COMPAC 1 Of the San Jose del Monte City police station received a telephone call coming from Patrol 117 stating that a robbery hold-up transpired in Kaypian Road, Barangay Kaypian, City of San Jose del Monte.

Immediately, upon receipt of the information, Divina said that elements of COMPAC 1 were dispatched to validate the report.

Upon reaching the place of occurrence, instead of a robbery hold-up incident, they saw the wounded Corpuz who was rushed to the district hospital for treatment.

Initial investigation based on an interview conducted on Corpuz revealed that he and his brother-in-law Orsal were abducted by the unidentified suspects last June 2 in Dasmarinas, Cavite.

This, after the suspects pretended as customer and rented the L-300 van owned by Corpuz.

The victim also told police investigators that on the night of June 9, the suspects blindfolded them and loaded them in a taxi cab and brought to Barangay Kaypian, City of San Jose Del Monte where they were shot several times by the suspects with the use of a shotgun and .38-caliber revolver.

Corpuz, who sustained five gunshot wounds at the back of the body, managed to ran away while his brother-in-law died on the spot.

A SOCO team from the Bulacan Provincial Office led by Chief Inspector Gina Ledesma recovered from the crime scene a spent cartridge of a 12-gauge shotgun.

Divina said they have already coordinated with the Cavite police on the incident.

He said that further investigation and follow-up is presently being conducted.

He added the survivor revealed there was ransom demanded. (PNA) 
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Bulacan ready for school opening on Monday 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 1 (PNA) --Its all systems go for the opening of classes in this province as schools are now spic and span and smiling policemen are ready to secure the various schools to ensure safety of students and teachers during the school opening on Monday.

Provincial officials headed by Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado made last minute inspections of school campuses in the province to ensure that everything is in order as students troops back to school.

Alvarado said that public schools in the 21 towns and three cities of Bulacan have already been spruced-up for the Monday's opening of classes.

He also said that the Bulacan Police Provincial Office under acting provincial director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina has deployed maneuver platoons from the Provincial Public Safety Company to augment police assistance centers that were set up in various schools.

He said that Divina has also instructed the policemen to always be respectful and smiling.

“First impression lasts. That is why we wanted our new batch of school kids as well as all students to start their classes on a good note. Teams have already been deployed to provide security and assistance to students, teachers and parents,” Alvarado said.

The governor also commended students, teachers, parents and community leaders for rekindling the Filipino virtue of “Bayanihan” during the recently concluded “Brigada Eskwela”.

Alvarado said that 457 public elementary schools and 85 secondary schools have already been spruced and are now ready for the school opening.

Teachers and students along the so-called University Belt in this city also thanked the governor and his wife Bulacan 1st District Rep. Ma Victoria R. Sy-Alvarado for the pedestrian overpass along the busy Macarthur highway, partuclarly those located at the Bulacan State University and at the junction in Barangay Dakila where several public and private schools are located.

They said that the pedestrian overpass will help prevent accidents from now on and ensure the safety of many students who have to cross the busy MacArthur highway. (PNA) 
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Former Baliwag mayor offers P.5M for whereabouts of kidnapped bodyguard 
By Emil G. Gamos

BALIWAG, Bulacan, May 31 (PNA)--Former town mayor Romy Estrella on Saturday announced that he is offering half million pesos for anyone who could provide information on the whereabouts of his close-in security Joselito Hizon.

Hizon was forcibly taken at gunpoint by a group of heavily armed men wearing military uniforms that stormed the Crystal Lodge in Barangay Bagong Nayon here Thursday afternoon.

In a live radio interview during the Saturday morning program of broadcaster Rommel Ramos, Estrella said he and his family are keeping a prayer vigil hoping that Hizon, whom they fondly called “Nitoy”, will return safe.

Hizon and Estrella were having a coffee break at the former mayor’s office at the Crystal Lodge together with former provincial board member Enrique Viudez and Ruben Delfoso last Thursday afternoon when a group of heavily armed men arrived at the said lodge.

Estrella said the men told the lodge’s staff that they are looking for the owner—who happens to be the ex-mayor—and that nobody would be harmed.

A secretary of the mayor immediately informed the mayor and told him to hide.

Estrella said he was able to hide at a nearby room before the armed men barged inside his office where they hogtied Viudez and Defoso.

Initial police reports said that the suspects took cash and jewelries before taking at gunpoint Hizon.

Estrella said that when he managed to hide, he was able to call the town’s police station and informed a duty policeman that armed men have stormed his office and need immediate police assistance.

The former mayor, however, said that a police team arrived an hour after the suspects have fled.

Police said that the incident was a case of robbery hold-up but the former mayor insisted that it is politically motivated because the men were looking for him and they could have taken him instead of his security aide if he was not able to hide.

"I am their target because recall petition was already been filed against the incumbent mayor because of lost of confidence, worsening peace and order condition and abuse of authority," Estrella said.

Before the incident at Crystal Lodge, Sonia Estrella, wife of the former-mayor, filed a recall petition at the local Comelec's office Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado instructed Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina to speed up their investigation and double their efforts to locate and save Hizon.

He also told Divina to investigate the slow response of the Baliwag police even if they were already informed of a serious situation that requires immediate police assistance. (PNA) 
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PRO-3 requires personnel manning checkpoints to wear reflectorized straps/vests

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, May 27 (PNA) -- The Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3) has required police personnel manning checkpoints to wear reflectorized straps/vests.

Chief Superintendent Raul Petrasanta, PRO regional director, issued the order so as to avoid similar vehicular accident that killed Police Officer 1 Mark Stewart Martinez.

Martinez, 28, a member of Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB3), was overran by a dumptruck along Quirino highway in Barangay Maharlika, City of San Jose Del Monte, over the weekend.

The victim was crossing the highway when he was overran by Hyundia dump truck (UQY-774) being driven by Reany Acob, 33, a resident of Barangay Sta. Lucia, Angat, Bulacan.

The victim was taken to Sapang Palay Medical District hospital but expired while undergoing medical treatment.

The driver of the dump truck was arrested by San Jose Del Monte Police Station.

Senior Superintendent Manuel Gaerlan, deputy regional director for operations, said Martinez was performing his duty as sentinel in Anti-Hijacking Control Point when accidentally overran by the speeding dumptruck loaded with coal.

“All PNP personnel manning checkpoints and anti-hijacking checkpoints especially those wearing camouflage uniform shall wear reflectorized straps/vests when on duty on the streets doing nighttime to avoid accidents,” Gaerlan said. (PNA) 
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Bulacan guv urges Central Luzon PNP to step-up drive vs. crime 
By Emil G. Ramos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, May 27 (PNA) --Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Tuesday urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) Region 3 to step up and strengthen its campaign against criminal gangs and lawless elements.

Alvarado, chairman of the Regional Peace Advisory Council (RAC), said it is evident that public security and maintenance of peace and order is one of the vital concerns of society and a booming region like Central Luzon.

He said combating crime and law offenders are both the concerns of the police, military and the local government units (LGUs).

“It is part of our duties to work hard and be aggressive in fulfilling the reform agenda and the fight against criminalities in the region," Alvarado said.

Meanwhile, police regional director Chief Supt. Raul Delfin Pentrasanta lauded Alvarado for the support and cooperation of RAC in the implementation of Integrated Transformation Program-Performance Governance System that aims to make good governance a shared responsibility between the PNP and the stakeholders.

RAC is composed of prominent personalities in Central Luzon with a common goal to further sustain and improve the PNP peace and order agenda with deeper commitment in curbing criminality in the region.

“If we do work toward the realization of this hope and find ways that may transform the way we understand others, we can achieve peace as it is the first necessity of human progress,” the governor said.

Alvarado also cited the efforts of newly installed Bulacan police acting provincial director Senior Supt. Ferdinand Divina in increasing police presence as well as improving the quick response of police teams in assisting the public.

“I also told Col. Divina to solve unsolved cases and step up their campaign against criminal gangs and lawless elements,” the governor told members of the local press here. (PNA) 
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Calumpit bridge collapse a 'blessing'

CALUMPIT, Bulacan, May 24 (PNA) -- A regional official of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Central Luzon on Saturday described the collapse of the Calumpit bridge Friday noon along MacArthur Highway in Barangay Gatbuca here where two workers were injured as a “blessing and a favor.”

Engineer Jess Obordo of DPWH-Region 3 said in a live radio interview wit broadcaster Rommel Ramos that the collapse of the mid-section of the old Calumpit bridge is a big favor that will hasten the pace of work.

Obordo explained that the bridge collapsed when they were begging to demolish the old structure to pave the way for the launching of the girder or base support for the new bridge.

“The construction firm is now demolishing the old structure. It just happened that it collapsed, thus saving us many days to hasten the removal of the steel trusts,” he said.

He also said that they already knew that the section of the bridge will soon fall and that workers are already demolishing it when it collapsed Friday noon.

Two workers identified by the police as Jerry David and Robert Baydelbaid sustained injuries and were immediately rescued and brought to the nearby Sta. Cruz hospital for treatment.

"That's why there was a crane operating there when the bridge collapsed because they were demolishing the old structure. The crane operator got scared and jumped, causing him to get a sprain," Obordo said.

Asked if DPWH will give sanction or investigate the construction company, Obordo said "no because the collapse of the bridge is expected."

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, on the other hand, said that the bridge -- like the public -- has also became impatient and decided to fall by itself.

The governor, together with town mayor Jessie de Jesus asked DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson to strictly implement safety measures at the construction site to prevent accidents from happening again.

They also asked DPWH to speed up the pace of construction of the new bridge and the strengthening of the temporary bridge before the onset of the rainy season.

The bridge, which links northern part of Bulacan to Apalit, Pampanga, was scheduled to be finished last April but was delayed after engineers found old structures under the river and has to be bored for its support base. (PNA) 
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Calumpit Bridge collapses, 2 workers hurt 
By Emil G. Gamos

CALUMPIT, Bulacan, May 23 (PNA) -- Two workers were injured when the middle portion of the old Calumpit bridge which is under construction collapsed before Friday noon.

The incident happened around 10:30 a.m. Friday while construction was going on at the bridge. Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson recently ordered to expedite works on the bridge due to long delay.

Police identified the injured as Robert Baydelbaid, 30, crane operator and Jerry David, 40, construction worker.

Police said the two victims were working on the middle portion of the bridge when it suddenly collapsed.

They were immediately rescued by the teams from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and the Calumpit Emergency Rescue Unit and brought to the nearby Sta. Cruz Hospital here.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Calumpit Mayor Jessie de Jesus immediately went to the site and talked with construction engineers and Provincial Engineer Glen Reyes and discussed measures to prevent accidents from happening again.

The two local officials also appealed to the DPWH to fast track the construction before the onset of the rainy season.

“The general welfare and safety of the public and the workers must be given priority consideration. The construction company must strictly implement safety measures to ensure that nobody will get hurt while the construction of the new bridge is being done,” Alvarado said.

The governor also said that Mayor de Jesus has deployed village watchmen in both ends of the bridge to ensure public safety 24 hours a day.

He also said that teams from the municipal government are no longer allowing fishing boats to pass under the bridge while construction is going on.

He also called on the regional office of DPWH to speed the construction of the temporary bridge where thousands of people cross everyday.

“The people can no longer bear the inconvenience caused by its delay. Everyday, thousands of people has to cross the river over a hanging bridge, which is now alarmingly becoming a disaster waiting to happen because its wear and tear has now become imminent. The delay has affected businesses and has already cost too much to the economy of the affected towns,” the governor said.

The bridge links the northern villages of Calumpit and provinces in Central and Northern Luzon to Malolos City and Metro Manila.(PNA) 
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'Brigada Eskwela' rekindles 'Bayanihan' spirit in Bulacan - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, May 19 (PNA)--The Filipino virtue known as “Bayanihan” was rekindled in school campuses all over the province on Monday morning.

Armed with brooms, mops, water pails and grass cutters, teachers, students and parents were joined by provincial officials community leaders as they trekked back to school campuses in this province as part of the nationwide repair and cleaning of schools known as “Brigada Eskwela.”

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said “Brigada Eskwela” does not only make school campuses spic and span for the school opening but also instill to the students the spirit of “bayanihan” or working together for a good cause.

“A clean school will give students an environment that will enhance their studies as they seek knowledge for better future. It is nice to see that all are helping one another to ensure that schools are clean and safe for students this coming school opening," Alvarado said.

At the same time, the governor said that the concerted effort of students, teachers, parents and community leaders is also very helpful in destroying the habitat of disease carrying mosquitoes and prevent germs that may cause sickness from spreading.

“In spite of the hot weather, it is indeed very inspiring to see our people working together to repair and clean our schools. This is a labor of love for our children and their good future,” he said.

The “Brigada Eskwela” program also brings to young students the values of unified efforts and instilling to them at an early age they have important roles in protecting the environment, he said.

Alvarado also said that providing quality education is among his administration’s seven-point agenda.

He said that at present the province of Bulacan has now zero back log in the construction of classrooms in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd).

Education officials have earlier hailed Alvarado for consistently supporting the government’s goal of creating more educational facilities and providing quality education for the young people of Bulacan.

Since he assumed post as governor, Alvarado and the provincial government in partnership with DepEd has already built 900 classrooms all over Bulacan.

Meanwhile, the DepEd has issued a list of things people can do to help make schools clean and safe in time for the opening of classes.

These are to coordinate with DepEd division; identify and communicate support that will be provided to schools; secure a copy of school preparedness checklist; signify interest to assist school during preparation for class opening; participate in school preparatory meetings for Brigada Eskwela; attend disaster risk reduction and management orientation; assist in the conduct of risk profiling and support the school preparedness strategies. (PNA) 
FPV/zst/EGG/ps

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Guv orders new Bulacan PNP OIC to step up war vs. crime - By Emil E. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, May 17 (PNA)--Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Saturday reiterated his marching order to the new officer-in-charge of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office (BPPO) to increase police presence and intensify its crackdown against criminal elements.

Alvarado also told Senior Supt. Ferdinand O. Divina to review and solve previous cases and prevent crimes from happening.

The governor said that Divina is a hardworking police officer and a competent partner in the maintenance of peace and order in the province.

“The province of Bulacan is now booming. While we, at the provincial government, are creating an environment conducive to business investments, we are also creating an environment not conducive to criminals and other lawless elements. Those lawless elements are not welcome in Bulacan, the only place for them here is behind bars,” Alvarado said.

Divina called Friday his first command conference at the provincial headquarters at Camp Gen. Alejo Santos here.

It was attended by Supt. Rolando Santos, Deputy Provincial Director for Operation (DPDO) and Supt. Jesus Reyes, Deputy Provincial Director for Administration (DPDA).

Also present in the command conference were the Bulacan PPO Command Group, Provincial Staff, Provincial Public Safety Company, PO Support Units and all chiefs of police (COPs) in the different towns and cities of Bulacan.

The COPs from San Jose Del Monte (SJDM) City Supt. Joel Estaris; Malolos City PNP Supt. Donato Bait and Doña Remedios Trinidad (DRT) Chief Inspector Manuel de Vera presented brief descriptions of their area of responsibility (AOR) crime situation and deployment for crime solution.

Preparations for the upcoming World Economic Forum (WEF) in May and Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) Centennial Celebration were also discussed in the meeting. (PNA) 
CTB/zst/EGGamos/ps

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Obando’s fertility dance: Where devotion, festivity 'collide'

MANILA, May 17 (PNA) -- What's the best way to end summer besides swimming, traveling and partying? Join a memorable festival!

The province of Bulacan has long been known for having grand festivities including Sto. Nino Festival, Pulilan Festival, Luyang Dilaw Festival, Plaridel Horse Festival, and so much more.

For the last wave of summer heat, Bulacan is kicking-off its Obando Fertility Festival.

Formerly known as Kasilonawan Festival, the so-called “Sayaw sa Obando” is celebrated annually from May 17 to 19. The celebration is known to make miracles for those longing to have a child, those searching for mates, and farmers who would like to have a good harvest.

To prove its authenticity, Jose Rizal in his novel Noli Me Tangere wrote that Dona Pia Alba (Maria Clara’s mother) was said to have danced in Obando in order to have a child.

Festival, prayerful appeal

The Obando fertility dance is both a festival and a prayerful appeal for devotees.

It is a festival where a number of couples hoping to be blessed by children gathers and performs on the street in a long procession. This old-age tradition to the present day has attracted a lot of tourists from around the world.

Since pre-Spaish times, Obando, Bulacan has hosted this festival which has been part of the tradition even before the Spanish conquest of the Philippines. Before, childless native couples dance in front of idols to request for children. When the Spanish arrived, they persuaded the natives to keep the Fertility Dance, but would dance to images of saints instead of idols.

Nowadays, the celebration is held in honor of San Pascual de Bailon, Sta Clara, and Nuestra Senora Immaculada Conception de Salambao. Prayers are offered to the patron saints for religious virtue, for the childless, and for a bountiful catch for fishermen.

Every year, it is observed that a huge number of childless couples, thankful parents, and grateful fishermen clad in colorful traditional costumes, dancing to the deep, sensual and eccentric affair beat of musical instruments made out of bamboo materials.

This tradition of dancing, along with images of patron saints carried by participants, is done to bring to life the mysterious forces of reproduction.

Evidently effective

Locals claim that the "ritual" is evidently effective, saying that one proof would be the population growth in the province of Bulacan.

Whether true or not, the fertility dance is a timeless tradition that bounds people into prayer of both thanks and pleas. People in the country believe that taking part in the festivity every year is one of the best ways to enjoy life.

With an unrestrained enthusiasm in the celebration, Filipinos show to visitors from different parts of the world that it is “more fun in the Philippines.”

So, if you are really looking for the best way to end your summer, brace yourself for the pure tradition of “Sayawan sa Obando” that the Philippines offers. (PNA) 
KMC/Ma. Louisa D. Mazon (OJT)

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Bulacan officials closely monitoring impact of dry spell as Angat dam water level continues to dip 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, May 13 (PNA) -- As the water level at Angat dam continues to plunge below its critical level of 180 meters, provincial officials are now closely monitoring farmlands in this city and in the towns of Bocaue and Bulakan where irrigation supply is badly needed to save rice plants not yet ready for harvest.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said teams from the Provincial Agricultural Office are now bringing water pumps to rice lands being hit by the dry spell.

He said that while the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) has assured that it will still release six cubic meters per second of water from Bustos dam for 10 days, the provincial government is also now assessing the impact of the impending “El Nino” weather phenomenon and coming up with mitigation plans.

As of 8 a.m. Tuesday, the water level at Angat dam was 179.45 meters which is now way below the critical of 180 meters.

Provincial agriculture officer Gloria Carillo said that there are still less than 5,000 hectares of farmlands planted with palay that have yet to be harvested.

He said that rice lands in the province's first district can still bear the dwindling irrigation supply.

However, she said they are also monitoring the so- called “Habol Tanim” or newly planted rice plants in the towns of Balagtas and Bulakan.

Carillo also said that they are focusing on the impact of the dry spell on land preparation that usually takes place in the last week of May or early days of June.

She said that if the water supply at the dams continues to dry up, at least six hectares of rice fields in the coastal town of Bulakan will be bereft of irrigation supply.

"There will be difficulty in reaching the ricefields there if NIA stopped the releasing of irrigation water," she said.

Last Sunday, the National Power Corporation (Napocor) announced that it cut off its water supply for irrigation for Bulacan and Pampanga to prioritize potable water supply to Metro Manila.

Napocor president Ma. Gladys Cruz-Sta. Rita said that water supply for Metro Manila remains at 42 cubic meters per second (cms) until May 21.

Sta. Rita said the National Water Resources Board is set to meet to discuss if water supply to Metro Manila will be reduced.

Napocor said that with a rate of reduction of 32 centimeters per day, the water level is expected to reach 170 meter above sea level (masl) after 29 days.

Though rains are expected to come by then as per forecast of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Angat dam can still supply water to Metro Manila even if it reaches 170 masl level.

Napocor has reiterated its call to the public to conserve and use water wisely.

It was in year 2010 when the lowest water level was recorded at Angat Dam at 157 masl, way below the dam’s minimum operating level of 160 masl for water supply.

Sta. Rita also reiterated the Bureau of Soils and Water Management’s statement that cloud seeding operations at Angat dam and the watershed area will commence once the clearance from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines is secured.

Meanwhile, the cultural minonity group known as "Dumagat" tribe performed on Tuesday the traditional "subkal" to ask their god “Makedepat” for rains.

The Dumagat tribe, which lives within the Angat watershed, are the first ones that will be affected should the dam level continue to decrease because it is one of their major sources of livelihood. (PNA) 
LAP/zst/EGGamos/ps

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Bulacan steps up measures to get rid of rice black bugs

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, May 9 (PNA) -- The provincial government, through the Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO), is stepping up efforts to control the infestation of rice black bugs (RRB) which have been sighted in four municipalities in the province.

Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado said that the PAO headed by Gloria Carrillo is strictly monitoring the reported sightings of the pest in the towns of San Miguel, San Ildefonso, San Rafael and Baliwag.

"Our farmers should not get worry with the RRB sightings as the provincial government is doing all possible ways to control and get rid of the pest in our crops, particularly in palay, which is the major source of income of the Bulakenyos," Alvarado said.

Carillo said that although the RBB situation in the province has not yet reached the distressing stage, their office is implementing some precautionary measures to prevent possible infestation.

"We do massive information campaign. We included the topic about RBB in the Integrated Pest Management Seminar for our farmers and agricultural workers for them to gain knowledge on how to control pest," she said.

According to the Philippine Rice Research Institute’s (PhilRice) Crop Protection Division, the RBB, which was reported to have infested some countries in Asia in the past years, are small, cryptic and highly invasive pest species attacking all growth stages of the rice plant, but which can be controlled naturally.

Carillo said that one of the PhilRice's recommended technique is to use light traps.

PhilRice experts said that light trapping of insects should start five days before and after the full moon and to use 2000-3000 watts or super light during outbreaks and set them up every night to obtain the most number of bugs.

The effective light trapping is from 8 p.m. to 12 p.m.

Carillo said that flooding, herding of ducks in the field, and sanitation also prevent pest infestation.

Aside from those techniques, she said PhilRice experts are also encouraging farmers to minimize the use of insecticide so as not to kill the natural enemies of RBB which include wasps; ground and coccinellid beetle; wolf, lynx, and long-jawed spider; red ant; and damsel bug.

"Weeding to destroy the habitat of RBB can also help exterminate the said pest," she added. (PNA) 
LAP/zst/EGGamos/ps

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25 hurt as bus falls into ravine in Aurora 
By Marilyn E. Galang

CAMP RAVINA, Aurora, May 9 (PNA) -– Twenty-five passengers, four of whom youngsters and an elderly couple, escaped death aboard a bus that fell off into a ravine in Maria Aurora town Thursday morning.

Senior Superintendent Elmer Bantug, provincial police director, said the passengers were on board a Papin bus liner with license plate CWC-847 cruising along the road in Sitio Dimutol, Barangay Dianawan, Maria Aurora at around 6:30 a.m. Thursday when its driver Celestino Marzan lost control of the steering wheel.

The bus, which was bound for Cabanatuan City, then skidded and fell into a 15-feet deep ravine.

Senior Inspector Victor Morales, Maria Aurora police chief, identified those injured as conductor Charito Pajela, 29; Linda Gutierrez, 53, of Dianawan, Maria Aurora; Francisco Josue, 40, of Alicia, Isabela; Reynaldo Apilado Jr., 37, of Florida, Maria Aurora; Joanne Tangonan, 34, of Barangay 1, Maria Aurora; Leonida Valdez, 37, and children Joyce Valdez, 10, and Lloyd Valdez, 7 and Daisy Baldove, 28, all of Ditale, Dipaculao, Aurora; Rodelio Abero, Pacita Romero, 59 and Kim Cedric Romero, 9, of Mejares, Dipaculao; Rodrigo Dagdag, 57 and wife Martina Dagdag, 56, both of Buenavista, Dipaculao;

Amelita Ordonia, 45, of Ipil, Dipaculao; Donalyn Licad, 40, and daughter April Krizzia Licad, 13, both of Dipaculao, Aurora; Noriel Briones, 22, of Sapang Kawayan, Dipaculao, Aurora; Marivel Montanez, 47, and Rodgievel Montanez, 18, both of Mucdol, Dipaculao; Erwin Suarez, 28, of Ligaya, Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija; Arcadio Mendoza, 58, Coral na Bato, Bulacan, Bulacan; Arceli Ramirez, 71, of Dimanpudso, Maria Aurora, and MJ dela Cruz.

The injured passengers were brought to the Aurora Memorial Hospital in Barangay Reserva and to the Premiere General Hospital for treatment.

PO3 Jaquel Sigua, duty investigator of the Maria Aurora police, said before the accident, the passengers heard something snapped and the driver tried to apply the brakes to no avail and the bus dived into the cliff.

Sigua said the area where the accident happened is not considered accident-prone.

“In fact, it was the first time such accident happened there,” he said.

Marzan has been detained at the Maria Aurora police stockade. (PNA) 
CTB/zst/MEG/ps

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Interpol lauds PHL police for busting int'l cyber extort group

MANILA, May 3 (PNA) -- The International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) has lauded the Philippine National Police (PNP) for its recent busting of an international syndicate engaged in cyber extortion.

This was revealed by Chief Supt. Rueben Theodore Sindac, PNP public information office chief, in a statement Saturday.

This came in wake of the PNP's arrest of 58 "sextortion" suspects and confiscation of 250 pieces of electronic evidence in simultaneous raids in Bicol Region, Laguna, Bulacan and in Taguig City on April 30.

The Interpol acknowledged the Philippine National Police and its Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) for the success of Operation “Strikeback”.

Following the Interpol Case Operational Plan (COPlan) “Strikeback”, a campaign against the prevalence of sex extortion activities in the Philippines, the PNP led the said multi-agency operation against sex extortion which was joined by representatives from Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission, Department of Justice, Police Scotland, Interpol, Hong Kong Police, Singapore Police, U.S. Homeland Security Investigation, Child Exploitation Online Protection and Australian Federal Police.

“I would like to thank them (PNP and ACG) for their professionalism and dedication, and without whose cooperation and efforts we would not be here today and this Operation would not have been successful,” Interpol Director Sanjay Virmani said.

“It is also important to highlight that while the arrests made this week were made here in the Philippines, these crimes are not limited to any one country and nor are the victims," he added.

Virmani also encouraged international cooperation in investigating "sextortion" as this is massive and run with just one goal in mind -- to make money regardless of the terrible emotional damage they inflict on their victims. He also assure that Operation “Strikeback” shows that no matter where criminals carry out their crimes or try to hide behind the anonymity of the internet, law enforcement is equally determined in their efforts to track them down and bring them to justice. (PNA) 
JBP/PFN

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PNP bags 58 'sextortion' suspects in series of raids, 250 electronic gadgets seized

MANILA, May 2 (PNA) -- The Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP ACG) on Friday announced that its operatives have arrested 58 "sextortion" suspects and confiscated 250 electronic gadgets during a series of raids in Bicol, Laguna, Bulacan and Taguig last April 29.

PNP ACG commander Senior Supt. Gilbert Sosa, in a statement forwarded to the Philippines News Agency Friday, said the operation is dubbed "Strike Back".

He said they were aided in the series of raids by the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission, Department of Justice, Scotland police, Hong Kong police, Singapore police, US Homeland Security Investigation, Child Exploitation Online Protection and the Australian federal police.

The operation stemmed from the 1st Interpol Eurasion Working Group Meeting in Singapore in November 2013 that highlights the growing number of sextortion victims in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, United Kingdom and the United States with potential victims in Australia, Korea and Malaysia.

The meeting resulted in the formulation of a joint investigation model to combat the increasing sextortion cases worldwide. This was followed by intelligence sharing between cybercrime departments of Hong Kong, Singapore, Scotland UK, Australia, Philippines and others through Interpol that linked victims and cybercrime cases among these countries.

Hence, a 2nd Operational Meeting in Singapore was held on March by the Interpol Digital Crime Centre, also participated by payment systems and judicial representatives.

The joint operation was divided into three groups, the Bicol Group led by Senior Supt. Elmo Francis Sarona, Laguna and Taguig Group led by Senior Supt. Bernardo Yang and Bulacan Group led by Senior Supt. Arnold Gunnacao.

The three groups were augmented by the Police Regional Police 5, Regional Public Safety Battalion 3, and San Jose Del Monte Bulacan Police Station.

A Tactical Operations Center was also established in the main office of PNP ACG to receive reports from the ground during the implementation of search warrants and serve as the focal coordinating office for all 15 teams that were strategically deployed with Sosa as the overall officer-in-charge.

There are four target establishments in Bicol region particularly in Naga City, Libmanan and Nabua in Camarines Sur, and in Legazpi City. The Money Maker Portal Solutions, Money Magnet Portal Web Solutions, Money Builder Marketing Web Solutions, and Mocha Bytes Web Solutions are located in the places mentioned earlier are linked together validated during actual surveillance.

On the other hand, Laguna and Taguig Group successfully arrested Vincent Regori Bravo, Jomar Palacio alias Park Jiman and Gian Tolin. These suspects are responsible for financial sextortion of victims mostly from UK.

Bravo was arrested in Binan, Laguna at around 1:30 am while Tolin was arrested at around 5:00 am of April 30, 2014 with Palacio who was then sleeping in his place at Barangay Hagonoy, Taguig City.

Bulacan Group arrested employees of Alfredo Gacasa Jr. of Barangay Muzon, San Jose Del Monte Bulacan at 4:00 a.m. on May 1. They are Aldrin E. Villamonte, Jemuel C. Matuguina and Emuross O. Dela Cruz.

Seized from the joint operation were assorted mobile phones, identification cards, assorted documents, laptops, network and storage devices, assorted SIM cards, assorted credit and ATM cards, pornographic materials, cameras, CCTV equipment, live ammunition, tablets, telephone sets, desktop computers, assorted cards believed to be used in their illegal activities.

These pieces of digital evidence will be analyzed by the forensic team of PNP ACG with the help of experts from involved countries to identify any additional victims and for follow-up investigations.

Sextortion is defined as sexual blackmail to a person to whom sexual information or images are extracted through social media, mobile phones or other online services. These images or information are then used to extort sexual favors or money from the victim with the threat of sharing these to others if not favored.

Operating in this kind of online scheme or “sex extortion” by agents as they call themselves, is making money ranging from 22,000 to 90,000 pesos per successful client. They also get bonus incentives during holidays, cash or mobile phones for reaching financial targets.

Suspects arrested in Laguna and Taguig City were charged for Violation of Access Devices Regulation Act (RA 8484) and Anti-Child Pornography Act. Suspects in Bulacan were charged for Violation of RA 8484 and Robbery/Extortion. For those arrested in Bicol, charges are being readied for Violation of RA 8484 and Violation of Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, particularly for cybersex.

Operation “Strike Back” provided the opportunity for information-sharing and continuous collaboration, cooperation and coordination among our international and local partners in cracking down cybercrimes around the world. (PNA) 
LAM/PFN

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P1-M worth of 'shabu' seized, 16 persons nabbed in Bulacan dope raids

MEYCAUAYAN CITY, Bulacan, April 30 (PNA) -- Government anti-narcotics operatives arrested Tuesday 16 persons and seized methamphetamine hydrochloride or "shabu" estimated to be worth more than P1 million during a series of raids in Northville, Barangay Bayugo here.

Senior Supt. Joel Orduna, Bulacan police director, said joint operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Regional Intelligence Division of PNP Regional 3, Provincial Public Safety Company and the Meycauayan City Police Station swooped down on five houses in the said village where illegal drug sessions and trade were being held.

Orduna said the raiding team was armed with a search warrant issued by Olongapo City RTC Branch 72 Judge Richard Paradeza.

He said that at least 16 persons engaged in pot sessions and illegal drug trade were arrested.

The team also seized plastic sachets containing shabu and drug paraphernalia.

Meycauayan City police chief Supt. David N. Poklay said that based on intelligence information, the said houses were being used as dope dens and suspicious persons were frequenting the area.

The arrested suspects are now in police custody while appropriate charges are being readied against them.

Earlier, Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado gave a marching order to the Bulacan police to step-up their operations against drug dealers and criminal gangs.

He said that there is no place in Bulacan for lawless elements except in jail. (PNA) 
LAP/zst/EGGamos/ps

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(Update)31 persons dead, 123 hurt during Holy Week observance -NDRRMC

MANILA, April 21 (PNA) -- The death toll during the Holy Week rose to 31 due to various incidents, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said on Monday.

In its update, NDRRMC said of the 31 fatalities, 16 were due to drowning, 13 from vehicular accident, one from gunshot wounds due to shooting incident and one by fire incident.

NDRRMC also said that 123 were injured from Regions 1, 2, 3, 4-A, 5,10and CAR.

NDRRMC said that as of Monday, a total of 50 incidents were monitored in Regions I (Ilocos), II (Cagayan Valley), III (Central Luzon), IV-A (Calabarzon), IV-B (Mimaropa), V Bicol), VIII (Eastern Visayas), X (Northern Mindanao), XI (Davao), National Capital Region (NCR), and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

The incidents involved the following:

19 vehicular accidents (1 in Santiago, Ilocos Sur; 1 in Bani, Pangasinan; 1 in Sto. Tomas, La Union; 1 Tuguegarao City, Cagayan; 1 in Pulilan, Bulacan; 2 in Bocaue, Bulacan; 1 in Plaridel, Bulacan; 1 in Nasugbu, Batangas; 1 in Mexico, Pampanga; 2 in Sariaya, Quezon; 1 in Maragondon, Cavite; 1 in Bacoor, Cavite, 1 in Libmanan, Camarines Sur; 2 in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental; 1 in Pinukpuk, Kalinga and 1 in Baguio City.

•1 Maritime Incident in Odiongan, Romblon

•2 Hazardous Materials Incidents in Nasugbu, Batangas and Catbalogan City

•7 Fire Incidents (1 in Tumauini, Isabela, 1 in Bauan, Batangas, 1 in Binangonan, Rizal, 1 in Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental, 1 Pantar, Lanao del Norte, 1 in Tatalon, Quezon City and 1 in Grace Park, Caloocan City)

•16 Near Drowning and Drowning Incidents (1 in Bantay, Ilocos Sur, 1 Aglipay, Quirino, 1 in Cabagan, Isabela, 1 in Echague, Isabela, 1 in Cauayan City, Isabela, 2 in Ballesteros, Cagayan, 1 in Maragondon, Cavite, 1 in Sariaya, Quezon, 1 in Infanta, Quezon, 1 in Ternate, Cavite, 1 in Nasugbu, Batangas, 1 in Real, Quezon, 2 in Tabuk City, Kalinga Province and 1 Pinukpuk, Kalinga)

•2 Flooding Incidents (1 Tagum City, Daval del Norte and 1 in Carmen, Davao del Norte)

•1 Shooting Incident in Nagtipunan, Quirino Province

•2 Vehicle Fire Incidents in Atimonan, Quezon and San Jose, Batangas. (PNA) 
FPV/CLTC/jsd

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Divine Mercy Shrine a place for prayer, inner peace and healing (Feature) 
By Aerol B. Patena

MARILAO, BULACAN, April 18 (PNA) -- Groups of pilgrims have flocked to the Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Santa Rosa I, Marilao, Bulacan because they believe it is a place for prayer, healing and inner peace.

The pilgrimage site draws a regular attendance of around 5,000 churchgoers which usually peaks during the Holy Week.

As early as the evening of Holy Wednesday, people from all walks of life coming from nearby towns of Meycauyan, Bocaue, Santa Maria, to name a few, visit the church to pray and spend time with their families as well.

Young devotees in groups prefer to walk while the elderly ride on their bicycles and motorbikes on their way to the shrine.

The devotees bring along food and water to help sustain themselves amidst the scorching heat of the sun.

Foreigners were also taking pictures and videos of the religious icons at the shrine.

One of the most popular attractions to visit in the shrine is the Guadalupe Chapel at the church basement where the picture of Our Lady is enthroned with its flowing water that many pilgrims consider healing.

Mrs. Manalo, a longtime devotee of the Divine Mercy, shared that her son used to suffer from an acute viral infection which affected his speech, mobility and cognitive skills.

"My son was suffering of an acute viral infection which affected his speech and mobility. Thus, I really prayed hard to God that He give me a sign which would give me courage that my son will be able to recover," Mrs. Manalo said in an interview.

Eventually, she accompanied her son to visit the shrine to pray for his full recovery and that was on a Good Friday seven years ago.

"Several months after, doctors have noted a remarkable improvement on his condition. Up to this very moment, he continues to recover ," according to her.

"From then on, my family and I made a personal vow to visit the shrine as often as we could without missing a Good Friday," she added.

Meanwhile, among the shrine's other features include a model of Calvary with life-sized statues from the Stations of the Cross at the back of the church, a Little Poland museum which features a replica of the house and basement where Pope John Paul II lived, a chapel where the vision of the Divine Mercy appeared to Sister Faustina Kowalska and the prison cell where St. Maximilian Kolbe was martyred.

It was elevated to the status of National Shrine by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines on November 30, 2002.

As pilgrims made their way home, they never miss to buy native delicacies such as bibingka, suman, puto, cuchinta, among others, where Marilao is noted especially for foreigners. (PNA) 
FPV/ABP

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5 die, 7 seriously injured when passenger but hits cargo truck

LEGAZPI CITY, April 16 (PNA) -- Five passengers died while seven others were seriously injured when a bus hit a parked truck loaded with scrap materials along the Maharlika Highway in Barangay Bikal, Libmanan, Camarines Sur, on early Wednesday morning.

A police report identified the casualties who did not reach the Libmanan District Hospital alive as Alexander Belen, of Bacacay, Albay; Jayson Purita, 23, single, of San Miguel Island, Tabacao City; Cindy Garcia, 17, single, of Concepcion, Marikina City; and Arneli Dacullo, and his son, Mark Kiven, 2 , residents of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.

Being treated at the hospital were Jeric Buelia of Bacacay, Albay; Pamela Brozo, 33, of Ifugao Province; Dennis Brozo, 37, of Mandaluyong City; Pablo Dacullo, of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan; Alicia Frimesta, 51, of Concepcion, Marikina City; Vicente Magdaraog, 55, of Barangay Calzada, Taguig City; and Michael Ochoa of Caloocan City.

The report said the accident happened at about 4:00 a.m. while the Bragais Liner bus driven by Joey Bermas, 42, of Tabaco City, was negotiating the highway when it rammed the rear part of the parked mechanically troubled cargo truck owned by Pacific Royal Basic Foods Inc. of Pasong Tamo, Makati City, and loaded with scrap metals.

The passenger bus was on its way to Tabaco City from Metro Manila where it left Tuesday night, carrying the victims who would take their vacation with their relatives in Albay.

Residents of the place and authorities rushed the victims to the hospital.

On investigation, police concluded that the passenger bus might have been speeding and did not see the parked cargo truck which it hit, damaging the bus' front part.

Authorities are now holding the bus driver who faces a case for reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and multiple physical injuries. (PNA) 
FPV/FGS/EMC/cbd/

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Thousands join Bulacan’s 'March for Faith, Walk for Jesus'

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 12 (PNA) -- Thousands of Bulakenyos on Saturday woke up early and joined the early morning “March for Faith, Walk for Jesus”, a unified prayer rally for the blessing and protection of the province and its leaders.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and provincial capitol employees joined various religious groups in the “prayer walk” that started at 5:30 a.m. from the activity center of Bulacan State University to the provincial capitol gymnasium.

“We are always praying and we will keep on doing it to ask the guidance, the blessings and the protection of the Lord. And since the Lenten season is now in our midst, I am thankful that many woke up early and joined us in this prayer rally,” Alvarado said.

"Although we belong to different religions and have different beliefs, we are unified in one goal and faith in God that He will guide and protect us from any dangers," he also said.

The governor said that placing faith in Jesus Christ have the benefits of being at peace with God and that the people can surpass everything, including trials and problems.

Bishop Rufino “Bernie” Malitao IV, national chairman of the March for Jesus movement, said that the “prayer walk” which was also dubbed as “Sama-samang Pananalangin at Pag-aayuno para sa lalawigan ng Bulacan” is already a part of history of Malolos City.

“Today, this historic city witnessed the love and strong faith in God of the people of Bulacan. It is high time to have unity among Bulakenyos and this is a good start for continuous development of the province and the strengthening of the faith of the Bulakenyos," Malitao said.

Different religious leaders also offered prayers for the success of the seven-point development agenda, namely health, education, nature and environment, good governance, peace and order, livelihood, history and culture of the administration of Alvarado.

The different religious leaders -- Rev. Cesar Sacdalan (Alliance for Values Formation in Bulacan); Rev. Joel O. Lombos (Cadence-Bulacan); Pastor Oscar Luarca (Unida Evangelical Church), Fr. Gino Hererra (Roman Catholic Church); Bishop Ephraim Perez (Inter-Faith Bulacan); Rev. Fr. Reynaldo Tallara (Iglesia Filipina Independiente (Aglipayan Church) and Bishop Ted Malangen (Jesus Christ the Deliverer) -- also administered a pray over on Alvarado and the people of Bulacan.

Some 5,000 people joined the early morning “prayer walk,” according to a police officer who also participated the event. (PNA) 
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Bulacan has new provincial police chief

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, April 11 (PNA) -- Senior Superintendent Bartolome Bustamante on Friday was installed as officer-in-charge of Bulacan Police Provincial Office, replacing Senior Supt. Joel S. Orduna.

Senior Superintendent Agripino Javier, chief of the Directorial Staff (CDS), officiated the simple turnover ceremony held in this camp.

Bustamante said his first order to his chiefs of police in Bulacan is to intensify the campaign against motorcycle riding criminals.

He also ordered the deployment of more policemen to areas where crime incidents, particularly robbery/holdups occurred.

“I also directed all my chiefs of police to personally visit areas prone to crime incidents so they can supervise his personnel,” Bustamante said.

He said he will also activate the radio communications because it is a faster mode of communication than cellular phone.

He is a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class ’89.

Prior to his new assignment, Bustamante was the chief of the Anti-Fraud and Commercial Crimes Division at the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

He said that this is the first time that he will be assigned in Central Luzon.

Orduna served more than a year as provincial director of Bulacan police.

He was relieved from his post following the reported increase in the number of crimes perpetrated by motorcycle riding criminals.

He will be assigned at the PNP National Headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City. (PNA) 
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Chief of staff of Bulacan senior board member slain

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 10 (PNA)--The chief of staff of the province senior board member was killed on Thursday by two unidentified gunmen along the MacArthur highway near the gate of NorthFields Subdivision in Barangay Longos here.

Police identified the victim as Edwin Inocencio, 40, resident of Barangay San Sebastian, Hagonoy and chief of staff of board member Michael Fermin of the province’s first congressional district.

Initial investigation showed that Inocencio was driving their service van on his way to the house of the provincial legislator at the said subdivision when his path was blocked by two men on board a motorcycle near the subdivision gate.

Witnesses said that the suspects who were both wearing helmets drew short firearms and opened fire on the victim.

The burst of gunfire killed Inocencio on the spot, whom police said sustained seven gunshot wounds in the head and different parts of his body.

A witness told police investigators that one of the suspects even approached the already lifeless body of the suspect and again shot him.

Fermin told local newsmen that the killing could be politically motivated.

The board member said he could be the target because in the last few days he and his aides have been receiving threats through text messages from unknown senders.

It was learned that Inocencio has been serving Fermin since 2010.

Meanwhile, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado condemned the killing and ordered the Bulacan Police Provincial Office to track down the suspects.

He also told Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Joel S. Orduna to leave no stone unturned until the suspects are arrested to shed light on the motive behind the killing.

Alvarado also instructed Orduna to increase police presence along major highways and places of convergence to thwart or deter criminals from doing their nefarious activities.

Orduna said police are still investigating the incident while a special team is now tracking down possible suspects. (PNA) 
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2 alleged gun-for-hire gangmen killed in Bulacan shootout

SAN MIGUEL Bulacan, April 7 (PNA) -- Joint operatives of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the Provincial Intelligence Branch of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office killed two alleged members of a gun-for-hire gang in a running gunfight in Barangay Tibagan here over the weekend.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Joel Orduna said the two suspected gangmen were being pursued by police intelligence operatives when one of them opened fire at the pursuing lawmen.

The two, who remain unidentified, died on the spot.

No casualty was reported on the government side, the report said.

Police recovered one cal. 45 pistol, one cal.38 pistol, several rounds of ammunition and one hand grenade from the slain suspects.

Orduna said that the two were riding-in-tandem and believed to be on a liquidation mission when they were spotted by the joint intelligence operatives who were then conducting surveillance operations.

The encounter took place late Saturday night three days after Governor Wilhelmino M Sy-Alvarado gave a marching order to the Bulacan police to intensify their campaign against criminals and other lawless element

Orduna said the San Miguel police headed by Supt Fitz Macariola are still conducting investigation. (PNA) 
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Bulacan declares 'all-out war' against crime groups, lawless elements

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 6 (PNA) -- The provincial government, together with the provincial police force and other law enforcement units, has declared an "all-out war" against criminal groups and lawless elements in this province.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the move is aimed at deterring crime groups from operating in the province, which is now experiencing growth and economic boom.

“Use all police units and logistics in preventing crime and in ensuring public safety in the booming province of Bulacan,” Alvarado told provincial police director Senior Supt. Joel Orduna as he issued a marching order to step up the campaign against crime prevention and strengthen police capabilities in the maintenance of peace and order.

Sitting as chairman of the provincial peace and order council, the governor said that “we must implement all resources in our disposal to ensure public safety and send a strong message to criminals and lawless elements that they are not welcome here and have no place in Bulacan except in jail.”

Alvarado said the provincial government has declared an “all-out war against criminals and lawless elements” who, he said, are going to Bulacan due to the rapid growth now being felt in the province.

He also said that “much as the local government units are doing their share in creating an environment conducive for businesses to attract investors to come and create employment, we are also working -- together with the provincial police, other law enforcement units and the Philippine Army -- in creating an environment not conducive for criminals.”

The governor said he convened the provincial peace and order council in the wake of reports over the series of crimes in recent weeks in several towns of Bulacan.

Alvarado also bared that he has issued an executive order requiring all commercial establishments, especially banks and money exchange providers, to put up closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras inside and outside their areas and immediately allow police to have access on them in order for the law enforcers to gain leads in case of robberies or any other criminal activities.

The governor said he has also urged the Sangguniang Panglalawigan to certify as urgent the executive order and strengthen it with a penal clause for those who will not comply.

He said he will summon bank executives and their security officers this coming week to tackle measures in further beefing-up the campaign against criminals and crime prevention interventions.

“We will not allow criminals to make our province their haven. They are not welcome here and they will be dealt with accordingly,” he said.

Alvarado also called on all local and village executives and every citizen as well to join him in this crusade and help in making Bulacan an ideal place for investors and a safe place for all.

He also instructed Orduna to upgrade all communications equipment and mobile vehicles so that they can swiftly respond at any given time.

Orduna, for his part, said that the Bulacan Provincial Police Office has already beefed up its communications equipment and upgraded their radio networks.

“We have installed tracking systems in our police vehicles so that we will know where to locate the nearest mobile units and create a dragnet when there is a crime being committed,” he said. (PNA) 
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NOLCOM declares Bulacan “peaceful and ready for development”

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 5 (PNA)--The Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has declared Bulacan as a peaceful and progressive province that is ready for more growth and development.

In validating this declaration, NOLCOM awarded a plaque of recognition to Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado during its 27th founding anniversary held Tuesday at Camp Servillano A. Aquino, San Miguel, Tarlac City.

Alvarado was recognized for his active cooperation to the NoLCom’s Internal Peace and Security Operations that gives security to the Philippines, particularly the Central Luzon region.

The governor said that the province is always ready to help and cooperate in the projects of the AFP to protect and secure the Filipinos.

"The province of Bulacan is always ready to help the projects and goals of our military and police forces especially if the security and peace of our nation is concerned," Alvarado said.

The governor thanked NOLCOM and the Philippine National Police for their internal security measures that is keeping Bulacan a peaceful province and a magnet for investors and other business prospects.

He said that a peaceful environment is needed to further spur economic growth and stability in the province.

NoLCom Chief Lt. Gen. Gregorio Catapang said he is thankful for the cooperation of the local government units (LGUs) to accomplish their goals in securing the people against criminals, terrorism and even during disasters and calamities.

“The end of war against terrorists does not rest on military alone but to the concerted efforts from the local government units, different private sectors down to the grassroots level of society,” Catapang said. (PNA)
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Two big malls in Bulacan switch-off lights for 'Earth Hour'

MARILAO, Bulacan, Mar 30 (PNA)--It's light out and what a sight to behold for the sake of the world.

Two of the province's leading supermalls, SM City Marilao and SM City Baliwag, simultaneously switched off lights as they joined the world in celebrating the annual "Earth Hour" Saturday night.

SM City Marilao mall manager Bernadette Velasco said that “Earth Hour” at SM City Marilao and SM City Baliwag was even bigger as the two Bulacan malls solidified their commitment to protect and save the environment by switching to LED (Light-Emitting-Diodes) lighting.

Citing the significant energy-saving and awareness-raising benefits of using the lighting alternative, celebrations at both malls were highlighted by light shows of LED brilliance with literally millions of color combinations.

“ 'Earth Hour' is an opportunity to show how our imagination can inspire and engage our shoppers in saving the environment," Velasco said.

“Today, we would like to promote energy-saving alternatives” she said.

The activity was highlighted by the glow in the dark TRON dance or better known as “ElecTRONica” dance movement inspired this year’s theme "Use Your Power".

Performers reinforced the statement of "Be a Superhero for the Planet" by the precisely timed sequences and carefully coordinated LED-luminescent light suit choreography.

Because each of the performers donned custom-designed LED outfits that can be controlled remotely, dancers can immediately appear and disappear in a pitch-black stage providing a super-hero and futuristic-stop motion component as well as amazing visual impact.

Following the TRON dance performance in SM City Marilao, over 300 LED balloons were likewise given to guests and participants during the blackout.

At exactly 8:30 pm, both malls simultaneously switched off the buildings’ logo including external signages, bill boards and lampposts.

Preceded by the 10-second countdown, stores and car park lights were set at the minimum level to conserve energy while ensuring the safety of mall customers.

As soon as the lights were off, a dramatic lighting of LED candles followed at SM City Marilao.

Local government units, guests as well as SM executives turned up the candles forming the symbolic 60 minutes to show solidarity with the worldwide campaign of saving the earth.

At SM City Baliwag, LED-powered strobe lights and the 60+ walk of fame adorned the 50-meter stretch of the mall.

With Spiderman as the 2014 Earth Hour ambassador, youngsters dressed as superheroes led the lighting ceremony of the “Walk of Flame”.

Guests also used colorful glowsticks in a festive performance to brighten the mall grounds.

The ceremonial switch off of lights was led by Mayor Carolina Dellosa together with Rotary Club president Jayjay Ponce Gonzales and SM City Baliwag mall manager Andrew Cristobal in SM City Baliwag.

WWF Philippine project development officer Paul Saludar, who shared the advocacy to protect the environment, on the other hand, headed the ceremonial switch off in SM City Marilao.

Beverly Bernardo Cruz, public relations officer of SM City Baliwag, said that “with hundreds of millions of people, each making small commitments to living sustainably, SM City Baliwag and SM City Marilao along with all SM Supermalls hope to inspire as many individuals to use one’s power in making a difference and saving the earth.” (PNA) 
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Bulacan PNP ties with LTO in enforcing traffic safety and campaign vs road offenders

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 28 (PNA) -- The Bulacan Police Provincial Office (BPPO) has joined hands with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in a bid to step-up the campaign against traffic violators and riding-in-tandem criminals.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Joel Orduna said a one day training seminar on “Land Transportation and Traffic Enforcement Deputation” was conducted Wednesday at the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center here.

This was in coordination with the Malolos District Land and Transportation Office headed by Rufino W. Carpio, chief LTO, Malolos District Office and Rolando F Casilan, chief, LTO Bulacan Licensing Center.

Orduna said that the seminar was attended by 71 police personnel coming from different subordinate units of the BPPO.'

“The participants will be subsequently deputized by the Land Transportation Office in the enforcement of traffic laws all throughout the province. The participants were also briefed on how to enforce traffic rules and regulations and encouraged to develop other innovative counter-measures that will intensify police operations against motorcycle-riding criminals,” he said.

Earlier, some 30 policemen underwent crash training on motorcycle riding to beef up police mobile teams in operations against criminals and ensure public safety on the road.

“They were also trained to ride in tandem to counter motorcycle-riding criminals,” Orduna added. (PNA) 
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Hostage taker stabs 4- year old boy on board police car - By Emil G. Gamos

SAN JOSE DEL MONTE CITY, Bulacan, March 23 (PNA) -– A four-year old boy was stabbed to death by an alleged “hostage taker” while on board a police car along the Quirino Highway, in Barangay Maharlika here Saturday morning.

The suspect was subsequently shot dead by policemen when the former began stabbing the boy while on board a police patrol car that responded after concerned citizens reported that a man was holding a boy at knifepoint along the Qurino highway.

Police identified the victim as Dennis Sibbaluca Jr., a resident of Barangay Gumaoc here.

The suspect, on the other hand, was identified as Jose Puyo Jr., a native of Camarines Sur.

The boy sustained five stab wounds on different parts of his body and was declared dead on arrival at a nearby hospital.

Police said that earlier the victim’s father noticed something strange on the behavior of the suspect, his niece, who was working as a helper at a towing service.

He then decided to take the suspect home.

When they reached their house in Barangay Maharlika, the two had a heated argument that led to the suspect’s grabbing the boy, poked a double-bladed knife at his neck.

The suspect, who was carrying the boy, then reached Quirino highway and was shouting that he will kill the boy if someone tries to get near him.

It was at this juncture that the responding police team arrived.

The responding lawmen was taken by surprise when the suspect suddenly boarded the patrol car and repeatedly stab the boy prompting policemen to shot him.

Bulacan police director Sr. Supt. Joel Orduna said investigators from the Bulacan Police Provincial Office are now investigating the incident. (PNA) 
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Devotees flock as mysterious image of Jesus Christ caught in CCTV at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy in Marilao

MARILAO, Bulacan, March 18 (PNA) -- A number of devotees has started to increase at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy here days after the image of Jesus Christ was caught in one of the newly-installed closed circuit television cameras (CCTVs).

Parish priest Fr. Prospero “Pros” Tenorio said it still cannot be called a miracle nor an apparition of the Lord Jesus Christ but can be hailed as a blessing and radiant sign of God's never-ending love for mankind.

“I still cannot say if it is a miracle or an apparition of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is for the bishop to decide and after an investigation the final say will be the Vatican,” Tenorio said.

The parish priest said that he was the one who discovered the mysterious image, a radiant white streak of light similar to the image of the Divine Mercy, at around 11 p.m. on March 3.

He said that the first image was caught by one of the CCTV camera at around 9 p.m. where workers were putting a purple curtain at the back of the image of a crucified Jesus Christ—the centerpiece holy icon at the main altar of St. Faustina hall at the Divine Mercy Shrine.

He said that what makes the footage mysterious was when the lights were shut off at around 10:30 p.m., the radiant image still remain and recorded up to 6 a.m. of the following day (March 4).

Tenorio also showed the footage to video expert Clyde Villegas, who admitted that he was also amazed on what he saw.

Villegas said he looked for possible sources of light that could have produced the image but it was pitch dark in the area during that time.

He said that he looked at the back of the altar where a mosiac of tainted colored glass featuring the image of St. Faustina, Blessed Pope John Paul II and the Divine mercy Image of Jesus Crist was located.

“It was already impossible for a light to penetrate the tainted glass at night time and it is definitely impossible if it was also covered by a thick purple curtain, the image is really a mystery,” he said.

When asked what the mysterious image meant to the Catholic faithful, Tenorio said that it could be that the Lord is sending as a message of love and hope as well as calling the people to repent and get closer to God.

Since then, he said the number of pilgrims has gone up from the regular 3,000 attending the Holy Mass every Sunday to more at least 5,000.

Upon learning of the incident, Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that this may be a sign –“a radiance of God’s love and mercy.”

The National Shrine of the Divine Mercy is one of the crowd-drawing sites during the observance of Holy Week where thousands of devotees flock to fulfill their Lenten vows.

The other popular Lenten sites are the Catholic Chapel in Barangay Kapitangan in the coastal town of Paombong where hundreds of bare back penitents and faith healers perform bloody rites by getting crucified at a wooden cross at a man-made Golgotha and the Grotto Shrine in San Jose Del Monte City where giant images of the Station of the Cross continues to draw big crowds during Holy Week. (PNA) 
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Mother who stabbed dead then burned her four children in Bulacan to undergo psycho test

MEYCAUAYAN CITY, Bulacan, March 17 (PNA)—-Police authorities on Monday said they will recommend psychological test to the 32- year old mother who stabbed dead then burned alive her four children at their rented apartment in Barangay Iba here Sunday morning.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Joel Orduna identified the suspect as Marie Durlucio, a resident of said village.

The fatalities were identified as nine- year old Karyl Franz, Seth Benedict, 7; Zane, 3; and York Joshua, 1.

Their charred bodies were found on the second floor inside their rented apartment.

Orduna said that the suspect later admitted to police investigators that she stabbed each of their children , locked them inside the room at second floor and set them ablaze.

Orduna said at first, even arson investigators thought the four children were just victims of a fire that razed the second floor of the apartment but were shocked when the suspect openly admitted to the police that she killed her children and then burned them because of her husband, whom she claimed has neglected them.

“No one in his right mind, especially a mother at that, will kill her children just like that. We will recommend that she underwent psychological test,” he said.

When asked by journalists, she said she had no regrets for what she done and blamed her husband for committing mistakes against them.

Charges of multiple parricide will be filed against Durlucio, Orduna said. (PNA) 
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Bulacan receives another Agri-Pinoy achievers' award

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 15 (PNA) -- This province, through the initiatives and programs of the provincial government headed by Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, has again reaped the "fruit of the good seeds" it has sown in the field of agriculture.

This after Agriculture Secretary Prospero Alcala presented the Agri-Pinoy Rice Achievers' Award to the province of Bulacan which was adjudged as one of the top 12 rice producing provinces in the country.

Alvarado received the award during the Agri-Pinoy Rice Achievers’ awarding ceremony held Friday at the Newport Performing Arts Theater, Resorts World Manila, Pasay City.

This is the second consecutive time that the province was conferred the award.

"I am so happy that the programs that we implemented for the development and progress of our province, especially in the field of agriculture, was again recognized," the governor said.

Bulacan, together with Nueva Ecija, North Cotabato, Nueva Vizcaya, Isabela, Pangasinan, Ilocos Norte, Bukidnon, Kalinga, Mindoro Occidental, Laguna and Lanao del Norte emerged as the outstanding provinces in the country with bountiful rice harvests and good farming programs.

In addition, the town of San Rafael was also hailed as one of the outstanding municipalities while Provincial Agriculture Officer Ma. Gloria Carrillo and Provincial Agriculture Office Staff Cynthia Nunez also bagged the agricultural extension workers (AEWs) category award.

Alvarado said that 19 Bulakenyo agriculturists from San Ildefonso, Bustos and San Rafael also got recognitions in the agricultural extension workers category.

Aside from trophies, Bulacan province received P4 million worth of agricultural project grants; San Rafael town got P1 million worth of project grants; and the AEWs also received cash incentive worth P20,000 each.

Alvarado said that the award only shows that Bulakenyo farmers are at par with other farmers here and abroad when it comes to high yield production of rice.

The Agri-Pinoy Rice Achievers’ Award is an initiative of the Department of Agriculture to identify the top 10 rice producing communities in the country.

The competition is divided into three categories - Local Government Units (LGUs), Agricultural Extension Workers and Irrigators Associations for the regional level and national level.

Alcala said the awardees contributed 97 percent of the rice production for 2013. (PNA) 
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DPWH chief orders 24/7 work at Calumpit Bridge

CALUMPIT, Bulacan, March 13 (PNA) -- Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson has ordered the DPWH regional office in Central Luzon to speed up the construction of the new Calumpit Bridge along the Macarthur Highway in Barangay Gatbuca here and see to it that the contractor do a 24/7 non-stop work in order to make-up for the long delay.

Singson issued the instruction after Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, Rep. Ma Victoria R. Sy-Alvarado and Calumpit Mayor Jessie de Jesus called his attention on the snail paced work being done on the bridge which is scheduled to be completed in April this year.

Singson also instructed the strengthening and improving of the temporary hanging bridge which, the governor said, has already become a “daily punishment” to the thousands of people, especially students and workers, who have to cross the river while the new bridge is being constructed.

Alvarado said the DPWH Secretary, the owner of the construction firm and the DPWH regional officials called his office upon learning of the status of the bridge.

“The Secretary understand the plight of the thousands of people and has ordered the construction firm as well as the regional office of DPWH to speed up the construction and make sure that it will be completed before the onset of the rainy season,” Alvarado said.

The governor told Singson that the people of Calumpit and nearby areas are getting angry because of the daily ordeal they have to bear due to the delay of the completion of the bridge.

“The people can no longer bear the inconvenience caused by its delay. Everyday, thousands of people has to cross the river over an hanging bridge, which is now alarmingly because its wear and tear has now become imminent. The delay has also affected businesses and has already cost too much to the economy of the affected towns,” the governor said.

The bridge links the northern villages of Calumpit and Northern Luzon to Malolos City and Metro Manila.

He also said the construction firm encountered a problem when they found out that there was a concrete structure under the river.

“There was an old bridge that the Japanese Imperial Army destroyed to thwart the reinforcement of US and Filipino soldiers during World War II. The construction firm has to bore through the concrete structures to fortify the base of the bridge which will now cause them more money and since they have made a low bid on the project they are now in a dilemma,” he added. (PNA) 
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New police chief commits self to Baguio City

BAGUIO CITY, March 10 (PNA) –- Appointed Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) officer-in-charge (OIC) P/Sr Supt Rolando Miranda vowed to fulfill the dream of his superior, P/Chief Supt Isagani Nerez to make Baguio City a peace and order role model of the Philippines.

Introducing himself formally in front of the Baguio City council members, Miranda said he will not disappoint his superior officer’s trust.

The appointment in an OIC capacity is more difficult as it will not complete a required tour of duty and the proof of burden will be on his shoulder.

Miranda, replying to the question of his availability, said he is at present residing in Camp Bado Dangwa in La Trinidad, Benguet but considered renting an apartment in Baguio City to be able to offer his 24-hour attention.

Miranda hailed from San Miguel, Bulacan and belongs to the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) class 1996. He performed police duties in Metro Manila, the now defunct Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) and finally in the Cordilleras. (PNA) 
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DPWH asked to probe snail-paced construction of bridge in Bulacan

CALUMPIT, Bulacan, March 10 (PNA)--Local officials as well as the residents in the province on Monday appealed to the national government, particularly to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to probe the snail-paced construction of the new Calumpit Bridge along the MacArthur Highway in Barangay Gatbuka here.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the slow-paced work is not only worsening public inconvenience but has also been hampering progress in the northern towns and provinces of Central and Northern Luzon.

"It is also now triggering adverse effect on the economy of affected towns and villages," Alvarado said.

At present, the residents are using the hanging bridge that was temporarily constructed so as not to cross the the river.

The bridge links the northern villages of Calumpit and provinces in Central and Northern Luzon to Malolos City and Metro Manila.

With the slow pace construction, the governor said the bridge is expected not to finish within its scheduled completion this coming April.

Alvarado said he and his wife 1st District Rep. Ma Victoria R. Sy-Alvarado has set an appointment to meet DPWH Secretary Ronald Singson to personally ask him to intervene in behalf of the people of Bulacan and the neighboring province of Pampanga.

“The people can no longer bear the inconvenience caused by its delay. Everyday, thousands of people have to cross the river over a hanging bridge which is now in a state of wear and tear. The delay has affected businesses and has already cost too much to the economy of the affected towns,” he said.

The governor said he will also bring to the attention of the DPWH Secretary the circumstances behind the delay which, he said, might have been triggered after the Regional Office of the DPWH awarded the contract to a construction firm that bid very low.

Alvarado disclosed that the project was worth P210 million but the winning bidder made a bid that nosedived to P166 million.

"The government has saved P40 million. But, if you are going to look at it, it is only now that they have started working on the bridge while the temporary hanging bridge is starting to weaken due to thousands of our constituents are crossing there daily," he said.

He said the construction firm encountered a problem when they found out that there was a concrete structure under the river.

“There was an old bridge that the Japanese Imperial Army destroyed to thwart the reinforcement of US and Filipino soldiers during World War II. The construction firm has to bore through the concrete structures to fortify the base of the bridge which will now cause them more money and since they have made a low bid on the project they are now in a dilemma,” Alvarado said.

He said he is optimistic that Secretary Singson will act swiftly to resolve the problem.

"I will also ask Secretary Singson to inspect the temporary hanging bridge and strengthen it to ensure the safety of the thousands of people crossing it everyday. (PNA) 
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Three alleged members of white slavery gang in Bulacan arrested

MEYCAUAYAN CITY, Bulacan, March 7 (PNA) -- Police arrested three suspected members of a “white slavery” gang and rescued a 14-year-old girl during a raid in Barangay Tugatog here Thursday afternoon.

Police identified the arrested suspects as Crisalto Calderon, 67, married, jobless, a resident of No. 193 Moises Buning Street, Barangay Hulo, Meycauayan City; Luningning Osorio alias “Neneng”, 47, married, jobless, and Artemio Osorio Acuna, 48, married, electrician, both residents of No. 013 Rosales Street, Barangay Tugatog, Meycauayan City.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Joel Orduna said a police team from the Meycauayan City police station swooped down on a house located at Rosales Street, Barangay Tugatog, after the victim’s mother Julie Ann Adajar, 31, a resident of No. 086 Jasmin Street, Barangay Bancal, Meycauayan City personally appeared to Meycauayan City Police Station and sought police assistance for the rescue of her daughter whom, she said was being held inside the house of the suspects.

Orduna said that the police team arrived in the nick of time and were able to rescue the victim safe and unharmed.

Initial investigation conducted by Meycauayan City Police Station disclosed that the victim was invited by the suspects for a drinking session at the house of Artemio Osorio, who was then celebrating his birthday.

The celebrant reportedly informed the victim that they already booked her to a customer.

Orduna said the victim might have sensed that she was in danger and went to the comfort room where she called her mother through her cellular phone and sought for help.

While talking to her mother, the victim told investigators that she overheard the suspects in loud voices that if the victim became tipsy and sleepy, they will mate with her one at a time in exchange of money.

A team of social workers is now helping the victim while charges for violation of Republic Act 9208 (Anti-Trafficking of Persons) are now being readied for filing against the suspects who are now detained at the Meycauyan City jail. (PNA) 
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Dope gang leader, 2 cohorts killed in shootout with Bulacan cops

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, March 6 (PNA)-- Three alleged members of a notorious drug syndicate, including its suspected leader, were killed in a running gunbattle with law enforcers during a raid at the gang's suspected lair in Franscisco homes, Barangay Yakal, San Jose del Monte City Thursday noon.

Initial police reports from the San Jose del Monte City police station identified one of the slain suspects as Wilson Paramio, a resident of said area and alleged leader of a local drug gang.

The two other slain suspects remain unidentified as of press time.

Bulacan police director Sr. Supt. Joel Orduna said a team of SJDM City policemen were out to serve an arrest warrant against Paramio when two of his alleged cohorts opened fire at the approaching lawmen.

A brief firefight ensued that resulted to the deaths of the two unidentified suspects while Paramio tried to escape towards the house of his father Ernesto.

Instead of yielding to the pursuing policemen, Paramio opted to shoot it out but was hit in the ensuing gunfight.

He was rushed to a nearby hospital but was declared dead on arrival.

Paramio is the the subject of a warrant of arrest issued by the Bulacan Regional Trial Court for previous drug offenses.

Police recovered from the two slain suspects one hand grenade, and a homemade paltik .38 caliber revolver, several plastic sachets of suspected shabu and drug paraphernalia.

Orduna said the police team also recovered a .45 caliber pistol and a .38 caliber revolver from the body of Paramio, whom police said is a notorious drug ring leader in the area.

Police are still searching the house of Paramio since there were reports that high powered firearms and ammunition as well as illegal drugs were buried before the law men came.

Orduna said the raid is part of the unrelenting operations of the Bulacan police in response to the call of Central Luzon Police Director Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta to conduct no-nonsense and intensified operations against the proliferation of illegal drugs and other criminal activities.

Orduna said investigation is still going. (PNA) 
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Arrest of CIDG head shows PNP’s determination in cleansing its ranks, Palace says 
By Azer N. Parrocha

MANILA, March 4 (PNA) -- After the arrest of Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) Pampanga Chief Bienvenido Reydado, Malacanang on Tuesday lauded the PNP for its effort to ‘cleanse its ranks’.

“(This) shows the determination of the PNP in cleansing its ranks of people who are on the wrong side of the law,” Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a Palace briefing.

“Bahagi din po yan ng pagpapahusay ng kapasidad ng PNP sa pagpapatupad ng batas,” he added.

Aside from Reydado, reports showed that six civilian agents were also arrested for alleged involvement in illegal activities.

These illegal activities included the recycling of seized illegal drugs. Because of this, all CIDG members in Pamapanga were relieved.

Raids were done last Monday in two CIDG offices in Pampanga and Bulacan, where the regional unit is headquartered.

Recovered during the raids were five high-powered firearms, 11 pistols, a rifle grenade and assorted magazines for different calibers of firearms. (PNA)
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DENR Bulacan gets 'excellent' rating in public service

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, March 3 (PNA) -- Two field offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Bulacan received “excellent” ratings for public service during a recent report card survey of the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

Maximo Dichoso, executive director of DENR in Central Luzon, disclosed on Monday that DENR Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices (CENRO) in Guiguinto and San Rafael were rated “excellent” in the CSC Anti-Red Tape Act (ARTA) survey.

In the survey, CENRO San Rafael got 94.42 percent for the ARTA provision, and 98.37 percent for overall client satisfaction, or an average rating of 96.52 percent.

CENRO Guiguinto, on the other hand, received 91.62 percent for the ARTA provision, and 89.20 percent for overall client satisfaction, or an average rating of 90.34 percent.

Aside from the excellent ratings, the two CENROs each received the “Citizens Satisfaction Seal of Excellence Award” for public service.

The ARTA Report Card (RC) is based on Republic Act (RA) 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007 which aims to curb red tape and eliminate graft and corruption in government.

The Report Card is composed of two components, namely the ARTA provision and the frontline services satisfaction.

The ARTA provision include the “anti-fixer”, “no hidden costs”, and “no lunch break” campaigns, while the frontline services satisfaction consist of service quality, physical set-up, basic facilities, and respondent-client satisfaction.

"I hope that CENROs San Rafael and Guiguinto would serve as models of public service for all DENR field offices in the region," he said. (PNA) 
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Bulacan lines up activities for Fire Prevention Month

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Mar. 1 (PNA) --The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) has lined up various activities in line with the celebration of the National Fire Prevention Month this month.

With the theme: “Isulong ang Kaunlaran, Sunog ay Iwasan, Kaalaman at Pag-iingat ang Kailangan,” Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado said the activities are part of the provincial government's continuing effort to increase public awareness and encourage a proactive approach to fire safety.

The month-long celebration kicked off on Saturday with a motorcade and a fire awareness run.

The PDDRMO staff will distribute flyers and leaflets during Monday's flag raising ceremony at the Bualcan capitol gym on March 3.

A raffle draw of Ang Bote Mo, Kaligtasan ko, a successful project of PDRRMO will also be held wherein rescue tools/equipment for different rescue teams will be given out.

The continuous distribution of paracord and light stick and hanging of tarpaulins will also be held as part of the information drive.

Through the help of the Malolos Bureau of Fire Protection, the PDRRMO will also conduct building inspection in the provincial capitol, in different municipalities and private establishments to ensure compliance of fire safety requirements.

On the second week of March, the Bulacan rescue team will do a lecture and demonstration or a 20-minute fire talk on fire suppression and the proper way of using the fire extinguisher for the capitol employees.

On March 13-14, there will be a training/seminar for all the local government units and non-government organizations' response teams about fire suppression and basic life support CPR and First Aid while a bloodletting activity will be conducted on March 18.

A fire earthquake orientation drill will also be conducted at Marcelo H. Del Pilar High School in Barangay Sta. Isabel on March 21.

The celebration will also feature Aero Marathon, PDRRMO’s new activity on March 28 wherein participating individuals can register and claim a raffle ticket by submitting two 1.5 litre plastic bottles. (PNA) 
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Central Luzon cops hold anti-hijacking summit

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Feb. 27 (PNA) -- Central Luzon police director Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta has urged operators and owners of trucking companies to work hand-in-hand with police authorities in its campaign against hijacking in Central Luzon.

In an anti-hijacking summit held Wednesday, Petrasanta said the gathering aims to minimize, if not eradicate, criminality in the region, particularly highjacking.

He said one of the salient points of the summit is the revival of the issuance of pass cards to all drivers of cargo trucks plying various routes and main highways in the region.

Being issued a pass card means the cargo of the truck has been inspected and verified by a police control point, to be submitted to another control point, where the vehicle is to exit within the region.

The move, according to Petrasanta, is in line with efforts to curtail the rising cases of highjacking in Central Luzon, wherein Pampanga has the most recorded number of incidents with 13 cases followed by Bulacan with 10 in 2013.

He said the police regional office has deployed more than 900 personnel to man 130 checkpoints around Central Luzon, which serves as a deterrent to prevent highjacking and other crimes in the region.

As this developed, Senior Supt. Ferdinand Noel Villanueva, officer in charge of the Regional Highway Patrol Unit, said there will be more mobile patrol cars in the campaign against highjacking.

Aside from the owners and operators of truck companies, the summit was also attended by media personalities and different police officers in the region concerned with the anti-carnapping and highjacking .

During the forum, anti-highjacking PNP personnel as well their checkpoint locations and contact numbers were given to the truckers as part of the proactive measure being carried out by the regional office. (PNA)
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Malacanang turns over 257 blocks of rare but expensive tea rose marble to Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 26 (PNA)-–The controversy over the rare but expensive tea rose marble might have been finally settled four years after the administration of Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado banned its extraction from the mountains of eastern Bulacan, particularly within the hallowed grounds of Biak-na- Bato national shrine in the boundaries of San Miguel and Dona Remedios Trinidad.

This, after the Office of the President granted the request of Alvarado that some 257 blocks of wire-sawed tea rose marble blocks be turned over to the provincial government.

In a letter from the Legal Affairs Department of the Office of the President signed by Lawyer Michael Aguinaldo, Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs of the Office of the President, Malacanang has given full authority to the provincial government on what to do with the 257 blocks of tea rose marble subject to the terms of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The DENR confiscated the blocks of marbles after the administration of Governor Alvarado ordered the banning of the extraction of the very rare but the most expensive type of marble in the world that can only be found in the mountains of Bulacan.

"When you visit in Las Vegas or even in the luxury hotels in Beijing, China, you would see tea rose marble that can only be found in the mountains of Bulacan. The question is how those expensive marbles reached there? Are those marbles flew over there or illegally extracted in the sacred mountains of Biak na Bato?,''the governor said.

Alvarado banned the extraction of tea rose marble shortly after assuming post in 2010.

Aside from the degradation of the forest and mountain, the illegal mining process has also been desecrating a sacred place in Philippine history, the national shrine of Biak-na-Bato.

It is the site of the Biak-na-Bato Republic which is one of the three republics born in Bulacan during the Philippine revolt against Spanish colonial rule.

The governor said that it will be used for the best interest of the province and people of Bulacan.

The mining of the rare and expensive tea rose marble became controversial because aside from fierce court battle, the pinkish slab of red stone has also been blamed as the cause of many deaths including those of prominent people.

In his daily morning radio program veteran Bulakenyo journalist Dino Balabo on Wednesday said that among the prominent persons that died over the controversial red marble were Rodante Marcial, who was killed by communist rebels; Constantino Pascual, a nephew of Dr. Lourdes Pascual, the owner of Roosmore mining company and later Dr. Lourdes Pascual himself, who were both gunned down.

Balabo said that aside from the violent deaths, fierce court battles, the tea rose marble have also enticed some politicians into embarking into the illegal mining trade before Alvarado made a firm stand in banning it and the illegal extraction of other mineral deposits in the mountains of Eastern Bulacan. (PNA) 
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Pampanga town residents trained to fight calamity hazards

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Feb. 20 (PNA) --–The Save the Children group started Wednesday the conduct of a three-day seminar on family hazard prepared planning and training on global warming which is aimed at preparing residents in the province in reducing the risks brought by hazards and in saving lives during calamities.

The three-day capacity-building on disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) seminar are being participated in by the officials and community members of at-risk barangays in Minalin town.

Save the Children gathered 50 chairmen, councilors and community members of Barangays Sta. Rita, Sta. Catalina, San Pedro, and San Francisco I, four identified barangays identified as the most prone to flooding, the main environmental hazard in Minalin town.

Among the topics that were discussed include climate change and global warming; hazards affecting Region 3 (Pampanga, Bulacan, Aurora, Tarlac, Bataan, Nueva Ecija, and Zambales); coping with the impacts of hazards; getting to know the vulnerable population groups in the communities; mitigate and cope with the impact of disaster; and identifying strategic activities to build resilience of families and communities to disasters and climate change.

In the seminar, the four barangays identified as the most flood prone villages in Minalin also trained and formed a group to lead the community in times of emergencies.

“Building the capacity of local officials and community on disaster risk reduction and management is one key element in saving lives because they are the people directly making decisions and implementing the disaster risk reduction and management activities,” Save the Children Philippines Director Ned Olney said.

Olney also said that aside from building the capacity of children through their school-based disaster risk reduction efforts, they also aim at building the capacity of the barangay officials, of every family on how to manage and respond to hazards and emergencies.

"Our precious children are the most vulnerable in any disaster, and the tremendous impact of disasters could leave severe consequences. We don’t want this happen, and this is the core reason why we are building the capacity of our local partners on disaster risk reduction and management,”Olney said.

Save the Children is also continuously providing early recovery assistance to children and families affected by the southwest monsoon enhanced by tropical storm in August 2013.

The three-day capacity building is part of the organization’s early recovery assistance to typhoon-hit communities in Pampanga.

Save the Children also provided assistance to the officials of Milanin town in organizing the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council which has not been organized and activated since after the election last year. (PNA) 
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Nueva Ecija gov suspends classes in all levels on Feb. 21-22 INC event

PALAYAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, Feb. 19 (PNA) -- Governor Aurelio Umali has ordered the suspension of classes in all levels in the province as thousands of delegates and members of Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) are expected to arrive for its "Lingap sa Mamamayan," in Barangay Maligaya here on Friday and Saturday.

In issuing Executive Order No. 1, Umali affirmed the recommendation of Nueva Ecija police director Sr. Supt. Crizaldo Nieves to suspend classes in all levels both public and private schools to help efforts in securing traffic and "public safety."

About 4,000 delegates and members of INC from the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Pangasinan and Aurora "are expected to attend to the activity and will start arriving from all entry points to Nueva Ecija," Umali said.

"Based on experience in similar activities of the Iglesia Ni Cristo in the past in other places, huge traffic congestion is expected by reason of the said activity," the governor said.

Nelson Mañebog, INC district minister in Nueva Ecija, said that the Lingap sa Mamamayan, an activity under the "Kabayan ko, Kapatid Ko" program is spearheaded by FYM Foundation Inc., to help people especially victims of calamities and the less fortunate.

"This is to help our fellowmen especially those ravaged by the calamities and the less fortunate by providing them with the free medical and dental services and the basic needs like food and clothing," he said.

He said the main activity will start at 5 a.m. on Saturday. (PNA) 
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Bayanihan Summit launched in Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 18 (PNA) -— The young people of this historic province have responded to the call of President Benigno Aquino III on solidifying the "bayanihan" spirit to address the different challenges being faced by the nation, including the effects of climate change.

The youths as well as different organizations in the province joined the launching of the Bayanihan Summit and One Bulacan Movement held at the provincial gymnasium here Monday afternoon.

The Bayanihan Summit is being spearheaded nationwide by the Presidential Communications and Operations Office (PCOO) via the Pilipinas Natin movement and through the Public –Private Partnership which is being supported by various civil society groups and the private sector led by Pilipinas Natin, Gawad Kalinga (GK), Yes Bulacan, One Bulacan Movement and other parties.

Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado thanked Undersecretary Jose Mari Oquinena, head of the PCOO Office for Special Concerns and concurrent director general of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), for making Bulacan the launching pad of this great undertaking which aims to inspire and instill among the youths the spirit of volunteerism or bayanihan.

Alvarado said the strength of the young generation will be a major factor in spreading the programs and ways on how to cope with the effects of climate change.

“It is a great honor of our province that such kind of undertaking was launched here because this program aims to mold, prepare and unite the youths so that they can face and respond the challenges of the modern times and the ill effects of climate change," the governor said.

Oquinena, for his part, said that the patriotic spirit of the Bulakenyos is an inspiration that will spread to the youths of the country.

He said that through the Bayanihan Summit, the young people of this nation will help build an environmentally stable Philippines.

"We launched in Bulacan the Bayanihan Summit because we saw before in some parts of the province where family, neighbors and friends gather to literally move a house. From this province of the noble heroes, the movement that unite the Filipino youth will grow to jointly face the challenges of the modern times and climate," the PIA director general said.

At the same time, Jun Joson of PCOO and operations chief of the Pilipinas Natin movement disclosed that the Bayanihan Summit will play a big role in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) 7 or ‘Environmental protection and conservation’ program.

He also said that the Aquino Administration has issued Executive Order 26 or the National Greening Program of 2011 encouraging various sectors to plant trees to boost the environment conservation program.

Some 200 participants sang and danced after taking their pledge of allegiance to the Bayanihan Summit

Mainstream Bulacan bands like Mojo Rising, composed of guitar artists Moi Aniag, Joel bagay and Julian Cruz, made the event more exciting as the young crowds jammed and danced with their rock and roll strums. (PNA) 
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7 nabbed for hunting wild ducks 
By Magtanggol C. Villar

PANTABANGAN, Nueva Ecija, Feb. 15 (PNA) -- Seven individuals were rounded up Friday by a combined team of town policemen and army personnel for allegedly hunting migrating wild ducks with the use of shotguns at the center island of the Pantabangan dam reservoir here.

Seized from the group of duck hunters were 46 dead wild ducks, and 36 decoy wild ducks.

Taken in for questioning at the town police headquarters were Wilfred Puzon, 62, a resident of Barangay Plainview, Mandaluyong City; Ildefonso Padigos Jr., 50, a resident of Barangay Tabang, Plaridel, Bulacan; Romulo Torres Jr , 60, of No. 28 Legaspi Street, Philam subdivision, Quezon City; Jack Pineda, 21; Urado Del Carmen, 41; Anthony Aglipay, 23; and Anthony Pineda, 14; all residents of Barangay West Poblacion here.

The police also confiscated a a 12-gauge Benili shotgun from Padigos; a 12-gauge Benili shotgun from Puzon; and a 12-gauge Remington shotgun from Torres.

The suspects were unable to present necessary documents or permit or authority from any agencies of the government to undertake such activities, including permits to carry firearms outside residence.

One of the firearms is said to have expired last June 26, 2013.

Charges for violation of Republic Act 9147 otherwise known as Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act and Republic Act 10591 or illegal possession of firearms and ammunition were filed against the suspects. (PNA) 
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Bulacan honors CLRAA champs

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 13 (PNA) -- The provincial government headed by Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Thursday honored the young athletes of Bulacan who once again dominated the 2013 edition of the Central Luzon Regional Athletic Association (CLRAA) in Zambales last December, where they emerged as the over-all champion.

Alvarado, together with Elizabeth Alonzo, head of the Provincial Youth Sports, Education, Arts, Culture, and Tourism Office, personally congratulated the athletes, coaches and educators who brought pride anew to the province.

The governor also asked for a one minute of silence and offered prayer to young boxer Jonas Joshua Garcia, 16, who died after getting beaten in a boxing match.

He said that instead of being gloomy, the Bulacan athletes was driven to fight well and made the sacrifice of Garcia as their rallying point and inspiration.

Alvarado also recalled a remark of the late Bulakenyo statesman Blas F. Ople who once described Bulakeno fighters as “poetic warriors” because they sing and dance while in the midst of battle.

“In behalf of all Bulakenyos, I would like to congratulate all the athletes, coaches, chaperons and officials on their great performance at the CLRAA meet. We are so proud of your efforts. Each of you embodies the never-give-up spirit of our great race and because of that, you have the admiration and gratitude of the people of Bulacan,” he said.

He encouraged the young champions to be always at their best and pursue their studies too.

“Remember that champions work hard, champions live a good and clean life in order to succeed and champions serve something greater than themselves in life that makes them a whole person,” Alvarado said.

“It is my hope that the lessons learned and skills developed through these sports events will help you prepare and lead your lives with passion and meaning and help each of you to become your very best. Congratulations and I want you to know that this day is precious to all Bulakenyos,” he added. (PNA) 
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Gov’t doctors keep tight watch on condition of conjoined twins born at Bulacan Medical Center

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 10 (PNA) -- Doctors at the Bulacan Medical Center (BMC) here are praying and doing the best they can to save the conjoined twins who were born prematurely Sunday.

Attending physician Dr. Grace Alvaran told Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado that “the twins are weak and we are trying to stabilize their condition before we could transfer them to the Philippine General Hospital in Manila.”

The governor visited the Neo- Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of the BMC on early Monday morning to personally check the condition of the baby twins, who are both girls.

Alvaran also told the governor that they have already conducted a series of tests to examine the functions of their vital organs.

“The twins are still weak and have a fifty-fifty chance of surviving but we are praying and doing everything to help them,” Alvaran said, adding that coordination has also been made for the possible transfer of the twin baby girls who were born attached to the chest facing each other.

The twins’ mother, Catherine Lovenario of Barangay Tabing Bakod, Sta. Maria town, and her husband are asking help for their conjoined twins.

Alvarado said that in case the twins will be transferred, they will rent an ambulance with ventilator so that the condition of the twins will not be compromised during travel.

At present, there are five brand new ambulances at the disposal of the government run-hospitals in Bulacan.

Alvaran accompanied the governor at the airconditioned nursery room where the twins are being monitored inside a modern incubator.

She also told the governor that x-ray test has also been conducted but they are still awaiting the results.

She said that the twins must be separated as soon as possible.

The governor, who is constantly working to equip government-run hospitals in the province equipped with modern facilities and provide quality health care, also took the time to check on the improvements being made at the BMC.

He said the NICU of the BMC will undergo an extension to accommodate more pregnant mothers.

“The doctors said the twins are weak, let us pray that their conditions will stabilize so that our doctors can save them. In any case, we would extend help to them and their parents," Alvarado said. (PNA) 
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Strong show of faith engulfs “Bulacan Prayer Rally for Angat Dam Rehabilitation" 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 8 (PNA) -— A strong show of faith has fortified the belief of the multitude of people that joined the “Bulacan Prayer Rally for Angat Dam Rehabilitation” at the mini-forest park here Friday afternoon.

A mammoth crowd joined provincial officials led by Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando and different religious leaders in the biggest prayer rally the province has ever seen where the Muslim community also offered prayers and support for the event aimed at asking divine intervention for the protection of the province and the nation as well.

The prayer rally became more meaningful when two evangelists from different religious sectors took the stage and led the series of prayers and pray-over after provincial chaplain Fr. Gino Herrera officiated the holy mass that kicked-off the “Day of Prayer” in Bulacan.

Fr. Herrera reminded the “faithful” that people nowadays “tend to forget that God made us stewards of life and life is short that is why we should remember to call on Him and help us in our purpose in our every life.”

“We failed to be stewards because we tend to abuse ourselves and many of us forget that we are stewards of nature and it seems that we do not feel that we have responsibilities, " he said.

Herrera said that Bulacan is blessed because of its leaders who are working “under God’s banner” , seeking His guidance, love and protection for the safety and good life of its people.

After the holy mass, Bienvenido M. Abante, Jr, minister of Gospel and senior pastor of the Metropolitan Bible Baptist Church and Ministries, led the prayer asking the Lord to protect the province and the country from natural and man-made calamities.

Abante, who is a former congressman, thanked Governor Sy-Alvarado for spearheading a God-oriented gathering which he said is a best way of forming a strong bond between God and the people.

Renato D. Carillo, spiritual director of Jesus is Our Shield, on the other hand, said that he was set to go to some Southeast Asian countries for prayer rallies but instead landed at the prayer rally at the mini-forest park of the provincial capitol.

"I felt that as if someone is pulling me to here. I am not from Bulacan but I considered this province as my second home because 19 years ago, our Lord told me that He will bless this province. This is it, I can now see God's promise," Carillo said.

He said that every municipality and city in the country should emulate what the Bulakenyos and their leaders are doing.

Carillo also execute a pray-over to the governor and vice governor, asking God to guide them and give them the strength and wisdom they need to lead the people of Bulacan.

He also led the prayer asking God to expedite the immediate repair and rehabilitation of the 45-year old Angat dam that experts claimed is sitting along the West Marikina faultline and could collapse if jolted by a Magnitude 7.2 earthquake.

Alvarado said that the prayer rally is a continuous undertaking.

"Ever since, there were some disasters that occured but the love of God always prevail.We are not asked to do an ark like during Noah's time. What God is asking us is so simple, that is to be humble, ask for forgiveness and always pray. Thus, we will continuously do this initiative," the governor said.

The prayer rally was also attended by Pastor Kenneth Lagman of “Dakilang Katapatan”, Bishop Danilo Agpoon of Liberty Tabernacle, Bishop Bert Chan of the Four Pillars of Bulacan and local officials from the province’s 21 town towns and three cities.

The affair ended with the singing of “Lord Heal Our Land” led by singer Rino Castro and the Himig ng Bulakenyo. (PNA) 
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Bulacan remembers Blas F. Ople’s birthday

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 3 (PNA) -- Provincial officials led by Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando on Monday paid tribute to one of the province's illustrious son, the late statesman Gat Blas F. Ople.

Alvarado, during the commemoration of Ople's 87th birth anniversary at the provincial capitol compound here, emphasized to the young generations of Bulakenos the greatness of Ople, who was born at a simple house in a far-flung barrio in the coastal town of Hagonoy.

“His humble beginnings from a remote town where he was born was never a hindrance for Ka Blas to put his name in the social, political and economic fields not only in his own town, but also in the Southeast Asia and even to the whole world," he said.

The governor said that both in life and in death, Ople's legacy continues to glitter like gold.

He said that the life and times of Ka Blas will always be a shining inspiration to Bulakenyos.

"Ka Blas is a rare jewel of Bulacan that can be considered as one of the great minds of the 21st century," he said.

Alvarado said that while Ka Blas was a simple man, he can be one of those great men mentioned in a classic poem that goes “walking with kings without losing the common touch.”

Veterans from World War II also remembered Ka Blas, who was a guerrilla fighter under the Del Pilar regimen of the Bulacan Military Area.

An octogenarian woman veteran from the Malolos Post even became teary-eyed when singer Rodolfo Arellano sang the patriotic song “Bayan Ko”.

Board member Felix “Toti” Ople thanked the provincial officials and fellow Bulakenyos for remembering his “Tatang”.

From a dock helper, Ople became a journalist, a public relations practitioner, technical adviser, special assistant of the President of the Republic of the Philippines, commissioner of the Social Security System, a cabinet secretary, President of the International Labor Organization, acknowledged father of the Overseas Employment, an assemblyman of the Batsang Pambansa, member of the Constitutional Commission, two-term senator, president pro-tempore of the Senate, Senate President and a high caliber diplomat and statesman.

Ople was born on February 3, 1927 in Hagonoy, Bulacan. (PNA) 
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Malolos mayor‘s bodyguard dies; mayor, 2 others hurt in Pulilan road mishap

PULILAN, Bulacan, Feb. 1 (PNA) — A close-in security detail of Malolos City Mayor Christian D. Natividad died while the city executive and two other companions were injured when the vehicle they were riding in was rammed by a 14-wheeler trailer truck in Barangay Sto. Cristo here Thursday night.

Police identified the fatality as Roderick Santiago, 30, a resident of Barangay Canalate, Malolos City.

Aside from the mayor, the two others injured were identified as Nicanor Reyes, driver, and Maverick Jake Perez, another bodyguard.

The driver of the trailer truck, identified as Roger Garces of Tandang Sora, Quezon City, is now under police custody while appropriate charges are being readied against him for filing in court.

Initial police report reaching Bulacan Police Director Senior Supt. Joel Orduna showed that the Mitsubishi Montero SUV of Mayor Natividad was cruising the road heading towards Plaridel town when it was rammed by the incoming trailer truck from the Plaridel bridge.

Santiago, who was seated at the portion of the car where it was struck hard, died while being treated at the Bulacan Medical Center. He sustained injuries in the neck and body.

The driver of truck told police investigators that the mayor's vehicle suddenly appeared in front of his truck at the intersection near the Plaridel bridge.

The side of the Mitsubishi Montero was crumpled like paper due to the impact.

The city mayor and the other two injured are still being treated at an undisclosed hospital.

Meanwhile, broadcaster Rommel Ramos called the attention of Department of Public Works and Highways District Engineer Ruel Angeles on the said road intersection, saying the place is highly accident-prone. (PNA) 
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Bulacan gov appeals for DPWH's intervention on the construction of new Calumpit bridge

CALUMPIT, Bulacan, Jan. 31 (PNA) -- The ongoing construction of the new Calumpit Bridge along the MacArthur Highway in Barangay Gatbuka here has now become like “a bridge over troubled water.”

This, after provincial engineers inspected the ongoing construction and found out that workers have stumbled upon an old heavily fortified concrete structure under the river that they have to bore to lay the foundation of the new bridge.

The everyday delay due to the extra boring that the workers have to do has already taken its toll on motorists and the general public.

Due to the public inconvenience, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado is appealing to Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio L. Singson to intervene to make the construction fast and meet its completion date.

Alvarado said that the new bridge being constructed at the Calumpit river will replace the post-war steel trust bridge which links the province of Bulacan to Pampanga and other parts of Central and Northern Luzon.

The governor said the people of Bulacan are very thankful to President Benigno Aquino III for ordering the immediate replacement of the old bridge and building of a new one after engineers said that the old bridge might collapse.

Alvarado said the construction of the new bridge started on June 18, 2013 and its expected completion is on April 13, this year.

However, reports from reliable sources indicate that the project will not be duly completed on time due to several reasons aside from the seemingly turtle-paced construction on the site.

The governor said that based on a recent inspection of the bridge by government engineers, the project implementer apparently failed to trace the old structure underneath the river.

He said the construction method presently being done at the bridge has resulted in the installation of bored piles which is more difficult to execute.

“This predicament could have been avoided had the construction company conducted soil testing prior to the reconstruction schedule,” Alvarado explained, adding that during World War II the Japanese Army destroyed the bridge to prevent the reinforcement of US and Filipino troops to Bataan.

Aside from this, it was also learned that the contractor’s bid amounting to P166,721,096.98 is 20 percent lower than the approved budget cost of P211,000,000 which could also be the reason the construction firm is having difficulties in shouldering the contingencies such as the cost of drill bit.

The governor also observed that the elevation of the temporary foot bridge along the river unduly endangers the safety of the people and puts their lives in unnecessary jeopardy, especially during rainy season when the water level rapidly rises up.

Alvarado said he is courteously seeking the timely intervention and assistance of Secretary Singson in this pressing matter.

Since the construction of the bridge began, motorists going to Manila or going to Pampanga have been using the San Simon exit of the North Luzon Expressway. (PNA) 
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Bulacan cops steps up campaign against riding-in-tandem criminals

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, Jan. 24 (PNA)--The top police official in this province on Friday said that it will need a drastic solution to neutralize the activities being perpetrated by the dreaded riding-in-tandem criminals.

“Drastic times need drastic measures,” said Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Joel Orduna during an interview with this reporter on the riding-in-tandem issue at the provincial police headquarters here .

Orduna said that police are making studies and plans to come up with a solution and one of these is to ban backriders on motorcycles.

“It may sound absurd but this is one way that could possibly neutralize the menace of the riding-in-tandem criminals,” Orduna said, adding that there are some proposals being considered to neutralize the riding-in-tandem criminals.

He said that once the back rider is gone, it will be difficult for the motorcycle driver to drive and shoot at the same time.

He said that while increased police presence can deter the commitment of a crime, the riding-in-tandem has evolved in recent years as an effective method for criminals, particularly gun-for-hire gangs and holdup-men as they are now obliged to wear helmets.

“There was a time when crooks have to wear ski masks to cover their faces, but not anymore. Now they can freely hide their face because motorcycle riders are now obliged to wear helmets for their safety, and it is for their own good too, for their protection if there will be accidents” Orduna said.

He also said that while there are instances of riding-in-tandem cases in Bulacan, it has not yet reach an alarming stage.

Orduna also said at the moment, the police are facing the challenge by deploying their own version of the riding-in-tandem style.

He said that the police patrol capabilities of the Bulacan police has been boosted with the arrival last month of some big bikes, which are now being mobilized to augment police mobile cars.

”There are few isolated incidents that were happening but there are more criminals that were also arrested by our police, aside from riding –in-tandems. Our policemen never remiss from their tasks to neutralize criminals even to the point that they were getting hurt or killed,” he added. (PNA) 
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SC chief to grace 115th anniversary of 1st Philippine Republic in Malolos City

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 22 (PNA) -— Philippine flags are flying proudly along major streets leading to the historic Barasoain Church as the province prepares for the commemoration of the 115th anniversary of the First Philippine Republic on Thursday.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the occasion will be more significant because no less than the country’s top magistrate Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno will grace the event as the guest of honor and speaker.

Alvarado said that this year’s celebration with the theme, “Ang Diwa ng Saligang Batas ng Malolos at ang Kabuluhan nito sa Kasalukuyang Panahon,” will be simple yet meaningful and will focus on how unity and justice which have served as instrument in achieving democracy hundreds of years ago, still remain vital in maintaining freedom and attaining progress.

"Let us all commemorate this important chapter of the history of our country in order to relive in the minds and hearts of every Filipino citizen the significance of freedom and equality. Because without justice, we cannot be considered with total freedom," the governor said.

He said the program will start at 8 a.m. with a flag raising ceremony and wreath-laying activity at the life size statue of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, president of the First Philippine Republic.

The program also aims to present our noble province of Bulacan as a place of our heroes and raise the level of awareness, especially the youth about the colorful and significant events in the history of the Philippines," the provincial chief executive said.

He said that they will also be putting flags and tarpaulins along the roads to inform Filipinos to join the celebration.

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

It was inaugurated on January 23, 1899 at the Barasoain Church, Malolos, Bulacan where Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo took his oath of office as President of the Republic.

City Mayor Christian D. Natividad said that various activities have been lined up to make this year’s celebration more meaningful and actively participated by Malolenyos.

“We are again presenting the noble city of Malolos as one of the sacred places not only in the Philippines but also in the whole world because this was where one republic was born. come, join and savor the fruit of heroism and sacrifices of our heroes,” Natividad said. (PNA) 
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116 informal settlers given new homes in Bulacan

PANDI, Bulacan, Jan. 22 (PNA) -- Some 116 informal settlers who are living along the so-called “danger zone” or “home along the riverbanks” in the province were given a fresh start to rebuild their lives through their new homes.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy Alvarado said the new batch of informal settlers formerly living in the high risk areas along the Angat River were relocated Tuesday at the Pandi Heights in Sitio Bitukang Manok in Barangay Cacarong Matanda here.

Earlier, more than 100 families were already transferred to Pandi Heights.

Pandi Mayor Enrico Roque, who is also the president of the League of Municipalities-Bulacan Chapter, presented the keys for the new housing units to the recipients.

The event was witnessed by some local leaders and officials, representatives from the National Housing Authority, non-governmental organizations and other religious groups.

The new settlers were also given groceries that are good enough for one-week consumption.

Alvarado said the project is a joint venture of the provincial government of Bulacan and the National Housing Authority (NHA) with a mission to build decent housing units for more than 3,000 families who are living in places declared as high risk danger zone.

"There should be no informal settlers in this noble province of Bulacan. Charity begins at homes. We will accept relocatees from other areas but priority should be given to our provincemates especially those living along geo-hazard areas," he said.

He said the other towns that will also benefit from the Angat Riverbank Settlements are Baliwag, Norzagaray, San Rafael, Hagonoy, Calumpit, Angat and Paombong.

"The informal settlers in those said areas will also be moved to safer residential houses, the governor added. (PNA) 
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Top 2 Bulacan officials help contain raging grassfire in Malolos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 18 (PNA) -— The top two provincial officials of Bulacan had to skip a speaking engagement to contain a raging grassfire along the MacArthur Highway in Barangay Confradia here that took firefighters more than six hours to contain Friday afternoon.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando established a command post in a residential area threatened by the grassfire that also emitted thick smokes that engulfed the village.

Alvarado and Fernando were on their way to the Bulacan Sports Complex in nearby Barangay Sta. Isabel when they encountered the raging grassfire that, according to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), was sparked by either a recklessly thrown lighted cigarette butt or children playing fire in the marshy area swamped by fully-grown reed locally known as “balangot.”

The governor immediately directed Bulacan PDRRMO executive officer Liz Mungcal to scramble firefighters from as far as Baliuag, Calumpit and Balagtas since the fire had already eaten a large part of an open field across the Radio Veritas transmitter station along the MacArthur Highway.

Acting as “ground commanders” and wearing goggles and surgical masks, Alvarado and Fernando, together with village officials, directed firemen and rescue volunteers in containing the wildfire that had nearly engulfed several houses.

“The smoke was so thick that there was zero visibility. Somebody had to lead to contain the fire because residents were already panicking. The swift response of city and village officials, firefighters and even grass cutters was so overwhelming to watch as everyone acted in synchronized motion to contain the raging bush fire,” Alvarado said.

A rare wild bird that looked like a crane was also rescued, Alvarado said.

The PDRRMO said the fire started raging at around 3:30 p.m. Friday and was contained at past 9 p.m.

In order to avoid a repeat of the incident, Alvarado instructed Confradia village chief Celso Asilom and Mabolo village chief Carlos C. Vistan that they should cut the reed grass at least a hundred meters away from residential areas.

He also called on the public not to throw lighted cigarette butts or play fire near grassy areas because the grasses are now drying and highly combustible. (PNA) 
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Alleged carnap gang leader, 5 others fall in Bulacan raid 
By Emil G. Gamos

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, Jan. 11 (PNA) --Good coordination among different police units led to the arrest of an alleged leader of a notorious carnapping gang during a brief firefight in Bocaue town Thursday night.

Central Luzon police regional director Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta on Saturday said that five other gang members were also arrested during an operation against the dreaded Mark Lester Reyes carnapping group.

The operation also resulted to the recovery of six stolen vehicles, assorted pairs of vehicle plate numbers and tools believed being used in stealing cars.

Police identified the wounded alleged gang leader as Pablito Gumasing Jr alias “Jurie”, believed to be the second in command of the Mark Lester carnapping group.

Gumasing was wounded after he opened fire on lawmen who was chasing him when he got cornered along the MacArthur highway in Bocaue town.

He was brought to a hospital for treatment and is being guarded by policemen.

Petrasanta said Marilao policemen headed by Supt Marcos Rivero augmented a team from the Valenzuela City police station who were chasing Gumasing who was driving a stolen Hyundai Getz car.

He said the pursuing mobile team from the Marilao police station led by Supt. Marcos Rivero radioed other police teams from the Highway Patrol Group and the anti-carnapping unit from the PNP-National Capital Region Police Office.

Police also recovered a plastic sachet of shabu weighing approximately 50 grams from Gumasing’s possession.

Petrsanta said that arrested gang members are also engaged in drug pushing activities as evidence by the seizure of drug paraphernalia, including weighing scales when the combined police teams raided the gang’s hideout on San Miguel Street, Marilao town.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Joel Orduna said that gang members are using high- tech equipment based on the accounts of one of the owners of stolen cars.

He said that the victim told police investigators that his car, a Honda Hunchback, was parked infront of his house in Quezon City when it was stolen.

He said that his car has a removable wheel and equip with sensors and alarm.

He also said that he is still being puzzled why the alarm sensors did not sound.

Orduna said that a special team from the PNP-HPG, the Bulacan Police Provincial Office and the anti-carnapping unit of the PNP-NCRPO are still conducting pursuit operations against the other suspected gang members.

Meanwhile, Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado commended the Bulacan police for neutralizing a criminal syndicate that has managed to establish a short-lived lair in Marilao.

“Lawless elements has no place in this province. Our police units are now better equipped and are highly capable in locating and neutralizing them. The combined efforts of the police units has resulted to a job well done,” the governor added. (PNA) 
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RDC-3 to make “bullet train project” a priority in 2014 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 5 (PNA) --The year of the Wooden Horse is seen to bring great expectation as it is said that this is the year for leaders who want to make a difference and make it happen.

Astrologers and geomancers said that in the Year of the Wooden Horse, there are only two choices—”either you join the race or you get left standing by the rails.”

In the booming area of Central Luzon, local executives who are also holding positions at the Regional Development Council (RDC) are expecting a bright future for the region.

An official of RDC-3 announced on Sunday that their ardent intention is to push for the construction of fast mass rail system that will link the National Capital Region (Metro Manila) to the international airport at the Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) in Angeles, Pampanga.

Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that the RDC will push for either the rehabilitation of the mothballed Northrail mass transport system or the building of the first rapid train system –like the famous “Bullet Train” of Japan—that will ferry goods, cargo and people from Manila to Clark and vice versa via a modern and fast mass transport facility.

He said there were plans to put a new airport in the region and planners are eying the coastal towns of Bulakan and Obando along the Manila Bay but since there is already an existing international airport at the CSEZ, the RDC is proposing to maximize the use of existing facilities at Clark by building the first “bullet train” in the country that will haul cargo and ferry people.

He said the proposed bullet train system, the first of its kind that will be built in the country, will not only further boost the economy of the region, particularly in the provinces of Pampanga, Bulacan, Zambales, Bataan, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac and Aurora, but will also change the lifestyle of the people in the central plain of Luzon.

Alvarado said that domestic and international products as well as the public will have the opportunity to reach their destination in a fast mode , thus speeding the progress of economic growth in the region.

He also said that the proposed bullet train project will have a positive and booming effect on business, economy, society, environment and culture in the busting growth corridors in Central Luzon.

The bullet train, he added, will have coaches for economy class, business class and executive class aside from its freight lines.

“The lifestyle of the people in region 3 will be revved up and travel time will be lessen. This project will surely change the landscape and business will definitely boom—in speeding fashion in our region,” the governor said.

Alvarado said that during a RDC meeting in the province last October, Deo Manalo, director of the project development service of the Department of Transportation and Communication, disclosed that the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is keen on rehabilitating the mothballed Northrail project and other railways of the Philippine National Railways (PNR), that would also link this historic capital city to Calamba, Laguna.

Alvarado said that if this will push through it should not be only from Manila to Malolos but also to the Clark area to maximize the use of the airport and other existing facilities there.

“The rapid growth in Bulacan and other parts of Central Luzon is now taking place and if the fast mass transit system be revived, it should connect Clark airport to Metro Manila. Lets be realistic, investors are now looking north of Metro Manila, since the Calabarzon area are now full.

"If the mass transport system will be put up, this should be placed in an area which it can be more useful. What we are talking here is the viability of the Clark international airport and the booming businesses in the region,” he said.

Alvarado said the RDC will make a recommendation to President Benigno S. Aquino III to approve the bullet train project that will link Metro Manila to Clark airport a priority undertaking this year. (PNA) 
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Service firearms of Bulacan cops inspected; no cops fired guns during Yuletide celebrations

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, Jan. 3 (PNA)-- Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Joel S. Orduna on Friday said that no policemen in this province fired their “tape-sealed” service firearms during the Yuletide season.

Orduna, together with other ranking officials of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office, inspected the firearms of provincial policemen during a formation at the provincial headquarters here.

The guns were sealed and signed by Bulacan police officials before New Year’s eve to ensure that no policemen will fire their service firearms.

Orduna was very firm when he told Bulacan policemen that he would not hesitate to throw the books at erring cops who will indiscriminately fire their guns during the New Year celebration.

Following the inspection of the sealed firearms, the Bulacan police director said that he was glad that his men followed the orders of PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima.

He, however ,called on witnesses who might shed light on a case of “stray bullet” piercing the house of Arvin Santos, 28, of Barangay San Sebastian, Hagonoy town.

The wayward bullet hit Santos on the head but he was declared “out of danger” by his attending doctors.

Santos told that he was lucky because the bullet grazed only his head as he tried to kiss his wife to greet her "Happy New Year" when the stray bullet fell inside their house.

Orduna said that the Hagonoy police are still looking for the owner of the gun. (PNA) 
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3 persons hit by stray bullet, 209 others hurt due to firecrackers in Central Luzon

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Jan. 2 (PNA) -- At least three persons were hit by stray bullet while the number of injured persons in Central Luzon due to firecrackers rose to 209, police said Thursday.

Those wounded due to stray bullet were identified as Alieya Sto. Domingo, 6, of Barangay Bertese, Quezon, Nueva Ecija; Marvin Santos, 23, a resident of Hagonoy, Bulacan and Mary Joy Macapagal, 16, a resident of San Ilmanio, Aliaga, Nueva Ecija.

Chief Superintendent Raul Petrasanta, Police Regional Office-3 (PRO3) director, said that based on the report they received those injured were from Bulacan, 69; Pampanga, 44; Tarlac, 27; Nueva Ecija, 23; Bataan, 18; Zambales, 14; Angeles City, 12; Olongapo City, 1 and Aurora, 1.

Petrasanta, however, said that there were no policemen reported who have discharged their service firearms during the New Year’s celebration.

Superintendent Raul Aganon, chief of the Regional Public Information Office-3 (RPIO3), said that although the number of firecracker victims in the region is higher by at least 26 percent as compared to last year, those injured suffered only minor injuries.

"Most of the injured were victims of small pyrotechnic items," Aganon said.

He said the PRO-3’s campaign against illegal firecrackers has been effective following the strict monitoring conducted by task force to manufacturers, dealers and users of firecrackers. (PNA) 
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36 persons injured in Bulacan’s New Year celebration 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Jan. 1 (PNA) --At least 36 persons were injured in the province as big revelers seem to ignore the "Iwas Paputok" campaign of the Department of Health (DOH).

A thick smoke and the stench of cordite filled the air in many parts of the province as revelers lit volume of fireworks as early as 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) reported the 36 victims were brought to different hospitals in Bulacan.

However, the PDRRMO said that there were no fatality and big fire reported.

There was also no report of victims of stray bullets, the PDRRMO said.

PDRRM executive officer Liz Mungcal said that 25 of the victims were holding firecrackers while 11 persons were simply watching or participating in lighting firecrackers.

As of 8:00 a.m. Wednesday, the PDRRMO reported that 16 of the victims, mostly children, were injured by the toy firecracker called “Picolo”; seven were blasted by oversized firecrackers; six were by “kwitis” or skyrockets; four by sparklers, two by the killer firecracker known as “pla-pla; ” and one by five star firecracker.

Mungcal said at least 22 of the victims were treated for burn injuries, three for lacerated wounds, two for avulsion while the others were treated for contusions and abrasion.

Dr. Paul Ruel Camina of the Bulacan Medical Center said that two male victims have lost fingers after getting blasted by an exploding “crying cow,”a type of firecracker that emits obnoxious fumes while mimicking the sound of a crying cow and a “whistle bomb, a smaller version of the firecracker known as “baby dynamite”.

The victims were identified as Allan Balmes, a resident of Banga 1st, Plaridel and Wilfredo Vegas Jr, of Guiguinto town.

Balmes was holding the baby dynamite (whistle bomb) when it exploded, damaging the fingers in both hands and part of his back.

Vegas, on the other hand, was injured when the seemingly harless “crying cow” suddenly exploded while being lighted.

Camina said that finger bones were already protruding when the victims were brought to the BMC.

Despite the big volume of fireworks that were ignited on New Year’s Eve, the number of firecracker victims in the province was still low as compared to 40 victims last year.

The PDRMMO said that the decrease in the number of victims can be attributed by the preparedness and awareness campaign on the proper handling of firecrackers by the provincial Government , the Bulacan police and other concerned agencies.

Mungcal said that a week before Christmas, PDRMMC chairman Gov. Willy M. Sy-Alvarado has already placed emergency teams, firefighters as well as medical teams on a 24 hours alert status, ready to help at any given instance. (PNA) 
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Central Luzon cops on heightened alert

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Dec. 23 (PNA) -– The Central Luzon police are now on heightened alert for possible terror during this Yuletide season.

Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta, Central Luzon police director, has placed all police units in the region under alert, advising all police personnel to take precautionary measures.

Petrasanta also reminded provincial and city directors to tighten the security of police camps and offices including vital installations, economic key points and places of convergence such as malls and public markets.

He earlier sought an audience with different security managers of malls and discussed with them their respective preparations especially with the influx of shoppers during the holidays.

“This is a preemptive measure to ensure the safety of shoppers,” he pointed out, adding that the focus is not on terror but criminal elements who will take advantage of the situation.

Petrasanta said that police units in areas where major shopping malls are located have been beefed-up, including Subic and Clark Freeport in Olongapo City and Mabalacat City, respectively, Angeles City, Tarlac City, Cabanatuan City and Bulacan.

He also cancelled Christmas and New Year’s break of policemen except in emergency situations.

However, he said the situation will be upgraded into full alert should the need arise. (PNA) 
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Bulacan cops smash shabu lab, Chinese chemist nabbed 
By Emil G. Gamos

GUIGUINTO, Bulacan, Dec 21 (PNA--Police continue to score big in their campaign against the drug menace following the arrest of a Chinese chemist during a lightning raid at a shabu laboratory in Barangay Sta. Cruz here Friday afternoon.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Joel Orduna identified the arrested suspect as Liu Shihua alias “Peter Tan Lee."

Except from admitting to be a chemist, other data about the suspect remains unknown.

Orduna said that a police anti-narcotics team swooped down on an apartment on Catleya Street, Sta. Rita Village in Barangay Sta Cruz after a weeklong surveillance which was undertaken after receiving information on the suspicious presence of the Chinese chemist.

He said that police investigators learned that Shihua has been staying at the said apartment for more than three months now, renting the place for P10,000 a month.

It was also learned that the apartment was rented by a certain Johnny Tan, according to landlady Flor Fugoso.

Orduna said the raiding team seized chemical ingredients and apparatus being used to manufacture shabu.

Police said that the shabu lab could produce five to 10 kilos of shabu a day.

The seized evidences were brought to the Bulacan PNP Crime Laboratory for further examination and documentation.

The arrested suspect is presently under the custody of the Guiguinto police while appropriate charges are being readied against him for filing in court.

Meanwhile, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado commended the Bulacan police for smashing the clandestine shabu laboratory, saying that its discovery and the arrest of the suspect has already saved many youths from the dangers and evil of the dope menace. (PNA) 
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AFP declares Bulacan "cleared of communist affectation and influence" 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Dec 18 (PNA) -–Long known as among the hotbed of communist insurgency in the country, the province of Bulacan on Wednesday was finally declared “cleared of communist terrorists affectation and influence” by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) at the Francisco Balagtas Hall of the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center here.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy- Alvarado, in his capacity as chairman of the Provincial Peace and Order Council and representative of the provincial government of Bulacan, signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Col. Henry G. Sabarre, commander of the 703rd Infantry (Agila) Brigade of 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army and Bulacan police director Supt. Joel S. Orduna, declaring Bulacan as “peaceful and ready for further development.”

The MOA signing was witnessed by Northern Luzon Command commander Lt. Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr., Col. Librado Moog, Imelda Magat of the provincial office of the Department of Interior and Local Government and provincial board member Ramon Posadas, chairman of the Committee on Peace and Order of the Sanguniang Panglalawigan.

Catapang said that the 703rd Brigade, which has operational jurisdiction in Bulacan, has earlier recommended to the higher headquarters of the AFP for the declaration of Bulacan as “cleared” from “communist terrorists” (CTs) affectation and influence as evidence by the decrease in the activities of the insurgents and the improved peace and order situation in the province as attested by local chief executives of formerly affected areas.

“ All the ingredients for progress is now here in Bulacan. We have been fighting insurgency for a long time but finally we have cleared Bulacan and growth and development is now fast accelerating here especially in the mountains of Eastern Bulacan which is rich in mineral resources,” Catapang said.

He also stressed that to achieve long lasting peace, the groundwork for progress must be laid properly and spread prosperity to all the people.

He assured Governor Alvarado and the people of Bulacan that the AFP will continue to protect the province from all types of security threats.

Alvarado said that the MOA is” a manifestation of our long quest for peace”.

He said that the key to progress and peace is unity and this will radiate to the entire country, ensuring national growth and stability.

“This is a challenge to anybody, whatever their creed or ideology, the purpose here, is alleviate the lives of our people and with order there will be peace and when there is peace, progress and development will bloom.

“We could now focus on more pressing problems like addressing the effects of global warming and climate change. Through the unified move and stable relationship, we can the attain peaceful development of our province," the governor said.

The MOA will also further strengthen the internal security operations that will pre-empt the resurgence of communist terrorists and other threat groups in the province. (PNA) 
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OCD-Region 3 chief hails Bulacan officials for successful Angat dam break drill

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Dec. 13 (PNA) -- In times of chaos and devastation wrought by a powerful earthquake that could trigger the “destruction” of the 45 years old Angat dam, preparedness, good management and strong leadership can make a big difference in saving as many lives as possible.

This was the assessment of Office of Civil Defense-3 (OCD-3) regional director Josefina Timoteo on the Angat dam break drill conducted by the provincial government on Friday morning.

The drill was made after Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado ordered the review and upgrading of emergency action plans (EAPs) of the provincial government, including various schools in this historic capital city, as part of the adaptation program on the “clear and present danger” being poised by the destructive effects of global warming and climate change.

Timoteo said the drill conducted by the provincial government and the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), is “99.9 perfect.”

“Today, we have witnessed an efficient incident command system here that could help save lives even in a worse case scenario like a 7.2 magnitude earthquake coupled with the collapse of Angat dam,” said Timoteo, a native of Paombong town and a veteran disaster control official.

She said Bulacan is blessed with good and competent leaders that people can rely on during times of calamities.

”This kind of preparation is very important and timely. There are lot of lives that can be saved in the right movement and preparation in times of calamities,” Timoteo said as she thanked provincial officials and PDRRM executive officer for coming up with an efficient disaster emergency action plans.

At least 12,000 students, teachers and capitol employees participated in the Angat dam Drill.

They were taught on what to do and where to go when a calamity of destructive proportion struck.

Alvarado said that Bulacan is being constantly hit by severe floodings and yet when the water subsides, its people still has their homes and means of livelihood unlike the unfortunate victims of the most powerful typhoon that ever hit the planet—super typhoon Yolanda.

“But in this situation, we are bracing for a magnitude 7.2 earthquake being aggravated by the collapse of Angat dam. During bad weather, the dams are releasing excess waters and when they release even just two cubic meters per second of water, the low laying towns of Hagonoy, Calumpit and parts of Malolos are being submerged by rampaging floods. But when the dam breaks, it will unleash at least 210 centimeters of rampaging water that will also carries debris like illegally cut logs,” the governor said.

Alvarado also said that they will constantly pray that it will not happen but when it does, the people will now be prepared for the worse.

The governor also ask concerned agencies to use the P5.7 billion given by President Benigno S. Aquino III for the immediate rehabilitation of Angat dam. (PNA) 
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Barangay chairman in Bulacan slain

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Dec. 12 (PNA) -- A barangay chairman in Bulacan was shot dead by a still unidentified gunman along General Alejo Santos Highway in Bustos town of the said province Wednesday.

In a report reaching Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta, director of the Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3), the slain official was identified as Romeo Taruc, 63, a barangay captain of Hinukay, Baliuag, Bulacan.

Police report said that Taruc was shot in the head and body by a lone gunman while he was about to board his car, Mitsubishi Adventure with plate no. RJL-649.

The barangay official died on the spot, the police said.

It was learned that the victim had just went out of the Bustos cockpit around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday when the shooting incident took place.

Three empty shells for .45 caliber pistol was found at the scene of the crime.

Police are still investigating the motive behind the incident. (PNA) 
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Bulacan police ready for Monday’s ABC president elections

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Dec. 7 (PNA)-—The Bulacan Police Provincial Office is now on full alert for the election of Association of Barangay Captains in the province on Monday.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Joel Orduna said maneuvers platoon from the Provincial Public Safety Management Company (PPSMC) under Supt. Ross Alvarado are now deployed in key areas of the province.

Orduna said that some teams from the PPSMC will also augment the local police stations in the province's 21 towns and three cities.

“We are watching some areas but generally, we see a peaceful elections on Monday,” he said.

Elected village chieftains in a town or city will choose their president which will represent them in the municipal or city council after which they will again choose their representative to the provincial board.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that this Monday’s election of ABC president is democracy in action that emanates from the grassroot level.

He urged village officials to choose the leader whom they deem can serve the community, the town or city, the province and their country well.

“There are a lot of good barangay officials and they will be our partners in pushing for progress and peace to our noble province," the governor said. (PNA) 
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Bulacan cops keep tight watch on sale of killer firecrackers

BOCAUE, Bulacan, Dec. 6 (PNA) -- The clandestine selling of oversized and killer types of firecrackers has gone high-tech, police officials disclosed on Friday.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Joel Orduna said that police intelligence operatives have uncovered the new modus operandi of some unscrupulous dealers of firecrackers on the illegal sales of these banned types of deadly noisemakers as among the favorites of some revelers who want to greet the coming of the New Year with a dangerous loud bang.

“Buyers or the so called suki (frequent customer) can still buy these killer types of firecrackers through text messages and other forms of high tech messaging.

"But the police will continue to hunt illegal manufacturers and dealers of banned firecrackers,” he said.

Orduna, together with the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and representatives of the provincial government, inspected fireworks stores in Barangays Turo and Binians.

He warned dealers that policemen will immediately padlock their shops if they will be caught selling killer types of firecrackers.

Among the prohibited types are “Goodbye Philippines”, “Doomsday”, “Pla-Pla”, “Ampatuan”, “Super Lolo” etc.

Orduna also instructed Supt. Ross Alvarado, head of the Public Safety Management Company, to deploy teams along the rows of fireworks stores to ensure that the safety provisions of Republic Act 7183 otherwise known as “The Firecracker Law of 1992” is strictly observed.

“People can celebrate Christmas and welcome the New Year without using killer types of firecrackers. There are many safe pyrotechnics devices that can be bought.

"The Bulacan Police will strictly watch these store and will arrest buyers of oversized firecrackers,” he said.

Orduna also said that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has reminded manufacturers and dealers to sell only fireworks that has passed quality standards bearing DTI-approved seal or stickers.

“Most of the injuries here are caused by smuggled imported fireworks which is slowly killing the livelihood and income of local manufacturers and dealers,” he added.

Orduna said that a provincewide information campaign on the safe use and handling of fireworks and other pyrotechnics devices will be jointly conducted by the Provincial Public Affairs Office and the Public Information Office of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office.

He added that the “no smoking and no testing” policy will be strictly enforced as well as provision on zoning. (PNA) 
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2 female dope dealers fall in Bulacan drug bust

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, Dec. 4 (PNA) -– Police operatives are continuously stepping up their campaign in eradicating the drug menace in the province by pounding hard on the lairs of suspected drug dealers.

Bulacan police director Sr. Supt. Joel Orduna said the Special Operations Group of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office arrested two alleged female drug dealers during a buy bust operation in Barangay Banga 1st, Plaridel Tuesday night.

Orduna identified the arrested suspects as Melody Gurobat, 20, resident of Barangay Banga 1st, Plaridel and Rhenielyn Reyes, 25, of Barangay Banga 2nd, also in Plaridel town.

Orduna said a team from the Special Operation Group arrested the suspects after selling shabu to a police poseur buyer.

When frisked, the suspect yielded at least 50 plastic sachets of shabu weighing approximately 50 grams, he said.

He said the seized illegal drugs has an estimated street value worth P300,000.

The seized evidence was brought to the PNP Crime Laboratory for testing while drug pushing charges are being readied for filing in court against the suspects.

Orduna said the intensified anti-drug operations is in line with the marching order of Central Luzon police regional director Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta to step-up operations against criminal elements. (PNA) 
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Outstanding Central Luzon cops cited

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Dec. 2 (PNA) -- The Department of Interior and Local Government in Region 3 (DILG-3) conferred awards to most outstanding policemen of Central Luzon over the weekend.

The awarding ceremony was led by DILG-3 assistant regional director Abraham Pascua.

The search for the outstanding policemen and policewomen of Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3) was conceptualized by former PRO-3 regional director and now Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director general Arturo Cacdac, in partnership with the JBT Group of Companies of Jose B. Tan.

The search for outstanding policemen and women aims to highlight and pay tribute to the exemplary performance of deserving police officers in Central Luzon.

The awardees were chosen after several months of stringent screening by the selection board composed of DILG regional director Florida Dijan; National Police Commission regional director lawyer Manuel Pontanal; CHED-OIC Virginia Akiate and Msgr. Eugenio Mercado with the Regional Police Community Relations Division as the secretariat.

Among the awardees were the following: senior police chief officer (PCO) category–Supt. Elsa Miranda, Tarlac Provincial Police Office, and Supt. David Poklay, Bulacan PPO; junior PCO category–Insp. Beverlie Allapitan, RPSB3, and Sr. Insp. Alexander Reyes, PPSC, Nueva Ecija PPO; Police Non-Commissioned (PNCO) category-PO3 Maria Gerylines Pacubas, RHQS, PRO3 and PO2 Comet Dumangeng, Pampanga PPO.

Also awarded for achievements outside normal police call of duty was Sr. Insp. Michael Masangkay, Pampanga PPO.

Each awardees received a cash prize, plaque and one computer set.

Meanwhile, PRO-3 director Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta said that Central Luzon police will continue to give recognition to deserving police personnel. (PNA) 
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Comelec stops oath of barangay captain in Meycauayan City

MEYCAUAYAN CITY, Bulacan, Dec. 1 (PNA)--An elected barangay captain in this component city known for its world class jewelry industry was prevented from taking his oath.

This after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) suspended “the effects of the proclamation of Salvador D. Violago as punong barangay of Camalig in this city."

The order was penned by Comelec First Division presiding Commissioner Lucenito Tagle dated November 27.

The poll body found that “the evidence for the grounds of denial to or cancel the certificate of candidacy (of Violago) is strong.”

The Comelec Order virtually barred Violago from taking his oath as barangay captain that was held simultaneously last November 30 for all elected barangay officials in the province at the Bulacan Provincial Capitol here.

The Comelec said that the case stemmed from the disqualification complaint filed by petitioners Lorenzo San Pascual, Victoria Fuerte and Nella Dungo who alleged that Violago, aka “Bogs Violago”, lacked the mandatory six - month residency for a candidate in the barangay elections.

Records showed that Violago ran and lost as a mayoralty candidate in the May 13, 2013 local elections and used his residential address at Barangay Lawa, where his wife, Josefina, is the incumbent barangay captain.

Josefina also ran and was reelected in the October 28 barangay polls but Bogs Violago decided to also ran as a candidate for barangay captain in Camalig where he owns a gasoline station. (PNA) 
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Bulacan to hold 'Dam Break Drill'

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Dec. 1 (PNA)--If you are a student or a teacher studying in this historic capital city, what would you do if a magnitude 71.2 earthquake jolts the province and the giant Angat dam nestling in the mountains of Norzagaray town breaks?

This question will be answered next week when the provincial government and the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC), in coordination with the city government, holds a “Dam break Drill” in four big universities here.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that the drill aims to prepare students and faculty members when calamities of catastrophic proportions happens.

“Prevention is the best way to survive and save lives. No one knows when it will come and we are praying that it will not but it is prudent to be ready and alert,” Alvarado said.

He said that it is not only the destruction that the collapse of Angat that should be addressed but also the destruction of buildings and other structures.

He said that government experts have confirmed that the 45 years old Angat Dam is sitting on the West Valley fault line.

Alvarado has time and again called the attention of the national government for the immediate repair and fortification of the more than four decades old dam.

He said that the people of Bulacan is very thankful to President Benigno Aquino III for his swift response to the issue by giving P 5.1 billion budget fort the immediate repair of the dam.

However, Alvarado and other Bulacan officials, including the local media, are wondering when the repair and rehabilitation of Angat dam will start since it was almost a year when the President released the P5.1 billion budget.

City mayor Christian D. Natividad said the “Dam Break Drill” will be conducted at the La Consolacion University, The Bulacan State University, Centro Escolar University and the Bulacan Polytechnic College.

Natividad said that the city government is also strictly implementing a building code that will ensure the strength and stability of buildings and structures being built in the city. (PNA) 
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Gov commends Bulacan delegation for helping typhoon victims in Eastern Samar

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Nov. 29 (PNA)-—They came, they saw, they delivered and they are now back home after bringing help and hope to the survivors of super typhoon “Yolanda” at the so- called “ground zero” in Eastern Samar.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Thursday thanked and commended the 104-man delegation from this province who made a long journey to bring medical aid, medicines and relief goods to the people of the heavily devastated areas in Eastern Samar.

”There is not enough words to thank all of you. You are the dignity of our province. What you’ve done whether small or big is now written in our history. It is not how much or how many provinces you have helped but the love who showed to those who was hit by super typhoon,” Alvarado told the 104-man delegation when they arrived back at the Provincial Capitol grounds Thursday afternoon.

Aside from the aid that the Bulacan delegation has brought to Eastern Samar, particularly in the towns of Lawaan, Quinapondan, Giporlos and Balangiga, the governor said donations continue to pour at the provincial capitol.

He said they will turn over the donation to either the Philippine National Red Cross, the Department of Social Welfare and Development or the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

”During the time we were under the state of calamity, the Visayas extended their help and support to us. We are more blessed. Let us remember that it is better to give than to receive,” he said.

Alvarado said that help will continue to pour to the typhoon-ravaged areas in the Visayan region even when the foreign contingents decide to go home.

Dr. Paul Ruel Camina, who was among the doctors who gave free medical services to the people of Eastern Samar, said the Bulacan delegation was composed of 24 doctors; one dentist; 32 nurses; five lay rescuers; three social workers; six truck drivers; two tanker drivers; 13 police security personnel; five bus drivers; four ambulance drivers; and six support groups headed by Provincial Administrator Jim Valerio, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Joe Gomez and provincial medical consultant Dr. Florante Tuazon.

The province has distributed 1,000 tons of relief goods and medical supplies supported with 10,000 liters of diesel fuel, loaded in two passenger buses, four 10-14 wheeler dump and cargo trucks, four ambulance vehicles and one SUV.

Valerio said the sight of the devastation brought shock to the Bulacan team but they remained undaunted as it only gave them the strength and the will to help the people of Eastern Samar recover and rebuild their ravaged communities.

Valerio presented to Alvarado and other provincial officials including Vice Governor Daniel Fernando and Board member Michael Fermin a sack printed with words written in black paint “Thank you very much to Bulacan, from the people of Lawaan, Samar.”

The two government officials also thanked the Bulacan delegation for doing a “job well done.”

“They are modern day angels to the people of Eastern Samar,’ Fernando said.

For her part, Dr. Joy Gomez said they did not only bring food, medicines and medical aid but also inspiration.

“We planted hope in a hopeless heart, one’s burden got lighter because of us, we caused a laugh that wipes their tears away, our days were well spent in our journey to Samar, we would like to thank them for giving us the opportunity to serve God through them even in a short period of time,” Gomez said. (PNA) 
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Bulacan cops bust drug dealer with guns, AWOL cop in drug sting operation

CAMP GEN ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, Nov. 28 (PNA) -- Police arrested a suspected drug dealer and an AWOL (absent without leaver) policeman during a buy-bust operation in Barangay Lambakin, San Miguel town on Thursday afternoon.

In a report to Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Joel Orduna, San Miguel police chief Supt. Fitz Macariola identified the arrested suspects as Ronaldo de Guzman alias “Bat”, 40, married, jobless, resident of said barangay and one P03 Jaime Vitug Mallari Jr., a cop on AWOL status.

Orduna said several grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, guns and ammunitions were seized from the suspects.

He said Macariola and the drug enforcement unit of the San Miguel Police station arrested de Guzman after selling a plastic sachet of shabu to a police undercover agent inside his house which has been the subject of complaints from concerned citizens who claimed that it is being used as a dope den.

When frisked, De Guzman yielded another sachet of shabu, a black widow revolver and a homemade shotgun.

The AWOL cop, on the other hand, was nabbed for visiting a dope den and could also face charges for possession of a gun, a Pitro Berreta 9mm Pistol with a clip of magazine loaded with 12 live bullets.

The confiscated evidence were turned over to the Bulacan PNP Crime Laboratory for examinations while appropriate charges are being readied for filing in court against the arrested suspects. (PNA) 
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PRO-3 destroys confiscated video karera machines

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, Nov. 25 (PNA) --The Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3) on Monday destroyed the 12 confiscated video karera and fruit game machines to show its relentless efforts against illegal gambling in Central Luzon.

Chief Superintendent Raul Petrasanta, PRO3 director, said the machines were confiscated Sunday by the Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG) in its anti-illegal gambling operations conducted in Bulacan and Pampanga.

Petrasanta personally supervised the destruction of the confiscated video machines right after Monday 's flag ceremony here.

He said the destroyed video machines worth P100,000.

Petrasanta said that a total of P15,000 different dominations of coins that contained on the 12 video machines will be donated to "Yolanda" victims.

He said that RSOG will continuously conduct monitoring on illegal gambling activities in the region. (PNA)
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CAAP orders probe on private chopper crash in Obando

MANILA, Nov. 25 (PNA) -- The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) on Monday ordered for an investigation as to what caused a private helicopter to crash land in the waters of Obando, Bulacan on Sunday afternoon.

CAAP Director General Willaim Hotchkiss III said he has sent field investigators to determine the cause of the incident after the crash incident near the shorelines of Purok 6, Binwagan, Obando, Bulacan.

Reports reaching Hotchkiss said the chopper which figured in the accident was a Bolkow 150 with registration number RP-C699 piloted by Capt. James Eagle with lone passenger Capt. Iren Dornier, who were both safe after getting thrown life vests by a US C130 PAG-ASA 47 crew responding to a mayday alert .

The chopper came from a humanitarian mission in the Visayas in connection with typhoon “Yolanda” and was flying back to home base in Pampanga from Caticlan when the incident happened.

The pilot of the chopper sent a distress signal and was picked up by a US C130 PAG-ASA 47 which located it with the help of CAAP personnel relaying information and coordinates.

The CAAP Operation Rescue and Coordinating Center also contacted the coast guard teams near the area who immediately sent rubber boats.

Initial reports received by the Philippine Coast Guard said the chopper’s engine overheated thus the accident. (PNA) 
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Two suspected car thieves fall, 12 high end vehicles siezed in Bulacan raid - By Emil G. Gamos

BALIWAG, Bulacan, Nov. 23 (PNA) -– Police arrested two alleged members of a carnapping syndicate and siezed several high-end vehicles during a raid at the gang’s suspected hideout in Barangay Matang Tubig here Saturday.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Joel Orduna identified the arrested suspects as couple Mark Joseph and Jasmine Reyes, both residing on Sampaguita Street, Barangay Matang Tubig.

Oduna said at least 12 stolen motor vehicles, one tricycle and one motorcycle were recovered by joint operatives of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office, Baliwag Police Station, Provincial Public Safety Company and the PNP-Highway Patrol Group Region 3 at the Reyes compound.

He said the police team swooped down on the area on the strength of a search warrant issued by the Bulacan Regional Trial Court and was properly documented in the presence of village officials and mediamen.

He said police investigators are looking deeper into the alleged involvement of the arrested suspects in the illegal activities of a big time carnap gang operating in Metro Manila and Central Luzon.

Orduna said the raiding team recovered one Toyota Land Cruiser, one Ford Everest, one Honda Jazz, two Honda Civic Hatchback, one Honda City, one Nissan Frontier Pick Up, one Mitsubishi Exceed van, one Mitsubishi L 300 van, one Kawasaki Barako motorcycle with sidecar and one Sangyong Musso car.

He said the suspects are now under the custody of the PNP-Highway Patrol Group.(PNA) 
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Bulacan, Vietnam ink bilateral trade ties

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Nov. 21 (PNA)-- A bilateral trade relation was forged Thursday between the provincial government of Bulacan, the Bulacan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) and the Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

A five-page memorandum of cooperation was signed between the provincial government headed by Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam led by Ambassador Truong Trieu Duong and BCCI president Gregoria Simbulan during the trade and investment meeting held at the Pavillion of the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center here.

Alvarado said that the signing will contribute to better relations between the two countries and to a more peaceful and prosperous world for the children of the next generation.

“This meeting is a testament to our incredible focus and desire to boost our relationship in different areas for our economic advancement.

"We can look forward to a better time now if we tackle our province in good faith with imagination and determination in seeking the best possible solution for the benefit of both countries,” the governor said.

A powerpoint presentation on the economic and livelihood programs under the “One Bulacan Pride” or Program for Rapid Industrialization and Development was presented during the meeting.

Alvarado said the rapid growth and development now in motion in Bulacan is giving domestic and foreign investors all good reasons to invest in this province.

Bulacan was recently hailed by Superbrands Marketing International, an award-giving body tasked to celebrate the success of brands worldwide, as “the undisputed most progressive province in the country today.”

Ambassador Duong was enthusiastic during his visit in Bulacan and is looking forward to boost the relationship between his country and the province.

“The goal of our visit is to inform the officials and businessmen of Bulacan the opportunities of cooperation and doing business in Vietnam.

"The door of Vietnam embassy is always open for any of your initiatives or inquiries to do business with us Vietnamese. Likewise we would also like to hear about doing business opportunities in Bulacan. I believe that this will result in enhancing our relations and cooperation,” Duong said.

Phan Tuan Khoi, commercial counselor of the Vietnamese Embassy, presented the overview on the trade policy of Vietnam ,including the exports to the country last year such as rice, machinery, coffee and computers, which amounted to US$ 1.871 million as well as the products that are prohibited from import and export like weapons, fireworks, toxic chemicals, and others.

Provincial planning and development officer Arlene Pascual, on the other hand, presented the highlights of the provincial government's initiative on trade, investment and tourism.

For the BCCI, Simbulan cited the common characteristics of Vietnam and the Philippines.

“Aside from food, historically, we have both been colonies of the European countries but it is good to know that there are very strong evidences of active maritime trade between our two countries even before the arrival of the Europeans which we must continue at present,” Simbulan added. (PNA) 
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Police officers undergo 'Balik Aral' program

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Nov. 15 (PNA)--Ranking police officers in Central Luzon and in the National Capital Region (NCR) virtually went back to school Thursday after finishing a one-day course dubbed “Balik Aral” where the action plans of the Philippine National Police (PNP) were discussed in a classroom-setting.

Central Luzon police regional director Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta said the activity is in line with PNP Chief Director General Alan Purisima’s continuing education program where ranking police commanders were briefed on implementation of the national police’s plans of action.

Quezon City police district director Chief Supt. Richard A. Albano said the lecturers in the "Balik Aral" discussed the PNP P.A.T.R.O.L Plan 2030 or the “Peace and Order Agenda for Transformation and upholding the Rule Of Law.”

Chief Supt. Ferdinando G. Sevilla, director of Center for Police Strategy Management (CPSM), lectured about the CODE-P and Personal Scorecard of the PNP while Ret. Chief Supt. Rex Milton A. Dolino, consultant of Patrol Plan 2013, discussed the “Four Disciplines of Strategy Execution.”

Makati City police chief Senior Supt. Manuel Lukban said that police commanders from the regional office down to the provincial and local levels have their own scorecards in the implementation of the plans of actions of the national police headquarters.

“This will help policemen to perform their duties well and make their respective areas a safe place to live and do business,” Lukban said. (PNA) 
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Angat dam continues preemptive release of excess water after its spilling level was breached

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Nov. 11 (PNA) -- Operators of Angat dam is continuously releasing water from their overflowing reservoir after its spilling level has been breached by one meter since Saturday.

Engr. Rodolfo Herman, general manager of the Angat River Hydro Electric Power Plant of the National Power Corporation, said that they will continue the preemptive release from their reservoir until the water level goes down to 210 meters.

Angat dam engineers opened their spill gates and started preemptive release operations last Saturday afternoon after the water breached its spilling level of 212 meters.

Disaster response team alerted villages along the Angat river that Angat dam will begin releasing water.

The Provincial Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said the release will not affect any low lying areas in the province since the Bustos dam can contain the water being released from Angat dam.

Herman said the rising water elevation was due to the huge volume of rainfall spawned by super typhoon Yolanda.

Earlier, Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado urged dam operators to conduct preemptive release from their overflowing reservoir.

"They should not test the structural integrity of the 45-year old Angat dam. The water at the dam is overspilling. That's why there is a need to do preemptive release of excess water," Alvarado said.

As of 8 a.m. Monday, the water level at Angat dam was 213.31 meters (spilling level 212 meters) while the water level at Ipo dam was 100.64 meters (spilling level 101 meters).

The water elevation at Bustos dam, on the other hand, was 16.46 meters (spilling level 17.70 meters). (PNA) 
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Bulacan cops get new motorbikes against criminals

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, Nov 8 (PNA)--Bad news for “riding-in-tandem” criminals operating in this province.

The Bulacan Police Provincial Office is now training policemen to counter the nefarious activities of hoodlums, particularly those riding-in-tandem on motorcycles.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Joel Orduna said that selected policemen from different police station and the Provincial Public Safety Company are now undergoing motorcycle-riding tactics, specifically to chase and deter criminals on board motorbikes from victimizing the public.

Orduna said that the training course was conducted after giant cement company Holcim Philippines donated 30 brand new motorcycles equipped with radio and public address gadgets early this week.

“We are thankful that companies like Holcim Philippines, through their social responsibility program, are helping law enforcers in battling crime and in the maintenance of peace and order,” he said.

He said that a pair of policemen will now also ride in tandem in patrolling major streets of province.

“We are now training them on how to use these motorcycles and how they respond in any given situation when chasing and neutralizing criminals,” the top Bulacan cop said.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, who was present during the turnover of the 30 brand new motorcycles at the provincial police headquarters here, said that the Bulacan police are now better equipped in combating criminals and in preserving the peace and order situation in this province.

“We now have our own motorcycle-riding cops that are capable of thwarting criminal activities in our province. They will augment the mobile patrol teams in maintaining peace and order which is one of the major thrust of provincial government ” Alvarado said. (PNA) 
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Update: Super typhoon 'Yolanda' plows through Visayas

MANILA, Nov 8 (PNA) -- The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) on Friday said that Typhoon Yolanda continues to move over the landmass of the Visayas as the agency advised the residents to take precautionary measures.

In a interview, PAGASA weather forecaster Elvie Enriquez said typhoon Yolanda has already made three landfalls -- first in Guiuan, Eastern Samar around 4:40 a.m., second landfall over Dulag-Tolosa Leyte around 7 a.m. then as of 8 a.m. the typhoon crossed Ormoc City.

She added that as of 8 a.m. the eye of typhoon “Yolanda” was located at the vicinity of Ormoc City, Leyte (11.0°N, 124.7°E) with maximum sustained winds of 235 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 275 kph and it is forecast to move west northwest at 39 kph.

Enriquez said that if typhoon Yolanda maintains its movement and speed, it is expected to traverse in Bantayan, Cebu around 10 a.m. to 12 noon; then it will move at Estancia, Iloilo around 12 noon to 2 p.m.; then around 2 p.m to 4 p.m. then typhoon will go across Boracay, Aklan; then 4 p.. to 6 p.m and the last possible landfall in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro and Busuanga, northern Palawan around 10 p.m. to 12 midnight.

Enriquez said the super typhoon is expected to exit the Philippine landmass (on Saturday early morning) towards the West Philippine Sea.

Enriquez added that Yolanda is expected to be out of country's area responsibility by Saturday evening or Sunday morning.

Meanwhile, PAGASA said on Friday morning issued a red and orange rainfall warning on some provinces in the Visayas due to typhoon Yolanda.

In its twitter account, a red warning signal issued at 8 a.m., PAGASA said heavy downpours are expected in Samar, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Biliran, Bohol, Camotes Island and northern Cebu.

At 9 a.m., PAGASA included Cebu and Siquijor in its red warning signal.

"Serious flooding is expected in low-lying areas and landslides in mountainous areas," it said.

A red rainfall advisory is issued when downpours constitute an emergency. This is raised when observed rainfall is more than 30 mm within one hour or if rainfall has continued for the past three hours and is more than 65 mm.

When PAGASA raises a red warning, communities should be prepared to respond. It means serious flooding is seen and that residents should be ready to evacuate to safety.

Meanwhile, orange rainfall warning was raise over Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, Siquijor and rest of Cebu

"Flooding is threatening in low lying areas and landslides in mountainous areas," it said.

The orange rainfall advisory is raised in areas where rainfall is between 15 mm and 30 mm within one hour. Flooding is a definite threat in communities under the orange alert.

PAGASA also said that light to moderate rainshowers at times heavy rains will be felt in Metro Manila, Batangas, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal and Quezon which may persist for two to three hours. (PNA) 
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Warden says escape of 9 prisoners in CamSur jail planned, has outside help - By John Mark Escandor

NAGA CITY, Nov. 7 (PNA) -- The escape of nine prisoners from the Camarines Sur provincial jail in nearby Pili town was planned and coordinated and involved people outside of the prison.

This was revealed by Jose Francisco Musa, jail warden, to the PNA Wednesday but, he said, he could not elaborate further on the details and the people behind the escape because it might jeopardize the on-going operation for the capture of the remaining escapees still on the loose.

Musa said he had asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for deeper probe on the circumstances and people behind the jailbreak.

He said they had sightings of five escapees and authorities are undergoing a monitoring operation for their capture or surrender.

Two out of the nine prisoners who escaped last week from the provincial jail surrendered to authorities in San Miguel, Bulacan, and were turned over to jail authorities here Tuesday.

Musa identified the two recovered escapees who are now under the custody of the Provincial Jail of Camarines Sur as Muriel San Joaquin, charged with carnapping, and Erwin Capuz, facing a rap for violation of anti-drug law or R.A. 9165.

He said they still have to capture seven escapees including Richard Tell, facing statutory rape case; Juan Polidario, illegal possession of firearms; Kalim Padillo, frustrated murder; Roy Cabaltera, accused of rape; Eugene Porutas, drug trafficking; Roland Negrido, murder; and Lyod Gilford Embile, robbery.

Musa revealed that Porutas was the leader of the jailbreak. (PNA) 
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CJ Sereno leads 'Justice on Wheels' in Bulacan on Nov. 8

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Nov. 6 (PNA) -- The "Justice on Wheels" program of the Supreme Court (SC) scheduled this coming Friday, Nov. 8 here might just be an early Christmas present for some lucky prisoners who are serving time at the Bulacan provincial jail.

Executive judge Ma. Theresa Mendoza-Arcega of the Bulacan Regional Trial Court said the entire resources of the Bulacan judiciary will be mobilized for the summary disposition of at least 140 to 150 cases pending in the different RTC and municipal trial courts of the province.

“In support of the speedy disposition of cases which is the primary aim of the program, I am optimistic that we will dispose off an unprecedented record number of cases to help especially those accused of crimes who are languishing in jail due to technicalities or by reasons of financial difficulties,“ Arcega said.

SC Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno will personally lead the mobile "Justice on Wheels" trip to this historic capital city of Malolos, where hearings on pre-designated cases will be conducted on a customized air-con bus.

Provincial prosecutor Renato C. Samonte Jr, for his part, said “we are fully supportive of the Justice on Wheels program because the duty of a fiscal is not to convict but to prosecute and to ensure that justice is done.”

Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP-Bulacan chapter) president lawyer Pingki B. Bernabe said they are also mobilizing the full complement of the chapter’s pool of free legal aid lawyers to represent accused who will not be assisted by counsel so that their scheduled hearings will push through.

IBP-Bulacan vice president lawyer Percy dela Cruz said the speedy disposition of cases is the primary concern of everyone in order to decongest jails and help unclog the court salas of thousands of pending cases which accumulate every year.

IBP-Bulacan chapter also known as the Gat. Marcelo H. del Pilar chapter was acclaimed as the country's Most Outstanding IBP for the current year due to the sterling accomplishment of its board of directors and past-president lawyer Cecilio "Ted" Villanueva. (PNA) 
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NLEX-southboud heavy, SLEX light; rest of transport terminals have normal passenger volumes

MANILA, Nov. 3 (PNA) -- Portions of the southbound direction of North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) on Sunday experienced heavy traffic flow as vacationists trooped back to Metro Manila after spending “Undas” in the provinces.

Liezel Uy, of the Manila North Luzon Tollways Corp. traffic control center, said that as of 6 pm, the southbound lanes of NLEX in San Fernando, Pampanga had heavy vehicular flow due to a multiple collision at kilometer 62+500.

Uy said that once vehicles pass the area, it will be free moving but will experience slow moving traffic once they reach the viaduct between Pampanga and Bulacan. The slow moving traffic will extend all the way to Bocaue in Bulacan.

Uy attributed the slow moving traffic to vehicular volume.

At the South Luzon Expressway, Eugene Grecia, of the traffic control center, said that both directions of the highway experienced light traffic in both directions which he said was probably due to vacationist heading back to Manila on Saturday or some may go back early Monday morning.

At the Manila North Harbor, Jasper Atanedo, passenger terminal assistant, said the sea port experienced normal passenger flow. He said some 1,200 passengers arrived Sunday, while 960 left Manila.

“The number of passengers is our normal passenger flow,” Atanedo said.

It was the same for arriving domestic passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 as the Passenger Arrival Information Center noted an estimated 60 passenger arrivals for every flight that arrives the terminal.

The Quezon City Police District-Tourist Police Assistance Center in Cubao said it was also like a normal day of operations at Araneta Bus Terminal where buses arrive and depart without heavy passenger volume. (PNA) 
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Lack of parking space in cemetery causes traffic jam in Bulacan

MARILAO, Bulacan Nov. 1 (PNA) -- Traffic jam started in some thoroughfares of Marilao, Bulacan as one of its cemeteries, Lias Memorial Park, has no available parking space this afternoon for motorists visiting the cemetery.

Lias Memorial Park is located around 300 meters away from SM City Marilao and is near McArthur Hi-way and along Lias-Saog Road.

Parking spaces are very limited even the management allowed motorists to park their vehicles inside the cemetery.

Heavy traffic started more than 500 meters away along Lias Road and created a bottleneck in McArthur-Lias Intersection.

Stalls selling flowers, candles and food located beside the cemetery also contributed to road congestion.

Barangay traffic aids were assigned to manage the road situation in areas near the Lias Memorial Park.

People flocked to the said cemetery around 4 p.m. and more are expected to come in the evening.

Visitors said they opt to come in the evening to avoid the noon heat.

Police desk representative said they will continue monitoring the situation as many of the visitors will stay in the cemetery until All Soul’s Day, November 2. (PNA)
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‘Undas’ in Bulacan remains peaceful

BULACAN, Nov. 1 (PNA) – Observance of All Saint’s Day remains peaceful in the province of Bulacan, according to Police Provincial Office (PPO) Operations Officer Supt. Dale Soliba.

So far,here are no major crimes or violations reported to BPPO in observance of Undas.

Soliba said 1,134 police personnel are on heightened alert in the province since October 27, the day before the barangay polls.

He noted that PNP help desks were also located in front of cemeteries to ensure security and immediate response from police.

”Yung mga help desks natin nasa harap lang ng mga sementeryo sa buong Bulacan para agad din tayong maka-aksyon kung sakali mang may mangyaring hindi inaasahan sa lugar,” he said.

”Sa mga simpleng aksyon naman, naroon ang ating mga pulis para hingan ng tulong o pagsumbungan sakali mang may kahina-hinalang bagay sa loob o mga lugar na malapit sa sementeryo,” Soliba added.

The BPPO Operations Office also mentioned that groups of policemen are positioned along major thoroughfares in Bulacan such as McArthur Hi-way and North Luzon Expressway exits to assist motorists.

Further, most of cemeteries and roads near cemeteries in the province implemented one-way traffic to prevent road congestion.

Observation from local police recorded that fewer people visited cemeteries in the afternoon compared to last year’s when visitors already flocked to cemeteries on the eve of All Saint’s Day.

However, provincial police are still on alert as they expect more visitors to flock in the evening today.

The Bulacan police also reminded citizens to be responsible especially with their garbage.

”’Yung mga basura naman natin mula sa pagkain o mga dinala galling sa sementeryo, mas mabuti na dadalhin natin pabalik sa bahay at doon na lang itapon para hindi masaydong magtambak ‘yung mga basura sa semnteryo,” Soliba asked. (PNA)
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Police and motorists assistance centers now deployed in Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 30 (PNA) -- Police and motorists assistance centers were set up in major thoroughfares in Bulacan in anticipation of the influx of people coming here in the observance of All Saint's Day on Friday.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that the Bulacan Police, headed by Senior Supt. Joel Orduna, has deployed additional policemen from the Provincial Public Safety Management Company to augment local policemen in the province's 21 towns and three cities.

Alvarado said the public can call the operations center of the Bulacan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office for immediate emergency response.

He said the public can also call Bulacan Rescue hotline 044-7910566.

The governor said various civic organizations as well as radio groups in the province have also set up public assistance tents in key areas of every towns and cities in Bulacan.

Alvarado also reminded the public to secure their homes before visiting their departed loved ones in the cemetery.

Orduna said that police station chiefs have already deployed policemen to ensure public safety in the cemeteries where people have began cleaning the tombs of their departed relatives.

The Bulacan police director also reminded that deadly weapons, liquors and sound systems are not allowed in public and private cemeteries. (PNA) 
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No traffic congestion along Bulacan's McArthur Hi-way on election day

BULACAN, Oct. 28 (PNA) -- The busiest thorougfare of Bulacan, the McArthur Hi-way, is not congested on barangay election day.

Despite some barangay elementary schools being located along McArthur Hi-way, motorists experienced light traffic along the major road.

It was also observed that few public utility vehicles, particularly jeepneys, were on the road on election day compared to regular days.

McArthur Hi-way is considered as the busiest road of Bulacan as it connects Manila to other Luzon provinces such as Pampanga, Tarlac, and La Union, among others.

In Bulacan alone, major establishments such as schools and malls are located along the McArthur Hi-way. (PNA) 
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No reported election-related incidents, deaths in Bulacan
By Kris M. Crismundo

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 28 (PNA) -- Bulacan has recorded no incidents and deaths across barangay elections period starting September 28 until Monday.

Bulacan Provincial Police Office (BPPO) Operations Officer Supt. Dale Soliba told Philippines News Agency that peace and order are maintained during elections in all areas of Bulacan.

"So far, and we hope, that our barangay elections will turn out peaceful and successful until proclamations are made," Soliba said.

He cited that a total of 1,134 police personnel were deployed in 24 municipalities and cities of Bulacan to monitor the election situation since last month.

"Supposedly, we only have two personnel in each polling center. Bulacan has 555 polling centers in all 21 towns and three cities. But we added one personnel in each area," he added.

Soliba said each municipality and city of the province has one team of army that will function as Quick Response Team (QRT).

Further, some areas in Bulacan particularly in the third district had requested additional QRT to ensure security of the area.

"We also have these areas of immediate concern like San Ildefonso, San Miguel and DRT (Doña Remedios Trinidad), which requested up to three army teams in their area," he said.

Meanwhile, Soliba said the BPPO has records of violation in gun and liquor ban.

A violation in liquor ban was reported from San Jose del Monte City Sunday evening with minor ages drinking alcohol beverages along the street. (PNA) 
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Last day of barangay polls campaign in Bulacan, festive and generally peaceful — Comelec

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 26 (PNA) -– With sirens and horns blaring as cars, motorbikes and trucks bedecked with balloons and campaign posters, candidates in the 2013 barangay polls on Saturday circled every road in their respective villages as they made their final push to woo voters to vote for them on Monday's election.

Lawyer Elmo Roque, Bulacan provincial election supervisor, said that the final day of the campaign period for would-be village officials in the province is generally peaceful.

“It’s more like its fiesta time, with the bands, the parade and everything. It is merrier and no violence," he said during the weekly radio program of Bulakenyo broadcaster Rommel Ramos., Saturday morning.

Roque said that it's all system go as far as the Monday’s barangay election is concerned.

He said that the Bulacan police officers have briefed policemen on their poll duties.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Joel Orduna said additional police teams from the Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC) will augment local cops and army personnel in ensuring the conduct of a peaceful, honest, orderly and peaceful elections.

In Barangay Sumapang Matanda here, the streets were filled with hues of red, blue and yellow as supporters of candidates joined their bets in making a final round to boost their candidacies.

"I am happy and the feeling is different while you are offering services to your villagemates," said first time candidate Arturo Santiago.

In San Miguel town, which has history of political violence, the situation was also festive and still peaceful as of Saturday noon, according to town police chief Supt. Fitz Macariola.

“So far, there is no report of any untoward incidents,” Macariola said.

He said police teams are deployed to ensure that Monday’s poll will peacefully push through.

Meanwhile, Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado urged voters to choose wisely in electing their village officials.

Alvarado said the role of village chief and the council is key to the success and progress not only of their village but of the province as well.

"The role they will be playing is important especially now that industrialization is moving towards our province and region.They will be our partner in delivering services to our constituents. They will also our strong partner in pushing reforms and progress to our noble province," the governor added. (PNA) 
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Bulacan PDRRMC bags Gawad Kalasag award for the 2nd time in a row

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct 25 (PNA) --The long hours of dedicated service, its capability in responding swiftly on any eventuality and keen readiness every time a strong typhoon or bad weather disturbance has brought pride and recognition anew to Bulacan’s Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC).

The PDRRMC, headed by Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, was adjudged for the second time in a row as the best PDRRMC of the National Gawad Kalasag Awards.

The recognition was bestowed Thursday to the Bulacan PDRRMC at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Commissioned Officers’ Club, Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Alvarado, who always take first hand supervision on the command center of the PDRRMO and most of the times plays the role of “traffic enforcer” directing the flow of water discharge from the province three big dams (Angat, Ipo and Bustos) during times of calamity, said that “ it is a great honor for the province to be once again recognized as outstanding in disaster risk reduction and management and they will continue in giving their best in serving Bulacan.”

"We never stop but rather further improve so that more Bulakenyos will receive our services," Alvarado said.

He also called for the continuous involvement of the Bulakenyos in disaster control management and preparedness.

"The PDRRMC should not the only one always be prepared and ready. Because, we can only say that the council is effective if there is the cooperation of the citizenry.The council and the Bulakenyos should be hand-in-hand in confronting and addressing the problems in order to lessen the impact to the people and their livelihood in times of calamities," the governor said.

Bulacan PDRRM executive officer Felicisima Mungcal said that the Disaster Risk and Vulnerability Assessment of the council is one of the reasons why the province bagged the said award.

"The in-depth study that we did together with the Provincial Planning and Development Office, that serves as guide on what specific areas in Bulacan that are vulnerable to hazards," Mungcal said.

She also said that the council does not just depend on the criteria given by the Kalasag committee instead they depend on the result of the Disaster Risk and Vulnerability Assessment.

The Bulacan PDRRMC received a plaque of recognition and cash incentive.

Recently, the Bulacan PDRRMC also received the Hall of Fame-Regional Gawad Kalasag Award 2013 for the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council during the first Regional DRRM Summit at Heroes Hall, Mini Convention Center, City of San Fernando, Pampanga.

The Gawad KALASAG, which stands for KAlamidad at Sakuna LAbanan, SAriling Galing ang Kaligtasan a search for excellence in disaster risk management and humanitarian assistance is given to individuals, non-government organizations, private sector and government organizations, in recognition of their initiative in helping the Filipino government uplift the standard of disaster management in the country. (PNA) 
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5 hurt as bus rams GMA van in Bulacan

MANILA, Oct. 22 (PNA) -- Five people were hurt after a Victory Liner Bus bumped a GMA Network van at the southbound portion of the Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) in Marilao, Bulacan early Tuesday morning

Radio reports said that the rear of the GMA vehicle was severely damaged.

Investigators are verifying information that the driver stepped on the brakes to avoid hitting the van but failed to stop in time.

The driver, who was not immediately identified, is now in custody, while the van passengers were brought to the Sta. Clara De Montefalco Hospital.

An initial investigation showed the van's passengers sustained minor bruises.

One of the van's passenger, cameraman Felix Angeles, said that they had just finished taping in Angeles, Pampanga and were headed for home when the mishap transpired.

He added that he and his four other co-workers were slightly hurt in the accident. (PNA) 
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CL disaster control officials formulate emergency action plans in case of quake

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 16 (PNA) --Disaster control officials in Central Luzon on Wednesday met with concerned government agencies together with the operators of Angat, Bustos and Ipo dams and formulated an emergency action plans in case a powerful earthquake hit the region, particularly along the West Valley Fault line where the giant Angat Dam is nestled. (similar to the one that jolted the Visayan region Tuesday hit the region, particularly along the west valley fault line where the giant Angat Dam is nestled.)

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the West Fault is capable of producing large scale earthquakes on its active phases with magnitude of 7 or higher.

Josefina Timoteo, Office of Civil Defense regional director in Central Luzon, said that representatives from the provincial government of Bulacan, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (NDRRMC), the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), Office of Civil Defense-3 (OCD-3) and the operators of Angat, Bustos and Ipo dams-- the Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System, the National Power Corporation and National Irrigation Administration, met at the conference room of the Provincial Engineers Office here where they tackled a “worst case scenario” and came up with “emergency action plans.”

“The Office of Civil Defense is constantly coordinating with the different concerned agencies in formulating emergency action plans in a case an overwhelming natural disaster, a powerful earthquake that could break Angat dam, occurred,” Timoteo said.

She said that among the initial phase of the emergency action plans, the provincial government headed by Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado through the PDRMMO will conduct an education campaign on what to do and where to go in times of emergencies.

She also said that they will also meet different local officials and compared assessments on their own emergency plans like identification of evacuation centers and safe areas.

Timoteo also said logistics, availability and readiness of manpower and even international aid will also be discussed in the next meeting with local and provincial executives.

The OCD and other concerned agencies will also share technical information on the situation, she added.

“In a case of an overwhelming situation, the OCD can also seek the help of the Asean Committee on Disaster Management as well as the United nations,” the OCD director said.

She said the PDRRMO in Bulacan is prepared because of their continuous training programs and capacity building initiatives.

She said that experts are set to inspect the structural integrity of Angat dam and the two other dams.

Repairs and rehabilitation of the 44 year old Angat earth dam may soon take place after the K-Water ( a Korean company), in partnership with San Miguel Corporation, took over the management from the National Power Corporation recently.

The Philippine government has already earmarked billions of fund for the repair and rehabilitation of the dam , he added.

He said that concerned agencies will hold regular meetings to strengthen the emergency action plans which will also be brought down to the different barangays. (PNA) 
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'Santi' death toll now at 15 - NDRRMC

MANILA, Oct. 15 (PNA) --The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Tuesday disclosed that the death toll for Typhoon "Santi" has climbed to 15 with property damage now hitting the P3-billion mark.

It identified the latest fatality was 15-year-old Heidi Bunay, of Barangay Bulu in Kabuggao in Apayao.

The latter was aboard a boat that capsized in Apayao River due to strong current, and her remains were found Monday.

The NDRRMC stated that inclement weather brought by "Santi" has injured 32 people with five more missing.

It added that "Santi" had affected 179,899 families or 871,601 people in 770 villages in 76 towns and nine cities in 14 provinces.

Of these, 1,275 families or 5,704 people are still staying in 39 evacuation centers.

At least 10,491 houses were destroyed while 42,549 were damaged in Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Bulacan, Aurora, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Nueva Vizcaya, and Zambales.

Damage to property was estimated at P3,077,197,976, including P1.1 million in infrastructure and P3,076,097,976 in agriculture.

San Miguel in Bulacan was declared under a state of calamity. (PNA) 
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Teams start repair of damaged powerlines in flood-hit Bulacan town 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct 13 (PNA)-—As sunny weather began to prevail in many parts of the province, government teams and linemen of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) on Sunday started the repair and cleaning operations in the flood hit town of San Miguel which was engulfed by rampaging floods at the height of the onslaught of typhoon Santi.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Mangement Office (PDRRMO) is also closely monitoring floodwaters receeding from the neighboring provinces of Pampanga and Nueva Ecija which is cascading downward the perennial catch basin coastal towns of Calumpit and Hagonoy.

The governor is also constantly coordinating with operators of the three big dams in Bulacan namely Angat, Ipo and Bustos on the preemptive and coordinated release of waters from their reservoirs.

Bustos dam opened two wash out gates 8 a.m. Sunday and discharged a total of 156.0 cubic meters per second of water.

The water elevation at the said three dams are still in normal level.

The water level at Angat dam as of 8 a.m. Sunday was 207.16 meters, still way below its spilling level of 210 meters.

In Ipo dam, the water elevation was 100.65 meters (spilling level 101 meters) while the water level at Bustos dam was 16.92 meters (spilling level 17.70 meters).

Alvarado also said that the PDRRMO has advised municipal and city health offices to start the distribution of prophylaxes against leptospirosis in flooded areas as well as conduct initial assessment on health situation in the province.

He said that the Provincial Health Office (PHO) has also distributed 677 oral prophylaxes to different response teams, provincial government offices and Bulacan Rescue, Balagtas & San Miguel Municipal Health Offices.

The governor added that relief and medical missions are now being conducted by personnel of the PHO and Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office.

PDRRM ececutive officer Liz Mungcal said that as of 10 a.m. Sunday, major lifelines (electricity and water supply) in San Miguel were still inoperational.

She said that as of presstime, MERALCO teams deployed in San Miguel were conducting repair of powerlines.

Firetrucks also proceeded to San Miguel for augmentation to non-potable water requirements.

Mungcal said that the PDRRMO is coordinating with the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) for the distribution of potable water.

Damages in agriculture and infrastructures were still being assessed, Mungcal added. (PNA) 
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(Lead) Floods from Pampanga, Nueva Ecija now cascading towards 2 Bulacan towns 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct. 12 (PNA) -– Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado Saturday requested operators of Bustos dam to temporary close its collapsed Gate 4.

This, after receiving latest updates from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) that floodwaters from the neighboring provinces of Pampanga and Nueva Ecija began cascading towards the coastal towns of Calumpit and Hagonoy.

These are the perennial catch basin of receding floodwaters from the said provinces and other higher areas of Bulacan.

Bustos dam authorities have fully opened (collapsed) rubber Gate 4 of the dam after its spilling level of 17.70 meters was breached by 8 meters (17.78 m) early Saturday morning when Typoon Santin ripped through the Philippine Area of Responsibilty.

Dam operators have discharged a 492.345 cubic meters per second as of 7:00am Saturday morning.

The water elevation (as of 7:00am Saturday) at Bustos dam has dipped down from 17.78 meters to 17.40 meters. Alvarado said that Bustos dam has enough water capacity and by temporary stopping the release of water from its reservoir, it will give some allowance to allow the flood-prone towns of Calumpit and Hagonoy to brace for the onslaught of backfloods from Pampanga and Nueva Ecija.

“Kailangan muna nilang ihinto ang pagpapawala nang tubig, para makaya ng ilog ang papauhong tubig galling sa umaapaw na Candaba swamp at ilang parte ng Nueva Ecija at Pampanga,” Alvarado said.

The governor has been constantly coordinating with officials and engineers of the three big dams in Bulacan –Bustos, Ipo and Angat – regarding the preemptive rewlease of waters from their reservoirs in order to lessen the impacts of heavy floodings to low lying areas in the province’s first and second districts particularly the towns of Calumpit and Hagonoy, before Typhoon Santi was detected by weathermen.

Meanwhile, two females and a 78-year-old man were confirmed dead in San Miguel town while two others were reported still missing in this town that was severely affected by 4 to 5 feet flood waters at the break of dawn Saturday.

The body of the first fatality was recovered in Barangay Poblacion. Barangay rescue teams identified the victim as a certain "Kring-kring" believed to have been swept by floodwaters from a nearby village.

The second victim, identified as Teresita Manabat of Barangay Balaong died of drowning after the roof of their house reportedly crashed on their abode at the height of strong winds spawned by Typhoon Santi.

The septuagenarian victim was identified as Arturo Quizon of Bgy. San Jose died after suffering from heart attack which was said to be triggered when the roof of their house was ripped of by powerful winds early Saturday morning

The PPDRMO also received reports from the San Miguel Police that two teenagers from Barangay Kamias were reported by their families as missing as of presstime. (PNA)
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17th Nat'l DanceSport competition Oct 12 at ULTRA

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Oct 11 (PNA)-- Some 314 athletes will compete in the 17th annual Dancesport National Championships and the staging of the 1st International Friendship Games Wheelchair DanceSport Competitions at the Philsports Multi-Purpose Arena, formerly Ultra, in Pasig City Saturday.

Dancesport Council of the Philippines (DSCPI) president Becky Garcia told members of the Bulacan PNP Press Corps that the athletes include preliminary winners from all over the Philippines, Italy and Taiwan.

Eight World DanceSport Federation licensed adjudicators headed by Gheorghe Raducan of Romania, as chairman, will supervise the judging with the help of DSCPI adjudicators Michael, Mendoza, Ana Dulce Yango and Joel Ocsena.

Other members include: Marco Bartolini of Italy; Mary Yeh/Taipei; Corrie van Hugten/Netherlands; Nobuko Yotsumoto/Japan; Lee Kum-Ok/Korea; Christian Bradbury/Hong Kong; and Mr. Ger van Zandwijk of Netherlands.

The competitions is sanctioned by the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, IPC Wheelchair DanceSport, Philspada NPC-Philippines and sponsored by Beauty Kingdom, Inc., Vitug Beach Resort, PCSO, Philippine Orthopedic Institute, Radio High 105.9, Water Zone, Studio 116 and The Greenery Bulacan.

Garcia said that tickets are available at the DanceSport Training Center, Philsports Complex, Meralco Avenue, Pasig City and at the entrance of the Philsports Multi-Purpose Arena (Ultra) on October 12. (PNA) 
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Dwellers along geo-hazard areas in Bulacan get new homes in Bustos town

BUSTOS, Bulacan, Oct 3 (PNA)-–After years of living dangerously along geo-hazard sites, some 72 families became the first batch of informal settlers that will now live in a newly built community in the farming village of Barangay Catacte here.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Governor Daniel Fernando on Thursday thanked President Benigno Aquino, housing czar Vice President Jejomar Binay and the National Housing Authority (NHA) for swiftly providing decent homes for families living along high-risk danger zones along the Angat river.

Alvarado said that at least 1,000 newly built housing units will be turned over to the affected families at the Bustos Relocation Site in Barangay Catacte here.

“These families are living in geo- hazard areas along the banks of rivers, creeks and irrigation canals and waterways which are prone to severe flooding, landslide and mudslide. The government has provided them with a safe and decent homes with basic amenities like schools, livelihood programs and a multi-purpose hall,” the governor said.

He said the 72 families living dangerously along the banks of Angat River were among the first batch of informal settlers to live in houses that they can now call their own.

Alvarado said that the relocation site in Barangay Catacte will accommodate at least 1,100 families while another 1,900 will be relocated in Barangay Cacarong Matanda in Pandi.

He said the swift response of President Aquino and Vice President Binay is an indication that the government is serious in alleviating the families that are constantly living along the danger zones.

Alvarado also said that while some informal settlers from Metro Manila and other areas are also being relocated in other housing projects, he stressed that the welfare of Bulakenyo shall be considered first and that no relocation will be made in Bulacan without proper coordination with local and provincial officials.

He reminded developers that Bulacan has its land use programs and should observe proper planning and zoning.

“There should always be educational, livelihood and environmental components before they plan to develop housing projects in any parts of the province,” he added.

He also pointed out that CCTV systems should also be installed in these relocation sites to ensure the maintenance of peace and order.

He said that these new communities will spur more growth and development in the province , making Bulacan as one of the “most business friendly province” in the country.

NHA general manager Chito Cruz lauded Gov. Alvarado and the provincial government for providing relocation sites, which he claimed is now impossible to build in Metro Manila. (PNA) 
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President Aquino pays last respects to soldiers killed in Zamboanga standoff

NORZAGARAY, Bulacan, Sept. 26 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III paid his last respects and condoled with the family of 1st Lieutenant John Kristofer Rama, the first officer-casualty of the Armed Forces of the Philippines killed in clashes with the Moro National Liberation Front-Misuari faction in Zamboanga City, during his visit to the Rama household here on Thursday.

The President, who was accompanied by Presidential Management Staff Chief Julia Abad, arrived at Rama's wake at 10:45 a.m.

According to Erlnda, Rama's wife, the President pledged to provide housing and educational assistance for her and her daughter Elisa Irene.

She expressed her heartfelt gratitude for the President's visit and pledge, and said that she felt proud the President chose to honor the memory of her husband with his presence.

After staying some 20 minutes, the President left for Pulilan, Bulacan to visit the wake of 2nd Lt. Florencio Michael Esguerra Meneses and then for Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City to visit the wake of 1st Lt. Francis Damian. (PNA) 
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President Aquino visits wake of an army officer in Pulilan, Bulacan

PULILAN, Bulacan, Sept. 26 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III visited on Thursday the wake of an Army officer who died in an encounter between the government troops and the Moro National Liberation Front Misuari faction in Zamboaga City last September 23.

The Chief Executive paid his last respects and condoled with the family of 27-year-old 1st Lt Florencio Mikael Esguerra Meneses, an officer of the 7th Scout Ranger Company and member of the Philippine Military Academy Laon-Alab Class of 2011.

Accompanied by Presidential Management Staff head Julia Abad, President Aquino arrived at the wake on Cueto Street, Barangay Tibag, Pulilan, Bulacan at 11:30 a.m.

President Aquino handed financial assistance to the slain officer's parents Regina and Alberto Meneses. He also expressed his condolences to the officer's siblings, namely Elizabeth Peralta, Janina Reyes and Gracia Chen.

The parents of Lt Meneses expressed gratitude to the President for visiting the wake of their only son who died in Zamboanga City standoff.

During the visit that lasted for 30 minutes, the President told Regina that he directed the Department of National Defense (DND) and other concerned government agencies to further conduct a review of the military systems and procedures with the aim of preventing unnecessary loss of lives during combat.

The President told the family that he acknowledged the bravery of Meneses who gave his own life to serve the country and the Filipino people. (PCOO) 
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Computer on Wheels project to boost Bulacan IT program

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Sept. 18 (PNA) -- There is no stopping the rapid industrialization of this province as officials started to step up programs to meet the challenges of modern times through the use of high technology.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado lauded on Tuesday the “Computer on Wheels” project, a joint initiative of the Damayang Filipino—a community-based movement founded by Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando and Bagong Henerasyon partylist headed by Rep. Bernadette Herrera.

Alvarado said that the Computer on Wheels” project is a vital tool in the One Bulacan PRIDE or the Program for Rapid Industrialization and Development because it will boost the computer literacy program of the provincial government which is also among the seven-point agenda of his administration.

“The whole province will benefit from this endeavor especially now that Bulacan is fast becoming as the new metropolis of growth in the country,” Alvarado said , adding that the province has recently been awarded as among the Smart Cities in the Philippines.

Under the zonification component of One Bulacan PRIDE, the governor said Malolos City will be the next techno hub of the province, where IT and communication offices will rise at the 17 hectares lot turned over by the national government to the provincial government.

He also said that the City of San Jose del Monte will soon be the site of Hollywood type studios while the Pulilan, Plaridel and Baliwag will be business and growth corridor of the province.

Under the project, Rep. Herrera has turned over five air-conditioned trucks loaded with 16 computers each and computer instructors.

A memorandum of agreement (MOA) was signed between the provincial government, the Damayang Filipino (DF) movement and the Bagong Henerasyon Partylist wherein the DF will shoulder the financial compensation of computer instructors.

Alvarado said that he will support the project which aims to propagate computer literacy in the grassroot level by bring the fleet of computer schools on wheels to the different barangays in the province’s 21 towns and 3 cities.

The vice governor said that project aims to increase computer literacy to among out-of-school youth and other Bulakenyos who were not able to go to schools.

He also said that the project will provide adequate technical skills and other job opportunities under the pangkabuhayan program for Bulakenyos.

Herrera said that at least 60 students will be taught basic computer training while 40 students will be trained as computer technicians in two weeks time. (PNA) 
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“Indakan sa Kalye” to highlight Bulacan’s Singkaban Fiesta on Saturday

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Sept 13 (PNA) -- An explosion of fun, excitement, and cultural show will rock this historic city on Saturday afternoon as approximately 1,000 of the province’s best street dancers compete in “Indakan sa Kalye”, also dubbed as “Best of the Best Street Dance” competition.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that "Indakan sa Kalye" will showcase the different festivals in Bulacan that aims to promote the rich and colorful culture, tradition, tourism and products of the province.

"The Singkaban Fiesta is also replicating the festive mood in this historic city during the convening of the Malolos Congress at the historic Barasoain Church,” the governor said.

According to Provincial Youth, Sports, Education, Arts, Culture and Tourism officer Elizabeth Alonzo, 24 groups will compete and represent their municipality/city’s local festival like Halamanan sa Guiguinto, Halamang Dilaw in Marilao, Fertility Festival of Obando and Carabao Festival of Pulilan.

Alonzo said the said street dance will start at the Basilica Minore de Immaculada Concepcion in this city and will end in front of the Bulacan provincial capitol while the showdown of the groups will take place at the Bulacan capitol gymnasium around 3 p.m.

Winners will receive trophies and P75,000 for the first place, P50,000 and P30,000 for the second and third place, respectively and two consolation prizes amounting to P10, 000.

In addition, special awards will also be given to Best in Street Dancing and Best in Costume to include trophies and P5,000 for each award.

Subsequent to Indakan sa Kalye, more or less 3,000 runners are expected to run for the Singkaban Night Run at 4:00 p.m.

Intended to promote running as a good alternative for health and wellness, the said activity is intentionally set in the afternoon till night for the convenience and comfort of the participants.

The starting point will be in front of the provincial capitol wherein 3K, 5K and 10K runners will run along Mc Arthur Highway passing Bulacan Polytechnic College, Humel Heritage Homes and Metropolis Home Subdivision.

The top three finishers will receive P15,000, P10,000 and P 5,000, respectively.

Singkaban Night Run is a joint activity of the provincial government of Bulacan and Globe Telecom. (PNA) 
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Historic Malolos becoming catch basin of dam water releases

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Sept. 8 (PNA) -- Mayor Christian D. Natividad on Sunday disclosed that many areas in this historic capital city is fast becoming the catch basin of water being discharged by the three big dams in the province, particularly Bustos dam.

Natividad lamented the fact that every time the Bustos dam as well as Ipo and Angat dams released big volumes of excess water from their reservoirs, the coastal towns of Calumpit and Hagonoy were the ones being tagged as catch basin.

""It has been a long time that many parts of Malolos City submerged to floodwater every time the Bustos dam released waters. However, the media is only focused with the towns of Hagonoy and Calumpit," Natividad said.

He said that every time that Bustos dam releases 500 cubic per second of water, at least 47 villages in this capital city are submerged under two to four feet of rampaging floodwaters.

Natividad said that that many areas in this city were former ricefield with irrigation canals in which the waters from the dams flows.

Earlier, Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado,together with disaster control officials and Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System administrator Gerry Esquivel, met with operators and engineers of Angat, Ipo and Bustos dams after the water elevation at Angat dam breached the 200 meters mark early this month.

The meeting was called when the Angat dam climbed to 203.56 meters, almost five meters from reaching its spilling level of 210 meters about a week ago.

“The 203 meters water elevation at Angat dam is worrisome because before the southwest monsoon came the water elevation was only 193 meters but it suddenly climbed-up to 203 meters. Another surge of intensive rainfall could spell doom in the low-lying towns like Hagonoy and Calumpit as well as the city of Malolos because they will be forced again to discharge their excess water,” Alvarado explained.

The governor urged Engr. Precioso Donato Punzalan, assistant operation engineer of Bustos Dam, to conduct preemptive release so that when the water level at Angat dam breached its spilling level, Bustos dam will have extra room in its water holding capacity.

He also told Punzalan to do the preemptive release during good weather condition and when there is a storm or rainy weather.

He also suggested to operators of Ipo dam to divide the release of its excess water, one should flow to la Mesa dam reservoir and the other at Bustos dam every rainy or stormy weather.

He said that the releasing of waters from the three dams should be properly coordinated. (PNA) 
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Week-long cultural activities usher Bulacan Singkaban Fiesta

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Sept. 6 (PNA) -- A week-long of colorful cultural activities will kick off on Monday as the province celebrates its annual Singkaban Fiesta here.

Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado will lead the opening ceremony of the annual event with this year's theme "Makulay na Sining at Kalinangan: Bulacan, Ipagmalaki at Ikarangal.”

Alvarado urged Bulakenyos to be proud on the flamboyant cultural and artistic heritage of Bulacan.

“Bulacan is known as the cradle of heroes, filling a number of pages in the country’s history. Until the modern times, our province is continuously trudging the path toward a remarkable success not only in economic development but also in the promotion of arts and culture.

We are inviting everyone to witness and join us in a weeklong celebration that includes cultural presentations, arts exhibits and other fun activities that you will surely enjoy,” he said.

The celebration will start with a thanksgiving mass, to be followed by the “Parada ng Karosa at Kasaysayan,” a parade of floats which will feature achievements of Bulacan in 2012 in the field of sports, beauty pageants, arts and governance.

Exhibits and trade fairs showcasing the Bulacan's pride will also be put up within the provincial capitol compound.

Among these are the Bulakenyo trade fair, a display of the province's various products like sweets and delicacies, gifts, toys, clothes, bags and fashion accessories; Manlilikhang Bulakenyo which will feature Bulakenyo inventors and demonstration of their inventions; Dakilang Bulakenyo and Lakan Sining exhibit which will recount the life and contributions of Mariano Ponce in commemoration of his 150th birth anniversary and an exhibition of Bulakenyo visual artists;

The Bulacan Pasalubong Center and Bulacan Packaging Service and Toll Packing Center will also re-launch to draw the attention of the public on the services they are offering.

Other highlights of the celebration is the Bulacan Food Festival Exposition (BUFFEX) wherein the various sectors involved in food production in Bulacan, its partners and down-stream industries will gather together in this annual event.

The activities also include selling, food sampling, on-the-spot cooking demonstrations, and other competitions.

Likewise, tourism students from selected universities and colleges will serve as tour guides of elementary and high school students from different schools in the province in the “24K Lakbay Aral” as they visit the provincial capitol, museum, and mini-forest to heighten their awareness on the exceptional features of the province.

“We are proud of our cultural inheritance that reflects who we are as Bulakenyos. So we are inviting everyone to come, experience only the best, experience Bulacan, experience Singkaban,” the governor added. (PNA) 
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Bulacan gov urges dam operators to coordinate release of excess water

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Sept. 2 (PNA) -- Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado is playing the role of "traffic enforcer" in directing the release of water from the three big dams in the province.

The governor together with disaster control officials and Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) administrator Gerry Esquivel met over the weekend with operators and engineers of Angat, Ipo and Bustos dams to discuss measures on how to lessen flooding in the province through the proper release of water.

During their meeting, Alvarado urged Precioso Donato Punzalan, assistant operation engineer of Bustos Dam, to conduct preemptive release so that when the water level at Angat dam breached its spilling level, Bustos dam will have extra room in its water holding capacity.

He also told Punzalan to do the preemptive release during good weather condition shortly before a storm or expected onset of heavy rains.

"Another surge of intensive rainfall could spell doom in the low lying towns like Hagonoy and Calumpit as well as the city of Malolos because they will be forced again to discharge their excess water," Alvarado said.

The governor recalled that during the height of the recent southwest monsoon or "habagat," operators of Bustos dam released 500 cms of water which worsened flooding in Malolos, Hagonoy and Calumpit.

He also suggested to operators of Ipo dam to divide the release of its excess water, one should flow to La Mesa dam reservoir and the other at Bustos dam during heavy rains.

"Why the water is always being released in Bulacan. Can it be divided especially when the water carrying capacity of Bustos dam is strengthened," the governor said.

He said the release of waters from the three dams should be properly coordinated with each other.

Esquivel, for his part, suggested to do a simulation and instrumentation to better synchronize the release of waters from the dams.

A disaster control official said that the "dis-oriented" coordination by dam officials in the discharge of excess waters from the three dams could be blamed from the dam protocol they are following.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office said that damages to agriculture in the province has already ballooned to P12.81 million while the damages to infrastructure has reached P1.9 million. (PNA) 
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CEO of Boracay West Cove tells Bulacan newsmen their resort will survive black propaganda campaign

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Sept. 2 (PNA) -- No amount of black propaganda nor any form of media demolition job can take away the pristine beauty of Boracay West Cove, considered as one of the world class nature-inspired resorts in the Philippines.

This developed as tourists and guests who have enjoyed their stay at the Boracay West Cove resort are bewildered if not amazed by the black propaganda allegedly being waged by a popular radio and TV broadcaster against the world class beach resort in Malay, Aklan.

"In spite of the baseless allegations against Boracay West Cove, we are happy to hear the positive responses of our guests who are continuously giving good messages and encouragement to us," Boracay West Cove Resort chief executive officer (CEO) Cris Aquino told members of the Bulacan PNP Press Corps during a recent press briefing at a local resort here.

Aquino said that despite the existence of modern technology, Boracay West Cove, recognized as the first and only organic architecture in the Philippines, is proud that, from its humble beginnings up to now, all trees inherent in the place are preserved.

He said that just recently, Boracay West Cove received the much-coveted Gold Award during the International Star for Quality Leadership (ISQL) 2013 in Paris, France, for world-class excellence in tourism promotions and quality service.

He said it is also the only holder of a Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Forest Land Use Agreement for Tourism (FLAGT) permit in the entire island paradise.

Aquino also reiterated that the management of Boracay West Cove is appealing to the public to disregard false, malicious and misleading news reports that it was operating without the necessary environmental clearance from the national and local government in Malay, Aklan.

He urged Bulakenyos not to believe the black propaganda that the said broadcaster is spreading claiming that it was an obvious scheming effort tainted with vested interests.

It was allegedly reported that the Malay municipal government is set to implement a massive crackdown on more than 300 establishments along the world famous Boracay's white-sand beach which are operating in violation of the "25+5-meters Rule" or the 30-meter shoreline setback.

Aquino clarified that all the structures and improvements at Boracay West Cove were built in accordance with the Forest Land Use Agreement for Tourism Purposes or FLAG-T issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) based on L.C. Map No. 36-42 under Proclamation No. 1064 issued on Dec. 23, 2009 and valid for 25 years.

"We are a victim of trial by publicity here. Our resort does not fall under the scope of the 25+5 meter Rule because we have no shoreline to speak of. Our cabanas and structures are constructed on a cliff," he said.

Aquino told Bulacan newsmen that the accusations are so distressing that the management of Boracay West Cove, was faced with no other option but to hit back at those who are spreading "false, malicious and misleading news reports."

Aquino said that the charges are based merely on the expose of the popular broadcaster, who is reportedly being financed by a Nueva Ecija mayor supposedly involved in a land-grabbing case in Boracay. (PNA) 
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Several areas in Pampanga, Bulacan remained flooded

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Aug. 27 (PNA) -- The heavy rains have stopped for days, but most of the villages in the low-lying and coastal towns of Pampanga and Bulacan still submerged to floodwater.

Latest data from the Regional Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) showed that a total of 179 villages in the two provinces are still under water despite the improved weather condition.

In Pampanga, a total of 111 barangays in the towns of Apalit, Masantol, Macabebe, San Simon, Guagua, Minalin, Candaba, Sto. Tomas, San Luis, Mexico, Sta, Ana, are still under from one to four feet deep water due to slow recession of water in the Pampanga river and other allied rivers, aggravated by high tide.

Likewise, 68 villages in the towns of Calumpit, Hagonoy, Obando, Paombong and Malolos City are remained under water due to high tide and the effects of backfloods coming from higher towns of Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija and some parts of Tarlac.

As of 8 a.m. Tuesday, there are still some roads in Pampanga that are still not passable to all types of vehicles that include the Baliwag-Candaba-Sta Ana road and the Candaba-San Miguel road.

The Apalit-Macabebe-Masantol road is hardly passable to heavy vehicles while the Sto Tomas-Minalin-Macabebe road is hardly passable to light vehicles.

The Manila North Road-Tulauc-Sto Domingo road is only passable to heavy vehicles while the San Simon-Baliwag road is hardly passable to light vehicles

Meanwhile, four additional casualties were reported in the region due to Habagat, bringing the total death toll to 11 with still one missing.

The latest reported fatalities were identified as Archie Camueda, 37; Nazareth Duldulao, 15; and Rafael Clemente, 43, all from Olongapo City and Rodrigo Telles, 69, of Barangay General Luna, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija.

The still missing person, on the other hand, was identified as Michael Silverio, 21 of Purok 5, San Pedro, Floridablanca, Pampanga.

The affected population by the onslaught of Habagat, on the other hand, reached to 423,193 families or 1,888,067 persons in 75 municipalities of Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales.

At least 188 houses were totally damaged and 277 partially destroyed. (PNA) 
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Bulakenyos to commemorate Del Pilar’s 163rd birthday

BULAKAN, Bulacan, Aug. 27 (PNA)-- Thousands of Bulakenyos led by Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy Alvarado will pay tribute to a great son of the province — Marcelo H. Del Pilar, known as the “Great Propagandist of the Philippine Revolution against Spanish colonial rule — on August 30 as the province’s commemorates his 163rd birth anniversary.

The event will be held at the Dambanang Marcelo H. del Pilar or Del Pilar Shrine in Barangay San Nicolas here.

Alvarado said that in order to give way for this celebration, August 30 has been declared a special non-working holiday in the province of Bulacan in accordance to Republic Act No. 7449 which was approved last April 27, 1992.

Senator Teofisto Guingona will serve as the guest of honor in the event which is anchored on the theme “PLARIDEL: Sa Tilamsik ng Diwa at Pusong Makabansa, Pilipino sa Buong Mundo ay Dinadakila.”

The event will kick off with a civic parade at 5:30 a.m. to be followed with a program at 8 a.m. and wreath-laying ceremony to be led by Alvarado, executive director of National Historical Commission of the Philippines Ludovico Badoy, Mayor Patrick Menesses, Pandi Mayor Enrico Roque and PNP regional director police chief Supt. Edgardo Ladao.

Del Pilar was the youngest of the 10 siblings of the wealthy family Don Julian del Pilar, a gobernadorcillo and Doña Blasa Gatmaitan.

Del Pilar, who was also a lawyer and used the nom-de-guerre (pen name) “Plaridel”, left a life of luxury and died a pauper in a cold and damp room in Barcelona , Spain on July 4, 1896.

His satiric expose in “Dasalan at Tuksuhan” incurred the wrath of the Spanish Friars, prompting him to join Rizal and other members of the propaganda movement in Spain where he edited La Solidaridad.

He was also the editor of the newspaper Diariong Tagalog which strongly criticized the way the Spaniards ran the government and treated the people.(PNA) 
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(Lead) Bulacan declares state of calamity, backfloods still submerging villages in Hagonoy and Calumpit 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug 24 (PNA)-- Residents affected by heavy flooding since Monday, particularly in the still flooded coastal towns of Calumpit and Hagonoy, got a sigh of relief as sunny weather began to prevail Saturday.

Dino Balabo, a journalist living in Hagonoy, said floodwaters began to subside in some villages but the effects of backfloods are still being felt in the coastal municipality which, along with Calumpit, has become the perennial catch basin of backfloods from higher towns of Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija and parts of Tarlac.

"The floods subsided in simultaneous (sic) with the lowering of hide tide. However, the backfloods cascaded here from the still flooded town of Calumpit, Balabo said in a phone interview Saturday noon.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office said as of Friday afternoon, some 23 villages were still submerged under one to three feet of floods.

In Calumpit, backfloods has submerged 28 villages, five of them -- Meysulao, Sapang Bayan, Gatbuca, Frances, San Miguel – have already been placed under state of calamity last Thursday.

Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado Saturday announced in his weekly program “The Governor’s Hour” that the province of Bulacan is now under a state of calamity due to the damage and ill effects of the severe floods that rampaged in many parts of the province since Monday.

Alvarado said that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan has passed a resolution declaring the entire province under a state of calamity.

He called on the mayors of the province’s affected towns and cities to use the calamity fund wisely because it is only August and there maybe more typhoons to come.

Senior board member Michael Fermin said that the floods have wreck havoc to farmlands and damages many major roads.

Fermin said that damages in agriculture, fisheries and livestock have already ballooned to P 116,509,373.82 while damage to national roads in the province’s first district has reached P 5,500,000.

The PDRMMO said that a total of 189,831 families or 843,669 persons were affected.

Of these, a total of 4,732 families or 8,528 persons were evacuated from 96 barangays in the province’s 13 towns and three cities.

Officials of Ipo dam has stopped releasing water after closing their Radial Gate 1 and Radial A at around 2 p.m. Friday.

Bustos dam has also stopped releasing water after closing two of their washgates last Friday afternoon. (PNA) 
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Bulacan town’s 5 flood-stricken villages under state of calamity as back floods rush in - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 23 (PNA) -- Rampaging back floods has prompted the municipal government of Calumpit to place five flood-stricken villages under a state of calamity, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) reported on Friday.

Liz Mungcal, PDRRM executive officer, reported to Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado that the villages of Meysulao, Sapang Bayan, Gatbuca, Frances and San Miguel in Calumpit are now under a state of calamity after floodwaters rose to three to four feet late Thursday afternoon.

Mungcal said 23 other villages in Calumpit are still submerged under one to six feet of water brought by intensive rainfall of the southwest monsoon, the release of water from Bustos and Ipo dams and back floods from other Bulacan towns, the Pampanga river, Candaba swamp, Nueva Ecija and portions of Tarlac.

The flooding in some parts of Calumpit, Hagonoy and Obando are also being aggravated by high tide, she said.

In Hagonoy, 23 villages are still submerged under one to three feet of floods.

The PDRRMO are coordinating with the MDRRMO and the municipal government as back floods started to rush in on Thursday night and expected until Friday afternoon.

Last Wednesday, the coastal towns of Hagonoy and Bulakan has joined the flood-stricken coastal town of Obando in declaring a state of calamity due to the damages incurred from severe floods.

Alvarado have asked Thursday the officials of Bustos and Ipo dams to regulate if not to temporarily halt the release of water.

”We have already asked them not to release water more than 500 cubic meters per second because it will have big effect to the already flooded towns of Calumpit and Hagonoy especially now that waters coming from Pampanga, Nueva Ecija and Tarlac are gradually coming down. We are hoping that the Angat river would accommodate the water being released by the dams,” the governor said.

He said that emergency response and rescue teams are still on 24 hours alert, ready to be deployed anytime.

He also said that they are constantly monitoring the water elevation of the three dams—Angat, Bustos and Ipo-as well as the elevation at the Pampanga river and Candaba swamp.

Alvarado also instructed Thursday provincial engineer Glen Reyes to deploy trucks to give free rides from Malolos to Calumpit, Malolos to Hagonoy and Malolos to Meycauayan City as some portions of the roads and Macarthur highway were rendered impassable to light vehicles.

Alvarado will also meet the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) engineers to discuss the severe flooding that hit the capital city of Malolos.

He blamed the mushrooming of subdivisions and big commercial buildings in areas that were once fully irrigated rice fields.

”The natural waterways in some areas in Malolos City lost due to the conversion of the ricefields into subdivisions which most of them have no proper drainage system,” he said.

At least 47 of the 51 villages in Malolos were submerged under one to three feet of floodwater.

The PDRRMO reported that 238 barangays in the province's 14 towns and three cities were affected by the intensive rainfall brought by the southwest monsoon which was enhanced by typhoon Maring.

A total of 189,815 families or 843,594 persons have been affected by severe floods.

Of these, the PDRRMO said that a total of 8,769 families or 34,514 persons were evacuated from 223 barangays of the 13 towns and three cities of the province.

The damages to agriculture was estimated to reach P72,962,952.40 and is expected to increase pending reports from other areas in the province.

”The Provincial Planning and Development Office is still assessing the damages brought by the severe flooding," he said.

Meanwhile, the water level at Angat dam has breached the 200 meters mark at 9 p.m. Thursday when the level reached 200.29 meters, which is still below its spilling level of 210 meters.

The water elevation at Ipo dam was 100.89 meters (spilling level: 101 meters) while the water elevation at Bustos dam was 17.52 meters (spilling level: 17.70 meters). (PNA) 
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(Update) 2 more Bulacan towns placed under state of calamity, flooding in Calumpit and Hagonoy continues to rise - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 22 (PNA) -- Two more coastal municipalities in this flood-stricken province were placed under a “state of calamity” as rising floods continued to wreck havoc in 185 villages in 13 towns and three cities of the province.

The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) reported on Thursday that the flood-hit coastal towns of Hagonoy and Bulakan are now under state of calamity as rampaging flood waters destroyed fishponds and rice lands in the area.

Liz Mungcal, PDRRM executive officer, reported to Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado that the number of flooded villages in 10 towns and two cities of Bulacan has swelled to 185.

Mungcal said that a total of 66,740 families or 301,373 persons in 200 barangays of 13 towns and three cities of the province, namely Balagtas, Baliwag, Bocaue, Calumpit, Guiguinto, Hagonoy, Malolos City, Marilao, Meycauayan City, Obando, Paombong, Plaridel, Pulilan, San Jose Del Monte City, San Miguel and Sta. Maria were affected.

Of these, some 5,069 families or 23,725 persons were evacuated to 117 evacuation centers in the different parts of the province.

Alvarado said that emergency response and rescue teams are now deployed in flood-hit areas of Hagonoy and Calumpit as flood waters coming from Pampanga, Nueva Ecija and portions of Tarlac have began to cascade into the two coastal towns which has become the perennial catch basins of back floods in Central Luzon.

Aside from this, the flooding in the two towns are also being aggravated by the release of waters from Bustos and Ipo dams as well as the daily occurrence of high tide.

As of 8:00 a.m. Thursday, 28 villages in Calumpit were under one to 6 feet of floods while 20 villages in nearby Hagonoy were submerged under one to three feet of floodwater.

Alvarado also called on officials of Bustos dam to regulate if not stop the release of water in anticipation of the backfloods coming from the Pampanga River and Candaba swamp area.

As of 6:00 a.m. Thursday, the water level at Bustos dam was 17.66 meters (spilling level 17.70 meters) while the elevation at Ipo Dam was 100.48 meters (spilling level 101 meters).

The water elevation at Angat dam was 197.62 meters , still way below its spilling level of 210 meters.

He also noted that the number of flooded villages in the capital city of Malolos has increased and reached 41 as of Thursday morning.

He said that the natural waterways in Malolos have been compromised with the mushrooming of big subdivisions which were built and developed from former rice lands.

“Many rice lands, most of them fully irrigated, have been converted into big subdivisions thus wiping away the natural waterways. Most of these subdivisions have no proper drainage systems too. We should preserve the remaining ricelands,”the governor said, adding that he would ask the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to look into the matter. (PNA) 
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Floods hit 63 villages in Bulacan - By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 19 (PNA)--Heavy rains spawned by southwest monsoon enhanced by tropical storm Maring has inundated 63 villages in six towns and one city in this province, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) reported on Monday.

Liz Mungcal, PDRRM executive officer, said the hardest hit are the City of Meycauayan and the coastal town of Hagonoy.

In her report to Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, Mungcal said 14 villages in Meycauayan City were submerged under two to four feet of floodwaters.

She also said that 31 families in barangays Calvario and Saluysoy were evacuated to safer grounds.

In Hagonoy, all of its 26 barangays were submerged under three to four feet of floodwater which was worsen by high tide.

The other affected towns were Marilao (six villages under 1 feet), Obando (eight villages under 2 feet), Bulakan (seven villages under 4 feet and Bocaue (two villages under 1 feet).

The governor declared work suspension at the provincial capitol except those involved in disaster operations.

Classes in elementary and high school were also suspended.

Rescue teams were also dispatched and put on standby were heavy floodings were reported, Alvarado said.

He also instructed the PDRRMO to closely monitor the water elevation of the three big dams in Bulacan.

Last Sunday, officials of Ipo dam has opened radial gate A and radial gate four and released a total of 242.9 cubic meters pers second of water after its spilling level of 101 meters was nearly breached when heavy rains pounded the area and brought the elevation to 100.98 meters.

It continued to discharge water as of 12 noon Monday.

As of 8 a.m. Monday the water level at Ipo dam was 100.18 meters.

Since Sunday morning up to 12 noon Monday, the Bustos dam has discharged some 613.76 cms of water when its spilling level was nearly breached due to heavy rains since Sunday morning.

As of 12 noon Monday, the water elevation at Bustos dam was 17.50 meters (spilling level 17.70 meters).

The water elevation in Angat dam as of 8 a.m. Monday was 194.01, still way below its spilling level of 210 meters.

Alvarado also instructed the PDRRMO to monitor the water level stations along the Pampanga River Basin in coordination with Pampanga River Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (PRFFWC).

He also assigned the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO) to lead the damage assessment and needs analysis and the findings will be included in the rehabilitation plan. (PNA) 
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“Ghost ship” continues to spook Malolos coastal village 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 17 (PNA) -- As heavy rains and high tide swell the waters of Manila Bay, the abandoned Chinese ship MV Huan Yeng continued to spook residents and fisherfolks of the coastal village of Pamarawan here.

Anchored some 400 meters away from residential houses, the imposing presence of the cargo ship still gives anxiety to villagers who are fearing that the ship might smash through their village.

The villagers woke up last Monday morning with a big ship floating on their shoreline.

"It suddenly appeared here and there are fish pens already damaged," JR Vicente, a resident of the village said.

"We are afraid that the ship might drift near the village and smash our houses. There are more fishpens, fishing boats and houses might be destroyed especially if another typhoon hits us and the ship is still here," he added.

A situation report received by Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado from Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Joel Orduna said the ship MV Huan Yeng is a Cambodian registered ship that was anchored for repairs at the Lucanin anchorage in Bataan.

The governor was also informed that the cargo ship have been docked in Lucanin for four years and was abandoned after its owner failed to pay necessary dues.

During the onslaught the of typhoon Labuyo, the ship was reportedly dragged by strong winds into Manila Bay and drifted to the coastal village of Pamarawan.

Orduna also reported to the governor that ship belongs to the S. American Far Eastern Shipping Company Ltd.

Earlier, the Philippine Coast Guard told city mayor Christian Natividad that they can tow the abandoned cargo ship.

But the mayor did not allow it because he wanted the owners to claim it and pay the damages wrought to the coastal village.

On Thursday, the mayor issued an ultimatum to the owner of MV Huan Yeng.

He said that they will file a civil suit against the shipping firm that owns the old cargo ship because it has already caused damages to the fish pens and fish cages in the area aside from posing danger to some 2,000 villagers.

The mayor said he also wants to know the real score why the ship reached the coastal area of Malolos.

“There’s something fishy here. It appears that the ship did not just run aground and was dragged by strong winds and waves during the typhoon. Our team has discovered that the ship dropped anchor and we are also verifying earlier accounts of local fishermen that there were heavily armed men on board and that the ship was well lighted when it smashed through the fish pens,” Natividad said.

We do not know. It might have done something illegal or dumped any hazardous wastes," he added.

The ship was already abandoned when a team from the Malolos City police boarded it.

The young mayor said they will publish a public notice in a national newspaper and after a week or so will declare it as “public nuisance” and will make a public auction for its sale.

“We want to know why it got there and what are they doing. The ship has already destroyed several fishpens, brought anxiety and fear to some 2,000 fisher folks in the village. We will give them (owners) ample time and if they failed to show up, we have no recourse but to auction it. It just cannot stay there and threaten our people,” Natividad said. (PNA) 
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Malolos City to sue owner of abandoned Cambodian cargo ship 
By Emil G. Gamos

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 15 (PNA) -- The city government here issued on Thursday an ultimatum to the owner of MV Huan Yeng, the abandoned Cambodian cargo ship that ran aground in the shoreline of the coastal village of Pamarawan here at the height of typhoon Labuyo last Monday morning.

Mayor Christian D. Natividad said they will file a civil suit against the shipping firm that owns the old cargo ship because it has already caused damages to fish pens and fish cages in the area aside from posing danger to some 2,000 villagers.

He said he also wants to know the real score why the ship reached the coastal area of Malolos.

“There’s something fishy here. It appears that the ship did not just run aground and was dragged by strong winds and waves during the typhoon. Our team has discovered that the ship dropped anchor and we are also verifying earlier accounts of local fishermen that there were heavily armed men on board and that the ship was well lighted when it smashed through the fish pens,” Natividad said.

"We do not know it might done something illegal or dumped any hazardous wastes," he added.

The ship was already abandoned when a team from the Malolos City Police boarded it.

The young mayor said that they will publish a public notice in a national newspaper and after a week or so after its publication they will declare it as “public nuisance” and will make a public auction for its sale.

“It has already caused damages aside from being a “disaster waiting to happen” in the coastal village of Pamarawan,” Natividad stressed.

He said he has already instructed Supt. David Poklay, the city police chief, to the Lucanin anchorage in Mariveles, Bataan to confirm if the ship did come from there.

A situation report received by Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado from Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Joel Orduna said that the vessel is a Cambodian registered ship that was anchored for repairs at the Lucanin anchorage.

The governor also learned that the cargo ship have been docked there for four years and was abandoned after its owner failed to pay necessary dues.

During the onslaught of typhoon Labuyo, the ship was allegedly dragged by strong winds into Manila Bay and drifted to the coastal village of Pamarawan.

Orduna also reported to the governor that the ship belongs to the S. American Far Eastern Shipping Company Ltd.

It was also learned that the operator of said cargo vessel was a ceratin Shandong Jinghai Industrial Group and its port of registration is from Phnom Phen in Cambodia.

The Philippine Coast Guard have reportedly told Natividad that they can tow the abandoned cargo ship but the mayor did not allow it because he wanted the owners to claim it and pay the damages it has wrought to the coastal village.

“We want to know why it got there and what are they doing. The ship has already destroyed several fishpens, brought anxiety and fear to some 2,000 fisher folks in the village. We will give them (owners) ample time and if they failed to show up we have no recourse but to auction it. It just cannot stay there and threaten our people,” Natividad added. (PNA) 
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Bulacan PDRRMC remains on alert due to 'Labuyo'

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug. 12 (PNA) -- Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said on Monday that the emergency response units of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) remained on alert even though the province was not directly hit by typhoon "Labuyo".

The governor also suspended classes in the pre-elementary, elementary and high school level in the entire province.

"From Signal No. 2 last Sunday, the storm level was lowered to signal No. 1 on Monday morning. Nevertheless, the PDRRMC units are monitoring the situation and all emergency response teams are on standby, ready to be deployed as the need arises," Alvarado said.

He also instructed PDRRMC executive officer Liz Mungcal to closely monitor the water elevation at Angat and Ipo dams, major rivers and the water level stations in the different parts of the province.

As of 12 noon Monday, no casualty was reported to the PDRMMC.

So far, there were also no reports of heavy flooding or flash floods in the province.

As of 6 a.m. Monday, the water elevation at Angat dam was 190.15 meters, still way below its spilling level of 210 meters.

The water level at Ipo dam was recorded at 100.88 meters (spilling level is 101 meters) while the water elevation was 17.54 meters (spilling level is 17.70 meters). (PNA) 
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Bulakenyos hail Team Gilas Pilipinas coach as “home grown” hero

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Aug 11 (PNA)--As pride and spirit of patriotism swept through a euphoric nation following the heartstopping victory of Team Gilas Pilipinas over archrival South Korea in the semi-final round of the FIBA Asia Basketball Championship Saturday night, Bulakenyos feel a distinct pride and are one in saluting coach Chot Reyes as their “homegrown hero.”

“A new Bulakenyo hero and patriot has risen in an arena where the whole world is watching and has given the country the limelight to excel in a playing field normally dominated by big countries,” said Governor Wilhelmino Sy- Alvarado as he joined his provincemates in congratulating coach Reyes and the Gilas Pilipinas team in their pulsating 86-79 win over South Korea sending them into finals against the unbeaten and strong Iranian team.

The win also gave the Philippine team the long elusive ticket to the FIBA World championship in Spain in 2014.

It has also ended the so- called “Korean Curse” that hounded the Philippine basketball team for more than three decades.

Alvarado said coach Chot has shown the distinct quality of a true born Bulakenyo patriot and its fighting spirit in the face of battle.

“One thing that now endears him to the Filipinos is the way he gave the team the chemistry it needs and the strong heart and desire to win for the country. What he and the Philippine basketball team did was a rare feat made more beautiful by the overflowing spirit of unity of our countrymen as we pray and hope for the best to our team” the governor said.

Reyes has been proudly stating in the GilastTeam commercials that he is a true native son of the historic capital city.

City mayor Christian D. Natividad said that the city will always be ready to give coach Chot a “red carpet” welcome anytime he goes home here.

“Of course we feel proud not only for the achievement of our team to the FIBA finals but for having somebody there who is very proud to be a native son of Malolos,” the young mayor, who is still playing basketball in his freetime. said.

Natividad said that as tribute to coach Chot’s magnificent steering of the Philippine Team to the FIBA finals, the city government will provide free public viewing of the championship match on a big screen inside the Malolos Sports and Covention Center. (PNA) 
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President Aquino declares August 15 as special non-working day in Bulacan

MANILA, Aug 5 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared August 15, which falls on a Thursday, as a special (non-working) day in the province of Bulacan in commemoration of its 435th Foundation Day.

The Chief Executive issued the declaration through Proclamation No. 627 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on July 30, to give the people of Bulacan the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies.

According to the research conducted by the Center for Bulacan Studies, Bulacan was established as a province on Aug. 15, 1578. It is one of the most progressive provinces in the Philippines. (PNA) 
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Roxas leads peaceful send off for informal settlers from San Juan City to Bulacan

MANILA, Aug. 5 (PNA) -– Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II on Monday led a peaceful send off for 87 informal settler families (ISFs) from San Juan City to their new homes in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.

The send off event for ISFs living along San Juan River in Barangay Salanan was also participated in by San Juan City Mayor Guia Gomez, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson and Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino.

The relocation of the 87 families was peaceful and orderly with the affected residents cooperating with the government agencies in-charge of their documentation and processing.

There was no untoward incident during the event.

”We assure them of good relocation site in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan. We briefed them and they listened,” said Roxas.

”They see for themselves where they will be relocated, and that they will not be neglected. There are facilities in the site, and we are planning to improve them,” said Roxas.

According to Roxas, the government is looking on how to assist the relocated ISFs with their livelihood.

”Right now, we are studying livelihood programs in the relocation site to help the ISFs,” he added.

The relocation is part of the government’s all-out efforts to remove the ISFs living along river channels and creeks in Metro Manila from harms’ way. It is also part of the anti-flooding drive.

Those relocated to government housing site will be paying only P200 monthly which will start two years after moving in.

There were previous incidents of ISFs resisting relocation, some even leading to commotions. (PNA) 
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Nueva Ecija top cops cited

CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija, Aug. 3 (PNA) -- Some ranking police officers from the province were cited by an anti-crime group for the recent arrest of the leaders of a notorious gun-for-hire and robbery gang during the last election in Cabiao town.

Supt. Ricardo E. Villanueva, commander of the Nueva Ecija police's Provincial Public Safety Company was named outstanding law enforcer of the year 2013 by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption for his "courage and devotion to duty."

In the recognition signed by VACC founding chairman and president Dante LA Jimenez, it honored Villanueva in leading the Comelec checkpoint that led to the arrest of Carlito and Romeo Sarmiento, leaders of the notorious Sarmiento Gang, in barangay Sta, Ines, Cabiao town on June 7, 2013.

The group was operating in Nueva Ecija and Bulacan, the VACC noted.

It also noted that the duo were listed as most wanted persons in Nueva Ecija.

"The VACC commends the police officer for this outstanding accomplishment that displayed his professionalism and utmost diligence in the performance of his duty," the award that was handed over during the VACC 15th Founding Anniversary in Camp Crame on Friday reads.

Also were Nueva Ecija Police Provincial Office director Senior Supt. Crizaldo Nieves, and Chief Inspector Eric De Venancio, chief of police of Cabiao.

Villanueva said police have also recovered firearms and ammunition from the Sarmientos. (PNA) 
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Bulacan town mayor commends police chief for innovative approach vs crime, vices

GUIGUINTO, Bulacan, Aug. 2 (PNA) -- Mayor Ambrosio “Boy” Cruz has commended town police chief Supt. Rodolfo Hernandez for coming up with an innovative approach in combating criminal activities as well as in the maintenance of peace and order in this town.

Cruz made the remark during the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Guiguinto Suburbs at the Max Restaurant in Puregold Mall in Barangay Tabang Thursday night where the police chief was the guest speaker.

Cruz said Hernandez has come up with a “I-TEXT MO SI HEPE” campaign wherein the police chief has distributed more than 5,000 cards with bearing his numbers and the anti-crime drive of the Guiguinto police.

He said with this approach, the public can inform, give tips or seek police assistance directly to the police chief.

"I have been a mayor for a long time but it is only now that I see this kind of project wherein the police chief will directly answer and respond to the complaints and needs of our constituents," Cruz said.

Hernandez reported that he has also activated two police compact detachments in Barangays Tabang and Malis for immediate police response.

Upon hearing of the police initiatives, Rotary Club of Guiguinto Suburbs charter president Engr. Celso C. Cruz told the mayor and police chief their group will help refurbish the two satellite police stations with paints and other infrastructure needs.

Businessman Tony Tengco of Hiyas Waters said that they will also provide free water service to the police station.

At the said meeting, Mayor Cruz also called on Rotary members to help in the anti-drug and anti-illegal vice campaign of the police.

He said those menace of society are not welcome in this town and called on the support of the community and village officials to help the police neutralize them.

Hernandez said that six suspected drug dealers were arrested in a series of operations and are now facing drug pushing charges.

He said that public participation and the support of local and village officials is now making headway in preventing and combating crimes and other illegal activities.

He said the public can report directly to him if they see suspicious persons in the neighborhood or while seeing crime in progress by texting or calling him at cellphone numbers 0922-8317433 (Sun) or 0917-8289752 (Globe). (PNA) 
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Cops in pursuit of Bulacan bus robbers

MANILA, July 31 (PNA) -- Police in Bulacan are now tracking down at least three suspects who pulled off a bus heist at San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan Tuesday night.

Radio reports said the armed suspects declared the holdup and divested the passengers of their valuables upon reaching a secluded area in the locality.

One passenger said she lost her iPod touch media player and ID cards.

Police estimates that the robbers managed to cart away P10,000 in cash and valuables.

The suspects managed to get off the bus immediately after the heist. (PNA) 
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Bulacan RTC junks bail petition of 2 AFP officers on UP students kidnapping case - By Perfecto T. Raymundo, Jr.

MANILA, July 26 (PNA) -- A Regional Trial Court in Bulacan province has dismissed the petition filed by two officials of Armed Forces of the Philippines to post bail for their temporary liberty.

The case involved the abduction of two women students of the University of the Philippines on June 26, 2006.

In the decision dated July 12, 2013, Malolos City, Bulacan RTC Branch 14 Judge Teodora Gonzales found the evidence presented by the Department of Justice strong to deny bail for accused Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado and Staff Sgt. Edgardo Osorio.

Aside from the two suspects, retired Army Maj. Gen. Jovito Palpalran, Jr. was also accused in the alleged abduction of UP students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno.

Based on the testimony of the witness of the DOJ, Osorio allegedly tied the hands of the two victims while Anotado served as a "lookout" while they were in the custody of the military.

Before the warrant of arrest was issued, Palparan has already gone into hiding.

Palparan is one of the so-called "Big Five" who are subjects of manhunt by authorities with a monetary reward of P2 million each on their head for their arrest. (PNA)

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Bulacan anti-illegal logging task force brave rains, seized 3,857 board feet of hot logs anew at Ipo dam watershed

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 23 (PNA)--Braving heavy downpour and wet mountain trails, members of the Provincial Multi-Sectoral Anti-Illegal Task Force (PAILTF) continue to pounce hard against timber poachers ravaging the forest covers of the mountains of eastern Bulacan, particularly along the watershed areas of Angat and Ipo dams.

The PAILTF team was formed by Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado to intensify the crackdown against illegal loggers and protect the watershed areas in the province.

Their latest seizure were some 3, 857 board feet of illegally cut logs in sitio Ipo, barangay San Mateo in Norzagaray town.

This brings to more than 20,000 board feet the total of hot lumber that the PAILTF confiscated during a series of non-stop operations that began Tuesday last week.

The governor also sent a legal team to assist the PAILTF operatives to retrieve already sawed and spliced logs which were discovered stockpiled in some residential compounds in several mountain villages in Norzagaray town.

Alvarado also said that the Bulacan Environment and Natural Resources Office (BENRO) headed by Eugenio Payongayong will conduct a one day seminar for forest rangers and watchers tasked to guard the watershed areas and other forest covers in the mountains of northeastern Bulacan.

The governor reiterated that cutting of trees along the watershed areas of Angat and Ipo dams is strictly prohibited.

He also said that legal teams are now also studying the cancellation of permits of some sash factories and shops in Norzagaray and San Jose del Monte City which are being suspected of buying the illegally cut lumbers.

He lamented that a big part of the forest cover of the watershed area in Ipo dam has already been denuded.

Bro. Martin Francisco, founding chairman of the Sagip Sierra Madre Foundation, disclosed that illegal loggers are getting more sophisticated, well financed and well equipped.

"They can run but we will give them no quarters. We will not stop in guarding and protecting our forests," he said. (PNA) 
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5,000 board feet of illegally cut logs seized in Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 18 (PNA)-- Gov.Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado Thursday instructed the members of the Provincial Multi-Sectoral Anti-Illegal Task Force to go deeper and step-up their operations against illegal logging activities along the Sierra Madre mountain range, particularly at the Angat Dam watershed areas.

Alvarado gave the marching order to members of the PAILTIF after a joint team from the Bulacan Environment and Natural Resources Office, the National Power Corporation-Angat Watershed Area Team, the Sagip Sierra Madre Environment Society, the Philippine Army and the Bulacan police seized more than 5,000 board feet of illegally cut logs and flitches during the past two days of operations along the mountain villages in Norzagaray that ended up to Rodriguez, Rizal.

“This is a big catch but we still have to intensify and improve our strategy against those who are destroying our forest. This is just the tip of the iceberg, we are facing a sophisticated group but we will give them no quarter in our desire to save the forest cover of our watershed and mountains,” Alvarado said.

The governor said that the already sawed and sliced logs only shows that illegal loggers are now slicing-up cut-trees at the heat of the mountain to make its hauling-down more easier.

“We must step-up our strategies with the cooperation of all concerns not only in Bulacan but also in the neighboring provinces of Rizal and Nueva Ecija."

"We must protect our watershed because we are not talking of price here, every single tree is priceless. If we lost the trees, the water supply of Metro Manila will be threatened. Bulacan water is giving life to residents of Metro Manila,” he said.

In response to the total log ban policy of President Benigno S. Aquino III, Alvarado has issued Executive Order No. 20, creating the PAILTF.

The PAILTF was also formed to address the perennial flodding in the province due to the destructive effects of the illegal cutting of trees in the mountains of eastern Bulacan.

Engineer Mendell Garcia, of the NPC-AWAT, said that the confiscated flitches and cut logs are composed of red/white lauan, guijo, yakal and kamagong.

The seized hot logs, which are kinds of hard woods, was turned over to the provincial government to be used in the production of chairs and tables for different schools in Bulacan. (PNA) 
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Three suspected members of a hijacking group arrested in Pampanga

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, July 17 (PNA) -- Three suspected members of a hijacking group were arrested Wednesday in Barangay San Pablo, San Simon town.

Senior Superintendent Oscar Albayalde, Pampanga police acting provincial director, identified the arrested suspects as Elmer San Agustin, 32, Alexile de Guzman, 24, and Jose de Guzman, 30, all residents of Barangay San Pablo.

The three suspects reportedly hijacked a delivery truck loaded with chicken while traversing along the national highway in Sta. Maria, Bulacan on Monday.

Albayalde said the delivery truck was recovered in Barangay San Pablo and allegedly the hijacked chicken were already sold to unidentified persons.

Superintendent Lalaine Amparo, chief of police of Sta. Maria, coordinated with Pampanga police in their follow-up operation at said barangay.

The three suspects were arrested by the raiding team led by Chief Inspector Michael John Riego of the Pampanga police.

The suspects were turned over to Sta. Maria police, Albayalde added. (PNA) 
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Bulakenyos hail promotion of QCPD police chief to one star police general

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 16 (PNA) -- Bulakenyos hailed the promotion of Quezon City police director Richard A. Albano to the rank of chief superintendent.

They said the province still remembers his sterling exploits in ridding the notorious criminal gangs during his stint as a young police officer here.

Bulacan PNP Press Corps president Orlan L. Mauricio said Albano had served as police chief of several towns in the province.

This included Meycauayan City as well as head of the Provincial Intelligence Branch of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office which he named “Detective and Secret Service Office.”

Mauricio said Albano is primed to be a police general.

He said when Albano, then a young lieutenant and fresh graduate of the Philippine Military Academy Class 1984, first came to Bulacan, he headed several operations that led to the busting of drug syndicates, criminal gangs and other lawless elements. ,p>“He knows how to find and snare even the most elusive of the denizens of the underworld,” said Mauricio, who has covered the exploits of the new police general during his stint as deskman of an evening tabloid.

PNP chief director General Alan LM Purisima pinned Monday the one star general rank insignia to the uniform of Albano in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Purisima said the promotion of Albano was reached through hard work and dedication.

Albano’s promotion was also recommended by the PNP chief and DILG Secretary Mar Roxas to President Benigno S. Aquino III because of his sterling performance as a police officer.

Bulacan based-journalists said that Albano has the gift to track lawless elements and the charisma in leading his men to become efficient in solving and deterring crimes as well neutralizing criminals. (PNA) 
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PNP-CSG conducts Bulacan leg of fireworks safety training seminars 
By Emil Gamos

SAN RAFAEL, Bulacan, July 10 (PNA) -- The Civil Security Group of the Philippine National Police has begun conducting the regional safety training seminars for manufacturers, dealers, distributors and aerial display operators of fireworks to minimize accidents and ensure that the safety guidelines of the Firecracker Law is being strictly observed in factories and stores.

PNP-CSG director Gil C. Meneses said the seminars also aim to familiarize stakeholders of the fireworks industry on the 2012 revised Implementing Rules and Regulations governing the administration and enforcement of Republic Act 7183 otherwise known as the “Firecracker law.”

Under the law, Meneses said that it is the primary responsibility of the PNP to implement and enforce RA 7183, an act regulating the sale, manufacture, distribution and use of firecrackers and other pyrotechnics devices.

He said that PNP-CSG in coordination with the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Incorporated has lined up a series of safety training seminars from region 1 to 13 including the National Capital Region and the Cordillera Administrative Region.

Last Tuesday, Meneses together with Senior Supt. Ferdinand B. Daway, chief of the Explosive Management Division; Senior Supt. Allan Pareno, deputy chief of the Firearms and Explosive Office and Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Joel Orduna, led the first part of the Bulacan leg of the safety training seminar at the 8 Waves Hotel in barangay Ulingao here.

The event was hosted by the Philippine Fireworks Association headed by Dragon Fireworks owner Joven Ong.

Dragon fireworks is one of the leading quality fireworks makers in the Philippines, specializing in aerial fireworks display.

The second leg of the fireworks safety training seminar will be held at the Agatha Resort and Hotel in Guiguinto town on August 13 in coordination with the PPMDAI.

Parreno, who represented FEO head Chief Supt. Raul D. Petrasanta, opened the fireworks safety seminar for 2013.

He said that the one-day seminar has two phases with the first part starting with the familiarization on the 2012 revised IRR of RA 7183; a lecture on fire safety and preparedness by the Bureau of Fire Protection and procedures in safety handling of fireworks and pyrotechnics devices.

The second phase is a crash course on fireworks display operation for aerial fireworks display operators.

Engineer Celso C. Cruz, PPMDAI chairman emeritus, said that they have been spearheading the conduct of safety and training seminars for the past several years now in the different parts of the country where fireworks and pyrotechnics devices are being manufactured and sold.

Cruz said that their group is also conducting crash courses for fireworks technicians, particularly those involved in aerial fireworks display.

He also said that the PPMDAI is in constant coordination with the provincial government of Bulacan headed by Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and the Department of Science and Technology to make the local fireworks industry in the province more globally competitive. (PNA) 
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Crime rate in Bulacan steadily declines in the past 3 years

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, July 5 (PNA) -- The crime rate in the province is steadily declining in the past three years.

Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado said that through collaborative efforts of the local officials and the police, the crime solution efficiency in the province has improved since 2010.

Within three years of his administration, Alvarado said the crime solution efficiency in the province has increased from 8.50 percent in 2010 , 13.31 percent in 2011 and 23.06 percent 2012.

He also that the average monthly crime rate continues to decline from 44.23 in 2010 to 30.99 in 2011 and 20.49 in 2012.

He attributed the declining crime rate to the intensified campaign against lawless elements.

The campaign was also evident following the neutralization of criminal gangs, including the notorious Dominguez carnapping group.

Likewise, he said the provincial government is also strictly implementing the no helmet, no ride policy to ensure the safety of the motorists, as well as the people of Bulacan.

Meanwhile, to ensure the effective performance of the Bulacan Provincial Jail’s guards, they were required to undergo six trainings including the proper handling and use of their firearms, he said.

He said training for five K-9 dogs was also conducted in order to assist the guards in tracking illegal drugs within the jail premises and to maintain peace and order in the area.

Life changing and values enhancing activities like mass, prayer meetings, bible seminars, and cursillo classes among others were also conducted to help the inmates in their transformation, he added. (PNA) 
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Bulacan marks Del Pilar’s 117th death anniversary

BULAKAN, Bulacan, July 4 (PNA)--Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado on Thursday said that Bulakenyos will not disappoint national hero Jose Rizal in his desire for the country to have 100 “Plaridels,”.

Plaridel is the pen name of Bulakenyo hero Gat Marcelo H. Del Pilar, who worked to deliver the country from bondage during the time of the Philippine revolution against Spanish colonial rule.

The governor made the statement during the commemoration of the 117th death anniversary of Del Pilar, also known as the "Great Propagandist," held at the Del Pilar shrine in Sitio Cupang, Barangay San Nicolas here on Thursday morning.

The commemoration became more meaningful as residents appreciated the recognition of their native son given by no less than President Benigno Aquino III who sent a wreath of yellow flowers at the statue of Del Pilar.

Alvarado told guests, including journalism and history students, that Rizal was overwhelmed when Del Pilar wrote the satire entitled Caiigat Cayo in defense of the attacks by Fray Rodriguez in his pamphlet entitled “Caiingat Cayo”

He quoted the famous lines of Rizal which states “Ang sinulat ni Plaridel ay nagdulot sa akin ng malaking kaligayahan; ngayon ko masasabi ang saya ng sinabi ni Jacob: ‘ngayo’y maari na akong mamatay nang nasisiyahan, natitiyak kong ang gawaing pinangarap ko ay matatapos. Bakit hindi tayo magkaroon ng Sandaang Plaridel?” (Plaridel's writings brought me great joy; Today, I can say what Jacob stated is fun: 'now I can die satisfied for I am sure that the work I am dreaming for would finish'. Why we do not have one hundred Plaridel?"

Alvarado disclosed that as fitting tribute to the patriotism and heroism of Del Pilar, the provincial government will erect a statue in front of the provincial capitol so that people can look at it and remember the greatness of the Bulakenyo hero.

Del Pilar left the prosperous life of a lawyer and died alone and a pauper in a cold and damp room in Barcelona, Spain on July 4, 1896 — two years before a revolution inspired by his writings paved the declaration of Philippine Independence.

Alvarado said that while the death of Rizal can be likened to a “blockbuster” filled with drama, witnessed by friends and relatives and complete with a breathtaking view of dawn breaking at nearby Manila Bay, Del Pilar’s death is full of sadness inside a dark room in Barcelona, far away from loved ones and his motherland.

“But Del Pilar died with his boots on,” Alvarado said, adding that based on accounts, the “Great Propagandist” died while sitting and holding a pen.

He said that although alone, and being blown like a candle in the wind with tuberculosis, Del Pilar remained strong in spirit and died gallantly.

Alvarado said that Rizal’s wish for a hundred Del Pilars has come true because now there are at least three million children in Bulacan that will soon erect a statue where his legacy will continue to live on and inspire the next generations not only of Bulakenyos but the whole Filipino people as well. (PNA) 
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Two drug dealers, dope user nabbed in series of anti-drug sting in Bulacan

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, July 2 (PNA) -— Two alleged drug dealers and a drug user fell on Tuesday in a series of police anti-drug operations in the towns of Sta. Maria, Hagonoy and Norzagaray.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Joel S. Orduna identified the suspected drug pushers as Rodel Cabungcal alias “Tango”, 37, a native of San Isidro, Nueva Ecija and a resident of No. 110 Barangay Antipona, Bocaue town and Ramil Manasan alias “Bakbak”, 39, a resident of purok 9, Barangay Sta. Monica, Hagonoy town.

Orduna said that Cabungcal was arrested after the Sta. Maria Police Station received information that a certain alias “Tango” was selling illegal drugs near the Best Mix Corporation in Barangay Guyong, Sta. Maria town.

He said that upon receipt of the report, town police chief Supt. Lailene Amparo initiated a buy-bust operation that was conducted by Municipal Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operation Task Force, together with a confidential asset, who acted as a poseur buyer.

Upon arrival at the place, a male person arrived on board a black motorcycle.

Orduna said that the suspect was arrested after the marked money worth P1,000 was handed to the suspect in exchange of one small plastic sachet containing suspected shabu.

After the arrest, the suspect yielded eight more small heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet, containing suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride also known as “shabu”, with an estimated street value of P15,000; one piece of P1,000 bill used as marked money, and one black Honda Wave motorcycle, with plate number 4447-CP, registered under the name of one Rolex Bumatay Casilla of No. 29 Ilang-Ilang Street, Saint Michael Subdivision, Barangay Pandayan, Meycauayan City.

The suspect and the confiscated pieces of evidence were brought to Bulacan Provincial Crime Laboratory Office for examination, while the motorcycle was brought to Sta. Maria MPS for proper disposition.

In Hagonoy town, Manasan was arrested after selling P500 worth of shabu to a police anti-narcotics agent.

In Norzagaray town, police arrested Ronaldo Sarmiento alias “Taba/Ronald”, 35, a resident of Barangay Poblacion, Norzagaray after police swooped down on a tricyle where the suspect and two other companions were allegedly sniffing shabu.

Appropriate criminal charges are now being prepared for filing with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor against the suspects. (PNA) 
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Swarm of flies invades Bulacan town public market
By Emil Gamos

BALAGTAS, Bulacan, June 29 (PNA)-- Traders and consumers at the Balagtas public market are pestered by a new menace -- swarm of flies.

Rommel Ramos, anchor of the radio program “Rommel Ramos Po!”, said his daily program is also being swarmed by callers calling the attention of officials to act on the matter before it becomes a health hazard to the public. He said the swarm became ominous shortly after a big fire gutted a major portion of the public market last month.

Bobby Alonzo, a butcher, said his customers have dwindled in the past days because of the swarm.

"Most of my customers transferred to another market because of the swarm of flies," Alonzo lamented.

Upon learning of the plight of traders, consumers and residents during the weekly radio program “The Governor’s Hour” , Gov. Wilhelhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado immediately called and instructed Provincial administrator Jim Valerio and provincial health officer Dr. Joy Gomez to go to the area and act on the problem.

He told the two provincial officials to coordinate with their counterparts at the municipal government to swiftly address the situation.

Traders said that after the fire last month, most of the burned goods, including meats have not been totally cleared out from the premises.

Diosdadao Libiran, OIC market master, said thay have tried to remedy the problem but the flies just keep on coming back.

Residents also said that garbage being dumped at the streets beside a creek at the public market is also being seen as one of the factors why flies are invading every nook of the public market. (PNA) 
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Alvarado leads elected officials in Bulacan to take oath on June 30

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 28 (PNA) -- Second termer Governor-elect Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado will lead all elected officials in the province in taking their oath of office on June 30 at the Bulacan Capitol gymnasium here.

Executive judge Maria Theresa Arcega will preside the oathtaking of provincial and district level officials while Alvarado will swear into office the elected local government officials of the three cities and 21 municipalities in Bulacan.

Alvarado said the mass oathtaking which is dubbed as “Sabayang Panunumpa Nagkakaisang Pamamahala para sa Lalawigang Dakila” is a perfect venue to call all the public servants, regardless of their political affiliations to unite in leading and serving their constituents starting July 1 up to the next three years.

"This is good opportunity to ask again the support of the veteran public servants and the newly-elected officials towards the continuous implementation of projects anchored in our seven-point agenda which include environment, health, education, transparent governance, livelihood, peace and order, and history and culture,” the governor said.

Provincial administrator Jim Valerio said that after the mass oathtaking, Alvarado will also present his accomplishments and future plans for the province of Bulacan.

Other newly-elected officials of the province who will be taking oath are board members from each district are Michael Fermin, Toti Ople, and Ayee Ople for the first district; Buko Dela Cruz and Monet Posadas for second district; Nono Castro and Erning Sulit for third district; and Jonjon Delos Santos , King Sarmiento and Allan Ray Baluyut for fourth district.

New members of House of the Representatives include Ma. Victoria Sy-Alvarado (1st district); Apol Pancho (2nd district) ; Jonjon Mendoza (3rd district); Linabelle Ruth Villarica (4th district); and Arthur Robes (Lone district of San Jose Del Monte).

The newly-elected mayors, on the other hand, are Leonardo de Leon of Angat; Romeo Castro of Balagtas; Eduardo Villanueva Jr. of Bocaue; Jessie de Jesus of Calumpit; Ronaldo T. Flores of Dona Remedios Trinidad; Enrico Roque of Pandi; Vicente Esguerra Sr., of Pulilan; and Cipriano Violago of San Rafael.

In the coastal town of Hagonoy, Raulito “Amboy” Manlapaz Jr., of the Partido ng Masang Pilipino; independent mayor Isagani Castro (Paombong) and Alfredo Gelmar of the Liberal Party (Norzagaray).

Reelectionists Mayors Christian D. Natividad of Malolos City and Joan Alarilla of the City of Meycauayan –both from the Liberal party.(PNA) 
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Bulacan PDRRMO, SM City Baliwag strengthen role in disaster preparedness

BALIWAG, Bulacan, June 26 (PNA) -- The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) is working hand-in-hand with the private sector in bracing up for the onslaught of the rainy season.

PDRRM executive officer Liz Mungcal on Wednesday said a team of evaluators from the PDRRMO, Philippine Red Cross and the Bulacan Integrated Association observed and assessed the emergency response program of the personnel and staff of SM City Baliwag during a typhoon and flood drill conducted last Monday.

Mungcal said the provincial government, led by Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and Vice Govenor Daniel Fernando, is actively taking steps in lessening and mitigating the effects of floods and other forms of calamities by conducting emergency drills.

“Being a crowded place, SM City Baliwag is one of the commercial establishments that is actively preparing and strengthening their response during times of calamities,” Mungcal said.

Beverly Bernardo Cruz, public relations officer of SM City Baliwag, said that the annual exercise aims to intensify and sustain the company’s emergency response program and foster a disaster-ready culture among the mall employees for prompt response during threat of heavy rains and rising floodwaters.

The activity began with a simulation of a worse case storm on signal number 4 setting off the activation of the Emergency Response Group (ERG) which includes the rescue and evacuation units, security and crowd control, medical, communications and engineering teams.

To sustain the ERG’s disaster-preparedness skills, they also underwent a series of trainings and seminars on basic life support and rescue operations prior to the drill.

Cruz said that a potential flooding was likewise anticipated with the opening of the floodgates of Angat dam.

She said that in this scenario, an immediate evacuation to the cinema area’s second level was quickly directed by Rodora Tolentino, the mall’s assistant mall manager and the ERG’s team leader.

“The second floor lobby was transformed into a temporary relief center housing areas for first-aid, rest & comfort inside the theaters, food storage and the communication booth where evacuees can also charge their mobile phones and get information on weather reports,” Cruz said.

To make the drill more realistic, supposed victims of drowning and hypothermia were quickly revived and were given immediate medical treatment after the mock rescue operation.

Cruz said that more than 200 participants, including store tenants, janitorial and security personnel, affiliates and mall employees gathered for a post-drill evaluation.

Aside from the mall’s emergency response efforts, SM Foundation Inc. (SMFI), the company’s socio-civic arm also extended disaster relief programs with the activation of “Operation Tulong Express.”

The SMFI team, together with employee-volunteers takes part in the distribution of food, water, blankets, clothing and other basic necessities given to calamity-stricken areas within the community, Cruz added. (PNA) 
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Fire destroys 14 classrooms at Malolos Central School

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 24 (PNA)--Classes were temporarily suspended at the City of Malolos Integrated School (also known as Malolos Central School) in barangay Sto. Rosario here after a fire of still unknown origin gutted at least 14 classrooms on Monday.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) said the fire was noticed at around 4:00 am and was put under control at around 6:00 am.

Police and arson investigators are still investigating the cause of the fire.

Damages were estimated at P3.2 million. (PNA) 
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Gun ban nets 499 violators, 527 assorted firearms in Central Luzon 
By Froilan E. Magtoto

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, June 20 (PNA) -- The implementation of the election gun ban from January 13 to June 12 this year resulted to the arrest of 499 persons and confiscation of 527 assorted firearms in Central Luzon.

Data from the Police Regional Office-3 (PRO-3) showed that Bulacan has the most number of arrests with 191; followed by Nueva Ecija, 101 and Pampanga with 70.

Of the total confiscated loose firearms, there were 132 in Nueva Ecija, 130 in Bulacan and 113 in Pampanga.

Police Supt. Jacqueline Puapo, public information officer of the PRO-3, said those arrested were already charged in court.

“We will closely monitor the prosecution of all cases involving violation of election laws, particularly violations of the Comelec gun ban,” Puapo said.

She said the campaign against loose firearms will continue despite the lifting of the election gun ban.

“We will still carry on our campaign against loose firearms and the Oplan Katok to remind gun owners with expired licenses to renew it to avoid being penalized under the law,” she added. (PNA) 
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Concerned citizen helps Bulacan cops bust dope dealers

MEYCAUAYAN CITY, Bulacan, June 14 (PNA) -- An observant concerned citizen with keen eyes on suspicious-looking persons helped local policemen bust three suspected members of a local drug gang in Barangay Perez here Thursday afternoon.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Joel Orduna identified the arrested suspects as Eric Ramos, 40, jobless; Celestino Bongolan alis “Tararong”, 43, tricycle driver, both residents of Brgy. Perez; and Wenceslao Dacillo alias “Saturday”, 43, truck driver, and resident of Brgy. Camohaguin, Gumaca, Quezon.

According to Orduna, prior to the suspects' arrest, a text was received by the Meycauayan City police station from a concerned citizen saying that there are drug pushers in the said area.

The Bulacan top cop said that upon receipt of the report, personnel of Anti-Illegal Drugs-Special Operations Task Force of the Meycauayan City Police Station conducted validation that yielded positive result.

Further investigation disclosed that Ramos is transacting his illegal activity through phone and using Bongolan as his courier whenever there are orders from buyers.

Orduna said that the suspects were caught in the act of selling, possession, distribution, and transporting of the mind altering substance known as “shabu.”

Seized from the suspects are three pieces of transparent plastic sachet containing suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu); one Nokia cellular phone, one black Honda 155 motorcycle (for registration) with sidecar, and seven pieces of P100 bill used as marked money.

The suspects and the confiscated pieces of evidence were brought to Bulacan Provincial Crime Laboratory Office for laboratory examination.

Appropriate criminal complaint is now being prepared for filing at the Office of the City Prosecutor here. (PNA) 
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Bulakenyos plant 5,000 trees in Dona Remedios Trinidad town

DONA REMEDIOS TRINIDAD, Bulacan, June 14 (PNA) -- Similar cause and cooperation between local government units (LGUs) and the private sector is helping this booming mountain resort town in fortifying the forest cover of its mountains and hills where mining and logging activities are strictly being monitored and regulated by the provincial government.

Staff and personnel of the provincial government of Bulacan, the municipal government of Dona Remedios Trinidad, the Bulacan Environment and Natural Resources Office (BENRO), and the Mighty Corporation on Friday braved wet mountain trails and planted at least 5,000 tree saplings in the mountain villages of Bayabas and Camachile.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the tree planting activity is among the programs and activities lined up by the provincial government in observance of the Environment Month.

Alvarado said that this year’s celebration is anchored on the theme “Kalikasan at Kapaligiran ng Bulacan, Patuloy na Kalingain at Pangalagaan.”

“The more trees we plant, the more we lessen the threat of natural disasters. At the same time, we are also making the mountain resort town looks beautiful with its verdant forest cover,” Alvarado said.

He said that the highland atmosphere at Dona Remedios Trinidad is comparable with those of the cities of Tagaytay and Baguio.

The governor said that progress is good but it should not be achieved at the expense and destruction of the environment and depletion of natural resources.

Alvarado reiterated that the love of environment should be alive in the hearts of everyone.

Re-elected mayor Ronald T. Flores said that the municipal government is working hand-in-hand with the provincial government and private sector to make Dona Remedios Trinidad a popular mountain resort town and at the same time, economically sound and stable through good management of its environment and natural resources. (PNA) 
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Bulacan cops nab alleged drug dealer in anti-drug raid

GUIGUINTO, Bulacan, June 8 (PNA)-- Police intelligence operatives swooped down on a suspected dope den in barangay Sta. Cruz here Friday afternoon that led to the arrest of a suspected dope dealer and the seizure of several sachets of “shabu” , an air gun rifle and several ammunitions for high- powered firearms.

Bulacan police director Senior Supt. Joel Sabio Orduna identified the arrested suspect as Gerald Alcontin also known as “Doyet”, a resident of Felville Subdivision in barangay Sta. Cruz here.

Orduna said the operatives of the Provincial Intelligence Branch headed by Supt. Edwin Quilates raided the said the suspect's house on the strength of search warrant issued by Bulacan RTC executive judge Ma. Theresa V. Mendoza Arcega for violation of RA 8294 and RA 9165.

Orduna said that during the search, Quilates and his men found and seized two heat sealed plastic sachets containing suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride “shabu”; different drugs paraphernalia; three notebooks containing list of clients’/credit/consign illegal drugs amounting to more or less P138,000; three live ammunitions for 9mm; two live ammunitions for shotgun; four live ammunitions for M16; one live ammunition for M14 and one air gun riffle.

Quilates said the implementation of the search warrant was properly documented aand was witnessed by barangay chairman Ignacio R. Hernandez and chief tanod Aguido Bicol of barangay Sta. Cruz.

The arrested suspect and the seized pieces of evidence are presently under the custody of PIB for proper disposition.

Appropriate charges will also be filed against the suspect. (PNA) 
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Bulacan cited as among Top 10 New Wave Cities in PHL

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 6 (PNA) -- The province of Bulacan is fast becoming as the new frontier of economic growth in Central Luzon.

This came as the province recently cited as one of the Top 10 New Wave Cities in the Philippines for 2012.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said they are proud that the province has been included and acknowledged as a key for economic and technological advancement of the country by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Information Technology and Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) for three consecutive years.

“It is evident that development is really making its way in our region. It is our vision that Bulacan will become the new engine for economic growth. Our location is strategic. Bulacan is the so-called “Gateway to the North. Industrialization is happening here and it will trigger a much robust business climate in Central at Northern Luzon,” Alvarado said.

Aside from being accessible, “Metro Bulacan” has passed the criteria set by the DOST-ICTO and BPAP which includes favorable environment for business; enough work supply and manpower; strong telecommunication structure; low cost of doing business; and other factors that sustains the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry.

“Another good thing about Bulacan is that we are so close to Metro Manila. We have many colleges here producing qualified graduates, and majority of BPO employees are mostly from here,” the governor said.

Provincial Cooperative and Economic Development Office head Jovito Saguinsin, for his part, said the provincial government will continue to improve facilities and infrastructures in the province to make it more equip to new investments.

Other provinces/cities cited as 2012 Top 10 New Wave Cities include Lipa City, Dumaguete City, Metro Laguna, Metro Cavite, Baguio City, Iloilo City, Davao City and the two new qualifiers, Metro Rizal and Metro Naga.(PNA) 
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Bulacan police entrap computer hacker

MARILAO, Bulacan, June 5 (PNA) -- Police arrested a suspected computer hacker during an entrapment operation in Barangay Nagbalaon here Tuesday afternoon.

Bulacan police provincial director Senior Supt. Joel Orduna identified the arrested suspect as Arnold Evardone, 36, a computer technician and a resident of Villa Monteverde Subdivision here.

Orduna said a team from the Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC) headed by Supt. Ross Alvarado conducted a sting operation against the alleged computer hacker after two security investigators of Globe Telecoms Inc , identified as Jon-jon Masiclat, 44, and Jason L Rodriguez, 33, coordinated with the Bulacan Police Provincial Office (BPPO) for the arrest of the suspect.

He said that according to the telecom’s security investigators, Evardone is allegedly involved in the illegal selling, producing, using, trafficking or counterfeit access device of Globe Telecom Inc. reportedly operating in Barangay Nagbalon here, a high tech criminal offense punishable under RA 8484 otherwise known as ”Access Device Regulation Act of 1998”.

The PPSC operatives, together with the two security investigators, proceeded to the place and conducted entrapment operation which resulted in the arrest of the suspect.

Seized from the suspect were seven pieces of wireless BM622iWIMAX modem; nine pieces of wireless BM622WIMAX modem; two pieces of DSL Globe WIMAX; one antenna for WIMAX modem; one flat screen monitor; one CPU; one shouldering iron; three pieces of internal hard drives; two hot air blower; four pieces of BM622i WIMAX modem mother board; 42 pieces of BM622 WIMAX modem mother board; and one assorted spare parts of WIMAX modem and computer.

The arrested suspect and the confiscated pieces of evidence are now presently under the custody of the PPSC for proper disposition.

Appropriate criminal complaint against the suspect is being prepared for filing in court.(PNA) 
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Bulacan police ordered to step up drive vs criminality

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, June 2 (PNA) -- Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado has issued a marching order to the Bulacan Police Provincial Office (BPPO) to intensify their campaign against criminality elements, saying the province is not a place for lawless elements.

The governor made the remarks in the wake of the recent slaying of village officials in Balagtas and San Miguel town.

“These senseless killings of officials should stop. The police should give more teeth in their anti-crime drive. They are more well trained than criminals so they should stop them from carrying out their nefarious schemes,” Alvarado said.

The governor said he instructed Bulacan provincial director Senior Supt. Joel Orduna to get the suspects and intensify their operations against criminal gangs and lawless elements.

Alvarado said the slain village officials were slain “with their boots on” doing their jobs when treacherously attacked by still unidentified suspects.

Last Friday, the village chief of barangay Lambakin in San Miguel town was killed by unidentified motorcycle-rising gunmen.

Village chief Feliciano Beltran Liwag Jr., 51, a former policeman and owner of Liwag Pharmacy was shot dead by two suspects at around 2:30 p.m.

Officer-on-case SPO4 Carlos Pascual said the victim was riding his XLT jitney when the suspects arrived and gunned him down.

The killing of Liwag took place five days after the village chief of barangay Santol, Balagtas town was killed by two unidentified gunmen.

Village chief Ernesto “Estong” Ventura was leading the cleaning of the barangay school when he was approached by two suspects armed with handguns and shot him.

Witnesses said that though wounded he tried to fight back to fight but was shot by the other suspect.(PNA) 
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Bulacan joins National Flag Day celebration

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, May 27 (PNA) -- The provincial government will hold a simple yet meaningful celebration of the National Flag Day on Tuesday.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, together with Vice Governor Daniel Fernando and members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan will lead the flag raising ceremony in front of the provincial capitol building here at 8:00 a.m. simultaneous with the same activity nationwide.

The event, which is in accordance with Republic Act 8491, also known as "Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines," will be participated in by government employees and representatives from the private sector.

"This signals the start of the celebration of Independence Day in our country. Thus, it is only appropriate to give value to the Philippine flag which symbolizes our unity as a nation and the colorful history of how our forefathers fought and died for the independence we are enjoying today," Alvarado said. (PNA) 
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94 persons arrested due to vote buying -– PNP

MANILA, May 16 (PNA) -- The Philippine National Police arrested 94 persons engaging in vote buying during the 2013 midterm elections.

PNP Chief Director General Alan Purisima said that 59 incidents of vote buying occurred during the campaign period up to election day on May 13.

“Yung vote buying nakita ng mga pulis natin . We need to review further the elements of vote buying, there should be elements present for a crime to be committed”, Purisima said.

In 59 incidents of vote buying the PNP has filed 46 cases while the 13 is still under investigation. The 83 suspects are facing charges while the other 11 are still investigated.

PNP confiscated worth P1.64- million which used for bribing voters to elect a particular candidates.

PNP also said the area with the most arrested persons in vote buying was Region 3 or Central Luzon which included Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac and Zambales with P505,700.

The second most is Region 1 or Ilocos Region which recorded P224,100 worth of vote buying while the third is Region 9 or Western Mindanao with P131,220. (PNA) 
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(Bulacan) 'Newcomers' unseat 4 incumbent mayors in Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, May 14 (PNA) -– Meet Bulacan's “new kids on the block”.

The just-concluded midterm elections in this province has brought some surprises as newcomers emerged victorious, unseating incumbent mayors in some towns of the province.

Based on the initial monitoring report of the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor, at least four first-timer mayoralty candidates have beaten the incumbent mayors.

The report, however, did not indicate the total votes garnered due to technical and transmission problems encountered by some of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines.

Bulacan election supervisor lawyer Elmo Duque, however, said that the results in some towns have been forwarded to the Municipal Board of Canvassers and at least 12 municipal mayors and vice mayors were already proclaimed on Tuesday morning.

In the coastal town of Hagonoy, Raulito “Amboy” Manlapaz Jr. of the Partido ng Masang Pilipino unseated re-electionist mayor Angel Cruz Jr.

In Paombong town, independent mayoral bet Isagani Castro, said to be a virtually unknown in the political scene in this coastal town known for its palm vinegar (sukang Paombong) which was ruled for so many years by outgoing national president of League of Municipalities of the Philippines and last-termer Mayor Donato Marcos, beat the latter's wife Mary Ann of the Liberal party.

In Norzagaray town, long-time mayor Fel Legazpi (National Unity Party) was beaten by Alfredo Gelmar of the Liberal Party.

Like Manlapaz of Hagonoy, Castro of Paombong and Galvez of San Ildefonso, this was the first time that Gelmar ran for the mayorship of his town and won.

As of 2 p.m. Tuesday, the other winning mayors of Bulacan based on the monitoring report of the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor are Leonardo de Leon of Angat; Romeo Castro of Balagtas; Eduardo Villanueva of Bocaue; Jessie de Jesus of Calumpit; Ronaldo T. Flores of Dona Remedios Trinidad; Enrico Roque of Pandi; Vicente Esguerra Sr., of Pulilan; and Cipriano Violago of San Rafael.

Reelectionist mayors Christian D. Natividad of Malolos City and Joan Alarilla of the City of Meycauayan, both of the Liberal Party, won landslide victories over their respective rivals but were not yet proclaimed as of posting time.

Meanwhile, Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado and his wife 1st district Rep. Ma. Victoria R. Sy-Alvarado, who both ran unopposed in the just concluded midterm elections, were given fresh mandates by their province mates.

Alvarado’s running mate vice governor Daniel Fernando is also heading to a second term with 696,477 votes against his closest rivals Josie Lopez with 44,500 votes and Manny Ocampo with 20,045 votes.

The province of Bulacan has a total of 1,497,000 registered voters. (PNA) 
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(Elections-Update) Elections in Central Luzon generally peaceful

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, May 13 (PNA) -- The conduct of the national and local elections in Central Luzon was so far generally peaceful.

This was considered to be the most peaceful elections in the region amid the inclusion of two of the seven provinces--Pampanga and Nueva Ecija--in the priority areas of concern.

Except for some glitches on the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines as well as the usual problems and complaints of having difficulties in finding the voters' name, disenfranchisement of other voters, alleged vote buying, and political harassment, there were no election-related incidents reported throughout the region.

Based on the latest report of the Regional Election Monitoring Action Center (REMAC) stationed in this camp, the voting process is so far going well with no political-related incidents reported.

Supt. Fernando Lansangan, head of REMAC, said the political atmosphere in the region was generally peaceful and orderly, a great improvement compared in the past elections.

"Based on the monitoring report we received in the fields throughout the region, there are no election-related violence. Let us all hope and pray that the voting process not only in the region but also throughout the nation ended peacefully," Lansangan said.

In Zambales, Lawyer Panfilo Doctor Jr., provincial election supervisor, said there were report of any untoward incident in the province's 13 towns and in Olongapo City as of press time even to areas considered as hotspots.

In Bulacan, acting police director Joel S. Orduna said the entire province which composed of 21 towns and three cities, was also peaceful as government security forces are strategically deployed in every polling centers.

"So far, there is no untoward incident and we are hoping that it will continue. Let us join together to maintain peaceful and orderly elections," Orduna said.

In Nueva Ecija, the conduct of elections in the province's 27 towns and five cities proceeded peacefully and orderly.

In Pampanga, the voting process in the 19 towns and three cities was likewise peaceful.

Reports have that conduct of elections in Bataan, Tarlac and Aurora were also peaceful. (PNA) 
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(Elections-Bulacan) Election in Bulacan generally peaceful

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, May 13 (PNA) -- Except for minor problems from precint count optical scan (PCOS) machines in several voting precints in some parts of the province, the conduct of the May 13 mid-term elections in Bulacan is generally peaceful.

Bulacan election supervisor Lawyer Elmo Roque said that there was a heavy turnout of voters in polling places as early as 7:00 am.

People went to their polling precincts early to cast their votes. There were reports that some PCOS machines malfunctioned but technicians were able to solve the problems immediately, Roque said, adding that they are still consolidating reports from the 21 towns and three cities of Bulacan.

In vote-rich Meycauayan City, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) said three PCOs machines bogged down at around 9:00 a.m. but was immediately repaired by authorized technicians.

The Bulacan Police Provincial Office said that teams were dispatched to several areas where incidents of vote-buying were reported but no violators was caught.

Bulacan acting police director Joel S. Orduna said government security forces are strategically deployed in every polling centers.

He said that in every polling precincts there are at least four policemen assigned to maintain peace and order.

Earlier, the Bulacan police has tagged the towns of San Miguel, San Rafael, San Ildefonso and Dona Remedios Trinidad — all in the third congressional district of Bulacan - under “heightened alert” based on incidents that occurred there in the past elections.

"So far, there is no untoward incident and we are hoping that it will continue. Let us join together to maintain peaceful and orderly elections," Orduna said.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, who is running unopposed under the One-Bulacan team, said he believes that the security forces and their force multipliers are doing a good job in ensuring the conduct of of an honest, orderly and peaceful elections in the province.

"Election is part of democracy; it is the voice of the people. It should not be tainted with conflicts because the government would not succeed if there is no unity. That's why the police and soldiers should ensure the appropriate respect for the sacredness of ballots," Alvarado said. (PNA) 
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Security forces in Bulacan ready for May 13 polls

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, May 4 (PNA) -- With prayers and reminder that “the voice of the people is the voice of God”, contingents of police and army troopers were given final instructions to ensure a safe, free and peaceful elections in the province on May 13 during a send off ceremony here on Saturday morning.

The send-off ceremony was presided by officials of the Provincial Joint Security Control Center (PJSCC) led by Bulacan election supervisor lawyer Elmo Duque, Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Joel Orduna and Lt. Col. Bernardo Ona, battalion commander of the 56th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.

Orduna told police and army troopers before the “send-off” at this camp that “once again we are being called to do what we do best. Let’s do our best in serving the people and the best interests for our country.”

He said the security forces in Bulacan and its force multipliers are now ready to face any eventualities to ensure the conduct of an honest, orderly and peaceful election in the province.

The joint security forces will be deployed in the 554 voting centers provincewide for a safe and fair elections in Bulacan.

Duque, for his part, said that it is now “all system go” as far as preparations for the upcoming midterm elections in the province is concerned.

He reminded the security forces there are laws and rules to be obeyed and that the will of the people should be preserved and protected at all costs.

Let us help Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. in a crusade for an orderly, clean and peaceful elections. Let us encourage the public to take the straight path this coming elections, Duque said.

They said that they will put up posters in strategic areas in every towns and cities to remind the people and the candidates as well that “ firearms and deadly weapons are prohibited”.

The posters reminding the public and the candidates that selling and buying of vote is illegal and punishable under the provisions of the Omnibus Elections code will also be put up.

The PJSCC said that the public can call the Provincial Election Monitoring Action Center (PEMAC) through cellphone number 0927-602-8920 for immediate assistance 24/7.

Duque said that official ballots were delivered last Thursday to the different treasurer’s office in the province’s 21 towns and three cities and are now being guarded by policemen and authorized representatives of candidates.

Last Friday, Duque said that all PCOS machines were tested in coordination with the National Support Center of the Comelec.

The voting machines will be delivered to the different municipal and city halls on Sunday and will be tightly secured by police and army troopers.

There are 1,962 PCOS machines in Bulacan with 24 reserved or stand-by machines.

There is also one contingent machine for every town and cities.

Meanwhile, Malolos City police chief Supt. David N. Poklay said joint police and army teams will escort election officials in delivering PCOS machines to the different coastal villages here. (PNA) 
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AFP, PNP ready for elections in Bulacan

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, May 1 (PNA) -- The joint forces of Bulacan Provincial Police Office (BPPO) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will be deployed to different voting centers in the province starting Saturday.

Police Senior Supt. Joel Orduña, provincial director of the BPPO, made this statement during the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) meeting at the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center on Tuesday.

“We are now in the final phase of deploying our troops in our different voting centers in each municipality supported by 238 augmentations from AFP and one company from First Scout Ranger Regiment (FSRR),” Orduña said.

He also reported that after implementing the firearms ban, BPPO has accounted a total of 105 high-powered and low-powered firearms and 76 other items confiscated as of April 29.

He also said the total crime volume in Bulacan marked a 33 percent decrease or 1, 850 incidents recorded as compared to last year’s report for the same period.

Meanwhile, Brigade Commander Lt. Col. Bernardo Oña of the 56th Infantry Battalion warned the council members from those individuals who claim to be from the Philippine Army asking for financial support.

"We received reports that there are people going to the mayors and candidates asking for 20 cavans of rice and money for the Army. They are all lies," Oña said.

He said that if candidates are requesting for security it must be properly coordinated to the Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Center (JPSCC), which is composed of Commission on Elections (Comelec), PNP and the 56th IB, all tasked to address the peace and order concerns in the province.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said that it is the PPOC’s responsibility to secure a fair and peaceful election in the province.

"Election is part of democracy; it is the voice of the people. I should not be tainted with conflicts because the government would not succeed if there is no unity. That's why the police and soldiers should ensure the appropriate respect for the sacredness of ballots," Alvarado said. (PNA) 
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Five barker vehicles of UNA candidates in Bulacan gutted by mysterious fire

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 30 (PNA) -- Police and arson experts here are investigating a mysterious fire that gutted five campaign vehicles (barkers) of local candidates of the United Nationalists Alliance (UNA)in this city early Tuesday morning.

Former city councilor and UNA–Malolos spokesman Dennis San Diego said that two barkers of UNA mayoral candidate and former city mayor Danilo “Danny” Domingo, two barkers of city councilor candidate Vino Mercado and one barker for the city’s UNA ticket were all gutted by a mysterious fire that broke out at around 2:00 a.m. in a compound in Barangay Lugam here.

San Diego said they are still awaiting the results of the investigations conducted by the Bureau of Fire Protection and the Malolos City Police Station.

He said the five vehicles, two elf pick-up trucks and Tamiya pick-up trucks, were parked at the compound’s garage at around 8:30 Monday night after a house- to- house sorties of the local candidates of UNA in Barangays Balite and Dakila earlier in the day.

He said that the vehicles would usually leave the garage for the sorties of UNA mayoral bet Domingo and his team in the different villages of the city.

He said that all their campaign vehicles are properly checked regularly and are in tiptop conditions.

The fire also destroyed the sound systems attached in the burned vehicles.

When asked if there is foul play or if politics is involved, San Diego said that "I hope it was not because politics is just one day and should not be tainted with violence."

He said that the loss of their five vehicles will affect the campaign sorties because they have to replace it in order to continue their campaign in the different villages of the city.

"It was an unfortunate incident. But we will continue 

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1,500 bikers join pitch for H.O.P.E. 2013

MALOLOS, Bulacan, April 28 (PNA) -- An estimated 1,500 cyclists joined together on Sunday to promote honest, orderly and peaceful elections (HOPE) through the “7th Takbulacan” fun biking event.

Takbulacan is organized by SALIKA Foundation, Inc. which intends to promote camaraderie among Bulakeños through volunteerism, charity and unity. This also serves as an information campaign to support secure and fair elections.

Meanwhile, different cyclist groups from Luzon participated in the event which started at 5 in the morning.

According to Wilfredo Barroquillo Jr. of SALIKA Foundation, they did not expect the turnout of participants. He said that there were more participants this quarter and most of them were not able to have a cycling jersey because it was already out of stock.

The fun biking event started from two staging points; from Marcelo H. Del Pilar Shrine in Bulakan, Bulacan and the other is from the Grotto Vista Resort in San Jose del Monte City.

All cyclists have completed the route by 9 a.m. and met in the end point at Bulacan Sports Complex, Sta. Isabel, Malolos, Bulacan.

Celso Pangan, a 78-year-old cyclist, was awarded for being the oldest biking enthusiast in the league.

Through the help of Philippine National Police (PNP), the event has successfully achieved its goal and has secured the safety and protection of every biker.

Funds collected from the event will go to SALIKA Foundation’s program such as scholarship, medical mission and livelihood projects. (PNA) 
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Police, students, teachers join TakBulacan 2013 for honest, orderly and peaceful elections

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 28 (PNA) -- Some 800 bike enthusiasts, including policemen, students and teachers, joined the 7th leg of TakBulacan 2013 on Sunday morning.

The event kicked off from the Marcelo H. Del Pilar Shrine in Bulakan town and from the Grotto Shrine in San Jose del Monte City and culminated at the Malolos Sports Complex in barangay Sta.Isabel here.

Organized by the Salika foundation and in coordination with the provincial government of Bulacan, the Philippine Councilors League and other government agencies, the fun biking event was conducted for honest, orderly and peaceful elections (H.O.P.E.) in the province.

Wilfredo Barroquillo of Salika Foundation said the event was successful in conveying to the public the importance of H.O.P.E.

Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Joel S. Orduna, said the event does not only help the police and the Commission on Elections (Comlec) in getting public support to ensure the conduct of an honest, orderly and peaceful elections but is also good for the health and physical fitness of the public especially policemen.

All of us want to have an honest, orderly and peaceful elections. Our policemen are always prepared, on guard and ready to respond to ensure SAFE elections, Orduna said.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy. Alvarado, for his part, said the fun biking event will help boost the information campaign that aims to achieve the conduct of H.O.P.E. in the province. (PNA) 
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(Lead) 11 NPAs conducting “permit to campaign” sorties in Bulacan captured

CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan, April 27 (PNA) -- Government forces Saturday arrested 11 suspected members of the communist New People’s Army while conducting “permit to campaign” operations on politicians running in the May 13 midterm elections.

Bulacan acting police director Senior Supt. Joel Orduna said joint forces of the Philippine Army and the Bulacan Police Provincial Office captured 11 alleged NPA members during a series of internal security operations in Sitio Sapang Linao, Barangay Kabayunan, Dona Remedios Trinidad town early Saturday morning.

Orduna said the joint operations were conducted after receiving reports that heavily armed men , believed to be NPA members, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, were sighted in the said mountain village in Dona Remedios Trinidad.

The arrested alleged NPA members were identified as Rodolfo Cruz, 65, resident of barangay Bigte, Norzagaray town; Rico Vicene, 43, a resident of San Jose del Monte City;

Cyrhyl dela Cruz,19, resident of barangay Tibagan, Jayson Valmadrid, 25, a resident of barangay San Juan, Randy Puno, 33, Josefino Lupanco, 34, Angel Cabrera, 48; Alberto dela Cruz, 24, all of barangay Salangan, San Miguel town;

Graciano dela Cruz, Billy Asuncion and William Asuncion.

The last three suspects were arrested in a follow- up operations, Orduna said.

Confiscated from the suspects were three caliber .45 with three magazine assembly; four hand grenade; one 12 gauge shotgun with six live bullets; subversive documents , medical kits and personal belongings.

Maj. Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang, commander of the 7th ID of the Philippine Army, said the government forces also seized from the three other suspects during the follow up operation three M-16 rifles with 9 magazines and 200 bullets; two M-14 rifles with 10 magazines and 181 pieces of live ammunition and one Mitsubishi Delica Van without plate number.

Catapang said the three suspected NPA members were on board the Delica van when they were intercepted by army and police troops.

He said the government forces are now intensifying their internal security operations to neutralize the armed-mulcting operations of communist rebels.

He called on the people to help the government forces by reporting the presence of armed groups in their areas and help them make the coming elections peaceful and orderly.

He added the world is now watching the country if it can hold peaceful elections.

Supt. Fitz Macariola, operations chief of the BPPO, said the arrested suspects were distributing solicitation letters to politicians running in the coming May 13 elections.

The suspects are now in the custody of the Bulacan police while appropriate charges are being readied against them. (PNA) 
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11 rebels captured, 13 firearms seized in Bulacan
By Priam F. Nepomuceno

MANILA, April 27 (PNA) - The Armed Forces announced Saturday field units have captured 11 members of the New People’s Army and recovered 13 high-powered firearms and explosives in a security operations in a remote village in Bulacan Friday morning.

At about 4:30 a.m., the 56th Infantry Battalion received information from civilians on the presence of around 30 fully-armed members of the NPA at Sitio Mahangin and Sitio Sapang Linao of Barangay Kabayunan in Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan.

According to the report, the armed group has been sending permit-to-campaign letters to the local political candidates in the area.

Upon receipt of the report, the battalion, in coordination with the local police units, organized a joint task-group to catch the armed men and prevent them from conducting terroristic activities against civilians.

Initially, the troops captured eight NPA members and recovered three caliber 45, four hand grenades, and one shot gun including subversive documents and paramedic medical instruments.

This led to a follow-up operation later that day which resulted in the capture of three more rebels and the recovery of two M-14 carbines and three M-16 rifles.

The arrested NPA members and the confiscated firearms and other items were transported to Bulacan Provincial Police Office for proper documentation and filing of criminal charges.

Last February, the AFP has received information that rebels have been sending their “rates,” specifically those in Northern Luzon and in Eastern Visayas.

The AFP appeals to the general public to be extra vigilant.

It is usually during the election season that the NPA exploits the political ambition of certain candidates by vigorously imposing this scheme.

Records show that in 2012, the NPA collected a total P25, 005,000 through their extortion activities, and in 2011, the rebels generated an income of at least P300 million which they derived from extortion activities against companies and other big businesses nationwide. (PNA) 
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Bulacan Comelec chief calls for amendment of Omnibus Election Code

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 19 (PNA) -- Bulacan's Commission on Elections (Comelec) supervisor Elmo Duque on Friday called on lawmakers to amend salient provisions of the Omnibus Election Code in a bid to give the poll body more teeth in enforcing them.

Duque made the call during the Kapihan 2013 leg of the Bulacan Press Club at the Maharlika Hall of Club Royale Resort here where he, together with Supt. Fitz Macariola of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office, come-backing Guiguinto Mayor Ambrocio “Boy” Cruz Jr, Fr. Darz Cabral and Bro. Arvin Jimenez of the Commission on Social Communications of the Diocese of Malolos (CSCDM), were the guest panelists of the breakfast forum.

Cruz rival incumbent Guiguinto Mayor Isagani Pascual made a “no-show” at the said forum.

The Bulacan poll supervisor said that among the provisions that need to be addressed is the one concerning vote buying.

He said that authorities are doing their jobs in ensuring honest, orderly and peaceful elections but there are still some provisions that are hard to enforce.

“There are provisions that cannot be applied like in vote buying. There is none yet and it is indeed difficult to file charges against those who violated," he said.

Under the law, he said the erring candidate and the voter selling the vote are both liable but the case is very hard to prove due to evidence.

”Who will stand witness on the case of presumed vote buying? Since both are liable, it is impossible to obtain hard evidence to prosecute them,” Duque said adding that it is high time for the next batch of lawmakers to make amendments to some provisions of the Omnibus Election Code. (PNA) 
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Death toll in Bulacan fireworks shop blast rises to 2

BOCAUE, Bulacan, April 19 (PNA) -- The death toll from the series of powerful explosions that rocked a fireworks shop in Barangay Duhat here Thursday afternoon rose to two.

Police identified the second fatality as Adrian Paul Gray. He died while undergoing treatment at a local hospital here.

The first fatality was earlier identified as Larry Olano.

Two of their co-workers at the Ollie’s Fireworks owned by one Veronica Cardenas were being treated for burns. They were identified as Ramilito Lunquinas and Cerilo Fernandez.

Arson investigators said that a loud explosion was followed by another Thursday afternoon at the mixing area of the fireworks shop.

An official of the Philippine Pyrotechnics Manufacturers and Dealers Association said that accidental mixing of chemicals at fireworks stall is a common cause of explosions.(PNA) 
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Bulacan cops keeping watch on 3 towns, 1 city as possible areas of concern in the May 13 elections

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 19 (PNA) -- Police are keeping a tight watch on three Bulacan towns and one city as probable areas of concern with regards to the conduct of May 13 national and local elections in this province.

Supt. Fitz Macariola of the operations branch of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office identified the towns of San Miguel, San Rafael, San Ildefonso, all in the province's third congressional district, and the City of San Jose del Monte as among the possible areas where election related incidents could occur.

According to Macariola, Bulacan police acting provincial director Senior Supt. Joel Orduna has sent additional police troops from the Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC) in the said areas to augment the local police force that would ensure the conduct of peaceful and orderly elections.

Macariola said that those areas were identified as possible areas of concern due to previous election-related incidents.

He also told local newsmen during the Kapihan 2013 of the Bulacan Press Club at the Club Royale Resort here, the Bulacan police have apprehended violators of the gun ban.

He also said that the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are constantly monitoring certain areas in the northeastern part of Bulacan for the presence of armed groups.

Macariola also said that the Bulacan police are also closely watching towns and cities in the province where there are reports of intense political rivalries among candidates in the upcoming elections.

Bulacan elections supervisor Elmo Duque said that at the moment there are no report so far on the “permit to campaign” taxation scheme of leftist guerrillas in the province.(PNA) 
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One killed, two injured in Bulacan fireworks factory blast
By Zorayda S. Tecson

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 18 (PNA) -- At least one worker was killed and two others were wounded in an explosion in a fireworks factory in Barangay Duhat, Bocaue town of Bulacan province Thursday.

Senior Supt. Joel Orduna, Bulacan police chief, said the incident took place around 1:40 p.m.

The fatality was identified as 28-year-old Larry Alano.

Alano’s co-workers Adrian Paul Gray and Ramilito Lunquinas were injured and undergoing treatment at the Mt. Carmel Hospital.

Orduna said that based on initial investigation, the explosion started at the mixing area of the factory owned by one Veronica Cardenas.

He said further investigation was being conducted to determine what caused the explosion that led to a fire.

He said the fire was put out before 3 p.m. (PNA)
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Bulacan's 72 wanted persons fall

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 16 (PNA) -- The Bulacan Police Provincial Office has arrested 72 persons with warrants of arrest in operations in the province for March.

Senior Supt. Joel Orduña, BPPO officer-in-charge, said the apprehensions were part of Bulacan PNP’s continuous conduct of manhunt operations against persons with warrants of arrest in the province.

Part of the focus of police anti-criminality strategy is to get rid the province of criminals and misfits, he said.

Likewise, he said the move is also in response to the directive of Police Regional Office 3 to intensify manhunt operations against wanted persons in the region.

The San Jose del Monte city police station has the most number of arrests reported in March with 10 persons, followed by Baliwag municipal police station and Malolos City police station with seven arrested individuals each.

The Malolos City police station, headed by Supt. David Poklay, also arrested the no. 6 most wanted person in the city.

The Meycauayan police station nabbed six fugitives, Guinguinto with five and Calumpit and Marilao both with four;

The police stations of Hagonoy, Norzagaray, Obando, Pulilan, San Ildefonso, San Rafael and Provincial Public Safety Company have each three captured suspects.

Angat, Balagtas, Bocaue, Pandi, Paombong, Plaridel, Sta. Maria and Provincial Intelligence Branch, on the other hand, arrested one each.

Orduña said the suspects are facing various criminal charges, including murder, rape and violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act.

He credited their accomplishments to the active involvement of various communities during their operations. (PNA) 
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PPCRV says members can campaign for candidates provided they take leave -- By Ferdinand G. Patinio

MANILA, April 9 (PNA) -- Members of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) can campaign for their candidates in the May 13 polls but they need to temporary leave their jobs in the organization.

“The moment they campaign actively for a candidate they take a leave first. That is not our rules of engagement so to speak,” PPCRV chairperson Henrietta de Villa said in a forum in Manila on Tuesday.

She cited the case of some of their parish priest coordinators in Malolos, Bulacan that already said that they will not be able to participate in the activities of the poll watchdog in the forthcoming elections.

‘They cited the heat in the campaign among their local candidates as reason for this and so to avoid that they said they won’t be as active in the PPCRV for the meantime,” the PPCRV head added.

She noted that the job in the PPCRV is voluntary and they do not force anyone to work with them.

“We don’t force anyone here. This is voluntary. Anybody can leave PPCRV anytime if they wish to do some other work as election,” de Villa added.

On the other hand, she said that they are planning on how to go about with their work in the Archdiocese of Lipa after the latter announced that they will no longer work with the Church-based poll watchdog.

“We respect their decision and we are already thinking of a way on how we can still go about in monitoring Batangas…Hopefully, with God’s grace we can come up with a plan,” De Villa said.

Aside from the PPCRV, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) also accredited the National Citizens Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel), One Vote and the C-CARE as its citizens’ arms in the May polls. (PNA) 
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President Aquino declares April 23 as a special non-working day in Plaridel, Bulacan in celebration of Battle of Quingua

MANILA, April 4 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared April 23, which falls on a Tuesday, as a special (non-working) day in the municipality of Plaridel in Bulacan in commemoration of the “Battle of Quingua.”

The Chief Executive issued the declaration by virtue of Proclamation No. 558 signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on March 7, to give the people of Plaridel the full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion.

The Battle of Quingua was fought on April 23, 1899 in Quingua (now Plaridel, Bulacan) during the Philippine-American War. A reconnaissance mission under Major Franklin Bell was attacked by a strong Filipino force under Gregorio del Pilar.

The battle was one of the most significant victories of the Filipinos during the war. (PNA) 
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Cessna plane makes emergency landing in Bulacan

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, April 2 (PNA)-- A Cessna plane made an emergency landing in a rice field at Sitio Tulakan, Barangay Tabon, Pulilan, Bulacan on Tuesday morning.

Senior Supt. Joel Orduna, Bulacan police provincial director, in a report here said the Cessna plane with body number RP-C-8220 was forced to make emergency landing at around 10:15 a.m. after experiencing engine trouble.

No one was hurt, the police report said.

The plane is being operated by Capt. Don Earl Lourenz Hinayon 24, a flight instructor and resident of Lipa City, Batangas.

Hinayon was accompanied by a certain Iowis, an Indonesian national and a student pilot of Edge International Aviation Academy.

Investigation disclosed that the plane took off at Plaridel airstrip at around 9:35 a.m.

After a while, the plane experienced engine trouble that prompted the pilot to make an emergency landing, the police said.

The plane sustained minor damages.(PNA) 
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18 hurt in NLEX road accident

CAMP OLIVAS, Pampanga, April 2 (PNA) -- At least 18 people were hurt when a pickup truck smashed into a bus on the northbound lane of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) in Bulacan shortly after midnight Monday.

In a report reaching here, the pickup truck hit the Santrans bus bound for San Jose del Monte City at around 11:30 p.m.

At this juncture, the bus driver lost control of the steering wheel, causing the bus to tip over, the police report said.

The injured victims were taken to the various hospitals in Bulacan.

Initial investigation showed that the pickup truck and the Santrans Bus were traveling north when the pickup truck swerved and then hit the bus.

Police are verifying information that the pickup's driver was drunk at the time.(PNA) 
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Bulacan capitol to strengthen sports development programs

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, April 1 (PNA) -- The provincial government will strengthen its sport development programs to further hone the skills of Bulakenyo athletes.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the provincial government, through the Provincial Youth, Sports, Employment, Arts, Culture and Tourism Office, would conduct more sports trainings to provide the Bulakenyo athletes the best opportunity to develop their physical well-being, compete and excel and carve a name not only in the regional but also in national and international sports arena.

"There are trainings that have been scheduled for our ahtletes to ensure that they would continuously excel in any sporting events," Alvarado said.

Bulacan emerged as an overall champion for 22nd time in the recent 2013 Central Luzon Regional Athletics Association (CLRAA).

The 399 elementary and secondary Bulakenyo athletes took home 114 gold, 87 silver and 80 bronze medals.

The sports events where the Bulacan excelled include table tennis, arnis, badminton, taekwondo, volleyball, lawn tennis, swimming, boxing, chess, athletics, basketball and softball.

Aside from medals, the Bulakenyo athletes also received plaques and cash prizes.

Bulacan was also awarded as the Most Disciplined Team in CLRAA.

The athletes who won first place in their respective sports events in CLRAA will represent the region in the Palarong Pambansa to be held in Dumaguete City on April 22-26 of this year. (PNA) 
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Our Lady of Lourdes grotto in Bulacan revisited (Feature) 
By Severino C. Samonte

SAN JOSE DEL MONTE CITY, Bulacan, March 30 (PNA) -- Two scores and eight years after its opening to the public, the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Shrine here continues to attract many Catholic devotees, especially during the Holy Week -- the blazing summer sun despite.

Situated 30 kms northeast of Manila and just beyond the boundary of this city and Novaliches in the old capital, the 48-year-old grotto was opened for public veneration on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes on Feb. 11, 1965.

Since then, thousands of pilgrims have been flocking to the shrine to pray and offer flowers and candles to the Our Lady of Lourdes, giving thanks for prayers answered and favors received and mediating in front of the Stations of the Cross on the Rosary Hill.

The number of visitors usually peak during the Holy Week, particularly on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday.

Mrs. Marietta G. Guanzon-Holmgren, president of the Grotto Shrine Foundation Inc., said at least 1.5 million devotees from Luzon and nearby Visayas provinces flocked to the shrine between Palm Sunday and Good Friday this year.

She told the Philippines News Agency on Good Friday afternoon that thousands more of pilgrims were expected to visit on Black Saturday and Easter Sunday.

The shrine was a project of the religious couple Horacio Guanzon and Anita Guidote-Guanzon, who hailed from known and wealthy families from Pampanga aas well as Bulacan and Nueva Ecija.

But they chose to make this former town and later a city as their permanent home.

According to Marietta G. Guanzon-Holmgren’s book “The Grotto Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in the Philippines,” her mother Anita decided to build the grotto shrine on the family-owned 20-hectare land in San Jose del Monte.

Building it was an act of thanksgiving for her having been cured miraculously of cancer after a pilgrimage to the town of Lourdes in southwestern France in 1961.

The well-known story of the grotto shrine started with the Guanzon family matriarch Anita being diagnosed to have cancer of the uterus in 1961 and given by her doctors only six months to live.

She went on a pilgrimage to Lourdes, France on June 29, 1961, accompanied by her husband and one of their daughters.

She came home cured of cancer in September of the same year and lived three decades more until she died in March 1990.

She left the management of the grotto to her eldest daughter, Marietta, whose attention is now focused on the completion of another project.

That project was started by her parents before they died – the construction of a basilica that resembles the one in Lourdes, France.

Lourdes, a small town, is 795 kms south of Paris in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains which receives more than 5 million pilgrims and tourists each year because of a set of visions reported by a young girl named Bernadette in 1858.

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes incorporates 52 hectares of property and 22 places of worship, including the sacred grotto, two basilicas, and a variety of buildings for pilgrims and the sick.

The grotto shrine’s existing attractions in this city include the Calvary Hill that features 14 Stations of the Cross that portray the agony of Jesus Christ.

There are 127 statues presented in dioramas that took three years to construct, according to sources.

There is also the Rosary Hill, with 155 very big beads made of concrete together weighing over eight tons.

In 1974 the Irish-born Roman Catholic priest Patrick Peyton flew in to the Philippines from the United States to inaugurate the Rosary Hill. (PNA) 
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Bulacan to assist the motorists via Semana Santa Lakbay Alalay

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 26 (PNA) -- The provincial government will provide motorists’ assistance from March 27 to 30 to ensure a safe and worry free travel this Lenten season.

Dubbed as Semana Santa Lakbay Alalay, Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado said the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Office (PDDRMO) will be in full alert to assist travelers.

He said the PDRRMO will work in collaboration with Bulacan rescue team and its local government rescue teams partners such as Assistance and Rescue through Radio communications for Emergency Situations and Traffic (ARREST), Bulacan Integrated Rescue Association (BIRA), Kabalikat Civicom – Bulacan, Rescue 117, Baliwag Assistance & Rescue Group, Inc. (BARG), Philippine Red Cross, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine National Police and Spectrum communication.

The governor said the rescue teams will be stationed in three public assistance centers from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. which includes Divine Mercy National Shrine in Marilao town, Grotto in San Jose del Monte and 24/7 in Barangay Kapitangan, Paombong due to the expected volume of local and foreign tourists that will flock the locale to witness the yearly penitents of devotees.

He said the Bulacan rescue team will also be monitoring the road in the province to give public service in case of emergency and other eventualities. (PNA) 
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Bulacan police to deploy additional troops to major Lenten destinations

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 23 (PNA)— Additional police troops will be deployed along major roads and highways in Bulacan province to augment local police security forces in anticipation of the influx of people this coming Holy Week.

Bulacan acting police director Sr. Supt. Joel Orduna said that maneuver platoons of the Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC) will be assigned at the “crucifixion site” in Barangay Kapitangan, Paombong town where crowds are expected to witness hundreds of bloodied bare-back flagellants and faith healers getting nailed on wooden cross at a man-made Golgotha on Good Friday.

Orduna said security measures will also be strengthened at the Divine Mercy Shrine in Marilao town, Grotto in San Jose Del Monte City and other crowd-drawing destinations in the province.

He said that volunteer radio groups and other organizations will also assist motorists and the public.

Public assistance centers are now also being set-up along strategic areas in the different towns and cities of Bulacan.

Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) and Bulacan Emergency Rescue Center will be on a 24/7 alert and ready to respond and provide assistance.

He said that the Bulacan rescue units can be reached through telephone number 044-791-0566. (PNA) 
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Bulacan candidates hold unity walk, ink peace covenant

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 23 (PNA)-- Provincial and local candidates in the May elections signed a peace covenant for a secure and fair elections (SAFE) 2013 at the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center here on Saturday.

Bulacan acting police director Sr. Supt. Joel Orduna administered the unity pledge among the candidates while Lt. Col. Bernardo M. Ona, battalion commander of the 56th IB of the Philippine Army, officiated the “voter’s pledge.”

Prior to the signing of the paece covenant, leaders of different religious groups led by Rev. Danilo Clavio (United Methodist Church), Bro. Benny Flores (Catholic Church), Bishop Edilberto Chan (Baptist Church) and Pastor Nicasio Dionisio (Jesus is Lord) held a unity walk and prayed for a peaceful, fair and orderly elections in the province.

Lawyer Elmo T. Duque, provincial election supervisor, reminded the candidates to observe the election guidelines.

He also urged the voters to choose good leaders.

The event was organized by the Provincial Joint Security Control Center (PJSCC).

Orduna the PJSCC is composed of the Parish Pastoral Council, the the Commssion on Elections, the provincial government of Bulacan, Bulacan Police Provincial Office and the Philippine Army.(PNA) 
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Cultural minority group in Bulacan elects own governor, provincial officials

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 19 (PNA) --As the election fever heats up, the cultural minority group known as “Dumagats”, living in the mountains of eastern Bulacan, silently elected their new governor and other provincial officials recently.

This was disclosed by Bro. Martin Francisco, chairperson of the Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society, Inc. (SSMESI), who said the election was supervised by the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) and representatives of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office.

The SSMESI acted as an observer and in charge of food.

Elected as Dumagat governor of Bulacan was Salvador “Badong” Cruz, the tribal chieftain of Sitio Inuman and former provincial tribal secretary.

Norma Roque from Sitio Pinag-anakan was chosen as vice tribal governor; Helen Aquino from Sitio Ipo as secretary; and Cita Aquino from Sitio Karahume as provincial tribal secretary.

Francisco said that with the new set of Dumagat provincial officers, the questions on the recognitions of their ancestral domains in the Sierra Madre mountain range are still to be completely registered at the Land Registration Authority (LRA).(PNA) 
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Villar makes big crowd in Bulacan sortie laughing, cheering

MANILA, March 14 (PNA) – If it was a contest on how to make a big crowd laughing and cheering, then Cynthia Villar edged out fellow Team PNoy senatorial candidates in a campaign rally in Malolos, Bulacan Wednesday night.

In front of record 20,000 crowd, majority women, the former Las Pinas congresswoman drew the loudest applause when she enumerated the typical habits of housewives when not busy attending the needs of their families.

”When I was campaigning for Congress, I found out that many of our countrymen have no jobs specially our mothers because there is nobody to entrust their children. They were forced to stay in their homes, playing tong-its (card game),” Villar said in Tagalog as the crowd giggled in agreement.

The crowd laughed loudly when Villar added: “naghihingutuhan, nagtitsimisan at nagbibingo (head lice searching, gossiping and playing bingo game).”

Villar, known for her television infomercial ‘Misis Hanep Buhay’ (Mrs. Livelihood), made the crowd clapping when she promised to focus on job creation if she will be elected in the May 13 mid-term elections.

”These are the reasons why I want them (housewives) to have their own source of income,” Villar said to the delight of the biggest crowd that attended the Team PNoy rally since election campaign started last February 12.

The wife of outgoing Senator Manny Villar then related how her father's grandmother, Manuela, made a living out of selling ikmo (betel nut) in Divisoria for 64 years.

”My grandmother was not able to go to school and that’s why she made a living out of selling ikmo to send her children to school, including my father (Felimon), the oldest child, who became Las Pinas mayor for 22 years and congressman until his retirement in 1992,” Villar said.

Villar said life became difficult for her grandmother when she became widow at the age of 30, forcing her to work doubly hard as betel nut vendor to raise her nine children.

”Why I’m telling this to you. Because I want you to be inspired by my grandmother that life, despite difficulties, will have no problem if you have a job and you work hard,” Villar told the audience.

As a former three-term congresswoman of Las Pinas, Villar said she was able to put up livelihood projects in every barangay of Las Pinas.

Villar also turned Las Pinas into one of the greenest and flood-free cities in Metro Manila by dredging the Las Pinas-Zapote river which is now a popular destination of boat ride enthusiasts.

”When we dredged our river, we scoured tons of garbage but these garbage later became source of livelihood in our area using modern technology,” she related.

Villar, whose family owns the Vista Land, the biggest homebuilder in the Philippines, is the present managing director of the Villar Foundation which was founded in 1992, to help OFWs, protect the environment and provide livelihoods.

”As managing director, we were able to put up 111 livelihood projects and 11 centers for abused women but there are more than 1,600 towns and cities in the Philippines. So, in the coming years, rest assured that I will address the lack of employment and livelihood including here in Bulacan,” Villar promised, drawing applause.

In the recent surveys conducted by Social Weather Station and Pulse Asia, Villar ranked No. 4 but she said there is no stopping for her to work harder in following the footsteps of her husband.

”I thank the people for their support that made me the top contender for the Magic 12. I will work even harder to bring my message throughout the country,” she said.

Villar’s husband Manuel used the campaign slogan ‘Sipag at Tiyaga’ (hard work and perseverance) when he ran and lost in the presidential election in 2010.

Aside from Villar, other Team PNoy candidates include Bam Aquino, Sonny Angara, Loren Legarda, Aquilino Pimentel III, Grace Poe, Antonio Trillanes IV, Riza Hontiveros, Alan Peter Cayetano, Francis Escudero, Ramon Magsaysay Jr. and Jamby Madrigal. (PNA)
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Bulacan capitol intensifies anti-rabies campaign

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, March 5 (PNA) -- More than 4,000 dogs in seven municipalities and one city in Bulacan have been vaccinated by the Provincial Veterinary Office (PVO) as part of its effort to eradicate rabies incidence in the province.

This, as Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado encouraged Bulakenyos to become responsible pet owners.

"We really need to intensify our education campaign on responsible pet ownership because this is the very basic and most effective way to eradicate rabies cases in our province," Alvarado said.

Dr. Voltaire Basinang, provincial veterinarian, said they conducted free vaccination first to those priority and critical barangays in the province.

Those are the barangays that have reported rabies cases in the past year, he said.

So far, Basinang said, they have conducted free vaccination to 13 barangays in the province and have schedules for other barangays in the months of March and April, this year.

Aside from this, he said the PVO will also coordinate and tap barangay captains and other local officials to disseminate information, education, communication campaigns that would help encourage fellow Bulakeñyos to become responsible pet owners.

"We want to reduce and eventually eradicate stray dogs in our communities through teaching the residents the proper way to take care their pet animals, Basinang said.

The PVO report showed that 26 dogs were reported positive of rabies and 13 persons died of rabies last year.

"It is frustrating that there are still rabies cases in the province despite our intensified vaccination drive," he said.

He said the PVO vaccinated a total of 110,422 dogs last year, a big increase compared to 13,000 in 2009.

He expressed hope that they would be able to vaccinate more dogs and educate more residents on the proper way to take care their pets. (PNA) 
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Aquino wants Filipinos in Sabah to lay down arms without conditions

MANILA, March. 2 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III asked for the unconditional surrender of Filipinos involved in the standoff in Lahad Datu in Sabah, Malaysia, to avoid further escalation of the crisis.

“To our citizens in Lahad Datu, from the very start our objective has been to avoid the loss of lives and the shedding of blood. However, you did not join us in this objective. Because of the path you have taken, what we have been trying to avoid has come to pass,” the President said in a statement released Saturday.

“If you have grievances, the path you chose was wrong. The just, and indeed, the only correct thing for you to do is to surrender,” he said.

“To those who have influence and the capacity to reason with those in Lahad Datu, I ask you to convey this message: surrender now, without conditions.”

The Palace said Friday that it hopes the sultanate of Sulu will consider what the government said was a “small window” to end the bloodshed in Sabah following a deadly clash that killed 12 Filipinos and two members of the Malaysian forces.

The President, who visited Bulacan and Pampanga Friday, immediately returned to Manila to tackle the Sabah issue with the members of his Cabinet.(PNA) 
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Pres. Aquino opens the newly-rehabilitated Bocaue bridge - By Emil G. Gamos

BOCAUE, Bulacan, March 1 (PNA) -– President Benigno Aquino III on Friday led the inauguration of the newly-rehabilitated Bocaue bridge in barangay Biñang 2nd here.

Together with some provincial officials, the President unveiled the marker of the bridge that consists of four lanes and has a length of 67.10 linear meterss and width of 14.60 meters.

Immediately thereafter, the Chief Executive made a ceremonial drive-through of the bridge that is part of the over-all improvement plan of the Manila North Road.

DPWH 1st Engineering District monitoring unit chief Benedict Matawaran said the Bocaue bridge was upgraded from two to four lanes to provide enough waterway opening and at the same time, to conform with the fast growing economic activities in these areas.

Matawaran said that unlike an ordinary bridge that can withstand up to 50 years, Bocaue Bridge can last up to 66 years.

He said the bridge was reconstructed from the previous 54 linear meters and two lanes to 67.10 linear meters with four lanes.

With such stability and convenience, motorists who take the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) will find the bridge as an excellent alternative route, he said. (PNA) 
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Cayetano calls for diplomatic solution of Sabah incident

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Mar. 1 (PNA) – Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano Friday called for diplomatic solution of the Sabah incident despite reports that firefight between Malaysian royal army and Datu Jamalul Kiram’s forces broke out.

”We continued to pray and support the President for diplomatic solution on this problem. I’m also appealing to the Malaysian officials and sultanate forces to discuss this without using arms,” Cayetano said in media interview during a Pampanga campaign sortie.

Cayetano and other Team PNoy senatorial bets in May 13 mid-term elections joined President Aquino in a campaign rally held inside the Heroes Hall along Lazatin blvd here.

After wooing the Pampanga voters to support Team PNoy candidates, President Aquino rushed back to Manila to personally monitor the situation in Lahud Datu in Sabah.

”It is important to resolve the standoff in the area in a diplomatic manner,” Cayetano said.

Before joining the Pampanga sortie, Cayetano conducted a listening tour with the market vendors inside the Malolos public market in Bulacan.

”I want to inform you that our President is working hard to bring down the high economic growth down to the poor,” Cayetano said while having breakfast with the market vendors.

Cayetano told the market vendors that if he gets elected in the upcoming 16th Congress, he would push for legislation that would provide loans with lower interest rates to the market vendors.

”Instead of resorting to loan sharks which offer high interest, our government should come up with a program that will offer lower interest rates and to compete 5-6,” Cayetano said, referring to individuals who offered loans with 20 percent interest rates.

After his market tour, Cayetano proceeded at the Barasoain church where he met with presidents of the senior citizen associations in Malolos.

Cayetano promised to provide financial assistance from his Priority Development Assistance Fund to fund projects that would promote the welfare of the senior citizens. (PNA)
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Aquino leads inaugural drive-through of Plaridel Bypass Road Project in Bustos, Bulacan

BUSTOS, Bulacan, Mar. 1 (PNA) -- President Benigno S. Aquino III led the inaugural drive-through to formally open the Plaridel Bypass Road project constructed to decongest the traffic at the Pan-Philippine Highway by 40 percent.

In a simple ceremony in Barangay Malamig, Bustos, Bulacan on Friday the Chief Executive on board an open-type pick up was joined by Public Works and Highways staff led by Undersecretary Alfredo Tolentino and other local officials.

The new bypass road, constructed by the DPWH, is funded under a loan agreement between the Philippines and Japan through the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

The Plaridel Bypass Road Project, as envisioned, involves a total length of 24.61 km of road, 2.40 km access road and 10 bridges.

The road project traverses the municipalities of Balagtas, Guiguinto, Plaridel, Bustos and San Rafael in Bulacan.

The project is part of the upgrading of the Inter-Urban Highway System along the Philippine-Japan Friendship Highway that will ease the serious traffic congestion in the vicinity of core urban areas along the Maharlika Highway leading to the Cagayan Valley Road in Bulacan.

The project is being implemented in two phases with the first involving the construction of contract packages I and II starting from North Luzon Expressway via a new interchange in barangay Burol, Balagtas town.

The First Phase is composed of 14.65km road, 2.40km access road, and seven bridges that were completed by November 25, 2012 under the JICA Loan No. PH-P236.

The DPWH had started the procurement process for the implementation of the Second Phase, composed of Contract Package 3 with a length of 2.22 km and 1.12 km bridge, spanning Angat River; and Contract Package 4 with a length of 7.74 km under the JICA Loan No. PH-250 signed in March 2012.

The completion of the bypass road from Burol, Balagtas to San Rafael, will save travel time of about 45 to 50 minutes while the travel distance will be shortened by about five kilometers.

About 15,000 vehicles will be diverted to the Plaridel Bypass, decongesting the traffic at PPH by 40%.

With the completion of Contract Project II, the travel time will be reduced to about 20-23 minutes using the completed sections of the bypass road (CP 1 & CP II) with the Alejo Santos Road as access to Pan-Philippine Highway.The towns of Balagtas, Bustos, Baliuag, Pandi, Plaridel, San Rafael and Angat will benefit from the project.

The opening to traffic of the completed Phase I of Plaridel Bypass (CP I and CP II) eases up the congested traffic at Plaridel town section of Pan-Philippine Highway and creating an alternative route to Angat, Balagtas town proper and Pandi, Bulacan (bypassing Sta. Maria town via Bocaue exit). (PNA) 
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3 persons die, one hurt in Bulacan collision

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 27 (PNA) -- Three persons were killed and another one was injured when a dump truck collided head-on with a bulk carrier in Norzagaray town on Wednesday.

Dead on the spot were Christian Legaspi, 24, dump truck driver; his companion Arcy Solis; and bulk carrier driver Rio delos Santos.

Delos Santos' co-worker, Michael de Sajo, was brought to a hospital here.

Initial investigation showed that the dump truck was speeding along AZT Road in Barangay Matictic, Norzagay when its propeller was detached and rammed the bulk carrier.

A trailer truck parked in the area also incurred damage in the accident.(PNA) 
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RDC-3 approves proposed Central Bulacan Tourism Loop project

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb.13 (PNA) -- Bulacan is now being groomed as the next “Tourism Mecca” in Central Luzon.

This after the Regional Development Council (RDC) 3 on Wednesday approved the proposed Central Bulacan Tourism Loop project of the Bulacan provincial government during the joint meeting of the Sectoral Committee on Infrastructure Development (SCID) and the Special Committee on Tourism (SCOT) held at the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center here.

Governor Wilhelmino N. Sy-Alvarado, RDC 3 SCID chairman, said the project aims to capitalize on the opportunities and socio-economic development impact that the on-going construction of the Philippine Arena in Bocaue town.

He said that when finished, the Philippine Arena-–also known as the “Ciudad de Victoria”--will be the biggest domed coliseum in the world that could accommodate at least 65,000 people. It is being built on a 70 hectares of land in Bocaue and parts of Sta. Maria town.

Alvarado said the project will directly affect the socio-economic activities of the influence area including that of seven municipalities and 29 villages with an aggregate total population of 162,200.

“It won’t be long now and the world be focused on the Philippines, and of course, particularly the province of Bulacan. This will definitely spur growth and development in the area,” he said.

The Philippine Arena is being rushed for the centennial anniversary celebration of the Iglesia ni Cristo church in 2014 and could possibly be the next venue of the APEC Summit on 2015.

Arlene Pascual, head of the Provincial Planning and Development Office, presented the proposed project via a power-point presentation.

She said that the provincial government intends to improve its tourism road networks through the proposed Central Bulacan Tourism Loop.

The project will be executed in cooperation with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Department of Tourism through the DPWH-DOT convergence program.

Pascual said that the proposed project involves the improvement of 25 road segments in the province—two of which are national roads, nine provincial roads, three municipal roads and 11 barangay roads.

She added that the 23 road segments situated generally in Bocaue and Sta. Maria and partly in Marilao aim to facilitate tourism and socio-economic development.

The remaining two segments will traverse the nearby municipalities of Plaridel, Bustos, Pandi and Balagtas to aid tourism growth at the Inang Filipina Shrine in Pandi, the birthplace of the "Republic of Kakarong," one of the three republics established in Bulacan during the Philippine Revolution against Spain, the other two are the “Republic of Biak-na-Bato” in San Miguel and the “Malolos Republic” in Malolos City.

The project will also provide good access to existing tourist destinations and to the “Ciudad de Victoria” (Philippine Arena).

Pascual said that the “Ciudad de Victoria” is expected to become a huge tourist’s destination in Bulacan especially with its accreditation as a “Tourism Enterprise Zone”.

The project has an estimated total cost of P2.2 billion.(PNA) 
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Papin appeals to Comelec to allow her to run for Congress in Bulacan

MANILA, Feb. 11 (PNA) -- Singer Imelda Papin has petitioned the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to reconsider its decision disqualifying her to run in the lone congressional district of San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan in the May elections.

In an 18-page motion for reconsideration, the former Camarines Sur vice-governor said that she should be allowed to participate in the congressional polls as she has established her residency in the city, when she bought a property and opened a soap-manufacturing business in 2002.

“In fact, she lived there for many years. It is unthinkable and without any basis for this Honorable Commission to rule that ‘(n)o proof was shown by respondent that her soap-manufacturing business continued to exist therein during said period,” read the motion.

Papin said that the Comelec-Second Division had erred when it gave credence to the disqualification case filed by the Arangkada San Joseno Political Party.

She added that she had “all the sentimental, emotional and financial connection with San Jose del Monte City as her relatives and her business are also there.

On Jan. 31, the poll body barred Papin from running as congresswoman of the city for failure to meet the residency requirements.

The petition claimed that Papin was a resident of barangay Pasong Putik, North Fairview, Quezon City and not of barangay San Manuel in San Jose del Monte.

“In the enumeration of the documentary evidence submitted by the respondent, this Honorable Commission noticeably omitted the fact that she submitted pictures of the house blessing of her present house in San Jose del Monte City. This is the same house which the petitioner claimed that is not intended for residential purpose or even fit for human habitation,” the motion added.

In an interview, Papin said the filing of the petition is politically motivated.

“This is politics, sa experience ko sa politics talagang pag malakas ka pilit kang gagawan ng issue kaya sabi nga nila malakas si Imelda Papin sa San Jose del Monte City,” she said.

Papin is running against the incumbent Representative, Arthur Robes. (PNA) 
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10 persons, 6 trucks held for violation of Illegal Mining Act

SAN JOSE CITY, Nueva Ecija, Feb. 11 (PNA) -- Authorities have arrested 10 persons for an alleged illegal transport and shipment of undocumented copper concentrates in a checkpoint along the Maharlika Highway here over the weekend.

A case for violation of Section 103 of Republic Act 7942, for Theft of Minerals, is being prepared for filing against the six truck drivers, two broker-representatives of a mining and trucking companies and two escorts, who failed to show the original documents of the shipment of suspected copper concentrates.

Upon receipt of a confidential information of the said illegal shipment, the Nueva Ecija Provincial Police Office (NEPPO) under Senior Supt. Crizaldo O. Nieves, has formed a special team of operatives that set up a checkpoint in Barangay Sto. Niño 2nd here.

The six international tractor trucks with container vans are containing still undetermined volume of copper concentrates that were stopped at a checkpoint reportedly came from the Ocean Gold Mining company located at Barangay Didipo, Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya.

The copper ore shipment was supposed to be delivered at Poro Point, San Fernando, La Union.

Ryan Jayson Mananguiat, a broker representative, of 357 Tanzang Luma, Imus, Cavite and Dominic Wood of B15 L23, Dinar Street, Green Park, Cainta, Rizal, representative of the trucking company NEO LOGIC logistics failed to show to the police investigators the original documents of the shipment of suspected copper concentrates.

Escorting the convoy of the six trucks loaded with the copper concentrates were two Toyota Hi-Lux driven by Albert Gomez, 44, resident of 99 Mayon Ext., San Gabriel Village, Tuguegarao City and Rio Dannug, 42, resident of Alibagu, Ilagan, Isabela.

However, no firearms and other illegal deadly weapons were found inside the two vehicles.

The six vehicles loaded with undocumented copper concentrates and driver-helpers were brought to the San Jose City police station for investigation and/or proper disposition.

The six drivers of the international tractor trucks with container vans were identified as Leonard Sanchez, 33, of Brgy. Shellhouse, Caloocan City; Yulito Palces, 53, of Brgy. Alfonso, Concepcion, Tarlac; Martin Redera 37, of Dagat-Dagatan, Malabon City; Lope Amurao, 43 of Brgy. Talisay, Tiaong, Quezon; Jonny Abrego, 31, of Purok 2, Maag, San Isidro, Davao Oriental; and Jay Laceda, 29, of Cupang, Pandi, Bulacan. (PNA) 
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Bro. Eddie launches campaign in home province

MANILA, Feb. 11 (PNA) -- Bangon Pilipinas candidate Bro. Eddie Villanueva is set to launch his Senate bid in the historical grounds of Malolos, Bulacan --his home province -- with various local public leaders set to attend the event tomorrow.

"These leaders may be from opposing camps but all of us are tied by our love for Bulacan. They stand ten feet tall in solidarity to support my attempt to capture a seat in the Senate. The future of Bulacan is beyond politics," Villanueva said in a statement.

Villanueva's platform is anchored on major issues relating to the politics of the fringes. In various media fora, he has discussed the need to focus on the “sagigilid” or fringes. Sagigilid refers to the marginalized provinces and municipalities as well as the marginalized sectors in the country.

"Our economy is growing because of ‘tuwid na daan’, but let us ensure there is no Filipino left behind," he said.

“We need moral leadership. The bedrock of good economics is good politics," he added.

The Malolos kick off will be streamed live so that the various groups supporting Villanueva can join and watch the activities. Other supporters in key cities, including Baguio, Iloilo and Cagayan de Oro, will also conduct their respective kick-off events.

Aside from launching his campaign in Bulacan, Villanueva is also set to do an online kick off on February 12, from 7pm to 9 pm, under his Ask Bro. Eddie event teaser.

Ask Bro. Eddie is an online event where Villanueva and his youth volunteers will be on deck to answer questions from netizens. Those interested to join can log on at: www.broeddie.ph/askme.

Villanueva said the online Q&A event was conceptualized by his youth volunteers who are helping him spread the word about his platform and advocacies.

"If I will be successful in this run, we will need the support of the youth,” he said.

Villanueva, a televangelist, ran and lost in the 2010 presidential elections. (PNA) 
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Different religious groups unite in Bulacan's 'Day of Prayer'

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 5 (PNA) -- Different religious groups joined in the province's annual "Day of Prayer" held at the provincial capitol gymnasium here Monday.

Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado thanked fellow Bulakenyos and the different religious groups the include Muslims, Roman Catholics, Protestants and other sectors for participating in the event with the theme “Sama-samang Panalangin para sa Lalawigan ng Bulacan.”

Some 1,500 individuals attended and prayed for the welfare of the province wherein leaders of various religious organizations were given a chance to lead the prayer and give benediction.

This is the second time that the "Day of Prayer" was held at the provincial capitol ground here. The first one was held in January 2012.

Alvarado said that the “Day of Prayer” is anchored on the message of the biblical phrase from “II Chronicles 7:13-14 which states “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.”

"We are praying to God to save the province from calamities and at the same time, renewed our faith and give thanks for the blessings being received by the province," he said.

Evangelist Bro. Eddie Villanueva of Jesus is Lord Church said that in God’s eyes, there is no particular religion that will save mankind.

"What is important to God is not religion but our relationship with Him," he said. (PNA) 
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Bulacan to mark Ople’s 86th birth anniversary

MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan, Feb. 2 (PNA) -- Bulakenyos will commemorate the 86th birth anniversary of the late Gat Blas F. Ople at the capitol grounds here Sunday morning.

Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado said the provincial government, through the Provincial Youth, Sports, Employment, Arts, Culture and Tourism Office (PYSEACTO) has set a series of activities that will begin with an offering of flowers at the Ople monument, Sentro ng Kabataan, Sining at Kultura ng Bulacan and a short program to mark the occasion in front of the Gat Blas Ople Building at 8 a.m.

Ople’s family members as well as provincial officials and employees of the capitol are expected to grace the event.

Board member Felix Ople, Ople's son, will give his brief message to be followed by a “salo-salo” at the Ople Museum.