Saturday, January 19, 2019

Suspects in marijuana trade arrested at dormitel in Naga City

NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard) – Two 22-year-old residents of Iriga City were arrested in a buy-bust operation at Orange Dormitel at Barangay Tinago, in this city Friday afternoon by a composite team of police and army personnel, the Naga City Police Office reported.

Seized from the two suspects identified as Dominique Lorenz dela Cruz y Morana of San Juan, Iriga City and Crisphel Serillano y Almelor, of San Miguel, Iriga City were Php 30,000.00 worth of dried marijuana with fruiting tops and various drug paraphernalia.

Intelligence operatives confirmed to the media that they have intensified information-gathering regarding the alleged use of hotels, motels, inns, and bars in Naga City in the illegal drug trade.

DILG backs Bulaong in Libmanan controversy

NAGA CITY(Bicol Standard)--Officials and employees of Libmanan, Camarines Sur have expressed hope that they will receive their salaries, bonuses, and other benefits this coming week, after almost four months of being deprived of these.

In an interview, Municipal Council Jesus Camara told the Bicol Standard that they had a fruitful meeting with Presidential Assistant for Bicol Affairs Usec. Marvel Clavecilla here regarding the controversy that hounded employees, officials, and residents.

Camara explained that during the meeting with Clavecilla, they were given assurance by DILG Regional Director Atty. Anthony Nuyda that Acting Mayor Rommel Bulaong will be issued the certification requested by the town’s depository banks for the local government to engage in transactions.

Nuyda told Clavecilla that this is following the directive coming from the central office to recognize Bulaong as the authorized person.

The same certification will be submitted to DILG Municipal Government Operations Officer Nonilon Lopez.

“We expect that the controversy will be resolved by next week,” Camara declared. “Usec. Clavecilla said he wants a win-win solution in this issue.”

The residents, employees, and officials of Libmanan have been suffering brunt of the controversy that ensued when a suspension order was issued to Mayor Bernard Brioso based on the administrative complaint filed against him with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Camarines Sur last year.

Camara, in a related interview, told the Bicol Standard that since November 8, which was the effectivity of the suspension order against Brioso, there had been no transactions in the local government unit.

This includes the non-release of salaries and wages, the Christmas bonus, and other benefits, he said.
Even the payments charged against Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) including electric bills and salaries and wages of employees like street cleaners, among others, remain unsettled.

Camara said that the depository banks of the Local Government Unit, Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines, would not allow the encashment of checks issued by the LGU until a clarification is made by the DILG.

It will be recalled that Brioso was preventively suspended from November 8, 2018 to January 8, 2019 for issuing a Mayor’s Pemit to Tinandayagan Falls and Resort, which is owned by his sister Socorro, who allegedly failed to comply with the documentary requirements.

During such time, Vice Mayor Rommel Bulaong assumed office as Acting Mayor.

Brioso refused to comply with the suspension order, and still continued to perform the functions of the Office of the Mayor, Camara said.

He even issued a memorandum to all department heads, saying that he has a pending appeal with the Office of the President, hence he will not relinquish his position.

On January 8, 2019, Brioso was served another order of suspension, which is punitive in nature, for six months, with which he again refused to comply.

This prompted Clavecilla to call for a dialogue to thresh out the issue.

Clavecilla has scheduled another meeting this coming week, to be attended by DILG RD Nuyda.

In the same meeting, the local officials expect to iron out other issues relevant to the controversy in Libmanan.


Over P1-M worth of shabu seized in San Felipe, Naga City; 2 arrested

File photo from Camarines Sur police

NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard) – The father of the 21-year-old suspect who was arrested for possession of at least P4.7-million worth of illegal drugs was apprehended by the police in a buy-bust operation here Friday night.

Roel Lizano y San Joaquin, 48 years old, and Barangay Tanod of San Felipe was nabbed at his residence at San Miguel Street, Zone 3, San Felipe, this city.

He was arrested with Carlito Alegre y Mendez, Jr., 37 years old, construction worker and carpenter, who resides in the same street.

The Naga City police said a poseur buyer with an informant purchased from the two suspects five heat-sealed sachets containing a substance believed to be shabu with a P500.00 bill and P84,500.00 boodle money.

Recovered from Alegre’s possession were around 100 grams of suspected shabu; a perfume box containing seven heat-sealed sachets also with suspected shabu; the P500.00 marked money, the P84,500.00 boodle money; and cash in different denominations amounting to P5,560.00.

Meantime, seized from Lizano were a brown leather wallet with a sachet containing suspected shabu, and one cellphone.

The confiscated suspected shabu had an estimated market value of P1,122,000.00.

Said suspected shabu will be brought to the Provincial Crime Laboratory Office at Barangay Concepcion Grande for examination.

As of this writing, the investigator-on-case is now preparing the necessary documents for filing criminal charges against the suspects for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

It will be recalled that on January 12, Roel Lizano's son Jude Lizano y Alegre was arrested with P4.7 million worth of shabu at Barangay Calauag, this city.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

PhilHealth enhances benefit for infants, aims for healthier babies

The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) recently expanded its coverage of essential health services for newborns to enable early detection and management of more congenital disorders which may lead to mental retardation and even death if left untreated.

In its PhilHealth Circular No. 2018-0021 which took effect on January 5, 2019, the state health insurer introduced the enhanced Newborn Care Package, increasing the amount of coverage from P1,750 to P2,950 which pays for supplies for essential newborn care such as Vitamin K, eye ointment, vaccines for hepatitis B and BCG; expanded Newborn Screening test; Newborn Hearing Screening Test; and fees for attending professionals.

The essential newborn care also includes immediate drying of the baby, early skin to skin contact, timely cord clamping, non-separation of mother/baby for early breastfeeding initiation, weighing of the baby, among others.

Meanwhile, the expanded newborn screening test will be able to detect endocrine, amino and fatty acid disorders; organic acid, urea cycle defect, cystic fibrosis, hemoglobinopathies, biotinidase deficiency, and other disorders.

Newborn screening aims to detect at the earliest stage certain genetic and metabolic conditions that may lead to mental retardation or morbidity if left untreated. The screening was integrated into the public health delivery system with the enactment of Republic Act 9288 or the Newborn Screening Act of 2004.

The enhancement in the package is in support of the National Comprehensive Newborn Screening System which expanded the screening from six to over 28 disorders pursuant to Department of Health Administrative Order No. 2014-0045 which issued guidelines on the implementation of the expanded Newborn Screening Program.

The PhilHealth Circular provides that the enhanced package shall be dispensed to qualified newborns delivered in all accredited health care institutions that perform deliveries and provide newborn care which include hospitals, infirmaries/dispensaries, and birthing homes/lying-in clinics.

To ensure entitlement to the said benefit, newborns need to be in the facility for at least 24 hours after birth except those who warrant immediate referral to a higher level facility.

The state health insurer encouraged all active and expecting PhilHealth members to avail of the said package in order to provide newborns with the needed services that will help reduce morbidity and mortality and eliminate the costs associated with treatment and care of lifelong debilitating conditions. (Emelita M. Retuta)

Batocabe widow replaces slain husband in mayoral race

Gertie Batocabe
DARAGA, Albay -- Gertie Batocabe, the wife of the late Ako Bicol Party List Rep. Rodel Batocabe, has been named the official replacement of her slain husband in the upcoming mayoral race here, Dennis Batocabe, the solon’s older brother, said.

Batocabe, in an interview on Thursday, said their family decided to field Gertie as the official candidate to take the place of her husband, who was gunned down during a gift-giving event in Barangay Burgos in a remote village here last December 22.

“We will officially declare her (Gertie) as the replacement soon after she arrives home in time for the 40th day after the death of her husband,” he said.

Batocabe, when asked how the replacement process would affect the upcoming local election, said, “A vote for Rodel or Batocabe will be a vote for Gertie. Anybody who votes in the name of Rodel would be counted”.

He said they would coordinate with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for further guidance on what election-related policies and measures should be followed.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has placed this town under its control, considering its unstable peace and order situation due to intense political rivalries that could affect the conduct of the May 13 national and local elections.

The move is to ensure public safety during the balloting, the poll body said.

Romeo Serrano, Comelec Assistant Director and Albay Provincial Election Supervisor, on Wednesday said the Comelec en banc issued Resolution 10479 on January 15 after taking into account the recommendation of Comelec-Bicol to place the town under its control. (PNA)

Suspect selling shabu collared in Daet

DAET, Camarines Norte (Bicol Standard) -- After several months of intelligence gathering, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has finally arrested Aljon Papares y Lladoc, one of the active suppliers of illegal drugs here, according to a police report.

Papares was arrested by the police inside the Public Market here yesterday.

The entrapment operation which led to his arrest was implemented at around 10:30 in the evening, at his residence at Purok 3, Barangay 6, this town.

In said buy-bust operation, the police operatives were able to recover from the suspect several transparent plastic sachet believed to methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu from his pocket.

Also recovered from Papares was the P500 that was used as buy-bust money.

Upon arrest, Papares was brought to the police headquarters here, where he was appraised of his rights.

He will face a criminal charge for violation of Sec 5 and Section 11 of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

No MOA, no work, says DPWH to 4Ps beneficiaries

DAET, Camarines Norte (Bicol Standard) -- Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) District Engineer Ricardo Gutierrez of Camarines Norte said that his office will not accept laborers who are beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), unless they can present a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) issued by the Departmet of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Gutierrez said that until now he is not aware of any agreement between DPWH and DSWD regarding this matter, since the MOA expired in 2016.

He also clarified that the DPWH Legal Department is of the opinon that they will not accept any laborer who are members of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), due to the fact that the issue regarding double compensation has not yet been clearly settled.

Gutierrez also made it clear that the the 4Ps beneficiary may also recommend any member of their family for the purpose employment as laborer.

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) opined that the alleged legal obstacle pointed out by DPWH is not violated due to the fact that 4Ps beneficiaries are receiving grants.

Furthermore, 4Ps beneficiaries are not receiving salaries but only assistance under the Conditional Cash Transfer program, the DSWD said.

It will be recalled that under the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) which was signed in 2014, the DPWH are required to allocate at least 20 percent of their laborers from the recommended persons of the DSWD.

Libmanan controversy continues to affect residents, employees, officials

LIBMANAN, Camarines Sur (Bicol Standard) – The residents, employees, and officials of Libmanan are suffering the brunt of the controversy that ensued when a suspension order was issued to Mayor Bernard Brioso based on the administrative complaint filed against him with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Camarines Sur last year.

Councilor Jesus Camara, in an interview, told the Bicol Standard that since November 8, which was the effectivity of the suspension order against Brioso, there had been no transactions in the local government unit.

This includes the non-release of salaries and wages, the Christmas bonus, and other benefits, he said.

Even the payments charged against Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) including electric bills and salaries and wages of employees like street cleaners, among others, remain unsettled.

Camara said that the depository banks of the Local Government Unit, Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines, would not allow the encashment of checks issued by the LGU.

This is until after a clarification is made by Nonilon Lopez, the Municipal Government Operations Officer of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), as to who is the authorized signatory to the said checks.

Municipal officials have already raised a query to said DILG officer as to the signatory. However, Lopez has not yet acted upon the request, according to Camara.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Office of the DILG, when asked for an opinion, stated that they have no jurisdiction over the issue.

It will be recalled that Brioso was preventively suspended from November 8, 2018 to January 8, 2019 for issuing a Mayor’s Pemit to Tinandayagan Falls and Resort, which is owned by his sister Socorro, who allegedly failed to comply with the documentary requirements.

During such time, Vice Mayor Rommel Bulaong assumed office as Acting Mayor.

Brioso refused to comply with the suspension order, and still continued to perform the functions of the Office of the Mayor, Camara said.

He even issued a memorandum to all department heads, saying that he has a pending appeal with the Office of the President, hence he will not relinquish his position.

On January 8, 2019, Brioso was served another order of suspension, which is punitive in nature, for six months, with which he again refused to comply.

Brioso maintained that he has a pending appeal with the Office of the President regarding the same.

Meantime, the depository banks still refuse to allow the LGU to engage in transactions like the issuance of checks since they require a clarification from Municipal Government Operations Officer Lopez as to the authorized signatory.

As this developed, Presidential Assistant for Bicol Affairs Usec. Marvel Clavecilla called for a dialogue this afternoon in Naga City to iron out the issue.

Cops won’t stop STL in Naga

NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard)—“The Naga City Police Office should refrain from participating or giving any assistance that will show complicity to the padlocking or closing [of Evenchance Gaming Corporation in Naga City], unless public safety and security requires.”

This is the legal opinion of Police Chief Inspector Reynold B. Villania of the Legal Office of the Naga City Police Office in connection with the operation of Small Town Lottery (STL) in this city.

Evenchance Gaming Corporation, he wrote, is a legitimate STL franchisee of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

Its operation is opposed by the city government of Naga for being without permit.

Villania cited Legal Opinion No. 71 of the Department of Justice dated July 25, 1995, which reads: “LGUs have no power to issue business permits/licenses to the agencies and instrumentalities of the State, of which the PCSO is one, nor demand or collect permit/license fees incident to the issuance of such permits/licenses.”

Villania maintained: “Unless the foregoing is changed or modified, the PNP has the obligation to respect and obey as a matter of course.”

“But if the LGU believes otherwise, nothing will prevent it from raising its authority under the Local Government Code to padlock or close business establishments it deemed operating illegally or without permit.”

“But the same action must be taken by the LGU itself using its vast resources,” he added.

He further clarified: “PNP personnel cannot definitively provide law enforcement action for those matters which by themselves do not show violation of criminal laws, more so in this case, when the issue is embroiled in legal controversy.”

He also noted that it is very unfortunate that PNP personnel in their obedience to directive or request from some quarters have been hailed to court from a series of criminal, civil, and administrative violations.

In a related development, City Mayor John Bongat confirmed to the Bicol Standard that he has already filed a petition for injunction against the STL operation in Naga City.

Last month, he voiced his vehement objection to the operation of STL in Naga City based on legal and moral grounds.

Evenchance holds office at DSI Building, Magsaysay Avenue, Naga City, and is represented by its Vice President Jerome A. Bañez, and PCSO, represented by its General Manager Alexander Balutan.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

P4.7-M na droga, nakumpiscar sa Naga City

NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard)--Mas hararom na pag siyasat an ginigibo kan pulis digdi, paakatapos na makacompiscar an mga awtoridad nin pig dakulang supply nin pigtutubodan na shabu sa sarong buy bust operation.

Segun ki Sr Supt. Felix Servita Jr., an hefe kan Naga City Police Office (NCPO), dakulang tabang an mga informasyon na naguno hale ki Jude Lizano y Alegre, an sinasabing dakulang supplier nin shabu digdi, pakatapos na madakop siya sa matriumfong buy bust operation kan Sabado (Enero 12), sa Brgy. Calauag.

An carculo kan pulis an valor kan shabu na nakua ki Lizano sa buy bust operation dai makulang sa P4.7 million, nin huli ta labing sarong kilo an gabat kaini.

Inako ni Lizano na an shabu na nakua saiya kinukua saiya kan ibang mga paratinda kan contrabando, asin dinadara sa ibang mga ciudad asin banwaan kan Bicol.

Kabale sa parateng nagtutuyo saiya iyo an dai suboot niya bistadong lalaki na iyo an nagwawaras kan illegal drugs sa Tabaco City, sabi ni Lizano.

Ini an pig confirmar sa Bicol Standard ni SPO2 Tobias Bongon, sa intrevista saiya.

Mientrastanto, may nakalkal na informasyon an mga awtoridad na an shabu na pinapadara sa Naga City hale pa sa distributor na nasa laog kan New Bilibid Prisons.

Si Lizano, aki nin sarong barangay Tanod sa San Felipe, Naga City, alagad pirang bulan nang nag aarkila nin estaran sa Brgy. Calauag, Naga City.

May nakuang informasyon an mga awtoridad na nagsasabing an shabu na naglalakop digdi parte kan nakalusot na illegal na droga na ilinaog sa magnetic lifters, alagad nawara sa Cavite, pirang bulan na an naka-agi.

Nin huli sa mga documentong napasakamot kan mga awtoridad arog kan log book na nakua hale sa suspechado, magiging madali an pag susug kan mga tawo na igwa nin pagkaaram distribusyon kan shabu digdi.

High value target sa shabu, dakop sa Iriga City

NAGA CITY--Nadakop na kan pulis an pig pigtutukdong ika anom na high value target na imbuelto sa illegal na droga sa Iriga City, kasuodma.

An saiyang pangaran iyo si Armando Marpuri, residente kan Zone 1, Brgy. San Francisco, Iriga City.
Rinamalan siya kan mga awtoridad pakatapos na servehan nin search warrant sa saiyang residencia.

Afuera ki Marpuri dinakop pa an saiyang duwang aki na iyo sinda Joseph asin Karen Marpuri, patin an tulong pag-iriba nindang pag-iriba na sinda Jordan Ibarrientos, Erick Marfin asin Jomar Buasan.

Segun ki P/Supt Chito Oyardo, an hefe kan Iriga City PNP, naabotan an mga suspechado na nag-rerepack nin pig tutubodan na shabu na nagkakantidad P100,000.

Idinagdag kan mga awtoridad na an nasambit na grupo kabale sa nagdidistribuir nin illegal na droga sa mga banwaan sa Rinconada asin pag-taraid na mga lugar.

Afuera kan illegal na droga, nacompiscar pa sainda an sarong calibre .38 na badil asin mga bala.
Maatubang sinda nin casong pagbalga sa casong illegal possession of drugs, pag-mantinir nin drug den asin illegal possession of firearms.

OCD Bicol red alert pa ngonian

LEGAZPI CITY -Padagos na nasa lindong kan red alert status an Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Bicol huli sa danyos na iwinalat kan Tropical Depression Usman.

Siring man inalerto kan ahensya an rehiyon nin huli sa binabantayan na low pressure area (LPA) na nasa luwas pa kan Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), para maibitaran an peligro sa buhay kan mga tawo asin propiodad.

Segun ki Director Claudio Yucot kan OCD-Bicol, nakatorohok an saindang atensiyon sa kamugtakan kan maraot na panahon.

Sa masunod na mga aldaw, an OCD magkakaigwa nin disaster risk assessment katuwang an mga ahensiyas kan gobierno para maaraman kun may peligro an arin man na parte kan rehiyon.

Pig linaw kan sinambit na ahensya na bako sanang makusog na duros an pwedeng magdara nin peligro sa buhay nin tawo, kundi maging an makusog na uran, na pwedeng magresulta sa pagbaha asin pag tupag kan daga sa mga lugar.


Saturday, January 12, 2019

P340K worth of shabu seized from couple in Naga City

NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard) -- A couple, both 21 years old, were arrested earlier today after they were found in possession of more or less P340,000 worth of illegal drugs.

Identified as Jude Lizano y Alegre, of San Miguel St., San Felipe, and Romelyn Banday-Lizano, of Magarao, Camarines Sur, the couple was renting a boarding house at Zone 1, Barangay Calauag, this city, the Naga City police said.

Police operatives were able to buy around 100 grams of suspected shabu from the couple at noontime.

They will be facing charges in connection with the violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Gov Cua slapped with six-month preventive suspension

VIRAC, Catanduanes (Bicol Standard) – Vice Governor Shirley Abundo confirmed to the Bicol Standard that she will assume as Acting Governor of Catanduanes effective today (Jan. 11) following the six-month preventive suspension of Gov. Joseph Cua by the Office of the Ombudsman.

Abundo revealed that she was shocked by this development.

“Nagulat ako noong pinapirma ako ng DILG kanina,” she said.

It was Provincial Director Uldarico Razal who handed her a copy of the order to assume office earlier today, she said.

Razal was accompanied by several officials of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) who were sent to Catanduanes to serve the suspension order, together with the order to assume office.

"Pursuant to Sec. 46 of RA 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991, and in compliance to DILG Region V unnumbered memorandum dated January 11, 2019, Vice Gov. Shirley Abundo formally and officially assumed the Office of the Governor after Gov. Joseph C. Cua was meted with preventive suspension by the Office of the Ombudsman for six months after a case filed against the governor for abuse of authority, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service, dishonesty, and grave misconduct by a private person," reads the letter signed by Atty. Anthony C. Nuyda, Regional Director of DILG Bicol.

The suspension stemmed from an administrative complaint filed with the Office of the Ombudsman by Rey Mendez, a resident of Virac town.

Cua allowed Bato Mayor Eulogio Rodriguez to use a parcel of land owned by the provincial government without the authority of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

In the complaint, it was said that ER Construction, owned by Rodriguez, used the parcel of land as temporary barracks while undertaking the construction of drainage projects in this town.

Abundo is running for re-election under UNA, with Gov. Cua as the gubernatorial candidate.
Due to the assumption to office of Abundo as Acting Governor, topnotcher Board Member Rafael Zuniga will assume office as Acting Vice Governor.

Meanwhile, the legal team of Cua will reportedly file a motion for reconsideration and study other possible legal remedies.

Cua in his official statement said that he was saddened by the suspension, which came a few months before the elections.

Cua explained: "Adyan po an sakuyang dakulang respeto bilang sarong lider na gatubod sa hustisya nin satuyang gobyerno. Sa saday na pidaso nin parking area na pagsadiri nin gobyerno, dai man po dapat ipagkuripot bilang sarong lider sa satuyang mga konstituwentes. Kun an satuyang pagkamatinabang katukal an siring na rimalaso, daing rason na dai man ako magmundo asin makulgan maski ngani bako bilang lider kundi maski na sana bilang ordinaryong Catandunganon."

He also appealed to the constituents for their continued support and understanding.

DepEd chief backs creation of disaster management department

PIA photo

MANILA -- Following the onslaught of tropical depression “Usman,” Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones has welcomed the proposal in Congress to create a Department of Disaster Management.

Presenting the emerging challenges in disaster risk reduction and mitigation before fellow members of the Cabinet during a situation briefing last January 4 in Pili, Camarines Sur, Briones underscored the need to facilitate the passage of the bill, creating a separate department on natural disaster.

“The financial, organizational, and administrative requirements for dealing with natural disasters cannot be managed by the government alone. All sectors of society have to be mobilized and activated to help ensure the safety of lives and the continuity of education,” she said.

Briones said it is high time for the government and the public to transform the country’s approach to the reduction and management of disaster risks in the face of a continuously changing climate.

“In previous years, DepEd schools were damaged by strong winds brought about by tropical cyclones [and] we have been busy preparing for the perfect storm. In Metro Manila, we are bracing for the perfect earthquake. We better prepare for the perfect flood,” Briones added.

She said although “Usman” was technically described as a tropical depression, its resulting floods and landslides left extensive damage to school buildings and facilities in affected areas.

Repair and replacement of damaged facilities due to “Usman,” typhoons “Ompong” and “Rosita” are estimated to use up DepEd’s entire PHP2-billion Quick Response Fund (QRF) for 2019.

She also cited that such damage demands enormous budget for slope protection, higher elevation, or transfer of building sites. However, DepEd has funds for site titling but none for site acquisition.

As floods and landslides happen with greater frequency and inflict severe damage to property, facilities, and equipment even without strong winds as measured by warning system, Briones also called on the Cabinet to consider the policy implication of this irreversible trend and make the necessary recommendations to the President.

“We have seen this in Guinsaugon [Southern Leyte], Biliran, Leyte, Quezon, Los Baños [Laguna], Cagayan de Oro, and Iligan, as well as in Lanao del Norte,” she noted.

Briones also proposed the review of protocols for government action before, during, and after natural disasters -- case in point is the public mindset of relying on typhoon signals as basis for assessing potential danger to life and property, which needs to be corrected through sustained public communication and education. (DepED PR)

Walk, rally, covenant-signing for peaceful polls slated in Naga City

NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard) – A Unity Walk, Interfaith Prayer Rally, and Peace Covenant-Signing in preparation for the midterm elections will be held at Plaza Quezon, Elias Angeles Street, this city on Sunday (Jan. 13) starting 6 a.m.

SPO2 Tobias S. Bongon III, Spokesperson of the Naga City Police Office told the media that this is part of the aggressive efforts of the Philippine National Police as a deputized agency of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in working towards peaceful polls.

These activities will be conducted simultaneously in other police provincial offices across the nation to drumbeat the significance of the upcoming elections and herald the start of the election period.

Invited to attend are local election post candidates, who will recite an integrity pledge and sign a covenant.

Also expected to participate in the activity are multi-sectoral stakeholders from government agencies, civic and non-government organizations, religious groups, and the academe.

Roman Catholic, Muslim, and Christian prayers will be recited in the spirit of inter-faith cooperation.

White doves will also be released to symbolize peace.


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Cam Sur Vice Gov Peña resigns

PILI, Camarines Sur (Bicol Standard) – Camarines Sur Vice Governor Fortunato “Ato” Peña confirmed today that he has resigned due to “personal and family reasons.”

He told the Bicol Standard that he will submit his resignation to the Office of the President and expects that the same will be accepted.

In such case, the resignation will be effective on February 28, 2019, he said.

Topnotcher Board Member Romulo “Mulo” Hernandez of the second congressional district will assume as Vice Governor by operation of law on March 1, 2019, Peña explained.

“Even if I am no longer Vice Governor, I will still serve the province either in my private or any official capacity,” he said.

Peña, who served for three terms, thanked the Villafuerte family for their support of his political career.

He also expressed his gratitude to the constituents for giving him the opportunity to serve Camarines Sur.

He said that among his accomplishments was the ISO certification of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, which meant that the system is at par with international standards.

The Provincial Ordinances, he added, are now codified with corresponding translation into the local language.

Inside sources say that Peña is eyeing reappointment as Sangguniang Panlalawigan Secretary of Camarines Sur.

Said position is presently vacant.

Meantime, Hernandez told the Bicol Standard that he is ready to assume office as Vice Governor once the position is vacant.

“My assumption to office as Vice Governor will interrupt my term as Board Member. Hence, if I win in the elections again, it will be my first term as Board Member,” Hernandez said.


Monday, January 7, 2019

DOLE earmarks P10-M aid for workers displaced by 'Usman' in Bicol

PILI, Camarines Sur - An initial amount of P10 million has been earmarked by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for the emergency employment of workers displaced by Tropical Depression (TD) Usman in Bicol Region.

“As mentioned by our Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III during the situation briefing, the said amount is intended to provide around 3,000 affected and displaced workers and their families with immediate short-term income support under the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD),” said Alvin M. Villamor, Regional Director of DOLE RO V.

Under the TUPAD program, beneficiaries will be provided with emergency employment in the form of community work with a minimum salary of P305 a day for 15 days.

According to Atty. Villamor, there is an on-going rapid profiling of displaced workers in the affected provinces, however, the agency prioritizes the areas of Sagñay in Camarines Sur and Tiwi in Albay, which were adversely affected by landslides and floods brought by TD Usman.

“These affected workers are mostly farmers and farm workers who reside near the slopes of mountainous areas of Sagñay, Camarines Sur and Tiwi, Albay, which really need immediate assistance by giving them temporary employment while still coping with the devastation brought by TD Usman,” he said.

Villamor added that the agency is looking into the possibility of providing regular livelihood to the affected families of displaced workers through DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program (DILP) to help them recover from the damages of the TD.

“We are ready to augment assistance through emergency employment from the regular TUPAD fund to those families affected by the calamity who may fall short from the list of priority worker-victims,” he said.

In addition, the families of active OFWs affected by calamity will be provided with P3,000 worth of assistance from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) while P1,500 will be given to the families of inactive OFWs.

“DOLE is here to aid the affected families, but we can not do it alone. We have to do this through convergence with the local government units, government agencies, private sectors, and cooperation of the people,” he encouraged.

Villamor joined President Duterte, Secretary Bello and Atty. Ma. Karina Perida-Trayvilla of the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) on Friday during the situation briefing led by the President together with other Cabinet Secretaries in Pili, Camarines Sur last January 4. (JVEG)

Friday, January 4, 2019

Gunman in Batocabe slay admits crime, says sorry

Photo: CNN PH
PILI, Camarines Sur (Bicol Standard) – The confessed gunman in the killing of Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe and aide SPO2 Orlando Diaz apologized to the family of the late congressman in a press conference at the Capitol Complex here this afternoon.

Henry Yuson, alias “Romel,” said he regrets what he did and only killed the congressman because he was offered money in exchange for the death.

Yuson, a rebel-returnee who was later assimilated as member of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) and eventually hired as part of the security group of Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo, surrendered Thurday night at the 903rd Infantry Batallion in Sorsogon.

He was also served a warrant of arrest for the crime of rape.

Yuson told the media that despite the promise of payment, he never received even a single centavo.

“Trinaydor nila ako,” he said, referring to Christopher Cabrera Naval alias “Tuping” and Danilo Muella alias “Manoy Dan.”

It was Tuping—a former member of the Philippine Army—and Manoy Dan who have been discussing the plan with Mayor Baldo to assassinate Batocabe, Yuson said.

Mayor Baldo wanted to stay as the local chief executive, so they hatched a plan to eliminate Batocabe, who was the political rival of Baldo, Yuson added.

Yuson further narrated that he was assured that as long as Baldo remains the town mayor, their group will have a steady source of income.

Meantime, PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde said Yuson and the members of the mayor’s personal staff have been receiving Php7,000 a month and using fictitious names to hide their identity.

Albayalde said they now have four out of seven suspects in their custody in connection with the Batocabe slay.

The case, he reiterated, is now solved but not closed, as they are still continuing the investigation.

“We will not rest until the suspects rot in jail for the rest of their lives,” Albayalde stressed.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

DepEd Bicol wants reports on schools affected by 'Usman' expedited

LEGAZPI CITY (Bicol Standard) -- Deped Regional Office 5 Regional Director Gilbert Sadsad called for a meeting today with the Schools Division Superintendents, and DepEd Bicol personnel to expedite the submission of the reports on the schools, learners, and personnel affected by Tropical Depression 'Usman'.

Sadsad further ordered the preparation of the needed interventions.

Initially, the concerned Schools Division Offices extended financial assistance to the families of the victims, including at least six learners in Albay, 21 learners in Camarines Sur, and one learner in Camarines Norte.

DepEd will also carry out relief distribution, medical missions, and debriefing sessions to affected learners and teachers.

There are at least 176 schools with reported damage: 73 in Albay, 40 in Camarines Norte, 50 in Camarines Sur, and 13 in Sorsogon.

Temporary Learning Spaces (TLS) are needed, including 11 in Albay, four in Camarines Norte, and one in Camarines Sur.

Said reports are still for validation and inspection of division engineers and Schools Division Superintendents.

Updating and report generation are still ongoing as of this writing.

Daraga mayor Baldo tagged as mastermind in Batocabe slay


DARAGA, Albay (Bicol Standard) -- Daraga Mayor Carlwyn "Awin" Baldo has been tagged by the Philippine National Police as the mastermind in the killing of Ako Bicol Representative Rodel Batocabe and his aide in December.

In a press conference this morning, PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said charges of double murder and multiple frustrated murder have already been filed against the incumbent Daraga mayor and the other six suspects at the Department of Justice.

Albayalde added that Baldo paid former rebels and army officials to assassinate Batocabe.

Batocabe was running against Baldo for the mayoralty post.

A sum of P5-million was given in exchange for said slay, the police chief bared.

Baldo has yet to issue a statement on the charge.

Meantime, Batocabe's eldest son Atty. Justin earlier said that their family could forgive the suspects but not the mastermind.

He did not, however, name the person behind the slay, and said their family will just leave it to the authorities.

Death toll due to 'Usman' in Bicol climbs to 105

NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard) – The death toll due to ‘Usman’ in the Bicol region is now at 105, data from the Office of Civil Defense as of 10:00 p.m. January 2, 2019 states.

Further, 53 are injured, and 23 are missing.

In Albay, 18 are dead, seven injured, and three are missing.

In Camarines Sur, 57 are dead, 36 are injured, and 20 are missing.

In Camarines Norte, 15 are dead, and four are injured.

In Sorsogon, 8 are dead, and six are injured.

Lastly, seven are dead in Masbate.

Catanduanes has no recorded deaths and injuries.

The towns that have the most casualties are Sagñay in Camarines Sur and Tiwi in Albay, the same data shows.

Meantime, Office of Civil Defense Regional Director Claudio Yucot announced this morning that search and retrieval operations are still ongoing in Camarines Sur and Albay.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Most Rev. Rex Andrew Alarcon is new Daet bishop

NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard) -- Most Rev. Rex Andrew C. Alarcon is now the bishop-elect of the Diocese of Daet, the Archdiocese of Caceres confirmed tonight.

His election as fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Daet was made public in Rome at 7 p.m. local time at the Vatican City.

He previously served as School Director of Naga Parochial School.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Catriona Gray appeals for help for Bicolanos affected by 'Usman'

NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard) -- Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray is appealing to the public to help Bicolanos following the onslaught of Tropical Depression Usman.

On her Instagram account, the Bicolana beauty posted that there have been 57 reported deaths from landslides and floods caused by the recent typhoon.

She suggested giving help via the Camarines Sur Chapter of the Philippine Red Cross or Team Albay Youth Organization.

Water, ready-to-eat food, blankets, tarpaulins, and other relief items are accepted by these groups, she wrote.

Cam Norte ex mayor acquitted of graft

MANILA (Bicol Standard) – Former Mercedes, Camarines Norte town mayor Pepito Pajarillo Lo has been acquitted by the Sandiganbayan Fourth Division in the anti-graft charge filed against him in connection with the development of the Colasi Falls area for failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Lo was accused to have taken advantage of his position and showing manifest partiality and preference by giving unwarranted benefits to Colasi Mini-Hydro Electric Power Corporation, by entering into a Memorandum of Agreement with the same, granting exclusive right, with right of first refusal, to explore, develop, and utilize the Colasi Falls area, sans any competitive bidding.

Along with Lo, accused were Jane Solitario Caras and Jimmy Calica Solitario, who are the two incorporators of Colasi Mini-Hydro Electric Power Corporation and are siblings of Lo’s wife, Brenda Solitario Lo.

In its discussion, the Sandiganbayan said the prosecution imputes manifest partiality against accused Lo, implying that he disregarded the requirements of competitive bidding provided under R. A. No. 9184 (Government Procurement Reform Act) and entered into a MOA with Colasi Power Corporation because he favored the latter, considering that two (2) of its incorporators - accused Caras and Solitario - are his wife's siblings.

However, after a review of the records, the Court found no evidence to support the prosecution's assertion.

“To note, although accused Caras and Solitario remain listed in the Articles of Incorporation (AOI) as incorporators, the GIS confirms that they are no longer stockholders or officers of the said corporation. In fact, the prosecution, being a party to the joint stipulations submitted in court, acknowledges that accused Caras and Solitario were neither stockholders nor officers of Colasi Power Corporation at the time of the execution of the assailed MOA on 10 March 2009, since they had sold and transferred their respective shares therein to Eduardo Malasaga on 19 December 2005. This admission effectively weakens the prosecution's argument as it contradicts the corrupt intent ascribed against accused Lo that he was motivated to enter into a contract with Colasi Power Corporation solely for the reason that he was related by affinity to two (2) of its incorporators,” the decision reads.

“A reading of the joint stipulations reveals that prior to the execution of the MOA, accused Lo had been authorized by the Sangguniang Bayan of Mercedes, Camarines Norte to solicit and negotiate with any government agency or prospective investors for the development of the Colasi water falls into a hydro power plant,” it continues.

“Armed with such authorization, accused Lo, in his capacity as mayor, subsequently entered into a MOA with Colasi Power Corporation, without the benefit of public bidding. In addition to these uncontroverted statements, other evidence on record indicates that Colasi Power Corporation is a logical choice on account of its water permit, which allows it to utilize the water at the Colasi Falls area. Taken together, all these exculpatory facts diminish the prosecution's claim that accused Lo acted with manifest partiality when he executed the MOA with Colasi Power Corporation,” the court explained.

Finally, the court said: “As the act or omission from which the civil liability might arise did not exist, no civil liability may be assessed against the accused. The hold departure order issued against all of the accused by reason of this case is hereby LIFTED and SET ASIDE, and their respective bonds RELEASED, subject to the usual accounting and auditing procedures.”

Associate Justice Reynaldo P. Cruz signed the 13-page decision, with Associate Justice Alex L. Quiroz and Associate Justice Bayani H. Jacinto concurring.

Milaor priest blesses travelers, parishioners on New Year's Day

MILAOR, Camarines Sur (Bicol Standard) -- The parish priest of this town, Fr. Mike de la Rosa, blessed parishioners and travelers as they crossed the flooded section of Barangay San Jose here this morning, New Year's Day. Milaor is among the flood-prone areas in Camarines Sur which was heavily affected by the torrential rains of TD Usman.

Bicol disaster execs blame climate change for deadly landslides

LEGAZPI CITY -- The head of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Bicol is blaming climate change for the disaster that recently struck the region, where 57 people died in landslides and flooding spawned by the low-pressure area (LPA) that has caused heavy rains here in the past two days.

“Zero-casualty is our constant goal, but there are situations beyond our control -- the unusually heavy rains caused by climate change,” OCD Regional Director Claudio Yucot said in a phone interview on Monday.

Yucot said there are disaster protocols being followed, such as warning, evacuation, and relief, but in the case of an LPA, aside from warning, there are no other disaster protocols to be carried out.

He said that after the local weather bureau downgraded the storm warning signal 1 to an "LPA accompanied by the tail end of the cold front (TECF)," people were not expecting that this would bring heavy rains that would trigger landslides and floods.

“We have disaster protocol when it comes to typhoons, storms; but there are none for LPA and TECF,” he said.

He even dismissed the report that members of various local disaster councils were on vacation mode and villagers were stubborn and refused to be evacuated because of the declaration that the tropical cyclone has been downgraded into an LPA.

Along with this, Yucot said he would propose to the National Disaster Risk Reduction Council to prepare disaster protocols for weather disturbances, such as LPA and TECF.

Meanwhile, Cedric Daep, chief of the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Office, said areas hit by landslides in two villages in the town, where at least 12 people died, were not considered landslide-prone areas by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.

He said the villages of Sugod and Lourdes in Tiwi have no history of landslides, except for Barangay Sugod, which is a flood-prone village.

In an interview, Daep said the high-risk areas for landslide are the barangays of Dapdap and Misibis in Tiwi.

Asked what possible factors that could contribute in failing to meet the province's “Zero Casualty Goal” policy, Daep said one is the complacent attitude of people in heeding the call to evacuate for reasons that it was only an LPA and TECF; second is because of the recent barangay elections, where newly designated barangay disaster officials were not yet trained to handle disaster operations.

Daep said the real culprit was the 437.1 mm rains that poured in Bicol in the past two days (Dec. 28 and 29). The rains breached by 84 percent the 520.2 mm of rainfall for the month of December, aside from the scattered rainfall on December 26 and 27.

He said heavy rainfall spawned by the LPA followed by the TECF have saturated the soil, causing floods and landslide in several towns and cities of the province.

Daep said rain and landslide gauges would not suffice to serve as an early warning, as the rainfall threshold for the month was exceeded in the past two days.

He dismissed reports that the province failed to warn residents, saying local officials had issued an advisory to local disaster councils, warning them of the possible occurrence of floods and landslide caused by heavy rainfall from the low-pressure area and the tail end of the cold front.

Latest casualty count indicates that the death toll due to landslide and floods continues to rise, as 57 villagers have died, 11 injured, and 11 still missing in Bicol, the OCD report said.

Camarines Sur has 23 dead, and one missing; followed by Albay with 15 dead, five injured and seven missing; Camarines Norte with six dead, one missing; Sorsogon with six dead, six injured and two missing; and Masbate with seven casualties. (by Mar Serrano, PNA)

Featured Post

Suspects in marijuana trade arrested at dormitel in Naga City

NAGA CITY (Bicol Standard) – Two 22-year-old residents of Iriga City were arrested in a buy-bust operation at Orange Dormitel at Barang...