Volume 17 / No. 03   |  February 15, 2017
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Nueva Ecija Journal is published in
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Mega drug rehab center reduces in-patient admissions

The Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (DATRC) in Fort Magsaysay has reduced the admissions of in-patient drug dependents from 10,000 to 500 as majority of the  surrenderees do not need to be confined in the center.

Health Sec. Paulyn Ubal said that in the last seven months, they saw that there was no need for a residential-type facility because community-based program is now operational. She said this would be more manageable.

Despite the move to downsize the number of admissions, Ubial said the 500-bed facility is still the health department's biggest rehabilitation center in the Philippines.

“We are taking it one step at a time because we have no existing model of how the mega treatment and rehabilitation facility will be operationalized. There is no mega facility outside of the Philippines. This is the first of its kind. The facilities that we know abroad is only 200 to 300 beds,” she explained.

Under the rehabilitation program, health professionals screen drug surrenderees at the community level to see who among them need to be brought to rehabilitation centers. Because the program is voluntary, the agency has to secure a court order first before taking in a patient.

“There was hardly a volunteer. I think only less than 10 of the patients from Bicutan facility actually went to Nueva Ecija. We cannot force them to go there if they don’t want to. It’s on voluntary basis,” Ubial said.

At present, only 133 drug dependents are being treated in the Fort Magsaysay rehabilitation center.

Ubial said the plan now is to put up more 500-bed capacity rehabilitation centers across the country. ###

2 drug rehab center patients in failed escape try

Two patients of the Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabiitation Center (DATRC)  inside Fort Magsaysay tried to escape last February 15.

Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said DATRC personnel succeeded in capturing the two -- both Nueva Ecija residents -- and returning them to to the facility to continue their treatment.

The patients tried to escape through a government reforestation area behind the 10-hectare facility at about 1:00 P.M. and recaptured an hour later.

Only last January, another patient tried to run away by riding a passenger jeepney passing near the facility, prompting Fort Magsaysay officials to redirect passenger jeepneys away from the center. ###

Capitol to put up own drug rehab facility

The provincial government is planning to built its own permanent drug rehabilitation center to accommodate the increasing number of illegal drug users.

This was gleaned at the launching of the "United Stand Against Dangerous Drugs" (USADD)  led by Governor Czarina Umali, former Governor Aurelio Umali, Provicnial Police Director Antonio Yarra and attended by local barangay and police officials at the Sierra Madre Suite in Palayan City last February 2.

The governor said the drug war, recently suspended by President Duterte, could continue without sacrificing lives.

She recalled that at the launching of the drug summit in September last year, she emphasized that all drug pushers and addicts in the province should be wiped out not through violet means but by rehabilitating them.

For his part, former Governor Umali, chair of the Provincial Anti-Illegal drugs Convenor, said the war on drugs would continue despite the suspension by the President of Oplan Tokhang. He said this would give them the opportunity to focus more on the rehabilitation of drug surrenderees who have now totaled more than 28,000.

He said the provincial government plans to build its own P75-million drug rehabilitation center in Palayan City that will be patterned after the one in Bataan.

During the event, about 100 drug surrenmderere were turned over to the Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Fort Magsaysay. ###

Prosecutor says no-show cops cause delay in drug case trials

A provincial prosecutor said the frequent failure of policemen to attend as witnesses in drug cases should be immediately addressed by the Philippine National Police to avoid delays in the administration of justice.

Provincial Prosecutor Danilo Yang said one way to solve the problem is for the PNP to furnish all courts with the list of the locations of all policemen to ensure their attendance in court hearings.

In a meeting of judges, prosecutors and police officials at Plaza Leticia Restaurant last February 11, Yang said the failure of policemen to appear in court has caused the unnecessary delay of cases, resulting in the backlog of cases in various regional, city and municipal trial courts in the province.

He said the non-attendance of policemen compounded by the lack of prosecutors has hampered the fast resolution of the cases.

Causes of the failure of policemen to attend court hearings include reassignment to other places and meager subsistence allowance. ###

Cabanatuan holds second 'Banatu Festival'

Cabanatuan City held the second "Banatu Festival" from January 29 to February 4 to mark the city's 67th charter anniversary.

A major highlight of the festivities was the "Gawad Parangal Para sa mga Natatanging Cabanatueño" held last February 3.

Among the "Natatanging Anak Kabanatuan" awardees were Paolo Ballesteros  and Vic Sotto for television and film; Attorney Bembol DL Castillo for law; Angelita Evangelista-Ilagan, Lolita Pasada-De Queada and Maria Arlene Villaroman, entrepreneurship; Engineer Feliciana Jacoba, education; Major General Joselito Reyes and Bigadier General Martin Villasan, military service; and Dr. Larraine Vergara, youth.

Named "Natatangig Anbdukha Kabanatuan" or adopted children of Cabanatuan were Architect Arsenio Dawang II, architecture and construction; and  Julie Viloria, international consultancy.

"Angkan Kabanatuan" awardeees -- those born in other places but married to a Cabanatuan clan member -- were Dr. Romulo Catbgan, medicine and community service; and Danilo Villamin, overseas entrepreneurship.

The other activities during the "Banatu Festival" were an art and photo exhibit at SM City Cabanatuan, Longgnisa Festival, Kite Festival, Job Fair, Teachers' Night, mass wedding, film festival and the Binibining Cabanatuan and Miss Gay Cabanatuan pageants. ###

3 mayors sign covenant to protect Philippine Eagle

The mayors of three towns around Mount Mingan in Nueva Ecija signed a covenant to further protect the habitat of the Philippine Eagle.

The signatories included Mayor Rolando Buye of Gabaldon, Nueva  Ecija; Sherwin Taay of Dingalan, Aurora; and Mariao Tangcon of San Luis, Aurora.

Under the covenant, certain activities will be restricted and proper management production zones will be promoted to protect the biodiversity on Mount Mingan, a protected area where the endangered Philippine Eagles live.

The mountain is also home to other endemic species like the newly-discovered coral plant, furry cloud rats, and the rafflesia, one of the largest flowers in the world.

It was declared a protected sanctuary in 2014, after researchers from conservation group Haribon Foundation confirmed in an expedition the discovery of an adult pair and a juvenile Philippine Eagle – the latter fondly named by the community as Gab-E (Gabaldon Eagle).

At the signing ceremony, lawyer Ricardo Lazaro, Jr., director of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office in Cabanatuan City, said, “Maliit man na hakbang, pero sa maliliit na hakbang na ‘to nagsisimula para makamit natin ang ating layunin." ###

Santa Rosa farmers get farm inputs

The municipality of Santa Rosa, among the towns in Central Luzon most affected by recent typhoons that destroyed crops, became a beneficiary of fertilizers and farm inputs from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Then turn-over rites was attended by Mayor Marita Angeles, Provincial Agriculturist Office Report Officer Evelyn Santos, Agricultural Program Coordinating Officer (APCO) of Nueva Ecija Dr. Evelyn Fernando and FAO representative Mario Corado.

Fernando thanked FAO for the assistance and said the donations will greatly help local farmers in catching up with production targets and coping with the next planting seasons.

Around 837 farmers from the town were given at least two 50-kilo sacks of urea.

In March, FAO will release vegetable seedlings, hoes and sprinklers to the beneficiary farmers. ###

Talavera wants flyover to ease traffic woes

Talavera is considering the construction of a flyover to ease the daily traffic problem in the town's major streets.

Mayor Nerivi Santos-Martinez said she hoped a flyover similarto those built by the national government in Malolos City and Baliuag, Bulacan would lighten the vcolume of vehicles passing through the Talavera portion of Maharlika Highway

Talavera, considered the largest town in the province, has seen the establishment of big businesses like WalterMat and Save More, together with resorts, restaurants and hotels.

Santos-Martinez said, however, that the daily long traffic jams have affected the town;s ability to function normally.

She said that the provincial government, through former Governor Aurelio Umali and Governor Czarina Umali, has initiated the construction of a P174-million bypass road project crossing a remote part of Talavera as an alrternative route for vehicles.

The project is due to be finished in June.

Santos-Martinez said another parallel by-pass road at the other side of the town could be built to further ease the traffic situation. ###

Ginebra San Migel offers scholarships in 2 Ecija state schools

Two Nueva Ecija state universities -- the Nueva Ecija Universityof Science and Technology and Centrl Luzon State University -- are among five state universities in the country where Ginebra San Mighel, Inc. (GSMI) has launched a program to provide full scholarship grants to selected graduating students.

The GSMI scholrship program will provide full schoraship grants to students of B.S Mechanical Engineering and B.S. Chemistry who are in their final year. After passing their board examinations, the scholars will be considered for employment in the company's facilities.

Roxanne Millan, GSMI Human Resources manager, said the company has alwys been committed to helping secure a better future for the youth by providing free education and employment opportunities. ###

Zaragoza family attacked

A family in Zaragoza survived a gun attack, though the father and his 10-year-old son were wounded, in Barangay Santo Rosario Young on the night of February 4.

Joel Tomas, 45, was driving a motorcycle with his wife Gina and son Mark Joseph as passengers, when gumen in a white car fired at them along the Tarlac-Santa Rosa Road at 10:23 P.M.

The father and son were wounded on their shgoiulders and taken to a hosptial in Cabantuan City for treatment.

Police have yet to determine the motive for the shooting. ###

Bongabon vendor hurt in house strafing

A 47-year-old vedor was wounded when unidentified suspects strafed her house in Barangay Mantile, Bongabon at 1:30 A.M. last February 4.

The victim, Pastora dela Cruz, was wounded on the left arm and taken to a hospital in Cabanatuan City for treatment.

Her husband, who was sleeping beside her during the strafing, was not harmed. ###

General Tinio farmer identified by accomplice in killing of drinking buddy

A 57-year-old farmer was arrested after being identified by the man that he ordered to bury a drinking partner that he had killed in Sitio Sibug, Barangay Riio Chico, General Tinio.

The suspect was identified as Rolly Ramos Cuaresma of Sitio Pulang Lupa, Barangay Rio Chico.

A caliber .48 home-made pistol was found in his posession.

Investrigation showed that Cuaresma had a drinking session with Jimy Cabildo Reyes and another person named only as "Boy Bisaya".

Cuaresma and Boy Bisaya  later had a heated argument that resulted in the former shooting the latter dead.

Cuaresma then allegedly asked for the  help of Reyes in burying the body of the victim beside a river. ###

Computer encoder killed by motorcycle-riding men

A 37-year old man was killed by motorcycle-riding gunmen in Barangy Valenzuela, Santa Rosa last February 13.

The victim was Michael Espinos, a data encoder in an ice cream and dairy company.

He was driving  a motorcycle home with his wife as back rider when shot by the suspects who had been tailing them.

Espinosa was rushed tro a hospital but was declared dead on arrival.

Motive for the attack and the identities of the suspects are still being established. ###

Man drowns in Jaen

A 22 year old farm helper drowned when he tried to cross the Pamapanga River in Barangay San Pablo,Jaen last February 2.

The victim was idenrtified as Christian Santiago Macado of Barangay Magpapalayok, San Leonardo.

Police invesrtigation showed that at about 7:00 P.M., the victim tried to swim across the river but was overpowered by the swift current.

His body was recovered two days later in the portion of the river in Barangay San Anton, San Leonardo. ###

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