Volume 15 / No. 5                                                                                                              March 15, 2015
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Nueva Ecija Journal is published in
Gapan City, Nueva Ecija,Philippines
and updated every 15th and
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Cabanatuan among 10 world cities most threatened by natural disasters

Cabanatuan City ranks sixth in the list of 10 cities in the world that are most exposed to natural calamities.

This is contained in a study published by the risk analysis firm Verisk Maplecroft released last March 4.

The study analyzed the threats from storms, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, volcanoes and landslides of more than 1,300 cities worldwide.

Eight of the cities most exposed to natural calamities are in the Philippines -- Tuguegarao in Cagayan, ranked number 2; Lucena in Quezon province, 3; Manila, 4; San Fernando, Pampanga, 5; Cabanatuan City, 6; Batangas, 7; San Carlos (the report did not indicate which province in the Philippines), 9; and Naga City in Bicol, 10.

Topping the list is Port Vila in Vanuatu while Taipe is ranked number eight.

The report said that of 100 cities with the greatest exposure to natural calamities, 21 are in the Philippines, 16 in China, 11 in Japan and eight in Bangladesh.

“Natural hazard risk is compounded in the Philippines by poor institutional and societal capacity to manage, respond and recover from natural hazard events,” the report noted.

It said the Philippines is considered "high risk" based on the country's ability to manage and mitigate the impacts of natural hazards, and partly because of "entrenched corruption and high levels of poverty".

Aside from volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and floods, the Philippines is also affected by more than 20 typhoons each year. ###

Cabanatuan, Santa Rosa LGUs act on traffic congestion

The local governments of Santa Rosa and Cabanatuan City have partnered to solve the traffic congestion along the Nueva Ecija-Tarlac Road that spans the two areas.

The memorandum of agreement signed by Santa Rosa Mayor Josefino Angeles and Cabanatuan City Mayor Julius Cesar Vergara is the first joint venture by the two local government units to tackle the traffic problem.

Under the agreement, the more than four-kilometer part of Cesar Angeles Road will serve as an alternate route to Maharlika Highway. ###

Farmer group warns vs. region-wide onion crisis

An alliance of agricultural industry players warned of a looming onion crisis in Central Luzon.

In a statement released last March 8, the group said officials of Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (SINAG) and Nueva Ecija farmers have blamed the cartel of onion traders and importers for "overstocking" imported onions, thus forcing the price of locally produced onions to sink at "ridiculously low levels" with still very few takers.

The group said onion producers have lowered the price of white onions from P10 to P12 per kilo and P7 to P9 for red onions but still very few onion traders buy. Meanwhile, the price of onions in wet markets and supermarkets have stayed at P35 to P40 a kilo.

Agents of onion traders are said to be apprehensive about buying onions from local farmers because most of the traders' warehouses in Manila and nearby provinces are full of imported onions.

The group said that the Bureau of Customs had confirmed that smugglers are using some ports in Mindanao to smuggle in rice and onions so onion traders in Luzon see no need to supply onions to the Visayas and Mindanao.

Reports reaching SINAG reportedly indicate that the onion traders are the same groups behind the steep rise of garlic prices last year.

SINAG said onion growers in Nueva Ecija are expected to harvest 10.2 million kilos of white onions and 75.3 million kilos of red onion this harvest season.

SINAG are encouraging eateries to serve dishes like onion soup, onion rings and picked onions to help Filipino onion growers. ###

San Jose biomass power plant starts operations

The first 12 megawatt biomass plant of San Jose City I Power Corp. (SJC IPower) started its commercial operations last March 6.

The power company and the Department of Energy inaugurated the first phase of the project after successful testing and commissioning.

The two P2-billion biomass projects are in a five-hectare complex in Barangay Tulat.

Once fully operational, the plants will produce a total of 24 megawatts of electricity.

The first plant will use 110,000 metric tons of rice husks annually to produce electricity.

SJCIPower is 66% owned by Union Energy Corp. of Lucio Co. The remaining interest is held by 21 rice millers in Nueva Ecija. ###

SM Cabanatuan brings to 50 the number of SM stores nationwide

The recent opening of The SM Store Megacenter in Cabanatuan City marked a milestone for the retail giant.

The Cabanatuan store is SM's 50th in the country and the 21st in Luzon. It brought SM Store's total gross selling area to 669,658 square meters.

The SM Store Megacenter consists of two levels that showcase shoes and luggage; ladies, men's and children's wear; and appliances and home items.

Within the year, the sprawling SM City Cabanatuan, under construction along Maharlika Highway, is expected to open. ###

Ecijano places 2nd in PNPA graduating class

A Novo Ecijano will graduate as second placer during the 26th Philippine National Police Academy commencement exercises on March 26 in Silang, Cavite.

Cadet Rod Kevin T. Talplacido will receive the Vice President Kampitan Award and a plaque of merit.

The class valedictorian is Police Cadet Dennnis Monroid Yuson, Jr.. Placing third is Police  Cadet Marlon H. Landong of Negros Occidental.

Batch 2015, composed of 247 cadets, is also known as the Lakandula Class, meaning "Lakas Kayumanggi na Handang Ialay sa Bayan ang Dugo at Lakas". ###

California-based Gapanenses award 12 college scholarships

The Gapan City Association of Southern California (GAPASCA) awarded an initial batch of 12 college scholarships to deserving graduating high school students of Gapan City during rites held at the City Hall Auditorium on March 7.

Larry Camus, association president, said the scholarship recipients were Daincy Pearl Mariano of Divina Pastora College High School Department who intends to take up Accounting; Ryza Mae Noval of Kapalangan National High School, Education; Shara Mae Valleser of Pambuan National High.School, Accounting; Angel Velayo of Maruhat National High School, Hotel and Restaurant Management; Apryl Paras of San Nicolas National High School, accounting; Carlo Buenaventura of San Roque National High School, Biology/Medicine; Harold John Marcelo of Santa Cruz National High School, Civil Engineering; Leonard dela Cruz of Herminio G. Nicolas High School, Accounting; and Juan R. Liwag Memorial High School students Yusela Kris Aquino, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology; Marry Joy Calpito, Journalism; Mary Jane Pablo, Agribusiness; and Liliane Suares, Psychology/Broadcast Communication.

They were culled from a total of 36 scholarship applications received and evaluated.

Scholarship incentive awards were given to the other twenty-four applicants in recognition of their academic achievements and for their time and effort in applying for GAPASCA scholarships.

Camus said about half of the scholars plan to go to Central Luzon State University, two to Wesleyan University-Philippines and others to the Nueva University of Science and Technology.

Nimfa Garces-Castro, GAPASCA chair, said each scholar will receive up to P40,000 in tuition assistance.

The scholarship fund came from adopt-a-student benefactors -- Castro family, Garces family, Uly and Diana Garces, Liscom family, Macainag family, Manalad family, Padiernos family, Dr. Adoracion Palisoc, Pizarro family, Rayel family and Divina Pastora College Batch 1978.

During the program, Gapan City Mayor Maricel Natividad-Nagaño delivered the welcome remarks.

The guest speaker was ABS Partylist Rep. Catalina "Baby" G. Leonen-Pizarro.

Also present to witness the awarding ceremony were local Department of Education officials led by the schools superintendent and high school principals.

Teofilo Estrella, GAPASCA board director, said it is the hope of the organization that the scholarship grants will inspire Gapan students to excel in school academically and socially.

GAPASCA is headed by Larry Camus, president and Nimfa Garces Castro, chair of the board; with Gina Patulandong as vice president for budget and finance; Marissa Yamsuan, vice president for membership; Ramil Garcia, vice president for ways and means; Vangie Garcia, vice president for programs; Cindy Garces, treasurer; Marlyn Reams, secretary; Armahn Tinawin, auditor; Agnes Nerona, PRO; Steve Johnson and Germelie Morales, affairs coordinators; Randy Estrella, Veta Garcia, Rolly de Guzman, and Adoracion Palisoc, advisers; Tipin Johnson, board secretary; and Teofilo Estrella, Percival Garces, Emmanuel Liwag, Gener Nerona, and Wilfredo Ongpauco, directors. ###

Aide of former San Jose vice mayor killed in ambush

An alleged former aide of the former vice mayor of San Jose City was shot dead while another person was wounded in an attack by three motorcycle-riding gunmen last March 9.

The victim was identified as Mario Correa, Jr. alias Bangis, married, of Zone 3, Barangay Kaliwanagan.

Correa is said to be a former aide of former Vice Mayor Kokoy Salvador.

Wounded in the attack was Danilo Sumiquiab, 49, widower, of Zone 1, Barangay San Agustin.

Supt. Manuel Hidalgo, city police director, said the attack happened along a farm road in Zone 1, Barangay San Agustin at about 5:30 P.M.

Correa was driving a black Suzuki motorcycle with Sumiquiab as back rider when the suspects riding two Yamaha motorcycles appeared and repeatedly fired.

Correa instantly died from bullet wounds in different parts of his body while Sumiquiab sustained wounds in the left arm and shoulder.

At San Jose City General Hospital, Sumiquiab identified one of the attackers as a certain Ely Gacusan, a neighbor in the barangay. 

Hidalgo said they are looking at Correa's background to establish the motive for the shooting. ###

Criminal gang leader arrested

A suspected leader of a gun-for-hire and robbery gang  was arrested last March 3 in Barangay Palestina, San Jose City after operatives of the Nueva Ecija Police Office-Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC) found a gun in his possession.

The suspect was identified as Victor Correa, 38, of Zone 1, Barangay San Agustin.

Supt. Ricardo Villanueva, PPSC commander, said the 3rd Maneuver Platoon had received a call for help from a resident identified as Benito Aganon.

Aganon said he and his companion, Caridad Daileg-Lucero, were being detained in their yard by a certain Boy Correa and his companion, Ramon Correa.

When the police unit arrived at the scene, they found Aganon and Ramon Correa having a fistfight. They also saw Victor Correa draw a gun.

Ramon was able to escape after seeing the policemen, while Victor was arrested. Found in his possession was a caliber .45 pistol and a magazine with seven bullets.

Sr. Supt. Crizaldo Nieves, provincial police director, said a follow up investigation showed that Victor is a member of the dreaded Parica Group involved in gun-for-hire and robbery activities in San Jose City and adjacent places.

He also has pending frustrated murder and illegal possession of firearm cases with local courts.

Correa was charged with violation of the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act in connection with the latest incident. ###

Wife of DAR Usec Nieto robbed

The wife of former Undersecretary Narciso Nieto of the Department of Agrarian Reform was robbed by motorcycle-riding men last March 2 in San Isidro.

Police identified the victim as Emilita Nieto, 50, businesswoman, of Purok 1, Barangay San Roque.

It was learned that the suspects, riding a Honda Supremo motorcycle with no lice plates, stopped in front of the Nieto family's Emily Tire and Service Center in Purok 7, Barangay Alua. The back rider got off and entered the shop, with the driver serving as lookout.

The suspect declared a hold-up and grabbed Nieto's two shoulder bags containing P410,00 and $60 in cash, 10 check booklets, five bank passbooks, a credit card and a driver's license.

The two suspects then fled in the direction of Cabiao.

Witnesses said the suspects were armed with pistols.

Investigators are examining footage from CCTV cameras in the premises for clues on the suspects' identities.###

Quezon exhibitionist arrested

A drunken man was jailed in Quezon town for mashing the breasts of a disabled teenager and showing his sex organ to two other girls last March 3.

Responding barangay officials arrested the suspect, Roberto Payot, 22, married, of Barangay Santo Cristo and turned him over to the police.

Investigation showed that the first vcitim, an eight year old girl, was walking on the street when the suspect, who was drunk, approached, cursed her and took off his pants and showed her his sex organ.

The suspect then went to the house of a 16 year old girl with disability and mashed her breasts. However, the girl managed to fight off the attacker and escape.

The third victim, a 15 year old girl, saw the suspect take off his pants and show his sex organ before fleeing.

The suspect was chased by the disabled victim's father until he was cornered by responding barangay officials. ###

Mentally ill man hangs self

A man who was mentally ill committed suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling of the family's house in Lupao.

Sr. Insp. Manuel Catacuitan, town police chief, identified the victim as Anthony Aquino, 27, single, of Purok 5, Barangay Bagong Flores.

The victim's grandfather, Arturo Imperio, 70, told the police that the suicide was discovered at 2:30 P.M. after the victim's mother, Luzviminda, checked his room and saw him with a nylon cord around his neck and hanging from the ceiling.

Catacutan said the victim had told his mother to leave the house because he wanted to go to sleep.

It was learned that the victim had been a regular patient in a mental hospital. ###

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