sign 'Tipan ng Kapayapaan'
Local political leaders headed
by Gov. Aurelio M. Umali and Vice Gov. Edward Thomas F. Joson signed a
"Tipan ng Kapayapaan" for honest, orderly and peaceful elections in rites
held at the Maria Assumpta Seminary last March 25
The event was organized by
the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).
Cabanatuan Bishop Sofronio
Bancud emphasized that the pact is a "covenant of spirituality" among the
political leaders of the province. He said that the peace covenant
is like coming from God, referring to God's covenant with the Israelites
in the Old Testament.
Aside from Umali, those who
signed on behalf of Lakas-Kampi-CMD were the governor's wife, Third Dist.
Rep. Czarina Umali; his brother Emmanuel Anthony, who is running for board
member in the same district; his running mate Gay Padiernos; and other
Among the signatories from
Bagong Lakas ng Nueva Ecija (BALANE) aside from Joson were his running
mate, actor Rommel Padilla; Josefina Manuel-Joson, who is running
for her former First District congressional seat; and their followers.
The other candidates who
signed the pact were Fourth District Rep. Rodolfo Antonino and reelectionists
former First Dist. Rep. Renato Diaz and Second District Rep. Joseph Violago.
The police provincial director,
Sr. Supt. Ricardo Marquez, and the 702nd Infantry Brigade commander, Col.
Felicito Trinidad, vowed that the police and the Army will take an apolitical,
non partisan stance in enforcing election laws and upholding the conduct
of peaceful and orderly elections.
Meanwhile, Bishop Bancud
expressed frustration over the failure of some candidates to attend the
signing of the peace covenant.
He mentioned Jaen Mayor Antonio
Prospero Esquivel who was involved in the April 26, 2007 shoot-out in his
town between his supporters and those of Rep. Antonino. Two persons died
in that incident while 17 other were wounded, including two of the mayor's
charges 7 provincial officials with graft
Vice Gov. Edward Thomas Joson
charged seven provincial government officials led by Gov. Aurelio Umali
and a businesswoman at the Office of the Ombudsman in Luzon for the alleged
overpriced purchase of P25 million worth of school bags in 2009.
Aside from Umali, the other
respondents in the affidavit complaint were Provincial Budget Officer Randolph
Alingig, Provincial Health Officer Benjamin Lopez, Environment and Natural
Resources Officer Maximo Borja, Vicente Santos, Florante Fajardo and Leoncio
Daniel, all members of the provincial government's bids and awards committee,
and businesswoman Jennifer Avellana.
Joson charged them with gross
violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Section 100
of the Local Government Code, grave abuse of discretion, misconduct and
irregularity in the performance of duties.
Questioned was the purchase
made on March 12, 2009 by the local school board of the provincial government
of P26 million worth of school bags despite the serious shortage of classrooms
nd teachers in public elementary and secondary schools.
Joson said that Section 100
of the Local Government Code mandates that the construction and maintenance
of school buildings should be the top priority of local school boards in
using the Special Education Fund.
In the purchase request for
the school bags, Umali had sought to acquire two sets consisting of 231
pieces of backpacks and 23,000 pieces of bags for pre-school children.
The public bidding for the
bags was won by EGRP Trading of Pateros owned by businesswoman Avellana.
priest' runs though Ecija for water conservation
So-called running priest
Fr. Robert Reyes started a 400 kilometer run from Holy Monday to Easter
Sunday across 34 towns and cities in Luzon, including those in Nueva Ecija,
to bring to the attention of Filipinos the urgency of water conservation.
The advocacy run called "Tubig,
Bendisyon, Obligasyon" began with a Mass by Reyes at the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources main office in Quezon City, followed
by send-off rites by Environment Sec. Horacio Ramos.
The run will bring
Reyes from Meycauayan to San Ildefonso, Bulacan; San Miguel, Bulacan to
Gapan City, Nueva Ecija; Carranglan, Nueva Ecija to Santa Fe, Nueva Vizcaya;
Diadi, Nueva Vizcaya to Cordon, Isabela; and Santiago to Ilagan, Isabela.
Highlighting the send off
rites was the handing over to Father Reyes of a “pingga” (wooden plank
used for fetching water with pails attached to both ends), which he will
bring with him throughout the run as a symbol of his call for "voluntary
simplicity" to solve the water problem.
Reyes said water crisis “is
not only a problem of supply and demand but of relationship and consciousness.”
“The ‘pingga’ will symbolize
the cross that we must all bear as a symbol of our contriteness over the
long years of having sacrificed water to the cross with our wasteful and
pollutive ways. Our consumerist lives need to be cured and led back to
a simplicity that heals, renews and liberates,” Reyes said.
Stopovers will be made at
every major points for meetings with heads of local government units and
Every representative of the
areas that Reyes will be passing through will be asked to carry the "pingga"
on short distances. ###
of Lent 2010 in Gapan City
cities among those in CL monitored for HIV-AIDS
The Department of Health
(DOH) is monitoring the cities of San Jose and Gapan in Nueva Ecija, Bocaue
in Bulacan and Balanga City in Bataan in its intensified fight against
the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, specifically HIV and AIDS.
Sec. Esperanza Cabral said
the former sites of American military bases in Central Luzon, Angeles City
and Olongapo City, need much attention as these areas host communities
of foreigners and have red light districts and adult entertainment areas.
Dr. Rio Magpantay, DOH regional
director, said major cities and towns where beer houses are ubiquitous
will get more attention from health officials.
He said that 458 of the 4,567
HIV positive cases in the country in the last 24 years were recorded in
Cabral said that sex workers
who want to avail themselves of HIV screening should not hesitate to go
to local social hygiene clinics for testing and counseling. She added
that health centers will also distribute condoms imported from China to
people who need them.
She said that the department's
condom distribution will continue despite opposition from the Catholic
Church. She pointed out that condom distribution is only one of the major
components of the program to fight the spread of HIV-AIDS, including abstinence
and fidelity among couples. ###
Center marks 17th anniversary
The Muñoz-based Philippine
Carabao Center (PCC) celebrated its 17th anniversary with various activities
from March 22 to 26.
Hundreds of farmers in Luzon
were briefed on various aspects of the dairy industry in visits to four
dairy sites in San Jose City, the Science City of Muñoz and Talavera
last March 25. They were given lectures by champion farmers on forage
production, waste disposal management, proper milk collection and handling
and milk quality testing.
Last March 26, Agriculture
Sec. Bernie Fodevilla delivered the keynote address during the anniversary
Dr. Libertado Cruz, PCC executive
director, reported on the achievements of his agency during the past year
and gave a glimpse of plans for the carabao improvement program of the
A book, "Appreciating the
Carabao", written by prize-winning Nueva Ecija journalist Dr. Anselmo Roque
was launched during the program. ###
pianist Licad wows Muñoz audience
Famous pianist Cecile Licad
received standing ovations from an audience composed of farmers, workers,
teachers, government employees and children during her outreach concert
at the Central Luzon State University auditorium in the Science City of
Muñoz last March 23.
Licad, an adopted daughter
of Muñoz, was accompanied by the 53 member Manila Symphony Orchestra
conducted by Arturo Molina. It was her first rural concert with a
The university auditorium
which is not air-conditioned was chosen as the venue as it is the only
place in Muñoz that can fit an entire symphony orchestra and an
audience of almost 2,500. The concert invitations and programs were printed
and photocopied on one fourth sheets of long bond paper. The concert goers
arrived on foot and in tricycles and pickups. The office of Mayor Nestor
L. Alvarez even provided money to rent vehicles and buy gas so residents
from distant barangays could come and watch. But Licad got to play with
her own Vienna-made Bösendorfer piano that was transported to Muñoz
for the event.
Before the concert, CLSU
parish priest Fr. Rudy Ibale led the invocation that acknowledged the giftedness
Dr. Ruben Sevilleja, CLSU
president, thanked Licad for her "special heart for provincial audiences"
and for going on out-of-town trips "for purely artistic reasons" to share
her talent with those unable to watch her in Metro Manila.
Licad's playing was interrupted
several times by untimely applause, which she later said she did not mind
as these came from the audience's hearts.
After a late night dinner
at the mayor's house, Licad played two more pieces on an upright locally
made piano for the cooks, drivers, security detail and members of Alvarez's
support staff who were unable to attend the concert. ###
growers complain of low prices
Nueva Ecija onion growers
asked the government to intervene and protect their interest as the prices
offered by traders for their produce continue to tumble.
Rolando Pangilinan, an onion
grower in Barangay Tayabo, San Jose City, said that the low buying price
is worse than the impact of El Niño.
It was learned that the buying
price for the red creole variety is P8 per kilo and P4 for the yellow granex
Pangilinan said that considering
the high cost of seeds and inputs, the break-even price for red creole
should have been P11 per kilo and P8 for yellow granex.
Rodolfo Niones, president
of the Kalipunan ng mga Samahan ng Magsisibuyas sa Nueva Ecija (KASAMNE)
said that the current dry weather favored onion farming and resulted in
He said that traders lowered
their buying price because they wanted farmers to sell immediately as the
province lacks cold storage facilities.
The provincial agricultural
office said that the 11,000 hectares of land planted to onion in Nueva
Ecija have an average annual yield of more than 145 million metric tons.
Onion farms are found in
Bongabon, Laur, Rizal, Gabaldon, Guimba, Cuyapo, Llanera, Pantabangan,
San Isidro, San Leonardo, Sto. Domingo, Talavera, Gapan City, San Jose
City and the Science City of Muñoz.
Meanwhile, the Center for
Strategic Initiatives (TCSFI), an advocacy group for a better Philippines,
asked President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to intervene in addressing the
problems of local onion buyers who are reeling from lack of buyers and
a huge drop in prices due to imported and smuggled onions.
The group has verified that
the Bureau of Plant Industry allowed the importation of only about 14,000
metric tons of onions, equivalent to the consumption for 45 days. However,
because of illegal onion importation and smuggling, locally produced onions
are shut out of storage facilities.
Former Rep. Renato V. Diaz,
TCSFI chair, recommended to the President the cancellation of all unused
permits to import onions.
He urged the President to
form a task force that will determine if onions in cold storage facilities
in the country are from legal sources. He also asked that the National
Food Authority be directed to buy onions using a support price level to
enable farmers to gain reasonable profits from their produce. ###
center agent nabbed for illegal recruitment
Elements of the Criminal
Investigation and Detection Group arrested a former call center agent for
alleged illegal recruitment of workers for overseas jobs.
The suspect was identified
as Ma. Racquel Forehand alias Kelly Forehand, 34, of Kapitan Pepe Subdivision,
Another former call center
agent, Carlos Nolido of Barangay Kalikid, Cabanatuan City had complained
that Forehand collected from him and ten other persons P18,000 each as
application fees for jobs in the United States.
Nolido said that they applied
with Forehand last January and initially paid her $500 each until they
discovered that the suspect was facing illegal recruitment charges.
An entrapment operation was
set up by CIDG that resulted in her arrest. ###
riding gunmen strike twice in Cabanatuan
Two shooting incidents in
Cabanatuan City last March 15 have been attributed to two unidentified
gunmen riding a motorcycle in tandem.
The first incident happened
at about 9:30 PM at General Tinio Street in Barangay General Luna when
an unidentified male victim was shot four times with a caliber .45 pistol.
After two hours, the gunmen
struck again, shooting Warlito Sta. Maria Gatchalian, 40, a butcher, of
Purok 4, Barangay Imelda.
The victim was standing in
front of his house when the suspects arrived on board a motorcycle without
plate number and fired at him. ###