Volume 16 / No. 7    |   April 15, 2016
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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 heat index:
53.5° Celsius

The highest heat index in the country so far  this year was recorded in Cabanatuan City at 53.5 degrees Celsius last April 13.

The Phlippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the effect of El Niño influenced the high heat index in the city.

"Heat index" does not refer to the actual temperature but the heat felt by a person, due to the combination of increased temperature and moisture in the air.

Thelma Cinco, chief of PAGASA's Impact Assessment and Application Section, said there is a strong chance that the heat index would range from 42 degrees Celsius to 44 degrees Celsius up to May.

Only the day before, Cabanatuenos were shocked to learn that the heat index recorded in the city was 52.3 degrees Celsius.  ###

Lazaro Francisco declared a National Artist

Nine Filipinos, including Cabanatuan City’s Lazaro Francisco, were formally inducted into the Order of National Artists (Orden ng Pambansang Alagad ng Sining) last April 14.

President Benigno Aquino III conferred the National Artist awards, given every three years, on the largest group ever – consisting of 2009 and 2014 awardees --  at Malacañang Palace.

IIn 2009, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo named six individuals as National Artists, but were not granted the award after a much-publicized controversy, with three from the list removed by the Supreme Court for failing to pass the legal nomination process.. The remaining three from this batch were posthumously awarded as National Artists, including Lazaro Francisco (Literature), Federico Aguilar Alcuaz (Visual Arts) and Manuel Conde (Cinema).

In 2014, six of the awardees were proclaimed as National Artists by President Aquino, but were not conferred the award that year. They are:Cirilo F. Bautista (Literature), Alice G. Reyes (Dance), Ramon P. Santos (Music), Jose Maria V. Zaragoza (Architecture, posthumous), Francisco Feliciano (Music, posthumous) and Francisco V. Coching (Visual Arts, posthumous)

Francisco’s award was received by his son, Rafael.

In the President's speech at the conferrment ceremony, he said, "Bukod sa pagiging pinakamagagaling na pintor, manunulat, musikero, mananayaw, artista, at iba pa, higit sa lahat, mabuti silang Pilipino."

Bautista is a poet and educator, Coching helped nurture the local comics industry, Feliciano combined Filipino culture and Western musical idiom in his operas and ballets, while Reyes is a dancer, choreographer and founding artistic director of Ballet Philippines who pioneered contemporary and modern dance in the country.

On the other hand, Francisco was a popular novelist in the 1950s, Santos is a noted composer, conductor, musicologist, scholar and mentor; Zaragoza was a towering Philippine architectural figure in the 1950s; Alcuaz was a painter and lawyer; while Conde was a film director, writer, actor and producer.

Lazaro Francisco was born in Orani, Bataan, Philippines on February 22, 1898, the fourth child of Eulogio Francisco at Clara Angeles.

He did not even finish high school. Orphaned at early age, he had to work to support his mother and three siblings. He went to Nueva Ecija, and was first hired as a messenger at the Provincial Treasurer’s Office in Nueva Ecija, inching his way to become a deputy traveling clerk and chief of the Assessment Division, until he was appointed the first provincial assessor of Nueva Ecija.

Between 1925 and 1960, Francisco wrote 12 novels which were serialized in Liwayway, the weekly Tagalog magazine. His novels tackled romance, class tensions, tenancy issues and agrarian unrest. His Tagalog novels include "Singsing na Pangkasal", "Bayang Nagpatiwakal", "Sa Paanan ng Krus", "Ilaw sa Hilaga", "Binhi at Bunga", "Cesar", "Sugat ng Alaala", "Ama", "Maganda Pa Ang Daigdig", and "Daluyong".

Francisco is considered the  father of  Kapatiran ng mga Alagad ng Wikang Pilipino (KAWIKA), having founded the organization in 1958. Among the awards bestowed on him were "Patnubay ng Kalinangan" from Manila, "Dangal ng Lahi" from Quezon City and the "Repubic Cultural Heritage Award" in literature given by the government in 1970. In 1979, he was given the "Tanglaw ng Lahi" award by Ateneo de Manila University for devoting his life and talents to attain Filipinism.

Franciso died on July 17, 1980 in Cabanatuan City.

To honor him, the city named a public school after him, the Lazaro Francisco Elementary School. His house in Bonifacio District has been converted into a museum. ###

COMELEC identifies Nueva Ecija among 7 areas of concern

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has identified Nueva Ecija and six other places in the country as possible areas of concern that will be monitored closely during the May 9 elections by the poll commission and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

CHR Chair Jose Luis Gascon and COMELEC Chair Juan Andres Bautista identified the other areas of concern as  the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao and the provinces of Masbate, Abra, Laguna and Bulacan, and San Juan City, Metro Manila.

The two officials signed a memorandum of understanding last April 4 for the monitoring of human rights-related violence during the coming elections.

Gascon said the CHR will field trained human rights monitoring teams to ARMM, Masbate, Abra, Laguna, Bulacan and Nueva Ecija to lessen, of not eliminate, human rights-related violence.

He said the most common forms of this dduring elections are intimidation, threat, harassment, violence, prevention of people from campaigning and restriction of the freedom of movement.

Gascon said the agreement with COMELEC is the first such kind ever in the world, with the CHR now serving as the complainant in all human rights violation cases to level up the chances of conviction of perpetrators.

For his part, Bautista said that it is possible for areas declared as hotspots or areas of concern in previous elections not to be included in the list because the incumbent candidates are unopposed. ###

First time in 56 years
No Joson running for Ecija governor

No Joson family member is running for governor in the May 9 elections -- the first time in 56 years -- prompting political observers to wonder if the they have shied away from politics.

Tomas Joson III, former governor and eldest son of Eduardo L. Joson who served as governor for 39 years, said they still have candidates from the family running in different positions.

He said he is active in running the affairs of the family-launched political party, being the chair of Bagong Lakas ng Nueva Ecija (BALANE).

He said their decision not to field a gubenatorial candidate would give an ally the chance to run for that position, referring to former Fourth  Dist. Rep. Rodolfo Antonino who is running under United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), allied with BALANE.

Joson said the family has six candidates running, among them his brother Mariano Cristino for mayor and nephew Dean for vice mayor of the Joson hometown, Quezon; sister-in-law Josefina Manuel-Joson for First District representative; his son Edward Thomas and nephew Eduardo Rey for board members of the Third and First Districts;  nephew EJ Joson for Cabanatuan City councilor; and brother Eduardo IV for vice mayor of Cabanatuan City as an indepedent. ###

Talavera candidate killed

A candidate for councilor in Talavera was shot at close range and killed by an unidentified suspect before midnight last April 14.

The victim, Gerald Fermin, chair of Barangay San Pascual, was running under the Liberal Party and a political ally of re-electionist Mayor Nerivi Santos-Martinez. ###

DPWH seeks ban exemption for Ecija infra projects

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) seeks the exemption from the election campaign ban of 200 infrastructure projects in Nueva Ecija.

Under the Omnibus Election Code, the ”construction of public works, delivery of materials... and issuance of treasury warrant or similar devices for a future undertaking chargeable against public funds are prohibited during the campaign period”.

George Santos of  DPWH's First Engineering District said the projects are in the cities of Muñoz and San Jose, and the towns of Aliaga, Carranglan, Cuyapo, Guimba, Licab, Llanera, Lupao, Nampicuan, Pantabangan, Quezon, Rizal, Santo Domingo, Talavera, Talugtug and Zaragoza.

He said the list of infrastructure projects, including the requirements, have been submitted to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).

The COMELEC said exempted from the ban are infrastructure projects including private-public partnership projects and those involving humanitarian missions and donations to churches.

Santos said the construction of the Nueva Ecija part of the P40-million Guimba-Pura Road is exempted from  the ban. ###

President approves transfer of Bilibid to Nueva Ecija

President Aquino has approved the transfer of the New Bilibid Prisons and other prison facilities in Luzon to a P50-billion correctional facility wthin the Fort Magsaysay Mlitary Reservation in Nueva Ecija.

The approval came a little over two months before the President's term ends on June 30.

In a speech last April 13, the President said he was initially reluctant to approve the public-private partnership agreement fearing that it might be interpreted as a "midnight deal" but decided to sign the document to lessen the burden of his successor.

The contract may be awarded on June 29, the eve of the President's last day in office.

The prison facility in Nueva Ecija which will house convicts from all over Luzon, is part of the regionalization and upgrading of the country's prison system, with the government aiming to provide a reformative environment to convicts.

The proposed facility is expted to be completed within three years.. ###

Dismissed Pantabangan mayor suspended from other posts

The Sandiganbayan  ordered the suspension of Pantabangan Mayor Lucio Uera who had been dismissed  from office for his illegal suspension of municipal employees in 2004.

In its resolution, the Sandiganbayan Second Division granted the motion of state prosecutors to suspend Uera from "any other position which he may now or hereafter be holding" for a period of 60 days.

The Sandiganbayan sent a copy of its resolution to Gov. Aurelio Umali, asking him to implement the suspension order and submit a report to the court within 10 days.

Uera had argued that he could no longer be suspended because Vice Mayor Ruben Huerta had taken over his post when he was dismissed last year.

However, the Sandiganbayan said Uera's removal from office is not sufficient ground to junk the motion of the prosecution.

The Sandiganbayan said the suspension order on Uera extends not only to the the position being held by him but to any position he may be holding.

Uera is running for re-election under the Liberal Party. ###

Farmers attend PhilRice's Lakbay Palay 2016

More than a thousand farmers assembled in the PhilRice station in the Science City of Muñoz last April 1 to participate in Lakbay Palay 2016 dry season, a semi-annual activity organized by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) to teach farmers through field demonstrations the latest rice farming technologies developed by the agency .

Dr. Aurora Corales, head of the Philrice Technology Management and Services Division, said the activity done for the dry season and wet season has been going on for over 30 years.

It serves as a venue not only for farmers to learn newly developed rice technologies but also for farmer supporters and enablers, including extension workers, local officials and barangay council officials.

The participants came from Nueva  Ecija, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Kalinga, La Union, Zambales, Bulacan and Bataan.

Theme for this year was "Climate Change ay hindi na bago, kaya natin ito!", highlighting the technologies developed by PhilRice to help farmers adapt to the effects of climate change in their farms.

Corales said one component of Lakbay Palay is the Libot Bukid where farmers are toured around the PhilRice compound including a station showing 200 rice variety seeds developed by the agency,

Participants also explored other agricultural projects such as Palayamanan, mushroom production, vermiculture and the so-called Future Rice. ###

San Jose City school robbed

An elementary school in San Jose City was robbed on the night of April 1.

In a report by Supt. Nolie Asuncion, city police chief, the robbery was reported by Ricardo Agustin Catindig, 44, school principal.

Investigation showed that the robbery of the principal's office and three classrooms was discovered at about 6:30 A.M. by Benny Artap dela Cruz, 37, school watchman, of Barangay Santo NIño Second.

Among the items carted away were a multimedia projector worth P24,000,a portable DVD player, speaker and flashlight. ###

'Agaw-bag' gang victimizes Peñaranda trader

A 35-year old businesswoman in Peñaranda was victimized by 'Agaw-bag Gang" members riding a motorcycle last April 11.

The victim was identified as Nadia Madulid of Zamora Street, Barangay Poblacion.

The two suspects riding a black motorcycle in tandem, grabbed the victim's bag while was buying barbecue at a stand at 8:00 P.M.

The suspects fled towards Barangay Poblacion 2.

The victim lost P15,000 in cash and two cell phones used in her e-loading business. ###

Amok shot dead

A 32 year old man who was reported to be mentally unstable ran amok and was shot dead by a responding policeman last April 11 in Barangay Burgos, San Leonardo.

Chief Insp. Renato Morales identified the fatality as Angelo Estrella Ison, resident of the same barangay, He died on the way to Gonzales General Hospital.

It was learned that at about 7:30 A.M. Ison went wild and, armed with a bladed weapon, lunged at Dominador Valmonte Longalong, 62, tricycle driver.

Responding policemen tried to subdue the suspect, who turned on them, hacking SPO1 Gerardo Malaca on the head and PO1 Mark Christian Cruz on the arm.

One of the policemen fired at the suspect, fatally hitting him. ###

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