No. 312 / April 16-30, 2013
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DSWD: Ecija has highest number of poor households in Region 3

Nueva Ecija posted the highest number of poor households in Central Luzon, according to data released by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

DSWD Regional Information Officer Evelyn Manalo said Nueva Ecija posted the highest number of poor households in the region at 96,863; followed by Bulacan with 73,683; Pampanga, 55,328; Tarlac, 46,956; Zambales, 23,804; Bataan, 16,655; and Aurora, 9,333.

Manalo said that a total of 322,622 households in Central Luzon are considered poor, based on results of the National Targeting System for Poverty Reduction survey conducted recently by the DSWD.

She said the survey used the Proxy Means Test in the selection of beneficiaries for social welfare programs and services. Some of the factors looked into were family composition, education of household members, housing conditions and access to basic services.

Based on the survey, Manalo said 52.89 percent of the recorded poor households in the region come from rural areas, with 26.2 percent of school-age members not attending school  and 57 percent of the members aged 15 years old and above unemployed.

Nueva Ecija accounted for the most number of household members aged 60 years old and above at 18,690. ###



Tommy J. files graft charge vs. Oyie M.

Former Gov. Tomas N. Joson III filed  a case at the Ombudsman against Gov. Aurelio M. Umali for the alleged overpriced purchase of 10 to 15 year old reconditioned heavy equipment which cost the provincial government more than P52 million.

“Gov. Aurelio Umali seems to be challenging the battle cry of President Aquino of righteous path because despite his (Aquino’s) efforts to put things in the government in proper perspective, there are still those in the local governments like him (Umali) who continue to take a different and illegal way,” Joson told members of the Quezon City Press Club.

In his 10-page complaint-affidavit, Joson said Umali allegedly conspired with the chairperson and members of the provincial bids and awards committee (BAC)and the private supplier in the conduct of a transaction that was said to have been tainted with corruption, fraud and bad faith.

Aside from Umali, the others charged were Randolph Alingig, BAC chair; BAC members Florante Fajardo, Eng. MacArthur yap, Benjamin Lopez, Leoncio Daniel and Agustin Martinez; and private respondent Rochelle Anne Ferrer.

The case arose from Umali’s alleged approval of a purchase request through the provincial engineering office, of reconditioned heavy equipment such as wheel loader, articulated grader, water truck, hydraulic excavator, mini dump truck and wheel back hoe.

The BAC conducted the bidding and awarded the contract to Autoshift Used Car Buy and Sell owned by Ferrer, though there was only one bidder and the company has no financial capacity to provide the project, based on the Balance Sheet and Income Statement it submitted, Joson's complaint said.

Joson further alleged the provincial government could have bought the heavy equipment from more qualified and bigger suppliers who can provide a lower price compared to those already purchased which were made without even specifying the brand or year model.

“Clearly, the act of the herein respondents in purchasing reconditioned heavy equipment with an age of 10 to 15 years old is prejudicial to the interest of the local government of the province of Nueva Ecija and to its people as well,” Joson said.

The latest case is the 18th graft charge filed against Umali.

Joson lamented that none of the graft cases filed against Umali has moved forward despite the clear pieces of evidence and witnesses. ###



Mayor Jay, 10 others charged with robbery

A criminal complaint for robbery was filed against Cabanatuan City Mayor Julius Cesar Vergara and 10 others for allegedly forcibly taking a video camera from a crew of Channel 48, the television station operated by the Nueva Ecija provincial government.

Sr. Supt. Crizaldo Nieves, provincial police director, said John Picart, Channel 48 station manager, was accompanied by legal counsel Ricardo Atayde, Jr. in filing the  complaint with the Provincial Prosecutor's Office last April 29.

The charge arose from an incident last April 27 at 7:45 P.M. in Barangay San Isidro, Cabanatuan City. Erme Buendia, 18,  Channel 48 cameraman, and his brother Eduard, 23, station driver, complained that the group of Vergara and his bodyguards approached them, then opened the door of their vehicle by force and grabbed their Panasonic video camera.

The brothers also said that the mayor's group also took the car key and a bag but returned them later.

The younger Buendia said the incident happened after he took video footages of the mayor and about 10 of his bodyguards jogging along the Nueva Ecija-Aurora Road.

For their part, two of Vergara's aides -- Ramon Rodriguez, chief of the civilian security unit, and Froilan Tolentino -- told the police that Vergara was campaigning house-to-house in the area when they were alarmed by the presence of a black Foton pick-up with plate number TIM-185, that passed by them and then made a U-turn before parking at a dark portion of the road.

They said that when they checked the vehicle, its passengers scampered away, leaving the driver behind. Seeing no threat from the driver, the two said they left to catch up with Vergara who was walking and shaking hands with residents in the area. ###



Guimba mayor, aides investigated for maul of SB candidate

Police are investigating the mauling incident that involved re-electionist Guimba Mayor Jose Francis Steven Dizon and Dr. Felix Diosdado Lumang, a candidate for the Sangguniang Bayan.

A police report said the incident happened during a wedding party last April 27 at 3:11 P.M. at the home of Barangay Kagawad Catalino Gallardo in Barangay Cawayang Bugtong, Guimba, where Dizon acted as sponsor while Lumang was a guest invited by a barangay kagawad.

While Dizon's group was about to leave, one of the mayor's men reportedly overhead Lumang saying "Sasampalin ko ng pera ang mayor na iyan."

Dizon and several of his men confronted Lumang who was then allegedly drunk.

One of Dizon's men accidentally pushed Lumang who fell to the ground while being pacified.

On the other hand, Rebecca Lumang, wife of the candidate, quoted Dizon as telling her husband "Namumuro ka sa akin" during their argument.

Dizon reportedly slapped Lumang but the latter managed to evade. Rebecca said Dizon's man, Allan Pascual, punched her husband on the right ear causing him to fall.

She said another person kicked her husband who never fought back.

Police were still waiting for Lumang to make a statement regarding the incident. ###



Talavera mayoral candidates accuse each other of vote-buying

Talavera Mayor Nerito Santos, whose daughter Nerivi is running for mayor against their former party mate, Vice Mayor Vince de Leon, said the latter has turned a former palay-buying station that has been converted into a bank, into a "vote-buying station" where leaders and voters are given cash ranging from P200 to P500.

De Leon, however, denied the charges, saying that Santos could be making excuses for the imminent defeat of his daughter.

Sino ba ang nagsimula ng pagbili ng boto noong 2004, noong 2007 at noong 2010? Tapos ngayon, sa sarili nilang multo ay natatakot sila,” de Leon said.

Santos is with the Bagong Lakas ng Nueva Ecija of the Josons while de Leon is with the Liberal Party.

Santos described de Leon as a billionaire who is able to buy votes regardless of the price.

He said a member of de Leon's family was assigned to check if a resident is a registered voter before giving money.

He claimed that de Leon's camp sent an emisssary to offer P50,000 to P300,000 to several barangay chiefs, with one being told to name his price.

On the other hand, de Leon said "Wala na silang maibato sa akin."

He said he never used any government fund for his sustained medical missions and other social services in his six years as vice mayor.

He also denied having a palay-buying station and using it as a vote-buying station.

De Leon said he does not believe that a barangay chief can sway voters for a particular candidate.

He said it was the village officials who approached him asking for money in exchange for their support as they allegedly could no longer stand campaigning for Santos.He said he refused to give in and told them that he did not believe in vote-buying. He said that as a result, the group went to the other side and made up stories against him. ###



Ecija election officers shuffled

A total of 25 of the 32 city and municipal election officers in the Nueva Ecija have been reassigned to other areas less than a month before the May 13 elections.

Lawyer Lydia Pangililan, acting provincial election supervisor, said the shuffling of the election officers -- the second in four months -- was in accordance with a Commission  on Elections (COMELEC resolution dated Mary 13 regarding the temporary reassignment and shuffling of election officers.

The first movement of the election officers in January involved the relief of ten election officers who had been in their posts for the past four years.

COMELEC also implemented a reorganization of regional and provincial election officers that resulted in the relief of Panfilo Doctor, Jr. as Nueva Ecija election supervisor. ###



Gordon helps Talavera motorcycle crash victim

Senatorial candidate Richard Gordon of the United Nationalist Alliance interrupted his motorcade in Talavera to help a man who was thrown off his motorcycle together with his companion, after they were side-swiped by another motorcycle.

When he saw the accident scene in Barangay Poblacion, he alighted from his vehicle and crossed the street to check on the accident victim, Michael Quibrantos, and his companion Samuel Dizon.

The Gordon motorcade was then on its way to Gabaldon.

Quibrantos sustained serious scratches on both arms.

Gordon ordered his aides to get a first aid kit from his car. He then called the Nueva Ecija chapter of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) and asked for an ambulance. Gordon is the PNRC chair.

While already in Gabaldon, he continued to monitor the condition of the victim at a local hospital. ###



Bongabon shrine for Aurora Quezon rehabilitated


Before

After

The marker of the rehabilitated Dona Aurora Quezon Memorial Shrine in Barangay Labi, Bongabon was inaugurated last April 28  with relatives of the former First Lady, prominent residents of Aurora province and officials of the National Historical Commission (NHC) and the Bongabon municipal government in attendance.

The shrine marks the spot  where Mrs. Quezon, her daughter Maria Aurora, and son-in-law Felipe Buencamino III, who were on their way to Baler to inaugurate the Quezon Memorial Hospital, were ambushed and killed by HUKBALAHAP rebels on April 28, 1949.

The rehabilitated shrine has been adorned with shrubs called While Mussaenda Aurorae, a special of tropical dogwood discovered in Los Baños, Laguna and named after Mrs. Quezon in 1938.

The shrine had been vandalized and the marker found stolen last year.

“The former shrine was mostly cement where the marker was screwed on. Now, we installed 2.5 tons of marble and had the marker not only screwed but also glued with industrial epoxy,” said Vira Arceo, project chair for the shrine restoration and trustee of the  Baler, Aurora Ngayon, Angkan at Kasaysayan (BANAK).

The restoration was approved by the NHC chair, Dr. Maria Serena Diokno, with a commitment from the municipality of Bongabon to preserve and maintain it.

Mrs. Quezon is the only Filipina honored by her countrymen by naming a province -- her birthplace -- after her. ###



1,800 poor Ecija students get summer jobs

A total of 1,800 poor but deserving college and vocational students in Nueva Ecija will be given a chance to work in private companies and local government units under the government's Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES).

Nueva Ecija got the third highest number of SPES slots in Central Luzon. Tarlac topped the list with 5,523 followed by Zambales with 3,9842. Bulacan was fourth, with 1,700; Aurora, 1,150; Bataan, 1,000; and Pampanga, 600.

Labor Regional Director Raymundo Agravante said the distribution of slots was based on the SPEC provincial performances in the past five years.

He said SPES is a program mandated by law to seek and help poor but deserving students pursue their education by giving them work during summer or Christmas vacations.

Provincial, municipal and city Public Employment Service Offices (PESOs) choose the students based on age, grades, income and other pertinent matters. Participants must be at least 18 years old and not more than 25.
 
SPES beneficiaries receive salaries in accordance with the prescribed minimum wage in the area, with the labor department shouldering 40 percent of the amount, with the remaining 60 percent from the participating companies and local government units. ###



NIA to open 134 mini-hydro power plants

Administrator Antonio S. Nangel of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) said at least 134 mini-hydro power plants will be set up all over the country to help boost electricity generation.

Among the sites in Nueva Ecija targeted for the mini-hydro power plants are Rizal and its lower portion, Peñaranda, Atate in Palayan City and San Jose City.

Nangel said that aside from adding more hectares to NIA's target irrigation coverage this year, the mini-hydro plants will boost the drive to rice sufficiency.

He said NIA has partnered with Philippine National Oil Co. Renewable Corp. on the project.

"Aside from  being cost-effective, these mini hydro plants will help maximize the usage of water resources before reaching the farmlands for irrigation,” he said.

Each min-hydro power plant that is able to produce 200 to 500 kilowatts of electricity costs P18 to P20 million per megawatt to built, much cheaper than the P82 to P180 million per megawatt cost of the bigger hydroelectric dam. ###



Pantabangan Dam water level dropping

The water level of Pantabangan Dam continues to drop due to the hot weather.

As of April 26, The Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems (UPRIIS) recorded the water level at 187.19 meters -- still 15 meters from the critical level of 172 meters.

Engr. Josie Salazar, UPRIIS operations manager, said there has been a steady decrease of water level at Pantabangan Dam the past week.

She said there is no cause for alarm since the dam can still irrigate the programmed areas consisting of 115,000 hectares this dry season.

She said that by next month, they expect the water level to rise with the onset of the rainy season.

Pantabangan Dam supplies irrigation water to farms in Nueva Ecija; San Miguel and San Ildefonso, Bulacan; and Arayat, Pampanga. ###



Justice sought for raped and slain 81 year old spinster

An 81 year old spinster from Aliaga who was raped and beaten up last April 22 by a deaf-mute man, died in a hospital in Cabanatuan City three days later.

An autopsy report said the victim was beaten up, stabbed, strangled, hit with a pipe in the head and was profusely bleeding.

During her funeral in Barangay Bibiclat, relatives of the victyim, Adelaida Hudencial, wore red shirts with the words "Justice for Kaka Adeling".

Leo Topacio, a nephew of the victim, said their family expected a speedy investigation of the case, and that there could possibly be other suspects.

On the night of the attack, Hudencial was heard by a neighbor shouting for help. Responding barangay tanods arrested the suspect, Alexander Ancheta, 19, as he tried to escape while completely naked.

Hudencial, a vegetable vendor, did not marry and instead helped in raising her nephews and nieces. ###



Talavera barangay councilman shot dead

A councilman of Barangay Pinagpanaan, Talavera, a political leader of Liberal Party mayoralty candidate Vice Mayor Vince de Leon, was shot dead last April 22 by two men riding a motorcycle in tandem.

The victim, Mamerto Unagan Padigdig, 47, had left the Community Police Action Center and was riding his bicycle on the way home when the suspects trailed him, with the back rider shooting him several times.

Outgoing Mayor NerySantos, whose daughter Nerivi is de Leon's rival candidatge, condemned the killing and asked for sobriety while the police were conducting an investigation. ###



Wanted man killed

One of Cabanatuan City's top 10 most wanted man was shot dead last April 21 while drinking with a brother and a friend in a videoke bar.

Supt. Elie Depra, city police chief, identified the fatality as Reynel Tayao alias Jumong, 28, single, construction worker, of Barangay D.S. Garcia.

Two suspected gunmen fired with caliber .45 pistols at the head of Tayao who instantly died. The suspects then fled on board a motorcycle.

Tayao had been involved in a series of robbery-hold ups, carjackings and burglaries in the city. ###



Jaen mango orchard caretaker killed

A mango farm caretaker was shot dead by suspects aboard a white van in Barangay Niyugan, Jaen last April 19.

Sr. Supt. Crizaldo Nieves, provincial police director, identified the victim as Felipe dela Cruz alias Kokoy, 39, caretaker of a mango plantation owned Barbara Gonzales in Barangay Sapang.

The victim was fired at while traversing the main road on board his Suzuki motorcycle in Barangay Niyugan, going towards San Antonio, at about 7:20 P.M.

The van overtook the victim and those on board opened the door and fired four shots, hitting the victim in the head.

Police are still investigating the possible motives for the killing. ###



Dog leads probers to body of missing teen

A 13 year old girl who had been missing for a week was found  in an advanced state of decomposition last April 18 in Sitio Turod, Barangay General Luna, Carranglan.

The victim was identified as Anabelle  Baltazar Calimlim.

Investigation showed that at about 1:30 P.M., a three year old girl saw a dog with a human hand in its mouth. She immediately told Irene Baltazar Calimlim, 20, sister of the victim, who had been looking for her. The victim's body was later traced to an abandoned house owned by Marcelino Baltazar Marquez.

Scene of the crime operatives led by Sr. Insp. Marissa Areola are investigating the case. ###



Widow nabbed for fake bills

The Muñoz police arrested a widow for buying fruits and meat at the city public market using fake P1,000 bills.

The suspect, Maryjane Castillo Asinero, 40, jobless, of Barangay General Luna, Karuhatan, Valenzuela City first bought a kilo of grapes with a fake P1,000 bill.

The vendor, Anabelle Ramos, noticed the fake bill and alarmed neighboring stalls. It was discovered that the suspect also bought meat using a fake bill.

Police arrested Asinero and found three more fake P1,000 bills from her. ###

 

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