No. 293 / July 1-15,  2012

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P-Noy declares Cabanatuan
a highly urbanized city

To enlarge, right-click and choose "View Image"

President Benigno S. Aquino III has issued a proclamation declaring Cabanatuan a highly urbanized city (HUC).

Proclamation No.1418 dated July 4 was officially received in Cabanatuan City last July 10 from Director Marianito M. Dimaandal of the Malacañang Records Office.

In his two-page proclamation, the President said, "It is the declared policy of the government to support local governments’ initiative to attain their fullest development as self-reliant communities and make them effective partners in the attainment of national goals."

He said the city has complied with the minimum requirements to be an HUC -- population of not less than 200,000 and an annual income of at least P50 million -- as enumerated in Section 452 of the Local Government Code of 1991.

A certification issued by Elizabeth Rayo, National Statistics Office provincial statistics officer, showed that as of August 1, 2007, the population of Cabanatuan City was 259,267.

Jose M. Tan, OIC deputy executive director for operations of the Department of Finance, certified that Cabanatuan's annual income in 1999 was P235,487,286.22.

A plebiscite on the HUC status among city residents will be conducted by the Commission on Elections within 120 days from the date of the President's declaration. ###

Confirmed: SM to build mall in Cabanatuan

Novo Ecijanos will get a taste of shopping in their own SM Mall as SM Prime Holdings announced the construction within the year of a four-story shopping center on an 8.5 hectare lot along Maharlika Highway in Cabanatuan City.

This, following the submission by
top executives of SM Prime Holdings, Inc. of an application for a zoning permit with the city's Planning and Development Office for commercial operations in Barangay Hermogenes Concepcion.

The site of SM-Cabanatuan will be the vacant lot
owned by the Macapagal family and Roderick Perdigon across the national highway from Royce Motors, and beside NE Bodega and Wheeltek Motor Display Center, .

Earlier, Henry Sy, Jr., SM Development Corp. chief executive, met with City Mayor Julius Cesar V. Vergara.

The new mall is expected to start construction this year and be finished within six months.

Local retail businesses had opposed the entry of SM since 2002 but SM managed to buy a 25 hectare land in Barangay Santa Arcadia as the first site of its Cabanatuan mall. There were other rumors that SM was interested in acquiring the National Food Authority compound for its mall. ###

Ecija gets P453M DBP loan for post-harvest facilities

The provincial government signed a P453 million loan agreement with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) last July 2, for the construction of post-harvest facilities for marginal farmers.

The loan agreement was signed on behalf of the provincial government by Gov. Aurelio M. Umali together with Third Dist. Rep. Czarina Umali, Vice Gov. Jose Gay Padiernos and Provincial Treasurer Edilberto Pancho; and for DBP by Executive Vice Pres. Jesus Guevarra II, Senior Assistant Vice Pres. Rebecca Reyes and Assistant Vice Pres. Janette Lagarejos.

The loan package is part of the P1 billion omnibus credit facility that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan had authorized Umali to enter into to finance big development projects.

To be covered by the initial loan will be a P263 million cold storage plant that will serve some 8,000 marginal onion farmers who have been reeling from the smuggling of that product, and a P190 million palay drying facility to be set up in Palayan City. ###

Provincial board alarmed by upsurge in dengue cases

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan, upon the initiative of Second Dist. Board Member Joseph Ortiz, invited officials from the Provincial Health Office to shed light on the rise of dengue in the province.

Nueva Ecija ranks first in Central Luzon and fifth in the entire country in the number of reported dengue cases. The mosquito-borne disease has killed six persons and downed 1,920 residents as of July 9.

Dr. Benjamin Lopez, provincial health officer, said the present number of dengue cases is higher than the 1,368 recorded during the first six months of last year.

Statistics show that the 1-to-10-year-old and 11-to-20-year-old brackets were more susceptible to the disease, with more males affected.

Cabanatuan City recorded the highest number of cases among the cities and towns of the province, followed by Talavera and San Jose City.

Casualties included two from Cabanatuan, and one each from General Natividad, Pantabangan, Rizal and Talavera.

Lopez also aired his concern over the increasing requirement for blood for severe dengue cases.

Ortiz said the provincial board will create measures to improve information dissemination on dengue. ###

DTI confers 'Star SME' awards to local businesses

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) conferred the "Star SME" award to 11 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the province in recognition of their significant achievements in various aspects of business.

Brigida Pili, DTI provincial director, said the SMEs performed well in investment, employment and sales during the previous year.

She said that ne SME is nominated each month to the DTI national office.

Most of the recent awardees are involved in the production and marketing of food and agricutlural products.

The awardees are
Muñoz Science City Food Products, Women’s Primary Multi-Purpose Cooperative of Abar 2nd, Better Country Community Corp., Parista Barangay Defense System, Lualhati Enterprises, Casanova Handicrafts, CVC Footwear, Victor Del Rosario Rice Mill, Eastern PMPC, Angel Mac Footwear and Camille’s Quilts and Crafts. ###

CHED holds regional gender and development summit

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) held a  Regional Gender and Development Summit at the Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology last July 5 and 6.

Gender equality issues were tackled by the participants who were mostly educators from public and private schools.

Dr. Archie Ligo, Saint Scholastica-Manila gender consultant, shared her experiences as an educator in a religious institution in introducing gender sensitivity subjects in the curriculum.

CHED Regional Director Virginia Akiate explained how gender inequality affects the continuing rise of violations of women's rights.

Florentina Calalang of the regional office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development discussed how gender perceptions develop in the family, school, religion, mass media and government. ###

WU-P student declared GSM Blue flairtending champ

A 19 year old HRIM student from Wesleyan University-Philippines in Cabanatuan City emerged as champion in the 2012 flairtending competition sponsored by Ginebra San Miguel (GSM).

Gino Carlo Simbillo beat 15 other competitors and  bagged the title of "GSM Blue Flair Idol" for 2012 in the finals held at Metrowalk in Pasig City.

For the feat, Simbillo took home P40,000 in cash, a mobile bar business and bar equipment for the other Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management students of his school.

The inter-school competition is sponsored by GSM Blue, a brand of Ginebra San Miguel, Inc., to give HRM students a chance to showcase their skills. Another program, the GSM Blueniversity, provides students an intensive training in the art of mixing drink to better prepare them for jobs here and abroad.

Simbillo, who also joined the competition last year but failed to win,  beat runners-up Tracy Marie Mabal  of the University of Cebu-Main and Franz Jherick Santos of La Consolacion College-Malolos, with his 94.3 percent rating. ###

Novo Ecijana Soroptimist founder remembered

Soroptimist members from all over the country are celebrating this year the 100th birthday of their founder, Mariquita S. Castelo -- a Novo Ecijana.

As a tribute to her, the Soroptimist International of the Philippines Region launched the Mariquita S. Castelo Leadership Award. It is open to nominees from all Soroptimist Clubs in the country, who
must have engaged in volunteer service for at least ten years, and initiated programs consistent with the advocacies of the organization that helped improve women’s lives.

The winner will receive her award on August 30, coinciding with Castelo's 100th birthday.

Castelo was born in Santo Domingo, Nueva Ecija and the ninth of 11 children of farmer Victor Castelo and Carolina San Vicente. She finished B.S. in Education at the University of the Philippines-Manila then returned to Nueva Ecija to teach English. She became the head of the English Department and was eventually promoted to English supervisor.

She is not only associated with the Soroptimist Club. She also became the first national executive of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines, organized Girl Scout councils and gained a lot of public support for the movement.  ###

Ecija PIA official sacked for attending Boracay reunion during work days

The chief of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) office in Nueva Ecija was dismissed after he was found to have closed his office for four days last year without permission, to attend a high school reunion in Boracay.

Jose Fabia, PIA chief, said Maynardo Valdez, Nueva Ecija provincial information officer, was found liable for dishonesty, gross neglect of duty and grave misconduct.

He said Valdez did not answer the phone calls and text messages from his superiors. When they tried contacting him through his Facebook account, they saw photos of him attending a high school reunion in Boracay.

He said Valdez neglected his duties like producing daily reports and surveying the sentiments of the people in the province.

Last July 4, the PIA sent an article to news organizations about the dismissal of Valdez who, for his part, said that he would appeal the decision.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Information Agency Employees Association is protesting the action against Valdez.

In an open letter sent to media, Gary Penuliar, association president, said that although the agency ordered the dismissal of Valdez last June 29, the latter had yet to receive a copy.

"The publication of said articles are premature and injurious to the person of Mr. Valdez, having been convicted of an offense which has not yet attained finality and is still subject to appeal," Penuliar said.

Even if Valdez was found guilty of the offenses leveled against him, Penuliar said that "he still deserves to be accorded respect and dignity due a human being and not subject him to ridicule and accusation."

"We demand that the management cease from dishonoring employees accused or found guilty of any case by any form of publication as it will gravely diminish their second chance at life," he added. ###

San Antonio mayor files charges vs. 2 police officers, 250 others for raid

San Antonio Mayor Arvin Salonga filed criminal charges with the Office of the Ombudsman against two police superintendents, two junior officers and 250 other law enforcers in connection with the raid on his house last June 11.

Among the respondents mentioned in the complaint sheet received by the Ombudsman last June 28 were Supts. Charles Calima, PNP-Intelligence Group chief, and David de Leon Allaluigan, an IG member; and SPO3 Paquito Guillermo and PO3 Roberto Nicolas of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

Calima and Allaluigan were charged with perjury while Guillermo, Nicolas and the 250 unnamed lawmen were charged with violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Calima, Allaluigan, Guillermo and Nicolas were also charged with violation of domicile, searching domicile as well as administrative charge of grave misconduct and oppression.

Salonga said that the police officers arrested and handcuffed municipal security personnel without justifiable reason, and alleged that the law enforcers covered all the CCTV cameras in his house before proceeding with the search that resulted in the confiscation of ,his licensed firearms.

Calima had said that the raid on the mayors' house was in line with the government's campaign against private armed groups. ###

Murder, frustrated murder raps filed against DENR official, ex-vice mayor

The top official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resouces in Nueva Ecija and the vice mayor of Licab were charged with murder and frustrated murder in connection with the slaying of Carranglan Mayor Restituto Abad last February 4.

Mary Abad, the mayor's widow, filed charges at the Department of Justice in Manila against Rafael Otic, provincial environment and natural resources officer, and former Vice Mayor Teodoro Ilagan. She was accompanied by elements of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission and the Philippine National Police Intelligence Group.

Abad was ambushed while on his way home from a Freemasonry activity in Guimba. His bodyguard/driver Saldy Duclayan was injured in the attack. The mayor died at St. Luke's Hospital in Quezon City five days later.

A suspect, Jose Bernalin Pascual of Barangay Pagas, Cabanatuan was arrested and subsequently identified a certain Jonathan  Carpio as the gunman. Carpio was arrested last April 28 in Novaliches, Quezon City. ###

2 notorious criminals linked to slay of Cabiao tricycle driver

A witness pointed to two notorious police characters as the ones responsible for the killing of a  driver and carting away of his tricycle on the night of July 8 in Barangay Concepcion, Cabiao.

Chief Insp. Angel Bondoc, in a report to Mayor Gloria Congco, said the incident happened at about 10:35 P.M. when tricycle driver Paolo Relucio Dayang, 30, of Barangay Concepcion was accosted by the suspects who shot him at close range and then took away his tricycle without license plates.

A witness identified the suspects from the police gallery as Jayson Gulapa Romero alias Jun-Jun, 26, of Barangay Santa Ines and Rommel Tecson Alquiron, 28, of Barangay Palasinan.

The suspects are facing a previous case of carnapping with frustrated homicide at the Regional Trial Court of Gapan City. The case, which also involved their leader Joseph Sugay who is detained at the Gapan City District Jail, happened on September 25, 2011 in Barangay San Fernando Sur. ###

Cop on way to hospital with sick child shot dead

A policeman driving a tricycle to take his dengue-stricken child to the hospital in Llanera was shot and killed by unidentified motorcycle-riding men last July 7.

The victim was identified as PO1 Danilo Andres, assigned with the Provincial Public Safety Company.  He died even before undergoing treatment at Premier General Hospital in Cabanatuan City.

Investigation showed that the suspects trailed the victim's tricycle, then overtook and shot him repeatedly. A man on another motorcycle, identified as Ramon Laminosa of Barangay Luna, was also shot in the body but survived. ###

Robbery/gun-for-hire gang leader shot dead

The leader of a robbery and gun-for-hire group in Nueva Ecija was shot dead by unidentified armed men in Talavera last July 13.

Chief Supt. Edgardo Ladao, police regional director, identified the victim as Maximo Ramos, 54, farmer, of Barangay Homestead I, Talavera.  He is said to be the leader of the Ramos Group involved in several killings and robberies in Talavera and other parts of the province.

Ramos was riding his motorcycle along the national highway at about 8:00 P.M. when the suspects came from behind shot him several times in different parts of the body. ###

Wife dies from accidental gunfire

A wife in General Natividad was killed when the illegal gun of her husband fell and accidentally went off.

Sr. Insp. Manuel Catacutan identified the victim as Susana Resquid Halog, 37. She sustained a gunshot wound in the chest and was declared dead on arrival at Premier General Hospital in Cabanatuan City.

The incident happened at about 10:00 A.M. while the victim was arranging the clothes of her husband, Barangay Kagawad Pepito Estrada Halog, inside a cabinet. A caliber .38 revolver tucked among the clothes fell and fired, hitting the victim. ###

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