Volume 16 / No. 16   |   August 31, 2016
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Nueva Ecija Journal is published in
Gapan City, Nueva Ecija,Philippines
and updated every 15th and
end of the month.
All rights reserved.

For the first time in 78 years
Gapan honors 'Unang Sigaw' hero

The Gapan City local government paid tribute to the heroism and martyrdom of General Pantaleon Valmonte, who, together with General Mariano Llanera, led the September 2,1896 "First Cry of Nueva Ecija" in a program held last August 18.

It was the first such tribute to the general since 1938 when the Inang Bayan Shrine dedicated to the so-called "13 Martyrs of Gapan" was inaugurated.

The program was attended by Mayor Emerson Pascual, Vice Mayor Inocencio Bautista, top city officials and descendants of General Valmonte led by Janette de Leon-Padiernos -- wife of Vice Governor Jose GP Padiernos -- and her sister, Joy. 

Ramon Valmonte, speaking on behalf of the Valmonte familly, expressed gratitude for the commemorative program and recounted the story of the general.

A plaque was presented to the Valmonte family in recognition of the general's services to Gapan as capitan municipal and hero of the 1896 San Isidro uprising.

Bautista pledged to support efforts to rename Pambuan Elementary School, located on a lot donated by the Valmonte family, as General Pantaleon Valmonte Elementary School.

For his part,
Pascual, tracing his Masonic links to the general, promised to erect within one year a monument in the city plaza for General Valmonte, like what has been done in other Nueva Ecija towns to honor their local heroes.

The event, timed with the the national celebration of National Heroes Month and the 14th cityhood anniversary of Gapan, was organized by the Gapan City Tourism Office headed by Joselito Manuel. ###

Ecija officials undergo drug testing

Local officials in Nueva Ecija have been making a beeline to drug testing laboratories after a report came out that the province is in the list of those with potential narcotics trade connections.

Cabanatuan City Mayor Julius Cesar Vergara was reported to have undergone a series of weekly drug testing that yielded negative results.

Vice Mayor Anthony Emmanuel Umali went to the Provincial Crime Laboratory after 58 city hall officials and employees underwent drug tests during the third week of the month.

Mayor Ferdinand Abesamis of Peñaranda, president of the province's Mayors League, required the 27 mayor-members to submit to drug screening.

Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino, Region 3 police director, had said that at least 10 local officials and police officers in the region suspected of having illegal drug links are included in the next list to be released by President Rodrigo Duterte at the end of this month. ###

Gapan City reformatory center inaugurated

[Photos courtesy of Luis Yllana.]

The former municipal building of Gapan City has been converted into a reformatory center for illegal drug users and pushers who will undergo free treatment.

The ribbon-cutting and blessing of the Bahay Pag-asa Reformatory Center last August 23 were led by Supt. Manuel Cornel, acting provincial police director, Supt. Peter Madria, Gapan police officer-in-charge; City Mayor Emerson Pascual; Vice Mayor Inocencio Bautista, Adriana Tan, chief of the Gapan office of the Department of the Interior and Local Government; and Luis Yllana, acting director of the center.

Pascual said the reformatory center adjacent to the city plaza has been designed to isolate patients in the process of rehabilitation.

He said the center can accommodate 50 persons with facilities that include a healthand fitness gym, prayer room to be manged by volunteer religious groups and vocational-technical training shop for carpentry, electrical wiring and welding.

Gapan ranks second in terms of drug pushers and users accounted for, numbering around 1,300, with Cabanatuan City topping the list with 1,850 reported drug dependents. ###

Cabiao mulls drug rehab center for 4th District

The idle facilties of Alay Tangkilik Foundation in  Barangay Sant Rita, Cabiao will be transformed into a drug rehabilitation center for the Fourth Congressional Distirct.

This was proposed by Cabiao Mayor Ramir Rivara in support of the anti-illegal drug campaign of the Duterte administration and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Rivera said he had filed a proposal regarding this to Supt. Manuel Cornel, provincial police director, saying that the facility could house up to 500 patients on a one-hectare lot with container vans serving as sleeping quarters.

Insp. Rico Cayabyab of the local police said over 500 drug personalities have surrendered in the town.

He said the proposed rehabilitation center could cater to the needs of residents in San Isidro, Jaen, San Antonio, San Leonardo, General Tinio, Peñaranda and Gapan City. ###

Ecija reformatory centers being rushed

Sr. Supt. Manuel Cornel, police provincial director, has identified several reformatory centers for drug dependents in Nueva Ecija.

Among these are those in Gapan, Talavera, Quezon, Pantabangan, Guimba and San Antonio, including the police headquarters in Cabanatuan City and Palayan City.

In San Antonio, Mayor Arvin Salonga said the town will initially shoulder the expenses for the rental of a building in  Barangay San Francisco for 380 drug dependents.

In Palayan City, Mayor Adrianne Mae Cuevas said the reformatory center in Barangay Singalat has been completed.

Menwhile, Gov. Czarina Umali said the provincial government is rushing the completion of the planned dug rehabilitation center in Peñaranda under a public-private partnership program. ###

CL drug rehab center in Fort Magsaysay to be up in 3 months

Central Luzon's biggest drug rehabilitation center located in Fort Magsaysay is expected to be finished within three months.

Maj. Gen. Angelito de Leon, commanding officer of the 7th Infantry Division, said the facility on a 10-hectare lot in the Fort Magsaysay military reservation will accommodate around 1,000 drug dependents out of the 58,700 who surrendered to the police from July 1 to August 28.

The center will be jointly manned by the defense and health departments through a memorandum of agreement.###

Flash floods hits Gabaldon

Flash floods carrying rocks and debris cut a portion of the national highway in two adjacent barangays in Gabaldon, stranding commuters from the town and Dingalan, Aurora for several hours last August 20.

A barangay councilman said rocks rolled on to the highway at 3:00 P.M. halting traffic. The road became passable again six hours later.

Gabaldon officials relocated 38 affected residents to Calabasa Elementary School and 20 others to Bagting Elementary School.

Residents blamed the uncontrolled illegal logging and quarrying for causing the flash flood. ###

Czarina to Ria on spate of killings: 'Look who's talking?'

Gov. Czarina Umali criticized Third Dist. Rep. Rosanna Vergara for blaming former Gov. Aurelio Umali for the string of muders happenig in Nueva Ecija.

She said Vergara should put the blame on her husband, Cabanatuan City Mayor Julius Cesar Vergara, and the Josons for the violence.

Umali said "Look who's talking" in reaction to Vergara's clam that the former governor must be held accountable for the murder cases.

In her privilege speech in the House of Representatives, Vergara cited 451 shooting incidents in the province since 2014.

Umali said that of the number of cases mentioned by Vergara, 59 were committed in Cabanatuan City.

“The mayor in Cabanatuan City is Rosanna’s husband Jay, so if there is one person who must be accountable for the peace and order in that city, it should be Mayor Jay, it being their backyard. So Rosanna should have discussed this thing first with her husband,” Umali said.

She said the congresswoman was apparently referring to the situation 30 years ago when she mentioned in her speech the province's former image as the "Wild Wild West" of the Philippines in relation to political killings.

Umali said this image was under a “reign of terror” when the Vergaras’ allies -- the Josons -- were ruling the province, and the politically-motivated killings happened long before Aurelio became the governor in 2007 which ended the Josons’ 48-year rule in the capitol.

She said that when her husband became governor, the province enjoyed a stable political climate and it was during his three terms when high-profile killings of politicians stopped. ###

San Jose bishop calls for postponement of SK election

Bishop Roberto Mallari of the Diocese of San Jose, former head of the Philippine Episcopal Commission on Youth, said he supports calls to postpone the Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) election originally set for October.

He said there is a need to fix the system of the Sangguniang Kabataan and review if it is still needed.

Though the Sangguniang Kabataan provides Filipino youth with means and opportunity to express their views on government, Mallari said the council has been used as an instrument to perpetuate political dynasties.

"Young as they are, they are already learning corruption," Mallari said.

President Rodrigo Duterte has announced a plan to postpone the barangay and SK elections for fear that drug money might be used by the candidates. ###

SM holds TOFARM film festival

A week-long film festival focusing on the lives of farmers opened at SM City Cabanatuan last August 24.

Themed "The Plight of the Farmer: His Trials and Triumphs", the TOFARM film festival serves as a venue where farmers could be appreciated, recognized and respected.

The festival, sponsored by Universal Harvester, featured "Pitong Kabang Palay, the story of a family in Isabela; “Free Range”, the story of a boy who used to help his parents run a lodge in Coron, Palawan, and ventured into an organically grown free-range chicken growing business; “Kakampi”, a  true story of a cab driver who got a new life upon returning to home to Camiguin and tried indigenous farming; “Paglipay”, a film that focuses on Atan, an Aeta from Baytan village in Zambales who makes a living from traditional kaingin and animal hunting on the foothills of Mt. Pinatubo; “Pauwi Na”, which tackles a family’s exodus from Manila to return to the province – riding on their two pedicabs;  and “Pilapil”, about a man who wants to escape rural farming life.

Dr. Milagros How, Universal Harvster executive vice preident, said "Through TOFARM film festival, kami  ay umaasa na ang ating mga minamahal na magsasaka ay magkakaroon ng tinig at mabibigyan ng pagkakataon na maikuwento ang kani-kanilang mga buhay to inspire, yan ho ang aming naging misyon." ###

Hijackers take truck with P1.4-M worth of rice

Hijackers carted away a trailer truck loaded with P1.4 million worth of rice along the national highway in Barangay La Torre, Talavera last August 16.

Investigation by PO1 Reynaldo Cayog showed that the truck driver, Ruben Iñigo Ramirez, 33, of Purok 11, Barangay Villa Luna, Cauayn, Isabela, decided to park beside the highway at about 2:00 A.M. to wait for the other trucks with which they were traveling in convoy.

While the driver and his helper were resting, two armed men arrived and threatened to kill them if they fought back.

The two victims were hogtied and  blindfolded and made to sit behind the driver's seat.

One of the suspects drove the truck for a little distance, dumped the victims at the roadside and then sped away. ###

Carnappers strike in Cabanatuan

A 28-year-old man driving a Toyota sedan was victimized by carnappers on the night of August 24 in Cabanatuan City.

Supt. Ponciano Zafra, Cabanatuan City police officer-in-charge, said the victim was Jefferson Lacson of 331 Sitio Camachile, Barangay San Jose, Magalang, Pampanga.

The carnapping took place along General Tinio Extension in Barangay Sumacab Este.

Lacson told investigators that the carnappers on board a Mitsubishi Adventure bumped his black Toyota Vios with plate number YS-7746 from behind and when he alighted to check, one of the suspects pointed a gun at him, commandeered his car and drove towards Barangay Sumacab together with his cohort who drove the SUV.

Zafra said a dragnet operation was immediately set up to arrest the suspects but the result was negative. ###

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