Volume 15 / No. 19    |    October 15, 2015
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Nueva Ecija Journal is published in
Gapan City, Nueva Ecija,Philippines
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SM City Cabanatuan opens

SM City Cabanatuan, reputed as the biggest SM mall in Luzon outside Metro Manila, was opened to the public by Hans Sy, president of SM Prime Holdings, last October 9.

The opening day crowd paralyzed the one-way traffic along Maharlika Highway in the vicinity of the mall, despite the city police's rerouting plan in anticipation of the traffic build-up.

The previous day, Sy, Cabanatuan City Mayor Julius Cesar Vergara and his wife Ria and other SM and city executives led the formal inauguration and blessing of the mall.

It is the second SM mall in Cabanatuan City, following the opening of SM Megacenter Cabanatuan last April.

The five-level SM City Cabanatuan sits on a four-hectare lot in Barangay H. Concepcion, beside the Maharlika Highway. It has a total floor area of 153,756 square meters.

The mall entrance is elevated, with the ground floor serving as parking area with 2,058 slots for cars and 476 motorcycles.

The mall features the Garden Park at the second level and the Roof Park at the fourth floor.

The mall's signature retail shops include the SM Store, SM Supermarket, SM Appliance Center, ACE Hardware, Surplus and the Body Shop.

Among the global brands represented are Philip Stein, Guess, Guess Kids, The Face Shop, Melissa, and Ed Hardy, together with the local brand Human. Uniqlo and Terranova are scheduled to open in 2016.

Dining outlets include Starbucks, Jollibee, Chowking, Greenwich, Pancake House, and Classic Savory.  Local restaurants are represented like Edna’s Cakeland and Hapag Vicentecos, as well as Desserts Chalet and Leticia Breads and Cakes.

The mall has six digital cinemas, including a large screen cinema similar to Imax. ###

'Kabayan' submerges 19 Ecija barangays

Floods caused by heavy rains accompanying tropical storm "Kabayan" affected 19 barangays in four towns of Nueva Ecija.

The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that 19 barangays in Laur, Cuyapo, Rizal and Bongabon were submerged in floodwater from one to three feet deep.

In Laur, affected were Betania, San Antonio, San Fernando, San Vicente and Sagana; Cuyapo,  San Jose, Bulala, Bantug, Ventican and District 5; Bongabon, Sinipit, San Roque, Tulay na Bato, Lusok, Digmala, Calaanan and Palo Maria; and Rizal, San Esteban and Macapsing.

Barangay Ligaya in Gabaldon was affected by a landslide that resulted in the evacuation of 30 families.

Roads in Lusok, Tablang and Ligaya in Gabaldon were impassable to all types of vehicles.

Not passable to light vehicles were the portions of the Nueva Ecija-Aurora Road in Barangay Calaanan, Bongabon and the Nanduran Spillway.

Duet to the continued  heavy rains in the province, Governor Aurelio Umali ordered the suspension of classes in all levels and work in government offices.###

11 police chiefs relieved

A total of 11 city and  municipal police chiefs were relieved by the Nueva Ecija provincial police director for their poor performance in the Oplan: Lambat-Sibat campaign to arrest wanted persons, for unsolved killings in their areas of jurisdiction or mayor's request for replacement.

Senior Superintendent Manuel Cornel said he had relieved the police chiefs of San Jose City and the Science City of Muņoz, and the towns of Licab, Quezon, Gabaldon, Laur, Nampicuan, General Natividad, Lupao, Pantabangan and Lupao.

The 11 were ordered to report to the police provincial headquarters.

Cornel designated Superintendent Ponciano Zafra, former deputy provincial director for investigation, as police chief of Muņoz.

San Jose City  Mayor Marivic Violago-Belena personally requested the immediate relief of Superintendent Nolie Azuncion, who was replaced by Superintendent Reynaldo  dela Cruz.

Coronel described the killings in the province as isolated and not related to the coming elections. ###

Peace and Order Council okays institutionalization of Lambat-Sibat, peacekeeping force

The Nueva Ecija Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) chaired by Governor Aurelio Umali passed a resolution last October 13 approving the institutionalization of Oplan: Lambat-Sbat and the setting up of a joint PNP-AFP-CAFGU peacekeeping force to be deployed in the province's strategic entry and exit points to curb criminality and improve public safety.

Umali said Oplan: Lambat-Sibat proved to be effective and relevant in curbing crimes based on the consolidated accomplishment report of the provincial police.

The PPOC resolution noted that the operation was able to provide timely and accurate intelligence reports to the police and other law enforcement agencies.

Umali said the council supports the establishment of a special investigation task force that includes the National Bureau of Investigation and its institutionalization as a component of Oplan: Lambat-Sibat as an effective tool to suppress and prevent crimes.

Among those who attended the PPOC meeting were newly-designated provincial director of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Renato G. Bernardin;, former DILG provincial director, Dr. Abraham A. Pascua; Supt. Ricardo E. Villanueva, Provincial Public Safety Company commander; Col. Felimon T. Santos Jr., 703rd Infantry Brigade commander; Leovino C. Ignacio, provincial environment and natural resources officer; Atty. Carmelito Mangulabnan of the provincial prosecutor’s office; representatives from the Cabanatuan City-National Bureau of Investigation office, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Department of Education. ###

Umali proposes reward system to fight crime gangs

Governor Aurelio Umali proposed the putting up of a reward system for the capture of leaders and members of robbery and gun-for-hire groups believed responsible for the recent killings of personalities, including barangay and municipal officials.

He aired his proposal during the Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting last October 13, after Sr. Supt. Manuel Cornel, police provincial director, gave a briefing on the existence of six robbery and gun-for-hire groups said to be operating in the province and other adjacent areas.

Cornel said ballistic tests conducted on the cartridge cases recovered from two recent murders involving ex-ABC Talavera Chair Ricardo Ramos and Cabanatuan Barangay General Luna Chair Cesar Baltazar matched, indicating that the gun used in both killings were the same.

Records showed that from January to September this year, 13 shooting incidents, including six murders and seven frustrated murders, were committed against barangay and municipal officials in the province.

Three of these happened in Cabanatuan City, two in Jaen, and one each in Cabiao, Santa Rosa, Gabaldon, San Antonio, Llanera, Lupao, San Leonardo and Peņaranda. ###

Ex-councilor shot dead

A former Quezon municipal councilor was shot dead by two men riding a motorcycle in  tandem in Purok 2, Barangay Bertese.

The victim was identified as Daniel Lonzanida, 46. He was walking along the road shoulder when two men riding a black Honda Wave motorcycle stopped and talked to him.

Another pair of motorcycle-riding suspects arrived and the back rider shot Lonzanida six times with a caiber .45 pistol in the head and different parts of the body .

The getaway Suzuki motorcycle was found abandoned beside an irrigation canal not far from the crime scene. It bore a bullet hole, believed to have been from an accidental fire by one of the suspects.

Motive for the killing was being investigated. ###

2 Army soldiers hurt in clash with NPA

Two army privates were wounded after a clash with New People's Army (NPA) rebels in Sitio Calo, Barangay R.A. Padilla, Carranglan last October 1.

The injured soldiers were identified as PFC Mark Josephg Mamingcal and PFC Reny Tallongan of the Charlie Company, 3rd Infantry Battalion, 7th Infantry Division based in San Jose City.

They were rushed to a military hospital in  Barangay Militar, Palayan City.

The solders were conducting a security operation at construction sites of Pacific Asphalt and Concrete Mix Company when they encountered the rebels resulting in a five-minute firefight.

A backhoe was hit by bullets, scattering glass shards around the area.

The rebels were about to burn the backhoe when the Army soldiers arrived in response to reports about the presence of the rebels.

Police recovered from the scene M16, M1`4 and M203 shells and several bottles filled with gasoline.

 A joint police and Army team launched a hot pursuit operation against the rebels. ###

2 trailer trucks robbed

Two container van trailer trucks were held up in San Jose City last October 10 by three motorcycle-riding men who introduced themselves as New People's Army (NPA) rebels.

The victims were identified as truck drivers Carlos Gammad, 56, of Barangay Mabantad; and Florencio Palaguitin, 55, of Barangay. Turayong;and helpers Wilson Domingo, 50, and Pepito Solito, 44, both of Brangay Labinab, all in Cauayan City, Isabela.

Supt. Reynaldo dela Cruz, city police chief, said the robbery happened at about 7:00 P.M. along the stretch of Maharlika Highway in Barangay Caanawan and was reported to the city police by the Nueva Ecija Highway Patrol Group at about midnight.

It was learned that the two trailer trucks were parked along the highway when the three suspects riding a Honda Wave motorcycle arrived, pointed guns at them and introduced themselves as NPA rebels.

The suspects took the victims' wallets, five cell phones, a driver's license, P10,000 in cash and clothes.

Nothing was taken from the container vans which were empty at the time. ###

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