Volume14 / No. 20                                                                                                         October 31, 2014
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Nueva Ecija Journal is published in
Gapan City, Nueva Ecija,Philippines
and updated every 15th and
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Capitol eyes rationing of goods
to farmers affected by El Niño

The Nueva Ecija provincial government is considering the rationing of rice and other basic commodities to thousands of farming families that will be affected by El Niño during the dry cropping season that starts in November.

Gov. Aurelio Umali expressed fear that some people who would lose their livelihood during the cropping season might be forced to commit crimes such as theft and robbery.

Umali said these during the first water summit that he led at the Nueva Ecija Convention Center last October 22.

He said the government will coordinate with the Department of Agriculture for a scheme to help farmers in view a report by the National Irrigation Administration that some 12,558 hectares of rice farms in four cities and 23 towns served by  Pantabangan Dam are in danger once drought brought about by El Niño strikes.

These areas include portions of the cities of Cabanatuan, Gapan, Muñoz and San Jose as well as some barangays in Aliaga, Cabiao. Natividad, Guimba, Jaen, Llanera, Licab, Lupao, Quezon, San Leonardo, San Antonio, San Isidro, San Leonardo, Santo Domingo, Talavera, Talugtog and Zaragoza.

Umali asked the mayors and various stakeholders to form a blueprint to help mitigate the effects of El Niño.

"We need to find solutions that’s why we convened this summit,” he said.

He emphasized that El Niño threatens not only the province's agricultural production but also the Aquino administration's goal of food sufficiency.

The summit is expected to result in the creation of an inter-agency group that will look for other alternative sources of irrigation water to lessen the province's dependence on Pantabangan Dam. ###

Mayors ask NIA: Help solve squatting problem

Nueva Ecija mayors have asked for the help of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) chief in addressing the problem of illegal settlers along irrigation canals and waterways.

They said the illegal structures block the flow of irrigation water to farms, possibly turning these into wastelands.

At the open forum of the Nueva Ecija water summit in Palayan City, Rizal Mayor Rafaelito Andres asked NIA Administrator Florencio Padernal about the worsening issue of illegal settlers and possible solutions to the problem.

Andres cited the squatting problems in Gapan City and his town, saying it has become a political issue.

Padernal said they will thoroughly study the matter and try to integrate the issue in NIA’s 10-year master development plan designed to solve the country’s irrigation gap through continuous dialogues with farmers and irrigator groups nationwide.

For her part, Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member Belinda Palilio reminded the group that the province has an existing provincial ordinance banning the construction of illegal structures along NIA irrigation canals and waterways.

She asked for Padernal's help in enforcing that ordinance.

Engr. Reynaldo PUjno, operations manager of the Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrtigation Systems, said there is an urgent need to remind people of the ordinance that has not been  implemented for some time. ###

Ombudsman files graft charges vs. 2 LWUA officials over Guimba water project

The Office of the Ombudsman has filed graft charges against two officials of Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) in connection with the implementation of the Guimba Water Supply Project (GWSP) in 1998.

Charged were former LWUA Administrator Lorenzo Jamora and Acting Deputy Administrator Wilfredo Feleo, together with Renato Legaspi, president and chair of Green Asia Construction and Development Corporation.

Aside from violation of the anti-graft law, Jamora and Feleo were found guilty of gross neglect of duty and grave misconduct.

The case stemmed from the 19987 contract that LWUA entered into for the implementation of the Small Towns Water Supply Sector Project in Guimba.

On May 29, 2001, the Guimba Water District (GWD) entered into a financial assistance contract with LWUA totaling P60,372,000. The contract for the design and construction of GWSP was awarded to Green Asia with a total project cost of P30 million.

In October 2003, GWD issued a certificate of project completion but attached a list of works needing correction or completion.

Despite the non-completion of the project, Jamora and Feleo approved the processing of the final billing and check representing the payment to Green Asia amounting to P1.113 million on July 12, 2004.

Documents showed that the certificate of final acceptance was issued by GWD only on August 5, 2004.

"The collective action of Feleo and Jamora in ensuring the advanced release of the check to Green Asia and the actual receipt by Legaspi thereof despite the absence of the Certificate of Final Acceptance at that time constitutes positive and convincing evidence that they pursued the same criminal purpose and objective in giving unwarranted benefit to Green Asia," the resolution said..

The complaint against another  LWUA official, Senior Deputy Administrator Emmanuel Malicdem, was dismissed for lack of evidence. ###

Kaya Natin! Movement cites Llanera mayor

Mayor Lorna Vero of Llanera has been named "Champion of Good Governance and Leadership with Integrity" together with four others by Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership in rites held at Club Filipino.

Llanera, under the leadership of Vero, has been adjudged as one of the most outstanding local government units in the country for being able to streamline its issuance of the necessary government permits to do business in their town. Under Vero’s watch, Llanera has continued to attract more businesses that have provided more jobs to her constituents.

The other awardees were Malabon City Mayor Antolin Oreta III, Anak Mindanao party-list Rep. Sitti Turabin-Hataman; Mayor Sandy Javier of Javier, Leyte; and Mayor Jun Evasco of Maribojoc, Bohol.

Kaya Natin! said the five awardees passed the "3Es criteria", its yardstick for effective, ethical and empowering leadership.

Kaya Natin! is chaired by former Pampanga Gov. Ed Panlilio, with board members Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Gerona Robredo, Jim Paredes, Jess Lorenzo and Councilor Amie Malabag-Hernandez of Nagcarlan, Laguna. ###

Ecija police targets zero crime for All Saints Day

The Nueva Ecija Provincial Police Office has put in place security measures aimed at providing public safety services and achieving zero crime incidence through "Oplan Ligtas Undas 2014".

Sr., Supt. Crizaldo Nieves said the police force is in full alert and consolidating all efforts to ensure a peaceful and crime-free observance of All Saints Day in the province.

Nieves led a conference last October 29 with representatives of the Army, police, barangay tanods and civilian volunteers to consolidate efforts to achieve zero crime incidence on November 1.

He said security will be beefed up in traffic-prone areas, cemeteries, memorial parks, places of worship, bus terminals, malls, vital installations and major tourist destinations.

Among the traffic-prone areas he identified are Cabanatuan City, Gapan City in front of Waltermart, crossing in Santa Rosa, Talavera poblacion, Guimba public market and the national road in barangays San Juan and Concepcion in Cabiao and in San Jose City.

At least 81 teams of road safety marshals made up of 259 members have been deployed for routine security and traffic management.

Some 119 public assistance centers and hubs manned by 632 police personnel and 1,281 force multipliers have also been mobilized, aside from 529 policemen and 765 force multipliers in 104 assistance hubs in 136 private and public cemeteries throughout the province. ###

NEDA board okays Bilibid transfer to Ecija

The construction of a new prison facility in Nueva Ecija for inmates of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) is expected to start soon following the approval of the project by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Board.

Director Franklin Jesus Bucayu of the Bureau of Corrections, said the P50.18 billion project was given the green light by the NEDA Board in the third week of October.

The new prison facility in Fort Magsaysay will be built through a public-private partnership.

The transfer of NBP to Nueva Ecija is projected to be completed in five to seven years.

The new penitentiary will be able to accommodate 26,880 inmates from  NBP and the Correctional Institution for Women.

The current NBP houses around 23,00 prisoners though the facility has a maximum capacity of only 8,900. ###

High Court affirms prison sentence for timber poachers

The Supreme Court has affirmed its 1993 decision penalizing with 13 years of imprisonment three persons for unlawful possession of lumber.

In a full court decision, the SC upheld its March 12, 2013 ruling sentencing Efren Almuete, Johnny Ila and Joel Lloren to suffer six to 13 years of imprisonment for violation of Presidential Decree No. 705 or the Forestry Code.

Their penalty is equivalent to that for qualified theft under the Revised Penal Code.

The case arose from their arrest by the Nueva Ecija police on August 14, 1993 for possession of undocumented sewn lumber loaded in two six-by-six trucks owned by Almuete and driven by Ila and Lloren.

They were charged with illegal possession of timber with a total value of P57,012.

The Regional Trial court of Nueva Ecija found the group guilty and sentenced to 18 years to 40 years of imprisonment.

When the case reached the Supreme Court, it lowered the penalty to 13 years of imprisonment.

Almuete filed a motion for reconsideration against the decision but this was denied with finality. ###

Embalmer allegedly killed on order of own boss

An embalmer pointed to his own boss as the one who ordered that he be killed, before dying from gunshot wounds last October 17 in Gapan City.,

The victim was identified as Marty Quijano dela Cruz, 42, embalmer of St. Peter Chapel-Gapan branch, and a resident of 19 Cynthia St., Dona Carmen Subdivision, Barangay Commonwealth, Quezon City.

Investigation showed that at around 8:50 A.M., while the victim was seated in front of a restaurant along the Gapan-Olongapo Road in Barangay San Nicolas and busy texting, the suspect, wearing a white T-shirt and a bull cap, arrived and shot him point-blank with a caliber .454 pistol.

The victim was rushed to Good Samaritan Hospital by his companion, Rick Angelo de Guzman.

The victim reportedly pointed to his boss, Cherrylyn dela Cruz Lazaro, 33, manager of St. Peter Chapel and a resident of Barangay Balite, San Miguel, Bulacan as the mastermind of the shooting.

Sr. Supt. Crizaldo Nieves,m provincial police director, said Lazaro was subsequently arrested.

Police are looking into the motive for the killing. ###

2 victims of summary killings found in 2 towns

The bodies of a man and a woman believed victims of summary killings were found in separate places in Nueva Ecija last October 21.

In Santa Rosa, police found the body of a woman with three gunshot wounds in the neck, chin and face, along the boundary of Vergara extension road in Sitio Asias, Barangay Soledad at about 5:00 A.M.

The victim was wearing a grey sweatshirt and short pants, black shirt, white sandals and with a plastic bracelet around the right wrist.

A piece of paper between her legs said "Adik ako, pati tito, tita ko."

Investigators recovered from the scene five plastic sachets with traces of shabu and a plastic water pipe inside a cigarette pack.

In Bongabon, the body of a man was found floating at Digmala Creek in Barangay Kaingin at about 8:00 A.M.

The victim, identified as Mamerto Satur, 44, married, of the same barangay, was found with arms tied at the back with a handkerchief. His neck was also tied.

Police in the two towns are investigating the motives for the killings. ###

Ecija's 2 most wanted persons arrested

Police arrested two men blamed for robberies in Nueva Ecija, in Barangay R.A. Padilla, Carranglan last Octrober 31.

Supt. Sidney Villaflor, commander of the Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB3), identified the suspects as Nestor Martinez and Mamerto Martinez.

Two teams from Second Maneuver Company of RPSB3 and those from the Nueva Ecija Police Intelligence Branch, armed with a warrant of arrest issued by Judge Maximo Ancheta of the San Jose City Regional  Trial Court Branch 38, raided the house of the suspects.

The two are detained at the San Jose City police station.

Bail has been set at P100,000 for each one.

Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta, regional police director, commended the police team. He ordered all provincial and city police directors to continue their tasks of enforcing tjhe law and arresting all wanted persons in their areas. ###

Woman hacks brother over land feud

A 40 year old woman in San Jose City is facing homicide charges after she hacked her elder brother with a jungle bolo last October 20 while quarreling over the ownership of a piece of land inherited from their parents.

Supt. Manuel Hidalgo, city police chief, identified the suspect as Marlibeth Habig, married, of Zone 2, Barngay Tondod.

She allegedly hacked her elder brother Zoilo Gabuyo, Sr., a 56 year old farmer, during a heated quarrel over the ownership of the inherited land.

Hidalgo said the woman called her brother to her house to talk about their land dispute, warning him not to till the part of the land that belongs to her this coming planting season.

It was learned that the victim refused to listen to his sister and even punched her in the face.

This caught the attention of Susan Gabuyo, the victim's wife, who tried to pacify her husband but was also hurt by him.

The suspect entered the house, took a jungle bolo and hacked her brother in different parts of the body.

The victim was rushed by his wife to the San Jose General Hospital and later to Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center in Cabanatuan  City.

The suspect  was arrested and faces charges of frustrated homicide. ###

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