No. 231 /  December 1-15, 2009
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PNP lists Ecija cities/towns 
among 76 election hot spots

Thirteen places in Nueva Ecija are among the 76 towns across the nation that make up the list of election hot spots released by the Philippine National Police.

Chief Supt. Leonardo Espina said that aside from Nueva Ecija, the hot spots are in the provinces of Abra, Masbate, Western Samar and Lanao del Norte which had been placed under the PNP watch list due to election related violence during the last two elections.

The list would be turned over to the Commission on Elections for appropriate action, including placing those areas under COMELEC control.

Espina said that the bases for being classified as an election hot spot are presence of threat groups, history of intense political rivalry, recorded cases of election related violent incidents in previous elections and existence of active partisan armed groups.

Espina said that the proliferation of loose firearms is another factor. He bared that there are an estimated 6,700 loose firearms in Nueva Ecija alone. 

Among the Nueva Ecija cities and towns traditionally eyed as hot spots are Cabanatuan City, Palayan City, Gapan City, San Jose City, Carranglan, Gabaldon, Gen. Natividad, Guimba, Jaen, Lupao, Nampicuan, Pantabangan, Quezon, Rizal, San Isidro, Santa Rosa and Santo Domingo. ###
 
 

Ecija politicos say 'amen' to PNP's 'election hot spot' tag

Contending politicians in Nueva Ecija all agree with the Philippine National Police's assessment that the province is an election hot spot, including the possibility of the province being placed under the control of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).

Gov. Aurelio M. Umali said that had not the province been placed under COMELEC control in the 2007 elections, his chance of winning would have been nil.

Umali is set to run for reelection. His wife, 3rd Dist. Cherry Umali, is also running for reelection, while his brother, Dr. Anthony Umali, is running as board member in the Third District.

Vice Gov. Edward Thomas Joson, Umali's main rival for the governorship, also supports placing the province under COMELEC control. ###
 
 

Quezon candidate claims harassment

A 2007 mayoral candidate in Quezon town who is allied with Gov. Aurelio Umali claimed that the attack by bonnet wearing armed men on his brother in Barangay San Miguel was harassment.

Dennis Alejandro, 33, asked the Nueva Ecija police to investigate the attack on his brother Alvin, 27, last December 2 as this could be a tactic to scare him into withdrawing his candidacy in the next elections. He is running for councilor under the ticket of mayoralty candidate Thomas Hizon.

His brother Alvin had complained that two of three unknown suspects poked guns at his head and asked if he knew Art and Dennis Alejandro. When he denied knowing the two, a suspect told him that he was lying, and another punched him in the face. Afterwards, the suspects left on two motorcycles without plate numbers.

The elder Alejandro also asked for a revamp of the Quezon police. ###
 
 

Grenade explodes near house of Jaen mayor's secretary

A grenade exploded near the house of the secretary of reelectionist Jaen Mayor Santiago Austria last December 1.

Sr. Supt. Ricardo C. Marquez, provincial police director, said that Austria's secretary, Marinette Bandallon, was unhurt.

An unidentified man threw the grenade at Bandallon's house in Barangay Niyugan at about 1:45 AM. 

Marquez said that a long-standing feud between neighbors over the issue of right of way was a possible motive, and initially ruled out politics.

It was the second grenade throwing incident in the province in two weeks.

Earlier, a grenade was thrown at the house of Bongabon election officer Pacifico Gijapo who escaped unhurt. ###
 
 

Joson-Joson, Umali-Umali team ups no more

The Umalis and Josons, the two top political families in the province, have decided to forego the Joson-Joson and Umali-Umali team ups.

Vice Gov. Edward Thomas F. Joson, the standard bearer for governor of Bagong Lakas ng Nueva Ecija (BALANE) has tapped Sr. Board Member Rommel Padilla as his running mate.  This ended 12 years of a Joson-Joson tandem.

The pairing of the Josons started in 1998 when Tomas Joson III ran for a second term with his brother Eduardo IV as his running mate.  After the duo won, they ran for reelection in 2001.

Tomas III then ran for his last term in 2004 with another brother, Mariano Cristino, as his running mate.  In 2007, it was Mariano Cristino's turn to run for governor, with his nephew Edward Thomas as his running mate. Mariano Cristino lost; Edward Thomas won.

A Joson ally, San Antonio Mayor Arvin Salonga, said that the move for a Joson-Padilla tandem only showed that the Josons are not power-hungry as claimed by their critics.

Over at the Umali side, Gov. Aurelio Umali who ended 48 years of Joson administration when he beat Mariano Cristino in 2007, has named businessman Gay Padiernos as his running mate. There had been speculations that his younger brother, Emmanuel Antonio Umali, would be his running mate.

The younger Umali will run instead for board member in the Third District.

Somebody close to the Umalis said that the governor never intended to field his brother but speculations to the contrary grew when Emmanuel Antonio's streamers and banners began to be seen all over the province. Another source said that Umali decided not to make his brother his running mate after the latter did not do well in a commissioned survey. ###
 
 

SP holds out of town hearing for 2010 budget 

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) began a series of hearings for the proposed P1.7 billion budget for 2010 outside the capitol grounds.

The SP, led by Vice Gov. Edward Thomas F. Joson, held the deliberations at the audio-visual room of the Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology in Cabanatuan City.

Joson said that the move was taken to make the hearing more accessible to the public and show the transparency of the proceedings.

Present in the session were Joson's board member allies Rommel Padilla, Racquel Agapito, Melchor Morales, Eric Salazar and SK president Lance Jarwin Santos. Joson said that the six of them constituted a quorum based on the newly revised SP internal rules.

Invited to the hearing were the chiefs of the finance committee consisting of Randolph Alingig, budget; Emil Ferrer, planning and development; Edilberto Pancho, treasurer; and Arlene Cuevas who represented Cristina Roxas who was on emergency leave.

The proposed 2010 budget is P210 million more than that of last year, with a total of P548 million allocated to personal services. ###
 
 

Biomass power plant breaks ground in San Leonardo...

The ambassadors of the United Kingdom and Finland led the groundbreaking rites for the construction of a 17.5 megawatt biomass power plant in San Leonardo.

The $43 million biomass facility is being put up by Global Green Power PLC Corp., partially owned by Global Green Power PLD of the UK, and Green Power Nueva Ecija Philippines Inc.

David de Montaigne, Global Green president, said that the construction of the plant would take 18 months. It is expected to provide around 900 direct and indirect jobs and deliver an estimated P200 million in its first year of operation and an aggregate earning of P9 billion over 25 years for the local farming and host community.  This is through the purchase of local fuels and associated services such as transport and operations.

Green Power Nueva Ecija will use agricultural and food processing wastes -- normally burned in the field or left to rot -- as fuel.

The groundbreaking rites were attended by British Ambassador to the Philippines Stephen Lilly, Finnish Ambassador Heikki Hannikainen, Energy Undersecretary Ramon Santos and Agriculture Undersecretary Bernie Fondevilla and local officials. ###
 
 

... and in Santa Rosa, too

Santa Rosa Mayor Josefino M. Angeles led the ground breaking ceremony for a  Biosphere biomass power plant in Barangay Soledad last December 15.

The project, with Spectrum Blue Steel as the lead proponent, will turn waste into energy and help get rid of landfill sites.

Under a 25 year agreement, the Santa Rosa municipal government purchased a two hectare site for the project and provided access road so garbage trucks can deliver municipal solid waste to the material recycling facility and the Biosphere gassification system. Spectrum, on the other hand, will collect all tipping fees for the municipal solid waste and own the recycling rights and the pelletizing of the the garbage for use as fuel in creating "green" electricity.

During the affair, Angeles said that he would do everything necessary to help the project succeed.  He thanked Ronald Flynn, founder of Spectrum Blue Steel, for his genuine concern for the Philippines and finalizing the agreement to fix the town's worsening garbage problem. ### 
 
 

Cabanatuan Science High among 15 pilot schools for Spanish language teaching

The Honorato C. Perez Memorial Science High School in Cabanatuan City is among 15 secondary schools nationwide that is pilot testing the teaching of Spanish.

This is under an agreement between the Department of Education (DepEd) and the University of Alcala in Spain for the inclusion of the Spanish language program in the high school curriculum to strengthen cultural ties between the Philippines and Spain.

Spanish used to be a regular high school subject but was dropped in the 1970s and became a subject taught only in college.  In the 1990s, the course was totally removed from the college curriculum.

“Bringing back the Spanish language in the school curriculum would help us understand and connect with our past. Many of the works of our forefathers, including our national hero Jose Rizal, which were written in Spanish, remain significant up to this day,” DepEd Secretary Jesli Lapus said.

The University of Alcala in Madrid is one of the oldest universities in  Europe. The 500 year old institution is known for its active efforts in promoting Spanish language through studies and the Cervantes Price, an award given by the King and Queen of Spain for lifetime achievements of writers in the Spanish language.

The DepEd and the university agreed to implement programs to strengthen the academic, educational and cultural activities that will benefit both parties, such as the inclusion of Spanish language in the curriculum of the 15 pilot secondary schools in the Philippines.

Last June, Spanish was included in the curriculum of the pilot schools as an elective.  The schools were chosen based on mean percentage score in English, ability to provide substitute teachers to take over the classes of teachers undergoing training and the availability of classrooms, support facilities and equipment.

Aside from the Honorato C. Perez Memorial Science High School in Region III, the other schools implementing the Spanish language program are Ilocos Norte National High School (Region I), Lemu National HS (Cagayan, Region II), Cavite Science HS (Region IV-A), Dolores National HS (Marinduque, Region IV-B), Naga City Science HS (Region V), Capiz National HS (Region VI), Don Pablo Lorenzo Memorial HS (Region IX), Gusa National HS (Region X), Davao City Special School (Region XI), Tupi National HS (Region XII), Agusan National HS (Caraga), Ifugao Provincial Science HS (CAR), Quezon City Science HS (NCR), and ARMM Science HS (ARMM).

Selected teachers from the pilot schools were also trained under the supervision of the Instituto de Cervantes and the Bureau of Secondary Education to effectively implement the program. ###
 
 

Tinio cashier robbed

Two men held up a cashier of former Vice Gov. Oscar Tinio last December 8 along Imelda Boulevard, Barangay Diversion, San Leonardo.

The victim, Molina Muyot Juatco, 34, of Barangay Bonifacio, San Leonardo works at a fishpond owned by Tinio.

The victim was driving her motorcycle on her way home  when she was tailed and cut by another motorcycle without plate number, with the two suspects on board.

Juatco lost control of her motorcycle, drove into a roadside rice field and fell. The suspects then pointed a gun at her and forcibly took her shoulder bag containing P15,000 in cash and two cell phones.

The victim managed to identify the suspects from the police rogue gallery as Alvin Malaca Pangan of Barangay Mambangnan, San Leonardo and Sherwin Balang Dag-Ay of Barangay Poblacion, Baliuag, Bulacan. ###
 
 

Gapan depositor gypped of P200k inside bank

A bank depositor in Gapan City lost P200,000 to a woman who pretended to be a bank employee last December 1.

The victim, Eng. Ricardo Felizardo Cabrero of Barangay Mangino, said that while he was inside the Banco de Oro Gapan City branch to deposit P200,000, a woman wearing a uniform similar to those worn by the bank employees approached him and asked what he would like to transact. Thinking that the woman was indeed a bank employee, the victim turned over the money to her together with a deposit slip. The woman then entered the area occupied by the bank tellers.

After waiting for a long time and seeing the woman leave at the back of the bank, he checked with the other bank employees who all denied that they knew her.

Cabrero reported the incident to the police. Placed under investigation were Imelda Manuel, branch manager, and employees Floritel dela Cruz, Ruby Bernardo and security guard Juanito Juliano. ###
 
 

Rice mill worker stabbed dead

A 26 year old rice mill helper was stabbed dead by a colleague last December 13 in Purok Kamalig, Barangay Bangad, Cabanatuan City.

The victim, Emmanuel de Jesus, a native of Las Piñas City and a stay-in helper at Lumba Rice Mill, sustained two stab wounds in the chest.

The crime was discovered when the suspect, Mario Taluogon alias Commando, of Barangay Bantug, San Miguel, Bulacan texted Jerry Torres Cano, a stay-in driver at the rice mill, that he had stabbed de Jesus because of an altercation earlier that morning. Cano checked and found the body of the victim inside the helpers' barracks.

The suspect managed to escape. ###

 

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