Volume 15 / No. 24    |    December 31, 2015
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Nueva Ecija Journal is published in
Gapan City, Nueva Ecija,Philippines
and updated every 15th and
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Ecija flooded again due to 'Nona'

Residents of Nueva Ecija were again affected by massive flooding caused by the heavy rains from Typhoon Nona, barely two months after the floods from Typhoon Lando in October.

Novo Ecijanos were caught unprepared as the province was not even placed under any typhoon signal.

The province was badly affected with 49 barangays in the cities of Cabanatuan, Palayan and Gapan, and the municipalities of Bongabon, Licab, Santo. Domingo, Zaragosa, Jaen, Laur, San Leonardo, Rizal, General Natividad and Peñaranda submerged in flood waters up to waist high.

In Cabanatuan City, residents were surprised at the quick rise of flood waters after a stream and irrigation canals overflowed.

In San Jose City and adjacent towns, residents said it was the first time they experienced flooding in their areas.

Rendered impassable to all types of vehicles were the Nueva Ecija-Aurora Road, Pinagpanaan-Rizal-Pantabagan Road, Bongabon-Rizal-Aurora Road, Cabanatuan City-Carmen Road, San Jose City-Rizal Road, Pantabangan-Camili-Basal-Baler Road, Tablang-Gabaldon Road, Gapan-Fort Magsaysay Road, Daang Maharlika  (along Diversion and Castellano, San Leonardo) and Santa Rosa-Tarlac Road.

Governor Aurelio Umali cancelled classes in all levels of public and private schools for the rest of the week due to widespread flooding. ###

Cabanatuan placed under state of calamity

Cabanatuan City Mayor Julius Cesar Vergara declared his city under a state of calamity after the massive floods brought by Typhoon Nona.

Vergara said 64 city barangays were affected by the heavy rains since the night of December 15.

A total of 28 of the affected barangays were flooded up to six feet high, including Kapitan Pepe, Sumacab, San isidro, Mabini Extension, Mabini Homesite, Valdefuente, Aduas Sur, San Juan ACCFA, D.S. Garcia and and Bliss Santa Arcadia.

The city has recorded one casualty, 28-year-old Abraham Lazo of Purok Ipilp-ipil, Barangay Pangatian, who drowned in the rampaging flood waters last December 16.

Vergara assured city residents that the local government was doing everything to help them.

He blamed the unabated illegal quarrying, mining and logging in Gabaldon and parts of the Sierra Madre Mountains for the widespread floods in his city and the third and fourth districts of the province. ###

Vergara wants new survey of Sierra Madre

Cabanatuan City Mayor Julius Cesar Vergara said a fresh topographical survey of the Sierra Madre range will help improve flood forecasts.

He has sought the help of a geography information survery solutions company for this to save lives and properties in Nueva Ecija and other parts of Central Luzon.

Vergara said that after Typhoon Lando in October, he went to Certeza Infosys Corporation, a company that provides geographical information survey solutions to various local and foreign industries.

He said the new survey will give the city government a complete picture of the situation and guide it in the placement of its resources to prevent flash floods in the future.

He noted that protective dikes built by the government, specifically in Gabaldon, were destroyed by Lando's flash floods.

Vergara said the city government has a huge fleet of heavy equipment to undertake infrastructure projects with a little help from the national government.

Aside from Certeza, he said the city government is also consulting the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority, an agency of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. ###

Ecija flood victims spend Christmas in evacuation centers

Some Novo Ecijanos displaced by floods caused by Typhoon Nona were among 80,000 persons who spent Christmas Eve inside evacuation centers.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said majority of the 60,9821 evacuees in Central Luzon were from Nueva Ecija, totaling 45,832.

NDRRMC spokesperson Mina Marasigan assured that the evacuees would not celebrate Christmas with empty stomachs. 

"Our social workers are continuously providing them assistance. We do not know if they prepared something special (for evacuees) but for sure, they will be having food on the table," Marasigan said. ###

Vizcaya farmer rescued from Pantabangan reservoir

A farmer from Alfonso Castañeda, Nueva Vizcaya who was swept away by floods caused by Typhoon Nona, was rescued at Pantabangan Dam last December 18.

Supt. Ricardo Villanueva, commander of the Provincial Public Safety Company, said Reynaldo Cajucom, 45,  was found floating in the Pantabangan reservoir by  Isidro Carasco, 43, and Gerry Decina, 37, both farmers.

They turned over Cajucom to policemen who were helping in the clearing operations around the Casecnan power plant.

Villanueva said Cajucom had minor injuries on the head and body and was taken to the Pantabangan health center for medical check-up before being brought back to his family. ###

Solar power plant to go up in San Jose

After the first power plant powered by rice hulls was built in San Jose City, another renewable energy project will be set up there, this time a solar facility that will generate 10 Megawatts of power.

V-Mars Solar Energy Corporation partnered with Solar World USA to construct the facility on a 17 hectare compound in Barangay Santo Niño 3rd..

Mario Salvador, V-Mars chair, said the project was conceptualized in the last five years by a group of environmentalists in San Jose City called Altergreen, that works on the viability of various renewable energy projects.

“The 10MW of energy of this solar plant will contribute to the large number of business establishments, households, more than 22 rice mills and huge supermarkets which is currently dependent  on the electric cooperative here, the San Jose City Electric Cooperative (SAJELCO),” Salvador said..

Solar World will supply 32,000 solar panels to the project that will involve site development, drainage system, perimeter fence, switch yard, powerhouse and installation of solar panels, medium voltage power system and 69KV transmission line.

Salvador said that they look forward to contributing energy supply to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines for the benefit of the majority. ###

San Jose library hub to feature DOST books

A library hub soon to be established in San Jose West Central School in San Jose City will feature Science and Technology Academic and Research-Based Openly Operated Kiosks (STARBOOKS) to provide elementary and high school students with various types of advanced reading and learning materials.

STARBOOKS was developed by the Department of Science and Technoloy-Science and Technology Information Institute, the first digital science library in the country containing information on science, mathematics and technology in text, audio and video formats. It does not use Internet connection.

During the recent launching of the project, Schools Division Superintendent Teresa Mababa said, "The arrival of STARBOOKS comes at the perfect time for teachers and students in San Jose City. Most of the books and other reference materials in our libraries had been wiped out by recent typhoons. Additional to that, most of the time, we have been experiencing unreliable internet connection

A total of 792 STARBOOKS have been deployed around the country since 2011. ###

Cabanatuan HIV/AIDS facility launched

The privately owned Premier Medical Center (PMC) in Cabanatuan City has launched the first facility in Nueva Ecija for patients affected by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

The facility called "Tahanan" is a Department of Health-based center inside PMC.

Leila Ramos, certified health department lecturer on HIV-AIDS awareness said, "These facilities were made possible for public safety; to achieve the “getting-zero” campaign which aims for zero infections, zero discrimination, and zero AIDS-related deaths.” 

She cited statistics that said 690 persons become infected with HIV-AIDS each month, with 52 of them found to be residents of Nueva Ecija. ###

Laur official gunned down

The head of the Municipal Engineering Office of Laur was shot dead by motorcycle-riding suspects along the Laur-Gabaldon Road before midnight last December 21.

Sr. Supt. Manuel Cornel, provincial police director, identified the victim as Jonathan Liwag of Natividad Street, Barangay 1.

The victim was on his way home on board an Army-type jeep after attending the Christmas party of the municipal government at the town hall when the suspects appeared and shot him.

Liwag's vehicle swerved to the left road shoulder, sideswiped a tree and plunged into an irrigation canal. He died from a lone bullet wound.

The motive for the killing is still being investigated. ###

Muñoz illegal drug peddler arrested

The Muñoz police announced the arrest of Maria Linda Santiago, 24, said to be in the Top 10 list of illegal drug peddlers in the city.

Supt. Ponciano Zafra, city police chief, said Santigo was arrested near her house after selling a sachet of shabu to PO2 Jerry Manzano who posed as buyer.

Zafra said the suspect has direct connections with big-time suppliers of illegal drugs in Metro Manila and sold drugs by the gram. ###


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