Volume15 / No. 1                                                                                                   January 15, 2014
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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.

Two new expressways to shorten travel time to Ecija

To ease the traffic congestion along the Nueva Ecija stretch of Maharlika Highway and shorten travel time between the province and Metro Manila, two new expressways are set to be constructed.

Nueva Ecija Governor Aurelio Umali and Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, in a joint statement at a recent meeting of the Central Luzon Regional Development Council (CLRDC), identified the projects as the North Luzon Expressway East Luzon (NLEx) and Central Luzon Link Expressway (CCLEx).

The council said NLEx East Luzon, with a length of 92.1 kilometers, will connect San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan to Cabanatuan City, while the 65.4 kilometer CCLEx will be connected the Luisita interchange of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) in Tarlac to Cabanatuan City.

Umali said the NLEx East Luzon is among the priority projects of Malacaņang and was the only proposed expressway project mentioned by President Aquino in his first State of the Nation Address back in 2010 as among those to be built by way of public-private partnership.

NLEx East Luzon will cost P15.8 billion and will start from the La Mesa Parkway and pass through Norzagaray, Angat, San Ildefonso and San Miguel in Bulacan, and on to Gapan City and Santa Rosa up to Cabanatuan City. The expressway will cross the Angat, Peņaranda and Pampanga rivers.

On the other hand, CCLEx will start 2.5 kilometers from the SCTEx Luisita interchange and lead to San Jose City.

The first phase costing P15.1 billion covers 30.7 kilometers from La Paz, Tarlac to Zaragoza and Aliaga and end in Cabanatuan City. 

The second phase, at a cost of P7.6 billion, will connect Cabanatuan City and San Jose City, a distance of 35.7 kilometers.

Umali and Alvarado, chair of the Regional Development Council, have committed the resources of their local governments to hasten the start of the construction of NLEx East Luzon. ###

San Antonio town hall inaugurated

The new P17 million municipal hall of San Antonio that replaced the one destroyed by fire one and a half years ago was inaugurated last January 8.

The rites were led by Gov. Aurelio Umali with his wife, 3rd Dist. Rep. Czarina Umali, Vice Gov. Jose Gay Padiernos, Mayor Antonino Lustre, Vice Mayor Jose Balagtas and former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office Director Jose Taruc V.

Fund for the construction of the two-story building was sourced from the governor's intelligence funds.

Umali, in his speech, said the municipal hall is his administration's gift to the people of San Antonio, hoping that it will serve them regardless of their political colors and leanings.

Recalling the "anger and wrath" of the residents over the burning incident, Umali said "It is time for the people to move on and open their hearts to forgiveness, to forgive themselves."

Umali said, "It's time for San Antonio to become known as a zone of peace."

The former municipal hall was destroyed in a pre-dawn fire on  June 7, 2013, two days after the ballot boxes stored there, involved in the election protest of former Mayor Arvin Salonga against Lustre, were ordered transferred to the Regional Trial Court in Gapan City. ###

California-based Gapanenses set to award scholarships

The Gapan City Association of Southern California (GAPASCA) will award the initial batch of college scholarships to 12 deserving graduating high school students of Gapan City during a luncheon to be held at the City Hall Auditorium on March 7.

Larry Camus, association president, said the scholarships will be awarded to Daincy Pearl Mariano of Divina Pastora College High School Department who intends to take up Accounting; Ryza Mae Noval of Kapalangan National High School, Education; Shara Mae Valleser of Pambuan National High.School, Accounting; Angel Velayo of Maruhat National High School, Hotel and Restaurant Management; Apryl Paras of San Nicolas National High School, accounting; Carlo Buenaventura of San Roque National High School, Biology/Medicine; Harold John Marcelo of Santa Cruz National High School, Civil Engineering; Leonard dela Cruz of Herminio G. Nicolas High School, Accounting; and Juan R. Liwag Memorial High School students Yusela Kris Aquino, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology; Marry Joy Calpito, Journalism; Mary Jane Pablo, Agribusiness; and Liliane Suares, Psychology/Broadcast Communication.

They were culled from a total of 36 scholarship applications received and evaluated.

Scholarship incentive awards will also be given to the other twenty-four applicants in recognition of their academic achievements and for their time and effort in applying for GAPASCA scholarships.

Camus said about half of the GAPASCA scholars plan to go to Central Luzon State University, two to Wesleyan University-Philippines and others to the Nueva University of Science and Technology.

Nimfa Castro, GAPASCA chair, said each scholar will receive up to P40,000 in tuition assistance.

The scholarship fund comes from adopt-a-student benefactors, donors and fund raising events.

Invited to the scholarship award rites are Governor Aurelio Umali, Vice Governor Jose Gay Padiernos, City Mayor Maricel Natividad-Nagaņo and local Department of Education officials led by the schools superintendent and high school principals.

Teofilo Estrella, GAPASCA board director, said it is the hope of the organization that the scholarship grants will inspire Gapan students to excel in school academically and socially.

GAPASCA is headed by Larry Camus, president and Nimfa Castro, chair of the board; with Gina Patulandong as vice president for budget and finance; Marissa Yamsuan, vice president for membership; Ramil Garcia, vice president for ways and means; Vangie Garcia, vice president for programs; Cindy Garces, treasurer; Marlyn Reams, secretary; Armahn Tinawin, auditor; Agnes Nerona, PRO; Steve Johnson and Germelie Morales, affairs coordinators; Randy Estrella, Veta Garcia, Rolly de Guzman, and Adoracion Palisoc, advisers; Tipin Johnson, board secretary; and Teofilo Estrella, Percival Garces, Emmanuel Liwag, Gener Nerona, and Wilfredo Ongpauco, directors.

Ecijano wins P150-M lotto pot

A retired soldier from Nueva Ecija has claimed the P160 million prize for the January 11 draw of 6/49 Super Lotto.

Jose Ferdinand Rojas II, acting  chair of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, said the lone jackpot winner bet on the combination 06-13-19-31-34-38 for the P160,083,688 prize.

Rojas said the 50-year old winner availed himself of the early retirement program of the Armed Forces to devote his time to his wife and only child.

The winner has  been a lotto bettor since the game was launched in 1995.

He plans to buy a house and lot, invest in business and share his prize money with his siblings and parents. ###

Pantabangan Dam's irrigation area down by 20%

Pantabangan Dam, which is intended to irrigate 114,000 hectares of farm lands in
Central Luzon, will not be able to irrigate a total of 28,142 hectares, or about 20% less than the usual area.

Engr. Reynaldo Puno, operations manager of the Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems, said that with the 202.79-meter water level of the dam, only 85,857.72 hectares of farms have been included in the dry season irrigation program covering December 2014 to May 2015. ###

New Year's Eve revelry aftermath

In the Science City of Muņoz, a nine-year old boy was injured when a piccolo he just lighted exploded in front of him last December 30.

The victim, Renzy Jake Batangan of Purok 2, Barangay Cabisculan, injured his eyes and left cheek.

He was rushed to the city health office and later transferred to Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center.

In Guimba, an explosion caused a big fire at a firecracker zone along Faigal Street, Santo Cristo District at about 10:00 A.M. last December 31.

Destroyed were 24 makeshift firecracker stalls and four motorcycles parked around the area. Also partially damaged was the roof of a classroom of the adjoining Guimba West Central School.

Supt. Renato David, Guimba police chief, said they were still looking into the cause of the fire that allegedly started at a stall owed by a certain Teresa Silva.

Damage to property was estimated at P560,000. No one was injured.

In Santa Rosa and San Jose City, a total of three persons were arrested on New Year's Eve for selling banned firecrackers. ###

Hired killer arrested

A member of a gun-for-hire group involved in the killing of a former party-list group member and a court process server in Gapan City last year was arrested last January 7.

Chief Insp. Romeo Lanzarrote, provincial officer of Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, identified the suspect as Joebert Panila alias Bisaya, 31, a mechanic from Passi, Iloilo and a resident of Daang Riles, Barangay Pambuan, Gapan City. Confiscated from him was a caliber .38 revolver.

The suspect was reported to be a member of a Gapan City-based crime group named after the alleged leader, Allan Trinidad.

Panila was arrested after his alleged accomplice, Pabilo Marcelo of Barangay Kapalangan, squealed on the group and their operation.

Panila, Trinidad and a third accomplice, identified as Montano Barlis, have been charged with murder at the Department of Justice in Manila for the killing of Mario Garcia, a former member of ACT-CIS party-list group in Barangay Santa Cruz, Gapan City on August 18, 2014.

The three were said to be also involved in the killing of Leonardo Legaspi, 64, of Barangay San Josef, Peņaranda, a Gapan court process server. Also linked to that case were Donato Maniquiz alias Don and Andres Soriano alias Andy, of Barangay San Vicente. ###

Licab official shoots 78-year old neighbor 

A department head of the Licab municipal government shot and wounded a 78-year old neighbor last January 9 for cutting an ipil-ipil tree in his backyard.

The suspect, Arsenio Antonio, 52, municipal social welfare and development officer, of Purok 1, Barangay Casimiro, surrendered to the police after the incident.

The victim, Antonio Jaime, sustained gunshot wounds in the hand hand and shoulder.

It was learned that Antonio confronted Jaime after seeing the old man cutting an ipil-ip0il tree in his backyard at 6:30 P.M.

Jaime, instead of explaining, hit Antonio on the forehead with a slingshot.

This angered Antonio who went in his house, took an air gun and shot Jaime three times.

The victim was rushed to the Santo Domingo District Hospital for treatment. ###

Muņoz businesswoman, kin robbed

A businesswoman from the Science City Muņoz and her daughter-in-law were victimized by a motorcycle-riding robber while the two were waiting for a bus before dawn last January 7.

The victims were identified as Evelyn delos Santos, 62, and her daughter-in-law, Maricel delos santos, 47, both widows and residents of Purok Curva, Barangay Bantug.

The robbery happened in front of a Petron gas station along the national highway in Barangay Bantug.

Investigators said the suspect, driving a red Honda Wave motorcycle, approached the victims, pointed a gun at them, took their personal belongings, then drove in the direction of Barangay Bacal 3, Talavera.

The businesswoman said she lost her brown bag with various identification cards, a cell phone and P15,000 in cash. ###

Cabanatuan tricycle driver shot, robbed

A tricycle driver was shot and wounded by his lone passenger, who then fled with his  vehicle before midnight last January 12.

Supt. Joselito Villarosa, Jr., Cabanatuan City police chief, said the driver, Roberto Rangcapan, 34, of Purok 7, Barangay Bagong Sikat, was shot in the abdomen and thigh. He was rushed to the NE Good Samaritan Hospital.

His attacker fled with his black Kawasaki Bajaj motorcycle.

Villarosa said the suspect flagged the victim at Sangitan Market in Barangay Magsaysay Norte at about 11:30 P.M. and asked to be brought to Barangay Bakero.

Upon reaching Purok 2 of that barangay, the suspect pointed a gun at the driver and fired several times before fleeing with the tricycle. ###

Palayan man hacked dead

A happy drinking session by friends turned tragic when one of them was hacked to death last January 6 in Pag-ibig, Sitio Tablang, Barangay Atate, Palayan City.

The victim was identified as Jonathan dela Paz Jimenez, 23.

Investigation by PO21 Roan Salupacio showed that at about 7:00 P.M., Jimenez was in a drinking session with friends, including the suspect Armando Peria Portana., 49, of  Barangay Pantoc, Aliaga.

Portana became the butt of jokes by Jimenez and unable to stand it any longer, he took a bolo and hacked the victim repeatedly despite efforts of the other drinking buddies to stop him.

Portana escaped, taking the bolo with him.

Jimenez was rushed to the Palayan Emergency Hospital but was declared dead on arrival. ###

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