Saturday, April 14, 2012

Benefits of Philippine Carabao Center

Vice President Jejomar Binay on Thursday cited the vital role of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) in the promotion and development of local dairy industry.

Binay, who served as guest in a short "Ugnayan at Talakayan" program at the PCC headquarters here, said that the PCC is an important tool that could help uplift the lives of the dairy farmers.

He emphasized the importance of close cooperation and linkage between the farmers and the government agencies such as PCC to sustain development programs that can surely usher in progress in the lives of farmers.

He also underscored the significant role of the carabao as an important commodity in ushering additional income for thousands of farmers and in ensuring the eventual food security in the country.

Time has come to strengthen the dairy industry in the countryside and the carabao as an instrument to alleviate poverty, he said.

"I see the carabao as the ally of our farmers, just like where I grew up," Binay said.

The vice president hails from Isabela, which is one of the major agricultural producers in the country.

He also cited the many benefits that the carabao raisers can obtain from the venture. He even enumerated the salient features of major products from the carabao such as milk and meat.

He also said that through the right government programs and the farmers' cooperation, "we can expect a progressive state of our local dairy industry."

Likewise, he stressed the government's stand on protecting the welfare of dairy farmers, among other frontline workers in the country's economic backbone.

During the short program, the vice president, who together with PCC executive director Libertado Cruz, awarded certificates of entrustment of the 25-dairy buffalo module to selected dairy cooperatives in the National Impact Zone (NIZ), which is Nueva Ecija.

Farm Equipment Given to Cotabato Farmers

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has released some P6.9 million worth of farm equipment to farmers' groups in South Cotabato in a bid to further improve the area's agricultural production.

Amalia Datukan, DA Region 12 director, said the assistance was part of the ongoing implementation of the agency's rice mechanization and post harvest facility assistance program, which was availed by irrigators associations and cooperative in the area.

Datukan said it was also in line with the Agri Pinoy food staple sufficiency program pushed by DA Secretary Proceso Alcala.

"President Benigno S. Aquino III had endorsed this program as one of his administration's top priorities," she said.

Under the program, Datukan said South Cotabato received an allocation of 32 hand tractor units worth P3.95 million; 10 units of rice threshers worth P1.13 million; one unit of four-wheel drive tractor worth P761,117; and, nine units of multi-purpose drying pavement worth P1.125 million.

The recipients were the Parbangon Irrigators Association of Barangay San Felipe in Tantangan; farmers group Komatiku of Barangay Sto. Nino in Koronadal City; Lower Tampakan Creek Irrigators Association of Barangay Concepcion in Koronadal City; SANISCA Irrigators Association Inc. of Barangay San Isidro in Koronadal City; PAGMACE Irrigators Association of Barangay Cabuling in Tantangan; Magic Flower Irrigators Association of Barangay GPS in Koronadal City; BINTIKU multi-purpose cooperative of Barangay Dajay in Surallah; SOCOSEPCO of Koroandal City;

The Rice Field Irrigators Association of Barangay Carpenter Hill in Koronadal City; Country Folks Irrigators Assocaition of Bo. 3 in Banga; Modern Farmer Irrigators Association of Barangay San Isidro in Koronadal City; Siok Communal Irrigators Association of Koornadal City; Cabuling Agricultural Multi-Purpose Cooperative of Barangay Cabuling in Tantangan; and, San Felipe Irrigators Association of Barangay San Felipe in Tantangan are also beneficiaries.

Datukan said the beneficiaries availed of the farm equipment through a cost-sharing scheme.

She said the agency shouldered 85 percent of the costs while the beneficiaries contributed 15 percent as counterpart.

The DA's share for the total cost of the farm equipment was P6.09 million while the recipients' share was P877,787.

Datukan said the newly-released farm equipment was part of the P20 million worth of farm machineries earlier allocated for Region 12.

Aside from South Cotabato, she said the agency also released 33 hand tractors, 11 threshers and two four-wheel drive tractors to beneficiaries in North Cotabato.

Free Funeral Service in the Philippines

ILOILO CITY, April 13 (PNA) -- This city's free funeral package benefited 99 indigents during the first quarter of the year, according to a report from the Barangay City Secretariat Office.

"We share the feeling of grief of our people, that's why we have this project that will cover all their needs from free coffin, embalming, funeral lights and service car," Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog said.

With the aim of serving the Ilonggos "from cradle to grave," the city government is implementing the free funeral package in partnership with Gegato-Abecia Funeral Services Inc.

"This program may not be enough to heal the pain of losing a loved one but this helps lessen the burden," Mabilog stated.

He initiated the project as one of the pro-poor programs of his administration.

Started in June 2011, the project had helped 192 poor families that year give a decent wake and burial to their loved ones.

For the low income, a memorial plan costs from P6,000 to P12,000 which is more than what they can afford to provide a decent, dignified burial for a loved-one, the Barangay City Secretariat Office said.

Families who want to avail of the service need only to submit the duly registered death certificate and certificate of indigence from their respective punong barangays and from the City Social Welfare and Development Office.

Barangay City Secretariat officer-in-charge Catalina Sanico said indigent families expressed gratefulness over the implementation of the project.

The free funeral service is expected to continue with the sustained support from the chief executive by providing adequate budget so that many who are in need of the program can avail of the service, she added.

Condo in Cebu is City's Tallest Building

The Cebu City Office of the Building Official (OBO) has approved a seven-step solution proposed by the developer of a condominium tower, expected to become the city's tallest building at 55 storeys, on Gen. Maxilom Ave.

Lawyer Vince Tomaneng, spokesperson of Gaisano-owned Taft Property Venture Development Corp. (TPVDC), said the plan involves, among others, rebuilding a stronger wall, reconstructing the damaged houses and installing a 12-meter steel pile to support the portion of the project's retaining wall that caved in.

The solution was implemented starting Friday and will be completed in 60 days.

Part of a retaining wall of the condominium project collapsed last Tuesday, damaging at least 10 houses.

Tomaneng said they started the reconstruction Friday of the damaged houses simultaneously with the reconstruction of the retaining wall.

TPVDC classified affected residents into two, according to the extent of the damage on their houses.

Tomaneng said those whose houses had minor damage can go back in 20 days while those that are in worse state will have to wait for 60 days for the reconstruction work on their homes to be completed.

He said surface concreting will be done in the affected area to strengthen the foundation of the wall. This is expected to be completed in eight days.

The installation of the 12-meter soldier pile made of steel will begin after the completion of the surface concreting.

Tomaneng also said the cave-in will not affect the structure of the future P1.7-billion condominium tower.

Public officials of Mindoro Province are in Cebu

Some 130 elected public officials of Mindoro Province are in Cebu to study and adopt some of its programs.

Mindoro Vice Governor Humerlito Atienza Dolor, one of officials who are in Cebu for a three-day capacity building training, said they have chosen Cebu as one of their models.

During their visit to Capitol Thursday, the Mindoro officials were shown Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia's 12-point agenda.

Dolor, said he has been following the governor's programs since 2008 when he first visited Cebu as chairman of the Provincial Board Members' League.

He said if the governor seeks a post in the Senate, he will campaign for her.

The officials from Mindoro were not able to meet with the governor because she was in Sogod town for the inauguration of some projects.

Among the governor's programs they wanted to follow are the senior citizen's program, disaster risk reduction and mangrove planting.

Dolor said their province is an emerging tourist destination in Luzon, and they can learn a lot from Cebu.

They also aim to be a center of investment in their region, just like Cebu.

Officials from the province of Iloilo also visited Capitol recently, and the governor's program was also shown to them.

The Cebu Provincial Government's program against insurgency was also replicated by Bukidnon Province.

Bukidnon Gov. Alex Calingasan adopted the social integration program of Cebu province that gives rebels a chance to return to the fold of the law.

Capitol would also give financial assistance to those who avail of the program.

In 2006, the governor declared an all-out war against insurgency, while conceptualizing a comprehensive package of services for rebel returnees.

Calingasan said more than 200 rebels have surrendered to the government since they started the program in their own province last year.

Garbage in Bulacan, Philippines

Capitol employees will soon have to segregate their office trash.

This, after Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado announced that the provincial government will build their own material recovery facility (MRF) at the compound of the Bulacan Medical Center, which will be managed by the Bulacan Environment and Natural Resources Office, in coordination with the General Services Office.

Alvarado recently issued Memorandum No. 52 directing all department heads, capitol employees and owners of establishments within the provincial capitol compound to segregate garbage, which will then be hauled to the proposed MRF at the BMC compound.

The governor also instructed department heads to delegate an "ecology officer" who will coordinate with BENRO for the systematic disposal of office trash.

Alvarado said that BENRO will train the designated "ecology officers" to inform employees on the proper ways to segregate and dispose office trash.

BENRO and GSO will also brief establishment owners within the capitol compound on the proper disposal of the waste and garbage.

BENRO chief Rustico de Belen said that trash bins had been put up within the premises of the capitol building where employees could dispose their garbage.

Ambush in Camarines Sur, Philippines

By Danny O. Calleja

The commanding general of the Philippine Army's (PA) 9th Infantry Division (Spear) described Army Pfc. Edel Llamas as a hero. 

Llamas was the lone fatality from a platoon of soldiers ambushed by New People's Army (NPA) rebels while on board a military truck along the national highway in barangay Kilikilihan, San Andres, Catanduanes early morning last March 26.

"He is a hero. He died saving his platoon. He died serving his country," Maj. Gen. Josue Gaverza said in paying tribute to the slain soldier at the division's headquarters in Camp Elias Angeles here and extending sympathies to his bereaved family.

Gaverza assured that military honors will be bestowed on Llamas and all benefits and assistance would be received by his family.

The Bicol top military commander recalled that Llamas was supposed to be on leave and at home with his family and his wife who had just returned from a two-year working stint abroad. However, a call from his immediate superior requesting him to join his unit in a security mission as he was about to board a ferry boat to the Bicol mainland foiled his departure.

Llamas was assigned with the 83rd Infantry Battalion (IB) of the PA based in San Andres town.

Following a week-long military operation conducting security patrol to protect the hydroelectric plant in a remote area of San Miguel town, the troop was heading back to their headquarters in Barangay Lictin when waylaid by the rebels along the national highway.

The NPAs in the island warned earlier that they would destroy the hydro power facility because of the resistance of its management to pay "revolutionary tax" the communist movement is demanding.

The power generating plant, owned by Sunwest Water and Electricity Corp. (SUWESCO), a local energy developer, started operations in 2008 and was attacked by the NPAs a year after reportedly for the same reason.

Catanduanes is considered as the few remaining hotbed of communist insurgency in Bicol. Military records show that there are about 45 armed regulars of the NPA operating in the island where the rebels started to form a mass base only about five years ago.

With its tires busted by the first volley of gunfire the military vehicle carrying Llamas' platoon was pinned inside the "killing zone" set up by the ambushers.

One member of the government team recalled that Llamas, who was a fearless fighter was heard shouting "baba na, baba na, ako na ang bahala dito" as the other 29 soldiers were scrambling down from the truck to seek cover under heavy enemy fire and find position to engage their unseen attackers.

Llamas stayed in the truck providing covering fire with his K3 submachine gun for his companions but was fatally hit by enemy fire before he himself could alight to safety. Another soldier identified by Gaverza as Pfc Eliseo Gran was wounded in the attack.

"Llamas' act of bravery allowed the rest of the platoon to abandon the ill-fated truck then engage the NPA rebels who retreated after a five-minute heavy exchanges of gunfire," Lt. Col. Roldofo Batang, the PA's 83rd IB commanding officer said.

Llamas, 28 and a native of Albay, was known to his fellow soldiers as a jolly military man but a seasoned fighter who had shown outstanding commitment to service. "He treasured much his career in the military," according to Batang.

"In fact, Llamas never complained when he was summoned back to duty before his tragic death even as he was supposed to be on a vacation for his official leave," he added.

Tornado Slams Cotabato, Philippines

A strong tornado pummeled two villages in Lake Sebu town in South Cotabato last Tuesday afternoon, killing a 12-year-old girl and injuring two other local residents.

In a belated report, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said Friday the twister ravaged residential and farming communities in Barangays Poblacion and Lamdalag of Lake Sebu at around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

It identified the lone fatality as KC Dawang, who was reportedly inside their house in Sitio Lem-ehek in Poblacion when it was struck by strong winds brought by the tornado.

Two local residents - Imelda Swan of Sitio Lem-ehek, Poblacion and four-year-old Kayla Faith Tampungan of Sitio Tabudtod in Barangay Lamdalag - were injured after they were felled by house and tree debris.

The NDRRMC said 15 families with 49 dependents in Sitio Lem-ehek in Poblacion and Sitio Tabudtod in Lamdalag also lost their homes as a result of the incident.

Isidro Janita, South Cotabato Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) chief, said Friday they immediately extended food and relief assistance worth P19,800 to the affected residents.

He said they have dispatched a team to the area to assess the extent of the calamity and address the other needs of the victims.

Janita said the municipal government of Lake Sebu, through its Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, has also extended emergency assistance worth 5,000 to the victims.

Bicol, Philippines No Fear of Korea Rocket Missile

Disaster authorities here lifted on Friday the alert status from high to normal in the provinces of Camarines Norte and Catanduanes after the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) issued a directive for it, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Bicol said Friday.

Raffy Alejandro, OCD regional director and Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Mnagement Council (RDRRMC) chairperson, said the lifting of the alert status was due to the unsuccessful launch of the North Korea Rocket this morning.

The provinces of Camarines Norte and Catanduanes were placed in heightened alert since Wednesday in the wake of a possible threat of a missile debris fall due to a NoKor rocket launch.

Alejandro said he issued on Friday a directive to all disaster councils that the "No Sailing, Fishing and Flying Zone" policies be terminated immediately.

Alejandro said lifting the alert status would enable sea crafts, and planes in threatened areas in Bicol to pursue their normal navigational routes.

RORO passenger sea vessels and other sea crafts plying the routes Tabaco-Virac began their normal operation after the warning was lifted.

Nueva Ecija Land Dispute Ends up in Crime

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) did not send agents to arrest the couple, who along with a daughter, were later found dead with bodies riddled with bullets in a barangay road in Barangay Mayamot here, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Thursday.

Supt. Roberto Aliggayu, director of the provincial police, said that the NBI provincial has no information on the identities of the suspects who allegedly "arrested" Fernandito De Guzman, 57, and Rosalinda, 52, of Barangay Panabingan around 6 a.m. Wednesday.

The couple, along with their daughter, Norie De Guzman Dela Cruz, 24, were found lying dead on the road pavement around 6:20 of that morning.

Chief Inspector Armando Santiago, town police chief, said Dela Cruz insisted to accompany her parents to the NBI-Cabanatuan field office.

Aliggayu said that the NBI chief "has not issued any order to implement any warrant of arrest in the area as required by their standard operating procedure."

Follow up investigation, he said, showed that the De Guzman patriarch, a caretaker in a vast land property in San Antonio town, faced illegal possession of firearms charges for allegedly possessing a shotgun, grease gun and a garand rifle being used in guarding the property which is a subject of long time dispute with a group of farmers in 2008.

Santiago said the victims succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds from cal. 45 pistol and M-16 Armalite rifle.

Investigation showed that the De Guzman was on his way to the provincial road of this town along with son-in-law Marcos Dela Cruz on board a tricycle when intercepted by four persons on a van without plate number who allegedly presented an arrest warrant in Barangay Panabingan.

They were then brought back to their house to pick up the wife, allegedly because she was also subject of a separate arrest warrant.

Fernandito De Guzman Jr., the victims' son, said his father had once told him about a death threat purportedly over a long-running battle for a large agricultural property in the town.

He stopped short of saying though that he was not aware of particulars in the land issue since he was serving as a pastor for a Baptist church in Batangas.

Deadline of Paying Tax in the Philippines

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Regional Office 11-A will serve taxpayers in Panay and Boracay Islands until midnight of April 16 to make sure the last minute filers could file their income tax returns (ITRs).

BIR regional director Romulo Aguila said the filing of ITRs has been extended to April 16 since April 15 falls on Sunday.

Aguila said based on their monitoring, a lot of taxpayers had already trooped to the region's 33 filing centers to beat the deadline.

The BIR official urged the last minute filers on April 16 to be at the filing centers before 7 p.m. to avail of the extended hour of service.

Aguila said the 33 filing centers set up by the BIR Region 11-A do not include the offices of the local government units.

"For government employees, since they have substitute filing then they need not have to go to the BIR offices and filing centers," he said.

Scandal in Iloilo, Philippines

Six persons that included four minors were injured in a stabbing incident and pill box explosion at about 8 p.m. Thursday in Lapuz Norte, Lapaz, this city.

The Lapaz police station 2 said the bloody incident was triggered by a heated altercation between suspect Jomarie Nicor and Rolando Arnais that finally resulted in the stabbing of the latter. But despite his wound, Arnais was able to thrust a bolo, hitting Nicor in the arm.

Sensing danger, Nicor ran away to avoid head-on confrontation with the determined Arnais who gave chase only to be prevented by the sudden blast of an improvised explosive thrown by the fleeing Nicor.

The blast also wounded four bystanders identified as Glen, 6; Jeff, 8; and two other minors whose identities were not immediately made available by the Lapaz PNP.

Arnais, who is presently confined at the Western Visayas State University Medical Center in Jaro district here, also sustained multiple shrapnel wounds from pill box explosion.

The four minors, on the other hand, were also taken to a city hospital here for immediate treatment from various injuries they have suffered in the different parts of their bodies inflicted by the improvised explosive device.

Comment on Mindanao Power Summit

Mayor Celso Lobregat on Friday presented during the Mindanao Power Summit in Davao City, the manifesto of Zamboanga City power stakeholders relative to the power situation in the area.

The manifesto, signed by representatives from various sectors, was the result of a meeting convened by Lobregat in cooperation with House Deputy Speaker Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar on Wednesday, where power stakeholders in this city were asked to share and discuss issues and concerns related to power.

"Given the growing demand and limited supply of power in the entire Mindanao, we support the establishment of baseload power plants in Zamboanga City consistent with environmental laws and policies, and seriously urge the National Government to create a conducive environment for the private sector to invest in the power sector and expedite the processing serious proposals and, to explore all alternative sources of energy," the manifesto stated.

The Mindanao Power Summit, organized by Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Chairperson Secretary Luwalhati Antonino in collaboration with the Department of Energy (DOE), was graced by no less than President Benigno Simeon Aquino, III.

It was intended to present the overview of the real Mindanao power situation, generate and discuss consensus attendant to the power problem and the corresponding immediate solutions and assure the general public of definitive measures taken not just by the government but also by the power stakeholders.

Lobregat, together with Salazar who briefed Summit participants about Mindanao legislative energy measures, and other Zamboanga stakeholders, attended the event in Davao on Friday.

The manifesto contains issues, concerns and proposed solutions tackled during the Wednesday meeting in City Hall.

It highlighted the initial partial solutions that included the Zamcelco-TMI contract and implementation of the inter-ruptible load program (ILP) and Time of Use (TOU) pricing; the medium-term issue and solutions which included exploring other alternative sources of energy and the immediate need of Zamcelco to explore the possibility of purchasing, installing and operating diesel-based reserve power facilities and the need for Zamcelco to program the early purchase of additional power demand requirements from other sources for the years 2013 to 2015; and the long term issue and solution.

Zamboanga City's peak demand is 81 megawatts (MW) while Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) and National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) supply is only pegged at minimum 52-MW for April 2012 and 60-MW for June 2012.

The load allocation expected to be delivered for the month of April with 80-MW load to maintain system generation matrix is only 48-MW and 56-MW for the month of June.

These translate to five hours of brownout for the month of April and four hours brownout for the month of June.

Aklan Mayor Jailed in Cebu, Philippines

A Cebu City Jail official said he is willing to accept former mayor Alfredo Arsenio of Lezo, Aklan to be jailed at the facility.

But this was quickly opposed by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.

Arsenio is detained at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC), a facility run by the provincial government.

But Capitol officials want Arsenio transferred to the city jail after they learned there was no court order stating that Arsenio be detained at the CPDRC.

Arsenio is facing a murder charge for the death of a broadcaster in Aklan but the hearing of his case was ordered transferred in Cebu City.

The plan to transfer Arsenio was also triggered after Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia found out that some jail guards reportedly gave special treatment to the former mayor.

Sometime in February, Arsenio was spotted taking his lunch outside the facility with the jail guards without any court approval.

A video footage of Arsenio also reached the Cebu Capitol, with the former mayor holding his birthday party at the warden's office last month, which angered Garcia.

The Cebu Provincial Legal Office headed by lawyer Marino Martinquilla. will file a motion requesting the court to transfer Arsenio to the city jail.

Cebu City Jail Warden Johnson Calub said if there is an order for Arsenio's transfer then he has no other choice but to accept him.

Rama, however, said he can never allow Arsenio to be transferred to the Cebu City Jail.

Rama said "favoritism" has long been an issue in the city jail that remains to be resolved.

If Arsenio were given special treatment at the CPDRC, Rama said it was more likely that he would get the same favor at the city jail.

Rama said favoritism had been one of the reasons he had not restored yet the monthly incentive allowance of the jail personnel and the rice subsidy for the inmates.

Jail personnel used to receive a P1,000 monthly allowance each from Cebu City Hall and P200,000 as rice subsidy for the inmates.

But then mayor and now Rep. Tomas Osmena (Cebu City, south district) cut off these privileges in 2002, following reports of drug trafficking, food subsidy kickbacks and special treatment to some inmates at the city jail.

Cebu Scandal Drags Facebook Pictures

The parents of four of five high school graduates who were barred from joining the graduation rites last March 30 by St. Theresas's College (STC) in Cebu City seek P1.5 million in damages and a public apology from the school.

Named respondents in an amended complaint before the Regional Trial Court in Cebu City were STC High School Department principal Sister Celeste Ma. Purisima Pe, assistant principal Mussolini Yap, student affairs moderator Marnie Racaza, discipline-in-charge Kristine Rose Ligot and homeroom adviser Editha Jospehine Yu.

In the complaint, the petitioners said the girls were qualified to graduate from high school.

The girls' names were also listed in the invitations given to parents and guardian for the commencement exercises.

But on March 1, or 29 days before graduation, the girls were required to report to the principal's office, where they were "maltreated and verbally abused."

"Not contended in hurling the defamatory words and taking advantage of their minority, defendants coerced the minors to write about alleged lewd photos posted on Facebook," the amended complaint, prepared by lawyer Cornelio Mercado, read.

On March 2, the parents were made to acknowledge receipt of the school's summary findings and rulings" contained on a sheet of yellow paper captioned as "probation."

The findings stated that the girls were "engaging in immoral, indecent, obscene or lewd acts."

The sanctions include prohibition from joining the graduation rites.

"As educators, defendants school official sought to know the grave and serious implication of labeling a person, especially minors, as having committed 'immoral, indecent, obscene, or lewd' acts" said Mercado.

Mercado said the minors were deprived of due process as provided in the student's daily guide, pursuant to the Education Act of 1982.

"It is important to first stress that photos portray still images, not acts or actions. The photographs defendants printed and reproduced are "stolen shots." Recordings made without the subjects' consent is against law, violates privacy, and cannot be used as evidence," said Mercado.

Ruben Ecleo Jr Found Guilty of Murder

By Eddie Barrita, Philippine News Agency

CEBU CITY - A regional trial court (RTC) in Cebu City late Friday afternoon found Dinagat island Rep. Ruben Ecleo Jr. guilty of the crime of parricide for the death of his wife, Alona Bacolod-Ecleo, a third-year medical student.

Judge Soliver Peras of RTC Branch 10 meted on Ecleo the penalty of reclusion perpetua or imprisonment of from 20 years and one day to 40 years.

He also awarded more than P25 million in damages to the victim's family.

After four postponements since December last year, Peras handed down the guilty verdict at past 5 p.m. Friday.

Ecleo, the supreme master of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA), was indicted for the death of his wife, Alona Bacolod Ecleo, in 2002.

Ecleo did not attend the promulgation of the judgment in his case.

A team from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) was deployed at the Marcelo Fernan Palace for the promulgation.

CIDG 7 Chief Jose Pante said if Ecleo was present, they would have arrested him since he has a warrant of arrest.

Ecleo was elected congressman of Dinagat Island in the May 2010 election.

Car Accident in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur

Three persons were killed while 36 others were injured when a six-wheeler cargo truck carrying people who attended the burial of a relative overturned along the national highway in Barangay Sta. Irene, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur on Thursday afternoon.

A report from the Prosperidad Municipal Police Station headed by Senior Insp. Joseph Ejercito P. Lambaco identified the dead as Wenie Valencia, 55, married; Laiza Valencia, a minor; and Rey Maturan.

The injured victims were treated at the D.O. Plaza Memorial Hospital in Patin-ay, Prosperidad.

Job Hiring in Laguna, Philippines

By Saul E. Pa-a

Laguna, Philippines - The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the city government of Calamba's joint undertaking on the expanded Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES) augurs well in providing the youth and students affordable education and vast employment opportunities, according to City Mayor Joaquin Chipeco Jr. 

Speaking before hundreds of working students under the SPES orientation program here Friday, Mayor Chipeco inspired the city's SPES beneficiaries and their parents for putting premium on the children's education and providing a good and solid foundation.

The mayor also advanced his development projects for the City College's notable accomplishments by producing quality professionals in various disciplines since it started a few years ago with basic and core educational courses at affordable costs.

Chipeco pitched in his city's "1,000 percent" support to the SPES project by raising the city government's share to P315 per day, higher than the P200 shelled out by other local governments. He pledged to increase further the city's share in the coming years.

The DOLE, as program chair, contributes 40 percent of SPES cost-sharing arrangement with the other 60 percent stake by the employer.

The program has since been expanded through Republic Act No. 9547 enacted in July 2008 from the previous law, R.A. 7323 which originally covered the summer months to include the Christmas vacation as working periods for poor but deserving students in the high school level.

The labor department also expanded the coverage in the tertiary, vocational and technical education students who can be employed at any time of the year from 20 to 52 days by the participating employers to augment their income for educational purposes.

In coordination with the government's public employment service office (PESO), the SPES recipients are informed on their employment rights, benefits and privileges under existing laws, company policies and through their employment contracts. The city PESO is the frontline implementer for the matching and referrals.

Chipeco underscored the need and importance of the SPES program, saying "this will help you tide over during the summer months, and the reason why your parents are striving, working hard for long hours because we want our children to have a better future."

The mayor drew inspirations from how the country experienced three waves in the job and employment history. The first wave, he said, was the exodus of thousands of overseas Filipinos in search of greener pastures because of their love for their families.

The second wave occurred with the establishment of the government's economic and investors' hubs through the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).

"Businesses and investments provide job opportunities. That's why we offer them tax incentives," he explained.

Chipeco expressed optimism for "the third wave as forthcoming with the influx of call centers and the advent of the next wave cities in the region, starting with Santa Rosa and next with Calamba City groomed to be the next Makati of Southern Tagalog."

"Kayong lahat dito ay puedeng ma-accommodate sa call centers. Whereas, once upon a time, I struggled to find work and tried to make both ends meet," Chipeco disclosed.

Rep. Justin Marc Chipeco also inspired the working students that their responsibility of working to help their parents defray the burden of tuition fees "will bear sweeter success with your educational endeavors."

"Ginagawa ito ng ating gobyerno because we really want to help you. Gusto naming maramdaman nyo na ang gobyerno nyo ay nagtatrabahao para sa inyo and giving you more opportunities," the Laguna lawmaker said.

According to the solon, Calamba posted the highest number of qualified SPES beneficiaries and he assured that "we are trying to lure investors here so you don't have to venture far to find jobs when you finish college."

DOLE-Calabarzon acting Regional Director Alex Avila expounded the SPES objectives in helping the students and their parents attain their education and in exposing them to the values and work ethics.

Avila also assured of DOLE's continuing support following President Benigno S. Aquino III's directives last year to increase the budget allocations for the SPES, making it a continuing year-round program.

Avila expressed appreciation to the Calamba City government's 100 percent support and dynamic leadership of Mayor Chipeco for the SPES project.

He also exhorted student beneficiaries to not only enjoy the summer jobs but also learn from the work values and ethics instilled by the SPES for their quality work performance and preparedness to join the labor force.

Engr. Ignacio Sanque, Laguna DOLE provincial director, estimated some 15 to 20 percent absorption and placements among SPES graduates in the local government-sponsored job fairs.

Sanque also said that more than the job fairs, where about 10 to 50 percent could be reached, there are a number of SPES graduates who successfully land in their jobs through direct applications.

He reported DOLE's intensified efforts for private sector's participation this year by forging partnerships through memorandum of agreements (MOAs) with business establishments.

Participating government agencies chaired by DOLE and the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Departments of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Budget and Management (DBM) and Finance (DOF) forged the Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2010-001 to ensure implementation for the SPES.

NPA Communists in Capiz, Philippines

The Philippine Army's 3rd Infantry Division on Saturday announced that its units discovered and took possession of two abandoned New People's Army (NPA) camps at the vicinity of Nayawan and Lahug, both of Tapaz, Capiz Friday.

Major Enrico Gil Ileto, 3rd Infantry Division spokesperson, said that the encampments belonged to the NPA's "Komiteng Rehiyon Panay".

Ileto said the discovery of the camps followed a clash between government and communist forces in the area early in the week.

He said that the first camp, which was captured at about 1:35 p.m. Friday, could accommodate about 30 persons, with improvised beddings and a firearms rack.

While the second one, which was discovered 3:24 pm, has fifty huts made of laminated sacks with improvised beddings and two kitchens and has an estimated area of one hectare and is believed to be a regional camp.

One empty magazine for M14 rifle, personal belongings and documents, all hastily left behind, were found in the area.

Troops under the 61st Infantry Battalion figured in a firefight with the NPA about 7:25 a.m. Wednesday at Barangay Nayawan, Tapaz, Capiz who, together with the National Commission on Indigenous People and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, were supposed to undergo "Pulong pulong" (dialogue)with the populace for an information drive on the government's various programs, particularly on the rights of indigenous people.

"We believe that Wednesday's encounter made the NPA decide to abandon the camp. This is definitely another big blow in their leadership and organization. Your Army here in the Visayas will make sure that armed groups will be unable to use force to threaten our citizens," 3rd Infantry Division chief Major Gen. Jose Mabanta Jr., said.

DPWH Project in Capiz, Philippines

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio L. Singson vowed to implement more projects in Capiz with more funds to come soon.

"I assure you that Capiz will have more projects with the pouring in of more funds unlike before that the province has a 'dieta' of budget ", Singson said, apparently referring to former Sen. Mar Roxas who is now the Secretary of Department of Transportation and Communication but was an opposition senator during the stint of Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Singson was here during the ground breaking of the 19.86 kilometers circumferential road last Friday in Barangay Libas here.

According to him, the project to be implemented will resolve the flooding and serve as a diversion for the port.

With an initial budget of P300 million for fiscal year 2012, the Circumferential road, including four bridges, has a total estimated budget of P850 million.

Circumferential road is a project that has long been envisioned by one Capiz beloved sons, the late Rep. Dinggoy Roxas, who anticipated not only to ease the traffic in the now congested inner street of this city, but to provide an effective route of transporting people, commercial and agricultural goods from the port and the city areas to the rural municipalities of Capiz.

The project, according to engineer Julius Abela, assistant chief of the planning and design section of the DPWH Capiz first district engineering office, aims to provide fast and reliable support transport system between urban centers and depressed rural municipalities, promote tourism, increase economic activities and upgrade the standards of people living in the area.

The project is divided into two sections. Section one starts at Culasi Port passing at the side of Cadimahan River. It crosses the rivers of Cadimahan and Panay and proceeds towards the Ivisan-Roxas City Road. Section two starts at the junction of the Ivisan-Roxas National Road and eventually connects at the national highway going to Panay town. The project was included in the Medium Term Proposed Infrastructure Program under the Panay Island Road Network Development Project from 2010 to 2012.

Capiz, Philippines Crime Lab

Capiz province has now its own new police crime laboratory located at the compound of the Department of Public Works and Highways 1st Engineering District.

The crime laboratory was inaugurated by no less than Capiz Gov. Victor Tanco, Sr., as guest of honor; Supt. Cipriano Querol, PNP regional director; Chief Supt. Lorlie Arroyo, director of the Crime Laboratory at the Police National Headquarters, and other top ranking police officials last Friday afternoon.

Tanco said that it's a good gist for Capiz to have its own crime laboratory. Earlier, evidences like those of illegal drugs needing laboratory examinations, were being brought to Iloilo City.

"This is a big of help to our fight against criminalities," Tanco said. He then thanked Querol, Arroyo and the other top ranking police officials for it.

The governor considered the project as a joint undertaking as he vowed to have the provincial government extend 100 percent support to the crime laboratory operations and maintenance.