Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Congen Cruz Joins in Commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Bataan Death March

24 March 2017, Los Angeles – Philippine Consul General Adelio Angelito S. Cruz joined the commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Bataan Death March held at the White Sands Missile Range, a U.S. Army testing area in New Mexico, on 19 March 2017. Considered to be the largest commemoration of the Bataan Death March outside the Philippines, the annual march was started by Army ROTC Department of the New Mexico State University in 1989.

A record number of 7,200 participants joined the event, composed of both military personnel and civilians, including eight survivors of the 1942 Bataan Death March.

This year’s commemorative event was made even more significant by the recent signing of the Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015 on 14 December 2015, recognizing Filipino and American World War II veterans for their service.


99-year-old WWII veteran says Duterte is best president ever

BALANGA CITY, Bataan – 99-year old World War II veteran who lost his hearing due to cannon fires during the war on Sunday describedPresident Rodrigo Duterte as the best president the Philippines ever had.
"Sa 16 presidente, ang tunay na presidente si Duterte. Bale wala ang iba, pinakamagaling si Duterte. Matapang, maayos, itinatapon ang mga mapagsamantala sa gobyerno. Nakatapat tayo ng Presidente, ng magaling napresidente na matapang, makatuwiran, ayos,” Daniel Villanueva said.
Villanueva was born on July 21,1918 and resides in Sibacan, seaside village of Balanga City.
“Ipagpatuloy mo ang iyong gawain, tama yan, ayos yan,” he told theChief Executive and the present administration.
Villanueva is a government pensioner receiving PHP5,000 monthly pension from the Government Service InsuranceSystem and PHP6,700 a month as WWII veteran.
“Hiling ko sa gobyerno, pensiyunan ako ng malaki dahil ang mga kasamakong kinilala, tumatanggap ng PHP45,000 a month,” the old man said when asked what he wanted from government.
Apparently, he was referring to veterans recognized by the United States government.
“Ako ang chief PHPP6,700 lamang pero ang mga mababa sa akin PHP45,000kaya tinatawanan ako,” Villanueva said.
He was staff sergeant under Colonel Federico Lumbre of Orani and Col. Monico Dominguez of Samal, both in Bataan under “C” Company/Infantry, 3rd Battalion, 4th Regiment of Bataan Military District attached to 38th Infantry Division, USA.
“Nabingi ako dahil sa putok ng kanyon, sa pagsasaksak ng bala sakanyon,” he said.
He evaded joining the Death March from Bataan to Capas in Tarlac or a distance of 160 kilometers.
"Mula sa Orion, Bataan naglakad ako papunta sa Manila Bay. Tumakasako para hindi mapasama sa Death March,” Villanueva said.
A high school graduate, he worked as supervisor of the Bataan National Park during the Martial Law years.
He has 10 children, one a former chief of police and another a supervisor of the Department of Education. (PNA


Batangas twin quakes damage schools, hospitals, churches

CAMP VICENTE LIM, Calamba City –The twin earthquakes --measuring magnitude 5.6 and 6.0 -- which struck Batangas and Calabarzon area sat 3:07 p.m. and 3:09 p.m. respectively on Saturday brought damages to schools, hospitals, hotels, churches and other infrastructures, according to the rapid disaster assessments monitoring and reports that reached the Office of CivilDefense (OCD) Calabarzon regional headquarters here on Sunday.
OCD Calabarzon Regional Director Olivia M. Luces reported that Cavite’s combined disaster response and emergency teams from Carmona, Alfonso and Tagaytay City will be dispatching on Monday(April 10) personnel and equipment to augment the local DRMMC in Mabini, Batangas where the two quake epicenters were traced.
Luces, who chairs the RDRRMC Calabarzon, also informed that the Tanauan City government in Batangas has declared the suspension of classes for all levels on Monday.
She identified the damaged school buildings as Batangas State University campus where the wall, ceiling and stairs of the College of Engineering, Architecture and Fine Arts building collapsed.
The Sta. Teresita College in Bauan, Batangas and the Barangay Bayorbor Senior High School Building in MataasNa Kahoy also in Batangas reported minor damages.
OCD4A also reported that besides the Batangas Medical Center, Taal Polymedic Hospital and the Lipa City Hospital that suffered cracks on the walls, the Mabini General Hospital in Barangay Pulong Niogan also incurred major damages while Jesus of Nazareth Hospital in Batangas City was also reported to have cracks on its wall and its third floor ceiling collapsed.
The quakes also inflicted minor damages to San Juan District Hospital in Batangas and the Bay District Hospital in Laguna displacing patients and moved them to tents and temporary shelters.
Department of Health (DOH)Calabarzon regional office has already raised its Code White Alert as health service personnel continue gathering of reports with local health units.
Besides the 20 partially damaged houses reported earlier in Bauan, Batangas, the town disaster response unit also reported two totally-wrecked residential units in Barangays San Andres and Pitugo 1.
In Batangas City, a house located in Barangay dela Paz was totally damaged while the quake also partially damaged a house in Zone 6 in Taal, Batangas.
As the Holy Week started on“Palm Sunday” (April 9), authorities have closely coordinated with parishes on the structural assessments of churches that were damaged by the April 4 quake and the subsequent twin quakes on April 8.
These include the Tingloy Church, Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Batangas City where the wall of its pastoral building collapsed, Bauan Church and the Taal Basilica where fallen slabs and debris were earlier reported.
The National Disaster RiskReduction Management Council has already issued caution to the public to stay safe and prepared and be vigilant in the wake of aftershocks that may trigger landslides and damage to infrastructures.
Authorities here have also informed that besides the Hotel Camp Netanya building that partially collapsed in Barangay Ligaya, Mabini, the Hotel Sapra in Barangay Sta. Clara in Batangas City was also partially damaged.
As of Sunday, government structures like the Anilao Market in Mabini, the Poblacion in Bauan and Mataasna Kahoy municipal hall incurred minor damages.
Landslides also impaired travel on roads in Batangas City from Barangays Dela Paz to Ilijan and Barangay Pagkilatan as of Sunday as heaps of fallen debris stalled traffic in San RoqueRoad in Bauan.
Mt. Maculot in Cuenca, Batangas also experienced landslide while a ground rupture was reported in Sitio Balanoy in Mabini, Batangas.
As the thousands of residents and patients are displaced and housed in temporary tent shelters and evacuation centers, OCD Calabarzon has been coordinating with the national OCD and NDRRMCon the provisions for mobile kitchens to Batangas City.
At the same time, DSWD IV-A also intensified relief operations through the disaster management units (DMUs) and coordination with the Warehouse Management Team for transport and logistical support.
DSWD has already distributed the45 boxes of Ready-To-Eat-Food in Mabini, Batangas to families and patients who were under preemptive evacuation at the height of the quakes.
Batangas LGUs have also activated their incident command system (ICS) and established the IncidentCommand Post at the Batangas City Convention Center. (PNA)


LP solon: Dip in Robredo ratings 'consequence' of 'crusade' to speak dissent

The decline in Vice President Leni Robredo’s satisfaction ratings is a “cause for alarm” that came as a consequence of her standing as a leading figure in the opposition, a lawmaker allied to her said Tuesday, April 11.
Asked about the latest SWS survey, where Robredo took the biggest dip among top government officials, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat said it was “definitely” a cause for alarm “because it’s a downward trend.”
The Vice President’s net satisfaction rating now stands at a “moderate” +26, down by 11 points from December 2016’s “good” +37. The survey was conducted from March 25 to 28, at the time Robredo was under fire for her controversial video message for a UN side session. In the said video, she raised irregularities over the current administration's anti-illegal drugs campaign.
The recorded message has since ignited talks of impeachment against her from several supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte, including House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
Baguilat, a member of the Liberal Party in which Robredo sits as interim chair, noted that the decline in her ratings is due to her “crusade to speak the truth,” especially since she left President Duterte’s Cabinet.
“That’s the consequence, kasi if you’re in a very difficult crusade to tell the truth, ganiyan talaga ‘yung magiging consequence niya, especially na bilang head of opposition to a very popular government, meron talagang implications ‘yung mga positions niya,” he told GMA News Online in a phone interview on Tuesday.
Baguilat noted that Robredo is“not a populist leader who would not just say what the people want to hear.”
“Since umalis siya sa Duterte Cabinet, parang nasa isang krusada siya na siya ‘yung namumuno sa opposition, and definitely it requires taking certain difficult positions on controversial issues… so sa kaniya right now, ang kaniyang mindset is to speak the truth.And sometimes sa mga kababayan natin,medyo siguro hindi magandang pakinggan ‘yung katotohanan,” he added.
Cabinet resignation, ‘organized’ smear campaign
The lawmaker also said Robredo’s resignation as Housing czar late last year has left the public without solid metrics to measure her performance.
“It’s really a challenge for her kasi nga since umalis siya sa gabinete, walang batayan kasi ang taumbayan na suriin kung ano ba ang kaniyangperformance bilang isang national official. ‘Yung ibang bise presidente kasi, nu’ng nakaraan, they have their Cabinet positions,” he said.
“Iba kasi kung meron kang programa na hinahawakan wherein the people can judge you whether you’re performing well or not. Sa ngayon, medyo hindi alam siguro ng taumbayan kung ano ‘yungpinakatungkulin na ngayon ng bise presidente except sa pagiging spare tire,”he added.
For his part, Quezon City Rep.Jose Christopher “Kit” Belmonte blamed an “organized” effort to discredit Robredo for the decline in her ratings.
“May organized campaign kasi na siraan siya. Parang kasalanan niya palahat ng mga nangyayaring ‘di tama sa lipunan natin ngayon, kung ‘yung mgananinira ang papakinggan ng tao,” Belmonte, LP’s secretary general, toldGMA News Online in a text message.
Asked if he’s alarmed by this downward trend, he replied: “It’s more of a challenge than a cause of alarm.”

Baguilat said the challenge in addressing the situation falls on Robredo’s messaging.
“Siguro ang kailangan talagang gawin ngayon is to really discern kungano talaga ‘yung messages na dapat ipahayag ni Bise Presidente para ma-arrestitong downward trend,” he said.
“It’s probably also ‘yung challenge sa team ng communication steam ni Bise Presidente, to come up with messages para maipaliwanag sa taumbayan kung ano ‘yung kaniyang role na ngayon sa ating lipunan at sa ating pamahalaan,” he added.
Asked if LP has planned moves to help its chairperson with this, Baguilat said their efforts are currently more about helping “cascade” her messages.
“What we do is hinihintay namin kung meron bang mga messages o mga core messages na galing sa Vice President, which we as Liberals can also cascade down to our constituents. Siguro, I think, maskinakailangan pang pag-usapan namin ‘yung mga susunod pang hakbang para labanan ito,” he said.
“Hindi lang naman si Bise Presidente ang tinitira dito, kundi kami mismo, Liberal Party, ‘yung pagiging dilaw, ‘yan ‘yung talagang binabanatan, sokailangan dalhin namin ‘yung debate into a more rational one, especially in terms of kung ano ‘yung role ng opposition sa ating lipunan,” he added. — GMANews


Grandson claims grandma died of heart attack during Bohol clashes

An 80-year old grandma died of heart attack as security forces clashed with members of bandit Abu Sayyaf group in the province of Bohol on Tuesday evening.
Jimmylito Logrono, 23, claimed his lola died as soldiers and the police pounded the concrete house the bandits seized when they arrived in Bohol from Mindanao early this week, GMA News stringer Leo Udtohan reported Wednesday.
“Yung lola ko namatay dahil sagubat (giyera). Kung wala yung [bakbakan] hindi sana namatay ang lola ko...nangdahil sa Abu Sayyaf namatay ang lola ko,” Udtohan quoted Logrono as saying.
Over 3,000 residents from Barangays Napo, Canlenti, Banahao, Liloan Sur, and Liloan Norte in Inabanga town were evacuated as clashes between Abu Sayyaf group members and government forces raged on Tuesday, resulting in the deaths of three soldiers, one policeman, and six bandits.
Since Wednesday noon, some evacuees have returned to their homes even without clearance from the police and the military.
Udtohan said most of the families have opted to stay in school buildings that were converted into evacuation centers.
Authorities have not issued a clearance for the return of evacuees as five bandits are still believed atlarge in Bohol. — GMA News


Cops kill brother of MILF's Ghadzali Jaafar

Policemen killed a brother ofMoro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) vice chairman for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar in an operation in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao on Tuesday,April 11.
Senior Inspector Marcille Manzano, spokesperson of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao police office, identified the slain brother of Jaafar as Mohaimen Abo, also known as Boy Bangsamoro.
Manzano said policemen were serving an arrest warrant on Abo at his house, but he resisted arrest.
"There was a resistance during the arrest, which forced the arresting officers to fire back," the police spokesperson said, indicating that Abo fired at the policemen. The incident happened around 4:45 p.m.
Police said they recovered a .45pistol from Abo.
Abo, along with a center Kumander Falcon, were ordered arrested by the Sultan Kudarat Regional TrialCourt Branch 12, for various charges including murder, robbery, frustrated murder, kidnapping-for-ransom and kidnapping with homicide.
Manzano said two more persons were arrested during the operation.
Jaafar, meanwhile, said the police team serving the arrest warrant on his brother should have coordinated with the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG). He said his brother is a member of the MILF's Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces.
The MILF organization has yet to issue a statement regarding the police operation.
"You know if the government has a pending case and would want to conduct a law enforcement operation, there is a ceasefire mechanism that works for it, which [the] government and MILF[have] agreed on," Jaafar said.
Jaafar noted that incidents like these are among the "obstacles to the peace efforts and it's a problem."
Jaafar is a member of the Bangsamoro Transition Committee, which was formed to craft the new Bangsamoro enabling law.
The crafting of an enabling law is part of the implementation process of Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed between the Philippine government and the MILF in March2014.
Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Eduardo Año believed the incident would not affect the government ceasefire with the MILF.
“These are isolated incidents and there are mechanisms to channel the complaints and I’m sure the ceasefire committee will look into that,” he told reporters after the press conference. —GMA News


Lascañas still willing to testify vs. Duterte despite Singapore trip

Despite leaving the country,r etired Davao City cop and self-confessed hitman Arturo Lascañas on Tuesday said he was still ready to testify against President Rodrigo Duterte even before the International Criminal Court (ICC).
"Handa pa rin akong tumestigo sa kahit na anong proceeding kung kinakailangan, sa impeachment man o sa ICC. Tapos na rin po akong magbigay ng statement sa Ombudsman," Lascañas said in a report by Jam Sisante on"24 Oras" on Tuesday.
"ICC is always an option byFLAG (Free Legal Assistance Group) for the govt's responsibility for EJKs(extra-judicial killings)," said Atty. Arno Sanidad, one of the legal counsels of Lascañas.
"We cannot however confirm whether FLAG intends to file or simply support the ICC if it independently and on its own undertakes action on EJKs in the Philippines," he added
Lascañas silently left the country over the weekend as he received threats that a lawsuit would be filed against him and that people were looking for him.
Bureau of Immigration spokesperson on Monday Antonette Mangrobang told GMA News Online that Lascañas presented to immigration officers a plane ticket which indicated April 22 as his return date to Manila.
The BI official said the ticketi ndicated Singapore as port of origin.
Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said if Lascañas will not return, he may be considered as guilty.
"Let us see whether he would return; otherwise, 'yung kanyangpag-alis will be considered as flight and flight is a sign of guilt,"Aguirre said.
Lascañas earlier corrobated the claims of self-confessed killer Edgar Matobato who implicated then-Davao CityMayor and now President Duterte in the killings of suspected criminals in the city through the so-called Davao Death Squad.
The former cop said they were paid by Duterte up to P100,000 depending on their target. — GMA News


'Bullies' blamed for Grade 7 student's death face probers

The four students blamed for the death of Grade 7 student John Mark Lucero faced investigators on Tuesday todeny that they physically abused the victim days before he died.

A report by GMA News' Steve Dailisan on 24 Oras said the four told the Women and Children Protection Division of the Taytay Police that Lucero, who had leukemia, even asked fortheir help against his enemies.

"Samahan ko raw po siya tapos sabi ko ayaw ko po kasi baka kami balikan nung mga kaaway niya," one of the students said.

"Sinabi niya lang po pangalan namin kasi 'di po namin siya tinulungan," another one said.

The four had earlier said Lucero was being threatened by an outsider.

On the other hand, the other two students said they were surprised when they learned that they were being blamed for Lucero's death. They said they knew the victim as a kind and friendly person.

"Mabait po. Di nga po yun nananakit. Nagulat nga lang ako na bigla na lang ako sinama sa pangalan," one student said.

"Di po ako makapaniwala na nadamay ako dun," another said.

Lucero and the four were students of Manuel I. Santos Memorial National High School, which has already submitted an incident report with the Department of Education but has yet to issue a formal statement to the media.

One of the students' parents said she fears her child might get hurt after reports of Lucero's death.

"Natatakot po ako na baka iyong anak ko naglalakad diyan e anuhin siya, suntukin o bugbugin din o ihagis diyan," she said.

PO2 Ahrenz Comaad, who is investigating the case, said another student also claimed he was bullied by the four students. He, however, said the student has yet to proceed to the Taytay Police due to fever.

"Pumunta po kanina yung [mother] nga po, e nagkalagnat [yung student] so aantayin po natin na maka-recover muna," Comaad said.

DepEd earlier said it will intensify its anti-bullying campaign amid the death of Lucero, who dreamed of becoming a soldier one day.

The family of Lucero refused to conduct an autopsy on the victim's body due to financial constraints.

His aunt, Wella Abello, called on the students to tell the truth before the victim's burial on April 16.

"Sana po magsabi sila ng totoo kasi hindi naman po magsasalitai yong isang bata na [nabawian] ng buhay," Abello said, urging the school to monitor their students better.

"Bantayan po nila mga estudyante nila para wala ng nangyayaring ganyan sa mga estudyante," Abello said. —GMA News


PHL reducing poverty in fisheries sector

MANILA –The government is working vigorously to alleviatepoverty and promote inclusive growth in the fisheries sector.

Melanie Guerra,officer-in-charge of the Fisheries Policy and Economics Division (FPED) of theDepartment of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR),said her agency implemented various livelihood development programs, projectsand initiatives.

Guerra, during the fish talksforum series on Tuesday, said it provided the fisherfolk appropriate inputs orassistance, capacity building and shared infrastructure support, andfacilitated market linkages in the domestic and export markets.

She noted that under theTargeted Actions to Reduce poverty and Generate Economic Transformation(TARGET) program, livelihood interventions would no longer be given on apiece-meal or stand-alone basis.

“The type of intervention shallbe matched with the type of available resources and its carrying capacity,”Guerra said. “Thus prior to the award of any inputs, profiling of the resourcesand the beneficiary shall be undertaken by the FLDTs (field livelihooddevelopment technicians).”

FLDTs were deployed in coastalmunicipalities with high concentration of fisherfolk and high incidence ofpoverty.

Each FLDT regularly visits andmonitors at least 75 fisherfolk beneficiaries that are registered under theFisherfolk Registry.

Such registry was cross-matchedwith the data of Department of Social Welfare and Development’s NationalHousehold Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) and then Departmentof Budget and Management (DBM)’s Registry System for Basic Sector inAgriculture (RSBSA) to ensure that the poorest among the poor are prioritized.

“This strategy is seen tosignificantly reduce the incidence of poverty among fisherfolk to at least 10percent while at the same time maximize production and improve fishsufficiency,” added Guerra.

She further said BFAR shouldalso provide training and/or capacitate fisherfolk beneficiaries for skills andthe local government unit (LGU) for responsible resource governance.

Guerra said interventions forpost-harvest, such as provision of Community Fish landing Center, smokehouse,seaweed/fish driers, and marketing, should also be provided to beneficiarycommunities to ensure product linkage with the markets.

She noted the 2016-2020Comprehensive National Fisheries Industry Development Plan (CNFIDP) targets toincrease aquaculture production in the country over the next five years.

“Production increase of 14.4percent from fiscal year 2015 to fiscal year 2020 is expected to come fromaquaculture interventions particularly on seaweeds, shellfish, food fishes andother high-value species…,” Guerra said.

Moreover, the BFAR official saidit worked also for hike in quantity and value of traded fish and fisheryproducts for domestic and export markets.

She noted the Plan aims toreduce by 10 percent the post-harvest losses which accounts to more than 25percent of total production.

“Improving on quality andreducing wastage would improve the value of fish. Moreover, compliance tointernational standards could also bring in more revenue from products exportedto major international markets,” she added.

Guerra further said effortswould be undertaken to improve regions that were less than 70 percent food fishsufficient, namely Cordillera Autonomous Region, Autonomous Region in MuslimMindanao, National Capital Region and Regions 2, 4A, 8, 9 and 11.

The CNFIDP is implemented by theBFAR with the involvement of the different sectors with the fisheries industry,local government units, non-government organizations, research institutions,academe and other partner agencies.

Its formulation was mandated bythe Republic Act (RA) 10654, which amended the Fisheries Code of 1998. (PNA)

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