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Laguna News March 2012

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Laguna Province
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Provincial Capitol Building of Laguna

Contents

NPA commander arrested in Laguna

A top NPA commander of Bicol Region with a lady companion was arrested in Calamba, Laguna, after the driver of the taxi they were riding accused them of staging a holdup.

Based on the report submitted by Col. Ivan Samarita, 202 Brigade commander stationed in Rizal, Laguna, Solcom spokesperson Col Generoso L. Bolina said the suspect was identified as Henry Aguenza Y Torre, front secretary of CPP/NPA, ISLACOM-Catanduanes with known postal address at Zone 2, Balatas, Naga City, while his lady companion was identified as Alicia Cenon Y Pollero of Bgy. Malictic, Norzagaray, Bulacan, also identified by a former rebel as ranking officer of NPA Bicol.

The arrest of the suspects came at 12:10 in the afternoon on March 27 after the taxi driver, Roger Catarata Salvoro, 43, married, of Cotmon St., Malabon City, asked assistance from traffic enforcer along the national highway in Cabuyao, Laguna, after he was strangled by pulling the seat belt by one of the suspects and the other one toted a knife when he refused to heed the demand of the suspects to transport them to Bicol. Also, his two cellphones worth P2,700 were taken by the suspects.

Based from the statement of the complainant, his taxi was rented by the suspects from Cubao, Quezon City, to Naga City and agreed to pay P5,000.

Upon reaching SLEX at the vicinity Sta. Rosa City, his taxi encountered mechanical problems which he perceived that the taxi would not be able to travel to Naga City.

He informed the suspects about the condition of the taxi and he was instructed to bring them back to Quezon City so that they could find another taxi. When the victim was about to maneuver back at Cabuyao exit, the suspects forcibly told him to go straight to Cabuyao instead. When they reached Cabuyao, he said he was lucky to see traffic enforcers along the highway.

Recovered from the suspects were two flash disks, 10 cellphones, and a laptop.As a result of further custodial debriefing and exploitation of the flash drives in coordination with the police and 202B, the duo was found to be connected with the CPP/ NPA operating in the Bicol Region. The laptop and flash drives contain confidential CPP information.

Calamba city gov’t honors retiring women employees

CALAMBA CITY, Laguna- In line with the Women’s Month celebration, the city government through the city human resources management office (CHRMO) presented awards to its retiring female employees March 26.

Mayor Joaquin Chipeco Jr. along with CHRM officer Maxima O. Lapastora and city administrator Manuel P. Ladrido led the presentation of plaques and incentives to Zenaida Samiano, Adoracion Z. Matute, Faviana J. Patinio, Angelina E. Beato, Rebecca E. Banasihan and Maria Teresa A. Delima.

Said employees were acknowledged for their dedication in public service and proving that women contribute to nationbuilding.

Philippines Creates 'Culture Of Safety'

STA. ROSA, Laguna — Mario Mamon, president of the dreamy Enchanted Kingdom (EK) theme park here, believes that the Philippines had just taken a giant step toward creating a “culture of safety” in the local amusement park and attraction industry.

In fact, Mamon, the current 2nd Vice Chairman of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), brought over the heavyweights of the global amusement park and attraction industry to ensure just that.

The big names that included top executives of Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, Sea World Parks and Entertainment as well as safety experts and regulators were the featured speakers in Tuesday’s IAAPA Safety Institute — the first in the country.

“This is so groundbreaking for the Philippines because it’s the first time that it has ever hosted an international safety institute for amusement parks and attractions,” Mamon said.

According to the IAAPA official, the aim of the safety institute is “to create awareness in our country on the importance of safety in the amusement and attraction industry”.

Mamon likewise expressed joy over the prospect of networking and best practices-sharing between the speakers and the more than 400 delegates that attended the event at EK’s enchanting events place.

“We know that IAAPA is an international association of amusement parks and attractions composed not only small players like Enchanted Kingdom but it also includes the big players like Disneyland, Sea World and Universal Studios.

‘Walang nagdadamutan kaya pati yung maliliit, natututo (There is no stinginess over each other’s best practices, that’s why even the small players can learn),” he said.

Among those who shared their industry knowledge to delegates during the whole-day event were Doug Stagner, corporate senior director of operations, Sea World; Noble Coker, vice president for park operations, Hong Kong Disneyland; Richard Carroll, senior vice president, Jeff Ellis & Associates, Inc.; Darren Lim, deputy director of Singapore-based Building and Construction Authority and Randy Davis, senior vice president, IAAPA’s Safety & Advocacy.

“There’s no compromise when it comes to safety. We’re all in this together” was a recurring line among the speakers, something that Mamon also underscored.

Safety Drill

CALAMBA CITY, Laguna — The SM City Calamba recently organized a Fire Seminar and Drill participated in by its employees and all the tenants in the establishment. This is to provide tactical experience, sufficient knowledge, and training for all those involved in the establishment, as well as empower them to calmly face and handle all circumstances that might arise during emergencies, especially fire.

Joanna Carla Saquilayan, SM City’s information officer, said the drill was conducted before mall hours to avoid inconvenience to the shoppers. The Bureau of Fire Protection commended the mall for a job well done.

UPLB gets 10 vehicles for enhanced security

LOS BANOS, Laguna- The provincial government recently turned over 10 vehicles to the University of Philippines-Los Banos (UPLB) to bolster security and safety of students after reported crime incidents that happened in the past months.

Laguna Gov. Jeorge “ER” Ejercito Estregan along with Los Banos Mayor Ton Genuino led the turn over ceremony to UPLB Chancelllor Rex Victor Cruz and other UPLB officials and employees.

Some of the vehicles will be used to provide free rides to students and employees of the UPLB during nighttime while the other vehicles will be used by the UPLB police in patrolling the campus.

Aside from the 10 vehicles for UPLB, the provincial government also turned over three units of Everest vans to Los Banos police for the security and safety in the community.

In his message, Mayor Genuino said they are increasing police patrol in the community with the support of all the barangay captains to prevent crimes.

He added that as measure to maintain peace and security, they are continuing the lighting of streets specifically those considered dangerous, installing CCTV cameras in strategic places, putting up additional police outposts and strictly implementing curfew hours and prohibiting the selling of intoxicating drinks to minors.

Suspected NPA hit man nabbed in Laguna

CAMP PACIANO RIZAL, Laguna, Philippines —A suspected member of the New People’s Army (NPA), who was tagged in the ambush of a police official in Bicol nearly three years ago, was arrested in San Pedro, Laguna Thursday noon.

Allan Serrano, alias “Ka Bunso” 31, was arrested by joint members of the San Pedro and Albay police in Barangay San Antonio at around 1 p.m., according to Senior Superintendent Gilbert Cruz, Laguna police director, in a text message.

Superintendent Kirby Kraft, San Pedro police chief, said they received reports that Serrano had been working as a tricycle driver in San Pedro.

The police said Serrano, an alleged member of the provincial committee of the communist NPA in Albay, was tagged in the murder of Superintendent Gregorio Guarin.

Guarin was acting administrative chief of the regional police in the Bicol region when he was gunned down in Barangay Tula-tula in Legazpi, Albay on May 2, 2009.

CALABARZON to host Pangasius stakeholders' national conference

CALAMBA CITY, Laguna- About 200 stakeholders of the pangasius industry will converge in a conference on March 30, 2012 at the Gems Hotel and Conference Center in Antipolo City.

Hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), and Pangasius Philippines, Inc., the conference will be a venue where stakeholders could access information on business and technology, and market opportunities for fresh and processed pangasius fish.

Senator Francis Pangilinan, chairman of the senate committee on food and agriculture, will deliver the keynote speech.

The conference would also discuss protocol that will help minimize the potential impacts of pangasius farming on the environment and society.

Attending will be hatchery, nursery, & grow-out farmers and processors; the industry enablers: government and non-government sector, industry organizations, and financial institutions; potential investors to engage in the industry value chain; and groups that are concerned with the environmental and social impact as brought by pangasius farming.

Also expected to grace the conference will be Governor ER Ejercito of the Province of Laguna and Governor Casimiro A. Ynares, III, M.D., of the Province of Rizal; and Rep. Benhur L. Salimbangon, (Cebu, 4th district), chairman, house committee on aquaculture and fisheries resources.

The industry's milestones and the initiatives to be undertaken will be discussed by Undersecretary Merly S. Cruz (DTI); Director Asis G. Perez, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic resources (BFAR); Undersecretary Lourdes M. Trasmonte, Department of Labor and Employment; and Undersecretary Carol M. Yorobe, Department of Science and Technology.

Other speakers on topics of technologies, strategies, and finance will be Prof. Tersa Castillo of the Mindanao State University's College of Fisheries Research Center; Dr. Aida Palma of BFAR's National Inland Fisheries Technology Center (NICFT); Mr. Glen Baticado of Baycove International; and Mr. Charles Belgica of the Small Business Guarantee and Finance Corporation.

Other topics include 'indigenous materials as alternative feed ingredients', 'organic pangasius farming', 'feeds and feeding management for hatchery and grow-out', 'managing channels of distribution in the product supply chain', and 'facilitating access to capital to strengthen players in the industry'.

After the plenary session, there will be business matching meetings for joint ventures, technology transfer, financing, promotion of investments areas, and for other business opportunities.

An exhibit will be mounted to promote the pangasius via pangasius-based menus and recipes concocted by notable chefs in the country

On the next day, March 31, a technology training on grow out culture, feed formulation, and pangasius fillet processing will be held at the BFAR NICFT facility located at Km 52, Manila East Road, Suyoc, Tanay, Rizal.

Conference participants could also enjoy a one-day guided tour at the BFAR NICFT facility at Km 52, Manila East Road, Suyoc, Tanay, Rizal; St. Martha's hatchery farm and processing facility also in Tanay; FSAP Company processing facility in Tanauan, Batangas; and Café de Asis Pangasius Resto-Grill.

Pangasius is easy to grow and raising and processing the fish would be a profitable venture, thus promoted by DTI to provide livelihood and jobs.

Pangasius is traded globally as fish fillet and is prepared as entrees and main courses in restaurants, fastfood chains, hospitals and health institutions creating a domestic demand of 6,000 metric tons annually which the country imports from Vietnam.

The global demand growth of the pangasius has become exponential with USA and Europe as top markets, and Russia an emerging market. Vietnam leads in the production and exporting of pangasius marketed as 'cream dory'.

The Philippine strategy at present is not to export, but import substitution, that is, filling up the domestic demand through the domestic industry.

The pangasius fish can be a delectable dish for every home and a good alternative to bangus and tilapia as source of protein thus recommended to be part of our daily meals.

A fee of Php1,600 entitles one to attend the one-day conference, business matching and exhibit, and allows the participant to join either pangasius tour or technology training (limited to 60 participants only), accommodation on March 30, food and conference materials for the two-day event have been included.

10 Calamba subdivisions recognized for establishing mini forest park

CALAMBA CITY, Laguna- The city government through the city environment and natural resources office (CENRO) honored on March 16, the 10 outstanding subdivisions in the city for establishing a mini forest park and supporting the government’s greening program.

The 10 subdivisions were Ayala Greenfield Estate in Barangay Maunong, Ceris I, II, and III in Barangay Canlubang, Cuervo Ville in Barangay Real, Farconville III in Barangay San Cristobal, Mahogany Villas in Barangay Looc, Marivel Subsivision in Barangay Paciano Rizal, Miramonte Village in Barangay Pansol and South Ville 6 in Barangay Kay-Anlog.

According to CENRO Officer Loida S. Humarang, the creation of mini forest park is in line with the implementation of the environmental code in the city. Under the code, all manufacturing companies located in the different industrial parks in the city are enjoined to allocate open spaces for trees and parks.

The city of Calamba boasts of nine industrial parks and about 5,000 establishments and these subdivisions responded to the need of preserving the natural environment in their own way, Humarang said.

“The recognition aims to encourage subdivisions and barangays to help in revitalizing nature and giving a new life to the community. This is also our way of thanking the developers for supporting our greening program and compliance with the environmental code,” Humarang concluded.

Los Banos to step up livelihood projects for constituents

LOS BANOS, Laguna- The municipal government here is doubling its effort to realize the different livelihood projects it lined-up for accomplishment this year for the upliftment of lives of the constituents.

Several livelihood orientation, seminars and trainings were conducted last month for the awareness of the community and to groom the consitutents about the incoming livelihood projects.

In the pipeline is the construction of the livelihood market dubbed “Pamilihan ng Produktong Pangkabuhayan” beside the barangay hall of Tuntungin, Putho. The market, a two-storey building to be designed with modern architecture is envisioned to showcase the products from the different livelihood projects in the town.

According to Mayor Ton Genuino, also in the can is the promotion of products from the different barangays patterned after the one-town-one-product (OTOP) program of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

These products include: buco pie from Barangay Anos; cassava Pie from Barangay Batong Malake; processed fish from Barangay Bambang; soap from Barangay Baybayin; candle from Barangay Bayog; vinegar from Barangay Silang; pickled papaya from Barangay Lalakay; dried fish from Barangay Maahas; salted eggs from Barangay Mayondon; processed meat from Barangay San Antonio; boneless fish from Barangay Tadlac; tea from Barangay Timugan and sweet potato from Barangay Tuntuningin.

“Ayoko ng Plastik” environmental campaign launched in Sta. Rosa

STA. ROSA CITY, Laguna- The city government led by Mayor Arlene B. Arcillas launched recently the “Ayoko ng Plastik” environmental campaign aimed at raising awareness among city residents against the use of plastic bags and styrofor.

“The campaign is in line with the implementation of the Environmental Code of the City of Sta. Rosa. Our concerted effort to disseminate information about the e-code because we are determined to promote sustainable development,” Arcillas said.

A landmark legislation considered to be the first in the entire province of Laguna, the e-code is a comprehensive compilation of rules and regulations with the purpose of effectively managing the environment to help mitigate climate change and other environmental problems in the city.

It has provisions on land resources management, air quality and noise management, energy saving practices, water resources management, integrated waste management and institutional mechanisms.

A salient feature of the e-code is the prohibition of the use and sale of plastic bags and styrofor.

Instead of plastic bags, Mayor Arcillas is encouraging residents and stakeholders to use so called eco-bags and back to the basics like “bayong,” and fishnet-like bags.

The mayor stressed that “Ayoko ng Plastik” is not just a campaign to raise awareness against the use of plastic bags and styrofor but a campaign that aims to create an attitude and a different outlook among residents.

“This campaign does not only enforce compliance to the e-code. We want the people to practice it also out of their concern for the environment,” said Arcillas who is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Biology, major in Ecology at the University of the Philippines Los Banos.

Los Baños crafts 10-year Tourism Master Plan

LOS BANOS, Laguna- Over 200 participants from different groups and sectors joined the Los Baños Tourism Summit 2012 on March 14 at the Trace College Auditorium which initially crafted a 10-Year Tourism Master Plan in an atmosphere of unity weeks after the recent felonious acts in this hot springs capital of the Philippines.

The last Summit was held in 2004 where prerequisites to upgrading the tourism sector were identified. In the past t10years, the only huge establishments to invest in Los Baños were Robinson’s Mall, South Supermarket, Puregold, and the world-class Trace College and Aquatic Center.

In his opening speech, Mayor Anthony Genuino ensured a tourism-friendly Los Baños and said the local government unit is continuously stepping up its efforts to address the peace and order problem.

The Los Baños Tourism Council, which spearheads innovative efforts to improve tourism-related projects, is headed by the mayor’s father Dr. Efraim Genuino, who is also the Chairman and CEO of the Trace Group of Companies.

“It has been proven in other areas that a better peace and order condition will always draw tourists,” the mayor said while reiterating his commitment not only to curb criminality but also to deliver other requirements to boost the town’s tourism business such as traffic management, additional hotels, and rehabilitation of infrastructures.

“Our theme for this year is ‘Empowering Our Tourism Stakeholders’ because the tourism development work is a collective effort,” he added.

Summit director Roberto Cereno, a noted historian and official of the Makiling Center for Mountain Ecosystems of UPLB, said the gathering aims to uphold and promote growth and development of tourism in Los Baños and to undertake programs and projects that will upgrade and professionalize operations of tourism-related services.

A total of 210 participants were divided into four workshop groups that formulated guidelines on policies and regulations, human resource development, products and services development, and promotion and marketing strategies.

The participants represented hotels, restaurants, travel agencies, resorts and spas, private and public schools, government agencies, local media, NGOs, the academic and science community, transport groups, cooperatives, and the local government unit of Los Baños.

According to KC Managuelod, municipal tourism officer, Los Baños envisions a world-class tourist haven with a disciplined community. “This Summit unifies all of our desires to promote the welfare, protection and hospitable reception of Filipinos and foreign tourists during their stay in Los Baños,” she said.

Facilitators to the Summit workshop were Los Baños municipal councilor Jay Rolusta, V-Lounge Spa owner Lorna Garcia, Sylvia Avance of the International Rice Research Institute-Host Country and Community Relations Office (HCCRO-IRRI), and Twila Torres of the Municipal Planning and Development Office.

Some of the major agreements during the Summit were the tourism branding of “Science and Nature’s Wonders: Research. Refresh. Relax;” the adoption of policies to ensure disciplined public utility drivers; the creation of a friendly tourist police force; and the inventory of all tourism-related businesses.

The workshop participants also proposed the development of the business of aster, a flowering plant endemic in Los Baños, and other ornamental plants as a major tourist potential; the establishment of a Tourist Information and Recreation Center; the creation of the Los Baños Museum and Learning Center; the preservation of heritage sites; and the crafting of a Tourism Code.

Laguna-LGU employees undergo Fire Prevention and Awareness Seminar

SANTA CRUZ, Laguna- In line with the observance of this year's Fire Prevention Month dubbed “Makiisa, Makialam at Makipagtulungan upang Sunog ay Maiwasan”, the Provincial Government of Laguna (PGL) conducted Fire Prevention and Awareness Seminar for PGL employees last March 8 and 9, 2012 at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Session Hall, Provincial Capitol Compound, Sta. Cruz, Laguna.

The first batch of training was for all hospitals and satellite offices under the Office of the Governor while the second batch was for all other offices. It was facilitated by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) in partnership with the Bureau of Fire - Sta. Cruz.

The seminar's main objectives was to instill knowledge, skills, and vital information about the culture of preparedness among the participants and to be able to respond properly during a fire incident. The scope of the program include practical ways and tactics on how to survive a fire; and important reminders on how to prevent fire.

Also, participants were provided with the actual demonstration and familiarization on how to use the fire extinguisher and fire hose with nozzle.

This undertaking is part of Governor Jeorge E.R. Ejercito's 15-Point Flagship Program “K2 Kinse-Kumpleto Serbisyo Publiko Kontra Kahirapan at Gutom,” which is to strengthen the security, peace and order and disaster preparedness program in Laguna.

Laguna municipal treasurers meet to discuss real property tax performance

SANTA CRUZ, Laguna-The Provincial Treasurer’s Office, (PTO) headed by Evelyn A. de Guzman invited the municipal treasurers (MTs) of Cavinti, Famy, Kalayaan, Lumban, Mabitac, Majayjay, Nagcarlan, Sta. Maria, and Victoria to discuss the municipalities' performance in real property tax (RPT) collection at the Provincial Treasurer's Office (PTO), March 6.

De Guzman considers the municipalities as the RPT collecting arm of the PTO and their performance largely affects the collection of the entire province. She stressed that it is really important to push the small municipalities more to achieve their target RPT collection.

She requested for inputs from the municipal treasurers and tackled the problems that they usually encounter in RPT collection. Suggestions were made to address the said problems and came up with ways to increase the municipalities' collection efficiency.

Likewise, PT de Guzman appealed to the treasurers to coordinate with their municipal assessors, especially in organizing records, and advised them to always update their files. She also instructed them to continuously send notices to delinquent tax payers.

Lastly, she encouraged the treasurers to double their efforts to meet, or hopefully exceed, their targets in RPT collection for this year. She also stressed that PTO is very much willing to extend their help in providing assistance for the information dissemination program of their respective municipalities.

Also present during the meeting were Acting Assistant Provincial Treasurer Marieta M. Coral and Local Treasury Operations Officer II Alene T. Bedonio.

161st birth anniversary of Paciano Rizal remembered in Los Banos

LOS BANOS, Laguna- National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) commissioners Dr. Rene Escalante, Ferdinand C. Llanes and executive director III Ludovico D. Badoy led this morning’s ceremony commemorating the 161st birth anniversary of Gen. Paciano Rizal, the elder brother of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.

The ceremony held at Paciano’s residence in this municipality, was also attended by Rizal’s descendants descendants: Jose Rizal Lopez, Edmundo R. Lopez, Rufina G. Lopez, Virgilio Villaruz, Doris R. Villaruz, Marlene Lopez- Jacinto, Milagros Lopez- Pinto, Vivencio Villaruz, Ester Lopez Azurin and Teresa Lopez- Houvet.

A mass was celebrated before the opening of the program, followed by flower offering and a 21-gun salute.

Gen. Paciano Rizal played a vital role in the life of national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal. As the only brother of Jose, he helped financially and supported him in all his struggles against the Spaniards and the fight for Philippine freedom and democracy using his writings.

Paciano joined the secret group "KKK" under Andres Bonifacio after his brother was shot at Bagumbayan, now Luneta. He also became treasurer of the revolutionary government under General Emilio Aguinaldo because of his integrity and fight for the rights and truth for the Filipino people. He died peacefully at his house at Los Banos, Laguna at the ripe old age of 79.

Meanwhile, also in attendance were Los Banos Vice Mayor Baby Sumangil and Board Members Rey Paras and Andrew Nocon.

Lookout na suspek arestado

KAMPO HENERAL PACIANO RIZAL- Inaresto ng pinagsanib na elemento ng Laguna PNP, Criminal Investigation and Detection Team (CIDT) at Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG) ang isa sa tatlong suspek sa panghoholdap at pagpatay sa 19 anyos na UPLB student kamakalawa at sinampahan ng kasong murder ang mga ito kahapon.

Ayon sa ulat, Laguna PNP provincial director S/Supt. Gilbert Cruz kay Calabarzon PNP director C/Supt. James Melad, kinilala ang suspek na si Joseph Beltran, 18, alias “Zeppo,” ng Bgy. San Antonio, Los Baños. Siya ang itinurong lookout sa naganap na krimen.

Samantala, dalawa sa itinuturong kasamahan ni Beltran na patuloy pa ring nakalalaya ay nakilalang sina Tyronne Kennedy Terbio, 18, at isang Carl Dactil De Guzman, 26, ng nabanggit na lugar na umano’y kamag-anak ng ilang barangay officials sa Los Baños.

Sinabi ni Beltran sa harap ng media at pulisya sa press conference sa Laguna Police Provincial Office (LPPO) kahapon, lumilitaw na pinagplanuhan ng mga ito ang panghoholdap pero wala umanong tangkang patayin ang bktima.

Napatay ng suspek na si Terbio ang biktimang si Ray Bernard Peñaranda dakong 1:30 ng madaling-araw sa Bgy. Batong Malake, lugar na ito.

Mabilis na tumakas ang mga ito lulan sa isang asul na Honda na motorsiklo na minamaneho ni De Guzman. Nagsilbing backrider nito si Terbio na may nakabinbin pang kasong robbery-holdup at illegal drugs sa bayang ito.

Kaugnay nito, agad na naglaan ng kaukulang pabuya si Laguna Governor Jeorge “ER” Ejercito Estregan ng P150,000, DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo ng P100,000 at karagdagan pang P50,000 mula kay Los Baños Municipal Mayor Anthony “Ton” Genuino para sa kabuuang P300,000.

UPLB, LGU, private sectors join hands to implement stricter security reforms

LOS BANOS, Laguna- The Los Banos government stepped up its efforts in ensuring long-term term solutions to address the peace and order problem here.

Mayor Anthony Genuino on Monday convened several groups and agencies that would help implement his numerous security plans and measures before personally inspecting police presence along the stretch of major thoroughfares and village streets in downtown Los Baños.

In spite of the top-to-bottom revamp of the local police, the mayor ordered the Los Baños police to fast-track the investigation on the rape-slay case involving Rochel Geronda and the killing of Ray Bernard Penaranda.

The lifeless body of Geronda, the 14-year old sampaguita vendor and student of the Los Baños National High School, was found on February 29 near a junkyard in Demarses Subdivision, Barangay Batong Malake, while Peñaranda was the 19-year old forestry student at the University of the Philippines Los Baños who succumbed to stab wounds from a hold-up incident involving a motorcycle-riding tandem on March 4 at the Umali Subdivision in the same barangay.

The police have picked up Tuesday morning two suspects for questioning over the killing of Peñaranda as new leads are being pursued by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) giving signs of a quicker resolution of the case.

Mayor Genuino added a P 50,000.00 reward to the previous P200,000 offer from Governor E.R. Ejercito and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for any information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators. Earlier, a P50,000 reward was also offered by Mayor Genuino on the Geronda case.

Mayor Genuino also requested Sangguniang Bayan officials to review and amend several existing ordinances to add more teeth especially those pertaining to liquor ban and anti-vagrancy and loitering policies. Vice Mayor Josephine Sumangil-Evangelista said the legislative body has been holding consultations since Monday to finalize the said municipal orders.

“The sole purpose of the liquor ban and the anti-loitering policy is to get the youth out of the streets late at night. This will eliminate the element of opportunity for criminal elements,” said the mayor.

He also added that consultations with restobar owners and establishments that sell liquor will be conducted in the process of crafting an amended ordinance.

The LB multi-sectoral Peace and Order Council was also convened on Monday which included UPLB officials and the UPLB student council. The said dialogue, which was focused on the dual role of local governance and community involvement in the campaign against criminality, resulted to several important measures to ensure more police visibility and stricter implementation of policies to protect citizens from criminal elements.

During the said dialogue, Dr. Enrique Tolentino, UPLB vice chancellor for community affairs, said the university administration is currently reviewing protocol on the involvement of the PNP in law enforcement assistance inside the campus. He also said student-residents in dormitories inside UPLB may avail of free transport service from the UP Police Force if stranded outside the campus late at night.

Aside from the vice chancellor, others present during the dialogue were UPLB Student Council chairperson Pura Valle and her co-officers, representatives from associations of homeowners, dormitory owners, and restobar owners in Batong Malake, businessmen, church and civic leaders, health and social workers, and media practitioners.

The mayor announced that regular police patrol around Batong Malake, the barangay where said crimes took place, will be beefed-up by fifteen newly-built outposts placed on Monday evening on entry and exit points of the same barangay. Additional lamp posts will also be erected in streets and areas frequented especially by students.

Similar outposts manned by at least one uniformed police officer and assisted by barangay tanods will also stand on strategic areas in four other crime-prone barangays. Another proposal is to designate one police officer in each of the thirteen barangay halls to expedite emergency response. The Los Baños Emergency Hotline numbers are 8272854, 5367861, (Smart) 09194994351, (Globe TM) 09167955459, and (Sun) 09238512965.

“Nobody wanted these unfortunate incidents to happen. While the whole community is still in a state of grief, I appeal to the public for support to our police and in our local government’s efforts,” the mayor said. “We will step-up our work in protecting the community,” he added.

The local chief executive has requested the regional and provincial PNP offices for additional personnel to augment the present number of policemen which has a present police to population ratio of 1:4,000 citizens.

Representatives of homeowners’ and dormitories’ associations in Los Baños also expressed their support to the local government’s efforts to curb criminality. Dorm owners were asked to install their own CCTV cameras and to employ security guards as effective deterrents to would-be criminals. The move is expected to augment the local government’s own installation of CCTV cameras in conspicuous places in barangays including commercial areas near the UPLB main gate.

Kin of murdered Laguna businesswoman seek govt protection

The family of the businesswoman who was kidnapped and killed and whose body was found inside a septic tank in Laguna province has sought government protection, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Tuesday.

De Lima said Leah Ng’s widower and siblings dropped by the Department of Justice office in Manila to ask her for assistance, considering that the principal suspect, Superintendent Rommel Miranda, is a ranking official of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

"They are asking our help because of the standing and status of the principal respondent,” De Lima told reporters in an ambush interview. “We will make sure na talagang magkaroon dito ng tunay na justice. They are also asking for protection."

Ng, 40, was abducted last Jan. 20 and was found inside a septic tank in a warehouse in San Pedro, Laguna on Feb. 23.

“Iyong mukha niya, halos hindi na makilala,” said De Lima, describing the condition of the victim when found. “She was placed in a septic tank and sealed. There's a need for further investigation also because that warehouse was initially said as an abandoned warehouse.”

The case is currently being investigated by the PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the Police Anti-Crime and Emergency Response (PACER). A preliminary investigation started with a preliminary hearing last week, and will continue on March 8.

Suspects

Aside from Miranda, also named respondents in the case are PO1s Otelio Santos Jr. and Jifford Signap, both rookie policemen of the San Pedro police. The two have already surrendered to authorities.

A fourth suspect, Reginal Regidor "Tagoy" Santiago, has already confessed to the crime and was the one who led investigators to the location of Ng's body.

Santiago, a former policeman, is currently in the custody of the PACER and faces charges of kidnapping-for-ransom with homicide and illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.

Miranda was a former spokesman of the National Capital Region Police Office and currently sits as deputy chief of the Communication and Electronics Service of the Region 7 police based in Cebu City.

Earlier reports quoted Miranda as denying the accusations, saying he was a victim of a frame-up. Miranda finished a Humphrey Fellowship Program under the Fullbright scholarship, and focused his studies on "Human Rights, International Standards and Convention on Human Rights and Use of Force in Law Enforcement."

Business angle

De Lima said further investigation would look into the possible involvement of those who were in the vicinity of the warehouse when the victim was brought there. She also said she would ask Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo and PNP chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome to place the implicated police officers under restrictive custody.

"Diba normally, kapag may mga investigation involving PNP officials and personnel, nilalagay kaagad nila under restricted custody or confined to quarters. Hindi ‘yung libreng-libre," De Lima said.

She said investigators are looking into a business angle to the killing, adding that the victim and Miranda were business partners. De Lima also said that the Ng family lives in the same neighborhood with Miranda.

"It has something to do with the business kasi magka-sosyo sila," De Lima said. She said that the victim's family, two weeks after she went missing, received a P10-million ransom demand from her abductors.

Mall giant holds green retail agenda forum in San Pablo city

SAN PABLO CITY, Laguna- SM City San Pablo held on February 29 the Green Retail Agenda dubbed “Empowerment through Sustainability,” the mall’s 2nd GRA initiated by SM Prime Holdings back in 2009.

The forum provides a venue for the business sector to showcase their best environmental practices to encourage business community, schools, NGOs—big or small, to incorporate ‘green practices’ in their daily operations.

Included among the powerhouse speakers were: SM Regional Mall Designs Manager Architect Shiela Romero; Sense and style features Mother Earth Advocate, World of Outbound Corp Director and VYP MSC Institute of Technology Director Rosa Viña Prudente Jocson; Daughter of the Founder of Gawad Kalinga, Human Heart Nature President and An Ernst and Young Awardee Anna Meloto Wilk and the Ecowarrior Lead Convenor, a known environmentalists and leader-Hon. Juan Miguel Zubiri.

About 433 participants attended the GRA 2012, composed of Rotary Club Central, Lions Club San Pablo, Kiwanis Buklod San Pablo, Chambers of Commerce, San Pablo Architects Society, and TanggolKalikasan, Media practitioners, Minola and students from San Pablo Central School, DLSP, LSPU and VYP-MSC Institute of Technology.

Topics includes “Introduction to SM Supermalls Green Design”where SM talks abouthow they incorporated green mall operations through its mall’s architecture and programs on solid waste management, energy efficiency, water conservation and air quality.

Rosa Vina Prudente Jocson discussed “Building the MSC Green School Campus” in the heart of San Gabriel, San Pablo City. VYP-MSC Institute of Technology presented their environmental advocacy and current ecologically sound projects in their campus. Anna Meloto Wilk talked about “Empowering Filipino Farmers through Green Business” with their slogan Pro Poor, Pro Organic and Pro Philippines, the second phase of Gawad Kalinga, a foundation started by his father, Tony Meloto. Gawad Kalinga has been also a partner of SM in helping the community.

Ecowarrior Lead Convenor Hon. Juan Miguel Zubiri updated everyone with the state of the Philippine Environment. Former Senator Zubiri gave emphasis on the impact on how we can make our country better, on how we can make a difference if we all start to do our part.

As what SM Prime Holdings President Hans T. Sy once said “Our accountability is our way of sharing our successes. All of these programs are directed toward making SM a catalyst for positive social change in the country.”

Calamba city holds earthquake drill

CALAMBA CITY, Laguna- The city government through the Public Order and Safety Office (POSO) held its quarterly earthquake drill to mark the start of the 2012 Fire Prevention Month.

All the employees of the city government and other concerned agencies participated in the drill and attended the briefing held at the plaza in front of the city hall.

POSO city officer Christopher Nemes said the earthquake drill aims to educate, promote and campaign for the awareness of the people on how to respond during a natural and or human induced disaster happens.

“If possible, the education must begin in the grassroots level so that residents will know what to do at a young age and to be self sufficient and prepared before a calamity strikes rather than waiting for the rescuers,” Nemes said.

Meanwhile, the POSO is coordinating with the Calamba city fire department in line with the activities for Fire Prevention Month.

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