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Tarlac City prepares early for possible disasters

by George Hubierna

TARLAC City -- Mayor Ace Manalang ordered recently to conduct different preparations for possible disasters, including killer earthquakes or devastating typhoons and flash floods this coming rainy season, City Information Officer Nick Florendo said.

Florendo said seminars and training would be conducted to concerned departments that would be involved in rescue operation.

Aside from different rescue guidelines, the rescuers should be trained on how to conduct first aid while still in the place of disaster.

“Marami sa ating mga rescuer basta ang alam lang iligtas ’yong biktima pero hindi marunong ng anumang first aid, which is very important much more if the victim is in the critical condition,” Florendo said.

He also disclosed that since the Department of the Interior and Local Government released P400,000 for disaster preparedness program, the city government is set to procure necessary equipment and gadgets to be used in the training and in the actual rescue operation like projector, radios, ambulance and rescuers first aid kits.

The city government will also conduct earthquake drill in some public schools to teach the students how to manage the situation particularly when trapped inside the building.

Manalang also urged the City Fire Department to be always ready for immediate response in case a fire occurs in the city.

Two notorious drug pushers in Tarlac arrested

by (PNA)


TARLAC CITY, Tarlac, May 11 (PNA) – Joint elements of the Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC) and Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB) on Thursday arrested two notorious drug peddlers in two separate operations here.

Supt. Joel Doria, commander of the PPSC, identified the two drug personalities as Jeffrey Borromeo, also known as Kumang, 32, a resident of Barangay San Vicente and Joel Mallari, 35, a resident of Barangay San Jose, both in this city.

Borromeo was arrested in a checkpoint set up by the operating elements in Barangay San Vicente.

The suspect steered his tricycle away from the checkpoint but he was immediately collared by the operating elements before he could get away, Doria said.

Confiscated from Borromeo are plastic sachet containing methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu).

During the investigation, the arrested suspect told the investigating team that he was getting his supply of illegal drugs from Mallari.

Immediately, the operating team conducted a buy-bust operation against Mallari.

PO1 Joemat Jarabejo, who acted as poseur-buyer, was able to buy three small pieces of heat sealed plastic sachet containing suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride weighing more or less .522 in exchange of P500 marked money.

When the test buy was consummated, PO2 Ricardo Silva and PO1 Jade delos Santos immediately arrested Mallari.

The two suspects were charged with violation of Sec. 11 Art. II of RA 9165 otherwise known as Comprehensive Dangerous Drug Act of 2002.

Government to create local disaster offices nationwide

by (PNA)


MANILA, May 10 (PNA) -– The government is set to establish in all municipal, city and provincial units nationwide a disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) office to be tasked with helping communities reduce risk for hazards, improve preparedness for calamities and enhance resilience to climate change. Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)-Bureau of Local Government Development Director Manuel Gotis said such bid was in line with Republic Act No. 10121 (Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010). ”Among strategies of the administration is to strengthen local government unit (LGU) capacity for DRRM and climate change adaptation (CCA),” he said. R.A. 10121 defines capacity as “a combination of all strengths and resources available within a community, society or organization that can reduce the level of risk, or effects of a disaster.” Experts earlier raised urgency for communities to develop their respective DRRM and CCA capacities, noting Philippine communities are vulnerable to earthquakes, landslides and other hazards as well as to climate change impacts like sea level rise and onslaught of increasingly violent weather disturbances. Gotis said several government agencies earlier agreed on meeting in Metro Manila this week to commence discussions on creating guidelines for establishing the DRRM offices. Aside from DILG, he said agencies due to join the meeting include the Civil Service Commission, Department of Budget and Management as well as Office of Civil Defense. ”Guidelines are needed since ‘plantilla’ positions will be created for personnel who’ll be hired for the DRRM offices,” he said. Authorities are optimistic that creating such ‘plantilla’ or permanent government positions will help promote continuity in implementing initiatives for local DRRM and CCA, eventually institutionalizing these in communities nationwide. Such continuity is difficult to achieve at present as Gotis noted local governments’ DRRM and CCA personnel hold ad hoc positions only. ”Their posts are co-terminus with those of the local chief executives who appoint them,” he said. He doubts if communities’ DRRM and CCA capacities can be truly institutionalized if personnel knowledgeable in both and initiatives for these keep on changing. Among the target outputs of the planned offices are their respective DRRM/CCA plans for implementation in communities these cover. Gotis noted such plans must be produced since LGUs at present lack preparation to deal with disasters and climate change impacts. ”LGUs must be pro-active and not merely reactive,” he said. The agencies’ discussions will also cover staffing patterns for the planned DRRM offices. Staffing needs of the offices will vary since communities’ DRRM/CCA capabilities and vulnerabilities differ, Gotis noted. ”A community’s size alone is insufficient basis to determine staffing pattern for its DRRM office,” he said. DILG continues helping several LGUs enhance respective DRRM and CCA capacities, extending financing for the purpose. Such LGUs are Capiz province’s Roxas City, Sapian and Sigma municipalities; Cagayan province’s Iguig, Penablanca and Solana municipalities; Davao del Sur province’s Sta. Cruz, Matanao and Bansalan municipalities; Iloilo province’s Igbaran, Alimodian and Tubungan municipalities; Lanao del Norte province’s Lala and Kapatagan municipalities; Tarlac province’s Tarlac City, Gerona and Capas municipalities as well as Pangasinan province’s San Carlos City, Bayambang and Bautista municipalities. Gotis said the World Bank is also extending similar assistance to various municipalities in Pampanga, Zambales, Leyte, Laguna, Bohol, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur provinces. These 14 provinces were among those authorities earlier identified as being most at risk for calamities, he noted.

400 farmers in Tarlac graduated from Farmers Field School program

by (PNA)


TARLAC CITY, May 9 (PNA) -- Some 400 farmers from the six municipalities of the province have benefited from the provincial government's Farmers Field School (FFS) program designed to educate land tillers on modern way of farming.

Governor Victor Yap, Department of Agriculture (DA) region 3 director Andrew Villacorta, Philrice executive director Eufemio Rasco, Tarlac Provincial Agriculturist Edwina Tabamo and board members Tito Razalan and Noel dela Cruz attended the recent graduation rites by farmers from the towns of Anao, San Manuel, Sta. Ignacia, La Paz and Concepcion.

Esmeraldo Gualberto, a FFS participant from La Paz town, said that they are lucky to have been beneficiaries of the training.

Gualberto said that through the FFS, they learned the spirit of "bayanihan."

The farmers likewise learned ways on how to cultivate organically grown produce during the course of the FFS.

Yap, in his speech, said the FFS is an important tool in molding farmers into embracing new farming technologies and in patronizing the natural way of farming.

“This FFS was started by my late farther when he was still the governor of Tarlac and he specifically ordered me, when I assumed office that I have to continue this noble program,” Yap Said.

Since 2007, more than 5,000 FFS farmers-beneficiaries benefited from the program.

400 Tarlaqueños graduate from farmer field school

by Carlo Lorenzo J. Datu

TARLAC CITY, May 8 (PIA) -- A total of 400 farmers coming from the municipalities of Anao, San Manuel, Sta. Ignacia, La Paz, and Concepcion benefited from the provincial government’s Farmer Field School (FFS) program designed to educate land tillers on modern ways of farming.

The graduation ceremony held at the Diwa ng Tarlak recently was attended by Governor Victor Yap, Department of Agriculture [DA] Region III Director Andrew Villacorta, Philrice Executive Director Eufemio Rasco, Tarlac Provincial Agriculturist Edwina Tabamo and Board Members Tito Razalan and Noel dela Cruz.

Speaking in behalf of the farmer-graduates, Esmeraldo Gualberto, an FFS participant from La Paz, said that they are lucky to have been beneficiaries of the training.

“Kami po ay masuwerte sa lugod na ibinigay ng pamahalaang panlalawigan. Marami po kaming natutunan sa FFS na ito (We are lucky to have been beneficiaries of this program. We learned so many things from the FFS),” Gualberto said adding through the FFS, they learned the spirit of bayanihan.

The farmers likewise learned ways on how to cultivate organically grown produce during the course of the FFS.

In his speech, Yap said that the FFS is an important tool in molding farmers into embracing new farming technologies and in patronizing the natural way of farming.

“This FFS was started by my late farther when he was still the governor of Tarlac and he specifically ordered me, when I assumed office, that I have to continue this noble program,” Yap said.

During the term of the late former governor Jose Yap, there were around 1,500 farmers who graduated from the FFS. In the younger Yap’s term that started in 2007, there are already more than 5,000 FFS farmers-beneficiaries.

For his part, Villacorta thanked the provincial government of Tarlac for its effort in teaching farmers about the modern ways of farming and said that this will help in the farmer’s income and daily living. (WLB/CLJD-PIA 3)

Baggage boys bag Talentadong Manggagawa ng Tarlac crown

by Carlo Lorenzo J. Datu

TARLAC CITY, May 7 (PIA) -- A group of baggage boys from a local supermarket here bagged the top honor in this year’s 'Talentadong Mangagawa' ng Tarlac that was held on Labor Day.

Six-piece EZ Pinoy Dance crew bested 17 other acts with a shaolin-inspired routine that is infused with modern pop songs which earned them P5,000.

Dancing duo Great Element of International Wiring System (IWS) placed second and got P3,000, while singer Cheryl Ann Cabrera also of IWS ended third and took home P2,000.

DOLE Tarlac Field Office chief Arlene Tolentino said “the competition seeks to showcase the artistry of laborers working in companies situated in the province and at the same time allow them to take a break from their rigorous jobs.”

Tolentino added that the finalists were chosen from dozens who trooped to the audition venues in Metrotown Mall, Max’s Restaurant, and SM City Tarlac. (WLB/CLJD-PIA 3)

New Lending Facility For Farmers


MANILA, Philippines — Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) has crafted a lending program to allow vegetable farmers to buy a stand-alone soil activator and fertilizer that could increase their incomes from 180 percent to 250 percent.

The bank, which has also supported the propagation of the Masinag organic fertilizer among rice farmers in Nueva Ecija and Tarlac through the National Agribusiness Corp. (Nabcor) under its president, Honesto Baniqued Jr., was involved in the field tests of the fertilizer among vegetable farmers in Bulacan.

LandBank vice president and head for Region 3-A, Mernilo Ocampo, said the bank is extending credit facilities to fund farmer-cooperatives that will use Bioyodal technology, which has good potential to increase crop yields and raise the income of farmers.

The lending facility, Ocampo stressed, supports the Food Supply-Chain Program (FSCP) of LandBank.

LandBank’s Technology Promotion Center (TPC) and the Berentsen and Ocampo Green Corp. (BOGC) conducted the tests on Bioyodal.

The tests showed marked increase in crop growth that ranged from 50 percent to 250 percent and shortened the crops’ production period.

Benjamin Baltazar of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Eliona Pangil of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) commended the LandBank and BOGC for bringing the benefits of the Bioyodal technology to Bulacan farmers.

A LandBank study also showed that with the use of Bioyodal, farmers’ incomes are expected to increase anywhere from 180 percent to 250 percent.

The study showed the projected income and return on investment (ROI) for various crops increasing.

It said that with Bioyodal, palay farmers could expect a 140 percent ROI, tomato growers will see a return of 122 percent while it will be 271 percent for farmers cultivating ampalaya and 207 percent for eggplant growers.

The tests were conducted at a model farm run by members of the Plaridel (Bulacan) Vegetable Growers Cooperative (PVGC).

Tomatoes, eggplants, chili, ampalaya and palay were tested in the farm.

Similar tests were previously conducted in Ligas, Guiguinto, Bulacan.

Lack of capital forces farmers to sell land

by Jess Malabanan

TARLAC CITY — The farmers in Hacienda Luisita who are waiting to get their share of the vast sugar estate as part of the agrarian reform program want to sell some of the land once it is distributed to them.

Mercedez Fernandez, 72, one of the oldest farmers within the sugar estate, said she planned to sell part of her property to put up a small business while using the remaining land for farming and growing livestock.

“We have to maximize the land use. This is what we’ve been waiting for in almost five decades,” said Fernandez while tending her backyard farm planted to eggplant.

Apung Mercy, as her neighbors and co-farm workers call her, also sidelines as a health worker, helping community residents in times of emergency.

“I see my sacrifices being fulfilled in the near future,” she said.

“I’m happy, I can rest peacefully and have something to leave to my four in-laws and 21 grandchildren,” said Fernandez who started working in Hacienda Luisita in 1965.

The government has said the farmer beneficiaries in Hacienda Luisita will have to wait six to 12 months before they can get their land titles.

Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgil de los Reyes said the process would involve determining who among the farmers were entitled to the land and how much of the land would be distributed to them. He reminded the farm workers that they could not immediately sell their land until after 10 years.

The Supreme Court unanimously voted Tuesday to reaffirm its November 2011 decision to distribute some 5,000 hectares of Hacienda Luisita land to more than 6,000 farmer beneficiaries inside the vast Cojuangco-owned sugarcane plantation.

Others farm workers in Balete village say they want to sell part of their land.

Each farmer beneficiary is entitled to a 7,000-square-meter lot, says Lito Bais, president of United Luisita Workers Union.

Bais and Ambala Chairman Felix Nacpil Jr., however, say they have grouped the beneficiaries who will not sell their shares without the approval of their cluster leader.

Nacpil says selling the acquired land will not be easy because the farmers must make sure it does not end up with the previous owners.

Ombudsman cannot probe CJ on $ deposits

by Atty. Batas Mauricio

LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him…” (1 John 5:14-15, the Holy Bible).

NRMC HS 73 HOLDS MEDICAL-SURGICAL MISSION: As you read this, the alumni of the defunct Dr. Nicanor Reyes Memorial Colleges of Paniqui, Tarlac who belong to its high school Class of 1973 shall have already concluded their “operation tuli” and medical-surgical mission involving about a hundred or more kids and patients who have been circumcised and operated on to remove cysts and other unwanted growths or mass in their bodies.

Dr. Rowena Abubo Bautista and Edgar “Botong” Guiang, the president and vice president of Class of 1973, told me the class will henceforth be holding this kind of a project on a yearly basis, to help poor Tarlaquenos get access to free circumcision and free medical and surgical assistance.

I wish to thank Dr. Arthur Platon, the former chief surgeon and residency training chief of the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center in Manila, for conducting the surgeries, as well as Barangay Canan, Paniqui Chairwoman Yolly Flores Wainwright, for allowing her barangay hall to be used as a venue. I thank likewise the other doctors and other members of Class of 1973 who helped in this project. Mabuhay!!!

OMBUDSMAN CANNOT PROBE CJ ON $ DEPOSITS: Can Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, a former Supreme Court justice, really insist on investigating Chief Justice Renato Corona for graft and corruption on the basis of reports that he has about US$10 million in bank deposits?

My answer is that, no, she cannot, because, as she is very much aware of, there is a Supreme Court rule which says that only the tribunal itself can initiate an investigation of graft and corruption cases against its justices. In fact, Morales was still a member of the Supreme Court when that rule---Administrative Matter No. 10-4-20-SC---was enacted and promulgated.

This rule, after creating the court’s “Permanent Committee on Ethics and Ethical Standards” in May 2010, provides: “The Committee shall have the task of preliminarily investigating all complaints involving graft and corruption and violations of ethical standards, including anonymous complaints, filed against Members of the Court, and of submitting findings and recommendations to the en banc..”

SC HAS THE POWER TO INVESTIGATE RAPS VS. JUSTICES: The import and intent of Administrative Matter No. 10-4-20-SC is quite clear: through the Committee on Ethics, the Supreme Court is tasking itself to preliminarily investigate all complaints involving graft and corruption against justices of the Court. There could be no quibbling about this, for the language of the circular is clear.

And we cannot even fault the Supreme Court for wanting it to be like that---especially in a legal system like ours where any Tom, Dick and Harry can file any case against any justice of the Supreme Court, even over a charge which is more imagined than real. In fact, if I recall right, even during the leadership of Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee, this rule was already well-enshrined in the tribunal.

As far as I could gather, that rule has not been changed, even up to this time. Consequently, it remains obligatory upon every Filipino, the Ombudsman included. Unless, of course, Morales can point to any repeal or amendment of that rule, or any justifiable reason why the Supreme Court should depart from its mandate.

Police arrest Central Luzon most wanted

by DJ Yap

The Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) on Wednesday boasted dramatic gains in its anticriminality drive in Central Luzon, particularly with the arrest of two of the region’s most wanted fugitives. CIDG agents captured 45 lawbreakers in April alone, including the two who ranked among the top 20 wanted in their respective towns, said Central Luzon CIDG chief Senior Supt. Rudy Lacadin in a statement. Lacadin, in a report to CIDG director Samuel Pagdilao Jr., identified the two suspects as Nicole P. Labrador, 22, who was wanted for kidnapping and serious illegal detention, and Abelardo Rodriquez, who faced a warrant of arrest for illegal recruitment. No bail was recommended for either man. Lacadin said Labrador, number 3 on the most wanted list in Orion, Bataan, was arrested on April 2 by a joint Bataan CIDG and local police team. Rodriguez, 14th most wanted in Concepcion, Tarlac, was nabbed on April 16, Lacadin said. He said the CIDG drive against organized crime in Central Luzon also resulted in the neutralization of the Ugadan and Dan Muslim groups, notorious for robberies in their areas. The CIDG likewise arrested other members of crime groups identified as Michael Y. Jurado and Kim Y. Jurado in Tarlac City and Bonifacio L. Vega and Betbet Natividad in Angeles City.

NOLCOM conducts medical mission during Labor day

by Joelyn G. Baluyut

CAMP AQUINO, Tarlac May 2 (PIA) -- The Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) did their sharing during the Labor day celebration on Tuesday by conducting medical and dental activities here.

A total of 300 Tarlaquenos benefited from its medical mission, while 243 patients availed its dental services, 100 for eye check up, and 300 for blood pressure check.

On the other hand, almost 92 pets were vaccinated with anti-rabies, mostly dogs.

Coinciding with this activity was the Job and Livelihood Fair spearheaded by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Region 3. The said fair tallied over 3,000 applicants seeking jobs locally and abroad; 24 people were hired on the spot. (CLJD/JGB-PIA3)

Medcap, free ‘tuli’ in Tarlac City

by George Hubierna

TARLAC City -- Series of medical mission and free circumcision continue in every barangay here courtesy of the city government led by Mayor Ace Manalang and Councilor Allan “Manchoy” Manalang, president of the Association of Barangay Captain in the city.

Manalang said that those who cannot go to the hospital for medical checkup could avail it for free in their respective villages.

He said medical mission is very important to ensure the health condition of every citizen in the city especially the marginalized sector of the society.

If somebody is diagnosed of any sickness during the medcap, the Advance Clinical Enhancement (ACE) card is always available to be used for hospitalization, he said.

At present, more than 100,000 ACE cards have been distributed all over the city, comprising one third of the total city population. Based on record, over 30,000 beneficiaries have already been served by the health card.

The good mayor disclosed that the city also conducts “Libreng Tuli” in different places of the city to prepare young boys for manhood.

DSWD To Help Luisita Farmers


MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will provide social services intervention to farmers of Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac to help them cope with tough economic times while they await the issuance of their land titles.

DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman said she has directed the DSWD-Field Office in Region 3 (Central Luzon) to organize an inter-agency meeting to assess the short-term plans and re-plan to address pressing needs brought by the developments in Hacienda Luisita.

“We will continue the programs that we have started to implement in the area and will further look into other appropriate social service interventions needed by the farmers to ensure that they will not go hungry and further bear the brunt of poverty while waiting for their land titles,” Soliman said.

She said the DSWD will continue to implement the Self-Employment Assistance-Kaunlaran (SEA-K) where families will be organized into cooperatives or SEA-K Associations (SKAs) and will be given capital assistance to finance their livelihood projects.

Since 2005, SEA-K has been implemented in 11 barangays in Tarlac City, Concepcion, Mabilog (Concepcion), and Montrico in Lapaz benefitting 39 SKAs with 1,015 members.

The DSWD has already released over P5million as capital assistance for the SKAs.

At present, there are 703 households from one barangay in Concepcion and seven barangays in Tarlac City that are receiving cash grants of as much as P1,400 per month under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program to support the education and nutritional needs of their children.

More than P2.1 million has been released for the cash grants of the beneficiaries since 2011.

Likewise, 50 senior citizens in the Hacienda also continue to benefit from the government’s social pension program, where they receive P500 monthly subsistence.

Soliman said the cash-for-work program also provides temporary additional income for 1,140 farmers as they render 11 days of work in their respective communities.

Meanwhile, she noted that 469 children were provided supplementary feeding.

“To date, only Barangay Bantog in the Hacienda Luisita area has no day care center while Barangay Central has two day care centers,” she said.

Soliman said that other government agencies continue to complement DSWD support services for the farmers in the Hacienda Luisita.

Palace mum on Cojuangco claim

by Efren Montano

MALACAÑANG is mum on claims of Presidential Benigno Aquino III’s uncle and former Tarlac Rep. Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. that impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona “campaigned” for the High Court’s s ruling on just compensation for the distribution of the estate’s land to farmers.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said that while Cojuangco is related to the President, he cannot speak for him.

“I cannot speak for the former congressman. While he is related to the President, I do not know ano ang naging kabuuan ng nilalaman ng kanyang statement,” Valte said.

“I don’t want to comment on fragments of any particular statements especially on any particular issue,” she added.

Earlier, Cojuangco claimed he was informed that Corona “campaigned” for the High Court’s ruling that based its just compensation on the 1989 rates.

He also insisted Corona and not President Aquino has an “axe to grind,” adding their family is not against total land distribution.

Will PNoy now fulfill his father's promise on Hacienda Luisita?

by Raïssa Robles

Philippine President Ramon Magsaysay presented an interesting proposition to one of his godsons.

Magsaysay had heard that the Spanish owners of Compañía General de Tabacos de Filipinasa or Tabacalera wanted to sell off their remaining asset in Tarlac – the sugar estate Hacienda Luisita which consisted of a sugar mill called the Central Azucarera de Tarlac and some 7,000 hectares surrounding it.

In 1957, Magsaysay told his godson, the young mayor of Concepcion, Tarlac named Benigno Aquino Jr : “I don’t want the Negros sugar people to invade you people in Tarlac.”

Ninoy Aquino of course could read the subtext of Magsaysay’s statement – here’s something for you but at the same time, this would help me politically since I’m at odds with the sugar barons of Negros, namely the Lopez family.

The deal was recounted by the late national artist Nick Joaquin in his book The Aquinos of Tarlac: An Essay on History as Three Generations. Joaquin based the book on, among others, extensive interviews with Ninoy.

Nick Joaquin had interviewed Ninoy Aquino before 1972. I suspect the book that Joaquin was to have published then was intended to launch Ninoy Aquino’s candidacy for president in 1973. It never took place, however, since President Ferdinand Marcos imposed military rule in 1972 and arrested Aquino. It was only in October 1983 or two months after Aquino was assassinated that Joaquin had the courage to publish his book. Ninoy Aquino made a promise

In his book, Joaquin disclosed the bargain struck between the Philippine government and Ninoy Aquino. The family of his in-laws would buy the hacienda with the help of not only soft loans but also a government-guaranteed loan.

In exchange, the Cojuangcos would give it up after a ten-year period. Joaquin quoted Ninoy Aquino as saying:

The idea was to buy the hacienda, turn it into a viable operation, then subdivide it and sell it either to the workers or to agricultural cooperatives.

Ninoy Aquino was the first administrator or CEO of the estate and he soon turned a profit. As part of his promise, he tried to turn the hacienda into a model sugar estate with housing for the workers and a free school. He even showed movies to distract the men from gambling and boozing.

Ninoy Aquino told Nick Joaquin why he wanted to turn the workers’ children into white collar workers:

At the rate the hacienda population was expanding the time might come when there would be more people than cane plants. My theory was that if the young learned a profession they would move out of the hacienda; if I could depopulate the hacienda I could give more man-hours per worker and increase the per capita income. So, education and scholarships were at the crux of my strategy.

According to the deal, by 1967 the Cojuangcos were supposed to have eased themselves out of the plantation. This year 2012 marks the 55th year that the hacienda remains in the hands of the Cojuangco clan.

In 1986 when when Corazon Aquino, Ninoy’s widow and a member of the Cojuangco clan, became president she was prevailed upon by her relatives to exclude the estate from direct land distribution.

Now the issue has come full circle. Just this week, the SC forced the Cojuangco family to disgorge Hacienda Luisita to its farm workers. The process will ironically be carried out by the government of Ninoy’s and Cory’s son, Benigno III.

Glowing legacy?

by Ramon Tulfo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

The Cojuangco family, who owns Hacienda Luisita, describes the immediate distribution of the huge sugarcane plantation as mandated by the Supreme Court as a “glowing legacy for President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino.” The Cojuangcos should not use the name of the late President in vain. Had they followed the late President’s centerpiece project, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), which divided big landholdings among their tenant-farmers, the Hacienda Luisita controversy wouldn’t have reached the Supreme Court. President Benigno Aquino III’s relatives offered—or rather forced upon—Luisita’s farmers and workers the stock distribution option in place of owning the subdivided farmland. After many years, the Luisita farmers and workers have remained poor even after Cory Aquino’s agrarian reform program, while their counterparts who benefited from CARP have become better off financially. Isn’t it ironic that the family of President Cory, the mother of agrarian reform, refused to recognize her administration’s most significant project? Had the Cojuangcos been at the forefront of CARP, P-Noy’s presidency would not have been tainted by the Hacienda Luisita controversy. “Glowing legacy,” my eye!

  • * *

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will be replaced with a new political entity and given a new name to help find peaceful solutions in the troubled region. As long as ordinary Moros consider the government in Manila as an enemy, an attitude some of their leaders encourage, peace will continue to be an elusive dream in Muslim Mindanao. As for the entity’s new name, let’s paraphrase Shakespeare: A piece of s*** by any other name smells just as bad.

  • * *

Eleven government soldiers and two civilians were killed in an ambush by the New People’s Army in Ifugao province. More soldiers than guerrillas are killed in the government’s unconventional war with the NPA and Moro rebels. At the rate government soldiers are being butchered by the enemy, there may only be a few left.

  • * *

At the height of the war in Mindanao in the 1970s, an Army brigade suffered many casualties. But instead of worrying, the brigade commander, a Visayan, even cracked a joke. “Marami pang mga Ilocano sa Luzon (There are still many Ilocanos in Luzon),” he said. The joke reached President Marcos who promptly relieved the brigade commander.

  • * *

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) unit in Batangas province, which was recently relieved, claims the arrest of Maria Cristina Rodriguez, a student residing in Manila, was legitimate. The sacked agents claimed Rodriguez was arrested in a buy-bust operation in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, on April 20. But the CCTV footage at Metropoint Mall in Pasay City showed the CIDG agents with Rodriguez on April 18, three days before the Batangas CIDG office was raided by cops from Camp Crame. Rodriguez’s relatives had complained to me that she was being held by Batangas CIDG agents who were demanding a P500,000 ransom for her release. I called up PNP Chief Nick Bartolome after checking the allegations of the victim’s relatives. By the way, the relieved CIDG unit is reportedly so corrupt one of its members was allegedly able to give his girlfriend, a reporter for a daily, a brand-new sports utility vehicle.

‘It’s the end of three generations of slavery’

by Inquirer Central Luzon, Tonette Orejas

HACIENDA LUISITA, Tarlac—Ace Luna and his son, Ener, watered a hectare of sugarcane Wednesday, siphoning the dark brown and stinking water drained from the Central Azucarera de Tarlac, a sugar mill owned by the family of President Benigno Aquino III. “I don’t feel like a slave anymore,” said Luna, 45. His 22-year-old son used a shovel to gather the soil in circles to trap the water near the canes. In a hut in Barangay (village) Balite, where the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) is holding office, around 50 people gathered Wednesday, some as early as 6 a.m., to celebrate what Felix Nacpil Jr., Ambala president, called an “incomplete victory.” Nacpil’s father and namesake is afraid for him. Nacpil Sr. feared his son would suffer the fate of Ricardo Ramos, president of the United Luisita Workers Union (Ulwu), who was murdered, after the strike last year. “If the lands in Luisita are finally given to us, this will end three generations of slaves of the land and landowners,” Nacpil Sr. said. He said his parents, Tomas and Felisa, were among the first to clear the forest for a Spaniard who originally owned the mill and the plantation then tilled with tobacco. “I’m too happy. I cannot describe it to you,” the older Nacpil said. The feeling of freedom came a day after the Supreme Court issued a final ruling that set the value of the estate, as just compensation to the Cojuangco family, at the price prevailing in 1989. That year, Tarlac Development Corp. (Tadeco) teamed up with 6,296 farm workers to form Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) under the stock distribution option (SDO) in the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), which the late President Corazon Aquino began in 1988. Family’s 1st landowners Luna said the high court’s decision also gave justice to his parents, Artemio and Norma who, like him, worked as daily wage earners at the plantation. He said Ener and his four other children might just be the first landowning members in the family. He finished Grade 4 while his son reached Grade 6. For this cropping season, he leased out a one-hectare land in Barangay Mapalacsiao for P10,000. “I will ask the planter to whom I leased this one-hectare property to share with me half of the proceeds because I am now the owner of this land,” he said. He had himself and Ener hired as laborers, too. But he has no title to show ownership of the property yet, staking a claim on it after the 2004 strike when the Cojuangcos and HLI decided to stop planting. “We had to eat,” he said, explaining why he took over the land. Luna also plans to till rice and vegetables when he finds the money to support this enterprise. Joy, hope Leonila Layco, 66, expected personnel from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to arrive to start the survey. No DAR employee came though. Filomeno Inocencio, DAR Central Luzon director, said a team would come next week to explain the acquisition and distribution processes. The Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) could be produced within six months to a year, he said. Nacpil, 30, likened the happiness he was feeling to the joy a first-time father feels. “My exhaustion was removed,” he said. In Baguio City, where he and 30 farm workers went to listen to the ruling of the high court on Tuesday, he said he shed tears of joy and hope. But what was not clear was how HLI will do what the court had ordered them to do: pay farm workers P1.3 billion for the lands it sold to Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) and the areas sold for the construction of Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx). “We need to clarify this in an oral argument on May 2,” he said. Fight not over Nacpil said for Ambala, the “fight is not yet over and complete.” They are still claiming the 500 ha the Cojuangcos transferred to Luisita Industrial Park, which sold these to a Japanese company in 1996. The RCBC took over the property in 2006 when the Japanese firm failed to pay for the land. The case is being heard in a local court. Much of the 4,915 ha ordered distributed by the Supreme Court has been leased to sugar planters, according to a study by the Center for Research and Special Studies. The leases are known locally as “ariendos.” Nacpil said Ambala would not recognize the ariendos even if the leases were paid in advance. “Those are illegal arrangements,” he said. Ambala, he said, prefers to pay the amortization for the land in 30 years. At P40,000 per hectare, he estimated that to be at P111 monthly. “Our original demand was to distribute these lands for free. The Cojuangcos have benefited from Luisita for 50 years already,” he said. “We should protect our victory.” Emotional Farm workers want to immediately use the land to feed their families, said Virginia Paligutan, 81. She was emotional on Tuesday night because the high court’s decision gave justice to her son, Val, and nephew, Abel Ladera. Val, a New People’s Army rebel, died from wounds in an encounter with soldiers last year. Ladera was murdered after the 2004 riot. “It’s good to be fighting for your rights. Many people will benefit from this fight,” she said. Stockholders’ lament Federico Lasa Jr. said his father, who died last year of a liver ailment, and brother Jesus, who died in the 2004 riot, could be smiling down on them now. “You can’t buy the joy I’m feeling.” Lasa has fenced about a hectare even before the CARP process goes into motion in Luisita. Those who voted for the SDO in 1989 and in 2010 believed they were entitled to get lands, too. “If that’s the decision, then all must benefit. It’s hard to go against them,” said Modesto Viñas. Mamerto Viadan said SDO holders like him were being mocked by militants. “We just wanted to have jobs. We feel secure with the SDO. We fear a bad outcome. When the beneficiaries of lands don’t have money anymore, they will sell the land eventually and we all lose the capital that is the land,” Viadan said.

Tarlac Cites Singapore's Re-Greening Program


TARLAC CITY, Philippines — Local officials here cited the re-greening program of Singapore to take care of their environment, saying that they want to implement that country’s program in the province.

Tarlac local officials, led by Gov. Victor Yap and Vice Governor Pearl Pacada, visited Singapore when they conducted a three-day Tarlac Urban and Physical Development Authority (TUPDA) Training on April 10-12, 2012.

While in Singapore, Yap , Pacada and the Sangguniang Panlalawigan provincial board members met with investors.

Pacada said TUPDA Trip to Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) sites aims to provide the provincial government of Tarlac with the creative innovations and different strategies that have helped in shaping what Singapore is today.

Pacada shared that through the Singapore trip, they have learned the arts and science of creating memorable buildings and streetscapes, without having to harm the environment and also retain historic structures of the visited country.

Pacada said the URA trip was educational, adding that “what I admire most about Singapore is their re-greening program, in which for every infrastructure built, trees and plants are planted as well. I salute the URA and the officials of Singapore for their advocacy in taking care of the environment and I hope that we also do this in the province as well.”

She said that if Singaporeans could do this in their country, “we should be inspired that we also could do this in our country and the province as well.”

Pacada added that “we should follow the ways of the Singaporeans, who despite modernization, still considers love for Mother Earth as one of their top priorities.”

Tarlac hospital gets P1M worth of medical equipment


TARLAC CITY, April 24 (PIA) -- Tarlac Provincial Hospital (TPH) has received P1 million worth of medical equipment from two lawmakers.

Second District representative Susan Yap personally turned over the equipment which include an autoclave sterilizer, laryngoscope and electrocardiogram (ECG) machine to TPH administrator Dr. Ricardo Ramos in a simple rite last week.

Funding came from Senator Vicente Sotto III’s Priority Development Assistance Fund while Yap purchased the equipment.

In a statement, Ramos thanked the lawmakers for the equipment, as these would enhance the hospital’s delivery of quality and affordable services to indigent Tarlaqueños.

Autoclave is an instrument used to sterilize equipment and supplies by subjecting them to high pressure saturated steam. These include laboratory glassware, surgical instruments, medical waste, patient pair utensils and among others.

On the other hand, laryngoscope is a medical device that is used to obtain a view of the vocal folds and the glottis, which is the space between the cords while ECG is most commonly used for cardiac test and is a useful screening tool for a variety of cardiac abnormalities.

Monetary Board places Tarlac rural bank under receivership

by AE/VS, GMA News

First Provincial Bank, with head offices in Tarlac, has been placed under receivership by the central bank's Monetary Board. The rural bank’s receiver, the Philippine Deposit Insurance Company, took over the bank Friday.

PDIC, the state-run insurer of bank deposits, assured depositors that all valid deposits up to the maximum coverage of P500,000 would be returned to them.

Records as of June 30, 2011 showed that First Provincial had 4,233 accounts with total deposit liabilities of P190.5 million.

Depositors with accounts of P10,000 and below, have no outstanding obligations with the bank, and have updated their addresses in the past year need not file deposit insurance claims. Payments will be mailed next month to these depositors’ last known addresses.

Those with balances of more than P10,000 and those with outstanding obligations should file their deposit insurance claims. Depositors’ forums will be held at the head office in Tarlac on April 24 at 9:00 a.m. to inform depositors of the requirements and procedures for filing the claims.

Claims settlement will be done at the bank by third week of June 2012. Dates will be posted at the bank's premises, on the PDIC website, and published in newspapers.

BSP shuts down Tarlac-based rural bank

by Lawrence Agcaoili, The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has placed the Tarlac-based First Provincial Bank Inc. (A Rural Bank) under the receivership of the state-run Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC).

PDIC said in a statement that it took over First Provincial Rural Bank last April 20 by virtue of the BSP Monetary Board Resolution 592 issued last April 19.

First Provincial Bank is a four-unit bank with head office located along McArhur Highway cor. Juan Luna St. in Tarlac City.

It has three branches including one in Mabalacat, Pampanga; Paniqui, Tarlac; and La Trinidad, Benguet.

Latest available records showed that the bank had 4,233 accounts with total deposit liabilities of P190.5 million as of June 30 last year.

According to the latest General Information Sheet filed by the First Provincial Bank with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the bank is owned by Blesilo Florido Buan, Florido Buan, and Romina Canilao.

In a statement, PDIC said that upon takeover, all bank records shall be gathered, verified and validated. The state deposit insurer assured depositors that all valid deposits shall be paid up to the maximum deposit insurance coverage of P500,000.

PDIC said that depositors with valid accounts with balances of P10,000 and below, who have no outstanding obligations with First Provincial Bank and who have updated their addresses with the bank in the past year, need not file deposit insurance claims. PDIC targets to start mailing payments to these depositors to the last known addresses recorded in the bank by last week of May 2012.

Depositors whose accounts have balances of more than P10,000 and have outstanding obligations should file their deposit insurance claims. The claims settlement operations will be conducted at the bank premises by third week of June 2012.

Depositors’ forums would also be conducted for the head office and branches on April 24 to inform depositors of the requirements and procedures for filing deposit insurance claims.

According to PDIC, depositors who have balances of P10,000 and below but whose addresses in the bank records may not be updated or are incomplete would be given the chance to update their addresses.s explained.

He has dressed many Hollywood stars and his creations were part of the Emmy awards exhibit in 2006.

Filipino couturier gets Congressional award

by Yong Chavez, ABS CBN North America News Bureau

HOLLYWOOD, California -- Filipino couturier Angelo Santos will receive the US Congressional Award for achievement for co-creating the first all organic and eco-friendly gown showcased at the recent Oscar Awards.

Actress Missi Pyle of "The Artist" wore the dress and was a red carpet favorite. It was also seen onstage when the cast accepted their Best Picture award. The gown was the winner in the red carpet green dress design contest.

"We're going to get a US Congressional Award for Achievement in making the first eco-friendly dress worn by an actress at the Oscars." he said.

Santos has worked at the most-watched daily soap opera, “The Bold and the Beautiful" since 2001. He is part of the design team that has won three Emmy awards for the outfits they make on the show.

Santos works at the CBS studio wardrobe department. He creates costumes for the characters.

Though he studied nursing when he first immigrated from Tarlac to America in 1980, Santos made a big decision to follow his heart and took a chance to go into fashion design, his dream as a child growing up in the Philippines.

Santos honed his craft and studied to be rightly called a couturier.

“You can be a fashion designer without proper training. But a couturier-- if you notice the old couturiers like Christian Dior, Balenciaga, Chanel, they don't call themselves fashion designers. You have to be trained in couture,” Santos explained.

He has dressed many Hollywood stars and his creations were part of the Emmy awards exhibit in 2006.

2 held for stealing trike

by George Hubierna

TARLAC City -- Two men were arrested for stealing a tricycle owned by a policeman in Bgy. San Sebastian, here, Wednesday evening.

City chief of police Supt. Arnel Ramos identified the suspects as Jeremias Arceo, 25, married, of Blk. 3, Bgy. San Jose, and Jesus Capal, 26, single, of Blk. 4, Bgy. San Vicente, both of this city, and the victim as Sonny del Rosario, 40, married, presently assigned at Tarlac Police Provincial Office (TPPO) Operations and Plans Branch at Camp Macabulos.

In his report to TPPO director Senior Supt. Alfred Corpus, Ramos said the wife of the victim, Renchell, personally reported to Police Community Precinct (PCP) 8 that their motorized tricycle (5480 RW) was stolen while parked unattended in front of their residence.

Immediately, a dragnet operation was conducted.

While conducting mobile patrol, police spotted the subject tricycle at the Binauganan-San Juan Bautista junction going to La Paz town. The suspects was maneuvering the vehicle toward RT Farm and Romgin Resort in Bgy. San Jose when they were stopped and arrested by the policemen.

Capal, who was then boarding the other vehicle, was ordered by the officers to drop to his belly but he instead sped away. When chased by the police, he accidentally bumped an Acacia tree and sustained injuries.

The wounded suspect was taken to the Tarlac Provincial Hospital. Carnapping charges will be filed against the suspects.

Tarlac City distributes wheelchairs, holds medcap

by George Hubierna

TARLAC City --The city government led by Mayor Ace Manalang, together with the Sangguniang Panglungsod headed by Vice Mayor Mike Tanedo, distributed wheelchairs to some disabled Tarlaqueños during the kick-off of the 14th charter city anniversary last Tuesday at the Covered Court of the Ninoy Aquino Plaza here.

After the wheelchair distribution, a medical mission was also conducted, benefiting hundreds of beneficiaries, particularly those from the marginalized sector of the society.

The city government also distributed reading eyeglasses to the poor.

Manalang said that his administration is not neglecting his poor constituents but instead prioritizing them on all the city government program especially on the health aspect that's why he conceptualized the Advance Clinical Enhancement (ACE) card for the hospitalization benefit of the less fortunate citizenry.

He also announced that very soon, the city will have its own hospital to be named after former President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino (mother of President Benigno Aquino III).

Tarlac Holiday

by Mark Anthony Manuel

TARLAC CITY — President Benigno Aquino III declared April 19, Thursday, a special non-working holiday for the city’s 14th Charter Day. The President issued Proclamation No.356 on March 27 “to give the people of the city the opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion.”

Tarlac was elevated into a component city by virtue of Republic Act 8593, which was overwhelmingly ratified by the town’s registered voters in 1998. During the actual cityhood anniversary today, there will be a Rice Cake Festival in the afternoon and ballroom dancing for barangay officials and women leaders in the evening. The day will be capped with a fireworks display.

Tarlac City turns 14

by George Hubierna

TARLAC City -- This city celebrates its 14th anniversary with week-long activities starting today, Mayor Ace Manalang announced yesterday.

Starting with a Holy Mass at the San Sebastian Cathedral which will be attended by Manalang himself, the first day will consist of Ace for Charity program dubbed “Lingap para sa Maralitang Tarlakenyo” to be held at the Ninoy Aquino Plaza.

On the second day, the Public Employment Service Office led by PESO head Marivic Espinosa will hold a whole-day Mega Job Fair followed by a raffle bonanza and cultural variety show at night.

Being home of sweet delicacies in the North, the city will be having a Rice Cake Festival to be participated in by 76 barangays headed by ABC president Allan Manalang to be held beside the Rizal Monument on the third day.

In the evening, there will be a Barangay and Women’s Night Ballroom Dancing with special guest artists to grace the occasion. April 19 is declared a holiday by the city government in connection with the 14th city charter anniversary.

The Department of Trade and Industry will also join the festivities with its whole day “Diskwento Caravan ng DTI on the fourth day.”

The SM by-pass road will also be inaugurated followed by the opening of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Resource Center, a one-stop-shop for the Tarlaquenos who are working abroad and the connecting point of OFWs and their families.

The cityhood anniversary will end with a two-day SMB Street Dancing dubbed “Sama-Samang Sigla sa Kalsada” on Friday and Saturday.

Tarlac go through ten-hour power interruption


CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, April 16 (PIA) -- The first and second districts of the province of Tarlac will go through a 10-hour power interruption on the Wednesday, April 18 from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

National Grid Corporation Philippines (NGCP) - North Luzon Corporate Communication Division Lilibeth Gaydowen disclosed that “affected distribution utility are the Tarlac Electric Cooperative I (TERELCO I) and Tarlac Electric Incorporated (TEI).”

“This is because of the annual Preventive Maintenance and Testing of the 2nd Power Transformer and its associated equipment at Concepcion Substation and conduct line maintenance works,” Gaydowen explained.

NGCP’s customers and the general public are advised to take the necessary preparations and precautions for this scheduled interruption. And normal operations will immediately resume after work completion, she added.

Specific cities and municipalities to be affected by the power interruption are determined by the abovementioned Distribution Utility (DU), unless the activity affects the entire franchise area. The DU allots the available power within its franchise area and implements the power interruption schedule among the end-users.

Clark-Manila belles retain softball plum


MANILA, Philippines - Clark Freeport Zone-Manila blanked archrival Pasig, 10-0, to retain the big league softball title via sweep even as Alabang and Tarlac reached the crossover semis of the 2012 Little League Philippine Series in Clark, Pampanga yesterday.

The unbeaten Manilans, powered by players from Adamson, UE and UST, peppered the Pasig hurlers with crisp hits to fashion out the one-sided victory, their third straight, and clinch a berth in the regional Asia Pacific tournament in Jakarta, Indonesia.

“I was confident we can do it again because we prepared hard for this tournament,” said Clark Freeport Zone-Manila coach Ana Santiago.

“Now our focus next is the Asia Pacific. We have to work hard on our preparation because we are facing stronger rivals in the region,” said Santiago.

Team manager Councilor Che Borromeo also expressed her elation over the team’s victory.

“Before we motored to Clark I was confident we can do it again because the players are all in high spirit and the morale is high,” said Borromeo.

Alabang clobbered ILLAM, 13-3, capped by Carlos Muñoz’s three-run homerun in the big league baseball while Tarlac shocked highly favored Bacolod, 2-1, in little league softball.

Military action not an option in the Scarborough standoff, says NOLCOM

by Carlo Lorenzo J. Datu

CAMP AQUINO, Tarlac City, April 13 (PIA) -- The Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) stressed yesterday, April 12, that both the Philippines and China are seeking for a diplomatic solution to the current standoff in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, which is 135 nautical miles away from Palauig and Masinloc towns of Zambales.

In a statement, NOLCOM said Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario had a meeting with China Ambassador to the Philippines Ma Keqing to iron out misunderstandings between the Asian neighbors.

“We are looking into mitigating the problem in the future. A joint effort between our Navy, Philippine Coast Guard and Maritime Police shall be done during monitoring and surveillance patrols to safeguard our territorial waters. Lately, our men were caught in a situation wherein the matter is non-military in nature. These Chinese fishermen were unarmed, they are civilians and are supposed to be dealt with civilian law enforcer also, but, since we are part of the security sector, and these people came into our territorial waters, and were caught violating our Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and Department of Environment and Natural Resources laws, despite the absence of such orders, we will implement the law, but we cannot afford that the tie between the two countries will be broken because of our action. We still go for a peaceful settlement,” NOLCOM Chief Lt. Gen. Anthony Alcantara said.

Alcantara added that they urge review on the international waters, territorial, and sovereignty laws in neutral court so that the world would know if it’s really a shoal or atoll, Panatag or Huangyan Island once and for all.

Yesterday, the Philippine Navy personnel onboard the BRP Gregorio del Pilar-PF 15 sent a team via a patrol boat to check these Chinese fishing vessels and discovered two of the vessels were already filled with large amount of illegally harvested and collected marine products like giant clams, corals and live sharks and that the vessels were about to navigate back to Hainan, China as revealed by the crew.

These marine products were collected and harvested right within Scarborough. Contrary to the fishermen’s allegations, they were not harassed nor their human rights were violated, and utmost adherence and strict compliance to the rules of engagement was observed. However, the language barrier played the major problem on the initial inquiries made by the navy men.

The Philippine government maintain its claim that Scarborough is inside the Exclusive Economic Zone, a provision stipulated in the United Nations Continental Shelf in favor to the Philippines.

Meanwhile, China insisted that the disputed island is within its territory and that it has an indisputable sovereignty over it. (WLB/CLJD-PIA 3)

P1.4B in annual garbage collection fee

by Herbert P. Mapiles

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) earlier projected a total of P1.4 billion annually for the hauling of the garbage produced by all towns in Pampanga to the Kalangitan Sanitary Landfill in Capas, Tarlac.

Arturo Punzalan, Penro chief, disclosed this during the presentation of the current situation of various dumpsites in the province with local chief executives, environmental groups and other stakeholders.

“Ang gastos pa lamang natin sa hauling ng basura ay P15,000 kada truck,” Punzalan said.

He said the current condition of the open and controlled dumpsites has reached an alarming state.

This came despite the massive campaign by Penro last year on waste segregation, including the establishment of clustered material recovery facilities (MRFs) in various localities.

He told the mayors that the volume of garbage is continuously rising on river channels and tributaries, including the Pampanga River.

Governor Lilia Pineda is still pushing for the establishment of clustered MRFs in villages to reduce the volume of garbage to be hauled in Kalangitan.

“Sa barangay MRF pa lang ay napipili na natin ‘yung pwedi pang pakinabangan, ‘yung plastic, bote at iba pa. Konti na lang ‘yung ibi-byahe natin sa Kalangitan,” Pineda said.

Last year, the Provincial Government came up with the idea of collecting P2 per household to cover the expenses on garbage disposal.

Some observers believed the proposal is enough to cover the yearly budgetary requirement on garbage disposal, with Pampanga having more than 293,800 households.

“Itutuloy natin ‘yung dalawang piso para sa basura (We will continue with the P2 collection for the disposal of our garbage),” Pineda reiterated.

Country honors Czech World War II veterans

by Joelyn G. Baluyut

CAPAS, Tarlac, April 11 (PIA) -- Seven Czechs who fought and were part of the Bataan Death March during the World War II had been awarded by the Department of National Defense (DND) for their exemplary service for the defense of the Philippines.

Plaques of Recognition (Posthumous award) were given to Jan Bzoch, Pavel Fuchs, Leo Herman, Jaroslav Hrdina, Pred Lenk, Josef Varak, and Antonin Volny. These men fought shoulder-to-shoulder with the Philippine and American armies for the freedom of the Philippines from 1942-1944, and had lost their lives in the cause.

Czech Ambassador to the Philippines Josed Rychtar said, “we are proud that Czechs are heroes not only in our country but here in the Philippines too; they had shed their blood together with Filipinos to fight for the freedom of this country.”

“These seven Czechs were captured by the Japanese army and have been part of the Bataan Death March. And some of these men were executed and died during the battle,” Rychtar added.

The award was given during the Paggunita sa Capas event on Tuesday held at Capas National Shrine, this province. (CLJD/JGB-PIA3)

Death March heroes honored

by (PAE/PIA-Central)

CAPAS, Tarlac Apr.10 (PIA) -- World War II heroes who perished and survived in the infamous Death March were remembered and honored for their valor and heroism in a ceremony held at the Capaz Shrine in Capaz, Tarlac.

To honor the memory of soldiers who had perished in the horrible Death March, wreath of flowers were laid by the guest of honor Dr. Margarita R. Cojuangco, together with DND Usec. Eduardo G. Batac, PVAO Admin. LtGen Ernesto G. Carolina at the base of the 70 meters Obelisk towers of the memorial shrine.

Surviving members of the defenders of Bataan and Corrigedor during the second world war were given awards of recognition for their heroic acts. Posthumous awards were also given to the descendants of deceased military servicemen.

The commemoration rites relived the sufferings and sacrifices of soldiers who were captured by the Japanese forces and forced to march by foot from Mariveles, Bataan to the concentration camp in Capas, Tarlac where they were incarcerated as prisoners of war.

Francisco Costelo, 98, recalled his experience during the march and said in Filipino “It was an unbearable memory for me, there was death everywhere. I pray all the time, I prayed that I will be able to survive those times and I’m grateful to God that I did”.

Meanwhile, 89 years old war veteran Benjamin Malolos, an escapee of the Death March said ”I was fortunate that I was able to escape the Death March early on, I don’t think I would be able to survive it if I wasn’t able to escape. I’m proud, however, of my comrades who endured the march because they did not die in vain”.

The infamous 128 km Death March claimed the lives of more than 30,000 Filipino and American Soldiers including those who died in the concentration camps due to malnutrition, fatigue, and disease.

The Capas Shrine was built by the government through the efforts of the Defense Department and Philippine Veterans Affairs Office in memory of those brave Filipino and American military Servicemen who died during the march as well as those who died in the concentration camp.

Tarlac Vice Governor Angelie Pearl Bacada, The Mayor of Capas, Antonio C. Rodriguez together with GRP Cpt. Craig White, Defense Attache of the Australian Embassy and Ambassador Josef Rychtar of the Czech Republic Embassy also paid tribute to the war heroes during the ceremony.

Women’s Center For Tarlac Pushed


TARLAC CITY — Vice Governor Pearl Pacada, co-chairperson of Gender and Development (GAD), is pushing for the establishment of Women’s Center in the province.

During a recent GAD meeting attended by the department heads of the Province of Tarlac and different leaders of women’s organizations in the Province, Pacada said the main objective of the project of the GAD Council is to establish a Women’s Center for the province to significantly improve the psychological, career, financial and legal well-being of women.

“The Women's Center will also be developed for addressing women's and gender issues and for women and their children who encountered problems such as domestic violence, inequality, incest and other crimes committed to the women whose voices can’t be heard,” she said.

In the meeting, the participants formed a GAD Council and also elected representatives and officers who were given roles that aim to empower and protect women and children of the province.

As an advocate of women empowerment and chairperson of the Committee on Women, Children, and Family Welfare, Pacada said the GAD Council will push programs and collectively assert the struggle for the rights and welfare of the women.

“As Vice Governor, and through the GAD Council, we shall help the women of the province and empower them,” Pacada said.

Members of the GAD Council represent different offices and departments of the Tarlac Provincial Capitol; members of media; the Girl Scouts of the Philippines-Tarlac Council; the Department of Education, the Department of Agrarian Reform-Tarlac Office, the Department of Labor and Employment, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority; the Tarlac Police; Balik-Islam Tarlac; the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office); Soroptimist International-Tarlac Chapter, BUSILAK, and Mutya ng Gerona.

Pacada said that free legal consultation and seminar would be provided to women in the province seeking legal advice.

Noy’s aunt to spearhead Tuesday’s “Paggunita sa Capas”

by Carlo Lorenzo J. Datu

CAPAS, Tarlac April 8 (PIA) -- President Benigno Aquino III’s aunt and former Tarlac Governor Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco will spearhead on Tuesday the remembrance ceremony for the Filipino and American soldiers who were part of the 1942 Death March in Capas National Shrine, Tarlac.

Cojuangco will offer a wreath then observe a moment of silence as a World War II veteran and a high school student lead the tolling of bell.

This will be followed by the awarding of recognitions to General Rafael Zagala (Posthumous), General Ismael Lapus (Posthumous), Antonio Diaz (Posthumous), Sgt. Jose Calugas Sr. (Posthumous), Ret. Cmdr. Francisco Costales, Ret. Pvt. Blas Diego, Pedro Gapay, and Ret. Pvt. Alfonso Fabros.

Special awards will likewise be handed out to United States Department of Veterans Affairs-Manila director Jonathan Skelly, Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor National Commander Emeritus Ret. Col. Rafael Estrada and seven Czech heroes.

According to historical accounts, around 75,000 Filipino and American soldiers were forcibly marched by the Japanese troops for five to six days with no food and a single sip of water. An estimated 10,000 of these soldiers failed to reach their prison camp in Capas alive.

The camp was turned over by the Clark Air Base Military Reservation to the Philippine Government on April 9, 1982.Former President Corazon Aquino proclaimed it as Capas National Shrine on December 7, 1991.

The shrine encompasses 54 hectares of parkland where the Bataan Death March ended.

35 hectares of land have been planted with rows of trees to represent each of the deceased at the camp and to promote environmental consciousness.

On April 9, 2003, a new memorial wall and obelisk was unveiled.

The 70-meter obelisk towers above the grounds of the former internment camp. It is surrounded by a black marble wall engraved with the names of the Filipinos and Americans known to have died at the location.

On the three large wall segments that almost encircle the obelisk, there are statistics about the total numbers of prisoners and deaths together with poems for peace.

“Paggunita sa Capas” serves as one of the highlights of the annual commemoration of Philippine Veterans Week. (WLB/CLJD-PIA 3)

Tarlac joins the Manila Bay clean-up project


TARLAC CITY, Tarlac, April 6 (PIA) -- All the 17 towns and Tarlac City in this province now join the clean-up, rehabilitation and preservation of Manila Bay making the project a province-wide effort.

Formerly, only the towns of Capas, Concepcion, Bamban, La Paz, Victoria and Tarlac City are included in the project.

It will be noted that these towns traverse the Malasalasa Creek which is a tributary of the Pampanga River whose waters eventually drain into Manila Bay.

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Regional Director Florida Dijan said the province signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the DILG to mainstream synchronized regular barangay clean-up every First Saturday of the month. The LGUs will also ensure proper Solid Waste Management and Water Quality Management through the formulation for local plans for these.

Municipal representatives will attend the Capacity Development Trainings on the Formulation of the Solid Waste Management and Water Quality Management Plans for LGU’s to be conducted by the DILG in May.

The LGUs will likewise enjoin their constituents to participate and cooperate in all the projects that will focus on the clean-up of all major and minor rivers, creeks, and connecting waterways in the entire province. MANILA, Philippines — Motorists who will catch up on leaving Metro Manila to enjoy the rest of the long weekend will find driving easier this Good Friday as traffic on major toll expressways are moving fast, the Toll Regulatory Board said. On its twitter page, TRB said traffic at the Calamba Toll Plaza, Ayala Toll Plaza, and at the Toll road 3 of the South Luzon Expressway all have light traffic as of 10:24 a.m., with 1,844 vehicles having passed its entire stretch from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. The same traffic situation goes for the North Luzon Expressway with “light and fast moving [traffic] in both directions, including interchanges,” and with no untoward incidents reported so far, it said. Traffic is also good at the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, Skyway, Southern Tagalog Arterial Road, or Star Tollway, and at the Manila-Cavite Expressway, with light movement in all its northbound and southbound entry and exit points as of 10 a.m. until 10:24 a.m., TRB said.

NLEX traffic heavy, SLEX moderate as Holy Week exodus continues

by KBK, GMA News

Traffic remained heavy at the North Luzon Expressway Thursday noon as motorists and commuters continued to leave Metro Manila for the provinces to spend the Holy Week.

In a noon update, the NLEX said it opened counter-flow lanes amid heavy vehicle volume at its exits in parts of Central Luzon.

"Heavy volume at the portion approaching Mabalacat, Tarlac, Tipo and San Miguel Exits. Counterflow lanes now open," it said.

It also said traffic along the northbound portion approaching Mindanao Avenue and Balintawak Toll Plazas remained heavy.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority traffic discipline unit head Yves Gonzalez added the traffic at NLEX's Balintawak area (northbound) towards the toll gate "looks like EDSA on a Friday night."

"People should take Mindanao exit," he said.

On the other hand, the Toll Regulatory Board said traffic at the South Luzon Expressway as of 12:06 p.m. was between light to moderate.

It said traffic at Calamba Toll Plaza was light to moderate while that at the TR3/Ayala Greenfields between Calamba and Sto. Tomas Interchange was light.

For its part, Skyway said traffic at the Magallanes to Alabang section was light as of noon.

AFP alerts units in north Luzon as Nokor prepares missile launch

by Tonette Orejas and Villamor Visaya Jr.

Inquirer Northern Luzon

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Philippines—The military’s Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) has alerted all its units in the Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Cordillera and Central Luzon regions to monitor and report any debris from the rocket that North Korea announced it would launch between April 12 and 16. Lt. Gen. Anthony Alcantara, Nolcom commander, said the command, based in Camp Aquino in Tarlac City, has some 10,000 troops from the Philippine Army, Air Force and Navy scattered in the four regions. He said Nolcom has also prepared its disaster response teams, coordinating as well with government agencies to deal with life-threatening situations. “We are keeping our people informed with help from local governments to keep calm and order,” Alcantara said. In Aurora, the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has advised its 11 municipal counterparts on Wednesday to inform residents about North Korea’s planned missile launch next week. “We want the information to reach the barangays,” Elson Egargue, the council’s head, said by telephone on Wednesday. Egargue said as of Wednesday, the national and regional disaster preparedness councils have not sent advisories directly. He said the provincial council’s actions were based on information relayed by NDRRMC executive director Benito Ramos through the media. In Isabela, Vice Governor Rodolfo Albano III said local governments lack personnel and equipment to monitoring their air and sea lanes but they would ensure that residents, especially in the coastal towns facing the Pacific Ocean, are well informed about the potential threat from rocket debris. “The best thing is we should not create panic among our people,” Albano said.

CDC, GK to build houses for Aetas in Tarlac


CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga, April 3 (PIA) -- The Clark Development Corporation (CDC) and Gawad Kalinga (GK) are set to build the initial 20 houses for Aeta families residing in certain highland sitios in Bamban town, Tarlac.

In a statement, CDC said, “The housing project seeks to provide a convenient relocated shelter to families affected by the development of the Freeport’s Next Frontier zone or more popularly known as the Clark Highlands.”

Apart from the houses, CDC and GK will also construct health centers and classrooms as well as hold livelihood trainings and child and youth development sessions.

The 10,323-hectare Clark Highlands is being eyed as a leisure area complete with golf courses, resorts, spas, restaurants and casinos. Its improvement is subject to the Joint Management Agreement entered by CDC and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.

Unified toll fee payment pushed

by Jester Manalastas

WHY not a unified ticketing and payment system for all tollways?

Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile is urging the Department of Transportation and Communication to consider a unified toll fee payment to avoid long queues at the toll booth especially during holidays when a big volume of motorists are expected.

Enrile said that the unified payment system on North Luzon Expressway South Luzon Expressway, Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, Skyway Tollway, North Luzon East Expressway, North Luzon West Expressway, CALABARZON Loop, Tarlac-Nueva Ecija-Aurora Expressway and the Infanta-Cabanatuan Scenic Superhighway, will lessen delays at toll stations.

While travel on these expressways has significantly improved in recent years, motorists continue to experience delays – especially during peak seasons – with traffic bottlenecking at toll booths due to payment inefficiencies.

“Motorists who need to pass through several expressways on the way to their destinations have no choice but to line up and manually pay their expressway ticket since there is no single pass that they could interchangeably use in the expressways,” Enrile said.

“If you notice, there is usually a shorter line at automated toll booths. This is because motorists opt to pay manually since they cannot use their EC Tag on SLEX and the E-Pass on NLEX. This is the same with other expressways like the SCTex and STAR Tollway,” he added.

The unified payment system will make payment more friendly for motorists – especially those who need to pass through several before finally reaching their destination.

This system will undoubtedly cut travel time and lessen irritants that motorists encounter in the road, such as traffic bottlenecks.

Enrile urged DoTC to ensure that all the expressways are equipped with facilities and equipment such as uninterrupted power supply, emergency phone booths, bay parkings, 24/7 patrol vehicles and restrooms.

“Our motorists pay more for using these expressways, and it is only natural to expect a more convenient, faster and safer travel on these roads. This is also why motorists are understandably more irate when they encounter inconveniences.”

For making eco-friendly gown, Fil-Am set to receive US congressional award


The United States Congress will confer an award on Filipino-American couturier Angelo Santos and his teammates for making the eco-friendly gown worn by "The Artist" star Missi Pyle during the recent 84th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California.

Santos and his teammates will receive the Congressional Record of Achievement in Fashion Design for Pyle's gown which won the "Red Carpet Green Dress" contest this year.

The contest was started by environmentalist Suzy Amis Cameron, the wife of Titanic and Avatar director James Cameron.

Suzy wanted designers all over the world to create designs made of sustainable materials and worthy of the Oscars.

This year's winning design was submitted by Valentina Delfino. The gown was made by Santos and couturier Birgit Muller.

According to the Red Carpet Green Dress website, the gown was made of peace silk and organic chiffon, lined with vintage lining and using a recycled zipper.

The fabric was hand-dyed on Californian soil at an OSHA-approved facility while the color was created using natural mineral dyes to achieve a pastel aqua shade.

To avoid using electricity and leave a lower carbon footprint, all of the pleating on the dress was done by hand.

Four days to make a dress

In an article posted on the Asian Journal, Santos said he was given only four days to make the dress.

"It was offered to a lot of couturiers but they refused it , because the dress had to be done in less than a week before the Oscars. It was finally offered to me and I accepted it, because I knew it would be an important dress at the Oscars," Santos told the Asian Journal.

Santos said he prefers to be called a couturier because they know how to make clothes unlike fashion designers who only know how to draw.

Santos was born on January 28, 1965 to Renato Santos and Purita Cuyugan Santos in San Miguel, Tarlac.

He attended the College of the Holy Spirit and the Don Bosco Academy in Tarlac.

After moving to the US in 1981, he attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and Trade Technical College there.

He worked for several famous couturiers and costume designers until he opened his own atelier in 2001.

He was later hired to become a full-time couturier of the television show "The Bold and the Beautiful."

According to the Asian Journal, Santos has already made clothes for Pyle, Cindy Crawford, Paula Abdul, Tina Turner, Cher, and Bruce Springsteen, among others.

Santos has likewise received the following awards: the Bob Mackie- Best in Evening Gown (1987), California Fashion Consortium's Designer of the Year Award (1987), and Emmy awards for Best in Costume Design for 2004, 2005, and 2006.

“The advice that I can give to aspiring Pinoys is to always work hard and dream big. Be passionate with your goals in life. You need to live and breathe what it is that you want. If you don’t succeed the first time, don’t give up, be willing to be wrong and be willing to start over," Santos told the Asian Journal.

"Surround yourself with people who want you to succeed. They will move with you toward your goal. And lastly, always ask for God’s help and guidance in fulfilling your dreams, and when that happens, don’t forget to thank Him and the people that helped you achieve your dream,” he added. -- VVP, GMA News


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