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Cebu City News August 2013

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Herbal remedies for diabetes.JPG
How to get the best out of the Malunggay
Moringa (Malungay) leaves compared to common foods
Values per 100gm. edible portion
Nutrient Moringa Leaves Other Foods
Vitamin A 6780 mcg Carrots: 1890 mcg
Vitamin C 220 mg Oranges: 30 mg
Calcium 440 mg Cow's milk: 120 mg
Potassium 259 mg Bananas: 88 mg
Protein 6.7 gm Cow's milk: 3.2 gm
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Cebu City Cathedral
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Magellan's Cross in Cebu City
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A Barangay Clearance is NEEDED in order to get a Business License.
So why is the barangay name not in most business addresses?
Ask your Barangay Captain/Chairman to create a Resolution to make it mandatory to put the barangay name in all Business addresses.
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Mormon Temple Lahug cebu city philippines

Truck with brown algae gets snagged

By Flornisa M. Gitgano


A TASK force against illegal fishing intercepted a 14-wheeler truck loaded with 15,000 tons of brown algae, allegedly in violation of a Capitol ordinance.

Local official Romeo Tapayan said the truck, with plate number ZGP-182, was apprehended at 11:30 p.m. last Thursday in Barangay Sabang, Danao City. Tapayan heads the Cebu Provincial Anti-Illegal Fishing Task Force.

The claimant, who identified himself only as Marilla, said the algae came from Masbate and was about to be exported to China.

But an ordinance approved in 2012, the Provincial Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Code, declares it unlawful “for any person or corporation to extract, gather or harvest” brown seaweeds locally known as samo/kwapo and other seaweed species.

Violators will have to pay P3,000 as an administrative fine and another P1,000 per kilo of seaweeds caught.

Tapayan said the brown algae is worth P1,000 per kilo. It can be used as an ingredient for fertilizer and for making plastic.

He said the task force released the driver and his three helpers because the team might get charged if they detained the party.

Marilla said the group sells the brown seaweeds for P7 each kilo and that their cargo was 11,000 tons. He said they have been in the business for two years, but it was their first apprehension.

He also said they have the permits for their business and the movement of the seaweeds. In Masbate, he said, no such ordinance exists.

Marilla explained that the brown algae in their possession was collected from the shore and not extracted from underwater.

Tapaya said that the claimant will try to request Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III to let them claim the truck of seaweeds. But as of 5 p.m. yesterday, it remained in the Capitol compound.

Cebu sea tragedy death toll: 94

By Jerry E. Esplanada

Cebu Daily News


MANILA, Philippines—Fourteen more bodies were recovered by divers the past two days from the sunken wreck of the St. Thomas Aquinas, bringing to 94 the death toll in the Aug. 16 collision between the passenger ship and the cargo vessel Sulpicio Express Siete off Talisay City in Cebu. Commander Armand Balilo, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesperson, updated the Inquirer on the numbers on Thursday as he reiterated that the search by PCG, Philippine Navy and Philippine National Police divers, along with volunteers, was ongoing. “The diving operations continue today,” said Balilo, also chief of the Coast Guard’s public affairs office. Earlier, he said the divers, who had searched up to 60 percent of the ferry, were set to check the tourist cabins. “Three more bodies were recovered this morning, in addition to the 11 found on Wednesday,” Balilo said. As of noon on Thursday, the number of missing ferry passengers and crew members stood at 40. The command placed the number of rescued passengers and crew at 639 and 104, respectively. All the victims were on the St. Thomas Aquinas. The Sulpicio Express Siete’s 36 crew members were all saved. The Coast Guard station in Cebu has been making “revisions to the number of casualties based on body parts recovered, as well as validations by 2GO Travel, the Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, and representatives of the Department of Health,” Balilo said. The shipping firm 2GO Travel operated the St. Thomas Aquinas, while the Sulpicio Express Siete is owned by Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp., the former Sulpicio Lines that owned some of the passenger ships that figured in the biggest maritime disasters in the country.

Cebu City ‘not short on cash’, Rama assures

By Correspondent Jose Santino S. Bunachita


“We are not short of cash,” said Cebu City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas in a press conference yesterday. The newly appointed treasurer said she was ready to explain the city’s financial status to the Cebu City Council. Cuevas and other City Hall officials led by Mayor Michael Rama yesterday answered point by point the criticisms raised by former Rep. Tomas Osmeña who put out a full-page newspaper ad two weeks ago that appeared to show that city finances were mismanaged based on observations of the Commission on Audit in its annual report. (See table summarizing their comments.) Osmeña said he ran the ad “in the spirit of transparency.” Mayor Rama said that while several lapses were noted by COA, it was misleading to say City Hall was overspending or implied that he was engaged in irregularities. “Did the mayor take money? No. Write that in the newspapers. The COA didn’t even commend me for the projects I’ve done,” Rama said. The mayor said he decided to wait before calling the press conference because Cuevas was appointed acting treasurer of Cebu City on August 8 by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima. “The advertisement has caused apprehensions among the people and raised questions. There is a need to explain,” City Administrator Jose Marie Poblete said. Poblete said city officials gave their explanations to COA on the audit findings after an exit conference last July. “The explanations were just deepened during the press conference because some of the write-ups that came out didn’t have our explanations. They just cited the COA report,” Poblete said. He said the released COA report had some of their statements but were not included in reports published in the local dailies.








Talisay City fishers save passengers

By Reporter Ador Vincent Mayol


He only finished Grade 4 but 50-year-old Talisay City fisherman Dennis Reyes said he knows he can contribute more especially for fellow Filipinos. That opportunity came Friday night on Aug. 16 after he saw red flares in the sky that signaled a vessel was in trouble. He joined other fisher folk in rescuing passengers of the MV St. Thomas Aquinas before it sank in the sea after colliding with a cargo vessel. “We’re expected to help those in need. Why won’t we help them? It hurts when we need help and others disregard us,” Reyes told Cebu Daily News in Cebuano. Reyes rescued 23 people from the 2GO passenger vessel which was heading for Cebu City. A fellow fisherman, 28-year-old Jason Evangelista rescued more than 50 people in the water. “People were shouting. I heard wails for help. It was dark and the only source of light came from the Sulpicio Express Siete,” he said. Ten days after the sea mishap, he has not returned to the sea to fish. “Good that I have some savings which I gave to my wife for our needs,” said Reyes, who has eight children. Reyes said he isn’t after public recognition. He said it was natural for a person to help those in need. “We even help the dead. I’m not afraid to help,” he said. Reyes and Evangelista testified in the Special Board of Marine Inquiry yesterday.

KAMI USAB' | Cebu, Bacolod, Tacloban, Catbalogan, Legazpi also hold mass action vs PDAF

By Philippines News Agency


CEBU CITY - Outside Metro Manila, thousands also gathered in the cities of Cebu, Bacolod, Tacloban, and Legazpi Monday morning, demanding the scrapping of the congressional pork barrel, officially known as the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Overall, the mass actions were orderly and peaceful.

In Cebu City, protesters started their march from the Fuente Osmena at 7 a.m., occupying one lane of the Osmena Blvd. toward the Plaza Independencia, more than a kilometer away.

Another group of parishioners that attended the 8 a.m. mass at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral joined the group at the Plaza Independencia.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma had earlier instructed all parishes to join the rally, organizers said.

Marc Canton, lead convenor of rally coordinator Movement for a Livable Cebu (MLC), said the original plan was to hold the protest rally in Fuente Osmeña, which has a capacity for 3,000, but was moved to Plaza Independencia, which could accommodate the 10,000 that organizers said showed up.

A group of 1,000 bikers also joined the rally.

Among local officials who joined the rally were Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, Vice Mayor Edgar Labella, some city councilors and congressmen who have earlier expressed support for the move of President Benigno S. Aquino III to scrap the PDAF.

Among the groups that joined the rally, which ended shortly before noon, were the Sanlakas Sugbo, Freedom from Debt Coalition, Alliance of Progressive Labor, Partido Manggagawa, Kilusan Para sa Pambansang Demokrasya and other local and sectoral organizations.

Cebu City Police Office Director Noli Romana said the protest was peaceful and orderly.

In Legazpi City, hundreds of students, farmers, public utility drivers, and militant activists braved the intermittent rains and marched three kilometers from J.P Rizal St. to the Peñaranda Park in Old Albay District to the Pinaglabanan Park at the Legazpi Port District, bearing streamers with anti-pork barrel slogans, according to Vince Casilihan, Karapatan Albay spokesperson.

A short rally was held at 10:30 a.m. at the Pinaglabanan monument where protesters called for the abolition of the PDAF and urged the Aquino administration to transfer the fund to a more productive use that would improve the delivery of social, health, education, and economic services.

They also sought for an independent body to investigate the people behind the pork barrel scam and prosecute and convict those found guilty.

In a phone interview, Casilihan said about 300 joined the march dubbed as "Lakaw Kontra Pork Barrel."

In Tacloban City, first-time protesters, including professionals, students, businessmen, NGO members, and netizens joined the protest in the city’s RTR Plaza.

Ladylyn Lim, University of the Philippines (UP)-Visayas Tacloban College political science professor, said she encouraged her students to participate in the rally to fully understand views of different sectors.

“What they’re doing here is related to their study on social, political, and economic law. For more than one month now, we have been discussing about pork barrel abolition in classrooms. They even wrote reaction papers,” Lim said.

Jeremy Velasco, a freshman political science student, said he and his classmates came to express their stand on abolishing pork barrel and eventually reduce people dependence on assistance from politicians.

“Use the money to increase the subsidy of state universities and colleges and the entire education program,” Velasco said.

About 300 people peacefully gathered in RTR Plaza and most of them received informal invitations through social networking sites and texting. The two-hour gathering started 8:30 a.m. There was no program but participants repeatedly shouted “abolish PDAF!” before they dispersed.

“We are for total abolition of pork barrel but if the President wants to put new mechanisms on the fund, we should give him the benefit of the doubt. However, we have to be concerned about the way our country being run. We have to make our leaders accountable,” said Orlando Uy, past president of the Leyte Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Netizen Rinbert Laus said that even if it’s hard for him to go to the venue in a wheelchair, he had to join the rally for the benefit of his three children.

“Political dynasty thrives because of pork barrel. This has been a family enterprise in Leyte and Samar. I believe pork barrel would end political dynasty,” said Laus.

In a separate rally, at least 50 representatives from different progressive gathered in the city’s downtown area, carrying placards.

Protesters are affiliated with Anakpawis, Bayan Muna, Bagong Alayansang Makabayan (Bayan), Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma, Kadamay, and Gabriela.

“Why channel the fund to lawmakers when it’s very prone to corruption? It should be downloaded directly to hospitals and schools,” said Rogelio Berino, secretary-general of Bayan Eastern Visayas.

In Bacolod City, at least 2,000 attended the brief rally called by the loose coalition Negros Kontra Korapsyon.

In Catbalogan City, the Samar Runners Club led a fun-run starting 5 a.m. around the city to express their support to pork barrel abolition

Nearly a hundred professionals gathered in a gymnasium in Naval, Biliran.

The national government has already released P536.67 million pork barrel this year to the region’s 14 lawmakers who served in the 15th Congress.

Fund releases posted by the Department of Budget and Management in its website show that each of the 11 congressmen got P35 million in PDAF.

Flying colors for Ironman in Cebu

By Mars G. Alison


The Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines held in Cebu was ranked second best in the world after Quebec, Canada. The rating was made by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), which promotes and issues licenses for Ironman events. The Cebu event scored 97.60 points based on feedback from over 2,000 participants who took part in the swim-bike-run races last Aug. 4. The cheering of spectators and attention to detail of every aspect of the race got the most praise. The lowest points were scored in road conditions, especially uneven surfaces used by cyclists near the SRP Tunnel in Cebu City. Princess Galura, Sunrise Events Inc. project director, which organized the Philippine edition, said they did not expect to achieve this feat in just five years of hosting the event in the country. “We did not even know this formal evaluation was made,” she said. The group received the official post-event report and shared the good news with the local organizing committee headed by representatives from Cebu Province and the cities of Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Cebu and Talisay. WTC had sent survey forms to more than 2,000 participants and asked them to rate all aspects of the race. Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza, in a statement, congratulated Oponganons “for putting their best foot forward.” She thanked the thousands of public school students who lined up along the race routes in rainy weather to cheer on athletes, barangays that fielded colorful “vintas”, peacekeepers and residents. “We will have to outdo ourselves in 2014,” she said. The Cebu event ranked second to the Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant in Quebec, Canada which hosted its first race in 2012. Canada will host three more next year—the Ironman, Ironman 70.3 and Ironman 70.3 World Championship. It was Cebu’s second year to host the international triathlon after Camarines Sur was the venue in 2009 to 2010. Athletes this year swam in the open waters of Mactan, biked 90 kilometers through cities of Lapu-lapu, Mandaue, Cebu and Talisay, and finished with a run course in Lapu-Lapu. Galura said most of the participants praised the attention given to every detail of the race, especially the carbo-loading party hosted by Lapu-Lapu City at Shangri-la’s Mactan Resort and Spa. It included a fast-beat production number with pop-jazz dancers, show violinist Jake Gacanga, a Cebuano DJ and fireworks. Galura said the immdiate post-event feedback from athletes was that roads were very uneven, especially the roads used by cyclists in the South Reclamation Project tunnel in Cebu City. But the excitment of the crowds was the biggest draw. “It was the cheering that got me through the race,” said Courtney Atkinson of Austraia, who topped the male professional category. “The highlight for me was the cheering, the crowd and the run through the local community.” From 400 participants in 2009, the Ironman 70.3 has grown rapidly to 1,700 signing up for the event last year and 2,150 participants last August from 35 countries with about 600 on the waiting list. Next year, the Ironman 70.3 Philippines will be held on Aug. 3 but preparations will start as early as next month.

Cuevas is new Cebu City treasurer

By Doris C. Bongcac


CEBU City now has a new city treasurer. Mayor Michael Rama announced yesterday the appointment Diwa Cuevas, the incumbent city accountant as city treasurer in the next six months. The Aug. 8 appointment letter signed by finance secretary Cesar Purisima said that Cuevas is entitled to two extensions of her appointment should Rama ask for it. “I would like to thank secretary Purisima and the office of the vice president. I had to call and keep on connecting with them. Now, I am happy that they have taken cognizance of the urgency and exigency of my request to already appoint a new treasurer in Cebu City,” said Rama. Purisima said that Cuevas will have to assume office immediately as Emma Villarete’s term expired on July 18. Rama directed city administrator Jose Marie Poblete to visit the Bureau of Local Government Finance (BLGF) regional office yesterday to check what else is needed to facilitate Cuevas’ immediate assumption. The mayor also wanted to discuss with Poblete Cuevas’ replacement for city accountant. “Everything has to be done step by step. But this is a very bright development in preparation for the Supplemental Budget 2 and the 2014 annual budget,” said Rama. Rama said he wanted to work with a city treasurer “of my own choosing” in his budget preparations. Under the Local Government Code, local treasurers are not under the local government unit or the local chief executive. They are technically employees of the BLGF.

Fish sold in Cebu safe to eat

By Jujemay G. Awit and Rebelander S. Basilan


CEBU -- To prove that the fish being sold in local markets is safe to eat, Rep. Benhur Salimbangon and two fisheries bureau officials on Thursday had breakfast at the Pasil Market in Cebu City.

The congressman from Cebu’s fourth district, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (Bfar) Director Asis Perez and Bfar-Central Visayas Regional Director Andres Bojos ate kinilaw na lamon-lamon (raw Blackspot tuskfish in vinegar), blue marlin stew also known as larang and grilled tuna.

Cebu City Market Administrator Raquel Arce joined them.

Salimbangon heads the House committee on aquaculture.

Talks have been going around that the fish sold in Pasil is contaminated from the oil spill after the Aug. 16 ferry collision off the coast of Talisay City.

Arce said there used to be hundreds of fish vendors, who shopped for fresh fish at the market but only two were around Thursday.

“It has been reported that the fish in Cebu have been affected by the oil spill. It was not specified that Cebu City is not included,” Arce said.

Sources

She said the fish sold in Pasil comes from Mindanao, the Visayan Sea, Palawan and Negros, which are far from the area affected by the oil spill.

Markets from Danao City in the north and Carcar City in the south get their fish from Pasil, which is the center of the province’s fish trade.

This is the reason even national officials were concerned about the rumors.

“Let’s help our fishermen,” Salimbangon told Balitang Bisdak.

Arce said she is worried that in two or three days, the unsold fish will no longer be edible. The fish can be dried though.

Today, Cebu City officials will also have breakfast at the Pasil Market.

Next door in Mandaue City, officials also assured that fish sold at the Mandaue City Public Market is safe to eat.

“There is no reason not to buy fish from our market,” Market Administrator Musoline Suliva said in a press briefing Thursday.

Sales drop

Fe Bolo, 48, a fish vendor, said her sales have gone down because people fear that the fish have eaten human flesh from the shipwreck off the coast of Talisay City.

But Bolo said the fish she sells come from the northern town of Bogo and provinces outside Cebu like Romblon, Bohol and even Mindanao.

There are 180 fish vendors in Mandaue’s public market.

Sally Igot of Barangay Mantuyong said her loss has amounted to P200,000 since Sunday.

Igot, 54, said she used to earn P60,000 to P80,000 by midday, but she only earned P2,000 on Thursday morning. She said she still has to pay the wage of her four workers.

Bfar 7 Assistant Director Allan Poquita said more than 90 percent of fish sold in Mandaue come from northern Cebu and other provinces.

“Our fish in the market is safe for public consumption,” he said.

Fish sensitive

Poquita said fish will stay away from areas with an oil spill.

“Fish are very sensitive. Once they smell something like oil, they will go away,” he said.

He said no one was reported poisoned in Guimaras when the province was affected by an oil spill.

He said no one can go fishing near the wreck of mv St. Thomas Aquinas because the area is restricted.

Poquita added only a few species of fish are carnivorous.

“We have emphasized to the public to wash and cook the fish thoroughly. The gills, scales and internal organs should be removed,” he said.

Ricky Bulacan, president of the fishermen’s association in Mandaue, said about 300 fishermen in the coastal barangays have been affected.

“Even if we go fishing far away from the areas affected by the oil spill, still nobody will buy our fish,” he said.

Bulacan said many fishermen have stopped fishing since Monday.

Relief goods

He thanked the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office for giving relief goods to fishermen in Barangay Labogon.

Councilor Jimmy Lumapas said the City Council is willing to place the city under a state of calamity, but the damage is still being assessed.

“We are willing to declare the city under a state of calamity to give assistance to the affected fisherfolk,” he said.

Ricardo Mendoza, head of the City Solid Waste Management Office, said he has divided eco-wardens into two groups to monitor the coast of Mandaue.

He said the City has sent coconut husks to Cordova to help in the cleanup of the oil spill. (Sun.Star Cebu)

P70M to help solve flooding

By Linette Ramos Cantalejo


SOME P70 million worth of drainage and flood control projects in Cebu City’s north district are lined up for 2013, including the dredging of Subangdaku River at the North Reclamation Area (NRA).

The dredging of the mouth of Subangdaku River and the construction of drainage systems are seen to address the flooding in Barangay Mabolo and NRA during heavy rains, said Engineer Nicomedes Leonor, head of the Cebu City Engineering District.

Flood control and prevention projects will take up about P70 million of the P414 million worth of projects allocated for the north district.

To dredge Subangdaku River, where the Mahiga Creek exits, DPWH set aside P20.8 million.

Because the mouth of the river is heavily silted, water flowing downstream backflows during heavy rains, causing Mahiga Creek to overflow and resulting in flood and heavy traffic at the NRA, particularly the areas around SM City Cebu.

Funding

In an interview last Tuesday, Rep. Raul del Mar (Cebu City, north district) said the projects will be funded and undertaken by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7, and is separate from projects covered by his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Cebu City Drainage Master Plan.

The dredging of the mouth of Subangdaku River beside the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) has been pending for several years already.

Mayor Michael Rama wanted the river’s mouth cleared of silt, plastic and other garbage in 2011 yet, but due to lack of funds, he asked the CPA to shoulder the cost of the dredging. The CPA has yet to deliver on its promise.

Del Mar said the City and CPA may already have an agreement regarding the funds, but the flooding is an urgent problem that cannot wait until both parties work out funding problems.

“Sige na lang ug naa silay sabot kay kung maghuwat pa ta, the flooding will continue.

We should not worry about duplication, you should worry about the urgency of the project being addressed,” he told reporters.

Del Mar, who facilitated the inclusion of the projects in the DPWH’s budget, said the items are already good as approved.

Another flood prevention project identified during the term of former mayor Tomas Osmeña was the rechanneling of Mahiga Creek, which required the laying of large culverts to alter the course of the water.

But because the City failed to negotiate with owners of private lots beside the creek, the culverts that the City bought remain unused.

Other flood control and drainage projects included in DPWH’s budget are the construction of box culverts on Gen. Maxilom Extension, which will address flooding near Queensland Lodge and the White Gold House, and on Juan Luna Ave., which will redirect floodwater to the creek beside the Mabolo Police Station.

Flooding

Last month, a residential area on Juan Luna Ave. experienced heavy flooding, submerging houses in neck-deep water.

Some P20 million worth of small water impounding projects will also be constructed in the mountain barangays of Pulangbato, Budlaan and Adlaon, and the construction of T. Padilla-Tejero Bridge, which will allow water to flow out into the sea.

National roads in the north district, including drainage, will also be upgraded and reconstructed, which will cost DPWH some P23.8 million.

Leonor said his office consulted Cebu City Engineer Kenneth Enriquez when they planned the drainage and flood control projects, to make sure these will complement the projects of the City.

“In case there is any duplication, we can easily realign the funds for other projects because some of these are lump sum allocations,” he explained.

SM’s new mixed-use projects: ‘lifestyle cities’

By ALBERT CASTRO


SM Prime Holdings Inc. says it will build more “lifestyle cities” around the country as it capitalizes on the synergy of a merged entity of retail, tourism, and residential property businesses under one roof.

Following the completion of the merger of SM Prime, SM Development Corp., Highlands Prime, and SM Land Inc. seen to be completed towards the end of the year, the new entity will follow up on expanding its mixed-used development like the Mall of Asia Complex, according to Jeffrey C. Lim, SM Prime chief finance officer.

“The enlarged SM Prime will have five business units–shopping malls, residential development, commercial development, hotels and conventions, and leisures and resorts. Part of our overall strategy is to use all these core segments for us to engage in an integrated project called ‘lifestyle cities’ just like MOA Complex and the one we have already replicated in Cebu,” said Lim.

“In Cebu we are already developing SM Seaside City, a 30-hectare mixed use project which we hope will be the largest mall in southern Philippines as well as various residential, commercial, and tourism developments. With our business unit working as one one team, we aim to embark on more lifestyle cities across the country in the coming years,” Lim said.

The multi-billion-peso Mall of Asia Complex has been the SM Group’s flagship project since it was announced and completed in late-2000.

In the SM Seaside complex, located in Cebu City’s reclaimed South Road Property (SRP) area, the SM Group looks to put up a complex that will cost at least P21 billion.

SM Seaside City Cebu will house the group’s fourth largest mall with a gross floor area of 400,00 sq.m. It will boast a five-theater cineplex, an IMAX theater, an 18-lane bowling center, and a roof garden.

The SM Group paid P2.71 billion for the property which it got from the City Government of Cebu through a negotiation in 2009.

Part of the development plan in the property is to put up high-rise residential units, hotels, and other commercial developments.

SM Prime Holdings recently said profit for the first half of the year reached P5.64 billion, 15 percent higher than last year’s P4.92 billion.

Consolidated revenues reached P16.55 billion, up 14 percent from last year’s P14.57 billion.

The whole group, meanwhile, under SM Investments Corp., reported profits of P12.6 billion, up 16 percent from P10.9 billion last year, driven by the company’s profits in the banking and mall businesses.

Consolidated revenues reached P122.1 billion, up 16 percent from last year’s P105.1 billion. Earnings before accounting adjustments and tax (EBITDA) was at P30.1 billion, a 26 percent increase, for an EBITDA margin of 24.7 percent.







P25.5-M infra projects turned over to mountain brgys

By Princess Dawn H. Felicitas


THE Cebu City Government yesterday turned over more than P25.5 million worth of infrastructure projects to eight mountain barangays.

This, as it began implementing two projects amounting to P7.34 million in two mountain villages.

Projects that were turned over yesterday included newly concreted roads and concrete pavements with drainage systems.

The beneficiaries are Barangays Malubog (P3.19 million), Taptap (P3.2 million), Adlaon (P3.17 million), Lusaran (P3.1 million), Cambinocot (P3.2 million), Mabini (P3.2 million), Binaliw (P3.2 million) and San Jose (P3.2 million).

Projects that were recently launched are the road concreting with drainage systems in Barangays Babag (P3.6 million) and Buot Taup (P3.6 million).

Funding

Based on the records of City Hall, most of the infrastructure projects were funded under the P5.2 billion budget of 2012. Some projects were funded by last year's P875.96-million Local Development Fund, which is 20 percent of the City's Internal Revenue Allotment.

Mayor Michael Rama went to the mountain barangays yesterday to lead the turnover ceremony and the groundbreaking of the projects.

Most of the projects in the barangays are road concreting because the mayor earlier said he wants to pave all roads in the mountain barangays to improve the transportation of goods from farms to the market.

Rama said there will be more projects in the coming months to be implemented and turned over to the city's barangays.

39 dead, 80 at sea

By Davinci S. Maru, Elias O. Baquero and Flornisa M. Gitgano


THE death toll after a collision of two ships rose yesterday from 32 to 39 and no survivors were found on the second day of the rescue operation off the Talisay City coast.

The number of those missing also rose from 58 to 80, after an inter-agency team obtained an updated list of passengers aboard the M/V St. Thomas Aquinas.

Both the captains of the Aquinas and the Sulpicio Express Siete cargo vessel are alive and reportedly in the custody of their companies, while waiting to be summoned by investigators.

Efforts to assist the 751 survivors continued. More than a hundred survivors were discharged from different hospitals in Cebu City during the weekend.

The collision has also led to an oil spill that is threatening the mangroves and the livelihoods of fishermen’s families in Cordova.

Leaders of Cebu’s business community called for stricter safety standards for inter-island travel, but also appealed that the suspension of both fleets be kept short, to minimize damage to the economy.

Flipped

Choppy seas and the position of the Aquinas vessel challenged divers who inspected the site yesterday, said Commodore Reynaldo Yoma, commander of the Naval Forces Central.

He said the passenger ferry had overturned and could only be entered from the bottom of the sea.

“Only technical divers will be allowed to penetrate inside the ship because deep diving is dangerous,” he said.

Central Visayas District Commodore William Melad said that both ship captains, who have not given formal statements, are in the custody of their companies but will be made available for the investigation.

The captain of the M/V Saint Thomas Aquinas is Reynan L. Bermejo, while Rolito T. Gilo was the one in charge of the M/V Sulpicio Express Siete. 2Go operates the Aquinas, while the Sulpicio Express belongs to the Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp.

Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III clarified yesterday there were 870 passengers and crew members on board the Aquinas and not 832 as earlier reported, based on reports from 2Go and the Coast Guard.

The Incident Management Team the governor created has listed 38 fatalities, but as of 8:35 p.m., the Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes on Junquera St., Cebu City said there were already 39 dead.

80 at sea

Eighty remain missing.

Governor Davide also visited yesterday the 2GO terminal at Pier 4 to check on survivors, along with Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office head Evelyn Senajon.

Leopoldo Soronio, 65, said that 2GO has provided survivors like him with plane tickets and P5,000 cash. Soronio from Puyat, Surigao del Sur traveled alone to meet his family in Manila.

He recalled that when the Sulpicio Express Siete hit their ship, the lights went off. He heard shouts and the passengers began to panic.

Soronio got a life jacket, then jumped from the ship as it kept sinking.

Lito Salvio of 2Go said that as of yesterday, they gave P5,000 each to 506 passengers and crew; shouldered the medical expenses of survivors; paid for funerals; bought 175 plane tickets for survivors who proceeded to Manila; and billeted the families of survivors and casualties in various hotels.

“We will continue to buy plane tickets for the remaining survivors if they want to proceed to Manila,” Salvio said.

Hospitalized

According to Department of Health (DOH) 7, there were 53 passengers still confined in different hospitals in Cebu City as of 6 p.m. last Saturday.

More than 120 were discharged after treatment, while others did not need to be hospitalized.

On the second day of the search and rescue, six bodies were retrieved by a joint team of technical divers near Lawis Ledge in Talisay.

The first two, a man and woman, were retrieved past 9 a.m.

Six hours later, members of the Philippine Navy brought in three more bodies, a woman and two small children.

At 5 p.m., another body of a man was found and brought to the Talisay City Fish Port at the South Road Properties.

The bodies were delivered to the Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes shortly after they were found.

Twenty-three of those who died were identified.

According to the Incident Management Team, they are Domingo Anonat, Alfonso Camanzo, Jonathan Cabural, Romulo Escrupolo, Nileta Ancla, Teogenes Jabines, Armida Manalon, Hilario Maligro, Lolita Butao, Artemia Bonotan, Vicente Ancla, Evelyn Caro and Cresencia Colipano, Nilen Manosa Menia, Antonio Arbutante, Joshua Rene Diaz, Cherry Durano, Julius Flores, Eugenia Balacuit, Horonata Laag, Queenie Galope, Jane Sanchez and Jessame Pigar Bacia.

39 dead, 80 at seaUp to a month

During the search for more passengers and crew, each diver can spend only 20 minutes.

They need 10 minutes each to go down and then back up.

In a reconnaissance dive yesterday, the divers put markers in the points of entry and exit, for the full retrieval operations that will start today.

Yoma said the divers have not penetrated inside the ship, such as going to the cabins, but bodies have been seen.

Yoma said the operation could take a month, depending on the sea’s conditions.

A party-list lawmaker is seeking a review of the government’s supervision and regulation of water transport operations in the country, in light of the collision.

Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon, a member of the House transportation committee, said he will file a resolution for an inquiry, which will take up the seaworthiness of vessels. (With Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

For some survivors, tearful reunions; for others, a long and anxious wait

By Davinci S. Maru


AS BRIGHT lights on Cebu City’s horizon drew closer, some passengers of the M/V St. Thomas Aquinas went out to the ferry’s veranda Friday night, expecting to arrive shortly, without trouble.

“I prayed to thank the Lord that we were near and nothing happened to us,” said Nolasco Antimaro Jr., 35.

And then, just 30 minutes before their expected arrival, the ferry collided with the M/V Sulpicio Express 7, a cargo vessel that belongs to the Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp.

The impact knocked Antimaro off his feet.

He heard the captain calling on passengers to calm down, as he went to get a life jacket.

“Many jumped overboard after it started sinking,” said Antimaro, who lives in Lombocan, Butuan City.

Less than 15 minutes after the impact, while the ship kept sinking off Talisay City, Antimaro plunged into the cold water. He saw hundreds of passengers like him struggling to swim in the darkness.

Hours later, the initial findings would say that the cargo vessel had hit the M/V St. Thomas Aquinas on its starboard side, past 9 p.m. (Which side is starboard? To a passenger on the boat who faces the front part or bow, starboard is to the right.)

Passengers like Vanessa Campugan, 30, scrambled to save their families. She and her husband placed life jackets on their children, ages 2 and 4.

As the ship kept tilting, they threw their children into the dark water and went after them. Campugan of Bayugan, Agusan del Sur is four months pregnant. They survived.

“We were just lucky,” she said.

Ailing and suffering from weak joints, Cesar Comendador, 77, took off his pants in order to swim better.

The resident of Libuac, Surigao City, was travelling with nine other people to go to Manila, where they hoped to attend a Bible Baptists’ conference.

Family

Though he was saved, Comendador said the accident took the life of one of his companions, Romulo Escrofolo, 73.

For many passengers, relief really hit home when they were reunited with loved ones in the 2Go office in Cebu City’s Pier 4.

Gina Payag, 29, scanned the faces of all the rescued passengers inside the establishment until she found her partner Rolando Manligio, 35, and their daughter Rubie Jane, 1.

“I thought they had died. But I didn’t lose hope in looking for them,” she said.

Manligio said he climbed down the ship, holding on to a rope with one hand, while he held their daughter with his free arm.

He said it did not take long for some rescuers to reach them and pull them out of the water.

Before the accident, Manligio recalled they were sleeping when the ship shook violently and some passengers started screaming.

Some survivors aren’t old enough to tell their stories.

In Pier 4, a three-month-old baby identified as Trisha May Cumaro was quickly transferred by ambulance to a hospital.

She is believed to be one of the youngest survivors.

But while many were elated at the news that their families, friends and relatives survived, some continued to wait.

Rosalie Castro, 27, of Barangay Barrio Luz, Cebu City, went over a list of survivors hoping to find her mother Carmela, 50, among the hundreds of names.

Her mother was heading for Cebu City for a medical check-up after being diagnosed with breast cancer early this year.

“I looked for her everywhere, in hospitals and hotels, but she wasn’t there,” a teary-eyed Castro said.

2 vessels collide

By Davinci S. Maru and Justin K. Vestil


CEBU CITY -- A ship that carried more than 700 passengers, including 55 infants, sank off the coast of Talisay City in Cebu after colliding with a cargo vessel Friday evening, killing at least 17 people.

Rescue operations were ongoing as of 3 a.m. Saturday, August 17, but authorities confirmed at least 17 people dead despite efforts by rescue teams and local fishermen to save as many passengers as they could.

Fourteen of the fatalities were brought to the Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes at Junquera St., Cebu City around 2 a.m. One of them was identified as Jonathan Ariel Cubaral based on the identification card recovered from the victim’s wallet.

Some of the dead were brought to Cebu City’s pier area, while others were declared dead in the Talisay City District Hospital and the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in this city. Among five bodies brought to the Cebu City pier, two still wore life jackets.

Coast Guard Cebu Station Commander Weniel Azcuna told radio dyHP that 2Go Shipping’s passenger vessel, the M/V Saint Thomas Aquinas, sank within 15 minutes after the collision.

The vessel was heading for a stopover in Cebu, on its way to Manila, when it collided with M/V Sulpicio Express Siete, which was bound for Davao.

The accident occurred near Lawis Ledge off Talisay, where several vessels have previously run aground, including a passenger ship late last February whose 360 passengers got stranded at sea for four hours.

Around midnight, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and other agencies searched the dark waters off Talisay for passengers and crew. The 2Go ship captain, identified as certain Captain Bermejo, was reportedly among

Distress call

Azcuna said the Coast Guard received a call from the captain of the 2Go vessel at 9 p.m., asking for immediate help.

One of the survivors, Aldrin Rahman, told reporters that their vessel had left Nasipit in Butuan City at 12 p.m. They were scheduled to dock in Cebu for a stopover at 9 p.m.

But the vessel violently halted before it could reach Cebu’s port, before 10 p.m.

Rahman recalled that the ship then started sinking, causing the passengers to panic. Some jumped off the boat without putting on life jackets.

An ANCAlerts tweet, quoting the Coast Guard headquarters in Manila, said the 2Go vessel sank in a depth of 144 meters.

Reporters saw Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III checking on the survivors in the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, while Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama went to the pier area to get updates on the search.

The Saint Thomas Aquinas vessel carried 723 passengers, said Waterfront Police Chief Waldemar Tiu.

The Sulpicio Express cargo vessel had 36 crew members and officials.

Through the help of fishermen from Sitio Salvador, Barangay Tanke in Talisay City, an unconfirmed number of passengers were rescued while they bobbed in the waves.

Distress call

Azcuna said the Coast Guard received a call from the captain of the 2Go vessel at 9 p.m., asking for immediate help.

One of the survivors, Aldrin Rahman, told reporters that their vessel had left Nasipit in Butuan City at 12 p.m. They were scheduled to dock in Cebu for a stopover at 9 p.m.

But the vessel violently halted before it could reach Cebu’s port, before 10 p.m.

Rahman recalled that the ship then started sinking, causing the passengers to panic. Some jumped off the boat without putting on life jackets.

An ANCAlerts tweet, quoting the Coast Guard headquarters in Manila, said the 2Go vessel sank in a depth of 144 meters.

Reporters saw Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III checking on the survivors in the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, while Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama went to the pier area to get updates on the search.

The Saint Thomas Aquinas vessel carried 723 passengers, said Waterfront Police Chief Waldemar Tiu.

The Sulpicio Express cargo vessel had 36 crew members and officials.

Through the help of fishermen from Sitio Salvador, Barangay Tanke in Talisay City, an unconfirmed number of passengers were rescued while they bobbed in the waves.

First trip

It was his first time to board a ship. He still hasn’t found his mother, who got carried away when a herd of passengers began running for safety.

Bacor and his mother were headed to Dumaguete City to visit his aunt, who was about to celebrate her birthday.

The survivors were brought to the chapel in Sitio Salvador in Talisay, where they received treatment from medical personnel and clothes from residents.

In Barangay Cansojong, also in Talisay City, about 13 passengers of the 2Go passenger vessel were rescued by the Bantay Dagat and local fishermen.

At least 20 other survivors were rescued separately in Tanke, said Talisay City Vice Mayor Romeo Villarante.

One of the survivors, Adela Guevara, said the ship’s crew didn’t alarm them nor distribute life jackets while the ship was sinking. She and her four-year-old son were forced to jump off the ship.

They both survived, along with a group of six passengers. (DSM/JKV/With JAC and LRM/Sun.Star Cebu/Sunnex)

‘Milo season’ in Cebu City starts with Little Olympics

By Dale G. Rosal


Cebu braces itself for the start of the “Milo season” as three events are lined up in the next three months here in Cebu City. First off will be the 18th Milo Little Olympics Regional Finals-Visayas starting today at the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC). Next in line will be the 37th Milo Marathon Cebu Leg that will be held Sept. 22 while the last will be Cebu City’s second hosting of the National Milo Little Olympics on Oct. 25 to 27 at the CCSC. The University of Cebu will once again be defending its title in the secondary division of the Visayas regional finals. The Webmasters retained their title for the 17th time last year but not after getting a scare from the University of San Carlos-Basic Education Department (USC-BED). UC narrowly escaped USC-BED, 176.25-161.5. USC-BED, meanwhile, looks to continue dominating the elementary division. They are defending champions for three straight years now. tough task for UC UC already admitted that it will be tough task to keep USC-BED at bay this year, especially since the latter is expected to compete in the 14 sporting events, which now includes basketball. Basketball elementary division tournament manager Rico Navarro said the inclusion of the sport to the original 13 events will be a big boost to the Team Bs of participating schools since this will be their chance to compete in a high-level competition tournament that will be held at the Cebu Coliseum. Navarro said most of the schools will be deploying their second teams in the Milo competition since their Team As are currently competing in the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc (Cesafi) tournament. The opening ceremonies of the regional finals will start at 1 p.m. today. Winners here will earn slots to the Visayas lineup that will compete in the National Finals. Team Visayas is busy strengthening its lineup for October’s National Finals, especially after being dethroned by the National Capital Region (NCR) last year. Strong visayas team Visayas delegation head Ricky Ballesteros said he expects a stronger Visayas team this year, especially with the participation once more of athletes from Western Visayas, who contributed huge points and helped Visayas clinch the Perpetual Trophy last 2011 in Linggayen, Pangasinan. “We will make sure that we will form a formidable team Visayas out of the best schools and teams of the region,” said Ballesteros during yesterday’s official launching of the Regional Finals at the Sarrosa International Hotel. Last year, Team Visayas bowed to NCR after finishing with 575 points against the latter’s 614. Mindanao finished third with 383.5 while Luzon placed last with 357.5. Meanwhile, Milo Executive Robbie de Vera said Milo and Nestle Philippines are doing their best to put up a well-organized national tournament in Cebu. “We are focusing on the smallest detail to make sure that the event will run smoothly, this event is not just about the rivalry between delegations but also the discovery of talents who can be the future of Philippine sports,” De Vera said. De Vera was impressed by how Ballesteros and his group hosted the first National Finals and said he is optimistic that they can do it again. “He (Ricky) changes the concept of the event every year and has enough tricks to amaze us. I’m looking forward to see Cebu’s second hosting of the National Finals,” De Vera said.

Dad warns body on no show

By Princess Dawn H. Felicitas


CEBU City Councilor Gerry Carrillo yesterday warned the members of the local finance committee that he will file cases against them if they continue to refuse to attend the public hearing that seeks to shed light on the current financial status of the City Government.

The move came after the committee did not attend the public hearing the City Council called for yesterday.

The council rescheduled the committee’s appearance before them on Aug. 20 and instead of a public hearing, it will already be an executive session.

The members of the finance committee are City Administrator Jose Marie Poblete, Acting City Treasurer Tessie Camarillo, City Accountant Diwa Cuevas, City Budget Officer Nelfa Briones.

Meeting

Carillo said he wants the finance committee to appear before the legislative body to explain the finding of the Commission on Audit (COA) in its 2012 audit report, which states that the City overspent close to P1 billion last year even without sufficient cash.

“The local finance committee owes it to the people to explain the financial status of the City. They owe it to explain the COA’s finding of an overdraft. Do we still have funds? Do we have enough to pay our debts?” Carillo said.

“By not attending today, they are evading the rule of transparency, accountability and responsibility. They are evading the people that elected us and the people we govern.

I hope they realize that,” he added.

If they will still not attend the Aug. 20 executive session, Carillo said he will file a case against the members of the committee for violation of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

However, in a letter sent by Poblete to the council at 8 a.m. yesterday, he said there is a proper time to discuss the COA findings and the City’s current financial situation. Poblete is the head of the local finance committee.

“While the executive department agrees on the need for the council to be apprised of the City’s financial situation, we submit that these concerns can be squarely answered and clarified at an opportune time, most specifically at the budget hearing, which may be forthcoming soon, as we are now preparing the supplemental budget and the 2014 annual budget,” he said.

Priority

Councilor Margarita Osmeña, chairperson of the committee on budget and finance, said the COA findings and the City’s financial status will have to be discussed and addressed in preparation for the 2014 annual budget.

“That will put us in better perspective,” she said.

Sought for comment about the council’s move, Mayor Michael Rama said he has his own time frame as to when the local finance committee should explain the financial condition of the City and that will be during a budget hearing.

As to Carillo’s pronouncement to file cases against the committee members, Rama said the councilor should be careful in his statements.

4 Pahina Central residents charged

By Ador Vincent S. Mayol, Patricia Andrea D. Pateña


POLICE yesterday filed a string of charges against four persons who purportedly caused trouble during a clearing operation in barangay Pahina Central, Cebu City. Editha Inso, Binigno Inso, Eva Mabini, and Fe Mariboto were charged with alarm scandal, slander, grave coercion, as well as resistance and disobedience before the Cebu City Prosecutors’ Office. The respondents chose not to undergo preliminary investigation. Assistant City Prosecutor Alex Gabud recommended the filing of charges against the respondents before the court. Raquel Arce, head of the Prevention Restoration Order Beautification Enhancement (Probe), said there should have been no trouble had the respondents complied with the demand to vacate the place they were occupying. “We gave them a 72-hour notice and a chance to voluntarily vacate the place. Thirty minutes before we implemented the clearing operations, we gave them a warning,” she said in an interview yesterday. Arce refused to comment on allegations that they violated certain rights of the respondents during the clearing operations. But she said they just did what they were supposed to do. “As agent in authority, I have to do my job,” she said. The respondents allegedly threw bottles, pans and bowls to the personnel of Probe during the clearing operation of an eatery inside the Pahina Central Sports Complex last Monday. Arce described their clearing operation as the worst that they have conducted this year. She believes Inso’s family were not afraid to act violently because they had the support of the officials from their barangay. “The subject of the operation was just one but why it ended up like this. The barangay council was behind the operation. As you can see, the barangay vehicle was even used in transporting the merchandise,” said Arce in Cebuano. The operation was conducted after some residents complained to the mayor about the presence of Inso’s eatery inside the sports complex. Gerardo Gonzales, one of the residents, said they filed a petition for its demolition last 2011. “Its blocking the way. They disallowed the use of the basketball court and the toilet. That’s why we are happy that the eatery was removed” said Gonzales. Marvic Alvino, another resident, said that workers of the eatery would intentionally spill water over the court so that children would not play around. Arce said they were urged to implement the order after they received a letter request from Cebu City Medical Center officer-in-charge Dr. Gloria Duterte last July 26, asking that the eatery be cleared soon. Inso’s eatery was located in front of the hospital’s storage facility, which they plan to convert into an Animal Bite Treatment Center (ABTC) in line with CCMC’s expansion plans, before the end of this year. “CCMC wishes that they be placed in a better, more sanitary location as soon as possible, so as not to delay the infrastructure works of the ABTC,” Duterte wrote in her letter. Last Thursday, a 72-hour notice was sent to Inso instructing her to voluntarily vacate the area but she refused to accept the order. She brought with her a barangay resolution dated October 6, 2012 which granted her authority to vend inside the sports complex as long as she keeps the area clean. She said she refused to voluntarily clear her stall because she still has a pending case filed against former PROBE head Antonio Hermosisima before the Visayas Ombudsman last year. She said she is planning to file another case against the Probe personnel whom she accused of dragging her husband on the ground.

NDRRMC: Two children killed in Quezon, three hurt in Cebu blaze

By VVP, GMA News


At least two people were killed in a fire that hit a residential building in Quezon province last weekend, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said on Tuesday.

Citing reports, the NDRRMC said the fire occurred at 11:45 p.m. last Saturday at Sitio Ilayang Tuazon in Barangay Opias in Tayabas City.

The NDRRMC identified the fatalities as Rhandell Oferia, 9; and Jhorenz Oferia, 4.

Firefighters put out the fire at 12:31 a.m. Sunday. Arson investigators are still determining the cause of the fire which caused P100,000 in damage to property.

Meanwhile, three people were injured in a fire that destroyed 16 houses in Barangay Don Andres Soriano in Toledo City in Cebu at 2:25 p.m. Sunday.

The three injured people were not immediately named even as the cause of the fire was still being determined, the NDRRMC said.

‘Queen of Cats’ sets out daily to feed strays

By Rebelander S. Basilan


SHE GOES out every day to collect leftovers from houses. Then she walks the streets, rain or shine, to feed sick and abandoned cats and dogs. She goes home as late as 11 p.m.

Josefina Casipong sometimes gets ridiculed for this routine. Some call her Reyna ng mga Kuding (Queen of Cats), but the 61-year-old resident of Barangay Opao, Mandaue City would rather ignore the jokes than stop feeding animals.

“Kahuman nako ug pakaon sa mga iro ug iring, mugaan akong paminaw (I feel light every time I finish feeding the dogs and cats,” she said yesterday afternoon as she watched a brown frail dog eat the food she placed on the ground.

People may laugh at her, but Casipong would not lower her voice to say something to the dog. “Ayaw hutda, binli ang uban (Leave food for the others),” she admonished as the starving dog devoured the food—a combination of rice, beans and pork—without showing signs of stopping.

Collect

To provide food for the animals, Casipong doesn’t mind picking up thrown leftovers.

Supportive neighbors hang plastic bags filled with leftovers on their gates so she could easily collect them.

But when the food she collects are not enough, she gets money from her own pocket to buy and cook fish.

“Ang uban muingon nako magbuhi na lang ko ug baboy kaysa magpakaon sa mga iro ug iring. Pero lain-lain man ug gusto ang tawo (Some tell me to raise a pig instead of feeding cats and dogs. But everyone has his or her own desires),” she said.

Casipong, mother of three, said she grew up loving animals. When she was a little girl, she slept with a cat beside her. Though she suffered two dog bites in the past, her love for dogs never wavered, she said.

Casipong said she wanted to have dogs or cats of her own, but she never had a house of her own where she could raise pets without restrictions.

Transfer

In Cebu City, she and her family moved from one rented house to the next. Before moving to Opao, she lived in Barangay Guadalupe in Cebu City, where she also took care of stray cats and dogs.

She once adopted three cats but her in-laws got rid of the animals, much to her dismay.

Casipong is separated from her children’s father. They were not married. A commerce graduate, she worked once in a physical therapy clinic in Cebu City, where she learned massage.

She then worked for a catering business, took babysitting jobs and offered massage services to raise her children.

She has lived in Opao for three years, with her 30-year-old daughter and the latter’s husband and parents-in-law. She babysits her one-year-old grandson when his parents are at work. Her daughter teaches in a private school.

At daytime, she goes to the house of a close neighbor who helps her watch after her grandson while she feeds cats and dogs.

Many, including her children, have discouraged her from feeding cat and dogs roaming the streets.

When eating in fast-food restaurants or birthday parties, she puts leftovers into a plastic bag, to the chagrin of her children and relatives.

Once, she took care of a neighbor’s tick-infested dog. But she stopped when her neighbor, who placed the dog inside a poorly built cage, threatened to sue her for trespassing.

But Casipong have learned to shrug off negative remarks. “Muhunong lang ko ani kung mawala nako (I will only stop when I’m gone),” she said.

4 men caught in buy-busts

By Davinci S. Maru


ANTI-DRUG operatives arrested seven men in separate buy-busts in Cebu City on Friday, confiscating several packs of suspected shabu worth more than P90,000.

The first operation happened around 3:30 p.m. in Barangay Ermita, where four men were rounded up by the Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force Group (RAIDSOTG) 7.

The suspects were identified as Wesly Maaghop, Leonardo Otida and brothers Jesryl and Louis Cabana.

Senior Insp. Henrix Bancoleta said Victor Macaraya, the subject of their operation, got away.

Seized from Maaghop and Otida were two medium packs of shabu worth P40,000 and a .45 pistol while Cabanas had five small packs of shabu each.

Eluding arrest

Bancoleta said a poseur-buyer bought a medium size shabu from Macaraya and it was Maaghop who handed the shabu.

When the raid was announced, Maaghop, Otida and Macaraya went to the rooftop of the three-story house owned by Macaraya.

Bancoleta said they caught Maaghop and Otida, but Macaraya eluded them. They figured he went to a neighboring house and hid there.

After the RAIDSOTG 7 team pulled out from the area, they spotted the Cabana brothers on board a motorcycle with no plate number and not wearing a helmet. The two were acting suspicious.

Bancoleta said they stopped the two. And when they frisked them, they found shabu in their possession.

At 8 p.m., elements of the Investigation and Detective Management Branch (IDMB) arrested Rodel Silverio, 37, on C. Padilla St. in Barangay Duljo-Fatima.

New player

They seized from him two medium packs and 42 small packs of white crystalline substance believed to be shabu with a street value of P46,500.

Chief Insp. Aileen Recla, chief of IDMB, said an informant told them about Silverio’s illegal activity.

A poseur-buyer bought P200 worth of shabu from Silverio. When he handed it over, police immediately arrested him.

Most of the suspect’s clients are taxi and motorcycle-for-hire drivers and students, Recla said.

Silverio is also new into the illegal drug trade because he is not in the watch list of suspected drug personalities, she said.

Silverio, when interviewed by the media, said he got tired of his salary from a barber shop.

Before 12 a.m., Junevec Pepito, 37, and Nicho Dioso, 26, were caught in Sitio Rotunda in Barangay Banilad by elements of City Intelligence Branch (CIB).

Eugene Legaspi, a suspected big-time drug pusher, whom the two suspects work for, eluded arrest.

Seized from Pepito and Dioso were 12 small packs of shabu worth P3,000.

Chief Insp. Gomercendo Mandawe of CIB said they are looking for Legaspi, who is in their watch list of suspected drug personalities.

Dioso told reporters said he was only in Pepito’s house to look after the latter’s children. He denied being involved in selling drugs, but he admitted being a user.

Pepito, for his part, denied owning the drugs.

Complaints for violating Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, will be filed against the seven suspects.

City’s budget needs top-up

By Jujemay G. Awit and Princess Dawn H. Felicitas


AT LEAST two departments of Cebu City Hall have been egging on the executive department to submit the second supplemental budget.

Mayor Michael Rama does not want to fast-track the passage of the supplemental budget, but said he knows the priorities.

The local finance committee, the mayor said, has been reviewing the City’s needs to craft the proposed supplemental budget.

The Department of Public Services’ (DPS) budget for garbage disposal ran out in July.

DPS Chief Dionisio Gualiza said there is no bill yet for this month but if the supplemental budget will not be pushed, then the department will have to augment its budget from other sources.

The department needs an additional P43.2 million for garbage disposal alone. This will be used for the tipping fee of P700 for every ton of garbage in a Consolacion dumpsite.

The department also asked to include in the budget at least P21.4 million for rental of heavy equipment that will be used to transport garbage.

More for fuel

On the part of the General Services Office (GSO), it needs an additional P45-million budget so that its gasoline allocation will last until the end of the year.

Mayor Rama said he knows that the appropriation for fuel allocation is good only until September.

The mayor explained to reporters that in the second supplemental budget, he wants to bring back the appropriations that were cut when the 2013 annual budget was approved by the council.

Last year, the executive proposed a budget of P6.7 billion but only P5.19 billion was approved.

Rama reminded the council that the budget approved was with the implication that it would only be for the first half of the year, considering there was a midterm election last May 13.

They may have thought there would be another mayor after the elections, said Rama.

The mayor is optimistic that he will be given his new city treasurer soon or before the second supplemental budget will be passed to the council.

‘It’s done’

Rama said he already received “communication” that he feels optimistic about, but did not say who it was from.

“Consider it done,” Rama quoted the national official who assured him he will be getting a treasurer soon.

The last official communication was from the Bureau of Local Government Finance, designating assistant city treasurer for operations Tessie Camarillo as caretaker of the City Treasurer’s Office until a city treasurer will be appointed from Rama’s list.

The list includes former city treasurer Ofelia Oliva, her son and Mandaue City treasurer Regal Oliva, and City Accountant Diwa Cuevas.

Meanwhile, the Cebu City Council has deferred the approval of the purchase of P5.4 million worth of hospital equipment for the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC).

The legislative body wants to know first if the purchase of new equipment will result to any increase in hospital fees or not.

Based on the proposal, CCMC chief Dr. Gloria Duterte said the amount will be used to buy a patient monitor, ventilator and air conditioner, among others.

Effect on fees

She said the equipment will be used for CCMC’s intensive care unit, operating room, female and male medicare unit, pediatrics ward and dietary section of the City-owned and operated hospital.

In their recent regular session, Councilor Gerardo Carillo expressed worry that the purchase and the equipment’s maintenance expenses may result to an increase in hospital fees.

This may increase the financial burden of the city’s indigent constituents who avail themselves of CCMC’s health services, he added.

The council then deferred the approval of the resolution drafted by Councilor Lea Japson, until CCMC officials can answer Carillo’s concern.

In a related development, Councilor Dave Tumulak wants the City Government to purchase three new ambulances for the use of CCMC, the Basak Pardo Emergency Rescue (BPER) and Apas Emergency Response Team, worth P4.2 million.

“With the high demand in emergency cases and to further improve health services, especially in transporting patients, it is imperative to acquire ambulances to better serve our constituents,” he said.

At present, Tumulak said there aren’t enough ambulances that will respond to emergencies.

56 calls per day

In his one-page resolution, Tumulak said there are only six ambulances being operated by the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation (Eruf) and three units for BPER, which respond to emergency cases at no cost to the patients.

The rest of the ambulances, he said, are operated by private hospitals, which charge their patients for the use of these vehicles.

The councilor said the existing fleet of ambulances is not enough to cater to the city’s emergency needs, considering that Eruf responds to 36 emergency calls per day while BPER responds to 20 emergency calls per day or a total of 1,680 emergencies per month.

Tumulak then requested that the amount needed for the ambulances be charged to the City’s Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. funds.

The council has referred the matter to the committee on budget and finance for its report and recommendations.

2 pushers fall in Negros Occidental buy-bust

By Dennis Carcamo


MANILA, Philippines - Anti-narcotics agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency arrested two notorious drug pushers during a buy-bust operation in Negros Occidental, the PDEA reported on Friday.

PDEA director general Arturo Cacdac Jr. identified the suspects as Salic Manabilang y Sultan, 43, a farmer, of Bagondan, Cebu City; and Noel Odtohan, 51, of Barangay Zone 1-A, Pulupandan, Negros Occidental.

Cacdac said that last August 7, around 4 p.m., elements of PDEA Regional Office 6 conducted a buy-bust operation at Poloy’s Pension, Bacolod Central Market, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental which led to the arrest of the two suspected pushers.

Authorities also confiscated four heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets containing methamphetamine hydrochloride, locally known as shabu, weighing more or less 15 grams, and the buy-bust money used during the operation.

The pieces of drug evidence were submitted to the PDEA RO 6 Laboratory Service for forensic examination.

Both apprehended suspects are temporarily detained at PNP back-up 1 Station, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental and will face drug raps.

Submit yourself to lifestyle check: dad

By Jujemay G. Awit


A CEBU City councilor wants all elected officials and City Hall department heads and their deputies to submit themselves to a lifestyle check.

In a privilege speech, Councilor James Cuenco raised the corruption plaguing the government here and abroad, and said this prompted him to suggest monitoring the lifestyle of officials.

He cited the “pork barrel” scam and President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (Sona), which mentioned the irregularities at the Bureau of Customs, Bureau of Immigration and the National Irrigation Authority.

“As representatives of our people in this Council, I call upon each and every one of us to reexamine our own conscience and swear once more that we will resist any and all temptations of corruption. Let us start within us, by cleansing our own surroundings of any vestiges of doubt,” Cuenco said.

He also suggested the creation of a Conscience Commission.

An ordinance, however, needs to be crafted so the commission can be created and the lifestyle check can be implemented.

“This should start within us...refer this to the committee on laws, ordinances, public accountability and good government. It should be in a form of an ordinance crafted, it cannot be made through a privilege speech,” said Councilor Gerardo Carillo.

Cuenco already had in mind some personalities who can lead the commission.

These include former Ombudsman for the Visayas Director Virginia Palanca-Santiago, Retired Court of Appeals (CA) Justice Portia Hormachuelos, CA Justice Gabriel Ingles and Regional Trial Court Judge Meinrado Paredes.

Cuenco said the lifestyle check should start with members of the Council, with a request for other officials like the mayor, department heads and their assistants to submit themselves to scrutiny by the commission.

Witch hunt

Mayor Michael Rama was initially noncommittal on Cuenco’s proposal and said that a lifestyle check should not be done as a “witch hunt.”

He later said that he is not afraid to subject himself to a lifestyle check because he has nothing to hide.

“Since 1992, my life has been simple,” said Rama.

The mayor said this should be a challenge to the Office of the Ombudsman, which also conducts a lifestyle check on government officials.

The statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) is a way of checking the lifestyle of an official, since it’s supposed to record any unusual increase of their assets while in public office.

He warned that if the Council creates its own commission, it might mean that the anti-graft office is not doing its job.

No qualms

The other councilors have no qualms about a lifestyle check.

Councilor Mary Ann de los Santos volunteered to be the first one to be checked.

Councilor Michael Ralota, also the village chief of Barangay T. Padilla, said that a lifestyle check would be a good step to prevent corruption. He even suggested including all barangay captains.

“Some barangay captains may be protectors,” said Ralota, referring to illegal activities in the barangays.

“I will submit, no problem. But how far do they go?” asked Councilor Margarita Osmeña.

The guidelines for the lifestyle check will be incorporated in a proposed ordinance.

Councilor Hans Abella believes that no one should oppose a lifestyle check.

“People who have not done anything wrong have nothing to hide,” he said.

Councilor Noel Wenceslao also agreed with the proposed lifestyle check. “It is a good thing to have a lifestyle check especially when it comes to unexplained wealth. Good thing I have no wealth,” he joked.

In encouraging his colleagues to undergo a lifestyle check, Cuenco quoted a Chinese proverb: “Clear conscience never fears midnight knocking.”

Gang of 13 theft suspects caught outside store

By Jill Tatoy-Rabor


A GROUP of shoplifting suspects, who were allegedly about to strike in a mall in Cebu City, were caught by the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) inside a rented van on Monday night.

Police arrested the two alleged masterminds along with six women and five men, and recovered nearly P40,000 worth of clothes, toiletries and vitamins.

According to Theft and Robbery Section (TRS) Chief William Alicaba, the police received a tip from a female informant regarding the syndicate’s modus operandi.

They allegedly hit department stores and pharmacies, stealing boxes of medicines and apparel.

One brings the bag where the stolen items will be placed. Another places the items in the bag, while the rest surround them, keeping them away from the shoppers and store crew’s view.

They were arrested outside a mall in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City at 8:30 p.m. last Monday after the police verified their informant’s tip.

“Kapamilyar sad ko sa uban suspect kay notado na gyud ni sila (Some of them looked familiar to me; they’re notorious),” said Alicaba.

Escaped

Police arrested Lyngen dela Cerna, 33, Antonio Espada, 54, Cherly Serauz, 28, Joel Flores, 35, Christine Caldet, 26, Aida Hernandez, 29, Jenelyn Acibo, 31, Leebert Macasero, 24, Jason Flores, 32, Marvin Camansi,35, and Roel Avila, 35.

The TRS also arrested their alleged masterminds: Glenn Husain, 31, and Jennelyn Mapas, 30.

Alicaba said that one member, who was unidentified, eluded arrest.

The suspects were previously arrested for the same offense but got out on bail last year.

A white Mistubishi L300 van, believed to have been rented by the suspects, was also recovered.

Found inside the van were 20 branded shorts, 38 big bottles of Cetaphil facial cleanser and 35 bottles of Enervon vitamins, all of which reportedly added up to P39,000.

Alicaba said that the suspects failed to present receipts for the items.

The TRS also secured a security camera footage from one of the establishments in Mandaue City, where the suspects were previously arrested.

The video footage was taken last April 24, when the suspects allegedly took some P200,000 worth of medicines from a pharmacy.

The video showed three of the suspects taking turns in bringing a bag inside and out of the pharmacy, while another opened a box of medicines located near the counter and dumped its contents into the bag.

The rest of the suspects screened their cohorts, so other shoppers would not see them stealing the items.

The employees also failed to notice the act since the other suspects kept them busy by ordering different items at the counter.

Alicaba said the 13 suspects operate the same way in all their target establishments, with each playing a specific role.

A case of theft will be filed against them.

Alicaba, however, said the police will wait for other complainants to step up, while they check if any of the suspects have a pending warrant of arrest.

Dam ‘spillover’ alarms Labella

By Jujemay G. Awit


ACTING Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella wants an alarm system in place to protect nearby residents in case a large volume of water spills over from the Buhisan Dam.

He wrote a letter to Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) General Manager Armando Paredes about the rise in the dam’s water level.

“The water in the dam appears to have increased its volume to a concerning level. In the light of recent occurrences of landslide in Cebu City’s mountain barangays, I would like to request the kind assistance of MCWD in responding to our constituents in the said areas,” read Labella’s letter.

An MCWD official, however, assured that the water level is monitored daily and that the water level, while indeed rising, is nothing to be alarmed about yet.

Cebu City officials also met yesterday with some residents of Barangays Buhisan and Quiot to brief them about avoiding disaster in the wake of heavy rains.

Labella inspected the Buhisan Dam area with Councilor Dave Tumulak and Local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (LDRRMO) operations officer A­lvin Santillana yesterday.

Heavy rains over the weekend caused water to spill from the dam.

A family’s house in Sitio Sandayong was destroyed after a large rock fell through their roof and went straight to the bed. Fortunately, the couple and their two grandchildren who live there were not in bed at that time.

Classes were disrupted in the Toong Elementary School’s Grades 1, 5 and 6.

A landslide occurred last Sunday morning in the area, and to prevent further risks, the LDRRMO cleared trees near the school.

They cleared 11 mahogany trees and four gemelina trees that posed risks to the school’s structures and children. It is up to the on-site team to determine if there is a need to clear more trees.

On the Buhisan dam issue, MCWD information officer Charmaine Rodriguez explained that the state of the dam is not a cause for alarm.

According to its monitoring, on recent rainy days, the dam produced as much as 10,000 cubic meters of water a day. On regular days, the dam produces 5,000 to 7,000 cubic meters a day.

However, this rise usually happens during the rainy season.

While the water did spill, it spilled over the crest of the dam and not over its banks.

Monitoring

“The crest is designed to control the flow of the water,” said Rodriguez. “It’s really normal.”

She explained that it would seem alarming because during the dry spell over the summer, the daily production of the dam was only 1,000 cubic meters of water.

Rodriguez also said that another cause of concern was the loud noise from the water’s flow.

As of yesterday, MCWD has not heard of the landslide in the dam’s periphery.

Labella said he wants MCWD to monitor the daily level of the Buhisan dam, and Rodriguez said the company is already doing that.

The acting mayor also wants an alarm system installed in the dam that would warn the public if the water level becomes critical.

Rodriguez said that in 2008, there was a landslide near the dam, which prompted a study to determine the stability of the structure.

Dam’s stable

The study, conducted in 2011, was titled: “Conduct of engineering, geological and geohazard assessment; ground investigation and landslide investigation covering the Buhisan landslide site and Buhisan dam site.”

The Engineering and Development Corporation of the Philippines conducted it.

According to the study, the dam is very stable.

But it recommended that the dam be desilted, which would increase its water capacity.

The results were presented to the Cebu City Government.

The problem was that in order to desilt the area, heavy equipment was needed but the road was not passable. The City would have to improve the road or construct another one.

This would involve relocating about 2,000 households living along the river.

“I am particularly concerned by the case of Buhisan Dam which is admittedly an already old structure,” Labella continued.

Late yesterday afternoon, Tumulak, Santillana and Barangay Buhisan officials met with barangay residents living near the dam, for a preparedness briefing.

Alert levels

Labella said Marikina has an alarm system that alerts residents as to the water’s level.

According to the system, alarm level one means that the water is at least 15 meters above sea level, while level two is when the water rises 16 meters above sea level.

The latter would call for “preparedness.”

Evacuation is ordered when the alert level reaches three, or if water is 17 meters above sea level. A critical level is reached when the water rises 18 meters above sea level, which would call for forced evacuation.

In Barangay Quiot, Cebu City, a pulong-pulong was also called by LDRRMO operations officer Simeon Romarate with barangay officials to prepare for heavy rains. A river in the community also rose yesterday, so that about 20 families were temporarily housed in the sports complex.

As the water level normalized, the families were advised to return to their homes but were told to stay in the sports complex in case heavy rain fell again.

Child, 8, drowns in river; slides dislodge 4 homes

By Davinci S. Maru, Princess Dawn H. Felicitas and Rebelander S. Basilan


AN eight-year-old boy drowned after being swept away by strong currents in a river made deeper by heavy rains in Barangay Pulpogan, Consolacion yesterday morning.

The downpour that began Saturday night also caused landslides in the cities of Cebu and Mandaue, which damaged at least four houses.

A landslide damaged three houses in Barangay Casuntingan, Mandaue City, just hours after a palm tree fell on two houses and a chapel in Barangay Umapad.

No one was reported injured in both accidents.

One house was damaged in Barangay Guadalupe, while a road in the mountain barangay of Toong was blocked after heavy rains last Saturday in Cebu City.

Child

Rescuers fished out the body of Archie Tayong, 8, near the Cansaga Bay Bridge past 12 p.m. yesterday. They found him stuck in a patch of grass.

PO1 Michael Villardar of the Consolacion Police Station said the boy had asked for permission from his mother Clavel to go visit his friends.

The boy did not tell her they were going swimming, Villardar said.

While the children were in the river, without the supervision of an adult, Tayong was swept away by the swift currents at 9 a.m.

One of his friends grabbed his hands, but Tayong slipped away.

He was found three hours later.

The rescuers rushed Tayong to the Eversley Childs Sanitarium in Barangay Jagobiao, Mandaue City, but the attending physician declared him dead on arrival.

The boy’s father was reportedly in Lapu-Lapu City, selling rags out on the streets.

Blocked

In Toong, the landslide occurred around 10 a.m., said Cebu City’s Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (LDRRMC) operations officer Alvin Santillana.

Debris blocked the road behind Toong Elementary School, a team from the barangay immediately cleared it, said Santillana.

Since there were no structures built in the area, Santillana said, no families were harmed.

In Barangay Guadalupe, however, a house that belongs to the Labra family near the river in Sitio Tipolo was damaged after the rain caused soil movements in the area.

Guadalupe Barangay Captain Michael Gacasan said he received a report regarding the incident at 8 p.m. last Saturday.

Gacasan said the barangay already ordered the Labras, as well as other families living in three houses near them, to evacuate in case another landslide will occur.

Asked if there were people harmed, Gacasan said a woman incurred abrasions while the affected families were being evacuated by the barangay disaster unit, the Bureau of Fire Protection and the LDRRMC.

She has been attended to, he assured.

Gacasan said the affected families are temporarily sheltered by relatives, also in Guadalupe, since they refused to take refuge in the barangay gym because it’s far from Sitio Tipolo.

In an interview yesterday, Gacasan urged his constituents located within the three-meter easement of the river to immediately evacuate, especially during heavy downpours.

Gacasan is also asking the City Government to help them recover the three-meter easement zone of rivers.

Mayor Michael Rama has formed a team called the Reduction of Danger Zones, which seeks to address illegal structures located with the three-meter easement of Guadalupe River, Lahug River, Kinalumsan River, Mahiga Creek and the Bulacao River.

Walls down

The landslide in Mandaue City, which occurred around midnight, damaged the walls of three houses in Sitio Lub-ang, said Casuntingan Barangay Captain Oscar del Castillo.

Some 60 houses, mostly made of light materials, are located in the landslide-prone area, which is also situated near the Butuanon River.

Castillo said he has repeatedly advised the residents to relocate because the place is prone to landslides and floods.

“Ang mga tawo diha dili mahadlok. Pila na kahigayon ingon ko nila nga mubalhin na (People there are not afraid. I’ve asked them to relocate several times),” he said in a phone interview yesterday.

Castillo said he will ask the barangay council to pass a resolution providing financial assistance to the affected families for the repair of their houses. The assistance may be taken from the calamity fund, he said.

The families did not wish to be evacuated and simply cleared their houses of the debris, said Castillo.

In Umapad, a palm tree, about 40 feet tall, toppled past 11 a.m. last Saturday, damaging two houses and a chapel in the CCF Compound in Purok Tambis.

Umapad Barangay Captain Nelson Rubio said the rains loosened the soil where the tree stood.

Palm tree ban

Rubio said he will seek help today from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Mandaue City Engineering Office to remove the tree.

He will also ask for help from the Bureau of Fire Protection and the Visayan Electric Company, as the tree hit some cables.

Rubio said he has called the attention of the lot owner, a councilor in Barangay Subangdaku.

“Tulubagon gyud ni sa tag-iya sa yuta (The lot owner is accountable for this),” he said in a phone interview.

There are other palm trees or buli in the lot.

For the safety of the residents, Rubio said he will ask the barangay council to pass an ordinance banning the growing of palm trees in the barangay.

Antenna

Also during the weekend, a man got electrocuted after he attempted to fix the antenna of his television set, which had fallen on a live wire in Barangay McArthur, Tudela, Camotes Island.

Buddy Montes, 23, sustained severe burns in his body during last Saturday’s accident, police said.

This was the second electrocution in Tudela since July 31, when a laundrywoman died. The mayor’s son survived that earlier accident.

Insp. Jonas Tahanlangit, the town’s police chief, said the latest accident happened at 6:40 a.m. when Montes held the steel pipe that was attached to the antenna.

It was raining.

The victim was rushed to Ricardo Maningo Medical Center in San Francisco, but he didn’t make it there alive.






Child, 8, drowns in river; slides dislodge 4 homes

By Davinci S. Maru, Princess Dawn H. Felicitas and Rebelander S. Basilan


AN eight-year-old boy drowned after being swept away by strong currents in a river made deeper by heavy rains in Barangay Pulpogan, Consolacion yesterday morning.

The downpour that began Saturday night also caused landslides in the cities of Cebu and Mandaue, which damaged at least four houses.

A landslide damaged three houses in Barangay Casuntingan, Mandaue City, just hours after a palm tree fell on two houses and a chapel in Barangay Umapad.

No one was reported injured in both accidents.

One house was damaged in Barangay Guadalupe, while a road in the mountain barangay of Toong was blocked after heavy rains last Saturday in Cebu City.

Child

Rescuers fished out the body of Archie Tayong, 8, near the Cansaga Bay Bridge past 12 p.m. yesterday. They found him stuck in a patch of grass.

PO1 Michael Villardar of the Consolacion Police Station said the boy had asked for permission from his mother Clavel to go visit his friends.

The boy did not tell her they were going swimming, Villardar said.

While the children were in the river, without the supervision of an adult, Tayong was swept away by the swift currents at 9 a.m.

One of his friends grabbed his hands, but Tayong slipped away.

He was found three hours later.

The rescuers rushed Tayong to the Eversley Childs Sanitarium in Barangay Jagobiao, Mandaue City, but the attending physician declared him dead on arrival.

The boy’s father was reportedly in Lapu-Lapu City, selling rags out on the streets.

Blocked

In Toong, the landslide occurred around 10 a.m., said Cebu City’s Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (LDRRMC) operations officer Alvin Santillana.

Debris blocked the road behind Toong Elementary School, a team from the barangay immediately cleared it, said Santillana.

Since there were no structures built in the area, Santillana said, no families were harmed.

In Barangay Guadalupe, however, a house that belongs to the Labra family near the river in Sitio Tipolo was damaged after the rain caused soil movements in the area.

Guadalupe Barangay Captain Michael Gacasan said he received a report regarding the incident at 8 p.m. last Saturday.

Gacasan said the barangay already ordered the Labras, as well as other families living in three houses near them, to evacuate in case another landslide will occur.

Asked if there were people harmed, Gacasan said a woman incurred abrasions while the affected families were being evacuated by the barangay disaster unit, the Bureau of Fire Protection and the LDRRMC.

She has been attended to, he assured.

Gacasan said the affected families are temporarily sheltered by relatives, also in Guadalupe, since they refused to take refuge in the barangay gym because it’s far from Sitio Tipolo.

In an interview yesterday, Gacasan urged his constituents located within the three-meter easement of the river to immediately evacuate, especially during heavy downpours.

Gacasan is also asking the City Government to help them recover the three-meter easement zone of rivers.

Mayor Michael Rama has formed a team called the Reduction of Danger Zones, which seeks to address illegal structures located with the three-meter easement of Guadalupe River, Lahug River, Kinalumsan River, Mahiga Creek and the Bulacao River.

Walls down

The landslide in Mandaue City, which occurred around midnight, damaged the walls of three houses in Sitio Lub-ang, said Casuntingan Barangay Captain Oscar del Castillo.

Some 60 houses, mostly made of light materials, are located in the landslide-prone area, which is also situated near the Butuanon River.

Castillo said he has repeatedly advised the residents to relocate because the place is prone to landslides and floods.

“Ang mga tawo diha dili mahadlok. Pila na kahigayon ingon ko nila nga mubalhin na (People there are not afraid. I’ve asked them to relocate several times),” he said in a phone interview yesterday.

Castillo said he will ask the barangay council to pass a resolution providing financial assistance to the affected families for the repair of their houses. The assistance may be taken from the calamity fund, he said.

The families did not wish to be evacuated and simply cleared their houses of the debris, said Castillo.

In Umapad, a palm tree, about 40 feet tall, toppled past 11 a.m. last Saturday, damaging two houses and a chapel in the CCF Compound in Purok Tambis.

Umapad Barangay Captain Nelson Rubio said the rains loosened the soil where the tree stood.

Palm tree ban

Rubio said he will seek help today from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Mandaue City Engineering Office to remove the tree.

He will also ask for help from the Bureau of Fire Protection and the Visayan Electric Company, as the tree hit some cables.

Rubio said he has called the attention of the lot owner, a councilor in Barangay Subangdaku.

“Tulubagon gyud ni sa tag-iya sa yuta (The lot owner is accountable for this),” he said in a phone interview.

There are other palm trees or buli in the lot.

For the safety of the residents, Rubio said he will ask the barangay council to pass an ordinance banning the growing of palm trees in the barangay.

Antenna

Also during the weekend, a man got electrocuted after he attempted to fix the antenna of his television set, which had fallen on a live wire in Barangay McArthur, Tudela, Camotes Island.

Buddy Montes, 23, sustained severe burns in his body during last Saturday’s accident, police said.

This was the second electrocution in Tudela since July 31, when a laundrywoman died. The mayor’s son survived that earlier accident.

Insp. Jonas Tahanlangit, the town’s police chief, said the latest accident happened at 6:40 a.m. when Montes held the steel pipe that was attached to the antenna.

It was raining.

The victim was rushed to Ricardo Maningo Medical Center in San Francisco, but he didn’t make it there alive.

Heavy rains cause massive flooding in Cebu

By Joy Montero, ABS-CBN News Cebu


CEBU CITY - Heavy downpour that started Saturday night in Metro Cebu and Mandaue City caused massive flooding in several areas.

Smaller vehicles were prevented from traversing downtown areas. Motorists and commuters were stranded. Flood water reached knee-level at the A.S Fortuna, Banilad and Leon Kilat streets.

The water in Mabolo near SM Cebu was also up to the waistline. The most affected, however, were the small businesses along Sanciangko Street.

Barangays Canduman and Casili in Mandaue City also experienced ankle-deep flood waters.

The heavy rains caused an abrupt rise in water level, resulting in heavy traffic and rendering some roads impassable.

The inadequate drainage system is being blamed for the floods, which occur every time heavy rains hit Metro Cebu. – with Aiza Layague, ABS-CBN News Cebu

Romana formally assumes CCPO post

By Niña G. Sumacot/MIT


CEBU, Philippines - Controversial Senior Supt. Noli Romana formally assumed as director of Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) in a turn-over ceremony at the CCPO headquarters yesterday morning while the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) 7 also held a turn-over ceremony to acknowledge their new chief, Senior Supt. Ritchie Medardo Posadas.

Romana, formerly officer-in-charge of the Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office (NOPPO), replaced Senior Supt. Mariano Natu-el, Jr., who has served CCPO for seven months.

Romana’s appointment to CCPO was delayed and underwent issues; most notable was his reassignment from NOPPO for allegedly failing to curb illegal gambling in his jurisdiction. Insinuations also surfaced out that illegal gambling and illegal drugs will rise in Cebu City with his assumption.

“Let me speak for the record: I did not come here for any vested personal interest,” said Romana in his speech yesterday.

With the recent issues including criticisms that were thrown at him, Romana said the pressure is magnified tenfold and he is aware that expectations on him are very high.

“Let this be a stern warning. I’ll use my experience in intelligence and investigation to make sure that cases are filed and dismissal from service will be guaranteed. This will be relentless effort from here on,” said Romana, referring to erring police officers.

Among the other things that he will implement in CCPO is the “police sa barangay” and the conduct of regular trainings, he said.

“Let’s not falter and put strength to each other,” said Romana, as he called on the CCPO personnel to work with him. Being the chief of Cebu City police has been his dream since 29 years ago, he said, the first time he set foot in the city.

The new CCPO director thanked DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, PNP Chief Alan Purisima, and former Police Regional Office 7 director Marcelo Garbo, Jr., who ordered his relief, for endorsing him and eventually processing his appointment documents.

As for Natu-el, he called on the CCPO personnel to give Romana the same hospitality and support that he has received since he assumed the post in January 1.

“We all belong to the same force, we all share the same values and that is to serve and protect the people. With all the support we need, I know that Cebu City will remain to be a safer place to stay,” he said.

Natu-el then narrated a story about two mice that fell into a bucket of cream. One of the mice gave up and drowned, while the second mouse didn’t quit.

“Ladies and gentlemen, as of this moment, I am that second mouse. I am glad that I have done my best despite my very peculiar situation. I walk out of this office here today happy and with a sense of fulfillment. As we dawn a new chapter in our respective careers, I hope that you will remember me, Sr. Supt. Mariano Natu-el, Jr., the mouse that struggled, the man that happily got away,” said Natu-el, ending his speech.

New PRO-7 director Danilo Constantino assured to find a “position of trust and responsibility” in PRO 7 for Natu-el.

Cebu City Vice mayor Edgardo Labella, who attended the turnover ceremony, pointed out that they appreciate Natu-el’s performance in CCPO, but they abide by the rule of law so they appointed Romana.

At CIDG 7, Senior Supt. Eddie Benigay formally relinquished his post to Posadas, formerly chief of Police Center for Aviation Security 7. (FREEMAN)

Farm goods take centerstage as anniv opens

By Peter L. Romanillos

Cebu Daily News


An agricultural fair showcasing well-loved delicacies and local farm produce of the province’s towns and cities marked the start of Cebu’s 444th founding anniversary celebration yesterday. The 444th anniversary of the provincehood of Cebu opened with the traditional flag-raising ceremony. Also in attendance were the province’s mayors, vice-mayors and members of the Provincial Board (PB). Around 500 people flocked to the agri-fair that featured more than 70 booths by 46 local government units (LGUs) and 31 local businessmen at the Capitol grounds, said Provincial Agriculturist Roldan Saragena. The agri-fair, he said, is an opportunity for farmers to display their produce without the presence of middlemen who gets more than the farmers themselves. Aside from that, farmers could possibly get wholesale deals and form new market linkages with potential buyers in the fair. “Our farmers for a week can evade the middlemen who abuse them. This is also an opportunity for them to meet big-time buyers,” he told Cebu Daily News. The province also shouldered the expenses incurred for the transportation of the farm produce and delicacies from the mountains and far-flung towns. However, the local business, he said, were charged P1,000 for the use of the booths for the whole duration of the fair. The agri-fair, which will last from August 1 to 7, will open the booths at 7 in the morning and will close by 9 p.m. It will also be opened on Saturday and Sunday. Saltwater eel or “bakasi” and brined anchovies locally known as “ginamos bolinao” are few of the products on sale at the fair’s opening day, yesterday. Meanwhile, the city of Talisay sold their famous lechon while Naga City displayed wooden accessories. Organic vegetables and fruits were also sold in the fair together with potted plants and flowers. breakfast meet After the flag ceremony, the officials then proceeded to the Capitol social hall for breakfast. In the following days, various activities such as a bloodletting drive, free medical checkups, song and dance competition and raffle draws for Capitol employees will be held. On August 7, the last day of the celebrations, the Gabii sa Sugbo will be held at the Capitol Social Hall where all the province’s mayors and Provincial Board members are expected to be in attendance. The anniversary of the provincehood of Cebu is traced to the appointment by Spain’s King Philip II of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi as governor of Cebu on August 6, 1569. Republic Act 8952 declares August 6 as a special non-working holiday for Cebu province, including the highly urbanized cities of Cebu and Lapu-Lapu.

City Council formally seeks listup extension

By /Chief of Reporters Doris C. Bongcac with correspondents Peter I. Romanillos, Jhunnex Napallacan and Carinne M. Asutilla


THE Cebu City Council yesterday passed a resolution authored by Councilors Alvin Dizon and Gerardo Carillo seeking to extend the voter’s registration by at least one more week. Councilor Sisinio Andales said however that the resolution was already passed “too late in the day.” “There is no more time because the registration ends today,” he said. The resolution’s authors said it was still important that the city is able to air its sentiments on the issue. Slim chance Comelec provincial election supervisor Marco Lionel Castillano said the possibility of extending the registration is slim considering that the poll body is pressed for time in preparing for the elections in October . He said an extension would upset the Comelec’s preparations as the poll body would be attending to the printing of ballots and other paraphernalia after the registration period. “If we extend the registration like last year, the dates in our calendar of activities will again be changed. We are so pressed for time this year. We hope the public would understand,” Castillano said. Officials and staffers of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Cebu City yesterday turned away hundreds of people who wanted to register for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections in October. The Comelec in Cebu City stopped distributing registration forms after they reached their day’s limit of 1,200 for the south district and 800 for the north district. Atty. Marchel Sarno, north district election officer, said that as much as they would have wanted to accommodate all those who wanted to register, they also had to abide by the Comelec’s resolution mandating that the registration will have to end yesterday. On midnight of Wednesday, Comelec personnel stamped 450 people that could still be accommodated for registration at the south district and 200 for the north district. Those who got stamped where in addition to the people who have been lining up at the Comelec offices on Tuesday but were not accommodated after the 5 p.m. cut off. Election officer Sarno said they are aware of the sentiments of the people whom they had to turn away, but they had to do the inevitable so as not to further inconvenience them. “We have to do it instead of allowing them to fall in line but they will not be accommodated in the end,” Sarno said. Edwin Cadungog, election officer of Cebu City’s south district, said they expected the last day of registration to be chaotic because of the high emotions of people who waited for their turn to register. He said people should understand that they only have four data capturing machines in each of the two Comelec offices. “Dili gyud ni ordinaryo itandi sa 2010 registration para sa barangay election,” Cadungog said. The election officer attributed the deluge of registrants who wanted to transfer to Cebu City for the financial assistance the city government gives to senior citizens. In Lapu-Lapu City, the Comelec yesterday limited the acceptance of registrants to those coming from barangays Pajac, Agus, and Caw-oy. The Comelec in Lapu-Lapu City implemented a scheduled registration scheme during the 10-day special registration to avoid a jam similar to what was experienced in many places. Despite the scheme, applicants still experienced delays as only one person was assigned to distribute registration forms while there are only two computers being used for data capture. Election officer Ann Janet Chua Hu-Lamban said that it is not the lack of manpower that caused all the trouble, but rather the attitude of applicants who came in late and wanted to be entertained first. “The chaos is only among those who were not able to pass their requirements and be interviewed beforehand for verification of their residency,” Lamban said.