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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE service provider of the wireless landline phones issued to the Iloilo City Council cut off their lines after incurring “excessive” bills.

 

Why? Because of texting promos in a television show.

 

During the Sangguniang Panlungsod’s session Wednesday, Vice Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog announced that Bayantel cut off their wireless landline phones because they exceeded the P8,900 monthly allocation for their phone bills.

 

It was found out that the total phone bills of the council reached more than P11,700. The City Accounting Office refused to approve the payment of the total phone bills.  

 

Mabilog said he checked with Bayantel why they exceeded their usual usage. He later found out that some of the lines were being used to join text promos in a popular TV show.

 

Councilor Armand Parcon told the council that one of his household members might be using his wireless landline to join such text promos.

 

Perla Zulueta said their lines were reconnected Thursday.

 

“Maybe somebody paid for the remaining amount so that our lines will be restored,” Zulueta said.

 

Mabilog said they asked Bayantel to restore the lines pending their payment.

 

Mabilog said he will ask for the itemized phone records from Bayantel to determine if which line frequently joined text promos.

 

The vice mayor and the city councilors, except for Antonio Pesina, were issued wireless landline phones so they can be easily reached by their constituents and staff.

 

Pesina did not avail of the phone.

Got a new blog guys, http://westvisayasbiz.wordpress.com, which will focus on economic issues in the region. It’s time we discuss thoroughly the economic climate of Iloilo and the rest of Western Visayas.

 

Some of the items were published in The Daily Guardian and Businessworld.

 

Enjoy! Ciao!

 

FAA

CONTRICTED  The banks of Iloilo River are dotted with buildings and development which could trigger floods. (Photo by Tara Yap)

CONTRICTED The banks of Iloilo River are dotted with buildings and development which could trigger floods. (Photo by Tara Yap)

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

AN environment official warned the Iloilo City government to check unbridled developments on the banks of the Iloilo River to prevent pollution and flooding.

 

Engr. Edwin Domingo, assistant director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said they noticed that many buildings and land developments are sprouting on the river banks.

 

“From what we saw in satellite images, a lot of your buildings and structures have been developed practically on the bank of the rivers. There should be allowances between the buildings and the river banks,” Domingo told The Daily Guardian.

 

Domingo said unchecked developments could constrict the river which could trigger floods.

 

“Your river system (Tigum-Aganan) follows a straight line from the mountain. But when it reaches the lower area, the river becomes winding. When the portion of the river in the lower plain is constricted, it would be hard to contain the rushing water which could lead to flooding of Iloilo City which sits on a river delta,” Domingo said.

 

Domingo added: “In urban areas, the more establishments and people you put near the river, chances are they are going to use the river as garbage dump.”

 

The Iloilo City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) had said that the 180 barangays in the city have virtually made the once beautiful and majestic Iloilo River as giant septic tank.

 

Cenro chief Noel Hechanova said household wastes and wastewater discharges from hospitals, hotels and commercial establishments are polluting the river.

 

Fishkills have become a regular occurrence at the river because of the unabated pollution it absorbs.

 

“There’s a problem of low dissolved oxygen caused by organic load from human wastes. The impact is fish kill and death of aquatic animals and plants. Septic tanks should serve as partial treatment of human wastes considering the city has no centralized sewage treatment facility,” Hechanova told The Daily Guardian in an earlier interview.

 

Domingo also stressed the need of a good drainage in the city saying some local government units build roads and pavements without a viable drainage system.

 

“Even if you get flooded, it will recede quickly if there is good drainage system,” he added.

 

Domingo arrived in Iloilo City along with officials from the National Disaster Coordinating Council, PAG-ASA, Philvolcs, Office of the Civil Defense, Red Cross, Namria and MGB-DENR to launch READY Project.

 

READY Project aims to map hazard zones in the country to prepare for disaster and avoid losses in lives and properties.

 

Domingo said the local government should work on its comprehensive land use plan which should jive with the geo-hazard maps which will be produced by READY Project.

 

“With the geo-hazard maps, the local officials will know where to locate residential, commercial and industrial zones,” Domingo said.  

 

By Albert T. Mamora and Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THERE seems to be no end in the twists and turns in the kidnapping of a businessman in Antique.

 

Investigators are now leaning towards the angle of business rivalry as the motive for the abduction of businessman James Ardaña in Sibalom, Antique Holy Thursday last week.

 

This, after the Antique Provincial Police Office (APPO) “arrested” one of the suspects who faked a motorcycle accident and forcibly took Ardaña at Crossing Aldea in Brgy. Udyong, Sibalom.

 

Ardaña’s borther June positively identified a certain Dionisio Pajarito of Brgy. Nagdayaw, Sibalom as one of the alleged kidnappers.

 

June said Pajarito posed as the injured person in the fake motorcycle accident.

 

The police did not file charges against Pajarito, whom they later freed, for they still need more evidence.

 

But the National Bureau of Investigation took custody of Pajarito and brought him to Iloilo City.

 

Pajarito is believed to be a right-hand man of a businessman who is also in Antique politics.

 

Pajarito’s patron is believed to be a former business partner of Ardaña before they had a falling out which spawned a bitter rivalry.

 

Antique police director Ren Darroca said they invited the former business partner of Ardaña for questioning but the latter referred the investigators to his lawyer.

 

Police officials in Camp Delgado said this business rivalry could be the motive for Ardaña’s kidnapping.

 

The mastermind may have also used the rape case filed against Ardaña in order to cover their tracks, PRO-6 officials said.

 

Another angle being considered by the police is “kidnap me” so that Ardaña will evade the pending warrant of arrest against him.

 

Antique Governor Salvacio Perez said over Bombo Radyo-Iloilo that Ardaña’s kidnapping is an isolated case.

 

“Based on the investigation of the Antique provincial police, the most likely motive in the case is business rivalry. This is a work of amateurs and it is possible that the suspects are from Antique,” Perez said.

 

The police, with help from the National Bureau of Investigation and Philippine Anti-Crime Emergency Response, released the cartographic sketch of the suspects based on June Ardaña’s descriptions.

 

The whereabouts and condition of Ardaña remains unknown as the kidnappers have not called his wife Gloria to discuss any demand.

 

The kidnappers earlier demanded a P15-million ransom for the safe release of Ardaña.

 

As regards the report that a businessman engaged in construction and hardware trading is the original target of a kidnap-for-ransom group, the Antique police said this information first surfaced in January 2009.

 

APPO sources said a group of Hiligaynon speaking men was monitored in Antique but they later left.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

ILOILO Vice Governor Rolex Suplico assailed the latest edict of his uncle Governor Niel Tupas Sr. authorizing the release of the P38.8-million Community Direct Action Program (CDAP) contained in the 2009 annual investment program (AIP).

 

Suplico said Executive Order No. 67 issued April 7, 2009 is questionable because it did not follow the conditions set by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

 

The vice governor was referring to the results of the DBM review on the 2009 annual budget dated March 20, 2009.

 

One of the conditions set by the DBM is the itemization or breakdown of allocations in the 2009 AIP.

 

But in EO 67, Suplico said they noticed that objects of expenditures such as construction of roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects were lumped together.

 

The vice governor said the governor should show which municipality will receive a certain amount of money to fund their projects.

 

The CDAP is considered one of the “pork barrels” of the Office of Governor which aims to help municipalities through various socio-economic related infrastructures.

 

In the project resumé attached to EO 67, CDAP funds are in the form of fund transfer or donation to the component local government unit to finance small infrastructure projects.

 

Suplico fears the release of the CDAP will be abused sans the itemized appropriation.

 

The vice governor said they are mulling to file more charges against the governor for violating the DBM conditions.

NBI to file case vs 4 Balbanida suspects today

 

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will file today criminal cases against four persons who allegedly had a hand in the death of accountant Julife Balbanida last February 4.

 

Based on initial information from NBI administrative officer Ernesto Lim, three civilians will be charged with murder and perjury. A police officer will face administrative raps for alleged tampering of evidence.

 

The cases will be filed with the Iloilo City Prosecutors Office sometime today, Lim said in an interview with Aksyon Radyo’s Johnny Diaz.

 

Balbanida was found dead inside the comfort room of her workplace, Uni Eco Steel Inc. along Valeria Street, Iloilo City. A caliber .45 pistol and six empty bullet casings were found inside the CR.

 

But Balbanida and her co-workers tested negative for gunpowder burns, according to the PNP Crime Laboratory.

 

Lim said the filing of the cases was delayed because NBI investigators were dispatched to Aklan and Antique to probe the James Ardaña kidnapping case.

 

“We were supposed to file the case today (Wednesday) but we were delayed because we had to photocopy the affidavits and wait for the investigators who will sign the documents,” Lim said.

 

The investigating team is led by supervising agent Jeremaiah Sargado and special investigator John Catipunan.

 

Lim said they found several discrepancies in the claim that Balbanida committed suicide.

 

“There were no blood splatters on the wall. The recovery of six empty shells of caliber .45 ammunitions inside the CR is also unlikely in a suicide incident. If it was a suicide case, how come there were two slugs recovered from the crime scene?” Lim said.

 

Lim presented two possible scenarios on what happened to Balbanida after her employer Raymund Coo confronted her about a tampered check for P60,000.

 

“Maybe two persons held her hands and another shot her head. Or she was pulled by her hair, pinned to the floor and shot,” Lim added.  

 

Balbanida’s position inside the CR does not jive with the statement of Uni Eco employee Ike Panganiban that he kicked the door open when the lady accountant did not answer his knocks.

 

“Her head was blocking the CR door which can be opened from the outside by pulling the door knob,” Lim said.

 

Lim refused to provide the names of the respondents until they have filed the cases.

By Albert T. Mamora and Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

MORE questions are being asked about the Ardaña kidnapping in Antique. Here is the latest: Was Antique merchant James Ardaña the target of a kidnap-for-ransom (KFR) group or was just mistaken for another businessman in Antique?

 

Earlier reports speculated that Ardaña made himself disappear to avoid a rape case.

 

Intelligence community sources claimed Ardaña was not the real target of alleged KFR members but another prominent person in Antique.

 

The sources, who sought anonymity for lack of authority to speak on the subject, said Ardaña’s name did not surface in the intelligence reports they received about a KFR group that will strike during Holy Week.     

 

The real target was a trader of motor engines and a favored contractor of an Antique politician, the sources said.

 

The Daily Guardian tried to verify the report with the Police Regional Office (PRO-6) and the Antique Provincial Police Office (APPO) but a news blackout has been imposed on the Ardaña kidnapping case.

 

The blackout was enforced following reports that a team from the Presidential Anti-Crime Emergency Response (Pacer) arrived in Antique province Wednesday.

 

The Pacer members joined the investigation initiated by Task Force Ardaña composed of the PRO-6 and APPO.

 

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is also conducting a separate investigation on the incident.

 

Latest information from the capital town of San Jose said the Pacer and the PNP have invited an unidentified person for investigation. Whether he is considered a suspect or a witness is not clear because the APPO refused to give details.

 

PRO-6 director Isagani Cuevas did not respond to requests for an interview because he was in the middle of a staff conference in Camp Delgado yesterday.

 

Cuevas has ordered TF Ardaña to dig deeper into the case. Sr/Supt. Artemio Hicban, PRO-6 deputy director for administration, and Supt. Cornelio Defensor, Regional Intelligence Division chief, are leading the task force.

 

APPO director Ren Darroca earlier quoted Ardaña’s wife as saying that the kidnappers demanded P15 million for his release.

 

Darroca said the incident could also be related to the rape case filed against Ardaña by their former house help.

 

Three angles are being entertained in the case of Ardaña: abduction and revenge, kidnap for ransom or “kidnap me.”

 

Ardaña engages in transportation business and a distributor of farm inputs in northern Antique.

 

 

By Albert T. Mamora

 

SAN JOSE, Antique –Two teams from the Police Regional Office (PRO-6) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) arrived here to probe the alleged kidnapping of businessman James Ardaña last Holy Thursday.

 

PRO-6 has formed Task Force Ardaña to dig deeper into Ardaña’s kidnapping. It is headed by Sr/Supt. Artemio Hicban, PRO-6 deputy director for administration, and Supt. Cornelio Defensor, Regional Intelligence Division chief.

 

Antique provincial police director Ren Darroca said Ardaña’s family has been cooperating with the task force.

 

“We believe that the victim is still here in Antique,” said Darroca who refused to give more details of the investigation.

 

Task Force Ardaña is trying to link the case to earlier intelligence reports that a kidnap for ransom syndicate will strike during Holy Week.

 

An NBI facial artist has interviewed June Ardaña to come up with facial sketches of the three suspects who took away the latter’s brother.

 

June accompanied the victim from Iloilo City when the suspects, who faked a road accident, accosted them at Crossing Aldea, Brgy. Udyong, Sibalom past 9pm of April 9.   

 

Investigators are entertaining three angles in the case of Ardaña: abduction and revenge, kidnap for ransom or “kidnap me.”

 

Court records show that Ardaña is facing a rape charge filed by their former househelp.

 

Investigators said the kidnapping could have been staged so that Ardaña can evade arrest.

 

Ardaña owns passenger jeepneys and is the sole distributor of farm inputs in northern Antique.

 

Initial information from the Ardaña family said the kidnappers demanded P15-million ransom. 

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

A POLICE officer was ordered relieved from the police force of Dueñas, Iloilo for allegedly promoting encierro or illegal cockfight in the town.

 

SPO2 Malko Queque is being tagged as the promoter of the cockfight at Brgy. Catig last Good Friday during which Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) president Sergio Pelopero and his companion Patricio Nobleza were shot dead. 

 

Chief Supt. Isagani Cuevas, Police Regional Office-6 director, said he has ordered Iloilo provincial police director Ricardo dela Paz to investigate Queque.

 

Cuevas also directed dela Paz to relieve Queque from Dueñas PNP pending the investigation.

 

“We also sent a team to Dueñas to verify the report that a police officer bankrolled the cockfight on a Good Friday which is illegal,” Cuevas added.

 

Queque and Senior Insp. Willy Diel, Dueñas police chief, appeared before dela Paz yesterday at the Iloilo Provincial Police Office (IPPO) in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo.

 

Diel said Queque denied promoting the cockfight.

 

“Queque’s home is near the scene of the incident and he was the first to respond after he was informed about the shooting. He said he was not at the cockpit nor did he had entries in the cockfight,” Diel said.

 

Diel said Queque joins cockfights “when he has time.”

 

“He was about to report to duty when the incident happened,” he added.

 

Dela Paz said they have formed Task Force Pelopero to probe deeper into the Good Friday shooting.

 

The task force is headed by Supt. Mario Abraham Lenaming, IPPO deputy director for administration.

 

Dela Paz said they are preparing murder cases against suspects Jose Tommy Abordaje and his brother-in-law Arnel Pula who both remain at-large.

 

Dueñas Mayor Robert Martin Pama said they will also include in the investigation Punong Barangay Enrique Silvestre of Catig for allowing the cockfight in his village.

 

Punong Barangay Edmundo Mirador of Lacadon is also under investigation for being one of the promoters of the cockfight.  

 

Pama said they later found out that the cockfight was held in Catig which is near Lacadon village.

 

Punong Barangay Romulo Laguna of Imbang Grande yesterday took his oath of office before Governor Niel Tupas Sr. as the new ABC president of Dueñas.   

By Albert T. Mamora and Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

SAN JOSE, Antique – Was businessman James Ardaña of Sibalom, Antique kidnapped for ransom purposes or disappeared to elude the criminal case filed against him?

 

Police investigators and the business community are entertaining three angles in the case of Ardaña: abduction and revenge, kidnap for ransom or “kidnap me.”

 

Ardaña was forcibly taken by three armed men Thursday evening at Crossing Aldea, Brgy. Udyong, Sibalom.

 

Senior Supt. Ren Darroca, Antique provincial police director, said it is possible that a syndicate indeed kidnapped Ardaña in exchange for money.

 

Darroca earlier quoted the victim’s wife as saying that her husband’s abductors are demanding P15-20 million for his freedom.

 

Darroca said the incident might also be related to a pending rape case filed against Ardaña by his former househelp.

 

Reports spread around this capital town that the Regional Trial Court (RTC) will issue a warrant of arrest against Ardaña after Holy Week.

 

Darroca said it is possible that the abduction was staged so that Ardaña can evade arrest.

 

“It is also possible that the family of the complainant abducted him to exact revenge,” Darroca said.

 

Ardaña’s lawyer, Pepin Marfil, denied his client will be arrested for rape in Criminal Case no. VI-02-INV-09C-00081.

 

Marfil said the case is still under preliminary investigation at the Antique Provincial Prosecutors Office.

 

“The issuance of the warrant of arrest is still premature,” Marfil told The Daily Guardian.

 

Based on information gathered by TDG, the complainant filed the rape case after Ardaña refused to provide financial assistance to her child. 

 

The complainant allegedly had an affair with the businessman and got pregnant.

 

Efforts were exerted to settle the case but it fizzled out due to disagreements over the settlement amount.

 

Darroca said they are also looking at business rivalry as another angle in Ardaña’s case.

 

Ardaña operates passenger jeepneys and the sole distributor of farm inputs in northern Antique.

 

Darroca said Ardaña’s family have clammed up and refused to cooperate in their investigation. The victim’s wife heads the Municipal Agricultural Office of Sibalom town.

 

Ardaña’s brother, June, who accompanied the victim when the alleged kidnapping happened, failed to describe the suspects who took away his brother after faking a motorcycle accident.

 

Chief Supt. Isagani Cuevas, Police Regional Office-6 director, has ordered a deeper probe into the case.

 

“The case must be resolved soon to avoid driving away investors in the region,” Cuevas said.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo and Albert T. Mamora

 

KIDNAPPERS of a businessman from Sibalom, Antique have demanded P20million from the victim’s family, latest report from the Antique Provincial Police Office (APPO) indicated.

 

The victim, James Ardaña, 51, and his brother Jun were on their  way home from Iloilo City on board a Nissan pickup truck Thursday morning. As they approached Crossing Aldea, Brgy. Udyong, Sibalom past 9pm, they saw a man lying near a motorcycle and two persons shouting for help. The brothers approached the group but the men suddenly grabbed James and forced him to board the motorcycle at gunpoint. Jun was forced inside the pickup truck, hogtied and his mouth sealed with packaging tape. He later got out of the truck by inching his way towards the door and opened the lock despite being tied up.

 

APPO director Ren Darroca said James Ardaña’s wife received a text message Saturday from his alleged kidnappers saying the victim was alive. The suspects also advised the wife to wait for their instructions.

 

Darroca said the wife tried calling the sender’s cellphone number but it could not be reached.

 

The APPO chief said the wife claimed the suspects called her Sunday morning to demand P20million for his husband’s life.

 

But Darroca said they are still verifying the incident, including the identities of the alleged kidnappers.

 

There were also reports that Ardaña was riding a motorcycle, not a pickup, when kidnapped.

 

James Ardaña owns several passenger jeepneys and vast tracts of land, sells farm inputs and equipment. He is also a director of the Antique Electric Cooperative.

 

Sources from Antique said the incident may have something to do with the dispute between Ardaña and his female employee which led to the filing of a criminal case.

 

The victim tried to settle the case for a substantial amount of money but it did not push through as the complainant allegedly demanded more.

 

The Police Regional Office-6 earlier warned the public that criminal syndicates might strike during the Holy Week.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE father of a man accused of posing as a National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agent inside a night spot in Iloilo City April 7 denied allegations against him.

 

Antonio Altas Jr., father of Andrew Altas of Brgy. Malipayon, Iloilo City Proper, said his son did not pose as NBI agent nor shoot Sigfred June Emano of DB Ledesma, Jaro inside Red Paprika Restaurant at Boardwalk Leisure Park in Mandurriao, Iloilo City.

 

The incident happened around 11:30pm of April 7, based on Mandurriao police blotters.

 

Antonio said Andrew, who is the brother-in-law of Paprika owner Melvin Odicta, was just sitting when someone told him that members of the bukas kotse gang were in the restaurant.

 

Andrew then asked a certain Paoc of Tanza Cementerio, Molo if he knew the alleged bukas kotse members.

 

“Paoc reacted by drawing his gun and slammed it on Andrew’s table. The gun went off but Emano only learned that he was hit when he went home. It was Paoc’s gun that hit him. My son did not shoot Emano,” said Antonio who is a retired police officer.

 

Antonio also showed the statement of the security guard on duty during the Paprika incident saying that Andrew did not pose as an NBI agent nor shoot Emano.

 

He also showed the blotter report filed by Emano which did not mention the name of Andrew as the gunman.

 

Antonio said they were hurt by radio reports tagging his son as an NBI agent.

 

“My son plays drums at Paprika aside from securing the place. He is no NBI agent,” Antonio said.

 

NBI regional director Mario Sison said Andrew Altas is not in their roster of agents.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

A VILLAGE chief in Dueñas, Iloilo is in hot water for allowing a cockfight last Good Friday during which the president of the Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) in the said town was shot dead.

 

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Iloilo Provincial Police Office (IPPO) will investigate Punong Barangay Edmundo Mirador of Lacadon, Dueñas for allowing the encierro or cockfight in his barangay.

 

Killed in the cockfight was ABC president Sergio Pelopero of Brgy. Purog of said town and his companion Patricio Nobleza of Brgy. Binabaan Tirador, Lambunao. Wounded in the incident was Leopoldo Ardiente of Brgy. Tuburan also of  Lambunao.

 

The Dueñas police identified the suspects as Jose Tommy Abordaje of Brgy. Binabaan Portigo, Lambunao and his brother-in-law Arnel Pula of Brgy. Agusipan, Badiangan.

 

A dispute over fighting cocks was the reason for the shooting, the Dueñas police said.

 

IPPO director Ricardo dela Paz said cockfights are prohibited during religious holidays such as Holy Week.

 

Mirador said the cockfight was meant to raise funds for their various projects.

 

Janet Naldoza, DILG-Iloilo assistant director, said they have been warning local government units to monitor and stop illegal cockfights.

 

Naldoza said cockfights should be held in licensed cockpits. No cockfights should be held during Rizal Day, Philippine Independence Day and Good Friday, she added.

 

Naldoza said local officials who fail to stamp out illegal cockfights could face administrative charges for dereliction of duty. 

 

The Sangguniang Bayan of Dueñas will also investigate the incident.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

MURDER cases will be filed against two suspects who stabbed and shot to death the Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) president of Dueñas, Iloilo and his companion on Holy Friday.

 

ABC president Sergio Pelopero of Brgy. Purog, Dueñas succumbed to gunshot and stab wounds in his chest and abdomen inside the cockpit at Brgy. Catig, Dueñas.

 

The Dueñas PNP identified the suspects as Jose Tommy Abordaje of Brgy. Binabaan Portigo, Lambunao and his brother-in-law Arnel Pula of Brgy. Agusipan, Badiangan.

 

Abordaje allegedly shot Pelopero while Pula stabbed the victim with a knife following a dispute over a fighting cock.

 

A stray bullet also killed Patricio Nobleza of Brgy. Binabaan Tirador, Lambunao while Leopoldo Ardiente of Brgy. Tuburan, Lambunao was wounded.

 

According to Iloilo provincial police office director Ricardo dela Paz, Pelopero’s and Abordaje’s fighting cocks were scheduled for the second match.

 

Pelopero asked to feel Abordaje’s entry but the latter refused prompting the victim to utter invectives against the suspect.

 

Abordaje and Pula drew their weapons and attacked Pelopero and his group.

 

Investigators recovered eight empty bullet casings of a caliber .9mm pistol.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE verbal tiff between Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas and Councilor Jeffrey Ganzon could have been avoided had the committee on education of the City Council sealed the fate of the latter’s proposed city public college.

 

Councilor Perla Zulueta said the committee headed by Councilors Julienne Baronda and Eldrid Antiquera as chair and vice chair, respectively, should have decided on Ganzon’s measure last year.

 

A sideshow to the Treñas-Ganzon conflict is the councilor’s earlier claim that the mayor may have a hand in the break-in of their house in Arevalo and the theft of his two fighting cocks.

 

Ganzon said he also noticed suspicious looking men following him in motorcycles which he also blamed on Treñas.

 

The son of the late mayor Rodolfo “Roding” Ganzon said the incidents have something to do with his proposed city college which Treñas had thumbed down for lack of funds and other legal issues.

 

Treñas labeled Ganzon’s accusations as “a nice joke” and figment of his imagination.

 

Zulueta said the City Council could have decided on Ganzon’s proposal if only Baronda and Antiquera rendered a report on the proposal.

 

Baronda had said the city college is not feasible because of financial and legal constraints.

 

Ganzon last year threatened to “kick” Baronda because of her negative remarks to his proposal.

 

“Until now, the committee on education has yet to issue a final report on this issue. They are just gathering documents but they did not collate them in a report. The least they could do is report their findings and if Ganzon is not contented he can always make his dissenting report and let the council vote on the two reports,” Zulueta said.

 

Zulueta added: “Maybe they are afraid of Jeffrey (Ganzon) or they don’t know that to do.”

 

The lack of a final report on the city college proposal compelled Ganzon to render a “progress report” on his measure before the council two weeks ago. He also pushed for the abolition of the scholarship program of the city government to pave the way for the establishment of the college.

 

When the plenary voted that he is in no position to render the report, Ganzon went into a fit and called the mayor a traitor and anti-poor.

 

Baronda and Antiquera could not be reached for their comments.

 

Vice Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog called for sobriety in the Treñas-Ganzon tiff.

 

Mabilog said they should settle their score in a peaceful manner “in the spirit of the Lenten season.”

 

“It’s a cause of concern because we all work for the city but we are fighting over something that could be resolved peacefully. As public servants, we should thresh things out in a professional manner,” Mabilog said.

 

Ex-officio Councilor Irene Ong, president of Liga ng mga Barangay-Iloilo City chapter, said she does not believe Ganzon’s accusations.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

MIGRATORY birds are posing danger to aircrafts using the new Iloilo airport in Cabatuan-Sta. Barbara towns.

 

Iloilo airport manager Efren Nagrama said they are looking for ways to prevent the birds from flying and perching on the runway and other airport facilities.

 

Nagrama said birds might be sucked in aircraft engines and cause mechanical trouble and accidents.

 

“We don’t want air accidents and flight delays to happen because of bird strikes. We are looking for ways to drive them away without hurting them,” Nagrama said.

 

The municipal governments of Cabatuan and Sta. Barbara have resorted to using firecrackers to drive the birds away from the airport, Nagrama said.

 

Last February 13, a bird strike caused engine trouble in Cebu Pacific flight 5J651 as it was landing on Tacloban Airport in Leyte. A bird got sucked in one of the engines, breaking the engine’s three blades.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Visayas will file administrative cases against public officials if proven that they misused government vehicles.

 

Assistant Ombudsman Virginia Palanca-Santiago said they are waiting for the report of the Ombudsman-Iloilo office so they can evaluate the possible violations of government officials and employees who used their vehicles last weekend.

 

Santiago said using government vehicles sans the required trip ticket is a violation of rules on the use of government resources.

 

“We will file administrative charges against them if they don’t have corresponding trip tickets when using government-issued vehicles,” Santiago said.

 

Santiago said they will assign the cases to their investigators if they find probable cause against the government officials.

 

O-Plan Red Plate Task Force in Iloilo said of the 32 apprehended official vehicles, 26 were found to have violated certain rules governing the use of government vehicles.

 

Santiago said more than 100 official vehicles have been apprehended in Western Visayas for violating the red plate rules and other regulations.  

Ombudsman to summon execs of 26 gov’t agencies

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE Office of the Ombudsman will summon the officials of 26 government agencies in the city and province of Iloilo to explain why their respective official vehicles were on the road last weekend.

 

Ferdinand Bauzon Jr., O-Plan Red Plate Task Force-Iloilo City team leader, said they were able to apprehend 13 government vehicles during their operation April 4. Out of the 13 apprehensions, 11 were found to have violated certain rules governing the use of government vehicles.

 

The task force apprehended the vehicles during roadside inspection and monitoring in malls, restaurants, recreational areas and airports in the city and province.

 

Bauzon said violations ranged from lack of official trip ticket, improperly accomplished trip tickets and trip tickets not serially numbered as mandated by Administrative Order No. 239 issued last September 15, 2008 which prohibits the use of government vehicles for purposes other than official business.

 

Other violations include vehicles that have no “For Official Use Only” marking, lack of official logo and/or name of agency, delinquent registration and lack of certificate of registration and official receipt.

 

Bauzon said they also observed that some of the apprehended government vehicles used illegal commemorative plates or don’t have registration plates.

 

In Iloilo province, 19 government vehicles were apprehended for going out on a weekend. A total of 15 vehicles were found to have violations.

 

S/Supt. Ricardo dela Paz said most of the apprehended vehicles in the province did not have official trip tickets. 

 

“The apprehended vehicles belonged to the Philippine Army, local government units and national government agencies,” dela Paz said.

 

Some of those who will be summoned by the Ombudsman are officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways, General Services Office of the Iloilo Provincial Government, Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, National Power Corp. based in Cebu, Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, the municipal governments of Pavia, San Enrique and Leganes in Iloilo and Panay in Capiz and Iloilo State College of Fisheries-Barotac Nuevo campus.

 

Engr. Rolando Asis, DPWH regional director, was apprehended by the task force in Brgy. Tagbac, Jaro while riding his office vehicle.

 

The task force said the trip ticket shown by Asis’s driver was good for April 1 to 15 which is inappropriate. The tickets also did not have specific destinations.

 

Asis said he was inspecting government projects in Capiz when apprehended by the task force.

 

“I go out to inspect projects even on weekends. I use the office vehicle when conducting the inspections. When I go on personal trips, I use my own car,” Asis said.

 

The Ombudsman will determine if charges will be filed against government officials who violated the rules on usage of government vehicles.

 

The task force is composed of the Ombudsman, Land Transportation Office, Commission on Audit, Philippine National Police, Civil Service Commission and the Philippine Information Agency. (With reports from PIA-6)

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

ILOILO City Councilor Jeffrey Ganzon claimed that Mayor Jerry Treñas may have a hand in the break-in of his house two months back.

 

Ganzon had claimed that men wearing masks and wielding high-powered firearms barged inside their house in Arevalo. The incident, he said, traumatized his daughter. But did not report the incident to the police.

 

Ganzon also accused Treñas of maintaining a private army even as he vowed not to join the mayor in the 2010 elections.

 

The son of the late Iloilo City mayor Rodolfo “Roding” Ganzon said the incident may have something to do with his proposal to put up a city college which will benefit poor students who want to earn a degree.

 

While he lauded Ganzon’s proposal, Treñas said the city’s finances are not enough to sustain ICC operations.

 

The Iloilo City Council last year nixed Ganzon’s proposal citing the lack of a feasibility study and financial constraints.

 

Three weeks ago, Ganzon resurrected his proposal but was shot down by his colleagues. The fuming councilor labeled the council as anti-poor for opposing his proposal.

 

Treñas only smiled at Ganzon’s accusations. “Nice joke,” he said.

 

The city mayor said he will not resort to violence just to prove his point or impose his will. He also asked Ganzon to present proof or resign as councilor.

 

“That (incident) should be investigated if it’s true. His accusations against me are just his imagination. I don’t even know his house,” Treñas said.

 

Treñas said the City Hall’s budget will be strained if it operates a public college.

 

“Where shall we get the money to pay the faculty and staff? We will also spend on equipment. We don’t have enough budget for those things as of now,” Treñas said.

 

City treasurer Katherine Tingson said the Special Education Fund (SEF) can only be used to augment the Department of Education’s budget on elementary and secondary schools.

 

Treñas said the SEF is not a discretionary fund and cannot be realigned for the operations of a city college.

Dela Paz: The usual suspects

Dela Paz: The usual suspects

 

Rojas: We are extra careful

Rojas: We are extra careful

 

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

POLICE are running hot on the information that two alleged crime ring members have been tapped to kill four public officials in northern Iloilo.

 

Senior Supt. Ricardo dela Paz, Iloilo Provincial Police Office (IPPO) director, said the two persons allegedly hired to kill 5th district board member Jett Rojas, Ajuy Mayor Juancho Alvarez and two Sangguniang Bayan members of Ajuy have links to the dreaded Ilonggo group.

 

The Ilonggo group gained notoriety for robbery and kidnapping operations in Metro Manila and Luzon in the 80s and 90s.

 

Dela Paz said the two alleged guns-for-hire, whom he refused to name, are also linked to robbery incidents in Iloilo.

 

Based on the information obtained by The Daily Guardian, one of the alleged assassins is related to a suspect in the Jefferson Tan kidnapping case and strings of robberies.

 

The IPPO chief said they continue to monitor the movement of the group that are plotting to liquidate Rojas and Alvarez.    

 

“We have cautioned Board Member Rojas and Mayor Alvarez to be more careful after we have identified the persons hired to kill them. They are the usual suspects although it is possible that they have new recruits in their group after we neutralized 11 suspected robbers and assassins in the province last year,” dela Paz said.

 

Dela Paz also noted that robbers in Iloilo have “diversified” to becoming assassins because of the prevailing economic crunch.

 

“Some of them are willing to offer their services just to earn money,” he added.

 

Rojas said the plot on their lives could be linked to the murder of his cousin, Ajuy vice mayor Ramon Rojas who was shot dead May 2008 while jogging in the poblacion.

 

Rojas said they are taking extra precaution even as he called on those plotting against them to stop further bloodshed in their town.

 

The police had accused businessman Vicente “Etik” Espinosa of masterminding the vice mayor’s assassination but the Iloilo Provincial Prosecutor’s Office dismissed the case for lack of probable cause.

 

The case underwent review by the Department of Justice but Secretary Raul Gonzalez Sr. has yet to issue a resolution because he is still asking for a copy of the sworn affidavit of suspected gunman Dennis Cartagena who tagged Espinosa in the case.

 

The Rojas family earlier provided a copy of Cartagena’s statement but Gonzalez said it went missing in his office.

 

Espinosa denied any involvement in the Rojas slay case in an interview with RMN-Iloilo.  

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

ARE assassinations and robberies being hatched inside the Iloilo Rehabilitation Center (IRC) in Pototan, Iloilo?

 

Officials of the jail facility denied the report even as they assured that they monitor the movements of high profile inmates.

 

Retired police superintendent Roberto Nufable, technical consultant of the IRC, denied intelligence reports that robbers and guns-fore-hires detained in the multimillion jail are coordinating their hits with associates outside of prison.

 

Police intelligence reports said high profile IRC inmates regularly receive visitors who act as runners of alleged robbery and assassination plots.

 

Even the alleged plot on the lives of board member Jett Rojas and Ajuy Mayor Juancho Alvarez (see related story) was also said to be hatched inside the IRC.

 

Sr/Supt Ricardo dela Paz, concurrent IRC warden and Iloilo provincial police director, said they have noticed that suspected assassins inside the IRC have regular visitors.

 

“Maybe these are new recruits who do their biddings outside of prison,” he added.

 

Nufable said they have adopted measures to prevent notorious IRC inmates from engineering crimes even in detention such as segregation of high profile inmates.

 

IRC guards are also monitoring the smuggling and use of cellphones inside prison cells, Nufable said.

SNIFFING AGENT A K9 unit of the Philippine Coast Guard-Iloilo station checks the cargo of a Bacolod City-bound fast craft for explosives and other contrabands as part of the pre-departure security check at the Iloilo River Wharf. Coast Guard Iloilo chief Harold Jarder said they deployed four K9 units to help secure seaports as the public rush home for the Holy Week break. (FA Angelo photo)

SNIFFING AGENT A K9 unit of the Philippine Coast Guard-Iloilo station checks the cargo of a Bacolod City-bound fast craft for explosives and other contrabands as part of the pre-departure security check at the Iloilo River Wharf. Coast Guard Iloilo chief Harold Jarder said they deployed four K9 units to help secure seaports as the public rush home for the Holy Week break. (FA Angelo photo)

 

THE Philippine Army (PA) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Iloilo are on alert during Holy Week.

 

Col. Gerardo T. Layug, 301st Infantry Brigade commander, said they aim to prevent the New People’s Army (NPA) from committing violence during Lent.

 

Layug said they would not let their guard down what with the recent encounter between Army soldiers and NPA members in Brgy. Buri, Tapaz, Capiz Tuesday morning.

 

“We will always be on alert,” Layug said.

 

Layug added Army troops will continuously monitor the situation and operate against the NPA even during Holy Week.

 

He said because of the Army’s red alert status prior to the NPA founding anniversary March 29, the rebels were not able to carry out their planned incursions.

 

He said the encounter happened when the Army was conducting clearing operations.

 

Layug said the alert status is intended to safeguard the public and the soft targets such as communication and transportation facilities.

 

Commander Harold Jarder, PCG-Iloilo chief, said they are prepared to safeguard tourists who will travel between Iloilo and Guimaras which hosts the renowned Pagtaltal, a depiction of Jesus Christ’s passion and death.

 

Jarder said starting Monday, they will set up Help Desks and deploy their personnel to man Ortiz wharf in Iloilo City proper.

 

Jarder said that aside from their regular personnel, they would also deploy force multipliers such as the PCG auxiliaries who will act as sea marshals.

 

A patrol fast craft and two rubber boats would be deployed at sea. A K-9 dog will be assigned at Ortiz wharf.

 

As a safety precaution, all passengers will be required to use life jackets while on board motor bancas going to Guimaras island, Jarder said. (PNA)

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE father who allegedly killed his physician doctor in their home in LaPaz, Iloilo City last month has reason to smile despite the tragedy that befell their family.

 

Gideon Licera Sr. was beaming after learning that his daughter Gionny Licera passed the 2008 bar examinations.

 

Gideon is accused of shooting his daughter Dr. Gretchen Licera inside their house at San Lorenzo Subdivision, LaPaz last March 14.

 

The shooting happened after Gretchen and her mother Jasmin did not answer phone calls from Gideon who was drunk at the time of the incident.

 

“At least, my grief was lessened because my daughter passed the bar examinations. The result lightened my mood,” Gideon said behind bars of the LaPaz police lock up jail.

 

Gideon said Gionny visited him in jail Friday morning to ask his blessings hours before the bar examination results were released late afternoon that day.     

 

When asked if he will request Gionny to defend him in the parricide case against him, Gideon said it is up to his daughter.

 

“It is up to her if she will defend me or not. As long as she does her work right and in honesty, I will be happy for her. I will respect their decision,” Gideon said.

 

In several radio interviews, Gionny said she still respects and loves her father despite what happened.

 

While she is not angry at her father, Gionny is still wondering why that tragedy struck their family last month.

 

Gionny took up law at the University of Iloilo after earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the West Visayas State University.

 

She also worked for the Commission of Elections Iloilo City office while studying law.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

A MULTI-agency task force has begun the crackdown on misuse and abuse of government vehicles in Iloilo Friday last week.

 

O-Plan Red Plate aims to apprehend and charge government employees who use government cars bearing red plates other than official trips.

 

The Office of the Ombudsman has involved the PNP, Land Transportation Office (LTO), Commission on Audit (COA), Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Public Information Office (PIO) in O-Plan Red Plate.

 

Records from the Ombudsman and the PNP showed that four government vehicles were apprehended for various violations.

 

An ambulance of the municipality of Leganes was apprehended for lack of official trip ticket while an ambulance of the town of San Enrique lacked car plates. Two barangay vehicles were also apprehended for lack of trip tickets.

 

The LTO confiscated the registration papers of the said vehicles for the filing of cases against the drivers and liable officials.

 

In 2007, the Ombudsman based in Iloilo City received 160 reports on alleged abuse of government vehicles with two cases filed. In 2008, it received 47 complaints with 1 case filed.

 

Deputy Ombudsman for Visayas Pelagio Apostol said the drop in complaints the past two years is the result of their aggressive campaign against abuse and misuse of official vehicles.

 

Apostol also asked the public to watch out for government vehicles which might be used by public officials during Holy Week.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

SOME congressmen don’t like the idea of adding 100 more seats in the House of Representatives in this era of the global financial crisis.

 

Atty. Dan Cartagena, who has been opposing the bid to create a second congressional district in Iloilo City, said he was able to talk to Rep. Jeanette Garin (1st district, Iloilo) who said she does not support the increase in House membership.

 

The proposal to increase House membership by 100 seats came to fore after the Senate committee on local government chaired by Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III did not act on several redistricting bills from the House.

 

The proposed redistricting of Iloilo City was filed by lone district Rep. Raul Gonzalez Jr.

 

Senator Juan Ponce-Enrile then told the House leadership to file a measure to increase the number of seats in the House in order to accommodate the redistricting bills.

 

“It appears that not all representatives agree with the measure because of the economic crisis. We will be spending more than P10 billion just for the additional seats in the House. That money could be used to create jobs,” Cartagena said.

 

The plan to divide the city into two congressional districts is believed to be a ploy to avert a showdown between Gonzalez and Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas over the lone congressional district.

 

Treñas is serving his last three-year term as mayor.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE Regional Development Council (RDC) in Western Visayas will take its chances in requesting the transfer of the 32-megawatt Power Barge 104 from Davao to Panay.

 

The RDC passed last week in Bacolod City a resolution urging President Gloria Arroyo to order the transfer of PB 104 to Panay to ease the acute power shortage in the island.

 

Presidential Assistant for Western Visayas Raul Banias confirmed the passage of the RDC resolution which will be endorsed to the Department of Energy.

 

But Banias had earlier said Davao will oppose the transfer of PB 104 to other areas “because they need it for their reserves.”

 

Data from the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines showed that Panay has a peak demand of 210MW but its supply is only 128MW or a shortage of 82MW.

 

The island draws power from the Cebu-Negros-Panay grid, Panay Power Corp. (PPC), 15MW modular generator sets in Capiz and two power barges stationed in the city and province of Iloilo.

 

Power supply in Panay was imperiled by the turnover of the Panay Diesel Power Plant (PDPP) in Iloilo to its new owner SPC Island Power Corp.

 

Power utilities raised fears of losing some 50MW if SPC does not operate the power plant because of needed rehabilitation works and lack of supply agreement contracts with electric cooperatives.

 

The problem was remedied when the Department of Energy agreed to subsidize the operation of PDPP for five months until SPC has signed supply contracts with Panay utilities.

 

Singapore-based SPC bought PDPP and the Bohol Diesel Power Plant for US$5.7 million last year. The plants were turned over to the company March 25.

 

Officials of distribution utilities and electric cooperatives said new power plants are needed to stabilize the energy situation of the island.

 

Engr. Randy Pastolero, special assistant to Panay Electric Co. (Peco) president and CEO Miguel Cacho, said the 164MW coal-fired power plant proposed by Global Business Power Corp. (GBPC) in LaPaz district will help stabilize power supply in Iloilo City and the rest of the province.

 

Peco is the sole power distributor in Iloilo City which has a peak demand of 75MW daily.

 

GBPC operates PPC which supplies 61MW to Iloilo City. The rest of the city’s energy requirement comes from the National Power Corp.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

A BARANGAY captain in Iloilo City answered the forgery, falsification and malversation charges filed against him by one constituent.

 

In his counter affidavit, Punong Barangay Ernie Poral of Ingore, LaPaz, Iloilo City denied the accusations of Lucrecia Guzman that he forged the signature of the latter’s son in the payroll of a declogging project in their village in December 2007.

 

The Office of the Ombudsman last month ordered Poral to answer the accusations filed by Guzman.

 

Poral said he cannot be charged for falsification of public documents because another Ryan Guzman worked in the declogging project as leadman along with Job Beltran and Art Jiz.

 

Poral also claimed that barangay treasurer Arleen Herva disbursed the funds for the workers and made them sign the payroll.

 

The village head also said he cannot be charged with malversation public funds because he is not charged with the custody or control of the barangay’s money.

 

“This is a duty reposed in the treasurer under Section 395 of the Local Government Code,” Poral said.

 

Poral said the documents pertaining to the declogging project were submitted to the Commission on Audit.

 

Poral included the affidavits of Ryan Amit Guzman, Herva and Apolonio Jamandre (Ryan Guzman’s uncle) to back his claims.

 

“The complaint against me by Lucrecia Guzman that her son was included in the payroll voucher is a testament to the recklessness in which these cases were filed. She just filed the instant case without even checking whether there is another Ryan Guzman employed. The falsity of all these accusations is confirmed by Ryan Guzman in his sworn statement,” Poral said.     

 

Atty. Hans Sayno assisted Poral in filing his counter-affidavit dated March 10, 2009.

LWUA chair vows to help local water firm

 

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) will help the Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) detect leakages in its pipelines and look for other sources of water for the metropolis.

 

This was the outcome of dialogue between LWUA board chair Prospero “Butch” Pichay, MIWD board of directors and Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas Friday morning at the water firm’s office.

 

Pichay, who went to Iloilo City and dialogue with top MIWD and city officials relative to the supply crisis besetting the water utility’s service area, never talked about the report in a local tabloid (not The Daily Guardian) on the alleged plan of Pichay to take over the MIWD management. The dialogue was cordial, contrary to a series of stories in the same tabloid depicting a mad Pichay raring to spank the MIWD management.

 

Pichay said LWUA will support MIWD’s 5-year management plan which includes short and long-term solutions to supply and distribution problems.

 

“Maganda naman ang plano nila and all I wanted was to fast track the implementation,” he said.

 

For the short term plans, the LWUA official said they will explore possible water wells in the municipalities of San Miguel and Oton.

 

“We might be able to produce some 20,000 cubic meters of water daily from those wells. That would be sufficient for the present connections which is around 40-50% percent of Metro Iloilo population. And MIWD won’t have to spend much on the transmission lines because these well are located near the pumping station,” Pichay said.

 

Treñas said he, Pichay and the MIWD board will meet with the mayors of Oton and San Miguel to thresh out issues on the national wealth tax and drying up of their towns’ water aquifers prompting them to bar the water utility from digging production wells.

 

LWUA will also send a technical team that will help detect leakages in MIWD pipelines in a bid to reduce non-revenue water (NRW). NRW is water lost to leakages and pilferages.

 

“They have instruments that can detect these leakages and it will be a long work because they will inspect every pipe,” Pichay said.

 

Pichay said the team and MIWD personnel will start working on the pipelines after Holy Week.

 

For the long term plan, LWUA will assist MIWD tap water from the Jalaur River to cope with the growing demand for water in the metropolis in the next 20 years.

 

A study will be conducted to determine whether MIWD will undertake the bulk water scheme or through private suppliers.

 

“Iloilo is a fast expanding metropolis. With the new international airport, many tourists and expatriates are coming here. Investors are also flocking here as I have seen in various developments here such as the call centers,” he added.

 

A LWUA technical person, who is in charge of Visayas, will also be sent to Iloilo and assist MIWD.

 

When asked if there will be changes in the MIWD management, Pichay said there will be no major shakeup in the water firm except for the sixth member of the MIWD board which is presently composed of Celso Javelosa as chairman and Engr. Adrian Moncada, Marissa Segovia, Danny Encarnacion and Dr. Sergio Gonzalez as members.

 

“The expert that we will deploy here will help the OIC-manager (Engr. Edgar Calasara) in implementing the short and long-term programs,” he added.

 

Treñas said the improvements will not result in higher water rates in MIWD’s service areas.

 

“If we plug the leaks, these will translate savings on the part of MIWD. They might even ask for a reduction of rates,” Treñas said.

 

Pichay said he will also ask electric cooperatives and power distributors adjust power rates charged on MIWD from industrial rates to either residential or government.

 

“We will ask for the rate adjustment for MIWD since it is considered a government corporation. It will redound to a lot of savings for MIWD,” he added.   

 

MIWD serves some 31,000 consumers in Iloilo City , and the towns of Oton, San Miguel, Pavia , Sta. Barbara, Cabatuan, and Maasin with a total demand of 35,140 cubic meters per day.

 

A study of the sub-committee on water of the Regional Development Council (RDC) in Western Visayas showed that MIWD produces 40,333 cubic meters of water. But its daily systems loss is pegged at 14,923 cubic meters or a daily shortfall of 9,730 cubic meters.

 

The daily shortfall is seen to reach 43,914 cubic meters by 2015, the RDC study said.

 

The bulk of MIWD’s water supply comes from the Tigum-Aganan River and the watershed in Maasin, some 30 kilometers north of Iloilo City.

 

The Iloilo City Council unanimously passed last March 4 a resolution declaring a water crisis in the metropolis. The resolution also called on the national government and other concerned agencies to immediately address the problem.

 

The resolution aims to fast track the implementation of MIWD projects and facilitate funding from local and international sources.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE three members of the Special Weapons and Tactics team who were wounded in a grenade explosion inside their office Tuesday said SPO3 Rafael Managuit, who was killed in the blast, saved them from certain death.

 

PO3 Roque Gimeno, PO3 Diaz Abundio and PO2 Alberto Sardua are confined inside the same room at St. Paul’s Hospital.

 

The trio was with Managuit at the SWAT-Explosives and Ordnance Division office in Robinsons Place mall when the M26A1 grenade detonated Tuesday morning.

 

Gimeno and Sardua suffered minor wounds in their faces, chests and limbs while Abundio underwent surgery after shrapnel damaged his small and large intestines.

 

A teary-eyed Sardua said Managuit was about to pack up the grenade together with a rifle grenade and improvised explosive after an interview with TV reporter Reggie Adosto.

 

“When he picked up the grenade, we heard a click. SPO3 Managuit gasped then tucked the grenade in his chest area and faced the concrete wall. Then a loud explosion followed. If not for his action, we could have been dead, too,” Sardua said.

 

“I salute him several times over. We owe our lives to him for what he did. He is a hero,” Sardua said.

 

Gimeno confirmed Sardua’s story as he was also near the table where the explosives where laid out.

 

“He saved us. SPO3 Managuit sacrificed his life for us and the civilians outside. It is sad that he is gone now,” Gimeno said.

 

Diaz’s wife Julie Ann, who is also a police officer, said she is thankful to Managuit for saving his husband from certain death.

 

“Our child could have lost his father if not for SPO3 Managuit. We salute him for his bravery,” Julie Ann said.

 

The three police officers received medals and cash assistance from the Police Regional Office (PRO-6) director Isagani Cuevas Wednesday afternoon inside their hospital room.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE Police Regional Office (PRO-6) has intensified its intelligence operations following reports of hired guns planning to make hits during Holy Week.

 

Chief Supt. Isagani Cuevas, PRO-6 director, said they are verifying the intelligence report about a pickup truck, allegedly carrying assassins, that managed to slip past a police checkpoint the other day.

 

Who is their target? Police could not say.

 

Police verified the plate number of the truck and found out that it was assigned to a Honda CRV.

 

“We have deployed our intelligence operatives to dig deeper into this. We don’t want these hired guns to kill somebody during one of the most sacred events of Christianity,” Cuevas said.

 

As part of their preparation for the Holy Week, the PRO-6 has cancelled the vacation leaves – approved and pending – of all police personnel in the region.

 

“We want to maintain our whole force and send them to the field during the Lenten season. Maximum police visibility through patrols and checkpoints will be mounted to secure travelers and churchgoers,” Cuevas said.

 

The PRO-6 said the whole police force in the region will be on heightened alert starting Holy Monday next week.

 

Iloilo Provincial Police Office director Ricardo dela Paz said 63 police officers including 18 police inspectors were added to their force in time for the Holy Week, adding that all police stations in Iloilo province are on alert for the one-week religious affair.

 

He advised the public to observe Lent and avoid taking too much liquor which might lead to trouble.

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