Sagada to celebrate Etag Fest; caretaker-solon is guest speaker

>> Friday, January 26, 2018

By Gina Dizon  

SAGADA, MOUNTAIN PROVINCE - Sagada shall be celebrating this year’s Etag Festival on February 1-4 with concerts, contests, games, cultural events and caretaker-congressman Allen Jesse Mangaoang as the speaker.

The celebration of the yearly town event has consistently included concerts now also with the conduct of a solidarity concert on the night of the 4rth of February. An autonomy concert shall be seen on the night of February 2. Also on the same day and evening of February 2 is a concert among Sagada-based bands and another concert by the Philippine National Police (PNP) Band on the evening of February 1.

A musical contest among children and youth shall be the Kantan di Ungung-an and Battle of the Bands on February 2; Miss Teen Sagada and Little Ms Sagada on February 1. Other competitions are ground demonstrations of high school students aside from the quiz show and quiz Bee.

The Etag Festival was first celebrated in 2011 officially with a Sangguniang Bayan ordinance. Though the celebration of the annual town fiesta on the same month of the year had been celebrated years ago.  

Now on its 8th celebration, the  Etag Festival  is observed with the feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary and presentation of Jesus Christ in the temple by the Church of St Mary the Virgin on February 2.

Mayor James Pooten in his message on the festival said that “the activity excites us thereby creating every year of a distinct character of its own, year after year.”

A major distinction of the event now is its attention to environment-oriented events.

Awards shall be handed to the cleanest and greenest barangay, and cleanest and greenest school with the best up cycled products from recyclable residual materials; and on slogan making contest on waste management.

 Also, a contest on brain and arts shall focus in disaster and risk reduction.  

Traditional events are the civic parade, cultural presentations by barangay and school delegates and ball games participated by schools and invited athletes.

The celebration of the event focusing on the theme, “Lagsak ya panagyaman di entako madagupan, pammati ya kultura di entako ma es-esaan, paggawisan di ili id Ganduyan” shall be celebrated with culture- filled events namely the street dancing, cultural presentations, indigenous games and the culminating tug-of-war.

Mangaoang said, “Let this festival and religious feasts be a reminder for us to keep our culture alive and make our faith in God stronger as we continue sustaining what have been passed on to us by our great forebears.”


Piolo Pascual celebrates birthday in Sagada, donates stage roofing to school

>> Monday, January 22, 2018

By Gina Dizon

SAGADA, MOUNTAIN PROVINCE – In time with the celebration of his 41st birthday, actor Piolo Pascual with students, parents and teachers of Sagada Central School (SCS) and government officials inaugurated the installed stage roofing of the school January 12 this year.
Piolo in his message said he wanted to share his blessings to Sagada.
The actor donned with the cultural G- String or ‘wa-nes’ by Patay Poblacion barangay chairman Dennis Lopez, played gongs with the parents and students of the school joined by students of nearby Sagada National High School (SNHS).
He visited Sagada along with his family, his son Inigo and film director Joyce Bernal who was also donned with the cultural ‘tapis’. This is the third time the actor visited the tourist town since 2005. 
Communications were earlier effected by film maker Ferdinand Balanag through Gwen Gaongen-Longid, president of Parents- Teachers Association (PTA) of SCS on the construction of the P400,000 roofing efficiently done before the actor’s birthdate and visit to Sagada.
Longid said further plans of PTA are on the process with the roof covering of the quadrangle and the improvement of the stage for purposes including conferences and big assembly gatherings.
On said inauguration, Randy Awisan, executive assistant to the office of Provincial Governor Bonifacio Lacwasan said covering of the quadrangle is considered as one project to be allocated some funding.  
Sagada Mayor James Pooten Jr in his message also forwarded his support for  the improvement of the stage and the extended quadrangle roofing.
For quite some time, school pupils and audience have to bear with the heat of the sun during hours-long activities including graduation rites.   

The stage roofing had been a long term plan of the PTA of SCS, reaffirmed the past year and reaffirmed again immediately after the inauguration ceremonies.  


Tabuk City Coop Office CAR’s bet to Gawad Award

>> Thursday, October 26, 2017

CITY OF TABUK, Kalinga – The Tabuk City Cooperative Office will represent the Cordillera region in the 2017 National Gawad Parangal Award.
Elenita Latugat of Tabuk CCO said the office was cited for its Cooperative Assistance for Rural Enhancement (CARE) Program wherein the city government, in partnership with the Tabuk City Cooperative Development Council contributed in the growth and development of grassroot cooperatives here.
Under the CARE program, the city-LGU sponsors capability enhancement trainings and workshops and provides financial assistance for capital build-up. This year, the city government had released P2 million in soft loans (no interest) as capital support to starting cooperatives.
At present, there are at least 87 people’s cooperatives in the city being assisted by the CCO.
The CCO earlier bagged National Gawad Parangal Award in 2015.  It was also given recognition as ‘Best Performing Cooperative Office’ in the recent National Cooperative Tripartite Conference in Iloilo City.
Meanwhile, Mayor Ferdinand B. Tubban vowed to consider the cooperative movement as priority program of his administration seeing how people’s lives are changed through the benefits and services of cooperatives.

In Tabuk, we see the cooperatives as effective partner of government in bringing economic reforms down to the grassroots, Tubban said.  -- PIA  Kalinga


PDEA busts 3 notorious Pangasinan drug suspects

CAMP DIEGO SILANG, La Union – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Ilocos regional office based here arrested three high-value drug targets during a buy-bust operation in Barangay Lucao, Dagupan, Pangasinan Monday afternoon.
Arrested and charged with violation of the Comprehensive on Dangerous Drugs Act were James M. Manaoat, 24; Maja Demah Bajunaid, 27, and Jone Alexan Villamor, 28.
According to Bismark Bengwayan, PDEA information officer, there were reports that the arrested suspects were supplying illegal drugs to students, especially foreigners, in various colleges and universities in Dagupan City
Seized from the trio were one wrapped elongated bundle of dried marijuana leaves and stalks estimated at 750 grams with a street value of P90,000 and 33 sealed transparent sachets containing dried marijuana leaves weighing 280.5 grams worth an estimated P33,660.
Likewise recovered from the suspects were a P1,000 bill placed used during the operation,
a black Mitsubishi Mirage (ABO-3148), one blue travel bag and one brown-white coin pouch.
One of the suspects said they sourced out the dried marijuana leaves from Baguio City. – Erwin Beleo



SSS sets higher benefits from coverable income adjustment

STATE-RUN  Social Security System (SSS) said Wednesday the estimated monthly pension of a member with at least 30 paying years will increase to P20,300 from the current maximum pension of P10,900 by 2026, if the coverable income increases to P30,000 in five years as part of its proposed reform agenda. 
Similarly, benefits such as maternity, sickness, and funeral, which are also computed based on the monthly salary credit (MSC), will also increase once the reform agenda is implemented.
SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel F. Dooc said the success of the proposed SS Reform Act of 2017, which is currently being deliberated at the committee level in the Senate, will improve the benefits for members and pensioners.
“The estimated pension could increase to as much as P20,300 by 2026. As we have proposed earlier, the adjustment in MSC should increase gradually every year to P20,000 next year, to P25,000 in 2020, and P30,000 in 2021.                   As we increase the coverable income or MSC, the benefits also increase because this is the basis for computation of SSS benefits,” Dooc said.
He explained that benefits are computed based on the member's MSC and credited years of service (CYS) or the number of years he paid SSS contributions. 
Under the current maximum MSC of P16,000 and monthly contribution rate of 11 percent (shared by employer and employee for employed members), the maximum basic monthly pension is only P10,900 for a member who retires with at least 30 CYS.
 With the contribution rate increase and MSC ceiling adjustment to P30,000, sickness benefit per day of P480 based on the current maximum average daily salary credit of P533 will increase to P900.
Likewise, maternity benefits for caesarian delivery will increase from P41,600 to P78,000 while those who will undergo normal birth will get P60,000 from the current P32,000 under the proposed P30,000 maximum MSC.
 Moreover, funeral benefit due from a member's account with at least 120 contributions at P30,000 MSC, six months before death will increase to P38,000 from the current P29,600. 
Dooc earlier expressed his hopes that the contribution increase will be implemented by January 2018, after the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) bill and the passage of the SS Reform Act of 2017.
“We are really hoping for the passage of this bill, which according to Sen. Gordon is a landmark bill. This will not only ensure the viability of the pension fund for the current and future members but it will also improve the benefits being enjoyed by our contributing-members. For a minimal increase in their monthly contribution, a potful will be added to their benefits and pension,” Dooc said.
              He said the economic managers in the Cabinet maintained that additional contributions are necessary to 


Stabber of Mt Prov mayor being traced

PARACELIS, Mountain Province – The assailant of the mayor of this town who was stabbed repeatedly afternoon of Oct. 10 in Santiago City has not yet been found.
Avelino Amangyen was resting in his car parked near a bank in the city when the unidentified man opened the door and stabbed him several times.
Amangyen who was taken to a hospital in critical condition for treatment is still recuperating.
Police said they were still trying to know motive of the attack was robbery, politics or business deals and have launched a manhunt for the perpetrator.

Concerned citizens of Paracelis have urged police to make a speedy and exhaustive investigation so it would be known if the mayor’s assailant was acting on his own or was ordered by a mastermind to carry out the crime.


Jeep driver commits suicide after wife wants separation

BAGUIO CITY – The wife of a jeepney driver told her husband she wanted to separate from him making the latter allegedly commit suicide.
The husband, identified as Pedro Dulay Jr. Runas, 51 was found dead hanging by his neck here around 10 a.m. Tuesday at the 2nd floor basement at No.145-B, Central Fairview.
Police said Dulay’s body was seen hanging earlier around 9:30 a.m. by his neighbor Ulysses Gumpad Mendoza under a concrete beam tied with electrical wires.
 Mendoza told his sister Michelle, 17 about the incident who in turn conveyed the information to Kay Valerie Abarientos Runas, the victim’s daughter.
Valerie then called his boyfriend, John Flor Sison Rojo who brought down the victim.
Valerie said around 4 a.m., she noticed his father going out from their house.
When she woke-up around 5 a.m., she looked for her father to ferry his grand child to school.
She noticed that the main door of their house was padlocked and the door keys missing.
She tried to call her father through cell phone but he could not be contacted.
She opened the main door of the house using duplicate keys and went down to the 2nd floor basement to locate her father but the gate was locked while the car of her father was inside their house.
She said her parents had a problem with their relationship and their mother wanted to separate from her husband because of his vices but the latter refused.

Police said there was no sign of struggle. The victim’s body was brought to St. Peter Funeral Homes for autopsy.


6 shot dead by bike- riding men in Luzon

By Raymund Catindig and Ric Sapnu

UNFAZED by Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa’s warning to rid the country of motorcycle-riding assailants, six persons, including two drug suspects, were shot dead by bike-riding gunmen in Luzon in the past two days.
Tricycle driver Romel Jaramilla had just dropped off a passenger in Barangay Poblacion Norte, Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur at around 2 p.m. on Wednesday when he was shot.
Witnesses said Jaramilla managed to run, but the assailants chased and finished him off near a rice field.
Police said the victim surrendered under Oplan Tokhang last year.
Reynaldo Mojica, 47, was walking on his way home when he was shot in Barangay Alagao, San Ildefonso, Bulacan. 
Mojica was on the drug watchlist and a robbery suspect.
In Cagayan, former Solana municipal engineer Antonio Malenab, 53, was in his Toyota Hilux (PQB-212) when a motorcycle rider opened fire in Barangay Annafunan, Tuguegarao also on Wednesday.
Senior Insp. Renz Baloran, Solana police chief, said the victim was neither on the drug watchlist nor involved in any criminal activity.
Farmer Jackson Batan, 55, was shot while driving his motorcycle in Barangay Alba, Baggao also in Cagayan.
Former policeman Engracio Evangelista, 57, and former fireman Benjamin Dumaual Jr., 58, were having a drinking spree at a store in Barangay District 1, Cauayan, Isabela  when they were shot also on Wednesday.
Dela Rosa has vowed to hunt down motorcycle-riding assailants, saying they are tarnishing the image of the PNP.
He said the PNP is also verifying information that so-called ninja cops or police officers involved in illegal drugs are financing motorcycle-riding killers.

The PNP was removed from the government’s war on drugs amid criticisms over the killings.


Baguio driver nabbed for P38-M bank heist

BAGUIO CITY – A driver was arrested by police from Libmanan, Camarines and Baguio and Benguet cops here Monday around 1:30 p.m. after it was found out the van he owned was used in a bank robbery in Libmanan wherein P38 million was carted away.     
Romel Bacoco Pis-ew, 32, married, resident here of No. 504 San Vicente, Baguio City was reportedly subject of pursuit by Libmanan police led by Chief Insp.Chito Oyardo.
A police report said Pis-ew was traced to be the owner of a white Toyota Grandia van with conduction sticker YW 2546 which was allegedly used as getaway vehicle in the bank robbery that took place at the UCPB in Barangay Libod-1, Libmanan on Oct. 8 around 8-9 p.m..
Pis-ew was positively identified by a witness. Police said the bank and the place where the suspects rented were located in one building.
The suspects dug a hole under the ground around seven meters long until they reached the floor around two feet away from the bolt of the bank and utilized it as their point of entry.
Libmanan has not yet identified his alleged companions during the heist.  


Man jumps to death from Cagayan building

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan — A man reportedly jumped from the fourth floor of a building in this city on Wednesday.
Chief Supt. Edward Guzman, city police chief, said Christopher Teodoro, 29, a resident of Barangay Centro 10, was accosted six times by personnel of the city government’s Mall of the Valley building after he was seen suspiciously loitering near the terrace.
Guzman said Teodoro managed to sneak past building personnel and jumped from the building at around 10 a.m.
Teodoro’s mother said her son was suffering from mental illness. He died while being treated at the Cagayan Valley Medical Center.    


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