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Ambulance driver shot dead in Bulan, Sorsogon

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BULAN, Sorsogon – An ambulance driver was shot dead by unknown gunmen on Monday evening, March 2, about 6 pm at Barangay Somagongsong, this town. The incident was relayed to the police by Barangay chairwoman Maria Teresa Advincula.

The victim was Felix Chico aka Jamil, legal age, married, driver of ambulance and a resident of Brgy Calpi, this town.

According to initial reports, Chico was driving his motorcycle on the way home from Poblacion, and upon reaching the place of incident, he was shot by unidentified suspects that resulted to his death.

Police were still investigating as of presstime. [Bicol Today]

Dengue cases reach 100 in two months in Sorsogon

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SORSOGON CITY – Some 100 cases of dengue have been reported in Sorsogon Province within a two-month period, alarming Health officials and the public while healthcare observers remind the need to practice the 4 rules in cleanliness to fight the mosquito-borne disease.

On record, Sorsogon City has 91 dengue cases, followed by Casiguran with 18 cases, Castilla at Gubat with 10 each, Juban has 7, Bulusan 6, and Prieto Diaz 5, while the other towns get their shares of one up to three cases.

Another media outfit reported 159 dengue cases in the province, mentioning the Provincial Health Office as its source.

In a related development, Regina Gonzalgo, head of Health Education Promotion of PHO reminds the public to practise the 4 o’clock habit of 4S against the spread of dengue.

Gonzalgo explains 4S as Search and destroy mosquito breeding sites; Seek Early Consultation; Secure Self Protection Measures; and Support Fogging/Spraying hot spot areas.

She said there are towns that are doing measures to fight dengue by focusing on environmental cleanliness. The disease is carried by mosquitoes that live on stagnant water.

“Practicing the 4S daily will impact clean surroundings, preventing the occurrence of dengue and deprive the mosquito carriers of breeding sites.

Albay representative Joey Salceda’s “licking ass, playing ball” in politics

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CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region – Albay Representative Joey Salceda got a tweetful of “disloyalty stinging remarks” after netizens have discovered him of “licking ass” and “playing ball” so often with political giants that got him branded as “super balingbing.”

According to netizens, it was a superb expertise for Salceda to “play ball” with Presidents and aspiring ones, wannabees so that his monumental infrastructure projects by the billions of pesos are “insured” if his Presidential bet get a whooping landslide.

Netizens over the week tweeted on Salceda who was discovered of “changing clothes so fast”, as often as the poll surveys ring their ratings on the trending bet during the last Presidential elections.

A tweet scored Salceda for “dancing the chacha” with then President Gloria Macapal-Arroyo, presidential bet Gibo Teodoro, ex-President Noynoy Aquino, and currently President Rodrigo Duterte.

Another tweeted “I don’t know who needs to hear this, but no other Bicolano has this “range”.

In Presidential polls 2010, Salcedo abandoned Lakas-Kampi-CMD when Arroyo was ending her term, and boarded Noynoy Aquino’s ship.

Before changing ship, also “changing clothes”, Salceda had proudly boasted of backing GMA’s Gibo for the President post, but he hastily joined the Liberal when the opportunity came up and got himself the post as Bicol regional chairman of the party.

Changing loyalty is Salceda’s finest skill, turning it into an art.

In Presidential poll 2016, for reasons known only to him, Salceda grabbed Presidential bet Grace Poe’s hand for the tango, after giving up dancing with Mar Roxas, Leni Robredo and the Liberal Party.

Salceda always have a ready excuse for his turncoatism. [Joey Natividad]

One Voice Church Leaders call, Live Out the Spirit of People Power

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STATEMENT

More than three decades ago, we, Filipinos, toppled a president, who used all means possible to consolidate power and amass wealth. It was a military regime that exploited and oppressed people, a regime of unfettered corruption and fascistic suppression of dissent. The government of Ferdinand E. Marcos, a dictator, was determined to hold on to power for eternity.

Contrary to inaccurate lore that the February 1986 uprising, a People Power “revolution,” was an instantaneous event erupting through a supportive response of the people to a military mutiny against the Marcos government, the truth remains, that uprising would never have been possible without the painstaking work of many, who struggled against the unjust and oppressive system, people who dedicated their lives in educating, organizing and mobilizing the poor and toiling majority.

They came from various groups, from the peasants, the workers, the youth, the artists, the professionals, the church people. All of them worked for meaningful actions against dictatorship and towards the assertion of democracy. They risked their lives: many suffered detention, torture, and separation from loved ones. We owe the victory to those who committed their intellectual gifts, precious time, talents , hard work and material wealth to serve the interest of the poor.

We honor the great testimony of church people in their commitment to follow the commandment of loving their neighbors. Courageously, they offered their faith resources, providing services to the poor and defending the political, social, cultural and economic rights of the people, despite the dangers. We salute their devotion and spirituality, expressed through their participation in the struggle for life with dignity. Identifying with the suffering people, they humbly became one among the poor, being persecuted and oppressed by the dictatorship.

Today, we remember such struggle. We are reminded that the prophetic call to side with the oppressed is still relevant and necessary. The tyrannical attacks against the people, including extra-judicial killings, by the current administration of President Rodrigo Duterte have been relentless. Church people, who identify with the struggle and aspirations of the people are persecuted, maligned, and, at times, even murdered. Executive Order 70, also called the Whole of Nation Approach, is simply a weaponized and militarized governance that blatantly violates human rights and the people’s democratic rights.

As we remember People Power and its historic contribution to the journey of our nation towards a more just and democratic society, we call upon the faithful to steadfastly hold-the-grip of mission, ministry and of prophetic work in the struggle for truth, justice, and peace in our land. We denounce the evil of our present realities and proclaim our aspiration: to be a nation that is free from tyranny and foreign domination, a nation that defends its people and the gifts of nature, a nation that values our patrimony and upholds and embraces our identity as Filipinos.

Signed:

Bishop Reuel NO Marigza, General Secretary, National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP)
Sr. Mary John Mananzan, OSB, Missionaries of the Order of Benedictines
Bro. Armin Luistro, FSC, La Salle Brothers
Bishop Rex RB Reyes, Jr., DD, Episcopal Diocese of Central Philippines, Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP)
Sr. Ma. Liza Ruedas, DC, Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC), Daughters of Charity
Bishop Emeritus Deogracias S. Iñiguez, Jr., Ecumenical Bishops Forum (EBF)

African Swine fever spreads to adjoining Magarao town despite strict controls in Bombon, Cam Sur

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PILI, Camarines Sur – African Swine Fever, a deadly disease of pigs, has spread out to nearby Magarao town despite efforts by Agriculture authorities and local government personnel in Bombon in enforcing lockdown measures on affected villages where ASF first occured Thursday, February 20.

Suspected villages with ASF presence in Magarao are Santa Lucia, Santo Tomas, San Miguel, San Pantaleon, and Santa Rosa.

Last Thursday, Camarines Sur Governor Migz Villafuerte raised red alert status for the entire province after the Department of Agriculture [DA] confirmed the presence of ASF in Bombon where several pig deaths were reported in the village of Santo Domingo. Farther follow-up tests by DA of the disease-stricken hogs has confirmed the ocurrence of ASF, thus convincing the Governor to raise the red alert status.

On Friday, Naga City which is only 7 kilometers from Bombon also imposed measures on ASF disease control and erected checkpoints on key city highways to stop or inspect the entry or movement of swine for sale in the city.

Over the week, DA and local government personnel have imposed disease control measures in and surrounding Bombon, with reports from DA that swine depopulation measures shall be imposed within a kilometer radius from the suspected epicenter of disease occurence.

It could not be confirmed if swine depopulation measures are already implemented as latest reports from DA says ASF has spread out to Magarao, an adjacent town of Bombon, after authorities on Monday confirmed several pig deaths in Magarao are likely to be linked to ASF pending final laboratory results.

DA authorities have expressed concern that there may be ASF-related pig deaths that were not reported to the agency.

Earlier in the week, Alex Templonuevo, acting regional director of National Meat Inspection Service, also said there were reports of swine deaths from backyard piggery owners in nearby areas.

Templonueva said “There were, previously, other swine deaths but were not reported to DA and we are conducting investigation and surveillance in other areas.”

According to Director Tornilla, the Regional Quick Response Team will immediately depopulate the swine population within one kilometer radius from where the confirmed case was discovered.

Tornilla warns consumers against buying live pigs and pork products from affected areas. [Joey Natividad/Bicol Today]

Sorsogon NPA owns inflicting death punishment to military asset

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SORSOGON CITY, Sorsogon Province – The rebel group in this province admitted the killing of Antonio Benzon, Jr., a military asset, who was shot dead Saturday at the cockpit area in Barangay Colambis, Casiguran.

The gunmen also took the victim’s gun before leaving the scene.

On the same day, the Celso MInguez Command of the New People’s Army [NPA] based in the province gave out a statement in the internet owning the killing

NPA spokesman Samuel Guerrero claimed the killing of Benzon aka Hazel was a form of revolutionary justice meted on him for being a traitor by surrendering to state forces, bringing along with him a few red fighters and several assault weapons.

According to Guerrero, Hazel/Benzon surrendered to military authorities and became involved in counter-insurgency, including the extra-judicial killings of activists and peasant leaders, and head of military’s secret death squad.

The victim was behind the surrender of several NPA red fighters in April 2018, and stealing of two M16s. one M14, a carbine, a KG9 submachine gun, and other guns belonging to the rebel group.

“Their group also served as death squad of the military, responsible for the killing of peasant leader Bernabe Estiller of Barangay San Antonio, Barcelona on November 8, 2019, and also on the killing of human rights local leaders Ryan Hubilla and Nelly Bagasala of Sorsogon City on June 15, 2019. He was also involved in a rape incident in Gubat town,” said Guerrero.

Military asset in Sorsogon shot dead

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SORSOGON CITY – A former rebel, who had surrendered and afterward became a military asset was shot dead Saturday afternoon outside the cockpit arena in Sorsogon Province.

Dead on the spot was Antonio Benzon, Jr., an active military asset who was also known as Pita and Taba, married, and resident of Barangay Sta. Cruz, Casiguran, Sorsogon.

According to initial reports, at about 1:45 pm, Saturday afternoon, February 22 2020, two gunmen approached and shot Benzon outside the cockpit arena at Barangay Colambis, Casiguran, Sorsogon.

After hitting the victim several times on the head, the gunmen took his gun, and fled.

Police immediately launched a manhunt, and at press-time, still combing suspected areas where the gunmen are believed to be hiding.

Governor Villafuerte raises red alert in Camarines Sur over ASF pig deaths

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PILI, Camarines Sur (Bicol Todoy) – Governor Migz Villafuerte on Thursday afternoon raised Red Alert status for the entire province after confirmation by the Department of Agriculture [DA] on Thursday, February 20, of the presence of African Swine Fever [ASF] in Bombon town when several hogs died in the village of Santo Domingo, the town barely 20 minutes drive from Naga City, Bicol Region’s premier city.

DA has conducted tests on pigs that died in Barangay Santo Domingo, Bombon and confirmed Thursday they were positive of ASF.

Governor Villafuerte issued a memorandum addressed to all Mayors, disaster risk reduction offices, and Barangay officials informing them of the Red Alert Status in the province, and spelled out the tasks and activities related to the control of ASF and measures leading to the elimination of the hog disease.

Rodel Tornilla, DA regional director said, in a statement, that organ samples from dead pigs were collected last February 10 at the village of Sto. Domingo.

Samples were sent to the Animal Disease Diagnostic Reference Laboratory at Bureau of Animal Industry in Quezon City.

DA has implemented biosecurity measures, after the report of swine mortality in the area.

Tornilla said both DA and the local government units are doing all they can to prevent the spread of the disease.

Alex Templonuevo, acting regional director of National Meat Inspection Service, also said there were reports of swine deaths from backyard piggery owners in nearby areas.

Templonueva said “There were, previously, other swine deaths but were not reported to DA and we are conducting investigation and surveillance in other areas.”

According to Director Tornilla, the Regional Quick Response Team will immediately depopulate the swine population within one kilometer radius from where the confirmed case was discovered.

Tornilla warns consumers against buying live pigs and pork products from affected areas. [Joey Natividad]

Man of the hour

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Editorial:

The Book of Genesis has a new chapter!

Is Sorsogon City to experience forty days of rain and flood that a man intends to duplicate Noah’s Ark using the hardwood of the protected eco-park in Cabarbuhan?

Spare the city of further embarrassment as an alter ego. When you were vetted honesty was expected. It fell off like the hardwood of Cabarbuhan because the noise of the chainsaw echoed more than expected.

In less than a month you will retire, city hall will not miss your swag, all they will remember are the souls of the trees of the eco-park that were ignored. They became ghosts staring like the sword of death which can’t be evaded. All you left was a legacy of distrust and abuse.

Many believed that you were lying beneath your teeth though pointed at as knowing who did it. That fear was seen all over your face unsure what is next. Well, that’s the price as the man of the hour.

You were invited by PENRO-DENR Sorsogon to shed light on the controversial issues at the eco-park. Witnesses that day pictured you as a man with a shrinking ball, denying more than Judas, all because you have crossed the thin line of the forestry act that can send you behind bars. Without delay PENRO-DENR Sorsogon should submit the investigation report and the output of the technical conference to prove true to their mandate as their legal department determines the culpable.

The city council should dig deeper to find the truth for it “takes two to tango” and mercy if it failed, the scar remains. Don’t be a part of a grand delusion that mercy and compassion is not the best thing to do as public officials responsible for people’s welfare without fear or favor.

Things becomes ironic, the one investigated was tasked to invite resource persons to answer questions, among them those responsible for wasting the eco-park landscape as if carpet-bombed. The hardwood fletches were estimated to be twenty-eight million in value. The park rangers were caught sleeping or one may think that the role of bills made them sloppy and blind.

It was said that one of your sons was seen supervising the area at the time in question, though again deniable as if the land was his own. The city of Sorsogon owns it and you have no business to enterprise the hardwood. What was done was an overkill of a deputy.

Those involved are hostages of their own act, picking their ego beyond repair. Cabarbuhan is now their dress code. The driver of the green and the white truck that hauled the “garbage” will soon scrape the bottom and point their finger to the man who ordered.

Others who are involved should fear for your holding an empty bag, letting the worms out of the can, letting them crawl to conscience the guilty. Cover-up is only a palliative of time, obstruction of justice is a criminal act. You don’t preserve integrity to suit the master. The action is savvy beyond the designation, but behind it is a criminal mindset.

The power and privilege you enjoyed in the department you seem to own. A son, his wife and other relatives are squeezed in out of the forty legislative staff dispersing some of them to other departments to create a semblance of probity. Most are permanent employees out of your influence and bidding in exchange for early retirement. You failed to honor it as you salivated for the winnable. It speaks well of you. Your cunning is taking its toll so the noose is ready to snare.

Less than a month after the discovery of the felled trees the agony of shame beckons, alas your luck is fading in spite of your explaining for no one believes your innocence. Justice awaits for the felled trees at the protected eco-park and for the barangay council and others wrongly accused.

Young man dies from body blows during hazing

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BULAN, Sorsogon Province – A young man Sunday afternoon died of body injuries from blows inflicted during hazing. But, police are still investigating what group or fraternity is involved after picking up two suspects.

Police identified the victim as Omer Despabeladeras, 23 years old, single, a resident of Zone 4, Bulan, Sorsogon Province.

He was reported a student of Solis Institute of Technology.

According to police, the victim died at about 5 pm, Sunday, February 16, this year.

He was rushed to Pantaleon Gotladera Memorial Hospital and declared dead on arrival.

Investigators are still checking on the identity of the group or fraternity which conducted the hazing. Two suspects are already under police custody. [Bicol Today]