Saturday, August 30, 2014

Bulacan marks Plaridel's 164th birthday, holds "Mastermind" conference

MALOLOS CITY—It’s a special non-working holiday in Bulacan today,
August 30, as the province mark the 164th birth of the great propagandist Gat Marcelo H. Del Pilar.

The celebrations will be held at the Marcelo H. Del Pilar National Shrine at Barangay San Nicolas in Bulakan town starting 7AM, and will be graced by Senator Alan Peter Cayetano.

It will be followed by the first provincial conference on the life and contribution of the Del Pilar to the revolution and nation building called “Mastermind.”

The conference will be held at the Malolos Sports and Convention Center in this city starting 1PM, and is expected to draw more than 300 participants including educators lawyers, and students.

Governor Wilhelmino Alvarado said the declaration of special non-working holiday in the province is based on  Republic Act No. 7449 or “An Act Declaring August Thirty a Special Non Working Holiday in the Province of Bulacan,” to give way for honoring  the heroic deeds and sacrifices of the great Bulakenyo hero.

“Del Pilar’s heroic legacy should be rekindled in the hearts and minds of our younger generation and we should honor his patriotism for fighting for our freedom. We would like to encourage everyone, not only the Bulakenyos to join in honoring our great Bulakenyo hero,” Alvarado said.

As this developed, Alex Balagtas of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines said that Senator Alan Peter Cayetano has confirmed attendance on the celebrations.

He said that as guest speaker, the senator will speak on the theme, “Marcelo Del Pilar: Ama ng Bansa Gabay para sa Mabuting Pamamahala.”

The celebrations in Bulakan town will shift to this city after lunch where the first provincial conference on the life of Del Pilar who is popularly known as “Plaridel” will be held.

Researcher King Cortez of the Universidad de Manila (UDM) is expected to present documents gathered in his research which showed that Plaridel not only as the great propagandist, but as the brains of the revolution, thus the conference title, “Mastermind.”

Isagani Giron of the Bulacan Salinlahi Inc., and one of the convenors of the conference said that Cortez’s research will bring into the light new information about Plaridel which might change the way we see and look that the great propagandist.

As a local historical, Giron said that Cortez research will challenge earlier suppositions that Plaridel is only a propagandist who edited and managed La Solidaridad, the publication of the then propaganda movement.

“Mr. Cortez’s research is very exciting because it reveals the role of Plaridel not only ion the Propaganda movement but in the Katipunan,” he said.

Giron added that what makes Cortez’s research as game changer in the study of history is the fact that it is documents and based on books, some of which were published by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP).

“We just need to keep an open mind in the study of history because new documents are being unearthed everyday, including those that has been given less significance in the past about Plaridel,” Giron said.

Plaridel was born on August 30, 1850 in Barangay San Nicolas (formerly Cupang) in Bulakan town.

He is the youngest of the 10 children of the wealthy family Don Julian del Pilar, a gobernadorcillo and Doña Blasa Gatmaitan.

Plaridel was the editor of the newspaper Diariong Tagalog which strongly criticized the way the Spaniards ran the government and treated the people.

He was also the editor of La Solidaridad newspaper, the mouthpiece of the propagandists working on reforms for the Filipinos. Del Pilar died of tuberculosis on July 4, 1896 in Barcelona, Spain. Dino Balabo

Friday, August 22, 2014

BulSU official statement on recent tragedy

Official Statement of Bulacan State University

Words cannot express the deep grief of the Bulacan State University over the tragedy that befell its freshmen BS Tourism students under the College of Home Economics who went on an experiential learning trip at Madlum River in Barangay Sibul, San Miguel, Bulacan.

The University has never experienced a kind of sadness and loss this deep and intense in its 110 years of existence. 

The entire academic community from the University President, Administrators, Faculty, Personnel and Students gnaw in agony in sympathy to the families of the Students.

In this horrible time, Bulacan State University is offering immediate assistance to the fullest to the bereaved families.

The University humbly offers its best efforts to express empathy to the families of:

Mikhail Alcantara                                 Michelle Ann Rose Bonzo
Helena Marie Marcelo                          Sean Rodney Alejo
Jeannette Rivera                                   Mary Magdaline Navarro
Maiko Eleva Bartolome

The University community appeals for sobriety and request the public for prayers of grace, hope and comfort for the grieving families.

In response to this event, a Crisis Committee was created to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances of the tragedy and will take decisive and appropriate measures on the basis of its findings.

As the university wait for the complete results of this undertaking, allow the university, the space and time to mourn and cry over the irreplaceable loss of its sons and daughters.

We will be issuing another official statement in the days to come.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Militants hail Palparan’s arrest, but warn vs. special treatment

MALOLOS CITY—Militant groups welcomed the arrest of former congressman and retired Army General Jovito Palparan in Manila yesterday but warned against his possible special treatment.

The arrest, lawyers said, automatically gives the court jurisdiction on Palparan and the charges filed against him. But as of press time, no commitment order has been issued by the Regional Trial Court Branch 14 here as they await until the retired general is presented physically by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

As this developed, Palparan is expected to be arraigned on August 18 when the trial for kidnapping of two University of the Philippines (UP) students resume. “Retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan is now within the reach of the law and hopefully, Lady Justice with the sword and the scales,” said Lawyer Edre Olalia of the National Union of People’s Lawyer (NUPL) yesterday.

Olalia also serves as counsel for the parents of Sherilyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno, two UP students abducted on the night of June 26, 2006 in Barangay San Miguel in Hagonoy town. According to Olalia, Palparan’s arrest is never too late for justice to catch up.

He said that on August 18, defense counsels for Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado and Staff Sargeant Edgardo Osorio will prepare to wrap their case, but the trial for Palparan will only begin.“What happens thereafter will come under close scrutiny, here and abroad.

Palparan must face the music and the full wrath of the furies for all the crimes credibly imputed to him - extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, arbitrary arrests and other gross human rights violations, all done without compunction and aggravated by his signature braggadocio,” Olalia said.
NBI photo release published by
Olalia also said that based on law, Palparan should be detained at the Bulacan Provincial Jail due to its proximity to the court. He said that no special treatment should be given to the retired general. In the past, the court issued the same ruling on Anotado and Osorio, but they were transferred to Fort Bonifacio when their lawyer argued for the safety of the accused military officers.

For his part, Father Rolando De Leon called for quick trial against the retired general in order to hold him accountable. A member of the militant organization in the province, Father De Leon received three M-16 bullets in early 2006 when Palparan was the commanding general of the dreaded 7th Infantry Division of the Army based in Nueva Ecija.

De Leon had just completed the Mass and his staff were counting the offering from collection baskets when they found the three M-16 bullets. Meanwhile, Lawyer Jesus Santos of Marilao town remained silent until press time yesterday.

This writer tried to contact Santos by calling and sending text message to his cellular phone in an attempt to confirm if he will represent the general. Known for his close personal and professional relations with former First Gentleman Miguel Arroyo, Santos tried to represent Palparan in court in 2012 but the court said they still have no jurisdiction on the general then.

Along with Anotado and Osorio who have been in military custody, Palparan has been accused of kidnapping and illegal detention on the two missing UP students. The other accused is Master Sargeant Rizal Hilario who is said to be the right hand man of Palparan who has been labeled by militant groups as “The Butcher.” Dino Balabo

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bulacan coast: Mangrove planting planned

HAGONOY, Bulacan—Hammered by devastating storm surges, the coastal area of this fishing town will soon get its need protection.

This came as the Provincial Government of Bulacan gear up for massive mangrove planting before the end of the year.

The said mangrove planting will follow the planned tree planting activities on the eastern part of the province.

Governor Wilhelmino Alvarado said plans have been laid for the massive tree and mangrove planting activities in the province.

He said that tree planting is set to be implemented this rainy season.

Target areas for tree planting includes watershed and river banks, especially the more than 50 kilometer stretch of the Angat River that drains to the Manila Bay.

He said that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources have already pledge more than 30,000 seedlings to be planted in the province as part of the implementation of the National Greening Program (NGP).

Additional seedling will be supplied by the provincial government and non-governmental organizations.

Alvarado noted that aside from different species of bamboos that will be planted alogn river banks, they will also plant fruit bearing trees.

For the coastal areas of Bulacan, they will also conduct massive mangrove planting to serve as barrier of coastal communities from devastating effects of storm surges.

As former mayor of this town, the governor specifically mentioned its coastal area which has been reclaimed by the sea in the last five years.

“Malaki na ang nasisirang mga palaisdaan sa Hagonoy dahil sa storm surge,” he said noting that it is one of the impacts of climate change.

Earlier, Mayor Raulito Manlapaz of this town vowed to rehabilitate over 1,000 hectares of fishpond on the coast of this town which were washed out.

Manlapaz’s move came after residents of the coastal villages of Pugad and Tibaguin here reiterated their call after the onslaught of typhoon Glenda.

The residents noted that about 60 houses in the two villages were totally damaged by storm surge spawned by typhoon Glenda.

They also stressed that six year ago, storm surges are unknown to them because at that time, dikes of the more that 200 hectares municipal fishpond fronting the Manila are still intact.

However, the said fishpond was abandoned by its operator and its dikes were washed out by waves in the years that followed.

Today, the coastal villages of Pugad and Tibaguin are usually bear the brunt of storm surges when there is typhoon.  Dino Balabo

Friday, August 1, 2014

INC set new world records

MALOLOS CITY—The Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) se two new Guinness World records as it celebrated its centennial at the Ciudad De Victoria complex in Bocaue, Bulacanon July 27.

As this developed, northbound lane of the North Luzon Expressway was completely blocked on Sunday morning, while on the southbound lane where two counterflow lanes were opened vehicle speed is reduced to less than 20 kilometers per hour before noon time.

Task Force Sentenaryo head Francis Tolentino, the chair of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) estimated that at least 2-Million members of the religious organization participated in the centennial celebrations at the Ciudad de Victoria.

Millions other members of the INC across the country and more than 100 countries watched Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo’s homily via live streaming video.

According to Edwil Zabala, INC spokesperson, the Guinness Book of Book of Records handed two new awards to the religious organization.

This includes the world’s largest gospel choir, and the largest mixed indoor arena in the world.

Based on records, at least 4,774 members of the INC joined its centennial choir yesterday.

It eclipsed the previous record of 1,700 choir member held by the United States.

The INC said that a total of 10,000 members prepared to joined the choir, but some members did not make it on time due to heavy traffic in going to the Ciudad the Victoria.

Traffic along the NLEX started late Saturday afternoon which delayed northbound motorists.

Some bus passengers interviewed late Saturday night said that it took them two hours to reach Malolos City from Balintawak toll plaza in Quezon City.

Hundreds of thousands of people started to gather at the Ciudad de Victoria on Saturday afternoon, and endured the heavy downpour  early Saturday evening but were treated with a 25-minute fireworks display before midnight.

The traffic went from bad to worst until noon time on Sunday as the northbound lane of the NLEX from Marilao to Bocaue toll plaza was complete blocked.

This is due to buses and private vehicles parked along the NLEX’s northbound lane.  Some of the vehicles were towed earlier for illegal parking.

However, by morning, Tolentino implemented a contingency plan by opening a two-lane counterflow on the NLEX southbound lane.

Before 10 AM,  traffic flow on the counterflow lane was still good, but as more INC members depart from the Ciudad de Victoria, vehicle movements on the counterflow lane and the southbound lane was reduced to less than 20 kilometer per hour.

Tolentino said that traffic along the NLEX might last until Monday morning as INC members depart from the venue of the centennial celebrations.

As this developed, Bro. Eduardo Manalo hailed the INC’s phenomenal growth in the last 100 years.

In his homily, Manalo said that from 2009 to 2014, a total of 603 new INC churches were built, of which, 552 are in the Philippines, while the rest were built abroad.

The executive minster also said that 359 other churches went under renovation within the same period.  Dino Balabo

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

House built 60 years ago, gone in 2 minutes

House smashed by Glenda's storm surge.  DB

HAGONOY, Bulacan—Built 60 years ago, gone in two minutes.

This was how a resident of the coastal village of Pugad here described the fury of storm surge spawned by typhoon Glenda when it traversed the Manila Bay on July 16 en route to the West Philippine Sea.

In total, no less than 60 houses in the said villages were totally damaged as seven feet storm surge came rushing in.

Joey Gregorio, 44, of the said village narrated to PromdiNEWS how their house crumbled on the fury of storm surge.

“Wala kaming nagawa, dalawang minuto lang nawala na yung bahay,” he said noting that houses of his three older brothers built beside their ancestral house were also washed out.

Their ancestral house was built by his parents 60 years ago.

The said houses which used to stand side by side were all made of concrete hollow blocks.

Now, only piles of debris were left in place and the concrete comfort room of his brother’s house.
Remains of the Gregorio house.  DB

In the nearby village of Tibaguin, Yolanda Geronimo burst into tears as she recounted how her three year old house gave in to the fury of storm surge.

“Twenty minutes lang wala na yung bahay naming,” she said.

Geronimo said their house was constructed less than three years ago.

It was actually a replacement to their former house destroyed by similar storm surge at the height of the onslaught of typhoon Quiel in 2011.

“Dalawang sunod na po iyan mula noong Quiel,” she said as she tried to hold back the tears.

While lamenting the loss of their houses, both the Gregorios and the Geronimos where thankful that no one in their families and in their villages died during the typhoon.

But they also stressed that storm surges not hit their villages because municipal fishpond that used to protect them was damaged.

This was affirmed by Councilmen Gilbert Tamayo and Alfredo Lunes of Barangay Pugad.

They said that since the dikes of the over 200 hectare municipal fishpond beside the two villages were washed out six years ago, they are now fearing for their lives every time there is a typhoon.

“Natatawag po naming ang lahat ng Santo sa simbahan kapag bumabagyo na dahil walang humaharang sa alon mula sa dagat,” Tamayo said.

For his part, Mayor Raulito Manlapaz said they will start rehabilitating the municipal fishpond by December.

Manlapaz visited the two villages yesterday to distribute relief goods to residents.

His group’s arrival cam just when PromdiNEWS was about to leave Barangay Pugad.

According to Manlapaz, they are now preparing fund for the rehabilitation.

But he stressed that rehabilitation will be quicker if the provincial government will loan them its large dredging machine.

As a former fishpond operators, Manlapaz said that they will need all the assistance they can get to rehabilitate the 13-kiloment coastline of this town and protect its aquaculture industry along with the two coastal villages. Dino Balabo

PUGAD AFTER GLENDA.  There used to be houses here.  DB

PNoy hails INC's Philippine Arena

Philippine Arena, world's largest dome shaped arena.  DB 

BOCAUE, Bulacan—President Aquino hailed the religious group Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) and it’s giant Philippine Arena which he described as bigger than the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

This came after the President joined INC Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo in inaugurating the Ciudad de Victoria at Barangay Duhat here on Monday, July 21.

Unveiling of Ciudad de Victoria marker. DB 
Speaking at the jampacked 55,000-seater Philippine Arena, the President marvelled at “biggest domed arena in the world,” as a symbol that the Filipinos can compete in the world.   

The President also said that the giant structure is a symbol of victories that the INC achieved in its first 100 years, adding that the world is now looking up to the INC as it continues to expand while taking care of its members.

He also expressed personal support to the INC and cited its continued spiritual leadership to its members as he thanked the religious organization for supporting him. 

Before he ended his speech, the President also cited Bible verses from the Gospels of John and Matthew, noting how Jesus Christ reminded his apostles to love one another as He loved them.

The President took potshots against his detractors and encouraged them to sow “seeds of hope instead of disunity.”

Located at the sprawling 70-hectare Ciudad de Victoria complex at Barangay Duhat here, the Philippine Arena which was built at the cost of $200 million is said to be earthquake-proof and can withstand super typhoon winds.

The INC said that its designed is inspired by the narra and banyan trees and has a dome spanning over 3.6 hectares. Its 55,000 seating capacity made it the biggest domed arena in the world, larger than the O2 Arena in London.

Construction of the Philippine Arena started in September 2011 and it can be seen on the east side of the North Luzon Expressway in this town.  Dino Balabo

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Malolos warehouse raided, feeds component mixed with imported rice

Sec. Mar Roxas at Purefeeds warehouse.

MALOLOS CITY—A rice trader here will soon face multiple charges for mixing old rice stocks which is said to be unfit for human consumption with imported ones.

However, the rice trader said he did nothing wrong and noted that he was even are cooperating with the National Food Authority (NFA) inspections as directed by President Aquino last week.

As this developed, NFA and police officials said more rice warehouses suspected of rice hoarding and profiteering have been identified and will soon be raided.

This came as the Criminal Investigation Detection Group (CIDG) cordoned off a rice warehouse at the First Bulacan Industrial City (FBIC) in Barangay Tikay here on Friday and was opened to the media on morning, July 7.

Interior Secretary Mar Roxas told journalists that Purefeeds Corp. will be facing multiple charges for violation of laws implemented by the NFA, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the Bureau of Customs (BoC) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Roxas said that Purefeeds Corp., owned by one Jojo Soliman, has been mixing old stocks rice which are deemed unfi t for human consumption with imported rice from Vietnam. “They are selling adulterated rice,” Roxas said noting that old stock rice served as “extender” to imported rice.

Roxas and the NFA represented by its Administrator Arthur Juan reported that a total of 32,000 bags of rice were seized at the Purefeeds warehouse here. However, sources said the total inventory at the said warehouse is about 60,000 bags.

Roxas clarified that the 32,000 bags he mentioned earlier is a result of initial inventory. Roxas also said that there is a possibility that rice mixed and repacked by Purefeeds have been distributed to the market. He said that NFA will soon file charges against Purefeeds, and if found guilty, their license to trade rice might be terminated.
Jojo Soliman, Purefeeds owner
For his part, Soliman told PromdiNEWS that his family has been trading rice for over 50 years. He said that he himself has been in the business for 25 years and started rice importation 15 years ago. “We have done nothing wrong, there is nothing illegal in our operation,” Soliman said. He added that they have been cooperating with the NFA in the implementation of its “visitorial function.”

He expressed disappointment over the seeming trial by publicity against them. “This is supposed to be a regular inspection,” he said. The same was affirmed by NFA Administrator Arthur Juan who also said that he respects the comments of Soliman.

Juan noted that once the case is filed in court, they will follow what the law requires. Dino Balabo

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Mobile passport service in Malolos

CITY OF MALOLOS- In a continuous bid to bring services closer to the people, the Provincial Government of Bulacan in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs will once again conduct a Mobile Passport Service to help Bulakenyos acquire passports in a more convenient and easy way.

Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado said this project offers convenience to Bulakenyos allowing them to save time and money.

“Maraming magagandang serbisyo ang dapat malaman ng mga Bulakenyo at isa na ‘to. Dito hindi na nila kailangang gumising ng sobrang aga at mamasahe ng malaki para lumuwas kasi nandito na sa malapit sa atin,” Alvarado said.

Provincial Youth, Sports, Employment, Arts, Culture & Tourism Office (PYSEACTO) head Elizabeth Alonzo said that passport applications and submission of the duly accomplished forms and all other requirements will run from August 1-15, 2014 and to be submitted at PYSEACTO while the appearance and final evaluation by the representatives of DFA will be on September 13, 2014 at the Bulacan Capitol Gymnasium.

The release of passports will be announced at a later date.

Alonzo also said that the project will be served in a first come, first serve basis.

“Yung mga aplikanteng aabot doon sa limit na 600 ay magbabayad ng P1, 200 para sa mobile passport fee kapag nagpunta na sila for personal appearance,” Alonzo explained.

According to the DFA, new applicants need to submit Birth Certificate (BC) in Security Paper (SECPA) issued by National Statistics Office (NSO), two valid Identification Cards (photocopy) and NSO Authenticated Marriage Contract for married women as requirements.

Moreover, applicants for renewal of passport are required to submit old passport, photocopy of the first, last & all pages with marks in the passport, and Marriage Contract (MC) in Security Paper (SECPA) issued by National Statistics Office (NSO) for newly married women.

PYSEACTO is located at Capitol Compound, Gat Blas Ople Building, City of Malolos, Bulacan

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Fellowships open for 18th Lopez Jaena Community Journalism Workshop on Reporting Corruption in October

The University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication (UP CMC) will hold the 18th Graciano Lopez Jaena Community Journalism Workshop from October 3 to 8 at the UP College of Mass Communication, Diliman, Quezon City.

Fellowship slots are available for this workshop. Applications are open to full-time print, broadcast and online journalists, as well as selected journalism educators and students.

This year’s workshop theme is “Huwag Kumorap: Investigating Corruption in Media and Government.”

Resource persons from the academe, government and non-government organizations will speak on issues like investigative reporting, corruption-related laws, ethics and freedom of information.

Since its first workshop in 1985, the Lopez Jaena Community Journalism Workshop has trained hundreds of community journalists. Among the past fellows are Cong Corrales, Raymund Villanueva, Dino Balabo, Froilan Gallardo, Frank Cimatu, Ilang-ilang Quijano, Jo Clemente, Diosa Labiste, Danny Calleja, Flor Abanto and Maurice Malanes.

Applicants should be currently engaged in the journalism profession with at least two years’ working experience. They should also be below 45 years old. They must submit an application letter; resume; two published/broadcast news reports; a story plan for an investigative report on corruption in media or government; and an endorsement from their editor, local press club president or a Lopez Jaena Community Journalism Workshop alumnus.

Limited slots may be given to senior journalism students. Student applicants are required to submit an application letter, resume, sample works and an endorsement from their professor, department chair or dean.

The fellowship will cover board and lodging. Participants will be billeted inside the UP Diliman campus.

Interested journalists, journalism educators and students may send their application papers to The Project Director, 18th Lopez Jaena Community Journalism Workshop on Reporting Corruption, College of Mass Communication, University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, Quezon City.

The deadline for applications is on August 1.

For more details, please call the Office of Extension and External Relations (OEER) at 920-6864 or 981-8500 local 2668 or email at

Inspect warehouses, NFA told

MALOLOS CITY—Bulacan farmers demanded inspection and inventory of rice warehouses in Central Luzon as price spiked again while supply is low.

For his part, Director Rex Estoperez, the spokesperson of the National Food Authority (NFA) said they might conduct inspection but did not disclose where and when.

Melencio Domingo, chair of the Malolos City Agriculture and Fisheries Council (MCAFC) said there is no problem with rice supply.
Instead, he stressed that the problem lies in the price due to perceive hoarding of some commercial traders.

“Dapat simulan ng NFA ang inspection sa mga warehouses ng bigas sa Central Luzon, Domingo said.

He noted high volume of harvest by Bulacan farmers last cropping season.

“Saan napunta yung magandang ani namin, malamang diyan ay iniipit lang sa mga warehouse,” he said and noted reports by the Department of Agriculture which said that the country achieved 97 percent rice sufficiency last year.
Domingo added that low supply of rice in the market is artificial due to hoarding, thus, the need for NFA inspection monitoring of rice inventories in warehouses.

For his part, Estoperez said the NFA might impose its visitorial powers soon.

However, he said that there is no need yet for NFA to conduct inspection.
Estoperez noted that in the past the NFA conducted inspection on warehouses when supply of rice went down.

In a live interview over Radyo Bulacan, he said, “sapat pa ang supply ng bigas natin.”

He also advised the public not to go on panic buying and to avoid wasting rice.

With rice price hike, Estoperez said that it is normal at this time of year which he described as lean months.

But Bulacan farmers said rice process today is anything but normal.
They noted that palay price climbed to P25.60 last week, the highest buying price in history.
Farmers said that it is a clear indication of the low supply of rice due to allege hoarding.  (Dino Balabo)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

DPWH virtually clear contractor of collapsed bridge

MALOLOS CITY—The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) virtually cleared the contractor of the bridge in Calumpit town that collapsed on Friday.

However, local officials are looking at the possibilities of filing charges that may lead the revocation of contract of the Wing-An Construction Development Corporation.

Engineer Jesse Obordo of DPWH regional office in Central Luzon said that they see no reason to file sanctions against Wing-An which is owned by a certain Engineer Shelwyn Lao based in San Juan City in Metro Manila.

“Wala namang violation, kaya walang sanction na ipapataw sa contractor,”Obordo said as he defended the contractor of the P166-Million bridge rehabilitation project.

He said that the collapse was an accident and only two workers suffered minor injuries.

Obordo said that while the project is originally expected to be completed last April 23, it remain on schedule as the implementation was suspended at least twice.

He said that first suspension on the project was first implemented when a temporary hanging bridge was constructed last year.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Angat Dam to hit critical level today

Angat Dam file photo by Dino Balabo

MALOLOS CITY-- Water elevation at the giant Angat Dam continue to drop and it is expected to hit critical 180 meters above sea level today, May 11, 2014.

This came as water elevation at the dam further drop to 180.12 masl as of 6AM today based on monitoring of the state weather bureau.

It dropped by .35 meters since yesterday when the state weather bureau recorded 180.47 meters.

Engineer Rodolfo German, general manager of the Angat River Hydroelectric Power Plant (Arhepp) based in Hilltop, Norzagaray earlier said that they will cut allocation for farmers irrigation when level at the dam hit critical 180 masl.

Here's record for water elevation at the Angat Dam in the past seven days. All are recorded by Pagasa at 6AM.

May 5--182.20 masl
May 6--181.92 masl
May 7--181.65 mals
May 8--181.31 masl
May 9--180.85 masl
May 10--180.47 masl
May 11--180.12 masl

Friday, May 9, 2014

CL on alert for rice black bug

Rice black bug.  Photo by Bulacan PAO

MALOLOS CITY—Ever heard of herding ducks in the rice field soon after crop gets established?

Well, that’s one of the solutions offered by the experts in further controlling possible rice black bug infestation in Central Luzon where ricelands are also being threatened by irrigation shortage due to possible long dry spell.

Aside from the above, experts also suggested intensive implementation of integrated pest management  (IPM), spraying of pathogenic microorganism called metarhizium, and raising water level on ricelands.

Based on records from the Central Luzon office of the Department of Agriculture (DA), rice black bug (Scotinophara coarctata) infestation has affected  2,820 hectares of farmlands in the region.

They said it remains under control but local agriculturist in Bulacan are not taking it easy noting that hot temperatures leads rice black bug to further burrow itself on rice stems.

Citing experts’ explanation,Gloria Carillo, head of the Bulacan Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO) said that the bug used to suck sap on the rice stem and lay eggs on it.

“It’s an invasive pest species that attacks all growth stages of the rice plant,” she said in describing the bug.

At present, Carillo said that there have been sightings of the bug in the towns of Bulakan, San Miguel, San Ildefonso, San Rafael and Baliwag, all in the province of Bulacan.

Other provinces in Central Luzon showed greater impacts of infestation caused by the bug.

Records from the DA-III office showed that a total of 570 hectares of ricelands in the province of  Aurora were affected by the bug.

Also in Nueva Ecija (550 has), Pampanga (220 has), and Tarlac with 1,500 hectares.

Records also showed impacts on rice yields in affected areas ranged from 3-5 percent in Nueva Ecija, 10-20 percent in Tarlac, 20 percent in Aurora, and 20 to 40 percent in Pampanga.

Felicito Espiritu, head of the DA-III information office said that while affected areas in the region climbed over 2,000 hectares, the infestation remained under control.

Trapping rice black bug in Bulakan town. Photo by Bulacan PAO

He said that local farmers has been trained to conduct regular monitoring through surveillance using light trapping equipment.

He explained that light trapping equipment which utilizes bright lights attracts black bugs.

Records showed that rice black bug infestation in the country is not new.

It is first monitored in 1979 in Southern Palawan where an outbreak was recorded in 1982 covering 4,500 hectares.

In the years that followed, incidents were recorded in 1996 in Zamboanga City damaging about 2,000 hectares; in 1995 it became a serious pest in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM); and in 1996, it moved to the provinces of Cotabato, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat.

In 1998, rice black bug infestations were recorded in Davao Del Sur and Negros Occidental; then in Siquijor and Bohol provinces the following year.

From the year 2000 onwards, infestations were further recorded northwards.

Records showed that in 2000, infestation was recorded in Caraga Region, followed by Leyte in 2001; Samar in 2003; Sorsogon in 2005;  and Catanduanes, Albay and Camarines Sur provinces in the Bicol region in 2006.

By 2007, first infestation was recorded in the province of Aurora, then in Isabela and Laguna the following year; and in other parts of Luzon in 2010.   Dino Balabo

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Cloud seeding over Angat Dam eyed in May

Angat Dam

MALOLOS CITY—Planned cloud seeding operations over Angat Dam is likely to be implemented on the first week of May to avert possible water shortage in Metro Manila, the National Power Corporation (Napocor) said..

This came as water elevation at the Angat Dam dropped to 183.97 meters above sea level (masl) at 6AM on Saturday, April 26.

The said water elevation is less than four meters before it drop to crit5ical 180 masl.

Gladys Cruz-Sta. Rita, president of the Napocor said that they are now finalizing memorandum of agreements (MOA) and contracts now.

While she did not disclose who are the parties involved in the MOA and contract, Engineer Rodolfo German, the general manager of the Angat River Hydroelectric Power Plant (Arhepp) said the Napocor is now coordinating with the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Engineer German
DA is the mother agency of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) that usually takes the lead in cloud seeding operations over Angat Dam that supplies 97 percent of Metro Manila’s potable water requirement.

Cloud seeding operations is usually conducted when water elevation at the Angat Dam nears the critical 180 masl and when rainy season is still far.

It is mean to secure water requirement for about 13-Million population of the metropolis.

Earlier, German told PromdiNews that since January, rain hardly fall over the 53,000 hectares Angat watershed.  Dino Balabo

Bulacan remains red tide free

HAGONOY, Bulacan—All types of shellfish in Bulacan remain free from paralytic shellfish poison or red tide toxins, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said.

This came as similar marine products in the nearby province of Bataan and in Dumanquillas Bay in Zamboanga Del Sur; and the coastal waters of Milagros in Masbate are still positive for red tide.

Citing recent report issued by Director Asis Perez of BFAR, Felix Terrado, said local consumer in the province have nothing to worry.

He said all types of shell fish caught on Manila Bay from Metro Manila to Bulacan are safe.

This includes fish, squids, shrimps, and crabs.

However, like BFAR advisory, consumer must thoroughly wash the products remove internal organs like gills and intestines before cooking.

 “There is no red tide in Bulacan and there is no white spot disease in Central Luzon,” said Terrado, the head of the BFAR research facility for brackishwater based at Barangay San Pedro here.

Terrado explained that water flowing from the Angat River keeps waters on the bay of Bulacan clean. 

Angat River is the lone major river system in the province that is still “alive” based on report of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) about 10 years ago.

The same report noted that Marilao-Meycuayan River, along with the downstream of Bocaue, Balagtas and Guiguinto rivers are biologically dead.

6 devotees crucified in Bulacan

PAOMBONG, Bulacan—An epileptic mute faith healer led five others that includes two women in the reenactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ here, while hundreds others flagellate themselves in observance of the Holy Week.

This came as the Catholic Church discourage such acts, while some groups are looking forward to promoting it as a tourism attraction.

Crisanto Bautista, a 54-year old mute faith healer who suffers from episodes of epilepsy was the first to do the reenactment of Christ’s crucifixion on the morning of Maundy Thursday at the Sto. Cristo Chapel yard at Barangay Kapitangan here.

A resident of Barangay Mercado in the coastal town of Hagonoy, Bautista came with his family and friends who interpreted his message during the interview.

During the interview, PromdiNews learned that Bautista loss his ability to speak 16 years ago.

He even tried to write his answer on the wall by writing with his fingers.

Aileen, the younger sister of Bautista said that her brother suffered from episodes of epilepsy and was even comatose for three days when he was younger.

“Tatlong araw siyang patay, nung magising ay hindi na siya makapagsalita,” Aileen said and added that it was also then when his brother started as faith healer.

Despite his fragile physical condition, Bautista was nailed on the cross under scorching heat. It was his 16th year in a row.

Rowena Enriquez, 34, a friend and assistant, said Bautista’s physical appearance did not deter him from reenacting crucifixion twice a year.

She said that Bautista used to reenact crucifixion at the old Santisima Trinidad Church in Malolos City and in other places in the province.

This year, Bautista performed the reenactment at Barangay Kapitangan here on Maundy Thursday and in Malolos City on Good Friday.

He was followed by a still unidentified devotee who was also crucified on Maundy Thursday at Barangay Sto. Rosario here.

On Good Friday, Precy Valencia and Michael Katigbak performed the reenactment once again along with Evangeline Mendoza and Junjun Tanael.

All four are resident of this town and some claims, are following the footsteps of Amparo Santos, a faith healer from Guiguinto town who used to do the reenactment of crucifixion here in the late 80s and early 90s.

In other parts of the province, hundreds of devotees who are either carried a cross or flagellate their bloddied backs filled the streets of Bulacan on Good Friday.

The flagellants then braved the murky waters of local rivers in the belief that saline water on the rivers will heal their wounds faster.

Some like Nestor Celso and his nephew Joel Martin swam on the Hagonoy river after flagellating themselves.

The above acts were discouraged by the Church and even by the Department of Health, but Celso said they have been doing it for about three decades.

As this developed, the Bulacan Tourism Convention and Visitors Board (BTCVB) in coordination with the Tourism Committee of the Paombong Municipal Council is preparing a tourism master plan for Paombong.

The plan sources said is designed to improve tourism management in here noting that it is the only place in the province that draws about 100,000 visitors every year without a promotional plan.  Dino Balabo