PIA News Service - Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010

BCPO forms ‘tourist police’

In order to help boost up the region’s booming tourism industry, and help make Caraga a safe haven for both domestic and foreign tourists, the Butuan City Police Office forms its own “tourist police force” recently.

Butuan City Police Director Banson D. Leleng said that such force was organized in order to focus, in addition to their regular details, on tourists arriving, staying and moving around the various tourism spots and destinations in the region. This is to assure them, he said, of their safety and security while enjoying their visit here in the region.

The city of Butuan which is the regional center Leleng said, may also serve as the region’s tourism gateway whether by the land, water or air transportation before such travelers may proceed to the other parts in the region.

A similar police force was earlier created at the province of Surigao del Norte which personnel were mostly detailed at General Luna, Siargao Island of the said province, an island facing the Pacific which is already internationally known for its world class surfing breakers and hosting or serving as venue of international surfing competitions.

Butuan city enjoys more incoming and outgoing flight schedules, shipping routes and bus line coursed through its ports and terminals, compared to the other places in the region.

The designation order signed by Dir. Leleng, Friday, named the following police personnel composing such force: PSupt. Joseph B. Boquerin, SPO1 Elmer C. Dela Torre, SPO1 Dennis D. Estrosos,, PO3 Philip Caesar A. Tan, PO3 Andres M. Banez, PO3 Allain M. Chua, PO3 Maricris P. Amado, PO3 Rowena R. Ytac, PO3 Noel Chis C. Roque, PO3 Russel G. Rafael, PO3 Walter M. Suralta, PO3 Allan M. Boligor, PO3 Lani S. Felicitas, PO2 Julius A. Avila, PO2 Russel A. Gonzaga, PO2 Rex B. Ofianga, PO2 Maria Carla D. Salino, PO2 Liza C. Catre, PO2 Terry t. Tabalado, PO1 Genelita M. Bugawan, PO1 Christy V. Cerojales, PO1 Desiree E. Espana, PO1 Medavin O. Gallentes and PO1 Joseph P. Madejas.

It should be noted that Caraga as a tourism destination can boast of its rich cultural and historical heritage and also vast natural attractions offering an unlimited adventure.

Influx of tourists to the region both of domestic and international origin are expected this month until the early part of next year to observe the various historical and cultural festivities and also enjoy the regions naturally-endowed scenic spots. (Noel B. Najarro, The Butuan Star/PIA-Caraga)

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Army to evict settlers in ‘military reservation area’ by January

The Philippine Army command is set to evict the 71 remaining settlers who are still staying within the 48.7 hectares military reservation area of their camp located at Bancasi, Brgy. Bancasi this city, by the second week of January next year.

In a press forum held at the conference room of the said camp, Monday, Lt. Col Efraim C. Oropel, Camp Commander and Administrator of the Military Reservation areas explained that two weeks ago, he was called for a conference at the 4ID Philippine Army Office to come up with an action plan to finally implement the eviction order. The action could have possibly been done inn December 1, this year. He said that the command had already given so much time to the settlers, who were mostly army retirees to dismantle their own structures and transfer to the relocation sites provided for them by the city government. However, for humane considerations and in the spirit of the approaching yuletide season, the implementation of SOP No. 26 (eviction) was moved once more without a specified date until the second week of January, the time when the third breakers of the army returns.

Attending also the said forum were Lt. Col. Eduardo S. Vicoy, chief of the Division Real Estate Officer, 4ID; Maj. Noli Kanashiro, acting PIO, 4ID; Capt. Aldrich Uayan, legal counsel, 4ID; Hon. Regalado A. Gerson (representative of the Brgy. Captain); Ms. Mary Ann Piencenaves, Special Operations Officer, City Housing Development Office and Mr. Leonor C. Ledesma, Jr. of the Commission on Human Rights 13.

Oropel said that he had a visit by the chief Army Real Estate Officer (AREO) who came to see the 48.7 hectares military reserved area near the camp and the 2,400 hectares military reservation at Mt. Mayapay. The said official accordingly informed him of the orders from the higher command to clear the military reservation areas of civilians and non-active military occupants. Since then, he already had conducted several dialogues with the settlers. He said that in some of these dialogues, he invited city officials and other resource persons to help him explain the legalities, the purpose and other implications of that order from the higher headquarters.

He also said that during these forums, he learned that there was an existing agreement with some previous army officials assigned at the camp, that for some humane considerations to allow settlers to temporarily reside within the military reserved areas. They and their family may transiently stay, provided that their built up structures will be made of easy to dismantle and indigenous light materials. The agreement, according to Oropel was disregarded somehow later, when it was found out that some of the occupants started to reinforce their structures with permanent materials. Some even spent a considerable or even a larger chunk of their retirement benefits to their undertaking and had even appeared to establish a permanent settlement in their respective lots. Until the orders coming from the higher headquarters to vacate came.

The military’s claim on the reservation areas rested on solid grounds, Oropel explained, as the documents they have on hand were Presidential Proclamations No. 113, dated November 23, 1936 and No. 356 on December 23, 1940 during the time of the late Interior Sec. Elpedio Quirino and Commonwealth Pres. Manuel L Quezon, covering the 48.7 hectares and the 2,400 hectares of Mt. Mayapay.

The military, Oropel said had even been humane and gracious enough to allow a series of extensions before implementing the eviction order. Since January of last year, it was moved to April. Then with some interventions from local politicians and in the view of the forthcoming elections at that time, from April it was moved to August. A memorandum of agreement was even signed between the settlers and the military to allow the remaining settlers to stay until May 31, 2010. Then there was even an attempt from the side of the settlers to file before the court a plea for temporary restraining order and even an injunction, but both pleas were accordingly junked by the court for lack of sufficient grounds.

Thus, the claim of Kagawad Gerson (who is a settler himself and a retired army man) that they will wait a court order to be served before they will vacate the place, was answered by Capt. Uayan, the legal counsel of the 4ID, that as far as the military is concerned, there is no legal impediment whatsoever on implementing the eviction. That is, after the court he said did not heed the settlers plea for a TRO nor an injunction.

On the side of the City Housing, Ms. Piencenaves explained that as to their intervention, their office is just waiting for the settlers to come to their office and process their resettlement. Some resettlement areas supposedly intended for the Bancasi evictees had already been closed, as they could not wait forever for the settlers as to when would they want to process their applications. They have to accommodate other applicants on first-come-first-served basis.

As for the Commission On Human Rights, Mr. Ledesma said that the grace period given by the military to the settlers to decide on when to dismantle their structures and the assistance extended by the city government is a proof enough that the rights of the settlers is being upheld. However, they will still witness the actual eviction and see to it that these will be done and followed in accordance with the laws and the upholding of the affected settlers rights. (Noel B. Najarro, The Butuan Star/PIA-Caraga) 
 
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POLICE REPORTS
By PO2 Darlin Cabalinan-Migullas


Report on illegal possession of firearm 

On December 12, 2010, around 4:00 O’clock in the afternoon, at P-12, Brgy. Poblacion, Lapaz, Agusan del Sur, a concern citizen reported to Lapaz MPS that a certain Danilo Ordanilla y Cago alias “Papit”, 38 years old, married and a resident of P-6, Brgy. Poblacion, Lapaz, Agusan del Sur was allegedly possessing a firearm. 

Immediately, elements of Lapaz MPS led by PO3 Gregorio Aying responded to such report and confiscated from the said suspect one (1) unit caliber 45 pistol (paltik) bearing serial number 1230045 loaded with one (1) magazine and one (1) live ammunition. 

Upon verification, suspect was not able to present pertinent documents to possess legally the said firearm. Said suspect was brought to the said police station for further investigation. Appropriate case is being prepared for filing in court in an inquest proceeding. (PNP-13/PIA-Caraga)

Violation of R.A. 9272 (anti-violence against women and their children act of 2004)

Elements of Butuan City Police Station (BCPS) 2 responded for a police assistance requested by a certain Jeannie Lyn Moran y Cariaga, 43 years old, married, secondary school teacher and a resident of Purok Makugihon, Agusan Pequeño, Butuan City around 10:30 in the evening, December 11, 2010 for alleged indiscriminate firing of her husband identified as Canuto Bierne Moran y Montante, 43 years old, Jail Guard of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP). 

Responding team confiscated from the possession of said suspect was one (1) unit 9mm pistol, Taurus with serial number TCY 88018. Initial investigation disclosed that said suspect indiscriminately fired his firearm several times near his wife and threw a flammable substance (gasoline) to her wife that prompted her wife to seek for police assistance. 

Said suspect was brought to BCPS 2 for further investigation. Appropriate charge was being filed by the complainant (wife) against her husband in an inquest proceeding. (PNP-13/PIA-Caraga)

Report on loose firearm

One Noel Daniel y Supas, 25 years old, married, farmer and a resident of Purok 1A, Brgy. Pigdaulan, Butuan City voluntarily surrendered one (1) unit 38 caliber revolver (paltik) with serial number 010153 without ammunition to BCPS 4 on December 12, 2010, around 10:00 O’clock in the evening together with Barangay Kagawads Victoriano P. Lamo and Junie V. Maur of the said barangay. 

Said firearm was allegedly found by Noel Daniel at the above mentioned place. (PNP-13/PIA-Caraga)

Report on arrested wanted person 

Around 4:00 O’clock in the afternoon of December 12, 2010, elements of San Miguel MPS led by Police Inspector Armando Martizano, Chief of Police arrested a certain Duang Bucales, of legal age, married and a resident of Brgy. Castillo, San Miguel, Surigao del Sur. 

Said suspect was arrested by virtue of Warrant of Arrest issued by Hon. Vicente M. Luna, Presiding Judge of RTC Branch 40, Tandag, Surigao del Sur, charged for the crime of Robbery in Band (violation of article 296 of Revised Penal Code) docketed under criminal case number 5182 with recommended bail bond of PhP 40, 000.00. Arrested person was brought to San Miguel MPS for proper disposition. (PNP-13/PIA-Caraga)

Report on traffic accident

Unidentified person wearing green T shirt and white short, about 40 years old and an estimated height of 5’6” was accidentally bumped by XRM 125 single motorcycle bearing plate number KP-6475, driven by one Jonasan Maglasang y Hayag, 28 years old, married and a resident of P-2, Brgy. Saguma, Bayugan, Agusan del Sur, along National Highway, Rotunda, Brgy. Poblacion, Bayugan, Agusan del Sur at around 11:20 in the morning, December 10, 2010. 

Initial investigation disclosed that said victim allegedly crossed suddenly at the said highway, which resulted to the said incident. Said victim was brought to New Bayugan Hospital for medical treatment but died shortly after being treated. 

Said victim was still unidentified up to this report. No relatives/claimant had coordinated with Bayugan MPS. Remains of the said victim is now under the custody of Bolloso’s Funeral Parlor, Bayugan, Agusan del Sur. (PNP-13/PIA-Caraga)

Report on stabbing incident  

On December 12, 2010, around 7:00 O’clock in the evening at P-3, Brgy. Sto. Niño, Butuan City, a certain Jehll Calahat y Obejero, 35 years old, single, farmer and a resident of P-3, Balang-balang, RTR, Agusan del Norte was stabbed several times with the use of a knife measuring more or less 8 inches long including its handle by his live-in partner, one Shirly Tinusay y Ubanan, 24 years old, married and a resident of P-3, Brgy. Sto. Niño, Butuan City. 

Victim sustained multiple stabbed wounds at the different parts of his body and was immediately brought to Cabadbaran District Hospital for medical treatment. Suspect and confiscated weapon were turned over to BCPS 4 by Brgy. Kagawad Rosilo Ucang y Cucamas of Brgy. Sto. Niño, Butuan City for proper disposition. Motive-misunderstanding. Case is till under further investigation.
(PNP-13/PIA-Caraga)


DILG orders all LGUs to phase-out mercury in health care facilities

Health Care Without Harm-Southeast Asia (HCWH-SEA) welcomes the Department of Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) issuance of a memo on the “reduction of mercury for health care facilities.” 

Memorandum Circular 2010-140 issued on December 7 enjoins all provincial governors, city mayors, municipal mayors, DILG regional directors and others concerned to ensure compliance to the Department of Health (DoH) Administrative Order 21 (AO21) mandating gradual phase-out of mercury-containing devices in all Philippine health care facilities and institutions. AO21 was signed in September 2008 with a two-year implementation period that ended in September 2010.  

“We thank Sec. Jesse Robredo for his action. The memorandum may have come belatedly but if this will ensure compliance from local government unit (LGU) controlled health care facilities in phasing out mercury in 2011, HCWH-SEA will definitely support it,” said Faye Ferrer, HCWH-SEA Program Officer for Mercury in Health Care. 

HCWH-SEA, however, would like to caution the DILG that a mere reduction on the use of mercury-containing devices like thermometers and sphygmomanometers does not really follow the mandate of AO21. The two-year phase-out period set from 2008 to 2010 gave the hospitals more than enough time to accomplish the more specific objectives of AO21 like the immediate stop in the distribution of mercury thermometers in all admission or discharge kits of the hospital and the conduct of an audit to assess the number of mercurial devices that a specific facilitiy still uses.

“For the phase-out in the LGUs to be effective, a more systematic calendaring system would be needed in order for the DILG controlled facilities to accomplish even just the above mentioned objectives, the first quarter of 2011 should be a good time to start it. We at HCWH would really want the LGUs to be more proactive in the campaign and learn from the lessons learned by hospitals during the two-year implementation,” added Ferrer.

Between January and August this year, HCWH-SEA conducted a survey on the compliance to AO21 in all Philippine hospitals. The result, out of the approximately 1,875 hospitals, only 600 were AO21 compliant. “Several LGU representatives, more particular the Provincial Health Officers (PHO), responded to the survey as well. Based on their responses, the LGU respondents were not aware of AO21, therefore, the DILG memo could facilitate and mobilize all LGUs to work on the phase-out,” said Ferrer.  

As of November of this year, HCWH-SEA has documented of at least four provinces and two cities that have signified or made some movements to phase-out mercury in health care facilities. In Cebu, Provincial Board Member Arleigh Sitoy upon seeing the low mercury phase-out compliance in Cebu province said that he will author a resolution and an ordinance to fast track mercury phase-out and address the storage issue in Cebu. Likewise, General Santos City Councilor Marius Oco said that he will author a similar ordinance for the City. The provinces of Cavite and Northern Samar have also expressed support for mercury phase-out in their respective areas. While Quezon City government issued an order on mercury phase-out and Bohol is looking at a similar ordinance.  

“We are at the junction where everyone concerned must start doing something. Resolutions and ordinance on mercury phase-out will strengthen the DILG memorandum,” said Ferrer. “But we also need to look into those pharmacies who are still selling mercury-containing devices. We need to put a stop to the sale of mercury devices if we are keen on phasing it out.”

In a random phone call conducted by HCWH-SEA, several big retail drugstores in the country are already phasing-out mercury-containing devices. These include South Star Drug, Rose Pharmacy and St. John Pharmacy. Watsons Personal Care Store on the other hand has completely phased-out mercury thermometers and BP devices in its 187 stores nationwide.

“An ordinance banning the sale of mercury devices in each locality may eventually lead to banning importation of mercury devices in the country,” said Ferrer.  

“There is likewise a need to ensure that alternatives to mercury devices are available for the hospitals and other health care units. We enjoin pharmacies to switch to selling the alternatives and we further enjoin the LGUs to regulate these pharmacies.” 

With the new DILG memo, another issue that needs to be looked at is the provision of safe storage for phased-out mercury devices. According to AO 21, phased-out devices must be stored in a safe place within the hospital premises.
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“That must not stop the LGU to work with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and other concerned agencies to look into a more centralized storage area for the phased-out devices.

“We also encourage LGUs to work with hospitals that have already moved for mercury phase-out and have their experiences shared with other health care units,” said Ferrer.  

 “Thorough and full implementation of DoH AO 21 and DILG Memorandum 140 is important, we need action not just paper pushing. HCWH-SEA believes that this is the way to ensure health care workers and the general public that the government is determined to rid itself from the dangers and harm of mercury.” (Sonia G. Astudillo, Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) - Southeast Asia)