City Gov’t dared: Name barangay captains who tested positive for drugs


LIPA CITY – A three-termer councilor challenged the Lipa City government to name the four barangay captains who tested positive in last week’s random drug test for the sake of transparency.

In his privilege speech on Tuesday’s session, Councilor Nilo Catipon said that while he commends the initiative of Mayor Meynardo Sabili, the City’s Anti-Drug Task Force, the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Philippine National Police, to conduct the test as a means of showing example to their constituents in the fight against illegal drugs, he feels that some barangay captains are being unfairly implicated since the announcement was made in an interview with ABS-CBN Southern Tagalog.

“They better name the four barangay captains involved in illegal drugs because of its negative impact to the other captains who are being falsely accused,” Catipon said, adding that the city has rehabilitation facilities to help reform these village officials.

Councilor Merlo Silva opposed the said suggestion insisting that these would only put the chairman and his family’s name to shame. They should instead file cases against the said persons without having to namedrop and shame them in public.

Earlier on June 8, the city government initiated a surprise drug test among the city’s barangay captains, four of which were reported positive for drugs. Their names, however, were not released to the public pending confirmatory tests, which only triggered speculations and guessing games among netizens as to who these people are.

Sixteen chairmen were not present during the testing but city officials said they will require them to undergo the test.

In an interview with ABS-CBN, Sabili said he was disappointed to hear the said news.

“I didn’t expect it. Sometimes, there were reports and when I ask those people concerned, of course they would deny it,” he added.

ABC President and Councilor Paulino Querubin however said that the results of the drug tests may not be conclusive as they are still subject for confirmatory testing by the Department of Health.

He also claimed that two of the barangay chairmen who tested positive have been taking maintenance medicines for heart disease, which may have influenced the lab results.

“Initially, they already have findings so what the Department of Health will do is to check whether they used marijuana or shabu or they may have taken other drugs that they failed to declare so the DOH will have to confirm which substance they tested positive,” said the city’s anti-drug task force chairman Ram Mendoza in an interview.

On Tuesday, the Sangguniang Panglungsod headed by Vice Mayor Eric Africa and 13 other councilors participated in another drug test, the results of which have yet to be released as of this posting time.

Africa said this was their way of showing their support to the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs, which should start from the leaders themselves. Those sanggunian officials and employees who will test positive for drugs after confirmatory testing will likewise face necessary sanctions, he said

The Vice Mayor also said he opposes the suggestion to name barangay chairmen who tested positive “until after confirmatory tests are made” so names will not be destroyed and those who conducted won’t be accused of “politicking.”

P/Supt. Carlos Barde, Lipa City police chief, told reporters that around 5,300 self-confessed drug users in the city have surrendered through PNP’s Oplan Tokhang but they are still validating the figure as there were reports that 1000 of them were classified as “double entry”, which means these addicts have already surrendered both to them and the Lipa City government.

The city government’s campaign against illegal drugs is also gaining headway as Barde claims many pushers have already began mending their ways and stopped using drugs, based on the police and various barangay captains’ observations.

The PNP is taking a multi-faceted approach to solve the drug problem: first with the Oplan Tokhang and another with police operations including search warrants and buybust to pin suspects who continue to be involved in the illegal drug trade.

Barde has this message to the pushers: “They better stop now as our efforts are relentless led by the President. The President would definitely not allow illegal drugs to proliferate in our country.”

Privilege Speech Councilor Nilo Catipon

Another ex-cop killed in Batangas City buybust

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BATANGAS CITY – Another policeman was killed in a deadly firefight with authorities in a buybust operation in Barangay Bolbok here on Tuesday evening.

P/Supt. Norberto Delmas, Batangas city police chief, identified the slain suspect as former P01 Francisco Bacayo alias Bacswas.

Police reports said elements of the Batangas City police’s drug enforcement unit conducted the operation at around 10:35 pm. In the course of the drug transaction, however, the suspect reportedly sensed that he was dealing with a police, prompting him to immediately drew his firearm and fire at the men in uniform, prompting the latter to retaliate, thus wounding the suspect.

Delmas said the suspect was immediately brought to the Batangas Medical Center for treatment but an attending physician declared him dead upon arrival.

Police recovered from the crimes scene a caliber 45 pistol with one ammunition and magazine; two fired bullets of said gun caliber, three fired bullets of caliber 9 mm and five sachets of suspected shabu.

The hospital’s head nurse also recovered from the suspect’s pocket seven sachets of suspected shabu.

Bacayo was the second former police officer slain in Batangas police operations within a day as earlier on Tuesday, former cop Rolando Cabrera was also killed in a bloody firefight with arresting authorities in Barangay Buso-Buso, Laurel. Cabrera has a pending warrant of arrest for two counts of murder and two counts of frustrated murder.

Ex-cop killed in Batangas shootout

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Laurel, Batangas – A 38-year-old former policeman and member of Alvarez gun-for-hire group was killed in a bloody firefight with arresting authorities in Barangay Buso-Buso here on Tuesday afternoon, police said.

PSI Nephtali Solomon, Laurel police chief, identified the slain suspect as Rolando Cabrera, a resident of said barangay.

Initial police investigation said at around 2:45 pm, joint elements of the Batangas police’s provincial intelligence branch, Provincial Public Safety Company – SWAT and the Laurel police was about to arrest the suspect who has a pending warrant of arrest issued by Judge Arcadio Manigbas of Tanauan RTC Branch 6 for two counts of murder and two counts of frustrated murder.

Upon noticing men in uniform in his premises, however, the suspect immediately fired his gun towards the direction of the policemen, prompting the latter to retaliate, wounding the suspect.

Police said the suspect was immediately rushed to St. Andrews Hospital in Talisay for medical treatment but doctors declared him dead upon arrival.

Recovered from the crime scene were one caliber 45 pistol with one magazine and five empty shells of the same gun caliber.

Police who went undercover shot dead in Batangas; 6 others hurt

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Balayan, Batangas – A policeman who worked as undercover against an illegal drug syndicate was killed while six civilians were wounded in a shooting rampage here on Tuesday, police said.

PSI Allan De Castro, Balayan police chief, said SP01 Brian De Jesus, an intelligence operative was shot while watching a live band perform in a covered court in Barangay Sampaga at around 1:20 am, while six civilians were hit by stray bullets in the same area.

De Jesus, along with a civilian police asset, was in the crowd monitoring drug suspect Rodolfo Macalindong at that time when he was shot by the same suspect.

Police said the victims were rushed to Balayan Bayview Medical Center but doctors declared De Jesus dead upon arrival while six others are still recuperating from their gun shot wounds sustained in the incident.

De Castro said the witnesses positively identified Macalindong as the gunman along with certain Franciso Arroyo alias Barok and two unidentified suspects.

Police are now preparing to file charges against the suspects who remains at large.



State of Calamity up in Batangas city, Mabini and Tingloy due to quakes

Three parked vehicles, including this SUV at a resort in Mabini were damaged by falling debris following Tuesday's quake (photo by Ryan Valle)

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Batangas City – The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) has unanimously a resolution on Monday declaring a state of calamity in the quake-hit areas of the Batangas City and the municipalities of Mabini and Tingloy and authorizing the utilization of the P49.2 million quick response fund by the provincial governor.

Vice Gov. Sofronio Ona said the fund will be used to augment for the immediate needs of evacuees such as food, water and temporary shelters.

“The main reason why we only declared state of calamity in two towns and a city is because it’s only them who has declared the same. We just adopted their declara

tion,” he told reporters in an interview after the April 10 special session.

In case other municipalities follow, the vice governor said that the sanggunian will call for another special session to adopt the same resolutions and declare a state of calamity in their areas.

Board members specifically Ramon Bausas and Philippine Councilors League Chairman Mildred Sanchez expressed apprehension over placing the entire province under state of calamity as the tourism industry in other municipalities such as San Juan and Nasugbu might be hurt by the declaration leaving people the impression that the “whole” and not “portions” of Batangas province were under state of calamity.

The tourism industry in the towns of Mabini and Tingloy already took a heavy hit as some diving tourists immediately cancelled their bookings following the earthquake and the diving ban being imposed.

Even those who weren’t affected like San Juan took the brunt from the said booking cancellations and board members feared others might follow soon, board members feared.

They said this wouldn’t have happened at a worst time as as it’s already summer that is generally considered a peak season for tourists.

“That’s the main reason why we only chose to declare in those who had their own resolutions,” Ona explained, adding that for the meantime those who did not may also seek the help of the provincial social welfare and development office for the needs of their constituents who were affected by the quakes.

Their position was contrary to the earlier pronouncement of Gov. Hermilando Mandanas who called in past interviews and meetings with disaster officials to declare the entire province of Batangas under state of calamity pending the assessment of damages.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the first strong earthquake with a magntiude of 5.6 hit the province at about 3:07 pm. Its epicenter was located two kilometers northwest of Mabini, Batangas. At least 1001 aftershocks have been recorded as of April 9 at 9 pm, the agency’s director and DOST USec. Renato Solidum said.

Shortly after, a stronger earthquake of magnitude 6 was felt at 12 kilometers northwest of Mabini.

The earthquakes, both tectonic in origin, was felt at intensity 7 in Mabini; Intensity 6 in Tingloy, Bauan, Calatagan, Cuenca and Nasugbu; Intensity 5 in Batangas City, Sto. Tomas, San Pascual and Lemery towns, Bailen and Indang Cavite; Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro and Tagaytay City.

An intensity 4 earthquake hit Taal, Batangas; Obando, Bulacan; San Teodoro, Oriental Mindoro; Dasmariñas, Cavite; Calamba, Laguna; Lucena City, Quezon; and Pateros, Caloocan, Valenzuela and Manila cities.

The areas of Makati City, Pasig City, Pasay City, Quezon City, Muntinlupa City, Malabon City, Mandaluyong City, Imus and Bacoor, Cavite, Lucban, Quezon; Daet, Camarines Norte; Sta. Rosa, Laguna; Gen. Trias, Cavite and Bocaue Bulacan each felt intensity 3 earthquakes.

Two strong earthquakes have rocked Batangas province, Metro Manila and neighboring Luzon on Saturday afternoon, damaging infrastructures, blocking road paths and sending thousands of residents from a resort-rich town fleeing from their homes.

At least three people were confirmed injured from the quake, disasters officials said.  A male victim who works for a glass and aluminum shop was hurt in Mabini while another man sustained injuries from falling debris of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Bauan in the middle of the quake.

Also hurt was a man after a stampede occurred at the Citimart in Bauan as people were trying to leave the establishment after the quake but authorities said

PDRRMO Officer Lito Castro said the victims were treated in separate hospitals and doctors declared them safe.

As of Monday morning, at least 3,580 people have been affected by the earthquake. More than 820 families had totally damaged houses while 810 others had theirs partially destroyed by the quake.

As a pre-emptive measure, thousands of residents who felt the strong quake also fled their respective houses and stayed at evacuation centers and self-made camps in front of the Batangas provincial capitol, community park and various municipal halls.

PDRRMC said about 9,660 people were housed inside evacuation sites while 1,688 others went to their relatives where they feel safer.

Some infrastructures were damaged including churches such as the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Batangas City which had collapsed walls and ceilings and the namesake’s parish in Bauan who also had fallen debris from the quake. Taal’s Basilica of St. Martin Tours was also damaged by the quake.

Buildings at the Camp Netanya Hotel Resort in Mabini sustained cracks and had fallen debris damaging three parked vehicles while some ceilings and walls also collapsed at the Mabini General Hospital.

Not even the 89-year-old provincial capitol building was spared from the wrath as some offices specifically the 2nd floors of provincial accounting and provincial planning office sustained cracks following the quake. Estimated worth of damages now amount up to P80 million according to provincial engineer Gilbert Gatdula.

Trips were also suspended momentarily at the Batangas Port for two hours but were lifted as soon as Phivolcs clarified before coast guard authorities that no tsunami warning was issued at that time.

5.4 magnitude quake hits Batangas, Luzon provinces



Lipa City, Batangas – A 5.4 magnitude earthquake hit Batangas province and other areas in Metro Manila and nearby Luzon provinces on Tuesday night, the Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said.

No major damage was expected from the quake, authorities said, but Phivolcs warned of aftershocks.

An earthquake bulletin issued by the agency said that the quake, with an epicenter located seven kilometers northwest of Tingloy, Batangas, was felt at  8:58 p.m.

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake was also recorded in the same area at 9:11 p.m., followed by a magnitude 2.5 quake at 9:17 p.m and another magnitude 2.6 was also recorded at 9:26 p.m.

The quake, tectonic in origin, was felt at Intensity 4 in Makati City and Obando, Bulacan; Intensity 3 in Mandaluyong City, Quezon City, Santa Ana, Manila and Lucena City, Quezon; General Trias and Dasmariñas, Cavite.

An Intensity 2 quake was also felt in Talisay, Batangas and Pasig City.

In its website, Phivolcs describes Intensity 4 as moderately strong, which can be felt like the passing of a heavy truck and can rattle wood-framed buildings.

Intensity 3 is described as weak, felt by many people indoors especially in upper floors of buildings and may cause hanging objects to swing moderately. Vibration is felt like passing of a heavy truck.

Intensity 2 is slightly felt by few individuals at rest indoors and may cause hanging objects to swing slightly.

Local competitiveness: Will province, Lipa City improve this time?

Charito Armonia of the Philippine Statistics Authority-Calabarzon (standing) and Department of Trade and Industry- Calabarzon Director Malou Toledo (third from left) egged on Batangueño local government planning coordinators and investment officers to submit correct data for the 2017 Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index. Data for the 2017 CMCI will cover 2016. (photo from DTI-Batangas on its Facebook page.)



LIPA CITY (The Filipino Connection)–Calabarzon’s Regional Competitiveness Council egged on local government units in Batangas, and the entire province as well, to improve their programs and policies so as to become more economically competitive.

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[Special edition] Lipa’s stinky problem

A member of the Facebook group Lipa City Philippines posed a question to residents while Lipa City is struggling to manage its solid wastes.

LIPA CITY–There’s a pileup of not just trash but of problems on how a progressive urban enclave in Batangas is dealing with solid wastes.

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Budget for hauling Lipa’s trash ‘inadequate,’ says new hauler

The City Council's Committee on Environment hearing held early February heard the plans of 7MG Hauling Services Philippines, Corp. to collect Lipa City's garbage.  The firm led by its President Manuel Guarin, told councilors the city's 2017 budget allocation for garbage collection is inadequate, and it excludes a monthly dumping fee (worth P2 million a month) that the firm pays to the dumpsite. (photo from Luigi Antonio Aception through his Facebook page)

LIPA CITY—This city has a new garbage hauler, but the annual budget for hauling and dumping the trash elsewhere may not be enough.

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Trash hauling: Like in 2016, City Council to add funds

The current City Council of Lipa (taken from the official Facebook page of the city council)


LIPA CITY—An additional budget to cover the spending shortfall for hauling and dumping trash in Lipa City may be the temporary solution to elude uncollected garbage that remain the city’s eyesore.

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