Cops feel honored, blessed in securing Pope Francis

The 53 police officers from the Naga City Police Office (NCPO) feel honored and blessed to be selected for the contingent of security forces for the Papal visit from Jan. 15-19.

Echoing the feelings of the NCPO contingent to secure the visit of Pope Francis in Tacloban City, PO1 Salvador Barias said before leaving for Legazpi and then for Tacloban City on Sunday that like his fellow cops selected to secure the Pope, the honor and feeling of being blessed come from the thought that this event is once in a lifetime.

Barias said they will stay in Tacloban City for 10 days.

SPO3 Tobias Bongon, spokesperson of the NCPO, said the NCPO contingent is part of the 1,500-man police force from the Bicol region deployed as security for the Papal visit.

“They are all excited to be in Tacloban not only because it will be their first time in there but also it is a privilege and honor to see the Pope,” Bongon said.

The NCPO group joined the other Bicol police officers who left Camp Gen. Simeon A. Ola on Sunday morning for Tacloban City.

Bongon said the expenses of the NCPO contingent will be shouldered by the police regional office. (PNA)

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Combined government forces arrest top NPA leader in Negros

Combined elements of the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Army arrested a certain Rogelio Posadas around 10:00 p.m. yesterday January 9, 2015 during the conduct of joint checkpoint along national highway at vicinity Hacienda Socorro, Brgy Punao, San Carlos City, Negros Occidental.

Posadas was arrested by virtue of Warrant of Arrest for murder case issued by Honorable Judge Renato Nuñez of the RTC Branch 60, Cadiz City, for leading a band of NPA armed group during an encounter with the elements of 62nd Infantry Battalion in Brgy Caduhaan, Cadiz City last March 9, 2010, resulting to the death of an Army Officer (ILT POLENZO).

Arresting PNP personnel of Special Operations Group, Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office and the San Carlos City Police with the help of the members of the Philippine Army identified Posadas as alias POTEN/ISKO, Secretary of the North Negros Front, Kometing Rehiyonal- Negros (NNF, KR-N) and NDF Spokesman-Negros.

Posadas was brought to Cadiz Police Station by the arresting personnel for proper disposition.

Major General Rey Leonardo B Guerrero, Commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, Philippine Army said,” that the Army’s involvement in the arrest is part of its mandate to support law enforcement by the Philippine National Police in order to maintain peace and security in the locality which is consistent with the guidelines provided in the SOMO”.

Posadas is now detained at the Cadiz PNP station. (AFP)

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42.2 tons of smuggled sugar mysteriously disappeared in Zambo

Second district Rep. Lilia Nuño on Saturday said that full blown investigation should be conducted over the “disappearance” of some 42.2 tons of confiscated smuggled sugar while under the Bureau of Customs (BoC) custody in this city.

Nuño’s statement came a day after Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar discovered that only 326 of the 1,170 sacks of 50 kilos each or 58.5 tons of confiscated smuggled sugar were in the custody of the Customs-Zamboanga District Office.

The 58.5 tons of smuggled sugar with an estimated worth of Php 2.5 million were confiscated on Tuesday by combined police, military and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) personnel near a beach in Barangay Bolong, 32.60 kilometers east of this city.

Nuño said that all those involved in the disappearance of the 42.2 tons of sugar must be held liable.

“What is happening to our city? After the rice smuggling, now it’s sugar. I’m calling for a full-blown investigation on this,” Nuño added.

Nuño said she would request the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food Security to include sugar smuggling in its investigation.

She disclosed the committee, chaired by Senator Cynthia Villar, is set to come to this city this month to investigate the rice smuggling.(PNA)

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400 Cebu cops sent to Tacloban City to help secure Pope Francis visit

Some 400 police officers from the Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) 7 Saturday left Cebu for Tacloban City to help secure the visit of Pope Francis on Jan. 17.

They left on board a C-130 transport plane of the Philippine Air Force.

Supt. Clifford Gairanod, battalion commander of RPSB 7, said they will form part of the Security Task Force Papal Visit 2015.

Gairanod said they will provide route security when the Pope travels from Tacloban City to Palo, Leyte and back.

“We have been training for several months. We are very prepared for any eventualities,” he said.

Gairanod said they underwent civil disturbance management (CDM) and search and rescue (SAR) trainings, aside from route and VIP (very important persons) security.

Gairanod said the RPSB 7 personnel will be divided into five companies.

They will be deployed in the route where the pope will pass through such as in Palo and Tacloban City, both in Leyte.

Gairanod said they also brought with them provisions enough for two weeks. (PNA)

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60 Ilocano youth delegates excited to meet Pope

At least 60 Ilocano youth delegates in this northern Philippines, about 485 kilometers north of Manila, have shared their excitement to see Pope Francis on January 18, when he will meet young people at the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas in Manila.

The Pope is expected to deliver his message of “mercy and compassion” to at least 11 different venues in the province of Leyte and Metro Manila during his Apostolic Visit to the Philippines on January 15 to 19.

For Rommel Sagucio, 37, a youth minister at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Laoag, it is a “dream come true” for him to see a Pope in his lifetime.

“I feel blessed that I was given this rare opportunity to meet Pope Francis. As a young boy, I dreamed of going to Vatican to see the Pope. Now, he’s coming for us. I just can’t believe we will be seeing Pope Francis in a few days,” Sagucio exclaimed.

According to him, it was only in December when they were informed by the Diocese that the Pope had a scheduled encounter with the youth. At least 60 youth representatives from the different parishes in the Diocese of Laoag were selected on a "first come and first served" basis.

Angelica Ruiz, a student of the Holy Spirit Academy of Laoag City, said she is so excited to see Pope Francis in person.

“I have read and heard a lot of good things about him. This is it. I’ll be seeing him for real,” she said.

To ensure that they will have enough money to go to Manila during the Papal visit, Sagucio said that some of the chosen youth delegates here went Christmas caroling during the holidays while others sold noodle soup to those attending Misa de Gallo.

Pope Francis is expected to arrive in Manila at around 5 p.m. on January 15.

The following morning, January 16, the Pope will be officially welcomed by President Benigno Aquino III at Malacañang Palace followed with a meeting with the members of the diplomatic corps.

After the Palace reception, he will go on a motorcade to the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, also known as the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros for a Mass with bishops, priests, and the religious.

After the Mass, Pope Francis will also have an encounter with families at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

On January 17, the pontiff will visit some areas devastated by Typhoon Yolanda in Leyte particularly Tacloban City and its adjacent town of Palo.

Pope Francis will offer Mass upon his arrival at the Tacloban Airport and will later dine with the poor and survivors of recent natural calamities at the residence of the Archbishop of Palo.

Among those who will be sharing lunch with the Pope are victims of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that leveled several century-old churches in Bohol.

He will also bless the Pope Francis Center for the Poor and visit the Cathedral of Our Lord’s Transfiguration, both in Palo, to meet with priests and the religious before going back to Manila on the same day where he will be having a short briefing with the religious and encounter with the youth.(PNA)


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National assessment team visits 'Seniang'-hit areas in southern Negros

A Rapid Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis (RDANA) team from various national agencies arrived in Negros Occidental this week to evaluate six local government units (LGUs) hit by Tropical Storm Seniang last week of December.

The team, headed by Ma. Aletha Nogra of the Office of Civil Defense-6, visited Himamaylan City and the towns of Binalbagan, Isabela, Pulupandan, San Enrique and Valladolid, all in southern Negros.

Other members are from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Health, and the Philippine Information Agency.

The team discussed with their counterparts from the respective LGUs the assessment of damage and losses and determined the needs that should be addressed.

Regional Director Rosario Cabrera of OCD-6 said the RDANA is conducted to determine further the impact and needs of various clusters in the heavily-affected areas of the different provinces by Tropical Storm Seniang.

For her part, Nogra said that generally, there are improvements in terms of disaster preparedness implemented by LGUs with lessons learned from previous typhoons and the application of Republic Act 10121 or the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010.

“The LGUs are prepared but once disaster strikes, resources will always run out. We need to improve in terms of resource preparedness,” Nogra said.

The team noted that most of the affected LGUs need over-the-counter drugs like paracetamol and others to replenish their supplies, family packs, and hygiene kits.

Days before the new year, “Seniang” battered Negros Occidental, leaving one injured, and causing 44,554 people from 13,122 families to evacuate.

In early December, “Ruby” displaced a total of 111,133 individuals in 211 barangays in Negros Occidental, or 21,275 families who sought temporary refuge in 364 evacuation centers in 21 towns and cities.

In November, “Queenie” caused a total damage to 157 houses and partial damage to 596 others in 20 barangays in southern Negros, and forced 3,258 individuals, or 810 families to flee their homes. (PNA)

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NGCP alerts public on summer power shortage

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) in North Luzon has advised the public to help conserve energy for the summer season to avoid the possibility of a rotational brown-out.

Lilibeth Gaydowen, regional corporate communications and public affairs officer, said that the NGCP is expecting insufficiency of reserved power supply during summer.

“Based on our historical data, there is a possibility of insufficiency of our reserved power supply for the summer because it is the season where the use of energy becomes really high,” Gaydowen said.

Energy consumption in North Luzon Grid becomes insufficient if the demand for energy is higher than the allotted supply for consumption. In which case, the NGCP is setting aside reserved energy to supply the grid when needed.

Because of the unpredictable consumption of energy during summer season, the supply of energy becomes insufficient, sometimes even the reserved supply fall of short.

“If ever power supply is insufficient or anything that will happen to our power plants, the effect of this is rotational brown-out,” Gaydowen said.

Last year, the North Luzon Grid has consumed 8,700 megawatt, higher than what is expected during the year, the reserved power supply fell short, hence, NGCP conducted a rotational brown-out.

“The months of March, April and May are the peak season, the consumption of energy becomes higher each day that our supply becomes insufficient, however, it may be prevented through proper usage of energy among users,” Gaydowen said.

During peak hours of using electricity, the consumers may lessen the consumption through rotational use of the energy.

“The people must know that the more we use the energy at the same time, the more we fall short. We shall take turns using it.” Gaydowen said.

The considered peak hours are 6:00 to 8:00 in the morning, 11:00 to 2:00 in the afternoon and 6:00 to 10:00 during the night.

Gaydowen advised the public to do the chores that requires energy consumption outside peak hours to help minimize the energy fluctuation.

Furthermore, she calls for the consumers’ participation in energy conservation to properly maintain energy distribution especially for the coming of the summer season. (PNA)

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AFP Centcom to deploy 7,300 personnel, cadets for Sinulog 2015 crowd control

The Armed Forces of the Philippines-Central Command (AFP-CentCom) based in Camp Lapu-Lapu in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City was tasked to control the crowd during the Sinulog festivities, an official said.

These are fluvial and foot procession on January 17 as well as the Sinulog Grand Parade carousel route during the feast day on Jan. 18.

Lieutenant Commander Jim Alagao, CentCom spokesman, said that since last November, the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) has been coordinating with them for the Sinulog festivities.

He said the 7,300 personnel which will be deployed for the Sinulog which will be composed of two task units forming Joint Task Group Sinulog.

Alagao said Task Unit Sto. Niño will control the crowd during the fluvial procession from the Ouano wharf in Mandaue City to Pier 1 in Cebu City and the foot procession of the Holy Image of the senor Sto. Nino in the afternoon of Jan. 17, Saturday.

On the other hand, he said Task Unit Grand Parade will be tasked with crowd control of the Sinulog Grand Parade on the six-kilometer carousel route on Jan. 18, Sunday.

Alagao said these personnel will be composed of soldiers and Reserve Officers Training Corp cadets.

The food for the crowd control personnel will be provided by SFI, Alagao said.

Crowd control has been a perennial problem of the Sinulog festivities because of the millions of people who joined the procession and watched the Sinulog Grand Parade.

But Sinulog organizers expect a thinner crowd this year because of the visit to the country of Pope Francis, particularly in Manila and in Tacloban City and Palo, Leyte. 

The Pope’s visit on Jan. 15 to 19 coincides with the Sinulog festivities in Cebu City. (PNA)

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