Capitol receives CA TRO on 7.7-hectare prime lot

By: Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – The Office of the Governor as well as the Sangguniang Panlalawigan yesterday confirmed receiving an official copy of the Temporary Restraining Order issued by the Court of Appeals sought by SM Prime Holdings Inc. after the provincial government awarded the lease and purchase of the 7.7-hectare Capitol property to Ayala Land Inc. (ALI).

SP Secretary Babette Quevenco said that the SP received the CA TRO Friday last week at about 11am.

It was about the same time that the copy was also received by the Office of the Governor, according to Enrique Pinongan, provincial administrator.

But he said there is nothing to restraint anymore as the documents were already forwarded to the COA national office for review after the SP approved the award.

Atty. Mary Ann Lamis , legal officer in-charge of the case, also confirmed the copy received by the provincial government which she said was sent through LBC.

Aftershocks continue to rock Sipalay – Montilla

By: Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Sipalay Mayor Oscar Montilla said that aftershocks continued to be felt in Sipalay City after almost a month after the 6.2 earthquake hit the locality and two other municipalities in southern Negros.

Montilla said a magnitude 3 earthquake hit Sipalay City just three days ago, explaining that there are days that the frequency is higher “but is not really that strong like the 6.2 earthquake “,the strongest so far to hit the locality.

He said the local government conducted another reorientation about disaster preparedness with the local residents especially those in the poblacion area.

This is because some of the people have over reacted. He stressed that the people should know when evacuation is actually necessary.

Alvarez urges cops to probe other angles in councilor’s slay

By: Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Vice Governor Genaro Alvarez yesterday said urged the police investigating the killing of Ilog councilor Antonio Gequillana Jr. to look into other angles that could have led to his death.

Alvarez issued this reaction after the name of his family was dragged into the case as one of the angles mentioned was politics.

His son Paul is the mayor of Ilog town while Gequillana, reportedly the lone opposition in the municipal council, was the number three councilor.

He said Paul and the late councilor peacefully co-existed despite political differences.

He also said that former Ilog mayor Benigno Gequillana and the Alvarez clan supported each other in previous elections.

Two soldiers survive NPA assassination try

By: Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – An Army soldier averted an assassination attempt by New People’s Army hitmen after he fired back at the attackers despite being wounded late Friday late afternoon in Barangay Camindangan Sipalay City.

Four others were wounded including an Army lieutenant, a civilian and two of the NPA assassins, one of them a woman.

Col. Oscar Lactao, 303rd Brigade commander, said that 1Lt. Rigor Borja and Cpl. Juanito Fernando were conducting immersion mission in the said barangay when attacked by two alleged assassins, a man and a young woman while three others acted as look out.

Lactao said Borja was hit in the back while Fernando, despite a bullet wound in the leg, managed to fire back at the assassins, preventing the rebels from finishing them off.

CHR may sue NPA for recruiting minors, sexual opportunism

By: Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – The Commission on Human Rights is mulling charges against a leader of the New People’s Army in northern Negros for alleged violation of the International Humanitarian Law, particularly for recruiting minors in armed conflict and sexual opportunism.

CHR investigator Romeo Valdevarona confirmed that he is getting the affidavit of a minor for the filing of the said charges.

This, after an 18-year-old girl surrendered to elements of the 62nd IB, narrating her harrowing experience while being a member of the NPA in Negros led by a certain Ka Gildo.

The girl, whose name is being withheld for security reasons, is among the ten former rebels who surrendered to the 62nd IB since January this year.

Zubiri to run in 2013, affirms support for sugar industry

By: Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Resigned senator Juan Miguel Zubiri confirmed that he will seek a “fresh and convincing mandate” in 2013 while assuring the sugar industry here of his continued support even as a private individual.

Zubiri was here in Negros during the weekend, the first province he visited outside Metro Manila after he tendered his irrevocable resignation as member of the Senate amid allegations of electoral fraud.

He was guest speaker of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Negros chapter induction Friday night and met Saturday with local chief executives as well as leaders of the Confederation of Sugar Producers Associations of the Philippines-Negros Panay chapter and other sugar industry leaders at the L’ Fisher Hotel here.

Negrenses walk, dance for diabetes awareness

By: Easter Anne D. Doza

BACOLOD City – World Health Organization (WHO) data showed that diabetes mellitus, which is preventable and lifestyle-related, is one of the eight leading causes of mortality in the country.

During the National Diabetes Awareness Week celebration recently, Negrenses walked and danced to keep diabetes away.

The crowd of students and senior citizens, converged at the Bacolod Arts, Youth and Sports Center where a FunRobics was set to culminate the walk commencing from different points here.

FunRobics is a fun way to do aerobics participated in by 18 groups composed of Bacolod City barangays as well as towns and cities all over the province.

Old provincial jail, NFA lots up for lease – Guv


By: Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – The lots owned by the provincial government on which the old provincial jail and the National Food Authority building are located are also being offered for lease by the Capitol.

These lots are situated a few meters away from the 7.7-hectare Capitol-owned property earlier awarded to Ayala Land.

Negros Occidental governor Alfredo Marañon confirmed that the two areas which are adjacent to each other will be disposed by the provincial government for long-term lease agreement to interested parties.

Marañon said this is to ensure continuity of the development in the area.

The lot occupied by the old provincial jail is about less than two hectares while the lot occupied by the NFA building is about one hectare.

Capitol’s reorg to cost P1.6M


By: Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. yesterday said that the reorganization of employees at the Capitol will start in September and will be finished within this year.

“We will work on it overtime” as it is already delayed, Marañon stressed.

This, after the Sangguniang Panlalawigan approved during their regular session Wednesday the contract between the provincial government and CPRM Consultants, Inc.

CPRM Consultants was tapped for its technical services needed in the assessment of the current administrative structure and staffing of the provincial government.

Mayors, sugar industry leaders laud Zubiri, too

By: Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – The chief executives of the 32 localities in the province also lauded Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri’s act of resigning from his post, citing him as a “rare breed of politician, worthy of emulation.”

This, as sugar industry leaders reiterated their unwavering support to Zubiri, saying that he is a big loss to the sugar industry being the only senator who fully supported the industry.

EB Magalona Mayor David Lacson said the League of Municipalities in the Philippines (LMP) and Association of Chief Executives (Ace) in Negros Occidental said the act of Zubiri was commendable.

Lacson, a third cousin of Zubiri, said, “At least Senator Zubiri proved that he’s not after the power but the dignity of his family.”

3 NPA rebs arrested, 8 surrendered


By: Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Three suspected New People’ Army rebels were arrested while eight others surrendered after a joint Army and PNP counter-insurgency operations in southern Negros.

Col. Oscar Lactao, 303rd Brigade commander, said the arrested rebels were turned over to the PNP for filing of charges.

He added that pursuit operations of the Army and the PNP are still ongoing while three skirmishes between the NPA and government forces were recorded since Monday.

Recovered from the rebels were a shotgun, magazines, seven backpacks, jungle hammocks and three NPA flags.

Civilians claim torture but Army denies charges

BACOLOD City – An official of the Northern Negros Alliance of Human Rights Advocates here claimed that at least seven civilians were harassed and tortured by soldiers of the 62nd IB during encounters between the government troops had with New People’s Army rebels in Toboso and Escalante areas early this week.

Bernardino Patigas, NNAHRA secretary general, presented two of the seven alleged victims to the media yesterday. They were identified as Joel Danoso, 33, and Fausto Uyanib of Brgy. Winaswasan, Calatrava.

But Lt. Col. Edgardo Gubat, commanding officer of the 62nd IB, denied the charges saying that soldiers are told to respect human rights at all times.

He urged the alleged victims to identify the soldiers who tortured them as he will not tolerate misdeeds of his troops if proven.