Jason Faustino

2 dead, 14 hurt in smash-up

TWO people died while 14 others on board a van were injured from a smash-up of vehicles in Atimonan, Quezon, early morning Sunday. Reports said the van was nearly pinned between two trucks along Maharlika Highway in Barangay Sta. Catalina at around 3 a.m. The van was on its way to Bicol, while the two trucks were traversing the same road when one of them lost control and hit the van. The van was pushed towards the other truck in front. Rescuers had a hard time attending to the victims. According to the Atimonan police, the van came from Pasig and was on its way to Camarines Norte to attend a birthday party. The driver of the truck, identified as Elmes Gomez, is now under police custody.

‘Burial singer’ nabbed for extort

A man who makes a “killing” singing at wakes and burials is now singing the blues. Leandro Inot, 45, was nabbed by the Meycauayan, Bulacan police allegedly for trying to extort money and sex from a woman identified as “Dianne.” The complainant told policemen that Inot also threatened to kill her and her family if she would not give in to his demands. Inot has been sending harassing social media and cellphone messages to “Dianne” identifying himself as Jasper Ledesma. The suspect refused to tell “Dianne” how he got her number, but the police said personal information of many people can be had easily through social media posts. “Alam niya lahat ng kilos ko pati family ko gusto niya daw sumampol (He knew all my moves and even my family he said he wanted to make a sample of them),” said “Dianne.” An entrapment operation was set, and “Jasper” fell for the bait, said the police. He was nabbed while waiting outside a local hotel. Also seized from the suspect were two sachets of shabu. The mother said the suspect may have had access to the phone number of Dianne when she went to the store to buy some load credits. Inot admitted he has a crush on the victim and that he made a dummy account in the name of Jasper Ledesma to be able to talk to her.

‘Lepto’ outbreak spreading

TEN more villages were added by the Department of Health (DoH) among barangays in Metro Manila with leptospirosis outbreak, bringing the total to 28. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III yesterday said that Caloocan City was added to the list of affected cities, with two villages registering cases of leptospirosis. “Ang lugar na maraming tao at bahain, ‘yan ang pinakamalaking factor sa pagkalat, pagdami ng lepto cases (Populated areas prone to flooding. Those are the biggest factors in the spread of leptospirosis),” he said. Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection on humans caused by contact with flood water, mud, or food contaminated with the urine of rats, dogs, pigs, cattle or goats. “Nakakalungkot, may pumanaw na 58 na sa mga mahigit 454 kaso ng lepto mula (It’s saddening that 58 have died from the 454 cases of lepto registered from) January 1 to July 5,” Duque said. Among the symptoms of leptospirosis include high fever, headache, muscle pain, eye redness, tea-colored urine, cough, diarrhea and vomiting. If left untreated, leptospirosis may cause kidney failure, brain damage, massive internal bleeding and death, the DoH said. In the same interview Duque said the DoH is ensuring that hospitals are prepared and well-equipped to treat leptospirosis cases. He appealed to the public to observe personal hygiene and avoid wading in flood waters. The health chief said the public could rely on state health subsidies when seeking treatment for the disease, with PhilHealth providing an P11,000 leptospirosis package.

Fare hike hits jeep riders hard

“Because of the fare hike, we have less money for food.” Many commuters were caught unaware as the P9 minimum fare for public utility jeepneys in Metro Manila and nearby provinces took effect yesterday. The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) implemented the P1 provisional fare increase two days after approving it last Wednesday. Aside from the National Capital Region (NCR), the jeepney fare increase also covers Central Luzon, Calabarzon and Mimaropa. The delay in the issuance of the order to implement the fare hike from the time it was approved caused confusion among drivers and passengers. The LTFRB had also been petitioned to grant fare hikes for taxis, UV Express and transport network companies in the face of rising fuel prices. “Ang bilis naman na itinaas. Pagkabalita naaplay agad. P24 din yun sa isang linggo (The increase was so fast. They applied it immediately after I heard it on the news),” said Paul Francisco. Francisco, 20, takes two jeepney rides going to his work in Makati from Sta. Ana Manila, with his one way fare amounting to P18. “Ang hirap nga kitain ng piso tapos biglang piso taas. Anubayan! (It’s hard to earn an extra peso and then they just increase fare by a peso. What is that!). Jonas Cay, who lives in Tondo, Manila was hit harder as he takes four jeepney rides, aside from taking the light rail transit each day. “Mula sa Tondo, sakay ako ng jeep papunta sa Sta. Cruz. Sakay ng LRT sa Carriedo going to Buendia. Tapos jeep byaheng PRC (From Tondo, I take a jeep to Sta. Cruz where I take the LRT to Buendia. Then I take the PRC bound jeep), said Cay. “Dahil sa dagdag-pasahe bawas sa pwedeng bilhin tulad ng pagkain (Because of the fare hike, we have less money for food),” said Cay, who expects his first born this November. Some sectors have blamed the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) for the increases in the prices of goods and services. Transports groups have asked for as much as P2-increase in minimum fares and discounts of up to P5 per liter of fuel products like gasoline and diesel. They claimed that prices of spare parts for their vehicles have also gone up. They also pressed the scrapping of the value added tax on oil products.

A drop enough to contract leptospirosis

Even a small drop of contaminated water to an eye may be enough for a person to catch leptospirosis, Secretary Francisco Duque III of the Department of Health (DOH) warned yesterday. Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection usually transmitted through flood water contaminated with rodent wastes. It can be fatal if not treated. The DoH has declared a leptospirosis outbreak in 18 barangays in Metro Manila, with 368 cases – 52 fatal – from January 1 to June 3 this year. “If you have a wound on your foot and you waded through flood water, or you had a droplet reaching an eye then you might get leptospirosis,” said Duque, speaking in Filipino. Worse, if one drinks water contaminated with the bacteria then getting leptospirosis is almost a certainty, he added. Duque asked local government units to help fight leptospirosis by conducting clean-up drives, helping manage floods and ensuring the timely collection of garbage. Leptospirosis may also come from the urine of cats, pigs, goats and from contaminated mud.

SK councilor hit with rape charge

BULACAN — A recently elected village councilor or Kagawad at the Sangguniang Kabataan in Malolos, Bulacan, and a minor, were arrested after they, along with two other companions, were accused of gang raping a 16-year old teenager. Police investigators said the SK official identified only as “Joey” and the victim knew each other through social media. The two met last July 3 at the house of Joey’s friend. He said he originally wanted to win the girl by courting but later decided to invite her to a night out that included drinking alcohol with some friends. However, he claimed that due to the effects of the liquor they did something they were not supposed to do to the victim and insisted this was not rape as alleged. Joey said he was merely able to touch the victim’s body. He then asked for forgiveness the next day and even brought the victim home. “I had a guilty conscience. I asked to be forgiven for what happened,” he said. A manhunt is still underway for the two other suspects. Police Superintendent Heryl Bruno, chief of the Malolos City police, said the teenager’s parents are on top of the incident and have cooperated with the police. The suspect faces charges of violating Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act. Another suspect, a minor, will be turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Trike ban on major roads remains

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) stood pat on its earlier decision to completely ban tricycles from plying major thoroughfares. MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said there is no valid and acceptable reason to change the policy just to make it appear the MMDA, under the chairmanship of Danilo Lim, is a tricycle-friendly government agency. He stressed the issue behind is the safety of the commuters who use tricycle as a mode of transportation. Garcia said the trike ban is still in effect along Edsa from Pasay City to Monumento Caloocan City; Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City; Marcos Highway from Pasig City up to Cainta; Roxas Boulevard from Manila to Pasay City, and several others because all these are only good for bigger vehicles. The issue to revise the old policy came after the discovery of the agreement among the MMDA, Department of Transportation and the Quezon City local government to allow tricycles to traverse Katipunan Road. Garcia said the agreement was made while the Quezon City is looking for an alternate route that is safe for the tricycle. He said the lifting of the ban on Katipunan Road was done based on the appeal by the tricycle operators and drivers because the policy denied them their only source of income.

Actress buying back stolen diamond necklace

Actress Patricia Javier fell victim to the “basag-kotse gang” Sunday as her diamond necklace, cellphone and money was carted away while she was in the middle of a dinner meeting. “Basag kotse” refers to the breaking of windows of vehicles to steal valuables or car accessories. Javier said her sports utility vehicle was parked outside a restaurant along Barangay Masinag when it was burglarized, her attention caught by its blaring alarm. Missing was her Louis Vuitton bag, wallet, ATM and credit card and a diamond necklace with the initials “PJ.” She said she’d pay anyone to get the necklace back for its sentimental value as one of the very firs items she bought with her showbiz earnings.

Boy’s bike ride with GF proved their ‘last’

Two minors paid the ultimate price of riding a motorcycle without helmets when they died after crashing into a dump truck Sunday evening in the town of Santa in Ilocos Sur. Succumbing from the injuries they sustained were Leslie Dante Bello, 14, a grade 10 student; and Rica Margareth Tabangin, a 13-year-old grade 8 student. According to Bello’s father and namesake, his son asked permission to visit his girlfriend and promised he’ll use the motorcycle for the last time. Being a minor, the young Bello could not have been licensed to operate the motorcycle. “Mag-iingat ka, sabi ko, kasi alam mo kapag nadisrasya ka wala nang second chance (Be careful because when you meet an accident there’s no second chance),” recounted the father. “Opo papa. Hindi bale, panghuling beses ko na itong mag-motor, sabi niya (Yes father. Don’t worry, this is the last time I am taking the motorbike),” added Bello, Sr. According to the truck driver, Herald de Peralta, he was driving slowly when the motorcycle bumped the side of his vehicle. It was learned the minors were on their way back to the house of the girl when they figured in the accident.
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