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Cargo vessel sinks off Misamis Oriental; 7 rescued

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Seven men were rescued after the vessel they were riding, which was also loaded with thousands of cases of beer, sank amid foul weather in waters off Sugbongcogon, Misamis Oriental.

Rescued were Ferdinand Bangcoyo, skipper of the M/L JJBA Sea Breeze; and his crew Nandy Lanzaderas, 55; Fortunato Furcadili, 26; Berden Ilandag, 38; Robert Mondragon, 22; Leo Dorero, 21; and Procopi Spijon, 33, said Col. Robert Roy Bahian, Misamis Oriental provincial police director.

Sea Breeze, owned by a businessman from Surigao City, figured in the mishap about 2 kilometers from the shore of Brgy. Alicomohan, Sugbongcogon, around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The vessel was transporting 13,500 cases of beer from the San Miguel warehouse in Opol, when it was hit by strong currents and big waves, Bahian said.

“This caused the vessel to tip and capsize. The crew managed to abandon the vessel before it sank,” he said.

Members of the Sugbongogon Police, along with personnel from the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office and Coast Guard, carried out operations that resulted in the rescue of the vessel’s crew.

All crewmembers are receiving psychological and stress debriefing according to police.

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3 Baguio golf courses announce temporary closure

Aldwin Quitasol

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(Photo courtesy of Club John Hay Golf Club Facebook page)

BAGUIO CITY — Golfers will need to wait a little longer before teeing off in Baguio City.

Three golf courses have announced temporary closure after some of their personnel and a guest tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The Pinewoods Golf and Country Club closed its courses after one of its guests who played over the weekend tested positive.

Baguio Country Club (BCC), meanwhile, advised its members of the course’s indefinite closure.

The BCC management announced that one of the club’s caddies made close contact to a person who recently tested positive for COVID-19 in their barangay.

“We assure everyone that contact tracing and proper health and safety protocols including disinfection and sanitation are already being implemented, as it is always our priority to protect our valued members, guests and employees,” the BCC announcement stated.

Camp John Hay shared that two of its caddies tested positive for COVID-19.

“Camp John Hay Golf Club will be closed until further notice to conduct contact tracing, continued disinfecting, and other appropriate activities,” Camp John Hay announced to its members through Viber.

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Teener biked 10 days to get home from Metro Manila to Eastern Samar

Elmer Recuerdo

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Without money to pay for a fare, a teenager went on a 10-day bike ride from Metro Manila to Eastern Samar to come home to his family.

Peter Roncales, a 19-year-old resident of Oras, Eastern Samar, arrived at the boundary of Taft town at around 7 in the evening on Monday 21 September.

According to a social media post of Christian Evardone, Roncales told the staff manning the checkpoint that it took him 10 days to travel by bicycle from Paranaque to the boundary of Eastern Samar.

He said he decided to come home by bicycle because he has no money to pay the fare and he lost his job in Metro Manila.

Roncales was picked at the checkpoint of Taft by personnel of the local government unit of Oras and was immediately brought to the town’s isolation facility for a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

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NPA leader wounded, captured in Misamis Oriental clash

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(Military handout photo)

A local leader of the New People’s Army was captured after being wounded in a clash with government forces in the hinterlands of Claveria, Misamis Oriental, the military reported.

Former rebels identified the captured as Arnel Ramos alias “Green”, a squad leader of the Sentro de Grabidad under the Sub-Regional Committee 1 of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee, according to a report from the Army’s 58th Infantry Battalion.

The 32-year-old Ramos, a resident of Gingoog City, suffered bullet wounds to the right thigh and right arm, and has been taken to the Camp Evangelista Station Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City.

Members of the 58th IB first encountered Ramos’ group in Sitio Kalahaan, Brgy. Minalwang, around 8:20 a.m., and again around 12:00 noon during pursuit, according to the report.

Troops captured Ramos and seized an M16 rifle, AK-47 rifle, and a bandolier during the first skirmish.

The second firefight resulted in the recovery of six backpacks with personal belongings and medical paraphernalia.

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3 soldiers hurt in Sulu clash

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Three soldiers were injured when government forces clashed with Abu Sayyaf members in Patikul, Sulu on Sunday afternoon.

Members of the Army’s 45th Infantry Battalion were conducting combat operations when they encountered about 20 Islamic militants in Sitio Bud Kaha, Brgy. Bungkaung, according to a report from the Armed Forces’ Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom).

A 45-minute firefight ensued before the militants withdrew towards the northeast, the report said.

The militants are believed to have brought along their casualties as they pulled back, said WesMinCom spokesman Lt. Col. Alaric Delos Santos.

“Based sa report ay maraming mga blood stains [na naiwan] at wounded po sa mga Abu Sayyaf. Pero wala pong body count na naiwan sa encounter site. Tactic ng Abu Sayyaf na kukunin talaga nila ang mga casualties nila at all costs,” Delos Santos said.

Government troops are trying to determine the number of casualties among the militants amid ongoing pursuit operations, Delos Santos added.

Wesmincom chief Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. said focused military operations are being sustained to destroy Abu Sayyaf strongholds and prevent “terror plots” which the group is trying to carry out.

Earlier this month, AFP chief Gen. Gilbert Gapay said the military is eyeing to put an end to the Abu Sayyaf this year, with operations focused in Sulu and Basilan.

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2 Commies surrender; 50 Anakpawis members withdraw rebel support

Jonas Reyes

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SAN JOSE CITY, Nueva Ecija — Two members of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) voluntarily surrendered to the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday along with the withdrawal of support by 50 Anakpawis members to the rebel group.

According to Police Regional Office 3 (PRO3) chief PBGen Rhodel Sermonia, the surrender of the two CTGs is due to the efforts of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC).

He added that the continuous Local Peace Engagement activities of the Philippine National Police and other RTF-ELCAC members such as information dissemination made the CTG members aware of the government’s programs and the opportunity to change their lives and correct the mistakes they have committed.

The two CTGs were part of the CPP-NPA that operated in San Jose City.

Sermonia said that they are eligible to avail of the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) and will be provided with a holistic package of benefits such as livelihood, medical, education, housing, and legal assistance.

Meanwhile, 50 Anakpawis members led by their Chairman Danilo Bacnis withdrew their support to the CPP-NPA-NDF with the voluntary surrender of Bacnis’ firearm.

“I am once again urging those who are still actively fighting the government to lay down their arms and embrace other peaceful means to attain their sought-after changes. Our government has several programs to retool you so that you could all  become even more productive members of our society,”  Sermonia said.

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Borongan City reopens tourist sites

Elmer Recuerdo

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BORONGAN CITY – With its last coronavirus infection recorded over a month now, Borongan City is now re-opening its tourist destinations to bring back the jobs of people who lost them in the pandemic.

City tourism office Marissa Josephine Acorin said the city is now in the first phase of reopening tourism but would limit the guests and visitors to tourism sites only to local residents.

Among the tourist sites that have reopened are Kaputian Falls in Brgy. San Gabriel, Ganap Cave in Brgy. Cagbonga, Hilangangan Beach in Brgy. Punta Maria and Kayak Camada in Brgy. Camada.

Acorin said a series of consultations with hotel and resort owners were conducted as well as with barangay officials where the tourist sites are located. These were also inspected to check for their readiness to comply with health protocols and guidelines.

She said these tourist sites and establishments are only allowed to accommodate up to 50 percent of their carrying capacity to adhere to social distancing requirements.

“We will be closely monitoring these establishments and sites to ensure that social distancing is strictly observed. We have set guidelines in accordance with our office and the Department of Tourism,” she said.

Borongan City Mayor Jose Ivan Dayan C. Agda signed last week an executive order allowing the resumption of operations in tourism sites.

Dayan led the opening of Kayak Camada, a kayaking site along the city’s Suribao River which was already gaining attention before it closed its operation during the pandemic.

Borongan City has zero active cases of COVID-19 after its last two patients, who were healthcare workers assigned in a neighboring municipality, were declared virus-free on 1 September.

 

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Tourists not yet welcome in PMA when Baguio opens on 22 Sept.

Aldwin Quitasol

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BAGUIO CITY– Too bad the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) is not ready yet to receive visitors even if Baguio City will resume opening its gate to the public beginning Tuesday, 22 September.
This after Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong approved the request of PMA Commandant of Cadets Brigadier General Romeo Brawner Jr. to declare the PMA closed to tourists.
“We all know that PMA is also a tourist destination, mayroon sana kaming request Sir if we could exempt  PMA from one of the tourist destinations that will be opened this September 22,” Brawner told the mayor.
Magalong earlier signed a memorandum of understanding with the officials and representatives of the different provinces and cities of Region I with the Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat for the opening of Baguio to tourists coming from the Ilocos region. Region I is composed of Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur, and Ilocos Norte.
Brawner said the military institution remains Covid-19 free.  As early as February this year, the PMA administration had imposed a lockdown as a proactive measure against the virus.

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Red tide spreads to E. Visayas’ tahong capital

Elmer Recuerdo

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JIABONG, Samar – This vibrant town is now eerily silent, the long line of stalls selling tahong and oysters along the national highway are gone in the last three days after the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources local office announced that Maqueda Bay is now contaminated with red tide.

“This is especially difficult for us because this came at the time when there is COVID pandemic,” said Rey Nablo, a 43-year old fisherman.

“There is no construction where we can work and there is not much business activity in Catbalogan either. We will badly need help from the government.”

BFAR Provincial Fisheries Office based in Catbalogan City has issued an advisory on Thursday warning that seawater samples collected on Maqueda Bay is positive of Pyrodinium bahamense, a toxic microorganism that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning.

“We are issuing this warning as a precautionary advice to the public to refrain from gathering, selling, and eating all types of shellfishes and Acetes sp. locally known as “alamang or hipon” from Maqueda Bay in Samar to avoid possible shellfish poisoning,” said Vicenta Projimo, the provincial fishery officer.

“The BFAR and LGU are closely monitoring the bays of Samar to safeguard public health and to protect the shellfish industry,” Projimo added.

Maqueda Bay covers the town of Jiabong, Motiong, Paranas,San Sebastian,Calbiga, Pinabacdao, and Hinabangan in Samar.

Jiabong, a fifth class municipality, is the tahong capital of Eastern Visayas region.

When there is no red tide, at least 200 sacks of green mussels are harvested daily and are bought by traders at P1,500 a sack that they transport to Metro Manila, Cebu City, Davao City and the Bicol Region.

The stretch of the Maharlika Highway at the poblacion is usually alive with a long line of vendors daily selling freshly harvested tahong to motorists at P20 per sando bag.

Tahong has become a thriving local industry for Jiabong that the local government unit has helped develop and upscale this product into tahong chips and nuggets and thus created more jobs for the locals. The town has also introduced Tahong Festival as the main attraction of its annual fiesta.

Tahong forms the backbone of the local economy, not only from the daily income that it brings to the local economy but from the jobs it generated including gathering, hauling, selling, and even in local transport.

For fisherman Nablo, red tide occurrence is a risk of the trade that they are already used to as this happens almost every year. But what scares them is the uncertainty as it happens this year at the time of the pandemic.

“We don’t know until when this red tide will last this year. Sometimes it lasts for three months or even more. What we usually do when there is red tide is work in construction projects either in Tacloban or in Catbalogan,” he said. Other tahong gatherers would work as kargador at the market or sideline as pedicab drivers, he added.

“We just hope and pray that this soon will pass,” he said.

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Lanao Sur town councilor, 3 others nabbed over P6.8M shabu

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A councilor of Tagoloan II, Lanao del Sur, and three other persons, including a former councilor of the same town, were arrested over P6.8 million worth of suspected shabu in Marawi City, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Bangsamoro reported.

Incumbent Councilor Simpanoray Capal Sarip alias “Mommy,” 55, was arrested in the sting carried out 12:50 p.m. Thursday.

Also arrested were former Councilor Esnaira Sultan Capal alias “Naira”/”Nihara,” 45; driver Malic Pangcoga Hadji Salic alias “Peping,” 44, of Marawi; and Rodrigo Sequino alias “Jojo,” 39, of Cagayan De Oro City.

Agents of PDEA-Bangsamoro, backed by soldiers and policemen, conducted the operation along the highway in Purok 4, Brgy. Matampay.

Several weeks of monitoring and surveillance were carried out before the suspects were entrapped, the PDEA-Bangsamoro said.

Confiscated during the operation were a pack with about 1 kilogram of suspected shabu, the buy-bust money, three cellphones, various identification cards, a Toyota Hilux pickup, and Toyota Fortuner sports utility vehicle.

Charges for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Law are being prepared against the suspects, who are now under the custody of PDEA-Bangsamoro.

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