Kweba klasrum: Bulacan students go to a cave to get better signal for online classes

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 16, 2020   •   819

Located in the mountain ranges near Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan, the Suklib Cave is one of the tourist spots in the area. But for several students like Jasdrel Mae Austria, it may very well be their classroom for the school year.

Jasdrel is a Grade 11 student. Signal in the barangay where they live is very poor, so the students in her family have no choice but to find a better signal elsewhere — which happens to be Suklib Cave.

Suklib Cave is five kilometers away from their home and it would take an hour-long walk to get there.

“Kami pong tatlong magkakapatid at pinsan, napag-isipan po namin na para po makapag-aral po kami sa online class, pupunta po kami sa Suklib Cave. Doon lang po may malakas na signal (The three of us siblings and cousins, we thought of going to Suklib Cave to get a good signal for our online classes), ” she said.

Her sisters, Jastine Rain and Jas Ellaine, said they don’t mind the burden of traveling to the cave as long as they can still learn even amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Maglalakad po kami mahihirapan po kami, tsaka medyo delikado sakali pong uulan, (We have to walk to get there. It will be difficult and dangerous especially when it rains),” Jastine said.

With the enrollment still ongoing and the opening of classes is still a month away, these students have already prepared themselves for their cave journey. Jas said they already know what to do and what to bring once online classes start.

“Sakripisyo po talaga lalo na kapag mainit, tapos magbabaon pa po kami ng pagkain (It would really be a sacrifice especially during hot days. We would have to bring food),” she said.

For their parents Edna and Ayan Austria, having a cave for a classroom is not that bad compared to the COVID-19 risks their children might face if they were in a normal classroom.

Edna said the education of their children is very important to them, as parents. However, they are still thinking of ways on how to buy the gadgets their children would need for online classes.

“Aakyat po sana sila sa cave kung may magagamit silang gadget. Kaysa po mag-schoool sila,para wala silang makahalubilong ibang tao, doon nalang po sila sa cave (They were supposed to trek to the cave if they had a gadget they could use. They would rather go to the cave than go to the school where they have to mingle with other people),” she said.

Edna and Ayan are calling on the local government to provide their family assistance in obtaining the needed gadgets for their children once classes begin in August. AAC (with reports from Nestor Torres)

IATF places Bulacan, Apayao, Capiz under GCQ beginning October 18

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 18, 2021

MANILA, Philippines— Quarantine restrictions in the provinces of Bulacan, Apayao, and Capiz have been downgraded, Malacañang announced Sunday.

“The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) approved the recommendation to place the said provinces under general community quarantine (GCQ) from October 18 to October 31, ” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.

Bulacan and Apayao were initially placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) while Capiz was previously under GCQ with heightened restrictions.

Under GCQ, any person below 18 years old, above 65 years old, including those with immunodeficiency, comorbidity, or other health risks, and pregnant women, shall be required to remain in their residences at all times, except for obtaining essential goods and services, or for work in industries and offices.

Entertainment and recreational venues, casinos, and outdoor sports are sill not permitted to operate during GCQ. Face-to-face or in-person classes for basic education shall be suspended. AAC

Residents in parts of Bulacan warned amid Ipo Dam spilling ops

Marje Pelayo   •   September 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) Hydrometeorology Division advises residents in some parts of Bulacan to take caution amid the continuous spilling operations at Ipo Dam.

As of 8:00 a.m. Tuesday (September 14), the water level of Ipo Dam is 100.72 meters.

The dam management continues to conduct spilling operations with one gate open and thus, PAGASA advised residents in low-lying areas and those living near the riverbanks of Angat River from Norzagaray, Angat, San Rafael, Bustos, Baliuag, Pulilan, Plaridel, Calumpit, and Hagonoy to be alert for possible increase in water level.

PAGASA assured that it will continue to monitor the hydrological condition of Ipo Dam along with the Dam management for updates.

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7 cops charged over killing of 6 civilians in Bulacan already dismissed from service — PNP

Robie de Guzman   •   September 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The seven police officers who were recommended to face charges of six counts of murder and arbitrary detention over the killing of six individuals in Bulacan were already dismissed from service, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Wednesday.

In a statement, PNP chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar said their dismissal order was issued in June this year after they were found to have fabricated drug operations that led to the killing of six persons in Bulacan in February.

“Ako mismo ang pumirma ng desisyon na tanggalin sa serbisyo ang mga pulis na ito matapos mapatunayan sa aming imbestigasyon na sila ay nagtanim ng droga at baril para palabasin na ang nangyari sa Bulacan ay isang lehitimong operasyon,” he said.

“Hindi katanggap-tanggap ito at hindi ko kukunsintihin ang mga ganitong uri ng pang-aabuso at kalokohan dahil ang mga katulad nila ang sumisira sa aming kampanya laban sa droga at sa pangalan ng inyong Philippine National Police,” he added.

In a resolution, a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigating panel recommended the filing of six counts of murder and six counts of arbitrary detention against the following:

  • Police Staff Sergeant Benjie Enconado
  • Police Staff SergeantIrwin Joy Yuson
  • Police Corporal Marlon Martus
  • Police Corporal Edmund Catubay Jr.
  • Police Corporal Harvy Albino
  • Police Corporal Herbert Hernandez
  • Patrolman Rusco Madla

The DOJ, however, dropped the cases of murder and arbitrary detention against other police personnel identified as Police Major Leo dela Rosa, Police Staff Sergeant Jayson Legaspi, Police Corporals Jay Marc Leoncio, Constante Escalante Jr., Raymond Bayan, Paul Malgapo, and Randy Camitoc, as well as Patrolman Erwin Sabido, for lack of probable cause.

But all of them were charged with grave offense for the incident in San Jose del Monte City for violations of Section 29, RA 9165 (Planting of illegal drugs) and Section 38, RA 10591 (Planting of firearms).

They were found guilty and were recommended for dismissal from the service, the PNP said.

Investigation of the PNP Internal Affairs Service (IAS) revealed that the six victims just happened to pass by the area where the policemen were conducting anti-illegal drugs operations on February 13 when they were all arrested.

They were then brought to the police station where they were hogtied and detained but they were not booked for any offense.

The victims were then taken on February 18 to a secluded area in Barangay Gaya-Gaya in San Jose del Monte City where they were shot.

The policemen, however, made it appear that they were drug personalities who died in a legitimate encounter by planting illegal drugs and firearms.

The PNP said the IAS recommendation was reviewed by the Discipline, Law and Order Division of the Directorate for Personnel Records and Management which drafted the decision for approval of the Police Chief.

Eleazar signed the decision to dismiss all 15 policemen in June.

Then Chief of Police of San Jose del Monte City, Police Lt. Col. Gil Domingo, was punished with six months suspension for command responsibility.

“Gaya ng lagi nating sinasabi, umiiral ang sistema ng hustisya sa ating bansa at ang rekomendasyon ng Department of Justice na sampahan ng kasong murder ang pitong pulis sa pagkamatay ng anim na katao sa Bulacan, kabilang ang aming desisyon na tanggalin silang lahat sa serbisyo, ay isa na namang patunay dito,” Eleazar said.

“Hindi kailanman kinunsinti ng inyong PNP ang mga kaso ng pang-aabuso sa kapangyarihan sa aming hanay at kasama namin ang DOJ sa paghahanap ng katotohanan at pagbibigay ng hustisya sa ating mga kababayan,” he added.

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