‘Ompong’ deaths in the Cordilleras climb to 110; missing 25

Marje Pelayo   •   September 26, 2018   •   3240

Retrieval operations at the landslide site in Itogon, Benguet

 

BENGUET, Philippines – Authorities are pushing very hard to complete as soon as possible the retrieval of the remaining bodies under the rubble of the landslide that struck Barangay Ucab in the town of Itogon, Benguet.

The Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) has announced that it is already impossible to see signs of life under the rubble at this point after 11 days of search.

Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Secretary Francis Tolentino agreed and called on the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to step in.

“Siguro dapat si DSWD ay harapin na iyong mga pamilyang nag hihintay dyan. Ito na iyong community counseling siguro. Harapin na. Sabihin na na wala nang pagasang makitang buhay ang mga kamag anak. Ito na siguro ang meron kayong mga counselor dito na pwedeng magbigay ng stress debriefing, trauma counseling. Kayo na iyon,” he said.

Based on the latest tally of the Cordillera Risk Reduction and Management Council, as of September 26, the death toll in the aftermath of Typhoon Ompong in the entire Cordillera Region has hit 110 and 25 people are still missing.

In Barangay Ucab, the number of fatalities already climbed to 64 while 16 people remain missing. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

P7.9-M worth of marijuana seized in Cordillera police ops

Robie de Guzman   •   February 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines Thousands of dried marijuana plants and seeds were confiscated in a series of raids conducted by police operatives in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Friday.

In a statement, PNP chief General Debold Sinas said the Cordillera police launched the operations on five clandestine marijuana farms in Kalinga from Thursday until Friday, as part of PNP’s “summer offensive” against cultivation of prohibited plants.

The police raid on the five plantation sites, with a total land area of 2,550 square meters, stemmed from a buy-bust operation conducted by joint elements of Special Operations Unit 2, led by PNP Drug Enforcement Group with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Isabela, the Isabela PIU, the SAF Kalinga and the 2nd Coy KPMFC on February 18, 2021, that resulted in the arrest of two persons.

The PNP said the operation yielded the arrest of two persons who told authorities about the illegal cultivation of marijuana in the mountainous area of Barangay Loccong, Tinglayan, Kalinga.

This information led to the clearing operations and destruction of marijuana plants in coordination with the PDEA, the PNP said.

Police said a total of 21,600 fully-grown marijuana plants were destroyed in the clandestine farms, including some 30 kilograms of dried marijuana stalks and one kilogram of marijuana seeds, all estimated to be worth P7,945,000 based on standard drug price used by the Dangerous Drugs Board.

“Let me reiterate that police operation against the cultivation, production, and trafficking of Marijuana will continue without let-up because under Philippine laws, Cannabis in the form of plants, products, and its derivatives is still a dangerous drug as defined under Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002,” Sinas said.

200 miners and families locked down inside bunkhouse in Itogon, Benguet

Marje Pelayo   •   October 27, 2020

BENGUET PROVINCE, Philippines — A total of 200 miners and their families have been locked down inside a bunkhouse in a mining community in Itogon, Benguet after a number of miners tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The local government and health officials in the area have agreed to subject all bunkhouse occupants to the same COVID-19 management protocols being applied to positive cases.

According to Governor Melchor Diclas, inside the bunkhouse were also the 44 miners who first contracted the disease. 

“Ang nag-positive dyan ay 40 plus another nadagdagan kaya mga 50. Kaya ang decision diyan dahil walang paglalagyan pa na quarantine facility kaya ginawa natin na yung bunkhouse na ang quarantine facility o isolation facility doon, (Around 40 people initially tested positive then the number increased to more than 50. So we decided, since there is no quarantine facility available, the bunkhouse itself will be their quarantine facility or isolation facility),” the governor said. 

All positive cases are confined on the third and fourth floors of the building while those who are not sick occupy the ground floor and second floor as they await the result of their swab tests.

While they are inside the bunkhouse, the local government is currently working on establishing an isolation facility where the infected families will be transferred.

On Thursday (October 22), another 74 miners were among the 93 new COVID-19 cases reported in the province, the highest number since the outbreak started in the Cordillera region.

Most miners and their families who tested positive for the disease were from crowded mining communities of Stio Luneta in Barangay Loacan, Sitio Sangilo in Poblacion, Sitio Balatoc in Virac and Barangay Ampucao.

Overall, the province has reported a total of 872 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 426 of which recovered and 11 died of the disease. MNP (with reports from Grace Doctolero)

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DSWD lauds Benguet town residents for waiving slots in SAP

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 4, 2020

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has lauded the village residents in Benguet for waiving their Social Amelioration Program (SAP) slots.

Thirty-five residents in Barangay Gambang in Bakun, Benguet opted not to receive their emergency cash subsidy under SAP to accommodate more qualified families.

“The individuals’ families were initially targeted as SAP beneficiaries, but they voluntarily waived their slots prior to validation so that other families in need in their communities will be accommodated in the program,” the DSWD said in a statement.

There are a total of 74,369 SAP beneficiaries in the Benguet Province with  2,439 family beneficiaries in the town of Bakun. AAC

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