PNP says no ISIS threat in Bulacan, probes leak of draft memo

Robie de Guzman   •   September 11, 2019   •   772

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) is now investigating the leak and circulation online of a draft memorandum stating about the alleged presence of “ISIS affiliates” in Bulacan.

The said document posted on social media states that the Bulacan Provincial Police Office was on full alert status because of threats posed by the terrorist group. It said ISIS-inspired militants from Tuguegarao are moving to Bulacan to attack religious communities in the province.

According to Bulacan provincial police director Chito Barseluna, the document was not official and was not intended for public release.

He added that there was a miscommunication in drafting the memo as this should have been written to alert police units following recent bombings in Mindanao.

Barseluna confirmed that Bulacan police was indeed on full alert but this is because of the celebration of the Singkaban festival in the province.

The police official also denied receiving an intelligence report about the presence of an ISIS-inspired group in the province.

Barseluna also called on the public to stay calm and assured that tight security measures are in place. RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

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Former cop linked to kidnapping group nabbed in Bulacan

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 17, 2020

The Philippine National Police-Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) on Monday (June 15) arrested a former police officer linked to the kidnapping group, Gapos Gang.

PNP-AKG Spokesperson PMaj. Rannie Lumactod said former PO3 Allan Formilleza was arrested in a subdivision in Barangay Caypombo, Sta. Maria in Bulacan.

Lumactod said Formilleza has a standing warrant of arrest for murder, estafa, and theft. He is also allegedly a member of Gapos Gang which targets officials from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in Metro Manila and Central Luzon.

The group goes to the houses of their victims to steal or kidnap BIR members. Lumactod also reported that the group now has another mode of operation.

“Sa kalaunan nag-evolve ang kanilang grupo. Babanggain nila ang kanilang target sa kalsada or ika-cut nila. Ngayon kikidnapin na nila iyong BIR official, doon sila humihingi ng ransom (Eventually, the group evolved. They would hit their target or cut them on the road then they would kidnap the BIR official and ask for ransom),” he said.

Formilleza is currently detained at the PNP-AKG headquarters. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 16, 2020

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)

Bulacan Congressman Villarica contracts COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   March 27, 2020

Bulacan Fourth District Representative Henry Villarica

MANILA, Philippines – Bulacan Fourth District Representative Henry Villarica has tested positive for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), House of Representatives Secretary-General Atty. Jose Luis Montales confirmed Thursday.

Montales said Villarica last reported for work at the House on March 4, and was admitted to the hospital on March 18 for pneumonia.

On March 8, he attended an event hosted by Baliuag, Bulacan Mayor Ferdie Estrella, who was earlier reported to have tested positive for COVID-19.

The secretary-general said Villarica is now in stable condition, while none of his staff have manifested any symptoms.

Montales said the Medical Department of the House of Representatives is now tracing all those who may have had contact with the virus-infected solon.

Villarica is the latest lawmaker to have contracted the viral disease.

ACT-CIS party-list Representative Eric Go Yap earlier tested positive for coronavirus, as well as Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri, Aquilino Pimentel III, and Sonny Angara.

Aside from Estrella, local officials who got infected with the virus are Rizal Governor Nini Ynares, and Naic, Cavite Mayor Junio Dualan.

The Department of Health on Thursday reported 71 new cases, bringing the total confirmed infections to 707. The number of fatalities also rose to 45 while 28 have recovered. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

ERRATUM:
The House of Representatives issued an erratum on the date of Rep. Villarica’s confinement which was on March 18 instead of March 12 as previously reported. Revision has been made accordingly.

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