DEATH TRAPS

Cagayan Valley’s ‘bad’ roads tagged crash hazards

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya—Motorists have assailed the “horrendous” road conditions and the ongoing road repairs and bridge construction projects on the national highway in Cagayan Valley region, which were supposedly blamed for a number of deaths and crashes in recent days.

The national road, also known as Maharlika Highway, has been the subject of endless complaints from travelers who have suffered from crashes, near-mishaps, long delays and inconvenient travel due to bad road conditions and frequent repairs.

On Friday morning, one Joan Mendez, 31, was killed after she was pinned to death by a trailer truck that went wayward as it ran over a bumpy portion of the asphalt road in Barangay (village) Baretbet in Bagabag town. Continue reading

NO JOKE

Youth group blames ‘rape culture’ for slay of Cagayan lass

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya—A youth organization has condemned the killing of a 20-year old working student from Lal-lo town in Cagayan, blaming the prevailing rape culture in today’s society.

In a statement, Gabriela Youth echoed the call of the victim’s family for justice for Rose (not her real name), a female working student who was found dead under a bridge in her village last week.

“While many concerned sectors are intensifying their campaign to end sexual violence against women, the government seems bent on ignoring these rising incidence of rape and abuse. Instead,  President Duterte himself tries to trivialize this issue by repeatedly making rape jokes,” it said. Continue reading

DEADLINE

Cops told to stamp out illegal gambling in Cagayan Valley

CAMP ADDURU, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan—The top police official in Cagayan Valley on Thursday ordered all local police offices in five provinces here to stamp out all forms of illegal gambling until Aug. 9, or face immediate relief.

Chief Supt. Robert Quenery, Cagayan Valley police chief, also warned operators of Small Town Lottery (STL) in the region to strictly comply with the terms of their gambling permit, as local officials have expressed doubts over the legitimacy of their operations.

“Those [whose performance] are found to be wanting will definitely face sanctions. [Stopping illegal gambling operations will] give chance to the authorized [STL] agents to have a smooth flow in the conduct of their operations,” he said. Continue reading

WATER WASTE

Former Cagayan ecozone chief faces graft raps for ‘overpriced’ dike

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya — Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba has filed a graft complaint against Jose Mari Ponce, former administrator of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (Ceza), for the alleged overprice of a P5-billion breakwater project at Port Irene in Santa Ana town.

In a 41-page complaint filed in the Office of the Ombudsman last month, Mamba said Ponce entered into several contracts for the construction of the kilometer-long Port Irene breakwater, even if these were, he noted, “patently disadvantageous” to the government.

Mamba asked Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales to charge Ponce with graft as well as investigate other officials and employees involved in the deals. Continue reading

HAUNTED

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Cagayan execs urge new Ceza chief: probe Port Irene ‘skeletons’

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya—Local leaders in Cagayan on Friday called on the newly-installed administrator of the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (Ceza) to launch an “honest-to-goodness” investigation of supposed irregularities on the operations of its freeport in Santa Ana town.

Gov.  Manuel Mamba urged lawyer Raul Lambino, who took his oath as new Ceza administrator on Monday (July 24), to immediately order a probe in order “to stop all illegal activities and corruption perpetuated by the past administration”.

The governor said the new Ceza chief should reassess the viability of Port Irene as an international port, the operations of which, he said, have been marred by allegations of corruption.

“Billions of public funds have been poured into Port Irene, for which only a pittance was derived by government in the last 23 years of its existence, and for which transparency and accountability in its operation is seriously demanded,” Mamba said. 

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ALL TALK

Amid anti-mining rhetoric, gov’t gives green light to 2nd big mine in N. Vizcaya
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya—This province officially becomes host its second large-scale mine with the approval Monday to start commercial operations, amid pronouncements by President Rodrigo Duterte expressing disdain for mining operations.
     Mario Ancheta, director of Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) for Cagayan Valley region, said he has signed the permit allowing FCF Minerals, Inc., a British-owned firm, to begin full-blast mining production at its gold-molybdenum venture in Runruno village in Quezon town.
     “They had declared their intent as early as September last year but we needed to conduct our validation, and had to wait for the results of the debugging (test run). I signed (the permit) Monday,” he said.
     Ancheta’s approval comes a week after President Duterte slammed mining companies for failing to rehabilitate the damage they cause on the environment, as he belittled the industry’s contributions to the country’s economy.

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ROADS KILL

Motorists slam DPWH over ‘killer’ repairs

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya—Motorists here on Monday expressed outrage over the supposed negligence of government on the safety of travellers, with simultaneous road repairs posing danger to the riding public.

Travelers blamed the crashes and gridlocks occurring on the highway due to poor management of traffic at road repair sites, and the lack and improper installation of early warning signs.

“The way the road repairs are being undertaken makes one think there is no government supervision. It’s like a free-for-all, ignoring the safety of the public,” said bus driver Roger Collado.

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Ill-equipped workers manage traffic flow at a road construction site in Barangay Villa Flores in Santa Fe, Nueva Vizcaya, one of numerous road works being carried out by the DPWH. Motorists have assailed the agency due to unending repairs for the supposed disregard public safety.#MELVIN GASCON

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