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Friday, October 31, 2014

Lotto, jueteng, lotteng



Echoes From
BY JOHNNY DAYANG

The government-operated Small Town Lottery (STL) or Lotto, under the supervision of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), has already taken on an institutionalized derogatory name – LOTTENG. The name naughtily combines the words LOTTO and JUETENG, the illegal numbers game that has remained rampant around the country despite its having been outlawed and banned. 

STL was precisely conceived to provide a legalized alternative to jueteng, in respect to the established mindset and predilection for gambling of many Pinoys, but intended to eventually put the illegal numbers game to an end.

As it turned out, however, the innate Filipino manipulative creativity managed to cloak jueteng with the STL’s legal aura. Thus today, jueteng continues to flourish with impunity nationwide right under the very noses of government authorities tasked to snuff it out of existence.

Many discerning Filipinos thus now ask: Is the government seriously bent on fighting illegal gambling? Among those who are more vocal in raising this question are the more than 150 entrepreneurs who have invested their time and money in preparing for the PCSO sponsored Pambansang Loteryang Bayan (PLB), earlier conceived and flaunted in the early years of the incumbent administration as the perfect formula to put an end to the illegal jueteng. 

These serious entrepreneurs have in fact applied with the PCSO and paid for their PBL franchises but were reportedly advised in a hush recently to convert their applications from PLB to STL which will shortly be “relaunched.”

It must be noted that STL was given a closure ultimatum by the PCSO at the start of PNoy’s administration but its deadline has repeatedly been postponed, while jueteng lords merrily use the STL as their front. This has prompted many of the prospective PBL entrepreneurs to complain that they are just being given the run around.

Less than two years to the end of the Aquino regime, several other question are being raised. If the PBL will indeed be eventually shelved, what reasons are there for such decision? What now happens to the prospective entrepreneurs’ PBL franchise applications accepted by PCSO? 

Where did their franchise fees go? Aside from the jueteng lords, who really benefits from the questionable STL system? Does not this anomalous and highly dubious state of affairs prostitute President Aquino’s “Tuwid na Daan” advocacy and battle cry?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Dengue cases in Aklan rise 75 percent




BY BOY RYAN B. ZABAL

The number of dengue cases in the province of Aklan rose to 75.62 percent from January 1 to October 17 this year compared with the same period last year.

There were 1,340 dengue cases this year compared to 763, based on the latest data from Aklan Provincial Epidemiology Surveillance and Response Unit of Provincial Health Office (PHO)-Aklan.  

Most of the cases were recorded from highly-populated areas in Aklan.

PHO-Aklan records showed that 24.55 percent of the 1,340 cases came from the capital town of Kalibo; 13.65 percent from Malay and 9.4 percent from Banga. Dengue incidence were also noted in Numancia with 105 cases, New Washington (69), Altavas (61), Makato (59) and Tangalan with 54 cases.

More than one-third or 38 percent of the cases belong to 11 to 20 years old with 508 followed by those aged 21 to 20 years old with 301 cases.

Twenty percent also belonged to the 1-10 years age group.  According to PHO, 54 percent of the dengue patients were male.  

The month of August has the most number of dengue patients with 303, which is higher by 110 percent compared to last year with 144 cases.  The month of July also reported 296 dengue cases this year compared to 224 last year.

Dengue is carried by mosquitoes which include symptoms of skin rash, headache and muscle and joint pains. Patients also develop hemorragic fever in which blood pressure drops dangerously low, severe abdominal pain, vomiting blood, bleeding from mucous membranes, and rapid/shallow breathing.

Mosquitoes mostly breed in man-made containers such as empty flower pots, tires and buckets in urban environments.

World Health Organization (WHO) listed dengue fever as a "neglected disease" and estimates that there may be 50 to 100 million dengue infections worldwide each year.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Police nabs hairdresser for gunrunning in Kalibo


Jandy Corres (left) of Leyte province was arrested by the police for illegal selling of guns in a buy-bust operation in Kalibo, Aklan on October 28 / PHOTOS AKLAN FORUM 


BY BOY RYAN B. ZABAL

A suspected gunrunner turned out to be a hairdresser in Kalibo, Aklan was arrested by the police for illegal selling of guns in a buy-bust operation on Tuesday afternoon.

A police asset posing as buyer met the suspect identified as Jandy Cumpio Corres outside Haircutters Studio along Jose Rizal Street in Barangay Poblacion, about 50 meters from Kalibo police station.

Corres, 32, native of Julita town in Leyte and presently staying at Tipao Road, Barangay Linabuan Norte in Kalibo, Aklan, had been working with Haircutters Studio for more than five years.

Operatives arrested Corres as soon he accepted the money amounting to P50,000 including the marked money from a police asset at around 5:15 p.m. in exchange for the firearms. 

Corres attempted to flee, but, he was chased by pursuing police officers. He sustained abrasions in his left arm and left knee after he tried to resist arrest. 

“Naghabulan ang mga pulis at ang suspek. Tinapon pa niya ang perang ginamit sa buy bust. Nadakip siya ng mga pulis, mga 15 meters mula sa Haircutters studio sa Rizal Street,” said Police Officer 3 Joey Revesencio of CIDG-Aklan.

Joining the Aklan Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) led by Senior Inspector John Paul Tovera in the operation were elements of Kalibo police station headed by deputy chief of police Inspector Benny Jones Mendoza and the Provincial Intelligence Branch led by Inspector Diogracias Diaz III.

Police said the suspect tried to sell a Springfield .45-caliber pistol, a 9-mm black widow revolver and a MK IV .45-caliber pistol for P44,000 to a police asset. 

Revesencio said the firearms were wrapped in a newspaper and placed inside a plastic bag when it were handed to the police asset during the sting operation.

Authorities also recovered from Corres three mobile phones, two short magazines for .45-caliber pistol and the P500 marked money. 

“Kahapon nagsimula ang transactions nila ng police asset natin na bibili ng mga baril sa kanya. Akala namin di na matutuloy ngayon, kasi kaninang umaga pa ang transactions sa suspek,” the police said. 

“Malakas ang loob ng suspek na magtinda ng mga baril kasi hawak daw niya ang Kalibo police, ito ang sabi niya sa police asset natin sa transactions nila.”

In an interview, Corres said he got the unlicensed guns being sold in the entrapment operation in an establishment in Barangay Poblicacion, Kalibo, Aklan.

“Matagal na akong nagtitinda nito, mga tatlong kliyente na, di ko naman sila kilala,” Corres admitted to the police.

A gay beautician also told the police that they had no knowledge of the illegal activities of their co-employee Corres.

“Kanina me pumasok na isang lalaki dito, magpapagupit...taga DPWH daw siya, yun pala pulis at may bentahan ng mga baril sa labas ng salon namin,” he said at the police station.

After his arrest, Corres was brought to Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital in Kalibo, Aklan for medical check-up.

Later, he was temporarily detained at Kalibo police lock-up cell pending the appropriate filing of charges before the Aklan Prosecutor’s Office. 

Senior Police Officer 1 Jose Jay Teofilo, investigator of CIDG-Aklan, said the suspect faces charges for unauthorized selling of guns under Section 21 of Republic Act No. 10591 or known as the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunitions Regulation Act.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Kalibo mayor to travel to Juneau, Alaska for education, trade, tourism potentials



BY BOY RYAN B. ZABAL

Kalibo Mayor William Lachica will fly to Juneau, Alaska for a two-week official trip to promote trade, investments and tourism.

Juneau is the capital city of Alaska, which is home to more than 800 Aklanons out of the 3,000 Filipinos in the city.

Lachica will travel from October 29 to November 10 at no cost to taxpayers of Kalibo, Aklan. 

The mayor will explore opportunities to expand tourism business, to foster mutual economic and cultural interests and to deepen the bond of friendship and understanding between the people of Juneau, Alaska and his town of Kalibo, Aklan. 

To explore the possibility of Juneau forming a relationship with Kalibo, Aklan, Alaska House of Representatives Cathy Munoz, a native of Juneau, Alaska, and Bob Heron led an Alaskan trade delegation in November 2012 to the province of Aklan. 

Last July 24, 2013 meeting, the Juneau Sister Cities Committee had adopted without objection to finalize the sisterhood project between Kalibo and City and Borough of Juneau (CBJ), United States of America, for cultural exchanges, trade, tourism and educational exchanges between University of Alaska Southeast’s Fisheries Technology Program and Aklan State University. 

The meeting was also attended by members of Filipino Community, Inc. (FCI)  originally from the province of Aklan and the town of Kalibo. 

FCI president Dante Reyes, in his letter dated August 10, 2013 to Susan Baxter, co-chair of CBJ Sister City Committee, also cited that “there is a significant number of Juneau residents from Kalibo who are excited and supportive in establishing this relationship.”

Juneau has existing sister cities relationships with Whitehorse, Yukon in Canada, Chia Yi City in Taiwan, Vladivostok in Russia, and Mishan City in China.

Juneau is home to 32,000 people on the North American West Coast.  The elected officials are Mayor Merrill Sanford and Deputy Mayor Mary Becker.

Four people are accompanying the mayor including Kalibo municipal legal officer Atty. Buenas Aires Celi Dela Cruz-Rivera, Sangguniang Bayan secretary Diana Fegarido, Municipal Health Officer Dr. Makarius Tel Aviv Dela Cruz and Municipal Economic Enterprise and Development Office (MEEDO) head Engr. Jessie Fegarido.

They are expected to cover their own expenses for the entire trip. 

Lachica has designated Kalibo vice mayor Madeline Regalado as officer-in-charge in view of his official travel.