7 charged over illegal quarrying


ROXAS City — Seven persons were arrested and charged by authorities for illegally quarrying white sand from a beach in Ivisan town recently.

Police said the following violated Republic Act 7942, otherwise known as the Philippine Mining Law:

* Roger Balbares
* Eustaquio Balbona
* Jay Unarce
* Jilland Agoncillo
* Christian Baldesimo, and
* Civilian Volunteer Organization members Larry Isiderio and Thomas Olampong.

They pointed Balaring village chief Paterno Untayao as the one who told them to get the sand in Sitio Nailong, Brgy. Balaring, Ivisan.

Untayao ordered them to gather 200 sacks of white sand, which will be sold to a businessman at P750 per sack, the suspects told the police.

The village chief, on the other hand, said the proceeds in selling the sand will be used to maintain farm-to-market roads in the barangay left unattended by the government due to lack of funds.

Gov. Victor Tanco even permitted the quarrying, Untayao added.

But Tanco over a radio interview denied simply permitting the quarry operation.

He said he advised Provincial Engineer Edgar Agana to allow them to quarry as long as they have completed the requirements mandated by the Mining Law.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Provincial Engineer’s Office prohibit sand quarrying, particularly along the beaches.

The issue was tainted with politics, according to a source.

It can be recalled that Ivisan Mayor Felipe Neri Yap has been a staunch political rival of Untayao’s elder brother, Hilario Untayao.

Hilario ran and lost twice for mayor of Ivisan in the 2007 and 2010 elections.

During the last May 10, 2010 elections, the older Untayao ran under the Liberal Party./PN


Media demand justice for slain journalist


ROXAS City — Members of the media in Capiz joined their colleagues in the country in condemning the death of radio commentator and environmentalist Dr. Gerardo Ortega.

In a joint statement, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) – Capiz Chapter demanded President Benigno Aquino III to “ensure justice for Ortega… (and) for all the 141 media murders that preceded this crime since 1986, including the Ampatuan massacre.”

“It is no longer enough to condemn the murder of yet another media colleague. It is no longer enough to rail against the government’s apathy and inaction that has allowed impunity to flourish and continue to embolden those who would silence the independent Philippine media,” said the statement.

According to John Heredia, president of NUJP – Capiz, Ortega is a commentator of the Radyo Mo Nationwide in Palawan.

The slain commentator was a staunch critic of the current governor and of the mining operations in the province, Heredia said.

Ortega was shot on the head and died in a garment’s shop in Puerto Princesa City, he added.

“It is time to say enough is enough. Thus, it is now time for President Aquino to make good on his promises of justice and good governance or admit that he, like all presidents before him, is unable or unwilling to go beyond lip service,” the groups’ joint statement said./PN


120 families get shelter assistance

PILAR, Capiz — One hundred twenty families from this town who were victims of typhoon Frank each received checks worth P50,000 from the Department of Social Welfare and Development 6 (DSWD-6).

The check distribution on January 20 at the Pilar Civic Center here was in line with the DSWD’s Modified Shelter Assistance Project.

Family beneficiaries were from Barangays Casanayan, Cayus and San Ramon here.

The financial aid will be used to repair and construct the houses damaged by the typhoon.

Officials said this project was realized through the efforts of the provincial government under Gov. Victor Tanco and the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO).

The national and the provincial government will always support rebuilding the lives affected by the calamities, Tanco said.

Also present during the check distribution were Melanie del Rosario-Arancillo, representing 1st District Rep. Antonio del Rosario; Poblacion Barangay Captain Mitchelle Patricio; Councilor Doujie Jack Cantiller; and PSWDO head Violeta Silva. (CPPB/PN

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