Archive for the ‘NEWS FEATURE’ Category

DPWH continues road network rehab in Agusan Sur

DPWH continues road network rehab in Agusan Sur

By Jun Tagabunlang

PROSPERIDAD, Agusan del Sur – The Department of Public Works and Highways Agusan del Sur 1st District Engineering Office (DPWH Agusan del Sur 1st DEO) has continued the rehabilitation efforts to pave road networks in its area of responsibility.

According to DPWH Agusan del Sur 1st DEO District Engineer (DE) Jose Caesar A. Radaza, construction works are underway in the city of Bayugan and municipalities of Sibagat, Prosperidad, San Luis, Talacogon and Esperanza.

This came after reports claimed that Radaza has been doing nothing to implement road rehabilitation in those areas especially in San Luis and Talacogon.

“We have been doing everything to fast track road rehab projects here in our area of responsibility,” he said. In fact, his office is set to hire 539 workers in villages for road repair and maintenance for this year.

This will be under the Community-Based Employment Program (CBEP), which aims to help the government’s employment program. The CBEP provides temporary or immediate employment to skilled, semi-skilled, and low-skilled workers in the community where infrastructure or non-infrastructure projects are undertaken.

To date, 401 jobs have already been generated under CBEP.


All set for 7th Kialegnon Festival

Preparations are underway for the incoming 7th Kialegnon Festival in Magsaysay, Davao del Sur.

The celebration will be from September 22 to September 28, 2014.

Several competitions, events and activities have been lined up to spice the festival.

As an opening salvo, Lumbang Kialegnon (Megathon Challenge) will be the contest of endurance, stamina and energy. It is five-event race that includes Karang Race, Bikathon, Walkathon, Marathon and Carabao-Balsa Race as the last event for the finish line.

Prizes are up for grabs for winners of the lined up cmpetitions.


Gone in 10 seconds, disappeared like a bubble

FUGITIVE Ryan Cain Yu, leader of the notorious Baktin Carnapping Group, may be a fan of the famous Gone in 60 Seconds Movie, but he could make his own version of the movie with a more revised title – Gone in 10 Seconds.

Gone in 60 Seconds is a 2000 American action film, starring Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie, Giovanni Ribisi, Christopher Eccleston, Robert Duvall, Vinnie Jones and Will Patton. The film was directed by Dominic Sena, and written by Scott Rosenberg. It was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and is a remake of the 1974 H.B. Halicki Gone in 60 Seconds.

In his version, Yu can be the actor, director and producer. He is as good as that. His key members will be his co-actors and his girlfriend could act as his love interest.

The film can be shot all over the country, since his operation covers almost all parts of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Interestingly, this could a box-office hit with Yu now an instant celebrity, but due to his notoriety after he was named the Most Notorious Carnapper in Mindanao.

He however disappeared like a bubble when authorities raided his warehouse in Tandag City that yielded stolen vehicles and in another follow-up operation more cars were recovered in a shop in Davao City.

Records show that two days after the Tandag City operation, Yu was able to slip out of the country and boarded a Philippine Airlines flight from Manila to Bangkok, Thailand.

As of late, Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was quoted as saying that the notorious carnapper was spotted in Madrid, Spain. As to how this has happened, no details were immediately available.

Importantly, the International Police (Interpol) has a keen eye on him.

Duterte is losing patience on Yu’s continued freedom outside the country. He raised the bounty from P5-million to P6-million if authorities still fail to bring Yu’s head to him after December this year.

He is also offering a small amount of $20,000 (P840,000) for the Interpol and other law enforcement agencies that can arrest Yu but this did not attract for them for now.

Authorities are trying its best to cancel Yu’s international immigration papers so that he could no longer travel and arrest could immediately be done in airports once he attempts to jump to another country.

Knowing how the Baktin Group operates

IT was not early in October this year that the Baktin Carnapping Group was made known to the public. This was the second major anti-carnap operations of the Highway Patrol Group 13, 11 and the Davao City Police Office when a stolen vehicle was traced in Tandag City on October 16, 2012. And later, it turned out that it was a handiwork of the Baktin Group. And follow-up operations resulted to the recovery of more than 30 carnap vehicles in Tandag City and Davao City.

The Baktin Group was unmasked in the same month last year following the arrest of one of its key leaders, Osmond Ray Dalugdog, who also goes by the names “Cocoy,” “Cocoy Dee” and “Hashim Dee Balabaran” in Cagayan de Oro City.

It was there that officials were able to get reliable information on knowing how the group operates.

This group is involved in a web of conspiracy between actual thieves, their financiers and masterminds and their rogue contacts from the government particularly the Land Transportation Office and the HPG, this was according to former HPG director Leonardo Espina, now the National Capital Region Police Office director.

Espina said they had found out that a group of ‘financiers’ composed of wealthy businessmen from Central Mindanao and Visayas region  is actually behind the operations of the car theft ring.

“These financiers are the prime manipulative body behind the illegal scheme. In fact, they are considered as the core of the carnapping industry in the Philippines,” said Espina.

He said  the ‘financiers’ were keenly basing their next move on the  demand or purchase orders from several used car dealers and prospective buyers in Visayas and Mindanao.

In the case of the Baktin Group, he said  the ‘arranged orders’ were initially conveyed to Ryan Cain Yu alias Ryan Young/Baktin who has been charged with five counts of violation of Republic Act 6539 or the Anti-Carnapping Law, the Anti-Fencing Law and Illegal Transfer of LTO License Plate Number  along with two suspected members of the syndicate named Osmond Ray Dalugdog, alias Cocoy Dee,Hashim Dee Balabaran and Mark Lester Reyes before the Department of Justice in connection with the recovery of five of 22 stolen motor vehicles in separate operations in Visayas and Mindanao.

Espina said they have discovered that Yu,  known as a ‘main player’ in the industry categorically ran and managed the ‘re-birthing’ operations of stolen motor vehicles, whether they are smuggled or stolen motor vehicles given fake LTO registration papers.

He said the group’s operation basically depends on the number of specific motor vehicles being demanded by their buyers. Espina said that a lengthy investigation conducted by the Regional Highway Patrol Unit 10 headed by Senior Supt. Greg Pimentel, the HPG Intelligence Division under Supt. Romualdo Iglesia and the HPG Motor Vehicle Clearance Division led by Supts. Ferdinand Gil Tria and Roque Vega showed that Yu is the one ‘relaying’ the orders to Reyes who has been described as a leader of a notorious carnapping gang operating in Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog.

Espina said they have received reliable information that Reyes have bought stolen motor vehicles from several other car theft rings in the country including the notorious Salvatierra Group, the Bonifacio Group, the Roger Dominguez Group and the Ond Santiago Group.

These groups have been described as hard-core criminal gangs operating in the metropolis and its nearby provinces until most of their members were neutralized by the HPG in a series of anti-carnapping operations last year and this year.

Espina said that investigation showed that Reyes usually instruct car thieves to deliver freshly-stolen motor vehicles to him in order to hide the vehicles from pursuing authorities. After a while, the stolen vehicles will be handed to the group’s ‘transporters’ who are assigned to immediately ship the vehicles to the Baktin Group’s shops via Leyte or Manila Ro-Ro ferries going to Central Mindanao and Visayas region.

Once the vehicles have reached their destination, they are immediately taken to different clandestine motor shops where they are given a new look thru the so-called ‘re-birthing’ operations.

Espina said Dalugdog has been identified as Yu’s associate who is known for facilitating the fake documentation of the stolen motor vehicle thru his contacts from LTO offices in Mindanao including those in Tubo, Lanao del Norte, Ozamis, Sarangani, Polomolok, South Cotabato, Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao and Panitay.

Dalugdog met his deadly end when unidentified gunmen sprayed bullets at his driven Honda Civic in Barangya Dologon, Maramag, Bukidnon on November 26, 2011. Also slain was his girlfriend, Colomba Caragay, a graduating nursing student of Xavier University.

As to the investigation of the case, the ambush remains to be a mystery and no suspects were brought to justice.



By Anthony S. Allada

SOFT-SPOKEN and straight-forward, this man is a kind of a leader whose actions speak louder than words. He speaks less and works more. He always means business in all his tasks and endeavors. Nothing more, nothing less. No wonder, he earned praises from his superiors and other officials.

I am actually referring to Senior Superintendent Gregorio Ramos Pimentel, the proud Ilocano who is the regional chief of the Highway Patrol Group 11.

Greg, as he is fondly called, is the man of the hour after he spearheaded in busting the biggest carnapping syndicate in Mindanao – the Baktin Carnapping Group — in a series of intensified anti-carnapping operations since last month.

The Baktin Group, headed by one Ryan Cain Yu, is now considered neutralized with the arrest of its key members and the surrender of Yu’s trusted aide. And Yu, even as he is still at large, is on the run now and is reported to be seeking refuge in Bangkok, Thailand was later traced to Madrid, Spain. In any case, the operation of the group is practically paralyzed.

There is something that makes Greg exceptional among other police or military officials. He is both a specialist on operation, investigation and intelligence. And he uses this expertise to lead successful major operations.

“I have been assigned to different fields in the police force and I gain knowledge from trainings and seminars,” the former member of the defunct Philippine Constabulary quips, adding “I find it very helpful in my work now that makes me very efficient and effective.”

Greg is not a typical official who claims credit alone in every accomplishment, saying “it’s always a team effort. I could not just do it alone.”

He does not mind putting his life into risk and gets several death threats from those big names and high-profile personalities he once dealt with accordingly.

“I am used to this since I was assigned in conflict-stricken area in the hinterlands of Basilan and Sulu provinces while I was a PC,” he said.

He was not just an anti-carnap buster but a crime buster himself because he can be considered the one who specializes in breaking up organized crime and pursuing prosecution for its members.

Not too colorful life

Even in his junior officer years, he is really a dedicated and result-oriented public servant. Such dedication in work even caused him to be locked in jail for one day after he was counter-charged over the RCBC Robbery Case where he led an operation that busted a big-time robbery syndicate that was involved in one of the branches of RCBC Bank in February 14, 1993. He was assigned at that time at the Regional Operation Center, in Recom 11, Davao City.

In one time of his police career that is still unknown for some, he was discharged from service after he was marked Absent Without Official Leave (AWOL) in Region 4 when his original assignment was as staff officer of the Provincial Headquarters in South Cotabato in 1990.

Sir Greg had to contend himself from receiving no salary for more than a year and despite very low morale after he was dropped from the rolls, he did not lose hope and continued to appeal his case.

With the help of retired Gen. Gerry Gacayan, who was the PC deputy for operations at that time, his dismissal was later nullified after it was proven that he was dismissed in absentia.

His first assignment after graduating his Bachelor of Military Science at the Philippine Military Academy in 1985 was as junior officer of the Regional Special Action Regional Headquarters in Davao City from 1985 to 1986.

Later he was designated as executive officer/intelligence officer of 453 PC COY in General Santos City from 1986 to 1990.

A year later, he was the staff officer of the Provincial Headquarters in South Cotabato and later assigned with Regional Operation Center in Recom 11, Davao City.

In 1992 to 1997, he was absorbed as the deputy regional officer of the 12th Regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit based in Cotabato City. From 1997 to 2003, he was transferred to Region 11 for the same position.

In July to September 2003, he was designated as Assistant Division Chief of Human Resources Doctrine Development of the CIDG in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

It was after that stint that he got his first assignment as regional chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit in Region 9 based in Camp Batalla, Zamboanga City. He was there for about four years.

From investigation unit, he was absorbed in the intelligence unit when he was taken in as operation officer of the Mindanao Area Police Intelligence Office (MAPIO) under the Directorate for Intelligence (DI) of the Philippine National Police based in Camp Catitipan,  Davao City.

He rose to become MAPIO’s deputy area chief from February 2007 to September 2007 until he was the MAPIO chief from September 2007 to June 21, 2009.

From intelligence unit, he was then absorbed by the Highway Patrol Group after he was assigned as regional chief of HPG 11 from July 1, 2009 to July 21, 2010 and was later transferred to Region 10 based in Cagayan de Oro City until 2012.

He was back in Davao City for good. Just barely few months, he led the biggest operation in his life in busting the Baktin Carnapping Ring.

Busting organized groups, syndicates

Pimentel is one public servant who has feared no one. Even the notorious and terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group was not spared.

In May 22, 2002, he led an operation that resulted to the arrest of Nur Mohammad Omug, secretary general of Alharakatul Islamiya and top leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group. In almost the same occasion, Edwin Uy, considered the Public Enemy Number 1 in Mindanao and leader of a kidnap-for-ransom syndicate was nabbed by his group.

He also initiated the surrender of former PO1 Guillermo Wapile, who was charged in the killing of Pagadian City journalist Edgar Damalerio on May 13, 2002. Wapile was later sentenced by the court to life imprisonment.

In 2004, Pimentel and his men also arrested 34 members of the H-World Organization, an organized crime group operation in the entire Mindanao.

His group was also behind the neutralization of Hilarion del Rosario Santos III, top leader of the Raja Sulaiman Movement, affiliate group of the Abu Sayyaf Group involved in series of kidnapping and bombing incidents in Metro Manila and Mindanao areas. Seven other group members were also arrested at Cawasa Drive, San Jose, Zamboanga City on October 25, 2005.

In 2009, one Jam Idznafil, a leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s Special Operation Group, who was facing a multiple charges for bombings in Mindanao and Metro Manila was also arrested.

One Charlie Lim, an alleged leader of a carnapping group, was also neutralized on September 23, 2010 in Butuan City.

Hector Estipona and Fahad Ali Mangdao, leaders of a motorcycle robbery syndicate were arrested by HPG 11 operatives in Cagayan de Oro City in 2011.

On October 7, 2011, Osmond Ray Dalugdog, one of the identified leaders of the Baktin Carnapping Group, was also arrested in Cagayan de Oro City. His arrest resulted to the recovery of 23 stolen motor vehicles in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental and six others in Cagayan de Oro.

Awards, Schoolings, Trainings

The neutralization of big-time carnapper Dalugdog earned him an award, naming him as the Senior Police Officer of the Year of the HPG, which he received last May 2012 from former HPG director Leonardo Espina, who is now the director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).

In 2004, he was also awarded Senior Police Officer of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police at Camp Crame, Quezon City.

He was also the Junior Police Officer in 1997 when he was still at CIDG. In 1986, he earned the Junior Police Officer award from the Philippine Constabulary, South Cotabato Provincial Command, South Cotabato Province.

With regards to his schoolings, he also obtained his Master in Public Administration (MPA) at the National College of Business and Arts in 2007.

He is a graduate of Directorial Staff Course, Public Safety Officers Senior Eexecutive Course (PSOSEC), Class 47-B 2003, Philippine Public Safety College, National Police College, Fort Bonifacio, Makati City, August 8, 2002 to June 19, 2003.

Pimentel also completed the Public Safety Officer Course (PSOAC) Class 30-2001, Philippine Public Safety College, National Police College, Fort Bonifacio, Makati City from August 20, 2001 to December 19, 2001.

He also went through the Basic Intelligence Course for Constabulary and INP Officers (BICCIO), Class 15, Intel Training Command, Camp Crame, Quizon City from July 27, 1990 to November 23, 1990.

Pimentel also took Scout Ranger Orientation Course, Special Counter-Insurgency Operation Training, Air to Ground Operation Course, PC/INP Officers Intel Orientation Seminar, Seminar on Search and Seizures, Counter Insurgency Trainors Course, Seminar on Economic and Cyber Crimes, Disaster Management Seminar, National Workshop on Safety Measures Against Bomb Threats and Effective Management of Post Blast Incidents, Case Management Intelligence System, Seminar on Writ of Amparo, Motorcycle Riding Course and Experience Riders Course.

He also underwent trainings here and abroad. They included the Basic Criminal Investigation conducted by United States Department of Justice, International Criminal Investigation Training and Assistance Program on April 12, 2004 to April 30, 2004 in PRO 7, Cebu City; Counter Terrorism Interview Techniques, UK Police Service and British Embassy; Honolulu Police Department Training of the Officers of the National Police College at Honolulu, Hawaii on May 22, 2003; Investigative Interviewing Course, British Metropolitan Police,; Major Case Management Course, Royal Canadian Mounted Police; Management of Serious Crimes, Australian Federal Police Academy, Canberra, Australia; Public and Media Relation; Senior Investigative Officer Course; Tactical Intelligence Analyst Course; and Workshop on Safety Measures against Bomb Threats and Effective Management of Post Blast Incidents.

Other side of him

While maintaining his being an operational officer at his best, he still finds time of visiting his farm in General Santos City. He describes himself as a weekend farmer. He sees to it that he can visit his palm oil farm once a week. This is the best time that he can unwind and relax from his busy six working days. If he has also other time, he rides his motor bike. He really enrolled to a learn the basic and the skills and techniques of driving motorcycles.

Pimentel also sees to it to be with his family on weekends. He prefers not to reveal the whereabouts of his family for security reasons. But he traces his roots from Ilocos Norte, although his family already lived somewhere in Pangasinan. His family is a distant relative of former President Fidel Ramos, whose family name happens to be his surname.

He is also a compliant of the government’s National Greening Program (NGP) where the PNP has been part of its realization. HPG 11 personnel are planting trees of various species in identified areas in the region and even expanding in General Santos City.

At 49, who knows this police officer who is due for promotion to earn his first general star elevates himself to be the country’s one of the top cops in the near future. And this is very possible. He is physically fit and doing a good job at the helm of HPG 11. (ASA)

Unassuming but competent LTO 12 top brass

Unlike his predecessors, Datu Arlan Mangelen is so far the youngest to be designated as the regional director of the Land Transportation Office 12.

Mangelen does not regard his youthfulness to be a factor to just stay at the corner but instead rise above and implement the needed reforms for a government agency touted to be prone to graft and corruption.

He is the symbol of transformational leadership, going the extra mile of effort to live up to the expectation of his superiors and subordinates as well as the customer satisfaction that the clients want from the LTO’s services.

No wonder, in just more than a year after assuming the top position of LTO 12, Mangelen has accomplished a lot of achievements like the must-needed construction of the conference room, launching of the I-Report sa LTO-12, and the soon-to-rise construction of the new one-stop-shop LTO 12 Building.

These no non-sense accomplishments get the attention of the LTO national office that the latter did not hesitate to support projects and programs initiated by the LTO regional director.

At any rate, we have to commend this noble undertaking that this may continue for better delivery of services to the transacting clients.


House leader seeks bigger ad valorem tax on idle lands

A House leader has proposed to raise the ad valorem tax on idle
private lands to 10 percent from the present five percent to serve as
deterrent against non-utilization of these properties for productive
purposes and to encourage local government units to maximize their
revenue potential.

Rep. Roger Mercado (Lone District, Southern Leyte) said despite
present laws levying annual taxes on idle lands, large tracts of
privately-owned lands have remained undeveloped over the years.

“The laws failed to effectively control the unjust and unproductive
practice of rich individuals, partnerships and corporations of
acquiring vast tracts of lands to speculate for profit on the future
increase in the market value of such lands,” he said.

Mercado, chairman of the House Committee on Transportation, said
landowners would rather let their lands remain idle than invest money
for their cultivation, utilization and development since, in time, the
market value of lands, whether utilized or not, would still increase.

“Unfortunately, such practice hinders the use of our limited natural
resources to the fullest and prevents their equitable distribution to
those who need them most,” Mercado said.

Mercado cited that under Section 42 of Presidential Decree No. 464
entitled “Enacting A Real Property Tax Code” dated June 1, 1974, the
President of the Philippines, at his discretion or upon recommendation
by the Secretary of Finance, may authorize provinces, cities and
municipalities to levy, assess and collect an additional real property
tax on idle private lands at a rate of not exceeding two percent per
annum based on the assessed value of the property. This is to provide
local governments with adequate funds with which to underwrite basic
and essential public services.

This was subsequently amended by P.D. No. 1446 dated June 11, 1978 by
imposing an additional real property tax on idle lands at the rate of
five percent per annum based on the assessed value of the property as
determined by the provincial, city or municipal assessor.

At present, the Local Government Code or Republic Act 7160 provides in
Section 236 that LGUs may levy an annual tax on idle lands at the rate
of five percent of the assessed value of the property which shall be
in addition to the basic real property tax.

In House Bill 5688, Mercado sought an amendment of Section 236 of RA
7160 on additional ad valorem tax on idle lands so that “a province,
city or municipality within the Metro Manila Area, shall levy and
collect an annual tax on idle lands at the rate of 10 percent of the
assessed value of the property which shall be in addition to the basic
real property tax.”

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