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Verde Soko official on Interpol wanted list over tons of garbage dumped in Tagoloan

August 3, 2019

VILLANUEVA, Misamis Oriental--A logistics firm and Verde Soko officials cooperating with authorities have completed the repacking of the over 5,000 metric tons of garbage from South Korea, said second district Rep. Juliette Uy. The household waste in Tagoloan town came in two shipments misdeclared as “plastic synthetic wastes” in July and August 2018. The first shipment of 5,100 tons arrived on July 21, 2018 and was immediately sent to the four-hectare facility of the shipper, Verde Soko, in Sitio Buguac, Barangay Santa Cruz in Tagoloan. The second shipment of 51 container vans loaded with 1,400 tons (1.27 million kilos) arrived in the second week of August last year and was also brought to the same facility. Uy also said she has received word that local authorities are waiting for schedule of the container ship to be sent to recover the garbage. "The South Korean government had to take care of the important matter of a supplemental budget appropriation to cover the cost of shipping back to their country of the garbage imported by Verde Soko. Now that been taken care of, the ship should come fetch the cargo in the coming weeks, this month of August at the soonest," the congresswoman said. "I appreciate the move of the Eco Waste Coalition to write to South Korea's President.. Perhaps Ecowaste were just not updated on the latest developments in South Korea," Uy said. The Misamis Oriental solon also disclosed that one of the Korean officials of Verde Soko has been unable to leave the country so far because of a standing arrest warrant and Interpol's wanted list. "This Cho Chul-soo (also known as Charles Cho) has pending cases of falsification of public documents and embezzlement in South Korea. I hope our own Bureau of Immigration is working hard on this case so Mr. Cho is brought to justice," Congresswoman Uy said. "I thank the Bureau of Customs and our other co-workers in government for keeping close watch on this Verde Soko case as I have. The residents of Misamis Oriental deeply appreciate their dedication," Uy said.

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COWD joins elite 100K Club: Water soon for Indahag and Balubal

August 3, 2019

THE Cagayan de Oro Water District (COWD) celebrated its 46th Anniversary with another milestone, becoming one of only four water districts in the Philippines with over 100,000 service connections as of August 1, 2019. (Read: The Origins of Cagayan de Oro’s Water Supply) On August 1, 1973, then Mayor Reuben Canoy converted the Water Development Commission into the Cagayan de Oro City Water District (COWD) the first ever water district in the country.  On January 4, 1974  COWD was issued Conditional Certificate Conformance (CCC) No. 001 by the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA+. COWD was born as a self-reliant, quasi-public entity with the implementation of the Provincial Water utilities Act of 1973 or PD 198, which created the water districts nationwide. Under the strong leadership of its first and brilliant general manager, Engr. Ernesto B. San Juan, COWD, despite its independence, was able to transform itself from scratch to an organization clothed in efficiency, competence, credibility and success. COWD started with only 3,500 service connections when it took over the management of the defunct NAWASA or Water Development Commission in 1973. This was expected from an average water production of only 12,200 cubic meters per day distributed to consumers through transmission lines only 39 kilometers long. In  41 years COWD has grown around 24 times more in service connections, 10 times more in water production and as much 12 times more in pipeline length. Since 2016, the COWD has connected an average of 3,300 new service connections annually. At present, 93% of these are residential and government concessionaires, and 7% commercial and industrial.  Engr. Bienvenido V. Batar, Jr. , COWD General Manager, said over and above the anniversary milestone, the water district is now targeting to provide a steady water supply to Barangays Balubal and Indahag. “These are two key barangays with many relocation sites which have no adequate water supply,” Batar said.  “Balubal in particular has some areas served by Manolo Fortich Water District which is already hard pressed to serve its constituents within the municipality, so will be needing additional water supply to provide for the town’s growing needs.” The two projects entail the construction of pipelines and storage (reservoirs) which would require a capital outlay of P100-120 million for each barangay, Batar said. “We already have an existing 800 cu.m. reservoir at Indahag which may need rehab and waterproofing but it was designed by LWUA/COWD  and is of sound construction and workmanship,” he added. “Balubal may also need its own reservoir.” The main challenge for the completion of the two projects are the total funding requirement which could  reach P220-230 million but Batar is confident these could be attained with the apparent support of the city government.  “I’m looking at utilizing our own City Funds to finance certain priority and high impact projects of COWD (which could hardly be funded in a timely manner by COWD’s regular sources) subject to COWD’s reimbursement over a 5-7 year period,” City Mayor Oscar S. Moreno said. Batar also expressed confidence the COWD will have an adequate supply to provide the two additional service areas with the twin tracks the water is now focusing on. “We will have enough water for these two areas and even improve service to existing concessionaires through the additional 20 Million Liters Daily (MLD) of treated water bulk water supplier Cagayan de Oro Bulk Water Inc. (COBI)  aims to deliver in the next two years, and another 40MLD COWD aims to gain when it reduces its Non-Revenue Water (NRW) to 30% over this time,”Batar disclosed. NRW is water produced by the water district but is not accounted for and therefore results in a revenue  loss. Although COWD has already managed to reduce NRW to 49% at present, Batar said they aim to further reduce this to 30% over the next 3 years, the benchmark set by LWUA and which he considers the most economical level for NRW. “Our NRW reduction efforts are now focused on three areas: the Poblacion, and Barangays Carmen and Lapasan,” Batar noted. “Out Poblacion still has pipes dating back to NAWASA time before COWD in the 1950s while Carmen is our most populous barangay, and Lapasan has experienced tremendous development  these past few years resulting in many disturbed pipes,” he added. Batar said with the additional 20MLD of COBI has committed to deliver and the NRW reduction to 30%, COWD would have sufficient water to provide the city’s needs over the next three years. “If we can reduce NRW to 30%, this can result in approximately 40MLD additional water supply for COWD,” Batar noted. “ The current LWUA NRW benchmark for water districts is 30% of total production, although it is now reportedly considering reducing this further to 20% . “COWD’s present total daily production approx 180MLD  (including 80MLD bulk water from COBI) of which 40% is lost to NRW,” Batar said. “Thus both NRW reduction plus additional 20MLD from COBI would boost COWD production to 240MLD.”

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Iligan former mayor confirms body retrieved from the river near from their house that of his missing wife

August 2, 2019

ILIGAN CITY ----- After a month of searching for his missing wife, former Iligan City Mayor Atty. Franklin Quijano announced on Thursday (August 1) that the family have stopped the search of Salma Theresa who was missing since June 27. This after the dental examination result of a body floating in Mandulog River, about 300 meters away from their house, matched with the dental record of Salma, according to Quijano, the current administrator of the government’s Philippine Veterans Investment Development Corporation (PHIVIDEC) in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental. On Tuesday, July 30, Quijano said, they have decided to have a dental examination matching and DNA matching test with that of the body found on June 29, two days after the family discovered Salma was missing. The Quijano family disregard the idea that it was her because they did not even remember Salma having that rash guard and pants the woman is wearing. At that time, the body was already bloated, the face was deformed and rounded that it did not resemble Salma even a little. “Maybe we have missed some signs but the general reaction was ‘dili mao’  because dili mao ang sinina, she is not used to wearing such kind of dress, dili ma okay dili mao ang karsones. After several inputs, which were actually wrong impressions, maybe part of our wanting to find her live body or maybe denial namo, we made our wrong conclusion. Scientific determination is lacking kay gikuha siya, duhna tingale mga protocol issues nga wala nato ma-accomplish kay para sa amo, dili mao,” Quijano said in an interview at the funeral chapel where the cadaver, believed to be of Salma’s, is laid. (Maybe we have missed some signs but the general reaction was ‘it was not her’ because the dress is not hers, she is not used to wearing such kind of dress, it was her because the pants was not hers. After several inputs, which were actually wrong impressions, maybe part of our wanting to find her live body or maybe our denial, we made our wrong conclusion. Scientific determination is lacking because there was perhaps some protocol issues that we did not accomplish because for us, the body was not hers.) No one claimed the body and the morgue that retrieved it decided to burry at a public cemetery in Barangay Dalipuga after two weeks. “We went into searching and every little signs of her possible presence was checked. We went to Bukidnon, to Cagayan de Oro City. We divided Cagayan de Oro into many sections (just to find her). We accepted every input,” the former mayor said. Roberto, Franklin’s brother, in previous interviews said they even checked all the retreat and religious houses in Northern Mindanao, as far as Camiguin, hoping she was seen in the areas. They even posted her pictures and contact numbers in public places for easier identification and even requested the intelligence group of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to help them find her but there were no signs of her presence. The Quijano family decided to request for the exhumation of the cadaver after Salma’s brother who arrived from United States asked if the body found floating in the river was possibly that of Salma. “That question brought us into requesting for an exhumation, having a second look of it and performing a DNA matching with the family members, if that is the only assurance and to find closure,” Franklin said. Roberto said it took them a week before their request for exhumation was approved. On July 30, a government medico legal made an examination and found out that the dental examination result of the body matched with Salma’s dental record. On July 31, the family sent the DNA samples that the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) took from Salma’s parents and one of her children and from the cadaver and sent it to Manila for matching according to Roberto. The result normally comes out after a month but the family requested that it will be expedited. “Even as dentures may have matched that of the dental record of Titatit (Salma’s nickname), we still cling to that chance that it could not be her, we decided to have a DNA test of the body,” Franklin said. The exhumed cadaver, however, put in a closed brown casket is now laid at a funeral chapel in Iligan beside the remains of Salma’s uncle, Rafael Maristela Gerona, who died on July 30, the same day the cadaver was exhumed. Franklin said, Gerona, who died due to old age, was closed to Salma. What went before? Franklin last saw Salma on June 26 when he went to office in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental, around two hour-drive from Iligan City. Their last moment was the usual “banters and jokes”. Franklin said their last conversation was when he shared his conversation with their youngest daughter whom he sent to school before going to work in Tagoloan on that day. While in the office at 10:40 AM, Franklin said, Salma texted him about a cheque to be replaced because she lost it. Franklin did not able to response because he was busy. Still on the same day, while he was on his way to Manila, he called Salma, the phone rang but was not answered. “I just called my children to tell their Mama that we may not be able to talk because I will already be in the plane and when I’d arrive Manila she would already be asleep. She has a routine to sleep at 7:00 o’clock in the evening,” Franklin recalled. In the morning of June 27, it was their daughter who saw Salma last as she embraced her mother before she went to school. Franklin said he called Salma’s phone at 12:00 o’clock at noon, the phone did not ring. He called their son and asked where their mother was and answered she was in the other house. “That was his impression even if he did not see her because he heard there was conversation at the other house,” Franklin recalled. The Quijanos are living inside a compound owned the Geronas where some Salma’s siblings are also living. Depression and anxiety In his previous posts on social media, Franklin said Salma is experiencing anxieties due to her menopausal syndrome. “She has hot flashes as well as other pains and symptoms that usually accompanies menopause,” Franklin wrote on her facebook timeline. On July 28, the couple marked their 29th wedding anniversary, with Salma not around. Two weeks before Salma’s disappearance the couple attended a prayer meeting of the Couple’s for Christ where they are members for 25 years. “She was in a happy mood,” Franklin recalled. Investigation “I think the findings of the SOCO maybe sufficient saying there were no bruises, no wounds and that her skin is intact; there are no signs of violence. The conclusion of the (government) doctor is drowning,” Franklin But Franklin said, they will not prevent anyone to make investigation because it is the obligation of the state to do so. “At the same time we are trying to explain on the context of her condition, the condition of the family and the situation where we are in. We are living beside the river and also defining it from our happy moment,” he added. Their eldest son, Xerxes, said his mother used to be in that river, where the body was found, during her childhood. Franklin also said, there were times that when the two of them wanted to do some walking exercise, it is the place they went to. Now that the family is grieving, Franklin asked the public, to refrain from making negative comments and speculations, especially on social media that will not help them cope up. “I hope that the public will be more introspecting in making statements so that we will have some elements of dialogue in society more than some amount of prejudgements,” he said.

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DNA result to determine exec’s ‘missing’ wife dies

August 1, 2019

CAGAYAN de Oro City--A DNA sample is sent to Manila to determine if the body found floating in the river in Iligan City a month ago belonged to the missing wife of the top executive of the Philippine Veterans Industrial Development Corporation (Phividec) in Misamis Oriental. Franklin Quijano, administrator of the Phividec Industrial Estate in Misamis Oriental, said that his wife Salma Theresa Bersales Gerona-Quijano, 52, “went missing, leaving no clue nor trail” on June 27, 2019. He said that the family launched a futile Mindanao-wide search for his missing wife for more than a month, until it was decided to retrace the incident to find some missing links. “The family decided to take stock, to retrace our steps to square one,” after almost a month of unrelenting search that always ended up facing a blank wall, Quijano said in his social media account posted Wednesday night. He said that two days after his wife went missing, an unidentified female body was found floating in Mandulog River, just a stone’s throw from the Quijano compound in Iligan City, which the family earlier dismissed to be that of his wife. Quijano said that the family dismissed the suspicion that the woman’s dead body could be the missing Salman because of the “rash guard” she was wearing when found floating in the river. “My wife, Salman, has no rash guard and never wore that attire ever since, which led the family to conclude that it was not her body,” Quijano said. However, after 31 days of clueless and fruitless search, the family decided to ask the authorities to take a second look and asked for the exhumation of the woman’s body, which was buried in a public cemetery. “The initial finding, released two days ago, was unnerving when the authorities found out that the dental remains of the female body almost perfectly matched with that of my missing wife, Salman,” Quijano said in his post. Although “ shocked and shaken with the findings,” the family decided to have a DNA test of the body, while still clinging to that chance that it could not be Salman, Quijano said.

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Lotto games in PH resume operations, but STL, peryahan, Keno remain suspended

July 31, 2019

FEW days after his verbal suspension on the operations of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), President Rodrigo Duterte lifted the suspension of PCSO, the Malacañang said on Tuesday night. “As per the advice of Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea, the suspension of Lotto operations has been ordered lifted by the President,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement posted on the government-run news agency. Panelo said: “Franchise holders and operators of lotto outlets may now resume with their operations. The lifting of the suspension of lotto operations takes effect immediately.” However, Panelo said the rest of all gaming operations with franchises, licenses or permits granted by PCSO such as Small-Town Lottery (STL), Keno and Peryahan ng Bayan (PNB), shall remain suspended pending the investigation on corrupt practices. In his statement, Medialdea said investigators "found no anomalies in the conduct of its operation, its sanctity remained untainted and proper regulatory rules followed." Last July 26, Duterte ordered all gaming activities of the PCSO, including Lotto, STL, and Peryahan ng Bayan, to stop due to "massive corruption." Panelo said the Chief Executive would reveal the names of officials or employees involved in corruption “in due time”. “We’ll have to wait for the President. He is thoroughly investigating the corruption and as he said, in due time, we’ll name them. Do not be impatient,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing. The Palace assured that those in need of medical assistance and social services may, for the meantime, approach the Office of the President (OP), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) or the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). (PNA)

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'Bambi's' P90m airport expansion fund gets nod

July 30, 2019

GOVERNOR Yevgeny Vincente “Bambi” Emano, of Misamis Oriental, disclosed the approval of the P 90 million for the expansion of the Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental. Emano said that President Rodrigo R. Duterte has approved the request and ordered the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to include the amount in the 2019 General Appropriation Fund. He said that he wrote a letter to President Duterte for the release of the fund for the expansion of the airport’s passenger terminal to be able to accommodate the growing passengers and tourist in Northern Mindanao. Emano said that aside from the growing tourist arrival, the Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental served as the gateway to any point in Northern Mindanao. “I thanked President Duterte for his understanding and approval of my request for funds for the expansion of the airport,” Emano said. He said that the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has informed the provincial government that the P 90 million is now in the CAAP department. According to Emano, the CAAP informed the Office of the Provincial Governor that the fund would be utilized for the detailed engineering and design for the expansion of the passenger terminal. Emano believed that the expansion of the Laguindingan Airport would also invite more investors to come to Northern Mindanao. In 2018, the Board of Investment recorded a total of about P 228 billion investment in Northern Mindanao, Misamis Oriental’s share was pegged at 75 percent or P 172 billion, Emano said. CD with Loui Maliza

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