Cordillera Administrative Region updates

July 23, 2023 | 1:30pm
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Cordillera Administrative Region updates
July 23, 2023

The Department of Agrarian Reform - Cordillera said around 98% of the target lands to be distributed under the government's Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program was achieved.

DAR Cordillera Regional Director Samuel Solomero said that of the 97,000 hectares that are programed, around 93,000 were already distributed by their office. 

He also said that in the whole country, there are already 610,000 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) of the  New Agrarian Emancipation Act (NAEA) amounting to P57 billion. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 5, 2023

An alleged leader of a gun-for-hire group operating in parts of Pangasinan and and in La Union was caught in Baguio City on Wednesday.

Operatives from Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Pangasinan joined by Baguio City policemen served five Warrants of Arrest (WOA) against “Joker," a 61-year-old man from Barangay Moreno, Binalonan, Pangasinan.

Informants reportedly tipped off that “Joker”, hunted for two counts of murder in Pangasinan, three counts of murder in La Union, another frustrated murder in Pangasinan and illegal possession of firearms case also in Pangasinan, was at  Barangay Balacbac, Sto Tomas Proper barangay here. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 21, 2023

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Baguio-Benguet is just waiting for orders to confiscate the fad toy "lato-lato" or clackers being sold here and nearby Benguet province.

DTI Baguio-Benguet Consumer Protection Division Officer-in-Charge Ralph Altiyen said they are just waiting their central office to order them to seize "lato-lato" items. 

DTI Consumer Protection Group Undersecretary Ruth Castelo recently said the government agency will monitor and help in the confiscation of the latest craze. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 15, 2023

Over a dozen women were rescued from a brothel in a red light district along lower Bokawkan Road in Baguio City Wednesday night as part of a drive by National Bureau of Investigation-Cordillera and anti-trafficking NGO Exodus Road-Philippines against human trafficking in the city.

Fourteen women, mostly from the Visayas, were brought by social workers of the Office of the Social Welfare of Baguio City for processing and appropriate intervention after undercover agents confirmed that they were being offered to customers for paid sex.

NBI-Cordillera agents counted at least 15 makeshift rooms—including makeshift cubicles about 2 meters x 1.5 meters—where the massage and “extra services” are done at the PJ Massage Services and Bar.

— The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 23, 2023

Private armed groups in the highland Cordillera, though already dwindled in numbers, might just be resurrected in time for the barangay and Sangunniang Kabataan elections in October. 

Good thing though, admitted Cordillera police director Police Brig. Gen. David Peredo, authorities know who they are and where they operate.

Peredo said there are two “potential” PAGs being monitored in CAR, one in Abra and one in Kalinga.  “Mino-monitor namin sila,” Peredo hinted but did not give details. 

“They are inactive as of now, and wala sila sa area,” the Cordillera police official said.

Ahead of the PAGs possible coming back to like ahead of the October elections, the Cordillera police, Peredo said, are instituting measures to avert the resurrection of PAGs in the region. — The STAR/Aretemio Dumlao


May 4, 2023

The Lubuagan town police in Kalinga are hoping that a local court will issue warrants of arrest against two suspects in the killing of a farmer two weeks ago to avert a full-blown tribal war between two Kalinga sub-tribes.

Relatives of a 65-year-old farmer found him on April 14, dead in his farm in Lubuagan. He had been shot dead.

Police said Joseph Guilloy Jaime went to irrigate his crops in the afternoon of April 13.  His family were startled when successive gunshots were heard from his direction.

Family members were only able to retrieve Jaime the next day because of fear.

The killing has pushed the possibility of further hostilities between the Mabongtot and Lubuagan sub-tribes.  — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 14, 2023

An elderly farmer was found dead Thursday in Palijong, Mabilong, Lubuagan town in Kalinga.

Joseph Guilloy, 65, reportedly bore gunshot wounds when found by relatives at his ricefield.

Police said Guilloy went to tend his farm at 2 a.m. on Thursday but his family got alarmed when at around 7:30 a.m. they heard gunfire coming from the direction of Guilloy's. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 7, 2023

The 3.9 billion- worth of illegal drugs seized from the Chinese national in barangay Irisan here on March 29, 2023, was turned over to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Laboratory Service, National Headquarters in Quezon City.

After an ocular inspection by the court and witnesses on Wednesday, the court ordered the PNP Regional Forensic Unit in the Cordillera to immediately deliver the drugs to the PDEA Laboratory Service for their destruction and disposal in accordance with the law. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 3, 2023

Anti-narcotics agents caught two big-time drug traffickers, considered by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as “High Value Targets” (HVTs), Saturday evening in a sting operation that started last week in Betag, La Trinidad, Benguet.

The sting operation hatched a week ago confirmed about the 500 grams shabu tucked in five knot-tied plastic bags being sold by Abdul Madid alias Maino and Sidec Dula Madid at 11:40 PM Saturday, hence the sting that led to the duo’s fall.

The shabu was pegged to reach P3.4 million in value at P6,800 a gram. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 2, 2023

The famous “Igorot Stone Kingdom” in Barangay Pinsao here, earlier shut down by Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, re-opens on Holy Week.

The Office of the Prosecutor of Baguio City has dismissed the complaint of the Baguio City Buildings and Architect Office against the owners of the famous tourist attraction because it said, they were able to comply with the requirements contrary to the city government’s suit against them.

To recall, the Baguio City Buildings and Architectural Office (CBAO) on November 2022 complained for violation of the National Building Code after the safety and integrity of the man-made attraction was questioned by the Baguio City Government and Mayor Magalong issued a closure order on November 8, 2022 citing safety issues. The next day,  the crowd-drawing tourist lure was shut down. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 2, 2023

A man was declared dead-on-arrival at Bontoc General Hospital an hour after he lost consciousness while getting palm leaves for Palm Sunday at Mount Polis, barangay Bayyo, Bontoc, Mountain Province.

At around 10:25 AM of April 1, 2023, the Emergency Operations Center of Bontoc Local Government Unit was alerted about a man who suffered a heart attack.  

The victim was identified as Winston Fagyan, 47,  from Samoki, Bontoc, Mountain Province. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

March 28, 2023

A 30-year-old miner was found dead after drowning at the Matalag River, at Sitio Cubet, in Barangay Malama, Conner town in Apayao last Sunday.

According to Conner town police, the victim together with his family went for a picnic and while they were swimming, the victim went to a deep portion of the river and eventually his family lost sight of him.

His family immediately called for help from barangay officials, who also sought assistance from the Conner town police office, the Bureau of Fire and Protection (BFP)- Conner, and staffers of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (MDRRMO).

Rescuers found him unconscious and he was declared dead on arrival at the Conner District Hospital. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

March 27, 2023

A solar battery exploded In Baguio City on Sunday setting fire to part of a commercial building in Barangay Magsaysay, Lower. 

Firefighters of the Bureau of Fire Protection rushed to the fire scene at the Pilando Business Center on Sunday evening.

Arson investigators said the building maintenance officer tried to put out the flame that was consuming the exploded solar battery but that the fire spread quickly.  

Firefighters, even augmented by volunteer firefighting brigades, only managed to declare the fire out after 30 minutes. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

March 24, 2023

All of the 1,572 market merchants displaced by the huge fire last March 11, 2023 are back in business.

Everyone have been provided with spaces and stalls through the city-government-led rapid market clean-up and rebuilding campaign that accomplished the supposed three-month task in just seven days.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong turned over the stalls to the market entrepreneurs on March 20, 2023, a day after the completion of the seven-day post-fire rehabilitation program that aimed to swiftly restore the livelihood of the merchants and bring back normalcy at the city’s trading center. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

February 23, 2023

A 19-year-old girl was back to her family’s arms after Errol Pejanco Bolaños, 44, took her hostage at gunpoint at sitio Sitio Bagong Bario, Brgy. Nagtupacan, Lagangilang, Abra.

Responding policemen found the suspect, who even fired his homemade caliber .22 revolver at them, holding the victim at gunpoint.

Police Col. Maly Cula dispatched additional police units to aid the responding policemen and help in negotiating with Bolaños. After an hour of skillful negotiation with the suspect, policemen were able to subdue the suspect, took his firearm, at least twenty live ammunitions and three empty shells of caliber .22. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

February 5, 2023

Baguio City will soon launch an online web application that will provide traffic information and directional assistance to motorists,  seen to be helpful in mitigating traffic congestion during crowd-drawing events in the city like the month-long Baguio Flower Festival or Panagbenga.


Panagbenga (A Time of Blossoming) themed this year --A Renaissance of Wonder and Beauty--  has been perhaps the country's most-attended festival luring in hundreds of thousands of revelers especially during its highlight twin Grand Flower and Grand Float parades that bring humongous traffic congestions all over the city.

With it, the traffic innovation application developed by the Management Information and Technology Division of the City Mayor’s Office will provide motorists information on what alternative routes to take to avoid congested roads to their destinations as well as what roads to avoid due to closures or inaccessibility.

It will also contain other useful information like the location of public utility jeepney terminals in the city and basic traffic rules being implemented in the city like the number coding, motorcycle routes, truck ban and the like. -- The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

January 23, 2023

All roads lead to Sagada, Mountain Province on Februrary 2-4 for the return of its famed “etag” (slow smoked or salted meat) festival.

After two years in hiatus, the festival comes alive with this year's theme: “Napigsa ay kultura ya pammati, wedweday igabay ya isikan di Umili" (Strong culture and faith, will be the foundation and progress of the community).

“Etag” to Mountain Province folk and some tribes of Kalinga and Abra is salted or smoked as a traditional method of preserving meat.  It is Cordillera’s version of bacon.

The start of the festival will coincide with Feast of the purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the presentation of the Lord Jesus Christ on February 2, 2023.   -- The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

January 4, 2023

Taxes on buildings in Baguio City may soon increase with the City Assessors’ Office studying a hike in market value of all structures that will update the 1995 fair market values for buildings. 

Currently, the city government is using the schedule of fair market values for buildings approved through Ordinance No. 101, series of 1995.

City Assessor Almaya Addawe said that that the law mandates the general revision of fair market values on a regular basis not only for lands but also for buildings.

Any hike however is being met with complaints,  Addawe admits. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

December 26, 2022

Baguio City’s chill dropped to 12°C early Monday morning. 

So far the coldest recorded since the onset of the northeast monsoon, or “Amihan,” the signature Baguio chill came a bit late this year. In 2021, temperatures in the city reached 11.8°C and dropped further to 11.4°C by the first week of December.

Monday’s bone-tingling breezy weather was just 0.2°C colder than Christmas Day’s 12.2°C.

State-run weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said the northeast monsoon is the cold wind from the northeast that usually brings rains over the eastern side of the country. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

December 19, 2022

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake jolted Boliney town in Abra around 5:06 p.m. on Monday.

The jolt was also felt in Vigan City and Banayoyo in Ilocos Sur at Intensity IV,  Intensity III in Bangued, Abra’s capital town,  Baguio City and Benguet,  Sinait, Ilocos Sur and Santiago City in Isabela at Intensity II and Intensity I as far as Pasuquin; Laoag City, and Nueva Era in Ilocos Norte;  Tagudin in Ilocos Sur and Penablanca in Gonzaga, Cagayan province. -- The STAR/Artemio Dumlao


December 4, 2022

An inquiry begins Monday at House of Representatives, particularly by the Committee on Energy, on the leadership squabble that has been dragging on for over a year now at the Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco). -- The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

November 30, 2022

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong says the first week of the resumption of the Loakan Airport is now fully-booked.

Magalong says that most of the visitors who will be travelling to the city are from Cebu City. Many Baguio residents also want to visit Cebu City, the mayor adds.

— The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

November 28, 2022

Triple A public works contractor Phesco Inc., operating a concrete batching plant in Sablan, Benguet, insists it has instituted mitigating measures averting earlier complaints of concrete spillages into the drainage system in sitio Monglo, barangay Bayabas, in the same town.

Silt traps were adequate and all perimeter ground of the mobile batching plant were sloped at the silt traps, which prevent water waste going out of the perimeter of the mobile batching plant,  Phesco Inc. pointed out in response to the Cease-and-Desist Order (CDO) issued against the construction firm last November 11, 2022.

Through the Environment Management Bureau (EMB), the DENR issued the CDO for allegedly spilling concrete into the drainage system. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 5, 2022

Department of Education-Cordillera Regional Director Estella Cariño hailed teaching and non-teaching personnel, officials and other stakeholders in the education sector have shown resilience amidst the challenges.

This, she said during the culmination program for the World Teachers' Day and National Teachers' Month at the Abra Sports Complex at Bangued, Abra attended by Vice President Sara Duterte, who is also education secretary.

Cariño said, all have worked and helped in ensuring the continuous delivery of education to the children despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She also expressed admiration to the education people who did not give up and remained determined in performing their mandates after the recent magnitude 7.0 earthquake the hit the region. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 3, 2022

Suspects in the murder of a teacher in Bangued, Abra have implicated a barangay chairman from Boliney town as the alleged mastermind in the killing.

Police had arrested the alleged driver, lookout and middleman for the killing, which they were paid P100,000 for. They said the killing of teacher Rudy Steward Dugmam Sayen was ordered by Armando Wilson of Barangay Dumagas in Boliney.

Police said Sayen and Wilson are relatives and the killing was prompted by a dispute over family-owned land. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 13, 2022

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong and the city council have given the green light to make the use of face masks voluntary in outdoor settings in the city in keeping with the order of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. 

The mayor issued Executive Order No. 107-22 dated Sept. 12, 2022 allowing the voluntary wearing of face masks in the city in outdoor low-risk settings in line with the President's Executive Order No. 03-2022 "Allowing Voluntary Wearing of Facemasks in Outdoor Settings and Reiterating the Continued Implementation of the Minimum Public Healh Standards during the State of Public Health Emergency Relative to the COVID-19 Pandemic."

The city council also on Sept. 12, 2022 approved Resolution No. 408, series of 2022 also supporting the President's order and requesting the mayor to issue an executive order for the implementation of policy pending the amendment of City Ordinance of Baguio No. 045-2020 or the city's Face Mask Ordinance of 2020 in the City of Baguio, as amended by City Ordinance No. 049-2021 or The Baguio City Face Mask and Face Shield Ordinance of 2021 and the Regulation of Indiscriminate Disposal of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the City of Baguio.

"I welcome these new developments and in fact had prepared instructions ahead of the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) recommendations to the President.  It is high time that we progress forward with revival of those activities and projects that were stalled during the worst days of the pandemic-but we shall do so with caution," the mayor said.  — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 13, 2022

Malversation charges are being readied against 

six to eight more employees assigned at the Baguio City market for alleged involvement in syndicated corruption.


Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the Baguio City police is preparing the documents for the filing of malversation through falsification of public documents and falsification by public officials against the employees over the collection of arrival fees or “kwartais.”

Five city employees were earlier sued in July with similar charges in what Magalong described as a long-time syndicated corruption involving city market employees and merchants leading to embezzlement of public funds.

"The first case is now moving and I believe that we have a very strong case supported by the pieces of evidence that were presented," the mayor hoped, expecting “to charge a total of 15 persons in this case and we will go after all of them including those who have already retired from the service.” -- The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 10, 2022

House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez (Leyte) and Rep. Eric Go Yap (Benguet) have handed over two wing vans to the Department of Social Welfare and Development to help the agency deliver relief goods to disaster-stricken areas in Benguet province and the rest of the Cordillera region. 

Yap, with Speaker Romualdez, during turnover rites of the trucks Friday morning to Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo said, "para sa Benguet, para sa Cordillera, para mas madaling makaabot ang food and non-food packs pag may mga kalamidad sa atin sa Benguet at mga katabing probinsya, para mas madaling maramdaman ang pamahalaan, kaya tayo nag donate ng mga winged vans para sa DSWD.” — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao


September 5, 2022

Another drug den in Baguio City was overrun on Sunday night, the fourth in less than three months,

At least seven drug personalities were caught and 600 grams of dried marijuana and a gram of shabu worth P78,000 were seized at a house cum drug den at Quirino Hill late Sunday afternoon in a raid by Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency operatives and local police.

PDEA operatives said a sting operation against one of the arrested suspects led them to the drug den and the arrest of those found inside. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 30, 2022

Three farmers were killed and another one was hurt when their drinking buddy brought out a gun and went on a shooting spree Monday night Barangay Sipa, Sta. Marcela town in Apayao.

Police said the alleged shooter later shot himself.

Sta Marcela police said Bong Badua Ramirez, 48; Ryan Santi Soriano, 39 and Edmar Turilla Aguinaldo, 30, died while Stephen Jones Baysa Salvatiera, 33, was hurt.

Norvie Pacheco Romero, 32, together with the four, all residents in the same barangay were reportedly drinking at their friends' house when Romero brought out a firearm from his sling bag and shot his drinking buddies.

The suspect's father Norberto Romero reportedly later went to the scene of the shooting to take his son's gun. He is now in the custody of local police and is facing a complaint of obstruction of justice. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 29, 2022

Restaurant and food establishments in Baguio City are on alert for an "eat and run" scheme.

A restauranteur said that a group of tourists dined at his establishment and after eating, one from the the group stood up and went to the counter to inquire about “pasalubong” items from the cashier.

When the customer and the cashier were talking, the rest of the group went out.

The eatery crew found out too late that the person only bought a bottle of chili sauce and did not pay the bill. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao 

August 28, 2022

Abrenians were roused from their sleep Sunday dawn when a 5.5-magnitude earthquake jolted the province.

The Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology said the Sunday dawn jolt at 2:27 a.m. was strongest in Pilar town while the capital town of Bangued and Bucay town experienced an intensity 5 jolt.

The epicenter was exactly located at 17.40 degrees North, 120.61 degrees East-002 km South 44 degrees East of Pilar, Abra with a depth of 7 km. It was traced from tectonic movements.

The Sunday dawn quake was also felt in Vigan City and Banayoyo, Ilocos Sur at lower intensities and also in Sinait town also in Ilocos Sur and as far as Laoag City in Ilocos Norte and Cagayan province far north.

A series of aftershocks were recorded as of 4:19 AM also Sunday morning. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 24, 2022

A farmer died in Kalinga and is believed to have been hit by a tree felled while Severe Tropical Storm Florita brought wind and rain to northern Luzon.

Police said Francis Cabanes Bitanga, 56, from Barangay Wagod in Pinukpuk was found lifeless underneath a toppled tree on Tuesday afternoon.

Bitanga, reports said, went to tend his "kaingin" (swidden farm) Monday afternoon and spent the night at the hut of a friend. 

He went out early the next morning despite rains and wind brought by the storm.

His friend went looking for him after his wife reported he had not come home. -- The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 22, 2022

 Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong believe lockdowns are not an option despite an inevitable increase in COVID-19 cases in the city with the resumption of face-to-face classes.

Any hike in cases should not deter the continued conduct of in-person schooling to improve the students' productivity and learning processes and avert the effects of virtual learning such as low level of assimilation of students, he said adding, "we need to learn how to live with the virus."

"We cannot anymore sacrifice the students' educational needs that they cannot get from the virtual system. Kailangan na talagang pumasok ng mga estudyante."

He emphasized the need to observe the minimum public health standards among students, like the wearing of face masks while inside the classroom and isolating themselves when experiencing symptoms. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 4, 2022

The body of an unidentified man who may have been the victim of an extrajudicial killing was found down a cliff along the Shilan-Lamut Road in La Trinidad, Benguet on Thursday.

La Trinidad police said a retired DPWH employee noticed the body, which was naked, some 20 meters down the cliff as he was taking a leak.

He immediately reported his discovery to a police outpost.

Help was sought from the Benguet Provincial Forensic Unit for technical investigation and processing of the crime scene. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 20, 2022

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong sued five personnel of the Baguio City Treasurer's Office Wednesday morning, whom he alleged have been cheating the city government for long over tax collections at the city public market.

The mayor who led the investigation himself submitted manifestations and other documents as attachments to the case he filed against the employees at the Baguio Justice Hall as proof of malversation and falsification of public documents.

He claimed before the Baguio Prosecutors’ Office that the treasury employees collect huge amount of money through the city's "quartais" system but they reflect different amounts on the city's official receipts.  -- The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 16, 2022

To commemorate the killer quake which hit Baguio City 32 years ago, its officials, together with heads and personnel of government line agencies renew their “vow of resiliency” during and after disaster and calamities. 

This coincided the start of the annual observation of the National Disaster Resiliency Month.

Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Cordillera Regional Director Albert Mogul says that the OCD, with the cooperation of the people of the Cordillera, was able to employ efficient measures as well as equip necessary skills and instruments in boosting the region's disaster preparedness and resiliency.  

He says there are still challenges that should be addressed and overcome them in ensuring a resilient community. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 12, 2022

A motorcycle rider died on the spot while his passenger was badly hurt after he lost control of the bike and rammed into a taxi on Monday evening along Romulo Drive in front of The Mansion, the president’s official residence in Baguio City.

The two riders, one a minor, from Itogon, Benguet, came from the Pacdal Circle and were heading to Bua, Itogon when the accident happened. -- The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 10, 2022

Three hundred-fifty teens composing the Philippine Military Academy class of 2026 were welcomed for plebehood in Baguio City on Saturday.

Officiating the oath-taking rites at the premier military officer training institution in the country, Brig. General Julius Tomines said the reception rites "[mark] the long, challenging and fulfilling life of being a cadet."

Considered the 'creme dela creme' of young recruits to the military, from over 37,000 who applied to take the entrance examinations for the 2026 PMA class last year, only a little over 24,000 were qualified to actually take it and only 1,211 passed.

Only 888 however reported to take medical and physical examinations and after rigids tests, 350 were finally taken in to compose the class of 2026.

Saturday's reception rites also marked the start of a regimented military life and the gradual transformation from civilian into a professional and disciplined military leader, added BGen. Tomines. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 6, 2022

Baguio City is eyeing to revive the Hop On, Hop Off (HoHo) bus system mainly for tourists coming to the Vacation Capital with their private vehicles and causing horrendous traffic jams here during weekends.

Engineer Aloysius Mapalo, supervising administrative officer of the City Tourism Office said, tourists heading to the city with their private cars will be asked to park their vehicles at the Baguio Convention Center grounds and take the HoHo bus to go around.

The city tourism office targets to implement the HoHo bus by July 15 and every weekends thereafter (Friday, Saturday and Sunday).

Data from the portal visita.baguio.gov.ph shows an average of 50,000 to 60,000 weekly tourist arrivals where bulk or about 40,000 arrive from Friday to Sunday. -- The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 4, 2022

Two drug haulers ended up in jail Sunday when authorities who were trying to assist them after a road accident found marijuana they were trying to smuggle out from the highlands.

Tuba town policemen who responded to a highway mishap the duo met in Benguet, found their emergency response turn into a drug seizure and arrest.

Reports said the Ford Ranger pickup truck the two suspects from Cavite and Rizal were using to sneak out P1.4 million worth of dried marijuana leaves to the lowlands lost its brakes and turned turtle on the road.

The duo reportedly managed to get out from pickup truck taking with them the marijuana, which was packed in a box. Unfortunately, though,  while policemen were giving the two first aid, the box fell down a ravine and unloaded its illicit cargo. — The STAR/Aretmio Dumlao

July 3, 2022

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong is poised to file graft suits against several officials of the Baguio City District Engineering Office of the Department of Public Works and Higjways.

Magalong had his affidavit-complaint subscribed under oath before the City Prosecutor’s Office last Friday in preparation to filing before the Office of the Ombudsman in Quezon City on Monday.

The complaint that will be directed against eight officials and employees of the BCDEO are related to a sidewalk project along Bonifacio Street alleged by Magalong to be substandard. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 29, 2022

The Office of the Ombudsman has dismissed a top official of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in the Cordillera after finding him guilty of grave misconduct warranting his dismissal from service with cancellation of eligilibility, forfeiture of benefits and perpetual disqualification for re-employment in the government service.

In a 16- page ruling, the Ombudsman though dismissed the complaint for Conduct Prejudicial to the interest of the government against former NCIP-CAR Regional Director Roland Calde, presently the Regional Director of NCIP Region III, for lack of substantial evidence. 

Charges of grave abuse of authority, grave misconduct, and ignorance of the law filed by Roger Sinot, the selected Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) of Baguio City way back when Calde was the NCIP Regional Director on June 2017. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 28, 2022

The Cordillera Administrative Region celebrates its 35th Founding Anniversary starting July 1 with a kick-off program in Sagada, Mountain Province.

Themed “One Autonomous Cordillera: Ensuring Social Development and Inclusive Growth in the New Normal”, the month-long celebration is hosted by Mountain Province.

Mountain Province Gov. Bonifacio Lacwasan assured that they are ready to welcome everyone who will join the month-long celebration. —  AFP

June 14, 2022

 Authorities are searching for the parents of a newborn boy left in a public utility vehicle terminal at Barangay Cruz, La Trinidad, Benguet.

The baby was found by a terminal helper Tuesday morning wrapped in a green jacket and tucked inside a plastic bag. The baby was rushed to a hospital but was declared dead on arrival.

The incident was reported by a concerned citizen to the La Trinidad police. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 28, 2022

Authorities say at least seven individuals were hurt and one of them is in critical condition in two separate accidents in Ilocos Sur dawn Saturday.

At around 2:15 a.m. Saturday, a motorcycle collided with a car at Barangay Pangada, Sta. Catalina, Ilocos Sur where the driver of the motorcycle and his backrider suffered multiple injuries.   The latter, who is reportedly in critical condition, was brought to a private hospital because of serious head injury.

The rider was identified as Roland Gemmo Gomez Dela, 38 a resident of San Manuel, Pangasinan while his backrider is Robin Pajinag Semilla, 30, from Barangay Badio, Pinili, Ilocos Norte. The driver of the car was named as Anthony Gamboa Llandela, 38, from Barangay Namnama, Sinait, Ilocos Sur and his passenger was identified as Richard Gallo Ferrer from Barangay 3, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur.  They also sustained body injuries and were rushed to another private hospital. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 26, 2022

Northern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Ernesto Torres Jr., said that troops taking on security patrols in Sitio Timmapaya, Namal, Asipulo chanced upon more or less 15 NPA rebels following Monday’s gunfight with more than 20 rebels at Sitio Likew, also in Namal.

Lt. Gen. Torres claimed rebels were members of the Abra-Mt. Province-Ilocos Sur (WGF-AMPIS) guerilla front.

After the clash, troopers seized two 5.56mm M16A1 rifles, another 5.56mm M653 rifle, a grenade rifle, two grenades,  six Anti-Personnel Mines, a 30-rounder magazine for M16 rifle with 9 rounds of amunition, two NPA flags, a communications equipment, personal belongings and medical paraphernalia. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 30, 2022

Police say a woman was declared dead-on-arrival moments when the SUV she was riding with six others dived into a ravine after smashing with another vehicle along the national road in Barangay Bayyo, Bontoc, Mountain Province capital, Friday afternoon. 

Charity Vicente, 54, from Silang, Cavite, died at the hospital while her companions riding the Mitsubishi Montero SUV are still at the hospital where they were rushed after they were taken out from the 60-meter deep ravine.

Police say the Sagada, Mt. Province-bound Black Mitsubishi Montero SUV driven by Hector Ara?a, 64,  from Montalban, Rizal was traversing the Bontoc-Ifugao road when it smashed into a Blue Toyota Tamaraw FX AUV on the opposite lane. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 28, 2022

Authorities say an unidentified gunman killed a village chief in Bangued, Abra’s capital town late Wednesday afternoon.

Angad, Bangued Barangay Chairman Roni Bringas was reportedly watching a basketball tournament in his barangay when shot by a man using a .45 caliber gun, immediately killing him between 5 to 5:30 p.m.

Last week, vice mayoral candidate Buc Luna went live on Facebook showing an alleged vote-buying activity right at Bringas’ home in Barangay Angad. The post immediately went viral with over 87,000 viewers. —  The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 16, 2022

Police say a father and his two children died while three other relatives were hurt when a wayward car hit them along the national road of Ibaan, Batangas Saturday early morning,

Ibaan police identified the fatalities as  Joselito Bayos Jr.,43 and his two sons John Ivan, 19 and Jeremy 16. 

Injured were Josephine Bayos, Princess Tjaon and a 17-year old boy residents of Antipolo City, Rizal. — The STAR/Arnell Ozaeta

April 2, 2022

Authorities say that bodies of two elementary school children who fell into the irrigation canal in Purok 6, Bulanao, Tabuk City, Kalinga were retrieved by rescue teams after more than three hours on Friday afternoon.

According to the Kalinga Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), Jessa Mae Palactao, 9 and David Cusay Palactao, 12, both residents of Bulanao, Tabuk City were playing near the irrigation canal. When they washed their hands at a faucet nearby, they accidentally slipped and fell directly to the deep canal.

Emergency responders who rushed to the site upon receiving the report about the incident searched for the victims and found the 12-year-old boy at around 5:15 p.m. while the 9-year-old girl was found at 5:39 p.m.  

Both were brought to the Kalinga Provincial Hospital but were pronounced dead by attending physicians. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

March 31, 2022

Agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Cordillera say they have seized six marijuana bricks Wednesday afternoon in Baguio City. 

Twenty-three-year-old Genesis Pagaduan was supposed to hand over the P720,000 worth of contraband to a buyer at around 4:30 p.m. in a subdivision along Bakakeng Norte, who turned out to be an undercover PDEA agent who had been in contact with him for a week.

Pagaduan who was with 18-year-old Nerro Calma, though claimed he was only asked to hand over the item which was tucked inside a paper box to someone for a fee of P6,000 not knowing what it was. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao  

March 18, 2022

Benguet farmers are losing an estimate of P2.5 million daily due to illegally imported vegetables now flooding the market, says the League of Associations at the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post (LALTVTP).

And these loses have been going on for nine months now.

The LALTVTP is the biggest agriculture-related organization in Benguet with around 10,000 members covering the different stakeholders of the vegetable trading industry. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

March 15, 2022

Eight bricks of dried marijuana leaves pegged to be worth P960,000 were found Sunday morning abandoned at a lot along the national road in Lubuagan, Kalinga.

Lubuagan policemen recovered the marijuana bricks, weighing at least 8,000 grams, from a lot adjacent to a certain Gary Guilay’s house.

Guilay told police that he saw a suspicious item near his house, prompting him to immediately seek assistance.

The bricks were inventoried  by the police in the presence of Barangay Dangoy Kagawad Rodney Aranca before it was taken to the Lubuagan police station. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

February 18, 2022

Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson leads the long list of alumni awardees at the alumni homecoming of the Philippine Military Academy.

Through hybrid virtual and physical attendance, Lacson of PMA class of 1971 and standard bearer of the Nationalist Peoples Coalition, together with Senate President Vicente Sotto III as his vice presidential team mate, is among the four Lifetime Achievement Awardees with his “mistah” (classmate), former PNP chief Edgardo Aglipay (class ‘71) and Cavalier Anselmo Avenido and former PMA Superintendent Melchor Rosales of class ‘68. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

February 7, 2022

Two high school students, both aged 13, drowned Sunday afternoon at Gawaan Lake in Bana-ao, Tadian town in Mountain Province.

Local authorities said the two were Grade 8 students of Dacudac National High School and  residents of Lenga, Tadian.

Wtnesses claimed that the duo went for a swim at Gawaan Lake and drowned around 3 p.m. — AFP

January 22, 2022

The Baguio City local government unit expects that COVID-19 cases in the city will continue to peak until next week.

“Last week and this week are critical period in the current wave where cases were expected to further rise and reach the highest point,” Mayor Benjamin Magalong says.

“After reaching the peak, we expect to attain and maintain a plateau for another two weeks before hopefully going on a downtrend,” he adds. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

January 19, 2022

The Center of Health Development of the DOH in Cordillera confirms the detection of two cases of Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant of concern in Baguio City.

The health department reports that one is a close contact of an individual infected with COVID-19. The person is asymptomatic and without travel history outside Baguio City 14 days before specimen collection.

The specimen was collected on Dec. 14, 2021 which turned out positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 15, 2021. The specimen was then sent to Philippine Genome Center on Dec. 23, 2021 for whole genome sequencing and was reported positive for Omicron variant on Jan. 15, 2022. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

January 5, 2022

After celebrating Christmas last year and New Year this month, Baguio residents see a rise in COVID-19 cases infections.

The City Health Services Office logged 58 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the total active cases in the city to 149.  A single COVID-related death was also recorded.

A purok in one of the 128 barangays of Baguio has also remained on lockdown.

Meanwhile, the Baguio Tourism Office issued new guidelines based on the executive order of Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong on travel restrictions particulary for leisure travels especially specifiying the city will only accomodate up to 4,000 individual registrations a day. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

January 3, 2022

The Baguio Tourism Office is only reducing — not cutting off — the flow of tourists into the city as cases of COVID-19 infections are on the rise again.

The City Health Services Office on Sunday logged 10 new cases, bringing the total active cases in the city to 73.

One purok in Baguio City has so far been placed under lockdown.

Baguio Tourism Officer Alloysius Mapalo also clarified Baguio is not on a lockdown. "We also did not stop the entry of tourists, they are actually here!" he stressed. 

— The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

December 29, 2021

An elderly couple died in fire early Wednesday morning at Upper P. Burgos Barangay in Baguio City.

The victims were identified as Juan Velasco and his wife Julieta. They are both 94 years old.

The fire started at the 4-storey house at around 5:00 AM and was doused by personnel of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) three hours after. 

The bodies of the couple were brought to the Baguio Memorial Chapel while arson investigators are digging deeper into what caused the fire. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

December 28, 2021

The municipal government of Bontoc, the capital of Mountain Province, will be increasing the financial aid given to barangay health workers in recognition of their sacrifices.

The Bontoc Municipal Council has approved the BHWs Financial Aid Ordinance of 2021, which will take effect on January 1, 2022.

Under Ordinance No. 348, series of 2021, every BHW will be entitled to financial aid of up to P10,000 a year, which will be released in full each December. The aid will depend on length of service and BHWs should have rendered a minimum of three months of actual service for the year.

The honorarium given to BHWs was raised to P8,000 from P7,500 in 2020. The P7,500 was itself an increase from the previous rate of P1,500.

— The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

December 13, 2021

Soldiers seized three rifles after a brief firefight with communist rebels in remote Balbalan town in Kalinga Sunday afternoon, the military says.

A team of the 50th Infantry Battalion of Joint Task Force (JTF) Tala of the AFP's Northern Luzon Command on combat patrol when they chanced upon the rebels belonging to the Komite Larangang Gerilya Baggas at Sitio Tanap, Barangay Mabaca, Balbalan. A five-minute firefight ensued, Brig. Gen. Andrew Costelo, acting Nolcom commander said.

Outmaneuvered, rebels scampered in different directions, Costelo also said. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

December 10, 2021

Two suspected car thieves were immediately killed while their alleged accomplice died in the hospital after shootout with policemen past midnight Friday along the Lamut-Shilan Road, in Barangay Shilan in La Trinidad, Benguet.

The three, whose identities are yet to be ascertained by authorities, on board a red sedan were reportedly seen suspiciously along a gasoline station at Barangay Tomay.

Police said the three immediately opened fire at policemen responding to the tip of the trio’s suspicious movements in the area and sped northbound towards barangay Tomay.

Road blocks were set up along their possible escape routes, including the Lamut-Shilan Road. 

The trio's vehicle, whose plate number was verified at the LTO as illegally transfered from another vehicle, crashed along the road side, allowing police to corner them.

Despite being cornered, the three shot it out with the police, the cops said. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

December 4, 2021

Baguio City residents and visitors alike have to put on thick clothes and cover themselves with warm blankets as the temperature in Baguio City drops.

State weather authorities forecast even colder days ahead.

At 5:00 a.m. Saturday, PAGASA recorded Baguio City's temperature as low as 11.8 degrees celcius, the lowest so far in December. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

November 29, 2021

Baguio residents thronged to designated jab centers Monday, the first day of the "Bayanihan Bakunahan" (National Vaccination Days) to join in the nationwide bid to achieve total herd immunity in Baguio. 

Adult residents who are receiving their first dose occupied seats and patiently waited for their turns in their barangay vaccination centers and in major establishments and hospitals in the city.  

The three big vaccination sites — Baguio Country Club, SM and SLU —  were at their full capacity as vaccinees started to arrive even early in the morning, some even two hours before breakfast.

Even students, who are having their online classes, queued with their class modules and answered them while waiting for their turns. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

November 24, 2021

Benguet Gov. Melchor Diclas said that bars and other entertainment houses can operate depending on their respective local government units (LGUs).

Diclas said that as far as he is concerned, bars can actually already operate. He said this after the province is under Alert level 2 in accordance to the pronouncement of the InterAgency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID). 

The governor stressed that the operations of entertainment establishments still depend on the decision of the respective LGUs of the 13 towns in the province.  He said that they have the authority to do so because they know the actual situation of their area of responsibility. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

November 21, 2021

Investigators in Baguio City are looking into all possibilities to identify the parents of a lifeless newborn found Friday outside a hospital here.

Officers of Police Station 5 said someone called informing them of a dead newborn found in a flower pot in front of the exit area of the Baguio Medical Center (BMC) in Barangay Military Cut Off.

The police said the baby was wrapped with a blue towel inside an ice cream container that was placed in a paper bag.

The newborn was stuffed inside an ice cream container and was put in a paper bag.

The baby was brought to the Baguio Memorial Chapel in Naguilian Road. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

November 20, 2021

Investigators are looking into all possibilities to identify the parents of a lifeless newborn found outside a hospital in Baguio City.

Policemen at Station 5 say someone called, informing them of a dead newborn found in a flower pot in front of the exit area of the private-run Baguio Medical Center in Barangay Military Cut Off, Baguio City.

The police say the baby was wrapped with a blue towel. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

November 15, 2021

Residents of large portions of Mountain Province and some parts of Kalinga suffered from three-hour darkness over the weekend after their power supply was cut.

The outage, personnel of the Mountain Province Electric Power Cooperative said, may have been caused by a bat, the burnt body of which was found near one of the powerlines.

The electric cooperative suspects that the bat was electrocuted causing a short circuit that destroyed an insulator and caused the blackout.

MOPRECO reported that power supply was restored Sunday midnight. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

November 9, 2021

As the Palace contests the decision of Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso to relax the policy on face shields in public places, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong is also appealing for limiting the use of the plastic barriers.

In a letter addressed to the Baguio City Council through Baguio City Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan, Magalong urged city legislators to amend the City Ordinance on the use of faceshields by adjusting the provisions of City Ordinance Number 49, Series of 2021.

Magalong appealed to limit the mandatory use of faceshields to areas with close contact and high exposure to COVID-19 such as hospitals, isolation facilities and similar institutions.  The mayor said his appeal is similar to the suggestion that is now being tackled by the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease .

According to Magalong, Baguio was able to reach the milestone of fully vaccinating 71.8% of its eligible population of 281,000 as of November 6, 2021. "With this achievement, we will be pushing more to cover at least 90% of the elgible population by year end", said the mayor. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

November 7, 2021

Latest biosurveillance report of the Philippine Genome Center (PGC) bared that 30 more cases were added to Baguio City’s Delta  Variant of  the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) log bringing the total to 106 as of first week of November.

The PGC also reported that the total number of detected Alpha Variant in the city is 116 while the Beta Variant remains at 52.

All in all, the city has 274 detected variants of concern (VOCs) as of said date. The city has been seeing less new COVID-19 cases for the past two weeks  after its bout with the Delta-driven surge which began on August 20, 2021.

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the surge lasted for one month and three weeks. He however cautioned residents against letting down their guards on the observance of the public health standards and compliance to restrictions as the possibility of saddling or case rebound remains.

Based on the data provided by data analyst Jefferson Damoslog, the lead contact tracing team listed a total of 8,570 patients linked to the VOC cases. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

November 4, 2021

Authorities say the primary suspect in the killing of Los Baños, Laguna Mayor Ceasar Perez was caught in Baguio City by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Batangas and the CIDG Baguio City agents Wednesday afternoon.

Norvin Lantican Tamisin, a former Los Baños town councilor was cornered at Bareng Drive, Barangay Bakakeng Sur.

On the night of Dec. 3, 2020, Perez was assasinated at the municipal compound in Los Baños. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 30, 2021

Souvenir shops and stall owners along Kennon Road are appealing to the city government of Baguio to open the famous Kennon Road to all motorists and tourists as the city starts to ease up restrictions to non-essential travels.

According to one of the souvenir shop operators along Kennon Road, particularly at the Lion's head area, they suffered from heavy losses since the start of lockdowns. Rebecca Pulas says their daily sales dropped to nearly zero after tourists and non-resident motorists were barred from passing Kennon Road. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 25, 2021

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and National Bureau of Investigation agents backed up by local police served a search warrant on a 40-year-old suspect in Victoria Village in Baguio City on Sunday night.

They arrested him after finding around 5ml of "liquid shabu" and two plastic sachets of around 3 grams of shabu and drug paraphernalia.

They said the suspect is a "high-value target" who had been under surveillance for his alleged drug dealing. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 15, 2021

Members of the Tabuk City Council are backing up the demand of Barangay Balong, Tabuk City villagers to ban the burial of COVID-19 victims at the Balong Public Cemetery.

In a resolution, the city councilors endorsed to the Committee on Rules the request of Balong residents to stop the burrying of the dead due to COVID-19 while stating the ordinance of Balong barangay officials who observed that used personal protective equipment (PPE) are not properly disposed, compromising public health standards.

The barangay officials also complained that the required standard pit hole was not complied. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 5, 2021

Rep. Eric Go Yap, House appropriations committee chairman and Benguet catetaker congressman, formally filed his certificate of candidacy on Tuesday morning to run for congressman of Benguet. 

Yap will be running under United Benguet, a local party he formed together with Gov. Melchor Diclas, who also filed his re-election bid togther with him.

"Ngayong pandemic, marami tayong tinutulungan at hindi tayo pwede basta bastang iwan natin yung probinsya sa gitna ng pandemic," Yap said while assuring the delivery of basic health services and the continued funding for all the projects started under his term.

Yap added although he may not be born in Benguet, he has learned to love the people and has embraced the culture. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 4, 2021

Like in neighboring Ilocos Sur, Abra's local politics remains a family affair.  

Abra Gov. Ma. Jocelyn Valera-Bernos, elected to a second term in 2019, filed her candidacy for vice-governor with the rest of her family also seeking top posts Monday.

Bernos was Abra's lone district representative before she ran and won in the 2016 gubernatorial race.

The governor's father, Bangued Mayor Dominic, is seeking his daughter's provincial. Bangued Vice Mayor Mila Valera, the governor's mother, is running for mayor.

Bangued Councilor Joaquin "Kiko" Bernos is running for vice mayor. 

Rep. Joseph "JB" Bernos is meanwhile seeking a third term at the House of Representatives. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 4, 2021

Like in neighboring Ilocos Sur, Abra's local politics remains a family affair.  

Abra Gov. Ma. Jocelyn Valera-Bernos, elected to a second term in 2019, filed her candidacy for vice-governor with the rest of her family also seeking top posts Monday.

Bernos was Abra's lone district representative before she ran and won in the 2016 gubernatorial race.

The governor's father, Bangued Mayor Dominic, is seeking his daughter's provincial. Bangued Vice Mayor Mila Valera, the governor's mother, is running for mayor.

Bangued Councilor Joaquin "Kiko" Bernos is running for vice mayor. 

Rep. Joseph "JB" Bernos is meanwhile seeking a third term at the House of Representatives. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 3, 2021

More than 85% of Baguio City's senior citizens have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

As of September 27, a total of 27,579 or 85.9% of the 32,108 seniors registered on the bakuna.baguio.gov.ph website have been fully inoculated, per data from the City Health Services Office and the Management Information Technology Division (MITD) of the City Mayor's Office.

Vaccination coverage for priority A2 may reach more than 90% once the 2,228 partially vaccinated senior citizens receive their second dose in the coming weeks. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 2, 2021

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong is seeking second term and not a national position in 2022.

"Still for mayor," the mayor told The STAR late Friday night, dousing speculations he is gunning for a seat in the Senate under the ticket of Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

Magalong, who has joined the Nationalist Peoples' Coalition, has not officially filed his candidacy yet. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 26, 2021

The Provincial Government of Kalinga announced that its Provincial Epidemiological Surveillance Unit (PESU) received information Saturday evening that another six cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 and one of the Alpha variant have been detected in the provice. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao 

September 25, 2021

An official says the Tabuk City is digging more graves at its local cemetery in Agbannawag in preparation for more COVID-19 deaths.

According to Tabuk City Public Information Office Aurora Amilig, the Balong cemetery which saw the most number of COVID-19 related burials so far, is almost full.  

She says that the city is experiencing its worst wave of COVID-19 infections. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 19, 2021

Baguio City has a new record high of new confirmed COVID-19 infections in a day. 

Basing it on the monitoring data of the Baguio City Health Services Offuce (HSO), the new cases as of Saturday afternoon reached 411. 

The number surpassed the 289 cases logged last September 11, 2021. 

The city also reported seven COVID-related deaths on Saturday.

Baguio now has 21,309 confirmed cases, with 2,965 of those considered active.  The total number of recoveries is 17,919. The total number of COVID-related deaths meanwhile is 425. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 9, 2021

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong has ordered more temporary restrictions on activities in the city in response to increasing COVID-19 cases that are projected to balloon further in the coming weeks.

"Based on this weeks' data as supplied by the City Epidemiology and Surveilance Unit (CESU), our seven-day average for cases per day is now 165 and we expect this to further increase in the next two weeks," the mayor said.

Moreover, the number of barangays with new cases in the last 14 days has risen to 115 out of 128 or 89.15%. 

In view of this, the mayor ordered a total ban on the sale and service of liquor and other alcoholic products from September 11-19.

Permitted customer capacity for enclosed or indoor seating in dine-in establishments was also ordered reduced to 30%. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 6, 2021

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong is seeking to place the city under General Community Quarantine "with heightened restrictions" to facilitate the implementation of more stringent control measures against COVID-19.

He said that although the city had tightened some of its quarantine rules since two weeks ago to a degree similar to those imposed under stricter quarantine status, a formal declaration is necessary to enable the city to carry out more restrictions. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 1, 2021

Benguet province logged 49 COVID-19 variants of concern in August, authorities said.

Dr. Maria Imelda Ulep, Provincial District Hospital coordinator and Benguet incident manager, in her report said that of these 49 cases, 33 are Alpha cases, 12 are Beta, and four are of the Delta variant.

Three individuals who were infected with Alpha, Beta and Delta have already died. The other 30 cases of Alpha and 11 Beta cases have, on the other hand, since recovered.

The two Delta variant-infected patients are still recovering. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 1, 2021

The whole province of Abra is placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from Sept. 1 to 7, 2021.

Epidemic risk levels have been increasing in five municipalities while six towns were observed to have high epidemic levels and an increase of 9.82 daily average attack rate. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 29, 2021

Benguet Gov. Melchor Daguines Diclas called on the Health Cluster of the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 to strengthen the province's defense system against the virus after the Department of Health confirmed that there are four cases of the Delta variant detected in the province.

On August 28, 2021, the DOH confirmed that two of the said cases are from La Trinidad, and one each from Buguias and Tuba.   The case from Buguias, a 34-year-old male, and one from La Trinidad, a 32-year-old male, are still recovering while one has recovered and the other died.

The death case is a 56-year-old male from La Trinidad who was admitted to a local hospital on August 7, 2021 and was reported dead on August 12, 2021.

Contact-tracing for the said cases are now ongoing. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 28, 2021

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong warns that the worst is yet to come in the city as they expect a spike in Delta variant of COVID-19 cases. 

Magalong claims the recent rise of cases should not come as a surprise because it was forecast and prepared for. He says with the contingency measures and interventions set in place months before, the city has not felt the full impact of the new variant, but he warns that the brunt has yet to happen by the end of September based on professional projections. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 23, 2021

Police caught four people at the quarantine checkpoint along Marcos Highway and the Baguio Convention Triage Facility over the weekend for faking their COVID-19 test results.

On August 19, a Toyota Innova AUV with six passengers was flagged down and directed to proceed to the KIA Triage for verification of protocol requirements. The driver however could not present to authorities any legal basis for his travel with his six passengers.

On August 21, a Toyota Hi-Ace Van with seven passengers from Pinsao Pilot Project in Baguio City was also flagged down at the same checkpoint for verification of protocol requirements. They were not able to show the required documents either.

Police claimed the passengers were released after undergoing quarantine assessment at the triaging area, while the drivers were brought to the Marcos Highway police station for booking on violations of Republic Act 11332 (Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act) and anti-colorum laws. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 22, 2021

Agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Cordillera and the Baguio City police took a laborer for booking and to face illegal drug charges after selling shabu Saturday afternoon  at Purok 21, San Carlos Heights, in Irisan.

The suspect sold around a gram of shabu worth P6,800 to a government agent prompting his arrest, authorities say.

Another sachet containing half gram of shabu worth P3,400 was also taken from the suspect when frisked. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 19, 2021

After two days of mad search and rescue and operations,  responders found the body of the husband and a dismembered hand believed to be of his wife buried at a landslide at the Antamok River in Barangay Loacan in Itogon, Benguet.

The body of Nestor Talangcag, 54, was found at 2:22 p.m. on Thursday and a hand believed to be of his wife Maureen Talangcag, 57, hours later. 

The husband and wife are small-scale miners from Beda, Loacan,Itogon,Benguet. —The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 16, 2021

Police Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, Philippine National Police chief, appreciated the tidyness of the different police stations as he visited Benguet and Baguio police camps Monday.  

Police Regional Office Cordillera is really the home of the most disciplined cops of the country and that is something to be really proud of, the police chief beamed as he urged Cordillera cops to continue to be such.

Eleazar in his first visit here on Monday led the celebration of the 120th Police Service anniversary at the Cordillera police regional headquarters at Camp Dangwa.

He reminded the role of the police in ensuring the smooth flow of the implementation of rules and laws in maintaining the soundness of  society. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 14, 2021

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong says the city is expecting another surge of COVID-19 cases, including Delta variant cases in the next two weeks if not anytime soon.

According to Magalong, the city would only be able to delay but not prevent the entry of the more contagious variant despite the preventive measures imposed.  

“This is why a big part of its contingency plan dealt with beefing up the case management and control systems to address the variant’s expected dire effects such as increased hospitalizations," he says. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 11, 2021

Operatives from the 1st Benguet Provincial Mobile Force Company of the Benguet police uprooted and burned 400 fully-grown marijuana plants Tuesday afternoon in Sitio Botobot, Barangay Kayapa in Bakun, Benguet.

Police Brig. Gen. Ronald Oliver Lee, Cordillera police director, said police officers were conducting a regular patrol when they discovered the 50-square meter marijuana plantation at a communal forest in the mountainous area in Barangay Kayapa.

The weed destroyed had an estimated value of P80,000. 

Investigation is ongoing to identify the cultivators of the marijuana plants. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 11, 2021

Operatives from the 1st Benguet Provincial Mobile Force Company of the Benguet police uprooted and burned 400 fully-grown marijuana plants Tuesday afternoon in Sitio Botobot, Barangay Kayapa in Bakun, Benguet.

Police Brig. Gen. Ronald Oliver Lee, Cordillera police director, said police officers were conducting a regular patrol when they discovered the 50-square meter marijuana plantation at a communal forest in the mountainous area in Barangay Kayapa.

The weed destroyed had an estimated value of P80,000. 

Investigation is ongoing to identify the cultivators of the marijuana plants. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 9, 2021

Thanks to a foundation by an online sabong operator,  Tublay, Benguet much-needed rescue capability continue after donating an ambulance.

Tublay’s lone ambulance, which recently bogged down, prompted Mayor Armando Lauro to call Rep. Eric Go Yap (ACT-CIS party-list) , who in turn sought for its immediate replacement.    

"Tinawagan tayo ni Mayor Arman (Lauro), binalita nya sa atin na nagkaroon ng aberya yung nag iisang ambulance nila at hindi na magagamit. Nagtanong siya kung magagawan natin ng paraan para may magamit ang Tublay. Since hindi pa dumadating yung mga binili natin na ambulance at pati na rin yung hiningi natin sa [Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office], kinailangan ko maghanap ng malalapitan. Mabuti na lang nai-connect natin sa isang foundation na agad tumugon sa request ko," Yap said.

Yap, who is caretaker legislator for Benguet, was able to secure an ambulance from Pitmaster Foundation.  As part of its corporate social responsibility, the Pitmaster Foundation was established to initiate a charity project which aims to provide aid to as many indigent Filipinos nationwide, primarily to patients undergoing Renal Replacement Therapy (Hemodialysis). — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 3, 2021

Rescuers from the San Juan Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO), police and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) together with village officials are losing no time in searching for an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) who was swept by strong river current at the Malanas River in Barangay Abualan, San Juan, Abra, Monday afternoon. 

Jomar Turqueza, 28, resident of Barangay Abualan, San Juan, was with his father and brother crossing the Malanas river to fish when the water level rose.

His brother and father managed to go to the riverside but not him, who was was swept away by the undercurrent. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 31, 2021

Data show Baguio City suffered more than P25 million worth of structural damages not including the unproductive days of working residents because of the heavy downpours brought by the monsoon enhanced by Typhoon Fabian and the recent low pressure areas.

The city logged one death and three injuries. Another death was recorded although was not included in the data because the victim was a suspected thief who slipped to his death escaping from the sixth floor of a hotel here.

According to the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, the figure represents P9,060,000 in private structure damages and P16,653,000 in damages to public structures.

— The STAR/Artemio Dumlao  

July 30, 2021

Drug trading continued in Baguio City despite the torrential rains that have lasted for more than a week.

Members of the anti-drug units of the Cordillera police caught a High-Value Individual (HVI) in a sting operation amidst heavy downpour at Purok Magsaysay Drive, Loakan Proper, Baguio City on Thursday.

The suspect, who is in the Cordillera Regional Top Ten Drug Personality list, sold a heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet of suspected ‘’shabu’’ weighing more or less 3 grams with an Standard Drug Price (SDP) P 20,400.00 to an operative who posed as buyer. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 28, 2021

Baguio City government employees felt a sigh of relief as they go home early on Wednesday after Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong suspended public office work at the Baguio City Hall from noon onwards.

Magalong stated that the city just like other places of North Luzon, is battered by strong winds and continuous torrential rains for over a week now brought by the SouthWest monsoon. This, he said, poses danger to everyone.

"Work will be temporarily suspended, owing to inclement weather, to safeguard the general welfare of all persons in the city, and to allow our workers and employees to go home early so that they maybe secured in their residence as we wait improved weather conditions," the mayor wrote. He said the issuance is in accordance to section 16 if Republic Act 7610 or the local government code of 1991 regarding such weather conditions. —  The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 27, 2021

A driver of a water delivery truck was killed after the vehicle he was driving lost its brakes and hit another vehicle then tumbled on its side after at at Sitio Kurba, Tuding, Itogon, Benguet on Monday.

The fatality is Martin Cayat Napeek III, 19, and a resident of Trail, Tuding, Itogon, Benguet.

According to the Itogon Municipal Police Station, the delivery truck Napeek was driving was descending along Proper Tuding, Itogon when the brakes of the truck malfunctioned and descended faster. 

The truck hit a parked van along the road and a house nearby then tumbled to its side. Napeek sustained fatal injuries because of the impact. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 12, 2021

Police training in Baguio City will be suspended after Mayor Benjamin Magalong requested Police Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, Philippine National Police chief, for a moratorium after more police trainees tested positive for COVID-19.

In a message to Eleazar, Magalong said Baguio City detected new COVID-19 positives among the trainees, thus the need to discontinue their activities. He pointed out the need to emphasize adherence to health protocols.  “It appears that our trainees are not compliant with the minimum public health standards," he said.

The City Epidemiology Surveillance Unit recorded 26 trainees testing positive for COVID-19 from June 28 to July 11. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 3, 2021

Newly-installed Baguio City police director Col. Glenn Lonogan vows stricter implementation of the city's entry protocols at the heels of reports that some entrants managed to evade rules.

Lonogan says he will deploy more personnel to monitor the checkpoints and ensure that the entry rules are strictly followed. — The STAR/Artermio Dumlao

July 3, 2021

Data show a total of 95,020 Baguio recidents received their first and second jabs of COVID-19 vaccine from the 109,921 registered as of the end of June.

From a validated report of the Department of Health corroborated by the City Health Services Office Physician Khecy Manuel-Colas and Risk Communication Management Officer Cecile Agpawa, as supervised by Baguio City Health Services Office head Dr. Rowena Galpo, the vaccination program was conducted in five mega-sites, including the University of Baguio  gymnasium, Saint Louis University gymnasium, Saint Louis Center High School department at St. Vincent, SM Parking area and at the Baguio Country Club.  

Other sites may be opened through philanthropic individuals and organizations pending training and assurance of availability of health workers and volunteers. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 1, 2021

Hydro Electric Development Corp. (HEDCOR) shut off its Lon-oy and Labay plants along the Bakun River Wednesday evening after the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples issued a cease-and-desist order last week.

Separate contingents of elders and elected officials led by Bakun Mayor Bill Raymundo trooped to the plant sites to enforce the NCIP's CDO after Bakun town issued a Certificate of Non-Consent for the power projects.

National Officers of HEDCOR tried to bid for time through virtual dialogue arguing it needed to get the permission of DOE, which in turn advised the company to continue operating.
Bakun earlier, through their IP organization, said they do not consent to the project and requested NCIP to issue the CDO. HEDCOR,  they claimed, lied to the elders in order not to pay more for use of ancestral domain.

The firm also filed suits against the mayor for refusing to issue a business permit. It also sued two barangay captains for not issuing barangay clearances, and the municipal treasurer for not accepting payment from HEDCOR. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 30, 2021

The City Social Welfare and Development Office in Baguio City is alarmed over an increase in suicide cases in the first semester of 2021, which it attributes to mental health issues related to the coronavirus pandemic.  

City Social Welfare and Development Officer Betty Fangasan says there have been 19 cases recorded from January to June against 24 recorded for all of 2020.

According to the CSWDO, 16 of these suicide cases were males while three were females.

Majority of the cases were aged 20 to 30 years old and that the causes of the suicide cases as per their investigation were alleged stressful life events, mental health issues or disorders, family and financial problems, among others, that led to depression. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

The Department of Health urges people seeking professional support to get in touch with the National Center for Mental Health hotlines at 0917-899-USAP (8727) or 899-USAP (8727); or its Mind Matters hotline at 09189424864. 

June 28, 2021

Police from the Cordillera and Cagayan Valley regions on Sunday afternoon cornered four alleged transporters of marijuana bricks bought from Tabuk City, Kalinga.

The suspects — one is from Isabela and the rest are from Metro Manila — were intercepted on board a silver Toyota Vios where police found ten marijuana bricks weighing more or less ten kilos each. Police said the marijuana is worth around P1.2 million.

Police Brig. General Crizaldo Nieves, Cagayan Valley police director, said Kalinga policemen received a tip about a gray car loaded with weed, prompting the Kalinga Provincial Tactical Operation Center to monitor the vehicle and an intensified checkpoint operations on Quarantine Checkpoints (QCP). 

About an hour later, police spotted the vehicle of the four about to pass the QCP. When the cops at the checkpoint flagged the car down, the driver accelerated and drove towards Quezon, Isabela. 

They were later flagged down at another checkpoint. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 25, 2021

Ninety-eight trainees at the Philippine Public Safety College of the Police Training Institute, Cordillera Administrative Regional Training Center (CARTC) at Teacher's Camp in Baguio City have contracted COVID-19.

Police Lt. Col. Miguel de Guzman, training head, maintains there was no negligence on their part. He says they have been practicing due diligence in observing and instituting safety and health protocols at the police training center.

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong this week advised Guzman to immediately suspend all activities, trainings and events to give way for contact tracing, isolation and quarantine protocols of all those affected. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 22, 2021

Mayor Benjamin Magalong will lead the City Management Committee in crafting contingency measures against the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus.

This as the contact tracing czar raised alarm over the more contagious and more severe variant.

First identified in India last February, the Delta variant has been classified as one of the four COVID-19 variants of concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) which recently warned that the more contagious and severe variant "may emerge as the dominant coronavirus variant globally."

The Department of Health said it is believed to be "60 percent more contagious than the Alpha variant and can cause severe symptoms" thereby increasing the risk of hospitalization.

Magalong said the Delta variant will be a major item in Tuesday’s agenda of the Baguio City Management Committee “to come up with contigency plans for its prevention and control”.  — AFP

June 21, 2021

Members of the Mountain Province Sangguniang Panlalawigan have approved Resolution No. 2021-203 of the Sagada municipal council regulating adventure activities by motorcycles and 4-wheel drive vehicles on forest protected, forest production and recognized tourist zones in Sagada.

The Sagada town council earlier discovered that adventure enthusiasts frequent forest protected zones, forest production areas and tourist zones and conduct various sorts of adventure rides damaging the environment as well as to pathways and access roads.

Taking into consideration environmental laws,  the Sagada Sangguniang Bayan cited that the zoning ordinance and other related laws would like to maintain the natural condition of the identified zones and areas in consonance to the purposes they are established. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 18, 2021

Residents of Tabuk City and the whole province of Kalinga will no longer have to wait for days to get their swab test results as they have now an RT-PCR molecular laboratory.

The COVID-19 testing laboratory has just been accredited by the Health Facilities and Services Reculatory Bureau of the Department of Health. 

The validity of the facility's license to operate is from June 15 to December 31, 2021. But the operation starts on June 23, 2021.

The Tabuk City testing laboratory is located at Barangay Agbannawag, Tabuk City. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 14, 2021

Baguio City will soon have bike lanes along primary city roads as the local government schedules a bidding for the P50-million project.

The main or primary bike lanes will be along City Hall - Legarda Road - Marcos Highway, 1.50 km; City Hall Harrison Road - Kalaw - Baguio Convention Center, 1.80 km; Harrison Road - Bonifacio - Manuel Roxas, 1.30km; Loakan - Apugan - Panagbenga Park - North Drive, 6.40 km; Panagbenga Park to BGH Rotunda, 1.30 km; Gov. Pack Road to BGH rotunda, 1.40 km.   

Secondary bike lanes to follow for inter-connected routes are those going to Ambiong, La Trinidad, Marcos Highway, Loakan; the city limits or boundaries towards the La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay municipalities. 

June 13, 2021

Some 136 former rebels and Milisya ng Bayan, 100 Anak Pawis party-list members and nine rebels from Kalinga, Cagayan and Isabela vowed before the Philippine flag on Saturday in time for the 123rd Philippine Independence Day rites.

The surrenderees are celebrating their independence from the hooks of insurgents, the Philippine Army’s 5th Infantry Division said, as “they are awakened from the deceptive tactics of the leaders of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) wherein they have been brainwashed for years.” —  The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 8, 2021

Kibungan town policemen joined by Benguet provincial police operatives torched marijuana seedlings in Sitio Buduan in the town's Barangay Poblacion on Monday afternoon. 

The operation was a follow-up of successive illegal drug eradications in Kibungan last week where more than P47 million in marijuana was also set ablaze.

At least 210 marijuana seedlings at a plantation site were torched, said Police Col. Reynaldo Pasiwen, Benguet police director. —  The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 4, 2021

Baguio City has lost its case against developers in a “tree massacre” two years ago that saw the poisoning of at least 45 mature pine and alnus trees for a land development project.

The 4th branch of the First Judicial Branch of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTC) in Baguio City dismissed the case against Jasper Lao Golangco, Imelda Lao, Pompidou Golangco, Esmeralda Lubos and Lo Chen Win, owners of a big chunk of prime land due for development. 

They had filed an omnibus motion to dismiss the case or quash the information and defer the proceedings arguing the case lacked prescription and lacked probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest against them.

It found that the case should have been filed within two months of the alleged poisoning of the trees. 

The affidavit-Complaint was filed with the Office of the City Prosecutor on August 2, 2019. The Court stated that this is way past the two-month period from March or April 2019 which is stated in the information to be the date of the commission of the offense.  — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 15, 2021

The Baguio City Health Services Office warns about the sudden increase in maternal mortality attributing it to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo says, though maternal mortality rate for the past years had been increasing, a sudden increase from 45.19% in 2019 to 67.65% in 2020 was observed.

"There is a need to institute timely interventions from health workers," Galpo says. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 27, 2021

The Abra-based Agustin Begnalen Command of the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army took responsibility on Monday for killing of militiaman Vincent Garcia Jr. on April 24 in Poblacion, Lacub town.

Garcia Jr.,  a member of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) was feeding his pigs when four masked and armed men came for him. 

He reportedly ran towards the river but was shot at the river bank.

Florencio "Ka Bram" Baluga, spokesperson of the ABC said a team of the NPA-Abra special operations group killed Garcia for his "counter-revolutionary activities and being anti-people that merited a death sentence."

Garcia, Baluga also said, had been guiding soldiers in combat operations against rebels that affected even civilians in communities.  

The slain militiaman, admitted Baluga,  was a former rebel but had been sent home "because he could not follow the strict military discipline maintained by communist guerillas."

He eventually became an intelligence asset and action agent, who even led soldiers to arms depots of rebels, Baluga added.

Baluga claimed that Garcia also became a village thug who initiated drinking sprees and drug use. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 25, 2021

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong has rejected two resolutions passed by the Baguio City Council supposedly giving the go signal for the operations of Electronic and traditional bingo in the city. 

The City Council of Baguio recently passed resolutions 208 and 209  approving the request of RCC Global Entertainment, Inc. to operate electronic and traditional bingo and other games authorized by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). 

The said games are located at Summer Pines Residences along Marcos Highway and at Cedar Peak condominiums along Mabini Street, respectively. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 21, 2021

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong has encouraged more community pantries to sprout in the city.

"The concept of community pantry has really impressed us," the mayor says, believing that, "this is an exercise of people's initiative at its fullest and as such we are grateful for all those who took lead."

This practice of putting up community pantries, Magalong says, "is reflective of the Cordilleran 'Binaddang' culture. A symbol of the Filipino 'Bayanihan' spirit."

Magalong assures the public that the Baguio City government "shall not hinder nor hamper those kindhearted individuals who wish to come up with their community pantries for the benefit of the people." 

No permits shall be required for the conduct of community pantries in the city, he also says.

A number of community pantries have sprouted in the city including university-led and community-led self-help systems in the barangays. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 18, 2021

A young Yemeni student in Baguio City is in deep trouble after he was caught with drugs inside a lodge he rented for two days.

Bahbry Turki Sultan Mohammed Bahbry, 24, was arrested in a room at a lodge in Bakakeng Central after police found he was keeping P1,200 worth of marijuana .

Police Brig. Gen. Ronald Oliver Lee, Cordillera police director, said that the manager of the lodge called police because the student, who checked in for two days earlier, had never left the room and was refusing to pay his bill. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 11, 2021

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-Cordillera agents joined in by Cordillera policemen torched more than P5 million worth of cannabis discovered at a marijuana plantation along the borders of Kalinga and Mountain Province.

Operatives discovered more or less 1000 grams of already dried leaves of marijuana and stalks with an estimated value of P120,000.00 at the plantation and uprooted another more or less 24,600  pieces of fully grown marijuana plants valued ar P4,920,000.00 planted in a 2,350-square meter lot on Friday and Saturday on between Saclit, Sadanga, Mountain Province and Buscalan, Tinglayan,  Kalinga.

The joint operation is part of the efforts of the anti-illegal drug enforcement agencies to impede the continuous distribution of cannabis in various places in the country,  PDEA said.  — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 10, 2021

Baguio City’s health care utilization is now in critical level following the recent surge in COVID-19 cases over the past several weeks.

Baguio City Health Officer Dr. Rowena Galpo says that as of April 6 (Tuesday), 246 of the total 285 beds in different private and public health facilities in the city are already occupied. Only 37 beds are available. This represents 86.62% occupancy rate. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 7, 2021

Baguio still has over 900 hectares to develop into green zones.

The City Environment and Parks Management Office (CEPMO) has recorded and inventoried lands in the city that can be declared as greenbelt areas.   These areas have been identified as planting areas as mentioned in the Urban Management Plan of the city.

Baguio City Environment and Parks Management Officer lawyer Rhenan Diwas indicated a total of 904.4062 hectares within the territorial boundaries of the city which can be designated as green zones.

These areas that have been surveyed and inventoried as suitable for planting include forest and watershed reservations (765.4221 ha.), parks and plazas (61.3182 ha.), city properties in the barangays suitable for tree parks (15.0889 ha.), government lots as possible green patches (42.0 ha.), private parks for possible tree planting (18.5 ha.), and public schools with tree planting areas (2.077 has).

Green zones are areas declared by local governments as protected areas in order to promote sustainability and environmental protection and lessen the impact of urbanization. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 5, 2021

Yet another Abra town mayor tests positive of COVID-19.

Pidigan Mayor Joseph Domino Valera admitted Monday afternoon his RT-PCR test last April 3 came out as positive.

Valera, younger brother of Abra Gov. Ma. Jocelyn Valera-Bernos, said over his FB account that he took a test on Saturday due to a close contact with a COVID-19 death victim.

In mid-March, the mayor's sister Abra Gov. Bernos also went public to announce she contracted the virus.

Mayor Valera said he is symptomatic and is undergoing home quarantine. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 4, 2021

The COVID-19 isolation units of four private hospitals in Baguio City are now fully occupied.

First to announce its status was the Saint Louis University (SLU) Hospital of the Sacred Heart (HSH) on the day that the city government of Baguio listed 227 cases on April 2, 2021.  HSH management stated that it can no longer accomodate new COVID-19 patients.

On April 3, 2021, the remaining three private hospitals also bared their fully occupied status. The Baguio Medical Center (BMC), Pines City Doctor's Hospital (PSDH) and the Notre Dame Chartres Hospital earlier announced that their COVID-19 isolation facilities reached their maximum capacities. 

The said hospitals stated that a number of their COVID-19 patients are still in their respective emergency rooms. They are in the waiting lists while waiting for vacant slots in the facilities.

At the moment, only the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) has the capacity to admit patients. BGHMC management is again appealing to the public not to put the sacrifices of medical frontliners in vain and follow the public health standards. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 3, 2021

Baguio City records the highest number of individuals infected by COVID-19 in the city during the Holy Week.

The health department lists 227 new cases of infections. According to the City Health Services Office, the number was from the tests conducted from March 29 to April 2, 2021. The figure is the highest since March 2020. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

March 31, 2021

The Benguet Federation of Small-Scale Miners (BFSSM), the largest association of pocket miners in Benguet with at least 20,000 members, are vigorously pressing the Benguet Provincial Mining and Regulatory Board (PMRB) to lift the ban on small scale mining operations in Benguet.

Passing a board resolution recently, small-scale miners claim to have been disastrously affected by the stoppage order on all small scale mining operations after the onslaught of typhoon Ompong  in September 15,2018.

The BFSSM Resolution 2021-03 passed on March 20,2021 stated: “In view of the long period of inactivity by the small-scale miners, their mode of living has been greatly affected and they were almost reduced in destitute waiting for dole outs from the government and private sectors while their children suffered from the effects of this stoppage order.”

“Such stoppage order has long served its purpose considering that the small-scale miners religiously complied with the directive and obviously their respective audits and working places has rehabilitated by itself.” — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

March 28, 2021

 A member of the barangay council of Dalimag, San Isidro town in Abra immediately died moments after he was shot by an unidentified gunman on Saturday night.

Alberto Pacsa Sotelo, 47, from sitio Calaoi, was reportedly on his way home on board his motorcycle when the gunman came close and shot him.

Sotelo was rushed to the Abra Provincial Hospital in Bangued, Abra’s capital, according to the San Isidro town police, but was declared dead on arrival by Dr. Christian Azurin.  — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

March 28, 2021

Baguio City's hopes for a tourism rebound were dashed as tourist arrivals dipped anew due to tightened entry protocols, particularly the return of the testing requirement and the ban on visitors from the "NCR Plus" bubble that includes National Capital Region and nearby provinces.

City Tourism Operations Officer Aloysius Mapalo said tourist arrivals plummeted after the city reimposed testing as entry requirement last March 19.

"When we brought back the test requirement, many who are registered did not come anymore. Last Saturday, 1,149 out of 5,240 or 22% of those who registered arrived. Almost 80% ang hindi dumating," he said.

"Comparing it to the previous Saturday when there were no test requirements, 2,932 out of 6,420 or 46 percent of those who registered arrived," he added. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

March 27, 2021

Sagada, Mountain Province Mayor James Pooten announces that his RT-PCR test result issued Friday showed that contracted the coronavirus disease. 

Pooten says he is asymptomatic and was advised by the Sagada municipal health office to go on isolation.

"Rest assured, I will continue to exercise my duties remotely in the best possible way," the mayor says. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

March 24, 2021

Rep. Joseph Sto Niño Bernos (Abra) announced Wednesday afternoon that he has contracted the COVID-19.

Bernos, chairperson of the House Committee on Games and Amusements said, he received his RT-PCR test results earlier Wednesday as part of his routine checkup and found out he tested positive.

Rep. Bernos said he is asymptomatic is now on home quarantine as advised by his physicians.

The Abra lawmaker regretted that “despite following strict protocols, I have contracted the virus due to numerous unavoidable commitments.”

He strongly urged those he had contact with in the past days to take precautionary measures, observe possible symptoms and undergo testing just to make sure of their health status. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

March 18, 2021

Baguio City Health Services Office (CHSO) Chief Rowena Galpo says the city may achieve the targeted percentage of its total population to be vaccinated depending on the availability and timely delivery of the vaccines.

According to Galpo, the target number is 190,000, equivalent to 80% of the total population of Baguio. She reiterates that this will be realized when the vaccines purchased by the city government will be delivered by the start of the first quarter or the month of July.

The Baguio City Government alloted P200 million for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines and other essentials. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao


March 14, 2021

The first-ever Montañosa Film Festival kicks off “in style” on March 20 here, with its exclusive, invite-only Opening Gala, at the Baguio Convention Center.

The guest list includes esteemed personalities from lead festival partners such as the Department of Tourism, the Tourism Promotions Board, the Film Development Council of the Philippines, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the University of the Philippines-Baguio, and representatives from the embassies of France, India, and the Czech Republic.

In compliance with strict safety and health protocols, however, only 100 people will be allowed to be at the venue at any given time.

The gala will feature an exclusive screening of National Artist Kidlat Tahimik’s film, "Balikbayan #1: Memories of Overdevelopment Redux III", and will be graced by performances from Ballet Baguio and Timpuyog Ti Gangsa.

The event will also be livestreamed for public viewing on the MFF Facebook Page. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

March 13, 2021

Abra Governor Ma. Jocelyn Bernos says she has tested positive for COVID-19.

She says the result of her RT-PCR test came out Saturday, admitting that she even underwent a rapid antigen test on Friday after she exhibited symptoms of the deadly virus.

This was her second RT-PCR test since March 5 upon completing her quarantine on that day after her trip outside her province, she adds. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

March 11, 2021

Malacañang has declared March 19 a Special Non-working Holiday in La Trinidad, Benguet, to mark its 40th Strawberry Festival.

"It is but fitting and proper that the people of the municipality of La Trinidad be given full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies," Presidential Proclamation No. 1112, series of 2021, reads.

The Palace, though, specifically indicates that ceremonies for the festival "(are) subject to community quarantine, social distancing and other public health measures."

The festival, which is celebrated during the whole month of March, started in 1981 to promote La Trinidad as the "Strawberry Capital of the Philippines."  — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

March 10, 2021

Four drug traders purportedly smuggling out 112 marijuana bricks valued at P13.4 million were caught at a hastily-pitched checkpoint by PDEA and police operatives in Tabuk City, Kalinga Wednesday morning.

John Benedict Camia, 22, from Imus Cavite; Augusto Galicia, 38, from Antipolo City; Wenceslao Galicia, 24, also from Antipolo and Eduardo Patiga, 40, from Makati City aboard a Toyota Innova AUV, were already moving out from the Kalinga capital when PDEA-Kalinga operatives aided by different units of the Cordillera police flagged them down and found the contraband tucked in six paper boxes and two jute sacks at around 10AM Wednesday.

Aside from the drug haul, PDEA-Cordillera director Gil Castro said, were remittance receipts by a private financial service provider that are giving them clues of the link of the four in the drug trade trail in the country. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

March 10, 2021

The "shoot-to-kill" order against Windel Bolinget, head of the Cordillera Peoples' Alliance, was lifted when he submitted himself to the National Bureau of Investigation in January, Police Brig. Gen. RWin Pagkalinawan clarified Wednesday.

The statement was made to address concerns after the Regional Trial Court of Tagum City recalled a warrant of arrest for Bolinget for murder this week.

"In the first place, when I ordered that, it was made as a last option because Bolinget, like any other suspect or subject of arrest, would be first asked to surrender or peaceably go with the police," he says.

Pagkalinawan says he ordered a "shoot-to-kill" order to policemen then hunting Bolinget "if he fights back while being served of his warrant."

The police general says shoot to kill "is a standard [Philippine National Police] operational procedure for operatives and arresting officers when engaging uncooperative suspects or subjects resisting arrest." 

Under PNP operational procedures, "the use of weapon is justified if the suspect poses imminent danger of causing death or injury to the police officer or other persons." The procedural handbook does not discuss "shoot-to-kill" orders. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

March 7, 2021

Authorities say over P16 million worth of marijuana and shabu were seized from two alleged big-time drug pushers late Saturday night in Quezon, Isabela.

Cagayan Valley police director Brig. General Crizaldo Nieves says driver Anwar Sindatoc, 54, from Las Piñas City and Elson Cabunyag, 43, from Port Area, Manila were caught when they sold two marijuana bricks to undercover policemen in Barangay Abut, Quezon.

The duo even tried to flee but were cornered at the quarantine checkpoint of Quezon town policemen. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

March 6, 2021

Vaccination against COVID-19 in the Cordillera provinces kicked off Saturday as the first batch of Sinovac vaccines reached provincial town centers.

In Benguet, Dr. Meliarazon Dulay, acting chief of the Benguet General Hospital was the first to get the vaccine, followed by Edrian Geronimo, head of the  Infectious Disease department of the state-run hospital and Daisy Mae Tagudar, Head of the hospital’s Internal Medicine department as more than a hundred volunteer healthcare workers and employees of the government hospital followed to receive inoculation.

Dr. Dulay said she is hopeful that the vaccination activity held at the hospital garden will help convince the citizens, especially in Benguet, to get inoculated.

While Luis Hora Memorial Regional Hospital Medical Center chief Dr. Eduardo Calpito came first to be inoculated and came the health workers and personnel of the hospital in Abatan, Bauko town. A total of 600 vaccines were delivered at the said hospital Friday night and 440 vaccines at the Bontoc General Hospital.

Of the total 1,040 vaccines delivered for Mountain Province, 600 are allocated for LHMRH, 200 for BoGH, 50 each for Besao and Barlig District Hospitals, 70 for Paracelis District Hospital, 40 for St. Theodore’s Hospital in Sagada, and 30 for Anastacia Sagel Community Hospital in Natonin. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

March 4, 2021

Anti- narcotics agents from the Baguio police caught a young couple late night Wednesday after they sold shabu at Tam-awan Long Long Road, Purok 4, Pinsao Proper here.

Live-in partners Carl Adam Resurrecion, 20 and Monique Garcia Melchor, 19 reportedly sold a sachet of shabu weighing about 0.9 grams priced at P6,120.00 to undercover operatives prompting the couple’s immediate arrest.

PDEA Baguio said Resurrecion is considered as a Street Level Individual and is included in the PDEA Baguio Target List.

Another two sachets shabu that weighed about 1.5 grams valued at P10, 200 were seized from the female suspect. — AFP

February 25, 2021

The Baguio City legal office is asking the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to reconsider renewing franchises expired subject to modernization and improvement of service.

Baguio City Legal Office OIC Richard Dayag said there were neither consultations nor actual study conducted prior to the issuance of LTFRB Memorandum Circular No. 2019-016 to determine the necessity of augmenting the number of taxi units in Baguio and La Trinidad, Benguet.

Dayag said the City Transportation and Traffic Management Division found no statistical data, published or unpublished, about a gap between the existing number of taxi units and actual demand in Baguio City and La Trinidad.

The said memorandum circular by the LTFRB was geared to open additional taxi franchises in Baguio City and La Trinidad, Benguet last year.  The transportation board aimed to accept additional 200 taxi franchises to replace "expired and abandoned franchises".

On October 2020, the Baguio City Council its opposition to the LTFRB memorandum stating that it will only add up to the traffic problem of the city. The council said that the current number of more than 3, 220 active taxi franchises is already sufficient to cater to the needs of the riding public.

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong also expressed his strong opposition to the memorandum circular. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

February 24, 2021

All employees of the Kalinga provincial government, who missed the  initial RT-PCR test, undergo the Aggressive Community Testing (ACT) on Wednesday.

The employees include permanent, elective, those working with contract of service and job orders were strongly encouraged by Acting Provincial Governor Frederick Pangsiw, who has temporarily taken over the post of Governor Ferdinand Tubban, who remains in isolation for being COVID19 positive.

According to Provincial Information Officer Dionica Alyssa Mercado, only 91 employees were tested during the initial test on February 19, 2021 due to limited time. She said though that all of the 91 employees turned out negative. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

February 21, 2021

Tinglayan town in Kalinga is the main source of large hauls of marijuana bricks seized since Thursday in various areas in Northern and Central Luzon, authorities say.

All were sourced there, says Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Cordillera director Gil Castro, confirming that the multimillion-peso illicit industry in that Kalinga town remains flourishing.

Only Saturday morning, border control policemen caught Kennedy Bocad Adaoal along the national road in Tabuk City trying to sneak out P4 million worth of marijuana bricks, reportedly meant to be brought to the National Capital Region.

Adaoal crashed his motorcycle as he was approaching a border control checkpoint and jumped into a ravine towards the Chico River upon sensing he would be questioned.  

"Our border control points in the Cordillera are primarily for the pandemic, but it also serves well to thwart crimes and drug smuggling, so we are taking advantage of it for safer Cordillera," adds Castro. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

February 18, 2021

The Department of Agriculture - Cordillera Administrative Region (DA-CAR) is not recommending a price cap for meat products in Baguio City as it would force meat vendors in the city market to sell at a great loss.

It says it is hopeful that the national hog repopulation program, which is aimed at reviving the swine industry will help stabilize the prices of meat products in the country, including Baguio City.

Significant results in the repopulation of hogs through this program could be observed in the last quarter of this year, the DA-CAR reported.

Danilo Daguio, DA-CAR Regional Technical Director for Operations, says instead of imposing a price ceiling, the government should focus on restoring the sustainability of the meat supply. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

February 17, 2021

Different schools and educational institutions in La Trinidad, Benguet’s capital town, are heeding to the call of the municipal government to routinely conduct mental health breaks to ensure mental health wellness among pupils and students.

Educational institutions from primary to secondary and college level sent their educators, education facilitators and guidance counselors for a brainstorming session where they, together with the representatives from the La Trinidad LGU shared and discussed appropriate strategies to advance the mental health and well-being of the school children and youth in the town. 

— The STAR/Artermio Dumlao


February 9, 2021

Kalinga Gov. Ferdinand Tubban has tested positive for COVID-19, prompting him to call on all the persons he might have had contacts or interactions in the past week to observe for signs or symptoms of the novel coronavirus disease.  

He appeals to them to consult health workers if they are experiencing any symptoms. 

He also urged the public  to strictly follow the Minimum Public Health Standards  (MPHS), wash hands frequently, wear face mask andface shield, and to observe physical distancing.  — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

January 25, 2021

Vice Mayor Eusebio Kabluyen of Bontoc, Mountain Province is appealing to all the people who came in contact with him in the past 14 days to immediately get in touch with the Bontoc Municipal Health Office after he tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, January 24.

He said this to give way for efficient contact tracing and for them to immediately isolate themselves for the safety of their families.

He also appealed to all his contacts to immediately call their respective Barangay Health Units should they experience any symptom related to COVID-19.

On January 15,  Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey tested positive for the virus, though he remained asymptomatic.

A number of elected officials and employees of the Municipal Local Government Unit are also in isolation pending their swab test results. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

January 23, 2021

The Abra provincial government temporarily suspends the issuance of travel passes for those traveling to Baguio, Benguet and other provinces in the Cordillera region until further notice.

DOH's confirmation of 12 cases of the new COVID-19 variant (B.1.1.7) in Bontoc, Mountain Province and one case in La Trinidad, Benguet on Friday prompted the ban, says Gov. Ma. Jocelyn Bernos. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

January 22, 2021

Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) chairperson Windel Bolinget showed up at the National Bureau of Investigation-Cordillera Thursday afternoon after apparently feeling the pressure of a "shoot-to-kill" order issued by the Cordillera police.

According to the CPA, Bolinget, assisted by a counsel, "personally submitted to the (NBI) for security while proving his innocence from the fabricated case he is charged with." 

It adds that Bolinget did not surrender nor should his going into NBI custody be construed as "an admission of guilt for the fabricated charge that the police filed against him."

Tagum City Branch 30 Regional Trial Court Judge Sharon Rose Saracin in September last year ordered the arrest of Bolinget and nine others and has not recommended any bail for their temporary freedom. 

She wanted them to be brought to her sala and undergo trial for the murder of a certain Garito Tiklonay Malibato on March 22, 2018 in Kapalong, Davao del Norte.

Bolinget allegedly conspired with nine others including Cordillera Peoples Democratic Front spokesperson Simon Naogsan Sr., in the killing.

Bolinget's supporters say he believes going into NBI custody can provide him "full access to all legal services in challenging his case, while under NBI’s protective custody." 

He also challenges "the state security forces to show the same integrity and adhere to the rule of law," referring to the P100,000 bounty offered for his arrest and the "shoot-to-kill" order against him. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

January 17, 2021

Baguio City government and the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation agree to postpone the Panagbenga Festival to a later date.

The flower festival was supposed to be held from February 1 to March 7.

January 16, 2021

The city government of Baguio and the executive committee of the private Baguio Flower Festival Foundation Inc. decide to postpone the Panagbenga Fest 2021 as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus disease.

The pending roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine doses also prompted such decision, says Andrew Pinero, spokesman of the BFFFI.

January 15, 2021

Philippine Airlines will conduct test flights from Manila to the Loakan Airport in Baguio City, possibly paving way for the resumption of commercial flights there.

The move comes as the local economy is heavily burdened by the effects of various levels of community quarantines against COVID-19.

The management of PAL Express signified its intention to conduct tests as part of the ongoing efforts to ascertain the viability of the commercial flights and check on safety issues that had been previously raised by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, government agencies and the local government,  said Mayor Benjamin Magalong.

The City Buildings and Architecture Office, in coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Philippine Military Academy, is now conducting an inventory of the structures that will be demolished and the trees that need to be cut and trimmed.

The mayor said CAAP also allocated funds for the overall improvement of the facilities of the airport and the procurement of the required aviation equipment to improve instrumentation to help convince more airline firms to open their routes to Baguio City. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao


Last year, the local government and the CAAP were able to identify at least 75 structures within the vicinity of the airport which must be demolished after they were identified as obstructions to the landing route.

January 15, 2021

COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Bontoc — Mountain Province capital town — prompting Mayor Franklyn Odsey's appeal to his townmates to ensure children do not to roam the streets.

Odsey also made an appeal to the elderly and those with co-morbidities to stay at home unles necessary.

There is a trend of family members infecting other family members, relatives, and friends, Odsey claimed, warning "the virus may now be on anyone's doorstep."

On January 14, 2021, Mountain Province recorded 84 cases, 57 from Bontoc.

The Bontoc Municipal Inter-Agency Task Force has imposed House Lockdown orders to ensure that the household members of positive cases would strictly comply with the required 14-day quarantine. 

All primary contacts of positive cases have been swabbed and were directed to complete the 14-day self-quarantine, even with negative results.

— The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

December 27, 2020

Authorities overran a 1,000-square-meter plantation in Bugnay, Tinglayan, Kalinga netting P2 million in marijuana plants after Christmas.

PDEA-Kalinga, Kalinga policemen and regional police intelligence agents swooped on some 10,000 marijuana plants along the mountains of the village, which has become infamous for thriving marijuana plantations.

Before Christmas, Cordillera policemen also raided marijuana plantations in sitios Balbalnag, Tebteb and Yong-awan in barangay Badeo, Kibungan where P630,000 worth of marijuana were uprooted and put ablaze. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

December 24, 2020

The Supreme Court declared Cabanatuan City Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) Branch 3 Judge Nelson Largo guilty of simple misconduct and fined him P11,000 after figuring in a parking controversy in Baguio City in October last year.

On October 25, 2019, traffic enforcers from the Baguio Public Order and Safety Division (POSD) led by Bernard Batnag removed the plate number of the illegally parked vehicle of Judge Largo at Kayang Street inside the Baguio City Public Market and issued a citation ticket.

But the judge on October 28, 2019 issued a subpoena demanding Batnag and his colleagues to appear before him in his sala on November 28, 2019 to explain why they should not be cited for contempt. Largo claimed that the time he spent in retrieving his license plate caused delays on the hearings and processes of the cases he was handling.

— The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

December 14, 2020

At least 20 marijuana plantations in remote Tacadang, Kibungan town in Benguet went up in smoke after authorities zeroed in at the source of the three young marijuana traders captured Sunday night along lower Magsaysay Avenue in Baguio City last week with P840,000 worth of marijuana stored in tubes.

Combined PDEA-Cordillera, Regions I, II and IVB agents joined in by Cordillera policemen and NBI-Cordillera agents raided a total of 4,250 square meters of MJ plantations in sitios Dalipey and Batangan, Tacadang.

The destroyed plants reached a total P5.1M in estimated market value.

The raid on these plantations were an offshoot of the capture of three young marijuana traders who tried but failed to sneak 7 kilos of dried marijuana leaves past a border control area in Baguio City on December 6. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

December 11, 2020

Panagbenga 2021 will still be enjoyed, though with a "blended" approach that will not involve huge crowds.

The recently held Ibagiw Creative Arts festival serves as a benchmark for the future staging of similar crowd-drawing events in the city, like the month-long Panagbenga by February, already on its 26th year, Baguio City Tourism Operations Officer Engr. Aloysius Mapalo says.

Until the COVID-19 vaccine is available in the Philippines, there will be limitations in conducting crowd drawing events like mixing virtual and face-to-face gatherings while adhering to health and safety protocols.

Panagbenga, especially its twin highlights — Street Dancing and Flower Float parades — drew around crowds of over a million in past years. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

December 8, 2020

Authorities say an improved systems on crowd control will be implemented on the night market to avoid a repeat of the disorder experienced during its reopening last December 1.

A task force composed of City Treasurer Alex Cabarrubias, Baguio City Police Director Allen Co, Market Superintendent Fernando Ragma Jr., the Public Order and Safety Division and Capt. Romeo Galpo conducted a post-event assessment to evaluate the incident and identified problems and possible solutions upon orders of Mayor Benjamin Magalong.

Ragma says the strategies were reviewed vis-a-vis the problems encountered and new schemes were crafted as a result of the assessment. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

December 7, 2020

Tinglayan town in Kalinga will be under lockdown for two weeks until December 21.

Tinglayan Mayor Sacrament Gumilab via an executive order on Sunday placed the entire town under community quarantine after a COVID19 surge in barangays Bangad, Lower Bangad,  Centro Bangad and Upper Bangad.   The mayor also noted an increase of cases in Barangay Poblacion.

Gumilab also noted that even key officials and employees of the Tinglayan Local Government Unit (LGU) were hit by the virus.  

Tinglayan has already a total of 98 cases since November 16, 2020 and is continuously increasing in a very fast rate.

Mayor Gumilab said the lockdown is meant "to prevent, contain and eliminate the continues spread of Covid-19 in the municipality and in order to give unhampered movements of contact tracing. "

During the total lockdown, no person is allowed entrance in the town except those in transit in the national highway.  Local Stranded Individuals (LSIs) or returning villagers are also not allowed to enter yet as the town’s isolation units are already full of COVIE19 positive patients including their primary and secondary contacts. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao


December 5, 2020

A provincial health officer says Abra is now classified under “New Normal”, citing a very low rate of COVID-19 infections in the province.

A new normal classification means a very low rate of COVID-19 cases in the province.

Based on the latest Average Daily Attack Rate (ADAR) analysis of the Regional Epidemiology Surveillance Unit (RESU), Abra has only 0.03 ADAR. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

December 4, 2020

Authorities say that over P60 million worth of illegal drugs were seized during various anti-drug operations in the Cordillera region and destroyed at a thermal facility of a private cement making firm in Bacnotan, La Union Friday morning.

With a total volume of 417,330.58 grams (1,498.0747 grams of methamphetamine, 37.4 ml of liquid methamphetamine, 415,832.5102 grams of marijuana) and 52 marijuana plants, the items confiscated were all fed in the thermal facility. 

The drug evidence were from 244 cases from various court branches in the Cordillera region. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

December 4, 2020

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong says the city is now working on additional control systems to ensure strict observance of COVID-19 health and safety measures during events.

This, on the heels of criticism for breaches of health protocols during the opening of the 'Christmas in Baguio' celebration and the resumption of night market activities on December 1.

The mayor acknowledged there were lapses in crowd control during the Christmas tree lighting program that attracted a huge crowd Tuesday evening and and also during the night market operations.
Assuming responsibility for the incident, Magalong suspended the operation of the night market the following day for strategy refinement. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

November 25, 2020

Baguio’s night market along the stretch of Harrison Road, famed for the highland city’s “ukay-ukay” (pre-loved) items, is back starting December 1.

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong has given the go signal for the resumption of operations of the popular destination for tourists and locals subject to stringent rules pursuant to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) health standards, says Baguio Market Superintendent Fernando Ragma Jr.

Ground preparations have started with the repainting and fixing of lighting systems in the area by the City Engineering Office led by engineer Edgar Victorio Olpindo.

The night market will operate from 8 p.m. up to 11:30 p.m. as agreed to by the Baguio City Police Office.

Vendors will be halved because only 50% will be allowed to open per week.

There will be a total of 481 concessionaires (433 dry goods and 48 food). — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

November 25, 2020

Usually festive, November 23 — Benguet foundation day for the past 120 years — came without fanfare.

Adivay Festival usally concides with the celebrations where people from across the province attend the "cañao" or "peshit", a grand celebration ritual, in La Trinidad.

But Monday was sans celebrations. No gongs, instead, the provincial government celebrated with a solemn ecumenical mass followed by a modest rite attended by just over a hundred individuals, mostly local officials and government employees. 

"We cannot be celebrating amidst pandemic and recent calamities that hit our people. In time, we will recover, as we have always done, and celebrate an even grander festival," said Benguet Gov. Melchor Diclas.

Two manbunong (indigenous ritualists) performed a “lubon,” a ritual to seek favor and forgiveness from Kabunian, the divine creator, and the ancestors, particularly from deceased former governors. They sought forgiveness for not holding the traditional grand celebration and asked for good fortune in behalf of the people of Benguet.

Kalanguya mambunong Weban Liwan interpreted the response to the ritual through the presentation of the bile and liver of two sacrificial pigs, a male and a female.  "It is a good omen. They responded favorably. They know we are not in a good situation," Liwan said in the vernacular. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

November 21, 2020

Authorities say they have seized 20 dried marijuana leaves in tubes valued to reach P2.4million along the national highway in Sitio Betwag, Caponga, Tublay, Benguet Friday afternoon.

Jevie Malipot Pabia, 34, from Barangay Zone 4, Dasmariñas, Cavite with his passenger Rommel Manuel Barrientos, 39, from Summer Wind 3, Salitran 3, also in Dasmariñas, Cavite were taken to answer for drug charges after Benguet policemen and PDEA-Benguet agents discovered the contraband at their vehicle when they were flagged at a quarantine checkpoint in the area. 

The duo, who came all the way from Bauko, Mt. Province, feigned they were just tourists and when asked about their travel authority. — The STAR/Artermio Dumlao

November 21, 2020

Rep. Eric Yap (ACT-CIS party-list) appeals the closure of Baguio City borders from neighbors. 

“In true spirit of Bayanihan, I appeal to the local government unit of Baguio City through Mayor Benjamin Magalong to recall the advisory restricting travel of Benguet residents to Baguio City, particularly those coming from the municipalities of La Trinidad, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay,” the lawmaker says. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

November 17, 2020

Baguio's lolos and lolas are banned from going out their homes for now.

Starting Monday,  those over 65 years old must stay home until November 27 as ordered by Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong in Executive Order No.170 s.2020.

Those needing to go out for work, medical attention or they have no other non-high risk relatives or acquaintances to assist them in acquiring necessary goods or basic services are exempted.

Magalong, the country’s contact tracing czar said non-work related social gatherings and activities for persons over the age of 65 are likewise suspended during this period. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

November 13, 2020

Health workers notice an increase in the number of walk-in patients who sought consultation after experiencing coronavirus-related symptoms in Baguio City.

COVID-19 statistics show that symptomatic patients are now 12.8% of the total number of confirmed cases.

Data analyst Mischelle Junio warns "this could be a cause of concern as it indicates an upward trend for random COVID-19 cases" in Baguio City. 

— The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

November 7, 2020

Renowned mountain tourist enclave Sagada in Mt. Province is opening up its tourist sites but for locals only for now.

Sagada after nine months of quarantine now starts offering again their “Bomod-ok Falls” and other attractions, though spelunking is not yet allowed.

The Sagada municipal government says that this is part of their calibrated and gradual opening of tourism. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao 

November 5, 2020

Benguet Gov. Melchor Diclas is appealing to the NTF Against COVID19 to temporarily suspend COVID-19 mass testing in Benguet.

While mass testing is welcomed and appreciated, they are calling for a temporary halt due to the lack of isolation facilities for those yielding positive results,  the governor says.

The National Task Force Against COVID-19, through the efforts of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC), conducted expanded testing in Baguio City and Benguet on October 27-30, 2020 with more than 5,000 individuals swabbed for free.

In Benguet, the aggressive mass testing was conducted in Tuba, Kapangan, La Trinidad, Tublay and Itogon towns with more than 2,000 swabbed resulting to 176 positive cases with 149 coming from the municipality of Itogon. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

November 4, 2020

The Itogon Sangguniang Bayan is asking Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong to rethink shutting Baguio's doors to Itogon residents.

Magalong on Monday restricted the access of Itogon residents to Baguio City after a spike of COVID-19 infections in the town.

On November 1, Itogon listed 149 cases in a day as a result of the expanded mass testing. The following day, the municipality again recorded 49 cases. Earlier last week, 74 cases were from the same town.

While Itogon councilors acknowledge the predicament of Baguio City in protecting its people from the spread of COVID-19, they believe Magalong's advisory "is discriminatory in nature as it has focused only on the people of Itogon".

The councilors pointed out that Itogon is near Baguio City and that the town has always considered Baguio its source of basic needs.

They added that many Itogon residents are employed in establishments in Baguio. "The temporary restrictions on the entry of the people of Itogon to the City of Baguio poses an additional burden for the people of Itogon," the council stated. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

November 3, 2020

Yet another killing caused tension in Bangued, Abra’s capital town, early Tuesday, just two days after a teacher was slain by a still unknown assassin.

Barangay Lingtan acting barangay chairman Jason Bergonia Garcia, 34, was reportedly driving a truck along the road of Barangay Lipcan, Bangued, when the gunman pumped two bullets intp his head instantly, killing him at around 6 a.m. Tuesday.

The truck he was driving rammed into a house at the roadside though no one was hurt, while the village chief’s companion was also unhurt.

Abra police is yet again grappling for answers on the second killing as no development had come out from the broad daylight assassination of a teacher Sunday morning at a barbershop in Bangued. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 29, 2020

The Benguet provincial health office reports that the province has breached the 1,000-mark of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The province now has more than 1,000 confirmed COVID-19 infections with 42 more confirmed cases and 60 suspected cases as of midnight Wednesday.

Recoveries reached 485. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 26, 2020

A repeat of the successful MinDA Fruit Festival in Baguio City more than a year ago is scheduled for the second week of November.

Even before the Mindanao Development Authority could fold up the tents in the highly successful MinDA Tienda in Manila, a team from MinDA moved up to Baguio City last Sunday to finalize the second staging of the MinDA Tienda Fruit Festival.

MinDA chief Manny Piñol said Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong asked MinDA to consider the second staging of the blockbuster MinDA Fruit Festival in Baguio City.

Piñol admitted that it will not be an easy trip for the MinDA officials as they will have to undergo another COVID 19 test as required by the Baguio City local government.

The fruits will be flown from Davao to the San Fernando, La Union airport by a Boeing 727 jet owned by PSI Air 2007, MinDA's new partner in the MinDA Tienda Program. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 23, 2020

The Baguio City council has continued its opposition to the entry of additional 200 taxi slots in the city as proposed by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory board.

The Sanggunian’s Committee on Public Utilities, Transportation, and Traffic Legislation chaired by Councilor Benny Bomogao again expressed strong opposition against the LTFRB’s persistent move to accept applicants for the 200 taxi units to replace “expired and abandoned” franchises.

Guided by the study and recommendations submitted by the Traffic and Transportation Management Division (TTMD) of the City Engineering Office and the petition papers by different transport groups, the committee reiterated its earlier position that the entry of additional taxi units will do more harm than good.

At least 3,227 active taxi franchises are operating in Baguio City according to the present LTFRB report.

This number is more than sufficient to cater to the needs of the riding public in the region,  the committee believes. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 22, 2020

Eight passengers were hurt in a van and a truck smash-up at the height of typhoon Pepito Tuesday in Kilometer 54, Cattubo, Atok, Benguet, a belated police report claimed.

Police Capt. Jayson Eugenio, Atok police chief, said the Baguio City-bound passenger van crashed into a truck headed to Mountain Province.

Those injured were: Juanita Lucaben,70);  Juliet Lomedio, 59,; Angeline Camiling, 70; Orlando Sagengao,50);  Jacob Sab-it, 73); Rosalinda Sab-it , 53; Ceasar Rosado Lucaben, 35;  and Caroline Sido, 53. — AFP

October 17, 2020

The Department of Tourism announces that Baguio City is opening its doors to more tourists as it will welcome guests from the National Capital Region as well as Region 2 and 3, starting October 22.

“It was a privilege to be working closely with the local government of Baguio during this process. We witnessed firsthand how they came up with effective policies to find the delicate balance between ensuring public safety and reopening for tourism to bring back jobs and livelihoods lost to the pandemic," says Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.


October 16, 2020

SM Prime Holdings Inc. has gotten the nod to develop the Baguio public market.

In a memorandum signed by Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong on October 14, the Certificate of Acceptance to rehabilitate Baguio Market was awarded to SM, while Robinsons Land Corp.'s proposal was disapproved and rejected for allegedly lacking required documents.

According to the P4-SC Memorandum No. 1-2020, the Office of the City Mayor compared the Unsolicited Proposals of both Robinson Land Corporation and SM Prime Holdings in terms of completeness of documents, lot area to be developed, modality, project duration, financial viability, technical designs, economic benefits and environmental consideration.

— The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 15, 2020

The first batch of the Miss Universe-Philippines contestants arrived in Benguet on Thursday morning, passing through the Badiwan tunnel in Sitio Badiwan, Barangay Poblacion, Tuba town.

Benguet Gov. Melchor Diclas, who officially welcomed the contestants at the provincial capitol, hopes their visit props up Benguet tourism further.

A second batch of contestants is expected to arrive Friday. 

The 48 bets will stay here for two days for promotional video shoots featuring Benguet tourism sites. Coronation night is on October 25 at the Baguio Country Club.

— The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 15, 2020

As Ilocos Norte opens its doors to visitors from Luzon, Gov. Matthew Marcos Manotoc has issued guidelines for safely welcoming tourists reviving the hospitality sector that has been on hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Phase II of the Ridge and Reef Expanded Travel Corridor initiative marks the increased travel freedom in the province by allowing tourists in Luzon Island to visit Ilocos Norte starting October 15.

Only fifty pre-arranged visitors, through Department of Tourism-accredited tour agencies and establishments, are allowed to enter the province each day. Persons who are pregnant, with co-morbidities and children with chronic health conditions are not permitted to travel. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 13, 2020

Government provides a “halfway house” to shelter former communist guerillas back to mainstream society in Abra.

A newly constructed “halfway house” at the base of the 24th Infantry Battalion headquarters in Sitio Barbarit, Barangay Tagodtod in Lagangilang town was opened to all former rebels in Abra. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 12, 2020

Intensifying efforts to curb crime and prevent accidents in its capital city, Tabuk, the Kalinga provincial government has installed street lights along Puroks 1-5.

Kalinga Gov. Ferdinand Tubban says these 21 street lights amounting to P2.1 million were only few of the local community's requests to the provincial government’s funding. 

Tubban says the plans of bringing such services to the people of Kalinga were realized with the assistance of the concerned departments. He says the lights will be of big help in preventing crime and assuring the safety and security of those within its premises, thus, it will be a lasting benefit until the next generations to come.

"Those who live nearby will no longer be awed in walking or moving from one place to another at night till dawn," the governor says.

He adds that there will still be continuous development such as landscaping of its center island wherein the provincial government will allot separate funds. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 10, 2020

Benguet province logs its fifth COVID-19 death.

The patient is an 82-year-old female from Buguias town who was reported to have tested positive for COVID-19 on October 5.

She was admitted at the hospital prior to the result of her swab test. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 7, 2020

At least 26 former New People's Army rebels received financial aid from the government this week in Bontoc, Mountain Province. 

Under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP), the  rebel returnees were handed P20,000 each from the Sustainable Livelihood Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

The financial aid is meant to assist the former rebels entry into the entrepreneurial world,  said DSWD Undersecretary Rene Glenn Paje, who handed the assistance together with Mt. Province Governor Bonifacio Lacwasan and Brig. Gen. Henry Doyaeon of the 503rd Infantry Brigade. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao


October 5, 2020

More than P3 million worth of marijuana went up in smoke in Barangay Belong Manubal in Tinglayan, Kalinga over the weekend.

Kalinga policemen joined by PDEA operatives on Saturday swooped down on a 2,000-square meter plantation tended by a still unidentified cultivator and uprooted at least 16,000 full-grown cannabis.

After documentation, all the marijuana were burned, said Brig. Gen. Rwin Pagkalinawan, Cordillera police director. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 4, 2020

Abra police are deep ferreting out the truth into the Saturday morning murder of a mayoralty bet in the 2019 local polls in La Paz, Abra.

Severo Sapata Afos II alias "Tonsio", 76, who ran but lost in the mayoralty race in La Paz, was about to buy at Ola Livestock and General Merchandize at Poblacion La Paz at around 7:35 Saturday morning when an assassin came close, fired and fled aboard a motorcycle towards Lagayan town, said Col. Cris Acop, Abra police director.

Afos was declared dead by La Paz town health officer Dr. Rhoda May Dukinal, who herself examined the fallen Afos. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao


October 2, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has moved the commeration of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day in Baguio City.

Baguio residents may visit their departed loved ones in public cemeteries and private memorial parks starting October 1, with compliance to minimum health protocols such as wearing of face mask and face shield. Visits starting Saturday, October 17, will depend on the color of market passes issued to households.

Five adults per family including the card holder may enter the cemetery from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Yellow card holders may visit on October 17, 20, 21, 23, 24, 27 and 28; green card holders are allowed on October 17,19, 21, 22, 24, 26 and 28; and blue card holders may visit on October 19, 20, 22, 23, 26 and 27. Each visitor must be able to present an identification card. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 1, 2020

Baguio City posted its highest number of COVID-19 recoveries in a day at 30 on Wednesday afternoon.

This while its positive case count went down to 32, a respite from the successive spikes experienced in the past seven days, the city government says Thursday.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong, the country's 'contact tracing czar' said,  majority of the new cases (24) were contacts of current cases and came from the case clusters identified earlier including the Lower Lourdes Subdivision group. 

All of the Lower Lourdes Subdivision group were police trainees deployed along Baguio streets. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao


September 30, 2020

At least 100 communist guerillas, part-time rebels, sympathizers and supporters abandoned the underground rebel movement in the Cordillera since January.

Owing it to the intensified operations of the Cordillera police and the military, Police Brig. Gen. Rwin Pagkalinawan, Cordillera police director, says, the rebel movement's ranks have since thinned out.

Pagkalinawan says of the recorded 100 surrenderees, 55 are members of the Militia ng Bayan while 45 others were "underground group" members.

Most of them were supporters of the Kilusang Larangang Guerilla (KLG) “Marco” (codename for Mountain Province) that reportedly operates in the Mountain Province, Alfonso Lista and Aguinaldo towns in Ifugao and "KLG North Abra" that operates in Boliney, Daguioman, Bucloc, Sallapadan, Malibcong, Lacub, Tineg and Baay-Licuan towns. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 29, 2020

The escalation of coronavirus disease cases in the city will not derail the scheduled reopening of the tourism industry to Region 1 starting October 1, Mayor Benjamin Magalong vowed.

Magalong said the outbreak in three barangays which triggered the spike was not caused by novel or unidentified cases, but was due to contacts of current cases tracked in contact tracing activities.

"This means that almost all of the cases were connected to previous patients, had been contained or quarantined since detection of the main case and therefore had not had further interaction with other persons in the community," he explained.

Magalong stressed, "we don't expect the outbreak to affect out tourism plan. After all, we know where the cases are coming from and containment measures had been done before their diagnosis came."

"We are ready because these cases have already been confined and isolated from the community. In fact, we expect more cases to happen in the next days because of the continuing contact tracing and expanded testing but we are okay because we know where our cases our coming from and have undertaken measures," he said. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 28, 2020

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong says all COVID-19 containment systems remain in place to contend with a spike in cases as a result of sustained aggressive contact tracing and expanded testing activities here.

Cases surged in the past week due to a number of clustering incidents and the conduct of an expanded testing program on more than 2,000 individuals from different high-risk sectors.

The city’s cases hiked to 681 after the city posted 52 new ones, the city’s highest in a day, last September 24. Active cases were at 265; recoveries, 404 and deaths at 12.

Dr. Rowena Galpo, city health services officer, says most cases came from the same households, meaning there is an ongoing active local transmission in the city. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao


September 26, 2020

Officials say a Baguio-based media network operated by the Catholic church diocese and 14 persons were charged for unlawfully disclosing private information of coronavirus patients on social media last July.

The complainants said an investigation by the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit of the Cordillera police found that respondents without any authority posted in their Facebook accounts the names, ages, addresses and/or occupations of the complainants after they tested positive for the virus on July 25. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 22, 2020

Tourists are still banned from the Philippine Military Academy, even as Baguio City opens up to tourists from the Ilocos region starting Tuesday, September 22.

PMA Commandant of Cadets Brigadier General Romeo Brawner Jr., asked contact tracing czar and Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong to exempt the premier military academy, a major tourist attraction in the city.

Magalong has approved PMA’s request. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 20, 2020

Kalinga policemen and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agents overran six marijuana plantations valued at P13.96 million in Barangay Bugnay in Tinglayan, Kalinga on Saturday morning.

The illicit plantations on mountain slopes, though far from the village, totalled 4,000 square meters and were planted with at least 68,000 fully grown marijuana.

Police Brig. Gen. RWin Pagkalinawan, Cordillera police director, said all the marijuana plants were uprooted and put ablaze after official documentation on the haul. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 19, 2020

Robots are rolled out to “cleanse” Baguio City’s critical areas before welcoming tourists as well as locals.

Robotic Activations, a robotics provider begins deploying a Danish industrial-grade autonomous UV-C disinfection robot called the Keno UV-C.    

It will be used to thoroughly sanitize the city hall, Baguio Teachers’ Camp, Sto. Niño Hospital, and the newly-opened centralized triage area at the Baguio Convention Center (BCC), where tourists, returning residents, and other visitors of the city will be examined upon entry. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 18, 2020

Baguio logs a 41.3-percent increase from 51 cases during the period of September 4 to 10.

The intensified testing, that Mayor Benjamin Magalong ordered in August, saw the 103 cases last July 29 ballooning to 310 by August 27. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 15, 2020

At least 571 contact tracers will be hired in the highland region to fortify the capacities of local government units against COVID19,  the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) announced.

“The contact tracers shall augment or form part of the existing Contact Tracing Team (CTT) of a local government unit (LGU),” DILG-Cordillera director Marlo Iringan explained.

“They shall conduct case interviews, profiling and do an initial public health risk assessment of COVID-19 cases and their identified close contacts,” Iringan said.

Though hired contact tracers shall also help in the advocacy campaign to remind people to faithfully follow or comply with the minimum health protocols which are wearing of mask/face shield, social distancing, washing or disinfecting of hands.

The 571 will be distributed to LGUs where there are inadequate number of contact tracers. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 15, 2020

Baguio City will still strictly monitor the movements of tourists though restrictions have been eased to protect the city and its neighboring Benguet towns. 

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong earlier signed a memorandum of understanding with the officials and representatives of the different provinces and cities of Ilocos Region with Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat for the opening of the city. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 11, 2020

Cordillera police is suing New Peoples Army leaders in Mt. Province in connection with the September 2 murder of an anti-corruption advocate and a barangay kagawad.

This came after the Mt. Province-based Leonardo Pacsi Command of the CPP-NPA issued a statement Wednesday, implying it was behind the murder of Salvador Liked, secretary general of the Citizen Crime Watch-Cordillera (CCW-Cordillera) in Balintaugan, Bauko town.

“We have many witnesses,” says Cordillera police director RWin Pagkalinawan, promising criminal charges against identified leaders of the NPA in Mt. Province. 

— The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 9, 2020

Authorities say it has raided three illicit marijuana plantations in Barangay Tulgao East,Tinglayan town in Kalinga and burned at least a million worth of cannabis.

This came after a supposed courier tried to ship marijuana bricks via a fast courier service in Tabuk City, Kalinga’s capital and was foiled Monday afternoon when the private firm’s staff noticed the contraband and reported to police. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 8, 2020

Government security forces say five communist rebels in Cagayan Valley and three more in the Cordillera surrendered to authorities over the weekend.

The five NPA rebels are former members of sub Guerilla Unit of Central Front Committee of the Komiteng Rehiyong-Cagayan Valley, the 5th Infantry Division says.

Three of them belong to the Agta Indigenous People of Isabela who were recruited along the Sierra Madre mountain range. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 6, 2020

A town councilor of Tinoc, Ifugao was immediately killed while five others suffered various injuries after their vehicle fell down a 50-foot ravine at Barangay Pacso in  Kabayan, Benguet on Saturday afternoon.

Tinoc Councilor Mercury Caridad Binwihan, 54, from Impogong, Tinoc, was driving a Mitsubishi Strada pickup and negotiating the descending road to Sitio Mangkew to attend a wake of a relative when he miscalculated a sharp curve and the vehicle fell down a ravine.

The injured passengers are Norwin Polon Carpio, 34, teacher, from Poblacion, Kapangan, Benguet; Jonathan Wakat Binwihan, 20, student, from Impogong, Tinoc, Ifugo; Elsa Tabingan Paeng, 52, farmer, from Nabalicong, Buguias, Benguet; Analiza Paeng Carpio, 32, teacher, from Natubleng Buguias, Benguet; and Leizel Ann Pael Dulnuan, 25, an Engineer, from Asin, Tuba, Benguet. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 5, 2020

Itogon town (Benguet) Mayor Victorio Palangdan has issued an executive order providing basic health protocols and interim standard operating procedures for the reopening of their swimming pools and resorts.

Palangdan says the national government has gradually eased up the restrictions on industries in order to cope with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. — AFP 



September 2, 2020

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong has entered into an agreement with the governors and representatives of different provinces and cities in the Ilocos region in planning and setting guidelines and appropriate measures to boost the economy through the reopening of tourism.

Magalong says Baguio City is targeting to open up tourism for locals and from Region 1 on September 21.

Officials of Region 1 dubbed as "LUPISIN" or La Union, Pangasinan,  Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte has forged a memorandum of understanding with Baguio City to foster cooperation in research and formulation of concrete plans and guidelines in the reopening of tourism. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 30, 2020

An alleged top-ranking New People's Army leader and four others formally surrendered in Abra this week.

Lt. Col. Ulysis Laude, commander of the Philippine Army's 24th Infantry Battalion said “Ka Geron”, a native of upland Malibcong town, surrendered with an M4 carbine assault rifle, a caliber .45 pistol and a  hand grenade, "after finally realizing the sincere call of Abra Governor Ma. Jocelyn Valera-Bernos, who had offered various programs to surrenderees."

Four other NPA Milisyang Bayan (MB) members surrendered, copying "Ka Geron’s" example, the military said. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 25, 2020

Anti-drug agents swooped down on at least two marijuana plantations Tuesday in hinterland Kibungan town in Benguet.

At least 300 pieces of marijuana plants on a 60-square meter lot was overrun by Kibungan town policemen, Benguet anti-drug unit agents and PDEA operatives at sitio Saguilip, Badeo, Kibungan, Benguet before lunch Monday.

Police Brig. Gen. RWin Pagkalinawan, Cordillera police director, said the 60-square meter MJ plantation was valued at P60,000. — AFP

August 21, 2020

An e-learning center, free for thousands of teachers, learners and parents is launched at the Baguio City library.

With the blended learning mode, the “E-skwela” hub” will allow residents to use personal computer with wi-fi and free printing for first ten pages of documents. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 20, 2020

Authorities say at least 173 illegal numbers game “jueteng” employees from eight towns in Pangasinan including Dagupan City, were rounded up by policemen on Wednesday.

Bet money worth P862,000.00 were seized.

Ilocos Region police director Brig. Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. names the alleged “jueteng” manager and operator as incumbent barangay Sagud Bahley Barangay Chairman Efren Ricafort Fajardo, a former Philippine Air Force officer and member of the Philippine Military Academy class of 1993. Fajardo however eluded arrest. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao



August 20, 2020

The City Health Services Office says that of the 253 cases in Baguio City as of August 17, 84% had no travel history.  

They are mostly workers naturally exposed to countless individuals specifically drivers of public conveyances, bank employees, vendors, employees of grocery stores, among others. 

— The STAR/Artemio Dumlao


August 16, 2020

Aid is already in the pipeline for Cordillera farmers suffering from vegetables price drops, the Department of Agriculture - Cordillera says.

Last year, farmers monitored the market price of Chinese cabbage at P4-P6 for the dry season against a per-kilo production cost of P8.59.

Farmers are complaining again of price drops. Chinese cabbage has been at P4-P10 for the past four days with prices ranging between P10.53 (January) to a high of P53.33 (June) in past months.

The drop in the price of the commodity however began second week of August at P8.

DA Cordillera Director Cameron Odsey says they are continuing the "Plant, Plant, Plant" Program to ensure food production, accessibility, affordability, and availability, explaining that under this program, the "Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita" was instituted to benefit farmers and consumers. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 12, 2020

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong orders mandatory COVID-19 tests for grocery and department store workers.

After requiring employees of banks to be tested for COVID-19, Magalong was prompted to include those working in groceries and department stores following a report of COVID-19 cases in a grocery in Baguio City. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 11, 2020

Abra Gov. Ma. Jocelyn Valera-Bernos says she is shelling out P14 million to fund the learning continuity operational plan (LCOP) of the Department of Education in the province.    

“This is part of the provincial government’s assistance for the education of young Abreños under the new normal,” she says.

With a special concern on young students from the hinterland locations in the province, Bernos says, “They are the most who need support and encouragement to learn for their future.” 

— The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 8, 2020

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong orders a crackdown against individuals jacking up prices of face shields.

The local government has been receiving complaints that the retail price of the protective gear continues to rise.

"I am ordering the City Health Services Office and the Public Order and Safety Division to coordinate with the Department of Trade and Industry to take immediate action against these opportunists. It is unconscionable to take advantage of others especially in this time of crisis ," the contact tracing czar and former police general says. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 5, 2020

A surge in cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday night—16 infections including three Baguio City employees—has prompted Mayor Benjamin Magalong to shut down the Baguio City Hall until Friday.

Magalong also ordered the closure of PFVR gym, where the three city employees are assigned, stopping the processing and issuance of travel documents. 

Magalong, in an advisory late Tuesday, said “we are closing the facility and suspending the processing of travel documents effective tomorrow, August 5, to give way for disinfection and further testing.”

The advisory noted that closing city hall is a precautionary measure that "will allow only a limited number of workforce to ensure the continuity of operations." — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao 

August 4, 2020

 Abra Gov. Ma. Jocelyn Valera-Bernos has suspended all social and mass gatherings in the province since this week

This, after Abra saw its biggest surge of COVID19 cases Sunday with 16 fresh cases. 

Bernos cited the sudden increase in confirmed cases involving cases transmitted locally, the first COVID-19 death in the province on Friday, and that some of the fresh cases are frontliners assigned in different communities, as primary reasons for her suspension of all mass gatherings province-wide. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 2, 2020

Three frontliners have formally sued Tabuk City Vice Mayor Bernard Glenn Dao-as before the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged abuse of authority resulting to grave misconduct, conduct unbecoming of a public official, discrimination of health care workers, grave coercion and violation of the pertinent provisions of Republic Act, or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act of 2020.

In an 11-page joint affidavit, Roxanne Dalignoc Eng-op, a job order health worker; Robert Purugganan Bayangan, a casual employee of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) and Rogelio Dulipas Calsiyao, residents of Casigayan, Bulo and Cugawe, Cudal, Tabuk City claimed that Dao-oas defied the health protocols that implemented at a control point in barangay Talaca (Tabuk City) after he passed through with another passenger, an eployee of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) from Bulacan, who did not have travel documents. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 1, 2020

Governor of Abra says the province recorded its first COVID-19 death.

Gov. Ma. Jocelyn Bernos says “AC13”, 85, from Padangitan, Danglas, came from Antipolo City on July 15 and arrived home already with symptoms of COVID-19.  

Confirmation via RT-PCR test was conducted on the patient, which came out positive. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao 

July 29, 2020

Baguio policemen on Tuesday asked all state prosecutors in the city to inhibit from handling the case involving a 7-year-old boy who was murdered in May.

Police Col. Allen Co, Baguio City police director, says they filed a motion for inhibition covering the entire Baguio City prosecutors' office in investigating the murder raps against a couple from an influential family in Ifugao accused of murdering their 7-year old nephew.

"There is a perceived partiality on the part of the handling prosecutor and the entire office," Co says. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 23, 2020

Giving premium to discipline,  the government launched the “Disiplina Muna” advocacy campaign in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) this week to promote participatory governance and to foster the culture of discipline among the Filipino people. 

“During this time of pandemic, discipline is our best defense against COVID-19 by simply complying with the minimum health protocols” DILG Cordillera director Marlo Iringan said citing examples such as the wearing of face masks, social distancing, and proper hand washing.

‘Disiplina Muna’ is anchored on the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022, which aims to lay the foundation for inclusive growth and a high-trust society by ensuring people-centered governance towards Ambisyon Natin 2040 that envisions a “matatag, maginhawa at panatag na buhay para sa lahat”. -- The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 23, 2020

Baguio mayor says they had started to act early on detecting residents with early symptoms of COVID-19 to prevent the spread of the deadly disease. 

Mayor Benjamin Magalong says Memorandum No. 123 series of 2020 was issued earlier this week ordering punong barangays and members of the Barangay Health Emergency Teams (BHERTs) to implement a campaign that would encourage residents experiencing flu-like symptoms to subject themselves to early check-ups in the barangay level.

“If we assess people with flu-like symptoms like fever, cough, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache and fatigue early, we can immediately identify the carriers and isolate them thereby preventing further virus transmission,” Magalong says. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 22, 2020

Butbut tribal folk of barangay Bugnay in Tinglayan, Kalinga are now stockpiling food and materiel as they prepare for a protracted shooting war with neighboring tribal folk of Betwagan in Sadanga, Mountain Province.

Only on Monday, armed tribesmen from Betwagan reportedly moved into Bugnay, sparking a day-long gunfight resulting in at least two Betwagan tribesmen killed while Butbut tribesmen suffered no casualties.

The animosity between the two neighboring villages that heightened into actual hostilities began on February 13, when their "bodong" (peace pact) was severed after a shooting incident.

The Butbut and Betwagan tribal folk are accusing each other of firing the first shot. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 21, 2020

Allaying fears Baguio is willing to risk the health of its residents to revive its tourism-based economy, Mayor Benjamin Magalong declared that the city remains closed until the National Capital Region and the Central Luzon and Calabarzon regions deal with COVID-19 outbreaks in their areas.

Magalong at the heels of the Baguio Visitors Management System’s (BVMS) presentation of City Tourism Officer Aloysius Mapalo mapping out strategies, if and when local tourism opens prospectively by September noted, "almost 45% of tourists come from Regions 3, 4 and the country's capital based on a survey on September 2018 to April 2019."

Most of the city’s visitors hail from those regions.  — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 17, 2020

Baguio City logs two new COVID-19 cases, which brings the total number of active cases in the area to 10.

A 50-year-old male health worker from the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center and a 35-year-old female from Middle Quezon Hill are added to those being treated for the deadly virus. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao  

July 16, 2020

Baguio City logs another COVID-19 positive patient, binging the total number of active cases in the province to nine.

The city’s 55th case, a 50-year-old woman from San Luis Village, is symptomatic, according to Mayor Benjamin Magalong. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 15, 2020

The Department of Health – Cordillera announces that two patients have recovered from the coronavirus disease in the region, one from Benguet and the other from Ifugao.

This brings down the total number of active cases in the region to 28. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao 

June 24, 2020

Anti-narcotics operatives from the Kalinga police and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) torched down at least P13.7M worth of marijuana in Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga Tuesday morning.

The haul were discovered on six plantation sites: 1200 square meters with around 8400 fully-grown marijuana plants; another on a 50 square meter lot with at least 250 MJ plants; a 1200 sq. meter lots with 18,000 MJ plants; another 1500 sq. meter lot with 18,000 MJ plants; another 600 sq. meter lot with at least 9,000 MJ plants; and a 1000 sq. meter lot 15,000 MJ plants. 

If summed up, the total area is a little more than half a hectare of marijuana with 68,650 fully-grown plants believed to peg around P13,730,000. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 21, 2020

Authorities seized at least P6.36M marijuana in brick form after three alleged couriers tried to slip through a checkpoint in Bontoc, Mountain Province on Saturday evening.

Noli Bendoy Navalez, Wilfredo De Leon Magbanua Jr., and Mary Grace Nepumoceno Lunas, all from Dasmarin?as, Cavite tried to pass through a checkpoint as sitio Finew, barangay Samoki enroute to the lowlands aboard a Mitsubishi Mirage sedan.

They tried to take the Bontoc-Banaue road but alerted Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and policemen flagged them down and discovered 53 marijuana bricks they were hauling to Cavite, said PDEA-Cordillera regional director Gil Cesario Castro. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 18, 2020

An official says three policemen, a town health worker and a student tested positive for the coronavirus disease in La Trinidad, Benguet.

This prompted Mayor Romeo Salda to shut down the hall of the capital town starting Thursday morning for disinfection and contact tracing operations.

Salda asks La Trinidad town employees, volunteers and clients to avoid the town hall “for everyone’s safety”.  — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 18, 2020

Baguio City and Benguet town mayors have agreed to continue the liquor ban while their local government units are under modified general community quarantine.

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong says he will not lift the liquor ban while Baguio is under MGCQ. According to him, the alcohol ban is a “deterrent" in gatherings where COVID-19 infections may be transmitted. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 17, 2020

Officials say Tabuk City, Kalinga’s capital, is COVID-19-free again.

The Tabuk City Health Office in its report to the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force, says that six of the earlier confirmed positive cases were found negative after their second swab testing.

A total of 125 frontliners, who had close contact with the six patients were also subjected to COVID-19 testing. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 16, 2020

Three additional confirmed COVID19 cases were recorded Tuesday afternoon in Baguio City.

 Mayor Benjie Magalong said the new patients are a ten-year old girl from San Vicente barangay who had an exposure to a known positive case; a 30-year old female hospital worker from Loakan Road also with known exposure to a case; and a 60-year old male from Upper Irisan who is presently confined in a hospital.

Thus hiking the COVID19 patients here to 8 mid afternoon Tuesday, a day after the police major assigned at Camp Crame and who snuck back to Baguio on May 11 before testing positive for COVID-19 positive, was discharged from the hospital Monday. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 15, 2020

Mountain Province is heightening its guard as COVID19 cases spike in all 6 provinces in the highland region.

Members of the Mountain Province COVID-19 Task Force (PCTF) increased efforts by contact tracing teams in the different towns in the province, management of Returning Overseas Filipino Workers, management of Locally Stranded Individuals and status of logistics support to Quarantine Control Points along provincial borders.

Only Mountain Province has so far had no case of COVID-19 in the region. Abra has five active cases, Benguet, 18; Ifugao, three; Kalinga, six; Apayao seven and Baguio City six.

— The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 13, 2020

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong admits that the city is still not ready for the “new normal”, taking cue from situations in the National Capital Region, Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog.

“Despite decreasing COVID-19 cases in these areas especially in NCR, I am still not confident in opening our local economy to places still hounded by infections,” the mayor says.

Magalong points out that there are still COVID-19 infections being reported in Baguio’s neighboring local governments. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 13, 2020

Abra records two more COVID-19 cases, increasing the total number of active cases to five. 

“AC7” is a 54-year-old male from Barangay San Jose Sur, Manabo town who went for consultation as an outpatient at the Seares Memorial Hospital on May 22, says Abra Gov. Ma. Jocelyn Bernos. 

While “AC8” is a 43-year-old female from Sto. Tomas, also in Manabo, who visited the same hospital for consultation on May 30. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 12, 2020

Benguet records four more cases of COVID-19 infections, which brings the total number of active cases in the province at 11. 

The Benguet public information office confirms that a 22-year-old male from La Trinidad, Benguet’s capital; 24-year-old male from Buguias;  a 37-year-old female from Itogon and a 23-year-old female from Mankayan were the latest addition to the 21 total confirmed cases in the province since March. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 10, 2020

More illicit marijuana plantations, this time at the world-famous tourist enclave Sagada, in Mountain Province, were overrun by authorities on Tuesday.

Eight hundred twenty fully-grown marijuana plants went up in smoke Tuesday morning in at least two plantations located in 50-square-meter and 30-square-meter plots of communal land in Sitio Litting, Barangay Patay.

Valued at P164,000, the marijuana in the two plantations was discovered by joint police and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency personnel after Sagada town police were tipped off by informants. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 9, 2020

Authorities overran two more marijuana plantations in Tabuk City in Kalinga on Monday

Policemen who were supposedly on combat patrol operations in the area found the two plantations in Sitio Catao, Barangay Lacnog.

Immediately, policemen uprooted the 3,500 fully grown marijuana plants in both plantations valued at P700,000 and set them ablaze. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 8, 2020

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong has seemingly softened his stance on a breach of health protocols by San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora and his entourage of 30 last Friday.

"We appeal to the public to exercise greater discernment and restraint in prejudging, (Zamora and the members of his group),”  the mayor says in a statement Monday.

While Magalong admits he “understand(s) the public’s displeasure over the reported breach,”  the mayor urged, the public to "bear in mind that the full appreciation of facts and the proper evaluation of evidence at hand are best left to our courts or the rightful quasi-judicial bodies. This is how justice works." — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 7, 2020

"No one, regardless of rank and position, is exempted from the established and long-held health and safety protocols when entering the city," Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong says.

Magalong issues the statement after San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora headed to the Baguio Country Club on Friday without going through the proper protocols.

"To his credit, Mayor Zamora took the effort to inform me about this incident and apologized for the serious lapse on the part of his police escorting officer. He profusely expressed deep regrets that while asleep in his car at the time, the PNP escort leading his convoy mindlessly took it on his own to ignore what has long been a standard border protection measure prescribed not only in his but our own city," he also says.

June 7, 2020

After several hours at the Benguet General Hospital, Rep. Eric Go Yap (ACT-CIS party-list) has been discharged after tests showed him free from any illness.

Blaming fatigue and stress, Yap confirms he took several tests the whole day Saturday at the BeGH and has since been cleared.

Yap, one of the three representatives of the ACT-CIS partylist and chair of the House appropriations panel, finished a meeting at around 3 a.m. on Saturday and was inside his room when his chief of staff heard a thump, prompting him to rush to the lawmaker’s room and discovered him being massaged on the legs by his brother.

The lawmaker, who was appointed caretaker Benguet representative by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano after the passing of Rep. Nestor Fongwan Jr. last December, arrived in Benguet Thursday afternoon and met with Benguet town mayors at the BeGH. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao


June 7, 2020

Areas in La Paz town in Abra have been on total lockdown since Saturday after the province recorded its fourth case Friday.

La Paz Mayor Ching Bernos placed northern portions of Barangay Poblacion, including Purok Uno, Purok Dos and Purok Tres were placed on a one-week lockdown until June 13 after medical frontliner tested positive for COVID-19.

After two months with no COVID-19 cases in Abra, a 32-year-old woman working at the private-run Seares Memorial Hospital in Bangued tested positive. She is reportedly asymptomatic but is suffering from asthma. She has no travel history outside of the province since the quarantine imposition. 

“AC4” was quarantined at the hospital where she works and a massive contact tracing was launched immediately, says Abra Governor Jocelyn Bernos.

The entire Seares Memorial Hospital was placed under lockdown. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 5, 2020

Abra records its fourth case of the coronavirus disease two months after being COVID-19-free.

The first medical frontliner to be infected with the deadly virus in Abra is a 32-year-old female from the private-run Seares Memorial Hospital in Bangued, the provincial capital. She is asymptomatic but is suffering from asthma and has no travel history outside of her province since the quarantine was imposed. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao 

June 4, 2020

 Some 350 young men and women to compose Philippine Military Academy class of 2024 are undergoing quarantine procedures at different military unified commands around the country, including the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom).

Although PMA spokesperson Captain Cheryl Tindog begged off further details on how many of the incoming cadets are at Camp Aquino in Tarlac, the headquarters of the Nolcom,  she confirms that the academy is processing the safe arrival of the incoming cadets in Fort del Pilar, under the established COVID-19 guidelines. 

“We are requesting that the number, location, timeline and other operational security information be withheld at the moment for the security in the movement of the cadets and our troops,”  she explains.

With the Unified Commands nationwide including Nolcom, PMA is ensuring that all guidelines in accordance Department of Health protocol, such as the conduct of RT-PCR testing and mandatory quarantine before the incoming cadets travel to Baguio City. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao


June 2, 2020

Baguio City’s search for exemplary residents have been temporarily postponed due to the coronavirus disease pandemic. 

Every June, organizers start the search for the Outstanding Citizens of Baguio, an annual feat given to Baguio residents who had significant contributions to the development of the city and their fellow people.

Nominees for the search are persons who made extraordinary services for the betterment of Baguio and people through their work and advocacies. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 31, 2020

 Authorities overran yet another 300-square meter marijuana seedling farm in Tacadang, Benguet on Saturday.

Kibungan police, Benguet police drug enforcement unit operatives and PDEA agents discovered around 400 marijuana seedlings at the farm valued at P48,000.

The seedlings were put ablaze, says Police Col. Elmer Ragay, Benguet police director. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 29, 2020

Two barangays in Baguio City have been placed on lockdown after the villages reportedly dismissed the quarantine measures.  

Barangay San Vicente, which was placed on a two-week lockdown earlier in April and Barangay Poliwes were ordered on lockdown starting 7 p.m. Friday. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 29, 2020

Baguio City Mayor Benjie Magalong says that all grandparents can go out on Sunday as a "special treat" for them for enduring to stay in their homes since the enhanced community quarantine in March.

The mayor adds that two grandchildren can join their lolos and lolas during the “free day for senior citizens.” — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 28, 2020

Neighbors Benguet and La Union are both COVID19-free now.

All ten COVID-19 patients in Benguet were discharged from hospitals and have fully recovered.

Benguet Gov. Melchor Diclas stresses the need to observe all public health standards and necessary precautions to ensure the safety of everyone. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 27, 2020

La Trinidad, Benguet’s capital, is seeing a possible resurgence of the African Swine Fever.

This as the local government has again banned the sale, transfer and entry of pork from five identified ASF-affected villages here to thwart the spread of the swine disease.

La Trinidad Mayor Remeo Salda’s Executive Order 31-2020, directed against the transfer, sale and bringing out of live pork or otherwise from barangays Bahong, Lubas, Pico, Puguis and Wangal, all with confirmed cases of ASF.

Salda ordered the ban after the Office of the Municipal Agriculturist warned of a possible resurgence of ASF cases in the town after conducting an examination and verification.

— The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 27, 2020

Strawberries are abundant despite restrictions on movement brought about by the Enhanced Community Quarantine. 

Food passes have ensured that strawberry farmers are able to bring their perishable produce to local markets, the agriculture department says.

Strawberries dominate the market in February and March when Baguio City’s Panagbenga Festival and La Trinidad’s Strawberry Festival are annually celebrated.

During these months, supposedly coinciding with summer, touted as the highland’s tourist season, farmers’ incomes from strawberries peak too. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 27, 2020

Strawberries are abundant despite restrictions on movement brought about by the Enhanced Community Quarantine. 

Food passes have ensured that strawberry farmers are able to bring their perishable produce to local markets, the agriculture department says.

Strawberries dominate the market in February and March when Baguio City’s Panagbenga Festival and La Trinidad’s Strawberry Festival are annually celebrated.

During these months, supposedly coinciding with summer, touted as the highland’s tourist season, farmers’ incomes from strawberries peak too. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 27, 2020

 Baguio City is confident it can ably handle the anticipated surge of returning OFWs, citing safety systems it has put up against COVID-19.

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong says the city in April put in place a management system consisting of a containment facility, triage and disease management scheme for returning OFWs and residents.

 The OFW facility set up at the Teachers’ Camp which initially offered 129 beds under the management of the Dept. of Health and the City Health Services Office has processed a total of 260 returning OFWs from Baguio City, Benguet Province and Mt. Province since April 17 in collaboration with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA)- Cordillera headed by Director Manuela Peña and the Benguet and Mt. Province LGUs. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 25, 2020

Baguio residents are being reminded anew to strictly abide by the basic coronavirus disease (COVID-19) precautionary measures to maintain its improving health outlook as the city is looking forward to exiting from its General Community Quarantine status.

The city has so far opened 80% of its businesses under GCQ last May 21 and added more starting May 25 thus the need to be doubly conscious of the COVID-19 health and safety protocols, says Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong.

"We can win against this disease so long as we do not let our guards down.  We will not slacken in our resolve to keep the virus at bay while we slowly open up our economy," Magalong says. —The STAR/Artemio Dumlao.


May 22, 2020

Party-list Rep. Eric Go Yap (ACT-CIS party-list) is donating a Polymerase Chain Reaction testing machine and an automated extraction machine to the Benguet General Hospital and Medical Center.

“This will be a big boost in addressing the backlog of PCR-based tests in Baguio. Sa ngayon, nasa humigit kumulang 1,600 ang backlog ng Baguio General Hospital dahil hindi lang Baguio City ang covered nila, sa kanila din dinadala ang mga samples ng Benguet at iba pang probinsya sa Cordillera at maging sa ibang bahagi ng Northern Luzon," says Yap.

"We will not flatten the curve without mass testing and I hope these machines will bring us one step closer to a COVID-free community”, he adds. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 20, 2020

Abrenios stranded in the National Capital Region are now welcome to return to the province, according to a Facebook post by Abra Gov. Ma. Jocelyn Valera-Bernos.

The governor says that there will be a bus scheduled next week to fetch them.

The returnees and those who have private vehicle should coordinate with their respective LGUs.The stranded individuals are welcome to return from May 25-June 5, 2020.

She also asked her provincemates to strictly follow health protocols.


May 20, 2020

Authorities seize P4.3 million worth of marijuana after they flagging down two alleged drug traders in Tinglayan town in Kalinga Tuesday afternoon. 

Alleged drug traders Rich Van Damme Alegre Armoreda and Martin Serrano were on board a Mitsubishi Adventure AUV that police flagged down in Mamaga, Bugnay, and were found to be transporting 36 kilograms of marijuana dried stalks and leaves, Brig. Gen. Rwin Pagkalinawan, Cordillera police director, says.

Police did not indicate where the duo are from and where they were heading when caught with the marijuana. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 19, 2020

Thirteen people cheated death in two separate highway mishaps along Benguet highways on Monday afternoon.

A public utility jeepney bound for Bokod from Tublay town lost its brakes while negotiating a sharp descending bend and fell on its side Tinongdan, Itogon. 

The driver and passengers were rushed to the Benguet General Hospital and Medical Center in La Trinidad for their injuries. All are in stable conditions now, says  Police Col. Elmer Ragay, Benguet police director.

A La Trinidad Trading Post-bound Mitsubishi Canter truck loaded with vegetables was also negotiating a descending portion of the road in Natubleng, Buguias when the brakes stopped working. The driver rammed the truck into a concrete barrier but it still fell down a five-meter ravine. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 17, 2020

After nine health workers who tested positive for COVID-19 were released from the hospital last week, another nurse became the newest case in Baguio City on Sunday morning.

Raising cases in the city to a total of 32, the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center nurse is from Maria Pucay in Pinsao Proper. He is 32 years old.

Contact tracing, quarantine and disinfection protocols have been initiated and the area where he lives may be locked down.

This, after active cases in the city dropped to only one on Saturday — a 41-year-old police officer who came home from the National Capital Region and is believed to have caught COVID-19 there.

So far, there is only one coronavirus-related death in the city — a 55-year-old female government employee. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 14, 2020

Members of the Philippine Military Academy graduating class of 2020 will receive their diplomas without their very proud parents or their loved ones on May 22.

Worse, not even the commander-in-chief, President Rodrigo Duterte, is sure to award outstanding PMA graduates and declare them second lieutenants or ensigns.

There is nothing final yet on who will be the guest of honor and speaker, says Capt. Cherryl Tindog, PMA spokesperson.

Normally, the president as the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces awards the Presidential Saber to the class topnotcher, the vice president awards the Vice President’s Saber to the Number 2 graduating cadet while commanders of the major service commands—Army, Philippine Air Force and Navy—award the Major Service Sabers to graduates topping the Army, Air Force and Navy courses. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 13, 2020

Authorities have launched an investigation into how an officer of the Philippine National Police headquarters positive for COVID-19 was able come home to Baguio City from the National Capital Region.

Police Maj. Rafael Baldado Roxas, 41, presently the deputy chief of the Fingerprint Division of the PNP Crime Laboratory at the PNP National Headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City, apparently contracted the virus where he came from.

He is now confined at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center.

Police Col. Rae Allen Co, Baguio City police director, says Roxas' "travel from Manila to Baguio is now under pre-charge investigation and if it will be found out that he committed lapses, then the proper disciplinary actions will be taken against him."

The police director promised the police "does not tolerate disregard for rules and procedures from its personnel," while stressing, "he will face the consequences of his actions, but the focus right now is on his healing and bringing him back to good health."

Roxas' home barangay is Dontogan, which was placed by Mayor Benjamin Magalong on lockdown on Tuesday immediately after confirming Police Maj. Roxas has COVID-19.

Magalong says Roxas' case cannot be considered as a local transmission as he apparently contracted the virus in the National Capital Region. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 13, 2020

 An alleged communist rebel, whom authorities claimed was assigned with the “Sentro de Grabidad” of the Ilocos-Cordillera Regional Committee of the CPP-NPA, surrendered on Tuesday afternoon in Tadian town in Mountain Province. 

“Ka Noli or Ka VCO”, listed as Number 29 in the “Watchlist Personality" in 2014, reportedly operated in Mountain Province, Abra and Ilocos Sur. 

He gave up to intelligence operatives in Tadian on Tuesday afternoon, police say.

The rebel reportedly surrendered a World War II-era caliber .30 M1 rifle and eight bullets, the Cordillera police say. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 12, 2020

Sadanga town in the Mountain Province returned P1.47 million meant for beneficiaries of the Social Amelioration Program as emergency cash assistance.

Sadanga could not disburse  P1,474,000 since, the local government said, there are no more qualified beneficiary families in the town.

DSWD–Cordillera sent funds for 1,400 target family beneficiaries, but during the actual payout, only 1,132 beneficiaries were qualified to receive the emergency cash assistance.

Leo Quintilla,  director of the DSWD-Cordillera says Sadanga is the first local government unit among those that have already competed their payout in the Cordillera to return unused funds. —The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 11, 2020

A 26-year old Filipino-American man, a native of Benguet, tested positive of COVID-19, bringing the number of active cases in the province to seven. 

All of the cases are in stable condition.

The man, who is from Ambiong in La Trinidad, Benguet, reportedly went directly to Teachers Camp along Leonard Wood Road in Baguio City to go into quarantine.

Since April 16, Teachers Camp, a facility of the education department, has been transformed into an isolation facility for Filipinos returning from overseas. -- The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 11, 2020

Baguio City’s "new normal" when in public places is: wear a face mask.The Baguio City council during its regular session on May 4, approved on third and final reading an ordinance mandating the wearing of face masks by all persons in the city during the declared state of emergency over Coronavirus pandemic.  

The ordinance was signed on May 7 by Mayor Benjamin Magalong. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 10, 2020

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong has lifted lockdown declarations over areas in five barangays with previous COVID-19 cases.

Teacher's Village; Sto. Tomas Proper; San Luis Ext.; Woodsgate Subdivision in Camp 7;  Purok 1, Camp 8; Sitio Sto. Niño, Bakakeng Central; and Sector 5, Dominican-Mirador were “freed” Sunday morning.

In Memorandum 54-2020 to the Baguio City Police Office and barangay chairmen of the areas, the mayor lifted the lockdown orders citing the reassessment by the city's contact tracing teams. He says: “lockdowns are no longer necessary in these areas.”

They were however reminded to continue abiding by the Enhanced Community Quarantine rules. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 10, 2020

 Two more patients—an infant who tested positive when he was eight days old, and a 22-year-old nurse—were discharged from the hospital Friday.

Adding to the city's list of coronavirus disease recoveries and bringing the total to 17 is a 25-day-old baby who was diagnosed last April 25 and confined at the Pines City Doctors Hospital. 

The baby boy was gleefully sent home by hospital staff Friday night, while 22-year old nurse Mae Anne Gabrielle Cachero was also discharged from the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center where she works as a nurse, — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 7, 2020

Rep. Eric Go Yap (ACT-CIS party-list), designated legislative caretaker of Benguet, wants to add one more legislative district for Benguet province.

Under House Bill no. 6615 titled “An Act Reapportioning the Province of Benguet into two Legislative Districts”,  the first legislative district will be composed of Bokod, Itogon, Kabayan, Sablan, Tuba while the towns of Atok, Bakun, Buguias, Kapangan, Kibungan, La Trinidad, Mankayan, and Tublay will compose the second legislative district.

Yap says the measure seeks to ensure equitable representation for the Benguet people in the legislature and the national government.

The proposal further seeks that the incumbent representative for Benguet's lone district will continue to represent and serve until the representatives for two districts have been elected. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 5, 2020

 An employee of the Department of Health in Cagayan Valley and two more were flagged down at a checkpoint in Tabuk City, Kalinga over the weekend, a belated report from the Kalinga police says.


DOH worker Richard Gannaban Bueno, 27, from Centro Solana town in Cagayan was with drug surrenderee Arvin Rodico Alvendia, 40, from Enrile town, also in Cagayan and farmer Junior Galming Ticnang, 48, from Agbanawag, Tabuk City were stopped Saturday afternoon at the checkpoint because the motorcycle they were riding had no license plate number.


When frisked, Ticnang yielded a small size transparent heat-sealed containing shabu weighing less than a gram valued at P500.00, said newly-installed Kalinga police officer-in-charge Col. Davy Limmong. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 29, 2020

Mayor Benjamin Magalong is beefing up further the city’s contact tracing teams in light of the spike in COVID-19 cases in the past days.

The mayor asked Police Col. Allen Co, Baguio City Police Office director, to orient more investigators and intelligence personnel on cognitive interviewing to team up with the City Health Services Team in tracking down contacts of the new patients.

Co has appointed six more Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)-trained investigators to the pool of contract tracers so that they now have 20 in the field, 14 from the Baguio City police and six from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

City Health Officer Rowena Galpo said the city has several contact tracing teams currently working double time.   She said one patient has an average of 50 contacts while some have as high as 100.  — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 27, 2020

The Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center resumed operations mid afternoon Monday, just several hours after it was shut down with the sudden surge of new cases of COVID19 suspected to be emanating from local transmissions here.

“We resuming admissions of patients in our hospital both COVID and non-COVID,”  the state-run BGHMC said in its advisory mid afternoon Monday, adding, “however we will have to scale down in areas where there is a high risk of infection due to new positive cases coming up.”

BGHMC said it has adjusted work schedules of their staff in their respective areas in the hospital and instituted stricter infection control measures. -- The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 26, 2020

A 61-year-old doctor and three nurses were diagnosed with COVID-19 in Baguio City on Sunday, bringing the total cases to 29 here with 12 health care workers.

The latest cases were tested positive under the Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) confirmatory test.

The latest cases are from BGH Compound, Camp 8 and Sto. Niño barangays.

"All appropriate courses of actions and standard operating procedures are currently being executed,"  Mayor Benjamin Magalong was quoted by the Baguio City public information office as saying.

Magalong has declared Sto. Nino Barangay under lockdown as the two other barangays were earlier closed to avoid transmission of the disease while contact tracing is being made. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 26, 2020

The province of Ifugao, home of the famous rice terraces, is no longer free of COVID-19 after recording its first confirmed case of the viral disease, the Department of Health says.

The DOH says the patient from Poblacion East, Lamut, Ifugao is now currently confined at the Region-2 Trauma and Medical Center in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, the neighboring province.

Dr. Rhodora Montesa, head of the Lamut Municipal Health Office (MHO) identified the patient as Danilo Pascua, 65, who was first admitted at the medical ward of the town’s Panopdopan District Hospital from April 14-22, 2020.

“With the authorization of Mayor Mariano Buyagawan Jr., and permission from the patient’s daughter, I am posting the name of the patient for faster contact tracing and rapid testing or swabbing,” Montesa said on her Facebook account. — The STAR/Victor Martin

April 25, 2020

Mayor Benjamin Magalong announces the lifting of lockdown of Barangay Fairview in Baguio City.

The mayor warns residents to follow the COVID-19 community quarantine rules and precautionary measures seriously this time.

"May this also serve as a lesson to other barangays.  We will not hesitate to lock you up if you will not abide by the rules," the mayor says. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 22, 2020

Baguio police rounded up 32 more Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) violators in a continuing crackdown against Unauthorized Persons Outside Residences—a new government term for people out and about.

Police Col. Allen Rae Co, Baguio police director, says violators were apprehended at North Central Aurora Hill, New Lucban, Upper Mabini Street, MOT Checkpoint, Session Road, Quirino Highway Checkpoint, 1st Kayang Street, Upper Mabini Street, Lower Session Road, Quirino Highway, Mabini Street and Marcoville Barangay.

They included minors, senior citizens, four Yemeni nationals and one Japanese national.

They were made to stay in holding areas for six hours of lectures and “contemplation.” The were also booked and their mugshots were taken, says Co. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 19, 2020

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong orders the police to enhance the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine rules by intensifying arrests of those who violate the rules.

Now, violators will be handcuffed, the mayor says.

Magalong says there is need for more vigorous implementation of the measures now that the ECQ is nearing its homestretch. 

"We need to stave off complacency otherwise all our efforts will be put to waste," he says.

This, as another barangay here was warned for ECQ violations.

Magalong on Saturday warned Dominican Mirador barangay will be placed under a lockdown after breaches in the Enhanced Community Quarantine rules were observed.

"If they continue to violate ECQ, I will be constrained to declare a lockdown. They better get their acts together," the mayor warns.

Barangay Pinget was earlier declared on a lockdown for two weeks after similar ECQ rules breaches. Barangay Fairview was cited two days ago also for quarantine rules violations. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 14, 2020

Lawyer Edison Bilog, a former vice mayor who lost to Mayor Benjamin Magalong in the 2019 polls, has left social media after backlash for joking about the current mayor's hair.

Bilog had, in an earlier post, compared Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto and Baguio's own local chief executive after somebody from Pasig with family in Baguio had complained that food packs are not delivered to residents' houses like in Pasig City.

Bilog answered that Pasig is different from Baguio. "Your mayor there in Pasig is handsome, here in Baguio, the mayor is bald," he said in Filipino. He also said that he will let those who will bash him "be infected with" COVID-19.

Social media users, presumably from Baguio City, did not appreciate Bilog's comments.

He has since announced he is deactivating his account but will still be available on FB Messenger. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 12, 2020

Class suspensions in Baguio City, which hosts universities and colleges, have been extended to the end of May.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong, in Executive Order 78, series of 2020, says that the consensus among stakeholders is to extend the class suspensions of private and state-run educational institutions as part of stringent measures to protect residents from COVID-19.
School officials are directed to coordinate with the education department, the Commission on Higher Education and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority for additional instructions regarding the guidelines for culmination of the school year and other related issues.

The mayor also banned culmination rites in schools.

Magalong suspended classes in all levels from March 13. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 8, 2020

Kalinga province has enough rice to last until the enhanced community quarantine of Luzon is lifted, which will be on April 30 at the earliest.

Officials from the provincial, city and municipal agricultural offices, National Food Authority, National Irrigation Authority and millers from palay buying stations have conducted an assessment of the province's rice supply.

Kalinga Provincial Agriculturist Domingo Bakilan says the estimated 221,491 people in the province consume 166.6 kilograms of rice per year and says the province is self-sufficient at more than 200% of its projected needs.

Tabuk City Agriculturist Julibert Aquino reports that around 30% of the rice fields in Tabuk City are already planted with rice seeds and more than 30% of areas are undergoing land preparation. At least 10,417 hectares of farmlands in Tabuk City are irrigated.

Nasser Rey Juan of the Office of the Agricultural Services in Rizal town also claims that there is a total of 1,886 hectares included in the harvested area in the municipality and an estimate of 811 hectares are to be harvested. He says that farmers in Rizal will begin planting again this month. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao 

April 7, 2020

Baguio is on its 9th day of maintaining a “flat curve” in the coronavirus disease (COVID19) crisis as no new positive case was recorded.

The last confirmed COVID19 case was on March 28,  Baguio Citty Mayor Benjamin Magalong said Monday, adding,  “if this trend keeps in the coming days then the city can claim to have truly flattened the curve or reined in the insidious disease.”

The Mayor however appealed, “until then, we should continue holding the line by sustaining our vigilance and not lapsing into complacency.”

The “success” in maintaining a “zero new case”, Magalong attributed, “is due to the strong working link between the city government, national line agencies led by the Department of Health Cordillera and the Inter-Agency Task Force and the private sector. -- The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

April 2, 2020

 The war on drugs in the Cordillera continues as more than P132 million worth of illegal drugs were seized in month-long operations in the region.

 At least 31 people were arrested, and 17 cases were filed in court, Police Brig. Gen. RWin Pagkalinawan, regional director, says.

Pagkalinawan says that of the P132,962,787 worth of seized drugs, 137.05 grams consist of shabu, 366,273 marijuana plants, and 12,160 seedlings, 9,050 grams of marijuana seeds, 398,358.92 grams of marijuana leaves, and 85,000 marijuana stalks. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

March 31, 2020

A shop known for designing and producing world-class fabrics and clothing with indigenous Cordillera designs is now making Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suits for health workers as the country struggles with an outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

Narda's Handwoven Arts and Craft, owned and established by accomplished fabric weaver Narda Capuyan, will distribute the PPEs to Baguio City, La Trinidad and other nearby town hospitals.

They coordinated with the Department of Health-Cordillera for samples and material.

Lucia Capuyan-Catanes and daughter Narda said the drive all started when she heard the appeal for PPEs of the Lung Center of the Philppines in Quezon City on Tuesday, March 24.  

She consulted her father, Wilson Capuyan, president of the firm, who readily agreed.

The company looked for available materials in Baguio City while Red Cross Baguio board member and philantrophist Ryan Mangusan also extended assistance.

A firm in Manila had provided the needed materials for the PPEs while an owner of a cargo company offered free transport of the materials.

Narda’s workshop at the Winaca Eco-Cultural Village and Forest Homes in Tublay, Benguet is the temporary work area for the cutters and sewers of Narda’s for the PPE production. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

March 25, 2020

The supposed closure on Wednesday of the vegetable trading post in La Trinidad, Benguet has been moved to Friday, March 27,  after a long dialogue between town officials and vegetable farmers and traders.

The dialogue was prompted by an executive order by La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda on Tuesday ordering the partial closure of the trading post as part of the town's measures against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The partial closure would be until April 12, the expected last day of the enhanced community quarantine across Luzon.

Salda clarifies that the trading post cannot be totally closed and that those who will be displaced will be temporarily transferred to the Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center here.

He says the trading post needs to be disinfected but the flow of vegetable supply should not be hampered.  

After the dialogue, trading post stakeholders agreed to totally close the area for disinfection. 

Agot Balanoy of the Benguet  Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative says they agreed for the closure of the backfill trading area only.  She says the carrot trading area of the trading post and the Benguet Agri Pinoy Trading Center will remain open. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

March 23, 2020

Starwood Hotel has offered its facilities for Baguio City's medical frontliners in the battle against COVID-19.

Baguio City administrator Bonifacio Dela Peña says the owner of the hotel along Kisad Road has allowed the use of unoccupied rooms for free to frontliner medical staff of the state-run Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center.

Dela Peña says the owner learned of the difficulties being encountered by some of the frontliners in going home due to the suspension of operation of the public utility vehicles, thus the offer.

This is a big help as it is the BGHMC staff members who will be attending to the bulk of patients as being anticipated, said Baguio City Health Officer Rowena Galpo, adding, "(but) since the available rooms are also limited, it will be on priority basis to be decided by the management of BGHMC."

Mayor Benjie Magalong expressed the city's gratitude for the hotel's generosity which he said is crucial in these critical times.

Lindi Hotel, also along Kisad Road, earlier offered its premises as a containment center for COVID-19 PUIs with mild symptoms. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

March 9, 2020

Anti-drug agents over the weekend arrest eight alleged drug couriers posing as tourists in two separate operations in Bontoc, Mountain Province.

Personnel from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and regional and provincial police units at a checkpoint in Lower Caluttit, Bontoc flagged down a black Chevrolet vehicle and discovered 145 pieces of marijuana bricks and in tubular forms worth around P19.3 million.

They arrested the following:

  • Joseph Petilona, 35, from Angeles City, Pampanga
  • Mark Kevin Guzman, 21, from Quezon City
  • Niño Acio, 25, from Angeles City, Pampanga
  • and Princess Guma, 18, from Angeles City, Pampanga

The suspects were travelling with a 7-year-old child.

While police were documenting the case against the five, they received a tip that another group of "tourists" would be passing the same route coming from Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga.

Operatives seized 27 pieces of marijuana bricks and in tubular forms valued at P3.3 million from Jerald Escanillas, 29; John Vincent Santos, 20; and Princess Diana Kling, 21,  all from Angeles City, Pampanga who were aboard an orange vehicle. 

A certain Ryan Joe Courpin was mentioned by the three as one of their companions, but evaded arrest. -- The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

February 20, 2020

Baguio’s chilly morning’s dropped to a record low of 10.4 degrees Celcius, the second lowest temperature reading so far this year.

On the first day of February, Baguio residents refused to kick off under their blankets after they were greeted with a 10.2 degrees chill.  The temperature became erratic between 11-12 degrees after.

Early Thursday morning was even “fanned” by winds from the Northeast monsoon locally called “Amihan”, a weather system that starts every October. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

February 20, 2020

Twenty-five villagers in Mankayan, Benguet have completed the Department of Information and Communication Technology's DigitalJobsPh Technical Training Program.

Formerly known as the Rural Impact Sourcing Technical Training Program, DigitalJobsPh is one of the flagship programs of DICT and aims to provide digital opportunities and promote online freelancing in the countryside. 

Covered in the program are the vulnerable sectors such as the PWDs, out-of-school youths, homestay moms, among others.

The trainees underwent eight days of face-to-face lecture on virtual assistance skills; primarily focused on email and calendar management, transcribing, client management and basic social media marketing.

They also embarked on an actual 21-day digital marketing campaign as an online freelancer that will help them increase their employability and look for potential clients.

— The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

February 16, 2020

At least three already decomposing bodies were found anew in separate locations in Tuba, Benguet.

Late last year, at least 8 already decomposed bodies were also found dumped at a deep ravine along the dimly-lit portion of Marcos Highway at barangay Poyopoy, Tuba.  Only three were later identified as Alfredo Domilos Lamenta Jr. also known as Junie Batang-e from Tadian, Mountain Province, Fahad Manan Macalanggan, 28, a native of Marawi City and Kent Charlie Licyayo, 22, a native of Ifugao but both have been living in Baguio City.

Last week Wednesday,  a still unidentified male, already decomposing, was found dumped at a 15 meter ravine along the newly-opened San Pascual-Nangalisan road, an alternate route from Tubao, La Union to Baguio City, specifically at sitio Ana-aw, barangay San Pascual, Tuba.

The dumped male wore a gray sweatshirt, denim jeans and his head was wrapped with gray packaging tape. — AFP

February 13, 2020

The Ifugao State University recently participated in the successful mediation of boundary disputes in Lagawe, Ifugao through the hidit, an indigenous practice to resolve such conflicts.

Before the traditional amicable settlement, the three barangays of Dulao; Olilicon and Tupaya all claimed a total of 291 hectares of land in their jurisdiction.

"IFSU is honored to be one of the selected juries in this historic case. Our participation in this kind of conflict reconciliation is one of our functions as a University to extend services in our communities," says Eulalie Dulnuan, director of the Ifugao Rice Terraces-Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems Center, says in an IFSU release.

"The amicable settlement of the three barangays to resolve boundary disputes through hidit is commendable. With this development, it reminds us that there are indigenous knowledge and practices that we can maximize to have just and fair decisions for all parties involved. IFSU will use this example in its IKSP (Indigenous Knowledge Sytems and Practices) subjects to promote the importance of indigenous knowledge and practice in resolving boundary disputes."

February 11, 2020

La Trinidad, Benguet’s capital town, has just cancelled the 2020 Strawberry Festival scheduled for March.

The annual month-long festival coincides with La Trinidad's foundation anniversary.

Mayor Romeo Salda, Vice Mayor Roderick Awingan and the town's councilors held a meeting on Tuesday to discuss postponing the event but eventually voted to cancel it altogether.

The officials cited precautionary measures against the novel coronavirus as the main reason for calling the festival off.

Benguet province has recorded three persons under investigation for possible infection by the 2019-nCoV. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

February 10, 2020

The 25th edition of the Baguio Flower Festival, locally known as “Panagbenga” (A Time To Blom), will finally officially start on March 21, more than one and a half months after its supposed opening on February 1.

The Baguio Flower Festival Foundation moved the opening parade to parry off the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD).

Andrew Pinero of the Hotel and Restaurants Association of Baguio says the decision to push through with the opening parade came after Friday’s meeting among top officials of the BFFI, Inc. and Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

February 5, 2020

The Office of Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong via its public information office (PIO) stressed Wednesday morning that there is no lockdown for tourists and visitors in Baguio amid the 2019 novel corona virus scare.

Aileen Paguio Refuerzo,  Baguio City public information officer said, the City Government stands by the earlier proclamation that only the canceled activity is the supposed opening parade of the 25th Baguio Flower Festival or Panagbenga on February 1, 2020.  Other postponed activities are crowd drawers like the Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (CARAA) sports meet among others, until further notice.   There is still no decision yet for the grand Street dancing and Float parade that is scheduled for February 29 to March 1, 2020.

-- The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

February 3, 2020

Abra police is getting useful clues on the brutal January 21, 2020 killing of a Cebuano cop near the police station in Villaviciosa town in Abra.

"We could not yet disclose as early as now the real motive behind the killing of our comrade. There might be different possible motives but we don't want to theorize or make impulsive judgments, rather, we will consider all these possibilities and capsulize the investigation based on evidence,”  Police Col. Alfredo Dangani, provincial police director, said as he together with the Abra police force condemned the murder of Police MSgt Frederick Fernandez Ybanez.

Ybañez was at the restaurant below his boarding house, just a stone's throw away from the town police station, when gunmen came from behind and pumped bullets killing him instantly. 

His government-issued rifle and pistol were not taken by the gunmen, who remain unidentified.  — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

January 31, 2020

A supposed communist guerilla said to be a member of the Kilusang Larangang Gerilya Marco (codename for Mountain Province) surrendered to La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda and Cordillera police director Brig. General Ephraim Dickson on Thursday morning.

Benguet police director Col. Elmer Ragay and Cordillera police Regional Intelligence Division chief Col. Reynaldo Pasiwen witnessed the surrender of "Ka Wilang", who turned over a US carbine rifle, bullets and a grenade.

"Ka Wilang" had been an NPA rebel since he was 15 years old and is a known "Militia ng Bayan" member operating in the tri-boundaries of Mountain Province, Kalinga, and Abra, authorities claimed. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

January 28, 2020

 Authorities are opening Kennon Road—the shortest, most historic and undeniably most scenic route to Baguio City—both north- and southbound every weekend.

The Cordillera Risk and Disaster Management Council (CRDRRMC) “Joint Task Group Kennon” on Monday decided on a motion to open Kennon Road to private motorists, light vehicles only (5 tons and below), as a  response to the expected influx of tourists and visitors for Panagbenga 2020 that starts on February 1 and ends on the first week of March. 

Kennon Road will be open to two-way traffic every weekend starting 6am Friday January 31 up to 6pm Monday  February 3, and under the same scheme every weekend thereafter (Feb. 7 - 10; Feb. 14. - 17; Feb. 21 - 24; Feb. 28 - Mar. 2; and Mar. 6 - 9), the Task Force ruled. —The STAR / Artemio Dumlao

January 27, 2020

Many employees of the Baguio City government are not registered voters, lawyer John Paul Martin, chief of the Commission on Elections office in Baguio, says.

"Imagine, they are requiring the night market vendors and business owners to secure certificates proving they are registered voters of Baguio City, but they themselves are not registered voters?" he says.

Martin acknowledges city government staff may be afraid that politicians might discover that they did not vote for them but stresses candidates will not be able to find who they voted for. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao


January 23, 2020

Of Baguio City's 128 barangays, 110—or 85.93%—have been cleared of illegal drugs, city police say.

While three barangays—Pinget, Irisan and Bakakeng Central—are undergoing drug-clearing operations by authorities, the illegal drug trade has returned to 10 barangays. 

Four barangays were unaffected by the drug trade: Country Club Village, Upper Dagsian, Happy Hallow, and Lower General Luna. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

January 22, 2020

The bone-tingling chill in Baguio has dropped to a low of 11.4 degrees Celcius early Wednesday morning helped by moderate to at times strong winds from the northeast,  Pagasa says.

"Dress in layers, with a wind-resistant outer layer," state-run Philippine Information Agency advises, while also suggesting everyone should "wear a hat, mittens and keep your face warm with a scarf, neck tube or facemask."

Even Baguio residents, supposedly used to the cold Januaries, growl "brrr its soooo cold."  

"I skipped the shower," says a resident who also attributed the "bath-skipping attitude" to the 6AM-6PM power outage Wednesday instituted by Benguet Electric Cooperative.

In January 1963, Baguio experienced temperatures of 6.3 degrees, the lowest so far in the history of the highland resort enclave.

January 21, 2020

Two suspected couriers of marijuana from Bulacan were caught at a checkpoint in Barangay Samoki in Bontoc, Mountain Province Sunday afternoon.

Tricycle driver Rufino Tenedero Marmito Jr., 20; and call center agent Ernie Manapao Leongson, 24; both from Guiguinto, Bulacan were arrested after the Coda Lines bus bound for Cubao, Manila they were riding in was flagged down at the checkpoint.

Police found the duo with seven marijuana bricks and five tubular fruiting tops with a total weight of 8,200 grams worth P984,000. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

January 20, 2020

Two men claiming to be "part-time" New People's Army rebels?—who, as rebel auxiliaries, aided communist guerillas in fighting the government?—surrendered to authorities in Benguet over the weekend.

Forty-one-year-old Christian Pili Maswood, alias "Ka Ronald", of the "Militia ng Bayan" under under Kilusang Larangang Gerilya "BAMPIS" (Benguet, Abra, Mt. Province, Ilocos Sur) surrendered to police and military intelligence agents on Friday in Itogon town, Benguet, provincial police say.

"Ka Ronald" reportedly turned over a cal. 38 revolver and six bullets, said Police Col. Elmer Ragay, Benguet police director. 

On Sunday morning, Felomino Kiwas Gapuz alias “Ka Kasaki”, 45, also a “Militia ng Bayan” member under KLG "BAMPIS" turned himself in to authorities. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

January 17, 2020

Pollution in Baguio has been killing thousands and the death toll is rising since 2015.


The startling revelation by Baguio City planning officer Antoinette Aniban during the top level meeting Friday last week on Baguio’s rehabilitation cited that an average of 2,136 have died due to pollution-related sicknesses.

And unlike in the past,  Baguio City officials including Baguio City mayor Benjamin Magalong admit the air quality in the city is bad.

Magalong said air in the summer capital is indeed one of the worst in the country, prompting his administration, he said to take brave steps to rectify it.

Deaths due to air pollution-related diseases have steadily increased in the city since 2015 according to Aniban’s report before local and national government officials.

In 2015, there were 2,181 deaths followed by 2,129 in 2016.  In 2017 there were 2,267 deaths and it peaked in 2018 at 2,338.  Though in 2019, there were 1,767,  showing a decrease during the  five year monitoring period. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

January 13, 2020

Benguet vegetable traders are appealing to Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso to keep Divisoria open during Fiesta de Sto Niño of Tondo. 

Foreseeing huge losses, Benguet vegetable farmers and traders vigorously urged Moreno not to shut down Divisoria for three days as it would mean thousands of kilos of vegetables to rot.

The City Government of Manila will be celebrating the annual Fiesta de Sto. Niño of Tondo, Manila from 17 to 19, 2020.  The roads leading to the area are said to be closed for the feast.

Around 500 tons of various vegetable are being delivered to Manila everyday, according to La Trinidad Vegetable Truckers and Traders Association grievance officer Rudy Bulawan. 

If the area will be closed for three days, there will be around 1,500 kilos that will not be delivered and will possibly stocked and rot in La Trinidad's vegetable trading post, he feared.

— The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

January 9, 2020

An alleged gun-for-hire and member of a private armed group surrendered to Abra policemen on Wednesday.

Eljay Asistio Biyang, 26, tagged by policemen as a member of the notorious “Sindon Group” operating in Lagayan town turned himself in to intelligence and drug enforcement agents Wednesday afternoon at Camp Juan Villamor in Calaba, Bangued, Abra’s capital.

Biyang was earlier also tagged as one among two suspects in the January 2018 grenade attack  in La Paz, Abra that killed two police officers and hurt 24 others, including the town's mayor and the province's congressman. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

January 9, 2020

A commuter van plunged into a 30-meter ravine in Sitio Nabjeng, Tabaan Norte, Tuba, Benguet on Thursday morning, leaving a laborer dead an 11 others hurt.

Tuba Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office chief Jonathan Labutan says the van, which came from Sitio Toybongan in Tabaan Norte was bound for Pugo, La Union for market day when it lost its brakes around 7:30 a.m.

Laborer Reynante Pig-ang Garcia, 41, from Pugo, La Union died on the spot. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

January 7, 2020

Benguet's capital town has also been stung by traffic gridlocks, prompting officials here to grope for solutions.

Traffic woes and congestions in the town, especially within the vicinity of the famous strawberry farms, during weekends and holidays kept recurring.

La Trinidad Tourism Officer Valred Olsim said they have recorded a conservative count of 240,000 tourists who trooped to the strawberry farms during the Christmas and New Year break only.

During the 4th quarter of 2019, around 322,000 tourists came to the strawberry farms either for fruit picking or just a selfie or groupie.

The count was based on the vehicles that arrived in the parking area managed by the local government unit (LGU) and the report from the Benguet State University (BSU)

 — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

January 6, 2020

La Trinidad—the capital of Benguet province—and Aboitiz Power have inked a Memorandum of Agreement for a 20-megawatt hydroelectric power project.

La Trinidad Mayor Romeo Salda said the planned plant is one of the biggest projects of the town for 2020 and is seen to bring additional and bigger income for the local government.

Aboitiz Power Vice President Chis Faelnar said the hydroelectric plant will be constructed between Barangay Banengbeng in Sablan town and  Barangay Bineng in La Trinidad .

Indigenous peoples' communities in both Sablan and La Trinidad have given their Free Prior and Informed Consent for the project. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

December 26, 2019

Apologizing for the discomfort caused by the Benguet Day pageant ruckus, the Benguet provincial government has sought the community's understanding and has reached a solution to the problem among parties.

The problem erupted when the contestants and their handlers were provided with copies of the tallies of all the events of the beauty tilt. The handlers of the non-winning contestants noticed discrepancies in the calculation of the overall scores and questioned the results.

The parties agreed that the declared winners will remain.

"This is to inform the public that Seth Wayne Chacapna,  representing the municipality of Atok and Marilou D.  Saguidec will remain Mister and Miss Benguet 2019, respectively, as such,  they will continue to perform their duties and responsibilities, more particularly in promoting sports, health, education and the like in the province, " the official statement of the provincial government stressed. 

The governor said that Novy Jones Aban and Amie Rose Pitas, both representing the municipality of Kapangan were conferred the titles Mr. and Miss Benguet Adivay 2019 respectively and were given task to promote the culture and tourism of Benguet. 

Bryan Marzo of Kibungan and Karen B. Evasco of Atok meanwhile were recognized as finalists. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

December 9, 2019

Policemen are in hot pursuit of a still unidentified gunman who waylaid a retired Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency agent Monday morning along Marcos Highway in Baguio City.

The shooting occurred at around 7:20 a.m. in front of Hercules Bar, along KM 4, Marcos Highway while Samuel Lopez Mora, 58, was in board his Toyota Hilux with license plate number CAH 6762 heading home nearby.

Mora, a native of Zambales, lives in Sto. Nino, Bakakeng Central barangay here.

The supposed gunman on board a motorcycle peppered the former PDEA agent with at least 15 bullets as shown by the holes on the driver’s side glass window. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

December 5, 2019

Some 700 or so golfers teed off Wednesday in the 70th edition of the Fil-Am Invitational Golf Tournament, the world’s biggest and longest running amateur golf tournament, at both the Camp John Hay and the Baguio Country Club golf courses. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

December 4, 2019

 Apayao governor Eleanor Bulut-Begtang suspended class in all levels in both private and public schools in the entire province starting Tuesday noon.


This as the latest heavy rain fall warning advisory from the weather bureau PAGASA said moderate to occasional heavy rains will be experienced in Apayao today.


Likewise pre-school to high school classes were suspended in Abatan and Bangao in Buguias in northern Benguet as early as Tuesday morning while pre-school to elementary classes were also suspended in Tadian town in Mt. Province. —The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

December 3, 2019

A 70-year-old widowed mother immediately died after her son hacked her with a bolo Sunday afternoon in San Ramon East, Manabo town in Abra. 

Manabo police said Leonida Carpio Miguel was hanging clothes she washed on a clothesline when her 35 year old son Ramos, single and a farmer, came close and with one stroke of a bolo hacked his mother on the neck killing her instantly.

Policemen were able to catch up on the farmer and promised to bring him for psychiatric examination and for charges he will face. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

December 1, 2019

The 70th edition of the Fil-Am Invitational Golf Tournament,  the biggest amateur golf tournament in the world, hosted by Camp John Hay and the Baguio Country Club golf courses starts this Sunday.


"It's a go," says co-chairs Tim Allen and Anthony de Leon as they have started welcoming players to the events in their respective clubs early this week. 


The three-day practice rounds will start Sunday which will culminate with the captain's meeting when team leaders finalize their line ups in the five to play four to count tournament that uses the Modified PAL format.  -- The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

November 21, 2019

November 22, Friday, is a special non-working holiday in Benguet in commemoration of its 119th founding anniversary.
Although Benguet officially celebrates its founding anniversary on November 23, President Rodrigo Duterte declared the 22nd a non-working holiday as requested by Gov. Melchor Diclas.

The province will hold various activities, including a parade, community dancing as well as traditional celebrations.

At least 22 black pigs will be butchered for the public to partake as “watwat” during the day-in day-out revelries on Saturday.

A unique "ewek" (pig-catching ritual) will certainly amuse everyone, the Benguet provincial government says. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

November 20, 2019

Ten villagers were hurt when the footbridge they were passing through collapsed early Wednesday morning in Sadanga town in Mt. Province.

Local disaster council officials named those injured as Franklin Makchong, 38; Lorenso Limiseb, 48; Albert Paloran, 37; Anggara Cayang-o, 32; Anyo Estiman, 44; Arman Agayyong, 40; Monger Tinmakcheg, 38; Rudy Yakak, 40; Henry Tangkiyao, 51; and Vivian Cayang-o, 30. 

All except Tinmakcheg, Yakak and Tingkiyao were admitted at the Luis Hora Memorial Regional Hospital in Abatan, Bauko town, while Cayang-o was left at the Betwagan Health Station because she refused to be taken to the hospital. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

November 18, 2019

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat has reportedly committed some P500 million for the rehabilitation of 34-hectare Burnham Park.

Recent meetings between Secretary Puyat and Baguio Mayor Benjamin Magalong drew good prospects of rehabilitating the city’s premier tourist destination to be at par with other frequently visited parks in the different parts of the country.

The Baguio City government earlier estimated around P300 million is needed to implement recommended developments inside the park pursuant to the comprehensive master development plan of the park. 

Among the initial plans for the rehabilitation of Burnham Park include the improvement of the Melvin Jones football ground, the provision of a fountain and re-development of the Burnham lake, the put up of a senior citizen’s park near the children’s park, the put up of a creative center, the facelift of the Rose Garden and the development of the Pine Trees of the World within the Burnham Park complex. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

November 15, 2019

Police investigators are deep into the probe of two civilian swimming instructors of the Philippine Military Academy who are believed to have failed to assure the safety of Philippine Military Academy cadets that led to the drowning of fourth class cadet Mario Telan Jr. last Friday at the Academy’s swimming pool.

This, though the duo — Dr. Robert S. Bete Jr. and Professor Antonio Calatan — already gave their narratives to the police on what their version of the incident were.

Baguio police director Col. Allen Rae Co said they have asked for PMA’s security and safety protocol for the use of the poor and in the conduct of swimming classes to see whether it was followed including the Program of Instruction (POI) for swimming lessons.  This to ascertain the chain of events that led to the drowning, the police official said.

Telan Jr., 20, who will be buried on Saturday in his hometown in Enrile, Cagayan, reportedly waded to the 15-foot part of the pool unnoticed and had not resurfaced even after the class. 

Everybody including Dr. Bete and Calatan and 26 others did not notice Telan Jr., who accordingly was “not a swimmer”. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

November 12, 2019

Six cheated death Tuesday morning after the Mitsubishi L300 van they were riding to Baguio City plunged down a 50-meter ravine in sitio Tigil, Sagpat, Kibungan town in Benguet.

Brought to the town’s Rural Health Unit, then rushed to the Benguet General Hospital in La Trinidad, Benguet were Samuel Dolin, 46, who owns and drove the van;  Dolin’s brother Butch;  Susan Landisan, 56; Leomy William; and 6 year old Angelo Landisan; all from sitio Polis, barangay Poblacion, Kibungan, Benguet and Dario De Lara, 32 from Buyagan, La Trinidad, Benguet. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

November 6, 2019

Troops found an  abandoned encampment of New People's Army rebels, that could house at least 50 individuals, in Sagada, Mountain Province, the military said.

Soldiers from the 54th Infantry Battalion said villagers tipped them off about the camp, prompting them to head to a thicket in barangay Bangaan. They found a camp that could house at least two undersized platoons (40-50) of communist guerillas.

The rebel encampment also had a food cache of rice and kitchen utensils.

Lt. Col. Narciso Nabulneg Jr., commander of the 54th Infantry Battalion says, if not for the “tips of villagers who have been driving away NPA rebels in the area,” the encampment would not have been discovered. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 30, 2019

Three passengers of an AUV died and another was seriously hurt when their vehicle plunged into a 400 meter ravine in barangay Bogao, Kabayan, Benguet dawn Wednesday.

Benguet police director Colonel Elmer Ragay named the fatalities as  Dennis Ingosan Begya, who drove the Toyota FX AUV with plate number TSY 476;  Leonardo Pay-oen Oyad; and he driver’s brother Samuel Ingosan Begya.  The Begya’s cousin Franklin Aroyaw Pay-oen was brought to the hospital.

Investigators claimed the four came from Abatan, Buguias at around 1AM and passed by the foggy highway at around 3:30AM when the driver dozed off. -- The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 22, 2019

Jimmy Galingan, the chosen Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative of Sadanga town in Mountain Province, is asking the Ombudsman to suspend the entire municipal council, including Mayor Gabino Ganggangan, for barring from sitting on the council.

Galingan stressed that the acts of the Municipal Council preventing him to fulfill his mandate “is unreasonable, unfair, oppressive and discriminatory.”   

He further says that the contentions of the Municipal Council that the IPMR is no longer necessary in a legislative district which is predominantly occupied by IPs, does not hold water and is grounded squarely on self-vested interest.  

“The ultimate objective [of the Municipal Council led by Ganggangan] is to prevent the duly selected IPRM from exercising his mandate as provided for by law.  They are questioning his being an IPMR to the Sangguniang Bayan yet they do not question the assumption of other IPMRs within the Municipality. […] there are other IPMRs serving at the Barangays within the Municipality of Sadanga yet the respondents choose only to prevent the complainant from assuming and performing his mandate as IPMR…”, he says in his complaint.

— The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 21, 2019

Three tourists were arrested over the weekend for allegedly selling P340,000 worth of shabu to government agents.

John Charlei Mutuc alias “Marco Paolo Mutuc”, 26, from barangay Kias, here;  Michael Llamas Evangelista, 20, from barangay Bayo Tipas, Taguig City; and Dronie Masdo, 39, from barangay Wawa, also in Taguig City tried to sell two  transparent plastic bags of shabu weighing more or less 50 grams reaching P340,000 to Baguio and Benguet policemen together with PDEA Baguio agents led by Intelligence Agent Laila Abad at Purok 4, barangay Poliwes here. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 16, 2019

A farmer was killed and two others were injured following a gun fight Tuesday evening at a wake in Barangay Taping, Dolores town. 

Farmer Modesto Baldemor Bergonia, 54, from Barangay Taping, Dolores was killed while Narciso Pinto Aldaca, 54, from Barangay Lub-luba, also in Dolores and Ramie Manangbao Bagsi, 27 from Barangay Buneg, Lacub, also in Abra are still recovering from gunshot wounds. 

Police said Bergonia and Bagsi were playing "pusoy" at the wake of Julie Piano when a heated argument broke out. During the exchange of expletives,  both drew their firearms and shot at each other.

Both sustained  multiple gunshot wounds while Aldaca, who was also present at the wake, was hit with stray bullets. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 9, 2019

 Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong is asking the Department of Justice to take a second look at the dismissal of a complaint filed against a developer over the "slow" killing of 45 pine trees in the city.

Saying this was “abnormal and scheming”, Magalong says he also “requested” the DOJ, through Undersecretary Deo Marco, to investigate Deputy City Prosecutor Conrado Catral Jr. who penned the dismissal.

Baguio City's drive against environmental offenders lost its first round last week when charges against six officers of Gateluck Corp., who “tortured and murdered” the 45 fully-grown pine trees at a lot along Legarda Road were dropped by Catral Jr. for lack of sufficient evidence.

Catral Jr., who penned the resolution dated August 22, but only released last week ruled, "no sufficient evidence was adduced by the complainant to warrant the filing of any information" against the six officers of Gateluck Corp. for a violation of the city’s Environmental Code.

An information is the formal charge brought to court.

The resolution was also approved by City Prosecutor Elmer Sagsago. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 2, 2019

Baguio City’s drive against environmental offenders suffers a major blow after charges against six officers of the Gateluck Corporation, who "tortured and murdered" 44 fully-grown pine trees at a lot along Legarda road here are dropped by the Baguio City prosecutors office for lack of sufficient evidence.

Deputy city prosecutor Conrado Catral Jr., in penning the resolution dated on August 22, but released Wednesday, says “no sufficient evidence was adduced by the complainant to warrant the filing of any information” against the six for a violation of the city’s Environmental Code."

On August 2, Baguio City represented by Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong filed an environmental complaint versus Gateluck Corp. officers to hold them accountable "for every tree damaged and for every act in violation of City Ordinance 18, series of 2016 or the Environmental Code of Baguio City." 

DENR-Cordillera director Ralph Pablo earlier said calcium carbide was used to poison the pine trees at the 51.186 square meter lot, where the corporation reportedly plans to build a mall.

Earlier in July, Magalong and other officials found 45 pine trees in the said lot were bored with the chemical at its base “intentionally to kill it slowly”.

But Deputy Prosecutor Catral Jr. says “the evidence provided by the complainant had not fully established the probable criminal culpability of any” of the six officers of Gateluck Corp. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

October 1, 2019

More than P20 million in marijuana plants and seedlings were seized and burned in plantations in Benguet and Kalinga last week by the police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

More or less 300 seedlings of marijuana plants worth P12,000 were uprooted on September 23 in Kibungan, Benguet while 1,000 fully-grown marijuana plants worth P200,000.00 were also destroyed in the same town on September 24.

Another 325 fully-grown marijuana plants worth P65,000 were uprooted on September 26 and 170 marijuana plants worth P34,000 were destroyed on September 27.

The operations in Benguet yielded a total of  P311,000 in drugs.

In Tanudan, Kalinga, 3,000 fully-grown marijuana plants worth P600,000 were set ablaze by policemen and PDEA agents on September 23 while 77,000 marijuana plants and 30 kilos of dried marijuana leaves worth P19,300,000 were also uprooted during the three-day operation on September 25-27, 2019 in villages of Tinglayan, Kalinga.

No arrests were made. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 26, 2019

A landslide in Tuba, Benguet shut down Baguio City’s only open road artery to Manila for several hours early Wednesday evening.

Two passengers of a jeep that was hit by an electric post that the landslide toppled over were brought to the hospital for injuries.

 The other main arterial highway from Baguio southbound to the lowlands—Kennon Road—has been closed for months because of rehabilitation work. 

The newly-opened Asin-Nangalisan-Pugo highway is rarely used by motorists who complain of narrow curves and mostly unlit sections that make driving there at night difficult. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 24, 2019

The Center for Health Development of the Department of Health in the Cordillera has noted an 847-percent increase in the number of people getting measles in the region.

This despite heightened efforts in encouraging parents to have their children get immunized to boost body resistance against future diseases. 

DOH Cordillera has also recorded four deaths this year compared against no deaths in 2018.

Last year, DOH listed 194 cases of measles that rose to 985 from January 1 to September of 2019.

Measles as reminded by the DOH is an acute viral illness caused by measles virus and characterized by fever, conjunctivitis, cough, coryza and small spots. It can be transmitted through direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected persons or by articles freshly soiled with the said secretions.

The Health department warned that the disease is extremely communicable and it is estimated that 90% of non-immune people exposed to an infective individual will contract the disease. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 24, 2019
Members of a coffee farmers' cooperative in Ifugao have been advised to increase production and upgrade crop quality so their enterprise can be comercially viable, the Peace and Equity Foundation says in a release on the training.
PEF says 15 coffee farmers from the Hojap Multipurpose Cooperative visited the coffee farm of certified Arabica Q grader and trainer Jennifer Rimando for a two-day technical learning tour at Ola Organic Coffee Farms in Sagada, Mountain Province for the training.

"They were trained on organic farming techniques such as weeding, pruning, rehabilitation, and rejuvenation," PEF says.
The training was held on-farm to give the farmers concrete examples that they can replicate in their own town, Rimando says in the release.

Rimando, during the training pushed for rejuvenation, or prunng to induce new spouts, of old coffee trees to further boost productivity.
September 17, 2019

A police staff sergeant driving in Kabayan, Benguet drove of the road on Monday afternoon but survived the 500-meter fall.

Staff Sergeant Keithley Canuro Gavine, 32, was heading to the provincial capital in La Trindad, Benguet in his red Mitsubishi Adventure AUV and was approaching a curve when he swerved to evade another vehicle going the opposite direction. 

A villager came to the police officer’s rescue and brought him to the Dennis Molintas Memorial Hospital in Buguias for his injuries.

His vehicle was a total wreck because of thr fall. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 6, 2019

Local legislators in Benguet have formally asked Benguet lawmaker Nestor Fongwan Sr. to push for another legislative district in the province.

Namoro says the 1987 Constitution is 32 years old and that there have been significant developments both in the province and in the country warranting an increase in legislative districts, especially in Benguet. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

September 3, 2019

Four students, three of them minors, were caught with marijuana at a residential compound in Bangued, Abra’s capital town, on Monday afternoon.

Tipsters informed police that Mars Jewel Daipan, 20, and his three minor companions were smoking marijuana, prompting the deployment of officers to Beneza Compound in Zone 1 barangay and arrested the four at around 3 p.m.

Policemen seized a small transparent cellophane sachet containing marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and cellular phones from the four.  

The three minors were reportedly turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development while Daipan was booked to face illegal drug violations. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 27, 2019

A drunk barangay chairman in Bangued, Abra’s capital town, gunned down a bar owner, and another villager and battled responding policemen Tuesday dawn, police say.

Calaba barangay chairman Joel Bayle Mailed, 59, was also rushed to the hospital after responding policemen shot him after he killed bar owner Bardillo Castillo Jr., 49 and resident Nonilo Billedo, 31.

Police claim that the barangay chairman, who was already drunk, arrived at Castillo’s El Amor disco/bar aboard a van and ordered the closure of the bar.

Mailed's order led to a heated debate.

The barangay chairman reportedly drew a gun and fired at Castillo Jr. and Billedo several times. 

A team of police officers on patrol tried to subdue the barangay chairman but were fired upon, prompting Police Staff Sergeant Lauro Robino to fire back hitting the barangay chairman. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 23, 2019

Durian and other sought-after fruits from Mindanao will soon be enjoyed in Baguio City. 

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong will host the first marketing and promotions program of the Mindanao Development Authority with the staging of the First “MinDA Fruit Festival” this weekend.

MinDA head Emmanuel Piñol says on his Facebook page that aside from durian, local vendors will also sell longkong lanzones, pomelo, mangosteen and rambutan along Session Road, which is "pedestrianized" on weekends.

According to Piñol, the project was forged with just one short phone call to Mayor Magalong, who readily embraced the idea.

Two cargo trucks loaded with durian and pomelo left Mindanao on Wednesday for the three-day trip to Baguio City. Fruits like lanzones, rambutan and mangosteen will be flown to Manila from either Davao City or General Santos City, Piñol says.

Piñol is a former Agriculture secretary. ?— The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 13, 2019

A barangay kagawad who was tending his farm in Pidigan, Abra was gunned down Sunday morning.

Barangay Kagawad Rey dela Cruz Pisco, 43, was attending to his ricefield in barangay Immuli when a shotgun-bearing assassin who remains to be unidentified pumped a single slug hitting him on the chest and arms.

Pisco reportedly goes to his farm very early in the morning everyday, but when his wife couldn't wait for him to return home from his rice field on that Sunday morning, she headed to check on him and found his husband sprawled on their ground already lifeless.

Abra police spokesperson Major Grace Marron says they have no inkling yet what prompted the killing while also facing a blankwall who was behind the latest gun-related violence in the province. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 12, 2019

A Philippine Army sergeant lost her government-issued 9mm Glock 17 handgun, as well as bullets and jewelry, after thieves reportedly broke into her room at Fort Del Pilar’s Enlisted Personnel quarters on Saturday afternoon.

Sgt. Dalla Palitayan told police investigators at station 4 of the Baguio City police that the break-in probably occurred between 8 a.m.-12 noon on Saturday.

She claimed her 9mm Glock 17 service firearm with three empty magazines together with one box containing 40 bullets and 28 empty shells of the same gun were taken together with a necklace with pendant worth P21,500, a pair of earrings worth P4,000, two silver earrings worth P1,000, and assorted coins.

The still unidentified thieves reportedly destroyed the main door to gain entry and also fled through it. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 31, 2019

Police rounded up three barangay chairmen, a barangay kagawad, and 41 others?—including two brothers of Bangued Vice Mayor Mila Acosta-Valera?—for playing "dado", a betting game, at a cockpit in Barangay Ubbog-Lipcan on Tuesday.

Bangued Mayor Dominic Valera allegedly owns the cockpit where the arrests were made.

Abra police say that two brothers of Vice Mayor Acosta-Valera—Barangay Zone 2 Chairman Amado Briones Acosta and Carmelo Briones Acosta, 63, of Zone 1?—were among those arrested. 

Also nabbed were Barangay Zone 7 Chairman Alberto Barras Bigornia and Rodel Utlang Gavanes—chairman of Barangay Cabcaburao in San Juan town—and barangay kagawad Mark Viernes Bandayrel. 

Policemen seized P14,650.00 cash bets, dice, table, chips, clay pot cover and other gambling paraphernalia.

“Dado” is an illegal game played with a pair of dice.  Bettors win on the combinations of black and red, explains Police Lt. Col. Elmer Ragay, Cordillera police intelligence chief. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 23, 2019

 Fernando Gapuz, vice mayor of Tinoc, Ifugao, has been missing for four days.

Gapuz, 56, was last seen in Impugong village, also in Tinoc, on the morning of July 19.

He was wearing brown pants, a brown leather jacket, a green polo shirt, brown slip-on sandals and a dark yellow shawl.

The Tinoc police are appealing for any information about the vice mayor's whereabouts.

 “Investigation is still ongoing,” the Tinoc Municipal Police Station says when asked for comment over the phone. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 22, 2019

A Saudi businessman is accusing his girlfriend of robbing him of nearly P50,000 in cash and valuables.

Bahaeldin Elzaki Alhabib, 37, tells Baguio City police that his girfriend Angela Sanchez Leonar, with whom he booked a room at the Prime Hotel along Calderon St. since Friday, ran away with his cash and his cellular phone.

The Saudi businessman said he left his girlfriend minutes before midnight Sunday to unwind at a bar but was told by the hotel receptionist whe he returned Monday dawn that his girlfriend had left.

He immediately checked their hotel room and discovered that P40,000 in his travelling bag and his cellular phone worth P6,999 were missing.

He is readying charges against his girlfriend. -- The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 22, 2019

A tourist drowned in a river in Ifugao province over the weekend, authorities say.

Joseph Benmaso Binat-an, 22, reportedly went on a picnic with his cousin Ramses Pinnay Illag at the Tappiyya River on Sunday.

The strong river current swept Binat-an away and he drowned.

Police,  BarangaY Battad officials and villagers were able to locate the victim’s body mid afternoon Sunday. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 18, 2019

The state-run Ifugao State University launches its historic International Innovation Center for Indigenous Studies to promote international academic cooperation and researches on indigenous, local knowledge and sustainable studies

The first-of-a-kind program in the Cordillera, the program is closely collaborating with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), University of Hawai’i at M?noa (UHM), and National Chengchi University (NCCU), says  Dr. Eva Marie Codamon-Dugyon, IFSU president and project leader. 

She emphasizes the importance of the center for the University, Ifugao and the Cordillera Region for the preservation and perpetuation of indigenous and local knowledge, cultural and environmental heritage.

The university is inspired and resolute to contribute towards the protection and conservation of the Ifugao rich heritage, environment and natural resources that nurtured the life past generations over the course of the centuries, Dugyon says.

The center will be a haven for indigenous studies, host collaborative meetings, and foster joint research projects from the local to the international level,  says Eulalie Dulnuan, director for the Ifugao Rice Terraces as Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (IRT GIAHS) and project manager. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 15, 2019

The move for self-rule in the Cordillera region still lacks steam as the regional autonomy movement has yet to catch fire in the highland region more than 30 years since it was founded.

Aside from President Rodrigo Duterte declaring July 15 a special non-working holiday in the region for the 32nd foundation anniversary of the Cordillera Administrative Region, people in CAR seem cold to autonomy.

CAR, comprising Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province and Baguio City, was created through Executive Order 220, which was signed by President Corazon Aquino on July 15, 1987. 

Two previous attempts to create an autonomous Cordillera have failed and it is unclear if another one will be made through the 18th Congress, which meets later this month.

With President Rodrigo Duterte's push for federalism apparently making a detour to a simple charter change, prospects for it are dim.

Even Cordillera lawmakers seem indifferent to another attempt at a new charter for the region.

Despite the drumbeating by government agencies and local government units for Cordillera Day and the yearly Cordillera-wide “gong relay” to demonstrate regional unity, legislators from the Cordillera are unlikely to take up the campaign again, especially after the electoral loss of former Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan, one of the "figureheads" of the autonomy bid. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 12, 2019

July 15, Monday, is a special non-working holiday in the highland Cordillera region.

Malacañang via Proclamation 763 signed by Executive Secretary Salvado Medialdea on Thursday declaresJuly 15 as a special non-working holiday for the six provinces and two cities in the highland region in connection with its 32nd founding anniversary.

The declaration states: "It is but fitting and proper that the people of the [Cordillera Administrative Region] be given full opportunity to celebrate and participate in the occasion with appropriate ceremonies."

CAR, which includes the provinces of Abra, Benguet, Mountain Province, Ifugao, Kalinga, Apayao, and Tabuk City and Baguio City, was created under Executive Order 220 by President Corazon Aquino on July 15, 1987.

The Palace also declared non-working holidays in Sta. Rosa City, Laguna (July 10), Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental (July 12) and Mauban, Quezon (July 15). ?— The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 4, 2019

Abra province is the first in the Cordillera and Northern Luzon to open drug reformation facilities for drug offenders.

The “Bahay Silangan” facilities in Tayum and Bucay towns were established by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in close partnership with local government unit.

Balay Silangan is a reformation program that helps individuals stop substance or drug abuse. 

But even before formally opening the facility,  Bucay town had started operating their reformation facility in December 2018 and already had 19 graduates on January 30, 2019.

While Tayum has just started its facility on June 20, 2019, with seven enrollee-reformists.  

PDEA Abra provincial officer Julius Paderes beamed, “I am proud to say that we are the first province in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and in Northern Luzon to establish a Balay Silangan.”

Nineteen reformation clients of Balay Silangan in Bucay are now productive members of the society through this program, Paderes claimed.  They are now recognized as volunteers of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office of the town. 

The graduates underwent livelihood training by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)-Abra. 

They were schooled about animal husbandry, massage therapy, and other services. This joint effort between TESDA and PDEA is a part of the 30-day training program in Balay Silangan.

Balay Silangan is based on the concept of “Bahay ng Pagbabago”, a reformation center which helps rehabilitate drug offenders. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 3, 2019

The Environment department has reconsidered an earlier order to close down the Irisan dumpsite in Baguio City, but also wants the city to haul out mixed waste material there by the end of the month.

Engineer Ralph Pablo, director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources- Cordillera Administrative Region (DENR-CAR) says the city should also install and operate the two Environmental Recycling System machines at the site that have conked out.

The dump can continue to operate but must collect only biodegradable waste and should not store any residual waste outside the ERS facility.

Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda, who ordered the shut down of the Irisan dump last week, explains that they were at the dump site (last week) “not to create chaos, but good management and housekeeping.”  

The private firm Rapport has been in charge of the management and operation of ERS machines at the dump for the processing of biodegradable waste into an organic fertilizer.  The five-year contract of the city with Rapport Innovations will lapse on 2023.

 It has committed to rehabilitate the ERS machines, which processes at least 20 tons of biodegradable waste each daily into fertilizer. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 1, 2019

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in the Mountain Province with support from the provincial police seized two marijuana plantations in Mt. Ungyod at Betwagan in Sadanga town over the weekend.

A total of 13,000 marijuana plants, valued at P2.6 million, were uprooted and then set on fire.

PDEA-Cordillera director Edgar Apalla said marijuana trails behind shabu as the drug of choice among drug dependents. 

Marijuana eradication though still tops the efforts of authorities in the highland region, where the quality of the illicit drug remains the highest comparable to the Mexican hemp variety famous worldwide. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

July 1, 2019

Authorities overran an illicit marijuana plantation in Tinglayan, Kalinga over the weekend and destroyed 240,500 of fully-grown marijuana plants. 

They also destroyed 1,000 seedlings seized from the 14,200-square meter plantation.

The operations were led by the Tinglayan and Tanudan, Kalinga police drug enforcement units aided by PNP drug enforcement group Special Operations Unit 1, Kalinga provincial police office and PDEA Ifugao during a three-day operation that ended Monday morning.

The bust was so massive, the Kalinga police said, that it took them three days to complete the destruction of the plants. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 24, 2019


A young boy reportedly shot and killed a 42-year-old villager of Lagayan town in Abra over a verbal spat, police say.

Fisherman Wilfred Ban-o Bersamira alias “Boy London”, 42, reportedly left a drinking party at the house of a certain Alan Bernal with his friends Ali Donato and Peter Tandingan when they met Marian Mica Vista,20, on their way home. 

A verbal spat ensued between the fisherman and Vista prompting the suspect to draw a gun and fired at the 42 year old fisherman on the head.

The suspect is Vista's brother..

Bersamira died while being treated at the Abra Provincial Hospital in Bangued, the province’s capital, Sunday night.

Police launched a search for the suspect, a minor. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao in La Trinidad, Benguet

June 20, 2019

Authorities have nothing yet in the murder of Islamic religious leader Imam Bedejim Abdullah, 55, who was peppered with bullets by a bonnet-wearing gunman last December just a stone's throw away from the headquarters of the Baguio City police and from Baguio City hall.

“Right at the doorstep” of an Islamic education institution along Kayang St., here,  Abdullah, who taught theology at the Philippine Military Academy aside from being a very important instrument in the propagation of Islam in Baguio City and the rest of the Cordillera region, was walking up to the “Discovery Islam”, a non-government institution propagating the teachings of Qur’an (Koran), when the gunman came close from behind and pumped bullets into his head and body.

Even with CCTV footage at hand, local police are finding it difficult to find a suspect.

Already considered “a cold case”, nothing has came out of a probe by a Special Investigation Task Group of the Baguio City police.   

The case has been handed over to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Cordillera.

Even the family seems to be losing hope that the case will be resolved, laments lawyer Yasser Guru of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) here.  “Not that they are losing confidence to the investigators but the snail-paced results is despairing them,” he explains.

Abdullah’s colleague Imam Samsoden Monib, who swore Abdullah has no personal enemies nor business interests in the city earlier said that before the religious leader’s murder he had been receiving death threats from a fundamentalist Islamic group, alluding to an “ISIS”-inspired group that wanted his head.

Abdullah was not the first Islamic religious leader gunned down in the country.     In 2017,  another “imam” was gunned down by suspected “ISIS”-inspired gunmen in Cavite. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao in Baguio City

June 17, 2019

More than P2.9 million worth of marijuana plants went up in smoke after a three-day marijuana operation by Cordillera police, soldiers and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency agents in Tinglayan, Kalinga. 

Three plantation sites with a total land area of 1,950 square meters were discovered at Barangay Loccong by Kalinga police, PDEA-CAR and troopers from Philippine Army’s 503rd Infantry Brigade . 

Some 14,600 fully-grown marijuana plants were uprooted and burned onsite.

Authorities recently hatched “Oplan Buscong Ridge” wanting to clear all drug-affected barangays in Tinglayan, Kalinga. 

Last month, P5.7 million worth of weed were destroyed and burned in Barangay Butbut Proper, also in Tinglayan. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao in Baguio City

June 10, 2019

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Cordillera region says there is no formal order or memorandum from Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu imposing a total ban on the cutting of trees in Baguio City.

Ralph Pablo, regional chief of the DENR, said Cimatu's supposed pronouncement of a ban on cutting trees is not backed by a formal order for it. He said the DENR will process applications to cut trees in Baguio City through the regular process and under the existing rules and regulations.

"We never delayed the issuance of tree-cutting permits to applicants but we have to subject their applications to the processes prescribed under existing orders. We can issue the desired permit within one week from the date it was applied for," Pablo said.

The DENR's central office can issue tree-cutting permits to cut naturally-grown trees and applications for 50 or more planted trees. The regional office is authorized to issue tree-cutting permits for applications to cut down 50 trees or less.

Local chief executives can issue tree-cutting permits for dead trees and trees that pose a serious threat to life and property. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao in Baguio City

June 6, 2019

Police in Baguio City say they arrested two women Wednesday after they sold shabu to undercover government agents in separate sting operations.

Rowela Maso Delfin, 47, from Brgy Balili, Km 3, La Trinidad, Benguet was caught at Camia Street, Purok 2, Sunnyside, Fairview, Baguio City Wednesday afternoon.

Joint personnel of the Baguio City Drug Enforcement Unit (CDEU), station 1 of the Baguio City Police Office and Benguet police investigators caught Delfin  selling more or less 5 grams of shabu to an undercover agent.  

On Wednesday night, Marie Claro Dela Cruz, 41, from Pinsao Proper, here, was taken to the jail after she sold .3 grams of shabu to an undercover government agent at 2nd Kayang Street, Barangay Kayang-Hilltop, here — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao in Baguio City.

June 6, 2019

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority has trained 1,987 Kalinga scholars after President Rodrigo Duterte directed the agency to help improve the lives of the marginalized, especially among the indigenous peoples of the Philippines.

Trainings included Basic Training on Manicure and Pedicure, Basic Haircutting, Install Electrical Wiring, Lights and Outlets, Furniture Finishing, Basic Tile Setting, Bread and Pastry Production II, Bread Making, Concrete Hollow blocks Making, Sustainable Agriculture Organic Farming.

A sizeable number also underwent Electrical Installation and Maintenance NC II, Basic Body Massage, Draft and cut pattern of casual apparel, Fabricate, install and remove wooden formworks and Basketry and Bag Making.

“We are targeting 4,324 beneficiaries for community based training the whole year, and currently 1,987 graduated already as of May 2019,” says Gabriel Gayacay, TESDA Kalinga provincial director. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao in Baguio City

June 3, 2019

A man was found dead and shirtless along a dimly-lit grassy portion of a road in Baguio City over the weekend.

The body was found Sunday morning when a resident urinated along the road and noticed it.

The said road, which stretches up to Bakakeng Norte, is a new arterial bypass road that is not as busy as the Marcos Highway route.

Forensic investigators have yet to release details on what caused the death of the victim. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

June 1, 2019

Anti-narcotics operatives from the Benguet police has raided two plantations of marijuana in Kibungan, Benguet.

Putting ablaze some 5,100 fully grown marijuana plants, Benguet police director Colonel Lyndon Mencio says they discovered those planted in a land measuring around 1,020 square meters in Tacadang proper. The marijuana plants approximately cost P1,020,000.

No one was in the area when authorities found the plantation site. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 30, 2019

An online petition is asking President Rodrigo Duterte to declare a moratorium on the construction of high-rise buildings in Baguio City.                        

The moratorium should be in effect until a proper urban plan is reviewed and implemented, the petitioners said.  The urban plan will include properly conducted and peer-reviewed soil investigation and testing reports for foundations of structures, performed by a licensed geotechnical engineer and that no structures will be constructed over the eight-story limit specified by the city government. 

Petitioners claim, it is crucial that the current policies on construction and zoning be reviewed, citing six earthquake faults below Baguio City while also citing a historical seismic study by the Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology that supposedly saw a 6.4 to 7.0 magnitude earthquake is likely to occur in 20 years after the July 16, 1990 major earthquake.

The fault lines are located at Burnham, Mirador, Tuba, San Vicente, Bued, and Loakan. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 30, 2019

Government anti-narcotics operatives swooped down on more than P5 million worth of marijuana in Tinglayan, Kalinga in three days of operations.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency burned P5.6 million worth of marijuana plants seized in operations done alongside the the Tinglayan and Lubuagan town police, Kalinga intelligence agents and the 1st and 2nd Companies of the Kalinga Provincial Mobile Force Company.

Some 28,300 grown marijuana plants and 1,000 marijuana seedlings were found from at least 10 plantations at a total land area of 2,931 square meters in Butbut Proper, police said.

No suspect was caught and  PDEA agents believe the cultivators fled when they heard operatives closing in.

Any individual engaged in the unlawful cultivation of marijuana is punishable under Sec.16, Article II of the Republic Act 9165 or “The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2001”.

— The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 29, 2019

Kalinga Vice Governor James Edubba, who ran for governor, has formally filed an election protest with the law department of the Commission on Elections seeking to exclude votes cast in one of the vote-rich barangays in Pinukpuk town.

He also wants the poll body to dig into circumstances that cast doubt on the sanctity of the 622 votes cast in that precinct.

In his petition, Edubba questioned the decision of Comelec officials in barangay Sucbut, Pinukpuk to confiscate the SD cards from the board of election inspectors (BEIs) and ordered them to leave the polling precinct since it might take two days to allegedly reconfigure the alleged defective SD cards.

He however narrated that after several hours, the BEI members were called back to the municipal canvassing center only to be informed that what was defective was the vote counting machine and not the SD cards which now raised doubts on the sanctity of the ballots in the said barangays.

Edubba’s petition claimed there were some 622 votes that were cast in the questioned precinct in barangay Sucbut where incumbent Tabuk City Mayor Ferdinand Tubban garnered 267 votes, Conrado Dieza, one of the aspirants for the gubernatorial post was able to get some 191 votes while Edubba only got 125 votes. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 28, 2019

Mystery still shrouds what villagers found Monday afternoon in a remote village in Tubo, Abra.

Residents found the remains of three men in sitio Lakanga, Baclingayan, Tubo town at around 2:30 PM Monday. 

Barangay Chairman Filbert Tingyan told police that residents discovered the bodies while they were on their way home.

Police Captain Grace Marron, Abra police spokesperson, said the chief of the investigation division of the Abra police provincial office went to the site to investigate but has yet to send back his findings.

No word had come from the Abra-based Agustin Begnalen Command of the CPP-NPA if the victims come from their ranks or to claim responsibility for the bodies — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

May 23, 2019

The Philippine Military Academy in Baguio is now officially a historical site. 

National Historical Commission of the Philippines Acting Executive Director Ludovico Badoy unveiled the historical marker with PMA Superintendent Lieutenant General Ronnie Evangelista on Tuesday, before the graduating ceremonies of the 263-strong PMA class of 2019 on Sunday.

The NHCP is the national government agency mandated to promote Philippine history through its museums, research and publications, and to preserve historical heritage through conservation and the marking of historic sites and structures.

PMA acting information chief Reynan Afan said application for the NHCP started last year for the Marcelo Hall, Borromeo Field and Sundial areas.

The Marcelo Hall was built in the 1950s along with the establishment of the hallowed grounds of the Borromeo Field, while the sundial was built in 1957.

The NHCP decided to declare the entire area as a historical site with the marker set at the main gates of the academy.

The marker reads:

"Kinikilala bilang kahalili ng Academia Militar na itinatag sa kumbento ng simbahan ng Barasoain sa Malolos, Bulacan, 25 Oktubre 1898 at nagtagal hanggang 20 Enero 1899. Itinatag sa Intramuros, Maynila bilang Philippine Constabulary School alinsunod sa General Order no. 71, 17 Agosto 1905.

Inilipat sa Camp Henry T. Allen sa Baguio alinsunod sa general order no. 24, 1 Setyembre 1908. Naging Academy for Officers of the Philippine Constabulary sa bisa ng Act No. 2605, 4 Pebrero 1916 at Philippine Constabulary Academy sa bisa ng Act no. 3496, 8 Disyembre 1928.

Pinangalanang Philippine Military Academy sa bisa ng Commonwealth Act no. 1 bilang pagsasakatuparan ng 'National Defense Plan' ni Heneral Douglas Macarthur, 21 Disyembre 1935. Itinalaga si Tenyente-Koronel Pastor C. Martelino bilang unang Pilipinong tagapamahala, 1936.

Inilipat sa Baguio Teachers’ Camp, 1936-1941.

Pansamantalang nagsara noong sumiklab ang Ikalawang Digmaang Pandaigdig habang ang mga kadete ay lumahok sa pakikidigma.

Muling nagbukas sa Camp Henry T. Allen, 1947. Pinasinayaan ang kasalukuyang paaralan sa Fort General Gregorio del Pilar sa Loakan, Lungsod ng Baguio, 1950.

Nagsimulang tumanggap ng mga babae bilang kadete alinsuod sa Batas Republika blg. 7192, 1 Abril 1993."

— The STAR/ Artemio Dumlao

May 20, 2019

Outgoing Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan, who lost a bid for a seat at the House of Representatives, says he is ready to face usurpation charges initiated by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in connection to the issuance of tree-cutting permits for dead trees and those that pose a danger to the public.

Charges being floated by DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda, Domogan says, are another effort to subject him to trial by publicity.

He says the DENR should file the supposed usurpation charges so he can defend himself in the proper forum.

"We do not even know if the usurpation charges were filed in the first place. We are wondering why such charges are being floated in the media and not the proper forum so that we will be able to present our arguments that will dispute such unfounded and unfair allegations," Domogan says. — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

Follow this thread for updates from the Cordillera Administrative Region, which comprises the provinces of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain Province.

As of the 2015 census, the region has around 1.7 million residents.

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