Cordillera Administrative Region updates
LATEST UPDATE: March 31, 2020 - 4:13pm
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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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