Daraga Mayor Baldo faces murder raps over Batocabe slay

Robie de Guzman   •   April 4, 2019   •   1446

FILE PHOTO: Daraga town Mayor Carlwyn Baldo

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday indicted Daraga, Albay Mayor Carlwyn Baldo who was tagged in the killing of Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe.

Baldo and five others were charged with two counts of murder as well as six counts of attempted murder at a court in Legazpi, Albay, according to DOJ Acting Prosecutor General Richard Fadullon.

Other suspects also facing charges were Christopher Naval, Jaywin Babor, Henry Yuson, Rolando Arimando and Emmanuelle Roselle.

Baldo was tagged as the mastermind in the killing of Batocabe who was shot dead while attending a gift-giving event for senior citizens in Daraga town last December 22, 2018.

His security detail, PO1 Orlando Diaz, also died in the incident.

Batocabe was eyeing the mayoral seat of Daraga in the 2019 polls prior to his assassination.

READ: Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo tagged as mastermind in Rep. Batocabe’s slay

Authorities have arrested Baldo on January 22, 2019 after unlicensed firearms were found inside his residence during a search operation.

He was temporarily released from detention weeks later after posting a bail of P3 million.

READ: Suspended Daraga Mayor Carlwyn Baldo out on bail

The alleged gunman, Henry Yuson, claimed Baldo offered P5 million for Batocabe’s assassination so he could keep his mayoral post.

Baldo has repeatedly denied the allegation. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Grace Casin)

Over 30k Albay residents flee home due to ‘Tisoy’

Robie de Guzman   •   December 2, 2019

LEGAZPI CITY – More than 30,000 families across the province of Albay were evacuated on Monday in anticipation of heavy rains brought about by Typhoon ‘Tisoy’, local disaster officials said.

Authorities said that since Sunday, a preemptive evacuation has been implemented in several Albay towns, including Guinobatan and Daraga, which are near Mayon Volcano slopes where huge volumes of lahar are deposited.

Residents within six to seven-kilometer danger zone of Mount Mayon were also told to flee their homes.

“Kami po ay naging more particular dito sa Mayon area natin… yung barangay Bujao, Alcala, Matnog, Bañadero at Kilicao, sila po yung vulnerable sa ating lahar at flood-prone area,” said Alex Comia, head of Daraga Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.

Other families near river channels that connect to Mayon Volcano slopes also voluntarily packed their bags to seek a temporary shelter for their safety.

They do not want a repeat of the disaster that occurred during the onslaught of Typhoon Reming in 2006, which killed more than a thousand and destroyed many houses after lahar and mudflows swept villages on several Albay towns and cities surrounding the volcano.

Aside from the threat of lahar flow, officials from the Albay Public Safety Emergency and Management Office (APSEMO) said they are also monitoring possible flooding, landslide and storm surges in the province due to ‘Tisoy’.

Authorities said relief items are being packed and positioned in strategic locations, and free medical assistance and medicines are being prepared for evacuees that may fall ill while their stay in temporary shelters.

“Ang paghahanda sa Tisoy ang unang-unang ginawa namin. Yung family preparedness kasi dalawa ang paghahanda — government at family pero mas importante yung family preparedness kasi una naming pinakita sa kanila ano ba yung hazard na kakaharapin nila,” Cedric Daep, APSEMO chief said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

Albay braces for potential lahar flow amid threats from Typhoon Tisoy

Marje Pelayo   •   December 2, 2019

Albay residents evacuate to safety to get away from the threat of lahar that may be triggered by Typhoon Tisoy on December 1, 2019.

ALBAY, Philippines – The province’s Public Safety Management Office is bracing for possible lahar flow as heavy rainfall continues while Typhoon Tisoy nears landfall in the Bicol Region.

State weather bureau PAGASA has announced the landfall of Tisoy possibly tonight or tomorrow morning (December 3).

Evacuation efforts began on Sunday (December 1) in towns surrounding Mt. Mayon as residents feared a repeat of the disaster brought about by Typhoon Reming in 2006 where thousands of people died and several others remain missing.

In the town of Guinobatan, authorities escorted residents near the volcano’s river channel on board the trucks provided by the local government to evacuation centers.

The area is covered by the 7-km danger zone.

“Kahapon pa lang alam na namin na mag-e-evacuate kami ng linggo, (We were already informed yesterday that we have to evacuate Sunday),” explained Chairman Artemio Oxales of Barangay Maninila.

“Kaya kahapon pa lang nagpe-prepare na ang mga tao katulad ng ayusin nila ang mga bahay nila, itali. Ang iba, kung ano ang dapat gawin para maging safety, (Since yesterday, our people have already been preparing. Some started fixing their houses to ensure safety),” he added.

Several residents have decided to leave on their own.

“Nag-impake na po ng mga gamit ng mga pagkain na dadalhin doon sa evacuation (center). Ang mga bata mas priority na madala na kaagad sa mga evacuation,” said Russel Osorman, a resident of Guinobatan.

(I’ve finished packing our things and some food for our stay at the evacuation center. We prioritized bringing the children to the evacuation center.)

“Medyo nag-aalala po at may kalakasan daw po ang paparating na bagyo, (We’re a bit anxious because reports said the typhoon is strong),” he said.

“Wala pa pong signal number 1 pa lang pinapahanda na kami. Marami nang naghahakot na mga LGU at mga baranggay officials, (Even before the announcement of Signal No. 1, we were asked to prepare. Baranggay officials and staff were helping us),” noted another Guinobatan resident Beatriz Apuyan.

They are temporary staying at Guinobatan East Central School, one of the evacuation centers.

Aside from lahar flow, authorities also advised residents to take appropriate measures for possible flash floods, landslides and storm surges.

According to APSEMO Department Head Cedric Daep, they are constantly reminding the residents to prepare and be alert for the impact of the typhoon.

“Ang paghahanda sa bagyong Tisoy, dalawa ang paghahanda — government and family (Preparing for Typhoon Tisoy involves preparing government and family),” he said.

“Pero mas importante ang family preparedness kasi una naming pinakita sa kanila ano ba yung hazard na delikado sa kanila, (More important is family preparedness. We first educate them on the hazards that they might face ),” he added.

So far, around 15,000 residents were already evacuated ahead of Tisoy’s landfall in the Bicol Region.

The APSEMO and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) assured that relief items are in place and enough in number to provide the evacuees.

Among the areas under the authorities’ close watch in the region are the towns of Legazpi, Guinobatan, Camalig, Daraga and Tiwi. — MNP (with details from Joan Nano)

Albay suspends classes due to ‘Ramon’

Robie de Guzman   •   November 13, 2019

The provincial government of Albay has ordered the suspension of classes effective Wednesday afternoon due to the expected heavy rainfall brought about by Tropical Storm ‘Ramon.’

In an advisory, the Albay Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) said classes in all levels in public and private schools are suspended starting 1:00 p.m. Wednesday.

It also urged residents to refrain from crossing swollen rivers and artificial pools of water, as well as fishermen to avoid navigating rough seas.

The agency also advised local disaster units to be on alert and monitor areas that are vulnerable to flashflood and landslides.

As of PAGASA’s 11 a.m. update, tropical cyclone signal number 1 has been raised over Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Albay, Sorsogon, Eastern Samar, and Northern Samar Provinces.

The state weather bureau said these areas may experience heavy rains.

On Thursday, light to moderate with occasional heavy rains will prevail over the eastern portion of Cagayan, Isabela and Northern Aurora, while light to moderate with intermittent heavy rains will be felt over Bicol Region, Apayao, Quezon, Northern Samar and the rest of Cagayan, Isabela and Aurora.

‘Ramon’ was last spotted at 385 kilometers east of Northeast of Borongan City, Eastern Samar, packing maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center and gustiness of up to 80 kph.

It is moving west northwest at 20 kph.

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