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Gov’t forces pursue NPA rebels responsible for burning heavy-duty vehicles

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, February 11th, 2019

Courtesy of QPPO

QUEZON PROVINCE, Philippines – At least 15 members of the New People’s Army (NPA) are now being chased by soldiers and police in Infanta, Quezon after the terrorists burned four heavy equipment on Friday (February 8).

Quezon Province Police Director PSSupt. Osmundo de Guzman said the heavy-duty vehicles — three backhoes and a bulldozer— were owned by Northern Builders Corporation.

The units were being used for the road widening operations as part of the government’s Kaliwa Dam project, according to Quezon Police Provincial Office – Public Information Office (QPPO-PIO) PCInsp. Elizabeth Capistrano.

Government forces in the area have been consistent in reminding communities, especially businesses, not to remit revolutionary taxes to the rebel group.

Capistrano said it has helped greatly in deterring the terrorists from harassing the villagers.

Pinag-iingat po natin ang ating mga kababayan sa Infanta. Ini-encourage din po na maging vigilant sa lahat ng oras at i-report po,” she said.

“Makipag-tulungan sa ating kapulisan at para po para po kung may kaduda-dudang tao silang matatagpuan o ma-e-encounter sa lugar ay maari pong ipagbigay alam,” she added. Investigation on the burning incident is ongoing. — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Japhet Cablaida)

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‘Kaliwa Dam project will destroy us, our homes’ —Dumagat tribe

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Friday, March 22nd, 2019

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Indigenous people’s (IP) group in Infanta, Quezon province and in Tanay, Rizal traveled to the city to air their grievances against the construction of the controversial Kaliwa Dam project.

The Kaliwa Dam project is being eyed as solution to the recurring problems in water supply in Metro Manila that has been triggered by the persistent El Niño.

Carrying empty pails and water gallons, the Dumagats, led by Marcelino Tena, call on the government to stop the project as it would affect thousands of lives and would destroy the serenity of the Sierra Madre mountain range.

The group argued that aside from losing their livelihood, the project would pose great danger to the environment as it would increase the risk of flooding and landslide in addition to the damaging effects of global warming.

The indigenous group also denounced the idea that the project is the only solution to the recurring water crisis because the water level in Angat Dam, the main source of water in Metro Manila, remains normal.

But the MWSS maintained that experts already proved the efficiency and safety of the dam’s construction therefore, the IPs in the area have nothing to worry about.

Kaliwa Dam is a 73-meter water project to be erected in the mountains if Infanta, Quezon.

From Infanta, Quezon, a tunnel will be constructed towards Teresa town in Rizal where a water treatment facility will be erected.

The dam is expected to augment water supply in Metro Manila.

The project is worth US$248 million equivalent to P14.5 billion and will be funded under the Chinese Official Development Assistance. – Marje Pelayo (with details from Joan Nano)

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2 NPA terrorists killed in Mindoro clash

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Thursday, February 21st, 2019

Two members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed in an encounter between the communist rebels and the 4th Infantry Battalion Thursday morning at Barangay Terisita, Mansalay, Occidental Mindoro.

There was no reported casualty on the government side.

Commander of the 203rd Brigade, Colonel Marceliano V. Teofilo said they received information from a concerned civilian about the extortion activities of an armed group in their community.

The troops immediately searched the area and was able to trace the hideout of around 10 NPA members under Platoon Mike of Kilusang Larangan Guerilla Silangan led by Peter Rivera alias “Rotche”.

After the 5-minute encounter, two NPA’s were neutralized while the government troops recovered an M16 rifle and two rifle grenades, along with other war materials and personal belongings.

Recovered firearms and other paraphernalia
courtesy of 2nd Infantry Division-Public Affairs Office

Meanwhile, the surviving members were able to escape after the encounter.

Lt.Col. Dennis C. Gutierrez, battalion commander of 4IB, said they are now conducting hot pursuit operations against these NPA terrorists and have already beefed-up checkpoints in the area.

“All available troops including the K9 dogs, local police are now conducting hot pursuit operations. We also believe that the encounter pre-empted the NPA’s planned burning of the construction equipment nearby”, Lt.Col. Gutierrez said. — Aileen Cerrudo.

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Water rate hike looms with impending construction of Kaliwa Dam

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, November 22nd, 2018

MANILA, Philippines – Households are likely to suffer from another water rate hike as the construction of the Kaliwa Dam in Infanta, Quezon is set to begin.

According to the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), the Philippines will enter into a loan project with China to fund the construction of the P12.1B dam project.

The fund will come from the Export and Import Bank of China while the Chinese Energy Engineering Group will serve as contractor of the project.

The loan will be shouldered by water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water which the two will eventually collect from their respective clients.

The MWSS, however, clarified that the increase will not be done abruptly.

“Pero ito naman ay will be spread over 20 years. So ito siguro baka wala pang P10 a month ang equivalent niyan sa household over the next 5 years so hindi masyadong apektado niyan ang rate,” explained MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco.

But a group of consumers oppose the plan of burdening the costumers with the loan obligations.

They argue that the government should be the one to shoulder the loan payment to ease the burden of consumers.

“Kasi kung utang ng gobyerno, ang gobyerno ang magbabayad. Somewhere siguro in the form of taxes pero sa consumer zero. Kapag kase ang Maynilad at Manila Water ang magbabayad ng utang ipapasa sa atin yan,” argued Laban Konsyumer President Vic Dimagiba.

The consumer group will appeal for another round of talk with MWSS to further review the project plan.

But to MWSS, the construction of the Kaliwa Dam is highly necessary and must be executed at the soonest possible time because Angat Dam can no longer suffice the needed supply of the growing population of consumers in Metro Manila.

Once the project is done, the MWSS will be able to supply up to 600 million liters of water a day in Metro Manila.

Based on the original plan, the Kaliwa Dam is expected to be erected in five years-time. However, they MWSS targets to complete its construction until 2020 before the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Mon Jocson)

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