PNP says no ISIS threat in Bulacan, probes leak of draft memo
Robie de Guzman • September 11, 2019 • 262
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) is now investigating the leak and circulation online of a draft memorandum stating about the alleged presence of “ISIS affiliates” in Bulacan.
The said document posted on social media states that the Bulacan Provincial Police Office was on full alert status because of threats posed by the terrorist group. It said ISIS-inspired militants from Tuguegarao are moving to Bulacan to attack religious communities in the province.
According to Bulacan provincial police director Chito Barseluna, the document was not official and was not intended for public release.
He added that there was a miscommunication in drafting the memo as this should have been written to alert police units following recent bombings in Mindanao.
Barseluna confirmed that Bulacan police was indeed on full alert but this is because of the celebration of the Singkaban festival in the province.
The police official also denied receiving an intelligence report about the presence of an ISIS-inspired group in the province.
Barseluna also called on the public to stay calm and assured that tight security measures are in place. RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)
BULACAN, Philippines – The pig virus African Swine Fever (ASF) has so far affected five barangays in the municipality of Guiguinto.
These are barangays Tiaong, Kut-Kot, Malis, Tabe and Pritil.
Hog raisers are already complaining over huge loss of income.
Even pork meat vendors and lechon makers in the province are also hurt by the ASF outbreak.
Based on records of the Municipal Veterinary Office, over a hundred pigs have already died in these areas since August 16.
Authorities suspect that the pigs delivered from Rizal may have been the source of the spread of ASF in Guiguinto.
“Dinadala dito. Doon sila humahango (The pigs are brought here from there [Rizal]) ,” said Guiguinto Municipal Veterinary Officer Eduardo Jose.
“Pagdating dyan naunang nagkaroon ng report sa Rodriguez. Nag-suspect ang provincial veterinary office na nadala dito sa Pritil, (The report first surfaced in Rodriguez. The provincial veterinary office suspected that the virus was brought here in Pritil)” Jose said.
Hog raisers are starting to complain over huge loss of income due to ASF outbreak.
“Dito po namin inilibing ang labinlimang baboy na namatay kahapon. Affected po ang Pritil, (This is where we buried 15 pigs that died yesterday. Pritil is also affected),” said hog raiser Sofia Verde.
Verde said she already lost more than 100 pigs including a sow.
Barangay Pritil for now does not accept delivery of pigs from Rizal and Batangas due to ASF outbreak.
Aside from pork meat vendors, lechon makers in Bulacan are also hurt by the outbreak as buyers of the Filipino pork delicacy have become fewer.
“Matumal talaga. Nasasabay pa yung balita na (African Swine Fever) sa baboy, (Sales have been slow, and news about African Swine Fever is making it worse),” noted lechon maker Minda Atim.
Some pork meat vendors whose products were certified by the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) said they were not exempted from the impact of ASF scare.
They blame the media for fueling the flames when it comes to ASF.
“Ang nangyari kasi malakas rin ang (impluwensiya) ng media, (The influence of media is strong),” said Lisa Apolinario, a pork meat vendor.
“Napapakita, napapanood na akala nila ganun na lahat ng paninda. Maayos ang paninda namin kasi may certificate naman kami (When people see it on TV they think all pork being sold in the market are affected. Our products are safe because we have certificates),” Apolinario argued.
Meanwhile, some consumers prefer to be safe by buying other sources of protein instead of pork meat.
“Mga seafood na lang binibili namin and chicken, (We prefer to buy seafood and chicken),” said Paula Angeles.
“Mas maganda mag-ingat na lang po ngayon, (It’s better to be cautious,)” another consumer, Jane Art said.
“Kapag wala na siguro yung case ng swine (fever) saka na lang siguro magbaboy, (When the case of (African) Swine (Fever) is cleared, that’s the time we could buy pork again),” she concluded. – MNP (with reports from Nestor Torres)
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) in a press release admitted that the current African Swine Fever (ASF) episodes in Rizal and Bulacan may be considered an outbreak but not yet an epidemic.
The Department assured, however, that the pig virus has already been contained in Barangay Pritil and Guiguinto in Bulacan as well as in several barangays in Rodriguez, San Mateo, and Antipolo in Rizal.
The agency, through Secretary William Dar, stressed that the outbreak is not affecting the entire country thus it appeals to the public as well as the media not to ignite fear as unverified and unvalidated reports could create irreversible damage to the country’s hog industry which is also the source of livelihood for millions of Filipinos.
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) confirmed that the cases of pig deaths in Rizal and Bulacan have been at outbreak level since August this year.
“Basta na-confirm na ito’y tumaas doon sa normally expected na nagkakasakit at normal na bilang ng namamatay, outbreak na iyon. August po iyon,” Director Ronnie Domingo said in an interview on Monday (September 16) when asked as to when the outbreak started.
(If the confirmed number of pig deaths goes beyond the normal number of expected deaths, that’s outbreak already. That was the case in August.)
The agency, meanwhile, doesn’t want to confirm what the Quezon City government announced regarding ASF-positive pigs amid culling operations in the city.
According to Domingo, they are still conducting laboratory tests on the pig samples including those that floated in a creek in Bagong Silangan as well as those recovered in Marikina River.
The official echoed Secretary Dar’s call on hog raisers to report pigs that had gone sick in order to prevent the spread of the deadly swine virus.
“Sana makalaya tayo kaagad in the shortest possible time (We hope to end this (problem) in the shortest possible time),” Domingo said.
“Pero pagka may nagtatago at ganyan na hindi nakikisama, mae-extend ang control measures na ginagawa (natin) (But if there are some who conceal [their hogs], we need to extend our control measures),” he added. – MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is targeting the partial operation of MRT-7 in 2021.
DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan said the project will definitely ease the burden of commuters as travel time from Quezon City to San Jose del Monte in Bulacan will reduce significantly from four hours to about 35 minutes once the project is completed.
On Wednesday (July 17), Batan and DOTr officials inspected MRT-7’s construction site in Quezon City to check the work in progress.
According to the project’s contractor San Miguel Corporation, the ongoing construction is already 44% complete which includes the train stations, platforms and the line where the railings will be placed.
The DOTr also announced that the procurement of 36 new train sets from South Korea has already been done.
MRT-7 is a 23-kilometer railway system that connects North Avenue in Quezon City to the province of Bulacan.
The train system traverses 14 stations namely North Avenue, Quezon City Memorial Circle, University Avenue, Tandang Sora, Don Antonio, Batasan, Manggahan, Doña Carmen, Regalado, Mindanao Avenue, Quirino, Sacred Heart, Tala and San Jose Del Monte.
It can load up to 500,000 passengers daily.
To prevent similar glitches as those in MRT Line 3, the DOTr is in close coordination with the agency’s private partners in terms of the regular maintenance of the MRT-7.
Usec. Batan said the completion of the entire project is expected in 2022. – with details from Joan Nano
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