Tag Archive: Caraga

A foreign-looking man believed to be a German national was found dead inside a yacht drifting in waters of the Pacific Ocean near Barobo, Surigao del Sur, police said.

Fishermen found the man around 4:30 p.m. Thursday inside the yacht “Sajo,” about 62 miles from the shores of Barobo, said PO3 Val Warren Polancos, local police investigator.

“Yung mga mangingisda, pauwi na sana nung makita nila ‘yung yate. Nilapitan nila at tiningnan ‘yung loob para malaman kung anong maitutulong nila kasi sira na ‘yung sail. Doon sa loob nakita ‘yung foreigner na nakaupo,” Polancos said by phone.

The body, which was already starting to decompose, was found inside what appears to be the yacht’s radio room.

Documents found on the yacht indicate that the foreigner is one Manfred Fritz Bajorat, a German national, Polancos said.

“Foreigner talaga ‘yung tao, hindi lang namin masabi pa kung siya (Bajorat) talaga ‘yun kasi wala namang kasama,” he said.

The fishermen used their boat to drag the yacht to Cabgan Island and upon arriving there Friday afternoon, radioed for help from authorities in mainland Barobo, he said.

Local police have called in a team from the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) to determine what caused the foreigner’s death.

The incident has also been reported to the Surigao del Sur provincial police so it can inform the German Embassy, Polancos said. (John Roson)

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4 hurt in Surigao Norte bus blast

A policeman guarding the blast site in Claver (PNP Caraga photo)

A policeman guarding the blast site in Claver (PNP Caraga photo)

Four people were injured when an explosion of a still unknown origin ripped through a passenger bus in Claver, Surigao del Norte, Wednesday noon, the military said.

Four of the passengers were hit by debris, which dealt them slight wounds, said Major Ezra Balagtey, public affairs officer of the Armed Forces’ Eastern Mindanao Command.

Superintendent Martin Gamba, Caraga regional police spokesman, said in a separate statement that only two people, identified as restaurant crew Maximiana Mamba and bus passenger Evelyn Romero, were hurt.

The explosion occurred in Purok 4, Brgy. Hayanggabon, around 11:20 a.m.

A Bachelor bus (LYH-790) headed for Tandag City was parked beside restaurant in that area as some passengers were about to take their lunch, Balagtey said.

The passengers evacuated the bus upon noticing fumes inside, then the explosion occurred, he said.

All people on the bus that exploded had already alighted before the incident, Gamba said.

Romero was a passenger of another bus that was beside the one that exploded, he added.

Local police are trying to determine if the blast was caused by an improvised explosive device or a mining chemical precursor, Balagtey said. (John Roson)

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An Army lieutenant was killed while two other soldiers were injured as government troops clashed with New People’s Army (NPA) members in San Agustin, Surigao del Sur, on Friday, the military said.

The fatality was a second lieutenant and the injured have ranks of private first class, Capt. Christian Uy, Army 4th Infantry Division spokesman, said.

All three belong to the Army’s 3rd Special Forces Battalion (3rd SFB), he said.

The clash erupted in Brgy. Buhisan around 12:30 p.m.

A company of the 3rd SFB was checking on reports that NPA members were “foraging” in the village, when they encountered about 30 rebels, Uy said.

The firefight lasted for about 20 minutes, after which the rebels withdrew to the hinterlands, he said.

Soldiers did not find slain or wounded rebels, but saw trails of blood along their route of withdrawal, Uy said.

A UH-1H helicopter was later sent to the site to fetch the slain and wounded soldiers. The injured are now being treated at a hospital in Butuan City.

“Sa ngayon tuluy-tuloy pa rin ‘yung operations, nagdagdag tayo ng tropa doon at baka mahagip nila uli ‘yung mga tumakbong rebelde,” Uy said. (John Roson)

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Armed men attacked the exploration team of a subsidiary of Philex Mining Corp. in Mainit, Surigao del Norte, on Saturday, burning more than P1 million worth of equipment, police said.

Six unidentified armed men “harassed” the exploration team of Silangan Mindanao Mining Company Inc. (SMMCI) in the mountainous area of Brgy. Roxas past 8 a.m., Caraga regional police spokesman Supt. Martin Gamba said.

The group stripped security guards Nilo Macula and Danilo Dag-uman of their issued shotguns then set the exploration team’s equipment on fire, he said.

Burned were one unit of induced polarization survey equipment, generator set, nine electric rods, four spools, and a tent, which all amount to P1.143 million, Gamba said.

Members of the Mainit Police are still conducting investigation along with with the Army’s 30th Infantry Battalion to determine the attackers’ identities and motive, he said.

SMMCI is a unit of Silangan Mindanao Exploration Co. Inc. (SMECI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Philex Mining.

SMECI, through SMMCI, owns the “Silangan Project,” a deposit of copper and gold covering the towns of Placer, Sison, Taganaan, and Tubod, Surigao del Norte.

Philex Mining plans to commence production at Silangan by 2017. (John Roson)

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Two soldiers were killed as government troops clashed with New People’s Army (NPA) members in Esperanza, Agusan del Sur, on Saturday, just a few days after the rebel group carried out an attack that left five civilians dead in the same town.

Lt. Col. Leo Bongosia, spokesman of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, said the clash occurred in Brgy. Maliwanag around 4 p.m.

Members of the 26th Infantry Battalion encountered about 15 rebels and the firefight lasted for about 15 minutes, Bongosia said in a text message.

The clash came just four days after NPA members killed five civilian workers and burned several heavy equipment of agro-industrial firm Shannalyne Corp. in Brgy. Hawilian on Tuesday.

The NPA claims that the attack was punishment for Shannalyne’s “land-grabbing” and “environmentally-destructive activities,” while the military says the incident stemmed from the company’s refusal to give in to the rebel group’s “extortion.”

Pursuit against those who attacked are still ongoing despite Saturday’s deadly clash, Bongosia said. (John Roson)

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Rebels snatch 10 persons in Caraga

Suspected New People’s Army (NPA) members abducted seven militiamen, two policemen, and a civilian in separate incidents in the Caraga region on Sunday and Monday, authorities said Tuesday.

Mario Libanda, 39; Tuloy Libanda, 36; Rejoy Francisco, 25; and Rubio Asalan, 23, all members of the Civilian Active Auxiliary (CAA), were abducted at a checkpoint manned by about 30 rebels in Brgy. Mahayhay, San Luis, Agusan del Sur, around 9 a.m. Monday, Army spokesman Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang said.

The militiamen were riding a motorcycle to Brgy. Binicalan, San Luis, when they were flagged down at the rebel checkpoint, he said.

The fully-armed men at the roadblock are believed to be members of the NPA North Central Mindanao Regional Committee’s Guerrilla Front 88, Cabangbang said.

Militiamen assigned to nearby Army detachments have been directed to track down the rebels while local officials of San Luis have created a crisis management task group to work for the victims’ release, he said.

The abduction occurred only several hours after other NPA members abducted two policemen in Loreto, also in Agusan del Sur, on Sunday night.

PO2 Ronald Alan Muñez and PO1 Nemuel España, both assigned at the Loreto Police Station, were abducted by about six rebels in Brgy. Poblacion around 11:15 p.m. Caraga regional police spokesman Supt. Martin Gamba said.

Muñez and España were conducting surveillance operations against the suspect for a stabbing incident in Sitio Moto, when the rebels seized and brought them towards Sitio Marang, Brgy. Kasapa, Gamba said.

The local government of Loreto has activated a crisis management committee to work for the hostages’ release, he said.

Earlier on Sunday, rebels abducted three more militiamen and a civilian in Tagbina, Surigao del Sur.

At least five rebels abducted CAA members Evangeline Cabodbod, Leonardo Sevellejo Sr., Danny Sevellejo, and civilian Vicente Bolgado near Road 4H in Sitio Greenfield, Brgy. Sta. Juana, around 10 a.m., according to a report from the Army’s 4th Infantry Division.

The four had just attended mass when they were seized by armed men who are believed to be members of the NPA North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee’s Guerrilla Front 14, the report said.

Capt. Christian Uy, acting spokesman of the 4th ID, confirmed the report, but said the rebels have already freed Bolgado.

The incident occurred less than an hour after five rebel snipers fired at the 23rd Infantry Battalion’s patrol base in Sitio Greenfield.

Lito Dagium, one of the militiamen manning the patrol base that time, suffered a bullet wound to the right side of the body due to the sniping.

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Some 7,914 people have been evacuated in different areas of Caraga due to floods caused by heavy rain from a low pressure area (LPA), a civil defense official said.

At least 6,854 people have been evacuated in Butuan City, 935 in Lanuza, Surigao del Sur, and 125 in San Luis, Agusan del Sur, Office of Civil Defense-Caraga director Blanche Gobenciong said.

Floods caused by the LPA have already affected at least 2,427 families or 9,840 people in the region, she said.

Those affected are from Butuan City, Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte; San Luis, Agusan del Sur; Malimono, Surigao del Norte, and Lanuza, Surigao del Sur.

Butuan City is on “Alert Level 3” because waters of the Agusan River, whose basin includes the city, have risen to 2.78 meters above sea level.

In Lanuza, a landslide caused an estimated P1.5 million worth of damage when it wrecked the science laboratory of the Nurcia Integrated School, Gobenciong said. (John Roson)

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Authorities implemented “pre-emptive” evacuations and suspended classes in several areas of Caraga as heavy rains brought by a low-pressure area (LPA) caused floods and landslides, a civil defense official said.

Evacuations started around 6 a.m. Thursday, particularly in Brgys. Limon, Pigdaulan, Mahay, Banza, Golden Ribbon, and Obrero of Butuan City, Blanche Gobenciong, director of the Office of Civil Defense-Caraga, said.

Rains had been pouring “non-stop” from Wednesday afternoon to Thursday noon, causing the Agusan River to overflow at 2.5 meters above sea level and dump water at its basin in Butuan, Gobenciong said.

“Ang tinatawag na critical is from 2.6 to 2.7 meters. Beyond that, forced evacuation na ang gagawin,” Gobenciong noted.

Waters from the Agusan River also crept to Brgys. Doña Flavia, Doña Maxima, and Poblacion in San Luis, Agusan del Sur.

Floods were also monitored in Brgy. Poblacion of San Miguel, Surigao del Sur, where the Tago River usually dumps excess water.

Parts of the National Highway and several barangay roads in those areas were already “impassable” to vehicles as of Thursday noon, Gobenciong said.

Heavy rains also caused a landslide along the National Highway in Brgy. Nurcia, Lanuza, Surigao del Sur, but no one was reported injured, she said.

Classes in different levels have already been suspended in Butuan City, Surigao City, the whole province ng Dinagat Islands, Las Nieves and Magallanes of Agusan del Norte, and Tandag City of Surigao del Sur, Gobenciong said. (John Roson)

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More than 100 families in Caraga region have been evacuated from their homes on Christmas Day so they can avoid possible effects of tropical storm Quinta (international name: Wukong), a disaster official said.

“Pre-emptive evacuation” was carried out in Surigao City, Dinagat Islands, and Siargao Island, Blanche Gobenciong, director of the Caraga Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, said in a phone interview.

The areas are still under storm warning signal no. 2 as of Tuesday afternoon, although rains have abated as the storm moved north, Gobenciong said.

“We hope that this will stop soon so the evacuees can immediately return to their homes,” she added.

Meanwhile, some parts of Tacloban City, Leyte, experienced floods on Christmas Day due to heavy rains brought by “Quinta,” a police official said.

Ankle-deep waters rose in V&G Subdivision early Tuesday after heavy rain started pouring around 1 a.m., Tacloban City Police director Senior Supt. Romulo Cleve Taboso said in a separate interview.

The rain stopped hours later and the flood subsided, but thick clouds were still hovering above the city Tuesday afternoon, he said.

“We will carry out a forced evacuation if this rain continues and causes more floods. We are all in uniform and are on SAR (search and rescue) mode this Christmas Day,” Taboso said.

Navy spokesman Col. Omar Tonsay said the force put on standby 35 ships and several disaster response teams in different parts of the country due to “Quinta.” (John Roson)

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Fifteen people, including two Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) chairpersons, fell ill after eating packed lunch from a popular Chinese-style fastfood chain at a youth convention in Surigao City, police reported Monday.

Angie Mae Labor, 18, SK chair of Brgy. Alipao, Alegria, Surigao del Norte; Siegfred Olojan, 19, SK chair of Brgy. Azucena, Taganaan, Surigao del Norte; and Jefford Balugo, 28, a private employee, were brought to the Miranda Family Hospital where they were found to have suffered acute gastroenteritis, Caraga regional police spokesman Supt. Martin Gamba said.

The 12 others were identified as Alegria municipal youth coordinator Archie Biong, 20; Surigao City coordinator Boyet Aquino, 30; Taganaan coordinator Yumeralyn Opelinia, 18; Dante Caerlang, 25; Jessa Mamado, 20; Marjorie Grace Mosquito, 18; Reynald Bayon, 20; Jovit Aclo, 20; Vicente Villamon, 32; Loreto Jamesula, 28; Marlon Galos, 22; and Herjohn Mantilla, 19.

They were admitted at the Surigao Medical Center after they were found to be suffering from epigastric pain and vomiting, Gamba said.

The alleged food poisoning occurred Saturday afternoon, while the 15 were attending the provincial youth summit at the Provincial Convention Center, he said.

Initial investigation showed that the 15 suffered abdominal pain, headache, frequent bowel movement, and started vomiting a few hours after eating the packed lunch catered by Chowking, Gamba said.

The Surigao City Police Station was only informed of the incident around 8:30 p.m. Saturday, after the victims were taken to the hospitals, he said.

Police are still waiting for results of the laboratory examination to determine if the food had indeed caused the victims to fall ill, Gamba said. (John Roson)

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