Tag Archive: Nueva Ecija

Army and Marines artillery personnel are undergoing training in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija, to enhance skills in firing cannons amid controversies in providing fire support to ground troops, particularly in Mindanao.

The training for “fire direction center” (FDC) specialists was opened recently at the Artillery Training School and will run for four weeks, Army Artillery Regiment spokesperson Major Rosa Ma. Cristina Manuel said.

Ten personnel from Field Artillery Battalions based in different parts of the country and six from the Marines assigned in Sultan Kudarat are taking part, Manuel said in an emailed statement.

They were sent by their respective unit commanders to “further enhance” their competencies as FDC specialists, she said.

The retraining came in the wake of the January 25 clash in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, where 44 members of the National Police’s elite Special Action Force (SAF) were killed.

That clash became an issue for the military after it was learned that artillery units under the Army’s 6th Infantry Division failed to provide immediate fire support to SAF members who were pinned down by Muslim rebels.

The retraining also comes almost a year after six members of the Armed Forces’ elite Joint Special Operations Group hunting down Abu Sayyaf bandits were killed in Patikul, Sulu, on June 19, 2014 due to “friendly fire” from the Marines’ artillery units.

Last January 27, some of the Marines who served in Sulu were sent back to their mother unit which covers, among others, Sultan Kudarat.

The debacle in Mamasapano is currently being discussed at the Senate, where military officials claimed that the SAF did not provide information on the beleaguered police commandos’ location so artillery units did not fire immediately.

Military officials also said the artillery units only fired white phosporous, not explosive ammunition, to determine the SAF members’ location.

The retraining aims to “review and equip more” the FDC specialists so they can “deliver the needed artillery fire support timely and accurately,” Manuel said.

During the retraining, participants will have a live-fire exercise to test their speed and accuracy in computing required data, she said.

“The survival of our endangered troops lies in our hands. However, any inaccurate, lacking or error in the data, as members of fire direction center, it is your responsibility to recommend to your battery commander not to deliver the requested fire for security reasons unless sooner corrected,” training director Lieutenant Maria Theresa Babiera said at the opening ceremony. (John Roson)

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15 provinces under election watchlist

Authorities have placed 15 provinces placed under a watchlist for possible violence in the upcoming midterm elections, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas said.

In a press briefing, Roxas identified the provinces as Abra, Pangasinan, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Cagayan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Cavite, Masbate, Samar, Misamis Occidental, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, and Basilan.

The provinces, which are home to intense political rivalry, history of armed violence, loose firearms, and private armed groups, are like a “powder keg,” Roxas told reporters.

“Ang mga ito ang may pinaka-high risk na magkaroon ng karahasan,” he said.

More cops on duty, jails checked

Roxas said police task forces will be sent to each of the provinces to help policemen already assigned there in securing the elections.

Police officials that have relatives or classmates who will run for posts in those provinces will be transferred to other areas.

Roxas said jails in the 15 provinces will also undergo a “judicial audit” so authorities can keep tabs of prisoners during the election period.

“Ito’y dahil madalas sinasabi na ang mga preso pinapalabas para gumawa ng karahasan tapos ipapasok lang uli,” he said.

‘The heat is on’

Meanwhile, Roxas said police have already recorded 35 election-related incidents nationwide, including the 15 watchlisted provinces.

“Ngayon pa lang nagkakainitan na,” he said.

In Maguindanao alone, six government officials have already been killed and at four private armed groups were monitored, Deputy Dir. Gen. Alan Purisima, commander of the national police’s election Task Force SAFE, said.

Eighty-five barangays in the province are affected by “threat groups,” Purisima said.

Roxas said 60 active and 47 “potential” private armed groups are being monitored nationwide.

There are 25,065 “loose firearms,” or those in the hands of criminals and rebels, while there are 552,338 firearms whose licenses have not been renewed, he said.

“Kabilang ang mga ito sa mga baril na maaring magamit sa halalan,” he said.

MILF help welcome

Meanwhile, Roxas said he is “open” to suggestions that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which just signed a “framework” peace agreement with the government, be tapped to help secure the elections.

However, Roxas said he still has to consult Presidential Peace Adviser Sec. Teresita Deles and chief peace negotiator Marvic Leonen on the matter.

“You have to understand that there’s also been years of mistrust, gaps, but this could be a good confidence-building measure,” he said. (John Roson)

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A photo of the bus involved in the mishap (photo courtesy of Munoz City PNP)

Nine people were killed while at least nine others were injured when a passenger bus collided with a motorcycle and fuel tanker in Muñoz City, Nueva Ecija, early Wednesday, police said.

Killed on the spot were the three vehicles’ drivers, identified as Ryan Camaging, Leoncio Pajarillo, and Sylvino Marzo, Chief Insp. Karen Clark, Central Luzon regional police spokeswoman, said.

Also killed were Pajarillo’s wife Evangeline, who was riding with him in the motorcycle, as well as bus passengers Donatella Aquino, of Piat, Cagayan; Marife Bondoc, of Tanza, Cavite; and three still unidentified females.

The fatalities were all taken to the Munoz Funeral Parlor in Brgy. Bantog West, Clark said.

A photo of the fuel tanker involved in the mishap (photo courtesy of Munoz City PNP)

Some of those injured were identified as Rolando Cotanes, of Piat; Juan Taguilan, of Enrile; Elvino Bajinang, also of Cagayan; Alama Sansano, of Bayombong, Nueva Viscaya; Maria Rowena Dacanay, of Bagabag; Arthur Solinas of Santa Maria, Isabela; Araceli Medina, and Jone Audalang.

They were brought to the Paulino Garcia Memorial Research Hospital in Cabanatuan City, San Jose General Hospital in San Jose City, and the CLSU Infirmary Hospital in Muñoz.

Other bus passengers, who were unhurt or sustained only minor injuries, decided to proceed with their travel and were fetched by other passing buses, Clark said.

The incident occurred around 2:30 a.m., while Camaging was driving the Victory Liner bus (CWR-195) along the Maharlika Highway in Purok Curva, Brgy. Bantug.

Camaging was driving the bus towards the south when it hit the back of the Honda Wave motorcycle (YZ-5358) driven by Pajarillo, causing the latter and his wife to fall on the right shoulder of the road, Clark said, citing results of investigation by the Muñoz City Police.

The bus driver steered to the left to avoid hitting the motorcycle further, but collided head-on with Marzo’s Isuzu gasoline tanker (XMD-771) instead, Clark said.

Both the bus and fuel tanker sustained heavy damages on the front left sides. (John Roson)

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The mayor of Carranglan, Nueva Ecija, and his bodyguard were seriously injured in an ambush by gunmen in Guimba town Saturday afternoon, police said.

Mayor Restituto Abad suffered bullet wounds to the face, left arm, and armpit while his driver-bodyguard got hit on the head and neck, Supt. Renato David, Guimba Police chief, said.

“Medyo hindi maganda ‘yung tama nila, si mayor sabi ng doktor ay hopefully maka-karecover, mas masama ‘yung sa security,” David said in a phone interview.

The incident occurred around 3:30 p.m., while Abad and his escort were passing through Brgy. Saranay on his Ford Everest.

Abad was on his way back to Carranglan from a meeting when one of two men on a motorcycle repeatedly shot at his vehicle’s windshield, David said.

Residents alerted local police of the incident so the lawmen launched a pursuit and captured driver Jose Berlino Gonzales when the motorcycle crashed.

Gonzales said he was only hired by the gunman to drive, but text messages in his cellphone showed he has been contacting the latter about their target, indicating he also served as the “lookout,” according to David.

“Mahirap pang masabi sa ngayon kung ano ang motibo dahil ‘yung bayan niya (Abad) ay napakalayo sa bayan namin, baka nasundan siya dito ng mga kaaway niya,” David said when asked what was the motive for the attack.

“Siguro ‘yung mastermind o nag-utos ay alam na may meeting dito at for sure na a-attend siya (Abad),” the police official added.

Police are still looking for the gunman as of this posting. (John Roson)

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