Monday, February 05, 2007

50 killed in Zamboanga tanker blast

FIREFIGHTERS battle a fire on a fuel depot after a tanker exploded Friday, Feb. 2, 2007, in suburban Mandaluyong east of Manila killing at least one person. Another tanker truck carrying compressed carbon dioxide gas exploded on a mountain road in Zamboanga, the southern Philippines Friday, after overturning, killing at least 50 people and injuring 13 others.

CAGAYAN DE ORO JOURNAL - The death toll from a tanker explosion in Zamboanga, the southern Philippines has risen from 27 to 50 after authorities accounted for the remains of more victims, officials said Saturday.

At least 65 others were hospitalized, said provincial social welfare officer Conchita San Diego.

Many of the victims were passengers of a minibus that was following the tanker truck or motorists who were slowed down by the traffic caused by the accident, San Diego said.

A destroyed passenger bus that tried to pass the overturned tanker when the explosion occured.

The tanker truck was negotiating a downhill stretch of the highway in Tigbao town in Zamboanga del Sur province Friday when its brakes failed, causing it to slam into the side of the mountain before overturning and killing its driver, police said.
Minutes later, someone shouted there was a fire from beneath the truck, but before people could flee, the tanker exploded with such force that it completely demolished the vehicle and blew away the roof of the minibus and flung it to the opposite lane, provincial police chief Senior Superintendent Ramon Ochotorena said.

The truck owner told police the tanker contained liquefied carbon dioxide that was to be delivered to a Coca-Cola plant in Zamboanga city, Ochotorena said.


Northern Mindanao most wanted criminal falls

OROQUIETA City (Edgar Catane / Feb 5) - The long most wanted and notorious criminal with P250,000 bounty on his head was finally captured in his lair at dawn Tuesday in Barangay Sumalig, Bonifacio, Misamis Occidental by a team of Regional Mobile Group (RMG) headed by Col. Edgar Daniel and Capt. John Encinereal.

The suspect was identified as Ricardo S. Uy Jr., popularly known as alias "Halap" married and a resident of barangay San Roque, Ozamis City and is the principal suspect in the killing of PO1 Rainsfold Gamotin, and widely known as one of the biggest "drug lord" operating in Ozamis City.

Halap was also allegedly involved in various "gun for hire" operations, drug trafficking, a series of bank robberies in Cebu and Manila and many other murder cases.

After four months of intensified manhunt, Uy was arrested at his hideout together with a certain Gary S. Santos, Romeo G. Pabatao and a lone woman Ana Anita C. Sarsaba.

The three were caught point blank, naked and confiscated from them one homemade caliber .22 rifle, four M-16 rifle short magazines, one caliber .45 pistol, one tooter, one small rolled aluminum foil, three big rolled aluminum foils, one key chain, 19 pieces of caliber 5.56mm live ammo. 6 pieces of caliber. .45 ammunitions and one bandoleer of unspecified ammunitions.
The suspects were presented to the media by governor Loreto Leo Ocampos who said that he toiled much to curb criminalities in the province together with the new provincial police director Col. Erwin Villacorte.

Ocampos said, the provincial government and the police regional director are working for the giving of a reward leading to the arrest of "Halap."

Ocampos commended Col. Villacorte, Col. Daniel, Capt Encinereal and the men of the RMG and all the civilians who have assisted in intelligence gathering operations.

"The arrest of "Halap," Ocampos said, is a tangible proof that no one is above the law," adding, "the authorities have been running after him for so long due to his towering docket of crimes particularly drug trafficking, yet the difficulty of his arrest has finally come to an end, a showing that when a community works in unity, nothing is too difficult," Ocampos stressed.

The governor said, he is appealing to the citizenry and to the government officials, especially the mayors, not to compromise themselves by cuddling criminals, but to run after them, as it is a deterrent to our common cause of maintaining peace and order in the province and to our common objective of preserving the moral fiber of our society," Ocampos added.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Army expects NPA chief to give up

CAGAYAN DE ORO JOURNAL (Ben Balce / Feb 3) – New People’s Army spokesman for Mindanao Jorge Madlos, alias Ka Oris, is believed ready to surrender because of his failing health, military officials said yesterday.

But Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Vicente Emano belied reports that according to him, Madlos would only surrender if “dead.”

Madlos who was last reported to have been trapped by elements of the 36th and 58th Infantry Battalions in his base in Barangay Santa Juana, Tagbina, Surigao del Sur reportedly the reason of his surrender.

“He (Madlos) will not surrender or even give up,” said Emano adding the last time they talked on phone (during Fr. Bula’s whereabouts) that his life would only surrender him.

Emano said Madlos confirmed him that even he was now undergoing medication for his kidney failure that caused him much health problems only his life would stop bringing the organization (CPP-NPA) to victory against the government.

“Madlos’ commitment with the group is incomparable, word “surrender” for him is a traitor. he will not surrendered as I know him for so long,” Emano said.

Meanwhile, Army’s 4th Infantry Division spokesperson Major Samuel Sagun said the reported plan of surrender of Madlos came after they received reports from 401st Infantry Brigade officials that Madlos’s failing health was the main reason of his plan of coming back at the mainstream society.

However Sagun did not confirm if the surrender filler was legitimate and came from Madlos himself.

“If the report is true, we will help him (Madlos) to recover from his failing health at this time,” Sagun said even added the division will bring Madlos at V Luna hospital in Manila for complete medication.

Sagun said for humanitarian reason, Madlos will receive treatment the same as an ordinary citizen and to experience equal protection from the military if he surrendered.

Sagun said Madlos’ group suffered a big setback last Wednesday when the Army’s 36th Infantry Battalion led by Lt. Col. Joel Madarang assaulted and captured two caves in Sitio Greenfields of Barangay Santa Juana.

Sagun said that the said areas considered likely as Camp Abubakar of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) which were the NPA’s biggest bomb-making and ammunition depot in Mindanao.

Sagun said an earlier firefight with Madlos’ group last Jan. 18, also in Greenfields, led them recovered several high powered firearms like of an RPG launcher, a B40 anti-tank weapon, a motorcycle, and subversive documents.

Sagun also said troops of the 401st IB aided by helicopter gunships and assault choppers are still pressing the fight against the NPAs in Tagbina.