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Cebu local news (daily update)

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    Mandaue City to bake bibingka as big as basketball court: official

    MANDAUE City will attempt to cook the world’s biggest “bibingka” this April.

    As part of the festivities for the feast of St. Joseph the Worker this May, the Mandaue City Government, in coordination with education officials of the city, will attempt to add the city’s name in the record books by making a “bibingka” the size of a basketball court.

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    The bibingka, a delicacy of the city, is made of ground rice, coconut milk and sugar, and baked in banana leaf. Bibingka is cooked with hot coals from above and below the mixture.

    Louella Cabanero, head of the Mandaue City Tourism Office, said to realize their endeavor, they will be using about 200 kilos of first class rice and other ingredients used for cooking bibingka.

    She also added they will also coordinate with officials of the Department of Education in Mandaue City, along with members of the Fiesta 2011 committee and members of the private sector, to help them cook the huge bibingka.

    Cabanero added that the cooking will take place outside the Mandaue City Sports Complex, while its preparation will be done inside.

    Clark Pelaez, chairman of Bibingka Day, said while they are attempting to put the largest bibingka on the Guinness Book of World Records, no official of the world records authority will be coming to witness the festivities on April 27.

    Instead, they will be sending documentation to the Guinness Book of World Records for them to dispute, added Pelaez.

    Cabanero said that after cooking the largest bibingka, they will serve it to Mandaue City citizens as part of the experience.

    Aside from Bibingka Day, the Mandaue City 2011 Fiesta will also showcase other activities, such as the Sotero Cabahug Day, in honor of the great Mandauehanon statesman and former governor Sotero Cabahug.

    Also, a “Grand Baile” will be held on April 29 as a tribute to senior citizens in the city.

    Sports exhibition matches for persons with disabilities will also be held on April 30.

    Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 18, 2011.

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    Dads won’t probe ‘road rage’

    CITY council officials of Mandaue City clarified yesterday they won’t investigate the alleged road rage incident involving City Prosecutor and traffic official Bienvenido Mabanto.

    That, while an official of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) also said yesterday that the Mandaue City Council has neither authority to investigate nor penalize Mabanto.

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    Mandaue City Vice Mayor Glenn Bercede, in an interview yesterday, said they only want
    to summon Mabanto to get his side on the allegations thrown against him by several motorists.

    Bercede said that should Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes submit a formal letter of endorsement to the council, they will immediately summon Mabanto into one of their weekly sessions.

    Bercede said he plans to form a special committee, composed of the committee on local government and legal matters, to conduct the inquiry on Mabanto’s side of the story.

    They also plan to summon the motorists involved in road rage incidents that Mabanto was allegedly involved.

    Needless

    But for his part, Bercede said Mabanto has no need to apologize for those incidents since even the involved motorists had earlier said that the Mandaue City prosecutor was not at fault.

    “Sila pa man gani ang nangayo Og pasaylo, nganung papasayloon paman nato si Mabanto (They’re even the ones saying sorry, why should we let Mabanto apologize)?” added Bercede.

    On the other hand, DILG 7 Legal Officer Danilo Almendras said that legally, the Mandaue City Council cannot impose any sanction or penalty against Mabanto.

    Almendras, in a separate interview yesterday, said that based on the Local Government Code, the City Council can only impose its authority against elected barangay officials, provided that due process has been observed.

    Discipline

    Disciplining Mabanto, a member of the Traffic Enforcement Agency of Mandaue Board (Team), will only be made through the city mayor, who is the appointing authority.

    But Mabanto can only be sanctioned or penalized by the mayor if due process is properly observed, added Almendras.

    Road rage

    Mabanto, who is the vice chairman of the Team Board, has been involved in three road rage incidents since last year.

    Last November, a bus driver filed a complaint against Mabanto after the fiscal allegedly slapped him for bumping the latter’s SUV.

    In December, Mabanto was accused of mauling a Japanese national, who allegedly tried to run over the fiscal with a motorcycle.

    While recently, Mabanto had allegedly threatened to kick a truck driver, after the latter had bumped his vehicle to the prosecutor’s car.

    The cases were later dismissed after the complainants decided not to pursue them.

    Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 18, 2011.

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    Unesco execs laud PH’s education work

    THERE is a need to raise public awareness on the value of education at a time when many children drop out of school because of distrust in the educational system, a
    Unesco official said yesterday.

    Dr. Anwar Al-said, head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (Unesco) education unit, urged journalists to help inform the public about the government’s programs on education.

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    “There’s lack of trust in the educational system and there are misconceptions about how important education is for the future of children,” he said.

    Al-Said lauded the efforts of the Philippine government in delivering education services to the public. He cited the 12-year basic education system and the mandatory kindergarten as “major steps” in enhancing the quality of education in the country.

    Bold strokes

    The Philippines is making giant steps in the area of education,” said Al-Said, who is in Manila for a two-day seminar for journalists covering the education beat.

    At the seminar, University of the Philippines professor Solita Collas-Monsod lamented
    the country’s state of education, noting the lack of school infrastructure and facilities.

    She pointed out the link between poverty and education, citing a study that showed that the heads of 42 percent of poor households in the country were not able to finish elementary.

    For every 100 children who enter grade one, only 13 will finish college, according to the study.

    If the current indicators continue, the country will not be able to meet the goal of achieving universal primary education until 2079, Monsod noted.

    This is the effect of years of neglect,” she said in her talk during the seminar.

    Safe

    According to Unesco’s latest monitoring report, the Philippines is among the countries that are not on track to achieve the goal of providing education for all (EFA) by 2015.

    Among other factors, the report blamed the armed conflict in Min-danao for the country’s slow progress in meeting this goal.

    “Countries affected by armed conflict are among the farthest from reaching the Education For All goals,” it said.

    To attain the goal of achieving universal primary education by 2015, Monsod said the government should stop giving incentives to investors, and should instead use the money to fill the gaps in education.

    “You do not have to give incentives to investors to come here. They’ll come here, anyway,” she said.

    She also urged the government to adjust the “sin taxes” imposed on cigarette and liquor products, which are based on 1997 prices.

    “Unless the government improves its revenue allocation, we will not achieve this goal,” Monsod added.

    Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 18, 2011.

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    CUT TREES FOR WIDER ROAD? 3/18/2011


    Century-old rain trees to give way to south Cebu highway
    By Marian Z. Codilla, Reporter



    In the months ahead, century-old rain trees lining a road section in south Cebu from Naga to Carcar City will be marked for destruction to make way for road widening.

    “We can’t do anything about it,” said Naga Mayor Val Chiong yesterday.

    “We are just coordinating with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) because it is their project.”

    The huge trees, which form a graceful green canopy that greets motorists traveling south, were planted in 1915 by the former Bureau of Public works, the DPWH’s predecessor.

    The DPWH 2nd Engineering District is getting appraisal estimates for properties affected by the proposed road widening, which has a P27-million budget.

    The value of aged, long-surviving trees, however, does not seem to draw a deeper response than resignation from local officials despite the fact that 2011 is declared the “Year of the Forests” by the United Nations with a special program by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to identify and officially mark “heritage trees” in the country.

    In a forum last week in Cebu City, international urban planner Felino Palafox Jr., who talked about disaster risk management in the annual meeting of the Philippine Business for Social Progress-Visayas, said a 50-year-old tree “has a value of P9 million.”

    The P9 million, he said, is computed based on factors such as the oxygen produced, carbon dioxide-green gas captured, protection from soil erosion, cooling capacity, water retention, shade, biodiversity, aesthetic qualities and other factors that add to the real estate value where a tree stands.

    (Palafox, a Filipino architect who has led projects in 30 countries, including Dubai and Asian capitals, drew controversy in 2008 when he turned down a $1-million contract for a hotel resort-casino project in Subic because he refused to cut down 366 seventy-year-old trees. He later accused the developers of corruption.)

    In Naga and Carcar, two public forums have been called since February by DPWH regional officials to inform residents and business owners about the impending infrastructure project.

    A 200-year-old coral stone house (balay na bato) near the highway in barangay Langtad, Naga City, is also in the path and in danger of being demolished.

    “I will still talk with the owner to see if they will agree to have the house transferred to the plaza kay sayang,” said Mayor Chiong said in a telephone interview.

    The mayor said the house could be transferred to the public plaza and preserved as a heritage site.

    The owner, Napoleon Dacalos, a retired sanitary inspector, said he had no choice but submit to the DPWH plans. He sad the family expects to be properly compensated for the damage.

    “Wala mi mahimo kay pagbuot man ni sa gobyerno. Bayran man sad mi,” he said. (We can’t do anything if that’s the decision of the government. Anyway we will also be paid.)

    He said his house, which the family acquired in 1948, was built during the Spanish era and is made of mahogany and narra hardwood.

    Dacalos said he already asked an architect to appraise the value of the house to be submitted to the municipal assessor’s office. Dacalos said the DPWH promised to compensate based on the present value of the house.

    Farther south in Carcar City, Mayor Nicepuro Apura said he was saddened by the impending loss of old trees along the highway.

    But like some residents and Naga’s Mayor Chiong, he said is relying on DPWH plans to widen the two-lane road to four lanes to accommodate the increasing volume of traffic in their area.

    Mayor Apura said they will just coordinate with DWPH on how to take care of the trees that provide shade to motorists and serve as “icons” of Carcar town.

    He said they could only appeal to have the trees carefully transferred somewhere else because they are one of the beautiful sights sought by tourists and motorists in Carcar.

    The DPWH Cebu 2nd District has been sending letters to residents and establishments about the road-widening projects since February 9.

    A check with the General Appropriations Act of 2010 shows a P27-million outlay for “widening and removal of obstruction encroachment within the road right of way from Naga to Carcar section.”

    But Naga Mayor Chiong said P27 million is not enough to widen the two-lane road and that the amount is only for indemnities.

    “Dili gyud na paigo ang P27 million para sa widening in my own understanding wala pa gyud ang budget for the road widening,” Chiong told CEBU DAILY NEWS.

    The public forum for Naga residents was held on Feb. 16 while the forum with Carcar officials and affected residents was last Feb. 24.

    In Carcar alone, more than 200 residents and establishment owners will be affected.

    Chiong said they still have to discuss with DPWH whether they can try to save the trees by “balling” them, a procedure that involves removing the entire tree and carefully preserving the roots and trunk in a “ball.” This was done with century-old trees in Plaza Independencia in Cebu City where the South Road Properties subway tunnel was built.

    The proposed road-widening project will end near a mall in Carcar town, which is a traffic bottleneck in the south, said Carcar engineer Santiago Calinawan, Jr.

    While waiting for the project, Carcar has implemented the directive of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jessie Robredo to clear the road right of way for at least 13 meters from the center of the road.

    All structures built within that range are considered illegal and have to be demolished.

    The exception, however, is supposed to be structures that have existed for 50 years because Carcar has a local ordinance protecting heritage sites.

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    Family, friends pull Cebuano out of Japan 3/18/2011


    By Candeze R. Mongaya, Reporter



    A CEBUANO scholar had to rely on family and friends to get him out of the earthquake-battered Fukushima prefecture in Japan.

    Luis Gerardo Caņete Jr., a 28-year-old recipient of a scholarship by the Japanese government, was doing research in a laboratory in Fukushima University when the 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit the area last Friday.

    “Everything just went flying,” recalled Caņete, who stayed in Japan for two years on a scholarship for a master’s degree and a doctorate in robotics.

    “Our books, cabinets, computer monitors all fell to the ground.”

    He said he received a cell phone alert of a strong earthquake underway.

    While earthquakes are normal incidents in Japan, Caņete said the quake that struck their area at 2:30 p.m. made them duck under the tables.

    The first thing he grabbed was his one-terabyte hard drive, which he said “contains my life.”

    Minutes after the earthquake, they went out to an open space and saw the devastation for themselves.

    “But we remained calm. We were very confident on the efficiency of the nuclear plant,” he said upon learning of the near meltdown in the facilty.

    He said they continued with their routine despite the loss of water, electricity and less food supply in Fukushima.

    When the third nuclear reactor exploded last Monday, he decided to go home in Cebu upon his mother’s insistence.

    He said he called up the Philippine Embassy where an official said a van would pick him up that day only to call again to say roads were inaccessible.

    Caņete was advised to go to the evacuation area and gather other stranded Filipinos.

    “They don’t even have a list of the Filipinos in Fukushima. I felt that our conversation was very sketchy,” Canete said.

    Canete’s family back in Cebu also sought the help of the Japanese embassy, but they were told that they had no record of any Filipino student in Fukushima.

    “They told us that no one could pick him up because Fukushima was already isolated,” said Luis Gerardo Caņete Sr. Caņete’s family also refuted a local daily’s report that credited the government for bringing Caņete home.

    Caņete had to find hiw own way to Sendai where the embassy’s relief operation is based.

    A Japanese friend’s parents drove them to Negata and they took a train to Tokyo.

    The following morning, he rode a train to Narita and boarded a 2 p.m. flight for Cebu, booked by a friend in Los Angeles since all other flights were taken.

    He arrived in Mactan Wednesday evening,

    On his first day back home, Caņete said he spent the whole day sleeping.

    “Back in Japan, I could hardly sleep because aftershocks would come in almost every hour.” His family also offered a thanksgiving Mass for him yesterday.

    Despite the experience, Caņete said he wants to return to Japan as soon as possible to finish his research.

    His sister Patsy Caņete expressed dismay over the national government’s inadequate assistance to Filipinos stranded in Fukushima.

    Cebu City Councilor Margot Osmeņa said the elder Caņete called her Wednesday evening to tell her his son was home.

    “I don't want to pry on their privacy. But I think they are already safe,” Osmeņa said. /With a report from Correspondent Jemarie Jane P. Augusto

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    Ellah Joy’s Pa wants raps filed before 40th day of death 3/18/2011




    AFTER suffering a setback in their quest for justice, the Pique family found yet another reason for hope in the ongoing police investigation into the death of 6-year-old Ellah Joy.

    Renante Pique, father of Ellah Joy, said he was convinced that the suspects being pursued by the police are the real perpetrators.

    He visited the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CCPO) to assure his cooperation in the case yesterday.

    Senior Supt. Patrocinio Comendador Jr., CPPO chief, said Renante asked that the police file charges against Bella Ruby Santos and her British companion Ian Charles Griffiths before the 40th day of his daughter’s death.

    Renante said it would be better if the family’s lawyer Roque Amante waits for the police to file charges before filing their own charges.

    Pique said Comendador promised him something regarding the case but he refused to elaborate to the media.

    Comendador earlier urged Santos not to leave Cebu even after charges are filed.

    He also urged Santos not to stir up public opinion and allow the courts to do their work.

    “The battleground is in court and not in public,” he said.

    In a TV report, one of three children pointed at Santos as the person who allegedly asked Ellah Joy to board the Pajero last Feb. 8.

    The child earlier pointed at Cebuana Karen Esdrelon and Norwegian engineer Sven-Erik Berger as the culprits.

    The Cebu Provincial Prosecutors’ Office, however, dismissed the charges against Berger and Esdrelon for insufficiency of evidence.

    One of the witnesses withdrew a previous statement, saying the mole of Santos’ right cheek reminded her of the woman who abducted Ellah Joy. /Reporter Ador Vincent Mayol and Correspondent Chito Aragon

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    NBI to probe extort scam on Korean tourists 3/18/2011




    COMPLAINTS of South Koreans who lost their passports in Cebu are giving the province a bad name, said Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia yesterday.

    Garcia said she asked the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7) to investigate a complaint of a South Korean travel agency, whose client was the subject of an extortion attempt by a Customs employee. Two other similar incidents experienced by the agency led the governor to suspect a “modus” or pattern.

    “We are already getting bad publicity because of what is happening here in Cebu. I could not believe that this is being done.”

    The agency said two Korean tourists who brought with them Duty Free bags were held by Customs personnel who required them to pay “taxable duties” for their articles.

    The Koreans were identified as 32-year-old Gunho Im and Mana Tour and Travel tour guide Ee Kyung Hun.

    They were told to leave their passports while they paid at the Customs cashier.

    After payment, Im and his wife were told by Customs personnel that their passports were lost. The worried tourists were later called by the Customs personnel and told their passports were found. The tourists were then asked for pahalipay or a reward.

    Garcia said they have identified the Customs examiner.

    “I have asked the NBI to build up the case and to file the proper charges against these erring individuals that give Cebu a bad image,” the governor said.

    She said the Bureau Customs cooperated by giving a list of personnel on duty on the specific dates.

    “I was just frustrated and disappointed because we have been doing so much to promote Cebu as a tourism haven and yet these few persons with their own interests will totally destroy what we have been working so hard for,” Garcia said. /Correspondent Carmel Loise Matus

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    Vendors mixed about Mandaue market 3/18/2011




    SOME MEAT suppliers and slaughterhouse workers worry about the planned transfer to the new Mandaue City market at the North Reclamation Area (NRA).

    Jolito Tahil, a 31-year-old helper of the Belen and Roy Meat Supplier stall, said he fears their income would drop when customers buy from nearby stalls.

    Tahil, who can slaughter seven to eight pigs a day, also questioned the market’s location near a hospital.

    “It’s strange to see a market near the hospital,” he said.

    Tahil said the new market site is remote from the buying public and stalls are built too high.

    He said buyers may go instead to other wet markets or the mall to be built near the present public market in barangay Centro.

    The mall may sell meat at lower prices, Tahil said.

    On the other hand, 57-year-old vendor Rodencio Ramos said he prefers the new location because the old market is no longer safe for stall holders and vendors like him.

    “Some vendors think only of themselves and they don’t see the big picture,” Ramos told CEBU DAILY NEWS.

    Mandaue Councilor Jimmy Lumapas said the new public market is ready for occupancy.

    Lumapas said the access bridge and roads were also done.

    But the market’s wastewater treatment still needs to be examined by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

    The new market houses 1,426 stalls for wet and dry stalls.

    Each stall is 2 meters by 3 meters wide.

    Lumapas told CDN that platforms will be built for the incoming stallholders. /Reporter Jucell Marie P. Cuyos

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    NEWS BRIEFS 3/18/2011



    CONSOLACION AS LANDFILL?


    CEBU City officials may have to scrap Consolacion town from its list of alternate dump sites after the municipal council there opposed the idea.

    “I don’t really know what the issue is but I heard from one of the councilors there that the resolution to create a landfill in Consolacion is not yet approved in the council,” Cebu City Councilor Eduardo Rama said.

    The only clear option now, he said, is to asked Naga City in the south to allow Cebu City to throw its garbage in their area.

    “We are only trying to prolong the life span of the Inayawan landfill but sad to say that facility is already off and should be rehabilitated and converted to an eco park.”

    But Rama said he hasn’t given up on Consolacion town as a sanitary landfill site.

    “I will still meet with them next week and see what the problem is and how we could solve it,” he said.

    “We have to double time since we will have no choice but to close the Inayawan landfill before the year ends. ” /Correspondent Edison delos Angeles



    ‘BIG FISH’ GRAFT CASES GO TO MANILA


    GRAFT cases involving mayors and governors will still be handled by the central office of the Ombudsman in Manila.

    The Ombudsman is delegating cases involving vice mayors and below to their Deputy Ombudsman and sectoral offices nationwide.

    Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez said the central office will handle cases of high-ranking officials while cases of officials with salary grades 26 and below such as vice mayors and those below will be given to their sectoral offices.

    For the Visayas, Deputy Ombudsman Pelagio Apostol will have jurisdiction over cases involving “low-ranking” government officials.

    Motions for reconsideration/reinvestigation arising from such resolutions will still be acted upon by the sectoral deputy Ombudsman but subject to approval by the Ombdusman-Manila.

    Gutierrez ordered all deputy Ombudsmen to submit a monthly report of the status of their cases.

    In an interview, Assistant Ombudsman Virginia Palanca-Santiago said cases involving mayors, governors, vice governors, and board members, will still be submitted to the Ombudsman central office in Manila. /Reporter Ador Vincent Mayol



    MANDAUE BIBINGKA


    MANDAUE City residents will attempt to set a Guinness world record for the biggest bibingka or rice cake in the world by cooking one at the Mandaue City Sports Center on April 27.

    Lowella Cabaņero, Mandaue City tourism officer, said 200 sacks of first-class rice will be used, along with an undetermined amount of coconut, sugar and other ingredients.

    Teachers and students from the city’s schools will take part in cooking the bibingka.

    Ingredients will be prepared in the sports center while the cooking will be done outside.

    Fiesta committee member Clark Perez said the bibingka” will measure 50 to 60 feet. /Reporter Jucell Marie P. Cuyos



    SANCTIONS ON SCANDALS


    WHOEVER wins the Mr. and Miss Mandaue pageant next month better come with a clean record.

    If the winner was previously involved in any scandal, he or she faces sanctions.

    Emilio Jujin Pascual, executive director of the Mandaue City fiesta committee, told reporters in yesterday’s launching of Mandaue Fiesta 2011 that pageant winners will be stripped of their titles in case it is proven they were involved in controversy or scandals.

    As winning candidates, they are supposed to embody a wholesome reputation because they will represent Mandaue City, Pascual said. Guidelines for the pageant were set by the City Legal Office.

    The policy was adopted in the wake of last year’s altercation between Miss Mandaue of 2010, Karina Nikko Gajudo, and third runner-up Sharon Grace Angel.

    This year’s candidates will be presented on March 26 with 16 candidates each for men and women. The winner of Mr. Mandaue will be known on May 3 while the Miss Mandaue winner will be announced on May 7, a day before the city fiesta.

    On May 1, a treasure hunt, driver’s day and vendors day will be celebrated with the first Mandaue City Central School Grand Alumni Homecoming . On May 2, the Mandue Idol season 3 search will be held.

    A talent search for candidates from the Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) and Sanguniang Kabataan (SK) will be held on May 4 while the coronation of the queen, prince and princess will be on May 5. Balikbayan and cultural art presentations will be on May 6. /Reporter Jucell Marie P. Cuyos

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    But cops doubt story: Another girl taken, flees


    A 13-year-old girl, who claimed she was able to escape two men who abducted her on her way to school last Thursday, is comforted by a teacher and barangay gender development workers. FERDINAND EDRALIN
    | Zoom CEBU, Philippines - A high school student allegedly escaped from two men who abducted her on her way to school in Barangay Basak-San Nicolas last Thursday morning.

    The girl, 13, together with her mother, reported the matter to the Mambaling Police Station at 8 p.m. the same day. But the police still have their doubts if the incident really happened.

    The girl, a first year high school student of the Don Vicente Rama Memorial National High School, said she was on her way to school at 7 a.m. when she came upon two men, one she estimated at 30 years old and the other 50.

    One of the men held a knife to her waist and forced her to get on a yellow multicab while the other man drove.

    PO1 Edely Agusto of Mambaling Police Station said the girl alleged they drove toward Naga City.

    “Nakabati daw siya miingon ‘tong isa ka laki sa driver na usa ra diay atong kuhaon. Mitubag sad daw tong driver na ‘ikaw.’ So mihunong daw sila sa skwelahan sa Tungkop, Minglanilla, then didto na sad sa Tayang kay wala daw sila’y na-kidnap na bata hangtod naabot sila sa Naga nya didto siya naka-eskapo,” Agusto said.

    The girl went on to say when she saw the opportunity to fight back she yanked the hair of the captor and a scuffle ensued. She said a man happened to pass by and saw the commotion and came to her aid, allowing her to escape.

    “Nakahigayon daw siya ug eskapo kay wala na man gati-on ang kutsilyo sa iyaha so midagan siya, gibunlot daw iyang buhok sa lalaki nya natunong nay milabay nagpalit ug pagkaon, nakamatikod sa commotion nya gipukpok kuno ang ulo sa lalaki, mao to nakaeskapo siya,” Agusto said.

    When asked what the good Samaritan used to attack her captor she could not say. She later said the same man gave her fare to get a jeepney ride home.

    “Ambot lagi unsa, mura ma’g scripted lagi,” Agusto said.

    After receiving the report, the police went to Naga City and to locate the man who helped her escape but they did not find him.

    Her classroom adviser Analie Hatamosa described her as a good-mannered student and in the top ten of her class.

    “Maayo ug batasan, buotan unya never gyud na siya mo-absent,” Hatamosa said. She was wondering why the girl was absent last Thursday as it was their semi-final examinations.

    The girl’s mother also went to the school that afternoon after her child did not return home.

    Nympha Balili, the school’s principal, would not answer questions from the media yesterday, saying they are still conducting their own investigation into the incident.

    Meanwhile, Senior Supt. Louie Oppus, Deputy Regional Director for Operations, said parents should talk with their children regarding their studies as students may use the “kidnapping scenario” as an excuse not to go to school.

    Oppus said yesterday that since Ellah Joy Pique’s case, there were already almost 20 unconfirmed reports on abductions and majority of the pupils or students involved later said they just fabricated stories because they actually wanted to skip classes.

    Oppus said that as of yesterday, this report was still not confirmed.

    “There are a lot of unconfirmed reports. For the past few days, sige ta ka-receive ug mga ingon ani nga reports. Ang mga bata man gud ron nagka-wise na, gigamit na lang ang rason nga mahadlok na sila mo-eskwela kay tungod sa kidnap,” Oppus said.

    “Atong gihangyo ang mga parents nga alalayan ilang mga anak, storyahon panagsa to determine unsa ilang problema sa school ug unsa ilang gikahadlokan,” Oppus added.

    Oppus said that the Toledo City Police Station alone, right after the Pique kidnap, received five unconfirmed abduction reports.

    Pique was abducted by two suspects last Feb. 7 while she was on her way home from the Calajo-an Elementary School in Minglanilla. Her body was found in Barili the following morning.

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