Beefing up defenses against the reds

NOW that the Yuletide truce between the government troops and the rebels ends, it’s back to square one for the fighting camps as both are expected to be in offensives since neither of them would want to be caught red-handed.

And it appears the government gets the first crack following the arrest of at least two ranking leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) by the combined police and military operatives in Southern Tagalog region.

Calabarzon police director Chief Supt. Samuel Pagdilao Jr., a lawyer, was however quick to clarify that the arrest of 57-year-old Tirso Alcantara alias “Ka Bart,” regional operation commander of the Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee of the CPP-NPA and his aide-de-camp Apolonio Cuarto alias “Ka Polly” in Lucena City was purely a legit operation out to get a fugitive of the law.

It won’t in any way affect the upcoming resumption of peace talks between the government and the CPP in February 2011 since his arrest was based on several warrants for non-bailable offenses issued by different courts, according to Pagdilao who reveals that Ka Bart has 23 warrants of arrest that include eight counts of murder, double murder and frustrated homicide, multiple frustrated murder, two cases of robbery in band, and kidnapping with serious illegal detention.

Pagdilao, just the same, wants the entire police stations in his turf to beef up their defenses and be vigilant against retaliatory attacks by the NPA.

Grand Partying in Navotas

Just as everyone was fresh from joyful celebrations of the Holiday seasons, the Navotas City government is again gearing for a grander festivity in connection with its 105th founding anniversary come January 16 with various activities including the inauguration of the modern police headquarters and the re-launching of its hospitalization program.

Mayor John Rey Tiangco says the week-long partying, which will begin on January 9 up to 16 and will be highlighted by the traditional Grand Parade, was meant for its residents who have been the city government’s active partners in keeping Navotas a livable place.

He says: “I strongly believe that our city can achieve full potential for growth and development if we continue to develop and enhance the Navotas’ greatest asset – its people, the Navoteños.”

With this year’s theme: “NAVOTAAS, Itaas ang antas ng buhay Navoteño,” the Pangisdaan Festival lines up several activities including aerobics marathon, ecumenical service, blessing and inauguration of the local police headquarters, mega job fair, opening of Tianggian sa Parke, Pistang Kristiyano, Talentadong Navoteño, Inter-School Swimming Competition, Kasalang Bayan/Sunset Wedding at the Park, Perlas de Navotas Talent Night, re-Launching of Navotas Hospitalization Program, Drum and Lyre Competition, Mutya ng Navotas Talent Night, Karera ng Bangka, Perlas de Navotas coronation night, Pangisdaan/Street dancing competition, Mutya ng Navotas coronation night, Children’s Day, variety show, fireworks display and the Grand Parade.

Working under Slashed Budget

With a slashed operational budget from P2.076-billion to mere P981-million, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority is poised to fire some 300 contractual employees, according to reports.

MMDA chief Francis Tolentino’s expertise can be tested here as he is constrained to implement policies to maximize the budget and at the same time keep the agency productive and effective despite the cut.

On one hand, the budget slash would do a favor in terms of quality service of the agency’s manpower as it would be the best timing to reassess and dismiss employees with bad records and work attitude problems, among others. Arlie Calalo

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