WCPD: ‘Be careful when responding to friend requests’

kspwomen-smonthcity1By Roi Lomotan


An officer of the Women and Children’s Protection Desk (WCPD) here reminded female residents to be careful when responding to friend requests or messages on social media, noting that most scammers are now using social media to connect to their potential victims.

PSMSgt. Janeth Arnaiz, WCPD investigator of the City Police Station, recalled previous cases reported in her office last year where the victims were fooled by someone they met online.

Arnaiz said there was an incident where the perpetrator was disguised as a local photographer who targets young females who frequently post photos of themselves online.

Ang iyahang trend, kaning mga dalagita na kusog kaayo magpa-picture, mag-photo shoot-photo shoot. Mao nang iyang ipang-add sa Facebook. Siguro mga 20 kabuok ang ni-report didto namo na na-victim sila. Moingon siya na ako photographer ko dire sa Dumaguete, ganahan ka mag-photoshoot ta dire. Pagda ug lang costume kay mag-ilis-ilis ta. Iyang videohan na mag-ilis (The suspect usually targets young females who take photos of themselves or conduct photo shoots. The suspect will add them on Facebook and ask them if they want to join in a photo shoot. Once they agree, the suspect will instruct them to bring costumes. The victims said they caught the suspect taking photos of them while changing. I think there were around 20 victims who to came to us and reported the same person),” Arnaiz said.

Arnaiz added the suspect would sometimes touch the victims’ sensitive body parts.

The WCPD officer cited they were able to trace the suspect.

However, none of the victims wanted to pursue a case against the suspect.

Arnaiz also disclosed that it is not only young women that scammers victimize online.

She said recently, two widows came to their office and reported they were victims of online scammers who posed as men looking for love online but later found out to be using this scheme to take advantage of older women.

Ang isa wala nuon makawati pero dako na gyud siya gasto. Gipa-utro na niya ang balay pagkahuman gipalayas na siya kay wala na siyay kwarta. Naa pod niabot, maluoy ta niya kay gilungkab ang iyang balay. Seven months niya na-uyab online, taga-Luzon, naabot dire iya gipletihan. One week sila gaipon. Pagka-one week after gidrivan ang iyang sakyanan, gi-adto ang iyang balay, gilungkab iyang balay (The first was, although she was not robbed by her partner, she shelled out a large sum of money for him. It came to a point that she even shouldered the renovation of the house but after it was completed, the man evicted her from the house since she no longer has money. The second one reported that she was robbed by her partner. They were messaging online for seven months. The guy is from Luzon. The victim even shouldered the travel expense so that her partner can come here and visit her. They lived together for a week but after that her partner took her belongings and left),” Arnaiz explained.

Both women found their partners via chat in a popular social media site.

With this, Arnaiz said the challenge now is raising awareness on the risks of social media.

Ato pod i-mention sa atong mga anak, pag-umangkon na dili ta mosalig ug kinsa ang naa sa messenger, naa sa Facebook. Kana bitaw nag-disguise lang kay pinakasayon pangitaon ang biktim ron. Naa gyud sa Facebook (Let’s mention this to our kids and to our nieces. Tell them not to trust people on Facebook or messenger who disguise their identity. Victims are easy to find these days because of Facebook),” Arnaiz emphasized.

Dili ta mosalig ug kinsa ang naa sa Facebook, kinsa ang naa sa messenger kay lain-lain na na sila ug ngalan. Pwede ra one hour after, pwede na otrohon ang ngalan, mogamit ug lain nga picture. Naa jud ang challenge sa social media (We should be careful who we trust on Facebook or messenger because they can take many identities. In an hour, they can change their names and pictures. The challenge really now is on social media),” she added.

Arnaiz also urged women to be firm in pursuing a case as she cited that in most cases, victims would rather choose not to pursue with the filing of the case to avoid embarrassment.

PIA-7 cancels regular fora amid COVID-19 threat

By Fayette Riñen, PIA-7

The Philippine Information Agency (PIA) in Region 7 has canceled its regular on-ground activities amid the COVID-19 threat and will resort to other modes of information dissemination to perform its mandate to communicate government information, especially in these abnormal times.

Starting this week, the weekly Kapihan sa PIA and the AGIO-PIA7 forum in Cebu, as well as the bi-monthly multi-sectoral engagement in Negros Oriental, have been suspended until the public health emergency has been lifted.

The weekly Kapihan in Bohol, however, will continue as the set up only requires the guest and the PIA host with the discussion carried live over a local radio station.

Also suspended are the monthly meetings with the different information association networks in all the four provinces of Cebu, Negros Oriental, Bohol, and Siquijor as well as the conduct of the quarterly “Kukabildo sa Barangay,” a grassroots engagement with the people in the barangay level.

PIA personnel, based on the directive from PIA Central Office, are also advised to limit their attendance to meetings except on concerns related to COVID-19, disaster, peace and order, and other emergency meetings.

Canceling the activities that require more than 10 people in attendance is necessary to protect and limit the possible exposure of PIA-7 staff and the attendees, as well, amid the rising cases daily with Metro Manila, which has been the hardest hit.

With the limited platforms, the PIA-7 will go high in the use of social media to massively communicate timely, relevant, and accurate information and the usual distribution of news stories to the tri-media.

In Central Visayas, there are already three reported confirmed COVID-19 cases, with two coming from Negros Oriental and one in Cebu.

Out of the three cases, only one succumbed to the disease.

ELCAC task force gains ground in NegOr

By Roi Lomotan

Col. Noel Baluyan, commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, believes the efforts of the NOTF ELCAC is gaining ground in Negros Oriental. Baluyan was one of the resource speakers of the Kapihan Forum on the topic: ‘Insurgency Situation Updates’ held Jan. 22, 2020. (PIA7-NegOr)

The efforts of Negros Oriental Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NOTF ELCAC) in countering insurgency is already gaining ground in the province.

Col. Noel Baluyan, commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, made this statement when asked about his assessment on the programs and activities carried out by the task force during a Kapihan sa PIA forum here recently.

The brigade commander noted that it is premature to give a full assessment on the effectiveness of NOTF ELCAC at the moment because it is still in its early stage and data are still limited.

However, Baluyan said this is a “golden opportunity” for Negros Oriental, noting that all of the government’s efforts, programs, and activities are focused in the province to completely eliminate its problem on insurgency.

“As far as the Region 7 Task Force on ELCAC is concerned, ang focus is really Negros Oriental because we have Cebu, Bohol, and Siquijor already declared as insurgency-free. So lahat ng effort, resources, programs, and projects dito ngayon nakapokus sa Negros Oriental. We have been telling the people this is a golden opportunity for NegOrenses itong ELCAC na ito,” Baluyan said.

NOTF ELCAC held a series of “Dagyawan sa Barangay” or face-to-face consultations between residents of communities affected by insurgency and government agencies in Guihulngan City, Canlaon City, Valencia, Zamboanguita, Siaton, and Sta. Catalina during the latter part of 2019.

Residents present pressing issues in their communities before the government agencies, who in turn, provided the appropriate interventions to solve the issues that are used by insurgents to make residents turn away from the government.

The list of priority projects which came out during these consultations were already forwarded to the National Task Force on ELCAC for their approval for implementation in November 2019.

“These are in form of health centers, water system, irrigation na maliliit. Naisama na rin doon ang big-ticket items. Iyong road (construction). Kailangan itong iayos. Ang gobyerno naman pagdating sa projects, it’s the social benefits that counts (These are in form of health centers, water systems, small irrigations. Big-ticket items like construction of roads are also included there. We really need to address these. In the part of the government, it’s the social benefit that counts),” Baluyan said.

The local government units identified by NOTF ELCAC as priority areas are due to the presence of insurgents.

Aside from this, NOTF ELCAC, in partnership with the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) also conducted Serbisyong Malasakit Caravans or Caravan on Basic Services in selected barangays in the said towns and cities as part of their strategy to extend government services to the people.

The Caravan on Basic Services is a one-stop-shop of government services ranging from medical and dental services to issuance of permits, free consultation, civil registration, and other services offered by different national government agencies.

The 302nd Infantry Brigade covers the towns and cities in the second and third districts of Negros Oriental while the 94th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army headed by LTC. Randy Pagunuran covers the first district of the province.

Meanwhile, Pagunuran also cited in the Kapihan that the number of barnagays in the first district of the province covered by the NOTF ELCAC might also increase this year.

He said the task force is set to hold another round of workshops and it will be determined later which barangays in the northern part of the province will be included in the updated list of priority areas for NOTF ELCAC.

Currently, there are 10 barangays in Guihulngan City that are included in the list of NOTF ELCAC’s priority areas.

The Philippine Army together with the Philippine National Police (PNP) are the lead agencies of the security cluster of NOTF ELCAC.

Security officials in the province renewed their call for the public to cooperate with the government troops and law enforcement agencies in maintaining the security situation in the province.