Lavezares Landslide kills 6

A family of 6 were killed when a landslide buried their house in a hillside of Barangay Ocad, Lavezares, Northern Samar at about 1 a.m. Saturday. The family died instantly when the mudslide composed of big rocks and rushing water totally wrecked their wooden house while they were sleeping. The fatalities were identified as: Gemma dela Cruz, 32, four months pregnant; her husband Edwin, 31, and daughters Dina, 5; Ina, 4; Carla, 2 years and six months old; and Rowena, one year and four months.

Two other persons were injured, one of them seriously. Their houses were also completely destroyed. Luckily they were able to escape before their houses collapsed. They were identified as Pacita Esplana and Victor EspiƱa, 42. Espina suffered serious injuries and is now being treated at THE Northern Samar Provincial Hospital in Catarman.

Barangay Captain Reynaldo Doniquin of Barangay Ocad said they heard a loud explosion and went on to investigate. There they found out that it was due to the mudslide. He said he and some residents immediately tried to rescue the victims, to no avail.

He also revealed that prior to the landslide, they advised the residents living around the area to leave their houses because of heavy rains and a crack was already seen on the hill where a Globe cell site was located.

Some residents were blaming the Globe cell site for the incident. They said the perimeter wall of the cell site tower facing the houses collapsed and a big rock beside the wall rolled to the houses. The powerhouse and generator of the cell site were carried down by the mudslide.

It is feared that the foundation of the cell site tower has already weakened and anytime the cellsite tower itself may also collapse. Power lines supplying electricity to the area, including the cell site, was already cut off to avoid further accidents.

Tindahan Natin outlet scam in Catarman

A Tindahan Natin outlet in Catarman is being investigated by the National Food Authority (NFA) into allegations that it has been diverting government rice and selling these to local traders instead of their intended beneficiaries, the poor and the indigents of Catarman and the entire province of Northern Samar as a whole.

Tindahan Natin is a program of the National Food Authority (NFA) under the Office Of The President, tasked to sell to the intended beneficiaries a mandated and subsidized price of P18.25 per kilo of the so-called NFA Rice.

A Concerned Citizen of Northern Samar took it upon himself to expose this scam and complained to the National Food Authority (NFA). The kibitzer wrote the NFA alleging that the Tindahan Natin outlet sells NFA rice at P19 per kilo, 75 centavos higher than the mandated P18.25 per kilo. The complainant also alleged that the operator sells NFA rice to local businessmen at P1,100 to P1,200 per sack. The traders sell the rice to consumers at P25 per kilo, the price of commercial-grade government rice.

NFA regional manager Benjamin Marta said he instructed their provincial office in Northern Samar to look into the complaint made by the concerned citizen. If the outlet operator is found guilty, his accreditation will be cancelled.

Mr. Marta explained his action by saying that, "If we cancel accreditation, it is not the store owner who will suffer but the people who buy the rice because they will be deprived of their right to buy cheaper rice."