Rappler Special Coverages

SPOTLIGHT LUZON: Daily news and latest updates from northern Philippines

SPOTLIGHT LUZON: Daily news and latest updates from northern Philippines


Luzon is the most populous of the Philippines’ three island groups, whether counting the National Capital Region or not. Luzon’s population is almost equal to the combined population of the two other major islands, Visayas and Mindanao. It is home to 38 provinces – seven of which are among the 10 most vote-rich. 

Spotlight Luzon compiles developing stories and special features from the seven administrative regions outside of Metro Manila. These are, from the north down: Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Cordillera Administrative Region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, and Bicol.   

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CAAP, PAL, Baguio LGU meet on reopening of Loakan Airport

COORDINATION MEETING. CAAP Acting Director General Manuel Antonio Tamayo with Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong and PAL president and COO Stanley Ng during a coordination meeting on October 5, 2022.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) on Wednesday, October 5, held a meeting with Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong and Philippine Airlines (PAL) executives on the reopening of the Baguio (Loakan) Airport for commercial operations, targeted for the end of 2022.

CAAP Acting Director General Captain Manuel Antonio Tamayo, CAAP Acting Deputy Director General for Administration Danjun Lucas, PAL president and COO Stanley Ng, Magalong led the coordination meeting for the possible launching of flights connecting Baguio and Cebu.

CAAP said it is allocating funds for the rehabilitation of Loakan Airport’s passenger terminal building. “The rehabilitation will also include the improvement of its instrument landing system (ILS) and runway extension by 100 meters,” CAAP said.


Disqualification of Rosal couple undermines ‘will of the people,’ Legazpi priest says

Father Rex Paul Arjona, parish priest of St. Roch Parish, Taysan, Legazpi City, lamented how the disqualification cases against Albay Governor Noel Rosal and Legazpi Mayor Geraldin Rosal undermined the will of the electorate. 

“Beyond the legal arguments, these recent political controversies are an indictment of our broken electoral system and how it is so easy to undermine the will of the people,” Arjona told Rappler.

“We all know the massive disinformation and vote buying in the last election, and now these disqualification cases,” said Arjona, formerly executive director of the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Legazpi.

He added: “The sad thing is when vested interests play their power games, it is the lowly masses that bear the brunt of political instability, divisiveness, and corruption.” 

Read the full story here.

Rhaydz B. Barcia

Legazpi Mayor Rosal, like governor husband, disqualified by Comelec division

A division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) disqualified Legazpi City Mayor Carmen Geraldine Rosal in Albay from the local race she had won in May for committing an election offense in connection with the illegal release of public funds during the campaign period.

The ruling, issued by the Comelec’s 2nd Division on Tuesday, October 4, came over two weeks after the 1st Division also disqualified her husband, Albay Governor Noel Rosal, from the recently concluded gubernatorial election.

The resolution is not final and executory, as Geraldine can still appeal her case to the Comelec en banc. If she loses there, she can also make one last Hail Mary to the Supreme Court.

Read the full story here.

Dwight de Leon

Batangas court orders seizure of Dennis Uy’s Phoenix Petroleum properties

The Nasugbu Regional Trial Court Branch 14 has released a writ of preliminary attachment against Phoenix Petroleum Philippines after it ruled in favor of Absolut Distillers Incorporated to collect P157 million from the petroleum company owned by Davao-based tycoon Dennis Uy.

Court sheriff Edwin Vasquez has also issued garnishment notices to freeze the accounts of Phoenix and prevent it from withdrawing any amount from its depository banks including BDO Unibank, Metrobank, BPI, and PNB.  A notice was also issued to the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) where Phoenix owns a team, the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters.

In a two-page document signed by Judge Wilhelmina B. Go-Santiago of Nasugbu Regional Trial Court Branch 14 on September 28, she ordered the attachment of Phoenix Petroleum’s properties for its non-payment of bioethanol products.   

“We, therefore, command that you attach the defendant’s property/ies, real and personal, not exempt from execution of the said defendant, located in your jurisdiction, to the value of the demands and costs of suit, and that you safely keep the same according to the Rules of Court, unless the defendant gives security to pay such judgment as may be recovered in the action, in the manner provided by the Rules of Court and return this writ within ten (10) days with a report of your proceedings,” the document read.

Tina Ganzon-Ozaeta

Baguio universities move to secure campuses after students receive threats

Sherwin de Vera

Appeals court upholds Kalinga RTC’s life sentence vs drug peddlers

The Court of Appeals (CA) recently upheld the life sentence handed down by Branch 25 of the Regional Trial Court of Tabuk City, Kalinga, in February 2021 against three drug peddlers who were arrested in a buy-bust operation. 

The CA also affirmed the other penalties imposed by the lower court on the respondents:  

  • Annabel Alverio Estrada – life imprisonment, P500,000 fine
  • Marlon Cabilec Olimos – life imprisonment, P500,000 fine
  • Jackielou Castillo Macabenta – life imprisonment and P500,000 fine; 12 to 14 more years of imprisonment and P300,000 fine for the additional charge of illegal possession of dangerous drugs

The three were from Dasmariñas, Cavite, and claimed they had gone to Kalinga to to seek the famed traditional tattoo artist, Whang-od, but that they were framed up by a certain “Kuya Martin,” who led the police to them. 

Associate Justice Edwin Sorongon of the CA’s Special Ninth Division didn’t buy the excuse, saying the respondents were “clutching at straws.” He said in his 17-page decision, “It is well established that frame-up is the usual defense of those accused in drug related cases, and it is viewed by the Court with disfavor since it is an allegation that can be made with ease.”  

Justice Sorongon said the court “cradles no compassion to peddlers of misery and death in our streets.”     


Lawmakers protest move to slash regions’ shares in P5-trillion 2023 budget

DELIBERATION. Members of the House of Representatives’ Mindanao affairs committee tackle the reduced allocations for Mindanao regions in the Marcos administration’s proposed P5-trillion budget. Photo from Rufus Rodriguez’s Facebook

Congressmen protested the Marcos administration’s move to reduce the budgets for Mindanao and other regions in Luzon and the Visayas while substantially increasing the 2023 allocations for national government offices and the National Capital Region (NCR).

The national government, however, pushed for a 61.5% increase in the allocation for its departments and agencies in the proposed budget.

The document also showed the allocation for the NCR – the only region exempted from the planned budget reductions – increasing by P67.6 billion, from P922.2 billion to P989.8 billion. The NCR’s share represents 18.8% of the proposed national budget.

Read the full story here

Herbie Gomez

PNP chief: Armed men earlier camped near Masungi have ‘left voluntarily’

Iya Gozum

BJMP, Red Cross rush aid to Laguna jail as diarrhea kills 2 inmates, downs 80

BJMP, Red Cross rush aid to Laguna jail as diarrhea kills 2 inmates, downs 80

Albay vets ready rescued green sea turtle for operation

Rhaydz Barcia