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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Building World Peace, Locally by Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir

THE CONDITION of mutually enforcing bottom-up social development movements and enabling top-down laws, policies and treaties, assist ever more people and groups in coming-together to achieve the change they seek.

It should be clear that if peace is to exist among humanity it is reflected in local circumstances and local conditions.  After all, we as people directly experience the degrees of peace in society, and we affect its presence by our individual and group behavior.

For peace to thrive at the communal level, an age-old paradox needs to be reconciled, namely that the interests of both individuals and groups are not antagonistic, where one is achieved at the expense of the other, but instead are interwoven and satisfied through participatory planning methods and project implementation.

These development methods require third party facilitation, firstly to draw out the perceptions and priorities of the local participants, including young and old, women and men, those who have and those who have less, and secondly to build partnerships with local government, civil and business agencies.

The development projects that emerge from this democratic process assist local people in two ways – by helping to work through their differences (incorporating conflict management approaches), and advancing their socio-economic and environmental goals.

The projects work against people experiencing alienation because they no longer devote their days to activities from which they do not gain justifiable benefits and are therefore inconsistent with their fundamental interests.  Projects promote peace through meeting people’s self-determined needs while satisfying community development objectives.  Social and personal needs having been met in this way, through popular participation in community development, peace is given a framework most favorable to its growth and scaling up.

In the context of national and international conflicts, what is interesting is that the same methodology still applies, but can occur among representatives and leaders of the groups in conflict.  The process, however, does not begin with - but merges into - joint development planning. 

At the outset, there needs to be an expression of past experiences and difficulties followed by an acknowledgement of those occurrences and, where appropriate, an apology.  This kind of confidence-building dialogue must, moreover, be carried out in a spirit of reconciliation.

Thus conditions favorable to peace are created whereby the parties can coexist and reap tangible benefits from their mutual contact.  Crucially, in order to promote actual peace, all of this must result in sustainable development for all the people.

Are there Sunnis and Shi’ites whose communities are side by side or are integrated, where these processes could build unity and avoid spiraling of distrust?

Can Israelis and Palestinians meet together and express what they must, acknowledge what they must and advance human development that enables not only Palestinian political but also economic independence?

Can neighbors who are not in conflict but nevertheless are not in communication meet together in a meaningful way to forge an action plan and thereby advance their local development?

The net result of such localized occurrences is the spreading of the umbrella of peace over ever-larger geographical areas - federating upwards.  At the same time, national and global leaders who establish charters that actively encourage and necessitate community meetings and sub-national development based on the popular common will, prepare the way for peaceful conditions on the ground from their top-level positions of responsibility.

Conducive macro policies promote civil society, experiential learning and participatory development training.  Governments, responsible corporations and donors should have funding programs so designed that support the range of educational, health, economic and environmental initiatives that are locally prioritized - with the main criteria being that they are community-identified and driven.

True peace - the kind that steers our present and future and that responds to our hearts’ calling - therefore lies in the hands of all of us since its fruition requires actions at every societal level but which support local community control of projects intended to benefit them. 

Moreover - and encouragingly - the goal of world peace can be operationalized, can have a budget, can have training workshops and has commenced. It now only requires a global rallying to support popular participation in the development that will change the lives of individuals and communities. (

Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform urges resumption of peace talks with communist rebels

SEPTEMBER 21 marks the United Nations Day of Peace. Thirty years ago, the United Nations issued the “declaration on the right to peace” which affirmed peace as a sacred right of all people and a primary prerequisite for the material well-being, development and the progress of countries.

The United Nations declared that the ‘preservation of the right of people to peace and the promotion of its implementation constitute a fundamental obligation of each state.’  

For us Filipinos, September 21 has added significance as it marks the anniversary of the imposition of martial law under the Marcos dictatorship in 1972. The Filipino people rose up against the dictator in the parliament of the streets and many even engaged in armed struggle. 

Eventually the dictator fell in 1986, but the armed conflict still continues as an element of our national life. This shows that the roots of dissent are in the deeper social realities of injustice. Peace cannot prosper without justice that restores right relationship.

On this historic day, when the United Nations declared the right to peace, and as we recall the long war that has raged in our country, we call on the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to return to the negotiating table to address the substantive issues that remain as the root cause of armed conflict in our country including the issue of agrarian reform.

The Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP) reiterate its call on both parties to respect the historical agreements that have already been achieved in the peace process such as the Comprehensive Agreement for Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

Peace may seem elusive, but it can be achieved if the parties to the conflict engage in principled negotiations. We wish to remind them of their responsibility to put an end to further loss of life as a result of the conflict. We call on the GPH and the NDFP to “…seek peace and pursue it.”(Psalm 34:14). Our prayer on this day of peace is that all our people should live in peace and security and share justly in God’s bounty.

Issued on this day, the 21st  of September 2014.  


Head of the Secretariat, PEPP

LBC branch in Zamboanga Sibugay robbed anew

ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY – Robbers struck again at the branch of cargo forwarder LBC in Ipil town in Zamboanga Sibugay province in southern Philippines, police said Sunday.

Police said two gunmen barged into the LBC branch in downtown Ipil before noontime on Saturday and declared the heist. They threatened a lone customer and demanded from the manager Cedric Napiñas the money he withdrew from the bank.

The manager then ordered his staff to hand over the money amounting to P130,000 to the robbers who immediately fled on a motorcycle.

It was not immediately known how the gunmen knew that the LBC branch had withdrawn the money from the local bank.

Just in January this year, two robbers armed with handguns also held up the same branch at noontime and carted over half a million pesos in cash before escaping on a motorcycle.

In November 2013, the same branch was also robbed by three gunmen who managed to take away some P380,000 in cash.

The branch was about to close when the gunmen barged and announced the robbery and threatened to shoot Jemiliza Agasita, the cash custodian, if she will not surrender the money. The gunmen also escaped on a motorcycle after the heist.

Also last year, two armed men robbed another LBC branch in Buug town in Zamboanga Sibugay and escaped with over P180,000 in loot. The cargo forwarder was manned by only three employees - Rutcher Pagayon, Allen Capas and Palen Banseloy – when the gunmen barged and forced them to open the vault. (Mindanao Examiner)

Boat capsizes off Cebu, navy rescues 53 passengers

 Philippine Navy photos show rescued passengers of ill-fated MV Cruiser Sam and Short in Cebu province. 

CEBU – Dozens of people were rescued by the navy from a passenger boat that capsized off Cebu province in central Philippines, officials said Sunday.

Officials said the ill-fated boat MV Cruiser Sam and Shorty was heading to Bohol province when it capsized September 19 near Talisay City in Cebu. Three navy vessels - VU 471, BRP Subanon and AT 291 – were sent to the area to help in the search and rescue operations.

Members of the Naval Special Operations Unit rescued a total of 53 passengers -32 adult males, 14 adult females and seven children - over the weekend.

Officials said the Naval Forces Central Command dispatched a medical team to attend to the rescued passengers.

Those rescued said huge waves and strong winds battered the boat and triggered panic among the passengers until it capsized.

Officials said all passengers had been accounted for. (Cebu Examiner)

More Filipinos pledge allegiance to IS


 Young Muslims in Marawi City in the southern Philippine province of Lanao del Sur pledge their allegiance to IS in Iraq and Syria in these photos sent to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

MARAWI CITY - Some 100 local Muslims have pledged allegiance or bai’ah to the Islamic State (IS) caliphate in Iraq and Syria on Friday following trends from radical jihadist groups in the Philippines.

Those who pledged their allegiance were mostly from here and took their mass oath-taking in a surprise announcement inside the Masjid Islamic Center, according to an insider.

An elderly Muslim cleric Jamil "Motawwa" Yahya, a former senior member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and colleague of MILF chieftain Salamat Hashim, allegedly organized the mass oath-taking, according to an insider.

Yahya, an ethnic Maranao from Bayang town in Lanao del Sur, is reportedly affiliated with the Bangsamoro Labor Organization which is active in the United Arab Emirates and the entire Middle East region.

The insider said some of the participants were possibly unaware of IS and its violent campaign in Iraq and Syria. The photos of the gathering were uploaded in Facebook, but the faces of the participants and their children were blurred to protect their identities. It also showed masked men holding black flags similar to what IS inside the mosque.

Other sources said members of the Khilafah Islamiyah Mindanao-Black Flag Movement was reportedly behind the convergence.

An Afghan-cleric Humam Abdul Najid, who have ties with Southeast Asian terror organization Jema’ah Islamiyah, is also being linked to the secretive mass oath-taking, but all these allegations could not be immediately confirmed by authorities.

Local leaders and Muslim clerics in Lanao del Sur, one of five provinces under the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, declined to comment on the existence of Khilafah Islamiyah Movement in Marawi that continuously preach extreme jihadism and the Khilafah Islamiyah ideology since 2011.

Last month, a huge group of young Muslims in Marawi City also pledged their allegiance to IS.

Just recently, radical jihadists Abu Sayyaf group and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters vowed their allegiance to the IS’s Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, head of the formerly known Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) that had controlled large swathes in Iraq and Syria.

Dozens of Muslim detainees in Taguig City just outside Manila also pledged their allegiance to al-Baghdadi which authorities believed was organized by  jailed leader of the radical Muslim-converts group Rajah Solaiman Movement Ahmad Santos. The whole event was also recorded on a cell phone video and uploaded to YouTube.

The Khilafah Islamiyah Movement which is being linked by police and military with the Abu Sayyaf and the BIFF, and the Al-Khobar group and RSM, was the first local jihadist vowed support to the ISIS.

Former president Fidel Ramos revealed that some 100 Filipinos joined the ISIS for training and eventually to return home and use their gained knowledge in propagating the IS ideology in Mindanao.

But the MILF, which described the ISIS’s ideology as "virus" that should be prevented, denied existence of ISIS-like in Mindanao. It also denied Ramos' reports that Filipino militants were fighting alongside with IS in Iraq and Syria. The MILF has recently signed a peace agreement with the Philippine government, ending decades of bloody war in the restive region of Mindanao. (Moh Saaduddin)

Kelot binaril ang live-in dahil lang sa baboy

PAGADIAN CITY – Dahil lamang sa isang alagang baboy, binoga ng isang lalaki ang live-in partner na ngayon ay nasa pagamutan pa rin sa Zamboanga del Sur province.

Sinabi ng pulisya na patuloy ang paghahanap sa magsasakang si Junrel Ganub, 28, matapos nitong barilin ng shot gun ang partner na si Mary Joy Portallo, 21, habang nasa kainitan ng pagtatalo sa kanilang bahay sa Barangay Tiguian sa bayan ng Margosatubig.

Nag-ugat ang pagtatalo sa baboy na nais umanong ibenta ni Mary upang may magamit na salapi sa kanilang gastusin, ngunit pinalagan naman ito ni Junrel hanggang sa umabot sa pagtatalo ang usapin.

Dito na umano kumuha ng homemade shot gun si Junrel at saka binanatan sa dibdib ang babae. Agad itong tumakas matapos ng pamamaril. Naisugod naman sa pagamutan ang biktima matapos na humingi ng saklolo sa mga opisyal ng barangay. May tama sa kanyang kanang dibdib ang babae, ngunit hindi pa mabatid ang kalagayan nito.

Nabawi ng mga parak ang 12-gauge shot gun ni Junrel na kargado pa ng mga bala sa talahiban sa likod ng kanilang bahay. Nahaharap sa kasong frustrated homicide si Junrel, ayon sa pulisya. (Mindanao Examiner)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

'Army Gets Custody of Ex-General Linked to Abductions, Killings'

 The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper September 22-28, 2014.


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Shariff Aguak Mayor isinabit sa pagpatay

 Si Shariff Aguak Mayor Bai Zahara Ampatuan ng itong gawaran ng pagkilala at awards ng MILF, IMT at AFP sa Maguindanao nitong taon lamang dahil sa peace advocacy at suporta sa peace process. (Mindanao Examiner Newspaper - Mark Navales)

COTABATO CITY – Nalalagay ngayon sa alanganin si Shariff Aguak Mayor Bai Zahara Ampatuan matapos na ibintang sa kanya ang pagkakapatay sa isang opisyal ng Sanguniang Bayan sa kanyang lugar.

Naglabas ng arrest warrant ang korte laban kay Ampatuan matapos itong isabit ng pamilya ni Alfredo Amelista, ang secretary ng Sanguniang Bayan, sa krimen. Nabaril si Amelista sa nasabing bayan nitong Abril.

Pinaghahanap na umano ng pulisya si Ampatuan at dalawa pang iba kaugnay sa kaso. Acting mayor ngayon ng bayan si Vice Mayor Marop Ampatuan, na pamangkin ng akusado.

Sinabi naman ng isang insider na politically-motivated ang kaso laban kay Mayor dahil malakas ito sa kanyang bayan. Wala umanong kinalaman si mayor sa krimen.

Hindi rin umano ito nagtatago at haharapin ng mga abogado ni mayor ang asunto laban sa kanya.

“Politically-motivated ang kaso laban kay Mayor Bai Zahara at napakabait na tao si Mayor at kilalang peace advocate yan sa Maguindanao. Itinanggi niyang lahat ang akusasyon sa kanya. Malakas at popular kasi si Mayor sa mga tao kung kaya’t iniipit nila ng husto. Inaalam ng pamilya ni Mayor kung sino ang talagang nasa likod nitong black propaganda,” sabi pa ng insider sa panayam ng Mindanao Examiner.

Kilalang peace advocate si Ampatuan at ito rin ang nasa likod ng maraming peace efforts sa Maguindanao at siyang nagbati sa militar at Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Nitong taon lamang ay umani ito ng ng parangal mula sa MILF at Internationa Monitoring Team at 6th Infantry Division dahil sa suporta nito sa peace process sa Mindanao.

Ginawaran rin si Ampatuan ng dalawang pagkilala sa kanyang walang-humpay na pagsisikap upang maisulong ang kapayapaan sa kanyang lugar. Ibinigay ang naturang pagkilala sa ika-18 anibersaryo ng Shariff Aguak nitong taon lamang.

Saksi sa pagbibigay ng naturang pagkilala si MILF leader Ustadz Wahid Tundok na malaki naman ang respeto kay Ampatuan, at mga opisyal ng militar sa pangunguna ng dating 6th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Romeo Gapuz at 1st Mechanized Brigade commander Col. Edgar Gonzales, at kanilang battalion commanders, gayun rin si Maguindanao police chief Senior Supt. Rodelio Jocson and mga kinatawan ng ibat-ibang grupo at sektor sa lalawigan.

Maging ang MILF Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities ay nagbigay rin ng pagkilala kay Ampatuan dahil sa suporta nito sa peace process sa Mindanao. (Mindanao Examiner)

Sayyaf nagpasabog ng 2 bomba sa Lamitan City

 Basilan province. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

BASILAN PROVINCE - Dalawang bomba ang pinasabog ng Abu Sayyaf sa tabi ng kalsada sa Lamitan City sa Basilan, isa sa 5 lalawigan ng Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Walang nasaktan o nasawi sa pagsabog ng improvised explosive device kamakalawa ng gabi sa kahabaan ng kalsada sa Barangay Kulay Bato.

Magkasunod itong sumabog at ayon sa army ay target umano ng Abu Sayyaf ang Department of Public Works and Highway na matagal ng hinihingian ng salapi ng teroristang grupo.

Halos mawasak at tumumba naman ang isang poste sa lakas ng pagsabog ng bomba. Walang umako sa panibagong karahasan ng Abu Sayyaf, ngunit hindi naman mabatid kung paanong nakalusot ito sa pulisya.

Wala rin pahayag na inilabas ang Western Mindanao Command ukol sa pagsabog, ngunit ito ay naganap kasabay ng anunsyo ng militar sa pagkakatatag ng “Joint Task Force ZAMBASULTA” na siyang tututok sa banta ng terorismo at rebelyon sa Zamboanga City, Basilan, Sulu at Tawi-Tawi.

Ang hepe ng Naval Forces Western Mindanao na si Rear Admiral Reynaldo Yoma ang tumatayong commander ng joint task force. (Mindanao Examiner)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Exempt OFWs from new terminal fee - Migrante

MANILA - The migrant rights group Migrante-Middle East (M-ME) has asked the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to closely coordinate with the Manila International Airport Authority just in time for next year’s integration of the terminal fee into the cost of airline tickets.

The P550 new terminal fee was agreed by MIAA and airline carriers in July this year.

“We call on POEA chief Hans Cacdac to coordinate with MIAA general manager Angel Honrado to ensure that those bonafide OFW Balik-Mangagawa will be exempted from paying the P550 terminal fee. Specifically, those who have acquired an Overseas Employment Certificate should be exempted,” said John Leonard Monterona, M-ME regional coordinator.

Monterona said the POEA Balik-Mangagawa database of OFWs should be made available and accessible online to all airline carriers as a reference for checking and validation purposes.

“Of course, we would like to ensure that upon presentation of an OEC by OFWs to the ticketing office of an air carrier of their choice they will not be forced to pay the P550 terminal fee,” Monterona pointed out.

Monterona reminded the POEA, MIAA, and airline carriers that OFWs are exempted in paying the terminal fee as mandated by a special law Republic Act 10022 otherwise known as the Amended Migrant Workers Act of 2010.

With the terminal fee collection being integrated into the airline tickets that will bring ease in checking-in of passengers, millions of OFWs will think twice now if they will book and purchase their ticket online.

“Me for instance, I usually purchase my air ticket online. But to ensure that I could avail the P550 exemption I would now go to the airline ticketing office and show them my OEC, which will serve as my exemption certificate,” Monterona said, adding, his group is still campaigning for the abolition of OEC.

Monterona noted that Labor chief Rosalinda Baldoz has promised to abolish the OEC. “We are reminding the POEA, MIAA, and the airline carriers to honor OFWs exemption on the P550 terminal fee,” he said.

Bukidnon radioman gets death threats

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – A radio broadcaster has been receiving death threats following his reports on anti-drug operations by authorities in Bukidnon province in southern Philippines, said National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.

The media watch dog said Mars Medina was also visited at his work by a dismissed policeman who offered money for him to stop reporting on illegal gambling activities in the town of Maramag.

Medina, program director of Radyo Abante in Maramag, told NUJP that he began receiving threats to his life after the arrest of five suspects and seizure of about P7 million worth of methamphetamine hydrochloride in nearby Kalilangan town by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency on September 12.

The NUJP said Medina anchors the daily early morning news program of Radyo Abante and also hosts a block time program of the provincial government every Wednesdays over four radio stations in Bukidnon.

Medina said the text messages specifically referred to the September 12 drug bust. He said the author of the text messages refused to identify himself and warned him that he is being targeted by supposed drug lords for reporting on the drug bust.

Medina said he has informed the police and other media colleagues in the province regarding the death threats. Last year, Radyo Abante was also the object of a grenade attack. (Mindanao Examiner, NUJP)

Storm batters Philippines

MANILA – Tropical storm “Mario” has ravaged Friday much of the Philippine capital as weather experts warned of more rains in the next two days.

At least 3 people were reported killed and tens of thousands more were affected by flash floods after rivers and dams overflowed. Civilian and military rescuers and emergency workers have been deployed to flooded areas.

The Philippine Atmospheric and Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the storm system has sustained winds of 85 kph and is heading to northern Luzon.

Much of the Metropolitan Manila was flooded and many areas become impassable leaving many people stranded and unable to go home or travel. Some areas were placed under a state of calamity due to severe flooding.

The national government suspended all classes in public and private school, and work in government offices except for agencies whose work involves the delivery of basic and health services, disaster response and other vital public services, but the order came too late.

The suspension of work covered government offices in Metro Manila, Zambales, Bataan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, including Polillo Island; Mindoro Provinces, Camarines Norte, Marinduque and Pangasinan.

PAGASA said the storm will also affect the provinces of Cagayan, including Calayan and Babuyan Group of Islands, Isabela, Kalinga, Mt. Province, Abra, Ilocos Norte, Apayao, Aurora, Ifugao, Nueva Viscaya, Ilocos Sur, Benguet, Quirino, La Union and Batanes Group of Islands.  (Mindanao Examiner)

8 cops injured in car crash in Basilan province

BASILAN PROVINCE – Eight policemen were injured when their patrol car crashed Thursday in the southern Philippine province of Basilan, officials said.

The prowl car was travelling in Maluso town when its driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed to a tree by the side of the road in the village of Bakud.

Among the wounded were Inspector Mark Molina, the town’s police chief, and seven of his men who were all rushed to hospital.

It was not immediately known the cause of the crash, but other reports said the driver may have fallen asleep. The car was totally damaged from the impact of the crash.  (Mindanao Examiner)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Architects launch mural project in Mandaue City

 Members of the Datu Lapu-Lapu Chapter of the United Architects of the Philippines paint mural on the wall along Lopez Jaena Street near the Subangdaku flyover in Mandaue City in Cebu province as part of their effort to continue the work of art and a means of creating public concern on the environment. 

MANDAUE CITY – A group of Filipino architects has painted walls here with beautiful murals depicting human concern to the environment and promoting "green" technology.

The group belongs to the Datu Lapu-Lapu Chapter of the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) and in partnership with local village officials, they put up the mural painting on the wall along Lopez Jaena Street near the Subangdaku flyover, as part of their effort to continue the work of art and a means of creating public concern on the environment.

Some members even brought along their families who also helped in painting the murals. "This is part of the our social responsibility in promoting concern for the environment and green technology," said
Architect Richard Abella, UAP President.

"I enjoy painting," said the 9-year old Allysha Lim, who is the daughter of Architect Philip Khan Lim.

Architect Miko Espina also brought his two-year old daughter Sace and wife Christine.

But for the 16-year old Christopher Fulache, mural painting has become his hobby after having been influenced by his uncle, Architect Joseph Codilla. "It's good to paint murals because we can express ourselves and advocate a lot of good things," he said.

Artist A.G. Sano also painted a mural of dolphin on the flyover as part of his advocacy in protecting this extinct marine species.

Subangdaku village chieftain Ernie Manatad said many organizations were inspired by the advocacy of Sano. Now, he said, the village is known as  "mural capital" of Mandaue, and probably Cebu.

Manatad said they would inaugurate the project of making Subangdaku as the first flyover art of the country when Sano comes back next month.

"I am happy with this development because this has stopped vandalism which shows that the vandals respect their effort and hard work," he said.

Cebu to intensify anti-drug campaign

 Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III speaks during a recent peace and order meeting.

CEBU - Governor Hilario Davide III has ordered the police to intensify its campaign against illegal drugs following reports that the province has become a transshipment point for drug syndicates.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency has urged Cebu government officials to improve security measures in airports, seaports, wharves and bus terminals to solve drug-related problems.

PDEA Deputy Regional Director Esperidion Javier said the proliferation of illegal drugs is the main problem of Cebu.

"Ang mga nababalitaang patayan, barilan, nakawan indicators lang yan. Anong kadahilanan? Naka-drugs (Reported killings, shootouts, robbery and others are just indicators of the real problem. Identified cause of crimes is illegal drugs.) So the real problem in Cebu is drugs, crimes are sub-problems only," he said.

This was also raised during the recent Cebu Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting presided by Davide.

According to Javier, the solution to the drug problems in Cebu is to "contain and constrict all ports, seaports, wharves, bus terminals and even town boundaries so illegal drugs cannot enter the province."

With this, the PPOC agreed to conduct seminar and workshops for town and city mayors and their representatives in an effort to further enhance security measures in their respective areas.

Davide ordered to gather all town and city mayors and their representatives to attend the workshop. "We are going to set the date for the workshop for mayors and representatives on how to enhance further our security measures here in Cebu especially in ports because of reported illegal drugs coming in from Manila," he said.

Javier reported told the PPOC that illegal drugs in Cebu are being smuggled through private couriers from different parts of the country, and even from as far as Malaysia.

Davide, who was alarmed with the report, said: "Cebu has become a transshipment point for drugs because of its ports that make it convenient for suppliers to bring in illegal drugs in the province."

"Mao na nga importante kaayo nga duna ta security measures dinhi para ma-control nato (That’s why it’s very important to have security measures in ports so we can control the entry of drugs.) If we cannot totally eliminate it, then we can at least lessen drug entry in Cebu," he said.

Davide also admitted that the province still lack police personnel.

"Apparently, kulang pa gyud ta ug mga police. So we’ll make a representation at the Provincial Board and request for more police personnel in the province," he said.

He said the PPOC will request the Philippine National Police for additional personnel to be assigned in the province.

In light of the series of town hall burglaries in Cebu in recent weeks, Provincial Board member Sun Shimura also requested authorities to increase police visibility in Cebu and conduct random checkpoints in every town.

The Treasury’s offices of Compostela, Carmen, Sogod and Pinamungajan lost thousands of pesos due to burglary.

Shimura also urged municipal government to install surveillance cameras.

"It’s very useful especially when crimes happen in our towns. We can identify the perpetrators of crimes through the video recordings of closed-circuit television cameras,"check through CCTV the suspects’ entrance and exit points as well as where they are heading to," Shimura said.

However, other town officials said they have not enough funding to put up CCTVs.

Davide said one of the things to be discussed in the workshop is how the provincial government can assist towns in procuring CCTVs.

"If necessary, the province will assist with the procurement of these CCTVs for the towns. According to Board member Shimura, dili ra man daw kaayo mahal basta importante adunay (they’re not that expensive as long as there are) cameras in town boundaries," he said. (Lianne Llesol)

Naga, Talisay implement out-of-school youth programs

CEBU - Two cities in Cebu province - Talisay and Naga - have implemented the Unlad Kabataan Program program for the out-of-school youth, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Eppie Partosa, DSWD's focal person, said Naga and Talisay are concrete examples for the UKP program because of the implementation of the project.

She said the UKP is a program of the DSWD together with Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, which aims to help the OSYs and other disadvantaged youth to become self-reliant, economically productive and socially responsible citizens able to contribute to the development of their family and community.

The unemployment of youth in the region has become a big problem for the local government.

“The worst problem of the youth today is the unemployment. This problem should be given an immediate action by the government,” Daniel Cuda, PYAP President of Minglanilla, Cebu, said.

Doniciano Alforque, of Naga City Social Welfare and Development Office, said it is really hard to handle the OSYs in the community. "You need to be more patient and ask assistance from the barangay officials to support their snacks during monthly meetings,” he said.

He said they already conducted practical skills training program for the OSYs in Naga, which include beauty care and basic spa services, candle-making, basic electronics, and mobile phone repairs.

“In fact, there are trainees who already have their own business that made them successful entrepreneurs,” Alforque said. (Lee dela Cerna)

Thousands flock to Sulu job fair


 Job-seekers flock September 18, 2014 to the first-ever Sulu job and career fair sponsored by the provincial government and participated by at least two dozen local and overseas recruitment agencies, and government agencies hiring local workers. (Franzie Sali)

SULU – Thousands of job seekers turned out on Wednesday in the southern Philippine province of Sulu where a three-day job fair was launched by the local government.

Sulu Gov. Toto Tan said the job fair was the first in the province and that at least two dozen private recruitment agencies, companies and government agencies have signed up for the event. He said the venue of the event, the Capitol Gymnasium, was packed with locals seeking employment abroad and in the country.

The “1st Sulu Job and Career Fair 2014,”which coincided with the Foundation of Local Governance and Public Administration in the province, is sponsored by the Sulu government is participated by Philippine Overseas Employment Agency, Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration, Department of Labor and Employment, National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, National Statistics Office, Department of Foreign Affairs, Social Security System, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, Azizzah International Manpower Services, Kenmore International Placement Agency, International Manpower Agency, United Placement Philippines, Inc., LBS Recruitment Agency, Zontar Manpower, Jenerick Recruitment Agency, SMC Manpower Agency, FilGulf Manpower Agency, MMML Recruitment Agency, among others.

Gov. Tan, accompanied by Vice Governor Sakur Tan, also encouraged locals to excel in their job if they got hired and work hard so they can help their families and save money for their future.

“We are so happy with the outcome of the first-ever job fair in Sulu and with the participation of so many recruitment agencies and government agencies hiring our professionals is an indication that we are ready to compete not only locally, but globally as well. Our people are hard-working and honest,” Vice Gov. Tan told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

In his speech, Gov. Tan admitted that Sulu, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region, is among the poorest region in the Philippines based on the poverty rate as compared to other areas in the country. Poverty, he said, is one of the main reasons for mass action, including rebellion and other upheavals.

“Ang kumakalam na sikmura ay hindi po nakakaunawa ng katahimikan. Peace is meaningless to empty stomachs. Ang kakulangan ng mga oportunidad na makatagpo ng marangal na trabaho upang maibsan ang kahirapan ng marami sa ating mga mamamayan ay nagtutulak sa iba na gumawa ng mga paraan, kahit labag sa batas, upang masustentuhan lamang ang pangangailangan ng kanilang mga pamilya at mga mahal sa buhay,” he said.

“Bagama’t ang Sulu ay malayo mula sa sentro ng pamahalaang pambansa, patuloy po ang aming pagsisikap na mapalapit ang serbisyong-bayan sa mga mamamayan. Kung maari lamang, dadalhin natin sa mga tao ang iba’t-ibang mga ahensya at departamento ng pamahalaan nang sa ganun hindi na kailangan pa nilang tumawid ng karagatan upang ma-ayos ang mga papeles na kailangan nila sa paghahanap ng mapapasukan at mapagkakitaan. In our small way and with the resources available at our disposal, we will continue to assist and support any effort leading to the economic advancement of the people,” he added.

Gov. Tan also brought to Sulu the review and licensure examination for teachers and other professionals, and one-stop processing of passport and clearances from various government agencies, among others, so those applying for jobs would not need to travel to Zamboanga or Pagadian cities, or as far as Manila to avail of these services. (Franzie Sali)

Bombing sa Gensan, tinututukan

 Sinuyod ni General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera ang lugar na kung saan sumambulat ang bomba gabi ng Septyembre 16, 2014 na kung saan ay 8 katao ang sugatan na binisita rin ng opisyal. (Kuha ni Russel Delvo)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Iniimbestigahan ng maiigi ng mga awtoridad ang pagsabog ng bomba sa General Santos sa labas lamang ng City Hall na kung saan ay 8 katao ang kumpirmadong sugatan.

Itinanim ang bomba sa rebulto ni national hero Jose Rizal ng sumambulat ito Martes ng gabi at ipinag-utos ni Mayor Ronnel Rivera sa militar at pulisya na agad resolbahin ang naganap.

“I want to pin down immediately whoever are behind this explosion. I don’t want these people to create more havoc to Gensan,” ani Rivera. “Gensan is steadily progressing. This blast will somehow be a deterrent to the vibrant economy of the city, especially to the entry of investments.”

Umapela rin ito sa mga residente na maging mahinahon at huwag matakot dahil ginagawa na umano ng mga awtoridad ang lahat ng paraan upang hindi maulit ang naganap.

“I want all residents to be strong in these times. Let us not blame and point fingers because that won’t really help. Let us be vigilant, let us help one another because Gensan is our home,” wika pa ni Rivera.

Dinalaw pa ni Rivera ang mga sugatan sa pagamutan matapos na personal nitong pasadahan ang lugar ng pinangyarihan ng pagsabog.

Kinilala nito ang mga biktma na sina Sarah Arquiza, 18; Christian Paul Amimong, 20; Jay Ar Magnanao, 17; Marlon Pasada, 23; Joanne Michelle Abranilla, 10; James Ralph Abreo, 23; Andy Galapen, at Sheena Mae Maquinda.

Walang umako sa krimen, ngunit naganap ang atake habang kalat ang balita na maraming mga grupo ang sumisimpatya sa ISIS o Islamic State na nakikibaka sa Iraq at Syria na kung saan ay mahigit sa 100 Pinoy ang sumanib sa naturang grupo. Maging ang Abu Sayyaf at Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters ay kumampi na rin sa IS at alarmado dito ang Estados Unidos. (Mindanao Examiner)

3 parak binatuhan ng granada sa Cagayan de Oro

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Tatlong parak ang sugatan matapos silang pasabugan ng granada habang naghahain ng arrest warrant sa isang hinihinalang drug pusher na napatay rin sa Cagayan de Oro City sa northern Mindanao.

Hindi naman kinilala ng pulisya sa Cagayan de Oro ang mga biktima at ang nasawi. Naganap ito nitong Martes ng gabi sa Barangay Bulua di-kalayuan sa commuter terminal doon.

Kinumpirma naman ito kahapon sa Abante ng isang imbestigador sa Bulua Police Station.

“Police operation yun. Nagsi-serve ng warrant yun pulis natin pero pinasabugan sila ng granadang suspek na may kaso in connection sa droga. Napatay rin yun suspek at yun pulis natin ay nasa pagamutan pa,” wika pa ng imbestigador sa panayam ng Abante.

Sa Basilan province naman, isang warehouse rin ang pinasabugan ng granada sa Lamitan City ng isa sa dalawang lalaking sakay ng motorsiklo kamakalawa rin ng gabi, ngunit wala naman inulat na nasawi o sugatan.

Hinihinalang extortion o away-negosyo ang motibo sa atake. (Mindanao Examiner)

Nawawalang bebot, natagpuang patay

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Isang babaeng teenager na inulat na nawawala ng kanyang pamilya noon pang Agosto ang brutal na pinatay matapos na madiskubre ang naaagnas nitong bangkay di-kalayuan sa kanilang lugar sa Zamboanga City.

Nakilala ang biktima na si Marlyn Mariano at natagpuan ng tiya nitong si Manuela Atilano habang nangunguha ng kahoy sa masukal na lugar sa Barangay Sinunuc matapos na mapuna ang bulok na amoy sa naturang lugar.

Inakala pa umano ng biyuda na patay na hayup ang nangangamoy, ngunit laking gulat na lamang nito ng malamang bangkay ng tao ito at lalo pang nagimbal ng mabatid na ito ang nawawalang pamangkin. Putol rin ang kamay ng dalagita, ayon sa matanda.

Huli umanong nakita si Marlyn kasama ang isang grupo ng mga kabataan na gumagamit ng rugby, subalit hindi naman mabatid kung may kinalaman ang mga ito sa pagpaslang sa babae na posibleng inabuso rin.

“Nangunguha ako ng kahoy para pang-gatong at may naamoy akong mabaho at hinanap ko ito sa akalang patay na hayup lamang, pero bangkay pala ni Marlyn iyon at wala na rin ang isang kamay niya, pinutol ang kamay," ani ng tiya. (Mindanao Examiner)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Police hold intell training course for Sulu cops

  Sulu Governor Totoh Tan and Vice Governor Sakur Tan with Senior Superintendent Romeo Ver and other police officials at the Provincial Capitol. (Photos by Franzie Sali) 
 And Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Salazar addressing the Area Public Safety Workshop in Zamboanga City attended by Vice Governor Sakur Tan and other provincial officials from Basilan and Tawi-Tawi and Zamboanga. (Photo by Joey Baustista)

SULU – Governor Totoh Tan has welcomed Wednesday the holding of 45-day intensive police intelligence training course in Sulu, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.

Senior Superintendent Romeo Ver, leader of the group that will train the provincial police force, arrived in Sulu and paid his courtesy call to Governor Tan and Vice Governor Sakur Tan.

Ver also discussed with the provincial officials the upcoming intelligence training which aims to further enhance the skills and capabilities of policemen and officers in all 19 towns in the province as part of a program launched by the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Governor Tan said he is supporting the training and has even offered venues for the event. Ver and his group praised Governor Tan for his full support to the police program.

The provincial police force headed by Senior Superintendent Abraham Orbita, with the support of Governor Tan and other Sulu government officials, are active in various community civic actions in different towns here.

Just recently, the Sulu police launched an orientation on “Lasanun Natuh in Lupag Sug” program in accordance with the PNP P.A.T.R.O.L. Plan 2030 which stands for “Peace and Order Agenda for Transformation and upholding of the Rule-of- Law.”

P.A.T.R.O.L. PLAN 2030 was formulated as the result of tedious analysis and review on previous PNP plans and programs, issues and concerns, challenges and inputs both from internal and external stakeholders which served as the basis of the technical working group in formulating its Transformation Roadmap 2030.  It is basically the entire range of policing and strategies to keep the PNP responsive at all times to the needs of the community or society.

Prior to Ver’s visit, Vice Governor Tan also attended the Area Public Safety Workshop in Zamboanga City participated by government representatives from Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Zamboanga.

The event was launched by the Anti-Terrorism Council Program Management Center under the Office of the President and also attended by Western Mindanao Command chief General Rustico Guerrero and Western Mindanao Police Director Chief Superintendent Edgar Basbas; and Tawi-Tawi Governor Nurbert Sahali, among others.

Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Salazar addressed the participants in the workshop dubbed “Target Hardening: Operationalizing the Whole of Nation Approach against Terrorism and Criminality.” (Franzie Sali)

Missing teen found dead in Zamboanga City

ZAMBOANGA CITY – A teenage girl who was reported missing by her family in Zamboanga City was found brutally murdered – her hand chopped off – and police were investigating whether she was raped and then killed.

Her relatives said Marlyn Mariano was last seen together with a group of teenagers, who were allegedly spotted sniffing solvent, but it was not immediately known whether they had something to do with the killing of the 18-year old victim.

Her decomposing body was discovered by her aunt Manuela Atilano not far away from their house in the village of Sinunuc, and told the police about the cadaver.

“I was gathering firewood when I noticed that smell and I thought it was a dead animal only to find out that it is a body of a girl,” she said.

Police said the victim left home last month and was never off again until her body had been found on September 15. (Mindanao Examiner)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Makati City Skyline

 The skyline of Makati City, the Philippines' financial capital. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

1 killed, 11 wounded wounded in twin explosions in Southern Philippines

 General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera inspects the blast site and visits the wounded victims in hospital shortly after an improvised explosive went off late Tuesday at a plaza there. (Photos by Russel Delvo)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – One person was killed and 11 others were reported injured after three powerful explosions late Tuesday hit the cities of Cagayan de Oro, General Santos and Lamitan - all in southern Philippines, police said.

Police said three cops were wounded when a man they were trying to arrest on drug charges tossed a grenade near a commuter terminal in Cagayan de Oro. The man was eventually killed.

“It was a police operation. Our policemen were trying to serve an arrest warrant on a man facing drug charges and he pulled out a grenade and exploded it to the cops. Three policemen were injured and they were rushed to the hospital. The man was eventually killed,” a police investigator told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

In General Santos, at least 8 people were wounded when an improvised explosive went off at the Rizal plaza near the City Hall building, according to Capt. Alberto Caber, a spokesman for the Eastern Mindanao Command.

He said no individual claimed responsibility for the explosion and that authorities are investigating the motive of the attack. “The Joint Task Force Gensan of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division and the police authorities responded immediately to assist the victims. Authorities are investigating the blast.

City Mayor Ronnel Rivera visited the victims in the hospital and assured their families that the government will shoulder all their expenses and medicines.

He also ordered security forces to immediate resolve the bombing. “I want to pin down immediately whoever are behind this explosion. I don’t want these people to create more havoc to Gensan,” Rivera said. “Gensan is steadily progressing. This blast will somehow be a deterrent to the vibrant economy of the city, especially to the entry of investments.”

Rivera appealed to residents to stay calm and vigilant.

“I want all residents to be strong in these times. Let us not blame and point fingers because that won’t really help. Let us be vigilant, let us help one another because Gensan is our home,” he said.

A grenade also exploded at a warehouse in Lamitan City. Police said one of two men riding on a motorcycle lobbed the grenade, but there was no report of casualties.

The explosions occurred at a time that authorities were closely monitoring local sympathizers of the Islamic group called IS in Iraq and Syria after more than a hundred Filipinos were said to have joined the fighting in Iraq and that two had died in the battle. (Mindanao Examiner)