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Friday, April 25, 2014

Filipino man arrested for child abuse

DIPOLOG CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 24, 2014) – Police arrested a man who threw his one-year old baby on the ground following a quarrel with his partner in the town of Polanco in Zamboanga del Norte province in southern Philippines.

Police said the baby was brought to hospital for medical examination while his 27-year old father Christopher Ebahan has been charged with child abuse.

The baby’s mother, Gleza Jarapan, 34, told police that she went to their farm after quarreling with Ebahan and was unaware of what had happened to the boy.

Police said a neighbor, Luzvilla Gamale, 58, saw Ebahan threw the baby before fleeing their house and she told village officials about what happened and they contacted authorities to report the abuse.

Ebahan was arrested by pursuing policemen in his mother’s house in the neighboring town of Roxas. The condition of the baby is still unknown. (Mindanao Examiner)

Zamboanga jeepney driver killed

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 25, 2014) – A 48-year old jeepney driver was killed by a lone gunman in an attack in Zamboanga City in southern Philippines, police said Thursday.

Police said Eliezer Cuartocruz Rico was driving his jeep when the gunman shot him several times along Don Toribio Street in the village of Tetuan late on Wednesday.

Rico’s jeep also crashed in a convenience store. Emergency medical workers tried to revive Rico before bringing him to the hospital, but failed to save his life. 

Police said the gunman fled after the killing, leaving behind five bullet casings of .45-caliber pistol.

It said the attack was probably connected to a row on parking slots, but police are continuing its investigation into the identity of the gunman. (Mindanao Examiner)

Sulu cop shot in Zamboanga City

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 25, 2014) – A policeman assigned in the southern Philippine province of Sulu was shot in Zamboanga City where his family lives, officials said on Thursday.

Officials said the 36-year old Police Officer 1 Al Muhajil was shot in the face late Wednesday at Flamingo village in Upper Calarian. He was rushed to the hospital after his attacker escaped after the shooting.

Mujahil, who is stationed in the town of Pata, was allegedly shot by a man identified by the police only as Merkhan, also of Flamingo village.

Local police chief Angelito Casimiro said the attack was connected to an old grudge. He said police are searching for the attacker. (Mindanao Examiner)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Letters to the Editor: A humanitarian appeal to U.S. President Barack Obama

The Honorable Barack H. Obama
President of the United States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Obama:

I write this letter to appeal for your urgent and personal intervention in the spirit of respect for human dignity as it is understood all over the world. This is in connection with my petition for release from prison addressed to the Philippine government regarding the killing of U.S. Army Col. James Rowe happened in April 1989, Quezon City, Philippines.

I am Juanito T. Itaas, arrested, charged, prosecuted and convicted in relation to the death of Col. James Rowe. I am now serving sentence at the national penitentiary here in the Philippines for more than two decades already. Indeed, I sympathize to the family and loved ones of Col. James Rowe, to the American people and others who were offended, violated and deeply hurt by the transgressions and inappropriate actions. Like them I suffer the same agony of being separated from my loved ones. I have suffered more than enough.

As an advocate of peace and reconciliation among nations, Mr. President, I implore your Christian sense of mercy and compassion as you certainly believe in second chances. Your considerate action to my plea is a key factor for the realization of my renewed life as a law-abiding citizen and as a God-fearing person.

Right now, the most cherished and persistent wish I have is to be a full-time father to my son and two daughters who were conceived during conjugal visits at the New Bilibid Prison. My children never experienced what a normal and happy family life is all about. Additionally, I firmly believe in one of your guiding principles as a leader and as a family man. - A strong nation is made up of strong families. Every family deserves the chance to make a better future for themselves and their children. I know that strong families will always be front and center of your agenda, Mr. President.

Being a good and responsible father to your two lovely daughters, here I am, a father also who desires to provide, inspire and support my children with the help of my wife; and by doing so I can be an instrument to have a strong family despite a life-threatening illness that affects my health. This is now my only goal and motivation in life. By God's grace, your valuable help and crucial intervention will help me succeed in this humble aspiration.

Given the present situation, I appeal once more and with great sense of benevolence, Mr. President, to consider a favorable humanitarian action regarding my condition.

God bless you mightily!


Juanito T. Itaas
Political Prisoner

Juanito T. Itaas, in orange colored shirt, and family and supporters.

Muslims hail enthronement of young Sultan in Southern Philippines

 His Royal Highness Mohammad Daud Nabil ‘Ayran’ Dimaporo-Lantud is enthroned as the youngest Sultan on the 28 Royal Sultanate of Lanao del Norte province. Sultan Ayran is now the new Sultan of the Royal House of Cabasagan. Also in the photo is the Sultan's brother and mother, her Majesty and Mayor of Pantao Ragat town in Lanao del Norte, Eleanor Lantud. (Mindanao Examiner Photo - Mark Navales)

LANAO DEL NORTE (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 24, 2014) – Muslims in the southern Philippines have celebrated the enthronement of the 28-year old Mohammad Daud Nabil ‘Ayran’ Dimaporo-Lantud as the youngest Sultan on the 28 Royal Sultanate of Lanao del Norte province.

Sultan Ayran, who is the son of Pantao Ragat Mayor Eleanor Lantud and Vice Mayor Lacon Lantud, is also the chairman of the Sanguniang Kabataan in the town. Sultan Ayran is now the new Sultan of the Royal House of Cabasagan.

His enthronement also coincided with the month-long celebration of the 48th Founding Anniversary of Pantao Ragat. Thousands of Muslims witnessed the colourful Maranao ceremony and hailed the historical enthronement of the young royalty, who belongs to one of the most respected and influential clan in Mindanao.

A throng of visitors also greeted the Sultan, who also went around the town in a parade for a king where well-wishers lined up the streets and chanting his name, many showering him with greetings and welcoming the assumption of the young royal leader to the throne.

His parents thanked all those who greeted the new Sultan and vowed to continue the good legacy of the clan. The Sultan also vowed to carry on the good tradition of the throne and his family and clan. (Mark Navales)

3 civilians wounded in clan war in Philippines

MAGUINDANAO (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 24, 2014) – Three civilians were wounded after being shot during fierce clashes between Moro rebels and villagers in the southern Philippine province of Maguindanao, officials said on Thursday.

Officials said the rebels under Moro Islamic Liberation Front leader Akas Casim clashed with the group of Salam Paglas, the village chieftain of Balanaken in Datu Piang town. The fighting, which lasted several hours, was connected to a clan war, according to Col. Dickson Hermoso, a spokesman for the 6th Infantry Division.

He said the fighting, which erupted Wednesday, ended after Datu Piang Mayor Genuine Kamaong, along with MILF leader Abdul Wahid Tundok and police and military commanders, intervened to stop the escalation of violence.

Hermoso said the wounded were evacuated to the hospital. “We have sent troops to the area to serve as peacekeeping force,” he said.

He did not say what triggered the latest fighting or if any of those involved in the clashes  were arrested.

In Lanao del Sur province, some 100 MILF rebels allegedly disarmed policemen and rescued 8 people who were arrested on gun and drug charges in Sultan Naga Dimaporo town, television news reports said.

The 1st Infantry Division said it has no report about the incident and MILF has not issued any confirmation about it. The MILF, the country’s largest Muslim rebel group, has signed a peace deal with Manila recently. Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur are part of the five-province Muslim autonomous region in Mindanao. (Mindanao Examiner)

Freed Indon terror suspect missing

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 24, 2014) – An Indonesian militant linked by the Philippines and the United Nations to terror groups Al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya has disappeared after returning to his country from a long imprisonment in Manila for possessing explosives.

According to Indonesian news website Khabar, Agus Dwikarna – who was arrested in Manila in 2002 for possessing explosives – returned to Makassar, the provincial capital of South Sulawesi, after being deported by the Philippines in February this year – but he disappeared after a brief stay and this has worried Indonesian authorities.

“Agus Dwikarna could have threatened members of the Indonesian police not only in Central Sulawesi, but also throughout Indonesia – especially when he disappeared after his release,” Central Sulawesi police spokesman Soemarmo told Khabar .


The Philippines’ Bureau of Immigration branded Agus as notorious.

“One of the most notorious deportees was Agus Dwikarna, who was accosted in 2002 by the joint elements of (police and military intelligence units) PNP, IG, NICA, PAF-AISG (Task force Sanglahi) and the BI for illegal possession of explosives at the NAIA Terminal 1.”

“Agus Dwikarna, who was identified with the terror group Al-Qaeda, served his sentence in Bilibid Prisons and upon his release he was deported to Indonesia,” Commissioner Siegfred Mison said.

Agus was convicted July 12, 2002 by a Filipino court to serve 10 to 17 years for carrying C-4 plastic explosives and bomb parts at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport as he and two other Indonesians were leaving Manila for Bangkok in 2002.

UN Report

Khabar, which is funded by the US Pacific Command, said though Agus denied charges against him, he had an extensive history of involvement in terrorist-related activities.

It also quoted the United Nation’s Security Council Committee which listed Agus among people with alleged ties to the Al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya and has direct involvement with the terror group's most senior leaders.

Quoting the UN report, Khabar said until his arrest in Manila, Agus was a major figure of Laskar Jundullah in Makassar, military wing of the Indonesian Mujahedeen Council, and he also worked as a regional head of the Indonesian branch of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, which allegedly funneled Al-Qaeda money into Southeast Asia and gave its operatives cover as charity workers.

It reported that apart from running a Sulawesi training camp, Agus escorted two of Al-Qaeda's top leaders on a tour of Aceh Province - Ayman al-Zawahiri, now the terrorist group's top leader; and Mohammed Atef, head of Al-Qaeda's military wing, who has since been slain.

According to the UN, the two al-Qaeda leaders visited Aceh in June 2002, but other sources date their trip to June 2000.

“Islam is also a forgiving religion. I am sure he learned a lot about this during his imprisonment,” Muhammad Yazid Fahri, a Muslim cleric in Makassar, told Khabar. “We also do not know the truth about the allegations against him. Only God knows.”

Agus is an associate of Al-Qaeda affiliate Jemaah Islamiya spiritual leader Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, whose group has links with the local Abu Sayyaf, blamed for the spate of terrorism and ransom kidnappings in southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

After deadly typhoon Haiyan, Filipinos still rebuilding lives

  Tacloban City devastated by typhoon Haiyan. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

SAMAR - Six months on from one of the world's worst typhoons and the people of Samar, who have also faced years of low-level conflict, are rebuilding their lives.

The insecurity caused by the protracted violence has left Samar the poorest island in the Philippines. When people were then hit by the mega typhoon’s 300-km winds and 5-meter waves, the effect was devastating.

Before typhoon Haiyan, Floro Elacion Junior was scratching out a living as a fisherman and managing to send his children to school. “Although life was difficult, we learned to budget our money and food in order to survive,” explains Elacion.

Elacion, his mother, wife and three children were in the evacuation center when the typhoon hit: “We would never have survived had we not moved to the evacuation center.  Soon after the typhoon, I went home to check what had happened to our house. I was appalled to see the devastation.” The roofs and walls had been blown off and their possessions scattered. Elacion managed to put together a makeshift shelter and the family slept sitting upright when the rain was heavy.

“This was what happened to my boat in the aftermath of the typhoon,” points Elacion. “I found it a few metres away from where I left it - completely damaged. The engine was gone. I dragged my boat here to see what could be saved or used.”

Without his boat, Elacion was unable to support his family and relied on friends and neighbours for hand outs.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in partnership with the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), gave Elacion and 139 other fishermen cash grants of 10,000 pesos (US$300) to rebuild their boats and lives.

As Elacion puts the final lick of paint on his boat he says: “I am working hard to finish this boat so I can go fishing again and my family and I can go back to our normal lives.”

Due to decades of conflict, the ICRC was already working in the region and therefore able to set up a rapid emergency response when the typhoon hit.  With the health structures completely destroyed, the ICRC set up two field hospitals where, in the first four months following the typhoon, 9,600 consultations and 200 surgical operations were carried out, and150 babies delivered.

Nurse Marlon Salazar was on duty when the typhoon struck and watched as the hospital fell apart: “During the typhoon, we had many evacuees here. When the wind started, we hid in this room.  A newly delivered mother was sitting on the toilet bowl and I was here and could see when the building got destroyed and the sea water coming in. I was praying the door and the roofing would not be blown by off the wind. Every time a patient came in I thought it was my mother or my relatives."

All of Salazar's family survived. For the moment, he is treating his patients in tents:  "We are using this as our temporary hospital.  The Red Cross gave us medicine, equipment and supplies, like penicillin, antibiotics, fluids.  Also they gave us an examining table and they will help us to rehabilitate the hospital."

The ICRC is already rehabilitating one hospital in the area and will begin rebuilding this hospital next month.

The typhoon also destroyed the water pipelines limiting people's access to safe drinking water.  Working with the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), the ICRC has repaired the water system: “We are clearing the area now,” explains ICRC engineer Selwyn Lester Consimino, “and will put cement on the pipes to keep them safe the next time it floods.”

While the water system is being repaired, the ICRC and PRC have been trucking water to communities on a daily basis reaching 68,000 people.

Nenita Germones says: "Our life here remains difficult. Having access to this safe drinking water really helps.  We sometimes do not have food on the table."

The ICRC has two more steps to complete in its typhoon recovery program: constructing up to 6,000 houses and assisting around 7,000 families with cash grants to help turn their hope and resilience into a sustainable recovery. (ICRC)

(Watch video:

Stranded OFWs in Saudi susceptible to MERS-CoV

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 23, 2014) - The Middle East-based overseas Filipino workers’ rights group Migrante-Middle East expressed alarm over the safety of Filipino workers stranded in Saudi Arabia following the breakout of there Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus.

It said even the old and sick OFWs, including children of those stranded, are more susceptible to MERS-CoV. Saudi has ordered the distribution of vaccines to fight and contain the spread of the deadly disease.

Just recently, four people, among them two Filipino medical staffs in hospitals in United Arab Emirates, were tested positive for the virus. There were also reports of MERS-CoV cases in Doha, Qatar.

“This situation requires an immediate action by the Philippine government through its diplomatic posts not only in Saudi Arabia but in other mid-east countries where there are MERS-CoV spread and huge OFWs concentration,” John Leonard Monterona, Migrante Middle East regional coordinator, said in a statement sent to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

Monterona cited that in UAE for instance, the host government already raised ‘Orange’ alarm which means its citizen and expatriates were advised to wear mask especially going to public places.

He said Saudi has sent out text messages cautioning its citizens and the millions of expatriates, including himself, about the disease.

Monterona said the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah should conduct not only information dissemination and education campaign on how to avoid MERS-CoV, but also to conduct medical missions and monitor the health condition of an estimated 200 stranded OFWs, some with children, who have been staying since October last year inside the deportation facility there.

“We likewise call on Philippine Embassy officials in Riyadh to do the same,” Monterona said, adding that there are around 100 stranded OFWs temporarily staying at embassy-rented accommodation, while there are 40 women and children at the Bahay Kalinga, also in Riyadh.

“We are urging President Aquino to issue a clear marching order to the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Health to quickly attend on the medical needs of the distressed and stranded OFWs in Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries; form a medical team and deploy them in MERS-CoV hit countries where there are large concentration of OFWs, distressed and stranded,” he said.

Monterona also called on the Aquino government to seriously attend on the repatriation of the distressed and stranded OFWs in Saudi Arabia.

“We need action from his administration not just mere words of praises to OFWs whom the government hails as modern heroes due to its economic contribution through their billion dollars remittances,” Monterona said.

Media Statement: The Cybercrime Law is incompatible with Freedom of Expression

“No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances,” Article III, Section 4, 1987 Philippine Constitution

All members of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines across the nation condemn in the strongest terms the Supreme Court’s junking of all four motions for reconsideration on the Cybercrime Prevention Law (RA 101075).

Last Tuesday, during their summer session in Baguio City, the High Tribunal denied all the petitioners — including the joint petition of NUJP, Philippine Press Institute and Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility —against the Cybercrime Law.

In the same e-mailed statement, Te disclosed that Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justices Arturo Brion, Jose Mendoza and Marvic Leonen maintained their dissent, while Associate Justices Presbiterio Velasco, Jr. and Estela Bernabe abstained in the decision.

At least, Justice Marvic Leonen was honest when he stated on his dissenting opinion on the 12-2-1-decision of the Supreme Court that “…the court’s competence to deal with these issues needs to evolve as we understand the context and detail of each technology implicated in the acts that are alleged to violate law or the Constitution.”

We are appalled at the High Tribunal’s decision as it now appears that this administration cannot digest legitimate dissent.

Further, it is appalling that the administration has professed again and again that it is built on the foundation of democratic tenets.

We choose to remain steadfast in asserting our right to free press, speech, and expression.
We are one with the rest of the libertarians in condemning this latest travesty to the freedom of expression.

We call on everyone to continue asserting our constitutionally guaranteed rights and to fight against this railroaded anti-people and undemocratic law.

Forfeiting Israel’s Reason To Exist By Dr. Alon Ben-Meir

IT IS A GIVEN that every Jew in and outside Israel wants to see Israel as a vibrant country: an economic powerhouse with a thriving democracy, self-confident and secure, capable of defending itself and deterring any enemy far and near from challenging its right to exist, at peace with its neighbors, respected by the international community, excelling in its humanity and caring about others, a beacon and a light unto other nations.

Yes, Israel can be all that and some, I am sure. All Israeli leaders, regardless of political leaning, believe in their heart of hearts that the country that has risen from the ashes of extinction to a glorious nation offers a refuge and a haven to every Jew, so that never again will any live at the whims and mercy of others. This is why Israel exists and what it is meant to be, and this is the only way Israel will realize its destiny.

Today Israel faces a fateful crossroads: either end the occupation, or continue the subjugation of the Palestinians and forfeit the one historic chance to become a truly free nation that can live up to the promise of its divine creation.

The imminent collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations raises the critical question: will the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ever be resolved? More than six decades of debilitating violent discord did little to usher in an agreement. The shifting reality on the ground made the prospect for a solution increasingly dimmer, more distant, and laden with ominous danger.

Continued occupation of Palestinian land slowly consumes Israel’s moral standing and physical well-being, inching it ever closer to self-destruction. Though the Palestinians are not innocent bystanders, Israel and Israel alone must now bear the burden because it is the undisputed power that can change the course of events and prevent the looming disaster.

No one knows the history of the Jews better than the Jews themselves. Persecution, segregation, expulsion and death unmatched in human history were their lot nearly everywhere. But such unspeakable historic misfortune offers no license to inflict pain, suffering and indignity onto others.

Knowing the true meaning of dehumanization, degradation and derision must give rise to the Jews’ moral values and humanity by treating the Palestinians with compassion and sensitivity. With the inevitability of coexistence and fate intertwined, what hope will be in the offing for tomorrow if not harmony and peace?

A new disaster will be waiting in the wings, obliterating the Jews’ dream to build a lasting free nation like many others, rather than live in isolation as a garrison state surrounded by fences and foes, caging itself in and drowning in an ocean of hostility and contempt.

Occupation must end not only because of its inherent injustice, as it demeans, debases and degrades the Palestinians, but because of what the occupation does to the Israelis – it discredits and disgraces Jewish heritage and changes the once-oppressed Jews into merciless, heartless oppressors. No, this is not why Israel was created.

The Jews’ historic victimhood proffers no license to victimize others. Israelis who take freedom for granted should never sleep knowing that millions of Palestinians retire at night deprived of pleasant dreams, wondering what tomorrow will bring, only to wake up still shackled and fused with anger and malice.

They want what you Israelis cherish. They want dignity, they want freedom, and they want the human rights that you so relish, but you wantonly deny them the very values you uphold so high.

 To the settlers and their supporters: as you build and expand settlements, usurping Palestinian land inch by inch, you deny them their aspiration for nationhood, as they witness daily the creeping annexation, dreading what will await them tomorrow – nothing but the fear of more land to be seized.

You feed the Palestinians with a daily dosage of hatred and fury, but then you blame them for hating you. As the settlements strike deeper roots, you strengthen their resolve to uproot you. This is how this tragic story goes; instead of building bridges of peace, you are erecting monuments of revulsion and hate.

The onus falls squarely on the Israeli government. Netanyahu, who genuinely seeks a strong, thriving and prosperous Israel, pursues contrarian policies that deprive Israel of its potentially brilliant future. He is living in denial, never accepting, acceding or assenting to a Palestinian state.

He is an ideological zealot, driven by biblical precepts that have long since lost any relevance to today’s reality. He believes that he was divinely chosen to lead, but fails to understand that divinity placed the Palestinians inescapably and permanently side-by-side Israel.

He falsely links the country’s national security to his insatiable thirst for more Palestinian land. He remains marred in illusions and grandiose dreams, blindly crawling through dark alleys, dragging Israel ever steadily to the abyss, foolishly misleading a county and a people he is entrusted to lead.

It is understandable that Jews anywhere have a unique affinity to the state of Israel; for the world’s Jewry, Israel represents the last refuge, the sanctuary that offers a safe haven, independently determining its own fate. Hence, Israel must remain strong and powerful because they see their fate and fortune intertwined with Israel’s strength, perseverance and longevity.

But Diaspora Jewry must also understand that the occupation of Palestinian land destroys the very premise on which the state was created. Continued occupation in any form chips away the moral tenet of the country on which its very survival rests.

Yes, stand beside Israel they must, but supporting misguided policies like the blind leading the blind not only denies the Palestinians their human rights but imperils the very existence of the third commonwealth the Jews yearned for millennia, which they must never forget.

It is time for you, the Israelis, to wake up to the bitter reality you choose to ignore. The relative non-violent atmosphere and the prosperity you enjoy today is nothing but a mirage. You buy into the rhetoric of misguided leaders who are unwittingly leading you astray.

Your complacency is your worst enemy; it is not that the Palestinians are innocent, it is that you have the power to force a change in direction, if you only will it. The alternative to the continuing debilitating conflict is not simply continuing much of the same. It will spell disaster for Israel as the world is tuned to the Palestinian plight and condemns Israel for its intransigence and gross human rights violations.

Israelis must remember that the entire global community vehemently opposes the occupation. Israel’s national security concerns, though legitimate, have been excessively used like a smoke screen to obscure its expansionist policy which any blind person can see through.

America remains the last beacon of hope to save Israel from traveling this suicidal path. As the US deliberates its future plans about the peace process, this may well be Secretary Kerry’s last ditch effort.

Israeli leaders will be wise to remember that once the US decides that the prospect for a peace agreement remains elusive at best, it may well leave the Israelis and Palestinians to their own devices.

The Palestinians will play for time and grow stronger by sheer numbers and iron resolve, and Israel’s self-consuming policies will make it steadily weaker. Its mighty military strength will pale in comparison to the Palestinians’ inexhaustible human endurance, knowing full well that time is on their side.

History has shown that time and again.

Next, what initiative can the Israelis take to change direction in the pursuit of peace? (

Justice For Maguindanao Massacre Victims; 53 Months Had Passed!

 It is 53 months now since the Maguindanao massacre where at least 32 journalists were among 57 people brutally murdered.

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Man shot in Tacurong City

TACURONG CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 23, 2014) – A 26-year old man was shot dead by an unidentified assailant in what police said could be connected to illegal drugs in Tacurong City in southern Philippines.

Police said Jhonny Baguilan was shot twice in the head with a .45-caliber pistol and that drug paraphernalia was also recovered from the pockets of his pants. Baguilan, a native of Norala in South Cotabato province, was also feared by many villagers.

The killing, which occurred late Tuesday, added to the long list of gun attacks in Tacurong the past months. (Rose Muneza)

Philippine rebels free captive soldier


Photos released by the 10th CMO Battalion to The Mindanao Examiner regional newspaper show freed army soldier Sergeant Jeric Bucio Curay with his family at the Camp Panacan Station Hospital inside the Eastern Mindanao Command headquarters in Davao City in southern Philippines.

And photos of Curay's release were also provided by Kilab Multimedia to the Mindanao Examiner.

DAVAO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 23, 2014) – Communist rebels have freed Wednesday a government soldier they captured in the southern Philippine province of Compostela Valley, the army said.

It said Sergeant Jeric Bucio Curay was released to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who negotiated with the New People’s Army for the soldier’s freedom. Curay, a member of the 72nd Infantry Battalion, was captured by rebels at a checkpoint in the village of Andap in Laak town on April 4.

According to the 10th CMO Battalion, Curay was released in the village of Casoon in Monkayo town.

“Sergeant Curay was unarmed during the time of his capture. His abduction was a CARHRIHL violation.  Sergeant Curay will undergo physical and psychological stress debriefing at the Camp Panacan Station Hospital for further evaluation,” it said in a brief statement released to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

CARHRIHL refers to the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, the first substantive agreement by the Philippines and the National Democratic Front, the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, signed in 1998 in The Hague.

The army quoted the soldier’s wife – who was reunited with him in Davao City - as saying that “Curay is a dedicated soldier, responsible father and a good husband.”

Kilab Multimedia also reported that the Exodus for Justice and Peace served as third-party facilitator for the safe release of the soldier. “I am so thankful that they released me and I really missed my family, my children right now,” it quoted Curay as saying.

It said Bishop Modesto Villasanta, of the EJP, praised the rebels for the release of Curay. He appealed to the government and the rebel group to resume long-stalled peace talks.

The bishop said the soldier’s wife sought help for the release of the prisoner.

“Without hesitation or doubt, we expressed to her our willingness to act as facilitator. EJP’s mandate is to actively initiate and participate in various human rights and peace efforts especially in pursuing the need for the resumption of peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front.”

“We believe that the on-going civil war in the country is complex and deeply-rooted. The worsening impoverishment characterized by hunger, landlessness and joblessness of the majority of the Filipino people are results of system that purports unequal distribution of wealth and resources,” he said in a separate statement to the Mindanao Examiner.

He said the resumption of the peace talks will address the systematic problems assailing the country; the problem on peace and human right abuses, the inaccessibility of justice mechanisms, and most especially, the reeling socioeconomic woes suffered by the population.

The rebels have declared Curay as prisoner of war and interrogated him to determine his involvement in “counterrevolutionary and anti-people” activities in Laak town.

The capture of Curay coincided with the NPA’s renewed campaign against the 72nd Infantry Battalion whom the rebels accused - along with the 60th Infantry Battalion - of protecting big logging firms “which have wiped out the forests of Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley and Agusan del Sur provinces.”

The rebel group said the wanton destruction of remaining forest cover and unchecked commercial logging in the provinces have greatly impoverished indigenous Lumad tribesmen and peasants and have made them more vulnerable to environmental disasters and climate change. It also accused politicians and policemen as among those behind indiscriminate logging operations in eastern Mindanao.

The NPA has previously taken soldiers as prisoners of war, but eventually freed them on humanitarian grounds. (Mindanao Examiner)

Philippines holds Sayyaf man plotting to bomb city

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 23, 2014) – Philippine commandos on Wednesday captured an Abu Sayyaf rebel who was allegedly plotting to bomb civilian targets in the southern port city of Zamboanga.

Officials said a composite team of police and military commandos swooped down on the seaside village of Baliwasan and captured the rebel who uses the alias of Abu Darren.

Darren was tagged as involved in the ransom kidnappings of 21 mostly European holidaymakers from the posh Malaysian resort of Pulau Sipadan in 2000 and he is also being linked by the police to a foiled kidnapping at a posh pearl farm resort in Davao that left two people dead in 2001.

Inspector Dahlan Samuddin, a regional police spokesman, said Darren has a string of criminal cases against him.

“Subject was also identified by a government witness as involved in kidnapping incidents with the Abu Sayyaf group in Davao and in Sidapan in 2001. Subject is believed casing probable bombing targets within Zamboanga City proper,” Samuddin said.

Darren is currently being interrogated by authorities to further determine his mission, but it was not immediately known whether the rebel was acting alone or if with other companions.

Police did not say if security forces had seized any weapons or explosives from the Darren.

The Abu Sayyaf, which means “bearer of the sword,” has been linked by Philippine an US authorities to Al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya and was also tagged as behind the spate of terrorism and ransom kidnappings over the last two decades.

The group is still holding several foreigners and Filipinos in captivity in the troubled region. (Mindanao Examiner)

Publiko pinagiingat sa MERS-CoV!

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 23, 2014) – Pinagiingat ngayon ng Department of Health ang publiko dahil sa kumakalat na Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus o MERS-CoV.

Mahigit sa dalawang dosenang katao ang isinailalim sa quarantine sa Luzon, Visayas at Mindanao at patuloy ang pagbabantay ng Bureau of Quarantine sa mga dayuhan at overseas Filipino workers na dumarating sa bansa mula sa Middle East at iba pang bahagi ng mundo upang makatiyak na walang makakapasok na karagdagang pasyente o may mga simtomas ng MERS-Cov.

Patuloy rin ang panawagan ng pamahalaan sa mga pasahero ng eroplano na kung saan sumakas ang isang Pinay nurse na positibo sa naturang virus. Ilan sa mga nasakabay ng nurse ang positibo umano sa MERS-CoV. Galing sa Middle East ang nurse at nahawa umano mula sa isang pasyente doon. Isang OFW na ang nasawi sa Saudi at hindi pinayagan ang bangkay nito na maibalik sa bansa.

Maging mahinahon

Sinabi ni Health Secretary Enrique Ona na ipinag-utos ni Pangulong Benigno Aquino ang pagbuo sa Task Force MERS-CoV upang mabigyan ng sapat na kaalaman ang publiko ukol sa sakit.

“Upon the President’s instructions, the Department of Health has mobilized Task Force MERS-CoV to create heightened awareness among our people on the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus and prevent the spread of this communicable disease. At the outset, let me point this out: there is still no epidemic or outbreak of MERS-Coronavirus in the Middle East or the Arabian Peninsula. That is why the World Health Organization has not imposed travel restrictions to and from the Middle East.”

“As a health precaution, however, I have approved the issuance of a Bureau of Quarantine alert bulletin to those travelling from the Middle East and through our international airports so that those who may be affected by the MERS-Coronavirus will be given prompt assistance. As there are tens of thousands of Filipinos working in the Middle East and hundreds of them who travel to the Middle East or return home from their jobs daily, it is important that their families, relatives, friends, neighbors and all members of their local communities fully understand all that must be known about MERS-CoV,” ani Ona.

Sinigurado naman ni Ona sa publiko at lalo na ang mga OFWs sa Middle East na ginagawa lahat ng pamahalaan ang bawat paraan ukol sa MERS-CoV.

“The DOH assures our people, especially our Overseas Filipino Workers based in the Middle East and their families and communities, that government will exert maximum efforts to keep you informed and aware of all vital developments. We shall also extend our fullest assistance through our various regional and district hospitals, regional offices, the Bureau of Quarantine and attached agencies such as PhilHealth. We have established 24-hour hotlines that may be called by our citizens and foreign nationals residing in the Philippines that may need assistance: (02) 711-1001 up to 1002; 0922-8841564; 0920-9498419 and 0915-7725621.”

“MERS-Coronavirus is a communicable disease, so it is important that we all work together to prevent the infection from spreading. Maging handa, maagap at mapag-masid po tayong lahat. Pairalin natin ang diwa ng Bayanihan para sa kalusugan at kaligtasan nating lahat,” sabi pa ni Ona.

Kabilang sa mga simtomas ng sakit ay ang lagnat, pagdudumi, paguubo at pangangapos ng hininga.

At upang makaiwas sa sakit, sinabi naman ng US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention na dapat panatiliin malinis ang mga kamay o palaging maghugas gamit ang sabon sa loob ng 20 segundo at kung walang tubig ay maaaring gumamit ng alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Dapat rin takpan ng panyo o tissue ang bibig at ilong sa tuwing umuubo o bumabahing at agad itapon sa basurahan ang ginamit na tissue. Iwasan rin ang paghawak sa mga mata, ilong at bibig gamit ang maruming mga kamay at huwag humalik o gumamit ng anumang baso o pinggan at kubyertos ng isang taong may sakit.

Ano ang MERS-CoV?

Natuklasan ang MERS-CoV noon 2012 at ayon sa World Health Organization (WHO) ay wala pang sapat na kaalaman o impormasyon ukol dito.

“Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that includes viruses that may cause a range of illnesses in humans, from the common cold to SARS. Viruses of this family also cause a number of animal diseases. Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, this particular strain of coronavirus has not been previously identified in humans. There is very limited information on transmission, severity and clinical impact with only a small number of cases reported thus far,” pahayag pa ng WHO.


Sa babala naman ng WHO ay sinabi nito na: “Based on the current situation and available information, WHO encourages all Member States to continue their surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and to carefully review any unusual patterns. Infection prevention and control measures are critical to prevent the possible spread of MERS-CoV in health care facilities.”

“Health-care facilities that provide for patients suspected or confirmed to be infected with MERS-CoV infection should take appropriate measures to decrease the risk of transmission of the virus from an infected patient to other patients, health-care workers and visitors. Health care workers should be educated, trained and refreshed with skills on infection prevention and control. “

Sinabi pa ng WHO sa naturang babala na “it is not always possible to identify patients with MERS-CoV early because some have mild or unusual symptoms. For this reason, it is important that health-care workers apply standard precautions consistently with all patients – regardless of their diagnosis – in all work practices all the time.”

“Droplet precautions should be added to the standard precautions when providing care to all patients with symptoms of acute respiratory infection. Contact precautions and eye protection should be added when caring for probable or confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infection. Airborne precautions should be applied when performing aerosol generating procedures. Patients should be managed as potentially infected when the clinical and epidemiological clues strongly suggest MERS-CoV, even if an initial test on a nasopharyngeal swab is negative. Repeat testing should be done when the initial testing is negative, preferably on specimens from the lower respiratory tract.”

Nanawagan rin ang WHO na ipagbigay alam agad sa kanila ang mga kasong naitala sa ibat-ibang mga bansa. “All Member States are reminded to promptly assess and notify WHO of any new case of infection with MERS-CoV, along with information about potential exposures that may have resulted in infection and a description of the clinical course. Investigation into the source of exposure should promptly be initiated to identify the mode of exposure, so that further transmission of the virus can be prevented.”

“People at high risk of severe disease due to MERS-CoV should avoid close contact with animals when visiting farms or barn areas where the virus is known to be potentially circulating. For the general public, when visiting a farm or a barn, general hygiene measures, such as regular hand washing before and after touching animals, avoiding contact with sick animals, and following food hygiene practices, should be adhered to. WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to this event nor does it currently recommend the application of any travel or trade restrictions,” ayon pa sa WHO.

Saudi Arabia

Pinaigting naman ng Saudi Arabia ang kampanya nito kontra sa MERS-CoV matapos na maitala ang 50 kaso sa loob lamang ng isang lingo at 7 na ang kumpirmadong nasawi sa sakit.

Umabot na sa 257 ang kaso na naitala sa Saudi at patuloy ang pagtaas ng bilang nito at hindi mabatid kung may mga OFWs doon ang nahawa sa sakit. Inaasikaso na umano ng Saudi Ministry of Health ang mga biktima, subali’t hindi pa rin malinaw kung paano mapipigilan ang pagkalat o pag dami nito.

“In continuation of the efforts exerted by the Ministry of Health and its interest in pinpointing the scope of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus spread, the MOH has expanded the surveillance and search work regarding its spread, and has tested big numbers of those mingling with the infected. AS a result, the MOH noticed an increase in the number of cases as well as the appearance of some cases without MERS CoV-related symptoms.”

“In meantime, the MOH pointed out that it constantly communicates with the scientific, specialized bodies and universities and companies manufacturing the vaccines. This aims at reaching the information which together with the rest of the world's states, enable it to identify the ways of virus transmission, look into ways of treatment, and manufacture the appropriate vaccine,” ayon pa sa Ministry of Health ng Saudi Arabia.

Dahil sa epidemia ng MERS-CoV sa Saudi ay sinibak sa kanyang tungkulin si Saudi Health Minister Abdullah al-Rabeeah at pinalitan siya ni Labor Minister Adel bin Mohammad Faqih. (Mindanao Examiner)

Man electrocuted in Zamboanga

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 22, 2014) – A painter was electrocuted while working Tuesday on a small building in Zamboanga City in southern Philippines, reports said.

It said the man, who was working on the third floor of the building along La Purisima Street, fell on the ground after touching an electrical wire.

Witnesses said the man has suffered from electrical burns in the body and was taken away in an ambulance.

The extent of his injuries was not immediately known. (Mindanao Examiner)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Chinese intrusion in Philippine territories condemned

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 22, 2014) - A Filipino youth group League of Filipino Students has condemned China’s aggressive incursion in Philippine waters and demanded Beijing to immediately withdraw its forces.

“We assert our sovereign and territorial rights over the Kalayaan group of islands and Panatag shoal and condemn China on its arrogant maneuvers in the West Philippine Sea,” LFS national chairperson Charlotte Velasco said in a statement sent to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

“We are jogging the Chinese government’s memory of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea which the Philippines and China have signed in recognition that the aforesaid pieces of territory are within the 200-nautical miles of our country’s exclusive economic zone. These are our legitimate rights and the Chinese government should recognize these claims,” she said.

She said the LFS has demanded the Chinese government to back off the Philippine waters and withdraw its troops. She stressed that if the Chinese government is serious about its claims, then it should appear before the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea and Arbitral Tribunal to resolve the case wisely.

“Claiming the disputed islands through violent military measures does not prove their rightful claim on those islands but rather shows China’s desperate attempt to prevent the downfall of its economy based on neo-liberal policies of the US,” Velasco said.

Velasco also pointed out that while standing firm in the case filed by the Philippine government before the ITLOS and Arbitral Tribunal is necessary in showing our country’s unwavering stand, it is essential to reject US war-instigation in the region to peacefully and diplomatically resolve the conflict.

She stressed that in order to get the Chinese government open for bilateral and multilateral negotiations, the Philippines should resist US military intervention.

She has criticized President Benigno Aquino for inviting US forces in the country and further putting the Philippines in danger from Chinese aggression.

“Since 2011, President Aquino has been pouring oil to fire by inviting more US military intrusion and allowing US military activities in the country. Worse, the US-Aquino government is using the Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder) exercises as reason to hold US military exercises over the disputed islands inciting China.”

“Despite the fact that the US has been the biggest violators of Philippine sovereignty and has incomparable heinous crimes to our people, the puppet Aquino regime has been insistent in welcoming the US show of aggression in the region making the Philippines as one of its military springboard in Asia-Pacific,” Velasco said.

Citing the Chinese publication People’s Liberation Daily that the US presence in the Philippines is creating conditions which raises the risks of armed confrontation over the disputed pieces of territory, Velasco noted that Aquino should stop relying on US militaristic and conceited methods.

She also added that the US has no intention of going to war for our country because it has more economic and political interest in China than in the Philippines.

“We refuse to be dragged into unnecessary war or even meaningless shows of military force and provocations. We can only demand peaceful resolutions with China on the basis of equality, respect, and mutual benefit only if the US is out of our country and Asia-Pacific Region,” Velasco said. 

“As citizens of the county, it is our responsibility to defend our national sovereignty, patrimony, and territorial integrity against foreign domination, may it be China or the US. And in the upcoming visit of US President Obama, it is high time we get this message across through the strength of our collective action,” she added.

Domestic workers, nurses top job fair search in Davao

DAVAO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 22, 2014) - Nurses, call center agents and household service workers top the list of the most number of job vacancies in the coming Labor Day Job Fair in Davao City in southern Philippines

According to the Department of Labor and Employment in Davao region, some 18,680 job vacancies were solicited from the 99 local companies and 31 overseas agencies for the biggest job fair of the year.

Overseas employment posted over 15,000 job vacancies - of the figure, 2,498 vacancies for household worker services; 709 for nurses, 618 sales man/assistant; 607 security guards; and 469 laborer/helper.

Completing the top 10 list of overseas employment vacancies included masons, plumbers, carpenters, electrician and cleaners (janitorial services).

Most of the overseas employments are bound for the Middle East particularly United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Oman.

Meanwhile, job vacancies for local employment posted a total of 3,151 available positions.

For local employment, call center agent (both for voice and non-voice) tops the list of the most number of vacancies.

Among the top 10 most number of vacancies included dealers of various personal care products; telemarketer/customer service representative; credit counselor; cashier, data receiver; Production workers, account executive accounting staff, laborer/helper and production specialist.

“We are exerting our best effort to gather a high turnout of available jobs that we can offer to our job seekers come Labor Day Job Fair and were are very glad for the overwhelming support of our local employers and overseas placement agencies,” said DOLE Davao Region director Atty. Joffrey Suyao.

“We expect to have at least 5,000 job seekers and hopefully we could have at least 15% of them to be hired on the spot,” he said.

Gaisano Mall of Davao will hold the Job Fair on May 1-2 while SM City Davao will hold the event on May 1.

Gaisano Mall of Tagum will also be hosting Job Fair on May 1 to cater applicants from the provinces of Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley and even those from Davao Oriental.

“The DOLE and our partners work to make it easy and fast for job seekers to find work that fit their qualifications, interests, and career inclinations," Suyao said.  

“This is the biggest and the grandest Job Fair we host for the year. And we urged newly graduated students to take advantage of this gathering of employers and job opportunities in one setting,” he added. (Sherwin Manual)

Letters to the Editor: Dili gamiton ang buhis sa katawhan alang sa giyera ug pagpanglinla

HUMAN ANG sagunsong operasyong militar sa Talaingod, pagpamomba sa among komunidad ug umahan, pagkampo sa mga tulunghaan ug among mga panimalay, pagpanghasi ug pagpanghulga sa amo, apil mga bata, namakwet kami sa dakbayan sa Dabaw. Dili lalim ang ang nasinati diha sa among paglaling. Anaa ang pagpamig-ot kanamo sa mga sundalo, apil na ang mga opisyales sa munisipyo sa Talaingod ug ang ahensiya nga NCIP.

Ang among panon mokabat ngadto sa 927 ka mga Manobo gikan sa Talaingod, diin dunay 515 ka mga bata nga nag-edad og 12 anyos ug paubos, Sa tumang sakripisyo, diin taliwala sa among pagpanaw namatyan pa kami og usa ka bata ug dunay 2 ka inahan nga nakapanganak sa dalan, nakaabot ra kami sa Dakabyan sa Davao niadtong April 3, aron luwas nga makahikling sa mga pagpanghasi sa mga sundalo. Nakadangop kami sa UCCP Haran isip maoy among temporaryong puluy-anan.

Ayha pa kami niabot sa Dabaw, misulay kami og bakwet ngadto sa Sittio Nasilaban nga mas duol sa among mga komunidad. Apan, gisundan kami sa mga sundalo, gisukit-sukit nga kuno kami mga 'supporter sa NPA' kundili mga miyembro sa maong grupo.

Nagpakaylap og intriga batok kanamo ang mga sundalo pinaagi sa mga opisyal niini nga kuno ang among mga tulunghaan ug mga galingan sa mais, mga proyekto kuno sa NPA. Giangkon sa sundalo ang ilang pagpamomba sa Talaingod apan gilimod niini nga aduna'y pagpanglapas sa among tawhanong katungod.

Gigamit usab sa mga sundalo ang mga ahensiya sa gubyerno ug ang Local Government Unit aron tabunan ang tinuod nga isyu. Buot nilang tabunan ang kamatuoran nga namakwet kami tungod sa pagpamomba ug pagpanghasi kanila apil ang pagpasangil kanamo nga kami NPA.

Ang maong pasangil nagbutang kanamo sa peligro nga mamahimomg target sa sundalo. Pipila na ka mga lumad nang gipamatay sa mga sundalo gumikan sa pasangil nga kuno NPA?

Sa pipila ka higayon, nipadangat kami, nga mga Datu ilalom sa Salugpongan Ta Tanu Igkanugon sa among mulo ngadto sa Municipal Development Welfare Office sa Talaingod ug sa kay mayor Basilio Libayao. Nasayod kini nga mga opisina sa among mulo ug mga kaso sa pagpanglapas sa among katungod apan, sukwahi sa ilang mga gipasigarbong pagtabang o pag-atiman kanamo, ila kaming ginatugway ngadto sa kamot sa mga sundalo nga maoy hinungdan sa among pagpamakwet.

Nakapangutana kami sa among han-ay nga kasaligan ba kini nga mga opisyal sa gubyerno nga wala niaksyon sa dugay na namong mulo inay gilimod pa niini nga wala kunoy pagpangabuso ang mga sundalo batuk kanamo? Human niini ideklarar nga ang among lugar anaa sa 'State of Calamity' aron mapagawas ang pondo, gigamit nila kini aron sa pag-abiabi sa mga komunidad nga dili direktang apektado sa operasyon sa mga sundalo. Sama sa ilang gihimong mga relief operations uban ang mga media ug sundalo, gigamit pud nila kini aron siak-siakon ang mga komunidad sa Talaingod ug aron kami mugawas nga mga bakakon ug gilingla ra sa mga mitabang nga mga grupo kanamo susama sa PASAKA, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) ug Fr. Pops Foundation.

Kini nga mga grupo dugay na nga nagtabang kanamo, sayod niini ang munisipyo sa Talaingod. Ginatabangan kami nila alang sa rehabilitasyon ug pagpalambo sa among panginabuhian ug umahan. Ila kaming gitukuran og eskwelahan ug giawhag nga mueskwela kauban sa mga bata ug kabatan-onan. Ila kaming gitudluan sa pag-amping sa among panglawas. Ila kaming gipabarog isip mga tawo alang sa among kaayuhan ug aron dili kami malingla. Diin kini nga mga serbisyo, dugay ug hangtud karon gihikaw sa amo sa gubyerno.

Sa kasamtangan, mokabat na og tulo ka semana ang among pagpamakwit tungod ang mga sundalo padayon pa ang pagwarawara sa among komunidad, diin apil ang among mga pananom ug eskwelahan ilang gipangdaut.

Buot usab namo nga matabangan kamig balik ni Mayor Rodrigo Duterte nga maoy nitabang pud kanamo sa among pagbakwet kaniadtong 1994 tungod sa among pakigbisog batuk sa Alsons.

Kung kaniadtong 2 ka dekada ang nilabay nakigbatuk kami kontra sa Alsons, karon ang direktang nangabuso kanamo, ang mga sundalo, diin matud sa mga pamulong sa opisyal sa sundalo, mando kini ni pangulong Noynoy Aquino.

Busa kami nanawagan sa tanang katawhan nga adunay kasing-kasing ug kaluoy nga dili nato tugutan nga gamiton ang buhis sa gubyerno aron sa paggiyera kanamo, pagpalayas kanamo sa among mga komunidad, pagpangurakot ug pagpanglinla.

Kami nga mga katawhang lumad nga apektado sa operasyon sa militar mga sibilyan ug nanginabuhing malinawon taliwala sa kalisod sa among kinabuhi. Sa hinanali, kinahanglan ng mahunong ang operasyon sa sundalo sa among komunidad aron makasugod na kami og pag-ugmad sa mga umahan nga ilang gibomba ug aron makapananum na kami sa among mga umahan nga walay peligro ug kahadlok. Kinahanglan namo ang among umahan, ang among yutang kabilin ug maangkon namo kini nga luwas sa kahadlok ug peligro kung mawala ang ang mga sundalo nga maoy naghasi ug nagpamomba kanamo.

Duyugan ninyo kami sa among panawagan nga pahawaon ang mga sundalo sa among komunidad aron malinawon ang among pagpuyo ug aron makabalik kami sa among mga umahan.

Salugpongan Ta Tanu Igkanugon

Filipinos should assert rights in protecting the environment

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 22, 2014) - As the world celebrates Earth Day, the environmental coalition Alyansa Tigil Mina said the Philippines needs a more sustainable future, not just for the environment, but for the people themselves.

“When it comes to environmental issues, there are just so many things to deal with. There is deforestation, destruction of biodiversity and of course destructive and irresponsible mining, among others. The issue even extends to human rights violations and the abuse of rights of our Indigenous Peoples.”

“But these issues are not hopeless. International and local groups from different sectors are doing their best to resolve these problems. The question however, is how willing are we to open our minds and assert our rights for a clean and safe environment. As long as we let the dysfunctional system and the culprits behind these environmental atrocities do what they do, we can continue to fight for 50 years or more and not even make a dent to save the Earth,” Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, said in a statement sent to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

He said ATM and other environmental organizations and sectors are urging the public to take part in preserving the environment. He said Filipinos must use their right as a power against the environmental offenders especially now that climate change is threatening to intensify.

“We do not have to look so far behind our history to recount instances when our vulnerability as a nation was intensified by mining, coal-fired power plants operations, deforestation and other acts and operations that are clear desecration of our environment.”

“And 19 years ago, the Mining Act of 1995 was enacted and it has brought an imbalanced development but inconsiderate extraction of our national resources, destruction of our environment, health risk to the people and a long list of mining disasters that have left irreversible consequences to the affected communities,” Garganera said, adding just 5 months ago, typhoon Haiyan struck the country and deforestation and mining have largely contributed to the devastation it brought stressed.

He said the social, environmental and political costs of mining far outweigh its supposed economic benefits.

According to the most recent climate change report released by the United Nations on March 30, the intensifying global warming will gravely affect  countries that rely on agriculture and fishery, and linking it to the booming population that is estimated to become 9.7 billion by 2050, worldwide hunger has been foreseen.

The Philippines, which mostly depends on agriculture and fishery as livelihood resources is bound to suffer more as climate change aggravates.

The effects of mining and other activities that are considered detrimental to environmental services - such as vast deforestation and coal plant operations - do not help in averting the climate crisis.

The contradicting policies on addressing climate change and mining and other development projects are going to lead nowhere, he said. For this, he said, ATM is calling on Filipinos to stand up against these environmental atrocities because it has to stop, otherwise, hope falls short for the rest of the Filipinos.

“Environmental organizations, other concerned sectors even the government, can only do so much if we do not fight against these environmental aggressors. Moreover, let us fight the biggest aggressor, which is the apathy that we have when it comes to environmental concerns. Protecting our environment starts in our homes, the way we think, the way we act. Let us make Earth Day not a one day event, let us celebrate it every day of our lives,” Garganera said.

Pagadian City Anti-Drug Abuse Council gi-reactivate

PAGADIAN CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 22, 2014) - Gibutyag ni City Councilor Ernesto Mondarte ang pag-reactivate sa Pagadian City Anti-Drug Abuse Council ni Mayor Romeo Pulmones.

Sa Pakisayod sa Alindahaw, iyang giingon nga gi-convene nila ang mga sakop sa maong kunseho ning bag-o pa lang ug aduna silay importanting gipanghisgutan ang kabahin sa mga plano ug programa, lakip niini ang pag-organisar sa Barangay Anti-Abuse Council.

Samtang kabahin sa pagkig-away batok sa illegal nga droga, giingon pa niya nga iyang napasar ang usa ka proposed ordinance sa Sangguniang Panlungsod alang sa pagmugna ug pag-establisar sa usa ka administrative board.

Kini mao ang modeklarar nga usa ka nuisance place sa mga public establishment nga gigamit niining mamaligyaay og shabu sa ilang negosyo ug may gihimo nga usa ka drug den.

Tingali niining puntoha, gipuno pa sa kunsehal nga makatabang pod ang  mga tag-iya sa mga establishment nga mag-police pod sa ilang mga area aron walay illegal drug activities sa sulod mismo sa ilang mga establishment kay kun naa ug mapamatud-an ang administrative board na maoy mo-deklarar isip isip nuisance place ug maka-rekomendar kini alang sa pagpasera o revocation of permit to ope-rate niini.

Gipasabot pa kunsehal nga kini ilang gihimo tungod kay walay presensiya dinhi sa Dangerous Drug Board isip usa ka policy making body ug wala kiniy personal nga pag-monitor sa problema sa droga dinhi sa siyudad sa Pagadian.

Busa matod pa niya, kining anti-drug abuse council maoy mohulip sa sa Dangerous Drugs Board kay mahimo man kining usa ka policy making body base sa drug statistics ug activities dinhi.

Mao usab kini ang mogunit ug mosuperbisar sa demand reduction  ug educational campaign ngadto sa atong mga eskwelahan ug labaw sa tanan sa mga ginikanan.

Mokuha usab kini og mga data nga maoy basihan sa mga policy nga ipakanaug sa kunseho.

Ang nahilakip sa kunseho gidugtong pa ni Mondate mao ang atong mayor ug bise-mayor, ang chief of police, tinugyanan gikan sa Department of Education,  religious group, ug giila nilang force multiplier nga anti-drugs organization.                       

PNP gibutyag nga nagkadaghan ang droga sa Pagadian

Gibutyag ni Zamboanga del Sur provincial director Supt. Sofronio Ecaldre ang ilang nasinati nga mga problema niining nagpayuhot sa gidiling droga dinhi sa siyudad ug lalawigan.

Kini kay ning miaging semana naay nadakpan ang taga-Pegsot sa Camp    
Abelon apan naay gamay nga problema sa fiscalia, apan ila na kining napangitaan og sulbad.

Apan bisan niini dinhi sa lalawigan nagtaas ang mga kalampusan batok sa mga tigpayuhot sa mga gidilingdroga ug significant kaayo ang pagtaas sa ilang accomplishment.

Pero iyang giangkon nga na-discourage siya kay bisan kaayo agresibo kaayo ang Pegsot sa ilang trabaho nagkadaghan man hinoon ang mga droga dinhi.

Seguro kini tungod kay nasudlan man ang nasod sa Mexican drug syndicate ug mao tingali kini ang hinungdan kun nganong nagtaas ang supply ug mikunhod ang presyo sa droga.

Busa iyang giingon nga angay gayod nga mag-double time ang pulis ug  ang PDEA, ang ilang Pegsot nga gipamunuan ni Mondarte nga gisuportahan sa ilang mga police personnel.

Gidugang pa ni Ecaldre ang gisuportahan sa provincial government ang Pegsot kay  ang operation kontra sa gidiling droga kinahanglanon man gyod ang kuwarta niini.

Mao kini ang hinungdan nga kun aduna man silay accomplishment batok sa gidiling droga tungod sa suporta sa provincial government ug ni Mondarte.

Gidugtong pa usab ni Mondarte nga mao kini ang nakahatag og peligro dinhi sa atong lugar kun ang hisgutan ang kalabot sa gidiling droga, busa gikinahanglan gayod nga mahimo kitang tanan mabinantayon ug ma-edukar ang mga ginikanan.

Kini matod pa niya, kining atong lugar mao ang nahimong sentro sa operasyon, ug  ang kilid-kilid ilang na-obserbahan basi usab sa taho sa Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency ug Philippine National Police mao ang nahimong distribution area.

Kini sama sa Zamboanga Sibugay, Misamis Occidental ug Lanao provinces.

Giingon pa niya nga nalipay siya nga wala na karoy narco-politician nga nagingkod dinhi pero kining mga ginagmay moabot gihapon dinhi kay ania kita sa kinatung-an niining mga giilang lugar.

Kini matod pa niya dili ikalimod kay adunay gihimong operation diha dapit sa Lanao ug nakuha ang 300 ka mga sachet ug 11 ka mga high-powered fire arms ang nakuha.

Dinhi usab sa kasadpang bahin, ang Malangas ang nadungog nga maoy ganghaan sa gidiling droga nga mikuyanap karon sa probinsiya. Busa sa kanunay iyang giawhag ang katawhan nga magpakabana ilabi na ang mga ginikanan.

Zambo Sur legal officer, mipasabot sa gi-dismiss nga kaso batok kang kanhing Gobernadora Cerilles

PAGADIAN CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 22, 2014) - Gipasabot ni Provincial Legal Oficer Atty. Felix Escalate, Jr. ang mahitungod sa gi-dismiss nga kaso nga gipasaka batok kang kanhing gobernadora ug kasamtangang Congresswoman Auring Cerilles ug iyang mga kaubanan sa kagamhanang probinsiyal kaniadto.

Aduna kiniy kalabutan sa mga pasangil nga kuno adunay gipalit kaniadto ang pro-vincial government nga mga medisina ug uban pang mga hospital equipment nga matod pa overpriced kini.

Kining maong kaso nasang-at sa Ombudsman   ug human ang walo ka tuig sa pag-file sa maong reklamo ayha usab kini gi-file sa Sandigan Bayan ug  ang nahitabo gani niini  ang mga respondent o mga akusado nag-piyansa sa Sandigang Bayan aron makakuha sa temporaryo nga kagawasan.

Matod pa ni Escalante nga ang mga abogado sa mga akusado nag-file og mga nagkalain-laing motion aron ipakita nga dili na magpadayon ang kaso sa Sandigan Bayan tungod kay adunay konstitusyonal nga mga katungod sa mga akusado nga nalapas sa Ombdudsman sa dihang gi-file kining maong kaso.

Kini kay  ang matag akusado o respondent sa usa ka criminal investigation nga himoon sa Ombudsman aduna silay katungod nga ang preliminary investigation mahuman sa labing dali nga panahon kay kun dili mahuman sa daling panahon mahimo kining violation o paglapas sa constitutional right sa due process ug cons-titutional right sa speedy trial kay apil niini ang preliminary investigation.

Mao nga tungod kay dugay kaayo nga na-file ang kaso sa Ombudsman ngadto sa Sandigan Bayan nahimo kining basihan sa mga abogado sa mga akusado para mag-file og motion to dismiss ug didto ilang gipasabot nga adunay mga miagi nga kaso nga nadesisyunan sa Supreme Court nga nagsulti nga ang paghimo sa preli-minary investigation sa Ombudsman sa bisan unsan government agency kabahin niini kinahanglang dili langay-langayon.

Kay kun moingon kita nga “justice delayed is justice denied” kana siya mo-apply sa proseso ug panahon nga gigugol ug gihatag  sa pagpahigayon sa prelimineary investigation.

Matod pa ni Escalante nga malipayon sila kay  ang motion nga gi-file ni Congresswoman Auring Cerilles ug Estita Tago ug mga kauban gihatagan og gibug-aton sa Sandigan Bayan ug  ning bag-o lang niadtong Marso 13, 2014 nagpagawas ang Sandigan Bayan sa usa ka resolution nga nag-ingon nga ensakto ang argumento sa mga akusado nga sila si kanhing gobernadora Cerilles ug Tago nga ang ilang constitutional nga katungod nga mahuman og dali ang preliminary investigation ayha kini na-file sa Sandigan Bayan nalapas gyod.

Ug kining paglapas tungod kay constitutional man kini siya puwedeng mahimong hinungdan aron ma-dismiss ang kaso, matod pa niya ug tuod man nagpagawas ang Sandigan Bayan sa usa ka resolution ug ang unod niini nagsulti nga kining mga kaso dismissed na.

Kining maong kalambuan migawas sa pamantalaang Philippine Daily Inquirer niadtong Abril 10 ug kining maong dismissal matawag nga on the merit kay bisan maabot kini sa paghusay ang prosecutor para mapakanaugan og conviction ang mga akusado.

Bangsamoro accord will not create Islamic state in Mindanao

LANAO DEL SUR - Government peace panel member Senen Bacani has allayed fears of residents in Wao town that the envisioned Bangsamoro government will lead to the establishment of an Islamic state in Mindanao and that Christians would lose their lands to Muslims once the new region is in place.

“The Bangsamoro will be part of the Philippines, it will not separate from the Philippines. Bangsamoro officials will report to the President of the Philippines. The laws of the Philippines will apply to the Bangsamoro,” he said.

Bacani was here Monday for a public forum on the Bangsamoro attended by an estimated 3,000 residents, including those from the nearby town of Bumbaran, also in Lanao del Sur.

“The envisioned Bangsamoro government will not become an Islamic state but a secular one with a working democracy where everyone will continue to enjoy [for example] freedom of religion and freedom of expression. Walang mawawalang rights and privileges natin bilang mamamayan ng Pilipinas dito sa Bangsamoro...including vested property rights” he stressed.

The public forum was held to update people here on the developments in the peace process between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The Islamic state issue was raised through the streamers displayed in the town plaza, the venue of the dialogue. Christians also raised concern that they would lose their lands to Muslims once the Bangsamoro is in place.

Wao town is composed of at least 80 percent Christians with a minority Muslim population.

Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong III graced the forum and rallied the residents to support the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the final peace deal between the government and the MILF.

“Ginagawa lahat ng national government ang makakabuti para sa lahat ng Filipino, Muslim man o Kristiyano kasama na ang katutubo,” he said.

Bacani reiterated that the GPH peace panel signed the CAB with their MILF counterpart clearly following the instruction of President Benigno Aquino III that it must be within the parameters of the Constitution.

Also present to listen to the sentiments of the residents were Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) members Pedrito Eisma and Said Sheik. The two also took turns explaining that the CAB dos not seek the establishment of an Islamic state in Mindanao and that the constituents will continue to enjoy their rights under the Bangsamoro government.

Mayor Elvino Balicao Jr. led the list of local government officials attending the forum.

Benigna Rosal Aguirre, a leader of a Catholic women’s organization here, thanked Bacani and the BTC commissioners for coming and clarifying the disinformation spreading in the locality.

“There’s nothing to fear in the Bangsamoro. It’s good they came here. I’m enlightened now because it’s clear we will continue to enjoy our rights such as religious freedom and that we will continue to own our lands,” she said at the sidelines.

Bacani stressed that land ownership will be respected under the new Bangsamoro region.

Spain's autonomy models to serve as inputs in crafting Bangsamoro Law

MANILA - Two senators and nine congressmen arrived in the Spanish capital Madrid on Sunday to attend a study visit program focused on the country’s autonomy models, in preparation for the deliberations on the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law that will be submitted to Congress.

"The study visit will provide us with a broader outlook on how Spain created its 17 autonomous regions. It will definitely help us in crafting the Bangsamoro Basic Law," Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said.

Organized by the Spanish Embassy in Manila and funded by the Agencia EspaƱola de Cooperacion Internacional para el Desarollo (AECID), the visit is participated in by Senators Pia Cayetano and Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III and Representatives Pangalian Balindong, Jim Hataman-Salliman, Jesus Sacdalan, Bai Sandra Sema, Nancy Catamco, Rodolfo Biazon, Teodoro Baguilat, Jr. and Arnulfo Go. They will be accompanied by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles who will be arriving on April 22.

“There are lots of lessons that can be learned from the experiences of Spain from the time its Constitution was approved by the majority of people all over the country in 1978,” Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines Jorge Domecq said. The Spanish Constitution of 1978 ‘recognizes and guarantees the right to autonomy of the nationalities and regions of which it is composed.’

Currently, there are 17 autonomous communities in Spain with their own ‘statuto’ or basic law, a parliamentary form of government and clear separation of powers. The legislators will visit the autonomous communities of Galicia, one of the first three regions recognized as “historical nationalities” and granted autonomy, and Madrid.

The study visit aims to give legislators a first hand view of the experiences of Spain in the setting up of its autonomous communities, provide best practices and lessons learned on the the relationships between the central and autonomous governments as well as on territorial and political organization, public administration, decentralization and models of local autonomy.

Previously, the peace panels of the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front separately visited Spain to look into its autonomous communities in preparation for the crafting of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. The two visits looked at the autonomous communities of Catalonia and Navarra, the latter considered to be the strongest autonomous community in Spain with its balanced fiscal/financial and economic situation.

Yesterday, the legislators met with the President of Galicia, high officials of the regional government and officers of the Galician Regional Police. In Madrid, they will be meeting officials from the Ministry of Finance and Administration, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, Senate and House of Representatives, Office of the Ombudsman, among others.