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Cagayan de Oro City News

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Cagayan de Oro - Archived News

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Aerial View of Cagayan de Oro City


Armed men rob online casino in Cagayan de Oro

Joel Locsin

Motorcycle-riding men on Monday pulled off a predawn robbery of an online casino in Cagayan de Oro City, taking at least P45,000 in the establishment's earnings.

The men, numbering at least seven, struck at the online casino along J.R. Borja Extension in Barangay Camaman-an, GMA Northern Mindanao's Kaye Mercado reported.

Five of the men were armed and took the service firearm of the casino's security guard. The men fled aboard two motorcycles.

While the casino's staff locked down the establishment, they were forced to open the door after the armed men threatened to kill the security guards outside.

"Binuksan na lang nila kasi papatayin kami sa labas kung hindi nila bubuksan. Nariyan ako, tapos lima silang nakatutok ang baril sa akin," said security guard Zayas Salosad.

An investigation showed the men then poked a firearm at the cashier, who was forced to open the vault.

The robbers made off with P45,000, along with the wallets and mobile phones of the security guard and three casino staff.

PO3 Ramil Acero said they will check the footage from the closed-circuit television system to look for leads on the robbers.

In the meantime, police have set up checkpoints to catch the suspects. — Joel Locsin /LBG, GMA News

THE WORM’S EYEVIEW: What if we empower the grassroots?

Manny Valdehuesa

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/22 Juy) — If we empower the grassroots or the masses, really empower them, it would be a good thing for the local governments.

The masses don’t care much for macro or large scale ideas; they’re better with the nitty gritty of things. Stark reality, not abstractions. Reality they can touch and smell and taste. Not the future, but the here and now; not tomorrow but today; and not the national but the local.

If they have a sense of ownership of their community, they would be more particular about their surroundings, more sensitive to official acts and decisions that affect them and their neighborhood directly. And they would be watchful about threats to peace and order, including incursions of traitorous insurgents.

So it would be good to get them truly enfranchised, aware and knowledgeable about the tasks of local governance. Then they will have a greater sense of ownership of the local government, as they ought to have being the people from whom all government authority emanates.

If they’re aware of the large amounts of money earned and collected by their barangay government—which belongs to the community but held in trust by the officials—they would be more concerned about where and how the money is invested. After all, the money, especially the IRA (internal revenue allotment), is really the barangay’s capital for investment but which the officials spend as if it’s a spending allowance. So they will want to be updated on the expenses and raise questions about local conditions are improved by spending these, especially what difference it makes in their own lives.

If they’re truly empowered, they would know how to punish or remove unreliable or corrupt officials without waiting for regular elections to take place. They would be active in the local governing processes, actually contribute ideas or suggestions on what problems to address and what programs or projects to undertake for their neighborhoods. And they’ll also want to know who are benefitting or not—and why.

Since they would be engaged in addressing the concerns or needs of the immediate community, they would be less preoccupied with Malacañang or Congress—whose activities interest them more like teleseryes do, as engaging bits for neighborhood discussion or marketplace gossip, a distraction to spice up their boring existential reality.

To be empowered means they can create their own prosperity within the framework of the community, enfranchised and not taken for granted as the officials presently treat them.

To be empowered is to be infused with the confidence of one who feels he is master of his fate, engaged in the task of governing a community, a sovereign citizen enjoying the blessings of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Such a government enables every citizen to focus on his quest of a better life, for a fruitful occupation, and a community-based livelihood that earns real dividends. (An empowering motive for striving).

To be empowered means having a voice and a say on the disposition of the community’s wealth, seeing to it that everyone gets a share according to his needs, while also contributing according to his ability.

What a great undertaking it would be if our bureaucracy can focus on efforts to empower the grassroots, turning our government into an empowering institution. Our people would then be at their resourceful best, able to express and apply their talent, turning idle or unutilized assets productive, and assuring earnings for poor.

A barangay of a few hundred families putting their heads together—collaborating to develop the local assets and spaces, mobilizing trade, services, cooperatives, and commercial opportunities within the jurisdiction—can expand the local economy, increase the gross barangay product, and produce benefits for everyone.

Too bad the idea isn’t being tried. We have the people, the technology, and the resources to do it. There are senior citizens with a wealth of experience and skills the community could benefit from. There are women handy with arts and crafts and culinary creations. There are youth and the still unemployed eager to employ energy and imagination to challenging pursuits including sports, the performing arts, technologies, and crafts.

All of them deserve opportunities for useful involvement. They have brains and imagination as sources of ideas, technology, and enterprises. But no one bothers to call on them, to organize, motivate, or challenge them to leave a lasting legacy.

What is lacking is leadership—expansive, imaginative, creative leadership. It’s ridiculous to think that there’s no such leadership in a community of hundreds of families. Our society needs them to induce the elusive progress and prosperity for our barangays.

Many of them lay hidden and anonymous in the barangay. There are educators, working or retired. There are architects and engineers. There are doctors and other health professionals, even scientists and technologists. There are artists, craftsmen, beauticians, assorted service providers. There are lawyers, entrepreneurs, accountants.

If local leaders would only try, they will find a host of other skilled, talented residents in their neighborhoods. But they might as well not be there, because they are ignored or unappreciated. They need avenues of service to open up. And there are more than enough of them to fire up a local volunteerism program for a barangay.

Many of them—retired, pensionado, well-off—don’t even need to be paid; they’ll work merely for the satisfaction and pleasure of doing so. But there they are, idle, at home or in obscure neighborhoods, unrecognized for what they can still contribute to community and humanity.

At the least, the best and outstanding among them should earn recognition and thanks for their services at the peak of their careers. But no official takes the initiative.

Is it because volunteers cannot be relied upon to play the game of partisan politics—the favorite game of the officials? Is it because officials prefer “paid volunteers” who then feel indebted and become grateful campaign workers and supporters at re-election time?

Too bad for the community in its need for role models. Too bad for society in its yearning for excellence. And too bad these potential but unknown heroes!

CEB's Tigerair Philippines launches Manila-Cagayan de Oro flights

Arnold Van Vugt

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, July 21 (PIA) --- Cebu Pacific Air (CEB), through its network made wider with Tigerair Philippines, expands its domestic network with the launch of Tigerair Philippines' Manila-Cagayan de Oro flights last 15 July 2014.

Utilizing an Aurbus A320 aircraft, the Manila-Cagayan de Oro maidedn flight departed NAIA Terminal 4 in Manila at 10:00 a.m. and landed in Cagayan de Oro at 11:30 a.m. The return flight departed Cagayan de Oro at 12:30 p.m. and landed in Manila at 2:00 p.m.

"Tigerair Philippines remains committed to providing the travelling public more travel options and low fares. The launch of firect flights to Cagayan de Oro increases accessibility to northern Mindanao," said Atty. Leilani de Leon, Tigerair Philippines chief legal and corporate affairs.

Cagayan de Oro is a key government, commercial anf tourism hub in the region. It is the gateway to eco-adventure atrracttions such as white water rafting and canopy walks, and is a rapidly developing city with myriad shopping and hotel options.

Tigerair Philippines now operates approximately 220 weekly flights to one international and eight domestic destinations:Hongkong, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Iloilo, Kalibo, Manila, Puerto Princesa and Tacloban. It utlizes a fleet of four Airbus A320 aircraft.

Revisiting the past

Arnold Van Vugt

The Living Spirit

LAST June 17 one of our Filipino Carmelite Priests, Fr. Eddie Albiño, had suddenly died from heart attack. After saying Mass in the morning in our parish church in San Francisco, Agusan Sur, he succumbed and was rushed to the hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.

It was a great shock for all of us Carmelites in the Philippines. Fr. Eddie was only 63 years old. His funeral was set for June 25 and together with my wife I went to San Francisco to attend the funeral. We arrived in San Francisco on June 24 at 12 midnight where Fr. Eddie was laid out for the wake. His face was bloated because of the embalmment and I hardly recognized him. The next day we attended the funeral Mass and the burial in the new cemetery of San Francisco.

San Francisco is a very memorable place for us Carmelites. In the old cemetery in San Francisco is buried Fr. Engelbert van Vilsteren O. Carm, who was parish priest in San Francisco when he was killed in 1973 in a mistaken identity by a group of Rizalians, who had opposed the declaration of martial law during the plebiscite called for by Marcos.

Fr. Engelbert was still very young. He had newly arrived from Holland as a missionary and this was his first assignment. When he died he was one of the first martyrs under the martial law regime. Another Carmelite who is buried there is Br. Isagani Valle, a Filipino seminarian of the Carmelites who was salvaged in Buenavista, Agusan Norte, while he was on exposure there. He was killed because he was an anti-martial law activist.

San Francisco is a memorable place for us in particular. It was here that my wife, Lorna, lost her husband in the infamous Antongalon Massacre in 1985. Her 6 young children were left without a father and this prompted me to leave the priesthood in 1988 and marry his widow Lorna Malicay and adopt her children. It was an experience which has left an unforgettable trauma in the children that still has its ill-effects until now.

After 3 years we received also a daughter of our own whom we consider to be a gift of God and a clear sign that God has approved of my decision to leave the priesthood, which I never in my life would have expected to happen. Since that time we officially became Lay Carmelites and associate members of the Carmelite Order.

Coming back on Fr. Eddie Albiño, he was the first Filipino Superior of the Carmelites in the Philippines. He has in his own way contributed very much to the Filipinization of the Order. On his mortuary card are printed his own words in his memory, I quote: “Whatever status or position we have now, it is because we are Carmelites, and we cannot brag about it. The Order does not owe us gratitude; rather, it is us, simply because we were the ones, who opted to be Carmelites. In this way we can easily learn to live out our religious life and vows in a very simple way.” This is a full-length portrait of Fr. Eddie – Rev. Fr. Eduardo Castillon Albiño, O.Carm.

Fr. Eddie was a very simple and humble Carmelite. Testimonies about Fr. Eddie during the wake and the funeral Mass of so many friends of Eddie were very emotional and these showed very clearly how much he was loved by so many people. Fr. Albiño had been assigned as social action director of the Diocese of Butuan. I feel my association with Eddie because I myself was assigned as social action director in Iligan City. That was a horrible experience for me as a priest. Because of my involvement in the labor movement I was put in detention in Camp Tipanoy and handcuffed brought to Manila and under escort brought to the plane that deported me from the Philippines.

As a priest and a foreign missionary I felt terribly humiliated like Bong Revilla must have felt as a senator when he was put in chains. But in his case he is a big criminal but in my case I was totally innocent of the charges they had filed against me except for Marcos who had declared my involvement in a strike in Iligan City illegal and deported me as an undesirable alien. Our visit to San Francisco was indeed a re-visiting the past similar to what Renato Constantino describes in his book, ‘The past revisited’.

On another note, I am still supporting President Aquino in his stand regarding the legality of the DAP. He is right in filing a motion for reconsideration with the Supreme Court. Of course, there must be a separation of powers but as President he has the right to stick to his guns when it comes to following his ‘straight path’ and fighting corruption and dishonesty of our government officials. For me, Aquino is still the best president we had since the ouster of Marcos.

Village officials ‘behind’ illegal mining, logging

Froilan Gallardo

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/19 July)- The international outrage against Israel’s invasion in Gaza has sparked protest rallies in some parts of Mindanao.

Around 30 Muslim students joined by their Christian fellows from various universities here staged a protest rally at the Freedom Kiosk in Divisoria, Cagayan de Oro City today (Saturday).

The students, some waving miniature Palestinian flags, urged the United Nations to stop the Israeli invasion in Gaza.

“We want the international community and the United Nations to see the injustice and violence brought by the Israeli invasion against the people in Gaza,” said Prof. Mehmet Derindag of Liceo de Cagayan University.

Last Thursday, Maranao youth burned an Israeli flag in Marawi City to show their outrage and support to the Palestinian residents.

Similar protests were also reported in the key Mindanao cities of Davao, General Santos and Cotabato over the week as the Israeli army stepped up their offensive along the Gaza strip where militants kept firing rockets to Israel.

“Innocent Palestinians fell victim to the violence. Children are dying,” Derindag said.

Jalani Pamlian of the Muslim Youth Center said the Muslim communities around the world cannot simply watch the Israeli army bomb the houses in Gaza.

Pamlian said most of those who died were not combatants but civilians caught in the crossfire.

“We can not leave Gaza alone. This Ummah (community) will not leave Gaza alone,” he said. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)

Village officials ‘behind’ illegal mining, logging

Alyssa C. Clenuar

A GOVERNMENT official and an environmental advocate alleged that some barangay officials are involved in the illegal mining and logging operations in the city’s upland villages.

“I am very sure the barangay captains are behind all of these widespread illegal mining and logging activities in the upper lands of the city,” Orlando Ravanera, regional director of Cooperative Development Authority said during the press conference at Cagayan de Oro Press Club’s “Media Konek” on July 17, 2014.

Ravanera chairs the local environmental group Sulog–One Sendong is Enough.

Ravanera said during their operations coupled with intelligence reports, the village chiefs of the five barangays along the upstream area of the Iponan River are allegedly running the extensive mining and logging operations.

“Although I would not name them for confidentiality purposes, but yes, the barangay captains and kagawads are the ones who spearhead the mining and logging businesses in the mountains,” Ravanera added.

He questioned the Environment Protection Order (EPOs) issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to participating government agencies, which failed to act on the environmental problems in the upper area of the Iponan river.

Sulog is currently fast-tracking its request for a dialogue with other agencies like the Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID), Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), Environment Management Bureau (EMB) and DENR, to be included in its letter to the Court of Appeals.

“Sulog is seeking for a dialogue from the government agencies after we submit further reports on the order of the protection of the watershed in Iponan,” he said.

Edwin Dael, head of City Local Environment and Natural Resources Office (Clenro) also said that one of the bases that barangay officials are indirectly or directly involved is the sudden change of their lifestyle which is irreconcilable with their monthly salaries.

“There are many barangay captains and kagawads I know personally who do not have the kind of opulent lifestyle before. They can barely eat but now they have numerous cars and huge mansions. How could you explain that?” Dael said.

In their operations, Dael said they have been receiving reports that some of them (village officials) are really financing while others are merely protecting and operating the mining and logging activities.

“The bottom line here is that whatever their participation in the illegal activities, they are definitely receiving money from it,” he added.

Military participation

Ravanera also recalled his experience in 1991 when a grenade was lobbed at a group of people protesting which included him.

“We exactly remember everything they did to us. We figured out already that it was from the military because the grenade used can only be purchased and found in the military,” he said.

In the last anti-mining operations the group conducted, a backhoe was found which has long been missing and allegedly owned by a high-ranking military official.

Dael added the army official denied the allegations and claimed he rented the backhoe from a barangay captain in another village.

Dael admitted that there are still widespread illegal activities in the upper areas of the city until now.

Majority bloc councilors urged to hasten road project

Alyssa C. Clenuar

THE Cagayan de Oro City Council’s minority bloc wants to speed up the farm-to-market road (FMR) project in various villages where a counterpart from the city government is needed to bankroll its construction.

City councilor Lourdes Darimbang said they wish to hasten the project so that residents’ needs in the hinterland barangays can be addressed immediately instead of hindering it.

“I wish they could stop arguing about the project saying that there are some requirements which have not yet been met. All of them have already been submitted and now we wait for the city council’s approval only,” Darimbang said.

The FMR will cover nine barangays in the hinterlands, namely, Tumpagon, Pigsag-ang, Tuburan, Taglimao, Pagalungan, Tagpangi, Besigan, Tinagpuluan and Dansolihon.

Last June 26, 2014, 24 tribal leaders of the nine barangays sent a letter to Vice-mayor and presiding officer Caesar Ian Acenas asking him to persuade the city council to sign the 10 percent equity fund.

The 10-kilometer project is estimated to cost about P120 million which comes from the Department of Agriculture, and the P12 million must be shouldered by the city.

Fausto Orasan, the spokesperson of the city’s tribal leaders, said there are so many requirements that were allegedly unaccomplished that delayed the approval of the city council.

“There were so many requirements like the road-right-of-way in which has already been accomplished,” Orasan said.

City Administrator Roy Raagas added that money is already available but it needs the approval of the city council.

“Naa gyud kwarta ang syudad man. Wala na gyud ta’y problema ana. Approval na lang atong gitagad,” Raagas said.

The project has already been approved at the Committee on Public Works and Engineering and it will be passed to the Committee of Finance, chaired by City Councilor President Elipe, for evaluation of its budget. Darimbang said they will definitely encounter a problem when the project goes to Elipe.

“When the project will be passed to Elipe, I do not know how long will it take for him to approve the project knowing that in every project the city does, he counters,” she said during the press conference on the city’s clarification of Commission on Audit (COA) findings where Elipe presented issues regarding the discrepancies in the current administration during the city council session last Monday. Elipe is a member of the city council’s majority bloc.

“Everything is already submitted man gyud. Pero kana [Elipe’s actions] kay pamikil lang gyud na,” Darimbang said.

Reopening of LTO’s satellite office in CDO pushed


CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, July 16 (PNA) -– Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, of Cagayan De Oro City, on Wednesday has expressed support for the reopening of the extension office of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Puerto here.

The LTO has padlocked it’s extension office in the village of Puerto in the city’s east coast last May 24, 2014 to pave the way for the centralization of the new registration schemes for vehicles in Northern Mindanao.

Rodriguez said that he would pass a resolution in Congress this week for the reopening and the establishment of the LTO’s permanent extension office in Puerto, Cagayan De Oro City.

“I will also ask Congress to appropriate an amount for the construction of the permanent building for the LTO’s office in Puerto,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez also promised to personally bring the resolutions of various transport groups and local government units here asking the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) in Manila to reopen the LTO-Puerto office.

The closure of the LTO office has triggered protests from clients and stakeholders in Misamis Oriental who complained the difficulty in transacting business at the LTO’s regional office in Bulua, a coastal village west of Cagayan De Oro City.

Jesus Chan, a senior official at the LTO’s regional office, said that the LTO-Puerto entertains about 400 to 500 clients daily – most of the clients came from the east district of Misamis Oriental from the towns of Tagolo-an to Magsaysay, the last town in Misamis Oriental in the border of Agusan Del Norte.

He said that the LT0-Puerto contributes as much as P 20 million a month in licensing and registration fees for the LTO’s regional coffers.

Gilarion E. Ulep, the LTO regional director, said that LTO Assistant Secretary Virginia P. Torres has already approved the reopening of the LTO-Puerto extension office.

Ulep, however, said that the LTO regional office has not received the order approving the reopening of the LTO-Puerto office.

He said that he wrote an appeal letter to the LTO Assistant Secretary last July 2 in response to the public clamor asking for the reopening of the LTO-Puerto District Office.

Amendment to CDO’s tourism law pushed

By Aida Raut [(PNA), CTB/CD/AR/UTB]

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, July 15 (PNA) -- The city’s local tourism board is pushing for the amendment of some provisions of the city’s ordinance on tourism establishments here.

City Councilor Candy Darimbang, chair of the City Council Committee on Tourism, said on Tuesday that the amendment intends to reclassify the status of various hotels, pension houses, apartments, and resorts here.

She said that the proposed amendment is intended for purposes of registration and licensing and the introduction of new tourism laws.

The city’s Ordinance No. 5239-96, known as the Cagayan De Oro City Tourism Establishments Regulatory Ordinance of 1996, where some provisions have to be amended in order to cope with the demands of the time.

For instance, Darimbang said, the deluxe hotels should be classified into 5- Star Hotel, first class hotels to be classified as 4-star hotel, standard hotels to 3-star hotel, economy class hotels to 2-star hotel and budget hotels.

In a meeting with stakeholders last week, Josephine Roque, of the Department of Tourism (DOT), here furnished the committee with a copy of the assessment booklet, which shall be provided to all existing accommodation enterprises.

Roque said that the material will update and appraise the owners of the hotels, resorts and apartment hotels of the new set of criteria and standard that will be used in the assessment of the establishment’s star rating classification.

However, tourist inns, pension houses and motels will still use the old classification system, the tourism committee said.

The DOT said that the classification of hotels is represented with the “star point system” where the criteria is divided into seven dimensions to include the arrival and departure areas; public area; bedrooms; bathrooms; food and beverage, amenities and services and business practices.

Catalino Chan, the DOT regional director in Northern Mindanao, said that the DOT would dispatch a team of auditors to evaluate tourism- related establishments in the city in order to ensure compliance of the new guidelines in the renewal of the accreditations.

Chan suggested that the new guidelines should be included in the amendment of the local tourism code, especially the provision of, at least, two rooms for Persons with Disabilities (PWD) as well as the strict compliance of the installation of sprinklers, fire exits and elevators, that accommodate two wheelchairs.

Darimbang also want the tourism code to compel hotels to have medicines to provide the medical needs of hotel guests, train personnel in basic lifesaving techniques, and hire “on call” medical personnel such as nurse and physicians to attend to the medical needs of hotel guests.

Bill seeks airport privatization proceeds to fund Mindanao Railway System

By Xianne Arcangel/VS, GMA News

The first phase construction of the proposed 2,000-kilometer Mindanao Railway System (MRS) may soon be a reality if the bill filed by Representatives Rufus Rodriguez and Maximo Rodriguez Jr. is passed into law.

House Bill 4059 seeks to appropriate the proceeds of the privatization and sale of the old Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro City to finance the MRS project.

“With the opening of the Laguindingan International Airport in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental in June last year, the old Lumbia Airport is not being used anymore,” the lawmakers said in the bill’s explanatory note.

The Lumbia Airport used to be the second busiest gateway in Mindanao, after the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City, until it closed in 2013 due to safety issues.

The Laguindingan Airport, which boasts of state-of-the-art facilities, is now the main airport of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan Cities.

The Department of Transportation and Communication has confirmed that the Lumbia Airport will be privatized through a public process based on Executive Order No. 323 or the rules and regulations covering the state privatization program.

DOTC previously said proceeds from the privatization of the old Lumbia Airport may be used to finance other government infrastructure programs.

For the brothers Rodriguez, the money from the airport’s privatization should be “devoted exclusively” to finance the first phase of the MRS – the Cagayan de Oro-Iligan Railway project.

The 124-kilometer line will traverse 10 coastal municipalities in Misamis Oriental, including Lugait, Manticao, Laguindingan, El Salvador and Opol.

The feasibility study for the MRS is being reviewed if it could be implemented as a public -private partnership (PPP) project.

HB 4059 has been pending with the House Transportation committee since March 10, 2014. – Xianne Arcangel/VS, GMA News

MGA NAGPAPA-DEDE, DAPAT MAY BREAK / Moms bat for strict implementation of breastfeeding law

By Mark Francisco, Philippines News Agency

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY -- A group of nursing mothers in Cagayan de Oro is batting for strict implementation of Republic Act (RA) 10028, otherwise known as the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009.

Section 11 of RA 10028 specifically states that all workplaces must have a lactation station and that a nursing mother must be allowed 40 minutes to break each working shift to pump milk in her privacy.

The Cagayan de Oro-based group Mommy Bright Side made the call after the National Nutrition Council released on Wednesday a report listing the number of malnourished children in Northern Mindanao at 32,738.

Even though that number was relatively lower compared to 2012 and 2011 levels, Mommy Bright Side was not impressed. “That could have gone down a lot lower if only breastfeeding is practiced religiously here such as pumping breast milk in workplaces,” Mommy Bright Side founder Nadine Casiño said.

In April this year, Unicef Philippines said that child mortality could have been prevented if children are not malnourished.

The Unicef said that the number one source of nutrition in this precarious stage from zero to five years old is mother’s milk, not the one processed from cows.

“Infants should be exclusively breastfed from birth to six months and should continue to breastfeed up to two years old and beyond while receiving a variety of foods,” Unicef recommended in the report, which also accompanied the rate of child mortality in the region, pegged at 40 out of 1,000 births.

For that, Casiño and her band of nursing mothers is touring cities in Northern Mindanao advocating for breastfeeding up to two years old.

They have observed that most workplaces, even in the regional capital of Cagayan de Oro don’t have lactation stations for working moms.

Major shopping malls here have breastfeeding stations, but the thousands of other establishments and government offices don’t have.

Casiño pointed out that under RA 10028, a breastfeeding station must have a lavatory for hand washing, refrigerator for storing pumped milk, at least one electrical outlet for breast pumps, a small table, and at least one comfortable seat.

Unicef Philippines have emphasized the economic cost of breastfeeding failure by mothers – in 2013, an average Filipino family spent P 4,756.84 in processed infant milk – a product they could do without. Instead, a household with an infant spent an average of P 4,019.83 in pediatric care in 2013 – expenses they also could do without.

Organizations like Mommy Bright Side are trying to stress these disparities and their efforts are not in vain. Since March, they’ve been organizing breastfeeding awareness seminars at a local hospital here. By the next few months, they are looking forward to partnering with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for strict implementation of RA 10028.

In that way, the P 8,776.67 incurred yearly by a Filipino family for pediatric and processed milk could be dispensed with. And malnutrition and child mortality in Northern Mindanao would be lowered as a result.

THE WORM’S EYEVIEW: The importance of people power in the community

By Manny Valdehuesa o

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/12 July) — The long standing case of the Ampatuan Massacre—since 2009 yet! Under Gloria yet!—is a frustrating lesson for all of us. The full story may never be told—of the Arroyo administration’s coddling of the warlord clan, of the military’s manipulations, and so on.

The Ampatuans, ruling clan of much of Central Mindanao, with patriarch Andal Ampatuan as Maguindanao governor at the time, had accumulated political and economic power over the years while the people and Malacañang merely sat back and watched or even cheered Andal on as their foil against the MILF.

By 2009 Andal and his clan had amassed such power, influence, and wealth that anything they wanted could not be denied including government-supplied munitions and equipment like transport and backhoes.

The rest of the people resigned themselves to the ugly reality that even high officials tolerated, which reinforced the warlord’s swagger, self-importance, and sense of impunity all the more.

So intimidating was his power and reach that one would have to play the hero or be a martyr to oppose it. And that’s exactly what happened when Toto Mangudadatu tried to defy the clan by declaring his candidacy against the patriarch. Luckily for Toto, he wasn’t with the convoy of over 50 that was ambushed and massacred including his wife and 32 journalists.

This is a problem from hell for Mindanaons, always being played with by people in power on all levels. A Muslim friend from Cotabato, an educated man, tells me it’s a problem that only God can solve, and I cannot disagree.

But I do believe also that God has given us, men and women, untold resources for solving our own problems. We just have to know how to use these resources and employ them for our purposes. One sure thing, though: cowardice won’t do; there must be defiance, and for that we have people power.

As citizens of the sovereign community, the one resource that can be effective but which Mindanaons don’t employ is collective action. It worked at EDSA against Marcos and his fascist troops—I know because I was there with my family (wife and children) from start to finish—and it worked again when we ousted Erap.

Sure, protest or defiance can be scary: armed versus our unarmed forces. It is heart-pounding. It makes your knees tremble. It drains the color from your face as cold sweat trickle down your chest and back.

But the togetherness, the nearness to one another of citizens fighting for a cause, bonded by unity of purpose, wins the day. Just like at EDSA, people power is scary. But when citizens stand pat and hold the line; even with eyes shut but arms and hearts linked, they win day…and night! That’s now part of the story of democracy in our society. Something to savor even for the faint of heart.

Braving the showdown unarmed, surviving and prevailing, did something to the Filipino and the world and made life worth living all over again after the dark night of dictatorship.

It would be such a pity if, having already tested our mettle as a people, we do not summon it again as necessary. That time, it was in Manila; this time it can be in Mindanao, a tougher challenge. But Mindanaons have shown their toughness when times get tough: against Spaniards, against Americans, against Japanese, against Marcos!

To summon the spirit of People Power and let it arise in Mindanao would be such a spectacle! This will happen if we are resolute and determined to steer our society away from neutral and move to a forward mode.

We just have to wake up and dust off the cobwebs that keep us from seeing deeply into ourselves as citizens vested with inherent power—a power we can wield in place, right where we are in our community, our barangay.

This power is not granted from above, nor is it conferred by law or fiat. It has always been with us since the beginning of our nationhood, to be used or employed at will. Only, we have not been conscious of it because we have been looking in the wrong direction.

To appreciate and know this power, and to employ its potential for influencing the bureaucracy or reforming the system, we need only to refocus—from the top to the base, from Malacañang and Congress to our community, the barangay.

It is in the barangay where the details of our national problems are starkly manifest. The squatters, the juvenile and adult delinquents, criminality, the agonized faces of poverty and injustice: they are all in the barangay. Viewed from higher levels, it’s all statistics, aggregate data, impersonal.

Seeing them in their naked reality gives a realistic perspective that, on the scale of our barangay, can make their solutions doable.

If we focus on this reality and invest even a little time and effort, together we can change these details and improve the nation’s condition—much as rearranging the dots in a photograph or retouching its details can change the picture.

Although the task of changing the details rests primarily with our officials, it falls to us, the community to whom all officials are accountable, to see that they perform the job properly, efficiently, and honestly.

Let us use people power to moderate the excesses of government and provide quality control to official performance. People power includes civil society, the professions, the social and economic institutions who together can turn bad governance into good governance.

Reloc site identified for families affected by mega-dike

By Alyssa C. Clenuar

THE Cagayan de Oro City Government said it has already identified a potential relocation site for the residents who will be affected by the mega dike project, a 12-kilometer flood-protection structure which is expected to be built in 2015.

City Social and Welfare Development (CSWD) officer Teddy Sabuga-a told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro on Thursday that Barangay Balubal is the most feasible relocation for the approximately 2,000 affected families.

“There is a relocation site for them; Balubal is the model area. Logically, when you make a project where people will be affected, there has to have a relocation site for them, otherwise the project will be non-sense,” Sabuga-a said in a weekly press conference at Cagayan de Oro Press Club.

Shelter plan

On Thursday, CSWD announced the drafting of its Shelter Plan which according to them is the ultimate answer to the problems of houses affected by flood and other calamities, and government projects.

“First and foremost, a house would not get flooded if it was well-planned prior to its construction. It’s all in the planning so that is why we are trying to focus on that aspect,” he said.

In the plan, shanties built along waterways and creeks are also included.

He added that dwellings along Bitan-ag creek in Claro M. Recto Avenue get flooded every time there is downpour. It is one of city government’s priorities under its program “Hapsay Sapa.”

“Residents should not build their houses in the “no-build zone.” Obvious man jud kaayo na. But of course, the role of the government is to listen to its people as to whatever their cries are,” he said.

“We are taking baby steps on this since we do not want to have rash decisions. But this would not be that difficult since there is an intervention from the national government,” Sabuga-a added, referring to the mega dike construction.

An Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) must be issued to the city government before the site development and the relocation.


Rhodora Bulosan, regional coordinator of women’s group Gabriela-10, however, doubts if all families affected will all be given a house and lot at the relocation site.

“Even the Sendong-affected families have not all been transferred to the relocation site yet, how much more to those who will be affected by the megadike construction?” Bulosan said.

Bulosan is a Sendong survivor but did not apply for the relocation program of the City Government since the damages to her properties are not that massive compared to her neighbors, she said.

“Some of my neighbors are still at their temporary shelters. There are also families [still living in] their temporary shelters since there are no relocation houses for them. That stretches from Cala-cala to Consolacion. I do not think the [city] government is prepared. If there is, I do not know if that is true,” she said.

Bulosan emphasized that they are not against whatever development the city is undertaking.

“We support the government, actually. But they must also know that their priority should not only be up to the investors but also the people,” she added.

Cagayan de Oro Archived News

The older news reports are kept here.

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