- Source: http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=806227&publicationSubCategoryId=67
- Saturday, May 12, 2012
- by philstar.com
Employees of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau inspect dead hawksbill turtles for parasites and take tissue samples, too, for mitochondrial DNA testing, during an inspection of the marine species confiscated by joint government operatives from 12 Vietnamese off Pangutaran Island in Sulu last April 22. The suspected poachers are currently detained at the provincial jail in Tawi-Tawi, having been charged for violating the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 and the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act. Aside from the 87 marine turtles, also found in the Malaysian-registered fishing vessel used by the Vietnamese were five bundles of black corals and about 600 kilograms of hammerhead fish, lapu-lapu (grouper) and squid.
More charges to be filed against Vietnamese fishermen
- Source: http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Nation&title=More-charges-to-be-filed-against-Vietnamese-fishermen&id=51466
- Thursday, May 10, 2012
- by Bettina Faye V. Roc
THE ENVIRONMENT department is set to file additional charges on the Vietnamese nationals caught allegedly poaching marine species off Sulu last month, this time for the violation of the Wildlife Act. “This is a clear violation of international and local laws on wildlife, especially since most of the species caught are considered endangered, and they were killed or collected in the Sulu Sea Marine Ecoregion (SSME), which is a protected area,” said Environment Secretary Ramon Jesus P. Paje in a statement.
The Vietnamese fishermen were aboard a Malaysian-registered vessel when they were caught by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on April 22 off Pangutaran Island in Sulu. Upon inspection, the vessel was found to be loaded with five bundles of black corals, 87 pieces of hawksbill turtles and around 600 kilograms of hammerhead fish, lapu-lapu (grouper) and squid.
The poachers are currently detained at the Tawi-Tawi provincial jail. The BFAR had earlier filed against the men charges for violating provisions in Republic Act No. 8550, also known as the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, which prohibits the catching and taking of fish and other aquatic products by foreign fishing vessels in Philippine waters.
Meanwhile, collecting, hunting or possessing wildlife, their by-products and derivatives are violations of Republic Act 9147 or the Wildlife Act.
La Aunor’s new film will showcase Tawi-Tawi as tourism destination
- Source: http://www.zamboangatoday.ph/index.php/inside-stories/9913-la-aunors-new-film-will-showcase-tawi-tawi-as-tourism-destination.html
- Wednesday, May 9, 2012
- by NT-PIO/RVC/PIA-9 ZBST
Superstar Nora Aunor is making Tawi-Tawi shine as she takes pleasure filming her new movie in the province. The Superstar and her co-stars and the film’screw have just concluded their shooting recently of Brillante Mendoza’s newfilm titled “Thy Womb”, a love drama portraying a Bajau couple’s sacrosanct relationship as husband and wife though unblessed with offspring.
The movie depicts the seafaring Bajau tribeof Tawi-Tawi, their culture and tradition and a précis that tells of a Bajao woman who is more than willing to endure personal sacrifice for the sake of hereternal love for her husband.
The controversial Cannes-film winningdirector Mendoza said in an interview that “this cultural and dramatic filmwould portray the people of Mindanao, especially, Tawi-Tawi and that they [thepeople of Mindanao] are [also] capable of loving.”
“That in spite of the troubles and conflictsevident in Mindanao, there are people here, who are capable of loving and peaceful as well,” Mendoza stressed.
He also said that the film would somehowconvey to the world the tourism potentials of Tawi-Tawi saying that this southern frontier of the country has peace and serenity with beautiful sitesworth visiting.
Mendoza also said that they have chosenTawi-Tawi as a location shooting because it delivers the scenario and the characters needed for the film. For their part, Aunor and Roco, expressedtheir appreciation of Tawi-Tawi’s hospitality and said that they are captivated by the beauty of this southern province.
Ms. Aunor plays the lead character as amidwife named Salehah and is co-starred by Bembol Roco as Bangas-an, Lovi Poeand Mercedes Cabral with support cast from the locals of Tawi-Tawi.
Aunor flew in to Tawi-Tawi last April 14, toshoot the indie film, her first since returning from a hiatus in the UnitedStates. Shooting took place in at least 3 locations: the island-towns ofBongao, Sitangkai and Taganak. She left the province last April 28.
Meanwhile, Provincial Information OfficerNash Tahang said that the local government officials and the locals ofTawi-Tawi was elated and honored and was grateful to the film-makers forchoosing the province to be the location for the Superstar’s new film.
Vice Governor Ruby Sahali said that thismovie will eventually help pump prime the exposure of the province’s tourism potentials not only for the local visitors influx, but more so, that of theforeigners.
“These are the days Tawi-Tawi shines with thesuperstar,” she said. Moreover, Provincial Secretary Nurjay Sahali made thesame observation, saying that the film will help boost the tourism aspects ofthe beautiful and peaceful province, as most of the location shootings weretaken in Tawi-Tawi.
Thespians in Tawi-Tawi
- Source: http://www.tawitawi.net/thespians-in-tawi-tawi/
- Tuesday, May 8, 2012
- by tawitawi.net
ACCLAIMED actor Bembol Roco and the great Nora Aunor just got back from a tedious but totally reinvigorating work assignment in the far-flung province of Tawi-Tawi in Mindanao. The multiawarded actors immersed themselves for more than two weeks with the locals of the towns of Bongao and Sitangkai, where most of the scenes of the latest Brillante Mendoza film Thy Womb were shot.
We met up with both Roco and Aunor in Cebu, the final leg of their nonstop shoot for this much talked-about movie, where both recounted their unforgettable experiences in Tawi Tawi.
“Breathtaking” was how Roco described the Tawi-Tawi that he saw and experienced. “You feel like you are in a totally different world and a different time frame. The water is always clear and the marine life does not only sustain the day-to-day existence of the people but it also makes you realize that God is so generous with His many natural gifts to us.”
Roco added that although life there may appear difficult because much is stripped to the essentials, it’s the simplicity that will capture the heart of a visitor like him. “Imagine taking a pump boat to the islands for countless hours, just gazing at the vastness of the ocean and the sky. Imagine living in stilt houses with no real toilets. Imagine being with people who, despite their seeming poverty, can flash a smile like they are the happiest creatures on earth. That was the Tawi-Tawi that has pierced my heart.”
For her part, Aunor, unquestionably the country’s One and Only Superstar, she admitted that she shed all inhibitions and doubt, plunging into her character right away the moment she stepped on the island.
“Isa akong midwife dito na nagbabangka at dumadayo sa iba’t ibang lugar para magpaanak pero hindi ako mabiyayaan ng sarili kong anak [I play a midwife who travels from one place to another to deliver babies, but I can’t have my own child],” she volunteered. “Pagdating na pagdating namin ni Kuya Bembs [her nickname for Roco], na-in love agad kami sa lugar at sa mga tao. Mababait ang mga kababayan natin sa Tawi-Tawi. Simple lang sila pero masaya, kahit mahirap ang buhay. Ibang-iba sa inire-report ng media na magulo at delikado doon. Peaceful sila at masisipag [The moment Bembol and I arrived, we immediately fell in love with the place and its people. The people of Tawi-Tawi are nice. They are simple and happy even if life seems difficult. It’s totally different from what the media sometimes report. They are peace-loving and industrious people],” she stressed.
She added, “S’yempre may mga security na naka-assign sa amin, hindi dahil sa delikado ang lugar kundi para maging smooth ang shooting namin doon. Pero wala kaming naging problema. Nag-cooperate lahat kaya naging maayos at masaya lahat. [We were provided with security not because it was a dangerous place but because we wanted the shoot to be smooth. Everyone was cooperative.]”
Aunor shared that she had to learn to weave the native banig and constantly practice paddling a banca. “Gusto kasi ni direk Brillante na makatotohanan lahat kaya kelangan akong maging gamay sa mga gawain nila doon. Tingnan mo nga at sunog na sunog ako dahil namamangka ako kahit matirik ang araw. [Our director wants everything to be realistic so I had to do what they do there. Look at me, my skin is so sun-burnt because I had to paddle a banca even when the sun was scorching hot].”
Brillante Mendoza, who holds the distinction of being the only Filipino to have won a Cannes International Film Festival best director plum, only has good words for his two main actors.
“Nora and Bembol are who they are because they are both true artists. You see, I do not allow my actors to have scripts on the set. They know and understand their respective roles after every briefing and take everything to heart. They are thespians and I am so blessed having both of them in this film. They certainly make my work easier and more fulfilling,” Mendoza enthused.
Altruistic to the core, Mendoza and his team headed by production head Larry Castillo and cinematographer Odyssey Flores flew to Tawi-Tawi hoping for the best and he told us that his team got more than what they expected. “The weather was perfect, the people were very cooperative, the local government of Tawi-Tawi was all out in its support to our vision for the project. The shoot went very, very well and I am simply grateful.”
Now that the principal photography of the film is finished, Mendoza and his team will start the difficult phase of post-production with big smiles on their faces, knowing that this film will bring them far and do the country proud in the coming months.
Meanwhile, Nora Aunor and Bembol Roco will pursue their other acting assignments but this experience in Tawi-Tawi will surely remain in their hearts for a very long time.
Scuba diving training enhances MSU-Tawi-Tawi students’ skills
- Source: http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?idn=2&sid=&nid=2&rid=424242
- Monday, May 7, 2012
- by (PNA)
ZAMBOANGA CITY, May 7 (PNA) -– The Mindanao State University-Tawi-Tawi College of Technology and Oceanography (MSU-TCTO), in cooperation with the Tawi-Tawi Divers Club (TDC), has conducted a two-month introductory course in scuba diving for selected students of Marine Biology and Environmental Sciences.
The training is relevant because Tawi Tawi is part of the coral triangle in Southeast Asian region, and there are more interesting coastal fishery resources and pristine beaches to explore in the province , even better than those in other places within the country and around the world.
TDC President Engr. Rosendo R. Reyes said the free training was participated in by at least 20 people, of which, 15 are students of MSU-TCTO and members of the Marine Bio & Environmental Sciences Students’ Association (MABESSA).
Reyes said this project with the MSU-TCTO was initiated as part of the club’s social responsibility “to draw strategic partnership with the academic institution like the MSU-TCTO that offers courses in marine biology and fisheries and environmental sciences.”
He pointed out that TDC provides such training to students so that “they will utilize their skills, exposures and experiences especially in the conduct of their academic research in marine and environmental sciences.”
He added that conducting under water research studies require students to be scuba divers.
He said two dive masters-- Prof. Ramon Tangon and Rasul Sabal, assisted him in the training that ended March 31.
He emphasized that TDC would continue to participate on collaborative engagement with concerned agencies and NGOs in projects related to marine life.
These project will include coral assessment, establishment and management of fish sanctuary, construction of artificial reef, Crown-of Thorns clean-up, coastal clean-up like scubasurero (garbage collector of the sea) and other projects and programs of similar considerations, especially those involving environmental concerns.
Meanwhile, MSU-TCTO Chancellor Atty. Lorenzo R. Reyes underscored the significance of scuba diving to the academic program of the university.
He said he plans to make scuba diving as one subject area of study in the academic curriculum of the Department of Marine & Environmental Science of the university.
“I have always encouraged the college of fisheries and environmental science to undertake more research studies in fisheries and marine biology as well as in environmental sciences because MSU-TCTO is a vocational institution by its mandates,’ he stressed.
He shared his vision to make MSU-TCTO a center of excellence in fisheries and oceanographic studies, and to ensure that the graduates will be relevant and globally competitive.
He also pointed out that Tawi-Tawi is considered a haven for research studies and that he expect that the college should be able to come up with more vital research proposals in which he assured that it would be his responsibility to find possible source of funding for any research proposal submitted.
Moreover, Director for Coastal Resource Management Prof. Felimon Romero said that, “there’s a need to strengthen our environment and ecological system as this is our only potential source of eco-tourism for foreign investment in Tawi-Tawi.”
“We are part of coral triangle in Southeast Asian region, and that what we have here in Tawi-Tawi is that we can find more interesting coastal fishery resources and pristine beaches to explore that we are proud to say is much better than those in other places within the country, including other places abroad,” he added.,
Meanwhile, the Office of MSU-SCTO Chancellor has donated to the club some ten pieces of junked steel cabinets that will be used as artificial reef in support to the national coral reef restoration program of government.
As part of their commitment to the TDC, the trainees will install the cabinets to the seas near Mountain View Resort Beach at Barangay Pasiagan in Bongao.
TDC said the areas that are devastated by dynamite and cyanide fishing are the targets of coral reef restoration.
MABESSA President Yunadzmal Ong, moreover, expressed his gratitude to the TDC President and MSU Chancellor for making the scuba training possible that helps in their quest for scientific exploration of the seas and the oceans of Tawi-Tawi.
Introducing Tawi-Tawi, Sulu folk to healthcare
- Source: http://www.tawitawi.net/introducing-tawi-tawi-sulu-folk-to-healthcare/
- Sunday, May 6, 2012
- by Edwin O. Fernandez
Health services know no boundaries Workers brought together by a Department of Health (DOH) campaign to bring medical services to the people of Tawi-Tawi sweltered in 36-degree-Celsius heat, endured hours of sea travel, ignored threats of kidnapping to attend to people who have not seen a doctor all their lives.
The campaign had been successful last year, bringing medical and dental care to the people of Mapun and Turtle Islands in Tawi-Tawi, two of the remotest places in the country.
Last month, the health caravan spent five days bringing services to people in the towns of Languyan and Sapa-Sapa where diseases have been left untreated and ailments are often blamed on supernatural causes.
Never mind if the campaign name smacks of politicking (“Alay ni RG-Kasama Mo Si Sec,” which translates to Alay ni Regional Governor-Kasama Mo Si Secretary), it was able to bring surgeries, dental work and lessons on safe motherhood and reproduction to areas where doctors have never been known to exist.
The campaign also brought essential information on health, maternal and child care, nutrition, reproduction and birth spacing.
It was merged with the DOH’s “Lakbay Buhay Kalusugan” (Journey to Health) that the department has been bringing to remote communities with barely any access to health clinics much less hospitals.
The blind can see
“Ignorance in health is not bliss, it kills,” said Kadil Sinolinding Jr., health secretary of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
While using what sounds like a self-serving theme “Sa Biyaheng Kalusugan Kasama Mo Si Sec” obviously referring to Sinolinding, the medical mission was able to bring together health workers and volunteers who helped the people of Tawi-Tawi realize that healthcare is not a guessing game.
As a result, more than 1,000 people received free cataract and other eye surgeries in Languyan town alone. At least 25 people who have been rendered blind by cataracts were able to see clearly again. Some of the people had minor surgeries and received free dental and medical services.
From Languyan, the DOH-ARMM continued the campaign to Sapa-Sapa, reached by boat after a six-hour journey, where free cataract and other eye surgeries were given to the poor, restoring eyesight to many who had gone blind.
Bilateral tubal ligation and other minor surgeries were also provided as part of the project.
Sapa-Sapa municipality is one of the island towns of Tawi-Tawi, where people never had access to health services because of two things—they live too far from the nearest clinic and it was too dangerous for them to travel.
In the last three years, at least four health workers in Tawi-Tawi and Sulu have either been kidnapped or harmed by criminal elements.
At the latest medical mission, villagers from far-flung island communities took pump boats to reach the town center to avail themselves of health-care services—antenatal care, child healthcare, vitamin A supplements and immunization.
The campaign also seized the opportunity to provide information on healthcare through exhibits, classes, songs, dances and story-telling sessions that were found entertaining by the people whose communities are not reached by cable TV or regular radio broadcasts.
DOH launched its Lakbay Buhay Kalusugan simultaneously with the medical mission in Sapa-Sapa.
“I cannot allow myself to just sit and wait when I know that there are a lot of blind people out there who survive in darkness and misery, and mothers and children die needlessly just because they are poor,” said Sinolinding.
“Poverty is already social injustice, making people hopeless. Inaction aggravates their condition,” he said. Sinolinding is one of two members of the ARMM Cabinet who had been retained by acting ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman when he assumed office in December 2011.
Sinolinding thanked the people who shared their time and effort for the medical mission.
Before the Tawi-Tawi mission, ARMM health workers had brought similar services to Sumisip, Basilan, with more than 200 people receiving cataract and glaucoma surgeries. Surgeries were held at Sumisip District Hospital which, after 13 years of being nonfunctional, was revived by Sinolinding in September last year.
Sinolinding said he was so elated seeing people very grateful for the services.
“From the cries of hopelessness and injustices to jubilation and enlightenment, and from eyes and hearts laden with apathy and ignorance to eyes filled with hope and understanding—such could be the transformation now in the people of ARMM,” Sinolinding said.
“Taken for granted, our mothers and children were dying unnecessarily because of poor health service deliveries,” he added.
The Journey to Health success has led to the commitment of DOH-ARMM to bring its health caravan to the farthest islands of Muslim Mindanao, to include the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Sulu.
“No one can imagine how satisfied these poor people were after the mission,” Sinolinding, an eye doctor, said.
Screen queens gear up for their ‘vanishing acts’
- Source: http://entertainment.inquirer.net/39029/screen-queens-gear-up-for-their-vanishing-acts
- Saturday, May 5, 2012
- by Rito P. Asilo
Tinseltown’s acting icons remain at the top of their game by choosing projects that don’t just make them emerge smelling like roses at the box office, but also show off their dramatic chops, to keep their followers’ interest high. For their latest projects, top female superstars, Vilma Santos and Nora Aunor, are backed up by directors whose filmmaking acumen can guarantee that their projects aren’t the usual stuff and fluff. For the Star for All Seasons, risk-taking is key to her sustained popularity. Vilma told us she didn’t want to be seen in hackneyed variations of the same themes and stories—which explains why she decided to do Chito Roño’s chiller, “The Healing,” as a follow-up to Olivia Lamasan’s 2009 dramedy blockbuster, “In My Life.” Moreover, it’s been almost 40 years since Vilma last dabbled in the horror genre via “Kamay na Gumagapang” and “Anak ng Aswang”—when she was only 19 years old! We’re also looking forward to Nora Aunor’s comeback movie, “Thy Womb”—which wrapped up its Tawi-Tawi and Cebu shoots last week—because Cannes-winning director, Brillante Mendoza, is helming it. Last seen on the big screen in the US-shot 2006 indies, “Ingrata” and “Care Home,” the Superstar portrays a Badjao midwife in the film that also stars Bembol Roco and Lovi Poe. Campy turn American screen queens are also gearing up for their thespic “vanishing acts”: After Julia Roberts’ campy turn as Snow White’s power-grabbing, evil-queen nemesis in Tarsem Singh’s “Mirror, Mirror,” it’s Angelina Jolie’s turn to make life a living hell for another fairy-tale princess.
In Robert Stromberg’s “Maleficent,” Brad Pitt’s better half is cast as the proud and vengeful sorceress who takes offense at not being invited to the christening of Princess Aurora aka Sleeping Beauty (Elle Fanning), the only daughter of King Stefan (Jude Law). If Jolie portrays Maleficent the way she played Evelyn Salt, whoever’s portraying Aurora’s knight in shining armor has his work cut out for him! For her part, Roberts is relying on the jump from stage to screen of Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer-winning dark comedy, “August: Osage County,” and Larry Kramer’s Tony-winning autobiographical HIV/AIDS drama, “The Normal Heart,” to boost her acting cachet. In Ryan Murphy’s (“Glee”) screen adaptation of the 1980s-set “The Normal Heart,” Julia plays wheelchair-bound Dr. Emma Brookner, who helps gay activist, Ned Weeks (Mark Ruffalo), raise awareness about the deadly (then unidentified) viral disease that was killing gay men. Level of difficulty The level of difficulty gets higher for Julia in “August,” where she portrays Barbara Fordham, the 46-year-old eldest daughter of Beverly and Violet Weston who’s forced to come home when her alcoholic father goes missing. She hasn’t visited her parents in years, because she doesn’t get along well with her shrewd, prescription drug-addicted mother. The film’s emotionally charged scenes present exciting dramatic possibilities for cinema’s Pretty Woman, not the least of which is the fact that her combative mother is played by—Meryl Streep! And, Catherine Zeta-Jones revisits her musical-theater roots via Adam Shankman’s big-screen version of the stage musical, “Rock of Ages,” where she will perform Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” The anticipated movie musical has a bigger come-on, however: Tom Cruise’s latest (and very bold) attempt at reinvention. In its motion-picture soundtrack, Cruise will be rendering Guns N’ Roses’ “Paradise City” and Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me”—not the easiest tunes to sing, that’s for sure. If that isn’t gutsy, we don’t know what is!
Tawi-Tawi enchants Nora Aunor yet again
- Source: http://entertainment.inquirer.net/38871/tawi-tawi-enchants-nora-aunor-yet-again
- Friday, May 4, 2012
- by Bayani San Diego Jr.
It wasn’t Nora Aunor’s first time in Tawi-Tawi. Still she felt seduced by the island’s pristine beauty. The singer-actress, known as the country’s Superstar, recalled that she briefly visited the island on the country’s southernmost tip years ago. “Para sa kampanya ni Erap (former President Joseph Estrada),” she recounted. “Pero sandali lang. Hindi ako nagtagal.” For her latest Tawi-Tawi “adventure,” she totally “immersed” herself, staying over two weeks, from April 14 to 30, for the shooting of Brillante Mendoza’s latest work, “Thy Womb.” Mendoza won best director for “Kinatay” at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival in 2009. “Thy Womb” is scheduled to premiere at an A-list international film fest. Little dialogue The indie film marks her big-screen comeback after eight years, Aunor said. She had appeared in indie productions like Suzette Ranillo’s “Care Home” and Joey Gonzales’ “Ingrata” (both in 2006) during her stay in the United States. But “Thy Womb” is her biggest film since Maryo J. de los Reyes’ “Naglalayag” in 2004. “Na-miss ko ang pag-arte,” she told Inquirer Entertainment in an interview held upon her return to Manila on May 1.
She said that she hit it off with Mendoza, who shares her artistic principles. “Magaling talaga si Direk Brillante. Ang gusto niya natural ang acting. Wala masyadong dialogue pero taos-puso.” In the movie, she plays a midwife who serves the seafaring Badjao and other indigenous tribes in Tawi-Tawi. “Bilang kumadrona, ako lang ang nagpapaanak sa mga nanay doon. For the first two days, nag-aral kami na mag-sagwan at mag-habi ng banig,” she recounted. Mindanao reality The experience opened her eyes to both the promising and disheartening realities in that part of Mindanao. “Mababait ang mga tao doon. Talagang inalagaan kami. Nakita ko kung gaano kaganda ang Tawi-Tawi. Peaceful naman. Naging biktima lang sila ng mga maling balita,” she explained. “Sabi nila may mga planong gawin itong tourist destination.” Their hosts, Gov. Sadikul Sahali and his wife Juana and daughter Vice Gov. Ruby Sahali and son Nurjay Sahali, assisted by the Philippine Marines and the Philippine National Police, made sure that the entire cast and crew remained safe during their stay, Aunor said. She plans to return their kindness by asking friends from the industry to help the people in the small villages where they shot the film—specifically, Sitangkai, known as the “Venice of the Philippines.” “Nag-shooting kami doon sa mga bahay na nakatayo sa dagat,” she said. “Gusto ko sanang mabigyan sila ng isang health center, sa tulong ng mga kaibigan natin dito sa Maynila.” Playing a midwife, she saw with her own eyes the residents’ most pressing needs. “Kailangan nila ng gamot. ’Pag may manganganak, kailangan pang mag-bangka para makapunta sa ospital,” she said. As expected, she and her co-stars — Bembol Roco, Lovi Poe and Mercedes Cabral—were mobbed by the residents. “Natutuwa sila na nabisita namin sila at gumawa kami ng isang pelikula tungkol sa buhay nila … para naman malaman ng Pilipinas at ng buong mundo ang tunay nilang kalagayan,” she pointed out. Aunor said she and her co-stars had no qualms about roughing it in the southern province. “Walang pa-istaran. Pantay-pantay kaming lahat. Parang kaming magkakapatid sa set. Sama-sama sa hirap at ginhawa,” she said. “Nakisama pati ang panahon. Kung kailangan sa shoot ang ulan, umulan. Pag kailangan maaraw, umaraw!” She remembered traveling by boat for almost 14 hours to reach one location, Turtle Islands. “Doon na kami natulog sa bangka,” she said. Down-to-earth Poe said that the Superstar took pains not to intimidate her co-workers. Cabral agreed: “She’s down-to-earth. Motherly. I was in my dressing room once, fixing my stuff, and someone knocked.”
When Cabral opened the door, she saw the Superstar holding a bowl of noodle soup. “She gave it to me,” Cabral said. “I was really touched. She made me realize that not all superstars are air-headed snobs. It’s a shame that other so-called stars, some who are not even as big as her, have lousy attitude.” Aunor said that she enjoyed working with her castmates. “Sabi ko kay Mercedes: Ang dami ko nang anak-anakan. Magagaling na artista sina Mercedes at Lovi. At mababait.” Although far from Manila, word on the campaign to declare her a National Artist had reached her. “Natutuwa ako na isa ako sa mga napili. Pero marami pang mas karapat-dapat na parangalan sa ating industriya,” she remarked. “Kung sakaling ibigay sa akin, isa itong malaking karangalan at magpapasalamat ako. Pero kung hindi, matatanggap ko rin.” Aunor is proud that Filipino filmmakers are making headway abroad. “It’s about time,” she said. “Dapat nga matagal na ’yan. Sana nga magkaisa na tayo at imbes na harangan ay tulungan natin ang isa’t isa na mapansin ang ating mga pelikula sa labas ng Pilipinas.” Aunor will celebrate her 59th birthday on May 21 in the US. She is set to leave for Boston on May 19 for her throat surgery on May 23. “Sana nga maging okay na ang boses ko,” she said.
Scuba Diving training enhances MSU-Tawi-Tawi students’ skills in marine, environmental science
- Source: http://piazampen.blogspot.com/2012/05/scuba-diving-training-enhances-msu-tawi.html
- Thursday, May 3, 2012
- by Rene V. Carbayas
ISABELA CITY, Basilan, May 3 (PIA) – The Mindanao State University-Tawi-Tawi College of Technology and Oceanography (MSU-TCTO) in cooperation with the Tawi-Tawi Divers Club (TDC) has successfully conducted a two-month introductory course to scuba diving to selected students of Marine Biology and Environmental Sciences.
The free training that culminated last March 31 was participated by at least 20 people, of which, 15 are students of MSU-TCTO and members of the Marine Bio & Environmental Sciences Students’ Association (MABESSA).
TDC President Engr. Rosendo R. Reyes said that this project with the MSU-TCTO was initiated as part of the club’s social responsibility “to draw strategic partnership with the academic institution like the MSU-TCTO that offers courses in marine biology and fisheries and environmental sciences.”
Reyes pointed out that TDC provides such training to students so that “they will utilize their skills, exposures and experiences especially in the conduct of their academic research in marine and environmental sciences.” He added that conducting under water research studies require students to be scuba divers.
He said that two Dive Masters, Prof. Ramon Tangon and Rasul Sabal were assisting him in the training. He emphasized that TDC would continue to participate on collaborative engagement with concerned agencies and NGOs in projects related to coral assessment, establishment and management of fish sanctuary, construction of artificial reef, Crown-of Thorns Clean-up, coastal clean-up like scubasurero (garbage collector of the sea) and other projects and programs of similar considerations, especially those involving environmental concerns.
Meanwhile, MSU-TCTO Chancellor Atty. Lorenzo R. Reyes, in his message underscored the significance of scuba diving to the academic program of the university. He said that he is planning to make scuba diving as one subject area of study in the academic curriculum of the Department of Marine & Environmental Science of the university.
“I have always encouraged the college of fisheries and environmental science to undertake more research studies in fisheries and marine biology as well as in environmental sciences because MSU-TCTO is a vocational institution by its mandates, he stressed.
He shared his vision to make MSU-TCTO a center of excellence on fisheries and oceanographic studies and to ensure that the graduates will be relevant and globally competitive. He pointed out, further, that Tawi-Tawi is considered a haven for research studies and that he wishes to expect also that the college should be able to come up with more vital research proposals in which he assured that it would be his responsibility to find possible source of funding for any research proposal submitted.
Moreover, Director for Coastal Resource Management Prof. Felimon Romero said that “there’s a need to strengthen our environment and ecological system as this is our only potential source of eco-tourism for foreign investment in Tawi-Tawi.”
“We are part of coral triangle in Southeast Asian region, and that what we have here in Tawi-Tawi is that we can find more interesting coastal fishery resources and pristine beaches to explore that we are proud to say is much better than those in other places within the country, including other places abroad,” he added.,
Meanwhile, the Office of MSU-SCTO Chancellor has donated to the club about ten pieces of junked steel cabinets that will be used as artificial reef in support to the national coral reef restoration program of government. As part of their commitment to the TDC, the trainees will install the cabinets to the seas near Mountain View Resort Beach at Barangay Pasiagan in Bongao.
TDC said the areas that are devastated by dynamite and cyanide fishing are the targets of coral reef restoration.
MABESSA President Yunadzmal Ong, moreover, expressed his gratitude to the TDC President and MSU Chancellor for making the scuba training possible that helps in their quest for scientific exploration of the seas and the oceans of Tawi-Tawi.
Among the successful trainees include the 15 students from the MSU-TCTO, namely: Adzmil Ledinil, Aharul, Almyra Samimi, Arthur Attuh, Delmar Asanol, Ibkar Salip Marijan, Joemary Alpha, Kara Habibon, Shaima Abdul, Sherelyn Abdul, Willy Rafales, Yunadzmal N. Ong, Maria Mita Fe Beringuel, Mira Luna Lagao and Nuradzmar Sali; the three personnel from Bongao Water District—Rommel Nunal, Jose Baldevino and Dante Delfinado; and the PMAer, ILt. Charles Dennis Tan from the Philippine Marines. (MSU-TCTO/PIA-9 ZBST)
Oslob, Cebu whale shark in indie film
- Source: http://www.tawitawi.net/oslob-cebu-whale-shark-in-indie-film/
- Wednesday, May 2, 2012
- by tawitawi.net
CEBU CITY – Oslob’s whale sharks will become even more famous.
The sharks will play a “cameo role” in director Brillante Mendoza’s independent film, which he said he plans to submit as an entry in the Cannes Film Festival in France.
The film is about a couple from Tawi-Tawi in Mindanao who have been trying to conceive, but were not blessed with a child.
It stars Nora Aunor and Bembol Roco.
One of the few scenes that will be shot in Cebu will feature Oslob town and the sharks that have gained popularity worldwide.
The full feature movie “Thy Womb” is not a movie about the whale sharks, the director said, “but they will appear in a side scene.”
“Parang isa na rin itong paraan para ma-showcase natin ang ating culture, and the things we are proud of, like the whale sharks of Oslob,” Mendoza said in an interview aired over radio dyAB on Sunday.
He said that 95 percent of the film was shot in Tawi-Tawi, and they plan to start filming in Oslob soon.
In a phone interview, Oslob Mayor Ronald Guaren said he has not heard from Brillantes yet, but he is open to having the sharks and his town featured in a film if this will benefit them.
He said there are no guidelines yet in having the sharks appear in advertisements or movies. For now, what the Municipal Government allows is filming for research work and documentation of the sharks.
“We’ll see what the director’s plans and intentions are. If it will be beneficial to the town in terms of promoting tourism and care for the sharks, of course, we will allow them to come here and shoot,” Guaren told Sun.Star Cebu.
Brillante is a multi-awarded director whose works have been recognized here and abroad. He won the award for Best Director for “Kinatay” at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival. His film “Lola” also won the award for Best Film at the 6th Dubai International Film Festival.
Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Central Visayas has initiated efforts to promote environment conservation education to host communities of eco-tourism projects.
The agency will hold an information caravan from Argao to the towns in the southern tip of Cebu, DOT-Central Visayas Director Rowena Montecillo said.
She told Sun.Star Cebu these areas are part of the route of the whale shark.
Montecillo was referring to the whale sharks (Rhyncodon typus) that have become the main tourist attraction of Barangay Tan-awan in Oslob town.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature lists whale sharks as “vulnerable” due to the threats they face such as hunting and their dwindling population.
Montecillo said the tourism agency has tapped the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in educating the community about whale sharks and perhaps turtles too.
The participants who will be required to attend trainings are the boatmen and other members of the affected community.
Montecillo said that with this effort on environmental management education, the School of the SEA (Sea and Earth Advocates) resources can be tapped.
The School of the SEA managed by the Law of Nature Foundation headed by environmental lawyer and Ramon Magsaysay laureate Antonio Oposa Jr. was re-launched a few years after its infrastructure was destroyed by Typhoon Frank.
The school promotes education, engineering and enforcement in promoting the implementation of environmental laws and policies through environment-friendly practices such as waste segregation and water conservation.
Montecillo had pledged to continue to support the school and at the same time bring environmental conservation awareness to Regions 6 (Western Visayas), 7 (Central Visayas) and 8 (Eastern Visayas). (LCR/BAP/Sun.Star Cebu)
Nora Aunor finishes movie shoot in Tawi-Tawi
- Source: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/entertainment/04/30/12/nora-aunor-finishes-movie-shoot-tawi-tawi
- Tuesday, May 1, 2012
- by RJ Rosalado, ABS-CBN News Zamboanga
MANILA, Philippines – Veteran actress Nora Aunor is back in Manila after shooting several scenes in Tawi-Tawi for her comeback movie.
Aunor’s skin was relatively sunburned when she arrived at the Zamboanga airport on Sunday but the actress said it is all part of her role in the film.
In “Thy Womb,” Aunor plays a Badjao midwife working in the province.
Aunor said she is happy about her whole experience in doing the movie as she was able to learn a lot of new things like sailing and weaving using local materials.
Aunor said she was also overwhelmed with the beauty of Tawi-Tawi.
She even encouraged tourists to visit the province because contrary to what’s always written, Tawi-Tawi is not a dangerous place.
Aunor said she is happy with the warm welcome the local government of Tawi-Tawi gave her and the rest of the movie’s cast and crew.
“Thy Womb” is under the direction of Cannes-winning director Brillante Mendoza.
Charges filed against 12 Vietnamese poachers
- Source: http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/news/regions/21976-charges-filed-against-12-vietnamese-poachers
- Monday, April 30, 2012
- by AL JACINTO
ZAMBOANGA CITY: Authorities have filed charges against 12 Vietnamese poachers who were arrested in Tawi-Tawi, officials said Saturday.
Officials said the Vietnamese fishermen have been charged for violating the Philippine Fisheries Code and Wildlife Resources Protection and Conservation Act, and have been detained in the provincial jail.
The poachers, who were on a Malaysian fishing vessel, were intercepted on April 22 off the island of Pangutaran. Authorities said the vessel is owned by Tuaran Marine Park SDN BHD in Sabah, Malaysia.
Recovered from the vessel were five bundles of black corals, 85 pieces of endangered hawksbill turtles, and some 600 kilos of assorted hammerhead sharks, groupers and squid.
Officials identified the Vietnamese as Truong Van Hoang, the captain; Pham Ngoc Binh, Nguyen Minh Anh Dong, Tran Hong Tho, Nguyen Thank Ninh, Nguyen Van Vung, Nguyen, Van Ba, Nguyen Thanh Ninh, Nguyen Van Tuan, Nguyen Van Hai, Tran Hing Thien and Nguyen Van Vuong.
Nora Aunor, Brillante Mendoza wrap up Tawi-Tawi shoot
- Source: http://www.rappler.com/entertainment/4512-ate-guy-wraps-up-tawi-tawi-shoot
- Sunday,April 29, 2012
- by DAVID Y. SANTOS
MANILA, Philippines – “It's a wrap.”
Close to two weeks since coming to the island province of Tawi-Tawi, the country's southernmost frontier, Nora Aunor has finished shooting her latest film “Thy Womb.”
“We are gratetful to Ms Aunor, as well as those behind this movie, for choosing Tawi-Tawi as their location,” Vice-Governor Ruby Sahali told Rappler by phone. “It's a welcome breather for us amid all the bad press the province has been getting.”
The superstar herself is equally grateful for the hospitality the province has shown to her and the film's crew.
Aunor flew in to Tawi-Tawi last April 14, to shoot the indie film, her first since returning from a hiatus in the United States. Shooting took place in at least 3 locations: the island-towns of Bongao, Sitangkai and Taganak. She left the province last Saturday, April 28.
“Thy Womb” is a collaboration between Aunor and Brillante Mendoza, Cannes award-winning director, and is seen as a landmark in modern Filipino filmmaking.
Initial press releases indicate that the movie tackles the struggles of a native Badjao midwife (Aunor) and deals with “an intriguing tale of love adrift with an unsettling question [on] how to sustain a life struck between the devil of passion and the deep blue sea of tradition?”
Aside from Aunor, other stars who were in Tawi-Tawi for the location shoot included Lovi Poe, Mercedes Cabral and Bembol Roco.
Action star Raymart Santiago was also part of the film, reportedly not as among the actors, but as part of the film's crew.
“It was surreal for us to see all these movie stars coming down to Tawi-Tawi. Being the farthest to the nation's capital, we never thought they would come and shoot a film here,” Sahali said.
Provincial police director Rodelio Jocson said there were no untoward incidents reported throughout the duration of the filming. Both the police and units of the Philippine Marines provided security for stars and the film crew, which numbered around 30 to 40 members, excluding local talents who were tapped for minor roles.
“Whether they are famous movie stars or ordinary tourists, as long as they coordinate with us, we will be ready to secure them,” Jocson said, pointing out the security plans are prepared each time they are informed of incoming visitors.
Two foreign birdwatchers abducted two months ago in the remote town of Panglima Sugala remain in captivity up to this time.
Tawi-Tawi is also infamously known as the jump-off point for illegal immigrants to Malaysia, due to its proximity to the State of Sabah.
Apparently, despite the security concerns, Aunor and Brillante pursued shooting in Tawi-Tawi, which reportedly will be shown in “at least 70% of the film.”
Though smaller films have been shot in Tawi-Tawi “decades ago,” this is the first time in recent years that a full-length was shot in Tawi-Tawi.
“The abduction of the foreign birdwatchers was just an isolated case. We can assure you that we are doing everything to have been freed as soon as possible,” Jocson added.
Both Sahali and Jocson noted that ironically, since the February abduction, there has been a rise on the number of tourists coming to Tawi-Tawi. A crew from the National Geograhic Channel is also reportedly doing a documentary in the province.
“If you set aside all the bad press, Tawi-Tawi, or Mindanao as a whole, is a very beautiful place,” Sahali lamented. “We don't get to be appreciated so much by majority of the Filipinos because all we hear and see are the negative news about our place.”
“We hope that with the widespread publicity of 'Thy Womb' both here and in other countries, it will also draw interest into our province, more than just the reports on violence and cases of human trafficking we have become to be known for.” - Rappler.com
Breakthrough In PHL-MILF Peace Talks Draws More Positive Comments
- Source: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/358257/breakthrough-in-phlmilf-peace-talks-draws-more-positive-comments
- Saturday,April 28, 2012
- by EDD K. USMAN
More Moro political leaders have added their voices to the positive responses to the breakthrough on June 24 achieved by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the 15-year-old peace process.
The stalemate-breaking feat re¬fers to the "10 Decision Points" docu¬ment signed by Government of the Philippines (GPH) and MILF peace panel chairmen Dean Mario Victor F. Leonen and Mohagher Iqbal, respectively, providing a roadmap for a new form of Bangsamoro governance entity.
It could include replacing the much-maligned autonomous government composed of the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi and component cities Lamitan and Marawi.
On Friday the leadership of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) led by caretaker Gov. Mujiv Hataman lauded the two parties for their Bilateral Decision Points on Principles.
The ARMM officer-in-charge said the accord may serve to pave the way for a new political entity to be crafted by GPH and MILF that both parties will accept.
Maguindanao Gov. Esmael "Datu Toto" Mangudadatu said he will continue to strongly support the peace process under the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III.
"Filipinos, particularly Muslims in Mindanao, all have been yearning for peace. Whatever is good for the Bangsamoro is welcomed," said Mangudadatu.
On the other hand, Hataman de¬fended the autonomous region from its critics, saying "the role of the re¬formed ARMM cannot be downplayed in the government’s efforts to come up with a permanent solution to the Moro problem."
He outlined some of the autonomous government's efforts in support of the peace process.
"The ARMM and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process had initially come up with 'common points of cooperation' in support to the peace process from some mid-level meetings (on multilateral support through peace com¬munication)," he said.
Hataman assured that the autonomous region is still an important part of the solution to the Bangsamoro aspirations, not a problem as some quarters may want to believe.
He said the ARMM under his helm is presently working to strengthen the building of institutions to come up with mechanisms supporting the peace process.
On the other hand, Hataman appealed to the stakeholders and other sectors of the peace process to support the government's initiative leading to a solution of the Muslim Mindanao conflict.
Raps filed vs 11 Vietnamese poachers
- Source: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/regions/04/27/12/raps-filed-vs-11-vietnamese-poachers
- Friday,April 27, 2012
- by Report from RJ Rosalado, ABS-CBN News Zamboanga
MANILA, Philippines – Charges have been filed against 11 Vietnamese poachers who were arrested off Tawi-Tawi last Wednesday.
The fishermen, who were allegedly poaching endangered marine species, were charged with violating the Wildlife Act of the Philippines for possession of dead hawksbill turtles and black corals.
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) National Director Asis Perez said the foreigners may face a fine of $100,000 and imprisonment of up to 2 years.
Perez said a legal team from the BFAR has been sent to Tawi-Tawi to monitor the case.
Foreigners are not allowed to fish in Philippine territory, based on the Philippine Fisheries Code.
ARMM polls in May 2013 to proceed if peace pact not signed this year; Leonen says no need to amend Consti
- Source: http://www.mindanews.com/peace-process/2012/04/26/armm-polls-in-may-2013-to-proceed-if-peace-pact-not-signed-this-year-leonen-says-no-need-to-amend-consti/
- Thursday,April 26, 2012
- by Carolyn O. Arguil las
KUALA LUMPUR (MindaNews/26 April) – Elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), which the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front will replace with a “new autonomous political entity,” will proceed as scheduled on May 13, 2013 if no peace agreement is reached by the peace panels this year. “Government is very aware in terms of timelines of our political exercises and in terms of the political realities,” government (GPH) peace panel chair Marvic Leonen told MindaNews. He said the roadmap would take on a different shape if the elections were to proceed and a new set of ARMM officials is elected. The timeline, too, may change given that the elected officials in May 2013 will, under the present law, serve a three-year term until 2016, he said. “It’s possible you’ll wait until 2016 but in 2016 what is the political reality?” he asked Declaring that the “status quo is unacceptable,” the GPH and MILF peace panels on Tuesday agreed to work for the creation of a “new autonomous political entity in place of the ARMM” as one of ten “decision points on principles” they signed that day at the Palace of the Golden Horses hotel. The present ARMM comprises the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan,Sulu and Tawi-tawi. No need Government peace panel chair Marvic Leonen, an expert on Constitutional Law, is confident there is no need to amend the 1987 Constitution to create the new entity that would replace ARMM. He said many of the proposals of the MILF are contained in the Organic Act (RA 9054) although he acknowledged that the MILF views this differently. “From the GPH point of view as of the moment, a Republic Act is more doable. But of course in so far as the Constitution is concerned, no Constitution is always permanent but the constitutional exercise requires a lot more than amending a law. And it’s always a balance between you change the rules first of the game before you mobilize the leaders. Is it exclusive? Mauna ito bago ito? Di ba pwede magsabay (Should this come first? Cannot they go together) and then later the political realities might be more favorable towards greater political exercise?” Leonen told MindaNews on Wednesday afternoon. MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal has yet to be convinced that there is no need to amend the Constitution to accommodate their demands. “The government says no need, but we hope they can demonstrate graphically how they do it without amending the Constitution. Our belief is this cannot be done,” he told MindaNews a day on Wednesday. The peace negotiations adjourned at 3:50 p.m. Tuesday, two days ahead of scheduled, after the parties signed the “GPH-MILF Decision Points on Principles as of April 2012.” The panels will resume talks next month. Congress on the other hand will resume sessions on May 7 and will go on sine die adjournment June 8 until it reopens with the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of the President on July 23. The GPH peace panel in a press conference via Skype with the Malacanang Press Corps Wednesday noon, was repeatedly asked how soon the two panels can forge an agreement and how this would impact on the May 2013 elections in the ARMM. “If there is no agreement in due time then the elections of ARMM will continue (in 2013),” as provided for by law, Leonen said. Panel member Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, explained to the press corps that the peace agreement that will be signed “will not automatically suspend the ARMM or suspend the elections. Ibig sabihin maski magkapirmahan tayo bukas, marami pang requirements yan para ma-put in place. (This means even if we sign tomorrow, there are still many requirement for that new political entity to be put in place). For instance, we will need to generate support from Congress, from both the Senate and the House, to actually pass the law that will make it possible for some kind of implementing mechanisms to take place.” Ferrer acknowledged that the longer the negotiations take, the “normal political timetable” of elections in 2013 and Presidential elections in 2016 will set in “if all these steps are not done early enough.” She said signing the agreement does not mean it will be implemented immediately because there are many legislative requirements “that’s why we’re working closely with Congress, we’re working closely with the public so that they will be able to support all the requirements that will implement elements of that agreement.”
The filing of certificates of candidacy for all elective positions in the May 2013 polls is on October 1 to 5 this year, according to the Commission on Elections’ Resolution 9385. Congress, after reopening on July 23, goes on break from mid-October to mid-November and Christmas break from mid-December to mid-January, leaving only a limited number of session days before the official campaign period for the May 2013 polls begins. The 90-day campaign period for senatorial candidates and party list groups is from February 12 to May 11, 2013 while the 45-day campaign period for candidates for the House of Representatives, provincial, city and municipal officials as well as the ARMM is from March 29 to May 11. The MILF in February last year proposed a Bangsamoro substate, an “asymmetrical state-substate relationship, wherein powers of the central government and state government are clearly stated, aside from those powers they jointly exercise, which are also defined in this draft.” The MILF summarized it as “less than independence but more than autonomy” apparently referring to the present ARMM. Government handed its proposal on August 22 last year,18 days after President Aquino met with MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim in Japan and both agreed to fast-track the peace process so that a peace agreement can be forged within the first half of the President’s six-year term, or by June 30, 2013, so that implementation can be done immediately. The President’s term of office ends noon of June 30, 2016. The GPH proposal was a “three for one solution” which involves three components: massive economic development, a peace accord, and cultural-historical acknowledgment.” The MILF peace panel rejected the GPH proposal, prompting Leonen to say, “We reject your rejection.” The talks went on an impasse with Malaysian facilitator Tengku Dato’ Ab Ghafar Tengku Mohamed shuttling between the panels until they resumed talks in December. The panels have been meeting every month since. In a press conference in Cotabato City in late August last year, Leonen said amending the 1987 Constitution was not a priority of the present administration. “The proposal of government to the MILF does not contain a proposal for constitutional amendment,” he said. “Autonomy as practiced by the ARMM in the past is a failed experiment. However it does not necessarily mean we do not learn from that experience,” he said, adding the autonomy they are proposing “comes close to the idea of self governance also of the MILF.” “We read sub-state also as autonomy. We do not see sub-state as a separate republic,” Leonen said then. He also noted in August that many of the fundamental aspirations of the MILF “can be fitted into the provisions of the current Constitution.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)
Dead sea turtles, corals seized in Vietnamese boat
- Source: http://www.rappler.com/nation/4345-dead-sea-turtles,-corals-seized-in-vietnamese-boat
- 04/25/2012 4:44 PM | Updated 04/25/2012 5:49 PM
- by DAVID Y. SANTOS
MANILA, Philippines – Marine authorities in Tawi-Tawi said they have confiscated at least 50 dead sea turtles and bundles of rare corals from a Vietnamese fishing boat while docked at the port of Bongao town on Tuesday, April 24.
The seized items, which are classified as endangered species under maritime laws, were intended to be smuggled to other countries.
The Philippine Coast Guard Station in Bongao said the dead turtles were found along with 5 bundles of Black Corals inside SBF 48, a Vietnamese-registered fishing boat, during a routine inspection. The contraband was “concealed inside a refrigerated fish cargo hole located at the port side of the vessel.”
Bureua of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) National Director Asis Perez has confirmed that charges have been filed against the boat's 12 crew members, who were all Vietnamese, for violating laws forbidding the collection and sale of sea turtles and corals.
The cases, citing violations of Republic Acts 8550 or the Fisheries Code of the Philippines and 9147 or the Wildlife Act of the Philippines, were filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 5 in Bongao.
Among the different sea turtles, the Hawksbill turtle is commonly found in Tawi-Tawi and has been classified as critically endangered. Hawksbill shells are used for decorative purposes, while Hawksbill eggs and meat are cooked as a native delicacy. - Rappler.com
Airphil plane engine emits smoke before take-off, passengers ordered to disembark
- Source: http://www.zamboangatoday.ph/index.php/news/13-top-stories/9674-airphil-plane-engine-emits-smoke-before-take-off-passengers-ordered-to-disembark.html
- Tuesday, 24 April 2012 12:34
- by Nonong Santiago/Hader Glang
Hundreds of passengers bound for Manila, Davao, Jolo and Tawi-Tawi were stranded yesterday morning when a turbo-prop plane of the Air Philippines started emitting smoke in the middle of Runway 27 while it was about to depart for Sanga-Sanga Airport in Tawi-Tawi Province.
Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines Manager Celso Bayabos disclosed that the plane was given the clearance for departure at 7 a.m. when the pilots noticed smoke coming from the right engine of the propeller plane while it was already 300 meters away from Runway 27.
The pilots had to stop the plane in the middle of the runway and ordered the affected passengers to disembark the aircraft resulting to the delay of the 7:45 a.m. Philippine Airlines flight for Manila, Bayabos said.
According to Bayabos, the inbound flight of Cebu Pacific from Manila to Zamboanga was also diverted to Davao City Airport because of the obstruction.
“Ang AirPhil bound for Sanga-Sanga Airport in Tawi-Tawi was given a clearance for take off at Runway 27, but rolling for take off mga around 300 meters away na sya beginning sa runway 27, biglang hininto ng piloto ang eroplano dahil nahalata na may diperensya ang right engine ng eroplano. Ang ibang flight ng PAL for Manila ay na-hold muna. Ang inbound flight of Cebu Pacific from Manila to Zamboanga was diverted to Davao City airport,” Bayabos said.
The airport manager said they had to borrow the tow bar of the Philippine Air Force to tow the plane out of the runway. Bayabos said the airport was cleared for landing and departure at past 8 in the morning. A Norwegian, Einar Solheim said his flight was supposed to be at 7:45 a.m. but due to the incident, it was delayed.
Rossnelly said this is not good because they are supposed to go to the Norwegian Embassy to apply for a fiancée visa. Some passengers were also clearly upset with the delay.
There is no clear report yet as to what was the cause of the incident.
Air Philippines flight to Tawi-Tawi aborted due to smoke from engine
- Source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/181255/air-philippines-flight-to-tawi-tawi-aborted-due-to-smoke-from-engine
- 10:34 am | Monday, April 23rd, 2012
- by Julie Alipala
Philippine Daily Inquirer
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines— An Air Philippines flight to Tawi-Tawi was aborted on Monday morning as smoke emitted from the right engine of the plane, an official said. Celso Bayabos, manager of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines in Zamboanga, said the plane was about to take off when pilots noticed the smoke prompting them to park and order around 50 passengers to disembark shortly after 7:00 in the morning. “It’s not really fire, there was smoke. It’s good that pilots noticed it before they take off otherwise (it would be) another disaster,” Bayabos said. Other flights supposedly about to land at Zamboanga City international airport like Cebu Pacific from Davao city and Manila were advised to redirect their flights back. Fire marshalls and other airport personnel immediately towed the aircraft back to the taxi area to determine the actual cause of engine trouble.
P2.8-B infra projects for roads, bridges in ARMM under way
- Source: http://businessmirror.com.ph/home/regions/26160-p28-b-infra-projects-for-roads-bridges-in-armm-under-way
- SUNDAY, 22 APRIL 2012 18:27
- by JONATHAN L. MAYUGA / REPORTER
PUBLIC Works Secretary Rogelio Singson said several infrastructure projects in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) are being implemented to boost economic development in the region. Singson said 26 projects worth around P2.8 billion are in various stages of implementation. All in all, the projects involve 117 kilometers of national roads and 132 linear meters of bridges.
“I’ve just met with President Aquino and the governors of the ARMM provinces and ARMM Governor [Mujiv] Hataman. We have reported the status of our program in ARMM,” Singson told reporters during the Communication and News Exchange (CNEX) forum at the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) office in Quezon City.
The projects, he said, are part of the “Transition Investment Support Program for ARMM” being implemented by the Aquino administration. It has a total budget of P8.5 billion, P2.8 billion of which is for the repairs, rehabilitation and upgrading of major roads in the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao.
According to Singson, a total of three projects in Basilan involving the upgrading of 13 kilometers of road and 36.9 linear meters of bridge are now ongoing.
In Sulu he said the DPWH will implement a total of five projects that will construct 15 kilometers of road. Four of the projects have started.
Meanwhile, there are two upgrading projects involving 13 kilometers of road in Tawi-Tawi. “We are also looking at improving the water system in Tawi-Tawi,” he said.
In Lanao del Sur there are a total of eight projects. Five projects have just been awarded to private contractors while three others “will be awarded very soon.”
The projects involve the rehabilitation and upgrading of 33 kilometers of road and 75 linear meters of bridges.
“In Lanao we are also looking at upgrading the Agos River to improve and add 60 megawatts of power in Mindanao,” the DPWH revealed.
On the other hand, there are a total of eight ongoing projects in the province of Maguindanao, involving a total of 38 kilometers of roads and 20 linear meters of bridges. “We have updated [data on] the road networks in the ARMM. We now have a plan to fully restore the road networks there,” he said.
Shipper questions hold order on bark shipment
- Source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/180283/shipper-questions-hold-order-on-bark-shipment
- 8:27 am | Saturday, April 21st, 2012
- by Cebu Daily News
THE owner of the 1,000 sacks of tree bark of mangroves or tanbarks locally known as “tungog” that was seized by authorities last Thursday in Cebu City came forward to seek the release of the shipment. Erickson Kho of Sulu questioned the hold order issued by the National Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force. The foregst goods originated from Tandubas, Tawi-tawi, Mindanao. Edward Pamplona, head of the Regional Anti-Illegal Logging Task Force, told Kho that he failed to present a Certificate to Transport Forest Products to justify his claim on the shipment. Kho’s papers said he was the lone bidder who won and paid P25,520 for the 51.4 tons of tanbarks previously confiscated in Mindanao and put up for auction. But the potential market value of the bark is P14.39 million, according to Pamplona, making the shipment suspicious. A physical examination was made yesterday by the task force, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Community of Environment and Natural Resources (Cenro), Pamplona said 10 vans loaded with 280 tons of tanbarks were seized in Pier 8 Dec. 6 last year under Kho’s name. He said the tanbarks were released to Kho because no hold order was immediately issued. He said they have been “monitoring” Kho’s tanbarks shipment almost every month after reading documents that noted that the shipment was “bought through public bidding.” “Why isn’t this (tanbarks shipment) controlled?” Pamplona said. Pamplona said the National Anti-illegal Logging Task Force is meeting with the Forest Management Team to verify whether the tan barks were the subject of a public bidding. The shipment was consigned to Paul Bercina of barangay Paknaan, Mandaue City. It was seized from a motor boat by Navy personnel on Thursday. Tanbark is used in the production of paint, beads and food coloring. Correspondent Rhea Ruth V. Rosell
Magnitude 4.4 strikes off Tawi-Tawi
- Source: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/regions/04/20/12/magnitude-44-strikes-tawi-tawi
- 04/20/2012 9:46 AM | Updated as of 04/20/2012 9:46 AM
MANILA, Philippines – A magnitude 4.4 earthquake struck off Tawi-Tawi on Thursday night, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said.
Phivolcs said the earthquake occurred at 6:59 p.m. Its epicenter was located 260 kilometers southeast of South Ubian town.
The earthquake was tectonic in origin. It had a depth of 491 kilometers.
No tremor was felt in any part of the province. Likewise, no damage was reported.
Phivolcs said aftershocks are not expected from the earthquake.
Authentic HK Dimsum, Half-Price!
- Source: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/357457/authentic-hk-dimsum-halfprice
- April 19, 2012, 10:05am
- by SOL VANZI
MANILA, Philippines — In the '60s and '70s, there was only one place outside of Chinatown for Manila dimsum lovers: Kowloon House on A. Mabini, Ermita, just off the corner of Herran (now Pedro Gil). The selection was limited: but it was the only show in town. The short dimsum menu listed siopao (asado or bola-bola), siomai, hakaw (shrimp dumpling), shark’s fin, beef balls, wugok (fried taro balls filled with chicken and mushrooms) and custard tart for dessert.
Filipino Chinese businessmen, many born in Mainland China, often flew to Hong Kong for weekend R & R, to visit girlfriends or relatives. Highlighting their trips were dimsum binges at the ground floor restaurant of the Luk Kwok Hotel in Wanchai, setting for the Richard Mason novel that inspired the movie “World of Suzie Wong.”
MANILA’S AUTHENTIC HK DIMSUM -- Today, there is no need to fly to Hong Kong to feast on a vast selection of authentic Chinese dimsum. Nor do we have to negotiate the narrow streets and no-parking areas of Binondo’s Chinatown. Families and friends now gather for traditional Sunday reunions, or weekday meals, at the Golden Bay Seafood Restaurant on Diosdado Macapagal Avenue off Roxas Boulevard.
Not only do they enjoy the food, there’s the convenience of guarded parking spaces, and the assurance of enough tables, chairs and rooms capable of handling small, medium or large gatherings.
A family of 10 would need several Sunday reunions to taste everything on the Golden Bay’s dimsum menu, which lists 81 varieties. China-trained Chef Hui Chun Yuk, better known to diners and staff as Chef Ben, prepares all the iconic dumplings (siomai, hakaw), steamed buns (chicken pao), rice (machang), congee, steamed pig knuckle and tripe (goto), among others.
TRADITION AND INNOVATION – In addition to the familiar dishes, Golden Bay’s menu also carries dozens of dimsums incorporating non-traditional ingredients, which surprisingly blend perfectly with dimsum cuisine.
Succulently reminiscent of the ocean are the uncommon Yuan Yang Dumplings, filled with fish fillet and topped with deep orange crab roe. Each dumpling, glistening in the steamer, is accented with a whole baby abalone. How many can claim to have eaten, or even seen, whole baby abalone?
The small abalone comes from the clear blue waters of the Pacific, where fishermen from Aurora province pluck them from rocks and keep them iced for delivery to Golden Bay’s purchasing officer Joseph Wong.
Joseph travels from extreme northern Luzon to the waters of Sulu Sea off Tawi-Tawi in search of marine products for the restaurant and for export. His knowledge extends beyond the harvests’ economic value; like an artist, he collaborates with Chef Ben in creating new dishes, transforming and reshaping the sea’s bounty to produce spectacular tasty delights.
MINI BEGGAR’S CHICKEN – Golden Bay has a greaseless version of the common Machang (sticky rice, sausage, pork and mushrooms). Glutinous Rice with Chicken come as rectangular, single-serving packets of sticky rice layered with a filling of chicken, mushrooms and seasonings wrapped in lotus leaf.
The heady aroma of chicken and mushrooms wafts as soon as the lotus leaf is opened. Unwrapped, the contents resemble a rice sandwich. The flavors are complex yet complementary, much like Beggar’s Chicken which was the inspiration for the dish. Imported Chinese dried lotus leaves impart smoky and earthy undertones which could not be duplicated if one used other leaves, such as banana or pandan.
I took home a few pieces, kept them in the fridge overnight. The next morning, they were unwrapped and pan-fried until toasty crisp on the outside. Heavenly!
GIGANTIC HAKAW – The regular bamboo steamer basket is hardly big enough for one order of Hakaw, which are definitely the biggest shrimp dumplings I’ve ever seen. The wrapper alone is worthy of note: shiny, transparent as cellophane, quivering in the rising steam. Inside are several pink shrimp, firm to the bite and with a texture implying they’ve never been frozen.
“It is not a secret; to ensure quality tasting food, we make sure that we have fresh quality ingredients daily,” emphasizes Chef Ben.
EXTRA-ORDINARY SIAO LONG – There is a unique system to eating Siao Long, lovingly described by experts as “soup in a dumpling,” one of the trickiest dumplings to assemble.
Carefully, the dumpling is lifted to one’s mouth, making sure the skin stays intact. A small bite near the top would then allow the diner to slurp the juices before attacking the rest of the piece, composed of minced lean pork and herbs.
As with the other Golden Bay dumplings, Siao Long dumplings are large, and take at least three bites to finish. The pork filling is so lean there is no hint of greasiness or oil either in the filling or the “soup” inside its wrapping.
STEAMED GOTO – One item very few ever cook at home is tripe; even the most avid kitchen lover loses patience with the hours required to clean, soak, stew and simmer to make this animal part edible. Cooked well, though, tripe, or goto, is beyond description.
Golden Bay’s Steamed Goto is a dish that looks deceptively simple; this impression quickly disappears with the first bite, which bathes the mouth with indescribable richness. To enjoy the dish fully, one should chew very slowly, savoring the nuances of dozens of herbs the tripe was simmered in. A few slivers of fresh green and red chili peppers enliven the meat, elevating the experience to sensuous heights.
CONGEES AND OTHERS – Like many Hong Kong residents, I got used to congee breakfast, teamed with salty stuff. At Golden Bay, my favorite congee partners are Rice Roll with Abalone Sauce and Radish Cake with XO Sauce and Crispy Dried Scallops.
The Rice Rolls are Ho-Fan, or sheets of steamed ground rice batter rolled and bathed in thick Abalone Sauce. The Radish Cake is cubed, fried, bathed in sauce and covered with a thick layer of crisp shreds of fried dried imported scallops. How’s that for decadent?
Of course, one should not miss what we call Pata Tim, listed on the menu as Steamed Pig Knuckle with Preserved Beancurd. Melt-in-the-mouth pig trotters come with bone marrow that’s to die for, stewed in cubes of preserved beancurd which we call tahure. This is a welcome twist from the ordinary stew using salted black beans or tausi; it’s complex in flavor and more authentic. Makes one want to pour it over plain steamed rice.
CHEAPER THAN FASTFOOD – The Golden Bay’s dimsum menu regular prices are lower by half compared to dishes of the same quality in five-star hotels. This summer, there is an ongoing promo that is offering 50% off the regular dimsum prices.
Bottomline? Golden Bay’s authentic Hong Kong dimsum are now discounted to only P63 to P75 per order. This is definitely cheaper than most fastfood outlets considering the larger servings and superior quality.
“We are not after profits. Our aim is authenticity, pleasant ambience and to bring Hong Kong dimsum to Manila at prices that will be more affordable for more people,” Joseph Wong says, laying out the goals of the country’s premier dimsum destination.
Roperos: Cost of living pains
- Source: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/cebu/opinion/2012/04/18/roperos-cost-living-pains-216824
- Wednesday, April 18, 2012
- by Godofredo M. Roperos
YESTERDAY, there was a story in this daily about the city’s waterworks system being the subject of complaints by some subscribers who suddenly found their water faucets dry. They realized that the Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD) had interrupted its services to repair pipe leakage in some parts of the city.
Of course, the subscribers failed to realize that what they experienced was one of the hazards of urban living. It is the way we live today that sometimes subjects us to certain discomforts.
When I was still a kid in the countryside, I often went with my grandfather to his farm about three kilometers away from the poblacion. There was a concrete tank on a promontory overlooking his cornfield. The Tangke was the source of the piped water to the houses in the poblacion.
No wonder the water turned brackish when there was heavy rain, and we were warned not to drink the water when it was brackish. Then, when it was election season, I remember candidates promising to improve our water system so we would not get sick when the water would turn brackish.
Many years later, when I started covering the rural areas from Aparri of the Cagayan Valley in the north, to Tawi-tawi in the Muslim country of the far south, I realized how gravely had water grown to be a national problem. This despite efforts of government to initiate various projects to provide water in our communities.
But then only recently, there was the typhoid outbreak in Tuburan that was generally blamed on water. It really seemed as if the problem of providing safe water source to our rural communities would drag on across the years as a continuing problem seeking solution. This is, of course, one of the basic political issues that our government is constantly challenged, just like the problem of power and the environment.
Not very long ago, our drainage canal was unable to function effectively. Imagine my surprise one morning when we awoke with rainwater flooding our ground-floor. Since rain went on for days, water also stayed on in our ground floor, until we sought the help of the mayor who had the highway drainage canal cleared of debris and plastic waste.
Now, it is my power bill that I am concerned with. But my request to Cebeco III to change my power meter has not been heeded in the past two months. With the cost of living having gone up, even the cost of kitchen gas going up a thousand pesos a tank, we pray that our basic services suppliers would listen to our appeal for help. But then, the contemporary existence is something we can no more avoid than we can climate change. It is a reality of our present urban existence that we just have to suffer through, and coyly live with.
Tawi-Tawi peace council convened to address Sitangkai conflict
- Source: http://www.zambotimes.com/archives/46406-Tawi-Tawi-peace-council-convened-to-address-Sitangkai-conflict.html
- Tuesday, April 17. 2012
- by (PNA)
ZAMBOANGA CITY — Governor Hadji Sadikul Sahali has convened the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) to settle a clan war in that otherwise peaceful province in Southeestern Philippines. Sahali, who chairs the PPOC, said that his agenda in convening the council was to address the armed conflict between two groups in the Municipality of Sitangkai that has been reportedly escalating. The PPOC chairman has directed the Police Provincial Director Sr. Supt. Rodelio Jocson to provide him with regular updates on the situation in the area. Initially, Jocson confirmed that there has been armed engagement between the two warring factions, which were not identified. However, he said that the groups have agreed on a ceasefire and settlement of the conflict is under negotiation. He also said that the peace and order situation in the Province of Tawi-Tawi is manageable and there is no cause for alarm. In the same manner, Task Force 62 Commander, Navy Captain Renato Yongque also said that Tawi-Tawi in its entirety is peaceful, “that is why there is no military movement,” he stressed. Yongque also cited that the military has made changes in its approach and has adopted the so-called “Internal Peace and Security Plan or the Bayanihan,” composed of teams of selected soldiers to help work for peace in the community. Meanwhile, Sahali said that the conflict in Sitangkai between the two groups is purely a clan war, which is normally occurring in the province and elsewhere. He stressed his optimism that such conflict could be addressed soon, just like incidents of the same nature that have already occurred in the past but were given solutions. “We have peace in Tawi-Tawi, and we will protect that peace,” the governor stressed.
- Source: http://www.tawitawi.net/rescued/
- APRIL 16, 2012
- by www.tawitawi.net
Two alleged victims of human trafficking were rescued by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) while onboard a ship in Tawi-Tawi. Lieutenant Commander Algier Ricafrent, PCG spokesman, said that Coast Guard Station-Bongao received a report that two teenagers – Remelyn Ponce, 18 and Roselyn Ponce, 16 – who were reportedly victims of human trafficking, were held onboard MV TrishaKerstin-2 while en route to Bongao, Tawi Tawi on April 10.
Further investigation disclosed that the girls, who left home without the knowledge of their families, were promised jobs as domestic helpers in Malaysia. Upon learning of the incident, Ponce’s mother sought assistance from the Coast Guard.
Meanwhile, five persons were arrested in separate anti-illegal drugs operations in Quezon City since Friday afternoon. Investigators of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) identified the arrested suspects as Mary Jane Obarra, 39; Danilo Fernando Sr., 52; Theresa Cruz, 43; Gilbert Cruz, 22; and Aldrin Rivera, 22.
Promoting Tourism on Beautiful but Violent Tawi-Tawi
- Source: http://www.bongao.net/promoting-tourism-on-beautiful-but-violent-tawi-tawi/
- Apr 15th, 2012
- by Bongao.
The island’s pristine waters, prehistoric caves and mountain lookouts, it turns out, lie in the vicinity of fierce battles between rebel groups and the Philippine military.
Kidnappings are a recurring problem on Tawi-Tawi, and clan warfare, beheadings and roadside bombs are all too common on the surrounding islands in the southern Philippines. Nonetheless, Gov. Sadikul Sahali and local tourism officials are laying out the welcome mat, with a new promotional campaign aimed at trumpeting the charms of Tawi-Tawi and other nearby isles.
National tourism officials are opposed to foreigners visiting the area because of the dangers. A national tourism campaign, with the slogan “It’s More Fun in the Philippines,” has been something of a sensation on the Internet, though, and users have appropriated the slogan in postings on social media sites to celebrate — and mock — what constitutes “fun” in some areas. One such image under the heading “Vacation. It’s More Fun in the Philippines” shows a kidnapped couple flanked by masked, armed men in Mindanao, the easternmost island in the Philippines.
“If you are in central and western Mindanao, you should leave immediately,” states a recent travel advisory from the Australian government to its citizens.
“If, despite our very strong advice against travel, you decide to visit central or western Mindanao,” it added, “you should put in place robust measures to ensure your personal security, seek professional security advice and take out kidnapping insurance.”
The United States, Britain and many other countries have had similar travel warnings for more than a decade.
It is no surprise, given the recent history of the area around Tawi-Tawi, that visitors are urged to arrange security along with their tour packages.
On nearby Jolo Island in February, Philippine Air Force jets dropped two bombs that killed more than a dozen rebels, including top leaders of a regional terrorist network with links to Al Qaeda, military officials said.
A nearby island, Basilan, is a stronghold for the top terrorist organization in the Philippines, Abu Sayyaf.
Just beyond Basilan, in Zamboanga Sibugay Province, Warren Richard Rodwell, a 53-year-old Australian, has been held captive since his abduction on Dec. 5. In July, a vacationing American, Gerfa Yeatts Lunsmann, her 14-year-old son and her 19-year-old Filipino nephew were kidnapped in a coastal area of Zamboanga City. All three are now free, and Ms. Lunsmann and her son have returned to the United States. No one has confirmed or denied rumors that ransoms were paid.
Despite the warnings, two European birdwatchers decided to visit Tawi-Tawi in hopes of seeing the extremely rare Sulu hornbill. They were kidnapped on Feb. 1 and remain in captivity. The violence and kidnappings in the south pose a significant problem for Philippine tourism officials.
“The Philippines remains an ideal destination, with foreign individuals and groups continuing to arrive,” the Department of Tourism said in a statement shortly after the birdwatchers were kidnapped. “So far, no cancellations have been made.”
In Bongao, on Tawi-Tawi, the desk clerk at the Beachside Inn, Nur Uddin, said by telephone that foreigners continued to arrive, although not very often. “If you come here, you should hire a security guard to make sure you are safe,” he said.
Salvacion Pescadera, a provincial tourism officer, said the kidnapping of the birdwatchers was an isolated case that, she said, occurred because they had not sought security clearance from the Tourism Department before visiting a remote area. She said that her office coordinated with the local police to provide security for visitors. “You’ll be in good hands,” she said.
DENR, tourism council seek more no-mining zones
- Source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/176421/denr-tourism-council-seek-more-no-mining-zones
- 4:59 am | Saturday, April 14th, 2012
- by Kristine L. Alave
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the National Tourism Council last week endorsed proposals to delineate hundreds of areas as “no-mining zones.” According to Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, the DENR has recommended that the government add nine more sites to its current list of 239 protected areas. Of those already on the list, 178 of them would be further declared as “eco-tourism zones,” to expand their protection from all extractive activities, including small-scale mining. The nine new areas to be placed under the conservation area status are: Balbalan-Balbalasang National Park in the Cordillera Region, Zambales Mountains in Regions 1 and 3, Mts. Irid Angelo and Binuang in Region 4A, Polilio Group of Islands, also in Region 4A, Mts. Iglit Baco National Park in Region 4B, Nug as Lantoy in Region 7, Mt. Nacolod in Region 8, Mt. Hilong-hilong in Region 13, and Bongao Peak in Tawi-tawi Island. On strengthening restrictions in 178 protected areas, Paje said: “The priority land use in these areas is tourism,” Paje said. “We have agreed that these areas are no-mining zones,” Paje added. ‘In conflict’ He said government is supportive of the idea since it wants to bolster the country’s tourism industry. A few months ago, the Department of Tourism launched a campaign with a tag line “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” to entice more foreign tourists to come to the country. The move to delineate more protected areas came after DENR, Silliman University and the German aid agency noted that the National Integrated Protected Areas System (Nipas) Act of 1992 has loopholes that allow some extractive and commercial activities even in protected areas. Also, the review noted that current laws on protected areas and the Mining Act of 1995 are “in conflict” when it comes to areas that are open to mining and areas with a protected status. The Nipas law also mandates Congress to declare a particular area as a protected site, which is an expensive and long process.
DPWH Sec. Sadain visits, inspects Tawi- Tawi Projects
- Source: http://www.zambotimes.com/archives/44752-DPWH-Sec.-Sadain-visits,-inspects-Tawi-Tawi-Projects.html
- Tuesday, March 13. 2012
- by (PR/BFC)
BONGAO, Tawi-Tawi- (March 11, 2012) Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Department of Public Works and Highways Regional Secretary Emil K. Sadain personally inspected on-going projects being undertaken by the ARMM government in the island provinces over the weekends.
Sec. Sadain made his province-hopping across the southern islands including Tawi-Tawi where he, along with local executives led by Gov. Sadikul Sahali officially inspected the continuing construction of three steel bridges worth approximately P97.0 M across the Sanga-Sanga-Lapid-Lapid rapids in Bongao town, which, if completed, will spur economic growth as well as boost social transformation in the islands.
Phase I and II of the project had been substantially completed while Phase III posted accomplishment now at 98.13 percent complete while construction works still continuing and expected to be finished by September this year. Construction started last June 10, 2010.
Bridge Project Engr. Jul-Arab Kong of the DPWH-RO-9 said that by April of this year, President Benigno Aquino III is set to inaugurate and declare it open for public use.
Sec. Sadain, con-currently DPWH-President Bridge Program Director with an appointment as national Assistant Secretary, pointed out that after decades at attempting to construct the bridge projects, it is only now that we are to realize it.
The bridge project, one of the priorities of the national government would connect the Bongao capital town island to the other mainland island towns making accessible trade and commerce as well as allow the movements of people to travel by land, according to Sadain.
Sec. Sadain also led the ocular assessment and inspection of Tubig Malum (Rio Hondo) in Sitio Malum, Barangay Magsaggaw, Panglima Sugala town about 6 kilometers from the capital Barangay Bato-Bato to determine the possibility for implementation of the proposed water system as a potential source of potable water. The water system will be tapped and distributed to the entire main island of the province. The river which stretches downstream from barangay Marang-Marang (Languyan town) to Barangay Magsaggaw extending further through Barangay Kulapi towards the southern tip of Panglima Sugala municipality has sufficient volume of fresh water that could cater a growing population.
Meanwhile, Gov. Sahali briefed Sec. Sadain about the proposal to undertake the project because it is a priority need of the people. The Governor said it’s high time that a viable and sustainable water works system harnessing the Malum River will address the perennial shortage of water supply in the island province Sahali, likewise emphasized his willingness to extend his local counterpart contribution to start with the project even as he toured the ARMM official to the site despite the difficulty in traversing the rugged road conditions and trails to reach the area.
“We must do an actual assessment of the situation on the ground and know where to start,” Sadain emphasized even as he assured to work for its realization under PNoy’s administration.
Accompanied by DPWH officials and staff, Sadain took time out to conduct consultations with the seven district officials of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao, who joined him in Tawi-Tawi for the holding of the First Joint Regional and District Conference held at the DPWH district office in Bongao town, where the DPWH-ARMM Reform Agenda 2012 was laid down as a policy guidelines of the ARMM leadership by fully implementing important milestone projects using available resources and funding.
Tawi-Tawi DPWH District Engr. Bensoud Ajihil, who played host to the conference vowed to continue to support the ARMM Secretary in fulfilling the reform agenda as mandated by doing its share in developing the southern frontier of the country.
Sadain said that in support of the reform programs and good governance of ARMM, milestone targets has been set in place.
He declared that DPWH-ARMM has attained remarkable achievements in the pursuit of reform for good governance, defining its new policies and programs in the field of administrative, technical and financial matters, in just almost 3 months since he assumed.
He said, the first 100 days accomplishments, for both physical and financial inclusive of the difficulties encountered, the impact of the programs and activities as reflected in the reports as well as recommendations has been submitted to the ARMM regional Governor.
Discussions also centered on all the accomplishments of the department and the sharing of information on the problems experienced with regards to project implementation and on how to address them.
Sadain is optimistic, with help from all stakeholders to include local government units, Barangays, the NGO’s and the members of the community; ARMM will be able to take off from its slumber under the present administration of Regional Gov. Hataman.
Sadain, who assumed last January 17, 2012 as DPWH cabinet secretary promised to institute changes not only from within the system but also develop a scheme to address on the deep-seated “culture of people” working habits in bringing the desired development for the ARMM.
Earlier, Saidain said that when he was appointed as the DPWH-ARMM secretary, he noticed that it's not only the system that need to be changed but also the culture of the people working on it especially the public officials particularly those under his supervision from what he described as, “from the culture of officials down to workers in the office” and the department's programming on project implementation solely focuses on local roads which were then gradually destroyed as of this period.
On national roads with a total of 1,100 kilometers, about 70 percent of the road was done adding that with the marching orders of the President to the newly appointed ARMM governor to cover the 100 percent National paved roads by next midterm elections, due to that the 70 percent of the national roads should be given right priority under the program of DPWH-ARMM.
Sadain added he is now in the midst of undertaking the needed reforms within his department to set the right example and provide the avenue for real change to take its course for the good of the ARMM constituents.
Part of the reform effort focuses on reviewing falsified documents on the appointments of employees while upholding civil service rulings in cleansing his department on the old ways of culture to professionalize the bureaucracy, according to Sadain.
Sec. Sadain claimed that President Aquino’s choice for OIC Regional Gov. Hataman is welcome as the latter is sincere and committed in delivering reform in the ARMM Region even as he expects everyone to support.
The department also looks forward in developing some projects that would invite donor countries in the form of providing grants such as the USAID, Organization of Islamic Conference, JICA and others that extends assistance for member countries.
Much earlier, Sec. Sadain has issued a memo to the two district engineering offices which compliments the first district of Maguindanao and the second district of Lanao del Sur for the maintenance of road clearing for the commuters to feel comfortable in their travel from Cotabato City up to Parang and Malabang all the way to Marawi City which stretch up to 70 kilometers long. The road signage's on the sharp curves, street markings and kilometer posts were planned to be placed along the roadsides.
The department targets to cater about 80 percent of the budget focused on national roads and bridges and the balance will be considered by 2013. He further explained that he sub-divided their office programming, 80 percent of it for the national roads and 20 percent for the high-impact or strategic roads adding that these roads are those problematic roads on calamity or conflict affected areas.
While in Basilan, the secretary accompanied Governor Hataman to inaugurate the multi-million pesos worth of JICA-funded Integrated port Terminal in Lamitan City and inspected other infra projects.
In Sulu, Sadain, together with the regional governor and Sulu officials led the ground-breaking of Jolo-Taglibi-Tiptipun road network; inspection of the existing and on-going construction road projects; visit of the area equipment and the Sulu’s two engineering district offices; assessment of the proposed water and drainage systems in Jolo; and meeting with local officials led by Gov. Sakur Tan.
In the Secretary’s entourage were Maguindanao District Engineers Emran Buisan (Dist. 1), and Zainal Mlok (Dist. 2), Lanao District Engineers Tetinga Langit Sumagayan (Dist. 1) and Maldamin Decampong (Dist. 2), Sulu D.E. Taballang Atluh (Dist. 1) and Barlie Nahudan (Dist. 2), Basilan D.E. Bensali Kasim and Tawi-Tawi D.E. Bensoud Ajihil.
Simunul Mayor ousted
- Source: http://www.zamboangatoday.ph/index.php/news/13-top-stories/9462-simunul-mayor-ousted.html
- Thursday, 12 April 2012 11:43
- by Press Release
Nazif Ahmad B. Abdurahman, the mayor of Simunul, a fourth class and one of the 11 municipalities in Tawi-Tawi, has been ousted from office. This came about as Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 5 Acting Presiding Judge Peter V. Eisma of Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, has issued a five-page Special Order dated April 2, 2012 granting the “motion for execution” of its February 10, 2012 order that “annulled and set aside” Abdurahman's proclamation and declared Benzar N. Tambut as the duly elected mayor of Simunul municipality, Province of Tawi-Tawi.
“Wherefore, judgment is hereby rendered, finding the protestant Benzar N. Tambut as the duly elected Municipal Mayor of the Municipality of Simunul, Province of Tawi-Tawi. The proclamation of the protestee Nazif Ahmad B. Abdurahman as Municipal Mayor of Simunul, Tawi-Tawi in the last May 10, 2012 elections is hereby ANNULED and SET ASIDE,” the Court stated in its February 10, 2012 decision.
The Court issued the order after Tambut, assisted by election lawyer Quirino Esguerra, Jr., has protested Abdurahman's proclamation citing various irregularities allegedly conducted and/or perpetrated by Abdurahman and/or his followers and cohorts during the conduct of the automated national and local elections on May 10, 2010.
Tambut has contested and impugned the results of six of the total 20 clustered precincts for the mayoralty position. Earlier, Abdurahman was proclaimed as the winner in the mayoralty race having garnered the highest votes casted and canvassed during the May 10, 2010 election with a total of 2,955 votes as compared to Tambut who obtained 2,386 votes, the second highest ranking in the race of six aspirants for mayor.
However, the Court, after the revision and judicial appreciation of ballots, has annulled and set aside Aburahman's proclamation since it found out that Tambut garnered 2,329 votes while Abdurahman garnered a total of 1,933 votes or with a difference of 396 votes.
The Court in its April 2, 2012 decision has cited “public interest” in granting the “motion for execution” filed by Tambut and Esguerra, his legal counsel.
“Public interest involved is beyond doubt that warrants the execution of the decision of this court pending appeal when this court established the true and genuine expression of the will of the electorate of Simunul, Tawi-Tawi, thereby establishing protestant's right to the contested office by declaring him undoubtedly the true and genuine winner with a plurality of Three Hundred Ninety Six (396) votes as manifestly established in the decision promulgated by this Court on February 10, 2012,” the Court said.
“Public interest demands the immediate execution of the decision of the court and to rule against the execution pending appeal is greatly prejudicial to the constituents of Simunul, Tawi-Tawi whose true and genuine winner has been judicially determined by this court,” the Court added.
Court unseats Tawi-Tawi municipal mayor
- Source: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/zamboanga/local-news/2012/04/11/court-unseats-tawi-tawi-municipal-mayor-215763
- Wednesday, April 11, 2012
- by Bong Garcia
A REGIONAL trial court has unseated Nazif Ahmad B. Abdurahman as the mayor of Simunul, Tawi-Tawi province.
The Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 5 acting presiding judge Peter V. Eisma of Bongao, Tawi-Tawi, has issued a five-page special order dated April 2, 2012 granting the motion for execution of its February 10, 2012 order that annulled and set aside Abdurahman's proclamation.
The court declared Benzar N. Tambut as the duly elected mayor of Simunul municipality.
The court issued the order after Tambut, assisted by election lawyer Quirino Esguerra Jr., has protested Abdurahman's proclamation.
Tambut’s camp cited various irregularities allegedly conducted by Abdurahman or his followers and cohorts during the conduct of the automated national and local elections on May 10, 2010.
Tambut has contested the results of six of the total 20 clustered precincts for the mayoralty position.
Earlier, Abdurahman was proclaimed as the winner in the mayoralty race having garnered the highest votes casted and canvassed with a total of 2,955 votes as compared to Tambut who obtained 2,386 votes, the second highest ranking in the race of six mayoral aspirants.
The court has annulled and set aside Aburahman's proclamation after it found out after the revision and judicial appreciation of ballots that Tambut garnered 2,329 votes while Abdurahman garnered a total of 1,933 votes or with a difference of 396 votes.
The court in its April 2, 2012 decision has cited public interest in granting the motion for execution filed by Tambut and Esguerra.
“Public interest involved is beyond doubt that warrants the execution of the decision of this court pending appeal when this court established the true and genuine expression of the will of the electorate of Simunul, Tawi-Tawi, thereby establishing protestant's right to the contested office by declaring him undoubtedly the true and genuine winner…,” the court said.
Simunul, which comprises of 15 villages, is a 4th class and one of the 11 municipalities of Tawi-Tawi.
Simunul has a population 31,962 people in 4,910 households based on the 2000 census of the National Statistics Office.
DENR-ARMM pursues greening program
- Source: http://www.pia.gov.ph/news/index.php?article=1521334025588
- Tuesday 10th of April 2012
- by (EOR/APB-PIA 10)
MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur, April 10 (PIA) -- The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DENR-ARMM) is engaging in a massive region-wide reforestation under the National Greening Program (NGP).
“We are vigorously pursuing the implementation of the NGP which seeks to address poverty reduction, food security, biodiversity conservation, and climate change mitigation and adaptation,” said DENR-ARMM Secretary Kahal Kedtag during the 1st ARMM Summit on Environmental Protection held here recently.
He said the DENR-ARMM is set to produce 5,296,500 seedlings for the 2011-2012 implementation of the program.
According to him, these seedlings will be planted in 2,500 hectares of denuded and open forestland within the region’s five provinces, namely Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.
It can be recalled that DENR Secretary Ramon Paje and ARMM OIC-Governor Mujiv Hataman inked an agreement earlier this year to ensure the full implementation of the NGP in the region.
A flagship program of President Benigno S. Aquino III, the greening program involves the growing of 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares of lands nationwide from 2011 to 2016.
ARMMAA 2012 reels off
- Source: http://www.tawitawi.net/armmaa-2012-reels-off/
- APRIL 8, 2012
- by Bong Garcia
LAMITAN CITY, Basilan — The 2012 Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Athletic Association (ARMMAA) meet kicked off Saturday with officials encouraging the athletes “to aim for the best.”
The week-long athletic competition is being participated by some 6,000 athletes composed of 12 athletic delegations coming from the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi and the cities of Lamitan and Marawi.
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The largest athletic contingent is from the province of Tawi-Tawi.
“Aim high and aim for the best,” Armm officer-in-charge Governor Mujiv Hataman told the athletes.
Hataman encouraged the athletes to set a goal not just in participating in the 2012 ARMMAA but to be able to reach to the Palarong Pambansa and possibly in the Olympics.
Hataman also enjoined them to be instruments of peace as this year’s sports competition is themed: “Bridging Peace, Unity and Development through Sports.”
“Let sportsmanship and discipline be the order of the day,” Basilan Congressman Jim Salliman, the elder brother of Hataman, told the athletes.
Lamitan City Mayor Roderick Furigay said the hosting of the ARMMAA 2012 gives them the opportunity to showcase the best of the city especially in the field of tourism.
“We may not provide you excellent facilities but we will offset it with warm hospitality,” Furigay said.
Lamitan City has pristine beaches and beautiful falls like the Bulingan Falls.
Furigay has thanked Hataman and Salliman for their full support to the City Government in the hosting of ARMMAA 2012.
The holding of this year’s ARMMAA is the second time this city played hosts.
The first time Lamitan played hosts to ARMMAA was in 2005 when it was still a municipality.
Remote Villages Get Health Care
- Source: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/356292/remote-villages-get-health-care
- April 4, 2012, 4:52pm
- by ALI G. MACABALANG
COTABATO CITY, Philippines – Remote villages in the once scary Maguindanao province and the southernmost tips of Tawi-Tawi islands are now receiving health services and medical care which rural folks had longed for decades. Reports about the trend-setting outreach services surfaced at the education and health summit conducted here recently. Dr. Kadil Sinolinding Jr., incumbent health secretary of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), told summit participants that more than 2,000 “deprived people” of Tawi-Tawi received medical attention and health services in a week-long (March 18-25) caravan on the island towns of Sapa-Sapa and Languyan. The “geographically disadvantaged” villagers of the two island towns received various “medical-surgical-safe motherhood outreach” services never done in one setting before, Sinolinding said in his presentation backed by statistics and photos. “Braving the scorching heat of the sun and the staggering hours of travel by sea, we once touched hearts and brought vision and hope among more than 2,000 people in Languyan and Sapapa island towns,” said the ARMM health official cum expert ophthalmologist.
Philippines says it is now ready to sign peace deal with Muslim rebels
- Source: http://www.mindanaoexaminer.com/news.php?news_id=20120402065814
- Monday, April 02, 2012 06:58:14 PM
- by (Mindanao Examiner)
COTABATO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 2, 2012) – The Philippines said it is ready to sign a peace agreement with Muslim rebels fighting for self-determination in the restive South. The statement came ahead of peace talks set to begin this month in Kuala Lumpur.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front said peace negotiations are going nowhere after Manila rejected the rebel demand for a Muslim sub-state in Mindanao similar to Malaysia, which is brokering the talks.
“Government maintains that it is ready to sign a peace pact with the MILF in the soonest possible time. We have laid a very pragmatic proposal that will ensure real and genuine autonomy for the Bangsamoro on the table,” Marvic Leonen, chief government peace negotiators, said on Monday.
He said the last round of talks with the MILF in Marc have been very difficult, with both parties engaged in hard bargaining on the substantive aspects of the negotiations.
“Given the dynamic nature of the negotiations, it has to be understood that there are issues that may be hard to resolve. However, government is committed to work hard with its counterparts in the MILF to find mutually acceptable solutions and bring peace in Mindanao. Instead of trying to fuel people's apprehensions, we urge the MILF to work with government and meet our timetable for a peace agreement this year,” Leonen said.
The MILF said it will not sign any peace deal unless the Aquino government agreed on the creation of Muslim sub-state. “We cannot backtrack on our demand because it the will of the Bangsamoro people,” said Mohagher Iqbal, the chief MILF peace negotiator.
He said the MILF is unlikely to sign any peace accord anytime soon, saying, the government is not committed to forging a genuine and long and lasting solution in Mindanao.
The MILF said Manila has offered the five-province Muslim autonomous region in Mindanao which is composed of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao and Lanao provinces.
“We will stick with our demand for a Muslim sub-state in Mindanao and nothing more,” Iqbal said.
The Aquino government has proposed the so-called “3-for-1” formula to achieve political settlement of conflict in Mindanao.
Among in the proposal is a roadmap for development and socio-economic rehabilitation in the Mindanao through the creation of the Joint Coordinating Committee on Development in which the Philippines offered partnership with the MILF in identifying and implementing socio-economic projects.
And peace accord through the creation of the Bangsamoro Commission that will be composed of representatives from the government, the MILF, and stakeholders in the Mindanao peace process and to re-craft an Organic Act for “genuine autonomy” and supervise the implementation of the peace pact.
And lastly is for the government to acknowledge the historical injustice of conflict and reconciliation wherein it is willing to officially retell the real history of Mindanao.
Ghazali Jaafar, the MILF vice chairman for political affairs, also expressed pessimism about the peace talks with the Aquino government, saying negotiations have been going on for a long time now, but nothing concrete has been achieved, except for the cease-fire agreement.
“We are very doubtful now whether we can sign a peace deal with government under this present administration,” he said following a recent caucus with senior MILF leaders in the South.
“The assessment of the political officers was the recently concluded peace talks between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Malaysia was very disappointing. What the government peace panel headed by Marvic Leonen did in the last talks was never our immediate expectation which is the reason why we are very much disappointed,” Jaafar said.
Damaged luxury cruise towed to port in Tawi-Tawi
- Source: http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=793317&publicationSubCategoryId=200
- April 01, 2012 04:00 PM
- by philstar.com
MANILA, Philippines (Xinhua) - Ships are towing the damaged luxury cruise M/V Azamara Quest towards an island in the southern Philippine province of Tawi-Tawi, police said today.
Philippine National Police spokesman Agrimero Cruz Jr. said that a towboat of the Philippine Coast Guard has started towing the ship anchored at Tubbataha Reef at around 9:45 a.m. and is expected to arrive at Taganak Island in Tawi-Tawi at around 10:00 p.m. on Sunday. They are being escorted by a Philippine Navy ship.
He added that all the passengers were still onboard the ship.
The 30,277-tonnage cruise ship, which has 590 passengers and 411 crew members, caught fire off southern Philippines Friday night while on its way to Sandakan, Malaysia.
Azamara Club Cruises, operator of Azamara Quest, said in an earlier statement that the vessel caught a fire in the engine room, but it was quickly extinguished; five of its crew members got injured, but no passenger hurt in the accident.
Because of the fire incident, the rest of the 17-day Azamara Quest's voyage was canceled.The ship started with the voyage on March 26 in Hong Kong and docked in Manila, Philippines' port on Thursday.
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