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Contents

DOST-IX accepts Project Proposals for SETUP

By JCC/DOST-IX Press Release


The Department of Science and Technology-IX (DOST-IX) is now accepting proposals from proprietors of micro, small and medium enterprises in the region who wish to avail of the technical and financial assistance under the Small and Medium Enterprises Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP). SETUP is a nationwide strategy to encourage and assist micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in implementing technological innovations and improvements in their operations to boost their productivity and competitiveness.

Specifically, the program enables firms to address their current technical problems; get free technical advice from the consultants; avail of technical training courses for workers/employees; acquire new equipment to mechanize and/or improve production line; avail assistance on product packaging and labeling; and standardize and improve the quality of products.

The program is open to any company or individual firm that is based in the Philippines and wholly owned by Filipino citizen. The firm/s must be classified under the following identified priority sectors: 1) Food Processing; 2) Furniture; 3) Gifts and Holiday Decors (GHD); 4) Aquatic and Marine-based Resources; 5) Metals and Metalworking; 6) Horticulture; 7) Information and Communications Technology; and 8) Health Products and Services.

Now on its eleventh year of implementation, the program had provided funding and technical assistance to eighty two (82) firms from all over the region, which translated to improved productivity and product quality of business establishments.

For more information, interested parties may visit or call DOST-Regional Office IX, Pettit Barracks, Zamboanga City with telephone numbers (062) 991-1024. The Zamboanga del Norte Provincial S&T Center (ZdN-PSTC) in Upper Turno, Dipolog City, with telephone numbers (065) 212-2244, Zamboanga del Sur Provincial S&T Center (ZdS-PSTC) in Rizal Avenue, Pagadian City with telephone numbers (062) 925-1152, and the Zamboanga Sibugay Provincial S&T Center (ZS-PSTC) at 2/F Faundo Bldg., National Highway, Poblacion, Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay with phone numbers 09154596401.






Domicile for election purposers; proof of - G.R. No. 191970

By attylaserna.blogspot.com


The Issue Presented

The sole issue presented in this case is whether or not the COMELEC acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in ruling that Jalosjos failed to present ample proof of a bona fide intention to establish his domicile in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.

The Court’s Ruling

The Local Government Code requires a candidate seeking the position of provincial governor to be a resident of the province for at least one year before the election.[9] For purposes of the election laws, the requirement of residence is synonymous with domicile,[10] meaning that a person must not only intend to reside in a particular place but must also have personal presence in such place coupled with conduct indicative of such intention.[11]

There is no hard and fast rule to determine a candidate’s compliance with residency requirement since the question of residence is a question of intention.[12] Still, jurisprudence has laid down the following guidelines: (a) every person has a domicile or residence somewhere; (b) where once established, that domicile remains until he acquires a new one; and (c) a person can have but one domicile at a time.[13]

It is inevitable under these guidelines and the precedents applying them that Jalosjos has met the residency requirement for provincial governor of Zamboanga Sibugay.

One. The COMELEC appears hasty in concluding that Jalosjos failed to prove that he successfully changed his domicile to Zamboanga Sibugay. The COMELEC points out that, since he was unable to discharge the burden of proving Zamboanga Sibugay to be his rightful domicile, it must be assumed that his domicile is either Quezon City or Australia.

But it is clear from the facts that Quezon City was Jalosjos’ domicile of origin, the place of his birth. It may be taken for granted that he effectively changed his domicile from Quezon City to Australia when he migrated there at the age of eight, acquired Australian citizenship, and lived in that country for 26 years. Australia became his domicile by operation of law and by choice.[14]

On the other hand, when he came to the Philippines in November 2008 to live with his brother in Zamboanga Sibugay, it is evident that Jalosjos did so with intent to change his domicile for good. He left Australia, gave up his Australian citizenship, and renounced his allegiance to that country. In addition, he reacquired his old citizenship by taking an oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines, resulting in his being issued a Certificate of Reacquisition of Philippine Citizenship by the Bureau of Immigration. By his acts, Jalosjos forfeited his legal right to live in Australia, clearly proving that he gave up his domicile there. And he has since lived nowhere else except in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.

To hold that Jalosjos has not establish a new domicile in Zamboanga Sibugay despite the loss of his domicile of origin (Quezon City) and his domicile of choice and by operation of law (Australia) would violate the settled maxim that a man must have a domicile or residence somewhere.

Two. The COMELEC concluded that Jalosjos has not come to settle his domicile in Ipil since he has merely been staying at his brother’s house. But this circumstance alone cannot support such conclusion. Indeed, the Court has repeatedly held that a candidate is not required to have a house in a community to establish his residence or domicile in a particular place. It is sufficient that he should live there even if it be in a rented house or in the house of a friend or relative.[15] To insist that the candidate own the house where he lives would make property a qualification for public office. What matters is that Jalosjos has proved two things: actual physical presence in Ipil and an intention of making it his domicile.

Jalosjos presented the affidavits of next-door neighbors, attesting to his physical presence at his residence in Ipil. These adjoining neighbors are no doubt more credible since they have a better chance of noting his presence or absence than his other neighbors, whose affidavits Erasmo presented, who just sporadically passed by the subject residence. Further, it is not disputed that Jalosjos bought a residential lot in the same village where he lived and a fish pond in San Isidro, Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay. He showed correspondences with political leaders, including local and national party-mates, from where he lived. Moreover, Jalosjos is a registered voter of Ipil by final judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga Sibugay.

Three. While the Court ordinarily respects the factual findings of administrative bodies like the COMELEC, this does not prevent it from exercising its review powers to correct palpable misappreciation of evidence or wrong or irrelevant considerations.[16] The evidence Jalosjos presented is sufficient to establish Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay, as his domicile. The COMELEC gravely abused its discretion in holding otherwise.

Four. Jalosjos won and was proclaimed winner in the 2010 gubernatorial race for Zamboanga Sibugay. The Court will respect the decision of the people of that province and resolve all doubts regarding his qualification in his favor to breathe life to their manifest will.

Philippine authorities say kidnapped Australian is alive, but weak and frail

By Mindanao Examiner


Philippine authorities said a kidnapped Australian adventurer Warren Rodwell is alive, but frail and weak, and that security forces are still searching for the former Sydney man.

Rodwell, 52, was seized on December last year by 6 gunmen, disguised as policemen, from his house in the seaside town of Ipil in Zamboanga Sibugay province where he married a Filipina woman Miraflor Gutang, 27.

Chief Superintendent Napoleon Estilles, the regional police commander for Western Mindanao, said Rodwell is believed being held captive in Basilan, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.

“Police intelligence reports indicate that Rodwell is in Basilan province and is being transferred from one place to another (to evade detection by authorities),” he said during a peace and order meeting last week in Zamboanga City.

He said Rodwell, a former soldier in the Australian army, was said to be in the towns of Lantawan and Sumisip. “We are doing our best to locate and rescue Rodwell. My office is coordinating with the (police forces) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao because Rodwell has been brought by his captors outside my jurisdiction. Our troopers are working 24 hours on the ground for the rescue of Rodwell,” Estilles said.

A local newspaper reported that Zamboanga Sibugay Governor Rommel Jalosjos said the kidnappers are now demanding P20 million for the safe release of Rodwell. Jalosjos did not say if he is in contact with the kidnappers or negotiating for Rodwell’s freedom.

Police and military have tagged the Abu Sayyaf which has links with both al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya, as behind the kidnapping of Rodwell. The group originally demanded $2 million in exchange for the release of Rodwell.

The Philippine army earlier reported that Rodwell was spirited out of Basilan to Zamboanga Peninsula because of intense military operation against the Abu Sayyaf.

“We have been receiving a lot of intelligence about Rodwell and his captors and many of these reports are also misinformation. There are reports that Rodwell is in Basilan and Zamboanga Peninsula and our operations are continuing in those areas,” Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang, a spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command, told the Mindanao Examiner.

He said he also saw a police photo of Rodwell holding a Philippine newspaper believed to have been taken last month from an unknown location. “There is a photo of Rodwell holding a newspaper. It’s another proof of life, but we don’t know his condition now,” he said.

Kidnapped Australian alive but frail, weak

By AL JACINTO CORRESPONDENT


Police officials over the weekend reported that a kidnapped Australian is alive, but frail and weak, and that security forces are still searching for the former Sydney resident.

Adventurer Warren Rodwell, 52, was seized on December last year by six gunmen, disguised as policemen, from his house in the seaside town of Ipil in Zamboanga Sibugay province where he married a Filipina woman Miraflor Gutang, 27.

Chief Supt. Napoleon Estilles, the regional police commander for Western Mindanao, said Rodwell is believed to be held captive in Basilan, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.

“Police intelligence reports indicate that Rodwell is in Basilan province and is being transferred from one place to another [to evade detection by authorities],” he said during a recent peace and order meeting in Zamboanga City.

He said Rodwell, a former soldier in the Australian army, was said to be in the towns of Lantawan and Sumisip.

“We are doing our best to locate and rescue Rodwell. My office is coordinating with the [police] in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao because Rodwell has been brought by his captors outside my jurisdiction. Our troopers are working 24 hours on the ground for the rescue of Rodwell,” Estilles said.

A local newspaper quoted Zamboanga Sibugay Governor Rommel Jalosjos as saying during the same meeting that the kidnappers are now demanding P20 million for the safe release of Rodwell.

Jalosjos did not say if he is in contact with the kidnappers or negotiating for Rodwell’s freedom.

Police and military have tagged the Abu Sayyaf, which has links with international terrorist organizations al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya, as behind the kidnapping of Rodwell. The group originally demanded $2 million in exchange for the release of Rodwell.

The Philippine army earlier reported that Rodwell was smuggled out of Basilan to the Zamboanga Peninsula because of intense military operations against the Abu Sayyaf.

“We have been receiving a lot of intelligence about Rodwell and his captors and many of these reports are also misinformation. There are reports that Rodwell is in Basilan and Zamboanga Peninsula and our operations are continuing in those areas,” Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang, a spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command, told The Manila Times.

He said he also saw a police photo of Rodwell holding a Philippine newspaper believed to have been taken last month from an unknown location.

“There is a photo of Rodwell holding a newspaper. It’s another proof of life, but we don’t know his condition now,” he said.

Abducted Australian pleads for life

By Lindsay Murdoch and Al Jacinto


A NEW proof-of-life video shows Sydney adventurer Warren Rodwell looking gaunt and making a desperate plea for a ransom to save his life after more than four months in captivity in the Philippines. Ron Masling, an Australian acquaintance of Mr Rodwell who obtained the video, says the kidnappers have set a four-week deadline to be paid or they will behead him. "They [the kidnappers] have given one month more before he is finished," Mr Masling told The Sunday Age by telephone from the Philippines, where he has been living for several years.

However, Australian officials are angry that a Filipino man linked to Mr Masling contacted the kidnappers and obtained the four-minute video during which Mr Rodwell is seen holding a copy of the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper dated March 26. The Department of Foreign Affairs declined to comment. Mr Masling, 57, of Canberra, is attempting to sell the video to the Australian media for thousands of dollars, saying his efforts to help Mr Rodwell have used up all his pension money. Grave fears are held for Mr Rodwell, who was abducted on December 5 from his fortified home in the seaside town of Ipil on troubled Mindanao Island by four gunmen posing as police. Philippine authorities say that since the video was made Mr Rodwell has become frail and weak as he has been constantly moved between remote hideouts of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf group, which has now dropped its original ransom demand from $2 million to $460,000. Both the Australian and Philippine governments have policies not to pay ransoms. In the video, the second sent by the kidnappers, Mr Rodwell pleads for his family, the Australian Prime Minister and Australians to raise the money. Philippine security forces have moved a massive hunt for the kidnappers to the island of Basilan, an Abu Sayyaf stronghold, after intelligence reports indicated he was taken back there in recent days after being held for weeks in hideouts on the nearby Zamboanga Peninsula. Philippine troops have had several firefights with Abu Sayyaf terrorists this year despite efforts to negotiate Mr Rodwell's release. Zamboanga Sibugay governor Rommel Jalosjos said the kidnappers were now demanding 20 million pesos ($A460,000) for the release of Mr Rodwell, whose 27-year-old Filipina wife Miraflor Gutang says she does not have the money to pay. Mr Jalosjos declined to say if he was in contact with the kidnappers. Mr Masling, who has been unable to sell the video to the media, claimed Australian authorities had done little to help Mr Rodwell. However, it is known Australian officials have been supporting efforts to secure Mr Rodwell's release. Mr Masling claimed that Australian officials in Manila had told him his life was in danger and that he should leave the Philippines immediately. But he said he was not leaving. "Where I grew up you don't leave your mates behind."

Zambo Peninsula 2011 fisheries production down by 18.18%

By PNA/PIA9-ZBST


The fisheries production of Zamboanga Peninsula or Region-9 for the year 2011 has registered an 18.18 percent decrease compared to that in 2010, the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) reported Thursday.

NSCB Regional Director Mewchun Pamaran, citing data from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS), said this came about as the commercial, municipal and aquaculture fishery sectors have registered a downward trend in production last year compared to that in the previous year. Pamaran said the fish production by commercial fishermen last year was lower by 125,314.52 MT from 339,750.97 metric tons (MT) in 2010 to 214,436.45 MT in 2011.

Pamaran said three areas namely the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga City have registered production shortfall in commercial fisheries, which constitute about 34.6 percent to the total fishery production in the region.

The commercial fishery data of the three areas are as follows: Zamboanga del Norte went down by 1,036.54 MT from 20,999.20 in 2010 to 19,962.66 in 2011; Zamboanga del Sur decreased by 2,516.39 MT to 31,622.48 MT in 2011 from 34,138.87 in 2010; and, Zamboanga City was lesser by 117,213.84 MT to 158,473.97 MT in 2011 from 275,687.81 MT in 2010.

Pamaran said the decrease in the commercial fishery production was largely attributed to lesser number of fishing activities and number of unloading due to weather disturbances that occurred during the period.

The total production for municipal fishery, which accounts for 20.8 percent of the region's total fisheries production, was pegged at 129,037.87 MT in 2011 or lower by 7,028.94 MT compared to that in 2010 production of 136,066.81 MT, Pamaran said. All of the areas in the region--Zamboanga City, and the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay--have marked a downward trend in municipal fishery production in 2011 compared to that in the previous year.

Of the four areas, Zamboanga del Norte registered the highest municipal fishery production shortfall of 3,289.45 MT to 37,061.47 MT in 2011 from 40,350.92 MT in 2010.

The municipal fishery production of the other areas in the region are: Zamboanga del Sur down by 2,634.64 MT from 25,677.22 MT in 2010 to 23,042.58 MT in 2011; Zamboanga City marked a decrease of 698.69 MT from 42,225.15 MT in 2010 to 41,526.46 MT in 2011; and, Zamboanga Sibugay lesser by 406.16 MT to 27,407.36 MT in 2011 from 27,813.52 in 2011.

Pamaran said that the region's aquaculture production also exhibited a downward trend though three areas in the region namely Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Norte provinces and Zamboanga City registered an increase in production.

In totality, Pamaran said the region's aquaculture production is lesser by 5,315.76 MT from 281,398.42 MT in 2010 to 276,082.66 MT last year since the increase in the production of the three areas were not sufficient to offset the shortfall of Zamboanga del Sur that reached 10,838.52 MT. Last year's aquaculture production of Zamboanga del Sur went down to 44,297.36 MT from 55,135.88 MT in 2010.

The aquaculture production of the three areas that marked an increase are as follows: Zamboanga Sibugay marked an increase of 3,068.64 MT from 132,581.82 in 2010 to 135,650.46 MT in 2011; Zamboanga City went up by 2,058.41 MT to 62,064.87 MT in 2011 from 60,006.46 MT in 2010; and Zamboanga del Norte increased by 395.73 MT to 34,069.98 MT in 2011 from 33,674.25 MT in 2010. Aquaculture accounted for about 44.6 percent of the total fisheries production of the region.

Meanwhile, Pamaran said the seaweed farmers have produced 254,521.10 metric tons last year which is lower by 3,610.2 MT compared to the previous year's production of 258,131.30 MT.

Supreme Court upholds 2010 win of Zamboanga Sibugay governor

By Edu Punay


MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) has affirmed the election in 2010 of Zamboanga Sibugay Gov. Romel Apolinario Jalosjos.

In a seven-page ruling released last Wednesday, the SC nullified the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) disqualifying Jalosjos in the gubernatorial race over residency and citizenship issues based on a complaint filed by barangay chairman Dan Erasmo from Ipil town.

The SC ruled that the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in disqualifying the governor.

“Jalosjos won and was proclaimed winner in the 2010 gubernatorial race for Zamboanga Sibugay. The court will respect the decision of the people of that province and resolve all doubts regarding his qualification in his favor to breathe life to their manifest will,” stated the ruling penned by Associate Justice Roberto Abad.

Records show that Jalosjos was born in Quezon City in 1973. In 1981, he acquired Australian citizenship.

But in 2008, at age 35, he returned to the country, took his allegiance to the Philippine government, and renounced his Australian citizenship.

DSWD signs agreement for poverty programs in Zamboanga

By (JPA/SMU-dis/DSWD9/CAL-PIA9)


PAGADIAN CITY, Zamboanga del Sur, May 3 (PIA) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the local government of Malangas in Zamboanga Sibugay for the implementation of a poverty program in the municipality.

The MOA for the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive Integrated Delivery of Social Service (KALAHI-CIDSS) was signed by DSWD assistant regional director Zenaida Arevalo and Mayor Alfredo Atilano.

The revolutionary community-driven development project of the DSWD was formally launched in nine municipalities in Region 9.

For this year, 12 municipalities have been selected to implement the KALAHI-CIDSS project, based on the high poverty incidence in these areas.

The municipalities that have officially begun the implementation are Naga, Ipil and Malangas in Zamboanga Sibugay; Tukuran, Tigbao, Dumalinao and Tabina in Zamboanga del Sur; and Salug and Manuel Roxas, Zamboanga del Norte. Those that are yet to begin are Sibuco, Sirawai and Baliguian also in Zamboanga del Norte.

The KALAHI-CIDSS project is a bottom-top approach to development planning, which puts decision-making with regards to the implementation of community sub-projects like water systems, roads, schools, and more, to the organized groups of volunteers. These volunteers are the front line implementers of the project in the communities, after being given trainings on project identification, implementation, and operation and maintenance. The project capacitates the people to handle huge sums of money for the implementation of the projects, in most cases, millions of pesos.

During the municipal orientations conducted, the mayors have openly expressed their optimism that by enlisting the partnership of the basic sectors, they will be able to come up with a more thorough action plan for development every year.

“This is a unique approach, but we know that it works,” shares Salug Mayor Jeffrey Lim.

“By bringing the decision-making process down to the people themselves, we are assured of a more holistic approach in addressing our town’s multi-faceted problems,” said Mayor Danilo Dalid of Tigbao, Zamboanga del Sur.

Meanwhile, provincial governors have expressed their support to the poverty-reduction efforts of the DSWD. Zamboanga del Sur Governor Antonio Cerilles said that in spite of the efforts of government to thwart its many problems, poverty is still persistent, hence the need for a more thorough approach.

On the other hand, Zamboanga del Norte governor Rolando Yebes committed to not only provide supervision to the implementation of the project, but to be hands-on in its implementation

12 municipalities in ZamPen to implement kalahi-CIDSS project

By (JPA/DIS-PIA9, ZBST)/ Dominic I. Sanchez-DSWD 9)


ZAMBOANGA CITY, May 2 (PIA) - - For this year, 12 municipalities have been selected to implement the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services, ( Kalahi-CIDSS) project.This is a community-driven development project of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The municipalities that have officially begun the implementation are Naga, Ipil and Malangas in Zamboanga Sibugay; Tukuran, Tigbao, Dumalinao and Tabina in Zamboanga del Sur; and Salug and Manuel Roxas, Zamboanga del Norte. Those that are yet to begin are Sibuco, Sirawai and Baliguian also in Zamboanga del Norte. These areas are noted to have high poverty incidence.

The Kalahi-CIDSS project is a bottom-top approach to development planning, which puts decision-making with regards to the implementation of community sub-projects like water systems, roads, schools, and more, to the organized groups of volunteers. These volunteers are the front line implementers of the project in the communities, after being given trainings on project identification, implementation, and operation, and maintenance. The project capacitates people to handle huge sums of money for the implementation of the projects, in most cases, millions of pesos.

During the municipal orientations conducted, the mayors openly expressed their optimism that by enlisting the partnership of the basic sectors, they will be able to come up with a more thorough action plan for development every year.

“This is a unique approach, but we know that it works,” shares Salug mayor Jeffrey Lim.

“By bringing the decision-making process down to the people themselves, we are assured of a more holistic approach in addressing our town’s multi-faceted problems,” said mayor Danilo Dalid of Tigbao, Zamboanga del Sur.

Meanwhile, provincial governors have expressed their support to the poverty-reduction efforts of the DSWD. Zamboanga del Sur governor Antonio Cerilles said that in spite of the efforts of government, poverty still persist, hence the need for a more thorough approach.

On the other hand, Zamboanga del Norte governor Rolando Yebes committed not only to supervise the implementation of the project, but to be hands-on in its implementation.

Suspect in Aussie’s kidnap slain in Zamboanga Sibugay

By Roel Pareño


ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – A member of a rebel group tagged in the kidnapping of an Australian national was killed while another was arrested in an encounter with government operatives in Sitio Gang in Barangay Mamagon in Naga town in Zamboanga Sibugay province, officials said yesterday.

Chief Superintendent Napoleon Estilles, Police Regional Office 9 director, said the clash occurred when members of the 44th Infantry Battalion and policemen launched a pursuit operation against the kidnap gang allegedly led by Waning Abdusalam at around 2 a.m last Saturday.

Estilles identified the slain suspect as Batoto Abdusalam, alias Halifa Omar.Hader Magatos, who was wounded during the encounter, was captured.

Abdusalam’s group is wanted for a series of kidnappings targeting both residents and foreigners in the Zamboanga peninsula. The group, which has links with the Abu Sayyaf group based in Basilan, was tagged in the kidnapping of Australian Warren Richard Rodwell, 56, a native of Sydney.

Rodwell, a former soldier married to Filipina Mariflor Gutang, was kidnapped last Dec. 5 at his home in Barangay Upper Pangi in Ipil town.

Police and military officials are also looking into the possibility that the group was behind the kidnapping of Salug, Zamboanga del Norte Mayor Jeffrey Lim last April 2.

Vital Tungawan Infra Projects Up

By mb.com.ph


TUNGAWAN, Zamboanga Sibugay – The municipal government here has embarked on a massive improvement of its infrastructure support programs and development aimed at providing a much improved living condition of the residents of this municipality.

Town Mayor Randy Climaco said his government has completed two facilities worth P8.5 million inside the municipal market complex here.

The facilities, he said, will serve the farmers regarding their needs while inside the municipal market.

He also disclosed that the main public market where the wet and dry section is located is presently under renovation.

The mayor said Representative Romeo Jalosjos Jr. (2nd District, Zamboanga Sibugay) funded the project through his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

He also cited the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) for providing P2 million for the improvement of the irrigation canals of the municipality.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) also extended additional funding for the construction of a new police station in the municipality, he added.

According to Climaco, the massive implementation of various infrastructure projects here is also expected to improve the economic living condi¬tion of the local residents, particularly the farmers.

As this developed, Climaco disclosed that education, and health care facilities are likewise included in his priorities for the improvement of the lives of the people here.

In another development, the provincial government of Zamboanga del Norte has implemented some P25 million worth of various programs and infrastructure projects during the first quarter of 2012.

Zamboanga del Norte Governor Rolando E. Yebes said the various projects were implemented in the 25 municipalities of the province, and in the cities of Dipolog and Dapitan.

He enumerated the projects as the Sicayab-Bucana-San Vicente Road in Bucana, Sicayab, Dipolog City, the roadway and parking area in San Vicente, Dapitan City, the improve¬ment of the water supply system, and construction of multi-purpose hall in the various villages, and the construc¬tion of several school buildings, con-creting and rehabilitation of various provincial roads, among thers.

Yebes said that since he became the governor of Zamboanga del Norte in 2004, he has already implemented and completed some 5,613 projects through the Provincial Engineering Office.

Soldiers nab 3 members of gang in Rodwell kidnap

By AL JACINTO


ZAMBOANGA CITY: Government troops captured three gunmen in a clash Saturday with a notorious gang tied to the kidnapping of an Australian adventurer in Zamboanga Sibugay province, officials said.

Officials said the troops raided the hideout of Waning Abdulsalam in Naga town, but the gang leader who was previously implicated in the kidnapping of Warren Rodwell, 52, escaped.

“We were not able to get Waning, but we captured three of his followers in a clash that lasted over 30 minutes. There is no report about Rodwell,” Army Colonel Gerry Barrientos, commander of the 102nd Infantry Brigade, told The Manila Times.

He said troops recovered weapons from Abdusalsalam’s hideout in the village of Mamagon.

Abdulsalam was a former commander of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front which is currently negotiating peace with Manila. Aside from Abdusalsalam, authorities also linked another MILF leader Barahama Ali to Rodwell’s kidnapping.

Rodwell was kidnapped in December last year by six gunmen disguised as policemen at his house in the seaside town of Ipil in Zamboanga Sibugay. He was reported by the police and military to have been brought to Basilan province, just several nautical miles from here, and also in Zamboanga Peninsula.

Authorities have not reported much on the progress of the operation to rescue Rodwell except that the kidnappers have been moving the former Sydney man from one hideout to another to avoid detection by the military.

The kidnappers have demanded $2 million ransom for the release of Rodwell who married a Filipina, Miraflor Gutang, 27, last year in Ipil town. Both the Philippine and Australian governments rejected any ransom payment to the Abu Sayyaf.

Zamboanga Sibugay Governor Rommel Jalosjos has imposed a news blackout on the Rodwell kidnapping, although the kidnappers had contacted him several times to negotiate for the safe release of the foreigner.

The kidnappers sent photos and a video clip to Rodwell’s wife in December as proof of life, but the woman said they had no money to pay ransom.

In Basilan, Army Colonel Ricardo Visaya, the provincial military commander, said that Rodwell may have been smuggled out by the kidnappers to Zamboanga Peninsula due to their continued operations against the militant group Abu Sayyaf.

“We have no information or reports about Rodwell. There last information we have on him was that he was spirited out of Basilan to Zamboanga Peninsula due to the military operations against the Abu Sayyaf,” he said.

Visaya overran the jungle base of Abu Sayyaf leader Puruji Indama in Sumisip town during a recent offensive.

Philippine troops capture 3 members of gang linked to kidnapping of Aussie man

By (Mindanao Examiner)


PAGADIAN CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 28, 2012) – Government troops captured three gunmen in a clash Saturday with a notorious gang tied to the kidnapping of an Australian national in Zamboanga Sibugay province in the southern Philippines, officials said.

Officials said the troops raided the hideout of Waning Abdulsalam in the town of Naga, but the gang leader who was previously implicated in the kidnapping of Warren Rodwell, 52, escaped.

“We were not able to get Waning, but we captured three of his followers in a clash that lasted over 30 minutes. There is no report about Rodwell,” Army Colonel Gerry Barrientos, commander of the 102nd Infantry Brigade, told SMH.

He said troops recovered weapons from Abdusalsalam’s hideout in the village of Mamagon.

Abdulsalam was a former commander of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front which is currently negotiating peace with Manila. Aside from Abdusalsalam, authorities also linked another MILF leader Barahama Ali to Rodwell’s kidnapping.

Rodwell was kidnapped in December last year by 6 gunmen disguised as policemen from his house in the seaside town of Ipil in Zamboanga Sibugay. He was reported by the police and military to have been brought to Basilan province, just several nautical miles from here, and also in Zamboanga Peninsula.

Authorities have not reported much on the progress of the operation to rescue Rodwell except that the kidnappers have been moving the former Sydney man from one hideout to another to avoid detection by the military.

The kidnappers have demanded $2 million ransom for the safe release of Rodwell, who married a Filipina, Miraflor Gutang, 27, last year in Ipil town. Both the Philippine and Australian governments rejected any payment of ransoms to the Abu Sayyaf.

Zamboanga Sibugay Governor Rommel Jalosjos has imposed a news blackout on the Rodwell kidnapping, although the kidnappers had contacted him several times to negotiate for the safe release of the foreigner.

The kidnappers sent photos and a video clip to Rodwell’s wife in December as proof of life, but the woman said they had no money to pay ransom.

In Basilan, Army Colonel Ricardo Visaya, the provincial military commander, said that Rodwell may have been smuggled out by the kidnappers to Zamboanga Peninsula due to their continued operations against the militant group Abu Sayyaf.

“We have no information or reports about Rodwell. There last information we have on him was that he was spirited out of Basilan to Zamboanga Peninsula due to the military operations against the Abu Sayyaf,” he told the Mindanao Examiner.

Visaya overran the jungle base of Abu Sayyaf leader Puruji Indama in Sumisip town during a recent offensive.

Negros Oriental State University gets 83% in electronics engineering exam

By Victor L. Camion


THE state run university in Negros Oriental got 83 percent passing rate in the recent engineering licensure examination.

Five out of six electronics engineering graduates of Negros Oriental State University (Norsu) in Dumaguete City passed the Electronics Engineer Licensure Examination.

Norsu president Dr. Henry Sojor said the passing rate was 83.33 percent of which was above from the national passing rate of 53.55 percent.

Of the 2,687 examinees nationwide, only 1,439 have passed the licensure exam, Information and communication director Joy Perez said.

Norsu’s successful examinees are Melvin Ascabano Belnas of Sipalay City; Mark Jaed Blaza Bendijo of Dumaguete City; Roderick Militante Indab of Guihulngan City; May Joy Ravina Leonora of Bocana, Negros Occidental; and Karole Joseph Manvales Torres of Zamboanga, Sibugay.

Lawmaker advises 4Ps beneficiaries to be aware of responsibilities

By Jocelyn P. Alvarez


ZAMBOANGA CITY, April 26 (PIA) -- A lawmaker has advised the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to be aware of the responsibilities that come with the benefits they receive.

“Be updated and know your responsibilities,” said Zamboanga Sibugay’s 1st District Congressman Jonathan Cabilao Yambao to the beneficiaries of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program who were present during the Convergence Caravan held in Alicia, Sibugay recently.

Member of committees on appropriations and poverty reduction, Yambao explained to his constituents where the money for the program came from and how some Pantawid supporters and Department of Social Welfare and Development officials defended the budget which materialized with the inclusion of 20,658 poor households in Sibugay District I for the said program.

He also encouraged the beneficiaries to know more about the program considering the new policies instituted by the implementing agency and take the initiative to help uplift themselves from poverty. Violation of policies such as pawning their cards to credit facilities, accordingly, is one of the many issues discussed in the congress during program reviews.

“Kinahanglan mag-double time ta, apan ang program 5-ka tuig lang, ug daghan pa ta buluhatun para mu-uswag atong kinabuhi ” (We have to double our efforts for the program is good for 5 years only and we still have so much to do to improve our lives), said the young congressman, challenging the beneficiaries from the nine municipalities of Alicia, Buug, Diplahan, Imelda, Mabuhay, Malangas, Olutanga, Payao and Talusan.

Report from the Social Welfare and Development Team (SWADT) in Ipil said that a total amount of P228,949,560 had already been disbursed by Landbank to the beneficiaries in District I of Sibugay from 2009 to 2011.

With Pantawid, other programs were also implemented in the said District, such as the Kalahi-CIDSS program, which employs a community-driven development scheme where local government units and the barangay people come together in identifying the needs of the community.

With pooled finances from the municipal and barangay units, DSWD, through the support of World Bank, complements the project with needed funding and technical assistance. However, the members of the barangay adopt a sense of responsibility over the project and look after its maintenance as part of their contribution and embodied upon the memorandum of agreement entered with DSWD. To date, KALAHI had disbursed a total of P18.5 million for sub-projects in Mabuhay and Payao municipalities.

SEA-K or Self-Employment Assistance for Kaunlaran, the livelihood program of DSWD had also shelled out P2 million for capital assistance to 120 beneficiaries to finance micro-enterprises. The program enables the poor to have access to credit, promote entrepreneurship with the main goal of increasing their income. Since majority of the beneficiaries are from coastal areas, most of them are engaged in dried fish vending, agar-agar farming, and buy and sell of marine products.

Other agencies such as Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Health, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Labor and Employment provided services during the activity. The Armed Forces of the Philippines represented by Capt. Abdjuraji of the 18th Infantry Battalion also offered services like shoe repair, manicure, and therapeutic massage. However, majority of the Pantawid beneficiaries availed of the free medical and dental consultations by doctors from the different health office units who also distributed medicines.

Yambao, obviously satisfied with the activity, expressed, “I hope this caravan will not be the last but a first to a series of activities bringing government services closer to the people. (JPA/NZB/CIO-PIA 9, ZBST)

To ensure that the financial subsidy is rationally utilized and be recommended for its continued release, the recipient schools are directed to conduct a yearly mentoring program to other schools within the division/region which intend to implement the same sports program.

DepEd earmarks P8.5M for special sports program

By Alvin Murcia


SOME P8.5 million was allocated by the Department of Education as subsidy to 17 regional schools that offer a special program in sports.

Education Secretary Armin Luistro said each school is to receive P500,000 as training subsidy.

The subsidy will enable the schools to effectively deliver services to student athletes who will stand out in national and international competitions.

“There is cost in developing world-class athletes and the schools are the natural breeding ground of grassroots talents,” added Luistro.

As specified in DepEd Order 28 s. 2012, the additional subsidy which augments the schools’ maintenance and operating expense will go to the training of teachers and administrators on relevant topics in sports.

It is also intended to procure instructional materials, sports supplies and athletic uniforms as well as for student development activities such as training, workshops, participation in DepEd-approved competitions including travel allowance of students during trainings and competitions.

It will also finance the participation of teachers in DepEd-sponsored scholarships and professional upgrading including enrolment in master’s degree program in sports.

The 17 schools are Ilocos Norte National High School in Region I, Cagayan National High School in Region 2, Victoria NHS in Region 3, Lopez National Comprehensive HS in Region 4-A, Palawan National School in Region 4-B, Camarines Sur NHS in Region 5, Iloilo NHS in Region 6, Negros Oriental NHS in Region 7, Palo NHS in Region 8, Zamboanga Sibugay NHS in Region 9, Bukidnon NHS in Region 10, Sto. Tomas NHS in Region 11, General Santos City NHS in Region 12, Bayugan National Comprehensive HS in CARAGA, Datu Paglas NHS in Autonomous Region Muslim Mindanao, Tabuk NHS in Cordillera Administrative Region, and Muntinlupa Science HS in the National Capital Region.

To ensure that the financial subsidy is rationally utilized and be recommended for its continued release, the recipient schools are directed to conduct a yearly mentoring program to other schools within the division/region which intend to implement the same sports program.

Lobregat dares Zambo Sibugay Red Cross to become independent chapter

By (PNA)

RMA/TPG/ssc


ZAMBOANGA CITY — Philippine Red Cross Governor and Mayor Celso Lobregat on Monday has challenged the Zamboanga Sibugay Red Cross sub-chapter to be an independent and separate chapter or unit that is able to meet the needs and challenges of the future. The Zamboanga Sibugay Red Cross, an attached unit of the Zamboanga del Sur Red Cross Chapter, has persevered through disasters, health challenges and provided lifesaving blood and taught lifesaving skills to people in the area, according to Lobregat. “However, as the days progress, the challenges and adversities become more daunting and more demanding. The weight of expectations is heavier calling for more efforts to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Red Cross governance for the benefit of the people in the area. This will mean facing the challenges with a sense of collective responsibility and with a sense of urgency,” Lobregat said in his keynote message during the 2nd Biennial Assembly of the Zamboanga Sibugay Red Cross Sub-Chapter under administrator Hilario Miranda Jr., at the Sibugay Hotel in Ipil municipality. Necessary in attaining an independent status, Lobregat said, was the compliance of numerous requirements that include consistent and aggressive advocacy campaigns for blood donations through bloodletting and fund raising initiatives to support its ongoing and vital mission. Very imperative also is the collective responsibility and support of the stakeholders--the populace, the local government unit and all the sectors in the area “so that your aspiration to be a self-sufficient, self-supporting chapter will be achieved,” he said. He also thanked and extolled the Board of Directors, delegates and volunteers of Zamboanga Sibugay province for their aggressive spirit of volunteerism in the service of humanity through the Red Cross movement. He hoped that the Zamboanga Sibugay Red Cross sub-chapter can realize its goal of being an independent and separate chapter from Zamboanga del Sur when it convenes again for its 3rd Biennial Assembly. Also present during the assembly were Ipil Mayor Eldwin Alibutdan, Zamboanga Sibugay PRC Board of Directors chair Meliton Pihid, Zamboanga City Red Cross administrator Victor Liozo Jr. and representatives of Zamboanga Sibugay Governor Rommel Jalosjos and Zamboanga Sibugay 1st District Congressman Romeo Jalosjos and many others.

PNOC EC plans to invest P20B in new prospects

By Amy R. Remo

Philippine Daily Inquirer


PNOC Exploration Corp. the oil exploration and coal arm of state run Philippine National Oil Co. is investing a hefty P20 billion between now and 2016 for the “further exploration, exploitation, development and marketing of oil, gas and coal deposits in the Philippines.” The company’s board of directors had approved this “long range” plan, which also includes the construction of power plants to further boost the country’s electricity supply, said PNOC EC chairman and CEO Gemiliano C. Lopez Jr. PNOC EC earlier said it had begun looking for potential joint venture partners for the construction of two coal-fired power plants, which will be put up in Isabela and Zamboanga Sibugay, where its coal mines are located. PNOC EC is also developing three new prospective, high-grade coal mines within Zamboanga Sibugay under Coal Operating Contract No.41. These mines could increase the company’s coal production by some 800,000 metric tons annually. At present, production within COC 41 is around 150,000 MT a year. The company also submitted several bids to acquire contracts to explore and develop some of the prospective coal mines in the country, under the Philippine Energy Contracting Round 4 for coal. For its upstream oil business, PNOC EC is looking to drill an exploration well within Service Contract 63 off Palawan, where two big prospects had been identified: the Aboabo discovery and the Kalapato site, which were estimated to hold 222 million barrels and 239 million barrels of oil, respectively. PNOC EC also recently took over the compressed natural gas (CNG) refilling facility of Shell, as the government moves to boost the use of this alternative fuel for transport via the Natural Gas for Vehicle Program for Public Transport (NGVPPT) of the Department of Energy. PNOC EC has appropriated P400 million for the project designed to provide compressed natural gas fuel to 1,000 passenger buses to bring down the cost of transportation. Last year, PNOC EC posted a 22-percent growth in its net income to P3.01 billion from P2.48 billion the previous year. Consequently, the earnings per share rose to P1.51 from P1.23 in 2010. It also reported a 14-percent hike in gross revenues to P10.4 billion in 2011, from P8.82 billion the year before.






IP support group on tension at Balabag mines: “cease provocations and de-escalate the situation”

By Carolyn O. Arguillas


BAYOG, Zamboanga del Sur (MindaNews/21 April) – A support group for indigenous peoples (IPs) is calling for support to “multi-stakeholder action and calls to cease provocations and de-escalate the situation” at the gold-rich Balabag Hill in Barangay Depore, following a spate of incidents that included removal of barricades and firing at truck tires on April 14 and the killing of the barangay captain and secretary on April 16. (see separate story) The Partnership Forum for Indigenous Peoples Peacebuilding in Mindanao, which describes itself as a “non-partisan affiliation to promote positive and culturally appropriate efforts at conflict transformation related to resource-based conflicts in tribal communities,” aired its call in a statement Wednesday amid the ongoing standoff between a large-scale mining firm, TVI Resources Development (Phils)., Inc., an affiliate of the publicly listed Canadian mining firm, TVI Pacific which has a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) over 4,779 hectares and the Monte de Oro Small-Scale Mining Association (Mossma), over mining rights over an area ranging from 20 to 80 hectares within the TVI’s MPSA but which Mossma claims it has prior rights to. The Forum, whose member-organizations include the Ecosystems Work for Essential Benefits (EcoWEB), Mindanawon Initiatives for Cultural Dialogue – Ateneo de Davao University and Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao, said it is particularly concerned about the “impact of this sustained and ongoing violence on the lives of those struggling to make a living, especially the Subanen Indigenous Peoples of the area who also have a pending Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title application for the area.” It called on partners to join them in engaging the situation in three ways: “de-escalation, documentation and dialogue.” Under De-escalation, the Forum is calling on support for “multi-stakeholder action and calls to cease provocations and de-escalate the situation” and that the needs and leadership of local indigenous peoples leaders must be heard and respected. It urged an interdepartmental-civil society organization trauma response team to provide an “ongoing presence to ease tensions, conduct trauma impact and resiliency assessment and support IP-initiated healing and reconciliation efforts” and to immediately demobilize “617 private/irregular security forces in Bayog.” The statement said the presence of these “armed agents” was reported by local partners in March 2012. It added that the number does not include the 129 military and police personnel assigned to the area. Under Documentation, the group urged the Commission on Human Rights “at the national level” to “immediately investigate and respond to the situation and send personnel to the area” and for this to be “coordinated with a high-level, multi-sectoral, international fact finding mission.” It also urged the documentation and promotion of “indigenous conflict transformation practices in order to achieve in-depth understanding of the IP community and enhance IP leadership for community restoration.” Under Dialogue, the group supports the formation of a local inter-group community crisis response team representing Tribal Councils, NGOs, Church and religious groups, civic organizations, government agencies such as social welfare, IPs, environment and peace and order, and other organizations and to form a wider “coordinating group to support the local inter-group crisis response team and coordinate with national and international parties to create a space for dialogue.” In a statement e-mailed to MindaNews on Friday, Ron Jabal, Public Affairs Director of TVI said that while they assert their rights as holder of an MPSA, TVI “has always used peaceful means to negotiate with illegal small scale miners in Balabag, Bayog Zamboanga del Sur, hence we support the planned de-escalation, documentation and dialogue.” “We will never resort to violence and always respect human rights of everybody. We call on the illegal small-scale miners to do the same,” Jabal said. Edgar Baling, Mossma technical consultant and spokesperson in an e-mail on Friday, said they will abide by the call of civil society “but they should put more emphasis to TVI who started the unscrupulous, irresponsible and irrational aggression done to Mossma people and the irreparable damages they have done to the people who are just peacefully doing gainful pursuit to make both ends meet in these difficult times.” On Friday, April 13, Mossma members attempted to remove the barricade at the Inter-Agency checkpoint at the junction in Sitio Balabag, Barangay Depore, to allow trucks bearing diesel fuel into the minesite. TVIRD banned the entry of diesel fuel that Mossma members use to run their rod fuels and cyanidation plants since April 5. Dennis Baguio of TVI’s Public Affairs said this was implemented since last week of March. On Saturday, Mossma members succeeded in their attempt and managed to allow three trucks bearing diesel fuel into the minesite, prompting TVI’s security forces to fire at the trucks’ tires.

The Municipal Peace and Order Council in a meeting Friday passed a resolution urging the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board to immediately resolve the conflict over the contested area currently being mined by Mossma members that is within the MPSA of TVI. In its last meeting on February 17, the PMRB gave the contending parties and itself 90 days or until May 17, within which to present their position papers for the board to study. Following Saturday’s tire-shooting incident, Mayor Leonardo Babasa convened the town’s Crisis Management Committee on Sunday. He said the committee passed a resolution urging TVI to maintain the status quo – apparently referring to the period when diesel fuel was still allowed to enter the minesite – and for Mossma members to exercise sobriety. On Monday, April 16, the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau (MGB) released a cease and desist order it issued on April 13 against all forms of illegal mining in Western Mindanao, including the operations in Balabag. Late Monday afternoon, the barangay captain of Depore, Francisco Arado, barangay kagawad (councilor) Ernesto Mancao and barangay secretary Edith Navarro were with five other residents sitting on the benches in front of a store in the village when two men on board a motorcycle slowed down and fired at them. Arado and Navarro were killed while Mancao was wounded. On Friday, April 20, some 150 persons waited outside the TVI office in downtown Bayog, apparently gathered by the company from upland villages to counter a planned rally of the Patriotiko Mindanao (Patriotic Coalition Against US Intervention). Patriotiko Mindanao in a statement on the People’s Caravan and Lakbayan against US Militarism and Plunder distributed in Pagadian on April 17 listed a “picket rally” at TVI in Bayog on April 20 as one of its activities on its return from Zamboanga City. Bayog is an interior town 18 kilometers from the national highway in Buug, Zamboanga del Sur. Streamers made of sack were posted on the concrete fence of TVI’s Bayog office: “Sa TVI dunay paglaum” (in TVI there is hope), “TVI 4ever,” “Sa TVI kami” (we’re for TVI) and “TVI pro-envi.” Sack streamers were also seen carried by some participants to be unfurled apparently when the Patriotiko Mindanao participants arrive. A number said “gipa-anhi lang man mi diri” (we were told to come here” and “igo lang gipababa dinhi” (we were brought down here). Romy Albarico of Barangay Datagan said they were there brought down “para maminaw sa rally” (to listen to the rally). TVI personnel distributed lunch in plastic bags. Retired Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Cayton, TVI chief of security said the “peaceful rally” outside their gates had been scheduled ahead of the Patriotiko rally. Patriotiko Mindanao did not arrive in Bayog. The group reportedly picketed the TVI office in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay. TVI first operated a gold and silver mining project in Sitio Canatuan, Barangay Tabayo, Siocon in Zamboanga del Norte, an operation that triggered mass protests and complaints of alleged human rights violations, including alleged encroachment on the IP’s ancestral domain. According to its website, TVI started decommissioning its gold and silver project in April 2008 and began construction activities for its copper and zinc production and support facilities, including a warehouse in Sta. Port, Siocon in June 2008. Beyond Canatuan, the company prepared for the “second development-stage property and planned production center at the Balabag Gold and Silver Project in Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)





Animal lovers call for issuance of travel docs to Kabang’s owners

By Julie S. Alipala

Inquirer Mindanao


ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—Animal welfare groups and individuals touched by the dog Kabang’s act of saving two girl’s from harm in December are moving heaven and earth to help at least one of her masters accompany the pet to the United States for reconstructive surgery to restore the dog’s lost upper jaw. The problem is that neither Rudy Bunggal nor his wife, Christina, has documents needed to obtain a passport or other travel documents. Dr. Anton Lim of the Tzu Chi Foundation here said they were trying their best to help the couple. The main problem so far, Lim said, is that none of the Bunggals has a birth certificate. Lim said it was important for Kabang to have either Rudy or his wife during the surgery in California as it would hasten the dog’s recovery. Kabang is so attached to her masters that one of them, at the least, should be with her, he said. But it seems bureaucratic red tape was getting in the way. Lim said Rudy had gone to the National Statistics Office here for a copy of his birth certificate but there was none, so he was advised to “go back to the place where he was officially registered by his parents.” Lim said the NSO also asked Rudy to produce the marriage certificate of his parents or birth certificate of any of them. But his parents never married, and he was unsure where his parents were born, he said. The Bunggals originally came from Bogo in Cebu but migrated to Payao in Zamboanga Sibugay when Rudy was 9 years old. Rudy told the Inquirer that his father had died and he heard that his mother was in a home for the elderly. “My mother is also a ‘kolorum’ (no birth documents),” he said. Ramona Consunji of the Animal Welfare Coalition said they were appealing to the NSO to give special consideration to Rudy’s case. “It’s very important for Nong Rudy to be with Kabang before, during and after surgery, I can see their connection. Kabang strongly responds to him,” Lim said. Consunji said they were hoping that the assistance offered by Vice President Jejomar Binay could fast-track the issuance of a birth certificate to either Rudy or Christina.

Zamboanga Sibugay chairman slain in Pasig

By Non Alquitran


MANILA, Philippines - A barangay chairman from Zamboanga Sibugay, attending a disaster seminar in Metro Manila, was gunned down in Pasig City yesterday.

Eastern Police District (EPD) director Chief Superintendent Miguel Laurel said the killing of Adjed Yusof, chairman of Barangay Mamagin, could have something to do with his job.

“He was assassinated. The gunman could have followed him here and carried out his plan,” said Laurel as he ordered Superintendent Alfredo Calama-an, officer-in-charge of the Pasig City police, to coordinate with airport authorities for the possible identification of Yusof’s killer.

Yusof sustained a lone gunshot wound in the head, the bullet exiting at the back. Nobody witnessed the shooting, prompting Laurel to theorize that a “sniper” shot him.

Yusof and his fellow members of the Liga ng mga Barangay in Zamboanga Sibugay arrived in Metro Manila recently to attend the disaster seminar sponsored by Barangay San Antonio.

He was about to step into a bus waiting for them along Escriva at about 4:20 p.m. when he suddenly fell to the ground, bleeding. He died on the spot.

Barangay official Dr. Melvin Villaruz said their seminar started at 2 p.m. yesterday and ended two hours later.

Yusof and his companions were on their way to a hotel to Manila, where they were billeted for several days.

Chairman Reynaldo Dones, of Barangay Sta. Clara in Naga, Camarines Sur said he and Yusof were about to board a rented bus with license plate PXY-237 when the sound of gunfire rang out. Dones said he was checking himself for gunshot wounds when Yusof fell down.

Dones said he did not notice any gunman.

CMK’s Fashion Pandemonium 2012

By zamboangatoday.ph


CMK’s Fashion Pandemonium in line with CMK’s Creations 2nd Year Anniversary became a big success where the show tested the creativity and craftsmanship of the designers coming from the region last April 13 at Astoria Regency.

During the show, glamorous designs came out from the designers where they competed in different themes such as Enchanted Forest Gown, Pink Planet Cocktails, Country Corsets, Rock Chic Lingerie, and Modern Filipiniana.

The event will also be for the benefit the Department of Social Welfare to include the Orphanage and the Home for the Elderly.

The event will be participated by designers coming from Zamboanga, Zamboanga Sibugay, and Zamboanga del Norte which is composed of Dapitan and Dipolog.

For Zamboanga City, two amateur designers will join the competition and known Zamboangueño designers Altum Tiabot and Joy Verar.

The five judges for the show are Antonio L. Chua, Edwin F. Uy, David A. Ocampo, and Chery S. Veric all are celebrity fashion designers and Jeffrey B. Somera Jr., Celebrity Fashion Stylist.

The criteria for judging are creativity 30%, personal display 5%, trendy 10%, use of color 5%, wearability 15%, workmanship 25%, and impact 10%.

The winners were Reynante G. Tan - Best in Evening Gown (Enchanted Forest Inspired), Paul Anthony Espinosa - Best in Cocktail Design (Pink Planet), Paul Anthony Espinosa - Best in Lingerie Design (Rock Chic Inspired) and Best in Modern Filipiniana Creation and Best in Corset Creations (Country/Western Inspired) Reynante G. Tan. The winners received P10,000 cash and a trophy.

Zamboangueño talents also gave superb performance led by Philippine Idol Top 8 Armarie Cruz, Armando Cruz Jr., Khaezel Galvez, Victoria Anne Guingona and Cheska Mas of KM6 band. The performers sang together with the KM6 band. The Jambangan Dancers together with the CMK dancers also danced during the show.

The show was organized by CMK Creations together with the following sponsors Grand Astoria Hotel, Yes Hair cutter, Panasonic, Picar Development Inc., Yanna’s Kikay Corner, Universal Canning Inc., Alavar, Unilever, Vista de Lente, Treborz audio visual, and many more.

Zamboanga Peninsula population up by half-million

By (Bong Garcia)


THE National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) announced that the population of Zamboanga Peninsula has reached 3,407,353 as of May 1, 2010, marking an increase of 575,941 within a period of 10 years.

This developed as the NSCB data showed that the region has registered a population increase at an average rate of 1.87 annually from the year 2000 to 2010.

Zamboanga Peninsula's population as of May 1, 2000 was 2,831,412, according to the NSCB.

"This figure translated to about two persons added every year for every 100 persons in the population," the NSCB said.

Zamboanga del Sur had the largest population with 959,685 among the three provinces in the region, followed by Zamboanga del Norte with 957,997 and Zamboanga Sibugay with 584,685 population.

Zamboanga City has the largest population with 807,129 among the five cities in the region, followed by Pagadian City with 186,852 and Dipolog City with 120,460 population.

Dapitan City has the smallest population with 77,441, while Isabela City with 97,857 has the second smallest population among the five cities in the region.

Among the 67 municipalities in the region, the municipality of Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte has the largest population with 94,146, while the municipality of La Libertad of the same province has the smallest population with 7,771.






PARCCOM elects new members, endorses chair

By Atty. Adolfo Lopez, Jr.


Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay, April 16 (PIA) – The Provincial Agrarian Reform Coordinating Committee (PARCCOM) of Zamboanga Sibugay conducted an election on April 12, 2012 at Roderic’s Resort and Restaurant, Taway, Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay. It was a successful event, as there were a number of candidates who participated representing the different sector-organizations in the province and elected new set of members who will man the CARP coordinative and deliberative collegial body.

Elected members were Efren Napigquit, Wilfredo Miel, Harriete Bayawa, Imelda Lumasag, Lydia Paid, Erlinda Lozano, Miguel Almase, and Federico Manlang, representing the different sector-organizations. Also screened and endorsed for PARCCOM chairmanship by the PARCCOM evaluating committee was Vicente Matugas who will serve the said position upon his appointment by the president of the Philippines.

Sections 44 of RA 6657, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, created the PARCCOM to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) in the provincial level. It further mandates the PARCCOM to provide information about Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) guidelines on CARP and the progress of its implementation.

Spearheading the said event were the Department of Agrarian Reform officers headed by PARO II Rizzel Villanueva, Legal Division Chief Atty. Alan Tolorio, Wilfredo Ampong, Beneficiaries Development and Coordination Division (BDCD) chief, Perlidita Engalla, Operations Division Chief, and Ana Georgina Saysip-Sebastian, Admin and Finance Division chief.

Prior to the election proper, DAR Zamboanga Sibugay Information Officer Atty. Adolfo Lopez, Jr., DAR Paralegal Officer Euphemio Masanegra and PARCCOM Head Secretariat Romulus Perez conducted lectures to the candidates and aspirants during the orientation about the PARCCOM and the duties and responsibilities of its chairman and members.

Also present during the election were representatives from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and other government agencies who pledged their full support on the objectives, activities and functions of the PARCCOM. The newly-elected PARCCOM members will be taking their oath on May 10, 2012 and are set to act in full force upon the official appointment of the PARCCOM chairman by the President. (ATL/DAR-ZSP/PIA9/CAL)

Additional state anti-poverty program beneficiaries eyed

By Bong Garcia


THE Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) central office has ordered its regional office to conduct community assemblies in five areas that were not yet covered by the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps) of the agency.

The five areas are the municipalities of Buug, Diplahan, Imelda, and Ipil in the province of Zamboanga Sibugay and Pagadian City, the capital of Zamboanga del Sur.

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The holding of the community assemblies is purposely to register potential beneficiaries of 4Ps in the areas, which were not yet covered in the implementation of the program.

DSWD Regional Director Teodulo Romo said the DSWD wll cater 10,479 beneficiaries in Pagadian City and envision to have an additional of 5,979 beneficiaries in the municipality of Ipil, the capital of Zamboanga Sibugay province.

The other areas in Zamboanga Sibugay like Buug, Diplahan, and Imelda will have 3,130, 1,800 and 2,348 beneficiaries, respectively.

Existing municipality-beneficiaries of the Pantawid will have additional slots to register as recipients to the program are: Bayog, 202; Dumalinao, 456; Tambulig, 480; Malangas, 504; Olutanga, 517; and, Payao, 448.

The DSWD and the concerned local government units have signed a Memorandum of Agreement to strengthen the implementation of the program in their respective localities.

Kidnap victim released after payment of money

By Julie S. Alipala

Inquirer Mindanao


ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The son of a village official in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay, who was abducted on March 11, was freed Saturday after his family gave money to the captors, police said. Senior Superintendent Ruben Cariaga, Zamboanga Sibugay police director, said Mel John Auditor, 21, son of Magdaup village councilor Gabriel Auditor, was handed over by soldiers to his parents after picking him up in a remote area of Payao town, also in Zamboanga Sibugay, around 5:45 a.m. “We were informed that the parents of Mel John paid P70,000 as board and lodging fee to the kidnappers,” Cariaga said. But another source said the Auditors paid P200,000 to the kidnappers. Cariaga said the Auditor family sought the military’s help in fetching the captive from Bunawan after being informed he would be released Saturday. “Immediately, troops from 16th Special Forces responded and went to the area. The troops returned to their headquarters with the kidnap victim at around 5:45 a.m.,” Cariaga said. Colonel Gerry Barrientos, commander of the Army’s 102nd Infantry Brigade, said the younger Auditor appeared “okay but very pale and thin.” In his version of Auditor’s recovery, Barrientos never said anything about ransom. He said soldiers, acting on a tip-off, went to Bulawan in Payao and caught up with a group of armed men, who “hastily fled from their harbor area and abandoned a captive.” He said that captive was Auditor, who was “trapped inside a fish cage.” Barrientos said Auditor was turned over to his parents in the presence of Zamboanga Sibugay Governor Rommel Jalosjos. He said the identity of the group that held Auditor was not clear yet. “We will soon have the data after Auditor’s debriefing,” Barrientos said. In previous incidents of kidnapping in Western Mindanao, authorities consistently blamed the Abu Sayyaf. These included the December abduction of Australian Richard Warren Rodwell.

Bartolome assists Makati rob victim while in Zamboanga

By Alfred Dalizon


STAFFERS of a Makati City office which was burglarized thanked PNP chief Director General Nicanor A. Bartolome yesterday for immediately responding to their call for assistance even though he was in Zamboanga Sibugay investigating an NPA attack last Wednesday. A staff of the office told the Journal Group that after an almost six hours delay, three apologetic investigators from the Makati City Police Station’s Criminal Investigation Division rushed to them. This was right after one of their female friends contacted the PNP chief and asked for his help.

The friend who called Bartolome was Ivy Mendoza, an editor of Manila Bulletin and friend of People’s Tonight acting managing editor Ma. Teresa Lardizabal.

Mendoza met Gen. Bartolome during Lardizabal’s birthday party in 2011. Lardizabal and Journal Group publisher and editor-in-chief Augusto Villanueva had introduced Mendoza to the country’s top cop.

The Manila Bulletin editor said she was told that the burglary was discovered around 7:50 a.m. Wednesday when the employees reported for work. After 30 minutes, the employees called up the Makati police to report the incident.

One employee was told by an officer that they had to wait for investigators who had been dispatched to other incidents. The long wait took more than five hours until Mendoza was informed of it.

Mendoza said she remembered that Gen. Bartolome gave her his business card when they met during Lardizabal’s party and sent him a message asking for his help 2:20 p.m. Wednesday. She said she was surprised when a minute later, Gen. Bartolome called her up and asked for details.

The PNP chief was then in Zamboanga Sibugay assessing the situation after New People’s Army guerrillas raided a local police station and seized a cop.

Bartolome ordered the relief of two local police commanders in the aftermath of the daring rebel raid.

After 20 minutes, three Makati CIB investigators, Senior Police Officer 1 Noli Jucal and PO3s Gerry Jose and Minly Gutierez, arrived at the scene to investigate.

The Makati office’s staff said the Makati police officers made a thorough investigation, taking the statements of all people present and getting the necessary fingerprints.

The policemen later asked the help of the PNP Crime Laboratory in investigating the case which include subjecting some people to a lie-detector test amid the possibility it could be an ‘inside job.’

The office lost P85,000 in cash, a mobile phone and a digital camera to the suspect or suspects. However, the burglar or burglars did not touch other equipment in the office including a computer set and a printer.

“Medyo nakakainis na talaga ’yung ganun kahabang paghihintay sa imbestigador. Pero mawawala rin ang init ng ulo ng mga tao ’pag maiisip nila na mismong ang PNP Chief ang personal na tumutulong sa mga biktima. Maraming salamat po, Gen. Bartolome,” Mendoza said.






Groups to mount protest caravan against Balikatan

By Emilord Castromayor


Around 4,000 people from different sectors are expected to join the Mindanao-wide caravan to protest the Philippine-US war games dubbed as Balikatan exercises which will run for five days from Apr. 16-20.

Lawyer Carlos Zarate Jr., convenor of Patriyotiko Mindanao representing the lawyers’ group United People’s Lawyers in Mindanao, said that the main theme of the campaign is to abrogate the Visiting Forces Agreement and other onerous agreements between the GPH and the US.

He said the country booted out the US military bases in 1992 but in 1999, the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement, “converted the entire Philippines into a US military base.”

“Despite being unconstitutional, policies which undermine national sovereignty such as the visiting forces agreement and the mutual logistics support agreement persist,” Sheena Duazo, spokesperson of Bayan-Southern Mindanao said in a statement.

She said both treaties allow “American impunity and the continuation of human rights violations in the Philippines” and the “pillage of the country’s natural resources.”

The protest caravan is spearheaded by Bayan, Patriyotiko Mindanao, United People’s Lawyers in Mindanao, Kawagib and other progressive groups.

The groups estimate that around 6,000 US soldiers will arrive in Camp General Basilio Navarro in Zamboanga, which will serve as the main operating base.

Bai Ali Indayla, secretary general of Kawagib, said participants of the caravan will converge on Apr. 16 in Davao Region, General Santos City, Butuan City, Cotabato City and Iligan City before heading off to Zamboanga.

For April 18, the participants will gather in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay for solidary activities and initiate a unity walk on April 19.

Bishop Modesto Villasanta, convenor of the Patriyotiko Mindanao, said the presence of US troops in country ,especially in Mindanao, will run in conflict with the interest of the people. “They are here to strengthen their economic political interest and thus it would intervene our economy as well as other sectors,” he said. (with reports from Ma. Cecilia Badian/MSU Intern)

All set for CMK’s Fashion Pandemonium

By R.G. A A. Go


All is set for the CMK’s Fashion Pandemonium fashion competition, where the creativity and craftsmanship of the designers coming from the region, will be put to test on April 13 at Astoria Regency in Pasonanca.

CMK Creations Head, Kelvin Fortin, said that the occasion is in line with CMK’s Creations 2nd Year Anniversary.

"The fashion competition will test the creativity and craftsmanship of the designers in the region," Fortin said.

The event will be for the benefit the Department of Social Welfare to include the Orphanage and the Home for the Elderly.

The event will be participated by designers coming from Zamboanga, Zamboanga Sibugay, and Zamboanga del Norte, which is composed of cities of Dapitan and Dipolog.

For Zamboanga City, two amateur designers will join the competition and known Zamboangueño designers Altum Tiabot and Joy Verar.

For the competition, the designers will have to create the following garments according to the given themes.

The themes for the competition are as follows: Theme 1 Enchanted Forest Gown, Theme 2 Pink Planet Cocktails, Theme 3 Country Corsets, Theme 4 Rock Chic Lingerie, and Modern Filipiniana.

The five judges for the show are Antonio L. Chua, Edwin F. Uy, David A. Ocampo, and Chery S. Veric all are celebrity fashion designers and Jeffrey B. Somera Jr., Celebrity Fashion Stylist.

The criteria for judging are creativity 30%, personal display 5%, trendy 10%, use of color 5%, wearability 15%, workmanship 25%, and impact 10%.

There will be one winner for each themes and the winners will each receive P10,000 cash and a trophy. During the show, Zamboangueño talents will also perform to include Philippine Idol Top 8 Armarie Cruz, Armando Cruz Jr., Khaezel Galvez, Victoria Anne Guingona and Cheska Mas of KM6 band. The performers will sing live together with the KM6 band.

Aside from the singing, the Jambangan Dancers will also be dancing during the mentioned show.

The show was organized by CMK Creations together with the following sponsors Grand Astoria Hotel, Yes Hair cutter, Panasonic, Picar Development Inc., Yanna’s Kikay Corner, Universal Canning Inc., and many more.

For those interested please call 991-0820 for more information. Tickets are priced at P1,200 with free dinner, P500 with free mocktail drinks, and P300.

PNOC EC confirms coal reserves in Lower Butong area in Zambo Sibugay

By (PNA)

RMA/ASF/ssc


MANILA — PNOC Exploration Corp., holder of coal operating contract 41 in Zamboanga Sibugay, has completed drilling 12 in-fill holes in the Lower Butong area last month. In a statement, PNOC EC said the results of the drilling confirmed the presence of coal, which can be produced commercially. After verification of the coal reserves by an independent third party, PNOC EC said it would start developing this area for production. When completed, this would be the fourth mine that will be operated by the company under COC 41. PNOC EC currently operates two highly productive coal mines with another one under development for production late this year. This is the country’s largest underground coal mine and it was able to achieve two million man-hours worked without lost-time accidents in its operations in March, according to Raymundo B. Savella, vice president for Petroleum and Coal Operations of PNOC EC. “Safety is an industry benchmark in energy exploration the world over, and we are very proud to have achieved two million-plus man-hours of operation without any accidents,” Mel Lopez, Chairman and chief executive officer of PNOC EC said. “Considering the hazardous and underground nature of coal mining, this makes this milestone doubly significant,” Lopez added. With the positive results in the drilling in Lower Butong, coupled with the company’s current direction to optimize production and aggressive exploration efforts in the nearby areas, PNOC EC said the required coal requirement for the proposed 100-MW power plant had been assured. This should contribute to addressing Mindanao’s current and longer-term power needs, according to Lopez.

Philippine troops fail to rescue kidnapped town mayor'

By (Mindanao Examiner)

The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front over the weekend traded barbs for "breaking the peace" in parts of Mindanao during the Holy Week. While a government peace adviser chided the MILF for two ridos (clan wars), the MILF accused government troops of threatening the peace in Moro villages in Zamboanga Sibugay. Both sides engaged in a word war even as their negotiators are to meet again for another round of formal exploratory talks this month in Kuala Lumpur, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) said. On Friday, senior military adviser to the government panel Brig. Gen. Leo Ferrer urged the MILF to stop ridos among its own members and help foster peace in Mindanao, following two clashes on Maundy Thursday. Ferrer, in a news release posted on the OPAPP website, said the MILF should discipline its troops and put an end to such internal armed conflicts. "The government wants a peace agreement with the MILF, but we also want to see them prove that they can work with us in keeping the peace," Ferrer said following two ridos in Maguindanao and North Cotabato Thursday morning. According to the OPAPP news release, the incidents occurred at Damalibi village in Shariff Aguak in Maguindanao and in Balabac village in Pikit town in North Cotabato. Some 100 families fled their homes and were led to safety by the Army's 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion (IB) and the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade of the Light Armor Division. Reports from the government Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) said the first encounter was between the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) led by Commander Rutin and the MILF's Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) 118th Base Command, led by Commander Otok. The BIFF is a breakaway group of the MILF led by rogue commander Ustadz Ameril Umbra Kato. The BIAF is the official armed wing of the MILF. According to the OPAPP, the clash allegedly stemmed from a land dispute where Otok's nephew, a farmer, was killed by Rutin's group. Thursday's attack was allegedly Otok's retaliation. Ferrer said the government CCCH has informed its MILF counterpart about the incident. He said the government CCCH has requested the MILF-CCCH to direct the 118th BC to cease the fighting and leave the area once the BIFF elements have withdrawn. Ferrer added Army troops were also requested to establish checkpoints along the highway to deter encroachment of reinforcing troops from both sides. On the other hand, the second incident broke out two hours after the first encounter, between the group of Mando Mandalait, and a certain Commander Lugom of the MILF-BIAF's 108th BC, with reinforcements from one Ibrahim Tan-ao under Kagui Samir of the MILF National Guard Front Command. "Reasons of the clashes are personal grudge and politics, which are among the many causes of rido as well," the OPAPP said. The OPAPP cited an MILF "source" who said the MILF tried to resolve the row but "personal grudge and political connections" got in the way. The government CCCH is working with the local government unit, the MILF CCCH, the Cotabato Local Monitoring Team and the Army's 6th ID to stop the fighting and restore peace in the affected area. Meanwhile, Ferrer said the MILF should maintain peace on the ground as a show of sincerity to the peace process. "We urge the MILF to work with the government in bringing peace in Mindanao. We would like to believe that the MILF is as sincere as the government when it comes to the peace negotiations. We would like to see that sincerity reflected on the ground as well, by knowing that the MILF can control their troops from going into armed clashes again in the future," he said. Army stormed Moro village For its part, the MILF on Saturday said composite troops of the Army's 18th Infantry Battalion and the Philippine National Police's Regional Mobile Group (RMG) stormed a Moro community in Barangay Tenan, Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay since Friday afternoon. The MILF said "almost a company size" of military and police forces were deployed in Tenan, "heightening alarm and fears" among surprised Moro civilians residing the area. It noted the village is densely populated by MILF members affiliated with its civil–political committees and the 113th Base Command of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF). "Village chieftain and MILF contacts immediately reported the deployment of troops in full battle gear to government and MILF authorities to allay apprehension but clarification were not afforded," the MILF said on its website Saturday afternoon. The MILF said its CCCH conveyed the situation to its counterpart in the government but said "clarifications are still being sought." “What is very clear with us is that no coordination was made by the government on this unusual movement and deployment of government forces,” the MILF CCCH said. The MILF said Tenan is populated by several thousands of Moro civilians and MILF members, who earn a living through fishing and farming. It said its CCCH said it will file a protest on this case that constitutes violations of the ceasefire accord. “If only to avoid misunderstanding and provocations, the government should have coordinated these movement and deployment,” it said. “This act is deplorable and surely diminishes the confidence of the Moro people to the peace talks and ceasefire accord between the government and MILF,” the MILF CCCH added. According to the MILF, the government troops reached Tenan aboard military vehicles, backed up by at least two armored cars. The troops allegedly moved around the village, while others stayed near riverbanks and a bridge. Citing reports reaching it, the MILF said civilians were unable to sleep as they were fearful of what may happen. It added others recalled their "horrendous" experiences during Martial Law such as arbitrary arrests and displacement from native places. “Why (storm) a civilian community if the government is really sincere with the negotiation and the ceasefire?” the MILF said. On Saturday morning, the MILF said government troops swooped into farm lands of the Moros, causing the farmers to stay home. It said Moro fishermen also skipped their daily routine for fear of being harmed. "At almost noontime, the government forces beefed up their presence and continue to scour the Moro village," it said.

Govt, MILF trade barbs over Holy Week peace 'violations'

By LBG, GMA News


The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front over the weekend traded barbs for "breaking the peace" in parts of Mindanao during the Holy Week.

While a government peace adviser chided the MILF for two ridos (clan wars), the MILF accused government troops of threatening the peace in Moro villages in Zamboanga Sibugay.

Both sides engaged in a word war even as their negotiators are to meet again for another round of formal exploratory talks this month in Kuala Lumpur, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) said.

On Friday, senior military adviser to the government panel Brig. Gen. Leo Ferrer urged the MILF to stop ridos among its own members and help foster peace in Mindanao, following two clashes on Maundy Thursday.

Ferrer, in a news release posted on the OPAPP website, said the MILF should discipline its troops and put an end to such internal armed conflicts.

"The government wants a peace agreement with the MILF, but we also want to see them prove that they can work with us in keeping the peace," Ferrer said following two ridos in Maguindanao and North Cotabato Thursday morning.

According to the OPAPP news release, the incidents occurred at Damalibi village in Shariff Aguak in Maguindanao and in Balabac village in Pikit town in North Cotabato.

Some 100 families fled their homes and were led to safety by the Army's 1st Mechanized Infantry Battalion (IB) and the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade of the Light Armor Division.

Reports from the government Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) said the first encounter was between the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) led by Commander Rutin and the MILF's Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) 118th Base Command, led by Commander Otok.

The BIFF is a breakaway group of the MILF led by rogue commander Ustadz Ameril Umbra Kato. The BIAF is the official armed wing of the MILF.

According to the OPAPP, the clash allegedly stemmed from a land dispute where Otok's nephew, a farmer, was killed by Rutin's group. Thursday's attack was allegedly Otok's retaliation.

Ferrer said the government CCCH has informed its MILF counterpart about the incident.

He said the government CCCH has requested the MILF-CCCH to direct the 118th BC to cease the fighting and leave the area once the BIFF elements have withdrawn.

Ferrer added Army troops were also requested to establish checkpoints along the highway to deter encroachment of reinforcing troops from both sides.

On the other hand, the second incident broke out two hours after the first encounter, between the group of Mando Mandalait, and a certain Commander Lugom of the MILF-BIAF's 108th BC, with reinforcements from one Ibrahim Tan-ao under Kagui Samir of the MILF National Guard Front Command.

"Reasons of the clashes are personal grudge and politics, which are among the many causes of rido as well," the OPAPP said.

The OPAPP cited an MILF "source" who said the MILF tried to resolve the row but "personal grudge and political connections" got in the way.

The government CCCH is working with the local government unit, the MILF CCCH, the Cotabato Local Monitoring Team and the Army's 6th ID to stop the fighting and restore peace in the affected area.

Meanwhile, Ferrer said the MILF should maintain peace on the ground as a show of sincerity to the peace process.

"We urge the MILF to work with the government in bringing peace in Mindanao. We would like to believe that the MILF is as sincere as the government when it comes to the peace negotiations. We would like to see that sincerity reflected on the ground as well, by knowing that the MILF can control their troops from going into armed clashes again in the future," he said.

Army stormed Moro village

For its part, the MILF on Saturday said composite troops of the Army's 18th Infantry Battalion and the Philippine National Police's Regional Mobile Group (RMG) stormed a Moro community in Barangay Tenan, Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay since Friday afternoon.

The MILF said "almost a company size" of military and police forces were deployed in Tenan, "heightening alarm and fears" among surprised Moro civilians residing the area.

It noted the village is densely populated by MILF members affiliated with its civil–political committees and the 113th Base Command of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF).

"Village chieftain and MILF contacts immediately reported the deployment of troops in full battle gear to government and MILF authorities to allay apprehension but clarification were not afforded," the MILF said on its website Saturday afternoon.

The MILF said its CCCH conveyed the situation to its counterpart in the government but said "clarifications are still being sought."

“What is very clear with us is that no coordination was made by the government on this unusual movement and deployment of government forces,” the MILF CCCH said.

The MILF said Tenan is populated by several thousands of Moro civilians and MILF members, who earn a living through fishing and farming.

It said its CCCH said it will file a protest on this case that constitutes violations of the ceasefire accord.

“If only to avoid misunderstanding and provocations, the government should have coordinated these movement and deployment,” it said.

“This act is deplorable and surely diminishes the confidence of the Moro people to the peace talks and ceasefire accord between the government and MILF,” the MILF CCCH added.

According to the MILF, the government troops reached Tenan aboard military vehicles, backed up by at least two armored cars.

The troops allegedly moved around the village, while others stayed near riverbanks and a bridge.

Citing reports reaching it, the MILF said civilians were unable to sleep as they were fearful of what may happen.

It added others recalled their "horrendous" experiences during Martial Law such as arbitrary arrests and displacement from native places.

“Why (storm) a civilian community if the government is really sincere with the negotiation and the ceasefire?” the MILF said.

On Saturday morning, the MILF said government troops swooped into farm lands of the Moros, causing the farmers to stay home.

It said Moro fishermen also skipped their daily routine for fear of being harmed.

"At almost noontime, the government forces beefed up their presence and continue to scour the Moro village," it said.

Sayyaf attacks government militias in Basilan province

By (Mindanao Examiner)


ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / Apr. 5, 2012) – Three government militias were killed and 7 others wounded in Thursday attack by Abu Sayyaf militants in the restive southern Philippine province of Basilan, officials said.

Officials said one of the attackers was also killed in the fire fight that erupted in Tumahubong village in Sumisip town where the militant group tied by authorities to al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya is actively operating.

“Three were killed and seven more are wounded in the Abu Sayyaf attack. There is an operation going on against this terrorist group,” Colonel Ricardo Visaya, commander of military forces in the province, told the Mindanao Examiner.

Visaya said the militias were deployed in the town to guard the workers of the Tumahubong Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Development Cooperative. He said the wounded were rushed to the army base in Basilan where doctors provided them first aid and then airlifted to Zamboanga City for further medication.

Visaya has tagged Puruji Indama as behind the attack. “We still don’t know the motive of the attack,” he said.

Police did not give any statement about the attack and the provincial commander Alexis Lineses ignored queries from journalists.

The Abu Sayyaf has previously attacked workers of the cooperative for its failure to pay extortion money to the militants blamed for the spate of terrorism and kidnappings in Basilan, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.

Indama's group is believed to be holding a kidnapped Australian adventurer Warren Rodwell, who was seized in December last year at the seaside town of Ipil in Zamboanga del Sur province.

(Update) Manhunt operations vs. Zambo Norte town mayor abductors continue

By (PNA)

dct/RSV/FMS/utb


ZAMBOANGA CITY — Search and rescue operations have been going on for Salug town mayor Jeffrey Tan Lim, 37, who was abducted Monday night by 10 unidentified armed men at the bus terminal of Salug municipality, Zamboanga del Norte. Lim and his wife were taking supper in an eatery at the bus terminal compound at around 7 p.m. Monday when a yellow van suddenly arrived. A passenger wearing camouflage green pants and T-shirt with “PULIS” marking alighted from the vehicle and said he was looking for the mayor to purportedly serve a warrant of arrest. Then, another four also disembarked from the van and forcibly took the mayor into the vehicle and drove away from the marketplace. Witnesses said the getaway vehicle headed toward Barangay Caracol, a coastal village going north. Police Senior Superintendent Jose Malayo said policemen pursuing the abductors found the getaway vehicle already burned and abandoned at Barangay Caracol where the perpetrators escaped aboard two white pump boats. No one has yet claimed ownership of the yellow van. Malayo who is spokesman for Task Force Zambas said police and military personnel belonging to the Municipal Police Station, Regional Police Safety Battalion (RPSB)-1st Mobile Group, Police Public Safety Company (PPSC) and 10th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (PA) are presently conducting manhunt operations. This task force is mandated to coordinate anti crime activities in the Zamboanga Peninsula and Basilan provinces. Mayor Lim was the second victim of kidnapping in the province five months after the abduction of businessman Franc Oliver Lim at his poultry farm in Gulayon, Dipolog City on October 27, 2011. The poultry magnate was released last February 22 in Pagadian City. The town chief’s abduction happened a few hours after the turnover of command of the Zamboanga del Norte Police Provincial Office (ZNPPO) from P/SSupt. Ulpiano Collado Lopez, who just retired from the service, to P/SSupt. Ramon Martinez Ochotorena. The authorities are hesitant in naming the group responsible for the abduction. At the same time, Malayo said that investigators are checking on the bodyguards of the abducted mayor but declined to give additional details on this probe. Investigators are still checking on the possible motive for the abduction. In a related development, Supt Malayo said the three foreigners kidnapped in the region are still alive although their exact whereabouts are still unknown. The kidnapped foreigners are Warren Rodwell, an Australian kidnapped in Ipil town, Zamboanga Sibugay province on December 5 and Eword Horn and Lorenzo Vincegueere, European birdwatchers kidnapped in Tawi Tawi last February 1. Horn, 52, a Dutch national, and Lorenzo Vinciguerra, 47, of Switzerland, were documenting bird species in Panglima Sugala municipality in Tawi Tawi when armed men took them by force. Aside from saying that the reports they received indicate that the three foreign kidnap victims are still alive, Malayo declined to comment on details because of operations being conducted for their rescue.

Corn farmers, women’s group join “exposure trip” to strengthen corn production

By Jocelyn P. Alvarez



ZAMBOANGA CITY, Apr. 3, (PIA) -- At least 40 corn farmers who are members of a multi-purpose cooperative and women members of women’s association participated in the “exposure trip” held recently at the corn farm of Mr. Leonardo Talania in Kalawit, Zamboanga del Norte where the latter shared and explained best practices in corn production .

Department of Agriculture (DA) in a press statement said the “exposure trip was aimed at encouraging the participants to strengthen their corn production.

The participants were from Makilas, Ipil Zamboanga Sibugay, an area where DA established 3.6 million village-type corn postharvest processing center.

DA in the press statement said, the exposure trip beneficiaries were corn-farmer- members of the Makilas Cooperative and Caparan Women’s association, who are also beneficiaries of the DA’s Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP) under its Community Fund for Agricultural Project (CFAD), where each group received a grant of P 225,000 for their corn project

“The exposure trip was initiated through the DA’s Corn banner program and its research division in partnership with PLGU- Sibugay province and MLGU Ipil,” the press statement reads.

The press statement said lectures were conducted during the trip. “On the issue of financing scheme, the group was also informed that the First Valley Bank is giving individual loans to farmers,” this to help them finance corn production.

“DA Regional Executive Director Eduardo B. Holoyohoy encouraged the farmers to plant more corn and utilize the newly established post harvest facility in their place which ready market for their produce,” the press statement shared.

The Makilas Coop members were grateful for the experience and committed to maximize their resources in corn faming.

Ipil Municipal Agriculturist Edgar Apao for his part address the participants by saying “we will support you with the fertilizer discount; we will increase the four sacks per farmer to six sacks/farmer and we will also allocate budget for trainings like Farmers’ Field Schools (FFS).”

Representative from the Province of Zamboanga Sibugay, Rene Rosales who was also present during the exposure trip said “ we will give you our 101% service.”

For his part, Felizardo Salomes, Corn program coordinator promised the participants of an all-out support of the department. “We put things in place that we may start right and end up successful,” he assured. (JPA/ytavellaneda/DA9/PIA-9 ZBST)

Zambo City police chief sacked over killings

By DAVID Y. SANTOS


MANILA, Philippines – Amid a clamor for his resignation over the unabated shooting incidents in Zamboanga City for the past months and the killing of a university president last weekend, local police acting chief Sr Supt Edwin de Ocampo was relieved from his post on Monday, April 2.

De Ocampo was named officer-in-charge of the ZCPO in January 2009. He has been heavily criticized for failing to stop the series of shooting incidents in the city, particularly since December last year.

Replacing De Ocampo is Chief Supt Mario Yanga, Police Regional Office-9 assistant director. It will be his 5th time to be designated in the post.

“It will be a huge personal sacrifice to accept this assignment, considering I am holding a number of other posts in the regional office,” Yanga told reporters.

Yanga will also lead Task Force Eustaquio, a special body composed of various police units created to resolve the killing of Arturo Estaquio III, president and chief executive officer of Universidad de Zamboanga (UZ), the biggest private university in Western Mindanao.

The local government has been placed under intense public pressure to replace De Ocampo.

But despite calls for the official's ouster, Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat preferred to wait for a formal order from Camp Crame to replace De Ocampo.

Reward money

The order came on March 29 and gave Lobregat 10 days to choose from a list of 5 officials recommended by the Philippine National Police leadership. But even before a decision could be made on his replacement, De Ocampo was relieved following Eustaquio's killing.


During the change of command ceremonies at the Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO), Lobregat however insisted that De Ocampo was not being sacked, saying he had merely reached the end of his term.

Lobregat announced that a P100,000 reward money has been set aside for any information that could lead to the arrest of Eustaquio's killers.

At least 2 gunmen attacked Eustaquio a few meters outside his home in Barangay Sta. Maria on Sunday afternoon. Until his death, Eustaquio preferred to stay as a low-profile businessman. He was driving his motorcycle when he was gunned down.

Aside from a private hospital, Eustaquio's family also owns UZ which has at least 8,000 students as of March 2012. The university's main campus is in Zamboanga City and has branched out to other parts of the region such as in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay and soon in Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur.

Yanga said police operatives have been dispatched throughout the region to hunt for the killers, who were initially described by eyewitnesses. The city government is also reportedly allocating an undetermined amount to support the police manhunt.

Elbert Atilano, UZ professor and sports director, told Rappler that Eustaquio was aware of the threats to his life but “often downplayed them."

Authorities earlier warned him about supposed threats by lawless groups to kidnap him. Eustaquio also reportedly received threats thorough text messages.

“He received a text message last March 21 while in Cagayan de Oro City which stated the threat to liquidate him,” Atilano said. “Knowing his personality, he simply dismissed the threat and did not report this to the police.”

Reports said investigators are looking into a number of possible motives behind Eustaquio's murder, including the businessman's transactions for the expansion of his university.

Atilano said it was “business as usual” in UZ a day after the killing of their president but employees and students were in deep mourning.

The Estaquio family opened the university's amphitheater for a few hours on Monday to hold a public viewing of the businessman's remains. He was buried before lunch following Islamic tradition. - Rappler.com

DILG holds general orientation in Zamboanga Peninsula

By (PNA)

RMA/FMS/mec


ZAMBOANGA CITY, April 1 PNA) -– The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Region IX has conducted a 12-day Pre-Center Component I, General Orientation for Local Government Operations Officers (LGOOs) II and III in the Zamboanga Peninsula at the DILG Regional Office in Pagadian city. Regional director Paisal Abutazil said orientation was a pre-requisite to the Component II Enhancement Training of the 47th Batch of LGOOs to be held in Polomolok, South Cotabato on April 10 to June 5, 2012. Abutazil said the training aimed to provide the LGOOs with the skills, capacities and technical know how on the ins and outs of being a DILG field officer, as well as their duties and responsibilities. The orientation/training was participated in by six technical personnel from the regional and field offices composed of LGOO IIs Junil Cabahug, from Zamboanga Sibugay; Sherwin Caseñas, of Zamboanga del Norte; Philip Cuevas and Dihsie Ramos-Lauron from the Regional Office; and Marites Anota and Chandiramani Obut from Dipolog City. Resource Speakers and Focal Persons took turns in orienting and familiarizing the trainees on various topics such as the History, Evolution and DILG Strategic Doctrines, Decentralization Policies and Principles, Local Government Unit Powers, Local Legislation, Finance, Code of Conducts and Ethical Standards and DILG Flagship Programs Projects and Activities. In between the lectures an examination was administered by the lecturers in order to gauged the level of comprehension of the trainees on the lectures and subject presented. Abutazil said that the trainees should take the general orientation phase seriously because this would equip them for the actual center training where they would be joined by trainees from other regions in Mindanao. “We want to prepare the trainees not only mentally, but also condition them physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. In doing so, they will be able to face the challenges in the training center and more so in the actual job on the ground, confidently and head on,” Abutazil said. For the Component II, Region IX trainees will be joined by other trainees from Regions 11 and 12. After the center training, trainees will be exposed to the job of a DILG Field officer through Field Emersion Phase for three months.

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