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Zamboanga del Norte News March 2013

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‘It’s war’ down in Zamboanga Norte

By Gualberto Laput (

DIPOLOG CITY, Philippines – The local campaigns may have just started, but long before this, the intensity of the rivalries between candidates of the Liberal Party (LP) on one side and of the Nacionalista Party (NP) and the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) on the other side has been felt in Zamboanga del Norte.

The rivalries – actually, between two camps that consist of 5 political families – have been marred with unsolved killings, strafing of offices and homes, and arrests of media personalities.

True, LP and NP are in coalition at the national level for the senatorial elections, but down at the local level, “it’s war,” as Nacionalista gubernatorial bet Cesar Jalosjos put it.

In the past six months in the capital city of Dipolog, 26 killings have been reported, all of them unsolved to this day. Aside from that, 7 strafing incidents have happened: at the homes of a Commission on Elections (Comelec) regional director and a provincial board member; at the offices of two lawyers; at a radio station; at the business office of a local paper; and the house of a broadcast journalist.

"And sad to say, the victims of unsolved killings were my leaders and supporters, the strafed homes and offices are owned by our lawyers (except for the COMELEC regional director), while the media personalities are known to be our sympathizers," said Gov Rolando Yebes, who is running for congressman in the 2nd district under UNA.

The police has yet to identify suspects or come up with a progress report on their investigations, but the LP leadership here has denied allegations that they were behind the incidents. Those killed, they say, were “police characters.”

As in the past, the political races in Zamboanga del Norte this year will be between the Labadlabad-Uy-Amatong group, which is now affiliated with LP, and the Jalosjos-Yebes group, which is affiliated with NP and UNA.

Election peace pact just for show – Zamboanga bets

By Gualberto Laput

DIPOLOG CITY, Philippines – More than half of candidates for provincial and congressional posts in Zamboanga del Norte snubbed the peace covenant signing organized by the poll body, the police, and the Army on Monday, March 25, while the few who showed up doubted it would achieve its purpose.

Candidates of the Liberal Party (LP) and the Nacionalista Party (NP) are engaged in intense rivalries here.

At the most, said LP candidate for board member Angel Carloto, the pact for peaceful elections " is just a media stunt for government agencies."

The activity was spearheaded by the local offices of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Army's 1st Infantry Division (1st ID). They invited candidates for governor, vice governor, representatives, and board members for Zamboanga del Norte's 3 districts.

Army Maj Gen Ricardo Rainer Cruz III, 1st ID commander, said: "Zamboanga del Norte has, in the past, been identified as one of the country's hotspots during elections, but as long as we are here, we will reverse that. If needed, we will bring in additional battalions from other places to ensure a secure and fair election here."

But Rep Cesar Jalosjos, who is running for governor under NP, said he does not believe that the peace covenant will bring peace to the elections in the province.

"I'm not really that encouraged. It is nice to see our opponents in a peaceful environment, though. But that's only for this day. Once we get out, everything is likely to go back to being vicious," he said.

LP candidates here have been accused of sowing terror against their rival candidates from NP and the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

Gov Rolando Yebes (UNA), who is running for congressman of the 2nd District, said: "They (LP candidates) are the province's Team Patay," because of the recent killings and strafings suffered mostly by leaders and supporters of NP and UNA candidates.

So far, 26 unsolved killings have been reported mainly in Dipolog City. LP leaders here have denied being behind the killings, citing police reports that the victims were police characters.

At the peace covenant signing, only LP gubernatorial candidate Roberto Uy gave full confidence in the covenant, but did not elaborate.

Meanwhile, 1st District Rep Seth Frederick Jalosjos of NP said that he signed the peace covenant "just for compliance."

He added that peace covenants in the past did not work: "By all indications it is not working this coming elections either. It is not working here in Zamboanga del Norte, and it is not working in the Philippines."

He explained that there are still a lot of killings going on and the police has yet to come up with suspects or a report on the progress of their investigations.

"After we sign this peace covenant will there be an assurance that the killings will stop?" he asked.

Uy's supporters, however, are pointing to the Jalosjoses camp as having armed men who are ready to sow terror among voters. The LP bet has also complained with the Comelec that a suspicious increase in voters' population in the 3rd district has been recorded to favor his rival Cesar Jalosjos.

The PNP's Provincial Director for Zamboanga del Norte failed to attend the peace covenant signing too, but his representative – Deputy Provincial Director Devin Ceriales – tried to appease everyone that everything is normal. "Intense political rivalry is a sign that democracy is working," he said.

"I just hope that this election will not be the reason for the further deterioration of the province's peace and order situation," Ceriales said

Carloto is not as optimistic: "The provisions of the peace covenant are good, but only if followed by those who signed it. All we can do as of now is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best."

Dapitan City Vice Mayor Patri Chan of NP added: "There should also be a provision in the peace covenant ensuring that government agencies will not take sides in the elections."

Zambo. Norte candidates sign poll peace pact

By Alfonso T. Ruda (PIA9)

DIPOLOG CITY - The provincial office of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Zamboanga del Norte, Commission on Election (COMELEC), Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have successfully facilitated the signing of the peace covenant among local candidates vying for various political positions in Zamboanga del Norte. The peace covenant signing, which was held recently at Camila Hotel II in this city, aimed to draw commitment from each candidate to abide by the guidelines set by COMELEC governing the conduct of the May 2013 midterm elections.

In his opening statement, DILG-Zamboanga del Norte OIC-Provincial Director Arnel F. Gudio, lauded the candidates’ support to the covenant signing and he looked forward to a peaceful political exercise on May 13, 2013 in the province.

First Infantry Tabak Division Head, Brigadier General Ricardo Rainier Cruz III, on the other hand, assured the public of the readiness of the military in the area to extend the needed support to ensure the conduct of a peaceful and orderly election.

Zamboanga del Norte is now manned by the 10th Infantry Battalion led by Col. Leonel Nicolas with more than 2,000 camp detachments strategically stationed in various locations in the province.

Nicolas replaced Col. Tarahudin Ampatuan who is currently assigned at the division in Pulacan, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur.

“We’ll do everything to avoid any election-related violence. And we are ready to augment our force here if necessary. Maasahan ninyo ang tulong ng Philippine Army (You count on the help of the Army),” Cruz said.

The candidates who turned up during the covenant signing were former Dipolog City Mayor Roberto Uy, who runs for governor under the Liberal Party, his running mate, Dipolog City Vice Mayor Atty. Senen Angeles, third district congressman Cesar Jalosjos of the Nacionalista Party (NP), candidate for Governor, and his running mate, incumbent Dapitan City Vice Mayor Patri B. Chan, and first district congressman Seth Frederick Pal Jalosjos who is running for his second term.

Absent during the covenant signing were Atty. Edgar Vicente Balisado - LP congressional candidate for the first district, incumbent second district congressman Rosendo S. Labad-labad of LP and his rival, incumbent governor Rolando E. Yebes of NP, third district congressional candidate Atty. Isagani S. Amatong of LP and his rival incumbent board member Johanna Jalosjos-Parreno of NP.

Nonetheless, Provincial Election Supervisor Atty. Tomas Valera said those who failed to attend the covenant signing can still affix their signatures on the document at the COMELEC provincial office.

Zambo peninsula water district suffers from blackouts


ZAMBOANGA CITY — Water District officials from the entire Zamboanga Peninsula have complained against the eight to 10 hours daily blackouts in the region that affect their systems of providing water to consumers.

In its World Water Day observance last Wednesday managers of the different water districts in the Zamboanga peninsula, who converged in this city that day, said they have to increase production cost because of blackouts in their respective towns and cities.

For the Pagadian City Water District Engr. Edilberto Yorong said that while the system in that regional center for Western Mindanao has enough water for its consumers, it has to rely on pumps to bring water to consumers in the city.

Yorong said it is becoming expensive to operate their water pumps with generators fueled by gasoline or crude oil.

Yorong who is also the president of the Western Mindanao Water District Association said the blackouts that last from eight to ten hours in a day are affecting the delivery of water to consumers.

Several managers of water districts are also complaining about the blackouts that force them to run generators that are expensive considering high fuel costs.

In this city, the Zamboanga City Water District (ZCWD) also faces the problem of blackouts.

To augment water from the Pasonanca River, the ZCWD has dug up 24 production wells in this city to pump water for consuMmers.

Its present service area is the 44 barangays, out of the city's 98 barangays within the seven-kilometer radius.

Other independent water systems owned and operated by the water district are those in Vitali, Sangali, Pasobolong and Labuan.

In all, the ZCWD operates 24 deep wells with their pumping stations to draw water from the depths and infuse these to pipes leading to water consumers.

Last week, the local water district also inaugurated a P25.7-million booster pumping station at barangay Talontalon that will feed water to 8,900 households or approximately 44,597 residents at barangays Talontalon, Mampang and Arena Blanco.

The station will also use an electric-powered pump to draw water from its 1,000 cubic-meter storage water tank for consumers.

It will not operate during the now regular 8 to 10-hour blackout in this city.

DAR-CARD, Inc. launches microfinance operations

By Anjanette Nemiaga (FPG/GCC/DAR9/PIA9)

DIPOLOG CITY - The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD), Inc. has launched the microfinance operations in Langatian Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative (LACARBEMCO), Langatian, Roxas, Zamboanga del Norte recently. The DAR is now adopting microfinance as strategy in support services delivery to help agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) meet their financial needs through cooperatives and other microfinance institutions in agrarian reform areas. The CARD, on the other hand, which is one of the largest micro-credit service providers in the local microfinance industry and one among the best in the world, is a microfinance-focused non-government organization (NGO). DAR-Zamboanga del Norte and CARD, Inc. shall jointly implement the Microfinance Capacity Development Project for partner organizations for a period of three years to ensure the sustained access of ARBs to microfinance services.

The DAR provincial office together with CARD, Inc. will then oversee the overall project directions and ensure a favorable financial environment for the sustained provision of microfinance services to agrarian reform areas. Because of the significant performance of the project and the need to adopt a more sustainable approach through the complementation of financial and non-financial services in its implementation, the project has been scaled up to reach and engage a bigger number of ARBs/ARB households. It can be noted that 30 cooperatives nationwide would be developed as microfinance conduits and one of these was selected as project partner in Zamboanga del Norte. LACARBEMCO was successfully chosen as project partner in the province.

The microfinance project intends to reach out to more ARBs that are in need of the micro-agri financial and non-financial services. Microfinance is also an effective tool for poverty alleviation.

The cooperative was brought to KIMAYA Peoples Multipurpose Cooperative in Jasaan, Misamis Oriental for a learning expedition to meet with its selected officers and management staff and familiarize with the coop’s operations and implementation of microfinance in the community.

In his message, OIC PARO I Raul J. Sy said: “Kami sa DAR kanunay anaa sa inyong kiliran aron sa pagsuporta sa atong mga agrarian reform beneficiaries. Atong ipadayon ang atong paningkamot aron sa paglambo sa atong mga mag-uuma. Labaw sa tanan, atong panggaon ug amomahon ang mga proyekto nga gihatag sa gobyerno (We in DAR are always on your side to support the agrarian reform beneficiaries. Let us continue to improve our farmers. More importantly, we will care and nurture the projects given by the government).”

LACARBEMCO board chair also aired his thoughts and said: “Maningkamot kita aron sa atong kalamboan ug mohatag kita sa atong dugang capital aron mas modaku pa ang atong kooperatiba (We will strive for our progress and we will give additional capital to expand our cooperative)”

Dipolog DTI eyes shift of sardines containers from bottles to cans


ZAMBOANGA CITY — The Dept. of Trade and Industry in Zamboanga del Norte is eyeing the possibility of shifting the production of Spanish Style Sardines in the province from bottles to tin tans.

A DTI report said Saturday there are 12 sardines canning factories in Zamboanga City and 16 bottled Spanish Sardines processors in Zamboanga del Norte, particularly in the city of Dipolog.

DTI Provincial Director Noel Bazan said ““Our very own Spanish Style Sardines can make it global and the demand for export would be greater if instead of processing it in bottles, we will store it in cans.”

There is also lesser risks to damage of the finished products during transport or shipment if these are contained in tin cans rather than in breakable bottles.

Stakeholders among Spanish Sardines Processors have already met in Dipolog City to discuss ways to maximize production and profit.

They also discussed the Processed Fish Action Plan 2013.

In Zamboanga del Norte, Bazan noted the problems besetting the fish industry.

These are the lack of cold storage facilities and the inadequate capacity of some firms (micro) to put up or upgrade their facility to meet Food Safety Standards (i.e. FDA license to operate)

Some of them also lack certificates of product registration, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point certifications.

They also have to contend with high shipping costs; and unavailability of cargo vessels.

On the other hand Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Asst. Regional Director Engr. Joseph C. Florig said that businessmen in the fish industry need a cold storage facility to ascertain whether they have the ability to supply fish in a certain period of time.

Flores said that “With a cold storage, to become a millionaire is not impossible”.

Florig said the proposal was to offer each room of the storage facility in Dapitan with the fish industry as a priority.

“What then the government will do is to monitor and collect rentals. The maintenance is charged to the lessee,” he explained.

However, such proposal still needs the approval of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

3 more wanted men arrested

By Dan Toribio Jr.

Three more wanted persons were arrested in different places in the city last Thursday.

Men of the Gutalac Municipal Police Station (Zamboanga del Norte) and Sta. Maria Police Station arrested Jerry Gumutad, 28, a native of Gutalac, Zamboanga del Norte and temporarily residing in Cabatangan, this city. He was wanted for murder in Gutalac.

The warrant of arrest was issued by Judge Oscar Tamaraong of the Regional Trial Court of Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte with no bail bond recommended.

In another operation, men of the Labuan Police Station under Sr. Insp. Chester Natividad arrested Manuel Francisco y Esperat, 44, single, on the strength of a warrant for rape with case numbers 27606 and 27607 with no bail bond recommended.

The warrant was issued by Judge Peter Eisma of Regional Trial Court Branch 15.

Meanwhile, men of the Detective Management Unit led by Insp. Albert Alfaro arrested Edilberto Candido in Sta. Barbara, who has a warrant for attempted homicide with case number 50065.

The warrant was issued by Judge Carlo Martin Alcala of Municipal Trial Court Branch 3.

Candido was released temporarily after he posted a P12,000 bail bond.

DTI conducts stakeholders’ meeting for the processed fish industry

By Mary May A. Abellon (PIA9)

DIPOLOG CITY - The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Zamboanga del Norte recently conducted the stakeholders’ meeting for the processed fish industry at the Bamboo Garden Function Room capped by the presentation of the Processed Fish Action Plan 2013. “Our very own Spanish Style Sardines can make it global and the demand for export would be greater if instead of processing it in bottles, we will store it in cans,” said Noel R. Bazan, DTI provincial director and product manager for the processed fish industry.

Bazan presented the problems besetting the fish industry. These are the lack of cold storage facility; the inadequate capacity of some firms (micro) to put up or upgrade their facility to meet Food Safety Standards (i.e. FDA license to operate); certificate of product registration, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification; the high shipping cost; and unavailability of cargo vessels.

Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Asst. Regional Director Engr. Joseph C. Florig said that businessmen in the fish industry need cold storage facility to ascertain whether they have the ability to supply fish in a certain period of time.

Engr. Florig gave an update on the cold storage facility in Dapitan City. “With a cold storage, to become a millionaire is not impossible,” he added. Florig said the proposal was to offer each room of the storage facility in Dapitan with the fish industry as a priority. “What then the government will do is to monitor and collect for rentals. The maintenance is charged to the lessee,” he explained.

However, such proposal still needs the approval of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

DepED-Dipolog chief pushes for responsible media

By Franklin P. Gumapon (PIA9)

DIPOLOG CITY – City Schools Division Superintendent Victorina G. Perez has called on the media practitioners here to be responsible in exercising their profession.

Speaking during the 48th induction program of the Zamboanga del Norte Press Club (ZNPC), Perez recalled that she was once maligned in a news article written by a media man whom she did not know personally.

After that story saw print, the guy came to her in the guise of getting her side and was asking how many copies of his paper she would order. “I felt so bad about it,” said the lady superintendent.

Since that time her trust in the press eroded until a certain media man came, got her side and published the whole story without asking any favor from her.

For Perez, every media practitioner must uphold the highest standards of journalism to stay credible so that he/she could not ruin the image and reputation of other people.

Perez served as guest of honor and speaker in the oath-taking rites of the newly elected officers of the club on Saturday with the theme, “Promoting peace through responsible media.”

The ZNPC officers led by their president Rosemarie Patangan-Miranda were sworn in by Judge Pio D. Velasco, also a club member.

The other officers are Engr. Eduardo de la Cerna -Vice President, Vicente Hernani Carreon-Secretary, Crispin Garcia-Treasurer and Ruben Enoy-Auditor.

Composing the members of the board are Atty. James Cyril O. Ruiz, Atty. James Verduguez, Czarito B. Zamora, Franklin P. Gumapon, Elmer Elmedulan, Samuel Amatong, Maynard Baes, Edwin Bation, Rhey Davie Magdayao and Elmer Razo. ZNPC was founded in May 1965 with the end in view of promoting unity among local media practitioners regardless of political persuasions and religious affiliations.

Dipolog celebrates Women’s Month

By Mary May A. Abellon (PIA9)

DIPOLOG CITY - The city government here conducted several activities to celebrate women’s month with the theme, “Kababaihan:Gabay sa Pagtahak sa Tuwid na Daan.”

It kicked off with a volleyball tournament held at the City Hall Ground. About 200 members of the Local Council of Women (LCW) participated in the Women’s Forum at barangay Miputak. Atty. Jasmine Pinsoy clearly and elaborately discussed the Magna Carta for Women to give them guidance and empowerment as to their rights and obligations.

In line with the celebration, Barangay Olingan won the Best Livelihood Project for several livelihood projects they have embarked on: the Olingan Relocation People’s Organization (ORPO) Bakeshop which is an eight-year joint project of DOLE and the LGU of Dipolog; the LCW Convenience Store which has acquired more capital for the business; the Sewers Group; Handicraft and many others.

On the other hand, Barangay Dicayas won the second place for their Green Valley Bakery with nine years of existence.

In a brief program held at Plaza Magsaysay. local officials led by Mayor Evelyn T. Uy, former Mayor Roberto Y. Uy welcomed the guests, senatorial candidate Grace Poe and Timi Aquino, wife of senatorial candidate Bam Aquino who was the guest of honor.

Highlighting the event was the selection of Gng. LCW Dipolog with candidates coming from the 21 barangays of the city.

Lorna H. Pableo of barangay Sta. Filomena was hailed as the Gng. Dipolog 2013 and runners-up were as follows: Candida Olarte of barangay Biasong, Mila Nimfa Viadnes Gallenero of barangay Miputak, Mrs. Alma Gonzales of barangay Central and Mrs. Emelila Oliva of barangay San Jose.

Barangay Biasong won the folkdance contest and barangay Olingan as the biggest contingent.

The Women’s Month Celebration of Dipolog City was capped with activities such as: free haircut and manicure/pedicure; “tabo sa boulevard”; and free medical/dental check up.

ZNPPO to beef up security during Holy Week, summer vacation

By Alfonso T. Ruda (PIA9)

DIPOLOG CITY - The Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Police Office (ZNPPO) has started intensifying its security in preparation for the incoming Holy Week celebration and summer vacation.

ZNPPO Officer-in-Charge, Police Senior Superintendent James Buslig Mejia recently told the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) that “the closing of the school year and other occasions such as the observance of the Holy Week, town fiestas and Flores de Mayo are expected to generate an exodus of commuters and tourists who will be traveling from one place to another which may pose peace and order concerns like traffic congestions, accidents and crimes.”

Mejia said the ZNPPO started its comprehensive security operations for the Lenten Season and Summer Vacation (SUMVAC) to ensure the safe, peaceful and meaningful celebration and vacation of local and foreign tourists who will be coming to the province.

“Whether there is threat or not, the PNP provincial command is not taking any chances, it is prepared and committed to provide security to everybody,” Mejia declared.

Mejia said he has already ordered all PNP units in the cities and municipalities to re-activate “Oplan Bantay Lakbay” to ensure the safe travel of motorists and commuters to their various destinations.

He also expected all municipal police stations throughout the province to intensify their Police Integrated Patrol System (PIPS) and Police Assistance Centers (PACs) to be established under the “Oplan Bantay Lakbay” in any strategic locations and major thoroughfares to serve as quick reaction points for police emergency and medical response, advance command post for traffic management and security operations.

He also advised all chiefs of police to disseminate to the public the PNP hotlines and other contact numbers for emergency situation.

Likewise, Mejia urges the public to initiate other security measures like ensuring that their houses are well secure and take extra precautions against lawless elements during the long weekends.

He assured the public that police authorities will be on guard to protect lives and properties and continue its mandate to pursue the preservation of peace and order especially during the observance of Holy Week and the whole summer vacation.

DepEd eyes 10, 697 classroom packages under BOT scheme


ZAMBOANGA CITY, March 17 (PNA) -- The Department of Education (DepEd) eyes the construction of at least 10,697 classrooms nationwide under a Build and Transfer Scheme for use in school year 2013-2014.

The project will include 289 school sites with 476 classrooms to be constructed in the Zamboanga Peninsula Region.

This project is under DepEd’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) for School Infrastructure Project II (PSIP-II) or the large-scale classroom project to be implemented nationwide to solve the problem of classroom shortage, particularly with the introduction of the K-12 curriculum with an additional two years in the elementary and secondary curriculum.

Top DepEd officials finalized its listing of these school projects for implementation in the Zamboanga Peninsula region during the Regional Social Development Committee (RSDC) meeting held recently in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.

DepEd Education Supervisor II William Toralba said the PPP PSIP-II strategy is an approach using the Build-Operate-Transfer scheme in pursuance of Republic Act (RA) 6957 as amended by RA 7718 for the implementation of the PSIP.

Toralba said the PSIP is a nationwide project that will be implemented in 14 regions of the country including Region IX under a “Build-transfer” modality where in the private sector (contractor) will be responsible for the design, construction and financing of the project.

“In turn, the government will make the payment to the proponent upon turnover of the completed school facilities,” Toralba said.

Toralba said the 10,697 classroom packages will include toilet facilities and school furniture in 5,167 elementary and secondary schools which have been identified by DepEd.

He gave the breakdown of the number of classrooms and schools by division in Region IX as follows: Dapitan City- 5 school sites, 16 classrooms; Dipolog City-3 school sites, 4 classrooms; Isabela City-4 school sites, 9 classrooms; Pagadian City-with 6 sites, 8 classrooms; Zamboanga City-14 sites, 25 classrooms; Zamboanga Del Norte-124 school sites, 189 classrooms, Zamboanga Del Sur-61 sites, 110 classrooms and Sibugay -69 sites, 110 classrooms which bring to 289 school sites, 476 classrooms to be constructed in the entire region.

27 die in Philippine poll-related violence: Police

By Manolo B. Jara

MANILA: Violence resulted in the killing of 27 people and the wounding of 24 others in the run-up toward the holding of country’s midterm election on May 13, according to the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo, the PNP spokesman, reported that among the fatalities were a mayor, a councilor and nine “barangay” (village) chairmen, most of them shot to death by gunmen.

Ironically, the use of firearms as the most preferred weapon came with nationwide gun ban imposed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) effective Jan.13 to help ensure the holding of clean, honest and violence-free computerised polls on May 13.

“We have seen the problems brought about by private armed groups and intense political rivalries,” Cerbo pointed out, adding that the coming May election involves provincial and local positions especially congressmen, governors, mayors and councilors.


Cerbo said Western Mindanao accounted for the highest number of killings with six — three each from the provinces of Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur.

The PNP, Cerbo said, recorded two killings in Metro Manila including the assassination of the woman mayor of the town of Maconacon, Isabela province in the Northern Luzon highlands on Jan.22.

Politics was established as the motive for the killing of the mayor, Cerbo said, with the arrest of the suspected “hired gun” and some of his alleged accomplices who were indicted before a lower court in suburban Quezon City for murder.

But Cerbo pointed out the total of 51 people killed and wounded since the election period started in Jan.13 was below the 200 election-related violent cases recorded by the PNP in the May 2010 polls.

He attributed this to the determined efforts of concerned agencies like the PNP, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Comelec to reduce election-related violence in the run-up to the May 13 polls.

Cerbo also credited the reduction to the signing of “peace covenants” by rival candidates in the coming polls in which more than 18,000 positions are at stake including 12 seats for senators who are to be elected nationally.

Bgy. chief shot dead in Zamboanga

By Zaida delos Reyes-Palanca

A VILLAGE chief was shot dead by three unidentified suspects while harvesting mangoes in Bgy. Candelaria, Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte.

The victim was identified as Barangay Chairman Felomino Fernandez, Tapalan, Salug town.

The victim died on the spot from multiple gunshot wounds in the body.

A bystander, identified as Reynaldo Gumera, was also hit by a stray bullet. He was rushed to the hospital.

According to Chief Insp. Ariel Huesca, spokesman of Police Regional Office (PRO) 9, the incident occurred at around 8:35 a.m.

Investigators said the victim was harvesting mangoes at a farm owned by businessman Hermingeldo Aque of Liloy town when the suspects, armed with cal. .45 pistol and 5.56 rifle arrived and shot the victim, killing him instantaneously. The suspect escaped.

RDC-IX bats for growth, development in ZamPen

By Mary May A. Abellon (PIA9)

DIPOLOG CITY - “RDC is the highest policy-making in the region. We are not here just to present our budget but we are here to contribute to the regional development.” This was the gist of the message aired by Regional Director Teresita Socorro C. Ramos of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA)-IX during the 143rd Regional Development Council (RDC) meeting held recently at the Top Plaza Hotel this city.

The council has endorsed a total of P47.43 billion budget for fiscal year 2014, which is 140 percent higher than the P19.83 billion budget for 2013 in the General Appropriations Act (GAA).

The P47.43 billion for 2014 represents the total proposed budget submitted by the regional offices of the different government agencies and state universities and colleges in Zamboanga Peninsula (ZamPen).

Sectoral issues and concerns affecting the regional growth and development were also tackled during the meeting, leading to the passage of resolutions involving the “Family Health Improved” project of the Department of Health (DOH), “Public-Private Partnership School Infrastructure Project Phase II (PSIP II) of the Department of Education (DepED), and the request for assistance and funding from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the dredging of Palomoc River and Titay Valley flood control project all in Titay, Zamboanga Sibugay.

In the same gathering, a memorandum of agreement between NEDA-IX and DPWH-IX has been signed for the construction of NEDA’s office building worth P50 million in Pagadian City. The DPWH has to assist in the detailed engineering and technical supervision of the project.

The RDC is tasked with coordinating the preparation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of short and long-term regional development plans and investment programs, regional physical framework plan and special development plans, including the formulation of policy recommendations. It also integrates approved development plans of provinces and cities, line agencies, state universities and colleges, government owned and controlled corporations and special development authorities in the region into the regional development plan.

UNA leader in Zambo Norte gunned down

By Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – A former village chief and local leader of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) was gunned down while his companion was seriously wounded in Katipunan, Zamboanga del Norte last Sunday, police said.

The victim, Benjamin Ampal, 41, former chairman of Barangay Carupay in Katipunan town, and his companion, Perlito Escuadro, a casual employee of the provincial government, were on their way home when motorcycle-riding men fired at them in front of the cockpit arena along the national highway in Barangay Tuburan, said Chief Inspector Ariel Huesca, spokesman of the Region 9 police.

Ampal died on the spot with six gunshot wounds. Escuadro was hit in the upper back and was rushed to the Zanorte Medical Center.

Responding policemen found at least seven empty shells and a deformed slug from a .45-caliber at the crime scene.

Probers were looking at politics as possible motive, although they are not ruling out personal grudge in the killing.

Huesca said police units in Zamboanga del Norte have been alerted on politics-related violence, as the start of the campaign period for local candidates is nearing.

Groundbreaking of major infra projects caps legislator’s birthday

By Alfonso T. Ruda (PIA9)

DIPOLOG CITY - Zamboanga del Norte second district representative Rosendo S. Labad-labad led the groundbreaking of major infrastructure projects in his district during his 48th birthday recently.

Alan Bengua of the Dipolog City Information Office (CIO) told the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) that seven of these projects are in Dipolog City.

These projects include the second, third and fourth phase of the expansion and improvement of the Dipolog City Airport with P112 million appropriation; the P25 million-road construction from the junction of Turno by-pass road to 3,003 step-Linabo Peak at Barangay Dicayas, a place frequented by local and foreign tourists especially during holy week; Purok Bulahan-Turno River Control Project at Barangay Turno with an allocation of P23 million; the P50 million-Dipolog City Boulevard expansion; P25 million-road concreting to Sungkilaw Falls at Barangay Diwan; and the widening of the Dipolog-Sindangan road, including the construction of a drainage canal from Barangay Sta. Isabel-Galas to Olingan with an allocation of P84 million.

Mayor Evelyn T. Uy has lauded the lawmaker’s initiative in complementing the city government’s efforts geared toward its “Swigapore 2030” vision, which seeks to make Dipolog a combination of Singapore (a bustling commercial center in Southeast Asia) and Switzerland (a known green country in Europe).

On the same day, the team also proceeded to Katipunan town for the groundbreaking of the P1.35 million-Multi-Purpose Building Project at Barangay New Tambo, the P10 million-farm-to-market road at Lipasan in Roxas town, the P10 million-farm-to-market road in Punta Blanca, Manukan, and the P130 million- road opening at Talinga-Dagohoy-Tinaplan-Titik road in the municipality of Sindangan.

The ground breaking caravan ended at Siayan town and was capped by the ground breaking of the three projects, namely, the P2 million-electrification project in Barangay Pange, P1.6 million-electrification project in Barangay Balok and the P4 million-Siayan Diagnostic Health Care Center.

Joining Cong. Labad-labad in groundbreaking caravan were Dipolog City Mayor Evelyn Uy, local officials and residents of the recipient-municipalities and some local media practitioners.

15 drug dealers arrested

By Alfred Dalizon

FIFTEEN suspected drug traffickers in Mindanao and Luzon were arrested by operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in a series of anti-narcotics operations in the region this week, officials announced yesterday.

PDEA chair Undersecretary Arturo G. Cacdac Jr. said two of the suspects were a man and his wife notorious for illegal drug activities in Davao del Norte.

Suspects Alonto Kamsa, alias “Singkala,” 42, and his wife Marelyn, alias “Mary Jane,” 37, were arrested in their house in Bgy. San Vicente, Asuncion, Davao del Norte.

The other three were siblings who became notorious drug traffickers in Zamboanga del Norte.

Cacdac identified the suspects as Parida Asim, 43; and her siblings Ana Rose, 19, and a 17-year-old brother. All three were believed to be core members of the Dawami-Banguih Drug Group operating in the Southern Philippines, the PDEA chief said.

Combined operatives of the PDEA Regional Office 9 under Director Adzhar Albani and the Zamboanga del Norte Police Provincial Office arrested the Asim siblings during an entrapment operation in Pantokan Poblacion, Siocon municipality.

Seized from the suspects were a plastic sachet of shabu, the marked money, various drug paraphernalia and several pieces of ammunition.

Parida’s husband Nolidor, alias “Kula”, escaped arrest during the sting and is still being hunted.

Last month, five suspected members of the drug trafficking ring including two of their alleged leaders were arrested in a buy-bust operation in Bgy. Saudi Arabi in Siocon.

The two female Asims are now being held at the Zamboanga del Norte police jail while their brother was turned over to the local Department of Social Welfare and Development for temporary custody.

In Maguindanao, two “watch-listed” drug personalities identified as Julie Dos, alias “Dakdik,” 39; and Alex Panda, alias “Teng,” 34, were arrested by local PDEA agents following a tip from concerned citizens in Tamontaka, Datu Odin Sinsuat municipality.

Explore the place – “The Rizal Shrine in Dapitan City”

By melo

You probably know the word “Dapitan” as a place in Sampaloc Manila unless you paid attention to your history class in your secondary education. If you’re still not familiar, Dapitan City is the land where the Philippines National Hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal spent his four years of exile.

Dapitan City is called “The Shrine City of the Philippines” and is located in the Zamboanga del Norte region. Although this place is not included in the Philippines top tourism destinations, it is rich in historical treasures and natural attractions. Dapitan City is also the place where you can find Dakak Park and Beach Resort – one of the top beach resorts in the Philippines.

There is no way that a person who makes a tour in Dapitan City is going to skip the famous historical monument “Rizal Shrine” located in the city. This shrine is built in the honor of Philippines national hero “Dr. Jose Rizal” who was exiled for the patriotic deeds fought for the country.

The Rizal Shrine is 2 kilometers away from Dapitan City Plaza and is visited by large number of tourists visiting Zamboanga del Norte. The place consist of 16 hectare land in Barangay Talisay which the national hero purchased in July 17, 1892 during exile period is now converted in to a national park.

Structures inside “Rizal Shrine”

The park is a cool shady place sorrounded by century old trees in which some are even older that Dr. Jose Rizal himself. Visitors can spot the replicas of diverse original structures used by Dr. Jose Rizal in this park. The entire atmosphere inside this park is invigorating. The park is well maintained by a Rizalista sect. This is an ideal place for nature lovers where in the original beauty of the nature is well preserved. Here are some structures inside “The Rizal Shrine in Dapitan City” which is worth seeing –

Mi Retiro Rock – This means “My Retreat rock”. A heart shaped rock resting in a pond in which the national hero had scribbled beautiful words from his famous poem Mi Retiro. It is believed that Dr. Jose Rizal had spent time watching sunsets in this rock place.

Casa Cuadrada – This is national hero’s home is naturally reconstructed with original lights and natural materials.

Aqueduct – A water reservoir system constructed with bamboo tubes connecting to the kitchen. This water system was constructed by Rizal in 1895 to serve as the main source for farming needs.

Casa Redonda – Casa Redonda is an octagonal dwelling which used as a dormitory by some of Rizals pupils. Later, this was renewed in to a clinic.

Casa Redonda Pequena – It would be interesting for the visitors to witness this hexagonal structure used as a main chicken house in those period.

Casitas de Salud – Originally, two main structures used as tea houses was included in this. Later, this was transformed in to health clinic accommodating different patients from municipalities.

Rizaliana – This is a modern building where in the Rizalian books, scripts and other periodicals are exhibited. A small portion of the same building functions as the Rizal Shrine Curator office as well.

The Casa Residencia – A rectangular house where Dr. Jose Rizal lived during his days of exile. This house displays a bedroom, veranda along with a main room accessible from side to side a bridge.

A visit to this place will certainly help people to understand the depth of Rizal’s patriotism and noble service towards the country. Visiting the Shrine is free of charge but you can help the park administrators by maintaining the cleanliness of the place. Plain and simple… just put your trash in the designated garbage bin.:)

AIRPHIL EXPRESS flies to Dipolog City several times a week. Dipolog City is the nearest commercial airport to Dapitan City. For more information, you can visit the AirPhil Express official website. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook for promo updates!

Cash for training project kicks off in Dipolog

By Mary May A. Abellon (PIA9)

DIPOLOG CITY - The Cash for Training Project (C4TP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) was launched here recently to benefit some 63 out-of-school youths (OSY) from the city’s 21 barangays. C4TP, which is implemented in partnership with the Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Zamboanga del Norte Federation of Parents Association (ZNFEPA), Livelihood Skills Development and Enhancement Center (LSDEC), Dipolog Schools of Fisheries (DSF) and Saint Vincent’s College (SVC) and the city government, is providing interested OSYs with technical/vocational training such as shielded metal arc welding, commercial cooking, food and beverage as well as bartending.

PESO Officer Atty. Arvin Bonbon explained that the OSYs would undergo technical/vocational training in accredited tech-voc providers like LSDEC, DSF and SVC.

With this development, City Mayor Evelyn T. Uy was grateful to DSWD, TESDA, DOLE, ZNFEPA, LSDEC, DSF and SVC for their great help in the “Employment and Livelihood Assistance” to OSYs.

The city mayor also reminded all scholars not to waste the opportunity given to them as this would enhance their skills and talents - the primary purpose of this undertaking.

Aside from skills training opportunities, CT4P also aims to provide job facilitation services and entrepreneurship support to its beneficiaries. It is a two-component implementation: training for wage employment and training for self-employment.

Each scholar shall receive a voucher, a toolkit for those who will be under the training for self-employment category, livelihood assistance, and allowance for transportation expenses during the training.

Moreover, TESDA Sec. Joel J. Villanueva has said that through this C4TP project the scholars shall serve as ambassadors of the department and prove the skeptics wrong in thinking that vocational and technical courses are nothing compared to four-year degree courses.

Wage board sets consultations in Zambo Peninsula


ZAMBOANGA CITY, March 6 (PNA) -– The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board-Zamboanga (RTWPB-9) has scheduled the conduct of wage consultation in key areas here in Zamboanga Peninsula.

In a statement, the RTWPB-9 said the consultation is aimed to determine whether a wage adjustment is necessary at this time and to introduce the two-tiered wage system.

The schedule for consultations are as follows: March 12, Pagadian City; March 13, Dipolog City; March 14, Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay; and, March 15, Zamboanga City.

The consultations will be conducted from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. starting March 12.

Meanwhile, the RTWPB-9 said the schedule of consultation for Isabela City has been reset to March 15 from 8:00 a.m. to noontime in this city.

The board is inviting all concerned sectors and interested parties to attend the wage consultations so they can ventilate their suggestions and recommendations prior to any wage determination.

DA-9 launches National Year of Rice in Dipolog

By Alfonso T. Ruda (PIA9)

DIPOLOG CITY - The Department of Agriculture (DA) in region 9 recently held a media forum at Mibang Hotel here to officially launch the National Year of Rice 2013, which aims to attain the rice self-sufficiency target next year.

President Benigno Aquino III has issued Proclamation No. 494 directing the DA to lead the celebration of the National Year of Rice and raise public awareness on responsible rice consumption.

The media forum has sought the help of media men support to enjoin the public or the rice-consuming public, producers and the policy-makers to support the goal of making the country rice sufficient.

To draw the commitment of the group, DA-9 Regional Executive Director Eduardo Holoyohoy, together with DA Regional Technical Director Dennis Palabrica, RAFID Chief Maria Melba Wee, Marilou Sybico of NFA-Zamboanga del Norte provincial office, Senior Engineer Zardo Roa of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and DA regional office staff came in full force to solicit from the local media practitioners their support to the NYR 2013 celebration by having them recite the “Pledge for Rice/Panatang Makapalay.”

Wee pointed out that by the end of 2013, 50% of the consuming public in the focus areas are expected to commit themselves to be responsible rice consumers by just eating the right amount of rice, not wasting rice and eating other sources of carbohydrates.

DA revealed that every Filipino wasted an average of 2 tablespoons of cooked rice or 9 grams of uncooked rice a day. “In 2010, our wasted rice was equivalent to 13% of total rice imports of the same year. This is equivalent to P6.2-billion or the consumption of nearly 2.6 million Filipinos,” Wee said.

On the average, Filipinos eat 4-1/2 cups of rice a day when 3 cups of rice is already enough.

Rice occupies 50% of the typical Filipino plate while the remaining 50% is shared by fruits or vegetables and protein. The DA recommends the equal sharing of rice, fruits, vegetables and protein in one’s plate.

Dipolog joins 17th child sexual abuse awareness week

By Mary May A. Abellon (PIA9)

DIPOLOG CITY - The city government here has joined the entire nation in celebrating the 17th National Awareness Week for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation also known as “Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Week” (CSAAW) which carries the theme: “Child Pornography Wakasan! Sa Tamang Paggamit ng Internet, Bata ay Gabayan” starting Feb. 9 - 17.

This activity aims to provide awareness to the children, parents, communities and the society on how to make our environment safe, protective and caring for our children.

Several activities had been lined up for the weeklong celebration by the Philippine National Police (PNP) through Police Community Relations Officer PI Ma Kristhyl Agda-Hernandez of the Dipolog City Police Station headed by PSupt. Joven Parcon, in collaboration with the city government through the City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD). Through the joint efforts of Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC), CSWD and the city police officers, an Oplan Sagip-Bata has been conducted every night around the city particularly at the Dipolog City Boulevard, Quezon Avenue and some establishments resulting to the rescue of 12 street children.

These were brought to CSWD drop-in Center in Minaog, Dipolog City for counseling and safekeeping.

The city is strictly implementing Oplan Sagip-Bata to prevent minor children from committing crimes and/or being used by unscrupulous individuals and groups.

PI Agda-Hernandez explained that this would help mitigate crimes involving minors.

The said celebration is an annual national event pursuant to Proclamation No. 731, dated February 1996 issued by former President Fidel V. Ramos.

As the theme suggests, this year’s child sexual abuse awareness week focuses on child pornography and other cyber crimes committed against children.

Laws protecting the rights and welfare of children include Republic Act 9775 or Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, Republic Act No. 7610 or The Special Protection for a Child against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act and other related special laws.

Anti-drug operation nets 3 pushers

By Bong Garcia

COMBINED policemen and agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) have arrested three persons in an anti-drug operation in the province of Zamboanga del Norte, a police official said Sunday.

Arrested were Parida Asimnee Singkay, 43, Dion Asim, 17, and Anna Rose Asimnee Singkay, 19, said Zamboanga Peninsula police spokesman Chief Inspector Ariel Huesca.

Huesca said the suspects were arrested in a buy-bust operation around 6:30 a.m. Friday in the village of Pantukan, Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte.

Huesca added the suspects sold suspected shabu worth P1,000 to an undercover lawmen.

The arresting team confiscated from the suspects two pieces of P500 “marked money” and several sachets of suspected shabu as well as prohibited drug paraphernalia, Huesca said.

Also confiscated were several rounds of ammunition for caliber .45 pistol and a mobile phone, he said.

The suspects were detained at the provincial headquarters while appropriate charges are set to be filed against them, he added.

UNA junks Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay in Western Mindanao

(Mindanao Examiner)

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner) – The local chapter of the United Nationalist Alliance has junked one of its senatorial candidates Mitos Magsaysay in Western Mindanao for allegedly snubbing the group when she visited and held her campaign sortie in Zamboanga City.

One UNA official said they felt insulted by Magsaysay’s rudeness when she snubbed the local chapter whose members expected her to meet with them as a protocol being party mates.

And worse, Magsaysay instead met with other candidates who are not members of UNA headed by former Zamboanga del Norte lawmaker Romeo Jalosjos, Sr. who is running for mayor in Zamboanga City.

Jalosjos, whose political clan has strong influence in Western Mindanao, has ordered all UNA chapters in the region to strike off the name of Magsaysay in all propaganda and campaign materials in the provinces of Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, including the cities of Dipolog, Pagadian and Zamboanga.

“Nabastos at nainsulto kami ng husto sa ginawa nitong si Mitos at dahil diyan ay nagalit si Nonong (Jalosjos) at ipinag-utos na huwag ng isama sa lahat ng campaign materials at propaganda ang pangalan ni Mitos at hindi lamang sa Zamboanga City ngunit sa buong Western Mindanao na kung saan ay malakas ang mga Jalosjos,” the official said.

“Siguradong lalangawin yan si Mitos sa Western Mindanao, lalo na identified pa siya kay Gloria (Arroyo). Yan ang resulta ng kanyang pambabastos at pagiinsulto sa lokal na UNA.”

Court throws out Jalosjos daughter from top town post

By Jomar Canlas

THE Supreme Court denied a petition filed by the daughter of convicted child rapist Romeo Jalosjos after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ruled with finality her ouster as mayor of Baliangao town in Misamis Occidental province.

In a full court decision written by Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, the High Court denied the petition for review filed by Svetlana Jalosjos assailing the June 4, 2010 and August 19, 2010 resolutions of the Comelec granting the petitions filed by private respondents Edwin Tupag and Rodolfo Estrellada to deny due course to or cancel her certificate of candidacy.

Voting 15-0, the court also lifted the status quo ante order it issued in favor of Jalosjos in 2010.

“[W]e find that petitioner failed to establish by clear and positive proof that she had resided in Baliangao, Misamis Occidental, one year prior to the May 10, 2010 elections,” the ruling said.

Jalosjos had filed on November 20, 2009 her certificate of candidacy for mayor of Baliangao for the May 2010 elections, indicating her place of birth and residence as Barangay Tugas, Baliangao.

Tugas and Estrellada that she had falsely represented her place of birth and residence because she was in fact born in San Juan, Metro Manila and had not totally abandoned her domicile in Dapitan City.

They presented documentary evidence to show, among other facts, that there was no tax declaration covering any real property in the name of Svetlana within the municipality of Baliangao and that there was no record of birth in the civil registry of Baliangao.

Svetlana countered that she had established her residence in the barangay since December 2008, when she had purchased two parcels of land there and that she had been staying in the house of a certain Mrs. Yap.

She contended that the error in her place of birth was committed by her secretary and that an error in the declaration of the place of birth in a candidacy certificate is not a material misrepresentation that would lead to disqualification because it is not one of the qualifications provided by law. She presented documentary evidence, including affidavits of witnesses, to sustain her claims.

The petition against her remained pending as of the day of the elections. In the meantime, Svetlana garnered the highest number of votes and was proclaimed the duly elected municipal mayor.

On June 4, 2010, the poll body’s Second Division rendered a resolution disqualifying Svetlana from running for the position of mayor. Her motion for reconsideration on August 19, 2010 was denied and the commission affirmed the division’s resolution.

On September 7, 2010, the court issued a stay order, which required the parties to observe the status quo prevailing before the issuance of the assailed Comelec resolution.

In its new decision, the court held that “[p]etitioner’s uncontroverted domicile of origin is Dapitan City. The question is whether she was able to establish, through clear and positive proof, that she had acquired a domicile of choice in Baliangao, Misamis Occidental, prior to the May 2010 elections.

“When it comes to the qualifications for running for public office, residence is synonymous with domicile . . . which imports not only intention to reside in a fixed place, but also personal presence in that place, coupled with conduct indicative of such intention,” the court said.

“There are three requisites for a person to acquire a new domicile by choice. First, residence or bodily presence in the new locality. Second, an intention to remain there. Third, an intention to abandon the old domicile.

“These circumstances must be established by clear and positive proof . . . [and] even if these requisites are established by clear and positive proof, the date of acquisition of the domicile of choice, or the critical date, must also be established to be within at least one year prior to the elections using the same standard of evidence.”

The court said that where were inconsistencies in the affidavits of the (witnesses presented by petitioner Svetlana), among others.

“These discrepancies bolster the statement of Barangay Tugas officials that petitioner was not and never had been a resident of their barangay,” the court said.

“At most, the witnesses only show that petitioner was building and developing a beach resort and a house in Barangay Tugas, and that she only stayed in Barangay Punta Miray whenever she wanted to oversee the construction of the resort and the house.”

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