Zamboanga del Norte News June 2013

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Zamboanga del Norte - Archived News

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Seal of Zamboanga del Norte
Interactive Google Satellite Map of Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines
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Provincial Capitol of Zamboanga del Norte
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Herbal remedies for diabetes.JPG
How to get the best out of the Malunggay
Moringa (Malungay) leaves compared to common foods
Values per 100gm. edible portion
Nutrient Moringa Leaves Other Foods
Vitamin A 6780 mcg Carrots: 1890 mcg
Vitamin C 220 mg Oranges: 30 mg
Calcium 440 mg Cow's milk: 120 mg
Potassium 259 mg Bananas: 88 mg
Protein 6.7 gm Cow's milk: 3.2 gm
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Saint James Cathedral in Dapitan City
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City Hall of Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte
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Situbo Falls, Zamboanga del Norte
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A Barangay Clearance is NEEDED in order to get a Business License.
So why is the barangay name not in most business addresses?
Ask your Barangay Captain/Chairman to create a Resolution to make it mandatory to put the barangay name in all Business addresses.
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Statue of Christ, Pangalalan, Sindangan
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Our lady of the most Holy Rosary, Estaka
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Manukan Mini Museum Landmark


1 killed, 19 hurt as truck falls off Zambo cliff

By Roel Pareño (The Philippine Star)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – An owner of a cargo truck was killed while 19 others were injured after the vehicle fell into a ravine in Sibuco town, Zamboanga del Norte, police said on Saturday.

The lone fatality was identified as Juan Alas-as, while the names of the 19 injured passengers were not immediately known as of press time.

Chief Inspector Ariel Huesca, spokesman for the Police Regional Office 9 (PRO9), said the truck was loaded with 35 sacks of copra and bound for Barangay Labuan in this city when the accident happened at noon last Thursday.

Reports said the driver, identified as a certain “Boyet,” lost control of the wheel while negotiating an uphill road in Barangay Pangian.

DENR sets fire control, pest management training in Zambo Peninsula


ZAMBOANGA CITY, June 29 (PNA) -- The Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources is holding three-day training on Forest Fire Control and Community Based Integrated Pest Management in this city.

The training, from July 10-13, will be the third to be conducted by the DENR in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

It is aimed to equip People’s Organizations and extension officers of DENR with modern knowhow on forest fire control and pest management.

The training is in connection with their farm land preparations and the importance of fire management in Community-Based Forest Management areas.

For this city, the participants will include officials of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office -East and West in this city and Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.

Next week from July 2-4, the DENR will conduct a similar training in the municipality of Buug, Zamboanga del Sur for POs and DENR extension officers based in the southern towns of that province.

For this week, the DENR conducted a similar training in Pagadian City from June 26-28.

More than 30 PO’s and extension officers from CENRO Dapitan and Dipolog Cities, Liloy and Siocon towns in Zamboanga del Norte representing the first batch attended the training.

“This is a new training, in the sense that it is integrated with a subject on pest management,” DENR Regional Executive Director Arleigh Adorable said.

“We have been conducting trainings on fire control through the years, this time we wanted to tap the PO’s to partner with us in controlling fire,” Adorable added.

Farmers usually open up farms in the hinterlands by cutting down trees and burning the area to clear the land for farming.

This is called the “kaingin method” of farming that is destructive because trees including small ones and saplings are burned and destroyed.

“We are partnering with the PO’s in addressing this problem…since they are in the area and will know what is happening in their respective places,” Adorable said.

Adorable also said that “they can also talk to the people in the upland to avoid unnecessary burning.”

Adorable urged the participants in the Pagadian City training to open and instill in their minds the things discussed in the training and practice it by heart when they go back to their respective areas.

“Let us join hands in helping our government in addressing climate change and other livelihood programs,” he said.

Kidney doctor says most call center workers suffer from UTI

By Franklin P. Gumapon (FPG/PIA9)

SINDANGAN, Zamboanga del Norte, June 28 (PIA) -- Sixty percent of those working as call center agents were found to have suffered from urinary tract infection (UTI).

This was disclosed by Dr. Michael Abutazil, a nephrologist based in Zamboanga City, in a radio interview held Tuesday over Radyo Natin in Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte.

Citing a recent study, Abutazil said most call center agents got infections on their urinary tract for spending longer hours without drinking enough water and/or holding back their urine while on duty.

“UTI, if not treated, may damage the kidney,” Dr. Abutazil said.

He urged the listening public to take care of their kidneys, saying: “The kidneys' main job is to filter your blood, removing wastes and extra water to make urine. They also help control blood pressure and make hormones that the body needs to stay healthy. When the kidneys are damaged, wastes can build up in the body.”

Each person has two kidneys, which are bean-shaped and about the size of a fist. They are located in the middle of one’s back, on the left and right of the spine, just below the rib cage.

According to Abutazil, the two major “risk factors” that cause kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure.

“Each kidney contains about one million tiny filters made up of blood vessels. These filters are called glomeruli. Diabetes and high blood pressure damage these blood vessels, so the kidneys are not able to filter the blood as well as they used to. Usually this damage happens slowly, over many years. As more and more filters are damaged, the kidneys eventually stop working,” he explained.

Joining Dr. Abutazil in said radio interview was his patient, Rufu Paitan of this town, who was the first patient to have undergone kidney transplantation at the Zamboanga City Medical Center in Zamboanga City in October 2011.

DOTC ready to review IRR for anti-drunk, drugged law

By Nonoy E. Lacson

The Technical Working Group (TWG) drafting the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for Republic Act 10586, otherwise known as the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013 is now ready to submit their works for review to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) early next month.

LTO Director for Zamboanga Peninsula Aminola Abaton said yesterday the TWG is now doing some polishing on their final draft before submitting it to DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio A. Abaya for review.

Atty Abaton, a senior member of the TWG drafting the IRR, said they are now in the process of reconciling their different views and opinions on the level of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) taken by a vehicle driver to consider him “partly impaired” of his senses.

Most TWG members, he said, want to duplicate the ASEAN-BAC standard which is 0.5 alcohol level, a figure that makes them debate since some Filipinos have high resistance in alcohol intake.

The LTO director here they left the issue to DOH which has the expertise on such subject and can give them a scientific opinion about the alcohol intake allowable for Filipinos.

“We have completed all the sections of the IRR except the BAC which remains very debatable among us. But with the help of the team from DOH, I think the issue will be settled since DOH has the expertise on the matter,” Abaton said.

Under the new law, drivers found to be under the influence of alcohol and drugs or similar substance will be penalized according to the stiff provisions of RA 10586.

Abaton said Article 5 of the RA 10586 reads, “it is unlawful for any person to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, dangerous drug and other similar substance.”

The new penalties for drivers violating Article 5 of RA 10586 carries a very stiff, such as fine ranging from P20,000 to P 500,000 depending on the gravity of the offense or traffic violation.

He explained that for non professional drivers who will be found violating the act, their license will be “confiscated” and they will be “suspended” from driving for 12 months, for the first offense and revocation of their license for second offense.

While those holder of a professional driver’s license, if found to have violated the Act, their license will be “confiscated and perpetually revoked.”

The perpetual revocation of their driver’s license will disqualify the person from being granted any kind of driver’s license in the future, Abaton said.

The owner or operator of the vehicle driven by the offender will also be principally held liable together with his driver for the fine which is ranging from P20,000 to P500,000. unless the operator will be able to convince that he had exercise extraordinary diligence in the selection of his driver for the vehicle.

The TWG is composed of transportation regulations experts from LTO, Department of Health (DOH) and the National Police Commission (NaPolCom).

Also, members of the TWG are LTO Directors Atty Noreen Bernadette San Luis-Lutey, region 5: Dennis Singzon, region 6: Atty Gomer Dy, Region 11: and Putiwas Malambut, Region 12.

ZamPen SMEs get gov’t support thru SME Roving Academy

By Michael Vincent D. Cajulao (ALT/MVC/PIA9-ZBST)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, June 26 (PIA) -- Micro, Small, and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) will once again be receiving assistance from the government intended to help them grow their businesses and become big players in the region’s economy thru the 2013 SME Roving Academy to be held regionwide from July 1-7.

Formerly known as SME Caravan, this year’s activity is still the same as the previous years with the sole intention of extending help to SMEs by way of technical and even financial support thru the convergence of all concerned government line agencies in the region, with the Department of Trade and Industry IX as the lead agency.

The activity also encourages everyone to venture into business to strengthen the region’s economy, provide added family income, and also address unemployment in this part of the country. Moreover, it will serve as a venue for existing SMEs to work hand in hand with the government to improve their products and look for potential local and international markets.

“If our SMEs grow more, we will have a stable regional economy and there will also be more job opportunities," DTI IX Assistant Regional Director Sitti Amina Jain said during last SME Core Group meeting.

The SME Roving Academy will officially start in Dipolog City from July 1-2 with topics focusing on Business accounting and Marketing eco-tourism which include product packaging, destination events and promo materials preparation.

The group will then proceed to Pagadian City for the second leg on July 3-4 wherein participants will be trained on quality and productivity management in manufacturing, and internet/online marketing with fraud detection.

Next stop will be Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay Province where quality and productivity management in rubber and abaca production and processing will be tackled since Zamboanga Sibugay is the region’s rubber capital.

The Zamboanga City and Isabela City leg which was originally set on July 16-17 and 19, respectively, will be moved to September.

DTI is encouraging interested participants to register with the nearest DTI offices in their areas.

DOT-9 holds media familiarization tour in Davao

By Franklin P. Gumapon (PIA9)

DIPOLOG CITY – Five media men from this city have recently visited Davao City on a three-day “familiarization tour” jointly sponsored by the Department of Tourism (DOT)-9 and the Cebu Pacific Airline Company in coordination with DOT-11.

DOT-9 Regional Director Mary June Bugante said the media familiarization tour was designed to drum up awareness on the different tourist destinations from Dipolog City to Davao City and the neighboring provinces.

On the first day, the group was toured around the city where the biggest China town in the whole world is located. Passing through the old streets named after the country’s national heroes and leaders, the media men were brought to Davao City 911, a highly computerized and fully integrated emergency and rescue dispatch system.

Davao City 911 emergency response system is said to be the first of its kind in the country and in Asia, and the third in the world after the United States and Canada.

On the second day, the Dipolog media men were toured to Museo Dabawenyo, Malagos Garden Resort, Philippine Eagle Park, Eden Nature Park and Resort and Crocodile Farm. Then, on the last day, they were brought to Pearl Farm Beach Resort and to the 14-hectare marine reserve where the giant clams are being grown, all at the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte.

In a related development, DOT-11 Regional Director Art Boncato Jr. said in an interview that a group of media men from Davao will also be having their familiarization tour in Dipolog City either in July or August this year. “This is geared towards a good exchange of destinations between the two cities,” he said.

He also disclosed that DOT-11 currently embarks on three major programs, namely: eco-tourism, developing minds and promoting connectivity and access.

Eco-tourism aims to promote the different tourist destinations from island to island while the second program seeks to promote Davao City as the center for conventions/conferences.

Promoting connectivity and access program, on the other hand, refers to infrastructure and transportation facilities that will make travel among local and foreign tourists easier.

The media men joining the tour were Zamboanga del Norte Press Club President Rosemarie P. Miranda, Kapihan sa Dipolog host Editha P. Tomong, RMN-dxDR station manager Richard Villaronte, Sunny Dimasuhid Jr. of ABS-CBN and Franklin P. Gumapon of the Philippine Information Agency.

DOST-SEI scholarship exam set Sept. 22

By Mary May A. Abellon (PIA9)

DIPOLOG CITY - The Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) is slated to hold its undergraduate scholarship examinations for school year 2014-2015 on Sept. 22, 2013 nationwide.

The said examination is open to high school graduating students who would like to pursue priority courses in science and technology, mathematics and engineering.

DOST-Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Science and Technology Director Marcial Dahonan said the application forms are available at DOST-PSTC offices or they can be downloaded at or

Dahonan also disclosed that the high school students applying for the said examination from Zamboanga del Norte and its twin cities of Dipolog and Dapitan will take the test in Dipolog City.

Each applicant shall pay a non-refundable examination fee of P200 and the deadline for submission of applications will be on Aug. 23, 2013.

The examination is designed to measure the examinee’s abilities that determine his/her academic and professional success in science, mathematics and engineering.

The awardees shall be selected on the basis of their performance in the 2014 Science and Technology Scholarship Examination.

The awardees are entitled to enjoy tuition fee assistance, book allowance, P500 for P.E. uniform, transportation allowance, monthly living allowance, summer allowance (if required by the curriculum) and post graduation allowance.

For more information, applicants may call telephone number (065) 212-2244 or (065) 908 0117, or in his mobile number 0917 859 0384.

Pinay power on display in KL

(The Philippine Star)

Meg Jones of ITC, Monique Ward of Accenture Global, Chit Juan of ECHOstore, Phyllis Johnson of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance, and Ambassador Delia Albert meet at the 2011 Global Action on Sourcing from Women Vendors conference in China (above). Usec. Berna Romulo-Puyat checks out the WomenBizPH booth at the Global Summit with Jeannie Javelosa (left).

MANILA, Philippines - For the first time in 25 years, the Philippines was represented by a big delegation of more than 40 women in the Global Summit of Women (GSW), which held its annual conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last June 6 to 8.

Last year it was held in Athens, Greece and in 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey.

Started by Philippine-born Irene Natividad, the summit attracts about a thousand women who gather to network and to listen to speakers like Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsico International, world leaders like the president of Kosovo, ministers from Ethiopia and Poland, South African and Chinese leaders, among many other luminaries.

The Philippines’ first woman foreign affairs secretary and former ambassador to Australia and Germany Delia Domingo-Albert is a member of the prestigious International Planning Committee (IPC) of the Global Summit. The IPC decides which of the bidding countries get selected to host the next years’ summits. The bidding is very competitive and bidders bring huge delegations to prove their interest in promoting gender issues and women’s empowerment in business. Next year’s summit bid was won by France.

The Philippine delegation was headed by Ambassador Albert and Undersecretary for Special Concerns Bernadette Romulo-Puyat. Puyat heads the Gender and Development Group at the Department of Agriculture. She brought with her some gender specialists who will then share their learnings with their peers upon returning home.

Local governments were represented by Dipolog Mayor Evelyn Uy and Cavite Board Member Irene Bencito. Entrepreneurs, auditors, lawyers from the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines (WBCP), international partner of the Global Summit, came in full force to speak in panels, lead by WBCP chair Boots Garcia and WBCP president Chit Juan joined.

To showcase our Philippine products, WBCP asked Ann Pamintuan to display her famous designer jewelry and Great Women Brand’s Jeannie Javelosa to sell shawls, books and cards designed by her and other Filipina artists.

The delegation was cited by Irene Natividad in her speech as one of the biggest delegations, only trailing behind Mongolia and China which had 70 delegates each.

The Filipina delegates dressed in local garb for the gala dinner at the prime minister’s residence on the first night. On the last evening everyone was covered from head to toe – as was required by protocol – for the dinner at the Royal Palace. No white, yellow or royal blue attires were allowed. No showing of arms or legs either.

The summit showcased the best of the Philippines on the women empowerment scene. WomenBizPh also brought copies of their book- “Aspirations and Inspirations,” a compilation of women winners of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards.

Next year’s summit will be in Paris and it is hoped that a much bigger Philippine delegation will attend the conference, which is a learning and networking event. Government officials should attend the ministerial roundtables so we can be apprised of women’s programs and projects around the world.

Moro tribal leader, 10 year-old girl slain in Zamboanga del Norte

By Arland Abubakkar

Police identified the slain village leader as Alimudin Quillah and Jay Ann Ismael, both of Cusipan in Zamboanga del Norte’s Sibuco town. Totoh Ysmael was wounded and was rushed to hospital.

The Police said that the attack occurred in the village of Limpapa, east of Zamboanga City, but officials did not give details of the shootings, saying an investigation is on still going to dig deeper into the motive of the killing and determine who were behind the attack.

As of press time, no individual or group claimed responsibility for the attack. In another incident, two Higaonon tribal leaders and three others were allegedly executed by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in an attack at Esperanza, Agusan del Sur last Tuesday morning and also burned down heavy equipment of a timber company, MindaNews cited police report.

Senior Insp. Nelven Tuan Rufon, Municipal Police Chief, quoted eyewitnesses as saying that around 100 NPA guerillas stormed two different barangays. The rebels first arrived at Sitio Kamarangan, Purok 7 of Barangay Hawilian and reportedly took lumad leaders Crispolo Linunsag, aka Datu Mangkuryente, and Anghel Cozan, aka Ingko Boknit. Rufon said they were caretakers of the rubber plantation owned by Mayor Leonida Manpatilan.

“The two men were executed with their arms tied behind their back,” the police chief said. Rufon said the rebels then proceeded to Purok 5 of Barangay Milagros and killed three more. The victims were identified by the police as Felipe Hadraque, reportedly a former soldier with the Army’s 29th Infantry Battalion who worked as caretaker of the Shannaline Wood Company until he was killed, and Jun Tria and Reme Politan, who happened to be near the area when the NPAs arrived.

MindaNews also quoted police reports which revealed that the rebels also burned down four bulldozers, three pay loaders and a road grader owned by Shannaline. Manpatilan expressed her disbelief on the incident, saying they were shocked upon hearing the report. “This is the first time after more than 20 years that such incident happened here in our town. I was really saddened by the incident and we are now extending all support towards the grieving families,” the mayor said.

Manpatilan clarified that the two tribal leaders killed in Barangay Hawilian were not workers in their rubber plantation. “Those two were actually just living within the plantation area and near where the heavy equipment were parked,” she said.

DTI-Zamboanga Peninsula invites bizmen to join SME roving academy


ZAMBOANGA CITY, June 21 (PNA) -– The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is inviting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and aspiring entrepreneurs to take advantage of the agency’s roving academy which is scheduled to roll across Zamboanga Peninsula this July 1 to 19.

The SME Roving Academy is aimed to bring down to the provincial level learning programs such as training and seminar workshops designed to promote entrepreneurship, develop key competencies in searching for business opportunities, product development, marketing, finance, as well as ways to improve productivity and efficiency in their business operations.

The activity’s kick-off and launching will be led by DTI Zamboanga Peninsula Director Nazrullah Manzur in Dipolog City, the capital of Zamboanga del Norte province on July 1 to 2.

Scheduled trainings in time for the launching are as follows: business accounting made easy; and, marketing eco-tourism (product packaging to include destination events and promo materials preparation).

Pagadian City, the capital of Zamboanga del Sur province, will be next, on July 3 to 4 with the following trainings lined up: quality and productivity management in manufacturing; and, internet marketing with fraud detection.

On July 5 to 6, the roving academy will be in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay province for the following scheduled trainings: quality and productivity management in rubber production and processing; and quality and productivity management in abaca production and processing.

Manzur said visual merchandizing training cum workshop is tentatively scheduled in this city on July 16 to 17 while the Quality and productivity management in rubber production and processing training is also tentatively scheduled to be held in Isabela City on July 19.

Interested participants are advised to call or visit the nearest DTI provincial office to confirm their attendance or for more details of the agency’s roving academy, Manzur said.

Participation is free but is strictly on a first come, first served basis, Manzur added.

TVIRD Responsible Mining in Philippines Convinces Supreme Subanon Chief

(Mindanao Examiner)

DIPOLOG CITY (Mindanao Examiner / June 20, 2013) - While a lot had been documented about responsible mining, the credibility of a responsible miner is best experienced on-site and personally talking to kinfolk who benefit from its operations.

Timuay Labi or Supreme Chieftain Liberato Balawing of the Subanon tribe has been hearing the term ‘responsible mining’ but was cynical about it. Every single day, the chieftain sees how illegal miners destroy the lands of his ancestors in Sindangan town, 157 kilometers North of Canatuan.

Just recently, the supreme chieftain, along with lay leaders from the Roman Catholic Church and tribal leaders in the municipalities of Siayan, Sindangan, Leon Postigo and Godod in Zamboanga del Norte Province visited the mine site of TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc. (TVIRD) in Canatuan. They wanted to see for themselves TVIRD’s brand of responsible mining.

The company is a locally-owned company and affiliate of Canada’s TVI Pacific Inc. It is currently operating its copper and zinc mine in the area, which is home of Balawing’s kinfolk. The Subanons have been the company’s hosts since the mid 1990’s when TVIRD began explorations and later began operations in 2004.

Demystified with the Canatuan experience

“It is different when you see it personally. The stories on environmental destruction I’ve been hearing about TVIRD are simply not true. Those were just stories meant to stop us from believing that there is responsible mining after all and it is happening here,” Balawing said.

“I will tell fellow members of the Knights of Columbus (K of C) what I saw here. I will tell them the benefits that TVIRD has given to Siocon – the employment of the natives, the good roads and the rehabilitation it is doing to the mined-out areas,” said Sir Knight Virgilio LLorente, District Deputy of Sindangan K of C, a Civil Engineer and a resident of the town.

To date, Subanons comprise nearly 30% of TVIRD’s workforce while almost 90% of the workforce, including Subanons, is from the Zamboanga Peninsula. The company also invested in roads and bridges in the area. At the present time, TVIRD has constructed and currently maintains the 45-km Baliguian road and the 16-km Paduan-Candiz-Tungawan farm-to-market roads. Including the 79-km thoroughfare linking Siocon to RT Lim, TVIRD maintains a road network of 140 kilometers at an annual maintenance cost Php19 million.

Balawing’s group was toured around the mining facilities of the company. Facilities they visited included the Sulphide Tailings Storage Facility or the Sulphide Dam, the 31-hectare mine pit, satellite nursery and Tanuman Village, where Subanons affected by the company’s mining operation were resettled.

The government’s partner in development

Community Relations and Development Office Manager Joel Alasco said TVIRD literally becomes the surrogate of the government while it operates in Canatuan.

“From the time we set foot in the area, TVIRD has been providing basic social services, not only to the host community but to nearby municipalities. Health, education, livelihood and infrastructure support has been continuously provided where it is needed most,” he said.

Alasco said TVIRD hired additional teachers and built school buildings to provide education to the Subanons. It also provided eligible students with college scholarships in order to nurture professionals who will come back and help improve the lives of their kinsmen.

“To date we have 55 college scholars studying in the different parts of the Peninsula. Those who graduated a few years back are either employed by the company, like our clinic nurse, or employed outside Canatuan,” he shared. In the course of TVIRD’s operations, the company’s program cultivated young Subanon professionals in the fields of medicine, forestry and education. There are also Subanon vocational electricians and midwives.

Canatuan is also the only mountain school in Zamboanga del Norte that has school buses. In addition to this, TVIRD also provides textbooks, computers, internet connection and electricity.

Alasco said the Social Development Management Plan or SDMP mandated by the Mining Act is followed to the letter by his office. He also disclosed that in implementing the SDMP, a community technical working group has been created in every barangay of the host municipality to be assured that projects are relevant to the people.

“We have regular meetings with our Subanon partners so they can suggest what projects are needed. This is how both parties practice the rights to self determination. We’re giving them the right to determine their economic, social and cultural development. We don’t dictate. We listen to their suggestions,” he concluded.

Public health

“Our clinic, with free ambulance services and medicine, is open 24 hours a day to whomever comes for consultation and treatment - be it a Canatuan resident or residents from nearby towns of Baliguian and Sirawai in Zamboanga del Norte, and RT Lim and Tungawan in Zamboanga Sibugay,” company doctor Ulysses Silorio said, adding in 2012 alone, the clinic received close to 14,000 consultations and admissions.

“This is what amazes me. You have a clinic with a birthing unit that serves everybody. Our clinic back home does not even have a birthing unit,” said Sindangan town women’s representative Grace Llorente, who toured with Timuay Balawing.

“I have to correct bad stories about TVIRD that I’d been hearing before,” she disclosed. Like Balawing, LLorente committed to share what she saw in Canatuan to other members of the civil society organizations in her hometown.

Right to self determination

“Even if it is a Canadian (foreign-invested) mining company, it did not neglect the natives like us. It has given importance to (the Subanons’) sustainable livelihood. It built houses for them, provided rubber seedlings and rehabilitated disturbed areas,” Balawing told a visiting foreign guest who was with them during the mine tour and who interviewed the Timuay to get his impression of TVIRD.

Balawing later explained that he wanted to convey a message to the foreign guest to tell her that he neither sees exploitation to his kinfolk nor abuse of their ancestral lands in Canatuan.

“I saw they are well taken care of. Many of them have regular income. The Subanon farmers are assisted not only with technology but by giving them free rubber seedlings. The education of their children is assured,” he added.

Balawing admitted the Subanons have experienced so much abuse, some from Subanon tribal leaders and people from government who only used the tribe for their own selfish interest.

“But in Canatuan, it seems people from TVIRD talk less but work more to protect the environment and serve the people,” he said.

The people’s right to self-determination is a fundamental principle in international law. It is embodied in the United Nations Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Balawing’s demeanor does not show his royal blood. His humility and astuteness as leader of his people, however, can be seen whenever he speaks on behalf of his people. He speaks little, yet the relevance of his words speaks volumes about his person and the principles that he stands by – that a leader should serve first, receive benefits last, work for the common good and consult his people.

Continued breastfeeding helps save the lives of children, says FNRI

By Mary Mae Abellon (ALT/MAA/PIA-Zambo Norte)

DIPOLOG CITY, June 19 (PIA) -- Among infants 0-5 months old, only 36 percent were exclusively breastfed.

This was the findings of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI). “Only 37 percent were breastfed at the same time given complementary food, and as many as 27 percent of infants were given other milk and other foods based on the 7th National Nutrition Survey (NNS) conducted by the FNRI-DOST in 2008,” according to Marie T. Bugas, FNRI Science Research Specialist.

Breastfeeding provides significant benefits to both the mother and the baby. It creates joyful bonding between the mother and her baby, promotes cost savings, and undeniably provides health benefits for both of them, the FNRI said in a statement.

“Let’s work together to ensure the adoption of the breastfeeding practice by encouraging all sectors to help promote, protect and support breastfeeding,” urged Ms. Bugas.

DAR implements ARCCESS in Zamboanga del Norte

By Mary May A. Abellon (PIA9)

DIPOLOG CITY - Three selected municipalities in the province of Zamboanga del Norte have benefited from the Agrarian Reform Community Connectivity and Economic Support Services (ARCCESS) program of the Department of Agrarian Reform.

Among the beneficiaries of the first batch were the Guinles Farmers Multi-purpose Cooperative (GUIFAMUCO) in the municipality of Polanco, San Miguel Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-purpose Cooperative (SMARBEMCO) in Mutia, and the Joaquin Macias Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-purpose Cooperative (JMARBEMCO) in Sindangan town.

ARCCESS has two major interventions: the delivery of Business Development Services (BDS) to Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organizations (ARBOs) through the deployment of Community-Based Enterprise Organizers (CBEOs), and the provision of farm equipment and machineries of Common Service facilities (CSFs) to ARBOs.

In CBEOs, the government will hire a professional to assist the business and management of cooperatives and an agricultural extension technician to assist farmers in farm production technology.

Reynaldo Manigos, ARCCESS point person in Zamboanga del Norte, said during an interview that this program was conceptualized in 2011 but it was only this year that the equipment and machineries were delivered.

“The delivery of the needed equipment and machineries to the first batch of ARBOs was made only this year,” said Manigos.

The CSFs include threshers, dryers, shellers, automatic planters, sprayers, coffee roasters, cassava granulators, tractors and hauling trucks.

These CSFs will be granted based on the readiness of ARBOs to manage and optimize the use of the equipment, as well as the necessity of the equipment to the operation of each ARBO.

“The role of DAR is to monitor the proper use of common service facilities while the operation of the business and cooperative rests on the farmers,” Mr. Manigos bared.

Residents shocked by conviction of former Dapitan City mayor

By Antonio P. Rimando (Correspondent) with Joel R. San Juan

DAPITAN CITY, Zamboanga del Norte—The recent conviction by the Sandiganbayan of Regional Trial Court in Makati City Judge Joseph Cedrick Ruiz shocked many residents here who expressed disbelief on the fate of Ruiz whom they elected mayor of this coastal city in the late 1990s.

A published report received here said the anti-graft court sentenced Ruiz to 26 years in jail “for graft and malversation of public funds” he allegedly committed while he was mayor of this historic city.

Ruiz was also ordered by the court “to pay a fine of P950,000 equivalent to the amount of confidential and intelligence funds [CIF] that he pocketed and failed to liquidate in 2001 as then outgoing mayor of Dapitan.”

The report said the court’s 27-page decision, penned by Sandiganbayan First Division Chairman Efren de la Cruz and concurred by Associate Justice Rodolfo Ponferrada and Rafael Lagosa, imposed on the Makati judge “eight years in jail for graft and additional 18 years for malversation of public funds.”

Former Dapitan City chief of police Pepe Nortal, Ruiz’s co-accused-turned state witness, told the anti-graft court during the trial that “a few weeks before the mayor left city hall after losing his 2001 re-election bid, the latter directed him to make a P1-million cash advance from the city’s CIF.”

The police chief said he gave the amount in four bundles of P250,000 to Ruiz, who gave him P50,000 “for the anti-illegal drive of the local police force.”

Nortal later filed a complaint against Ruiz before the Office of the Ombudsman who, however, included the police officer as the mayor’s co-accused.

After his conviction in 2008, Nortal was eventually allowed by the Ombudsman to become a state witness for the prosecution which, through the former police chief’s aggravating testimonies, eventually secured the conviction of the Makati City RTC judge.

Police seized 560 sacks of beach pebbles in Zamboanga Norte

By AL JACINTO (Regional editor)

DIPOLOG City––Police have seized a huge quantity of beach pebbles and arrested 7 people who were caught illegally transporting the rocks in Zamboanga del Norte province in southern Philippines, officials said.

It said policemen and members of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources from the town of Gutalac intercepted 7 men and seized from them at least 250 sacks pebbles from the seaside village of San Juan.

Police said villagers tipped off the authorities about the illegal activity of the men who were identified Lester Gongob, 20; Mercedito Tañola, 27; Julito Cordova, 23; Glen Mangubat, 29; Michael Molijon, 25; Judy Redoble, 20; and Jemar Velasco, 21, and all residents of the neighboring town of Labason.

Police also seized 310 sacks of pebbles in the nearby coastal village of Osukan where a man, Wendolino Redoble, claimed ownership of the rocks and said he had government permits to transport them.

But Redoble’s documents were insufficient to prove that the transport of pebbles is legal. Extraction or gathering of beach pebbles is illegal in the country unless this is covered by a special permit.

Police investigators being retrained in Zamboanga Peninsula


ZAMBOANGA CITY, June 15 (PNA) -– The Police Regional Office-9 is conducting series of refresher courses for police investigators here in the region.

This as the Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division chief stressed the need to improve the arrest, prosecution and conviction ratio of cases they filed against criminals here in Zamboanga Peninsula.

Sr. Supt. Sofronio Ecaldre, RIDMD chief, said they started the retraining of police investigators at the Zamboanga del Sur Police Provincial Office.

Ecaldre noted that there is a low “batting average” of crime solution and conviction in Zamboanga del Sur.

He did not give specific figures but said there are a number of killings in that province that stay unresolved to this day.

The retraining of the police investigators takes 45 days.

From Zamboanga del Sur, Ecaldre said the investigators’ training team will move to the provincial police command in Zamboanga del Norte.

Other than police investigators, Ecaldre said participants include soldiers, employees of the Dept. of Interior and Local Government and the police crime laboratory.

From Zamboanga del Norte, the training team will subject next the investigators of the Zamboanga City Police Office (ZCPO) to the retraining process.

Zambo Peninsula assists 6,113 individuals this year to work overseas


ZAMBOANGA CITY, June 13 (PNA) -– The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) announced that it has assisted a total of 6,113 individuals in landing gainful employment overseas since January this year.

POEA Zamboanga Peninsula officer-in-charge Marietta Bellotindos said the highest number of individuals they assisted to work abroad was in April at 1,639 workers.

Aside from April, the other months and corresponding individuals who left to work overseas are as follows: January, 1,156; February, 732; March, 790; May, 1446; and, June, 350 and counting.

The lack of better local job opportunities prompted them to seek jobs abroad, Bellotindos said.

She said the top 10 destinations of the workers are the following: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; United Arab Emirates; Kuwait; Qatar; Brunei; Malaysia; Singapore, Seychelles; Papua New Guinea; and Bahrain.

The workers are from the provinces of Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, she said.

They were employed through agency hiring, government placements or by name hiring which they secured from overseas employment without the participation of any agency, she said.

They are employed as professionals, clerks, service workers, sales workers, agricultural workers, operators and laborers, she said.

Meanwhile, Bellotindos has advised all those who aspire to work abroad is to ensure the recruitment agencies they are dealing with are legitimate and registered with her office.

The applicants should also be sure they are physically and mentally fit to work overseas, she added.

CRIME IN POLITICS:The big fish who got away

By Ed Lingao (Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism,

IF YOU can’t jail them, elect them. If you do jail them, well, you can always elect them again.

This appears to be a recurring theme in the Philippines, where the popular saying that a public office is a public trust seems to be misconstrued as meaning the public must simply put their full trust in their public officials, regardless of their behavior.

And what behavior some public officials have displayed.

In early 1989, then Rep. Rodrigo Gutang (North Cotabato), chairman of the House Committee on Public Order and Security, and then Rep. Renato Unico (Camarines Norte), vice chairman of the House Committee on National Defense, tried importing 600 Uzi submachine guns and Galil automatic assault rifles, firearms made popular by the famous Israeli armed forces.

The Customs bureau held up the first shipment of 150 firearms after finding that the guns did not have the necessary importation clearance from the Department of National Defense (DND).

Gutang and Unico, both former military officers, claimed they already had clearances from then Constabulary chief Ramon Montano (who, by the way, ran for a Senate seat in 2013 and lost).

The two congressmen said they did not know they needed a separate permit from the DND to bring in 600 firearms.

This happened when the country was on the edge; the government was being rocked by bloody coup attempts by cashiered colonel Gregorio Honasan (who now has just won yet another term in the Senate) and the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM).

Incidentally, the Galils and Uzis first became popular in the Philippines because they were the military rebels’ favored firearms. In fact, former defense minister and now Senator Juan Ponce Enrile (whose son Jack Enrile ran and lost in the 2013 senatorial elections) famously carried an Uzi submachine gun during the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolt.

An ordinary Jose would probably get thrown in jail for owning a paltik (home-made gun) even today. But the two legislators got off with barely a slap on the wrist.

The reason: the 600 Uzis and Galils, more than enough to arm a battalion, were actually for members of the House of Representatives. In their roles as chairman of the committee on public order and security and vice chairman of the defense committee, Gutang and Unico collected orders for the firearms from their House colleagues.

The guns were supposed to be for the security and protection of individual legislators, who claimed feeling threatened by the communist New People’s Army and the military rebels. At least half of the 202 sitting members of the chamber allegedly placed an order for firearms with the two congressmen.

According to the legislators, they purchased the guns with their own personal money, and not with taxpayers’ money. What this also meant was that the congressmen would get to keep the guns even after their terms end.

In the ensuing scandal, then House Speaker Ramon Mitra Jr. ordered an investigation by the House Committee on Ethics, then headed by Davao Rep. Jesus Dureza. After a series of hearings, including one where PC chief Montano (a friend of Gutang from their Constabulary days) cleared the two legislators, the ethics committee declared that there was no discrepancy in the arms deal, but recommended censure for the two congressmen.

The recommendation for censure was further watered down when the matter was put to a plenary vote, or what Mitra then called a “conscience vote,” by the entire House of Representatives in executive session. In its conscience vote, the entire chamber found Gutang and Unico not guilty of any wrongdoing, and deferred action on the courtesy resignations the two legislators had submitted as chairman and vice chairman of the committees on public order and security and national defense.

With that vote, the issue died down, or was overtaken by other events. A few months later, Honasan would stage the bloodiest coup attempt against the Aquino administration.

Interestingly, PCIJ bumped into Gutang in 2010, during a DND-sponsored forum on how to stamp out private armed groups in the wake of the Maguindanao massacre. He was one of the resource speakers.

Of course, one doesn’t have to look very far for examples of big fish who appear to have gotten away.

Deposed President Joseph Estrada, elected to the presidency in 1998 with one of the highest electoral margins in Philippine history, was convicted of plunder and sentenced to reclusion perpetua by the Sandiganbayan in 2007. Almost immediately after his conviction, Estrada was granted a full and absolute pardon by his archenemy, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Arroyo ran and won a seat in Congress after her stint as President, but this did not stop the government of Benigno S. Aquino III from filing a case of electoral sabotage and plunder against her and placing her under arrest. Arroyo ran and won a second term this year as representative of the 2nd district of Pampanga. She is still detained at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center.

Estrada for his part continued to seek public office after his conviction and pardon. This, even though he had committed not to run for public office again in his letter-application for pardon that he sent to then President Arroyo.

In the 2010 elections, less than three years after he was convicted for plunder, Estrada ran and almost won again as President of the Philippines, coming in second to Aquino. In the latest polls, Estrada ran and won as mayor of Manila.

Estrada’s opponents have tried to have him disqualified because of his conviction. But the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ruled that the pardon Arroyo granted Estrada in 2007 was “absolute and unconditional,” thus restoring fully Estrada’s civil and political rights. In her proclamation of executive clemency for Estrada, Arroyo merely mentioned that Estrada had committed in his application not to seek any future public office; Arroyo failed to make that a condition for his pardon.

The same issue was raised again in 2013, when Estrada ran and won as mayor of Manila. In April this year, the Comelec restated its position that Estrada was not disqualified because Arroyo gave him a full pardon. Estrada’s critics have elevated the matter to the Supreme Court.

Moving down south, former Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Romeo Jalosjos tried to run for mayor of Zamboanga City in the 2013 elections even though he was convicted and jailed for statutory rape in 1997.

Jalosjos’s failed candidacy appeared part of a move by his clan to wrest control of the

Zamboanga peninsula at the local level, with clan members from brothers to children to in-laws, running in Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Sibugay.

Comelec, however, said Jalosjos was disqualified because of his conviction. It stood its ground when Jalosjos argued against his disqualification, saying the Local Government Code allows a convict meted an accessory penalty of disqualification to run again two years after having served his sentence.

In December 1997, a Makati trial court found Jalosjos guilty of two counts of statutory rape and six counts of acts of lasciviousness, against an 11-year-old girl. In his defense, he said that the girl was a sex worker and that he was not told of the girl’s age.

Jalosjos appealed the ruling before the Supreme Court, but it merely affirmed his conviction in 2001 and 2002.

But despite the lower court’s guilty verdict in 1997, and pending his appeal before the high court, from his New Bilibid Prison quarters, Jalosjos managed to run and get re-elected as a congressman in the 1998 and 2001 elections.

He held on to his post, and the House of Representatives accorded him all his salaries, emoluments, and pork barrel shares for four years – until the Supreme Court upheld his conviction with finality in 2002. His name was subsequently dropped from the roll of members of the House of Representatives.

After Jalosjos had served the minimum sentence of 10 years for the crime, and supposedly for “good behavior” while in prison, President Arroyo commuted his sentence and freed him in 2009.

The commutation of Jalosjos’s sentence did not reverse, however, the loss of his rights and status as a voter, on account of his conviction for the heinous crime of statutory rape, according to Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert S. Lim.

But if Jalosjos’s conviction continues to haunt him, other candidates appear to have luck and time on their side.

Take the case of former Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr., one of those accused of masterminding the 2009 Maguindanao massacre. Long before his surname became attached to the worst case of election violence in the country, the Ampatuan patriarch had already made a name for himself as a ruthless clan leader.

In fact, Ampatuan was jailed for around a year in the mid-eighties for shooting dead his nephew.

Yasser Ampatuan, a nephew of Andal Sr., remembers that Andal shot dead his brother Datu Unsa Ampatuan, who was then eating at a restaurant in Maganoy (now Shariff Aguak) town. According to Yasser, Andal suspected Unsa of supporting a political rival, Surab Ampatuan, who also happened to be a relative of both of them.

For this crime, Andal Ampatuan would spend at least a year in jail before the families came to an out of court settlement. Here, the clan and blood ties worked their magic, as murder is a criminal case that may not be settled out of court. The man responsible for “fixing” the case was Rep. Simeon Datumanong, the first governor of Maguindanao province, and also member of the clan.

Yasser says his family chose to accept the decision of the clan elders for an amicable settlement out of respect for the elders, and because they had no means with which to seek justice.

“We went along,” he says. “We did not want a repeat of what happened if we showed that we were fighting back, maybe we would have been eliminated, so we accept what is going on. If there is a situation like that, we face reality and dance with the music.”

After he was freed from jail, Andal Ampatuan managed to claw his way up Maguindanao’s hierarchy, first as vice mayor of Shariff Aguak, then its mayor, and in 2001, as governor of the province of Maguindanao.

DepEd ready for K-12 in Zamboanga peninsula


ZAMBOANGA CITY, June 10 (PNA) -- The Department of Education (DepEd) is ready for the implementation of the K-12 program this school year backed by the recent training of teachers in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Assistant Schools Division Superintendent Lourma Poculan said that in the case of the province, 360 Grade II teachers from the different municipalities attended a training at the Top Plaza Hotel in the province's capital town of Dipolog City last week of May.

Similar trainings were also held in the different provinces and cities in the Zamboanga Peninsula all under the supervision of the DepEd regional office based in Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur.

Poculan said the training included the use of the mother tongue of the province, which is Visayan, as the medium of instruction as the bridging language in the primary grades.

Aside from the vernacular, the teachers were also reviewed on the teaching of Filipino and English, introduced in early grades to Grade III.

She said the teachers were also trained in the different strategies and approaches of teaching and the use of instructional materials.

Teachers were familiarized with assessment and testing tools, proper way of making lesson plans and classroom management.

The implementation of the K-12 program was signed into law by President Benigno S. Aquino III last May 15.

4 dead, 2 missing in Mindanao landslides, floods

By Zaida delos Reyes-Palanca

FOUR persons were reported killed while two others were missing in landslides and flashfloods brought by heavy downpour triggered by an intertropical convergence zone in different parts of Mindanao.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council identified the fatalities as Fatima Maghanoy, 12; Sherlyn Mae Maghanoy, 7; Eziquil Meziah Maghanoy, 3, who all died due to a landslide in Kabalasan, Zamboanga Sibugay and Cesar Castro, 50; of Quezon, Bukidnon who died of drowning.

Missing persons were identified as Jonie Anastacio of Sergio Osmena, Zamboanga del Norte and Eugene Maghanoy of Kabansalan, Zamboanga Sibugay.

The NDRRMC also recorded flash flood in five barangays of Davao City wherein 775 families were evacuated in barangay halls.

Of the numbers, 85 families were from Maa District, 67 from Matina Crossing, 84 from Matina Pangi, 395 from Talomo and 44 were from Tugbok district.

About nine houses were totally damaged while 15 were partially damaged.

In Sergio Osmena, Zamboanga Del Norte, 19 families or 111 individuals from Bgy. Kauswagan were affected by landslide.

Flashfloods and landslides also occurred in Bgys. San Isidro, Tinago and Pedagan due to continuous rains.

Flashfloods and landslides damaged at least Php2 million worth of agriculture, property and infrastructure in the region.

Unhappy about having to work, 14-year-old kid hangs self

By Julie S. Alipala (Inquirer Mindanao)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines—A 14-year-old boy who police said had been complaining about being poor and having to work on a rubber plantation to earn a living at a tender age finally hanged himself last Thursday after several earlier attempts to end his life.

Chief Insp. Ariel Huesca, spokesperson of the Western Mindanao police command, said that for weeks before killing himself, John Mark Peralta Sorino, had made an issue of his being a child laborer. He worked as a rubber tree tapper on a plantation in Barangay Galingon in Tampilisan, Zamboanga del Norte.

A tapper cuts grooves on the bark around a rubber tree to make sap drip into containers attached at the end of the grooves.

Citing a statement given by Sorino’s grandmother, Lolita Peralta, to Tampilisan police investigators, Huesca said the boy did not understand why he had to work at such an early age.

Huesca said the boy was also hurting from having come from a broken family and was so depressed that he had tried several times in the past few weeks to end his life.

“He had repeatedly told his grandmother that he was already tired of working as a rubber tapper,” he said.

But the grandmother told police that her grandson continued to work to support her as she could no longer take on a job due to an illness, Huesca said.

He said the grandmother believed that the boy might have been so depressed that he repeatedly tried but failed to kill himself during the past weeks.

“Around 10 a.m. on June 6, Mrs. Peralta found her grandson’s lifeless body hanging from a truss in her house in her house,” Huesca said.

He said neighbors rushed the boy to the Tampilisan Rural Health Center but efforts by Dr. Nathielda Ladesa to resuscitate him failed.

DepEd-Zanorte conducts mass training for Grade II K - 12 teachers

By Alfonso T. Ruda (PIA9)

DIPOLOG CITY - The Department of Education, Zamboanga del Norte Schools Division recently conducted a “Mass Training for Grade II K to 12 teachers.

The one-week training participated in by 360 Grade II teachers from the different municipalities of Zamboanga del Norte was held on May 27-31, 2013 at Top Plaza Hotel, this city.

The scope of the training included: (1) Use of Mother Tongue or L1as the Medium of Instruction which serves as the tool in bridging Language 2 (L2) which is Filipino, and Language 3 (L3) which is English; (2) Teaching Strategies and Approaches, and instructional materials; (3) Assessment tools; and Framing and Making Lesson Plans and Proper Classroom Management.

Ms. Lourma Poculan, Assistant Schools Division Superintendent said the one-week seminar aimed to enhance the expertise of teachers and equip them on the new innovation of the basic education curriculum.

According to Poculan, the training is so vital among Grade II K to 12 teachers since it deals with the use of mother tongue as one of the medium of instruction and used as a tool in bridging Language 2 and Language 3.

Madelyn Roda, Grade II teacher from Femagas Elementary School of Katipunan, Zamboanga del Norte was thankful to the DepEd Provincial Schools Division Office for conducting the seminar. “It enriched our knowledge on basic education and teaching skills, used approaches and instructional materials that will be suitable to the level and needs of the learners, and utilized the appropriate assessment tools in evaluating the performance of our students.” she said.

Poculan, who was also the keynote speaker during the closing ceremony hoped that teachers will impart to the young children what they have learned during the one-week training.

Search is on for 10 most outstanding Red Cross youth members

By Mary May A. Abellon (PIA9)

DIPOLOG CITY — The Philippine Red Cross (PRC), Zamboanga del Norte Chapter announces the Search for 10 Most Outstanding Red Cross Youth (TORCY) members and School Council for the year 2014.

Youth members aged 12-25 with excellent and exemplary academic, community and extracurricular activities are encouraged to join the said nomination upon the recommendation of their Red Cross School Council.

A nominee should have undergone Leadership Development Training Program (LDP) and Standard First Aid Training; must be familiar with the history and guiding principles of the organization; and had paid the annual membership contribution.

“In order to qualify as a nominee, one must be a bonafide Philippine Red Cross member,” PRC-ZN Chapter Service Representative Nidoh Gen Regencia said in an interview.

Moreover, nominees should be Filipino citizen, fluent in English and Filipino languages, active in different services of PRC for at least two years and has not been convicted of a crime.

For the Best School Council category, one must accomplish the accreditation requirements and duly recognized by the PRC national office.

The general criteria for the Red Cross Youth category are the following: Academic Performance - 30%, Extra Curricular Activities - 30%, Red Cross Involvement - 30%, Essay - 10%, for a total of 100%.

For the school council category, nominees will be judged according to the following criteria: Conduct of Red Cross Activities - 40 %, Participation to other NGO/ GO Activities - 30 %, and Participation to School Activities - 30% for a total of 100%.

Deadline for the submission of official nomination forms shall be on January 15, 2014 and submission of the requirements shall be on January 30, 2014.

The 15 finalists will be announced on February 7, 2014 and the awarding ceremony will be on April 15, 2014 in time for the celebration of Philippine Red Cross Day.

The 5 finalists will receive a medal and certificate of recognition while the 10 awardees will receive a medal, plaque and certificate of recognition.

DSWD-TESDA Cash for Training Project benefits 3,142 youths in Zamboanga Peninsula


ZAMBOANGA CITY, June 5 (PNA) -- A total of 3,142 youths all over Zamboanga Peninsula have benefited Since January this year from the Cash for Training Project (C4TP) jointly implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

The C4TP, implemented in close coordination with the local government units (LGUs), aimed to improve the plight and condition of the youths and empower them through skills training and assistance towards gainful employment and entrepreneurial activities, said TESDA Regional Information Officer Joy Wee.

The DSWD provided the funds for the training and helped identify the beneficiaries through the City Social Welfare and Development Offices (CSWDOs) while TESDA, through its 125 administered training institutions and private technical-vocational institutions, conducted the skills training, Wee said.

The beneficiaries are from Zamboanga del Norte, 1,119; Zamboanga del Sur, 1,002; Zamboanga Sibugay, 718; Zamboanga City, 240; and, Isabela City, 63.

Each of the beneficiaries received free training, free assessment, and P20,000 allowance, Wee said.

She said those who choose self-employment training were also provided livelihood with tool kits and training on entrepreneurship development.

Wee said the project is being implemented in two independent components--training for wage employment (Trabaho) and the training for self-employment (Hanapbuhay).

She said that 2,566 representing 82 percent of the total beneficiaries in the region chose the self-employment training while only 576 trained for wage employment.

This trend shows that more youths are interested to go into entrepreneurship and start their own micro businesses, she added.

Among the courses offered for the C4TP in the region were Automotive Servicing with Driving, Bread and Pastry Production, Computer Hardware Servicing, Commercial Cooking, Electrical Installation Maintenance, Food Processing/Fish Product Packaging, Organic Agriculture Production, Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Beauty Care, and Hilot (wellness massage), she said.

High enrollment noted in Zamboanga provinces

By Antonio P. Rimando (Correspondent)

PAGADIAN CITY, Zamboanga del Sur­—Due to the unexpected rise of enrollment in public elementary and secondary schools in Western Mindanao (WM), the Department of Education (DepEd) regional office here has called for the implementation by field school administrators of emergency measures to ensure the accommodation of all enrollees during the new school year which started on Monday.

Newly installed DepEd Regional Director Corazon Brown here said initial reports she received from the schools divisions of Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Pagadian City, Zamboanga Sibugay, Dapitan City, Dipolog City, Zamboanga City and Isabela City in Basilan showed a big rise of enrollment at both levels throughout WM, also called Zamboanga peninsula.

Brown attributed the exceptional enrollment hike in urban, semi-urban and rural schools to the heightened interest of many parents to let their children complete their elementary and secondary education to enable the youngsters to become more productive, more useful and more law-abiding citizens of their community.

To ensure that all elementary schoolchildren could enter their respective grade levels, Brown directed school administrators to enforce the necessary urgent steps by organizing a double-single class program where one teacher handles one group of pupils in the morning and another group in the afternoon.

In smaller village grade schools where the number of pupils usually does not warrant the organization of a separate class for each grade and the hiring of new teachers, Brown sought the creation of a combination class composed of two grade levels like Grades 1 and 2 or Grades 4 and 5 with the mentor utilizing the DepEd-authorized teaching procedure.

This method allows the combination class teacher to first handle, say, her Grade 1 pupils for a certain period of time while she gives seat work to the other Grade 2 children after which the mentor focuses her attention to the second-grade kids while the first group busies itself with its own seat work.

The DepEd considers the ideal teacher-pupil ratio at 1:40.

Brown also directed principals of secondary schools with big enrollment to utilize the double-shifting plan which schedules, say, first-year or second-year students to report to school from 6:30 to ll:30 a.m. and another group of students from 12:30 to 6:30 p.m.

In urban-based high schools where there is no problem of supply of electricity, Brown asked school principals to offer night classes to provide opportunity for poor working students to complete their secondary education which, under the new K to 12 Basic Education Program of the DepEd, has been lengthened from four to six years. The first four years serve as junior high school and the last two years as senior high school.

In a related development, Land Transportation Office Regional Director Aminola P. Abaton said he directed his staff to provide necessary traffic assistance to all school-bound children to ensure their physical safety.

Abaton enjoined his field personnel to enforce penalties to traffic violators who disrupt the flow of vehicles in the vicinities of learning centers in urban and semi-urban areas.

He also admonished motorcycle-riding parents taking their children to and from school to wear authorized helmets together with each of their back-riding student-kids to safeguard themselves from traffic hazards.

Abaton also cautioned all motor vehicle drivers to always religiously follow traffic rules and regulations, especially during the 10-month school year for their own safety and the pedestrian’s.

Jalosjos’ dynasty collapses in Western Mindanao

(Mindanao Examiner)

DIPOLOG CITY (Mindanao Examiner / June 3, 2013) – It was a humiliating defeat for the Jalosjoses, a wealthy and powerful political clan that ruled most of the Zamboanga Peninsula for many years, but like a sand castle, it eventually collapsed from the rampaging tides of the sea.

What remains of the powerful dynasty in the recently concluded local and national elections are now part of the political history of Mindanao.

The clan’s patriarch Romeo Jalosjos, Sr., a former congressman in Zamboanga del Norte convicted of raping an eleven-year old girl in 1996, tried to run for mayor in Zamboanga City, but was disqualified by the Commission on Elections due to his conviction.

Many of Jalosjos’ official slate in his own Alliance of Parties for Progress which is allied with the United Nationalists Alliance of Vice President Jejomar Binay also lost in the elections.

Even the party list group Kapamilya ng mga Nakulong na Walang Sala founded by Jalosjos himself had been disqualified by the Commission on Elections.

The Clan

His younger brother Dominador, who was a candidate for governor in Zamboanga del Sur, had been disqualified also by the polls body for his robbery conviction in the 1970s.

Another brother, Zamboanga del Norte congressman Cesar Jalosjos also lost in the elections, and so were two nephews Zamboanga Sibugay Gov. Rommel Jalosjos and Congressman Romeo Jalosjos, Jr. – the patriarch’s sons.

Jalosjos’ daughter, Svetlana, who was running for re-election as mayor of Misamis Occidental’s Baliangao town, had been defeated. Her cousin, JJ Jalosjos, son of Cesar, who ran for mayor in Labason, also lost in the elections.

And so is Cecilia Carreon, the patriarch’s sister, who ran for mayor in Dipolog, the capital city of Zamboanga del Norte. And Marjorie Jalosjos, wife of Jalosjos Jr. who ran for congress in Zamboanga del Sur’s 2nd District.

Cesar’s daughter, Johanna Parreno, was also defeated in the congressional race in Zamboanga del Norte’s 3rd District. And Mercy Arquiza, an elderly cousin of the clan’s patriarch, ran for vice mayor in Zamboanga, but just like the others, she too, lost terribly.

Only two members of the clan managed to win the polls - Bullet Jalosjos as congressman of Zamboanga del Norte’s 1st District, and his aunt, Rosalina Jalosjos, who won the mayoralty race in the clan’s remaining stronghold, Dapitan City.

Western Mindanao Bloc

The Jalosjos patriarch has not been seen since the defeat of many of his clan members, but the devastating results of the elections sent a strong message that their clout and influence had waned and this would have a devastating effect on Presidential elections in 2016.

Jalosjos, in his previous news conferences, said he wanted to establish a strong political party in Western Mindanao that would be a force to reckon with in the Presidential elections.

But in Zamboanga City alone, Jalosjos entry in the local politics dominated for decades by the Lobregat family – the matriarch, Maria Clara Lobregat, (1998-2001; 2001-2004) who died or cardiac arrest, and her son, the current mayor, Celso Lobregat – had been a rough sailing for the wealthy patriarch because of the avalanche of disqualification cases filed against him on top of black propaganda spread by his foes.

Though Jalojos believed he would make it, the local courts all upheld the decision of the poll body in disqualifying him. His throngs of supporters and followers, believing the wealth of Jalosjos would make him win in the mayoralty race, continued to worship him, some even saying that he is the only one who could unseat Lobregat from power and bring change and eventually anchors his rule in Zamboanga.


Jalosjos had promised the moon. Being a traditional politician that he is, Jalosjos vowed to bring peace and development to Zamboanga and transform the city like Singapore. He even distributed publicly and bought newspaper ads outlining his 25-point Agenda.

Before elections, one loca newspaper report had quoted Jalosjos as saying: “Even if the other camp succeeds in depriving the people of Zamboanga their right to choose a new and better kind of leadership in the coming elections, I will still be here to help my team win. If they win, it’s as if I also won because they will be the ones who will implement our 25 point agenda for Zamboanga City.”

But Lobregat, who ran for congress won by a slight margin over Jalosjos’ bet, Crisanto dela Cruz, a former Catholic priest and a philanthropist who is popular among the poor. Logregat’s younger brother, Jomar, also lost in the congressional race in Zamboanga City’s 2nd District to independent candidate, Lilia Nuno.

Popular Mayor

Deputy Speaker for Mindanao, Rep. Maria Isabelle Salazar, eventually was elected as mayor of Zamboanga, winning by a landslide against another lawmaker, Erico Basilio Fabian and Albert Cajayon.

Salazar is one of the most respected political leaders not only in Zamboanga, but in southern Philippines, and has no records of corruption. Many locals believed Salazar helped Lobregat win the polls.

Lobregat’s political party Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino is allied with Salazar’s Liberal Party whose Chairman is President Benigno Aquino.

Salazar, a motherly figure to many locals, is so popular in Zamboanga that they believed she would win even without campaigning. A humble person, who was a former journalist, Salazar vowed to bring Zamboanga - popularly branded The City of Flowers and La Bella Hermosa - to a new height and ushering renewed hope for all peoples in Zamboanga - Muslims and Christian and indigenous tribes.

DPWH warns farmers on use of ready made "rice driers" – highways


ZAMBOANGA CITY, June 2 (PNA) -- It cannot be said that rice farmers and government workers of the Department of Public Works and Highways will physically clash on the issue of rice driers in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

The rice farmers may not have the guts to confront DPWH bigwigs.

And neither will the DPWH have the heart to step on the farmer’s products – newly harvested rice or palay.

For years, rice farmers have been using concrete and asphalted roads adjoining their rice fields to dry their newly harvested palay.

For one reason or the other, but due to added cost, farmers can cut down on expenses for concreting part of their rice fields, best set aside to plant rice.

They prefer to dry their products on road pavements. Officials of the DPWH have recently noted the danger poised on motor vehicles speeding along the highway.

Thus, DPWH Information Officer Maria Carla Miñoza has issued an appeal, through the media, for farmers not to dry their palay along highways to avoid accidents.

The highway from Zamboanga to the provinces of Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur, crisscross thousands of hectares of rice fields.

It is therefore a common sight of rice laid out to dry along the side of highways in the peninsula.

To date there are no reports of vehicular accidents caused by these rice grains drying along the sidewalks or part of the highway.

There are also no reports, and no need to report, of palay grains scattered along the way by wheels of speeding motor vehicles in the peninsula.

Gunman attacks radio station in Zambo Norte


ZAMBOANGA CITY, June 1 (PNA) -– Thorough investigation is underway aimed to unmask the gunmen behind the gun attack on a radio station in the province of Zamboanga del Norte, a police official disclosed Saturday.

Attacked was DXFL-FM owned by Engr. Franklin Lim located at the corner of Rizal Ave. and Arellano St., Barangay Central, Dipolog City, the capital of Zamboanga del Norte province.

Police Regional Office-9 information officer Chief Insp. Ariel Huesca said no one was however killed or wounded since the incident took place around 2:30 a.m. Friday.

Lim told the police he “heard a burst of fire but he did not mind believing that it was only a firecracker.”

However, Lim said he was informed by the radio technician who reported for work around 6 a.m. Friday that the clear glass window of the announcer’s booth was shattered.

Responding policemen have recovered from the crime scene four empty shells and eight deformed slugs of caliber .45 Pistol, Huesca said.

All possible motives are being look into aimed to unmask the culprits, Huesca said.

The radio station’s programs are also being reviewed to determine whether the announcers, to include block timers, have offended any individual, Huesca said.

It has been observed that radio stations in the provinces, although licensed as FM which normally runs musical programs, maintains public affairs and commentary programs.