Sunday, 30 November 2008

ICC Dispatch - Friday, November 28, 2008

Army welcomes peaceful resolution of Lanao problems -- MGen Pajarito

ICC Iligan City – The Philippine Army is always open to any peaceful solution and negotiation if only to solve the security problem in the two Lanao provinces.

This was emphasized by Maj. Gen. Nehemias G. Pajarito, Commander of the First Infantry Division (1ID) Philippine Army, who recently commended the 65th Infantry Battalion (IB), PA for their efforts in the surrender of at least seven members of the lawless MILF group (LMG) through peaceful negotiations.

The said LMG members surrendered to Lt. Col. Jed G. Motus, Battalion Commander of 65IB which is actually a unit of the 9th Infantry Division (9ID) from Eastern Visayas sent to serve as augmentation force in Lanao de Sur its headquarters in Barangay Gadungan, Madalum of the province.

Meanwhile, Pajarito lauded the MILF surrenderees for their decision to return back into the mainstream of the society who brought with them one unit each of the following firearms indicative of their serial numbers (SN):

A 5.56mm M653 (Elisco) SN 249328, a 7.62mm JI (FAL), SN 1771, US Rifle Cal .30MI (Garand), SN 1348039, US Rifle Cal .30MI (Grand Springfield), SN 142357, Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) Launcher, SN 770051, shot gun (Winchester) SN 1151974 and improvised grenade launcher with defaced SN.

He also urged them to convince their comrades who are still hiding in their mountain lairs to come out in the open so that they can also enjoy the benefits of the programs given by the government to rebel returnees.

The National Program for Unification and Development (NPUD) and the Balik (Bring A Rifle and Improve Livelihood) Program of the Department of National Defense (DND) are only some of such programs, Pajarito said. (RTD/PIA-Marawi)

AFP conducts tactical interrogation on captured LMG members

ICC Iligan City – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has conducted tactical interrogation on the identified members of the Lawless Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Group (LMG) who were captured after a recent encounter in Sitio Bayabao, Barangay Buntong, Salvador town, Lanao del Norte.

Thus revealed Lt. Col. Agane C Adriatico, Civil Military Operations (CMO) Chief, G7, 1st Infantry Division (1ID) Philippine Army, who said the rogue LMG members were captured by the elements of 35the Infantry Battalion (IB) during the November 18 encounter in the area.

Based on report of Lt. Col. Jose C Faustino, Commanding Officer of 35IB, the alleged LMG members were consolidating their group at Sitio Bayabao when the concerned barangay residents reported the presence of the rebel group to the operating Army soldiers.

Our troops immediately conducted raid in the enemy lair which resulted in a 30-minutes firefight. Eight of the 20 fully-armed MILF group were captured with their 40 rounds cal 30 Garand, three units handheld radio, one homemade shot gun, military backpack with uniform and foodstuff during the encounter.. But no casualty was reported on the government side, Adriatico said.

The captured LMG members were identified as Misba Dirungawan, Ali Samir, Kalik Samir, Kasamura Makatuman Mareg, Lanie Makatuman, Abu Naid and Nabela Mura.

After conducting the interrogation, the captured rebels were turned over SPO3 Pagayon, Officer-in-Charge of the Salvador Municipal Police Station (SMPS) for the filing of appropriate charges, Adriatico added. (RTD/PIA-Marawi)

PGMA does not want a term extension, VP de Castro says

ICC General Santos City (28 November)---- Vice President Noli De Castro said on Thursday that President Arroyo does not want a term extension beyond 2010.

This he said contrary to allegations by administration critics that the proposal for Charter Change (Chacha) by some members of Congress is intended to prolong the President’s term of office.

De Castro visited Sarangani yesterday to grace the opening celebration of the province’s 16th Foundation Anniversary and 6th Munato Festival.

He also led the groundbreaking ceremony of Sarangani Provincial Employees Housing Project in Alabel, the capital town of the province.

According to De Castro the President is focused on the present economic situation of the country specifically on how to spare the Filipinos from the present crisis, thus, stressing politics is out of the way.

President Arroyo, he said, told the Cabinet to rush and “triple” their efforts in implementing their respective tasks to beat the 2010 deadline. He added that term extension is the least that President Arroyo wanted to do.

“Wala na hong dalawang taon ang trabaho namin ni president, kaya nga sabi ni president lagi sa gabinete hindi lang doble dapat ang ating trabaho kundi triple… Kung napapansin ninyo si Presidente kita naman ninyo ang energy nya kung saan sya nagpupunta dahil nagmamadali ho kami, lalo na ngayong may problema tayo mahirap pag-usapan ang pulitika may problema tayo sa ating global financial crisis so ang tinututukan ng gobyerno ay kung paano, kahit papano ay hindi tayo maapektuhan lalo na sa pagpasok ng 2009,” he explained.

When asked about his stand on amending the Constitution, De Castro revealed that he is for chacha but it should be done through a Constitutional Convention (Concon).

“Noong ako ho’y senador isa ako sa 16 na senador na pumirma para sa Charter change pero Constitutional Convention ho kami. So ganun pa rin ho ako, Concon ho ako para ho ako sa charter change,” he said.

De Castro believes that some provisions in the Constitution are not applicable anymore to the present situation of the country “as we are left behind by other countries with regard to development.”

“Talaga namang marami ng dapat palitan, napag-iiwanan na tayo, in Asia lang napag-iiwanan na tayo dahil ang ating saligang batas, sabagay wala naming perpekto, pero ito’y ginawa natin na nagmamadali tayo. Remember after the EDSA revolution wala tayong Concon pinika-pika lang yung mga delegado…. yung ating saligang batas nasa isip lagi natin yung ginawa ni Marcos,… dapat kalimutan na natin gumawa tayo ng bago na pwede sa panahon ng technology ngayon,” he added.

Earlier, Malacañang made a pronouncement that the President will veto any bill extending her term of office beyond 2010, if such a legislative measure is ever approved by Congress acting as a constituent assembly.

Deputy Presidential Spokesman Anthony Golez Jr. said that the President herself has repeatedly and openly declared that her presidency ends in June 2010 as mandated by law. (PIA SarGen)

IMT withdrawal won’t affect ceasefire agreement, Eastmincom

ICC General Santos City (28 November) - The Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) believes that the International Monitoring Team's termination of tour of duty (TOR) would not in any way impact the implementation of the ceasefire agreement in southern Philippines.

Maj. Randolph Cabangbang, spokesman for Eastmincom said the military does not see any collapse in the truce agreement should the mandate of the International Monitoring Team or IMT come to an end.

Although he admitted that it may have possible effect but said there are other “established mechanisms of the peace process” that have been effectively employed on the ground to carry out such agreement.

Acknowledging the “established credibility” of the IMT, Cabangbang said IMT’s role was vital in the realization of the ceasefire agreement in Mindanao.

“They have provided a lot of help,” he told media attributing the successful implementation of the truce to IMT.

Armed Forces chief Gen. Alexander Yano also said that there are existing peace instruments to safeguard peace security in Mindanao adding that IMT’s pullout will not worsen Mindanao’s condition.

Yano is referring to the Joint Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) that is facilitated by military and MILF representatives, the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group and the local monitoring teams (LMTs).

He said that while government supports the extension of the IMT beyond November 30, its withdrawal will be an opportune time for the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) “to reach an understanding that would finally bring lasting peace in Mindanao.”

The IMT composed of representatives from Japan, Libya, Brunei and Malaysia as the largest contingent, keeps an eye on government's ceasefire agreement with the MILF.

In the past months, Mindanao peace advocates have been pushing for the continued stay of the Malaysian-led IMT.

The group credited the empowerment of local stakeholders to IMT's move in involving local communities in peacekeeping efforts that paved the way for a sustained peace environment in some communities in the region. (PIA SarGen)

Tour of duty of Malaysian IMT ends

ICC Cotabato City
(28 November) - The International Monitoring Team 4 (IMT) is leaving Mindanao as it officially ends its tour-of-duty today.

A farewell dinner was tendered last night in honor of the Malaysian International Monitoring Team attended by ranking officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), IMT members from Libya, Japan and Brunei and Cotabato City local government unit.

In his brief message, MILF Coordinating Committee for the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) head Toks Ibrahim expressed MILF;s desire to extend the tour-of-duty of the IMT in Mindanao.

But with the stalled peace talks between the government and the MILF, Ibrahim said, the continued stay of the IMT would be of no use and irrelevant.

GRP CCCH chairperson Gen. Rey Sealana on the other hand, thanked the IMT contingent for their support and efforts to attain peace in Mindanao.

Sealana cited the significant role of the IMT in containing the possible spillover to other areas of the armed confrontation between government troops and MILF elements

Both CCCH chairmen remain hopeful that the IMT would return to Mindanao when the mechanisms for the resumption of the peace talks shall have been set.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has repeatedly announced government’s preparedness to resume peace talks with the MILF based on authentic consultations with the stakeholders and affected communities. (pbc/PIA cot city)

DAF-ARMM signed an agreement to expand ARMMIARC facility

ICC Cotabato City (28 November) - A training center and an annex building will soon rise at the DAF-ARMM Integrated Agricultural Research center (DAF-ARMMIARC).

Construction of said facilities estimated to cost P5million will be funded by the Japan International Cooperating Agency (JICA).

According to Jalika D. Mangacop, DAF-ARMM R&DE Director, the proposed training center will be utilized for massive trainings of farmers and fisher folks, researchers, extension workers and farmer leaders to strengthen the development of the agriculture and fishery sectors in the autonomous region.

More than twenty (20) officials from DAF-ARMM Social Fund Project (ASFP) and JICA witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between DAF-ARMM Secretary Keise T. Usman, ASFP Project Manager Atty. Mustapha Sambolawan, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH-ARMM) Assistant Secretary Guialoson A. Mamogkat and FFJJ Contractor Mr. Osmeña Palanggalan.

DAF-ARMMIARC was established in 1994 as mandated by Executive Order No. 09 implementing the Agriculture and Fishery Modernization Act (AFMA) strengthening research and development program. (Michelle Angelique H. Barcelonia/PIA Cot City)

MunaTo Celebrating Sarangani's people, culture, resources

ALABEL, Sarangani (28 November) – Turning sweet sixteen, youPIg Sarangani province, seen with so much potentials by its founders, now flies like a colorful butterfly with its 6th MunaTo Festival.

Truly celebrating its rich history and cultural heritage, Sarangani pays tribute to its natural bounty and artistry of Sarangans that this year's "Ang Galing Mo, Sarangan" theme oozes with artistic passion and business, hard work and volunteerism, innovations and peace effort put altogether towards prosperity.

"I was told that MunaTo means first people, but for me, you mean people first," said Vice President Noli "Kabayan" de Castro in his opening message.

De Castro is guest-of-honor to the province's 16th Foundation Anniversary and 6th MunaTo Festival formal opening Thursday (November 27) at the Capitol grounds.

De Castro led the ground-breaking ceremony of the Provincial Capitol Employees Village in Alabel earlier.

The Vice President lauded Sarangani's initiative of finding its real potentials for development particularly in tourism.

"When the late Congressman James L. Chiongbian first fought for the province and before the historic March 16 1992 for its independence, Sarangani was seen to have the capability to prosper and become a model province," De Castro recalled.

"Now these dreams are fulfilled because its people and its leaders work together in unity."

At the Kalyak Sarangani, visitors and Sarangans themselves see Sarangani's artistry. Kalyak Sarangani is an exhibit booth of award-winning photographer Cocoy Sexcion with his collection of Sarangani's "Sights and Faces" and Tboli artist Ronald Tamfalan's indigenous paintings.

"Photography is more than just light and composition," said Sexcion. "It is real life I want to capture at the right moment and that's what we want people to see to inspire them again more than just to remember."

"I wanted to capture the positive side of life. I wanted people to appreciate little things through photography."

Sexcion discovered his art in photography in 2004 inspired by Sarangani's beautiful sceneries and its unique peoples being once a stranger to the place. Sarangani is home to multiculturalism. Here, Muslims, Christians and lumads live together in harmony as evidenced by multi-dialects: Sarangans speak Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilongo, Ilocano, Blaan, Tboli, and Maguindanao.

Ronald Tamfalan is a Tboli who finished school in Falel Community School. Falel is a Tboli community in Kiamba town.

Tamfalan should have learned better education, but despite the school's inaccessibility for educational assistance like reading books and more number of teachers (the school has one volunteer teacher for 15 years), but he said his inspiration to paint came from his fellow Tbolis and his surroundings, and put them on canvasses.

Ronald makes oil paintings. His trademark is his Tnalak, a native clothing, in oil.

But he also uses soil like reddish clay, barks of trees and dyes of leaves, in his canvass.
Governor Migs Dominguez is one of Ronald's fans and buyers. Other visual artists in South Cotabato and General Santos City began to appreciate his unique tribal paintings and concepts of visual arts.

"Difficulty has its own way of making struggle to sharpen and purify life in art," commented Ali Al Nezzar, director of Kalinawa Art Foundation, a non-government organization from Canada.

"True artists by necessity and passion are committed to doing their art. It is the spiritual force within the human being the moves the imagining and the making of art."

Sexcion and Tamfalan are indeed true examples of "Ang Galing Mo, Sarangan".

A search for successful Sarangans is conducted on November 29 with the criteria on the field of innovations, excellence, and volunteerism.

In November 28, Chief Justice Reynato Puno inaugurated the Tamdanan sa Balaud, a "Justice on Wheels" project initiated by the Provincial Legal Office. The provincial government purchased a bus worth P900,000 to bring the court to the barangays and speed up the administration of justice among the communities.

Vice President De Castro lauded the provincial officials' initiative in building a housing community project for Capitol employees in Alabel and urged provincial leaders to further do projects for Sarangani's "poorest of the poor" through a joint venture scheme with the national government.

Governor Dominguez despises armed conflicts that occurred in Maasim, Kiamba and Maitum towns during the past few months.
"Sometimes we have to take one step back, but we must take five steps forward to tell the good news to our people," he said.

Fabli Gu Ni, a tribal trade fair, exhibits Sarangani's business potentials showcasing the seven town's One-Town One Product. Also, these booths shows miniatures of their tourism potentials like the waterfalls of Kiamba, world-class diving of Maasim, Maitum's anthropomorphic jars, Isla Parilla in Alabel.

"This rich history and beauty is a result of the blending of many cultures and traditions."
"As the Vice President, I promise to be a promoter of tourism in Sarangani."

"I am confident that Sarangani will have its leaps and bounds, and why you can count on my support always is because 'Ang Galing Mo, Sarangani'." (PIO Sarangani/PIA SarGen)

KFRG abducts 9-year old girl in Basilan

ICC Cotabato City (28 November) - While Marine soldiers continue their pursuit operations to rescue a kidnap victim being held captive by the abductors, an innocent girl becomes the latest victim of abduction by suspected Abu Sayyaf members

Basilan police chief Sr. Supt Salik Macapantar identified the victim as 9-year old April Nicole Tejada Raviche, a grade three pupil, who was forcibly taken by armed men suspected to be members of the Abu Sayaff group in front of the family-owned restaurant along Flores Street, Barangay Malakas, Basilan, last Wednesday night.

The victim’s parents are said to be prominent traders in the area.

Navy spokesperson Lt. Col. Edgar Arevalo said, the kidnappers took advantage of the situation while the Marine soldiers are continuously conducting pursuit operations to rescue victim abducted earlier.

Earlier, President Macapagal Arroyo, alarmed by the reported rise in kidnapping cases in Mindanao particularly in Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, Sulu and some parts of Zamboanga City, has ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) to strengthen and intensify pursuit operations against kidnap-for-ransom groups, through close coordination with the local government units. (PBC/PIA Cotabato City)

DOLE readies elaborate contingency measures for displace OFWs in ARMM area

ICC Cotabato City (28 November) - Amidst uncertainty over the future of Filipino workers facing the possibility of losing their jobs abroad, the Department of Labor and Employment-ARMM is now readying contingencies that may help ease the impact of mass repatriation of overseas workers.

Labor Mediator/Arbiter Joseph Longno Jr., of DOLE-ARMM informed the local media during a press conference organized by the Regional Information Command Center in Cotabato City that the Department of Labor will conduct an area-based consultation in Davao City on December 17 to 22 this year to assess the impact of the global financial crisis on Filipino workers abroad.

It will be participated in by Region IX, Region 10, Region XI and Region XII and ARMM.

ICC Dispatch - Thursday, November 27, 2008

AFP: No definite time as yet to end their campaign against lawless rebel elements in Mindanao

ICC Cotabato City (27 November) – The Armed Forces of the Philippines has no definite timeline yet as to when it would end their campaign against the rogue Bangsamoro rebels in Mindanao especially so that politicians are in the midst of heated confrontation regarding sensitive political issues.

AFP Chief of Staff Alexander Yano admits that their operations against the rebel groups are somehow affected by political policies especially on developments regarding peace talks.

Yano however clarified that they not coordinating with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPPAP) regarding the scuttled peace negotiation with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

It might be recalled that earlier, MILF chief negotiator Mohager Icqbal pointed out that the MILF is ready to go back to the negotiating table provided that government will sign the controversial Memo of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD).

The resumption of peace talks yet to be considered by both sides and for the meantime that the peace negotiation with the MILF still remains uncertain, the military will have to pursue their police action against the rogue elements of the MILF in Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, North Cotabato and the province of Maguindanao, Yano further said. (CLC/PIA Cotabato City)

Resumption of peace talks asked by multi-sectoral groups

ICC Cotabato City (27 November) – A multi-sectoral groups convened here today to ask both the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to resume the stalled peace talks in Mindanao.

Representatives from the youths, women, academe, farmers, NGOs, religious, transport and other peace advocates lamented the deplorable condition of about 620, 000 evacuees composed of children, men, women and elderly scattered in various evacuation centers, especially in Central Mindanao and thereby call for the immediate stop to the on-going firefight between troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“In every arm encounter, those who suffered most are the hapless non-combatant civilians who are forced to flee from their homes, leaving behind their source of livelihood and hard-earned properties. What is worst is that there are times that these fleeing non-combatants are caught in the crossfire in the battles between the warring groups”, declared a member of the Mindanao Alliance for Peace.

“The youths strongly believe that without the GRP and MILF continuing the peace negotiation immediately, the gains of all peace and development initiatives done by them as well as other peace advocates which had been nurtured since the two protagousts started talking peace will ultimately go in vain to the detriment of the people that both the GRP and MILF ought to serve and represent,” expressed a youth participant.

The youths reiterate that the GRP and MILF should now listen to the cry of the people for peace even as it also calls on fellow peace advocates to exert more efforts in urging the government and the MILF to honor and implement the much- awaited peace agreement.

The Mindanao Alliance for Peace further calls on the government, MILF and international communities and other peace advocates to help for the immediate stop to the war in Mindanao and to resolve the problem in Mindanao in a very peaceful manner. (MCD/PIA Cotabato City)

Government troops recover hand-held radio, uniform and other items of LMG

ICC Cotabato City (27 November) - Elements of the 75th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, recovered a hand-held radio, antennae and other items belonging to LMGs under Umbra Kato of the 105th base command following an encounter with government troops on Monday, Nov. 24.

6th Infantry Division spokesperson LTC Julieto Ando positively identified said items left behind by the LMG during an encounter with the elements of the 75th IB at barangay Tukanalipao, Mamasapano town in Maguindanao.

The MILF, Ando said, cannot deny these items belong to the LMG since these were recovered after the encounter.

Earlier, government troops have likewise recovered assorted high-power firearms, icom-base radio and other items in said area during manhunt operations against Umbra Kato.

The military believes that the series of recovery of valuable items of the LMG have negative implications to the MILF operations.

“We believe that these recovered items belong to the LMG and this has severely affected the control of the MILF leadership over their troops who have apparently splintered,” Ando said.

The pursuit operations against Kato will continue with some technical adjustments, he added. (PBC/PIA Cotabato City)

Bagsakan Center launched in Mamasapano

ICC Cotabato City (27 November) – The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF-ARMM) has conducted the training on the operations and management of Barangay Bagsakan Center in Manungkaling, Mamasapano, Maguindanao, yesterday November 27.

According to DAF-ARMM Director for Field Operations Dr. Salik Panalunsong, highlight of the activity was the turn over of post-harvest equipment for the said Bagsakan Center.

A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed between Mamasapano Mayor Datu Akmad Ampatuan and the Golden Harvest Multi Purpose Cooperative, DAF-ARMM Regional Secretary Keise T. Usman and DA Maguindanao OIC Provincial Agricultural Officer Naison U. Baguindali, on the operation of the Bagsakan Center.

The training focused on the presentation and discussion of Management, Post-Harvest and Proper Handling and Preservation of the Barangay Bagsakan Center (BBC) through Project Development Officer Ms. Josephine Faustino, Baranagy Bagsakan Coordinator Ma. Nelia Madamba and Joseph Pangilinan of Department of Agriculture central office.

The said Center is one of the five (5) to be established in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to help local farmers and fisher folks in the region market their products. (Joven Mark T. MApait/PIA Cot City)

DAR 12 Provincial Women’s Desk Office, launched

ICC Cotabato City (27 November) – The Department of Agrarian Reform Region 12 (DAR 12), in collaboration with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) launched its Provincial Women’s Desk Office last November 10, 2008 at the Celema’s Place, Koronadal City.

The DAR 12 women’s desk provides service to the female employees of DAR and their children who are victims of violence and crimes as provided under Republic Act 9262 otherwise known as the anti – violence against women and their children; R.A. 8353 otherwise known as the anti – rape law; R.A. 8505 otherwise known as rape victim assistance and protection; R.A. 9208 otherwise known as anti – trafficking of persons and R.A. 7877 otherwise known as anti – sexual harassment.

The women’s desk personnel will provide counseling to the victims while the DSWD will adopt the victim especially the children for counseling.

PNP’s role include the investigation of the complaint, gathering of evidences, conduct physical examination and financial assistance for the victim’s hospitalization in rape cases.

According to Mr. Angelito Cabacungan, Information Officer of DAR 12, the complainants may file cases against the perpetrators to the DAR office. (Michelle Angelique H. Barcelonia/PIA)

Two IEDs planted in Christian churches in North Cotabato

ICC General Santos City (27 November) - Renegade members of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are being eyed as prime suspects in the attempted bombing of two Christian churches belonging to two religious groups in Central Mindanao.

Major Randolph Cabangbang, spokesman of the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command said the first bomb exploded 9:40 p.m. Wednesday in front of the Jehovah’s Witness church at Matalam Street in Kabacan town, North Cotabato.

At about 6:35 the next morning, the team from Military’s Explosives Ordnance Division defused another improvised bomb lodged at the gate of the Iglesia ni Cristo at Segundo village, also in Kabacan.

Cabangbang told media that EOD team rushed to the area after they were informed by residents regarding the explosive.

He added the team “recovered the IED using remote removal through hook and line.”

The explosives, according to the team were comprised of nine volts battery, an alarm clock, an 81mm round without fuse, and an improvised blasting cap.

Cabangbang also observed that the IEDs were akin to those recovered during a recent raid in a bomb-making facility of fugitive MILF commander Ameril Umbra Kato in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao.

He also opined that the incidents could be part of the diversionary tactics of the rebels saying further that this could be related since these happened in the same town.

But Cabangbang likewise lauded civilians for being alert paving the way for the second bomb to be recovered in time.

The military spokesman chided the lawless MILF groups (LMGs) stressing that they can never distract the military “if that is their purpose.” (PIA SarGen)

Undetermined number of LMG killed in Central Mindanao clash

ICC General Santos City (27 November)--- – Undetermined number of rogue members of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were killed or wounded when it attacked a road security Wednesday in Central Mindanao.

But the military has yet to determine the number of lawless MILF Group (LMG) killed or wounded, Lt. Col. Julieto Ando, a spokesman for the Army's 6th Infantry Division said.

Ando said the attack triggered a heavy exchange of gunfire that left four soldiers badly hurt.

He also lamented that one of them died before reaching the hospital.

Ando said the soldiers were securing a highway in Datu Odin Sinsuat in Shariff Kabunsuan province when they came under fire near a village called Makir.

Ando said the MILF rebels made the first attack by firing automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades prompting soldiers to retaliate.

Sporadic fighting continues in central Mindanao between government and rebel forces since August after the Supreme Court stopped the government from signing the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD).

The deal would have given more than four million Muslims their own separate homeland across Mindanao’s 700 villages.

In October, the High Court finally ruled that the MOA-AD was a violation of the Philippine Constitution and therefore unconstitutional.

Report from the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) revealed that the atrocities in Mindanao have already displaced over half a million people.

The DSWD also said that the government had already spent almost Php70 million to address the needs of the internally displaced persons (IDPs), who are mostly in evacuation centers. (PIA SarGen)

Seven lawless MILF members surrender

ICC Iligan City – The government’s on-going law enforcement operations in Lanao del Norte has gained another headway with the voluntary surrender of at least seven active members of the Lawless Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Group (LMG), recently.

Thus disclosed Lt Col Agane Adiratico, Civil Military Operations (CMO) Chief, G7, First Infantry Division (1ID), Philippine Army, during the surrender rites which took place at the 65th Infantry Battalion (65IB) main command post in Barangay Gadungan, Madalum, Lanao del Sur (LDS).

Adriatico said 65IB belongs to the 9th Infantry Division (9IB), Philippine Army that provides augmentation force to the 1ID in the province.

Meanwhile, Lt Col Motus, Battalion Commander of 65IB has identified the LMG surrenderees as follows: Ansary Diambangan, Nager Angni, Abdullah Solaiman, Mutilan Angni, Alamoden Angni, Camel Ismael and Macatoman Angni , all of the 212th Brigade, 102nd MILF Base Command in LDS.

The rebel returnees also surrendered to the military authorities their heavy firearms with the corresponding serial numbers (SN):

One (1) unit each of 5.56mm M653 (Elisco) with SN 249328, 7.62mm J1 (FAL), SN 1771, US rifle caliber .30 M1 (Garand), SN 1348039, US rifle caliber .30M1 (Garand Springfield), SN 142357, Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) Launcher SN 770051, Shot gun (Winchester) SN 1151974 and improvised M79 Grenade Launcher with deface SN.

The rebels decided to surrender because they had realized that doing terroristic activities is against the tenets of Islam and they are also tired of running and evading the government troops operating in the area, Adriatico said. (RTD/PIA Marawi)

Lanao Norte now generally peaceful – Col. De Leon

ICC Iligan City – It is time for us to rebuild and consolidate our efforts so that we can proceed with development and progress for the people of Lanao del Norte.

Thus declared Col. Benito de Leon, Commander of the 4th Infantry Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (104th Bde), Philippine Army, who said that the situation in the province has now become generally peaceful.

“After three (3) months of the armed conflict, the internally displaced persons (IDP) must now have to return back to their places of origin,” he said.

He said that the province is now undergoing an early recovery program to attend to the needs of the IDP’s in areas affected by the said conflict.

This is one of the components of their rehabilitation considering the primary objective of the government to extend services that would alleviate their living conditions, De Leon said.

It can be recalled that several municipalities in the province were directly affected of the atrocities made by the lawless MILF group (LMG) led by the Terrorist Bravo last Aug. 18 resulting to almost 200 thousands of displaced civilian who sought shelter inside the evacuation centers.

As of presstime, however, only the IDP's of the town of Munai have not yet returned to their places of origin, despite the assurance of the military in the area that it is already safe for them to do so. (OSM-Radyo ng Bayan)

Iligan’s Rehab Center ground breaking ceremony set on Nov 28

ICC Iligan City, Nov. 26 -- The Iligan Center for Treatment and Rehabilitation will soon rise at the 2-hectare lot area located at Sitio Fatima, Barangay Abuno, this city.

Unveiling of the Project Profile will be executed by City Councilor Bayani C. Areola - City Council’s Committee Chairman on Drug Abuse. He will be assisted by ICADAC action officer Suzette Redondo, and all ICADAC members. The blessing of the site will be officiated by Msgr. Jemar Veracruz of the St. Michael’s Cathedral.

No less than the chairman of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Secretary Vicente C. Sotto, lll will grace the ground breaking ceremony and the burying of the time capsule on November 28, 2008, 10:00 o’clock in the morning.

ICADAC Action Officer Suzette P. Redondo said Secretary Sotto will be received by the city’s local leaders headed by Mayor Lawrence Ll. Cruz- ICADAC chairman, Vice Mayor Henry C. Dy, the city councilors and officials of Barangay Abuno and the rest from the city’s 44 barangays.

Redondo said with the Php 15 million funding from the DDB, the city’s dream of putting up a rehabilitation center will be realized to cater drug dependents here in our city and the neighboring areas.

The release of funds shall be in three (3) tranches, and ICADAC received an initial amount of Php 5million in preparation for the construction of the said center.

A short program will follow at Barangay Abuno gymnasium where Sec. Sotto delivers his message and handing over of Plaque of Appreciation to be awarded to Mr. Elpedio Kwan- the lot donor.

Sec. Sotto will then meet the press for a conference in the afternoon and shall join the Torch Rally Parade which will converge at the Rizal Park, this city. The Torch Rally will highlight the culminating activity in this year’s celebration of the Dangerous Drug Prevention Month this November. (LVG/PIA Iligan)

DTI Iligan conducts twin price monitoring activities

ICC Iligan City, Nov. 26 - The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Iligan City/Lanao del Norte Provincial Office, in coordination with the Local Price Coordinating Council of Iligan (LPCC) conducted a simultaneous monitoring on Price Tag compliance and the new ICC Markings for Christmas Lights.

Linda O. Boniao, Assistant Regional Director of DTI-10 said the group has inspected 408 public market stalls from the city’s two big markets.

Stores which did not comply with the Price Tag Law were issued notice of violation by the market superintendents’ office.

While there were 19 establishments inspected for compliance to the new Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) markings on Christmas lights, 12 were found to be selling uncertified and mislabeled products. These stores will be subjected to further verification as to their ICC Certificates and the possible correction of the mislabeled items, otherwise penalties will be imposed to erring establishments as mandated by law, Boniao underscored. (LVG/PIA Iligan)

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

ICC Dispatch - Wednesday, November 26, 2008

US government provides assistance to IDPs, donates 2 million books for school children in Mindanao

ICC Cotabato City (26 November) – About two million books donated by the United States government are now being readied for distribution to the different schools and other learning institutions in Mindanao.

US Ambassador to the Philippines Kristy Kenny said that the program which has a total funding of 480 million USD will be implemented under the Education, Quality and Access for Learning and Livelihood Skills Program until 2011.

To date, more than 250, 000 books has already distributed to the school children in the provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi said Ambassador Kenny.

Kenny arrived here last week to see for her self the situation of internally displaced persons at the evacuation centers in Datu Odin Sinsuat town.

During the visit, Ambassador Kenny also announced that the US Government is providing $2.5 million in assistance to individuals and families displaced by tragic outbreak of violent conflict in Mindanao.

It includes 1, 480 metric tons of U.S rice, valued at approximately $2 million, for free distribution by the United Nations World Food Programmed, as well as water, health, and sanitation support by NGO partners .

“My thoughts are with those who have been displaced by fighting, people whose lives have been lost and disrupted,” said Kenny. “Working together, we can help Mindanao move toward peace and prosperity, so citizens of Mindanao-especially the children-may have the future they deserve,” she added. (CLC/PIA Cotabato City)

Recovered documents link LMG with JI and ASG

ICC Cotabato City (26 November) – Documents recovered by the military after it had overran a safe house by lawless MILF group (LMG) in Maguindanao province showed that the Front has link with Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

Found in the safe house that was over ran by the Philippine Army (PA) of the 6 Infantry Division last Monday were 10-base icom two-way radios, assorted fatigue uniforms and other pertinent documents.

According to 6ID Spokesman Col. Julieto Ando, the safe house was discovered by the 75th Infantry Battalion troopers who were patrolling in Maguindanao area.

Ando said the recovered documents showed LMG’s link with Jemaah Islamiyah and the Abu Sayyaf Group..

Based from the documents, he said, the lawless MILF group might have connection one way or another with the said terrorist groups.

With the seizure of the radios, 601st Brigade Commander Col. Marlou Salazar opined that there will be difficulty on the part of Commander Ameril Umbra Kato and supporters to communicate with one another.

Kato is currently facing 93 warrant of arrests from different courts in the province of Cotabato. The cases sprang from Kato’s group recent attack in Pigcawayan, Libungan, Midasayap, Aleosan and Pikit, North Cotabato.

Major General Raymundo Ferrer, 6 ID Commander vowed, that the military “surgical strike” against Kato’s group and other LMG who are in hiding in Maguindanao will continue with no let up. (MCD-PIA Cotabato City)

Aleosan IDPs assured of new homes in time for Christmas

ICC Kidapawan City (26 November) - Civilian and military authorities have assured families who lost their homes during the LMG atrocities in several barangays of Aleosan, Cotabato, in August this year, that they will spend Christmas and New Year at their new homes.

According to Aleosan Mayor Loreto Cabaya, Jr., through the construction materials donated by the US Army, the IDPs themselves with the assistance of army engineers and lbarangay officials have started putting up their houses through bayanihan.

Construction materials donated by the US Army consist of cement, bamboo, GI sheets, lumber and kalakat.

The mayor said that 39 houses will be constructed in barangay Dualing and another 41 in barangay Dunguan, Aleosan town in a 2-hectare land donated by the Cotabato provincial government.

Necessary assistance would be provided by the local government unit to fast track the construction work just to be able to complete the houses before the Christmas season, Mayor Cabaya assured.

“Ang purpose nito ay para masimulan na ang pagbabalik sa normal ang pamumuhay ng mga tao,” the mayor said.

Estimated cost of each house is more or less P22,000.

As this developed, Mayor Cabaya said, the local government is considering the possibility of declaring barangay Dunguan as zone of peace.

Meanwhile, the 40th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, will construct 10 units comfort rooms in the areas. (pbc/PIA Cot City)

Law enforcers donate blood to save more lives

ICC General Santos City (26 November) - Police have proven that their existence is not only “to serve and protect” but also, if possible, to extend people’s lives.

Some fifty-eight law enforcers here augmented the blood supply of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) thru a massive blood-letting activity on Tuesday (Nov. 25).

Newly-installed regional director Police Chief Superintendent Fidel Cimatu Jr lauded blood donors who came mostly “from the ranks of personnel assigned in different units and offices in region 12.”

He said the blood donation yielded a total volume of 36,000cc, which he considered a heartwarming gift of police personnel this Christmas season.

"What our uniformed men and women have completed is one of the most humane acts of volunteerism," he said.

The one-day blood donation drive was conducted at Police Regional Office 12 (PRO12) Headquarters in Tambler with a total of 94 registered prospect donors.

"The blood we give today will save precious lives tomorrow because by giving a part of ourselves, we allow others to live. I hope that the humble participation of the PNP will go a long way in advancing the goals of our national blood donation program," Cimatu added.

Earlier the Philippine National Police (PNP) sealed a memorandum of agreement with the Philippine Blood Center (PBC) under the Department of Health National Blood Services Program for nationwide bloodletting activities.

Police Senior Superintendent Danny Reyes, former regional police information officer now regional police community relations officer facilitated the blood donation activity.

He also thanked policemen who participated in the activity and encouraged others to get actively involved in the next scheduled round.

Recently PNP Chief Director General Jesus Ame Versoza himself led police officials and personnel at National Headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City for a whole-day blood donation drive activity.

He highlighted the importance of saving lives thru blood donation saying the blood they gave would extend the lives of many Filipinos who are in dire need of blood transfusion. (PIA SarGen)

Bread and noodle makers ink MOA with DOST 12 and FINRI

ICC Cotabato City (26 November) – A noodle factory and bakery owners in Region 12 have inked Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) 12 and Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI).

This is for the promotion and adoption of technologies under the DOST Accelerated Program for the commercialization of noodles and breads with veggies.

The MOA signing followed after they have undergone two separate trainings on “Awareness Seminar and Technology Clinic on the Commercializable Technologies on noodle/bread with veggies” which was conducted by the DOST 12 which benefited some 99 bakery owners and noodle processors in the region.

The activity is being supported by the FNRI which provides the technology through the DOST – SETUP Program, Technology Application Promotion Institute (TAPI – DOST) and the DOST Regional Offices.

The business firms that signed the MOA with the DOST 12 and FNRI were JEBRAN Mikki Factory, the Farmers Bread, and Javillana Mikki Factory, all in Kidapawan City.

Dr. Zenaida P. HR Laidan, Regional Director of Dost 12, encouraged the participants to adopt and promote these technologies.

“Noodles and bread products made of indigenous raw material like squash offers competitive advantage in terms of their nutritional value, being rich in vitamin A”, Dr. Laidan disclosed.

The program is the DOST’s response to the call of the President Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo to combat malnutrition and improve the diet of the Filipinos. It will also address the nutritionally disadvantaged consumers in the region. (Michelle Angelique H. Barcelonia /PIA Cot City)

All systems go for MINDANAO WEEK OF PEACE 2008 in Kiamba, Sarangani

ICC General Santos City (26 November) - The celebration of the Mindanao Week of Peace (MWOP) will push tomorrow, November 27 to December 3 at the municipality of Kiamba, Sarangani.

This is the first municipality to host the MWOP outside General Santos City, said DXCP-CMN station director Father Angel Buenavides, who also serves as event coordinator.

For the past 5 years, according to him the Kapayapaan Kapatid Council (KKC) headed by Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez, D.D. is spearheading the local celebration of the Mindanao Peace of Week here together with the SOCSARGEN Peace Network.

He said the annual celebration of the Mindanao Week of Peace initiated by the Bishops-Ulama Conference is held every last Wednesday of November to first Wednesday of December.

“The event is being undertaken to increase awareness on the culture of peace by converging peace advocates in SOCSKSARGEN,” the KKC Secretariat said in a news statement posted on its website.

This year’s theme is anchored on “Integrity of Heart and Mind: A Way to Peace and Reconciliation," it said.

Lined up activities for the event will include poster making, essay writing, Mindanao History & Culture of Peace Quiz Bee, civic military parades, peace forums, peace concerts, art exhibits, Kite Festival, Walk for Peace, Sambolayang raising, cultural presentations, song writing for peace, among others. (PIA SarGen)

ICC Dispatch - Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Iligan City hosts 1st National Summit of ICT Councils

ICC Iligan, Nov. 25 – City Mayor Lawrence Ll. Cruz of Iligan expressed his gratitude to the practitioners and stakeholders in the field of information technology who responded to the invitation and bringing them together to the 1st Information Communication Technology (ICT) Councils/Foundations/Organizations Summit here in this city.

Addressing the participants to the 2-day Summit which opened today-November 25 and until tomorrow, Mayor Cruz said that he hopes to have this undertaking a fruitful and rewarding experience to all, a welcome sign for the growth of the ICT industry in general and maximize its benefits and improve the lives and the systems that govern the conduct of the lives of the people.

Cruz admitted that he may not be as computer savvy as the participants may have been, but through some movies he has come to know awesome power of computers that dramatically changing our way of life and have made us worth smarter and of course faster.

Supervasive is the use of ICT, that it has swoon a genre of computer of science fiction movies, and computer animated films, added Cruz

The concept of open source has given rise to such concerns as: reliability, fewer infections, hardware independence, choice of programs, upgrade putting, interoperability, community not customers, and easy on the professor.

Mayor Cruz extended his deep appreciation to the prime movers of this first ever Summit particularly the Iligan Information Communication and Technology Council (IICTC) chaired by Dr. Emmanuel M. Lagare, and the resource speakers and guests who have unselfishly contributed their time, knowledge, experiences, and resources, and to the participants from the different regions in our country. (LVG/PIA Iligan)

Sexual abuses forbidden even in war—Col De Leon

Iligan City (25 November). “Sexual violence is outlawed in the Armed Forces of the Philippines even in times of war or armed conflict.”

This was the message of Col Benito de Leon, Commander of 104th Infantry Brigade, speaking during the “Observance of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women” held in the city by the Gender Equality Network for Peace (GEN4PEACE) in cooperation with the Civil Society Organization (CSO) Forum for Peace and the British Embassy.

The activity was organized in consonance with UN Security Council Resolution No. 1820 covering the issues on rape and sexual violence in conflict situations.

Adopting the theme “Women, Peace, and Security: Issues of Rape and other Forms of Sexual Abuse in Times of War,” the consultation was attended by the delegates from the 13 NGO-member groups of the CSO Forum with its President Jane Bernardo, and participated in by the military and police. Ms Anita Sescon, the Commissioner of the Mindanao Commission on Women Forum provided the inputs for the UN Resolution. On the other hand, Atty Florante Ursua of the Commission on Human Rights spoke on the responsibility of the government to prevent human rights violations.

In responding to concerns that women have been portrayed as a booty of war and that the incidence of sexual molestations were high during times of armed conflicts, Col de Leon explained that the notion of war booties were things of the past long gone by.

As societies became more civil, laws and norms were adopted to forbid this practice, he adds.

Further, De Leon says, the military aside from the existing criminal laws enforces the punitive Articles of War governing the conduct of military personnel.

Furthermore, the officer clarified that other measures are in place to ensure that members of the military observe the prohibitions as provided in our legal system including the adoption of the AFP Code of Ethics outlining the professional conduct, the inclusion of all these as discussion points in military education courses, and the regular conduct of troop information. Accordingly, commanders at all levels have to see that these are all observed and enforced.

“All abuses or violations of the law, including rape or violence on women, committed by any military personnel at any given time especially during times of conflict will not be tolerated by the AFP,” the army commander underscored.

PC/Supt Felizardo Serapio, Jr. heads the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in ARMM, Regions IX and XII

ICC Cotabato City (25 November) - In a move to further strengthen and intensify government’s campaign to eliminate criminal and lawless activities in Mindanao, the Phillipiine National Police (PNP) headquarters has created the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations (DIPO).

PC/Supt. Felizardo Serapio, Jr. has been named to head the newly created office which covers the police regional offices in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Regions IX and XII.

PNP-ARMM Deputy Regional Director for Administration PS/Supt. Faisal Umpa revealed that the DIPO would ensure more efficient and effective coordination, supervision and control of police operations in said areas.

Aside from police operations, the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations would likewise be involved in matters pertaining to law enforcement, counter-insurgency and disaster management, Umpa said.

Umpa said, this new development would have significant impact to PNP’s continuous drive against lawlessness particularly in the campaign against loose firearms.

He noted that the campaign against loose firearms in the ARMM particularly in the island provinces of Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan is gaining grounds.

Through police checkpoints, the official said, more than 70 assorted firearms have been confiscated to this date. (pbc/PIA Cot City)

Young Mindanao leaders discuss “Moro problem” with Japanese

ICC Cotabato City
(25 November) – Young leaders from Mindanao, including an election reform advocate from Cotabato City, completed on Monday a five-day seminar tour in Japan.

Salic Ibrahim, chair of the Citizens Coalition for Electoral Reforms (Citizens CARE), said the seminar focused on peace and development issues in Southern Philippines.

Ibrahim was one of the seven young Mindanao leaders invited by the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines to join the training.

Other well-known personalities who joined the seminar tour were Mike Pasigan and Mohajerin Ali, panel members of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Julie Maliga of the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), Elisa Calimag of the Office of the Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process (OPPAP), Karlo Nograles of the Office of the Hause Speaker in the Congress. Hanafi Ibrahim, Secretary to the Governor of Sarangani province.

“One of the issues raised during the seminar was about the Memorandum of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD),” said Ibrahim.

The document has fallen ‘victim’ to the kind of politics existing in the Philippines, Ibrahim quoted one of their speakers.

“An order from the Supreme Court halted the signing of such agreement, which it later declared’ null and void,” he said.

For Ibrahim, government with a president committed to peace can help solve a decade-old conflict in Mindanao.

One professor there said the collapse of the MOA-AD cannot be simply attributed to the inability of a “weak” or “lame duck” president but was blamed on the country’s political maneuvering. (MCD/PIA Cotabato City)

Cotabato City population increased to 259,123 eyes for a separate congressional district

ICC Cotabato City (25 November) –The population of Cotabato City has finally reached its required number and even more than what it is required of it to quality for a separate congressional seat.

Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema disclosed through a local media report that based on the latest result of the population census obtained from the National Census and Statistics Office, the city population has now reached to 259,123 more than its expected number of population.

The city’s local government has been trying all these years to have its own separate congressional district from what is now the lone district of Shariff Kabunsuan with Cotabato City.

Sema said, having a separate congressional district, will have positive impact on the city’s development as it further hastens the growth of the city’s business community.

A formal communication has already been sent to Shariff Kabunsuan with Cotabato City Congressman Didagen “Digs” Dilangalen regarding the matter, the report added. (CLC/PIA Cotabato City)

DA-MRDP focuses on Natural Resource Management

ICC Cotabato City (25 November) – The Department of Agriculture – Mindanao Rural Development Program (DA-MRDP) in collaboration with Natural Resource Management (NRM) conducted a four (4) day Feasibility Study and Planning Workshop recently in Cotabato City.

NRM aims to enhance awareness of local government officials on the effects f destructive upland and coastal resources exploitation and the need for collective management and protection of these resources.

This will improve peoples organization’s capacity for sound NRM planning, sustainable development principles, and methodology in assessing local policies, strategies, and programs and projects.

More than forty participants comprising of the officials and representatives from eight (8) enrolled barangays in Maguindanao and Shariff Kabunsuan.

These barangays include Barangay Bakak, Awang, Dinaig Proper, Tapian, Linek Mompong, Labungan and Kusiong underwent extensive workshop MRDP conducted by NRM Specialist for Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Mr. Ulysses R. Triambulo.

NRM focuses on providing holistic development concepts and orientation on the importance of MRDP-NRM Program as an approach for sustainable integrated area development,Sub-watershed Area Site Situational Analysis and Introduction to NRM Watershed Area Defined (Different Ecosystems). (Joven Mark T. Mapait/PIA Cot City)

DTI enjoins businessmen to sell quality products to consumers

ICC GENERAL SANTOS CITY (25 November)---- The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) here ordered business establishments to sell only quality products to their consumers.

DTI assured the public that it considers their safety to be of paramount important than that of profits.

“Kinahanglang ipanigurong de-kalidad ang produkto nga ilang gibaligya alang usab sa kasiguruhan sa mga kunsumedures,” Atty. Ramon Dosejo Jr of the DTI said.

The DTI, Dosejo said has been tightly monitoring food products including non-food based products to ensure that these have passed the quality standard required.

The recent “melamine scare,” according to the DTI paved the way for government agents to step up to the highest level its market monitoring.

The DTI admitted that there are lots of faked or sub-standard products being sold nowadays that are being patronized by people especially the poor.

Dosejo believed that despite the ICC mark which certifies the product’s quality and originality, there are still plenty of substandard and faked products that are proliferating in the market.

One of the non-food based products that DTI monitors is Christmas lights which are very saleable this season, he said.

The DTI warned unscrupulous businessmen that they would be dealt with accordingly once they were caught violating the Consumer Act of 1992 which protects the interest of the consumer against deceptive sales and practices. (PIA SarGen)

Monday, 24 November 2008

ICC Dispatch - Monday, November 24, 2008

Crackdown illegal use of police/military uniforms- PNP Iligan

ICC Iligan City, Nov. 24 -- With the increasing incidents of crimes perpetrated by men wearing police/military uniforms targeting banks, schools and other business establishments, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has initiated measures to address the situation.

P/Insp Melfin Ian Burlat, Deputy Chief, Operations Division and concurrently Information Officer of the Iligan City Police Office (ICPO) said that they received a memorandum regarding the implementation of PNP Letter of Instruction OI-2005 “Tamang Bihis”.

The said LOI is a campaign against illegal manufacture, distribution, sale and use of PNP uniforms, insignias and other accoutrements, including the materials for their production.

Thus, ICPO is advised to conduct extensive information drive to heighten awareness of the public on the authorized and proper wearing of PNP/military uniforms, insignias and other accoutrements and the consequence for their illegal use, Burlat said during a press briefing at the Information Command Center (ICC), Philippine Information Agency, this city.

“This is in accordance with Republic Act No. 493, an act to prohibit the use or conferring of military or naval grades or titles by or upon persons not in the service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) or the PNP, to regulate the wearing, use, manufacture and sale of insignias, decorations and medals, badges, patches and identification cards prescribed for the said AFP or PNP.

Meanwhile, Burlat said that they have maximized the conduct of police visibility patrols and checkpoints with emphasis on the unauthorized use of PNP/military uniforms and intensify the conduct of spot inspections and the exercise of visitorial powers on all dealers and manufacturers of police/military uniforms to see to it that they follow pertinent laws, rules and regulations.

The penalty of “arresto mayor” shall be imposed upon any person who shall publicly and improperly make use of insignia, uniforms or dress pertaining to an office not held by such person or to a class of persons of which he is not a member. (LVG/PIA Iligan)

AFP captures 8 lawless MILF group

ICC Iligan City, Nov. 24 – Maj. Gen. Nehemias Pajarito, Commanding General of the 1st Infantry Division (1ID), Philippine Army, has commended the troops belonging to the 35th Infantry Battalion, PA, for the capture of eight (8) members of the lawless MILF group (LMG).

Thus revealed Major Benedicto Manquiquis, Commander of the 1st Civil Military Operations (CMO) Unit, CMO Group, during today’s press briefing at the Information Command Center , Philippine Information Agency, this city,

Manquiquis said that while government troops from the 35IB were conducting law enforcement operations and crossed the infiltrated LMG area in Sitio Bayabao, Barangay Buntong, Salvador, Lanao del Norte (LDN), last Nov. 21, eight (8) LMGs were captured.

However, no firearms were recovered from these LMG’s who were formally turned over to the Municipal Trial Court (MTC), this province, for the formal complaints against them.

They are now at the prison cell of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Tubod, LDN, Manquiquis said.

Meanwhile, he reiterated that military troops continually monitor all activities that may disrupt the improving peace and order condition in their area of coverage, in line with their duty to return back to normalcy-living in a peaceful community. (LVG/PIA Iligan)

Another ASG member seized in Sulu

ICC, Pagadian, Sulu Prov, Nov24 - Another member of the Abu Sayyaf Group was arrested by Marine troops in the province of Sulu last week.

3rd Marine Brigade Commander Col Eugenio Clemen PN (M) identified the notorious member of the ASG’s Urban Terrorist Group as Almid Jundam, a resident of Brgy Lantong of Maimbung Municipality.

According to Col Clemen, Jundam, a follower of ASG sub-leader Gafur Jumdail, a bomb expert, was captured at Brgy Walled City of Jolo municipality, while the said suspect was about to withdraw money.

The arresting elements of the 3rd Mbde and the 4th Marine Battalion Landing Team under Lt Col Ariel Caculitan PN (M), who responded after civilian informants volunteered information, recovered from the suspect a wig and one upper camouflage uniform placed inside his belt bag.

Initial inquest revealed that he is responsible in setting up an improvised explosive device in Sulu’s airport extension last Nov 15, 2008, which was detonated by Explosive Ordnance Detachment Team of this Unit. Further, he admitted to have planted an IED in the vicinity of a Cathedral in Zamboanga City sometime in 2007.

He is also one of the suspects in the fatal shooting of Khomieni Sawadjaan, 23, and Ubay Damsik, 60, on 08 Oct 2008 at Brgy Alat of Indanan Municipality. He was positively identified by Khomieni’s mother Mira Sawadjaan who witnessed the said shooting incident.

Meanwhile, Joint Task Force Comet Commander Maj Gen Juancho M Sabban said that the recent development is another success story in the crackdown against the Abu Sayaff Group.

“We uphold the people’s steadfast stance against the employment of illegal and deadly explosives as one of the acts of terrorism,” Maj Gen Sabban said.

“We greatly appreciate the support of the people, who share the same vision: a peaceful atmosphere more conducive for development. This accomplishment indicates the trust and confidence bestowed to us by the peace-loving people of Sulu. The ASG’s complete downfall is imperative for our people to fully enjoy their rights to lasting peace,” he added.

Last Nov 5, ASG sub-leader Sakirin Andalan Sali alias Kirih-Kirih who carries a P2-million bounty for his capture was arrested here by Marine troops, while Faidar Hadjadi alias Abu Solomon with P 300,000 reward for his arrest was killed in a firefight on 14 Nov.
Jundam is currently under the custody of the 3rd Mbde. (42CRU, 4CRG, CRSAFP/PIA-BASULTA)

Outgoing PNP 12 chief recounts milestones in police operations

ICC General Santos City (24 November) – Because of our partnership in peacekeeping, our regional crime volume was instantly reduced by 25%; from 2,638 incidents in 2006, to only 1,993 incidents in 2007. The trend is expected to continue to decline despite the eruption of conflict in North Cotabato and Sarangani as 1,663 incidents were reported from January to October this year.

This was the declaration of Police Chief Superintendent Felizardo Serapio, Jr., outgoing regional director of Police Regional Office 12 in his relinquishment speech a week ago at the PNP 12 headquarters, Tambler, General Santos City.

Serapio went on to say that under his stewardship 12 regional most wanted persons and one (1) national most wanted person since 2007 were arrested. He added that eight (8) escapes of the February 2, 2007 Cotabato Provincial Jailbreak were successfully neutralized due to the reports of the people.

The outgoing PNP 12 director reported that the lone recorded kidnapping of German national Thomas Worlirof in Pikit, North Cotabato was solved within six (6) hours with the efficient interdiction of GRP-MILF Ad-Hok Joint Action Group (AHJAG). He noted that it was even Ustadz Moti, an MILF local commander who helped block the escape route of the kidnappers-attesting the possibility of two (2) protagonists (AFP-MILF) of working together in achieving a common noble goal.

Serapio said, no municipal police station was overrun under his watch but instead, the attack in Maasim, Maitum, and Kiamba in Sarangani Province was repelled. He further said that one of the leaders-Commander Rico Watamama was apprehended after sustaining injuries during the firefight.

The outgoing PNP 12 Chief contributed to the commitment of the citizens against violence by volunteering information on the foiled attempts of 44 terror attacks, recovery of IEDs which were safely defused before they harm civilians and apprehension of some terrorists prior to planting the bombs. In addition, Serapio said, three (terror) cells were neutralized and a total of 26 suspected terrorist were arrested.

He cited the shutting down of the terror cell responsible in the General Santos City bombings (January 10, 2007) at the Lotto outlet fronting public market and at the entrance of Philbest Corporation (January 30, 2008) – as their leader, Jeffrey Saldivia alias Omar Solaiman and four (4) of his members were arrested last June 28.

The PALMA (Pigkawayan, Alamada, Libungan, Midsayap and Aleosan) experience was a classic combined police-military-community supported operation, Serapio continued. We were able to expel the Lawless MILF Groups (LMG) in PALMA area in the span of Three (3) days. I am living witness to this for your regional director was the Task Force Commander in that operation, he disclosed.

Our legal offensive resulted to the filling of 166 criminal charges against the rogue commanders and members led by Commander Ameril Umbra Kato and Abdul Wahid Tundok of the MILF 105th base command. The same effort was replicated in Sarangani province as Task Force MAKIMA (Maasim, Kiamba and Maitum) was also organized. Murder, arson and robbery cases were also charged against the LMGs, the outgoing PNP 12 head pointed out.

Police Chief Superintendent Felizardo Serapio, Jr. was replaced as regional director of PNP 12 by Police Chief Superintendent Fidel Cimatu, Jr. The turn over ceremony which was presided over by police Director Geary Barias, chief, directorial staff, PNP was witnessed by Ambassador Roy Cimatu elder brother of the new PNP 12 Chief, Congressman Pax Mangudadatu, Mayor Pedro Acharon, Jr., Vice Governor Steve Solon, Governor Jesus Sacdalan, other military and police officials, local and national government officials, business and religious leaders and local media. (PIA12)

New PNP XII chief urges policemen to strictly abide by existing laws

ICC Cotabato City (24 November) - Newly installed PNP XII Regional Director PC/Supt. Fidel Cimatu called on his men in the field to respect human rights and the peace negotiations in the process of performing their mandates.

Cimatu, who took over the helm of the PNP XII last November 15 immediately conducted inspection and assessment of the prevailing situation in his area of responsibility.

During his visit to the Cotabato City Police Office, the new regional director met with City police director PS/Supt. Willie Dangane and his men and staff to personally see and hear the issues and concerns confronting police operations.

Cimatu noted the problem of lack of enough policemen to handle police operations in Cotabato City.

The city police office needs more than 500 policemen, instead of its present force of only 200 to handle and maintain peace and order in the city, Cimatu said.

The official admits that the problem cannot be resolved overnight and recommends the need to have the “force multipliers” as an alternative.

Based on statistics, Cimatu said, in Region XII the ratio between the police force and the population is 1 policeman for every 1,200 population while the normal is 1 policeman for every 500 population.

Cimatu said, he was impressed to have personally witnessed the intensified campaign of the city police office against all forms of lawlessness as shown by the number of confiscated loose firearms, illegal video karera machines among others.

This validates the accomplishment reports submitted by the city police office despite the problem of lack of policemen which is common to almost all police stations, Cimatu said.

He urged the members of the city police office to continue to intensify and strengthen its relentless campaign against criminalities to ensure peace and order in the city with the reminder to strictly follow and abide by existing laws and regulations. (pbc/PIACot City)

US Army donated 60 core shelters to victims of LMG atrocities

ICC kidapawan City (24 November) – The United States Army donated materials for core shelters to some 60 families in Aleosan, North Cotabato whose houses were burned by the Lawless MILF Group members sometime in August and September of this year.

Captain Tyler Oliver, a civil military operations officer, US Army turned over the housing materials to the 60 family heads at the 40th Infantry Battalion headquarters, Aleosan, North Cotabato. Witnessing the ceremony were Governor Jesus Sacdalan, Mayor Loreto Cabaya, Jr.

Oliver told the beneficiaries that they are hoping the core shelter materials will help them build simple homes and start their lives anew.

The provincial government of North Cotabato and the Municipal Government of Aleosan will also assist in providing other needs of the victims such as food for work in constructing the shelters. (PIA12)

Gov’t spending for IPDs in Mindanao reaches Php70 million, says DSWD

ICC General Santos City (24 November) - Government emergency relief assistance for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mindanao has reached P70 million, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

In a news statement posted on its website Monday, Secretary Esperanza I. Cabral said the needs of all IDPs who were caught in the armed skirmishes between government forces and the lawless Moro Islamic Liberation Front (LMG) in Mindanao are being addressed continuously.

Cabral said that to date DSWD’s emergency relief assistance to IDPs reached the tune of almost P70 million.

The P70 million, according to DSWD has been distributed among the provinces of North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat in Central Mindanao; Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur in Northern Mindanao; Basilan, Maguindanao and Shariff Kabunsuan in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Cabral said that “aside from providing immediate relief assistance, DSWD social workers also provide supplemental feeding to some 23,627 children, zero to six years old in evacuation centers in Maguindanao, Shariff Kabunsuan, Lanao del Sur, North Cotabato and Lanao del Norte.”

She added that there was also supplemental feeding provided in the evacuation centers in Lanao del Norte “to some 126 pregnant and lactating mothers, while supervised neighborhood play sessions have been conducted to 326 children, six to 12 years old in the evacuation centers in Kolambugan, Munai and Tangkal.”

Likewise the department has facilitated the graduation of 50 recipients of massage therapy training program and 25 from Galing Mekaniko program in partnership with the DepEd and TESDA.

Its collaborative partnership with the Department of Health also benefited 470 evacuees and aid workers to complete the sessions on stress debriefing.

More importantly, the department’s tie-up with DOH has facilitated the anti-measles immunization activity for more than 11,800 children.

Cabral also said that families returning to their homes will undergo assessment “as part of the rehabilitation and early recovery phase for the IDPs.”

She stressed that she had a directive to all DSWD Mindanao directors and that such assessment activity is already part of the department’s standard operating procedure during civil disorganization.

The Secretary said the undertaking will be in tie-up with the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), in cooperation with other non-government organizations (NGOs).

“We are deeply concerned about the displaced civilians, they are our first priority,” Secretary Cabral pointed out.

DSWD also revealed that it has facilitated the construction of “18 bunk houses in Maguindanao: 10 units in Datu Piang, 4 units in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, 2 units in Shariff Aguak, and 2 units in Mamasapano which are now being used as temporary shelters of IDPs.”

Earlier President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered the DSWD and other concerned national line agencies to “facilitate the needs of the victims of the armed conflict in Mindanao.” (PIA SarGen)

Mindanao Week of Peace celebration calls for end to hostilities

ICC Cotabato City (24 November) – Hundreds of participants from the Academe, Non-government Organizations (NGOs), Local Government Units (LGUs) and Civil Society groups are expected to join this year’s celebration of the Mindanao Week of Peace..

Director Rey Danilo Lacson, of the Notre Dame University Peace Center announced today that a Walk for Peace will open the weeklong activities marking this year’s celebration of the Mindanao Week of Peace.

He stressed that the peace walk which will start simultaneously in Cotabato City, Tacurong City and Midsayap in North Cotabato aims to drumbeat their call to stop the hostilities and the resumption of the stalled peace negotiations between the government the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Among the agenda that the marchers will carry are banners that carry resounding calls like “stop the war” and other relevant messages for peaceful resolution of the Mindanao conflict.

On the other hand, about 28 delegates of the peace caravan coming from Luzon and Visayas are expected to arrive in Cotabato City to join this year’s celebration.

Other activities lined up for the week are peace forum and symposia which will also be conducted in various areas in support to the Mindanao Week of Peace. (CLC/PIA Cotabato City)

Governor Sacdalan distributes 297 land titles to farmer-beneficiaries

ICC Kidapawan City (24 November) – Some 297 farmers are now legally owners of the land they till upon receiving the land titles from Governor Jesus Sacdalan of Cotabato province on November 21 at the municipal hall of Midsayap, North Cotabato.

Benny Queman of the office of the governor said, Governor Sacdalan will also give fruit seedling materials and farm implements to the farmers.

The “Handog Titulo” is a program of the governor, according to Queman, to complete the legal entitlement to the parcel of land the farmers have been telling and have applied for land titles as early as 1959. The 297 land titles cover one-fourth of a hectare to six (6) hectares in the towns of Midsayap, Pigkawayan and Libungan, North Cotabato, Queman disclosed.

Sacdalan counseled the farmer-beneficiaries to take care and to cultivate the land properly. He shared the message of unity by saying: “kapag sama-sama kayang-kaya dahil ito ay susi sa kaunlaran.”

Also present during the distribution were Midsayap Mayor Manuel Rabara, Atty. Maria Theresa Biongan, register of deeds, DENR and other Municipal officials of Midsayap and barangay captains. (PIA12)

Task Group Balik Kalikasan continues massive tree planting activities

ICC Cotabato City (24 November) - Racing with time to save the environment from further destruction, Task Group Balik Kalikasan is calling all able-bodied individuals to join the in massive tree-planting activities in the region.

For environmentalist and Task Group Balik Kalikasan project member Prof. Abunawas Pendaliday, the loss of lives and damage to properties brought about by recent natural calamities f such as typhoons, serves as a wake-up call for collective action to save the environment.

“Isa sa mga dahilan ng global warming at pabigla-biglang pagbabago ng panahon ay ang sobrang paggamit ng fossil fuel katulad ng krudo uling at iba pang mga kemikal na sumisira sa ozone layer,” Pendaliday said.

The environmentalist said,.another major factor that contributes to global warming is forest denudation which causes soil erosion the very reason why many parts of the country experience flashfloods during heavy rains.

Doing its share in the government’s greening program, Task Group Balik Balikasan is continuously undertaking massive tree planting activities in the region.

In 2005, the group, he said, has planted some 126,000 Antipolo ang Lanipao trees all over Central Mindanao, 104,000 in 2006 and more than 150,000 trees, this year.

Task Group Balik Kalikasan is composed of the 603rd Brigade, 37th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, MINRICO Sawmill, DENR, academe and media. (pbc/PIA Cot City)

ARMM to set-up Islamic Bank

ICC Cotabato City (24 November) – An Islamic bank will be set-up soon in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

ARMM Regional Government Datu Zaldy U. Ampatuan bared this during his 4th State of the Regional Address (SORA) last Monday afternoon and held at the Shariff Kabunsuan Complex here.

Ampatuan said the bank once in place will attract foreign investors from Muslim countries.

He said a “start-up capital for the bank of P20-billion” will be pooled from the resources of the regional and local government units.

“This bank shall also serve as an official depository bank of ARMM agencies and local government units (LGUs). This bank will surely be a viable investment,” Ampatuan explained.

ARMM Deputy Executive Secretary Atty. Ishak V. Mastura, said on Tuesday they hope to establish the bank through an act that will be legislated by the Regional Legislative Assembly (RLA) which act shall jibe with the rules of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

“The establishment of an Islamic Bank in the ARMM is still under study, “Mastura, the region’s former Trade and Industry” secretary said.

One of the reasons why the regional government is pushing for the establishment of Islamic bank is the crunch that lately hit mainstream international commercial banks, he said.

“The Islamic banking system was able to maintain its credibility as it was spared from speculation,” Mastura pointed out.

RG Ampatuan, who made history as the first ARMM governor to be re-elected, said the regional government’s thrust in the next three years will be focused in harnessing the areas economic potentials to uplift the poverty level in the autonomous region. (MCD/PIA Cotabato City)

ICC Dispatch - Sunday, November 23, 2008

CPP/NPA/NDF violates International Humanitarian Law in keeping wounded soldier

ICC General Santos City (23 November) – The hesitation of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New Peoples Army and the National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF) to declare that they have in their custody Lt. Vicente Camayo is due to the fear being accountable if something happens to the wounded officer.

This was the statement of Major Medel Aquilar, 5th CRG Commander, Civl Relations Service, Armed Forces of the Philippines (CRS-AFP), Panacan, Davao City who pointed out that this is the same reason why they lied to the people by saying that Lt. Camayo is not in their custody.

They are also afraid, according to Aguilar, that the international community will know they are violating the international humanitarian law (IHL) by depriving a wounded person with the necessary medication he needs.

Major Aguilar said this is the problem with a publicity obsessed organization that instead of bringing the wounded officer to a hospital or turning over to the government for the much needed life-saving medical intervention, they continue to keep him in their custody which unnecessary endangers his life.

With the hope that subject officer can survive ordeal of bearing the pain, the 5th CRG commander said, the CPP/NPA/NDF keeps him for a media mileage someday to boast around the world by projecting an image of being a strong adherent of IHL. But if something happens to the officer, they could simply deny that they had him in their custody alive and avoid public condemnation, he concluded. (PIA12)

Duque says President Arroyo is sincere to end her term in 2010

General Santos City (November 23, 2008) – Health Secretary Francisco Duque III doused off speculations by local media here of a possible term extension for President Arroyo saying he believes the president is sincere to end her term in 2010.

In a press conference today, Duque was asked to react on the controversial prayer of Press Secretary Jesus Dureza for the President to have the “tolerance to serve the nation until 2010 and beyond,” which he delivered at the start of a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday in Malacañang.

Duque said the president is not showing any sign that she wanted to extend her presidency beyond 2010 every time they get together during Cabinet meetings.

“Naniniwala ako na ang Pangulong Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ay tatapusin lamang ang kanyang termino till 2010 at sa aking tingin sa tuwing kami ay nagtitipon para sa Cabinet meeting wala namang indikasyon na mayroon s’yang hangad na manatili sa kanyang pagiging pangulo na lampas ng 2010,” he said.

Duque urged members of the press not to take seriously the prayer of Secretary Dureza, and avoid putting more meaning to it.

He said Dureza himself admitted that he committed a “gag,” a sort of “blunder” when he said those words, but had already apologized to the President.

“Wag na po tayong maglagay pa ng karagdagang kahulugan doon sa mga nasabi ng isang gabinete ako na lang ang paniwalaan ninyo na wala ho akong nakikitang ganung indikasyon at naniniwala naman ako na ang pangulo ay tapat na ang kanyang panunungkulan ay hanggang 2010 lamang,” he added. (PIA-SarGen)

Sec Duque urges media to advance the cause of people’s health

General Santos City (23 November)--- Health Secretary Francisco Duque III appealed to tri-media to help advance the cause of people’s health by disseminating the department’s various programs.

“I would like to appeal to our friends in the tri-media to please help us disseminate the worthy programs of the DOH with the end in view of advancing the cause of health of our people,” he said.

Secretary Duque was the keynote speaker of the first ever held Field Implementation Management Office (FIMO) meeting for Region XII.

He said the importance of the meeting was to make sure that the foundational structure of the “FOURmula 1 for health” will be understood and implemented without hitches.

The FOURmula 1 for health which covers healthcare financing, health service delivery, good governance, and regulations is poised to address the various health issues as translated in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Duque explained that DOH convened all its top officials and regional directors to discuss strategies on how to better improve delivery of government health services for the Filipinos.

He pointed out that DOH is also mandated to attain the MDG target by coming up with various health programs and projects.

Among these health programs and initiatives are: facilitate access of cheap medicines to the poor; attain the universal health insurance coverage of PhilHealth; establish more Botika ng Barangay (BnB); reduce maternal and child mortality rates by addressing health concerns of women and children and strengthening the nutritional needs of pregnant women and lactating mothers; and increase the numbers of primary and secondary hospitals through the health facilities upgrade program of the department.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, according to him has considered health service as priority need thus allocating huge fund to improve the capacity of primary and secondary hospitals to be able to give quality services to patients.

With this, he also lauded the PhilHealth coverage in SocSarGen specifically General Santos City for its strong advocacy on health insurance saying the local government’s initiative is at its best.

“Kami ay natutuwa dahil dito sa Socsargen-- sa Gensan ay maganda ang kanilang PhilHealth coverage at nagpapasalamat kami sa pamunuan ng Gensan dahil sa kanilang advocacy on health insurance syempre kasama din dito ang kampanya natin upang mapadami ang bilang ng botika ng barangay,” Duque told media and government officials and employees.

The Secretary also revealed that some 350 BnBs are expected to be established in Socsargen in the near future.

South Cotabato First District Representative Darlene Antonino-Custodio, City Mayor Pedro Acharon, and Sarangani Gov. Migs Dominguez were in attendance to rally their support of DOH programs.

“We cannot survive without the support of our local chief executives … their presence gives the DOH the confidence that the executives and the entire LGU are in support of the worthy programs of the DOH,” Duque said. (PIA SarGen)

ICC Dispatch - Friday, November 21, 2008

Col. Ardo gets commendation for improvement of Kampo Ranao facilities

ICC Iligan City, Nov. 21 – Col. Rey C. Ardo, Commander of the 3rd Infantry (Haribon) Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (103rd Bde) has been commended for his efforts in improving the facilities of Kampo Ranao, Marawi City.

The commendation came from Lt. Gen. Victor Ibrado, Commanding General of the Philippine Army (CGPA) during the Nov. 20, 2008, turn over, of the Php2.1 million worth of building facilities and the unveiling of markers in the camp considered home of the “Haribon” troopers.

These facilities, the construction of which were funded by the Lanao del Sur (LDS) Provincial Government, include the administration building annex for the Brigade Conference Room, receiving area, water system and facilities, electrical system, drainage system, camp posts, perimeter fence, officers’ quarters and mess hall.

“We very well know that Kampo Ranao is a permanent military reservation and as such, instead of putting up temporary and makeshift facilities, we should be able to improve it and put up our permanent fixtures and facilities in this very valuable piece of our real estate,” the CGPA said.

Ibrado also said he is sure that the men and women of the unit are very happy and proud to have a more spacious and presentable facility that will hopefully inspire them in their daily job.

The newly constructed building is not the first time that the Army soldiers received from the people of LDS as the late Mamintal Adiong, Sr., former governor, also initiated the construction of the Brigade Grandstand whose marker was also unveiled during the occasion. (RCA/PIA10)

Kampo Ranao improvements are monuments of Army-LDS partnership – Lt. Gen. Ibrado

ICC Iligan City, Nov. 21 – Lt. Gen. Victor Ibarado, Commanding General of the Philippine Army has considered the new building facilities and grandstand at Kampo Ranao, Marawi City, as monuments of the strong partnership between the Philippine Army and the people of Lanao del Sur (LDS).

Thus stressed the CGPA during the recent turn over from the LDS Provincial Government to the Army of the newly completed building facilities worth Php2.1 million in the camp which provides shelter to the 3rd Infantry (Haribon) Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (103rd Bde).

“We are therefore very fortunate to have the continuing support of the people of LDS and the generosity of our local government officials who remained very supportive to our thrusts for peace, security and progress in this province,” the CGPA said.

He then assured the people of the province that the Army will continue to focus on its mission of ensuring peace and security in the communities and will remain as their reliable partner in nation building and in the promotion of the welfare of the Maranao people.

To the troops of the 103rd Bde who are the primary beneficiaries of the project, he said “ Your charge is to return the benevolence of the local government in this area with better service and commitment to do your mandate.”

Ibrado also asked them to ensure that the structures are properly maintained so that it will serve its purpose. “In addition to the improvements that you have undertaken on the other camp facilities, the PA headquarters will expect more significant accomplishments and outputs from you, he told the men and women of 103rd Bde.

“I am therefore, counting on everyone to sustain your gains and exert more efforts to accomplish more as we vigorously pursue the accomplishment of our Internal Security Operation (ISO) missions to posture peace and prosperity,” the CGPA said.

More importantly, I expect your individual and collective contribution and commitment as we push forward the TEAM Army’s call towards our vision of a professional, capable and responsive Army that is a source of our national pride, Ibrado finally said. (RCA/PIA10)

CGPA vows to provide Army soldiers all support requirements

ICC Iligan City, Nov. 21 – The Philippine Army will continue to find ways to provide the soldiers with all the support requirements that they need within the capacity of its available resources.

Thus assured Lt. Gen. Victor Ibrado, PA Commanding General, during the recent ground-breaking for the construction of the Enlisted Personnel (EP) Barracks at the 3rd Infantry Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (103rd Bde), PA Headquarters in Kampo Ranao, Marawi City.

He said the Army will ensure that priority in the use of these resources will be for the well-being of the soldiers and the accomplishments of their mandates, hence, the realization of the project.

“The recently completed building facilities in the camp, which was constructed, courtesy of the Lanao del Sur Provincial Government, gave us this good start to the pursuit of our vision,” Ibrado told the troops of 103rd Bde led by Col. Rey C. Ardo, the Brigade Commander.

Hence, he said, it is only fitting that the support facilities, such as billeting, also be given a longer-lasting and more durable structure to go with the permanent ones used for official operations and administrative activities newly completed within the camp.

He said he is hopeful that the construction of the EP Barracks will be completed very soon so that it will allow its beneficiaries and the transient occupants to have a better living condition, better performance in their soldierly duties by quickly responding to the needs of our fellowmen

Addressing the troops, Ibrado said “We expect this to serve as inspiration for you to work even harder. And to those who will be occupying this facility once it is completed, I count on each one of you to maintain it so it can also serve future generations of Army soldiers after you have served your tour of duty here.”

Measuring 9 m. x 38 m. with a total floor area of 342 sq.m., the EP Barracks which can accommodate more or less 120 EP’s, will have the basic amenities of toilets and baths, wash area and a day room.

It is targeted to be finished in 120 calendar days, the construction of which will be undertaken by the 547th Engineer Construction Battalion (ECB), Philippine Army. (RCA/PIA10)

Army’s 547 ECB to construct Php2 M worth of EP barracks in Kampo Ranao

ICC Iligan City,
Nov 21 – At least Php2 million will be spent to construct one (1) unit of an Enlisted Personnel (EP) Barracks inside Kampo Ranao, Marawi City.

This was revealed Lt. Col. Gerardo Catindoy, Commander of the 547 Engineer Construction Battalion (ECB) which is tasked to undertake the project, during its groundbreaking ceremony in the area.

Formerly called Camp Keithy, Kampo Ranao which occupies an area of 4,687 ha. of military reservation is now home of the 3rd Infantry (Haribon) Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (103rd Bde), Philippine Army.

With a measurement of 9 m. x 38 m. and a floor area of 342 sq.m., which can accommodate more or less 120 EP’s with basic amenities of toilets, bath, wash area and a day room, the said barracks has a site location that conforms with the proposed camp development plan.

As such, the plan is only an initial scan of the unit requirements in the long-term and provides only a graphical spatial framework for future developments of the Kampo Ranao, Catindoy said.

Hence, the more comprehensive long-range plan containing detailed studies and analysis can be obtained through the preparation of a master development plan that will serve as a detailed guide for the long term physical growth of the camp.

Catindoy added that the project duration is only120 calendar days and thus commit to finish the project before the target completion date.

The groundbreaking ceremony was led by Lt. Gen. Victor Ibrado, Commanding General, PA, Col. Rey C. Ardo, Commander, 103rd Bde and Col. Michaelo Salvaleon, Commander, 55th Engineer Brigade, PA. (OSM – Radyo ng Bayan)

Community participation, heaviest weight in GABAY 2008 Awards

ICC Iligan City, Nov. 21 -- Apparently heeding the call of Pres. Gloria Macagal-Arroyo to involve the communities in all barangay affairs, “participation of constituents” has been allocated the highest points in the criteria for the Gawad Galing Barangay (GABAY) Awards, 2008.

Thus stressed Asst. Regional Director Wendelin Orillaneda of the Dept. of Interior and Local Government, region 10, who said the GABAY Awards is a joint initiative of the department and the Liga ng mga Barangay to confer “The Best Performing Barangay’s” in the region.

Consistent with the mandate of DILG in providing capability building programs to strengthen decentralization in the country, the GABAY awards aims to ensure that barangay governments comply with the provisions of the Local Government Code and various presidential directives and issuances.

It is also the primary intention of the GABAY awards to enhance the performance of the barangays for more effective delivery of basic services through the appropriate program intervention.

Specifically, the program hopes to strengthen good barangay governance, stimulate innovations and institutionalize a system of providing incentives and rewards to these barangays, Orillaneda said.

Aside from that, it will also provide valuable information in surfacing operations for a more effective barangay government administration and highlight their exemplary and excellent performance and service delivery to their constituents.

The awards, which shall cover the performance of the barangays in region 10 for the period starting December 2007 to October 2008, will assess the following key areas of concern in barangay governance:

Transparency, 14 pt., fiscal accountability and responsibility, 26 pts., participation of constituents, 30 pts., leveling of playing field/equality of opportunity, 15 pts. and organization and membership, 15 pts.

Meanwhile, Orillaneda said there will be four (4) categories of the GABAY Awards: Category A for the for Highly Urbanized City (HUC), Category B for Component City, Category C for 1st to 3rd Class Municipalities and Category D for 4th-6th Class Municipalities. (RCA/PIA10)

LBP loans to priority sectors in Region IX reach P3.146Billion

ICC, Pagadian, Zamboanga City, Nov21 - LandBank’s total loan exposure to its priority sectors in Region IX reached P3.145 Billion as of third quarter of this year. This is a P300 million increase over the P2.8 Billion loans posted in 2009 said AVP Camilo Leyba, Regional Head, Region IX, LBP.

The Bank’s expanded loan portfolio benefited its priority sectors which include the small farmers and fisherfolks, micro and medium enterprises (MSMEs), agri-business, agri-infrastructure projects of LGUs, agri-related projects of GOCCs, and environment-related projects.

Of the P3.1Billion, 42 percent or P1.3 Billion was channeled thru farmers and fisherfolks cooperatives and CFIs. This benefited a total of P16, 630 small farmers & fisherfolks all over Zamboanga Peninsula Region, Misamis Occidental, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

Meanwhile, a total of P1.2Billion or 39 percent financed various infrastructure projects of LGUs and P605 Million or 19 percent went to livelihood and agri-business projects of micro, small and medium enterprises.

“The cooperative, CFIs and LGUs have been our strongest partners in delivering the most needed resources to the countryside. Thru our effective alliance with these conduits, we are able to hit 109% of our target even before yearend” says AVP Leyba.

Projects financed in the region include crop production loans, rubber replanting and rehabilitation, fishery, livelihood, trading and agri-infrastructure projects. (LBP/PIA ZC)

Farmers receive P346 Million credit assistance from LBP for Palay production

ICC, Pagadian, Zamboanga City, Nov21- a total of P346 Million was released by Land Bank region 9 as credit assistance to support the financial needs of small farmers in the region who are engaged in palay production.

The loan was channeled through various conduits comprising of cooperatives, countryside financial institutions, farmers organizations and irrigators associations.

It benefited a total of 10, 779 small farmers in various barangays in Zamboanga City, and the entire Zamboanga Peninsula region and Misamis Occidental.

The credit assistance is in line with the bank’s Rice Production Program, which was launched early this year to support the national government in its thrust to increase rice production to achieve food sufficiency in the country.

“To fully support the government in its food security program, LandBank expanded its credit conduits to include non-government organizations, irrigators association, small and medium enterprises such as rice millers and inputs suppliers, so that it can extend its reach to more small farmers,” says Assistant Vice President Camilo Leyba, Head, LandBank, Region 9.

Leyba further explained that Landbank pursued credit policy changes specific to rice in order to promote rice production. (LBP/PIA ZC)

Ambassador Kenney Announces $2.5 Million in Assistance to Families Displaced by Recent Armed Conflict in Mindanao

ICC Cotabato City (21 November) - During a visit today to a camp for internally displaced persons in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao Province, U.S. Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney announced that the U.S. Government is providing $2.5 million in assistance to individuals and families displaced by the tragic outbreak of violent conflict in Mindanao. The assistance includes 1,480 metric tons of U.S. rice, valued at approximately $2 million, for free distribution by the United Nations World Food Programme, as well as water, health, and sanitation support by NGO partners.

Soon after the conflict began, the United States Government responded by supplying essential relief goods to families in need in the provinces of North Cotabato, Lanao del Norte, Sarangani, and Maguindanao, through Save the Children.

During her visit to Datu Odin Sinsuat and Cotabato today, the Ambassador recognized the work of the National Disaster Coordinating Council, the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Departments of Health of the national government and in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to improve the health and sanitation situation to people who were forced to flee their homes due to the violence.

"My thoughts are with those who have been displaced by fighting, people whose lives have been lost and disrupted,” said Ambassador Kenney. “Working together, we can help Mindanao move toward peace and prosperity, so the citizens of Mindanao – especially the children – may have the future they deserve,” she added. (US Embassy/PIA12)

DOH monitors the health situation of IDPs, says Sec Duque

ICC General Santos City (21 November) - Health Secretary Francisco Duque III assured that the health situation of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in conflict areas is properly monitored and attended to.

This he clarified during a news conference Friday when asked on the health situation of the IDPs.

“I think the health situation is being monitored since day 1 the conflict broke out and in so far as the health issues are concerned our people continue to provide the basic health care services,” he said.

Duque said the estimated 200,000 IDPs in Cotabato Province and Maguindanao also included children who were mostly in school.

He said the DOH had a meeting on November 19 with its partners from DSWD, DepEd, PNP, DND, and DPWH “to assess the situation not only health but also looking rather if the students are continuing their schooling.”

Aside from the health issues, Duque said “we continue to assess even the number of houses that had been gutted down by fire, and the reconstruction efforts being carried out according to schedules and timelines.”

The government, he added has reconstructed school buildings “because we want to make sure that there is an immediate recovery and rehabilitation of our facilities.”

The Secretary also assured that based on DOH monitoring there had been no reported outbreak so far.

He said DOH has been monitoring the condition of the IDPs by sending team of doctors and sanitation engineers in partnership with other concerned national line agencies.

“We can give you a list of the activities that have been undertaken by the different regions because there are many regions that are involved in making sure that the basic and fundamental needs and services of the IDPs are met,” the Secretary told members of the press.

He emphasized that DOH has been continuously providing essential drugs and medicines, and also vaccines especially in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), where there was outbreak of measles reported in the past months.

“We have pre-positioned the DOH personnel and our supplies to respond to all of these very important needs of the IDPs,” Duque concluded.

Earlier the European Union (EU) has also pledged a multi-million humanitarian aid to ARMM officials for the thousands of villagers in the region displaced as a result of armed skirmishes between government forces and the lawless Moro Islamic Liberation Front group (LMG). (PIA SarGen)

MRDP (CFAD Component) projects boost farming and fishing sectors

ICC Cotabato City (21 November) – The Department of Agriculture- Mindanao Rural Development Program (DA-MRDP) is committed to attain its goal to boost and strengthen the farming and fishing sectors in Mindanao through demand-driven projects.

To ensure efficient and effective project implementation, MRDP under the Community Fund for Agricultural Development (CFAD component) conducted recently the Community Organizing and Facilitation Skills Workshop for Municipal Facilitators.

CFAD Focal Person Susan Unggel said, the workshop aims to enhance the knowledge and skills of agricultural technologists and extension workers who are also the MRDP municipal facilitators in the provinces of Maguindanao, Shariff Kabunsuan and Lanao Del Sur.

These provinces are the three (3) major rice producing areas of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

CFAD projects are being implemented in the towns of Ampatuan in the province of Maguindanao; Tuburan in Basilan, North Upi, Shariff Kabunsuan province; Mapun in Tawi-Tawi; and Parang, Sulu. (Joven Mark T. Mapait/PIA Cot)