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Radyo Mindanao (October 11, 2018)

Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper (October 22-28, 2018)

Friday, October 19, 2018

3 Sayyafs captured in Southern Philippines

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Philippine Scout Rangers have captured 3 Abu Sayyaf militants after a gun battle in the southern town of Patikul, officials said Friday.

Officials said the militants Gafur Absari, Medzfar Mangabong and Madjid Mangabong were captured in Maligay village on Thursday. The militants were handed over to the 501st Infantry Brigade where they would be interrogated and then turned over to the local police force.

Regional military commander, Lt. Gen. Arnel dela Vega praised the soldiers for the capture of the trio.

The capture of the pro-ISIS militants came a day after Abu Sayyaf released a kidnapped government militia, Rufo Roda, 62, in Jolo town near Patikul, in exchange for ransom from private negotiators. But his 64-year old wife, Helen, who was also seized along with the militia remains in captivity after the Abu Sayyaf demanded more money for her freedom.

The couple was seized by armed men on August 31 in Zamboanga del Norte’s Sirawai town. The gunmen also killed 6 people and wounded a minor.  (Mindanao Examiner)

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Letters from Davao: Fishing faults on Bong Go

THERE IS A saying among us Pinoys which says “Ang punong hitik sa bunga ay tampulan ng pagpukol”. The tree that bears bountiful fruits is stoned. That is as true today as ever as it was before.
This adage finds meaning and significance during the filing of the Certificate of Candidacy of Special Assistant to the President Sec. Bong Go when, accompanied by Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte, he filed his CoC for Senator in the Commission on Elections. 
There is a guideline alright that only four people may accompany a candidate who will file his CoC but in the case of Bong he has more than four. The critics find this rare opportunity to lambaste Bong conveniently stonewalling the fact that the President was present with his usual security detail and a couple of Cabinet members. They too did not mind that not a few candidates brought along with them a retinue of noisy and rabid supporters and some with a band of drums and bugles.
In the school of how to win in an election derby, good or bad publicity is good. It is even best for Bong Go for the deluge of criticism indicates that he is one that is “hitik ng bunga”, the one that bears a lot of fruits while the others are obviously barren.
For his long years of service as special assistant to Duterte while the later was Mayor of Davao City and now President of the Philippines, Bong Go was made an object of media attack only thrice. The first was when he was summoned to a senate inquisition on his role in the Navy’s proposal to purchase frigate vessels. SAP Bong who also heads the Presidential Management Staff merely routed the documents that pertains to the transaction to the appropriate agency (Defense Department) but some creative paid hacks in the media tweaked the issue and attempted to link Go to the controversy. To the chagrin of his critics and some senators out to go after his jugular, even the naval official who raised the issue of conflict between the DD and the Navy testified that Bong has nothing to do with the transaction at all.
The second is another try of some media cabal who claims that the family of Bong corners billions of DPWH contracts. The truth is that his parents had been in the business of construction when he was yet a toddler and that all DPWH projects are publicly bid. That and the third is the scene in the Comelec.
The thing with Bong is that he is the most intimate person to President Duterte. He is the custodian of private and official documents of his boss. The perception of the traditional critics of the government is that a person that enjoys the trust and confidence of the President has the power of persuasion. Well, they are wrong with Bong. He might be the President’s data bank, phone exchange operator and in charge of the President’s social outreach programs for disasters and emergencies but Bong does not venture to influence the President in the decision making.
If President Duterte is his chief election campaigner it’s merely on the fundamental fact that SAP Bong Go had, through the years, absorbed lessons from running government apparatus, is a person of integrity, simplicity and is an action man. His critics and potential political adversaries knew that Bong Go is like that tree which bears the sweetest fruits. Now add the big advantage of having the most popular President as a tutor and Go is definitely a winner. (Jun Ledesma)

Thursday, October 18, 2018

MILF forces clash with BIFF in Mindanao

COTABATO CITY – Heavy fighting erupted between two rival rebel groups in the restive Muslim province of Maguindanao in southern Philippines where pro-ISIS militants are actively operating.

The 6th Infantry Division on Friday has confirmed the clashes between Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) forces and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and said the ferocious fighting lasted 6 hours.

It said one BIFF member, Saudi Sabang, was killed in clashes which occurred Thursday in Pimbalakan village in Mamasapano town. “After six hours of exchanging of fires, the BIFF members withdrew towards Shariff Saydona Mustapha town in Maguindanao using motorized pump boat while others traversed by foot,” the army said, adding, there was no report of MILF casualties.

It was unclear what triggered the fighting, but both rebel groups are actively operating in the province. There was no immediate statement from the MILF, which signed an interim peace deal with the Aquino administration in 2014.

But Major General Cirilito Sobejana, the army division commander, said the “MILF leadership is determined to eradicate the peace spoilers and to defeat the threat group from doing terroristic activities in Central Mindanao.”

Sobejana said the continued support and cooperation of the MILF and the community will hasten and complement the ability of the Joint Task Force Central to counter the efforts of the radical extremist groups in sowing fear and violence in the region.

The BIFF, whose members were former MILF rebels, pledged allegiance to ISIS and is fighting for a separate Muslim homeland in Mindanao. (Mindanao Examiner)

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Sayyafs free army militia, wife still in captivity

SULU – Suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen have freed a government militia they kidnapped in August along with his wife in Zamboanga del Norte province, but the woman is still being held by the gang in Sulu province.

The 62-year Rufo Roda was released late Wednesday in Jolo town after negotiators reportedly paid over a million pesos ransom to the kidnappers who wanted more for his wife, Helen, 64.

The military took custody of the militiaman in Sulu shortly after his release and brought him to Zamboanga on Thursday where he is currently being kept until he is reunited with his wife.

The Western Mindanao Command and the local police did not issue any statement on Roda’s safe release.

The couple was kidnapped in August 31 after gunmen attacked and killed civilians - Amsid Maugag Callun, Absar Julkanain Gumba, Kabiran Saliuddin Ginsing, Saddam Baitulla Tahir, Jaayri Bairulla Lumihig and Muslimin Adan - in Piakan village in Sirawai town. A minor, Jering Carbi, was also wounded, in the assault.

Last June 28, gunmen also kidnapped 6 people, including an infant, from a farm in San Nicolas village in Sirawai town. The victims, Feliciano Javier, 28; his wife Elsa, 28, and their five-month old baby Vincent; and Junior Javier, 22, and wife Rica, also 22-years old and their five-year old son Val, are keepers of farm owned by Valiente Tolo Felizarta, the town’s municipal engineer.

They were eventually released two weeks later in Gata village in Talipao town in Sulu in exchange for an unspecified amount of ransom and fetched by soldiers. (Mindanao Examiner)

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ARMM strengthens promotion of organic farming practices

COTABATO CITY – To strengthen the advocacy and promotion of organic agriculture in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), over 400 farmers, agricultural extension workers, students, and other stakeholders convened here for the two-day Organic Agriculture Congress.
ARMM’s Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF-ARMM) Sec. Alexander Alonto emphasized that the congress is a good venue for the farmers and other agricultural stakeholders to be informed on organic food production, modern farming methods, and business opportunities related to organic farming. “We really strengthen the organic agriculture program in the region in order to attain over-all agricultural growth and development,” Sec. Alonto said, adding the activity will also be a platform to address issues concerning organic farming.
Mohammad Amal, agricultural education student of Mindanao State University – Maguindanao, said he hopes that organic farming will be propagated and implemented throughout the region considering its many benefits. “Bilang isang anak ng magsasaka, nakita ko kung ano ang mga masasamang dulot ng paggamit ng kemikal sa pagkain na galing sa pagsasaka dahil hindi lang naman mga magsasaka ang maa-apektuhan kundi pati iyong mga taong kakain nito,” he said.
Sec. Alonto explained that organic farming enriches the fertility of soil, increases farm productivity, reduces destruction of the environment, and protects the health of farmers and consumers. During the event, DAF-ARMM also gave recognition to farmers who have made significant contributions in the promotion and development of organic agriculture industry in the region.
The achievers in this field include Abdulhalim Alih from Sulu, who was hailed as the region’s best agricultural extension worker. He received P20,000 in cash prize. Pheparassan Macapodi from Lanao del Sur bagged the most outstanding farmer in individual category receiving P50,000; while the Busikong Greenland Multipurpose Cooperative in Maguindanao was awarded the most outstanding small farmer association in the group category and was given P100,000 in cash prize.
Macapodi, 52 , said that aside from the health benefits of organic farming, it also helps in reducing production costs because expensive chemicals and fertilizers are no longer needed in the farming process. “Simula ng bata pa ako ay nagsasaka na kami at noong 2015 lang po namin nalaman ang organic farming. At dahil doon tumigil na kami sa paggamit ng mga kemikal at nag-umpisa saorganic farming,” Macapodi said.
She also encouraged other farmers who still use chemicals to shift to organic farming. And with the transition of the ARMM to the new Bangsamoro entity, Sec. Alonto said the regional government is confident that the farmers will apply the best organic agriculture practices leading to the development and advancement of the region’s organic farming industry.
Sec. Alonto said the public may also avail of fresh produce and processed organic products from the different provinces in the region in an exhibit and trade fair that opened on Thursday inside the ORG compound here. (Bureau of Public Information)

Troops foil terror attacks, capture 4 militants in Maguindanao

COTABATO CITY – Four pro-ISIS militants have been captured by Filipino security forces in the troubled southern province of Maguindanao, officials announced Thursday.

Officials said one of those captured was a commander, Datu Parido Balabagan, whose group is allegedly planning to carry out terror attacks in Sultan Kudarat’s Lambayong town. 

Security forces also seized from the militants two M14 rifles, two anti-tank rocket launchers and three fragmentation grenades.

The operation - which was launched before sunrise Wednesday at a militant hideout in the village called Lumabao in General SK Pendatun town - was the result of an intensified campaign against terrorism and vital intelligence passed on by civilians.

Military photos released to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner show captured militants and their weapons. 

The militants, all members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, were handed over to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and are currently under interrogation. Details of the interrogation were not made public by authorities and there was no immediate statement from the militant group on the arrest of its commander and fighters.

The BIFF is one of about a dozen militant groups that embraced the influence of ISIS and are not fighting for a caliphate in the restive, but mineral-rich region. (Mindanao Examiner)

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

ARMM employees concerned over Bangsamoro government transition

COTABATO CITY - A number of employees of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) raised their concerns to members of the Coordination Team for Transition with respect to the transition to the new Bangsamoro government during a recent forum here.
The transition process is provided for under Republic Act No. 11045, otherwise known as the Bangsamoro Organic Law. Some of the matters discussed were the employment status of ARMM personnel who will be affected, once the transition period commences, and the incentives for personnel who would opt to retire, or be separated from service.
Commissioner Jose Lorena, a member of the Transition team, explained that Article XVI Section 10 of the R.A. No. 11045 states that “officials holding appointive positions shall continue to perform their functions in accordance with the phase-out schedule. Employees in the sectors of health, education, and social welfare shall be absorbed and transferred to the Bangsamoro Government.”
It also states that “the affected personnel who will not be absorbed in the positions of the new staffing pattern of the different offices in the Bangsamoro Government, whether hired on permanent, temporary, casual, or contractual basis and with appointments attested by the Civil Service Commission, shall be entitled to the applicable retirement, or separation benefits as provided in the Organic Law.”
When asked about the schedule of the gradual phasing-out of the offices of the ARMM, Commissioner Lorena said the Transition team is now preparing a draft plan that will be submitted to the appointed Chief Minister of the new government.
“The Chief Minister will have to review and submit it to the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) within 60 days, the BTA will then approve the proposed plan within 10 days,” he said. “Assuming that the ratification is done on January 21, 2019, perhaps (the schedule of phasing-out) will be April 2019,” said Commissioner Lorena.
Among the representatives from other government agencies who also addressed the concerns of the ARMM employees were: Atty. Krunimar Escudero III, from the Civil Service Commission Central Office; Vilma Fuentes, Vice President for Visayas and Mindanao of the Government Service Insurance System; Rio Teves, Vice President for Members Services Operations of Pagtutulungan sa Kinabukasan: Ikaw, Bangko, Industria at Gobyerno under PAG-IBIG; and Herman Jumilla, Department of Budget and Management Undersecretary for Mindanao Concerns. (Bureau of Public Information)