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Radyo Mindanao (November 16, 2018)

Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper (Nov. 19-25, 2018)

Monday, November 19, 2018

6 Sayyaf fighters yield in Sulu

SULU – Six Abu Sayyaf fighters surrendered Monday to government troops in the southern Filipino province of Sulu, officials said.

Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, a spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command, said the militants yielded to the 2nd Special Forces Battalion under Lt. Col. Jessie Montoya in Talipao town.

They also handed over 6 rifles and were being interrogated at the army headquarters also in Talipao.
Besana identified the militants as Annuar Dalawis, Arsi Akili, Nassal Asaral, Alvarez Sadjan, Aysal Ajaral and Medzmar Mursin.

“They voluntarily surrendered through the efforts of the different community support program teams of the battalion,” he said.

Lt. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, the regional military commander, lauded the troops for their efforts in convincing the militants to surrender peacefully as he urged other members of the Abu Sayyaf to return to the fold of the law.

“We hope that more bandits will decide to surrender instead of risking their lives and engaging themselves in deadly encounters with troops,” he said.

Five soldiers had died and over 2 dozen injured in recent clashes in Sulu’s Patikul town where a militant leader, Hajan Sawadjaan, is believed wounded in the battle. (Mindanao Examiner)

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2 pro-ISIS gunmen killed in South

COTABATO CITY – Two gunmen, believed to be pro-ISIS fighters, were Monday killed in a firefight with security forces after they broke through a road block in southern Philippines, reports said.

It said the two men were in a van and opened fire on soldiers in Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat province sparking a running gun battle. The duo was cornered by security forces and eventually killed.

When soldiers and policemen searched the vehicle, they found a black flag with markings similar to those use by the ISIS. They also recovered an improvised explosive device and a sub-machine gun, including an automatic pistol.

The identities of the slain gunmen were unknown, but police have searched the van for vital information and clues that would help in the anti-terror investigation.

No individual or group has claimed the bodies of the two men. The province is a known lair of several pro-ISIS militant groups, including the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, which is fighting for the establishment of caliphate in the restive region. (Mindanao Examiner)

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OPINION: Preview of Davao’s political landscape by Jun Ledesma

POLITICS CREATES BONDS of friendships, strong ties that decide what course the government pursues. But politics creates the deepest cleavage even among friends that leads to irrational conflicts that damage the government units they govern and divide political constituencies.

This describes the politics in Davao del Norte. For decades, this province, famous for its banana industry and tourists destination, is also known for the peace and quiet during election time. The leading businessmen, Don Antonio Floirendo and Jesus V. “Chito” Ayala nurtured the banana industry that ranks second in the world. They may have belonged to opposing political spectrums but this did not come in the way to achieve development goals of the province.

Both have gone to the great beyond. Don Antonio Floirendo, planted the first Cavendish banana seedling in the swampland he leased from the government decades ago. A mechanical engineer, he loves the smell of the earth and soon expanded his banana farm and later ventured in pineapple and pomelo. His farm was the favorite destination of Presidents among them Diosdado Macapagal and Ferdinand Marcos. Exiled and unjustly vilified by the new centurions during the Cory Aquino government, he was however repatriated straight to Davao at the height of a vicious coup attempt  on the Cory government with the help of known Cory’s men who believed in his principles and development crusade.

Thus politics in Davao del Norte has always been defined by what is primordial for the province development. This too somehow influenced the conduct of politics in Davao City and for that matter the entire region in Southeastern Mindanao. Floirendo and Ayala skippered not only the economic development of the region but also the discipline of politicians. They were the chief architects of the successful agricultural development of the region by shifting it from the dying logging industry that only benefited a few who invested the wealth they derived  from  the forest lands of Davao to mostly in Makati instead. Exception to this would are Alcantara, who belonged to the big league, and  Robillo, Dalisay and Gomez who were small scale operators but never left Davao.  Alcantara invested in cattle raising and then on aqua-culture in Sarangani. I have seen their processed bangus and tilapia in Texas and Los Angeles groceries.

It is therefore appalling to see Davao del Norte heading to one of the most turbulent and divided political arena as midterm election in May 2019 approaches. What ignited the fuse that led to the internal political combustion in Davao politics was filing of complaints against Rep. Tonyboy Floirendo  (2nd Dist.) by his bosom friend Rep. and Speaker Bebot Alvarez before the Ombudsman. While early rumors pointed at their lovers’ quarrel the same is farthest from the truth. The dismantling of quarantine checkpoints in the Floirendo-owned banana plantations would offer a clue but one has to dig deeper why. The ombudsman case had been elevated to the Sandiganbayan and we have to leave it there lest I will be held in contempt.

Banana industry is the backbone of the regional economy and attempts at wrecking the vast banana plantations which employs hundreds of thousands is simply a nightmare for the political and business leaders. At the time when the staff of Alvarez and a retinue of DPWH and police elements  stormed the plantation and destroyed the quarantine installations the alert on Fusarium wilt, the most dreaded banana disease, was in code red. This enraged Davao. Add the remarks of then Speaker Alvarez against Mayor Inday Sara’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago and you have a veritable boiling cauldron coming that would later jettison Bebot from the House leadership.

The coming elections in Davao del Norte will no longer be boring as it used to be. The ex-Speaker is no longer dependent on his (ex) friend Tonyboy for many says he has a war-chest that can last up to election day. He is up against Anthony del Rosario, the incumbent governor, who is one of the original pillars of Inday Sara’s HnP. Inday who is running unopposed as city mayor of Davao, is expected to cross the thin boundary between the province and city and will be rooting for Anthony. And then there is Tonyboy the ever smiling politician who is now fuming inside.

Alvarez  who had been farming out oodles of funds to barangay captains in District 1 is no longer speaker and the political landscape had been radically altered.  And it is only November. (Jun Ledesma)

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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Coast Guard seized cargo ship with 50,000 bags of rice

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Philippine Coast Guard patrol seized a cargo ship loaded with some 50,000 bags of suspected smuggled rice off Tongkil Island in the southern province of Sulu, officials said Sunday.

Captain Joseph Coyme, commander of Coast Guard District South Western Mindanao, said the ship, MV Hulk, of Key West Shipping Lines Corporation, is based in Cagayan de Oro City. Its crew said they suffered engine trouble and was forced to drop anchor off Tongkil.

Coast Guard photos show the seized cargo ship MV Hulk loaded with 50,000 bags of rice. 

Two Coast Guard vessels, BRP San Agustin under Lieutenant Jeffrey Collado, and the BRP Bagacay, under Commander Joel Simoagto, towed the cargo ship to Zamboanga City and is now at the Ben Go wharf.

“The apprehended vessel encountered engine trouble and shut down while heading to Zamboanga City. The vessel is temporarily under the custody of Coast Guard awaiting for the Bureau of Customs’ inspection,” Coyme said.

The Coast Guard said it is still investigating the crew to determine who owns the cargo and where it came from. (Mindanao Examiner)

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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Bong Go rallies support for victims of calamity

VALENZUELA CITY - Former Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go said he, together with his supporters, will brave the streets around the country to be able to provide assistance to each and every Filipino who is in need.

“Walang delikado sa akin basta makatulong sa mga Pilipinong nangangailangan. Ang pag-ikot ko sa iba’t ibang lugar lalo na sa mga liblib na eskinita na nasusunugan ay importante para maramdaman talaga natin ang tunay na pulso ng masa lalo na ang mga kailangan ng tulong,” Go said.

Go extended assistance to the victims of two separate fire incidents Saturday. One in Tondo, Manila wherein more than 130 families were affected and one in Barangay Viente Reales in Valenzuela City wherein 15 houses were destroyed leaving 25 families affected with one casualty.

Go, together with his friends, provided school and work uniforms, clothes, relief goods, meals and cash assistance to affected families. Immediate assistance from various national and local government agencies were also given separately earlier in the day.

“Mayroon po akong mga kaibigan na talagang willing tumulong. Imbes na igastos po nila sa mga ibang bagay, sabi ko, dito n'yo nalang itulong,” Go said adding that help from supporters from the private sector is much appreciated to augment the assistance given by the government.

Moreover, Go encouraged those who need medical assistance to visit Malasakit Centers that cater to all Filipinos especially the poor who cannot afford to avail medical treatment and medicines. The Malasakit Center is a one-stop shop program of President Rodrigo Duterte to hasten the delivery of medical services and give indigent patients access to free medicines.

Go also committed to help coordinate with national government agencies to further assist the victims. He also offered free transportation to victims who wish to go back to their respective provinces. Some construction materials will also be donated by Go’s supporters to help victims in rebuilding their houses.

Aside from the assistance he and his friends brought, Go reiterated his plan to legislate laws that will focus on improving evacuation centers and fire safety measures across the country to be able to prevent loss of lives and properties.

“Paiigtingin po natin ang mga batas ukol sa Fire Safety Measures, kasali na diyaan 'yung pag support sa Bureau of Fire and Protection upang makabili ng mga bagong equipment, at ang pagpapatayo ng maayos na evacuation centers in various areas,” he added.

Go, even as a private citizen, said he will do whatever it takes to uplift the quality of life of the Filipino people, even to the point of entering the narrowest roads and remotest corner in the country.

“Ngayon nasa pribado na ako, I am considered resigned at kung saan man po ako dalhin ng tadhana ay pangako ko 'yan sa ating mga kapatid na Pilipino. Papasukin ko kahit saang sulok, maski anong eskinita ng lugar ninyo papasukin ko. Hindi po ako natatakot kahit na pinakasulok o pinaka eskenita pa po 'yan basta po makatulong sa nangangailangan,” Go said.

Go ended the night by sharing a meal with tricycle drivers of Valenzuela to listen to their concerns. He also encouraged them to contribute to nation-building by staying away from illegal drugs, criminality, and corruption. (Jun Ledesma)

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ARMM Gov. Hataman completes Malaysian university fellowship

COTABATO CITY - Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has completed an academic fellowship program on Wednesday, November 14, at the Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM).

He received his Certificate of Completion as a fellow of USIM’s International Attachment Program from Prof. Dr. Abdul Rahim Abdul Rahman, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic & International) during a ceremony held in the city of Putrajaya.

The short-term course, which started on September 19, covered the following topics: Islamic leadership and governance; peace tolerance and combating terrorism; sustainable development framework; Islamic micro-finance; endowment; halal management; and community Islamic education.

“The program will help us in ARMM further develop our anti-violent extremism efforts and help the regional government and, hopefully, the next Bangsamoro government on its peace and security objectives,” he said.

Prior to entering public service in Mindanao, Gov. Hataman has been very active in the civil society movement, specifically on peace initiatives as well as in efforts to uplift the socioeconomic condition of Moros in Mindanao.

Gov. Hataman’s USIM fellowship is the first awarded to a regional chief executive in Asia as endorsed by the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia. The ARMM governor was invited by the university through Professor Dato’ Dr. Musa Ahmad, USIM vice-chancellor, facilitated by Dr. Zulkifly Baharom, chief executive officer of the university’s Sejahtera Leadership Initiative.

In a previous statement, the university said the program “constitutes sharing of knowledge, exchanges of ideas, public lectures, and preparation of report covering the specific study on ‘peace, security, anti-violent and extremism program through Islamic leadership and sustainable development approach’.”

It also included relevant site visits as well as courtesy calls on Malaysian officials, such as Federal Ministers, State Chief Ministers, and heads of agencies in relation to topics and discussions covered by the program. (Bureau of Public Information)

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HOT OFF THE PRESS: The Mindanao Examiner Regional Newspaper Nov. 19-25, 2018

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