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Friday, August 17, 2018

Maguindanao town benefits from ARMM special program

MAGUINDANAO – The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), through its special Humanitarian and Development Assistance Program (HDAP), turned over Friday various medical equipment and health facilities to the town of Mamasapano here.

Julkarnain Abas, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Health (DOH)-ARMM, said among the health facilities are two rural health units, 18 barangay health stations, 11 communal toilets, 11 deep wells with elevated water tanks, and P7.5 million worth of medical equipment.

“Malaking tulong po ito in terms of our programs in health. Marami po itong matutulungan dahil hindi na kailangan lumuwas pa papuntang Poblacion dahil kung mayroon na silang paanakan sa lugar, malaking bagay na yun,” said Mamasapano Mayor Benzhar Ampatuan.

Dr. Ariff Baguindala of the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) Maguindanao, thanked ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman for the program and said this will benefit many people in the town.
“Ang ating dictum ay since the people cannot reach the health facilities, we are reaching out to the community – tayo na ang lumalapit sa community. Health care now becomes more accessible to Mamasapano residents,” he said.

Abas sees the importance of the newly established health infrastructures in decreasing the mortality rate in the town’s far-flung areas. “Kung titignan natin ang datos ng DOH, isa sa malaking problema ng kalusugan ay yung facility-based deliveries kaya malaking boost nito sa ating mga services sa health sector,” he said.

ARMM Executive Secretary Laisa Alamia also urged citizens, especially the women, to optimize the use of barangay health stations and rural health units. “Mahalaga bilang babae itong mga ito dahil magiging malapit na yung access at magiging mas mabilis angdelivery sa birthing facility lalo sa mga buntis,” she said.

She also said the regional government is building a P100-million additional hospital facility in Maguindanao. “Eventually, kapag natapos na ang hospital annex ng Maguindanao IPHO ay magagamit din ng mga tao – that is a P100-million facility.”

“Kailangan matapos natin yan lahat bago magtapos ang ARMM at ma-setup ang BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao),” Alamia said in anticipation of the change in Bangsamoro region's government.

ARMM-HDAP is the region’s special program that implements various government initiatives that promote peace and help the situation in calamity-affected communities specifically the 15 Maguindanao towns inside the so-called ‘SPMS Box’, a former conflict area.

Projects under ARMM-HDAP include school buildings, houses, health centers, roads and bridges, and provision of livelihood programs. (Bureau of Pubic Information)


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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Muslim boy seized in Sulu’ Jolo town


ZAMBOANGA CITY – Unidentified men snatched a 10-year old Muslim boy in Sulu’s capital town of Jolo in southern Philippines, security officials said Friday.

Officials said the boy, Zaire Khan Pasil, was heading to Notre Dame school with two other companions in their jeep, when 6 men on three motorcycles blocked their path and seized the victim.
“Zaire Khan Pasil…resident of Sheik Mustafa Subdivision in Upper San Raymundo in Jolo was forcibly taken by six individuals riding tandem onboard three motorcycles along Latih-Jolo Road.”

“Victim along with Aldasir Tallow, driver, and Fatima Zaima Pasil, 13- years old, were on their way to Notre Dame Elementary School onboard an owner-type jeep from their residence when the incident transpired. Motive of the kidnapping is yet to be determined,” said Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, a spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command.

No individual or group claimed responsibility for the abduction, but previous ransom kidnapping cases had been largely blamed on Abu Sayyaf militants. It was unclear why policemen and soldiers manning checkpoints in Jolo failed to prevent the abduction.

The militant group, linked by authorities to ISIS, is still holding several Filipino and foreign hostages in the troubled region. (Mindanao Examiner)


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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Bangsamoro youth leaders attend confab on peace, security and development


COTABATO CITY – Over 200 Bangsamoro youth leaders have attended a conference here on peace, security, and development.

The two-day event which ended Wednesday was co-organized by the Office of Regional Governor, Department of the Interior and Local Government-ARMM, Regional Darul  Ifta’, Office on Bangsamoro Youth Affairs (OBYA) and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Development Academy and participated by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC).

Nizam Pabil, OBYA Executive Director, speaking at the event, emphasized the importance of the youth’s voice in addressing current social issues and its role in countering violent extremism.
With recent major developments such as the Marawi siege last year, Pabil said the youth’s participation has become instrumental in solving conflicts.

He also noted that the role of religious leaders is pivotal in preventing violent extremism underscoring “religion was used in justifying the problem to some extent, so it is also important to note that religious leaders can also help in addressing the problem.”

Also in the event were Mohagher Iqbal, MILF Vice Chairman; Atty. Randolph Parcasio, of the Charter Change Consultative Committee; and Dr. Susana Anayatin, of the BTC, spoke about the Bangsamoro Organic Law and Federalism, among other issues.

Pabil said the conference was organized not only to talk about violent extremism but also major issues. “We think that the youth has a different perspective on these issues that’s why we provided them a space to discuss and create a network,” he said.

“Young ulama and professionals gather for this two-day event to talk about pressing issues. Not only countering violent extremism, pero yung mga kalakip na issues like BOL, and the talks on federalism,” he said.

With the participants coming from Bangsamoro provinces, Pabil said the event is expected to have a sustainable effect on the region's youth sector. “Yung output ng assembly, yung mga participants magkaron ng network dahil nagmumula sila sa different provinces. So among themselves, may mga activities and workshops para makapag-create ng action plan after the assembly,” Pabil explained.

During the event, ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman encouraged the participants to create a political party to act as the voice of the youth sector in the upcoming Bangsamoro parliament.

“Kung tama ang bilang na marami sa populasyon ng ating rehiyon ay nagmula sa kabataan, tama lang na dapat sa darating na panahon ay magbubuo ng isang malakas na partido ang kabataan upang mag-transform ang ating politika mula sa dinastiya patungo sa isang partido na kung saan mas marami ang kanilang populasyon,” he said.

“Kaya sa araw na ito, dapat ang ating isipan ay magsisimula na ang ating transisyon, hindi lang from one structure ng ARMM patungo sa bagong structure ngBangsamoro autonomous region kung hindi maging ang ating active participation. Ang failure ng BOL ay failure natin lahat. Ang success ng Bangsamoro ay success natin lahat,” Hataman added. (Bureau of Public Information)

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Troops kill notorious Abu Sayyaf commander, 5 others yield in Sulu

SULU – Security forces killed a notorious sub-leader of the pro-ISIS militant group Abu Sayyaf in an operation launched Wednesday in the southern Philippine province of Sulu, officials said.

 
A military photo released to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner shows an undated photo of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Abdul Ajim Abdulgani alias Suraka Ingog who is killed by security forces on August 15, 2018 in Sulu province.

Ensign Jesca May Viduya, of the Philippine Navy, said Marines and police commandos, mounted the operation in Latih village in Patikul town where they killed Abdul Ajim Abdulgani alias Suraka Ingog.

She said Ingog was under militant leader Muamar Askali, who was also slain in a firefight with military forces in April last year. The operation was led by Philippine Marine Ready Force–Sulu under Col. Arnel Tolato.

“Abdulgani’s death was due to the intensive conduct of focused military operation and joint law enforcement of the military and police,” Viduya said, adding, troops also recovered from the slain militant commander his .45-caliber pistol and ammunition.

Viduya did not disclose details of the military operation, but said the body of Abdulgani was brought to hospital in the capital town of Jolo.

Rear Admiral Rene Medina, chief of naval forces in Western Mindanao, praised the successful anti-terror operation and said the killing of Abdulgani was “a result of the commitment and continued monitoring activity of government troops in the Western Mindanao.”

“The public is assured that the Armed Forces, particularly the Fleet-Marine troops, will continue to exercise vigilance in Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi area to pre-empt any activities brought by the Abu Sayyaf and other lawless terrorist groups that threaten the peace, stability and development in the region,” Medina said.

Military operations against the Abu Sayyaf still continue in Sulu, one of 5 provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.

The Western Mindanao Command also said that 5 Abu Sayyaf fighters, including a sub-leader, surrendered to the military on Wednesday and that the group handed over four M1 rifles to the Marine Battalion Landing Team-1 under the Joint Task Force-Sulu.

The five have identified as sub-leader Ali Hassan, Omar Innol, Simal Alam, Kimbo Alam and Hayudini Amil, who is an expert in improvised explosives, said Lt. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, chief of the Western Mindanao Command. “They are currently undergoing medical check-up and custodial debriefing at the Camp Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital in Jolo,” he said.

Dela Vega said the surrender was facilitated by the Marines under Lt. Col. Stephen Cabanlet and the 52nd Special Action Company of the Philippine National Police.  (Mindanao Examiner)


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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

ARMM flagship program builds progressive communities

COTABATO CITY – With efforts of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to build empowered communities, about a million people from 553 barangay or villages have received various projects through the region’s flagship program dubbed ARMM’s Health, Education, Livelihood, Peace and Governance, and Synergy (ARMM-HELPS).       
                          
Since the program’s implementation in 2014, the regional government has earmarked P6.2 billion for high-impact projects. ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman reiterated that the regional government continues to make greater progress in improving the quality of the peoples’ lives, improve their living environment, and create more development opportunities in beneficiary communities.

Official data from ARMM-HELPS showed a total of 1,062 of 1,713 infrastructure projects targeted for construction were completed; 374 of 563 cooperatives were served, and 257 of 530 barangay halls were built. “Projects for 2018 are on-going and we hope to implement all of these before the transition to the new Bangsamoro entity,” Anwar Upahm, ARMM-HELPS program manager said.

ARMM-HELPS is a convergence initiative of the regional government and is regarded as the centerpiece of the Hataman administration. It was established to achieve a more coordinated and focused intervention at the barangay level and eventually to create maximum impact of services delivered to the community.

Projects include provision of essential medicines, setting up of birthing facilities, construction of barangay health stations and water and sanitation projects, construction of community learning centers, support to standard madrasah development program, and delivery of basic livelihood and enterprising projects, among others.

Gov. Hataman said he is confident that before the new Bangsamoro political entity comes in, the ARMM government has already helped improve the lives of at least a million Bangsamoro people and has strengthened local governance in the region.

“Ito naman talaga ang goal natin na maramdaman ng mga kababayan natin na may gobyernong handang tumulong sa kanila,” Gov. Hataman said.

Projects that have not been completed since 2014 will be finished within this year, said Upahm. (Bureau of Public Information)


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Monday, August 13, 2018

Letters from Davao: ‘Conflict on contentious issues’ By Jun Ledesma

I CANNOT UNDERSTAND why there is so much brouhaha over the statements of Cabinet members on some contentious issues in the draft Constitution. While there are quarters who said that Cabinet members should have taken their stand on the draft Constitution in an executive session with the President, airing their views in public would convey a message that the public should freely participate in the debate. That is what Pres. Rodrigo Duterte precisely wants.

Sec. Sonny Dominguez succinctly said his piece. It is better discussed now, he suggested, than leave the discordant issues that may led to regrets later. Indeed, we are traversing the parallel line that will take us from the unitary and highly centralized government that had held regions outside of Metro Manila its vassal to Federalism that would finally share both power and wealth to the regional or state governments.

But then again, we are in a crucial time when the government is embarking on the most ambitious infrastructure programs aimed at addressing complex problems that hounded and deterred development as well as missed opportunities. The Duterte administration launched the aptly worded program: BUILD, BUILD, BUILD. This comprehends of at least 31 major infrastructures that include railways, roads and bridges, air and sea ports, irrigation projects and information technology.

To translate this program to pulsating reality, the government needs money. And here lies the bitter reality. The economic managers led by Secretary Dominguez had crafted the most comprehensive tax reform for acceleration or inclusion. This, in addition to a no-nonsense tax collection drive, drafting Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, as the leading tax collector. To their credit Internal Revenue Commissioner Cesar Dulay and Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapena achieved their collection targets and way beyond their quota. But this unprecedented performance is not enough. The government has to borrow money to build those infrastructures.

Again, we should be lucky. While critics feast on the expletive-rich and the lack of finesse (as Erap puts it) and crude diplomatic language of Duterte we earned the respect and admiration of world leaders - Xi, Trump, Putin and Abe among them. The bilateral talks with Xi Jinping of China and renewal of ties and friendships with Shinzo Abe of Japan earned unquantifiable blessings. Cheap money with grace period to repay debts that is long enough it allows funded projects to be completed first and become financially viable before we start amortising them. And we have some freebees too like bridges across the river Pasig, firearms and ammunitions to fight terrorists and funds to upgrade the broadcast facilities of the Philippine Broadcasting System to name a few.

But obligations are obligations. Thus the TRAIN. Thus the concern of economic managers like Dominguez, who worry about how to repay debts. I don’t think that the Consultative Committee that approved the draft Charter of the Federal government ever consulted the economic team of the Duterte government.

Dominguez raised the red flag in the Senate because the upper house will scrutinise the draft and yes, he has to point out early and rather bluntly his issues of concern. And rightfully it is now being debated rather than being swept under the rug. And make no mistake about it. Being one from Mindanao, Secretary Sonny is a disciple of federalism otherwise he would not bother spearheading the move of convincing Mayor Duterte to run for President and rallying friends to support the presidential campaign. Remember the centerpiece of Duterte’s campaign platform was Federalism, war on drugs, crime and corruption.

If we want change, then we are all in this together. The Presidential Communications Operations Office under Sec. Martin Andanar is preparing an arena where exchanges and clashes of opinions from all political and social spectrums will be entertained. There will be no winners or losers, right or wrong ideas. I think the object is to help us hoi polloi crystallise our thoughts and then judgement later whether we shift to federal or stay with the status quo. (Jun Ledesma)

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2 militiamen, dedo sa North Cotabato ambush

NORTH COTABATO - Napatay ngayon Lunes ang dalawang mga miyembro Special Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit Active Auxiliary o SCAA makaraang tambangan at pagbabarilin sila ng hindi pa nakilalang mga suspek.

Nabatid na sakay ng isang motorsiklo ang mga biktima sa bahagi ng Barangay Ginatilan sa bayan ng Pikit sa North Cotabato ng sila ay ratratin. Kinilala ang mga nasawi na sina SCAA Richard Wacan at isang alias Maro.

Sa ulat ni Supt. Bernard Tayong, ang tagapagsalita ng Cotabato Police Provincial Office, ay binabaybay ng mga biktima ang daan buhat sa Poblacion ng Pikit at pagdating sa Dalandag National High School doon na sila tinambangan.

Ang mga biktima ay nagtamo ng maraming tama ng bala sa iba’t-ibang bahagi ng kanilang katawan na naging dahilan ng pagkamatay ng mga ito. Sinisilip pa ng pulisya kung may kinalaman sa kanilang trabaho ang pagpaslang sa mga biktima. Walang umako sa krimen. (Rhoderick BeƱez)


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