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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Maguindanao domestic helper abused in Saudi, now in coma

A teenager from Maguindanao's Kabuntalan town recruited to work as a domestic helper in Saudi Arabia is now in coma after a brain surgery to remove a blot clot she suffered from alleged physical abuses by her employer. (Photo by Migrante-Middle East)

MIGRANTE MIDDLE-EAST has called on the Aquino government to impose sanctions against the recruitment agency that deployed an underage Filipino domestic worker, who was allegedly abused by her employer in Saudi Arabia.
Now, the Filipina – who was operated due to a blood clot in the head that she suffered from physical abuses – is in comatose at a hospital there.
In her passport, the victim – a native of Maguindanao’s Kabuntalan town - was listed as 25-years old, but prior to her operation, she was able to say that her real age is 17, according to John Leonard Monterona, Migrante’s regional director.
He said they also called on the Hans Leo Cacdac, of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, to immediately act on the matter.  Monterona said the teenager was a victim of human trafficking.
“Upon confirmation of her being deployed underage and was a victim of human trafficking, her recruiter’s license must be cancelled immediately, and appropriate case must be filed,” Monterona said.
Monterona said the Philippine government must look into the case and provide all assistance to the victim. He said they continue to receive reports of deployment of underage Filipina and they usually end as victims of maltreatment by their employers.
There was no immediate statement from the government about Migrante’s report. (Mindanao Examiner)

Zamboanga City reaps DILG award

Mayor Beng Climaco with DILG Director Atty. Mohammad Taha Arakama and City Planning Officer Engineer Rodrigo Sicat during the awarding of the  P3-million Performance Challenge Fund. (Photo by Joey Bautista)

ZAMBOANGA CITY - The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has awarded the Zamboanga City government some P3 million in government subsidy from the Performance Challenge Fund as part of the incentive for the local government being a recipient of the Seal of Good Financial Housekeeping for 2014.
DILG Director Atty. Mohammad Taha Arakama handed the cheque to Mayor Beng Climaco. The PCF is an in incentive fund to high-impact capital investment projects in the Annual Investment Program (AIP) and sourced out from the 20% Local Development Fund.
It is being administered by the DILG in collaboration with the Department of Budget and Management to recognize good governance particularly in the adoption of “good housekeeping” along the governance areas development planning, sound financial management, transparency and accountability and valuing performance monitoring.
The award was given to Climaco because Zamboanga has passed the 2012 Seal of Good Housekeeping and the 2014 Good Financial Housekeeping. The subsidy will be used to fund modular-type projects in the 2015 AIP.
Climaco is well credited for her hard work and dedication to public service and also being supported by the locals for her many accomplishments as mayor of Zamboanga. Climaco is gunning for reelection in next year’s polls and is likely to run unopposed under President Aquino's ruling Liberal Party. (Mindanao Examiner, with a report from Sheila Covarrubias)

Former rebels join search for abducted foreigners in Philippines

 Nur Misuari (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

DAVAO CITY – Former Moro rebels, whose leader is wanted on rebellion charges, have joined the search for 3 foreigners and a Filipina kidnapped by the notorious jihadist group Abu Sayyaf in southern Philippines.
The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) said it is helping to locate Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad and Tess Flor who were abducted on September 21 from the upscale Holiday Oceanview Samal Resort on Samal Island off Davao del Norte province.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who is helping in the search for the victims, has sought help from Nur Misuari, the MNLF chieftain, to locate the four. Duterte, citing an intelligence report, claimed that the victims are being held by the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.
Habib Mudjahab Hashim, of the MNLF, said Duterte and Misuari spoke on the phone. He said Duterte sought Misuari’s help in finding or helping in efforts to free the victims. He said Misuari, who is hiding out in Sulu, has ordered his leaders to search for the hostages.
“Mayor Duterte, I was informed, got in touch with brother Nur, and brother Nur is now convening his commanders in Sulu for whatever decisions that will be made, but indications are brother Nur will listen to Duterte. I think he will help in the possible safe release of the hostages,” Hashim said in a television interview. “We believe that Duterte, being a friend and a man of peace, I think he can do a lot, and it's only him among the leaders of Mindanao that brother Nur would listen most.”
Misuari is wanted for his alleged role in the September 2013 MNLF attacks in Zamboanga City that had displaced over 100,000 people. More than 200 people were killed in the siege launched by Misuari’s commanders disgruntled over the peace deal they signed with Manila, and the proposed new autonomous region which favor its rival Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
There was no official confirmation either from the military or police authorities that the hostages were taken to Sulu and no group has claimed responsibility for the daring abduction by 11 gunmen which occurred before midnight.
It was unknown how Misuari would convince or persuade the Abu Sayyaf – if the hostages are with them – to free the victims. Misuari has no influence over the Abu Sayyaf, which is fighting for a separate Islamic state in the restive region, and this was proven after he failed to secure the freedom of 21 mostly European holidaymakers and Malaysian resort workers kidnapped from Sabah’s Sipadan Island in 2000.
Kuala Lumpur had sought Misuari’s help to free the hostages - who were taken by boat to Sulu - but the Abu Sayyaf had refused to release their captives, and instead sold their freedom to Libya and Malaysia for $21 million. And since then, Malaysia broke its ties with Misuari and ordered his arrest following another attack in Zamboanga City in 2001.
Misuari also earned the ire of the Malaysian government after he renewed calls of the claims of the Philippines to Sabah. In retaliation, then Sabah Progressive Party President Datuk Yong Teck Lee, furious over the rumblings from Misuari, has called for stricter laws on Filipinos traveling to the oil-rich state.
Misuari said what Malaysia pays to the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo is but a pittance. The Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo lays claim to Sabah. The Sultanate of Sulu was founded in 1457 and is believed to exist as a sovereign nation for at least 442 years. The Sultanate of Sulu obtained Sabah from Brunei as a gift for helping put down a rebellion on the Borneo Island.
The British leased Sabah and transferred control over the territory to Malaysia after the end of Second World War. Even after Borneo became part of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur still pays an annual rent of 5,000 ringgit to the heirs of the Sultan of Sulu.
The MNLF, under Misuari, signed the peace deal with Manila in September 1996 ending decades of bloody war. After the peace agreement was signed, Misuari became the governor of the Muslim autonomous region. But despite the peace accord, there was a widespread disillusionment with the weak autonomy they were granted.
Under the peace accord, Manila would have to provide a mini-Marshal Plan to spur economic development in Muslim areas in the South and livelihood and housing assistance to tens of thousands of former rebels to uplift their poor living standards.
Misuari’s followers tried, but failed to overrun a major military base in Sulu in November 2001 and another group held hostage over 100 people in Zamboanga City in an attempt to stop the elections in the Muslim autonomous region. He fled to Sabah, his former refuge, but was arrested by Malaysian authorities and sent back to Manila. Misuari was eventually released from prison after pledging his support to then President Gloria Arroyo.  (Mindanao Examiner)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

ARMM launches 'Violence and Injury Prevention Alliance'

COTABATO CITY - The Department of Health of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DOH-ARMM) has launched the Violence and Injury Prevention Alliance (VIPA) to reduce the effects of violence and injuries in the region.

Abdulhalik Kasim, DOH-ARMM Assistant Secretary, said the VIPA under the national government’s Violence and Injury Prevention Program (VIPP) aims at reducing mortality, morbidity, and disability due to violence and injuries.

“Since the implementation of the program would need support from various stakeholders, foremost of which are the local government units (LGUs), there is a need to organize an alliance,” Kasim said.

The VIPP also seeks to enhance the capacity of the regional offices, LGUs, and other stakeholders as well as strengthen collaboration with them for this cause.

Nearly 50 officials from Bureau of Fire Protection and Philippine National Police, employees from ARMM line agencies, and workers from health and non-government organizations attended the launching event.

In a 2011 report of the World Health Organization (WHO), injuries were reported to be responsible for 9% of all deaths with road traffic injuries claiming nearly 3,500 lives each day, making it among the 10 leading causes of mortality globally.

The VIPP is the country’s adapted policy in response to WHO’s call for member states to develop measures to prevent injuries and violence. WHO has recommended that such policies, strategies and plans of action be concrete and contain objectives, priorities, timetables, and mechanisms for evaluation.

In ARMM, injuries of all forms ranked third in terms of morbidity, and injuries and accidents ranked fourth in terms of mortality in 2014. Dr. May Ann Sta. Lucia, VIPP coordinator at DOH-Region VI, said pre-hospital emergency medical service system will effectively address the magnitude of day-to-day emergencies, thus, the alliance will help augment this lapse. Region VI, or Western Visayas, launched VIPP in 2014 as the program’s pilot area in the country.

The DOH-ARMM will be the focal agency responsible for designing, coordinating, and integrating plans, programs and strategies and activities of VIPP. The VIPA will oversee the effective and efficient implementation of the programs that are geared towards injury and violence prevention. (Bureau of Public Information)

Van overturns, kills teacher in Zamboanga City

Overloaded passenger jeeps are a common sight in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines and despite the hazards and dangers it poses, policemen and traffic aides play blind to the glaring violations of traffic laws. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – A 50-year old teacher was killed and 19 others injured after the van they were riding overturned on Wednesday in Zamboanga City in southern Philippines, police said.
Police said the passenger van was travelling over 100 kilometers per hour when it overturned near Caragasan village. The driver, Bashir Salahiron, was apparently trying to avoid a collision with a motorcycle that suddenly crossed his path when the accident occurred.
The van, carrying more than a dozen passengers, was heading to Ayala village in the west coast, police said, adding, the lone fatality has been identified as Sophia Dimawala.
Two passengers, who previously rode with Salahiron, said the driver was reckless and that many times nearly or had hit other vehicles while plying the same route.
Salahiron has surrendered to the police and is now detained. He is facing criminal and civil charges.
One automotive mechanic also alleged that many van drivers plying the route were drug users and that in some occasion offered him shabu, but he declined to take the illegal drug.
Zamboanga City has one of the most ineffective traffic management in the region where police authorities and local government, including the Land Transportation Office, ignored serious violations of traffic rules by jeepney drivers. Many commuter jeeps take passengers and allow them to sit on the roof and often are overloaded.
Many transport vehicles plying the east coast villages also take passengers more than the capacity of their jeepney, but nothing has been done by the traffic police and traffic personnel from City Hall about this violation.
Just this year, a speeding passenger jeep rammed a concrete pole on the highway before rolling over on its side and killing the 30-year old Romualdo Apolinario and injured over a dozen more, many sitting on the roof.
The jeep’s driver Jan Michael Fabian said he avoided a collision with a motorcycle and lost control of the wheel. The motorcycle driver, a student of the Western Mindanao State University, said the jeep clipped his bike before ramming the pole.
Traffic violations remain unabated here - from illegal parking to overloaded jeeps and mini-buses to abusive drivers. (Mindanao Examiner)

ARMM holds poster-making competition

COTABATO CITY - Activities related to World Food Day, which is celebrated annually on the 16th of October, has started in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). This year’s celebration carries the theme “Social Protection and Agriculture: Breaking the cycle of rural poverty.”
As an initial activity, the region’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF-ARMM) organized an on-the-spot mosaic poster-making contest held on September 28, at the DAF-ARMM regional office in Cotabato City.
Students from four elementary schools from Maguindanao participated in this activity. Tenorio Elementary School from Datu Odin Sinsuat bested three other schools namely Datu Pinguiaman Elementary School, Sarmiento Central Elementary School, and Making Elementary School.
The activity is in collaboration with the region’s Department of Education, and international organizations, specifically the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme.
Grand prize winner Khasmira Tuankali, 11, Grade 6 student of Tenorio Elementary School said she practiced almost everyday before the actual competition and has asked her friends and coach for new ideas and on how to develop her craft. Tenorio Elementary School has won the championship title since 2013.
Khasmira won P3,000 and a medal. She will represent the region in the nationwide poster-making competition on October 16 at the Agriculture department’s national office. 
Teacher Lilibeth Gomez, Khasmira’s coach, said she is preparing her student for the national competition. Winning a national event, she said, does not only bring pride to her school but also to the entire region.
The contenders from ARMM were among the top five winners for two consecutive years since 2013. Kadiguia Abdullah, information office head at DAF-ARMM, said that they are aiming for a three-peat this year.
Winners of the contest were judged based on the following criteria: 20% for originality, 20% for visual impact, 30% for creativity using abundantly produced agri-seeds and aquamarine products, and 30% for theme relevance. ARMM is among the country’s leading producers of crops like cassava, rice, corn and coffee. (Bureau of Public Information)

3 people killed in Sultan Kudarat strafing

SULTAN KUDARAT – Three people were killed when gunmen attacked a village in Sultan Kudarat province in southern Philippines, police said Tuesday.
Police said at least 30 gunmen were involved in the attack which occurred late Monday near President Quirino town. Among the dead was a four-year old boy and his family is said to be working as caretaker for a private palm plantation in the area.
A five-year old boy and an adult were also wounded in the strafing and police said all the victims belong to a single family.
The motive of the attack was unknown, but it was the second time that gunmen attacked the victims that also left one person dead in the past. Police said the violence may be connected to a clan war. (Rose Muneza)