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Monday, August 31, 2015

INC ends massive rallies in Philippines

Thousands of members of the Iglesia ni Cristo from all over Mindanao trooped to Davao City on Sunday to protest the alleged meddling by the Department of Justice over church affairs, but were recalled Monday by their ministers after church leaders agreed to end the simultaneous protests in Manila, Cebu and Davao. (Mindanao Examiner Photos - Ely Dumaboc)

DAVAO CITY – Tens of thousands of members of the Iglesia ni Cristo bracing for a huge protest in Davao City have been recalled by their ministers on Monday following a dialogue between church and government leaders ending 5 days of massive rallies in the Manila and elsewhere.
Church members arrived here late Sunday, some as far as Zamboanga City, to join the rally in protest to alleged meddling by the Department of Justice over INC affairs.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima was investigating criminal charges filed by former church minister Isaias Samson against senior INC leaders. Samson accused church leaders of illegal detention and corruption, among other allegations.
Church leaders denied all allegations against them and at the same time accused De Lima - who is said to be eyeing a senatorial seat in next year’s polls – of violating religious freedom and doctrine of separation of church and state.
Bienvenido Santiago, a church spokesman, also issued a statement, saying, the Aquino government has finally come to an amicable settlement with the INC. However, details of the settlement were not made public, but it was that announcement that ended what could have been a political uprising following the show of force of loyal church members.
“'Mga kapatid sa Iglesia Ni Cristo, nais naming ipahatid sa inyong lahat na nagkausap na ang panig ng Iglesia at panig ng pamahalaan. At sa pag-uusap na ito, ay nagkakaliwanagan ang dalawang panig kaya payapa na ang lahat.”
“Ito pong ating isinagawang mapayapang pagtitipon na sinumulan ng Huwebes ng hapon ay natatapos na ng mapayapa rin ngayong Lunes ng umaga. Salamat ng marami sa ating Panginoon, sa kanya ang lahat ng kapurihan. Mabuhay ang Iglesia ni Cristo,” Santiago said.
Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who is said to be gunning the presidency in the 2016 elections,
welcomed church members on Sunday and allowed them to stage the peaceful protest in front of the Justice building in Matina village.
“Welcome to Davao City. Just don't make trouble and make sure you leave the rally area as clean as when you arrived,” Duterte, who is in Manila, said to INC leaders.
Duterte’s liaison people estimated that as many as 100,000 INC members flocked to Davao for the rally. The politician directed his people by phone to ensure that commuters were not bothered by the protesters.
He also ordered the local authorities to ensure that INC members were protected in exercising their freedom to assemble and to express their grievance. He told policemen to keep a safe distance away from the rallyists and ensure maximum tolerance.
“Exercise maximum tolerance. You don't need crowd dispersal equipment there. Just talk to the leaders of the Iglesia. Everything will be fine," Duterte told the police.
Duterte also tapped police and army officers who are members of the INC to act as coordinators to ensure that the rally was orderly and peaceful.
“The issues which brought them to Davao City to rally are none of my concern. They can rally as long as they want for as long as they don't create trouble,” Duterte said. “Let them come. We're not worried. I'm sure they will buy something from our stores and our malls will be flooded by clients from the provinces.”
By 9 a.m. many of the rallyists have dispersed and the others were back to their convoy of buses that will bring them back to where they came from. “It was a victory for us. This protest action only shows that we are all united for a common cause and that it to protect our rights, our religious rights, and for the government not to meddle in church affairs. We shall go home victorious because God is with us,” said 41-year old church member Eliseo Dugamo.
INC has millions of members not only in the Philippines, but also around the world and is one of the most influential sects in the country. (With a report from E. Dumaboc)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Jeep collides with truck in Southern Philippines, 8 dead

Screen grab from  video courtesy of DE Camsa Bansuan - ARMM Watch.(Mindanao Examiner) 

TACURONG CITY – At least 8 people were killed and three others seriously wounded when a passenger jeep collided with a cargo truck on Sunday afternoon in Tacurong City in southern Philippines, police said.
Police said the collision was so powerful that passengers in the jeep were thrown outside the vehicle in the village of Montilla. Other reports said 11 people were dead in the tragedy.
The jeep was heading to Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat when it collided head on with the truck whose driver has been identified as Paderan. He surrendered to the police after the accident.
Policemen rushed the wounded to the hospital, according to SPO2 Ester Panila. She said police were investigating the mishap.
City Council member Rodrigo Jamorabon, who was among those that responded to the accident, said the jeep’s passengers just came from a resort and heading home when the tragedy occurred. (Rose Muneza)

Jeep collides with truck in Southern Philippines, 8 dead

TACURONG CITY – At least 8 people were killed and three others seriously wounded when a passenger jeep collided with a cargo truck on Sunday afternoon in Tacurong City in southern Philippines, police said.
Police said the collision was so powerful that passengers in the jeep were thrown outside the vehicle in the village of Montilla. Other reports said 11 people were dead in the tragedy.
The jeep was heading to Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat when it collided head on with the truck whose driver has been identified as Paderan. He surrendered to the police after the accident.
Policemen rushed the wounded to the hospital, according to SPO2 Ester Panila. She said police were investigating the mishap.
City Council member Rodrigo Jamorabon, who was among those that responded to the accident, said the jeep’s passengers just came from a resort and heading home when the tragedy occurred. (Rose Muneza)

Malaysia protests against PM Najib Razak draw thousands

BBC Photo

TENS of thousands of Malaysians are protesting in the capital Kuala Lumpur and elsewhere, calling for Prime Minister Najib Razak to step down over a financial scandal.

Protesters are angered by a $700m (£455m) payment made to his bank account from unnamed foreign donors.

It was discovered last month during a probe into alleged mismanagement at the debt-laden state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Mr Najib has denied any wrongdoing.

Saturday's rally is expected to continue into Sunday. The pro-democracy group Bersih has also called for protests in the cities of Kota Kinabalu and Kuching on the Malaysian side of Borneo.

Kuala Lumpur authorities have rejected the group's application for a permit to protest and Malaysian police have declared the rallies illegal.

Security is tight: access to Kuala Lumpur's Independence Square has been blocked. Eyes will be focused on any possible army intervention.

At the last big rally in 2012, police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse protesters.

Estimates put the number of protesters in Kuala Lumpur at 50,000 to 80,000, though figures issued by the police suggested much lower numbers.

A carnival atmosphere, punctuated by music, vuvuzelas and political speeches, prevailed in the city centre.

The leader of Bersih, Maria Chin, said the protest was not anti-government.

"We don't want to topple the government but we want to topple corrupt politicians," she told the Malaysian Insider.

The demonstrations coincide with preparations for National Day on Monday - the former British colony's 58th anniversary of self-rule.

Mr Najib said on his blog he did not want a "provocation" to be triggered.

He said: "Whatever the disagreements or misunderstandings between us, National Day should not be a stage of political disputes."

Significant support

The main accusation against Mr Najib is that he took $700m from the indebted 1MDB, which he established in 2009 to try to turn Kuala Lumpur into a financial hub.

Cabinet ministers have said the money transfers were "political donations" from unidentified Middle Eastern sources, and that there was nothing improper. No further details have been given.

1MDB has said it has never given money to the prime minister and called the accusations "unsubstantiated".

The prime minister retains significant support from the long-ruling Barisan Nasional coalition and from within his party, the United Malays National Organisation. (BBC)


Saturday, August 29, 2015

5 villagers slain by troops are rebels not civilians

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Philippine military on Sunday maintained that 5 people killed by soldiers in a clash in Bukidnon province were all members of the communist rebel group New People’s Army.
Captain Joe Patrick Martinez, a spokesman for the 4th Infantry Division, said the police have already released the results of laboratory examination conducted on the cadavers. “They were all positive for gunpowder burns and this further strongly proves that they had fired weapons and not civilians as what the NPA has been saying,” he said.
He said the rebels were slain in a recent firefight with members of the 1st Special Forces Battalion in the village of Mendis in Pangantucan town. The clash also left two soldiers – Lieutenant Alvin Balangcod and Private First Class Virgil Rubante – wounded.
General Oscar Lactao, the army division commander, said they would provide assistance to the families of the rebels. “It is unfortunate that this incident has happened. We extend our condolences and express our sympathies to the families of the dead NPA members. Through our local government, we will provide necessary assistance to the concerned local officials in order to facilitate the decent burial of the dead NPA members.”
He also urged other rebels to surrender peacefully and avail of the government’s amnesty program.   
“It is now time to stop violence and give peace a chance. I am encouraging our brothers and sisters who are still blinded by the lies and deceit of the NPA rebels to return back to the folds of the law and lead a more peaceful life. The armed struggle is not the answer to our country’s problem. Let us all work together to live a harmonious and peaceful community,” Lactao said. 
There was no immediate statement from the NPA, which has been fighting for many decades now for the establishment of a separate state. (Mindanao Examiner)

INC protest, kasado na sa Davao City

DAVAO CITY – Isang malaking protesta ang ikakasa ngayon Lunes ng Iglesia ni Cristo sa Davao City bilang bahagi ng malawakang kilos laban sa Department of Justice na umano’y nakikialam sa usaping panloob nito.
Manggagaling sa ibat-ibang bahagi ng Mindanao ang mga miyembrong dadalo sa protesta bilang pakikiisa sa pagtutuol ng INC sa isinagawang imbestigasyon ni DOJ sa sigalot sa pagitan ng angkan ng Manalo.
Nauna nang naglunsad ng protesta nitong Agosto 27 ang libo-libong miyembro ng INC sa harapan ng DOJ sa Maynila at patuloy pa rin ito sa kasalukuyan. Inakusahan ng INC ang DOJ ng paglabag sa religious freedom at ng doktrina ng separation of church and state.
May kinalaman umano ang imbestigasyon ng DOJ sa kasong illegal detention na isinampa ng dating ministro Isaisas Samsom Jr laban sa mga lider ng INC. Ilang ulit na rin itinanggi ng INC ang akusasyon laban sa mga lider nito.
Iginiit naman ng mga miyembro ng INC na pinagiinitan ng DOJ ang Iglesia sa kabila ng maraming mga kaso tulad ng massacre ng mga rebelde sa 44 Special Action Force commandos sa Maguindanao nitong taon at iba pang mga high-profile cases na hanggang ngayon ay nakatiwangwang pa rin.
Inakusahan rin ni Samson ang pamunuan ng INC na korapsyon na itinanggi rin ng Iglesia. Sinibak si Samson matapos umano nitong binatikos ang patakaran sa loob ng Iglesia. (May ulat ni Christina Diabordo.)

PROTESTA! OFWs kumasa sa Malakanyang, BOC

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Turkish suspect arrested in Bangkok with bomb making materials - The Nation

Police arrested a Turkish man at a rented room in Bangkok's Nong Chok district Saturday afternoon and found a lot of bomb making tools and materials.

The arrest took place at Poon-anand apartment in Nongchok district in eastern Bangkok. A large quantity of explosive-making materials were found at the apartment.

The arrest was made after about 100 police and troops surrounded the apartment at at 1:30 pm.

Among things found were 0.5 cm diametre ball bearing similar to those found at the bomb sites at Ratchaprasong Intersection and Sathorn pier. The Ratchaprason attack happened on August 17.

Police and troops surrounded the apartment building on Soi Chuamsamphan 11 for about two hours before making the raid.

Several senior police officers joined the raid, including Metropolitan Police Commissioner Pol Lt Gen Sriwarah Rangsitpramkul and Crime Suppression Division Commander Maj Gen Akkaradej Pimolsri.

The suspect was renting rooms No 412 and 414 on the fourth floor of the apartment, a police source said.

The explosion at the Erawan Shrine on August 17 killed 20 victims, mostly foreign tourists. I also injured more than 100 others.

A man in yellow shirt was seen leaving a backpack under bench in the shrine compound shortly before the bomb went off.

Feeds from security cameras led to facial sketch of a foreigner who appeared like an Arab. A police source said the arrested Turkish looks resemble to the facial sketch of the bomber.

Sriwarah said the suspect rented about three to four rooms and police were checking the rooms.

Sriwarah confirmed that police found some materials in the suspect’s rooms that were similar to those used in the two bombs.

Sriwarah added that the suspect had started renting his room in July. (The Nation) 


Friday, August 28, 2015

Zamboanga Mayor Beng Climaco lauded for dynamic leadership

ZAMBOANGA CITY - The Zamboanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation has commended Mayor Beng Climaco for her dynamic leadership in initiating new programs such as the E-PESO that supports the shift from cash-based economy to digital and inclusive e-payment ecosystem.
Chamber president Edwin To, who represented the private sector during the formal launching of the USAID-sponsored E-PESO program, thanked Climaco for “leading the way in introducing the cashless and paperless transaction in the city.”
He said the initiative will surely put Zamboanga in the business map aside from the many benefits and advantages it will give to the city and its people.
“Thank you very much Mayor Climaco for leading the way. It is a show of your dynamic leadership,” To said.
Aside from promoting cashless and paperless transactions, the E-PESO program will help improve the city’s tax collection efficiency as ZamboangueƱos residing abroad will be able to pay their taxes.
“But most importantly, this E-peso system will promote self-esteem,” To said, adding, that owning a card for various transactions is something that people below the poverty line would be excited and happy about.
He likewise thanked the USAID for facilitating the financing the program and for choosing Zamboanga as a beneficiary of the E-PESO project.
“I have no doubts, this program will succeed in Zamboanga City and rest assured, we in the private sector will work with the city government for the successful implementation of the E-PESO project,” To said.
USAID Acting Deputy Mission Director Roger Carlson also cited Zamboanga City for its role and support to the implementation of the project.
Carlson said the partnership will greatly benefit the Zamboanga and its neighboring areas and set an example and lead the way in the Philippine and in the region. “I can see that being open to technology and good governance and E-PESO is now becoming the new norm in the country and the new norm in Zamboanga City,” he said. (Sheila Covarrubias)

DepEd-ARMM, BRAC Philippines to conduct National Research Forum

COTABATO CITY - The Department of Education in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DepEd-ARMM) and BRAC Philippines will conduct a national research forum on Alternative Delivery Model (ADM) in September in Makati City.
The research forum will discuss the initial findings of three studies conducted by the University of the Philippines Los Banos Foundation, Inc., ACTRC-Melbourne University, and University of Southeastern Philippines on the ADM-BRAC learning centers in ARMM.
Moreover, the event will also showcase the key features of the ADM and BRAC learning centers and identify pathways for integrating the lessons and best practices of the ADM in the national education policies and programs.
DepEd-ARMM officials, Australian embassy representatives, members of the academe and various international nongovernmental organizations working for education in ARMM are expected to attend the event.
The ADM project is a component of the Basic Education Assistance for Muslim Mindanao program. which is being supported by the Philippine and Australian governments. It is now on its fourth year of implementation.
The project established learning centers in poor, conflict-affected, and disadvantaged communities in ARMM to provide opportunities to out-of-school children to have access to basic education. It aims at supporting the ongoing efforts of the Philippine government to address education issues in the region in the long-term. (Bureau of Public Information)

Bus ditched, 2 dozen passengers hurt in Davao

DAVAO CITY – More than two dozen people had been hurt after the bus they were riding hit a ditch and landed on its side Friday in the outskirts of Davao City in southern Philippines, reports said.
The accident occurred in Marilog District, but the cause of the mishap is still unclear and police were investigating this. Some of the passengers were reportedly in serious condition in hospital here.
The driver of the bus – which is operated by Rural Transit Mindanao - has been identified as Rey Aganap.
The names of the injured passengers were not immediately made available by the bus company, which is one of the biggest in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)