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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Kidnapped Korean man found dead in Philippines

ZAMBOANGA CITY – A South Korean kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf rebels was found dead near Patikul town in the Philippine province of Sulu, officials said on Sunday.
Captain Roy Trinidad, a military spokesman, said the decomposing body of 74-year old Noi-seong Hong was discovered by residents near the Sulu State College before midnight Saturday.
The foreigner apparently died from an illness and rebels dumped his body outside the school, but it was unknown how they managed to pass through police and military checkpoints along the way.
“As per initial forensic report, the cadaver had no gunshot or stab marks and time of death was estimated to be three to five days ago. Hong was reported to have been sick for the past few weeks while in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf,” Trinidad told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.
The body of the elderly Korean was transported to Zamboanga City by a military plane where his grieving family waited.
Hong was seized by rebels in January in the neighboring province of Zamboanga Sibugay and then brought by boat to Sulu, one of five provinces under the troubled Muslim autonomous region. 
The Abu Sayyaf, whose members were mostly former fighters of the Moro National Liberation Front which signed a peace deal with Manila in September 1996, is still holding about a dozen local and foreign hostages they kidnapped in southern Philippines and nearby Sabah in Malaysia.  (Mindanao Examiner)

15 people perished in Zamboanga fire

Mayor Beng Climaco talks to leaders of market association following a fire on Saturday that killed 15 people at a market in Zamboanga City in these photos released by City Hall.

ZAMBOANGA CITY – A huge fire on Saturday has killed 15 people and seriously injured 5 others in Zamboanga City in southern Philippines, Mayor Beng Climaco said.
She said the fire hit a market site in downtown Zamboanga at around 3.17 in the morning and that many stalls were burned as fire fighters battled the flame for about three hours. And when the smoke cleared, 15 people - mostly Muslim traders - were dead.
Climaco has ordered a thorough investigation into the tragedy that left P8 million in properties up in smoke. She said an initial report pointed to a stall owned by Mannan as the origin of the fire which quickly spread throughout the block in a busy area called Magay.
“We are saddened by this incident where 15 people were killed and we have ordered an investigation into this tragedy,” she told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.
Climaco also met with the leaders of the market association to discuss immediate plans and other matters on how the government can help the families of the victims. (Mindanao Examiner)

Philippine troops foil bloody Abu Sayyaf bombing

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Philippine soldiers have foiled Saturday a deadly bomb attack on Catholic cemetery packed with people in the southern province of Sulu, officials said.
Captain Roy Trinidad, a military spokesman, said troops - deployed in Jolo town to help police authorities secure civilians during All Saints’ Day – discovered a bag containing the explosives made from ammonium nitrate and other materials rigged to a cell phone and tucked into a 10-liter container.
Although no individual or group claimed responsibility for the failed attack, suspicion fell heavily on the Abu Sayyaf which is notorious for killing civilians and the spate of bombings in the Muslim autonomous region.
Sulu is one of five provinces under the Muslim region where Abu Sayyaf continues in terror campaign in an effort to establish an Islamic caliphate in the restive South.
Trinidad said troops immediately disrupted the improvised explosive and appealed to citizens to be vigilant. “We have disrupted the IED and security forces tightened its patrol in Sulu to protect the public from harm,” he told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.
Jolo Mayor Hussin Amin did not give any statement on the foiled bombing, but the town had been attacked many times in the past by the Abu Sayyaf. (Mindanao Examiner)

Friday, October 30, 2015

RBOI-ARMM registers additional P600-M investment for 2015

COTABATO CITY - The Regional Board of Investments in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (RBOI-ARMM) registered P600 million worth of investments at the start of this year’s fourth quarter creating at least 250 jobs for the region.
These investments were from the Maguindanao Energy Farms Inc. (MEFI) based in Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao and Matling Industrial and Commercial Corp. (MICC) operating in Matling, Malabang, Lanao del Sur.
MEFI invested P400 million for a 474-hectare napier grass plantation. The plantation with production capacity of 256,133 metric tons per annum will be used to supply the fuel needs of Lamsan Power Plant, which is also located in Simuay. Napier is a highly valued industrial crop, a good source of biomass energy, which will naturally regenerate after a reasonable length of time.
Lawyer Ishak V. Mastura, RBOI-ARMM chairperson said the addition of MEFI on the list of existing renewable energy projects registered with this office signifies a growing number of investors in alternative sources of energy such as biomass. 
“Such projects are included in the 2014-2016 ARMM Investments Priorities Plan that promotes and supports economic activities for sustainable and clean sources of energy and to secure power supply for the future. About 23% of total investments from 2012 to the present in ARMM are into renewable energy,” Mastura said.
MICC, on the other hand, invested P194 million for an expansion and modernization project by setting up a new cassava starch-milling plant. The new plant is expected to yield approximately 13,216 metric tons, or 260,000 bags annually. MICC is one of the pioneering and most enduring cassava starch companies in the country, which was established in September 1928.
As of the third quarter of 2015, RBOI-ARMM registered a total of P6 billion investments, the biggest in the history of ARMM. Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman said “investments will continue to come in the region as long as there is sustained peace and stability.” (Bureau of Public Information)

ARMM appoints new RPMA head

COTABATO CITY - The Regional Ports Management Authority in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (RPMA-ARMM) was turned-over to its new officcr-in-charge (OIC) Ersan Imban Warad in a ceremony held on October 29 in Cotabato City.
Warad serves as OIC-general manager of the agency by virtue of an appointment signed by ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman effective October 26. Lawyer Laisa Alamia, ARMM executive secretary, led the ceremony, which was attended by port managers in the region and RPMA-ARMM’s staff.  
Alamia said she is confident Warad will manage the agency well. RPMA-ARMM’s outgoing general manager Hanie Bud stepped down to pursue another career. Bud served as the chief of the agency since 2012. 
Warad, a Yakan native from Maluso town in the province of Basilan, served as the agency’s assistant general manager for admin and finance since 2013. “We will continue what our former general manager (Bud) had started,” he said. He reiterated that the agency will enhance the delivery of safe, efficient and effective ports services in the region. 
The RPMA-ARMM is mandated to integrate the policy of the National Ports System in managing, administering, and operating all ports in ARMM. 
As of October 2015, RPMA-ARMM generated about P12.3 million in revenue collections from seaport operations. The figure is expected to increase by the end of the year exceeding the agency’s target of P12-million for 2015. 
RPMA-ARMM operates the base ports in Jolo in Sulu; Bongao in Tawi-Tawi; and Lamitan City in Basilan; as well as the sub-ports of Siasi in Sulu, Maluso in Basilan, and Mapun, Sitangkai and Sibutu in Tawi-Tawi. It also exercises regulatory powers in six private ports/wharves operating in the region. 
“We in the RPMA-ARMM aim to align and be competitive with all ports in the national and regional maritime transport chain,” Warad said. (Bureau of Public Information)

Rebels bomb power pylon in Southern Philippines

One of NGCP power pylons in southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

MARAWI CITY – Suspected rebels bombed a power pylon in Marawi City in the restive Muslim autonomous region and cutting off electricity in several areas in southern Philippines, officials reported Friday.
The latest attack was the third since rebels also blasted two other pylons in North Cotabato’s Pikit town on October 9 that left many areas without electricity. Although no individual or group claimed responsibility for the bombings, the military and police blamed extortion as the sole motive for the attacks.
The pylons are being operated by the privately-owned National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), but it was unknown why it failed to detect or stop the bombing which occurred in the village of Patani late on Thursday.
The NGCP has confirmed the attack on its tower that cut electricity in Mindanao, including as far as Zamboanga City.
“One of NGCP’s towers in Patani in Marawi City was bombed. Agus 1 and Agus 2 plants are isolated from the grid causing power loss in several areas in Mindanao,” the company said in a statement sent to The Manila Times.
Both Agus 1 and 2 are hydroelectric power plants situated in Marawi in Lanao del Sur, one of five provinces under the Muslim region.
The rebels used a mortar round in blasting the pylon, the same explosive that toppled the two power pylons in North Cotabato in previous attacks.
Captain Jo Ann Petinglay, a spokeswoman for the 6th Infantry Division, said each tower is manned by a caretaker who is employed by NGCP. “These caretakers are responsible for looking after the towers and reporting presence of threat in the area,” she said.
Petinglay said the bombers used 60mm mortars to topple down the steel pylons in Pikit and that another bomb was discovered nearby. The bombings caused a three-hour blackout in some areas of North Cotabato, South Cotabato and Maguindanao provinces, she said.
Just early this year, rebels also bombed and destroyed a power pylon in the town of Pagalungan in Maguindanao province. The powerful blast disabled NGCP Tower 26 near Galakit village and totally cut off electricity in many areas in the province and neighboring municipalities. The blast affected the 138KV transmission line servicing the area.
Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels and other groups are actively operating in Lanao del Sur and North Cotabato, including neighboring areas in Maguindanao and South Cotabato. (With a report from Moh Saaduddin) 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Carmudi PH partners with Car Awards Group, Inc.

Carmudi PH partners with Car Awards Group, Inc. Carmudi Philippines, the country's premier online vehicle marketplace, recently forged a partnership with the Car Awards Group, Inc. (CAGI) that will culminate with Carmudi's role as presentor ot the 2015 Car of the Year –Philippines (COTY-P) and 2015 Truck of the Year-Philippines (TOTY-P) awards. The awarding ceremonies are set to be held on November 13, 2015 at the Fontana Clark in Pampanga. (From left to right): Kris Lim, Head of PR and Marketing of Carmudi Philippines; Subir Lohani, Managing Director of Carmudi Philippines; Robby Consunji, President of Car Awards Group, Inc., and Ronnie Trinidad, Board Member of Car Awards Group, Inc.

Gov. Hataman leads groundbreaking of P10-M water system in Maguindanao

MAGUINDANAO – Governor Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) led on Thursday the groundbreaking of a P10-million, Level 2, water supply system in Datu Odin Sinsuat town in Maguindanao province.
The region’s Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH-ARMM)) will undertake the project, which is expected to be completed in approximately five months. Gov. Hataman said the project is part of the regional government’s efforts to improve local residents’ access to potable water and sanitation.
He said he has ordered the DPWH-ARMM to allot at least 30% of the regional government’s infrastructure funds to water systems following a cholera outbreak in a coastal community in Maguindanao in 2013 that killed two and affected more than 60 residents.
The outbreak was due to a contaminated water source in the area based on a report from the regional office of the Department of Health. The governor said the water system projects will help prevent the spread of waterborne diseases in communities that lack access to safe drinking water.
Sharifa Bagel, 60, a resident of Barangay Poblacion, Datu Odin Sinsuat, said the project is a big help to the residents. In all her years in the community, she said, this would be her first time to experience the ease of having access to a Level 2 water supply. A Level 2 system refers to water supplied by pipes from a communal source. Meanwhile, Mayor Datu Ombra Sinsuat said his administration is thankful for the water system project and all the other projects that have been provided by the ARMM government to his municipality. (Bureau of Public Information)

ARMM celebrates 2015 Cooperative Month

COTABATO CITY - The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) underscored the importance of cooperatives in nation-building during the celebration of the 2015 Cooperative Month and the centennial anniversary of cooperatives in the Philippines

Dimnatang Radia, Cooperative Development Authority-ARMM (CDA-ARMM) Administrator, said cooperatives serve as an instrument in achieving peace and development in the community. “They (cooperatives) are our partners in implementing the region’s programs to the ground,” said Radia. 

This year’s celebration started with a parade led by CDA-ARMM held at the regional government’s compound on Wednesday, October 28. It was participated by employees and officials of the ARMM as well as different cooperatives from the first and second districts of Maguindanao. 

Simultaneously, CDA-ARMM launched its “Kapit-Bisig, Coop Natin, Kaya Natin” program. Radia said the program will help strengthen cooperatives in the region. 

“Ang programang ito ay paraan upang mahikayat natin ang mga kooperatiba at iba pang mga katuwang natin sa gobyerno upang matulungan at lalo pang palakasin ang mga kooperatiba sa ating rehiyon. Ito ay ayon rin sa direktiba ng ating Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman (This program is one way of convincing the cooperatives as well as our partner agencies in government to help and further strengthen cooperativism in the region. This is based on directives from Governor Mujiv Hataman),” said Radia.

Cooperatives started to operate in the country in 1915 by virtue of Act 2508 providing for the “creation of rural agricultural cooperative associations.” CDA-ARMM is mandated to register, regulate and conduct capacity building activities and trainings in promoting the viability, growth and sustainability of cooperatives in the region. 

To pursue its mandate, Radia said the agency is currently upgrading its system of registration from manual to computerized for easy gathering and access of data on various cooperatives in the region. As of date, ARMM has almost 5,000 registered cooperatives.  

CDA-ARMM is conducting forums on implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 9520, also known as the cooperative act of 2008, to update cooperatives on laws governing them. The agency is also providing technical assistance and seminars on bookkeeping and management of cooperatives.

This year’s celebration carries the theme “Kooperatiba: Ika-100 Taong Pagpupugay, Tulay sa Maunlad na Buhay.” (Bureau of Public Information)

ARMM Governor Hataman receives 2015 Outstanding Governorship Award

COTABATO CITY - Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Mujiv Hataman, for the second time, received an Outstanding Governorship Award this year during ceremonies held on October 27 in Metro Manila.
Superbrands Marketing International Inc. (SMI) confers this award to governors, mayors, dignitaries, local legislators, and congressmen in recognition of their achievements.
Other recipients of the award this year are Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, Ilocos Norte Governor Maria Imelda Marcos, Camarines Sur Governor Luis Villafuerte, Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon, and Isabela Governor Faustino Dy III.
“I am honored to be named as one of outstanding governors in the country,” said Gov. Hataman who was a recipient of the same award in 2013. A governor is the province’s highest-ranking elected official, with duties more varied than any elected member of the district, party-list, or national legislature.
Superbrands cited Gov. Hataman as a Moro servant leader in contemporary Mindanao. He is the first Moro to receive such award. Karl Maclean, chairman of SMI, said the Hataman administration's introduction of reforms and good governance has allowed ARMM to maintain its relevance with respect to the aspirations of the Moro people.
“His (Hataman) policy of bringing the government closer to the people and vice-versa is an impressive move to make his constituents to realize that government exists,” Maclean added.
Gov. Hataman has worked hard to become a truly Moro leader. The ARMM saved millions of government funds when the governor launched a campaign against ghost projects and workers in 2012. This earned him the moniker ‘certified ghost buster’ from President Benigno Aquino III during his third State of the Nation Address in 2013.
The governor’s administration anchored its reform initiatives on three key pillars, namely good governance, peace and security, and socio-economic development. “This award is for the people of ARMM who continuously support the regional government,” Gov. Hataman said. (Bureau of Public Information)

Jesus Miracle Crusade celebrates 20th year in Zamboanga

Minister Wilde James Almeda, of the Jesus Miracle Crusade International Ministry, leads the celebration of the 20th founding anniversary of the JMCIM in Zamboanga City in southern Philippines. The event was attended Mayor Beng Climaco and local government officials. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Minister Wilde James Almeda has led the celebration of the 20th founding anniversary of the Jesus Miracle Crusade International Ministry or JMCIM in Zamboanga City in southern Philippines.
Hundreds of JMCIM members flocked to the village of Divisoria to hear Minister Wilde James speak about the long historic and miraculous stories of faith and strong convictions of the influential and one of the Philippines’ biggest religious groups.
Minister Wilde James was also accompanied by Brother Danny Cuarteros and other prayer warriors in the celebration that was also attended by Zamboanga Mayor Beng Climaco and other local government officials.
Mayor Climaco, herself a religious woman, also met and spoke with Minister Wilde James and praised the JMCIM for its steadfast promotion of peace not only in Zamboanga City, but the entire country.
Minister Wilde James also thanked Mayor Climaco and her group for their strong support to the JMCIM.
Having been exposed to the crusades of JMCIM founded by his father Pastor Wilde Estrada Almeda, Minister Wilde James said he started young as a member of a band that went out to different areas in the country and played gospel music.
“I remember it was 20 years ago when we had our first crusade here in Zamboanga and I was 20 then. I grew up really sa crusade in the church, so we go everywhere in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. And now we have more than 1.5 million members in the country and it’s steadily growing and this is aside from memberships we have around the world,” he told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.
Minister Wilde James, who is based in San Francisco in California, said after Zamboanga, their next crusade would be in South Korea. From San Francisco, the group of Minister Wilde James regularly holds services in at least 8 outreach missions in Canada; and the Middle East, among other countries.
“We’ll just continue to spreading the gospel, sharing the gospel at kagaya ng ginagawa ng aming mahal at beloved Pastor Evangelist Wilde Estrada Almeda na ipangaral ang ebanhelyo ng kaligtasan kasi maraming tao talaga ang nangangailangan ng kaligtasan, lahat talaga tayo kailangan ng kaligtasan,” he said.
Just recently, the JMCIM also launched for the second time this year, the “Yes for Peace” at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City. Peace advocates, including the police and military and government officials have praised the launching of this and renewed support to the JMCIM.
Last March, the JMCIM led by Evangelist Pastor Wilde Estrada Almeda, launched “Yes for Peace – Bayanihan para sa KKK (Kapayapaan, Kaunlaran at Kasaganahan)” in support to President Benigno Aquino’s peace efforts.
Minister Wilde James is also actively involved in the advocacy and Yes for Peace campaign in the country. “We launched this Yes for Peace because this is part of the gospel, ang kapayapaan ay para sa lahat ng tao and ultimately buhay na walang hanggang,” he said.
The Yes for Peace, an unfunded, non-government initiated peace education and advocacy campaign, is being supported by Department of Education; the Philippine Postal Corporation, the Presidential Communications Operations Office; the Philippine Information Agency; the Philippine News Agency; and the National Printing Office, among other groups.
The JMCIM also celebrated recently the 15th anniversary of the miraculously successful Talipao Peace Mission led by Pastor Almeda along with Brother Cuarteros, an ordained preacher and one of the 12 so-called prayer warriors who helped JMCIM founder to convince the Abu Sayyaf rebels to free 21 mostly European holidaymakers they kidnapped in Sabah in 2000 and brought to Sulu province.
Tens of thousands of people joined the anniversary celebration held at the Amoranto Stadium in Quezon City.
In the Sipadan kidnappings, it was Pastor Wilde Almeda who led the prayer warriors in successfully fasting, praying and negotiating for the release, without ransom, of the hostages. The incredible survival and strong faith in God of Pastor Wilde Almeda’s group that led them to freedom and the miracle that also changed the hearts of many Abu Sayyaf members and their leaders is also in a book “Miracles in Moroland” written by American author and evangelist Sam Smith.
The book was launched this year by evangelist couple Luke and Annalissa Smith together with Brother Cuarteros and Hermie Limpin, who was also with the group of Pastor Wilde Almeda, when Abu Sayyaf rebels seized them in Talipao town during the historic peace mission. (Mindanao Examiner)

2 killed in Southern Philippine clan war

COTABATO CITY – Two people were killed on Thursday morning when gunmen attacked a village in the southern Philippine city of Cotabato and torched two houses before escaping, the army said.
Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, a spokeswoman for the 6th Infantry Division, said authorities were investigating the attack and that an initial military report suggested the violence stemmed from a family feud.
She said one person, Teng Akmad, was also wounded in the attack. She also identified the slain civilians as Pasandalan and Guia Akmad – all supporters of the Karim family. “The victims were by their family. The motive of the attack was family feud,” she told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.
Petinglay said there were undetermined number of casualties from the side of the Ayunan family, but two houses owned by Tua Kaharudin and Iso Makasasa were torched by gunmen.
There were no reports of arrests from both sides, but the attack occurred just three days after gunmen ambushed 5 people, including a child, – all from the Ayunan family – in Dulangan village in datu Odin Sinsuat town in Maguindanao province near Cotabato.
The victims - Lilang Ayunan, Pink Rose Ayunan, Shoam Ido, Kago and Boy Pasawira – were travelling in a car when gunmen, who were tailing them from a pick-up truck, sprayed them with automatic gunfire. Two other people in the car - Pabu Ayunan and Norham Pasawiran – were also wounded in the ambush. (With a report from Rose Muneza)