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Friday, September 30, 2016

ARMM mulls activation of local school boards

COTABATO CITY - Officials in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said they are determined to harness local school boards (LSBs) in improving the state of education in the ARMM.
Alfhadar Pajiji, Department of Education (DepEd) Assistant Regional Secretary for Special Projects, said they recognize the essential role of LSBs in advancing the welfare of public schools in the ARMM. The region is composed of the provinces of Sulu, Maguindanao, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, and Lanao del Sur, as well as the cities of Marawi and Lamitan.

“While the regional government is working at addressing issues in the education sector, the functions of the LSB cannot be underestimated and the need to make these boards functional is a challenge to the department,” he said.

Republic Act 7160, or the Local Government Code of 1991, mandates local government officials to work on education sector concerns. Under the law, school boards should be composed of local chief executives, school superintendents and district supervisors, councilors, board members, treasurers, Sangguniang Kabataan chairmen, presidents of parent-teacher associations, and non-academic personnel of schools.

The LSB determines the annual supplementary budget needs for the operation and maintenance of public schools within the province, city or municipality, and serves as an advisory committee to the local legislative body on educational matters such as the necessity for, and the use of local appropriations for educational purposes.

“Having a strong, efficient and working local school board is the key to meeting effective delivery of education services, such as identification of priority schools to be rehabilitated, and facilities to be constructed,” Pajiji said.

The regional DepEd official cited the case of Naga City, which saw a dramatic improvement in its basic education after its then mayor, the late secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government Jesse Robredo, activated the city school board.

Robredo was among the local chief executives who advocated for the activation of the LSBs to improve education in the country. He noted that “local education governance reforms can be done” and that “empowered and functional local school boards have both the mandate and legal personality to serve as focal point for these reforms.”

Pajiji said regional DepEd is “encouraging local government units throughout the ARMM to help make local school boards more functional. The pressing problems we have on education such as the repair of dilapidated classrooms can be addressed more efficiently if we have active school boards.”
ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman said among the current challenges the region faces is the poor state of education and the regional government is taking various steps to reform and improve this sector.

The ARMM government has allotted a total of P2.3 billion for basic education facilities in the region from 2013 to 2015. Through its Department of Public Works and Highways, it has built a total of 332 school buildings across the region in 2013 and 2014. The ongoing construction of 819 additional classrooms is set to be finished by next year.
The region has 2,155 elementary schools and 304 secondary schools that are grouped into nine schools divisions, namely Maguindanao I and II, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur I and II, Lamitan City, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi. (ARMM Bureau of Public Information)

Radyo Mindanao September 30, 2016

You are listening to Mindanao Examiner Radio - also broadcast daily from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on RPN-dxXX 1008 kHz covering Western Mindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, and Central Mindanao.

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Radyo Mindanao September 29, 2016

You are listening to Mindanao Examiner Radio - also broadcast daily from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on RPN-dxXX 1008 kHz covering Western Mindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, and Central Mindanao.

For radio advertisements and sponsorship, please call 062-9925480 or 082-2960658 or text 0995-5202358 and 0947-4823453. For more details, please visit

147 finish TESDA-Republic Cement welding program in Iligan City

ILIGAN CITY – Some 147 beneficiaries of the Republic Cement Group have graduated from Shielded and Arc Welding training program of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority or TESDA in Iligan City in southern Philippines.
The training was part of the Republic Cement’s Iligan plant’s skills training program and community development initiatives. All the graduates received National Certificates II or NC II from the TESDA. 
“Republic Cement is firmly committed to the development of our host communities, including providing relevant skills training that can translate into employment opportunities both here and abroad,” Renato Sunico, president of Republic Cement and Building Materials, Inc., said in a statement sent to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.
He said the new welders represent the second batch of trainees under the program, which has since produced over 200 graduates. The project benefited indigent and unemployed members from the villages of Kiwalan and Acmac.
Under the program, which is implemented in partnership with TESDA and the village councils of Kiwalan and Acmac, scholars undergo a total of 324 hours of intensive training in order to receive a certificate.
NC II is part of TESDA’s Technical Vocational Education Training Qualification and Certification System, which validates that its program graduates are equipped with the technical aptitude in all relevant competency requirements and standards prescribed by the industry, according to Sunico.   
He said apart from offering livelihood opportunities, the program promotes equal opportunity and gender diversity, having trained over 20 women in the Shielded and Arc Welding course, a traditionally male-associated profession. 
Sunico said they are helping to expand the local pool of skilled workers from which it can hire contractors for its expansion requirements. He said most of the welding contractors currently servicing Republic Cement’s Iligan plant are products of the skills training program. “This is one way that Republic Cement builds shared value in our host communities. Our skills training program is one way for us to contribute to the communities’ overall well-being,” he said. (Mindanao Examiner)

"Good neighbors" rally behind ARMM budget as it breezes through house plenary

Congressmen confer with ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman during a one-minute suspension of interpellations in the plenary hearing on September 28, 2016. The regional budget amounting to P40.573 billion passed by legislators last night is the biggest in the ARMM's history. (ARMM Bureau of Public Information)

MANILA - Congressmen's support for the 2017 regional budget of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was apparent during the plenary hearing in the House of Representatives.

Zamboanga City District Representative Celso Lobregat noted that some concerns were raised during the pre-plenary hearing, but the ARMM leadership was already able to respond sufficiently to the said concerns. Lobregat then manifested as a "good neighbor" that he had no more questions for the ARMM.

The minority leader, Quezon 3rd District Representative Danilo Suarez then moved to end the interpellation for the ARMM budget, which the majority was about to echo. But it was at that point when Kusug Tausug Representative Shernee Tan moved to defer the approval of the ARMM budget to "a later date," saying that she needed answers to her questions regarding the said budget.

She carried out her interpellation using questions earlier resolved during the pre-plenary hearing, one that was led and later described by Lanao del Norte's 1st District Representative Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo, vice chairperson for thecommittee of appopriations and sponsor for the ARMM budget in the plenary, as a "very productive meeting"

Tan's inquiries included concerns regarding the construction of the Maimbung Municipal Hospital and the arrangements for funding and implementation of the national road construction in Kalinganan Caluang, Sulu.
The funds for the Maimbung Munical Hospital were part of the funds logged under the Transition Investment Support Plan which was included in the former administration's Disbursement Acceleration Plan (DAP) which has since been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court which halted the plan implementation.

Meanwhile, the national road construction in Kalingalan Caluang, Sulu is funded by the national Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) which coursed the funding through region nine's DPWH (DPWH-IX) which then signed a memorandum of agreement with the DPWH-ARMM who took responsibility for the implementation of the project through its district engineers office in Sulu's 2nd district. These funds were not part of the ARMM budget for 2016.

These points, along with others raised by Tan, have been resolved during the pre-plenary where represenatives from the regional agencies and their national counterparts were present as well. The regional Department of Health (DOH-ARMM) also initiated the move to include the suspended portion of the budget for the Maimbung hospital in the proposed budget of national health department for 2017. The budget for the hospital is now logged under the national DOH's budget and will be implemented as soon as possible.

Tan also expressed doubt regarding the ARMM's "absorptive capacity" and questioned if the autonomous regon "can be entrusted to fully and faithfully implement the billions" logged under its regional budget. Dimaporo then offered a quick response, noting that the national Department of Budget and Management ranked ARMM as the second best region in the entire Philippines in terms of absorptive capacity. 
That was Tan's last question, after which the House of Representatives was finally able to approve the ARMM budget on the third try, after two previous motions to end the budget interpellation.
The ARMM budget for 2017 is the biggest in the region's history. (ARMM Bureau of Public Information)

Duterte rejects Misuari's proposal to grant amnesty to Sayyafs, include them in peace talks

DAVAO CITY – President Rodrigo Duterte has rejected proposals by Moro National Liberation Front’s Nur Misuari to grant general amnesty to Abu Sayyaf militants and include the notorious terrorist group in the peace talks with the government.
Misuari, chieftain of the former rebel group, earlier asked the government to suspend all military offensives against the Abu Sayyaf militants, whose group is tied to the Islamic State, to allow peaceful negotiations for the safe release of kidnapped Malaysian and Indonesian tugboat crew members being held in the southern Philippines.
This proposal was also rejected by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
Duterte said if Misuari would not abandon his proposal to include the Abu Sayyaf in the talks and grant them amnesty, then the peace negotiations with the MNLF are unlikely to push through.
“You wait for another President. Ayoko ng ganoon, as a matter of principle, I will not accept that. Either Nur abandons the Abu Sayyaf or he will take care of the Abu Sayyaf,” Duterte said in rejecting Misuari’s proposals.
Duterte said he has been waiting for Misuari to start the peace talks until the former Libyan firebrand came up with the Abu Sayyaf proposals. “Si Nur Misuari, I have been waiting for him. Ang bagong proposal is pati Abu Sayyaf isali na niya. At pagdating ng panahon kung magka-okay tayo, isali niya sa general amnesty. Pagka ganoon, huwag na lang tayong mag-usap. I will not. For the life of me, I will not. Why should I talk to animals? What's the point?” he asked.
But MNLF spokesman Emmanuel Fontanilla strongly denied that Misuari wanted the Abu Sayyaf in the peace talks. According to a report by The Philippine Star, Fontanilla expressed concern that some people might have been feeding Duterte false information to disrupt the resumption of peace talks with the government.
“We vehemently deny that chairman Misuari wants Abu Sayyaf to be included in the negotiation, we condemn terrorist actions,” Fontanilla was quoted as saying.
He said Misuari, in a gesture of goodwill, heeded the call of Duterte to help secure the release of the Abu Sayyaf hostages in Sulu and even engaged the militants in armed clashes that killed some MNLF members. (Mindanao Examiner)

Ombudsman files graft charges vs. Nur Misuari, others

MANILA – The Ombudsman has filed graft and malversation charges former Muslim autonomous regional governor Nur Misuari for an anomalous purchase of educational materials worth P137.5 million from 2000-2001.
Ombudsman Conchita Morales said Misuari is facing three counts of malversation of public funds through falsification and three counts of violation of Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019) before the Sandiganbayan.
She said based on the findings of the Commission on Audit, it was found out that the payment to five suppliers of textbooks and educational materials totalling P137,511,108.14 were irregular and made without public bidding.
The investigation disclosed that Misuari approved the payment of the following educational materials: White Orchids Printing and Publishing House for various educational materials worth P37,959,204; CPR Publishing House in Caloocan City for 170 sets of multi-media information technology package worth P46,261,250; Esteem Enterprises in Quezon City for 6,000 copies of Demokrasyang Pambarangay, 22,000 copies of Malakas ang Batang Pilipino,
5,000 copies of Fight Drug Dependency, 8,500 copies of multi-color coated map of the Philippines worth P12,030,000; Dunong Publishing in ParaƱaque City for 6,857 sets of Easy Learn Day Care Chart with Teacher’s Guide book, 25,238 copies of Easy Learn Day Care Workbook worth P21,999,848 and MBJ Learning Tools in Caloocan City for the 124 sets of information technology package for elementary and high school students amounting to P19,260,806.14.
“Flagrant red flags were noted in the procurement such as lack of public bidding; undated and unnumbered procurement documents; absence of contracts, inventory and distribution lists; undue haste in the purchase of goods showing the rigged bidding; and non-compliance with eligibility requirements by the suppliers,” according to the press statement released by the Office of the Ombudsman.
According to Ombudsman Morales, “the Office finds probable cause that Misuari and respondents conspired with one another while discharging their official functions, acting with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence when they conspired to rig the procurement.”
Also included as co-accused are former executives of the Department of Education – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Director Leovigilda Cinches; Supply Officer Sittie Aisa Usman; Accountant Alladin Usi; Chief Accountant Pangalian Maniri; Education Program Specialist Bai Sherilyn Mustapha and Commission on Audit’s Nader Macagaan.
The Ombudsman also ordered the filing of charges against suppliers Lolita Sambeli of White Orchids, Cristeta Ramirez of CPR Publishing, Mario Barria of Esteem Enterprises and Ma. Lourdes Mendoza of Dunong Publishing. There were no immediate statements or reactions from Misuari or to any of those accused by the Ombudsman. (Mindanao Examiner)

ARMM’s P12-billion budget hike questioned – The Manila Times

Rep. Shernee Tan with ARMM officials. 

MANILA - A P12-billion increase in the proposed 2017 budget for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has been questioned by Rep. Shernee Tan of Kusug Tausug party-list group.
The autonomous region is asking for a P41-billion budget for next year, from P29 billion for 2016.
Tan cited government records showing that only 1.67 percent of the P1.5-billion ARMM budget for building classrooms have been utilized for this year.
According to the Department of Public Works and Highways, classrooms in the ARMM have remained unfinished despite a P731-million budget allocated for the purpose for 2014 and P1.2 billion for 2015.
“Where are ARMM’s billions? Much of them are unaccounted for. Sulu, in particular, did not benefit from any infrastructure projects of the local government as school buildings and roads remain decrepit and unimproved,” Tan said in a statement on Wednesday.
“I hope that this will prompt the Ombudsman to investigate the Hataman administration and file appropriate charges against those responsible for such disservice to the ARMM people,” Tan added.
She was referring to ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman. (Llanesca T. Panti, The Manila Times)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Radyo Mindanao September 28, 2016

You are listening to Mindanao Examiner Radio - also broadcast daily from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on RPN-dxXX 1008 kHz covering Western Mindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, and Central Mindanao.

For radio advertisements and sponsorship, please call 062-9925480 or 082-2960658 or text 0995-5202358 and 0947-4823453. For more details, please visit

“Oplan Gugma” ng Jesus Miracle Crusade, patuloy sa Norte

Ilan lamang ito sa maraming aktibidad ng Jesus Miracle Crusade International Ministry sa Cagayan province. 

TUGUEGARAO CITY – Umabot sa libo-libong estudyante mula sa ibat-ibang paaralan sa Cagayan province ang nakilahok sa drug symposium na ikinasa ng Jesus Miracle Crusade International Ministry (JMCIM) sa pakikipagtulungan ng Department of Education (DepEd) at ng Philippine National Police (PNP).
Tanging ang JMCIM ang binigyan ng DepEd ng ekslusibong permiso na magsagawa ng drug symposium sa mga publikong paaralan at malaki ang naitulong ng maimpluwensyang apostolic church upang maipaliwanag sa mga estudyante – high school and kolehiyo - ang masamang epekto ng droga.
Binansagang “Oplan Gugma” (Operational Plan Pag-Ibig), hindi lamang mga paaralan ang target ng JMCIM, ngunit maging mga komunidad sa malalayo at liblib na lugar at maging sa mga miyembro ng New People’s Army,  at ng pulisya at militar, ayon pa kay Brother Danny Cuarteros, isa sa mga orihinal na prayer warriors na siyang nangunguna sa pagpapakalat ng salita ng Diyos.
Pinasalamatan rin ng DepEd at PNP, at ng Philippine Army ang JMCIM sa pagtulong nito sa pamahalaang Duterte sa pamamagitan ng adbokasiya nito na Oplan Gugma. 
Kaliwa’t-kanan rin ang krusada ng grupo ni Brother Cuarteros at malimit itong abutin ng madaling araw sa kanilang pag-uwi at kasama nito ang asawang si Sister Jeany at kanilang mga anak na miyembro rin ng JMCIM choir – partikular sa tuwing bumibisita sa Marag at Zinundungan Valley. At maging mga ilog at kabundukan ay sinusuong nito upang maisagawa ang misyon – ang kautusan ng Panginoon para sa kaligtasan ng sambayanan at kanyang mga nilalang.
Regular rin ang bible study at values transformation na isinasagawa nito sa mga kampo ng militar at pulisya. Marami na rin nasagip na kaluluwa ng mga taong lulon sa droga o naligaw ng landas si Brother Cuarteros matapos silang mabapstismuhan at tanggapin ang turo at salita ng Diyos.
Palaging sinasambit ni Brother Cuarteros ang mga turo sa kanya ni Pastor Wilde Estrada Almeda, ang founder ng JMCIM, na siya umanong nagsisilbing gabay sa bawat hakbang sa kanyang paglalakbay upang palaganapin ang mga salita ng Diyos. (Mindanao Examiner)